Things go crazy as 'Absinthe' opens

Safe to say Frank Mir never got manhandled like this in a UFC octagon.

The former UFC heavyweight champ was pulled out of the audience for what turned into one of the more memorable moments in the pantheon of opening nights on the Las Vegas Strip.

First he lost his shirt. It was removed by The Gazillionaire, who hosts "Absinthe," a show that's equal parts Cirque du Risque, circus acts and burlesque.

From there it quickly spun out of control, with many gay references as The Gazillionaire tried to get Mir to nuzzle a man the UFC star was asked to cradle in his arms.

Hilarity ensued. Just when Mir thought the worst was over, a woman who volunteered to join the rowdy scene rushed up to him and delivered what would best be described as a gotcha moment.

It brought down the house of more than 600 packed in the circular tented cabaret theater near the fountains at Caesars Palace.

Afterward, Mir was besieged by fans who wanted to know if he was a plant. Groping for words, Mir said he had no idea he would be part of the show.

Lost his focus

Not everyone came away smitten by the onstage charm of New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman last Monday at UNLV's Ham Hall.

Las Vegas Sun photographer Leila Navidi said she was allotted 30 minutes by event organizers, but Friedman cut her off after 16 minutes and let her know he was annoyed.

Navidi said she was shooting without a flash within her assigned position.

"It was just really rude," she said.

Friedman joins a club of snippy speakers who flared at local news photographers doing their job. Two other notable grumps: former baseball commissioner and Los Angeles Olympics chief Peter Ueberroth and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.


Britney Spears, dining in Nove Italiano's private dining room Saturday with her two children and boyfriend Jason Trawick. ... Ronnie Dunn, performing at the Fremont Street Experience on Saturday, his first solo appearance since he and Kix Brooks dissolved in June after 20 years. ... Ryan Seacrest, dining with friends at Jaleo (Cosmopolitan) on Friday. ... Imperial Palace headliners Human Nature, visiting backstage with Celine Dion before her show Friday at Caesars Palace. Dion is a presenter at the Academy of Country Music Awards tonight. ... Members of the Zac Brown Band, at N9NE Steakhouse (Palms) on Friday. ... Jamie Foxx, performing a private show for the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational crowd at Aria on Friday. ... On the "Absinthe" red carpet: Luke Perry of "Beverly Hills 90210"; Mir; "Peepshow" stars Josh Strickland, Angel Porrino and Cheaza; Kristen Hertzenberg of "Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular"; Human Nature; comedy magician Nathan Burton; hypnotist Anthony Cools; artist Michael Godard; and champion pianist Ryan Ahern. ... Irina Shayk, Sports Illustrated's 2011 cover girl, at Lavo (Palazzo) on Friday. ... Actress Amy Smart, celebrating her 35th birthday at Sugar Factory American Brasserie (Paris) on Friday. ... Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, celebrating her 25th birthday Friday at Gold (Aria) with bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood. Also at Gold: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Steel Magnolia.


"Home of the $9 Hot Dog" -- From David Letterman's Top Ten Rejected Major League Baseball Slogans

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or Find additional sightings and more online at Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.