Las Vegas Sun

May 22, 2019

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LASt VEGAS’ gives a new wrinkle to the party-in-Vegas spirit of ‘The Hangover’


Steve Marcus

Actor Jack Nicholson waits to see the Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton fight at MGM Grand in May 2009.

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Jack Nicholson, top, is shown with his co-stars in "The Witches of Eastwick," from left to right, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer, 1987.

If Hugh Hefner hasn't been sought for at least a cameo appearance, someone at CBS Films should be fired.

An explanation: Reported Tuesday by New York Magazine's Culture Vulture column is that Jack Nicholson is being sought to star in a film called "LASt VEGAS," certain to be another dopey term recited by flight attendants on descent to Las Vegas.

The film is to be a sort of "Hangover" meets "Going In Style," or "Grumpy Old Men," with a script crafted by Dan Fogelman, who wrote "Cars" and "Bolt" and is drafting the script for a yet-untitled Warner Bros. film starring Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling.

In "LASt VEGAS," four men who were friends in the '50s — that means their own 50s along with the 1950s — reunite so they can marry off the last member of the quartet who has never taken a wife. His name, in the film, is "Billy." His name, in real life, is "Jack Nicholson."

Nicholson is 73, but we expect will be a sprightly center character in a film concept that reminds of Bette Midler's line, "My audiences used to be on drugs. Now they're on medication."

Hefner, who a couple weekends ago visited Playboy Club at the Palms for his 84th birthday and said he was a big fan of "The Hangover," could be used as a sort of immoral compass, a mythic recurring figure shot in soft lighting, for the recklessly single Billy.

(Just a thought. I am often Wishna-like in my zeal to bring all sides together.)

The plot's tension is forged as Billy and a bachelor/widower named "Paddy" swoop on a hot Vegas lounge singer (and someone should put a call in to Michaelina Bellamy at once). Vulture obtained a copy of the film's script, and here's the description of the Billy character.

"These eyes have a spark in them. They belong to BILLY GERSON (70's), every bit the mischievous imp he was as a young boy, a stark contrast to the others."

To quote Bill Murray, "I wanna party with you, cowboy."

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David Saxe.

Saxe's Fifth Avenue

David Saxe is holding another round of auditions this week in his race against the clock to get "Vegas! The Show" onstage by June 1 at Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood (exhale). Saxe also just wrapped a "sizzle reel" to pitch to production companies, which would be a reality show about Saxe's wide world of entertainment in Vegas. I know of this project because Saxe and I were recorded as we taped his appearance on "Our Metropolis" for a show to air Tuesday. And if anything says, "sizzle," its two guys warbling into microphones on an NPR affiliate. But seriously folks, it was a dandy show (plug alert!) that airs at 6 p.m. Tuesday on KUNV 91.5-FM.

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A promotional shot of Sonny Charles and Marvin "Sweet Louie" Smith, the Checkmates.

Sir Charles

As anyone who tracks local newsmakers will verify Yardhouse at Town Square is the place to be. Monday night, near the entrance, I ran into Sonny Charles, surviving member of the legendary Las Vegas lounge act the Checkmates. The band went silent in December 2007 following the death of Marvin "Sweet Louie" Smith at age 68 while the duo were performing on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

Since then Charles' solo career, remarkably, has blossomed. Today he is vocalist for the Steve Miller Band. Miller had long been a fan of the Checkmates, who kicked around Las Vegas starting in 1964, when they played Pussycat A' Go Go on the Strip, near Desert Inn, a casino that closed in 1971. The Checkmates were regulars in such rooms as Sahara's Casbar Lounge and Arizona Charlie's Naughty Ladies Saloon.

Charles was onstage again in Las Vegas last year, but his surroundings were a bit more regal than a lounge. He joined Miller at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. With him positioned at Miller's side, the band kicks off its next U.S. tour on May 21 at M Resort's Villaggio del Sole.

When we talked this week, Charles was particularly eager to note his contributions to the latest Steve Miller album, his first studio release in 17 years. Charles sings four songs on the album, whose title hearkens to the Checkmates' casino-dwelling days: "Bingo."

Harmony, but no dot-com

As Steven Wright, or the late George Carlin, would say, "There should be 'don't wopp,' for people who don't like doo-wopp."

But for those who do like doo-wopp, the Doo Wopp Hall of Fame of America is making its Vegas debut at the Venetian Showroom on Friday and Saturday.

The Doo Wopp Hall of Fame is a concert featuring great vocal groups from the 1950s and 1960s, up until the moment The Beatles performed on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "wopped" out most of these groups. But vocal harmonies are timeless, and the groups onstage at Venetian Showroom are (and we pull from the news release here): Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners ("Since I Don't Have You", "Pennies from Heaven" and "This I Swear"); The Marcels ("Blue Moon" and "Heartaches"); The Legacy of Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters with son Ron McPhatter ("Money Honey", "Treasure of Love", "A Lover's Question"); George Galfo's Mystics ("Hushabye"); and The Royalty of Rock 'n Roll All-Stars featuring Billy Davis (Jimi Hendrix's first guitar tutor) .

Shows are at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now, priced at $62.50 and $49.50. Go to Venetian's website or call 414-9000.

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Las Vegas entertainer Stephanie Dianna Sanchez in the Las Vegas Sun studio Monday, February 22, 2010.

South Beach Steph

I believe it was a first at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon: Lady Gaga, being wailed from the stage typically occupied by Big Elvis. But on this night, which was Friday, Stephanie Dianna Sanchez and the local rocky-rolley band The Trust performed there until about 2 a.m., and Gaga's "Bad Romance" was among the songs unleashed on the transfixed crowd.

Since leaving "Fantasy" in November, Sanchez has hardly ceased performing. She has been onstage at Bally's Indigo Lounge and The Courtyard at House of Blues, promoting her new album "Small Town." This weekend it's Tropicana's Celebration Lounge (which, at this point, might as well be incorporated into The Kats Report brand) for "Tequila Nights," tonight, Friday and Saturday. The gig runs from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. tonight and Saturday; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday. It's a South Beach-style, DJ-vocalist setup, fronted by the Steph, who customarily knows no bounds.

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