Wednesday, July 3, 2013 | 10 p.m.
Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach heads to the East Coast and London before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus, the Amalfi Coast this year — many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue with former “Beverly Hills, 90210” star Ian Ziering, who has taken Chippendales at The Rio by storm and due to ticket demand has extended his stay through mid-July amid rumors that he’ll return early next year for another run as guest MC.
By Ian Ziering
When Robin Leach first asked if I would be a guest contributor and write about what makes Las Vegas great, I thought why not. But as I got to thinking about it, I realized that this was going to be no easy task. I had to roll back my mental odometer to 1976 when my mother and father took me to California for pilot season/summer vacation. I recall us taking a little side trip that had us driving our rented Chevy Chevette through the desert for hours.
With all the wonderment and innocence of a 12-year-old boy who was raised on a steady diet of “Chiller Theater Sci-Fi” and late-night “Twilight Zone” episodes, I was mesmerized at the sight of Las Vegas in the distance. It glistened and gleamed in the ether. The desert heat made the entire Strip hover and dance above the ground. The zillion-mile, straightaway road leading into town was reminiscent of all too many of Wile E. Coyote’s poured gun powder fuses, and, in my mind, our car was the flame approaching.
Like a Black Cat with a jumped fuse, I knew this mother of a firecracker was definitely gonna go off: kaboom! The Chevette stopped at our hotel, and I exploded out of the car. Are you kidding me?! A hotel that also was a circus? Circus Circus was so nice, they named it twice! It was everything I wanted, and tons of it. This place was clearly made for me, not my folks, but for me. It was like I had died and gone to heaven. Kids are king in this place. I had two whole days to explore my domain, and I did so in my very own Henry the VIII gluttonous way.
The sheer fun and visual overload was only made better by a sugary buzz from an expertly made cotton candy, a cotton candy so big that I had to hold the paper tube down by my waist to be able to eat off the top. I distinctly remember that the concession stand was right by the trapeze artists and that the cotton candy vendor lady had big boobies. With so, so, so much to see, I stayed right where I was and ate the whole thing. Heaven!
Now it’s July 2013. I have been back to Las Vegas several times over the years, and each time was better than the time before. This time, however, is completely different. Instead of coming here to be a spectator of all the fun and excitement, I am part of it. As a guest MC of Chippendales at The Rio, I’m up dancing and singing with the #1 male revue show in the world. I’m part of a well-produced, well-choreographed show that literally has the audiences standing on their chairs screamgasming for more from beginning to end.
It’s really an honor for me to work with these men. To be honest, I was thinking there would be a few prima donnas among them, guys that would view my inclusion into their fraternity as a weakening of the brand they have worked so hard to build. But there isn’t one. They are all great guys who have welcomed me into the fold.
Regular guys (though seemingly carved by the masters out of twisted steel and sex appeal) who by day are husbands and fathers, trainers and models, hairstylists and construction workers, musicians and singers, but, by night, band together to put on one of the highest-energy, most fun shows on the Strip. Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, nothing beats Chippendale on fun entertainment.
After I realized that I wasn’t gonna get my ass kicked, it dawned on me: It’s the people. I began to notice others who are working to make sure that the 40 million visitors to Las Vegas each year have a great experience. It’s the ladies who work in the restaurant where I eat breakfast every day, the bellmen, the cocktail waitresses, the housekeeping crew, everyone who works to make your experience so heavenly.
The people who work in Las Vegas make Las Vegas great! Not only the men at Chippendales and hotel staff at The Rio, but in every one of these incredible hotels and behind the scenes at every one of these fantastic shows.
Check our other guest columns today from the stars of the musical “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” at The Venetian and on Thursday look for our guest column from Nate Morris of Boyz II Men, who have just added new dates next month at The Mirage where they are performing through year’s end.
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.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
The hallmark of the 3,767-room Circus Circus Hotel, Casino and Theme Park in Las Vegas lies under the Big Top, where circus acts perform on the Midway Stage as part of the world's largest permanent circus.
The Adventuredome, America’s largest indoor theme park, offers five acres of climate-controlled fun for all ages.
Guests of Circus Circus may dine in a variety of restaurants including THE Steak House, rated the best steakhouse by Zagat and recognized a record 20 times in Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” awards, and Rock & Rita’s, where flair bartenders and live music enliven the scene.
Circus Circus also offers a casino, wedding chapel, meeting and convention space and a 30-acre RV park.
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.