Bronson band celebrates 20th anniversary; changes in staff at Liberace Museum

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Drew Carey, right, joined Lon Bronson and his band onstage at Ovation Lounge in Green Valley Ranch on Aug. 27, 2009. Carey helped sing backup on the band’s final number of the night, The Monkees’ hit “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.”
Photo: Mark Damon

Scenes from Las Vegas, midweek:

• One of the great musicians in Las Vegas celebrates his band’s 20th anniversary Thursday night, as the Lon Bronson All-Star Band hosts a trumpet-powered blowout at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch. Over the years, Bronson has been a featured performer at all-star jams at Riviera and Golden Nugget, and drop-ins from celebs and fellow musicians are common during his performances at Green Valley. Last year, Penn Jillette fired up the crowd with “Come Together,” and others who have hopped onstage include Fee Waybill of The Tubes, members of Barenaked Ladies, Drew Carey, Joe Walsh and members of the Las Vegas Philharmonic.

Bronson is still the bandleader for “The Rat Pack Is Back” at the Plaza and one of the city’s most-respected players. Thursday’s show starts at 8 p.m. and ends at midnight.

Mark Salling and Wayne Newton at the Fallout: New Vegas launch party featuring Vampire Weekend at Rain in the Palms on Oct. 16, 2010.

Mark Salling and Wayne Newton at the Fallout: New Vegas launch party featuring Vampire Weekend at Rain in the Palms on Oct. 16, 2010.

The current Killers lineup: (from left) Mark Stoermer, Brandon Flowers, Ronnie Vannucci and Dave Keuning.

• Joining The Liberace Museum as the museum gingerly moves to its next incarnation are longtime Las Vegas “arts enabler” Melanie Coffee and former board member Sandra Harris. Coffee started as collections manager this week. Harris, the museum’s former director, is the newest member of the Liberace Foundation Board of Directors.

Harris knows the collection and museum’s history. She still lives in Berkeley, Calif., but will be taking part in meetings through conference calls and visiting the museum as a strategy plan is drafted.

One of the issues facing the new hierarchy is to keep collectors from trying to purchase individual pieces in the collection. Reps from Sotheby’s Art Auction House in New York have been pestering board members about pianos, vehicles and costumes. The tour of select pieces, about 40 of which have been tentatively chosen for display, should be underway in the spring. It’s also expected that former museum President Jack Rappaport, retained as a paid staffer to help organize the attraction’s transition, will exit Nov. 30.

• The USO Lounge at McCarran International Airport opens Thursday/Veterans Day, as scheduled. Entertainers scheduled to take part in the ceremony, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., are Wayne Newton and Terry Fator.

Also, Newton is branching out to social media, and not a moment too soon. Mr. Las Vegas is now on Twitter, having been talked into setting up his own account by George Lopez during a taping of Lopez’s show this week (he’s scheduled to appear Thursday night, and look for him riding a Segway). Newton’s account is @WayneNewtonMrLV.

• Bob Kephart is looking for a new Las Vegas home for The Comedy Stop, which closed at Sahara about six weeks ago. The split is no joking matter -- the Comedy Stop claims to be owed $12,000 by the hotel and might seek legal action to recoup that money.

• In Saturday’s column, I recounted the conversation I had with Rod Stewart about longtime Vegas crooner Jerry Tiffe, who has been critical of Stewart’s attempt to resurrect many of the “American Songbook” classics in recent releases. It turns out that Tiffe is actually listening to those CDs now and says, “I have to say, the more I listen to him, the more I like what he’s done. The arrangements are perfect, simple, and he actually is a real technician on these songs. He really captures the feel. I work on it all the time, to catch that feel and the beauty, of those songs.”

Tiffe also is an avid model train collector and laughed when he saw a fellow train aficionado on the cover of this month’s “Modern Railroader” magazine. It’s Stewart, who has had a passion for that type of collecting for decades.

“He keeps coming up in my life,” says Tiffe, who is still singing the standards at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, Palace Station and Boulder Station.

One of the best bands of any type in Las Vegas, the Frankie Moreno Band, is no longer the studio and touring band for Air Supply and won’t likely be performing at Golden Nugget’s Rush Lounge past January. This is not a bad thing for Moreno and his crew, which has signed with Sony Records and is recording its next CD at Odds On recording studio in Henderson.

Moreno’s version of “Eleanor Rigby,” with violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, is terrific, and he is constantly busy writing with his brother, bassist Tony Moreno. Every time I have watched the Moreno band at Rush Lounge, and the one show I caught at Orleans Showroom with Air Supply, I’ve wondered why he is not more famous. Seems it’s starting to happen now.

• Brandon Flowers’ announced appearance opening the Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Dec. 15 marks the second time The Killers’ frontman has helped christen a new venue over the past two years. He also was among the opening acts, with Paul McCartney and Avenged Sevenfold, to open The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel in April 2009.

The Boulevard Pool is primed to become one of the city’s more appealing music venues. It seats 2,500 for a concert, 3,000 for a party or event. So far, everything I have heard about this hotel is formidable.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

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