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November 28, 2014

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Strip Scribbles: At 2014 CES — ‘Back to the Future,’ $10 million in Verizon prizes and Jabbawockeez

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Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau

Actor Christopher Lloyd of “Back to the Future” fame appears at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Las Vegas.

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Luxor headliners Jabbawockeez perform at the Hisense area at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Las Vegas.

2014 CES

We’re thinking and talking tech today. The 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show has made for some unique opposites-attract situations, and in the strange new world of digital currency, Las Vegas has plenty of hotspots instead of greenbacks.

* Remember the first “Back to the Future” film where “Marty McFly” played a Gibson ES-345 electric guitar at the 1955 school dance? Gibson is paying tribute to that moment and the movie in its CES tent celebrating the guitar company’s 120th anniversary. So in addition to its stringed instruments under its tent, so is one of cinema’s most famous time-traveling cars: the DeLorean.

Actor Christopher Lloyd (“Dr. Emmett Brown”) on Tuesday appeared with the car and “went backwards” to 1894 to unveil founder Orville Gibson’s workshop of 19th century guitars now worth millions. The car remains on display through Friday.

* Our Luxor headliners the Jabbawockeez are performing daily at the Hisense exhibit at the Convention Center through Friday.

* I know very little about Bit Coins, and even less about how they work, but you reportedly don’t use regular dollar currency to buy things. Alongside CES this week is the annual Inside Bit Coins convention, and delegates are loving Las Vegas as its home to numerous places that accept the world’s main digital money. It’s still somewhat of an underground community, but it’s growing rapidly, according to CoinDesk.com.

The company sent its experts to see if people could spend enough for a 48-hour joyride through Sin City, and they came to the following conclusion: Absolutely! The story highlights everything in our Valley from bagels to outlet stores to fresh food deliveries and restaurants to paintball combat zones and a four nightclub crawl. Forever Tours provides 20-minute helicopter rides above the Strip for Bit Coins owners who prefer to spend that instead of the $159 discounted fare.

The Crepe in Tivoli Village

* $10 million in prizes was handed out today by Verizon Chairman Lowell McAdam to winners of the company’s Powerful Answers challenge. CBS Sunday Morning anchor Mo Rocca moderated and emceed the CES ceremony, which featured the winners and their innovative ideas in health care, education and sustainability. There are five winners in each of the three categories.

* Internet business expert Jen McCabe also is giving away money investing for the VegasTechFund Nimbus, which is an arm of Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project. In the first four months, she’s spent just under $2 million of the $50 million allocated with her Nimbus portfolio now bursting with tech operations in San Francisco, Boston and New York, plus, Nevada’s own Pinocchio company.

Jen hopes the out-of-town investments will lead to Las Vegas becoming headquarters for more startups. She’s talked about building a micro factory downtown to help with small-scale production, 3D printing and warehousing.

CONGRATULATIONS: On Monday, I told you about the extraordinary documentary “Tim’s Vermeer” that Rio magician headliners Penn & Teller brought to life in time for a possible Oscar nomination. This morning, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts kicked off the 2014 awards season and nominated it for Best Documentary.

Meantime, HBO’s Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” starring Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Matt Damon was nominated for best TV, as Hollywood studios refused to bankroll it as a cinema release.

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Bryan Goodman and Jason T. Smith of Las Vegas star in Spike TV’s "Thrift Hunters."

‘THRIFT HUNTERS’: Trekking back and forth across the country in a modern-day treasure hunt has become a regular routine for Las Vegas thrift gurus Jason T. Smith and Bryan Goodman, as we reported on Dec. 16. They pick and rummage through sales, storage units and warehouses in hopes of finding the best hidden gems of valuable trinkets and rare memorabilia. They started “Thrifting With the Boys” in 2011 here, and now their new half-hour unscripted reality TV series “Thrift Hunters” on Spike TV premieres Saturday, Jan. 18.

Alex Trebek

QUICK NOTES

Thanks to my smart-eyed Twitter followers who let me know of “Jeopardy” quizmaster Alex Trebek’s amusing attempt to rap one of his answers to a question: “I made the change from a common thief / to up close and personal with Robin Leach.” The answer: the late Notorious B.I.G.

‘Mondays Dark’ Benefits AFAN

Members of Chippendales at the Rio perform during “Mondays Dark” with Mark Shunock, a monthly charitable event, at Body English in the Hard Rock Hotel on Monday, Dec. 16, 2103. Proceeds from the event benefited Aid for Aids of Nevada. Launch slideshow »

“Rock of Ages” at the Venetian star Mark Shunock released his new “Mondays Dark” lineup this morning for the Jan. 20 show at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel to benefit the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (the first two “Mondays Dark” were at nearby Body English). Actor Adrian Zmed (“T.J. Hooker”), Melody Sweets (“Absinthe”), Cheaza (“Peepshow”), Travis Cloer (“Jersey Boys”) and Martin Kaye and Felice Garcia (“Million Dollar Quartet”) will appear.

THE KING’S BIRTHDAY: Put on your “Blue Suede Shoes” and celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday. “The King of Rock and Roll” and one of Las Vegas’ most beloved superstars would have been 79 today. “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s will celebrate it tonight with free tickets for the first 100 fans dressed as the hip-swiveling legend.

The dress-alikes will go onstage at the end of the show for a photo with the cast. “MDQ” is a salute to the Dec. 4, 1956, impromptu Sun Records studio session when Elvis recorded for the first and only time with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.

TONIGHT’S TIPS

As part of CES, Canon hosts its 15th annual celebrity red carpet customer-appreciation party at Bellagio as a national missing children fundraiser with Toby Keith, Richard Burgi and John Walsh among the VIPs before Thursday’s celebrity golf tournament at TPC Summerlin.

DJ Chuckie hosts the Muzik CES party at Lavo in Palazzo.

King of crunk and “Celebrity Apprentice” star Lil Jon spins at Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore.

And two-time Grammy nominee Dirty South spins at Light in Mandalay Bay.

TOMORROW’S TEASE

“Star Trek” fan favorite and Priceline TV spokesman William Shatner explains in a candid interview just why we live and love in his world, plus, results of Strip chef Shirley Chung’s latest “Top Chef” New Orleans task.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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