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Las Vegas Weekly January 1, 2006

944 Magazine November 2, 2005

Las Vegas Weekly June 28, 2005

Napkin Nights Interview December 11, 2004

Image Magazine August, 2004

Las Vegas Weekly March 03, 2004

City Life Magazine August 27, 2003

La Voce September, 2003

 

DIGITAL TONY: Hurray for Hollywood

Vegas' star DJ spins his own story

By Antonio Llapur    Las Vegas Weekly January 1, 2006

DJ Hollywood is a total character. He's loud, hard-working, unapologetic, and everywhere. Aside from being one of two resident DJs (along with R.O.B.) at the Palm's mega-successful Rain in the Desert, he has a top-rated show on KLUC, played gigs all over the country, and had local residencies at spots like SRO, Ra, Drai's, The Beach, C2K and Alesium Afterhours. He even has a burgeoning clothing company, Woodwear. So how does a Jersey kid named Lee Vlastaris become the most happening DJ in Vegas?

"Let me clarify something first. I'm not a DJ; I'm a businessman. DJ-ing just happened to be the right field for me," Hollywood says. "DJs weren't big when I was in high school; bands were big in high school. It was easier to get into a band. The singer, the drummer, whateverthe guitar player. I know how to play all the instruments, but it was more challenging to be a DJ because you had to be your own star."

Hollywood started spinning school dances in his native Garden State. "It started progressing, with people asking me to play their parties. It started turning into a business." He soon tired of New Jersey because he had "done it all out there." He packed his bags and moved to Sin City.

In Vegas, Hollywood did the usual jobs, busing tables and even leading the old Nile River tour at the Luxor. He began taking his trusty old CD players to weddings as staff jock for GW Sound, a mobile DJ service. After about eight months, Hollywood was able to quit his day job at the Luxor and spin weddings and banquets for GW full time. His work with GW led to a steady gig playing the Wet 'N' Wild water park.

That was where DJ Benny the Jet, program director for The Beach, approached him about coming on board there.

"The Beach was the No. 1 nightclub, the No. 1 singles club, it was the No. 1 everything at the time," says Hollywood. Four months after the club opened its doors, Hollywood was spinning. He stayed there for two years.

As Hollywood left The Beach, he moved onto the Strip for a brief gig at the just-opened Mowtown Cafe. "The third day at the Mowtown Cafe, we had the longest fight in club history. Sixteen minutes, the fight lastedsomebody timed it. No security guards; it was last man standing." Mowtown's club side was shut down the next day by the owner, leaving only the restaurant, with Hollywood demoted from program director and resident DJ to waiter.

A couple of months passed and he auditioned and won a spot at the Luxor's new club, Ra. "I took that job and it was awesome," he says. "I had my name on billboards on Sunset Boulevard. It was a very big deal."

From Ra, he moved to Drink, C2K and then Drai's and Alesium. Then came his residency at Rain in late 2001.

The Rain gig was big for him, thanks mainly to repeated exposure on MTV's Real World: Las Vegas. Now, not only is he in demand in Vegas, but across the country.

Recently, Hollywood was playing the annual White Party at Denver's hottest club, Rise. The place was packed beyond belief, as if all of the local club kids came out to show their love for Hollywood.

"It's nice to be appreciated. I'm appreciated [in Vegas], but you never know how appreciated. It's like that old saying goes: 'You never know how much you love something until it's gone.' When I'm gone from this city, then maybe people will say, 'Oh, I had a good time listening to him. Where is he at right now?'"

But, regardless of how much he enjoys the love from out-of-town clubs, he plans to stay put here.

"I'm going to have a very strong base at home for a long time. I've been running nightclubs in Vegas for a long time, I've been very comfortable in Vegas for a long time. I own property here, I own a corporation here [Hollywood Inc.], a corporation that has different DJs that work for me, different accounts in the city with satellite firms opening up in the next two to three years in New York, Miami and in LA. So I'm more focused on the next step than flying around to these other cities. But don't get me wrong, it's lovely when you get a call from somebody from Denver."

The Vegas club scene used to rely on the big-name, big-money superstar DJs from elsewhere. But not so much anymore. It's not odd to find local DJs like Hollywood playing to over 2,000 people a night. But Hollywood dismisses the idea of big-name DJs altogether.

"The year of the big DJ is gone. The big DJ is an illusion. I said it, and I'll say it every day till I'm dead," he says. "Paul Oakenfold has the most brilliant marketing team in history. They put huge dollars behind him. Whether he's good or not, which I'm not going to comment on, it doesn't matter. He's booked in 30,000- and 40,000-seat arenas. And God bless him, Paul Oakenfold, he's the reason we can all bump our prices up. But not here in Vegas. As you notice, they brought in the big DJs. Paul Oakenfold, last time he was here was at Risque. Four hundred, 500 people? Five hundred for $25,000? No, Vegas is for the masses."

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944 Magazine November 2, 2005

REIGN IN THE DESERT
R.O.B. AND HOLLYWOOD LOOK BACK AS THEY CELEBRATE FOUR YEARS
OF PUMPING UP THE PARTY AS THE PALMS’ RESIDENT DJS

The one consistent characteristic of Las Vegas is change. Rapid change. Old casinos implode; new ones come up. Leave for a few months and the skyline has changed. Before you know it, several years have passed and birthdays are celebrated. The Palms still has that new-kid-on-the-block energy, but this month the Maloofs are celebrating the fourth anniversary of the casino that played host to MTV’s The Real World, enticed celebrities to play televised poker, invited the first tattoo parlor to open its doors in a casino and celebrates cinema every summer during the CineVegas film festival.

When it comes to nightlife and dining, the most crucial factor in the Palms’ success is the N9NE Group. And when it comes to the N9NE Group’s massively popular superclub Rain, the most crucial factor has been the DJ duo of R.O.B. and Hollywood. R.O.B. moved to Vegas with his military family at age 10, and witnessed the club scene grow from its infancy to its current world-class status. Hollywood arrived from New Jersey in the ‘90s just as the scene was about to explode, and quickly made a name for himself as a master of all DJing styles. R.O.B.’s mixing technique is light years ahead of most Vegas DJs, while Hollywood got in on the ground floor of digital mixing and never looked back — despite taking flack from a lot of peers who would eventually follow his lead.

Like many DJs who developed their skills before mixing was a viable career choice, San Bernardino-born Robert Hathock started out on drums. Keeping time for live musicians led to an inherent talent for beat mixing. But the path to becoming R.O.B. (“Right On Beat”) started when he received his first turntable one year for Christmas. He started making mix tapes with one cassette player before Santa hooked him up with his second turntable. One Sunday morning in 1983, he heard his first mix show on college station KUNV. His mind blown, he called in and introduced himself. The DJ was New York-native and future MGM music director Frankie Anobile.

R.O.B. joined Dino on the road as a dancer and got further involved in production. He left the DJ business for several years until Anobile called with the offer of another radio show on 98.5 KLUC, “The Party Zone.” By 1996, R.O.B. was back in the nightlife game, right around the time that the Rio opened the first club inside a casino, and a freestanding club on the Strip called Utopia introduced Las Vegans to the thriving international dance music underground. Nightlife in Vegas was about to explode, and seasoned vet R.O.B. would surf the crest of the resulting shockwave.

R.O.B. DJ’d at Utopia alongside Anobile and Robert Oleysyck until Anobile went over to MGM to help open Studio 54. R.O.B. soon went over to The Drink, a roofless club that stood at ICE’s current location on
Harmon Avenue. He spun at The Joint in the Hard Rock before accepting a residency at C2K, the wildly popular but ill-fated superclub in the Venetian. Then the management at The Drink — which was owned by the N9NE Group’s Scott DeGraff and Michael Morton — came calling with an offer R.O.B. couldn’t refuse. They wanted him to be the music director for an off-the-Strip casino being constructed on Flamingo Avenue across from the Rio. He accepted, and the first DJ he brought in was a New Jersey-native with near-manic intensity named Lee Vlastaris. He called himself DJ Hollywood.

It’s Sunday night at KLUC’s
Sahara Avenue studio, and DJ Hollywood is holding court as his on-air resident (and Bikinis and Tangerine mixmaster) DJ Icon works the turntables at the helm of the weekly mix show “Hollywood Boulevard.” Promoter Osiris May is in the house about to plug “Monday Night Madness,” a new weekly event (highlighted by a Madden NFL video game tournament) at the Rainbow Bar & Grill that is broadcast by remote on KLUC during Monday Night Football. Every so often, Hollywood asks his on-air personality Ren to check in with OPM, where tonight’s live remote broadcast takes place, and minor harassment of DJ Andy Gill (“Andy Grill”) ensues.

Eight years ago this was R.O.B.’s time slot. One night he had booked Richard “Humpty” Vission as the guest DJ, much to the delight of the fans of both Vission and the show. The music director called in and demanded that Vission be taken off the air. R.O.B. refused, and the music director told him that Vission’s set would be the last by a guest DJ “like that.” R.O.B. resigned. A few months later,
Hollywood came on board.

Hollywood came to town in the mid-’90s from Atlantic City. He parlayed an initial wedding-DJ gig into spinning at Wet ‘n Wild, then became program director at Paradise Road club The Beach. In 1996, Anobile and R.O.B. threw a Cinco de Mayo party there, with Latin pop stars such as Dino and Gerardo on the guest list. “That was the first night that I actually met R.O.B.,” says Hollywood. “He comes to the DJ booth and says ‘Give me two of any record you’ve got.’ I said [adopts sly tone] ‘Why? We’re doing a night here.’”

The infiltrating DJ repeated his demand. “So we gave him ‘Wanna Be Starting Something’ — Michael Jackson — and Rob cut it up. Because that’s what Rob likes to do. Rob likes to come in there, and absolutely show everyone up. It’s awesome. And when you’re that good, you should be able to do something like that. So he cut it up, and it was unreal. I’d never seen anything like that in front of my eyes.”

Hollywood went on to be a resident at RA and Drai’s, and then spun alongside R.O.B. at The Drink. Rain was on the horizon. “Now, this was a power move by the N9NE Group to bring us both together [at Rain], because we had a lot of notoriety in the city,” says Hollywood. “The best place should have the craziest DJs. That was the idea behind the N9NE Group: ‘Let’s get these guys over here because they jump around and scream on the microphone. This is what Rain should be.’”

The chemistry was apparent to them both the first night the club opened. “It was awesome,” recalls
Hollywood. “It was a lot of fun, Rob and I, we gel together very well. We feed off each other, and we both complement each other very well. We knew exactly what we wanted even though they had five or six other jocks they were bringing in, we knew what we needed to make the nightclub work. Everybody else fed off us.”

The club’s initial emphasis on house music wouldn’t last. “At the time I was program director of Drai’s. As George [Maloof] became very friendly with gigantic rock stars and everything, he saw the market and where we could go with it.” House gave way to hip-hop. Jay-Z, Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani came, partied, were treated like superstars — and heard their own music at Rain.
“It wasn’t original, what Rain wanted to do,” says
Hollywood. “We had to switch formats several times. In the first year, we booked the biggest DJs in the entire world — house DJs — and had them every single Thursday. We were pushing gigantic jocks, Jimmy Van M, Paul Van Dyk; just gigantic jocks we were bringing in. And it wasn’t coming together for the chemistry of the Palms Hotel. The idea behind the Palms is MTV. It always was. George’s brainchild was to bring in The Real World.”

Maloof’s hands-on approach could have alienated his DJs, but he won their respect instead. “When do you see owners of hotels come down into the casino and shake people’s hands?” asks
Hollywood. “When do you see owners of hotels walk up to the casino and say ‘You know what? This music isn’t doing it for me. I think we can make this better in another direction.’”

For
Hollywood, direction means digital. A pioneer of digital DJ technology in Vegas, both he and R.O.B. add their own touch — they burn their own vinyl onto disc to get the warm bass sound provided by 12-inch singles. It’s a method that Hollywood will surely pass on to the students who sign up for the DJ school he plans to start next year. He loves nothing more than a good mix, and we hear one of his favorites as Icon cues up an on-air blend of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps.” In a climate oversaturated with rock and hip-hop mash-ups, it’s fresh, pure brilliance.

“That’s R.O.B.,” says
Hollywood, his face expressing a proud seal of approval.

photography by Tracy Lee

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The Winner Is ...

Local awards for local clubs

By Antonio Llapur Las Vegas Weekly June 28, 2005

It seems that every time I turn on the TV, there’s another awards show. Just last week I saw an ad for the Animal Planet Genesis Awards. This awards-show thing might be getting out of hand. Still, there’s always an exception. And last week, there were two.

The first annual Vegas Vesper Awards were held at Seven’s Alesium on April 28. Designed to honor excellence within Vegas’ nightclub industry, the awards are voted on by the diligent workers of our local scene. Big winners of the evening included Studio 54 for club of the year, DJ Hollywood for resident and all-around DJ, Alesium for after-hours and Cheetah’s for strip club. A special (and well-deserved) Vanguard award was given to DJ Frankie of Studio 54 for his many years of contribution to the Vegas scene. The award was a double honor for the venerable DJ, as the Vanguard will be known as “The Frankie” for all future Vesper Awards. Check out www.vegasvesperawards.com for a complete list of winners.

Last Sunday saw the second annual Nighties at the Bellagio’s Light. The event (sponsored in part by the Weekly) handed out awards that honored the contributions of those involved with all aspects of Vegas nightlife, as voted on by you, the public. UPN news anchor Kate Maddox hosted the evening’s festivities. The big club winners included Studio 54 for best club, Tabú for best lounge, Drai’s for best after-hours, and DJ Hollywood for DJ. Special Lifetime Achievement awards were given to Godspeed’s Funkler, Mike Fuller, and to movie-producer-turned-restaurant-and-after-hours-impresario Victor Drai. For all the winners, head over to www.lasvegasweekly.com.

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Napkin Nights Interview Decebmer 11, 2004

Last weekend (12/11/04), Napkinnights had the opportunity to follow DJ Hollywood (of Rain in the Desert, inside the Palms Hotel and Casino) on a trip out to Club Rise in Denver to cover his CD release party. The fun times and photos can be found HERE. We took this opportunity to get to know him a little bit better! And here we share the following interview with you!!! Click on any of the pictures to the right to see the complete album of DJ Hollywood that we have!

Why Hollywood? where does the name come from and why did it stick?
When I was 15 back in
Jersey my cousin called me and asked if I wanted to go to a club. I said how the hell am I gonna get in. she said I'm seeing the door guy its no problem only thing is you have to dress old. Alright so I put on a three piece suit and sunglasses. Back than in the Tom Cruise top gun, Miami vice days. So we get there with no problems and she decides to go hang out with the door guy so she brings me to the DJ booth where her friend Jimmy Jam was spinning. She asked if I could hang with him for a little while and he said it was cool. He asked if I DJ’ed and to be cool I said I did. He said good, I have to piss take care of this next mix. I said hold up I never seen one of those mixers before so I probably shouldn’t. He said I’ll show you, it’s a piece of cake. Now I’m in trouble! He shoed me and it looked easy. The song he was playing was Prince I wanna be your lover and the song he wanted me to go into was Michael Jackson Billy Jean a very big song at the time. So I grabbed the headphones grabbed the record pushed it back and forth on beat and than slammed it in moving the crossfader like he showed me. What luck it was on beat and the crowd went nuts. A couple seconds later he came back to the booth and said nice mix. I was still shocked! He grabbed the mic and said “this is DJ Jimmy Jam on 95.5 WAYV hanging out with my boy who looks like he’s from Hollywood, DJ Hollywood her at Tatengers Nightclub. I’m superstitious so I kept it

Where did you grow up?
Mostly in
New Jersey and a little in New York

Tell us about your first job.
My first job was a was a church dance for 4 hours and got paid $75

How did you start djing?
I love music more than anything so it seemed like a good fit

What types of music do you like to spin?
I love to spin house and hip hop but most of all old school

You are resident dj at one of the most famous clubs in the world, how did you come across this gig?
I worked for the N9ne Group back in the day when they owned the Drink where Ice stands today. They liked what I did and how I did it so they approached me about Rain and Ghost.

Tell us a funny celebrity story. We remember the night that Tyrese was kickin' it with you in the dj booth.
There are so many good celeb. stories. One sticks out, of course at Rain when Shaq comes in the first thing he does is ask to get escorted to the DJ booth to see me. This particular time they had just won their second title with the Lakers. He came up and gave me a hug and everybody was like who’s that big guy hanging out with
Hollywood. He is very down to earth even though he’s twice the size of it!

Who have been some of your influences along the way?
A very big influence was and still is DJ Frankie, program director of the nightspots at the MGM. Frankie was able to polish me on the business aspects of the animal so I could be a better businessman DJ.

We are sure you know what a napkinnight is, tell us about a memorable one..
When
Tracy took a pic of the top of the crack of my ass with my man Steve next to it. That was some funny shit! (Ok, well that was funny but we meant a night that you met some hottie and put her number on a napkin!)

List your residencies, booking info, and website.
I spin at Rain, Ghostbar, and club seven after-hours in Vegas and several residencies throughout the states. Also I have the #1 rated radio mix show on Sunday nights on 98.5 KLUC called Hollywood Blvd. Booking info is on my website at DJHOLLYWOOD.NET

Tell us you love us and mean it!
I love napkinnights because they put more pics up of my ugly ass than anyone else!

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Image Magazine Aug 2004

HOLLYWOOD

DJ Hollywood with Goldie

Goldie: Who got you started in the whole DJ thing?
Hollywood: I’ve always tried to make money with one scam or another. Well a friend of mine when I was 14 had an idea only this scam was legitimate. His father gave him some speakers from a band he was in and I had a few brand new at the time CD players. We bought a radio shack mixer and did dances.
G: I know how much music you have, is there one record that you just can’t live without?
H: I would have to say Sade’s greatest hits.
G: Since we don’t get your syndicated radio show here in Denver tell us about your show.
H: Currently my show is one of the highest rated radio mix shows on the west coast in it’s time slot happily named Hollywood Blvd. Its home to 98.5 KLUC for almost 5 years. I spin everything form hip-hop to trance on the show.
G: Being the Resident DJ @ the Palms (Rain) gives you the opportunity to meet a gang of celebrities. Who is your favorite?
H: Every weekend I see and meet a ridiculous amount of celebs. I would have to say it’s a toss up on my favorite between Shaq and Val Kilmer.
G: You’ve won all of the Las Vegas Entertainment Awards except Pole Dancer of the year… Which one of the awards means the most to you?
H: I would have to say Las Vegas weekly People’s Choice award 2 years straight.
G: When are we going to hear some DJ Hollywood Tracks?
H:
I’ve been so busy touring and filming in and out of town that I haven’t seen my studio in over a year. But soon I will buckle down and get something out.
G: How does one get one of your precious mixed CD’s?
H: Just go to www.DJHOLLYWOOD.net e-mail your address and I’ll send you one or two of whatever kind of music you like.
G: The Las Vegas Lifestyle can be tough on the old love life. Is there a special hottie in your life right now?
H: I am accepting applications with pictures on my website.
G: There are a lot of places to go in Vegas and a lot of not so good DJ’s. Who are the DJ’s in Vegas that we should go see?
H: If you get the chance David Christian over a Tangerine in the Treasure Island casino and the Legendary DJ Frankie of Studio 54 and Tabu inside the MGM.
G: I know DJ David Christian is your boy and all, but here is your chance to bust on him. DJ David Christian, Super Hero or Average Joe on the Turntables?
H: Super hero with average Joe costumes. Half man, half Amazing!

I get to meet more DJ’s then most people. This guy is one of my all time favorite people. He really cares about his audience and their experience. His music changes with the vibe of the audience. He plays trance, house and hip-hop all in one night. I think he is on to something here. I really enjoy the genre specific DJ’s of the world but very few do it all, and well DJ Hollywood is a truly gifted artist. Watch out Wayne Newton, we may have a new Mr. Las Vegas on our hands.

 

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Local Resident DJ
DJ Hollywood

Dance Club
Studio 54

Dining with a Scene
Red Square

Late Night Dining
Mr. Lucky's

Lounge
Whiskey Bar

Weekly Party
Pleasuredome @ Ra

After Hours
Alesium @ Seven

Best Local Clubwear
Rage

Hair Salon
Globe Salon

Gentleman's Club
Olympic Gardens

Best Show On The Strip
O

Local Bar
Roadrunner

 

 

DIGITAL TONY: Call It a Nighties


Foundation Room rocks; Loaded is some fresh air

By Antonio Llapur  Las Vegas Weekly March 3, 2004

The awards season hit its apex Sunday with the Academy Awards. But that wasn't the only gig going down. The third annual Nighties were held over at Bellagio's Light. The event, sponsored by the Weekly and Light, honored the best in Vegas nightlife as selected by you, our much-loved readership.

Winners included Studio 54 for best club, the Whiskey Bar for lounge, Ra's Pleasuredome for weekly party, Alesium for after-hours, and DJ Hollywood for best DJ.

As for the event itself ... well, I missed most of it. I arrived on time but got stuck fighting the crowd outside. Now, I'm not bitching about having to wait. What I take issue with is that there seems to be no sense of order surrounding Light's entrance. The VIP line stretched out into the casino, and the rest of the enormous crowd was packed into a disorderly mess. It took me a half-hour before I was able to get a host's attention. You'd think a resort like Bellagio would insist upon a bit more order outside its premier nightspot.

 

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Vegas goes Hollywood:
Local DJ proves the bottom line for longtime success is the bottom line

City Life Magazine
By Mike Zigler Wednesday, August 27, 2003

In the midst of a late-summer, skin-baring crowd at Rain, resident DJ Hollywood commands the attention of everyone who stands near his DJ stage. He bounces back and forth between manipulating the music and attending to an entourage of enthralled admirers who study his every mixing technique. From wall to bass-beating wall, everyone in the room feels Hollywood's presence.



They can feel it when he's offstage too -- as he slips through skybox hallways, well-secured rooms and elevator lobbies, never breaking his stride as he greets the guards, waitresses and other denizens of the venue at the Palms hotel-casino.

Hollywood offers many guests his attention. It may come personally during a song request, or collectively when he silences the sound system, chiding the audience for still clubbing at 4 a.m. Before they can respond to his message, the music returns with another blast of bass.

In an isolated skybox above the dance floor, the 28-year-old
Hollywood (Lee Vlastaris) takes a break to tell his tale. The man has made quite a career here in a city where DJs visit and vanish. Las Vegas provides a following for DJs as transient as its tourists -- unless they tour nationwide, there really isn't much hope for gaining a substantial following.

Furthermore, to stay in any city nine years and still maintain stability is a hell of a feat, one requiring a successful formula.

Hollywood's philosophy is simple: Stay mainstream and be proud of it. It's an approach that garners criticism from some of his musical peers. Yet behind Hollywood's altar of high-tech mixing mechanisms, he and his audience don't seem to pay the critics any mind.

"The criticism of 'mainstream' is a compliment to me,"
Hollywood said. "Jocks, they don't want to conform, but you must play what will make money at the door."

While most DJs won't admit it,
Hollywood does: He spins for the money, not the music. In Las Vegas, particularly, a DJ who understands this is a DJ who ultimately earns the all-mighty American dollar, he said.

With his own Sunday night show on KLUC 98.5-FM ("Hollywood Boulevard" from 10 p.m. to midnight) and ties to nearly every Vegas club, DJ Hollywood proves mainstream is the way to succeed in the valley. He doesn't need a second profession, like most other DJs in the industry. DJing is his full-time gig.

He's transformed his mainstream approach into a lucrative business (Hollywood, Inc.) and rarely leaves town for other gigs. In cities like
New York, Miami and San Francisco, DJs have the opportunity to be progressive, Hollywood said -- but in Las Vegas, the music is about making money at the bar.

"Seventy percent of the people want mainstream, and they're the people with the money," he explained. "Vegas may be caught in a rut of music, but I'm staying. If Vegas goes jungle breakbeats, I'll go jungle breakbeats too."

Originally from
Atlantic City, Hollywood says he left Vegas' step-sister in 1994 because DJs weren't taken seriously. He quickly caught a break at the Beach, which was extremely popular at the time. From there it was off to Ra, the Drink, then Drai's, among other venues.

Since day one in the club industry,
Hollywood has seldom spun a record. He mixes with CDs through a unit-dubbed Pioneer CDJ-1000 -- a device that's basically a digital turntable.

Instead of purchasing CDs directly from distributors,
Hollywood burns 90 percent of his music from vinyl. By burning, he preserves the vinyl-quality bass a pre-recorded CD lacks. Ultimately, Hollywood fancies the power of digital memory with the Pioneer unit. Between carrying 300 records in a case or 30,000 songs on CDs, Hollywood opts for a greater selection.

That greater selection complements
Hollywood's mainstream style: more familiar music makes more satisfied clubbers. After all, the more people he turns on, the better the bottom line.

Mike Zigler is a CityLife staff writer. He can be reached at 702-871-6780 ext. 306 or zigler@lvpress.com.

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LA VOCE
The Voice of Las Vegas’ Italian-American Community
September 2003 Volume 2 No. 12

Song Spinning Italian Style

DJ HOLLYWOOD


When people think of Hollywood, most people think of Hollywood California.
However, Las Vegas natives don’t have to go beyond the borders to experience a little of their own Hollywood. Lee Vlastaris, better know as DJ Hollywood is Vegas’s own piece of Hollywood.
Lee was born in Las Vegas to an Italian-American mother, Roberta Bacchi and a Greek father, Leandro Vlastaris. At the as of 15, is when Lee was nicknamed as DJ Hollywood. Lee attended a nightclub in New York, called Déjà vu, with his cousin Joanna. Since he was only 15, Joanna told the young Lee, “make sure you wear something adult.” So, Lee wore a three piece suite and a pair of Rayban sunglasses. Once inside the club, Joanna dropped Lee at the DJ booth. Lee made conversation with the DJ, who was doing a live remote for a local radio station. The DJ asked Lee if he had ever dejayed before. He said, “of course, doesn’t everyone know how to DJ.” Little did he know that this comment would leave him in the DJ booth alone with the duty of mixing Prince into Michael Jackson. Despite his lack of experience, someone was on his side because the mix was successful and the crowed started screaming. The DJ of Déjà vu returned and stated doing his live remote on the radio. The DJ said we have a special guest DJ in the house, his name is (looking the young Lee up and down)… well he looks like he’s out of Hollywood with his suit and glasses, DJ Hollywood and the name stuck.
There after DJ Hollywood purchased turntable and started to do proms and parties in cities across Southern New Jersey, the area in which he grew up. DJ Hollywood became very popular in his native area and his father suggested that he write contracts for his work. So Hollywood would write up contracts with a pen and paper. This became the start of not only Hollywood as a DJ but as a shrewd businessman.
At the age of 19. DJ Hollywood moved back to the city in which he was born, Las Vegas. At first life was a little difficult for this young man. Hollywood worked two jobs a graveyard shift and then proceeded to his morning shift both as a busboy. One day he heard on the radio and opening for a part-time DJ for GW Sound. This sparked his interest but Hollywood decided not to take this opportunity. Ironically, months later while working on the Nile boat ride at the Luxor, his voice attracted the owner of GW sound who hired DJ Hollywood to do weddings and then their biggest account Wet n’ Wild.
Now ever DJ has to start somewhere. Little did DJ Hollywood know that this was only the beginning and that years later he would be the hottest DJ in Las Vegas. Hollywood was given this honor by not only Las Vegas natives with the award of DJ of the year in the Las Vegas Weekly but also by other DJ’s and nightclub industry employees who awarded him both 2003 DJ of the year and Resident DJ of the year at the 2003 VESPER Awards. DJ Hollywood is currently the resident of Rain in the Desert at the Palms Hotel and Casino, which has received the honor of #1 nightclub in the world and has received enormous coverage on MTV. Before Rain, there is a list of nightclubs that have been fortunate enough to have DJ Hollywood entertain their patrons.
In 1996, DJ Hollywood started his first nightclub DJ job at the Beach Nightclub. This experience gave him the opportunity to learn all different typed of music. From the Beach Hollywood became the Programmer Director at the Motown restaurant. Motown only lasted for a couple months, when a friend’s mother cut out an ad for a DJ audition with on a number. This DJ audition ended up being for the RA nightclub at the Luxor. DJ Hollywood advanced into the second audition, which cut the DJ potentials form the 155 to 5 DJ’s. During the second audition, Hollywood was stopped early and became a little worried. However, there was no need to worry because DJ Hollywood became the first employee of RA, as their Resident DJ. After RA, Hollywood went over to the Drink Nightclub, where he entertained the crowds with not only his music but also his occasional dance moves with the infamous Boogie Nights. From the Drink, Hollywood dabble into some after hours nightclubs such as Pier Street Annex, Play Again Sam’s and eventually Drai’s, which he became their Resident DJ. DJ Hollywood also worked at C2K and Alesium After hours.
When asked to describe the current Las Vegas Club scene, DJ Hollywood stated, “That there is no other scene in the entire world. Las Vegas is the melting pot of the vacation society. DJ’s have to pleasure all crowds and be versatile with themes and music.” It is obvious from his accomplishments and honors that DJ Hollywood Knows exactly how to entertain a crowd.
Along with being one of the hottest DJ’s on the club scene, DJ Hollywood entertains millions every Sunday from 10:00pm to 12:00am with Hollywood Boulevard, a radio mix show, on 98.5 KLUC. Hollywood Boulevard is ranked, by the Amatron Ration System #1, in its time slot and is considered one of the top radio shows on the west coast.
Radio nightclubs, but that still does not complete what DJ Hollywood does not complete what DJ Hollywood is all about. DJ Hollywood is also a businessman. He has developed his own corporation called Hollywood Inc. which supplies DJ’s, bands, as well as, representation to all entertainment venues.
It seems that DJ Hollywood has done everything so what can possibly be left? Hollywood would one day like to open up his own nightclub, but don’t worry Las Vegas nightclub owners, not in Las Vegas, Las Vegas already had enough kick to it; DJ Hollywood would like to open a nightclub in a college town to spice up the nightlife. Also, he would eventually like to expand his corporation, Hollywood Inc. with satellite divisions.
At the end of this interview, DJ Hollywood wanted to say a little something about DJ Frankie, the other featured DJ, as well as one of Hollywood’s good friends. “The club business was booming in the late 70’s because of a pioneer, DJ Frankie, who took New York style to Las Vegas. All the DJ’s in Las Vegas owe a lot of thanks to DJ Frankie from Studio 54, the most popular Italian-American DJ I know.”
So next time someone mentions Hollywood, Italian-Americans will remember that Las Vegas has their Hollywood, DJ Hollywood.

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