Siegfried & Roy’s Jungle Palace Hosts Neon Museum Gala
For a decade, the Neon Museum has brought historic Las Vegas casino signs to life. On Friday night, the Museum brought some magic back to a famous Vegas estate.
With Siegfried & Roy’s lavish Jungle Palace as its setting, the Neon Museum celebrated its 10th anniversary with a private gala in the mansion created by entertainment legends in 1971. Tigers, and inside the Moroccan-themed presbytery .
Guests chatted among the books in the duo’s den, sipped cocktails in the main dining room, sat along the courtyard’s concrete fountain and enjoyed desserts in what was once the enclosed habitat tigers. It was that kind of night.
Barbara Molasky, The Neon Museum’s first president received the organization’s Glow Award, honoring her longtime leadership and contributions to the museum’s collection and initiatives. With the family in attendance, the Barbara Molasky Acquisition Fund was announced at the event. Created by the Molasky family, the fund allows the Neon Museum to compete with collectors and purchase signs and ephemera from properties that are closing.
“Las Vegas has some amazing neon artwork, and these pieces are worth recovering and preserving because they tell the city’s rich and intriguing history,” Molasky said in a statement. “I’m very proud of what we accomplished in the early years to establish the Neon Museum and help make it the world-class institution it is today.”
The Executive Director of the Neon Museum Aaron Berger, Molasky, Elaine Wynn, Lynette Chappell and former mayor of Las Vegas Jan Jones Blackhurst were among the dignitaries to address the crowd from the Jungle Palace poolside.
Wynn had been close friends with S&R for decades. She attended the duo’s first performance at the Mirage and was present at several rehearsals during the development of the show. As Wynn says, “They were brothers. We were connected at the hip during our partnership throughout the years of their residency and beyond.
Chappell played “The Evil Queen” in the stage show and was a friend and confidant for over 50 years, a constant companion throughout Roy’s rehabilitation from 2001 until his death in May 2020.
As mayor from 1991 to 1999, Jones Blackhurst helped recover the vintage signs eventually collected by the Neon Museum.
The Molasky Fund was one of four initiatives announced to strengthen the Neon Museum’s long-term vision:
Restoration of the Lido de Paris sign. Long-time artistic figure in Las Vegas Todd Von Bastiaans finances the restoration and re-illumination of the “Lido de Paris” sign. He should be ready for his debut in February. The “Lido” show ran at the Stardust from 1958 to 1991. Katy Perry helped restore interest in the series by mentioning that his grandmother and aunt worked in production. The panel is already at the Boneyard, but will be renovated and brought closer to the Stardust panel.
Restoration of the original Palms sign. The resort’s owner, San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority, provided a grant to renovate and re-light the sign, which is currently part of the museum’s collections. When displayed, the panel will help the museum detail the history of tribal gambling, as well as the history of Native Americans in the Las Vegas Valley.
The YESCO Conservation Fund. The sign company and official founding partner of the Neon Museum has launched a “substantial” fund for the conservation, repair and improvement of Neon Boneyard signs. When the Neon Museum was established, YESCO donated over 180 panels, or one-third of the museum’s total collection, to the Boneyard exhibit.
Berger, appointed executive director of the Neon Museum in July 2021, said the organization was “humbled by the generosity of so many people”.
“Each of these significant contributions allows the Museum to grow in new directions,” Berger said in a statement, “from sharing the stories of Indigenous peoples to those of the multitudes of crew members working behind the curtain to expanding of our collections and to repair and restore more of our city’s history.
Falcone at the helm
Classic Vegas themed, Danny Falcone announced his position as manager and technical director of the New Las Vegas Walk of Stars. Falcone is a master trumpeter and the son of legendary pianist and musical director Vincent Falcone. The elder Falcone will be honored in 2023, along with luminaries such as Ann MargretCarrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Celine Dion and mayor Caroline Goodman are part of the list of winners.
Bob Alexander led the Las Vegas Walk of Stars from 2004 until his death in 2018. Marilyn Ball, the former vice-president of the organization, is now in place of the president. ‘The Bionic Woman’ star’s mother Lindsay wagner, Ball works in Palm Springs. Falcone is of course actually plugged into the Vegas entertainment scene.
The next major step for the organization is a fundraiser on Jan. 8 (hey, it’s Elvis’ birthday). More to come on these plans.
The “Faaabulous Drag Brunch” at Notoriety Live has temporarily dropped “brunch” after Sunday’s performance. The show itself will continue during the holidays. But the food component takes a prolonged “darkness” until New Year’s Day. The “Faaabulous” shows will air at 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays in November and December. The Christmas edition is scheduled for December 1-30.
cool hang alert
Joey Melotti’s Mojo Factory isn’t just a big hit, it’s a big hit, 7-10 p.m. Friday at Maxan Jazz Sushi & Jazz at 4130 South Decatur Blvd. Melotti is by Barry Manilow long-time keyboardist, among many other high-profile gigs. He is accompanied by Walter Jones on bass, YL Douglas on drums, Bill King on trumpet, Steve Meyer on trombone and Mat Schumer on sax. Big noise. No cover. A minimum of $40 F&B per person. Visit maxanjazz.com for reservations.
John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.