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October 23, 2017

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Aratas rolling back to ‘V’ this weekend; ‘Absinthe’ counters with ‘Skating Kerkorians’


Tom Donoghue/

The Skating Aratas, shown during an appearance in “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace.

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  • Jubilee, David Saxe and Tiger Martina

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  • Gazillionaire, Penny and Stephanie Dianna Sanchez
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Absinthe at Caesars Palace.

The Skating Kerkorians

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Melody Sweets and the Gazillionaire watch "Absinthe" from the side stage at Caesars Palace on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011.

Backstage at 'Absinthe'

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It was the great philosophers Blood, Sweat and Tears who once prophesied, “Spinnin’ wheel, got ta go ’round.”

So it is with “V -- Ultimate Variety Show” and “Absinthe,” at least pertaining to a skating act that defies the imagination and tugs at our hearts. We speak, of course, of the Skating Aratas in “V -- Ultimate Variety Show.”

Added to the mix is a new, rapidly rotating act in “Absinthe” that bears mention. This duo remains somewhat of a mystery, but their title is a nod to Vegas history: They are Den and Mariia, better known as the Skating Kerkorians.

As Kirk Kerkorian was an International trailblazer, these skaters are an international sensation. Or, at the very least, a Las Vegas curiosity.

As for the Aratas, let us update this whirling saga that never ceases to tantalize. The wheeled lovebirds who star in their own dizzying version of “The Newlywed Game” are scheduled to return to the stage at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on Saturday night.

The performers aka Vittorio and Jenny Arata were at the center of a mishap on Dec. 28, one of those “it could have been a lot worse” incidents. In a show-closing number in which Vittorio slides a strap over his wife’s neck, then his own, and spins around at great velocity, Jenny lost consciousness and tumbled into the audience. As Vittorio slipped backward in an attempt to halt the routine, Jenny dropped into the lap of an audience member.

This is what could be termed “a bad date.”

The foggy-headed skater wound up hugging an elderly woman who was taken out of the theater on a stretcher, driven by ambulance to Desert Springs Hospital, treated and released.

A second audience member, identified as the sister of the woman who wound up entangled with Jenny, also claimed injuries. But neither was reported to be seriously injured or badly hurt. Neither has contacted show producer David Saxe since they spoke to him via cell phone through a relative who speaks English (as neither Asian woman speaks English) on the afternoon after the accident.

However, Jenny was injured, suffering a fractured right thumb that was detected in the days after the accident. She attempted to perform through the injury -- that is the circus way -- but has been held out until she is comfortable enough to return to the stage, which should be Saturday.

The full, revamped “V” show, featuring the comeback of “Melinda -- First Lady of Magic” (Melinda is David Saxe's sister) is set to formally debut Feb. 9 (I have profiled David Saxe for a cover story in the current issue of Las Vegas Weekly).

Across the Strip, at the ribald Caesars Palace Roman Plaza circus show “Absinthe,” a new act supplanting the Aratas (the show’s original skating act for 6 months until they signed a deal to perform in “V”) has taken the stage. These two are not the vaunted Green Tornado, the brother-sister tandem of Vanessa and Emanuel Medini who were expected to join the show back in December. That deal never happened, and the duo were never formally announced to be in the show.

But the couple who are in fact in the show, and have been throughout this month, are known as Den & Mariia, who perform the same sort of spinning, human centrifuge act as the Aratas. They won’t use the small, auxiliary stage favored by the Aratas, however. They will just use the 9 ½-foot-wide regular stage.

For a look at Den & Mariia’s artistry, check out the accompanying YouTube video. They are splendid!

“Absinthe” is cruising again after surviving an accident of its own with its own gravity-defying, show-stopping act known as Esteemed Gentlemen of the High Wire, in which an audience member was clipped on the head by a falling balancing pole. The Gentlemen are back, on a reinforced high wire and enjoying great response (at least, from audience members who have reported back to moi). The show also is welcoming back one of the city’s great characters, Voki Kalfayan, who portrays the manic ringleader the Gazillionaire.

Kalfayan returns to the role this week after a stint with the Cirque du Soleil touring production “Quidam.”

As his schedule pertains to “Absinthe,” Kalfayan was just out for ... a quick spin.

Sorry, couldn’t help myself ...

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