The Kats! Bureau at this writing is courtside at the Las Vegas Aces-L.A. Sparks lid-lifter at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Just had a quick chat with Mandalay Bay President Chuck Bowling, who looked to his left and saw Raiders owner Mark Davis, and to his right to point out former Laker great Kobe Bryant.
“Think about it, just a year ago a lot of people in Las Vegas didn’t know what the WNBA was,” Bowling said. “Now it’s a place to be seen.”
Also, a sideline line: Saturday at Mandalay Bay Events Center, it was New Kids on the Block. Sunday it was Aja Wilson in the low block.
The Aces beat the Sparks, 83-70, in their season opener.
More from this scene, and elsewhere:
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian made it just under the wire to catch Celine Dion’s final stretch at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The night on the Strip lined up with the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary, which was Friday.
West and Kardashian met up with Dion before the show for a swift meet-and-greet, then watched most of the show from the VIP section in the company of bodyguards.
Kardashian posted on her Instagram story feed that West “surprised me with a date in Vegas” and sent several clips of the performance, capturing Celine in a spirited spin move and a shot of the Caesars headliner waving goodnight from the side of the stage.
Dion has eight shows left at the Colosseum before closing her run June 8.
Quaid & Sharks & Sharks
Dennis Quaid and the Sharks — that’s the actor and his band — headlined at Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday night. The crew dined at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms beforehand.
Separately, members of the San Jose Sharks convened Friday at Topgolf at MGM Grand.
Sadly, none of the Quaid Sharks or S.J. Sharks met at Shark at the Palms, or Damien Hirst’s separated shark piece at the hotel’s Unknown bar. AND they avoided Jerry Tarkanian’s statue at the Thomas & Mack Center. I seem to be alone in coming up with these ideas …
Hammer nails it
Comic-magician Mike Hammer’s U.S. Vets Celebrity Poker Tournament went off Sunday afternoon at Binion’s in downtown Las Vegas. Hammer was characteristically energized in helping emcee the event, calling out The Amazing Johnathan as A.J. stacked his chips after winning a hand.
“You told me you didn’t know how to play poker! Two weeks ago you told me this,” said Hammer, the Four Queens headliner called across the room. “You took lessons! Who taught you!?”
Hammer, whose surname is in line with his indelicate sense of humor, shouted at the group, “Who did this?! What’s his name!?”
Around the room, those competing and supporting the campaign to aid homeless veterans included iconic the Amazing Johnathan’s entertainer wife, Anastasia Synn; “Master Magician” Lance Burton, “Sexxy” at Westgate creator and star Jennifer Romas; violin and DJ artist Lydia Ansel; long-running Harrah’s headliner Mac King; tattoo artist/rocker Dirk Vermin; veteran character actor Richard Gant; members of Tenors of Rock at Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood; Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees; Binion’s hypnotist headliner Kevin Lepine; and roaming Vegas DJ Liz Clark.
Lepine — yes, headliner in the very hotel hosting the event — won the tournament. The total take was about $10,000, a solid take for a Sunday afternoon at the former Horseshoe. This is the first year Hammer has held a poker tournament, at Binion’s or anywhere else, for this cause. The event was previously a go-cart race held at Gene Woods Racing Experience. This seems more our speed.
The old hotel-casino on Fremont Street is due for an evolution. The adjoining, 80-room boutique Apache Hotel comes online Aug. 14. The second-level Whiskey Liquor Up, on the corner of First and Fremont, is set to open by the end of the summer. That expansion will feature a performance venue and a glass-encased facade looking over FSE.
The big “wow” effect will be a rotating bar, wherein FizzyWater and other libations will be on the menu.
“Always Amazing,” the latest documentary about Johnathan’s life and career, is available June 3 on the All Things Comedy YouTube page.
Again, this is not the same film as what is now simply called, “Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary,” which premiered at Sundance this year and made its Las Vegas debut a few weeks ago at the Las Vegas Film Festival. That project begins streaming on Hulu on Aug. 16.
Apart from the titles, how to tell these docs apart: David Copperfield appears at the top of “Always Amazing.” Criss Angel is among those interviewed in “Untitled.” You won’t find them in the same film.
A.J. continues to live beyond his dire diagnosis from a the heart condition cardiomyopathy. He talks of writing a sitcom or film script and is especially fascinated by the new Beatles-themed story line in “Yesterday.”
But A.J.’s stage days might actually be over. A recent trip to Detroit for three shows was especially grueling. As the great showman said over lunch Sunday, “After 40 minutes, I’m done. I’m finished, at least for the time being.”
Great Moments In Social Media
After her joyous performance in “The Mixtape Tour” on Saturday night, Debbie Gibson posted a video of Matt Goss teasing her hair before she took the stage. “When you’re multi talented friend @mattgoss decides you need bigger hair for your show @MandalayBay!” The two have known each other for about 30 years.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.