You know it’s an only-in-Vegas event when Tony Spilotro is your opening act.
That’s how it was for former Las Vegas Mayor, and current Las Vegas brand, Oscar Goodman on Thursday night.
Goodman has been depicted in stature form at The Plaza, alongside Spilotro, his former notorious client. That piece was unveiled on the night Goodman’s eponymous steakhouse celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Statue artist Brian Hanlon was in the room. His work is titled “Good Counsel,”and joins such Hanlon-conceived figures as Jerry Tarkanian at Thomas & Mack Center and President Barack Obama at Historic Westside Legacy Park.
The Plaza piece is modeled after the famous photo of Goodman’s courthouse conference with Spilotro. The life-size, bronze figures stand near the restaurant entrance, behind a sign that reads, “Although Spilotro allegedly killed 27 people, with Goodman’s defense, he never spent a day in prison. That is why Oscar Goodman is called “Liberty’s Last Champion.”
Spilotro memorialized as a statue, even at a privately owned resort near The Mob Museum, is sure to draw some blowback.
Goodman isn’t concerned.
“It’s a piece of Las Vegas history,” says the onetime “mob lawyer” and public servant. “I’m not the type of person who tries to reinvent Las Vegas history.”
There was a lot of that, on this night, at The Plaza. But the evening offered a look into the future, as Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel announced a a major expansion of Oscar’s Steakhouse. Look for the 100-seat, patio annex to open in the second half of this year.
The twin announcements led into Goodman’s latest dinner series talk, part two of his recounting of the Jimmy Chagra-Judge John Wood assassination case (it’s a Goodman classic). Also part of this Goodman run of events, the ex-mayor was to be featured on “Dateline NBC” on Friday night in an episode unveiling new information about Teddy Binion’s death.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman and siblings Oscar Goodman Jr., Ross Goodman and Eric Goodman were the family members at the main table. Around the room were such dignitaries as Plaza ownership company Tamares Group Chairman and CEO Poju Zabludowicz; Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel; South Point owner Michael Gaughan; South Point GM Ryan Growney; Top Rank Boxing founder Bob and Lovee Arum (Bob turned 90 on Dec. 8); Tito Tiberti of Tiberti Construction; Wynn Las Vegas COO Steve Weitman; and IGT Sports Betting President Joe Asher.
As a closer, he was roasted by a group of Vegas interlopers, led by host and Laugh Factory at the Trop headliner Murray Sawchuck, and featuring The Amazing Johnathan, Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie and yours truly. Seeing Johnathan back in public was a treat. So was the bit where he slammed Plaza hospitality consultant Michael Vakneen’s hand into a serving of Hizzoner’s Chocolate Mousse Cake.
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) January 14, 2022
Later, as A.J. began chiding Goodman, what seemed to be the light of a rifle laser sight crossed over his face. Johnathan’s wife, the performer Anastasia Synn, was working a handheld laser light from across the dining room. It might well have been Johnathan’s last performance, given his chronic heart problems. As he said upon leaving, “I gotta go now, I gotta get back to the hospital.”
Phillips sang a customized version of “Where Or When” for Goodman, “He can’t remember where or when, some things that have happened for the first time, seem to be happening again.” The Zowie Bowie founder said he feared he might not make it to his car alive. It was a feeling shared by many. (And I will say that I appreciated the one person, Gaughan, who laughed when I dropped Arnie Adamsen’s name.)
Penn & Teller surpassed their 21st anniversary at the Rio on Jan. 5. A few days late, as the guys have been dark for most of the month. But a cake was delivered backstage to mark the occasion. “It was vegan, and yes it was delicious.”
Even after two decades, P&T continues to evolve their act. Their commitment to longevity will be reflected in a new building wrap on the Rio, coming soon.
For the first time in a long time (about two years), Light at Mandalay Bay is reopening. The kickoff party is Feb. 11, Super Bowl weekend. Cover is $30 men, $20 for women for the nightspot that opened in 2013. A favorite Light night: Opening of “Baz” in 2015. Another: Cirque founder Guy Laliberte’s DJ appearance at the Vegas premiere of “Candy World” in August 2019.
Great Moments in Social Media
Column fave Flavor Flav posted a photo of himself next to Jay Z, who was wearing a T-shirt that caught Flav’s eye. The rap icon said in his inimitable vernacular, “Nuthin but the maddest love and respect for this geee right here … he even got me and Chuck on his shirt … wowww.”
Your VegasVille Moment
I ran into UFC President Dana White at the VIP deck at the D Las Vegas on Thursday, taking in Zowie Bowie’s show at 3rd Street Stage after the Goodman roast. White has quite a tale about a watch he gave Kid Rock. We’re gathering the details.
Feeling a draft?
Rick Harrison is again holding forth at Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ at Pawn Plaza, next to Gold & Silver Pawn. Reminder that Harrison, co-star of “Pawn Stars,” is best with drinks named for their ingredients. So order a rum and Coke, or gin and tonic, or FizzyWater with lime. We do not recommend Blue Lagoon, Bahama Mama, the Chumlee Special or anything of the sort.
Cool Hang Alert(s)
The long-running Beatles tribute act The Fab is performing “Albumpalooza,” two full-album shows at Westgate Cabaret at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday. “Ones Night Only,”all of the band’s No. 1 hits, kicks off the doubleheader. The 8 p.m. show is “Hello, Goodbye,” a performance of their first U.S. album, “Meet The Beatles,” and final recorded album, “Abbey Road.” Tickets start at $20 per show, $52 for VIP. Show is for ages 5-up (18-and-under with guardian), info at ticketmaster.com or the Westgate box office.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.