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 May 18, 2012
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - May 18, 2012


Mary Wilson

Niki Scalera

We had occasion to be at the Smith Center for two different events during the last week. On Saturday, we saw the Supreme Mary Wilson deliver some of the songs associated with the late Lena Horne in James Gavin's Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Project. Gavin, who wrote the book on which this theater piece is based, narrated, sharing many facts about the Lena Horne out of the spotlight, as well as those around her. One bit of information that we found most interesting involved singer/actor Harry Belafonte. Here are the facts, from a story by Michael Calderone, as published in the New York Observer in 2005.

In the late 1950's, Harry Belafonte was on top of the world. In 1956, he had recorded the album Calypso-the first ever to sell over one million copies-and had ignited a Jamaican music craze. Awards, accolades, celebrity and its attendant glamour followed in spades.

But none of this was enough to impress a landlord on West End Avenue, who turned Mr. Belafonte down for an apartment in his stately building, which dated back to the turn of the century. The singer-cum-activist fought back not with picket signs, but with the muscle celebrities give such a workout: money. He bought the entire 13-story building and converted it to a co-op two years later, attracting the likes of singer Lena Horne to take up residence there.

Along with the stories and film clips, songs were presented by Ms. Wilson. Backed by the Larry Dunlap Trio, Mary did a fine job on "The Man I Love," "Yesterday When I Was Young," "It's Not Easy Being Green," and, of course, "Stormy Weather." It was a most interesting presentation, and very much enjoyed by the audience in the Cabaret Jazz theater.

And last Wednesday, it was one of our most favorite Las Vegas experiences, the Composers Showcase taking place at the Smith Center. The showcase, now in its seventh year, held its second performance in the 258-seat Cabaret Jazz. You never know what you are going to see and hear at these "events," but you would have to be brain-dead not to be impressed, inspired and moved. There is so much hidden talent in our community, and the Composers Showcase is one of the few places where audience members can discover some of it. There were lots of highlights (there always are), including Keith Thompson's "On With the Show;" Kelly Clinton doing her very funny "PMS Blues;" a hysterical number called "Voice Lesson No. 1," written by Mark Wherry and performed by Mark and Scott Watanabe; two songs from Angela Chan's original musical, Legacy of the Tiger Mother, performed by two very talented ladies (whose names we didn‘t get); E.J. and Michael Lackey and Randal Keith did dramatic numbers from an original musical based on Frankenstein; Niki Scalera, backed by a seven-piece musical ensemble, did a Thompson number, "Stripperella," based on a cartoon-inspired character; Las Vegas' newest Jersey Boys cast member, Aaron MacKenzie, wrote and sang, "Then and There;" another Aaron, Aaron Ramsey, with eight musicians (including his proud mother, violinist Rebecca Ramsey), did a beautiful instrumental piece; Clint Holmes performed "At the Rendezvous," from his biographical musical that has been performed under a number of different titles, including Comfortable Shoes, Just Another Man and My Own Song; Kristen Hertzenberg performed a Keith Thompson song, called (we think), "Everything Would Be Alright;" Amos Glick, believe it or not, did an original number (that would be "number two") called "Diarrhea," complete with sound effects; and Christine Hudman and Jolana Adamson, with musicians Tyler Williams, Matt Baldoni and Mark Pardy, did an original by Hudman (not sure of the title). Tyler Williams and friends also did a number that we didn't get the name of. We hope we didn't miss anybody or anything, but we probably did. You think this is easy?



Barbara Cook

And speaking of the Smith Center, tickets for Wicked, the most anticipated musical production of the center's 2012-2013 season, will go on sale to the public tomorrow, Saturday, May 19th at 7 a.m. Wicked is set to make its Las Vegas debut on August 29th. Tickets will be exclusively available at the box office from 7 to 10 a.m. on-site at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Avenue in Las Vegas. Beginning at 10 a.m., any remaining tickets will be available for purchase online at www.TheSmithCenter.com, or by phone at (702) 749-2000. There is an eight-ticket limit per patron. As part of the on-sale celebration, Sunny 106.5 KSNE will be broadcasting live on location at The Smith Center from 7 to 9 a.m., followed by a live broadcast by 96.3 KKLZ from 9 to 11 a.m. Both stations will be entertaining guests with music, fun games, and drawings to win exclusive Wicked prizes. Additionally, the first 100 people in line to make a purchase at The Smith Center will receive a gift from Wicked. Due to pre-existing sales to subscribers and groups, there is a limited inventory of Wicked tickets to start with. Patrons are urged to purchase their tickets early. Wicked will play August 29th through October 7th in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center. Ticket prices begin at $39. Performances for Wicked, the week of August 29th, will be Wednesday, August 29th at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, August 30th at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Friday, August 31st at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Performances for Wicked, September 4th through October 7th, will be Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wicked, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Disney's Enchanted, Academy Award® winner for Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt) and book by Winnie Holzman (My So Called Life, Once And Again and thirtysomething), is based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire. The musical is directed by two-time Tony® Award winner, Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monologues), and features musical staging by Tony® Award winner, Wayne Cilento (Aida, The Who's Tommy, How To Succeed…). Wicked, winner of 35 major awards, including a Grammy® Award and three Tony® Awards, is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. Wicked tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good. Wicked has "cast quite a spell" (Washington Post) throughout North America, breaking box office records in every city that it has played, including Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Philadelphia and Boston to name a few. Called "a cultural phenomenon" by Variety, Wicked continues to thrill audiences around the world. There are currently seven productions of Wicked worldwide, in New York, London, Japan, Holland, Australian/Asian Tour, and two concurrent North American National Tours. The Grammy Award-winning cast recording is available on Decca Broadway. For additional information about Wicked, log on to www.wickedthemusical.com.

And still on the subject of the Smith Center, scheduled headliner, Barbara Cook, considered "Broadway's favorite ingenue" during the heyday of the Broadway musical, has postponed her upcoming dates - May 24th through the 27th in the Cabaret Jazz. We are not sure why, and don't know when her performances will be rescheduled (we hear it will be in August). We will stay on top of this one.

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Congratulations to Gerry McCambridge, The Mentalist, who just celebrated his seventh anniversary as a Las Vegas headliner. McCambridge, who gives audiences a most entertaining bang for their buck, is currently performing at the V Theater in Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile Shops. During his years here, we have seen The Mentalist's show many times, and taking different friends with us. Everyone, even skeptics, are amazed. We don't know how he does what he does, but Gerry McCambridge does it very well. Shows are at 7:30 p.m., Thursdays through Tuesdays. Tickets are $49.99 and $59.95. Call (702) 932-1818 for more information and reservations.


Gerry McCambridge The Mentalist

Dori (Bambi Jones) Kotzan

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Rich Rizzo and the Las Vegas Follies present Vintage Vegas, 2 p.m., Sunday, May 20th at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. Live music, songs and comedy to awaken your memories and vision of "Vintage Vegas," a new show with all the elements to keep you toe tapping and emotionally involved with the flavor of Las Vegas in all its glory. Many of the senior performers have lived the life, and will bring you into the fold of being there with them. Vintage Vegas is featuring two of our local celebrities, Bubba Knight of Gladys Knight and The Pips, who has entertained people around the world on many levels, including live performances, television shows and sitcoms. Additionally, Pip Bubba hosted a summer variety series with his sister Gladys. Also appearing as a special guest in Vintage Vegas is Bambi Jones, a star of burlesque, who will win your hearts as our most senior performer. Tickets are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $17 for non-residents.

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If you can't get enough of Dancing With the Stars on television, we have good news for you.
The NEW Tropicana Las Vegas has a LIVE version performing on the stage of the Tropicana Theater, through July 7th. ABC's leading entertainment show, Dancing with the Stars, is bringing a one-of-a-kind production exclusively to the New Tropicana Las Vegas. The live show is directed by Amy Tinkham and choreographed by Australian sensation, Jason Gilkison. Dancing with the Stars: Live in Las Vegas is an 80-minute live entertainment show that brings the excitement of the ABC smash hit series Dancing with the Stars to life. DWTS: Live in Las Vegas transports the stars of the show to the stage for a night of sexy, stunning and surprising performances. The Tropicana Theater will transform into the Dancing with the Stars ballroom, showcasing fan favorite dances from past seasons along with new and thrilling routines. The live show features former TV series competitors and talented pros, including Carson Kressley, Joey Fatone, Kyle Massey, Sabrina Bryan, Tia Carrere, Dmitriy Chaplin, and Lacey Schwimmer. Attendees will also be introduced to the one-and-only Las Vegas Troupe. Special guest, Kym Johnson, will be in the show from May 24th through May 28th. Please note: Performers subject to change without notice. Show times for Dancing with the Stars: LIVE in Las Vegas are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Fridays at 9 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 and 8 p.m. Dark on Tuesdays. Admission: VIP Experience, $144; First and Second Level Booths, $99; Third Level Booths, $69; B-Section/Back Tables, $49; and C, D, E Sections/900 Booths, $40. Please note that the prices listed are inclusive of 10% LET and are subject to Box Office service fees. Call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.


Dancing Star Kym Johnson

Murray SawChuck

Also appearing at the Tropicana, in the Laugh Factory, direct from America's Got Talent and the History Channel's Pawn Stars, is Murray SawChuck. Murray's star power has exploded onto the entertainment scene with the charisma, personality and talent of an entertainer born to be on the stage and screen, after his successful run as a semifinalist on NBC's America's Got Talent, viewed by more than 22 million fans nationwide. Murray astonished the live audiences by producing a Ferrari from thin air, transforming a showgirl into a 450-pound tiger, and did the largest trick ever on America's Got Talent, by making an entire 1918 steam train locomotive vanish in mere seconds. All of these illusions took place in front of a live national and international TV audience, and brought standing ovations from the judges and audiences. Murray currently guest stars on Pawn Stars as a magic expert. His other TV credits include starring on the popular VH1 series, Celebracadabra, Comedy Central's TV series Reno 911, NBC's Last Comic Standing, VH1's Tough Love, and Fox's Celebrity Blind Date. See Murray up-close-and-personal, like he's never been seen before! The intimate venue lets you be a part of the show and Murray will perform two of his signature illusions in the middle of the audience where you can see 360 degrees around the entire illusion. This interactive show will have you laughing down the aisle and amazed all at the same time! You might even learn a trick or two to take home to fool your friends and family. Show times for the Family Friendly Comedy Magic Show are 7 p.m. daily. You've seen him on TV, now see him LIVE! The Laugh Factory Las Vegas, is located on the Mezzanine level of the Paradise Tower. General admission is $31.90, with VIP admission at $49.45. For tickets, call (702) 739-2411.

Please note: Magician Jason Andrews is filling in for Murray on Saturday, May 19th, and Murray will be dark on Wednesday, May 23rd.

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By impersonating celebrities, comedians can win over an audience or convince their mother that she's been phone buddies with George Clooney for years. Hear Jeff Tracta do your favorite celebrities, through Sunday at the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. There is little in the entertainment business that Jeff Tracta hasn't tried. Since his beginnings on the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, he has acted on Broadway, released three musical albums, toured across the globe, and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Now he headlines a one-man show from the opulent auditorium of the Pearl Concert Theater, contorting his voice and working his musical panache during 75-minute tours of pop culture. Backed by video productions and musical accompaniment, Tracta seamlessly slips between impersonations of celebrities such as Ray Romano, Chris Rock, and Jeff Foxworthy to incite laughter and overwhelm any mocking birds in the audience. He also performs musical impressions, aping the physical mannerisms and singing styles of current hitmakers, such as Lady Gaga and Eminem, to classic figures including Elton John and Billy Joel. Tickets are $59 to $99. Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort, 4321 W Flamingo Rd., (702) 942-7777. Contact Pearl Concert Theater box office at Palms Casino Resort at (702) 944-3200 for questions or hours.


Jeff Tracta

Michael Orland & Dr. Phil McGraw

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Although you may not see a lot of Michael Orland, pianist, arranger and Associate Musical Director for the hit FOX-TV series American Idol, during the competition portion of the popular reality show, he will be quite visible on a number of other TV shows during the next few weeks. Orland will serve as a guest judge, along with three casting directors and Brady Bunch mom, Florence Henderson, for a kids talent contest on Dr. Phil. The episodes will air May 28th, 29th and 30th. One of the prizes for the young winner is free coaching from Michael and vocal coach and accomplished cabaret singer, Peisha McPhee, who just happens to be the mother of Season Five's American Idol runner-up, and star of NBC's Smash, Katharine McPhee. Michael and Peisha are partners in a new business, www.findyouruniquevoice.com. They are most excited that their Web site will be added to Dr. Phil's site. Orland will be appearing on Live! with Kelly (Kelly Ripa) and NBC's Today Show, with the Idol winner AND the Idol runner-up, during the same week he appears on Dr. Phil. Busy. Busy.


Peisha McPhee

Ron Shock

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This is most puzzling. From Michigan's Grand Rapids Press newspaper comes this story...
"Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show," scheduled to hit the Van Singel Fine Arts Center last Saturday, didn't happen. In mid-April, the show's producers cancelled the date, part of Van Singel's 2011-12 Gainey Season of events. Van Singel organizers still are mystified why the show, which appeared in March in the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon, scrapped its May date in Byron Center. "We really don't have a clear answer why they cancelled their performance here," said Van Singel house manager Kathy Richards. Van Singel officials, however, are sure of one thing: The show will not be rescheduled for a later date. "We are extremely disappointed because so many of our patrons were looking forward to this performance," Richards said. "In our 13 years of operation, the Van Singel has never been placed in a situation of canceling a nearly sold out show. Compounding the confusion, the show did appear Friday evening in the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, Ohio, and the show is scheduled to open next Friday for five shows over three nights at the Senaca Niagra Casino and Hotel in Salamanca, NY. Van Singel has mailed refunds to all ticket buyers, and everyone should have received their full ticket refund by now. Ticket holders who haven't yet received their refund should contact Pam Brower in the Van Singel box office at (616) 878-6800. E-mail Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk: [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ArtsWriter.

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Condolences to the Falcone family on the loss of their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Anne Marie Falcone, who passed away last month at the age of 95. New York-born Anne Marie was a 35-year Nevadan. Among her survivors are her five sons, Thomas of Vero Beach, Florida, Michael of New York City, Dennis of Seattle, Marc of Las Vegas, and musician Vincent Falcone Jr. of Henderson; nine grandchildren, including trumpet player Dan Falcone; and seven great-grandchildren. Services were held in Las Vegas.

Comic/storyteller, Ron Shock, who had been battling urethral cancer since December, passed away at the Nathan Adelson Hospice yesterday. Ron, who performed around Las Vegas for years, was 69. He is survived by his wife, Rhonda, four children, and nine grandchildren. The family suggests donations to the Nathan Adelson Hospice.

The "Queen of Disco," Donna Summer, passed away in Florida yesterday, after a battle with lung cancer. She was 63. The multiple Grammy Award-winner, is best known for hits such as "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls," "Last Dance," "On the Radio," "She Works Hard For the Money," and "Love to Love You Baby." Summer is survived by her husband, Brooklyn Dreams co-founder, Bruce Sudano, their two children, Brooklyn and Amanda, and her daughter, Mimi, from a previous marriage. We saw Summer work live at the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1980s. Her last Vegas appearance was in October, when she performed during the David Foster and Friends concert at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.


Donna Summer

Nancy Archer & Bucky

Nancy Archer, former Boyd Gaming employee, now retired and living in Ohio, is mourning the loss of her beloved four-legged companion, Bucky. Sadly, age and illness necessitated putting Bucky to sleep on Mother's Day.

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Back by popular demand! Mark Giovi sings tonight and tomorrow, May 18th and 19th, at Mr. B's Bar Grill Ristorante. Among his local credits, Giovi was a featured singer in the production show, Bite, at the Stratosphere, and a founding member of the Las Vegas Tenors. He is currently the host of the very popular Monday open mic night at the Westside Tap House. Mark's show times at Mr. B's are from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. No cover charge. Reservations are highly recommended. Call (702) 836-9449. Mr. B's is at 3824 Paradise Rd.


Mark Giovi

Dave Burleigh

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A couple of familiar names turned up on Tuesday night's America's Got Talent episode. During the early "whittling down" process of a new season, the first familiar competitor was comic impressionist, Dave Burleigh, who did well and got three "yeses" from judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel. Those three yeses mean that Burleigh will be heading to Las Vegas for the next phase of the competition. Mr. Burleigh already has some relationship with Las Vegas. We saw him at Big Al's Comedy Club, appearing with Kathleen Dunbar and Kevin Downey Jr., when we attended the show at The Orleans on April 29th. The other familiar named person didn't fare as well as Burleigh. Kim McAfee, a 43-year-old Northern California resident who, "combines opera and rap" (take our word for it, it doesn't work), didn‘t get too far with the judges, in spite of the fact that show host, Nick Cannon, tried to assist by joining Kim in song. If you are of a certain age, that name, albeit a different spelling, might sound familiar to you. "Kim MacAfee" was the name of the character played by Ann-Margret in the 1963 film, Bye Bye Birdie. One never knows when this information might come in handy.

Also, regarding America's Got Talent, we might mention that competitor, Tim Hockenberry, who did a great job on Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful," has already recorded four albums and performed at various San Francisco venues, such as The Fillmore, Great American Music Hall, Bimbo's 365 Club, The Napa Valley Opera House, Rrazz Room, Empire Plush Room, Luther Burbank Center for the Performing Arts, and the 142 Throckmorton Theater. He has shared stages with Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray and Steve Miller among others, and has toured for three years with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and currently tours with the Mickey Hart Band. Tim has headlined at a multitude of festivals including the Robert Mondavi Summer Concert Series, the Clearwater Jazz Festival and the Mill Valley Arts Festival. Many of the people who compete on America's Got Talent, make their livings as entertainers. Audience members should have no problems with that fact...as long as the competitors don't lie about their history, as Queen Emily Baloney (who later appeared in Menopause the Musical when it was at the Hilton) did. Spare us the sad stories, folks, and succeed or fail, based on your talent.

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Go "A little bit country, a little bit rock n' roll" with Donny & Marie at the Flamingo Las Vegas, June 13th through 16th at 7:30 p.m., with specially priced tickets to benefit Nevada Public Radio. The 90-minute extravaganza showcases Donny and Marie Osmond's greatest hits in a multimedia spectacle presented on a custom-designed stage with multiple video screens and a sizeable cast of electrifying dancers. Donny and Marie's timeless hits (some of which topped the charts as duets, while others were performed solo,) include "Paper Roses," "Make the World Go Away," "I'm Leaving It (All) Up to You," "Morning Side of the Mountain," "Puppy Love," "Soldier of Love," "Deep Purple," and others. The duo took the country by storm with the debut of the Donny & Marie variety show in 1976, becoming the youngest primetime hosts in television history. This universally popular series solidified their worldwide fan base, which still numbers in the millions. A limited number of specially priced, Golden Circle tickets are available for $125 each, Main Floor tickets for $84 each, and Balcony tickets for $70 for each of the June 13, 14, 15 and 16, 7:30 p.m. performances. Proceeds will directly benefit and must be purchased through Nevada Public Radio, picked up at will-call and may not be resold. To purchase tickets, visit www.knpr.org, www.classical897.orgor call (702) 258-9895, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Nevada Public Radio (NVPR) was established in 1975 as an independent, not-for-profit, public benefit corporation. NVPR signed on the air in 1980 with one station serving the Las Vegas area as Nevada's first National Public Radio (NPR(r)) affiliate station. For more than two decades, NVPR has remained true to its mission to enhance the quality of life and foster civic engagement by informing, educating and inspiring our growing audiences. Nevada Public Radio is the sole provider in Southern Nevada of classical music and in-depth news and information on the FM dial. Since its humble beginnings in 1980, NVPR has grown to be a radio network with seven stations - serving the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area with News 88.9 KNPR and Classical KCNV 89.7. Combined with our five associate stations and 10 translator stations, we serve a geographical area of more than 66,000 square miles - plus parts of California, Utah and Arizona. In fact, a full 76 percent of Nevada's population can hear NVPR's signals. NVPR is also the publisher of the award-winning Desert Companion monthly magazine.


Donny & Marie

Wayne Newton

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No news about Wayne Newton is usually a good thing. Very little has been mentioned about the former "Mr. Las Vegas" since he got the okay (in spite of lots of protest from his southeast Vegas neighbors) to turn his Casa de Shenandoah property into a museum. This week, Newton is in the news. Lots of articles online, including this extensive one from the Daily Mail Reporter, a British national daily newspaper.

Wayne Newton sued over Las Vegas home's museum plans and allegations of sexual harassment by horse trainer

Plans to turn Wayne Newton's sprawling Las Vegas estate into a celebrity museum have shifted into an ugly legal battle citing mismanagement, animal abuse and sexual harassment.

The company that purchased the rights to convert Newton's home into 'Graceland West' filed a lawsuit this week in Las Vegas against Newton, his wife and her 76-year-old mother claiming the family unreasonably delayed the project to ensure it never opens. The Newton family claims the lawsuit is a preemptive strike because they had planned to sue the company for breach of contract after multiple construction delays. The family plans to file a counter lawsuit challenging the allegations made by CSD, LLC. The legal wrangling paints an uncertain future for Newton's 40-acre estate featuring South African penguins, Arabian horses, Impressionist paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and 17th-century antiques collected from European castles. Newton's lawyer, J. Stephen Peek, dismissed CSD's allegations as 'salacious' lies and said the Newtons had nothing to do with the project's delayed opening. The real substance will come out in time,' he told The Associated Press in a brief telephone interview. The lawsuit seeks to have the Newton family immediately vacate their lavish estate, Casa de Shenandoah, and allow the $50 million project honoring the Las Vegas legend's music career to move forward. Construction plans for the museum called for an exhibition space, theater, zoo, visitors' center and other attractions. The lawsuit also claims Newton sexually harassed a young female employee hired to train his 55 horses by repeatedly kissing her on the mouth. The worker quit and has threatened to sue Newton and CSD, according to the lawsuit. Peek said the woman had been fired and described the accusations as an attempt to 'obtain financial gain.' Under the terms of the museum deal, Newton, his wife and his daughter agreed to move to a newly constructed $2 million home on the estate so their mansion could be converted into a museum initially scheduled to open in late 2011. The lawsuit claims the family refused to relocate or turn over personal memorabilia. 'It is quite clear that it was always their intention to remain in the Mansion regardless of the terms of the agreement,' the lawsuit alleges. The company claims Newton's home was in a 'sad state of disrepair' when it purchased the land for $19.5 million in June 2010, with his horses uncared for and 6-feet-tall animal manure piles covering the grounds. 'The penguin ponds were disgustedly dirty, full of algae and were endangering the penguins, all of whom were sick and many had died,' the lawsuit reads. Peek countered that the home couldn't have been in disrepair because the TV show 'The Amazing Race' filmed its season finale there in 2009. He said CSD failed to obtain necessary building permits, causing emergency officials to halt construction of the visitor center. The company also allegedly bullied its employees. The Newton family released a statement from Geneva Clark, a partial owner of the museum, who denounced the allegations made by CSD's manager, Steven Kennedy. 'He is wrongly accusing the Newtons and mismanaging his role of leadership,' Clark said in the statement. Newton allowed the AP to tour his estate in October 2010, just months after the deal with CSD was finalized. The property appeared to be clean and his animals seemed healthy and well-kept. Newton faced various financial woes in recent years. He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1992 to reorganize an estimated $20 million in debts, including a $341,000 Internal Revenue Service lien for back taxes. In 2005, he disputed IRS claims that he and his wife owed $1.8 million in back taxes and penalties from 1997 through 2000. More recently, sheriff's deputies were turned away from the ranch home in February 2010 while trying to collect a $500,000 court judgment stemming from back pay owed to a former pilot. That same month, Newton's billionaire buddy Bruton Smith tried to seize Casa de Shenandoah for repayment of a $3.35 million loan.
Stay tuned.

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Lisa Gioia-Acres, who keeps folks informed about what is going on with Las Vegas Media Group members, passes along this information, regarding author Pat Getter. Deposition vs. root canal? Tough choice if you conjure up an image of being given the third degree by Perry Mason. But, giving a deposition need not be a dreaded - and dreadful - experience. In her new book, "Deposition vs. Root Canal," local author Pat Getter explains how depositions unfold, what to expect and ways for deponents to focus and strengthen their responses to be more comfortable and confident as effective, credible witnesses. "It's not unusual to be intimidated or nervous by the thought of testifying under oath," Getter said. "You just don't want it to affect your ability to communicate. The best way to overcome this is to be prepared." "Deposition vs. Root Canal" is sound advice for anyone named in a lawsuit, being sued or in a custody battle. It is also a handy primer for attorneys to give to their clients, especially when attorneys don't have the time, do not enjoy the task or simply do not know how to prepare deponents. "Most attorneys appreciate the importance of preparing to take depositions, but fewer appreciate the importance of preparing deponents to give depositions," she said. Getter researched these techniques after her personal preparation for depositions given as part of a series of lawsuits demanding more than a billion dollars from her former Fortune 100 employer. "Deposition vs. Root Canal" e-book and paperback is available at CreateSpace at http://bit.ly/HS15xb; www.HelpMeBeDeposed.com, at Amazon at http://amzn.to/HQMGWn; Kindles at Amazon at http://amzn.to/HXqsRR; and for Nooks at Barnes and Noble at http://bit.ly/HbsLTd. All other readers are available at www.smashwords.com.

Lisa goes on to say...It sure is hot out there! Why not get out of the heat by joining the nice folks at the next Las Vegas Media Group meeting, taking place on Monday, May 21st? Not only will you enjoy great food and company, but you'll get to hear a talk by Mr. Pat Clary, a co-founder of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Nevada Center for International Research and Policy, and a long-time friend of many in the group. Las Vegas Media Group member, Lisa Gioia-Acres, met Mr. Clary at the Smith Center where he was in attendance at the debut performance of the Philharmonic. He was kind enough to agree to come and meet with the group. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., and costs only $15. The meeting 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. RSVP by calling Lisa at (702) 245-9206.

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Renee Hale

Elvis Parade on Fremont Street

Songstress Renee Hale passes along this information. Her good friend, Karen Gordon, has assembled a few friends to get together at Garfield's on Tuesday evening, May 22nd. We decided to "spread the word," since there are so many of us who haven't seen each other in ages. For those of you who haven't been to Garfield's on Tuesdays, get ready for a great time. I sing there, and always have tremendous talent sitting in. It's Happy Hour(s), from 5 to 7 p.m., with singing starting at 6. Let Garfield's or Renee know if you plan on attending, so Garfield's can plan on enough seating. The place tends to fill up on Tuesdays. Be sure to tell them you are there for the music so that you are seated on the veranda instead of the restaurant. You can call Garfield's, located at 2620 Regatta Drive at Desert Shores, directly at (702) 925-8333, or Renee at (702) 604-4222, to reserve a table.

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Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE), Las Vegas' famed Fremont Street Experience, and the celebrated tribute artist production, Legends in Concert, presented the Third Annual Las Vegas Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Downtown Las Vegas last weekend. On Friday, May 11th and Saturday, May 12th, Fremont Street Experience hosted the only Las Vegas EPE-sanctioned preliminary round of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. Elvis Tribute Artists competed for a chance to proceed to the semifinals during Elvis Week 2012, held August 10-18, the 35th anniversary celebration in Memphis. The 21 competitors from around the world participated in the Las Vegas Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest on Friday with guest judges determining the ‘best representation of the Elvis legacy' based on vocals, style, stage wear, and stage presence. On Saturday, the top 10 competed and a champion was crowned ‘King.' Victor Trevino Jr., a resident of Las Vegas, won $2,500 cash, a Graceland Getaway prize package and most importantly, qualifies to compete in the 2012 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest presented by EPE in Memphis, Tenn. during Elvis Week 2012. The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Finals in Memphis is one of the highlights of Elvis Week. The event attracts more than 70,000 fans from all over the world. The winner of the contest will be offered the opportunity to sign a performance contract with "Legends in Concert," $20,000 cash, recognition by EPE as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2012 and a selection of other valuable prizes. Other ‘Kingly' festivities at Fremont Street Experience during the weekend included special presentations on the Viva Vision canopy and a parade of Elvi at the beginning of each night's competition. Fans also had the chance to jump on stage and show the massive crowd their inner Elvis with a special Elvis Karaoke held each night directly after the competition.

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Happy birthday wishes to Taurus (April 20-May 20) celebrants... Carmen Electra, Patti LuPone, Tony Danza, Glen Campbell, John Waters, Peter Frampton, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand, Cedric the Entertainer, Kelly Clarkson, Denny Scott Miller, Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA), Emily Bergl, Bobby Rydell, Kevin James (comic), Duane Eddy, Sheena Easton, Casey Kasem, Kevin James (magician), Ann-Margret, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Duane Allen (Oak Ridge Boys), Carnie Wilson (Wilson Phillips), Andre Agassi, Cloris Leachman, Willie Nelson, Merrill Osmond, Bobby Vee, Akon, Judy Collins, Rita Coolidge, Tim McGraw, Engelbert Humperdinck, Lesley Gore, Larry Gatlin, Lou Gramm (Foreigner), Pete Seeger, Frankie Valli, Christopher Cross, Jackie Jackson, Oleta Adams, Randy Travis, Adele, Chris Brown, Bob Seger, George Clooney, Thelma Houston, Don Rickles, Toni Tennille, Enrique Iglesias, Billy Joel, Clint Holmes, Burt Bacharach, Stevie Wonder, Jason Graae, Trini Lopez, Lenny Welch, Lainie Kazan, K.T. Oslin, Chazz Palminteri, Janet Jackson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Craig Ferguson, Cher, Donovan, Bono (U2), Mort Sahl, Eric Burdon, Luis Miguel, Brian Keith, Jerry Fink, Jim Pegg, Brenda Leonard Cowart, Babe Pier, Lucy Shropshire, Arlene Bates, Howard Jochsberger, Dori (Bambi Jones) Kotzan, April Archer, Gloria Hill, Rebecca Spencer, Aurora Miller, Nancy Archer, Wes Davis, Michael Sharon, Clint Holmes, Darcus Speed, Brittney Porter, Grant Philipo, Emerson McNeeley, Stephen Thorburn, and Peter Gordon.

And happy anniversary to Tom and Joni Illi on their 25th, Phil and Sharon Holmes Mandel, Whitney and Marianne LeMoine Phoenix, and Stephen and Judy Thorburn.

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Enoch Augustus Scott

Bill Cosby

Beginning on May 26th, Memorial Day weekend, and running through August 26th, Bonnie's Old West Musical Revue, will play on Saturdays and Sundays in the saloon at Bonnie Springs Ranch, home of Old Nevada Western Town and The Red Rock Riding Stables. Bonnie's Old West Musical Revue reaches back to the golden age of "Vaudeville" theater to bring you a show packed with side-splitting humor and good old-fashioned fun. Cast members include, Scotty Allen, Kate Gordon, Nellie Norris, Lee Scott, Solinea Stark and Enoch Augustus Scott. Enoch is a graduate of Duke University who made his Las Vegas debut almost 10 years ago in Tony n' Tina's Wedding at the Rio Hotel and Casino after appearing in the Los Angeles Production. Since then, he has worked all over the city, performing in Shear Madness, Marriage Can Be Murder, Jeffrey, and most recently, Cannibal the Musical at the Plaza Hotel and Casino. He has also hosted slot tournaments for Planet Hollywood and the Flamingo, as well as spending four years as the face of the entertainment program at the Miracle Mile Shops, raising more than half a million dollars for Habitat for Humanity in the process. He has worked with Miss America, Roger Clemens, and Paula Abdul, to name a few, and is very excited to be making his Bonnie Spring's Debut. Doors open at 6:15 p.m., and a Ragtime Sing-Along starts at 6:30. The main show starts shortly after. Ticket prices are $29.95 for adults, and $18.50 for children between four and 12. Children three and under are admitted free. A chuck wagon dinner and full bar are available throughout the evening (sold separately). We will have more on this show in coming weeks. The Ranch is located at 16395 Bonnie Springs Road, near Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, in Blue Diamond, Nevada.

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Legendary entertainer, Bill Cosby, who has been making audiences laugh for decades with his keen insight into everyday existence, brings his signature comedy back to the Treasure Island Theatre May 25th at 8 p.m. Cosby has earned respect from critics and adoration from fans for his uncanny ability to connect with people through humor and providing insight into the role of parents, children, family members, men and women,. As testament to his status in the world of entertainment, Cosby has earned five Grammy Awards for best comedy album. Known the world over for The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992 on NBC, Cosby broke racial barriers and sent a powerful message to viewers - that the family unit and raising children matters most. The No. 1 rated sitcom earned six Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes and 10 People's Choice Awards. It helped set the stage for Cosby's career as an author, as his book, Fatherhood, remained at No. 1 for more than half of its 54 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List. Together with partners Tom Werner and Marcy Carsey, Cosby produced A Different World on NBC from 1987 to 1993. His other television and film credits include Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, The Cosby Mysteries, Man and Boy, and Uptown Saturday Night, where he starred alongside Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. As philanthropists, Cosby and wife, Camille, have made substantial gifts in support of education and to various social service and civil rights organizations. His lifelong contributions to American culture were recognized with a Kennedy Center Honor in 1998, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in July 2002, America's highest civilian honor, and the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2009. Tickets for Bill Cosby at Treasure Island are available starting at $59, plus tax and handling fees, and can be purchased by calling the box office at (800) 392-1999, or (702) 894-7722. Purchases can also be made online at www.treasureisland.com.



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