Updated August 2, 2021 - 10:17 am
The Kats! Bureau at this writing is the Roasted Bean, across the walkway from Mirage Theater. Earlier, around the bend, we caught up with Giles Martin, in town for the relaunch of the Cirque/Beatles artistic union, “Love.”
Martin offered he’d talked to Paul McCartney on Sunday morning. “He is just so proud of the fact that his legacy, their legacy, continues on in a place where you can come and enjoy the music. All generations come here.”
We’re working on coverage from the interview, talking about the “Love” return on Aug. 26, his ongoing focus on the show’s music, and also his contribution to Peter Jackson’s upcoming “The Beatles: Get Back” documentary. I love Martin’s candor and humility. Peace and love, all around.
More from this scene, and elsewhere:
Actor, comic and party purveyor Kevin Hart took the stage with Usher at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Saturday night.
This was the quintessential unbilled appearance. It was unclear whether Usher, the resident headliner, realized Hart would join him under the lights. As Hart took the stage, Usher looked at his unexpected sidekick and started, “Kevin, you wanna …”
But this was the comedian’s moment.
“I was out there enjoying the show, and I said, ‘I gotta get some o’ this (stuff),” Hart said, having secured a live mic as he took the stage. He performed some serious hip thrusts and sang out, “Ooh! Ooh! You! Don’t! Know! … Check that, ladies! Aah! Aah! Welcome to the rated-R part of the show!”
Usher attempted to hand Hart his own mic (maybe to show off some steps of his own). But Hart moved away as he unbuttoned a lower button of his untucked, striped shirt and showed off more dance moves.
Hart then called toward the R&B superstar, one of the greatest dancers of his generation, and said, “I told you, I’ve been practicing, man!”
Usher remained consistently bemused at the unscripted act. Catch this piece of performance art on Hart’s Instagram page, where the comic posted, “I’ve been on the phone all morning turning down offers and recording deals.”
Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys was also in the crowd, posting a clip on social media and saying, “Where am I at right now? Can anyone guess where I’m at … I can’t wait, it’s (expletive) Usher!”
Carter masked up, but didn’t make it to the stage. No vacancy there.
The Lim shuffle
Headlining magician Shin Lim has reopened at the nearby Mirage Theater, performing his first shows for a masked crowd over the weekend. Lim says he’s largely able to perform his normal routines.
“It’s been pretty easy for me to adjust since my acts don’t really require much talking between me and the audience,” Lim says. “I just need them to pick a card and sign it.”
For now, Lim is permitted to make magic maskless. For a show whose headliner will never need a mask — regardless of directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — we have …
We have touched on the fact that “An Evening with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert,” opening Oct. 26 at Harrah’s, does not use Houston’s actual physical image.
A stage performer was enlisted to create the movements seen onstage. I asked Base Entertainment CEO Brian Becker if there has been any audience blowback in previous hologram shows. Base is the Houston show’s co-producer and also spotlights Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Maria Callas in hologram form.
“First, this is not just a body double, but an actress who rehearsed eight to 10 weeks to make it really, really right,” Becker said in a phone interview last week. “We don’t just put a talking head on a body. It’s a theatrical show. In terms of objections, I have not heard of that many about this technology, per se.”
“But you always are going to have people who have a preference for wanting to see something live,” he continued. “That applies to everything onstage. Some people just want to, emotionally, see live performances.”
The Houston image, enhanced with CGI synthesizing technology, does not interact directly with bandmates or the audience. It’s not a spontaneously presented show. But there are moments built-in to allow for audience response, such as extended pauses for lengthy applause.
“It certainly has a narrative, but it’s more like a theatrical concert experience that celebrates Whitney Houston,” Becker said. “… We’re adding some visual elements, making it more robust. But the words that she sings and speaks are her words. Not every show is for everybody, but we think fans will like this show.”
Becker chuckled when asked who was brought in to portray Houston-as-hologram. “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you. I just can’t.” We accept the challenge to seek out this person.
Cool Hang Alert
“Motown Extreme” has a following, and that following likes to get up and groove. Catch this spirited, inventively costumed and well-choreographed show at 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at Notoriety Live at Neonopolis.
“Extreme” was conceived by singer/producer Felton Pilate (who worked with MC Hammer on “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em”and “Too Legit To Quit”) and performer Ausar Bragg (who has portrayed Marvin Gaye and David Ruffin).
The production samples Michael Jackson/the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves, The Marvelettes, The Temptations, Diana Ross and The Supremes, among other R&B greats. Find tickets at NotoreityLive.com, and bring your dancing shoes.
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.