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 September 18, 2009
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - September 18, 2009

Paul Pratt

Mommie Queerest

The Onyx Theatre was jumping last night, with almost a full house there to see (and hear) the Naked Boys Singing! Among those cheering on the boys were Larry "Hot Chocolate" Edwards and his very interesting group of friends (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty). Larry was one of the female impersonators (as Donna Summer and "Beyond" Beyonce in Frank Marino's recent Divas Las Vegas showcase. Who are the boys that dare to bare for Naked Boys Singing!, the campy musical now playing in Las Vegas at The Onyx? What does it take to decide to audition for a show like Naked Boys Singing!, you ask? Well, we wondered too, so we asked some of the boys about their backgrounds and why a show sans (for the most part) costumes. For our first subject, Paul Pratt, Naked Boys Singing! is a piece of cake. Getting naked for the public is second nature to this fellow. Pratt even has his own Internet porn site (honest!). Paul is not just another pretty face, he is a multi-talented actor/singer/dancer who honed his dancing skills with the Joffrey Ballet, Louisville Ballet and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. As a working entertainer, Paul has charmed audiences on multiple stages as divergent as Norwegian Cruise Lines with Jean Ann Ryan, and Paramount Theme Parks. His dancing and acrobatic abilities have been highlighted in productions of Les Folies Bergere, Splash and multiple tours of the sensational Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. He recently appeared in the Chicago production of Naked Boys Singing! Paul prides himself on being one of the few performers who can honestly say that they have performed in every aspect of entertainment, from family to adult . When he is not on stage, he studies computer programming with an eye to adding Web site and software design to his already formidable list of talents. Over Labor Day Weekend, while the Naked Boys took a few days off, Paul was one of the six male dancers in Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas production at the Imperial Palace.

And while on the subject of The Onyx Theatre (a favorite hangout of journalist Steve Friess), the cozy performance space has added yet another new and unique offering - Mommie Queerest. Yep. You read that correctly. Joan Crawford - Oscar-Winning Actress. Clean Freak. Obsessed with Wire Hangers. You think you know the whole story? Well, here it is again...this time with a twist! "I wasn't so much laughing as gasping for oxygen," states a writer for the Portland Mercury. "Outrageous slapstick comedy!" says Dallas Examiner. Show times vary (some nights at 7 p.m., some nights at midnight), through October 11th. Tickets are only $20. The Onyx Theatre is located inside The Rack clothing store in the northeast corner of Commercial Center, 953 E. Sahara, #16. Call (702) 732-7225 for additional information.

* * * * * *

Patrick Swayze

Tish Diaz

Michael Kessler & Melinda Jackson

Some people might be surprised to learn that in the very early part of his career, the late Patrick Swayze was a professional ice skater. Swayze was born in Houston, Texas. His father, Jesse Wayne, had been a champion rodeo cowboy, and his mom, "Patsy" Yvonne Swayze, was a dancer and choreographer who owned the Houston Jazz and Ballet Company. Patrick's parents were not the only performers in the family - Swayze was also a distant relation of actors William Holden and Tom Hulce (best known for playing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the film Amadeus). Patrick began dance training with his mother at an early age, focusing on a ballet career even before thoughts of acting. To add to his impressive skills, he had also become an accomplished figure skater, getting his first break into show business when he was offered a role as Prince Charming in the Disney on Parade touring ice show. In 1972, Swayze headed to New York, intent on becoming a professional dancer. He studied at the Joffrey and Harkness Ballet companies and was hired to dance as the principal dancer at the Eliot Feld Ballet Company. However, an old football knee injury hampered him, and he veered from dancing to acting and musical comedy, soon landing Broadway roles in Goodtime Charley, West Side Story and Grease. Encouraged by his successes on Broadway, Swayze moved to Los Angeles and studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. He soon landed some TV guest-star roles, including a noteworthy performance as a dying soldier on the hit series "M*A*S*H." Swayze made his film debut in the 1979 roller-skating movie, Skatetown USA. This was followed by roles in other films, including The Outsiders (1983), Dirty Dancing (1987), Road House (1989), Ghost (1990), To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995) and Donnie Darko (2001). On September 14th, Patrick Wayne Swayze died at the age of 57, following an almost two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, actress/dancer Lisa Niemi, his mother, Patsy, and brother Don.

* * * * * *

According to Mike Weatherford's entertainment column in yesterday's Las Vegas Review-Journal, producer Bill Caron is taking his Platters, Cornell Gunter's Coasters and the Marvelettes tribute show out of the Sahara after an impressive, almost seven year, run at that hotel. We have no idea what's behind the move, but the musical revue will vacate the Sahara on October 11th and open the next night at the Steve Wyrick Theatre. Yes, that's what we said...the Steve Wyrick Theatre. We think the local odds makers should start taking bets on this one. How long would we guess Mr. Caron's show will run at the jinxed facility (the jinx is named Wyrick)? What time is it? Bill Caron is quoted as saying, "I think the theater's got a bad rap," and adds he "would be remiss not to at least give it a shot." This man is either a dreamer or delusional. There is no reason on earth to think the revue will do any better than the good shows put on by Ronn Lucas, Martin Nievera, Aga-Boom, Lord of the Dance, Fan Yang's Mega Bubble show, Tom Dane, Wes Winters, Trent Carlini, Andrew "Dice" Clay and Rockstar the Tribute (we have probably left out someone or something, and for that we apologize). We think we hear the strains of Queens' "Another One Bites the Dust" playing softly in the background.

* * * * * *

Regarding the much anticipated September Composers Showcase at the Liberace Museum, it appears there won't be one, and here is the reason...It seems that our organizer and host, Keith Thompson, will be away during the last Thursday of the month (when these events usually take place). Keith, who is the musical director of Jersey Boys, and Philip Fortenberry, who is the assistant musical director for the same show and also entertains at the Liberace Museum, three afternoons a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1), will return to their Alma Mater, William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to produce and perform in a concert to honor voice professor Josephine D'Arpa, who is retiring after 45 years. Thursday, October 1st has been ruled out as a date for the showcase, since that is the night that Liza Minnelli is supposed to do one of her "gypsy" shows for the entertainers in the city and, to quote Thompson, "We can't compete with that." We will announce the date as soon as it is confirmed. Keith also informs us that one of the females in the Toronto Jersey Boys cast has been diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer that has started spreading. Keith reports that she is young and can't work. There‘s a big sweep in the entertainment community (New York, Toronto, the road companies) to do benefits for her. Local cast member, Leslie Goddard, is spearheading the effort here, wanting to do something to raise some money at the Cabaret Showroom at the Liberace Museum, perhaps on Thursday night, October 15th (after theater), followed by a second afternoon concert on Sunday, October 18th, to hit two different target audiences. This will be a Jersey Boys effort but may also include performers from other Vegas shows. We'll keep you posted.

* * * * * *

We think that Cousin Claire needs a vacation. A weekend retreat. Maybe a staycation away from the telephone and the computer. She really goofed in a story last week. Not only did our helpful stringer write the notes about the birthday tribute to Michael Jackson, held in the Pearl Concert Hall at the Palms, in the dark, apparently Claire read them in the dark as well. As punishment, she should be forced to listen to hours of William Hung singing "She Bang," while being forced to watch old Jerry Lewis movies for a couple of days (no one deserves that!). Some of the comments made were mean spirited and should have been kept "just between us girls." By accident, they weren't, and for that we apologize to anyone whose feelings may have been hurt. The most important thing about that July 29th afternoon is that it was a labor of love, to honor an incredible musician who died much too young ("Gone Too Soon"). The concert, featuring not only professional entertainers, but church choirs and children's choruses and students from local schools (including a string quartet from Green Valley High School who performed Jackson's "Smooth Criminal"). The musicians - with credits playing for artists and shows such as Sheena Easton, Toni Braxton, Andy Williams, Louise Mandrell, Huey Lewis, Zumanity (as well as over ten years of working for Cirque productions worldwide), numerous Broadway national tours, major studio work, and more - included Brian Czach on drums, Jozef Bobula on bass, Jeff Ray on guitar, Anne Charbonneau on keyboards, Angela Chan on keyboards, Tish Diaz on keyboards, Eric Tewalt on sax, Geri Thompson on violin, Melanie Schiemer on violin and Mert Sermet on cello. Pilita Danesh, Brooke Aston and Carly Stotts provided the background vocals. Everyone did a superb job, and more than $100,000 was raised for music education in the Clark County public schools, thanks to Jersey Boy Erich Bergen, journalist Steve Friess, and lots of hard-working volunteers.

We thank Tish Diaz for her help with this information.

* * * * * *

Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson, plus 10 additional members of the M&M American Dance Theatre, performing in Dance With Me at the Charleston Heights Arts Center , 800 S. Brush Street, tomorrow at 2 p.m. The program, featuring Keith Thompson, musical director for Jersey Boys, at the piano, will present an intimate look at the creation of original song and dance numbers, to some of the classics of the Great American Songbook, including Gershwin, Porter and contemporary tunes by Ben E. King and Tim McGraw. Dance With Me combines great music, dynamic, romantic, partner dancing, and humor, to create 90-minutes of fun. Tickets are $10 ($8 for students and seniors). Call (702) 229-6383.

* * * * * *

We had the opportunity to check out DeStefano's last Saturday night, when we went to see and hear the Divas - Nina Bjornstad, Joni Illi and Susan Haller. The ladies sang a nice variety of songs, from standards and jazz to Broadway, while accompanied by the Joe Darro Trio, with Joe Darro on keyboards and vocals, Dick Straub on upright bass, and Paco Martin on drums. Spotted among the attendees at the southeast Las Vegas restaurant were president of Musicians Local 369, Frank Leone; jazz junky and Las Vegas Jazz Society board member, Katrina Sumner; publicist/columnist, Jackie Brett; Mel Carter, not the singer, but Greenspun Media's Client Relations guy; singer/songwriter, Rick Poppe; bass player, Norm Ross; and Rusty Hamilton, Musical Director for KC and The Sunshine Band.

Michelle Johnson

Yolanda Quandt

Lynn Ross

We suggest there are too many acts, businesses or shows using the name Diva" or "Divas" (Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas, Michael Shulman's Diva Las Vegas column for Vegas magazine, Michelle Johnson's company, among others). We need to put a freeze on the name/word Divas for a while, as it is getting very confusing.

And speaking of Michelle Johnson...
Michelle and her own band will be providing some of the musical entertainment at the new B.B. King Blues Club, scheduled to open at The Mirage in the fall. The club will feature a variety of great Creole Cuisine fused with southern comfort touch, live music every night of the week and eclectic folk art. Steaks, fresh seafood, mouth watering bar-b-q, cajun pasta and plenty of appetizers all come together to create the perfect combination of delicious food, energetic music, cold drinks and a great time, all packed into one location. B.B. King's Blues Club, "Its Good For Your Soul." Also, Michelle reports that she is doing backup singing with the Zowie Bowie big band at the Monte Carlo. She will be featured on at least one song. There was a soft opening last Sunday, September 13th. (Shows are Sundays at 7:30 p.m.) Michelle describes the shows as "similar to a Steve and Eydie show" and features surprise guests. Last week they had Frankie Scinta, and this coming Sunday Vince Neil from Motley Crue is sitting in singing "Fly Me To the Moon" The big band charts were done by Joe Escriba and Dave Perrico. Perrico is conducting. Congratulations, Ms. Johnson.

* * * * * *

On Wednesday, September 16th, some entertainers with Las Vegas connections (either now or in the past) - comic Rita Rudner, Lamonte McLemore of the 5th Dimension, and Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, who used to live and work here - celebrated birthdays. Yesterday, the 17th, Montel "Gooch" Williams, son of Grace "Bambi Jr." Moerhle Coronel, and former talk show host, Montel Williams, turned 16. Also birthday wishes to Bart Williams, Melissa Jane Miles, Bill Medley, Paul Williams, Paul Hansell and Sonny Turner, who all celebrate this week. We will have details about Nelson Sardelli's celebration next week.

* * * * * *

Yolanda Quandt will have her turn at the mic at DeStefano's tonight, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. According to the info we got from Marsha K. Ross, Ms. Quandt will sing "Ellington and much more," backed by the Joe Darro Trio. DeStefano's is at 3430 E. Tropicana, on the northeast corner of Tropicana and Pecos. For reservations, call (702) 436-3275.

And speaking of DeStefano's...Lynn Ross wants it known that, effective immediately, she will no longer be performing at, nor hosting, the Monday Night Cabaret at DeStefano's. All of her dates at the southeast establishment have been cancelled. Lynn states that she is so very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. She would like to send her love and appreciation to all the wonderful musicians, entertainers and friends who came out each week to perform and support the cabaret series. "It was so much fun," says Lynn, "and I will hold the memories near to my heart."

* * * * * *

The Edwards Twins

Adam Pero at Hash House a Go Go

Look for the Edwards Twins to take their unique revue into Hennessey's Tavern in downtown Las Vegas, beginning on New Years Eve. The identical twins impersonate a number of musical stars, with Anthony Edwards taking on Neil Diamond, Billy Joel and Elton John, and Eddie Edwards performing as Cher, Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand. Where else can you get dinner and a show featuring a stage full of stars for less than $50? Hennessey's is located at 425 Fremont Street (at the east end of the Fremont Street Experience, on the southwest corner of Fremont and Las Vegas Blvd.). We will have more on the twins and this show in mid-December.

* * * * * *

Every Thursday night, beginning at 5, Hash House a Go Go, offers half-price bottled wine, with the minimum purchase of one entrée (Hint: If you have never been to Hash House a Go Go, one entrée could feed a small army...but no sharing allowed). Full bottles of wine start at only $11. This restaurant, located at 6800 W. Sahara, is a great place to celebrate a special occasion. The fun is built in, at no extra charge. Call (702) 804-4646.

* * * * * *

The Supreme Mary Wilson performs at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in Manhattan, this Wednesday, September 23rd at 8:30 p.m.

* * * * * *

Rich Natole

Comic impressionist Rich Natole will be Ed Bernstein's special guest on Bernstein's TV show this Sunday. The show airs in Las Vegas at 4 p.m. on Channel 3, the NBC affiliate. Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, although Penny Lane: The Ultimate Beatles Tribute has left the building, but Natole is still hanging in there, entertaining audiences with a bunch of voices that don't sound like his. Rich performs Voices of a Generation in the Bobby Slayton showroom at the Tropicana, Tuesdays through Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $29.95 plus tax. Reservations can be made by calling the Tropicana box office at (800) 829-9034.

And speaking of the Trop, those Wayne Newton rumors are circulating again. Will the onetime "Midnight Idol" (currently the "Midnight Idle") go into the theater that formerly housed Les Folies Bergere, or won't he? Only his hairdresser knows for sure. Stay tuned.

* * * * * *

We attended a terrific pre-show get-together on Tuesday night, prior to seeing Sgt. Pepper Live, featuring Cheap Trick, at the Las Vegas Hilton. During the before-show gathering, we had the opportunity to catch some of More & Gendel, the musical duo playing in the Tempo Lounge, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, and from 8 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. They are an entertaining twosome who definitely liven up the place. As for Sgt Pepper Live, featuring Cheap Trick, the production has a definite audience. Is it the Beatles songbook or Cheap Trick that is the attraction? Hard to say. Whichever it is, the interest is obvious. This presentation did great business for the Hilton, September 13th through 15th. The extravaganza (there is a 23-piece symphony orchestra on stage), presented by Bill Edwards, is back at the Hilton, through tomorrow night and then comes back, the 21st through the 23rd. This nine shows, over 11 nights, is a test of sorts, to see what kind of general appeal the concept would have. Based on the results, you can probably expect to see Sgt Pepper Live, featuring Cheap Trick, become a recurring show next year. In addition to the members of Cheap Trick - Robin Zander on lead vocals and guitar; Rick Nielsen on guitar and vocals; Bun E Carlos on drums and vocals, and Tom Petersson on bass and vocals - Joan Osborne, Rob Laufer, Bill Lloyd and Ian Ball join the party. Ms. Osborne is best known for her song, "One of Us," and for her work with members of The Grateful Dead. Rob has played with Frank Black, Fiona Apple, George Martin, Johnny Cash, Shawn Colvin and others. His music has been used in commercials for HP, Honda, Ford, Acura, Chevrolet, Sears, Jet Blue and featured in many films and TV shows. We enjoyed hearing a potion of the Beatles songbook, but had one criticism, and that was the sound, which generally was way too loud. Oddly, we were unable to hear any of the vocals provided by the Clark County Children's Choir on "Across the Universe," or the background singers - Jake Snyder, Stevie Snyder, Zachery Snyder, Brian Beebe, Jay Goeppner and David J. McClellan - perched on the stage "balcony" with the orchestra and music director, Edwin Outwater.

Cheap Trick

Sgt. Pepper Live at Hilton

On a personal note...We wonder why Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, chose to acknowledge only two people in the media night/invited guests audience - the R-J's Norm What's-His-Name, and that has-been, legend-in-his-own-mind, gadabout/gadfly, named for something he crawled out from under? Why no shout out to a real journalist like John Katsilometes; or musician Billy Hinsche, of Dino (Dean Paul Martin), Desi (Desi Arnaz Jr.) and Billy, and Beach Boys fame; or the Las Vegas Sun's Jerry Fink or Joe Brown or Mark Whittington; or CityLife's Mike Prevatt; or Michael Shulman, formerly of Vegas magazine; or Danny Seraphine, the original drummer for the band Chicago, and singer Gino Vannelli ("I Just Wanna Stop," "Living Inside Myself"), who comes into the Hilton theater on September 27th? We are not blaming Mr. Nielsen. He couldn't have named everyone, and neither could we. Tickets for Gino Vannelli range from $29 to $99, plus taxes and fees.

* * * * * *

Tim Dunn, the incredible female impersonator who looks more like Dionne Warwick than the lady herself, will be one of the judges for the Miss Gay Western States America Pageant to be held tomorrow night, September 19th, at the Wyndham Hotel and Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. Miss Gay Western States, now in its 11th year, is an official preliminary to the National Miss Gay America Pageant, where more than 70 professional female impersonators compete annually. Earlier this year, Miss Gay Western States was acquired by Kenneth Blake (a former Miss Gay Western States competitor, who portrayed both Dolly Parton and Madonna in the Riviera's An Evening At La Cage, and in Frank Marino‘s Divas Las Vegas Labor Day weekend debut at the Imperial Palace) and Mr. Lee Revelle of Phoenix. Dunn, a celebrity make-up artist, who recently did his spot on Warwick impression at Goodtimes, in a show hosted by the talented Kenny Kerr, will be joined by additional judges, Mikaila Kay, Miss Gay America 2008; Mark Gaston, Artistic Director of Phoenix's Grand Canyon Performing Arts; Gene Flores, Director of the Miss Asia Arizona Pageant; and Brandi Sobeleski, Director of Phoenix Gay Pride and the Miss Gay Pride Pageant Director. The five decision-makers will face the difficult task of selecting the winner of categories involving interviews and onstage questions, solo talent, production talent and an evening gown parade. The prize package totals more than $4,000. Good luck, "ladies."

Tim Dunn as Tim Dunn

Larry Gelbart

Jeff Hobson

* * * * * *

Sun City Summerlin will hold its 2009 Fall Arts & Crafts Fair on Saturday, October 3rd, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a great time to start holiday shopping. There will be a lot of great gifts for your home and office. The items you will find at the Arts & Crafts Fair can not be found anywhere else, since they are all made by the talented residents of Sun City Summerlin. Plan to do your holiday shopping early and give someone a very special hand-crafted gift that they will enjoy for years. The place is the Desert Vista Community Center, 10360 Sun City Blvd. Admission is free. For more information, call (702) 363-3581.

* * * * * *

You may not know the name, but we betcha you will know his work. Larry Gelbart, the award-winning comedy writer best known for developing the landmark TV series M*A*S*H, died last Friday, three months after he was diagnosed with cancer. The Chicago-born Gelbart was also the co-writer of the book for the hit Broadway musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, as well as the 1982 classic movie comedy, Tootsie, starring Dustin Hoffman. M*A*S*H debuted on CBS in 1972, with Gelbart serving as executive script consultant. He shared an Emmy when it won for outstanding comedy series in 1974. The son of Eastern European immigrants, Larry Gelbart spoke only Yiddish until he was four years old. In 1942, when he was 14, Mr. Gelbart's family moved to Los Angeles, where his barber father's Beverly Hills clientele included many actors and agents, perhaps setting young Larry on his road into the world of entertainment. Larry Gelbart was 81.

Many years ago, a Vegas character who professed to be an actor and drama coach, created a history for himself that was pure fiction. Among his claims, this fellow, with the initials J.B. (no, not the late Joseph Bernard), told people that he was a Hollywood script writer, stating that he worked on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Hill Street Blues, and M*A*S*H. When this man decided to run for president of the local Screen Extras (or Actors) Guild, some of the legitimate actors in Vegas knew that they needed to expose this guy as a phony. They called on a local journalist who set about checking on all of the wannabes "credits." A portion of the detective work involved trying to confirm or deny the "writing" claims. One of the calls was made to Larry Gelbart's literary agent. It so happened that Mr. Gelbart, who, with Gene Reynolds, WAS indeed a M*A*S*H script writer, was spending his summer in Connecticut but, no matter. The agent was able to say, without a doubt, that the man in Las Vegas, making these claims, was not telling the truth. The same thing was confirmed by the people at Hills Street Blues. That could have been the end of this little tale, except for a phone call that the amateur detective received a couple of months later. The caller was Larry Gelbart himself. It seems he was intrigued by the Vegas pretender and wanted to know more about him. The conversation, which lasted about 10 minutes, provided not only insight into the Writer‘s Guild (which J.B. did not belong to) and other interesting Hollywood info, but some laughs as well. We are deeply saddened by Mr. Gelbart's death and send our sincere sympathies to his family.

If you were interested enough to have read this far, we are pleased to let you know, that J.B. did not get voted into the Guild.

* * * * * *

We got a big kick out of last weekend's show at The Orleans. Paul Stone's production, Britain's Top Talent, offered a variety show reminiscent of the old Ed Sullivan days. Nathalie Enterline took Charlie Chaplin's cane and bowler hat to a new level with her unique and well choreographed routine, while Arron Sparks was a whiz with yo yos. Magic man, Paul Zenon mystified the audience and handsome Ben Stone, accompanied by a live band and backup singers, Nikki Logan and Serena Henry, charmed them. The Overtures, Elton John's favorite band, had the room rocking with their cover tunes. We have to say, though, that our personal favorite was the show's riotous MC/host, Jeff Hobson. We defy any person to experience Mr. Hobson at work and not leave a theater feeling much better than when they entered. A special treat was having Hobson utilize an audience member that we knew in one of his quick routines. Musician Doug Saleeby (of Hudson & Saleeby fame) did not know that, while visiting from Memphis, he (who slyly identified himself as "George from Oshkosh") would become part of the show. It was all great fun.

James Dunn & mum Lesley

Paul Campanella Jr.

Another treat was the presence of 16-year-old James Dunn in the audience. James, who suffers from a rare disease called EB, was flown from London, with his parents, just to attend this show. James, is a big magic fan, and was thrilled to meet Siegfried & Roy when they were honored at the London Palladium last year. Paul Stone, who produced the Siegfried & Roy event in London, as well as Britain's 'Top Talent at The Orleans, is the one who arranged for this special trip for the Dunn family. The extra bonus was having Siegfried & Roy in the Orleans audience for last Sunday night's show.

Happy birthday to Danny Stone, Paul Stone's son and Ben Stone's big brother, who turned 27 on Sunday.

Regarding Producer Paul Stone's Britain's Top Talent MagiCaresTM show, in the 810-seat Orleans Showroom, for performances on September 11th, 12th and 13th., Las Vegas based actor and all around entertainer Paul Campanella, co star of Tony 'n Tina's Wedding, informs us (rather proudly) that his son, Paul Campanella Jr., will be the drummer for this fabulous show. Musical Director Pat Caddick has brought him aboard to supply the needed backbeat. In other news, Paul Sr., is getting ready to produce his second Actor's Showcase in Hollywood this year in November. The first was a live theater performance which took place back on April 15th at The Hudson Theater in Hollywood to rave reviews. This time, Paul will be taking 30 actors to L.A. for a three day filming marathon of short two minute scenes, which will then be uploaded to a private website where an estimated 1,000 industry professionals can log on to view some of the best talent The Remington Agency of Las Vegas/LA has to offer. Paul has been teaching "Acting for the Camera" classes and has recently received some high profile endorsements from Adrianna Porcaro, Director of Talent at Sony Pictures Television, who said, "Any actor who spends just three weeks with Paul will a better actor for it" and Shari Rhodes, Casting Director for the Award Winning TV series Breaking Bad, said, "Taking Paul's class is making Las Vegas actors more bookable." For more info on Paul's classes and future showcases, e-mail Paul at [email protected]

* * * * * *

The Barrick Lecture Series event, "An Evening with Garrison Keillor," scheduled for September 23rd, has been postponed. Garrison Keillor, host of the popular radio program, A Prairie Home Companion, has been advised by doctors to avoid air travel after suffering a mild stroke earlier in the month. Lake Wobegon's favorite son anticipates being able to reschedule at a future date, though specific information is not yet available. UNLV will have details soon on a ticket exchange process for people holding passes to the September 23rd event. For more information, please call (702) 895-2787.

Garrison Keillor

Michael Grimm


* * * * * *

Everyone is invited to the Las Vegas Blues Festival, next Saturday, September 26th, from noon to 6 p.m. at Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza in Lorenzi Park. Presented by the City of Las Vegas in conjunction with the Las Vegas Blues Society, this family event will include performances by Michael Grimm and Delta Bound with the Big Easy Horns, The Andy Walo Trio, Ronnie Rose, Glenn Patrik and The Lucky Cheats. H & H Barbeque will offer food for purchase. Beverages will be sold by the Las Vegas Blues Society. Tickets for the afternoon are priced at $5 general admission, available at the gate on event day. The gates will open at 11 a.m. Bring blankets or lawn chairs for seating. No glass containers, pets or outside food or beverages will be permitted. The outdoor theatre plaza is located on the west side of Lorenzi Park at 720 Twin Lakes Drive. Enter off Twin Lakes Drive south of West Washington Avenue. For more information on Blues, Brews and Barbeque, call (702) 229-1087.

* * * * * *

Next Friday, September 25th, the Seventh Annual Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place in the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall on the UNLV campus. This year's inductees are, arts patron, Bernice Fischer; business owner and former Nevada Lt. Governor, Lorraine Hunt-Bono; entertainers Liberace and Siegfried & Roy; and award-winning architect, William E. Snyder. The event, which awards famous individuals and industry executives, presents each inductee with what is called the "Sydney Award," named after George Sydney, three-time Oscar award winner, and the first ever inductee to the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame. The "Sydney Award" was developed to honor those who have contributed so much to Nevada and Las Vegas. The ceremony, which starts at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. There will be a VIP fundraising reception following the ceremony. Tickets are required for that part of the evening. For more information, call the UNLV College of Fine Arts at (702) 895-2455.

* * * * * *

Three veterans of stand up comedy will take over the stage of the Comedy Stop in the Congo Room at the Sahara Hotel, from Monday September 21st, through Sunday the 27th. Producer Bob Kephart has Phil Palisoul heading up the cast, with Mitchell Walters and Jackson Perdue filling out the roster. Palisoul is one funny dude, according to those who have reviewed him over the years. Mathew Berry, ESPN's senior fantasy sports editor, said of Phil on his blog: "A guy no one has ever heard of, but Phil is a friend of mine and is absolutely hilarious." This comment, by a friend, is not totally true, as Palisoul has appeared on many of the top television shows including, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, NBC's Last Comic Standing and The Rosie O'Donnell Show. His amusement park routine is considered a classic as is most of his material: "Would you believe that I woke up one morning and I was bald...." Walters' comedy has been described as a fit for every man. From musings about relationships to family life, he keeps audience members in stitches. Walters has performed in almost every comedy club throughout Canada and the United States, and toured for three years as one of the Outlaws of Comedy, starring the late Sam Kinison. In addition to being a stand up comedian, Mitchell was an active joke writer for such shows as Laverne & Shirley, and Rowan & Martin's Laugh In. The youngster of the group, Perdue, grew up in San Diego, Calif., and was obsessed with baseball and dreamed of one day becoming a professional player. "The problem was I could field like Brooks Robinson, but I hit like Doris Day." Jackson's father was in the Navy when he married Kiyoko in Japan. Perdue talks about his cross cultural background in his act: "Dad would take me fishing and mom would eat the bait on the way there..." Perdue's career as a stand up comedian was honed in small open microphone clubs before he was discovered by the owner of the famed Comedy Store in Hollywood. Jackson has been a regular performer for years.

Showtime for the Comedy Stop, inside the Congo Room is 9 p.m. nightly. Tickets are priced from $24.95 plus tax and fees, with a special ticket for Nevada residents (with a valid Nevada drivers license) priced at $19.95 plus tax and fees. For information call (702) 737-2515.

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