Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 | 5:31 p.m.
One mystery was solved, while another mystery deepened, with Sunday night’s screening of Jon Taffer’s “Bar Rescue” focused on Las Vegas gay nightspot Gipsy. Jon’s top-rated Spike program showed his miracle makeover of the longest-running gay bar in Las Vegas, which had fallen on hard times competing against mega-clubs.
The owner, Paul, even admitted on camera that he’d lost $2 million on the venture. I’d reported on the filming in February. “Bar Rescue” pulled no punches with its bid to save it from extinction. On-camera fights, drunken behavior and employee disputes were all shown on camera, but, by show’s end, Jon had changed Gipsy into a beautiful lounge renamed SBLV (South Beach Las Vegas).
However, as returning patrons began pouring in on the grand reopening night, the owner vanished. The closing credits indicated that he returned two days later and mysteriously closed the venue. I checked on it last week before the airing of the show, and it’s still shuttered.
In an attempt to find out why the owner closed his club after it had been beautifully redone, I reached out to the producers and the drag entertainers, but nobody knows why the owner closed it and gave no explanation. It remains a mystery for now.
There was much less drama last night on the new “Bad Ink” on A&E, which featured Dirk Vermin’s Las Vegas salon Pussykat Tattoo. The punk rocker and tattoo artist defends his decision to shoot a reality TV series because he says he’s shaken up the formula, and the 13 weeks is more a buddy comedy than a tattoo tragedy.
CIRQUE CONTROVERSY: Fans of the Michael Jackson touring show “Immortal” that played a monthlong run at Mandalay Bay nearly two years ago remember the powerful photomontage of civil-rights protests used over the King of Pop’s “They Don’t Care About Us.” One four-second image was of a political dissenter bravely standing in front of a Chinese military tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
He became known as “Tank Man.” I’m not certain that Michael’s image was superimposed on the footage shown on opening night of the Cirque du Soleil production in Beijing over the weekend, but I do know reports from there indicate that the 15,000-strong audience let out an “audible collective gasp.”
SINGER SADNESS: I would be remiss if I didn’t add my own condolences to the many posted as a result of the weekend death of Las Vegas resident and singing star Eydie Gorme. She was a beautiful lady in her heart, in her voice, in her appearance and in her spirit — and special thoughts for strength at this difficult time go to her loving husband of 55 years, Steve Lawrence. They were married Dec. 29, 1957 at the El Rancho Hotel here.
I always had a special fondness for them because of their commitment to our charity Keep Memory Alive, and I worked in tandem with them at one of our first celebrity auction fundraiser dinners at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in the Venetian. My longtime record producer pal Ron Dante had been recently working with Steve on a new album at Studio at the Palms.
STAR CHEF DATES: TV chefs Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse have agreed to participate in winter Carnivale events at the Venetian in December. First up, Mario on Dec. 6 for the invasion of chefs and food industry folks from Italy, and then Emeril on Dec. 13 for a cooking challenge of mystery basket ingredients that I’ll host. Mark the dates on your calendar because they are must-do’s and will feature a contingent of celebrity cooking czars.
HOCUS POCUS: The largest gathering of magicians got underway Sunday night at Stan Allen’s sold-out Magic Live convention at the Orleans. Previously held in 2011, the event attracts conjurors, illusionists and would-be wizards, and in addition to presentations and performances by major magic names, there’s exhibit space for dealers and builders. Each night through Wednesday, there will be three close-up experiences to meet demand and two sets of cabaret shows and documentary displays. Also, props, puppets, invisible threads, rings, cups and magical jewelry.
INNOVATION: Technophiles will be in their entrepreneurial element for the next three days at South by Southwest V2V at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas. Several Las Vegas-based startups are taking part, and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is one of the keynote speakers. Former AOL creative genius Steve Case and fashion queen Lauren Bush Lauren (yes, the granddaughter of former President George W. Bush) also will be speaking.
Days are filled with programming, and nights are filled with networking, music showcases and movie screenings, with a closing-night party Wednesday at Hyde Bellagio. Our downtown news correspondent Joe Schoenmann says the convention will help prove the belief of many that Las Vegas is the tech land of the future. The Las Vegas spinoff of the annual Austin, Texas, South by Southwest has blossomed since Las Vegas had a big showing and great response at March events. More: http://sxswv2v.com.
The WHO AT FSE: Legendary rock star Roger Daltrey of The Who is at Fremont Street Experience today to receive a check for the Teen Cancer America charity he started with music partner and Who band mate Pete Townshend. The donation was made by FSE President Jeff Victor, who announced that the giant LED screens over the pedestrian street will display a Who concert collaboration.
Our summer pool season lasts until October, but today it’s time to recognize the best of the best with the Las Vegas Pool Awards organized by our nightlife pal Jack Colton at Bare Pool Lounge in the Mirage. We’ll have the results Tuesday for Best Resident DJ, Best Pool Promoter, Best Pool Server, Best Pool Host and of course the MVP (Most Valuable Partygoer).
DJ Diplo is at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore.
And W&W from Holland is at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan.
Feathers were ruffled last week when Trip Advisor ignored the Windy City and East Coast pizza playgrounds and named San Diego #1 and Las Vegas #2 in the pie placings. Sami Ladeki, who has parlors in both cities, unveils his newest. Plus, the doctors at the new dehydration spa Reviv in MGM Grand reveal amazing reaction to their first week of hangover treatments, and the “Ghost Adventures” team track down spooky situations near here for this week’s Season 8 premiere.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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