When Penn & Teller began serving as grand marshals of the Aid for AIDS of Nevada AIDS Walk Las Vegas 16 years, there was more involved.
About 110 pounds more, to be exact. That’s about the amount weight dropped by Penn Jillette, (now around 225) since the duo first participated in the event.
“I say the same thing every year: It’s a wonderful cause and we need support,” says Jillette, whose Penn & Teller team is typically the largest group to take part. “It’s become very important to us.” The 27th annual event begins with a pre-race party 8 a.m. Sunday at Town Square. The walk, or run, starts 10 a.m. (pre-race registration info is at afanlv.org).
Away from the charity event, Penn & Teller are prepping for a tour of the U.K. from June 11-26, with stops in Glasgow, Scotland; and Manchester and London in England. Of the eight shows booked, three have already sold out.
The duo are usually big sellers in the U.K., and as Jillette says, “It gives us a chance to advertise our show in Las Vegas and make some money. The shows are selling wicked, wicked well.”
“I think we are the most successful show in Las Vegas where you need to speak English to enjoy the show. Cirque, Blue Man Group can play to a non-English-speaking crowd, but not us,” he says.
Jillette’s point brings to the fore a long-held discussion about what shows are and are not targeted to English-speaking crowds. What about a major magic show?such as English-speaking illusionist David Copperfield, who regularly fills the theater named for him at MGM Grand.
“David is witty and and jokes around, but you can have the experience of magic without speaking English. An international audience can still love the tricks, even if you don’t know what is being said,” Jillette says. “In our show, if you don’t speak English, it’s not ‘Penn & Teller.’ It’s just ‘Teller.’ ”
Which, compared to many Vegas shows, would still be a hit.
CineVegas to Palms?
I’m hearing some intriguing, and reliable, buzz about the return of CineVegas Film Festival to the Palms this year, splitting time between the hotel and downtown. If it plays well, the festival would eventually return full-time to the Palms.
One of the city’s great, galvanizing arts events, CineVegas ran from 1999-2009, first at Bally’s before moving to Brendan Theaters in 2002. In its heyday, the festival ran for 10 days and served as the city’s premiere event for such films as “Ocean’s 13,” “You Kill Me,” and “The Aristocrats.” A truncated version of CineVegas resurfaced in 2016 during the Las Vegas Film Festival.
Sir Elton out
Citing “medical reasons,” Elton John has canceled the first three shows in his return to “The Million Dollar Piano” at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. He’s out Tuesday, Wednesday and May 3. His other performances are unaffected: April 28, April 29, May 1, May 4 and May 5.
Soap star joins ‘Legends”
Eric Martsolf of “Days of Our Lives” is joining “Legends in Concert” at Flamingo Las Vegas, guest-hosting the production from June 27-July 15.
Martsolf, who has won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor as Brady Black on “Days of our Lives,” will emcee the show and sing between numbers starring the “Legends” lineup.
Fator’s ventriloquial support
Mirage headliner Terry Fator has announced his Clinton Detweiler Scholarship, which provides financial support and performance opportunities for would-be ventriloquists. Two scholarship winners will be sent to the upcoming Vent Haven Convention in Fort Mitchell, K.Y. To qualify, performers are to submit a one-minute video of their best act and a written response to why they chosen to attend the conventions.
The award is named for the late Clinton Detweiler, ex-president of the North American Association of Ventriloquists and a pioneer in the craft. Submissions are due May 26, with the winners selected by Fator announced June 5. Details are at terryfator.com/scholarship. You never know, the next Terry Fator — or next Barry Fabulous — might be out there.
Gotta fix this canine … item … from earlier this week. The Animal Foundation’s 14th annual “Best in Show” doggie adoption event is at noon Sunday at the Thomas & Mack Center. I previously had it Saturday. The event is hosted by Jeff Civillico, and the latest word is that a total of 53 dogs, or “pupticipants, will be up for adoption.