Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 | 1:16 p.m.
At this writing, The Kats Report Bureau is at an undisclosed hotel-casino favored by locals. I won’t say which hotel-casino, lest I risk being run out of the building without warning.
Let’s clear the puck, shall we?
• Clint Holmes calls it “one more piece of recognition as I try to take my show to New York.” That recognition was being named Best Celebrity Male Vocalist by BroadwayWorld.com for his cabaret show “Stop This Train,” which Holmes performed at one of his Cafe Carlyle appearances in October. The award is entirely fan-generated, and as Holmes says, “It’s not like some guy in New York is deciding this.” In garnering support during the voting process, Holmes and his sidekick (and my own frequent running mate around VegasVille) Jerry Jones of vocal group 5th Avenue pushed the voting link across Facebook and Twitter.
“I got votes from all over,” Holmes says, “but especially in Las Vegas. People here knew how important this award is.”
Not long ago, Holmes didn’t have much use for social media (I used to joke about his rotary-dial cell phone), but he has effectively linked up with his fans on the Internet over the past couple of years and as a result received a huge voting response from Las Vegas. Holmes has already grown into a favorite in New York for his appearances at Cafe Carlyle (and also at Birdland and Feinstein’s), breaking through as a Las Vegas artist in a city historically skeptical of Vegas performers.
“It has taken a couple of years, but I’ve finally gotten past that ‘he’s a newcomer, who is this guy?’ thing,” Holmes says. “Now they’re going, ‘OK, this guy has something going on.’ ”
The show referenced by Holmes is the Broadway play that is the latest evolved version of his musical “Just Another Man.” The play is being directed by celebrated acting coach Larry Moss, who worked with Leonardo DiCaprio in preparation for DiCaprio’s role in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Moss is not so much an acting mentor as a force of nature, and Holmes says the two are fine-tuning the musical along with another piece called “How High the Moon,” a semi-autobiographical musical that focuses on three generations of singers in the same family.
“Whichever version gets the most traction, and by traction I mean money from investors, we’ll go with,” said Holmes, who is back with his regular set of shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The show is titled, or maybe themed, “The After Party,” picking from the shows Holmes and music director Jeff Neiman have arranged and performed the past year. Then he’s back in New York at the end of the month for another swing with Frank Wildhorn and Jane Monheit in the fantastic “Frank & Friends” showcase, this one co-produced by Smith Center President (and avid 49ers fan) Myron Martin.
As Holmes ticked off his schedule for the next month, he paused and said, “No wonder I’m so tired.” No worries. He can sleep later.
• Claire Sinclair was all aglow Friday night, not an atypical characteristic for the 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year and star of “Pin Up” at the Stratosphere. She had a good weekend, with a supercharged audience Thursday night (and I always miss being in those supercharged audiences) and a new one-year contract extension to stay in the production.
This new pact is six months longer than Sinclair’s original six-month contract in the show. Sinclair says she’s working harder than ever and pursuing a reality TV show that would focus on her life in Vegas — with the emphasis on her life and not so much on Vegas. Apparently broadcast execs are reluctant to buy into a project that too reminds of such reality-based shows as “Holly’s World” on E!, which of course focused on the star of a Strip production in Las Vegas.
But Sinclair is determined to make 2014 the year in which she gains a tight grip on her life and career in Las Vegas, with the show at the Strat as her launching point. With a tireless group of dancers, Lisa Marie Smith growing into her role as the show’s vocalist, and David Perrico’s backing band as torrid as ever, “Pin Up” celebrates its first anniversary in March. Yep, the show with a real pinup at the center will have run the calendar, a fact that is impressive to a lot of entertainment types in Vegas, trust me.
• Sun Belt Communications founder and owner of KNSV-Channel 3 Jim Rogers has reportedly fallen ill again battling cancer. News of his second cancer diagnosis in the past six years arrives a couple of weeks after I’d heard through the galaxy of vintage vehicle owners that Rogers is selling pieces of his extensive Sun Belt Auto Collection.
Listed on the official website for Hemmings Auto News, for decades the best-known source for the buying and selling of antique cars and the parts for such, are 14 of Rogers’ finest vehicles. Up for sale: A 1926 Reo Bus, 1928 Chevrolet flatbed, 1929 Model A, 1931 Ford railway, 1932 Chevrolet fire truck, 1935 Ford, 1936 Ford tanker, 1937 Ford fire truck, 1937 Studebaker, 1946 Chevrolet stub nose, 1947 Hudson, 1948 Chevrolet fire truck, 1948 Ford and 1950 Mercury.
Rogers’ collection, which numbers nearly 200 and has been valued at $5.5 million, is well-known across the country by those who collect and deal classic vehicles. His collection is filled primarily with American-made cars, nothing particularly exotic (no Duesenbergs, for instance) and steeped in nostalgia. Rogers’ first car was the one he owned — a 1940 Ford. He’s always too busy to drive any of them, but he loves them anyway.
The fascination with old vehicles runs in Rogers’ family. Rogers’ father was an adventurous wheeler-dealer who typically amassed a half-dozen cars at a time. A decade ago, Rogers recalled a story of his father trading the family vehicle during a road trip through New Mexico.
“There was a time when we were driving back from El Paso to Albuquerque, and we were driving a 1949 Roadmaster Riviera and my dad saw two Chevrolets — a hardtop and a station wagon — sitting at a car dealership,” Rogers said. “We stopped, took everything out of the car, and my dad traded it on the spot. We put the stuff in the cars and away we went.”
There are a lot of car collectors who understand that rationale perfectly. One of them is Rogers himself.
It is virtually impossible to be anywhere in Las Vegas and miss the Stratosphere. It towers 1,149 feet above Las Vegas and is the tallest observation tower in the United States. The casino itself is 55,784 square feet and contains 950 slot machines, 120 game tables and 2,427 hotel rooms.
Of the hotel's 2,427 rooms, 909 were recently remodeled into Stratosphere Select rooms.
The Stratosphere is mostly known for its rides at the top of the tower. The Big Shot, located at the 113th floor, torpedoes riders up 160 feet using compressed air. X-Scream is a teeter-totter perched at the top of the observation deck — if that wasn't scary enough, the coaster arm flings the riders out 27 feet over the edge of the tower. Guests looking for something more sedate can just hang around the 107th floor and simply look at the scenery.