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December 21, 2014

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Matt Goss is shaken onstage at Caesars; Anthony Cools stacks the deck at Paris

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Leila Navidi

Matt Goss sings during sound check during rehearsal with Nevada Ballet Theatre at the Smith Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

The Kats Report Bureau crisscrossed the great urban landscape over the weekend, hitting the Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace, Jane’s Addiction at Brooklyn Bowl and Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan on Friday; the Rehab Bikini Invitational (for which I served as a judge) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Matt Goss at Caesars on Saturday; and a trip to the recently opened Viva Las Vegas Events Center and a walk-around on Fremont Street on Sunday night.

Something I’d forgotten about how crazy it is to walk the Strip at midnight on a Friday is … it’s crazy to walk the Strip at midnight on a Friday. At one point, I came upon a guy in a fully mirrored suit busking for photos. Head to toe, all in mirrors. He was hanging with the ever-present Captain Hook character. Up the way were two guys playing electric violins. Farther up the way was a guy performing up-close magic tricks, the Bellagio Fountains vaulting and dancing in the background.

Put a roof over all this and you would have a resort themed for a circus. But what would you call it?

As we ponder, let’s rake-a-rama:

• As most of Goss’s friends and fans have learned over the past few weeks, his mother, Carol, is in poor health. Right now she is undergoing treatment for cancer in Atlanta. He flew out early Mother’s Day morning after his show at the Gossy Room at Caesars to be with her.

Goss’s performance that night was one of his strongest since he arrived in Las Vegas five years ago. He played a super-strong, airtight set for about two hours to a responsive audience around "The Moat." But the ending was different on Saturday. As Goss spoke of his mother, asking the audience, "keep her in your prayers," his eyes welled and voice quivered. He then delivered a stirring take on “These Arms of Mine,” the great Otis Redding ballad.

“These arms of mine, they are lonely, lonely and feeling blue,” as Goss sang, crying through the song.

Goss usually ends the show with the upbeat “Lovely Las Vegas,” but not on this night. There was nothing to follow that rendition. As he said later, “With me, what you see is what you get.” The audience was with him, for every note, and his mum would have been proud.

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Anne Martinez, left, and Savannah Smith of BBR perform during the showcase for BBR at T Spot at Tuscany Suites Thursday, Nov. 26, 2013.

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Tony Felicetta performs in an Elvis impersonator contest on the anniversary of Elvis' death at Opportunity Village Engelstad Campus in Las Vegas on Friday, August 16, 2013.

• There are two uber-groovy events happening Tuesday night, an embarrassment of riches for those who dig the live entertainment scene on and off the Strip.

One of our swinging-est buddies, Tony Felicetta, is bringing the Rumpus Room back to Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood (go to the old Peepshow theater on the mezzanine level and make a right, and there you are). The band performs covers of such rockabilly numbers as “Red Hot,” “Delirious” and “Bumble Bee.” It’s a very stylish, and hard-rocking, presentation peppered by burlesque dancing from the Vegas Red Hots and (all the way from the U.K.!) the “Cream Tease Burlesque Show” by Pandora’s Box. Also on the bill: Gift giveaways from designer Tatyana Khomyakova (once of Bettie Page) and … wait for it … wait for it … free popcorn, courtesy of HiFi Recordings.

This is going to be a high-flying scene, one that Felicetta hopes to return to Sin City Theater or a similarly suitable venue in a recurring schedule. It could be a ticketed show one day, but for Tuesday, it is free, and the whole shebang kicks off with a red carpet at 10 p.m., showtime at 11.

Also Tuesday, at 10:45 p.m., or so, is the second-to-last performance of BBR’s blistering “Alice, A Steampunk Fantasy in Wonderland” production in T Spot Lounge at Tuscany. This also is a no-admission-fee showcase looking for a suitor, a room and a little love.

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Anthony Cools arrives at the "Veronic Voices" premiere at Bally's on Friday, June 28, 2013.

• Rare is the moment that a Strip headliner cops to placing a plant in the audience, but Anthony Cools did so after his 20th anniversary show Wednesday night at Paris Las Vegas. These were extenuating conditions, of course, with Cools playing to an invitation-only audience of friends, entertainers and media types. It was an atypical crowd, no doubt.

But what raised an eyebrow was the white-haired woman brought onstage as part of the dozen or so volunteers. I’ve seen Cools’ show twice, ever, at the Paris, and both times this woman clambered onstage. She performed the same rote act in both shows. One highlight: She pretended to perform fellatio on a chair and, during that act, pulled the top plate of her dentures from her mouth and set them on the stage.

Predictably, that move elicits a wave of sound, which is a voluminous gasp mixed with laughter. Unless you’ve already seen it, of course. Cools’ explanation is, because the anniversary audience was packed with those who would resist volunteering, he brought in some hardcore fans to fill the seats onstage and ensure a responsive set of fans onstage.

“Bridgette” is one of those, a woman who lives in North Carolina who visits Las Vegas a couple of times each year. On these trips, she always volunteers to be onstage with Cools, who estimates Bridgette has been onstage with him 30 to 40 times. This throws into debate whether such a person is actually in a subconscious state, as Bridgette always performs the same way under the same suggestions (she also stuffs a sock down the front of her pants, and the reason why is best left unreported). This is all terrific entertainment — if you’ve not seen it before.

Cools says he saw Bridgette about a month and a half before the anniversary show, and he invited her to the event because he knew no media members or entertainers would volunteer to be onstage. Most of the people onstage, seven or eight, were those types of fans. The others? Typical volunteers who are, of course, the lifeblood of any hypnosis show.

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

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