"Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do? What ya gonna do when they come for you?"
Welcome back to another helping of the tawdry side of Vegas entertainment, served up with cornbread and a slice of cheese. Gunnar's email box is working overtime, trying to keep up with all the stories being sent his way. This edition is actually going to be a two-fer, with both stories ending on a cliffhanger. As usual, the identities and details are yours to fill in (or not). But yep, these two are gonna blow bubbles in somebody's beer.
Chapter One is the flip side of last week's tale of the Showgirl and the Scottish Eunuch. That situation (read here) exposed the nasty-grabby clutches of a show's slimy host. This time around, it's the headliner being victimized...by an old lady in a catsuit. It's as weird and bizarre as it sounds. Seems a new show arrived on the Strip a year or so ago...a tribute production, of course. For the sake of argument, let's call it a salute to the late George Michael. Before you could say "Wham!", the showcase was collecting great reviews and pretty decent ticket sales. But all was not well behind the scenes.
Ole Georgie wrote to me himself about the tale. He is super pissed at what happened, especially since he was thrilled to be working in Vegas and getting along wonderfully with the venue operators. The problem came from two members of the band...long-time colleagues who slandered their boss in public and caused enough chaos for Mr. Michael to pull the plug and consult an attorney.
One of the musicians was, shall we say, a "saxophone player". This dude was super old-school and liked to toot his own horn. As George Michael tells it "He would break every rule of the venues we were booked at, like cussing on stage at (insert family establishment here), bringing his entourage of 10-15 people backstage before the show and take everyone’s comps for the band with his people rarely paying to get into the gigs. Fast forward to Vegas, I brought him with me out of sheer loyalty since he’d been with me since the beginning but it would turn out to be a big mistake. He was already on thin ice when we started."
Things went downhill with Sax Man really quickly. Despite being married, this dude had a full-time mistress on the side, a cougar in a catsuit who was way past her prime. Not ready to leave the glory days of show business behind, she wanted to be a part of the George Michael show. So, Sax Man tried to persuade his boss to work "Peg Bundy" in as a backup singer and dancer.
"I told him absolutely not. No significant others on the show. He kept pressing it and his demand got more desperate and so I asked him what he got himself involved in. He was very elusive, so I called his mistress and she told me that Sax Man told her I was the one that wanted her for the show. Basically, he lied to her and was trying to cover it up with me. I was on the phone with her for over an hour and a half with my mom listening to the whole conversation as she was saying all he does is lie and he’s doing drugs again, and was already upset that he was making her move her whole life to be with him in Vegas using my name. He got angry with me for “selling him out” so I reminded him to never use my name in his lies."
Still, the show must go on, so the Wham man endured Sax's antics as best he could. These involved constantly trying to breach COVID protocols after the shows, making personal demands of the venue's crew, and refusing to move out of the boss's home when told to do so:
"______ was rooming with me rent-free with the understanding that when my son came (from out of state), he needed to find his own lodging. He knew about this for over 3 weeks. He refused to find a place and demanded my 19-year son find his own place so he had a place to sleep. He wasn’t interested in even $25 a night lodging at (insert low-priced hotel here). He started calling his mistress crying that I was kicking him out to the street and drove off in a hissy with my keys."
Don't let the sax man go down on me...
At this point, George couldn't go on...and the following altercation sealed the deal. "Finally, I gave him a music note during a rehearsal and he proceeded in telling me he’d “drop me to the ground right now” and smiled. That night, I sent him a termination letter and he left in the middle of the night."
Yours truly has a copy of the termination letter, which is respectful and factual to the situation, Nevertheless, Sax Man took to the internet, making defamatory claims about his former boss to ruin his reputation and sabotage the show's success. The production eventually closed from all this chaos. Now George Michael wants to bring it back, and needs to make something perfectly clear:
"This story was a while in the making and I haven’t publicly rebutted anything but a cease and desist has been sent and a defamation lawsuit is in the works. There are two cast members that ultimately sabotaged and spread defamatory info about me. Before I sent the termination, I let cast member culprit number two know, and he agreed with the decision for me to let him go."
"That was just the beginning…"
Click here for the concluding chapter of George Michael's ordeal.
While the Vegas Justice column awaits George Michael's next email for the conclusion of this story, we've been sitting on another email that's pretty darn troubling. This one came through the encryption service MAILSPRE, which hides the sender's identity and prevents replies. The subject line reads VEGAS ENTERTAINMENT SCANDAL, and the rest of it goes like this (certain sections redacted for the time being):
After the Oct. 1 shooting, __________ put together a "Vegas Cares" fundraiser at (hotel) that included a ton of entertainers that thought they were getting involved in raising money for families that were affected by the shooting. Afterward, we all found out that it was actually to raise money for some sort of memorial. (Journalist) helped get support for this. Robin Leach not only donated a painting by Britney Spears, but he also paid $10k himself to buy it in the auction. Artists/shows that participated included BAZ, Blue Man Group, Jewel, Penn & Teller, Tenors of Rock, Clint Holmes, Sexxy, Tom Green, Elvis Monroe, and a ton more. The event raised $100,000, but four years later there is no memorial for it. Where is this money?
Yours truly was working a cruise ship during this time, breaking hearts in a variety show. So this one is lost on me. If you have the skinny or any deets, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll dig my teeth into it.
Photo credit: The Times of Israel
Do you know any talent agencies or producers who take advantage of entertainers? Any horror stories to share about backstage antics or workplace violations? Have you been treated unfairly or ripped off when doing an honest day's work? Gunnar McDixie wants to know and will keep your identity confidential. Email me at email@example.com.