Updated August 12, 2020 - 2:53 pm
Matt Goss does take the Las Vegas residency seriously. His 11-year run at three Vegas resorts proves as much. So does his actual residence in town.
“People come in and do four shows and call it a residency,” Goss says. When I laugh at that reality, he adds, “See?” as if delivering a punch line.
But seriously, Goss is at once a Strip headliner and Las Vegas local. During this week’s episode of “PodKats!” he buttressed his Vegas affiliation when recalling “Lovely Las Vegas,” which he issued nearly a decade ago as his own love letter to the city.
“You hear all these things, like ‘Viva Las Vegas,’ and don’t get me wrong, I love the song,” Goss says. “But I wanted a song that captured the charm, the community, the history — Howard Hughes, those are the references I use in the song.”
Goss is, of course, out of action in his adopted hometown. There is no path for him to return to the former 1 Oak Nightclub room at the Mirage, where his Sunday night series had run its course. He’s most likely bound for a Caesars Entertainment property — there were verified reports of Goss reviewing spaces at the property, pre-COVID, with Caesars officials.
Goss is exploring a multileveled partnership with someone he hasn’t yet identified. He’s returned to the studio with his brother, Luke; he hopes to turn his fascinating Instagram Live wellness chats in to a TV talk show, and is investigating a documentary of his life in Vegas to follow up on the success of “After the Screaming Stops.”
Goss also specified interest from Dubai and London for his upcoming projects.
At age 51 with a decade in the bank in Vegas, and 27 years as a solo performer, Goss has honed his opinions about show business. He knows of the suffering throughout the Vegas entertainment community, as a front man who supported an operation of 36 musicians, dancers and staff. He leased 1 Oak for his show, as a de facto producer.
Thus, Goss says entertainers in this city have been back-burnered, to use a kitchen reference.
“I do believe there needs to be a certain level of respect for artists in this town,” Goss remarks. “This town will not survive on restaurants alone. I think one thing we’ve realized about this time is that people want to come and see shows, and the byproduct is going to dinner. But the event is the show.”
Goss expressed a “genuine love” for Vegas musicians, even those he has not even met. During COVID, he says of his fellow entertainers, “They haven’t given us any information. They expect us to turn on a dime … We are part of the four walls of the casinos we are in.”
Asked what he would say to the governor, if he had that audience, Goss said, “We need intelligent stimulus packages for self-employed subcontractors, so they can indeed to turn on a dime, to actually go back to work. The entertainment industry depends on volumes of people. We need to cater toward entertainers. Music isn’t made for free. You need a set number of people in the room, or you lose money.”
Goss adds, “I would say to the governor, actually have a forum with entertainers, so he understands. But he’s in a very, very hard position, and I think he is handling it well. I just don’t think there has been a discussion that solely looks after entertainers, people like my band and my dancers, ushers, who we expect to just come back. We need to look after them.”
Travis Cloer (and his cobalt-blue blazer) returns to the drive-in stage Saturday and Sunday in Westfield Shopping Plaza in San Diego. Cloer co-stars with fellow “Jersey Boys” alumni Christian Hoff and Chris Lash. The series’ brand belongs to Cloer and Hoff, and they bring in guests. Jeff Leibow had also appeared in the drive-in concerts. Yours truly is threatening to take in this weekend’s event, with the blazer, ready to rock.
One hour after cataract surgery by @maloneyshamie in Beverly Hills. Right eye's still dilated, hence the zombie look. Too bad Hallowe'en's a couple months away. And "Fool Us" contestants beware: with the new lens I can see marked cards from across the room. pic.twitter.com/lRbaszWMUe
— Teller (@MrTeller) August 11, 2020
In eye see you
Teller underwent cataract surgery Tuesday morning in Beverly Hills. He posted a pic on Twitter of his mismatched eyes an hour after the procedure, writing, “Right eye’s still dilated, hence the zombie look. Too bad Halloween’s a couple months away.”
Teller had just recovered from his third spinal-fusion operation before COVID-19. Penn & Teller host eight more episodes of this seasons “Fool Us” on The CW, on Monday and Aug. 24. Mike Hammer of Four Queens is back on the show Aug 24.
Mike knows he’s in this column, because someone actually calls him every morning to read it to him. This is a fact.
No Blair time
HBO and Judd Apatow are planning a two-part documentary on legendary comic George Carlin, who died in 2008 at age 71. Apatow and collaborator Michael Bonfiglio are interviewing Carlin’s friends and family but apparently have no plans for Carlin’s opening act for nearly two decades, Dennis Blair.
“They never contacted me. Weird,” says Blair, also a singer-songwriter who lives in Las Vegas. “And Judd knows I worked with him for 18 years.”
Carlin was a frequent Vegas headliner whose final performance ever was at the Orleans Showroom in June 2008, a week before his death.
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.