Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 | 5:44 p.m.
The Kats Report Bureau is Fuel Cafe Express at the Hard Rock Hotel, where just behind the counter sits a Christmas scene laden with a dozen gingerbread trees, a toy train sitting idle in a tunnel cut into a plastic mountain and a video of a raging fire. Holiday music has displaced the usual, unbroken complement of rock music. Nice touch in here, where we’re having a holly, jolly Christmas, to quote the great frontman Burl Ives.
Later it will be Imagine Dragons, filling the Joint with strobes and happy noise. The Las Vegas band is finishing off its upcoming album, the first single of which is titled “I Bet My Life.” The guys have hinted that this new release might be a concept album, but we expect only inventive music from the sessions recorded in a home studio right here in VegasVille.
As we used to say in Idaho, let’s shovel the walk:
• A member of “Vegas Nocturne” performed at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. last week. Lest you get all giddy over this concept, it was actually a former member of that wildly imaginative production, Piff the Magic Dragon, along with his sidekick pooch Mr. Piffles, who performed a showcase at the RRL theater Dec. 2. The act’s mastermind and star, John van der Put, is exploring an expanded version of the act. The audience was filled with friendly folk and VIPs, and I understand that it was a smash.
A member of the Penn & Teller operation, Van der Put is no longer under contract with Spiegelworld, the “Nocturne” production company. Word is the overlords at Spiegelworld are still doggedly (so to speak) pursuing a return of that show to the stage, unwilling to let such a grand concept go dark. But the lawsuit between Spiegelworld and the Cosmopolitan, sparked by the messy and expensive demise of “Nocturne,” remains unsettled with both sides declining comment.
• Brian Wilson is reuniting with fellow The Beach Boys co-founder Al Jardine on Friday night at Venetian Theater. Wilson is fronting an episode of the “Soundstage” series to air next year on PBS and AXS TV. His new album, “No Pier Pressure,” is out next year. Joining the broadcast will be Blondie Chaplin, Sebu Simonian of Capital Cities, Nate Ruess from Fun and jazz trumpeter Mark Isham. Tickets are available at $57.75, $74.75 and $90.75.
• The annual Toys for Tots “Pop! Goes Las Vegas” show set for Saturday night at Westgate is, in part, a graduated version of the jam sessions at Tap House and, more recently, Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay as organized by the thunderbolt-unleashing drummer L.J. Harness. He’s also something of a Cadillac expert, as a sales manager for Cadillac of Las Vegas, sponsor of Saturday’s charity show at Westgate Theater.
Co-produced by Las Vegas bon vivant Jonathan Scott, the event’s admission is just $20, or a toy valued at $20 or more. The show starts at 8 p.m.
The festivities will be under the influence of Zowie Bowie’s Chris Phillips (can we line up a double-shot of 151 for this man?); his violinist girlfriend, Lydia Ansel; and singer Nieve Malandra. The night will be further enlivened by music director David Perrico, who brings Pop Evolution back to the Smith Center on Jan. 28 and who also is starting a 15-piece strings/rock/pop project at Rock Lounge at Red Rock Resort on Jan. 10.
Otherwise, nearly the whole gang will be at the Tots festival: Vocalist Naomi Mauro; BBR’s Anne Martinez and Savannah Smith; Lorena Peril of “Vegas! The Show” (singing “God Bless America” with the Marine Corps Honor Guard); comics Dennis Blair, Paul Scally and Geechy Guy; telegenic singers Ben Stone and Jasmine Trias; Pia Zadora, backed as usual by the great Vinnie Falcone; singer and Las Vegas Weekly columnist Maren Wade; “Shakin’ ” star Eric Jordan Young; master Neil Diamond tribute artist Rob Garrett, Elvis impressionist Justin Shandor (from “Million Dollar Quartet”) and Frank Sinatra tribute artist Gary Anthony, singing “American Trilogy”; the cast of “Purple Reign”; “Grease” stage star, and a general star otherwise, Adrian Zmed; his wife, vocalist Lyssa Lynne; Kent Foote and the Vegas Good Fellas; and a special (but not unannounced) appearance by Vince Neil.
• On the topic of charitable events, Mark Shunock has procured the use of a vehicle as one of the prizes in the “Mondays Dark” first anniversary at the Joint. Chapman Jeep donated the use of a Jeep Pioneer for one year to the person who unlocks the Lucky Box with one of the famed silver keys. These usually cost $20, but with the Jeep for the taking, it’s now $100. The format is for the previous 13 charities invited to “Mondays Dark” to return to the event and the next 11 for 2015 to be announced.
The lineup is wide-ranging, newsworthy and eclectic. Among those scheduled to appear: Dot-Marie Jones, Frankie Moreno, Claire Sinclair and the cast of “Pin Up,” Chumlee from “Pawn Stars,” Jeff Leibow reuniting with his “Jersey Boys” cast mates, Edie of “Zumanity,” burlesque star Kalani Kokonuts, twin tappers Sean and John Scott of “Absinthe,” hypnotist Marc Savard, Reva Rice of “Vegas! The Show” and Human Nature.
I believe every artist involved in a ticketed show in Las Vegas will be involved in some charity performance in December. Seriously.
Shunock is hoping for a turnout of 1,000, more than double what he usually draws at Vinyl, but I think he’s going to surpass that goal pretty easily. The January show will be Disney-themed, but this is no Mickey Mouse operation. “Mondays Dark” has become one of our great philanthropic events, and it’s only going to grow in 2015.
• An inspired moment from Travis Cloer’s “Christmas At My Place” show Monday at Cabaret Jazz was his duet with Phillips on “Christmas in Las Vegas.” The song is an instant classic holiday number from the 2013 Christmas album by Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. A lyric: “Rudolph sold the sled, now he’s betting on red, in a casino made out of gingerbread.” Cloer managed to keep a straight face throughout the song, but not Phillips, who broke down while singing, “Every showgirl and boy ride in a sleigh of joy, pulled by eight tiny tigers eating Siegfried & Roy.” Pit boss? Can I get an eggnog here?
• On the topic of Santa Claus (and we’ll protect the identities here), a Las Vegas entertainer visited Santa at a local retail establishment with his/her young children. Santa conversed with the kids to great effect, then recognized the parent as someone who entertains for a living and asked for tickets to an upcoming show.
The entertainer explained, accurately, that Santa does like to take in shows in Las Vegas in the days leading to Christmas. So, you better watch out, Strip performers, lest you risk a bad review — or a lump of coal.
• On the topic (still) of Santa, he’ll be at the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 21, greeting and posing at the attraction’s Grand Staircase. Just get him off the ship before it disembarks …
• The smokin’ Bay Area band Reckless in Vegas is planning to relocate where it rightfully belongs — Vegas — as frontman Michael Shapiro plans to move from his home in San Rafael, Calif., next year and make a run at a room for RIV. The trio, who play rocked-up covers of such classics as “Luck Be a Lady” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” played a series of shows at Downtown Grand in October and November. Shapiro, who grew up here, says he plans to talk once more to Downtown Grand and also is targeting the Strip for this unique, yet swanky, yet powerful, act, which I endorse entirely. They should be here. Period.
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas dares to be different. From the hotel’s red reservations desks to fine art found throughout the resort, The Cosmopolitan’s signature style is helping to pave its own path on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering the resort, you’re greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for The Cosmopolitan. Just beyond that, you’ll find all your favorite casino games on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor.
The Cosmopolitan’s rooms standout as the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of The Cosmopolitan’s 2,995 rooms have 6-foot deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel. Other in-room amenities include soaking tubs, kitchenettes and quirky accessories like artsy coffee table books.
The dining experience at The Cosmopolitan isn’t something you’ll find at other Strip resorts, either. All of The Cosmopolitan’s 13 restaurateurs are new to the Las Vegas market. You’ll find American steakhouse fare in a modern setting at STK, top-notch sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill and the freshest fish flown in from the Mediterranean daily at Estiatorio Milos.
Whether the sun is up or down, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the place to find the party at The Cosmopolitan. The venue is a dayclub/nightclub, complete with a pool and cabanas outside and three different rooms with three different vibes inside.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can grab a drink at one of The Cosmopolitan’s five other bars, like The Chandelier, which is encased in 2 million dripping crystals.