Penn & Teller prove naysayers mistaken

Penn & Teller’s East Coast friends worried that their move to Las Vegas from the bright lights of Broadway might turn into a vanishing act.

That was almost 20 years ago, and things worked out more than OK for the comedy illusionists.

During their induction Thursday into the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV, Penn Jillette delivered the line of the night when he recalled the disbelief they encountered.

“When you tell your theater peers in New York City that you’re going to do shows in Vegas, it’s like a fine artist telling his pals, ‘From now on, I’m going to paint exclusively on velvet, and I’ll use only fluorescent paints and my subjects will be only Elvis and Jesus and they’ll be sweating and crying, respectively.’ ”

But, he added, “we have more freedom here than we’ve ever had and done better work, and it’s our home and we love it.”

Also inducted: the late Peter Foy, the stage flying genius who lived in Las Vegas for 30 years until his death in 2005, and local architect George Garlock. Edward D. Smith received the Dean’s Medal, and the College of Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year went to David Howryla.

SAKS NAMES VEGAS DOZEN

“Vegas Dozen: The Men We Love and Why We Love Them” will be hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue on April 18 at the Fashion Show mall.

The event, a benefit for the UC San Diego Nevada Cancer Institute, honors 12 men from various backgrounds and professions who exemplify great personal and professional commitment to the community.

This year’s honorees: Tony Berti, co-founder, Goodie Two Shoes; Chuck Bowling, president and chief operating officer , Mandalay Bay Resort; Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health; Barry Dakake, executive chef, N9NE Steakhouse; Todd Duboef, president, Top Rank Boxing; Jason Feinberg, news anchor, KVVU-TV, Channel 5; Rick Harrison, owner, Gold & Silver Pawn; Jillette ; John F. O’Reilly, president and CEO, O’Reilly Law Group; UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice; Seth Schorr, CEO, Fifth Street Gaming; and Richard S. Worthington, president and chief operating officer , The Molasky Group.

Tickets: $100 per person. RSVP online at rsvp@nvcancer.org or call (702) 821-0044.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Vanessa Golub-Ferrara, 23, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., was crowned General Tires Miss Mint 400 on Thursday night. The title has been a lucky charm for previous former Miss Mint 400 winners. Vanna White went on to “Wheel of Fortune” fame, and Lynda Carter later became Miss World USA and the star of the “Wonder Woman” TV hit series in the mid-1970s.

SIGHTINGS

“Saturday Night Live” head writer Seth Meyers, catching a bite at BLT (Mirage) on Friday. … Singer Bruno Mars, dining at Terra Rossa Italian (Red Rock Resort) on Thursday night. … Comedian Carlos Mencia, with friends and family at Lavo (Palazzo) Restaurant on Thursday. … Spotted at “Absinthe” outside Caesars Palace on Thursday: Chippendales’ guest host Jake Pavelka (“The Bachelor” and “Dancing With the Stars”), hanging out with the cast. … Country singer Matt Stillwell, marrying his girlfriend, Lindsey Crawford, on Thursday at the Vegas Weddings chapel, on Third Street.

THE PUNCH LINE

“President Obama’s (March Madness) bracket was in the top 2 percent of everyone who makes picks on espn.com. I guess it helps when you can send the CIA in to scout the teams.” — Jimmy Kimmel

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.

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