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 June 17, 2011
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - June 17, 2011

Vintage Nelson Sardelli

Sasha Semenoff by Tiffany Brown

The efforts of some talented and terrific members of our community has earned the folks the top spot in this week's column. For the seventh consecutive Father‘s Day, it is former United States Army man, Nelson Sardelli, who is leading the troupes to the Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City, to put on a show (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) for past military members. Among the entertainers who have committed to travel to the city by the dam on Sunday, June 19th, are Marty (Hello Dere) Allen, Karon Kate Blackwell, Gordie Brown, Pete Barbutti, Fielding West, Peter Anthony, Felix (Cousin Itt) Silla, Paul Campanella, Linda November, Babe Pier, Cork Proctor, Dr. George Ritter, Michaelina Bellamy, Allen Tramont, Joni Illi, Renee Hale, Dr. Wilfred Krom, RoyWillie, Ronnie Rose, Linda Angeline, Mundane the Grate (Jac Hayden), Nathan Brian Wine, Sinco - Guitar Duo, Laura Taylor, Don Cherry, Carme ( who is traveling from Florida just to participate), Linda Kristy, and Mr. Sardelli. Johnny and Pam Thompson, who perform together as The Great Tomsoni & Co., had signed on to appear, but got a paying gig out of the country, so they will be missing from this year's festivities. Music will be provided the Gary Olds Quartet, with Gary Olds on drums, and The Usual Suspects - Chuck Hoover filling in for Vince Falcone on keyboards, Danny De Morales on bass, and Steve Cantor on guitar. Non-performing volunteers include Lou Toomin, Don Sacco, Pietra Sardelli and Jeanne Bavaro. The Nevada State Veterans Home is located at 100 Veterans Memorial Drive in Boulder City, Nevada. For additional information, contact the Home at (702) 332-6864.

And speaking of Gary Olds, the longtime Las Vegas musician is racking up some frequent travel miles. Not only did Gary play for Rich Little during Little's recent three week gig at the Riviera (Chuck Hoover, mentioned above, is Rich's musical director/pianist), he will be heading for Japan, where he will be sitting behind the drums, while Sonny Turner, onetime lead singer with The Platters, provides the vocals up front.

And speaking of musicians, violinist Sasha Semenoff, now in his mid-80s, is still fiddling around. Semenoff has been entertaining in Las Vegas since 1959, when he came here to be one of 10 violinists in the lounge at the Desert Inn. What was supposed to be a two week gig at the DI, turned into four years. Over the past 52 years, Semenoff has had long-term engagements at the Dunes, Caesars Palace, International/Las Vegas Hilton, Excalibur and The Venetian hotels. He has also worked with a number of major stars, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand, and appeared in Honeymoon in Vegas, Vegas Vacation and Casino. Since 2004, Semenoff has been performing for the dinner crowd at Maggiano‘s Little Italy Restaurant in the Fashion Show Mall on the Strip. You can see and hear Sasha Semenoff, from 6 to 10 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

And while still on the subject of Father's Day...
Hash House A Go Go will be serving up manly meals and drinks for Father's Day, featuring specials ranging from $8.75 to $20.95, guaranteed to make any Dad feel like a King for the Day. Here are just some of the specials that will be available on Sunday...Papi Chulo Hash-Crispy potatoes, pork tenderloin in chipotle adobo, fresh corn, tomato, jalapenos, cilantro,fresh avocado and queso fresco all crowned with two eggs and served with a fresh tortilla; The Spicy Hot BBBLT-spicy jalapeno bacon on fresh milk bread with chili mayo and a choice of fries or house salad; 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 Heenepin, among others. Limited reservation times will be offered at the 6800 West Sahara Hash House A Go Go location, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., and 1:30 to 3 p.m.; and at the Imperial Palace and M Resort locations, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., and 1:30 to 5 p.m. Other times will be first come first serve. For reservations or inquiries, please call the Sahara location at (702) 804-4646, the Imperial Palace location at (702) 254-4646, The M Resort location(702)797-1500.

And speaking of Hash House A Go Go, during his day in Las Vegas, for a segment called "Lend A Hand," the Today show's Al Roker found time to stop into the West Sahara Hash House A Go Go for breakfast. The restaurant is a favorite of the NBC morning show weather anchor, and he makes it a point to have a meal at Hash House whenever he is in the city.

Al Roker

Marty Allen & Karon Kate Blackwell

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Tuesday's opening night for Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell, in the Louie Anderson Theater at Palace Station, saw a full house of fun seekers in attendance. We spotted Nelson Sardelli, Lou Toomin, Ronald Labarbera, Sandy Dobritch, Carole Hassell, Laura Blackburn, and photographer David Spindel and his bride, Barbara, among those enjoying the comedy and music-filled romp. Marty, who turned 89 in March, delivered some of his tried and true favorite characters, as well as introduced some new ones (like Lady Gaga's dada), all to the delight of the crowd. A tip of the hat to producer Howard Jochsberger, who guides Marty and Karon through brand new, unfamiliar material, making it appear as if it has been part of the act for some time. To learn a bit more about Marty and Karon, check out John (Kats) Katsilometes' article on the Las Vegas Sun site, The talented duo perform at the Palace Station through Saturday, June 18th. Show time is at 8:30. According to Marty, he and Karon are scheduled to open at the Sahara on Monday.

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If you are a fan of great Southern writers, beautiful passionate piano music and fine story telling, then this concert is for you. The Performing Arts Society of Nevada presents esteemed actress Brenda Currin and virtuoso pianist Philip Fortenberry performing the words of American author, Eudora Welty, set to the music of Beethoven, Bach, Abeniz, Granados, Tarrega and Mompou. Enjoy an afternoon of theatrical and musical excellence as Currin and Fortenberry perform A Fire Was In My Head, an adaptation by David Kaplan of "Music from Spain" from The Golden Apples by Welty. This unique event takes place at the Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo (at Maryland Parkway), on Sunday, June 19th at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15. Reservations can be made by calling (702) 658-6741 or tickets can be purchased at the library box office an hour before show time. Check [email protected].

Eudora Welty

Tony Curtis

Also, Monday the 20th is the June luncheon meeting of the Las Vegas Media Group. Lisa Gioia-Acres tells us that just a year ago, their surprise guest speaker was none other than the late Tony Curtis. What a great talk he gave. For those who were not in attendance, LVMG has a video of the actors' entire talk. The sound and picture are not the greatest, as, because Lisa wasn't expecting his visit, she used a small camera to capture the event. It is a bit shaky, as she held the camera in her hand the whole time. But, as she says, "I believe this is his last public appearance, so it is priceless no matter what." Curtis passed away in Southern Nevada on September 29th, 2010, at the age of 85. Lisa is in the process of getting the video uploaded to youtube so everyone will have access to it. Monday's Media Group speaker will be journalist, publicist, artist, Norm Johnson. Norm, a longtime Las Vegan, has some great stories to share. Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. at the Wedding Room, 3601 West Sahara (on the southeast corner of Valley View). If you know where the Gallery of History is (was?), and/or The Cellar, then you know where it is; Mariana's Grocery Store is on one side and Kaplan College on the other. There is a handicap entrance through the alley between the college and The Wedding Room. The phone number for any questions or directions is (702) 362-6712. The lunch buffet is delicious. Cost is $15 (plus a little something for dedicated server, Patty), and reservations are a must! To RSVP, please call Lisa Gioia-Acres at (702) 245-9206.

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The New York Philharmonic's star-studded presentation of Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award® winning musical, Company, had a limited run at select movie theaters nationwide, including in Las Vegas at Sam's Town, the Santa Fe in North Las Vegas, South Point and Rave Motion Pictures in Town Square. Showings were yesterday, Thursday June 16th at 7:30 p.m. (local time), and possibly on Sunday at noon. Starring in this amazing production are Neil Patrick Harris (who did a fabulous job as host of last weekend‘s Tony Awards), Patti LuPone (who has performed at the Suncoast and Orleans in Las Vegas), Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer, Christina Hendricks, Craig Bierko, Martha Plimpton, Jill Paice (the original Sophie in the Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia!, plays "Susan"), Katie Finneran, Aaron Lazar, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jim Walton, Chryssie Whitehead, Alex Green, Fred Inkley, Rob Lorey, Jessica Vosk, Callie Carter, Ariana DeBose, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, and Lorin Latarro. Following five couples and their friend Robert (played by Harris), the perpetual bachelor, Company explores the true meaning of being in a relationship through a series of vignettes. The original Company on Broadway in 1970 was nominated for 14 Tony Awards®, winning Best Musical, Book for Musical, Original Score, Lyrics, Set Design and Direction of a Musical. Unfortunately, we didn't know about this special showing until late last Friday night, some hours after we pushed the Send button for the June 10th column. We wish we had gotten this information sooner, so we could have shared it with readers who might have been interested in seeing this special film. There is a possibility that one of the four Las Vegas theaters will add another show time. If you have any desire to see Company, we suggest you call the movie theaters to check.

Stephen Sondheim's Company

Jill Paice

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Longtime Las Vegas television, radio and media man, Fred Lewis (Fred Lewis-Nebot), died on Tuesday, June 14th, at age 79. Lewis, who was born in Ohio, moved to Las Vegas in 1970, when he joined Donrey TV-Channel 3. With the late Red McIlvaine, Lewis co-hosted "Fred and Red," a noontime news and variety show. Fred also served as the station's news director and anchor of its 6 p.m. news broadcasts. He moved to KLAS-TV Channel 8 in 1972, serving as managing editor and news director and making occasional on-air appearances. In 1976, Lewis accepted the position as public relations director for Summa Corporation, which controlled all of billionaire Howard Hughes' Las Vegas resorts and real estate holdings, including Summerlin. Lewis eventually was named a senior vice president of the company, reporting to the late Robert Maheu, who was top aide to the reclusive Hughes. In 1985, he created the Fred Lewis Inc. public relations firm. By 1991, he left his company but continued in public relations with clients that included Clark County and the Greenspun Group, operated by the family that publishes the Las Vegas Sun. In 1995, Lewis returned to broadcasting, this time in radio. He served as news director for K-news AM 970 and as morning talk show host for KVBC FM 105.1. After a brief stint as a principal of Ballard Communications, Lewis became public relations director for the remodeled Aladdin resort, a position he held from 1999 through 2003. For much of the past two decades, Lewis taught public relations writing at UNLV. He was a past president of the United Way of Southern Nevada and Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, a former board member of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Travel and Tourism Caucus. Lewis was also an honorary member of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Lewis earned bachelor's and masters degrees in English composition and speech from Kent State University in Ohio and did post-graduate work at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He enlisted in the Army, serving in an intelligence unit in Germany. After his military service, Fred held various public relations posts, including three years traveling as American Airlines' liaison to foreign carriers, including flights with The Beatles when they made their first concert appearances in the United States. In 1966, Lewis became field producer for CBS-TV in New York City, working alongside famed anchor Walter Cronkite during the network's space coverage. Lewis then became a director and producer for a television station in San Francisco before moving to Las Vegas. Lewis is survived by his sons, Paul and Patrick Lewis of Las Vegas. A memorial service for Fred Lewis will be held at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, June 18th, in the lower chapel of St. Viator Catholic Church, 4150 S. Eastern Ave. His final resting place will be at the University of Notre Dame.

Fred Lewis

Kenny Mazlow

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Kenny Mazlow, traveled from San Francisco to attend a Stardust reunion at Bellagio last Saturday night. Mazlow, who is the artistic director for the famed Beach Blanket Babylon in the City By the Bay, was a singer dancer in revues at the old Hacienda (now the site of Mandalay Bay), the Lido de Paris at the Stardust, and the Vegas version of Beach Blanket Babylon at the Sands (now the site of The Venetian). After the get-together of old friends and fellow cast mates, Mazlow headed to the Tropicana to surprise friend and former BBB cast member, entertainer Skye Dee Miles, who is singing with Miami Sound in the Ambhar Lounge, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Skye, one of the original performers in Menopause the Musical, is keeping quite busy these days. In addition to her work with Miami Sound, she also sings at the House of Blues and fills in, when needed, in Menopause, now playing at the Luxor.

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As we mentioned last Friday, entertainer, Diane Ellis, is heading back to Boston after 32 years in Las Vegas. Saturday, June 18th, she will be holding part two of a big moving sale at her Sun City Anthem residence in Henderson. There are a variety of items looking for a new home. Among the things for sale are furniture items, including room dividers (screens), lamps, coffee tables, mirrors, framed prints, an entertainment center, CD/DVD holders, and wall sconces, along with kitchen/ cooking supplies such as coffee makers, espresso machine, Corning Ware, and a couple of VCRs, a facial steamer, and Polaroid camera. For those in the music business - lots of sheet music and song books. In ladies wearing apparel, there are leather coats, boots, shoes, hats and other clothing. There are also 10 years worth of women's medieval costumes (size 5-6, 7-8) from the Excalibur for Halloween or community theater productions, and too much more to mention. Tomorrow's sale, not generally advertised elsewhere, will begin at around 7 a.m. (before it gets too hot). The address is 2629 Langford Avenue (MapQuest would be a helpful tool for this one.) As Diane is still one of the stars of Nunsense at the Las Vegas Hilton, the sale has to wind up by around 1 p.m. so she can get ready for her 4 p.m. performance. Plan accordingly.

And speaking of Nunsense...
Singer, actress, dancer, comedienne, Lisa Donovan, who has been filling in as the Mother Superior in the musical comedy on Diane‘s days off, will take over the role permanently in July. Prior to that, Lisa will be stepping in for Diane on June 20th and 23rd, and from the 25th though 30th. Lisa has been hailed by critics as an all-around entertainer who can do it all. As an actress, she won an award from the Southern California Motion Picture Council as Outstanding Newcomer of the Year. As a singer, Lisa consistently receives top reviews from the toughest critics in the business. She has been praised for performing comedy with Lucille Ball-like precision timing. And as a dancer, she received high critical praise from no less a publication than The New York Times. Lisa proved her singing ability on the long-running television show, Face the Music, which was first broadcast in national syndication, and later on cable networks. On Face the Music, Lisa performed everything from soft rock to light opera, and set some Guinness-type world records. In all, she sang parts of more than 11,000 musical numbers. On the New York stage, Lisa starred in a revival of Babes In Arms, directed by the legendary Ginger Rogers, who hand-picked Lisa for the role. That's the play in which Lisa received all that praise from The New York Times, which actually compared her to a young Rogers. Lisa has performed non-musically as well. On the Los Angeles stage, Donovan played all three female roles in Sean Waldron's chilling drama about atomic radiation poisoning. Lisa has acted in a number of dramatic roles on TV - in prime time series and on daytime dramas, including The Young and The Restless, where she played "Nurse Kelly." She was a smash in I Do! I Do! at Donald O'Connor's Family Theater in Los Angeles. That role led to Lisa being chosen by Donald O'Connor as opening act for he and Mickey Rooney on a tour of the United States. Since then, Lisa has opened for many other major stars in Vegas, Atlantic City, Tahoe, and on concert stages around the United States. Among those she's worked with are Don Rickles, Bob Hope, Billy Crystal, Ray Charles, Norm Crosby, Rich Little, Mel Torme, Jerry Van Dyke and Jan Murray. She also appeared many times with the late George Burns. As a solo artist, Lisa has taken her own show to many parts of the world, including most of Europe, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, South Africa, Central and South America, Mexico, India, Canada and Alaska. In Lisa's first visit to Australia, in 2000, a series of concerts entitled, JUDY! JUDY! JUDY! Lisa Sings Garland, was a rousing success. In Las Vegas, Lisa's most successful engagement was a "three week" booking at the Desert Inn that turned into a seven-month-long stand. During that time, she was billed, on the outside marquee and signs throughout the hotel, as "The Sensational Lisa Donovan." You can see Lisa Donovan, and the rest of the outstanding cast, in Nunsense performances at 4 p.m., every day but Friday, in the Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Hilton at (702) 732-5755.

Lisa Donovan

Lee Roy Reams

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On Sunday, we got a call from Linda Lashever, telling us that her husband, Marvin Lashever, had suffered a heart attack the night before. Lashever, owner of GEM Group and UR Mailbox Center, is in ICU at San Martin Hospital on W. Warm Springs Road. The Lashevers could use good thoughts and prayers for Marvin's speedy and complete recovery. Get well wishes can be snail-mailed to UR Mailbox Business center, 7835 S. Rainbow, Las Vegas 89139, and e-mails may be sent to [email protected], or [email protected].

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Our friend, song and dance man Lee Roy Reams (he played Roger DeBris in The Producers at Paris Las Vegas), and Bebe Neuwirth, who performed here in April of 2006, as part of UNLV's New York Stage & Beyond series, hosted the 2011 Fred & Adele Astaire Awards, honoring excellence in dance and choreography on Broadway and in film, which was presented on May 15th at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University.

The Astaire Awards were established with the cooperation of Fred Astaire to honor him and his sister, Adele. Between 1917 and 1931, Adele Astaire starred with her brother in ten Broadway musicals. Susan Stroman took top honors for Best Choreographer on Broadway in a field of nine nominees for her stunning work in The Scottsboro Boys. It was a record breaking 5th Astaire Award for the five time Tony Award and five time Drama Desk winner. Two time Tony Award-winner, Neuwirth, presented the award to Ms. Stroman. Sutton Foster, star of Anything Goes, took home her second Astaire for Best Female Dancer on Broadway for her performance as "Reno Sweeney." Her first Astaire was for Thoroughly Modern Millie. Desmond Richardson, Tony-nominee for Fosse, and co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, presented the award to Ms. Sutton. First timer, Norbert Leo Butz star of Catch Me if You Can, took the prize for Best Male Dancer on Broadway, presented by Tony and Drama Desk-winner, Karen Ziemba. Australia's Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon won the Astaire for Excellence in Choreography in Film for their breathtaking dances in Mao's Last Dancer, presented by Tony Award-winner, Bill Irwin. Legendary dancer, choreographer, teacher and founder of the National Dance Institute, Jacques d'Amboise, received the Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the late drama critic and co-founder of the Award with Fred Astaire. Following a major tribute in dance,, including a brilliant performance by NYCB's Russell Janzen of a piece from the ballet Who Cares, created by George Balanchine and first danced by d'Amboise; an exuberant performance of Shall We Dance by d'Amboise's students at the National Dance Institute, and praiseful introductions by Len Cariou, and Charlotte and Christopher d'Amboise, Brian Stokes Mitchell presented the award to Mr. d'Amboise. There were welcoming speeches by Ava Astaire McKenzie and Patricia Watt, whose fathers, Fred Astaire and Douglas Watt, co-founded the Awards. Associate producer and noted choreographer, Bronwen Carson, along with Caryn Nadeau, spoke movingly about the Dance Movement Therapy program in NYC public schools for autistic and disabled children, made possible by the Awards Gala. The evening also benefited The NYC Dance Alliance Foundation. The first Adele Astaire Scholarship, presented by Maurice Hines Jr., went to 17-year-old former Billy Elliot star, Corey Snide, who was accepted to Julliard this fall. Fittingly, the evening which focused on developing young talent, ended with a roof raising performance "Stomp To My Beat" by the young students of David Sanders Dynamic Dance Company that brought the audience to its feet.

We might mention that, in 2007, Brian Stokes Mitchell also performed in Las Vegas as part of UNLV's New York Stage & Beyond series. Maurice Hines Jr. was one of the guest stars in the Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular at the Flamingo, and Charlotte d'Amboise, the dancing daughter of the above mentioned Jacques d'Amboise, was one of the stars in Chicago the Musical during its 1999-2000 run at Mandalay Bay. And, in October 2006, Christine Andreas appeared in Las Vegas at the Charleston Heights Arts Center. Some of the Broadway greats do eventually get here...just not often enough or long enough.

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The Tuesday night jazz policy continues at Daddy Mac's Bar & Grill, with the Joe Locatelli Group, featuring Adelaide Robbins on piano, Steve Flora on bass, John Plows on drums, and Joe Locatelli on vibes, playing from 7 to 10 p.m. Special guest artists also join the group on a regular basis. There is no cover charge and no minimum. Daddy Mac's is at 2920 N. Green Valley Parkway, just north of Sunset in Henderson. Call (702) 272-0913 for additional information.

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It's Ed Mathews' Young Entertainers Showcase at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin tonight, Saturday, June 18th, at 7 p.m. Mathews, who produces the weekly afternoon variety shows at the Suncoast and Sam's Town, has invited the most talented young entertainers to perform in the Starbright showcase, produced by Fortgang Music Productions. He has carefully selected the top singers, dancers, and instrumentalists, ages 9 to 21, in the Las Vegas area, and promises a memorable evening. All shows at the Starbright Theatre are first come, first served, with no limit on the number of tickets purchased. Saving seats is prohibited. Show tickets may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle Community Centers. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets - $10 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $12 for non-residents - are non-refundable, and are to be paid by check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. Starbright Theatre shows are open to everyone ages 12 and over. The theater is located at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd., about three miles west of Rampart, off Lake Mead. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) t240-1301.

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Cover Girl Elly Brown

Sam Port

Both Elly Brown and Sam Port are former principals in Donn Arden's Jubilee! A few years ago, they left the Bally's extravaganza to spread their wings and try other things. Both of these young people are doing quite well for themselves, especially considering the state of the current economy, not to mention being in a business that is frequently filled with rejection. Not only is she a beautiful cover girl (see accompanying photo by Jerry Metellus), Elly Brown, a talented singer dancer, is an actress as well. She had a small part in Matt Braunger's pilot that was shot for Comedy Central back in February. Comedian Braunger played the Palms last year, has appeared on MADtv, and has a Comedy Central special. It's not known, yet, whether the unnamed pilot will be picked up. Between stints in Jerry Mitchell's Peepshow at Planet Hollywood, Brown is traveling back and forth to Los Angeles, modeling and auditioning and studying with the famed Groundlings improvisational and sketch comedy troupe, whose alumni includes, Jimmy Fallon, Adam Carolla, Will Ferrell, Joey Arias (former "Mistress of Seduction" in Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity at New York-New York), Kathy Griffin, the late Phil Hartman, Lisa Kudrow, Jon Lovitz, Conan O'Brien, Julia Sweeney and Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson. You can catch Elly Brown's current TV commercial ("Pay My Way" for Auto Insurance America), airing in Las Vegas. We have seen it multiple times in the wee small hours of the morning, during the Judge Mathis show that airs on Las Vegas Channel 21/Cable 12, between 2 and 3 a.m. (they don't call us the Night Writer for nothing).

Since moving to New York a year-and-a-half ago, Sam Port has had a role in the musical Rent, and will be appearing in Miss Saigon at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine, starting in the fall. Sam tells us that he had wanted to be in Miss Saigon since seeing it for my first time when he was only 12. He says that he is very pleased with the progress he has made in the Big Apple. Port credits his role in Jubilee!, his first big professional break, for the discipline it instilled in him to perform 12 shows a week for nearly two years, describing it as "quite an introduction to showbiz," for which he is truly thankful. As for living on the East Coast, Sam has had some incredible regional theater opportunities - doing a Beatles tribute show, and playing roles in 42nd Street and Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World. "I even went to the Tony Awards last Sunday," says Sam, "as an audience member, of course." We wouldn't be surprised if Sam were to be a Tony-nominee one day. We predict bright show business futures for Elly Brown and Sam Port, two very nice young people.

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Mary Hart

Debbie Reynolds Auction

What's the deal with all the disappearing ladies of television? And, where is "Jessica Fletcher" when you need her? In just a short time, on the national scene, Katie Couric has left her position as the CBS Evening News anchor; Meredith Vieira has ditched NBC's Today morning show; Lara Spencer is no longer hosting The Insider; Oprah has abandoned her long-running daytime TV show: while Mary Hart has taken her heavily-insured gams and left Entertainment Tonight. And, in Las Vegas, after 20-some years with Channel 3 news, as of June 9th, Sue Tripathi Manteris is gone from her anchor position at the station. Hmmm.

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Because she was unable to establish a permanent museum to house her collection of movie memorabilia that she has collected for decades, actress Debbie Reynolds is parting with the costumes and props that evoke some of filmdom's greatest stars and roles. The auction will take place in installments, beginning on June 18th, at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, as well as online. Profiles in History, the auction house handling the sale, estimates the nearly 600 items could bring up to $10 million. More items will be sold in December. Among the things to be sold are the white "subway dress" Marilyn Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch; Audrey Hepburn's black-and-white Ascot race scene gown and hat, designed by Cecil Beaton, from My Fair Lady; Julie Andrews' brown jumper and blouse with original guitar from The Sound of Music; the famous green-velvet "drapery" dress hat with bird adornment, worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O' Hara in Gone With the Wind; Charlie Chaplin's "Tramp character" signature bowler top hat; Charlton Heston's signature tunic, robe, and accessories for the grand procession into Rome from Ben Hur; Marilyn Monroe's black, white and pink, tropical-print "Heat Wave" dress and hat by Travilla, from There's No Business Like Show Business; Rudolph Valentino's ‘suit of lights' matador costume, the most iconic wardrobe from any of his films, designed by Travis Banton, from Blood & Sand; and Grace Kelly and Cary Grant's key costumes by Edith Head, from the romantic scenic drive in a convertible overlooking Cannes in To Catch a Thief. Debbie Reynolds has been actively involved in the collection and preservation of movie memorabilia, gathering thousands of costumes, props and mementos of Hollywood's studios and their greatest stars, since the late ‘60s. For a brief period, during the ‘90s, much of the collection was on display in a museum space at the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel (now the Clarion), on Convention Center Drive, here in Las Vegas.

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Jennifer Hudson

Clarence Clemons

Grammy Award-winning Jennifer Hudson will return to the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort next Friday, June 24th, at 8 p.m., with special guest, Miguel, as part of the I Remember Me tour. Chicago-born Hudson's new record, I Remember Me, is a remarkable step forward for one of the biggest and most talked-about stars to emerge in recent years. The album is the follow-up to 2008's Grammy-winning, gold-certified self-titled release from an artist who had already conquered the worlds of television with her success on American Idol and movies though her triumphant, Academy Award-winning performance in Dreamgirls. Songs from the new release were written and produced by an all-star line-up of the biggest talents in music today, including R. Kelly, who is behind the album's first hit single "Where You At," which is already charting on the Billboard Hot 100. Other known names who worked on the album include Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo (who grew up in Southern Nevada, where he attended the award-winning Las Vegas Academy of International Studies Performing & Visual Arts), Diane Warren and Salaam Remi, among others. Los Angeles-native, performer and songwriter, Miguel, not only has amazing vocals that Billboard magazine described as "offers both the sweetness of Babyface and the passion of R. Kelly," but fans will know Miguel's songwriting as well, having penned Asher Roth's "His Dream," Mary J. Blige and Musiq's "If U Leave" and co-writing on Usher's Raymond V Raymond album. Tickets for Jennifer Hudson and Miguel are $55, $75, $100 and $125, plus additional taxes and service fees. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and show time is at 8 p.m. The Pearl Box Office is open Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m.; Monday from noon to 10:30 p.m.; and Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 9:30 p.m., or call (702) 944-3200. For more information on upcoming Pearl concerts, please call (702) 942-6888.

And speaking of Jennifer Hudson, the Oscar-winning actress has joined the cast of the Farrelly Brother's Three Stooges movie, which already includes fellow Chicagoan, Jane Lynch, and Curb Your Enthusiasm star, Larry David. The three actors will play nuns! Apparently, the nuns help run the orphanage, where Larry Fine, Moe Howard and Curly Howard - played by Sean Hayes (Will & Grace, Promises, Promises), who also was born in Chicago; Canadian-born actor Chris Diamantopoulos; and comic actor, Will Sasso (MADtv), respectively - spend their childhood. Lynch, best known for her Emmy-winning role as "Sue Sylvester" on Glee, will play the Mother Superior. The Three Stooges is currently being filmed in Atlanta. Hudson most recently filmed the Winnie Mandela biopic, Winnie, in South Africa.

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Saxophonist Clarence Clemons, best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, suffered a stroke at his Florida home on June 12th. Over the past decade, Clemons, known as "The Big Man," has gone through a series of medical ailments. In the past year alone, he had both knees replaced and spinal fusion surgery. Clemons, 69, last performed with the E Street Band in December at Asbury Park's Carousel House. He can be heard on two songs on Lady Gaga's new album, Born This Way, and just last month performed "Edge of Glory" with her on the season finale of American Idol.

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We spotted this sign outside an East Tropicana Avenue bar...The liver is evil and should be punished.

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Bob Flanigan

Mary Wilson

A public memorial for Bob Flanigan, lead singer and founding member of the famed Four Freshmen jazz vocal group, will be held in the showroom at the South Point Hotel Casino, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South, on Tuesday, June 21st, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The current members of the Four Freshmen will be performing during the memorial, as will other musicians led by former Frosh, Rod Henley. In addition to singing the top part, Flanigan, who was born in Greencastle, Indiana, was a respected trombonist, and also played bass guitar with the Freshmen, beginning on September 20th, 1948. After retiring from performing in 1992, Flanigan maintained the band's name and was responsible for the group's changing cast of performers. On May 15th, Flanigan died of congestive heart failure at his home in Las Vegas. He was 84. Seating for the memorial service is on a first come, first served basis. For hotel reservations, call (866) 796-7111, or go to

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From June 22nd through July 3rd, legendary performer, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, will headline her new show, Life's Been Good to Me, for a limited engagement in the Starlite Theatre at the Riviera Hotel & Casino. Wilson, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, founded The Supremes – one of the most successful female singing groups in recording history. The Supremes recorded a dozen No. 1 hits from 1964 to 1969, including "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love,'' "Stop, in the Name of Love'' and "Back in My Arms Again.'' Since then, Wilson has written a best-selling autobiography, DreamGirl: My Life as a Supreme, performed on stage and screen, has been devoted to several humanitarian efforts and continues to dazzle audiences worldwide with a successful solo musical career. Riviera shows will run every Wednesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m., dark Monday and Tuesday, in the Starlite Theatre (formerly the La Cage Theatre). Tickets are $29.95 for general admission, $39.95 for preferred seating, and $59.95 for VIP seating. All prices are exclusive of taxes and fees. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call the Riviera Box Office at (702) 794-9433.

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Premiere vocalist, Frank Sinatra Jr., and his 20-piece big band, conducted by Terry Woodson, will pay tribute to his legendary father and entertainment icon, Frank Sinatra, by performing treasured hits in Sinatra Sings Sinatra at The Orleans Showroom, next Saturday and Sunday, June 25th and 26th. An inherited honor, Sinatra Jr. performs the songs that his late father sang during his stellar 50-year career, many of which the younger Sinatra witnessed first hand. The show includes such Sinatra classics as "I've Got You Under My Skin," "One For My Baby," "Luck Be A Lady" and "Strangers In The Night." A headliner in his own right, Sinatra Jr. was born in New Jersey, raised in California and educated in the showrooms of Las Vegas and on bandstands around the world. At 21, he made his show business debut as a singer with the Elliott Brothers Band. He later joined the Sam Donahue Orchestra, and then went on to perform in showrooms throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Brazil and England. A talented songwriter, three of Sinatra Jr.'s songs - "Spice," "Believe In Me" and "Black Night" - were featured on the 1971 album, Spice, produced by the late Sonny Burke. In the 1980s, backed by a 17-piece orchestra, Sinatra Jr. opened in downtown Las Vegas and reintroduced the lush big band sound, sparking renewed interest in live music. In the decade that followed, he expanded his band to include 20 musicians, and played the lounge at Desert Inn, marking the first time in 20 years that a big band had appeared in a lounge on the famed Las Vegas Strip. By then, Jr. had also joined his father's staff as musical director and conductor, helping to choose the music and conduct the orchestra whenever his father was on stage. Sinatra Jr. conducted for his father at New York City's Radio City Music Hall and went on to perform his own show to sell-out audiences at Tavern on the Green and later, Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. His 1996 release of As I Remember It, a tribute to Frank Sinatra's talents and the composers and arrangers, who defined the Sinatra legend, climbed the charts and earned critical acclaim along the way. In his tour that followed, Sinatra Jr. used a 44-piece orchestra and won respect from fans and critics. "When I was a boy, my father would often bring me to Las Vegas. I saw all the stars perform, and late at night, there would always be a name band playing in a lounge," Sinatra Jr. recalled. "I remember listening to Harry James, Count Basie and many other famous bands. It was quite an education. I always try to recapture the spirit of those late night sessions in my own show." In addition to performing with a big band, Sinatra Jr. has also shared a stage with showbiz greats like George Burns, Phil Harris and Flip Wilson. Over the years, he guest starred on hit television shows, including Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and The Golddiggers, and frequently appeared on programs hosted by legends Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, Dean Martin, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson. Sinatra Jr. has appeared on the big screen in The Walking Major, a 1970 feature movie filmed on location in Japan, and the 2003 film Hollywood Homicide, starring Harrison Ford. Showtimes for Frank Sinatra Jr. are 8 p.m. Tickets are available, starting from $29.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased by calling The Orleans Box Office at (702) 365-7075, or visiting

Frank Sinatra Jr.

Wayne Brady

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Happy birthday to these Gemini celebrants (May 21 through June 21)...Rich Affannato, Tim Allen, Michaelina Bellamy, Pat Boone, Wayne Brady, Tracey Bregman, Gordie Brown, Melanie Brown (Mel B, Spice Girl), Mel Carter, Dana Carvey, Katrina Loncaric Chliaris, Mark Curry, James Darren, Diane Ellis, Sarasue Essenpreis, Melissa Etheridge, Faith Evans, Dick Feeney, Harvey Fierstein, Siegfried Fischbacher, Kenny G, Tom Gallagher, Sandy Hackett, Marvin Hamlisch, Sam Harris, Jim Hodge, Tom Illi, LaToya Jackson, Rebbie Jackson, Jenny Jones, Tom Jones, Wynonna Judd, Michael LaRocca, Marvin Lashever, Barry Manilow, Jackie Mason, Kenny Mazlow, Paul McCartney, Brian McKnight, Anne Murray, Jim Nabors, Bill Nolte, Dan Pero, Elizabeth Pero, Joe Piscopo, Nicholas Pomeranz, Prince, Shirley Alston Reeves, Lionel Richie, Joan Rivers, Boz Scaggs, Nancy Sinatra, Jerri (Mrs. Prince) Spencer, Nate Tannenbaum, Donald Trump, Joe LaVigna, Merrick Wolfe, and Ron Wood. On May 27th, Dolores Hope, the widow of Bob Hope, turned 102 years old.

Also, anniversary greetings to Gerry (The Mentalist) and Kim McCambridge, Rebecca Spencer and Jim D'Asaro, Jim and Jan Seagrave, and Ed and Valerie Mathews.

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Eva Longoria's Eve Nightclub, inside Crystals at CityCenter, welcomes Daytime Emmy host, Wayne Brady, for the Official Daytime Emmy Awards Pre-Party on Saturday, June 18th. Brady will entertain guests, along with daytime celebrities, Darious McCrary, Christel Khalil, and many stars from the popular shows, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. Dance the night away, with special guest Al B. Sure, and sounds provided by DJ R.O.B., with the cast members from the award-winning daytime soap operas. Eve Nightclub is located at 3720 Las Vegas Boulevard South above Beso Steakhouse inside Crystals at CityCenter. Eve Nightclub is open Wednesdays from 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., and Fridays through Sundays from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Admission is $20 for women and $30 for men. For table reservations, please call (702) 227-EVE8 (3838,) or visit

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