Steve Wynn enjoyed an action-packed weekend, even by his lofty standards:
Saturday, he raised $1.3 million for charity.
Sunday, he had dinner with Sheldon Adelson.
Wynn was at the center of one of the more robust bidding wars during Saturday’s Keep Memory Alive “Power of Love” gala at MGM Grand Garden Arena: the auction of seven days and six nights on Wynn’s private yacht, Aquarius.
At the culmination of the live offers made for the chance to cavort, sunbathe and otherwise convalesce on Wynn’s watercraft, one party had leveled what appeared to be a singularly winning bid of $650,000. But as the bidding closed, a second party asked if they, too, could offer $650,000 for a week on the boat (but not the same week as the first bidders).
Wynn then agreed to take both offers for a total take of $1.3 million.
The outcome sent a ripple (ha) through the audience of 1,600. Aquarius is an aquatic fortress with a staff of 200 employees. In a rarity, the wedding of Larry Ruvo’s daughter Nicole to Michael Falcone two weeks ago was celebrated on the yacht.
“I hate to flash the boat around. I like to keep it private,” Wynn said Monday morning. "Then I thought, ‘Gee, Larry could get a lot of money for this. I’m paying for the damn thing anyway, and it’ll be someone in this room, these are all nice people … So all is well.' It was a fabulous event, and Larry has raised a lot of money for the center.”
At the gala, Wynn and Adelson sat at tables nearly next to each other. The next night, they sat at the same table.
“We had dinner together (Sunday) night,” Wynn said. “Sheldon and Miriam (Adelson) came over and had dinner with Andrea (Wynn) and I at Bartolotta.”
“Yeah, he comes over here now,” Wynn said, chuckling. “Tom Spiegel and Marilyn (Winn Spiegel) joined us. We all ate together, the six of us.”
Marilyn Winn Spiegel stepped down from her position as president of Wynn Las Vegas last month but remains an executive in Wynn Resorts, working on what the company defines as special-development projects.
The pairing of Wynn and Adelson at the same dining table might raise an eyebrow — or a dozen. Over the years, the relationship between the two resort moguls has not been nearly what you would term “cozy” (their public sniping is recounted in this Las Vegas Weekly story from last year).
“We’re neighbors. Why not?” Wynn said. “You know, it’s ridiculous not to be cordial.”
More tantalizing morsels from Saturday’s gala:
• The total amount raised at this year’s gala is still not fully tabulated, nor has any figure been announced. But we’ll take a swing here: A rough estimate from the table sponsorships and money raised at the silent and live auctions would likely push the total to about where it landed a year ago -- $11 million. Added to that total is a $5 million grant from the NFL earmarked for the Ruvo Clinic’s concussion studies and research. It’s not outlandish to estimate the total at $16 million, at least, and maybe as high as $20 million.
• The line of the night went to Cindy Crawford, who was handed the mic during the live auction and summoned her underutilized improv skills. As guests made bids on the “power lunch” package in which the highest bidder would dine with Crawford and her husband, Rande Gerber, she said, “I’ll make pie! Then you can say you’ve had Cindy Crawford’s pie!”
The winning bid was $130,000.
• Other auction highlights: Gordon Ramsay’s private dinner for 12 went for $180,000, a private tennis lesson with Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf went for $60,000, a lunch for six with George Clooney went for $200,000, and a 2014 Jaguar donated by Gaudin Jaguar of Las Vegas went for $200,000.
• Whoopi Goldberg was asked who would replace Joy Behar on “The View” daytime talk show. Behar is bolting the ABC panel show in August. “I have no idea. That’s not up to me,” she said. “It’s a tough thing to figure out. You have to actually be on the show to know if you’re going to work or not. I haven’t been on that long (she actually joined the program in 2007), so I’m not the one to ask.”
• Hours before the gala, Clint Holmes made his way backstage and met James Ingram.
“He gave me a massage,” Holmes said. “I said my neck was feeling tight, and he said, ‘Oh, let me help with that,’ and started rubbing it. Felt good, too.”
• Presenter Arsenio Hall said of his return to late-night TV in September, “I just took 17 years off while everyone figured out they wanted to go retro. It’s like NBC woke up and said, ‘It’s 1992 again!” Hall’s show is yet-untitled but is to be a “TV Party,” he says.
• Claire Sinclair spoke of two new acts being produced for “Pin Up” at Stratosphere, which inevitably gives her more stage time, and spoke of two singers in the show — Anne Martinez and Autumn Belanger — swapping the role of the show’s vocalist. But the latest indications are that Belanger is actually out of the production. Maybe she is still in the mix, as Sinclair indicates. We’ll sort this out over the next few days, as “Pin Up” never fails to tantalize.
• Steve Schirripa announced to everyone within earshot and eyeshot of the carpet that he had gotten stoned backstage with Snoop Lion and the night’s emcee, the Ubiquitous Robin Leach. We can report that the former “Sopranos” cast member was at once kidding (in Leach’s case) and likely honest (in Snoop Lion’s case).
• Patti Austin promised that her duet with Ingram would be “worth staying out of the loo” for, and she was prophetic. She also remembered taking in two weeks of shows starring a pair of legends at Caesars Palace.
“The first time I visited Vegas was in 1969, I came here, I was working with Harry Belafonte. I had two weeks off, and he was in Vegas with Lena Horne,” Austin said. “I took one of my two weeks off to come here and watch them, or should I say, to go to school. They took me to school. Lena worked with my father, who was a jazz musician. She was just the most loving, amazing woman on the planet. The first time she met me, I was 17 or 18 years old, it was around this time, and she said, ‘Hi baby, call me Grandma.’ I looked at her and said, ‘No, you call me Grandma because I’m 17, but I look older than you!’
“She was the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Every night I went to see the show, which was just brilliant.”
• Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who is 83, says he learned to ski at a late age. “I didn’t start until I was 50,” he said. “I had never put skis on before. I wasn’t very good, but I went through the gates.” Is there anything he’d still like to achieve? Aldrin said there was something mankind could achieve. “I’d like to see a president commit to permanence of human beings on Mars. It’s far off, but not too far. It’s four minutes, if you use the speed of light.”
• Chaka Khan said she had heard from representatives of “Raiding the Rock Vault” at LVH. This lines up with comments from one-time Asia member and “Rock Vault” co-creator John Payne, who last week said he was interested in bringing Khan to the show.
“I am talking to them about that because they have a lot of guest artists. The guy from Toto (Bobby Kimball, who opened the show’s run), and others,” she said. “We are in conversation. Anything that is historical, that is cool, I like. As long as it’s a good show, I’m interested. I need to see it. … We need to add some Tina Turner songs, though.”
At the moment, Rainbow’s Joe Lynn Turner is the show’s guest vocalist through Wednesday.
• The last word on Wynn. Why is his yacht named Aquarius? Because he is one. Born on Jan. 27, 1942.