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April 16, 2014

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Sammy Shore shining, Stirling Club shutting down and Strat entertainment sizzling

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Sammy Shore, a man with bite.

Sammy Shore turned 85 this month and the man is still in high gear, pushing himself at high RPM and handling like a Model A powered by a Ferrari engine.

“I feel like I’m 40 years old,” Shore said during a phone conversation this week. “I can’t slow down — I don’t know how! I’m busier than I’ve ever been. I’m having a resurgence, even though I was never a really big name.”

The co-founder (with his ex-wife, Mitzi) of the Comedy Store in L.A. and father of comic actor Pauly Shore, Sammy calls himself the “No. 1 of the No. 2s,” having opened for Elvis at the International during Presley’s headlining run in Vegas. On Sunday at 3 p.m., he’s showcasing his annual “Funny Bones” canine benefit variety show at the Key West Room at the Palms.

The event is a fundraiser for the Shore-founded Funny Bones Foundation, which donates proceeds to animal rescue outposts in Southern Nevada. Shore says dogs with the greatest needs will benefit from the money raised. Last year, Shore and friends pulled in $25,000.

“We’re not the biggest charity, but we’re the most important,” Shore said. “We’ve got a lot of great, talented people turning out.”

Scheduled to join Shore on the bill are comics George Wallace, Louie Anderson, Vinnie Favorito, Hal Sparks, Geechy Guy, the Thunder Nuggets (a rock-and-comedy ensemble of Rob Sherwood, Ian Stewart and Nathan Stewart), James P. Connolly, Reggie Griffin and Lynn Lafchak. Also appearing are Palms headliner Rick Faugno and comic/vocalist/impressionist Doug Starks.

Shore has even called the legendary Shecky Greene, asking his old friend to take part. Greene has not formally committed, but anything is possible with Shore’s long list of friends in the business.

“I was at the gym today and ran into Jimmie Walker,” Shore says, referring to Golds Gym on West Lake Mead Boulevard and veteran comic actor Jimmie “J.J.” Walker. “I think I talked him into coming down.”

Perfect! Tickets to this show are $30 – or, about $10 an hour. There are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in Vegas.

• It’s sad trombone time, scenesters.

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Clint Holmes and his wife Kelly Clinton Holmes perform during the Las Vegas Celebrates the Music of Michael Jackson concert in The Pearl at the Palms on Aug. 28, 2009.

Residents of Turnberry Place have been sent formal notification that owners of the high-end, high-rise development are planning to close the Stirling Club. The Turnberry Place Community Association sent a letter Feb. 9 to residents saying that the club would close around May 10. The club's employees have been notified. There is hope the club might be sold by its current owners (Turnberry Associates and Jeffrey and Jacqui Soffer), and officials with the homeowners’ association are seeking a way for that board to take over operations of the club.

As it stands, nothing has been resolved and it is likely that the club, which is a money-losing prospect for the property owners, will be closed.

The Stirling Club is a members’-only nightspot set up behind the red velvet-carpeted staircase near the entrance of the Turnberry Place tower facing Paradise Road and the Las Vegas Hotel (the old Las Vegas Hilton). The club one of those “ya gotta know someone” Vegas hangouts if you're not a Turnberry homeowner. But it is one of the very cool spots in town, where the ever-inspired Kelly Clinton-Holmes has served as both entertainment director and headliner for nearly a decade.

The Stirling Club has long been the high-end tavern where performers, finished with their shows on and off the Strip, have dropped in to perform with Clinton-Holmes and her hep-cat backing band. Her husband, Clint, frequently gets up and sings a couple of songs, and this is where I first saw Leigh Zimmerman, Frankie Scinta, Stephanie Calvert and many other top entertainers take the stage. I even spent a New Year’s Eve — 2006 — with Clint, Kelly and various other merrymakers, at Stirling Club.

Maybe something can be worked out, but at the moment Clinton-Holmes and everyone who made the Stirling Club a singularly special Vegas nightspot are prepared for the club to go dark. That would be a sad moment, for sure.

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Frankie Moreno, shown performing at the Stratosphere.

• There is a change in schedule for the big shot at the Stratosphere.

We speak not of the ride at the tip of the tower tower, but of my buddy and column frequenter Frankie Moreno, who is adding a Thursday night performance on March 1. The new schedule for Moreno and his terrific 10-piece band – with the thunderous Pepe Jimenez of Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns now playing drums – is Wednesdays through Saturdays at the Stratosphere showroom. For a consistently great performance, and maybe even a free Crown Royal shot, the Strat is the place to be.

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

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