Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from February 16, 2007
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - February 16, 2007

Jimmy Hopper Lucy Shropshire Roseanne & Jackie Beat

For those who have been inquiring about Jimmy Hopper, and, more importantly, asking when he would be returning to Las Vegas, we now have the answer. After a two year absence (except for a short, little-publicized special engagement at Mandalay Bay in July), Hopper is returning to Las Vegas in mid-May. This time, he will headline in a main showroom. The exact dates are May 12th and 13th (Motherís Day), and the place is the Suncoast Hotel and Casino. Beginning in 1999, the talented musician provided the entertainment in the Rioís Voodoo Lounge before moving on to Bellagioís beautiful Fontana Room where he held court for almost four years. During that engagement, if you didnít get to the room an hour or so prior to show time, you would be lucky to get a seat at all. Over the past two years, Hopper has been performing around the country, both in concert and private events. Most recently he has been at The Islands in Newport Beach, California, generating the same kind of loyal following there that he had here. A you-canít-tell-a-book-by-its-cover act, the multi-talented entertainer (he sings, plays piano and guitar and writes music) has a song list as varied as his vocal range. The performances at the Suncoast will be 80-minute concerts, with Jimmy backed by a five piece ensemble. This guy does almost every style of music, Pop, Rock, Classical, Opera and Broadway, from Sting and Paul McCartney to Andrea Bocelli and music from Phantom of the Opera. If you havenít seen Hopper do his thing before, do yourselves a favor and get over to the Suncoast If you HAVE seen him, we donít have to urge you to come check him out in this great venue...we KNOW you will be there. Tickets are $19.95 plus tax. You will read more about Jimmy Hopper in upcoming columns, but mark the dates on your calendars NOW!

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Friends gathered in the theater at The Orleans on Sunday, February 11th, to celebrate the life of Terry Lovern. Terry, was 61 when he died of kidney cancer on December 30th. He was a longtime member of the entertainment community - first as an ice skater with the international Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice, then in Las Vegas with George Arnold and Bill Mooreís Razzle Dazzle at the Flamingo, and as a dancer in the Tropicanaís Folies Bergere. For the 17 years prior to his death, Terry was the Production Stage Manager at the Stardust where he oversaw the Lido de Paris, Enter the Night, Havana Night Club, Headlights & Tailpipes and numerous headliners. The celebration, attended by about 400 people, was lovingly put together by Terryís longtime companion, Michael Ashton, and the creative efforts of Howard Jochsberger, Shannon O'Day, Mary Marshall and Sandi Ross. People from the ice skating and dance community, Boyd Gaming co-workers, as well as folks who knew Terry as a longtime Las Vegan and friend, enjoyed an afternoon of music and memories. Among those in attendance, were Chairman of Boyd Gaming Corp, William "BillĒ Boyd, Jan and Jim Seagrave, Terry Jenkins, John Messana, Victor Figueredo, Stacey Madall, Lani DeJesus, Bill Moore, Jack Campbell, John Wertz, Billy Chapel, Peter Gordon, Sarasue Essenpreis, Chips Davis and Nancy Talavera Davis, Terry and Gisela Head, Michael Darrin, Bob Lentini, Ari Levin, Lou Anne Harrison Chessik, Lindsay Fitzpatrick Warkmeister, Melissa Militano Warkmeister, Jane Valle Tacker, Sherry Jones, Sharon Prier, Denise McDonald, Monti Rock III, George and Gerty Dejardins Verbiwski, Maureen Frontiere, Jacky Ward, Jan Drake, Barbara Beverly Crockett, Gae Ericson Basch, Dulcie Sutherland, Danielle Rossetti, Dawnie Gulbranson Sachs, Jennifer Lederer Howerton, Sean Howerton, Kevin Smith, H.L. Tate, Garrett Tackett, Svetlana Faila, Sandy Towns, Troy Childers, Gary Foy, Linda Rosenberg, Donna and Kevin Browning, Rolanda Jezzard, Val and Dave Abraham, Suzan Hiett (Sacca), Michael Lyle, Mindy Hall, Nicki Schwebel Adamo, Brent Fladmo, Lora Chamberlin, Marla Gomes, Maureen "Hoppy" Hopkins, Diana Saunders Bellomo, Fernando Quevedo, Russell Plasco, Robbie Colvin, Brigid and Sean Little, Tami and Drisco Fernandez, Stan and Crissy Melvin, Dennis Silver, Larry Mann, Eddie Coykendall, Jennifer Rohlman, Amy Nickelson, Bridgett Parker, Susan Abbott, Marian Palmer, Michael Powell, Sheila and George Newman, Rhonda Nelson, Sue Campbell Howe, Jon C. Halbur, Hugo Latorre, Rich Rizzo, Lee Pepper, Lori Palmer, Jenny Hooper, Don and Noel Watson, Ginger Hill, Ron and Mandy Green, Jamie Dick, Ron DeCar, David Sadleir, Michael Sadleir, Melinda LíElliot, Alison Blake, Carol Nicholson and Silvia Kirkwood. Performing dancers included Tara Foy, Carrie Tackett, Daryl Roth, Jennifer Bohenchek, Kristin Hilliar, Billi Gremain, Inna Bashta, Joy Sharp, Helen Stein, Chris Nickolson, Kevin Gibbs, Michael Forsh and Paul Gunn. From Enter the Night, singers Lucy Lucille Shropshire, Tony Davich and Jennifer Page, along with guitar players George Elliot Safire and Christian Brady, provided the live music. Also contributing their talents were the dancing Scott Brothers (Robert and Michael) and Aki (Levin), the Showgirl for the 21st Century. We know we have missed many people who should be mentioned but, after all, we are only human. Although generally upbeat (as requested), the video highlights of Terry Lovernís life, assembled by Michael Ashton, provided an emotional experience for those that loved and learned from him...which was just about everyone who knew him. Godís speed, Terry.

Disclaimer - Cousin Claire makes every possible (and impossible) effort to spell peopleís names correctly. She is pretty sure that there are a number of incorrect spellings on this long list of names, for which she apologizes. We had to count on other people to help accumulate the names, and most normal folks aren't as anal as Cousin Claire.

It must have been fate that put the above mentioned Lucy Shropshire so close to Las Vegas on February 11th. The former principal singer in Enter the Night is now making her home in New York. She has done some theater and cabaret work there and also works as a backup singer with former Supreme, Mary Wilson. Because Wilson was performing at the Edgewater in Laughlin February 9-11, Lucy was close enough to drive into the city, sing two songs (What the World Needs Now and I Believe In Love) to celebrate the life of her former boss, and get back to the Edgewater in time to do her Sunday night show. A great big THANK YOU goes out to musician Doug Taylor who, with only a couple of days warning, played and recorded the background tracks for Lucy to sing to. We will write more about Doug in the next week or so.

And speaking of the late Terry Lovern, when asked during an interview by the Las Vegas Review-Journal right before the Stardust closed in November, what was his biggest surprise during his 17 years working behind the entertainment scenes at the Boyd property, he replied it was the success of Roseanne Barr during her February 2006 week-long appearance at the soon-to-be-imploded hotel. Well hereís the scoop on Roseanne and Las Vegas. Sheís on her way back here...this time to New York-New York. The engagement will begin on March 15th and run for six weeks. During those six weeks, Roseanne will have some interesting guests join her on stage, among them, finalists from Americaís Funniest Mom - a show airing in early April on Nick at Night, which Ms. Barr will host - and New Yorkís well-known drag queen, Jackie Beat. Look for more details in the coming weeks.

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Emmy Award-winning choreographer Michael Darrin is a big fan of PBSís Americaís Ballroom Challenge. Hosted by Marilu Henner, the five-part series has only two more episodes. Darrin, who knows of what he speaks on this subject, suggests that if you are a dancer, or love dancing, you catch whatís left of this seasonís shows. Americaís Ballroom Challenge airs on Channel 10 in Las Vegas, Wednesday nights at 8.

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We were among the lucky folks who got to see Petula Clark in her return to Las Vegas after more than two decades away. Prior to Sunday night's show, the last time we saw this lady perform was in the Crystal Room of the Desert Inn. All three nights for her Suncoast performances were sold out. That didnít stop fans from trying to secure a spot in the 500-seat showroom. Hopeful music-lovers were seeking "extra" or unused tickets from anyone who had made their purchases weeks earlier. We didnít see anyone willing to give up their seats, even for a profit. It is hard to believe that the Downtown Girl is now 74. She doesnít look it (she must have a Fountain of Youth bubbling on her estate) and she sure doesnít sound it. Pet charmed the full house with interesting little stories and wowed them with her singing. Backed by nine musicians, she did many of her Top 40 hits - opening with 1966ís Who Am I, she effortlessly sang her way through Donít Sleep In The Subway (1967), This Is My Song (written by Charlie Chaplin for his film, the Sophia Loren-starring Countess From Hong Kong), Color My World (!966-67), A Sign of the Times (1966), Kiss Me Goodbye (1968), My Love (1966), Downtown (1965), and I Couldnít Live Without Your Love (1966). Ms. Clark performed two dramatic numbers from musicals she has appeared in - Tell Me Itís Not True, from Blood Brothers, in which she starred with REAL brothers, David and Shaun Cassidy, and With One Look from Sunset Boulevard. Although Petula did sing Look To the Rainbow from her film, Finianís Rainbow, we would have loved to hear her do You and I from Goodbye Mr. Chips (that isnít a complaint, just a thought). The multi-talented star also displayed her poetry and songwriting skills. A spoken piece on the theater (written by Ms. Clark while she was traveling on a train), and two self-penned songs, Driven By Emotion and Memphis, sung with a Southern drawl and accompanying herself on the piano, were included in the evening's program. Petula received more than one well-deserved standing ovations, as well as a bouquet of beautiful yellow roses from an admirer. Following the show, Petula Clark came out into the room and sat herself down in a back booth to greet her longtime fans, sell some CDs and sign autographs. We doubt that anyone left the Suncoast theater feeling disappointed. You can safely bet that Boyd Gaming will try to coax her back to Las Vegas in the near future.

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Tomorrow night, Saturday, February 17th, those in the vicinity will have the opportunity to see and hear a dynamic new performer as he makes his Las Vegas debut. This young singer and dancerís name is Siameze, and he is the son of show business veterans, Wanda Dee and Eric Floyd. The location for this special performance is at one of this cityís newest 24-hour hot spots, Elvis, located just minutes from the Strip at 545 E. Sahara. Drop by for a night of dining and dancing and to see this high-energy Wonder. The entertainment starts at 8 p.m. For reservations, call (702) 262-0001.

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Siameze Frank & Anna Nicole Cork Proctor

There have been a handful of famous blonde bombshells in the past half decade - Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Liz Renay and Anna Nicole Smith come immediately to mind. Now all of them are gone, three at a young age. Many of you know that Liz Renay lived in Las Vegas during the last years of her life. Anna Nicole spent quite a bit of time here, attending parties and special events. She also enjoyed a number of shows in the city and frequently spent time with some of our local headliners, among them Penn & Teller, Jeff Beacher, the men of Chippendales, Steve Wyrick and Frank Marino. Frank, the star of the Rivieraís La Cage revue, and Anna Nicole did girl stuff together - shopping at the Fashion Show mall and dining at the Fashion Show mall's Cheesecake Factory. Seeing them together, some folks couldnít tell which one was the REAL Anna Nicole. The late celebrity frequented the Riviera on numerous occasions, to both watch La Cage and visit with its personable star. The accompanying photo of the two beautiful blondes was taken at a private party at the Hard Rock Hotel.

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Usually if you are trying to achieve a long and happy marriage, you might turn to self-help books, counseling or even spend a lot of time watching Dr. Phil. Author/artist Carolyn Hamilton Proctor has come up with her own solution, sending her retired husband back to work! Some may call him the Silver Fox (love that hair) or the Oral Assassin (many have encountered his rapier wit) or even names that Cousin Claire doesn't speak (very often) or use in print. His real name, at least the one he uses as a performer, is Cork Proctor. Long a musician and comic around these parts, the funnyman has had enough of retirement for a while. Cork and Carolyn spent a couple of years in Suriname with the Peace Corps and, in more recent years, the twosome have devoted quite a bit of time to more leisure travel. Now, there will be even more travel, this time on the Carnival Cruise Line, with Proctor, once again, in the spotlight. He is currently on the Spirit, cruising from San Diego to the Mexican Riviera. Mrs. Proctor considers this career move a marriage saving tactic. You know that old saying about "too much of a good thing..." So far, un-retirement is a good thing. The bride says this has taken 10 years off Corkís life (and probably added 10 more years of living to hers). Most of the time, Carolyn will hold down the fort in Las Vegas, but will probably join her hubby on the longer, more exotic trips. Sounds like a perfect arrangement for both of them. Bon voyage, Corkie!

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David Hasselhoff was the guest on Craig Fergusonís show, late night Wednesday/ early Thursday, to promote his starring role in The Producers at Paris Las Vegas. At 54, the onetime star of TVís Young and the Restless, Knight Rider and Baywatch is still handsome, energetic and enthusiastic. We have seen David in red swim trunks. We canít wait to see him in a gown as he portrays the very flamboyant, very out Roger DeBris in the Mel Brooks award-winning musical. If the early reviews are any indication of its success, we expect The Producers and its 6í6" tall co-star to be around these parts for a long time.

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A close relative of Cousin Claireís was in the audience last weekend as Las Vegasí own, Spectrum, joined the Long Beach Symphony in a very well-attended performance. Humble Harv reports a wonderful show, a very enthusiastic audience, and a fun, music-filled evening. Even rain couldnít dampen the crowds spirit and response to the popular Motown, R&B tribute group. They were more than willing to wait in line to meet and praise the gentlemen after the impressive concert. You can catch this talented vocal quartet at the Hacienda outside of Boulder City on a regular basis.

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There has been more than one Forbidden Vegas revue that has taken place in this city, but we think the troupe from the Big Appleís Forbidden Broadway, performing as part of UNLVís New York Stage & Beyond series, is a first. Forbidden Broadway has been spoofing the major and minor shows along the Great White Way since 1982. This version, Forbidden Broadwayís 25th Anniversary, will put its unique spin on a number of popular shows, old and new, including some that have played, are playing, or are scheduled to play in Las Vegas - Avenue Q, Phantom, Mamma Mia!, The Producers, Hairspray, Spamalot, The Lion King, Annie, The Boy From Oz, Fiddler On the Roof, Jersey Boys and Wicked, for example. No show or star is spared in this constantly-changing spoof of the theater scene. The date is Saturday, February 24th, the time is 8 p.m. and the place is the Artemus Ham Concert Hall on the University campus. If you would like to partake in the fun, ticket prices are $40, $55 and $85, and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office. Call (702) 895-2787.

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Comic David Brenner has been playing musical chairs, er, musical stages, in Las Vegas for the last few years. He spent about nine months in the now-but-a-fading-memory, cozy showroom (and onetime home of the very clever Forbidden Vegas) at the off-Strip Westin Casuarina (formerly the Maxim), before moving to what is currently called the Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton. Brenner stayed there for a little more than a year before the hotel made some changes in the room, namely bringing in Menopause The Musical and the Sunset Strip Band. Although Brenner, who has been generating laughs for more than 35 years, is still funny and makes good use of today's headlines, his New Yearís Eve weekend engagement at the 810-seat Orleans theater drew small crowds (less than 150 on the last night of the year). On February 17th at 8 p.m., he will make his first appearance at the Cannery Casino & Hotel. With tickets at a reasonable $29.95, plus tax and fees, we hope Mr. Brenner does better business out there. Call (702) 617-5585 or 866-287-4643 (toll free) for reservations.

Speaking of the Hiltonís Shimmer Cabaret, with their ever changing entertainment offerings in the lounge/mini-theater, comes a somewhat surprising booking. The current home of Menopause the Musical and the Sunset Strip Band, and former home of the Aussie Angels, Dragapella, Sheena Easton, the Scintas and Hitzville: The Show, among others, as of February 18th, we now have Joe Piscopo taking to the stage in the cabaret. The former Saturday Night Live cast member will do comedy, impressions and sing. You can bet, he will display his dead-on impression of Frank Sinatra. The fact Piscopo has Vince Falcone, Old Blue Eyesí onetime musical director, conducting the six piece band and playing for him, is quite a coup for Piscopo as well as for his audience. Give a look and listen.

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In celebration of National Pancake Week, Hash House A Go Go will donate 100 percent of all Chocolate Chip Wish Pancake sales and 50 percent of all regular Hash House A Go Go pancake sales to the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Nevada.

Make-A-Wish is a non-profit organization, dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The Southern Nevada chapter was established in 1996 and has granted more than 700 wishes to local children since that time. In February, four children from Make-A-Wish joined Chef Anthony Vidal to create a special "wish" pancake. After trying out candy, cereals and fruit pancakes, the children decided that the chocolate chip pancake they made during the cooking experiment was their favorite. For National Pancake Week, February 20-24, the special pancake will be featured on the Hash House A Go Go menu. During breakfast and lunch, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., every customer who orders them will help Make-A-Wish of Southern Nevada. "We are hoping this can become an annual event and the community will come out and dine with us during National Pancake Week to support our cause and help Make-A-Wish here in Las Vegas," said restaurant owner, Jim Rees. If you have never been to this unique place, we say GO GO! Whether itís for a pancake breakfast or lunch or dinner, this is an adventure not to be missed. This place puts its own unique spin on dining, making it an experience like no other. Itís all about having a good time. We were there a couple of weeks ago and are still talking and laughing about the evening. This was the first time we have never taken photos of our meal and beverage. We suggest you take along a camera, and go hungry! The Las Vegas Hash House A Go Go (the restaurantís second location) is at 6800 W. Sahara (the first of the restaurants is in San Diego). For reservations or inquiries, call (702) 804-4646.

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