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July 16, 2018

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DJ Ashba is deep into Sixx:A.M., but GNR is not finished; record-setting drag event is taking over the Strip

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Erik Kabik / ErikKabik.com

DJ Ashba performs during Guns N’ Roses’ “An Evening of Destruction, No Trickery!” on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, marking the band’s return to the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel to launch their second residency.

Guns N’ Roses’ ‘An Evening of Destruction: No Trickery!’

Guns N' Roses' Launch slideshow »

DJ Ashba's 40th Birthday at the Joint

Guns N' Roses guitarist DJ Ashba celebrates his 40th birthday at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is the Village Pub at the E Gates at McCarran International Airport. Tonight the E stands for enervated, as this is a uniformly exhausted assortment of travelers. I’m off to New York on a Jet Flew, or rather Jet Blue, to see my buddy Frankie Moreno perform Friday night at Carnegie Hall.

The theme throughout this show with the New York Pops is Frank Sinatra, but the lineup is unalike. I’ve not seen Storm Large before, having missed her show at Cabaret Jazz last November. Ryan Silverman I’ve seen at the Stratosphere during Moreno’s performances there, and he is a bona-fide star in the world of musical theater.

Tony DeSare, too, I’ve seen, as Don Rickles’ opener at the Orleans in March 2009, the night Rickles said, “There’s a big crowd at the Rio tonight. They hung a Mexican in the lobby.”

Rickles still packs the house, and DeSare provides The Rat Pack groove to open the night. Frank Sinatra in particular loved Rickles, and the man who flays audiences with Rickles-like zeal is Brad Garrett. More on him in a few paragraphs.

Meantime, cue the band:

• Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba is not the GNR guitarist this weekend. Rather, he’s performing with SIXX:A.M. at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Friday night. SIXX:A.M. is the hard-rock band founded in 2007 by Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx and vocalist James Michael, and the lineup at the Joint also features the cello-metal band Apocalyptica fronted by Las Vegas native Franky Perez.

Also a resident of Las Vegas, Ashba is working on side projects from this side project, most notably a soundtrack to a major motion picture due for release this summer. Ashba has just recently began scoring (films), expanding on his work with director and producer Eli Roth, for whom he wrote the music in the 2013 horror film “Green Inferno.” Ashba also crafted music at Roth’s since-closed Goretorium horror attraction on the Strip.

At the end of the most recent Guns N’ Roses residency at the Joint, rumors abounded that Axl Rose had no plans for any further touring or recording with the current lineup of GNR.

But Ashba expects to return to the stage with Rose, saying, “I’ve got his back whenever he needs me. Ever since I joined GNR six years ago, it’s almost been nonstop touring. But we’ve kind of talked of more touring, and I’m looking at this more as a hiatus than the end.”

Josh Strickland's 'Report to the Floor' at LAX

Josh Strickland's debut performance of Launch slideshow »

• On Sunday at 11 a.m., the Hard Rock Cafe on Paradise is making a run at the biggest drag event ever. This is an attempt to stage the world’s largest drag performance in history. The spectacle is to be monitored by a panel of volunteers reporting to Guinness World Records officials, which answers the question: Does Guinness World Records list a category for the world’s largest drag performance?

Indeed. The target is 55, which is the current world record as recorded at Axis Nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, last July. Las Vegas has this, straight up, and I’m honored to be asked to serve as an “official witness” to the happening.

Among the criteria we witnesses are to follow: “The drag queens may be males dressed as females or females dressed as males.” And, “All participants must wear full opposite-sex attire, as well as wigs and full makeup.”

This is to be a single, fully choreographed routine involving every participant lasting a total of five minutes. Josh Strickland of “Vegas! The Show” is co-hosting, so count on an enlivened performance by the MC. The event is no cover, and “bottomless mimosas” are $20. Just keep it clean, folks. You’re being watched.

Brad Garrett's Comedy Club

Kate Gosselin in the audience at Brad Garrett's Comedy Club VIP Grand Opening at MGM Grand on Thursday, March 29, 2012.

Launch slideshow »

• Garrett is thundering into his fourth year at MGM Grand by packing the house at his club in the Underground at the hotel. Garrett continues to show no restraint in shellacking even his fellow headliners at MGM Grand. He spent several minutes performing a twisted David Copperfield impression, mocking the magician’s penchant for moving his act into the audience: “I need from you a coin, a napkin and your vagina …”

Garrett’s current run as host is bolstered by featured comic Quinn Dahle, who is developing a sitcom pilot about his life, and Steve “Mudflap” McGrew, a killer headliner at Garrett’s club who helped open the venue in April 2012. Garrett just finished recording voiceovers for his upcoming memoir, “When the Balls Drop,” which he is releasing “appropriately” on Cinco de Mayo.

(I had earlier erred and reported the release date as Cuatro de Mayo, which is a far less celebratory date). Garrett will be touring with the book this spring and summer, and publishers are trying to get him to quit making fun of the book and himself in this process. Good luck with that.

• I have read reports of Vinnie Favorito closing his show at Flamingo Las Vegas, which happens about four years too late for George Wallace’s liking (Wallace loathed the fact that the hotel was in business with Favorito just across the casino from the showroom, where Wallace headlined for a decade).

A master of the celebrity roast, Favorito performed at one of Andy Walmsley’s “Showbiz Roast” productions at the Stratosphere, the first such event where Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie was the target. Afterward, Walmsley complained that Favorito had failed to repay a personal loan of $5,000 and told the comic that he would put up a billboard asking for the money back if he were not repaid.

Walmsley did get his money, but Favorito never performed another roast. And, consequently, there is yet another room opening up for someone in Las Vegas looking for a place to play.

• On the topic of venues and those who would occupy such, keep an eye on the space at Palazzo that was once home to The Act. The ill-fated nightlife-cabaret concept under the operation of Simon Hammerstein, creator of The Box in SoHo in New York, closed in November 2013 as the hotel began complaining about the club’s ribald content. The place was reportedly bleeding revenue anyway and has sat latent since its final night.

However … there is some serious movement at that club on the second level of the Shops at Palazzo. I am hearing about a show backed by a highly popular Las Vegas act and a significant production company full of specialty acts sure to dazzle and tantalize. Keep the radar up for more about this room and production.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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