Weekend Rewind: Travis Pastrana and Nitro Circus take the Strip, Kevin Hart celebrates and more
Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Travis Pastrana jumps the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Sunday, July 8, 2018. Pastrana recreated three of Evel Knievel’s iconic motorcycle jumps on Sunday, including the Dec. 31, 1967 leap over the fountains of Caesars Palace that left Knievel badly injured. The “Evel Live” event was a live broadcast on the History channel.
This can’t be overstated: Daredevil Travis Pastrana’s three motorcycle jumps for the History channel’s TV special “Evel Live” took over the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday. Produced in partnership with Pastrana’s Nitro Circus, the event featured the 34-year-old stunt performer paying homage to Evel Knievel by duplicating three of Knievel’s most famous stunts. First, Pastrana flew more than 143 feet in the air over 52 crushed cars (Knievel did 50 in 1973) behind the Planet Hollywood Resort. His second jump was another record-breaker, 192 feet over 16 Greyhound buses (Knievel did 14 buses in 1975).
The grand finale took Pastrana across Las Vegas Boulevard to Caesars Palace, which was packed inside and out with thousands of fans hoping to get a glimpse of his attempt to jump the resort’s fountains — a stunt that almost cost Knievel his life in 1967. After easily floating across the gap, Pastrana celebrated with a swim in the fountains. “With this modern day tribute we wanted to bridge generations, from my parents’ generation who was inspired by Evel to the generation after me who may not know much about the original stuntmen who paved the way,” he said. “To be able do that in Las Vegas and at Caesars Palace, where Evel’s legend was born, is so awesome.”
The excitement continued on Monday when it was announced that Nitro Circus will launch its first resident stage show in Las Vegas in the spring of 2019 at the Jubilee Theater at Bally’s Las Vegas. The production will feature action-sports athletes performing “spectacular feats and unbelievable stunts in a fully choreographed, adrenaline-charged event.” The iconic theater will be redesigned and renamed the Nitro Circus Theater and tickets will be available in October. “I am so psyched about this show. It’s going to be totally different from anything we’ve done and unlike anything ever staged before in action sports,” Pastrana said of the show, considered the first time such progressive tricks in freestyle motocross will be seen in an intimate theater setting. “Fans are going to have a blast with the show setup. If they were any closer they would be sitting on the bikes with the riders.” The show will be co-produced by Base Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment.
Add another big one to the trophy case of Criss Angel. The Luxor headliner was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Brotherhood of Magicians annual convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan, over the weekend, “the most prestigious award and the highest honor in the magical arts,” according to Angel’s Instagram reaction — and this guy just got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year. None other than the legendary Lance Burton presented the award and IBM International Secretary Simone Marron said: “This incomparable honor has only been presented previously to two commercial legendary magicians, Siegfried & Roy, and now Criss Angel joins them as the most successful magician of our day.”
Mariah Carey is back on the Strip. After taking in her show at the Colosseum at Saturday night I wandered over to Mr Chow for a private, Champagne-fueled reception to celebrate her the grand opening of her second Caesars Palace residency, “The Butterfly Returns.” On the way, I spotted Mariah’s filmmaker pal Brett Ratner in the casino with his family. The butterfly herself stopped in at one of her favorite restaurants to snap a few pics with her partners at Live Nation and thank her supporters. If you think Mariah is stunning onstage, you should see her up close.
Comedian and movie star Kevin Hart celebrated his birthday in Las Vegas the same weekend as his Irresponsible Tour performance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. After his Friday night gig, Hart hopped over to Drai’s Nightclub on the rooftop of the Cromwell and joined his R&B buddy Trey Songz onstage throughout the night. Another Drai’s resident performer, Nelly, made a surprise appearance, and NBA stars including Chris Paul, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lou Williams and Rudy Gay were there to party, too.
People are talking about “Opium” at the Cosmopolitan and celebs are catching the buzz. On Thursday, “Mean Girls” actor Jonathan Bennett and “Amazing Race” contestant-turned-TV host Jaymes Vaughan caught the comedic creation, while “Deadpool” actress Brianna Hildebrand was spotted at the show on Friday.
If that’s the show attracting the stars, the Palms’ Scotch 80 Prime is the restaurant equivalent. After the World MMA Awards at the Pearl on Thursday, UFC bosses Dana White and Art Davie dined at the steakhouse while octagon legends Chuck Liddell and BJ Penn had dinner together at another table. Former fighter Tito Ortiz, extreme motorsports star Carey Hart and comedian Jim Norton were also in the house (separately), and on Friday, the hot spot was packed again with rapper Machine Gun Kelly, actor Ryan Guzman and former football great Reggie Bush. Sunday saw basketball legend Julius Erving and comedian Cedric The Entertainer stopping in.
Chippendales hit a mega-milestone at the Rio on Thursday. The iconic male revue celebrated its 7,000th performance in 16 years at the off-Strip property, an unrivaled streak of stamina. Up next for the show: Perez Hilton, the gossip personality who’s coming to town to guest-star in a series of “Party with Perez” shows from July 26 through September 2.