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October 31, 2014

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More to be revealed as Holly Madison’s show takes shape; Bob Anderson due for a makeover as Sinatra

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1923 Bourbon & Burlesque by Holly Madison at Mandalay Bay.

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Bob Anderson.

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Bob Anderson and Tom Jones.

The Kats Report has been relatively quiet over the past few days to allow time to write a couple of cover stories for sister pubs Las Vegas Weekly and The Sunday.

The Weekly story centers on my friend Jerry Tiffe, the man I’ve often referred to as The Last Lounge Singer of Las Vegas. Others have come along since Jerry opened at Regency Lounge at the Sands more than 35 years ago, but he is still performing a show beholden to the true lounge stylings that helped make Las Vegas the so-bestowed Entertainment Capital of the World.

For our Las Vegas Sun weekend pub The Sunday, it’s a look at some of the more intriguing and famous figures in the world of “reality” TV shows (quotes added because these shows are frequently staged, to some meaningful degree). Chumlee of “Pawn Stars,” Dirk Vermin of “Bad Ink,” Scott and Amie Yancey of “Flipping Vegas,” Danny Koker of “Counting Cars” and Holly Madison (“The Girls Next Door” and “Holly’s World,” lest we forget) are all featured.

As we reset the column, some stuff to shake from the rake:

• On the topic of Madison, her “1923 Bourbon & Burlesque by Holly Madison” production at Mandalay Bay is off to a measured start. Last Friday night, a bunch of us cut into the club next to RM Seafood in the old Forty Deuce spot and spent time watching as Madison took part in the dance lineup to vignettes sung by Skye Dee Miles of the Tropicana Lounge and Sophia Monica of “Peepshow.” The live band was tight, as promised, the music more advanced than the somewhat hastily assembled dance numbers, as during the week Madison herself was not sure there would be any dancing on the soft opening night.

The significant news is that Madison broke off her partnership with her original artistic director, Gene Lubas, who had been collaborating on many of the vignettes and helping make casting decisions. Stepping in to help direct the dancers is former “Peepshow” dance captain Michelle Deterlizzi (she performed that show’s pole number, which was fantastic, if pole numbers are your thing). There has been some chatter, not verified, that Lubas has drawn interest from the creative team at “Jubilee” to help straighten out that production in the wake of Frank Gatson Jr.’s hasty departure, along with the recently assigned creative team, this month.

Madison said she will be back onstage this weekend but over time will stay behind-the-scenes as the club and production evolves. And for those who were expecting the dancers to striptease to pasties, Madison says that will happen. The costumes are not yet finished, one of those “construction delays” we’ve been hearing about.

• Another comrade with a long lounge history in this city, terrific vocal impressionist Bob Anderson, is moving to the big room — for one soaring night. His production, “Frank, The Man, The Music,” will be performed May 4 at 7 p.m. at Venetian Theater. Yep, from the Top of the Dunes in the 1970s and ’80s to the theater that was home to “Phantom” for six years.

Anderson is summoning a 32-piece orchestra under the direction of Sinatra’s longtime music director, Vinnie Falcone, and is using as his makeup artist Kazu Tsuji, nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Having seen Anderson perform as Sinatra (and dozens of other superstar singers, including Tom Jones, Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Bennett), this could be something special. Anderson has been based in Branson for about a decade, but ask those who saw him in the days of the Dunes, and they’ll tell you there is no better voice impressionist.

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Producer Wassa Coulibaly works in the sound booth during rehearsal of "Tribal Night" at Baobab Theater at Town Square in Las Vegas Saturday, October 5, 2013.

Polaroid Fotobar and Museum Preview Night

Victoria Quang and Nikki Delos Santos with an Andy Warhol cutout in the Polaroid Museum on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at the Linq. Launch slideshow »

• The city’s foremost Senegalese theater operator and former Cirque du Soleil performer, Wassa Coulibaly, is putting on what is likely her most ambitious production tonight at 8, “Tribal Night” at Baobab Stage in Town Square. This sort of multi-ethnic show is a passion of Coulibaly, a night of music and dancing from an array of cultures.

More than 50 artists are expected to take the stage (but not all at the same time) during the performance. Tickets are still available for $20 in advance and $25 at the door; click the Baobab Stage website. Coulibaly left “Zumanity” in October after a 10-year-run in a show she considered both a career and a family, to run Baobab Stage. It’s deserving of support, on “Tribal Night” or any night.

• There are plans for the Silver Clouds installation at the just-opened Polaroid Fotobar and Museum at the Linq. The Andy Warhol-inspired display of silver balloons floating in a giant glass case is, for now, off-limits to the public. But the plan is to open the glass case and allow visitors to move around freely inside the installation itself. The museum is loaded with interesting and nostalgic pieces and photography. One favorite is a 1999 magazine ad of a young recording artist taking what would come to be known as a selfie with a Polaroid I-Zone instant camera. The star? Britney Spears.

• A person who has a bit role — and one line — in the upcoming film “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” that has been filming in and around Wynn Las Vegas: Deven May of “Jersey Boys.” He plays one of Kevin James’ (as Blart) security guard partners. He speaks a line, but we’re not going to spoil the entire movie — or franchise, for that matter — by making it public.

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

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