Vegas shows going retro

Sometimes a theme emerges from unrelated items in this column, and this week they seem to be lining up for retro fans of the classic Vegas. Bottoms up!

The outlook for December — usually grim for those not fond of country comedians — perked up with Tuesday’s announcement that Twyla Tharp is retooling (and shortening) her Broadway dance and big-band salute to Frank Sinatra. “Sinatra Dance With Me” will play at Wynn Las Vegas Dec. 11 through Jan. 29.

(As for all those National Finals Rodeo cowboys? Fear not. Fox cooked up the new “American Country Awards” to air live on Dec. 6 from the MGM Grand Garden arena.) …

Sinatra fans will soon face renewed confusion in choosing between rival Rat Pack tributes. “Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show” is now set to reopen in the Riviera’s Le Bistro cabaret on Monday.

The fat lady sang too soon after Hackett’s show closed at the Sahara last week, according to a wistfully reproachful e-mail Hackett sent to everyone who had received a gloating one from his former partner and current archenemy, Dick Feeney.

In his e-mail, Hackett says he feels sorry for Feeney’s wife and children. “I spend every free minute I can with my kids. Dick spends his free minutes to look for ways to attack us. His wife and children deserve better,” he writes.

Feeney, producer of the rival “The Rat Pack is Back,” says he responded by e-mailing Hackett a photo of his family socializing with Hackett’s estranged mother. Show business is cold. …

“Mad Men” debuted in July 2007, quickly converting new legions to its ’60s-cool Rat Pack fashion sensibility. Those who attended the “Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic” the January before didn’t need to wait for it.

It was a gathering of those already in love with classic Vegas, from its showrooms to the ’50s-modern homes on outlying golf courses.

Alas, it took organizers three years to deliver a sequel: “Mondo Lounge,” billed as the “Ultimate Retro Party and Conference” Friday through Sunday at the Palms.

“The economy just basically killed the entire thing,” says organizer Mary-Margaret Stratton. Sponsors and vendors disappeared. But now at least 300 aficionados have signed up for what Stratton says is “really our demo event. The last one was so long ago it’s almost like it didn’t exist. It’s almost like starting from scratch.”

One “happy synchronicity,” she says, is combining efforts with home tours, lectures and other weekend events organized by the Architectural and Decorative Arts Society. Taking a cue from Palm Springs, Calif., the two coordinated their schedules.

“If you’re drinking a lot of Red Bull, you can do everything planned this weekend,” Stratton says of events ranging from a cocktail party at the Antonio Morelli house to a costume bash and lounge sets by the likes of Vargas and Lena Prima. A full schedule is at …

A topless show is even getting in on the retro vibe, if you count the vintage pinup, Betty Page sensibilities of Playboy Playmate Claire Sinclair, performing today through Oct. 28 in the MGM Grand’s Crazy Horse Paris. The 19-year-old is Miss October in the magazine and was featured in “The Girls Next Door: Bunny House.” …

Are you hearing “Only You” in stereo? A durable oldies package was involved in a bit of a tug-of-war recently when different producers were trying to lock down dates at the Sahara and Tropicana. The answer turned out to be the Rio’s Crown Theater.

The independently operated theater will host the current incarnations of the Platters, Coasters and Marvelettes starting Nov. 1.

That isn’t stopping former Platter Monroe Powell from opening his own version of the group downtown at the showroom at Tony Sacca’s Las Vegas Rocks Cafe this week. Fighting over the Platters name has kept multitudes of lawyers happy for years.

Sacca will move his own “Vegas The Show” to afternoons, giving Powell the evening slot. So we’re going to have two Platters shows, two Rat Pack shows and two “Vegas The Show(s).” Wish I was making this up. …

The Anti-Defamation League will honor Cirque du Soleil’s head honcho, Guy Laliberte, at its American Heritage Dinner on Oct. 28 at Aria. If you want a shot at asking him what’s up with Criss Angel or the Michael Jackson show, tickets are $300. …

Last week’s column about the Las Vegas Hilton’s upcoming “Triumph” opened a can of worms when Las Vegas-based set designer Andy Walmsley said the producers couldn’t come up with a down payment for his scenic designs.

Producer Bill Gibson wanted to have a rebuttal, and convinced me there is a legitimate dispute over a contract and who signed it, if at all. But it’s turning into a game of finger-pointing too complicated to referee in this forum.

When it comes to what might actually interest the gentle reader about “Triumph,” the Sarasota, Fla.-based Gibson says it’s “not really a magic show,” but “an entertainment that just happens to have magic in it.”

Gibson says he’s as tired of people popping out of boxes as the rest of us, and that when the show opens Nov. 15, “the magic will flow naturally within the structure of a story.”

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at or 702-383-0288.

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