The Kats! Bureau at this writing is the lobby of Plaza Las Vegas, where earlier, from a 19th-floor suite, Mayor Carolyn Goodman turned to the man next to her and said, “They have King beds here!” And he said, “They are named for me!”
That was from Oscar Goodman, three-term mayor and long-term Bombay Sapphire martini imbiber. It all happened at the hotel’s unveiling of its Luxe suites, a 120 newly remodeled rooms from the 16th to the 20th floors. I especially appreciated the top-down view of the work on Circa resort and the new Fremont Street Experience Viva Vision canopy. And of course, a back-lit former mayor, sipping the gin and enjoying the splendor of just being Oscar.
More from this scene, and elsewhere:
Cesar Millan is headlining his “bucket list” of life experiences with his “Cesar Millan — My Story: Unleashed” at MGM Grand’s David Copperfield Theater beginning Friday and running through Wednesday.
Surrounded backstage by a quintet of canines of varying breeds and sizes, Millan said Tuesday that he’s not allowed to us the “Dog Whisperer” TV show title in the live show for legal reasons. He does not own that title, in other words. That’s a little, um, ruff.
But Millan is making a name for himself as a dynamic storyteller, and based on the show’s rehearsals won’t miss that title one bite. Er, bit.
Says show co-writer Randy Johnson, who worked on “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth” in that same theater in 2012, “Cesar is a real hero, certainly inspirational, with a story of bravery and courage to become one of the greatest icons in America.”
Millan famously crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally when he was 21 years old (he became a legal citizen in 2009), and parlayed his natural way with animals into a hugely successful TV show, book series and lecture tour. “
Millan and his team are clearly relishing the chance to play the classic venue. Tom Jones, Wayne Newton and Liza Minnelli are among the legends to have headlined the venue that was known as Hollywood Theater before being renamed for Copperfield in 2013.
“I grew up backstage at these shows, in Las Vegas,” Johnson said during a break in rehearsals. “She taught me everything I knew from the beginning of my career, from watching her perform in Las Vegas.”
On the topic of Las Vegas icons, Frank Marino returned to the stage Wednsday night to host “Legends in Concert” at the Tropicana Las Vegas. It’s a nine-week stint.
Marino, a 33-year Strip headliner, has had longer runs in his stockings.
But this is a way for him to get his stage chops back, give his Joan Rivers persona a proper sendoff and generate some laughs, which is what he does best.
Marino uses a lot of familiar, or shall we say “classic” material. The joke about the ballroom, a reliable crowd-pleaser, is in the mix. The veteran entertainer also made a sly inside reference, thanking his friends and supporters in the crowd along with “all my lawyers, and there are a lot of lawyers.” Read into that what you will.
Marino introduced the current “Legends” lineup of Pat Benatar (Jill Burke) Freddie Mercury (Fernando Castro), Lady Gaga (Tierney Allen) and Elvis (Matt Lewis) and did unveil some new gowns, clearly enjoying the opportunity to again dress up and sashay.
Marino has said that in February, he will return a “Divas Las Vegas” concept to a Strip venue that is not a resort. He’s not saying where, but I thought of this project the other day when I was walking through Fashion Show mall.
Maybe it was just an epiphany.
‘V’ at 18
A show that gives true meaning to the term “indefatigable,” “V – The Ultimate Variety Show” at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood hit its 18th anniversary Thursday night at V Theater. The show has surpassed 11,000 performances and is the cornerstone of David Saxe Productions.
The show remains a Vegas throwback, loaded with specialty acts led by juggling sensation Wally Eastwood.
“In entertainment, the goal is simple: give audiences what they want and ‘V – The Ultimate Variety Show’ literally has something for everyone,” Saxe said in a statement. “I’ve searched the world for these artists. Each brings a unique element to the stage – the ultimate variety.”
Saxe is certainly Vegas to the core, and his family has been entrenched in the city’s entertainment for generations. His father, Richard, was a sax player for decades on the Strip. His mother, Bonnie Saxe, was a dancer in Folies Bergere (even while pregnant with David), and his sister is Melinda Saxe, known onstage as the groundbreaking magician “Melinda, the First Lady of Magic.”
“Atomic Saloon Show,” which has opened for previews on the Strip, keeps to a tight format of specific acts revolving around a story about Boozy Skunkton’s saloon. But show producer Ross Mollison says acts can move in and out as the show evolves.
“We have seen this happen with ‘Opium,’ which has a story about outer space, but has evolved a lot since we opened,” Mollison says. “I don’t want to say it’s our business model, but it is our history that we can take an original show and grow it while keeping the original theme.”
Cool Hang Alert
The uber-versatile Kelly Vohnn performs “The Women in Me” at 8 p.m. Saturday at Green Valley Ranch Grand Events Center. The show is a tribute to Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton and Shania Twain, with Vohnn portraying each superstar. Vegas flamethrower Stephanie Calvert, vocalist with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, is the guest star. Tickets are $19 (a mere pittance), available at stationcasinoslive.com.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.