Glenn S. Alai
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 | 6 p.m.
Call it a Supermarket Smackdown in the shopping aisles, and our Rio headliner magician Penn Jillette was in the thick of it Monday night on Season 3 of the Food Network’s charity cook-off competition “Rachael vs. Guy.”
Heartthrob Jake Pavelka (“The Bachelor”) was voted off, and Penn continues in his battle to win $50,000 for our beloved charity Opportunity Village.
Penn didn’t have time for magic, but he did juggle jars of a chocolate sauce he made from various ingredients from the shelves. Penn also lost his voice shouting to sell his creation.
The contestants, including Florence Henderson and Judy Gold, who will both be at Nevada Ballet Theater’s 30th anniversary Black & White Gala here at Aria on Saturday (Florence is this year’s NBT Woman of the Year) were given just over 2 hours to shop, prep, cook and package a new food item to sell that showed their personality.
Florence, hobbled by a broken foot, used her charm for help navigating the supermarket aisles in shopping for her pasta sauce. “I’m a notorious flirt,” she said. “Mrs. Brady’s got a few tricks up her sleeve.”
Penn said while making his chocolate sauce with sea salt: “I’m elbow deep in chocolate, and I could not be happier.” He laughed while juggling that buyers could at worst resell it the next day on eBay for $25 apiece.
TV personalities and chefs Rachael Ray and UNLV alumnus Guy Fieri host the show. Guy is set to open a restaurant at the Quad adjoining the Linq this spring.
TOUR DE FORCE: During his standing ovation, “Star Trek” actor William Shatner told the Smith Center audience Monday night that it was the best theater he’d ever performed in during 50-year-plus career.
His one-man show “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It” was a nearly 120-minute, nonstop brilliant marathon of amusing tales and incidents from his 80 years on Earth.
There were emotional high points of stunning success and also low points of failures that once left him broke after a painful divorce and sleeping in a field in an RV. There were laughter, tears and gasps with his revelations, and his incredible command of the English language and Shakespearean speeches at points had the audience so silent, you could have heard a pin drop.
After the riveting performance, he told me that he’d love nothing more than to return to the Smith Center again. He also wants to produce a musical version of his new album “Ponder the Mystery” and premiere it here.
WELCOME: The ribbon cutting at this morning’s welcome ceremony marked the World of Concrete’s 40th anniversary. First held in Las Vegas in 1976, the tradeshow rotated with other cities before making us a permanent home in 2005. It’s brought in $700 million since then and will be here through Friday.
CONGRATULATIONS! Five Strip hotels made the prestigious Gold List after scoring more than 90 points out of 100 in the February edition of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine: Steve Wynn’s two properties Wynn and Encore, plus, Palazzo, Bellagio and Mandarin Oriental. The Tower Suites at Wynn also have been added to the AAA Five Diamond listing for 2014, which includes past winners the Venetian, Palazzo, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Sky Lofts at MGM Grand, Bellagio and Aria.
NEW WAY TO PAY: I wrote two weeks ago about the emerging BitCoin currency being used in Las Vegas venues. Now the downtown Golden Gate and D Las Vegas become the first casino properties to accept the growing-in-popularity digital currency as of Wednesday.
A WOMAN’S TOUCH: Three of the top women in the global gaming industry join forces Feb. 19 at the Mob Museum Courtroom downtown to discuss the industry from their perspective: Patricia Becker, former UNLV director and the first and only woman to be appointed to the Nevada Gaming Control Board; former Mayor Jan Jones, now an executive VP at Caesars Entertainment; and Elaine Wynn, who serves on the board of directors of ex-husband Steve Wynn’s hotel resort casino company.
Steve Wynn starts two days of recruiting model cocktail servers today and Wednesday for Encore Beach Club’s summer season.
Support Team USA in the USA Sevens Rugby matches by turning up at the USA Eagles pep rally at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on Wednesday. The international tournament starts at Sam Boyd Stadium on Friday.
“Pawn Shop Live!,” a parody of the History Channel’s smash hit “Pawn Stars,” debuts at Golden Nugget.
Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno is guest of honor at the first Fan Appreciation Party with craft cocktails and comfort food at celebrity chef Rick Moonen’s Rx Boiler Room at Mandalay Place.
The torrid and tempestuous tango is at Smith Center with Luis Bravo’s “Forever Tango” for two nights of sensuous and seductive stylings.
DJ Konflikt spins for the Lost Angels industry party at Hyde Bellagio.
DJs Presto One and Allie Layus share the decks at Moon in the Palms.
Dat Phan, Don McEnery and Tracey MacDonald headline the Improv at Harrah’s through Sunday.
Rock legend Meat Loaf previews his next run of “Rocktellz & Cocktails” at Planet Hollywood, reveals new segments and ponders moving here for an even longer stay. Plus, a preview of “Top Chef” NOLA to see if Las Vegas cheftestant Shirley Chung heads to Maui for the two-part finale.
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.