The Kats! Bureau at this writing is Circa Sportsbook at the resort of the same name. This is the VIP annex, where co-owner Derek Stevens appears to have wagered on everything that moves except the Calgary Stampeders-Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL tilt. It’s Derek and Nicole Stevens’ daughter Whitney’s birthday, so there is a chocolate Freed’s Bakery cake sensibly placed under a “Reserved” sign on a multigame device. Noisemakers should be distributed later.
Stevens made money on his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines, in their victory over “the” Ohio State University on Saturday. Stevens made his first bet ever at the California, which is now something of a good-luck property.
Just met and chatted with Craig Muni, the ex-NHL stalwart who won three Stanley Cups with Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers. His career spanned seven teams and 819 games from 1982-1998. Somehow, still looks terrific. I guess he won most of his fights.
Shane Hnidy, the Vegas Golden Knights’ TV analyst, is also on the scene. I just learned his name is pronounced “night.” During his minor-league playing days, Hnidy lost a fight, prompting the PA announcer to call out, “It’s Hnidy-night!” Or, nighty-night. Funny. VGK in-arena announcer Mark Shunock should bank that one, if he hasn’t already.
More from this scene, and elsewhere.
We have found an apt holiday use of the otherwise inactive Las Vegas Ballpark. The Enchant Christmas display, or rather “immersive Christmas experience,” has opened to the public. This is a light maze and village layout, with an ice-skating trail, some international holiday delicacies, an artisan Christmas market and as the formal description of the experience states, an opportunity to meet “the Big Man himself.”
This is either Santa Claus, or a tribute to the late sax great Clarence Clemons.
Kim Scott is the general manager of this Christmas circus. She comes from that culture, having spent years creating for Cirque du Soleil dating to “Zumanity” at New York-New York in 2006, on through “Love” at the Mirage. Scott later headed up the tented Celestia show at The Strat, a casualty of COVID. There are no plans for that show to return to Las Vegas.
But Scott is still in the lineup, captain of the winter extravaganza set where the boys of summer usually play.
“This isn’t just a Christmas show,” Scott says. “It’s head-to-toe taking over a baseball park, and it is the essence of Christmas. So far, I am loving this, and so are the people we have visiting.”
The holiday takeover opens the possibility of staging seasonal attractions at the Ballpark. Scott is game, saying, “There is an idea for that, and the Ballpark has been an incredible partner. I’ve worked with some of the biggest partners on the Strip, and the Ballpark has been the easiest I’ve ever worked with. They’re open to anything that we’re looking at bringing in as long as it works for the schedule, and we return the field to field to its original state.”
Producers have a three-year contract with the Ballpark to host the event, but Scott wants Christmas to never end.
“We want to knock it out of the park, pun intended,” Scott says. “We want to become one of the fixture events in Las Vegas, and change the story every year and be part of the Vegas Christmas experience for years to come.”
Bob weaves a show
To complete the full set of Las Vegas musicians in “One More For The Road” Bob Anderson’s upcoming Frank Sinatra tribute show at Carnegie Hall. Joey Singer (keys) is music director, with Vegas artists Danny Falcone (trumpet), Bob Sachs (bass), and Bob Chmel in the production. Anderson has a 30-something-piece orchestra in this passion production, set for Dec. 11 at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.
Bublé, the Theater … and you
Hearing reliably the Michael Bublé/Resorts World Las Vegas announcement is imminent — imminent, I tell you — for Resorts World Las Vegas. I’m feeling more of a limited engagement than a residency, even by modern-day Vegas standards. A half-dozen shows, in the spring, in concert with the release of Bublé’s upcoming album in the spring.
Stars of the Siren
Shania Twain, who is returning to her residency at Zappos Theater; and ex-Eagles member Don Felder were the siren-crankers at the Golden Knights-Edmonton Oilers game Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
How’d I miss this?
There is a Three Stooges-themed slot machine out there. It’s called Playin’ for Green, with Larry, Moe and Curly on the links. I caught it at Westgate, and there’s $1,500 I’ll never get back (a joke, nyuck-nyuck).
Pauly Shore and The Crustys, a Las Vegas sensation, are playing Dec. 30 at Plaza Showroom. Doors at 9 p.m., 21-over. Hit the plazahotelcasino.com site for info, and hide behind something solid.
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) September 11, 2021
One Steakhouse at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas bartender, ambassador and bon vivant Johnny O’Donnell now calls his delivery of Baked Alaska simply, “The Show.” O’Donnell takes a blowtorch to the meringue, creating kind of a volcanic effect.
Bartender/director of safety Mat Vu is always at the ready with a fire extinguisher. We say this is among the best free shows in the city, behind the Bellagio Fountains and competing for No. 2 with the Mirage volcano, the FSE Viva Vision video show and the contortionist on Circle 19. …
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) November 28, 2021
What works in Vegas
Trixx. He’s a comic, and he’s great. The Vegas club vet was featured with headliner Butch Bradley and host Brad Garrett at Garrett’s relocated club at MGM Grand on Saturday night. We’ve caught Bradley and (of course) Garrett many times, and both are A-plus stand-ups.
But this was our first full complement of Trixx, who can be a headliner anywhere. The triumvirate lit up the room, which was loud in a boiserous sort of way.
As Trixx said at the start, “Be ready to laugh!” before taking on the entire crowd. Trixx is a force on social media (@comediantrixx on IG). Great sets, all the way around, to kick off the new Garrett club.
Cool Hang Alert
“Chicks Who Rock: Rhinestone Christmas” a title that says it all, almost. We’ll add a detail: Thirty. That’s how many rockin’ ladies will take over Fremont Country Club at 9 p.m. Saturday. This show is so stacked we have nine women bass players, so this should be fun. Cover is $11 in advance, $15 at the door, go to backstagebarlv.com for info.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.