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November 25, 2014

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It’s a return to ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ on the Strip

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Joseph Donato / Cashman Photography

Al Pacino with Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson One” cast members on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Mandalay Bay.

LVCVA Unveils Beatles Plaque

Rossi Ralenkotter, center, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), is joined by guests and Cirque du Soleil performers from Love, as he unveils a commemorative plaque during a news conference in the lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. The event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles concert in Las Vegas on August 20, 1964. Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is the sports book at Mandalay Bay, where in about 27 minutes I’m swinging by Mizuya Lounge to check on my favorite Beatles tribute band The Fab.

Guitar great and soaring singer Pat Woodward has fronted this crew since 1995. Nearly 20 years, remarkably, as The Fab has performed all over the valley, places indoor and outdoor, around the valley.

Some have gone, and some remain.

I first caught The Fab at the late swill house Mad Dogs & Englishmen and also at the late lounge at Palace Station, spending quite a few addled evenings shouting such requests as “Rocky Raccoon!” “Revolution No. 9!,” and “Anything By The Rutles!”

We have disconnected recently, but the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ performances at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Aug. 20, 1964, has reignited our contact. The Fab is playing a special anniversary show at Mizuya next Wednesday, on the very date of The Beatles’ Las Vegas performances, with my old buddy Dennis Mitchel (host of the syndicated radio show“ Breakfast With The Beatles” since 1822 or whenever) serving as MC.

So on this show, everyone just join in, clap your hands and stamp your feet.

Onward:

• Ever imagine what it would feel like to look over at the person seated in the chair next to you, and he is Al Pacino? Me, neither.

Until last week.

Click to enlarge photo

Al Pacino: One Night Only

That is when I was asked if I would be interested in moderating Mr. Pacino’s appearance at the Mirage on Saturday night, which is titled “One Night Only” and set for Terry Fator Theater. We’ll be in an “Inside the Actors Studio” format, with the interview and film clips from Pacino’s career played on the big screens flanking the stage.

An audience Q+A segment, too, is to be folded into the program. (Tickets are $165 to $220; a VIP package offering a meet-and-greet, photo and signed program is $500; that is to mean a meet-and-greet with the actor, not with me).

Pacino has never appeared in Las Vegas in such a stage performance or in any live performance. This is an exceedingly rare opportunity to see one of the greatest actors ever talk of his life and career in such an intimate environment.

As for my involvement, I can only say that I am beyond honored to be asked to help navigate this event, and I will give it the energy and attention it deserves.

Oh, and I also am nervous as hell.

Murray Sawchuck First Anniversary at Tropicana

Headliner magician Murray Sawchuck celebrates his first anniversary at the Tropicana with wife and onstage assistant Chloe Crawford and sidekick Doug Launch slideshow »

• Laugh Factory headlining comic magician Murray Sawchuck and his counterpart at the Riviera, Jan Rouven, are recording episodes for an upcoming series, “Extreme Escapes,” to air in September on the cable network Reelz (though Spike would be more befitting, given Sawchuck’s hairstyle). The two magicians are to appear in a total of six episodes (three apiece) and have been setting up and performing various death-defying stunts.

Such as appearing onstage with Al Pacino.

Sawchuck in particular is always busy with these types of cable shows. It is said the sun never sets on a Sawchuck TV project. He has been an expert on “Pawn Stars” and just last month wiped out on the ABC game show “Wipeout.” His hopes for hosting the “Pawn Stars”-themed game show “Pawnography” game show were dashed when comic Christopher Titus was hired as host.

But these guys are hustlers, Sawchuck and Rouven, and we are looking forward to seeing if these boys make it out of whatever contraptions they are strapped into alive.

• Alycia Cooper enters her weekend stint opening for Whitney Cummings in the “Lipshtick” comedy series on a hot streak. The Las Vegas resident and busy club comic — having just finished a run at Riviera Comedy Club — defeated a field of 100 female comics to win the “Ladies of Laughter” competition in New York. The nationwide event was sponsored by Admire Entertainment Talent Agency, and the semifinals and finals were held over three performances at Gotham Comedy Club ending last weekend.

Cooper counts as her influences Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone and Margaret Cho. “Anyone who is going to say what they think is funny and not worry about offending anyone, I am a fan of,” Cooper says. “I am not going to not say something because it’s not going to offend someone else. That’s not how I work.”

• Following the recent column on “Love” assistant head of lighting Stuart Pitz, who attended the afternoon show performed by The Beatles at Las Vegas Convention Center on Aug. 20, 1964. Pitz and his sister, Valerie, ran into a person selling bed sheets purportedly used by the band during their stay at the hotel. The selling of Beatles bedding, their authenticity often verified by a signed affidavit by hotel officials, was popular during the early days of Beatlemania.

“A porter had ripped these up into 2,000 pieces, and we ran down there and got a piece,” Pitz remembers. As for which member used the square snapped up by Valerie, who still owns the little square, Pitz says, “It would take an investigation.”

NeNe Leakes in ‘Zumanity’

NeNe Leakes in Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity” at New York-New York. Launch slideshow »

• On the topic of “Love,” specifically, and Cirque in general, there is word on the scene that both that show and “Zumanity” are due for significant changes by the end of this year. I’m told that there are major upgrades in store, as Cirque is forever looking to keep pace with its own high standards while keeping a step ahead of the competition. We’ll be tracking that creative process in the coming weeks.

• Swinging back to “Pawn Stars,” star Rick Harrison and former Flamingo Las Vegas headliner George Wallace join “The Adam Carolla Show” during its broadcasts at Treasure Island’s Mystere theater on Aug. 29. The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets are $37.40 and available at the T.I. box office. Carolla’s show is a genuine Internet sensation as the most downloaded daily broadband show in the country for the past five years.

• David Perrico is heating up Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center on Tuesday night with special guest star Franky Perez. The performance is sufficiently powerful with Perrico and his 20-piece band, fronted by vocalist Naomi Mauro, a collection of artists who really fill that room with a joyous sort of sound.

Perez is no shrinking violet, either, and has just been hired as the singer for the all-cello rock ensemble Apocalyptica. He has not performed yet at Cab Jazz, so this should be a cool (and voluminous) experience.

• In my note about the return of the bubble act to “Absinthe,” mentioning new cast member Charlie Starling, I lost my Kokonuts. Indeed, Kalani Kokonuts also has been in the bubble in “Absinthe,” subbing in the act during the time Angel Porrino was in the cast. Kokonuts is one of the city’s great burlesque performers.

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

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