Mr. Warmth announces his '08 plans for Vegas
Last night, after an evening of golden nuggets, Don Rickles said he’s through at the Golden Nugget. But he’s not finished with Las Vegas.
“I want to thank the wonderful people here,” Rickles said after receiving his fourth and final standing ovation of the evening at the Golden Nugget Showroom. The Merchant of Venom shook the hand of Golden Nugget entertainment director Ron O’Neal, who lauded Rickles’ 45 years in the entertainment business. Then Rickles continued, “I was going to stay, but there was a problem with money (big laugh and applause). There’s a guy in Houston saying, ‘He – he wants MONEY!?’”
More laughter, at the evident expense of Tilman Fertitta, CEO of Houston-based Landry’s Restaurants Inc., which owns the Golden Nugget. Rickles wasn’t through. “Rich Little will be here – impersonating me.” When that round of laughter subsided, Rickles said that Little is “a very nice man” and said he was happy to be moving on to the Orleans for set of dates in April. “I hope you come to see us there,” Rickles said, and judging by the warm reception for Mr. Warmth, the Orleans made a wise move. Rickles’ show, which today amounts to a greatest-hits package of insults and ethnic cut-ups, is one of the few genuine throwbacks to Old Vegas, the Rat Pack, the Sands, that entire era and vibe. At 81, he’s still in good enough condition (though hunched over from an apparently troublesome back) to pace the stage and fire the golden oldies for more than an hour. He still performs a rollicking “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” too.
The John Landis documentary “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles project” appears at the New York Film Festival this week.Vegas is featured prominently in the film; Landis was on hand a few months ago to record the implosion of the Stardust to a voice-over of Rickles joking about how many hotels he has performed in that have since been razed. The Golden Nugget is not one of them, though it would be a good idea to keep the dynamite away from Mr. Rickles.
Great moments in dry cleaning: This afternoon as I was swapping out dry cleaning at Tiffany Cleaners in the District at the Commercial Center, a woman walked carrying a well-worn tuxedo. This suit had obviously been worked over. It was soaked in sweat, and brown makeup soiled the collar. The tux belonged to (and still belongs to) Wayne Newton, who wore it during the most recent taping of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Somewhat less than great moments in radio: I taped an interview today with Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly for my debut as host of “Our Metropolis,” the weekly issues and affairs show on KUNV 91.5-FM. The 30-minute show airs 6 p.m. Tuesdays, and the program featuring Weekly is set for Oct. 16. During the interview, Weekly, in an announcement that should surprise no one, said he will run to defend the seat that Gov. Jim Gibbons appointed him to in March. And in a moment that should surprise about the same number of people as Weekly’s campaign announcement, I spaced on the name of my own Las Vegas city councilman.
How it happened: At about the 24-minute mark I had just about exhausted my list of questions for Weekly, who then seized the role as interviewer. “You married? Kids?” he asked. I gave him the MySpace rundown (divorced, in a relationship, no kids) and told him we’d just purchased a house near Buffalo and Alta after living in the Arts District. “Who’s your councilman?” he asked.“Oh, man.” I said. “It’s, um … Ssssss.”“Steve?” Weekly said. “Wolf …”“Wolfson. That’s it.” I said. I hope to improve in this role, folks. But tune in anyway. As they say, it’s better than static.
PL8 in my head: A black Dodge Charger with the message PINUP on a Vegas centennial plate.
Fabulous Las Vegas appears at this Web site. John Katsilometes can be reached at 990-7720, 812-9812 or at firstname.lastname@example.org