95°F
weather icon Clear

Boyd Gaming layoffs include entire entertainment staff

The owners of the hotel that inspired The Killers’ album “Sam’s Town” has dropped its entertainment division.

Boyd Gaming, which owns 10 locals-friendly casinos, has swept out its entertainment employees as part of company-wide layoffs this month.

Effective July 14, the Boyd entertainment division has been terminated. Company spokesman David Strow declined to specify how many staffers were let go in the company’s widespread layoffs. But sources familiar with the terminations indicate some 40 employees on the Boyd entertainment team were let go.

The company re-opened all of its Las Vegas properties on June 4, with no live entertainment on the books.

Boyd operates Sam’s Town & Gambling Hall on Boulder Highway, which enjoyed a shot of newfound fame as the title of the Killers’ 2006 release. The band also performed a 10th-anniversary concert at the hotel in September 2016.

Along with Sam’s Town, operates such off-Strip casinos as the Cannery on Boulder Highway; the Orleans on West Tropicana Avenue; Aliante and Cannery in North Las Vegas; Suncoast in Summerlin; Gold Coast on West Flamingo Road; and California, Fremont and Main Street Station in downtown Las Vegas.

Fremont is well-known as the hotel where Wayne Newton launched his Las Vegas career with his brother, Jerry, in May 1959.

Boyd’s signature venues include the Orleans Showroom (where such stars as Neil Sedaka, Air Supply and impressionist Frank Caliendo have headlined); Suncoast Showroom, which has presented such locals favorites as Earl Turner, Zowie Bowie, Frankie Moreno and a rotation of rock tribute bands; and Access at Aliante, which has headlined classic rockers Lindsey Buckingham, April Wine and Great White.

Osborne’s OK

Bellagio mainstay David Osborne is being inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame on Saturday. The artist dubbed “Pianist to the Presidents” is scheduled to play a socially distant concert at Coleman Hall in his original hometown of Miami, Oklahoma.

“Music has opened a lot of doors for me,” says Osborne, an ivory tickler at Bellagio since 2007. “It was the vehicle to achieve goals. I still strive to be the best at it.”

Before arriving on the Strip to play Caesars Palace, and later Petrossian Bar at Bellagio, Osborne earned his bachelor’s degree from from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. He’s also a graduate of Miami High School in Oklahoma.

Osborne has performed a total of 67 events for Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He played his first show for Donald Trump last December.

Osborne is especially close to the Carters. He headlined Jimmy and Rosalynn’s dual birthday party (his 94th, her 92nd) last August at First Baptist Church in Americus, Georgia. Osborne continues to perform in rotation at the Petrossian Bar, his mix of classical and pop selections representing rare live entertainment on the Strip.

‘Invictus,’ Lewis and Faw

Tybre Faw, a 12-year-old devotee of civil rights legend John Lewis, recited the poem “Invictus” at Lewis’s funeral in Atlanta on Thursday. In 2018, after the young man read Lewis’s biography, his family drove seven hours from their home in Johnson City, Tennessee, to meet Lewis. They joined Lewis on a Selma, Alabama, march commemorating the 53rd anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” Faw brandished a sign reading, “Thank you, Rep. John Lewis. You have shown me how to have courage.”

The two most recently chatted over FaceTime on Lewis’s 80th birthday.

In a circuitous turn of events, Faw is connected to Las Vegas through the great vocal group and Mirage headliners Boyz II Men. On July 18, the day after Lewis’s death, Boyz II Men’s Nathan Morris watched CNN coverage of Faw’s pilgrimage. After learning Faw was an only child of a single mother, Morris set up a GoFundMe account to help fund Faw’s education.

“He wants to grow up and make a difference,” Morris wrote on the GoFundMe page, “He wants to be a congressman and follow in the footsteps of the late John Lewis. We can’t afford this light to burn out before it has a chance to shine.”

The original Education Fund for Tybre Faw goal was $75,000. To date, Morris’s site has raised more than $84,000.

Wallace-Cain ticket

George Wallace reminded of his time with the late Herman Cain, the former Republican presidential hopeful who died Thursday of COVID-19 age 74. Cain visited Wallace’s show at the Flamingo, halted his presidential bid in 2012. This was more than a casual visit. Cain was a participant.

“He loved to laugh. He came to Vegas, got up on my stage and sang, and he was good, too,” Wallace posted on his Twitter account. “We didn’t have to agree to agree to be agreeable. I was blessed to know him.”

Their conflicting opinions nearly led to a media partnership.

“We almost did a syndicated radio show together,” Wallace said in a text Thursday. “He was a very nice friend, just on the wrong side of right.”

Skye high

Column fave Skye Dee Miles debuts at The Vegas Room at 1 p.m. Sunday, with additional brunch shows Aug. 9 and Aug. 16. Miles, who still performs at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan, is presenting “A Tribute to the Legendary Ladies of Song” during the brunch showcase. Classics from Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and Etta James are on the set list.

At 8 p.m. Aug. 7-8, Ian Ward, late of “Baz” at Palazzo Theater and “Rock of Ages” in L.A., headlines the cabaret room. Janien Valentine (formerly with “The Scintas”) performs Aug. 14-15, and veteran Vegas vocalist and musician Jimmy Hopper is in the club Aug. 21-22.

Brent Barrett, the former lead of “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” and Billy Flynn in “Chicago,” has sold out his performances Friday and Saturday night. Barrett also books the room, and is also hosting his show on Stageit.com. Info about all of these haps are on TheVegasRoom.com website.

Tease this

Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns, properly masked and armed with instruments, were in the Copa Room at Bootlegger Bistro last week. Something digital is happening. Check back for details. …

Entertainment down

The no-cover Midway at Circus Circus has been down for several weeks, after briefly opening along with the hotel on June 4. It’s on hold, at the moment, officially for safety precautions. And, the dueling pianos haunt the Bar at Times Square at New York-New York is also temporarily closed.

Idea time

Laugh Factory at Tropicana manager and veteran comic Harry Basil walked the hotel’s vast pool area recently and arrived at the idea it could host stand-up performances. Provide food. Social distancing easily in place. Stand-up performances and movie nights with such headliners as Andrew Dice Clay and Pauly Shore could happen. It’s a thought, anyway. The hotel is currently for sale, scheduled to reopen Sept. 1.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
RV of Las Vegas entertainers missing from their home - Video
RJ entertainment columnist John Katsilometes talks to longtime Las Vegas entertainers Joe and Jessica Trammel, who discovered Wednesday afternoon that their RV, trailer and belongings had been stolen. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Television shows could fuel Las Vegas tourism rebound - VIDEO
CBS reality dating competition series “Love Island" and ABC’s “Shark Tank” are set to film upcoming seasons in Las Vegas. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garth Brooks reschedules concert at Allegiant Stadium - Video
The country superstar made the announcement Wednesday morning that he has moved his Aug. 22 date at the stadium back to Feb. 27.
Bart Torres of ‘Highway Vibe’ memoriam
Vegas broadcaster Bart Torres of ‘Highway Vibe’ dies at 54. He was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame in September 2018. (Greg “Gonzo” Spillane/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Naya Rivera confirmed dead after body is found - Video
Naya Rivera, the "Glee" star, went missing during a boating trip with her 4-year-old son at Lake Piru in California last week. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Actress Kelly Preston dies at 57 - Video
Kelly Preston, actress and wife of John Travolta, had been privately battling breast cancer for two years. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas bar workers frustrated, angry as restrictions return - VIDEO
In Southern Highlands, the Italian restaurant Spaghetty Western, while remaining open, had to shut down its bar. Bartender Scarlett Brock, who is still waiting to receive unemployment payments from the initial shutdown, calls the financial impact of being out of work again “a knock in the face.” (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'In the Dark' at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum - Video
Laurie Thomas, controller for the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, discusses the new exhibit, "In the Dark," in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 9, 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Summertime Dole Whip Cocktails
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian has two new Dole Whip cocktails. The Golden Tiki, which offers a line of Dole Whip cocktails, is reopening Wednesday.
Lin-Manuel Miranda says 'Hamilton' criticism is 'fair game'
Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to people claiming he presented an idealized version of the Founding Fathers. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Charlie Daniels, 'Devil Went Down to Georgia' singer, dead at 83 - Video
Charlie Daniels, the country music star, was struck by a hemorrhagic stroke in Hermitage, Tennessee. His death was confirmed on Monday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jennifer Romas takes her 'Sexxy The Show' to Dreamland Drive-In - Video
Jennifer Romas, producer, director, choreographer and star “Sexxy The Show" at Westgate took her show to Dreamland Drive-In at FreshWata Studios in Las Vegas. The show, which is currently dark at the Westgate, is a benefit for charities Golden Rainbow of Southern Nevada, The Actors Fund and Pawtastic Friends. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Wynn Las Vegas’ ‘re-imagined’ buffet - VIDEO
On June 18, The Buffet at Wynn reopened to customers with what the resort called “a re-imagined all-you-can-eat concept that combines the abundance of the traditional buffet with the benefits of a full-service restaurant.” (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jimmy Kimmel issues public apology for past blackface sketches - Video
On Tuesday, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took to Twitter to apologize for his blackface impression of NBA star Karl Malone. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kurt Cobain's MTV Unplugged guitar sold for record-breaking $6M - Video
The 1959 Martin D-18E, which was often out of tune, was expected to fetch between $1million and $2 million. The iconic guitar was sold during the online 'Music Icons' sale hosted by Julien's Auctions over the weekend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joel Schumacher, director of 'Lost Boys' and Batman films, dead at 80 - Video
Schumacher died in New York City after battling cancer for a year. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'We are not a monolith' - Video
Lance Smith, a multidisciplinary artist, talks about how black artists should be acknowledged for their work and not tokenized or only have their work connected to trauma. "Blackness, we are not a monolith, we deserve to live and create in a world that respects us as we are." (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amid protests and pandemic, black artists view works as means to empathy, healing - Video
Erica Vital-Lazare is an artist, writer, sometimes activist and professor at the College of Southern Nevada. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
PodKats! with Ross Mollison
On this edition of PodKats! Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes is joined by the founder of Spiegelworld and producer of Las Vegas Strip shows such as "Absinthe," and "Opium," Ross Mollison.
Paramount pulls 'Cops' series in wake of protests - Video
Paramount Network recently confirmed their decision to cancel the long-running reality show, "Cops." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Restaurants add COVID-19 surcharge - Video
Some Las Vegas Strip restaurants are adding a COVID-19 surcharge to their bills to help offset the additional costs of reopening. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kats hangs at Mayfair Supper Club as Bellagio reopens
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes visits The Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio on the Strip in Las Vegas on the first night after reopening Thursday, June 4, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas performers adapt to pandemic restrictions - Video
The coronavirus pandemic has forced creative people in Las Vegas, a city that thrives on live performance, to adapt to new or changed ways to entertain. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas woman brings Blue Angel to life - Video
When Las Vegas shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria Hogan created the Blue Angel costume and performance, emulating the statue locals know and love in order to connect with others in a time when connection isn’t as possible. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‘Hamilton’ postponed as Smith Center remains dark indefinitely - VIDEO
The hit musical 'Hamilton' was supposed to run from September through October at The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides a bicycle on the Strip with Kats
Las Vegas resident and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides down the Strip with his wife Gilligan Stillwater GIbbons and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides a bicycle on the Las Vegas Strip with Kats - Video
Las Vegas resident and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides down the Strip with his wife, Gilligan Stillwater Gibbons, and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Ex-WWE star Shad Gaspard found dead on beach - Video
Shad Gaspard, 39, the former WWE wrestler, was found dead Wednesday morning on the shoreline of Venice Beach in California. Gaspard went missing over the weekend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffets won’t reopen soon, but they may return eventually - VIDEO
In a Tuesday earnings call, Frank Fertitta III, CEO of Station Casinos parent company Red Rock Resorts, said buffets won’t be among the amenities included in the early stages of the resorts’ reopenings. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Hamilton' to debut on Disney+ in July - Video
The film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s popular musical was originally set for theatrical release in October. The musical’s director, Tommy Kail, shot three live performances featuring the original Broadway cast. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST