Jeff Civillico’s “Headliners Bash” Highlights Generosity of Las Vegas Performers

Rio Las Vegas was the setting for the 2015 “Headliners Bash” to benefit local nonprofit Win-Win Entertainment, an organization dedicated to connection great causes with Las Vegas entertainers.

Headliners Bash

They did a bash. It was a monster bash.

Win-Win Entertainment was started by our buddy Jeff Civillico, star of Comedy in Action at Flamingo Las Vegas. Civillico’s comedy-juggling show recently re-located from the Linq Hotel & Casino.

Jeff Civillico

Jeff Civillico can’t not be Jeff Civillico. Oh, and never let him anywhere near your ladder or unicycle. Just saying.

At the Rio, a cavalcade of Las Vegas entertainers performed to help raise funds for Win-Win Entertainment. Not coincidentally, Win-Win works behind the scenes to match Las Vegas performers to help nonprofits raise funds. Ah, the circularity of the universe.

Headliners Bash

If Penn Jillette loses any more weight, people are going to mistake him for a swizzle stick. And atheist swizzle stick. Which should actually be a thing.

The “Headliners Bash” included an appearance by Penn & Teller (the event was held in their theater, after all), the very talented Martin Kaye of “Million Dollar Quartet” (Kaye portrays Jerry Lee Lewis) at Harrah’s Las Vegas, Travis Cloer of “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas, Britney Spears impersonator Derrick Barry of “Divas Las Vegas” at the Linq (below, center) and magician Mat Franco, also of the Linq.

Derrick Barry

For the record, Derrick Barry of “Divas Las Vegas” is not only sexier than the actual Britney Spears, he’s also a bajillion percent better at dancing. Ballpark.

Comic Matt Kazam got onto our radar with a strong stand-up set.

He most recently performed at the now-closed Riviera, but announced he’ll soon have a new gig at Treasure Island. No, not behind the counter at the CVS, smart aleck. Rude.

Matt Kazam

We’ll be checking out your show at Treasure Island, Matt. No pressure.

The cast of the “The Rat Pack Is Back” of Tuscany Suites also appeared at the event. They were easily the best Rat Pack tribute group we’ve seen that neither looks or sounds like anyone even remotely related to the Rat Pack. Then again, charity!

One of our favorite tribute shows, Excalibur’s Australian Bee Gees, closed out the show as they do in their own showroom, by getting everyone on their feet, dancing to crowd-pleasing disco hits.

Australian Bee Gees

This isn’t the Bee Gee we remember from the show, but he nailed it, anyway.

The “Headliners Bash” was a wonderful reminder that Las Vegas truly has a big heart. These entertainers devote countless hours to worthy nonprofits, and that generosity creates a ripple effect across the city.

Bee Gees

Another of the Bee Gees. They’re all our favorite, mainly because we can never keep track of who’s who.

We realize we can’t not share a photo of the third Bee Gee, given how many of this blog’s readers have OCD.

Bee Gees

He actually plays his instrument. And in this very specific instance, we don’t mean that as a euphemism.

At the heart of the Win-Win Entertainment effort is Jeff Civillico, who we consider our best friend, but mainly because he makes everyone feel like they’re his best friend.

In all seriousness, Civillico works tirelessly to help the community, and we applaud his efforts and those of his Win-Win Entertainment family.

All right, enough with the seriousness.

Jeff Civillico

Jeff, seriously, you thought we’d let this slide? Your giant mug is on the cocktail tables. And yet we still like you. Go figure.

Oh, and Jeff’s show at Flamingo is one of the funniest, most entertaining family-friendly shows in Las Vegas, and we’re not just saying that because he’s a friend. Probably.

Jeff Civillico

Like we said, Jeff can’t not Jeff, and that’s just one of the reasons we love him.

Full disclosure: We personally were, at one time, on the Win-Win Entertainment Board of Directors. Unfortunately, we were unable to continue with the organization because of our snark and security breaching commitments.

Find out more about Win-Win Entertainment at the organization’s official Web site.

Jeff Civillico's Headliners Bash 2015

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Smashed Pig Gastropub Opens on Fremont Street, Bowls Us Over With Fare and Firewater

It’s been a long time coming, but the Smashed Pig Gastropub is open on Fremont East in downtown Las Vegas.

Smashed Pig joins a spate of restaurant openings, due in no small part to the fact we’ve been looking for an excuse to use “spate” in a sentence.

Smashed Pig Las Vegas

No pigs were harmed during the making of this logo.

The Smashed Pig Gastropub is the brainchild of husband-and-wife owners Martin Swift and Linda Rodriguez.

The charming and completely unassuming couple previously trained with Nobu Matsuhisa, a famous chef you’ve probably never heard of, because let’s face it, chef-famous is different than regular famous.

Smashed Pig Gastropub

The Smashed Pig holds about as many people as your living room, but the food’s a lot better, all due respect.

While one might assume the name Smashed Pig derives from the fact the restaurant is “smashed” between Flippin’ Good Burgers & Shakes and the Griffin bar, “smashed” refers to the state of intoxication, something downtown’s Fremont Street is intimately familiar with.

Smashed Pig Gastropub

This tiny restaurant makes a very big impression. Feel free to use that in your ads, Smashed Pig.

The Smashed Pig opened Nov. 20, 2015, serving dinner only at first, but has now rolled out a lunch menu.

While the Smashed Pig menu features some British fare, including what we’re declaring the best fish and chips in Las Vegas, Swift and Rodriguez are quick to point out the menu is varied and includes Asian-influenced dishes as well.

Smashed Pig fish and chips

The fish and chips will dance upon your lips like the Argentine tango. Assuming you’d consider that a really enjoyable experience.

While the food is delicious, the price point of a $14 fish and chips dish for lunch and $16 for dinner may make some downtown denizens flinch, but it’s on par with the quality, as well as some of the other nearby restaurants like Therapy across the street and Carson Kitchen around the corner. This ain’t your grandpa’s Uncle Joe’s Pizza. (That was next door, by the way.)

Here’s a look at the full Smashed Pig menu, which we hear will be tweaked as the restaurant finds its groove and customers voice their opinions about the selections.

The lunch menu is expected to change even more frequently, but the offerings were being well-received by diners during our visit. Sorry, visits. We took an immediate liking to the place.

Smashed Pig Gastropub lunch

This lunch menu is a sample only. It was being updated while we were taking the photo. Probably.

The Smashed Pig has a full bar, of course. Didn’t we mention it’s on Fremont Street?

Smashed Pig

You have to love downtown Vegas, where often half a restaurant’s floor space is bar.

Specialty cocktails (adorably called “Pigtails” on the menu) run $12. Here’s a peek at the ample Smashed Pig beverage menu.

Smashed Pig cocktails

We heard great things about the Down Town Pimm’s, which we promptly ignored, because this blog does not live by society’s rules.

Highly recommended is the Smashed Pig’s epic panty-dropper, the Crown Jewel. The cocktail has Skyy Pineapple vodka, Luxardo Maraschino (a liqueur originally from Croatia), fresh lemon, cinnamon vanilla syrup (a liquid originally from our daydreams) and bitters.

Smashed Pig Crown Jewel

If you’re given the choice between sex and the Crown Jewel, remember, sex will be there tomorrow. So will the Crown Jewel, honestly, but let’s not get bogged down in details.

Given the Smashed Pig was done in partnership with Downtown Project, there are the requisite Millenial charging stations beneath the bar.

Smashed Pig restaurant bar

Providing charging stations is actually a clever way of getting people to plug in their phones and have actual conversations. Remember those? Related: Please remove yourself from our lawn.

The Smashed Pig Gastropub is just 110 feet deep and a mere 15 feet wide, so the seating capacity is small.

Smashed Pig Fremont Street

Seriously, our sister dated more people than this just last week.

This makes for an intimate atmosphere, and the staff is “chockablock” with friendly, attentive people.

Smashed Pig Gastropub

Thanks for enduring our bajillion questions, Cisco.

The Smashed Pig Gastropub is a welcome addition to the booming restaurant scene in downtown Las Vegas.

We love the quirky, eclectic menu (translation: dishes this blog can’t always pronounce), and expect to visit the Smashed Pig frequently to further explore the menu. By which we mean we’re probably going to just order the fish and chips over and over, along with copious Crown Jewel cocktails, because if you find perfection, why muck with it? We’re looking at you, Pasquale Rotella. Long story.

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Mirage Unveils New Center Bar, Parlor Lounge

Mirage Las Vegas has opened its fancy-schmancy new Center Bar and Parlor Lounge after a $3.3 million renovation.

Mirage Center Bar

More schmancy than fancy, but you know what we mean.

The new Center Bar, in the center of the casino because naming things is hard, doesn’t have video poker machines, but it does have an extensive cocktail menu. Mirage is clearly speaking this blog’s love language.

Mirage Center Bar cocktails

It’s not a hangover, it’s evidence of a life fully lived. And that’s the story we’re sticking to.

Adjoining Center Bar is a new Parlor Lounge.

Fair warning, Parlor Lounge has a piano. We’re always nervous when we hear there’s a piano, as one piano is dangerously close to being two pianos, which far too often leads to dueling, one of the cruelest things ever perpetuated upon unsuspecting casino patrons, second only to appearances by celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri.

Parlor Lounge Mirage Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, feel free to show off your piano. Doing the same with your organ is generally frowned upon.

Parlor Lounge resides in the space formerly occupied by the casino’s poker room.

A shiny, new poker room was unveiled in May 2015. Unfortunately, photos are not permitted in the poker room, so we’re unable to share the one below.

Mirage poker room

Oooh, we’re so scared of your no photography rules. What are you going to do, double belly buster straight draw us? Just try it, because we don’t even know what that is.

The changes at Mirage are many, and others are still in the works. The Beatles Revolution Lounge closed in October 2015, and is now enclosed by a construction wall.

Mirage Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, there are few things sexier than a construction wall. Yeah, we probably need to get a new hobby.

According to the signage, Mirage is in the process of building a “new dream experience” to replace Revolution Lounge. If this blog’s dream experiences are any indication, the new lounge at Mirage is likely to involve falling, flying or showing up naked at school unprepared for an exam.

How would we know? We are Las Vegas blog, not a Certified Dream Analyst, which we’re mortified to report is actually a thing.


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Village Seafood Buffet Closes at Rio Las Vegas, Merges With Carnival World Buffet

The only all-seafood buffet in Las Vegas, Village Seafood Buffet at Rio, has closed and relocated to the hotel’s Carnival World Buffet.

Here’s a peek over the new curtain at the former Village Seafood Buffet.

Rio Seafood Buffet

No word yet about what will replace the Village Seafood Buffet. Let’s hope it’s not what replaced McFadden’s Irish Pub. Specifically, nothing.

We couldn’t resist slipping inside the now-closed Village Seafood Buffet to bid a farewell, security breach-style.

Village Seafood Buffet

Most boring security breach, ever.

Seafood lovers are still in luck, however. The seafood buffet, or a significant part of it, has been integrated into one of the better-known buffets in Las Vegas, Carnival World Buffet.

The Carnival World Buffet now has two entrances, one devoted to the seafood buffet.

Rio Carnival Buffet

Dinner at the seafood buffet is $47.99, or $46.99 with a loyalty club card. The regular buffet is about $33 for dinner.

It seems a smart move to create the new Carnival World & Seafood Buffet. The Village Seafood Buffet got mixed reviews, but the Carnival World Buffet is one of the more beloved buffets in Vegas.

Here’s the new seafood section at Carnival World & Seafood Buffet.

Rio seafood buffet

Don’t you buffet commoners think you’re getting in here. The barrier is electrified. Or should be. Because then it would win “Best Dinner Show in Las Vegas,” easy.

Changes to the buffets follow on the heels of lots of restaurant news at Rio Las Vegas.

Martorano’s Cafe recently closed. If you have a hankering for the restaurant’s Italian fare, you can find Martorano’s at Paris Las Vegas.

As we reported first, Buzio’s Seafood restaurant will close by the end of 2015.

A new Guy Fieri restaurant, El Burro Borracho (Spanish for “Drunken Donkey”), will take the place of Buzio’s Seafood in early 2016.

It’s great to see Rio Las Vegas shaking things up.

For our money, though, the best offering at Rio is Royal India Bistro. Royal India Bistro is one of the best Indian restaurants in Las Vegas, along with Mint Indian Bistro (at 730 E. Flamingo Blvd.) and Mt. Everest India’s Cuisine (at 3641 W. Sahara Ave.).

Royal India Bistro

You’ve probably walked right by. Next time, less walk, more eat. You won’t be disappointed.

Maybe, just maybe, if the restaurant changes at Rio Las Vegas are successful, the resort can take back the large chunk of its casino floor currently being used as a timeshare sales office.

Rio casino timeshare

Sadly, we’re not kidding.

Seriously, though, Rio. What’s next? A pharmacy in the table games pit?

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Interactive Mystery Show, “Alibi Las Vegas,” Pulls Up Stakes Downtown

“Alibi Las Vegas,” a fun, interactive gem of a pub and restaurant crawl is closing up shop, at least in its current location, downtown.

“Alibi” has been operating downtown since November 2014, and is a mash-up of walking tour, improv comedy show and scavenger hunt. Guests work their way through a series of puzzles with the assistance of colorful characters.

Alibi Las Vegas

We aren’t always a fan of interactivity, but in the case of “Alibi,” we’ll make an exception.

While the show’s Executive Producer, Ivan Phillips, feels “Alibi” is a great fit for downtown, he’s also seen the show struggle to find an audience given so many tourists tend to stick to The Strip.

Phillips says pretty much all of the show’s customers are staying on The Strip, and others say they haven’t booked tickets to “Alibi” because they don’t want to pay for the taxi ride downtown.

Phillips also says there have been challenges with ticket brokers who say they won’t sell the show because it’s downtown.

Alibi Las Vegas

Suck it, ticket brokers.

It also didn’t help “Alibi” was booted from the Gold Spike when “Real World” began taping there. Read more.

The business decision, then, was made to move “Alibi Las Vegas” to The Strip, with the first Strip show happening Dec. 5, 2015.

Alibi show Las Vegas

While “Alibi” is moving to The Strip, do not fear. There are still a few colorful characters downtown.

While part of the fun of “Alibi” is the surprise of the various characters and locations, we can spill that the show will feature stops at Pampas Brazilian Grille inside Planet Hollywood, the Harley Davidson Cafe and Hard Rock Cafe (the one near M&M’s World, not the one at Hard Rock).

Find out more about “Alibi Las Vegas” at the show’s official site.

“Alibi” is a great way to get a taste of restaurants and bars while flexing your puzzle-solving abilities. The actors keep things lively, and because they make up much of their dialogue on the spot, no two shows are the same.

We wish “Alibi” all the best with its relocation.

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Vegas Sin Lingerie Football Team a Bust in Sin City

The Legends Football League has pulled the plug on its Las Vegas team, Vegas Sin, at least for now.

The Legends Football League (LFL), of course, is the former Lingerie Football League. The league rebranded itself in 2013, presumably to shift public perception of the LFL away from “attractive, scantily-clad women playing football” to “athleticism exhibited by women who also happen to be attractive and scantily-clad.”

Vegas Sin

In 2013, the LFL’s lingerie was replaced by “performance wear,” which looks a lot like lingerie to the untrained eye. Thanks to Vegas Sin for the pics.

Unfortunately, the Vegas Sin won’t be part of the Legends Football League during its 2016 season. Thanks to our eagle-eyed pal Marc at EdgeVegas for putting us on to this gaping chasm in the LFL’s schedule.

An inquiry with Legends Football League confirmed Vegas Sin will be “suspended” for the 2016 season. The suspension is, in the words of the LFL rep, “due to poor financial model options with prospective host arenas.” Sounds like some drama going on there, but we didn’t get into it.

During the 2015 season, Vegas Sin played its home games in Ontario, California. Fan turnout was “terrible” according to the LFL, although that’s expected given the three-hour-plus drive from Las Vegas.

Vegas Sin football team

In lingerie football, there are no field goals, whatever those might actually be.

The Vegas Sin previously played at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Thomas & Mack is undergoing a $47 million renovation, so that could be part of the dilemma for the Vegas Sin.

It may also be that lingerie football (sorry, performance wear football) faces some interesting challenges in a town where being scantily-clad isn’t an especially unique marketing gimmick.

That said, the LFL holds out hope Vegas Sin will be back, saying, “The Sin are expected to return once an ideal host arena is identified.”

Our thoughts quickly turned to the new Las Vegas Arena, but only time will tell. It’s telling the league has brought back another team, the Dallas Desire, to fill out its roster.


These uniforms are so unlike lingerie, it’s not even funny.

We wish the players of the Vegas Sin all the best. Sadly, the prospects of gainful employment for young, attractive women in Las Vegas is bleak. If by “bleak,” one means, “it should take them about 14 minutes to find new gigs.”

The LFL rep says, “Many of the star players in Vegas will be competing for roster spots on other 2016 teams.”

Diversification, by the way, may help these women avoid what some claim are LFL’s unfair working conditions.

At the moment, the Vegas Sin’s social media channels like Facebook and Twitter continue to crank out upbeat posts. It’s possible the team hasn’t been informed of the league’s decision yet, which would make this blog post truly awkward, sorry.

While we’ve never attended a Vegas Sin game, we’d probably so if these gorgeous gridiron gladiators return to Las Vegas at some point—to support the athletes, to support the Las Vegas economy and to support our community. We’re civic-minded like that.

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