Moreno goes for Gold in lounge gig; Gray ascends at Palms

Updated July 8, 2017 - 11:04 pm

After Earl Turner spent something like 12½ minutes performing Prince’s “Kiss” in a most funky manner, Frankie Moreno shouted, “Earl! I don’t think that’s funky enough!”

So Turner brought the funk for another eight minutes, in a show that lasted three hours, following an earlier show that lasted two.

It was like the old days at Golden Nugget on Thursday, as Moreno followed his usual Thursday night performance at the Showroom with an unannounced appearance at Rush Lounge that staggered past 1 a.m. Moreno is known to make a scene, on occasion, with his previous surprise all-star shows, branded randomly as “Stifler,” at the Lounge at the Palms and the Havana Room at Tropicana.

Thursday’s event followed Moreno’s beyond-capacity show at the Showroom (more than 600 in the house), staged at the lounge where Moreno performed regularly about a decade ago. In part, the party was to celebrate Moreno’s upcoming appearances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Sept. 15-16. The show is a rock ‘n’ roll revival titled “Blue Suede Tunes,” featuring Moreno’s girlfriend and frequent onstage partner, Lacey Schwimmer of “Dancing With the Stars,” and her dancing brother, Benji Schwimmer.

There is also serious talk — from Moreno himself — about a similar performance next fall at Carnegie Hall, though no date has been announced.

The rolling party through the Golden Nugget, led by Moreno and his band, showcased luminaries such as Turner (who is never less than fantastic); Travis Cloer, late of “Jersey Boys”; fellow Golden Nugget headliner Clint Holmes (just, wow); violin great De Ann Letourneau; country artist Scotty Alexander, who fronts his own band and for years has performed with Wayne Newton; and guitar hero and studio wizard Pat Thrall, who wrote Pat Travers’ “Smokin’ Whiskey” and whose wife, Zoe Thrall, runs the Studio at the Palms.

The next phase, in Moreno’s hands, is setting up a rolling musical pub crawl through Fremont Street (and Fremont East) venues. That would be a beautiful thing, indeed.

Gray promotion action

With little fare of the fan, Jon Gray has already ascended to the top spot at the Palms as the resort’s general manager. In March, soon after Station Casinos took over the resort, Gray left Nike in Portland, Ore. for a position as Palms assistant general manager. He shared those duties with longtime Station Casinos exec Cookie Dreschler under then-GM Anthony Faranca. Dreschler has since left the company; Faranca has has moved into the Stations corporate offices.u

As if by magic

Linq Showroom is to be formally renamed Mat Franco Theater on Monday afternoon. The Linq is all-in with Franco, the former champ of “America’s Got Talent” who has enjoyed a solid run in the mid-Strip resort. Hotel president Eileen Moore and Franco will unveil the new marquee, and Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick will present Franco with an official proclamation declaring July 10 as “Mat Franco Day” in Clark County.

I believe Franco is to receive a Key to the Strip, too. No proclamation is complete without the key, which Franco can use to unlock the less-famous Handcuffs to the Strip …

More Magic in Vegas

Visiting Piero’s Restaurant on Friday night: NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, in town for the NBA Summer League.

We’ll miss them

Graham Fenton, who toggled the role of Frankie Valli in “Jersey Boys” at Palazzo Theater and Paris Las Vegas; and his wife, Nicole Kaplan of “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” at Encore Theater, are leaving Las Vegas next month. Fenton has been accepted into the UCLA School of Law (his interest in becoming an attorney is why he met with Oscar Goodman a few months ago), and Kaplan has finished her training to become a licensed aesthetician. One of the city’s favorite couples in the entertainment community, the two disembark Aug. 1.

A favorite moment (among many) is when Kaplan turned to me at a Monday’s Dark show at the Hard Rock Hotel and blurted out, “Did you know that I am also a puppeteer?” It’s true.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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