Las Vegas entertainers have turned to the web to continue to share their art, support various causes and keep themselves sane.
But performing online isn’t for everybody. Like his show in the House of Tape at Harrah’s Showroom, Tape Face is going dark until further notice.
“It’s not the time for me to go online from home,” says Sam Wills, who created the comic-mime character and has trained two other artists to also perform as Tape Face. “This is for my mental health, primarily. Dressing up in a costume and going online just doesn’t feel right to me.”
Wills added that he wants to maintain the quality of his Tape Face performances.
“I want to be sure the show will be available and on top form when any sort of normal returns.”
Wills had expressed his views Sunday with a post on his Instagram page, saying he’d been asked about performing online.
“The short answer is no. The long answer is that at this time I am just getting by and coping with what’s going on, and that’s OK.”
Pop star Debbie Gibson responded with, “BTW, I’m making content but on my schedule and terms. Similarly, I’ve started saying no to a lot of people, too, just because the pressure of having an itinerary at this time does not allow one to process,” adding, “That’s so smart of you.”
Also, from Amy Saunders, who created “Miss Behave Game Show,” which had just closed at Bally’s before the coronavirus outbreak took hold: “Feel that hard.”
And from Enoch Augustus Scott, who performed March 17 in “Zombie Burlesque” at the V Theater, in the final Strip stage show before all resorts were ordered to close: “This is how I feel. Just need to process for a bit.”
Jazz great Michelle Johnson, a frequent headliner at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center and Dispensary Lounge, chipped in with, “That is 100-percent how I feel!!”
Wills laughs that his character’s taped-over mouth has become an unintended model for protective masks.
“I was covering my face before it was popular,” Wills joked. “When I come back, the whole audience might look like Tape Face.”
Wills, a 2016 “America’s Got Talent” finalist who returned to show’s “The Champions” spinoff in January 2019, has kept himself busy mostly by playing video games. He catches his friends once in a while online, saying, “It’s fun to see what people are up to, how they’re coping.”
“Everyone has their own way of dealing with this,” Wills said. “I can see why people want to get up and perform, show their art … . Who knows? Talk to me in two weeks and I might be ready to do Tape Face, live from home.”
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.