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 December 07, 2012
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - December 7, 2012


LJ Harness

Keith Thompson

We have had a busy, music and comedy-filled week, beginning with last Saturday's Toys for Tots benefit at the LVH. Co-producers, LJ Harness and Jonathan Scott (of ABC’s The Morning Blend), should feel mighty proud of their achievement. The star-studded event drew an almost full-house to the LVH Theater, and collected almost 2,000 toys for Southern Nevada children in need. There were a number of standout performances, but the biggest surprise of the show, for us, was the drum solo by Harness, a three year Las Vegas resident, whose day job is with Cadillac of Las Vegas. For the folks who find a place to sit at the Tap House on open mic Monday nights, they know the talent of this fellow. Since we haven’t made it over to the West Charleston establishment, we had no idea how good this fellow is. We will have an upcoming story on Mr. Harness’ background. Congratulations to all of the participants who made the evening a smashing success.

The monthly Composers Showcase is always a delight, but Wednesday's late night holiday offering was extra special, with Santa's elves, disguised as songwriters, singers and musicians, working overtime. The material, by our clever and creative community members, ran the gamut, starting from host Keith Thompson's "Christmas Is My Favorite," to the not so holy "Fruitcake" number, written by Mark Wherry, and performed by Tony Arias, Lloyd Ziel, and Annette Houlihan Verdolino, accompanied by Laurence Sobel on piano; Vita Corimbi's "All I Want for Christmas (Is to Be Left Alone)"; and Thompson's "Holiday Stories (Merry Christmas, You Asshole!)," featuring the oh so tasteful trio of Christine Hudman, Greg Kata and Renata Renee Micatrotto; instrumental numbers, including Joel Ferguson (on pedal steel guitar) plus six additional musicians, playing "Buddha Man;" the beautiful "Under a New Sun," performed by the seven lovely ladies of The Firenze Strings; singer Scott Gibson, accompanied by Angela Chan at the piano, doing Susan Haller's touching, "His Name Was David;" to more traditional songs performed by Kristen Hertzenberg, showcase "virgin" Marisa Johnson, and Jersey Boy's, Jason Martinez, performing his "I Believe In Christmas." The early morning finale was "Happy Christma-Hanuk-Kwanzaa-kah," written and performed by Keith Thompson. It was all a great way to launch the holiday. Tickets for the February 6th edition of the Composers Showcase are $20, and go on sale at The Smith Center beginning next week. Show time is always at 10:30 p.m. (after theater). Call (702) 749-2000 for reservations.


Vita Corimbi by Don Cadette

Joey Pero by Don Cadette

Some of the folks who performed at, or were in the audience at, the Composers Showcase, weren't quite ready to go home at 1 a.m. on Thursday, so they headed to Don't Tell Mama, a New York-style piano bar/cabaret, with an open mic, at 517 E. Fremont Street, in the block just east of the Fremont Street Experience. With Kenny Davidson at the piano, some of those who got up to sing included former New Yorker, Joey Pero (who also plays a mean trumpet, but not at Don't Tell Mama), Rosanna Telford, Dre Whitt, and Greg Kata. Don't Tell Mama is usually open from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. Call (702) 207-0788 just to make sure, especially during the "Wee Small Hours of the Morning," a song you just might hear sung at the club..


Greg Kata

And speaking of Greg Kata, who was a cast member of Mamma Mia! during its six year run at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas...
Performing Arts College Workshop - The Next Step in Arts Education, with Greg Kata. Las Vegas classes start at noon on December 16th at Studio One's Southwest Dance Academy. The Broadway Series Workshop is the brainchild of Mr. Kata and Jeff Tidwell; a Nevada-based organization with deep ties to the performing arts community throughout the United States. Is your child interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts? Do you have questions about higher learning institutions; the programs they offer; the types of degrees that are available? Then this is the workshop for you. The Broadway Series Workshop is proud to present the Performing Arts College Workshop, an hour and a half informational workshop for both students and their parents on what to expect after high school. You and your child will hear about the top performing arts colleges in the country and abroad, the difference between a conservatory and a liberal arts program, and the benefits to earning a college degree in this difficult economic environment. Whether your child is a senior applying to schools now, or still in middle school with a burning passion to perform, it is never too early or too late to plan their future. Hear actual testimony from working professionals about their college experience, as well as gain a wealth of knowledge on the audition process and the best preparation for it. Greg returns to Las Vegas after touring the world for eight months as a singer and dancer on the Six Star Luxury Cruise Line, Silversea. He comes to Las Vegas directly from New York City, where he graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama and Musical Theater. He has toured with the First National Tour of Dora, the Explorer LIVE! , and his many Regional Theatre credits include as Mark in Rent, Carnival, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Gypsy, Hair, and Crazy For You. Greg was a top four finalist on the reality show, Looking for Stars!, and was also seen on Veronica Mars, Guiding Light, and several appearances singing and dancing on the Today show, and has a recurring role on the SyFy hit series, Scare Tactics. Greg is the founder and director of On With the Show!, Las Vegas' premiere vocal training program for young adults, as well as co-founder of The Broadway Series Workshop. A big believer in higher education, several of Greg's students have gone on to successful B.F.A. programs in voice and theater, including NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, The Boston Conservatory, Carnegie-Mellon, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Register for the December program very soon, as seating for this workshop is limited to 25 student participants. Tickets available online @ showtix4U.com.

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Reader Gail Lucas sends along this information...
Through the end of December, Bill Johnson and Marc Comstock's Retro Vegas, located downtown at 1131 S. Main Street, is featuring a tribute to the late Bill Moore, in an exhibit titled The Show Must Go On. Moore, a veteran show producer who gave Las Vegas audiences eyefuls of feathers and sequins, and the country a national punch line with a show called Nudes on Ice, passed away earlier this year. In the days when Vegas entertainment was known for generic show titles with specific ingredients, British producer Moore, and partner George Arnold, delivered sparkly showgirls, skaters and top variety acts, packaged under titles such as Razzle Dazzle and City Lites. Retro Vegas' tribute features photographs from Moore's shows, along with advertising posters and casino memorabilia. The retail boutique, featuring mid-century furniture, antiques, art and accessories, is open Mondays through Saturdays, from 11 a.m., to 6 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Retro Vegas is open late on 1st Fridays. This month, the boutique will close early on Christmas Eve and be closed on Christmas Day. They will also close early on New Year's Eve, and be closed New Year's Day. For additional information, call (702) 384-2700. You can check out their website, to see some of the current inventory, at www.retro-vegas.com.

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When the National Finals Rodeo folks come to Las Vegas every year, and the time is now, through December 15th, the city goes all out to welcome them...even the Roman statues in front of Caesars Palace get in the spirit. The music-loving riders and ropers, along with their boot-wearing fans, should be delighted with the lineup of entertainers they have to choose from. Here is a list of just some of them, performing all around the town: Shania Twain, Trace Adkins, LeAnn Rimes, The Oak Ridge Boys, Travis Tritt, Merle Haggard, The Charlie Daniels Band, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and Randy Travis. Yee haa!


Cowboy at The Palace

Travis Cloer

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Travis Cloer, who portrays Frankie Valli in the Jersey Boys production at Paris Las Vegas, will do his own show at The Smith Center on Monday, February 4th. We don't have the details about what the talented (and very nice) Mr. Cloer will be doing, but it would be a fair guess that there will be some Valentine's Day-inspired numbers. Stay tuned for more information.

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At The Smith Center this weekend, it's Clint Homes Christmas Show, with special guests Bill Fayne, Fifth Avenue, Kelly Clinton-Holmes and Clint's granddaughter, Asia, through Sunday, with shows on Friday (too late for that one), Saturday, the 8th, at 8:30 p.m., and Sunday, the 9th, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $45.


Fifth Avenue

The Pops II presents A Very Vegas Holiday, in Reynolds Hall, tomorrow, December 8th at 2 and 8 p.m. Special guests, Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Former Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, narrate A Night Before Christmas. Guest artists are, vocalists Travis Cloer (mentioned above) and Niki Scalera, the David Loeb Jazz Quartet, the Foothill High School Drumline, under the direction of Nick Waters. Tickets range from $46 to $94.

And on Sunday, at 6 p.m., Linda Eder is featured in the outdoor Symphony Park Christmas Concert. General admission tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance at The Smith Center Box Office, located at 361 Symphony Park Ave., or online. Reserved tables are set up alongside the park sidewalks. Food and beverage service are available for purchase for $50 per attendee or $600 per table by reserving online. Call (702) 749-2000 for reservations or information on any of these Smith Center programs.


Niki Scalera

Alton Fitzgerald White

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Nelson Sardelli, one of the presidents of F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events), sends along this information...
Hello People (Presidents, First Ladies, Friends and Guests)
It was our intention to go for a First Class Event at the F.I.O.R.E Christmas Luncheon on Thursday, December 13th, held at the Italian American Club of Las Vegas, but it seems that some members are reluctant to get in the spirit of the holidays due to the fact that such an event would require bathing and dressing up (and it is not even a Saturday). Therefore, we will go Business Class. Bathing will still be required but we will lighten up on the dress code bit. The Dress Code will encompass 3 categories, all of which are Optional: A) Formal...Tuxedos, Gowns, the works; B) Elegant Casual...(whatever that means); C) Holiday Festive Attire... Colorful, Cheery - Maybe a Christmas character like Bashful, Grumpy, Pluto, Luca Brazi, the Boston Strangler, Geronimo, Myron Cohen, Ross Perot or the like. We will have a bigger than usual Musical Ensemble, under the direction of award winning, President and F.I.O.R.E's musical director, Gary Anderson (recovering nicely from hip replacement surgery), and some surprise entertainment. As always, the buffet will be great. The price for the lunch will be the normal measly $25, and an wrapped gift valued at no more than $19.97 including tax, postage and handling. The gifts are for our Southern Sicilian Gift Exchange. Make sure that there is nothing ticking in any package, no live ammo and no body parts. Guido, Carmine and Vinnie Vicegrip will run the fun exchange, so if you know what is good for you... just bring the gift and don't ask questions. Please start RSVPeeing to [email protected], as soon as possible. The Italian American Club is located at 2333 East Sahara Ave. Doors will open at 11:30. As always, Widows of former Presidents are our guests. Feel free to invite your friends to share in the holiday revelry. In order to be politically correct, I strongly suggest you should also free to bring your dreidels, praying mats, tarot cards, incenses and/or whatever makes you happy. Atheists and Agnostics are encouraged to bring nothing. Based on the people who have stated they are planning to attend this festive event, it should be another door buster. Don't miss the party! Check out http://nonclubclubfiore.com/about-u/.

President Sardelli would also like folks to know, that the Las Vegas Tribune has been, from our very beginning, a great supporter of the F.I.O.R.E. And now they are offering another good deal to any one of us. For only $100, you can advertise your business or just wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to family, friends and clients for the entire month of December with an ad that measures 2 columns X 3 inches in their online weekly publication, and get a daily plug/mention on their daily Internet radio program at noon on RadioTribune.com, PLUS a banner on their Web Site, LasVegasTribune.com. You can design your own art work. Use your favorite photo. Proclaim your special greeting. The Las Vegas Tribune is viewed by thousands, not only locally but all over the country (and even all over the world when my name is mentioned.... yes, shameless as it may sound, that is true). Do not delay. The sooner you start, the more exposure you'll get. In my humble opinion, which I highly respect, this is a fantastic deal! Feel free to spread the word among your friends and associates.

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We are always pleased when we can give a journalistic pat on the back to exceptional local employees. Three that we would like to mention are Wayne Leslie and Basil Blake, both in security at The Smith Center, and Adrien Adams, Valet Lead at the Golden Nugget. Sadly, in recent years, we have come in contact with too many people who, are not good at their jobs, but seem to genuinely dislike people. No smiles. No pleasant conversation. No nothing. In a city where "hospitality" related jobs are the rule, rather than the exception, we feel that anyone who spends their shifts dealing with the public should, at the very least, fake it. Pretend that you like your jobs and the people that you serve. And here is a most important word of advice from someone who has been connected to this city since the 1950s...never, never tell a customer, "there is nothing I can do," even if there is nothing you can do. A paying guest can much easier accept a friendly "let me see what I can do," instead of a curt, "there is nothing I can do." With so many good and qualified people out of work and needing jobs, we see no reason why any businesses should settle for anything less than top employees. As for Wayne, Basil and Adrien, good job, fellows! You are good examples of what the working folks around these parts SHOULD be (and no, these gentlemen are not our relatives).

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Alton Fitzgerald White, who sends holiday greetings to his Las Vegas friends, is "absolutely thrilled" to be making his Metropolitan Room debut with his show, Can't Wait for Christmas, on Monday, December 10th at 7 p.m. Alton, who played King Mufasa in Disney's The Lion King at Mandalay Bay, and is now playing that role on Broadway, will be singing wonderful holiday favorites at the Metropolitan Room, with a few tunes from his new Disney My Way CD, thrown in for Good Measure! "Alton Fitzgerald White sings with smoky soulfulness," says Variety Magazine. "Alton can sustain a note as if breathing were an optional activity," says The New York Times. "Blessed with an irresistible smile and rich singing voice, Alton Fitzgerald White is completely charismatic," says the Denver Post. "The timber of his voice is a throaty combination of honey over gravel!" says the Seattle Post. Tickets for Mr. Fitzgerald's holiday show are $25, plus a two beverage minimum. The Metropolitan Room is located at 34 West 22nd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues in Manhattan. Call (212) 206-0440 for reservations.

And, while we are in New York...
The Christmas Rose was recently performed at Carnegie Hall. The Christmas Rose featured a cast of more than 400, and starred the multiple Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress, Jane Seymour, and legendary Broadway actor and Tony-nominee, Lee Roy Reams. With music and story by PBS composer, Tim Janis, the musical follows a young orphan named Annabelle, played by thirteen-year-old Bailey Grey, into the desert where she crosses paths with everyone from the three wise men and singing angels to Mary and Joseph. The musical spectacular is under the Direction of Bradford Kenney, Executive Artistic Director of the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine. Mr. Kenney is collaborating with legendary producer, actor and director, James Keach, on this new holiday special. This whimsical and heartwarming tale will be conducted by Benjamin Vickers, Conductor of Boston Philharmonic. Included in the cast are many Broadway and National Touring performers, along with the American Boychoir, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre dancers, Broadway Dance Center's Children and Teen Program, the Nutmeg Ballet and the Princeton Ballet School. "It's kind of a different genre," Kenney said, "A mix of symphony, large choir, traditional dancing and choreography within a comedic musical fairytale." Ms. Seymour stars as the Storyteller in this heartwarming and whimsical musical. She was last seen on Broadway in Amadeus. She won Golden Globe Awards for her work on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and East of Eden, and received an Emmy Award for Onassis: The Richest Man in the World. Jane Seymour has proven her talents in virtually all media, the Broadway stage, motion pictures and television. Seymour's past films include the James Bond movie, Live and Let Die, the cult classic, Somewhere in Time, and the comedy smash, Wedding Crashers. Lee Roy, called "Broadway's darling" by columnist Liz Smith, played Kahmir, the villainous leader of desert bandits. Mr. Reams won critical acclaim as Roger DeBris on Broadway and the First National Company of Mel Brooks' musical hit, The Producers. His many leading Broadway roles include: Billy Lawlor in David Merrick's legendary 42nd Street (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! and Henry Spofford in Lorelei (both starring Carol Channing), Duane Fox in Applause starring Lauren Bacall, Will Parker in Richard Rodgers' Lincoln Center revival of Oklahoma! and Bob Fosse's Sweet Charity starring Gwen Verdon.


Vintage Lee Roy Reams & Anne Bancroft

Mark Giovi

On December 10th, Mr. Reams, who played Roger DeBris in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, will receive the Fourth Annual Legacy Award for Dancers Over 40. Leslie Uggams and Donna McKechnie will present the award to Lee Roy. Carol Lawrence is also being honored at the event, to be hosted by Richard Skipper and Harvey Evans. Not one to rest on his laurels, or his awards, Lee Roy is of to Florida to perform for the condo circuit.

And, still on the subject of The Big Apple...
Restaurants and chefs, with roots in both New York City and Las Vegas, have inspired a unique food and wine event to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy, to take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, December 9th, on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York Hotel & Casino on the famed Las Vegas Strip. Sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, the culinary extravaganza will welcome celebrity chefs Scott Conant from Scarpetta and D.O.C.G Enoteca at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Francois Payard from Payard Patisserie & Bistro at Caesars Palace, as well as cuisine from 22 of the city's top restaurants; six bars featuring specialty cocktails, craft beers and wines; and appearances and entertainment from local personalities. 100 percent of the event's proceeds will go towards the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. "When it comes to the hospitality industry, Las Vegas and New York City are really sister cities," said Michael Severino of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada. "This is just a small way all of us in Las Vegas can help those who have been affected by these monster storms." Since announced, Start Spreadin' the News has received an outpouring of support from the community, as nearly all of the participating restaurants and their chefs were impacted by the devastation of the superstorm. Restaurants, from up and down The Strip, will feature an array of signature dishes and New York-inspired culinary delights. Among those participating are, Bellagio: Todd English's Olives; Caesars Palace: Payard Patisserie & Bistro and Rao's; The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, Scarpetta and D.O.C.G. Enoteca; Crystals at CityCenter: Todd English P.U.B.; The Forum Shops at Caesars: The Palm Las Vegas; Mandalay Bay: Aureole; MGM Grand: Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak and Stage Deli; The Mirage: Carnegie Deli and BLT Burger; New York-New York: Broadway Burger, Nathan's Famous Hotdogs and Bonanno's New York Pizza; Paris Las Vegas: Gordon Ramsay Steak; The Venetian & Palazzo: B&B Ristorante, Carnevino, Otto and Bouchon Bakery; Smith & Wollensky. Bar stations provided by Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada will offer craft beers, an array of wines and assistance from Back Bar USA. Paying homage to New York City, the featured libations will include "Yankee Doodle," "Forgetaboutit!," "Eastside/Westside," "The Neighborhood" and "'5' Boroughs." Live music and appearances from local celebrities including Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and former Mayor Oscar Goodman, longtime performer Mark Giovi, Strip headliners and top tribute acts featuring Gary Anthony ('Frank Sinatra'), Mark Maynard ('Frankie Valli'), Michael John (Billy Joel'), Matt Ryan ('Bruce Springsteen'), and Rob Garrett ('Neil Diamond'), will take place throughout the day. In addition to several surprises adding to the excitement, all attendees will receive a commemorative chip reading, "When the 'chips' were down, Las Vegas stepped up to help those who were dealt a bad hand by Hurricane Sandy, 12-9-12." Tickets are $100 and can be purchased online at RedCrossLasVegas.org, NewYorkNewYork.com/Sandy, or by calling the New York-New York box office at (866) 606-7111. Guests must be 21 or over to attend.

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Reminders...
Community Lutheran Church, at 3720 E. Tropicana, offers the Las Vegas community a gift of The Living Christmas Tree, a celebration of Christmas in Song, as 100 voices sing of the Christmas season in a 35-foot tall tree, dancers and world class musicians present this over-the-top celebration of the birth of Jesus. Featured Guest soloist is Kristen Hertzenberg.
Performances will be Saturday, December 8th at 7 p.m., and Sunday, the 9th at 2 p.m. Admission is FREE (there will be a free will offering taken at each performance). Phone (702) 258-2241. Check the site at www.communitylv.org.


Kristen Hertzenberg

Glynis McCants

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The City of Las Vegas Rainbow Company Youth Theatre will present the musical Honk! at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, located at 800 S. Brush St. The musical will run December 8th, 14th and 15th at 7 p.m., and December 9th, 15th and 16th at 2 p.m. Honk! is the story of Ugly, whose odd, gawky looks, instantly incite prejudice on the farm. Ugly discovers his true destiny and finds love and acceptance during his journey. The musical is based on the Hans Christian Andersen classic, The Ugly Duckling. The cast consists of 35 adults and young people drawn from all over the Las Vegas area. The nationally recognized Rainbow Company Youth Theatre holds auditions and performances for both adults and young people throughout the year. The award-winning staff offers classes in all aspects of theatre for ages 4 through high school at the Charleston Heights Arts Center. Four productions are produced annually that bring the magic of live theatre to family audiences. There also are spring break workshops and a summer conservatory. Rainbow Company is a program of the city of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs. Tickets for Honk! are $7 for adults, $5 for teens, seniors and military personnel, and $3 for children 12 years old and younger. Tickets are available by calling (702) 229-6383, (702) 229-6553, or by visiting www.artslasvegas.org.

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We've got her number. "Celebrity Numerologist," Glynis McCants, turned up on Dr. Phil's last Monday show. The numbers lady joined Psychic Medium, John Edward, and Life Coach, Colette Baron Reid. These days, "The Numbers Lady," as Ms McCants, calls herself, is an author and recurring guest on a number of TV and radio shows. But, but how many folks, beside Cousin Claire and Frank Marino, remember when this fast-talking gal from Seal Beach, California, was doing standup in the Riviera's Comedy Club? Twenty-five years ago, McCants was described as "a budding standup comedian." We wonder why there is no reference to this part of her life in any of her online bios.

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Reminders...
David Pomeranz, makes his 54 Below debut on Sunday, December 9th with a 7 p.m. show (doors open at 5:30). The award-winning recording artist and songwriter was recently represented on Broadway with the musical, Scandalous (see story below). Hailed by Billboard Magazine as "...one of our finer voices," Pomeranz is also known as a songwriter for his chart-topping compositions recorded and performed by Barry Manilow ("Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" and "The Old Songs"), as well as a number of other well-known entertainers. An Emmy-nominee, and native New Yorker, David's CD of the musical, Little Tramp, released by WB Records, features Richard Harris, Mel Brooks, Lea Salonga, Petula Clark, Treat Williams and Tim Curry (pretty impressive, we think). The Manhattan in spot is located at 254 W 54th St, Cellar. Cover charge is $20 - $30, with a $25 food and beverage minimum. To purchase tickets, call (866) 468-7619, or visit TicketWeb.com. For Maitre D' and reservations, call (646) 476-3551.

And speaking of Mr. Pomeranz, on Wednesday, it was announced that Kathie Lee Gifford's Scandalous musical, playing at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York, will close this Sunday, after only three weeks. TheWrap's Tim Kenneally wrote, "So much for Kathie Lee Gifford's career as a playwright. The former "Live!" co-host's Broadway musical "Scandalous: The Life and Times of Aimee Semple McPherson," is shuttering..." After a month of previews, the musical opened, officially, on November 15th. Gifford wrote the book and lyrics for Scandalous, which chronicled the life of the evangelist who rose to prominence in the 1920s, only to fall from public grace amid scandalous love affairs and other controversies. The musical stars Carolee Carmello and George Hearn, among others, and is directed by David Armstrong (A Christmas Story the Musical, Catch Me if You Can). Music was written by Gifford, David Friedman and David Pomeranz. To quote one article, "Though Gifford had ample opportunity to plug the production via her "Today" co-hosting duties -- and she certainly took advantage of the opportunity -- critics were generally unkind in their appraisal of the show." "'Scandalous' isn't so much scandalously bad as it is generic and dull," wrote the New York Times' Charles Isherwood. In our, not so humble, opinion (and that's one of the reason's we do this), a major problem with Scandalous was too much Kathie Me. We feel badly for the two talented Davids, and the cast and crew of the short-lived production.


David Pomeranz

Pascale Elia

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Tomorrow night, December 8th, vocalist Pascale Elia performs at The Dispensary Lounge, 2451 E. Tropicana, at Eastern. Pascale will be backed by the Uli Geissendoerfer Trio, with Uli on keys, Steve Flora on bass, and Ryan Rose on drums. Enjoy the live music from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., along with the Dispensary's famous bargain burger. No cover charge. For additional information, call (702) 458-6343.

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Dave Brubeck

The music world has lost another legend with the death of Jazz composer, pianist Dave Brubeck. Brubeck died Wednesday morning, December 5th, of heart failure, after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son, Darius. Brubeck, whose pioneering style in pieces such as "Take Five," caught listeners' ears with exotic, challenging rhythms, died the day before his 92nd birthday. Brubeck had a career that spanned almost all American jazz since World War II. He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and was the first modern jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine -- on Nov. 8, 1954 -- and he helped define the swinging, smoky rhythms of 1950s and '60s club jazz. The seminal album "Time Out," released by the quartet in 1959, was the first ever million-selling jazz LP, and is still among the best-selling jazz albums of all time. It opens with "Blue Rondo a la Turk" in 9/8 time -- nine beats to the measure instead of the customary two, three or four beats. A piano-and-saxophone whirlwind based loosely on a Mozart piece, "Blue Rondo" eventually intercuts between Brubeck's piano and a more traditional 4/4 jazz rhythm. The album also features "Take Five" -- in 5/4 time -- which became the Quartet's signature theme and even made the Billboard singles chart in 1961. It was composed by Brubeck's longtime saxophonist, Paul Desmond. "When you start out with goals -- mine were to play polytonally and polyrhythmically -- you never exhaust that," Brubeck told The Associated Press in 1995. "I started doing that in the 1940s. It's still a challenge to discover what can be done with just those two elements." After service in World War II and study at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., Brubeck formed an octet including Desmond on alto sax and Dave van Kreidt on tenor, Cal Tjader on drums and Bill Smith on clarinet. The group played Brubeck originals and standards by other composers, including some early experimentation in unusual time signatures. Their groundbreaking album "Dave Brubeck Octet" was recorded in 1946. The group evolved into the Quartet, which played colleges and universities. The Quartet's first album, "Jazz at Oberlin," was recorded live at Oberlin College in Ohio in 1953. Ten years later, Joe Morello on drums and Eugene Wright on bass joined with Brubeck and Desmond to produce "Time Out." In later years, Brubeck composed music for operas, ballet, even a contemporary Mass. In 1988, he played for Mikhail Gorbachev, at a dinner in Moscow that then-President Ronald Reagan hosted for the Soviet leader. "I can't understand Russian, but I can understand body language," said Brubeck, after seeing the general secretary tapping his foot. In the late 1980s, Brubeck contributed music for one episode of an eight-part series of television specials, "This Is America, Charlie Brown." His music was for an episode involving NASA and the space station. He worked with three of his sons -- Chris on bass trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums and Matthew on cello -- and included excerpts from his Mass "To Hope! A Celebration," his oratorio "A Light in the Wilderness," and a piece he had composed but never recorded, "Quiet As the Moon." "That's the beauty of music," he told the AP in 1992. "You can take a theme from a Bach sacred chorale and improvise. It doesn't make any difference where the theme comes from; the treatment of it can be jazz." In 2006, the University of Notre Dame gave Brubeck its Laetare Medal, awarded each year to a Roman Catholic "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity." At the age of 88, in 2009, Brubeck was still touring, in spite of a viral infection that threatened his heart and made him miss an April show at his alma mater, the University of the Pacific. By June, though, he was playing in Chicago, where the Tribune critic wrote that "Brubeck was coaxing from the piano a high lyricism more typically encountered in the music of Chopin." More acclaim came his way when it was announced that he would be a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors at a ceremony in late 2009. Brubeck told the AP the announcement would have delighted his late mother, Elizabeth Ivey Brubeck, a classical pianist who was initially disappointed by her youngest son's interest in jazz. (He added that she had lived long enough to come to appreciate his music.) Born in Concord, Calif., on Dec. 6, 1920, Brubeck actually had planned to become a rancher like his father. He attended the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) in 1938, intending to major in veterinary medicine and return to the family's 45,000-acre spread. But within a year Brubeck was drawn to music. He graduated in 1942 and was drafted by the Army, where he served -- mostly as a musician -- under Gen. George S. Patton in Europe. At the time, his Wolfpack Band was the only racially integrated unit in the military. In an interview for Ken Burns' PBS miniseries "Jazz," Brubeck talked about playing for troops with his integrated band, only to return to the U.S. to see his black bandmates refused service in a restaurant in Texas. Brubeck and his wife, Iola, had five sons and a daughter. Four of his sons -- Chris on trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums, Darius on keyboards and Matthew on cello -- played with the London Symphony Orchestra in a birthday tribute to Brubeck in December 2000. "We never had a rift," Chris Brubeck once said of living and playing with his father. "I think music has always been a good communication tool, so we didn't have a rift. We've always had music in common."

Confession: Although she is a music-lover, Cousin Claire doesn't know quite this much about the subject, so almost all of this lengthy, but hopefully interesting, paragraph was "lifted" from the Internet. We wanted to do Mr. Brubeck the justice he deserved.

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Meshugginah Klezmorim

The band's name, Meshugginah Klezmorim, means "crazy musicians" in Yiddish, and they play klezmer, the wild, exuberant music that has been called "Jewish jazz." You can see and hear this crazy (lie a fox) bunch at the Winchester Cultural Center, 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 16th at 3130 McLeod, just north of Desert Inn. The musicians are remarkable - Dr. D. Gause, clarinet; D. J. Sinai, voice and piano; Irv Weinberger, guitar; Brett Barnes, drums; and Lee Schreiber, violin. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show. Advisory: The group previously sold out Winchester Theater, so fans are advised to buy tickets early.

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