It’s a side to Luxor headliner Criss Angel, star of Cirque du Soleil’s “Believe,” that is rarely seen -- his quiet, behind-the-scenes and avid support for Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Nevada. It's won him the title of No. 1 Magician on the Planet. He certainly lives up to his last name, charity chairwoman Melissa Warren says:
“Criss Angel is not only the best magician on the planet, he is singlehandedly the most generous celebrity angel for Make-A-Wish. He has granted more than 40 wishes. He never turns down an opportunity to grant wishes to kids suffering with life-threatening illnesses, and he goes above and beyond. He has been known to dispatch ambulances to help wish kids -- kids who, otherwise, are bed-ridden and can’t leave their homes. He gave his personal cell number to a teenage girl who was near death, and they talked every day on the phone until the end. To Make-a-Wish, Criss is a true Angel!”
Criss was a guest speaker who spoke passionately to more than 400 guests last week to raise money and awareness for the charity. He also spoke about the financial injustice and the small percentage of dollars spent on childhood cancer research compared to other diseases, even though pediatric cancer is the No. 1 killer of kids with the disease. Three of his Make-a-Wish Angels -- Avery, Taylor and Natasha -- were at his side throughout his visit and onstage with him.
KMA STAR LIST GROWS: It’s no secret that Barbra Streisand and Bono are two of the stars committed for Keep Memory Alive’s gala to mark the 80th birthdays of Quincy Jones and Sir Michael Caine.
Now I can confirm more celeb: Whoopi Goldberg, Patti Austin, Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan, Bebe Winans, Carlos Santana, Chris Tucker, Herbie Hancock, James Ingram, Will.I.Am, Will Smith -- with more to come. The event is April 13 at MGM Grand with chefs Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck serving the birthday dinner for 1,200 guests.
FASHION WEEK OVERDRIVE: Festivities for the giant 2013 MAGIC Fashion Week began with an opening party at Sugar Factory in Paris Las Vegas on Sunday night and go into overdrive today through Thursday for VIP names of the men’s fashion industry.
Top DJs will play the clubs all four nights. There are performances from DJ Chuckie tonight at Marquee in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for the official launch party; Miguel at Pure in Caesars Palace, DJ Jazzy Jeff at Moon in Palms, and Weezer at Haze in Aria all on Tuesday; DJ Hollywood at Chateau in Paris Las Vegas on Wednesday; and DJ Five at Tao in The Venetian for Thursday’s closing night.
New competitions have been added to this year’s first 2013 MAGIC Fashion Week: an emerging designer contest, a runway model competition and a fashion photography challenge. A swimsuit collections fashion night has been added for Tuesday with runway shows starting at 7 p.m., along with a South African fashion collection debut.
GRAMMY DEBUT FAME: Las Vegas electronic music duo Alicia Perrone and Victor James, who make up Fans of Jimmy Century, attracted a lot of attention at the Grammy Awards in L.A. when they completed the remake of “VaVaVoom to the Moon.” It was produced by Cher and David Bowie’s whiz kid Gary Miller, who says the outcome is phenomenal.
Media on the red carpet and again at the Billboard after-party mobbed the twosome. Montgomery Clift’s nephew Billy Clift, who was with them, is directing their screenplay “Mr. Las Vegas.” Check out their finished recording.
NEW TROPICANA THEATER: Fans of the band Chicago danced in the aisles and gave the legendary group a standing ovation at each of their three weekend shows that officially re-launched the beautiful, red-themed Tropicana Theater. The venue has increased its seating to 1,004, from 600. I watched the eight-man band, who is celebrating their 46th anniversary, use giant scissors to cut the red ribbon.
The theater is stunning, and Tropicana CEO Alex Yemenidjian told me he’ll announce a lineup of stars within two weeks and the spring run of shows. His theater is the final stage of the hotel’s $200 million makeover.
Six-time Grammy winners Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains are at The Smith Center.
An extraordinary photo tour of the new National Geographic 50 Greatest Photos Exhibit at The Venetian, and we find a surprise 51st photo included with an amazing story.
Host Ryan Seacrest and “American Idol” judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson invade for four 2-hour semifinal tapings at The Mirage.
And actor Robert Lyons talks about channeling Carl Perkins for the legendary gathering with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis re-created for “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s.
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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