Notes from around the scene, where “Phantom Comes Alive!” (I think I have that right), and an icon sits out the big and busty burlesque weekend at Orleans:
Peter Frampton’s next stop in Las Vegas is Aug. 8 for a co-headlining show with the Steve Miller Band at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. But the timing of our conversation coincided with this week’s 50th anniversary of the U.S. release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
To remind (or inform, depending on your era), Frampton co-starred with the Bee Gees in the 1977 movie inspired by the album. He remains an avid Beatles devotee.
“It’s still one of my favorite albums, if not my all-time favorite, because of the studio techniques and the fact that it wasn’t just a bunch of songs – there was a concept, a message,” Frampton said. “It totally changed my outlook on everything.”
Frampton actually bought a copy of the album 10 days before it was officially released.
“I was at a flea market in London, one of those second-hand clothes shopping sprees, and found a ‘hot’ copy of the album,” Frampton says. “It had fallen off a lorry (truck) — someone put it up for sale. I couldn’t believe my luck.”
Frampton and his girlfriend at the time played the album all day and into the night. “We didn’t speak more than a few words. It was just, ‘Oh, wow. Wow.’ ” It was just so different.”
Frampton wound up playing in Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band from 1995-1998. Starr was never a fan of the “Sgt. Pepper” movie, in which Frampton played the character Billy Shears.
I asked Frampton about the film. Not much to say.
“As my dear friend Ringo Starr said in a dressing room when I was being asked that same type of question, ‘Oh, we don’t talk about that,’ ” Frampton said with a laugh. “So, we’ll move on.”
He did allow that Giles Martin’s remix of the album for the 50th anniversary would be well-received because, “Giles comes from great stock.”
Still a Storm
Another conversation from Friday afternoon:
Me: “So, tomorrow I’m heading to the Burlesque Hall of Fame festival at the Orleans …”
Tempest Storm: “Have fun.”
The greatest living burlesque legend and a Las Vegas resident, Storm is resolute in her decision to sit out this year’s festival at Orleans hotel-casino. In previous years, Storm had hosted signing events at the entrance of Orleans Showroom during the Saturday night “Tournament of Tease” event. She also walked the stage during Friday’s annual “Legends” tribute show.
Not this year. Storm has been in a dispute with event organizers since last fall, when she posted pro-Donald Trump messages on her Facebook page. The concern among those who run the show was that Storm’s support of Trump was not in line with the sensibilities of the burlesque culture, and she might have faced hostile attendees during her appearance.
Officials had suggested moving Storm to another location, which Storm had taken to mean she had been “banned” from the actual event.
Storm has nonetheless remained active, promoting her new documentary “Tempest Storm” across the country and planning a September tour of Switzerland, Germany and England.
A groundbreaking burlesque star who commanded a six-figure salary in the 1950s, Storm said she has been asked to reconsider participating, with Burlesque Hall of Fame Executive Director Dustin Wax asking her to just come and watch the shows. She declined.
“It won’t be the same without me,” she said, giggling.
Lion in wait
About 90 seconds after meeting “Phantom of the Opera” star Derrick Davis at the Smith Center on Thursday, I thought, “Do I know this person?”
It clicked when he mentioned “Disney’s The Lion King.”
Davis played Mufasa in that show at Mandalay Bay from 2008,-2011, and I’d seen him perform that role. He’s now portraying the Phantom during the musical’s entire run at Reynolds Hall through June 11.
“Lion King” stands out in Las Vegas as the last unabridged, Broadway-style musical to play the Strip, running about 2 hours, 15 minutes with a full intermission.
“I felt then that people who lived in Las Vegas, those who were not tourists, are hungry for culture and theater,” Davis said. “That might be contrary to popular opinion, but Cirque du Soleil has saturated the Strip, and the Smith Center is the only place people who live here can experience traditional musical theater. I’m thankful for that, because this place is amazing.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.