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 June 26, 2009
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - June 26, 2009

Brent Barrett

Wes Winters

Joe Bologna & Renee Taylor

Our Phavorite Phantom, Brent Barrett, returns for a stint in the long-running hit musical, Chicago, where he will once again portray lawyer, "Billy Flynn." Brent has played "the silver-tongued prince of the courtroom," several times on Broadway and on the National Tour. Beginning on May 26th, Barrett will have traveled from Miami Beach, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Worcester, Maine; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; to the Ambassador Theater in New York, where he will perform from July 7th to August 9th. His "Roxie" for much of that time will be Samantha Harris, co-host of TV's Dancing with the Stars. Barrett describes his return to the stage at the Ambassador in the popular John Kander and Fred Ebb musical as, "A nice way to reenter the work force in NYC." Following his current run in Chicago, Brent heads for Dublin, where, on August 28th, he and Kim Criswell will perform The Ultimate Tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, with favorites from The Sound of Music, Carousel, South Pacific, Oklahoma! and more, accompanied by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, conducted by John Wilson. Also from Mr. Barrett comes word that, in September, he will be back in the studio, recording his third solo album. His two earlier CDs are The Kander and Ebb Album and The Alan Jay Lerner Album...both gems. The new CD, should be out for the holidays, which is a good thing, since it's a Christmas album. Plans are to debut the new recording via a two night stint at Birdland on December 13th and 14th.

And from another Kansas talent (did we mention that Brent Barrett is from Quinter, Kansas?), Wes Winters (who is from Olathe) continues to do great business at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel on Paradise Road. Tom Xavier, the General Manager at the Renaissance, has this to say about entertainer Wes Winters, "Wes Winters at ENVY The Steakhouse is a home-run that keeps on going." Winters has been playing piano on Sundays in the high-class dining spot since mid-February. To say that Music & Mimosas, with Winters at the piano, has taken off would be an understatement. The Sunday morning brunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., features a cheese and wine tasting, unlimited sparkling wine, Mimosa, fruit smoothies, and a "Build your own" Bloody Mary bar. Appetizers include fresh fruit and berries, smoked salmon with tomatoes, red onions and capers and ENVY's signature fruit and granola parfaits. The Mimosas & Music" brunch also features various serving stations, including omelets, classic Belgium waffles and seafood stations. Entrees will include Egg Benedict with hollandaise, vanilla-raisin Brioche French toast, and mini gourmet sandwiches. The dessert menu consists of homemade mousses, chocolate-covered strawberries, and assorted mini pastries. On Mother's Day, 380 people were in attendance at the ENVY brunch, and on Father's Day, 260 folks came out for Music & Mimosas. Wes, who was inspired as a child by Liberace, specializes in musical tributes of the glittering piano genius. Self-trained, and with a list of credits including television, radio, live theater, composing and producing, Winters conceived, wrote, produced and, for almost five years, starred in "A Musical Tribute to Liberace" at the world-renowned Liberace Museum. At ENVY, he performs a repertoire of standards and musical favorites. The cost for all of this? A very reasonable $25 per person. And at the same place (these folks know a good thing when they see it), from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Winters is back, in the ENVY Steakhouse Lounge, to entertain the evening customers. It's a great spot for dancing, drink specials, and bar menu discounts. ENVY is located in the Renaissance Las Vegas at 3400 Paradise Road. Reservations are recommended. Call (702) 784-5716. On Sunday, July 26th, Wes performs "Back to the 50s" at the Clark County Flamingo Library for the Performing Arts Society of Nevada (we will have more on this closer to the date). In mid-July, the Piano Man opens for Bobby Vinton at a private event in Reno, and at the end of August, Winters is off to entertain on an Alaskan Cruise. October 23rd and 24th, Mr. Busy Busy will perform at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, and in December, it‘s a three-venue-week in Canada. Whew!

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If you happen to be in New York (and we know some of you are or will be), on June 30th and July 1st, the husband and wife team of Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna will be performing their self-penned show, If You Ever Leave Me...I'm Going With You, at Feinstein's at Loews Regency. Based on their life together (the twosome has been married for almost 44 years), Taylor and Bologna have done this show in Las Vegas a number of times, first at the downtown Plaza in 2005, and at the Suncoast in both 2007 and 2008. Called "The Nightclub of New York," Feinstein's is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street. For reservations, call (212) 339-4095.

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Farrah Fawcett

Michael Jackson

June 25th, 2009. What a sad day for the world of entertainment. On Thursday morning, Farrah Fawcett lost her three year battle with cancer. What a valiant fight the beautiful blonde actress, best known as "Jill Munroe" of TV's Charlie's Angels fame, put up, even documenting her battle on film. Fawcett was 62.

Then, early that same afternoon, came word of the sudden death of pop star Michael Jackson. It appears he died of cardiac arrest. Is Jackson's death, at 50, shocking? Yes. Is it surprising? We would say, no. Did Michael look healthy? Not for years. Could anyone picture him living to be an old man? We think not.

The death of Danny Gans on May 1st, and Jackson yesterday, bears some similarities. The two entertainers were very close in age (Gans was 52) and, according to reports, both suffered breathing problems and could not be revived. Listening to the just released playback of the 911 emergency call made by Danny‘s wife, we found her to be surprisingly calm, considering the circumstances. We are not suggesting anything wrong or suspicious, nor are we the only ones to comment on this. It just seems unusual.

And, in the same week, Ed McMahon, best known for his three-decades as the sidekick and announcer of Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, died on Tuesday, June 23rd. McMahon's "Heeeeere's Johnny" became as familiar as Tarzan's (and Carol Burnett's) yell. McMahon, who had suffered numerous health problems in recent years, was 86 at the time of his death. Seen in the accompanying photo with Ed McMahon is local celebrity, Larry "Never Miss a Photo Op" Edwards.

Ed McMahon & Larry Edwards

George Wallace

And speaking of Larry Edwards, also known as "Hot Chocolate"...He serves as a greeter at a number of the clubs located in the Fruit Loop (on Paradise, between Harmon and Tropicana). Larry was very excited when Caesars Palace headliner, the Divine Bette Midler, stopped in at Gipsy the other night to see a number of her backup dancers perform. The star of The Showgirl Must Go On, was low key (wearing a cap to cover her hair). It was pretty obvious that, much like Greta Garbo, Bette "vanted to be (left) alone" to enjoy the show.

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SOMEONE wasn't paying close attention...that would be Cousin Claire and/or her regular (and loyal) readers. How come no one bothered to mention that the big Golden Rainbow annual fundraising show takes place THIS Sunday, on the 28th, not last Sunday the 21st, as this dozing at the wheel columnist indicated in last Fridays ramblings? Not that we are making excuses (although we are), but the Ribbon of Life production, featuring hundreds of Las Vegas Strip performers AND top name headliners donating their time and talent for a very worthwhile cause, USUALLY holds the event on Father's Day Sunday, which was last weekend. This year's show, number 23, takes place this coming Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. the theater at the Las Vegas Hilton...which means if you were otherwise occupied last Sunday, you still have the chance to see it, THIS Sunday. Is everyone (including us) clear now? Starring in the show are comic George Wallace (Flamingo), Mosaic (The Mirage), Vegas newcomers Human Nature (Imperial Palace), plus 250 performers from producers and shows, including ChapQuist Entertainment, Jersey Boys, Jubilee!, Ka, La Femme, Love, O, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Rich & Famous, Searcy Entertainment, Sin City Bad Girls, Voci Vegas and Zumanity. Tickets start at $50, and may be purchased by calling (702) 384-2899. Golden Rainbow is a uniquely caring and responsive non-profit organization that exists to ensure that the fundamental needs of Southern Nevada men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS are met. We apologize for any confusion we may have caused.

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Patti LuPone

Martin Nievera of Vocal Soup

We are pleased to say that our busy weekend did not disappoint. On Saturday night, we saw Patti LuPone debut The Gypsy in My Soul at The Orleans showroom. She was great, generating a number of standing ovations from the almost sold out 810-seat theater audience. Among the songs Patti sang were "Gypsy In My Soul," "Do It Again," "The Man I Love," "I Never Do Anything Twice," "I Regret Everything," "The Way You Look Tonight," and, of course Evita‘s "Don't Cry For Me Argentina." Credit goes out to LuPone's terrific backup musicians (identified by her as the "Gypsy Vagabondos"), made up of her own Musical Director/pianist, Joseph Thalken, and drummer, Paul Pizzuti; along with Las Vegas players, Tom Ehlen and Wes Marshall, on trumpets; Bobby Scann on trombone; Dan Philippus, Steve Golden, and Gary "Flash" Freyman on reeds; Chris Gordan on upright bass; and Jack Cenna on percussion. Steve Cantor served as contractor/leader (although Cantor is a guitarist, he did not play for LuPone‘s engagement). Both Cantor and Golden, who did a beautiful job on saxophone, described Ms. LuPone as "a pleasure to work with"... as long as you leave your camera or cell phone at home, or turned off. It may be hard to believe but, in spite of Cousin Claire's warning about no photography, cell phones or other electronic devices during Ms. LuPone's performance (Hasn't everyone with a computer heard or seen the rant, captured for youtube viewers, that occurred during Patti's final performance in Gypsy on Broadway?) Before the show, we had a lovely dinner at Canal Street in The Orleans. What added to the enjoyment of the meal itself, was the hospitality, and great sense of humor, of host/sommelier, John Messana. If Big John looks familiar, it may be because, for many years, he was the Theater Manager of the Stardust showroom (now a pile of rebar across from the Riviera). We might also give a tip of the hat to Stacey Medall, Managing Director of the Orleans showroom, who does a fine job of keeping things running smoothly.

On Sunday night, we were at the Suncoast (the last night of three) for the debut of Vocal Soup, a brand new consolidation of people/friends and ideas, featuring the talents of (in our frequently used, politically correct, alphabetical order) Domenick Allen, Susan Anton, Clint Holmes, and Martin Nievera. The show ran nearly two hours. It takes that much time to showcase each of the individuals as well as show them in clever combinations. The show opened with all four entertainers singing an original song, written, we think, by Allen and Holmes, called, surprise, "Vocal Soup." In his solo portion of the revue, Nievera sang Anthony Newley's "For Once In a Lifetime," "Ikaw Ang Pangarap" (You Are a Dream), "You Are My Song" (written by Martin), "Be My Lady," and closed with "This Is the Moment" from Jekyll and Hyde. It is no wonder that Mr. Nievera is a major star in the Philippines. During her solo segment, Susan sang James Brown's "It's a Man's World," and "If I Wrote a Note To God." Domenick, who toured with the group Foreigner, did some of their tunes, including "Cold As Ice," "Feels Like the First Time," "Urgent," and Billy Joel's "The Entertainer," with rewritten lyrics. Clint Holmes, who came up with the idea of pooling talent and then put this quartet together, sang "Mr. Bojangles" in a tribute to Sammy Davis Jr., did some tap/scat, "Colorful" from the musical Golden Boy, and ended his solo part with another Newley song, "What Kind of Fool Am I." With Vince Falcone at the piano, the foursome paid homage to Ol' Blue Eyes, The Chairman of the Board, Francis Albert Sinatra, with 18 songs associated with the man who, more than likely, will go down in music history as the best pop/saloon singer EVER. Falcone, who worked with Sinatra for almost 10 years, started the segment with a lovely piano rendition of "Angel Eyes." Then, with the four singers taking turns, they went through "Luck Be a Lady," "My Kind of Town," "All Or Nothing At All," "Fly Me To the Moon," "Nice and Easy," "Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week," "All of Me," "The Best Is Yet To Come," "Where Or When," "Come Fly With Me," "Night and Day," "Lady is a Tramp," "The Second Time Around," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Summer Wind," "I've Got the World On a String," and wound up with the group doing "I've Got You Under My Skin." There were a number of other highlights, too many to mention, but we have to give special mention and a big A+ to Domenick Allen, who, not only sings his ass off, but also is a one man orchestra, playing multiple horns, guitar and, although he didn't do so in Vocal Soup, plays piano with the best of them. What we neglected to do (we bad) was get the names of the musicians. Some, but not all of them, in addition to Falcone, were Bill Fayne, Jeff Neiman and Davy Nathan, all on piano and/or keys, and the amazing drummer, Brian Czach, who works with Domenick all around the world.

And speaking of Mr. Nievera (and we were), on September 3rd and 4th, he will perform in a big concert at Manila's Araneta Coliseum. For the first time ever, Martin will share the stage with Gary Valenciano, a Filipino musician, composer, actor, producer and gospel singer, who is best known for a number of songs that became movie themes.

We suspect that Terry Jenkins, Boyd Gaming's Director of Entertainment, might be following us. On Saturday, June 13th, we spotted Jenkins at both the Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell show at the South Point, as well as at the 25th anniversary surprise party for the talented couple, later in the evening. This last Saturday, June 20th, we saw him at both Patti LuPone's show at The Orleans, and dining at the hotel's excellent Canal Street restaurant, where we also had dinner. And then, the next night, he was at the Suncoast, taking in Vocal Soup! What's going on here, Mr. Jenkins?

And speaking of Boyd Gaming...
From Jim Seagrave, Vice President of Advertising for the corporation and one of our favorite Las Vegans, comes this recommendation. During last weekend, Jim and his bride of 30 years, that would be Jan, attended a local production of My Fair Lady on the campus of the new Bishop Gorman High School. Mr. Seagrave reports that My Fair Lady was presented by Writing on the Wall Productions in Gorman's brand new performing arts theater. "Very nicely done. Beautiful facility," says the gentleman who knows much about entertainment. Managing Producer, and Las Vegas native, Margaret Larsen, along with Artistic Director and Broadway veteran, Elena Ferrante-Martin, have teamed up to form Writing on the Wall Productions. Their goal is to provide high quality, affordable musical theatre to the community. Writing on the Wall Productions has enlisted the talents of a group of entertainment professionals who have devoted time and passion to bring the timeless favorite, My Fair Lady, to the Las Vegas stage. Set and lighting are designed by BJ Allen, the current Production Stage Manager of Jersey Boys. Sound and music are designed by the Donny & Marie show's, Michael Martin. Accredited choreographer, Tammy Pessagno, also brings her professional experience to the group. If you are interested in musical theater, and would enjoy the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe score, telling the tale of "Eliza Doolittle," the Cockney flower girl, and her mentor, professor "Henry Higgins." Director Elena Ferrante-Martin performed in Mamma Mia! before leaving four years ago to teach drama and choir at Bishop Gorman High School. Years ago, we saw Ferrante-Martin in an Equity production of William Finn's musical, Falsettos. We have to say, we were very impressed with her performance. Her version of "Trina" singing "I'm Breaking Down," was a real showstopper. My Fair Lady, often described as "the perfect musical," runs through Sunday, June 28th. Tickets are priced at $12. The Jim3 House of Performing Arts is located on the campus of Bishop Gorman High School, 5959 S. Hualapai Way in Summerlin. For show times and reservations, call (702) 528-4462.

Variety Live (Holly & Zerdin)

David Pomeranz

And STILL speaking of Boyd Gaming, this weekend's entertainment offering at their Suncoast property is Paul Stone's Variety Live, a world class show featuring an international cast of entertainers. Presented by Showstealers, Variety Live blends the exceptional abilities of six seasoned performers into an action-packed showcase of skill. Las Vegas' own comedy juggling star Michael Holly, who wows audiences with his keen dexterity and unbelievable ball-handling stunts, will be joined by an international cast of performers whose talents are as diverse as the countries they call home. Comedian and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, a four-time Royal Command performer from London, delivers laughs with the help of his trusty "talking" puppets. From South America comes Sonny Fontana and his repertoire of unique hand shadows. Just as outstanding is the skillful balancing act of Spain's Tino Ferreira, known as the exciting "Rolla Bolla" man. Originally from Russia, but now living in Las Vegas, is hula hoop artiste, Larissa. Ben Stone, Britain's new singing sensation, melts hearts with his good looks and memorable sound. Also, expect a surprise or two (Although if we are telling you, it won‘t be a surprise, will it?). Skilled artists who complement each other's unique talents, the impressive cast of Variety Live offers something for everyone as the performers seamlessly blend their perfected natural abilities and showmanship skills to entertain audiences of all generations. Show times are at 8 p.m. (not 7:30, as had been the show start times until just recently) tonight, tomorrow and Sunday (June 26th, 27th and 28th). Tickets start at $19.95, plus tax, and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 636-7075 or visiting

Much like the above mentioned Martin Nievera, David Pomeranz is also a favorite in the Philippines. The uber-talented musician/composer/singer/entertainer, hell David does everything, reports that his musical, Little Tramp - The Musical, based on the life of Charlie Chaplin, will have four performances at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts in Smithtown, New York, July 9th through the 12th. This is welcome news for Pomeranz fans who are in that part of the country. Among the many, many songs that he has written, the two that are probably most familiar to the masses are the Barry Manilow hits, Trying To Get the Feeling Again, and The Old Songs. If you have never heard of Little Tramp - The Musical, it's probably because it has yet to be produced in the U.S. That doesn't mean that you can't hear the music. If you want to cough up $99, you can buy a used copy of the CD through Amazon (still available on June 20th, when we looked it up). The album was recorded in the UK in 1992. The people contributing their talents for a project they believed I, included Mel Brooks, Petula Clark, Tim Curry, Peter Duncan, Richard Harris, Leonard Kirby, Johnny Logan, Lea Salonga, Mel Smith, Treat Williams, and the songwriter himself, David Pomeranz. Pretty impressive lineup, dontcha think? We were lucky enough to see and hear Pomeranz perform some of the 14 songs from this work, live, during a few shows that he did in Las Vegas, at the private Stirling Club in the Turnberry Towers, and in the Wyrick Theater at Planet Hollywood. (We also happen to own a copy of the wonderful, hard-to-find, CD!) David also performed at The Orleans theater with Imelda Papin, on New Years Eve of 2007. Individual tickets for the Smithtown performances are $42.50. Call (631) 724-3700 to Order!

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Teddy Davey returns to La Scala Ristorante for a second go round as part of Jeanne Bavaro's Classic Dinner Show series, To Italy With Love. When we mentioned the songs that Davey did during his first show at La Scala's two weeks ago, we neglected to include one of our favorites, Jack Lawrence's beautiful Tenderly. Mr. Lawrence, a man we called a friend, also wrote All Or Nothing At All, Beyond the Sea, Hold My Hand, If I Didn't Care, and many other, passed away on March 15th, a couple of weeks before what would have been his 97th birthday. If you missed Davey‘s earlier La Scala appearance, with Tommy Deering at the piano, you get another chance. For $50, you can have a wonderful meal at La Scala (1020 E. Desert Inn, in the Mark I Tower) created by chef Roberto Perotti, followed by the talented team of Davey and Deering providing after-dinner music. Seating is at 7 p.m., with the show following at 8:30. To make reservations, please call (702) 699-9980.

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Have a Nice Day

Michelle Rohl

A reminder...
It's Have a Nice Day, the Las Vegas-based Bon Jovi tribute band, performing three sets at Lake Las Vegas tonight, beginning at 7 p.m. Fronted by Larry Atello on vocals, currently appearing in Tony n' Tina's Wedding at Planet Hollywood, all of the band's other members - Seth Yudof (guitar and vocals), Noel "Jazz" Dimazana (keyboards and vocals), Derek M. (bass and vocals) and founder/drummer Jim Norris - are associated with production shows up and down the Strip. Have a Nice Day promises to be the complete Bon Jovi experience!

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The Pinball Hall of Fame, a popular spot for aficionados of the "flippers," is planning to relocate from a nondescript, neighborhood shopping center at the corner of East Tropicana and Pecos, to a couple of miles closer to the famed Las Vegas Strip. What we have learned is that owner, Tim Arnold, who owns about 1,200 pinball machines, including many from the 1950s and '60s, is taking over a warehouse with about double the space of his current location, in hopes of attracting more tourists. The Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club bought the building on Tropicana Avenue near Maryland Parkway for $1.24 million in November. The new space will be renovated and is expected to be open for business within three months.

We know that entrepreneur/pinball wizard, Gene Balmain, will be delighted with this news.

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It's the talented Michelle Rohl performing at that, never named in this column, Italian joint on Las Vegas Blvd. South, come this Sunday night at 8:30. As part of Kelly Clinton's Celebrity Spotlight, Michelle will sing a variety of songs, covering everything from blues, rock, and R& B, to inspirational tunes. Over the years, Ms. Rohl has performed in Las Vegas revues, tribute shows, and as a featured singer with Clint Holmes in his long running show at Harrah's. Although we happily endorse Michelle as an entertainer, we cannot, in all good consciousness, endorse the establishment where she will perform on Sunday. We have many amazing friends who put in time there, for very little money and very little thanks. We would love to feel comfortable and welcome at the place, but we don't. Customers (who would probably not be in the place after dinner hours, if not for the hard-working entertainers they come to see), are all to often greeted and treated poorly. We suggest you check it out and decide for yourself to determine if this is a business you want to patronize. As mentioned before, we would like to hear of your experiences...both positive and negative

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Trent Carlini

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.


Hmmm. Just as we suspected. That story about Elvis tribute artist, Trent Carlini, leaving the Wyrick Theatre because of his commitment to America's Got Talent (why couldn't he do both?) didn't ring true to us at the time. Now we learn that Mr. Carlini, who was the winner of TV's Next Best Thing in 2007, is doing his Dream King show at the Riverside in Laughlin, August 11th through 16th. Our guess is, that like every other act that has pinned their hopes on doing something meaningful and ongoing (for more than a few months) in that cursed space in the Miracle Mile Mall at Planet Hollywood, Carlini realized the futility of it all and decided to toss in the towel...a towel that he more than likely used to dry off after the financial bath that he took in the trouble-plagued theater. These days, in addition to the theater's landlord, magician Steve Wyrick himself, Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance (without Michael Flatley), and bad boy comic, Andrew Dice Clay, are using space at the Wyrick. We will see if either of these two shows are able to last any longer than top acts such as Ronn Lucas, Wes Winters, Martin Nievera, Aga-Boom, Fan Yang and his Mega Bubble Show, Tom Dane, and the above mentioned Trent Carlini. Show times for Carlini's August dates are 8 p.m., and ticket prices are $34 (less than half the price it cost to see him during his short stay at the Wyrick).

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Former members of the 5th Dimension, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., will entertain at the Suncoast next weekend. Shows are Friday, Saturday and Sunday (July 3rd, 4th and 5th) at 8 p.m. (not 7:30 as in the past). Tickets start at $29.95 plus taxes and fees. For info or to purchase tickets, call (702) 636-7075.

It's Yanni at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, tomorrow night. Tickets range from $45 to $ 131.25. Call (702) 632-7580 for reservations and show times.

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That Ronnie Rose is just like the Energizer Bunny. In a tough time for many performers, Rose seems to find rooms where he can work. On Sunday night, from 8 to midnight, Rose will be a guest vocalist, performing blues, jazz and some R&B, with the Chris Koman Band at the Golden Greek Restaurant, 8565 W. Sahara at the corner of Durango. According to Rose, "The Mad Greek" offers an excellent variety of food selections.

Phone number for the Golden Greek is (702) 242-7669.

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Jay and the Americans, a ‘60s pop group known for their distinctive sound, will perform their greatest hits at the Cannery Casino & Hotel in North Las Vegas on Friday, July 3rd. The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are just $14.95, plus taxes and fees. Jay and The Americans made their entrance into the music scene with the release of the chart-topping single, "She Cried," in 1962. The group's success continued to rise after the release of their biggest hit "Come A Little Bit Closer," which landed them on The Beatles' first American tour. Some of their other chart-toppers include "Cara Mia," "Only In America," "Some Enchanted Evening," and "This Magic Moment." Tickets are on sale at the Cannery Casino & Hotel's sales counter located at the front desk. They are also available for purchase by calling (702) 507-5757 or (866) 999-4899 (toll free), or by visiting

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Tomorrow, June 27th, Hot Lava Productions is hosting a fundraising benefit for rugby coach and player (and Hot Lava drummer), Masiano "Masi" Sala, who was injured on the rugby field in San Diego, leaving him paralyzed. Rugby has been a lifelong sport for Masi Sala ever since he was a young boy on the island of American Samoa. Always the athlete, Sala sought out local leagues wherever he lived; ultimately playing with rugby teams all across the southwest United States. In 1994, Sala moved his family to Las Vegas and played with the Blackjacks. He earned a reputation for his exploits on the field, and the nickname Samoan Bowling Ball by his teammates, for knocking down so many players who made the mistake of trying to stop him. In 2008, Sala took on coaching duties for an open-division rugby team in Las Vegas called the Silverbacks. On March 28th, due to lack of players, Masi strapped on his cleats and stepped out onto the turf at Robb Field in San Diego. In the middle of the first half of the game against the San Diego Armada, with the Silverbacks two tries ahead, Sala was tackled and seriously injured. His neck was broken at C4-5, and he was paralyzed from the shoulders down. The event, being held at the All American Sports Center, 121 E. Sunset Road (at Las Vegas Blvd. and Sunset), runs from noon to 9 p.m. and will have live entertainment, arts and crafts, food and prizes. Tickets are $20. Youngsters 14 and under will be admitted free, when accompanied by a paying adult. Funds raised will be used to assist Sala and his family through their financial hardship. To purchase tickets, call (702) 270-8821, e-mail [email protected], or go online through PayPal at at Masi's Benefit Fund Donation Link.

Masi Sala

Firefighter Nick Pickard & Fans

In an effort to raise funds for cancer survivors and bring awareness to rehabilitation and wellness programs, a group of Las Vegas country artists have come together as Cowboys for Cancer to perform a benefit concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 28th at Club Madrid inside Sunset Station. Proceeds will benefit Vance Davenport and The Caring Place. Davenport, a former Las Vegas resident, recently survived an arduous battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). Vance performed in, and later became Musical Director of, the Aladdin's (now Planet Hollywood) Country Tonight show, before he moved to Nashville, performing and touring with such artists as Mark Chestnutt, Sara Evans, George Jones, Lone Star, Toby Keith, Ricochet, and Trent Willmon. Vance's brother, Las Vegas resident JR Davenport, singer and lead guitarist of WolfCreek, created this benefit, not only to honor and assist his brother, but to also support those surviving and living with this debilitating disease. "Music inspires, gives strength and provides hope. I am blessed to have the support of not only our local country music community, but the gracious support of Station Casinos," said Vance Davenport. "My wife and I met at Sunset Station, and I'm so grateful to celebrate the gift of life with family and friends while helping others through their fight." "We at The Caring Place are so appreciative for the support we will receive from the organizers and attendees of the Cowboys For Cancer event," said Connie Bernstein, Chair, The Caring Place. "It is just another example of how this devastating disease brings out the best in people, and the community, who want to help others on their journey with cancer." Cowboys for Cancer features some of the Valley's hottest country acts under one roof, including: Scotty Alexander, The Randy Anderson Band, Desert Outlaws, John Encinio, Lefty Lucy Band, Tony Marques, comedienne Pam Matteson, Mark O' Toole, Third Town, and the above mentioned WolfCreek. Tickets for the Cowboys for Cancer benefit concert are on sale now and can be purchased at any Station Casinos Rewards Center, The Fiesta's Amigo Clubs, online at or by phone at (702) 547-5300. General admission tickets are $20, and VIP booths are available for $150 and seat up to four people. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will be split between the Davenport family and The Caring Place.

Local firefighters raised more than $55,000 at the 10th Annual Fire & Rain Firefighter Bachelor Auction, held on June 6th at RAIN Nightclub inside the Palms Casino Resort. Eighteen of Southern Nevada's finest firefighters put themselves on the line, and all for a good cause. Proceeds benefit the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation and UMC Burn Center. "There were a lot of people who poured their hearts and souls into making this event possible, and it is fulfilling to see so much community support," said Warren Whitney, Public Information Officer and spokesperson for the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation. "From the outstanding support we received from our bachelors, community partners and public supporters who attended the event, the Burn Foundation was able to raise $55,000, which will benefit Southern Nevada families in need." The Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation, a non-profit organization guided by Valley firefighters from Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, North Las Vegas Fire Department, Nellis Air Force Base Fire Department, and Henderson Fire Department, is a charitable organization that assists the Southern Nevada community during catastrophic situations, and provides assistance for sick or injured children through financial aid and donations. More than 18,000 Las Vegas Valley residents have benefited from the Burn Foundation in the past two years, and the organization has raised more than $700,000 for the Southern Nevada community since 2003. Shown in the accompanying photo is bachelor firefighter, Nick Pickard, and three lucky ladies. Pickard, a "hottie" from Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, was auctioned off to the highest bidder for $1,800. His date package included MGM Grand show tickets, dinner for two, a spa package, and a membership to Gold's Gym.

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While many fledgling productions need time and positive word of mouth to slowly build an audience, Naked Boys Singing came charging out of the gate, with sold out performances on Thursday‘s opening night, as well as last Friday and Saturday nights. In fact, business was so good on Saturday, additional chairs and barstools were brought into the Onyx Theatre to bring the accommodations up from 99-seats, to 120! Even at that, with not another chair available, one person was willing to pay the full $30 ticket price to stand in the back of the room. Instead, management sold the customer a ticket for $20, and permitted the determined "music lover" to sit on some steps and watch the show from there. Everybody was happy. Jimmy Emerson, of Starr Pro Productions, in conjunction with Rack Media/Onyx Theatre Group, is producing Las Vegas' Naked Boys Singing. Jimmy's brother, Hank Emerson, is directing, and Brad Barnes, who has been associated with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and the national touring company of Cats, is the choreographer. The seven cast members, accompanied by Spencer Baker (who keeps his pants on) at the piano, expose much more than just their bodies. In the 90-minute, 16-original song presentation, the men also expose their other talents - that of singing, dancing, acting and comedy. Productions of Naked Boys Singing have been playing in numerous cities around the world, while the New York version has been a hit for the past 10 years. At this point, the Las Vegas version of Naked Boys Singing has been extended (excuse the expression) through July 11th. Ongoing show times at the Onyx are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m. If the buzz and crowd counts continue, it is possible that the Boys will add a Sunday matinee to the schedule. There is also talk that the revue could become an ongoing feature at the Onyx. Just in case that doesn't happen, don't take the chance on missing Nolan, Ivan, Mitchell, Allen, Paul, Daryl and Mark, show their stuff. The Onyx Theatre is located inside The Rack, 953 E. Sahara, Bldg. 16, in Commercial Center. As mentioned above, tickets are $30, and can be purchased either by phone, at the door, or online at For reservations or additional information, call the Onyx at (702) 732-7225. Make your reservations today.

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