Down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final, the Vegas Golden Knights can use a boost. Maybe a wild fan can dance down the aisle at T-Mobile Arena at Thursday’s Game 5, tearing off multiple T-shirts and cajoling the crowd to “Make Some Noise!”
We’d call such a person “The Igniter.”
Wait. He exists.
Maybe you’ve seen Cameron Hughes in action at T-Mobile. He’s impossible to miss, actually, bounding down the stairs like a guy who has just quaffed a week’s supply of 5-Hour Energy Drink. Unshaven and unbridled, Hughes has been igniting the Golden Knights for select games all season, 15 in all.
It seems like more, actually. A little Cameron goes a long way.
— Cameron Hughes (@cameroncheers) May 31, 2018
“I love the energy, the interactions with fans, all the stuff you probably don’t see on the big screen,” Hughes says. “I love the excitement when visiting fans get to see Vegas and T-Mobile Arena and they’re like, ‘Wow!’ Even they start clapping.”
You might also recognize Hughes from cut-aways during the NBA Finals. He’s been an igniter for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home games against the Golden State Warriors, so he has alternated between the two ongoing finals — and he will be back at T-Mobile for Game 5.
The respective arenas are full of rabid fans, but as is often the case, Las Vegas stands apart.
“What makes Las Vegas, and the Golden Knights, unique is they are the unofficial ambassadors of the NHL,” Hughes says. “You get something at T-Mobile that you don’t see at other arenas, and that is how welcoming Vegas is to fans from other cities. I think it’s a community quality, because so many new people come to Vegas all the time.”
Many, if not most, fans at T-Mobile early in the season thought Hughes was just a nutty fan. But he is a full-time, professional “igniter” who has performed in 17 NHL and NBA arenas in a 20-year career.
Hughes first ignited a crowd when he actually was just a nutty fan, during an Ottawa Senators game in 1994. The crowd was sleepy, and Hughes jumped from his seat and started dancing like a lunatic.
Of course, this led to a job offer.
“The Senators’ management came up to me after the game and said, ‘We want to bring you back!’ ” Hughes says. “That’s the origin of my story. Seventeen-hundred games later, I’m still having a blast.”
T n’ T ties the knot
Making official what has been reported in this space a while back, “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” is back, at Buca di Beppo at Bally’s beginning June 15. Tickets are onsale this week, at $99 apiece (VIP $129, which includes a meet-and-greet and two-hour open bar, so watch out).
The show kicks off at 7 p.m. Fridays through Wednesdays. Original director Larry Pellegrini returns, along with producers Raphael Berko and Jeff Gitlin. The show co-stars Vegas faves Rachel Swindler and Joseph Ben Shimon as the title characters.
The dinner/comedy show opened at the Rio in 2002, then performed at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, that hotel’s mezzanine level, and Windows Showroom at Bally’s before closing in September 2016. As before, the nuptials are non-binding …
Wassa on the move
Six years ago, Wassa Coulibaly left a choice role in “Zumanity” at New York-New York to open Baobab Stage performance venue and clothing boutique at Town Square. She is closing out of her spot across from Yardhouse restaurant and moving — just a few doors down, also across from Yardhouse.
Coulibaly is renewing her lease for the new location in three months. Until then, she plans a series of fundraisers before hauling out of the original Baobab Stage. “Baobab Burlesque,” to feature several local burlesque performers (Kalani Kokonuts leading the way), is set for 9 p.m. (doors 8 p.m.) Friday. “Midnight Cabaret,” a collection of Cirque du Soleil artists, is set for 11:30 p.m. Friday. A sale of Wassa Ware — Coulibaly’s own designs — will be from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
A native of Dakar, Senegal, who immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager, Coulibaly hopes to add a cafe to her next project. She plans a menu of African tapas, Brazilian dishes and the like.
“Something you can’t get anywhere else,” she says. “We are taking Baobab Stage to the next level.”
An odd reference
Spiegelworld founder and “impresario” Ross Mollison’s message to the Golden Knights: “Remember the America’s Cup!”
Mollison, producer of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and “Opium” at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, specifically referred to the 1983 America’s Cup yacht race. This contest attracted international attention as underdog Australia II, led by the savvy skipper John Bertrand, prevailed over Liberty and its brazen captain Dennis Conner. The Aussies trailed 3-1 in that competition, but won the final three races to wrest the Cup from the U.S., who had not lost in the series’ 132-year history.
“If the Aussies can win that championship, being down to the Americans, who had been so dominant,” Mollison says, “anything is possible.”
By the Numbers
10: How many e-mails Imagine Dragons manager Mac Reynolds receives each day that refer to the band as, “IG.” On Tuesday, Reynolds finally resorted to Twitter to impart his frustration: “This is not a joke. It is an intellectual epidemic that can only be addressed if we all come together in the spirit of common sense and goodwill.” He later asked, Let’s talk about the autocorrect theory. Does your phone change ID to IG? Mine doesn’t.” Nor does mine, but gotta say, I’ve done that. No explanation.
Just to contextualize this, I probably get 10+ emails a day that refer to IG. This is not a joke. It is an intellectual epidemic that can only be addressed if we all come together in the spirit of common sense and goodwill.
— Mac Reynolds (@realmacreynolds) June 5, 2018