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 October 02, 2009
You can find the current column HERE
Las Vegas - October 2, 2009
Marty Allen & Steve Rossi
Las Vegas lost quite a colorful character when Bob Stupak passed away last Friday. Stupak ranked right up there, with Mayor Goodman, Larry Edwards and Frank Marino, when it came to generating local publicity. Whether it was as a political candidate - he ran for lieutenant governor as well as for mayor, twice (running against a bordello madam on one occasion). Sometimes referred to as the "Polish Maverick," Stupak even started his own newspaper. The Las Vegas Bullet, with the claim of "Taking Aim With the Truth," survived for about a year. Mr. Stupak had some interesting women in his life, including former Las Vegas City Councilwoman, Janet Moncrief, and singer, Phyllis McGuire of the famed McGuire Sisters ("Sincerely," "Something's Gotta Give," "Sugartime," and "May You Always"). Volatile might be a good word to describe at least part of the Stupak/McGuire relationship. It was in the early 1990s, and we happened to be in the coffee shop at the Desert Inn (now the site of Wynn Las Vegas) when these two "lovebirds" got into a loud argument at a table not far from where we were sitting. The spat between these two (who obviously had been over served) escalated to the point where Ms. McGuire got up from the table, threw a glass of water in Mr. Stupak's face and made a dramatic exit. Stupak used a napkin in an attempt to dry himself off, got up from the table and, in a classy move during an anything but classy incident, went through the coffee shop and apologized to all the customers who had been witness to the embarrassing display. Over the years, the Vegas World showroom featured quite a variety of entertainers and shows - among them the DeCastro Sisters, Tony Martin, Trini Lopez, Johnnie Ray, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Francesca Hilton (the daughter of Zsa Zsa and Conrad Hilton, doing stand up comedy), Ronnie Fabre, Senor Rai & Tillie, Robert Allen, Bob Anderson, and the late Jahna Steele's Boob Tube Revue. Although Christine Jorgensen appeared at the Sahara in 1952, Jahna was the very first transsexual to star in her own Las Vegas show. Don't believe that story about Jahna being "exposed" as a transsexual while she was performing in Crazy Girls at the Riviera. It was a well-known fact for years before that. Jahna was even billed as such in her show at Vegas World. When the old Vegas World reopened as the Stratosphere in 1996, it was the late Danny Gans headlining in the hotel casino's showroom. At that time, tickets to see Gans were less than $30. Does anyone, beside dear old Cousin Claire, remember when Stupak signed Marty Allen and Steve Rossi, of Allen and Rossi fame, to a "lifetime" contract at Vegas World? After a couple of break ups, in 1990, the comedy team reunited at Bob Stupak's Vegas World, with Karon Kate Blackwell performing back-up duties. The trio performed for four years of what was to be a "lifetime" deal (Mr. Stupak even wrote it on the back of a keno ticket). On what was to be their final night, Marty, famous for his "Hello Dere" greeting, went on stage with a cardboard sign around his neck saying "Will work for food." As we recall, there was some kind of confidential settlement between Allen & Rossi and Stupak. And what about the plans to have a King Kong gorilla ride on the outside of the Stratosphere Tower? That never materialized. Yep. More than likely this city will never see anyone like Bob Stupak again.
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Don't plan on seeing Wayne Brady's Making You-Know-What Up during this month. We aren't one bit surprised to hear that Brady is putting his show at The Venetian on hold through at least October. With his new duties as host of TV's Let's Make a Deal, emanating from the Tropicana's Tiffany Theatre, Mr. Brady should be quite busy. In addition to serving as a TV host and performing live in Vegas, Brady has starred on Broadway in Chicago, and has started a recording career. Based on all that, no one should feel too sorry for Brady because his Don't Forget the Lyrics TV game show was recently canceled.
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If the rumors we are hearing are true, look for female impersonator, Frank Marino, to go head-to-head with his old boss, Norbert Aleman, when they BOTH have similar shows running on the Strip. Marino's Divas Las Vegas is expected to open in the Imperial Palace's main showroom later this month, while Aleman is in negotiations to get back his old La Cage room at the Riviera. Charo, who was expected to headline her own show at the Riv, at least into November, was sidelined with a serious injury, after taking a nasty fall at the South Point while leaving the Jerry Lewis Telethon on Labor Day Monday.
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The Sardelli Bridge
Here is what we know and don't know about Erich Bergen's sudden departure from the Palazzo's successful production of Jersey Boys. What we know for sure is that young (he's only 23) Mr. Bergen is very talented. We still don't know WHY he was let go (some say it was because he took too much time off from the show), but he must have done SOMETHING that made the producers unhappy. Not only does Erich's being gone from the show mean getting a replacement and having lots of rehearsals, it also means removing his name and photo from all the programs, posters, TV spots, billboards, and everything else where he may be shown or mentioned. Kind of like what is taking place, or has taken place, at the Las Vegas Hilton with the, now departed from the Voices show, Earl Turner. Mr. Turner's name and photo have been neatly amputated from everything, leaving the talented Lani Misalucha standing alone...for now.
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Of course we expected this...Regarding the names of the guests who attended Nelson Sardelli's 75th birthday party (and what a party it was), many folks were left off the list because (1) Cousin Claire doesn't know and/or recognize EVERYONE, and (2) because the birthday boy couldn't provide a list and didn't remember all of those who were eating his food and drinking his booze (these memory lapses happen when you get to be of a "certain age"). So, add Jerry Schafer, Rosell Owens and Charlie Licata's names to the list of nice folks enjoying the night. This epilogue gives us an opportunity to give readers another look at the Sardelli Backyard Bridge. Doesn't EVERYONE have a REAL bridge over their swimming pool?
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This doesn't seem like a real good sign...The cast of Jerry Mitchell's Peepshow at Planet Hollywood, are now dancing and singing to pre-recorded tracks, as the live musicians have been let go. Guess the powers-that-be (we are still trying to figure out who those folks are) would rather spend their money on names like Mel B, Holly Madison, Shoshana Bean, Kelly Monaco and Aubrey O'Day. How many of these names really help sell tickets and fill up the showroom? How many of these names are familiar to the masses...especially the masses that come to Las Vegas? Even Tony Award-winners, Harvey Fierstein and Dick Latessa, couldn't keep Hairspray alive and running at the Luxor. Hairspray closed less than four months after its February 2006 opening. Is the handwriting on the wall for Peepshow?
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When the Performing Arts Society of Nevada presents a show in the city, it almost always features local talent - performers from Strip productions and/or people who have made their livings in the lounges or are community theater favorites. In the case of their October 11th offering, PASN regulars may be asking themselves, "Who in the heck is this Danny Roque person?" If we weren't regulars at the Las Vegas Composers Showcase, we would be asking the same question. We actually had the opportunity to see Danny Roque, and his son, Christopher, both temporary refugees from Los Angeles (and who can blame them for wanting to get out of there for a brief spell?), when they each performed a song written by daddy Danny during the August 27th showcase. Both tunes provided unexpected treats. We won't name them, lest we spoil any surprises coming up next weekend. The patriarch of the Roque family tells us that he has been writing songs for years. "I originally started out writing spoofs, and then long ago moved on to my own songs. People who had heard some of the songs had encouraged me all along to do more with them," says the senior Roque, "so, I finally took a bunch of them, got some of the fantastic musicians and singers I know, and put together a show. It certainly helps having a wife and children that all perform. The Roque Showmaniapalooza was the first time we had all performed together in the same show. And the thing has just taken off since then. Audience members have told me they laugh and cry at the show, which I tell them is fine, long as they are at the right places!" Roque goes on to say, "My wife Nora and I met singing in a church group. The week we come to perform in Las Vegas, we will celebrate our 25th anniversary (on October 6th). Nora has done numerous musicals, weddings, funerals, blah, blah. Our son Chris performed when he was a child, some TV and CLO musicals. As an adult he got back into it and finishes his BA in Theater in May. Last year he won the city of Torrance Performer of the Year Award" (or something with a similar title). Our daughter Angelica is a member of the Young Americans performing group, who have been around for decades. She, again, spent this summer at their dinner theater in Boyne, Michigan. Last year she won "The Orange County Performing Arts Center's Tomorrow's Stars" award. After two years at UCSD, and a year of touring with The YA's, she plans to complete studies at CSULB in the spring. Our middle son, Brandon, won't be coming for this show, but he is our classical player. He was a drummer in the UCLA Marching Band for four years, and also played with their percussion ensemble and the symphony band. He plays percussion with local orchestras in the LA area. He is a mallet specialist and usually plays a xylophone number in the show. Commitments here at home will keep him from joining us this time. And, to round the whole thing out, my brother Dwain, is the percussionist in our show. He loves any chance to play all of the "toys" he has collected." Can't speak for the rest of you, but we are looking forward to seeing and hearing the Roque family at work (and play). The time is, 2 p.m. on Sunday the 11th. The place is the Clark County Flamingo Library Theater at 1401 E. Flamingo. The ticket price is $15, and they may be purchased at the library box office an hour before the show. We have a feeling that John Meren and Tom Gallagher will be getting some questions from their audience members after they see this show...like "When are they coming back?" See you at the library on the 11th.
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Desert Productions in Las Vegas, in association with Las Vegas Shakespeare Company, is casting Dan Deckerï¿½s 45rpm, an original jukebox musical incorporating pop songs originally released between 1958 and 1964. All roles are 20s-early 30s, excellent singers and dancers, having that early ï¿½60s sound and vibe. Seeking : "Donna" - female, strong-minded, fearless, salesman, focused on success, think Carole King-type; "Peggy" - female, big talent, quiet personality, new to the business, think Shirley Owens-type; "Charlene" - female, wants to help everyone, wide-eyed, excitable; "Jimmy" - male, incomplete, Donna's love interest, patient, romantic, think Neil Sedaka-type; "Ronnie" - male, eternal teenager, All-American heartthrob, think Dion; "Norman" - button-down, kinda square, leader, engineer, think Phil Spector. Auditions will be held October 16th, from 6 to 10 p.m., and October 17th, from 1 to 4 p.m., in the Backstage Theatre at the College of Southern Nevada Cheyenne Campus. Appointments are recommended. Please call casting director Lysander Abadia, at (818) 481-3778. Bring a headshot, resume, and song to sing, appropriate to the time period. Bring your own CD as there will be no accompanist. Be prepared to dance. All ethnicities are encouraged to audition. Some pay. Non union.
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Tonight, the incomparable Kenny Kerr, original "Queen of the Strip" - which he did...strip, that is - as star of the long running Boy-Lesque, debuts at DeStefano's for what is anticipated to be an ongoing weekend show. Show times are at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There is a $10 cover and a two drink minimum. We will have more to write after we see the show.
Also, tomorrow night, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. (before Kennyï¿½s show), Wendy Edmead (formally of The Pointer Sisters) will be performing with the Joe Darro Trio at DeStefano's. The restaurant is located at 3430 E. Tropicana, on the northeast corner of Pecos. Call (702) 364-8424 for reservations for all shows.
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Tony Orlando performs at the South Point, tonight through Sunday night, with shows at 7:30. Tickets start at $40, all inclusive, and are available at the South Point Box Office or by calling (702) 797-8055. Also appearing at the South Point, ventriloquist Ronn Lucas, next Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
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Regarding the Composers Showcase, Keith Thompson sends this information...
Because so much is going on this month, he has decided to cancel the showcase that had been tentatively scheduled for this Thursday, the 8th. There is just too much going on for Keith at this time (keep reading) and the sound people that handle things at the Liberace Museum, where the showcase takes place, are very over-extended right now. (When will that new, permanent, state-of-the-art sound and light equipment be installed in the Liberace Cabaret?) Keith will be focusing his efforts toward promoting Season of Love, the benefit that the Las Vegas Jersey Boys are putting on at the Liberace Museum to assist with the medical bills of Lindsay Thomas, a young New York actress from the Toronto cast of Jersey Boys who is struggling with stage-four lung cancer. The Vegas cast will join the companies from the New York, Toronto, Chicago and national touring companies of Jersey Boys in their efforts to assist their friend and colleague in her battle for life. The local benefits (there will be TWO performances) will take place on Thursday night, October 15th at 10:30, AND repeat on Sunday afternoon, October 18th at 2, both times in the Cabaret Showroom at the Liberace Museum. The concerts promise to be exciting, a great entertainment for a worthy cause. Of course, Keith is also working on, and heavily promoting, God Lives in Glass. The casts of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Jersey Boys, The Lion King, and Cirque du Soleil's Love, as well as other very special guest artists are joining together to present a concert-staged reading of the musical revue, God Lives in Glass, as a benefit for Family Promise of Las Vegas. Family Promise is committed to helping homeless families in the Las Vegas Valley to achieve lasting independence. They do this by helping the community mobilize to provide safe shelter, meals, and support services for homeless families. God Lives in Glass
will be presented in the Nicholas J. Horn Center for the Performing Arts at the College of Southern Nevada's Cheyenne Campus in North las Vegas, on Saturday AND Sunday afternoons, October 24th and 25th, at 1 p.m. both days. Tickets for the concert, and a post show gathering are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors, students and children. For reservations, please call (702) 651-5483. Your support for both events is much needed and much appreciated. We will have more information about both of these events.
At this time, dates of either Thursday, October 29th, or Thursday, November 5th are being considered for the next Composers Showcase. For the latest information on the late night event, check the Web site at www.thecomposersshowcase.com.
And speaking of songwriters, Phyllis Molinary is over the moon these days. Barbra Streisand's first CD in years, Love Is the Answer, features the beautiful "Here's To Life" as the first track. The song, with lyrics by Molinary, and music by award-winning Artie Butler, has been recorded by a number of artists, including the late Las Vegan Joe Williams, Shirley Horn, Eartha Kitt, Freda Payne, Lainie Kazan, Sue Raney, Dane Vannatter, former Las Vegan Lezlie Anders Greco, Las Vegan Marlena Shaw, and Tucson's own, Gary LeMel.
And still on the subject of Ms. Streisand, last Saturday night she performed an intimate concert for her hubby, James Brolin, and a few close invited friends - including former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman - along with 100 lucky strangers who won tickets to see and hear her at New York's Village Vanguard, a club Babs last played in 1961 (we think that is called, "Back By Popular Demand"). In an extremely rare (as in, once-in-a-lifetime) nightclub appearance, Barbra sang a dozen songs - "Here's To Life", "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning", "Gentle Rain", "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most", "If You Go Away", "Where Do You Start", "Make Someone Happy", "My Funny Valentine", "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", "Evergreen", "Some Other Time" and "The Way We Were" - for a mesmerized audience. Talk about up close and personal! Video of the performance can be seen on BarbraStreisand.com.
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The city of Las Vegas award-winning Rainbow Company Youth Theatre opens its 2009-2010 season tonight at 7, with a production of The Witches at Reed Whipple Cultural Center. Additional show times are October 3rd, 8th, 9th, and 10th at 7 p.m., and October 4th, 10th, and 11th at 2 p.m. The center is located at 821 Las Vegas Blvd. North. Tickets are priced at $3 for children age 12 and under, $5 for teens and seniors, and $7 for adults. Three- and five-show season tickets are available at additional savings and bring special privileges. Tickets are available by mail, telephone or in person. Call Reed Whipple Cultural Center at (702) 229-6211 or Charleston Heights Arts Center at (702) 229-6383 for tickets and more information. For a brochure or more details on the Rainbow Company, go online to www.rainbowcompany.info or call (702) 229-6553. The Rainbow Company is part of the city of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services Arts & Community Events Division.
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Dyana Dafova by Mike Christ
Susan Anton, Michael Orland, Clint Holmes & Kelly Clinton Holmes
On Monday night, Bulgarian singer, Dyana Dafova, put on a fabulous concert in the Gordie Brown Theatre at the Golden Nugget to raise money for non-profit WRRP (Wellness, Redemption & Rehabilitation Program). Dyana is a Bulgarian singer who has command of 17 languages and sings and converses in all of them. She put on a fabulous show Monday evening in the Gordie Brown Theatre at the Golden Nugget. Assemby Bill 510, was passed, releasing prisoner's early from their sentencing, and putting them back on the streets, WITHOUT the proper guidance allowing them to better themselves. This non-profit, gives the tools for former-convicts to seek employment, as well as earn a degree from a University. In the Golden Nugget audience, were candidate Daran Kravanh, who is running for Prime Minister of Cambodia and the Emperor Toan Nguyen, who is from the Nguyen Dynasty. His family fled Vietnam to France, when the communist took over Vietnam, years ago. The showroom was filled with smiles, tears, and love, because of the uniqueness of the Bulgarian music. There has never been a show like this in Las Vegas.
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On Sunday, we were at the Suncoast for the last night of the weekend appearance of Vocal Soup. This was only the second time that these four talented individuals - Clint Holmes, Susan Anton, Domenick Allen and Martin Nievera - performed together in front of a paying audience. If the quartet is this comfortable together now, we can only anticipate how good they will work together when they have had some more shows under their belts. Accompanied by Jeff Neiman at the keyboards and piano, Davy Nathan on keyboards, Brian Czach on drums, Darryl Williams on bass and John Wedemeyer on guitar (spell that name right, folks), with guest appearances by piano men Bill Fayne and Vincent Falcone. Some of the people that we spotted in the audience were Nelson Sardelli and Angela Bello (former wife of the late Freddie Bell), both looking none the worse for wear following their dip into Nelson's backyard pool during his September 20th birthday party; American Idol's associate musical director, Michael Orland; journalist/artist, Norm Johnson, and his main squeeze, psychic/healer Nancy Barr; singer Serena Henry; Teddy Davy of the Las Vegas Tenors; author Mary Marcella Schwartz; Mickey O'Neill from the Irish Showband, and others.
And speaking of Vocal Soup and the Suncoast, on Sunday night, Clint Holmes (with wife, Kelly Clinton) and Susan Anton, members of the vocal group, were among those enjoying and joining Dennis Mellen at the piano bar inside the hotel's Salvatore's Italian Steakhouse. Salvatore's is quickly becoming the place to be "after theater" at the Suncoast. Performers, including Gary Anthony, Paul Stevenson, Kent Foote and Leon C Gilliam, are regular visitors at Salvatore's, run by the former owner of Fellini's. This weekend, Shades of Sinatra will be performing at the Suncoast, which always brings in many friends after the show, resulting in impromptu performances from some of the best entertainers around. On Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8 p.m., Lucio Ristorante presents Mellen at their grand piano. Lucio's has an intimate, romantic atmosphere, with great jazz piano music. Singers and musicians are welcome to join Dennis in some of the finest music Vegas has to offer. Lucio's is located at 8615 W. Sahara (on the southwest corner of Durango and Sahara, behind Charlie's Lakeside). Phone (702) 233-2859.
And speaking of Michael Orland, during his few days in Las Vegas, in addition to attending the Vocal Soup show at the Suncoast, he also took in Liza Minnelli's show at the MGM Grand with his longtime friend Mary Marcella Schwartz. There, he ran into old friends, musician Billy Stritch, and cabaret performer/recording artist, Jim Caruso (host of New York's popular Birdland Cast Party).
Orland photos by Mary Marcella Schwartz.
Billy Stritch, Michael Orland & Jim Caruso
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The shaky economy has resulted in yet two other Vegas casualties...at least for 2010. Plans for next year's annual CineVegas Film Festival at the Palms have been canceled, as has the four-year-old Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace. Will this be temporary or permanent? Only time will tell.
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Former Las Vegan, Lucy Shropshire (the lady with the unusual name and the unforgettable voice) gives two performances at New York's Don't Tell Mama, Saturday, October 10th at 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 11th at 8 p.m., and on November 19th at 7 p.m., performs at the Triad. Calling her latest offering, Miracles, Imagination & Me, the varied musical program will include standards, show tunes and contemporary popular songs such as the beautiful Marvin Hamlisch/Marilyn and Alan Bergman tune, "Ordinary Miracles;" Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse's "Pure Imagination," from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; "Only One Life," written by Jimmy Webb; "Are You Ready For a Miracle," "Land of Make Believe" medley, and "If you Believe" from The Wiz, among others. Accompanied by her musical director, David Shenton, on piano, Matt Aronoff on bass, and Joe Brady on drums, and with Robert Fowler and Kiki Hawkins adding background vocals, Miracles, Imagination & Me is produced and directed by Jim Semmelman, also a former Las Vegan, who is now with NBC's Today show.
Lucy's musical roots were nurtured singing gospel, playing piano and organ for her church choir. After studying music and voice at the University of North Carolina, she performed in venues along the east coast; later moved west, performing in major venues in Reno, as well as singing with and for celebrities including Dizzy Gillespie, eventually winning the Reno Area Music Award 1985 for "Best Jazz Vocalist". With more than a three octave vocal range, the singer/songwriter has her own unique style and presence. During part of the time she lived in Vegas, Lucy, who currently sings backup for the Supreme Mary Wilson, was a principal in Ted Lorenz's Enter the Night production at the now-but-a-memory Stardust Hotel & Casino, sang in Clint Holmes' show at the Golden Nugget, and performed nightly and, in 1996, was vocal coach for the large cast of 70 in EFX starring David Cassidy at the MGM Grand. There is a $15 cover and 2-drink minimum. New York's Don't Tell Mama is located at 343 West 46th Street. Call (212) 757-0788 for reservations.
And, by the way, Las Vegas has a Don't Tell Mama's of its own. Minh Pham, who owned the Manhattan club of the same name for many years, opened his downtown establishment in February. The Vegas version is located at 517 E. Fremont, just east of Las Vegas Blvd. Stop in some night. The phone number is (702) 207-0788.
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You only have a short time left if you want to see Mommie Queerest in Las Vegas. The take off on the 1981 film, Mommie Dearest, is scheduled to close its brief run at the Onyx Theatre in Commercial Center on the 11th. After the reviews we got from friends, we are planning to see the queer take on the Faye Dunaway-starring movie, that takes a real swipe at Joan Crawford's un-motherly instincts. We look forward to seeing how the all-male cast handles lines like "No wire hangers, ever!" and "Did you scrub the bathroom floor today? DID YOU?" and "Don't (bleep) with me fellas. This ain't my first time at the rodeo."
The Naked Boys continue singing at The Onyx Theatre on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. If you haven't seen this entertaining musical comedy, we recommend it. It has a talented cast (even with their pants on) and it's a lot of fun. Toss your inhibitions out and GO! We won't tell anyone we saw you there. Tickets are now $25, and $20 for locals with proper ID. The Onyx is located inside The Rack at 953 E. Sahara, in the northeast corner of the Commercial Center. Call (702) 732-7225 for reservations
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Former child star Beverly Washburn is getting good press on her recently released book, Reel Tears (Beverly cried both real and reel tears growing up in Hollywood). Currently a resident of Henderson, Beverly will be signing books at the Rainbow and Lake Mead Borders, tomorrow (Saturday) between noon and 2. Stop by, say hello, and buy a book. Tell the lady that Cousin Claire sent you.
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David Engel & Larry Raben
Happy birthday to the following Libras (September 23rd through October 22nd) - Melissa Jane Miles, Sonny Turner, Herb Jeffries , Jerry Ritholz, Paul Pratt, Tina Walsh, Adam Pero, Peter Anthony, Johnny Mathis, Marilyn McCoo, Roy Horn, Sergio Alberti, Adele "ZZ" Zorn, John Maltby, Suzanne Buhrer, Donna Taylor, Rick Porter, Robert Beal, Lindsay Fitzpatrick, Larry Raben, John Elizondo, Artie Schroeck, Gerald Gordon, Tito Jackson, Linda November, David Engel, Joey Lomello, and Katrina Sumner. And happy anniversary wishes to Gary and Chrisse White Waddell, Gary and Julie Olds, and Larry Raben and David Engel.
And speaking of Tito Jackson, he will be touring with Gladys Knight. Wonder if she knows he's not a Pip, he's a Jackson!
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The Venetian presents A Bronx Tale with Oscar-winning actor Chazz Palminteri. The show will run from October 7th through the 18th (no performances on the 13th and 14th).
Palminteri has enjoyed a successful run on Broadway and touring A Bronx Tale across the country to rave reviews. Las Vegas will be able to enjoy this show for the first time in October. First mounted off-Broadway in 1989, the show is a funny and touching memoir written by and starring Palminteri. In the celebrated play, on which he based the legendary movie, directed by and co-starring Robert DeNiro, Palminteri brings 18 characters to life while vividly depicting a young boy's rough childhood in the 1960's-era Bronx and the unforgettable people he encountered. A classic coming-of-age story about reaching your true potential and trusting your heart, A Bronx Tale is directed by four-time Tony Award-winner, Jerry Zaks, and produced by GO Productions, LLC, a Las Vegas based production company. Tickets are $65.75 and $85.75. Call The Venetian at (702) 733-5000 for reservations.
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From Jo Ann in Las Vegas comes this e-mail...
I'm new in town and was looking for a nice jazz spot. Heard about Caylix and Googled it. Couldn't find any useable info re menus, hours of operation or anything. Called the # and it's disconnected. Later found information about the unfortunate experiences there. Is it unreasonable to assume that this business is now closed? (go figure) Can you recommend any other nice jazz venues?
Yes, Jo Ann, Caylix is closed. The way it was being run, it deserved to be closed. Jo Ann might want to check out Dennis Mellen at Lucio's Ristorante (8615 W. Sahara at Durango), on Friday and Saturday, starting at 8:30 p.m. (see more on Dennis Mellen elsewhere in this column). On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the jazz quartet, Nova, plays at the Las Vegas Hilton from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. And, the first Saturday of each month, this month, that's tomorrow, Saturday, October 3rd, Marsha K. Ross presents Jimmy Wilkins at the Black Label from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Jazz Master Wilkins and his New Life Orchestra will be playing the great charts of Ernie Wilkins and Count Basie. Las Vegas has some of the country's finest jazz musicians, and programs like this present the opportunity for music lovers to see and hear them. Black Label is located at 3550 S. Decatur Blvd., on the southeast corner of Decatur and Spring Mountain Rd. There is plenty of free parking. The cost for the concert is a $10 band contribution inside the door. For additional information, call the Black Label at (702) 823-2222.
For more sources for jazz in Vegas, check out Evan Davis' site www.evandavisjazz.com.
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Larry Edwards & Carson Kressley
Renowned percussionist, Marcus Whitman Barnett, 83, passed away on September 2nd. Sought after by the greatest musical conductors and stars, Mark worked with them all and played virtually every production show in Las Vegas. Mark's "tympani roll" became famous with the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. Barnett's immense talent, impeccable pitch and musical sensitivity were nurtured from early childhood by his parents, themselves accomplished professional musicians. He studied all of his adult life with recording and Hollywood percussionist greats, Red Norvo, Rudy Rodarte and Lou Singer. He leaves behind several protÃ©gÃ© students to carry on, notably Dale Rampton, Jeff Falcone and Josh Eagen. Mark Barnett is survived by his wife, Colleen; stepdaughter, Elizabeth Bodnar; stepson, Frederick Von Eichhorn; sister, Mary Barnett Horn; brother, Chris Wiesgerber; three grandsons, Michael, Robert and Eric Stansbury; and two great-grandchildren. Memorial to benefit Nathan Adelson Hospice is pending. A musical celebration of Mark Barnett's life is being planned. We will provide details when they are finalized. Our condolences to the Barnett family.
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The Green Valley Library in Henderson will be presenting a fabulous Liberace program on Saturday, October 10th at 1:30 p.m. Michael and Karan Feder, authors of the Joy of Liberace cookbook and local Henderson residents, will be chatting about Liberace, his love of cooking, and their new cookbook. Refreshments will be provided by Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens (which was originally owned by Liberace, himself).
And speaking of Mr. Showmanship, look for a new movie on the life of Liberace. Born Wladziu Valentino Liberace, the flamboyant, piano-player was a staple of early 1950s television, and was an institution in Las Vegas until his death from AIDS in 1987. It is said that, at the height of his career, Liberace made more money than Elvis and The Beatles. Steven Soderbergh, best known for the films Sex, Lies and Videotape, Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean's Eleven and The Informant!, will direct, and Michael Douglas will star as the campy entertainer. Matt Damon, who also stars in The Informant!, has agreed to portray Scott Thorsen, Liberace's assistant and longtime lover, whose 1982 palimony suit for $110 million publicly outed the popular performer. Liberace will be filmed from a script by writer/director Richard Lagravense, who was responsible for The Bridges of Madison County. Soderbergh said the budget will allow filmmakers to re-stage segments of Liberace's spectacular stage act, which often involved elaborate stunts such as flying or driving to his piano bench in a Rolls-Royce. And, in case it comes up on Jeopardy!, Marvin Hamlisch wrote the score for The Informant!
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On a recent night at Las Vegas' Piranha Nightclub where he is a host/diva, Larry Edwards, aka Hot Chocolate, got to spend some time with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's cute Carson Kressley and beautiful TV personality (Entertainment Tonight and MTV's Total Request Live) and on-again, off-again girlfriend of Nick Lachey, Vanessa Minnillo. PR maven Larry (he never turns away from a camera) doesnï¿½t mind being called "The Queen of Clubs" - in fact, he encourages it! This fellow is a real card.
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Put Frankie Randall, Julius LaRosa, Deana Martin, Pete Barbutti and the Vincent Falcone orchestra together, and what do you get? You get That's Italian! a Big Band musical extravaganza. The show features famous, classic, Sinatra-era entertainers: vocalist/pianist Frankie Randall, well-known for his friendship with, and tributes to Frank Sinatra; vocalist Deana Martin (Dean's daughter); vocalist Julius LaRosa, and comedian Pete Barbutti - all supported by legendary pianist/conductor Vince Falcone. For this event, Falcone (who, after his recent gig at the Suncoast with Vocal Soup, can add "singer" to his resume), will conduct 14 musicians, including Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra. Randall, noted as the last link to Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack, put this show together. That's Italian! has performed for Sold Out audiences at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California, as well as the Trump Marina Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey; The North Shore Center For The Performing Arts in Chicago; and the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That's Italian! brings back the classic "Sinatra" era, full of singing, humor and camaraderie that leaves audiences thoroughly entertained. Tomorrow night at 8, the gang performs at Foxwoods Resort Casino's Fox Theater in Ledyard, Connecticut. For general information and reservations, please call 800-FOXWOODS (369-9663), and for tickets, call the Foxwoods Box Office at (800) 200-2882.
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Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company
The UNLV Performing Arts Center welcomes the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company at 8 p.m. next Friday, October 9th, as part of the New York Stage & Beyond Series. Included in their repertoire is the work "Continuum," choreographed by UNLV dance professor, Victoria Dale. Called "world-class" by The New York Times, the group is guided by a vision of dance as the universal language of movement that celebrates performance, individual expression, healing, and peace. The 12-member company is one of the foremost cultural arts institutions in the Rocky Mountain region and offers a myriad of educational, performance, and other community strengthening services. They have toured throughout the nation and have served as cultural ambassadors abroad, performing in more than 20 countries. Founder and executive artistic director, Cleo Parker Robinson, has received numerous awards and honors through the years. Appointed by former President Clinton, she has served on the National Council on the Arts, and continues to be a leader and staunch advocate for cultural arts education. Tickets to the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company are $40, $55, and $85 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting pac.unlv.edu. Student rush tickets are $13 each and available one hour prior to each event, based on availability and with valid student I.D. UNLV faculty and staff discounts also are available. A $1 facilities fee, in addition to the ticket price, is charged on all Performing Arts Center tickets. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Information about all of the season's performances can be found on the Performing Arts Center website, located at pac.unlv.edu.
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And if you are in New York on Thursday, October 8th, Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, will help celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Mabel Mercer Foundation's Annual Cabaret Convention, when they are among the stars of cabaret performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater, Broadway and 60th Street. Also on the lineup that night are some of our other favorites, Mark Nadler and the Sullivan ladies, KT, Elizabeth and Stacy. Also performing during the three night event (October 7th through 9th), are Lucie Arnaz, Amanda McBroom, Elaine Stritch, Wesla Whitfield and former Las Vegan, Eric Michael Gillett, who will be presented with the Dick Gallagher Award, on Wednesday, and Billy Stritch (mentioned elsewhere in this column), and former New Yorker and current Las Vegan, Phillip Officer. For reservations, call (212) 980-3026. On Saturday, October 10th at 9:45 p.m., Barbara and Eric will do a one-night concert at the Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street. There is a $25 cover, plus two beverage minimum. For Metropolitan Room reservations, call (212) 206-0440. About this duo, Stephen Holden of the New York Times writes, "Mr. Comstock and Ms. Fasano are turning the neighborhood into a hotbed of pleasure." Check them out.
Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano
Eric Michael Gillett
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Michael Chapman and ChapQuist Entertainment presents award-winning Denise Clemente, tomorrow night (October 3rd) at 7 in the Starbright Theatre, 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. (take Lake Mead west off Rampart, about 3 miles, then south on Thomas Ryan to the first right turn), in Sun City Summerlin . A native of New Jersey, at the age of eight, Denise was working with Johnny Cash, Minnie Pearl and Hank Williams, Sr. She went on to tour with the legendary Liberace, which culminated in a record-breaking engagement at the London Palladium. She made her Las Vegas debut at the Stardust Hotel and has since shared the stage with showbiz icons Bill Cosby, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Rich Little, Joan Rivers, George Wallace and, most recently, Jessica Simpson. Denise appeared on the Tonight Show numerous times, as well as a number of other notable TV talk/variety shows. Tickets to see Denise Clemente are $18 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $23 for non-residents. For credit card orders, call (702) 869-2064. All shows at the Starbright Theatre are first come, first served with no limit on the number of tickets purchased. Show tickets may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle community centers in Sun City Summerlin. Ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax and are non-refundable. For information about the Starbright, call (702) 240-1301. Please visit www.CHAPQUIST.com.
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For the 16th year, a medieval kingdom will take over Sunset Park with lavishly costumed knights, knaves, fine ladies and wenches as Clark County Parks and Recreation presents the annual Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival, next Friday through Sunday, October 9th through 11th. The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, at Sunset Park, 2601 E. Sunset Road. Admission is $10 per day for adults and $5 per day for seniors and children ages 5 to 12. Ages 4 and younger are free. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets. Three-day passes are available at Sunset Park, only on Friday, for $25 for adults, or $10 for children (5-12) or seniors (55+). Several stages will feature entertainment, with costumed performers presenting more than 50 shows per day, along with historical re-enactments, jousting tournaments, medieval pageantry and more than 100 artisans - including blacksmiths, stained glass designers, jewelers, wood workers, toy makers, perfume blenders, stone carvers and sword, dagger and armor craftsman - to demonstrate and sell their wares. Authentic food - from fish and chips to an English feast - also will be available, as well as beer and ales for adults with proper identification. Headlining the main stage at this year's fair are The Prodigals, Swagger and local favorites The Wild Celts. The Prodigals may be straight out of New York, but band members Dave Fahy, guitar and vocals; Gregory Grene, button accordion and vocals; Chris Higginbottom, drums; Ed Kollar, bass; and Darren Maloney, banjo, grew up largely in Ireland. The Prodigals' funky and anarchic energy make the Prodigals one of the most successful bands to emerge out of the East Coast Irish scene. Recently, the band's music was featured in the film Pride and Glory.
Swagger was born out of the need to create music in a serene place, but the music is anything but serene. "Texas" Rick Butler bounced around in original and cover bands in California before finding his way to the pub songs of his own Irish band. Upon moving to Salt Lake City in 2006, Butler created Swagger to fill the void. The band, recognized by its signature kilts, is made up of Butler, guitar, vocals and mandolin; Dennis Harrington, fiddle; Stephan Wallace, bass; Sam Cottrell, lead guitar; and Mark Mottonen, drums. The Wild Celts is one of Las Vegas' most popular Irish rock bands, selling 20,000 CDs locally and abroad. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the band plays to more than 100,000 people annually. Along with concerts all weekend, the fair will host a royal parade with kings, queens, warriors and peasants on Saturday and Sunday. The festival also offers full-contact jousting tournaments; no-holds-barred gladiator battles; black powder demonstrations, strolling minstrels, contortionists, magicians, storytellers, jokers, jugglers, flame eaters, belly dancers, trained parrots and pirates. Additional attractions include bow and arrow and axe target games, medieval barber and surgeon demonstrations and Renaissance guilds. In the 16th Century Village, German, Italian, Ottoman Turk, French, Celtic, Polish and British military encampments meet on the Field of Honor for battle. No carry-in food or beverages, pets, lawn chairs or weapons are allowed inside the festival area. Patrons may bring one sealed bottle of water. No unauthorized vending, concessions, merchandise, literature or promotions allowed. Any participants in costume must have all related props or weapons peace tied, or those items will be denied at time of entry. No re-entry is allowed. Event sponsors include the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Miller Lite, 98.5 KLUC, KXNT News Radio 840, 107.5 Xtreme Radio, My LVTV, The CW Las Vegas, 100.5 Jack FM, Mix 94.1 FM and KYDZ Radio. Those interested in the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival can call (702) 455-8200, or visit the Web site at www.lvrenfair.com.
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Lyric Stage, Dallas County's only locally produced professional musical theater company, presents the world premiere of THE ROAD TO QATAR, Stephen Cole and David Krane's true new musical comedy, October 9th through 24th, in the Irving Arts Center's Dupree Theater. THE ROAD TO QATAR is based on the hysterical real life experience of two New York musical theater writers being commissioned to write the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. Three years ago both book writer/lyricist Stephen Cole and composer David Krane (who did not know each other at the time) simultaneously received emails that read: "We want you write musical. How much?" Thus began an unbelievable but true journey that introduced the two "short Jews" to an alien world of camels, deserts and crazy Egyptian theatrical producers. During the course of this sensational Arab adventure, Stephen and David starred in their own personal Bob Hope-Bing Crosby "Road picture" that took them to Dubai, Qatar, London, Bratislava and back to the USA after writing and presenting a huge original musical for the Emir of Qatar and one thousand of his invited guests. When they returned, they had no other choice but to write their story in the only way they knew how: as a musical! The names have all been changed, but the story is totally true. For the world premiere, Lyric Stage has assembled a wonderful cast and creative team. After his triumph last season as Fiorello LaGuardia in Lyric Stage's Fiorello!, Brian Gonzales (Broadway's Putnam County Spelling Bee) returns to Lyric Stage as Michael (Cole) and Lee Zarrett (Bway's Putnam County Spelling Bee) as Jeffrey (Krane). Jill Abramovitz (Bway's 9 to 5 The Musical and Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, Bill Nolte (Broadway and Las Vegas' productions of The Producers) and Bruce Warren complete the cast. Phillip George (Forbidden Broadway) directs, with music direction by David Caldwell. Scenic and costume design is by Michael Bottari and Ronald Case, lighting design is by Susan A. White and sound design is by Bill Eickenloff. Margaret J. Soch is Production Stage Manager. Writer/Lyricist Stephen Cole is a Kleban Award-winner. His musical After the Fair was Lyric Stage's first world premiere production, winning five Dallas Theater League Leon Rabin Awards including Best Production of a Musical and Best New Play or Musical. After the Fair received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Best Musical for its off-Broadway run. Lyric Stage also produced The Night of the Hunter, Cole's musical with composer Claibe Richardson, in the New York Musical Theater Festival. His books include I Could Have Sung All Night with Marni Nixon, Charles Strouse's memoir Put on a Happy Face and That Book about That Girl, Marlo Thomas. Composer Krane created the dance music and additional score adaptation for the 2003 Oscar winning movie Chicago directed by Rob Marshall, and is currently working on the film version of Nine, also directed by Marshall, which will be released at Christmas. For Broadway, David composed the dance and incidental music for the La Cage Aux Folles revival, the Tony award-winning revival of Cabaret (Sam Mendes/Rob Marshall), Man of La Mancha, the new Oklahoma! (London/Broadway) for which he composed a new dream ballet for Susan Stroman, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Music Man, Show Boat, Victor/Victoria and Ragtime among many others. The Road to Qatar plays October 9th through 24th in the Irving Arts Center's Dupree Theater, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Tickets can be Ordered Online by Clicking Here or by calling (972) 252-2787. Performances are Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., with matinees on Sundays and Saturday, October 24.
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Ed Foster, who wears a lot of different hats (most of them look western), will have a collection of his photos on display at the Whitney Library, located at 5175 E. Tropicana, just east of Nellis, through December 2nd. Called Shots In the Dark, the subjects include lots of celebrities. It's FREE, so go see it.
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Nui - The Land of the Gods
Tomorrow night, October 3rd at 10:30 in the theater at Le Theatre des Arts at Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Les Grands Ballets De Tahiti presents, for the first time outside of Tahiti, Nui-The Land of the Gods. Dazzling, captivating, and unique in Las Vegas, experience the exotic side of Paris. Witness an innovative perspective, embodied by the world renowned Les Grands Ballets De Tahiti dance company, as they reveal the timeless secrets and magic of the Tahitian gods in a breathtaking journey. After a terrible battle breaks the alliance sealed between the gods and men, the Tahitian gods take refuge in a secret place, hidden from the eyes of mankind, to build a new world which reunites gods and men. Nui is more than just an invitation to dream and escape everyday life. Immerse yourself in the unbridled energy of an extraordinary experience of Mana and pure happiness. Through their partnership with C.E.V.A.N. Louie Foundation, a portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to brain cancer and brain tumor research. Tickets are $48, $78 and $108, all inclusive, and may be purchased at the theater box office or by calling (877) 374-7469. Las Vegas' KTNV-Channel 13's pretty Problem Solver Traffic Reporter, Kim Smith, will serve as host.
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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye