Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column



Displaying keen perception and great insight.  
She's a little bit naughty. She’s a little bit nice.  
She calls ‘em like she sees (and hears) ‘em.  
She’s...

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from January 14, 2011
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - January 14, 2011


Ginger Rios

Debora Flores Narvaez

She was a beautiful brunette. She was Hispanic. She was a Las Vegas entertainer. And she was missing. No, we are not referring to Debora Flores Narvaez, whose mutilated body was found on January 7th, 26 days after she was last seen alive. We are talking about an earlier, and eerily similar, case that occurred 13 years ago. On April 4th of 1997, 20-year-old Ginger Lee Rios, a singer and dancer in the local band, Salsa Machine, went into the eastside Spy Craft store to make a purchase. Ginger, a native Las Vegan, left her husband of five months, Mark Hollinger, waiting in their car outside the shop. She also left her purse, taking only her wallet inside the Maryland Parkway store with her. Hollinger never saw his wife come out of the store. After about 15 minutes, Hollinger walked into the store to look for his wife. When he didn't see her, he asked the clerk where she was. Hollinger was told she had left, so he walked around the shopping center looking for her. When he didn't find her, he returned to Spy Craft a few minutes later. He asked the store clerk and owner again if they remembered seeing his wife. They repeated what they had said earlier. Hollinger left and returned a third time. That's when the store owner, Craig Jacobsen (who also went by the name of John Flowers) "got irritated with me" and locked the door to the store, he said. Mark left and called his in-laws, George and Denise Rios. On the chance that Ginger had disappeared of her own free will, a local publication, geared to entertainers around the country, published her photo and the story on their front page. If she had left on her own, perhaps a producer or musical group in another city might recognize her. Sadly, that was not to be. Four months after she went missing, Ginger's parents were notified that the body of a woman found in a shallow grave in Arizona was that of their daughter. The wife of Craig Jacobsen, led police to the grave, where the owner of Spy Craft had buried Ginger after killing her in the backroom of his store. On May 10th, three months before the discovery of Ginger Rios' remains, Pinal County Sheriff's Department deputies found the body of another female, estimated to be between 15 and 20 years old. Flowers, who told his wife that Ginger Rios "got in his face and he snapped," was tried and sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility beginning after 20 years on the Rios murder charge.

After a tip from a citizen, the body of Debora Flores Narvaez, the 31-year-old Las Vegas dancer who seemed to disappear into thin air on December 12th, was found in an abandoned house near downtown Las Vegas. The dancer from the Luxor's Fantasy show had been dismembered and placed in concrete in plastic tubs. It was determined that she died of asphyxiation due to neck compression. A tip led police to discover her remains at an apartment near Bonanza Road and Las Vegas Boulevard. Her ex-boyfriend, 32-year-old Jason "Blu" Griffith, who danced in both the Toni Braxton show at the Flamingo, and Cirque du Soleil's Love at The Mirage, was charged in connection with her murder. A private memorial service for Debbie was held yesterday at St. Viator Catholic Church, while a memorial service took place at 11 a.m. this morning in the Luxor's Atrium Showroom where Fantasy, produced by Anita Mann and choreographed by Cris Judd, plays at 10:30 nightly.

A follow-up to the Ginger Rios horror story. It wasn't until last June that the "Jane Doe" found in the grave near Ginger, was identified. Thirteen years after the discovery of her body, the unidentified female finally had a name. She was 15-year-old Christina Marie Martinez, who disappeared from Phoenix while on her way to a Laundromat. Jacobsen/Flowers is also a suspect in that murder.

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Josh Strickland

Anton Fitzgerald White

Last Friday, January 7th, Sir Tim Rice & Friends, a salute to the Disney on Broadway Songbook, was held. It was hosted by Oscar and Tony Award-winning lyricist, Tim Rice, a longtime collaborator for Disney Theatrical Productions, having written lyrics for four of the seven Disney scores heard on Broadway. He partnered with composer Alan Menken for Beauty and the Beast and King David, and with Sir Elton John on the blockbuster The Lion King (film and stage) and the musical Aida. Two of Tim Rice's seven "friends" (performers), who are all veterans of one or more Disney-inspired Broadway shows, have Las Vegas connections. Josh Strickland, who starred as Tarzan on the Great White Way, is currently one of the principals in Jerry Mitchell's Peepshow at Planet Hollywood, and Alton Fitzgerald White, starred as Mufasa in The Lion King at Mandalay Bay before he returned to New York to play the role on Broadway. Also lending their talent for the Disney salute were Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid), Ashley Brown (Beauty and the Beast, and original title star of Mary Poppins on Broadway), Merle Dandridge (Kala in Tarzan, Aida, Jesus Christ Superstar), Christopher Jackson (The Lion King), and Tshidi Manye (currently starring on Broadway as Rafiki in The Lion King). As part of The New York Times 10th annual Arts & Leisure weekend celebration, the Disney evening featured selections from the scores of Disney's seven Broadway shows including King David, Beauty and the Beast, and Aida. James Abbott served as musical director. Rice was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Original Score for his work on Beauty and the Beast (1994) and The Lion King (1998), earning the 2000 Tony Award for Best Original Score for Aida. A three-time Tony Award winner, Rice's other notable Broadway and West End credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita (1980 Tony Award winner for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Chess, among others.

Regular Claire Voyant readers may remember that we wrote about Alton Fitzgerald White's plan to head up a December 13th benefit holiday show at The Triad in Manhattan, as part of the Lee Summers' Just a Piano Concert Series, to benefit 11-year-old singer/actress, Shannon Tavarez, who beat out hundreds of hopefuls to win the role of young Nala in Broadway's The Lion King. This bright and talented child was part of show's cast for seven months, until she was diagnosed with AML, a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. Stars, including Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent, had campaigned to help find a bone marrow donor for Tavarez. Lion King cast members held donor registration drives. A match was not found, and Tavarez was forced to quit the show in April. Tragically, Shannon lost her battle with cancer on November 1st, dying at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York. The concert, with pianist/ musical director, Doyle Newmyer, and special guest, Yolanda Wyns of The Color Purple, went on as planned, with all of the proceeds going to Shannon's mother, Odiney Brown, to help with medical and funeral expenses. Shannon's family and supporters have vowed to work tirelessly to save others. Alton tells us that a bone marrow donor registry drive has been organized in memory of the young star. In New York, those wishing to donate can head to DKMS, a bone marrow transplant center, located in Harlem, N.Y., to get tested. (The test is a simple inner cheek swab.) Odiney Brown told the New York Post that helping others in need of a bone marrow transplant was one of her daughter Shannon's main goals. Even if you aren't in New York, you can still help. Seek out information in your own community.

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Sinatra Dance With Me

Cheryl Bentyne

It has been announced that, due to the overwhelming demand for tickets, Wynn Las Vegas will extend the hit show, Sinatra Dance With Me, through April 2nd. Originally scheduled to run until the end of this month, Sinatra Dance With Me, conceived, choreographed and directed by dance legend Twyla Tharp, presents world class dancers and a live 17-piece big band, and features original recorded masters of Frank Sinatra favorites, with signature arrangements by Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Quincy Jones, along with new orchestrations created exclusively for this innovative show. Ticket prices are $69 and $89, plus tax and service charge. In addition, Wynn is now offering a Sinatra Dine and Dance With Me package, which includes classic Italian fare from acclaimed Chef Theo Schoenegger at the hotel's Sinatra restaurant, and a ticket to Sinatra Dance With Me, for $145 per person (inclusive of tax and gratuity). SINATRA Dance With Me plays at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas at 7:30 p.m. nightly. Show schedule varies. To reserve tickets for please call 888-320-7110 or 702-770-9966, or visit www.wynnlasvegas.com. Groups of 10 or more may contact 702-770-3724 or showsales@wynnlasvegas.com.

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Music man, Mark Winkler writes...
Last October, I saw the best show I'd seen in a long time - Cheryl Bentyne at Vitello's. I wasn't alone in my opinion. The wonderful Jazz critic, Don Heckman, was also blown away by her amazing performance that night (see review below). Well, good news. She'll be performing again this weekend, January 13th and 14th, with the same hot group of musicians. I'll be there to hear Cheryl sing The Gershwin Songbook. All I can say is you won't be sorry if you are there as well!

About Grammy-nominee Bentyne's October performance, Heckman wrote...
Dynamic. Enchanting. High spirited. Entertaining. Hard swinging. Those were just a few of the words that came to mind during Cheryl Bentyne's appearance at Vitello's on Thursday night. And none of them were really adequate to describe her utterly mesmerizing performance. Everyone knows Bentyne from her long tenure with the Manhattan Transfer, of course. But, like her other partners in that remarkable quartet, she is less familiar as a solo artist. Which is regrettable. Because Bentyne uses all the sophisticated dramatic artistry she has developed in her decades with the Transfer as the foundation from which to build her unique presentations in the spotlight. Her Vitello's performance was nominally tied to the release of her superb new album, The Gershwin Songbook. And there was plenty of Gershwin on the program. An opening combination of "Fascinating Rhythm" and "I Got Rhythm" that tossed the melody in wild meanderings through the - of course - rhythm. "S'Wonderful" done in an irresistible groove, with bassist Reggie Hamilton and drummer Dave Tull providing the supercharged engine power. Some delightful interplay with guest singer Mark Winkler on "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." And an encore version of "How Long Has This Been Going On?" with the sole accompaniment of Bentyne's husband, Corey Allen, playing rollicking ragtime piano.

But there was more. An utterly gorgeous, understated but emotionally layered reading of Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye" enhanced by Doug Webb's equally intimate tenor saxophone solo. Vincent Youmans' "Tea For Two" and Porter's "It's All Right With Me" done at mercilessly uptempo paces - again featuring fast fingered tenor work from Webb. And, perhaps best of all, the set piece that was the highlight among highlights of Bentyne's performance - "Something Cool," the poignant cabaret jazz tune by Billy Barnes that was a 1954 hit for June Christy. In Bentyne's hands it became a gripping, musical short story, told with exquisite blending of words and music - a model display of jazz singing at its finest.

The only downside of Bentyne's appearance was that it was for one night only. Here's one vote for having her back, soon, for a long run. If you are in Southern California tonight, show times for Cheryl Bentyne are at 8 and 10 p.m. Show price is $20 and a $13 food or drink minimum. Vitello's Jazz & Supper Club, "One of LA's best listening rooms," is located at 4349 Tujunga Ave. in Studio City. For additional information, call (818) 769-0905.

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Margaret Whiting

The Nelsons - David, Harriet, Ozzie & Ricky

Legendary singer Margaret Whiting passed away of natural causes on January 10th, at the age of 86. Known as an interpreter of American standards throughout her major recording career in the '40s, '50s, and into the '60s, Whiting continued to perform regularly until just a few years ago. Among the songs associated with Whiting are "That Old Black Magic," "It Might as Well Be Spring," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "A Tree In the Meadow," "Baby It's Cold Outside (a duet with her Godfather, Johnny Mercer), "Faraway Places" and "Moonlight in Vermont." Her father, Richard Whiting, was the composer of numerous popular hits, including "Sleepy Time Gal," "Hooray For Hollywood," "Breezin' Along With the Breeze," "Till We Meet Again," "Beyond the Blue Horizon," "On the Good Ship Lollipop," Too Marvelous For Words" and "She's Funny That Way." Ms. Whiting most recently appeared on Michael Feinstein's highly-acclaimed three-part PBS television special, The Great American Songbook. She was married four times, including to Hubbell Robinson Jr. (a writer, producer and TV executive), pianist Lou Busch, Panavision founder John Richard Moore, and adult porn star Jack Wrangler, to whom she was married from 1994 to his death in April of 2009. Margaret was a popular figure on the New York cabaret scene from the '70s on, and performed in 4 Girls 4 with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O'Connell and Rose Marie. She is survived by a daughter.

And David Nelson, the last remaining member of the Nelsons TV family, which included his actor/bandleader father, Ozzie: his mother, singer Harriet Hilliard, and his younger teen-idol brother, Rick, died on January 11th at the age of 74. Nelson died at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles after battling complications of colon cancer. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet television series ran from 1952 to 1966, following a short stint on radio called Here Come the Nelsons. David Nelson, who was 16 when the family series began, directed and produced numerous episodes throughout its run. The show was shot in the Nelson family home in the Hollywood foothills, which remains a popular attraction for visitors on celebrity bus tours. Born in New York City, David grew up in Southern California where he attended Hollywood High School and the University of Southern California. His film credits included Peyton Place, The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, The Big Circus, Day of the Outlaw, 30, The Big Show, Love and Kisses and Swing Out, Sweet Land. In 1976, he co-starred with his mother in Smash-Up on Interstate 5. His last film appearance was in 1990's Cry Baby. David's television credits included Up in Smoke, Love Boat, High School USA, and A Family for Joe. Directing credits included O.K. Crackerby, Childish Things, Easy to Be Free, Ozzie's Girls, Death Screams, Last Plane Out, Goodnight Beantown and A Rare Breed. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, in 1996, Nelson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is survived by his wife, Yvonne; four sons and a daughter; and seven grandchildren. David's only daughter, Teri Nelson, was married to TV game show host Chuck Woolery from 1985 to 2004. Services for David Nelson were held yesterday in Westwood.

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Last weekend, Mirage headliner, Terry Fator, was featured on CBS's Sunday Morning (one of our favorite TV programs - we just wish is was called Sunday Afternoon and aired a little later in the day). It was a great ad for the onetime winner of TV's America's Got Talent.


Terry Fator

Terri White

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And speaking of Terrys, or, more specifically, Terris, on two Sundays in January, the 16th and the 30th, at 8:30 p.m., Feinstein's at Loews Regency in Manhattan will feature singer actress Terri White in its Broadway Series. Terri, who lived and worked in Las Vegas about 30 years ago, recently starred in Finian's Rainbow at the St. James Theatre in New York, and just finished playing Matron Mama Morton in Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre. Terri has also been in Broadway's Barnum, Ain't Misbehavin', Bubbling Brown Sugar, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. Off-Broadway, she has appeared in Juba, Nunsense I & II, Jungle Book and The Club, for which she received an Obie Award. Ms. White can be seen on video in Nunsense I & II with Rue McClanahan, Liza Live at Radio City Music Hall with Liza Minnelli, and Boys on the Side with Whoopi Goldberg. One of the highlights of Terri's career was when Charles Nelson Reilly introduced her to her major inspiration, Mabel Mercer. Terri has been doing her one woman cabaret show across the country, and is delighted to be at Feinstein's, 540 Park Avenue, to kick off the Broadway Series. For reservations or additional information, call (212) 339-4095 or (212) 339-4045. From May 7th through June 19th, Terri White will play Stella Deems in Follies at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., joining (in alphabetical order) Danny Burstein as Buddy Plummer, Terrence Currier as Theodore Whitman, Rosalind Elias as Heidi Schiller, Florence Lacey as Sandra Crane, Linda Lavin as Hattie Walker, Jan Maxwell as Phyllis Rogers Stone, Elaine Paige as Carlotta Campion, Bernadette Peters as Sally Durant Plummer, Ron Raines as Benjamin Stone, Régine as Solange LaFitte, David Sabin as Dimitri Weismann, and Susan Watson as Emily Whitman. The Kennedy Center production of one of James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim's greatest works, Follies is perhaps the finest productions created about the world of song and dance. When former members of the "Weismann's Follies" reunite on the eve of their theater's demolition, two couples remember their glorious past and face the harsher realities of the present. In the crumbling glamour of the theater, the shadows of their younger selves remind them of the complicated steps they've danced - both on the stage and throughout their lives. Winner of seven Tony Awards, Follies echoes the songs, exuberance, and romance of the lively vaudevillian days between the two World Wars. With such well-known songs like "Broadway Baby," "I'm Still Here," "Too Many Mornings," "Could I Leave You?" and "Losing My Mind," Follies gives words to the ghosts that haunt the stages of Broadway's great old theaters. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2700 F Street, in our nation's capitol. For tickets, which go on sale to the general public at noon January 30th, and additional information, call (800) 444-1324 or (202) 467-4600.


Bernadette Peters

Janet Jackson

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Janet Jackson will bring her Janet Jackson Number Ones, Up Close and Personal Tour to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, for 8 p.m. shows on Friday, April 22nd, and Saturday, April 23rd. This tour will differ from her previous concert schedules, in that she will perform music exclusively from her 35 chart-topping No. 1 CDs. There will also be a focus on venues that will allow Janet to be up close and personal, in a more intimate setting than the huge arenas where she normally performs. In each selected city, Janet will offer something different to her performance, so no show will be the same. This tour offers Miss Jackson in a more revealing, intimate, and more personal than ever before. Don't look for special effects. Just listen to and see Janet, as you have never seen her before. Janet currently stars in Tyler Perry's successful and critically acclaimed motion picture, For Colored Girls. She recently achieved number one iTunes status with her performance of "Nothing," written and produced by her in association with Johnta Austin, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jermaine Dupri, for the film Why Did I Get Married Too? in which she also starred. The tune is currently an awards contender as best song in a motion picture. Her upcoming book, True You, is being published by Karen Hunter Publishing, an imprint of Gallery Books at Simon & Schuster, and will be in stores on February 8th. Janet's first book will reveal her unique, insider's perspective on dieting and exercise-from her past, present and future-with help from her personal nutritionist, David Allen. Ticket prices are $195, $150, $95 and $75 (plus applicable taxes and fees), and go on sale tomorrow, January 15th at 10 a.m. They may be purchased in person at The Colosseum box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.

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Priscilla Presley

John Walsh in Vegas

Sponsored by Cartier, Nevada Ballet Theatre will honor actor, producer, author and philanthropist Priscilla Presley as its 2011 Woman of the Year at the annual Black & White Ball on Saturday, January 29th, at Aria Resort & Casino inside CityCenter in Las Vegas. "Priscilla's years of dedication to the art of acting, producing, and publishing among other endeavors are an inspiration to us," says Nevada Ballet Theatre Co-Founder and Co-Chair Nancy Houssels. "We know the Las Vegas community will be equally amazed by the contributions she has made to the world of entertainment and performing arts over the course of her varied career. We look forward to honoring her later this month." Since 1985, the Black & White Ball has allowed the Nevada Ballet Theatre to present professional company dance productions to the Las Vegas community, provide quality dance instruction within its affiliated Academy, and expose students in at-risk communities to the art form of dance through its well-known outreach program, Future Dance. Past honorees at the Black & White Ball include Debbie Reynolds, Chita Rivera, Celine Dion, Bette Midler and Marie Osmond. Nevada Ballet Theatre has honored these legendary women for their dedication to the world of arts and entertainment. Many of them have enjoyed a special connection to Las Vegas. Touted as the "crème de la crème" of society events by Luxury Las Vegas magazine, the Black & White Ball is one of the most highly attended events of the social season, hosting an array of local celebrities, dignitaries, VIP's and arts supporters. An exquisite, elegant evening awaits you. Transcend the ordinary with sumptuous dining, special performances, and luxurious auction experiences. All proceeds benefit Nevada Ballet Theatre, its Academy and Education and Outreach programs. Individual tickets from $600, and tables from $6000. Seating is limited. For more information or to purchase tables and tickets by phone, contact Darby Fitzpatrick-Reber at (702) 243-2623 Ext 222, or email specialevents@nevadaballet.org

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From Trish Williamson, of Las Vegas Public Relations, comes this follow-up to the Canon U.S.A., Inc. 12th Annual Red Carpet Event Honors Customers with Benefit Fundraiser and Celebrity Golf Tournament for The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) held at Aria in CityCenter last Friday, January 7th. Since 1998, Canon U.S.A. and NCMEC have collaborated to educate the public about the growing issue of child abduction. The Canon4Kids program, a partnership between Canon U.S.A. and NCMEC, donates product to help law enforcement quickly disseminate photos and information about missing children, produces PSAs with missing children photos, and informs parents about the importance of updating photos of their children. The special guest host was John Walsh, from America's Most Wanted. Among the celebrities who attended the Las Vegas Red Carpet event were Lou and Carla Green Ferrigno, ventriloquist Terry Fator, former Supreme Mary Wilson, actor Robert Hayes (Airplane!), impressionist Greg London, John and Lisa O'Hurley, and Entertainment Tonight's Mark Steines. In 1981, Walsh's 6-year-old son, Adam, was abducted from a Hollywood, Florida, Sears department store. Sixteen days after the abduction, Adam's severed head was found in a drainage canal more than 120 miles away from home. His other remains were never recovered. Following the crime, the Walsh family founded the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to legislative reform. The centers, originally located in West Palm Beach, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Orange County, California; and Rochester, New York, merged with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, where John Walsh serves on the Board of Directors. The Walsh family organized a political campaign to help missing and exploited children. Despite bureaucratic and legislative problems, John and his wife Revé's efforts eventually led to the creation of the Missing Children Act of 1982, and the Missing Children's Assistance Act of 1984. Today, Walsh continues to testify before Congress and state legislatures on crime, missing children and victims' rights issues. His latest efforts include lobbying for a Constitutional amendment for victims' rights. To date, 691 children featured in Canon4Kids PSAs have been recovered. Last weekend's two day events in Las Vegas raised $380,000 for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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It's a Dog's World

Cayleigh Capaldi

Caesars Entertainment properties, specifically Caesars Palace, Imperial Palace and Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Paris Las Vegas, Harrah's, Bally's and Flamingo Las Vegas, is going to the dogs! Or, perhaps we should say, the dogs are going to them! The resorts have a dog-friendly program called PetStay, where canines receive the VIP treatment when they travel to Caesars Entertainment resorts in Las Vegas. The initial launch of PetStay Las Vegas was in October. "Due to popular demand, we are extending our PetStay program to all Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas Resorts, offering guests a variety of options when they travel with their pampered pooches," says Mary Ann Dennis, vice president of regional teleservices. As part of the PetStay Las Vegas program, guests and their pups receive an in-room amenity that includes dog treats, food and water dishes, and a pet mat. Canines on the go are also are presented with a map of dog-walking routes, on-property designated relief areas, and a variety of dog-friendly resources for pet walking, pet sitting, grooming services and veterinarian information. Each resort offers designated floors and areas as pet-friendly zones. Dogs staying at any resort must weigh 50 pounds or less and be present at the time of check- in. Dogs are permitted to walk through designated common areas while on a leash and accompanied by the owner. Dogs left unattended in a guest room must be crated at all times (crates are available for rental). The PetStay Las Vegas program is a $25-$40 (plus tax) per night upgrade at participating Caesars Entertainment resorts. For more information on the Pet Stay Program, please visit www.petstaylasvegas.com. For room rates and to book accommodations at Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Harrah's Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, Bally's Las Vegas, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino or Imperial Palace Las Vegas, visit www.caesars.com or dial (800) 427-7247. Caesars Entertainment resorts in Las Vegas are officially "No Resort Fee" zones, meaning that the company's nine Las Vegas hotels do not add mandatory resort fees to hotel room rates. This information should make a lot of dog lovers very happy.

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Desi Arnaz Jr.

Roslyn Kind

Happy birthday to Capricorn (December 23-January 20) celebrants Carme Pitrello, Siameze Floyd, Bob Kaz, Cayleigh Capaldi, Ari Dane, Larry Edwards, Roslyn Kind, Jan Wood Lovelady, Gina Eskstine, Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Frankie Randall, Rip Taylor, Jennifer Flanigan, Jimmy Buffett, Frank Caliendo, Desi Arnaz Jr., Dolly Parton, Joseph Bologna, Mike Nesmith, Bebe Neuwirth, Paul Revere, Kenny Loggins, Crystal Gayle, Frank Sinatra Jr., Rod Stewart, Naomi Judd, Jack Jones, and The Amazing Kreskin. And happy anniversary wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Prince Spencer.

We missed putting newsman, Harley Akers, on the list with the other Sagittarians a few weeks ago. Harley, named for the motorcycle on which he was conceived (that's what he tells us), celebrated a milestone birthday on November 23rd. If you want to know, which milestone, you will have to ask him.


Harley Akers

Oh Baby, It's Carla Rea

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Carla Rea is the new public relations and marketing manager at the Riviera Hotel. Carla, who is a working comic, was formerly Public Relations/Community Affairs Director at KVBC (now KSNV) TV - Channel 3. Although we have a current photo of Rea (whose father is entertainer Don Rea, a former member of The Gaylords), we liked the one we are using in this weeks' column. Since we know the lady has a sense of humor, we hope she doesn't mind us showing her topless. We will use a more discreet picture of Ms. Rae in future columns.

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As they did last year at this time, in honor of Neil Diamond's 70th birthday, The Club at the Cannery Casino & Hotel will feature Neil Diamond tribute artist, Rob Garrett, in an 8 p.m. show next Saturday, January 22nd. Garrett, who calls himself the King of Diamonds, has always idolized Neil Diamond and his music. He had his dream come true when he was cast as Diamond in the Legends in Concert show in Honolulu. What was expected to be a two month engagement, turned into a three year run for Garrett. Since his gig in Hawaii, Rob has traveled all over the world appearing as Neil Diamond, and has become one of North America's most popular tribute artists. In 2008, Rob received the "Male Musical Tribute Artist Award" by the Entertainment Network at the Celebrity Impersonator Convention in Las Vegas, making him the only Neil Diamond tribute artist to win that award. Singing Neil Diamond hits "Cherry Cherry," "Sweet Caroline," "Song Sung Blue," "Cracklin Rosie" and many more, "King of Diamonds" is a guaranteed good time for all Diamond fans. Show time is at 8 p.m. Tickets are a more than reasonable $10 at the Cannery showroom door.


Rob Garrett as Neil Diamond

Simon Relph

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Born and raised in Manchester, UK, entertainer Simon Relph has been performing all over the world for the last 15 years. Most recently, Simon can be found as one of the lead performers in The Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur in Las Vegas. Simon recently completed his movie-acting debut in Red Herring, starring Holly Valance, Vincent Pastore (Sopranos) and Chyna McCoy (The Matrix). As a singer, whether performing pop, opera, Broadway or standard classics, Simon is completely at home on stage. To share the emotion of a song is a responsibility he doesn't take lightly. With his talents and classic look, Simon brings back old-style performance with a contemporary twist to entertain his audiences. Whether a fan of old movies, classical music, musical theatre, or more in sync with contemporary entertainment, Simon's touching performance will transport you back to reminisce about the special times in your life. He says, " We all need to escape reality sometimes, and I think that music, and movies with a message, can allow us to do that. It's very important to me as a performer to tell the story of the song, or scene, and allow the audience to put it into the context of their own lives." Next Saturday, January 22nd, Simon will perform a 7 p.m. show at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. Tickets, at $15 for Sun City residents, and $18 for non-residents, are on sale at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle community centers.

For additional information and directions to the Starbright, call (702) 240-1301.



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