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October 19, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Performers get together for unrehearsed, late-night show

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Leila Navidi

Contortionist Stephanie Castellone performs as “Lady Labella” during “OK, OK the Amos Glick Variety Show!” at the Square Apple in Las Vegas Wednesday, March 18, 2009. Castellone has her own performance business called “TwistIT Up!” The Variety Show, hosted by “Le Reve” clown Amos Glick, is an open house for performers of all disciplines.

Early Friday morning, a lithe woman with a body fat of, let’s say zero, hung from netting high above the stage of downtown’s new Inspire Theater.

Magenta, then blue, then white lights were projected on and behind her, as technical crews yelled for changes.

The woman, an aerialist, was suspended comfortably, almost effortlessly, for several minutes while adjustments were made to create just the right stage lighting. All of it was in preparation for tonight’s performance of “OK, OK, the amos glick variety show.”

The show serves as more than just a new form of downtown entertainment attainable to almost any sized pocketbook — $10 with a Nevada ID; $20 for everyone else. It is a herald to the smallish venue’s entree into the Las Vegas theater scene.

At the corner of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard, Inspire Theater is a two-plus-year, $5.5 million project that converted an old 7-Eleven store into a theater/bar/coffee bar/newsstand.

The 150-seat theater is small enough that whatever’s happening on stage feels like it’s happening in your lap.

Tonight’s show, which starts at 11:45 p.m., is described like this: “A late-night un-rehearsed variety show featuring top-notch talent from the Strip and Las Vegas locals; un-rehearsed in that the show is thrown together that day.”

The show grew from the need of creative workers in shows on the Las Vegas Strip to do more than their regular, nightly performances.

That’s always been the case in Vegas — when the Strip stage shows ended, performers would often get together to simply have fun showing off their talents in some low-key venue.

Some six years ago, as the story goes, Glick, a clown in “Le Reve,” noticed those impromptu get-togethers were diminishing. So he began “OK, OK” to keep the tradition alive.

The shows feature performers from different Strip shows, many in the Cirque du Soleil series.

A Las Vegas Sun story in 2009 noted that the shows are “about fun, not perfection.”

Tickets may be purchased through this website.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover Downtown, he lives and works there. He is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded Downtown journalist, stationed at an office in Emergency Arts. His work appears in the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly.

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