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Iconic Vegas saloon back, cleared for live music

Updated September 12, 2020 - 2:06 pm

Bobby Kingston, the proprietor of Spurs N Saddles Saloon and the city’s squeaky Conestoga wheel during COVID reopening, has been cleared to return live music to his business.

That happened Thursday. It’s is good news. But Kingston had already called back the musicians on Labor Day weekend.

The small-business owner, activist and musician had been waiting impatiently for an answer to several questions emailed to state officials several days ago. While waiting for answers, he reset his stage for “ambient” music.

Kingston finally got his wish of a formal response Thursday, when an Occupational Safety and Health Administration official called him and told him it was OK to stage his ambient music. Or keep staging it, in this instance.

“They dropped the investigation,” Kingston said. “They didn’t respond in writing to do so and they never answered any questions that I asked.”

On Aug. 31, Kingston had been ordered by an OSHA official to halt live music. The agency was acting on the statewide ban on live music events, and had ordered Kingston to stop his live-music acts because they were not ambient. Kingston was also warned about promoting those musicians on social media.

But Kingston countered he was not behaving any differently than venues allowed to present live music and went ahead with his nightly programming. The dance floor is totally open, but no two-stepping is allowed for Kingston’s loyal, grooving customers. A menu of traditional bar food (barbecued wings, nachos and such) is offered.

“I think they looked at what we are doing, and after a minor ‘correction’ from the city with us no longer identifying who the performer (headliner) is and making a Facebook event (advertising), they got nuttin’,” Kingston said in a text.

So, saddle up. We will be, this weekend, to see Kingston in action and what all the hubbub is about.

Air Davis

Early this week Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis wasn’t sure he wanted to take the cross-country flight for his team’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers. Davis was reluctant to fly all that distance to the game, but was reportedly convinced by head coach Jon Gruden to be with the team on this landmark road trip.

Davis has no plans to be in attendance for the game at Bank of America Stadium. The stadium is closed to fans, but essential personnel are allowed inside. Davis, as an owner, is deemed essential, and could well change his mind after arriving. Call an audible, if you will.

This week, Davis also set the record straight about his Wikipedia bio. He had been asked by columnist Gene Sapakoff of The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. about being born in Charleston. Davis’ Wikipedia entry had listed Charleston as his birthplace, but Davis was not born in South Carolina.

Davis was actually born in Brooklyn, but spent some of his early life in Charleston when his father, Al Davis, was an assistant coach at The Citadel from 1955-’56.

Davis’ Wiki entry had also listed his name as Mark Clark Davis. Also not true. He’s Mark M Davis, initial only as his middle name (similar to Harry S Truman).

“Wikipedia,” Davis told Sapakoff. “I’m so glad you reached out. I want you to change all that stuff that’s in Wikipedia, which leads to everyone else thinking I am Mark Clark Davis born in Charleston.

“Totally wrong. I don’t know how to change those things. Please, can you do something about that? That would be awesome.”

It is. The entry has been updated accurately, to Mark M Davis’ specs.

The Madison Show

Holly Madison has returned to the public eye, somewhat, after living privately for the past two years or so. She hosted her first Q&A on her new self-named YouTube channel show on Friday afternoon.

Madison answered select questions while doing her makeup. Madison talked live from her home from Los Angeles. She splits her time between L.A. and Vegas, dating “Ghost Adventures” star Zak Bagans, and has “a handful of projects” she has nearly ready to go, but not quite. She has a TV show, podcast and a couple of books on the horizon.

Something I’d not known about Madison, whom I met in 2009 when she was about to start her role in “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood. Her favorite movie is “Casino,” which she says is “the quintessential Vegas movie.”

One fan asked what Madison’s favorite memory of the Playboy Mansion were. Good one. She’s not exactly nostalgic about her days as Hugh Hefner’s No. 1 girlfriend in “The Girl Next Door.” Madison responded, “The times when I got to hang out with the other women, and we were just carefree and not worried about, ‘Oh my God, am I going to break a rule? Am I going to get kicked out tomorrow? Is somebody going to stab me in the back?’ Because that was the anxiety that was plaguing me while I was there.”

Madison also fondly recalls the July 4 parties, as she was able to socialize on her own while Hef was off playing backgammon. Now that’s a party.

Lakeside dreams

While suing a group of brawlers caught on social media last week, Wynn Las Vegas has quietly premiered a far prettier scene. The Lake of Dreams multimedia show’s revamp is nearly complete, or seems to be. I checked out the show Thursday, the night hotel officials had set aside for a formal premiere of the new show before pulling those plans without explanation.

Whatever, having not seen the show in a couple of years, I can’t quite discern what is and is not new. But the scene of the giant frog singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” and the projected rendition of “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher are brilliant. There’s a killer Kenny Ortega-designed dance segment, too. All of it socially distant.

Live at Westgate

Westgate Las Vegas is returning live music to its International Bar (or IBar) just off the resort’s main entrance. A new stage had been completed at that bar just before the COVID shutdown. Music is staged from 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Next weekend Sean Stewart and Brandon Godfrey of Soul of Motown perform both nights.

Westgate is also facing a challenge in Sunday, which is to keep the Superbook at 50 percent capacity on the opening of NFL weekend. More than a thousand typically pack the famous gaming annex. The hotel is also opening Westgate Cabaret, IBar and Sid’s Cafe for seating limited to 50 guests. And, International Theater, home of Football Central, is capped at 50 folks. Typically, that two-level theater seats about 1,600.

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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