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Penn Jillette talks about what makes Vegas culture great

Penn &Teller will match donations of $250 and more during Sunday’s three-mile AIDS Walk at Town Square.

Last year’s event drew 6,000 walkers and raised $400,000 for AFAN (Aid for AIDS of Nevada) to help feed, shelter and transport 3,000 local people with HIV.

The Rio headliners are grand marshals once again. They’ll be joined by Carrot Top and other Vegas performers. The hosts are radio’s Mercedes and JC.

Penn and his wife Emily Jillette will be walking with their children, daughter Moxie CrimeFighter, 10, and son Zolten, 9.

Moxie and Z, as Penn calls his kids, seem to be taking after their outspoken parents by sticking up for their beliefs.

In December, one of Moxie’s teachers started a classroom discussion about people who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays. Kids were raising their hands, signifying what they celebrate. Moxie raised her hand.

“She said her family was atheist, and that we had presents on New Year’s Day, and we did not celebrate Christmas,” Jillette said. “After she said that, three other children raised their hands who were Muslim or did not celebrate those holidays.”

Later, Moxie relayed this story to Jillette, and he asked her how it felt to proclaim she was an atheist who didn’t celebrate Christian holidays.

“Moxie said, ‘It made me feel 10 percent awkward, 90 percent awesome,’” Jillette recalled joyfully.

Jillette said his children feel comfortable in Las Vegas telling others about themselves without fear of reprisals.

“I’m very happy to say my children don’t have to be brave to do that,” he said. “I’m not bragging on my children. I’m really bragging on the culture here in Vegas.”

For Sunday’s walk, registration is at 8 a.m. Opening ceremonies are at 8:30 a.m. The walk is at 10 a.m. You can register now at AFANlv.org.

By the way, Penn &Teller wrapped filming of a third TV season of “Fool Us” at the Rio on Friday. This third season, featuring new host Alyson Hannigan, premieres on the CW network July 11. The second season is currently on TV in the U.K.


I’ve always thought the hardest part about winning a pageant must be how hard it is to live like a G-rated Disney princess for a year.

So that’s what I asked Miss Nevada United States Amanda Gibson, who will turn over her crown to a new victor in the South Point hotel showroom on Sunday ($56).

“That could not be better said,” Gibson, a 28-year-old businesswoman, said, laughing at my description. “I definitely felt at moments like a G-rated Disney princess.”

Gibson says she really does live a clean life.

“I love being outdoors. I don’t drink. I don’t go to clubs,” she said. “It wasn’t like they were like, ‘You’re Miss Nevada now, you need to do this whole G-rated thing.’”

Gibson, a Northeastern native with a Boston laugh, has an impressive resume.

She learned improv at the Groundlings in L.A. for four years (one of her teachers was Kristen Wiig), she moved to Vegas three years ago to be in “Raiding the Rock Vault,” she opened F45 Fitness Summerlin in Boca Park, and she just started a new business, Boss Babe Bakery, a “healthy dessert” company.

Gibson jokes she spent most of her crown time explaining to people that her organization, Miss United States, is the one based on community service platforms, as opposed to Miss America (the college scholarship-based pageant) and Miss USA (the modeling contract pageant owned by Donald Trump).

Gibson said she didn’t want to put down other pageants, but she noted that she recently saw a public photo of a winner of a rival Miss pageant “all oiled up” and pretty naked.

“I was, like, ‘Whoa.’ I mean, you can’t have any lingerie pictures” in Miss United States. “You can’t even be seen having a drink in your sash and crown. It’s a very serious thing. They would take your title immediately. You have to be so, so careful.”

See? G-rated Disney princess. In Vegas, no less.


Since the CinemaCon movie convention was going on in Caesars Palace this week, Caesars picked up most of the sightings, including Fizz lounge, which drew Samuel L. Jackson, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Jeff Goldblum, Jared Leto, Kevin Hart, Karen Fukuhara, Colin Farrell, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Bradley Cooper, Dan Fogler, Eddie Redmayne, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Andy Samberg, Maika Monroe and Jessie Usher.

Doug Elfman can be reached at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman. On Twitter:@VegasAnonymous

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