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Gene Simmons developing Kiss museum at the Rio

Updated December 14, 2021 - 6:47 am

Gene Simmons is selling his Las Vegas-area mansion. But the Kiss co-founder is laying down the bass line for plans in Vegas for 2022.

Simmons is building a Kiss museum at the Rio, for a kickoff. And he wants that shelved residency at Zappos Theater to come off the shelf by the end of next year.

The museum is already in development. Look for it to open in March. Simmons has been in town over the past several days, including a drop-in at the Foo Fighters show at Dolby Live on Dec. 4.

“I was in Las Vegas to start working on the Kiss museum, which is really just my collection, because I’ve got a half-century of Kiss stuff,” Simmons said during a phone conversation Saturday. “I want the fans to see it.”

Simmons said work is underway for a 2,000-square-foot expansion of the glow-in-the dark attraction Kiss By Monster Mini Golf. The indoor course and theme area sits is in Masquerade Village, on the level below the Chippendales theater.

The museum will be attached to what will evolve to a 15,000-square-foot space, all of it Kiss-themed. Kiss by Monster Mini Golf moved into the Rio in February 2016, after spending six years at the strip mall across from then-Hard Rock Hotel on Harmon Avenue.

“It’s going to be breathtaking,” Simmons said, clearly objectively. “I was there the first day, as my stuff started to come in. We have three tractor-trailers full of stuff, and it’s going to be spectacular. The fans are going to dig it. You can play golf, you can have your photo taken, you can take videos of yourself onstage with Kiss, and then go visit my private collection.”

Simmons said “hundreds and hundreds” of items, including costumes, stage props and gold and platinum albums will be exhibited.

The 72-year-old rock icon said he wants to return to the concept of a Kiss engagement in Las Vegas. Those shows were cancelled in October.

“Definitely, oh definitely,” Simmons said when asked if we might see Kiss re-assemble its residency plans. The original dates at Zappos Theater were to start Dec. 29 and run through Feb. 5.

“Our original plan was to come in just before New Year’s, but it was just too busy,” Simmons said. “When I came into town and joined my friend Dave Grohl onstage, that same night you could see George Strait at T-Mobile Arena, literally across the street. You go down the street and you can see many more artists. I mean, it’s packed.

“There are more artists per square inch in a city that never sleeps than anyplace on the planet.”

Simmons said he’d like to revisit the idea “in a year, maybe half a year.” Diplomatically, he reasons, “With all due respect to other all the other artists who are terrific, and who are great and iconic, we’d rather wait for the traffic to die down and bring the best show on Earth, period.”

A manse strategy

Simmons also said he’d had “two potential buyers” over the weekend for his nearly 11,000-square-foot estate in Henderson’s Ascaya luxury community. He cut the asking price to $13.5 million in mid-November. He’d originally sought $14.95 million when putting the house on the market in October.

Simmons also bought that property and an adjacent half-acre lot for $10.8 million in May (then planted 137 trees on the parcel). He reiterated he was serious about moving to Vegas when he purchased the property — he even secured a Nevada ID — but opted to sell when he realized his family didn’t want to visit in the hot summer months.

“I’m a registered Nevada guy,” Simmons said. “I was doing all the things you have to do to legally move there.”

Simmons added that he’s heavily involved in crpyto investments. He says he’s a “HODLer” who holds investments regardless of fluctuating prices. As he says, “I’d rather use the cash from the house to play around in crypto. It’s really just like a chessboard moving, but you own all the chess pieces. You’re just moving them around the board.”

Strings attached

Wondering of the difference between the Journey shows at the Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and the upcoming concert Saturday night at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace? You’re not alone. And the band won’t be, either. This is a special symphony show, with several Las Vegas musicians onstage with the legendary rockers.

We’ve had ideas over the years to stage such a rock-orchestra show, with the Las Vegas Philharmonic playing behind a famous rock band at Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center. Philharmonic music director Donato Cabrera has had that idea, too. Now, we just need a band.

The Dingle scene

“Dingle Bells” is playing select dates through Dec. 24 in a tent at Container Park. The show is the creation of ex-“Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and former “iLuminate” at The Strat artists Matt and Heidi Morgan,The wire act once featured in “Absinthe” are also among the performers in the seasonal production, billed as a family show with prices starting at $25. Go to @dinglebellslv on Instagram for additional data.

Your VegasVille Moment

At this writing, I’m on a flight from New York (well, Newark) back to Las Vegas. Seated in First Class are Penn & Teller, and (separately) Vegas Golden Knights minority owner Gavin Maloof.

P&T played Wind Creek Events Center in Bethlehem, Pa., (the duo’s favorite Bethlehem) over the weekend.

Cool Hang Alert

Singer/songwriter Jackie Wiatrowski, late of “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel the Concert” at Harrah’s, performs at 8 p.m., followed by Tickle Me Comedy Club at 10:30 p.m., Thursday at Star Piano Cocktail Lounge. “Last Comic Standing” finalist Nikki Carr and stand-up vet Steven Pearl headline the comedy show. Wiatrowski’s set is no-cover. Tickle me is $19-$39, minus fees. Go to starloungelv.com for specs.

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.

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