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.  
She’s...

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from January 25, 2008
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - January 25, 2008

Bill Nolte Rosemary Alvino Diana Ross

The Producers cast member, Bill Nolte, who portrays the somewhat paranoid Franz Liebkind in the very funny Mel Brooks production currently playing (until February 9th) at Paris Las Vegas, will go solo on February 24th, when he performs his one man show at the East Flamingo Clark County Library. Calling his act All of Me, Nolte will pay tribute to his new home, Las Vegas, with song and dialog. Nolte has decided that, after The Producers closes, rather than return to New York and his small dark apartment (his description, not ours), he will he will stay in the charming townhouse that he purchased here a year ago. East Coast (or any coast) auditions are only a short drive or a flight away from Southern Nevada. With his years of theatrical experience, Nolte can find plenty to do locally (teaching voice and auditioning skills, for example) when he isn't on a stage somewhere around the country. For his upcoming show at the library theater, Bill promises to leave his pigeons at the Paris Theater. If you have seen the show, you will know what we are talking about. If you haven't...get over there!

This Sunday, The Performing Arts Society of Nevada (the same folks who bring you Bill Nolte next month) , presents Rosemary Alvino as part of their Las Vegas Lyric Opera series. Mezzo Soprano Alvino has an extensive background in opera, musical theater and sacred music and most recently is extending her repertoire to include the Latin music of Mexico, Spain, and Argentina. She has sung throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Mexico, Argentina, Italy and Israel. In April of 2006 Ms. Alvino was featured soloist with Artists for a United World Concert at the United Nations' Dag Hammarskjöld Hall, New York City and again in Buenos Aires in August of 2007. In May of 2001, she made her Carnegie Hall debut and in the 2002 season, she appeared again at Carnegie's Weill Hall with contemporary composer Lukas Foss singing arias from his opera Griffelkin. Rosemary has performed with Seattle Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Company of Brooklyn, Tulsa Opera, Opera San Jose, Mendocino Music Festival, Natchez Opera Festival, Nevada Opera Theatre, Springfield Regional Opera, Las Vegas Lyric Opera and both Colorado and Nevada Symphonies. She is a native of New Jersey and currently divides her time between New York City and Cuernavaca, Mexico. When in New York, this talented lady is a volunteer cantor at The Cathedral of St. Patrick's. She has also had the honor of singing Mass with the late Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in Rome. Alvino's special Las Vegas guests will be Claudio Herrera, resident pianist with the Instituto Nacional de Belles Artes in Mexico City, and Bruce Ewing, currently appearing in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular at The Venetian. Tickets for both shows are $15. The Sunday afternoon series are always at 2 p.m. Call The Performing Arts Society of Nevada at (702) 658-6741 for reservations to either or both of these presentations.

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Was it live or was it Memorex? When it came to determining whether Diana Ross was really singing or lip-synching during her performance at the opening of the brand new Palazzo last week, one of the city's finest writers turned to Frank Marino for the answer. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal's pseudo journalist, Mr. Marino "has made a career out of lip-synching Joan Rivers." We have no idea if this fellow, who specializes in entertainment, has ever seen An Evening at La Cage at the Riviera but, even if he hasn't, how in the world would Frank lip-synch jokes and dialog? Logic, facts and accuracy seem to regularly elude this unnamed writer for Nevada's Largest Daily Newspaper.

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After a one month sabbatical during December (many of the shows are dark and the talented performers take off for parts unknown for the holidays), the Composers Showcase returns for the first of its 2008 series. This Tuesday, January 29th, at 10:30 (after theater), in the Wes Winters Showroom, at the Liberace Museum, 1775 East Tropicana at Spencer, the showcase will feature the original songs of local composers and songwriters Tom Caruso, Thom Culcasi, Wayne Green, Richard Oberacker, Morris "Buddy" Sheffield and Keith Thompson. The works will be performed by Robin Baxter, Marshal Carolan, Carol Linnea Johnson, and Rob Sutton, all from Mamma Mia!; Kristen Hertzenberg, Rebecca Spencer and Ryan Silverman, from Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular); Jessica Sheridan from The Producers; actor/composer Jimmy Lockett, Poppa in the national touring company (including the Las Vegas Hilton's version) of Starlight Express, and God Lives in Glass; New Yorker Jay Rogers (star of Keith Thompson's Kooky Tunes and more), and other special guests. Musicians Philip Fortenberry (on piano) and Moonlight Tran (on cello) will also be featured. There is a cash bar (no credit cards, please) and a $5 hors d'oeuvres buffet provided by Keg and Cork Catering. The Liberace Museum is located next door to Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens. Come early for dinner and stay for the show. Carluccio's serves until 10 p.m. The Liberace Showroom is in the round building next to the restaurant (enter off Spencer). The mission of the Liberace Foundation is to help talented students pursue careers in the performing and creative arts through scholarship assistance. Donations are always graciously welcome.

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We inadvertently left out the name of accompanist Joey Singer when writing of the Bruce Ewing concert at the Liberace Museum on Sunday, January 13th. Not only did Mr. Singer play for the very successful Second Sunday cabaret launch, he also served as Musical Director and accompanist for Ewing's 16 song CD, Tonight at Eight - Songs From Broadway. If you haven't heard this recording, check it out. Bruce, currently a cast member of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular at The Venetian, does a great job on favorites such as All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera, Embraceable You from Girl Crazy, Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, They Say It's Wonderful from Annie Get Your Gun and Being Alive from Company. As for Singer, he has served as Musical Director for the Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds for more than 20 years. The Las Vegas resident has also played and conducted for a number of other professionals, including Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis and Toni Tennille, and performed with the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Gerry Mulligan and Zoot Sims, during his career in music.

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Decisions. Decisions. We hate when this happens. With sometimes very lengthy gaps between professional cabaret-type presentations, on Saturday, February 2nd, we have two talented ladies basically competing for the same audience members. At the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, it's Laurie Miller performing under the banner of ChapQuist Entertainment. A native of Miami, Florida, these days (and nights) Laurie spends most of her time performing on some of the most prestigious, luxury cruise lines as well as at corporate events and in theatrical productions worldwide. Her professional appearances range from musicals to lavish revues, intimate jazz clubs and major label recording projects. Laurie is known in the industry as one of the original members and creators of the pop-hit group Expose´, whose debut album, Exposed, is documented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame history book for having more Top 10 hits than The Beatles had on their debut album. Exposé was initially formed in 1984, when Lewis Martinee, a Miami disc jockey and producer, and his Pantera Productions talent scouts hired Sandra Casanas (Sandeé), Alejandra Lorenzo (Alé), and Laurie as the group's lineup. The next year, the trio recorded Point of No Return, with Lorenzo singing lead. The Pantera Records 12" vinyl single became a No. 1 Billboard Hot Dance Club Play hit. The song helped to introduce a genre of music that became known as Freestyle. The success of Point of No Return led Exposé to their signing with Clive Davis' Arista Records. A year later, the group recorded and released their second club/dance Freestyle hit single entitled Exposed to Love, on which Lorenzo also sang lead. Exposé realized continued success, including a club tour to key cities. Impressed with the performance of the two singles and their unique sound, Arista granted approval for the group to record their first album. Shortly thereafter, Casanas left the group to pursue a solo career, and Lorenzo quit to pursue other ambitions. Laurie Miller left the group to begin a solo career as a cabaret-style performer. She has been delighting audiences ever since, with her critically acclaimed show featuring heartfelt vocals, high energy dancing, and her unique comic flair (with parodies of some show business favorites, including Barbra, Cher and Liza). She is also the CEO and founder of XICA Productions (pronounced shee-ka). Known internationally, XICA Productions is acclaimed for creating unique and artistic atmosphere in diverse venues, using unusual entertainers, creative lighting and décor. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $17 for the rest of you. Call the Starbright Theatre at (702) 240-1301 for reservations, and (702) 869-2064 for current and future show information.

Laurie Miller Christine Ebersole Artie Schroeck & Linda November

On the very same night, as part of UNLV's New York Stage and Beyond series, we have two-time Tony-winner Christine Ebersole performing in the Artemus Ham Concert Hall. Although she has appeared on television and in film, it is on Broadway where Christine has found the most success. Her most noted roles have included a role in Gore Vidal's The Best Man in 2000, playing Millicent Jordan in Dinner At Eight in 2002 (for which she was nominated for a Tony Award), portraying M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias in 2005, and the role for which she won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, as Dorothy Brock in the 2001 revival of 42nd Street. (In 1981, Lee Roy Reams, currently in The Producers at Paris Las Vegas, was nominated for a Tony (and Drama Desk Award) as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role as Billy Lawlor in 42nd Street). In 2006, Ebersole took the dual role of Edith Bouvier Beale ("Big Edie") and Little Edie Beale in Grey Gardens, a musical based on the movie of the same name. After a sold-out off-Broadway run, the play moved to Broadway in the fall of 2006. Ebersole received rave reviews both places and earned her second Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. She currently lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her second husband, Bill Moloney, and their three adopted children. Ebersole's first husband was soap star, Peter Bergman. Bergman has played Jack Abbott on The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, since 1989. Showtime for Christine Ebersole is at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $40, $55 and $80. Call UNLV at (702) 895-2787 (ARTS) for reservations.

Laurie Miller's photo by Carrie Richardson

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Once again, there are reports circulating about the impending implosion of the Greek Isles (formerly the Debbie Reynolds Hotel and, before that, the Paddlewheel). It would be unrealistic to think that the hotel, located on Convention Center Drive between the Las Vegas Strip and Paradise Road, won't come down at some time (the parcel of land, in a prime off-Strip location, is much too valuable to house this outdated building), but it isn't planned for immediate destruction. The Greek Isles is the home of both The Rat Pack Is Back and The World's Greatest Magic Show, produced by Dick Feeney and Sandy Hackett.

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Artie Schroeck and Linda November. The names may not be familiar but chances are you have heard their work before. Linda, who rightfully calls herself The Jingle Lady, is really a saleslady. Her singing voice has helped sell hundreds of well-known products, from the famous "Mean" Joe Green Coke Commercial to the much-imitated commercial for Meow Mix cat food. Linda's career, which began at age five, did not with singing, but as a concert pianist. That ended during her teens when it was more important to have long nails than play the piano. When she was sixteen, a doctor friend of the family asked her to sing a song for one of his patients. She was immediately directed to her first and only manager, the star maker, Gus Schirmer. Gus recognized her talent and sent her to the legendary Richard Rodgers. Linda became a protégé of Rodgers. She worked hard to develop her voice but still had no success in seeking leading roles on Broadway. One day, Schirmer sent her out on an industrial production for the Ford Motor Company, and the rest is history. Linda has sung on records with artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Barbra Streisand, Tony Orlando, Engelbert Humperdinck and Frankie Valli, to name a few. At one time, she had more than 700 jingles playing simultaneously on national television and radio. Her most famous commercial, the "Meow, meow, meow, meow" one for Meow Mix cat food, became the No. 1 jingle of all time. Linda continues to perform, usually with Mr. Schroeck. And speaking of Mr. Schroeck, here's a little something about him. Born in Irvington, New Jersey, Artie is comes from a very musical family. His father played the xylophone, his mother played piano, and his three older brothers played a variety of instruments and were tap dancers (we presume they didn't play and tap at the same time). Artie began playing drums and piano when he was only three. At five, he, on drums, and his piano-playing brother, Harold, were performing at social functions in North Jersey. When he was eight, the brothers began appearing on the showplace piers in Atlantic City. It was there that the legendary drummer, Gene Krupa, heard Artie play and took him under his wing. Within a short time, the Schroeck brothers were playing with Krupa's band as well as with the Louis Prima and Johnny Long bands. When Harold left the act to raise his family, Artie stayed on, playing drums, piano, bass, vibraphones or whatever the gig called for. While still performing, he started doing band arrangements as well. While playing an engagement in Las Vegas, the teen went to a local music store to try out a Hammond organ. Lionel Hampton happened to be in the store, heard Artie playing, went to a piano and started jamming with the young musician. When they were finished, Hampton asked Schroeck to come to the Riviera that night. The chance encounter at the music store resulted in Artie going to work with the Hampton band for two years. After he left Lionel, Artie was hired as a recording studio arranger. He worked with Neil Diamond (who turned 67 on Thursday the 24), The Lovin' Spoonful, Paul Anka and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It was Schroeck who wrote the arrangements for Valli's I've Got You Under My Skin and his big hit, Can't Take My Eyes Off You. Artie also wrote songs for these artists, as well as for Liza Minnelli, Petula Clark, Sammy Davis Jr., Barry Manilow and Frank Sinatra. (Schroeck wrote Here's to the Band for Old Blue Eyes.) Artie's film and TV credits include, The Deer Hunter, The Sunshine Boys, You're a Big Boy Now, The Last Request, Liza in London, and Liza at Carnegie Hall and Radio City. He has won a number of Clios for his commercial arrangements and compositions, including for Now is the Time, ABC is the Place, Come On Along with ABC, You Deserve a Break Today for McDonald's, Nobody Cares For Eyes More Than Pearle, and Dannon Yogurt, to name a few. Since his studio days, Artie Schroeck remains mostly behind the scenes where his work is known and respected by his peers and heard all over the world by the general public. Schroeck and November have been a couple for 40 years, living much of that time in Las Vegas. Mr. Schroeck is a proud member of F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events). Mrs. Schroeck is also a supporter who attends the Fun events when the ladies are welcome (usually at the December holiday party and February's Valentine's gathering).

And speaking of the non-club club F.I.O.R.E., here is a friendly (with "friendly" being the operative word) reminder from the Head Organizer...F.I.O.R.E.'s 3rd Annual Valentine's Day Luncheon/Party will be held on the second Tuesday of February (that would be the 12th, Abraham Lincoln's birthday). It will, once again, be held at the newly renovated Take 1 Restaurant/Nightclub, located on the southeast corner of Fremont and 7th Street in downtown Las Vegas. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., exclusively for the party attendees. There will be a great luncheon, live music (played by mostly live musicians), dancing, entertainment, prizes, a no host bar, raffles (with cash prizes for some winners), and all for a measly $25 a person. You can bring your better half, fellows, and bring the other half too. The ladies will receive flowers and chocolates. Invite all of your friends (both of them) for this one as it's the last F.I.O.R.E. party of the semester. The next gathering will not be until July, when F.I.O.R.E. celebrates its anniversary. Please contact Nelson Sardelli at [email protected] (646-1813) or Conrad Villella [email protected] (254-3452) at your earliest convenience to see if you qualify to attend (are you breathing and friendly?) and/or to RSVP.

And then we have that other (dis)organization, the remnants of the group formerly known as The CAST Inc. Following their General Membership Meeting, held at a Westside restaurant on the 12th of January, journalist Norm Johnson, a longtime Las Vegan and CAST member, sent his letter of resignation to Denny Jones, Webmaster, stating that he feels (The CAST) "is no longer a viable organization under its present leadership, namely Tony Sacca." This is the president's response to Mr. Johnson's request (with misspells and poor grammar left intact)...

Norm,

I know it is tough to realized that you are all washed up.

But I want you to know you have had a great career.

So just relax and enjoy life before it is over you deserve it.

By the way, I do thank you for resigning from the CAST your negative energy is not flattering.

Respectfully,

A former Freind,

Sacca

Mr. Johnson passed the above e-mail on to those in his address book, along with the following message...

I presume from his (Tony Sacca's) note that if I, or anyone, does not follow his dictate, then you are no longer his friend. I feel that you men and women of our little village, should know who and what type of a person you have been dealing with all these years. Subscribe to his way of doing things, or be called "washed up." I prefer to be called "washed up," than to be a follower of TS. Thanks for taking a second to read this.

Sincerely,

Norm "Washed Up" Johnson

Are we through with this subject? That is doubtful. Until the mess is cleaned up (and a name change won't do it), and we get no more feedback from readers, we will continue our coverage of this topic. And regarding the CAST-offs...In last week's column, Cousin Claire, who prides herself on correct information, ESPECIALLY when it comes to people's names, misspelled the name of Laurence T. (The good news is, we DID spell his last name correctly.) Our most sincere apologies, Laurence. We promise it won't happen again.

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On Friday, February 1st, and Saturday the 2nd, Scott Stander & Associates will present Roslyn Kind in Concert at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. Show times on both nights will be at 8:30 and 10:30. Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Forget that Roslyn Kind is Barbra Streisand's kid sister. She is too good, and too special, to have to worry about comparisons." If you are in the Southern California area, stop in and see for yourself. The club is located at 6725 Sunset Boulevard. By the way, Scott Stander is also the person who brought Rita McKenzie, and her Ethel Merman's Broadway, to the Suncoast in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.

Rosyln Kind Don Rickles

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We finally got a chance to see Shades of Sinatra, a show we have written about but never got a chance to check out until Wednesday, January 16th. The four talented singers - Ryan Baker, Larry Liso, Carmine Mandia and Lisa Smith - were performing in the Suncoast theater. We enjoyed the revue that offers some comedy shtick, mixed in with lots of Sinatra favorites. We especially liked how our friend's, songwriter Ervin Drake, great timeline song, It Was a Very Good Year, was used to introduce different segments of Old Blue Eyes' career. One of our favorite moments was Lisa's too short version of In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. There were plenty of Sinatra favorites, including his first recording from 1939, Jack Lawrence's All Or Nothing At All, to That's Life, I've Got the World On a String, Come Rain Or Come Shine, Luck Be a Lady, The Best Is Yet To Come, All Of Me, You Make Me Feel So Young/Young At Heart, Witchcraft, Let Me Try Again, Chicago, The Lady Is a Tramp, I've Got You Under My Skin, a lovely duet of If I Loved You from Carousel and, of course, New York, New York. The group covered more than 40 Sinatra gems (The Chairman of the Board recorded more than 1700 songs during his career). Backed by a talented group of musicians - Ned Mills on piano and conducting, Dick Jones on bass, Bill King on trumpet, Gary Olds on drums, and Tom Steele on sax and a number of other horns. The audience in the almost full theater at the Suncoast loved the loving tribute to the music and career of Frank Sinatra. And, on the subject of The Shades of Sinatra, lest you think of them as just a group that plays in local neighborhood venues, last October, the talented quartet served as opening act to the legendary Don Rickles at the Golden Nugget. We were told that Rickles watched them from the wings on all three nights that they appeared. Look for the 81-year-young Rickles to next perform at The Orleans in March.

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If you are one of those people who bemoans the fact that there is very little Big Band music in Las Vegas, bemoan no more. Music-lover Ben Ardito, owner of downtown's Take 1 Nightclub & Restaurant, will introduce a new group on Wednesday and Thursday, January 30th and 31st. Calling themselves Nobody Famous and The Infamous Horns, the 12-piece ensemble will play from 8 to 10 p.m. for your listening and dancing pleasure. Come early, have dinner and enjoy the music. They will be videotaping the show, so dress accordingly and show up with someone you are supposed to be with. Take 1 is at 707 E. Fremont, on the corner of 7th. There is no cover charge but there is plenty of convenient parking available.

The Nobody Famous and The Infamous Horns Michael Kessler & Melinda Jackson

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As mentioned in an earlier column, native New Yorkers, Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson, return to Las Vegas with their popular dance show. This time, they will perform at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, Sunday at 2 p.m. Kessler and Jackson have produced, directed, written, choreographed and performed internationally from ballet to Broadway to Las Vegas. They were the starring song and dance team, in The Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular directed by Joe Layton, touring in more than 80 US cities, including an extended run at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas. The twosome played in Tommy Tune's Broadway show, Grand Hotel and in Cole Porter's Silk Stockings. Michael and Melinda produced, directed, choreographed, wrote the original music, and starred with their company, M&M American Dance Theatre, off-Broadway in Manhattan Moves at the American Place Theatre. Their first production, Lost Luggage, premiered in New York City at the Emanuel Y and received a rave review in the New York Times. Within 10 months, Lost Luggage was playing to sold-out houses and standing ovations throughout Performing Arts Centers and Opera Houses in the US and Europe. Nine international tours followed. They were the Artistic Directors of Ballet Jazz de Paris and have appeared with New York City Ballet, Monte Carlo Ballet, Geneva Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Harkness Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and have been guest performers with principal dancers from Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joffrey Ballet, and The Bolshoi Ballet among others. M&M have performed at the Friars Club, the 92nd St Y's Kaufman Theatre, Waldorf Astoria, Broadway Supper Club, Bellagio, Wynn and Bally's Las Vegas. They have done choreography for the Winter Olympics, US Pro Gymnastics Classic, special material for The Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular, members of American Ballet Theatre, as well as for artists ranging from Marilyn Michaels to Kevin McKenzie. They have worked with Sammy Davis, Jr., Gwen Verdon and Maya Plissetskaya. They directed and choreographed the 30th anniversary European tour of the hit Rock Musical, Hair, and co-produced, directed, choreographed and starred in a National Tour of That's Cole!, a Cole Porter dance musical revue. Tickets for this popular presentation are $25. For additional information, including directions to the theater, call (702) 363-1341, (702) 966-1410, or (702) 240-1301.

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Rule My World, a hip-hop musical based on William Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra, will be performed in workshop presentation at the new Los Angeles Theatre Center, this Sunday (the 27th) at 5 p.m. Featured in this special performance are Melody Butiu, Victor Chan, Deidre Henry, Daren A. Herbert, Todd Hunter, Daniel Lujan, Merrick McMahon, Joey Molina, Cedric Sanders and Ron Truppa. Book and lyrics are by Karole Foreman, with music by Allan Phillips. Jon Lawrence Rivera is directing. This is part of the Playwright's Arena, described as "Original works for adventurous minds." The LATC is located at 514 S. Spring Street, and the presentation is in Rehearsal Room 4A. Reservations are required and can only be made via e-mail. Contact [email protected].

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On Tuesday, Trader Vic's celebrated six decades of beauty by playing host to 24 former Miss America winners, including Lee Ann Meriwether (Crowned Miss America 1955, California), Vonda Van Dyke Scoates (Crowned Miss America 1965, Arizona), Phyllis George (Crowned Miss America 1971, Texas), Katie Harman Ebner (Crowned Miss America 2002, Oregon), Ericka Dunlap (Crowned Miss America 2004, Florida) and Jennifer Berry Gooden (Crowned Miss America 2006, Oklahoma). Trader Vic's Las Vegas is located in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort Casino.

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He calls himself T. Fox. (What is it they say about being "Sly as a ___"?) Is he talented? We don't know, as we have never seen him perform. He spent some time singing in a hallway at the Tropicana Hotel, and shows up every once in a while at the Take 1 Nightclub and Restaurant in downtown Las Vegas. Our grievance with this man is his attempt to mislead the public. Fox claims that he served as a model for a United States postage stamp, circa 1987, used as part of the ongoing Black Heritage series. Mr. Fox also claims, in some places, that his father was the artist who painted the portrait of Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable. Neither of these claims is true. It is, in fact, Thomas Blackshear who created the portrait used for the stamp. The model used for the painting was a longtime friend of Blackshear's, and the friend is NOT, nor ever has been, a Las Vegas entertainer. This Foxy character even goes so far as to use a photo of himself, alongside the stamp (see accompanying photos) on his Web site, to show the amazing similarities (she says, with tongue planted firmly in cheek). Why do folks try to pull these kinds of stunts? How do they imagine that they aren't going to be found out and exposed? What is the point anyway? Apparently, they feel they can not make it on their talent alone.

T. Fox U.S. Postage Stamp

And FYI...Thomas Blackshear is an African American artist who has achieved great success as a painter, sculpture and designer of beautiful figurines, most often on African American and/or religious themes. Blackshear, who makes his home in Colorado, created the illustrations for many stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service, including four in the Black Heritage stamp series. In addition to the stamp mentioned above, he also designed the James W. Johnson stamp (1988), Asa Philip Randolph stamp (1989) and Ida B. Wells stamp (1990). Other U.S. postage stamps with Blackshear illustrations include portraits of boxer Joe Louis (a former Las Vegan), and jazz musicians Jelly Roll Morton and Thelonious Monk. He also did stamps commemorating James Cagney, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Beau Geste and Stagecoach. He also did the artwork for the Classic Hollywood Movies series, as well as several stamps for Classic Movie Monsters. Blackshear illustrated the USPS book, I Have A Dream: A Collection of Black Americans on U.S. Postage Stamps (1991).

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Last minute news...Due to today's fire at the Monte Carlo Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, Lance Burton's show has been canceled for tonight (Friday, January 25th). Check with the hotel regarding other changes at the property.



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