The Kats! Bureau at this writing is a preferred outpost: The sports book at Wynn Las Vegas. About 300 people are jammed in here, with another 500 or so set up at Encore Theater, where the only showstoppers today are the Northwestern, which just knocked off Vanderbilt 68-66 in the NCAA Tournament.
As noted earlier, the Wynn sports book is due for an overhaul. More details: The renovations will take the Zoozacrackers Deli (which means, no more Zoozacrackers ), with a new, curved LED screen stretching across the entire space. Under the stewardship of director Johnny Avello (who would be played by Eugene Levy in the movie), the current sports book closes April 3 and will move the next day to a space adjacent to the Players Club at Encore.
The new book opens Aug. 1, and will be a wondrous space for me to make such wagers as taking the Las Vegas Raiders to cover 8 1/2 against the 49ers.
More from the scene:
FUNKFEST ENDS AT WESTGATE
Citing “an unfortunate family emergency affecting a founding member of the band,” Cameo has abruptly closed at Westgate Cabaret. The production fronted by founder Larry Blackmon opened in October 2015. A statement issued today by Red Mercury Entertainment, which produces the show, says the band is expected to return this fall, but offered no further details. . The band recently lost keyboardist Chuckie Bush, who died in his Las Vegas home in February.
A TOUCH OF GRAY
Celebrated Las Vegas resort exec Jon Gray, who worked the at front desk of this hotel when he was a student at UNLV, has been spotted at the Palms. He’s not a mere hotel guest, either, I can confidently impart. I expect an announcement of Gray’s return to Las Vegas soon. In 2014, the former Palms, Light Group and Linq promenade exec left town for Lake Oswego, Oregon and a position with Nike.
The brash and stylish Gray seems forever a wunderkind in Las Vegas, having opened the Linq entertainment and retail promenade in 2013 at age 28. He turns 33 on Saturday.
With Gray in the mix, expect some swift changes at the Palms, purchased by Station Casinos last May and undergoing widespread upgrades across the casino.
‘COMEDY HOUR’ TURNS 5
If a Vegas production can survive for five years as a hidden treasure, then “Sapphire Comedy Hour” is just that. The shows are staged in a the well-appointed Sapphire Showroom, which is connected (but not part of) to the more-famous Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club.
The “Comedy Hour” marks its anniversary 8 p.m. Saturday with impressionists Brad Zinn, Bill Johnson and Leigh Christiansen performing as George Burns, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx and Phyllis Diller. Veteran magician Mon Dre, and burlesque star Kalani Kokonuts are also to be featured. The Sapphire Gentlemen’s club has this show attached, and also a great 24-hour Mexican restaurant, El Dorado Cantina, on the other side. You can hit that property, repeatedly, without seeing a single pole dance. Trust me on this.
LEWIS SEEKS SUPPORT
One of the city’s great Elvis tribute artists and a former member of the “Legends in Concert” cast, Matt Lewis is in need of support — fast. His wife, Janell, is suffering from a rare form of cancer known as Pheochromocytoma (tumor in her adrenal gland) and needs to be transferred to an out-of-state hospital for treatment.
The couple’s insurance will not cover the costs, but the hospital will accept cash up front for her care. To donate, go to Janell’s GoFundMe page. Since Lewis left “Legends,” he and Janell have embarked on their own production company.
THE LON AND WINDING ROAD
Several months ago, Lon Bronson faced a decision: Fold up the Lon Bronson All-Star Band or go for broke at the Smith Center with a monthly residency.
He opted for the latter.
Bronson is marking his 20th sold-out show at Cabaret Jazz at 9:30 p.m. Friday. As he says, “You have to admit, it’s a tough sell, 9:30 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. But once a month at the Smith Center is the right call.” The new gig has given a needed energy shot to Bronson and the band, in its 26th year of performing in Las Vegas. Bronson is also music director of the soon-to-open “World’s Greatest Rock Show” at Stratosphere, opening April 4.
WHO WAS WHERE
Last Friday, NFL legend Jerry Rice, running a post pattern (metaphorically speaking) at Tao at the Venetian. Am told he hopped in the DJ booth and greeted the crowd … Hip-hop singer Silentó, famous for “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”, running into Chumlee of “Pawn Stars” Tuesday at the Mobile Beat Las Vegas event at Tropicana …On Tuesday at Omnia at Caesars Palace, Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys, actor Liev Schreiber and rapper Wiz Khalifa.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.