Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2017

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John Katsilometes on what’s next for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (think ‘franchise’)

A year ago celebrated architect Frank Gehry agreed to design a pair of doghouses for his friend Larry Ruvo to help raise money for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. "I had a few drinks when I agreed to do that," Gehry said with a chuckle Saturday night at the MGM Grand during the annual Keep Memory Alive "Power of Love" fundraising gala to benefit the LRBI. "It wound up costing me $150,000, maybe closer to $200,000, to do the drawings. ... I wouldn't do it again."

This year Ruvo sought out his longtime friend for a far more important project: To design care centers based on the downtown Las Vegas LRBI model and build them all over the world.

"We're going to take this show on the road," said Ruvo, remarkably sprightly for having just spearheaded an exhaustive event that netted $17.1 million over the course of a 5 1/2-hour program. The small LRBI centers would be modeled in the same fashion as Maggie's House, the cancer daycare center in Scotland that was also designed by Gehry.

"We're going to have them all over the world," Ruvo said. "Until we find a cure, I want one of these in New York, Paris, Hong Kong. We're going to have Frank Gehry-designed buildings with doctors who have been trained by our staff. That's what's next."


More from the $17.1 million extravaganza: Ruvo was unexpectedly presented with a $2 million donation from developer Jim Rhodes and his wife, Glynda ... Checking out the silent auction items was Gov. Jim Gibbons, whose own health was the focus of media scrutiny last month when he took a blood test to counter speculation that his tremors might be linked to Parkinson's disease. He agreed to speak generally of the center, saying, "When I look at all the special needs, between Alzheimer's and ALS and other interrelated diseases of the brain, I think Nevada has taken a giant leap forward with the health programs that Larry Ruvo and the Brain Institute are initiating." ... Hanging at the bar was Palms owner George Maloof - with a beaming former Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees at his side - who said the Tool concerts, which open his Pearl Theater on March 15-16, sold out in 18 minutes ... Joining this year's program was Lorraine Bracco, a friend of Ruvo's through her wine company, Bracco Wines. She said she is filming the eighth of nine series-ending episodes of "The Sopranos," and added that Dr. Melfi would be part of the series finale. ... Odd meeting: I ran into Scott Peterson attorney Mark Geragos during a break in dinner. His wife, Paulette Geragos, is the niece of LBRI board member Dr. Zaven Khachaturian. Geragos is also friends with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, whom he refers to as, "my hero," Both are alumni of Haverford College in Pennsylvania. ... In his stand-up stint, Brad Garrett homed in on developer Randy Black Sr. (owner of the Casablanca, Oasis and Virgin River resorts in Mesquite). As Garrett asked Black to stand from his table, a cheer went up and Garrett said, "Sorry, I don't recognize you. I'm in a different tax bracket. You can probably buy me and make me your pet." Black affably served as the foil for much o! f Garret t's set. ... Vegas moment: Gehry moving unimpeded and largely unrecognized through the pre-dinner reception.

Home on deranged: Vanity plate on a silver Porsche 911, DRANGED.