Note: This is a past column from May 28, 2010
You can find the current column HERE
Las Vegas - May 28, 2010
Travis & Jennifer Cloer
Wes Winters by Mary Millard
If we had known what the month of May held in store, we might have turned off the phone and computer and never left the house, OR, taken off for some remote island with no area code. The best thing about the month was probably the Las Vegas weather - unseasonably mild for this time of year. It won't last much longer. Soon we will be dealing with triple digits, both on the thermometer and on power bills. We also took in some terrific shows, including Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular's Kristi Holden and Jersey Boys' Travis Cloer, who both performed in the Clark County Flamingo Library Theater (on separate Sundays); Society of Seven with special guest, 15-year-old singer Arshiel, at the Gold Coast; a Gershwin concert and Liberace's Birthday Week Grand Finale, both at the East Tropicana museum; and Derek David's Only You in the showroom at Hennessey's Tavern in downtown Las Vegas. We will share more about our positive experience at Hennessey's and the Only You revue, as well as a not so pleasant downtown experience, in next week's column.
There was also one of our favorite Vegas things to do, the Composers Showcase, held last night at the Liberace Museum. We don't like to talk this up too much, because, although the amazingly talented people who participate in these monthly events - from the glue that holds it all together, Jersey Boys musical director Keith Thompson, who serves as host, to all of the songwriters and performers (the best in this city) - have earned their well-deserved accolades, it's standing room only for these late night doings. The intimate Cabaret was not designed to accommodate the number of people who would love to be in the audience, if not for the 10:30 p.m., or later, start times.
Following the showcase, many of the attendees segued next door to Carluccio's Italian Restaurant to enjoy The Late, Late Show...where the music continued. Piano music was provided by Danny Wright and Tish Diaz. Valeri Glava, who performs in the museum on Thursdays at 1 p.m., played violin. Danny Roque and Susan Haller supplied the vocals, with audience members joining in at the appropriate time. We hope the interest in these after showcase get-togethers and intimate concerts continues and that Carluccio's genial host, John Hosier, will decide to stay open until 2 a.m. for the late, late night crowd.
And, while still on the subject of the Liberace Museum, we should have mentioned in last week's column regarding the museum and Liberace Birthday Week, that it was entertainer Wes Winters who approached the powers-that-be at the time (those "powers" have changed over the years) with the idea of turning a mostly unused space in the building into a performance space. Soon after a successful 18-month History of Las Vegas exhibit in the space ended, with the help of Winters, a small showroom was created and developed. Thus began the very first series of performances to be done in the museum. Wes Winters, winner of the 2003 Liberace Play-A-Like competition, became a regular performer in the museum's showroom, where he entertained visitors for almost five years. We like to give credit where credit is due, and Mr. Winters deserves credit for the evolution of the storage space into a popular performance area. Stay tuned. We have a feeling that there will be continuing stories on the saga of the three-decades old Liberace Museum.
Unfortunately, there were also a couple of dampers that we encountered on our about town outings. A casino crime (the theft of a wallet from a customers handbag at a locals casino) and a choking victim in a major hotel casino coffee shop, both involving people we know. Surprisingly, in the coffee shop incident, although help was solicited, no one, including any hotel employee, knew how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. Luckily one of the potential victim's dining companions came to the rescue. Although she did not know how to do it correctly, what the fast-acting friend DID do, worked...saving the day and possibly a life.
Maggi Albisani as Connie Francis
Dionne's Hilton (Not So) Suite
Then there was our weekend adventure at the Las Vegas Hilton, where we attended both the Saturday and Sunday night versions of the Grand Divas of Stage, featuring Dionne Warwick and Connie Francis. We had high hopes for this combination of legendary musical icons. Since we had friends who had been at the Friday night show, we knew there were some opening night problems - a lot of confusion regarding the show start time (the Hilton site said 8 p.m., while the tickets said 7:30), and an inexcusably way too-long time for the band change-over, for example. We hoped the problems would have been corrected for the next two nights. They really weren't. Perhaps the show's producer, Eric Floyd (who we consider a friend) took on more than he could comfortably handle. One thing we feel would have helped the situation would have been to have a show DIRECTOR. If there had been one, perhaps the short opening skit, featuring celebrity look-alikes, Tim Dunn as Dionne, and Maggi Albisani as Connie, would have worked (see paragraph below). What could have, and should have, been a clever bit, was squelched after the first night. The fact it didn't start until almost one hour after the expected (by some) 7:30 show time, didn't help. By then, many in the audience were in a foul mood. If that didn't have the crowd upset enough, having Floyd and his family, friends and assistants trying to fill up dead stage time REALLY got the ticket holders angry, with some even yelling to get off the stage. Also, a director would have kept people who were not critical to the show, off the stage. There was not one time, during the three nights worth of shows, that Dionne and Connie appeared on stage together. If the two chose not to join in a song or two (how about "That's What Friends Are For"?), the Goddess Empire Awards, presented after interrupting both Divas during their individual portions of the show, should have been given to the ladies after they both had finished their performances, and it should have been done with both of them on stage together. As for the performances by the two ladies, fans should have been satisfied. The hit-makers did their loved and familiar songs, which is what the audience came to hear. Did they sound like they did 50 years ago? Hell no, but no one expected them to. After all, these Divas are now 70 and 71-years old.
Floyd plans to make these combinations of interesting co-headliners a regular thing, tossing out the names of possible participants, such as Carol Channing, Chita Rivera, Phyllis Diller, Diahann Carroll, Debbie Reynolds, Raquel Welch and Aretha Franklin. Personally, we think a surefire ticket-seller would involve the equally billed Diana Ross and Mary Wilson (the Supreme Wilson and her five-year-old granddaughter, Marina, were in the audience on Sunday night). For the idea to succeed (if it isn't too late already), major changes would have to take place. The two key things we would suggest, is to get that professional director on the team, and keep the producer and his family out of the spotlight.
Dionne Warwick & Tim Dunn
Tim Dunn as Dionne Warwick & Dionne
Based on something we saw take place outside the Hilton theater, we feel that Tony Ferretti, who filled some of the "dead time" with celebrity impressions on Saturday night ( a video on the late Lena Horne killed some of the time on Sunday night), should not be allowed to mingle with the paying customers. In an attempt to be "funny," this classless man, of mediocre talent, made fun of a disabled audience member in a wheelchair, saying "Be healed! Now you can walk." Oh my God! Keep this jerk (who we heard was Connie's boyfriend) backstage.
For those who attended the Grand Divas of Stage show, but went on Saturday or Sunday, they missed another historical show business event (the main one being the pairing of Warwick and Francis in the same production) that took place on Friday night only. Although a number of stars, like Cher and Bette Midler, have used look-a-likes in their shows, this past weekend, Dionne Warwick and Tim Dunn, together, made entertainment history. Tim opened FOR Dionne and AS Dionne at the Hilton, making him the first celebrity impersonator (male/female, drag/straight) to open "live" for the individual they impersonate. Both Tim, who has been friends with Ms. Warwick for a long time, and performed as her in a number of well known revues, consider this event to be extremely special. Dionne was just as excited as Tim, telling him, "Better that it's the two of us than anyone else!" During a before-the-show rehearsal, Dionne had given her band members a "heads up," stating, "Wait until you see my Tim. He has studied every expression, gesture, and nuance of mine. It's like he's me!" After his appearance, the musicians were very gracious, telling Tim, "She wasn't kidding - you're amazing!" Dionne's oldest son, singer and Grammy Award-winner David Elliott (who is also a policeman) who did two show-stopping numbers with his mother in the show, and her youngest son, record producer, Damon Elliott, both said "It's uncanny how much you look like her. You even have the same jewelry!," while her road manager declared Tim Dunn, "The best he had EVER seen!" See accompanying photos and judge for yourself.
Here's a little something that the audience didn't see or hear...
When Dionne Warwick saw her room at the Las Vegas Hilton, she was not a happy camper. How suite it wasn't. This was not the kind of accommodations that she expected or was used to. It was hoped that a trip down to the front desk would fix things. It didn't. Warwick's second room turned out to be a storage space for assorted, leftover pieces of furniture (see accompanying photo). It was at that point, that Ms. Warwick made a phone call to her friend Donald Trump. Within a short time, the poorly treated diva was in a beautiful, two-bedroom suite at Trump's Las Vegas property. Is this any way to treat a GRAND Diva?
* * * * * * *
On Thursday, we were informed that Happening (formerly Frediani's), the restaurant/lounge at Green Valley Parkway and Sunset in Henderson, had been padlocked. We were told that the reason was either (1) because the Henderson Justice Department closed it up as there was no valid lease, or (2) because the place was robbed. Why is it that we don't believe much of anything regarding this place? One of the former owners of the also closed DeStefano's was involved with the new Happening. That should have been a clue of what was in store. Old players. New business name. New location. Why are we not one bit surprised?
* * * * * * *
Tomorrow night (May 29th), the Tommy Thompson Project will perform at the Wine Walk in Town Square (located on Las Vegas Blvd., just south of Sunset) from 7 to 10 p.m. On Sunday afternoon, from 12 to 3 p.m., the group plays at the Gordon Biersch Jazz Brunch. Gordon Biersch is located on Paradise, between Flamingo and Sands/Twain.
* * * * * * *
On Wednesday night, 24-year-old paint salesman, Lee DeWyze of Mt. Prospect, Illinois, was declared the new American Idol. The two-hour show marked not only the season finale, but the end of Simon Cowell's reign as the controversial judge of the popular talent reality show. Among those who showed up for the occasion, were the often dingy Paula Abdul, Joe Cocker, the group Chicago, former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, Bret Michaels, Robin and Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, Alice Cooper, Alanis Morissette, Christina Aguilera, seven past Idol winners (David Cook was missing) and competitors, and the never-more-beautiful, 44-year-old Janet Jackson.
* * * * * * *
A week from tomorrow (on June 5th), at Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View, guests at the Brews and Blues Festival can sample beers from some of the very best microbreweries, follow it up with scrumptious food, and watch the sun go down while you "get down" to some red hot blues. Each person in attendance will receive a 12-ounce commemorative mug (while supplies last) and unlimited samples of more than 70 craft brews. Food will be available for purchase at kiosks and in Wolfgang Puck's Springs Café. In addition, limited edition Brews and Blues Festival T-shirts will be available for purchase for $10. Featured brewers will include Chicago Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewery, Gordon Biersch, Grand Canyon Brewing Company, Joseph James Brewing Company, Kona Brewing Company, Left Coast Brewing Company, Redhook Ale Brewery, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Co., Tenaya Creek Brewery, Triple 7 Brewpub, Big Dog's Brewing Co., Barley's Brewing Co., Boulder Dam Brewing Co., and Widmer Brothers Brewing Company. The performances kick off with a special hour of music, just for advanced ticket holders, as the Chris Tofield Band takes the stage at 3 p.m. This rest of the evening's entertainment includes (at 4 p.m.) Ronnie Rose, The Lucky Cheats at 5, the Cordle-Scott Band at 6, Jeneane Marie at 7, and Scott Rhiner & The Moanin' Blacksnakes at 8. Admission to the Springs Preserve's Brews and Blues Festival is open to guests 21 and over with valid ID. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the gate. To purchase yours, visit springspreserve.org or call (702) 822.7700.
* * * * * * *
And now for this week's Sardelli Section...
Pietra Sardelli, daughter of semi-retired entertainer, Nelson Sardelli, will be performing in Golden Rainbow's upcoming Ribbon of Life show at the Las Vegas Hilton, taking place on Sunday, June 13th at 1 p.m. "The only thing scarier than performing for 1600 people, is performing for 100 people in a room made for 1600," says Pietra. "Actually, playing Sarah Palin in front of my very Republican father could be scarier," laughs the bright young lady. Cast members from Jubilee!, Viva Elvis, Peepshow, Jersey Boys, Zumanity, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Love, KA, and Le Reve, along with other surprise guests, will participate in Golden Rainbow's biggest fundraiser of the year. Pietra invites all to come out and support, or mock, her. Tickets, priced at $200, $150, $100, $75, $50 and $25, can be purchased by contacting the Golden Rainbow office at (702) 384-2899, or online via www.goldenrainbow.org.
Regarding Pietra's sister, Giovanna Sardelli, The Whipping Man, a play that Giovanna is directing at the Old Globe Theatre in the Balboa Park section of Los Angeles, continues to score high marks for her. A quote from the review in the Los Angeles Times (May 17) says, "The play comes down to three people talking, but director Giovanna Sardelli keeps the action so grounded in emotional truth that it never feels static." And from James Hebert, the Union-Tribune theater critic, comes this comment, "As directed with a spare intensity by Giovanna Sardelli, the work's sense of the visceral sometimes gets close to literal." The Whipping Man, directed by Ms. Sardelli, is described thusly - Moses freed the Israelites in Egypt. Lincoln liberated the Southern slaves. It might take a heavenly host of prophets and presidents to emancipate the hearts of those in The Whipping Man. Matthew Lopez's affecting, suspenseful and at times searing play strips the skin off such lofty ideas as freedom and honor to peer at the raw nerves underneath, and lay bare the cost paid for such lofty notions. The drama can be seen at Old Globe's Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in Balboa Park, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m., through June 13th. Tickets range in price from $29 to $62 and may be purchased by calling (619) 234-5623.
We had a number of reader e-mails regarding Nelson Sardelli's letter to the Las Vegas Review-Journal editor (they never printed it, we did) in last Friday's column...all were positive. Since the Brazilian-born Sardelli is a naturalized citizen, and, from where we sit, his approval rating is quite high, maybe he should consider a run for a political office. If he needs to travel across the city, or even around the country, maybe he can do so on his new toy, a fancy three-wheeled "vehicle" called a Spyder Can-Am. You know what they say, "The difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toys." Mr. Sardelli has expensive toys.
Also, regarding the patriotic humanitarian and letters, Sardelli received this one from Angela Metcalf, Volunteer Coordinator for the Nevada State Veterans Home...
The Residents, staff, family members, and volunteers would love it if you would be able to host the 2010 Father's Day Bash once again this year at the Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City. The relationship that has developed between the Home and you and your friends has been a blessing that we look forward to each year. Having the show indoors, as we did in 2009, was very successful in that we were able to keep everyone cooler and more comfortable than being outdoors. If you agree, we would have you and the entertainment in the Town Hall Dining Room once again this year. We will provide the stage and sound system, as well. I did manage to speak with Gary Olds and he is on board with the event. I hope you and your friends are available to join us once again on Father's Day, which is Sunday, June 20th, with the performance time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please let me know if there is anything else that you need from me at this point. I look forward to working with you.
You can bet that Nelson and his loyal troops will be spending much of their Father's Day in Boulder City.
Also, from Nelson Sardelli, comes this important announcement regarding the upcoming F.I.O.R.E. meeting of the non-club club. The meeting date, for June only, has been changed to the third Thursday of the month, making it on June 17th. It will take place at 11:30 a.m., at the Italian American Club, 2330 E. Sahara. President Marc Zuckerman will be the guest speaker. Marc has a most interesting background as an electrician specializing in computers and fiber optics, and a former licensed gunsmith. He has written more than 12 articles for gun magazines, "Many," according to Mr. Sardelli, "that have been read throughout the world and in parts of unoccupied Henderson." This gathering is for Men Only. To RSVP, contact Gene Vitale at Babyeue@aol.com, or Conrad Villella at Conradvillella@cox.net.
* * * * * * *
One of Las Vegas' longest running headliners, Kenny Kerr, is the guest host at the Carnival Cabaret in Lake Tahoe host over Memorial Day Weekend. There will be two special shows, at 8 and 10 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, May 29th). In the late 1970's, Kerr quickly rose to fame as the star of Boy-Lesque, the only female impersonator revue on the Las Vegas Strip. He has appeared in numerous films and television programs, with his most notable appearance in a co-starring with Whoopi Goldberg in The Associate. Kenny remains good friends with comedian Joan Rivers, and even opened for her in Lake Tahoe back in the 1980s. He also was the opening act for Connie Francis, during a New Year's Eve weekend at the Sahara in Las Vegas. In the past, Kerr has starred in several productions for Carnival Cabaret producer Dan Gore in Palm Springs. Tickets are $28.95 plus tax. Minors are welcome, but please be warned, the show contains adult humor. There is a one-drink minimum inside the Horizon Casino Resort's Golden Cabaret. There are nightly shows in the Golden Cabaret throughout the summer. Bethany Owen's One Voice is presented at 8 p.m., Sundays through Tuesdays. Owen, who mixes singing with standup comedy, appears as numerous female personalities, including Madonna, Patsy Cline, Marilyn Monroe and even Sarah Palin. The clever impressionist appeared in a Sid and Marty Krofft's Comedy Kings production at the Sands Hotel in the 1980s. About 25 years ago, Bethany was also the owner of a doll museum in the Liberace Plaza. Tickets for Bethany Owen are $22.95. For more information, please call the box office at (800) 683-8266 or the Horizon Casino at (775) 588-6211. Group rates and preferred seating is available.
* * * * * * *
From Liz Lieberman comes this information...
There is a relatively new, non profit, youth ballet company called The Las Vegas Ballet Company, spearheaded by former Nevada Ballet Theater principal dancers, Kyudong Kwak and his wife, Yoomi Lee. Liz, who is on the company's board of directors, reports that Kwak and Lee formed the company from the students at their ballet school, and have achieved a really remarkable standard in less than two years. The students train in the Russian Vaganova style, and they really have a true understanding of classical ballet in its purest form. The school does not teach jazz or hip hop or tap or anything else other than Modern, for which you have to have a strong classical technique to understand and master. "The focus is entirely on classical ballet," says Lieberman, "and after watching a rehearsal last Saturday afternoon, it is really beginning to pay off! To see these budding ballerinas with such strong attack and technical expertise made me weep!" We desperately need to support the arts here in Las Vegas, and these young ballerinas are the future of dance. Students from the Nevada School of the Arts will be participating, playing live music. Performances are tomorrow, May 29th, at 2 and 7 p.m. at The Summerlin Library for the Performing Arts Center, 1771 Inner Circle Drive. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Please call (866) 967-8167 to purchase. Kyudong and his beautiful wife, Yoomi, will take the lead roles for Act II of Swan Lake, with the students appearing as corps de ballet and variations. It is a lovely alternative way to spend Saturday this Memorial Day Weekend.
* * * * * * *
Fremont Street Experience's "Summer of the '70s" kicks off Memorial Day Weekend with a FREE concert from the one and only Gloria Gaynor. Tomorrow (Saturday, May 29th) at 9 p.m. on downtown's 3rd Street Stage, fans will be able to sing along with the quintessential disco-era legend as she performs her blockbuster hits, including "Never Can Say Good-Bye" and "I Will Survive." "Gloria Gaynor is a perfect fit to begin the festivities for "Summer of the '70s," said Jeff Victor, president of the Fremont Street Experience. "She embodies the spirit of the decade and continues to be a prominent figure in music and entertainment." Gaynor has achieved a legendary status by recording several Top 100 hits and has a foothold in the dance music industry. Along with her induction to the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005, her signature hit "I Will Survive" is featured in dozens of major motion pictures and hit television shows. Also debuting on Memorial Day Weekend is "Fremont Street Fever'" an original 35-minute show full of high-energy singing and dancing featuring the most popular disco songs of the '70s, such as "Shake Your Groove Thing," "Staying Alive" and "Funky Town." Produced by Face Productions, this homage to the disco-era music of the '70s will dazzle audiences every Thursday through Monday at 9:15 p.m., 10:15 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. all summer long. The 102-day promotion will kick off Memorial Day Weekend and run through Labor Day Weekend. "Summer of the '70s" is sponsored by Corona Extra, Corona Light, Cruzan Rum, Modelo especial, Sauza Tequila Hornitos and Stoli Vodka. There will be beer and drink specials available at all outdoor bars on the Fremont Street Experience, every night throughout the summer.
Also, beginning at 8 p.m. tomorrow night, it's Nathan Tanouye & The Las Vegas Jazz Connection performing in the outdoor Amphitheater at the Clark County Government Center. Nathan Tanouye has been principal trombonist for the Las Vegas Philharmonic since 1998, and has performed with such artists as Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, The Temptations, Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. He has played in award-winning shows such as The Producers, Hairspray, At the Copa (with David Cassidy and Sheena Easton), Storm, and Bette Midler's The Showgirl Must Go On, for which he wrote some of the orchestral arrangements. Las Vegas Jazz Connection has released three CDs, Coming Home, the latest, and two which feature big band arrangements of compositions by the late jazz master, Russ Freeman, Crossings and Remembering Russ. Starting its 20th year, the FREE Jazz in the Park concert series has become a Las Vegas tradition. Some of the biggest names in jazz have highlighted this annual series. Picnics, blankets and low back chairs are welcome, pets are not. Food and drink are available for purchase on site. All concerts start at 8 p.m. The Government Center is located at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway in downtown Las Vegas.
* * * * * * *
Reminder...The Platinum-selling rock artists, the Goo Goo Dolls, make a stop at The Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Resort on Saturday, June 5th, at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.), as part of their U.S. tour. Formed in 1986, the Goo Goo Dolls released their debut, self-titled album two years later and, with the subsequent release of 1990's Hold Me Up, secured the band's place in the early '90s genre of college radio hits. The band went on to release several more albums, including A Boy Named Goo (1995), featuring the single "Name," and one of the band's most successful contributions took place in 1998 with the ballad "Iris," which appeared on the soundtrack for the movie City of Angels. "Iris" received great acclaim and became one of the band's most popular songs to-date, receiving three Grammy nominations and major market airplay. The band's next album, Dizzy Up the Girl, was released in September 1998 and sold more than three million copies and included hit singles "Slide," "Dizzy" and another Grammy nominated hit, "Black Balloon." The band released several more albums, including a CD/DVD, Live in Buffalo: July 4, 2004, and 2006's, Let Love In, which marked the band's eighth studio album. The song, "Better Days" from Let Love In, proved to be another powerful anthem for the group, and the song was used by CNN to promote recovery efforts following the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Goo Goo Dolls released two greatest hits albums, Greatest Hits: Volume 1 and Greatest Hits: Volume II, in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The bands' ninth studio album, Something for the Rest of Us, is scheduled to be released this spring. Tickets are $45, $55 & $65, plus any additional service fees. The Pearl Box Office is open from noon to 7 p.m. daily. Please visit the box office, any Ticketmaster location, call (800) 745-3000, or visit www.ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets. The Pearl is sponsored by Citi. For more information on upcoming concerts, please call (702) 942-6888.
Goo Goo Dolls
* * * * * * *
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Burlesque Hall of Fame, next weekend, June 3rd through 6th, at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Join a bevy of international burlesque superstars as they take the stage with the living legends of bump 'n' grind, world-class variety acts and musical artists. Recognized as the world's top showcase for international burlesque entertainers and enthusiasts, the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend attracts outstanding artists, both exotic and mainstream. Top talent scheduled to appear include: Miss Exotic World 2009 and Las Vegas native Kalani Kokonuts; Miss Exotic World 2008, Angie Pontani; Immodesty Blaize, Miss Exotic World 2007, star of British stage and TV), Whitney Biennial artist Julie Atlas Muz (Miss Exotic World 2006, Law and Order); Michelle L'amour (Miss Exotic World 2006, America's Got Talent); Dirty Martini (Miss Exotic World 2004); Kitten DeVille (Miss Exotic World 2002, Auto Focus); along with more than 100 of the world's top neo-burlesque acts. "Burlesque has truly become a worldwide phenomenon, and the performers that make it to our show are the sexiest, most talented entertainers on the planet," said Burlesque Hall of Fame representative, Luke Littell. "It's the only event of its kind, featuring both today's brightest new stars and the living legends of yester-year." The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend also includes a Striptease Reunion, now in its 53rd year, at which newer performers can learn tricks of the trade from surviving superstars of the 1940s, '50s and '60s. "The living legends love to be there with all the wonderful girls who come from all over the world to celebrate an American tradition," said Burlesque Hall of Fame curator Dixie Evans, herself a retired dancer (dubbed "The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque" by legendary promoter Harold Minsky). "Burlesque is much more than striptease, it combines the whole live experience of dancers, comedians and music." Among the many activities slated over the Weekend are Friday's "Titans of Tease" Burlesque Reunion Showcase and Saturday night's main event, the 20th Annual Burlesque Competition. Called the "Striptease Olympics" by the London Daily Mirror, it is the most prestigious competitive burlesque event in the world; drawing bump 'n' grind's best of the best, year after year, from Tokyo to Toronto. Titles up for the taking include: "Best Debut," "Best Group," "Best Boylesque," "Best Variety Act," and of course 2010's "Reigning Queen of Burlesque." Also scheduled is the long-awaited grand re-opening of the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum at Emergency Arts, 520 Fremont St., #120, featuring a special ribbon-cutting ceremony with Dixie Evans and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman on Friday, June 4 at 5 p.m. But wait, there's more! The Weekend is full of fabulous music, including sets by the world's hottest Go-Go, Garage, Rockabilly, Lounge and Exotica DJs and a live performance by the amazing Austin, Texas band, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. Additional events include a Weekend-long Burlesque Bazaar featuring contemporary and vintage burlesque/pinup-inspired wares; the 5th Annual Pinup Safari and Cheesecake Camera Club; Keep A Breast burlesque cast sale; Pinup Pool Party hosted by Sabina Kelley (Sunday); the inaugural Hall of Fame Car Show (Sunday); Texas Tease 'Em Poker Tournament; Burlesque Hall of Fame Finishing School Master Classes and an all-star Dr. Sketchy's live drawing event. Weekend passes are $1,500 for a reserved booth (seats 5), $200/Floor (sold out), and $175/General Admission (includes admission into all Showroom activities). Individual tickets may be purchased depending on availability. Weekend passes are available online at www.ticketweb.com. The "Opening Night Burlesque Bash" featuring The Lucky Daredevil Thrill Show (Thursday), "Titans of Tease" Burlesque Reunion Showcase featuring burlesque legends (Friday), The 20th Annual Miss Exotic World Pageant featuring the worlds top teasers (Saturday), and the Closing Gala, featuring Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears (Sunday). All will take place in the Plaza Showroom at The Plaza Hotel and Casino, 1 Main Street. Entrance to all four shows is open to individual ticket and Weekend Pass holders. Special Weekend events, including after-parties and the Mimosa Beach Pinup Pool Party (Sunday), are open only to Weekend Pass holders. The Burlesque Hall of Fame is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to establish a permanent, first-rate tourist attraction and research/exhibition space for our unique collection, in hopes of inspiring, educating and entertaining the public and fostering an appreciation for the unique history and heritage of American Burlesque; including but not limited to the art, artifacts and personal histories of the art's biggest names and brightest stars. For a complete schedule of events or more information about Burlesque Weekend or The Burlesque Hall of Fame, please visit our website at www.burlesquehall.com.
* * * * * * *
On June 5th, Nevada Public Radio listeners and members have a rare chance to support public radio while experiencing the Strip's newest Cirque du Soleil® production, Viva ELVIS™ at ARIA Resort and Casino. Viva ELVIS™ was created in the image of and pays homage to the American icon who transformed popular music and whose name will forever be linked with the history of Las Vegas: Elvis Presley, The King of Rock 'n' Roll. A harmonious fusion of dance acrobatics and his timeless music is the backdrop for this nostalgic, modern and raw emotional experience focusing on the essential humanity of us all. A limited number of tickets for the June 5 performances at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. will benefit and must be purchased through Nevada Public Radio. Current Nevada Public Radio members and listeners can purchase as many tickets as they like for $70 to $75 less than box office prices. Different levels of seating are available for the special price of $125 for front row, $100 for Tier I seating and $75 for Tier II seating and includes a year membership with Nevada Public Radio. Tickets must be picked up at the will-call and may not be resold. To purchase tickets, call (702) 258-9895 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, or visit www.knpr.org, www.classical897.org. All proceeds benefit Nevada Public Radio. Sponsors include Cirque du Soleil®, MGM MIRAGE and Nevada Public Radio News 88.9 KNPR and Classical 89.7. Nevada Public Radio, a not-for-profit organization, is the state's premier non-commercial broadcaster of National Public Radio programming and includes News 88.9 KNPR, broadcasting national and regional news and discussion; Classical 89.7 KCNV, a network of rural translator and repeater signals: KTPH, Tonopah (91.7); KLNR, Panaca (91.7); KWPR, Lund/Ely (88.7) and KSGU, St. George (90.3), plus a statewide radio reading service for the visually impaired. Nevada Public Radio produces 10 hours a week of original content, which is also available on demand at knpr.org, including the national award-winning public affairs program KNPR's State of Nevada. Nevada Public Radio was incorporated in 1975 with its flagship station News 88.9 KNPR signing on the air in 1980. Since early 2008, Nevada Public Radio has provided digital (HD) programming with additional channels of Spanish language, contemporary eclectic music and news broadcasts. Nevada Public Radio also publishes Desert Companion™, a bi-monthly magazine.
* * * * * * *
The Village Lake Las Vegas hosts Movies on the Lake, in addition to their list of fun, ongoing summer activities. Beginning Thursday, June 3rd, these weekly, family-friendly movie nights are free and shown on the lawn at 8 p.m. The first hit from the big screen being shown is Hook (PG). Lake Las Vegas provides a beautiful back drop for the large movie screen set up on the lawn and moviegoers are encouraged to bring a blanket or low-back chair to use. Guests can make a night of it by enjoying a stroll through The Village shops or by having dinner at one of the many delicious restaurants before the movie begins. Other hits being shown in June will include Sherlock Holmes (PG-13) on June 10, Where the Wild Things Are (PG) on June 17 and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (PG) on June 24. The lineup continues with Star Trek (PG-13) on July 1, The Blind Side (PG-13) on July 8, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (PG) on July 15, The Goonies (PG) on July 22, and 2012 (PG-13) on July 29. New Moon (PG-13) will be shown on August 5, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (PG-13) on August 12, Up (PG) on August 19 and The Wizard of OZ (G) on August 26. All movies will be shown on the lakeside lawn at The Village which is located in Henderson at 15 Costa di Lago. Moviegoers should be advised that no coolers are allowed at these showings. The Thursday addition of Movies on the Lake creates a fun-filled weekend lineup at The Village, joining the already popular Friday Night Live lakeside music series, and Saturday night's Jazz on the Lake series.
* * * * * * *
Tonight, beginning at 8 p.m. (pre-show at 7), it's Dueling Pianos at the Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water Street, in the Water Street District. The Dueling Pianos returns to Henderson with an action-packed show that encourages audience participation through song, dance and special requests. The dynamic duo has an extraordinary musical library of
Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
songs from a variety of genres including R&B, rock, hip hop, blues and country music. Audience members of all ages will enjoy listening to musical renditions by current Top 100 acts like Maroon 5 and fan favorites from such legends as Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Elton John, as well as hits by Hannah Montana's Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. Everyone will be on their feet for the hilarious "YMCA," "Chicken Dance" and "Hokey Pokey" dances. The City of Henderson supports the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Advanced notice may be necessary to ensure that appropriate accommodations will be provided. For additional information on our programs and entertainment, please contact us directly at (702) 267-2171. Office hours are Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye