Hypnotists were staples of the vaudeville circuits and eventually went to nightclubs, a trajectory finally topped by Miss Pat Collins, the "Hip Hypnotist," who had a long and successful run, including multiple engagements in Reno and at Lake Tahoe.
Now, the single-named Tyzen takes the stage as the centerpiece of Harrah's Reno's summer production "Persuasion." He, like Collins, is quick to explain the essentials of his art. People cannot be made to do things they would not ordinarily do, but they are more willing to do silly things when "under"; we do many things in everyday life, like drive to familiar places without consciously planning every second, in a state of self-hypnosis; and suggestions made under hypnosis, like quitting smoking, can have lasting effect.
In any show featuring a hypnotist, there is an inescapable down time as the volunteers from the audience are being hypnotized. Here, ironically, one of the joys is watching each subject and guessing which ones are faking it. Tyzen, like the best of hypnotists, is acute at choosing the correct subjects.
This is an engaging young man who needs to do a little work on his act. His opening magic tricks are fun, if a bit hoary; he engages his audience in warm-up exercises (and it truly is time to dispense with the San Francisco limp-wrist stereotype of decades ago); and his pop cultural references need updating (Tony Montana brings no response; Dr. Evil has not been around lately). When he actually gets going with his subjects, however, he puts them in some very imaginative situations.
Any show of this type depends on the audience, and the night we caught it, Tyzen was stuck with a small one, ultimately winding up with only three audience members remaining on stage. He did what he could and created many laughs. Bigger weekend audiences probably provide a better show.
"Persuasion" also marks the return to the Reno stage of toplessness, once a staple in every revue, and the line of tall ladies is stunning. They are extremely talented dancers (also, in the case of two of them, silk fliers) and their choreography is quick and flawlessly executed. It's all tasteful and often elegant with "nothing dirty going on," as the song would have it.
"Persuasion" runs at 9 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays through Sept. 29 p.m.; $25 and $30; harrahsreno.com.
At Harrah's Tahoe, holding down the South Shore Room fort for the summer is the seemingly ubiquitous Nathan Owens who, despite his many tributes to Motown, never stops creating. The current "Motown Legends" is as fast-moving as anything he and his band have come up with yet and finds the long-overdue addition of a tribute to Jackie Wilson. Still, after the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and everybody else, the crowning conclusion of songstress Stephanaya's Tina Turner is a "Proud Mary" that brings down the house. (8 p.m. today through Monday, Aug. 24-27 and Aug. 31 through Sept. 3; $22; Ticketmaster).
Motown is especially prominent this week as Smokey Robinson, undoubtedly one of its most creative songwriters and singers, performs Saturday at Thunder Valley (8 p.m.; $29.50, $39.50, $49.50, $67.50, $77.50; thundervalleyresort.com).
And if that's not enough, another singer who can be called truly legendary, Gladys Knight, plays Saturday at the Silver Legacy, fresh off her crowd-pleasing bravado on "Dancing With the Stars." Fans are hoping that along with her hits Knight will perform a few songs from her album "Before Me" in which she pays tribute to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne (8 p.m.; $70, $82.50, $95; 800-687-8733 or silverlegacy.com).
Out and about
"I don't play Rick Davies' songs only the songs I wrote and composed," says Roger Hodgson in his press materials. Those would be the songs familiar from his career as lead singer of Supertramp, like "The Logical Song," "Give a Little Bit," and "Dreamer." His "Breakfast in America" tour arrives at Cache Creek at 8 p.m. Saturday ($55, $65, $75; 800-225-2277 or cachecreek.com).
The disco era is not to be ignored this week as Thunder Valley presents "The Music of ABBA" tonight (8 p.m.; $27.50, $37.50; thundervalleyresort. com).
Even though Norah Jones is commonly associated with easygoing pop, she retains a huge following in live performance, a large slice of which should show up Sunday at the Harveys Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series for one of the more reasonably priced concerts of the season (8 p.m.; $39.50, $59.50, $69.50; Ticketmaster or apeconcerts.com).
Also outdoors at Tahoe this week, the new MontBleu Outdoor Events series goes rock-electronica with a dandy lineup of the All-American Rejects, coming off their latest release "Kids in the Street" and touring Europe with Blink-182. They'll be joined Tuesday by Shiny Toy Guns; Eve 6, known for their singles "Inside Out" and "Here's to the Night"; and Pete Wentz, the bassist and lyricist for Fall Out Boy, a band that has been "on hiatus" since 2009 (7 p.m.; $35; 775-588-3515 or Ticketmaster).
"Storage Wars" is addictive to its dedicated viewers who love to watch the cast bid on and then sort through abandoned storage lockers. Most of the regulars tend to be pretty cutthroat but if given a sympathy vote the winners would probably be Jarrod and Brandi, most often the underdogs with the smaller budget. They are in Reno, appearing tonight at the Silver Legacy's Rum Bullions Island Bar from 9 to 11 p.m., signing autographs and presenting their new clothing line, Outlaw Apparel.
Saturday they are scheduled to appear at 2 p.m. in the Reno Events Center where Hot August Nights' Big Boy Toy Store will be featuring over 320 booths of products for car aficionados.
Theory of a Deadman went beyond platinum with their breakthrough album "Scars & Souvenirs;" they'll be at Reno's Knitting Factory on Saturday (8 p.m.; $27 general admission standing, $48 reserved seating; KnittingFactory.com).
John Ascuaga's Nugget, Sparks
Jelly Bread, Aug. 29; Wood Brothers, Aug. 30; the Spin Doctors, Aug. 31. Gloriana, Sept. 1.
Carson Valley Inn
28th Birthday Celebration, Aug. 19-24. Cabaret Lounge: Felix and the Soul Cats, through Saturday; George Pickard, Sunday-Wednesday; Jon Washington's Sounds of the Fortunes, Thursday-Aug. 18. Ballroom: Billy Richards' Coasters, Aug. 24; Lacy J. Dalton, Comstock Cowboys, All Hat No Cattle, Aug. 31. (775) 782-9711.
Showroom: "Jersey Nights," through Nov. 4. (800) 648-5966.
Sammy's Showroom: "Persuasion," Thursdays-Sundays. (800) 427-7247.
Harrah's Lake Tahoe
South Shore Room: Nathan Owens Motown Legends, today-Monday. (800) 427-7247.
Harveys, Lake Tahoe
Improv: Graham Elwood, Chris Mancini, through Sunday; Joel Lindley, Avi Liberman, Wednesday-Aug. 19. Outdoor Arena: Norah Jones, Sunday; Joe Cocker, and Huey Lewis and the News, next Friday. (800) 427-8397.
Horizon, Lake Tahoe Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays-Tuesdays. (775) 588-6211.
Silver Legacy, Reno
Grande Exposition Hall: Doo Wop, today; Gladys Knight, Saturday. Reno Events Center: Van Halen, Aug. 30. (800) 687-8733.