Las Vegas - June 18, 2010
Spider Baby Poster
Maria the SnakeBabe & Beverly Washburn
Pietra Sardelli as Sarah Palin
Last Saturday night, we were in the audience at The Onyx for Spider Baby the Musical, while on Sunday, it was Golden Rainbow's Ribbon of Life production (the 24th) at the Hilton in the afternoon, and The Orleans for dinner at Canal Street and to see our friends in Vocal Soup at night.
The quirky Spider Baby the Musical, based on the 1968 cult classic film, starring Lon Chaney Jr., was an interesting romp, made much better and more interesting during the closing night performance, thanks to the presence of actress Beverly Washburn who played Elizabeth Merrye in the movie. Spider Baby fans were happy to meet Beverly and have their pictures taken with her. She happily obliged. Among those that we spotted in the audience and backstage, were friend Randy Carlson, and entertainers Steven Lee August and his wife, Maria Gara, known as Maria the SnakeBabe.
Ribbon of Life 2010 ran a little longer than two hours, with Zumanity's drag star, Christopher "Edie" Kenney, serving as "Mistress" of Ceremonies. There were more than two dozen production numbers, featuring hundreds of performers. Some of our personal show favorites included Green Valley High School's scenes from Rent; "Broken Vow," beautifully danced by Tara Foy's Elite Ballet Company; the "Red State Love Song," featuring Pietra Sardelli as the often politically incorrect, Sarah Palin; a Bob Fosse tribute; Donn Arden's Jubilee! showgirls (the last of a dying breed); and, of course, the adorable "Grease Monkeys," created by Brigid Little and made up of 44 babies (one less than two weeks old), young children and Strip show singing and dancing moms and dads. Kudos to solo vocalists Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular's Kristen Hertzenberg who sang "When He Loves Me," an original song by William Waldrop and Robert Williamson; Bobby Black of the Las Vegas Tenors who did a beautiful job on "Cry Me a River;" Jersey Boys' Travis Cloer's version of "Georgia On My Mind;" Mollie Tennant and Allison Rajcevic who sand "Changed For Good" from Wicked; and Lani Misalucha, from the Hilton's Voices, who sang "The Prayer." A special tip of the hat (although, we weren't wearing one) to the live, nine-piece onstage band, led by drummer Mark Barrett and guitar guru, Steven Lee.
We had a lovely dinner at Canal Street at The Orleans (if you haven't tried this place, the next time you have a special occasion, we recommend a visit to Canal Street), followed by seeing and hearing the quartet that is known as Vocal Soup. Clint Holmes, Domenick Allen, Martin Nievera and Susan Anton were all in fine form and put on a great show. This was their first time in the 800+ Orleans showroom. From where we sat, it appeared to be an almost full house with a happy audience. We suspect Vocal Soup will be back at The Orleans very soon.
Regarding the Golden Rainbow event, we have some comments. We have to say that we were very disappointed with one of the memorial ads that appeared in the Ribbon of Life program. If you have a copy of the book, check out page 58. What was supposed to be a FULL page tribute to the late Ray Jarvis, who, with his longtime partner Jerry Ritholz, was a Golden Rainbow volunteer, financial supporter and champion since 1986, instead was turned into an odd-looking (obvious mistake) half-a-page, leaving the bottom half looking noticeably empty. The photo of Ray was supposed to be about six inches tall instead of less than two, like it was run. This unfortunate error occurred in spite of the fact that, as requested, the correct size, camera-ready art work was provided. Someone was definitely asleep at the wheel in this situation. We would also suggest that, next year, Golden Rainbow do more pre-show, direct-mail advertising (they have done a much better job of that in previous years) and have more volunteers selling raffle tickets in the theater prior to the show. We saw many folks who wanted to buy tickets, waving money around that was never collected. Unfortunately, sales and dollars were lost, taking that very important "bottom line" below where it could have, and should have, been.
* * * * * * *
On June 13th, Broadway honored the best-of-the-best with its annual Tony Awards ceremony. Sean Hayes, currently starring with Kristen Chenoweth in Promises, Promises at the Broadway Theatre, on Broadway and 53rd Street, and most memorable for his Emmy-winning role as "Just Jack" McFarland on Will and Grace from 1998 to 2006, served as host for the evening. For us, one of the show's highlights was seeing Bill Nolte and Christine Andreas (Light in the Piazza), who both have a history in Vegas, Bill as Franz Liebkind in The Producers at Paris Las Vegas, and Christine who performed here at the Charleston Heights Arts Center with her hubby Martin Silvestri a few years ago, in "The Best of Times" number from the Tony-winning La Cage aux Folles.
* * * * * * *
Here are a few ways to keep dad smiling this Sunday...
(1) Let him sleep in. (2) Only ask him to mow the lawn on the shady side of the house. And (3) Since they say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, here are some ideas. Celebrate Dad with a special Father's Day feast at the Springs Cafe by Wolfgang Puck. The talented chefs at the Springs Café, located at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., have created a special menu including hand-carved braised brisket, slow-roasted wild salmon, barbecue beef short ribs, Cajun peel and eat shrimp, chicken cacciatore and grilled London broil steak. Brunch includes classic favorites such as corned beef and Eggs Benedict, crunchy French toast and Applewood smoked bacon, as well as sushi and pasta stations. And don't forget the assorted breakfast pastries, delicious desserts and much more. In addition to smooth jazz, a Bloody Mary bar and a breathtaking, panoramic view of the Las Vegas Strip from the Cafe balcony, guests can enjoy the serenity found in the Preserve's Gardens and witness the Trails in full bloom. This takes place on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $29.95 for adults, $12.50 for children, kids three and under are free. Coffee and soda are included. There is an additional $7 charge for the Bloody Mary Bar. Reservations are required. Call (702) 822-7705 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Springs Preserve Father's Day
The Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower is celebrating Father's Day at Top of the World restaurant by enhancing their award-winning menu with an added selection of handcrafted culinary prix fixe masterpieces from Chef Claude Gaty for both lunch and dinner seatings. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will include a half-pound of slow-roasted black angus prime rib and half-pound of king crab legs served with sautéed mushroom, beef jus and roasted garlic citrus drawn butter for $38.
Dinner will be served from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will feature two prix fixe menu options: a one-pound slow-roasted black angus prime rib and one pound king crab legs with sautéed mushroom, beef jus and roasted garlic citrus drawn butter for $65, or a two-pound prime grade pepper crusted tomahawk bone-in rib eye with asparagus, garlic mashed potato and peppercorn sauce for $68. Dads will receive one free "Kiss the Chef" apron with any meal purchase at Top of the World (while supplies last). The 1,149-ft. Stratosphere Tower is the tallest free standing observation tower in the United States, featuring the Top of the World restaurant and highest view of the Las Vegas Strip from the Observation Deck; SkyJump Las Vegas and thrill rides, Big Shot, XScream and Insanity. The Stratosphere is the home of American Superstars and Bite shows. For more information, visit StratosphereHotel.com, call (702) 380-7777, or (800) 99-TOWER (998-6937).
And in what might be THE Father's Day bargain of 2010, the Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel welcomes dads and all to celebrate Father's Day at the Cannery Row Buffet for just $5 per person. The buffet price will be $5 in effect throughout the entire day. The Cannery Row Buffet features an amazing variety of international flavors at nine serving stations. Choices range from Pacific Rim, Italian, South of the Border, American fare, southern cooking, pizza, barbecue, a full salad bar and a carving station. Sunday brunch additionally features a wide selection of breakfast favorites including eggs and omelets cooked to order.
Hash House a Go Go (either the W. Sahara location or the one inside the Imperial Palace on the Strip) will feature Father's Day specials ranging from $8.25 to $20.95 that will make any dad feel like a king. In addition to the regular brunch menu the following specials will be available: Papi Chulo Hash - crispy potatoes, pork tenderloin in chipotle adobo, fresh corn, tomato, jalapeños, cilantro, fresh avocado and queso fresco all crowned with two eggs and served with a fresh tortilla; Peanut Butter and Banana Pancake with whipped cream; The Spicy Hot BBBLT - spicy jalapeño bacon on fresh milk bread with chili mayo and a choice of fries or house salad; Crispy Pork Tenderloin Quesadilla - flour tortilla filled with charred tomatoes, fresh corn, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs and crispy pork; Alfonso's Lunchbox - a 1½ pound all beef hot dog topped with gourmet chorizo, fresh tomato, cheddar cheese and sliced jalapeños served with HH potato salad and a cold Tecate beer; and Felix's "Front of the TV Meal"- 14-ounce house-roasted Certified Angus Beef prime rib with au jus, served with griddled horseradish mash and fresh grilled corn. Father's Day drink specials will also be available, including the 24-ounce Bud in a Bag and special engagement beers such as HAMMS and Ommegang Hennepin, among others. Drink and meal pairing suggestions are available on the Father's Day menu as well. Limited reservation times will be offered at the Sahara location from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and at the Imperial Palace location from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. All other times will be first come, first served. For reservations or inquiries, please call the Sahara location at (702) 804-4646, the Imperial Palace location at (702) 254-4646 or visit www.hashhouseagogo.com.
There's no better way to celebrate Father's Day (or any other Sunday) than enjoying Las Vegas' No. 1 musical gourmet brunch, Music & Mimosas with Wes Winters, at ENVY The Steakhouse in the non-gaming Renaissance Hotel on Paradise Road. Not only will guests enjoy a wonderful celebration, they will also be providing a much needed and loving contribution to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, as ENVY The Steakhouse will be donating all of its brunch proceeds to assist these children who need help. The following Sunday, June 27th, ENVY will once again donate the Music & Mimosas brunch proceeds to the local Boys and Girls Clubs. Head over to the Renaissance for incredible food, drinks, and great Las Vegas entertainment, while at the same time helping needy children in our own city.
Also happening on Father's Day Sunday...Rebecca Spencer and Philip Fortenberry return to the Clark County Flamingo Library Theater on Sunday, June 20th for a 2 p.m. concert called Waitin'. Presented by the Performing Arts Society of Nevada, Rebecca, who played Madam Giry in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular for two years, and Philip, who currently serves as assistant musical director/conductor at Jersey Boys and performs weekly in Liberace and Me in the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum, make beautiful music together. Bruce Ewing, a Phantom cast member, will also appear in the concert. Over the past year, Rebecca, who now lives in Seattle with her husband Jim D'Asaro, has appeared as a featured guest at the Fifth Avenue Theatre's Spotlight series, acted as the Musical Consultant for A Broadway Symphonic Spectacular, produced by the Broadway Bound Children's Theatre and Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, and co-starred in a staged reading of a new musical at the Village Theatre, where Broadway's current Next to Normal got its start. In May, she debuted a new concert as part of the Panache Jazz Series at the Blue Heron Art Center on Vashon Island. On June 5th and 6th, Rebecca performed at the historic Moore Theatre, in a concert presentation of Follies. The production is a presentation of Martin Charnin's (Annie) company, Showtunes, and is directed by Victor Pappas. Rebecca's solo concert appearances will continue in July with appearances in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and her debut at Manhattan's venerable jazz club, Birdland. This fall, Rebecca will co-star in The Full Monty, directed by Jerry Dixon for the Village Theatre. Tickets for the 2 p.m. performance of WAITIN' are priced at $ 15, and may be purchased by calling the Performing Arts Society of Nevada, at (702) 658-6741. The Clark County Flamingo Library Theatre is located at 1401 East Flamingo Road in Las Vegas. Tickets will also be sold at the library box office, an hour before the concert.
* * * * * * *
And, in case you are asking yourself, "Where in the world is Mark Nadler?" We know the answer to that question. The multi-talented entertainer is in Adelaide, Australia, where he is in his second week of The Broadway Hootenanny at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Mark reports that he is "having a BALL," and says "I'm told I'm being googled and twittered like crazy, which I find strangely arousing." The Adelaide Cabaret Festival is an annual event held in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. It is the largest festival of its type in the world, with more than 48,000 attendees. Begun in 2000, the festival is held at the Adelaide Festival Centre in June each year, usually commencing on the long weekend of the Queen's birthday. In 2006, the festival was made up of around 200 individual shows by more than 400 performers from across Australia and the world, and grossed more than AU $1.1 million in ticket sales. The event offers unforgettable nights of music, satire, comedy, and late night booty shakin', all under the one roof at the Adelaide Festival Centre. Transformed into various sized cabaret venues, with bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs and comfy nooks, the Festival Centre will buzz with audiences enjoying drinks, food and chatting about the next best thing in cabaret. This year's festival is under the Artistic Directorship of entertainer David Campbell. For those of you who are in Oz, Nadler, who has performed in Las Vegas a number of times (but not recently enough for our tastes), will be entertaining at the festival every night through June 24th. Show times are generally from 9: 30 to 11. Tell then that Cousin Claire sent you. For more details, go to www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/adelaidecabaret.
* * * * * * *
Birthday greetings to Gemini (May 21 through June 21) celebrants, Jerri Spencer (Mrs. Prince Spencer), Rich Affannato, Sarasue Essenpreis, LaToya Jackson, Rebbie Jackson, Diane Ellis, Jim Hodge, Marvin Hamlisch, Bill Nolte, Sam Harris, Michael LaRocca, Nicky Pomeranz, Katrina Loncaric, Eric Floyd, Kenny Mazlow, Sharon Holmes Mandel, Dick Feeney, Liz Pero, Mel Carter, Nate Tannenbaum, Gordie Brown, Joe LaVigna, Sandy Hackett, Merrick Wolfe, Dolores Hope (Mrs. Bob Hope) who just turned 101, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tracey E. Bregman (actress daughter of Buddy Bregman), (Pip) William Guest, Wayne Brady, Tony Curtis, Tom Jones, Siegfried Fischbacher (who spent part of his June 13th birthday at Golden Rainbow's Ribbon of Life show), Vic Damone, Paul McCartney, Barry Manilow and Wayne Brady. And happy anniversary to Eric and Wanda Dee Floyd (celebrating their 25th), Ed and Valerie Mathews (celebrating half-a-century), and Jim and Jan Seagrave.
David Parks & Martin Kreloff
And speaking of birthdays...
Happy birthday to those musical Naked Boys over at The Onyx in Commercial Center. Today, the boys celebrate one year in Vegas...pretty amazing, considering the fact that Naked Boys Singing (and, yes, they really are naked) launched their show last June, for an expected two week run.
* * * * * * *
Although he didn't win in the recent Nevada primaries, we still think that Senator David Parks is a winner. Why? Because the politico has been captured on canvas by a favorite of ours, the amazing Martin Kreloff. If you have never experienced his work, Marty, as he is called by his friends, has an upcoming showing at the Laura Henkel Fine Art Gallery, at the Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston, Suite 100. Called Stars and Sumos, the collection reflects Kreloff's witty and whimsical, contemporary style. He is best known for his portraits of classic iconic Hollywood celebrities whereby he equalizes the two extremes of fame and obscurity to present them with equal fanfare. His artwork is profoundly influenced by Miami's Art Deco tropical noir of Technicolor patterns. The show opens on July 1st and runs through August 21st. Don't miss it. For additional information, call the gallery at (702) 952-9656. We will remind readers about this exhibit again.
* * * * * * *
We are saddened to report the death of longtime musician, Michael "Mickey" Gerard O'Neill, who died June 14th at Sunrise Hospital following surgery. Mickey O'Neill was 61. He was born to Kathleen Downey O'Neill and Daniel O'Neill in Castleblayney, County Monaghan, Ireland, February 21, 1949. Mickey started as a drummer in Ireland, performing with several showbands while still in his teens. He had the opportunity to work with two of his favorite band mates, Jimmy and Tommy Swarbrigg of The Swarbrigg Brothers. One of the highlights of Mickey's career occurred when, at just 18, he played drums for jazz and blues legend, Joe Williams, for the troops in Libya. In 1972, Mickey came to Las Vegas to perform at the Stardust Hotel with The Royal Irish Showband, headed by Brendan Bowyer, formerly of The Big 8 in Ireland. One of the reasons that Mickey wanted to come to Las Vegas was to meet his idol, Elvis Presley, which he did. Over the years, he also met Gladys Knight and The Pips, Cary Grant, Raquel Welch, and other well-known entertainers. For three decades, Mickey played with Bowyer's group in Las Vegas, primarily at the Aladdin and then at the Barbary Coast for more than eight years. Up until recently, he continued to play gigs in town with his band mates Jimmy Conway, Michael Keane and D.J. Curtin. Mickey was preceded in death by his son, Michael John Daniel O'Neill, 21, who died July 23, 2005, as the result of an accident. Mickey O'Neill is survived by sons Alan O'Neill (Rachel) and Mark O'Neill; grandsons Dyllin and Devyn O'Neill, all from Las Vegas; his sister Mary Black (Gerry) from Castleblayney; brothers Yank, Gregory and Johnny O'Neill from Wales; numerous nieces and nephews; his longtime significant other, Mary Marcella Schwartz of Las Vegas, and many fans and friends. A service and an "Irish wake" will be held for Mickey in Ireland. A celebration of life will take place in Las Vegas at a later date.
Note: The accompanying photo, taken by Mary Schwartz, is from a St. Patrick's Day 2010 performance at Mandalay Bay.
* * * * * * *
We found this item while Googling on the Internet (under Duke and the Doctor, news)...
ATLANTA-Jan McBarron, M.D., N.D., the "Doctor" of the Duke & The Doctor radio show, was selected as the 2010 Clinician of the Year by the Natural Products Association (NPA). To celebrate the honor, the radio duo will host two parties in Las Vegas during NPA's annual trade show. The hosts will also do a live taping of their show in front of a live audience on June 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For the first special event, 24 select winners of a recent radio show contest will join McBarron and her husband, Duke Liberatore-CEO of the seven-store Peachtree Natural Foods chain, at the live radio taping and a "Winners Reception" at the Tempo Lounge. "We wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for our listeners," Liberatore said. "It's for that reason we want to celebrate this honor with them and organized the contest as a 'thank you' to them."
This is where it gets interesting...
The article goes on to say (and these are THEIR words, not ours), In addition to the Winners Reception, Duke and The Doctor will also host a VIP Party at Las Vegas Rocks Cafe on June 11. Special invitations and drink coupons will be distributed to industry friends and guests during the NPA trade show. The Las Vegas Rocks Café is owned by Vegas celebrity, Tony Sacca, a good friend of the radio hosts and himself the host of Entertainment Las Vegas Style.
Within minutes after starting their Friday evening party at the café, the potential guests had to leave the building. Why? Because, as we have been saying for months, Neonopolis, or what's left of it, has NO AIR CONDITIONING! Hey folks. This is Las Vegas. The desert. The summer. Nothing and no one can survive without air conditioning in this part of the country. The current owners of the café have been dishonest (we hate to use the ugly word "lied") about the lack of air conditioning in the facility. Weeks ago (before it got this warm), the chef/owner told some uncomfortable show goers who were fanning themselves with magazines, that the place had a problem that Friday morning but couldn't get an air conditioning repairman out until Monday. Anybody who reads the local papers knows that the primary reason that the Neonoplolis center is virtually empty, is because none of the business operator/owners could go about their daily or nightly duties in the 100 plus degree heat. Even the movie theater had to close. Hennessey's, across the sidewalk from that other place, was the beneficiary of the mass exodus of party goers last Friday. Duke and The Doctor, along with their friends, took their business over to Hennessey's. The group had themselves a nice dinner and saw Derek David's Only You revue, in nice, cool comfort. We can assure you that we are keeping an eye on this situation. So, we are sure, is David Saxe.
* * * * * * *
If you saw Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas show last weekend, you must have been in Indiana as opposed to Nevada. Marino, and 16 members of the Divas cast, were performing in Boyd Gaming's 15,000 square foot Stardust Event Center at the Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa in Michigan City. The boys did four shows over two nights before returning to Las Vegas and their home at the Imperial Palace.
On August 7th, the boys will take off again, this time to play the Palace. No. Not THAT Palace. Caesars Palace. No. Not THAT Caesars Palace. Although the space is called The Colosseum, just like the 4000-seat venue where Celine, Cher and Elton have performed, and do perform, at the famed Las Vegas Strip property, THIS Caesars is in Windsor Ontario Canada. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, show time is at 9 p.m.
* * * * * * *
The LeAnn Rimes concert, originally scheduled for July 16th at Crown Theater inside the Rio, has been canceled. There is no replacement date at this time.
* * * * * * *
Falcone, Sardelli, Contino & Barbutti
Nelson Sardelli & Denise Clemente
And now for this week's Sardelli Section. Pietra Sardelli, daughter of man about town, Nelson Sardelli, made the front page of last Monday's Las Vegas Review-Journal. No, Pietra didn't commit a crime... unless you consider the impersonation of Sarah Palin a crime (and some folks, including her daddy, probably do!). It was Pietra whose name was the first mentioned in Doug Elfman's Golden Rainbow fundraiser follow-up (see Golden Rainbow's Ribbon of Life mention above).
Continuing with Sardelli news. Add Sinco and Pete Barbutti to the list of performers volunteering their time and talent to bring smiles to the faces of the vets and staff at the Veterans' Home in Boulder City on Father's Day. There will also be a couple of second generation performers taking part in the show - Ronnie Rose's daughter, and Paul Campanella's son. Organized by Nelson Sardelli (that would be Pietra's daddy), this annual event is now in its fifth year.
And, as if he doesn't already have enough to occupy his time, on June 11th, Mr. Sardelli, along with Danny & The Juniors, Vince Facone, Pete Barbutti, Dick Contino, Denise Clemente and her musician husband Chuck Foley, and Vinnie's wife Annette Falcone, traveled to Denver, Colorado, to do a charity show for the Rocky Mountain Italian Golf Association, to benefit the Saint Anthony Central Hospital and the Cancer Society. Apparently, the charitable Nelson Sardelli is not much into golf, stating "I don't even know how many innings there are in a golf game...and I live by the Las Vegas Gold Club."
June's F.I.O.R.E. gathering saw 51 presidents (all the boys that participate in the non-club club are presidents) get together for lunch and good times at the Italian American Social Club. We might describe that as almost a mob, but mob is not a word we casually toss around when talking about F.I.O.R.E. Capice? The July meeting, taking place on Friday the 16th, will celebrate F.I.O.R.E.'s 6th anniversary. On a few special occasions (the anniversary party being one of them), the first ladies are, not only invited to attend (when accompanied by one of the boys), but warmly welcomed. We will have more about this upcoming social event in the next few weeks.
* * * * * * *
From Michelle Johnson comes this update on what is going on in her professional life...
"I have been keeping relatively busy and learning to diversify in a slow period," says Michelle. "I am grateful that I can sing in so many genres. It has really helped me to stay afloat. I have been doing recording sessions, singing standards here and there, singing with the Platters, singing in French, etc. and I have also been working on some solo projects. The Gold Coast is trying a new format in their showroom, Tuesdays through Fridays from 2 to 5 in the afternoon. They have had a loyal crown of regulars, mostly seniors, who enjoy ballroom dancing there in the afternoon, but they have replaced the large Dixieland band that was there for over 20 years (budget cuts I presume?) with smaller ensembles that alternate from week to week. Mine is one of them. Just me, Billy T on keys and Mike Tramontana on drums. It went well this past week, and I am in the Gold Coast Showroom, July 6th through 9th, and then again July 27th through 30th. We are performing standards and taking requests. Also, next Thursday. I am co-hosting Ed Matthews' Hit Parade at the Suncoast. I fly out the next day, Friday, to perform with Sonny Turner and The Platters in Sacramento. Crazy week! I am also working on my own tribute to the great lady big band singers. It should be up and running somewhere by this fall. I will keep you posted. Lastly, my book, The Chick Singer Bible, is coming along. It is about the music business from a woman's perspective (tips, anecdotes, etc.)." We say, "You go, girl!"
* * * * * * *
Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers
Former Las Vegan, singer/impressionist Bob Anderson, was a guest on the Don Imus morning TV show all last week. The show is on Fox Business news. Larry Gatlin was guest hosting for Imus and Bob was doing bits him on the show each day during the week. And speaking of Larry Gatlin, he and his brothers, Steve and Rudy, will perform at The Club inside the Cannery Casino & Hotel on Saturday, July 3rd at 8 p.m. Throughout a career that has spanned four decades, country music stars, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers have been entertaining audiences from Texas to the White House with their incredible family harmony. Larry began his musical career writing songs that were recorded by legendary greats such as Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones, and even Elvis Presley. As a solo artist, with his brothers singing backup, Larry released two albums and landed at No. 1 on the charts with the Grammy-winning "Broken Lady." Following the success of the album, High Time, credited to "Larry Gatlin with Brothers and Friends," the Gatlin brothers formed an official trio and, in 1979, signed a group deal with Columbia Records. Their first album as Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers spawned the No. 1 hit, "All the Gold in California," and sent the brothers on the road to the thrill of their fans. The Gatlin Brothers have released more than a dozen Top 40 hits, including "Used to Be Somebody's Baby," "Denver," and "Houston (Means I'm One Day Closer to You)." Throughout the '70s and '80s, the Gatlin Brothers lit up major marquees and packed concert halls across America. Then, in 1992 after much soul searching and prayer, the brothers made a decision to stop touring. They ended with The Adios Tour, along with an accompanying album release of the same name, and it gave the boys a chance to say goodbye to their fans and for the fans to say goodbye to the Gatlin Brothers. Explains Larry, "We just thought our time in the spotlight was probably over. We had a great run and are thankful for it. We felt it was someone else's turn in the spotlight." He went on to say, "You know what Bob Dylan said...things they are a changin'." According to Larry, a promoter in Dover, Delaware, "made us an offer we couldn't understand...so we took it! Since then a popular ground swell, maybe not a large popular ground swell, but a ground swell nonetheless, has arisen that has persuaded us to do some selected dates that we are calling 'The Gatlin Brothers Never Ending Reunion Tour." Tickets for their upcoming Cannery show are available in four levels: table of four $79.95, Gold $39.95, Prime $24.95 or Reserved $14.95. Tickets can be purchased at the Cannery Casino & Hotel's ticket sales counter, located at the front desk, by calling (702) 507-5757 or online at www.cannerycasinos.com.
* * * * * * *
Take a break from the heat with the cool comedy of stand-up personalities Carlos Mencia, Bill Cosby and Bill Engvall at the Treasure Island Theatre. Mencia kicks things off on June 25th, Bill Cosby brings his signature comedy on July 2nd, and Engvall extends the laughs on August 13th. Mencia began his stand-up career performing at The Laugh Factory during amateur night and quickly rose to superstar status. Buscando Estrellas (the Latino version of Star Search) named Mencia "International Comedy Grand Champion," which opened the door to appearances on television shows including In Living Color and An Evening at the Improv. In early 2005, Mind of Mencia debuted on Comedy Central, which has since become one of the network's strongest shows, drawing an average 1.5 million viewers. Mind of Mencia wrapped its fourth season in late 2008. In an illustrious career defined by intelligent standup comedy, a groundbreaking 1980s hit show, and advocacy for education and good parenting, Cosby ranks as one of America's most influential stars. Known the world over for The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992 on NBC, Cosby broke racial barriers and sent a powerful message to viewers – that the family unit and raising children matters most. A testament to his status in the world of comedy, Cosby has earned five Grammy Awards for best comedy album. What began as a shot in the dark at a Texas nightclub, quickly launched funnyman Bill Engvall to comedic superstardom. The Galveston native originally aspired to be a teacher when he discovered his gift for making people laugh. Fans and neophytes alike know Engvall from his half-hour sitcom, The Bill Engvall Show, the Blue Collar Comedy Tour featuring fellow funny men, Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy, and his 1996 Here's Your Sign comedy act. The Treasure Island Theatre Schedule has Carlos Mencia, June 25, 8 p.m., with tickets starting at $49 (Must be 18 years or older to attend); Bill Cosby, July 2, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., with tickets starting at $59; and Bill Engvall, August 13, 8 p.m., with tickets starting at $35. Tickets for each show can be purchased by calling (866) 712-9308 or (702) 894-7723.
* * * * * * *
Condolences to Las Vegan Tom Illi, whose mother recently passed away in Switzerland. Tom, and his wife, Joni, were on a plane the next morning, heading across the ocean. Joni is a cast member of I Know I Came In Here For Something...
* * * * * * *
Current and former cast members of Dick Feeney's Rat Pack Is Back!, now playing at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, were featured in the new Russell Brand-starring film, Get Him To the Greek. Seen in the movie, some of which was filmed here, are Drew Anthony (Carrano) as Dean, Kyle Diamond as Sammy, Brian Duprey as Frank, and Thomas R. Wallek as Joey.
And speaking of Rat Packs and Rat Pack related news...
It seems that Lisa Dawn Miller's last Saturday night engagement at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco was canceled. Lisa is/was in Northern California for her husband Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack show. The show has three more performances at the Marine's Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street in the City By the Bay - tomorrow at 2 and 8 p.m., and Thursday, June 24th at 7 p.m. The final show is a benefit for Fleet Week. Tickets are $50. For additional information, call (415) 771-6900.
* * * * * * *
Comedy legend, Louie Anderson, who will end his four year run at the Excalibur on August 1st, won't be homeless/stageless for long. He has announced that he will begin a new headlining residency at Palace Station on Tuesday, September 7th, performing in what is currently Bonkerz Comedy Club Showroom. The change in venues is spurred by the comedian's love of performing in a comedy club-style venue, while still remaining accessible to both locals and tourists alike. The new show will be family-friendly and appropriate for all ages. "I've had a great run at the Excalibur, but it's time for a change and I love the intimacy of Bonkerz, and its mix of both locals and tourists gives me more room to expand my routine," said Anderson. "I'm also excited to get to work with the club owner, Joe Sanfelippo, again after so many years - the guy is as good as they come in this industry." Sanfelippo owns and operates the national chain of Bonkerz Comedy Clubs. "We're thrilled to have a comedian of Louie Anderson's caliber headlining in our venue," said Sanfelippo. "This is a great opportunity for us to continue our success with longer running headliners, but now at a much higher level." To compliment the move, Palace Station will be renaming the showroom in Louie's honor. The change will also include transformation of the 250-seat room with Anderson memorabilia decorating the walls. In addition, Anderson will be bringing his acclaimed "Standup Boot Camp," which he co-founded with comedian Kyle Cease, to Palace Station. Standup Boot Camp is an interactive seminar where Anderson and Cease mentor aspiring comedians in every aspect of the entertainment industry, from comedic delivery to hiring the best representation. More information can be found at www.standupbootcamp.com. "For a long time we've been interested in Louie Anderson, so when he decided to make a move a few months ago, we jumped at the chance. We're ecstatic that of all the places he could headline in Vegas, he chose Palace Station," said Judy Alberti, vice president of entertainment for Station Casinos. "Comedy has been a mainstay at Palace for several years, but we've never before had someone with Louie's marquee value." Two-time Emmy Award-winner Anderson is one of the country's most recognized and adored comics and was named by Comedy Central as "One of 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time." His big break came in 1984, when he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Relating stories about growing up in the Midwest, being one of 11 children, and dealing with an alcoholic father, provided a plethora of material for the comic, and audiences across the country related to his take on everyday life situations. The multi-talented performer went on to do television and movies starring in his own CBS sitcom, The Louie Show, and his own comedy specials for both HBO and Showtime, as well as several films including Coming to America opposite Eddie Murphy. The comedian/actor's resume also includes the syndicated hit series, Family Feud, and being executive producer and creator of the two-time Emmy Award-winning animated series on FOX's, Life with Louie. Anderson is also a bestselling author and has written three books including the best selling first book, Dear Dad-Letters from an Adult Child, in 1989. During an interview many years ago, radio man, the late Don Jaye, asked us which celebrity was the nicest to the media. Wayne Newton was No. 1 on our list for some time, UNTIL we met Louie Anderson. (Don Jaye died in 2001 at the age of 63.) Palace Station Hotel and Casino features a full array of gaming offerings and six full-service restaurants, including Pasta Palace, Cabo Cantina, Coco's Bakery & Restaurant, The Broiler, Feast Buffet, Oyster Bar and Food Express. Palace Station is located on Sahara, adjacent to Interstate 15, just west of the Las Vegas Strip. Call (702) 367-2411 or visit www.palacestation.com for more information.
Bart Williams, Dixie Evans & John C. Brown
And speaking of funny people...
Alycia Cooper, a former contestant on NBC's Last Comic Standing, will be headlining at The Comedy Stop at the Sahara Hotel, Monday, June 21st, through Sunday the 27th. Producer, Bob Kephart, has also booked, Mike Winfield and Will Mafori, as part of the three comedian format, each and every week. Stand-up comedienne, Cooper, wrote the Top 10s for the No. 1 radio show in Los Angeles, The Steve Harvey Morning Show, and has written for the likes of Russell Simmons, of Def Jam fame. Cooper has penned a feature length screenplay and has worked on Dr. Phil. Mafori, was born with Cerebral Palsy, but does not allow his disability to keep him from doing what he loves best, entertaining an audience. Will shares his daily experiences and unique outlook on life during his hilarious time on stage. As he remarks so often, "I'm not a disabled person who is funny, I'm a funny person who just happens to be disabled." Mike Winfield is one of the fastest rising comedians on the circuit today. Not only has he appeared on just about every television show that books comedians, but he too was on Last Comic Standing. Winfield is a first class story-teller, who uses his family life in many of his tales. Once you have seen Mike perform, you'll realize why he has been called the next stand up star. Tickets for the 9 p.m. show at the Sahara begin at $24.95, with a special $19.95 ticket for locals, with proof of residence. For reservations call the Sahara Box Office at (702) 737-2878.
* * * * * * *
Triumph, a new themed show written specifically for the Vegas market, will open at the Las Vegas Hilton with a grand media and VIP night on October 3rd. Triumph is based on time-travel - something that has never before been attempted on a Vegas showroom stage. It is a tale of the battle between good and evil using locations and scenes from the past, present and future. The story, much of it kept secret, is steeped in science, provided through the writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne and supported by technology. One scene in particular is a spectacular production number that will recreate the 1892 Chicago World's Fair, featuring the famous Ferris Wheel (largest Ferris wheel in the world) with people on board. Those people will disappear only to be taken back in time. On June 2nd, magicians Larry and Rafael (no last names are used), the two stars and creators of Triumph, made a brief appearance on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. We will keep readers informed on Triumph as details are released.
* * * * * * *
During the recent Burlesque Convention, held at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, actor/producer/ writer, Bart Williams, and burlesque historian, Professor Andy Davis, gave attendees a sneak peek at their new documentary film, The First Last Comic. As special guests of the annual Miss Exotic World/Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, Williams and Davis spoke about Burlesque Comedy and showed a segment of the recently completed The Last First Comic, featuring 95-year-old top banana, Irving Benson, other burlesque comics and some of the surviving Great Ladies of Burlesque, including the remarkable Dixie Evans, who appears in the film. For your own peek at show business history, check the movie trailer on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5eC1ZKMosg.
* * * * * * *
Tuesday, June 22nd, through Friday the 25th, vocalist Lisa Smith (Dangerous Curves, Shades of Sinatra) will be joined by keyboard player Tony Branco and drummer Gary Olds as they present Gold Coast Standards from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. Check out this trio for an afternoon of FABULOUS jazz, plus cocktails and dancing! Admission is free. Show your support and keep live music happening in the lounges...especially the Gold Coast Showroom/Lounge, 4000 W. Flamingo Road.
* * * * * * *
Our car radio dial has been glued to the same station for years. That would be KJUL. We have loved the friendly and familiar sounds of many of our favorite voices - Frank Sinatra, the Four Freshmen, Michael Buble, Steve Tyrell, Elvis, Paul Anka, Petula Clark, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme, Carly Simon, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Linda Ronstadt, The Lettermen, Frankie Laine, and others, but one of our very favorite, dependable voices seems to be missing from the KJUL airwaves. This prompts the question - Where in the world is Duke Morgan? The award-winning radio man was like a friend, traveling with loyal listeners through Las Vegas streets during homebound traffic. It was not unusual for Duke to have well-known personalities, such as Bill Medley, Angie Dickinson, Steve Lawrence, Paul Anka, The Smothers Brothers, Donny Osmond, and Suzanne Somers on the air with him. Today, though, Morgan's voice is nowhere to be heard on KJUL. We know we are not the only ones listening for that familiar sound. Laryngitis? No. A long deserved vacation? No. Budget cuts? More than likely. We call this move, "Penny wise and pound foolish." That comforting voice could sell electric blankets to Las Vegans in August. Do we have to take up picket signs and head for Sunset Park, much like listeners did some years back when the station made a format change? We are sure there are plenty of longtime listeners who would happily do so. As for us? We are going to start making our BRING BACK DUKE signs. Whether you are a listener or an advertiser, make YOUR feelings known. Call. Write letters or e-mails. Silence indicates apathy.
* * * * * * *
Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel is offering its guests a special two nights with no cover charge for Sammy Shore's Barking Mad Comedy Jam at Marilyn's Lounge on June 25th and 26th at 8 p.m. Dennis Blair and Dean Napolitano, two seasoned comedy veterans, join the legendary Sammy Shore on stage for two nights of madness and laughter. Sammy changed standup comedy forever when he founded The Comedy Store in Hollywood, providing a stage for some of the biggest names in entertainment such as Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson, David Letterman and Whoopi Goldberg. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Shore has shared the stage with numerous comedians and musicians including Bob Hope, Mel Brooks, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Tony Bennett, and spent four years as the opening act for Elvis Presley's Comeback Tour. Blair is an Emmy Award-winning comedic actor, screenwriter, songwriter and author. Having appeared on The Tonight Show numerous times, Dennis is best known for his live comedy performances and musical satires. He received an Emmy for his voiceovers and writing in the animated film, Confessions of a Standup. Early in his career, Blair learned from Rodney Dangerfield, co-writing for his movies, ABC specials and comedy album, Rappin' Rodney, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Blair has released a book and two standup comedy albums. He has opened for Tom Jones, The Beach Boys, Joan Rivers, Gloria Estefan, George Carlin and others. Blair headlines in comedy clubs, corporate events and continues to open for celebrities. Known as a unique storyteller who shares hilarious stories about his Italian up-bringing, Dean Napolitano delivers comedy through personal experiences. He has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS and first started in the comedy scene working for clubs throughout Florida and the Midwest. His television credits include Three Rivers, What About Brian (ABC), Heroes (NBC), Las Vegas (NBC), The Shield (FX) Passions (NBC), Ghost Dog (PAX), From the Earth to the Moon (HBO), Mystery Files of Shelby Woo (Nickelodeon), Safe Harbor (Aaron Spelling Productions), Vamps (Victory Productions) and many more. Seats are available on a first come first serve basis, with doors opening at 7 p.m. Please visit www.eastsidecannery.com for more information.
If so, drop an e-mail and ask.
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.