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 May 11, 2007
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - May 11, 2007

Jimmy Hopper Bob Anderson Liz Renay & John Buonomo

Jimmy's back! That would be Jimmy Hopper. Except for a few nights at Mandalay Bay last July, a guest appearance at the St. Patrick's Day festivities in March, and a big corporate event at the Red Rock resort about ten days ago, Mr. Hopper has been absent from the Vegas entertainment scene for a couple of years. For his fans, many who first discovered him at the Rio's Voodoo Lounge or Bellagio's Fontana Room, that's too much time away. This weekend, Jimmy will make his first appearance in the Suncoast‘s showroom. In 2001, the entertainer's entertainer was voted Performer of the Year in a Las Vegas Review-Journal reader's poll If he had stuck around here a little longer, Hopper more than likely would have earned a few more of those honors. Blessed with a four-octave vocal range, this guy is full of constant surprises. His repertoire is as varied as his wardrobe. In a Hopper show, audience members get everything from pop and rock to operatic arias and Broadway show tunes. He doesn't just sing the music, he occasionally plays the music, joining his six-piece band at the piano and even doing some classical guitar work. Much like Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Hopper does it His Way. If you want to see just how he does it, plan to see Hopper at the Suncoast this weekend. Show times are at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $19.95, $29.95 and $39.95 plus tax. Call (702) 636-7075 to secure your seat for this unique performer. See you there.

* * * * * *

Here is some additional information on the June 3rd Joe Williams Music Scholarship Fundraiser Concert to be held this year at the South Point Hotel & Casino. In addition to headliner Bob Anderson, also scheduled to perform for the annual anticipated event is Bill Acosta, Pete Barbutti, Artie Butler (composer of a Williams favorite, Here‘s To Life), Freddie (House) Eckstine, conductor/musician Vincent Falcone, Cork Proctor and Rea TuRee. Laura Simpson, a Joe Williams Scholarship-winner, will also perform. The UNLV student will sing Every Day I Have the Blues, a song long associated with the late Joe Williams. Ticket prices for the all-star event are $34.95. Call the South Coast box office at (702) 797-8055 for reservations.

As for Bob Anderson, these nights the singer/ impressionist, and former longtime Las Vegan, does much of his entertaining from the stage of Club 57 at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Music Theater in Branson, Missouri. Prior to heading for Branson, Anderson performed at just about every imploded hotel in Las Vegas - the Dunes, Desert Inn and Stardust, plus the Venetian - during his decades here.

* * * * * *

Friends of the late John Buonomo gathered at Paradise Memorial Gardens in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 5th (the day after what would have been John's 73rd birthday) to pay homage and remember the composer/actor/company manager/stage manager and expert on all things Tennessee Williams. During his lifetime, Buonomo befriended many in the entertainment community - George Cukor (for whom John worked as a secretary), actor Lon McCallister, Oscar-winner Patricia Neal (Buonomo is pictured and quoted in Stephen Michael Shearer's 2006 book, Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life), actress Maureen O'Hara, author/cult film star Liz Renay and Jane "Josephine the Plumber" Withers among others. John, whose family made their home in Las Vegas, spent a number of years here himself. In the mid- to late ‘90s, he worked on Starlight Express at the Las Vegas Hilton. Among those participating in the outdoor services, Randy Del Turco, choreographer and former dancer Garold Gardner, writer Gloria Gonzalez, actor Harry Hambley, Stefan Hemming (proud owner of Casa de Liberace, the late entertainers‘ Palm Springs estate), George Newberry, and actor/filmmaker Bart Williams. John's sister, Myra Buonomo, added a beautiful touch to the memorial ceremony when, after all was said and done, she passed small boxes containing Monarch butterflies to the attendees. The boxes were opened and the winged creatures were airborne and headed toward the heavens. It was Williams who reminded the group of mourners that he never heard anyone say a bad or unkind word about his longtime friend. We feel that is a more impressive legacy to leave behind than a boulevard or airport bearing your name. Rest in peace, John Buonomo.

* * * * * *

On what would have been his 71st birthday, the late Bobby Darin will become the latest name to be added to the Las Vegas' Walk of Stars. The $15,000 cost for his star was paid for in its entirety by people who loved Darin. The induction ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 14th in the Flamingo Hotel/Casino's showroom. Prior to the ceremony, Darin fans will honor the man who scored such hits as Splish Splash, Mack The Knife, Dream Lover, Beyond the Sea and If I Were a Carpenter. A sock hop is planned, along with a live national radio broadcast and a tour of Las Vegas landmarks associated with Darin. The Grammy-winning singer and actor, who died in 1973 at he age of 37, performed at a number of Las Vegas resorts during his career, including the Flamingo, Desert Inn and Las Vegas Hilton. Bobby Darin was the youngest Vegas headliner of his time and, at one point, was the highest paid entertainer on the Strip. His life and career was depicted in the 2004 film, Beyond the Sea, starring Kevin Spacey. Bobby Darin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and in 1999, he was voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Bobby Darin Norman Kaye & Gov. Jim Gibbons Johnny Mathis

* * * * * *

Norman Kaye, the popular, longtime entertainer, was honored for his 40 years of volunteer service to Nevada and was appointed Poet Laureate Emeritus by Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons. In 1967, Kaye was appointed Poet Laureate by then Governor Grant Sawyer. He was reappointed by Governor Robert List in 1979 and again by Governor Richard Bryan in 1983. Gibbons personally presented Kaye a certificate of appointment and commission at the governor's office in Las Vegas. At 84, Kaye is the last surviving member of The Mary Kaye Trio. Norman, his sister, the late Mary Kaye, and fellow member Frankie Ross, gained prominence in the 1950s and '60s in a lounge act which had a profound influence on Nevada entertainment. The trio recorded 13 albums and 21 singles and appeared in movies and on television shows. As a songwriter, Norman wrote for Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Vikki Carr. He also wrote the national March of Dimes song, Throw a Dime My Way. He also pursued a successful real estate career in Las Vegas. Norman Kaye still lives in Las Vegas and continues to writes songs. Among those attending the ceremony were Norman's wife, Barbara Kaye, his sons, John, Richard and Donald, John's fiancée, Barbara DeMarco, entertainer Nelson Sardelli and Chuck Baker of the Veteran News, and the Governors entourage.

And speaking of Johnny Mathis (one of Cousin Claire‘s longtime favorites), he is back at the Las Vegas Hilton this weekend. We first saw Mathis work live in the late 1950s in Tucson. We were all so young and Johnny's songs were what we made out to (they call it something else today). Chances Are, if you were dating in the '50s and 60s, you also slow danced to many Mathis hits including It's Not For Me To Say, The Twelfth of Never, Wonderful! Wonderful!, A Certain Smile and Misty. At 71, and in his 50th year as a musical artist, Johnny sounds as good as ever. Check him out at the Hilton.

* * * * * *

David Hasselhoff is the latest in a list of celebrities who have recently been seen or heard experiencing an electronically captured meltdown. A couple of weeks ago, it was Alec Baldwin‘s profanity-laced telephone rant against his 11- year-old daughter, Ireland, that was made available for the public's entertainment. Is there any point in sharing these kinds of private moments with the world? Maybe. It shows that even the rich and famous have flaws. Hasselhoff ended his run as Roger DeBris in the Paris Las Vegas' version of The Producers last Sunday night. No word on whether this piece of video, showing the actor in a drunken state, will have any bearing on his role as a judge on TV's America's Got Talent. Soon to enter its second season, the variety competition has already replaced one of the original judges. Singer/actress Brandy Norwood, who was involved in an auto accident resulting in a fatality, has been replaced by Ozzy Osbourne's wife, Sharon Osbourne. In December of 2006, Norwood caused a four-car accident on a Los Angeles freeway that resulted in the death of motorist. The victim's two sons have since filed wrongful death lawsuits against Norwood, and she could be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. With the negative publicity surrounding Hasselhoff, will the show's producer, Simon Cowell, feel the need to replace him as well?

David Hasselhoff Paris Hilton Lance Burton

And then there's Paris. Two hours after showing up 15 minutes late for her probation violation hearing (sounds like Michael Jackson's behavior during his child molestation trial some years back), Paris Hilton left court with a 45-day jail sentence and a verbal lashing from the judge, who told her the time had come to take responsibility for her own actions. Hilton has until June 5th to report to Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood to serve her time or risk a total of 90 days behind bars. On the stand, the socialite blamed her handlers for her being caught behind the wheel, twice, while her driver's license was suspended for a drunk-driving conviction. Asked whether she had understood the terms of the drunk-driving plea that she agreed to in January, 26-year-old Hilton said: "I just sign what people tell me to sign. I'm a very busy person." She pleaded no contest to driving under the influence after she was pulled over in Hollywood on September 7th by Los Angeles Police Department officers for speeding and making an illegal left turn. After she failed a field sobriety test, her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.08, just over the legal limit. Within hours of her arrest, she dismissed the incident as "nothing" to radio host Ryan Seacrest, explaining: "I was just really hungry, and I wanted to have an In-N-Out burger." As part of her plea, Hilton's driving privileges were suspended from November 30th to March 31st. According to court testimony, Hilton disregarded the conditions. In December, she was stopped again for making an illegal turn and warned that her license was not valid. Then in January, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped Hilton in Culver City for having no license plates on the front or back of her car. After checking her status, the officer also cited her for driving with a suspended license. She was then given a written order stating that her driving privileges had been suspended. A month later, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy pulled her over in West Hollywood, where the officer found the CHP warning in her car. She was cited a second time for driving with a suspended license. So the poor little rich girl has to spend 45 days in the slammer for breaking the law. According to Ms. Hilton, she "doesn't deserve this." She also states that just because she‘s famous doesn‘t mean she should be treated different than a normal person." She's normal? This delusional brat, with no real talent to speak of, spends most of her waking hours posing for the paparazzi, shopping and traveling to places like Las Vegas to hang out in ultra-lounges with other people who are mostly famous for being famous. Oh, yes, we forgot about the Simple Life, the reality show starring Ms. Hilton and her on-again, off-again pal, Nicole Richie. Maybe the main requirement to be a part of this project was to be Simple Minded. For that, Paris seems to be well qualified. The late night talk show hosts are having a field day with this one. David Letterman said about Paris, "Some people are asking for leniency while others are asking for a lethal injection." Jay Leno had pretty much the same thoughts, telling his viewers, "Paris Hilton got 45 days in jail. A lot of people were upset about this; they were hoping for the death penalty."

* * * * * *

Lance Burton, the Monte Carlo's magic man, will be a guest on CBS‘s Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Monday, May 14th. Burton was named Best Entertainer in Nevada by Nevada magazine and was chosen by Variety Magazine as one of the Top 10 magicians of all-time. During his appearance on the Late, Late Show, Lance will perform some magic and do his first interview with Craig Ferguson. The show airs at 12:30 a.m. in Las Vegas. Check your areas' local listings. Lance Burton: Master Magician plays at the Monte Carlo Wednesdays through Fridays at 7 p.m. and Tuesdays and Saturdays at 7 and 10 p.m. Tickets start at $66.50. Call (702) 730-7160 or (877) 386-8224 for reservations. Comedian Roseanne Barr, held over next door at New York - New York until at least mid-June, was Ferguson's main guest on Thursday night.

* * * * * *

Tomorrow (Saturday the 12th), the Cannery Casino & Hotel welcomes two of America's most beloved romantic singers, Mel Carter and Lenny Welch to The Club. Legendary pop artist Carter is the voice behind many timeless classics, including "All of a Sudden My Heart Sings" and "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me," which climbed the Billboard charts in 1965. Throughout his career, Carter has toured with many celebrated performers including Sonny and Cher, Tom Jones and the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. In addition to his singing career, Carter is also known and respected as an accomplished actor with a long list of film and television credits. Carter owns CSP Records and is currently working on new material for his nightclub performances. Lenny Welch began his career at the age of nineteen when record mogul Archie Bleyer signed him to Cadence Records. In 1964 his recording of "Since I Fell For You" sold over one million copies and quickly become one of the nation's best-selling songs, featured in several motion picture films and television shows. Welch went on to sing hit after hit including "You Don't Know Me," "Ebb Tide," "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" and "Two Different Worlds." Welch has now added acting to his lengthy show business career with several appearances on the ABC television soap opera "General Hospital." Tickets are on sale for $9.95, $14.95 and $19.95 by calling (702) 617-5585 or toll free at (866) 287-4643. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show can also be purchased at the Cannery Casino & Hotel ticket sales counter located at the front desk. The Cannery Casino & Hotel is located at 2121 E. Craig Road (corner of Losee) in North Las Vegas.

* * * * * *

The Suncoast continues to offer new entertainment options in their 500-seat showroom. The latest idea is a one-day-a-week afternoon variety show, free to Club Coast members. On Thursdays, at 2 p.m., through the end of June (due to a previously scheduled event, there will be no show on May 10th), Hit Parade at the Suncoast will feature three permanent hosts, Terry Lynn Pershing, Carl Lindstrom and Everett Gordon, along with a rotating group of guest entertainers from the Las Vegas Strip. Ed Mathews, of Desert Productions, has let us in the lineup for the next few weeks. On May 17th, Mark Giovi, of the Las Vegas Tenors, and Skye Miles, from the Las Vegas Hilton's Menopause the Musical, will entertain. May 24th, it's Shades of Sinatra, with Ryan Baker, Carmine Mandia, Larry Liso and Lisa Smith as Nancy Sinatra. This is a produced by Kelly Clinton who, when she has the time, takes on the Nancy Sinatra role herself. And on May 31st, local favorite Ronnie Rose takes to the Suncoast stage. Club Coast members can pick up their tickets at the box office on Mondays between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. With a Coast Club card, you can receive a limit of two tickets per member. Anyone can be a club member, just by signing up. For additional information, call (702) 636-7075.

* * * * * *

Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
You can find Past Columns HERE

     Like to be notified when Claire Voyant's next column is available?
Then join Claire Voyant's announcement mailing list!
Enter your email address below, then click the 'Join List' button:

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye