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 21, 2012
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - December 21, 2012


Wayne Newton in Court, August 2012

John Eisele

In spite of the dire predictions by a small group, that the world would end today, we are doing a column anyway. If the Mayans are right, we may not have too many readers this week, but we live in a gambling' city, so what the heck.

Perhaps Wayne Newton should hope that the Mayans WERE correct. Things are not looking good for the onetime Midnight Idol, but these days, more the Midnight Idle. This cat may have used up his nine financial lives. On Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Bruce Markell, approved that Casa de Shenandoah, the 40 acre long-time ranch estate of Newton, will be listed for sale by the Las Vegas brokerage firm Nathan & Associates. In addition to the ranch, 13-plus acres on the north side of the ranch at Pecos and Sunset, meant for a museum and other businesses related to Newton's career, are also for sale. CSD LLC currently owns the property. Stay tuned as this ugly drama continues to unfold.

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Winter officially started today, but Las Vegas recorded its first below freezing temperature yesterday, when the thermometer registered a nighttime reading of 31 degrees. Compared to other places around the country, we have nothing to complain about...but we will anyway. Brrrr.

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An apology to John EISELE (with THREE "E"s, like Dick Feeney), who had one of his names misspelled in both a story and photo caption in last week's column. When he wears his acting/singing hat, the man is known as Johnathan Isley. When he is serving as the Case Manager/spokesperson for The Las Vegas Defense Group, he is John Eisele. By golly. I think we've got it!

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If it's early enough, and you are in the neighborhood...
Tonight, Friday, December 21st, Lisa Smith will once again be singing in the lounge at Kelly's Prime Steak & Seafood, accompanied by the incredible Gary Peterson on the baby grand piano. This will be an extra special night, as Lisa will be celebrating her mom's birthday. The talented vocalist tells us that her mother's name is Janet Rogers, and she, and Lisa's father, Wayne, moved to Las Vegas from Delaware a little more than six years ago to be closer to the family. In addition to being amazingly supportive parents, who try to come to all of her shows, the Rogers' are also raising their son's 13 and 15-year-old children. Lisa says, "My mom is an incredible woman, a wonderful role-model, and my absolute BEST friend...well, maybe it's a tie between her and Ron (Lisa's musical hubby, Ron Smith). Help celebrate Janet's birthday, with Lisa and Gary providing the entertainment from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Kelly's Prime Steak & Seafood is located at 3900 S. Paradise Rd., the former home of Ruth's Chris restaurant. And here's a bonus! For a limited time, Kelly's Prime Steak & Seafood is offering 2 for 1 entrees in celebration of their Grand Opening in Las Vegas! You can order your food in the restaurant OR in the lounge. You can't beat this amazing deal! Offer expires on December 30th, 2012. Reservations are suggested. Call (702) 791-7011.


Lisa Smith & Mom Janet Rogers

Dangerous Curves

And speaking of Lisa Smith, she and the other singing ladies of Dangerous Curves - Karen Michaels, and Margaret "Gret" Menzies - have a created a beautiful version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas," arranged by the multi-talented Rob Hyatt. If it doesn't bring a tear to the eye, you have no heart. Link to the video...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nctyr_ueku0.

And speaking of Christmas and music, here's something for musical theater fans to look forward to...it's Les Miserables the movie. The impressive cast, made up of big screen names, includes Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.



F.I.O.R.E. Christmas - Nelson Sardelli, Felix "Santa" Silla, Aldo Natole & Conrad Villella

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Last week's Christmas F.I.O.R.E. luncheon meeting broke all previous attendance records for the non-club club. Approximately 130 people turned out to celebrate the season at the Italian American Club. We are "borrowing" (with permission) a story published in the Las Vegas Tribune (with just a hint of editing)...
For the last eight-and-a-half years, the Non-Club Club, F.I.O.R.E., has been both baffling, as well as amazing, the Las Vegas community, and this past Thursday's Christmas party was no exception. Why the confusion? The Non-Club Club F.I.O.R.E. doesn't really exist. There are no headquarters, no owners, no directors, no board members, and no managers. It loses money on every event, and yet it flourishes and grows annually by leaps and bounds. So how does one explain the incredible success of this group? You could ask one of the F.I.O.R.E. Presidents or First Ladies (and, yes, every member is either a President or First Lady). They aren't hard to find, as the monthly luncheons at the Italian American Club average about 80 people. If you are very fortunate, you could find out for yourself, if invited, at one of their wonderfully entertaining events. I was lucky enough to finagle an invitation, and last Thursday had the opportunity to dine with over 130 of some of the most wonderful people in our community. Some were in tuxedos (a few with brown sandals and white socks or tennis shoes), one in a high hat and tails, some ladies in long gowns and a lot of people in holiday wear. There was live music; serious live music! Grammy Award winner, President and Musical Director, Gary Anderson, and his excellent group of musicians, put on a tremendous show and backed up some terrific entertainers: Linda November, Artie Schroeck, Mark Giovi, Peter Pavone (as Bing Crosby), Anthony Brady (Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong), Nik Mastrangelo and Dr. Wilfred Krom. Even the great musical legend, Joe Vento (94 years young), brought in his magical accordion and joined the band. Tom Saitta and Millie Caruso offered impromptu comedy. Peter Anthony, believe it or not, was inexplicably and conspicuously quite. Of course, in keeping with the season, an abundance of gifts were exchanged. It's somewhere in the middle of all of this energy that it hits you. The Non-Club Club F.I.O.R.E is a success because they have captured "the good ol' days". Camaraderie, a sense of community... The simple joys of spending an afternoon with some pretty great people. If you're interested in being a part of this magical mix, there are a few things you should know: The Non-Club Club F.I.O.R.E is not open to the general public. You must know someone in the non club club and be invited. Two Presidents must sign your petition. You "must" be Italian, or not. There is no way around that. Also, anyone who joins must have a great attitude and very low expectations. (This is in the non bylaws bylaws!) It is not a secret society. No signs or passwords. Its name F.I.O.R.E. stands for Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events. Everyone meeting these requirements is welcome. The membership is currently comprised of doctors, lawyers, politicians, publicists, entertainers, entrepreneurs, businessmen, policemen, Purple Heart recipients, characters... you name it. F.I.O.R.E. is not a political, charitable or sports group. The whole thing is about nothing. The Non-Club Club F.I.O.R.E. meets for lunch at the Italian American Club on the second Thursday of every month. Next month, the guest speaker will be Las Vegas' former TV anchorman, now a war correspondent, Mr. Harley Akers.


F.I.O.R.E. Christmas - Lonnie Hammargren, "Santa" Silla & Camile Patti

Judge William Jansen

One of the attendees sent this note to a FIORE president..."That sure was a wonderful Christmas party! It was such a pleasure to experience such world-class in such a delightful setting. The new people we met were fun and friendly. And the food...I doubt that any connoisseur of fine Italian food would have anything to say except, "That's like how Mom used to make that sauce, those meatballs, the sausage and peppers..." The desserts were amazing too. Thank you! It was great to see our old and new friends."

And speaking of the F.I.O.R.E. group...
Yesterday, Judge William "Bill" Jansen, who is also a F.I.O.R.E. president, was honored at a well deserved retirement party, after 27 years on the Justice Court bench. The event took place at 11:30 a.m. at the Regional Justice Center (Courthouse) on 3rd Street. Immediately following the ceremony, lunch and cake was served in the Jury Service Room.

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Services for entertainer Karl R. Schrom, known professionally as Karl Carsony, who passed away in Las Vegas on December 13th at the age of 88, will be held at St. Anne's Catholic Church, 1813 S. Maryland Parkway, at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, December 22nd. Carsony, a member of the Carsony Brothers act, was an acrobat who performed renowned feats of strength and balance in the 1940s and 1950s, all around the world. In 1950, as a publicity stunt for the new Sahara hotel, Carsony was photographed doing a one-arm handstand, balancing himself with one finger in a bottle, literally upside down, on top of the hotel's 50-foot tower pylon sign. They insured the acrobat with Lloyds of London for $100,000 and invited photographers everywhere to come and take a look. The stunt, which was worth thousands in publicity, cost the hotel $400. Years later, Casino delle Vie wine, that comes from Il Palagio, the Tuscan estate of musician Sting and his wife Trudie Styler, used that photo on the wine's label, to remind that "when all is confusion and chaos, when life feels turned upside down, a glass of fine wine can sometimes set the world to rights again." Our condolences to the Schrom family.


Karl Carsony 1924-2012

Winner Cynthia Jay-Brennan by Ethan Miller

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In the case of one very lucky Las Vegas woman, "M," as in the M Resort, also stands for Megabucks and Millionaire! The lady, who wishes to remain anonymous (and who can blame her), won $17,329,817.80, while playing at the Henderson casino last Friday. What makes this win especially amazing is the big winner was using her Free Play credits when she hit the jackpot. Megabucks is a progressive dollar slot machine. The more money people play without a winner, the bigger the jackpot gets. It CAN happen, but it doesn't happen often. This was the first Las Vegas winner since 2011, when the Aria paid two progressive Megabucks hits within a three month period. In March of 2003, a 25-year-old man from Los Angeles, hit the biggest Megabucks payout when he won $39,710,826.36 at the Excalibur; In January of 2000, Cynthia Jay-Brennan, a 37-year-old Las Vegas cocktail waitress, won $34,959,458.56 at the Desert Inn; November of 1998, a 67-year-old retired flight attendant from Las Vegas won $27,580,879.60, the first time Megabucks had surpassed $20 million, after playing $300 at Palace Station. This same woman had won big at the Palace Station before, hitting a $680,000 jackpot on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. Talk about lucky!; In March 2002, after playing about $170, a 74-year-old woman from Covina, California, won $22,618,156.67 on Megabucks at Bally's; In June 1999, on his first spin, after depositing only $10, an unidentified 49-year-old business Illinois consultant won $21,346,952.22 on a Megabucks machine at Caesars Palace; September of 2005, a 92-year-old Las Vegan won his SECOND Megabucks jackpot at the Cannery in North Las Vegas, hitting for $21,147,947. In 1989, Mr. Lucky won $4.6 million at the Mirage; In January 2011, a woman staying at the Aria put $6 into a machine at that property and hit a $12.7 million jackpot; In April of 2011, another gambler took home $10.6 million from a Megabucks machine at Aria. The jackpot is reset to $10 million after every major win.

Addendum: In March, just six weeks after winning what was then the highest Megabucks payout, a drunk driver rear-ended Cynthia Jay-Brennan's car, killing her sister and leaving Jay-Brennan paralyzed.

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And not so lucky, are three out of the four shows that had been playing in the Plaza showroom in downtown Las Vegas. Closed, until they get some behind-the-scenes problems resolved, are The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the Grand Ole Vegas Revue, and Bite. Still hanging in there is The Phat Pack, a four person musical revue, featuring former Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular performers, Bruce Ewing, Ted Keegan and Randal Keith, plus Debbie Reynolds' longtime musical director, Joey Singer, on piano, bass and vocals. Enjoy Broadway numbers, Vegas standards and original music, as these three talented performers share their personal journeys through story and song. Show times at the Plaza for The Phat Pack are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, at 5 and 7 p.m. Ticket prices start at $34.95 plus taxes and fees for general admission, and are available at the Plaza Hotel & Casino Box Office next to the front desk, as well as by phone at (702) 946-8934 or (800) 793-9332.


The Phat Pack

LACE Grannies

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In the spirit of the holidays, our sweet friends, Maud, Pearl, Agnes, and Edna, also known as the LACE (Ladies Auxiliary for Cultural Enrichment) Grannies, are at it again. Every year at this time, the Grannies can be found lampooning America's commercially over-killed holiday season. Last year, LACE declared war on fruitcakes --you know the kind. Most YouTubers, young and old, are loving them and their message. But a few humorless reactionary souls miss the point and take furious umbrage at what they see as an all-out attack on religion. Check out their version of "Down With Christmas," and you decide for yourselves. You can find them at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJY8hJt9YwQ, or Google them as LACE Grannies.

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This past weekend's WinterFest 2012 event in Henderson was a HUGE success. Below is a list of winners from the 2nd Annual WinterFest Evening Light Parade, which saw more than 80 illuminated entries travel down Water Street. The festivities also featured a gingerbread house contest and Festival of Trees competition. The Light Parade winners were, in the Floats division: 1st Place ($1,000) - McCaw School of Mines, 2nd Place ($750) - Desert Doxies of Las Vegas, and 3rd Place ($500) - Brown Junior High School Student Council. In the Special Interest, Marching Group & Equestrian Entries, winners were 1st Place Ribbon - Foothill High School Marching Band, 2nd Place Ribbon - Silver State Miniature Horse Club, and 3rd Place Ribbon - Mannion Middle School Band. Gingerbread House Contest winners were, 1st Place Family/Individual ($100) - The Cole Family, and 1st Place School/Organization ($100) - Dooley Elementary School. The Festival of Trees Best in Show Grand Prize ($250) winner was Mikel's Fine Art Photography.


Brown Junior High School Float

J.D. Smith

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If you can't get to New York, and you can wait until the summer of 2014 to see the Tony Award-wining, Drama Desk-winning, Grammy-winning, Drama League-winning, Critics Circle-winning musical, The Book of Mormon, good news. The national tour of the acclaimed show, created by South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, co-creator of Avenue Q, will play at The Smith Center as part of the Broadway Las Vegas 2013-2014 season. The musical, which follows two Mormon missionaries in Uganda, is more parody than public bashing. How the musical will go over in Vegas, which has a large Mormon population, remains to be seen, but the show's arrival in town has long been anticipated by theater fans, hoping for a chance to see the Broadway smash. In the meantime, productions still to come in the 2012-13 Broadway Las Vegas series, include Anything Goes (February 5-10), Billy Elliot the Musical (May 14-19) and West Side Story (June 18-23), among others.

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Sometimes, we find the TV commercials are better than the programming (since we don't want to be on Santa's Naughty list, we won't name names). Skip the shows and listen up for these moneymakers. Apple is airing some commercials touting the iPad mini. The one that captured our attention, features Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer singing "Two of a Kind," a song the duo co-wrote back in the '60s. Accompanied by Billy May's band, it's worth keeping your ears open for this one. We also like Jimmy Durante singing "Make Someone Happy" for Duracell batteries, and part-time Las Vegan, Niki Scalera, doing the "I Feel Pretty" vocals, featuring adorable baby girls, for Pampers. Much like when AT&T was airing the "Pure Imagination" spot, from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film, with Gene Wilder singing the Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse tune two years ago, we look forward to these musical commercials. And Johnny Mathis, in holiday white, singing for Old Navy? Yep. At 77, he's looking good, perhaps a little too good. "Chances Are," he has had a nip or a tuck. And, although it has been running for a while, we still enjoy seeing the Dior perfume spot, not the very strange one with Brad Pitt, the one featuring Charlize Theron, with Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe. How do they do that??? And some familiar Southern Nevada faces have been, and still are, seen pitching products and businesses, for both local and national audiences. That's Rob Hyatt, of the Fifth Avenue vocal ensemble, Oh What a Night fame, and has served as musical director/piano player for the Frank Sinatra/ Barbra Streisand tribute show, doing TV spots for Walmart. John Eisele (who had his last name misspelled in last week's column - see apology above), Case Manager for the Las Vegas Defense Group, can also be seen in the company's TV spots and print ads. Then there is J.D. Smith, in a commercial for St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, where he is being helped out of a wheelchair (which, fortunately, he really doesn't need). J.D. may have filled your teeth or done a root canal on you, as, in addition to acting, he also happens to be a real life dentist. Although we don't see her on TV now, a few months ago, former Jubilee! principal, Elly Brown, was all over the tube as a spokesperson for Planet Hyundai and doing Auto Insurance America's Pay My Way TV ads, Nathan Ferrier has been seen in spots for the Spay and Neuter Center of Southern Nevada, Sniffany & Co., a pet grooming and supplies, and Firkin on Paradise pub, and Larry Atello was pitching CenturyLink prism television. If the salesman, or woman, you see on television looks like your neighbor, it probably is.

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This year's Kennedy Center Honors paid tribute to the careers of bluesman Buddy Guy, actor and director Dustin Hoffman, comedian and television host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and rock band Led Zeppelin, at a gala celebration held on December 2nd. While Led Zeppelin is being honored as a band, keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and singer Robert Plant will each receive the Kennedy Center Honors. The 35th annual ceremony will be broadcast on CBS on December 26th, from 9 to 11p.m., ET/PT.


2012 Kennedy Center Honorees

Mel Brooks

And in June, Melvin Kaminsky will be honored with the American Film Institute's highest honor, the Life Achievement Award. Readers may know Mr. Kaminsky better as, Mel Brooks.

The writer and director of comedy classics, Blazing Saddles, History of the World: Part I, Young Frankenstein, and The Producers, which played at Paris Las Vegas for a year, will be presented with the award at a gala tribute. Brooks, 86, is the 41st recipient of the AFI award, joining other luminaries including Orson Welles, Meryl Streep, Bette Davis and Steven Spielberg. Mel Brooks is one fo only 14 people who has won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award. The tribute will air on TNT.

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Tickets are already on sale in Las Vegas for Fleetwood Mac, and they aren't even due here until May 26th. Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and chick singer, Stevie Nicks, have reunited for a 2013 tour. One of their stops will be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Tickets are $55, $85 and $165 and can be purchased at the MGM Grand box office, and Ticketmaster outlets.


Fleetwood Mac

J. Mark McVey & Family

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From J. Mark McVey (Jean ValJean in Broadway and London productions of Les Miserables) comes this news, just in time for Christmas. It's a new CD from McVey. Mark says this one is even more special than his previous recordings, Broadway and Beyond, If You Really Knew Me (The Music of Marvin Hamlisch), and One Among Few, because it features the entire McVey family - Mark, Christy, Grace and Kylie. You can purchase a Digital Download of A McVey Family Christmas. Mark performed in Las Vegas when he was touring with the late Marvin Hamlisch.

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Newest of 13 Five Star reviews for Robert Allen's Goodsprings Ghost Hunt from Trip Advisor.
"This was one of the most entertaining nights I have had. It was not only entertaining but was very educational. Robert Allen and his driver/photographer Reuben were great hosts providing all ghost hunting paraphernalia and the history of Goodsprings. We were taken to the Pioneer Saloon where we mingled with the locals and enjoyed pizza and drinks provided as part of the tour. It was wonderful to be taken away from the Vegas strip to somewhere one normally wouldn't see but to ghost hunt was just fantastic, a lot of fun. A must for any believers and a must for those yet to be convinced."
Kerry Broadbeach, Australia

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The world famous guitarist, Esteban, launches a three month stint at the LVH (formerly the Hilton), with concerts in the Shimmer Cabaret, on Thursday, December 27th, and Friday, December 28th. "The Man in Black," as he is often called, is scheduled to appear at the LVH, on Thursdays and Fridays at 8:30 p.m. Esteban will be joined in concert with his daughter, violinist Teresa Joy. Together, they will perform musical selections ranging from classical, flamenco and pop, to Broadway and beyond. Born Stephen Paul, in Pittsburgh, the musician was given his special name by the legendary classical guitarist, Andres Segovia, who called him "Esteban," during his years of study with the master in Spain (1974-1978), and the United States. From the age of eight, Esteban's focus was on the guitar, teaching himself to play by practicing every spare moment. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1972. After a relentless pursuit, Segovia finally permitted Esteban to play for him in 1974. Upon hearing Esteban, Segovia invited him to Santiago de Compostela, in northern Spain, for master classes. After those classes, Esteban was invited to Madrid to study privately in Segovia's famous 4th floor studio. In 1978, Segovia gave Esteban his endorsement, and he returned to America and began touring the world. One year later, Esteban was in an automobile accident, involving a speeding drunk driver. Due to severe damage to his left arm and hand, he was unable to play the guitar or the next 10 years. By 1990, through dedication, he began to once again play the music he so loved. Since then, Esteban has topped the Billboard charts with his numerous albums, videos and DVDs. He has accomplished musical successes never before attained by any guitarist. Esteban, a Las Vegas resident, has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and his appearances on the Home Shopping Network, established record sales. Esteban's concerts are memorable moments, and spending an evening in his audience is an experience of the heart, soul and mind, and one that will remain with you forever. Tickets for the magical guitar artistry of Esteban, priced at $19 (for locals with proof of residence), $29 and $39, plus tax and fees, are available by contacting the LVH box office at (702) 732-5111.


Esteban & Teresa Joy

Andrew Ryan as Shania Twain & The Frank Marino Dancers

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Don't call that Strip property, located between the Flamingo and Harrah's, the Imperial Palace anymore. As of today, the place is known as The Quad. The Quad? We have no idea why that nondescript name was chosen, but a bunch of suits, sitting around a great big table, must have had something in mind...or not. And speaking of the newly renamed property, International superstar, and the world's best-selling female country artist of all time, Shania Twain, joins the cast of Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas at The Quad Resort & Casino (formerly the Imperial Palace). Andrew Ryan, who doubles as the superstar, performs a medley of Twain's top hits including "That Don't Impress Me Much" and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" Ryan is joined on stage by some of the Strip's hottest male dancers dressed in cowboy-inspired costumes. "Divas was the first show on the Strip to add new characters like Beyonce, Rihanna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, and now we are doing it again with Shania," said Marino. A contemporary and upbeat production, Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas is chock full of female celebrity look-alikes impersonating some of entertainment's most beloved superstars, from Cher and Bette Midler, to Celine Dion and Janet Jackson. Divas is co-produced by Adam Steck and Alex Schechter of SPI Entertainment. Frank Marino and cast perform six nights a week (dark Fridays) at 10 p.m. With the move of Human Nature, from that place across from Caesars Palace to The Venetian, Divas show times will change from 10 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. after January 1st. Ticket prices range from $39 to $79 (plus tax and fees), and are available at The Quad box office, online at www.thequadlv.com, or by calling (888) 777-7664. For more information on Frank Marino, visit www.frankmarino.com.

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Songstress, Renee Hale, with Ned Mills and Randy Thomas alternating at the piano, continues to provide the entertainment at Garfield's Restaurant on Tuesday nights, from 6 to 9 p.m. Garfield's has become a terrific Hot Spot, with some of the finest talent in Vegas sitting in with Renee. Garfield's is located at 2620 Regatta at Desert Shores in Summerlin. Garfield's will be closed Christmas and New Year's Day. On December 28th, 29th and 31st, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., Renee will be at Kelly's Prime Steak & Seafood. For those who have been around for a while, this was formerly Ruth's Chris on Paradise. On both the 28th and 29th, Kelly's Prime Steak & Seafood is offering 2 for 1 entrees. On New Year's Eve, there is no cover, no minimum.


Renee Hale

Dina Mitchell of Tropical Smoothie Cafe

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On December 17th, Tropical Smoothie Cafe opened their 21st location in the Vegas Valley. The opening was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new store, located at 445 W. Craig Rd., #103 (at Commerce), in North Las Vegas. The 1,750-square-foot store employs approximately 15 team members, and offers catering, online ordering and a drive-thru. "It's great to have opened a location in North Las Vegas and to partner again with Kriss and Michelle Shriver who operate stores in Henderson and Las Vegas," said Dina Mitchell, Tropical Smoothie Café Area Developer and Marketing Director for Nevada. "Tropical Smoothie Café is a unique brand with a fresh and flavorful menu, which is what attracted us to the business," said the Shrivers. "We're excited to be able to serve our community an 'Eat Better, Feel Better' meal in a great tropical atmosphere. We also look forward to becoming a community partner in North Las Vegas." Mitchell brought Tropical Smoothie Café to Southern Nevada in 2001, opening the first store in Henderson, and making it the company's 24th location in the nation. The company's top-selling store is located at Flamingo and I-215. Founded in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Café provides diners with healthier food choices with a tropical twist. Tropical Smoothie Café franchised locations offer made-to-order toasted wraps, flatbreads, sandwiches and gourmet salads, while continuing to provide consumers with a variety of high-quality real-fruit smoothies. Tropical Smoothie Café includes dine-in, take-out and catering menu options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, available through online ordering. For more information on Tropical Smoothie Café, call (888) 292-2522 or please visit www.tropicalsmoothiecafe.com, or www.facebook.com/tropicalsmoothiecafe.
Photo of Dina Mitchell by Gabe Ginsberg/VegasKool.

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We don't watch much TV, but it is always on for background noise. Since we may be the only residence on the planet without cable, we have gotten caught up on three newish channels that just about anyone can get - Antenna TV, MeTV and this TV. In early January, a new channel, Cozi TV, will join the lineup. All of these feature nostalgic movies and television from days gone by, offering everything from familiar dramatic series to popular sitcoms. It is surprising and kind of fun to see what and who turns up on these stations, especially on weekends and late night. In the last week or so, we saw comic Big Baby Boomer, Louie Anderson, playing a sort-of dramatic role in a 1986 episode of Remmington Steele on MeTV, and the Sands marquee with Jack Entratter's name on it, in the opening scenes of 1965's Kiss Me Stupid, starring Dean Martin, as a Vegas playboy, and Kim Novak. We also caught The Swimmer, an odd film from 1968, starring Burt Lancaster, and featuring, in a brief scene, Joan Rivers. An interesting bit of trivia regarding the soundtrack...all the pieces were composed by then 24-year-old Marvin Hamlisch. The movie's producer, Sam Spiegel, had heard Hamlisch play the piano at a party earlier, and hired him as a result. The Swimmer soundtrack album wasn't released until 2006.

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There have been Three Decades of Spreading the Light! Metropolitan Community Church will hold Christmas Eve Services on Monday, December 24th at 11 p.m. Experience some of the finest talent in Las Vegas, as they once again gather to celebrate the holiday. Hospitality begins at 10 p.m. Our friends, Tony Arias, Tim Searcy, and Lloyd Ziel, all talented performers themselves, are very much involved with MCCLV. Metropolitan Community Church, 1140 Almond Tree Lane, north of Sahara and west of Maryland Parkway, is the largest and oldest Christian church in Las Vegas, with a primary affirming ministry to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons, along with their families, friends, and allies. Known as "The Human RightsChurch," MCC congregations are located in 27 countries around the world. For additional information, call (702) 369-4380, or check them out at www.mcclv.com.

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LVHA Santa at Manny Cortez Elementary School

Cortez Students Open Bags of Cheer

Yesterday, Las Vegas Hospitality Association's operation 'Spread the Cheer' made the holiday season a lot brighter for students at Manuel Cortez Elementary School. Santa, along with elf helpers, from the LVHA, delivered Bags of Cheer, in conjunction with a carnival at the school.


Cortez Student Gets a Gift From LVHA

This is the LVHA's 4th Annual "Fill A Bag With Cheer" operation. The afternoon was expanded to include a holiday carnival for all 690 students, while 300 students, grades Pre-K through Fifth grade, 93 more children than last year, have been adopted to receive a bag filled with toys, shoes, sweat suits or warm clothing, like coats, and other necessities. There has been a 30 percent increase over last year for contributions. LVHA worked closely and diligently with the school's teachers and principal to determine which children are the most in need. The day-long carnival, with a DJ, kid-friendly music and Santa, included activities such as face painting and balloon sculptures. Food and beverages were also available. The additional 390 morning students received a stocking and activity book. The festivities lasted from 12:45 (after lunch) until 3 p.m. Cortez, located at 4245 E. Tonopah Ave., is the first elementary school in the Clark County School District to implement the innovative Single Sex Classroom. Mr. Ariel Villalobos is the principal of Manuel J. Cortez Elementary School, which opened its doors to students in August 1998. The Las Vegas Hospitality Association (LVHA) is a non-profit, Nevada state association made up of more than 400 hospitality industry working professionals.
Originally founded in 1962, the Las Vegas Hospitality Association encompasses a broad spectrum of companies supporting the tourism, convention and hospitality fields in Southern Nevada. Website: lvhospitality.org.



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