Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016 | 12:59 p.m.
Oscar Goodman and Pete Rose
The Kats Report Bureau has been moving at a high clip over the past two days as The Family Kats is in town. My dad, Dr. George Katsilometes, his wife, Betty, Uncle Davis and Aunt Peggy are all in town. Dad owns and operates Lava Hot Springs Inn near Pocatello, Idaho, which you may have seen as the focus of the season-ending episode of “Ghost Adventures” on Travel Channel in December.
Dad’s owned this business for 27 years. I’ve stayed there many, many times. Never been visited by a spirit. But Zak Bagans and his guys spent two nights there, and everything is haunted. “A nuclear reactor for spirits” is how Bagans described the place on the show given its history as a sanatorium built in the mid-1920s and high mineral content of the natural hot water that bubbles from below.
Bagans lives in Las Vegas and found what most visitors to Lava figure out within moments: It is a unique, quirky and lovable little town. At one point, Bagans and his crew were walking along Main Street and turned to see a group of folks lugging inner tubes and inflatable rafts in the middle of the road on their way to float down Portneuf River, which runs through town.
Anyhow, the family usually makes in to VegasVille for the Super Bowl, where today we are watching the game at Tropicana Theater’s Tailgate Party. Never been to that particular event, and we’re not ruling out a visit to Jeff Molitz’s annual Super Bowl house party, but the Trop is where this bunch chooses to stay on these visits. So we’re in the Trop Zone.
But during the past two days, we’ve hit Brody Dolyniuk’s orchestral production at the Smith Center, visited Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 at Hard Rock Hotel, met up with the L.V. Phil, Storm Large and Pink Martini before that performance at Reynolds Hall, toured Casa de Shenandoah, dined at the ever-swanky (or, if you will, uber-groovy) Italian American Social Club, reconnected with Carrot Top (who just leveled the place Saturday night), and finally stopped in to enjoy a pair of … sets by Skye Dee Miles and Mikalah Gordon at Rose. Rabbit. Lie.
It was a hard day’s night, but I feel that I should be more tired than I am. As Uncle Davis remarked, “Las Vegas is an amazing place.” And he lives in Sparks!
More of what we have unearthed around the scene:
• The William Hill commercial featuring Oscar Goodman, an ever-present showgirl and — oh, yeah — Pete Rose was a surprise spring on the former mayor the day of the taping. That was Monday at Oscar’s Beef, Booze & Broads steakhouse at the Plaza. Officials with the Hill company are regulars at Goodman’s dinner series, held roughly once a month in the restaurant’s speakeasy room, and had approached Goodman about cutting a commercial promoting the company’s “in-game” smartphone app (and if anything can entice Goodman to fully embrace smartphone technology, it is an in-game betting app).
But Goodman didn’t know until he read the script Monday afternoon that his co-star in the ad would be Rose.
“I had no idea,” Goodman said this morning. “It was Pete Rose! We behaved like we were old friends, we bonded — he’s a funny son of a gun — and did the commercial.”
In the ad, to air right after Super Bowl 50 today, Goodman is seated next to a showgirl in Oscar’s restaurant. He reaches into his breast pocket to pull out his phone, and a Rose henchman seated at the meeting moves to stop him — maybe it’s a .38! But Goodman slides the phone across the table to Rose, who remains banned for life from being eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, leans forward and asks, “You’re sure this won’t get me into any trouble?”
Maybe this can be a whole Goodman-Rose series. They could perform kind of as the Bartles & Jaymes for the William Hill app.
“You never know,” Goodman said, chuckling. “We could be the new face of legal gambling.”
Customarily, Goodman does have some scratch on Super Bowl 50. He got the Panthers at minus-4, the day the line was posted, and was hoping to catch the Broncos at plus-six and “middle” the bet. “I was going to be a wise guy, but I never caught the six,” he said. “I was rooting for two numbers: The four and the six. I’m staying with the four.” Asked if he would bet the Panthers at minus 5 1/2, he said, “No. I’m staying away.”
He’s not betting the total, either, but he does have a prop bet on Luke Kuechly winning the MVP at 15-to-1, and making an interception at 2-to-1, and the Panthers converting a fourth down at plus-145. Seems a lot to keep track of, unless you are Goodman, who famously says he’ll bet on anything — including a pair of cockroaches dashing across the floor. Even William Hill has (yet) to post such a wager.
• Maybe a duet between Tony Clifton and Wayne Newton is in order here (hashtag-inside reference).
News out of Casa de Shenandoah, where on Saturday afternoon we took a tour of the property’s White House mansion and watched an Arabian horse show, is that Billy Johnson has taken an executive position at the attraction.
The longtime president of the Las Vegas Wranglers, Johnson has been on the search for a new gig since leaving his post as director of University Medical Center Foundation in August. That move, initiated by hospital administration, ended Johnson’s eight-month tenure at UMC.
He spent more than a decade helming the Wranglers, a popular draw among locals up until the team’s contract with Boyd Gaming ended acrimoniously in late 2013 and the franchise could not make a deal with any Las Vegas arena partner — particularly the Plaza, which had hoped to serve as the team’s new home. The Wranglers folded formally in January 2015 and has since sold most of its inventory; Johnson announced his departure the previous December.
Johnson took his post at Shenandoah on Feb. 2. He is doubtless one of the most inventive marketing minds in minor-league sports across the country. Can’t vouch for his horsemanship, though …
• Leading to the 50th installment of the Big Game, Friday was an overdue trip to Smith Center for Dolyniuk’s latest “Symphonic Rock Show,” a well-conceived and impressively produced effort focusing on the music of The Who, Queen, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Dolyniuk is ever the perfectionist, and certainly there were minor audio glitches with the frontman’s guitar, but damn this was a fun show.
It might have been his most impressively produced effort in that room (he’s played Smith Center six times, five at Reynolds Hall, over the years), with fast-cutting video clips, dazzling laser show and requisite stilted-walking character who chants the spoken-word segment of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2.”
The choir form Coronado High joined Dolyniuk, his rhythm section and full orchestra under the direction of Lon Bronson. The show closed with an unbilled tribute to David Bowie, a favorite of Dolyniuk, filled with images of the ever-morphing Bowie.
This is the type of production that really impresses visitors. Dolyniuk made a crack that the audience wasn’t as fired up as in other towns: “Dayton was louder than you guys!”
I feel that was a reference to the city in Ohio and not an individual by that name.
But the crowd was sold out and pretty alive by night’s end. Dolyniuk has filled two venues at the Smith Center in the past three weeks — Cab Jazz with Bronson for a night of The Beatles music and Friday’s show. He has a huge following in Las Vegas and given his drawing power should be back at the Smith Center soon enough.
"My expectations aren't that high for my place... just the best food, the best service, the best ambiance and the best broads!" - former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman.
Goodman, opened his signature steakhouse in December 2011, bringing memorabilia he accumulated during his 12 years as mayor. His restaurant, which is in the glass dome atop the front entrance of the Plaza Hotel and Casino, features aged steaks cooked over a 600-degree grill, which is accompanied by high-quality, made-from-scratch sides by Chef Jeffrey Martell. The libations feature a variety of hand-crafted cocktails.
The restaurant combines the meal and drinks with the opportunity to have one of Oscar's "Broads" visit with customers during dinner.
"These attractive women are reminiscent of the iconic showgirls who accompanied the former mayor to events during his tenure. However, instead of being showgirls, these women will be dinner companions who can discuss Las Vegas history or things to do downtown or on the Strip. When not mingling with customers, they stroll through the restaurant as hostesses, adding to the glamorous and uniquely Vegas style of Oscar’s," according to the restaurant's promotional materials. The restaurant opens daily at 5 p.m. Reservations can be made onlineor by calling 702-386-7227.
Oscar's Lounge is just outside the restaurant, featuring hor d'ourves, such as crab cakes or seared ahi tuna, and martinis. The lounge opens daily at 4 p.m.
Calvin & James, an acoustic jazz duo, from live entertainment from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
A private dining area, which can accommodate up to 100 people, is also available, serving Italian entrees and appetizers inspired by family recipes or named after legendary mobsters.