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Attempt to level ‘The Slammer’ with a tank halted, but not ditched

The tank? It sank.

The highly anticipated razing of “The Slammer,” Penn Jillette’s longtime home on West Wigwam Avenue in southwest Las Vegas, was halted Monday when the tank procured to level the house got stuck in the front room.

The armored vehicle was part of a scene for Jillette’s independent film “The Grounds,” being filmed on the 10-acre parcel that was the Jillette family home from 1994 until last year. The two houses on the property are being demolished to make way for a housing development, and Jillette wanted to incorporate that destruction into his film.

In the movie, “The Grounds” is a place where eternal youth and healing are achieved. But one person who does not like this supernatural quality commandeers the Russian T-90 and drives it through the main house.

Penn’s line after the tank blasts through the property is, “Why did you drive a tank through my house?” But he never got to say it Monday. The tank, leased from the military-style interactive entertainment attraction Battlefield Vegas, bottomed out as it crashed through the house’s main entrance.

As it turns out, the tank encountered a previously unknown area of crawl space after it busted through the front door. The vehicle simply sank a few feet amid smoke and falling glass. Work is now underway to extract the tank and resume filming, hopefully by the end of Tuesday.

“I just wanted to destroy a house,” Jillette said during the run-up to the scene. “We thought, ‘Let’s drive a tank through it.’ ” Later, as the drama subsided, he said, “We’re OK!”


Jeff Leibow’s sixth annual NF Hope Concert played out Sunday at Palazzo Theater, the event marking the first time Leibow and two former “Jersey Boys” cast mates — Travis Cloer and Deven May — performed there since the show moved to Paris Las Vegas in March 2o12. “Jersey Boys” opened at Palazzo in May 2008. Joined by Buck Hujabre, who joined the production while the show was at Paris, the four principal members cast members convened for what is likely the last time on the Strip. The four sang a Four Seasons medley of “Sherry” and “Oh, What A Night,” arranged by former “Jersey Boys” music director Keith Thompson, who performed on piano.

“That was my favorite part of the day,” Leibow said. “It was the one moment I was able to stop producing and just enjoy.”

The final tally from Sunday’s show, a benefit for the Neurofibromatosis Network, should exceed $100,000, a record for the event. Also taking part were These Guys Worldwide, Susan Anton with music director Jeff Neiman, Gordie Brown, cast members from “Baz — Star Crossed Love,” Ben Stone and Jasmine Trias, Niki Scalera and Brent Barrett, and Reckless In Vegas.


Be aware! Tickets are to go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday for “Tenors of Rock,” the show that is replacing “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s. “MDQ” closes Dec. 6, 60 years after the event on which the musical is based: the meeting of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. “Tenors of Rock” is a collection of six vocalists from the U.K., hitting the city with an extensively produced stage show filled with contemporary music classics and backed by a live band.

Led by founder and singer Gareth Richards, the Tenors wheeled through VegasVille in late 2013, making one famous stop at the Lounge at the Palms. Priscilla Presley was in the crowd that night, as she was a friend and fan of members of the act. The guys have been building a show suited for the Strip since.


The much-ballyhooed “Funny Songs” show at the Copa Room at Tuscany Suites is upon us. Kenny Davidsen’s showcase of novelty songs begins at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. A host of professional singers are joining Kenny and the band to help raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink breast cancer awareness campaign.

I’m honored to have been asked to join a group of dignitaries in this effort throughout October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On Tuesday, we hope to raise a baseline donation figure (to be formally announced at the show), and if we do, I will sing a song (also to be announced) to close the show. To donate, search online for Real Men Wear Pink Las Vegas. Admission to “Funny Songs” is free. The experience, as always, is priceless.

John Katsilometes’ column runs Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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