Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

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John Katsilometes talks with Bette Midler, who already feels at home at Caesars Palace

This is not Bette Midler's first trip on the Strip. Not by a long shot. Her first visit to Las Vegas was actually her first appearance at a Strip showroom, when she opened for Johnny Carson at the Sahara in 1972.

"I was so young, but I remember it well," she said following a spectacle on the steps of the Colosseum at Caesars Palace that was a splashy mix of production show (with six dancers dressed as bellmen who toted Louis Vuitton luggage onto the stage) and news conference played out for media members and dozens of star-struck onlookers. The idea was to announce Midler's two-year engagement as Colosseum headliner, stepping in when Celine Dion leaves. Midler begins her run Feb. 20.

Midler was in her mid-20s when she opened for Carson, whom she serenaded into retirement in 1992. "He was there a few times a year for them, and one of those times I was there, and I remember the big showroom and being part of a big show with a real star. It was great."

Midler also fell victim to a vintage wardrobe malfunction on opening night. "My opening night, I had to bail my dresser out of jail. It's just such a long story," Midler said, laughing. "That was my introduction to Las Vegas. She didn't bring me anything but one string of beads to wear. I had to improvise."

NoteMart

Unless there is a formal name change, don't expect Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman to stop calling Neonopolis by that name in favor of Fremont Square, which is what developer Rohit Joshi has proposed calling the mostly vacant shopping center on the east end of the Fremont Street Experience. Goodman has lost his patience with Joshi and the company he fronts, Wirrulla Hayward LLC, who have produced only vague plans for the space. The mayor plans on practicing his specialty, networking, at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention May 21-23 to find a potential buyers for Neonopolis. Or, if you will, Fremont Square ...

The Stirling Club was the site of an appearance by the Jackson 1 on Wednesday night. He did not perform, but reports are that Michael Jackson (with slide projector in tow) conducted a PowerPoint presentation, and afterward talk around the club was that his slide shows centered on Egypt and Egyptian themes ...

Luck be a lady ... in 15 months: The seemingly luckless Lady Luck will not reopen until at least July 2008, we hear. Renovations at the hotel, which shuttered in March 2006, have been sluggish and its expected reopening oft-delayed. It's supposed to be renamed, too, although after its long slumber the name Lady Luck might actually seem fresh ...

When comic impressionist Stephen Sorrentino finishes his three-month contract with "Legends in Concert" at Imperial Palace on May 19, the show will shift back to a format of six impressionists and no emcee (which was Sorrentino's role). The celeb acts over the summer will be Jerry Lee Lewis, Marilyn Monroe, Gwen Stefani, the Blues Brothers, Whitney Houston and, sticking with the show, Matt Lewis as Elvis ...

During an appearance at a private fundraiser held last week near Sahara Avenue and Buffalo Drive, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards talked enthusiastically of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and America's dependence on foreign oil. The audience, which included "Manhattanization of Las Vegas" author and Metroplex Group President Paul Murad, heartily applauded his enviro-themed speech. After , when Murad tried to retrieve his car from valet, he noticed he lost his claim check. The attendant told him not to worry, because Murad's vehicle - a Toyota Prius - would be easy to find, as it was the only hybrid in a parking lot of more than 100 vehicles ...

Triggering double-takes: Reader reports the plate GUN4HYR on a charcoal Honda (didn't catch the model).

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