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Dean Heller has become Rick Harrison’s smartphone photographer

Updated September 22, 2018 - 9:48 am

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is the Downtown Grand’s Art Bar, on the cusp of the three-day Life is Beautiful festival, which kicked off Friday.

You know what’s really beautiful? Reliable Wi-Fi and a place to plug in, baby.

Personal picks for LiB: Miss Behave at the Place on 7th at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. daily. Comic Michelle Wolf (who has a terrific take on robot discrimination) at 4:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Venue Las Vegas. And, Foster the People with the cast of Cirque du Soleil’s “Love” at The Mirage at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Downtown Stage.

The crew at the Downtown Grand wishes every weekend were LiB. The hotel sold out all 630 rooms in 30 minutes (roughly the run time for half of Foster the People’s set) when packages went on sale in April.

More from this scene, and elsewhere:

Pawn & president

“Pawn Stars” co-star and Gold & Silver Pawn owner Rick Harrison had his photo taken with President Donald Trump during his rally Thursday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The person who took the pic was an amateur photographer but a professional politician: Sen. Dean Heller.

When Harrison met off-stage with Trump, he handed his phone to the nearest observer — Heller — who photographed Harrison and his son Jake. Trump himself had called and invited Harrison to the event.

It’s not the first time that Heller has played freelance photog for Harrison. The two were once together at a restaurant when a “Pawn Stars” fan rushed over and handed his phone to Heller for a pic.

Says Harrison, “It’s one of those mysteries of the universe, but it just keeps happening.”

Harrison, who has turned “Pawn Stars” into a cable TV juggernaut, is a proven Trump backer. The pawn proprietor originally supported Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the 2016 presidential race, then shifted to Trump when Rubio dropped out. Harrison also attended Trump’s inauguration ceremonies.

“Pawn Stars” is filming at Gold & Silver (no, Trump is not cast in the upcoming season), and the Harrison empire is expanding at Pawn Plaza with the impending launch of Rick’s Picks. That business features some of Harrison’s favorite items from the History series, including an area dedicated to his late father, Richard “Old Man” Harrison.

These omissions

Vegas-connected icons Robin Leach, Marty Allen and the above-mentioned “Old Man” were left out of Sunday’s Emmy Awards tribute to famous figures who died over the past year.

Leach, a groundbreaking celebrity broadcast personality, hosted “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” from 1985 to ’96. Allen was an enormously popular and frequent variety show guest, both solo and during his days with Steve Rossi (Allen & Rossi appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on the same bill with the Beatles on Feb. 9, 1964). Harrison appeared for eight years on “Pawn Stars.”

All three had varying levels of fame, at different times, but merited a mention during the broadcast (emails to NBC seeking comment have not yet been returned).


No, not King Bong. It’s Bongzilla, the 24-foot-tall, 70-gallon water pipe — billed as the world’s largest bong — at Cannabition museum at Neonopolis. Among the dozen installations at the just-opened space are large, foam-rubber marijuana buds suitable for hugging, and a bed filled with cannabis seeds.

Visitors are not allowed to light up, because of the state’s ban on public consumption of marijuana, but you sure learn a lot. And if you want to post pics of Hunter S. Thompson’s red 1973 Chevy Caprice Classic convertible (The Red Shark from the 1998 film “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”), this is your place.

X-May viewing

Legendary Queen guitarist Brian May and bassist Neil Fairclough took in “X Country” at Harrah’s Las Vegas on Thursday night. May had said he wanted to swing through some shows in town during the Queen + Adam Lambert series at the Park Theater. He’s made it to the “X” revue, “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and Carrot Top at Luxor (he’s seen the latter twice).

Cool hang alert

Las Vegas “Love Poet” and (my own) spiritual adviser Lee Mallory hosts “Rockin’ Yer Shoe,” a night of poetry and music, at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Double Down Saloon. Mallory is joined by Vegas music artists Philena Carter and Mizz Absurd. The cover, like the love, is free.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Note: This version of the story corrects the date for the “Rockin’ Yer Shoe” event at Double Down Saloon.

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