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Agassi lets his hair down in interview

We know more about Andre Agassi‘s wild hair days, thanks to ESPN’s Rick Reilly getting to the root of things.

"How does one find a mullet toupee?" Reilly asked Agassi during their onstage chat Monday in front of a full house at Encore Theater, site of the book launch of his autography "Open."

Agassi: "I have no stock in this company, but Hair Club for Men has a smorgasbord. It’s like a Vegas buffet."

"Ever play on a windy day?" asked Reilly.

"I was one gust from being humiliated," said Agassi, bringing down the capacity house.

Agassi’s brother, Phil Agassi, told me later that only three people knew about the wig, the third being "the rep who helped us." No, it wasn’t Sy Sperling, he added.

The rep told Phil Agassi that the wigs were constructed from hair purchased from India, Asia and Russia.

Neither Reilly nor Agassi tip-toed around any subjects during their conversation.

Early on, Reilly asked Agassi to address the split with longtime business associate Perry Rogers. Was it "World War III?" asked Reilly, referring to a quote from an Agassi insider that appeared in this column last week.

No, said Agassi. Was all the "inflammable" material included in the book a pre-emptive move to prevent Rogers from going public with it, asked Reilly.

No, said Agassi, "He wouldn’t and couldn’t talk about it."

When did he tell his wife, Steffi Graf, about the crystal meth use and what was her reaction? Early in their relationship in 1999, said Agassi, and she teared up.

KELLEY RETIRING AT SUN

Michael J. Kelley, managing editor at the Las Vegas Sun since 1997, announced to the staff on Tuesday that he was retiring by the end of the year.

Also announced at the office gathering: plans to move the Sun to another building and consolidate a number of Greenspun Media Group departments.

Kelley, 67, said in a telephone interview that he informed Sun editor Brian Greenspun in the summer that he was planning to retire. During Kelley’s tenure, the Sun won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2008.

Kelley said the death of his brother this summer influenced his decision to move back east to be closer to his grandchildren.

He confirmed that John Temple, former editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, will step in an interim capacity. Temple, also reached by telephone, said he was not replacing Kelley, but working in an "advisory" role with Greenspun Media Group.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

There have been rumblings that Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte checked out Cirque’s "Viva Elvis" show last week and called for some major changes. Alan Feldman, MGM Mirage senior vice president of public affairs, said he attended a rehearsal with Laliberte last week, "and he was far from upset." …

Deal of the Week: Veterans with military ID eat free today at any Station Casino Feast Buffet location (Aliante Station, Boulder Station, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station, Red Rock Resort and Texas Station) as well as the Festival Buffets at both Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson.The Veterans Day offer is good for one free buffet for any active, inactive or retired military for either breakfast, lunch or dinner.

SIGHTINGS

Welterweight boxing champ Manny Pacquiao and his band, rehearsing on Tuesday night at the Studio at the Palms. Pacquiao, who is the lead singer of a band named Calsada, fights Miguel Cotto on Saturday at the MGM Grand. … Andre Agassi’s father, Mike Agassi, and Michael Graf, Steffi’s brother, among the capacity crowd at Encore Theater. … Luxor headliner Criss Angel, with a young woman and others at Sinatra (Encore) on Monday. … Retired baseball slugger Sammy Sosa at XS nightclub (Encore) on Friday. Also at XS: New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker.

THE PUNCH LINE

"I didn’t say I did meth in ’97. I said math." — Agassi, joking to Reilly at the outset of their conversation Monday at Encore Theater.

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

 

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