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VegasBeat — Columnist Timothy McDarrah: Seinfeld will stand, by George

VegasBeat appears Sunday through Friday in the Las Vegas Sun. Timothy McDarrah can be reached at [email protected] or at (702) 259-4096.

WEEKEND EDITION

January 17 - 18, 2004

Call it a Seinfeld Surprise.

New Flamingo Las Vegas comedy headliner George Wallace, who was the best man at Jerry Seinfeld's wedding, tells VegasBeat that his pal will appear onstage with him tonight.

"You see, I just got to Vegas and I don't have that much material yet," Wallace said. "I can't do a whole, long show all by myself. So Jerry said he'd come up for 10 or 15 minutes and help me out."

Wallace said that he plans to have several of his famous friends, from Chris Rock to Drew Carey, do guest bits at his nightly 10 p.m. show when they are in town. Wallace is booked at the Flamingo for at least the next three months.

Wallace also said he is learning more about Vegas every day.

"I went by a 24-hour fitness center. The sign said they were open from 6 a.m. to midnight," Wallace started.

"There are lots of personalized license plates here," Wallace said without a pause. "I pulled up to one car that had a plate that said something like 'cutie pie.' Well the lady driving it looked like moldy bread. I'd say she borrowed the car from someone.

"And please, Las Vegas, it is OK to start to take down those Christmas lights."

Chef Kerry Simon and entertainer Taylor Dayne ("Tell It To My Heart") were spotted having a very intimate conversation in a booth at his Simon Kitchen and Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel the other night.

No surprise there -- the couple were once engaged.

She was scheduled to play Boulder Station on Saturday.

When VegasBeat first heard about singer Martin Nievera, the Golden Nugget was promoting him to a Filipino audience, which made sense, because he is one of the biggest stars of that island nation.

But the hotel also sensed his crossover potential.

"So we gave him some CDs with some different, American stuff on it for him to try out," Golden Nugget Entertainment Director Joe Leone said. "The guy is so humble, and so interested in making it here that he gave it a shot."

The shot was a direct hit.

Nievera is in the midst of a two-month engagement (through Feb. 29) called "Martin Nievera Singin' & Swingin'." He brilliantly covers artists from Van Morrison to Freddie Mercury to Frank Sinatra and comes off as entirely grateful to have a chance to shine at the same hotel that Ol' Blue Eyes once played.

"I am here because Las Vegas is the melting pot of winners," Nievera told VegasBeat before a performance in front of invited guests Wednesday night. "I want to grow old here and sing forever, like Tom Jones and Wayne Newton."

His voice, plus his easy banter with the audience and self-deprecating sense of humor, had the crowd howling for more. Among Nievera's fans that evening: Earl Turner, Monti Rock III, Dennis Bono, Marlene Ricci, KNPR boss Lamar Marchese, Kelly Clinton and new Golden Nugget co-owner Tom Breitling, who was being followed around by cameras from "The Casino," the upcoming Fox reality show.

New CNBC talk-show host Dennis Miller performs Friday through Sunday at Paris Las Vegas. Local entertainer Steve Sorrentino opens for him.

Then Sorrentino is off to Los Angeles to rehearse for his starring role in the revamped version of "Tease," which played at the since-closed Blue Note Las Vegas on Harmon Avenue in 2002. Cris Judd is choreographing the new version.

"Tease" is set for a mid-March opening.

As we reported the other day, the interactive dinner theatre show "Ba Da Bing" is moving from The Orleans to the Ovation Theatre at Desert Passage at the Aladdin on Jan. 31.

The show's star and producer, Cousin Vinnie (real name Ben Morgan), is refitting the upstairs space to resemble a Prohibition-era speakeasy, complete with a little sliding window on the door where you say a password to get in (which will be the easy-to-remember "ba-da-bing.")

And he is taking no chances on the show's continued success.

"I am bringing in a priest and a rabbi to bless the place before we start," Morgan told us.

Nothing like a higher authority.

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