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Dennis Rodman’s 1998 party in Las Vegas being made into a film

Updated August 31, 2021 - 11:31 pm

The sun never sets on Dennis Rodman’s infamous traipse through Vegas during the 1998 NBA Finals.

A feature film dubbed “48 Hours in Vegas” will grab the tail of this tale, during which Rodman visited our city during break in the ‘98 Bulls-Jazz series. Lord Miller for Lionsgate has signed on as producer. The film is centered on a screenplay by Jordan VanDina (“The Binge” on Hulu). Rodman is a higher-up, as an executive producer.

No actors have named to the movie. Portraying Rodman in this escapade could be a career-shaping opportunity.

Rodman’s brief but eventful break from the Bulls — and also NBA protocol — was recalled during the documentary series “The Last Dance.” Bulls head coach Phil Jackson granted Rodman permission to leave the team for a couple of days during the NBA Finals.

Rodman has received permission from Bulls coach Phil Jackson for this quick trip to Vegas. Rodman had spent much of the season as Michael Jordan’s sidekick. the Bulls’ No. 2 star, Scottie Pippen, who typically held that role, was out with a foot injury.

In Pippen’s place, Rodman had been a “model citizen,” Jordan says in the documentary, and was going “(expletive) insane” behaving himself until Pippen returned in January 1998. Rodman finally asked Jackson for some time off to “let loose.” Jackson offered 48 hours.

Jordan skeptically told the coach, “Phil, you let this dude take a vacation, we’re not going to see him. If you let him go to Vegas, we’re definitely not gonna see him.”

Rodman flew to Vegas, at the time a favorite party destination. He hit Hard Rock Hotel (which is now Virgin Hotels Las Vegas); the Drink (and Eat Too!), which is now an unoccupied building next to Virgin on Harmon Avenue; The Mirage; Club Rio; and the Las Vegas Hilton, now Westgate Las Vegas.

Those who were around the Vegas scene in those days referred to the misadventure as “The Rodman World Tour.”

One episode that would seem ripe for the script was Rodman’s visit to Hard Rock’s Center Bar, the resort’s galvanizing point of revelry. The acoustics in the bar’s high-arced ceiling allowed conversations to be heard across the venue. Rodman was heard describing a favorite sex act. Bartenders interceded.

“We had to say, ‘Everyone can hear you. This isn’t where you hang your dirty laundry,’ ” Ziggy Pawlowski, then a Hard Rock bartender, said of Rodman’s days at the hotel. “He said, ‘OK, I’m cool.’ I think he was obnoxious just for shock value. But this was the Hard Rock; he was at home. Everyone was out of control.”

Dates for Mars return

Bruno Mars is coming back to Park Theater on Oct. 1-2, MGM Resorts International announced Monday. Tickets start at $99.50 (no fees) and are on sale 10 a.m. Wednesday at ticketmaster.com. There is not a proof of vaccination required for these two dates, but that policy (as always) is subject to change.

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Remark-‘Ka’-ble return

We are reliably informed that Cirque’s “Ka” will reopen Nov. 24 at MGM Grand. That is the fifth Cirque show to return to the Strip during the pandemic, effectively filling out the company’s plans to bring back its traditional productions. “Zumanity,” which was formally and permanently closed in November, is off the roster. The company does have plans for a show to return to the old Zumanity Theater at New York-New York this year.

A Composed return

The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas is back at Myron’s at the Smith Center at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22. The venue name is changed, simply to Myron Martin’s first name (“Cabaret Jazz” didn’t fully describe all the shows performed in the room). The start time is earlier, too, a prime spot for those who don’t want to weather a 10:30 p.m. spot (wimps, we call them).

The night will spotlight original music from TCS co-founders Keith Thompson and Michael Brennan, along with TCS frequenter and Vegas headliner Clint Holmes, “Ka” music director Richard Oberacker, Righteous Brothers vocalist Bucky Heard and musician Timothy D. Lee, pianist Philip Fortenberry, Mark Wherry of College of Southern Nevada, Enoch Augustus Scott of “Zombie Burlesque,” Christopher Lash of “Baz” and “Jersey Boys,” Tymara Walker of “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel the Concert,” violinist Kevin Gardner Rose, Ian Ward and the Originals, jazz great Michelle Johnson and guest New York composer Mark Hartman.

TCS played Notoriety Live at Neonopolis while Myron’s was shut down. The show marked its 15th anniversary at Notoriety in April.

“Our return to the Smith Center after a year and half of broken dreams due to cancellations and restrictions on live entertainment in our community and abroad will be a welcome relief,” said Thompson, who has produced and emceed TCS from the jump in April 2006. Profits go to the TCS Entertainment Community Relief Fund. Tickets are $25 and $40 for floor seats, $35 for mezzanine, available at thesmithcenter.com or 702-749-2000.

Stars and bar

Star Piano Cocktail Lounge was to open Monday night at 3449 S. Sammy Davis Jr. Dr. That particular address might not be familiar, but the site might be. Famed dive bar Sonny’s Saloon once stood on that location.

The new Star Piano nightspot is operated by Eduardo Cordova of The Garden in the Arts District. The entertainment being lined up includes Josh Strickland (“Tarzan” on Broadway and “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood) and Ruby Lewis (“Paramour” on Broadway and “Baz” on the Strip). The vibe is to be “Rat Pack-ian,” and even an homage to the late celeb journalist Robin Leach in the mix. I champagne-wish to be there, soon.

Cool Hang Alert

Nerds who know how to rock it, the Spazmatics Las Vegas ’80s tribute band has returned to South Point Showroom at 10 p.m. (doors), 10:30 p.m. (show) every Saturday. The band is funny as a rule, with deceptively accomplished musicians. We say “deceptively” because of the costumes. But the band is wild, the night runs late, and the charge is $10 (a mere pittance). Hit the South Point website for seats and info.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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