Published Monday, June 8, 2015 | 1:58 p.m.
Updated Monday, June 8, 2015 | 3:42 p.m.
As always, The Kats Report Bureau is between mani-pedi appointments. More will be explained here, of course. But a rare manicure-pedicure and interview at the salon Color, the Michael Boychuck groovy grooming fortress at Caesars Palace, highlighted the weekend.
This was for a column coming up this week in Las Vegas Weekly. The nails are still shining and, yes, it does tickle.
• The Amazing Johnathan and his wife, Anastasia Synn, celebrated their first anniversary with a pool party over the weekend at the couple’s Green Valley home. Not an ordinary pool party, naturally, as the night ended with a splashy volleyball game under black light in which the participants were smeared with florescent body paint.
Luxor headliner Carrot Top; master puppeteer Scott Land and his wife, Lisa; Penny Wiggins (Psychic Tanya in A.J.'s act and one of his closest friends); and comic Geechy Guy were among those to stop by the celebration, which also featured a knife-throwing contest among amateur knife-throwers and requisite backyard pyrotechnics.
The scene inspired the understandable question, “What could possibly go wrong?”
A.J. was in remarkably good spirits and is still fighting the degenerative heart condition that has effectively ended his performance career. Anastasia and he are considering stem-cell treatments for his ailing heart, but this talk is very preliminary and just began, well, Sunday.
A little more than five years ago, A.J. was diagnosed with the degenerative heart disease cardiomyopathy. He also suffers from Type-2 diabetes, which disqualifies him from receiving a heart transplant. His final performances were last June 30-July 1 at Magic Castle in L.A. His saga has been expertly chronicled by Julie Seabaugh in an L.V. Weekly cover story in January, and in October A.J. himself told of his health perils in an appearance at “ENTSpeaks” in Inspire Theater.
“Don’t feel sorry for me because I have had the best, most incredible life that anyone could have.” And for A.J., the party seems far from over.
• We expected a lot of tease from the “25th Annual Tournament of Tease” Miss Exotic World competition Saturday night at Orleans Showroom highlighting the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend at the Orleans. But we didn’t anticipate that Burlesque Hall of Fame executive director Dustin Wax would deliver one of the biggest teases.
Appearing late in the five-hour program, Wax strode onstage in a quite-reflective silver suit and told the audience that the Burlesque Hall of Fame had, just that afternoon, entered into an agreement to move into a space “20 times larger” than its current home at Emergency Arts on Fremont Street.
That space is about 1,200 square feet, meaning the new home to the famed collection would be about 24,000 square feet. But lacking was the “where” and “when” of it all, and after the show Wax said he was not yet authorized to disclose more details, though the space is in the Arts District. The collection moved to Emergency Arts in 2010, and the Hall of Fame itself is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The memorabilia covers more than a century of burlesque history and was long curated by the late burlesque legend Dixie Evans. The collection’s former home was a big barn in an abandoned goat farm near Helendale, in the Mojave Dessert about a third of the way from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. The Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend was a fundraiser for the effort to preserve the collection, and a move to a new and larger home is long overdue.
• Oscar Goodman is sticking with the topic of Jimmy Chagra for his next dinner series talk, set for Thursday night at Oscar’s Beef Booze & Broads at the Plaza. “The Kingpin” is the title of the topic, referring (we expect) to Chagra, once one of the largest marijuana dealers in the West who was a client of Goodman’s.
Though Goodman spoke May 28 about his time with Chagra during an appearance at the Mob Museum, the former mayor promises a more personal account for Thursday’s event at the restaurant’s speakeasy room.
“This might be my best appearance yet,” he said, once more eschewing humility. (The full-menu dinner is $150 per person; call 702-386-7227 for reservations.)
• Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah is set for a mid-summer opening as a public attraction. Newton has returned to the legendary 52-acre estate at Sunset and Pecos roads. As plans advance, job listings are posted at CasaDeShenandoah.com/careers. Positions open include visitor’s center/tour manager, security and transportation manager, marketing and group sales manager, administrative assistant, tour guides, cashiers for ticketing and retail, shuttle drivers and security guards.
Visitors to the attraction are to be led through the property via shuttle to view wildlife, Arabian horses, classic-car collection, private jet and fascinating collection of memorabilia amassed by Newton during his years in Las Vegas. A few private, preliminary tours and a party paying tribute to longtime Newton family friend Bud Paxson, the Home Shopping Network and PAX TV founder who died in January, have been held on the property.
• Here is a mention of Dee Snider related to a show that is not “Raiding the Rock Vault.” In an earlier interview, Snider mentioned a possible return to “Rock of Ages,” as he performed the role of Dennis Dupree on Broadway a few years back. At first, it was expected that would happen early next year, but now I’m hearing that it could be by the end of ’15. Whichever, it’s a good idea. “Rock of Ages,” inspired as it is, can always use some ticket-sales ignition. And Dee Snider is nothing if not an igniter.
• Blue Man Group is performing what it is terming an “autism-friendly” show at 2 p.m. Sunday at Monte Carlo. BMG and Autism Speaks are amid a yearlong partnership, and $25,000 raised from the show will be directed to the charity. The production also is staging these one-off, autism-friendly shows at its Boston, New York, Chicago and Orlando venues through December.
As relayed through a company news release, for these shows “slight modifications will be made, including reducing sound and light levels at various moments during the performance and making headphones available upon request.
“The Blue Men will limit the amount of direct audience interaction and keep their approach to the audience more subdued. Blue Man Group will also create calming environments in each theater’s lobby for families seeking a break from the excitement.”
• House of Blues at Mandalay Bay headliner Carlos Santana performed the national anthem Sunday before Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. As S.F. Gate reports, Santana has been a Warriors fan since 1975, the last time the franchise has claimed the NBA title. Remarkably, Santana has performed the national anthem just four times in his career, saying, “I am very selective. It has to mean a lot to me.”
The guitar great says Warriors guard Stephen Curry is his favorite player. “How can you not love that little guy? He’s adorable,” Santana said. “You look in his eyes, and you see so much nobility.”
True to its namesake, The Orleans gives visitors a year-round Mardi Gras feeling with a New Orleans French Quarter environment.
Located just a short way from the center of gambling on the Strip, The Orleans offers a collection of attractions that helps to draw in a mix of locals and visitors.
In addition to the 1,885 hotel rooms and 134,000-square foot casino, the property has a 70-lane bowling center, an 18-screen movie theater, an 850-seat showroom and a 9,500-seat arena, home to the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team.
The hotel also has 14 dining options, including Canal Street, The Prime Rib Loft, Koji Sushi Bar & China Bistro and Big Al’s Oyster Bar.