Shania Twain describes her schedule simply.
“If I’m not working, I’m playing,” she says during a phone chat while on vacation in Switzerland.
Where working and playing meet is dancing.
“A big part of what I do is visual arts, absolutely,” says the superstar singer-songwriter and ongoing resident headliner at Zappos Theater. “Of course I am a recording artist, but visual arts is a key element in what I am doing. I’m a live performer. I like to take advantage of what I learn from the dancers, who are very influential in my ability to perform.”
Twain has employed an athletic, tight-knit dance team, which she has referred to as “my country can-can hunks” at Planet Hollywood. Twain’s attention to the art of dance, and her history as a resident headliner in Las Vegas, prompted Nevada Ballet Theatre to honor the best-selling artist as the company’s Woman of the Year.
Twain will be honored Saturday night at Caesars Palace. Twain, a fan of Las Vegas entertainment (and shopping, restaurants and many of the city’s other unique characteristics), joins a list of prominent woman honored since Elaine Wynn was recognized in 1985.
That impressive list of female icons, honored for their artistic achievements, philanthropic contributions and dedication to Las Vegas including Debbie Reynolds, Celine Dion, Rita Rudner, Marie Osmond, Bette Midler, Mitzi Gaynor, Florence Henderson, Priscilla Presley, Debbie Allen, Olivia Newton-John, Vanessa Williams, Giada De Laurentiis, and in 2019, Rita Moreno.
“I am so humbled,” Twain says. “I was very surprised when got the call about it. It’s one of those moments in life when you feel flattered and honored, to be in that long line of incredible women.”
Twain is at the top of her game in her “Let’s Go” performances at Zappos Theater. She promised a party atmosphere after scouting Gwen Stefani’s splashy “Just a Girl” production at the venue. Twain has delivered, and says she is enjoying her performances more today than ever.
“First, I’m grateful to be healthy, to be athletic, and I’m taking advantage of that,” Twain says. “I don’t want to take that for granted. I’m just appreciating, more than ever, my ability to get up there and run around and just be athletic. I’m really enjoying that, the interaction with the dancers, involving myself in the choreography and staging.”
The Woman of the Year adds, “I know more than I ever did before. When I get on the stage I am presenting, top to bottom, something that is me and it’s so satisfying.”
On the topic of ballet, we naturally turn to trumpet ace David Perrico. This makes sense: Perrico’s Pop Strings is performing as the house band for the sixth straight year at the Black and White gala.
Those who attend can make this an only-in-VegasVille doubleheader by catching Perrico after the gala at Cleopatra’s Barge. His set time is 10 p.m., ideal for your weekend grooving needs.
All that merch
Raiders — sorry, Las Vegas Raiders — owner Mark Davis said Wednesday that the team will issue officially licensed Las Vegas Raiders gear during the NFL Draft event in April. The only Las Vegas Raiders gear available until then will be inferior knockoffs.
Unveiling the new, licensed, logo apparel itself could be a spectacle. The Las Vegas Raiders’ first-ever draft pick could launch the effort by being the first to wear an official LV Raiders hat. Do that, and wait for the tide (or, cash) to roll in.
Peripherally related, Davis and Twain are good buds. More on how they met in an upcoming column, but a hint is that it was during a less-than-super, yet also Super, moment in Raider history.
Conor still hanging
Conor McGregor, riding out his 40-second destruction of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on Saturday in UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena, hit the Palms and Venetian this week.
With UFC President Dana White along for the ride, McGregor was at Unknown bar, Scotch 80 Prime Steakhouse and Mr. Coco at Palms on Tuesday. He bought the round a house (er, house a round) of his Proper 12 whisky at Unknown.
Wednesday, McGregor was spotted at Mercato Della Pescheria at The Venetian. Reportedly, “The Notorious” has been positively ebullient after his wipe-out victory.
Get to know the name Taj Farrant. Know, too, that Taj is 10 years old and a wicked guitar player. The native of Long Jetty, New South Wales, Australia is in town to perform with Santana at 8 p.m. Friday at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, and also Human Nature in its bushfire relief show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at The Venetian.
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) January 24, 2020
Tarrant has appeared on “Ellen” in 2019 and will again Monday. He has and amassed about 94,000 subscribers and 10 million page views on YouTube.
But forget that stuff. Tarrant has what we call “alien” talent. Santana brought him out, unbilled, in Wednesday’s show at House of Blues. The kid just wailed on a lengthy solo. Santana interrupted to remind, “To play beautiful music, you’ve gotta make an ugly face. Make an ugly face!”
Tarrant did, then played a searing, soulful riff on his Gibson electric (he already has an endorsement deal with the company). The young man is the real deal. You have to be, to share a stage — and a moment — with Carlos Santana.
Construction has not yet begun on the “Magic Mike Live” theater at Sahara Las Vegas. The venue is planned for the conference space on hotel’s second level, up the escalators and just off the casino floor. But as of this writing the area is untouched. Expect a targeted August opening for the adult revue, which is a partnership of the hotel, Base Entertainment and Channing Tatum’s production company. Interesting, because if the show had simply stayed at Hard Rock Hotel/Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, would have re-opened in November anyway …
On the topic of Hard Rock, the former “MML” theater has drawn some attention from “Absinthe,” “Opium” and “Atomic Saloon Show” production company Spiegelworld, which is always on the lookout for distinctive venues for its distinctive shows. Spiegelworld has “We Are Here” in its stable, but I am not seeing a deal for that show or any of the Spiegelworld projects happening at Virgin Hotels …
A new entertainment venue is being built on the second floor of Linq Hotel; more about that in the coming days …
Mondays Dark at The Space has long used a “Cowbell Jam” segment to raise money for its charity partner of the evening. Those who want to play the instrument onstage pay $100 for that opportunity. Monday, the show unveiled a “strap-on” cowbell. I think those have been on display at AVN …
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.