Over the past several days and nights, I have been busy visiting comedy shows and clubs all over VegasVille.
What I can report is, it’s funny how my schedule works.
Consequently, The Kats Report has been a little quiet, but we do have some raking to enact. Let’s do that now:
• Former Las Vegas Mayor, “Mob Lawyer” and current author Oscar Goodman has agreed to be the next roastee for “Showbiz Roast” next month. On Tuesday afternoon, he said, “I’m sure I’m going to do it. It’s just a matter of working out the dates.”
This week, Goodman had been formally asked by producer Andy Walmsley to participate, and there is to be a charity tied to the show, again planned for the Stratosphere. There are many details to sort out, but Goodman’s willingness to participate is a boon to the burgeoning showcase, and the former mayor will get another chance to plug his new book, “Being Oscar,” to about 400 attendees.
One yarn Goodman happily spun during on interview at the Kefauver courtroom at The Mob Museum on Sunday is about the time the Goodman family attended a Royals-Phillies World Series game in Kansas City. That was the 1980 Series, won by the Phillies in a sweep. By chance, Goodman had met Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda at the airport and shared a ride to their hotel. Goodman handed Lasorda his business card, which Lasorda pocketed.
The two would meet again, sort of, that night.
“Because of my clients, I had the best tickets to ballgames. I mean, the Kansas City outfit bought me tickets for the Phillies and Royals, and I had a better seat than Lasorda,” Goodman says. “He was in Row 15; I was in the front row. I’m sitting there, with all of my children and Carolyn, and Lasorda is 15 rows up. … I saw him reach into his pocket and take out my card, and he must have been thinking, ‘Who is this guy sitting in the front row?’ Oh, I had the best of it in those days, no question.” Some would say Goodman still has the best seats in the park.
• Paul Davis is leaving the Hard Rock but is still playing hard rock. The Hard Rock Hotel’s vice president of entertainment over the past 6 1/2 years has taken a position with Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. His last day at the Hard Rock is Friday.
The Fantasy Camp was created in 1997 by veteran rock industry producer and agent David Fishof. The camp brings in rock legends to perform with amateur musicians (or, better, “fans”) over a period of days for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“This is not anything negative about the Hard Rock,” Davis says. “It’s just another chapter of life. I’ll still be delivering experiences, but in a way that’s more face-to-face.”
A guitarist for his entire adult life, Davis attended a Fantasy Camp six years ago. He played “Pinball Wizard” with Roger Daltrey, Slash, Joe Walsh and Jack Bruce. That is a fitting frame of reference, no?
• On the topic of the Hard Rock, The Janks were to rock Vinyl tonight. The Janks, specifically, are Zachary and Dylan Zmed, sons of longtime star of stage and screen Adrian Zmed. The guys were allotted about 40 minutes at Vinyl in a lineup headlined by Rusty Maples and also featuring Dusty Sunshine. The Zmeds (and hey, there’s a cool band name) recall being influenced environmentally by their father’s job when they were children.
“I remember we’d get out of school for the summer, and it was time to travel and have some really exciting and vibrant experiences,” Dylan says of joining their father backstage during his days with “Grease.” “We’d be in his dressing room and make fun of him as he was warming up to sing, all that, ‘La-la-la!’ stuff. But we did end up learning how to sing by doing that.”
Zach remembers, “I was just starting to play guitar, in eighth grade, and I would hang around the orchestra pit. There was this great guitarist who taught me a lot about the instrument, and the whole environment fostered our music. We were pretty lucky, looking back, to have grown up that way.”
Keep an eye out for these boys. There were some major players, metaphorically speaking, at Vinyl checking them out.
• Frankie Moreno’s show at Stratosphere is now admitting kids ages 13-18 when accompanied by an adult. This falls in line with Moreno’s recent work at Las Vegas Academy, working with the gifted musicians and teaching them to write music. “This way, when they start writing their own songs, they’ll write songs that we like,” Moreno says from the stage. The “we” are the brothers Frankie, Tony and Ricky Moreno. LVA student Tommy Ward performed Moreno’s “She’s My Girl” with his band, Swayed. It’s an effort to be applauded, and I expect it was.
• More Strat: David Perrico and Pop Evolution turned in their customary roaring show in their opener at the hotel last week. The 18-piece show band is performing every other Tuesday at the showroom, and Perrico delivered as promised an inspired version of the Rush instrumental “YYZ.” Even if the performance was to suck, it’s still worth applauding the effort. But it was great, and the only reason I didn’t rush the stage was because I was recording video of the performance. In Tuesday’s show, Anne Barr of “Pin Up” is singing “Thirteen Men” from that show.
And at the mention of Barr, the original lineup of BBR has changed as Barr and Savannah Smith (who joins Naomi Mauer in Pop Evo and is the swing for Barr in “Pin Up”) are going in a more contemporary-rock direction. Tara Palsha of “Vegas! The Show” is performing solo and has picked up some cruise-ship gigs as a singer and also as a dancer as a member of “Sin City Comedy’s” watercraft production. BBR now stands for Blonde, Brunette and a Revolution. So, enter that info in the ship’s log.