Las Vegas Sun

July 24, 2016

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Giles Martin is asked, ‘You know Paul McCartney?’; cupid’s arrow finds Brad Garrett

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Steve Marcus

Music producers Sir George Martin and Giles Martin arrive for the fifth-anniversary celebration of “The Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil” at the Mirage on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

Love Fifth-Anniversary Red Carpet

Yoko Ono Lennon and Sean Lennon at the fifth-anniversary celebration of The Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage on June 8, 2011.

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The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is 24 Seven Cafe at the Palms, which is the rare all-night eatery in VegasVille that shares a walkway with a Hooters restaurant. Yes, just behind me is the largest Hooters in the United States (in terms of square footage).

As they say at Hooters, these two locations of destination are a tight fit. Something’s got to give. The Hooters logo always reminds me of a prop of Carrot Top’s: a rectangular board with two giant holes cut out. “This is the Hooters job application — you just fill it out.”

• If you are asking the musical question, “Where’s the 'Love' at Mirage?": The Cirque-Beatles production is dark for upgrades to the show, which eventually will coincide with its 10th anniversary celebration in July. The show actually opened in June 2006, but the anniversary event is sliding around to accommodate the schedules of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.

Giles Martin is once more in charge of the musical “soundscape” of the show. In the updated show, the son of The Beatles producer Sir George Martin is dropping the needle (if you don’t get that reference, stop reading) on “Twist and Shout” and pulling “I Am the Walrus.” The Beatles’ cover of The Isley Brothers’ R&B gem is unveiled early in the show in the segment that connects the bombing of England in World War II to the band’s embrace of rock ’n’ roll.

The conversation with the engaging and articulate Martin is to be used in an upcoming story about the show in the Sun's sister publication, Las Vegas Weekly. But before we talked of the specifics of the show, Martin took me off-guard with a tale about a column I’d written about him in October 2014 before the Life Is Beautiful festival. Martin and “Ka” music director Richard Oberacker had teamed with Cirque artists for a Beatles medley to open the event (brother, it was a performance, too).

“Someone mailed me that story, and I put it up on my refrigerator,” Martin said. “I don’t have much in the way of press about me around the house, and I don’t have a lot of photos of me or awards or anything that shows who I am or who I’ve worked with. That story is about the only thing that says anything about it.”

“So, I am on your fridge?” I asked Martin. “I can retire now.”

It gets better.

“A few months ago, my housekeeper pulled the story off the fridge and read it,” Martin said, laughing. “I come home, and she says to me, ‘You know Paul McCartney?’ She seriously had no idea who I was or what I did, and she’s been working for me for more than a year.”

It gets better yet.

“Then she says, ‘I walked by Abbey Road (studios) and saw where they walked across the street (for the “Abbey Road” cover shoot) and saw the outside of the studios,’” Martin said. “I said, ‘You know, you can go inside. You can tour it.”

So Martin wound up taking his housekeeper on a tour of Abbey Road. She was positively thrilled. All I can say is, all you need is love … and some well-placed literature.

• On the topic of love stories on this Valentine’s Day, I’ve been clutching this yarn about Brad Garrett and his relentlessly patient girlfriend, IsaBeall Quella, for a while.

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Brad Garrett, right, proposed to girlfriend IsaBeall Quella on Dec. 27, 2015, in New York.

Specifically, since Dec. 28.

On the night of Dec. 27, Garrett took “Izzy” on a trip to New York, where the couple were staying at Waldorf Astoria, that city’s famous five-star (or six when Garrett is there) luxury hotel. Garrett booked the 3,300-square-foot Winston Churchill Suite, where the couple were visited by Marc Cohn, the acclaimed singer-songwriter who penned “Walking in Memphis.” The reason for Cohn’s visit was ostensibly so he could scout the room for a future performance.

The performance was that night. A favorite of Garrett, Cohn strode to the baby-grand piano in the corner and began to play a pair of tunes earlier requested by Garrett: “Walk Through the World” and “True Companion.”

“I got down on one knee,” Garrett said the next day, “and realized I need a new hip.”

He also proposed, and the couple are engaged to be married. “The wedding is scheduled for 2026,” Garrett says, marking a date that will ensure that he has recovered from hip-replacement surgery. Garrett and Quella met in July 2008 when she was working at an art gallery in Boston. Garrett walked in, pointed at a painting of President John Adams, and said, “So, you have Barbara Bush’s portrait in here.”

Before the wedding, the Next Big Thing for Garrett is the arrival of Mike Tyson’s “Undisputed Truth,” a partnership between Tyson and SPI Entertainment of Las Vegas, which opens March 3 at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club. Garrett is closing in on his fifth anniversary (which is March 29, officially) at the Underground entertainment and retail walkway. Its drawing power is owed to Garrett — and the magnet store next door.

Melody Sweets Party at Fizz

Melody Sweets hosts her holiday party at Fizz on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Caesars Palace. Launch slideshow »

• Among those taking in the final performance of “Jubilee” at Bally’s, enjoying a last burst of spectacle and sharing in a good cry, was Melody Sweets of “Absinthe.” She was seated just off the front of the stage alongside Diana Eden, who worked with Bob Mackie and Pete Menefee on the show’s original costumes.

Sweets has a unique, and moving, history with the show. She first visited Las Vegas in September 2001, the weekend before 9/11. At the time, Sweets was the host of a popular New York burlesque revue, "The Sweet Shop," and her apartment was just a 10-minute walk from the World Trade Center.

Sweets saw “Jubilee!” in Las Vegas three days before the attacks felled the Twin Towers. Her group and she were stranded in the city for several days as air travel was halted and disrupted, and they finally rented a Jeep for an epic road trip back to New York.

“We finally did get home, but only after a 48-hour, nonstop drive across a wounded and terrified country,” she wrote in an email Friday, the day after “Jubilee’s” final show. “The only thing I wanted to remember about that horrible time was the beautiful, and seemingly perfect, ‘Jubilee!’ performance we had seen before the attacks. ... The show was glamorous, it was campy, it made me laugh, it made me cry. I mean, who wouldn't cry after seeing that amount of Swarovski crystals on one stage!”

Sweets would return in the spring of 2011, herself a star of a show on the Strip with “Absinthe,” and made sure to see that last presentation of “Jubilee” She had also taken a group of friends to see the show a couple of weeks prior.

“It was as beautiful, and seemingly as perfect as when I saw it 10 years prior,” Sweets said. “Except, this time I was watching it through the eyes of a singing burlesque showgirl filled with excitement and gratitude for the 10 years of inspiration and motivation it had unknowingly given to me.” As Sweets noted, “Jubilee” was largely inspired by the art of burlesque in its original form, then in turn inspired the burlesque performers who followed — including herself. “It meant so much to so many people,” she said. “And, as sad as I am to see it end, I'm looking forward to what comes next.”

• “Rock of Ages” has found a new Lonny, and he is the original Lonny: Mitchell Jarvis, who held the role during the show’s first run in New York and steps in as Mark Shunock leaves the cast Feb. 28. Also departing, after a too-short return to Las Vegas, is cast member Justin Mortelitti, whose last spin as Drew ends that night.

Jarvis starts his run March 1. He announced his move to the show at the Rio on his Facebook page with this missive: “So, I'm officially playing Lonny in ‘Rock of Ages Vegas’ for three months. I'll be in the show March 1 until the end of May. Looking forward to joining up with the cast and to reconnect with this show that I have loved for so long. :) See you in Vegas, baby.” Yessir. Bring some earplugs.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

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