Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from July 03, 2009
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - July 3, 2009

Fred Astaire by Al Hirschfeld

Michael Jackson Candy Bars

Jacksons Picture Disc

In 1974, two year before moving to Southern Nevada, some of our family members traveled from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for the express purpose of seeing the Jackson family perform at what was then the MGM Grand (it's now Bally's). At the time, Michael Jackson was just 16, and certainly not old enough to hang out in a casino. During the daytime, Michael's brothers, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon, Tito, and little Randy, along with sisters Rebbie, LaToya and baby Janet, were able to do fun things, like go to Lake Mead, Mt. Charleston and even down into the MGM's shopping arcade. Not Michael. He was a virtual prisoner, having to stay in his hotel room, only emerging at night to head to the showroom to do what he did, just about better than anybody else, perform. There were at least a hundred young girls hanging around the MGM elevators, hoping to get a close-up look at the rising teenage star. While most of the Jackson kids had a relatively normal life (attending public school, going to the movies, etc.), Michael was isolated from real life, attending a private school in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, and watching movies at home. In spite of his fame, we found the way this young man lived, rather sad.

We had the opportunity to actually meet Michael and, in fact, have him in our home. When he was 17, he purchased a piece of art from us - a signed and numbered etching of Fred Astaire (one of Michael's heroes), by the famous caricature artist, Al Hirschfeld. Michael paid $145 for that treasure. Today, that piece of paper would be worth about $3,000, although the fact it belonged to Michael Jackson, would increase its value even more.

And still on the subject of Michael Jackson...In a strange coincidence, some of Michael's personal possessions - a drawing of Mickey Mouse done by Jackson when he was a child, handwritten lyrics for his 1987 hit "Bad," and a shirt the star wore on his 1984 Victory tour - were sold by Julien Auctions at Planet Hollywood the day after Jackson's death. Auctioneer Darren Julien says the pieces were from a collection owned by David Gest, the producer and promoter who was once married to Liza Minnelli. Jackson introduced the couple and was best man at their wedding. This sale, that also included things from both the Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley estates, was scheduled some time prior to the King of Pop's sudden death. The Jackson items, earlier estimated to generate about $10,000 in from sales collectors, brought in more that $250,000. Online auction websites like E-bay and Amazon are flooded with thousands of items relating to Michael Jackson. Memorabilia ranges from autographed CD collections and posters, to clothing made popular by the music icon. Cousin Claire has contact with some Las Vegans who have Jackson collectibles that they are interested in selling. Among the items for sale are a couple of Michael Jackson candy bars and a rare picture disc (the exact same one just sold on e-bay for $460+). Michael Jackson's Thriller, remains the only album to ever sell more than 100 million copies. See accompanying photos for sale items. For more information, contact Claire Voyant.

When it comes to who will raise his three children, we can pretty much guarantee that Michael would never, repeat NEVER, want Prince Michael III, Paris and "Blanket," to grow up in a house in which his father, Joe Jackson, was present. Joe Jackson terrified and terrorized his own children (that has been confirmed both in interview with Michael, and in LaToya Jackson's book, Growing Up In the Jackson Family). To his and Katherine's nine children (Joe Jackson fathered a daughter, Joh'Vonnie Jackson now in her 30s, with another woman), Mr. Jackson was not known as Dad, Papa, Father, or Daddy. He was "Joseph."

Joe Jackson and Ben Morgan (he of Bada Bing fame) were producers of a very small revue at the Maxim (now the Westin Casuarina) many years ago. Morgan's then wife, impressionist Bethany Owen (who appeared at the Sands in Sid and Marty Krofft's Comedy Kings), starred in the show called Calendar Girls. The "media opening" for this may have been one of the strangest that we have attended during our almost 33 years in Las Vegas. Morgan's "ploy" to get us there was announcing that ALL of the Jackson's would be at this "Hollywood-type" premiere. We knew this couldn't be true, as the Las Vegas opening was taking place at the same time that the Grammy Awards were being held in Los Angeles. Since both Michael and Janet were up for awards, it didn't take a genius to know where those two would be...NOT at the Maxim in Las Vegas. When it came time for the red carpet arrivals, it was Steve Rossi doing the announcing in front of the small East Flamingo hotel. Although it arrived late, a white stretch limo finally pulled up. Without a lot of fanfare, Joe Jackson, escorted by two costumed showgirls, stepped out of the car. The trio entered the casino and the limo disappeared. About five minutes later, it was Jermaine Jackson and two lovelies alighting from the fancy looking vehicle. Greg Morris (of TV's Mission Impossible), pulled up in his own car (a Volkswagen Beetle, as we recall). Can't remember who else arrived in a limo, but on the third time one approached, it was pointed out that there weren't a fleet of luxury automobiles was one. The same car that dropped off the first VIPs, traveled around the building to the back where they picked up the next small group. And so it went. (Would we make this stuff up???) Although the cast worked hard, the show was pretty bad. Even Jermaine, the only Jackson besides Joe who was there that night, was gone before the revue ended. The piece de resistance was that, when the Calendar Girls show ended that performance, waiting outside the tiny showroom for the departing audience was Michael Jackson. Not THE Michael Jackson, but a rather pitiful copy cat. Needless to say, the show did not survive for very long.

Harve Presnell & Debbie Reynolds

Fred Travalena & The Rat Pack Is Back!

Sadly, the last couple of months has seen a rash of celebrity deaths. On May 1st, this community was shocked and saddened at the news that impressionist Danny Gans had died at age 52. Early on Thursday, June 25th, Farrah Fawcett lost her brave and public three-year battle with cancer at the age of 62, and only a few hours later, the world learned of the sudden death of 50-year-old Michael Jackson. Johnny Carson's sidekick, Ed McMahon, died on June 23rd at the age of 86; familiar TV Oxi Clean and Kaboom pitchman, Billy Mays, died on June 23rd at the age of 50; My Little Margie star, Gale Storm, passed away on June 27th at 87; impressionist and Las Vegas headliner, Fred Travalena (who last appeared here at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino, the weekend of October 26th, 2007) died on Sunday at the age of 66; and on Wednesday, Oscar-winning actor (for A Streetcar Named Desire), Karl Malden died at the age of 97. As we near our Friday afternoon deadline, we have learned that Harve Presnell, who starred as "Johnny Brown" in both the stage (opposite Tammy Grimes) and film (opposite Debbie Reynolds) versions of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, has died of pancreatic cancer. Between 1979 and 1995, Presnell played "Daddy Warbucks" in both touring and Broadway productions of Annie and later versions of Annie. Presnell also played William H. Macy's father-in-law in the Coen Brothers' 1996 film, Fargo. The singer/actor was 75.

Shown in the accompanying Rat Pack Is Back! photo are (left to right), Brian DuPrey as Frank, Drew Anthony as Dean, visiting Fred Travalena, Kyle Diamond as Sammy, and Tom Wallek as Joey. Dick Feeney and Sandy Hackett's The Rat Pack Is Back! plays in the Copa Room at the downtown Plaza, Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

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In honor of the 20th anniversary of Forever Plaid, "Sparky" (Larry Raben), "Smudge" (David Engel), "Jinx" (Stan Chandler), and "Francis," also known as "Frankie" (Daniel Reichard), have finally achieved immortality, in the form of a real movie! Forever Plaid, the movie, was filmed last August and, this Thursday, July 9th, it will hit the big a most unique way! On that night, a theatrical event will take place on 375 big screens all around the country. Produced by Fathom Entertainment, the movie event will be broadcast live, from the Club Nokia in Los Angeles. Audiences will be introduced to Raben, Chandler, and Engel, all members of the original Forever Plaid off-Broadway cast, in addition to Reichard, one of the original cast members of the original Broadway production of Jersey Boys, and Stuart Ross, the creator and director of Forever Plaid. Forever Plaid is an affectionate musical homage to the close-harmony 'guy groups' that reached the height of their popularity during the 1950s. This quartet of high-school chums, and their earnest dreams of recording an album, ended in their death, when their '54 Mercury collided with a bus filled with Catholic schoolgirls on their way to see the Beatles' American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The girls were fine. The boys were not. Forever Plaid, one of off-Broadway's most popular and critically acclaimed musicals, begins with the Plaids returning from the afterlife for one final chance at musical glory. Following the red-carpet arrivals and the pre-taped performance of the musical, this laugh-out-loud event will continue with more than a half hour of LIVE music, sung in glorious four-part harmony by the cast, and end with a live "bouncing ball" sing-a-long! This is a once-in-lifetime event prior to Forever Plaid's DVD release in the fall! Audiences across the country will experience a memorable evening, combining the 20th Anniversary event classic production with new and interactive twists, including a first-ever live, coast-to-coast in-theater sing-a-long with The Plaids. Be there when two chart-topping musical questions collide, as "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?" meets "Who Let the Dogs Out?" No, really! And please do practice your own "me-me-me's" for a bouncing ball sing-a-long where everyone joins in. This sensational musical event will take place on Thursday, July 9th at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, 7 p.m. Central Time, 6 p.m. Mountain Time, and 8 p.m. Pacific Time (tape delay). In Las Vegas, the film will play at 8 p.m. at the following movie theaters: Orleans 18, Sam's Town 18, South Point Century 16, Village Square 18 (9400 W. Sahara), and the Colonnade 14 (located on South Eastern at Pebble). You can buy tickets for this sensational musical event at Tickets to the Los Angeles Worldwide Premiere at Club Nokia are available at To learn where the Forever Plaid 20th Anniversary Special will play in your area, go to

Forever Plaid the Movie

Frank Sinatra Jr.

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Look for Franklin Wayne Emmanuel Sinatra to appear at the Suncoast, September 5th and 6th. You may know him better as Frank Sinatra, Jr. For reservations, call the Suncoast at (702) 636-7075.

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Susan Coker-Stevens passed away on June 11th, her 47th birthday. A Henderson resident, Susan was a graduate of Chaparral High School, and a former showgirl/iceskater (at both the Hacienda, now Mandalay Bay, and the Flamingo). Susan is survived by her husband, Chris Stevens; daughters, Amanda Trombetti of Las Vegas, and Emily Stevens of Henderson; mother, Ruth Coker of Henderson, father, Gordon Coker of Las Vegas; brother, Tony Freese of Atlanta; and brother, Vincent Frey of Henderson. The viewing and service was held on Friday, June 19th, at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave. Donations in Susan's name can be made to Child Haven, and sent to 701K N. Pecos Road, Las Vegas, NV 89101.

Our sympathies go out to former showgirl/choreographer/director Mistenguett on the death of her mother, Margi Sessions. Margi, 78, was a 16-year resident of Nevada. She spent 23 years as an art sales consultant for Christian Lassen, Anthony Quinn, Red Skelton and Tony Curtis, to name a few. In addition to Mistenguett, Margi is survived by two other daughters, Regina Carter of Fort Worth, Texas, and Rene Haynes of Maui, Hawaii; her son, Rick Jussel of Denver; a brother, Richard Dearing of Denver; sister, Happy Roberts of Houston; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Services were held on July 2, at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave. in Las Vegas. The family asks that all gifts and memorials be made as a donation to PDS Foundation For Children, 83 E. Agate Ave., #407, Las Vegas, NV 89123, c/o Mistinguett.

Our sympathies go out to both families.

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Where is our daily newspaper? What we have been finding at the front door in the mornings is the remainder of what used to be the Las Vegas Review-Journal, or as we call it these days, R-J lite. Sorry, but we don't consider 40-some pages much of a newspaper.

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We have missed some of the early installments of this season's America's Got Talent, so we're not sure how many Las Vegans have been seen on the audition portions of America's Got Talent. What we do know is that at least three current Southern Nevada residents are going through to, er...Las Vegas! The pretty blonde Polish-born, fiddling Alizma Triplets - Aleksandra, Izabela and Monika Okapiec - have made it through the early auditions. Stay tuned.

The Alizma Triplets

Mikalah Gordon

And speaking of reality shows...
On July 4th, 5th and 6th, four former finalists from America's No. 1 TV talent show, American Idol, will perform at the South Point in a show called Idolized. The 80-minute show consists of Jasmine Trias (3rd place in season 3), David Hernandez (in the Top 12 in season 7), Nikki McKibbin (3rd place in season 1), and Mikalah Gordon (11th place in season 4) performing songs from yesterday and today, including some they performed on American Idol. There will also be some original compositions featured. The four singers are backed up by the All Star Band, under the musical direction of Joe Spraker, and backup vocals by the Superstars Live Singers. Each artist performs for approximately 20 minutes, separately, and may also sing with his or her fellow contestants in never before performed duets and group songs. There is also a patriotic finale with the entire cast. There will be a meet and greet following the performance for photo ops, autographs and merchandise sales. The talent line-up is subject to change, but whoever the performers are, they are all Idol finalists. Idolized is produced by Barrie Cunningham, of BC Entertainment, Inc. in Las Vegas. Show times for Idolized are at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $15, $20 and $25. To purchase, call (702) 797-8055, or visit the South Point box office.

On August 28th, 29th and 30th, another American Idol finalist, Josh Gracin, comes into the South Point for shows at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for prices for Gracin are $25, $30 and $35. To make reservations for South Point shows, call (702) 797-8055, or (866) 796-7111.

Added notes...Mikalah Gordon grew up in Las Vegas. The now 21-year-old was only 16 (one of the show's youngest competitors) when she appeared on American Idol. Mikalah's father is local musician, Rocky Gordon. As for Idolized producer, Barrie Cunningham, he may best be remembered around these parts for his tribute shows to both Neil Diamond and Jimmy Buffett, during the late 1990s at the Gold Coast.

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Based on its first two sold out weekends at the Onyx Theatre in Commercial Center, we are not one bit surprised that Naked Boys Singing is adding a matinee show, beginning this Sunday, July 5th. Not only that, according to what we have heard (from a very reliable source) Naked Boys Singing, which was originally scheduled to run only through June 27th, and then was extended until July 4th, will be held over for as long as interest remains high. We think that will be for quite some time. After all, the off-Broadway New York production has been running for 10 years! And, yes, for those who have asked, the Boys really ARE naked! Show times are at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 3 on Sunday afternoons. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased either by phone, at the door, or online at For reservations or additional information, call the Onyx at (702) 732-7225.

Naked Boys Singing

Cowboys for Cancer

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Cowboys for Cancer, held on Sunday, June 28th at Club Madrid inside Sunset Station Hotel & Casino, was a success, raising more than $7,000 for cancer survivors and bringing awareness to rehabilitation and wellness programs, with the event's proceeds benefiting Vance Davenport and The Caring Place. Davenport, a former Las Vegas resident, recently survived an arduous battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). Before moving to Nashville, he performed in and later became musical director of the Aladdin's (now Planet Hollywood) Country Tonight revue. Vance's brother, Las Vegas resident JR Davenport, singer and lead guitarist of WolfCreek, created the benefit not only to honor and assist his brother, but also to support those surviving and living with this debilitating disease. "I can't thank everyone enough for their overwhelming support and tireless efforts in making our event such a tremendous success, from Station Casino's generous donation of Club Madrid, to the local businesses who donated raffle items, to the media who helped us spread the word," said event coordinator, JR. "I feel so blessed to have been able to make a difference, not only in my brother's remission, but in so many others' lives affected by this disease in our community. We definitely plan to do it all again next year." Lending their time and talent in support of Cowboys for Cancer were: Scotty Alexander, The Randy Anderson Band, Desert Outlaws, John Encinio, Lefty Lucy Band, comedienne Pam Matteson, Tony Marques, Mark O' Toole, Third Town and WolfCreek. Matteson and O'Toole, both cancer survivors, inspired and moved the audience when sharing their personal experiences of struggle and survival. The event also featured a silent auction with autographed guitars and fiddles from such country superstars as Clint Black, Larry Gatlin, Alison Krauss, Tracy Lawrence and Loretta Lynn, among others. "We're delighted to be a part of this event. We applaud JR for all that he did, and these kind of events represent the best of the Las Vegas community," said Connie Bernstein, Chair, The Caring Place, Chair. "The Caring Place will make good use out of the proceeds we are given and continue to provide free services to those touched by cancer." The highlight of the evening was when Austin Davenport, Vance's 7-year-old son, joined his father and WolfCreek on stage to perform his rendition of Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochee" to a standing ovation. The Caring Place is the only center of its kind in southern Nevada created to provide an oasis for individuals and families on their journey with cancer in order to enhance their quality of life. Programs at The Caring Place began in February 2008 and include complementary therapies such as Yoga, Meditation, and the healing arts, Wellness Seminars, Support Groups and Art Therapy. All programs and services are provided at no charge.

Shown in the accompanying photo by Peter Chmiel are (left to right) Pam Matteson, JR Davenport, Austin Davenport and Connie Bernstein.

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American Casino and Entertainment Properties (ACEP) recently named Claude Gaty chef de cuisine for the Top of the World restaurant at the Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower. Gaty brings 26 years of culinary experience, primarily in French cuisine, to the Stratosphere. His responsibilities as chef de cuisine include recipe and menu development, training the staff, and insuring total guest satisfaction. Gaty works closely with Executive Chef Rick Giffen and Executive Sous-Chef Carlos Vargas. Prior to joining the Stratosphere, Gaty took a hiatus from the restaurant industry and spent most of 2008 traveling in France, learning the fine art of artisan bread baking at the San Francisco Baking Institute, and being schooled in Thai cooking on the island of Koh Samui. With a passion for working in a lively restaurant environment, Gaty became chef and partner for the Lettuce Entertain You organization where he played an integral role in the collaboration and creation of the highly acclaimed Mon Ami Gabi, a classic French bistro restaurant. In the late '90s, Gaty joined the Las Vegas restaurant industry, where he spent 10 years as chef and partner for Mon Ami Gabi's Las Vegas location. Gaty has spent his career not only as a chef, but also as an entrepreneur. He has opened a number of restaurants including La Bretagne in Maui, The Hatchery in Petaluma, and Bistrot Zinc in Chicago.

Chef Claude Gaty

Diane Ellis

Lance Burton

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Following Paul Campanella's recent show at the Starbright in Sun City Summerlin, the entertainer received a number of "fan letters." Here is a sample...
"I thoroughly enjoyed your singing, energy and enthusiasm...You are so clever and so "real." And the fact that you had not worked with this band nor sung with the beautiful young lady (Gret Menzies Gonzalez) -- WOW, you are a pro, and you deserve to be in this business!" If you get a chance to see Paul perform, check him out and see what you think.

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On Sunday, singer/entertainer Diane Ellis will have her turn in the spotlight at that Italian joint on the south end of Las Vegas Blvd. Appearing with her for the 8:30 to 9:50 p.m. show will be Joe Darro on keys and vocals, and Danny Calico on drums and vocals. Ellis and Darro have worked together for many years and have developed a great blend. As for Calico, Diane and Danny over the past 20-some years, the duo have been part of two musical Las Vegas acts, Chazz and D'Cal. In addition to his musicality, Danny Calico adds his great sense of humor to the mix. Some surprise guests are expected to stop by the joint for a song or three. We suggest that if you want to sit someplace where you can see and hear, get to the place early and plan to have your dinner there. Otherwise, you might wind up on a folding chair in the parking lot.

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Apparently Lance Burton won't be doing a permanent disappearing act from the Monte Carlo after all. The magician, who has been missing from his self-named showroom at the hotel since breaking his foot during a performance on May 7th, has been extended at the Strip resort for six more years, until the year 2015. During the "signing in ceremony" on Wednesday, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman presented Lance with a proclomation naming June 7th Lance Burton Day. Burton's previous Monte Carlo contract ran for 13 years - beginning in June of 1996 with the opening of the hotel casino, and ending a couple of weeks ago. The Kentucky-born Burton made his first appearance on a Las Vegas stage in the early 1980s, when he joined the Tropicana's Les Folies Bergere. Before landing at the Monte Carlo, for five years (beginning in 1991), the Master Magician headlined his own show at the Hacienda, now buried under Mandalay Bay. Hopefully recovered from his foot injury and resulting surgery, after a number of delays, Burton is expected to return to the stage of The Lance Burton Theatre for a 7 p.m. show on Tuesday. For tickets and show times, call (702) 730-7160.

And speaking of the Folies Bergere, comic juggler, Michael Holly, who was one of the best things about the Folies (especially in its later days), was one of the guest stars in Paul Stone's Variety Live that played at the Suncoast last weekend. Always a crowd pleaser, Holly was joined by Portugal's Rolla Bolla Man, Tino Ferreira (Kids, don't try ANY of this at home!); the clever hand shadow artist, Sonny Fontana, who, among other things, created celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Jimmy Durante, Dolly Parton, Louis Armstrong, Jerry Lewis, Ray Charles, and Madonna, using just his hands, a light and a screen; Larissa, the happy hoopster; ventriloquist/puppeteer, Paul Zerdin; and handsome singer, Ben Stone. A "surprise" guest was Paul Sperrazza, the "Human Beat Box" member of the clever a cappella group, Toxic Audio. Once again, the amazing "Talking Head in a Box" greeted and intrigued audience members as they approached the Suncoast showroom. This talented group of variety artists provided a fast-paced evening of fun.

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Arrival Plays ABBA

There is lots going on around here over the holiday weekend. For example, the Las Vegas Philharmonic's Star Spangled Spectacular. This year, the traditional flag-waving July 4th event will toot its horns at the Springs Preserve. For the past decade, the concert was held at the Hills Park in Summerlin. Fittingly, this year the place where Las Vegas began will be the setting for celebrating America's birth. Gates at the outdoor amphitheater open at 6 p.m., with the performance beginning at 8. Following a rousing "Star Spangled Banner," the Philharmonic, under the baton of Music Director David Itkin, will swing into our local anthem, "Viva Las Vegas." Toe-tapping marches like National Emblem and Washington Post and all-time favorites, The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Finale of Tchaikovsky's thundering 1812 Overture, set the patriotic beat. Adding Hollywood flair are the overture to "Gypsy" and the march from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Once again, the "Armed Forces Salute" will bring the crowd to its feet. The popular a cappella band, Mosaic, will also make a special guest appearance as well as sing the National Anthem. Mosaic is an instrument-free, all vocals group that blends elements of pop, funk, jazz, hip-hop and opera. Their memorable music experience includes renditions from Sly and the Family Stone's "Thank You" to Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" to Zapp & Roger's "More Bounce" to classic television theme songs. The six-man ensemble was recently voted MTV's Top Pop Group, and regularly performs with comedian George Wallace at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Mosaic was also the winner of CBS' The Early Show search for The Next Great A Cappella Group. Mosaic is a unique vocal band that produces every sound with the human voice - from the guitar riffs and funky bass lines, to the ambient rhythms and the complex chord textures. The change of venue will also bring a change in programming. True to its eco-awareness, instead of fireworks, Springs Preserve has planned an outdoor light show that will run throughout the evening for added effect and interest. Three levels of tickets are available: Assigned amphitheater seating is $27.50 per person; grounds passes, which include non-seated access to the concert venue, are $17.50 per person; and VIP Packages, at $82.50 per person, which includes a pre-concert VIP reception in the ORIGEN Rotunda and an exclusive tabled seating area in the Amphitheater. Springs Preserve annual pass-holders receive a discount of $7.50 off VIP or reserved amphitheater seating. Children 12 and under receive $7.50 off Amphitheater seating or grounds pass (cannot be combined with pass-holder discount). VIP and Amphitheater seat assignments will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 6 p.m. on July 4. Please bring your printed ticket with you. Tickets are available for purchase online at and at the Springs Preserve box office. The Springs Preserve is located at Valley View Boulevard and U.S. 95. For more information, call (702) 822-7705. Information and tickets are also available at PLEASE NOTE: No outside food, beverages or chairs will be allowed on the premises. Food and beverages will be available at both amphitheater concession areas and the Springs Cafe by Wolfgang Puck.

On Saturday, Bill Fayne's four member Voci Vegas provides the music at the South Point for a July 4th Red, White & BBQ afternoon. The party includes a buffet of hot dogs, hamburgers, salads and apple pie. Tickets are $33. Call (702) 797-8055 for reservations.

And, if you have been missing the sounds of Mamma Mia! since the musical ended its almost six year run at Mandalay Bay in January, this may be just what you need. Arrival, an ABBA tribute band, will perform at The Club inside the North Las Vegas Cannery Casino & Hotel on Saturday, at 8 p.m. Arrival was founded in 1995, and is currently the largest ABBA show in the world. The group, from Sweden, has performed in more than 20 countries worldwide, including the United States, England, Holland, France, China, Australia, and of course, Sweden. The show is a spectacle with 12 members on stage including some original ABBA band members. Arrival from Sweden also has the exclusive worldwide rights to the original ABBA costume designs and they wear exact reproductions of the original costumes. Arrival will play many of the ABBA hits including "Mamma Mia," "Fernando," "Dancing Queen," "Waterloo" and "Money, Money, Money." ABBA fan clubs around the globe have declared Arrival the best ABBA tribute in the world. Tickets start at $9.95 plus tax and fees, and are on sale now at the Cannery Casino & Hotel's ticket sales counter located at the front desk. Tickets will also be available for purchase by calling (702) 507-5757 or (866) 999-4899 (toll free), or by visiting

This is only a small sampling of the Fourth of July activities happening in and around Las Vegas.

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Red-hot illusionist/magician Scarlett has successfully carved a unique niche for herself in a male dominated business. She has mastered some of the most difficult feats performed by the legendary Harry Houdini and Harry Blackstone, Jr. Scarlett has conquered the unimaginable by being handcuffed; feet shackled, dropped upside down and locked in bone-chilling water in an escape never intended for a woman. "In keeping with the tradition of world-class entertainment, we welcome Scarlett to the Versailles Theatre in the Riviera Hotel and Casino. She is talented, beautiful and brings the class and entertainment value the Riviera is known for," said Riviera President Bob Vannucci. Produced by John Lewis, and under the direction of Las Vegas director/choreographer Bobby Boling, Scarlett and Her Seductive Ladies of Magic brings a sexy element to the show, and, yes, the beautiful dancers will be topless. Scarlett performs 10 p.m. nightly (dark Friday). General admission tickets are $44.55, and VIP seating is $53.64 plus tax and fee. Dinner/show combinations are also available. For more information, call the Riviera Box Office at (702) 794-9433. All guests must be at least 18 years of age.



John Argent

And speaking of the Riviera...It's that Spanish firecracker, actress-musician Charo, bringing her bubbly personality to the Riviera, beginning next Friday, July 10th. The all new show, titled Charo in Concert: A Musical Sensation, is expected to be full of Charo's music, featuring her fabulous Flamenco guitar, dancing and comedy. Of being back in Vegas, Charo says, "I am delighted to be back in Vegas," says Charo. "This is one of the places where I started, where I have many friends and have called home through the years. I want to invite all the fans to come to the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas to see my brand new show, it is full of great music, dancing and lots of comedy. A real Las Vegas experience." Charo in Concert: A Musical Sensation" is presented by A Bang Production, Inc. The show will play Wednesday thru Monday at 7:30 p.m. and features Charo performing her biggest hits, while accompanied by a full orchestra. Tickets are available at the Riviera Hotel Box Office, or via internet at, or toll free at (877) 892-7469.

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Happy birthday to our Cancer friends who are celebrating between June 22nd and July 22nd...Bruce Zarka, Deano Noto, Denyce Tuller, Bill Acosta, Jennifer Porter, John Argent, Scott Humphries, Lee Plotkin, Jeanette Shead, Jerry Herman, Philip Fortenberry, Jeanne Bavaro, Joey Gian, Cook E. Jarr, Steven Cowart and Cork Proctor. July 8th seems to have the Sound of Music around it, as Loretta Holloway, Steve Lawrence, Michael Cagle, Jerry Vale, and the late Billy Eckstine, all share the same birth date.

And speaking of the talented musician, John Argent (known by some as Johnny Argent), Marino de Silva, guitar hero/producer and founder and president of Angels Across America, heard him play a few notes on the piano late one night when Argent and his longtime (about seven years) girlfriend, Roseanne Barr, were dining in Las Vegas. De Silva, who lives in Vegas, liked Argent's playing and, more than a year later, asked him to do a song (a solo piano version of "Lady Madonna") on a benefit CD he was producing to help autistic kids. The CD, called Yellow Submarine, has just been released and features some pretty big names, like The Beatles: John, Paul, George and Ringo; Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Bill Champlin, Keith Richards, Argent, Roger Daltrey, Duncan Faure, Bill Wyman, Jethro Tull, Ronnie Wood, Steven Swinford, Fools For April, Mick Fleetwood, Marino De Silva, himself, and others. This project aims to raise one million dollars for kids with autism. The CD is available online for $15.99 including shipping and handling. Contact Angels On Earth is a 501(c)3 Non Profit Foundation. All Aboard the YELLOW SUBMARINE for Children with Autism!

Last minute add on...
Next Thursday, July 9th, a five-part series of jazz evenings at Captain's Cove Bistro gets underway with the Gayle Steele Quartet. This is Gayle Steele's first association with the Las Vegas Jazz Society. She will be backed by Tommy Steele on woodwinds, Mike Clark on bass/keyboard, and Ryan Rose on drums. For those who are not familiar with this lady with the amazing voice, here's a little information about her. Gayle was born and raised in the jazz-rich Buffalo, New York, area. Growing up, she received vocal lessons from Audrey Holmes, a prominent British soprano. Studying with Audrey, at the same time, was Clint Holmes, Audrey's son and Gayle's brother. Oh, did we forget to mention that Gayle and Clint are siblings? A former member of the US Navy, Gayle spent 20 years as a jazz vocalist, traveling and thrilling audiences nationwide. She was named Baltimore's Best Jazz Vocalist for her performances in clubs and concert halls in and around Maryland and Washington. She moved to Vermont in 1998, performing and also acting in musical theater, and eventually directing several musicals. 1n 2004, she moved to Las Vegas to join Clint's show at Harrah's. Then, under acclaimed director Larry Moss, she co-starred with Clint in his autobiographical production, JAM - Just Another Man. Although you may hear some Nancy Wilson and Sarah Vaughan influences woven into her beautifully expressive style, Gayle Steele has her own distinctive sound. She deserves to be recognized, not just as Audrey Holmes' daughter, or Clint Holmes' sister, but as the very talented and unique performer that she is. The Captain's Cove Bistro is located at The Lakes, 2902 East Lake Drive (near Sahara and Durango). Show times are from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. The cover charge is $6 per individual or $10 a couple. For additional information, please call (702) 982-1480.

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