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.
Note: This is a past column from August 14, 2009
You can find the current column HERE
Las Vegas - August 14, 2009
Dolores Fuller at 68
Ronn Lucas & Friends
If you haven't purchased your tickets for Sounds, Lights and Cabaret Nights: The Show Must Go On, taking place at the Liberace Museum on Wednesday night, what are you waiting for?
The purpose of this fundraiser is to bring the museum's Cabaret Showroom into this century, with a proper sound and light system to make it a more viable performance venue for aspiring artists. The 86-seat Cabaret Showroom is becoming THE place for performers to show off their talents. With a cozy performance space, plenty of convenient parking, no food service to interfere with the entertainment, the only thing lacking is a permanent sound and light system. The nonprofit Liberace Foundation and Museum, with a tremendous amount of support from members of the Broadway-Las Vegas theatre community, is spearheading the drive to make this happen. The event, co-chaired by pianist Philip Fortenberry (who performs in the Cabaret Showroom three afternoon a week) and Keith Thompson (the man behind the very successful, much-anticipated monthly Composers Showcase, also held in the Cabaret), both conductors at Jersey Boys and long-time Broadway musicians, will include a 6 p.m. cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception, fine wine tasting, a raffle, and concert starting at 7:30. Among the entertainers scheduled to perform are 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 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. Tax-deductible tickets are $125 per person, and may be purchased by calling the museum at (702) 798-5595, ext. 13, or by e-mailing to [email protected] Residents and local businesses are encouraged to support the event through cash or in-kind donations in care of the Liberace Cabaret fund. "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. "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." When we checked earlier on Friday, most of the limited seating tickets had been sold. If you don't want to miss out on this special evening, make your reservations as soon as possible. For those that don't know, the 30-year-old Liberace Museum is located at 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer. They are now open seven days a week.
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Unfortunately, we didn't know about this event until Monday, too late to give readers a heads up BEFORE the fact. Montara Meadows, along with filmmaker Stan Armstrong, hosted a special evening honoring the multi talented Dolores Fuller at the southeast Las Vegas retirement community. Dolores began her career as an actress in the early 1950s, ultimately earning herself the title "Queen of the B Movies." She is best known for her relationship with, then boyfriend, cult film director Ed Wood. In the 1994 film, based on the quirky director's life, Wood was played by Johnny Depp, and Dolores was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker (or as Fuller refers to her, "Sarah Jurassic Parker"), although, not to Dolores' liking. The movie followed Wood's career as director of Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space. It also reveals Wood as a cross dresser with a love for Dolores' angora sweater. The movie features Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi, who is befriended by Wood. Landau won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for this role. After life with Wood and the big screen, Dolores eventually turned songwriter and wrote more than a dozen songs for Elvis Presley. She went on to start her own record company, and helped launch the careers of Johnny Rivers and Tanya Tucker, as well as managing many others. Dolores wrote an autobiography entitled A Fuller Life, which chronicles her incredible career and many loves. In the early ‘80s, Dolores met and then married her current husband, Philip Chamberlin. Phillip is somewhat of a celebrity in his own right. His father worked with Charles Lindbergh. During his own career, Phillip was the director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also started the film department at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The evening included the showing of a German-made documentary, followed by a Q&A period with, the still beautiful at 86, Dolores Fuller. A lovely buffet was provided by Joe LaVigna of Affairs Catering. LaVigna didn't just serve up delicious treats, he served up some music as well, singing Artie Butler's Here's To Life to Ms. Fuller...a cappella.
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We are pleased to report that comic ventriloquist Ronn Lucas, who has been missing from the local entertainment scene for too long, has some multiple upcoming dates at the South Point. Lucas, along with his sidekicks, Buffalo Billy, Scorch, and Chuck, will play the main showroom at the South point on Thursdays - September 3rd, 17th and 24th, and October 1st and 8th, at 7 p.m. Tickets are only $20 (all inclusive), and go on sale Monday. For reservations, call (702) 797-8055.
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Over the past few weeks, we have spotted some interesting folks in the audience at Naked Boys Singing! Although we won't name names (just in case the people enjoying themselves at the Onyx were supposed to be at church or the library), we CAN say that we have seen some red hats, some cowboy hats, some very large dark glasses, some odd comb-overs, tattoos (on both boys and girls), and other interesting, identifiable individuals. Everyone seemed to be having a really good time. How about you? We're going back on Sunday...just for the singing! The place to see the Naked Boys Singing!, and YES, they really are naked, is at the Onyx Theatre inside The Rack clothing store in Commercial Center. Shows are at 10 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $30. Call (702) 732-7225. We won't tell your mother we saw you there...honest!
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Lee Roy Reams
Les Paul, who invented the solid-body electric guitar that was later used by a legion of rock ‘n' roll greats, died on Thursday of complications from pneumonia. He was 94. With Mary Ford, his wife from 1949 to 1962, Paul earned 36 gold records for hits including "Vaya Con Dios" and "How High the Moon," which both hit No. 1. "Without Les Paul, we would not have rock and roll as we know it," said Terry Stewart, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "His inventions created the infrastructure for the music and his playing style will ripple through generations. He was truly an architect of rock and roll." A musician since childhood, Paul experimented with guitar amplification for years before, in 1941, coming up with what he called "The Log," a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings. "I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut," said Les. He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a traditional guitar shape. In 1952, Gibson Guitars began production on the Les Paul guitar. Pete Townshend of the Who, Steve Howe of Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page all made the Gibson Les Paul their trademark six-string. Over the years, the Les Paul series has become one of the most widely used guitars in the music industry. In 2005, Christie's auction house sold a 1955 Gibson Les Paul for $45,600.
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Wish we had known about this earlier. We received it too late to go into last Friday's column. On Tuesday, from 8 to midnight, the talented vocalist, Michelle Johnson, backed by Peter Radd on piano, Bob Sachs on bass and Mike Mechem on drums, entertained music fans at Brendan's Irish Pub inside The Orleans Hotel and Casino. Although Brendan's does not serve food, this authentic Irish Pub features the best brews from across the sea, including favorite draft beers, Irish bottled beers, ales and Irish whiskeys. They have Guinness and other imported beers on tap. Hopefully, the powers that be will bring the group back, we will learn about it earlier, we will let readers know about it sooner, and you will get to see and hear Michelle instead of read about her after the fact.
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Broadway veterans, Larry Raben and Lee Roy Reams, who starred in The Producers at Paris Las Vegas, recently recreated their roles as Leo Bloom and Roger DeBris, respectively, in Oklahoma City where they joined Lewis J. Stadlen as Max Bialystock, and Sarah Cornell as Ulla, in an Oklahoma City production of the Mel Brooks musical romp. Bill Burns re-created Susan Stroman's original direction and choreography, and music direction was by Phil Reno. Stadlen, Raben, Reams, and Cornell all previously played their roles in the Broadway production of The Producers. The cast also included Matthew Alvin Brown (Carmen Ghia), Vince Leseney (Franz Liebkind), and Jennifer Smith (Hold-Me Touch-Me). Lee Roy didn't have much time to settle in at home as, on Wednesday, he was off on another one of those Theatre at Sea Cruises, this time on board the Crystal Symphony with fellow celebrities, author and Oscar-winning actress (for Hud in 1963), Patricia Neal; Academy Award-nominee (for 1969's They Shoot Horses, Don't They?), Susannah York; Patricia Routledge, the celebrated English actress and lovable Mrs. Bucket fromPBS's Keeping Up Appearances; Broadway singer actress, Betsy Craig; Broadway/Disney singer actor, Richard White; and former Miss America, singer actress, Susan Powell. Presented by the Theatre Guild, the destinations for the 11-day Baltic Bliss adventure is scheduled to stop in Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Warnemunde (Berlin), Copenhagen and Dover (London). At present, Lee Roy is serving as the resident director of the Theatre at Sea program sponsored by the Theatre Guild. The tour ends on August the 23rd, which just happens to be Mr. Reams' birthday.
Cover Girl Rebecca Spencer
And speaking of some of the talented musical theater artists who have graced Las Vegas stages in shows like The Producers, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia!, Hairspray, Spamalot, Avenue Q, Chicago the Musical, We Will Rock You, and others, Rebecca Spencer, who played Madame Giry in our Phantom, has just received quite an honor. Ms. Spencer is the cover girl of the new Maximillien de Layafette book, The Cabaret World and Who's Who From 1730 to Present. We will let readers know when the book is available for sale.
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From Jean Scigliano, Iris Gerhardt and Eydie Ruth, administrators of the Neil Diamond site, www.iaisnd.com (I Am I Said Neil Diamond), comes this friendly reminder...
Neil's TV Special is scheduled to air tonight (at 8 p.m. in Las Vegas) on CBS. There might be some areas of the country where, because of local programming, Hot August Night/NYC will be broadcast at a different time, even a different date, so be sure to check your local listings for the exact time in your area. The television special, airing in Las Vegas at 8 p.m., includes excerpts from the DVD and footage from Diamond's recent trip home to New York. "This is my first TV special in over 20 years, so I feel my heart beating a little faster. It's exciting," Diamond said. "I'm happy to still be here and doing it after all these years and I hope somebody tunes in on Friday night." Oh, we are sure a few folks will tune in, Neil. We have seen the Diamond in concert, twice. The first time, was in the mid-1970s, when he performed at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles (from where we were sitting, we needed binoculars to really see him), and the second, on July 4th weekend in 1976, when he christened Las Vegas' brand new Theatre for the Performing Arts, at what was then the Aladdin, but today is Planet Hollywood. That time, we were sitting close enough to the stage to get some decent photos (we're Press, you know). The DVD of Hot August Night/NYC, will be available at most US Wal-Mart stores, as well as online at Amazon and Neildiamond.com. The DVD is sure to please Diamond fans. It contains a full concert, beginning to end, from the 2008 tour, as well as a segment titled "Welcome Home Neil," which shows Neil visiting his old neighborhood, even an apartment where he lived.
If you miss tonight's special, and you can't find the DVD, we suggest checking out "almost Neil," Jay White, in his show at the Riviera.
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The cast of Bite
Diane Ellis & Joe Darro
Bite, the creative, classic rock and topless vampire show, is celebrating five years at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino on the north end of the Strip. Launched on Friday the 13th in August of 2004, Bite has become one of the most iconic and successful shows in Las Vegas today. At more than 1,500 performances and nearly a half-million audience members since it first began, the undeniably powerful combination of sexy and erotic topless dancers, amazing acrobatics, high-energy rock 'n roll and the darkly mysterious allure of vampires have proven to be a formula for success with both locals and tourists alike. "There are so many factors that have contributed to making Bite a success," said Tim Molyneux, producer and writer of the show. "The world has always had a fascination with vampires - they've been a part of popular culture for hundreds of years and we are once again experiencing a real resurgence in television, film and print. Some people come to see Bite simply because it's a vampire show, but ultimately they are always blown away by the production. Vampires allow us to do the things that provide the ingredients for a great Vegas show: fun music, high-energy, acrobatics in the air and on the stage, magic, martial arts, gymnastics, contortion, comedy, drama, great dancing, live singing and sexy girls. The show tells a compelling story through the lyrics of the songs and the classic vampire lore of lost love. There's a purpose behind everything happening and it all comes together in an experience the audience loves and won't find anywhere else in the world," he added. Bite centers around the Lord Vampire and his search for the perfect female specimen, which he plans to seduce and crown his Queen of the Night. Aiding the Lord is his coven of sultry and nimble dancers, the Erotic Angels of Rock. Their story is told through Classic Rock songs of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. The current cast of Bite includes, Lord Vampire, Russell Hines; Queen of the Night, Jessica Delgado; Cat Vampire, Kristin Ratatori; Tush Vampire, Koree Kurkowski; Ice Vampire, Michelle Diterlizzi; Fire Vampire, Kristel Nichols; Pain Vampire, Kim Langstaff; Shimmy Vampire, Samantha Hunt; Silk Vampire, Kelly Jo Millaudon; Flying Couple, Cees De Kok and Cathy Perquin; and Rockstar, Mark Giovachinni (better known to Las Vegans as Mark Giovi). Tickets for Bite are $49.45. The show starts at 10:30 p.m. Fridays through Wednesdays (dark on Thursdays). For tickets or more information, call (702) 380-7711 or (800) 99-TOWER. The Stratosphere is located at 2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South.
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Tonight, it's chanteuse Diane Ellis singing with the Joe Darro Trio at DeStefano's Restaurant on the northeast corner of Tropicana and Pecos in the Big Lots shopping center. You can hear Diane and Joe doing great jazz vocals and standards, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Check out the dinner menu.
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The Comedy Stop, newly relocated in the Congo Room at the Sahara Hotel & Casino, has booked three top headliners for the week of August 17th through the 23rd. Producer Bob Kephart has signed stand-up comics, Tim Walkoe, Manny Oliveira and Glen Jensen to deliver a one-two-three punch for the week. Walkoe is a veteran headliner, having appeared at more than 100 comedy clubs across the country. He has also been featured at the Chicago Comedy Festival for the past four years. Tim is a $10,000 grand prize winner on ABC TVs America's Funniest People, and has appeared in a recurring role on Fox TV's Murder in Small Town X, as Mayor Emerson Bowden. "Nonstop laughter from start to finish," is what the Chicago Tribune had to say about Walkoe's comedy performance. Oliveira has been performing professionally for more than 30 years, beginning his career as an actor in Boston. He moved from acting into the world of stand-up comedy, where he has received critical acclaim. He has appeared on HBO and other prestigious television comedy shows. Oliveira can also be seen as Father Cisero in an upcoming film, Crossroads, and most recently on Lifetime's Network hit, Army Wives. Oklahoma born Jensen, is not only a stand-up comedian, but has appeared in more than six major movies and, most recently, on the television series, Forensic Files. In the 2006 psychological thriller, Fingerprints, Glen played one of the pivotal roles. As a comic, he delivers a hilarious mixture of down home views, wrapped in a cynical urban coating. Glen won "Philly's Funniest Comedy Competition" and has also been an opening act for, The Doobie Brothers, Al Jarreau and Spyro Gyra. Showtime for the Comedy Stop is 9 p.m. seven nights a week. Tickets start at $24.95 plus tax and fees, with a $19.95 ticket for locals (must have a valid Nevada drivers license) plus tax and fees. For reservations call (702) 737-2515 or purchase tickets at www.saharavegas.com.
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Lucille Ball by Martin Kreloff
Morning Glories by Bill Nolte
New York-born pop artist, Martin Kreloff, a relatively new Las Vegas transplant (he has been here for five years, following a 14-year stint in Southern California), obviously loves Lucy. His latest creation is a portrait of the iconic redhead, solo. An earlier rendering shows both Lucille Ball and her Cuban bandleader husband, Desi Arnaz. Lucy joins a Who's Who of famous faces that have been interpreted by the skilled and talented Marty Kreloff. In addition to Mr. and Mrs. Arnaz, among the many, many subjects who have found their way to a Kreloff canvas are (in mostly alphabetical order) Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall, Mr. Blackwell, Bogart and Bergman (as in Humphrey and Ingrid), George Clooney, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, James Dean, Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn, Judy (Garland) and Liza (Minnelli), Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Don Johnson, Grace Kelly, Don Knotts, Veronica Lake, Janet Leigh, Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Rosalind Russell, Barbara Stanwyk, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple, Lana Turner, John Wayne, Mae West, and Esther Williams. If you would like to be impressed, Google "Martin Kreloff" for a look at some of the labors of his life and love. Happy birthday to Mr. Kreloff, who celebrates number 65 this week.
And on the subject of artists, many performing artists are also talented visual artists as well, using their time between engagements or between takes to create works on canvas, paper, or three-dimensional objects. Some of Hollywood's finest, were also amazingly talented painters - Henry Fonda, Claire Trevor and Peter Falk come immediately to mind. Our friend, Bill Nolte, who portrayed Franz Liebkind in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, and more recently played the butcher, Lazar Wolf, in the touring company of Fiddler on the Roof, is one the Broadway-types who is also adept with a paint brush. He has spent much of the last couple of months relaxing in upstate New York, where he has had some time to get back to gardening and creating works on paper.
Terry Ritter's Lonely Paris Evening
And speaking of artists, Terry Ritter, who does Las Vegas-themed entertainment artwork (mostly lovely showgirls), reports that she just returned from Encinitas, California, where her 'Ode to Erte" originals are hanging in The Art & Frame Shop in Solana Beach. Terry also has some of her paintings on display in the new Bernard's Bistro at Lake Las Vegas. The French eatery is located at 15 Via Bel Canto, overlooking the lake and creating a very nice ambience. Currently providing entertainment at the Bistro is Patricia Watson, who plays and sings on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8 to 11 p.m. (and late hours , from 10 to midnight, on Fridays and Saturdays). Terry, who is still working on the airport mural project, tells us that "the fabulous French food is reasonably priced, and so is the artwork!"
And speaking of ladies named Terry, another Terry, vocalist Terry James, opens at the Alexis Park Hotel on Sunday, the 23rd of August, with 7 and 9 p.m. shows. Alexis Park, a non-gaming property located on Harmon east of the Strip, is offering pre-show dinner specials beginning at 5 p.m. James reports that she will be singing tunes from the Great American Songbook, as well as a few 'newer' selections. She will also include a tribute to the late Mike Beisner, a former member of the Four Freshmen singing group. Mike died in July of last year at the age of 53.
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Frederick Knott's thriller, Wait Until Dark, opens tonight at the Backstage Theatre on the College of Southern Nevada's Cheyenne Campus, located at 3200 East Cheyenne, in North Las Vegas. Wait Until Dark tells the tale of Susy Hendricks, a blind Greenwich Village housewife, who becomes the target of three thugs searching for a doll filled with heroin. It seems that Susy‘s husband transported the doll from Canada as a favor to a woman who has since been murdered. The trio tries to convince Susy that her spouse has been implicated in the crime and the only way to protect him is to surrender the doll. Bravo TV named a scene from 1967's Wait Until Dark, as No. 10 on a list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments of All Time (leave the kids at home for this one). The film's star, Audrey Hepburn, was nominated for a Best Actress in a Leading Role Academy Award (she lost to another Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, who won the Oscar that year for her role in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner). Also appearing in the movie version of Wait Until Dark were Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Jack Weston. The CSN production is directed by Russ Benton and Chris Mayse, and features Mary Foresta as Susy Hendricks, Michael Cassano (last seen in A Touch of Shakespeare at the Springs Preserve in May) as Roat, William Klundt as Mike Talman, Robert Gillmer as Carlino, Mark Brunton (named by the Las Vegas Review-Journal's theater critic, Anthony Del Valle, as last year's Outstanding Actor for his role in the Las Vegas Little Theatre's Rabbit Hole) as Sam Hendricks, and Maureen Winter as Gloria. Showtimes are tonight, August 14th, tomorrow, August 21st and 22nd, at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays, August 16th and 23rd, at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. To get to the theater: From the I-15, exit Cheyenne Rd. EAST. Drive to Campus Rd. and turn north onto the CSN campus. Follow the road to the back of the school until you see The Horn Theater and park in that lot. Enter through the main doors of the school (not the theater entrance) and turn left. The Backstage theater will be on your left. For additional information, call the Performing Arts Center at (702) 651-LIVE (5483).
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As we mentioned a few weeks ago, Gina Eckstine and her band - Ric Mandell on piano, Jack Daro on bass, Ric Craig on drums, Jimmy Mahlis on guitar, Dan Weinstein who alternates on trombone and violin, and Mike Nelson on saxophone - will be partying at the legendary Catalina Bar and Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., in Hollywood, on Sunday (August 16th) to celebrate the release of Gina's new CD. Entitled Everything I Have Is Yours, this is a loving tribute to the music of Gina's father, the late, great jazz legend Billy Eckstine. The CD contains Eckstine favorites, including "I Was a Little Too Lonely," "Prisoner of Love," "Everything I Have Is Yours," "I'm Beginning to See the Light," "A Cottage for Sale," "Misty," "I Apologize," "I Could Write a Book," "Shake Down the Stars," "Don't Let It Go to Your Head," "I Want to Talk About You," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," and "My Foolish Heart." Gina's career began at the age of seven, when she was invited on stage with her father during his nightclub act. She says, "From then I was hooked. I knew what I wanted to do...SING!" With family friends like the Four Tops, Quincy Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., and Sarah Vaughan, Gina's household was a constant source of inspiration and guidance. At age 13, she began extensive vocal training and music study. After witnessing his daughter's graduation performance, Billy Eckstine decided that she was ready for his "College Of The Road." Gina joined her father in his show and traveled the world, sharing the stage with the likes of Count Basie, Sammy Davis Jr., and Bill Cosby, and performing on The Tonight Show. After three years with The Billy Eckstine Show, Gina moved to California and started her own nightclub act, working exclusively for the La Costa Resort Hotel. Her show was a success and a Las Vegas connection was made. For nine years, Gina performed in major hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. She currently resides in Los Angeles, but performs as an opening act for major performers in Las Vegas, most recently for Brad Garrett, at The Mirage. On Sunday, Gina and her band will perform a 75-minute show at the Catalina. There will be great music, food and drinks, and lots of fun. Tickets are $20. Call (323) 466-2210.
Gina Eckstine CD
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Described as a mix of classic masculinity and charm, George DeMott captures the essence of the great singers of days gone by with his unique contemporary style, singing opera to pop and everything in between. Classically trained, George holds degrees from UC Santa Barbara and the prestigious Eastman School of Music. In the opera world, he has performed several classic tenor roles, and has also been a featured guest entertainer aboard several cruise ships, namely Crystal Cruises, bringing his love of Pop-Opera to audiences all over the world. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, George currently lives in Las Vegas. He has produced two CDs, Serenade and Two For My Baby. On two consecutive Sundays, August 23rd and 30th, Mr. DeMott will be the guest performer for the two final programs of La Scala's summer dinner show series, To Italy With Love. Presented by Bavaro ETC, the evenings will feature a 7 p.m. showgirls Meet and Greet (with a complimentary glass of wine), a special for-the-occasion-dinner, prepared by Chef Roberto Perotti, and served from 7:30 to 8:30, and from 8:30 to 9:30, performances by Mr. DeMott. Seating is limited and reservations are required. The price is $50 per person, all inclusive. The dinner on the 23rd includes Caesar Salad, Veal Stuffed Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce, combination Lemon Sole with Lemon Caper Sauce and Chicken Breast Francese, and Italian Cheesecake. La Scala is located at 1020 E. Desert Inn, in the Mark I Tower. Call (702) 699-9980 for reservations, or (702) 367-9805 for additional information.
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Tomorrow (Saturday, August 15th), at 2 p.m., adults are invited to enjoy an afternoon of characters and comedy with singer and impressionist Charles Washington who will perform at the Reed Whipple Cultural Center, 821 Las Vegas Blvd. North. Washington will keep audience members entertained with impressions of Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Nat King Cole, Louie Armstrong, Jimmy Durante, Johnny Mathis, Sam Cooke, John Wayne and many others. Charles was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he started singing at age five. By the time he was 15, Washington was performing in local clubs. Mentored by well-known blues singer, Little Willie John, the young entertainer became popular under the stage name Charlie Wash. In 1960, Washington became the featured singer and bongo player with the Gap Band. In the late ‘70s, he was hired as a lead singer by Vernon Martin, who formed his own band after leaving Jimi Hendrix. This gig lasted for two years, after which Washington married and had five children, putting his singing career on hold while raising his family. Since that time, Washington moved to Los Angeles and performed in clubs, such as the Rose Room and Vina's Jazz Club. Eventually he landed in Las Vegas, where he performed as Sammy Davis Jr. at Double Take. Tickets are priced at $5 for all seats. For information, call (702) 229-6211.
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The Mac King Comedy Magic Show will celebrate its one-millionth guest this summer with the ultimate prize package giveaway in partnership with Harrah's Las Vegas. All, 21 and older, who purchase a ticket and attend a performance of the show, between now and August 29th, will have the chance to win the prize package. Recently dubbed "Favorite Male Las Vegan," and voted "Best Bargain Show" six years in a row in the Las Vegas Review-Journal 2009 "Best of Las Vegas" poll, Mac King has performed his family-friendly routine at Harrah's Las Vegas since January 2000. The One-Millionth Audience Member prize package will include a two-night stay at Harrah's Las Vegas, a complimentary dinner for two at The Range Steakhouse, a spa treatment for two at Harrah's Spa, Mac King Magic in a Minute magic kit, a t-shirt and a meet and greet with the star. "One million audience members is a huge feat," said Don Marradino, President of Harrah's Las Vegas. "In a town that changes as quickly as Las Vegas, Mac's longevity and success is a real testament to the kind of performer he is. He packs our showroom daily with guests who will later leave knowing they saw a great show at a great price." The prize package must be redeemed before December 29th, and all winnings are non-transferable and based on availability. The winner must redeem all portions of the package at one time. Mac King has been recognized with numerous accolades including "Funniest Act in Magic Today" by Magic Magazine, "Magician of the Year" by The Magic Castle, and "Entertainer of the Year" by the Las Vegas Weekly "Readers Choice Awards." King, one of today's brightest and most talented magicians, takes the stage twice daily, Tuesday through Saturday, at Harrah's Las Vegas at 1 and 3 p.m. in the Showroom Theatre. Tickets are $24.95 plus tax. Additional information on The Mac King Comedy Magic Show can be found by visiting www.mackingshow.com.
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One of our favorites, the multi-talented Mark Nadler, recently performed at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco's Nikko Hotel, where his latest show was a smashing success. Here are a couple of the San Francisco reviews:
"Last evening, singer and pianist Mark Nadler opened his spectacular show, His Lovely Wife, Ira, at the Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko. The San Francisco Bay Area Theater Critics Circle recently bestowed to him (Nadler), the Best Solo Performance award, and rightly so. His Lovely Wife, Ira, refers to a possible belief that George and Ira Gershwin were husband and wife and not brothers! I have never seen a better performer place the audience in the palm of his hand and take complete control. And while he performs, he maintains constant audience eye contact and rules the roost. His show? Wonderful - and it's all built around the lyrics of Ira Gershwin and the many composers - including his brother, George - that he collaborated with to create some fabulous, famous and clever lyrics. Mark Nadler is a brilliant pianist and has a dynamic voice - and always in control - his audience completely mesmerized. You'll never see another performer like Mark Nadler who earned a well-rewarded standing ovation by the opening night packed house. His engagement is a short one, and so I urge you to head for the Rrazz Room and be swept away by this remarkable show, His Lovely Wife, Ira. I urge you not to miss it." --Jerry Friedman, KGO Newstalk Entertainment
"SIZZLING! That's the only think that you can say about Mark Nadler's exciting evening that brings new insights into the life of Ira Gershwin. He dazzles the eyes and engages our brain with his musical prowess, as Nadler performs vocal miracles that really resonate with feeling on George and Ira Gershwin's wonderful music and haunting lyrics. What a master Ira Gershwin was with lyrics, and Nadler's every gesture and glance are a delight as he takes us down memory lane of this fantastic musical mini-musical biography. The entire evening is smart and at times, laugh-out-loud hilarious. I especially liked the story about "Midnight Madness" which went through many incarnations with different lyrics and name changes, until Ira Gershwin was happy. The musical treats (12 or more) included "Someone to Watch Over Me, "Love Is Sweeping The Country", "It's a New World", and the ‘Star is Born' hit (music by Harold Arlen, Lyrics by Ira Gershwin) - "The Man That Got Away". You know what? - It sounds better sung by a man. There are so many great and bright things about this show that it would take millions of words to describe them all. But take my word for it. This is an engaging, first-rate enticing evening at the Rrazz Room. Rating: Four Glasses of Champagne (highest rating)" --Lee Hartgrave, KQUED-FM
On Wednesday, August 19th, Nadler takes the show, ...His Lovely Wife, Ira - Ira Gershwin with and without George, to Chicago's Davenport's Piano Bar, at 1383 N. Milwaukee Ave, for an 8 p.m. performance. On Friday and Saturday, August 21st and 22nd, ...His Lovely Wife, Ira, plays 9 p.m. shows at Los Angeles' popular Gardenia, 7066 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block East of La Brea). There is a $20 music charge with a two drink minimum in both L.A. and Chicago. For Davenport's reservations, call (773) 278-1830, or go to www.DavenportsPianoBar.com. For The Gardenia in Los Angeles, call (323) 467-7444.
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The Performing Arts Center at UNLV, Southern Nevada's premier performing arts venue for nearly 35 years, recently announced its 2009-20010 season, which includes the longstanding Charles Vanda Master Series, New York Stage & Beyond Series, and UNLV Classical Guitar Series. The season opens on September 26th with the Charles Vanda Master Series performance by the Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company. Since 1955, the company has toured the exquisite charm of Ukrainian folk dance to international audiences. Additional performances within this season's Charles Vanda Master Series are violinist Midori on October 23rd; the Moscow Festival Ballet performing Coppelia on February 4th; the Band of the Irish Guards with the Pipes, Drums and Dancers of the Royal Regiment of Scotland on February 28th; the Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra on March 13th; and the Vienna Boys Choir on March 18th. October 9th opens the New York Stage & Beyond Series with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company. Called "world-class" by The New York Times, the company is guided by a vision of dance as the universal language of movement that celebrates performance, individual expression, healing, and peace. Other performances within the New York Stage & Beyond Series include A Forbidden Broadway Christmas on December 5; The Best Sounds of Rodgers and Hammerstein: Broadway in Concert on January 31st; Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on February 6th; and An Evening with Bernadette Peters on May 1. Enjoy a classic evening of Broadway and cabaret with Broadway's biggest star. A seven-time Tony nominee, Bernadette Peters manages to dazzle both audiences and critics alike. The UNLV Classical Guitar Series, held in the Doc Rando Recital Hall of the Lee & Thomas Beam Music Center, features Australians, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan on October 14th; William Kanengiser on November 18th; Adam del Monte March 25th; and Ricardo Cobo and Christopher McGuire on April 23rd. For information on purchasing a season subscription, please call (702) 895-ARTS (2787), or visit pac.unlv.edu.
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On Thursday nights, August 20th and 27th, busy Ronnie Rose on vocals and harmonica, and Billy T, at the piano, will be performing at the new Daddy Mac's Restaurant, perched on a hill at 2920 N. Green Valley Parkway (north of Sunset, on the east side of street in Henderson. Dine to a live music background from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Call (702) 272-0913 for reservations.
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In their Feinstein's at Loews Regency debut, the husband and wife team of Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, the "Nick and Nora of cabaret," stir a late-summer cocktail of blue skies, exotic lands and the warmth of home. With 8:30 p.m. shows on Thursday, August 20th, and Friday, the 21st, the musical duo, with Sean Smith accompanying on bass, will perform Let's Get Away From It All, with songs by Kenny Rankin, Matt Dennis, Frank Loesser, Vernon Duke, Charles Strouse, Irving Berlin, Bart Howard, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Harold Arlen, John Wallowitch, and others. "Mr. Comstock and Ms. Fasano are turning the neighborhood into a hotbed of pleasure," says Stephen Holden of the New York Times, while Frank Scheck of the New York Post says, "When they sing together, the evening is transformed from collaboration to alchemy." There is a $25 music charge, plus a $25 food and drink minimum. Dinner and drinks are available from 6 p.m. Currently celebrating their 10th anniversary season, Feinstein's at Loews Regency is located at Park Avenue at 61st Street. Call (212) 339-4095 for information.
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Gayle Steele is the featured entertainment, this Sunday night at the Italian joint on Las Vegas Blvd. South. Gayle is a terrific singer, which isn't too surprising, considering that her mother is opera singer, Audrey Holmes, and her brother is pop singer, Clint Holmes.
Sonny Turner, former lead singer of the famed Platters, will sing hits such as "Only You," "The Great Pretender," "Twilight Time" and "My Prayer," when he performs at the Suncoast this weekend. Showtimes are at 8 p.m., tonight through Sunday. Tickets start at $19.95 plus taxes and feels. Call (702) 636-7075 for reservations.
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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye