Golden Knights drafting party plans; Jon Taffer makes a power play in Vegas

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is a VIP spot at the Westgate Superbook with a sign reading: “Reserved for Mr. Dewey.”

Hopefully he will not turn up and have me tossed.

The NCAA Tournament is king at the moment, with a standing-room-only crowd (unless you know Mr. Dewey) gathered for Gonzaga vs. Northwestern and Florida State vs. Xavier. But the Vegas Golden Knights soon will be a prominent draw in the Superbook, with an expansion-draft party planned for June 21.

This is not an officially sanctioned event, but there is some buzz about another major event planned at T-Mobile Arena in June. Be ready for that, Vegas Knights fans. Selecting 30 NHL players to suit up for the Golden Knights in 2017-‘18 might not seem like much of a party in Vegas. But I’d bet that the arena will be hopping with thousands of local hockey fans, and I’d make the wager at Westgate.

More from the scene:


“Bar Rescue” star Jon Taffer moved to Las Vegas three years ago, and he’s focusing the same zeal he uses to fix nightclubs and taverns on his Spike-TV series to making a difference here.

Taffer is being honored with the Bubble-Licious Dom Perignon Award of Excellence during the 43rd annual UNLVino beverage and culinary spectacular that takes place at The Venetian, Red Rock Resort and Paris Las Vegas. The event, which runs March 30-April 1, raises funds for students in UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, and is supported by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (formerly Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada).

“I can’t believe the sense of community here, the amount of pride the people who run this city have in Las Vegas,” Taffer said recently. “They are wonderful. And being honored by UNLVino is a very emotional thing for me. It means the world to me.”

Meantime, Taffer’s TV empire continues to expand. Bar Rescue,” is in its fifth season and this month filmed its 140th episode. The most recent season features an overhaul of the Club Platinum adult nightspot just east of the Strip on Flamingo Road. Taffer has focused on several Las Vegas bars — the legendary blues club Sand Dollar Lounge (briefly renamed Bar 702) has been one such reclamation project.

Taffer is also shooting a pilot for a network series, using Las Vegas as his headquarters, focusing on celebrities and their restaurant ideas.

“We ask, ‘Why do you want to do this?’ and try to extract a brand,” Taffer said. “There are many, many celebrities who want to go into this business.” And some who are in the business, such as Taffer, who become celebrities.


Forty-one years ago, I saw Neil Sedaka perform at the Idaho State University Minidome in Pocatello.

I saw him again Friday night at Orleans Showroom.

We met before the show, a connection made by Planet Hollywood headlining magician Murray Sawchuck, a longtime friend of Sedaka’s. I told him of the night I saw him in Idaho, which was the first concert I had ever seen.

“That was the ‘Sedaka’s Back’ tour,” Sedaka remembered, accurately. “How old were you?”

“Ten,” I said.

“Oooooh … Well, I have been doing it for 60 years,” Sedaka said, laughing. “It’s not as easy as it used to be, but I still love doing it.”

Sedaka then went out and proved it, rolling through his many hits while frequently joking that his piano was too far from the edge of the stage. “I want to be closer to these folks! They paid good money to see me!”

The place was filled for the 78-year-old icon, who told the crowd he never wrote a song specifically for anyone else but has been covered by such diverse singers as Sinatra, Elvis, Neil Diamond, even Sheryl Crow. Sedaka’s partnership with Elton John’s Rocket Records in his mid-’70s comeback gave him new life, and “Laughter in the Rain” and “Bad Blood” from that time were among the night’s highlights.

At one point, Sedaka glanced at his set list and announced, in mock frustration, “So many hits! I can’t decide what to sing!”

Emphasis on “sing” there, too. No tracks for Neil Sedaka. He’s particular that way.


Venerable Las Vegas media personality and effective bow-tie model Nathan Tannenbaum took the stage Friday night during Lon Bronson’s All-Star Band’s monthly show at Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center. Bronson called out Tannenbaum to provide the baseball play-by-play call during a cover of Meat Loaf’s “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.” The 10-minute treatment of that song featured cast members Cassiopée V. Lapierre and Jared Dalley from “The World’s Greatest Rock Show.” The production opens April 4 at the Stratosphere, with Bronson as music director.

Also worth a shout from Friday’s show: Lannie Counts, who delivered a stunning rendition of David Bowie’s “Young American,” Chicago’s “Questions 67 and 68,” and Sam & Dave’s (and, later, the Blues Brothers’) “Soul Man.” Amazing range. Counts might not be famous, but the guy can flat bring it.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.