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 January 15, 2010
You can find the current column HERE
Las Vegas - January 15, 2010
What do Tom Brokaw, James Brolin, James Caan, Sonny Charles, Billy Davis Jr., Peter Fonda, David Gates, Herbie Hancock, Valerie Harper, Al Jarreau, Tom Jones, Lainie Kazan, Ted Koppel, Frank Langella, Bob Mackie, Chuck Mangione, Donna McKechnie, Bill Medley, Jack Nicklaus, Chuck Norris, Al Pacino, Smokey Robinson, Martin Sheen, Nancy Sinatra, Ringo Starr, Patrick Stewart, Jill St. John, Alex Trebek, Dionne Warwick, Raquel Welch, and Paul Williams have in common. Readers might be surprised to learn that all of these celebrities will turn 70 this year. If you came into the world in 1940, you were one of 2,360,399 babies born in the U.S. that year. It was the beginning of the Cold War; babies born in that year were called war babies. In 1940, the life expectancy was 68.2 for females and 60.8 for males. America was struggling to emerge from a depression that had already stretched to a full decade. You were born into a home where the approximate income of the wage earner was $1,900.00. The average cost of a house in 1940 was $6,550.00. We've come a long way, baby. One never knows when this information might come in handy (maybe when you meet Mr. Trebek while a contestant on Jeopardy!).
And speaking of Donna McKechnie...
Last week, when we wrote about Ms. McKechnie, Marvin Hamlisch and Lee Roy Reams at the Every Little Step DVD signing at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Triangle, in New York City, we had never heard of the film, let alone seen it. Well, now we have seen it. Our advice (which we frequently inflict on others) is, if you loved A Chorus Line, you will love this documentary. Even if you never saw A Chorus Line, this documentary about auditioning for a Broadway musical is an inspiring piece of filmmaking. The tale of A Chorus Line is dedicated to anyone who has ever danced in a chorus or marched in step...anywhere. To quote a line from Hamlisch's "The Music and The Mirror"...Use me. Choose me. Even if we have never auditioned for a role in a play, we have all been in a situation like this at one time or another. Check out this DVD.
There are some connections to Las Vegas in Every Little Step. Those who have seen the Vegas production of Jersey Boys, or his one man shows at the South Point, will recognize Rick Faugno, who was auditioning for the role of "Mike" ("I Can Do That") in the 2006 revival of the multiple Tony-winning Broadway hit. (Faugno returns to the South Point on Sunday, the 24th, for his third go-round with his Songs My Idols Sang, and Danced.) Also auditioning for a role in A Chorus Line redux was Tyce Diorio. Neither one of these talented gentlemen wound up in the production. We know what Faugno has been doing over the past few years, but how about Diorio? Well, in Vegas he served as choreographer in one of the versions of the Clint Holmes bio-musical, Just Another Man. And then there's his work with Cher. Since opening her critically acclaimed Las Vegas spectacular in May of 2008, Cher has drawn fans from across the world with her legendary rock-and-roll attitude and catalogue of chart-topping hits. On December 1st, she marked the 100th performance of her ultra-glamorous Las Vegas show. For the occasion, Diorio, a So You Think You Can Dance regular, choreographed a new, glitzy musical number, reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour, and Bob Mackie added more of his signature costumes, the likes of which made Cher a household name. It is also Emmy-winning Tyce Diorio who choreographed the new TV spot for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! starring Emmy-winner, Megan Mullally (aka "Karen Walker" on TV's popular Will & Grace). Done to the tune of the disco classic, "Turn the Beat Around" (called "Turn the Tub Around"), the commercial touts this margarine in a tub product). As for Cher, tickets are now on sale for her next 24 performances, running on dates from April 10th through the 25th, and May 8th through 30th. The pop icon has added a new opening sequence, celebrating old-time Hollywood glamour and style. The new additions feature dazzling theatrics that pay tribute to the grace and timelessness of the 1940s and 1950s. "We are so excited to return to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and have made wonderful, new changes to the show, including a number choreographed by my dear friend Tyce Diorio," said Doriana Sanchez, director and choreographer of Cher at The Colosseum. "It pays homage to the great movie musicals, complete with incredible costumes by Bob Mackie. We are thrilled to be able to present some really fun and new things for the audiences to see." Tickets start at $95 and can be purchased by calling 1-866-510-CHER (2437), online at Ticketmaster.com keyword "Cher." They may also be purchased in person at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Box Office, open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For groups of 20 or more, call (702) 731-7208.
Tyce Diorio & Megan Mullally
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For those who have asked about what is, and isn't, going on at the Wyrick Theatre at Planet Hollywood, the January 7th report in Courthouse News Service states...
Magician Sued Over Rent After Closing Show
The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino says headlining magician Steve Wyrick's production company failed to pay more than $208,500 in rent to use a theater designed for and named after the magician. Miracle Mile's parent company, Boulevard West, says it leased 22,398 square feet to Wyrick Magical Productions to use the theater. But Wyrick shut down his magic show in December 2009, the lawsuit states, and his parent company failed to pay rent. Boulevard West wants its money, along with a restraining order barring Wyrick's company from removing any items from the theater. Plaintiff is represented by Kirby Gruchow with Leach Johnson.
There has been no word from Wyrick, and apparently no sighting (ala Tiger Woods), since the disappearing magician announced, via his Web site (which has also seems to have done a disappearing act), that the theater would be back up and running before the end of December. But, remember that this is also the same person who, after the death of Anna Nicole Smith, threw himself into the pool of possible father's of Anna's little girl, Dannielynn. Let's call this guy "illusional."
Then there is the ongoing saga of the now closed DeStefano's. Among the victims of the DeStefano's debacle was the restaurant's chef, New York native, Tommy Allegretti. Like a number of people who thought they had a future at the southeast Las Vegas bistro, Allegretti joins a list of former employees who are owed weeks or months of back pay. Considering that The Great Pretender, former figurehead at the restaurant, Patrick Kavanaugh, supposedly has enough money to buy the Tuscany Casino and/or reopen the Paradise Road Hamburger Mary's with the Tuscany owner as a partner (some of the recent stories he has been telling to those that bother to listen), one would hope he would use some of his riches to make good people like Allegretti, female impersonator/comic/singer, Kenny Kerr; vocalist, Mary Oliver; veteran Vegas singer/pianist, Joe Darro, and others who made the mistake of believing and trusting this creep, financially whole. Obviously the snake (who one victim described as the "Bernie Madoff of entertainment") has no conscience. We hope that the people who have been scammed by Kavanaugh will take their stories, along with their bum checks, to the District Attorney's office and file charges against this criminal. We also hope that what goes around really does come around. We will keep readers updated on all of this.
Late breaking news...Regarding Patrick Kavanaugh's so called business dealings with any members of the Heers family, owners of the Tuscany Suites on East Flamingo, early today (Friday, January 15th), we spoke to a Charles and Marilyn Heers representative. She assured us that (1), the Tuscany is not being sold, and (2) the Heers are not involved in any dealings to take over Hamburger Mary's or any dealings with Kavanaugh. The only connection between Patrick Kavanaugh and the Tuscany is that he worked at the casino as a waiter in the coffee shop.
Wish we had a photo of Mr. Kavanaugh to share with readers, so you would know who to steer clear of. This fellow needs to come with a Warning Label, and we are doing what we can to keep unsuspecting entertainers on alert.
It seems that Frediani's restaurant may be picking up some of the slack left by the demise of the dearly departed DeStefano's. Allen Tramont, who was scheduled to sing and co-host an open mic night at the place on Monday, December 28th, got cheated out of the opportunity to do so, when the poorly run establishment closed without warning. This Sunday, January 17th, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Tramont gets his night in the spotlight...this time at Frediani's. Restaurant in Henderson. All the proceeds from his performance are going to UNICO, the largest Italian American Service Club in the United States. Dedicated to culture and community service, UNICO is an organization founded in 1922 that strives to promote Italian heritage and participate in charity projects at the local, national and international levels. The Las Vegas chapter of UNICO supports many worthwhile causes, including the John F. Miller School for profoundly handicapped children. Frediani's Authentic Italian Restaurant is located at 2895 N. Green Valley Parkway (that's across the street from Daddy Mac's and right next door to 24 Hour Fitness). Food and drink are optional, but, chances are, after perusing the menu, you may not be able to resist ordering something. Phone (702) 433-1494.
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Three of the recent Grammy nominated albums were worked on at the hip recording studio located inside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The 2010 GRAMMY nominations include, Best Contemporary R&B Album - Intuition by Jamie Foxx; Best Rap Solo Performance - Beautiful by Eminem; and Best Rap Album - Relapse, also by Eminem.
Earlier Grammy winners, such as Maroon 5, Tony Bennett and Mary J. Blige, have also done work at the Palms recording studio. "It's an honor to continuously have Grammy nominated talent from all genres lay down tracks in our studio. We congratulate this year's nominees and look forward to working with them again," said Director of Studio at the Palms, Zoe Thrall.
The Studio at The Palms is an 8,000 square foot, multi-room studio providing a level of technical sophistication and client comfort unparalleled in the Las Vegas area. The facility includes a large tracking and mixing room boasting a SSL 9000K, 80-input mixing desk. A second studio with an acoustically identical control room and a mid-sized overdub booth are available primarily for mixing. The studio provides a truly top-shelf selection of microphones, processing, amplification and recording equipment. Studio at the Palms is hardwired to The Pearl Concert Theater to record live events and in 2009, the Palms announced a partnership with Aderra Inc., adding the next generation of content delivery with the "Live in a Flash"™ USB Technology. For more information on the recording studio, please visit www.palms.com.
This year's Grammy awards ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday, January 31st.
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The City of Las Vegas Cultural Events presents Killian's Angels in Concert at the Reed Whipple Cultural Center, 821 Las Vegas Blvd. North, on Saturday, January 23rd at 2 p.m.
This fantastic all-female band offers an amazing spectrum of tunes, arrangements and styles from contemporary Celtic to country and classic rock. Killian's Angels will set your toes to tapping and your hands to clapping. Each lovely and accomplished musician sings and plays a variety of instruments including violin, tuba, mandolin, tin whistle, guitar, keyboard, harmonica, drums, bodhran (an Irish frame drum), spoons, bass and more. This concert also will feature Sharon Lynn and the Celtic Storm Dance troupe. Tickets for the all ages show are $7. Call (702) 229-6211. If you can't wait until the 23rd to see the ladies, you can catch Killian's Angels at the Draft House, 4543 North Rancho Drive, tomorrow from 8 to 11 p.m.
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Jack Rappaport & "Liberace"
Last night's Composers Showcase, held in the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum, featured original music by Jason Andino, Travis Cloer, Vita Corimbi, Wayne Green, Christopher Lash, Keith Thompson (who also serves as host), William Waldrop and Robert Williamson, Tyler Williams and others, sung by Kristen Hertzenberg, Greg Kata, Skye Miles, Carly Thomas Smith and other special guests. Performing musicians (from A to Z) include Kelli Andino, Glen Colby, Tish Diaz, Shawn Elsbernd, Philip Fortenberry, Dawson Holiday, Keith Hubacher, Jerry Pence, Naldo Posella, Rebecca Ramsey, Dave Richardson, Mike Robb, Eric Tewalt, Moonlight Tran, Lisa Viscuglia and Drew Zingg. The monthly events feature songwriters, musicians and performers from Strip shows such as Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Bette Midler's The Showgirl Must Go On, Peepshow, Barry Manilow and a number of Cirque du Soleil productions, among others. There wasn't a weak number in last night's lineup. Among our personal favorites were 21-year-old singer/songwriter/pianist Christopher Lash's "Remember My Love," written after the death of his young friend; the clever Ms. Corimbi performing her self-penned "Mother of the Year;" Kata (formerly in Mamma Mia!) performing Green's very funny, "Good For You;" and Skye singing Keith Thompson's "Protect and Defend." Among the newcomers we spotted at the most recent showcase were entertainment writer, Jerry Fink, and New York cabaret artist and multi-MAC Award (presented by Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs)-winner, Ricky Ritzel. Incidentally, Christopher can be seen and heard at downtown's Don't Tell Mama on Saturdays nights, and Vita and Skye are both in Menopause the Musical at the Luxor.
Over at the Liberace Museum, at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, the 23rd, the Cabaret presents Phyllis Bell and Spencer Baker. Phyllis Bell brings her New York Cabaret show, All My Laughter, to Las Vegas. Bell, who began her career as a stand up comic in Los Angeles, has performed in numerous cabarets throughout New York. Her show is sure to be a hit filled with outstanding vocals and a lot of laughter. Spencer Baker, who will accompany Bell in the show All My Laughter, was a former Liberace Scholar and was the winner of the 2004 Liberace Piano Competition in the professional division. He has a master's degree in piano performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has performed with the UNLV symphony as a soloist. Tickets are $10.
And speaking of the museum, Jack Rappaport has been named as the new president of The Liberace Foundation & Museum. Rappaport has served as chairman of the Liberace Foundation & Museum's board of directors for the past two years and as a member of the board for four and half years. As president, he will guide the daily operations and management of the foundation and museum. Rappaport brings a unique passion and vision for the Liberace Foundation & Museum to his new position. First on his agenda is to increase the museum's appeal within the Las Vegas tourism market by relocating it to a location that is more suitable to both the local and tourist markets. Once a new location is found, Rappaport will look to establish the museum as a more prominent tourist attraction to capitalize on Liberace's global popularity. In addition to serving as chairman of the foundation's board for the past two years, Rappaport also served as chair of its scholarship committee for the past three years where he helped further the education of students locally and nationally. Rappaport moved to Las Vegas with his family in 1965. In 1996, he formed R&R Commercial Real Estate Services, a full-service commercial real estate firm specializing in the areas of leasing, sales, build-to-suits and investment real estate. He is also president of the Alfred & Marjorie Rappaport Foundation, a non-profit foundation that encourages and fosters the performing arts in Southern Nevada. The primary beneficiary of the Rappaport Foundation is "Introduction to the Arts," a program under the auspices of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which focuses primarily on Southern Nevada students, offering free admission to a variety of Charles Vanda Master Series and New York Stage and Beyond events in UNLV's Performing Arts Center. The Liberace Museum operates under the support of The Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts. The Foundation is a non-profit organization which aids deserving, exceptionally talented individuals in the performing and creative arts through scholarships and special grants. Since 1976, the Foundation has given in excess of $5.5 million to help more than 2,700 students studying music, theater and the visual arts at more than 120 colleges and universities. The Liberace Museum is comprised of two buildings: Building One houses the Piano and Car Galleries; Building Two showcases the Costume and Jewelry Collections, a recreation of Liberace's Palm Springs bedroom, and the Awards Gallery. Also, inside the Museum property is the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum. The Cabaret not only serves as a showcase for Liberace's famous mirrored Baldwin nine-foot grand piano, but is also home to several afternoon and evening shows by local entertainers...including the above mentioned Composers Showcase and the amazing pianist, Philip Fortenberry, who performs three-afternoons-a-week in his Liberace and Me show. The Liberace Museum is located at 1775 E. Tropicana Avenue and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call (702) 798-5595 or visit www.liberace.org.
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Billy Garan is the headliner at the Riviera's Comedy Club, January 18th through 24th. Garan's staggering list of impressions is demonstrated in his "Hollywood High" bit, where he plays all the characters in a classroom of celebrity students, ranging from Truman Capote to Sylvester Stallone. Garan has opened for Robert Klein, Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld, and appeared on Showtime's Comedy Club Network, Caroline's Comedy Hour, and Into The Night starring Rick Dees. D'Lai has appeared on multiple sessions of Bill Bellamy's Who's Got Joke, BET's Comic View, and was the winner of Las Vegas' 2004 Star Search. D'Lai has opened for Bill Bellamy, Eddie Griffin and the legendary Dick Gregory. His quick wit and high energy spins hilarious thoughts on current events and everyday happenings. Gary Caouette got his start in stand-up in New England where he quickly rose through the ranks from host to featured act to headliner. He won the Comedy Connections Funniest Professional Contest and has appeared in the movie "Boonedock Saints." 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.
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Calvin A. Shields, best known in the music community as "Eagle Eye" Shields, passed away in Las Vegas, where he had lived for 42 years, on Tuesday, January 5th. He was born April 28th, 1924, in Jacksonville, Florida. For decades, he was recognized, honored and respected by the music world. At the age of 21, Calvin decided to follow in his father's footsteps, but instead of the piano, he decided to play the drums. From 1945 to 1956, he traveled from Florida to New York, performing with big bands. He landed a few gigs at the Cotton Club and sat in on a few recording sessions at King Records. He joined Tiny Bradshaw's band, who at the time, was best known to the world as the "King of Jitterbug." Later, he played with the Billy Williams Quartet and traveled the world - Japan, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Canada and Switzerland. He formed, "The Calvin Shields All-Star Band," and played nightly at the Carver House, located on the west side (D and Jackson). He then joined famed singer/actress, Della Reese's band at the Flamingo Hotel. From 1967 to 1973, he traveled from New York to Las Vegas with Ms. Reese. From 1978 to 1984, he became the music director and drummer for Redd Foxx, appearing at hotels such as the Sahara, Landmark and the Hacienda. He was a member of the Valley View Golf Club, the Jazz Society and Second Baptist Church. Shields is survived by his son; a sister; and a host of grandsons, granddaughters, nieces, nephews and special friends. Funeral services were held on January 9th, at Second Baptist Church in Las Vegas.
Frankie Randall birthday party
On Wednesday, R&B singer, Teddy Pendergrass, died at the age of 59. Pendergrass had undergone colon cancer surgery eight months ago. Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down in a 1982 car accident. He spent six months in a hospital but returned to recording the next year with the album, Love Language. Pendergrass first gained popularity as a member of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes on songs including "If You Don't Know Me by Now," but it was his solo hits that brought him his greatest fame. With songs such as "Love T.K.O.," "Close the Door" and "I Don't Love You Anymore," he came to define a new era of black male singers with his powerful, aggressive vocals that spoke to virility, not vulnerability. Three years after the accident, he returned to the stage at the Live Aid concert, where he performed from his wheelchair. Later, Pendergrass founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, an organization whose mission is to encourage and help people with spinal chord injuries achieve their maximum potential in education, employment, housing, productivity and independence, according to its Web site.
And our sympathy goes out to local entertainer, Larry Edwards, whose mother recently passed away in Fort Meyers, Florida, following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's.
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Happy birthday to Las Vegan, actor Felix Silla, who turned 73 on Monday. Felix may be best remembered for his role as "Cousin Itt" in The Addams Family TV series.
And to Frankie Randall, who celebrated his 72nd on Sunday the 10th, 65 friends gathered together to sing happy birthday and launch 72 red, green and white (the colors on the flag of Italy) balloons in acknowledgement of the special day. Frankie tell us that as the crowd was watching the balloons rise in the air, Jack Jones said "if a plane runs into one of those, they're going to accuse me of being a terrorist." Randal described the event as "spectacular."
For those old enough to remember the name, actress Luise Rainer (two-time Academy Award-Best Actress winner, for The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth) turned 100 on Tuesday, January 12th. And in a "my, how time flies" moment, the eight babies of Nadya Suleman, aka "Octomom," celebrate their first birthday on January 26th.
Also, happy 20th birthday to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. We don't think they look a day over 19.
And speaking of Frankie Randall, Addison's Lounge, inside the Rampart Casino, presents a night of music and comedy with Randall and Pete Barbutti in An Evening with Frankie Randall and Pete Barbutti. The Sinatra-era entertainers will be performing Friday, January 22nd and Saturday, January 23rd at 8 p.m., and Sunday, January 24th at 4 p.m. Randall is a vocalist, classical and jazz pianist, arranger, conductor and composer. He rose to stardom when Frank Sinatra heard him performing in New York and helped him obtain a recording contract with RCA. Randall's albums include Frankie Randall Sings and Swings, Frankie Randall At It Again, Words and Music, Let's Make Christmas Everyday, and Totally Frankie. Randall has made numerous television appearances, including a regular role on The Dean Martin Summer Show. He is also the glue behind the song and comedy revue, That's Italian. Musician and comedian Barbutti was a founding member of the quartet The Millionaires. After touring the country for six years, the group settled in Las Vegas, where it quickly became a favorite on the Strip. Barbutti started working as a standup comic after the group disbanded. He has received numerous awards, including "Entertainer of the Year" honors in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, an "Artistic Achievement Award" from the American Federation of Musicians and a "Most Valuable Player Award" from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Pete was also a favorite of Johnny Carson's, appearing numerous times on The Tonight Show.
Admission for An Evening with Frankie Randall and Pete Barbutti is $10 at the cage and includes one complimentary drink.
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At 8 p.m., on Saturday, January 30th, as part of the New York Stage & Beyond series, UNLV will present The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein: Broadway in Concert, featuring three of Broadway's brightest stars - Christiane Noll, Leslie Krizter, and David Burnham. The performance will include songs from South Pacific, The King and I, Carousel, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, and many more. Noll has appeared in Jekyll & Hyde, Urinetown, City of Angels, and in Las Vegan Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor's Ace, at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. Kritzer has credits in Hairspray, Legally Blonde the Musical and A Catered Affair. And Burnham has had roles in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Wicked and Light in the Piazza. Tickets to The Best Sounds of Rodgers and Hammerstein: Broadway in Concert are $40, $55, and $85 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at (702) 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 $1.25 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 pac.unlv.edu.
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Howie Mandel will be double dealing when he takes over David Hasselhoff's chair, joining Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan, as a judge on the TV reality show, America's Got Talent. Mandel, who performs in Vegas on occasion, is also the host of the game show, Deal Or No Deal.
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There are a number of things going on at that Italian joint at the south end of Las Vegas Blvd. this month. Although we are not fans of the establishment (snooty and snobby is how we see it), we are fans and friends of some of the folks who work (Sean Grady) and perform there.
At 8:30 p.m., on Sunday, January 24th, Richel Kompst and the Night Crawlers - Cocho Arbe, Steve Kompst, Shawn Elsbernd - will be performing selections from Blame it on the Walleye...a Musical Journey Through the Neurotic Mind of a Norwegian Blonde, as well as some jazz favorites, a few Broadway tunes and a little comedy. Richel is a talented lady, providing music and fun. If you are "in" at the bistro, or you don't mind being treated like a home invader if you aren't, check her out.
The same goes for Skye Miles, who will be performing at the place on Sunday, the 31st. A cast member of Menopause the Musical, currently at the Luxor, and formerly in Beach Blanket Babylon in the City by the Bay, Skye is a bundle of energy with a voice that can shatter glass. Her solo show also starts at 8:30 p.m.
And on Mondays, it's singer/comedienne/actress, Kelly Clinton, hosting open mic night at you-know-where, and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, legendary jazz musician, Gus Mancuso, is at the piano from 7 to 10 p.m.
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On Sunday, January 24th, the Meshugginah Klezmorim launches the 2010 World Vibration Concert Series at the Winchester Cultural Center Theater, 3130 S. McLeod Drive, just north of Desert Inn. Meshugginah Klezmorim means "crazy musicians" in Yiddish, which is a direct reflection of the personalities of the professional musicians that make up the group. These players of klezmer music have performed locally at festivities for Israeli Independence Day, the Menorah lighting on Fremont Street with Mayor Oscar Goodman, citywide Hanukkah concerts, the Folk Life Festival and the City of Las Vegas Cultural Series at the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse. The band was brought together by violinist Lee Schreiber in 1991, and consists of D. Gause, clarinet; D.J. Sinai, keyboards and vocals; Brett Barnes, drums; and Irv Weinberger, guitar. As individuals, they have performed for such artists as Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Tim McGraw, Aretha Franklin and Andrea Bocelli, to name a few. Schreiber is a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Nevada Chamber Symphony as well as a violin player for numerous superstars. Gause is a professor of music at the College of Southern Nevada and plays clarinet for "Phantom of the Opera: The Las Vegas Spectacular" while Sinai is the music director for Temple Beth Shalom and Barnes and Weinberger have their master's degrees from the University of Arkansas and University of Southern California, respectively. During the last four years, Winchester Cultural Center has hosted musicians from all over the world through the World Vibration Concert Series. Musicians from Brazil, Ireland, China, Thailand, Mexico and many other countries have brought their distinct rhythms to the Winchester stage. Tickets for the concert are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and children ages 12 and younger.
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On January 23rd, at 7 p.m., at the Starbright Theatre, 2215 W. Thomas Ryan Blvd. in Sun City Summerlin, Michael Chapman and ChapQuist Entertainment - the producers who last year presented Oh What A Night! A Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Jack Walker, Kelly Clinton, and Sharon McNight as Sophie Tucker - present Supreme Reflections, a loving tribute to the most famous female singing group of all time, The Supremes. This sparkling trip down Motown's memory lane is written and directed by Motown producer and creative consultant, George Solomon, and award-winning producer/director, Michael Chapman, with choreography by Paul Holmquist. The stellar cast stars Wendy Edmead, Cheaza Figueroa and Tai Lewis, with a special guest appearance by Solomon.
Learn the true story of the original dream girls' rise to fame while enjoying an endless string of irresistible, toe-tapping hits and the eye-popping glamour of Diana Ross & The Supremes. Hear favorites including "Baby Love," "Stop! In The Name Of Love," "You Can't Hurry Love," and "Love Child." Tickets, at $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents and $18 for non-residents, are on sale at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle Community Centers. For show info and credit card orders, call (702) 869-2064. You can reach the box office at (702) 240-1301. Please visit www.CHAPQUIST.com for more information.
There seems to be a Motown thing going on here over next weekend. In one part of the city, they are paying tribute to the ladies of Motown ladies, while in another, it's the men of Motown taking to the stage. For more than 40 years, The Temptations have shined as pioneers of popular music with decades of smash hits and sold-out performances. Otis Williams, Bruce Williamson, Terry Weeks, Ron Tyson and Joe Herndon bring classic Motown back to The Orleans Showroom, January 22nd, 23rd and 24th, starting at 8 p.m. each evening. The Temptations are central characters in the history of contemporary American pop. An essential component of the original Motown machine invented by Berry Gordy, The Temptations began their musical career in Detroit in the early '60s. In 1964, Smokey Robinson wrote and produced "The Way You Do the Things You Do," the first major hit for The Temptations. An avalanche of hits followed, including "My Girl," "It's Growing," "Since I Lost My Baby," "Get Ready," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" and "I Wish It Would Rain." Beyond their fabulous singing, The Temptations became known for smooth-stepping and flawless presentations. The Temptation Walk became the staple of American style, flair, flash and class. When the '60s and '70s turned political, The Temptations got serious. They changed their tone, dress and music, with smoldering hits such as "Runaway Child," "Cloud Nine," "I Can't Get Next To You," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "Psychedelic Shack." The Temptations explosion continued in the '80s with their appearance on Motown 25 in 1983, and roared into the '90s with the NBC mini-series in 1998 that chronicled the group's early days and rise to fame, earning them a coveted Emmy Award. Tickets are priced from $34.95, plus tax, and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 365-7075, or visiting The Orleans Web site at www.orleanscasino.com.
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On Sunday (the 17th), Clark County Parks & Recreation and the Winchester Cultural Center, at 3130 S. McLeod, presents a Tribute to Miles Davis, featuring Walt Blanton on trumpet, Dave Stambaugh on sax, Tony Branco on piano and keyboards, Jeff Davis on bass, John Nasshan on drums, and Gabriel Santana Falcon on percussion. The group will perform works from Miles Davis' acoustic periods, through his revolutionary electric times. The concert takes place at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 general admission, and $10 for seniors and Jazz and Guitar Society members. Call (702) 455-7340 for additional information.
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Reminder...It's Rob Garrett as The King of Diamonds, next Saturday night (the 23rd) at the Cannery Casino & Hotel in North Las Vegas. One of the country's top Neil Diamond tribute artists, Garrett will perform Diamond's classic hits at The Club inside the Cannery at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door.
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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye