Las Vegas Sun

November 17, 2018

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John Katsilometes on what might be the next phase of Tommy Rocker’s Cantina (Hint: Think topless)

Tommy Rocker's high hopes for a condominium tower are all but dead, and the guitar-playing restaurateur is eyeing topless dancers.

These are related developments.

A year ago Rocker (real name: Thomas Greenough) unveiled plans for a 46-story, 252-unit condo tower near the southwest corner of Dean Martin Drive and Flamingo Road, which since 1995 has been the site of his locally famous Tommy Rocker's Cantina. The high rise was to cost $150 million, and Rocker had investigated various design innovations for the project (including an automated "robotic parking" structure), which was to be finished by 2008. But as a result of the local market's increasing labor and material costs, Rocker has shelved his lofty plans.

"Fortunately I didn't have much money invested in the project," Rocker said Tuesday night during a fundraiser at his club for the Professional Drivers Association of Las Vegas cabdrivers.

Instead, Rocker has been dropping in on topless joints ("just for research and development," he qualifies) and is seriously considering turning his business into an adult club. He holds a license for a topless business on his current property and says he could have the club turned into just that in about nine months.

Rocker estimates he would make 10 times the profit at a topless club than he would as manager of the cantina, which is essentially a bar that serves food and offers video poker as Rocker performs classic rock songs for festive patrons (many of them tipsy Parrotheads).

Rocker noted that adult clubs, like casinos, are exempt from the recently passed smoking ordinance banning smoking in any establishment that serves food. He is already mulling over what he would call the place - it would no longer be a "Tommy Rocker's," but he might borrow from the club's address on Dean Martin Drive: 4275.

NoteMart

A pair of newsbits from "The Producers," scheduled to open for previews on Jan. 31 at Paris Las Vegas: The latest addition to the cast is Leigh Zimmerman in the role of sultry Swedish secretary Ulla. The 37-year-old Zimmerman is a veteran of Broadway and London's West End, and has most recently portrayed Go-To-Hell-Kitty in the revival of "Chicago." Also, show producers are saying "Chop it!" to ticket prices for locals during the first week of previews, offering rates of $60 to anyone with a valid Nevada ID (previews run through Feb. 7). After previews the prices are $75, $108, $128 and $143 ...

The latest from the lawsuit that Steve Wynn filed against Lloyd's of London to recover $54 million in lost value for the damaged Picasso painting "Le Reve" (Wynn plunged his elbow into the painting in September while showing it off to friends and art dealers during a private party): Lloyd's underwriters have offered to pay $112,000 to cover repair costs, an offer Wynn has dismissed in published reports as "ridiculous." The night before the mishap, Wynn had agreed to sell the painting to billionaire Steve Cohen for $139 million (the deal has since been called off) and claims its post-elbowing worth is $85 million. The damage is reportedly to the left forearm of Marie Therese Walter (Picasso's mistress, who is the subject of the portrait) and still visible under black light ...

This item was forwarded by my colleague, Sun reporter Launce Rake: The Clark County Government Center, home to a local government that is busy talking about "transparency" as the investigation into problems at the county-run UMC continues, has a poster advertising a Jan. 9 training session for county employees: "Confidentiality!" says a bloblike cartoon character, holding up one finger in a "shushing" gesture. "What happens in the county stays in the county!" ...

Reportus interruptus: The "Weekend Today" segment on Las Vegas-based relationship-enhancement company Passion Parties, scheduled to air last Saturday morning, was bumped and has been rescheduled for Jan. 27. An NBC crew recorded footage at a party in Summerlin, and company President Pat Davis was interviewed for the report ...

Meow mix: Caesars Palace is set to open the Pussycat Dolls Casino across from the Pussycat Dolls Lounge inside Pure Nightclub, the first week of February. The new gaming area will feature Pussycat Dolls slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette and a big six wheel ...

Orleans moments: During one of his well-attended shows at the Orleans Showroom over the weekend, Tony Orlando was joined by Sonny Turner of the Platters for an impromptu rendition of "Hey Jude." Orlando's opening act, comic Sammy Shore, continued to spin stories in the face of a blaring fire alarm (and received a standing ovation for his ability to focus) ... Spotted at the Orleans Arena during Friday's Las Vegas Wranglers-Long Beach Ice Dogs hockey game was a guy wearing a Wranglers jersey with "Mitchell" and the No. 78 stitched across the back. It was KKLZ 96.3-FM DJ Dennis Mitchell ... At Brenden's Irish Pub, as Killian's Angels charged into the Charlie Daniels Band classic "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," the band was joined by a woman dressed in a black shirt and pants, wearing red devil horns and a matching pointed tail who wielded a plastic pitchfork in one hand and a tiny golden fiddle in the other. Her right arm was covered by a black sock displaying the bone structure of the forearm and hand (to make the ensemble look even more demonic, I guess). She acted out the entire song, sprinting from one end of the stage to the other, then at song's end placed the golden fiddle under a mike stand - where it somehow got stuck. It was an exhausting performance ...

All in: Poker's "Robin Hood" and author Barry Greenstein has purchased a 2,406-square-foot residence at Panorama Towers for $1.1 million ...

Reader calls (twice!) with a plate she spotted on a silver Saturn SUV at Red Rock Resort: NEVRWIN.

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