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 way of the a long time. It was as soon as a personal social membership for males solely, finally taking the massive 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 turning into a nonprofit group that celebrates Italian American tradition and raises cash for various group initiatives.
One factor that hasn’t modified is the membership’s popularity for excellent music and reside leisure. In its early life, the lounge was an after-hours sizzling spot for on line casino headliners trying to calm down after their very own exhibits. At this time, because the membership has soldiered on by way of 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,” stated 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 reside 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 an additional 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 exhibits deliberate for the 300-capacity showroom, which was working pre-pandemic as a banquet corridor and ballroom for weddings, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs and different personal occasions. That area might make the bounce this week from 25% to 35% capability according to the adjusted restrictions and guidelines introduced final week by Gov. Steve Sisolak.
The Italian American Membership has nearly all the time offered reside musical leisure 5 nights every week within the smaller lounge area, effectively 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 should always reopen when it was protected sufficient,” Cassaro stated. “A pair months after locations began opening, we did too, and we proceed to carry ourselves to strict COVID protocols and cleanliness. And after we couldn’t promote tickets, we arrange the massive stage within the showroom and began doing ambient dinner exhibits. Now that we’re in a position to [sell tickets to shows] once more and be in compliance, it provides extra entertainers an avenue to come back in and make a couple of dollars.”
And native celebrities are nonetheless coming in to benefit from the present and sometimes hop onstage to take part, he stated, together with comic Wealthy Little and Lorraine and Dennis Bono.
“The leisure trade obtained hit so onerous by all this, we simply really feel lucky to have the ability to have a venue to usher in totally different folks and teams and assist preserve their ardour alive,” Cassaro stated.