Buon, Pavarotti!

Jan 20, 2004 2:31 AM

What a cash cow. The first North American date of Luciano Pavarotti’s final worldwide tour will be at The Colosseum on Feb. 28. Caesars Palace hotel president Mark Juliano says, "The Colosseum makes this performance a truly unique and special experience, one that our guests will never forget."

I totally agree, especially when the top ticket price is $800 plus "applicable handling charges." Is anybody really worth seeing at that figure, though I’m sure our city’s Who’s Who will be in attendance? Another ludicrous ticket tab was $505 for Sting’s appearance at the Hard Rock. It, too, will be a sellout.

My prayers are with Bernie Allen, who passed away last week following an accident with his motorized wheel chair. I hear he broke his hip. In any case, Bernie was a trouper, a Vaudeville-style comic who never stopped pitching. He was one of the few remaining stand-ups that traced his roots to the old-time Vegas lounge scene. God bless, Bernie.

David Brenner and I made more appearances with Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show" than anyone, so I think there should be a reunion when Jay Leno broadcasts the show from Paris the week of May 10.

I could have easily been on Mr. Blackwell’s worst dressed list over the years, so the class of 2003 — including Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Madonna, Shania Twain, Courtney Love and Jessica Simpson, among others — shouldn’t worry about the recognition. Blackwell obviously considers Hilton’s birthday suit she was "wearing" when her sex video hit the Internet.

I’m wondering if the switch of the interactive dinner theater "Ba Da Bing" from Sazio restaurant at the Orleans to the Ovation Theater in Desert Passage didn’t come before the show would have been asked to leave. The new location performances begin Feb. 1.

This could be the most ridiculous casting in film history. Michael Jackson, according to AP, has completed a movie entitled "Miss Cast Away" in which he plays a force sent by the pope in a beam of light to dispense wisdom to a group of beauty pageant contestants who crash-land on a deserted island. At least he won’t have to go without makeup.

Jeff Kutash, producer of "Sinatra: The Main Event," which starred Bob Anderson when it played here and Atlantic City, has to pay "substantial" damages for staging the unauthorized tribute show featuring an impersonator that infringed on the Frank Sinatra trademark. The Reuters report quotes Sinatra Enterprises lawyer, Mark Lee, as saying "the ruling does indicate that other parties should be cautious before they decide to exploit trademarks in an unauthorized production."

In the meantime, Anderson is spending time in Las Vegas after his first attempt in Branson failed. He will open in a Branson supper club in a month or so. We wish him the best because he’s a great guy and very talented.

Now that his television talker was cancelled after two seasons, will Wayne Brady remain a Strip regular? Meanwhile, Buena Vista TV is shopping a Tony Danza-hosted talk show for next season. Danza plays the Orleans and Suncoast.

As well as being a columnist, I am proud to say that I’m Las Vegas’ newest tour guide. Also known as the Desert Diva, I am now offering to host personally guided tours of our city. My first attempt was a dinner party at Red Square that was an epicurean’s delight.

Martin Nievera at the Golden Nugget is a must see for anyone who appreciates someone with a terrific singing voice. Nievera is still trying to find his niche and he should select his repertoire instead of the hotel honchos that I hear are doing it.

By the time you read this column, the Amazing Jonathan hopefully will have a signed contract to reappear at the Golden Nugget, and George Wallace’s business at the Flamingo will have picked up.

The divorce papers have been signed by David Saxe and his former partner, Jon Stewart. "Ovation" at the Desert Passage goes to Stewart, who I know will do a sensational job in building up the production.

Aladdin headliner Steve Wyrick has finally added the Strip’s newest illusion to his nightly performances. Towards the end of his show, Wyrick is joined by four members of his audience on the outside of the hotel while he does some close-up tricks similar to the craft’s old days. The segment is beamed back into his theater and eventually will be shown on the Aladdin marquee.

My award of excellence this week has got to go to singer Jack Jones. Battling the flu, Jones twice during his recent Suncoast performance, had a couple of off stage coughing jags, but returned each time to please his sold-out audience. He’s a true trouper from the old school.