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November 19, 2018

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Andrea Bocelli’s voice, Robin Leach sit-down highlight Ruvo Center fete

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Larry Ruvo and wife Camille Ruvo are honored by Andrea Bocelli and wife Veronica Bocelli in Florence, Italy.

Andrea Bocelli at MGM Grand

Andrea Bocelli headlines Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is KUNV 91.5-FM at UNLV. KUNV has been the focus of an effort by Nevada Public Radio to take over operations of the campus station and add it as a third outlet on FM airwaves, joining KNPR 88.9-FM (where “State of Nevada” is the anchor show each weekday) and classical music station KCEV 89.7-FM.

At a Friday morning Board of Regents meeting, UNLV President Len Jessup tabled the issue of this attempted shift of operations for KUNV indefinitely. KUNV is being charged with getting to the next level, however that is to be executed. There are plans to develop an advisory board to review how the listener-supported campus station does business and uses FM airwaves to serve the community.

My own involvement in this issue is twofold: I’ve long been a supporter of KNPR as a guest and, infrequently, a guest host over the past decade or so. I also have hosted on KUNV for eight years, an unbroken run dating to a four-year period with “Our Metropolis,” leading to our current entertainment program, “Kats With the Dish,” which debuted in February 2011 and airs 8 p.m. Fridays. That long affiliation speaks to my feelings about the staff and value of KUNV.

But I also have to say, through this process, however the community is best served — whether it’s with a community radio station that helps educate communications students at UNLV or is part of the impressive Nevada Public Radio operation — I will support. And so should you. It’s now time to really understand how KUNV’s strong signal is best used.

• The Sunday “Brunch With the Bocellis” at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health drew 150 folks to the clinic’s Events Center. A function of Ruvo Center’s Keep Memory Alive charity division, the brunch served as an unveiling of the marble statue “Omaggio a Andrea Bocelli,” carved from a single slab of marble by Bualtiero Vanelli, the self-styled “Marble Man” who spent six months on the piece.

When Ruvo Center founder Larry Ruvo, his wife Camille, Bocelli, his wife Veronica and the artist pulled back the sheet, Bocelli joked, “He looks familiar.”

The great Italian opera singer is blind, you see …

That crack reminded me of something Bocelli said about 10 years ago to the day when he was promoting an upcoming PBS concert on a floating stage at Lake Las Vegas. During the news conference giving the details of that “Great Performances” telecast, I asked Bocelli about the way Ray Charles said he could tell if he was meeting a beautiful woman. Charles reportedly said he always put his hand around the woman’s forearm and could detect her beauty that way.

“Do you have any way to tell if you’re in the presence of a pretty woman?” I asked. Bocelli’s answer. “Of course! I ask my brother.”

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Robin Leach stands near the bench dedicated to him at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in downtown Las Vegas.

Also during the event, my colleague and frequent running mate at events all over town, Ubiquitous Robin Leach, was honored with a bench outside the clinic facing toward the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Robin has been a supporter of Ruvo Center since it was but a vision 25 years ago, coming through in a crisis when the mic failed at the first Keep Memory Alive fundraiser at Spago. He has since donated all of the money he raises from his commercial voice work (and that voice is the gift that keeps on giving, right?) to the clinic.

Most recently, Robin helped fund a new MRI machine at the center. When I asked how much it costs, as this equipment is akin to purchasing a new luxury vehicle, Robin responded, “Don’t ask.” But it was a great day and a brilliant event highlighted by Bocelli singing a segment of “Ave Maria.” And if you didn’t tear up at that, you were probably in the wrong room.

• Quick quiz: Of whom did Carrot Top say, on the event of his 10th anniversary show Sunday night at the Luxor: “I am going to have to give her (a hard time) for not coming to see me.”

Answer: Comic actress Melissa McCarthy. C.T., as we know Scott Thompson, played a cameo role as a centaur in the upcoming film “Michelle Darnell,” which is due for release in the spring. Topper had been offered a role in “Zoolander 2,” too, but that film’s shooting schedule interfered with his previous commitment to the McCarthy vehicle over the summer. The two got along famously, which makes sense as they share in the funny.

McCarthy was in town over the weekend and made it to a great production that was not Carrot Top’s show — “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. But there should be a chance for her to see Topper at some point. Having just signed a five-year extension through 2020, he’s not going anywhere.

Brandon Flowers at Bunkhouse

The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers performs solo at Bunkhouse Saloon on Saturday, March 21, 2015, in downtown Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

• Two days before he announced that The Killers, joined by Wayne Newton and EDM artist Shamir, would open Las Vegas Arena on April 6, Brandon Flowers took part in the 75th anniversary tribute concert for John Lennon. The concert was at Madison Square Garden with Flowers singing “Instant Karma.” Sheryl Crow and Chris Stapleton joined him later for “Don’t Let Me Down.”

Also in the performance: Spoon the Band, Eric Church, Aloe Blacc, Peter Frampton, Pat Monahan of Train, Willie Nelson and Steven Tyler. That crew joined host Kevin Bacon for a show-stopping take on “All You Need Is Love.” Lennon was killed 35 years ago Tuesday.

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

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