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 October 16, 2009
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - October 16, 2009

Bruce Ewing

The Apple Sisters

God Lives in Glass, composed by Jersey Boys conductor Keith Thompson, will be presented next Saturday and Sunday, October 24th and 25th, at the College of Southern Nevada's Performing Arts Center. The unique performances will be held at 1 p.m. each day in the Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, on the Cheyenne Campus, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave. in North Las Vegas. God Lives in Glass is based on the book by Robert J. Landy, a New York professor who interviewed children worldwide in 2001 about their perceptions of God. The theatrical concert will be performed by 55 to 60 singers and musicians who work in shows on the Las Vegas Strip. Sixteen songs, from pop to gospel to reggae to rap, represent diverse faiths from around the world. Local pianist Philip Fortenberry provides musical accompaniment, along with a 10-piece band. The CSN Performing Arts Center and Family Promise of Las Vegas have partnered to present the show, which will benefit both organizations. The show's producer and Family Promise board member, Bruce Ewing, notes, "The response we've received from the singers and musicians from the Las Vegas shows - Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, and Cirque du Soleil's Love - has been phenomenal. Because the event benefits such worthwhile causes, everyone has been very generous with their time and talent." Family Promise is a non-profit organization that assists homeless families in the Las Vegas valley to achieve lasting independence by helping the community mobilize to provide safe shelter, meals, and support services for them. The Performing Arts Center's share of the proceeds will go to its "Friends of the Horn," which is used to enhance productions by bringing in guest artists and more diverse programming for the students and the community. "We appreciate CSN's willingness to host this event," says Ewing. "Both of our organizations share the mission of a desire to build a stronger community and improve the quality of life for residents of southern Nevada." The afternoon events include a silent auction. Tickets are $25 for adults, and $20 for seniors and students, and include a post-show reception with the performers. Call the CSN Box Office at (702) 651-LIVE (5483) for reservations or visit or

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Over at the Liberace Museum (1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer), the amazingly gifted Philip Fortenberry (assistant musical director for Jersey Boys at The Palazzo) will take a few afternoons off from his Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays performances, where he performs at the beautiful Baldwin in his Liberace and Me show. Tomorrow, Jersey Boys musical director, Keith Thompson, fills in for Philip, and on Tuesday, October 20th, and Wednesday, October 21st, at 1 p.m., it's The Glen Willow Trio, with Rebecca Ramsey on violin, Mary Trimble on viola, and Moonlight Tran on cello, performing in the museum‘s Cabaret Showroom. Tickets are $17.50. The museum in located at 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer. Call (702) 798-5595 for additional information.

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As we mentioned last week, local (and a few visiting) entertainers have joined together to help raise money for Broadway and Stratford Shakespeare Festival actress and Jersey Boys alum, Lindsay Thomas‘s mounting medical costs. Ms. Thomas was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and is undergoing treatment in Toronto. All seven of the Jersey Boys companies - Broadway, Chicago, Las Vegas, Toronto, London, Australia and the National Tour - are doing their own fundraising events. The company is also creating a Jersey Boys quilt to be auctioned off online. The quilt is made entirely of costume fabrics from the show, and is signed by every member of the entire Jersey Boys Global Family. The first of two Las Vegas benefit shows, called Seasons of Love, was held last night in the Cabaret Showroom at the Liberace Museum. A second show takes place at the museum, 2 p.m., Sunday. The entertainers scheduled to perform are (in alphabetical order), The Apple Sisters - Sarah Lowe, Rebekka Johnson, and Kim Gatewood; Travis Cloer (Jersey Boys); Charl Brown (Jersey Boys); Philip Fortenberry (Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, Liberace and Me); Leslie Goddard (Jersey Boys, Hairspray); Robert Jarrett (Mamma Mia); Sarah Lowe (Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, The Apple Sisters); Kristofer McNeeley (Jersey Boys); Matthew S. Morgan (The Lion King, Hairspray); Drama Desk nominee, Jon Peterson (Cabaret, Song Man, Dance Man); John Salvatore (Jersey Boys, A Chorus Line); Carly Thomas Smith (Jersey Boys, We Will Rock You, Rent); Joan Sobel (Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular); Keith Thompson (Jersey Boys, Hairspray, We Will Rock You, Kooky Tunes); Darren Voros (Hairspray); Alton White (The Lion King, Ragtime, The Color Purple, The Who's Tommy, Miss Saigon); and many others. Don't miss this one. Tickets are $25. For reservations, please call (702) 798-5595 ex. 14.

Carly Thomas-Smith

Erich Bergen

Jon Peterson

And speaking of Jersey Boys, we hear that Erich Bergen, who, last month, departed his role as Bob Gaudio in the musical tale of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, will make some guest appearances on the CW's popular TV series, Gossip Girl. According to what we read, Bergen will be in episodes featuring both Hilary Duff and Lady Gaga (not necessarily together). We have to wonder if Erich might do his tongue-in-cheek version of Britney Spears‘, "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" on Gossip Girl?

And speaking of visiting Jonny Peterson, among the New Yorker's credits, are that of the Emcee in Cabaret on Broadway; off-Broadway, George M. Cohan Tonight! (as George M. Cohan); in National and Regional Tours, The World Goes Round (Man #1), The Rocky Horror Show (Frank N. Furter), Cabaret National Tour (Emcee; nominated for National Broadway Theatre Award: Best Actor in a Musical), A Chorus Line (Paul). In West End and UK National Tours: The Sound of Music with Petula Clark (Rolf), A Chorus Line (Paul), Dames at Sea (Lucky), She Loves Me (Bus Boy), Y (Revue), Sophisticated Ladies, Cavalcade (Joey), Whooop-Dee-Doo! (Revue), Cats (Skimbleshanks/Mistofolees), On Your Toes, and BLITZ! (Georgie). Jon is scheduled to perform at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theater on Sunday, February 28th of next year (it will be here before you know it), as part of the Performing Arts Society of Nevada's series. Calling his show, Song Man, Dance Man, Peterson will pay tribute to George M. Cohan, who invented the song and dance man; Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, who each brought their unique excellence that revolutionized the movie musical; Bobby Darin, a consummate entertainer whose meteoric rise to stardom ended too soon; and Anthony Newley, whose eccentric, Cockney brilliance shook the musical world. Keith Thompson (Jersey Boys) has done some of Jon's arrangements and will be his musical director for the performance..."God willing and the ‘crik‘ don't rise!" We will have more on this show closer to the February date. We would suggest marking your calendar NOW.

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Robin Williams has rebooked his Weapons of Self-Destruction show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for December 5th. Williams' original May date at the MGM, along with the rest of his tour, was cancelled when the manic comic had heart surgery. The Oscar and Grammy-winning Williams began his career as a stand-up comedian. Over the years, he has created a repertoire of indelible characters, first in the hit series Mork & Mindy, and then in numerous film roles. In 1997, Williams received Academy and Screen Actors Guild awards for his performance in Good Will Hunting, having been previously nominated by the Academy for performances in The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, and Good Morning Vietnam. Doors open at 7 p.m. Show time is 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $236.25, $183.75, and $105.00, including LET (Plus an $8 Handling Fee).

Robin Williams

Don "Mr. Camera" Jacobs

Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas

Also scheduled in the next few months at the MGM are Stevie Wonder in A Wonder Autumn Night, on November 28th, and Andrea Bocelli on December 12th. Tickets for Stevie Wonder are $160.00, $105.00 and $52.50, inclusive of LET (Plus a $7 Handling Fee), and for Bocelli are $400 Inclusive of LET. (Plus a $16.00 Handling Fee) $275 Inclusive of LET. (Plus a $12.00 Handling Fee) $195 Inclusive of LET. (Plus a $9.00 Handling Fee) $125 Inclusive of LET. (Plus a $6.00 Handling Fee) $75 Inclusive of LET. (Plus a $5.00 Handling Fee). For reservations to all MGM Grand shows, call (877) 880-0880.

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After years of fighting health issues, Don Jacobs, also known as "Mr. Camera," passed away in Las Vegas on September 26th. Don was born in Los Angeles on July 9, 1947. He resided in L.A. and Carmel, California, before moving to Las Vegas in 1968. Don attended Hamilton High School in California. Secondary education was at Santa Monica City College and then at Don Martin School of Broadcasting in Hollywood. Don's career in broadcasting began at KRML radio in Carmel. His Vegas career began when he was employed at KLAS Channel 8, CBS. He moved on to KLVX Channel 10, PBS. In 1978, he became a partner in Video Productions of Nevada (VPN). Don also published a newsletter, Station Break, for the local broadcasting industry. In 1981, he and his wife Becky opened their own television production company, Mr. Camera, Inc. Don was preceded in death by his father, Simon Jacobs in March 1993; and mother, Evelyne Garfinkle in April 2001. His stepfather, Abe Fox, owner of Las Vegas' popular Foxy's Deli, passed away in December 2004 at the age of 90. Don is survived by his wife, of 35 years, Rebecca "Becky" (Zajac) Jacobs; his three sons, Jeffrey, Gregory and Daniel; and two one-year-old granddaughters, Taylor and Abigail Jacobs. Services were private. Donations in Don's name may be made to St. Jude's Ranch for Children, in Boulder City. Don Jacobs was 62 at the time of his passing. Our sympathies go out to his family.

Don's stepfather, Abe Fox, opened Foxy's Deli at what is now the Strip and Sahara in 1955 after moving to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. Legend has it that, during the late 1950s, half the business deals in Vegas were done on Foxy's napkins and with a handshake. Many entertainers, including Shecky Greene, Liberace, Wayne Newton, Don Rickles, and The Mills Brothers, along with community business leaders and tourists, flocked to Foxy's for fresh food flown in daily from Los Angeles. The deli closed in 1975.

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Not at all surprising, after the impressive Labor Day weekend "test" of Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas revue (more than 5,000 people saw the new show over four nights), the Imperial Palace has made Divas a part of their ongoing entertainment lineup. Beginning tomorrow night (Saturday, October 17th), Frank Marino plus a cast of 13, will take the 10 p.m. time slot in the __-seat showroom. In addition to Marino, who, as producer, Mistress of Ceremonies/ Hostess, is the glue that holds Divas together, the performers are made up of impersonators Derrick Barry as Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, Kenneth Blake as Madonna and Dolly Parton, Larry Edwards as Tina Turner and Beyonce, Sammy Gonzales as Liza Minnelli, Joseph Santellano as Bette Midler and Shirley Bassey, Steven Wayne as Cher and Celine Dion, and Crystal Woods as Diana Ross and Whitney Houston. The Frank Marino Dancers are Jonathon Arsenault, Jeremy Butcher, Michael Cannarata, Stephen Lowry, Jason Mckenzie, and Paul Pratt. Choreography is by Gary Thomas (for the Britney Spears and Lady Gaga numbers) and Brad Barnes (all other numbers). Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas joins the family-friendly Japanese hit "Muscle Musical," Matsuri, and the Australian "boy band" Human Nature, presented by Smokey Robinson. Matsuri plays at 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Mondays, with an added 8 p.m. show on Fridays. Tickets are $49.99 and $59.99. Human Nature show times are 8 p.m., Saturdays through Thursdays, and tickets are $49.95 and $59.95. Divas plays at 10 p.m., Saturdays through Thursdays. Ticket prices are $69 and $79. For reservations, call (888) 777-7664, toll free.

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Garth Brooks

Naked Boys Singing!

Ryan Zink as Reba

When Steve Wynn wants something (closing a downtown street to expand the Golden Nugget, getting Strip noise ordinances changed to accommodate the pirate battle in front of TI, the erupting volcano in front of the Mirage and the beautiful dancing waters in front of Bellagio; an original musical by Broadway's Jerry Herman), he usually gets it. And, obviously, when Steve Wynn talks, Garth Brooks listens. As a result, beginning on December 11th, Brooks will launch a five year deal, performing four shows a week, 15 weeks out of the year, in the Encore Theater that was the last home of the late Danny Gans. And what a deal this is! Wynn has provided an airplane for Brooks' use, so the country singer can travel back and forth between Las Vegas and his home in Oklahoma, at will. We think this booking should be successful for both Wynn and Brooks...unless the ticket prices are too high. It will be interesting to see if some of Wayne Newton's loyal fans, lovingly called Wayniacs, jump ship and decide to spend their time and money at the Encore rather than the Tropicana.

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Naked Boys Singing! is offering lowered ticket prices for the next few weeks. There is a possibility that the fun-filled musical will close at the end of the month, with the intention of reopening early in the new year. If you haven't seen Naked Boys Singing!, the answer is YES...the Boys really sing! Oh, that's not your question? Okay, it's YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES and YES. There are seven (sometimes eight) NAKED male singers to look at and listen to! Come see them for the first time if you haven't been there yet, or go back and see them again, if you have! The place is The Onyx Theatre, inside The Rack at Commercial Center, 953 E. Sahara. Call (702) 732-7225 for reservations, and ask for the discounted tickets.

Naked Boys Singing! co-producer, Jimmy Emerson, continues as host of the Monday night romp, Divas off the Strip at Goodtimes, 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer in the Liberace Plaza. This Monday, Brent Allen, as Bette Midler and Judy Garland, and Ryan Zink as Reba McEntire and Marilyn Monroe, join Emerson for the show that starts a 10 p.m. Unconfirmed, as we approach our deadline, is a surprise act, relatively new to Las Vegas.

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The long running hit show, The Platters, Cornell Gunter's Coasters, and The Marvelettes, moves to the Steve Wyrick Theater inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. The show, which has wowed audiences for more than 10 years (most recently at the Sahara), combines three legendary rock and roll groups singing the hits that made them famous. Cornell Gunter's Coasters, known as the Clown Princes of Rock ‘N Roll, kick off the show with their high energy style and hit songs, including "Yakkity Yak," "Love Potion #9" and "Charlie Brown." The world-famous Platters, combining class, grace and more than 50 years of hits, takes the stage with their timeless songs like "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Only You" and "The Great Pretender," follow. The marvelous Marvelettes, who had the first hit for Motown, round out the show with their precision signature choreography and hits like "Please Mr. Postman," "Don't Mess With Bill," "Beechwood 45789" and "Playboy." Don't miss this great evening of Rock ‘n Roll music and memories, appearing nightly at 7 p.m. inside the Steve Wyrick Theater at the Miracle Mile Shops. Ticket prices are $56, $66 and $86. For more information, please call the box office at (702) 777-9974 or (800) 210-0745.

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The much anticipated non-club club F.I.O.R.E.'s annual Halloween Party will take place next Friday, October 23rd at the Italian American Club, 2330 E. Sahara, beginning at 6:30 p.m. As is the tradition at F.I.O.R.E. gatherings, event organizer, Nelson Sardelli, promises that there will be plenty of food, fun, dancing, live music, raffles, prizes, gifts (including packages of pasta, courtesy of Barilla representative, Sue Natole, and her comic/impressionist hubby, Rich Natole), entertainment, and mostly friendly faces. Admission is $25 for those in costume, and $30 for those with no costume. (Does that mean if you go naked, it costs you MORE to get in?!?!?) In an organization made up of men, everyone is a president. In the case of the occasional F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Fun Events) get-together (Christmas, Valentine's, Halloween and the non-club clubs anniversary parties) where the ladies are welcome, F.I.O.R.E. widows are admitted free (but their new boyfriends have to pay).
[email protected].

F.I.O.R.E. Halloween Party

Claudine Williams by Martin LePire

Al Martino

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Claudine Williams, the first woman to serve as president and general manager of a major Las Vegas casino, died May 13th at the age of 88. Tonight, from 6 to 11 p.m., an auction of her belongings will take place at the Elks Lodge, 4100 W. Charleston Blvd. During her lifetime, Williams was known for her generosity, particularly toward education. A dormitory at the UNLV is named for her. Proceeds from this auction will benefit St. Jude's Ranch for Children in Boulder City, Opportunity Village, the UNLV College of Hotel Administration, and The Nature Conservancy. Between 600 and 700 items - including casino memorabilia and historical items from early Las Vegas, a personalized autographed photo of Frank Sinatra, a Fleetwood Mac-signed guitar, furs, and designer accessories, including scarves, purses, shoes, and both fine jewelry and costume pieces - are included in the sale. Guy Deiro, president of Deiro Auctioneers, which is handling the event, noted that this is an estate sale, which means every item will be sold. Williams, who was born in Louisiana, began dealing cards while she was still in her teens. She and her husband, Shelby, moved to Las Vegas in the mid-1960s. They owned the Silver Slipper before selling it to Howard Hughes and buying the Holiday Casino. When her husband died in 1977, Williams ran the casino herself before selling a portion of the property to Harrah's in 1979 and the remainder of her interest in 1983. She remained chairman of the property and continued to have an office there.

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As we predicted (that's some of what any Claire Voyant does), Danny Roque and his "associates" were a Las Vegas hit. The singer/songwriter/comedian, who with an ensemble of eight talented related and non-related singer/musicians, earned himself new fans with his Showmaniapalooza presentation last Sunday. The Performing Arts Society of Nevada's Clark County Flamingo Library Theater audience was entertained and charmed by this group of professionals. Cousin Claire knew that John Meren and Tom Gallagher, who have been producing the PASN series for 20 years, had nothing to be concerned about regarding the booking of this act which they had never seen. We HAD seen Roque, who lives in Southern California, at the Composers Showcase in August, and knew the PASN regulars would love this show. We were right. The big after-the-performance question from departing attendees was "When are they coming back?" Well, we're not sure exactly when THEY are coming back, but Danny will be the opening act at Matt Donnelly's Celebrity Tarot Lounge show, tonight at 7 p.m. This will be the second run in Las Vegas of Celebrity Tarot Lounge, produced by Emily Jillette, wife of Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame. In July, the show's guests included Teller, prop comic Carrot Top; comic magician, The Amazing Johnathan; novelist, comics writer and screenwriter, Neil Gaiman; and animator/director of The Simpson's, David Silverman. This weekend's lineup includes, tonight at 7, celebrity guest, Robin Leach, and a 10 p.m., Terry Fator and Steve Wyrick. Tomorrow night at 7, Adam Savage, the host of MythBusters is the celebrity guest, while professional poker players, Annie Duke (Celebrity Apprentice competitor), and Andy Bloch are guests at 10 p.m. Additional guests will be added to each show, and may include cast members of Jersey Boys, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular and other local productions. Celebrity Tarot Lounge is a new show, filled with comedy, mystery, and celebrity secrets, sure to entice any audience. It features the best and brightest improv comics from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago, who create a series of characters, sketches and montages, based solely on a comedic tarot reading of an actual guest celebrity live on stage. All of this fun takes place at the Stage Door Theatre in Town Square, 6587 Las Vegas Blvd. So. Tickets are $24.95 and $34.95 for general seating, and $49.95 for VIP Love Seats. They may be purchased directly from the Matt Donnelly's Celebrity Tarot Lounge Web site ( or by calling the box office between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at (702) 949-6123. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.

And while still on the subject of predictions...
How many readers thought that Jay Leno moving to a 10 p.m. time slot sounded like a good idea? Maybe it's a subtle type of protest by TV junkies who are more than pissed that their favorite NBC drama series are gone, replaced instead by segments of "Jay walking" and " headlines." Leno's numbers have continued to drop each week since his "early show" debut five weeks ago.

Then there's America's Got Talent's latest winner, unemployed chicken catcher, Kevin Skinner. There is a good old country boy charm about the singer/guitar player, but he certainly wasn't up to a Vegas least not in a big room in a Strip hotel We understand that the poor guy was actually booed during the new America's Got Talent Live show, currently playing at Planet Hollywood.

On more than one occasion, we have promised entertainers that we would not share our "gloom and doom" feelings about certain things they were willing to try (in spite of our dire warnings or past history). We kept our promises, writing nothing beforehand that might "jinx" their anticipated success. After our predictions, unfortunately, proved to be accurate, we were then allowed to say "we told you so." Since no one asked us not to give our thoughts on how we think the newly opened Wayne Newton show at the Tropicana, or the above mentioned Platters, Coasters and Marvelettes revue at the Wyrick, will fare, we say, if you have any interest in seeing either of these shows, do it soon (Wayne's initial contract is for six months), as it is difficult to say how long they will be around.

And speaking of the Performing Arts Society of Nevada, their next offering will take place on Sunday, November 22nd, when pianist Philip Fortenberry presents Broadway, My Way. Of course, we will have more on the subject closer to the date.

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We are saddened to report the death of singer/actor Al Martino. Martino, who played the Frank Sinatra-type role of Johnny Fontane in The Godfather, and recorded hits including "Spanish Eyes," "Here In My Heart," and the Italian ballad "Volare" in a 50-year musical career, died on Tuesday at the age of 82. Martino died at his childhood home in the Philadelphia suburb of Springfield. Starting in 1952, Martino was known for hit songs including "Here in My Heart," "Spanish Eyes," and "Can't Help Falling in Love." In addition to acting in the Marlon Brando classic, The Godfather, Martino sang the 1972 film's familiar song, "Speak Softly Love." The Italian-American crooner, born Alfred Cini, was one of a number of South Philadelphia-born singers, that includes Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Fabian, Eddie Fisher, Mario Lanza, and Bobby Rydel. He also was a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, California. Philadelphia radio and television personality Jerry Blavat dined with Martino and his wife on Monday night. Blavat told the Philadelphia Daily News that Martino appeared to be in fine shape and that he was shocked when he learned of the singer's death. "He was the last of the show business legends," said Blavat, who has played Martino's songs on the radio for years. "There's nobody else. The last of the performers. A magnificent voice."

And speaking of Italian singers from South Philly, we recently learned that Buddy Greco and Lezlie Andres have closed their Cathedral City restaurant/nightclub. Buddy Greco's Dinner Club, opened in March of 2006 on the outskirts of Palm Springs, closed in August.

Buddy Greco & Lezlie Anders Greco

Joni Illi

Michelle Johnson & Bob Traver

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Songstress Joni Illi, who, under the name of Joni Pettitt, worked with popular lounge entertainers, Perfecto and Motion, Bobby Curtola & The Martels, and Al Sebay & Diamondhead, between 1975 and 1980, has returned to Las Vegas after living in Atlanta for a number of years. Joni has been making the rounds, singing where she can, in an effort to get back into the local entertainment scene. The response has been positive. As a result, Joni Illi & Friends will have their own magical evening at DeStefano's next Saturday, October 24th. The date is especially meaningful to Ms. Illi. It would have been the 99th birthday of her dear mother, who passed away in February. For her performance next weekend, Joni will be backed by the Joe Darro Trio as she sings jazz standards and pop tunes, most from an earlier time. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. DeStefano's is located at 3430 E. Tropicana, on the northeast corner of Pecos. Stop in if you are in the neighborhood, or call (702) 436-3275 for reservations.

The clever and talented Kenny Kerr follows Joni with an 11 p.m. show on Saturday. He also performs on Friday night at 11. There is a $10 cover and a two drink minimum.

Good news...Chianti Café is under new management (some people just shouldn't be in the hospitality field). During the rest of October, there is a two for one dinner special being offered. Buy any dinner off the regular menu, and get the second one free. Some restrictions apply. There is live entertainment at Chianti‘s, Monday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to closing. Larry Liso (Shades of Sinatra) is now performing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, starting at 7 p.m. On Tuesday, October 20th, Lynn Ross will be singing your favorite jazz standards and pop tunes from 6 to 10 p.m. Chianti Café is located in Summerlin at 1916 Village Center Circle. Phone (702) 228-3330.

And over at Bugsy's, on Tuesday's, from 6 to 10 p.m., it will be Bugsy`s Blues Band, with Larry "Wild" Wrice on drums and vocals, Julius Funges on bass and vocals, and Gold Top Bob on guitar and vocals. Bugsy's is located at 6145 W. Sahara on the corner of Jones. There is no cover charge, but there is good food and plenty of free parking. Call (702) 834-6879.

And speaking of Lynn Ross, she wants readers to know about the Jimmy Bond Dinner Show, taking place at the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort at 2711 W. Windmill Lane, near Blue Diamond and I-15, tomorrow (Saturday, October 17th), beginning at 6 p.m. Jimmy Bond's most notable musical influences are Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Paul Anka and the songs they made famous. If this is your kind of music, you may want to check this act out. Jimmy has put together a great evening that includes dinner served, from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by the show at 7. There will be a band and a DJ for dancing too. The cost is $29.95 and reservations are required. For tickets or information call (888) 800-1778.

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If you have lived in Las Vegas for more than a few decades, you too can attend the 14th Annual Old Timers Reunion, coming up on Sunday, the 18th at The Orleans Hotel. The popular annual party is hosted by Bill Boyd and the Boyd Gaming Group. Thalia Dondero serves as the event chairman. Catch up with old friends and enjoy some entertainment. Cocktails are at 5, with dinner being served at 6. Tickets are $45 per person. It may, or may not be, too late to make reservations, but try, by calling (702) 364-4962.

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 17th at 2 p.m., a Celebration of Life will be held at The Venetian's Phantom Theater to pay respects to Steven Hood, who passed away in August, following a battle with leukemia. Prior to his illness, Steven, who was 61 when he died, was a cast member of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular. The memorial service is open to anyone who would like to attend. Doors to the theater will open at 1:45 p.m. If you cannot attend but would like to send a card to the Hood family, please mail to:
Scott Watanabe, Cast
c/o PHANTOM - The Las Vegas Spectacular
The Venetian Hotel
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
RE: Steven Hood

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Next Friday, October 23, Bob Kephart, producer of the popular Comedy Stop in the Congo Room at the Sahara Hotel, will host a fundraiser to benefit the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. Headlining the special night (actually opening on Monday night, October 19th), will be Steve Shaffer. He will be joined by Chrissy Burns, and veteran comic, Patrick O'Donnell. Shaffer has a comedic flair for impressions and is a favorite of comedy club audiences everywhere. The New York Post said, "Shaffer is vibrantly creative," and the Boston Globe agreed that Steve is a "prodigious talent." Shaffer has appeared on numerous television shows including, The Tonight Show, Comic Strip Live, An Evening at the Improv, and "Caroline's Comedy Hour. Chrissy is making her second stop in the Congo Room and is considered a bright and wonderful story teller. Looking at the world of comedy as one big buffet, this full-figured gal helps herself to an oversized portion of laughter. Audiences delight in getting to know Chrissy, as she regales them with true-life stories of dieting, dating and life on the road. Chrissy's outrageously funny experiences can be found in her book, I Killed - True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics. O'Donnell has been a working stand up comedian for more than 20 years. He is a high energy act who spices up his performance with his knack for impressions. Former presidents, as well as movie and television stars could pop up at any time during his performance, as he searches for the humorous side of life. The Las Vegas Rescue Mission, at 480 West Bonanza Road, has been feeding, housing and guiding homeless men and women in long-term programs, since 1970. The goal is to return them to society as productive self sufficient individuals. Daily hot meals are served to anyone who is hungry, with breakfast supplied for overnight guests, and lunch for those who are part of the residential program. A sack lunch is provided for those working off-site. In total, the Mission provides more than 350,000 meals annually. The monies raised through the Comedy Stop's efforts will be used for the Mission's building program. On Wednesday, the Mission had a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new $2.5-million, two story dining and training facility, which is a major part of its present $3.5-million building fund. Since 1970, the original tiny storefront Mission has grown to nine buildings, reaching from "D" to "F" streets in downtown Las Vegas. The Mission receives no regular funding from any government source, and relying primarily on donations from individuals, churches, businesses and special benefit events such as the one put together by Kephart. Tickets, priced at $35 plus tax, for the special evening at the Comedy Stop can be purchased only at the main box office of the Sahara Hotel, located at the valet entrance to the hotel. A major portion of all of Friday night's ticket sales will go to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission.

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On Thursday, vocalist Michelle Johnson was a guest on afternoon Hit Parade show at the Suncoast. This coming Sunday, she will sing a new solo feature number with Zowie Bowie at the Monte Carlo (Michelle is one of the backup singers in Zowie Bowie's new Vintage Vegas show). Later that same evening, she will sing a duet with Bill Fayne during the latter part of his show at that Italian joint on Las Vegas Blvd. So. On Tuesday, the 20th, from 8 p.m. to midnight, Ms. Johnson will be singing The Great American Songbook with her jazz trio - Cocho Arbe on piano, Bob Sachs on bass, and Mike Mechem on drums - at Brendan's Pub inside The Orleans Casino. Oh, and did we mention that on Thursday, the 22nd, Michelle is getting married? The lucky man is Bob Traver. Next Friday, we will share their beautiful love story and fill you in on the wedding details. Maybe we will even have a photo of the bride and groom!

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Wes Winters

The UNLV Performing Arts Center welcomes acclaimed violinist Midori at 8 p.m. next Friday, October 23rd, as part of the Charles Vanda Master Series. Since her astonishing debut at age 11, Midori has staked her claim as one of the world's leading violinists. She "makes artful use of her gifts, channeling the spirit of composers" (Los Angeles Times). Midori was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971, and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at a very early age. In 1982, when Zubin Mehta first heard her play, he was so impressed that he invited her to be a surprise guest soloist for the New York Philharmonic's traditional New Year's Eve concert, where she received a standing ovation and the impetus to begin a major career. In the 2009-2010 season, Midori blends an ambitious international performance schedule with innovative community engagement initiatives, both at home and abroad. Her itinerary includes seven recital tours, including dates in Dublin, Budapest, San Francisco, Toronto, Baltimore and Tokyo; numerous concerto appearances with such partners as Sir Colin Davis and the LSO, Leonard Slatkin with the Detroit Symphony, and the Bayerischer Rundfunk with Mariss Jansons; her third all-new music tour; and an International Community Engagement Program in Mongolia. Tickets to Midori are $40, $55, and $85, and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting 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 $1.25 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

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If you dare to bare, you might want to spend some of your Halloween time with Grant Philipo and his friends. The Count and Contessa Philipo (that would be Grant and Mary Dee), along with Baron Culver, Duke Kreger, Prince Brian and Duane, request you and your escort's presence at the Count's eighth Annual Hallow-Erotic Ball on Saturday October 24th, at the Haunted Castile De Philipo in southeast Las Vegas (you must call for the address). The fun starts at around 10 p.m., with "Feasting, Nude Models & Mingling." Entertainment, featuring Satan's Angel & Friends, takes place at midnight. Beginning at 12:30 a.m., a strictly-for-grownups costume contest, hosted by the fabulous Rudalenska, will reward the best-of-the-best with prizes. Among the categories - Most Exposed Flesh, Most Outrageous, Best Trick, Most Desirable Female Prey, Most Desirable Male Prey, Best Porn Star, Most Enticing Vampire, Wouldn't Want To Meet In a Dark Alley, and Best Treat (dress or undress accordingly). Starting at around 1:30 a.m., Erotic Acts will perform for tips. And, it should come as no surprise that exposed flesh is greatly admired. There is no charge for the ball, but it is Pot Luck (and Bring Your Own Beverage). To confirm you are coming, and to get the address, call (702) 722-3702, no later than tomorrow (Saturday, October 17th). Children, uninvited, or unconfirmed guests, will not be admitted.

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A Tribute to Patsy Cline, starring Joni Morris & The After Midnight Band, will provide the entertainment at Sun City Summerlin's Starbright Theatre on Saturday, October 17th, at 7 p.m. "Morris Has Cline Down Pat" said the newspaper headlines from the San Francisco Examiner. And the San Francisco Chronicle's Date Book section reads "It's Patsy All Over Again" of her re-creation of the country and western legend, Patsy Cline, at the bay area's Alcazar Theatre. Joni, from Stockton, California, has traveled nationally for the past fifteen years with her extremely talented "Jordanaires singing style" band. Audiences love her tributes to the music of Patsy Cline, Connie Francis, Legendary Ladies in Country Music, Christmas Shows, and Joni's own original music, included in every show. Her performance is a solid one, saturated with true showmanship and authentic sound and personality. We're transported back to Golden Years of the late ‘50s and ‘60s with songs like "Crazy," "Sweet Dreams," "I Fall to Pieces," "My Happiness," and "Where the Boys Are." Joni sings each song brilliantly, adding dazzling costumes and comedy too, but nothing shines so bright as her ability to connect with the audience. Tickets are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $20 for non-residents.

Next Friday and Saturday, October 23rd and 24th, award-winning Wes Winters will perform in Starbright shows beginning at 7 p.m. With extensive vocal, stage and piano abilities, the popular and versatile entertainer's list of credits include television, radio, live theater, composing and producing. At the age of five, Winters was inspired to play the piano after seeing famed pianist, Liberace, on television. It was at this young age that Wes actively began listening to Liberace's recordings and teaching himself to play "by ear." With an innate talent, Winters has achieved a virtuoso standing among his show business contemporaries. Playing to sold-out audiences for years, Winters' abilities have been compared to some of the greatest entertainers and show business legends. Tickets are $18 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $23 for non-residents. 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. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets are non-refundable. Starbright Theatre shows are open to everyone, ages 12 and over. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. The Starbright is located at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. (Head west on Lake Mead, off Rampart. It's about three miles up the hill. Head left to the first place you can make a right turn, and there is the Starbright and golf course parking lot.) For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

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The Nevada Restaurant Association recently acknowledged Jim Rees, co-owner of Hash House A Go Go, for his efforts as an individual in the restaurant community by honoring him with the title of 2009 "Restaurateur of the Year." The recognition of "Restaurateur of the Year" spotlights on an individual who administers an excellent restaurant business and also helps the community and overall advances the culinary industry. Some of Rees' contributions to the community include teaming up with local charities such as the United Blood Services, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Best Buddies and St. Therese Center, among others. He is a continuous active member of the Nevada Restaurant Association Membership Committee, has held the title of Head of the Events Committee and currently holds the position of Vice-Chair of Restaurants for the Association. "I'm honored to be recognized by the Nevada Restaurant Association and my peers for something I love to do," Rees said. "In a town with so many incredible restaurants, I'm grateful that the Las Vegas community has really embraced our twisted farm food concept." Several years ago, Rees convinced owners of San Diego-based Hash House A Go Go to expand its restaurant outside of California. With partners Bill Underhill and Jim Nyberg, RUN Restaurants was created to make way for the Hash House A Go Go opening in Las Vegas in 2005. A local and tourist favorite, the restaurant's concept of twisted farm food has become a success throughout the city. Since 2005, Hash House A Go Go has been featured on The Food Network's Rachel Ray's Vacation, the Travel Channel's Man v. Food, the Fine Living Network's Martha Stewart, NBC's Dr. Phil, and ABC's What Would You Do? Hash House A Go Go brings farm-fresh food with a funky, modern twist to locals and Las Vegas visitors. The well-known and popular restaurant puts its own unique spin on dining, making it an experience like no other. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch daily from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Hash House A Go Go is open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. The restaurant is located at 6800 West Sahara Ave. For reservations or inquiries, please call (702) 804-4646 or visit

Jim Rees

Rick Thomas

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Longtime Las Vegas magician Rick Thomas has opened his home and his heart to many animals including cockatoos, tigers and cats throughout his career. In the show "The Magic & Tigers of Rick Thomas" at the Sahara Hotel & Casino, Thomas amazes audiences nightly as he performs alongside beautiful birds and regal white Bengal tigers with such grace and camaraderie. Because of his love for animals, Thomas will host a benefit event to raise money for the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Nevada SPCA). Also known as the Nevada SPCA No-Kill Animal Sanctuary, the organization's mission is to bring awareness to the community of the thousands of animals that still need a loving home in Clark County. Thomas has always been an advocate of the Nevada SPCA because of the organization's no-kill policy. In addition to housing hundreds of animals ranging from dogs and cats and rabbits to guinea pigs and birds, the Nevada SPCA also rehabilitates animals that are sick and injured, as well as educating new owners on how to appropriately care for their new friend. Thomas himself houses a number of birds and tigers in his home where he devotes much of his time in the care of these animals and making sure they are well fed, have a place to play and enjoy their surroundings. The benefit event takes place Tuesday, October 20th, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting at the Sahara Hotel & Casino pool area. From 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Nevada SPCA will have a number of cats and dogs groomed and gorgeous, ready to be taken to a loving home, as well as have volunteers explain more about the organization and what the money raised at the benefit is used for. This event is free and open to the public. The public is encouraged to purchase tickets to a 7 p.m. special performance of "The Magic & Tigers of Rick Thomas" where a portion of the ticket sales will also go to benefit the Nevada SPCA. "I have always wanted to host a benefit for the Nevada SPCA since I believe in how they care for animals that don't have homes," said Thomas. "I have always loved animals big and small and to see hundreds of loving pets that need a home is heartbreaking. The organization spends so much time caring for these pets that need medical care, rehabilitation or just plain love and affection. The Nevada SPCA is a no-kill animal sanctuary which means I feel confident that these pets will live a healthy life in the care of the organization so a family can one day adopt a friend and complete their home." "It's a great honor to have Rick Thomas feature the Nevada SPCA's rescued strays on the Las Vegas Strip," said Jennifer Palombi, founder and president. "We have hundreds of animals at our no-kill shelter just waiting to find a forever loving home." The before show get-together is free. Tickets to the show are $39.95 for adults, and $19.95 for children 12 and under. Taxes will be added.

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