Las Vegas is packed with interesting people – from performers to chefs to dancers to writers and more – all calling this town “home.” Today begins a new series where OneTravel.com writer Diana Edelman takes you behind-the-scenes, and gives a glimpse of life in Las Vegas for these larger than life personalities.
It may have only opened in April, but ABSINTHE, part-burlesque, part-acrobatic and all adult humor, has quickly become one of the most talked about shows in Las Vegas, wowing both critics and audiences nightly.
Set inside a real European Spiegeltent, the theater-in-the-round show is packed with an extraordinarily talented team of performers ranging from body-balancing gymnasts to death-defying roller skaters (yes, death-defying roller skaters), tight-rope walkers and more.
“If you don’t like the words F@#$ or S#$%@ this probably isn’t the show for you,” announces the eccentric and brilliantly raunchy Producer of ABSINTHE, The Gazillionare, before the first performer takes the stage. From there, it’s a roller coaster of jaw-dropping (and often times sexy/sultry) performances that quicken the pulse and make the palms sweat.
The cast relocated to Las Vegas in March to prepare for the show, and quickly found their favorite spots. Today’s “Las Vegas File” takes you into the worlds of The Gazillionaire, who originally hails from Armenia and has given himself the esteemed title of the “richest man in Eastern Europe”; his dutiful and sock-puppet-making assistant, Penny Pibbets, whose banter with her boss can draw hysterics from the audience; burlesque performer and singer Melody Sweets, the Green Fairy, who takes it nearly all off while impressing the audience with her critically acclaimed vocals; and Las Vegas native and reality show star Angel Porrino (“Holly’s World”) as The Weather Girl, a tap dancer inside of a weather balloon.
ABSINTHE is located outside of Caesar’s Palace and behind Serendipity 3 and is intended for an audience 18 years and older (as is this interview). Like what you’re reading? Book a cheap flights to Las Vegas and see this one-of-a-kind show for yourself!
Where are you from originally?
Gazillionaire: I just moved here to start the show in March. But I have a huge house next to Celine [Dion]’s that I bought when she moved in there. Just to show her up it has 17 more bedrooms and I made it 12 stories high so it blocks the sun for most of the day! Hilarious. She hates me.
Penny Pibbets: Los Angeles. Representin’ The West-west ya’ll. (Just like Snoop and Dre)
Melody Sweets: New York City.
Angel Porrino: Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada!
Best place for a hangover brunch?
Gaz: Treasures Gentleman’s Club. Poached eggs on your plate and breasts in your face. You won’t even remember you have a hangover.
PP: Well I know where I go when I get over caffeinated and that’s the mirror. I look at myself and say “You’re losing it Penny, get it together!” I can get pretty messed up, heart palpitations and I get pretty angry if I drink too much of it. Then I eat a sandwich.
MS: Serendipity 3
AP: The B.K. lounge is my hangover cure! Also commonly known as Burger King!
If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your time in Las Vegas, which would it be?
Gaz: Well, I have my secret places that I won’t tell you about because then you will want to eat there too, and I will have to see you. And I don’t know if I like you. Yet. But Bradley Ogden over at Caesars is pretty fine, all farm to table and stuff. And he is a nice guy. Go eat there.
PP: Katsuya. Now where’s my discount for mentioning their name?
MS: Mon Ami Gabi, the oysters are delish!
AP: The 24/7 Cafe at the Palms!
Best place for people watching?
Gaz: Well, the Strip of course. But you might not like what you are watching all the time. Those booze-filled guitars make people do some terrible things.
PP: I like to walk down the bridges because that’s where all the crazy homeless put on their best shows. Then “normal” people have to walk past them and pretend like they don’t see the guy playing guitar with his pants around his ankles. Also, there are those nice gentlemen playing illegal games of Three-Card Monte. It’s like a 40s movie starring Humphrey Bogart, although instead of donning classy, well-made suits, everyone’s wearing Tommy Bahama and flip flops. Vomit.
MS: Absolutely ANYWHERE on the Las Vegas strip!
AP: The airport and the Fashion Show Mall are the best places for people watching!
When you’re not performing, people can find you …?
Gaz: They can’t.
PP: Playing my accordion (with my band Fish Circus) or writing terrible things about all kinds of stuff (in my blog)
MS: Writing and recording new songs, coming up with new costumes and act ideas or taking advantage of this lovely, spacious kitchen I have here in Vegas! (“Spacious” is not a word in your vocabulary whilst living in NYC.)
AP: When I’m not performing people usually can’t find me, ha ha. I’m usually at home with my two-year-old son, Roman. But, if it’s a hot night and I’m out and about, either XS or Tryst, followed by the Peppermill!
What are the top three places you take visitors to Las Vegas?
Gaz: First, the VIP bar at ABSINTHE. Not just because I am shamelessly self promoting, but because it is still the coolest little known spot on the Strip. Second, Red Rock. The rocks, not the casino. Just because people are blown away that that exists in Vegas. And third, The Burlesque Hall of Fame. Old school Vegas … and hot chicks. C’mon.
PP: I like to take them to the dirtiest places downtown, like El Cortez, so we can see all the hardcore crazy people playing slots. If you’re playing there or somewhere like Bills it’s pretty wonderful. I saw a woman with a one piece rhinestone jumpsuit wearing Yoko Ono glasses, a cigarette in one hand and a 7 & 7 in the other. It was so beautiful. I mean, she had it down! I guess I should say nature or something too, like Red Rock is pretty cool. OH! And the Burlesque Hall of Fame! Oh and … oh wait that’s three…nevermind.
MS: ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace, of course. Red Rock … and Bonnie Ranch to see the peacocks.
AP: When I have company I love a nice dinner at STK or n9ne steakhouse. ABSINTHE is a MUST see. And depending on the age of my company, either a fun club or the Double Down [Saloon], my favorite bar!
What do you like best about Las Vegas?
Gaz: The women. No, the parties. No wait, the women.
PP: The delirium.
MS: The growing artist community. It’s small, but it’s tight. There’s a lot of support from other artists coming our way.
AP: Picking ONE thing about Vegas that I love the best is hard! I grew up here so there’s not much I don’t love. But, if I had to pick, I would say I LOVE the fact that the Strip and home are two different worlds and you can chose at any time which one you want to be in!
Pool party or night club? Which party/club?
Gaz: Pool Party. I have no idea. I have a party planner who deals with all the invites. We get in the limo and arrive at some pool, or club, or bar. I am usually not very sober. Then we go in some VIP entrance. I never wait in lines.
PP: A private pool party in any nightclub hosted by Carrot Top and some prostitutes with mounds of gold piled high so that we can climb on them for fun, pouring champagne on all the poor people below us. FOOLS!
MS: Nighttime pool party and BBQ at my place! Or, if I had to choose, it would be between Surrender Nightclub and Encore’s XS.
AP: I love Night Swim at X. It’s the best of both worlds! Hehe.
One thing you want to do in Las Vegas that you haven’t done yet?
Gaz: Get arrested. They seem very lenient here, because we have caused a ruckus and not gotten caught!
PP: Meet a porn star. (I know! Crazy that I haven’t done that yet, right?)
MS: I’d like to take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon with a bunch of friends… actually, I’d like to fly the helicopter myself! I’ve always wanted one of my own.
AP: I would love to go bungee jumping off The Stratosphere!
Favorite place Off-Strip to visit?
Gaz: Those are the secrets we don’t tell.
PP: All those stripper stores on Sahara owned by ugly but fabulous drag queens.
MS: Lake Mead.
AP: My favorite off-Strip place would probably be the Galleria Mall and Target!
Best cocktail? Where?
Gaz: I import a single malt scotch from an island I bought off the coast of Scotland. There’s this old Scot there who just makes my scotch. Come by my house and we can have some!
PP: Los Tacos. They have a delicious shrimp cocktail that is, as the cool kids say, OFF THE HOOK!
MS: It’s a tie between the ‘Gabitini’ at Mon Ami Gabi and ‘The Gazillionaire’ at Serendipity 3 – it’s lined with edible gold. YUM!
AP: My favorite cocktail is the coconut margarita at the Mexican restaurant at the Palms!
I love Las Vegas because…?
Gaz: There are new women coming to town all the time. OneTravel.com women. Wink wink.
PP: You never remember any of it so you assume you had a good time.
MS: it’s new, it’s exciting and you get to see some of the best entertainers in the world come through on a regular basis.
AP: it helped form me into what i am today!! Its my blood, my life..me!
Gaz, if Penny left, what LV personality would you want to replace her?
Gaz: Robin Leach, for sure. He has been begging me to be my assistant and do Penny’s sock puppet routine for ages.
Penny, where do you get the supplies to create your sock puppets?
PP: Mix in a little bit of magic, sprinkle in some perv and the rest of the stuff I usually get from Michaels.
Melody, what’s the best place to catch burlesque in Vegas?
MS: ABSINTHE! Or, once a year the Burlesque Hall of Fame has a competition where the best of the best compete, all in the name of keeping Burlesque alive and it’s herstory told. It’s a MUST SEE event! Wear sunglasses though or you’ll be blinded by all the glimmering rhinestones and glitter.
Angel, when your son is old enough, what show will you take him to first?
AP: When Roman is old enough for a show, I will be taking him to THE LION KING first!