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April 23, 2014

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Sugar Factory to take over Meatball Spot’s spot; Elvis Tribute champ from Vegas also is a great Tim McGraw

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Bryan Steffy/WireImage

Joe and Melissa Gorga at Carla Pellegrino’s Meatball Spot in Town Square.

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Kendall Jenner and Charissa Davidovici at Sugar Factory in New York City.

This raking of the scene picks up items from Town Square, Fremont Street, Stratosphere and even Memphis week in Elvis. Er, Elvis Week in Memphis, I should say:

• The reported move of Meatball Spot from Town Square to Planet Hollywood in a new partnership among Charissa Davidovici (and by proxy, her husband, Steve, who has helped manage the Town Square eatery), Tom Recine and Britney Spears raises the question: What is going to be moved into the old Meatball Spot across from Yard House at Town Square?

Expect another Sugar Factory outpost (also a Davidovici operation) to open there, most likely in the fall. Meantime, former Meatball Spot partner Carla Pellegrino has long been scouting locations to open another of her Bratallian restaurants in Las Vegas and is finishing a cookbook to be published in time for the holidays.

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Chad Collins of Las Vegas competes in the second day of the Las Vegas Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Collins won the competition.

• Chad Collins won the Las Vegas Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest at Fremont Street Experience, defeating 18 other Elvis tribute artists (or ETAs, as they are called in the Elvis universe) for a chance to win the international competition this week at Elvis Week in Memphis. When word spread that Collins had won the contest, those who knew him from his work in Vegas were somewhat surprised. Not because Collins is not a great impersonator. He is — but has been known to perform a tribute to Tim McGraw, whom he portrayed for years as one of the acts in “American Superstars” at the Stratosphere and also in “Legends in Concert” across the country (the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest in Vegas is produced by “Legends” but does not prohibit performers in those shows from competing at Fremont Street).

In those shows, Collins has used his alternate stage name, Chad Givens. His performance at Fremont Street in May was his first foray into an Elvis portrayal in public. Today in Memphis, he meets the other top ETAs in the world. For Collins to win that competition would be one of the more remarkable outcomes in the contest’s history.

• The charity take from the second “Showbiz Roast,” which brought Oscar Goodman to the stage at Stratosphere, was $4,000 for the Miracle League of Las Vegas. The next “Showbiz Roast,” with Frank Marino of the Quad’s “Divas Las Vegas,” is set for Oct. 4, again at the Stratosphere. Producer Andy Walmsley is already looking for roastees for the first roast of 2014, likely in January or February.

• One of the great photographers anywhere (and we include Florence, Venice and Paris in “anywhere”), Denise Truscello, had been talking about this very cool assignment she’d picked up in Southern California. This was a series of portraits taken of film and TV stars and the like at the annual D23 Expo: The Ultimate Fan Event in Anaheim. Such stars as Anthony Hopkins, Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Natalie Portman, Kristen Bell and Ty Burrell sat for portraits as part of a photo gallery by Truscello and an accompanying story by Alison Schwartz. Click here to see the gallery photos posted by the magazine.

Roger Daltrey at FSE

Roger Daltrey of The Who with Fremont Street Experience President Jeff Victor at FSE in downtown Las Vegas on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. Launch slideshow »

• The Who is the latest famous rock band to have an 8-minute, video-music package splayed across the Fremont Street Experience LED canopy. The new video presentation begins this fall. The show is titled “The Who — Miles Over Vegas” and will feature a medley of “My Generation,” “I Can See For Miles” and “Pinball Wizard.” Bon Jovi, Queen, The Doors and Heart are other rock acts whose music and videos are played on the curved display each night on the hour.

During a photo op Tuesday afternoon on the 3rd Street Stage, FSE President Jeff Victor presented an oversized $5,000 check representing the donation by the company to Teen Cancer America, the charity co-founded by The Who members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. Victor said the new show will not replace any existing presentations at FSE.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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