Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 | 6:59 p.m.
* They arrived separately and left apart -- but that didn’t mean that in the in-between time, Paris Hilton and ex-boyfriend Good Charlotte rocker Benji Madden didn’t get along. In fact, they even got into a smiling, happy, friendly and animated -- but whispered -- conversation. Star spotters at the night-ago opening of the new Dolce & Gabbana boutique in Hollywood hosted by Rachel Bilson wondered if a reunion might be in the works. Paris and Benji remained mum on that one! Paris also chatted with Benji’s sister-in-law and her former reality co-star BFF Nicole Ritchie -- so everything is intact between the foursome despite the split. Paris and Benji’s near yearlong romance began right here in Las Vegas, and they went public with me about it here at The Mirage after Valentine’s Day weekend this past February. They were together here at Planet Hollywood last month for the premiere of her new film "Repo! The Genetic Opera" but broke up upon returning to Los Angeles.
* Carmen Electra and 55th anniversary Playboy model Dasha Astafieva’s appearances at the Playboy Club in the Palms sure drew out the guys over the weekend! Ultimate Fighting Championship ring announcer Bruce Buffer went straight from the fight for champagne at the club and then relaxed playing blackjack until 2 a.m. Former Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent snagged a seat for 90 minutes at Carmen’s blackjack table, and he stayed there playing waiting for her return from the mandatory “break.” Others at Playboy included professional poker prince Phil Ivey and actor, producer and director Joel Reitman separately. … One floor up at Moon nightclub was Mexican American mixed martial artist Diego Sanchez and comedy actor Kevin James of The King of Queens at separate dance floor tables. … Kyle Kingsbury lost his Pearl Concert Theater fight to Tom Lawlor in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter, but that didn’t stop the UFC fighters from palling up later for their party at Blush in the Wynn.
* Country music fan Dennis Haskins, who played Mr. Belding on the TV series Saved by the Bell, enjoyed the performances of model-singer Amanda Henkel and Confederate Railroad’s Cody McCarver. They were all at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile, and Dennis accepted Cody’s invitation to go on stage and sing some country duets together to the delight of the crowd.
* It will probably be one of the wildest nights in rock ’n’ roll history -- and who better to get than our local rebels Motley Crue, touring for their new CD Saints of Los Angeles, to close the doors on a legendary venue. Mark it down now: Feb. 6 and 7 for two extraordinary nights to shut down one of the most hallowed halls in rock, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. “We hope to really bring the house down in true Crue style,” drummer Tommy Lee said. “The Joint has played host to some of the world’s greatest rock bands over the years, and Motley Crue is honored to close it down,” added Las Vegas resident Vince Neil, the group’s frontman. It will be 14 years almost to the date that the first historic rock venue of Vegas closes. Since February 1995, The Joint, which has hosted everybody from The Rolling Stones to The Foo Fighters, established national credibility as a legitimate tour stop by luring top-notch talent who had never played Vegas before.
* The nightly news entertainment shows and Internet gossip sites went into overdrive when police released a mug shot of Paul Anka’s wife, Anna, after she’d left their California home in a minor spat throwing an ice cube at him. Even we were incredulous when we linked to the TMZ gossip and "Entertainment Tonight" news wire pages: Paul Anka hospitalized! Wife missing! Wife arrested for domestic assault! It sounded as if the world was coming to an end.
So who better than the superstar himself to get the honest truth?
Yesterday morning, my phone rang and there’s the cheery voice of longtime pal Paul Anka ready to tell me exactly what happened.
“I’m laughing now because a tiny spat got blown out of all proportion -- and I’m coming to Vegas. I’m not injured. I’m not in a hospital -- never was. I’m playing at The Orleans on schedule starting Friday night, and I think we’re already fully sold out for all three shows,” the 67-year-old singer and legendary Vegas entertainer told me.