Las Vegas Sun

November 23, 2017

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Strip Scribbles: Magician rip-offs? Plus, ‘Spider-Man,’ Terry Fator, Veronic and Chinese New Year


Tom Donoghue/

Murray Sawchuck and Chloe Crawford attend the 2014 “Fantasy” calendar-release party on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, at Luxor.

Click to enlarge photo

Murray Sawchuck vs. “The Illusionists.”

Murray Sawchuck

There’s an amazing grab bag of Wicked Whispers & Racy Rumors to kick off the week.

Tropicana headliner magician Murray Sawchuck lashed out today at four other Las Vegas illusionists on tour in Australia, Asia and Europe for reportedly ripping off his steam-locomotive vanishing act.

“They use the magic of a steam-train locomotive with the entire cast of ‘The Illusionists’ to start their show. I feel completely betrayed and ripped off,” snapped Murray. “They’ve honed their own signature acts over years in the business, so why steal mine?

“It’s an exact copy of my steam-train illusion I designed and invented for the semifinals of ‘America’s Got Talent’ watched by more than 22 million viewers.

“I’m still the first magician to perform the largest illusion ever on ‘AGT’ with the locomotive. I designed and created it and never gave anyone else permission to use my idea. They didn’t even give me the courtesy of a heads up phone call let alone request to use it. “

Murray took aim at Las Vegas magicians Dan Sperry, Kevin James, Mark Kalin and Ginger, adding: “There has never been an illusion with a steam-train locomotive before I created mine for the television show.

“Unfortunately, in this business, you can’t patent an idea, so it’s very easy to have your brand or idea ripped off without any credit, but at least give me the credit for it.”

NO-GO ‘SPIDER-MAN’: Steve Wynn’s negotiations to bring “Spider-Man” to his Encore Theater have apparently collapsed.

I’m reliably told that the producers needed an additional $15 million minimum to construct the necessary aerial-effects mechanics, and that was the hurdle that couldn’t be overcome for Broadway’s most expensive musical at $75 million making a move west after its recent closing.

CONSTRUCTION CRUNCH: Star chef Daniel Boulud spent the past few days overseeing the transformation of the former Valentino restaurant space at the Venetian. He’s confident that the construction and decorating will be on schedule to open his new DB Bistro there at the end of March.

There’s still nothing official, but take it to the bank that construction is about to begin at the former Forty Deuce space in Mandalay Bay for the upcoming Holly Madison cabaret lounge. I’m expecting the confirming announcement in the next two months, along with a late spring opening date.

CONGRATULATIONS: Vocal impressionist Veronic DiCaire, discovered by fellow French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion, has extended her Bally’s contract through June with 27 new shows. She’s here until Jan. 18, then takes off for a Canadian tour before returning to the Strip to resume her new contract April 24. She promises a new show and voices when it resumes.

Terry Fator has won a Feb. 18 release for his concert show at the Mirage. Lionsgate Home Entertainment will release a DVD at Walmart and Redbox. Simultaneously the new-look show will be available on Digital HD and Video On Demand. The concert has Terry tackling Broadway, Justin Bieber and The Four Seasons — and that’s just with one of his puppets. He’ll introduce new lounge singer Monty Carlo and hip-hop diva Berry Fabulous in the rewritten and revamped show.

Celine Dion and Audra Mae

NEW CELINE VIDEO: There’s an interesting background story from Celine Dion and singer-songwriter Audra Mae, who teamed up for the new music video “Somebody Loves Somebody” on the Caesars Palace superstar’s new “Loved Me Back to Life,” her first English-language album in six years. To date, it has sold 1.5 million copies.

Listen to the two ladies talk about love and the things that go right and wrong in relationships in a candid manner. Audra, who hails from Oklahoma, turns up on two tracks of DJ Avicii’s debut album “True.” Avicii is one of Steve Wynn’s resident DJs.

BIRTHDAY MODELS: Don’t be surprised to see eight striking California models hanging on Lil Wayne’s arm for his Las Vegas birthday party here Jan. 25. His hosts have booked eight beauties, all 5’ 7” or taller, for a free flight and an “on the house” weekend here, plus, for his party, they’ll each receive a $250 tip to dance around him when he goes to the Surrender in Encore DJ booth. They’ve been told, though, that if they text or use phones for photos during the bash that they lose the tip and must leave the party.

Lunar New Year

LUNAR NEW YEAR: Eight massive stallions (this is the Year of the Horse) stand tall on a three-tier mountain in a gorgeous garden filled with tangerines, Chinese lanterns, firecrackers and a gold coin money tree in Bellagio’s celebration of Chinese New Year. Our thanks to Christopher Rauschnot of 24kMedia on Twitter for his opening-day tour video posted on YouTube.

Bellagio also starts its New Year of Executive Chef Culinary Classroom two-hour series Tuesday with Edmund Wong and his culinary team in the resort’s beautiful, state-of-the-art, showcase Tuscany Kitchen. Hotel guest “students” get to eat the three-course meals after they’ve prepared them at cooking stations prepped with the ingredients and tools necessary to create an appetizer, an entree and a dessert.

It kicks off Tuesday with risotto and continues monthly with Heart Food on Feb. 13 for Valentine’s Day, noodles and pasta March 5 and wraps Nov. 19 with a harvest Thanksgiving. Three cameras, positioned above the prep stations and stove tops, will capture shots of the chefs at work and broadcast them over 60-inch plasma screens mounted above the cooking area for viewing.


Penn Jillette and teammate Florence Henderson, who will be honored this month at our Nevada Ballet Theater’s annual Black & White Ball, continue their quest on the Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy.”

Butch Bradley and Rudy Moreno are at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in MGM Grand.

John DiCrosta and Derek Richards headline at Riviera Comedy Club.

DJ Politik is at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan.

DJ Diplo is at XS in Encore.


Our multi-part look at the adult-entertainment world continues with a no-hold’s barred interview with sex goddess Jessica Drake and a Royal Robin Rundown of all the 2014 AVN/Adult Entertainment Expo starlets, parties and events. And nightclub operators of the summer dayclub pool parties are ready to audition so many model servers that it’s likely to put a dent in the nation’s unemployment figures!

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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