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 December 12, 2008
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - December 12, 2008

Walter Morciglio

Philip Fortenberry

Domenick Allen & Cayleigh Capaldi

Although, in Cousin Claire's opinion, Los Angeles let the disgraced onetime football Hall of Famer, O.J. Simpson, get away with murder, Las Vegas didn't let the now 61-year-old get away with anything. On October 3rd, Simpson was found guilty of all 12 criminal charges against him (kidnapping, armed robbery, conspiracy, burglary, assault and coercion), as the result of a confrontation in a hotel room at the Palace Station in Las Vegas. Based on the sentence handed down by Judge Jackie Glass, O.J. won't even be eligible for parole until he is 70-years-old. The once cocky O.J. didn't look quite so cocky at his December 5th sentencing. Facing up to 33 years in prison can do that to a person, even a former sports hero.

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Although we haven't seen or heard them perform yet, we have it on good authority (from one of our bosses, Charleston Communication's Gene Balmain) that the musical group, Neon Venus, is hot! The Puerto Rican alternative band was formed in the late '90s after guitarist Peter Valentine, who had previously participated in the Los Angeles underground scene, met Lissette Napoleoni in New York's Central Park. Sharing their passion for music, the twosome decided to start a new project called Neon Vegas. They were later joined by percussionist Nestor Salazar. The three-piece act released its first album, The Birth of Neon Venus, in November 1999. The album included a bilingual track called Strange, inspired by the 50 most famous relationships of the 20th century as published by a popular national magazine. Following the release of the album, Neon Venus made two videos, one based on Strange, and another on a song called Aliens. An interesting name for a band, Neon Venus is also an interesting name for a performance space and gallery. Peter and Lissette are the proprietors of the relatively new Neon Venus Art Theatre, located at 1404 S. 3rd Street in the downtown Las Vegas arts district. The space features lots of interesting happenings, including live music (of course), art exhibits and classes in music, acting, voice, and art, all taught by pros including Cirque du Soleil cast members. Tonight, Friday, December 12th, the theater will present two-time Latin Grammy-nominee, singer/songwriter Walter Morciglio, with special guest, Ismael Garcia. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are only $10. For additional information, call (702) 787-2481.

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The December edition of the Composers Showcase will take place on Thursday, December 18th. The Special Holiday Celebration, that starts at 10:30 p.m., after theater, will feature the songs of local composers and songwriters, Jason Andino, Erich Bergen, Bob Bray, Vita Corimbi, Jason Forbach, Wayne Green, Steven Kalas, Jason Martinez, Rebecca Ramsey, Rene Ruiz, Joey Singer, Keith Thompson and Mark Wherry, and the vocal stylings of Bradlee Benjamin, Robin Baxter, Charl Brown, Joseph Anthony Byrd, Bruce Ewing, Elena Gutierrez, Temple Hall, Kristi Holden-Walrod, Colin Israel, Sarah Lawrence, Jeff Leibow, Lisa Richard, Nadine Roden, Sharone Sayegh, Alana Simone, Lauren Tartaglia, and Derrick Trumbly. Guest instrumentalists will be Glen Colby, Patricia Diaz, Philip Fortenberry, Keith Hubacher, Don Meoli, Rebecca Ramsey, Laurence Sobel, Geri Thompson, Moonlight Tran and Drew Zingg. Richard Camuso handles the sound. All of this takes place in the Cabaret Showroom at the Liberace Museum, 1775 East Tropicana (at Spencer), next door to Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens Restaurant. A cash bar (no credit cards, please) is available, along with a $5 hors d'oeuvres buffet, provided by Carluccio's Restaurant and the Liberace Museum. The mission of the Liberace Foundation is to help talented students pursue careers in the performing and creative arts through scholarship assistance. Donations to the museum are welcome and much appreciated.

And speaking of the Liberace Museum they have a number of exciting events going on over there during the month of December. This Sunday it will be another of the Music in the Museum presentations. This edition will feature a special performance of holiday tunes presented by Jersey Boys pianist Philip Fortenberry and friends. Fortenberry will celebrate the launch of his new CD Home For The Holidays and perform music from the new album on Liberace's Baldwin piano. The CDs will be available for purchase at the museum. At $15 each they would make great end-of-the-year gifts for the music-lovers in your life. Shows will be at 1:30 and 3:00 p.m. with limited seating on a first-come first served basis. Although there is no set price for this holiday treat donations to the Liberace Foundation are suggested. Museum doors open at 12 noon. On Sundays museum tour admission is free for Nevada residents with proper ID and their guests. This Tuesday December 16th at 10:30 p.m. it's Mamma Mia's Last Stand event (the show ends its Mandalay Bay run on January 4th). A $10 donation at the Liberace Museum Cabaret Showroom door is suggested. A cash bar and buffet will be available at the event. Call (702) 798-5 595 for more information.

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Following the Performing Arts Society of Nevada's musical Holiday Celebration last Sunday, one of the performers stated, "the holiday season starts here." We say it was a delightful start. A host of talented pros provided an afternoon of entertainment at the Clark County Flamingo Library, much to the delight of about 250 audience members. The entire program was terrific but, as always, there were highlights. Among our personal favorites were (in order of appearance) Domenick Allen and Daddy's Little Girl, Cayleigh Capaldi (Cayleigh's mama, singer/actress Leigh Zimmerman, and her maternal grandma, Lynette, were front row center and beaming); pianist Harold Meeker, who was with the Russ Morgan Orchestra for eight years (and usually takes tickets at the PASN events), playing a lovely version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Lou Garcia and Gary Oakes, singing and dancing their way through Silver Bells; Lloyd Ziel's Silent Night; Philip Fortenberry's holiday piano medley; soprano Joan Sobel's beautiful rendition of Ave Maria (using no mic), and Wes Winters' Liberace-inspired holiday mix. The afternoon celebration was celebrated by all in attendance.

Joan Sobel

Jay Leno

Kara DioGuardi

And speaking of Joan Sobel...Tomorrow, Saturday the 13th, Ms. Sobel will be one of the guest soloists when the Las Vegas Philharmonic presents the second concert in its new and exciting Pops series. In addition to Joan Sobel, A Christmas Celebration! will also feature guests Leslie Harper, Matt Newman and Tod Fitzpatrick, along with performances from The Las Vegas Master Singers and The University Children's Chorale. The media release tells us that the concert will also welcome a surprise visit from a special international guest celebrity who is sure to bring the holiday cheer! Might that guest be on the plump side and look especially good in a red outfit and do a lot of ho, ho, ho shoutouts? Just a guess on our part. The musical holiday celebration will take place in the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV. There are two performances, at 2 and 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25 to $65, excluding tax and fees. To purchase tickets for these two events, or to subscribe to remaining season of Pops and Masterworks concerts, please call the UNLV Box office at (702) 895-2787 or visit Founded in 1998, the Las Vegas Philharmonic is the third largest arts organization in the state and a six-time recipient of the Best Performing Arts Group award. The Philharmonic has grown into a nationally recognized orchestra, entertaining growing audiences with a continuously expanding program which currently includes: a Masterworks Series featuring some of the best touring artists in the world; a Connoisseur Series that presents top soloists performing in some of the city's most luxurious homes; a variety of special events; a new Pops Concert Series for 2008-2009; and its annual Fourth of July Star Spangled Spectacular concert.

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Talk about a deal...Call it a "freecation" or a "staycation." With times being tight, Terrible's Casino Resorts in Primm are giving away free rooms. No, really! There is only one little string attached to the must be a local with a Nevada driver's license to prove Clark County residency. All three of Terrible's Primm Valley Resorts (Buffalo Bill's, Whiskey Pete's and Primm Valley Resort) are participating in the offer, which includes one free night's stay at Buffalo Bill's, two all-day attraction passes valid for the Desperado Rollercoaster, Attraction Zone Arcade, Turbo Drop and the Adventure Canyon Log Flume at Buffalo Bill's, and two free tickets to the Sin City Kitties, a burlesque cabaret production, inside Whiskey Pete's showroom. Realizing that just about everyone is feeling the economic pinch, Terrible's wanted to do something for the community, and, of course, to attract fun seekers to their properties, about a half-hour south of Las Vegas. Needless to say, the marketing mavens at the Nevada/ California border hope visitors will spend a few bucks on their own - dining, drinking and... gaming, but that is not a requirement. The free room offer runs through December 29th. For more information, call 1.800.FUNSTOP.

And speaking of gambling...If we were a betting woman (and sometimes we are), we might put our money where our mind is (we usually leave mind reading to pros like mentalist Gerry McCambridge). But we are, after all, Claire Voyant (according to Mr. Webster, a clairvoyant has a quick, intuitive knowledge of things and people). Based on that fact, we would like to share some thoughts on two personalities...Jay Leno and Paula Abdul. Regarding Mr. Leno's move to primetime, we think that this is yet another bad decision on the part of NBC (remember Rosie Live?). For the most part, TV watchers are a loyal bunch. Will they give up dramas such as CSI, Law & Order, Without a Trace, and ER, or reality/news programs like Dateline and 20/20 to watch Jay at 10? We don't think so. Who will benefit by Leno's move? David Letterman, for sure, and probably ABC's Nightline and former Las Vegan Jimmy Kimmel's, Live. As for the quirky Ms. Abdul - with her future as an American Idol judge already in jeopardy (there's a new lady judge added for the 2009 season, Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi), what does this genius do? She does the talk show circuit, including Barbara Walters' Sirius radio show. And what does the former Los Angeles Laker Girl talk about? Her unhappiness with American Idol. Why? Because Ms. Abdul claims that the other two judges, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, as well as the show's producers and the Fox network, were well aware that Abdul was being stalked/harassed by an obsessed FANatic, and yet the powers-that-be allowed 27-year-old Paula Goodspeed (the lady changed her first name to Paula) to audition for Idol's fifth season in 2006 anyway. According to Ms. Abdul, this torment had been going on for 18 years! You can go to YouTube, put Paula Goodspeed's name in, and watch the audition for yourselves. What we find most interesting about this is that, not only does Ms. Goodspeed (who was found dead near Abdul's home last month) mispronounce the Idol judge's last name (calling her Abdula) throughout the audition, but Ms. "Abdula" does not appear to be worried, intimidated or uncomfortable in any way during the minutes that Goodspeed performed (or attempted to perform). We are sure that an expert on body language would detect no fear or concern in Paula Abdul. Why would all of this come out more than two years after the fact? Is this not a perfect example of "biting the hand that feeds you"? Until she hooked up with Idol, Paula Abdul was pretty much of a distant memory to many people, and a total unknown to those that do much of the Idol voting. We think Ms. Paula will depart American Idol, sooner than later. Let's see how Claire Voyant does on her latest "predictions."

And speaking of jeopardy, the popular quiz show, Jeopardy!, is celebrating part of its 25th Anniversary in Las Vegas. On January 8th, 9th and 10th, in conjunction with the annual Consumers Electronics Show, will telecast from the Sony Electronics booth at the Convention Center. As all of you smarty pants probably already know, Jeopardy! was created by the late Merv Griffin in the early 1960s. It debuted on NBC in 1964. Alex Trebek became the show's host in September of 1984. Since that time, Jeopardy! has consistently placed among the top-rated shows in syndication. The show holds the record for number of Emmy Awards (11) in the category of Best Game Show. For tickets to be in the Las Vegas Jeopardy! audience, go to Please note that tickets are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis. Guests will receive tickets by mail. All ticket submissions must be received by Tuesday, December 16th.

Alex Trebek

Mac King


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Cousin Claire, along with another local entertainment columnist in Las Vegas (not the fellow with the eye patch), received an e-mail from Florence in New Jersey, inquiring about, as Florence calls him, "that brilliant entertainer," Jimmy Hopper. We would love to tell you that Jimmy had a steady gig here in Las Vegas, but, at this time, he does not. His last local appearances were at Trader Vic's at Planet Hollywood and in the showroom at the Suncoast. These days (or nights), Jimmy's home is at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach, California. He also tours and stays busy with corporate events. Hopper is working on a new musical, hoped to be heading to Broadway. The working title (which may be changed to something a bit shorter) is The Day There Was No More Music. As we get more information on Mr. Hopper, we will pass it on to our readers. Like Florence from New Jersey, we also consider Jimmy Hopper to be a brilliant entertainer. If you would like to see what all the excitement is about, until the real thing comes along, check out this unique performer at

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One door closes and another one opens. One of the proofs of that took place yesterday when, at 2 a.m., the 25-year-old center-Strip McDonald's (next to Circus-Circus) turned out their lights and closed up. Fear not, you Big Mac fans. At 11 a.m., a bigger, the largest in the state, and better McDonald's opened right next door to the familiar Strip pioneer. Known as Viva McDonald's, the new flagship restaurant, described as "technology-inspired," is the first of its kind anywhere. To celebrate the occasion, the first 111 guests received gifts from McDonald's, and a 12:30 p.m., Ronald McDonald arrived at the eatery in Las Vegas style, via a red Cadillac. At 2 p.m., Mayor Oscar Goodman helped in the ribbon cutting for Viva McDonald's and gifted Ronald McDonald with a Key to the City. Between 5 and 6 p.m., comic/magician "Big Mac" King worked with Viva McDonald's to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Las Vegas by getting behind the counter and selling McDonald's food items. For the one hour, all the proceeds of food sold at the store went to the local charity that provides temporary housing for families whose children are obtaining medical treatment in Las Vegas. The very funny and clever Mac King currently headlines his own show at Harrah's.

And speaking of Key's to the City (and we were)...How about a Key to the City for longtime (about three decades) Las Vegas entertainer, Darcus? The talented lady has worked around this part of the world - both as a paid performer and by donating her services for worthwhile charitable events - since the late 1970s (although we have to say, this young grandmother looks great!). Darcus has earned her stripes and deserves the acknowledgement for her deeds in the community. Are you listening, Mayor Goodman?

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Celebrate the holidays, F.I.O.R.E. style! Come one. Come all. Join this friendly and funny bunch of party animals for an evening of live music (personally, we find that much better than dead music), entertainment, dancing, yummy food and a no-host bar. It starts at 6:30 on Wednesday evening (December 17th) at the Italian American Club at 2333 E. Sahara. The cost for all of this frivolity is $30 per person. RSVP to either [email protected] or [email protected]. See you at the party!

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Liza Minnelli

Nina Foch

Julie & Gary Olds

After seeing Liza Minnelli on the TV bomb known as Rosie Live, we wondered if Ms. Minnelli would sound any better in her new show, that opened December 3rd at the Palace, and how the New York critics would treat her. We thought Liza looked great on Rosie's show. She looks like she is back to her fighting (and dancing) weight, and her face looked like it did in the 1970s and '80s when we were regulars at her Vegas shows. It has been almost 10 years since Liza with a "Z" played Broadway. The lady is a real trouper, and at 62, she has bravely taken on a month of shows on the Great White Way. Apparently, some of the important Big Apple critics heard what we did. On December 5th, Steven Holden from The New York Times wrote in his Theater Review, "I would love to report that Ms. Minnelli's voice and physical agility have been magically restored to their former glory, but those days seem to be gone. On Wednesday night her voice was in tatters, her diction unsteady. When she belted, her wide vibrato wobbled to the breaking point. Most of her s's were slurred sh's. Frequently short of breath, she swallowed phrases. Many of her highest notes were dry, piercing caws." Holden followed that statement up by saying, "But there were still occasional moments of beautifully focused dramatic singing. She wrung every drop of emotion from "He's Funny That Way," turning the phrase "crazy for me" into a sweetly exultant cry." Brian Scott Lipton of TheaterMania wrote, "To get the big questions out of the way, Minnelli's voice isn't what it was many years ago, but it's strong and powerful and mostly gets the job done, and she moves rather than really dances. But her skills as a performer, honed over five decades, and her genuineness and vulnerability make these shortcomings seem relatively unimportant." Variety's David Rooney writes, "There's a standard set of questions to be asked about any Liza Minnelli show: 1. How did she look? 2. How did she sound? 3. Did she open wearing black, white or red? 4. How many superlatives did she spout? 5. Did she mention David Gest? 6. Was she fabulous? A trainwreck? A fabulous trainwreck? For the peace of mind of all the hardcore acolytes desperate to know about "Liza's at the Palace," let's get those answers out of the way immediately: 1. Terrific. 2: Pretty darn good. 3. White (vintage Halston). 4. Lost count. 5. Only obliquely, and not by name. 6. Kinda fabulous. Assisting Liza in song and dance are Johnny Rodgers, Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso and Tiger Martina. Orchestrations and arrangements for Liza's current Broadway run are by Ralph Burns, Ned Ginsburg, Marvin Hamlisch, Sonny Kompanek, Don Sebesky, Billy Stritch, Torrie Zito and Las Vegas' own, Artie Schroek. Liza's at the Palace...! runs through December 28th.

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Film and stage star Nina Foch died in Los Angeles on December 5th at the age of 84. Foch had been suffering from myelodyplasia, a blood disorder. The Dutch-born actress appeared on Broadway five times early in her career, including appearances in King Lear and Twelfth Night, as well as the plays John Loves Mary, A Phoenix Too Frequent, and A Second String. She also directed one section of a 1967 production of Noel Coward's Tonight at 8:30. Ms. Foch was best known for her work in Hollywood, earning an Oscar-nomination for her role in Executive Suite. Some of her other film credits included An American in Paris, Scaramouche, The Ten Commandments, and Spartacus. She also appeared in guest spots on dozens of television shows, and earned an Emmy Award nomination for her appearance on Lou Grant. Foch became a respected acting coach, and was teaching until the day before her death. In a Vegas connection, busy Gary Olds, known mostly around these parts as a drummer (although he did appear in a local production of the late Studs Terkel's Working some years back), studied with Ms. Foch in Los Angeles. And speaking of Gary Olds, he is a recent newlywed. On October 12th, he and Julie Newman were married (for the second time) on a boat at Lake Mead. Officiating at the beautiful ceremony was musician/minister, Keith Nelson. We wish the bride and groom a long and happy life together.

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Congratulations to the all-girl trio, Dangerous Curves, on the release of their debut CD, Girl Talk. The ladies, Lisa Smith, Karen Merstik and Margaret "Gret" Menzies, are very excited about this latest step in their musical career. When we find out what songs are on the album, and how you can get your copy, we will let you know.

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Even in our floundering economy, Ronnie Rose is keeping busy. On Wednesdays, from 10 p.m. to midnight, Rose can be seen and heard at Mandalay Bay's House of Blues Restaurant. Accompanying Rose is Tex Richardson on keyboards, Noah King on drums, Chris Gordan on bass, and Dave Hart on guitar. There is no cover charge. On Tuesday and Wednesday (December 16th and 17th), from 7 to 9 p.m., Ronnie and Gina Lombardi perform at the Rampart Casino, backed by the Tom Lipps Trio, and on Christmas day, from 1 to 6:30 p.m., Ronnie Rose will be at the Gold Coast where he will perform with musicians Tommy Alvardo on sax, Cliff Workman on drums, Danny DeMorales on bass, and Peter Radd on keyboards.

Another entertainer in survival mode is singing impressionist/comedian, Larry G. Jones. Not only has he defied the medics regarding serious health issues, Jones has managed to work pretty steadily in Las Vegas for the last seven years - quite an accomplishment for a performer without a lot of name recognition. Jones plied his trade at both the downtown Plaza (for two years), and Fitzgeralds (for almost five). These nights, "The Man of 1002 Voices" is performing just off the famed Las Vegas Strip in the intimate performance space at the Royal Resort, 99 Convention Center Drive. Among the many male voices that Jones does are Elton John, Aaron Neville, Al Green, Michael Crawford, Brian Adams, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Caldwell, Wayne Newton, Stevie Wonder, Dan Fogelberg, Frankie Valli, George Michael, and too many others to list in our limited space. Oh, and did we forget to mention that Mr. Jones also duplicates the voices of some female vocalists as well? He does. Cher, Aretha Franklin, Kim Carnes, Minnie Ripperton, Patti LaBelle, Tina Turner and Anita Baker, are among the ladies that get the Larry Jones treatment. Also performing with Jones is clever Red Skelton impersonator, Brian Hoffman. Show times at the Royal Resort are 9 p.m., on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For ticket information and reservations, call the Toll Free number at (800) 595-4849.

Larry G. Jones

Robin McGraw, Dr. Phil McGraw & Jim Rees

Kevin James

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Where to take a 19-year-old bottomless pit for his birthday dinner? Our choice of Hash House a Go Go proved to be a wise choice. The kid loved everything...the strawberry lemonade, the homemade biscuits with whipped butter and honey, and his choice of Sage Fried Chicken Penne Pasta (two sage fried chicken breasts on penne all tossed in a porcini mushroom cream with fresh tomato, green beans and parmesan cheese) as his Main Meal. Cousin Claire had the Stuffed HH Meatloaf (with fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, cream sauce and griddled mashed potatoes). We got there fairly early (a little before 6) and had no trouble getting a table. By the time we departed around 8, however, the place, at 6800 West Sahara just east of Rainbow, the place was jumping. If you have never been to Hash House a Go Go, we highly recommend the place. The food is good and so is the service, and you definitely get your monies worth. The presentation is an entertaining show in itself, and we can guarantee that no one will go home hungry. During visits to Las Vegas, TV's Dr. Phil McGraw and his wife, Robin, as well as domestic diva Martha Stewart, all dined at Hash House a Go Go. As Ms. Stewart frequently states, "It's a good thing." At this time, the only other Hash House location is in the Hillcrest section of San Diego at 3628 Fifth Avenue. Personable Las Vegas Chief Operating Officer, Jim Rees, tells us that plans are underway to open a second Southern Nevada store, most likely in the Green Valley area. Stay tuned. In Las Vegas, call (702) 804-4646 for reservations (they are closed on Sunday). In Southern California, call (619) 298-4646.

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Paul Stone, who presented Variety Live! at the Suncoast last month, returns to the Suncoast with another variety show this month. World Stars of Magic will play tonight through Sunday, with shows at 7:30 p.m. The lineup of performers includes Tony Chapek, Kevin James, John Archer, Joseph Gabriel and The Great Tomsoni and Company. Tony Chapek's Interactive Media Magic is a fascinating and hilarious live performance that combines the latest in video technology with traditional sleight-of-hand to produce stunning "never before seen" illusions. Combined with a full script of comedy dialogue, this has proven to be one of the most captivating and entertaining performances imaginable. All the principles and techniques used are Tony's original creations and are not being done by anyone else in the entertainment industry. Kevin James' style of performance is anything but conventional. His unique comedy and magic has gained him a reputation as a world class visual artist. Kevin is also a very prolific magical inventor. Not only is his show original, he has created many illusions that have been performed in the shows of other famous magicians like Doug Henning, Mark Wilson and David Copperfield. This Kevin James is not the star of TV's King of Queens, but he is the Kevin James who did extremely well on the TV reality show, America's Got Talent. He is like a modern P.T. Barnum. His art vision was to assemble the most unique artists on the planet, creating a very special show. Kevin is one of the surest rising stars on the magical horizon. John Archer is one of the best comedy magicians in the UK today. He has been working as a professional Comedy Magician for the past 13 years. Sometimes referred to as 'Table Magic,' John's magic is performed up close up, with no camera tricks, quick cuts or clever boxes. John performs unbelievable feats with cards, coins, elastic bands, nails and corks or whatever comes to hand. His tricks are so unique and contemporary that he has won accolades from his peers. He is a comedian, magician, actor and singer, an all round modest kind of guy. Joseph Gabriel is a master magician and illusionist. In addition to his amazing sleight-of-hand, Joseph has created some of the most spectacular illusions in the world of magic. His stage presence is commanding, distinctive, and hypnotic. It is Gabriel's creativity and power of performance that has brought him to the forefront as one of the leaders in shaping the future of magic. The Great Tomsoni and Company are versatile performers with a background of music, magic, comedy and drama. The Great Tomsoni and Company, aka John Thompson and Pam Hayes, add a comedic touch to an already upbeat show. They have been classified as a contemporary George Burns & Gracie Allen, with a unique blend of off beat comedy and award-winning magic. Tomsoni is to magic what Victor Borge is to music. You won't believe your eyes. The Suncoast Showroom is a 450-seat venue featuring booth and table seating. Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, priced from $19.95 plus tax, can be purchased by calling the box office at (702) 636-7065, or obtained online at

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The Sun City Musicmakers will present three performances of The Annual Winter Holiday Show at the Starbright Theatre, 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd., in Sun City Summerlin. Shows are tonight at 7, tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Some 50 singers, dancers and musicians, under the direction of returning, ever popular Ryan Duff and accompanied by our new, incredibly talented pianist, Spencer Baker, will entertain. Both Duff and Baker hold Music Degrees, honors and extraordinary credentials as teachers and soloists, having worked locally, nationally and abroad. Recently Ryan directed Peter Pan at Palo Verde High School. This year, he is Choral Music Director at Mohave High School, where his students will also be accompanied by Spencer Baker. Working with young people as well as senior musicians, proves that both Duff and Baker can rise to the occasion. Among the selections performed will be Hanukkah tunes, Christmas Wonderland and Carol of the Bells. The shows promise to set the mood for Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations. Tickets, at $8 a person, may be purchased from any Musicmaker member or by calling 478-6164. All shows at the Starbright are first come, first served with no limit on the number of tickets purchased. Saving seats is prohibited. Be sure to get your tickets early so you don't miss out! If an event sells out, every attempt will be made to provide additional show times, if possible. Show tickets may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle in Sun City Summerlin. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets are non-refundable. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. This program is open to everyone ages 12 and over. For up-to-date information on all Starbright shows, call (702) 240-1301.

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A benefit for ailing musician Michael McDaniel will be held from 2 to 9 p.m., this Sunday at the Red Hawk Tavern, 2634 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson (on the NE corner of Horizon Ridge and Eastern). McDaniel has performed with musical legends such as Luther Vandross, Branford Marsalis, B.B. King and Isaac Hayes among others. While on tour a year ago, the 38-year-old saxophonist suffered a severe stroke. During treatment for the stroke, it was determined that McDaniel had a rare blood disease. He is unable to walk, can barely speak and cannot care for himself. McDaniel is now in a state-run hospital in Nashville, as he has no insurance. Fellow musicians have come together to raise money to help Michael with some of his medical expenses. During the event, prizes will be raffled. Music will be performed by some of the top local talent in the city - The Jimmy Lee Smith Band at 2 p.m., Dusty Barron at 3, Maz & Monk at 4, Hoo Doo Blues at 5, Fred Watstein's Jazz Mecca at 6, and the West Coast Blues Conspiracy at 7. A good show, for a good cause. Lend your support if you are able.

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