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 August 19, 2011
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - August 19, 2011

M&M - Michael Kessler & Melinda Jackson

Las Vegas Hilton

Mea Culpa...
Don't know how we did this, but, in last week's column, we got the date wrong for M&M's Love 2 Dance - A Romantic Musical Comedy performance at the South Point. The South Point show, in fact, takes (took) place LAST night, Friday, August 19th. If you went last Friday to see Love 2 Dance, we apologize profusely for the wrong information. We would like to blame someone, anyone, else for the mistake, but it was all our fault. Love 2 Dance, starring the husband and wife team of Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson, plus some of the Strip‘s top performers and choreographers, takes an intimate and original look inside the lives and loves of dancers, in this funny, touching and passionate new show. We will get it right the next time these two talented people and their M&M troupe perform around these parts.

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Trouble ON Paradise.
We have watched in amazement as the Las Vegas Hilton self destructs. What has happened over there? What was once a recognized and respected A property in this city, is now being operated like a mom and pop mini-mart. There are some interesting things going on in the Shimmer (Shimmy) Cabaret - Nunsense, Greg London's Impressions That Rock, Icons of Comedy - but look what ISN'T going on in the 1,700-seat showroom. We doubt very seriously that Elvis or Barbra or Barry, or any of the many other major headliners that performed in the Hilton Theater over the decades, had four-wall deals (where the act "rents" the theater space) with the hotel (opened in 1969 as the International). There was Triumph (that was anything but), a project that had much more bark than bite. In spite of much pre-show advertising and hoopla, and a number of false starts, and as many stops, Triumph (talk about an inappropriate name), just disappeared, probably never to be seen or heard from again. Now comes the recently bankrupt Steve Wyrick. Since early July, Wyrick's advertised opening date at the Hilton changed at least four times, before launching this week. Will this succeed, giving the place a positive identity once again? And, the even bigger question, what will happen to the property when they no longer carry the Hilton brand? Only time will tell.

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The real Neil Diamond wasn't able to spend a Hot August Night in Las Vegas, so he sent Rob Garrett to fill in for him. Garrett, a popular tribute artist and longtime Las Vegas entertainer, would have made Neil proud. Backed by a live band, Rob performed Diamond favorites for an enthusiastic audience in The Club at the North Las Vegas Cannery. If you missed it, Rob will be appearing at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, in a 7 p.m. show on Saturday, September 10th. Known across the country as the "King of Diamonds," Rob's portrayal of the legendary performer is unparalleled. You can't get any closer. In 2008, Rob was awarded the Male Music Tribute Act of the Year in Las Vegas, marking the first time a Neil Diamond tribute act had won such an honor. Tickets for Rob Garrett's "Warm September Night" show at the Starbright, $12 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $15 for non-residents, are on sale now at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle community centers. The theater is located at 2215 Thomas Ryan Boulevard, off Lake Mead about three miles west of Rampart. For additional information, call (702) 240-1301, or (800) 595-4849.

Rob Garrett

Lynn Ross

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Tuesday night, we attended RagTag Entertainment's production of The Who's Tommy in Concert at Green Valley Ranch. The Ovation Room was almost full, responding well to the talented cast, made up of Jason Andino as Tommy, Brandon Nix as Captain Walker, Sandra Huntsman as Mrs. Walker, Gus Langely as Uncle Ernie, Aaron Coulson as Cousin Kevin, Lisa Marie Smith as Sally Simpson, Melanie Radan as 4-year-old Tommy, and Jessica Ruettiger as 10-year-old Tommy. The ensemble is made up of Dustin Dubreuil, Lance Bryant, David Tarr, Alejandro Mendoza, Elizabeth Matthews, Jacqueline Melendez. There are two more performances of The Who's Tommy, on Tuesdays, August 23rd and 30th. Tickets are $15, plus taxes and fees. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the show starting at 8. Call (617) 7744. Upcoming in RagTag's series of Tuesday musical theater offerings at Green Valley Ranch, Smokey Joe's Café in September and Sweeney Todd in October.

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Thursday night, we attended the August edition of the Composers Showcase. As always, it was a night full of talented people performing original material. Held at Garfield's on Regatta at Desert Shores, the lineup of talent included Keith Thompson, Nicole Pryor, Philip Fortenberry, Jason and Kelli Andino, Vita Corimbi, Phil Randall, Tina Walsh, Tymara, Richard Oberacker, Rylan Leo Helmuth, Christine Hudman, Bill Fayne, Susan Haller, and first-timers (aka virgins), The English Channel (Adam Knaff and Narayan Singh) and S. Frank Stringham, performing his self-penned song, "I Like You," that, according to S., was "inspired by his first wife, Lucifer (aka Satan)!" It's a ballad-type love song with an insane twist to it...literally." Garfield's offers a lovely setting, with a lakeside view, but it is not very comfortable in the summertime (depending on fans and misters, in lieu of air conditioning). Since the closing of the Liberace Museum last October, the showcase has been held in a number of different locations. The group is still seeking a "permanent" home. Rumor has it that, when the new Smith Center opens in March, the showcase may wind up holding their monthly events in that facility. We will keep readers posted.

And speaking of S. Frank Stringham, he is one of the members of the creative Las Vegas Improvisation Players, offering "clean burning comedy for all ages." LVIP creates on the spot hilarity with new scenes and songs, similar to those you see on the popular TV program, Whose Line is it Anyway? The comedy is swift, fun, and clean, making for an enjoyable evening for the whole family. Join the laughs at The American Heritage Academy, 6126 South Sandhill Road, Saturday, August 20th at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for only $10.

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On Monday night, we headed over to Casa di Amore on East Tropicana to see and hear songstress Lynn Ross, accompanied at the keyboards by Dan Ellis. We don't regularly do restaurant reviews, but we have to voice our opinion on our Casa di Amore experience. On the plus side, we very much enjoyed listening to Ms. Ross and Mr. Ellis performing mostly familiar favorites from the Great American Songbook. On the VERY minus side, was our meal. We ordered a favorite of ours, Eggplant Parmesan, a dish we are an almost-expert on. We were caught a little off guard at the price, $19...too much for a small neighborhood restaurant, we thought. We would have preferred vegetables instead of a pasta side. When we were told it would cost $3 extra, we opted to stick with the pasta, but asked to skip the red sauce, choosing oil and garlic instead. Imagine our very unpleasant surprise when our bill showed we were charged $3 to not have red sauce. To add insult to injury, the eggplant was the worst we have ever had, anywhere. We could not cut through the vegetable with a steak knife. And how can you ruin angel hair pasta with oil and garlic? It too was awful. In all fairness, we have to say that our table companions shared an Antipasto Salad for Two, which they were happy with ($16), and our server, who also like the chick singer, was named Lynn, did a fine job, and we can't blame her for the inedible meal. The restaurant was pretty full. We would love to know if (1) the diners were first time visitors, (2) newbies who had never had a meal at Casa di Amore, or (3) were there strictly because of the entertainment. As a point of reference, at Olive Garden, a very tasty eggplant p is $13.25, and if you choose grilled veggies in lieu of pasta, there is no extra charge. At Montesano's, an Italian eatery on south Eastern, which came very highly recommended by our dining companions, the Eggplant is $12.99. We haven't eaten there, so we can't vouch for the food, and we have no idea if we would have been asked to pay extra if we chose to have vegetables or pasta without red sauce. At String's, right down the street from Casa di Amore, Eggplant Dore (eggplant dipped in a lightly seasoned egg batter then grilled to golden brown and served with Marsala wine sauce and a touch of tomato sauce with sautéed mushrooms, and a side of angel hair pasta sautéed with roasted red peppers) is also $13.25, and comes with a choice of Minestrone soup or Cafe salad and fresh baked bread. We might return to Casa di Amore for the entertainment (George Bugatti performs there on a regular basis), but we will never have a meal there again. Our suggestion is, go for the music. Have dinner before or after... somewhere else.

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Sonny Turner's Platters

Vic Dunlop

Last night, Michigan's Music in the Parks 2011 series closed with a hand-clapping, foot pounding experience when the Flint Symphony Orchestra and classic Motown legend, Sonny Turner, former Lead Singer of The Platters. The concert was part of the 7th Annual Back to the Bricks Cruise Weekend in downtown Flint. With Turner are Daemine Lowe, Keith Blake and Michelle Johnson (on a break from Nunsense at the Las Vegas Hilton). The concert took place on Saginaw Street in front of McFarlan Park. And was broadcast live on Michigan's ABC TV12. On August 27th, Sonny and friends take off for a three week tour of Japan.

Photo caption (left to right): Sonny Turner , Keith Blake, Michelle Johnson and Daemine Lowe

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On Saturday, August 13th, comic, Vic Dunlop, passed away in California of diabetes complications at age 62. The irreverent Dunlop joked about his weight, Catholic school upbringing and Army life. He gained national attention on television's Make Me Laugh. Dunlop was a regular on Richard Pryor's 1977 comedy-variety show, and appeared in a number of films. In March, Dunlop appeared at the Tropicana in Brad Garrett's Comedy Club, along with Bob Zany and Butch Bradley. Dunlop is survived by his wife, Linda.

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Tony Pace has been called "The ultimate performer and the man with the voice who just happens to be funny." People hear his voice and say, "I could just sit here and listen to him sing all night." They shake his hand on the way out of the theater and say, "I haven't laughed that long and hard in my life." They close their eyes and swear that Cher or Louie Armstrong are performing on the stage. They watch in amazement as he takes audience members into an improv routine that brings tears to their eyes. Vin Di Bona, Executive Producer of America's Funniest Videos, said, "Tony, I've never seen anyone with the ability to work an audience like you." "To have the ability to do one thing well is incredible. To have the ability to do all of them well is extraordinary." Tony has recorded four vocal albums, and written the music and produced more than 20 self help CD programs, relaxation programs, and commercials. His scope of work extends beyond the ordinary as he continues to be a force in the fundraising community around the country as well as an advocate for those who need help. Over the past 30 years, Tony Pace has been an auctioneer, musician, author, producer, promoter, agent, and a dozen other things. He has even run an independent record label. The incorporation of his voice, talent, quick comedic wit, musicianship, and keen sense of audiences makes him the phenomenon you need to experience. Pace's one man show, Up On the Roof, originally scheduled for a three day run at Resorts in Atlantic City, played for nine months. As a result, the headlines hailed him as "The First Signature Artist of Atlantic City." The Tony Pace Show is currently appearing with a limited schedule through 2011 in the Fame Theater at the Clarion Hotel & Casino, 305 Convention Center Drive in Las Vegas. The show opened in May, and has been held over through the end of year as it continues to receive rave reviews from the public as well as industry personnel. Show dates through the rest of the year are at 7 p.m., August 22nd and 23rd, September 26th and 27th, October 24th and 25th, and December 5th and 6th. Tickets, starting at $49.95, are available online at or by calling (702) 467-1054.
Tony Pace will sing the National Anthem at the 51's game, tonight, Saturday, August 20th. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. at Cashman Field.

Tony Pace

Fifth Avenue

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Fifth Avenue's Sing Sing Sing will play at Sun City Anthem's Freedom Hall Theatre, Sunday, August 28th at 3 p.m. Fifth Avenue is a high-energy vocal quartet with the kind of tight harmonies and blend that hasn't been heard since the days of the Hi-Lo's and the Four Freshmen. With a nod to more contemporary groups, such as Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, as well, Fifth Avenue has taken vocal harmony to a new exciting level, encompassing not only jazz, but pop, doo-wop, classic rock and roll, and even a little barbershop, infusing it with a sound and style all their own. The group has worked with the likes of Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, Jerry Lee Lewis, Clint Holmes and many other veteran talents playing concert halls, clubs and college campuses all across the country. Here's what Clint Holmes had to say about them, "Fifth Avenue swings in the most musical way. They will surprise you at every turn and every surprise is wonderful. Wherever they sing, I'll be there!" Since exploding onto the Las Vegas music scene, they have been in high demand doing concerts, corporate events workshops, and performing as featured guest artists at major jazz festivals and clubs throughout the country. Most recently, they performed to overflow audiences at the Starbright Theatre and at the Suncoast Hit Parade in Las Vegas. Gene Puerling, founding member of the Hi-Lo's put it best when he said, "This group is a real treat. Don't miss them!" Bringing Fifth Avenue to Sun City Anthem, is Mistinguett Productions, who, over the past year has presented Las Vegas talent to the beautiful Freedom Hall Theatre and Anthem Community. Mistinguett, along with Greg Dreyer, director of the theater, work together to search out and find a mixture of entertainment to present to Freedom Hall, and Fifth Avenue is top notch Las Vegas talent at its best. Don't miss the chance to spend a hot August afternoon in a cool theatre filled with four amazing voices doing what they do best. See, and hear, Sing Sing Sing. Tickets are $18 and available at the Sun City Anthem Box Office at 2450 Hampton Rd. in Henderson. Call (702) 614-5864.

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See Ronnie Rose and Frank Potenza in concert at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod, just north of Desert Inn, today, Saturday, August 20th at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door.

Ronnie Rose

Jim Semmelman

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Condolences to former Las Vegan Jim Semmelman on the death of his father, William, who passed away on July 13th in Dayton, Ohio, at the age of 91. Bill was a fourth generation Daytonian, and a World War II veteran. He was co-founder of Anchor Fabricators along with brother-in-law, Arnie Saldoff. A leader in his community, Bill was past president of the Optimists, Meadowbrook Country Club and B'nai B'rith, and was active in the Jewish Federation, Temple Israel and the YMCA. An avid golfer, bowler, racquetball player, poker player, world traveler and lover of Broadway musicals, Bill was a man who went nowhere without his hat. He was preceded in death by his wife Shirley and his sister Dolly Saldoff. He is survived by his children, Pat Semmelman and her partner Freddie Weeks, Barb Bressler and her husband Kenny, Jim Semmelman and his partner Ray Disco, two grandchildren Jamie and Josh Bressler, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Joyce and Chuck Kardon, sister-in-law Bernice Carson and beloved nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held in Dayton. Memorial contributions may be made to Temple Israel, the Jewish Federation or Hospice of Dayton.

Jim Semmelman, who would best be remembered around Las Vegas for his involvement in theatrical productions - Jesus Christ Superstar, The Music Man (where he played Harold Hill), Grease and Two (co-starring Jim and BJ Doolan) all at UNLV; Boys In the Band at Clark County Community College, and Studs Terkel's Working at both the community college and as part of Super Summer Theatre series at Spring Mountain Ranch. Jim lives in New York, where he has been the stage manager at NBC's Today show for the past 12 years. He is the creator of Mooseltoe, a holiday "moosical" that plays around the country at that time of year, and also serves as director and works with onetime Las Vegan, Lucy Shropshire, on her cabaret act.

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Oh What a Night! A Musical Tribute To Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, performing in the Starlite Theatre at the Riviera through August 28th, will star at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre (opposite showbiz legends, Andy Williams and Ann-Margret) in Branson, Missouri, from September 12th through October 22nd. The cast will be made up of Chris Anderson, Taylor Campbell, Jonathan Harvey and Christian Nielsen. Oh What A Night! is an exciting musical revue written by Motown producer and creative consultant George Solomon, directed by award winning producer/director Michael Chapman with choreography by Paul Holmquist. "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like A Man," "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You," "My Eyes Adored You," "Working My Way Back To You," "Let's Hang On" and "Who Loves You," are just some of the many hits you'll enjoy from the dynamic songbook of those boys from Jersey. For ticket information, call (800) 666-6094. Tickets for the Riviera show start at $39.95, and can be purchased by calling (702) 794-9433.

Oh What a Night!

Marty Allen & Karon Kate

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Apparently, Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell did alright during their June engagement in the Louis Anderson Theater at the Palace Station, as they have been invited back for weekend performances for the next four months. The 89-year-old comedy legend and his musical, straight-lady wife will perform afternoon shows at the Palace Station, September 24th and 25th, October 15th and 16th, November 12th and 13th, and December 10th and 11th. Presented by Bonkerz Comedy Productions, showtimes are at 4. Marty Allen got his start in the comedy world performing at nightclubs while going to college during the day. It became so lucrative for him, that he eventually quit college to pursue comedy full time. It was shortly thereafter that he became part of the popular '50s comedy duo Allen and Rossi with fellow comedian Steve Rossi. Together, the two toured the country, released several hit comedy albums, performed more than 40 times on the Ed Sullivan Show and starred in the comedic film, The Last of the Secret Agents. Allen then conquered dramatic roles with appearances on television and in film, as well as several appearances on Hollywood Squares and other popular TV game shows. Allen and his wife of more than 25 years, Karon Kate Blackwell, perform together across the country, on cruise ships and often in their hometown of Las Vegas. Tickets begin at $49.95 plus tax and applicable fees for general admission. A VIP package, which includes priority seating and a meet and greet with Allen prior to the show, is available for $99.95 plus tax and applicable fees. Locals and Station Casinos hotel guests receive a $15 discount on all tickets. Tickets can be purchased at any Station Casinos Reward Center or The Fiestas or by calling (702) 547-5300 or log onto

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Michael Bolton performs at the Eastside Cannery Casino Hotel on the Boulder Strip, August 27th. Tickets are $74.95 Gold Circle, $64.95 Prime, $54.95 Reserved, not including tax, and are available by calling (702) 856-5470, or by visiting Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Eastside Cannery's box office located at the front desk.

Michael Bolton

Elvis Presley

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Elvis. Elvis. And more Elvis.
Tuesday, August 16th, marked the 34th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. There were abundant tributes around the world, and, not surprisingly, crowd counts were up at Graceland in Memphis. Here in Las Vegas, where he was a major presence, we had two Elvis stories going on. The first involves major changes with Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis at the Aria. Elvis, or at least part of Elvis, will be leaving the building. According to a statement from the company, Viva Elvis will get a makeover to "make it less of a biographical representation of Elvis Presley and more of an acrobatic Cirque du Soleil spectacular production." The production will shut down for a period of time, starting in January. The new show will feature more acrobats, and, we suspect, less Elvis.

Then, there was the recent Las Vegas Elvis Fest, an Elvis Fans' Festival, Convention, Showcase and Concert, held at the Las Vegas Hilton (Elvis' longtime home), July 28th through 30th. Friends of ours, who attended the event, generously shared some of their impressions with us.

The Las Vegas Elvis Fest (formerly Heart of the King) is an annual Elvis Fans' Festival, Convention, Elvis Tribute Artists' Showcase and Concert at the Las Vegas Hilton. In a nutshell, the entire event was a shameless rip-off that took advantage of Elvis fans from all over the world. The prices were ridiculous - Platinum level at $199.95, the Gold level at $169.95 and the Silver level at $109.95 for the 3-day package - particularly when considering what was and wasn't included and how the program was executed. The Elvis memorabilia and collectibles vendor fair was a joke, an amateurishly organized event that was held in a small ballroom. The set up painfully reminded us of a high school or a church fundraiser. Alongside a number of vendors selling tacky Elvis and many non-Elvis merchandise, there were some of Elvis' friends and co-workers selling their photos (at $10) and books (for between $25 and $50) of their lives with Elvis (but mostly their own lives), and signing autographs. There is a much better selection of Elvis merchandise at the Viva Elvis gift shop at Aria. The whole thing left a bad taste, as it came off as an absolute rip-off, taking advantage of and misleading dedicated Elvis fans. The Fest ran from Thursday through Saturday, with the only Thursday offering being the Trent Carlini Show, for an additional charge, and the opportunity to purchase tickets for Cirque du Soleil'sViva Elvis at a 50% savings. On Friday afternoon, there was an Elvis Tribute Show in the aging Hilton Showroom (with its incredibly uncomfortable seats), featuring Elvis impersonators singing to tracks in front of the curtain. Afterwards, there was a (free to the public) autograph signing session with the tribute artists, held in the small ballroom. There was with the Tribute artists. They set up a long table with name tags of the expected "celebrities," but only two out of 25 actually showed up to sign, more evidence of the really badly organized event. The autograph session was part of the Platinum, Gold & Silver package price and therefore should have been an absolute prerequisite for the artists to show up. Needless to say, it left a lot of people very disappointed. Friday evening started with a 7 p.m. Red Carpet that was free to everyone. As a result, the only people who actually saw this were everyone but the package holders (with no special pass), who, for an hour, had to stand in one line that ran half-way through the Casino. Again, more brilliant organizing. Finally, about a half-hour late, the show started. Since it started late, it also ended late. At the end of the show, the MC told everyone to go to a certain lounge for an after-party (also free to everyone). No one was able to locate the lounge. When Joe Esposito (best known for his long association and friendship with Elvis) was asked where the party was, he said he had no clue. Hilton staff people were also asked for help in finding the space. Nobody knew, so our very disappointed friends went home. On Saturday, Esposito conducted a so-called Backstage Tour of Elvis' dressing room and Hilton suite. This was NOT included as part of the $200 per person package, but was sold at an extra $19.95. The afternoon Elvis Insiders Celebrity Forum, with friends, co-workers, co-stars and yes, fans, was, with a few exceptions, long and rather boring, with an MC that painfully reminded attendees of a church raffle. And again, back to the ballroom where more photos, books and cheesy merchandise was being sold. By the way, if you overextended yourself financially with the steep package prices, and were thinking of trying to cut your losses, there was a vendor looking to purchase your gold jewelry to help you out. The Tribute Show, performed on the very stage where Elvis made history and featuring Shawn Klush, the Imperials and Sweet Inspirations, started off with comedian Sammy Shore ("The Man Who Made Elvis Laugh"), one of the lone highlights of the weekend. The chairs in the Hilton Showroom were not any more comfortable than they were the night before, but it was reported that Klush did a good job. Overall, it was a pretty good show with good entertainment value, except that, even for an Elvis fan, it was a bit on the repetitive side and rather long. Again, there was no after-party. Supposedly, Shawn and some others sang a few songs at an open-mic event in an adjacent lounge that, once again, was open to the public. Looking at what our friends got for $350 (two Gold level packages), they can't help but consider the whole event a total rip-off that took advantage of Elvis fans. The fact that, after all these years, there are still people who ride on Elvis' coattails and line their pockets with their long past association with Elvis. The whole thing certainly left a bad taste in these attendee's mouths. Suffice it to say, they we will not be at any more of these "events."

Hugh & Jan Lovelady at Graceland

Rod Russell

As an afterthought...Forbes estimates that more than $60 million a year is earned just from licensing Elvis' image. Rock and roll fans around the world still can't get enough of him. There is a park named after Presley in Hungary, an Elvis-inspired coffee commercial running on Japanese TV., and 34 years after his death, millions of fans still pour through Graceland every year.

Next week, we will have a first-hand report on the four-day 45th Annual Star Trek Convention, held at the Rio, August 11th through 14th. Tickets for that experience were a reasonable $35 and $40. Obviously, it's more practical to be a Trekkie than an Elvis fan.

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Leos (July 23 through August 23)
Will Collins, Sandi Davis, Rod Russell, Piper Goldson, Woody Woods, Kevin Spirtas, Donna Booth Koger, Robert Allen, Angelo Tolentino, Judy Thorburn, Taryll Jackson, Sally Porter Coombs, Elizabeth Foyt, Buddy Greco, Martin Kreloff, Jaymie Valentine, Spencer Baker, Nelson Sardelli, Lou Toomin, Mike Straessley, Lee Roy Reams, Giovanna Sardelli, Perry Palmer, Larry Manetti, Charisma Carpenter, Gallagher, Lynda Carter, Mick Jagger, Dorothy Hamill, Kevin Spacey, Jerry Van Dyke, Bobbie Gentry, Taj Jackson, Paul Anka, Maureen McGovern, Bill Engvall, Sally Struthers, Martina McBride, David Sanborn, Tony Bennett, Faith Prince, Herb Reed, Lana Cantrell, Raul Malo, Mel Tillis, Kid Creole, Connie Stevens, Whitney Houston, George Hamilton, David Crosby, Steve Martin, Lee Ann Womak, Antonio Fargas, Sarah Brightman, Jimmy Webb, Rick Springfield, Madonna, Eydie Gorme, Denis Leary, Robert Redford, Elayne Boosler, Kenny Rogers and President Bill Clinton.

Anniversary greetings to Deano and Terri Noto, Jim Semmelman and Ray Disco, and Marlon and Carol Jackson.

Robert Redford is 75

Gary Oakes & Lou Garcia

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Gary Oakes and Lou Garcia, fondly known as "The Dynamic Duo," do a "back by popular demand" performance at the Clark County Flamingo Library, 1401 E. Flamingo, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 28th. Presented by the Performing Arts Society of Nevada, the musical twosome entertain with songs of Broadway, selections from the Great American Songbook, and pop favorites. Tickets to see the veteran entertainers are a reasonable $15 and may be ordered by phone or purchased at the library box office, starting an hour before the show. For reservations or more information, call (702) 658-6741.

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Jim Caruso's Cast Party, with special guest Billy Stritch, makes its Las Vegas debut at Alexis Park, this Wednesday and Thursday, August 24th and 25th, in shows starting at 10 p.m. Cast Party, with entertainer Jim Caruso as host, is a New York favorite, playing Monday nights at the world famous Birdland. The open mic event is a show business hang where stars and performers from theater, jazz, television, film and the concert stage, share their talent and mingle with friends and fans. Performers step up to the microphone to sing, dance, tell stories and have an all 'round free-for-all. In a departure from most other entertainment events in Las Vegas, a late supper menu will be offered and, of course, all of your favorite beverages will be served at your table. It's a party with full service. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door, and are on sale now at or 1-800-838-3006, 24/7. Anyone wishing to perform should e-mail to [email protected], and plan to arrive at 9 p.m. Cast Party goes until 1 a.m., and guests are welcome to continue partying until 2 a.m. For additional information, please call (323) 791-1585. Cast Party is a Dennis Ritz Presents entertainment event.

Billy Stritch, Michael Orland & Jim Caruso

Mozaic Presents & Billy Hufsey

International phenomenon, Charice, appears during 98.5 KLUC's End of Summer Block Party at the Henderson Pavilion, Tuesday, August 23rd at 6 p.m. Joining Charice will be Cody Simpson, Iyaz, Hard Nox, Jackson Gutry, Lex Rox, Denisse Lara and DJ CO-1. Tickets are $19.85 or $35.85 for premium seating, plus service fee, and are on sale now. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit, call (702) 267-4TIX (4849), or visit the Henderson Pavilion Box Office, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Carnival of Wonders, featuring Mark Kalin, Jinger Leigh and Jeff Hobson, offers magic and comedy in The Orleans showroom, tonight and Sunday at 8 p.m. The award-winning combination of magic, comedy and mystery that is the Carnival of Wonders will amaze and delight audiences, packing the fun of a traveling carnival into a night of entertainment, hinting at dark mysteries and deep wonders that surround every day life. The World Magic Awards and Fox Television have both named Carnival of Wonders the "Best Magic Show." Magician Mark Kalin and performer Jinger Leigh each had their own shows before they met in Guam and decided to partner as magician and assistant. Their signature illusions - the Fire Spiker, Circle of Fire and Sawing in Half - combined with a unique performing style, quickly earned them recognition among audiences and professional magicians. The Academy of Magical Arts Kalin and Jinger "Magicians of the Year." Comedian-magician Jeff Hobson is the carnival's tour guide. Hobson is a veteran of the Las Vegas entertainment scene, having performed in numerous variety and magical shows on the Strip. Recently, the Academy of Magical Arts named him "Stage Magician of the Year." According to the New York Daily News, Carnival of Wonders is "A big fat magical hit!" The Los Angeles Times called it "A magical show with bevy of crowd pleasing illusions. It's a must see for magic buffs of all ages." Tickets are priced from $19.95, plus tax and convenience fees. Call (702) 365-7075 for reservations.

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Mozaic Presents Youth Theater continues with Bye Bye Birdie at the Henderson Amphitheatre, 200 S. Water Street in Henderson, next Friday and Saturday, August 26th and 27th at 7:30 p.m. The mission of the relatively new Mozaic is to provide a safe, creative and nurturing forum where children can build their self-confidence and realize their highest potential through the collaborative process of creating high quality musical theater productions. Mozaic believes that by participating in a high-quality program, young people not only gain confidence, they also learn commitment, responsibility, communication and other skills beneficial to their individual character and necessary for future success. Mozaic theater programs are for kids ages five to 18-years-old. They also offer a "Creator in Training" opportunity for individuals 16 to 21-years-old, for students who possess leadership skills and responsibility. This gives young people who may have grown out of the program a chance to stay involved in theater.

The remaining Bye Bye Birdie show dates are, next Friday, August 26th, and Saturday. August 27th, at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7), with performances at the Henderson Amphitheatre, 200 South Water Street, in Henderson, of course. General open seating is free. Reserved seating tickets are $10. Call (702) 513-4189 to purchase. When it comes to children, we strongly urge guardians to make the right choice in selecting an environment for learning. For additional information on Mozaic Presents, which is operated by parents, call (702) 513-4189, or e-mail to [email protected].

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Lena Prima

Entertainer Lena Prima, singer and daughter of the famed Louis Prima, performs selections from her critically-acclaimed album, Since the Storm, as part of A Concert for the Community at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 27th at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 McLeod Dr., near Desert Inn. Backed by her own six-piece band, Lena will also offer some favorites straight from the heart of New Orleans, her beloved childhood home, as well as some of her father's best-loved hits. Included in the performance is Lena's original hit song, "Silly in the Middle," which was nominated for the Best Jazz Song of 2010 at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Tickets for A Concert for the Community are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (702) 455-7340 or visit

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There has been a big change at Ichabod's...and, it's a good one. With an excellent, reasonably priced food menu, pretty loose video poker machines (one some days, there is a waiting list to get a turn), live entertainment, and a fine staff, this 24/7 establishment had a lot going for it. There was just one major problem, musician Howie Gold. During much of his employment at Ichabod's, this man had been verbally abusive to both customers and staff members, as well as mistreated a number of entertainers. Three years ago, Mr. Big Ego even had the nerve to tell a reporter that they had to clear anything they wrote about him, prior to printing it! The solution, at the time, was, just not to mention the guy again. The only reason we are mentioning him now, is because this news is just too good not to print. Last week, the rude, self-centered Gold, who had been performing in Ichabod's cozy piano bar for more than three years, was terminated. The big question is, what took so long? With the price of gold at an all-time high, it appears that this Gold has hit an all-time low. We will have more on Ichabod's, located in the Renaissance Food4Less center at Flamingo and Pecos, next week.

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