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.  

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from November 24, 2006
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - November 24, 2006

Last Friday (the 17th of November), the Stirling Club at Turnberry Place was the scene of a special show by songwriter, pianist, guitarist and singer David Pomeranz. That’s Pomeranz, NOT Pomerance as misspelled in Norm Clarke’s Sunday Las Vegas Review-Journal column, and NOT Pomerantz as in his "correction" in Monday‘s column. (On Wednesday, the editors corrected the two previous mistakes.) Pomeranz only performed a few of his own tunes, but they were showstoppers. In addition to a beautiful version of his self-penned Tryin’ To Get The Feeling Again (one of two hits Pomeranz wrote for Barry Manilow, the other one being The Old Songs), accompanying himself on guitar the crowd-pleasing Mr. Pomeranz sang a "lullaby" called Reach, I Learned It All From You, and Number One, from his Charlie Chaplin-inspired musical Little Tramp, Pomeranz also covered I Can See Clearly Now (joined on stage by Clint Holmes), Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein III’s lovely standard, My Romance; and Richie Haven’s High Flying Bird. As a songwriter; David Pomeranz also wrote The Old Songs, a 1981 hit for Manilow. Seen in the audience at the private club that night was Mr. Manilow, who does his thing across the street at the Hilton; Marty Gover who is currently working with both David Pomeranz and David Brenner (scheduled for a one-night appearance at The Cannery in February); Menopause the Musical (playing seven nights a week at the aforementioned Hilton) cast members, Skye Miles and Sandra Benton; Clint Holmes’ musical director and one-fourth of the Las Vegas Tenors, Bill Fayne; Tom Quinn, who will produce Holmes and Fayne’s (hopefully) Broadway bound musical, Breathe, and of course, Kelly Clinton who, in addition to being Holmes’ leading lady, runs the shows and entertainment at the Stirling Club. (Cousin Claire thinks those two lovebirds should put an act together and call it Clint & Clinton.) We strongly suggest that columnist Clarke learn to spell Pomeranz correctly as we have a feeling the man with the eye patch will (or should) soon be writing about this multitalented gentleman on a more regular basis.

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Your Thanksgiving turkey is probably pretty picked over by now and the tryptophan still has you snoozing on the sofa. Hard to believe that December is only a week away and you know what that means...Once again, it’s time for Tony Sacca’s annual Merry Christmas Las Vegas taping. Now in its 21st incarnation, as in years past, the live taping will take place in the Stratosphere’s Theatre of the Stars showroom. Among those scheduled to perform are Brent Barrett, one of the two Phantoms heading the cast of The Venetian’s production of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; onetime lead singer of the famed Platters, Sonny Turner; Mark Giovi, from the Stratosphere’s Bite and one of the Las Vegas Tenors; members of the Greek Isles Rat Pack is Back show; Dian Diaz, currently performing in the Bellagio’s Fontana Room, and the Helen Joy Young Entertainers. Of course, Mr. Sacca and his backup group, the Tonettes, will also be performing. All of this will occur on Sunday, December 3, with seating beginning at 1 p.m. A $25 donation will benefit the local Youth Foundation for the Performing Arts. The seasonal special will air on numerous TV stations, in numerous markets, at numerous times during December. Check your TV listings. See you at the Stratosphere.

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Apparently our invitation to the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes wedding got lost in the mail (we will be talking to the Postal Inspector about this serious problem). Cousin Claire wasn’t the only no-show at last weekends’ Italian nuptials. Oh, oh. That’s, O and O, like in O’Donnell and Oprah. It seems that Rosie O’Donnell (who adores "her Tommy") and Oprah (who, months ago, allowed the love-struck Cruise to jump all over her fancy couch) should also be discussing mail delivery problems with their letter carriers. It seems that their invitations also went astray. Isn’t it interesting that, after Tommy trashed her publicly regarding her use of prescription drugs, Brooke Shields and her husband Chris Henchy made it onto the Cruise/Holmes invited guest list. So were celebrities Jennifer Lopez and hubby Marc Anthony, Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, Jenna and Bodhi Elfman, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, Richard Gere and his misses Carey Lowell, Catherine Bell and famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who sang at the reception. The good news for those of us who missed the multi-million dollar event? We don’t have to check out the Target Bridal Registry since Emily Post says, "You get no invite, you get the happy couple no toaster or Swivel Sweeper." Honest, that’s what Emily says.

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Although it is closed for business, there is still news to report on the Stardust. The auction of hotel contents began last Friday and ended on Tuesday. The interest, as well as the prices, were higher than expected. The first item offered for bid, the craps table that saw the final role of the dice on November 1, garnered a whopping $7000...of course that price DID include autographs on the felt-topped table by many of the gaming resort’s former employees. We were told that the "miniature" (12 feet tall isn’t so miniature) copy of the famous Stardust sign went for $45,000. That would make the eight cartons of unopened Stardust playing cards, containing a dozen decks each, that sold for $275 per box, a real steal. Talk about a "high hand"! Among the lucky winners of theatrical memorabilia, artiste Grant Philipo. Philipo, a producer/costume designer, and host of one of the wildest annual Halloween parties anywhere, considers the items he purchased for $22,000 to be a real bargain. Among the treasures Philipo took home, lots of Lido jewels including bras, g-strings and body jewelry. He also got the famous blue and white headdress from the Lido’s opening number. Those trinkets cost Philipo a cool $8500. For $12,000, he is now the proud owner of 26 costumes from Enter the Night’s "Notorious" fashion show segment (one of Cousin Claire’s favorites). Whoever said "money can’t buy happiness," hasn’t seen Grant Philipos’s happy face.

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Condolences to La Cage star Frank Marino whose adopted mother, Sarah Paz, passed away in New York on October 27th. Entertainers Kenny Kerr and Jimmy Emerson handled the emcee duties in the Riviera’s La Cage showroom during the two weeks that Frank was on the East Coast for his mother’s final days and services.

On November 20th, the Riviera headliner turned a youthful looking 43, while Kerr celebrated his 54th birthday on the 24th. The two men, who ended a long-running feud a few months ago, celebrated together in the showroom at the Riv. Witnesses who were there confirmed that all was calm and bright and no harsh words or nasty looks were were. Happy birthday, kids.

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If you think the only top entertainment in the city takes place in major hotel/casinos, think again. Places like the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the Starbright Theater in Sun City Summerlin, the Charleston Heights Arts Center, the Clark County Libraries and a number of the city and county parks offer many different types of excellent entertainment. For example, the downtown Las Vegas Academy of International Studies Performing & Visual Arts (honest, that’s the name of the school), recently presented the Tony Award-winning Little Women: The Broadway Musical. Watching these actors at work, it’s hard to believe they are high school students. These kids are pros! On Saturday, December 2nd, UNLV will offer an early holiday musical program featuring the four-part harmony of Tim Hauser, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne, better known as The Manhattan Transfer, performing songs of the season. Showtime is 8 p.m. For tickets (priced from $40 to $85), call (702) 895-ARTS (2787).

She’s an actress, a singer, a comedienne and a dancer. She has shared the stage with headliners such as George Burns, Ray Charles, Norm Crosby, Billy Crystal, Bob Hope, Rich Little, Jan Murray, Donald O’Connor, Don Rickles, Mel Torme and Jerry Van Dyke. She’s been described as "Sensational" and an "All around entertainer." She’s Lisa Donovan and, thanks to Michael Chapman and ChapQuist Entertainment, she’s once again performing in Las Vegas. The former star of TV’s Face the Music, Ms. Donovan will sing songs from Broadway, Judy Garland hits and popular standards. The date is Wednesday, November 29th. The time is 7 p.m. The place is the beautiful Starbright Theater in Summerlin. Ticket prices are an affordable $13 for Sun City residents, $15 for non-residents, and may be purchased at the theater box office. Call (702) 240-1301 for details and directions. Oh, and while you’re way out west, take time to enjoy the view...especially after dark.

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Some comments about shows "Beyond the Neon" that we saw earlier this month - Christine Andreas and accompanist, piano player/vocalist (and Andreas’ husband) Martin Silvestri, did their Love Is Good revue at Charleston Heights on a recent Sunday afternoon. These two are tremendously talented and bring impressive credits to our local stage. Ms. Andreas, or Mrs. Silvestri as the case may be, has numerous Broadway credits, a handful of terrific albums available, and is currently touring with the Tony-winning show, Light in the Piazza. As a conductor, arranger and composer, Mr. Silvestri has his own list of impressive credits. In addition to his business relationship with Andreas, Silvestri has collaborated musically with Patti Austin, David Cassidy, Eydie Gorme, Mel Torme and Luther Vandross. For the theater, he has worked on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and, with writing partner Joel Higgins (of TV’s Silver Spoons fame), created The Fields of Ambrosia and Johnny Guitar. The only negative thing to say about this Andreas/Silvestri offering is that there should have been more people in the audience. Heck, ticket prices were only $10 and $15 a person! These types of quality performances are not only a boon for the community, there’s not a better entertainment bargain to be found ANYWHERE. Congratulations to Charleston Heights’ Linda Leos, for bringing mostly missing East Coast-style cabaret to the desert.

On November 10th, Boulder Station featured Raul Malo in concert. The former lead singer of the Florida-based Mavericks attracted a full house of enthusiastic music fans. Malo, a cross between Roy Orbison and a cuddly Teddy Bear, delivered a variety of songs ranging from Indian Love Call, You’re Only Lonely (the title tune from his latest album), Feels Like Home, Games That Lovers Play and Spanish Eyes, to Sway, Crying Shame, I Keep Falling In Love With You, and a hit for Eydie Gorme, Sabor A Mi. The audience loved this guy. Many of them had attended his last engagement at Boulder Station, which was free. They were more than willing to spend the $9.99 to see this fellow entertain again. We suspect that even if tickets had cost more than that very reasonable price, the Railhead showroom would have still been full. Surprisingly, there was no opportunity for concert goers to purchase any Raul Malo recordings before or after the concert. Big mistake. Malo could have added substantially to his Boulder Station take, had he set up a table outside the hall. Cousin Claire could have sold the CD she took with her (in the hopes of getting it signed) many times over. Next time (and we‘re sure there will be a next time for Mr. Malo), a marketing plan should be in place.

And to the dear friend who introduced us to the talent of Raul Malo (forever more known as Real Elmo), and should have been at Boulder Station to share in the musical experience, we say "God’s speed" as you make your way to the other side. You will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved you.

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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye