Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 | 9 p.m.
Robin Leach has finished his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin revs up for his Strip coverage again, we continue today with our popular guest columns: restaurateur Elizabeth Blau, actor-comedian Kevin Burke and the king of car commercials Josh “The Chop” Towbin. Here’s Kevin.
It’s been a year since Las Vegas and I broke up and I said goodbye to your sweet sexy neon and scenic vistas in infinite shades of brown — 365 days and change since I left you and my role in “Defending the Caveman” at Harrah’s.
I had good reason. My kids needed some serious dad time, and I needed some serious family time with them in the Midwest. The kind of time that ends up with exhausted children asleep in the back of the minivan on the way home from an adventure.
During my vacation, I wrote a show about being a Las Vegas headliner, which I performed at various Fringe Festivals. I talked about the weird things that happen here, like the time I watched two newlyweds still in their wedding clothes blissfully drop the contents of their wedding envelopes into a slot machine, and my bizarre red-carpet encounter with the patriarch of a famous family of singers.
Don’t worry: I kept our strangest stories private. (Cast of “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s, I’m looking at some of you!)
I took an extended cruise of the Caribbean. I witnessed an incredible post-storm sunset in Jamaica.
I learned The Way of Tequila from sensei Chalo at Three Amigos Cantina in Cozumel. Hint: The tequila they export is nowhere near as good as the tequila Mexico keeps for itself.
In Nassau, Bahamas, I met two very different people. The first called himself “Money Anonymous.” He assured me that his leisure-enhancing products are Bahamas’ finest and most reasonably priced. I did not partake of his offerings, nor do I think it wise to publish a photo of a self-confessed Bahamian drug dealer.
I did meet in Nassau someone whose picture I can publish: Olivia Newton-John! I had to travel 2,500 miles to meet someone whose show is two doors down from mine on the Strip. We had a very nice chat, after which she invited me to attend her concert aboard the Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship. It was a fantastic performance. And no matter what anyone says, I’m convinced that she’s hopelessly devoted to me.
Mostly, though, it’s been a John Lennon-like year of reconnecting with my family. I’ve been fixing school lunches, going to the kids’ orchestra and band concerts, attending Scout meetings and watching McKenna and Griffin grow into wonderful young adults. We’ve also been working on perfecting trampoline flips in the backyard. (The kids, not me.)
But Las Vegas? You know I couldn’t stay away forever. We mean too much to each other. Everywhere I go, people ask about you. They love the fact that you are the Entertainment Capital of the World. Even Money Anonymous dreams of visiting the Strip.
So here I am, back in “Defending the Caveman” at Harrah’s. I’ve been working with director Bill Mann to bring a new perspective to the show, and we’ve written new material to keep “Caveman” updated and fresh.
I’ll be sharing the role with John Venable, a terrific actor from Texas. Unlike a show such as “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas, in which the actors sharing the role of Frankie Valli have to fit into a specific, reliable template, “Caveman” allows for John and me to bring very different points-of-view to the role.
It’s the same one-man play, but from two perspectives. Sharing the role also will give me more time to periodically get back home to help with homework and work on trampoline flips.
Oh, and I grew a beard. What do you think?
Be sure to check out our other guest columnists today, restaurateur Elizabeth Blau and TV commercial king Josh “The Chop” Towbin from Towbin Automotive. On Monday, we’ll meet up with N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms chef to the stars Barry S. Dakake and rocker Ben Carey from Lifehouse.
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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Just as distinctive as it's famous neighbors Caesar's Palace and The Venetian, Harrah's Las Vegas has been entertaining guests since 1973. The 87,700-square foot casino is filled with 1,520 slot machines and 107 gaming tables. Outside the casino, guests are able to experience fun in a street-fair atmosphere at the Carnival Court, an outdoor lounge with live entertainment (including the bartenders), food stands and outdoor shops.
At Harrah's comedy is King, and that has never been more apparent then the comedy acts of Rita Rudner, the Mac King Comedy Magic Show and the Improv Comedy Club. After the show, guests are more than welcome to laugh at their friends at The Piano Bar, famous for its dueling pianos and karaoke. Most recently, Harrah's added tribute show "Legends in Concert" to its list of entertainment.
Restaurants like Ming's offers Asian cuisine, while Ruth's Chris Steak House offers guests fine steaks and fresh seafood. Toby Keith's I Love This Bar is a country-themed bar with a restaurant, live music and the occasional appearance from Keith himself.