Big Wheels, Big Money and a Big Baby

Uber and Formula One consider riding into Vegas, Kim Kardashian cashes in and a Clipper delivers an encore (that nobody demanded)

Illustration by Jon Estrada

Illustration by Jon Estrada

Did you know that October 25 marks the 74th anniversary of the day heavyweight champ Jack Johnson lost to race-car driver Barney Oldfield in a $5,000 match race in Brooklyn? Of course you didn’t. Only Wikipedia or possibly the ghost of Bert Sugar should know things like that.

But it does raise a reasonable point that, historically, this is a very exciting week for automobiles, big-money transactions and famous people doing things they can only get away with because they’re famous.

To the first point, Uber, the ride-sharing darling out of Silicon Valley, has been strutting around town lately, with cryptic ads in print publications (including this one—hi, ad department!), targeted Facebook ads and a full-on closed-door meeting for prospective drivers. Soon it will be a golden age of getting long-hauled through the magic of technology, instead of just waiting in line at the McCarran taxi stand.

But tooling around Summerlin in someone else’s Prius is as exciting as revving up the four-banger on a vintage ’79 Chevette. The real fun is that, according to multiple reports, Formula One might be coming back to Las Vegas for the first time since the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in 1982. F1 head Bernie Ecclestone said the course would run on the Strip. Naturally. Helpful tip: Don’t shut down the boulevard. Sure, it’s impressive to pilot a finely tuned racing beast around a jaunty street course, but what separates the men from the boys is having to dodge Girls Direct to You rolling billboards, bored dudes in SpongeBob costumes and drunks by the dozen. …

A leaked e-mail shows that Kim Kardashian gets between $750,000 and $1 million per endorsement, plus an extensive rider that includes first-class plane travel, luxury accommodations and, shamelessly, a per diem. Or you could save a few hundred grand and get Khloe, who’ll pitch any product if you bring in an older woman who can pretend to show unconditional love for like 10 minutes. It’s exotic to her. Like ordering emu in a restaurant. …

The L.A. Clippers were back at Tao on October 18, and just like on October 3, Glen “Big Baby” Davis got up in the dining room and serenaded the crowd with “Big Baby Gon’ Turn It Up,” in a move that delighted patrons who thought their chance of seeing a singing NBA player while they ate died when Shaq retired.

Davis, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and other Clippers made teammate C.J. Wilcox dance in the middle of the room as part of his rookie hazing. In an unrelated note, three girls in high heels barely hanging onto their Red Bull/vodkas will be part of the Clips’ starting five. …

The Clippers’ two October appearances are just part of the basketball heat in town right now. Yahoo is filming a Web series, Sin City Saints, at the Orleans. The show stars Andrew Santino as a billionaire who brings a pro team here. Tom Arnold plays a casino host, and Malin Akerman, the least blue-and-naked member of Watchmen, is an attorney for the league’s commissioner. She was at SLS with her husband October 15.

At least she’s here working. Matt Damon and Jennifer Lopez were at Marquee on October 18 for the Bruno Mars after-party. Mars sang “Locked Out of Heaven” and, with no trace of irony despite J-Lo being there, “Bubble Butt.”

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