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 August 07, 2009
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - August 7, 2009

Naked Boys Singing!

Wayne Brady

Naked Boys Singing! The name of this musical comedy is self-explanatory. Eight buffed and butt naked guys, with camera-ready bods and perky personalities to match, sing and dance their way through 16 original musical numbers dedicated to stripping you of your inhibitions in a glorious celebration of the altogether...and they succeed. After the initial shock wears off, you get so accustomed to the nudity that it no longer gets in the way of the entertainment. The effect is strangely liberating. It's only 90 minutes long, and by the time the Naked Boys take their final bow, you will feel overdressed in a tank top. Naked Boys Singing! is produced by

Jimmy Emerson and Michael Morse. Show times are at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m., with an added 3 p.m. matinee on Sundays. Tickets are $30. The Onyx Theatre is located inside The Rack clothing store at 953 East Sahara #16, in Commercial Center. Call (702) 732-7225.

And speaking of Jimmy Emerson, on Monday nights, the Goodtimes Bar & Nightclub, at 1775 East Tropicana at Spencer (in the Liberace Plaza) will present eight of the cast members of the Riviera's long running, An Evening at La Cage. Hosted by comic Jimmy Emerson, show times for the female impersonator show, are 10 p.m.

* * * * * *

The game show, Let's Make a Deal, is coming back to daytime television. CBS says that an updated version of the show will debut on October 5th, with Wayne Brady as host. The network says that the premise of audience members trying to win cash and prizes by making "wacky deals" will be intact. Monty Hall, longtime host of the original Let's Make a Deal, is a consultant on the new show. It will replace Guiding Light, the soap opera that's ending its more than five-decade run September 21st. Brady also hosts the singing game show, Don't Forget the Lyrics! on FOX. Busy Brady also headlines in Making $%!^ Up at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Wayne's debut album was released in September. The song, "A Change is Gonna Come", a cover of the popular 1964 single by Sam Cooke, earned Brady a Grammy nomination in the Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance category.

Winner Helen Jenner

Petula Clark

Katrina Loncaric

And speaking of games...If you aren't doing some of your gambling at the Cannery properties, perhaps you should be. It was on July 3rd that Las Vegan, Jose R. Galvan, hit the Loco Loot Primary Jackpot at the Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel, earning himself $60,110.62. Galvan had been playing for approximately 25 minutes before wagering 25 cents on his lucky penny game and hitting the jackpot. On July 23rd, another Las Vegan, Helen Jenner struck it rich on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine at the North Las Vegas Cannery, winning herself $1,058,092.24. "We are very pleased that one of our regular Cannery Casino guests hit such a big jackpot on one of our Wheel of Fortune machines," said Josh Killian, director of marketing for Cannery Casino & Hotel. "Our guests have had some great luck here at the Cannery. In the past few years, we've had a large number of jackpot winners, including two Megabucks jackpots," he added.
Photo caption: Cannery Casino & Hotel presents lucky Wheel of Fortune jackpot winner, Helen Jenner, with a check for $1,058,092.24.

And speaking of the Cannery properties, on Sunday, August 30th, the Rampart (a part of the Cannery holdings) will present Petula Clark in the JW Marriott Grand Ballroom. During the 1960s, Petula became known internationally for her popular upbeat hits, including "Downtown," "I Know a Place," "My Love," "Color My World," "A Sign of the Times," and "Don't Sleep In the Subway." With more than 70 million records sold worldwide, Petula Clark is the most successful British female solo recording artist ever, and is cited as such in the Guinness Book of World Records. The $40 tickets, on sale this Monday, not only include taxes and fees, but a buffet as well. The fun starts at 4 p.m. Call (702) 507-5900 for reservations.

And speaking of downtown, last Wednesday night, we were oh so busy, seeing two shows within a five hour period. At 7 p.m., we were at Don't Tell Mama, in downtown Vegas, where Atlanta, Georgia-native, Katrina Loncaric, was performing at the cabaret/piano bar. Accompanied by Michael Dubay on piano, Katrina opened her cabaret act with Petula�s big hit, "Downtown." Katrina moved here to become a showgirl in Jubilee! at Bally�s (which is why she called her one woman revue Vegas Showgirl), and later appeared in both the Broadway and Las Vegas productions of The Producers. At Don't Tell Mama, the long-legged singer/dancer/actress performed an eclectic mix of songs, all telling part of her history as an entertainer in this city (and elsewhere). Arriving in Southern Nevada in the heat of August, "Fever" was an appropriate song choice. Also included in the lineup, "He Ain't No Good," a song written by Katrina's brother, Tom Loncaric (a Michigan-based composer and arranger, who plays piano, banjo, ukulele, guitar, celesta, synthesizer and mandolin, and performs with his group, Tom Loncaric & His Orchestra); "Part of Your World," from Disney's Little Mermaid; "Tell Me On a Sunday," from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song & Dance; "I Get a Kick Out of You;" Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You;" Frank Wildhorn's "Home Again," from The Scarlet Pimpernel; "When You've Got it, Flaunt It," a number Katrina did in The Producers when she understudied Leigh Zimmerman in the role of Ulla; and closing with Liberace's theme song, "I'll Be Seeing You." The crowd at Don't Tell Mama was enthusiastic and enjoyed Katrina's performance. The young lady now heads for Harrah's Laughlin, where she will sing back-up for Elvis Impersonator Todd Luxton, from tomorrow, August 8th, through the 20th. If you happen to be in the neighborhood...

Ali Spuck

Bevery Washburn book

Rich Natole

At 10 p.m., we were at the Cabaret Showroom at the Liberace Museum (we spend an awful lot of time there, these days), along with a lot of other people. It seems that was the late night place to be on Wednesday. We were there to see Ali Spuck and Keely Vasquez host the latest ongoing series at the museum, called VS (as in Love VS Hate, John VS Paul, Hit Side VS B Side...well, you get the idea). The show that we saw this week was 1967 VS 1987. The first half featured songs from 1967, such as singer/actress, Ali, singing Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody To Love;" Ultimate Manilow singer, Keely, singing Lulu's "To Sir With Love;" Jersey Boy's, Charl Brown, backed by Ali, Keely, Kristofer McNeeley, Lauren Tartaglia, Jonathan Rodriguez, Andrea Best, and Lara Filip, doing "Where Do I Go," from Hair; Lara performing "I Think We're Alone Now," a hit for Tommy James & The Shondells in 1967, and for Tiffany in 1987; Formality�s lead vocalist/guitarist, Jason Andino, performing Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billie Joe;" Andrea, from High School Musical, doing Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart;" and Jim Morrison look-alike, Drew Johnson, from The Doors tribute band, Mojo Rising, singing "Light My Fire." Following a brief intermission, the program continued with songs from 1987, leading off with the musical director for VS, Joey Melotti on piano, Mike Lent on guitar, Ian Martin on bass, Russ McKinnon on drums, and Ron Pedley on keyboards, all musicians with Barry Manilow, doing "The Way It Is," a hit for Bruce Hornsby. Diane Gordon, from the Wayne Brady show, did "Wanted Dead or Alive" (Bon Jovi); Charl did a great rendition of Janet Jackson's "Let's Wait Awhile;" Ali performed Erasure�s "Victim of Love;" Andrea, Keely and Lara performed Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine�s "Anything For You;" while Kristofer played guitar and sang, U2's hit, "With Or Without You." Keely and Ali did Heart�s "Alone;" and Jason with Ali and Keely, and Mike Neufeld on guitar, ended the show with Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer." The rocking full house did not want to let the group go, even though it was around midnight. To say the crowd was enthusiastic would be an understatement. The next VS. show is Forgive VS. Forget (the subject chosen by the audience), and it will be at the end of September or beginning of October. We will have that information, or check the Web site at
Photo of Ali Spuck by Barry Sweet

* * * * * *

If you are of a certain age (as in getting lots of offers from AARP), you may remember Beverly Washburn. Beverly was one of Hollywood's most familiar child actors during the 1950s and '60s. A consummate performer, who excelled at both comedy and drama with equal ease, the little lady was renowned for her uncanny ability to cry on cue. Beverly shed tears. Buckets of tears. Real AND reel tears. She appeared in countless television shows during the medium's Golden Age, and many of the era's best-loved movies, including Walt Disney's Old Yeller, The Greatest Show on Earth, Shane, and Spider Baby, just to name a few. Beverly made her first movie at age six, and quickly found her niche. Over the years, her circle of friends included some of the biggest names in movies and television, many of whom she "dated" in the pages of the fan magazines - and in real life. But Beverly's fame went far beyond the silver screen. In the 1960s, for example, she cut a hit record - "Everybody Loves Saturday Night" - written by the legendary folk artist, Pete Seeger. In her brand new, first book, Reel Tears - The Beverly Washburn Story, Ms. Washburn talks from the soul about her astounding career as a child actress, and the difficulties she encountered as she became a teenager and then an adult. She reflects back on her most famous movies, with many behind-the-scenes anecdotes never before revealed, and also discusses her enduring friendships with some of entertainment's most prominent performers, including Jack Benny, Loretta Young, Lou Costello, and George "Superman" Reeves. This is a heartfelt and deeply revealing autobiography, and a good read for anyone who loves the movies. By the way, Beverly Washburn has been a Las Vegan since 1995, when she moved here from Southern California with her husband. Reel Tears - The Beverly Washburn Story may be purchased online, through Amazon.

* * * * * *

Relative Las Vegas newcomer, comic/impressionist Rich Natole, supplies the laughs in the afternoons at the Tropicana Hotel. Natole, who moved here from Florida last year, performs in the Bobby Slayton Room (formerly the site of the Comedy Stop), with shows at 2 p.m., every day but Monday. Thanks to his clean, but very funny, act, Natole has been a favorite on the corporate circuit for a number of years, entertaining large crowds for companies such as GE, JC Penneys, Shell Oil, Colgate Palmolive, Nike, Verizon, Chrysler Corporation, American Express, Westinghouse, MCI and GTE, among them. Rich is a man filled with other people's voices. He mimics hundreds of celebrities, including Wayne Newton, Redd Foxx, Bill Cosby, George Burns, Johnny Mathis, Jack Nicholson, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Tom Jones, Dean Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Dr. Phil, Donald Trump, Larry King and Regis Philbin. Rich's version of the National Anthem, done by the presidents, from JFK to Obama, is a crowd pleaser. Although we haven't had a chance to check out Natole yet, we hear good things about him. Tickets to see and hear Rich Natole start at $29.95 plus taxes and fees. For reservations or additional information, call (800) 829-9034.

* * * * * *

The AP reports that Barbra Streisand is planning to auction off some of her personal items, including paintings, furniture, vintage collectibles and costumes that she wore in the films Funny Lady and Meet the Fockers. Some of the collectibles will be exhibited aboard the Queen Mary 2 during August, and then moved to Ireland and New York before going up for bid on October 17th and 18th at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Streisand Foundation, which supports women's, children's, environmental and political causes. The auction will be conducted by Julien's Auctions, the same company who held the auction of the Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson items in Las Vegas, the day after Michael�s June 25th death.

* * * * * *

Susan Haller, who performed as one-third of the Red Hot Red Heads! (the other two were Diane Ellis and Dolly Coulter) on July 26th, goes solo on Sunday at Grace In the Desert the Episcopal Church in Summerlin, 2004 Spring Gate Lane. Susan calls her show Stiletto Sunday! It will be comprised of all original material (unlike the Red Hot Red Heads!, which was NOT made up of Haller's self-penned spite of what Cousin Claire wrote). Stiletto Sunday!, featuring the Seattle Jazz Society, is at 7 p.m. There will be a singers jam following the show. A $10 donation is suggested.

* * * * * *

Harry Basil

Rebecca Spencer

Lynne Foster

Comedian Harry Basil, who literally is a human movie trailer, will take his audience on a trip through Hollywood, as he headlines, Bob Kephart's Comedy Stop, in the Congo Room at the Sahara Hotel, Monday, August 10th, through Sunday, the 16th. Co-headlining with Basil will be Drew Thomas and Ace Guillen. Prop comic/impersonator Basil recreates and spoofs memorable moments from classic hit movies, by physically and vocally taking on a wide variety of unforgettable actors and movie characters, and even pulling unsuspecting audience members up on stage to act as costars. Harry was discovered by, Rodney Dangerfield, who picked him for the 9th Annual HBO Young Comedian's Special. Basil became Dangerfield's exclusive opening act, and also opened for such superstars as, Liza Minnelli, Gloria Estefan, Chuck Berry and Julio Iglesias. Harry is not only a stand up comedian, but is a producer, director and writer for some of the funniest movies generated out of Hollywood, including three Rodney Dangerfield classics, Ladybugs, Meet Wally Sparks, and My Five Wives. He directed, "The 4th Tenor" and the prison comedy, "Back by Midnight." Basil has also acted in numerous productions: "Peggy Sue Got Married," "The Seventh Sign," and "Meet Wally Sparks." It took being fired as an auto salesman in Atlanta, Georgia to give, Drew Thomas, the ambition to pursue a childhood dream of becoming a stand up comedian. Thomas entered a monthly competition and won three months in a row. Drew hit the road and never looked back at that automobile dealership. He draws an audience into his routine by discussing the follies of personal and everyday life along with current events. Ace Guillen is fairly new to stand up comedy. He started his career as a rocker, touring with rock bands and being named a finalist for the Inland Empire Music Awards, before bringing his musical talent to comedy. Guillen competed in both America's Got Talent and Last Comic Standing on NBC-TV. Showtime for the Comedy Stop is 9 p.m. nightly. Tickets are priced from $24.95 plus tax and fees. Nevada residents (with a valid Nevada drivers license) can buy tickets for $19.95 plus tax and fees. For further information and reservations, call (702) 737-2515.

* * * * * *

We hope you are putting away your dollars (you will need 125 of them) for the upcoming gala evening to be held at the Liberace Museum on Wednesday, August 19th. Called Sound, Lights and Cabaret Nights: The Show Must Go On!, the goal of this talented group of Broadway and Las Vegas professionals is to raise enough money to install a permanent state-of-the-art sound and light system into the nonprofit museum's Cabaret Showroom. The event will be co-chaired by Philip Fortenberry and Keith Thompson, both conductors at Jersey Boys and long-time Broadway musicians. The benefit begins at 6 p.m., with a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception, followed by a concert at 7:30. Entertainers scheduled to perform include Fortenberry, Erich Bergen, Travis Cloer, Rick Faugno, Kristofer McNeeley and Carly Thomas Smith, all of Jersey Boys; Kristen Hertzenberg and Joan Sobel of Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular; Tyler Williams from Le Reve; former Liberace protégé Domenick Allen, Clint Holmes, Susan Anton, Martin Nievera, all Vocal Soup artists; comedienne/singer, and former Mamma Mia! principal, Vicki Van Tassel; singer-actress Ali Spuck; and Christopher-Joel Carter IV, a featured pianist at M Resort and showmanship winner of the 2008 Liberace Piano Competition. "As the theatre community of Las Vegas grows, many performers find themselves longing for the nurturing artistic environment of the cabaret rooms of New York and Los Angeles, so they've begun to discover the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum as a jewel of a performance venue just moments from the Strip," said Fortenberry, an accomplished composer and concert pianist who performs his own critically-acclaimed show in the Cabaret Showroom, at 1 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, each week. "The Liberace Cabaret provides such a uniquely intimate and alternative venue for performers who find themselves in Las Vegas, wanting to spread their artistic wings and share their gifts and talents with the public." The Liberace Museum remains one of the city's top tourist attractions, with its rich history showcasing the illustrious career of Liberace, an entertainer and philanthropist who for 47 years performed for millions of fans, royals and dignitaries around the world. The Museum, now open seven days a week, is a significant funding source for the Liberace Foundation, created in 1976 by Liberace, and supported solely by private donations from individuals, businesses, fan clubs, and admirers globally. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law Residents and local businesses are encouraged to support the event through cash or in-kind donations in care of the Liberace Cabaret fund. Tickets for Sound, Lights and Cabaret Nights: The Show Must Go On! are $125 per person and may be purchased by phone (702) 798-5595 ext. 14, or in person at the Liberace Museum. This is expected to be a sell out, so order your tickets very soon. The Liberace Museum is located at 1775 E. Tropicana Ave. (at Spencer). Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

And speaking of Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular, Rebecca Spencer, who portrayed Madame Giry in the lavish Venetian production, will participate in a reading of the new musical, The Cuban and the Redhead, about the life of the late Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Rebecca joins Brandon O'Neill, as the Cuban bandleader, Nicole Beerman, as the famous redhead, Eileen Galindo, and a cast of a dozen additional actors, at next Friday�s (August 14th), the 7:30 p.m. presentation at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah, Washington. A part of the Village Theatre's Ninth Annual Festival of New Musicals, the "Village Originals" reading is directed by Kathryn Van Meter, with musical direction by Jim Fischer. The Cuban and the Redhead features a book and score by Robert Bartley and Danny Whitman. "Escaping the bloodshed of his native Island," press notes state, "a young Cuban boy sets sail on a turbulent journey that leads him all the way to Hollywood and into the arms of a fiery, redheaded movie star named Lucille Ball. At the climax of The Cuban and the Redhead, Desi and Lucy put their money, their trust and their dreams on the line in a gamble to save one thing - their marriage. They risk it all on an untested medium called television. Can these two star-crossed lovers blaze a path that defies Hollywood and history to be together?" Cuban was featured in the 2008 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival, the 2008 Festival of New American Musicals in Los Angeles and in staged readings by the York Theatre Company. Village Theatre is dedicated to the preservation and artistic development of musical theatre, one of our country's most enduring art forms. Village Originals is a nationally recognized program and represents one of the strongest commitments to new musicals anywhere. Over the years, Village Originals and Village Theatre have nurtured the development of more than 75 new musicals (including the Tony-winning, Next To Normal) - some of which have received subsequent productions in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Taiwan.

* * * * * *

We are saddened to report two more deaths connected to the Las Vegas entertainment community.
Lynne Foster, the wife of Dick Foster, of Dick Foster Productions, passed away in Twin Falls, Idaho, on July 31st. A native of Idaho, it was while working on a Peggy Fleming TV special in Sun Valley, that Lynne met the man who would become her husband. She and Dick married in 1975. Over their years in Las Vegas, Lynne and Dick produced Spellbound that ran for eight years at Harrah's, Imagine at the Luxor, Alakazaam at the Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood), the Rio's Show In the Sky, and Hats! at Harrah's. Lynne was the creative force behind the award-winning Bevertainer program at the Rio. A memorial service is planned for an as yet undetermined date. In lieu for flowers, the family has suggested donations to Opportunity Village, 6300 W. Oakey Blvd., Las Vegas 89146. Lynne Foster was 62.

Steven Hood

Thelma Houston

Steve Schirripa

In March, we wrote of a fundraiser to help the family of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular cast member, Steven Hood, who was battling leukemia in a Los Angeles hospital. Prior to his role in Phantom, Mr. Hood had performed in Las Vegas productions of Man of La Mancha (as Don Quixote), Fiddler On the Roof (Tevye), and A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum (Pseudolus). At one time, he was even a singing gondolier at the Venetian. In Los Angeles, Steven appeared in a number of productions, including Minnie's Boys as Groucho Marx, a role he later reprised on the Academy Awards in a tribute to the Marx Brothers. Steven served as vice-chair of the Actors' Equity Liaison Committee of Las Vegas. Sadly, following a massive stroke on Wednesday, Steven Hood, 61, died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, their children, and his grieving Phantom family. Private funeral services will be held in California, with a local memorial service held in Las Vegas at a later date. When the date is determined, we will print it.

* * * * * *

Beginning Wednesday, the Las Vegas Hilton will present five consecutive nights of top talent in their 1,600-seat theater. All of the shows are presented by Eric Floyd of Goddess Empire Entertainment. On the 12th, it's Diva Fever Revue, featuring Broadway and $100,000 Star Search vocal champion winner, Peggi Blu ("Tender Moments," "Love Is the Magic"); Thelma Houston ("Don't Leave Me This Way"); Oscar and Grammy Award-winner, Irene Cara ("Fame," "Out Here On My Own," "Breakdance," "Flashdance...What a Feeling"); soul icon and jazz legend, Freda Payne ("Band of Gold," "Deeper & Deeper," "Bring the Boys Home") ; American Idol and Broadway performer, Frenchie Davis (Broadway's Rent, Dreamgirls); and International Pop/Dance Diva and Universal Sex Symbol, Wanda Dee & The KLF. Showtime is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $50, $65 and $75. At 8 p.m. on Thursday, Diva Fever Revue (Part Deux) features multiple Grammy Award-winners, The Emotions ("Best of My Love," "Boogie Wonderland"); and soul, dance and disco divas, Sister Sledge, featuring Kathy Sledge ("He�s the Greatest Dancer," "We Are Family," "My Guy"). Tickets are $50, $65 and $75. After a smashing June debut in the Shimmer Cabaret at the Hilton, on Friday night at 7, it's the Hilton return of Siameze, The Godson Of Rock & Soul...this time to the main room! As part of Siameze's show, a special star-studded Michael Jackson song and dance tribute will take place. Tickets are $25 and $40. On Saturday and Sunday nights, at 8 p.m., Eric Floyd's Old School Party will be presented. Featured acts will include Stephanie Mills (Broadway's The Wiz, 1980 Grammy-winner, "Home," "Never Knew Love Like This Before"); Vanilla Ice ("Ice Ice Baby," "Play That Funky Music"), Shannon ("Let the Music Play"), Sisqo ("It's All About Me"), The KLF ("3 A.M. Eternal"), C & C Music Factory ("Gonna Make You Sweat," "Here We Go," "Things That Make You Go Hmmmm..."), Carol Douglas ("Doctor's Orders"), Carol Williams ("Love Is You"), Taana Gardner ("Heartbeat," "Work That Body," "When You Touch Me"), Meli'sa Morgan ("Do Me, Baby," "Still In Love With You"), Technotronic ("Pump Up the Jam," "Get Up! Before the Night Is Over"), Full Force ("I Wonder If I'll Take You Home," "All Cried Out"), Force MD's ("Tender Love"), UTFO ("Roxanne, Roxanne"), Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam ("Head To Toe," "Lost In Emotion") and others. Tickets for Old School Party are $65, $95 and $125. For reservations and/or information about any or all of these shows,, call (702) 732-5755 or (800) 222-5361.

* * * * * *

The Las Vegas Tenors are back at the Suncoast (we're sure it's by popular demand), with 8 p.m. shows, tonight through Sunday. Comprised of Bill Fayne, Bobby Black and Teddy Davey, this trio of fine singers have become local favorites. Mr. Fayne promises that there will be "a great 11-piece orchestra; new music - from the Beatles to Broadway, and from Popera to Rock; plus lots of fun." There should be something (or lots of somethings) to suit everyone's musical tastes. Tickets range from $19.95 plus taxes and fees. Call (702) 636-7075 for tickets or information.

* * * * * *

We received an e-mail, from reader Carolyn in Seattle, who has something else on her mind. Carolyn writes...
We loved the idea of hearing our favorite "chick singers" like Diane Ellis and Loretta St. John at DeStefano's. Unfortunately, the overamplification of everything soured the whole dining and entertainment experience. Last time we went there, on a Saturday night, we walked in, heard the level of the sound, said to each other "Nope," and walked right back out. We'll never go back. Guess we're too old, because we remember when small supper clubs were more acoustic and much more enjoyable. This sound thing is one of my pet peeves.
Hopefully, the business owners pay attention to the feelings of their customers. A number of years ago, we had a horrible experience at Bahama Breeze on East Flamingo. We were part of a fairly large (about 20 people) group attending a party at the restaurant. The "music" was deafening! It was SO loud, we could not visit at all, and the server could not hear what we were ordering, therefore bringing the wrong items to the waiting customers. A number of the guests moved from the "patio" to inside the place, in hopes of being able to have a pleasant conversation, while others just went home.

And, from another reader, regarding Las Vegas residents, Marty Allen and his bride of 25-years, Karon Kate Blackwell, who just did some one-nighters at Catch a Rising Star clubs in New York and New Jersey, we received this e-mail from Richard P. in Queens...
Saw Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell on Friday July 31 at The Catch A Rising Star in Princeton New Jersey. What a great show. Marty was so funny I couldn't stop laughing. Karon's choice of songs kept the room jumping. The banter between Marty and Karon was up to par with Burns and Allen I enjoyed the show very much and recommend it to all.
Thanks for the mini-review, Richard. We know that it will mean a lot to Marty and Karon, not to mention their producer, Howard Jochsberger, that you took the time to convey your positive feelings.

And also on the subject of Mr. and Mrs. Allen, we got this e-mail from MaLizMa in New York City...
Thanks for your tip about Marty Allen & Karon Kate Blackwell at the "Catch-A-Rising-Star" Comedy Clubs!
What a treat to have this sensational show on the East Coast! Marty was absolutely HYSTERICAL and Karon has a great singing voice and energy to spare. Just an absolutely terrific show that the audience loved, loved, loved! I would have missed it had a friend not sent me your column! SIGN ME UP!

* * * * * *

Face the Ace, a new poker show airing on NBC prime time Saturday night, found itself in last place in the ratings. The news can't be good for a show that went up against a bunch of reruns. Fox won the night with two installments of Cops and America's Most Wanted. Face the Ace, hosted by Steve Schirripa, had 1.6 million viewers and a 0.4/2 share. Compare that with America's Most Wanted in the same time slot with nearly 5 million viewers during its second half (the 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. time period). Over the past few years, poker shows have enjoyed top ratings on Cable including the Travel Network (World Poker Tour) and ESPN (coverage of the World Series of Poker). Everyday contestants appear on the show and play against professionals like Phil Ivey and Patrik Antonius. Contestants could win up to $1 million. Schirripa, most well-known for his role as Bobby Baccalieri on the HBO TV series, The Sopranos, has a long history in Las Vegas. Long before getting into acting, Steve worked as a bouncer at Paul Anka's, long gone Harmon Avenue nightclub, Jubilation. He later worked the door at some of the showrooms at the Riviera, before becoming the hotel's entertainment director. He continues to work for the casino as a consultant. During his work here, he landed a role as an extra in the Martin Scorsese film, Casino. Since that time, Schirripa has appeared in a number of films and all over TV, including recurring appearances with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. Schirripa even filled in as co-host on NBC's Today show fourth hour, joining Kathie Lee Gifford during Hoda Kotb's absence. Steve has also written a series of Goomba books with Charles Fleming, such as The Goomba's Guide to Life, The Goomba's Book of Love, and The Goomba Diet.

* * * * * *

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, also known as "the happiest Mayor in the Universe" (we suspect all that Bombay Sapphire Gin helps keep Oscar happy), celebrated his 70th birthday in Las Vegas on Friday, July 31 with a public party at the Fremont Street Experience. Among the list of entertainers who participated in the special occasion event, were the busy Wayne Brady, Nathan Burton and Zowie Bowie, to name a few. The event was emceed by KLUC FM's Chet Buchanan. All proceeds benefited the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Opportunity Village and Three Square.

Mayor Oscar Goodman

Mary Marcella Schwartz & Sharon Gless

* * * * * *

On Sunday, August 9th, at 2 p.m., when Praise plays at the South Point showroom for the third time, Larry Hart's Irreverently Reverent Gospel Experience will be joined during the finale by the Las Vegas Mass Choir under the direction of James R. Smith. In addition to Hart, the concert features special guests, Darcus Speed and Larry�s mother, entertainer, along with former Shirelle, Diane Spann; ex-Rockette MarQue; country dynamo, Jennifer Weatherly; commercial and casino lounge singer, Jeneane Marie; jazz vocalist, Paris Red; and Korean-American songstress, Jenevi. Praise is inspired by the world's 10 major religions and, in a fun and entertaining way, celebrates the rural roots of gospel music while fusing it with the idea of higher consciousness. The original 90-minute, well-costumed, fully orchestrated non-secular musical was written and conceived by Larry Hart, who is a multi-platinum and Grammy winning recording artist. Praise is a condensed version of a future Broadway show. For this Sunday's performance, a $5-off discount is being offered to seniors 55 +, a half-off discount is available to military personnel, and there's a $10-off discount for church goers. General admission tickets are $25, $30 and $35; senior tickets are $20, $25 and $30; military prices are $12.50, $15 and $17.50, and church tickets are $25, $20 and $15. The code words are: senior, military and church. All tickets prices include taxes. Call the South Point box office at (702) 797-8055 or (866) 796-7111 for reservations.

* * * * * *

British Micro Sculptor, Willard Wigan, who produces incredible sculptures, all inside the eye of a needle or on a pin head, supports only two charities, one is MagiCaresTM, and the other is the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. Paul Stone, the man who produces variety and magic shows (and the recent Society of Seven appearances) at the Suncoast and Orleans, launched MagiCaresTM with Siegfried and Roy ( who are Honorary Trustees ) at the London Palladium last September. On August 12th, Wigan will be a guest on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. Wigan is expected to mention the upcoming, September, MagiCaresTM show at The Orleans, where a sculpture that he did of Siegfried and Roy will be auctioned off. We will have more about this event in the next couple of weeks. Check out Wigan's Web site at

* * * * * *

In our July 24th column, we wrote about the annual Richmond/Ermet Aids Foundation Help Is On the Way XV: No Business Like Show Business, 15th Anniversary Gala. Taking place at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco on Sunday, August 2nd, this annual event is Northern California's largest star-studded AIDS benefit concert and gala. The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, established to raise funds for AIDS service provider agencies through the production of quality entertainment events. Born from the grass-roots efforts of two mothers, Barbara Richmond and the late Peggy Ermet, who both lost their only sons to AIDS as a way to honor their sons' memories and to help alleviate the suffering of many of the other sons and daughters living with HIV and AIDS. Although we were unable to attend, our friend, Mary Marcella Schwartz, could and did experience the awesome evening (thanks to the kindness and generous spirit of music man, Michael Orland) and, for whatever reason (she loves us), Ms. Schwartz volunteered to give us a "brief" rundown of the event. Much like Cousin Claire, Mary Marcella can't say anything in 25 words or less. The historian suggested editing what she wrote but we aren't going to do that. We are printing the entire thing! Here goes...
The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation (REAF) 15th Anniversary Gala was a huge success and fit the show's theme and opening number "There is "No Business Like Show Business" perfectly! All of the numbers were taken from Broadway's finest shows. Tyne Daly was vivacious and quite daring in her very, very (did we say "very") high shocking pink and red heels performing Broadway-esque renditions of "Some People" ("Gypsy") and "Row Row Row" � much to the audience's delight. She was a breath of fresh air and a million miles from her characters in her hit TV shows "Cagney & Lacey" and "Judging Amy." Where there was Tyne Daly, there was Sharon Gless ("Burn Notice"), the surprise of the evening! Ms. Gless, dressed in a maid's costume, played foil to Ms. Daly, throwing rose petals at her feet during her grand entrance. Unfortunately, Ms. Gless' character was later shot by Broadway star Carole Cook and carted off on a stretcher. The audience went wild! Speaking of Carole Cook, she didn't miss a beat (or a word) in her hilarious off-color monologue. She appeared radiant as she flung one-liners as fast as we could catch them. Her (true?) stories from the "old days" of show-biz made us wish we knew her then, but very glad we know her now. When she sang "There's No Business Like Show Business" ("Annie Get Your Gun"), we believed her. Right in sync with "Dancing With the Stars," Cate Caplin and Gary Franco choreographed and flawlessly danced their way into everyone's heart with Cole Porter's "Night and Day" ("Gay Divorce") and "Cellblock Tango" ("Chicago"). Cate coached David Hyde Pierce for nine months to prepare him for "Six Dance Lessons" and "Spamalot." Gary was a Principal Dancer with the Boston Ballet, Disney's Symphonic Fantasy, and the American Folk Ballet. With Cate as his partner, he was a Performing Arts World Champion in Theatrical ShowDance. Shawn Ryan, accompanied by Kelly Park, performed "I'm Checking Out" ("Postcards from the Edge"). He went into the audience and brought up two unsuspecting men to compete in his cleverly created "What Movies Made Us Gay?" Shawn was quick-witted, hilarious, and very entertaining as the gay host to this new reality show. Davis Gaines' egocentric rendition of "If Ever [You] Would Leave [Me]" ("Camelot") was terrific. He had 8x10 glossies of himself pinned to the inside of his jacket lapels and a stack that he flung into the audience at the end of his number -- after first signing one for a fan in the front row. The cast of "Top Shelf's Motown Madness" paid homage to many of Motown's great performers, including Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell, and (of course) The Jackson Five. Dressed in beautiful white suits and gowns, they moved and grooved beautifully to these classic songs. The Tony award-winning John Lloyd Young brought down the house twice with "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" ("Jersey Boys") and Stephen Sondheim's "Being Alive" ("Company"). He stars in his new comedy, "Oh Vey! My Son Is Gay!" with Lainie Kazan, Saul Rubinek, Carmen Electra, Jai Rodriguez, Bruce Vilanch, and Vince Pastore. Melinda Doolittle of "American Idol" fame sang "Home" ("The Wiz") like she had been performing for a million years. As a back-up artist for Michael McDonald, Aaron Neville, CeCe Winans, Melinda built her vocal confidence to become a household name on the sixth season of "Idol." She is a truly amazing and talented upcoming young artist, who's just as natural and comfortable off-stage as she is on. Dressed in her gown and sparkling tiara, Maureen McVerry was the believable old maid princess singing "Where In the World Is My Prince?" (Miss Spectacular"). We truly felt for her when her beau left hand-in-hand with "his" prince. Her comedic talent, timing, and voice were spectacular and left the audience with a happy ending. With an original name like "BaulPointPen," it was quite refreshing that the originators were, in fact, very original. Longtime friends Ben McLain and Paul Peglar, graduates of UC Irvine and UCLA School of Theatre, blended their innate musical ability and a crafted sense of understated comedy performing an "Audition Piece" and "Friends Like Me" ("Aladdin"). With the rousing audience appreciation, I'm sure "BaulPointPen" will become a household name. The audience was on their feet and boogey-ing to Jeanie Tracy's rousing rendition of "Last Dance/Everybody Up," which she co-wrote with Paul Jabara. Susan Anton's genuinely heartfelt words hit home when she said that time is precious � "Once it's gone, you can't go to an ATM and get more." Her performance of Peter Allen's "Once Before I Go" ("The Boy From Oz") was as towering as Susan's stature and her inner beauty shone as brightly as her outer beauty. Joely Fisher would have made her parents Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens proud. Quietly glamorous in her bugle-bead gown, this mother of five sang "Astonishing/Day of Plenty" ("Little Women"), whose lyrics seemed to have been written especially for this event. With an introduction by Tyne Daly and Carole Cook, the audience watched a video of the finale song "Help Is On the Way," written by David Friedman. The performer was Nancy LaMott, a courageous woman who passed away from cancer only six months after her performance. The show was brilliantly staged and directed by David Galligan, whose stage and theatre credits are too many to mention. For the past twenty-four years, he has directed and co-produced the annual S.T.A.G.E. fundraisers for AIDS charities. He co-produced the Actors' Fund recordings "Tap Your Troubles Away: The Words and Music of Jerry Herman" and began his career at the famed Opera Ring under the guidance of Irma Kay. He staged "Help Is On the Way" for the last thirteen years. For his third year, Michael Orland, currently the pianist, arranger and Associate Musical Director for "American Idol," musically directed "Help Is On the Way." With enough credits to fill a grand piano, Michael has collaborated with music industry giants Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, Diane Warren, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Jennifer Lopez and Tony Bennett. He has played and conducted for many celebrities, including Susan Anton, Sam Harris, Jennifer Holliday, Gladys Knight, and Barry Manilow, to name a few. Michael is idolized by his "Idol" contestants and everyone that has the good fortune to work with him. Bill Keck, Musical Director of "Beach Blanket Babylon," took his sixth turn as Musical Director for this "Help Is On the Way" production. He has accompanied Carol Lawrence, Rich Little, Jim Bailey and Sylvia Sims, and worked theatrically with E.Y. Harburg, Sheldon Harnick and Alan Menken. Dedicated partners, Joe Seiler and Ken Henderson, have served as Co-Executive Producers for "Help Is On the Way" events since REAF's inception. In addition, Joe has done voice-over work and has produced and edited a series of promotional video presentations about REAF and the fight against AIDS. As one of the original founders of REAF, Ken first served as Chairman of the Board and currently serves as Executive Director.

Thank you, Mary Marcella!

Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
You can find Past Columns HERE

     Like to be notified when Claire Voyant's next column is available?
Then join Claire Voyant's announcement mailing list!
Enter your email address below, then click the 'Join List' button:

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye