Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 | 6 p.m.
Magic and its Las Vegas magicians are everywhere you look on television this week in what’s become known as the “Wizard Wars,” which also is one of the shows premiering tonight on Syfy.
Rio headliner magicians Penn & Teller, who celebrate their 39th career anniversary today, host two of the rival shows. On “Wizard Wars” tonight, teams of magicians go up against each other, the winner facing the home team made up of Las Vegas conjurors and illusionists Gregory Wilson, Shimshi, Justin Flom and Angela Funovitz.
At stake on each show: $10,000, and challengers include Las Vegas stars Nathan Burton and Murray Sawchuck.
Our colleague former Las Vegas Weekly writer Rick Lax created the show and as a magic consultant is one of the show’s producers. Think of it as the magic version of “Chopped,” but instead of using food, the prestidigitators use regular and offbeat props.
On Wednesday night, Penn & Teller continue hosting their series “Fool Us” on The CW, and “Masters of Illusion” featuring even more Las Vegas magicians is a new Friday night ratings hit also on The CW.
NEXT MISS NEVADA: The search for the next Miss Nevada USA and Miss Nevada Teen USA has begun as the countdown for the 2015 Miss Nevada USA Pageant from Nov. 21-23 has started. Young women from all over Nevada will compete for the crown and title at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV. The two new winners will be crowned by 2014 Miss Nevada USA Nia Sanchez, who was crowned Miss USA (the first from our Silver State), and 2014 Miss Nevada Teen USA Alexa Taylor.
“Since Nia’s Miss USA win, there has been so much new and positive energy surrounding the upcoming pageant, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Shanna Moakler, executive director of the Miss Nevada USA Organization. “We cannot wait to start working with our contestants.”
The Nevada pageant will be hosted by 2011 Miss USA Alyssa Campanella and 98.5 KLUC radio host Chet Buchanan with contestants judged in interview, swimsuit and evening gown. The Miss Nevada USA Organization is still accepting applications. For more information and to apply, go to MissNevadaUSA.com.
WORLD FOOD CHAMPIONSHIP$: Prize money at this year’s World Food Championships downtown in November is being increased this year with the grand-prize check of $100,000 for the overall Final Table winner. The champions in other categories for everything from Best Chili to Best Barbecue to Best Burger and Best Seafood still collect $10,000 apiece, with cash prizes for the next two runners-up.
In all, $300,000 will be handed out to the chefs who will likely wind up as future TV stars. In addition to an open-air contestants kitchen at The D Las Vegas, there will be a Bourbon, BBQ and Banjos rib fest in which all competitors will participate, plus the People’s Choice Chili.
I’m particularly excited about the Private Chef's Table Dinner with Food Network star chef Ben Vaughn and yours truly on Nov. 15. Ben will prepare a Las Vegas-themed, multicourse chef’s table dining experience with celebrity chef pals as I handle wine and champagne toasts for 30 lucky attendees. I promise a night to remember as a highlight of the 2014 food frenzy.
HOW MANY BUTTERFLIES? It’s difficult to believe that it’s been five years since the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health opened after years of fundraising by its charitable arm, Keep Memory Alive. Now KMA will celebrate the center’s fifth anniversary on Sept. 12 marking 55,000 patient visits and 30 clinical trials underway for an Alzheimer’s cure.
It’s an incredible achievement that affects our community. To mark the occasions, there will be a massive butterfly release, followed by celebrity chef Alex Stratta’s lunch for Las Vegas VIP supporters.
After a one-year hiatus, Freakshow Wrestling is returning to Las Vegas. The Amazing Johnathan and Jenn O. Cide will host the End of the World Party on Aug. 29 at Helltown Studios with wrestling legends, a zombie invasion and a clown army.
Comedian Sinbad and R&B artist Curtis Harding are the first two entertainers booked for the giant SEMA show headed here in November. Already, 2,300 automobile-parts manufacturers have signed up to display new products.
Former Vogue cover girl model Jaime King turns up on the cover of this month’s Vegas Magazine promoting her new movie with best friend Jessica Alba: “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”
Rapper Common hosted the official Creative Recreation party at Marquee Nightclub in the Cosmopolitan, where he performed his hits including “Make Her Say,” “Go” and “Universal Mind Control.”
Actor Nicolas Cage dined at chef Brian Massie’s Fix in Bellagio with his family, including his son, his son’s girlfriend and his son’s girlfriend’s mother.
TV personality and fashion designer Whitney Port dined at Tao in the Venetian with two friends and enjoyed miso-glazed sea bass and white wine.
Brian Dunkleman, Marc Price and Nick Hoff headline at the Improv in Harrah’s through Sunday.
Steps from the Strip, the upscale, 181-seat El Dorado Cantina celebrates with a grand-opening party hosted by Las Vegas restaurant investors Darin Feinstein and Brett Talia.
The ventriloquist comedy act of Matilda and Patrick Murray from Jamaica debuts its afternoon residency at The D Las Vegas.
Dave Perrico assembles a 20-piece band for his show with Franky Perez and Naomi Mauro at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center.
Comedian Ralphie May performs at the 2014 Gentlemen’s Club and Expo in Mandalay Bay with hundreds of tempting topless temptresses adding to the fun.
The big MAGIC fashion party for Hudson jeans and Grand Voyage is at Hakkasan in MGM Grand, and the Gumball 3000 party is at Light in Mandalay Bay.
Our guest columns continue with speed on two, three and four wheels by Las Vegas race royalty Gene Woods and Brook Watts. On Thursday, it’s all about the SLS Las Vegas opening this weekend with guest chef and nightlife columns.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.