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July 23, 2014

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Holly Madison’s Neon Museum tour; ‘Pinup’ news from Stratosphere; myriad changes at Plaza

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Denise Truscello

Ah, domesticity: Holly Madison, Pasquale Rotella and one of Madison’s pooches.

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Always causing a stir, Holly makes like a mommy in her kitchen.

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Claire Sinclair attends the red carpet grand opening of Cirque du Soleil's "Zarkana" at Aria on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.

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Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno performs accompanied by special guest Lacey Schwimmer on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012.

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Bite at Stratosphere.

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A view of "dueling pianos" at the Swingers Club inside the newly-renovated Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas Wednesday, September 14, 2011.

It was Sammy Hagar who once demanded “Mas tequila!” And we can only answer, “Mas notas!”

Onward:

• Catch the latest cover story in Las Vegas Weekly, not because I wrote it, but because it stars one of my all-time favorite subjects, Holly Madison. We covered a lot of ground in the second LVW cover story I’ve written about her (the first was in June 2009), and there remains a pile of material still to be imparted. One sample is a moment when Madison, Josh Strickland and 2011 Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair visited the Neon Museum one weekend last month. Our group was in the last touring session of the day on a Saturday, and at one point we were asked by our tour guide as we stopped at the old Aladdin magic lamp: “Who knows what the Aladdin hotel-casino is today?”

“I do! I do!” Madison called out, to laughter. “Planet Hollywood!”

After the story published, I received a text from Madison’s beau, Pasquale Rotella, who clarified a reference I had to him waiting at a Quick Care to treat a fever. Not so. He had actually visited his own physician on that Saturday (his doctor’s day off), and did not check into Quick Care. My mistake. I thought he was at a Quick Care or Urgent Care.

In the same text exchange, Rotella said he is often stopped by security officials at his own Electric Daisy Carnival events, halted by hired EDC guards who don’t recognize him as the festival’s founder. On occasion, he is not readily allowed entrance into the event.

But when Rotella is with Madison, it’s a different story. As he says, “I have more access at my own events when Holly is with me! For real.”

Also Sunday, Madison was the subject of a photo spread for next week’s issue of In Touch magazine, showing her wearing a bikini in her quite-pregnant condition.

• The name of the new show set to open in February at Stratosphere has finally been made public by the team putting on the show: “Pinup” is that name. I actually tweeted this in August, a move that nearly got about eight people killed. But the show’s host, Claire Sinclair, and co-producer (with the Strat) Frankie Moreno spoke of the show as “Pinup” on Wednesday night during the first episode of the Vegas Video Network’s webcast, “After Dark With Frankie Moreno,” at the Stratosphere (click here to watch the show, but be forewarned there is a palpable dose of adult language and a little cleavage therein).

A bunch of us clambered into Moreno’s dressing room, a distrustful haunt known as the Black Room, for the live-stream talk show. What unfolded on the live webcast was loose, unscripted, semi-pointless and a great deal of fun. Same as any night in the Black Room, in other words. Along with Sinclair and I, the guests were dancer-choreographer Lacey Schwimmer, Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie, Moreno band members Jennifer Lynn and Russ Letizia, and brothers Tony and Ricky Moreno.

“Pinup” is to employ a female vocalist, four female dancers, one male dancer and a 10-piece band. Live entertainers, all. As reported, the show will hearken to 1940s-era, big-band entertainment, a throwback feel with a high complement of new, original music written by Moreno. Schwimmer, who made Moreno’s appearance on “Dancing With the Stars” in October possible, is to choreograph and has had a voice in determining the lineup of dancers. Sinclair says she is not going to sing, but never say never. I feel she might sing, or at least whistle.

• A place to keep an eye on over the next few months is the Plaza. The famous hotel-casino on 1 Main St. downtown is in a state of flux. In the showroom, “Bite” has opened, relocating after an eight-year run at Stratosphere. Show times for the adult vampire revue -- the city’s best, and also only, adult vampire revue -- are nightly at 10:30 (dark Wednesdays -- blah!). “Bite” was moved out of the Strat to make room for “Pinup” is how this game of rotating resorts shakes out.

Also opening at the Plaza: the inherently witty comedy/music ensemble “The Phat Pack” on Thursday; this is the vocal group founded by Bruce Ewing, Ted Keegan and Randal Keith that performs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 5 and 7 p.m. The group borrows its name from “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular,” as all were in the cast at Venetian. Ewing has long been a member of “Forever Plaid,” and Keith performed more than 1,000 shows as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.” The show’s music director is one of the city’s best and busiest pianists, Joey Singer.

The Vaudevillian-inspired “Grand Ole Vegas Revue” has moved from its outpost at Bonnie Springs Ranch to the Plaza. This is the silly/quirky production that “Phantom” cast members Marisa Paull Gost (choreographer and lyricist) and her husband, Jonathan Gost (music director) put together in the spring. The show performs at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday.

Still onstage in the showroom at Plaza is “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” performed at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. Or, after “Grand Ole Vegas Revue.”

The Plaza is looking for something to do with the space just off the casino floor that was once Drink (and, before that, Swingers), a lounge that featured live music, occasional stand-up comedy and dueling pianos and even miniature golf.

Something for everyone, right?

Well, the nightspot closed with nary a ripple Nov. 25. It was operated by a group led by Anthony Cools, more famous for his comedy/hypnosis show in the room he rents at Paris Las Vegas. The hotel bought Cools out of the deal that allowed him to do business in the space and is exploring a more traditional, lounge-type venue for that spot.

Meanwhile, Cools also is bringing a comedy showcase into the Lounge at the Palms called “Strip Comedy.”

No, the Palms has not been pulled from its moors and actually moved to the Strip. Rather, the name teases to the tenor of the show, which is hosted by improv vet Kopy Kopatich. As the Palms website promises: “This wild, down-and-dirty show follows two teams of improv actors going head-to-head in comedic games where everyone wins and nothing is off limits. The audience gets in on a big piece of the action, participating throughout the night in this fully improvised show created from their suggestions. The high-energy audience also judges the scenes, deciding which team takes each round, and the live human scorecards -- aka super hot chicks pulled from a binder of women -- keep tally on the wins. Similar to strip poker, each win allows the ‘scorecard’ to remove an item of clothing -- eventually leaving one lovely lady almost baring all, and thus winning the game for her team.”

Laugh yourself horny, in other words.

Lastly, there has been a lot of speculation about the future of the Lounge at the Palms, much of it centering on the venue turning into a bingo room. Any time a venue is said to be changing, “bingo” becomes the default option and/or fear of anyone keeping track of live venues around town. But I understand the Lounge is planning for a full schedule through 2013, and bingo -- at the moment -- is not in the plans. To quote a company spokesman: “We do not have plans to turn the Lounge into a bingo room. We will continue to explore opportunities for existing spaces across the property that will complement Palms’ transformation and guest experience.”

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

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