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Michael Grimm, after fighting for his life: ‘This has been an eye-opening experience’

Updated July 8, 2023 - 11:39 am

Until Michael Grimm is able to perform, his friends in the Las Vegas entertainment community will do it for him.

A benefit for the Season 5 “America’s Got Talent” champ and Vegas performer is set for 4 p.m. Sunday at Silverton’s Veil Pavilion. Under the formal title “The Benefit of Love,” the event is hosted by the popular Vegas showman Mark OToole and features a bounty of the city’s top performers (tickets are $50, with livestream set at $25, go to michaelgrimmmusic.com for tickets and intel).

All money raised will be sent to Grimm’s family for his ongoing medical treatment. Grimm’s medical bills have risen to $250,000, and that does not yet include his two-week stay in ICU.

Grimm was admitted to the emergency room in Las Vegas on May 30, suffering from stroke-like symptoms and “fighting for his life,” as his wife, Lucie Grimm, said at the time. Grimm had initially begun to slide on May 26, cancelling his Memorial Day Weekend performances, before his health further deteriorated and Lucie hustled him to the ER.

But Grimm is clearly improving. The 44-year-old singer has been moved to an out-of-state physical therapy, mental-health and rehab facility. He is not permitted phone use in the center, but did record an audio message on Lucie’s phone.

”I’m doing much better. This has been an eye-opening experience for me in a big way, Brother,” Grimm said in an audio message. “That is putting it the best way I can. I’m still repairing, but I have my loved ones here with me.”

Loved ones will flood the Veil stage, too.

OToole is heading up Sunday’s show, with such Vegas luminaries as New York-New York ventriloquist and “AGT” Season 2 champ Terry Fator, Harrah’s comic performer Tape Face; comic actor/Donald Trump impressionist John Di Domenico; Laugh Factory magician Murray Sawchuck; Vegas vocalists Michelle Johnson, Christine Shebeck, Sandy Knights and Amanda King; Reckless in Vegas founder Michael Shapiro; Train’s Charles Colin with Stephen Wesley; Chris Phillips and Jamie Lynch of Zowie Bowie; country artist Chase Brown; “Fantasy” singer and host Lorena Peril; and rock band SwaggerMouth (led by Jason and Janea Ebs).

Members of Grimm’s backing band (Jimmy Tripi, Bruce Wallace, Nikki Logan, John Wedemeyer, Jimmy Mack, Dave Hart, Eric Runquist, Michel Angelo Vattima, Joe Escriba, Neil Maxa and Sergio Adame) are also being highlighted. And! We’ll hear from Vita Drew and The House Band (Nan Fortiere, Larry Esparza, Frank Fabio, Joey Melotti, Mark Hall Speights and Steve Johnson).

Video messages are also being corralled from an array of headliners, among them Grimm’s close friend and mentor Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, Barry Manilow, Wayne Newton “AGT” co-host and judge Howie Mandel, MGM Grand club owner and headliner Brad Garrett, “Divas Las Vegas” and “Legendary Divas” headliner Frank Marino, Clint Holmes, Bronx Wanderers, “American Idol” finalist (the season Carrie Underwood won) and Grimm collaborator Bo Bice, Vegas vocalist and Westgate headliner Daniel Emmet, Grimm’s fellow “AGT” champs Shin Lim and Mat Franco.

Vegas entertainment pros Megan Belk and Kathy Wolfe have been instrumental (really) in assembling all these musicians, singers and comedians.

The next natural step would be Grimm’s own return to the stage. His wife is emphasizing patience. Grimm has just started the vocal exercises to bring back his singing voice. He’s walking without a cane, regaining his leg strength. He is returning to health. But it’s a long process.

“Everyone is hopeful that within the next week or so, he can start working on his finger dexterity so he can get back to playing the guitar,” Lucie Grimm says. “Overall, I feel like he seems to be in pretty good spirits and making excellent progress.”

Great Moments In Social Media

Tens of millions of Twitter users bolted the platform for Threads this week. But no one made the move with more panache than Flavor Flav.

The hip-hop legend and Vegas resident lost his verified blue check on Twitter. Then he hit his limit of 600 posts per day for unverified users.

Veritably, Flav didn’t take it well. He posted, “Twitter really be out here eliminating the replies and interaction,,, Yo!”

About a half-hour later the limit was lifted. Too late. “Ya boy is out of Twitter Jail,,, but lil too late,,, Y’all can find me at threads.”

We were already signed up and waiting. One of Flav’s first Threads: “Never Grow Up has always been my motto,,, and that anthem has a dope new version!!” Agreed!

Flav also went off on a gossip site’s errant headline about the origin of his famous clock necklace, claiming it was inspired by a “crack head.” Public Enemy co-founder Chuck D responded to Flav’s post with a fist emoji. So will we, because if Flav’s there, we’re there.

Your VegasVille moment

Pauly Shore keeps saying he’s moved out of Vegas and back to L.A., and we believe him. But I’ve twice caught him at Delilah in the past couple of months. He was there Thursday night, upstairs bar, hanging and talking excitedly of the his Crusty’s band’s latest live-CD release. This is a cool audio hang. It will be made available in August; go to paulyshore.com for all Pauly info.

Shore plays Wise Guys in the Arts District on Main Street on Aug. 5. And his buddy Keith Stubbs is opening another Wise Guys at Town Square on Sept. 23, finding and filling another Vegas comedy void.

Tease this …

Ticketed entertainment, bound for Plaza Showroom? By the end of the year? Crazy! Crazy, I tell you! Except when it isn’t. Keep checking back.

Cool Hang Alert

Keeping with the funny, Cork & Thorn in the Arts District presents “Miss Match” from 7 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays. “A fun and hilarious matchmaking comedy night with couples and singles,” the club promises. Artie the comedian hosts. Still need to get there, if only to figure out the dress code.

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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