On the Scene with Brock Radke: Puddles Pity Party, Criss Angel and more
It’s Just Emotion
Is Puddles the “alter ego” of Mike Geier, singer and frontman of Atlanta band Kingsized, or is it the other way around? All we know is Puddles Pity Party has been crooning and hugging its way through a stage-torching residency at Caesars Palace’s iconic lounge, Cleopatra’s Barge, for the better part of January and wraps up its run Feb. 7-9.
The 6-foot-8 dynamo offers a singular, baritone-based performance, covering rock and pop favorites, even dipping into show tunes and other standards when the time is right. But it’s the quiet moments that really count, when Puddles expresses emotion without singing a single note. Consider him a one-man cure for your fear of clowns.
Must-See: Criss Angel MINDFREAK
How much more MINDFREAK has Criss Angel packed into his new home at the Planet Hollywood Resort? It’s hard to imagine a more immersive, technically advanced, illusion-based production. When the soundtrack kicks in to start the show, you can feel the bass in your chest. When a dramatic new scene unfolds onstage, the visual setting stretches to the back of the room thanks to LED strips on the ceiling and 4K projection on the walls.
There are thunderous music and video contributions, from Korn’s Jonathan Davis and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, and Angel has added almost two dozen new illusions to his iconic collection of tricks. Criss Angel MINDFREAK returns to its Wednesday-Sunday schedule at the Criss Angel Theater on Feb. 6.
Around the Strip
Lady Gaga kicked off the Jazz & Piano version of her Las Vegas residency in grand fashion, bringing the legendary Tony Bennett to the Park Theater stage to perform “The Lady is a Tramp” and “Cheek to Cheek.” Gaga’s first Jazz & Piano show was a sold-out affair, and the crowd went wild when the 92-year-old crooner arrived to revisit the duo’s 2014 jazz album and 2015 tour. Her next Jazz & Piano concerts are Feb. 3, June 2, 9 and 15.
On The Record, the new speakeasy and nightclub at Park MGM, held a special red-carpet grand opening recently that attracted Hollywood stars Kate Beckinsale, Bella Thorne, Rumer Willis and Ireland Baldwin, plus David Arquette, Emile Hirsch, Josh Hutcherson, Paul Wesley and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. TV’s Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, Black Eyed Peas member Apl.de.ap and Alice in Chains rocker Jerry Cantrell also made the scene, and Beckinsale joined Willis in singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” in a hidden karaoke room.
Many of Vegas’ favorite chefs including Susan Feniger and Mike Minor from Border Grill, Johnny Church from the Stratosphere, Justin Kingsley Hall from the Kitchen at Atomic and Stephen Hopcraft from STK teamed with Vegas Golden Knights players to prepare tasty snacks for an appreciative crowd at the 2019 Knight To Remember event at World Market Center Pavilions to benefit the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation. Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Steve Aoki and artists from Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ performed.
Brock Radke is an award-winning entertainment reporter who has been covering the city since 2000, and interviews key movers and shakers on his All The Vegas podcast, available at allthevegas.com