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 October 19, 2012
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - October 19, 2012

Jason Andino

Steven Lee Cowart

PK Music and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts present The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas, at Cabaret Jazz in The Boman Pavilion at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Avenue. Show time is Wednesday, October 24th, at 10:30 p.m. (after theater). Doors open at 9:30. This month, featuring the songs of local composers Michael Brennan, Anne Charbonneau, Alex Clements, Matt Donnelly, Taylor Hicks, Michelle Johnson, David Mauk, Jeff Neiman, Richard Oberacker, Joey Pero, Michael Spadoni, Keith Thompson, Mark Wherry and more! The Performers: Jason Andino, Clint Holmes, Randal Keith, Zoe Konsur, Jaryd Neiman, Reva Rice, Tristan Sanchez, Annette Houlihan Verdolino, and Vox Indigo, made up of vocalists Pascale Elia, Dina Emerson, Silje-Marie Norderhaug and Zipporah Peddle. The Players: Rocco Barbato, Steven Lee Cowart, Uli Geissendoerfer, Dirk K, Keith Nelson, Jeff Ray, Adam Shendal, Eric Tewalt and more! Sound by Mary McFadden. Lights by Jeremy W. Hodges. Tickets are $20. Call (702) 749-2000 for reservations, purchase tickets at the Smith Center Box Office, or go online at Walk-ups are welcome if seating is still available. To be safe, reservations are suggested. Cash Bar/Late Night menu available.

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After several previous run extension announcements, the international touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's mega musical, The Phantom of the Opera, that closed last Sunday, October 14th, in the main theater of Manila's Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Originally scheduled to play from August 25th through September 16th, high demand for tickets prompted the extensions. Rebecca Spencer, who portrayed Madame Giry in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular in the incredible custom built theater at The Venetian, recreates the role in this touring company version of Phantom. She sends along this information. On October 8th, the Sky Lounge in the Diamond Hotel was the site of a Flood Relief Fundraiser to assist victims of the recent typhoons and the earthquake tragedies in the Philippines. The Phantom cast, crew and orchestra all showed up to offer music and their voices for this cause. The Diamond Hotel donated the room for the exclusive event. "It never ceases to amaze me how beautifully show-folk show up to offer their universal gift of music for such meaningful causes," says Rebecca. She goes on to say, "Phantom has been greeted like a rock concert by the audience, and during the final week, we were totally Sold Out every night! Phantom has always been such a catalyst for exploring and being introduced to so much more even beyond the four walls, and Manila has had an affect on all of us. For me, experiencing it all with an incredible International Cast - made up of South African, Australian, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and with only four Americans actors - is the icing on the cake."

Rebecca Spencer as Madame Giry

Liz Renay's First Book

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Spencer Baker informs us that on Thursday, October 25th, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., the UNLV Department of Music will present Suk Studio Projects (Mykola Suk, Professor of Piano) in Doc Rando Hall on the university campus. UNLV pianists will be honoring the 75th Anniversary of George Gershwin's death and the 150th anniversary of Debussy's birth, with a special Two-Piano Recital, featuring Spencer and Philip Fortenberry playing Gershwin's "Concerto in F." Admission is free to attend this performance.

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Claire Voyant reader, actor/filmmaker Bart Williams (who gets mentioned here frequently), takes us to task regarding the (mis)information we provided in last Friday's column, regarding Liz Renay's first book, written while she was doing time at Terminal Island Prison after being indicted on five counts of perjury during a federal grand jury investigation. We stated that the book was titled My First 2,000 Men. We were wrong. Mr. Williams, who knows about such things, corrects that Liz's FIRST book, published in 1971, was called My Face for the World to See. It was her third book, released in 1992, that was titled, My First 2,000 Men. In between those two, Staying Young turned up on shelves in 1982. Quoting Liz's 2007 obituary notice, published in The Washington Post, "She (Liz) wrote a book of beauty advice and several memoirs put out by maverick publisher Lyle Stuart, including My Face for the World to See and My First 2,000 Men. "It wasn't really anywhere near 2,000 men," Ms. Renay told the Phoenix New Times. "I led a wild life. But 2,000? C'mon, that's too many, even for me!"

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The Lon Bronson All-Star Band, performs tonight at Green Valley Ranch's Ovation. The show, described as "Industrial strength R&B, Rock, Soul & Funk," starts at 10:30 p.m. One never knows who might drop in to join the musicians on stage.

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A contributor to the TripAdvisor site calls the Vegas Mob Tour "Fantastic!," giving the attraction 5 of 5 stars in the October 16th review. The writer goes on to say, "I shall now share with you a secret. I have been obsessed with anything and everything Mob related since I began watching Boardwalk Empire on HBO. I have watched the documentaries. I have read the books. I have even rewatched Boardwalk Empire. And yes, Nucky really did shoot Jimmy Darmody in the season two finale. I don't think that we can be friends anymore.

But let me tell you, the blatant truth is far more sinister and even more unbelievable than anything on television. Weird, huh? This is a two and a half hour bus tour, that I am sure could be spread into two and a half DAYS with the wealth of knowledge that the guides possess. You know, I can't even IMAGINE any other place where one can take a tour where the guides are actually being fed their info by actual gangsters and hit men. I thought this was a joke at first, until our guide just mentioned Frank Cullotta. For those not maybe completely up on their Mob facts, Frank Cullotta was a boss over Tony Spilotro's team of robbers and murderers who terrorized Vegas in the 70s and 80s. After a series of circumstances, he turned government witness, and has since even been an advisor and actor in the movie Casino, starring Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro. No, this tour doesn't mess around. Expect to hear plenty about the Mob's early ties to Vegas, with troves of information on Bugsy Siegel, who is famous for opening the Flamingo, and Frank Rosenthal, who was so infamous that the movie Casino was based on his life in Las Vegas. Also expect to see plenty of sites where gruesome "hits" were carried out. On the lighter side, we did see the house where the movie Casino was filmed. We don't "think" anyone was really murdered there. This is an excellent tour, and if you only have a short time in Vegas, this MUST be on your to-do-list!"

Vegas Mob Tour

Gary LeMaster 1942-2012

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Reader Bambi Jones (Doris Kotzan) informs us about the death of Gary LeMaster. "He has quite the Vegas history...entertainment director for Boyd Gaming, and a great entertainer himself, having played many instruments like his father-in law, Sunny Spencer," says Kotzan. "Gary and his wife, Valerie, entertained at Sam's Town for a number of years. Mother-in-law, Dee Spencer, wrote for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Sunny was with The Sons of The Pioneers, and Gary was with them until his recent passing. Here is some of what we picked up on the Internet. Gary E. LeMaster died on September 9th, at his home in Branson. He was 69. He was born on September 20, 1942, in Ashland, Kentucky, the son of James Gideon and Sibyl Marie Salyers LeMaster. He had been a resident of Branson since 1986. A US Army veteran, Gary was a member of the Sons of The Pioneers for the past 30 years. He spent his lifetime in music, starting at the age of three. He went on to perform in national charting rock n' roll bands, subsequently landing in Las Vegas in 1969 where he worked with his own band until becoming the Entertainment Director at Sam's Town in 1980. When visiting his father-in-law in 1986, the possibility of filling in for Pioneer Roy Lanham was suggested to Gary, and ultimately resulted in his becoming an official member of the group later that same year. Gary's longevity with the Pioneers surpassed many of the former members. His tenor voice was used both on harmony and solos, while his lead guitar provided the key intros and turnarounds which created an artistic landscape for each song. He was recognized everywhere he went as one of the country's very best guitarists. Each performance was sprinkled with Gary's humor and antics. Gary had great respect for the music and heritage of the Pioneers. He spent years researching the group's classic songs and developing arrangements for the current group. Gary penned "Pioneer Heaven," a re-write of the classic Tex Ritter "Hillbilly Heave," but, in his version, he paid homage to past key members of the Pioneers. Gary LeMaster is survived by his wife, Valerie Spencer LeMaster of Branson; two children, Rusty Lewis-LeMaster of Bloomington, Indiana, and CaryJean LeMaster of Branson; his mother, Sibyl LeMaster of Ashland, Kentucky, and brother, James Hubert LeMaster of Ashland. Gary was preceded in death by his father and a brother, Michael Karl LeMaster.

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Last Thursday, and again on Saturday, Barbra Streisand, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, returned to her hometown for the first time since she was a little girl. Barbra, now 70 and an entertainment legend, was only the second performer to play at Brooklyn's new entertainment arena, the 19,000 seat Barclays Center. Who says you can't go home again? During her concert at the Bell Centre in Montreal on October 17th, Barbra was joined onstage by her very talented sister, Roslyn Kind. The audience went wild when the twosome sang "Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again," a duet originally done by Barbra and Judy Garland in 1963. During her current concert tour, in addition to being joined by Roslyn on stage, Barbra's son, Jason Gould, has also surprised the audience by joining his mother in song. We think the real purpose for these October nationwide performances, is for Ms. Streisand to prepare herself for her November 2nd show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 2nd. them rehearsals with great big audiences. We have a feeling that Babs may have her family members join her on stage during her Las Vegas engagement. You wouldn't want to miss that now, would you?

Roslyn Kind

Alton Fitzgerald White

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Alton Fitzgerald White contacts us to say that he is eternally grateful to family and friends, for helping to take the first week of sales for his new CD, Disney My Way!, through the roof! Alton, who played Mufasa in the Las Vegas production of Disney's The Lion King, and is currently performing the role on Broadway in the Tony-winning musical, released his second solo album, Disney My Way!, on October 1st. The CD, which is available on iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon, features classic Disney songs, including tunes from Aladdin, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Tarzan. Disney My Way! features a 12-piece orchestra with arrangements and orchestrations by Jim Abbott. After listening to the album, Alton requests that you leave your reviews on iTunes,, or at<. To celebrate the release of Disney My Way!, Alton Fitzgerald White will perform at Broadway's nightclub, 54 Below, one night only, Monday, November 5th at 9:30 p.m. (doors open at 8:30). Cover charge $20-$30, plus $25 food and beverage minimum. As a Special Gift, please go to, and click on 54 BELOW and then enter the code, ALTON10, for a $10 Discount off of the Cover Charge. The club is located in the cellar at 254 West 54th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, in Manhattan. For tickets, visit or call (866) 468-7619, or phone 54 Below direct at (646) 476-3551.

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The 2nd Annual NF Hope Concert, produced by Jeff Leibow of Jersey Boys, will take place this Sunday, October 21st, in the main showroom at Harrah's Las Vegas. Leibow and his wife, Melody, came up with the idea for the concert because their three-year-old daughter, Emma, is a victim of neurofibromatosis. The Leibows feel an obligation to their family, and the 100,000 people living with NF, to educate more people about the disorder. "In the last year we have found a handful of small tumors on Emma. Fortunately, they don't seem to be slowing her down, but it reinforces why we do so much to raise awareness of NF," says Leibow. In honor of Emma, this is a concert that all ages can enjoy. Proceeds from Sunday's event will be donated to NF Network, a non-profit organization that serves families and those with Neurofibromatosis. In simplest terms, Neurofibromatosis results from a mutation on a gene that normally suppresses tumor growth. The result is tumors, called neurofibromas, can grow on any nerve at any time, unchecked by the body's regulatory system. These tumors can cause everything from deformation, seizures, blindness, deafness and a list of other complications, including cancer, and in some cases, death. Other symptoms include severe pain, attention disorders, learning disabilities and other developmental challenges. The show, featuring performances by Delious Kennedy from the Grammy Award-winning band All-4-One, Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees, Anya Garnis and Dmitry Chaplin from ABC's Dancing With the Stars, Gordie Brown, Clint Holmes, and Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie, along with cast members from Jersey Boys, Absinthe, Vegas! The Show and more, begins at 1 p.m. In addition to the talent-filled show, there will be a silent as well as a live auction. Ticket prices range from $25-$75, plus tax and service charges. To purchase tickets, call the Harrah's Box Office at (702) 369-5111.

The Day Has Come. Don't Miss it! Artist, Austine Wood's, "Once a Decade" studio open house takes place THIS decade, tomorrow, Saturday, October 20th, from 3 to 8 p.m. There will be great music performed by world-renowned guitarist, Dirk K, and wine and delectables from award-winning chef, Joe Giancaspro. If you can't attend, you can still take advantage of the special one-day-only pricing. A portion of your purchase will be donated directly to Angel Flight West. Celebrating Austine's 70th Birthday and 45 Years of Polage Art! For directions to the studio, call (702) 260-1600.

Cabaret performers, KT Sullivan and Karen Kohler, present Vienna to Weimar at the Triad Theatre, 158 West 72nd in New York City, with 7 p.m. shows on October 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th. Vienna to Weimar brings together Sullivan and Kohler, in a provocative blend of voices and feminine sensibilities. Journey with them from 1870s Vienna and the operetta of Strauss and Lehar, to 1930s Berlin and the cabaret music of Hollaender, Weill, Brecht, Spoliansky and more. These two award-winning interpreters of the Great American and European songbooks prove that love, lust, power and illusion are as timeless today as they were nearly 100 years ago. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, tickets are $35, plus a 2-drink minimum (cash only). You may purchase tickets securely, or make a reservation online, or by calling 24/7 Ticket hotline at (800) 838-3006.

Karen Kohler & KT Sullivan

Lady "J" Huston

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More on trumpeter/vocalist, Lady "J" Huston, continued from last Friday...
Thanks to the votes of her devoted fans, at a ceremony held in the Tuscany Casino Suites Grand Ballroom last Saturday, October 13th, Lady "J" won the Best Blues Performer Award for the fourth year in a row. Las Vegas BMA Spotlight Award nominees included: BEST R&B BAND - Jamestown, Block Party, Tough Act To Follow, Rhythm Nation, Mocca and Skye5. BEST BLUES PERFORMER nominees were Billy Ray Charles, Michael Grimm, Chris Oldfield, Lady "J" Huston and Donna Lynne. Competing as BEST JAZZ BAND were Corro, Van Such Band, Cool Mist, Sid (or Syd) The Kid & Friends and Brothers Ali. For BEST JAZZ MUSICIAN, David Van Such, Sid (or Syd) The Kid, Adrian Burse, Enrico Corro and Skip Martin were nominated. In the fight for BEST MALE PERFORMER, were Phil Flowers, Reggie Gonzales, Terry Forsyth, Lou Ragland, Tyriq, Fate Kent, Kenny "Flex" Wilcox and Ricco Diamante. BEST FEMALE PERFORMER nominees were Paris Red, Skye Dee Miles, Jin Jin Reeves, Racheal Kapp Martin, Ane, Emme-K, Giavonni, Rizza (JAM), Rheda K, Genevieve Dew and Michelle Johnson. BEST URBAN SOUL competitors were Michael Thomas, Bo Barrington, Reggie Gonzales, Stone Paxton, Andre (Showtime), Money Stone, Kenney "Flex" Wilcox and Next Movement. MUSIC BUSINESS AWARDS nominees were Gordon Biersch, Eagle One Promotions, LVH and The Cellar. BEST PERFORMANCE IN A LOUNGE competitors were Ricco Diamante, Rhythm Nation, Queens of Motown, Jamestown, Skye Dee Miles, Genevieve Dew, Next Movement and Silk, Satin & Lace. BEST MAJOR SHOW nominees were Menopause, Gladys Knight Show (at Tropicana), Hitzville starring Jin Jin Reeves, MJ Tribute (Rio) and Michael Jackson (Cirque Du Soleil). BEST TRIBUTE ARTIST competitors were Phil Flowers, Jin Jin Reeves, Sly Rupert (Rick James), The Blue Caps and Original Stone City Band. Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any misspelled names, and we're sure there are a number of them.

Lady "J" wants any readers who helped her win by their votes, to know how much she appreciates their support. She also thanks her manager, Z. Lipsky, for her years of dedication. Rick Warren produced the three day event of shows. Friday was the Hip Hop Awards, Saturday the Spotlight Awards, and Sunday the Gospel Jubilee Awards. Joseph Jackson attended the Saturday awards show and was presented with an honorary music award on behalf of his son, Michael Jackson. Lillian McMorris and Phil Flowers hosted the show.

Last Monday, Lady "J" earned herself a standing ovation during her first time performing at the popular weekly open mic night at the Tap House on West Charleston. We have no doubt that she will be back there, come future Mondays. On Sunday, October 21st, from 1 to 5 p.m., the Entertainment Consumers' Exchange Inc. (ECE) presents The Happy Hour Variety Show at The Mad Greek Café, 8565 W. Sahara Ave. at Durango. In a memorial tribute to the late Marlene Koppenhaver, entertainers The Legendary Cunninghams (Jazz Duo); Lady "J" Huston (Trumpeter/Vocalist) will perform. Georgette Dante (Fun Magic); Jennifer Rohlman (Dancer, Hostess) and Leslie Byrd (Keys/Vocals), will also be featured. Cover: $10 for ECE members and $15 for non-members at door. To RSVP, call Zee M. at (702) 217-6417. Lady "J" will be very busy on Sunday. In addition to the show at The Mad Greek Café, she will also be one of the performers taking part in a musical benefit for drummer, Dave Holt, to be held at The Bikini Bar (aka Sand Dollar), 3355 W. Spring Mountain Rd. at Polaris, on Sunday, from noon until at least 2 a.m. Friends of the ailing Las Vegas drummer, who recently underwent a partial leg amputation from complications brought on by diabetes, are donating their talents to raise funds to help with the mounting bills. Holt is unemployed and has extensive medical expenses and long term therapy facing him. John and Shirley Williams will host 14 blues, rock and Americana bands, including John Earl's Boogieman Band with Lady "J," Frank Okun & Friends, Dr. Harpo & 2 the Moon, New Rhythm Quartet, Al Ek & The Shuffle-Aires, The Late Shift, Diane Kallay Band, Blues Storm, The Moanin' Blacksnakes, Mike Vaughan, Stoney Curtis, The Ruffnecks with Bobby Kingston, Joey Vitale Trio, and Drivin' Rain. It's a full day of blues music starting at noon, with a minimum $5 donation at the door. Food will be available. The bar phone number is (702) 485-5401. For more information, contact John-Earl Williams at [email protected]

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On Sunday night, we spotted Neil Diamond tribute artist, Rob Garrett, dining at Carve restaurant in the Eastside Cannery. With his strong resemblance to Mr. Diamond, it is hard for Garrett to go anywhere without being noticed...and someone did, when a diner went over to his table to tell him that she had seen him perform before. Mr. Garret was very cordial, as he is used to this. We don't know about Rob, but this was our first time at Carve. It certainly won't be our last. We had a great meal (we highly recommend the New Zealand Rack of Lamb). This cozy place is an unexpected, very pleasant surprise. Carve is open Wednesdays through Sundays, from 5 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Call (702) 856-5425.

It's always a treat when you come in contact with an exceptional employee in the hospitality field. Unfortunately, these days, it doesn't happen as often as it should. So, a tip of the hat to valet man, Franco, at the Eastside Cannery. His name tag, identifying him as a Premiere Performer, says it all.

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Much respected comedy magician, Johnny Thompson, and his assistant wife, Pam, billed as The Great Tomsoni & Co., have created a brand new music video. It's very clever and most entertaining. To see it on YouTube, go to This Time I've Got It, is available for purchase on Itunes. "Who knew that our age that we'd be doing this?," asks Johnny.

Johnny & Pam Thompson

Bruce Zarka 1947-2012

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Bellagio. The hotel/casino with a heart. There is a drink on the hotel/casinos bar menus called Remembering Bruce. It is the result of a contest among the hotel bartenders to create a new beverage. The winner of the competition was Bellagio employee, Sean Bigley. Sean's drink is named after musician Bruce Zarka who played piano in Bellagio's Baccarat Bar since around the time of the hotel's opening in 1998. Bruce, who was a favorite of employees and guests alike, died in April, following a valiant battle with cancer. For amateur home bartenders, here, thanks to Jill Niehoff, Assistant Manager of Beverage Services at the Strip property, and Kathy Smithson, is the recipe for Remembering Bruce. Ingredients: 1½ ounce of Woodford Reserve; ¾ ounce of Marie Brizzard Apry Liquor; 2 to 3 dashes of Peach Bitters (Fee Bros.); 1 ½ ounce of Fresh Sour Mix, and 5 to 6 Mint Leaves. Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice (no muddling necessary), shake well and strain into a chilled and sugar-rimmed Martini glass. Garnish with a Lemon Wedge on the rim of the glass, and top with a Mint Sprig. This cocktail was created to be a male and female-friendly whisky. If this sounds like too much trouble to go to, head over to Bellagio and order it there. Then raise your glass in a toast to piano man, Bruce Zarka, a very nice and talented gentleman. Bottoms up!

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Vocalist, Nik Mastrangelo, will be performing at Casa Di Amore on Thursday, October 25, with his good friend Larry Millonzi accompanying on keys. They will entertain that night from 6 to 10 p.m. Casa Di Amore is located at 2850 East Tropicana Avenue, just east of Eastern. The restaurant is expected to fill up quickly, so early reservations are highly recommended. For additional information, call (702) 433-4967.

Nik at Night

Michele LaFong & Tony Orlando

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The UNLV Barrick Museum will be closed for the installation of upgraded lighting, courtesy of Rise & Shine Lighting, October 25 - November 17, re-opening Monday, November 19.

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Las Vegas Backstage Talk, the only radio show that "Gets Personal with the Stars," has signed a one year deal with 1230 AM KLAV, recently bought by Lotus Broadcasting.

Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio and Web show, moved to 1230 AM KLAV starting yesterday, October 18th. Their new time slot will be from 4 to 5 p.m., PST (the most desirable drive time).

Host and producer of Las Vegas Backstage Talk, comedian Michele LaFong, interviewed Dennis Miller, and Tom Cotter, runner-up on NBC's current season of America's Got Talent, for its final show on 970 AM KNUU, which aired on Thursday, October 11th. This concludes a very successful year and a half long run for Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio & Web Show on 970 AM KNUU, Las Vegas' Financial Radio Station. Tony Orlando will was the first guest on the new show, promoting his engagement at the South Point showroom this weekend. In her job as radio host, Michele has interviewed the likes of Bill Cosby, Debbie Reynolds, Don Rickles, Dana Carvey, Bill Maher, Al Bernstein, and many others.

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Although we cover a variety of topics in this column, we think it's wise to avoid the subject of politics. These days, it's almost impossible to do that, so we will say an American, since reaching voting age, we have never missed the opportunity to vote. We always knew, well in advance of election day, what we were going to do once we got into the curtained booth. Not this time...unless we were living in Florida, where comedian and Emmy Award-winning 1990s sitcom star, Roseanne Barr, is among a dozen presidential candidates on the ballot in that swing state. Roseanne's California-based Peace and Freedom Party, along with a number of other small political organizations, are running candidates against Democratic President, Barack Obama, and Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. Florida's ballot access rules are among the most liberal in the nation. The Peace and Freedom Party has a platform calling for the legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage. Barr announced her presidential candidacy in August of 2011, after losing the race for the Green Party's nomination. "We definitely do not have any serious choices in this election besides me," says Barr. The 59-year old outspoken candidate just may be right. And then, there is this bonus. Since Roseanne owns a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii, there would always be good snacks around the White House. Besides, we would love to see her longtime boyfriend, music and comedy writer Johnny Argent, in the role as First Man. Argent was a member of My Generation, a talented and popular band that performed in a number of lounges in Las Vegas and Laughlin in the 1980s.

Roseanne Barr For President

Melissa Miles

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The e-mail from a reader, printed in last Friday's, October 12th, column, regarding problems with sound at The Smith Center More, has generated a few more comments on the subject. We have only been in the Cabaret Jazz room, not Reynolds Hall, so we have no personal opinions on this topic. Here is what some other readers have to say...

Just finished reading your column and wanted you to know that I experienced first hand exactly what your source was upset about, regarding The Smith Center...the terrible sound. Boy do I ever agree with them about putting seats where ever they want to in a venue with no regard for the patron or their enjoyment of the function. It's appalling...especially when you have booked a show with someone on the phone and they have assured you of your location and come the night of the performance you arrive and find that you have been given wrong information about your seating due to inadequately trained personal! The sound for Wicked in the fourth floor gallery seating was also dreadful. They needed to put speakers on the sides and overhead clear up in the balconies like all the major show rooms, cause after all, isn't that exactly what they are trying do is to compete with the hotel show rooms?? We missed so much of the dialog, as well as the words in the songs, which as you know are crucial in the telling of the story/musical...that was so frustrating!! We never had that problem when we were seated in orchestra sections on the floor, which by the way the seats were also $80...the same price as the fourth floor gallery. I know it depends on the show but I think the Smith Center is taking their patrons for a ride...ticket price wise! Ok. I'm through bitching. Sorry for the ranting but after reading your column, it just fired me up.

And from another reader...
The comment in the e-mail about the Batman show about the sound at Smith Center is spot on. A lot of people have complained about not being able to understand some of the actors in various Smith Center performances, myself included. I know they have state-of-the art everything, including the sound system, but something makes it hard to understand the dialogue at times.

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Peter Anthony

Suzanne Buhrer

Happy birthday to Libras (September 23rd-October 23rd) Mickey Rooney, Julio Iglesias, Bruce Springsteen, Jason Alexander, Melissa Miles, Herb Jeffries, Sonny Turner, Kevin Sorbo, Michael Douglas, Olivia Newton-John, Shaun Cassidy, Meat Loaf, Avril Lavigne, Peter Anthony, Jerry Lee Lewis, Andrew "Dice" Clay, Johnny Mathis, Marilyn McCoo, Suzanne Buhrer, Don McLean, Gordon Sumner (Sting), Roy Horn, Lindsey Buckingham, Chubby Checker, Tommy Lee, Gwen Stefani, Jon Secada, Clifton Davis, Steve Miller, Larry Raben, Michael Orland, Sergio Alberti, John Mellencamp, Yo-Yo Ma, Toni Braxton, Taylor Hicks, Bruno Mars, Robert "Cool" Bell, Jackson Browne, John Elizondo, John O'Hurley, Scotty McCreery, Artie Schroeck, Ben Vereen, David Lee Roth, Tanya Tucker, Mario Lopez, Susan Anton, Chris Botti, Pat DiNizio, Paul Simon, Marie Osmond, Nancy Kerrigan, Harry Anderson, Usher, Tito Jackson, Chef Emeril Lagasse, Suzanne Somers, John Mayer, Gary Puckett, Alan Jackson, Norm Macdonald, Eminem, Chuck Berry, Wynton Marsalis, Ne-Yo (who is NOT related to Yo-Yo Ma), David Engel, Evander Holyfield, Kim Kardashian, Josh Strickland, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Dwight Yoakam, Adam Pero, Frank Sener, Cyrus Afsary, Lindsay Fitzpatrick Warkmeister, Robert Beal, Domenick Allen, Dan Elias, Paul Pratt, Linda November, Gary Anderson, Rick Porter, David Pedley, Lon Halls, Bob Sachs, Katrina Sumner, Dallas Fueston, Diana Saunders, Tiffany Carter, Wendy Wilson (Wilson Phillips), Sammy Hager, and Reggie Theus (UNLV Rebel).

And anniversary greetings to Gary and Julie Olds, and Larry Raben and David Engel.

Adam Pero

David Engel & Larry Raben

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They are called the Gypsy Lumberjacks, and they call Minneapolis home. The whole of this story started in the year of our Yak two thousand and six, when a band of misfits gathered at the table of misery to find empathy. What flowed from there was a hazy mix of ale, strong drink and music. Pay no heed to the boasts that came from their lips, for all men full of the drink are rabid liars. Yet the music somehow brought these animals some ease, even I dare say satisfaction. Even to this day lords and vassals of music have a hard time assessing these chaotic beasts. "What are they doing?", they cry and bemoan; only to be tempted by the movement of air these lumbering gypsy have imparted. Frolicking and trickery are their Nom de Plum, wandering and story telling their character. Be thou inclined to join this rabble, be warned, they are an intent hoi polloi on traveling far and wide. They seek quarter where ever a crease in the door is offered. They eat like the ravenous animals you behold. These Gypsy Lumberjacks play music for the love of life and the people that are entwined in being full. Delving into the world of sound can be full of hate, love, anger, joy and the multitude of emotions that people feel everyday. It is this time when the husk is removed and one can join their fellow human without paranoia. Why are we even mentioning this group of misfits? Because band member Ben Karon (Cajon/Pecussion) has a very distant relative who lives in Las Vegas, and, more importantly, because we can.

Gypsy Lumberjacks

Frank Marino

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To kick off Halloween week in style, the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino will host the inaugural "Frank Marino's Disco Divas Bingo" in the property's showroom on Thursday, October 25th at 7:30 p.m. Superstar female impersonator, Frank Marino, will host the evening, along with a deejay and Divas Las Vegas cast members, who will hustle and jive to Disco music throughout the game. "This isn't your grandmother's Bingo game!" said Marino. "There's nowhere else in the world you can play Bingo with drag queens breaking out in dance on your table, while yours truly hosts. This Bingo will be anything BUT a drag!" The session will consist of 12 games, with prizes ranging from $100 to $500 in Reel Rewards vouchers for non-negotiable free slot play, and are redeemable as slot play credits at any designated slot machine within a Total Vegas resort. Registration begins at 5 p.m. at the special events desk in front of the Imperial Palace Showroom. The game is open to existing and new Total Rewards members. Complimentary daubers will be provided. Existing Total Rewards members may buy-in for a maximum of four books. Those who sign up for new a Total Rewards card, up to 48 hours before Thursday, October 25th, will receive one free book, and may buy-in for an additional three books. Guests, 21 years of age or older, can sign up for a Total Rewards card for free at the Total Rewards booths at the following Total Vegas properties: Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Paris Las Vegas, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Harrah's Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, Bally's Las Vegas and Imperial Palace. VIP booths are available for purchase for $100 and include a bottle of Skyy Coconut Vodka. All guests will be able to purchase specialty Skyy Coconut Vodka cocktails and Miller High Life, as well as other cocktails, wine and beer. In celebration of Halloween week, guests are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costume and can sign up for a costume contest at the showroom doors upon entry. Frank Marino and Caesars Entertainment will determine the top three Best Disco-Themed Costumes, who will be awarded with Reel Rewards ranging in value from $50 - $300. Additionally, those who purchase tickets to Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas show on performance on the 25th, will receive one free book per ticket purchased. A contemporary and upbeat production, Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas continues to reinvent itself as the only Las Vegas tribute show to feature 17 characters each night. In addition to talented female celebrity impersonations of entertainment's most beloved superstars, like Cher, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Bette Midler and Madonna, the production was the first on the Strip to add new characters such as Rihanna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. Additionally, the show now features a Katy Perry number with hits "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold." Marino narrates the entire production and also performs a comedic pop culture monologue. After more than 1,000 performances, Divas Las Vegas continues to wow audiences, young and old, with amazing talent, imagery – most importantly in a divas-style drag show – with stunning costumes and gowns. Divas Las Vegas performs six nights a week (dark Fridays) at 10 p.m. Tickets are $39, $69 and $79 (plus tax and fees), and are available at the Imperial Palace box office, online at, or by calling (888) 777-7664. Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas is co-produced by Adam Steck and Alex Schechter of SPI Entertainment.

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The Magic of Motown...and More, hosted by Gregg Austin, will debut in the Grandview Lounge and Cabaret at The South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa, Tuesday, October 23rd, at 8 p.m. The Motown sound dramatically changed American music and influenced the world. With superstars such as The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, and Marvin Gaye on its music roster, Motown is truly the soundtrack for many lives. "Motown music has been a part of my life...all my life," Austin said. "I am excited to have this opportunity to share this music with our South Point family." Austin moved to Las Vegas in May 1986, and performed at the Flamingo Hilton continuously until March 1993. He became a featured act in the showroom of the Flamingo Hilton Reno, where his group, Second Wind, was known as "The Las Vegas Temptations," because of their incredible tribute to The Motown Temptations. Austin, as a solo artist, has been a headliner act for Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines. He was also the producer for the very successful production show, ShowStoppers, which had a 10 year run at Casino Arizona in Scottsdale. The Magic of Motown...and More show will also feature Second Wind's Tribute to the Temptations, with special celebrity guest appearances in upcoming weeks. The Magic of Motown...and More is free and open to the public.

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