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Usher, Sphere, ‘Atomic City’ top Vegas entertainment awards
Usher, Sphere, ‘Atomic City’ top Vegas entertainment awards

Usher, Sphere, ‘Atomic City’ top Vegas entertainment awards Usher is already a Super Bowl champion; Delilah is a super supper club as the Kats! Awards are revealed. At once mirth-some and methodical, the Kats! Awards, a celebration of the year past, are back. There are no certificates or plaques, banners or bouquets, no trophies or rings. This is not the NBA In-Season Tournament. Winning, as we contend, is its own reward. Let’s run it, one last time, to honor the memorable individuals and events of ‘23. Best Residency Production A very tough category every year. U2 has disquaified itself, opting to call its run at The Sphere a “venue launch.” Good enough for me. We have to go with Usher, already a Super Bowl champ (he’s the halftime show next month) who packed Dolby Live every night with his “My Way” residency. Skating on a strip-club set, on the Strip, appearing at City Hall to accept a mayoral Key to the City and teeing it up with the two-time champion Aces set this gentlemen apart. Golden Yondr Award Named for the soft pouch that locks phones for shows. Bruno Mars gets this first-time award. Mars has performed the same show at Dolby Live since opening in 2017. It’s a terrific show (no one is more talented or loves it more than Mr. Mars). But headliner has not allowed social media from that room in the past five years. No images, no video, no recording of “I Took Your Phones Away.” This practice has kept this long-running production a mystery. Top Comic (Non Prop) Brad Garrett. Top Comic (Prop) Carrot Top. Golden Globe Award Given to the year’s top entertainment venue. If ya gotta ask what it is, you’re reading the wrong column. Show Off Award Magic legend David Copperfield is making the moon disappear in February. Magic Dexterity Award Laugh Factory at Tropicana headliner Murray Sawchuck can play the accordion and knows rope tricks. Best New Duo Teller & Penn, at the Rio. The iconic duo switch places for one act during their hit show, with Teller dressed as Penn and carnival-barking through the entire routine. In remarkable restraint, Penn Jillette remains silent. Best Production (Strip) A tip of the lid to the top tent show, “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. Best Production (Off-Strip) We’ll forecast “Jersey Boys” at Orleans Showroom, opening Jan. 26. A true test of production relaunch, in a showroom that has never hosted such an ambitious residency. Golden Mic for Best Podcast Matt & Mattingly’s “Ice Cream Social.” We go way back. I’ll promise not to break anything on my next segment. Bungee Award For best Cirque production, “Love” at the Mirage. And yes this is to support a show with an unspecified future in Hard Rock Hotel’s long-term plans. Team of the Year Vegas Golden Knights. Very difficult call with the Aces in play, but VGK’s Stanley Cup Final victory was a majestic moment for Vegas’ first major-league sports franchise. Bonus points for toting the Stanley Cup to Steve Aoki’s show at Omnia Nightclub and touching off a near-riot. Super Supper Club Award To Delilah at the Wynn, the best in class in classy dining/entertainment hybrid experiences. We don’t put Delilah into an entertainment category, nor is it just a restaurant. Find me there, usually on Tuesdays or Thursdays, as the self-appointed Bar Captain. Allegiant Stadium Show of the Year Taylor Swift exceeded all reasonable expectations (her fans simply won’t leave their seats during performance), and we were blown away by Ed Sheeran’s postponed show, with Brandon Flowers’ Cameom on Oct. 28 (bonus points for Sheeran’s Chucky costume). But Beyonce wins this one, with what those familiar with ops said was the greatest volume of equipment and staging ever at the stadium. Unreal talent, fierce and forceful. I walked out saying, “I would not want her mad at me.” Best Vegas Tome (Non-Las Vegan Authors) “What Really Happens in Vegas,” by James Patterson and Mark Seal . To disclose, we’re in it, having spent a couple of lengthy sessions with Seal on his visits to Vegas. Ex-Mayor Oscar Goodman, the D and Circa co-owner Derek Stevens , iconic designer Roger Thomas , Elvis impressionist Jesse Garon , master magician Shin Lim , master chef Barry Dakake , the production company Cirque du Soleil, chauffeurs, VIP hosts, “Wedding Queen” Charolette Richards, and “What Happens Here, Stays Here” creators Jeff Candido and Jason Hoff are among the stories in these pages. Fast, freewheeling and fun, the book reads like the city it examines. Best Vegas Tome (Las Vegan Authors) Ah, Piff the Magic Dragon can rest assured we have his latest, “Piff The Magic Book: Volume One.” It’s autobiography, how-to and comic book all mixed, like a magic can of Chihuahua Chow. Dedicated to doggie sidekick Mr. Piffles, featuring Showgirl Jade Simone . Similar to the show, you must experience it. Piff will make it so. Best Kats! Bureau The majestic Circa Sports Book. The sites of one of my sessions with Seal, and where I run a no-huddle offense on the MacBook Air while my Niners win, or sometimes don’t. Stephens’ Lions are the real deal, too. See you in the playoffs. Best Entertainment Venue/Non Globe Division Voltaire at The Venetian. Traipse inside this glass-o’-bubbly nightspot for an up-close view of Kylie Minogue and Christina Aguilera . The Belle de Nuit pre-show, jammed with its inspired burlesque-drag-Cirque-styled acts, itself is worth a look. Vegas is betting bigger, but Voltaire and its 1,000-capacity experience, proves there is still room for an intimate room. Family Ties Award To Damian Costa and The Composers Room at Historic Commercial Center. Costa’s family history is all over that venue, in its classic stage and dining-area design, Rat Pack-themed booths and vintage family photos. Costa’s first post-Caesars project, The Duomo at Rio, was unplugged under new ownership. This venture might be the catalyst of a more widespread gentrification of Commercial Center (he says, knowing we’ve heard it before). It’s a project to root for. Best TikTok Mayor Carolyn Goodman’ s holiday message. Each comment beginning, “I’m the mayor of Las Vegas …” Catch it on Instagram, too. She’s having fun in her final term. Best “Viva Las Vegas” Rendition Billy Idol, a true Elvis devotee, during his run at Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Most Inventive Performance Platform To Idol, who rocked Hoover Dam along with guitar great Steve Stevens, in April to raise drought awareness. Song Most Likely to Overtake “Viva Las Vegas” as a civic anthem “Atomic City” by U2. VegasVille references (“Sinatra sings, a choir sings …”) with a Blondie vibe. Spin it, like a roulette wheel. Best Stage Effect (Strip) Katy Perry brought her entire fever-dream imagination to “Play” at Resorts World Theatre. Especially memorable was the pairing of the giant orange commode and talking turd. This was about when Perry reminded, “You’re not Best Stage Effect (Off-Strip) The leather-vested, country heartthrob Chase Brown (who also leads the league in gratuities) rolls withe a mirror-plated stepladder. Millions of mirrors. Bounces around on it while singing. Unreal. Catch the renowned Mr. Brown 7 p.m. Fridays at Notoriety Live. Silver Torch Award for Best Arena Band David Perrico and the Raiders House Band. These cats ‘n’ kittens are settling in as bonafide fan favorites at Club Davis, which I sometimes call the party deck at Al Davis Memorial Torch. But the band, chockablock with Vegas players, brings the energy. Bonus points for Fletch Walcott’s Cab Calloway “Minnie the Moocher” sing-along. Myron’s Hall of Fame Lon Bronson Band, the first Vegas band ever to appear in the Smith Center’s cabaret venue and still sellling out every month. And outgoing sound man Kevin Harvey, simply the best in the business, who called it this month. iTunes Hall of Fame To Frankie Moreno . So much of what Moreno delivers — such as the capacity to win over any crowd — can’t be quantified. But you can track his success on the iTunes charts. Moreno hit his 100th No. 1 in August, with “Bombs Away.” Moreno is to be honored Jan. 21 at Sally Steele’s seventh Vegas Rocks Magazine Music Awards show at Sam’s Town Live Events Center. Las Vegas Trend Trophy To burlesque, generally. Specifically, Dita Von Teese has revived the costumes and sets of “Jubilee” at Horseshoe Las Vegas. “Lady Like” is a terrific, tear-it-up comedy/burlesque revue at 25 Oxford at Virgin Hotel. And Melody Sweets has turned her kitchen (stove, refrigerator, sink, etc.) into a burlesque stage in “The Sweets’ Spot” YouTube series, a December highlight. Vegas Contest Performance of the Year Ms. Monet soared in “The Voice,” reaching the finals and notifying coach Gwen Stefani that she sang background on Stefani’s Christmas album a few years back. Best Fictional Character (Non-Living) Zenoch of “Zombie Burlesque” as played by Enoch Augustus Scott . His message has heart. His comedy kills. Best Fictional Character (Living) Colin Cahill’s Blue Jackson of “Atomic Saloon Show.” Best Fictional Character (Closed Show ) Harry M. Howie, from the original “Opium,” later re-titled “OPM,” re-written multiple times and sadly closing New Year’s Eve. But Howie, we will always fondly remember the adventures in the “Roller.” Golden Hard Hat for Best Pop-Up He wears a top hat, or on this occasion a backward Tower Records cap. But Slash of Guns N’ Roses threw it down with Frankie Sidoris, Franky Perez, Todd Morse and Brent Fitz at the re-reopening of Hard Hat Lounge. Sidoris owns the place, and that band owned the night. Anthem of the Year Vegas vocal flamethrower Tymara Walker , just under the wire, contacted the Minnesota Vikings for a shot at singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” And she is, for Sunday’s Vikings tilt against the rival Packers. She will crush it. King of Magic Award This year, and every year, to Mac (King) at Excalibur, the longest-running headliner on the Strip who dates to January 2000 at Harrah’s. We saw him first, even before that, at Maxim. He wears the Cloak of Invisibility, but see him anyway at Thunderland Showroom. Best Injury Report Jay Leno casually remarked during an interview in January he’d suffered injuries while test-driving a 1940 Indian motorcycle. This was a couple of months after he was burned in a fire in his garage in L.A. He took the bike down a side street, into a parking lot where a wire was strung with no warning flag. “So I’ve got a broken collarbone,” he said in a phone chat Jan. 27. “I’ve got two broken ribs. I’ve got two cracked kneecaps.” But he was onstage at Encore Theater two months later. Annual Bring The Party Award To Chris Phillips, whose Zowie Bowie act arrived in VegasVille in 2006. The crew has finally checked out of its Fremont Street Experience gig after a 14-year run. Phillips is next focusing on Retrovoxx, a revival of dance music and new-wave rock from the ’70s and ’80s. Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Duran Duran and Tears for Fears in the mix. Phillips has shown he can draw a crowd, attention and burn up bar sales. Check back in Q1. Best Relaunch “Awakening,” a show brimming with tech and talent, righted itself after a slick rewrite at Wynn Las Vegas. We have been patient and thoughtful in covering this show, saddled with sluggish sales early on. As co-producer Baz Halpin reminds, “It’s easy to be nice,” and the conversation the show producers had with guests during the revamp was exactly that. 40/40 Honorees Twin tap kings Sean and John Scott of “Absinthe” turned 40 in October. Or, a combined 80, same age as Westgate headliner Barry Manilow (and a combined one year younger than Mr. Las Vegas Wayne Newton). What Works In Vegas Award Yo, “O,” and “Mystere.” Not to belabor the obvious, but Cirque’s twin towers are still filling seats. Best Impression John Di Domenico as Guy Fieri. Best Stunt-Cast Concept Dana White as an unbilled performer in Blue Man Group. This has to happen. Pick a charity, and watch it go viral. Arts District Destination Award To Troy Heard’s Majestic Repertory Theater, where the “Scream” parody has simply taken off. Heard is also partnering with Amy Saunders’ “Miss Behave Game Show” on Virgin Voyages, a brilliant partnership that might have us taking to the high seas. Cool Hang of the Year Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns , Copa Room at Bootlegger Bistro. This venerable outfit is getting better and better, and now they are zealously selling posters at merch. Get with Danny Falcone for details. 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 X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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