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 March 02, 2012
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - March 2, 2012


Gilbert Lopez, Jr.

Davy Jones

The heavens are getting mighty crowded (a friendly welcoming committee for some of us who are still here, perhaps?). Bass player, Bob Badgley, passed away at his home on February 24th. Bob had been ill for quite some time, but continued to attend gatherings with his jazz friends until he was no longer able to travel. Bob Badgley is survived by his wife, Samantha. Arrangements have not been finalized for a celebration of his life.

Gilbert Lopez Jr., brother of Jerry and Lenny Lopez of Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns band, passed away on February 21st. Gilbert was a great song-writer and musician who started singing at a young age. Some of his accomplishments include winning the Hispano Music Association Award in 1992, and being inducted with his brothers into the Las Vegas Nevada Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He was proceeded in death by his grandparents, Magdalena and Nicholas Escajeda, his uncle Nick Escajeda. Gilbert is survived by his wife Percilla and daughter Yvette, parents Margaret E. Lopez and Gilbert Lopez Sr., his siblings Jerry, Leonard, and Joni. His special cousin Kelly Lopez and wife Vivian, and his favorite Aunt Sara and Uncle Lee Sanchez, and Jorgie and Dennis DeSoto. A memorial will be held in the future. About his brother, Gilbert, Jerry Lopez had this to say. "(Gilbert) was a year older than me and in my opinion (and the opinion of others that knew him), the most naturally talented of the family. He played several instruments, was a prolific writer and sang with real soul and emotion. He will be missed." (We learned of Gilbert's passing through reader Greg Smith, of The Smith Brothers band.)

Actor, singer, songwriter, Davy Jones, the "cute Monkee," passed away at Martin Memorial Hospital in Florida on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 66. Born in Britain, Jones began his career as a child actor on the long-running U.K. soap opera, Coronation Street. At 14, Davy left home to become an apprentice jockey at the world famous Newmarket racing stables. A theatrical agent, who had seen him in Coronation Street, was impressed by the young man's natural exuberance and extroverted personality. With some persuasion from the agent and Davy's father, the jockey plans were put on hold and Davy Jones found himself at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon playing Michael Darling in Peter Pan. It was in the 1960s, that Davy joined Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, as a member of the Monkees, a group formed to star in a TV series of the same name. The band split in 1971, and Jones went on to established himself as a solo star. He also joined forces with Micky Dolenz to form their own group, Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart, with songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The Monkees reunited for a tour in 2001. A 45th anniversary reunion last year, ended abruptly when they canceled the second half of the tour without explanation. As a solo artist, in recent years, Davy Jones appeared in Las Vegas at the Silverton in 2008 and 2009, and at the South Point last year. He is survived by his wife, Jessica and four daughters. Funeral services had not been announced by our deadline.

* * * * * * * *

Today was the first chance that media people and invited guests had the chance to take a peek inside the brand new Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The official opening will be next Saturday, March 10th. Among the celebrities expected are Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Hudson and Willie Nelson. We will have much more about the Smith Center in coming weeks and months.


Neil Patrick Harris

Frankie Moreno

And speaking of the $470 million center...Good (and impressive) news for fans of the Las Vegas Composers Showcase (of which we certainly are). After a couple of months off (while Keith Thompson, musical director for Jersey Boys and organizer of the showcase, was out of the city and then preparing for the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons musical's reopening at Paris Las Vegas), the Composers Showcase returns on Wednesday, March 28th, at the new Smith Center for the Performing Arts. As has been the case for almost six years, show time is at 10:30 p.m. (after theatre). Doors to the Cabaret Jazz in the center's Bowman Pavilion will open at 9:30. Featured on the 28th will be the songs of local composers and songwriters: Michael Brennan, Travis Cloer, Vita Corimbi, Wayne Green, Christopher Lash, Richard Oberacker, Danny Roque, Keith Thompson, and special guest, Frankie Moreno. Vocalists include Bruce Ewing, Christine Hudman, Ted Keegan, Randal Keith and others, plus the amazing instrumental chops of Philip Fortenberry, Don Meoli and more. Sound by Mary McFadden. Tickets are $20, and available via phone, e-mail or at the Smith Center. Seating is assigned and reservations are suggested. A cash bar is provided and a Late Night menu is available. The Smith Center is located at 361 Symphony Park Avenue, downtown Las Vegas. Phone (702) 749-2000.

* * * * * * * *

Veteran comic/female impersonator, Kenny Kerr, is at Sunrise Hospital recovering from pneumonia. The former star of the long running Boy-Lesque, has moved back to Las Vegas, after living in the Palm Springs area for a few years. Get well wishes are happily welcomed.

* * * * * * * *


Kenny Kerr

Cork Proctor

Next week's F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) luncheon could be the social event of the season. This afternoon, more than 100 people had made reservations for the meeting at the Italian American Club, at 2333 E. Sahara (you don't have to be Italian to attend F.I.O.R.E. functions, but it helps). Usually just a men's club, Thursday's meeting is also welcoming the ladies. President (all the male members are presidents) John Bakie, author with his wife, Laury, of Dining Las Vegas, will be presenting a top notch program, with wine tasting and gourmet delicacies prepared by some of the leading Las Vegas Chefs. There will also be live entertainment by Grammy Award-winner, Gary Anderson, and the Usual Suspects. There is still a few more days to add your name to the list of attendees, but RSVPs are a MUST so the Italian American Club chefs will know how much to prepare for the always tasty buffet. The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 8th. The price is a measly $22 per person. Among those who plan to attend this special event are (in alphabetical order, from A to Z), Bill Acosta, Allon Adar-Burla, John Amato, Peter Anthony, the Bakies, Angela Bello (Freddie Bell's widow) and guest, Bob Bocox, Constable John Bonaventura and Gloria Bonaventura, Ray Borders and Kathy Beach, Mike and Barbara Breglia, Phil Carlino and guest, Angelo Cassaro, Joe Cino and guest, Al Ciricillo, Judy Coco, Ed and Heidi Coleman, Paul and Lana Crupi, Joe Del Popolo and guest, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie DeVries, Nannette DiMascio and guest, Tony DiVietro, John Faulis, John J. Flood, Mel Guerra, Mr. and Mrs. James Hatland, Don and Gloria Hill, Chick Hughes, Tom and Joni Illi, Len and Kaye Indelicato, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Ivans, Norm Johnson, Dori "Bambi Sr.) Kotzan, Dr. Wilfred Krom and Celia Krom, Frank and Rita La Duca, Charlie and ViVi Licata and guest, Aldemio Mancuzo Jr., Jim Marsh, Anita Mazorati, Pete and Betty Menzaco, Joe Moreno, James A. Morganti, Matt Muldoon, Don Nitti, Babe Pier, Cork Proctor, Jilian Ricci, Dr. and Mrs. George Ritter, Constable Gary P. Rogers and Melissa Rogers, Mike Rosetto, Don and Maria Sacco, Ken Sands, Pietra Sardelli, Ira "Ike" Schab, Jerry Schafer and guest, Nate Schlumph, Artie Schroeck and Linda November, Sasha Semenoff, Felix Silla, Betty Smith, Richard E. Smith, Joseph Stanley, Mike Sullivan and guest, Laura Taylor, Lou Toomin and guest, Allen Tramont and guest, Len Ubriaco, Conrad and Marilyn Welle Villella, Gene Vitale (who is recovering from recent surgery, but wouldn't dare miss this meeting), Ken and Lena Walther, Brenda Weems, Richard Wellington, and Marc Zuckerman. If you don't see your name on the list, and you would like to join these nice people for lunch, please RSVP to president Nelson Sardelli at [email protected] ASAP.

And speaking of Cork Proctor, here is something you might want to put on your calendar (we like to give plenty of notice for social events of this nature). On July 22nd, the veteran comic will turn 80! That Sunday afternoon, there will be a Comedy Roast at 2 p.m. in the South Point showroom, with funds raised to benefit Opportunity Village. Some of the comedians who have been invited to roast him are Carme, Kenny Bob Davis, Shecky Greene, Jac Hayden, Kelly McDonald, Larry Omaha, Sammy Shore, Jeff Wayne and Fielding West, among others.

Immediately after the roast, Stephens Press will present a book-signing for Cork's new memoir, My Mind Is An Open Mouth, which they are publishing in partnership with the Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center at UNLV. Mistinguett, of Mistinguett Productions, is the producer of the roast, and Carolyn Hamilton, the former Mrs. Proctor, will be the emcee (this could be interesting). More details to follow.

Note: Like magician Penn Jillette, who on last weekend's episode of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, raised $40,000 for Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit Las Vegas organization that serves people with intellectual disabilities, is a favorite charity of Proctor's. When Cork married Carolyn Hamilton in a 1991 costumed ceremony at Main Street Station, the couple, who are no longer married, requested that, in lieu of wedding gifts, their guests make a $25 donation to OV. It was a generous move, and, beside, they already had a toaster.

* * * * * * * *


Fans of Jimmy Century

The band called Fans of Jimmy Century, headed up by vocalist Alicia Perrone and guitarist Victor James, made an impressive local debut at the Palms Casino last weekend. It was a sold out concert, with a great mix of locals and friends and family from the San Francisco Bay area. Fans of Jimmy Century, relocated to Las Vegas from Northern California in September. They sounded terrific and looked smashing in wardrobe created and provided by designer, Grant Philipo, of Las Vegas Showgirl Museum fame.

* * * * * * * *

SinCityQSocials, the largest social network for gay Las Vegas, invites you to Mix, Mingle & Meet for a special Trendy Tuesday ~ Martini Mixer at The Barrymore Restaurant, located in the newly remodeled Royal Resort at 99 Convention Center Drive, Tuesday, March 6th, from 8 till 10 p.m. Barrymore is the latest creation from award-winning chef, Anthony Meidenbauer, and Billy Richardson, owner of Block 16 and brainchild behind some of Las Vegas's most popular nightclubs and lounges. Adding a contemporary twist to retro Vegas, Barrymore servers up American Classic cuisine that's both approachable and unpretentious. Dig on dishes paired with local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails and a selection of one-of-a-kind vinos from across the globe, all under $50. Don't miss this one. You will want to be one of the first on the guest list. If you would like to have dinner at Barrymore on Tuesday night, reservations are strongly suggested. Call (702) 407-5303.


Barrymore Restaurant

Rob Garrett as Neil Diamond

* * * * * * * *

On Saturday, we were at the North Las Vegas (Craig and Losee) Cannery to see entertainer Rob Garrett do his, obviously, popular tribute to Neil Diamond. The show started a bit past the 8 p.m. scheduled time, but for a good reason. There were so many people who wanted to see "The King of Diamonds," they were adding extra chairs to try and accommodate them all. There were between 600 and 650 in The Club. Accompanied by six top musicians - Keith Neal, lead guitar and vocals; Daryl Slade, bass guitar; Steve Gerard, piano and organ; John Grieco, keyboards; Tony Cobb, percussion and acoustic guitar; and Jeff Borree, drums - and backup singers, Elisia Tutt and Christine Z., Rob performed 22 of Neil's hits, among them, "Beautiful Noise," "Hello Again," "Solitary Man," "September Morn," "Shiloh," "If You Know What I Mean," "Longfellow Serenade," "Holly Holy," "Love On the Rocks," "Kentucky Woman," "Thank the Lord for the Night Time," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (joined by Ms. Tutt), "Forever In Blue Jeans," "Cracklin' Rosie," "Brooklyn Roads," "I Am, I Said," "Sweet Caroline," and "America."

It might be noted that Elisia Tutt is the daughter of drummer, Ron Tutt, who spent 10 years playing for Elvis Presley, and has been Neil Diamond's drummer since 1981. Ron also performed and/or recorded with Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Flying Burrito Bros, The, Los Lobos, Elvis Costello, Jerry Garcia, Billy Joel, Henry Mancini and His Orchestra, Stevie Nicks and Michael McDonald, among many others. When Rob Garrett returns to the Cannery for his annual Hot August Night show, the Club's movable back wall will be raised to permit more Neil Diamond/Rob Garrett fans to enjoy the musical experience.

* * * * * * * *

U.S. Marine, Alexander Degenhardt, won a $2,882,808 jackpot on a progressive penny slot machine at Bellagio in Las Vegas, and all he could say was "cool." This win could be a prime example of karma. Only days before his big win, Alexander learned that he was a match for an anonymous patient needing a bone marrow donor. Degenhardt will give the gift of life to a stranger, knowing that the procedure will be quite painful. Sometimes, what goes around really does come around. We love these stories.


Jackpot Winner

Dick Feeney's Rat Pack at Golden Steer

* * * * * * * *

Keep your eye (or both eyes) on the History Channel, for their series, 10 Things You Don't Know. Each episode gives viewers an inside glimpse into the unknown pasts of history-making people and events. These giants of history are iconic, but what you don't know about them would fill a book! They are legends: inventors and warriors, leaders and mavericks. They were revered, feared, and immortalized for the mark they made on history. But the full story of history's greatest figures and events are seldom told; we just don't hear about the secrets, the odd habits, the hidden traumas, the skeletons in the closet... until now. H2 digs deep into the hazy back stories of renowned leaders, famous events, and notorious criminals to reveal startling chapters of history, in the series. Each episode gives viewers an inside glimpse into the unknown pasts of history-making people and events, from Benjamin Franklin's nefarious habits to Wyatt Earp's role in the flesh trade. Most people would be surprised to learn that Ben Franklin's sex drive not only helped win the American Revolution but also helped set the French Revolution in motion. Each program presents 10 staggering facts about a historic figure or event from Abraham Lincoln (who held views considered racist today) to Adolf Hitler (a child of incest) and Pablo Escobar (who helped the U.S. track down Bin Laden). Other topics include J. Edgar Hoover, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the OK Corral, Caligula, the Mormons, George S. Patton, and the Rat Pack. The cast of Dick Feeney's Rat Pack is Back was interviewed at Las Vegas' iconic Golden Steer restaurant, talking about "The 10 things you don't know about the Rat Pack." The show will air on the History Channel in the upcoming weeks. Check your TV schedules.

* * * * * * * *

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, the musical sequel to his Phantom of the Opera (Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular), has finally made it to the United States. No. It will not be going into The Venetian following the September closing of the Las Vegas Phantom production. It is being shown on select movie screen around the country. Love Never Dies is a mesmerizing follow-up to the award winning Phantom of the Opera, featuring a 21-piece orchestra and an impressive cast of 36, including actors Ben Lewis as the Phantom, and Anna O'Byrne as Christine Daaé. The cinematic production, directed by Brett Sullivan, will enchant audiences, bringing them into a world of passion, obsession and romance. The captivating love story of the Phantom and Christine continues in New York's playground, Coney Island. After his disappearance from the Paris Opera house, the Phantom begins a new life in New York amongst the freaks and side shows. The only thing missing from his new life is musical protégée Christine. In an effort to win back his love, the Phantom lures Christine and her family to this new sparkling unknown world. Showtimes for Love Never Dies in Las Vegas are at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7th at the following theaters: Century Orleans 18, 4500 West Tropicana Blvd.; Century 16 South Point and XD, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South; Regal Colonnade 14, 8880 South Eastern Avenue; Century 18 Sam's Town, 5111 Boulder Hwy.; Regal Village Square 18, 9400 W. Sahara Ave.; and Century Santa Fe Station, 4949 N. Rancho.



Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev

* * * * * * * *

About 250 people, not including the 45-piece chamber orchestra, featuring professional instrumentalists in Las Vegas, and conductor, cellist Lee Richey, attended last Sunday afternoon's Benefit Concert for the Las Vegas Musicians Union Local 369's Emergency Relief Fund. It was the first such concert performed with the specific intent of raising money for this cause. The program consisted of Claude Debussy, L'après midi d'un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Violin Concerto in G Major, K. 216 "Strassburg," featuring special guest soloist, violinist Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev; Richard Strauss, Der Burger als Edelmann/Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Suite, Op. 60. The Debussy featured Tina Hadley (who drove in from Salt Lake for the concert) beautifully playing the solo flute, and filling the East Tropicana Community Lutheran Church sanctuary with her tender and lilting sound. The oboe solos were played beautifully, with lovely, and elegantly timed suspensions, by Caitlin Kramer (who also came in from Utah). Kimberly Glennie and Tara Skouson played the harp parts with grace, subtlety, and elegance. Laraine Kaizer's execution and interpretation of the Mozart concerto was nothing short of superb! She played with sweetness, elegance, and beauty, and combined a musical and technical knowledge of the piece with a graceful performance. Her cadenzas were inventive and imaginative. Under Richey's baton, the orchestra accompanied her with grace, precision, and sensitivity. The Strauss was the most dazzling and charming piece on the program. It is an orchestral suite by the composer extracted from an opera, written with librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, from 1911-1917, and features many of the members of the orchestra as soloists. It is a piece which combines charm with extreme virtuosity, and the chamber orchestra and the members featured as soloists all played with grace, charm, and technical flare. The most prominent soloist in the piece was the Concertmaster, Lenka Hajkova. Lenka played the violin solos superbly with spice, panache, and grace. The next most prominent soloist was the Principal Cello, played by Moonlight Tran. Like the Concertmaster, the Principal Cello is featured throughout the piece, but the Principal Cello is given the most spotlight in the final movement, The Dinner. Moonlight played this cello solo beautifully with a lovely, graceful, and projecting sound and musical nuances that the chamber orchestra followed elegantly. She was assisted by Raymond Sicam, the second chair cellist (and her former student!), who played the answering solo cello lines in the same movement, also with a beautiful sound and graceful nuance. The other featured soloists within the orchestra all played with beauty, projection, and virtuosity. They were: Raymond Pancarowicz, Principal Viola; Alexander Viazovtsev, Principal Flute; Yvonne Betron, Principal Oboe; Jenny Iles, Principal Clarinet; Christina Monaco-Figueroa, Principal Bassoon; Doug Beasley, Principal Horn; Gary Cordell, Trumpet; Mike Dobranski, Bass Trombone; Rachel Julian, Timpani; Kimberly Glennie, Principal Harp; and Voltaire Verzosa, solo piano. It is worth noting that, because this was a benefit concert, all the players donated their time to the cause. Consequently, the group could not afford the time for the standard number of rehearsals allocated for any professional orchestra concert. This concert was performed after only three rehearsals, a feat in itself. However, in this performance, the orchestra played as brilliantly as if they had had the standard number of rehearsals, defying the time constraints put upon them. Incidentally, this was Lee Richey's conducting debut in Las Vegas. Lee is the cellist with Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, and a private cello teacher, both at his own studio and at the College of Southern Nevada. This concert was an ambitious one for him, but he handled it with the same grace and energy as his colleagues in the chamber orchestra. He achieved an energetic, graceful, and virtuosic ensemble from the orchestra and plans to do more performances of this kind in the future. Most important, is the fact that this concert raised $2213.03 for the Emergency Relief Fund, a tremendous initial success! Congratulations, one and all.

* * * * * * * *

If you have tickets to see Celine Dion anytime during March, you can make other plans for that night. Although it had already been announced that, due to a virus affecting her vocal cords, the star of Caesars Palace Colosseum was canceling her shows, on doctor's orders, through March 3rd, on Tuesday, it was announced that the diva would not be returning to the stage for six to eight weeks. With other headliners (Elton John, Rod Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld and Cher) already scheduled for the next three months, don't expect to see Celine back at Caesars until at least early June.


Celine Dion

Gladys Knight

* * * * * * * *

Once again, Las Vegas will be represented on the new season of ABC's Dancing With the Stars. In earlier seasons, Wayne Newton, Penn Jillette and, during different seasons, both Donny and Marie Osmond, have competed on the popular reality show. This time around, it's legendary songstress Gladys Knight who will be gliding, and dipping, and all else in dance, hoping for high scores from judges, Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.

Dancing With the Stars returns Monday, March 19th. In addition to Gladys Knight, who makes her home in Southern Nevada, here is a list of who will be hitting the dance floor this season: singer Gavin DeGraw, NFL pro Donald Driver, Disney star Roshon Fegan, actress Melissa Gilbert, Opera singer Katherine Jenkins, Telenovela actor William Levy, TV host Maria Menounos, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, TV personality Sherri Shepherd, actor and singer Jack Wagner, and actor Jaleel White.

* * * * * * * *

This week's lineup, through Sunday, March 4th, for Paul Stone's Vegas Magic Theatre, playing at the Gold Coast, is made up of Andrew Goldenhersh and Ivan Pecal, with singer/magician Ben Stone as host. Andrew Goldenhersh ranks among today's elite masters of magic, drawing thunderous acclaim around the globe. His skill and style have mesmerized audiences from Hollywood to the Far East, and all points in between. A perennial honoree at the legendary Magic Castle, Andrew has received accolades from the prestigious Academy of Magical Arts. Having been voted the Academy's "Parlour Magician of the Year" in 2009 and 2010, Andrew is the only magician to have been nominated for both Close-up Magician of the Year and Parlour Magician of the Year for 12 years in a row. Andrew is held in high esteem by his peers in entertainment, including Las Vegas superstar Lance Burton (who calls Andrew a "genius"), and the world renowned David Copperfield (who licensed and performs one of Andrew's signature routines). The celebrity list of whom Andrew has entertained includes Johnny Depp, Ringo Starr, P!nk, Sheryl Crow, Rod Stewart, Dustin Hoffman, Nicolas Cage, Jason Alexander, Demi Moore, Teri Hatcher, Tony Shalhoub, Steve Carell, Jane Fonda, Robin Leach, and Michael Ovitz. With Ivan Pecal, you can leave every notion of what you "thought" a juggler was at the door. Based in Los Angeles, Ivan brings the term "High Energy" to an entirely different level by delivering an unforgettable show, unlike anything you have seen before. As funny as a standup comic, and as skilled as a Chinese acrobat, Ivan is one of the new generation of performers and is one of the best at what he does. This is why he is a favorite among corporations, colleges, trade shows, comedy clubs, cruise ships, and on the Las Vegas Strip. Whether Ivan is blindly kicking a flaming torch over his head, juggling ping pong balls using only his mouth, or having you laughing so hard that you should have worn adult diapers to his performance, his show is sure to delight any size audience, no matter the venue. His comedy will have you rolling, and his skills will have you amazed. If you didn't love the art form of juggling before his show, you will after...or at least you will tolerate it. Ben Stone is rapidly making a name for himself on both sides of the Atlantic. The charismatic British performer is an engaging and stylish entertainer, whose personality is infectious and future is bright. An accomplished singer/songwriter, Ben has been entertaining audiences around the world with his unique brand of magic for more than a decade. With a private client list that reads like the ‘Who's Who' of a top celebrity magazine, Ben has been invited to perform for A-list stars and dignitaries at exclusive venues as diverse as the legendary Playboy Mansion in Hollywood to the prestigious House of Lords in London. Not to mention multiple command performances for members of the British Royal family. Ben has also appeared on International TV with performances aired across the UK, USA, as well as numerous European countries. Ben has appeared at the world famous London Palladium Theatre on no less than five occasions, as well as at many other notable West End Theatres. Join performers in the Gold Coast Showroom/Lounge one hour prior to the show for a FREE pre-show presentation of close up magic, card readings and other fun. Tickets are priced from $14.95, plus tax and convenience fees. Showtimes are Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 7 p.m., and Saturdays at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Performing March 8th through the 11th, Nico Studer and Chipper Lowell, with Ben Stone hosting.


Andrew Goldenhersh

Ivan Pecel

* * * * * * * *

On Sunday, March 4th at 7 p.m., RMI Concert Series presents Jack Walker & Friends, featuring the comedy and impressions of Dave Burleigh, and singer/actress, Richel Kompst, in the Ovation at Green Valley Ranch. Walker, who currently makes his home in Las Vegas, was born and raised in Scotland. He is a favorite with luxury cruise lines and continues to perform at sea on a regular basis. He has appeared on BBC and Scottish TV and since moving here, has graced some of Las Vegas' biggest stages, including at Mandalay Bay, The Venetian, the Mystere Theater at T.I, and The Mirage. Jack has also had the privilege of hosting and singing at various corporate events, and was the regular MC/host of the Miss Hawaiian Tropic International pageants, along with such notables as Ryan Seacrest, Robin Leach and Joey Fatone. Wagner‘s signature show, Across The Pond, is a collection of musical influences performed in three languages. With a broad repertoire covering music styles including Opera, Contemporary and Classic Pop, Broadway, Adult Contemporary Crossover, Scottish, and Irish favorites all interlaced with anecdotal humor and dry wit. Jack will leave you wondering just what's coming next. Burleigh has worked with Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Tim Allen and George Lopez. Richel appeared in the national touring company of Les Miserables, and was a cast member of Forbidden Broadway and Forbidden Hollywood. She also created and stars in her own show, Blame It On the Walleye, about her Minnesota roots. On March 11th, Jack Walker & Friends plays the Access Showroom at Aliante Station in North Las Vegas. Call (702) 401-7768 for more details.


Jack Walker

Liza Minnelli

* * * * * * * *

YIPES! What an embarrassingly amateur printed launch for the media invitation for La Cage, back at the Riviera. It looks like it was put together by a third grader (although, a third grader might have done better), when, actually, it was put together by someone whose 15 minutes of fame was over many decades ago. These days, this character fancies himself as a writer, probably because he can't get work as an entertainer.

* * * * * * * *

Coming into the LVH (formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton) next weekend is the band Chicago. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday performances. Tickets range from $59 to $89, plus taxes and fees. And, at the LVH, for one night only, Saturday, May 12th, it's Liza with a Z (that would be Liza Minnelli, for those who know nothing about show business), at 8 p.m. Tickets for Liza range from $89, plus taxes and fees. And speaking of the LVH, impressionist Greg London has departed the property after a little more than a year in the Shimmer Cabaret. Prior to the LVH gig, London was at the Riviera for about six months. It appears that Mr. London, and his cast of celebrity characters, wants to make another change, this time, from the desert to the ocean blue, as he launches a three-month engagement on Norwegian Cruise Line, where he will be backed by a 12-piece band. Mike Tricarichi, who produces Icons of Comedy, has also left the LVH, moving his funny people to the Riviera. Call the LVH Box Office at (702) 732-5755 or (800) 222-5361, and the Riviera at (702) 794-9433.

* * * * * * * *

The singing/comedy team, of Carme Pitrello and Paul Salos, who got their start in Tampa, will team up again on March 8th. Paul, a Frank Sinatra impressionist who competed on America's Got Talent, becoming a finalist on Season 3, will join Carme, his partner of nine years, for their reunion performance after being apart for more than 40 years. After decades in Las Vegas, working in all the main rooms on the famed Strip, Carme is spending more and more time in the Tampa Bay area. It was at the Chez Louie in Tampa, that he teamed up with Paul in 1960. The duo were like Martin and Lewis in many ways. Some people thought they were even better. Pitrello and Salos were originally hired to perform for one week. The act was so successful, that the club owners, Louie and Guido Caggiano, kept them on for a full year.


Greg London

Carme Pitrello & Paul Salos 1965

When they left Chez Louie, Paul and Carme took their show on the road to Miami Beach, performing at major hotels, as well as the prestigious Americana Hotel in Puerto Rico. They headlined at supper clubs around the country before signing with a National Entertainment Agency out of Chicago and New York. Carme and Paul were different than many other comedy teams - they both had great singing voices, both did impressions of many artists, and also created excellent harmony together. They would alternate as straight man and comic, depending on the routines they were doing, and never relied on "blue" material to make people laugh. The twosome worked top clubs, such as the Copa in New York, the Latin Quarter in Philly, the Chez Paree in Chicago, the Fontainebleau and Eden Rock in Miami, and Playboy Clubs all over the US and Jamaica. After nine years together, they decided to go their separate ways. While in Las Vegas, Carme worked with the Who's Who of entertainers, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Suzanne Somers, Charo, Harry James, Roy Clark, Andy Griffith, Roy Rogers, Phyllis Diller, Jim Nabors, Jackie Vernon, Wayne Newton, Andy Williams, Robert Goulet, Patti Page, Pearl Bailey, Kay Starr and Teresa Brewer. Carme performed at the Sands, Dunes, Tropicana, Desert Inn, Frontier, Aladdin, Dunes, Riviera and Desert Inn. Carme's background is as diverse as his musical talents. His work includes doing everything from singing, acting, stunt man and even Burlesque. Paul joined the Air Force in 1956, and was assigned to Tops in Blues, the Air Force's traveling entertainment shows. He spent five years traveling from base-to-base, singing for the troops. When he ended his tour at MacDill AFB, he started performing in Tampa area nightclubs. At one point, his act included 40 impressions, mostly singers, among them, Frankie Laine, Perry Como, and Johnny Mathis. Sinatra was Paul's favorite, and the best of all his impressions. Paul continued touring and singing all over the country and in Europe. He had roles on a number of TV series, including High Chaparral, Walker Texas Ranger, Dallas and Prison Break. Paul formed his own band and orchestra, and has performed for many dignitaries, including presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush, and also for onetime presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani. Salos has also had the honor of performing at a Royal Wedding in Dubai, UAE. He auditioned on America's Got Talent Season 3. Out of 300,000 acts, Paul, who lives in Dallas, Texas, made it as a finalist. He was very popular and received millions of votes. Although he doesn't look like Sinatra, he sounds like him. When he gets onstage, the style, charm, look, mannerisms and voice kick in. He has been winning over young audiences who never even heard of Ol' Blue Eyes. America's Got Talent has changed Paul's career forever. He can be seen on YouTube, and performs worldwide. It was not until his success on America's Got Talent, that Carme and Paul began reminiscing and talking about performing together again. Both gentlemen are still very active and thoroughly enjoy their work. Both are popular performers on several cruise lines. On March 8th, at 2 p.m., Carme and Paul will perform with a live band at the Polk Theatre in Lakeland, Florida. Their show is made up of singing, comedy, impressions of famous entertainers, and remembering the show business of yesteryear. It's the kind of show that is reminiscent of Las Vegas in "the good old days," when stars would mingle with the guests and often deal at the tables in the casinos.

* * * * * * * *

The multi-platinum, Australian sensation, Human Nature, are storming America with their new CD, The Motown Record, and bringing the incredible vocal harmonies of Michael Tierney, Andrew Tierney, Toby Allen and Phil Burton, to some of pop music's most enduring anthems. The 11-tracks on this debut U.S. album feature the best of classic Motown. Songs include Human Nature's fresh and distinctive versions of "Get Ready" (featuring Smokey Robinson), "My Girl," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and many more. In addition, the album includes two distinct a cappella versions of "Ooo Baby Baby" and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," that showcase Human Nature's amazing four-part vocal harmonies. Adding to the celebration is a compelling new version of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There," the first Motown song that Human Nature ever sang together, and that is one of the highlights of their hit stage show.

* * * * * * * *

Broadway musical theater stars, Rachel York and Brent Barrett, critically acclaimed co-stars in the West End production of the Tony Award-winning revival of Kiss Me, Kate, filmed for PBS, reunited for an exclusive two-act concert "Isn't It Romantic?" last month at Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston. York, a Drama Desk and two-time IRNE Award winner, and Barrett, an LA Drama Critics Award winner and Olivier Award nominee, sang some of their favorite love songs from the stage, screen, and the Great American Songbook. In this musical Valentine to love and laughter, York (City of Angels, Les Misérables, Victor/Victoria, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and Barrett (Grand Hotel, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular) rekindle the sizzle and spark that stole London's and America's hearts as the battling, but still so-in-love, exes in Kiss Me, Kate. Rachel and Brent also co-starred in the Ovation Award-winning production of Anything Goes, at Reprise! Theatre Company in Los Angeles. In "Isn't It Romantic?," the talented twosome reminisced with a number of Cole Porter tunes, including "So in Love," "You're the Top," and "I Get a Kick out of You." They also sang classics, such as "How to Handle a Woman," "Anything You Can Do," "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "Maybe This Time" and "Music of the Night," along with popular standards like "My Funny Valentine," "Someone to Watch over Me," "He Touched Me" and "Send in the Clowns." According to Robert Eagle, producing artistic director of Reagle Music Theatre, "Isn't It Romantic?" is being developed to kick off the company's 44th season.



Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
You can find Past Columns HERE


     Like to be notified when Claire Voyant's next column is available?
Then join Claire Voyant's announcement mailing list!
Enter your email address below, then click the 'Join List' button:
   

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye