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February 21, 2017

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It’s madness and mayhem with The Gazillionaire and Penny Pibbets of ‘Absinthe’


Christopher DeVargas

The Gazillionaire and Penny Pibbets from “Absinthe” chow down after a long day at Caesars Palace.

While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip and Las Vegas personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. Our thanks to them all. We continue with outrageous observations from The Gazillionaire and Penny Pibbets, two stars of “Absinthe,” the exotic and erotic hit adult circus at Caesars Palace that has just been renewed through at least October 2013 and possibly October 2014.

By The Gazillionaire

When my good friend Robin Leach asked me to write one of his articles while he was on vacation, my first thought was, “That cheap, conniving, lazy Brit is trying to get me to do his job for free!” My second thought was, “Yes, I am right.”

However, my third thought was, “Why the hell not? I don’t need any money, and I will make my assistant Penny do most of the hard work.”

So for one week, I had Penny follow me around with a voice recorder and a pen and paper and record and write down anything I believed interesting. Here, in no particular order or interest, are the things I decided to share. All grammatical and spelling mistakes are Penny’s fault.


We arrived at the Nightmare Nightclub (or Lounge? or UltraClubLounge?) and, while waiting for some friends, I decided to talk to the bouncer and get an insight into that lifestyle.

Here is the transcription:

Gaz: Hi, I was wondering if I could ask you a question?

Bouncer: What’s your name (looking at clipboard)?

Gaz: Ahhh. I am not on the list. ... I just wanted to ...

Bouncer: What’s your name?

Gaz: The Gazillionaire, but I’m not ...

Bouncer: You’re not on the list.

Gaz: Yes, I know, I just ...

Bouncer: It’s $20.

Gaz: Yeah, OK. Fine. But I just thought ...

Bouncer: Please wait in line.

Gaz: I was ...

Bouncer: (Speaking into mini shirt mic) Can I get a manager?

Well, that was a crap idea.

The Gazillionaire & Penny Pibbets

The Gazillionaire and Penny Pibbets from Launch slideshow »


I don’t own an iPad. Get a life, nerds.


Art, culture, bars with video games. I don’t know why people go down there. I went to a place called Skin City with a stack of $1 bills. It isn’t a strip club! It is a burlesque boutique and body-painting studio. I talked with Robin Barcus, the owner, who apparently paints people’s naked bodies. Penny volunteered. I threw up in my mouth a little, and we left.

Insert Coins is a bar and arcade with vintage video games. I had my bodyguard punch a nerd in the face. We laughed and went over to eat some amazing Thai food at Le Thai. French name with real Thai food. The owners are young and hip and will come talk with you about the recipes he’s learned from his grandmother.

So, yeah, if you are like me and love all the Strip has to offer -- from booming nightclubs with hot chicks to restaurants by celebrity chefs who you don’t have to talk with and those guitars filled with alcohol -- remember what downtown has to offer!

NBT Woman of the Year Marie Osmond

Nevada Ballet Theater honored Marie Osmond as its Woman of the Year in the Champagne Ballroom of the Paris on Jan. 23, 2010. Launch slideshow »


*Genevieve Landry of Ssens Duo in “Absinthe.” She’s French-Canadian ... we know what that means.

*Any of the hot lesbian bartenders at the Artifice. It’s my list ... they switch over for the night.

*Marie Osmond.

*Frank Marino from “Divas Las Vegas” just to mix it up a little.

*The cast of “Fantasy” and “Crazy Girls,” but only if they are all there at the same time.

*The two large Brazilian jugglers from “Zumanity.” They look like they would do anything.

Well, those were my thoughts for the week. I had an interesting essay on the development of art in Las Vegas and also secrets to becoming as rich as me, but Penny deleted the files.

Anyone know of a good personal assistant?

Click to enlarge photo

"Absinthe" performer Penny Pibbets gets ready in a trailer outside Caesars Palace on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011.

Backstage at Absinthe

Trapeze performer Maxime Clabaut puts on his boots after rehearsal before the first Launch slideshow »

By Penny Pibbets

To Whom It May Concern:

It’s been three weeks since I’ve had contact with a real human being. His name was Ralph; I read it off his blood-splattered hotel nametag. He was crouched in a corner booth at a Strip restaurant eating the entire farm-to-table stuff that hadn’t rotted in the past six months. At first, I thought he was one of them, gnawing away on frozen bone marrow with his back hunched, swaying over his meal.

His quick, erratic movements seemed odd for an old man. He was no younger than 70. I reached for the shotgun I’d stolen from some star's dressing room, then his tired eyes met mine, and they seemed frightened. Desperate. I left him there. It’s a wonder how he has survived this long. It’s a wonder how I have, as well.

I’m writing to you out of desperation, and, like Marty McFly, I’m writing to you from the future. The future of Las Vegas. If you’re reading this, then my attempt to send an email back into the past has worked. Guess those summer school I.T. classes at UNLV were worth way more than the cool parties in Summerlin that I was never invited to in the first place.

I’m writing to warn you that life in Las Vegas, as we know it, has stopped. If you’re reading this, then maybe you can go back to where this all began to stop it. Stop the disease from spreading. Stop humans from eating flesh. You are my only hope.

It was the day before the disaster when I knew something was wrong. I was walking my dog Charlie in the beautiful McNeil neighborhood where my Grandma and I live. Charlie was acting strange that night. He barked at our neighbor, Walt, for no reason. Walt was the friendly agoraphobic on the street, and Charlie and I liked to visit him. Mostly to see how much crap he’d ordered from Amazon, but also to keep him company since his mother had recently died.

Walt looked funny, even funny for Walt. His cheeks were redder than usual, his long, stringy wet hair swept in a ponytail. He panted quite inconsistently as we watched his round, tight stomach peek out from under his KISS T-shirt. Walt told us he needed to lay down and then he never came back from his bedroom, so we let ourselves out.

Angel Porrino Debuts in Absinthe

Angel Porrino in Absinthe at Caesars Palace on April 19, 2011. Launch slideshow »

The next day, I went to work, and the Las Vegas wind was strong and hot, even more than normal. The valet guys joked, “Careful, it might take you along for the ride.” I remember my armpits making a stain on my shirt, which always happens when I’m anxious about something. I set up the props and costumes for “Absinthe,” the show my boss, The Gazillionaire, and I performed in night after night. It’s not my job to set up, but I like to show up early to do it anyway.

The Gazillionaire was nowhere to be seen, which is perfectly normal except for the fact that his bottle of Glenfiddich 21, given by Robin Leach himself, was still full and standing alone on his bar in the dressing room. After I had finished steaming the cast’s shirts and socks, I slowly started to notice how deafly quiet it was. I stepped outside our tent and toward the entrance to Caesars Palace.

There were no souls in Las Vegas, just a bright blue sky staring back at me. There were no douche bags, hunting for mates, wearing shiny gold necklaces and holding brightly colored drinks. There were no awkward Japanese families in knock-off Hard Rock shirts and tiny feet. No fat brides in tight white dresses and tight white smiles, trudging through the casino with their husbands trailing behind. Just utter silence, except for the fountains, which were still flowing.

I think it’s Thursday today, although I’m not sure. I’ve heard rumors that Carrot Top has completely quarantined the Venetian. He’d gone mad, chopping off heads with the props he saved from his gigs. (Guess they’re finally good for something.) I ran into some “Jubilee!” girls. They still had feathers in their hair, and, as they chased me with their bloodshot eyes and black mouths, they seemed like a flock of graceful doves in a magic trick gone horribly wrong.

I’m leaving the Strip; there clearly isn’t anything for me here anymore. I’m heading downtown, and I’m not sure if I’ll survive, so this might be the last time you hear from me. I’ve found markings on walls about “another life” downtown. A savior has risen. The Zappos God himself, Tony Hsieh, is the only solace I have now. I have a Hello Kitty backpack filled with things I need; necessities to survive the Las Vegas Zombie Apocalypse:

*4 Twinkies I found in George Wallace’s dressing room (I thought only white people ate those)

*A sword from “Ka”

*A shotgun (3 bullets left)

*Some magic dust from David Copperfield

*2 sock puppets

*A bottle of Remy Martin


*16 packs of Vitamin C (a cold is not something you want during a zombie takeover)

*A cape (to keep from going crazy)

*18 packs of dynamite

I’m going to find the cast of “Absinthe.” I’m going to save The Gazillionaire. I’ll get my dog back, and I’m going to survive. I’m not leaving Las Vegas. I’m staying here because, even before this mess, living anywhere else in the world seemed completely ridiculous. Lock and load!

Our thanks to Penny and The Gazillionaire. Be sure to check out our other guest column later today from UNLV events executive Daren Libonati -- and continue to follow the zany Penny Pibbets’ blog to read more chapters to see what happens next!

Senior Editor Don Chareunsy will be posting Strip star events and parties and then we’ll resume our guest columns Monday with Mirage headliner Terry Fator, Laura Croft’s continuing series of Las Vegas fashion fun, favorites and faux pas, plus Alex Epstein’s observations of downtown’s rebirth, despite Gaz’s reported disdain!

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

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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at

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