Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau
Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 | 6:02 p.m.
Casino legend and gaming pioneer Jackie Gaughan celebrates his 91st birthday sharing his cake and champagne with downtown El Cortez guests all Monday afternoon. A giant birthday card will be set up for visitors to sign greetings to the Las Vegas legend.
Jackie owned or operated several hotels and casinos during his career, including the Flamingo, Showboat, Union Plaza, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas Club Hotel, Gold Spike, Western Casino and the El Cortez. Retired, Jackie lives at the El Cortez penthouse and on most days plays poker on the casino floor there. The El Cortez, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year, is the longest continuously operating hotel casino in Las Vegas.
His influence in the city is seen to this day as the expert on boxing promotions, slot play and the introduction of club rewards programs. Steve Wynn credits Jackie for helping his own start at the Golden Nugget.
*Mindfreak magician Criss Angel, who is getting ready to celebrate next weekend’s third anniversary of his Cirque du Soleil show Believe at the Luxor, appeared on Oprah last night. Her live Web cast Lifeclass is broadcast on her network OWN, Facebook and Oprah.com.
The TV titan has regularly invited Criss as her guest after she saw Believe and raved about it to her fans. Criss told me: “I’m a huge fan of Oprah and the positive messages she puts in the world. I encourage everyone to watch her and live a better, happy, more fruitful life.”
*Celine Dion and David Foster were the Las Vegas stars taking part in the rain-drenched Andrea Bocelli concert in Central Park in New York earlier this year. Now we’ll watch the star with Tony Bennett and Chris Botti for free on PBS’ Great Performances on Dec. 2.
With David on piano and Chris on trumpet, Andrea performed “More” and “Volare.” Celine joined them for “The Prayer,” and Tony and Andrea crooned “New York New York.” If you want to experience it earlier, One Night in Central Park drops Nov. 14 on CD+DVD.
*Record producer Kevin Churko has moved here and opened his recording studio The Hideout, which is gaining buzz from its first official release, Five Finger Death Punch’s American Capitalist that he produced and co-wrote.
Hideout celebrates its official opening today with a concert featuring Modern Science, Beggars & Thieves and Marshal Reign. The guest list includes Jake E. Lee (Ozzy Osbourne), Lez Warner (The Cult), Brent Fitz (Slash, Theory of a Deadman), Mikey Cross and Chris Babbitt (Taking Dawn), Rick DeJesus (Adelitas Way), Adrian and Ryan Patrick (Otherwise), Mike Stanley (Conflict of Interest), Sherry St. Germain and Todd Kerns (Slash) .
*The list of celebrities signing up to attend skateboard champion Tony Hawk’s skate parks benefit at Red Rock Resort on Nov. 5 is growing. Wife and husband Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, Chuck Liddell, Holly Madison and Carrot Top have pledged to attend. Ben Harper is the headline performer.
*Drag racing fans of all ages get to hang out with their heroes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for four days next week. Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen celebrate the National Hot Rod Association’s 60th anniversary as grand marshals for the Oct. 27-30 NHRA Big O Tires Nationals. The two friendly rivals have been racing each other since the early 1960s.
You’ll find the full Royal Robin Rundown in our Weekend Celebrity Preview posted yesterday, but I want to point out that this and next weekend, you can hang out After Dark from 9 p.m. to midnight at Madame Tussauds at the Venetian to investigate paranormal activity. (My Editor Don Chareunsy, who admits to being easily spooked, attended a sneak peek Thursday night and told me, “It was really scary. Never again!”)
Your heart might go racing and shivers run your spine as you see, hear and feel the mysteries of supernatural activities that were recently featured on The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. The show’s stars Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin host a meet-and-greet next Halloween weekend.
For more haunting, there’s Twitter HauntUp next Thursday at Titanic: The Exhibit at the Luxor, where guests will be permitted to use handheld devices to take photos of items pulled from the depths and discover if the ghost stories are true.
The Fifth Annual Caesars Palace Poker Classic commenced off yesterday with 31 tournaments running through Nov. 7, with nine of them having guaranteed prize purses totaling more than $500,000.
Farewell, summer. Wet Republic at MGM Grand closes today. Don’t know what to do now? George Maloof’s GhostBar DayClub kicks off today at the Palms.
We’ll be here throughout the weekend with reports and photos from Kim Kardashian, Ne-Yo, Drake and Josh Strickland’s birthday celebrations and then start the week wrapping up the three-day Top Chefs Food and Wine All-Stars festival with Gail Simmons and her cheftestants. Plus, an interview with Jerry Springer as he heads here from London to host the America’s Got Talent performances.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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