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October 31, 2014

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David Perrico leads musicians in ‘Pin Up Players’; light at end of tunnel — and showroom — at Plaza

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

David Perrico’s Pop Evolution on Fremont Street Experience for The D’s opening night Saturday, Oct. 20, 2013.

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David Perrico of Pop Evolution.

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2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair arrives at Nevada Ballet Theater's 29th Annual Black & White Ball honoring Woman of the Year Mitzi Gaynor at the Bellagio on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013.

A good raking is what this scene needs. We have turned up the following:

• It has long been accepted that as part of the live music in “Pin Up,” live musicians would actually play in the show. This is the case as Stratosphere gears up for the Feb. 25 premiere of the much-anticipated production. The show stars 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair and hearkens to famous pinup images and figures primarily from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Maybe we’ll see some other decades sampled, too, as the concept of the pinup is really an idea for all time that knows no calendar demarcations.

The six members of what we’ll call "The Pin Up Players" are trumpet virtuoso David Perrico (founder of Pop Evolution and a mainstay in the Lon Bronson All-Star Band, among many other musical ventures); Brian Czach, a killer drummer who can play anything (he was Rick Faugno’s music director for a time); bassist Jozef Bobula (who has backed Wayne Newton, sat in with “Legends in Concert” and is one of the busiest bassists in town); sax player Andrew Friedlander (also from Pop Evolution, Lon Bronson All-Star Band and late of Gossy Horns in Matt Goss’s Caesars Palace show); hashtag-trombone solo specialist Steve Meyer (also of Pop Evolution); and guitarist Rich Taylor, who is fired up about his new music video “Bombs Away.”

The pinup of “Pin Up” is Sinclair, who along with five backing dancers has been choreographed by “Dancing With the Stars” pro dancer Lacey Schwimmer. The show is to run 10:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. Tickets are $49.99, minus fees.

Oh, and this is not a topless show. Probably should make that clear every time we note Sinclair’s involvement in the production. Once more: Not topless. But very sexy and stylish, and the music is not to be doubted.

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The Phat Pack, shown shuffling at the Plaza.

• Plans for the showroom at the Plaza to reopen are still not quite in focus, but the latest is the room will be back online in 30 to 45 days. Or, maybe 60 days. A new operator is being lined up to run the showroom and box office after hypnotist and sometime showroom operator Anthony Cools pulled out of the hotel in December. That left the shows performing in that room -- specifically “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Bite,” “The Phat Pack” and “Grand Ole Vegas Revue” -- without a place to play. It is not certain which, if any, of those shows will return to the room, which will be outfitted with a new light-and-sound system, as explained by Jonathan Jossel, who is director of Las Vegas properties for Tamares Group, which owns the Plaza, Las Vegas Club and Western in downtown Las Vegas. The hotel is pretty much open to any act that can work in a showroom, so … opportunity knocks.

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Vanishing act: Amazing Johnathan is calling it quits in Las Vegas after 13 years.

• While speaking of properties owned by Tamares, and of individuals named Johnathan, a Facebook post by the eminent Amazing Johnathan caused something of feather ruffle this week. This bears examination: A.J. wrote a post on his Facebook wall saying he was excited about a new venture at Las Vegas Club, in which he was being charged with redesigning the entire casino floor. A.J. met Saturday with Jossel, in which the two did talk of casino design, and soon after the meeting, A.J. wrote that post. He also reiterated his new role at the hotel in a phone conversation Tuesday.

But as it happens, officially, formally, the all-but-retired comic magician has not been retained to do any design work at the casino. There is no confirmation of him working in an official capacity at L.V. Club. A.J. does have a relationship with Tamares with his Screamont Street Experience haunted house and has a sharp eye, and acute passion, for casino design. But what really needs to happen here is for the two Johnathans to agree on what’s been agreed upon in relation to any plans for the design of Las Vegas Club.

As for Johnathan’s act, he retired from stage performance in December (also using Facebook to make that news public) as his deal to sublease Windows at Harrah’s went sour. He’s still performing one-offs around the country, about once a month, but as for Las Vegas -- as of this moment -- the great Amazing Johnathan show is no more.

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Pat and Zoe Thrall at Studio at the Palms, Monday Feb. 4, 2012.

• For a few hours Sunday, Pat and Zoe Thrall were not sure if Pat had won a Grammy for his work on the Frank Ocean album “Channel Orange.” He was listed as an official nominee for Album of the Year and Record of the Year (for the song “Thinkin' 'Bout You”). However, on some official Grammy literature, Thrall was listed as a nominee for Best Urban Contemporary Album, which Ocean did win. But Thrall, as our best intel has led us to believe, did not win a Grammy in that category. Which is a bummer. But he did get a little medallion for being nominated.

One of the most unexpected Grammy honors went to “American Idol” Season 5 champ and Napoleon’s at Paris Las Vegas headliner Taylor Hicks. About a year ago, he recorded a video clip on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night talk fest with Stephen Colbert and backed by The Roots performing the Rebecca Black song “Friday.” This is the video that precedes Hicks’ stage show. The audio clip wound up on Fallon’s comedy album “Blow Your Pants Off,” which was nominated for -- and won -- Best Comedy Album. So that’s how an “American Idol” champ wins a comedy Grammy and afterward says, “When they said I’ll be appearing with Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, The Roots, a yeti and a beekeeper, I said, ‘I’m in.’ ” Watch the clip and you’ll know what Hicks is talking about.

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

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