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.  
She’s...

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from July 01, 2011
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - July 1, 2011


Connie Stevens

John Byner

From July 6th through July 17th, multi-talented actress, producer, recording artist, and successful business woman, Connie Stevens, will take to the stage in the Starlite Theatre of the Riviera Hotel & Casino, performing with accomplished actor and comedian, John Byner. Connie's musical artistry began at age 16, when she first sang in a group called The Three Debs. She then went on to record as a solo artist on the Warner Bros. label, as the first artist signed on the newly formed Warner Bros. Records. She had two mega-hits in the early 1960s, "Kookie Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)," a duet with Edd Burns, one of the stars of the TV series, 77 Sunset Strip, and the No. 1 record in the country in 1961, "Sixteen Reasons." In her starring role as "Cricket Blake" on the hit series, Hawaiian Eye, Stevens propelled to fame as of one of America's teen idols in the '60s. Her television work also included roles on Maverick, Wendy and Me with George Burns, and 77 Sunset Strip. Over the years, Stevens' appeared in films such as Rock-A-Bye Baby, Susan Slade, Parrish, The Grissom Gang, and Grease 2.

Hailed as a "Man of a Thousand Impressions," John Byner's stand-up comedy career began in New York's Greenwich Village at Max Gordon's jazz club, the Village Vanguard. Byner went on to open for some of the finest jazz greats, followed with opening and headlining stints across the country at top venues, including Basin Street East, Copacabana, The Rainbow Room and in Las Vegas showrooms such as Harrah's, Sahara, Sands and the Riviera's Comedy Club. Byner's television career began on Merv Griffin's Talent Scouts Show in 1964, and success ensued with many appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and Tonight Show with Johnny Carson over the next 10 years. With starring television roles on Bizarre and Comedy on the Road, winning CableACE Awards for both, and The John Byner Comedy Club, Byner also made guest appearances on favorite TV series, including Get Smart, Maude, The Odd Couple and Dharma and Greg. Beginning next month, during pledge drives (when they air all the really good stuff), you can see John Byner hosting PBS's Legends of Comedy from The Ed Sullivan Years. John appeared on the original Ed Sullivan Show 18 times. Stevens and Byner (who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday) will perform in the Starlite Theatre, Wednesdays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $39.95 for preferred seating, and $59.95 for VIP seating. All prices are exclusive of tax and fees. To purchase tickets, call (702) 794-9433, go to www.rivierahotel.com, or visit the Riviera Box Office.

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Kristi Holden

Moonlight Tran

Reminders...
On Wednesday, July 6th, PK Music and Outlaw Brothers Entertainment will present The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas at Garfield's Grand Atrium, 2620 Regatta Drive (on the Lake at Desert Shores). Featuring the songs of local composers and song writers: Jolana Adamson, Michael Brennan, Kelly Clinton, Tish Diaz, Rick Faugno, Wayne Green, Clint Holmes, Benoit Jutras, Richard Oberacker, Aaron Ramsey, Keith Thompson and Tyler Williams; and the delightful song stylings and vocal powers of: Jason Andino, Megan Nicole Arnoldy, Travis Cloer, Bruce Ewing, Kristen Hertzenberg, Kristi Holden, Christine Hudman, Nicole Pryor, Brandon Singleton, Joan Sobel and Tina Walsh; plus the amazing instrumental chops of: Mike Clark, Philip Fortenberry, Jenny Massey, Don Meoli, Jeff Neiman, Mark Pardy, Rebecca Ramsey, Michito Sanchez, Rob Taylor, Eric Tewalt, Geri Thompson, Moonlight Tran, John Wedemeyer and The Aaron Ramsey Collective - Steven Van Betten, Jacob Mann, Colman Nakano and Julian Tanaka. Doors open at 9:30, with show starting at around 10:30 p.m. (after theater). A $10 donation is requested at the door. As usual, there is a cash bar. As is not usual, there is a late night menu available. All proceeds benefit Creative Studios LV.

And speaking of Clint Holmes, he returns to the stage of the Suncoast Showroom this weekend, with shows at 7:30 p.m., tomorrow and Sunday nights. Tickets start at $15.96 plus tax and fees, and may be purchased by calling the Suncoast at (702) 636-7057.

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Winner...
The Henderson Pavilion, 200 S. Green Valley Parkway, reached another milestone, not only selling out, but setting a new attendance record with The Symphonic Rock Show on Saturday, June 18th. With a crowd of more than 3,600 rock and roll fans, the concert became the largest single show in the history of the venue, smashing the previous record held by Nickelodeon's Drake Bell in 2008. The ultimate in concert experiences, The Symphonic Rock Show featured Yellow Brick Road and a 30-piece orchestra performing the best in classic rock from Led Zeppelin to Queen and Aerosmith. Audiences were entertained for hours, not just from the legendary riffs, beats and lyrics of the rock songs, but with an elaborate multi-media production, complete with synchronized laser lights, two big screens projecting psychedelic images, pyrotechnics, fog and more. From beginning to end, the Symphonic Rock Show produced many exciting twists and surprises for fans, including an appearance by a towering stilt walker dressed as a nagging teacher, and choir members from Foothill High School accompanying the band during Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall." In addition, audiences were amazed when blasts of confetti showered over them while Yellow Brick Road and the orchestra rocked the '80s anthem "Jump" by Van Halen. "The Henderson Pavilion allowed us to step it up a notch for our fans," said Brody Dolyniuk, the founder and longtime lead singer for Yellow Brick Road. "We wanted them to experience the best of Yellow Brick Road, creating a bigger, more impressive show by adding an orchestra, lasers, pyrotechnics and other special effects. It was an unforgettable night, and a great way to end my career." The Symphonic Rock Show served as the grand finale for Dolyniuk as part of Yellow Brick Road. After a 14-year stint with one of the most successful classic rock tribute groups, performing for packed shows at a variety of venues like Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa and Boulder Station Hotel & Casino, Dolyniuk is moving on to pursue other musical interests. He will, however, continue to manage YBR as they perform weekly in showrooms across the Valley, with new lead singer Kelly Christian. In its nine-year existence, the Henderson Pavilion has hosted a number of sold out shows. With the addition of the Symphonic Rock Show to this elite list, other performances include "Weird Al" Yankovic, Bell, Smash Mouth, Paramore, Sugar Ray and productions of The Nutcracker. For more information on the Henderson Pavilion, please visit HendersonLive.com or call (702) 267-4TIX (4849).


Brody Dolyniuk

The REAL Rat Pack

And losers...
It appears that the battle of the "competing" Las Vegas Rat Pack shows is over, at least for now. Word is that Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show - Shadows In the Desert, most recently at the Riviera, will end it's run there on July 11th. For those who keep up on local entertainment news, it is no secret that Sandy Hackett and his former friend and business partner, Dick Feeney, have been battling, verbally and legally, over the rights to the Rat Pack story for about two years. The real Rat Pack history started in the late 1950s, with the music, comedy and party-like fun of a trio of amazing entertainers - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. At different times, there were interlopers - Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Shirley MacLaine among them - who would join in the nighttime revelry, usually taking place on the stage in the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel (now the site of The Venetian). The popular Rat Pack helped to earn Las Vegas the title of Entertainment Capital of the World. Paying tribute to the Rat Pack with a Vegas show seemed like a natural. In 1998, David Cassidy (yes, THAT David Cassidy) and Don Reo opened The Rat Pack Is Back! at the Desert Inn. After a year, the show moved to the Sahara, where it played until April of 2002. When The Rat Pack Is Back! opened at the Greek Isles the following month, it was then a collaboration between Hackett and Feeney. The partnership ended in December of 2006, and it wasn't a friendly parting of the ways. Since then, there has been lots of back-and-forth name calling and numerous depositions, but no resolution. While the Hackett Miller project is getting ready to close, Feeney just took his Rat Pack Is Back! from the downtown Plaza Hotel to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on West Flamingo, where it opened in the main showroom on June 13th. And, whereas, the Hackett Miller effort struggled to maintain a band of six musicians (down, with the approval of Local 369, from eight), Feeney's has a 12-piece orchestra. The legal battles now involve, not just Hackett Miller Company and Feeney's TRP Entertainment, but the Hackett Miller Company and the Musicians Union of Las Vegas Local 369, as well. The problem involving the Musicians Union comes as the result of an incident that occurred last Saturday night. Two of the union officers went to see the show at the Riviera. What they saw was four musicians on the bandstand instead of the required six. What they heard were the sounds of instruments not being played on the stage. This is a "no no." The union rules state that the show cannot use recorded tracks in place of live musicians. So, now, it's more legal letters and more hours of attorney work adding up. Two years ago, we predicted (after all, we are Claire Voyant) that this would get ugly. Sadly, we were right. No matter how all of this turns out, the only real winners will be the lawyers.

And still more losers...
Last Saturday marked the second anniversary of the death of pop star, Michael Jackson. Leave it to the two most embarrassing Jacksons, Jermaine and LaToya, to try and cash in on the sad occasion. As coincidence would have it, sister LaToya Jackson has a new book that she is pitching via any place, and any way, she can, while brother Jermaine Jackson is doing yet another musical tribute to his dead brother. Let's start with LaToya's book, called Starting Over (from where, we aren't sure). Apparently, we're not the only ones that feel this is just another shameful/pitiful attempt by a 55-year-old woman/child, with minimal talent, to generate publicity. (Remember LaToya's other book - the one called, La Toya: Growing Up In the Jackson Family, that she supposedly wrote under the direction of her late former husband, Jack Gordon?) Regarding La Toya, this is what Matthew Laidlow, wrote on June 21st in Celebrity Gossip, News. "You know what the Jackson family are kinda like? Performing dolphins that entertain crowds of clapping idiots who pay money to see overgrown fish jump through burning hoops. Trainers of dolphins usually use the Joe Jackson guidance method which generally involves beating the creature until it does what you want it to do. Michael Jackson suffered the most under his father. Perhaps he never received tasty morsels of salmon as a reward for mastering the moonwalk correctly. The rest of the family also had to endure daddy Joe's teachings, though we often wonder about LaToya Jackson. We genuinely don't know what she has done to warrant any sort of successful career. Does that riot count when she promised to take her clothes off for money, but then bottled it? Who knows? However we are aware that she is bringing out a book containing her theory on her successful brother's death. This'll go down well at the local reading club we imagine." Blah. Blah. Blah. And then, there's Jermaine. You remember Jermaine (or not). He was the only Jackson family member to stay with Motown (he was married to Motown head Berry Gordy's daughter, Hazel), while the other brothers split for CBS/Epic. John Lowe wrote, "Jermaine enjoyed an artistically diffident career during the '70s at Motown, surfacing with an occasional hit like a remake of "Daddy's Home" (1972) and "Let's Be Young Tonight" (1975). Jermaine got a badly needed shot in the arm from Stevie Wonder, who wrote and produced "Let's Get Serious," a Top 10 pop and soul dance hit that came around the time of brother Michael's pop ascendancy. After scoring a Top 20 pop hit in 1982 with the infectious "Let Me Tickle Your Fancy," Jermaine left Motown in 1983 for Arista Records, where he scored a pair of hits in 1984 with "Do What You Do" and the scintillating dance number "Dynamite." Subsequently, he re-joined the Jacksons in time for their ill-fated Victory tour in 1984. Jackson has recorded sporadically since, though he generated controversy in 1991 when "Word to the Badd," a thinly veiled attack on his brother Michael, was leaked out to urban music stations." In 2009, Bert wrote, "Jermaine Jackson "Word to the Bad" Lyrics Disrespect Michael Jackson. We are all sad over the loss of Michael, and how this must be affecting his family is inconceivable. Michael's brother Jermaine has now stepped in to the spotlight speaking fondly of his fallen brother and vowing to keep Michael's plight for peace alive. Speaking on his blog, Jermaine said, "The tragedy of my brother's death is still with me. But in his death, I have found a mission for my life. My existence is now dedicated to spreading Michael's message. Michael had a unique place in the world. He not only did good, but taught others how to do the same. This only magnifies his loss to the world. I want to make people aware of the humanitarian side of Michael. I want to show them how his true emphasis wasn't music, or performing; it was improving the world. Understand this, and you begin to understand the essence of who my brother was." Too bad it took Michael's death for Jermaine to jump his brother's bandwagon. It was in song and in public, Jermaine voiced his real feelings about his brother and they were not very nice, not at all... Check out the lyrics to Jermaine Jackson's "Word to the Badd..." In November, 1991, Chuck Philips wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "Jermaine Jackson says he took a biting musical swipe at his superstar sibling, Michael, because his younger brother had frozen him out of his life. In an interview, Jermaine explained that the cantankerous lyrics to his song "Word to the Badd!!," which criticize Michael for allegedly changing his skin color and obtaining plastic surgery, were written in retaliation for eight months of unreturned phone calls. "I understand he's a very busy person, but after you repeatedly try to contact your own brother and he doesn't call you back, you begin to wonder if he hasn't just completely lost touch with reality," Jermaine, told The Times. "I know people are going to go off on a tangent and say that Jermaine is jealous. But it's not true. Michael and I have never feuded. The only reason I wrote this song--and it came from the bottom of my heart--was to help my little brother get a grip on reality. I never meant to discredit him. The song was never supposed to come out in public. But now that it has, I am hear to say that, yes, I wrote it and I stand by it." Jermaine's song includes lyrics such as:
Reconstructed
Been abducted
Don't know who you are
Think they love you
They don't know you
Lonely superstar . . .
.

At the time, Michael could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman for his record company called the release of Jermaine's song a "malicious publicity stunt." Representatives from LaFace Records, the Atlanta-based independent label for which Jermaine Jackson records, and from Arista Records, the company that distributes his music, denied playing any part in leaking the song to radio programmers, as did Jermaine. Jermaine said he is tired of hearing the lyrics of "Badd!!" being compared to his sister La Toya's vindictive tell-all autobiography about the Jackson clan, of which an excerpt appeared along with her nude photos in Playboy magazine. Jermaine, who hadn't had a solo Top 10 hit on the pop charts since the early '80s, stated, "In no form or fashion was this done as a publicity stunt. This is not like La Toya. I think that what La Toya has done is unforgivable. I don't know who leaked the song. I certainly had nothing to do with it. But it doesn't anger me. If it wasn't leaked now, maybe it would have been leaked later. The fact is it's out there and I have to deal with it."


La Toya Jackson

Jermaine Jackson

However, the way Jermaine looks at it, at least one positive thing occurred as a result of the song's public airing. Shortly after the recording was leaked, Michael called. The two Jackson siblings reportedly met for the first time in eight months. "The first thing Michael asked me was 'Why?' " Jermaine said. "So I explained to him how I felt. After we talked for awhile we agreed that no matter how busy each of us gets that we should never be too busy to take a call from one another. But that's between us. "You see, I love my brother very much. My relationship with my brother is more important than money. It's more important than a No. 1 record. The most important thing is that we maintain being brothers and hopefully this song will help improve our relationship. I'm not happy that the song has been made public, but what can I do about it now?" A tamer version of "Word to the Badd!!" is included on Jermaine Jackson's new album, "You Said," which was released last week. The singer said he specifically asked his record company to edit the version now playing on the radio before placing the song on the album because he did not "feel emotionally ready for the public to hear it." "My song deals with much more than any plastic surgery or any facial changes or this and that," Jackson said. "The bottom line here is that this song was written as a private message to help get my brother to heal our relationship." Still, all the attention focused on the bootleg version of "Badd!!" has officials at Arista and LaFace reportedly considering the possibility of rush-releasing the original track as a single or offering it free to consumers who buy a copy of Jermaine's new album. Asked whether he would consent to the release of the unedited version of "Badd" if pressed by his record company to do so, Jackson said he was still undecided. "I really don't know," Jackson said. "I'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Michael and I talked. That's what's important to me. He left smiling and I'm smiling." The extensive lyrics to "Word To The Badd" can be found on the Internet. We have already taken up too much space on these two Jacksons. If you have any interest, go to Google, read the lyrics for yourself and then decide what Jermaine's motivation for recording the song might have been. Poor La Toya. Poor Jermaine. Poor, poor Katherine Jackson, the mother of these two.

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We saw Mary Wilson's show in the newly renovated Starlite Theatre at the Riviera on Sunday night. The Supreme Ms. Wilson, enhanced by Mark Zier on piano, Ray Pannell on guitar and vocals, Mychal Lomas on bass and vocals, and Donzell Davis on drums, and singers, Lucy Shropshire and Parnell Damone, proves that she is more than just a backup singer, as she presents not only Supreme favorites, but some contemporary selections as well. Among the songs were Donna Summer's "Last Dance," Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," Aretha Franklin's "Think," Sting's "Fields of Gold," Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful," The Rolling Stones "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and "I Am Changing" from Dreamgirls, purported to be based on the history of The Supremes. Mary's version of Artie Butler and the late Phyllis Molinary's beautiful, "Here's To Life," brought the audience to their feet. Among those that we recognized in the Starlite Theatre were Michael Chapman, George Solomon, Rick Morgan, Mark OToole, Paul Buller and Carole Hassell.


Mary Wilson

Oh What A Night!

And speaking of Michael Chapman, we learned that the reason we haven't seen the producers' name (or the name ChapQuist, his company) around these parts in recent months, is because he has been extremely busy overseeing nine companies of Oh What a Night! A Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. The revue will play the Riviera's Starlite Theatre, Wednesdays through Sundays, August 17th through 28th, with shows at 7:30 p.m.

From August 30th through November 30th, one of the touring companies will be performing throughout Australia. October 11th through 16th, Oh What a Night! will play the Riverside Casino in Laughlin. All year long, one of the four man troupes is part of the ongoing entertainment schedule on both the Norwegian Pearl that travels to Alaska and the Caribbean, and Norwegian's Pride of America that sails to Hawaii.

And speaking of Mark OToole, on Tuesday evening, OToole (that's not a typo, as Mark recently amputated the apostrophe from his last name) debuted his new CD, The Crooner, on stage in the Ravello Room at the M Resort. Backed by his seven-piece band and background singers, the debut party was documented with a two-camera shoot. The Crooner was produced by multiple Grammy-winner, Keith Olsen, who has had success with such artists as Fleetwood Mac, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Kim Carnes, Eddie Money, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Rick Springfield, Starship, Heart, The Babys, REO Speedwagon, .38 Special, Santana, Ozzy Osbourne and Pat Benatar, to name a few. Olsen and OToole made the 13-track CD at the Palms Studio in Las Vegas. OToole, who is a great admirer of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and Barry Manilow, puts his own spin on songs from the Great American Songbook. Accompanied by Les Brown Jr.'s Band of Renown, among the tracks on The Crooner are "Maybe This Time," "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," "It's Not For Me To Say," "You Don't Know Me," "What Kind of Fool Am I," and a personal favorite of Cousin Claire's, the somewhat obscure tune by Marvin Hamlisch and Carol Bayer Sager, "If You Remember Me," from the 1979 movie, The Champ. OToole's love of performing began with leading roles in The Boston Children's Theatre. After several years of guitar lessons, he discovered singing and started his first band at age 16. For two seasons, he worked with many celebrities at the South Shore Music Theatre in Cohasset, Mass. Actor (Cheers, Murphy Brown), comedian, talk show host, Jay Thomas, heard OToole doing voice impressions on the radio and asked him to be a regular on his show in Hollywood. However, he missed singing and, in the mid-'90s, moved to Las Vegas. OToole can be seen and heard in the M Resort's Ravello Lounge, on Saturdays, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Sundays, from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and Wednesdays, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. O'Toole is represented by Rising Star Entertainment Group, LLC.


Mark OToole

Amanda Kaiser

And speaking of Mary Wilson, we spotted her backup singer, former Las Vegan Lucy Shropshire, in the audience at Nunsense on Monday afternoon. This was about our sixth visit to the Hilton's Shimmy/Shimmer Cabaret to see the musical comedy, that we describe as an enjoyable "religious experience." This time, joining Michelle Johnson as "Sister Hubert," and Kathryn Arianoff as "Sister Robert Anne," we saw three performers that we had not seen in the show before. Filling in for Diane Ellis as the "Mother Superior," was multi-talented Lisa Donovan. Ms. Donovan has some history in Las Vegas. Some years ago, she was a featured performer at the Desert Inn (now Wynn Las Vegas). Lisa has worked with the likes of Don Rickles, Norm Crosby, Peter Marshall, Keely Smith, Billy Crystal, Rich Little and the late George Burns and Bob Hope. As for Diane Ellis, she is currently in Boston visiting family. She will return to Las Vegas and her role in Nunsense on July2nd, but only until July 12th. She has decided, after 32 years here, to head back to Boston to live. The versatile entertainer will be sorely missed by many in this community (including Cousin Claire). After Diane's permanent departure, Lisa Donovan will become the permanent "Mother Superior." Playing the role of "Sister Amnesia" on Monday, was Lisa's sister, Ina Jo Donovan. Kelly Clinton-Holmes, who usually portrays "Sister Amnesia," is, once again, out of her role due to a broken bone in her foot. Filling in for Robin Berry Vincent, who usually plays the young "Sister Leo," was Amanda Kaiser. Ms. Kaiser was one of the cast members of Shag With a Twist, a unique musical that played at the Krave Theatre, adjacent to the Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood), before moving downtown to the Plaza Hotel, during 2006 and 2007. We are happy to report that the three ladies did a great job in their respective roles. That speaks well for Nunsense producer/choreographer, Nancy Gregory. The Little Sisters of Hoboken can be seen at 4 p.m., Saturdays through Thursdays. Call (800) 222-5361 for Nunsense reservations.

And speaking of Michelle Johnson, she will perform in her own one-woman show, An Independent Woman: A Salute To the Great American Songbook, in the Ovation Room at Green Valley Ranch on Tuesday, July 5th. The cabaret show, presented by Rag Tag Entertainment, will feature songs by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin to name a few. Johnson will be accompanied by a full band, including horns. Johnson's first encounter with jazz standards (the classic popular songs of the '30s, '40s and '50s), took place when she was a young child. She learned how to use her parents' record player at age four, and would spend long hours sitting under the stairs with their albums, listening to Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and others. "I was fascinated by the way each singer had her own distinct way of interpreting the same song" she says. Johnson was singing "Misty" around the house by age five, but it would be another five years before she made her onstage debut singing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar in a school program. On her website, www.michellejohnson.com, Johnson is known a the "diva" of her own company, Diva Las Vegas Productions, but onstage she views herself as a member of the ensemble. "I try to emulate Ella Fitzgerald, who 'sang like a trumpet' and who approached songs more as an instrumentalist than as a typical front-woman." Johnson is looking forward to her first time as a headliner in Green Valley Ranch's Ovation Room, which is particularly suited for a show with a large band. Despite the size of her band, Johnson intends to create a sense of intimacy with her audience by tying the evening together with a narrative thread that celebrates themes of female independence. In a typical nightclub show, Johnson said, "you come watch someone sing, they do a bunch of songs, and everybody goes home," whereas at a cabaret show, "I've done my job if the audience gets to know me by the end of the night." Green Valley Ranch is at 2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy, in Henderson. Admission is $10, with half of the proceeds going to Golden Rainbow of Las Vegas. Show time is 8 p.m., and doors open at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, simply buy at the door, or call (702) 617-7777.


Michelle Johnson

Roseanne Barr & Johnny Argent

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Are you ready for Roseanne Barr's new reality show? Well, ready or not, here she comes!
Roseanne's Nuts will kick off on July 13th at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with back-to-back episodes on the Lifetime channel. Roseanne's Nuts will follow Barr as she manages a 40-acre livestock and macadamia nut farm in Hawaii with her longtime writer/musician companion, Johnny Argent, and her 34-year old son, Jake Pentland. "They've said 'Roseanne's nuts' for years," states the comic, actress and author, "and now I'm going to make that a reality - I'm all about nuts now, macadamia nuts!"

Here's a bit of Vegas trivia...In the late 1980s, John Argent was part of a show band called My Generation, brought to Las Vegas from San Diego by Donny Lee Moore and Dennis Levinson. They did their first local engagement at the Hotel Continental (now Terrible's at Flamingo and Paradise). During ensuing years, the group performed in Southern Nevada, entertaining crowds at the Barbary Coast, Mint, the, now but a fond memory Silver Slipper, Whiskey Pete's in Primm (then known as Stateline) and at the Riverside in Laughlin. My Generation - with Argent on keyboards, flute (ala Jethro Tull) and vocals; Sam Boyd (not THAT Sam Boyd) on drums, Rick Wells on lead vocals, and a couple of cute go-go dancers, developed quite a following during the years here. They were hot! These days, Wells (now known as Rick Smith), works with his talented wife, Trish, who he met when she auditioned for and won a spot singing with My Generation (which eventually became known as The Sounds of Freedom). The duo was working in Biloxi when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, destroying their work place and most of their possessions. Rick and Trish returned to Las Vegas, where they performed in the lounge at the Imperial Palace under the name Songsmith. One never knows when this information might come in handy.
Johnny Argent will celebrate his birthday on Monday, July 4th. Most of America will celebrate with him.

And speaking of Roseanne Barr...
Jimmy Emerson, who has been known to morph into Roseanne on occasion, has a new/old show on his hands. An Evening At La Cage, the world-famous extravaganza, will bring its glitz and glamour to the Four Queens Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas, beginning on July 13th. La Cage has been on hiatus locally since it closed at the Riviera two years ago. It is now refreshed and ready to take its prominent place in the city once again. An Evening At La Cage features amazing female impersonators, celebrity look-alikes and tribute artists in a top-notch performance of nonstop music, dance and comedy. Produced by Starr Pro Productions, with a special licensing agreement with longtime producer Norbert Aleman, La Cage will star Jimmy Emerson, the internationally known comedian and impressionist who was the comedy lead and backup host for the show's previous Las Vegas incarnation. He is famed for outrageous characters that bring the house down, including his wicked Wynonna Judd and the queen of country-western trailer-trash "Tammy Spraynette." Emerson has appeared in movies and TV and around the world in his own shows as an actor, singer and dancer, in addition to being a comedian and impersonator in the international casts of An Evening at La Cage, including the highly acclaimed London production. The stunning impersonations in the show run the gamut from Barbra Streisand to Lady Gaga, with a host of other exquisite stars, including Carrie Underwood, Madonna, Reba McEntire, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Jackson. Cast members are Brent Allen, Ryan Zink, Andrew Ryan, Carlos Rodriguez, Alondro Garibay and Lane Lassiter. Rounding out the cast are the extraordinary La Cage dancers, complete with eye-popping costumes that showcase astounding configurations of feathers and rhinestones adorning brilliant headdresses. An Evening at La Cage started in 1982 in Hollywood after the huge success of the Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles. Producer Aleman teamed up with original creator, Lou Paciocco, to bring the show to Las Vegas in 1985, where it immediately captivated audiences. Other companies of the show have been seen in Atlantic City, Japan, Aruba, Great Britain, Brazil and Canada. Four Queens show times are 9 pm, Wednesday through Sunday. Buy tickets online at tickets.fourqueens.com, or contact the Four Queens box office at (800) 634-6045, or (702) 385-5175.


Jimmy Emerson as Roseanne

Doug Taylor

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Longtime Las Vegas musician, Doug Taylor, seems to have found himself a pretty steady gig in the Bar Moderno at Aria. Doug plays piano from 7 p.m. to midnight, Wednesdays through Sundays, July 6th through 24th, August 10th through 21st, September 7th through 18th, September 28th through October 2nd, and October 12th through 23rd. Bar Moderno is located in the casino, and is easily accessible from North valet or Strip valet. Stop by for a listen and to check out Aria.

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Beat the 4th of July rush by celebrating a day early when Caesars Palace launches an impressive fireworks display from the Roman Tower rooftop, on Sunday, July 3rd. The show will kickoff at 9:15 p.m., weather permitting, granting hotel guests and passersby the best views on the Las Vegas Strip. The event is open to the public.

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Actor, comedian, host and former Saturday Night Live cast member, Norm Macdonald, will bring his stand up act to The Orleans Showroom, Friday, July 8th, and Saturday the 9th, with shows at 8 p.m. both evenings. Shy and nervous, at the age of 21, Macdonald hit the stage for the first time at an Ottawa comedy club to perform stand up. He received recognition and kudos in 1987, at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. Eventually, he brought his act to the U.S. and got jobs on the writing teams for Roseanne and The Dennis Miller Show, before joining the Saturday Night Live writing staff in 1993. Soon after, SNL creator Lorne Michaels gave Macdonald an opportunity to read on-air editorials during "Weekend Update," and within a year, he replaced Kevin Nealon as anchor of the segment. During his SNL years, Norm's impressions of Burt Reynolds and Bob Dole were notable. Elsewhere on television, Macdonald appeared in the ABC sitcom, Norm, and the short-lived FOX series, A Minute with Stan Hooper. He has voiced characters on several shows, including Family Guy and The Fairly Odd Parents. On Comedy Central, Macdonald appeared in the 2005 special, Back to Norm, and currently hosts Sports Show with Norm Macdonald. On film, Macdonald has appeared in Dirty Work and Screwed, and can be heard as "Lucky" in three Dr. Dolittle films, "Buster" in Christmas is Here Again, and as a penguin in fellow comedian Bob Saget's film, Farce of the Penguins. In 2006, Macdonald released the sketch comedy album, Ridiculous, featuring guest appearances by Will Ferrell, Artie Lange and Molly Shannon. Tickets start at $24.95 plus tax and convenience fees, and may be purchased at the Orleans Box Office (Sundays through Thursdays, from noon to 8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, from noon to 10 p.m.), or by calling (702) 365-7075, or (888) 365-7111.


Norm Macdonald

Karole Foreman

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Here's some good news (something quite rare these days). In less than five years, the Las Vegas area has gone from having the highest vehicle theft rate in the nation to the 17th highest, according to a report released this week. A bait car program created to catch thieves has led to more than 500 arrests in the last three years. Las Vegas Metro Police recently launched a public awareness campaign called "Drive it. Protect it!" to encourage drivers to take precautions against car theft. In 2009, the vehicles most commonly stolen in Nevada were the 1992 Honda Accord, 1995 Honda Civic and 1990 Toyota Camry. The report for 2010 has not yet been released.

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Hope 4, an afternoon of classical ballet, will be presented at the Clark County Library Theater, at 1401 E. Flamingo, on Saturday, July 9th at 2 p.m. The program, to benefit Family Promise of Las Vegas, will feature dancers from Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, a number of other Strip productions, and the Nevada Ballet Theater. Admission for reserved seating is $20 per person. To purchase, call (702) 245-0992 or go to www.FamilyPromiseLVTickets.com.

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Update...
Marvin Lashever, who suffered a serious heart attack June 12th, is still hospitalized, but slowly mending. We spoke to him briefly on Thursday and can attest to one thing. Although he doesn't sound like his usual self, Marvin has still managed to maintain a sense of humor. We think that can be almost as good as medicine. Marvin and his bride, Linda, will celebrate their second anniversary on Tuesday. The gourmet dinner will be delayed for a while. Happy anniversary, you two.

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Ladies of Jazz: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson will be performed at the beautiful First and Hope Supper Club at 710 W. First Street in downtown Los Angeles. Three accomplished vocalists - DeBorah Sharpe-Taylor (Broadway's Nothin' But The Blues and backup singer for Harry Belafonte, Soul ll Soul, and Barry White), Connie Jackson (Broadway revival of Dreamgirls and backup singer for Phil Collins), and Karole Foreman (original Vegas cast of Mamma Mia!) - will pay tribute to three enduring musical legends, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson. Produced by ACMT and Ms. Foreman, of BPE Productions, Inc., the evening of great music, and reflections on the lives and careers of these remarkable artists, will be hosted by a legend in her own mind, "Etta Mae Mumphries," played by comedian Karen Bankhead (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Will & Grace, Reno 911!) Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $30 for VIP seating in advance, or $20 general and $33 VIP at the door. Call (213) 617-8555 for reservations.


Karen Bankhead

Danny Roque

And while we are in Southern California...The Danny Roque ShowManiaPalooza! is back, this time at Boardwalk 11 Club, in West Los Angeles, next Saturday, July 9th. Danny presents another show of musical fun and foolishness. Featuring a secret recipe of original songs, Danny Roque is joined on stage by an amazingly talented group of friends and family. On vocals, in addition to Danny, it's Nora, Chris and Angelica Roque, with Dina Bennett; on piano, Lindsey Hundley; bass, Duane Benjamin; guitar, Michael Sims; drums, Jimmy Ford; and percussion, Dwain Roque. The tunes, singers and musicians are great. Some of the group have performed with the American Idol Band, Aretha Franklin, Crystal Gayle, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Lionel Hampton, NWA, Harry Connick Jr, The Cypress Hill Gang and Denise Williams. Sold-out shows. Guaranteed entertaining! Come see why some people have called it "...the most fun we have had in years." The Boardwalk 11 Club is located at 10433 National Blvd. There is a $15 Cash cover at the door, and a $10 food/drink minimum. Reservations are not being taken through the club. You must call the reservation line to secure your spot, as a sell-out is expected. Please call (310) 343-5927 for tickets. For a sneak peek at what's in store, check out "Lunch at Costco," on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwbGxzWyfaE. Prepare to laugh yourself silly. Even Claire Voyant called The Danny Roque ShowManiaPalooza! "A hit! ..." Would she lie to you???

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John Ford Coley

John Ford Coley brings classic hits from the '70s to the Suncoast Showroom, Saturday, July 9th, and Sunday, the10th at 7:30 p.m. Revered as half of the Grammy-nominated duo, England Dan and John Ford Coley, the latter will perform his hits, including "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," "Nights Are Forever Without You" and "Love Is The Answer." England Dan and John Ford Coley reached multi-gold and platinum status with several hit albums and singles. Their debut album in 1976, Nights Are Forever, catapulted the duo to stardom with the previously mentioned hit singles "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight" and "Nights Are Forever Without You." The twosome continued recording, and released Some Things Don't Come and Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive, generating hit singles "Love Is The Answer," "Westward Wind," "We'll Never Have To Say Goodbye," and "Gone Too Far," among others. In addition to a regular touring schedule performing his own hits, Coley works behind the scenes producing songs for fellow artists, including Eddie Money, Vince Gill, Tom Wurth and Lynn Bryant. John has written or performed several movie theme songs, including Major League: Back To The Minors and The Spy Within; television theme songs, including James at 16 and Cold Case; as well as jingles for commercials for Dr. Pepper and Maxwell House Coffee. On television, Coley hosted The Midnight Special, co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show, and appeared on American Bandstand, Hollywood Squares, Make Me Laugh and The Tonight Show, among others. As an actor, Coley appeared in the films and on television in Dream A Little Dream, Scenes From The Gold Mine, Aces and Eights and in a re-enactment on America's Most Wanted. Coley's book, Backstage Pass, chronicles his years in the music industry and his spiritual journey.
Tickets are available, starting from $15.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 636-7075.

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Have a safe holiday.



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