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 February 17, 2012
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - February 17, 2012

Vintage Bill Moore

Bill Moore

On Tuesday morning, family members and friends of Bill Moore's gathered at Palm Mortuary Downtown to say goodbye to the veteran producer who passed away in Las Vegas on January 19th. In addition to Bill's nieces Sheila Hood, Carol Errington, and some other relatives from England for the service and interment, among the other attendees that we recognized were John Paul Almon, Michael Ashton, Jackie Brett, Karl Carsony, Jerry Engel, Sharlene Engel, Lindsay Fitzpatrick, Teresa Foy, Nino Frediani, Lou Garcia, Carole Hassell, Terry Head, Joe LaVigna, Brigid Little (Griebel), Maureen "Hoppy" Little, Rhonda Nelson, Nicky Powers, Charlotte Richards, Jerry Ritholz, Rodolfo Rivas, Walter Shotwell, Germaine Thompson, Chrisse White Waddell, Marianne Warkmeister, Mel Warkmeister, and Don Watson. Following some interesting shared memories by "The Vegas Matriarch of Matrimony," Rev. Charlotte Richards, owner of the famous Little White Chapel for about 50 years, and a song by one of Bill's favorites, English-born actress, singer, comedienne and star of both cinema and music hall, Gracie Fields, the attendees moved from the chapel to the Devotion Garden, where Bill Moore's cremains were interred in a mausoleum niche near his longtime friends, Doc and Judy Bayley (owners of the Hacienda where Mandalay Bay now stands); Wilbur Clark (owner of the Desert Inn, now Wynn Las Vegas) and his widow, Toni Clark Finuf; and Major Riddle (onetime Dunes and Silverbird casinos owner). About Moore, his friend Jerry Ritholz had this to say, "Bill was not only a GENTLEMAN, but also a very GENTLE MAN."

We are saddened to report that dancer/choreographer Rene DeHaven, and a very close friend of Bill Moore's, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer a week ago. Rene was 89. He is survived by a son, Rick. At our deadline, we have no other details.

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Sue & Paul Lowden

Jack Jones by Ed Foster

Former television news anchor, Chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party and Nevada State Senator, Sue Lowden, recently celebrated her 60th birthday with a party in Laughlin. Why Laughlin? As per the businesswoman's request, the milestone birthday celebration was held at the Pioneer Hotel & Casino, in the desert community near the Colorado River. The property is owned by her husband, hotel man (Hacienda, Sahara, Santa Fe) Paul Lowden. Many friends made the journey to Laughlin, for a delicious dinner in Granny's restaurant. Paul's big surprise for his wife was singer Jack Jones, who entertained the guests with a private concert. Happy birthday, Sue.

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On Valentine's Day, we spotted the multi-talented Larry Atello having lunch with a friend at Giuseppe's Bar & Grille, 6065 S. Durango near Patrick. Owned by Donny and DeAnna Molina, the 24/7 spacious Italian eatery, with the friendly staff, offers very good food at reasonable prices. In addition to being seen at Giuseppe's, Atello can also be seen (and heard) portraying Donny Dolce, the wedding singer, in Tony n' Tina's Wedding at the V Theatre located in the mall at Planet Hollywood, and fronting the Bon Jovi tribute band, Have a Nice Day. Larry was the cover boy on the January 13-27 issue of Live Magazine, distributed in Palm Springs, San Diego and Las Vegas. Oh yes. If you are a Las Vegan, chances are that you have seen Mr. Atello in the Century Link Prism TV commercials. Larry is the one using the, "So where you been with this thing?" line.

Cover Boy Larry Atello

Sin Sity Sisters

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Next Saturday, February 25th, it is time, once again, for the annual Project Red Dress event, sponsored by the Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The fun fundraiser will take place at the World Market Center, 495 S. Grand Central Parkway near downtown Las Vegas, with the VIP pre-party starting at 8 p.m., and the Main Event, on the 16th floor Worldview, at 10. Advance tickets for the Main Event, are $25 (ends February 19th at midnight). General Admission at door for Main Event, $30. Tickets for VIP pre-party and Main Event are $50. Buy six General Admission tickets and get one free General Admission ticket. Credit or cash at the door. Benefits go directly to the Sisters AIDS Drug Assistance Program (SADAP). In five years of existence, SADAP has given more than $270,000 to those in need in the HIV community.

The mission and philosophy of the Sin Sity Sisters (who are really "brothers") is thus...
They exist as an order of 21st century nuns dedicated to the promulgation of universal joy and the expiation of stigmatic guilt. Their ministry is one of public manifestation and habitual perpetration. They work to raise money for the Sisters AIDS Drug Assistance Program (SADAP) and other community charities. They advocate for queer rights and visibility and conduct safer sex outreach. They work to affirm the value and beauty of all persons and particularly within the queer community. They strive diligently to keep their sense of humor, never taking themselves so seriously that they forget to have fun. The principles by which the SSS Order lives are:

Freedom of Expression
There are few restrictions on our individual artistic creativity. The rules that do exist are in place to enhance the overall effectiveness of our order. At certain events, all members of the Holy Order - Sin Sity Sisters (SSS) will be required to wear the traditional habits designed and approved by our General Membership (GM) coordinated with the "white face" developed by and for each member and accessorized in a manner which allows members their right of self-expression. It is mandatory for members appearing in habit or uniform at public events to be "in face."
We are a family. As a family, we are allowed to be individual within a close-knit group. Our membership is open to men and women, young and old, rich and poor, gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual and transgender. Our organization is open to masculine, feminine and androgynous persona. We have no need to separate different people into affiliated organizations. To do so would be both hypocritical and contrary to our statement of purpose. The rules may be bent and stretched. They are guidelines which sometimes must be enforced strictly and other times applied loosely . Each member is an individual and each situation is unique. Our lengthy application process is in place so that the existing general membership can ensure that all members share the same basic philosophy, have the ability and desire, and fhe firm commitment to work with and for other people as fully professed members.
Social Activism
As an order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. (SPI), the SSS are 21st century nuns who are free from the guilt associated with many traditional religions and social 'norms'. Our sub-committees plan actions and events affecting various social issues, happenings or fund-raising efforts and we will appear in support of those actions or events when our GM deems it worthy.
Social Service
We will educate, promote safer sex, visit the sick, feed the hungry and generally service the community. We are committed to accepting the full spectrum of our community. When we laugh and flirt with you at a bar or at an event, we only want to break down barriers which our culture has set up, which keeps us apart. We accept you regardless of looks, weight, age, whatever shame has been laid upon you. We want to know if you have questions, talk about safer sex and fun sex, and whatever your soul needs as a Queer/GLBT person.
The Order requires its members to demonstrate commitment to the ideals of the Order, the community at large, and to the individuals that comprise the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. For additional information, please email [email protected].

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Rob Garrett as Neil Diamond

Fans of Jimmy Century

Rob Garrett pays tribute to Neil Diamond in his King of Diamonds show, next Saturday, February 25th, at the Cannery Casino Hotel in North Las Vegas. Hear and see Rob perform Neil favorites, such as "Sweet Caroline," "Song Sung Blue," "Holly Holy," "Love On the Rocks," "Cracklin' Rosie," "Forever In Blue Jeans," "I Am I Said," "Cherry Cherry," "Hello Again," "September Morn" and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," accompanied by a live band. Tickets are only $10 at the door. Show starts at 8, but get there early for best seating.

Also appearing in Las Vegas on February 25th, is Fans of Jimmy Century, playing in the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort. Now calling Las Vegas home, Fans of Jimmy Century (FOJC) bring their avant-garde /dance rock /indie disco sounds to the valley. The group originated in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007, and after penning the song "Mr. Las Vegas," felt a strong and sudden urge to grow permanent roots in this city. FOJC band members are Alicia Perrone on lead vocals; Victor James on keyboards, bass, guitar, and drums; and Allen Chiu, the stand-up drummer at live performances. The group is a threesome of false eyelashes, funky guitars and Mohawks. Alicia and Victor previously belonged to a group called Simon Stinger that had been gaining attention but ultimately fell apart just before they could sign on an offer with Elektra Records. Allen met James at Guitar Center in El Cerrito. James saw Allen spinning his drum sticks and asked him to do the promo video with (them). "We decided we wanted to go forward as a trio 'cause Allen had the coolest afro I had ever seen," Perrone said. Chiu is now the stand-up drummer and computer guru. FOJC hit a fast start with the success of their first 2008 single, "Hot Sahara," which climbed the dance and radio charts. Both "Hot Sahara" and its accompanying album, Twist of the Banshees, were on the initial ballot in the Electronic Dance category for the Grammy Awards in the same year. "Hot Sahara" and additional tracks have been consistently selected for key placements in several popular television shows, such as The L Word, Gossip Girl, Melrose Place, The Real Housewives of NYC, Running Russell Simmons, Community, Ugly Betty, The Hills, The Listener and Samantha Who? Popular 2011 major feature film releases, including Columbia Pictures' Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, and Warner Bros. Hall Pass, starring Owen Wilson, featured "Hot Sahara," "Lola Like This" and "Your Crying Game" in the DVD bonus features of both films this past summer. Popular brands and advertisers, such as Roxy Europe, Forever 21 and Zippo Lighters, have also used FOJC songs in commercial campaigns. In 2010, FOJC collaborated for LucasArts, assisting composer Mark Griskey with the new Star Wars video game. Fans of Jimmy Century's exciting and theatrical live performances have made them a favorite on the West Coast festival circuit, sharing the stage with artists such as Lady Gaga, Robyn, Cyndi Lauper, Shiny Toy Guns, The English Beat and Berlin. FOJC's fans, known as "Hotheads," have also been instrumental in social work, raising money for Haiti Earthquake relief, and gathering together through FOJC music purchases to assist future programs in need. FOJC releases their records independently on their own, cleverly named, label, Ann-Margrock Music. Fans of Jimmy Century will perform at the Palm, 4321 W. Flamingo Rd., at 10 p.m. General admission tickets are $15. VIP tickets are $30 and includes priority seating and priority entry. Audience members must be 21 years of age and older. Tickets are available at The Pearl Box Office. To order by phone, call (702) 944-3200.

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Jim D'Asaro

Andrew Ryan as Katy Perry

From singer/actress Rebecca Spencer (she created the role of Madame Giry in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular) comes this news...
Her husband, Jim D'Asaro, started his new job as the Director of Production for the brand new Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, being built in downtown historical Beverly Hills. Doors will open in the Fall of 2013. The couple have made the move from Seattle, where Jim headed up the Broadway Bound Children's Theatre, to Southern California. Rebecca's agents are just minutes away know, and she is on the move with upcoming concert bookings, leading off with a Montana mini-tour in March. "We actually live just under the 'H' of the famous HOLLYWOOD sign," says Becky. "For real. For real!"

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Frank Marino, star of Divas Las Vegas at the Imperial Palace, tells us that the female impersonator revue is getting very positive audience response regarding its tribute to the late Whitney Houston. In addition to proven favorites, including Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Liza Minnelli, Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton and Celine Dion, the show is constantly adding newer, more contemporary performers, such as Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, to the lineup. The most recent addition to the production is Andrew Ryan portraying Katy Perry. Showtimes for Divas are 10 p.m., Saturdays through Thursdays. The boys take the night off on Fridays. Tickets are $39 to $79. Call (888) 777-7664 for reservations.

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Annie Gaybis

Scott Alexander

Annie Gaybis recently performed in Puccini's La Boheme, with Florida's Jacksonville Symphony. She tells us that she was in act three, "...and in opera, that is a l-o-n-g wait." Before the show, Annie told us, "I do this type of sensuous dance as Rodolfo's new interest, as poor Mimi suffers. I am so excited to begin 2012 performing in a fully staged production of La Boheme at The Times Union Performing Arts Centre. La Boheme is directed by A. Scott Perry, who is bringing all the sets and costumes directly from The New York City Opera. This is so unique, because it is being done circa 1939 instead of the traditional way, and the symphony will be conducted by Fabio Machetti. Like Wow!" We anxiously await the reviews.

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Over at the Gold Coast, you can see two great shows for less than the price of one, when you purchase tickets for Paul Stone's Vegas Magic Theatre. Every week, in the Gold Coast showroom/lounge, it's a new lineup of talent, featuring the top names in magic, variety and music. This week, through Sunday, February 19th, Vegas Magic Theatre features Scott Alexander and Jason Andrews, with Ben Stone hosting. Scott Alexander is funny and likeable and his magic appeals to a wide range of people. His act reached millions on NBC's America's Got Talent, where he advanced all the way with his large stage illusions. With articles in People Magazine and Nations Business Magazine, Oprah took notice and Scott was invited by Oprah Winfrey to make a guest appearance on her show to speak about how he uses his magic to help others set goals. Scott had the honor of headlining at Caesars Palace for more than seven years and four thousand performances of large grand illusions mixed with stand-up comedy magic. Scott Alexander's groundbreaking creativity caught the eye of Norwegian Cruise Lines and they commissioned Scott to create, direct the magic and star in "Elements," a million dollar stage spectacular. It is currently their most popular show, and is in production on five ships. Originally from Las Vegas, Jason Andrews, age 25, gained interest in magic when, at the age of 12, he saw Master Magician Lance Burton perform. After attending the Las Vegas Academy for the Performing Arts, Jason guest starred on two American National Tours in 2007 and 2008. Upon his return to Las Vegas, Jason received "Entertainer of the Year" award from Boyd Gaming, and "International Champion of Magic" from the prestigious International Brotherhood of Magicians. In 2011, Jason gained International notoriety when he was invited to bring his show to Japan, England, China, Mexico and Canada. You may remember Jason from his 2010 appearance on America's Got Talent, or Stars Among the Angels, a national variety show benefiting Child Haven. Regular appearances at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood also keep Jason traveling year round. Ben Stone is an engaging and stylish entertainer whose personality is infectious and future is bright. He is an accomplished singer/songwriter, as well as a skilled magician. Ben has made a number of appearances at the world famous London Palladium Theatre, as well as at many other notable West End Theatres. Ticket prices for Vegas Magic Theatre are from $14.95 plus tax and convenience fees, with not a bad seat in the house. Showtimes are Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 7 p.m., and Saturdays at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Join performers in the Showroom Lounge one hour prior to the show for a FREE pre-show presentation of close up magic, card readings and other fun. Showroom doors open an hour prior to show time for free pre-show. From February 23rd through 26th, Vegas Magic Theatre will feature host Ben Stone, along with Dana Daniels, John Ekin, and another to-be-announced act.

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Lisa Smith

Pietra Sardelli

And speaking of the Gold Coast, Wednesday, February 22nd, you can see and hear vocalist Lisa Smith, with Billy T on keyboards, and Darin Presley on drums, as they present Gold Coast Classics, an afternoon of Classic Jazz Standards, Cocktails and Dancing, at the West Flamingo hotel and casino. There is no cover charge, and no drink minimum. Show times for the Lisa Smith Jazz Trio are from 1 to 4 p.m., in the showroom/lounge. Next Friday and Saturday night, February 24th and 25th, from 7 to 11, Lisa will appear in the Upstairs Bar & Lounge, in the beautiful Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas. Lisa, accompanied on piano by Dan Ellis on Friday, and Tony Branco on Saturday, will sing classic jazz, smooth jazz and light pop favorites. Lisa is a cast member of Shades of Sinatra, who just celebrated their one-year anniversary at the Clarion Hotel on Convention Center Drive; one-third of the musical trio, Dangerous Curves; and frequently appears in concert with her husband, singer/actor Ron Smith. There is also no cover and no drink minimum for Lisa's Montelago engagement.

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Martin Nievera

Melissa Manchester

Happy birthday Aquarians (January 20-February 19), Keith Thompson, Wyntergrace Williams, Neil Diamond, Jim Seagrave, Terry Jenkins, Walter Mason, Doug Saleeby, Pietra Sardelli, Nino Frediani, Ariann Black, Irving Benson, Ashleigh Hackett, Jim Semmelman, Ron Andrews, Nancy Lee Parker Andrews, Cindy Raft, Martin Nievera, Natalie Cole, Eddie Foy III, Dacoda Collins, Norm Johnson, Joey Zarzecki, Phyllis McGuire, Karen Ruivivar, Sean Grady, Lin Stone, Ben Stone, Bill Mahar, Paul Stanley (Kiss), Mac Davis, Placido Domingo, Mariska Hargitay, Chita Rivera, Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Anita Baker, Yakov Smirnoff, Aaron Neville, Ernest Borgnine, Alicia Keys, Eddie Van Halen, Ellen DeGeneres, Joey Fatone ('N Sync), Nick Carter (Backstreet Boys), Adam Lambert, Ann Jillian, Irlene Mandrell, Harold Prince, Phil Collins, Brett Butler, Carol Channing, Justin Timberlake, Harry Wayne "KC" Casey, Don Everly, Sherman Hemsley, Lisa Marie Presley, Pauly Shore, Tom Smothers, Graham Nash, Shelley Berman, Alice Cooper, Oscar De La Hoya, David Brenner, Bobby Brown, Natalie Cole, Fabian, Axl Rose, Garth Brooks, Robert Klein, Vince Neil, Carole King, Travis Tritt, Roberta Flack, Burt Reynolds, Catherine Hickland, Sergio Mendes, Sheryl Crow, Michael McDonald, Peter Tork (Monkees), Carol Lynley, Peter Gabriel, Teller (the silent half of Penn & Teller), Melissa Manchester, Ronnie Vannucci (The Killers), Dame Edna (Barry Humphries), Larry the Cable Guy, Dennis DeYoung (Stix), Juice Newton, and James Ingram.

And happy anniversary wishes to Jimmy and Sheri Hopper, and Harry and Piper Goldson.

Speaking of Melissa Manchester, the Grammy-winning hitmaker ("Midnight Blue," "You Should Hear How She Talks About You," "Don't Cry Out Loud") comes into the Railhead at Boulder Station for one show only, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:15), next Friday, February 24th. Tickets are $19 to $45, plus taxes and fees.

And speaking of Jimmy Hopper...
For those Jimmy Hopper fans who have been curious to know what he has been up to lately, we got a note from the uniquely talented entertainer, so we can tell you. He will be starting his first international tour, heading to New Zealand, then back to the USA and Naples, Florida, in April. For the entire month of May, Hopper will be performing, again, in New Zealand, as well as Australia. All the venues accommodate between 500 and 1,500 people. He is most excited about this phase of his career. So are we.

Jimmy Hopper

Mark Winkler

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On Wednesday, February 22nd, starting at 8:30 p.m., the Catalina Jazz Club, 6725 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, will host An Evening With Duke Ellington, featuring special guest vocalists, Mark Winkler, Sweet Baby J'ai and Lorraine Fletcher. The talented singers will be backed be pianist/arranger, Ted Howe, with Abe Laboriel on bass, and Paul Kreibich on drums. Tickets are $20. Call (323) 466-2210 for reservations.

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At the next meeting of the Las Vegas Media Group, on Monday, February 20th, the guest speaker will be news correspondent Myram Borders. Ms. Borders is a native of the hill country in Kentucky. She moved West at the age of four, when her parents decided to settle in the small, friendly desert town of Las Vegas, population was about 8,000. She grew up "with" Las Vegas, and was awarded a Harold's Club Scholarship upon graduation from Las Vegas High School. She attended the University of Nevada Reno, where she graduated with a degree in journalism. She immediately went to work for United Press International (UPI), a worldwide wire service that provided news to more than 6,000 newspapers, and thousands of television and radio stations. Myram was assigned to bureaus in Reno, San Diego, and Los Angeles, before being named Las Vegas Bureau Manager for UPI in 1965, a post she held for more than two decades. During her tenure, the UPI byline of Myram Borders appeared worldwide as she reported from Las Vegas on Nevada gaming, politics, organized crime, race riots, Strip hotel fires, the Howard Hughes era, nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site, Strip entertainment, labor unrest, celebrity divorces and weddings and the antics of Super Stars of the yesterday, i.e. Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra etc. Ms. Borders served three terms as president of the Las Vegas Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ -- originally Sigma Delta Chi), and was a member of the western regional SPJ Freedom of Information Committee for a decade. She was among a handful of journalists instrumental in drafting and obtaining passage of the Nevada Open Meeting Law, signed into law by Gov. Mike O'Callaghan. Myram also was the only journalist appointed to a Nevada Supreme Court Blue Ribbon Commission, which cleared the way for cameras to shoot in Nevada courtrooms. Additionally, Myram anchored Nevada Week in Review on Vegas PBS for two years, and moderated numerous statewide televised political debates over a 10-year period sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Upon leaving UPI, she opened the first full-time Las Vegas office for Gannet Newspapers (a nationwide chain including USA Today, Reno Gazette Journal), was appointed Nevada Commissioner of Consumer Affairs by Gov. Bob Miller, and, in 1992, was named Bureau Chief of the Las Vegas News Bureau, a division of the marketing department of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. She headed the Las Vegas News Bureau for a decade, and directed a staff of writers and photographers in providing domestic and international media with information and graphics promoting Las Vegas as a worldwide travel destination. During her career, Myram traveled the world, with stops in Europe, Asia, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, South America and throughout North America. She retired in 2002 and lives in Las Vegas. This is a meeting that those interested in Southern Nevada history won't want to miss. Please make sure you RSVP (Coming or Not), to Lisa at (702) 245-9206, or email [email protected]. Lunch is $15, and the food is great!

The head-count must be as accurate as it can be, so no one goes without a meal. As always, the location is The Wedding Room at 3601 West Sahara on the southeast corner of Valley View. If you know where the Gallery of History is (was?) located, and/or The Cellar, then you know where it is; Mariana's Grocery Store on one side and Kaplan College on the other. There is a handicap entrance through the alley between the college and The Wedding Room. The phone number for any questions or directions is (702) 362-6712.

Mint 400 (1969)

Mint 400 (2012)

And speaking of longtime Las Vegans, Norm Johnson, passes along this information. The world-renowned General Tire Mint 400 Off-Road race has been acquired by the Martelli Brothers - Matt and Joshua - partners in the nationally recognized marketing/production group, Mad Media. The brothers signed a multi-year partnership with Casey Folks, of the "Best in the Desert" fame, to manage the event. The Mint 400 will now become part of the "Best in the Desert American Off-Road Racing Series," but will definitely remain open to privateers. Hundreds of race teams have indicated they are looking forward to the return of the Mint 400, and those glorious days of the late '60s and '70s. The Mint had its first race in April, 1968, and was proclaimed a classic by legendary motorsports commentator/journalist, Chris Economaki. In 1969, after the tech inspection, and before being escorted to the starting line (at that time, located in Tule Springs), the cars in the Race Day Parade, and spectators who came out to see them, were spread down four blocks of downtown's famed Glitter Gulch (as shown in accompanying photo). This year, the 2012 Mint 400 will take place the weekend of March 23rd through 25th, in Las Vegas. The Martelli brothers and Folks have already begun to improve the event, by reinstating popular features from the Mint's early years. A new 400-mile race course located in Jean, Nevada (where some of the original Mint 400 races were held), will feature a high speed passing zone near a dedicated spectator area, as well as rocky washes, silt beds, high-speed graded roads, and even a notorious rock garden. The famous Miss Mint 400 contest has also been re-instated. In helping to bring back those memorial events, Mad Media has obtained the assistance of its creator, Las Vegas resident and retired racer, Norm Johnson. Johnson was the director of advertising and publicity for the Mint Hotel in 1967, when he came up with the idea of an off-road race to promote the hotels' Annual Deer Hunters promotion. The first Mint 400 was raced in 1968, and Johnson remained a consultant on the race for a number of years, working closely with former NASCAR racer, Mel Larson. Larson took command of the race in 1969, when Johnson was promoted to another Del Webb owned hotel, The Thunderbird, on the Las Vegas Strip. "I think what Matt and Josh and Casey have in mind for the revival of the Mint, is absolutely what the race has needed," Johnson said. "Casey is a true competitor (having won the motorcycle class in 1973-74), and has proven to be a great promoter of desert racing. He knows the desert and the history of the Mint 400!" "We've expanded the reach of the Mint 400 dramatically, by increasing the TV coverage with our partner FUEL-TV, and by partnering with for live tracking and web coverage during the race," Josh Martelli said. "We are determined to elevate the Mint 400 back to being the most important off-road motorsports event in the world, one year at a time."

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We are happy to report that one of the "stars" of Dick Feeney's The Rat Pack Is Back!, playing at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, is out of the hospital and rehab, following heart surgery, and is mending at his southeast Las Vegas home. No, we are not referring to any of the four entertainers who pay tribute to Frank, Dean, Sammy and Joey, we mean George Levine, the maitre d' for the popular revue. Levine, who is 86, had on the job training for his current job. He held the same position at the Sands Hotel, when the real Rat Pack members partied in the iconic property's Copa Room. George Levine is the father of Las Vegas congresswoman, Shelley Berkley.

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On February 21st through 25th, acclaimed jazz vocalist, La Tanya Hall, joins forces with award-winning director and cabaret artist, Eric Michael Gillett, to bring the songs of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty to Feinstein's at Loews Regency, in their new songbook, Nothing To Lose But Your Heart. With music encompassing the Tony Award-winning score for Ragtime, as well as My Favorite Year, Once on This Island, Lucky Stiff, Seussical and more, Gillett and Hall bring their unique stamp to a wildly diverse catalogue of music by two of Broadway's most popular contemporary songwriters. The New York Times said, "The verb 'sings' is really inadequate to evoke the acute empathy with which Eric Michael Gillett transforms theatre songs. Not only do you see the world through the character's eyes, but you also feel it through their nervous systems via Mr. Gillett's theatrical shamanism." had this to say about Ms. Hall, "La Tanya Hall is a woman ripe with talent (whose) interpretive skills are a marvel." Jeff Cubeta serves as musical director for this show. Show times are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m., with a 10:30 p.m. late show on Friday and Saturday. For information and tickets, call (212) 339-4095, or Loews Regency Hotel is located at Park Ave. and 61st.

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Mariann Mohos

Lee Richey

You Want WHAT??? is author Mariann Mohos' new book with 130 hilarious, touching and wild concierge tales from the men and women who make Las Vegas dreams come true. Now she's working on the audio version of the book and writing about more concierge tales from other big cities. The stories tell why the sweet elderly couple ended up at the porn shop, what caused a female guest to expose her breasts, and what happens when affectionate newlyweds are unaware they are not alone in their suite. In an entertaining manner, You Want WHAT??? showcases Las Vegas concierges at their finest. "In Las Vegas, we make dreams come true," wrote former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman. Hungarian native Mohos relocated to Las Vegas in 2000 to pursue her MBA at the University of Nevada. After earning her degree, she spent a number of years working as a concierge at one of the major Las Vegas Strip resorts. Mohos spent a couple years interviewing her concierge colleagues from all over Las Vegas to gather their stories. These are the people who subscribe to "no request is too weird." Mohos said they would always say to her, "I'm sure you've heard it all." Now with her book, everyone can "hear it all" and discover unusual requests involving such items as a virgin chicken, eight-foot questionably-shaped balloon, and purple gorilla suit. Because privacy is a cornerstone of the concierge profession, all the guests' names in the book are changed. You Want WHAT??? is $17.95 at with a FREE immediately downloadable e-book version of the book valued at $11.95, and also available at, and the following store locations in Las Vegas: Mirage Hotel and Casino, Treasure Island, Red Rock Casino, Green Valley Casino, Hoover Dam Gift Store, Gambler's Book Store, and General Gambling Store. There's also a Kindle book for $9.95 on Mohos speaks four languages and earned degrees in English and Russian studies and economics, but compiling and writing this book has been her biggest challenge to date. For more information visit:, email [email protected] or call (702) 321-8685.

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Organized, directed, and conducted by cellist, Lee Richey (Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; College of Southern Nevada), a group of about 40 Las Vegas professional instrumentalists will play a benefit chamber orchestra concert to raise money for the "Emergency Relief Fund" of the Las Vegas Musicians Union, Local 369, on Sunday, February 26th at 2:30 p.m. The "Emergency Relief Fund" was established in 1989 to provide temporary financial assistance to any local musicians union member who finds themselves in dire straights economically. It is a very benevolent and worthy cause and demonstrates the genuine good will of the local union in going beyond the normal protection and support of the union bylaws. The performance will be held in the main sanctuary of the Community Lutheran Church at 3720 E. Tropicana Ave. in Las Vegas. In lieu of admission, donations of any amount to the "Emergency Relief Fund" will be gratefully accepted. The program will be varied and unique, and features many of the players as soloists. It begins with the Debussy, Prelude a l'après midi d'un faune, which will feature Tina Hadley (flute section of the Las Vegas Philharmonic) on solo flute, and Kim Glennie (Principal Harpist of the Las Vegas Philharmonic) on solo harp. Next will be the Mozart, Concerto No. 3 in G Major for Violin, K. 216, "Strassburg," with Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev (Assistant Principal Second Violinist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic and area violin teacher and painter). Ending the concert will be the orchestral gem of the program: Richard Strauss's Der Burger Als Edelmann or Le Bourgeois Gentihomme. This work is an elegant mixture of charm and virtuosity and will also feature several of the instrumentalists as soloists. Of particular note will be the concertmaster, Lenka Hajkova (violinist with the orchestra of Celine Dion, and area freelance violinist). The concert will also mark Lee Richey's debut as a conductor in Las Vegas. The combination of a delightful program, superb musicians, and beautiful performance space will hopefully be gratifying for all musical tastes. Most importantly, however, is the hope that this benefit concert will raise the awareness of the value of both the local musicians union and of its "Emergency Relief Fund," both of which function to support and protect local performing musicians.

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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye