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.  
She’s...

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from August 21, 2009
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - August 21, 2009


Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond

King Errisson

Rick Faugno

We were given incorrect information regarding the talent lineup at Bernard's Bistro, the new French dining spot at Lake Las Vegas, so last Friday we had it wrong, wrong, wrong. We apologize profusely. Hopefully, none of you dashed out to the lake to see Patricia Watson last week, as she was the entertainment for the week before. Phree Bartley, who handles the fun stuff at Bernard's Bistro, informs us that there will be different entertainers coming in to perform on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8 to 11 p.m. This coming week, on the 26th and 27th, pianist Rosita Kanes will perform at Bernard's Bistro, 15 Via Bel Canto. Known for her style and elegance, Ms. Kanes entertains audiences with her magnificent abilities on the piano. Her everything from contemporary music, to ballads, show tunes, Gershwin, Cole Porter, classical standards and international favorites. Rosita, who has played with numerous symphony orchestras, was one of the artists invited to perform at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the tribute to Placido Domingo. Prior to coming to Las Vegas , Rosita spent most of her musical career performing as a soloist in major hotels in the San Francisco area. For dinner reservations at Bernard's Bistro, please call (702) 565-1155.

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Regarding the Neil Diamond special that aired on CBS last Friday night, we have to say that we were very pleasantly surprised at what we saw and heard during that hour. We have been Diamond fans for decades and nervously anticipated the special. After all, Neil is 68 years old, and we know how awful Wayne Newton, who is a few years younger than Mr. Diamond, sounds these days. Our worries were for naught. Neil did a fine job. In conjunction with the TV special, Diamond's new Hot August Night NYC DVD/CD, now on sale for only $12 at Wal-Mart. For those of you, especially you Diamond fans, who don't know this already, King Errisson, Neil's percussion player since 1976, is a Las Vegas resident and has been for a number of years. It was nice to see the King in his rightful place behind the Diamond.

Neil's pal, and Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall High School classmate, Barbra Streisand (known as Barbara Joan Streisand in those days), also has a new CD on approach. Love Is the Answer, containing gems such as Artie Butler's "Here's To Life," "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning," "Gentle Rain," "If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas)," "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most," "Make Someone Happy," "Where Do You Start?," "A Time For Love," "Here's That Rainy Day," "Love Dance," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Some Other Time," and "You Must Believe In Spring," is out next month Suffice it to say, there must have been something in the water around that Brooklyn high school, as also among the students at Erasmus were a number of other musical types, including record producer Clive Davis, singer actress Lainie Kazan (Lainie Levine), songwriter Betty Comden, Broadway star Stephanie Mills, and opera singer Beverley Sills (Belle Silverman).

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On Sunday afternoon at 3, it's the much anticipated debut of Rick Faugno's one man show, Songs My Idols Sang (and Danced), in the main showroom at the South Point Hotel Casino.
You say you don't recognize the name Rick Faugno? How about the name Jersey Boys? How about the name Frankie Valli? The multi-talented Faugno is one of the two actors playing Valli in Jersey Boys at The Palazzo (Travis Cloer being the other), and was named "Best Singer" by the Las Vegas Review-Journal staff in this year's "Best of Las Vegas" poll, based on his current role in Jersey Boys. Songs My Idols Sang (and Danced), is based on the New Jersey-native's (he really is a Jersey boy) life story in show business, and shares how he got to Broadway and to the Las Vegas Strip. Rick has spent the last several months creating this show in collaboration with his long-time love, Joyce Chittick - a fellow Broadway performer/choreographer and Jersey Boys alum - and with his musical director, Keith Thompson. "This show is a tribute to the people in my life and career who've supported me in everything that I ever wanted to do - from my parents and grandmother, to my dance teachers (including Tommy Tune), to my girlfriend and soul mate, Joyce, and to the icons of song and dance who I've looked up to since I was as a kid," said Faugno. The 80-minute musical showcase will feature Faugno's performances of "Embraceable You," "Fly Me To The Moon," "Puttin' On The Ritz," "Cheek To Cheek," and "Mr. Bojangles," among others. Faugno has built an impressive list of theatre, film and television credits while performing throughout the U.S. He recently performed on the 63rd Annual Tony Awards, where he represented the Las Vegas production of Jersey Boys. Some of his theatre credits include Broadway performances in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Conversations With My Father, Wonderful Town, Fosse, The Will Rogers Follies, and the national tours of Jersey Boys, The Boy Friend, and Fosse. Television credits include the Kennedy Center's 25th Anniversary Gala on PBS. Faugno holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting and Theatre from New York University. For Sunday, he will be accompanied by a seven-piece band, that Faugno calls the "baddest cats" in Las Vegas. The musical ensemble is made up of Jersey Boys and Rick's musical director, the amazing Mr. Thompson on piano; Le Reve's Tyler Williams on bass; and from the Jersey Boys orchestra, Don Meoli on drums; Drew Zingg, guitar; Danny Falcone, trumpet; Kevin Stout, trombone; and Matt Taylor, sax/flute. In Songs My Idols Sang (and Danced), the Broadway theater veteran will pay tribute to some of his favorite dancers and singers, such as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, and Frank Sinatra, along with his life inspirations, including teachers, directors like Tommy Tune, his family, and the special lady in his life, Joyce. Oh, and by the way, if you haven't already made your reservations for this show, you are out of luck. We just learned that the actor, singer, dancer's solo debut is completely sold out. We have a feeling, that based on the response to this show, we can expect Rick will do this again. You can visit his website at
http://web.mac.com/rickfaugno.

LATE BREAKING NEWS...Due to the overwhelming demand for tickets to Rick Faugno's show, on Thursday, the South Point has wisely added a second date for Songs My Idols Sang (and Danced). If you tried to buy tickets for this weekend, and were shut out, you get another chance, but only if you act quickly. Faugno's second show will be next month, on Sunday, September 20th at 3 p.m. If you have ANY interest in seeing this, call the hotel at (702) 797-8055. Tickets are $20, $25 and $30.

And speaking of the very busy Keith Thompson (when does this guy sleep?), not only has he been busy with Jersey Boys and Faugno's show, he is also working with Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson for their September 19th dance show at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, another go round of God Lives In Glass, and the August edition of the Composers Showcase. The upcoming showcase takes place on Thursday night, the 27th, beginning at 10:30 p.m. (after theater). Among those participating are composers Kamilah Marshall, Jason Martinez, Richard Oberacker, Niles Rivers, Shayna Steele, Bette Sussman, and Mr. Thompson himself. The singers will include, Jason Andino, Charl Brown, Bruce Ewing, Kristen Hertzenberg, Carly Thomas Smith, and Joan Sobel, and the musicians will include Philip Fortenberry, Rebecca Ramsey, and Moonlight Tran. All of this takes place at the Liberace Museum, 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer. Admission is $5 and for another $5, you get a tasty buffet. An open bar is provided.

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Brent Barrett

Michael Holly

It's been a few weeks since we mentioned Brent Barrett. That won't do. So...we are here to tell you that on Friday, August 28th, at 8 p.m., Mr. Barrett and Kim Criswell will perform the ultimate tribute to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein with Ireland's RTE Concert Orchestra (RTE standing for Radio Telefis Eireann - Ireland TV), conducted by John Wilson. The RTÉ Concert Orchestra has been cherished by Irish audiences throughout its 60-year history, whether performing with international stars such as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Kiri Te Kanawa and Russell Watson, or with leading Irish artists ranging from Cara O'Sullivan and Virginia Kerr to Altan and Declan O'Rourke. Hear Rodgers and Hammerstein favorites from The Sound of Music, Carousel, South Pacific, Oklahoma! and more at Dublin's National Concert Hall. Barrett, who portrayed the Phantom in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical production currently at The Venetian in Las Vegas, joins musical theatre diva, Criswell, and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra to celebrate one of the most influential and greatest creative partnerships in music in history.

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Although Las Vegans, the a cappella group, Mosaic; the violin-playing Alizma Triplets; and teen singer/pianist, Bri Bernstein, are out of the running for the top prize on NBC's America's Got Talent (and we have no idea what happened with magician Nathan Burton, currently headlining afternoons in his own show at the Flamingo, or former Vegas Lounge Lizard, Dondino, who was shown in scenes during AGT auditions), husband and wife jugglers, Mario and Jenny Ferreira (late of the Las Vegas Hilton's Monster Circus), who make their home here, are still in the race. Mario is the brother of Tino Ferreira, the Rolla Bolla balancing man that was seen in Paul Stone's Variety Live at the Suncoast during the last weekend in July. From September 2nd through 12th, Tino will join the very clever juggler, Michael Holly; award-winning comedy magician, Fielding West; Christopher Johnson, Michael Jackson tribute artist; and comic hosts, Tony Arias and Lloyd Ziel, in Jimmy Emerson's Vegas Nights at Washington's Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

And speaking of AGT, what in the world were the Alizma Triplets thinking when they disregarded the America's Got Talent judges' suggestions that they concentrate on fiddling around instead of singing? Maybe if they had listened to Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff, the ladies would still have a chance at the million dollar prize and a gig on the Vegas Strip. And yet more news regarding America's Got Talent. A live version of the show is going into Planet Hollywood in October, where it will share the theater with Jerry Mitchell's PEEPSHOW. America's Got Talent Live will be hosted by Jerry Springer, who was the show's host for two seasons, before Nick Cannon (who is married to Mariah Carey) took over the duties. The live show will run for at least 10 weeks. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster.


Donny Osmond

George Clooney by Martin Kreloff

Coats for Charity

And while still on the subject of TV reality competitions, Flamingo Hotel star Donny Osmond will follow in the gliding, tangoing, cha-chaing footsteps of his sister, Marie, when he joins the new Dancing With the Stars (Marie Osmond appeared on season 5 of the show) lineup. ABC recently announced the ninth season celebrity contestants who will take to the dance floor, beginning on Monday, September 21st. In addition to recording artist and Broadway vet, Donny, the 16 participants will include singer Kelly Osbourne, who appeared in the London production of Chicago; actresses Melissa Joan Hart and Debi Mazar, actor Ashley Hamilton (son of the ever-tan George Hamilton, who also tried his luck on the dance show a couple of seasons ago), singers Macy Gray, Mya, and Aaron Carter, models Kathy Ireland and Joanna Krupa, athletes Michael Irvin, Chuck Liddell, Natalie Coughlin, and Louie Vito, Iron Chef America's Mark Dacasos, and politician Tom DeLay. The show is hosted by Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris. Up until last Sunday, Harris had been starring as Roxie Hart in Broadway's Chicago (where she had been working alongside Brent Barrett who, once again, portrayed Billy Flynn). Samantha is currently performing in Chicago's national tour, she is at the South Carolina Peace Center in Greenville, through August 23rd.

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Pop artist Martin Kreloff's 65th birthday party was a smash hit. Many friends gathered in the Kreloff-Olsen home in southeast Las Vegas to help ease the talented Mr. Kreloff into his, now, "late 60s." Seeing many of his celebrity subject paintings, up close and personal, was a real treat for the guests. One of our favorites was of the oh so handsome, George Clooney. Marty was deeply touched by the outpouring of love generated by his eclectic and interesting group of well-wishers. We must say that we were most impressed by Kreloff's "studio." He paints in a very organized, compact corner of his living room...with carpeting on the floor! We spotted not a drop of paint anywhere it didn't belong. Amazing. Simply amazing!

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Who says Las Vegas is a city without a heart? Certainly not the people who will have a nice, clean coat when winter rolls around. Community Connections, a charitable program run through American Casino & Entertainment Properties, LLC, (ACEP) conducted a coat drive throughout the month of July. Employees at all four of ACEP's properties (Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, Arizona Charlie's Decatur, Arizona Charlie's Boulder and Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin, Nev.) were able to collect hundreds of coats for adults and children. The children's coats were donated to each of the four properties' adopted schools - Fremont Middle School, Doris Hancock Elementary, Will Beckley Elementary and Coyote Canyon Elementary. Coats were also donated to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, Praise Chapel and the Golden Valley Food Bank. All the donated coats were dry-cleaned free of charge by Mission Linen.
(Photo courtesy of Marc Paulus).

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The Perfect Gentlemen

Marilyn Monroe book

Peaches Rodriguez

Michael Chapman and ChapQuist Entertainment presents The Perfect Gentlemen, a combination of incredible harmonies and fun. The Perfect Gentlemen have been entertaining audiences from Los Angeles to London, and just about every place in between, since 1998.
Their unique brand of harmony and humor sets them apart from other vocal groups. While keeping the tradition of vaudeville alive, these four gentlemen have put together a carefully designed repertoire of music, unsurpassed in its ability to entertain all ages, all while educating those who witness their live performances with music covering 100 years of musical styles. Their "Salute to the 20th Century" has been twice awarded "Best Arrangement" at the Harmony Sweepstakes National A Cappella Competition. The Perfect Gentlemen are four performers of unparalleled talent. Dan Jordan (second tenor) is a gold-medal winning lead singer with The New Tradition of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Jim Campbell (bass) anchors the group with low notes he expertly crafted as the long-time bass singer of the famous Dapper Dans of Disneyland. Tim Reeder (baritone/ukulele/tenor guitar) brings to the mix a knack for uncovering hilarious musical gems, amazing period vocals, expert instrumental accompaniment, and his own composing talents, from his years with the 1930's-era vocal jazz group, Vocalworks. Phil Gold (first tenor) rounds out the group with high notes honed with quartets in the touring stage musicals City of Angels and Forever Plaid. Together, as The Perfect Gentlemen, these four entertainers complement each other in a way that is nothing short of perfect. See The Perfect Gentlemen at the Starbright Theatre, 2215 W. Thomas Ryan Blvd. in Sun City Summerlin, tomorrow at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for Sun City residents, and $18 for the rest of us. Call (702) 869-2064 to charge by credit card. For general information, call (702) 240-1301. Cash only (exact change, please) at the Starbright Box Office.

It is very possible that these four Perfect Gentlemen, like all other red-blooded men who saw her, very much preferred a blonde named Marilyn. Of course that would be the legendary Marilyn Monroe. With her hourglass curves and blonde hair, Marilyn was destined to become a Hollywood icon and the archetype for 1950s fashion. Las Vegans, Michael and Karan Feder have come out with something new related to the movie star. It's a book called Marilyn Monroe: Your Personal Fashion Consultant. The book features dazzling archival photographs and savvy fashion quips, but the fun doesn't end there. You can "Punch Out and Play" with each fabulously dressed Marilyn Monroe to create twelve paper dolls in fantastic poses. The perfect novelty gift, celebrates the reason why gentlemen prefer blondes. The Feders are also the authors of Liberace: Your Personal Fashion Consultant, Elvis: Your Personal Fashion Consultant, Joy of Liberace: Retro Recipes from America's Kitschiest Kitchen, and Star Wars: Punch Out and Play! Marilyn Monroe: Your Personal Fashion Consultant, a 32 page paperback, is published by Abrams Image. It will be available on September 1st.

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Bob Kephart's Comedy Stop, in the Congo Room at the Sahara Hotel, continues its policy of offering the best in comedy, by booking three headliners week-after-week, thereby giving the audience three comedians for what would normally be the price of just one. Brian Scott McFadden, Chris Coccia and Peaches Rodriguez, who will be at the Comedy Stop Aug. 24-30, are a great example of the above. McFadden is one of the hottest stand up comics working today. In addition to being a classically trained actor, Brian has been a regular on the New York comedy club circuit and has recently taken his act to a whole new level, creating a huge industry buzz with his high energy performances and some of the most unique, incisive, hilarious and most talked about routines around today. A well established voice over actor with a vast range of accents and character voices in his repertoire, Brian's credits include such films as "Ice Age," starring Ray Romano, and "Robots" with Robin Williams. He is also the voice of "The #1 Sheep" in the award winning Serta Mattresses commercials. "What a Woman Wants" is McFadden's latest comedy CD. Coccia's act is a perfect combination of hilarious material and the ability to present it "in the moment," flowing seamlessly between material and improvised interaction with the audience. Coccia won the $10,000 Grand Prize in the Purina Pet Comedy Challenge, which led to his appearance in the Great American Comedy Festival in Johnny Carson's hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska, put together by the talent coordinator of the Late Show with David Letterman, Eddie Brill. Rodriguez, who was a world class break dancer in the '80s, is a Latina stand up comedienne from Connecticut who turned to comedy to express her inner feelings. Peaches' mix of twisted perspective and edgy humor has won her acclaim everywhere she appears, which gave her a spot in the annual Jack Daniels Latino Comedy Festival. She has also done three USO tours of duty, including the most recent to five Middle East countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Quatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Showtime for the Comedy Stop, at the Sahara Hotel is 9 p.m. nightly. Tickets are priced from $24.95 plus tax and fees, with a special price for Nevada residents (with a valid driver's license) of $19.95 plus tax and fees. For further information call (702) 737-2515.

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What began around a backyard pool, with canned food and good intentions, has turned into one of Las Vegas' signature fundraising events. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. tomorrow night (August 22nd), more than 3,500 guests will gather with a common goal in the fight against AIDS, when the annual Black & White Party takes place. This year, AFAN (Aid for AIDS of Nevada) and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will team up to transform the Hard Rock pool into a black and white paradise for the 23rd Annual Black & White Party. The event will feature sample tastings from some of Las Vegas' premier restaurants and spirit vendors, music by renowned DJ Axis, a battle between guest DJs, flame throwers, bikini-clad dancers and a variety of water acts. There will be lots of celebrities lending their talent and support, including Charo, Terry Fator, Frank Marino, Nathan Burton, Penn and Teller, and the cast of Naked Boys Singing! We know the Naked Boys - Nolan, Ivan, Mitchell, Allen, Paul, Daryl, Mark and Aron - won't be wearing much, but we are told, whatever it is, it will be in tasteful black and white. AFAN was founded in 1984, and is the oldest and largest AIDS service organization in the state of Nevada. Over the years, AFAN has created various programs that offer consistent and comprehensive assistance, including direct client service programs, food programs, prevention and education programs and community outreach. Go out and support the cause. Tickets are a reasonable $35.

And for another worthy cause, on Sunday, August 23rd, the Shag Me Salon holds its second annual Shag-a-Thon with proceeds going to benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Patrons can get a shampoo and haircut for a $20 donation. All proceeds, including stylist's tips, will be donated to American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. In addition to donating the proceeds from the Shag-a-Thon, the stylists will participate in the Vegas Relay for Life. Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's signature activity. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park or fairground, and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24-hours in length. Teams of people from all walks of life have fun, while raising much-needed funds to fight cancer and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment. The Shag-a-Thon will take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. For this special event, it's walk-ins only; regular customers can request their favorite stylist. Shag Me Salon, located at 4110 S. Maryland Pkwy., Suite 21, on the corner of Maryland Parkway and East Flamingo, provides unique services in a fun environment where all clients can expect to be "Blown" away. For more information, please call 702.823.5446.


Naked Boys Singing!

Wes Winters

And speaking of those Naked Boys Singing!, a group of us fairly refined ladies were at The Onyx Theatre last Sunday to see the 3 p.m. matinee. We had a great time! So did the other audience members (did we say "members"?). This funny, and sometimes poignant, revue features 16 original songs, and eight hunky guys with no clothes- a winning combination if ever there was one! From the sassy opening number, "Gratuitous Nudity" to the too cute "Bliss of a Bris," audiences and critics alike have hailed Naked Boys Singing! as a sure-fire crowd-pleaser (the New York version has been playing for more than 10 years). The songs are very clever (yes, they really do sing), and the performers do such a good job, you can almost (we said "almost") forget that for most of the numbers, the fellows are naked as jay birds. But then there are about eight things to remind the attendees that they are, indeed, very naked. As one viewer stated after seeing the show, "There is a reason that men wear dance belts when they pirouette." Show times are at 10 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 3 on Sundays. Tickets are $35. The Onyx (and it really is a theater) is located inside the Rack clothing store, in the northeast corner of Commercial Center (East Sahara and Maryland Parkway).

Earlier in the day last Sunday, we were at ENVY the Steakhouse at the Renaissance on Paradise Road, just south of Desert Inn. Why were we there? To see and hear Wes Winters, of course. Every Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wes provides piano music during a lovely, and delicious brunch at ENVY. You have to be damn good to get people to interrupt their dining to give a standing ovation after medleys like the one from Phantom of the Opera. Winters manages to get the audience on their feet and diverted from their Eggs Benedict, blintzes, fresh made omelets, crab and shrimp, prime rib and lots of other goodies. Oh, and let's not forget the desserts! This could be the best kept Sunday secret in Vegas. Cost is $25 per person. Go. Eat. Listen. Enjoy.

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Longtime Las Vegan, Carolyn Hamilton Proctor, is very excited about her most recent published book, Hard Amazon Rain. About this project, Carolyn says, "This book would not have been possible except for the curiosity that drew me to the Amazon and my subsequent adventures there. Charlie Strader, of Explorations, Inc., made possible my first trip, and your tax dollars (in the form of the U.S. Peace Corps) made possible the expansion of my Amazon experience." Proctor goes on to say, "I thought a romance would be the easiest kind of novel to write. Since I began the story of Dianti and Christian nine years ago, I've come to the conclusion that romance may be the most difficult genre to write. I've learned a lot in Las Vegas' Cactus Rose chapter of Romance Writers of America and in the Henderson Writers Group. The critiques I received from my fellow writers in the two groups were invaluable. Carolyn, who currently makes her home in Seattle, is a graduate of Antioch University Seattle with a B.A. in liberal arts. For the most part, Carolyn's professional experience has been in advertising, marketing and public relations, writing brochure copy, radio and television commercials, direct mail letters and news releases. She was the founding editor of Nevada Woman magazine, and has written many articles for other publications as well. Hamilton-Proctor is an experienced public speaker who has co-hosted a Las Vegas television show, taught adult continuing education classes at the UNLV, and has made presentations at conferences and conventions. In 1996, she was the recipient of the Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Community Achievement award in Communications. In 1999, as U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, Carolyn and her husband, Cork Proctor, traveled to Peru's upper Amazon, where they lived in an indigenous Amerindian village in Suriname (formerly Dutch Guyana) on the northeast corner of the Amazon basin. Ms. Proctor is the author of Elizabeth Samson, Forbidden Bride (Joshua Tree Publishing, 2004), a novel based on the true story of a wealthy, 18th century Suriname plantation owner, and the first black woman to get legal permission to marry white. A watercolor artist, as well as a writer, Hamilton Proctor is currently working on a murder mystery and contemplating the future publication of her travel art journals. Proctor travels between homes in Las Vegas and Lake Forest Park, Washington, where she is editor and chief adventuress of www.adventuress-travel-magazine.com. Hard Amazon Rain is available (only as an e-book) at www.gibsongirlpublishing.com/. Las Vegas-based Gibson Girl Publishing Company (GGPC) is a royalty paying e-publishing company with the mission of publishing fiction and nonfiction multicultural books. Gibson Girl was established in 2006 by Rekaya Gibson.


Carolyn Hamilton Proctor

Dean Martin

Paula Abdul

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We are told that the Black Label at 3550 S. Decatur Blvd. (on the southeast corner of Spring Mountain Rd.) is the site of some pretty darn good music. One example is taking place tomorrow, from 2 to 5:30 p.m., when Coalition performs. The group (for this particular afternoon) consists of John Nasshan on drums, Jeff Davis on bass, and will feature special guest, the fabulous (or so they tell me) Moises Sol on piano. When last we wrote about Coalition, it was a few weeks ago when they backed up John Kaye during his show in the cabaret at the Liberace Museum. For that engagement, the band was made up of Nasshan and Davis, with Dana Barry on guitar and Tony Branco at the piano. There is plenty of parking at the Black Label (we are told), and Marsha K. Ross informs us that the bartenders are friendly. A $5 contribution at the door is requested to cover the band. Call (702) 823-2222.

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More than 32 years ago, when Cousin Claire was a Las Vegas newbie, we met a young lady from Erie, Pennsylvania, who was a regular visitor to our city. Charmaine was not yet 20. She had a job working in a jewelry store and still lived at home with her parents. It was no coincidence that all of Charmaine's trips to Las Vegas coincided with Dean Martin's appearances at what was then the MGM Grand Hotel and is now Bally's. All the money she earned was saved to spend on her trips to Las Vegas - her rooms at the hotel, the beautiful clothes that she wore to every show Dean performed during his engagements, tips for the maitre d's and captains who always made sure the lady was sitting in her favorite spot, where she would hand Dean his drink during the show. Then there were the gifts that she brought for Mr. Martin (rosary beads, blessed by the pope), and the things that she bought for herself (a large, expensive portrait of Dean Martin done by the MGM's then artist in residence, Cyrus Afsary). Over the years, Charmaine established relationships with Dean's backup girl group, The Golddiggers. After her mother's death, the Pennsylvanian packed up her aging father and moved to Las Vegas, "to be closer to Dean." As far as we know, Charmaine only had one real get-together with Mr. Martin during the many years she made her pilgrimages to the hotel's Celebrity Room. Martin, about the same age as Charmaine's father, was always polite to the lady, but never lead her on or encouraged anything more than an entertainer/fan relationship...other than the one time, he invited her to his Las Vegas Country Club (or maybe it was the Desert Inn Country Club) home for lunch and a ride around the course in his golf cart. The two of them were never alone. The object of this portion of today's column is to point out the difference between a fan and a fanATIC. For a well-known personality, the lines can sometimes be blurred...and dangerous. It is public knowledge that many figures, including David Letterman, Paula Abdul, Madonna, Brad Pitt, Cher, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Costner, Steven Spielberg, Miley Cyrus, and Linda Ronstadt, have suffered from the unwanted attention of admirers, had their homes broken into, and had their lives disrupted by "obsessed" fans (fanatics). To many people, the lives of the rich and famous are a source of fascination. Often, though, those personalities resent the constant intrusion into their lives, and crave privacy...not only for themselves, but also for their families. Some of the attention may be irritating, but is mostly harmless. But, in some cases, the obsessive fan wants more. Sometimes a fan might mistake a public figure's politeness or kindness for personal interest. Some become convinced they have a real relationship with the target of their admiration. According to experts on the subject, a fan expressing love and devotion, can be just as intimidating as one who is making threats. On rare occasion, adoration turns to anger, perhaps because the fan feels rejected by the star, and the delusions of the obsessive fan can become dangerous. When does the situation change from being simply annoying to being a menace? At what point does a public figure say, "enough is enough," or "you are getting uncomfortably close," without creating hurt feelings and/or resentment? Before it gets to that point, the fan should ask themselves how they would feel being bombarded with too many gifts, too many fan letters and too much unwanted attention from a virtual stranger. Being a respectful and appreciative audience member, and purchasing merchandise such as CDs or DVDs if available, is all that is required to prove to the object of one's affection, that you are a loyal and polite fan. Anything more than that might be construed as harassment or obsessive behavior. If the shoe fits...

And speaking of Paula Abdul...
Do we feel bad about poor Paula's departure from American Idol? Not one bit. Until she became a judge on Idol, seven years ago, the former Lakers Girl had pretty much disappeared off the radar screen. Other than reading about her marriages (one of them to actor Emilio Estevez, the son of Martin Sheen), hardly a word was mentioned about our Paula for years...until Idol. What, besides sitting at a table and exhibiting rather bizarre behavior, has this lady done since 2002? We think she should have happily and gratefully accepted whatever outrageous money she was paid for doing her "job." Instead, she compared her salary to that of Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell. Hellooo. Personally, we haven't forgiven Ms. Abdul for the fact that she never acknowledged the death of Las Vegas dancer/ choreographer/costume designer, Michael Darrin. In 1990, Darrin, Abdul and Dean Barlow received a Primetime Emmy for a number they choreographed for the 17th Annual American Music Awards. Yet, even with that major connection, Paula never saw fit to send flowers, a note, or make a call to offer her sympathy to Michael's family in any way. As grandma used to say, "Shame on her."

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Keith Thompson & Philip Fortenberry

Don Rickles

We are oh so pleased to report that the gala fundraiser, held last Wednesday at the Liberace Museum, exceeded everyone's expectations. With an anticipated crowd of about 80 guests spending $125 a person for a wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres, and a concert featuring talent such as 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, 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, co-chairman Philip Fortenberry and Keith Thompson, both conductors of Jersey Boys and long-time Broadway musicians, were more than delighted when about 120 people bought tickets for the event. The money will be used to technically upgrade and maintain the Cabaret Showroom and make it a more viable performance venue for aspiring artists. "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 at the museum 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." Jersey Boys star, Bergen, recently presented three sold out performances of his own cabaret show to benefit the Liberace Foundation, and he along with Museum staff recognized the tremendous need for professional sound and lighting. "So with Erich as a catalyst, my long-time friend and colleague Keith Thompson agreed to chair and co-produce the fundraiser-concert called Sounds, Lights and Cabaret Nights: The Show Must Go On!" With the sale of raffle tickets added to the $125 to attend the party, Wednesday night raised $15,495! Look for big changes in that space. We have a feeling the cabaret could become THE place for entertainers to show their stuff. We know that Liberace would be very proud. The museum is located at 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer in Las Vegas.

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Reminders...
George DeMott is the performance artist on both August 23rd and 30th, during dinner at La Scala Ristorante in the Mark I Tower on East Desert Inn Road. The cost is $50 a person for a delicious meal and equally delicious music.

Comedy pioneer Don Rickles provides the laughs in The Orleans Showroom this weekend. Now 83-years-old, Mr. Warmth has hardly slowed down since he first performed on a Las Vegas stage a half-century ago. Don dishes out insults at The Orleans through Sunday. Shows are at 8 p.m., and tickets range from $82.50 to $110. If you dare, call (702) 365-7075 for reservations.



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