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PodKats! with Melody Sweets and special guests kick off Labor Day weekend

Updated September 6, 2020 - 1:21 pm

The interview guest was the party’s host, and she sat the whole time in giant, red, high-heeled shoes.

So it was a different sort of podcast on a hot Friday night in VegasVille.

We sat down with Melody Sweets, who originated the Green Fairy role in “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. Sweets performed in the show for 6½ years dating from its opening in April 2011 until October 2017. She plans to stay in town and star in her own show on the Strip when all this pandemic has passed us.

In a scene that played out a lot like Sweets’ solo shows over the years, the burlesque star enlisted several of her friends from the Las Vegas entertainment community to end the summer and kick off Labor Day Weekend. The livestream spectacle played out on the latest episode of “PodKats!”

Sweets has since been developing her new show, most recently with producers Matt and Angela Stabile for a venue in a Caesars Entertainment venue. Those plans continue during the COVID shutdown.

The show was a refreshing release from the shutdown of Las Vegas entertainment in mid-March. MsTickle led Sweets’ on-site direction teams. Most of the drop-ins were from sidelined Vegas entertainers, including Piff The Magic Dragon of Flamingo; comic actor John Di Domenico; Xavier Mortimer of Bally’s; Murray Sawchuck of Laugh Factory at the Tropicana with “Crazy Girls” frontwoman Dani Elizabeth; Jen Romas of “Sexxy” at Westgate Las Vegas, Sean and John Scott of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, the cast of “X Country” at Harrah’s, Cirque artist Jimmy Slonina and his artist wife, Robin; Elvis tribute artist Steve Connolly of Four Queens, pinup star Sabina Kelley of “X Country”; cast members from the recently closed “Le Reve” of Wynn Las Vegas; and the outdoor equine production “Gladius The Show.”

The group didn’t appear at the same time. Performers arrived sporadically, to keep with COVID distancing. Highlights included:

— A visit from Vegas comic impressionist Di Domenico as Donald Trump. “Wow, look at this turnout. There are over 5,000 people here. Melody begged me, begged me! To be here.” Di Domenico-as-Trump referred to yours truly as “Mr. Fake News” and said of Trump Tower, “It has the wettest water of any hotel on the Strip. If it’s not Trump, it’s a dump.”

— Vegas drummer Mike “Beans” Benigno as Frankie the Pool Boy, his shorts hiked up in a self-wedgie.

— Slonina floating in the pool with a blow-up doll (his partner in a parody human-balancing act) while his wife, Robin, body-painted model Aiden Young just off-camera.

Ryan Kelsey of “Chippendales” fanning Sweets through the entire hourlong event.

— Ex-“Jubilee” dancer Sasha Van De Rose (as a mermaid) sitting in a giant tin of Mermaid Of The Sea.

— Sean and John tapping as the cast of “Gladius” arrived with a horse. A real horse, named Travis, who is 17 years old and weighs 2,000 pounds. Part of the “Gladius” act, of course. Sean and John had no idea there would be a horse but tapped away, anyway.

— Walk-by “flashes” from Sawchuck and Elizabeth and Ryan Pires of “Magic Mike Live.”

— Kelley in a photo shoot with photog and burlesque performer Bettina May.

— A dazzling ballroom-dance and in-water performance from Ashley Bratter, Tarrell Ervin, Nadine Brandl and Polina Petukhova of “Le Reve.”

— Piff showing up to deliver a dozen cupcakes during the interview, explaining, “I have no act right now.”

— Sashaying from dancers and Burlesque Hall of Fame reps Buttercup and Darby Fox, reminding that BHoF in downtown Las Vegas remains closed and needs support at burlesquehall.com.

— Mortimer ducking in to remind us he has about 5 million followers on his various social-media channels. He’s a hit on social, and still working to a return with Caesars Entertainment. He, Sweets, Connolly and Sawchuck are all featured in “The Downtown Las Vegas Reality Show” being shopped by Fremont Street Experience.

— Romas dressed in red, white and blue. The look never doesn’t work. She left behind her boa, which I wore for the second half of the show.

As for Sweets, she is still developing an adult revue with the Stabiles. That show was originally planned for Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace in February, then pushed back to April before being KO’d by the shutdown. The group is still reviewing locations while waiting for word to return.

On Saturday, Sweets said of the experience, “I’m exhausted. But it was exhilarating to actually plan a show, and to see everyone again.”

If you missed the live version of a very Vegas hang, and a revival of happier times, check back with us Monday for the podcast.

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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