‘Ooh La La’ raises some eyebrows

Another new girlie show on the Strip? That’s no surprise. And yet, a couple of eyebrow-raisers come with the new “Ooh La La,” which opened Wednesday at Paris Las Vegas if all went to plan.

First is that most performances will be at 7 p.m. That’s early for a topless revue, at least by conventional standards. “Everybody thinks I’m crazy,” agrees Anthony Cools, who is producing it as a roommate production for his hypnotism show in the 300-seat venue that carries his name.

But he thinks it will reduce competition for every performance except two late shows, at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Cools also figures 7 p.m. is a late show if you flew into Las Vegas from the East Coast that day. Or, if you’re in town for a bachelor party, “you can see it before you start drinking” in the dance clubs or strip joints.

Which brings us to the second surprise: Given that it includes real topless women instead of those hypnotized to believe they are, “Ooh La La” isn’t nearly as raunchy as Cools’ hypnosis act.

When you watch him emcee his own three-ring circus, you think, “Here’s a guy who knows his frat-boy audience.” But “Ooh La La” is more “Crazy Horse Paris” than “Crazy Girls.” There’s no stripper pole and the nudity is judiciously doled out by the five-woman cast.

The most obvious reason is that gaming regulators see a major difference between sex acts simulated by nonpaid audience volunteers apparently in a trance, and those done by clear-headed paid performers.

There also is the fact that Paris officials didn’t play the passive landlord for this production. “We have to protect the Paris brand name. We tried to keep it classy,” Cools says. (That’s apparently not a concern at Harrah’s Entertainment sister property the Flamingo, where “X Burlesque” is more in line with Cools’ hypnosis show.)

The show is “a celebration of the woman,” Cools says. Instead of male specialty acts, dancers themselves perform a vocal number, a magic segment and an acrobatic turn on an aerial hoop. The cast includes Kelly Adkins, who also stars in “Fashionistas,” along with Cher Wescott, Kendra Elise Phillips, Cynthia Fuhrer and Ashley Vail. Choreography is by Gary Thomas. …

Martin Nievera considers the last nail hammered on his show at Steve Wyrick’s theater in the Miracle Mile mall, while a Russian clown show called “Aga-Boom” debuts there as an afternoon attraction on Saturday.

Filipino pop star Nievera never reopened June 2 as tentatively planned, and he doesn’t plan to go back now.

The singer first opened at the theater in March, with a show produced by California mortgage broker Gene Gamalinda. When dismal audience counts quickly turned the enterprise upside down with creditors, Nievera tried to save the show by cutting a new deal directly with theater management.

“All systems were go,” the Filipino pop star says, for a June 2 reopening that was to be aided by a promotional boost from the TV station he used to work for in the Philippines.

But through some internal misfire, callers were told the show wasn’t opening, he claims. “It would have been suicidal to reopen when nobody was in the audience,” he says.

Nievera now says he has investors to relaunch the show if he can find a new venue. But unpaid bills from the initial venture might tarnish his reputation. “Nobody has been paid a single cent. Neither has Martin Nievera,” he says. “I’m in the same boat (the creditors) are in. I am just as much if not more of a victim than they are.”

“Aga-Boom” debuts at 2 p.m. Saturday and will run through Aug. 12, aiming to draw the summer family trade. The clown show is the creation of Ukrainian couple Dimitri Bogatirev and Iryna Ivanytska, who opened “O” in late 1998 as the comic relief.

They tested “Aga-Boom” for locals at the Suncoast in 2005. “For American audiences, (clowning) is low art. Very low art,” Bogatirev said then. “Cirque du Soleil uses Russian clowns because in Russia, we have pantomime, which is very popular.”

Ventriloquist Ronn Lucas probably will bail from the Wyrick theater June 30 and move to Luxor. For the rest of the month, his afternoon show probably will move from 3 p.m. to 3:30 or 4 p.m. Details still were being worked out at this writing.

Mike Weatherford’s entertainment column appears Thursdays and Sundays. Contact him at 383-0288 or e-mail him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com.

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