Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column



Displaying keen perception and great insight.  
She's a little bit naughty. Shes a little bit nice.  
She calls em like she sees (and hears) em.  
Shes...

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from October 30, 2009
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - October 30, 2009


Joni Illi

Kenny Kerr

Frank Marino by Ethan Miller

Trick or Treat? Cousin Claire has a bit of both on the Halloween weekend.

We have survived another somewhat hectic seven days. HOW do we do this, week after week? The bigger question is, WHY do we do this, week after week? The answer is for you, dear readers. We want to let you know what's good, or better than good, out there for you viewing and listening pleasure. And of course, we want to let you know what isn't...as in STAY HOME. Save your money and your time - both too valuable to waste.

We spent a rather long, but enjoyable, last Saturday night at DeStefano's seeing a double feature, with a very good dinner, in lieu of popcorn and a Pepsi, included. At 7:30, Joni Illi stepped into the spotlight, where she performed three sets over the next three hours. Her song selections were varied and entertaining, and Joni and her musicians - Joe Darro at the keys, Dick Straub on bass, Paco Martin on drums, and Sammy Davis look-alike, Robbie Robinson on sax - were up to the task. The almost full house was very responsive to the evening's presentation. At a little after 11, the original Queen of the Strip, Kenny Kerr, took over the stage with songs and comedy. Backing up Kenny was Larry Flayhive on keys, Ty Lemley on guitar, and Paco Martin on drums. Kenny is a pro and can easily amuse and entertain a small audience. Hopefully, though, with some mainstream advertising and good word of mouth, the late night numbers at DeStefano's will grow. Kenny performs until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and visitors can order from the menu until around midnight on those nights. DeStefano's is located at 3430 E. Tropicana, on the northeast corner of Pecos. Call (702) 436-3275.

And speaking of divas in drag, Kenny's friend, Frank Marino, will be competing against Frank Marino the weekend of November 13th. Now starring in his brand new revue, Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas at the Imperial Palace, Marino and most of his Divas cast mates will perform at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin on Friday (Divas dark night) and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 6 p.m. The Sunday evening show was added after the three originally scheduled performances in the 312-seat Starbright sold out very quickly. By the time you are reading this, that fourth show may be sold-out as well. It might be mentioned that the November dates were booked before Marino finalized his deal with the Imperial Palace.

On Sunday, we attended God Lives in Glass at the College of Southern Nevada. What a wonderful program! We want to nominate the musician/songwriter/conductor, Keith Thompson, for a Peace Prize, Noble or whatever. This is something everyone should try and see if the opportunity arises. Among the music lovers that we spotted at Sunday's incredible concert were Jim D'Asaro and Jimmy Nixon from Seattle‘s Broadway Bound Children's Theatre (D‘Asaro is the husband of the talented Rebecca Spencer who was in God Lives In Glass), Garold Gardner, Shelley Mansholt, Kathleen Combs, Michael Sharon, JoAnn Toranto, Sandy Davis, Susan Haller, and 11-month-old Shea Satterwhite, daughter of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular's Kristen Hertzenberg and her hubby, Dana Satterwhite. Anyone who has attended these entertainment-driven benefits, expects to see the stars and support players from the city's production shows participating, but how about backstage dressers, such as Phantom's Paul Hansell? Bet he surprised a few people. Of course the fact that he takes vocal lessons from Nicole Pryor (also connected to Phantom), who about blew the roof off the Nicholas J. Horn Theatre with her version of "Jewel Blues," speaks volumes. There were also three amazingly talented children Duane Ervin (who plays in The Lion King), Zoe Konsur and Hayleyann Hart. Since we are conserving water in Las Vegas, the talent can't be in the water. Therefore, it must be in the genes. Zoe's mother is Cheryl Spencer, who portrays "Earth Mother" in Menopause the Musical, currently playing at the Luxor. Hayleyann is the daughter of Marcia Cope Hart, a Phantom cast member, and Steve Hart, who works with Neil Diamond tribute artist, Jay White.


Duane, Zoe & Hayleyann in God Lives in Glass

Philip Fortenberry, Moonlight Tran & Rebecca Spencer

If God lives in glass, it means He has a home. If, on the other hand, you or someone you know is looking for an inexpensive place to live (no, it's not in a glass house), have we got a deal for you. For $500 a month, all inclusive, you can rent a room in a nice upstairs condo located at 9000 Las Vegas Blvd. So. (at Pebble) in the gated Sedona on the Boulevard complex. The owner requests that the tenant be responsible and clean and not be a smoker...and that they pay their rent on time. If you have any interest, e-mail Cousin Claire at [email protected].

On Wednesday, we got both a Trick and a Treat. The early afternoon offered a real TRIPLE treat, in the form of pianist Philip Fortenberry (who does a solo turn at the museum in Liberace and Me, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1), cellist Moonlight Tran, and visitor from Seattle, former Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular principal, Rebecca Spencer (both Philip and Rebecca were part of last weekend's God Lives In Glass). These three amazingly talented people performed at the Liberace Museum, where we seem to spend an inordinate amount of time (they have some great stuff happening there and we happen to live in southeast Las Vegas, not too far from 1775 E. Tropicana). The trio has recorded together, but this was only the second time that Philip, Moonlight and Becky have performed together for an audience. It was a wonderful afternoon.


Wayne Newton cookie

Kristi Holden

Cheryl Burke

Then there was Wednesday night. Were that it was only a Trick. Unfortunately, it was not. This is real life, folks. We were at the Tropicana for Wayne Newton's new show media night. It was almost a full house, with lots of familiar faces, including Let's Make a Deal host, Wayne Brady; Cleveland's own, comic, actor, and Price Is Right host, Drew Carey; disc jockey, game show host (Gambit and Tic-Tac-Dough among many others), Wink Martindale and wife Sandy; Marley Taylor and Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie; Travis Cloer, Drew Gehling, Jeff Liebow, Jason Martinez and Deven May, all from Jersey Boys; Kristi Holden, who plays Christine in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; golfer/singer Don Cherry ("Band of Gold") and wife, Francine); pianist Wes Winters; Rod Russell; female impersonator, Frank Marino; SPI Entertainment's Adam Steck and Alex Schechter; scenic/costume designer, Pieter Grove; Flamingo magic man, Nathan Burton; veteran Vegas comic, Cork Proctor; drummer/percussionist, KUNV radio host, John Nasshan, Candi Cazau, and Jackie Beer, and media folk, Mike Weatherford, John Katsilometes, Judy and Stephen Thorburn, Alicia Jacobs (who should be charged with doggie endangerment); Bart Torres, Entertainment Director for Highway Radio Stations; Robin Leach, Joe Brown, Jackie Brett, Mel Carter, Norm Johnson (with Nancy Barr), Barbara Scherzer (with her brother visiting from Florida), Penny Levin and Frank Lieberman. In addition to Cheryl Burke, Newton's partner during his short turn on TV's Dancing With the Stars (she did a quick walk-on during his show), some other Dancing pros, Alec Mazo, Jonathan Roberts, Edyta Sliwinska and Anna Trebunskaya, were also in attendance. We also spotted vocal impressionist Rich Natole, who provides some of the off-stage voices in Once Before I Go, including Ronald Reagan and Dean Martin. As for the show itself, the word that comes to mind is "sad." The star, backed by 21 musicians and three female singers, was introduced as an "American Legend." That might be a stretch, especially after seeing Once Before I Go. Not only can't the former "Mr. Las Vegas" sing, he can barely talk. Opening with "Viva Las Vegas," Newton croaked his way through "That‘s Life," "Summer Wind," "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast," "Red Roses for a Blue Lady," "At This Moment," "An American Trilogy" (Elvis Presley must have been spinning in his grave), "The Letter (Help Me Lord)" inspired by Presley and written by Newton, and a brutalized rendition of Peter Allen's "Once Before I Go." There were a couple of film clips where Wayne, live, joined Sammy Davis Jr. (whose daughter Tracey was in the audience) singing "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You," and the Mills Brothers doing "Up a Lazy River." We don't know the point to those segments. We don't know the point of the whole production. To quote Richard Abowitz in his Los Angeles Times (October 29th) review...

As for Newton, if you are a fan, his voice does not matter to you. If you are not, be warned. I find it painful to hear someone so incapable of singing perform for 90 minutes. He mentioned frequently the six shows a night he did for years as if in explanation of the never-acknowledged problem: His voice is shot. And his vocals are ruined in such an unpleasant way that -- and I tend to like damaged voices, from Bob Dylan to Tom Waits -- his attempts to sing are dispiriting. At best he can rally for an occasional forced note following verse after verse of creak and croak. Yet, his onstage charisma remains intact when telling old stories or playing a variety of instruments. He is Wayne Newton, the last of his kind. Newton, 67, has implied this may be his last run of shows, so if you want to see him take this opportunity. But don't expect anything beyond being able to say you saw Wayne Newton in Vegas. But, hey, that's still something, right?

Was there anything we liked about Once Before I Go? The "bus" at the show's opening and some of the other special affects (film clips, etc.); Wayne playing the piano Jerry Lee Lewis-style, the Baby Face banjo portion, and the Orange Blossom Special fiddle segment; the vocals of one of the three backup girls who were never identified; and when it was over, after almost two painful hours. Oh yes, we also liked the after-party, where they gave out cookies, created by Freed‘s Boulevard Bakery, with Wayne‘s image in the frosting on top (see attached photo). Regarding the show's title, Once Before I Go, our suggestion is that (sorry Wayniacs, but we calls ‘em like we sees ‘em) Wayne should "go," and soon...before too many more people see this very sad swan song. Ideally, a star should leave while they are at the top of their game, not at the bottom. Apparently those surrounding the one time "Mr. Las Vegas," never told him that. Our big question is, "WHY, Wayne?" Is this really how you would choose to have audience members (who have paid from $91.99 to $168.99) remember you? When he closed Wednesday night's show with "Danke Schoen," which translates to "thank you very much," we also said a silent Danke Schoen because this experience was over - at least for us.


Lucy Shropshire

Sandy Hackett

Garth Brooks

And speaking of the Tropicana, it is our suggestion that if they want locals (who know about these things) playing their video poker machines, they need to increase the payouts. Just about any place you go in the city (from casinos to grocery stores), poker machines usually pay 9 to 1 on a Full House, and 5 to 1 on a Flush.. Not at the Trop. They pay only 6 to 1 on a Full House, and 5 to 1 on a Flush. That can make a significant difference in the amount of play time as well as your "take home" pay.

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File this one under Treats...
Last month, one time Las Vegan, Lucy Shropshire accompanied the Supreme Mary Wilson in her very successful two week engagement at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in New York. Mary performed her "Up Close" show, and Lucy, who has been singing backup for Ms. Wilson for about four years, joined her for the first time in this jazz and standard oriented show. This was an amazingly memorable event for Lucy for many reasons, not the least of which she has been asked to perform her OWN show at Feinstein's! All Sides of Love is directed by another former Las Vegan, the talented and creative Jim Semmelman. This is a very big and important career step for Miss Lucy. It's not every day that a girl has a chance to play one of the premier cabaret rooms in country, and she is, to say the least, jazzed! The lady with the...unusual name and unforgettable voice, will be accompanied by David Shenton on piano, and David Finck on bass. Although we know all of our readers are not in that part of the world, but if you happen to be somewhere near Manhattan on Tuesday, November 3rd, show time is at 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 8). Tickets are $25- $40 and reservations are suggested. Call (212) 339-4095. Feinstein's is located at 540 Park Ave. (at 61st Street) in New York.

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It was announced earlier this week that Sandy Hackett would be opening his own Rat Pack show at the Sahara Hotel, going into direct competition with his former friend and partner, Dick Feeney, who has The Rat Pack Is Back at the downtown Plaza Hotel. Of, and did we mention there is also a couple of lawsuits in the mix? Hackett's Rat Pack show is scheduled to open on Thursday, November 19th in the hotel where his father, comedian Buddy Hackett, played to sold out audiences for more than a quarter of a century. As he did when he and Feeney's show opened at the Greek Isles, Sandy will portray Joey Bishop in the Sahara revue. We will have more info on the show (cast list, show times, ticket prices, etc.), and the unpleasant saga, in upcoming columns. We had a feeling this was going to get ugly.

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In the Tricks department, Las Vegas resident, Kevin James (no, not THAT Kevin James), is one of the top magicians in the country. He was featured on America's Got Talent, was one of the regulars in the above mentioned Dick Feeney's World's Greatest Magic show at the Greek Isles, and travels all over the world performing his unique illusions. From December 11th through the 13th, Kevin will be featured in Paul Stone's World Stars of Magic at the Suncoast, but before that - tomorrow, in fact, Kevin will be at the White House (yes, THAT White House), where he will entertain the Obama family with his amazing feats and mind-blowing illusions.

Comedy-magician Mac King will be interviewed on CBS's Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood this Sunday, November 1st. King will be discussing his career in comedy-magic, his Mac King Comedy Magic Show, that will be celebrating its upcoming 10-year anniversary at Harrah's Las Vegas, and his performance in the 53rd Annual It's Magic, on Sunday, November 8th at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Also representing Las Vegas at It's Magic will be Lance Burton, and the above mentioned Kevin James.

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If there was any question on the mind of Garth Brooks, about whether he could attract an audience in Las Vegas, the question has most certainly been answered. On Saturday, tickets for the first of his 20 shows went on sale. In less than five hours, the $125 (plus taxes and fees) were gone. Beginning on December 11th, Brooks, who had retired in 2001 to be a stay-at-home dad, will be performing in Steve Wynn's 1,500-seat Encore Theater. Garth, the best-selling solo act in history, will play 15 designated weekends (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) over a five year period. Now 47, the man who had gigantic hits with songs such as "The Dance," "Friends In Low Places," "If Tomorrow Never Comes," "The Thunder Rolls," "Hard Luck Woman," "Rodeo" and "Ain't Going Down (Till the Sun Comes Up)," just to name a some, becomes the act to take over the performance space where Danny Gans held court until his untimely death, almost six months ago.

And speaking of Mr. Gans,
What appeared to be a "big scoop" for Alicia Jacobs, Channel 3's entertainment reporter, will be just a fizzle by the time she gets around to her November report. Her "exclusive" interview with the children of the late Danny Gans, "the first they have given since the May death of their father," was seen last Friday on EXTRA, the entertainment-generated daily TV show

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Not sure what kind of a costume to wear for Halloween? The fellows on stage at The Onyx Theatre don't have to worry about that. They are still in Vegas. They are still singing. And they are still naked. Yep! You can still see Naked Boys Singing! at the Onyx Theatre, inside The Rack clothing and fetish wear store in Commercial Center. Offering 16 original songs, presented by a group of talented singing and dancing gentlemen who just happen to like letting it all hang out, this is 90-minutes of enjoyable musical comedy. Show times are every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at 10, and Sunday afternoons at 3. Take advantage of the lowered ticket price of $25, as we don't know how long that offer will be in effect. There is even an added discount of $20 for local residents (tickets must be purchased at The Rack box office and valid Nevada ID must be presented). The Onyx Theatre is located at 953 E. Sahara, in the northeast corner of the center. Call (702) 732-7225 for more information on Naked Boys Singing!.

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Sammy Hager

Michael Jackson by Andy Warhol

Michael Jackson - This Is It

Sammy Hagar is ready to rock Vegas - Cabo style, with the opening of Cabo Wabo® Cantina in early November inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. On Friday, December 4th, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will host an official grand opening bash with a live performance by his band, the Waboritas. The two-level, 15,000-square-foot live music venue, cantina and restaurant will be located directly on Las Vegas Boulevard across from the new City Center complex. Executive Chef Jerrold Heinz, a Texas native, has developed a menu that combines Tex-Mex and coastal Mexican with contemporary flare, with an emphasis on an array of fajita selections. Menu items range from mild yet flavorful dishes to extra spicy plates, and will feature a few American favorites such as the Waboburger and a signature spin on hot wings. Considered his specialty, Heinz has spent years perfecting his fajita recipe and uses a pressurized method to prepare and marinate skirt steak for maximum flavor and tenderness. The fajitas are served with 12" hand-rolled flour tortillas and an array of accompaniments. Other main courses include tacos al carbon, fajita beef burrito, chipotle chicken and an array of combination plates. Cabo Wabo features such appetizer selections as spicy shrimp quesadillas, guacamole prepared tableside and fajita nachos with grilled poblanos, as well as an array of delicious desserts including a chocolate brownie served with a cajete caramel sauce and tres leches cake.

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If you happen to have a few bucks lying around, that you aren't using for mortgage payments, insurance co-pays, rising energy costs or other luxuries, like groceries, and you are a major Michael Jackson or Andy Warhol fan, this might be of interest to you. On November 10th, the famed Christie's auction house in New York will offer up a portrait of The King of Pop by Andy Warhol in New York on November 10th. Last Friday, the auction house told the Associated Press that the 30"x26" work of art should fetch an estimated $500,000 to $700,000. It's one of a small group of Warhol silk-screened images of Jackson created in 1984. The painting depicts Jackson smiling in a "Thriller"-era jacket, with squiggles of red and yellow in his hair. The seller is an anonymous private collector in New York who bought the work from the Andy Warhol Foundation in the 1990s. In August, a New York art gallery sold a similar Warhol portrait of Jackson to an anonymous buyer. The gallery would not disclose the price, but said it was more than a million dollars. Steve Wynn, are you listening?

About the only entertainment buzz generating as much excitement as Garth Brooks at Encore in the last week, was the late Tuesday night debut of This Is It, the final chapter of Michael Jackson's life. The documentary film, which features the singer's final rehearsals for his comeback tour, is already being mentioned as a possible Academy Award contender...in spite of the fact that Michael's ridiculous father, Joe Jackson, has said publicly, that the makers of the concert flick, have "tricked viewers." He says, "This movie features body doubles, no doubt about it. I think people will tear this movie apart." They ought to keep this man away from TV cameras and microphones. Both Michael's close friend, Elizabeth Taylor, and his former wife and mother of his two oldest children, Debbie Rowe, give This Is It nothing but praise and a great big thumbs up.

On Tuesday night, a friend of ours had the opportunity to see the movie at the Brenden Theater inside the Palms. Saying that she didn't think she would like it, she described the film as "fabulous." Interestingly, Joe Jackson was at the Brenden, once again posing for the media. Michael knew what he was doing, by putting in writing that he didn't want Joe (what Michael called his father) to have anything to do with the raising of his children, should anything happen to him. According to published reports, "Michael Jackson‘s This Is It has landed on top of the domestic box office with $7.4 million in its first day and $12.7 million overseas. That gives the film documenting Jackson's rehearsals for his planned concert tour a worldwide total of $20.1. Distributor Sony says the $7.4 million domestic haul is the best ever for a movie on a Wednesday. Jackson died at age 50, on June 25th, just before he was to begin a marathon run of comeback concerts in London. His death has been ruled a homicide."

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Bill Nolte in Road to Qatar

Lily Tomlin

Kelly Osborne & Louis Van Amstel

Received a nice note from Bill Nolte ("Franz Liebkind" in the Las Vegas production of Mel Brooks' The Producers) who, on Saturday, just finished up a role in The Road To Qatar at the Lyric Stage in Irving, Texas. Nolte played "Mansour," the slimy, lovable, demanding producer of Aspire, a show commissioned by the Emir of Qatar, and dreamed up by creators David Crane (music) and Stephen Cole (book and lyrics). The show earned impressive reviews, including this one from Mary L. Clarke, Pegasusnews.com, "The world premiere of Lyric Stage's The Road to Qatar is a wacky, pun-filled romp based on the true story of "two short Jews," real life composer David Krane and lyricist Stephen Cole, who were separately emailed a request to write a musical for the Emir of Qatar and one thousand of his closed friends ... in the world's largest domed stadium ... with a plot including camels, a sultan's son and Mohammad Ali. The Road to Qatar is one of those productions that's easy on the brain, easy to enjoy and so easily needed with looming world events and everyday challenges attempting to sap our funny bones. All roads lead to Rome so the saying goes. For Lyric Stage, The Road to Qatar leads to fun, frivolity, and the freedom to laugh out loud. " Arnold Wayne Jones, from Dallas Voice.com, says, ‘"Qatar' makes the Middle East funny. Although it's about a massive boondoggle of a musical extravaganza, the production itself seems cobbled together, with minimal sets (rolling shower curtains make entrances and exits into a shell game), a small cast (five hugely talented folks, led by Brian Gonzales and Lee Zerrett) and a standup comedian's sense of timing (if one thing doesn't work, it moved on faster than a Texas thunderstorm).Composer David Krane's bouncy score and librettist Stephen Cole's clever lyrics ("Dubai Bye Birdie" — genius) is an effervescent delight. Watching it rattle-and-hummus along is a breezy joy," and Alexandra Bonifield, Renegade Bus., declared, "Writer Stephen Cole and composer David Krane's wacky re-telling of their most un-likely commissioning, The Road to Qatar, is an enchanting and hilarious piece of musical theater." From Elaine Liner, of TheatreJones, "There's an old-fashioned Tin Pan Alley bounce to Krane's melodies throughout. Even the song titles—"Good Things Come in Threes," "Give 'Em What They Want," "Oh, What a Show!"—sound like standards from Broadway standbys of the 1950s. That's all dandy stuff. The Road to Qatar offers miles of smiles." Needless to say (but we will say it anyway), the well known powers-that-be, hope to take this Road show to the Big Apple.
On Sunday, Bill was on his way to Millburn, New Jersey, and the famed Paper Mill Playhouse, where, on Monday, he started rehearsals for his role as "Judge Pitkin" in On the Town.

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And, still speaking of Halloween, or, more specifically, AFTER Halloween, you can recover from Halloween mayhem and celebrate El Dia de los Muertos - that's The Day of the Dead for you gringos - at Tacos & Tequila (T&T) on Sunday, November 1. Take that morning walk-of-shame with pride and strut on over in last night's costume - we won't tell. T&T's $1,000 Deadliest Dressed costume contest is the perfect excuse to still be wearing leftover Halloween attire. The fiesta will heat up from noon until 5 p.m. with killer brunch and drink specials and spooky entertainment. Party-goers are invited to partake in the celebration of this ancient Mexican holiday to honor the departed with T&T's Deadliest Dressed costume contest in which $1,000 will be awarded for the costume that best captures the Day of the Dead spirit. In addition T&T will be serving its red-hot Mariachi Brunch featuring flavorful dishes, $5 Dos Equis and two-for-one Bloody Marias and margaritas. T&T's Dia de Los Muertos fiesta will also feature a photo booth and some lively entertainment including an airbrush tattoo artist and DJ Ernan spinning a spooky mix of rock, Latin and house beats. T&T, the highly-stylized Mexican restaurant and bar with a fun, high-energy vibe and flavorful menu, is located inside the Luxor Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The 8,000-square-foot venue embodies Mexican culture intermixed with rock-n-roll flair with a flavorful menu created for Drive This Entertainment! by the talents of world-renowned restaurateur and chef Richard Sandoval. For more information contact T&T at 702.262.5225, or visit the web site at www.tacosandtequilalv.com.

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November 10th through the 18th, Lily Tomlin will make her Las Vegas debut, with Not Playing With a Full Deck at the MGM Grand. One of America's most brilliant comediennes, Tomlin will perform her unique brand of comedy in the Hollywood Theatre for nine nights, with shows beginning at 8 p.m. Throughout her extraordinary entertainment career, Tomlin has received numerous awards, including six Emmys for her ground-breaking TV specials, two Tony Awards for her hit Broadway shows Appearing Nitely and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe," written by Lily's life partner, Jane Wagner, a Grammy for her comedy album, This is a Recording, two Peabody Awards for Edith Ann's animated special, Just Say Noël, and the HBO documentary film, The Celluloid Closet. In 2003, Tomlin received the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Tomlin was catapulted to stardom on TV's Laugh-In, when America fell in love with her characterizations of Ernestine, the irascible telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the hilarious five-year-old in the big rocking chair. Tomlin also played the boss on the popular CBS series Murphy Brown; is heard as the voice of Ms. Frizzle on the children's animated series, The Magic School Bus; appeared as Will's boss on Will & Grace; President Bartlett's assistant on the hit NBC series, The West Wing, and most recently as a self-styled sleuth on Desperate Housewives. Tomlin made her film debut in the late Robert Altman's American classic, Nashville, for which she received an Oscar nomination. Tomlin did four other films with Altman, including Short Cuts and Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, with Woody Harrelson and Meryl Streep. Tomlin has also starred in such films as the mega hit, 9 to 5, with Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda; the sci-fi comedy, The Incredible Shrinking Woman; Big Business with Bette Midler; The Beverly Hillbillies, Flirting With Disaster; The Kid, with Bruce Willis; I Heart Huckabees, with Dustin Hoffman; All of Me, with Steve Martin, and, most recently, Pink Panther 2. Tickets are priced at $150 (limited number of Golden Circle tickets), $70 and $50, plus applicable service charges and taxes. The Golden Circle tickets include a meet and greet and photo opportunity. Also available is the highly coveted honorary membership to the Not Playing with a Full Deck VIP Club with special seating in the Joker section as well as other playful perks. Tickets are available at any MGM Grand box office outlet. To charge by phone, call (800) 929-1111 or (702) 891-7777. Tickets also are available for purchase online at www.mgmgrand.com and www.ticketmaster.com.

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And, in keeping with the Halloween theme, Danny Archer and Robert Allen are getting ready for their sixth annual Las Vegas' All Mentalism Convention. Mindvention 2009 will take place November 8th, 9th and 10th at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino. The worlds finest thought readers, metal benders and mentalists and a who's who list from the worlds of Magic and Mentalism will be there. Max Maven, Christopher Carter, Bob Cassidy, Berk Eratay, Devin Knight, Alain Nu, Andy Nyman, plus, many more very special guests and performers, are expected to participate. There will be performances, lectures, panel discussions and more, and the dealer's room will be overflowing with all the newest books and props. Attendees are expected from France, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Ireland, Denmark, India, Netherlands, Finland, Spain, Belgium, Australia, Sweden, U.K., Israel and the U.S.A. Do you think they "sense" something special? If you are at all interested in Mentalism, you won't want to miss this. There's still time to book a flight to Las Vegas, and Palace Station rooms start as low as $39 a night. So, what are you waiting for? For great Tricks AND Treats, join the gang in Vegas. Sign up now, by going to www.mindvention.net.

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Don Hill, who was a member of the famed Treniers show band for half a century, will celebrate his 88th birthday with a party at the Rhythm Kitchen, 6435 S. Decatur near Sunset, on Tuesday, November 3rd, from 7 to 10 p.m. He will be playing his saxophone and enthralling all within earshot, just like he has for decades. Those who love good music are invited to come and listen to Don and wish him a happy birthday. Don and his wife Gloria are two of the really good people in this community. For directions, call the Rhythm Kitchen at (702) 767-8438.

Another Don or Donald, better known as Donny, is still in the Dancing With the Stars race. Looks like Las Vegas headliner, Donny Osmond, and Mya could wind up in a photo finish. Kelly Osbourne has been a big surprise, Before we saw her dance, we thought she would be one of the first to be eliminated. Goes to show you, we don't know EVERYTHING!

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The Smothers Brothers

Albert Brooks

The Smothers Brothers, who have been entertaining Las Vegas audiences for more than 45 years, bring their seamless blend of comedic and musical talents to The Orleans Showroom, November 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th, with shows at 8 p.m. Tom and Dick Smothers are one of the most enduring comic duos in show business history. They made their first professional appearance together at the Purple Onion in San Francisco in February of 1959, and their first national television debut took place on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar in 1961. Over the years, Tom and Dick made many guest appearances with Johnny Carson and on other variety shows of the era. In the early ‘60s, they recorded the first of 12 top-selling albums. The comedic siblings may be best known for their, sometimes controversial but always influential, comedy series, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The show gave many writers and comedians their start, including Steve Martin, Pat Paulsen, Rob Reiner and Bob Einstein, aka "Super Dave Osborne" and "Officer Judy." The Emmy-winning Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour also featured top musical acts of the day such as George Harrison, Janis Ian, Mama Cass Elliot, The Doors, Pete Seeger, Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, The Who, Harry Belafonte and Peter, Paul and Mary, to mention a handful. Series regular and scriptwriter, Mason Williams, who, along with singer Nancy Ames wrote "The Brothers Theme" song, went on to have a guitar hit with a tune called "Classical Gas." Following the cancellation of the show in 1969, the Smothers Brothers returned with new primetime comedy series and specials throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. They continue to perform to sold-out audiences in Las Vegas and tour the country. Their continuous coast-to-coast concert tours often include performances with symphony orchestras. The ever-popular "YoYo Man" (Tom) and the Voice of "Yo" (Dick) travel and appear with the Smothers Brothers in concert. Tickets start at $34.95, plus tax, and may be purchased by calling the Orleans Box Office at (702) 365-7075 or visiting www.orleanscasino.com.

Here's a bit of show biz trivia...Did you know that the above mentioned Bob Einstein is the brother of comic/actor/writer/director Albert Brooks (Private Benjamin, Defending Your Life and Oscar-nominee for Broadcast News) and that Albert's REAL name is Albert Einstein? Would we make this stuff up?

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Former Las Vegas piano playing/singing duo, Hudson and Saleeby, who now call Tennessee home, provided the entertainment for a private party launching a brand new, beautiful upscale restaurant called Stella Marris. Chris and Doug go back tomorrow night to play and sing for the official public opening. "They will have lots of music, piano bar, and great bands. A state of the art sound system is installed, as well as some great lighting. Also, Chef Derk from Cafe 61 will be serving up steak and seasonal fresh seafood; a great American Coastal Cuisine," the fellows report.


Stella Marris Restaurant/Lounge

Kelly Clarkson

Incidentally, it was the earlier mentioned Wink Martindale who lured the talented twosome to Memphis. Wink was hosting a TV game show that was emanating from the Tropicana. He spotted Hudson & Saleeby performing in the Atrium Lounge and decided that they would be the perfect entertainment for his new Memphis restaurant/lounge. So, after seven years in Las Vegas, in 1982, the musicians moved to the south. Hudson and Saleeby have made a nice career for themselves. To paraphrase singer/songwriter Paul Simon, they are "Still playing after all these years."

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The Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV presents the New Play Festival, running from November 4th through the 22nd in the Black Box Theatre. The three presentations are, Pink Champagne by Neil Haven, running from the 4th through the 8th. In this zany comedy, Donald, a wealthy older gay man is enjoying his autumn years without abandon until his estranged family unexpectedly arrives, forcing him to reconcile his past with his present life. In The Way It Has To Be, by Jeremiah Munsey (playing from the 11th through the 15th) - When her older brother, Michael, goes missing after a fist fight, Siobhan fears the worst. Will she be able to keep the rest of her family out of the cycle of violence? And Whales, Save Us!, by Elizabeth Leavitt, running from the 18th through 22nd, tells the tale of a former rodeo queen, peg-legged paparazzo, an aging business man and a has-been celebrity are thrown together on the shore of British Columbia. Joined by a pod of whales and a troop of Girl Scouts, these four collide in confusion, catastrophe and cookies. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $13.50 for seniors, students and military. For tickets and show times, please call (702) 895-ARTS (2787).

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American Idol's first big winner, pop megastar Kelly Clarkson, brings her much anticipated All I Ever Wanted Tour to The Joint for one show only, next Friday, November 6th. Clarkson has sold more than 20 million albums since her 2002 debut. Her All I Ever Wanted release shattered Billboard Records, when "My Life Would Suck Without You" jumped from #97 to #1 in its first week of release. Clarkson premiered her current single "Already Gone" on The Late Show with David Letterman. Concert attendees can expect to hear these latest hits including "I Do Not Hook Up" from the tour's namesake album, along with her signature pop anthems. The Veronicas, who delivered five top 10 singles in Australia on their debut album, have now earned platinum record success with the electro-rock sizzler "Untouched." Parachute's current single, "She is Love," continues to climb both Hot AC and Top 40 charts. Show time is at 8 p.m. From $45.50. For ticket information, call (702) 693-5555.

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In a return engagement, Derrick Cameron will be the headliner at the Riviera Comedy Club, November 2nd through 8th. Derrick became a regular at the Comedy Store in La Jolla, and The Improv in San Diego, before appearing on NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, BET's Comic View, VH1's Stand Up Spotlight, A&E's Comedy On The Road and MTV's Comedy Hour. Joining in on the fun this week is comic veteran Rob Magnotti. With his vocal skills down to a science, Rob transforms into Adam Sandler, Al Pacino, Ray Romano, Nicolas Cage, the "Kramer" character from TV's Seinfeld, and George W. Bush just to name a few. Rob appeared in the Ron Howard movie, A Beautiful Mind, and NBC's Law and Order: SVU. His television credits include NBC's Conan O'Brien, and Last Comic Standing, CBS' Late Night With David Letterman, and several appearances on cable's Comedy Central. Paul Morrissey will round out the comedic trio. In 2005, Paul was selected to perform at the HBO Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. He also appeared on CBS' The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, and has been a guest on the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom Show and the Ron & Fez Show on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio. Show times for the Riviera Comedy Club are 8:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $24.99 plus tax and fee. Ask about our dinner/show combinations. For more information call the Riviera Box Office at (702) 794-9433, or go to www.rivierahotel.com. All guests must be at least 18 years of age.


Derrick Cameron

Frank Leone

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Joining singer Lynn Ross at Chiante Café last week, was AK Music, Woody Woods who beautifully accompanied her on a few tunes at the piano, and some singing friends - Joe LaVigna, Bobby Lougori, Rudy, Ilyana, and Robert Ensler - for treating the audience to some great songs. On Wednesday and Thursday, Lynn performed at the Coachman's Inn, and on Thursday, November 12th, from 7 to 9 p.m., she will join the Las Vegas Jazz Society at the Captain's Cove Bistro as Lynn Ross Quartet in Concert, featuring Frank Leone on keys, Jeff Davis on bass, and Jim Belk on drums. The Captain's Cove Bistro is located at 2902 Lake E Drive (in the neighborhood of West Sahara and Durango). A minimum live music contribution of $10 per person/$6 per couple is requested. Call (702) 982-1480 for additional information.



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