Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column



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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from March 04, 2011
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - March 4, 2011


Polio Crusade

President Roosevelt in Wheelchair

The location is Chicago. The time is the mid-1940s. It's summertime, and the children are out of school. Many of them should be splashing around in the city's public swimming pools, but they aren't. For the most part, the public pools are closed. Kids birthday parties are being canceled. Why? Because parents are very worried. They are frightened because of polio. The number of people, mostly children, are being diagnosed with the virus, and the situation is of epidemic proportions. Thousands are sick and dying. Leg braces, crutches and iron lungs are being used around the country. Even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is a polio victim (although he is rarely ever shown in his wheelchair). Cousin Claire was one of the children to contract the virus in the summer of 1946. This weekend, and next, the Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV presents Summers of Fear, an original play by Robert Benedetti, recounts some of what took place in an effort to stop the spread of polio. Jonas Salk worked night and day to create an effective vaccine using a method that defied conventional wisdom. It was delivered to millions by the March of Dimes, the largest peacetime mobilization in American history. By 1953, the Salk vaccine had reduced polio deaths by 80 percent, but the storm of controversy it caused left Salk's reputation in tatters. This new original play, directed by Brad Carroll, chronicles a thrilling episode of American medical history that touched many of you directly. The cast includes Steve Rapella as Jonas Salk; Lauren T. Mack as Donna Salk; Joan Mullaney as Dora Salk; Jordan Bondurant as Julius Youngner; Lisa Fischel as Elsie Ward; George Cohen as Albert Sabin; Mike Thatcher as Tommy Francis; Dale Perry as Basil O'Connor; and Mason Leech as Jimmy Sarkett. Performances are in the Judy Bayley Theater at 8 p.m. tonight, March 4th, and again at 8 on the 5th, 10th 11th, and 12th. Matinees at 2 p.m. on Sundays, March 6th and 13th. Tickets are $20 and $30 and on sale at the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office. Special rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Box Office may be reached by calling 895-ARTS (2787). Summers of Fear is something to see, both for those who lived through the '40s and '50s polio epidemics and remember the times, AND for the younger generation who benefited from the vaccine and really have no idea what polio, still a major problem in third-world countries, is.

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Leigh Zimmerman & Boyd Gaines

Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane & Susan Stroman

On February 28th, award-winning director, choreographer Susan Stroman (Contact, The Producers, The Scottsboro Boys), was honored with a gala celebration in New York. Tony Award-winning stars, Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane (who co-starred in The Producers on Broadway, as well as in the 2005 movie musical version of the Mel Brooks romp), served as Masters of Ceremonies for STRO! They were joined by a host of special guests, including Roger Bart and Gary Beach (The Producers), Joshua Henry, Colman Domingo, and the cast of The Scottsboro Boys; Boyd Gaines and Leigh Zimmerman from Contact; Rebecca Luker from The Music Man and Showboat; Karen Ziemba from Crazy for You; Debra Monk from Steel Pier; Veanna Cox from Flora, The Red Menace; Craig Bierko from The Music Man; and Fred Applegate from Happiness and The Producers. Also on hand to honor Stroman was John Kander, who, with the late Fred Ebb, wrote the music for The Scottsboro Boys and Flora, The Red Menace. In addition to The Producers, Stroman also earned Tony Awards as choreographer for Crazy for You, Showboat and Contact. Her other Broadway choreographing credits include Oklahoma!, Young Frankenstein, The Music Man and Steel Pier. Ms. Stroman, who has also been honored with Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, George Abbott, Lucille Lortel and Astaire Awards, directed Happiness at the Lincoln Center Theater. The above mentioned Leigh Zimmerman, who played the Girl in a Yellow Dress in Contact, as well as Ulla in the Vegas production of The Producers, is currently reprising her role as Velma Kelly in the Broadway production of Chicago. The beautiful Las Vegas resident is the wife of uber entertainer Domenick Allen, and the mother of talented 11-year-old Cayleigh Capaldi.

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According to our friend, Mr. Webster, the word "hiatus" means (as a noun) - 1. a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc. These days, in Las Vegas, we are not sure exactly what it means. A number of hotels have shows that were or possibly are on hiatus. Nunsense, the happy little musical about trying to raise burial funds for some sisters who died after eating poisoned soup that opened in the Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton in September, took a three week hiatus at the end of January (to work out some behind-the-scenes business issues). The Little Sisters of Hoboken were back up and running by February 21st. As far as fans of the comedy - starring a talented group of ladies including Diane Ellis, Michelle Johnson, Kelly Clinton Holmes, Kathryn Arianoff, Robin Berry Vincent and Natalie Carson - were concerned, it was nun too soon. Nunsense plays Saturdays through Thursdays (dark on Fridays), at 4 p.m. There are reduced ticket prices available for locals. Call (702) 732-5755 for info and reservations.


Nunsense at the Hilton

Rafael Palacios & Larry Fischer of Triumph

Triumph, which, since late last year, had had multiple starts and stops (hiatuses?) in the Las Vegas Hilton main showroom, closed up for good on February 23rd. A lot of folks, in front of and behind the curtain, were banking on this show. It appears it ran out of steam before it really got going. Too bad. We really hate to see ANYTHING fail in Las Vegas, as it is a negative, any way you look at it.

Then, there are the shows that WERE at the Sahara. They, supposedly, are on hiatus. What will happen there is anybody's guess. The property at the north end of the Strip, once one of the premiere hotel casinos, is now a shell of its former self. Two of the three hotel towers are closed. The upstairs buffet and second showroom are closed. The 24-hour coffee shop shuts down at 11 p.m., and now, no shows. Many of the productions (Bob Kephart's Comedy Stop, Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack, The Amazing Kreskin, and others) had already thrown in the towel in recent months, as they struggled to find an audience, dealt with being moved from space-to-space, and tried to overcome hotel insider problems. Whether Rick Thomas will magically reappear as the hotel's headliner, remains to be seen. For a number of years, Thomas' entertaining magic show did good business at both the Tropicana and the Stardust hotels. He had a brief stay at the off-Strip Orleans, before heading to the Sahara. If he does return, is Thomas enough to save the Sahara? Only time will tell.


Rick Thomas

Shades of Sinatra

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Shades of Sinatra, featuring Ryan Baker, Larry Liso, Carmine Mandia and Lisa Smith, is currently performing in the Wolf Theater at the Clarion (formerly the Paddlewheel, Debbie Reynolds and the Greek Isles), located at 305 Convention Center Drive. This exciting musical production pays tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes, from touching, heartfelt solos to rousing group numbers. The non-stop, high-energy show is loaded with zany humor and off-the-cuff, good-natured ribbing, as well as poignant stories about the man and his music. Experience all your favorite timeless classics, in Shades of Sinatra, celebrating the music of a legend.
General admission ticket prices are $52.92, all inclusive. Shows are at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thirty minutes before showtime, Las Vegans, seniors, college students and military personnel, with proper ID, can purchase tickets at the hotel box office for half price. VIP seating and dinner packages are also available. For additional information, call (702) 990-1524, or visit www.wolftheaterlasvegas.com.

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F.I.O.R.E. Greeter Nelson Sardelli

Harley & Gail Akers

Last month's F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) Valentine Party provided a fun time for all. Many of the attendees came in costume, dressed as mobsters and molls (at least we THINK they were costumes). Among the familiar faces that we spotted around our table were Rolando Larraz, Aldemio Mancuso (Nelson Sardelli's visiting Italian/Brazilian cousin), Lou Toomin, Lorraine Markhem, Harley and Gail Akers, Diane Ellis, Norm Johnson and Judge Cedric Kerns. Providing music during the evening was Gary Anderson and friends, with a guest spot by sax player, Dr. George Ritter. Ms. Ellis charmed the group with some appropriate songs for the romantics. President Sardelli (all the male F.I.O.R.E. members are presidents) tells us that the March non-meeting meeting of the non-club club, will be held on Thursday, the 10th, at the Italian American Social Club, 2333 E. Sahara. Guest speaker will be President/Dr. Wilfred Krom, who will talk about "Myths, Hypes, Realities and Answers about Back/Neck Pain" (no smart remarks are necessary). Dr. Krom has spoken at a number of F.I.O.R.E. gatherings (he must be good, or they wouldn't give him more mic time). Krom, a retired Orthopedic Surgeon, not only treated back, neck, hip, knee, hand, shoulder, elbow, foot and ankle injuries and diseases for 38 years, but he himself has had, count them, nine back and neck surgeries. As he is no longer practicing, Krom is not looking for "customers" so he won't be passing out business cards. He was an Associate Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at USC, then later at UCLA, and had always been associated with a teaching university hospital. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and has a degree of Master of Orthopedic Surgery from the University of Liverpool, UK. Krom is board certified with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. His medical degree was obtained from his alma mater in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1959. He has lived in the U.S. since 1968, and became a proud American citizen in 1977. In addition, he has been a F.I.O.R.E. President for quite some time, and has always shown great attitude and willingness to participate and help the group along. Important to mention, he is a friend of Arthur Schroeck and Linda November and "plays the Chromatic harmonica okay." Dr. Krom will bring some props with him (several models of the spine) to illustrate the talk. He will take questions and does not mind being interrupted during the presentation. As a matter of fact he welcomes discussion. "We are lucky to have him in our midst," says Sardelli. Don't miss this meeting as it will be an opportunity to learn something. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., just in time for lunch. Cost is $20 a person. Don't forget your name badges. Also, it's time (or PAST time) to pay your 2011 dues. Please RSVP to [email protected] before March 9th (the Italian American Club needs to know how many to prepare for so that they don't run out of dessert like they did at the Valentine's party). Sorry, ladies, this non-meeting meeting is just for the fellows.


Dr. Wilfred Krom

Larry "Wild" Wrice

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Tomorrow night (Saturday the 5th), from 7 to 11 p.m., you can enjoy the sounds of The Chicago Blues Busters at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in The District at Green Valley Ranch. On Tuesday, March 8th, from 8 p.m. to midnight, The Chicago Blues Busters and the Gents Of Swing will be recording a live promo DVD at Choices Pub, 6720 Cheyenne (cross road Rainbow, right behind KFC). The Chicago Blues Busters are made up of Larry "Wild" Wrice on drums and vocals, JR Sims on guitar and vocals, and Leroy Ball on bass and vocals. The Gents Of Swing are Wrice on drums, and brothers Leroy Ball on bass and Louis Ball on keys. Wrice played with Louis Ball in Chicago before he left for Europe. Louis was playing the B3 organ at that time. If you want to be part of the DVD-taping audience, be sure to mark your calendars.

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Golden Rainbow, a local HIV/AIDS nonprofit, will announce the venue for the 25th annual Ribbon of Life Spectacular during a kickoff fundraising mixer at Revolution Lounge inside The Mirage on Tuesday, March 8th at 8 p.m. Guests will enjoy entertainment, music and premium raffle prizes. Raffle items include: a three-night stay at a condominium in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; a two-night stay at The Artisan Hotel Boutique; a pair of tickets to Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; and a dinner and show package that includes dinner for two at Isla Mexican Kitchen at Treasure Island and two tickets to Mystère by Cirque du Soleil. Admission is $20. Guests will be entered into the raffle with the price of admission, and all proceeds from the event benefit Golden Rainbow. Staged each June, Ribbon of Life is an on-stage spectacular featuring the best singers, dancers and performers from major shows on the Las Vegas Strip. The unique and original production is Golden Rainbow's largest source of funding and has become one of the largest HIV/AIDS fundraisers in Nevada. Founded by members of the entertainment community, for 25 years, Golden Rainbow has been providing housing and direct financial assistance to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Southern Nevada while also supporting HIV/AIDS related education. For more information, call (702)384-2899, or visit www.goldenrainbow.org.

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International recording artist and world-champion pianist, Ryan Ahern, celebrated the grand opening of his new show, Piano! Las Vegas, on February 23rd, marking a new residency on the Las Vegas Strip. Playing music genres from Broadway and rock n' roll to Boogie Woogie, Ahern amazes audiences with his diverse arrangements and mesmerizing hand speed. The show plays Saturdays through Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. at the V Theater inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. "Growing up in Las Vegas, it's always been a dream of mine to one day have my own show on the Strip," said Ahern. "After traveling the world, that day has finally come and I look forward to entertaining audiences with my twist on some of the most iconic songs in music history." Piano! Las Vegas is backed by six of Las Vegas' finest musicians who entertain audiences with exciting and lush arrangements. From contemporary medleys, such as Maroon Five's "This Love" and Seal's "Kiss From a Rose," to favorite hits including Ray Charles' "Mess Around," Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," to timeless movie themes from John Williams' "Theme from E.T," Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" and the exciting classics "Malagueña" and "Flight of the Bumblebee Boogie," all topped off with Ryan's own award-winning "Boogie Woogie," Ahern presents a masterful showcase of piano technique and artistry that speaks to every audience member. Tickets start at $29.99 for general admission, $39.99 for VIP seating, and $12.99 for children 12 and under. For tickets, call the V Theater Box Office at (866) 932-1818, or visit www.pianolasvegas.com.


Ryan Ahern

Sugar the Musical

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This Sunday, March 6th, for just the one night, Musical Theatre West, as part of the Reiner Reading Series, presents Sugar: The Some Like It Hot Musical. This production stars Larry Raben and Nick Santa Maria (who recently performed as The Odd Couple at the Norris Center in Southern California), Bets Malone, Eddie Korbich, Bobby Pieranunzi, Robert Towers and Diane Vincent star. The staged reading will be at 7 p.m. at the University Theater on the CSU Long Beach campus at the 7th Street entrance. This special event is generously underwritten by long-time Long Beach residents and Musical Theatre West donors, Ken and Dottie Reiner. Pre purchased general admission tickets are $20 ($25 at the door), and are available now through the MTW box office at (562) 856-1999, ext. 4.

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Trio Restaurant has teamed up with Coyote StageWorks to offer a dinner and show combo. For $45 ($40 for Sunday evenings 6:30 performances) you can dine at Trio on a three course Prix-Fixe dinner (beverage and gratuity not included) and then see Fully Committed at 7 p.m. (Sunday matinee attendees dine after the show.) Purchase your entire evening here! NOTE: This offer is only good for dining between 4 and 6 p.m.

This devastatingly funny, 90-minute play follows a day in the life of Sam, an out-of-work actor who mans the red-hot reservation line at Manhattan's number-one restaurant. Broadway veteran, David Engel, tackles the role of Sam and 40 other characters in this hilarious one-man tour de force that, according to Time Out New York, "gallops along at a swift, almost frantic pace." The play is directed by Joel Bishoff (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change). Mr. Engel is a five-time winner of the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award. He has appeared on Broadway opposite Carol Burnett in Putting It Together, and as the Bass Wickersham in Seussical: The Musical. Also on Broadway, David created the role of Hanna from Hamburg in the original production of La Cage aux Folles, and played an Aggie in both the stage and the film versions of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He created the role of Smudge in the original New York production of Forever Plaid and in subsequent London, and Los Angeles productions (LA Drama Critics, Drama-Logue, Ovation Awards). Engel then recreated the role of Smudge in Plaid Tidings at the Pasadena Playhouse. Other stage credits include starring roles in Crazy for You, The Full Monty, Kiss Me Kate, Singing In the Rain, Children of Eden, Swing!, Dames At Sea, Little Shop of Horrors, The Andrews Brothers, and White Christmas. David played the villain in Pasadena Playhouse's newly re-envisioned Can-Can. Career highlights include a guest spot on The Tonight Show, a command performance before Queen Elizabeth II in The Royal Variety Show at London's Dominion Theatre followed by a private audience with the queen, and co-hosting the Presidential Inaugural Gala at the Kennedy Center, preceded by dinner at the White House with the President and First Lady. David can be heard on the original cast recordings of all his Broadway and off-Broadway shows, as well as guest artist on numerous other albums. Recently, Mr. Engel starred in a new musical short film called Zombie Prom, and shared an onscreen romance with RuPaul. In addition to his acting career, David has directed the original commercials for Forever Plaid and The World Goes 'Round. He also created and directed the MGM/UA Home Video "Logo-Fanfare," which heads every video release. He produced and directed a documentary as a companion to That's Entertainment III, and recently served as the Film Sequence Director for Judy Garland: A Tribute at Carnegie Hall, The Busby Berkeley Suite with The Boston Pops, and Carnegie Hall Celebrates the Glorious MGM Musicals. A longtime member of Musical Theatre Guild, David is most proud of his work in A Connecticut Yankee (Martin), No, No Nanette (Ensemble), The Wild Party (Black), My Favorite Year (Alan Swann), Jubilee (Prince James), The Rink (Tony), Passion (Giorgio), Over Here (Utah), Falsettos (Marvin), Once Upon a Mattress (Jester), Here's Love! (Marvin Shellhammer), 110 In the Shade (Jim, for which he won the Backstage West Garland Award). Mr. Engel completed principal shooting on FOREVER PLAID: THE MOVIE in August '08 which is scheduled for release this Christmas. Fully Committed runs from March 10th through 27th. Get your tickets by calling (800) 838-3006, or online: www.coyotestageworks.org.


David Engel is Fully Committed

Frank Dain

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Vocalist Frank Dain makes his return to cabaret performance with A Tribute to Johnny Mathis at Manhattan's Metropolitan Room. Dain will bring fresh interpretations to such Mathis signature tunes as "Chances Are," "It's Not for Me to Say," "Wild Is the Wind," "Misty" and "The Twelfth of Never. " Contributing creative arrangements is Dain's frequent collaborator, musical director Kathleen Landis. Saadi Zain will accompany on bass. A Tribute to Johnny Mathis will also include such undersung jewels as "99 Miles from L.A.," "Yellow Roses on Her Gown," "I'll Be Easy to Find" and "Photograph," all part of Mathis's remarkable 55-year career. Multi-award winner Lennie Watts is directing. Stephen Peitham, of Capital Public Radio, said of the performer, "Frank Dain has a warm intensity in his voice that suits the romantic nature of the songs," while Jeff Rossen, of Cabaret Scenes magazine writes, "A beautiful voice infused with lyrical interpretations that tear at the very core of a song's heart." Showbiz Times declares Dain, "A superb singer with irresistible charisma, elegant finesse, substance, warmth and depth." Showtimes at the Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd St., between 5th and 6th Avenues, are March 3rd and 31st at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (212) 206-0440 for reservations. Incidentally, Frank Dain also happens to be the Editor in Chief of Cabaret Scenes, a nifty monthly publication for those who love cabaret and musical theater.

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Choreographer, Mistinguett, writes to let us know that she produced the tribute to choreographer/costume designer Michael Darrin that took place during the Breck Wall afternoon at the South Point on February 20th. All of the costumes, modeled by beautiful showgirl/dancers, were provided by Carrie Proffitt from Breck's wardrobe collections. The number seen at Breck's Life Celebration was direct from the show that Mistinguett recently produced called Showgirl Follies. All the performers in the number, and in Showgirl Follies, are 50 years and older, and featured dancers retired from major production shows on the Strip. They are, Jack Failla, Timmari Putti, Stacy Law Johnson, Jacqueline Koenig, Mary Ann Arcadipane, Terry Ritter, Nicole Duffel, Kimba Munford, Troy Stern Papameletiou, Leigh Christiansen and Delia Sheppard. Showgirl Follies will play at Sun City Summerlin's Starbright Theatre on August 6th and 7th. We will provide more information closer to the performance dates.


Mistinguett

Michael Darrin

Phyllis Molinary

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Gone, but never forgotten..
We received a very sad e-mail from singer/composer/producer/teacher and vocologist, Beth Lawrence, informing us that her friend, songwriter Phyllis Molinary (lyricist for the beautiful, "Here's To Life") died in Los Angeles on February 13th, due to complications of emphysema in Los Angeles. "She was such a great lyricist who always knew her craft, says Beth. "I lived with her when we both came to Las Vegas in 1989, and she remained a friend and fellow artist through the years. I am sad today because Phyllis represents so many writers/musicians who spend their whole lives working at their craft, out of love, but may never really see monetary gains from all their efforts. There are so many talented people out there who never get the recognition they deserve, and it always amazes me that we artists will go through hell and back; endure relentless rejection; and see others profit from our efforts; and still we remain true to our Artist's Path. So it is with love and respect that I say goodbye to my talented friend Phyllis, knowing that her hard work, dedication, and love for her music will live on in the lyrics she leaves behind." Beautifully said, Beth.

In her own words, Phyllis Molinary writes...
I was 12 years old when I first heard an old recording of Billie Holiday singing "God Bless the Child." What I felt was so deeply moving that I knew at that moment that I had to be a participant in the beautiful world of music. It was a life-changing experience. It meant letting go of my dream of becoming a cowgirl. I began saving money earned from baby sitting and house cleaning jobs in my neighborhood. I spent every dime on voice lessons and sheet music, not to mention every Hollywood musical that graced the screen of the only movie theater in Cedartown, Georgia. (It was a veerrry small town back then). So I did it. I became a professional singer, known as Phyllis Williams. I actually got paid to sing. I would have paid them to let me sing, but I needed the cash for gowns and charts, stuff like that. I sang my way around the USA in clubs and on television shows, such as The Steve Allen Show. Great fun! I loved the road. Little did I know I was just doing research. I memorized a gazillion songs. Learned their structures. How and why they worked I didn't know I was a songwriter until the mid 1970s. I was listening to a country-pop radio station playing their version of Hits of the Day. Now, keep in mind I was a jazz singer in my pre-married-mommy days and had a bit of an attitude about what constituted "music." EUREKA!, I said. "I'll just bet I can do that!" Three months later I had my first recording. "Everytime I Sing a Love Song" has had multiple recordings since then. Lyrics by me. Gloria Sklerov wrote the music to my words. I was sooooo happy! Since that time I have had my songs recorded by: Jermaine Jackson, Billie Jo Spears, Glen Campbell, Ray Price, Terri Gibbs, Taca Boom, John Davidson, Jimmie Rodgers, Jack Jones, Meri Wilson, Dave & Sugar, Cyndi Grecco, Jon English, Lane Caudell, Eartha Kitt, Rebecca Dru, Lainie Kazan, Gary LeMel, Marilyn Scott, Jacintha, Joe Williams, Shirley Horn, Barbra Streisand and the list goes on. I won the Music City Song Festival with a song entitled "Hey, Heart." Doug Case put music to my words. Good job, Doug! Some of my songs wound up in movies: Cannonball Run, Play It To the Bone, Stoker Ace, Hangin' On a Star. I wrote a television show theme song with composer Lenny Stack. Lenny was doing the music for a show called Our Time, and asked me to write the lyrics for the theme. Thanks, Lenny! A few of my songs went gold, one went platinum. Mostly, I had a lot of fun. As it should be when one works at what one loves to do. I wish everybody could have that joy.
By the way, it was the talented Artie Butler who wrote the music for "Here's To Life."


Jane Russell

George Lopez, Berry Fabulous & Terry Fator

Actress Jane Russell died last week at the age of 89. Those of a certain age probably best remember the voluptuous, brunette pinup girl for her co-starring role with Marilyn Monroe in 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (for which she was paid $400,000). Russell was born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell in Bemidji, Minn. Her family later moved to Southern California, and as a teen, she performed in plays at Van Nuys High School. Ms. Russell got her movie career start in Howard Hughes' 1943 film, The Outlaw. Engineer Hughes not only directed the bombshell, he designed a brassiere for Russell to wear in the film. The reclusive billionaire, who had a big hand in shaping Las Vegas, signed her to a seven-year contract. It took three years for The Outlaw to be released because censors objected to the display of Russell's famous cleavage...even in the Hughes-designed bra. Over the years, Russell appeared in His Kind of Woman, The Las Vegas Story, Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, The Paleface, The Revolt of Mamie Stover, The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, Fate is the Hunter and The Born Losers. In the 1970s, Ms. Russell became the spokeswoman for Playtex bras, calling herself "full figured" on television commercials. Her last film role was in 1970's Darker Than Amber. Russell was married three times - to football player Bob Waterfield, to the actor Roger Barrett and to real estate broker John Calvin Peoples - and was the mother of three adopted children, a grandmother of six and a great-grandmother of 10. Services for Jane Russell are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 12th at Pacific Christian Church, 3435 Santa Maria Way, in Santa Maria, California. Instead of flowers, her family suggests donations be made in her name to Care Net Pregnancy & Resource Center, 121 W. Battles, Santa Maria, CA 93458; or CASA of Santa Barbara County, 120 E. Jones St., Suite 130, Santa Maria, CA 93454.

Songstress Loretta Holloway sends along this information...
I don't know if you knew Perry Fuller. He was a masseur for James Brown, Wayne Newton, George Foreman and others in Las Vegas. He lived in Anderson, South Carolina. Mr. Fuller used to visit Loretta when she lived in Vegas and of course when I came back home to South Carolina. I've attached his obituary, published in the Anderson Independent-Mail.
Mr. Perry Fuller, Sr. peacefully answered the call to eternal rest at Hospice of the Upstate on Sunday, February 6, 2011. Perry was born in Anderson, SC on April 4, 1915 to the late James Walter and Minnie Humphrey Fuller. His parents, James and Minnie; siblings, Samuel and James Walter Fuller, Alberta Speight, Deborah Wess, and Minnie Fuller, and two of his three children Karen Fuller-Dondero, and Alvin G. Fuller preceded him in death. Perry joined Zion Church of God Holiness at the early age of 8. He was a bible scholar. He loved playing checkers and was a very good story teller. Perry moved to Washington, DC in his teen where he became a professional masseur to numerous celebrities; the late James Brown, Stevie Wonder, George Foreman, and many others. He leaves to cherish his memory to a devoted wife of 72 years Hattie "Peggy" Cofer Fuller, one son Perry Harden Fuller, Jr., one granddaughter, Nova Dondero, and one great granddaughter, Caylee J. Lewis. The funeral service will be held at 12:00 PM Friday at Zion Church of God Holiness. The interment will follow at Westview Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 6:00 - 6:30 PM at the funeral home. The family is at the home 102 Greenmeadow Circle. If you desire, monetary contributions can be made to Hospice of the Upstate, 1835 Rogers Rd. Anderson, SC 29621. Marcus D. Brown Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. Send your messages of condolence online at www.marcusdbrownfuneralhome.com.

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To celebrate the second anniversary of Terry Fator: Ventriloquism in Concert at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Terry Fator is adding a new flamboyantly happy cast member to his already impressive line-up of characters. Berry Fabulous, a former lawyer turned entertainer, made his national television debut last Monday on the TBS popular late-night talk show, Lopez Tonight, starring George Lopez. "The old adage is true, 'time flies when you are having fun' and I am certainly having the time of my life. I want to thank The Mirage who has been such a great partner; my band who is always ready to go the extra mile; and of course my fans who I adore. It is an incredible honor to be celebrating my second anniversary and adding a new puppet at the same time," said Terry Fator. "We welcome Berry Fabulous with open arms and look forward to his many contributions to my show." Berry has been a top ranked attorney at the law firm Fabulous, Fabulous, Long and Fabulous for more than 20 years and is now coming out in the world of entertainment. He's a man who believes that his childhood idols, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Cher, lend themselves quite well to the world of rap. Berry considers himself the hip-hop Liberace. Just don't expect to hear any Johnny Cash. Berry Fabulous said, "After years of 'lawyering' I needed to break free and come out of my shell. As an entertainer, I now have the opportunity to touch many people, adding sparkle and glamour to their lives. My incredible stage presence, impressive singing voice and vast repertoire of ballads and rap will add extraordinary energy to the show. What a bonus to do this with Terry Fator - the man literally has my back and encourages me to find my true self." Berry will make his stage debut on March 18th. In Terry Fator: Ventriloquism in Concert at The Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip, Fator brings his puppet co-stars, including Winston, the Impersonating Turtle; the loveable Emma Taylor; Vikki "The Cougar;" the delusional Elvis impersonator, Maynard Thompkins; the good old boy, Walter T. Airedale; Julius "The Soul Singer;" the Rock 'n' Roll loving, snack eating Duggie Scott Walker; the crash test dummy, Wrex; and the never before seen fifth Beatle, Hyphen, to life. Through comic banter and a hilarious take on musical superstars such as Cher, Justin Timberlake, Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks, The Pussycat Dolls and more, Fator fills the stage with celebrity singing impressions and unparalleled ventriloquism, backed by a sizzling live band. Tickets start at $59, plus tax and service fees, and are now on sale. To charge by phone call (800) 963-9634 or (702) 792-7777. Tickets also are available for purchase at The Mirage Box Office and online at www.mirage.com and www.ticketmaster.com.

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Angels In Our Midst

There are definitely angels among us. If we had any doubt about it before, we don't anymore. As mentioned in our last column, we have been dealing with major computer problems since February 9th (causing us to miss a number of columns). Despite the fact we have access to an amazing computer guru, one Michael Carter, bandages just wouldn't work anymore on our six-year-old HP. On Monday, we got a phone call "ordering" us to go out and get a new computer, and told that it was going to be paid for by some Santa-types who wished to remain anonymous. When we protested, we were told to "shut up," go find a replacement computer, give Mr. Bossy the bill, and just say "thank you." So, on Wednesday, that is just what we did. It will take us some time to learn all the new stuff and, eventually, we will and, hopefully, it will become routine and easier than it is right now. We have had, and continue to have, some great people in our lives (thankfully, the good ones far outnumber the bad ones) over the years. They are likely reading this and know who they are. To them, we say a great big THANK YOU, and God bless. Hugs.



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