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Hypnotist hopes ticket giveaways will be just the right suggestion


Here’s one way to ease suspicions that legal troubles may have created in the past: Give away your show tickets, no strings attached.

Hypnotist Marshall Sylver returned to the Strip this week, with a Planet Hollywood show so heavily papered, “the only people who charge are some ticket brokers and Ticketmaster,” says co-producer John Stuart, and those are because of pre-existing contracts.

Ticketmaster does list a range of $107.90 to $147.90 for “Marshall Sylver: Real Hypnosis, Really Funny!” which opened earlier this week, running at 7 p.m. in the “Peepshow” theater.

The show’s website (really funnyhypnosis.com) promises “a limited number” of free tickets “to create massive word of mouth,” but requires a comp code be entered.

But Stuart says you can walk up to the box office and ask for free admission if you don’t score one from a nearby kiosk or from local charities, which are being offered blocks of seats.

The plan is a scaled-down version of Sylver’s original intention to paper the 5,000-seat Planet Hollywood Live with a free show to generate interest in his self-help seminars. The show eventually moved to the casino’s more modest 1,500-seater (both venues are operated by Base Entertainment), but the principle is the same.

“He uses the show as a Pied Piper cookie to bring people in so they’ll get used to him and get mesmerized by his ability onstage and want to come to the seminar,” Stuart says. The follow-up seminars are free as well, he adds, relying upon post-show merchandise sales.

Such generosity may also dampen any lingering skepticism from a 2003 trial, after Sylver was indicted for theft by obtaining money under false pretenses. The charges stemming from Sylver’s courses in investment skills ended in a deadlocked jury and was declared a mistrial.

“Hypnosis is sacred to me,” Sylver said in a brief chat earlier this week, explaining why there is no raunch in the family-friendly show featuring big props and dancers.

“Hypnosis has changed my life. Hypnosis got me off drug addictions, helped me gain confidence as a young man.” ...

You can’t argue the serendipity, even if a bit of confusion results when plus-sized comedian Louie Anderson moves into the Plaza, sharing the room with a show that happens to be called “The Phat Pack.”

Anderson resurfaces downtown July 10, three months after Palace Station closed his stand-up venue just as the reality diving show “Splash” brought him national attention.

“It’s a different world downtown now, and Louie’s the only celebrity there,” says comedy promoter Joe Sanfelippo, who also produced the Palace Station showcase.

Anderson will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesdays though Saturdays in an open-ended commitment that includes 50-foot banner ads and “major exposure on three sides of the building,” Sanfelippo says.

Counting “The Phat Pack” as the early show,” the Plaza showroom will have three tenants if the late show “Centerfolds of Magic” hangs on until Anderson arrives in July.

Magician Ariann Black thought she was going into “Centerfolds” as a three-day temp, but ended up being its new star. She says she was first asked to fill in for reality-TV star Taya Parker, before getting a call to show up a day early: Parker was leaving for good in the wake of three original investors splitting up.

Black has weathered her share of dicey productions and broken promises, but is willing to see how this one plays out after a rocky start. “They’re really trying, making changes every day,” she says. ...

Aliante Casino has declared North Las Vegas to be the home of country and jazz as it revives concert headliners in the Access Showroom this weekend, and adds a “Poolside Jazz” series outside next week.

When Aliante was sold by Station Casinos last fall, the 650-seat Access Showroom had slowed way down on hosting ticketed headliners.

Aliante brings back another marquee name after Clay Walker in March, with country trio Gloriana on Sunday, currently running hot with “Can’t Shake You” and “(Kissed You) Good Night.”

Next Thursday, guitarist Nils kicks off the monthly Thursday jazz concerts by the pool.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.