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It might well be the most disgusting yet hilarious act in showbiz history: The MC of “Empire” and his sex-crazed, singing striptease partner who arrives double-jointed from a suitcase he pulls onstage bite off banana chunks and blow them at each other to catch in their mouths -- think juggling ping-pong balls. They perform the feat in a variety of ways until their mouths are full; then they kiss.
In fact, it’s more than kissing. It’s a full, torrid makeout session, and I leave you to imagine what happens to the messy bananas as they tongue each other to ecstasy. I don’t think that I’ve ever laughed as much, even though I was horrified sitting inches from their spillage session.
I should also add that the MC at one point sat naked except for the briefest of briefs on Senior Editor John Katsilometes’ lap, and she stripped down to pasties and panties on the lap of another man who was -- to say the least -- confused beyond belief.
Two brothers from Ethiopia, ages 13 and 22, dazzled with a high-speed spinning, whirling, tossing and jumping acrobatic act that would seem impossible except it happened right before my eyes. Add in a Zen master who balances a feather on 12 increasingly large dinosaur bones, and you begin to realize that “Empire” is no ordinary show.
Of course not! The folks behind the Gazillionaire and “Absinthe” under the tent at Caesars Palace conjured up this latest freak show of bizarre, erotic circus performers. After rehearsing for just two weeks here, “Empire” had its one-night world premiere Sunday and then left town for New York City, where its tent will be pitched at the heart of Times Square for its run starting May 22.
It will be the biggest hit of the summer, fall and winter in Manhattan. There’s no chance early on that some of the acts of “Empire” will be swapped with the acts of “Absinthe,” as the Gazillionaire originally wanted. But producers of both shows say these two attractions will be the first of several they plan for the Strip, and then some of the diabolical and debauched “Empire” acts might well return.
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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