A non sequitur to start this column: Officials at the Tropicana are planning to use the recently whitened hotel tower facing the Strip as a vast projection screen to promote the entertainment at the hotel. Brad Garrett recently finished his clip for the project, and even his 6-foot-8-inch frame will need substantial visual amplification to be noticed on the refurbished Trop facade.
Erich Bergen on Desperate Housewives
A few nights ago, Mob Experience frontman Jay Bloom and his associates had some uniquely Vegas fun by playing Rock Band on Xbox and projecting the game on the side of the building. This happened Sunday night, and startled tourists began shooting photos and video of the game being played across about 43,000 square feet of otherwise whitened territory.
This could be a great entertainment feature itself: Rock Band at the Trop. Or, on the Trop.
It just might work.
• Before his brief appearance on the red carpet at Chateau at Paris Las Vegas late Saturday/early Sunday, Charlie Sheen stood for an interview in the Chocolate Lounge (which would be a great name for a funk band) at Sugar Factory American Brasserie. Pulling on a cigarette, his eyes darting around the room, Sheen was questioned by Wicked Creative PR ace Stephanie Wilson as part of house coverage of Sheen’s appearance. Talking of Las Vegas, he said, “That whole thing about, ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,’ is not true, if you’re me. What happens in my life is broadcast everywhere, especially if you’re at the friggin’ Palms, where they protect no one. (Pause) That’s all right. I’m just joking. They’re friends.”
Maybe he was being sarcastic. Seemed like it, at least in part. Or maybe it was just another case of Sheen-like frippery. Whatever, the one-man media brigade appeared to be referring to his most recent trip to Las Vegas, in January, when his exploits at the Palms during the weekend of the AVN Awards (held at Pearl Concert Theater) spilled out of the hotel and were reported in web-ified fashion across the globe. Sheen was reportedly holed up with a trifecta of porn stars, most notably award winner Bree Olson, during the AVN weekend Jan. 8-9.
Officials at the Palms, including hotel owner George Maloof, offered no comment to Sheen’s remarks. Suffice to say the former "Two and a Half Men" star is not booked to host any events at the hotel in the near or distant future.
• The arrest of Flavor Flav on a clutch of outstanding traffic warrants Friday night coincides untidily with his efforts to open an outpost of his House of Flavors fried chicken restaurant at Riviera. Flav, whose real name is the curiously British-sounding William Jonathan Drayton, was pulled over east of the Strip near Paradise Road and arrested in connection with a series of misdemeanor traffic warrants.
In the days leading up to the arrest, it had been reported by TMZ that Flav/Drayton had “sealed the deal” to open a restaurant and related gift shop at the hotel. Not so. As hotel spokesman Tony Bender said Friday, before Flav’s arrest, and reiterated today, “We do not have a finalized deal in place at this moment.” When asked if Flav’s arrest at all played into talks to open House of Flavors at the hotel, Bender said only, “We’re exploring the opportunity.”
A recent effort by Flav to open a restaurant in Clinton, Iowa, failed after a dispute over operating practices with his business partner. Tough cluck, right?
• Wayne Newton has found a new career in voice-over work, for his role in the new “Hoodwinked Too,” where he's the golden harp named Jimmy Ten-Strings. The movie, which features voice work by Glenn Close, is getting battered about, but Newton is drawing praise because it’s a great performance and, hell, Wayne is such the likable guy.
In the days leading to the film’s release, Wayne and his wife, Kathleen, took an overseas vacation that included a visit to meet Pope Benedict. During the Newtons’ papal tour, the Pope resisted the urge to refer to the Wayner as “Mr. Las Vegas,” and Newton resisted the urge to refer to the Pope as “Mr. Vatican.”
• Belated congratulations to some of my favorite entertainers and individuals in all of VegasVille, Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, for induction into the new Las Vegas Rock and Roll Reunion Hall of Fame. The band was honored Sunday at Henderson Pavilion, where its original lineup (or, close to it) reassembled to jam and laugh and kick it up. The Rock and Roll Reunion organization is just 2 years old, but rewarding this band is a great place to start dealing the awards. Santa Fe continues to blow the roof off the Lounge at the Palms each Monday night, 10:30 is the start time, in one of the city’s great live showcases.
• Speaking of greatness and live performance, the recently revived Composers’ Showcase was held for the second time since it was moved from the Liberace Museum to Creative Studios on 6415 S. Tenaya Way, Suite 140. It’s where Cockroach Theatre, among other local production troupes, holds their performances. Driven by “Jersey Boys” music director Keith Thompson and “Le Reve” music director Michael Brennan, the 5-year-old event still rocks. Highlights from Thursday included the esteemed Vita Corimbi (of “Menopause the Musical” and, on occasion, Killian’s Angels) and the Yucca Mountain String Band. The event will take about a 6-week hiatus while Thompson focuses on his parody musical, “Idaho,” which has been sampled repeatedly during the Showcase’s five-year run. We’ll keep tabs on this event, which has long served as one of the best hangs in the city.
• Former “Jersey Boys” cast member Erich Bergen surfaced a couple of weeks ago in a most unexpected way: in a bit role on “Desperate Housewives.” The clip is linked to this blog. Bergen is working with producer Adam Epstein (who produced “Hairspray” on Broadway) on a TV project, and his new CD is titled “Vegas Sessions.” On May 18 and 25, he is hosting shows at Los Angeles’ Barre Theater, inviting some of his former cast mates in “Jersey Boys” to appear and sing and reunite. A blurb on the promotional flier for the show quotes from the Los Angeles Times: “His charisma feeds off the spotlight, with his lanky good looks and vibrant intensity.” If nothing else, it’s good to know Bergen is still keeping in shape.
• Lior Suchard is back at the Lounge at the Palms (I swear, it is coincidental that so many of my collected notes are from the Palms). On April 28, the popular mentalist -- and there is no more a coveted title -- started an 8-week run at the hotel.
Before his return to Las Vegas, Suchard fronted a sold-out tour of Russia, reportedly playing to audiences surpassing 2,000. He also stopped in London to play a private event for the Royal Family. And if you don’t resist, he will be happy to bend your glasses.