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Blues Traveler’s John Popper at the center of roofie-Rolex incident; how Minus 5 added up for Holly Madison


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Blues Traveler, with frontman John Popper, performs at Henderson Pavilion on Friday, May 17, 2013.

Updated Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 9:41 a.m.

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Blues Traveler, with frontman John Popper, performs at Henderson Pavilion on Friday, May 17, 2013.

Holly Madison’s show is not being produced by Base Entertainment but will feature entertainment from a great bassist.

What the heck is Johnny talking about? More will be revealed, later, in this raking of the scene:

• Following up on the item from my colleague, UURL (uber-ubiquitous Robin Leach), the rock artist at the center of the Great Roofie Rollover at Mandalay Bay is Blues Traveler frontman John Popper.

How would I know this? Because John Popper told me.

This bizarre and potentially ruinous event unfolded late Thursday night and early Friday morning at Mandalay Bay. Popper was in town, in part, to attend the “One Night for One Drop” Cirque du Soleil show at MJ One Theater. As Popper described in my conversation with him (and his account closely matches what was reported in UURL’s Vegas DeLuxe column), he arrived Thursday night, had a drink at a hotel bar and walked onto an elevator with a woman he’d met on the property. What he remembers next is regaining consciousness but disoriented, the apparent victim of a roofie dose in his drink.

Popper soon realized that he was missing his wallet, $2,500 in cash, and a Rolex Presidential watch he originally valued at $19,500 but is likely worth even more than that (as he noted, he was looking at a less-expensive Rolex model anyway, but still, the lost timepiece was a huge value). Originally it was through that Popper lost his credit cards, but that was not the case.

Popper's connection to Las Vegas is that he is managed by Seth Yudof, founder of UD Factory, who also was at “One Night for One Drop.”

When asked for a report of the incident involving Popper, Metro Police today said only that Metro officers responded to a grand larceny call from the 3900 block of Las Vegas Boulevard at 8:36 a.m. Friday and that the incident is an “ongoing investigation.” (Mandalay Bay’s address is 3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South). Popper reportedly did file a report to those Metro officers but was not treated by any medical personnel on site or at any Las Vegas hospitals.

As Popper said, when you are roofied, you just sort of inherently know it. Hopefully he’ll have his stuff returned and the episode will serve as yet another reminder to be careful with those cocktails, kids.

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Holly Madison makes a Toys for Tots donation at Minus 5 Ice Bar in Mandalay Place.

• How Holly Madison was linked with the operator of Minus 5 Ice Lounge has been something of a curiosity as Mandalay Bay this week announced the April 11 opening of 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque. At least, I’ve been curious about how Madison was able to find that particular partner in her new show, formally titled “Bourbon Burlesque by Holly Madison.”

The summit-maker here was Steve Flynn of Langdon Flynn Public Relations, who is Madison’s former PR rep and a current PR rep for Minus 5 Director of Operations Noel Bowman. Flynn had known of Madison’s general concept for a burlesque-styled speakeasy and thought of Bowman, who specializes in intimate-scope entertainment venues, even those set in room temperature.

Months after Madison met with Bowman, we have a swanky new club hosting a very promising show that is to spotlight one Jozef Bobula.

You might know Bobula from earlier in the column, which talked of a great bass player in town. Bobula is currently in “Pin Up” at the Stratosphere and is one of the players — and a great one — in “Bourbon Burlesque.” He's so good he uses, like, an extra string.

Madison says all of the musicians and dancers in the show work in Las Vegas. She adds that show times will be Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m., and she will be singing the first two weekends (April 11-12 and April 18-19) and also on media night April 17. Rehearsals are now continuing. There has been some murmuring on the scene that the location at Mandalay Bay at the escalators leading to and from the Shoppes at Mandalay Place is not ideal (and the official news release announcing the events seemed to account for that concern by saying the club is “seductively” located). Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce danced that same spot and closed in 2009.

But Madison brushes aside such skepticism.

“We are built out in a way that will make the space very prominent, that is very eye-catching and of the era,” she said in a phone conversation Monday night. “Mandalay Bay is a lot different than when Forty Deuce was there. The MJ One show is right around the corner. They didn’t have a major nightclub like Light on the property. It really won’t be hard to find.”

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Criss Angel, Nathan Burton, Mateo, Murray Sawchuck and Doug "Lefty" Leferovich.

• Maybe you are one who is preoccupied by the rift between Las Vegas magicians Murray Sawchuck and Nathan Burton, and God help you if you are.

In an event as astonishing and unexpected as Burton’s Microwave of Death (death, death, death …), Sawchuck was unceremoniously tossed from Burton’s performance at Saxe Theater in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood last Thursday afternoon. Sawchuck’s version — which is the primary version at hand, as Burton isn’t talking — is that his wife, Chloe Crawford, and he entered the theater and were quickly told by theater manager Sean Ryan (who works for show producer David Saxe) that Burton had asked for the couple to be removed from the show.

Sawchuck’s stated feeling as to why this happened is that it might be because Sawchuck is tight with Bill Voelkner, the former producer of Burton’s show who has sparred legally with the afternoon magician. It could be, too, that Burton is trying to keep any elements of his act from being pilfered by a competing magician. The magician culture is rife with borrowing, sampling and outright theft, and Sawchuck has been accused by The Amazing Johnathan for copping segments of Johnathan’s act.

But Sawchuck (who is hardly allergic to any kind of PR, BTW) says that is hardly the case, as he has seen Burton’s act many times in the past decade and was once hired by Burton as a featured performer. It was Crawford, a dancer in “Fantasy” at Luxor and the February Playboy Cybergirl of the Month, who had not seen the show before the couple arrived Thursday. Crawford is actually dabbling in magic herself, so you never know.

Seriously, this is just a strange move, a real head-shaker. Sawchuck, headliner at Laugh Factory at the Tropicana, says he was not refunded his two $12 tickets. So, maybe this one will end up in court, too.

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Roy Horn feeds Montecore in June 2008.

• Roy Horn has issued his public tribute to Mantecore (the one-time Montecore) on the Siegfried & Roy Facebook page. This late change in name spelling might be the longest wait for a correction in the history of journalism, but no matter. I am remembering what Horn said during an interview with the pair back in September just before they marked the 10th anniversary of the incident involving Mantecore at the Mirage that nearly killed Roy.

“(Mantecore) looked at me with his big blue eyes and was confused, and so he picked me up by the neck,” he said. “He brought me to the side so he could attend to me. But we need to rectify — he never attacked me. If a tiger attacks you, you are finished.”

That contention, shared by Siegfried, has been the subject of spirited debate ever since the night the Siegfried & Roy show closed at the Mirage. Now known as Mantecore, the big cat died last Wednesday at age 17. He will forever be remembered as the most famous animal to ever inhabit Las Vegas.

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