It's got the muscles, it's got the might, all it really needs is a site


Good thing “strip” has double meaning, or “Men of the Strip” would be getting a bit ahead of itself.

The new male revue developed by Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees has a tour bus, a calendar and more than 2,600 Facebook “likes.” Timmons says it is ready to roll to clubs across the country.

What it doesn’t have yet is a home base on the Strip (as in the place where men and women tend to take their clothes off, versus the act of doing so).

“We want to make sure we come in guns-a-blazin’,” Timmons says. “We want to have a story before we come in and find our home in Vegas.”

The venture is an unintended consequence of Timmons hosting the Rio’s Chippendales revue in 2011. He liked Las Vegas so much he moved here, and liked the male dancers enough to think he could sell a reality TV show about their profession.

Chippendales producers can’t be thrilled about potential new competition. But Timmons found the Chippendales audience to be not so different from the arenas full of women that greeted the reunited 98 Degrees on tour this summer with New Kids On The Block and Boyz II Men.

“I’m going back into the cities where I was just playing for ten or twenty thousand girls a night,” he says. “I’m wrapping up a bus with these guys’ pictures on the side, and we’re going on a club circuit to introduce the guys and the brand in a very small, intimate way.”

He and choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard also plan to film the club tour for the proposed TV series to depict “the putting together of a group like that. We already cast the guys. It’s not a casting show where they get thrown out and all that.”

If all else goes to plan, Timmons says that last pesky detail of opening the show here would be a breeze.

“I have a million casinos here that want the show,” he says. “I’m not even a bit concerned about us finding a venue. It’s finding the right venue. When you do have TV, you can play a bigger venue. But we don’t want to do a big place without building our brand first, and getting the show finalized and fine-tuned before we do that.” …

Here’s a luxury Steven and Cassandra Best haven’t had in more than three years of performing in Las Vegas: a real stage.

The vintage one at the Plaza seems like “an almost unlimited amount of space,” Steven says, for the magicians who got used to more confined spaces for their “Superstars of Magic.”

Best remembers spending New Year’s weekend of 2008 converting a former restaurant into a showroom at the Las Vegas Club. “We did everything from painting the walls to building the stage to setting up lights and sound.”

Three years there ended with a maternity leave for Cassandra (who goes by Tara offstage). Then came similar retrofits at GameWorks on the Strip, a bygone downtown restaurant and, a few months ago, the new Bonkerz comedy club at the Plaza.

Those ventures were so modest, the Bests barely registered on the Las Vegas show radar. But “Superstars” stayed in business, while bigger magic shows came and went.

“They say ‘Go big or go home.’ But if we went big, we probably wouldn’t have lasted three years,” Best says.

But now the Bests — along with the comedy magic of Max Clever and his dogs — have moved across the casino into the Plaza showroom and reopened with their old name for a 13-week test run.

The two dancers are “two more than we had before,” Best says of the show that he calls “95 percent” new after the cabaret magic in Bonkerz. “These are all the big props we’ve brought on tour and on cruise ships. Dust them off and put them back to work,” he says. …

Old guys rock? Well, of course. Read on to learn about classic rockers getting awards. But they also swing on the saxophone and do sight-impaired juggling.

Sunday offers a choice of them (or a double feature if you’re really inspired). At 2 p.m., 91-year-old Treniers saxophonist Don Hill is to play with Jazzin’ Jeannie Brei & The Speakeasy Swingers in a free 2 p.m. concert at the Clark County Library.

You can score Hill’s biography, “House Party Tonight,” and get him to sign it, and meet 95-year-old dancer Prince Spencer of Four Step Brothers fame in the process.

Then at 4 p.m., 73-year-old juggler Nino Frediani stages “Unstoppable” at the Onyx Theatre, 953 E. Sahara Ave. Admission is $20. Frediani plans to film it to shop a permanent afternoon show catering to a retirement-aged audience.

Frediani spent 14 years in the Flamingo Hilton’s “City Lites” revue starting in 1980.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no more entertainment for the (people) 50 and up,” he says. “They’ll go to see a show but they won’t enjoy it.”

“Unstoppable” was inspired by the positive reception to his work in “Vegas Magic Theatre” at the Gold Coast last year. For Sunday’s show he has recruited 72-year-old singer Victor Moe and 87-year-old magician Zarrin.

Frediani used to keep his age a secret but now volunteers it to be an inspiration.

“These people are my age,” he says.

And “the new thing” is to divulge that he is legally blind, his weak vision because of atrophy of the optic nerve.

“I never wanted people to feel sorry for me, ‘Oh, poor guy.’ I never used that,” he says. “But now, with the work I still do, it’s a plus for me.” …

Fans of the band Yes who missed original singer Jon Anderson in the group’s recent show at the Palms will be happy to know Anderson has signed on for a guest stint in “Raiding the Rock Vault” at the Las Vegas Hotel Sept. 20-24.

Anderson also is scheduled to receive something called the “Voice of Progressive Music” award Sunday at the Vegas Rocks! Magazine Music Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel.

The fourth such event also promises to team Anderson with drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and appearances or performances by Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theatre), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot), Slaughter, Vince Neil and others.

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