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 August 10, 2007
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - August 10, 2007

Linda Eder Clint Holmes Ronn Lucas

Songstress Linda Eder makes her Suncoast debut next Friday (August 17th) and will perform through Sunday. If you are not familiar with Ms. Eder, and you are a fan of the musical theater, where have you been? First recognized by the masses after appearing for 12 weeks in Female Vocalist category on Star Search in 1987, Ms. Eder has gone on to release nine albums in a little more than 10 years, with her most recent being a tribute to her idol, Judy Garland. Eder also starred on Broadway in Jekyll and Hyde. Her then husband, Frank Wildhorn, wrote the music for J & H. Eder made quite an impact with her song, Gold, sung during the 2002 Winter Olympics. last summer, Eder and Michael Feinstein performed together on the floating stage at beautiful (but easy to get lost in) Lake Las Vegas. The Suncoast is much easier to find and get too, plus you won't have to find your way home (or back to your hotel) in pitch-black darkness. Show times are at 7:30 p.m. If you haven't already purchased your tickets, you may be out of luck as we heard they were almost sold out. Go ahead and check anyway. The number is (702) 636-7075.

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For all of you Clint Holmes fans, and we know you're out there, here's good news. The personable entertainer, along with a couple of his talented friends, will open in the Atrium Showroom at the Excalibur on August 13th. Joining Holmes, in a revue called Clint Holmes - Unplugged, Unscripted, Unparalleled JAM, are Bill Fayne and Domenick Allen. Audience members can expect, well, the unexpected. For those who have spent time around these parts during the last 10 years, we don't have to tell you about Clint and Bill...but we will. Clint was the headliner in the Golden Nugget showroom before moving to Harrah's where he spent more than six years pleasing crowds (many who were regular attendees). Since departing Harrah's in September, the singer/ songwriter, and now actor, has devoted time to putting together and polishing a musical based on his life story. Just Another Man (JAM) played at UNLV's Judy Bayley Theater for almost the entire month of June. Holmes will present some classic favorites along with new songs from the Broadway or London-bound JAM. Fayne is Clint's longtime friend, musical director, piano player, writing collaborator and the leader of the Las Vegas Tenors. As for Domenick Allen, newcomers to Las Vegas are probably not familiar with his name. Cousin Claire will tell you just a couple of things about Mr. Allen and, due to lack of space this week, will have plenty to tell you about him next week. What you should know now is that singer/musician/actor Domenick Allen was a protégé of Liberace's, traveling around the world with Mr. Showmanship for about four years during the early '80s. In the mid-1980's, the entertainer was an original Star Search competitor and in the early '90s toured Europe as part of the British-American recording group, Foreigner (I Want To Know What Love Is, Feels Like The First Time, Cold As Ice, Hot Blooded, Double Vision, Waiting For a Girl Like You). In more recent years, he has performed with some very impressive people in some very impressive places, including, would you believe, at Carnegie Hall. Cousin Claire has told you too much already. We will save the rest until next Friday. Stay tuned. Holmes, Fayne and Allen will perform at 7 p.m., through August 31st (dark Sundays, the 19th and 26th), filling in for the vacationing Louie Anderson. Tickets are $49.50 plus taxes. Call (702) 597-7600 for reservations.

And, as long as we are talking/writing about Clint Holmes and his associates, let's give another mention to his lady, Kelly Clinton...this time AFTER seeing her tour de force performance last Sunday night when Ms. Clinton stepped back into the spotlight (she spends much of her time behind the scenes, producing things like Shades of Sinatra, and handling entertainment for the Stirling Club and the Bootlegger Bistro's Celebrity Spotlight) with an "almost" one-woman show at the Bootlegger. We say "almost," because inside of Kelly there are many other personalities screaming to get out, and a number of them were out during last weekend's performance. We hope that Kelly's mother, Ellie Clinton, enjoyed her daughter's takeoff on her as much as the audience did. The dynamo's "tribute" to her onetime boss, Wayne Newton (Kelly used to sing backup for the Wayner, as well as for Engelbert Humperdinck), was a hoot, and right on. She nailed Cher (and we mean that as a compliment), and her fictional character, Joe Joe Spaghetti Moretti, was great fun. Using mostly ad lib material, we think Joe Joe should have Joe Pesci worried. We hear Moretti may have Pesci whacked! A Billie Holiday medley, ending with a beautifully arranged version of Good Morning Heartache was very well done. It would have made our friend Ervin Drake proud. (Incidentally, Drake wrote that song, along with a few others you may have heard of, including I Believe (a hit for the late Frankie Laine), A Room Without Windows (a favorite by Steve Lawrence) and It Was a Very Good Year (a biggie for Old Blue Eyes).

And speaking of Kelly and the Bootlegger, this Saturday, Las Vegas Tenor Teddy Davey will perform there (without his three pals). Show times are from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and on Sunday, Kelly Clinton's Celebrity Spotlight will feature vocalist Elisa Fiorillo. With a jazzy style and versatile repertoire, Fiorillo's presence is class all the way. She gives the audience a heart-felt rendition of every song she sings. With a history in television, theater and the recording studio, where she has done commercials and background vocals as well as her own CDs, Elisa brings a genuine love of singing to the stage. She has performed with many major musical acts including Dave Koz, Prince, Savage Garden, and David Cassidy. Seating for dinner is at 7 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m. Call (702) 736-4939.

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Very early last Sunday morning, Cousin Claire thought she was hearing things when they announced the prize for a call-in contest on Channel 13 news. If you knew the answer to some simple question, you could win two tickets to see the amazing (Cousin Claire's word, not the newscaster's) ventriloquist Ronn the Steve Wyrick Entertainment Complex located at Planet Hollywood. WHAT? Lucas left the Miracle Mile Shops theater at the end of June! Unless the folks at Channel 13 contact those winners before they head to Planet Hollywood, they are going to have to deal with a couple of unhappy viewers (former viewers?). Here's a Ronn Lucas update. "The Man Who Can Make Anything Talk," opens in the Atrium Showroom at the Luxor (the same theater where Carrot Top and Fantasy perform at night) this Sunday, the 13th. With his sidekicks Buffalo Billy (the puppet comedian who thinks he's a ladies' man) and Scorch (the loveable green teenaged dragon), Lucas mixes stand-up comedy, improvisation, audience participation, puppetry and vocal gymnastics to astonish and delight his audiences. Fans will drop their jaws in amazement at Lucas' unbelievable skill. Lucas, who the New York Times described as the "World's Best Ventriloquist," is so good at making it sound like someone is talking behind you, or that there is someone talking from inside a closed trunk or bottle, people might think it is trickery or a recording. When you meet Ronn, before or after the show, and you are standing a couple of feet away from him, you will realize there is no trickery to what he does, just skill and ability. See the Ronn Lucas Show Saturdays through Wednesdays at 3 p.m. with additional 1 p.m. shows on Saturdays and Mondays. Ronn and his puppets rest on Thursdays and Fridays. General admission is $29.95 plus tax and handling fees. VIP admission is $39.95 plus tax and handling fees. The VIP admission includes preferred seating, a signed photograph and choice of a DVD or T-Shirt. The show is suitable for guests five years and older.

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Every once in a while (not too often), we guess wrong about certain entertainment offerings in our fair city. Two current shows seem to have made this one of those rare times when our predictions are off. We are more than a little surprised that Planet Hollywood's The Beauty of Magic featuring Dutch Siegfried Fischbacher (as in Siegfried and Roy) look-alike, Hans Klok, and former Baywatch babe, Pamela Anderson, has not announced its closing by now. We would have bet money that this disaster would end in three months, when Anderson's initial contract was up. Instead, Anderson says she loves her new role as a Las Vegas magician's assistant so much, she's staying on through the end of the year. (Wait! Does this mean the show will play on into the fall?) According to Pamela's official Web site, the buxom blonde says she is having the best time in magician Hans Klok's Beauty of Magic show at Planet Hollywood. So much so, in fact, that she has re-signed until December. Pamela began her Beauty of Magic stint in June. She replaced Carmen Electra, who left the role amid reports she was throwing fits and crying during rehearsals. Of course Anderson is delighted with Electra's she is reportedly earning four-million-dollars for her initial 12-week engagement. As far as the "rumors" about Anderson and Klok being romantically involved, that is about as likely as Steve Wyrick's claim of an ongoing sexual relationship with the late Anna Nicole Smith. What a ridiculous way to get press...but, hey, it's working.

The second surprise is Defending the Caveman at the Golden Nugget. Although we enjoyed this one-man revue, we thought it was better suited to a small venue instead of a 600-seat theater. (So we were wrong.) The Caveman, a comedy about men and women, has expanded their number of performances and is now playing seven nights and two days a week - evening shows at 8 p.m., with additional 3 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Call (702) 386-8100 for reservations.

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Funny man Joe Pellegrino, who in recent years had cut back on his work as a professional comic to take on a "real job," is now moving back into the spotlight a little more frequently. Some years ago, Pellegrino was very visible, both in comedy clubs and as opening act for headliners such as the Captain & Tennille, Mamas & the Papas, Association (Cherish, Never My Love, Windy), Village People and Waylon Jennings. In those days, Pellegrino was described as a redheaded Italian. Things have changed a bit. These days, he is described as a baldheaded Italian. With or without hair, Joe is funny. Tonight and tomorrow (August 10th and 11th), Pellegrino will be getting laughs at the Oasis Resort in Mesquite when he performs in the Xtreme Comedy Club. The club features stand-up comics who have played big venues and appeared on TV's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Comedy Central and MTV. Admission is free, so spend the money you will save on tickets to put some gas in the old buggy and head to Mesquite. In recent months, Joe has also been performing in the Funniez Comedy Club at Buffalo Bill's in Primm. He will be back there on August 24th and 25th (Friday and Saturday), where the shows start at 10 p.m.

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Dolores Fuller Wes Winters and Friend Sebastian Anzaldo

As promised in last week's Tanya Tucker item, here's a little something about Tanya's first manager, longtime Vegas resident, Dolores Fuller. In the early 1950s, following a casting call for a B-movie, Fuller became the live-in girlfriend of the film's cross-dressing director, Edward D. Wood Jr. She was featured in a number of his motion pictures, including Glen or Glenda, Jail Bait and Bride of the Monster with Bela Lugosi. During the '50s, Fuller appeared in films along with stars such as Shelley Winters, Van Heflin, Barbara Stanwyk, Lyle Talbot, Linda Darnell, Jackie Coogan and Fred MacMurray. Between 1952 and 1955, Dolores served as the TV star's stand-in on The Dinah Shore Show, and later was a product model for the television game show Queen for a Day (one of the very first of the "reality" TV genre?), hosted by Jack Bailey. In 1956, Fuller appeared in an episode of the TV series, The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves. After Fuller left Wood (she didn't like the fact he wore women's undergarments and her angora sweaters), she went on to a more successful career, not through acting, but through her skills as a songwriter and her ability to recognize potential music stars. She "discovered" Johnny Rivers, and signed him to her De Dee Records label, when he was just 17, and Tanya Tucker (who lived in Southern Nevada as a youngster) when she was only 13. One of the big disappointments in Fuller's professional life was losing Tucker as a client. At the point where personal manager Seymour Heller (who guided the careers of Liberace and the Treniers) was going to help Fuller handle Tucker's fast-rising future, Tanya's father, Beau Tucker, decided he should quit his job in the construction business and become his daughter's manager. As a songwriter, Dolores collaborated with Nelson Riddle, Peggy Lee and Duane Eddy. She also wrote songs recorded by Nat "King" Cole and co-wrote almost two dozen tunes for a number of Elvis Presley movies, including Spinout, Blue Hawaii, Kissin' Cousins, Clambake, Girl Happy and Easy Come, Easy Go. In more recent years, as an actress, Fuller has been featured in a couple of Ted V. Mikels (director Mikels is also a Las Vegas resident) cult favorites, 1998's Dimensions in Fear and The Corpse Grinders (2000), both also featuring the late Liz Renay. In the 1994 Tim Burton film, Ed Wood, although she loved Johnny Depp's portrayal of Wood, Fuller was not pleased with Sarah Jessica Parker's interpretation of her. Now in her 80s, Dolores is still active in show business, and happily married to film historian Philip Chamberlin. A musical, telling the real story of her life with Ed Wood and their dear friend, Bela Lugosi, is in the works. It is cleverly called Ed Wood...But I Wouldn't.

And, because we haven't mentioned drama coach Gerald Gordon for a week or two (and believe Cousin Claire, we have heard about it), we might point out that Ed Wood's favorite leading lady is a onetime student of Stella Adler and Mr. Gordon. Gordon is even featured in acting class scenes with Ms. Fuller in an interesting 1997 documentary on her life and career.

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Last week, we attended a late morning/early afternoon event at the Liberace Museum on East Tropicana. The occasion was to launch the beginning of Wes Winters's fourth year as a performer at the museum (on Wednesday evenings, you can also catch Winters at the mirrored piano in the lounge at Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens restaurant). At the daytime ceremony, it was announced that the performance area inside the museum was now officially going to be known as the Wes Winters Showroom.

Among those spotted enjoying the music and the buffet, provided by Carluccio's, were Phantom stars, Brent Barrett and Rebecca Spencer, magician Steve Wyrick, Liberace's longtime personal fur designer Anna Nateece, and media folks Renee LiButti, Anthony Del Valle, Jennifer Prosser, Debbie Hall and Barbara Scherzer. Joseph Gabriel, best known for his prowess as a magician, did a fine job operating a Liberace string puppet that "played" a miniature mirrored piano and did a vocal duet with Winters on I Wonder Why. Gabriel, who was a specialty act in Bill Moore and George Arnold productions at the Flamingo, is one of the rotating acts in Dick Feeney (that's with three "E"s) and Sandy Hackett's The World's Greatest Magic Show at the Greek Isles.

And speaking of piano players...Start getting those fingers limbered up and get back to practicing the scales. Why? Because it's almost time for this year's Liberace Piano Competition. There are two age categories involved, Juniors 12 and under and Seniors 13 to whatever. Both amateurs and professionals are eligible. The first part of the competition, the Live Piano Audition, will take place from noon to 4 p.m. inside the Liberace Museum on Sunday (August 12th). The Competitors Showcase will occur on Sunday, September 9th, also at the museum, and from noon to 4 p.m., and will feature finalists from the Live Piano Audition. The finals will be held on September 16th at the Community Lutheran Church, 3720 East Tropicana from 1 to 4 p.m. There is no charge for the first two events. It is $10 for adults and $5 for children to attend the finals, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit Family Promise. For additional information, contact Shirley Swift at (702) 798-5595, extension 16.

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In addition to the national exposure garnered by Las Vegans Trent Carlini, Sebastian Anzaldo and Sharon Owens who wound up in the finals on ABC's The Next Best Thing. Although it was Carlini as Elvis Presley who took home the title and $100,000, it was Anzaldo as Frank Sinatra and Owens as Barbra Streisand, along with the one-named Harmick as Tom Jones, who made the cover of last week's Neon, the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Friday arts and entertainment supplement. We think that's almost as good as earning the title and big bucks.

Antonio Hoyos as Mini Elvis Kris Kristofferson John Fredericks and Jordan

And speaking of impersonators, Krave nightclub (or whatever they are calling the Harmon Avenue establishment these days) has a new entertainment lineup on the horizon. Beginning on the 16th of August (next Thursday), one of the offerings is a revue called Little Legends, described as "Little People, Big Show." The production will feature smaller than average performers portraying a number of well-known celebrities. Audience members will see Mini Britney (Spears), Mini Madonna, Mini Tina (Turner) and the cleverly named Mini Vanilli. Antonio Hoyos will take on the roles of both Mini Sonny (Bono) and Mini Elvis Presley. You may not know Hoyos by name, but if you have seen magician Kevin James work (either on stage in The World's Greatest Magic Show at the Greek Isles, or in TV appearances, including this season's America's Got Talent), you have also seen Antonio (who plays a scaled down version of Charlie Chaplin) as James' assistant in a number of James' clever illusions. Show times for Little Legends are at 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. From August 16th through the 31st, preview ticket prices are $25. Call (800) 836-0836 for reservations.

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The Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin will play host to singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson tomorrow evening (August 11th) at 9 p.m. Kristofferson has always identified himself first and foremost as a writer. Now 71, he has also been hailed as one of America's most important voices. Some of Kristofferson's most recognized classics include Me and Bobby McGee, Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again), Sunday Morning Coming Down, Why Me Lord, and For the Good Times. The Brownsville, Texas-born entertainer has also been featured in a number of films, including Semi-Tough, Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea and, of course, as John Norman Howard, to Barbra Streisand's Esther Hoffman, in the third 1976 version of A Star Is Born. Kristofferson won a Golden Globe award for that role. In 1985, he was nominated for an Oscar for the original score in Songwriter, a movie he starred in with Willie Nelson. Kris Kristofferson will perform in the comfort of the 1958-seat air-conditioned Aquarius Pavilion. Tickets are on sale at the box office, with prices starting at $29.95 plus tax. To purchase tickets, call (800) 435-8469.

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Channel 3 weatherman, John Fredericks, has lost his longtime friend and TV co-star. His 13-year-old yellow lab, Jordan, died last Saturday. Fredericks and Jordan have been a part of the Las Vegas news scene for 11 years. Locals rarely saw Fredericks without his four-legged companion. One year, the twosome even made a guest appearance in the Golden Rainbow's Ribbon of Life production. (Golden Rainbow, for those that don't know, has become an annual Las Vegas tradition, raising funds to provide housing and assistance for Southern Nevada AIDS/HIV victims and their families.) It will take regular viewers some time to get used to not seeing John's "boy" by his side. We share the loss. For Fredericks and all who have ever loved and lost a pet, we share this beautiful sentiment, called Rainbow Bridge. The author is unknown...

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

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