Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from July 30, 2010
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - July 30, 2010

Tim Piper as John Lennon

Menopause the Musical

We blinked and it was gone. Unfortunately, other obligations kept us from seeing Just Imagine, the John Lennon tribute show starring Tim Piper, with other media-types on July 14th. We had planned to check out Piper and his take on the late Beatle in Planet Hollywood's CHI Showroom sometime within the next couple of weeks. A few days ago, it was announced that Just Imagine would have its final show last Saturday, not quite four weeks into a planned three-month run. Since we never saw the production, we can't give our opinion on the quality of the presentation. What we do know is that the producers, Mary Card and Nick LaTrenta, were very brave to try something like this (a two- or four-wall/rent the-room deal) in our current economy. Attempting to fill a 1,400-seat theater, on an ongoing basis, with a relatively unknown production, is risky, even though the concept is built around a well-known personality and mostly familiar music. Apparently, the familiar music, and legalities of its use, was a part of the problem. Maybe going up against Cirque du Soleil's Love, right across the Strip, with music by all of The Beatles, was a poor idea. Anyway, as we have said before, "if you missed it, you missed it"...and we missed it.

Then there is the "Little Show That Could." With a cast of eight talented women, including alternates, last week, Menopause the Musical, produced by Kathi and Alan Glift, celebrated its 2000th show in Las Vegas. Menopause opened at the Hilton in February of 2006, where the cast presented 1534 shows in the Shimmer Cabaret, before moving over to the Luxor's Atrium Showroom in of 2009. Most of the cast - Paige O'Hara, Cheryl Spencer (who rotates in and out), Laura Lee O'Connell, Skye Miles (leaving for a short while and then returning), Sandra Benton, and Vita Corimbi (who also rotates in and out) - have been with the show since its Las Vegas debut. Annette Verdolino and Lori Hunt both joined the show while it was still at the Hilton. Stage manager, Phil Randall, has been with Menopause since its Vegas opening. The success of this small production goes to prove that you don't need a huge cast, a big orchestra, and lots of special effects to survive. You need a unique idea, a talented cast, and a target audience. Tickets range from $59.95 to $ 72.40, all inclusive. For reservation, call (702) 262-4400.
Photo caption (left to right): Laura Lee O'Connell, Kathi Glift, Skye Miles, Alan Glift, Paige O'Hara and Annette Verdolino

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The So You Think You Can Dance tour dates have just been announced, and the popular TV series cast members will take over the, mostly unused, Theater For the performing Arts at Planet Hollywood on November 12th. Tickets, ranging from $35.71 to $52.38, went on sale at 10 a.m. today, Friday, July 30th. Most tickets are available at Ticketmaster locations, online at AEG or Tickets subject to applicable service charges.

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Michael Grimm

Adam Lambert

Lisa & Ron Smith

Musician and current reality television talent show contestant, Michael Grimm, brings his special blend of country music roots and Southern soul to Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon for two nights only, tonight, July 30th, and tomorrow, Saturday, July 31st. The free concerts run between 9:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. in Bill's Lounge, and are open to the public. Grimm, who is still in the running on America's Got Talent, will perform four, one-hour sets during each night. Grimm's musical roots date back to when he was merely five-years-old, growing up with his grandparents in the swamplands of Mississippi. He began performing at 12. Blending country music and Southern-style soul, Grimm was writing music and playing guitar by the time he was 15. Grimm's brand new soul CD, Leave Your Hat On, was recently released. Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon, previously known as the Barbary Coast, is described as a boutique hotel that sits on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. (the Strip) and Flamingo, one of the most famous intersections in the world. For more information, call (702) 737-2100.

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There is lots going on this weekend. Here are reminders of some of the options...
This is It, when Kenny Loggins takes to the stage in the Amphitheater at Sunset Station, tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets (if there are any left) are $35, $45, $55 and $65, plus tax and fees. All ages are welcome, but minors must be accompanied by an adult 21+.

And over at Caesars Palace, Lionel Richie performs tonight and tomorrow night. The world-renowned music icon, with one of the most distinctive and instantly recognizable voices in music, will bring his four decades of award winning hits to The Colosseum. As co-founder of The Commodores in 1967, Lionel experienced his first taste of success after the group signed to Motown Records in 1971, becoming one of the most popular U.S. funk bands, with "Machine Gun" and "Brick House," before creating a slew of future slow jam Richie-penned classics including "Easy," "Three Times a Lady" and "Sail On." Richie began working outside the Commodores in 1980, teaming with such names as Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, and other popular music acts of the 1980s. In 1982, the release of his self-titled solo quadruple platinum Motown debut set Lionel on a record-breaking pathway to global superstardom. His 1983 ten-million-selling Can't Slow Down, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year, was followed by 1986's massively successful, Dancing on the Ceiling. After a period of reflection and personal growth, Lionel returned in 1992 with Back To Front, followed by 1996's Louder Than Words, 1998's Time, 2001's Renaissance, 2003's Encore, the aptly-titled The Definitive Collection, a worldwide multi-million-selling retrospective, 2004's Just For You, and 2006's Coming Home. Just Go, Richie's most recent project, is an album with a decided musical twist and has the artist working with today's hottest hit makers - Tricky Stewart & The Dream, Stargate, and Akon - to show that great talent is always timeless. Tickets for the show, jointly presented by Caesars Palace and AEG Live, run $75, $95, $125 and $175. There is also a $1000 VIP package available. To make reservations for the 8 p.m. show, call (800) 745-3000.

American Idol's runner-up, Adam Lambert, performs at outdoors at Mandalay Bay Beach, tomorrow night (Saturday, July 31st) at 9. Even if it wasn't a standing only concert, we are sure it will be an SRO crowd for the often flamboyant Mr. Lambert. You can pretty much guarantee that "Glambert," as he known by his rabid fans (of which we are one), will not hold back, giving the audience more than their monies worth (tickets were $40). If you want to see and hear "vanilla," Lambert is not your man. For information on Adam's Glamnation Tour tickets (we are sure they are sold out), call (702) 632-7580.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, that would be the husband and wife team of Lisa and Ron Smith, not Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt from the 2005 film of that name, star in Back to Broadway, at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin (2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd.), tomorrow night (Saturday, July 31st) starting at 7 p.m. The Smiths will perform selections from some of your Broadway favorites. Tickets are $15 for residents, and $18 for non-residents. Call the Starbright box office at (702) 240-1301.

At The Onyx Theatre, located inside The Rack in the Commercial Center, RagTag Entertainment's presentation of Jekyll & Hyde continues through tonight and tomorrow night, with shows at 8 p.m., and Sunday, August 1st, at 5 p.m. Directed and choreographed by Giulio Scatola, the cast is made up of local pros, a number who are performers in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular. Tickets for the remaining performances are $10. Call (702) 732-7225.


Todd Sampson

Andrea McArdle

If these choices aren't enough for you, there is also singer Jack Jones at the South Point, tonight through Sunday. Tickets are $30 and $40. Call (702) 797-8055. Then there is talk show host Jay Leno at The Mirage, tonight and tomorrow night. For tickets, priced at $79, $89 and $99, plus taxes and fees, call (702) 792-7777. And then there is the unique Hassidic reggae performer, Matisyahu, at Mandalay Bay Beach, tonight at 9. Tickets are $44, and can be purchased by calling (702) 632-7580. We have a question. Should a nice Jewish boy be working on Shabbat?

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Last Sunday morning, M.I.A. punk rocker, Todd Sampson, 46, died following a show at the Black Door, 4640 Paradise Road in Las Vegas. Sampson was best known as the front man for 1980s Vegas bands, The Swell, Self Abuse and Samsons Army. A musical celebration of Todd Sampson's life will take place tomorrow, July 31st at Wasted Space, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's rock club, beginning at 9 p.m.

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What ever happened to little Andrea McArdle, the talented singer/actress who took Broadway by storm at the age of 14, when she portrayed the red-headed little orphan, Annie, in the musical of the same name? The show was a critical and commercial smash, and Andrea became the youngest performer ever to be nominated for a Tony Award as Best Lead Actress in a Musical. She lost to co-star, Dorothy Loudon, who played the nasty orphan supervisor, Miss Hannigan, but did receive the Theater World and Outer Critics' Circle Awards for her performance. In April 1978, she opened in London's West End production. During the late 1970s and early '80s, McArdle toured with Liberace as one of his numerous protégées (Las Vegans, Domenick Allen and Denise Clemente, also were taken under Liberace's wing during the early days of their careers). We saw her with Liberace when they played the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1980s. More than thirty years later, McArdle is back in the Charles Strouse/Martin Charnin musical that made her famous, this time playing, the mean Mrs. Hannigan.
The touring company of Annie plays Raleigh's North Carolina Theatre through Sunday.

And speaking of New York, and we frequently do, we would love to see something like Sondheim Unplugged happen in Las Vegas. On Mondays, throughout this last month, some of New York's most talented musical theater and cabaret singers raised their voices in Stephen Sondheim songs at The Laurie Beechman Theatre on West 42nd Street. During July, accompanied only by piano, a group of dynamic talents performed their favorites by Broadway's beloved and most prolific composer. Among the many participants, were Trevor Southworth (Naked Boys Singing!); Carey Anderson (Avenue Q, Mamma Mia); Lisa Asher (MAC & Nightlife Award Winner); Christina Bianco (Drama Desk Nominee, Forbidden Broadway); David Brian Colbert (MAC Award Winner); Natalie Douglas (MAC Award Winner); Michelle Dowdy (Hairspray); Eric Comstock's bride, Barbara Fasano (MAC /Bistro/Nightlife Award Winner); Mark Winkler's occasional singing partner, Terese Genecco (MAC & Bistro Award Winner); former Las Vegan, Eric Michael Gillett (Sweet Smell of Success, Kiss Me, Kate, MAC Award Winner); Joe Iconis (Drama Desk Nominee); David Gurland (MAC/Bistro Award Winner); Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (A Little Night Music); Becca Southworth Johnson (The After Party);Trent Armand Kendall (Into the Woods); Audrey Lavine (Rags, Carrie); Lorinda Lisitza (Nightlife Award Winner); Karen Mack (MAC Award Winner); Rob Maitner (Bistro Award Winner); Cindy Marchionda (Jeff Award Winner); Liz McCartney (South Pacific, Taboo); Susie Mosher (Hairspray); Mark Nadler, who has performed in Las Vegas before, and should come back for some encores (MAC Award Winner); Karen Oberlin (MAC Award Winner); Miles Phillips (MAC Award Winner); Shaynee Rainbolt (MAC Award Winner); Leenya Rideout (Company); Jana Robbins (Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Gypsy); Elizabeth Stanley (Company, Cry Baby, Million Dollar Quartet); Katie Thompson (Giant); Will Trice (MAC Award Winner); Jonathan Whitton (MAC Award Winner) and Lennie Watts (MAC Award Winner). Each evening was hosted by Director/Producer Phil Geoffrey Bond (MAC/Bistro/Nightlife Award Winner), with Musical Direction by Tracy Stark (MAC/Bistro Award Winner). At each performance, there were guest appearances by performers who created roles in original Sondheim musicals, including Sarah Rice (Sweeney Todd's original Johanna), Danielle Ferland (Into the Woods' original Little Red Riding Hood and Sunday in the Park with George's original Louise), Pamela Winslow Kashani (Into the Woods), Pamela Myers (Company's original Marta), and Annie Golden (Assassins original Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme).

Mark Nadler

Frank Sinatra

Cork Proctor

And still on the subject of The Big Apple...

It was announced on Wednesday that the Frank Sinatra musical, Come Fly Away, will close its run at Broadway's Marquis Theatre on September 5th. The homage to the music of Sinatra, featuring a 19-piece band and 15 dancers, opened in March, and earned choreographer/director, Twyla Tharp, a Drama Desk award for choreography. Tharp won a Tony and Drama Desk Award for her choreography in 2002's Movin' Out, inspired by the music of Billy Joel. Beginning in May of 2011, Come Fly Away will embark on a national tour, with its first stop being in Chicago. Producers said more details on the tour will be announced later. Might a stop in Las Vegas be on the schedule?

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Cork Proctor's recent engagement at Catch a Rising Star at the Silver Legacy in Northern Nevada was more than just another job in his 50+ year career as a stand-up comic. It was also an opportunity for him to see some longtime friends. Not only did the funny man celebrate his 78th birthday on a Reno stage last week, he was able to join 30 of his former Bishop Manogue Catholic High School classmates, for a reunion dinner. Proctor credits Father Joseph Linde, Manogue's principal, for turning the potential bad boy into "a relatively decent student." During the five nights he performed at Catch, some old pals of Cork's showed up for some laughs and to share memories. Roy Powers, who Cork describes as a maven and a mentor, came in twice. The 88-year-old gentleman was the longtime Director of Marketing, Advertising and Entertainment for Harold's Club in Reno. It was Roy who, in 1965, gave Proctor his first break as a musician (Cork was a drummer), and seven years later put him on the stage at Harold's to launch his career as a stand-up comic. Architect, Jerry Poncia, Cork's friend of 60 years, also came by for some fun, as did Judd Pierce, longtime Reno veterinarian. It was Dr. Pierce who saved the life of Cork's daughter, Kathy's beloved dog. On Sunday, Kathy, flew up to Reno to see her dad and catch his show before joining him for the motor trip taking her back to Southern California. While in Los Angeles, Proctor joined his friend, singer Loree Frazier, for a club gig, before his return to Las Vegas.

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Singer Michelle Johnson has been, and is managing to stay, busy, busy, busy. She has been performing at the Gold Coast as part of their Gold Coast Classics afternoon series. Joining her are Billy T on keys, and Mike Tramontana on drums. Michelle says, "We have a loyal group that come to listen and dance to our music ... we are playing jazz classics." They alternate with a couple of other bands, including the Lisa Smith trio. Michelle and company usually play Tuesdays through Fridays, from 2 to 5 p.m., but on Fridays in August, the showroom will be taken over (temporarily) by Ed Matthew's Hit Parade, which moves into the Gold Coast while the Suncoast Showroom gets a facelift. Michelle's next run starts on August 17th, and she is doing the August 20th Hit Parade show as well. Recently, she had the honor of performing with Lesley Gore as part of the Legendary Ladies of Rock and Roll show at The Orleans Hotel and Casino. Lesley's hits include "It's My Party," Judy's Turn to Cry," and "You Don't Own Me," as well as the popular song "Out Here on My Own," from the '80s hit movie, Fame. The Legendary Ladies also featured Shirley Alston Reeves of the Shirelles, and Little Peggy March. In addition to Michelle, the band included singer Karen Jones on backups, Gary Olds on drums, Joey Singer on keys, Mariano Longo on synthesizer, Carl Vreeland on bass, and Steve Cantor on guitar (Steve was also the contractor). Michelle reports, "The ladies were outstanding!" Johnson also had a blast participating in a tribute to the Great Ladies of Jazz. She paid homage to Ella Fitzgerald, singing "ATisket a Tasket," "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)," and "How High the Moon," at the Hit Parade on July 22nd. On August 4th, Michelle will take part in Reno's Hot August Nights, when she joins Sonny Turner's Platters. We told you she was busy!

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Michelle Johnson with Sonny Turner & The Platters

Rich & Marie Little

A large number of mourners showed up at Palm Mortuary on South Eastern, to pay their respects to Marie Little, wife of comic impressionist, Rich Little. Marie passed away, unexpectedly, on July 17th, at the too young age of 43. Among those who attended the services were Bill Acosta, Jeanne Bavaro, Frankie Scinta, Chrissi Scinta, Peter O'Donnell, Mama Scinta, Susan Anton & Jeff Lester, Steve Rossi, Kathy Walker, Marty Allen & Karon Kate Blackwell, Nelson Sardelli, Gordie Brown, Norm Johnson & Nancy Barr, Kathy Spehar, Duke Morgan & Candi Cazau, Annette Falcone, Dennis Bono & Lorraine Hunt Bono, Lonnie Hammargren, Josette LeBlond, and former State Legislator, the Honorable Louis A. Toomin.

At the request of the family, it was suggested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Child Haven in Marie's name. We neglected to provide an address where those donations can be mailed. Send what you can to: Child Haven, 701 N. Pecos Road, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Please direct your mail to Julie Ball. And for those who wrote to ask where they could send a note of sympathy to Marie's family, the address would be 9030 W. Sahara Ave., #445, Las Vegas, NV 89117

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Last Sunday, Louis Prima, best known for the years he spent as a Las Vegas lounge. legend, was honored with a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The influential band leader was honored at a Sunday ceremony on Vine Street, attended by celebrities, dignitaries, fans, and his son Louis Prima Jr., and daughter, Lena Prima, who both continue the legacy of their father's music. "Louis Prima was a great entertainer and presented a great show. But more than anything else, he brought happiness to his audiences," said Bill Cosby in a congratulatory message read at the midday ceremony, which also included a concert of Prima's music by Louis Prima Jr.'s big band, The Witnesses, as well as swing-dancing fans. Prima, the late 'King of Swing,' received the 2413th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a centennial celebration that included dancing in the street to his big-band sounds. Prima, who died in 1978, would have been 100 years old this year.

Louis Prima

Rich Natole

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Last weekend, CBS' Sunday Morning featured a number of interesting, Vegas-connected segments. It seems that much (maybe all) of Sunday's stories were repeats, although, since we hadn't seen them before, they were new to us. There was a segment on Wayne Newton that featured a couple of our friends, journalist John Katsilometes, and comic impressionist, Rich Natole, and a story of artist, Willard Wigan, who creates unbelievable microscopic art. We met Mr. Wigan, who is from Birmingham, England, at a party hosted by producer Paul Stone. Some of his miniature creations were on display in the suite at the Suncoast. Wigan has Dyslexia, a learning disability, but has talented hands. He makes the sculptures out of dust particles, sugar crystals, etc. He works only around midnight, and can do some of the work only between heartbeats. They have to be seen, rather than explained. Check him out on the Internet.

Willard Wigan

Mac King

Carmine Mandia

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On Saturday, July 24th, comedy/magician Mac King's performance at a special benefit show for the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, raised $2,600. More than 200 people attended the event at the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus. The money raised will help provide girls with summer adventures at Camp Foxtail. Mac, a family man, is one of the generous Las Vegas entertainers who is always glad to lend a hand, and some fig newton cookies and gold fish, for a worthy community cause.

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Tonight and tomorrow night, starting at 8 p.m., it's Carmine Mandia's turn in Addison's Lounge at the Rampart. With Ned Mills on keyboards and Gary Olds on drums, Mandia, who performs with the Shades of Sinatra group, and is a regular at Piero's, will offer up favorites from the Great American Songbook.

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Next Sunday, August 8th, at 1:30 p.m., SinCity Q Socials, Las Vegas' Premiere LGBT Social Network, will present the songwriting team of William Waldrop and Robert Williamson in Listen To Our Song, a concert of their original works at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theater. The concert, with music by composer Waldrop (Assistant Conductor of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular) and lyricist Williamson, is a revue of original material the songwriting team has collaborated on since meeting on the national tour of Cats three years ago and includes music from projects currently in development - Red Rover, Oktasha: A Legend, and Pandemic! A Mini Flusical. The cabaret-style concert will feature a cast of ten singers and dancers and an eight-piece onstage band, from Phantom. Waldrop and Williamson say of the concert, "The revue is a fun, light-hearted show, with material that may even veer to the edge of the outrageous, but it is also introspective and serious, with both heartfelt and bittersweet moments." The two decided to put on the concert as a way for the public to get to know them and their work and also to support a very important cause. Williamson says, "I found out I was going to have most of the summer off, and I was excited for William and I to try and complete a lot of unfinished material." He went on to say, "At Phantom, William has access to some of the most talented performers in Las Vegas, all of whom are always eager to support a wonderful charity like Golden Rainbow." Waldrop, who will serve as the concert's musical director, will also provide arrangements and orchestrations for the 90-minute concert. Choreography is by Courtney Combs. Golden Rainbow is a local charity known for their tireless efforts in helping to support the Strip's varied and diverse performers. Their annual fundraiser, Ribbon of Life, held recently at The Las Vegas Hilton on June 13, raises approximately $200,000 each year. Golden Rainbow Executive Director Lea Clayville says, "Clark County is facing a crisis with cuts in federal funding to HIV/AIDS support services. Now is the time for Golden Rainbow to step up and fulfill our mission: when no one else can, we can. However, we can't do it without the support of our patrons, and we invite everyone to Listen To Our Song for an incredible afternoon of entertainment for a great cause." Waldrop and Williamson's songs have been heard most recently at the Las Vegas Composer's Showcase (Liberace Museum), We Go Together (BC/EFA Benefits in St. Louis and Pittsburgh), and the ArtsRageous Festival (Aruba Hotel). Their song 'Beyond' was performed by the Las Vegas Men's Chorus in their recent concert I Gotta Feeling. All proceeds from the concert, as well as the preceding silent auction, will benefit Golden Rainbow, the local non-profit organization that provides housing and financial assistance to Southern Nevadans living with HIV/AIDS. Tickets are $20. A 12 noon silent auction at the library will precede the musical program.

Waldrop & Williamson

Alison Arngrim

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Did you love TV's Little House on The Prairie? Did you hate little Nellie Oleson? If you answered "yes" to either or both questions, do we have a show for you. Former child star, comic, outspoken activist, and TV Land award winner, Alison Arngrim, who played nasty Nellie, brings her one woman show, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, to The Onyx Theatre, inside The Rack in Commercial Center, for six performances, beginning on August 5th. Best known as acid-tongued, pre-Midol meanie, Nellie, from the Michael Landon-starring series, Arngrim presents an uproarious evening of storytelling, stand-up, and multi media about life as everyone's favorite toxic pre-teen brat, complete with petticoats and ringlets. The live appearance also marks the release of Arngrim's book of the same title. Never afraid to dish the dirt on TV land, Alison lets all the secrets of Little House on the Prairie, Hollywood and much more, loose. Recalling her life and career as bitchy Nellie Oleson, Arngrim startles audiences with off-color jokes about child stars and TV icons of the 1970s and '80s. Show times are at 8 p.m., August 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th and 14th, with tickets priced at $25. Located near the famous Las Vegas Strip, The Onyx Theatre is Las Vegas' leading alternative theatrical and performance space for world-class and local artists. They provide a space dedicated to personal artistic expression, free minds, unrestrained entertainment and socially relevant art. The Onyx is located at 953 E. Sahara #16. For additional information, call
(702) 732-7225.

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Las Vegan, Robert Beal, from 7zero2 Entertainment, reports that some of the crew, from Whale Wars on the Animal Planet Channel, had been staying at his home during their filming break. Shannon Mann and Fiona McCuaig, crew members of the Sea Shepherd, Laurens De Groot, crew member on the ship Ady Gil when it was rammed by the Japanese whaler ship, and Steve Roest, CEO of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, have been Vegas show hopping - seeing Blue Man Group and Jubilee! among them. Following their Vegas visit, the group returned to Riverside, California, for a benefit show August 31st, to help support their ships and to pay for their return to Antarctica in the Fall, as they continue their quest to stop the illegal whaling by the Japanese. The Captain of the Ady Gil, Pete Bethune, was captured by the Japanese and taken to Japan after his ship was destroyed. The Japanese sentenced him to two years in jail, but, because of the outrage from the animal rights people, he was released a couple of weeks ago after nine months in captivity. Beal tells us, "They are super fascinating people, so full of life and energy and it has been a joy to have them under my roof this week!" Footnote: Television personality and animal rights activist, Bob Barker, donated millions of dollars to the Sea Shepherd crew to buy their other boat. It has recently been renamed The Bob Barker. The generous Barker also paid for the helicopter!
The accompanying group photo shows (from left to right), Laurens De Groot, Robert Beal, Shannon Mann, Sergio Sierra of 7zero2 Entertainment, and Steve Roest. Not pictured was Fiona McCuaig.

Robert Beal & Friends

Brian McKnight

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The city of Las Vegas invites everyone to enjoy performances of "UBUNTU - We Are All Connected ... The Essence of Life" by some of our community's talented youth on August 3rd through the 7th. All performances are free and open to the public. The program will be presented at the following times and locations, with the support of Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, and the Clark County and West Las Vegas Libraries. On Tuesday, August 3rd, 10 a.m., at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino; Wednesday, August 4th, 1 p.m., at the Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo Road; and Saturday, August 7th, 2 p.m., at the West Las Vegas Library Theatre, 951 W. Lake Mead Blvd. The West Las Vegas Arts Center 2010 Performing & Visual Arts Summer Camp provides an opportunity for Las Vegas area youth to acquire character-building, life skills training through an eight-week, arts education program that incorporates values consistent with building strong and diverse, yet cohesive, communities. The arts center, operated by the city of Las Vegas, is the site of numerous culturally focused activities. Classes are offered in tap, hip hop, modern, ballet and African dance, youth theatre and African drum. Private lessons are offered for piano and voice. In addition to arts, the West Las Vegas Arts Center also offers Tae kwon do, music production and studio engineering classes. The next class sessions begin September 7th and Oct. 25. Advance registration is required for classes. All of these classes are value priced and affordable for a six-week session. Call the arts center for information at (702) 229-4800.

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Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel will celebrate its two-year anniversary during the month of August. The "Canniversary" celebration will officially kick off on Sunday, August 1st, with free cupcakes and champagne in Marilyn's Lounge from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. "Canniversary" events include a performance by Grammy Award-winning Brian McKnight on Saturday, August 21st, in the Casablanca Event Center; a special casino player event on Friday, August 27th starring Rich Little, and gaming promotions and giveaways throughout the month. "We are absolutely thrilled to celebrate our two-year 'Canniversary,' and though the official anniversary date is August 28 we decided to celebrate throughout the entire month to show our guests our appreciation," said Marty Gross, vice president and general manager of Eastside Cannery Casino & Resort. "We encourage everyone to come and enjoy all the events and promotions we have planned for August. It's going to be an exciting month!" We will have more details on the Eastside Cannery's month long celebration in next Friday's column.

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