Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

Displaying keen perception and great insight.  
She's a little bit naughty. Shes a little bit nice.  
She calls em like she sees (and hears) em.  

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from January 23, 2009
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - January 23, 2009

Keith Thompson

Frederic Kahler

Cork Proctor

In Thursday's Las Vegas Review-Journal, the rarely tactful, occasionally accurate guy with the eye patch, did it once again. The sentence under the Scene and Heard section of the column read, "Candi Cazau, the director of publicity for the Orleans and Suncoast showrooms, was let go Wednesday." That's it. That's all he wrote. And this man is supposed to be a reporter? In the first place, Ms. Cazau is not, and was not, the director of publicity. Her title was Manager of Media Relations for the Orleans and Suncoast Showrooms, something this joker could have found out if he had bothered to check. A real journalist might have also mentioned that a large number of Boyd Gaming employees (maybe as many as 70, we are still checking) were "let go" this week. We understand, from a reliable source, that Cazau had received an excellent employee review just last week, so this was quite unexpected. Sadly, due to the state of the current economy, this three-weeks-shy-of-10-year-employee, is only one of hundreds of locals to lose their jobs, through no fault of their own. We can only hope that, one day, the diminishing R-J realizes and acknowledges what an inept and incompetent employee they have in their midst. We look forward to reading somewhere, or hearing, that he has been "let go."

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Okay, all you "in crowd" folks asking about the January Composers Showcase. It will take place on Thursday, the 29th, same time (10:30 p.m.) and same station (the Cabaret Showroom in the Liberace Museum at 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer). Beginning this month, there is one change...audience members (not performers or their guests) will now be charged $5 for the privilege of seeing and enjoying some of the best talent in this city. If you choose to partake of the late night hors d'oeuvres buffet, provided by Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens Restaurant, that will be an additional $5 per person (not per table) for everybody. As usual, a cash bar is available. Trust us (have we ever lied to you?), even at $5 or $10, this is still an amazing entertainment bargain. Scheduled for this Thursday are local songwriter/composers Jason Andino, Erich Bergen, Travis Cloer, Rylan Leo Helmuth, Clint Holmes, Jeff Leibow, Keith Thompson and Mark Wherry. Singing the original material, Kelli Andino, Mike Backes, David Demato, Bonnie Frasier, Sarah Lowe, Nicole Pryor, Andrew Ragone, Arsenia Soto, Ali Spuck, Colin Trahan and Scott Watanabe. Musicians lending their talent and support include Patricia Diaz, Keith Hubacher, Don Meoli, Danny Miranda, Davy Nathan and Laurence Sobel. For those that don't already know, the Composers Showcase is an entertainment forum giving local composers, lyricists and songwriters the opportunity to present original material to a supportive audience in an informal cabaret-style setting. The showcase is hosted by Keith Thompson (conductor of Jersey Boys at The Palazzo) and Michael Brennan (conductor of Le Reve at Wynn Las Vegas). The focus of The Composers Showcase is to unite the Las Vegas theater community and reveal the creative spirit that abounds in all of them. The mission of the Liberace Foundation is to help talented students pursue careers in the performing and creative arts through scholarship assistance.

Once again, Keith Thompson, will fill in for pianist Philip Fortenberry in the Cabaret Showroom at the Liberace Museum. Fortenberry, with a number of recordings to his credit, is associate conductor for Jersey Boys at The Palazzo. Thompson took over the beautiful Liberace Baldwin for two weeks early last month, while Fortenberry was in Washington, D.C., performing in an Andrew Lloyd Webber tribute concert at the Kennedy Center. Keith's Celebrate Me Home performance combines music with the story of his journey from a small town in Arkansas (not too far from the famed Boll Weevil Monument), to the bright lights of Broadway and Las Vegas. This time around, with less emphasis on the holiday season, Thompson will once again sing, and charm the audience with songs and stories from his life and career, all the while paying homage to Liberace. You can see and hear Keith Thompson on Wednesday, January 28th, Saturday the 31st, and Tuesday, February 10th, Wednesday, the 11th, and Saturday, the 14th (Valentine's Day). For those who love music, we highly recommend that they see both of these talented gentlemen if they have the opportunity. Performance times are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. Admission is $17.50 per person. As mentioned above, the museum is located at 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer. Call (702) 798-5595 for reservations.

And speaking of the Composers Showcase...Artiste/songwriter (The House at the End of Snow Street), Frederic Kahler, who with his partner, Dana Allen (Hayes Hotel) left Las Vegas for North Carolina a few months ago, created quite a stir in the Carolinas on Tuesday. The caption for the accompanying photo, taken by John Coutlakis for the Ashville Citizen-Times, read, "Fredrick [sic] Kahler of Asheville arrives at an inauguration gala for President Barak Obama at the Orange Peel. The party featured food, drink, music, and a replay of events in Washington D.C. on two large screens." Mr. Kahler, wearing his winter beard, describes his unique ensemble thusly, "I'd purchased the African bracelets in the French Quarter in New Orleans; the Lurex turtleneck from the famous flea market in Paris, France; the Obama tee from The beads are my own. My fragrance: Coco by Chanel." We think the fashion conscious first lady, Michelle Obama, has nothing on our Frederic. Frederic and Dana were both frequent creative contributors at the monthly showcases. They are missed.

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We got some interesting comments from readers following our last Friday's rant on the idea of creating a Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas. We couldn't disagree more with the Happiest Mayor in the World, Oscar Goodman, who is very much behind this project. In a city that is cutting teacher's salaries due to the current economy, Oscar Mayor wants to spend (as in waste) millions on this ridiculous concept. Here is one response, from Henderson resident, Karan Feder...
I'd like to agree with your recent comments concerning the dismal representation of Las Vegas's iconic entertainment community in the form of a historical museum/attraction/venue.
This is a topic that I have been thinking deeply about lately and in fact, I have begun work on a
program whose mission is to acquire, preserve and maintain a permanent Las Vegas Entertainment Costume Collection. The mission of the Las Vegas Entertainment Costume Collection will be to provide students, educators, scholars and industry personnel with a direct resource where the study of Las Vegas Entertainment Costume is encouraged and supported.
The program would collect costume and accessories as utilized within the city's entertainment industry. Examples from various sources including theatre production shows, film, television, casino uniform costume, cabaret performances and etc. will be represented in the collection.
As I consider you to be an vital component within the Las Vegas entertainment community, I would greatly value your expertise regarding such a program.
We would DEFINITELY like to see costumes preserved and displayed as an important part of a museum honoring the history of Las Vegas entertainment.

And, from a Southern California reader...
Do keep me posted if you hear of a better-themed museum being planned. Something more along the lines of the Glittering Age of Vegas. True the mob was around, but it was the Stars that made it Glitter.

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Wes Winters

Larry Liso

On Sunday, we were busy, busy, busy, "All the livelong day" (a line written by Stephen Schwartz for Studs Terkel's Working, the musical). In the early afternoon, about 50 invited industry insiders attended an event held in the, soon-to-open to the public, Las Vegas S�ance space located in the Liberace Plaza. The reason for the gathering? Longtime Las Vegan, Cork Proctor, was previewing and videotaping (by Kenny Laursen of Aladdin Productions) his one man entertaining/historical look at the city he has called home since 1940 (taking occasional breaks to work elsewhere, travel, and serve a year in Surinam with the Peace Corps). The idea was to present the concept, along with portions of the show, to a group of professionals (we crashed the party) and solicit their comments and/or suggestions on what to change, what to expand on, and what to leave alone. Folks such as producer Bill Moore; comic Kelly McDonald and his wife Ann; entertainers John and Pam Thompson, of The Great Tomsoni and Company, with their pup, Grace (they rarely leave home without her); comic/magician Fielding West; choreographer Rene De Haven; musician Toni Sandoval (back in Las Vegas after years away); Cam Usher (retired from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority); Mel Larson ("onetime director of everything at Circus Circus," according to Proctor) and wife Marilyn; veteran performer Betty Bunch; Renee Hale, president of Always Creative events services; Rick White, director of marketing at the Hilton; former president of American Federation of Musicians Union (local 369) Mark Massagli; Joyce Marshall Moore, archivist for UNLV; photographer Ed Foster; and Tommy Russell, who, in 1959 Reno, gave Proctor his first job as a drummer, were among those asked to fill out questionnaires after the performance, evaluating the presentation. Cork Proctor's Classic Tales of Las Vegas was directed by performing and visual artist Mistinguett, who, between 1982 and 2006, choreographed and designed costumes for producer Greg Thompson's production shows, while Jac "Mundane the Grate" Hayden served as assistant to Mr. Proctor and acted as host and emcee. The overflow crowd (the space is designed to accommodate about 35 people), most of whom Cork has known for between 30 and 50 years, was very responsive. This is a new and different type of act for a man who is known primarily as a standup comic. It is almost entirely scripted, and made up of Vegas stories accumulated over almost 60 years. We can't think of anyone else, with this much local history, who is better equipped to pull this off.
Performance photo of Cork Proctor by Ed Foster.

In the evening, we were at the Suncoast to see and hear entertainer Wes Winters. After spending almost five years as a performance artist in the Liberace Plaza - at both Carluccio's restaurant and in the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum where his Musical Tribute to Liberace became a locals and tourists' favorite - it is not surprising that Winters has a very devoted following. Many of those fans showed up at the Suncoast last weekend, some on all three nights, to cheer on the Kansas native. A self-taught musician, Winters sang, played piano, guitar and the accordion for this showroom engagement. The program offered a variety of material, from Tony Orlando and Dawn's Knock Three Times, Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence, Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode, Ron Miller's For Once In My Life, Rick Nelson's Hello, Mary Lou, the piano version of 1917's Johnson Rag (lyrics by songwriter Jack Lawrence were added in 1940), Barry Manilow's Can't Smile Without You, to Bette Midler's Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, After You've Gone, Ray Price's Crazy Arms, and a beautiful medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. Husband and wife magic team, Joseph Gabriel and Katalin, were special guests, performing some impressive illusions. A highlight of the evening presents Gabriel working a Liberace look-alike puppet who "plays" piano and joins Winters in a clever duet of Irving Berlin's, You're Just In Love. It's hard to tell who had a better time, the audience or Winters himself. We'll call it a draw.
Wes Winters photo by Randy Soard

And speaking of the Las Vegas S�ance, expect the spot to be officially open around Valentine's Day. The business is the brainchild of entrepreneurial Robert Allen, owner of the very successful Haunted Vegas and Vegas Mob Tours. For tour info, call (866) 218-4935.

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So many choices. So little time. Once again, we have a Las Vegas weekend with too many fun and interesting things taking place on the same days and nights. Here are some samples...
At the Starbright Theatre, tomorrow night (January 24th) at 7 p.m., it's The Keatings - A Father and Son Musical Experience. The Keatings take audiences on a musical journey that spans numerous genres, including opera, Broadway, and pop music. Audiences are consistently captivated by the unique combination of powerful voices from father, Ken, and his 16-year-old son, Josh. Ken Keating is an accomplished vocalist and pianist and has worked extensively with critically acclaimed groups such as the William Hall Master Chorale, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Boston Pops. He has performed at such places as the Hollywood Bowl and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and has worked with celebrities such as Carol Burnett and Hal Linden. Josh Keating has been singing all of his life, and by the age of 11, he was already performing on stage in Las Vegas. Recently, Josh was invited to perform as a special guest at a Vegas charity event called An Evening With Tony Bennett and the Stars. Tickets are $10 for Sun City Summerlin residents and $12 for non-residents. The Starbright is located at Thomas Ryan Blvd. All shows are first come, first served with no limit on the number of tickets purchased. Show tickets may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets are non-refundable. Most Starbright Theatre shows are open to everyone ages 12 and over. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

If you are reading this in time, it's Larry Liso, live at Summerlin's Mezza Lounge and Grill, 9460 West Tropicana, tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. Liso, a member of Shades of Sinatra (along with Ryan Baker, Carmine Mandia and Lisa Smith), goes solo tonight, performing great jazz standards, dance music and originals. For additional information, call (702) 489-4493.

Jason Forbach

Tony Arias & Lloyd Ziel

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 24th), singer/actor Jason Forbach steps away from his role in The Venetian's Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular (where he is in the ensemble and understudies the roles of Raoul and Reyer) to perform music from his new debut solo recording, A New Leading Man. The concert, to benefit Family Promise of Las Vegas, will take place at 2 p.m. in the Clark County Flamingo Library Theater at 1401 E. Flamingo. Jason, a native of Kansas, will present songs from the "new school" of theatrical composers and unconventional leading men in modern musical theater. Among the songwriters whose works are featured, Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World, Parade, Urban Cowboy, 13); Craig Carnelia (Working, Is There Life After High School, and with Marvin Hamlisch, Sweet Smell of Success); Adam Guettel, the son of Mary Rodgers and grandson of Richard Rodgers (Floyd Collins, Light in the Piazza); John Bucchino (the song Grateful, It's Only Life, The Catered Affair); William Finn (Falsettos, A New Brain, Elegies, Infinite Joy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee); Duncan Sheik (The Nightingale, Light In the Piazza) and others. The concert, led by musical director William Waldrop, assistant conductor of Phantom, will also feature fellow cast mates with choreography provided by Courtney Combs. Admission is $20 per person, with $10 of each ticket price going directly to Family Promise of Las Vegas whose goal is to help homeless families get off the street and back into a residence. Concert goers will receive a free copy Jason Forbach's new CD, as well as promotional ticket offers to Phantom. Additional pledges to Family Promise can be made at the theater or online. To purchase A New Leading Man go to or other online music retailers. Contact Bruce Ewing at (702) 245-0992, or go to for concert tickets or additional information.

Also, at the same venue on Sunday, the Performing Arts Society of Nevada will present Four Guys In Search of a Song at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo, on Sunday at 2 p.m. It will be music, music, music, music when these four talented vocal artists come to sing their hearts out, accompanied by the magical fingers of pianist Mike Dubay. Join Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular's cast member, Bruce Ewing, along with Tony Arias, Tim Searcy and Lloyd Ziel, as they launch 2009 with a musical bang! Tickets are a reasonable $15 a person. For reservations, call (702) 658-6741, or purchase tickets an hour before the show at the library box office.

The Mechta Trio

Eddie Money

George Daly (Vintage)

The county's Winchester Cultural Center, at 3130 S. McLeod Drive, will host The Mechta Trio tomorrow at 2 p.m. This classy chamber ensemble is made up of violinist Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev, cellist Elena Kapustina, and pianist Maria Pisarenko. The extraordinary trio will perform works by Rachmaninov, Dvorak, Shchedrin and other greats. Tickets are $10 ($7 for seniors) and are available at the center's front desk. Call (702) 455-7340 for additional information.

And, don't forget Desi Arnaz Jr. and Mary Crosby in Love Letters, playing tomorrow at 4 p.m. in the historical 380-seat Boulder Theatre, at 1225 Arizona Street in the lovely city by the dam. Tickets are $40, with proceeds going to benefit the nonprofit Boulder City Ballet Company, run by Desi's wife, Amy Arnaz (known around Boulder City as "Miss Amy"). This is expected to be a sell out, so call for reservations. The number is (702) 293-1161.

Paul Stone, who in recent months has presented a variety show and magic show at the Suncoast, this weekend has The Bootleg Sixties Show, starring The Overtures. The tribute band salutes classic sounds of the 1960s, originated by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Animals, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Searchers, The Hollies, The Who, The Everly Brothers and Manfred Mann (how did HE get in here?). The show plays at 7:30 p.m., through Sunday. Tickets range from $33 to $55, and may be reserved by calling the Suncoast box office at (702) 636-7075.

We all know that the dollar ain't worth today what it used to be a few years ago. So we wonder about money in general...including Eddie Money. At almost 60, will audience members, especially diehard Money fans, recognize the once familiar voice that had hits with Take Me Home Tonight, Two Tickets to Paradise, and Baby Hold On? It depends what you read. Money's most recent recording, Wanna Go Back, is a compilation of songs from the '60s when Money was first getting his start in the music industry. In conjunction with the album release, he partnered with De La Montanya Winery to produce Wanna Go Back!, a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. All of the gross proceeds will be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. Eddie's daughter, Jesse Money, recently appeared on the MTV reality series Rock the Cradle. The twosome also appeared together on an episode of TV's Don't Forget the Lyrics!, hosted by Wayne Brady (Brady appears in his own show at The Venetian), which aired last month. Eddie Money will perform in the 650-seat Railhead at Boulder Station tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $25, $35, $45 and $55, plus tax and applicable fees. All ages welcome (under 21 must be accompanied by an adult). Call (702) 547-5300 for reservations.

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One of our readers, Jim H., is trying to locate an old friend and former Ice Capades performer, George Daly. He is hoping a reader may be able to help. Jim says that in 2000 and 2005, Ice Capades held very successful reunions in Las Vegas, attracting between 700 and 800 former Capades participants. Daly was not present at either event and Jim could not find anyone who had seen him in recent years. If you have any knowledge of George Daly, please let Cousin Claire know and she will pass it on to Jim H. Incidentally, Jim reports that the next reunion will take place sometime next year and will be a cruise.

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Stephen Schwartz

Brent Barrett

Kevin Spirtas

The UNLV Performing Arts Center presents Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 31st, as part of the New York Stage & Beyond Series. Stephen Schwartz, who will not be in the revue, is an American musical theatre lyricist and composer who has won three Grammy Awards, four Academy Awards, and is a nine-time Tony Award nominee. The program includes songs from Schwartz's Wicked, Pocahontas, Godspell, and Pippin sung by veteran Broadway performers Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party), David Burnham (Wicked, Light in the Piazza), and Farah Alvin (Grease, Saturday Night Fever). The production is directed by Gordon Greenberg (Happy Days: The Musical). Tickets to Defying Gravity, performed in the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, are $40, $55, and $85 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office, by calling (702) 895-ARTS (2787), or by visiting Student rush tickets are $13 each and available one hour prior to each event, based on availability and with valid student I.D. UNLV faculty and staff discounts also are available. A $1 facilities fee, in addition to the ticket price, is charged on all Performing Arts Center tickets. A $2 service charge and a $1 facilities fee applies to phone orders. Internet orders are also charged handling fees. No refunds on ticket purchases. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

And speaking of UNLV, it's not too early to make reservations for the Saturday, March 21st Pops III concert, with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and featuring our Phavorite Phantom, Brent Barrett. Those who saw Mr. Barrett perform with Reva Rice and Tina Walsh in Too Darn Hot!, a benefit for Boulder City's Red Mountain Music Company at the Cashman Theatre, have been anxiously awaiting the talented singer/actor's return to a local stage. Here is their, and your, chance! In You and the Night and the Music, one of the songs that Barrett will sing (arranged by the amazing Philip Fortenberry and orchestrated by the talented Jimmy Lockett), audience members can also look forward to hearing Brent do numbers from his (John) Kander and (Fred) Ebb and Alan Jay Lerner albums, as well as Cole Porter, Jimmy Webb, Barry Manilow and Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse favorites. Plan to spend some time with musical theater's Brent Barrett (star of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Kiss Me Kate, Grand Hotel, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and West Side Story, among others). Performed in the Artemus Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, beginning at 8 p.m., tickets range from $25 to $65, and may be purchased by calling the box office at (702) 895-2787.

Before his appearance with the Las Vegas Philharmonic in March, Brent Barrett will appear as one-third of The Broadway Tenors when they perform in Pennsylvania at the Scranton Cultural Center on February 6th, and the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on February 7th. From February 13th through 15th, the trio, made up of George Dvorsky, Kevin Spirtas and Barrett, will perform at the Tucson Music Hall accompanied by the Arizona city's Symphony Orchestra. (Spirtas, who portrayed "Corny Collins" in the Luxor's production of Hairspray, also performed his one man show, Night and Days, in Las Vegas, at both the Charleston Heights Arts Center and the Starbright Theater in Sun City Summerlin. He also was in Broadway Curtain Calls at the Starbright.)

And also speaking of UNLV, the College of Fine Arts and the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery present You See: The Early Years of the UC Davis Studio Art Faculty, featuring the works of Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Manuel Neri, Wayne Thiebaud and William T. Wiley. The exhibit will run through February 21st. at the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, in the Alta Ham Fine Arts Building on the campus. You See: the Early Years of the UC Davis Art Faculty was curated by Renny Pritikin, Director of the Richard L. Nelson Gallery & The Fine Arts Collection, University of California, Davis. This project has been funded in part by a grant from the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Gallery hours are Mondays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., closed Sundays and Holidays. An exhibit catalog is available. For further information, call (702) 895-3893, or check

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Happy birthday to Aquarians Wyntergrace Williams, Neil Diamond, Jim Seagrave, Terry Jenkins, Walter Mason, Eve Quillin, Doug Saleeby, Elliot Krane, Ray Jarvis, Nino Frediani, Arian Black, Ashleigh Hackett, Jim Semmelman, Ron Andrews, Nancy Lee Parker Andrews, John Meren, Joe Krathwohl, Norm Johnson, Cindy Raft, Dacoda Collins, Martin Nievera, Natalie Cole, Bobby Dickerson, Maurice Hines Sr., Eddie Foy III, Joey Zarzecki, Sean Grady, and Eddie and Anthony Edwards. Also, belated wishes to Las Vegan Felix Silla (best known as "Cousin Itt" on TV's The Addams Family, "Twiki" on Buck Rogers, and "Ewok Retah" in Return of the Jedi) who celebrated on January 11th. And happy anniversary to Jimmy and Sheri Hopper.

Felix Silla

Liz Renay NY Exhibit

Liz Renay Exhibit Guests

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We ran out of room, time and steam two weeks ago (January 9th), but since the Deitch Projects and the Burlesque Hall of Fame presentation, How To Attract Men, a retrospective exhibit of the works and life of Liz Renay, runs through the end of this month, we can expand on the subject of Mz. Liz. No one could have created this character, except Liz herself. To say that she was unique would be an understatement. Even at 80, she was still most concerned about her image. The makeup. The hair (she wore wigs). The cleavage. It all had to be just so, and to Liz's satisfaction. We remember during one of her hospital stays, when we inquired if she wanted us to let a male friend know she was a patient, she said absolutely NOT. Even in declining health, she had to maintain that Liz image, and NO man would see her looking anything but her best. Local fan and friend, Grant Philipo, made the trip to New York to take in all things Liz, as well as other sights of the region. He took many, many photos...too many for us to use, but we are including a few this week. Grant feels, and rightly so, that Liz herself was the instigator of all of this publicity and media interest, two years after her death, but says the credit goes to Scott Ewalt (who is doing a book on Liz Renay and has plans for a film about her life as well). "He (Scott) was the one who really organized all of it! He was Liz's friend for many years and, fortunately, is my friend as well. Dixie Evans, from the Burlesque Museum, and Luke Littell and Laura Herbert, with the museum and Miss Exotic World, purchased most of Liz's belongings when she passed and have held onto them. Scott and I went through trunks of her press, photos, etc. Then Scott also sought out any of her available paintings and he and Luke and Laura with The Burlesque Hall of Fame, bought the two owned by Liz's publisher (the late Lyle Stewart) widow. Not cheaply either! They have compiled all her paintings they could get a hold of for this showing (some are for sale), and many of her personal items on display, including some on custom painted mannequins, in cases and displayed on the walls. A portion of the gallery walls will be papered with Liz's monthly, "To Do" lists that used to hang inside her front door as reminders. Believe me, they weren't all simple things. For instance, "Start a New Religion!" Trust me, I know Liz has guided everyone involved to do her up right! She never threw anything away, because she knew if she had owned it or used it, people would someday want to see it. She must have had thousands of pairs of used eye-lashes and wigs, from her early days to the time of her death. She constantly wrote down and kept every idea she ever had. Its hard to believe she was so aware of her fame and the desire she had created for people to want to know more about her. She even used to write articles to help women improve everything in their lives (including the importance of feminine hygiene!), and instructed them on how to attract men." Philipo reports that he took pictures at Coney Island, only to find out that it will all be torn down to be replaced for a casino. The only building that will be spared from the wrecking ball will be the original home of Nathan's Famous Frankfurters, a Coney Island landmark since 1916. That's progress.

Yesterday, January 22nd, the list of Oscar nominees was announced. It comes as no surprise that the late Heath Ledger was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as "The Joker" in The Dark Knight. Is it merely a coincidence that the announcement came on the one year anniversary of the young (he was only 28) star's death? We think not. Yesterday was also the second anniversary of the above mentioned Liz Renay's passing. Grant Philipo made the pilgrimage to her grave site, located at Bunkers Eden Vale Memorial Park, 1216 Las Vegas Blvd. North, where he cleaned up the headstone and left some lovely flowers behind.

Heath Ledger

Wyntergrace Williams

To avoid confusion, we might point out that the "Bambi" referred to in the January 9th column on the Liz Renay exhibit, is "Bambi the Mermaid", not either of longtime Las Vegans, Bambi Jr., (Natalie Need a Nightie at the Union Plaza, Minsky's Burlesque at the Hacienda, Crazy Girls at the Riviera, and the UNLV Rebel's most popular poster girl), or her mother, Bambi Sr. (author Dori Kotzan). The mother and daughter (whose real name is Grace Moerhle Coronel), currently live in Connecticut. Grace is now married to Marc Coronel. They have a son, 4-year-old, Mace, who joins teenagers Wyntergrace and Montel (lovingly called Gootch by his family), Grace's children by former husband, Montel Williams.

And speaking of Wyntergrace Williams (mentioned in the above Aquarian birthday list), this is a young lady of principles. The 14-year-old has asked the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to help her spread the word about vegetarian diets. Three years ago, Ms. Williams changed to a vegetarian diet out of compassion for animals and for health concerns. She persuaded her mother to join her, and now she wants to make sure students across the country have access to healthful vegetarian foods. Wyntergrace attends a middle school in Greenwich, Conn. She loves her school, but noticed it needed more vegetarian options in the lunch line. Realizing that many other students were also looking for healthier cafeteria meals, she started a petition to get healthful foods in her school. The petition said, "Whether we choose them out of compassion for animals, or because of concerns about health or the environment, we all benefit from having plant-based meals available. We want to work with our cafeteria to make these new healthful offerings a success." The school was not hard to convince. PCRM is now working with the food service managers to test and implement new vegan meal options. Eager to help all students find healthier foods at school, this bright young lady is now working with PCRM to create a national petition that students across the country can sign to gain support for more vegetarian options. You go, girl!

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