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Protests halt tiger-magic show planned for downtown Las Vegas

Updated August 5, 2022 - 1:27 pm

Dirk Arthur’s magic-and-tiger show is not playing Notoriety Live after all. The production to be titled “Magic Unleashed” has been overcome by a cascade of complaints from animal-right activists.

Venue proprietor Ken Henderson made the call Tuesday morning, having received more than 400 emails arguing against the show.

Even famed “Tiger King” subject Carole Baskin complained about the show. She checked in with, ”I’m guessing you are not aware of how much public outcry there is against using big cats in acts or you wouldn’t be associating yourself with those who still practice such barbaric acts.”

Her complaint was characteristic of those who decry the use of such animals for entertainment purposes.

Henderson consequently issued a statement that the production, which was not yet under formal contract, would not move forward. He said of those who raised concerns, “Your voices have been heard.”

Arthur has not been returned requests for comment this week.

Arthur had planned to pull from his family of white and orange tigers, snow leopard, a bobcat, ducks, chickens and pigeons. The congenial showman has performed at several Las Vegas showrooms since opening in “Jubilee” in 1997. His most recent appearance was a 5½-month run, without animals, at the Westgate in 2018.

Henderson added that Notoriety’s mission is to support artists by furnishing top-notch staging and production facilities. “However, it is imperative that all performers have a choice to perform, and the performers in the proposed show do not.”

Henderson’s multi-theater complex is host to a variety of shows, ranging from two “Faaabulous” drag productions (one a Sunday brunch, the other a Friday-night performance) to Vinny Grosso’s “Totally Mental” showcase. Inevitably, those performers would feel collateral damage of any negative publicity or protests of the Arthur show.

Henderson said he would be amenable to presenting Arthur as a comic-magician.

”I have nothing against Dirk Arthur, and I know he loves his cats, Henderson said. “It’s just not the right thing for Notoriety, but we would consider his magic and illusions without the animals.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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