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January 17, 2018

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Strip Scribbles: Life is Beautiful adds Warhol exhibit, Strip stars from ‘Absinthe,’ Jabbawockeez and Cirque


Christopher DeVargas

Rehan Choudhry, shown here during his days as entertainment director at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, is co-founder of Life Is Beautiful.

Jabbawockeez Prism at Luxor: Opening Night

The Jabbawockeez's opening night of their new show Launch slideshow »

October’s Life is Beautiful festival downtown is growing larger with art exhibits and Strip show performers who have joined the lineup of rock and food stars. Celebrities from Strip shows will be onstage and offstage.

Festival co-founder Rehan Choudhry, who wrote a guest column for us posted July 26, has announced that performance artists will represent “Absinthe,” Human Nature, Jabbawockeez, “Rock of Ages,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” Recycled Percussion and six Cirque du Soleil productions. All will present excerpts from their shows.

Additionally, downtown will become an art-inspired living playground showcasing big names in international street art. Aware from Las Vegas will lead street artists from as far afield as Puerto Rico, Portugal and Ukraine, plus stencils from New York’s Stencil network and posters from Brazil’s Bicicleta Sem Freio will decorate downtown. Many will remain as a permanent street art program to give the burgeoning area a new look.

There also will be a multimedia presentation of “13 Most Beautiful … Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests” featuring musicians Dean and Britta in a project commissioned by the Warhol Museum and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. The four-minute silent-film portraits of Warhol studio celebrity videos will be shown on large-scale video screens set to music by Dean, Britta and their band.

Click to enlarge photo

Zak Bagans arrives on the VIP blood red carpet for Eli Roth's Goretorium on the Strip on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012.

Jarrett and Raja on The Slammer

Jarrett and Raja on BBC's Launch slideshow »

EDGY EXORCISM: “Ghost Adventures” with our Las Vegas spirit hunters led by Zak Bagans racked up huge ratings for the Travel Channel with Friday’s premiere, and now I’ve learned that the paranormal TV show will feature the home that inspired “The Exorcist.” Zak tells me that the film released in 1973 with Linda Blair and Max von Sydow celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. His visit to what’s respected as America’s spookiest house in St. Louis will include an interview with a family member of real-life exorcist Father William Bowden. Zak’s exorcist episode airs Oct. 4.

NEW MAGIC SHOW? Las Vegas magicians Jarrett & Raja have found overnight fame and fortune in Britain’s capital. They were invited by BBC’s “The Slammer” to fly to London to perform their signature “sawing in half” illusion being broadcast there next month. The performance was such a startling hit that they have invited the stars back for more shows next year. Now the buzz has magician Jarrett Parker and his classically trained piano partner Raja Rahman in negotiations with a Strip hotel.

The guys’ sawing illusion is acknowledged by the magic industry to be the world's best version of this classic magic piece: Jarrett saws Raja in half with a chainsaw and then makes Raja play his grand piano with only his top half upside down and backward. The London studio audience screamed in disbelief when Raja miraculously put himself back together.

Before taking off for London, Jarrett & Raja finished shooting other illusions for “Masters of Illusion,” including producing an orchestra out of thin air. That magic special for the CW will air this fall.

Elton John's The Million Dollar Piano at Caesars Palace

Elton John's The Million Dollar Piano at Caesars Palace on Sept. 28, 2011. Launch slideshow »

CHAMPAGNE FIZZES: Is Sir Elton John, who returns to the Strip on Sept. 18, planning to extend his Caesars Palace residency? That’s the buzz because of Fizz, a chic champagne and couture cocktail lounge that his partner David Furnish will open in the former Bernini on the casino floor this fall. Sir Elton has even loaned his personal chef to the $3 million, 2,750-square-foot project for the small-plates menu of caviar and charcuterie. Cheers!

And you-know-who will be there with his own champagne wishes and caviar dreams on opening night. The elegant design will be reminiscent of their Los Angeles home and feature photos from Elton and David’s personal collection. Caesars also is opening a new bar, Fountain, where Bacchanal Buffet meets Rao’s this fall.

Over at the MGM Grand, the former Tabu Ultra lounge has been transformed into a new high-end gaming lounge, Whiskey Down. Opening Aug. 28, it will accommodate 64 high-rollers at six blackjack tables and seven video poker machines. The spirits served 24 hours a day will naturally be America, Canadian, Scotch and Irish whiskies.

VANNA’S $1 MILLION: Twenty lucky players who have each already won $50,000 and a Caesars Palace trip will get to meet Vanna White from “Wheel of Fortune” on Saturday at the Rio. She’ll host a live stage spin there for one of those guests to win an additional $1 million.

Grand Opening of 'Pin Up' at Stratosphere

The grand opening and red carpet of Launch slideshow »

NEW REALITY TV SHOW: “Pin Up” starlet Claire Sinclair has landed a starring role in the new Fox Sports reality TV series “Stable Wars: Del Mar.” I’ll join her Thursday to film scenes at the Del Mar Racetrack just north of La Jolla, Calif. She began shooting over the weekend when eight of her Playboy Playmates held a bachelorette party at Claire’s Stratosphere show. There are 18 beauties from Playboy and Claire’s show made for eye-popping footage.

DOWNTOWN SPARKS: Tony Hsieh, Zappos chief and downtown’s biggest booster, was with Tesla CEO and chief designer Elon Musk and five business partners at dinner at Michael Morton’s La Comida. No hints that the electric car company might win a Las Vegas presence, but long, lengthy celebration business meals generally lead to something sparkling. We know that Tony wants an electric transportation system in place there.


Fashion designer Marc Jacobs is at his boutique in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace to celebrate the launch of his new beauty collection and pour champagne for lucky ladies getting free makeup sessions.

Jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino — who’s dressed Nicki Minaj, Lindsay Lohan and Katy Perry — hosts a book signing at Love Jones in the Hard Rock Hotel.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and DJ Sam Spiegel are at Boulevard Pool in the Cosmopolitan.

Tickets go on sale for Mark Knopfler’s Oct. 25 concert at Pearl at the Palms promoting the Dire Straits’ guitarist’s new album “Privateering.” His show will include the seven-piece band featured on the new album.


Exotic dancers, pole dancers and topless temptresses arrive in 44DD force for the Men’s Club Expo. We’ve got a first-day preview and then a follow-up behind-the-scenes with AVN Porn Starlet of the Year Kendall Karson. We’ll also check up on how Rockhouse is faring in its new location at the Venetian after moving from Imperial Palace.

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.

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