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 September 23, 2011
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - September 23, 2011


Dennis Ritz & Donny Osmond by Ed Foster

Eric Jordan Young

As regular Claire Voyant readers know, one of our most favorite things to do in Las Vegas is to attend the (usually) monthly Composers Showcase, headed up by Jersey Boys musical director/conductor, Keith Thompson. The late night, well-kept-secret gathering of the city's top songwriters (and there are many out there), singers (and there are many out there) and musicians (and there are many out there), join together to present original material, making for a magical musical evening. Our second favorite thing could become the new cabaret series taking place at the non-gaming Alexis Park Resort on East Harmon, just west of Paradise (think Hard Rock Hotel and the Fruit Loop). On Wednesday and Thursday, the 21st and 22nd of September, for the second month in a row, the offering was the Vegas Version of Jim Caruso's Cast Party, an open mic-type show, hosted by the very funny and talented Jim Caruso, with cohort Billy Stritch playing piano and foil to Caruso. Cast Party is a longtime New York favorite. The East Coast Party, that takes place on Monday nights at Manhattans' famed Birdland, is now in its eighth successful year. Producer Dennis Ritz hopes to make Cast Party a Vegas success as well. Just like in New York, audience members never know who will show up to perform. One thing you can count on, almost every act is of standing ovation quality. We were at Alexis Park on Wednesday night, when the line up of musical performances included New Yorker William Blake, singing "Turn Me On;" Artie Schroeck and Linda November, Cole Porter's "Let's Do It;" Ronnie Rose, "On a Clear Day;" Alexandra Haas, "A Day In the Life of a Fool;" Jay Joseph, "Teach Me Tonight;" Dangerous Curves (Karen Merstik-Michaels, Margaret "Gret" Menzies and Lisa Smith), "Natural Woman;" Caruso, the very funny "Tone Deaf," and with Stritch in a, back by popular request, their Sonny and Cher take off on "All I Ever Need Is You;" Donny Osmond (yes, THAT Donny Osmond!) without his sister "LaToya," singing a lovely version of "Moon River;" Tina Walsh, accompanied by Philip Fortenberry, "Back to Before" from Ragtime; Dennis Michaels, doing a beautiful job on Sam Harris' "Never Will She Answer;" Natalie Hill, Dolly Parton's "Here You Come Again;" Kris Russell, "Frim Fram Sauce Song (with Chafafa On the Side);" Craig Alan Thomas, "I, Don Quixote" from Man of La Mancha; Denise Fuleihan (backed, at her request, by Dangerous Curves), also doing "Natural Woman;" comic/psychic, Cashetta, the cleverly called "Extra Large Medium" performing at the Clarion, "Long John Blues;" Eric Jordan Young, " Night Song" from Broadway's Golden Boy; Jeanne Brei, "I'll Have Someone After You're Gone;" Frankie Moreno on piano and vocals, doing "Some Kind of Love" (written by Moreno and Mark Gilbert); and Reva Rice, "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" (where did Reva get that great arrangement?). During the program, Stritch did "Give Me the Simple Life," and Caruso did Peter Allen's "When I Get My Name in Lights." Also creating some laughs was Californian, Jason Dudey, a finalist in The World Series of Comedy competition, put on by The Las Vegas Comedy Show, now in its second year at Alexis Park. In the Cast Party audience on Wednesday, we spotted comic Geechy Guy; Phantom's Kristen Hertzenberg (recovering nicely from recent surgery); music man, Keith Thompson; scribe John Katsilometes; Boyd Gaming's Jim Seagrave and wife, Jan; gal about town, Carole Hassell; publicist Michael Caprio (Olivia Newton-John, Chippendales, Jon Secada, Brent Barrett) and chorographer, Randy Slovacek. Caprio told us that our Phavorite Phantom, Brent Barrett, is playing Benjamin Stone in Stephen Sondheim's Follies, playing at Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater, October 4th through November 6th. The Chicago Tribune calls Follies "One of the most anticipated shows of the year," while Chicago magazine says, "If you see one musical a season, this is The One." As for Mr. Slovacek, he will be choreographing the Broadway revival of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! We will have more about Dolly! in upcoming columns.

We have been informed that ticket prices for upcoming cabaret events at Alexis Park will be $25 (eliminating the $35 and $40 tickets). We applaud this idea. We have a couple of other ideas that we think could beef up attendance and Alexis Park revenue (the resort has no slot machines). We think the shows should start at 10:30 p.m., to give the performers enough time to get out of their makeup and costumes and get to the property, without risking life and limb. We also think the Cast Moonlight Menu should offer simpler, more popular food selections, perhaps like salads (small Caesar or Cobb), chicken fingers, sliders, pizza, fresh fruit bowls, or similar user-friendly items. You're welcome.

And speaking of Philip Fortenberry...If you were planning on attending A Prelude to the Harvest, with Iris Rideau of Rideau Winery and pianist extraordinaire Fortenberry, in Solvang, California, on October 8th, feel free to make other plans for that afternoon. The event has been cancelled, postponed, scratched, whatever. However you want to put it, it ain't happening...at least not now, and probably not at the Rideau Winery. Stay tuned.


Kelly Clinton

Elaine Stritch

Speaking of Manhattan...The talented husband and wife team of Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes will both be performing, in separate venues, in the Big Apple during October.
Kelly will make her New York cabaret debut at the Metropolitan Room on October 17th, when she performs her new one woman show, Freckles and 80-Year-Old Bones. Kelly's is a familiar name to those who have been around Las Vegas since the late '70s, when the New Jersey-born entertainer first began appearing in local hotel lounges, sometimes as the lead singer with already established groups (Mainstream at the Maxim, Buddy Wilde and Bruce Zarka), and then in her own band, Kelly Clinton and The Purple Gang. Currently, Kelly can be seen in Las Vegas at the exclusive Stirling Club at Turnberry Towers, and at that Italian bistro on the south end of Las Vegas Blvd. Clint makes his Café Carlyle debut, following Tony and Emmy Award-winner Elaine Stritch, At Home at The Carlyle: Singin' Sondheim...Again, into the legendary cabaret. Clint will be Remembering Bobby Short, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:45 p.m., October 11th through 29th (no show on the 15th). Cover, Tuesdays through Thursdays, $75 per person ($45 bar; $125 premium); Fridays and Saturdays, $85 per person ($45 bar; $125 premium). Entertainer Short called the Carlyle home for 37 years! The Café Carlyle is located in the boutique Rosewood Hotel, 35 E. 76th Street. For reservations, call (212) 744-1600, or (888) ROSEWOOD. We will have more on Clint and Kelly, and their Manhattan adventures, in upcoming columns.


Clint Holmes by Tom Donoghue

Linda Eder & Michael Feinstein

And, while we are still on that coast...
Now through October 1st, it's Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder in Two For the Road, at Feinstein's at Loews Regency, the nightclub proclaimed "Best of New York" by New York Magazine and "an invaluable New York institution" by The New York Post. Feinstein's continues its Fall 2011 season with the first New York joint engagement of the club's founder, Mr. Feinstein, and critically acclaimed vocalist, Ms. Eder. The two powerhouse performers will share the spotlight in ashow that features classics from Harold Arlen, George Gershwin and Sammy Cahn; hits from newer writers, like Peter Allen, Joni Mitchell and Michel Legrand; and selections from Michael's upcoming CD, The Sinatra Legacy. Music director, Billy Jay Stein, will conduct a seven piece band. For reservations, call (212) 339- 4095, or 339-4045, and use code: MFLE11, to receive a free upgrade (based on availability). Food and beverage minimums apply.

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In spite of the fact that, two weeks ago, it had been announced that Gladys Knight would remain as the Tropicana headliner, at least through the end of the year, yesterday came word that Knight will end her engagement at the newly remodeled property on October 29th. We have to wonder if her incompetent PR (supposedly standing for Public Relations) reps might have had anything to do with the early closing. The right company can certainly have some bearing on the success or failure of a product, business, or, in this case, an act.

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Sammy Shore & Media Group Birthday Celebrants

Joey Lomello & Diane Ellis (July 2011)

The Las Vegas Media Group reports that there were 49 in attendance for last Monday's luncheon at The Wedding Room. September's guest speaker was comedian Sammy Shore, giving the audience a taste of his genius with stories of his work in Las Vegas, as an opening act for Elvis Presley, and gave us his take on reality television. He had everyone in the group laughing, especially our own Carey Burke who took the brunt of his jokes. Tonight and tomorrow (September 23rd and 24th), active Las Vegas Media Group member Cork Proctor opens for Sammy at the Eastside Cannery. There is no admission charge and the show starts at 8 p.m. The next meeting date for the LVMG is Monday, October 17th. For more details about the friendly group, check out lasvegasmediagroup.com, or contact Lisa Gioia-Acres at [email protected].
Photo caption - Comic Sammy Shore and September birthday celebrants (left to right): Carl Harley, Lisa Gioia-Acres, Sammy, Dave Williams, and Rollie Gibbs.

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Musician Joseph Lomelo (spelled Lomello for stage work) passed away at his Las Vegas home on September 12th. The talented New York-born vocalist and guitar player was 67. A Las Vegan for more than 30 years, Joey might best be remembered for his years with the bands Chazz - with Danny Colica (Calico), Corky DiFini, Diane Ellis and Bob Lyman, from 1978; and Joey Lomello and Tri*Star (with Joey on lead guitar and vocals; Conrad Csogi on drums; Carl "Van Zap" Eichman on guitar and vocals; Jamie Townsend on keyboard, bass and vocals; and Sharon Townsend on bass guitar and vocals, from 1986. The bands played all over the city, in places including Bourbon Street, California, Hacienda, Las Vegas Hilton, Maxim, Paddlewheel and Palace Station. During his show business career, Joey recorded under the Untied Artists label, and worked with headliners such as Barry Manilow and Neil Sedaka. What made Joey most unique was his high energy and his penchant for fun. Variety and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist, the late Bill Willard, wrote, "...that may be Joey's secret," and described the "secret" as, "the lure of Lomello." On Tuesday afternoon, with only one days' notice, about 30 family members, friends and fellow musicians gathered at the E-String Grill (where Joey loved to sing karaoke with his daughters) to share photos, memories and stories. There were tears and there was laughter, just what one would expect following an unexpected loss. Joey is survived by his former wife/still friend, Joan Lomelo. He was the father of five, daughters Anne Manzi, Alexandria Starr (Alex) and Victoria Starr (Tori) of Las Vegas, and Felice McKiernan of Montana. His only son, Joseph Lomelo III, died in July at the age of 43. A military veterans service for Joey Lomelo is planned for a later date.

Earlier today (September 23rd), the Associated Press reported the death of R&B diva, Vesta Williams. Best known for her hits, "Congratulations," "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," "Sweet Sweet Love," "Special," and "Don't Blow a Good Thing." Vesta was found dead yesterday in a Southern California hotel room, possibly of a drug overdose. The Ohio-born singer was only 53.


Vesta Williams

Tom Wilson & Friend

Tom Wilson Sr., creator of comics page and licensing icon Ziggy, died on September 16th, after a long illness. He was 80 years old. Ziggy is a hard-luck comic page hero who serves as a reflection of Tom's endearing wit and optimism in the face of adversity. Ziggy, which celebrated 40 years in syndication in June 2011, continues to be produced by Wilson's son, Tom Wilson Jr. The younger Wilson has handled the day-to-day operation of the panel since 1987. Tom Sr. was an artist at American Greetings card company in Cleveland for more than 35 years, and first published Ziggy in a 1969 cartoon collection, "When You're Not Around." Ziggy was launched in 15 newspapers in 1971 and now appears in more than 500 daily and Sunday newspapers. It also has appeared in books, calendars and greeting cards. For lovers of poor Ziggy (of which Cousin Claire is, and has been, for decades), they are very aware of all the branded products that have been released over the years. There are Ziggy plush dolls (for just about every holiday), mugs, banks, and more. There are even bed linens and a telephone, featuring Ziggy and his dog, Fuzz. Ziggy is distributed to newspapers worldwide by Universal Uclick, an Andrews McMeel Universal company. Unfortunately, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which used to run the square on a daily basis, and the strip on Sundays, discontinued Ziggy a few years ago, choosing to use the unfunny Argyle Sweater instead. What were they thinking?

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Although the 7th anniversary party of the non-club club F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) should have had a few more people present, last Saturday night the Italian American Club provided quality over quantity, and style over substance. It was a lovely night, with a number of F.I.O.R.E. members being "honored" with classy-looking engraved plaques given to the recipients. Among those recognized for both funny and serious accomplishments, were Bill Acosta, Peter Anthony, Artie Schroeck, Babe Pier, Aldo Natoli and even Cousin Claire! As usual, Nelson Sardelli and the rest of the presidents did a fine job organizing the party. The buffet was good, with dessert, a delicious sheet cake, provided by two of Nelson's daughters, Pietra and Giovanna. Gary Anderson led a band of a dozen top musicians and there was even a belly dancer named Amber, who undulated her way around the dance floor, much to the delight of the presidents. We think there will be a F.I.O.R.E. co-ed Halloween Party next month. Watch this space for details.


Nelson Sardelli and Angela & Bill Acosta

Tony Pace

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The moment Tony Pace steps on stage you feel he's different. There's something about him that keeps you coming back again and again. There's a reason why people say "I need a dose of Tony" or "I need a Tony Pace fix". What makes the difference is who he is and what he can do. He's been compared to Sammy Davis and so many others. Most likely, any show you see with Tony Pace is improvised and never scripted. He's been hailed as the man with the voice and believes that the gift he was given must be shared, and what a gift it is. Pace's comedic timing and material has been embraced as hilarious by people like Craig Neier, owner of Catch a Rising Star, as well as comedians, Victoria Jackson, Cathy Ladman, Pat Cooper and so many more. Vin Di Bona, executive producer of America's Funniest Videos, told Tony Pace I've never seen anyone with the ability to work an audience like you. Tony Pace is a master at audience involvement. Tony has recorded four albums, produced four self-help programs, works with children's organizations and enrichment programs. Tony Pace is a musician, emcee, writer, auctioneer, and has even run an independent record label. "It's all I ever wanted to do and I've got the best seat in the house." Industry leaders have said Tony Pace is "America's Best Kept Secret" but not for long. He is The Man with the Voice...who just happens to be funny. Tony has a background in theater, and did an off-Broadway production called "Up On The Roof." He toured with an eight- piece showband in the '80s, and performed with a 20-piece orchestra. His one man show, which debuted at the Hilton in Atlantic City in the '90s, was a success. Now it is the Las Vegas market that Tony pace hopes to capture. You can see him this Monday and Tuesday (September 26ht and 27th) in 7 p.m. shows in the Star Theater at the Clarion Hotel and Casino, 305 Convention Center Drive. Tickets are $49.95, plus taxes and fees, and may be purchased online at www.tonypace.com, or by calling (702) 467-1054.

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This kind of makes us want to go, hmmm...
Many around Las Vegas, or those who keep up on such things, know that former business partners, Dick Feeney and Sandy Hackett (Sandy, the son of the late Buddy Hackett), are in a nasty legal battle over who owns what, when it comes to the local Rat Pack shows. After seven years, working as a team on Sandy Hackett's Comedy Club in Laughlin, and The World's Greatest Magic Show and The Rat Pack is Back!, both at the Greek Isles (formerly the Debbie Reynolds Hotel and now the Clarion, the good relationship between the two gentlemen turned ugly (we won't go into the reasons why). As a result, for the past couple of years, there have been lawyers, depositions, disclosures and all the stuff that goes with lawsuits, costing both sides, to put it very mildly, big bucks. So this might sound a bit strange. For their annual summer party in Beverly Hills, Sandy's mother, Sherry, and her current husband, David Loftus (Buddy Hackett died in 2003 at the age of 78), once again invited Dick and his wife Melissa Feeney to join their group of eclectic celebrity friends - among them, Wink and Sandy Martindale; Dean's daughter, Deana Martin, and her hubby John Griffeth; Cindy Williams, who played Shirley Feeney (no relation to Dick) in the TV sitcom, Laverne & Shirley; onetime Hollywood Squares game show host, Peter Marshall; Larry Flynt, magazine publisher (Hustler); Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In regular, Jo Anne Worley; Bob and Ginnie Newhart (Bob was introduced to Ginnie by Buddy Hackett; the Newharts have been married since 1963); and Dolly Martin, widow of Laugh-In's Dick Martin, among them. Interestingly, Sherry's son, Sandy, and Sandy's wife, Lisa Dawn Miller, were not on the invited guests list. When all of this Hackett vs. Feeney stuff started a couple of years ago, we predicted it would get ugly. We were right. It's really ugly. The trial starts on October 17th. No matter how the trial turns out, the only really big winners will be the lawyers. Like we said...this just makes us want to go, hmmm.


Dick & Melissa Feeney and Dave & Sherry Hackett Loftus

Marty Allen & Karon Kate Blackwell

Coincidentally, Buddy Hackett and Sherry Cohen were married on June 12th, 1955, the day of Dick Feeney's third birthday. Sherry's husband, Dave, also celebrates his birthday on June 12th.

And speaking of Dick Feeney...The oldest of his four children, Certified Public Accountant Christopher Jacobs, has done a sort of career switch, and, even in the early stages, it is proving to be successful. Chris has had a role in TV's Gossip Girl, and can currently be seen in a Miller Lite beer commercial airing primarily on ESPN (Chris is the one running for the pass and doing the "Touchdown Dance"). Dad is very proud.

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Rumors are circulating (and we're doing our part to help them along) that Steve Wyrick's days (or nights) at the Las Vegas Hilton are numbered. The fact that Wyrick isn't even mentioned on the full-page Hilton ad in today's Review-Journal Neon, could be an omen. The magician, who lost his self-named Miracle Mile Mall at Planet Hollywood theater (now operated by and bearing the name of David Saxe) during bankruptcy, has never really gotten off the ground at the Hilton, sounding very much like the short history of the theater's previous tenant, the magic show, Triumph (which definitely WASN'T!). With previous shows at the downtown Lady Luck, Sahara, Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood), the Wyrick Theatre and now the Hilton, this cat from Texas, who seemed to keep landing back on his feet following one fall after another, may have finally used up his nine lives...at least in Las Vegas.

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If you were in Las Vegas on Thursday morning, did you happen to catch funnyman, Marty Allen, visiting on Channel 3's, Waking Up With the Wagners, at around 6:30 a.m.? It's a little early for Allen, as well. That may explain why he was (un)dressed in a bright pink robe with curlers in his very recognizable hair. Marty woke up with the Wagners to pitch his afternoon gig at the Palace Station tomorrow and Sunday at 4 p.m. Marty will be performing with his musical bride, Karon Kate, in the Louie Anderson Theater. The twosome do the kind of comedy and music act that helped make Las Vegas the Entertainment Capitol of the World. Tickets are $55 (locals with valid ID can save $15). For reservations, call (702) 547-5300. If you want to see how the pros do it, head for the Palace Station this weekend and see Marty and Karon.

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Jason Sudeikis

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

We inadvertently omitted some Virgos from last weeks' birthday list (everyone who makes our very prestigious birthday list, has SOME connection to Las Vegas), so...best wishes to Michael Buble, B.B. King, Kelly Clinton-Holmes, Lisa Gioia-Acres, Frankie Avalon, and Jason Sudeikis, who turned 36 on September 18th. How does Sudeikis rate a mention with this group? In the early 2000s, Jason became a founding member of Second City Las Vegas. In 2003, while still a regular performer in the Flamingo's Second City show, he was hired as a sketch writer for Saturday Night Live. Sudeikis would occasionally make bit appearances as an SNL audience member or extra. In May of 2005, he became a featured player on the show, and was upgraded to repertory status at the beginning of the show's 32nd season on September 30, 2006. Jason became famous for his impersonation of American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, as well as one-half of the Two A-Holes with Kristen Wiig. Sudeikis had a recurring guest role on the NBC series, 30 Rock, in early 2007, appearing in a total of seven episodes. He played Floyd DeBarber, a love interest of Tina Fey's character, Liz Lemon. He made another appearance as Floyd in a 2008 episode, and appeared again, along with Jon Hamm and Dean Winters, in the Valentine's Day episode that aired in 2010. Sudeikis last appeared in three episodes of 30 Rock towards the end of last years' season. You never know when this information might come in handy.

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There are lots of interesting things going on at The Orleans...
This weekend, tomorrow and Sunday at 8 p.m., it's Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in the Orleans Showroom. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is a contemporary swing revival band from Southern California They arrived on the music scene in 1993 with a legendary residency at the Brown Derby Nightclub in Los Angeles. Their notable singles include "Mr. Pinstripe Suit." In 1996, the band rocketed to fame after performing two of their songs, "You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)," and "Go Daddy-O," in the hit movie "Swingers." Since then, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has performed for three U.S. presidents, with the United States Air Force Orchestra and at the 1999 Super Bowl halftime show. They have also written theme music for ESPN, "The Carson Daly Show" and "3rd Rock From the Sun." To date, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has released eight studio albums, most recently "How Big Can You Get? A Tribute to Cab Calloway," in 2009. The seven-man group is comprised of Scotty Morris, lead vocals and guitar; Kurt Sodergren, percussion; Dirk Shumaker, double bass and vocals; Andy Rowley, baritone saxophone and vocals; Glen Marhevka, trumpet; Karl Hunter, saxophones and clarinet; and Joshua Levy, piano and arranger. Tickets are from $19.95, 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. You can also call the box office at (702) 365-7075 or (888) 365-7111.

Entertainment icon, Mitzi Gaynor, will bring her show, Razzle Dazzle: My Life Behind the Sequins, to The Orleans Showroom, October 14th through 16th. In her first Las Vegas appearance in more than a decade, the legendary entertainer will share personal stories, moving memories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes from her life and remarkable show business career. The Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated star of classic musicals, South Pacific, Les Girls, Anything Goes, and There's No Business Like Show Business, will appear in a 90-minute musical memoir, with stories, songs and video footage culled from her six-decade television, concert and film career. The Orleans appearance is a homecoming for Gaynor, who premiered as a Las Vegas headliner in 1961, and continued to perform in showrooms on the Strip for several decades, appearing with such stars as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. "I am over the moon to be coming home to Las Vegas," said Gaynor. Already a star on stage, Mitzi made her motion picture debut in 1950. She was nominated for a Golden Globe® award for "Best Actress in a Musical" for her role as Ensign Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Gaynor ventured into television in 1967, with The Mitzi Gaynor Christmas Show, the first of her many special. Over the next 10 years, she continued to star in a number of television specials, blending song, dance and comedy with such guest stars as Bob Hope, George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette. The specials were honored with 18 Emmy® nominations and seven Emmy® awards, including the 2010 award for "Outstanding Entertainment/Program Special" for her PBS musical documentary, Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle! The Special Years. Times for The Orleans shows are at 8 p.m. Tickets are available, starting at $49.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased at any Coast Casinos Box Office, by calling (702) 365-7075, or by visiting www.orleanscasino.com.


Mitzi Gaynor

Paul Campanella

The north parking lot of The Orleans Hotel will be the site of Las Vegas' first Asian Food Festival and Trade Show. The two day event will take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday the 2nd. Yum!

And speaking of The Orleans, the Old Timers Reunion will take place there on October 23rd. Thalia Dondero is the chairperson for this year's event, which is honoring Bill Boyd and the Boyd Gaming Group. Look for more details in the next few weeks.

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Actor/writer/singer/producer, Paul Campanella, announces the formation of 231 Productions LLC. The Company is based in Nevada, and will specialize in producing high quality Independent films with budgets below $10M. Currently, the new company has one title, Power Play, ready to go into pre-production, another script complete, a sitcom in development, and two other story treatments in the works. Paul is currently appearing in Tony 'n Tina's Wedding at Planet Hollywood, and just finished at the Tropicana's Las Vegas Mob Experience. He is currently filming an independent Science Fiction film in Las Vegas. His son, Paul Campanella Jr., also has musical chops, and can be seen drumming for the lounge band, Red Light, in the Extra Lounge at Planet Hollywood. Junior frequently performs as a singer/guitarist at local Stations Casinos and Lake Las Vegas.

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Today is the first day of Fall. Or is it Autumn? Whatever you call it, according to the calendar, the Summer of 2011 has officially ended. Should you get out the heavy blankets and your parkas? We think not. This is, after all, unpredictable Las Vegas. Some years, when Halloween rolls around, the little goblins and gremlins go out begging in their costumes, while other years, they are bundled in coats so you have no idea if there is a purple Barney or a Cinderella under there. Enjoy the change of season.

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Do we see another lawsuit on the horizon, from that litigious, local wannabe entertainer? This guy attempted to stop a local producer from using a particular show title, claiming it was his. That proved unsuccessful. The debate was for naught, as Mr. Huge (unwarranted) Ego's Show closed after a brief run, while the rival producer's Show is still up and running, more than a year after it opened on the Strip. Now we learn that a new reality show, based on the successful chain, The Jewelers, is on the horizon. The 35-year-old chain of businesses is owned and operated by the family of Mordechai Yerushalmi. The working title of the new television series, possibly inspired by the Las Vegas-based reality show, Pawn Stars? Vegas Rocks. Mighty similar in name to a souvenir product, marketed by the above, unnamed "entrepreneur." Then, there is that, now closed, downtown restaurant that bore a similar sounding name. Oh boy!


Criss Angel & Sandra Gonzalez

Tommy Thompson

And speaking of "rocks," Mindfreak magician, Criss Angel, planted a five-carat rock on the finger of his girlfriend of four years, Sandra Gonzalez, while the couple were vacationing in Cabo San Lucas. Reports are that the romantic star of Cirque du Soleil's Criss Angel: Believe, currently at the Luxor, had Gonzalez's family flown into Mexico to surprise her afterward with a fireworks display. The 43-year-old, Angel's real name is Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos. He is the son of Greek-Americans, and was raised in East Meadow, Long Island, New York. No date has yet been set for the wedding. This will be the second marriage for Criss, who divorced his first wife in 2005. Criss and Girls Next Door star, Holly Madison, were an item for a little over a year. The newly engaged couple are reported to be "ecstatic." We wish them much happiness. No, really. We do.

And speaking of the Luxor, Tommy Thompson will be performing at Saville Row, located in that hotel, tomorrow night at 10:30. The entrance and valet parking are on the south side of the Luxor. Please RSVP to [email protected], if you can attend the show.

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We are always happy to put the word out on reputable, properly licensed fundraisers. If it doesn't sound or smell right, we will warn readers or totally ignore the function. Here are two upcoming benefits that we feel comfortable plugging.

First...The 7th Annual Las Vegas Ride for Kids, a motorcycle road ride benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, is Sunday, October 2nd. Registration, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is from 8 to 9:45 a.m., and costs $35 per bike. The ride begins at 10 a.m. sharp, rain or shine, with riders rolling south on I-215 to Town Square for lunch and a Celebration of Life ceremony. To date, Las Vegas Ride for Kids has raised more than $350,000 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. For more information, call Dave Carter at Carter Powersports, (702) 795-2000, e-mail him at [email protected], or log on to www.lvrideforkids.org. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation® (PBTF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that seeks to find the cause of and cure for childhood brain tumors by supporting medical research, increase public awareness about the severity and prevalence of childhood brain tumors, aid in the early detection and treatment of childhood brain tumors, support a national database on all primary brain tumors, and provide educational and emotional support for children and families affected by this often life- threatening disease.


Ride For Kids Stars

Michael Kessler & Melinda Jackson

And second...The all new Tropicana Las Vegas has partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, to launch 'Pink October,' its first ever breast cancer awareness campaign, in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On Friday, September 30th, the Tropicana will 'flip the switch,' lighting the resort pink in celebration of the month-long campaign to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit organization, marking the first time a property on the Strip has committed to the non-profit for an entire month. "When Tropicana Las Vegas approached us, we were amazed by the enthusiasm, creativity and willingness to get involved," said Stephanie Kirby, executive director of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. "To light an entire building on the Strip pink is an amazing gesture and will be a great way to kick off the month. We are grateful for Tropicana's generosity and hope that the community will come out to support us." "Our goal at Tropicana is to raise awareness on the Las Vegas Strip by partnering with Susan G. Komen to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the Las Vegas community," said Tom McCartney, president and chief operating officer of Tropicana Las Vegas. In addition to turning the building pink, Tropicana Las Vegas will also turn its Web site pink, highlighting various offers such as Pink Room Packages and Pink Specialty Menus at Biscayne Steak, Sea & Wine, and Bacio by Carla Pellegrino, with 20% of proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Tropicana will also host an array of special events to raise funds for the foundation's breast health programs and breast cancer research, including 'Fashionably Pink,' which will feature an evening of shopping, sweets, and pink cocktails at Nikki Beach Club, and 'Wine and Dine for the Cure' at Bacio by Carla Pellegrino, which will present a night of delicious food, specialty cocktails, and acoustic guitar at the resort's Italian ristorante. For room packages and tickets to Pink October events, please visit www.troplv.com/pinkoctober.

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On Sunday, October 2nd at 3 p.m., M&M presents Love 2 Dance in the showroom at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. Join some of the Strip's top dance performers and choreographers in this funny, touching and passionate new show, about the movers and shakers, gliders, fliers and hoofers who have sacrificed everything to step out for your entertainment. Featuring 15 dancers and choreographers from Jersey Boys, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Jubilee!, Alvin Ailey, Radio City Music Hall, Lido de Paris, The Lion King and more. The show is a based on material gleaned from hours of on-camera interviews with dancers about their lives, their triumphs, their struggles, and their love of dancing. The dance styles range from Ballroom to Broadway, Ballet to Breakdancing, Contemporary, Tap, Modern, Showgirls and Hip Hop. Music is from, Stevie Wonder, Tim McGraw, Cy Coleman, Smokey Robinson, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Diana Ross & the Supremes, plus original music by Keith Thompson, conductor of Jersey Boys. When husband and wife song and dance team, Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson, sat down to create Love 2 Dance, the duo tapped into their love of dance and compassion for dancers. The overwhelming passion for dancing is present throughout all the scenes, including a funny vignette that dramatizes how Jackson and Kessler first met in ballet class in New York City in the 1980s. Their dancing led to a friendship, which blossomed into a real life love story and long-term partnership. After their first show together in New York City in 1987, they formed M&M American Dance Theatre and toured all over the world. While Jackson and Kessler's long careers have included producing, directing, writing, choreographing and performing internationally with their company, Jackson says they adapt to their changing audience by employing several young dancers who are on the pulse of popular culture. "We are part of the ever changing culture," said Kessler. "We have been inspired and mentored by great artists of the past and we are mentoring artists of the future. If you create by trying to figure out what is 'today,' by the time you present it, it's already yesterday." Today, they say, there is a growing interest in dance. "The increased interest is due in part to the ubiquity of dancing on television shows, commercials and in movies," Jackson said. "However, the drawback to these shows is that they give a false impression of what it takes to become a great dancer. The shows give the idea that you can become a great dancer in a few weeks."

The life of a dancer can be very rewarding and also very difficult. "People love dancing because of the combination of raw physicality, emotional, artistic expression, athleticism, fantasy, escapism and sex appeal," Kessler said. "Professional dancing is a vigorous and rigorous contact sport, which can lead to acute and chronic injuries. Yet, those who don't dance, never experience the joy of dancing or the overwhelming feeling of connecting with your audience. We create shows because we are bursting to express the truth, beauty and humor we perceive in life." Tickets for Love 2 Dance are $25 and $30 (all inclusive), and are available online at www.americandance.biz, or www.southpointcasino.com, or by calling the South Point box office at (702) 797-8055.



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