When a single name appears on casino marquees, it usually means somebody extra special is playing there. No need for surnames. The Cache Creek marquee Saturday, May 21, will bear just the plain moniker “Joe.” Many will be puzzled, but to the R&B aficionado the name has pizazz of its own.
Joe is Joe Thomas, whose first album, “Everything” in 1992, had a little hit called “I’m in Luv.” It was an inauspicious start, but he managed to parlay it into a career that has included seven Grammy nominations, 11 studio albums, several hits (“Don’t Want To Be a Player,” “I Wanna Know”), two Christmas albums, and duets with a wide variety of artists, including Mariah Carey and Kelly Rowland.
Plus he shows a touch of wit. This is the guy, after all, who took Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” and covered it as “Before I Cheat.” (8 p.m.; $45-$75; cachecreek.com)
Alton Brown appears Friday, May 20, at the Grand Sierra in Reno and joins a roster of celebrity chefs who have expanded into the casino market, either with their own restaurants or on personal appearances such as this one.
Brown has done 14 seasons of “Good Eats” on the Food Network, announced on “Iron Chef America,” taken three road trips for “Feasting on Asphalt,” and hosted “Cutthroat Kitchen.” He has also popped up on “The Simpsons,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Mythbusters.”
A Brown show is more than a cooking demonstration. This one is called “Eat Your Science” and includes songs, puppets and enough cooking mayhem to necessitate protective plastic ponchos for those up close. (8 p.m.; $30-$90; grandsierraresort.com)
Also this week
Thunder Valley has “Gladiator Challenge: Warriors” (Saturday, May 21, at 7 p.m.; $50-$150; thundervalleyresort.com); Jackson Rancheria hosts Paul Rodriguez Friday, May 20 (7 p.m.; $25-$40; jacksoncasino.com); and Harrah’s Tahoe returns Los Lonely Boys to the South Shore Room on Saturday, May 21 (7:30 p.m.; $37; Ticketmaster).