Welcome to a special episode of “The Talk About Las Vegas Podcast,” where we dive into the vibrant life and career of John Katsilometes, a name synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment. John, often referred to as KATS!, has become a pivotal figure in the Las Vegas entertainment scene, with his columns in the Las Vegas Review-Journal capturing the essence of the city’s dynamic culture.
John Katsilometes: The Man Behind the Column
John Katsilometes, a journalist with a rich history in Las Vegas, has been a cornerstone of the city’s entertainment reporting. His journey began long before his current tenure at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. John’s career includes significant time at the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly, and his role as editor-at-large for Greenspun Media Group. His unique insights and deep understanding of Las Vegas’s entertainment landscape have made him a respected and influential figure in the industry.
Award-Winning Journalism and Recognition
John’s excellence in journalism has not gone unnoticed. He has been honored with numerous state and regional awards, including the prestigious 2013 Nevada Press Association’s Journalist of the Year. His column writing has been recognized four times by the Best of the West contest, a testament to his skill and dedication to his craft. In March 2019, John’s contributions to the arts and entertainment scene in Las Vegas were further acknowledged when he was inducted into the UNLV College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame.
The “Mobbed Up” Podcast Series
In addition to his columns, John Katsilometes has ventured into the world of podcasting with his series “Mobbed Up.” This podcast delves into the intriguing and often complex history of organized crime in Las Vegas, offering listeners a unique perspective on the city’s past. John’s storytelling ability shines through in this series, making it a must-listen for anyone interested in Las Vegas history and true crime.
Alanis Morissette and Las Vegas: A Connection Explored by John Katsilometes
John’s coverage of the Las Vegas entertainment scene includes in-depth features on various artists, including the renowned Alanis Morissette. His insights into her performances in Las Vegas provide fans and readers with a deeper understanding of her impact on the city’s music scene. John Katsilometes’ articles on Alanis Morissette in Las Vegas are a perfect example of his ability to connect readers with the heart of the entertainment world.
A Glimpse into the Future: John Katsilometes’ Aspirations
In this episode of “The Talk About Las Vegas Podcast,” John shares his aspirations for the future, including his goal to author a book. His passion for storytelling and journalism suggests that this book would offer a unique and captivating look into the world of Las Vegas entertainment.
John Katsilometes: A Life of Participation in Las Vegas Entertainment
John describes his work as a “participation sport,” highlighting his hands-on approach to covering Las Vegas entertainment. This philosophy has allowed him to immerse himself fully in the city’s culture, providing readers with an authentic and engaging perspective.
Favorite Performers and Personal Insights
Listeners of the podcast will also enjoy John’s personal anecdotes and his list of favorite performers. These insights offer a glimpse into the personal tastes and preferences of one of Las Vegas’s most prominent entertainment journalists.
Conclusion: Celebrating John Katsilometes’ Contributions to Las Vegas
In conclusion, John Katsilometes is not just a columnist; he is a storyteller, a historian, and a key figure in the Las Vegas entertainment world. His work continues to shape how we view and understand the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment in this vibrant city. Be sure to tune into “The Talk About Las Vegas Podcast” to hear directly from John about his experiences, insights, and future endeavors in the world of Las Vegas entertainment.
Explore ‘Episodes Las Vegas‘ for insightful discussions, including our exclusive interview with John Katsilometes.
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Talking with John Katsilometes Full Transcript
Ira Sternberg: “Whenever I want to find out what’s happening in Las Vegas entertainment, I have two options. One is to call 10 contacts on the Strip. Now, five years ago, five of the ten would call me back and give me news. Now, I’m lucky if one calls me back. So, I’ve been in town a long time, but it doesn’t matter. My other option is better, and that’s to pick up the Las Vegas Review-Journal and read page three. That’s because my guest and friend, John Katsilometes, is the man about town whose ‘Kats’ column runs daily in the RJ and keeps us all, including me, informed. Oh yes, and if I call Kats, he actually will call me back, so that’s also good. And Kats has a new podcast coming up, which we’re going to talk about as well, called ‘Mobbed Up.’ We’ll get into that, and you can follow John at reviewjournal.com and as well as on Instagram and Facebook. Kats, welcome back to the show.”
John Katsilometes: “Good to see you, Ira.”
Ira Sternberg: “Same here. So, are you ever going to write a book?”
John Katsilometes: “Oh boy, I’ve been asked that a lot lately. I know, it’s in my head, and I thought, you know, ‘No, you’re right, man.’ I think we’ve talked about this over the years too. I should. I will tell you that that has become a highly discussed topic. It’s something… Here’s where I land on this: I have well more than enough material to do multiple books. I would have to stop doing what I’m doing now to write a book, and I’m still involved in the gathering of information that would make a good book. So, I can only do one thing effectively at a time, and right now, it’s being the daily columnist for the Review-Journal and building a multimedia position here in Las Vegas. Still, that’s what I’m doing. So, but down the line, I think you’ll see that, yes.”
Ira Sternberg: “Yeah, I think there’s so many stories that you could write about, and so many people and fascinating events you’ve been to, that I think that could work. Now, you said you can only do one thing at a time. I had to laugh because you’re not just doing one thing. It’s everything. Yeah, it’s, as you said, it’s multimedia. So, you’re on all these platforms as well as writing the daily column. And I always ask you this question, and I think it’s a legitimate question I always ask, is when do you sleep?”
John Katsilometes: “Wow, the book question and the sleep question right off the top. I say I sleep, uh, not enough, maybe to be healthy, but more than you would think. So, it’s probably six hours a night. Yeah, okay. Usually down by two, up by eight; down by one, up by seven, kind of routine. And I’m up and running when I get up too.”
Ira Sternberg: “But when you take a little time off to go back to the Midwest, do you… are you totally disconnected at that point? In other words, you’re not writing, you’re with family, and are you turning off the phones, are you not writing? Yeah, are you cheating a little bit? What’s happening?”
John Katsilometes: “Well, my family’s in the Intermountain West, in Northwestern Idaho. So, I might have to go actually to the Midwest to get away from them too. Yeah, my family’s in Idaho. So, when I go away, and I did this a couple of months ago, I go to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, where my dad has a bed and breakfast, which is just outside of Pocatello, Idaho. It’s Lava Hot Springs, a town of about 400 people. Pocatello is my original hometown. My father lives there. I’ve got a couple of cousins and, you know, a few cousins who live in Pocatello. The rest of my family, my immediate family, lives in Boise. My brother, sister-in-law, nephew, mom, and, you know, so when I go to Idaho, the idea is for me to set everything down. You know, I don’t always succeed at that, but the last trip, I was able to really put everything away and just be the son, and the brother, and the nephew, and, you know, the uncle.”
Ira Sternberg: “One thing I’ve noticed over the years is when I go to Idaho for the winter, you know, I’m there for the holidays, uh, and I visit my father, and I stay at the hot springs, and I’m there, and I’m in a completely different environment. I usually do a column. I usually write a column from that environment. I started doing it like in 2008, I think. And, you know, like a Hallmark card from Idaho. Yeah, that column gets more attention probably than anything I write over the course of a year, as far as traditional stories. And, uh, they like reading about the other side of the world. You know, it’s very homey, very Hallmark-like. And, uh, so that’s part of what I do when I’m in Idaho. So that requires me to work a little bit, right? But, uh, you know, the people around me, by now, when I go to Lava Hot Springs in December, and but the Lava Hot Springs, and my dad’s place, they know me now as the proof of who’s George’s son, who is the writer. And they’re keeping their eye on me, seeing if I’m like chronicling what’s going on around town. They come up and talk to me, and they ask me when’s the column going to be out, and I usually write it, and then I split, and I go to Boise the next day. But it’s a very, very interesting… It’s a completely opposite… You know how Rita Rudner said, uh, and others have said this too, but I remember Rita Rudner saying it, ‘No matter where you’re from, Las Vegas is the opposite of it.’ Oh, absolutely. And Lava Hot Springs is definitely that. It’s completely diametrically opposite of Las Vegas. So people like seeing the coverage. They like that environment.”
Ira Sternberg: “And your family says, ‘An alien among us.’ Now we have to be careful.”
John Katsilometes: “You know what’s funny? The novelty of me has worn off a long time ago in my family. It’s just like, I got there, you know, mom’s… Mom’s like, ‘You want to go rake the backyard? Help me clean the garage,’ you know. And it’s just like, you’re back in this… You’re back in the slot there where you grew up, kind of. And, um, I’m fine with that. I’m totally fine with that.”
Ira Sternberg: “Well, I had a bunch of cosmic questions for you, but we have to start out, I think, with… I slightly referenced it in the intro, which is you have a new podcast series coming up, which is called ‘Mobbed Up.’ So tell us a little bit about that.”
John Katsilometes: “‘Mobbed Up’ is the third season of… uh, this next season is the third season of ‘Mobbed Up’ that I’m hosting. We have two seasons in the bank. The first was about ex-gangster and now the late Frank Cullotta. The second was the history of the Aladdin Hotel Casino on the Strip. This season is all about Oscar Goodman, and I have interviewed Oscar extensively at the Plaza at Oscar’s Steakhouse, and we have edited and distilled all that material into eight episodes that are all about Oscar Goodman and all of his notorious clients, his famous cases, why he ran for mayor, his relationship with some of the people he’s represented, his family, how this all affected his family. We interviewed Mayor Carolyn Goodman and some of the people he butted heads with over the years. That is going to premiere September 14th, the first episode, and that’s all about Jimmy Chagra, the Jimmy Chagra case, who Oscar had represented. He was probably the biggest marijuana dealer in the United States at the time when Oscar was representing him, and Chagra had… was a figure in the assassination of Judge John Wood in San Antonio, Texas, back in 1978. It’s a wild story. Jack Sheehan, the author, is making… trying to make a movie out of this currently. So that’s the first episode, and that comes out September 14th, and then eight weeks along from there.”
Ira Sternberg: “Will they be able to get that at reviewjournal.com?”
John Katsilometes: “Yes, yes, and everywhere you get podcasts.”
Ira Sternberg: “Excellent, that’s where that’s home base is on our site.”
John Katsilometes: “Okay, excellent. What’s the most… and this is the question I was originally started out with… what’s the most important change you’ve seen on the Las Vegas Strip in the last couple of years?”
John Katsilometes: “I would say, in the most recent… but probably the last couple of years, on this touch of entertainment, of course, but I think it’s the Super Bowl coming to Las Vegas, Formula One coming to Las Vegas, and the development of the Sphere. Those happened all within the last couple of years or so. Obviously, Formula One puts Las Vegas on the international stage. That’s going to be a lot of prominence across multiple areas, multiple cultures, including entertainment during that week. The Sphere is… stands alone as a unique performance entertainment venue. There’s nothing else like it in the world. It’s going to open this month with U2 and a show built for the Sphere. There’s a great deal of conversation and buzz created by that venue, largely because of the exosphere, what they call the exosphere, that display on the outside.”
Ira Sternberg: “The external view, yeah.”
John Katsilometes: “Yeah. And a Super Bowl, you know, where obviously we know you have the Super Bowl entertainment going on the week of the game and during the game in Las Vegas. And that is a huge move and a massive development for Las Vegas. Is it… you know, we both know that and remember a time when Las Vegas was not the darling of the NFL by any stretch. We couldn’t even get a commercial on during the game less than 20 years ago. Now the game is here. So I think those are the big things… kind of the effect entertainment. But over the past, I would say decade, I think the biggest change is the advent of theater residencies in Las Vegas. What Celine Dion started in the early 2000s has just exploded, and everybody who has… every major superstar seems wants to have some sort of extended engagement in Las Vegas. We have six major theaters. I just was at Lady Gaga last night at Dolby Live at Park MGM. She is excited. She’s showing no signs of wanting to leave Las Vegas. And, you know, look around: Adele, Bruno Mars, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Garth Brooks… all doing residencies. As Sting, Usher… and that a decade ago, even, was not happening in Las Vegas. A decade ago, the only other real extended engagement residency headline we had in Las Vegas other than like Rod Stewart and Elton John and Celine at the Coliseum was Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood. And now it’s… it’s a huge… Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, Keith… Luke Bryan. The list goes on and on. Those are all over at Park or at Resorts World. So those… we have major superstars in a way coming here repeatedly that we didn’t have before.”
Ira Sternberg: “What’s the appeal to the entertainers for having a residency here? Is it because they don’t have to travel and they just can go to be in Las Vegas, stay here, and the people come to them? Is that the main draw?”
John Katsilometes: “Yeah, that’s mainly it. Yeah, they say it’s more convenient. You know, you talk to somebody like… you know, I’ve talked to like ZZ Top, Billy Gibbons, for example, who does have a home here, but he says, you know, it’s a real convenience to just be able to go to the hotel and do the show and be home, you know, or be at the hotel for an extended period of time. John Fogerty says the same thing. We have Carlos Santana, who’s also lives here and does his residency at House of Blues. That’s a big… it’s a very convenient option for them, especially if you’ve been touring so much. You know, people go all over the world, and when they stop touring, they still want to perform, right? So they like being able to do eight shows in a month somewhere and just be there, you know. It’s… and it’s profitable, and they can build specific shows for Las Vegas. You know, a lot of… a lot of time, in most cases, the only way you can see Katy Perry’s play show or Katy Perry at all right now is at Resorts World, and she’s built a show specific for Las Vegas. A lot of them do this. Gwen Stefani had… you know, did this, and Gaga with Jazz and Piano, Garth Brooks… you know, they built shows and productions specifically for here that can be… that can sit here for a period of time, and they like doing that. You can get really creative. All of them have some sort of Las Vegas-specific element or an entire show themed for Las Vegas.”
Ira Sternberg: “I was thinking about what you said earlier, and it seems as if Formula One is… will become an annual residency for a while. So even non-performer related events are going to become ongoing events here in Las Vegas.
John Katsilometes: “Yes, the race will be for 10 years.”
Ira Sternberg: “Exactly. Speaking of that, whether having not so much the race but the roads of the race and getting back to the Strip, you are all over town every night, every day. Have you noticed, because I noticed it and I try to avoid it as much as possible, is the traffic and parking? And I’m sure you’ve got systems worked out, and we’ve talked about this in the past, but for most people going to a property on the Strip, especially on a weekend, it’s not as much fun as it used to be. I remember it being a lot easier to go see a show. Now I have to contemplate traffic, parking, walking from the parking lot or valet parking to the showroom or the convention area, and then reacting it afterwards. And that, it’s a lot of stuff that you have to do and not necessarily easy.”
John Katsilometes: “Traffic is worse, uh, and more problematic and more complicated today than it’s ever been in Las Vegas for me. You know, I’ve been here since ’96. There’s a… it’s just the problem is that there are multiple projects going on at the same time. You know, it’s not at all Formula One. There are projects going on elsewhere around the valley that have just been planned. I live downtown. It’s hard to move around down here. You know, if you go… you try to go west on Charleston, west on Sahara, you’re going to run into road work. You know, it’s everywhere. East side of the valley as well, and up north, everywhere, everywhere. And I can only say that our thought about this is part of growth. It’s part of a city that is still maturing really in a lot of ways, growing and handling the infrastructure of what it wants to do in terms of tourism opportunity and in terms of an increasing population. I will be glad when it’s over. And as far as the F1 is concerned, what I’ve been saying is, at the end of this, we need to ask ourselves, really, was this worth it? You know, let’s talk a few weeks after F1 and really do a gauge of what it meant to live in Las Vegas as this is being built. We’re turning our major thoroughfare in the city into a race track. Was that a good idea? But did everybody benefit how they thought they would? We need to make sure that we can answer that effectively. Otherwise, we’re going to look like we’re a mark, you know. We just said yes to everything. Yeah, we’re a can-do city, and there’s a public-private partnership that always makes things happen. But as you said, that’s a very good point. Let’s look at some of the stuff and is it… does it is it worthwhile in the long run for everybody to be able to do all these things, including, and I’ll bring it up now too, is do we want to get rid of the Tropicana in order to have a baseball stadium?”
John Katsilometes: “Well, I don’t like the site personally. I don’t like the site. I think getting a Major League Baseball team is a noble cause, and I think that we’re destined to have it here in Las Vegas. I don’t know. We both know that property very well, of course, you worked there. I just don’t… I don’t know if that’s the right idea for that nine acres to put a Major League Baseball team there. You know, this is the Strip. It’s already sort of, you know, it’s got a lot going on. It’s already a massively concentrated street, and to put a baseball stadium there… I want to see the traffic and parking plan that works for that first of all, and what, and how that, another one, how that’s going to benefit everybody who lives in Las Vegas. I’ve long said, and this has been talking to the Goodmans, that there wasn’t enough review of the Cashman site in downtown Las Vegas, where the 51s and Stars played. That already has the parking built in. Nobody was talking about that spot. You know, it’s not the Strip. It’s not as sexy of a view maybe, but it would gentrify that area in a big way, in my view. The same way that China Basin was affected by the Giants ballpark, Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, that type of place. They could build a gorgeous facility, a lot more territory, built-in parking, downtown Las Vegas, good freeway access nearby. And it just never was talked about. It wasn’t talked about for the Raiders, and it wasn’t talked about here for the A’s. I don’t know why that is, other than it’s just people like being on the Strip. They prefer that vantage point. But, you know, what do I know? I just live downtown.”
Ira Sternberg: “Yes, but downtown’s evolving and changing, and that’s an excellent point, especially the land and the building is owned, but still, I assume by the LVCVA, Las Vegas Convention of Visitors.”
John Katsilometes: “I think so, yeah.”
Ira Sternberg: “Right, and that could have been part of that discussion with the A’s about, ‘Hey, well, what about this area here?’ You’re absolutely right. And it ties in so closely not only to downtown Las Vegas but elements of downtown Fremont Street Experience, Fremont Street East, etc. That could really, as you say, gentrify that part of the neighborhood. And it’s right next to the state building, so it… yes, there’s an awesome great possibilities there.”
John Katsilometes: “Oh, I had many conversations with Oscar Goodman about this. I think it was as Carolyn was campaigning, maybe around that time. And he… they both believe this, you know, obviously, they’re downtowners. But I don’t know. We have a soccer team playing there now, the Lights at the old Cashman Field. But I’m talking about taking down that stadium, building something that makes sense, and can be a benefit, really a benefit to this whole community.”
Ira Sternberg: “No, that’s a great idea worth exploring. I hope they do that. I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this question before, but is there one person or maybe two people, three, who influenced you the most in terms of deciding, A, on a writing career, and B, specifically in the world of entertainment? Because you’re a great writer. I knew you before you went into the entertainment beats exclusively. That’s right, you covered things in depth in a lot of different ways. Was there one person that influenced you on a writing career and two, then going into the entertainment side of it exclusively, for at least for now?”
John Katsilometes: “You know, I think, as far as writing, you know, as a career, this goes back when I was living in Chico, California. And I was just coming out of high school. I was one of these… the guy, I guess, Not one of the guys, the guy who came right out of high school and went into his career. I had a person by the name of David Little, who’s a sports writer in Chico, California, who covered us as athletes when we were in Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, California, which is where Aaron Rodgers went to high school, by the way, his same high school, the Packers, his family’s from up there, a lot later than I did, a lot earlier than I did. And I only knew that I had writing ability and I loved sports, and I loved telling stories. That was pretty much it. And David had known me, he was a sports writer who covered us, and he said there was an opening at the local paper, Chico Enterprise-Record, and if I would want to come down and apply for it. So I did. This is three months after I graduated from high school, and I got that job, the lowest rung on the local paper, and I was covering community sports, and I loved it. And that was the real… you know, we had the sports editors were friends of my family, and everybody, I knew the community so well, and that was how I got into writing professionally, simply. And I just come from the bottom, you know, this is like in entertainment, they’d call it, you know, it’s the best way to do it, the midnight lounge gig kind of, you know. And then when I got, and later on in my career, when I started, I was working at the Las Vegas Sun at the time, I exhausted my sports writing career at the Review-Journal in those days, in 1996, I moved here in ’98, I left and came over to the Sun, and I was doing general assignment stuff. But I think, you know, the person who really helped steer me in the entertainment direction and the AE direction was Steve Bornfeld, was the AE editor of the Las Vegas Sun at the time. And I was an associate editor and a general writer. He said, ‘You have a real knack for, you have a feel for entertainment that’s important.’ Okay, so you could see that I was really… I took to that particular subculture, you know. And so we started moving in that direction.”
Ira Sternberg: “Yeah.”
John Katsilometes: “And I became the AE editor, Mad About Town, and you know, the whole thing happened organically, but it was that at that point when, you know, when I was working with Steve mostly. And another person who was really instrumental in this whole thing with the Kats’ column, it was called the Kats’ Report, it was actually Rob Curley, who’s the guy we hired to be the digital editor at Greenspun Media Group. And then, you know, they found out that I was writing so many things across so many different platforms, they finally said, ‘Why don’t you just take everything that you do and put it in one place, give it a name, and go for it?’ That was kind of Rob’s idea, with me, in 2009. And I said, ‘Okay.’ So we started the Kats’ Report in February 2009, and after that, everything just… it just took off. It just went nuts. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”
Ira Sternberg: “But you know, so it’s an interesting fact, there’s no template for to make it where I am right now. There’s no…”
John Katsilometes: “Right, you know, I can’t see anybody else doing it.”
Ira Sternberg: “Well, also what happened too is once you started covering it on that beat, that’s when multimedia exploded, or multi-platforms exploded. So you were not just writing, you were also shooting video, you were also doing audio, and you were doing the podcast we talked about, other podcasts besides the mob podcast.”
John Katsilometes: “Yes, exactly. Podcasts… say that three times real fast. Podcasts is the other one. We want to bring that back, by the way. Podcasts and Still Enforcing Podcasts. But yeah, I’m good. We got out for two and a half years, more than 100 episodes now.”
Ira Sternberg: “Right. The… but you were doing all these different platforms at the same time. So when you were covering an event or a performance, you weren’t just there to review it and write about it. You were also sometimes… you were live on Twitter or Facebook or…”
John Katsilometes: “Yeah, other platforms.”
Ira Sternberg: “Yeah, other platforms. And then you were also collecting video for other presentations. And then you were occurring on local TV stations talking about different… I mean, you were everywhere. You still are everywhere. This is why I ask you whether you sleep because we were out last night. You’ll get a kick out of this. We were out last night with Al Bernstein, my buddy, the boxing broadcaster.”
John Katsilometes: “Oh, yes, right.”
Ira Sternberg: “We went out. We went to see Lady Gaga last night, right? And during the day, I had to write. I was doing writing most of the day, and I had to write and break the story about our friend Gucci Guy passing. Quick, I mean, I read that, yes.”
John Katsilometes: “Yeah, you know, terrible thing. And so I finished that off, and we go to see Lady Gaga. We have dinner before, and then we see the Gaga show. And we were so… I was burned out last night from the whole day with Gucci and all that coverage, and I wasn’t feeling it either. So we decided not to go to the post-show, which is Brian Newman After Dark. And that Brian Newman is Lady Gaga’s band leader, and he’s kind of like the modern-day Louis Prima of Las Vegas. He’s great. He’s been a guest on the show.”
Ira Sternberg: “Yeah, he’s very good. You know him.”
John Katsilometes: “Yeah, yeah, he’s excellent. And so he does that After Dark show, and it gets out at about three in the morning, 2:30 or three. And I’m like, ‘Not… we both said we can’t do this tonight.’ Well, I go, and I get on TV today and do local TV on the CW at eight o’clock, and I’m doing my thing. Well, between that time when we left the hotel and I started on Channel 3 today, Lady Gaga herself showed up at Brian Newman last night.”
Ira Sternberg: “Uh-huh.”
John Katsilometes: “And we decided not to go. So one night…”
Ira Sternberg: “Yeah, of course.”
John Katsilometes: “Of course. And I’m like, ‘Usually, nine times out of ten, this is true. It’s been about nine out of ten, I’m there when Gaga’s there. This is the first time I’ve not been there when she’s walked into that room. I’ve timed it perfectly. So I guess the moral of the story is it’s a participation sport, you know. You really do have to get out and get up and get out. And, you know, at some point, I’ll figure that the quality of life needs to be adjusted. But I mean, I’ve got the best job in journalism, I think.”
Ira Sternberg: “Oh, absolutely. Yeah, what else? Yeah, it’s great, right? Why do I want to screw that up? So, you do make allowances.”
John Katsilometes: “Yeah, but still, you never seem to look exhausted, which I’m always fascinated by that. Every time I see you, it’s like, how does he do that? He seems to be everywhere and he has to write about it too, and then… yeah, it’s just crazy. But you do it, so that’s good.”
Ira Sternberg: “So, uh, one last question before I let you go, and this is a tough question, but if you had to pick one or two of the top entertainers you really enjoy the most, could you narrow it to one or two, or is it impossible?”
John Katsilometes: “Uh, to just to interview or to observe?”
Ira Sternberg: “Oh, just to watch. Yeah, to watch from your own perspective, that in terms of your favorite entertainers to watch, enjoy, and write about. How about that?”
John Katsilometes: “Well, I’ll tell you, well, it’s kind of tilted because I’ve just seen her so much recently. The Gaga show, that Jazz and Piano show, it’s really fine. And if you ever have a chance to see Adele, do that too. I love Garth Brooks. Garth is amazing. But I’m telling you, I love a good small-cap performance too. Clint Holmes, Earl Turner, Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns, Frankie Moreno, you know, Frankie Perez here in Las Vegas. Like going on, David Perrico on the Raiders house band. Hello, David, and that outfit, Las Vegas Players, kill it with the Raiders and in different forms around town. I have as much fun at those types of shows. There are many others. My girlfriend, Steph Payne, is incredible. Those types of shows make me as happy as being at Gaga or being at Adele, really. I saw Beyonce recently, amazing, amazing artist. I saw Taylor Swift, unbelievable. Big rock and roll fan, you know, I love the Aerosmith residency. But, you know, give me a good killer Las Vegas club or lounge gig, and I’m happy.”
Ira Sternberg: “Yeah, I think that’s the secret to your success, that you accept and enjoy all kinds of entertainment too, not just write about but to really, as I mentioned, enjoy it and interact with. And that’s, I think, the secret. You don’t simply limit yourself to big acts. It’s all the acts, and all that, and you know, if they’re good, they’re good, no matter where they are.”
John Katsilometes: “That’s right. These guys are world-class. From Santa Fe’s horn section is Lady Gaga’s horn section. The Santa Fe guys are hitting that show. Lon Bronson’s coming up, another one. I mean, these guys are world-class players. You might not know their names, but they bring it. And Adele has a whole bunch of string players from Vegas. Michael Buble hired a bunch of singers. Michelle Johnson contracted here in town. It goes on and on. Because on that bridge, and Newman is that way too. He knows the bridge too, between A-listers and what he does. We’re both about that, connecting all those parts. And there are many others, but yeah, I’m excited about it, top to bottom.”
Ira Sternberg: “Well, that’s a great way to leave it. My guest has been John Katsilometes, ‘Kats,’ the man about town. His column runs daily in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Don’t forget, he’s got that ‘Mobbed Up’ podcast coming. He also has the column that comes out daily at page three at reviewjournal.com, and you can follow him on Instagram and even on Facebook. Kats, thanks for being on the show.”
John Katsilometes: “Always a pleasure. Alright, thanks for having me.”
Ira Sternberg: “See you next time.”