Familiar figure fills seat at Miss America; novel Nobu approach to room service; Sweets delivers ‘Burlesque’ party

2012 Miss Nevada Alana Lee at the arrival ceremony for the 2012 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
Robert De Niro, chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper, partners of Nobu Hospitality, attend the announcement of the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace at Nobu in New York City on Sunday, June 10, 2012.

Robert De Niro, chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper, partners of Nobu Hospitality, attend the announcement of the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace at Nobu in New York City on Sunday, June 10, 2012.

A bit of landscaping is in order as we rake some of the scene before tonight’s Miss America Pageant at PH Live in Planet Hollywood:

• One of the more noteworthy seat-fillers in tonight’s pageant is actually a former contestant: 2011 Miss Nevada America Alana Lee. She has been turning up most unexpectedly over the past few months. In October, I ran into her during early voting at Albertson’s on Eastern Avenue and Warm Springs Road, and Friday night she was seated several seats over in the same row during “Rock of Ages.” She said that she was offered a chance to be in the the house for tonight’s ABC telecast (tape-delayed at 9 p.m. PT), so if someone in the crowd looks vaguely familiar, you’ll know who it is.

• One of the chief selling points at Nobu Caesars Palace is often a last resort at most … resorts. The in-room dining menu is to be totally unique from the main restaurant and lounge, which covers nearly 13,000 square feet at the center of the property. The idea is to make the cuisine of celebrated chef Nobu Matsuhisa available in your room without providing a reduced or duplicate menu. That menu will be revealed in the run-up to the hotel’s Feb. 4 opening.

Melody Sweets of <em>Absinthe</em> at Caesars Palace.

Melody Sweets of Absinthe at Caesars Palace.

• The official CD release party for “Absinthe” chanteuse Melody Sweets’ “Burlesque in Black” is at 11:30 p.m. Saturday at the show’s tented fortress at Caesars Palace’s Roman Plaza. It’s at once a party and a performance, with special guests the swing band The Candy Shop Boys from New York City and Miss Exotic World queen Kalani Kokonuts. This is a ticketed experience, $20 at the door or $12 in advance (hit the Sweets website to purchase tickets). Aside from her physical form, Sweets is revealing the new video to the song “Love Bite,” which stars members of the cast. We give the whole operation five stars. And four “meows.”

Brent Barrett as the Phantom in <em>Phantom - Las Vegas Spectacular</em>.

Brent Barrett as the Phantom in Phantom - Las Vegas Spectacular.

• Just as I’d been saying how much the city missed Brent Barrett, Brent Barrett showed up Jan. 4 at the “Rock of Ages” post-show party at what used to be Dos Caminos (now, Nada Caminos) at the Palazzo. Barrett looked very happy and backed that perception by saying, “I’m very happy.” The former Phantom in “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” (he alternated the role with Anthony Crivello in the show’s first few months) is renting out his home in west Las Vegas and currently starring as Captain Hook in the touring production of “Peter Pan.” He is selling his apartment in New York and making Las Vegas his home base. He returns to town during breaks in the touring schedule, which resumes Tuesday in Chicago.

• One of the city’s great live acts, the Lon Bronson All Star Band, is booked at Aliante’s Access showroom Jan. 18 and 25. Their first appearance in a three-show spree was Friday. Shows start at 9 p.m. and are free, just how Bronson likes it.

• I’ve been hearing a lot about this Professor Wacko character who was brought into “Vegas! the Show” about six months ago. I finally saw him this week at Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. And you know what? He is Wacko. Totally. This guy is nuts, and, hey, he falls on such. Producer David Saxe found P to the Dub on YouTube and was compelled to track him down and hire him for his rewarding ode-to-Las Vegas production.

The Wackmeister has for 15 years been a circus performer and trampoline comic in and around his homeland of Russia, so as you would expect, there is a lot of physical comedy — bounding and flailing and such. But the Wackman is not restricted to the trampoline. He tumbles down the stairs (upside down), loses his footing on the ladder leading to the tramp and generally flops and plummets for about a five-minute routine. You have to see the Wack-A-Rator in action. He’s one of the funniest physical comics I’ve seen in this city.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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