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November 19, 2017

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Pia Zadora rocks out with ‘MDQ’; Patrick Duffy hangs at State of the Union; Floyd Mayweather Jr. seeking $10.4 million taker?


Christopher DeVargas

Pia Zadora in her home, July 19, 2012.

The Kats Report Bureau at this moment is the Fortuna coffee bar at LVH.

The hotel used to be Las Vegas Hilton, of course, and before that the International. They say Elvis used to order tea at the very spot whence I am now writing. I feel his presence, as what might have been an apparition just whisked by me and whispered, “Cilla?”

It is time for the rake. Ya gotta hand it to me:

• Not readily recalled during her cabaret-styled performances at Piero’s is that Pia Zadora is something of a rocker. Yessir, in 1985 Zadora was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female for “Rock It Out.” Tina Turner won the award for “You Better Be Good to Me,” topping a remarkably diverse list of nominees: Zadora, Wendy O. Williams (“Wow”), Bonnie Tyler (“Here She Comes”) and Lita Ford (“Dancing on the Edge”).

Among those not nominated were Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar … and Boy George #SheckyKats.

By the time of those awards, Zadora had won a 1981 Golden Globe as Best New Star for her spin in “Butterfly” and since has long been known as a singer of standards as she opened for Frank Sinatra and continues to work with Sinatra’s one-time music director, the eminent Vince Falcone.

But Tuesday night, Zadora is sauntering back to her rock ’n’ roll roots. This takes some relocating, as Zadora moves from Piero’s to Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios (or a replica of such) for a guest appearance in “Million Dollar Quartet.” She is to sing Brenda Lee’s “Sweet Nothin’s” (a song I first heard in the movie “American Graffiti”) with the cast at the conclusion of the production’s mini-“fantasy” concert, which typically ends the show.

“It’s a night for me to go from standards back to rock,” Zadora said in a phone interview over the weekend. “I love the show because it really captures a moment in time for these guys who would become legends. It has a kick-ass band, and I’m just looking forward to going back in and watching it.”

Zadora is the fifth guest star in the show (joining Frankie Moreno, Taylor Hicks, Veronic DiCaire and Holly Madison) but won’t be the last. The show is to receive a shot from another guest vocalist by the end of the month, and, yes, there is a hint in there.

And there is more, even, to impart about the “MDQ” crew.

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Kristen Hertzenberg.

• Joining the cast as a swing (that means understudy) performer is a familiar performer in VegasVille: Kristen Hertzenberg, who portrayed Christine in “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” and also is appearing in her own one-woman show at Cabaret Jazz in Smith Center on Saturday night. Hertzenberg is joining “MDQ” full time as the swing for the Dyanne character, replacing Stephanie Lynne Mason, who played the role when the lead performer, Felice Garcia, was off. Garcia is still the main Dyanne, with Hertzenberg playing the role from Feb. 27-March 10 when Garcia is on vacation.

Mason left the show to be with Mikey Hachey, who is a great bassist and also her boyfriend. They’re off in the Cirque universe, touring with the show “Varekai.” As for Garcia, she reached the Top 10 in the 2014 Miss Nevada USA Pageant this month. As for Rob Lyons, who portrays Carl Perkins, he continues his indefatigable campaign to return the adjective “groovy” to the lexicon.

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Patrick Duffy delicately holds an untitled Phillip Argent painting in preparation for relocation from the warehouse in the previously closed Las Vegas Art Museum Friday, Feb. 17, 2012.

• The strangest email of the year (and this is no small statement, trust me) arrived Monday from Las Vegas art collector, Las Vegas Art Museum President and Life Is Beautiful curator Patrick Duffy. This message was that he had seen someone in Washington, D.C., who looked just like me. Duffy walked over to this man and, dropping into a deep Southern accent asked, “How the (heck) are ya?”

The guy turned, and Duffy noticed his collar. Yep, he’d misidentified a priest. An unamused priest, in this instance.

More important, but not nearly as comical as Duffy’s errant overture, is the reason he is in Washington. He attended the president’s State of the Union address tonight as a member of the Nevada delegation. He was invited as a guest of Rep. Dina Titus.

In a follow-up phone call, I asked Duffy if the invitation was for all of the work he has done for the arts in Las Vegas.

“I don’t know about that,” Duffy said, chuckling. “It’s really serendipitous. I think I am honored for all that Las Vegas has done for me. Are you kidding? We’re coming out of our most difficult economic period in the city’s history, and there is so much happening to be grateful for, and if the message is about optimism, I am very optimistic. I’m really just very humbled to be asked to be in the same room as the president.”

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws a punch at WBC/WBA 154-pound champion Canelo Alvarez during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013.

• A reported Super Bowl wager by champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. reached ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” this afternoon, with co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon debating whether Mayweather actually made a $10.4 million bet on the Broncos in Sunday’s Super Bowl. I think both of them were pretty skeptical that this bet has been made, and that is well-placed skepticism.

Chatter about this wager surfaced on Twitter, but Mayweather (as of this writing) has not addressed reports that he has wagered, or has attempted to wager, that sum on the Broncos (the line here at LVH is Broncos -2).

A Las Vegas sports book official told me earlier today that Mayweather has actually been trying to make that bet around town, but no book will take action because the figure is way too high. Like, more than $8 million too high. The ceiling for a Super Bowl bet, as this veteran operator says, is about $2 million. If this bet does happen, Mayweather (who is known to lay some serious cash at Vegas sports books) will likely tweet it himself.

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