Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Initially fashioned 60 years in the past, the Italian American Club of Las Vegas had developed fairly a bit by the a long time. It was as soon as a non-public social membership for males solely, finally taking the large step of buying its present property on Sahara Avenue close to Japanese Avenue and constructing a brand new headquarters, then increasing right into a restaurant and lounge that was open to the general public and changing into a nonprofit group that celebrates Italian American tradition and raises cash for various neighborhood tasks.
One factor that hasn’t modified is the membership’s fame for nice music and stay leisure. In its early life, the lounge was an after-hours sizzling spot for on line casino headliners trying to loosen up after their very own reveals. Right now, because the membership has soldiered on by COVID restrictions similar to different eating places, bars and lounge venues, it has offered refuge for Las Vegas-based performers whose common gigs are nonetheless on maintain.
“There are such a lot of nice singers and musicians dwelling right here and we offer them a spot to indicate their abilities,” mentioned Angelo Cassaro, who’s on his second go-round because the membership’s president. His first time period started in 1988 and he’s been concerned since then. “For 99% of them, that’s their life, they stay it and the necessity to entertain. And that’s why persons are coming to our place, as a result of they like to be entertained.”
Bucky Heard, who reformed the Righteous Brothers with Invoice Medley in 2016 and has been headlining with Medley at Harrah’s for years, has carried out on the Italian American Membership’s showroom and will likely be again for one more present on Wednesday. Fellow Harrah’s headlining act the Bronx Wanderers additionally makes a return efficiency this week, on Thursday, and longtime Strip fixture Jimmy Hopper performs on Friday. Additionally developing are nation singer Chase Brown on February 24, the inimitable Frankie Scinta on February 26, and Elvis tribute artist Justin Shandor on March 5.
These are all dinner reveals deliberate for the 300-capacity showroom, which was working pre-pandemic as a banquet corridor and ballroom for weddings, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs and different non-public occasions. That area might make the leap this week from 25% to 35% capability in keeping with the adjusted restrictions and guidelines introduced final week by Gov. Steve Sisolak.
The Italian American Membership has nearly at all times offered stay musical leisure 5 nights every week within the smaller lounge area, nicely earlier than COVID struck and different eating places and bars started selling “ambient music.”
“When the primary shutdown got here and all people closed down, we needed to weigh if we might and if we must always reopen when it was protected sufficient,” Cassaro mentioned. “A pair months after locations began opening, we did too, and we proceed to carry ourselves to strict COVID protocols and cleanliness. And once we couldn’t promote tickets, we arrange the large stage within the showroom and began doing ambient dinner reveals. Now that we’re capable of [sell tickets to shows] once more and be in compliance, it offers extra entertainers an avenue to return in and make a couple of bucks.”
And native celebrities are nonetheless coming in to benefit from the present and infrequently hop onstage to take part, he mentioned, together with comic Wealthy Little and Lorraine and Dennis Bono.
“The leisure trade bought hit so arduous by all this, we simply really feel lucky to have the ability to have a venue to herald totally different folks and teams and assist preserve their ardour alive,” Cassaro mentioned.