Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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An event that has it all: Drums, tattoos, executives — and Leach

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Denise Truscello

Palms owner George Maloof, Brenden Theaters CEO Johnny Brenden, Playboy Playmate Laura Croft, Holly Madison, Robin Leach and the Fantasy Girls at the Robin Leach Brenden Celebrity Star Presentation at the CineVegas Film Festival in the Palms.

I almost don’t know where to begin here, but we should start with the end -- the end of the truncated but lively CineVegas Film Festival. The event was capped by the unveiling of a star honoring Robin Leach (URL, as we have taken to calling him, for his ubiquitous-ness) at Brenden Theatres in the Palms. Robin was presented this star for all that he does and all that he has done -- of course producing and hosting “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” for something like 64 years, founding The Food Network, serving as the first field reporter on "Entertainment Tonight," and relocating his celebrity news empire to Las Vegas, where he now hosts the Web site Vegas DeLuxe, for which I am executive editor (owned by the Greenspun family, which owns the Sun).

We had a marching band, or at least a drum corps, which would seem a totally needless effect except that this was Robin’s unveiling party. If there were not a dozen kids slamming snare drums to draw attention to the event, the experience would have seemed kind of, I don’t know … incomplete.

The reliably buffed-out Johnny Brenden, who looks like he could flatten a tetherball in his armpit, showed up in a Stanford T-shirt and flaming tattoos that seemed freshly retouched at Inked. One means to gauge how long you’ve been in Vegas is to track Luxor President Felix Rappaport’s “looks” -- this is my third, as Ef Are is now sporting a beard and, as is the case with guys who suddenly sprout facial hair, looks like his own evil twin. The Alizma triplets -- once, twice, three times a lady and easily the city’s most inviting threesome -- showed up. I will one day be able to both identify and properly name all of them, especially the one who has a slightly unsettling interest in my eyewear.

Holly Madison -- about whom I have written something like 50,000 words for this week’s LV Weekly -- was there, and here’s something about Miss Holly: She does a fairly credible impression of URL. Mine’s better, but hers is pretty good. July 2008 Playmate Laura Croft, for whom the phrase “life of the party” seems to have been created, was Madison’s sidekick. Palms owner George Maloof, who always seems a bit bemused at the vast array of individuals who show up for events at his hotel, said a few nice things about the Robin. The afterparty was held at Brenden Celebrity Suites, which overlooks the theater lobby and is truly remarkable -- and I’m not speaking of just the giant shark tank in the living room.

The PR world was represented by a bunch of friends, Frank Lieberman, Amy Sadowsky, Laura Herlovich, Steve Flynn and Ken Langdon. CineVegas Artistic Director Trevor Groth introduced Robin and, upon mentioning URL’s affiliation with The Food Network, stopped reading his prepared text and said, “I did not know that.” Groth later said he’s hoping to extend next year’s festival by a couple of days just for screeners, a nod to locals who simply want to watch movies and avoid all the red-carpet and party hooey that has become a festival trademark.

But in the middle of it all was Robin, who brought the term “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” to the public lexicon. He said it again yesterday, his voice booming through the Brenden Theatres lobby. There’s nothing more I could add for my friend and colleague except “cheers!” And let’s get back to work.

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