Las Vegas braces for a whirlwind of entertainment activity

From a drag diva’s 25 years of lipstick today, to pixelized Coldplay and Jay-Z on New Year’s eve, to Cher hanging up her Mayan goddess crown in February, the entertainment calendar is filling up. Let’s get a move on. …

Gall bladder surgery forced drag star Frank Marino to postpone a charity roast marking his 25th anniversary as a Las Vegas entertainer today. But the star of “Divas Las Vegas” is already back to work, and says he will be there for any special surprises at today’s show because, “I’ve got everybody flying in.”

His gall bladder was so bad, Marino says the doctor almost had to do the old-fashioned incision that have sidelined him for three months. But that wasn’t this diva’s biggest fear. No, it was the “railroad track” scar that would have resulted.

“I begged to everyone, ‘Make sure they don’t cut me!’ ” …

If your idea of living large on New Year’s eve is strapping a Bud Light Lime sixer to your belt and watching the fireworks, you get the bonus plan baby.

The Cosmopolitan has announced Coldplay and Jay-Z will apparently team up on New Year’s Eve, a pricey private party that will be a hot V.I.P. ticket.

But the new casino also plans to broadcast the superstars on a 65-foot outdoor digital marquee. …

Two shows backed out of plans to play the Sahara, with representatives for both claiming they will end up elsewhere on the Strip.

The Amazing Kreskin, first geezer of mentalism, lasted only days in the enclosed lounge. A spokeswoman says she will soon announce a new Vegas location, “due to popular demand.”

A ’60s tribute to the Platters, Coasters and Marvelettes did not open Monday as announced. The show may be bound for another property under the steerage of its longtime producer, Bill Caron, who said he wasn’t able to confirm a deal by this column’s deadline.

Both Sahara ventures were to involve veteran Las Vegas producer John Stuart; whether he was hands-on or a “consultant” was apparently an issue of confusion. Either way, Stuart has his hands full in bankruptcy court. Earlier this month, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Linda Riegle denied Stuart’s motion to convert from a Chapter 7 liquidation to a Chapter 11 reorganization. …

Pop singer Ashanti sings Saturday on the outdoor stage of the Carnival Court at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Combo this with Wang Chung’s Labor Day gig in The Pub at Monte Carlo, and you have an odd recession twist: Name acts converting lounge space into ticketed venues. Enterprise or slumming? You make the call. …

Billy Dare & The Pumps updates the campy, old-Vegas show band tradition with a punk and rockabilly edge. They settle into Tony Sacca’s Las Vegas Rocks Cafe this week for a self-produced, four-week test run on Fremont Street, promising to work “a little blue” in the 10 p.m. time slot. …

First Gordie Brown, then Greg London. Now two more Northern Nevada attractions venture south to test the Lake Mead waters compared to Tahoe’s. On Friday and Saturday, the Crown Theater at the Rio hosts showcases of the “Carnival Cabaret” drag revue and “Back 2 Back: The Two Kings,” combining Michael Kiss as Michael Jackson and Jonathan Von Brana as Elvis.

Both are playing at the Horizon Casino in Lake Tahoe; producers Tom Biscardi and Dan Gore hope to spin them off here.

The “Cabaret” wouldn’t get a standing deal at a Harrah’s Entertainment venue without protest from Imperial Palace drag star Marino. The Crown might get by with it because it’s leased by independent operators. …

Kevin Burke, the comedian who makes the Energizer Bunny look like a slacker, gave his 1,500th Las Vegas performance of “Defending the Caveman” on Tuesday at the Excalibur. In celebration, locals can score tickets for $15 through Oct. 5. …

It’s kind of sad that most people don’t line up and camp out for concert tickets anymore. Why? Because the Colosseum at Caesars Palace puts both Cher and Leonard Cohen shows on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. The line could be a curious culture clash. Both are farewells of sorts. Campy Cher wraps her Caesars gig with shows Jan. 11-Feb. 5. Classy Cohen wraps a world tour Dec. 10 and 11.

Finally comes the news that Global Creatures — the Australian company behind the cool arena show “Walking With Dinosaurs” — is trying to put a “King Kong” musical on Broadway.

In better days for the Strip, I would have argued the big gorilla — like the troubled Broadway “Spider-Man” — would be a perfect title to steal from New York (This assuming the giant animatronic Kong actually works, and doesn’t end up being a guy in a suit like the 1976 “Kong” remake.)

I might even argue that our new Smith Center for the Performing Arts should try to land crowd-pleasers like this for pre-Broadway shakedown runs.

But something tells me the new arts center is going to open with a Kong-sized fear of not being taken seriously, and wouldn’t venture this close to late-night monologue territory until it gets a few seasons worth of Itzhak Perlmans under its belt.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford
@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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