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 June 08, 2007
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - June 8, 2007

Jennifer Joseph Hans Klok Siegfried Fischbacher

We spent a lot of time all over Planet Hollywood last weekend. On Friday night, we were at the Steve Wyrick Entertainment Complex to see David Pomeranz perform. Known primarily as a songwriter (Tryin' To Get the Feeling Again and The Old Songs, both hits for Barry Manilow), this gentleman is also quite the entertainer. Not only is he one heck of a fine singer, he plays piano, acoustic guitar, percussion...and all very well. Enhanced by a fine support team - Gene Sironen, musical director, keyboards, trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals; Matt Sullivan, guitar; David Richardson. keyboards; Jim Belk, drums; Craig Harris, bass; Michito Sanchez, percussion ("box") and Jennifer Joseph, vocals, percussion - Pomeranz delivered two crowd-pleasing shows (we stayed for both). Among the songs he and the band performed, If You Walked Away, I Can See Clearly Now (with the only accompaniment, David "playing" the piano top for rhythm), Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now (it was Pomeranz who sang this theme song for the 1988 to 1993 TV Perfect Strangers sitcom), Stand By Me (joined by with Joseph and Sironen), Born For You, It's In Every One of Us and King & Queen of Hearts. This fellow should become a Vegas regular. By the way, Jennifer Joseph is a former Miss Nevada, a onetime Folies Bergere singer, and one of the top three finalists on the E! network's Entertainer competition, hosted by Wayne Newton. Joseph went on to sing backup for Newton, and opened for Don Rickles during his most recent engagement at the Golden Nugget.

On Saturday, we were parked back in the same spot for Ronn Lucas' afternoon show at the Wyrick Complex. We will tell you more about this amazing vocal technician next week, when we have more room and more time. There may also be some exciting news about Mr. Lucas that we will be able to share with our readers (we have been asked to keep it quiet for now).

Following a visit to the Tacone Flavor Grill, we traveled the pathway through the Miracle Mile Shops to get to the Theatre For the Performing Arts to see Planet Hollywood's much ballyhooed new magic show. "Hans down," the Dutch star, Hans Klok, is Las Vegas' prettiest blond magician since Melinda Saxe (in case you don't know, Melinda - The First Lady of Magic retired from the business a number of years ago to be a stay-at-home mom). Are Mr. Klok's good looks enough to turn Planet Hollywood‘s production, The Beauty of Magic, into a hit and, possibly, the successor to Siegfried and Roy? Sadly, we say the answer is "no." The handsome illusionist looks like he could be related to one of his idols, fellow magic-man Siegfried Fischbacher of Siegfried and Roy fame, but that is pretty much where any similarity ends. The stage and the "side pieces" using two three-dimensional hands holding what appears to be mirrors or empty picture frames (they are used for close up looks at some of the stage work), is very clever, but it pains us to think of the money that has been invested in this, more than likely unsalvageable, effort. What's right with The Beauty of Magic? The dancers (including their costumes) and the choreography. What's wrong with the show? Just about everything else. The attractive looking magician offers no new illusions (in Las Vegas, a city known for magic and magicians, it has all been seen before on many other stages and presented by others more skilled at the art) and, unfortunately, he doesn't have the presence to pull off his versions of the illusions. Yes, he may do some of them faster than other magicians, but that isn't enough to hold the attention of the audience or to generate the kind of response it should have. The Beauty of Magic should have been spectacular. It wasn't. The crowd was eerily low-keyed for the big premier on Saturday. Never has silence sounded so loud. We spotted a few celebrity-types in the audience - David Hasselhoff, Rita Rudner, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Vilanch (of the new Hollywood Squares and Hairspray fame) - and wonder if they had the same take on this show that we did. From our viewpoint, the biggest waste of money is whatever is being paid to Pamela Anderson. The well-publicized, and well-endowed, former Baywatch actress doesn't even show up until more than an hour into the production. She is of very limited talent and, it appears, was provided with no scripted dialog for her role in The Beauty of Magic. It now makes us wonder if the reason given for the early departure of Carmen Electra was the result, not of claustrophobia as indicated in the media, but because the very insightful young lady saw the handwriting on the wall. We don't like doing reviews, and we usually shy away from them, choosing instead to rave about the things we really, really like and suggesting that the public support the entertaining, well-thought-out large or small projects available throughout the city. In short, we feel that The Beauty of Magic is a great dance and music show, ruined by some very mediocre, routine magic. Unfortunately, we predict a fairly fast disappearing act for Planet Hollywood's Beauty of Magic show. (After meeting the very nice Hans Klok in the Miracle Mile arcade the night before seeing his show, we really wanted to love The Beauty of Magic. We're more than sorry that we didn't.)

And speaking of magic, the 7th annual Las Vegas Magic Invitational will take place at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino, June 10th through 12th. Featuring close-up and cabaret magic, the gathering will offer cutting edge illusions, workshops, lectures and shows. Among those expected to participate are Jeff McBride, Jason England, Wayne Dobson, Gregory Wilson, Gaston Quieto, Jon Armstrong, Danny Archer, Robert Allen and special guest, Fielding West. Cost for the three day event is $195. To register for the LVMI, call (702) 434-2210, (303) 321-6267, or e-mail [email protected].

Bruce Vilanch Fielding West Kenny Kerr

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Look for former Boy-lesque star, the very clever Kenny Kerr, to present two shows at the Bootlegger Bistro over the next few weeks. Kerr is currently performing in Palm Springs every-other-week at the CopyKatz Showroom & Backstage Bistro (formerly Atlas). There is nobody faster on the verbal draw than this longtime Strip headliner. A nationally known female impersonator, Kerr is a song stylist as well as a razor-sharp comic, both in and out of a sequined gown and well-coiffed wig. Kenny will be accompanied by Larry Flahive on piano and joined in song by the single-named Amanda. It seems the Bootlegger is trying to add some new blood and a bit of variety to their entertainment lineup. Kenny Kerr and Friends might be just the shot in the arm the place needs. Show times are scheduled for 10 p.m. on two Saturdays, June 16th and 30th. The Bootlegger is located at 7700 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Make your reservations early by calling (702) 736-4939.

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The rumor mills are working overtime this week and we are doing our part to aid the process. Expect Spamalot to cut back on the number of shows they are doing each week. Although we haven't yet seen the Monty Python-inspired musical/comedy, we have no doubt it is a fine, well-cast (John O‘Hurley plays the lead in the Las Vegas version), entertaining production. We have to wonder if some clever TV ads would boost ticket sales. This is the second Broadway-style offering at Wynn and, much like the wonderful, Tony award-winning Avenue Q (which closed after only a few months), Spamalot seems to be suffering from an identity crisis due, we think, to the lack of exciting publicity. We don't understand why a smart man like Steve Wynn isn't promoting the hell out of these productions of great possibilities. Come on, Steve, give this type of big city entertainment a fighting chance. Run some good TV spots to give the masses a hint of what is in store for them WHEN they go see the show.

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Apparently, the recent auction of Jackson family collectibles and memorabilia, held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, didn't generate as much interest and revenue as anticipated. Although Michael Jackson tried to stop the sale, the auction went on as scheduled. The possibly historical collection of everything Jackson - from stage costumes, to photos, to letters, to handwritten song lyrics and more - apparently had been kept in a storage facility where regular payments were not being made. That usually results in the business selling off the contents to collect back storage fees. In spite of all the pre-auction publicity, the fact that the expected interest in this event was lacking could frighten off those that may be considering building a show around the weird one. We think the thing that might restart Michael's career would be a family reunion tour or production. There appears to be plenty of interest in The Osmonds' upcoming, sold out, family show, happening at The Orleans in August. Heck, there are only seven performing Osmonds...there are nine Jacksons. Do the math.

And speaking of criminal-types, Paris the Heiress isn't the only celebrity spending 23 June days in prison. In sympathy for Ms. Hilton's plight, prop comic Joe Trammel a.k.a. The TV Guy, will serve time inside a 10x4x7 cell located at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. Trammel isn't being punished for driving under the influence of anything. Instead he wants to gain a bit of publicity by following the lead of magicians David Blaine, Criss Angel and Nathan Burton. Trammel's stunt will find him living inside his own created pink cell until June 26th (he started on June 4th). One thing that makes goofy Trammel's attention-getter really unique is, he plans to wear Paris-inspired designer duds, i.e., her current prison attire, during his incarceration. The only time the comedian will be out of his cell is for minimal chaperoned bathroom breaks and for work release. Comic Trammel, who headlines in V The Ultimate Variety Show at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, was escorted down a red carpet to his temporary new home, accompanied by the jail cell cop, Jessica Noury, his bodyguard Andy and his agent, Shelley Stepanek of Stagedreams. Joe Trammel is known for spoofing all things pop culture but this is sure to be his most outrageous spoof yet. Many of his celebrity friends will be stopping by for supervised visits while Joe is incarcerated. His prison is located on the 3rd Street stage, next to Fitzgeralds Casino in downtown Las Vegas. He needs your support. Go cheer him on.

As we go to press, we learn that on Thursday afternoon Ms. Hilton was released, excuse us, "reassigned." After serving only 73 hours of her already reduced sentence (down from 40-some days to about three weeks), Miss "She Will Receive No Special Treatment," is under house arrest, confined to her 4,000-square-foot Hollywood mansion and forced to wear an ankle bracelet - not the Harry Winston-type, but the kind that monitors ones whereabouts. What a joke! She didn't like jail. She was cold. She was scared. It was very noisy in her private cell so she couldn't sleep. She developed a rash. Hey, Paris, this isn't summer camp...or a Hilton hotel. This is where you go, and what you have to suffer through, when you've been a naughty girl (this "girl" is 26) and don't obey the rules...or so we thought. Add Paris Hilton to a growing list that includes Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake. Los Angeles County seems to rule by the theory of the best justice that money and celebrity can buy. So, here's our two pressing questions...(1) What kind of punishment will suspected murderer Phil Spector receive? And (2), will Joe Trammel's imprisonment last longer than that of the pampered Paris? This story is subject to change moment-by-moment. Stay tuned.

Joe Trammel Michael Buble Sonny Turner

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Cousin Claire attended the premier of Just Another Man, starring Clint Holmes and an amazing cast, last night (Thursday, June 7th). The new musical, based on Holmes' life, will play in the Judy Bayley Theater at UNLV through June 24th. We will write about it next Friday but, before then, our recommendation is to make your reservations and go see it before it goes away. In the past, theatrical productions of this caliber are born in New York and come here a couple of years later (if at all). Just Another Man may do just the opposite - start here and wind up on a Broadway or London stage. Tickets range in price from $20 to $35. Call (702) 895-2787.

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Tickets to see Michael Buble in the Entertainment Capital of the World on July 14th went on sale last Friday. No, he is not returning to the 1,600-seat (maximum capacity) Las Vegas Hilton showroom. This time out, the young crooner heads for the 14,000-seat (maximum) MGM Grand Garden Arena. In addition to his own seven solo albums, Buble is one of the artists featured with Tony Bennett on Bennett's popular album, teaming up with the legendary singer for a great take on Just In Time. Tickets, if there are any left, can be purchased through all Ticketmaster outlets, the MGM box office or by calling (702) 474-4000.

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If you hurry, you can still catch The Platters, featuring former lead singer Sonny Turner, at the Suncoast. In 1961, Turner replaced the vocal group's original front man, Tony Williams. With hits such as Only You, The Great Pretender, The Magic Touch, My Prayer, Twilight Time and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, there probably isn't anyone over the age of 50 who hasn't slow-danced to a Platters song. The popular R&B recording group, who were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, closes tonight.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons recently signed a law that would force bands performing in Las Vegas to be called a "salute to..." or "a tribute act" if they don't include any original band members. Any entertainers not complying with the new law can now be fined for deceptive trade practices. It is Turner, Mary Wilson formerly of The Supremes, and Jon "Bowser" Bauman of Sha Na Na, who deserve much of the credit for bringing this law to fruition. These folks have been most active and vocal in trying to stop copycat bands from using well-known names when not one original group member is involved in the Xerox. We wonder what that will mean for the three groups - The Coasters, The Drifters and The Platters - currently performing at the Sahara. For reservations for The Platters featuring Sonny Turner, call the Suncoast at (702) 636-7075.

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Monday morning saw the personable and multi-talented Wayne Brady as a guest on ABC's The View. It appeared that Brady was originally scheduled to do only two of his clever improv songs on the daytime show but, because the audience was so receptive and so involved, he was asked by hostess Barbara Walters to do a third number. Wayne's takes on Creed, Rod Stewart and Justin Timberlake, were also enjoyed by the other ladies of The View panel, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and guest hostess Kathy Griffin. Through July 1st (and possibly longer) Wayne Brady is Making %@it Up in the theater at The Venetian. Shows are Thursdays through Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. Call (702) 414-9000 for reservations.

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In spite of the excellent reviews, Hello Dere, the Marty Allen and Karon Kate-starring variety show currently at the Gold Coast, will close on June 17th, two weeks earlier than expected. The folks, including critics, who saw the show loved it. Unfortunately, there just weren't enough of them to make this project cost effective. Entertainers such as Michael McKean and his wife Annette O'Toole (actors and award-winning songwriters), the outrageous Penn & Teller, Vegas lounge legend Norman Kaye (of the Mary Kaye Trio) and Phantom star, Brent Barrett and 26 cast members of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular cast, showed up for a lesson in old Vegas-style entertainment. The last chance to see these two pros at the Gold Coast will be on Father's Day Sunday. Coincidentally, that day also happens to be the 24th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Allen. If you haven't seen the show yet, get on over before they end this run.

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Matsuri, Japan's No. 1 musical production, opened at the Sahara Hotel & Casino on May 29th. The stage show features Olympic medalists and world-class athletes performing a combination of acrobatics, dance, stunts and athletics set to high energy music. Matsuri mixes elements of Japanese culture to create a truly original show that is completely unique to this side of the globe. With more than 18 acts, Matsuri incorporates extreme sports, gymnastics, comedic routines and vibrantly colored costumes throughout the show. Japanese earth and foot drum dances are blended into the show and are performed by tapping, clapping and stomping to create heart-pounding rhythms. The talented cast consisting of 28 performers includes world champion German wheel gymnast, world champion mountain biker, world-class Yo-Yo champion, world record hula hoop champion, a karate expert specializing in sword fight action stunts and a world record bungee jumping act. Matsuri, which had a very successful seven week run at the Riviera last summer, will be presented in the Sahara Theater, Mondays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. Tickets are $69.95 for general admission, $79.95 for VIP and $39.95 for children, plus tax and fees. Dinner upgrades are available. For advance reservations or ticket information please contact (702) 737-2515.

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On Sunday (June 10th), if you are in the Southern Nevada area, you can have an inexpensive, fun outing while helping out a worthy cause. For many breast cancer survivors, there is the secondary trauma following surgery. My Hope Chest is an important non-profit organization focusing on the need of breast reconstruction for uninsured and underprivileged women. Classic Rockers, John Kaye & The Overlords, are performing from 1 to 4 p.m. for Hope's Angels at Foxtail Camp in Lee Canyon. The Bay City Rollers' drummer, Johnny Lust; Buddy Miles' guitarists; John Rocker; and Rod Stewart's bassist, Fast Eddie will join John (the nephew of the late, great Mary Kaye) and The Overlords for this special afternoon. They will be filming for American Idol's battle of the bands. There raffle, tattoo contest, sponsored by Ink, Inc, and a Hot Legs contest will also take place. Bring a lunch. Bring the family

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Don't forget the 61st annual Tony Awards on Sunday night. The ceremonies will be broadcast on CBS. If you are a lover of live theater, watch it, tape it, TiVo it or whatever. Just don't miss it. The Tony's are usually the best of the many, many award shows aired every year.

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We wanted to share an e-mail we received with our many readers. The clever writer of this rant gave his permission to print it...AND include his name. Here goes...

Monti Rock III - First and foremost, I can't believe that there were (2) two other nonsensical Neanderthals before him... talk about a living legacy of lunacy!? I am outraged, incensed and completely appalled by the unwarranted belligerent public behavior towards a senior citizen in a wheelchair by this pseudo-celebrity, who I dare not even upgrade to 'has-been' status, as he's NEVER really been 'had' in our current or recent past mainstream pop culture. To think that this poor excuse for a man would verbally attack a woman in a public forum with such rude, crude and lewd remarks and NOT be reprimanded by anyone within listening and/or striking distance, completely floors me!!! Just the very thought of it, makes my blood boil. And I, for one, am thankful that I wasn't present when he chose to show his ass in public (oh forgive me, that was his face... my bad), or I would surely have caught a case that day. This legend in his own mind, should know that there is no excuse for poor manners, and should remember first and foremost that although it's nice to be important, it's more important to be nice!

MONTI ROCK, indeed... the very essence of your (last) namesake would suggest that you should be publicly 'stoned', for the 'boulder' size ego you've self inflated and the 'pebble' size brain you obviously possess in that 'granite' hard head of yours. By the way, Fred & Barney just phoned and confirmed Rock's upcoming headlining engagement down at The Royal Water Buffalo Lodge in Bedrock, where all of the other showbiz dinosaurs play out their final engagements. He is a pig! He is a coward! He is a $2 bitch in a $3 cowboy hat, that the heirs of the late, great Dale Evans are, I'm sure, still looking for. And he is a tacky, tired, tasteless, self centered, self serving, sickening, selfish, son-of-a-bitch that is not even half worth the time it took to compose this response of his boorish behavior. His career and bullshit namesake are exactly where they belong, NOWHERE... for although in business you get what you negotiate, in LIFE, you always get what you deserve! Mr/Mrs Rock Bottom, you illiterate, degenerate piece of riff raff, you got it coming!

Eric Floyd

Although we feel the person is as toxic as the world traveler carrying drug-resistant tuberculosis, this will be our last mention of this sub-species...not because we have been intimidated in any way by this spineless fool (we have not), but because (1) he is a nobody and isn't worth the space he takes up in print...or on the planet, and (2) because we don‘t want to play into his hands by assisting his pitiful self-promotion tactics in any way - positively (there is nothing to say there except he is positively disgusting) or negatively. There will be no more bold-typed name and no more photos for this mentally-challenged, no-talent creep in this column. This non-entity will have to hope that the outlandish, cheap-looking crap that he wears (much of it obtained under false pretenses) when he is out in public will get him mentioned in someone else's column. This will be the final mention of this pathetic creature here.

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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye