Updated June 8, 2022 - 6:27 pm
Boy George is all about spreading good karma, in Las Vegas and anywhere else. He joked over the weekend that the word “karma” belongs to the Culture Club.
“If it doesn’t belong to us,” he asked the crowd at Encore Theater, “who does it belong to?”
George and the band test-drove the theater Friday and Saturday night. The vibe felt as if George found a home in that theater for a few return dates. Maybe it’s a residency concept. Maybe it’s an annual weekend set. But the 1980s icon, who wears that decade as comfortably as his princely trench coat, wants more.
“It’s become a super-hip place to be, not like it was 40 years ago,” George, who turns 61 next week, said last week. “Everybody wants to play there now.”
In his spirited performances, George was flanked by original Culture Clubbers Mikey Craig on bass, and Roy Hay on keys and guitar. The band breezed through “It’s a Miracle,” “I’ll Tumble 4Ya, “Church of the Poison Mind,” “I’m Your Man” “Miss Me Blind” before sending us off with “Karma Chameleon.”
George also delivered his geared-down “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” covered the Rolling Stones “Sympathy For the Devil” and (mischievously) George Gershwin’s “The Man I Love.”
We’ll take that production, certainly, in any Culture Club return to Vegas. But the scene after Saturday’s performance also was something of a show. George welcomed his old buddy Matt Goss to the post-show hang in the theater’s green room. The two knocked around ideas for how they might cross-promote their respective productions on the Strip. It was one of those moments where you thought, “How did we get here?”
But it wasn’t so random. George attended Goss’s performance at the London Palladium on April 23. The two recorded video clips of them backstage at that performance, and again Saturday.
And crucial to this entire hang is Goss’s camp, led by his Vegas manager, Michael Licata, is making it clear that the 53-year-old headliner wants another room on the Strip. Popping in to a Culture Club show is one a message pitch that the Gossy Experience is homing in on a return to Vegas this year.
Goss has a great new album out, “The Beautiful Unknown,” which debuted No. 7 on the U.K. Billboard charts.
Goss also had a fantastic time over the past several months in his hometown of London, rocking the Palladium and fending off those British fans who still race after the co-founder of Bros. He’s returned with his new girlfriend, the model and jeweler Chantal Brown. She’s sweet and stylish and sports a rad, men’s Rolex watch.
We thought Goss himself might have timed out in Vegas, after he left the old 1 Oak Nightclub room at Mirage in March 2020. Not yet. He’s still working on his next re-invention, determined to wind it up again on the Strip.
Nicole Kaplan wore the gold and black of her favorite NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Monday’s telecast of “Don’t Forget The Lyrics!” on Fox. She tackled the competition with the same zeal as her favorite Steeler great, Troy Polamalu, corralled tight ends and came away with $150,000 in the new singing-game show.
Her husband, Graham Fenton, a former cast member of “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” at Encore Theater, says they plan to invest in a new home.
The couple moved to L.A. about five years ago, after their respective shows closed. Fenton is now an attorney. Nicole works as a production coordinator for NFL events. She also has a 12-year-old Prius that has logged more miles than Ben Roethlisberger. Time to upgrade there, too.
Shark week for ‘Bruce’
The Richard Oberacker-Robert Taylor stage show “Bruce” premieres Friday at Seattle Repertory’s Bagley Wright Theatre. The musical opened for previews May 27, and is running through June 26. The musical is based on the development of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster, “Jaws.” Many of the musical’s numbers have been showcased over the past three years at The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas.
Oberacker, a virtuoso pianist and composer, is the music director of “Ka” at MGM Grand. Taylor is the violin great who has performed in Disney’s “The Lion King,” “Miss Saigon” and “Les Miserables”. I also caught him at Keith Thompson’s Composer’s Showcase Relief Fund benefit show at the Reverence luxury community on Sunday.
Vegas musician Angela Chan-Stopa had some fin, or should we say fun, in auditioning for the show. She added a clip of herself wearing a Left Shark costume while playing a song from the show in her audition video. Chan actually has two Left Shark costumes. She and former “Le Reve” dancer Wyatt Hopkins wore the shark outfits during a Positively Arts “Get Launched” show at Luxor’s HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas in the fall of 2019.
The two danced with a little girl from the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation. Chan-Stopa now owns two shark suits, a gig in Seattle and, who knows, maybe a shot at Broadway some day with “Bruce.”
Cool Hang Alert
Venerable Vegas cover band Empire Records graces Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort at 9 p.m. Friday. It’s an all-’90s experience. What won’t you experience? A cover charge. Dial it up.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.