Advantages of a Holly-jolly Vegas

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Photo by Erik Kabik | We’d love to explore this ‘planet.’

Give the showgirl her shout-out. Look around: Holly Madison appears to be everywhere every hour of the day and night, seeming to singlehandedly carry Vegas goodwill on her surgically inflated, Lloyd’s-of-London-insured D cups. (We’ll skip jokes about her being the Breast of Las Vegas. … Oops.)

Talent-wise, she likely won’t get cast in a national tour of Les Miserables unless it’s reimagined as a burlesque revue. Yet for the purposes of Planet Hollywood’s Peepshow—celebrating its third anniversary on April 16—the buxom blonde and Head Peep (as Bo Peep) should be appreciated for reviving and revamping an iconic ideal through her own brand of Vegas ambassadorship.

“Quintessential showgirl,” as some publicity material has coined her? Unequivocally not. She’s a new, era-appropriate breed. With due respect to the dazzling ladies of Jubilee! at Bally’s, the last blast of vintage showgirl pizzazz, Madison has taken the traditional chorus line and distilled it into one: the celebrity showgirl. Star-addled, reality show-obsessed and gossip-crazed as we are now, we’ve cottoned to her because Madison is the first to fast-forward the showgirl aesthetic into reveal-it-all 21st-century terms. Rather than bemoan the loss of a bygone ideal, we can embrace the now, and she is it.

Other talents tagged as a post-Wayne Newton “Mr. Las Vegas,” such as George Wallace and the late Danny Gans, were largely celebrated for that status inside Vegas, but not beyond, making them insulated figures not appreciated or even discovered by tourists until they arrived. Hef’s ex, however, has become “Ms. Las Vegas” via multimedia stardom, carrying our vibe everywhere. Consider her E! reality show, Holly’s World; her book, The Showgirl Next Door (Stephens Press, 2011); and her Vegas correspondent gig for TV’s Extra; not to mention her nationally reported dating adventures, PETA ads and bodily enhancements. Add likability and relatability to ubiquity among her attributes: Madison’s battled weight gain like the rest of us and is just so damn … perky. Count Her Holly-ness as a Vegas plus. We’ve become a Mad, Mad, Mad, Madison World.

One Peepshow postscript: The sexy spectacle’s Planet Hollywood stage will host the AIDS fundraiser Las Vegas Broadway Bares: Barelesque at 11:59 p.m. April 15 ($20-$50), featuring performers from across the Strip.

LET’S NOSH ON SOME NOTES: Over at Arts Central, a.k.a. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Clint Holmes makes himself cozy at the Cabaret Jazz room, initiating his monthly gig on April 6; Broadway-wise, The Color Purple continues its run through April 8; local talent gets the spotlight April 11 in Sousa in the 21st Century, a tribute to march maestro John Philip Sousa featuring Southern Nevada musicians, visual artists, dancers and actors.

Moving on to Caesars Palace, Absinthe, which celebrated its 500th performance on April 1, has taken a flying leap of faith, bringing in Lijana Wallenda-Hernandez. She’s a seventh-generation member of the renowned Flying Wallendas, replacing Tony Hernandez, her high-flying hubby, through May 1. Side note: We’re told she has “mass” sex appeal. Wonder how her pastor feels about that, particularly on Sundays.

Finally, Caesars reps assure us that Celine Dion’s recovering voice is nearing her typical industrial-strength power, keeping her on schedule for her planned June 9 return to the Colosseum. We suspect Celine’s pipes will roll on (and on and on) before June, thanks to a certain historical anniversary and movie re-release of Kate Winslet’s breasts in 3-D. Had it been Holly’s assets rather than Kate’s, they would have required IMAX.

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VHS or Beta

Neon Reverb

VHS or Beta

The 7:30 p.m. start to their set in the hard-to-find downtown lot made VHS or Beta’s stellar show the most criminally under-attended of any band I saw that weekend. While the early start might have made sense had the venue not changed from the alley behind Beauty Bar (blame new zoning regulations), it did no favors to the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Louisville, Ky., dance-pop outfit. Nonetheless, VHS or Beta put on one of the better sets in Neon Reverb history. “Burn It All Down” might be five years old but it’s so likeable, it could still be a dance anthem.

DTLV

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