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 February 22, 2013
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - February 22, 2013

Travis Cloer

OOOPS! Cousin Claire made a goof in last Friday's column. Jersey Boy Travis Cloer does his rescheduled, one-man show, Setting the Standard, at The Smith Center on Monday, March 4th, NOT March 6th as we said last week. It's the first Monday in March for Travis' performance.. It's the popular late night Composers Showcase that takes place in the very same space, the Cabaret Jazz club, at the downtown Smith Center on Wednesday, March 6th. Travis will take a short break from his Frankie Valli role at Paris Las Vegas for the one night only Smith Center show on the 4th. He will be bringing Jersey Boys‘ musical director, Keith Thompson, who will accompany on piano, along with Steve Flora on bass, Brian Czach on drums, Eric Tewalt on sax, Danny Falcone on trumpet, and Kevin Stout on trombone. To make reservations for Travis Cloer, with show time at 7 p.m. and tickets priced at $25 and $35, as well as for the Composers Showcase, with show time at 10:30 p.m., and tickets at $20, contact The Smith Center Box Office at (702) 749-2000. We plan to be at both events.

* * * * * * * *

We just got word that The Phat Pack is returning to the Plaza Hotel & Casino. The new hit Las Vegas musical has announced they are set to re-open the showroom on Wednesday, March 13th, after an unplanned 10 week layoff. The Phat Pack, which opened in November to rave reviews, closed down on January 1st for showroom renovations. "We are excited to be back at the Plaza, in this classic showroom that is just perfect for our show!," said Bruce Ewing, one of the three Phat Pack singers. In addition to Ewing (Jinx in Forever Plaid on the National Tour and in Las Vegas), the other cast members are Ted Keegan (The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and on Tour), and Randal Keith (Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway and on Tour). The three Phat Pack cast members, all Broadway performers, formerly with Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, sing the great songs of Broadway, American Standards, and Las Vegas favorites, along with some hilarious new original songs -- and also share some stories of their lives and careers. This 75-minute revue tips its hat to the tradition of excellence and fun that original Rat Pack brought to Las Vegas in the ‘50s and ‘60s -- but brings it into the 21st century! This show is appropriate for all ages, as long as you love music, talent and having fun. The Phat Pack's new show times will be Wednesdays through Sundays at 5 p.m. The Box Office will open for ticket sales in early March. For more information, please visit

The Phat Pack Is Back (Almost)

Marty Allen at Bat

* * * * * * * *

As we have mentioned here before, we are fans of Sunday Morning, CBS's VERY early (in Las Vegas, it is on from 6:30 to 8 a.m.) 90-minute program that covers things from current news stories, to segments on art, music and theater, although we would like it even more if it were called Sunday Afternoon and aired a little later. Last Sunday, one of the subjects covered was the off-Broadway show called Old Jews Telling Jokes. Currently playing at the Westside Theatre at 407 West 43rd St. (between 9th and 10th Avenues), Old Jews Telling Jokes showcases five actors in a revue that pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present. Think you've heard them all before? Not this way. In addition to the old and new jokes, the show features comic songs as well as tributes to some of the giants of the comedy world and to the Old Jews Telling Jokes website, which inspired the show. Created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent, the Old Jews Telling Jokes revue is based on Sam Hoffman's original internet series. In September, Old Jews Telling Jokes will open at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago. Go. Enjoy outrageous evening of one-liners, double-entendres and hysterical routines. You'll laugh 'til you plotz.

Incidentally, the list of funny Jews, both from the past and today, is mammoth. Here, in politically correct alphabetical order, are just some of the men and women who have kept people laughing for generations - Jason Alexander (birth name, Jason Scott Greenspan), Woody Allen (Allen Stewart Konigsberg), Tom Arnold, Roseanne Barr ( Roseanne Cherrie Barr), Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky), Milton Berle (Mendel Berlinger), Shelley Berman (Sheldon Leonard Berman), Joey Bishop (Joseph Abraham Gottlieb), Lewis Black, Fanny Brice (Fania Borach), David Brenner, Albert Brooks (Albert Lewis Einstein), Mel Brooks (Melvin Kaminsky), Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider), George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum), Red Buttons (Aaron Chwatt), Jack Carter (Jack Chakrin), Andrew "Dice" Clay (Andrew Clay Silverstein), Myron Cohen (Myron Aaron Cohen), Billy Crystal (William Edward Crystal), Rodney Dangerfield (Jacob Cohen), Larry David (Lawrence Gene David), Totie Fields (Sophie Feldman), Brad Garrett, Estelle Getty (Estelle Scher-Gettleman), Shecky Greene (Sheldon Greenfield), Buddy Hackett (Leonard Hacker), George Jessel, Howie Mandel (Howie Michael Mandel II), Jackie Mason (Yacov Moshe Moaza), Seth Meyers (Seth Adam Meyers), Jan Murray (Murray Janofsky), Gilda Radner, Don Rickles (Donald Jay "Don" Rickles), Joan Rivers (Joan Alexandra Molinsky), Seth Rogen, Freddie Roman (Fred Kirschenbaum), Rita Rudner, Mort Sahl (Morton Lyon Sahl), Adam Sandler (Adam Richard Sandler), Jerry Seinfeld (Jerome Seinfeld), Allan Sherman (Allan Copelon), David Steinberg, Howard Stern (Howard Allen Stern), Henny Youngman (Henry Youngman), as well as The Marx Brothers (Chico/Leonard Marx, Groucho/Julius Henry Marx, Gummo/Milton Marx, Harpo/Adolph Marx, Zeppo/Herbert Manfred Marx), most of The Three Stooges - Moe Howard (Moses Harry Horwitz), Larry Fine (Louis Feinberg), Curly Howard (Jerome Lester "Jerry" Horwitz), Shemp Howard (Samuel Horwitz), and Joe Besser (Joseph Besser). If you are impressed with this list (which contains just a sampling of Jewish clowns, wait until we list some of the Jewish composers! Coming to a column near you within the next few weeks.

And speaking of old Jews telling jokes, the list of funny storytellers would have to include Las Vegas resident, Marty Allen. Allen (real name, Morton David Alpern), will celebrate his 91st birthday on March 23rd. Not only is he old (God bless him), he is still funny and still working. Marty and his musical bride, Karon Kate Blackwell, visit their home on occasion, spending much of their time at sea, where they are a popular act with the cruise crowd, and entertaining in clubs around the country. On the 17th of November, 2010, Marty had emergency total hip replacement surgery following an injury. It barely slowed him down. He was out and about in two weeks, and was back performing on stage in the Louie Anderson Theater at the Palace Station just three weeks and two days after the surgery. Although he rarely finds it necessary to use a cane, for his upcoming birthday, Karon gifted Marty with a very special, custom-made, personalized "walking stick," made from a real Louisville Slugger baseball bat!

F.I.O.R.E. Valentine Luncheon

Accompanying photo by Nelson Sardelli.

And speaking of Nelson Sardelli, he is still jazzed about the success of the F.I.O.R.E. 8th Annual Valentine's Day Luncheon. As one of the F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) presidents (ALL of the gentlemen are presidents), Sardelli reports a turnout of more than 100 fun-loving people. A good time was had by most.

Mark Giovi & Dad Celebrate F.I.O.R.E. Style

And, while still on the subject of Nelson Sardelli (one of his favorite subjects), we would like to report that he will be participating in this year's St. Baldrick's head-shaving ceremony to benefit children with cancer. The "shavees," of which Mr. Sardelli is one of many who answer the call, will give up his locks on Saturday, March 2nd at around 1 p.m. The shearing will take place at McMullan's Irish Pub, 4650 W. Tropicana. Since he sent out his own announcement a few days ago, some of you may have already sent your contribution to this most worthy cause, which Sardelli deeply appreciate, however, there now is quite a lit bit of competition between he and the members of his Masonic team. "I opened my big mouth, and said that I, personally, could raise at least one trillion dollars," boasted Sardelli. "Right now, it doesn't look good." If you are one of the folks that already sent in your donation, God Bless you. You have done your part. For those who are considering a donation to this most worthy cause, please go directly to Nelson's link at

He thanks you with all his hairs. After March 2nd, Nelson Sardelli, who really does not look good when bald, OR blonde (see accompanying photos), will be confined to quarters for no less than six months - or until his hair grows back!

Nelson Sardelli as Himself

Nelson Sardelli as "Cue Bald"

Nelson Sardelli as a Blonde

* * * * * * * *

The late Marvin Hamlisch's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical A Chorus Line made a long-awaited return to the West End' London Palladium on Tuesday night, February 19th. The revival - the first major production of the 1975 show since Hamlisch's death last year - is directed by Bob Avian, who also helmed the 2006 Tony-nominated Broadway production. Avian was director, Michael Bennett's, long-term collaborator and his co-choreographer on the original production. The London revival, starring John Partridge, Scarlett Strallen, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, and Las Vegan Leigh Zimmerman, is booked at the Palladium until January of next year. For those who have never read this column, we might mention that Ms. Zimmerman is married to musician Domenick Allen, and the mother of the bright and talented, Cayleigh Capaldi.

Leigh Zimmerman in London Chorus Line Opening

* * * * * * * *

If you are not familiar with the name Joanie Spina, you are probably not a magician, don't know a magician, or haven‘t seen a show that featured any number of entertainers, including Jason Andrews, Connie Boyd, Jason Byrne, Juliana Chen, Jeff Hobson, magic man Kevin James, Mark Kalin & Ginger Leigh, hypnotist Dr. Scott Lewis, or puppeteer Anthony Rais - all people, among many others, that Joanie has worked with. Joanie herself is a magician, but she is also a dancer, choreographer and director, who achieved prominence through her work with the world famous illusionist, David Copperfield. Joanie has spent years helping performers perfect their acts and coming to the aid of animals in trouble. Now it's Joanie who is in trouble and needs some help, as she battles some serious health issues. On Sunday afternoon, February 17th, some of Joanie's closest friends and admirers - Stan & Rhonda Allen, Richard Faverty & Lyn Richman, and Anthony & Marion Rais - organized a party to show Joanie just how much she is loved and respected. "Worker Bees" donated their skills and time to make this event a HUGE love-filled success! With the help of many volunteers, photographer Faverty's Beckett Studio was beautifully transformed into a theatrical set, with exquisite lighting by Robert Routin, and artistic and unique balloon sculptures by Buster Balloon and Tawney Bubbles. A sumptuous buffet was also provided. A Who's Who of the entertainment community gathered at the studio, to celebrate Joanie. Among the almost 200 friends who came out to support Joanie (some from great distances), were Frank Alfter, Steve and Maria August, Jaki Baskow, Mr. & Mrs. Bizzaro, Ariann Black, Lance Burton, Jason Byrne, Deena Cary, Stephanie & Adam Castellone, Earl Chaney, Juliana Chen, Chuck Foley & Denise Clemente, Max & Joanie Clever, Nikki Corda, Chris Cromatie, Steve Daly, Germaine DesJardin, Richard & Ginn DePaseo, Michael Douglas, Paul Draper, Joanie Dukore, Sophie Evans, Taylor Makakoa Fator, Adam Flowers, Sonny Fontana, Connie Freggiaro, Charlie & Sherry Frye, Chris Giordano, Gregory Gleason, Seth Grabel, Geoffrey Hansen, Terry & Gisela Head, Scott Hitchcock, Cissy Hoffer, Alan Howard, Kevin & Claudia James, Rory Johnston, Mark & Jinger Kalin, Gil & Liz Kaupp, Eli & Katie Kerr, Mac King, Stephanie Kirby, Bobbi Klocker, Tim & Teena Kole, Melanie Kramer, Vanna Lace, Robin Leach, Douglas Leferovich, Armando Lucero, Lani Makakoa, Maria Maldonado, Jeff McBride, Russ Merlin, Mike & Mayumi Michaels, Renee Nadeau, Bill & Trish Nicoletti, Norm & Lupe Nielsen, David Novich, Diane Orgill, Jeanie Ott, David Pavlov, Kyla Quintero, Barbara Quintero, Jimmy Ramos, Tommy & Arlene Riccardo, Joyce & Rhonda Rice, Jan Rouven, Ken & Judith Ruiz, Ruth Shapiro, Shedini, Deanna Shimada, Luna Shimada, Bill Smith, Helen Spina, Dr. Bill Spina, Paul & Lin Stone, Johnny & Pam Thomson, T-Bone, Stephane Vanel, Sylvia Vanel, Gerty & George Verbiewski, Victor & Diamond, Mel & Marianne Warkmeister, Jodi Warman, Don Wayne, Fielding & Janice West, Penny Wiggins, Tommy Wind, Tim Wise, Jordan Wright, Zhao & Naomi Yan Yan, Eliza Zimmerman, and many, many more! If you weren't at the celebration, but would like to help with Joanie's mounting medical bills, you can make a donation through the Dai Vernon Foundation, with checks made payable to the Dai Vernon Foundation, Inc., at 11333 Moorpark #22, Studio City, CA 91602. All proceeds will go directly to Joanie. Please write JOANIE SPINA in the memo section of the check (this part is very important so that these checks don't get confused with other donations). For questions, please call or e-mail Anthony Rais, (702) 809-6073, [email protected]; Stan Allen, (702) 798-0099, ext. 102, [email protected]; or Richard Faverty, (702) 252-3435, [email protected].

Beckett Studios Transformed

Jinger Leigh, Joanie Spina, Janice & Fielding West

Photos by Richard Faverty

* * * * * * * *

We were happy to learn that we aren't the only one who finds the term, "No problem," to be an annoying, inappropriate response to almost everything. When thanking someone for doing a nice thing, or worse, what they were supposed to do, and they say, "No problem," instead of "You're welcome," or something similar, it makes Cousin Claire cringe. That overused "No problem" expression, may NOT be a problem for the folks who use it over and over, but it IS a problem for us...and Oscar-winning actor, Alan Arkin. Arkin says, "I get pissed off every time somebody says to me, 'No problem.' I don't care if it's a problem or not! That's your job. Do it! You're not there to evaluate whether or not it's a problem. How 'bout, 'As you wish, sir.'" Perhaps this is a problem that only affects crabby old 78-year-old Mr. Arkin, and us.

And speaking of old people, crabby or not, more than 100 friends of Norm Johnson's showed up to help the publicist/columnist celebrate his 80th birthday with a party held at the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino last Saturday evening, two days after his actual Valentine‘s Day birth date. A number of entertainers were there to honor their friend, including Clint Holmes, who said, "Norm never met an entertainer he didn't like, nor one he hasn't helped career wise." The Supreme Mary Wilson sang a song with original and appropriate lyrics to the celebrant, while his family, including three daughters Robin, Denise and Lisa, their respective husbands and children, and Norm's ex-wives, Mona Buda and Cathy Bittinger, watched and listened. The party was planned and hosted by Cathy and Nancy Barr, and invited guests were treated to a buffet and beverages. Curt Thompson, general manager of the Railroad Pass, told a story of how he and Norm met 36 years ago at the Mint Hotel during the very first Mint 400. Other entertainers who demonstrated their talents were Brenda Bouschard on keyboards, Edwin Cook of The Coasters, Loretta St. John, and Dondino (who was there with his wife, Donna Gummelt). Opening the party was guitar master, Esteban, and his violinist daughter, Teresa Joy, who had to get back to the LVH Hotel where they are currently performing. Accompanied on keyboards by her husband, Paul Lowden, Sue Lowden recalled watching Norm undergo open heart surgery in 1995. Among the others celebrating Norm's milestone birthday were Cindy Doumani and Randy Soard, Angela Bell, Barry and Louise Berlin, Kelly Clinton Holmes, Jim and Jan Seagrave, Gary Anderson (who brought along his lady, Nancy Hawthorne, and his saxophone), Jackie Brett told a very funny story of working alongside Norm more than 30 years ago, Mel Carter, Gwen Abbott, Brenda Weems, Ira Sternberg, Jeanine Heflin (Norm's navigator in Open Road Racing), Janice Marie, Michele La Fong, Don and Gloria Hill, Gallagher, Peter Justl, Rick and Phyllis White, Sean Grady, Elizabeth Foyt, Keith Jones, and Michele Rohl. Mike Merrick, at the party with his wife, Annie, did an exceptional job of acting as emcee for the evening. Happy birthday, Norman. Here's to many more.

Mary Wilson Serenading Norm Johnson

Norm Johnson & Family

* * * * * * * *

Over at The Onyx Theatre, variety is the word.
Trunk Songs, is a musical theater revue, produced by A Touch of Mystery Las Vegas. The show is a collection of your favorite local music theater artists all on one stage - Lysander Abadia, Natalie Carson, Karalyn Clark, Dolly Coulter, Margaret "Gret" Menzies Gonzalez, Jay Joseph, Benjamin Loewy, Courtney Sheets, and Kellie Wright - singing tunes written by Jerry Sternbach, Faye Greenberg, and John Kroner. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays, February 22nd and 23rd, and March 1st and 2nd, a'' at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

And, Confessions of a Roid Fag or How He-Man Made Me Gay returns to the East Sahara performance space. The show is one man's examination through monologue and song of He-Man (yes, that He-Man), body dysmorphia, gay identity, professional wrestling, and, of course, love. Written and performed by Las Vegas' premiere gay actor and author, Enoch Augustus Scott, with Spencer Baker on piano, the show is part fan boy fiction, part cabaret, part TED talk, and part maniacal ravings of the meat head in the locker room. Ultimately it is a very personal, revealing tale of the genesis of desire and the trouble we encounter when we act on that desire. Confessions of a Roid Fag or How He-Man Made Me Gay offers a unique gay perspective that is sure to entertain, titillate, and enlighten. Showtime is Saturday, February 23rd at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

For one night only, the talented Bill Fayne will be sharing his life and artistry in the one-man show, Bill Fayne: My Musical Life. Las Vegas audiences recognize Bill from the many revues and concerts he performs in showrooms all over the Valley. The Onyx Theatre is privileged to present the man himself, talking and singing about 50 successful and colorful years in show business. Do not miss this rare opportunity to share an intimate evening of song and story with the man who brought Company and Showstoppers to the LVH, and Putting It Together to The Smith Center. Showtime is Wednesday, February 27th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The Onyx Theatre is located at 953 East Sahara Ave #16, inside The Rack in the Commercial Center. For show reservations, or additional information, call (702) 732-7225.

* * * * * * * *

Tomorrow evening, Saturday the 23rd, Lisa Smith returns to sing again at The Dispensary Lounge, 2451 E. Tropicana (near Eastern Avenue), from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Lisa, who is a member of the girl group, Dangerous Curves, and the only girl in Shades of Sinatra, will be accompanied by Tom Lipps (keys), Steve Flora (bass) and Mike Mechem (drums). Lisa says, "It is always so much fun at The Dispensary, and I'm thrilled that we get to do it all again! As always, there is no cover charge and no drink minimum...just great jazz (and amazing burgers)! I hope you can join us there...even if it's just for a short time." Can't make it tomorrow night? On Wednesday afternoon, February 27th, from 1 to 4 p.m., Lisa will be performing in the showroom at the Gold Coast Casino, where she will be accompanied by Dan Ellis (on piano) and Darin Presley (on drums). For those who don't know, the Gold Coast is at 4000 West Flamingo Road. The afternoon entertainment is gratis (that means free).

* * * * * * * *

TastySpace Gallery & Greta Endorse Reading

Kevin Janison Channel 3 News Anchor

On Sunday, February 24th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., TastySpace Gallery will host a celebration of local African-American authors, illustrators, painters, and other talent. Children of all ages (even grownup children) are welcome. Reading. Painting. Coloring. Connecting. More. Kids need encouragement and inspiration every step of the way, and there's a ton of local talent going out of their way to provide it. If you've got time, stop by the Emergency Arts building next Sunday, from 11a.m. to 1 p.m., to connect with a few, in honor of Black History Month, reading, art, and all things positive. TastySpace. Home of Visual Awesomeness. Part gallery. Part boutique. Part incubator. All delicious. TastySpace is located on the first floor of the Emergency Arts building in Las Vegas' emerging downtown. 520 Fremont St (and 6th).

More than an art gallery, TastySpace is a hub for creativity. A small collective of like-minded individuals who love to express themselves visually, verbally, or otherwise artistically. Check out the very TastySpace.

Incidentally, starting Monday, Nevada Reading Week launches. Last year, singer/actress, Kristen Hertzenberg (Christine in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular), who happens to be the wife of Dana Satterwhite, owner of TastySpace, was among the community celebrity readers at Lewis E. Rowe school in southeast Las Vegas. Next week, among those reading to students at Lewis E. Rowe will be Channel 3 news anchor, Kevin Janison.

And speaking of kids, and reading, and local newscasters, we have to wonder what kind of a message it sends to the younger, or even older, generation, to hear a local anchor continually mispronounce the word IMPORTANT. It's not pronounced imporDant, lady! There's the letter "T" in the middle of the word, not a "D."

And still speaking of Nevada Reading Week, Oscar Experience® Las Vegas, the only official Academy of Arts & Science Oscar® sanctioned event, will be held Sunday, February 24th at The Brenden Theatres inside The Palms Casino Resort, benefiting Variety - The Children's Charity of Southern Nevada. This year, at the pre-Oscar® party, Variety will be presenting its 2013 Gold Heart Award to Comedy-Magician and Harrah's headliner, Mac King, in recognition of his community involvement bettering the lives of children in Southern Nevada. The pre-Oscar® party, featuring sponsored wines, Rotation Merlot and Vina Robles Sauvignon Blanc, will be held at The Palms Casino Resort Saturday, February 23rd, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $100, and can be purchased at For the fourth year, the only official Academy of Arts & Science Oscar® sanctioned event, Oscar Experience® Las Vegas, will benefit Variety, The Children's Charity of Southern Nevada. Co-hosted by ABC Morning Blend host Dao Vu and 98.5 KLUC's Chet Buchanan of "Chet Buchanan & The Morning Zoo" and UNLV Game Day, the 85th Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013. Oscar Experience® Las Vegas Awards Day festivities will take place at the award-winning Brenden Theatres & IMAX, a state-of-the-art cinema complex located inside the Palms Casino Resort. The "Red Carpet" will commence at 3 pm with the awards show coverage starting at 4 pm PST. This year's events proceeds will benefit the new Variety Early Learning Center opening Fall 2013. Variety will be purchasing furnishings and equipment for the new school at Lorenzi Park. Oscar Experience® Las Vegas tickets range from $50 to $300 and can be purchased on-line at General admission tickets are $50 and include $20 in theater concessions. VIP tickets are $300 per ticket or two for $500 and includes: walking the Red Carpet, access to Brenden Theatres Celebrity Suite, appetizers and open bar, priority seating in the theater and entry to the after party at Ghost Bar. Variety, The Children's Charity of Southern Nevada, a 501 (c) 3 organization, serves special needs children in the Las Vegas Valley, and has donated in excess of $7 million worth of goods, services and money affecting more than 20,000 children affiliated with dozens of local agencies. Mac King has been a life-long advocate for childhood literacy and, since settling down in Las Vegas, has made it his mission to promote literacy in Southern Nevada. For years, King has visited local elementary schools, spreading the importance of literacy to local students. In 2011, King decided to take his philanthropic efforts to the next level, and launched Mac King's Magical Literacy Tour, a citywide literacy initiative to foster the love of reading and rally community organizations to raise books for Las Vegas school children. The tour kicked-off during Nevada Reading Week 2011, and since then has collected more than 5,000 books by partnering with several local organizations, including Las Vegas Wranglers, Springs Preserve, and Winder Farms. Every year, during Nevada Reading Week, King visits local at-risk elementary schools, including Lewis E. Rowe, to teach the importance of reading, perform tricks from his show and read a few short stories. Each student, at the schools that King visits, receives a book to take home and call their own. King, now in his 13th year of headlining afternoons at Harrah's Las Vegas, takes the stage twice daily, Tuesday through Saturday, at Harrah's Las Vegas at 1 and 3 p.m. in the Showroom Theatre. Tickets are $29.95 plus tax. Additional information on The Mac King Comedy Magic Show can be found by visiting

Mac King by Shane O'Neal

Joey Gian

* * * * * * * *

On Sunday, March 3rd at 7 p.m., singer/actor Joey Gian will perform at the Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Joey is calling his show Return to Me, the name of a 2000 film, directed by Bonnie Hunt, and starring David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, and Carroll O'Connor, in which Joey had a role, as well as wrote "What If I Loved You," one of the songs from the movie. As an actor, Joey is probably best known for his role as Detective Tom Ryan in the television series Knots Landing. He appeared on the program from 1989 to 1991 and returned again in 1993. He portrayed police officer Rick Silardi in the series, Hooperman, starring John Ritter, during the 1987-88 television season, and played Kenny Bannerman in several episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1996. In 1990, Gian was one of the stars of a film called Mad About You. The movie, some of it filmed in Las Vegas, was directed by Las Vegan, Lorenzo Doumani. The late Robert Goulet was scheduled to play a cameo role in Mad About You, but his Broadway scheduling made that impossible, and the part was taken over by Batman's Adam West. Before there was American Idol, X-Factor and The Voice, there was Star Search. In 1985, before the movies and the TV roles, the handsome and charming Gian was a competitor in the Male Vocalist category during the third season of Tvs popular Ed McMahon-hosted talent competition series. Joey did well for himself, winning five weeks in a row and winding up in the semi-finals, but it was singer Kenny James who walked away with the title and the big money. In 2003, Joey Gian, who loves to sing, spent some time in Las Vegas, performing one night a week at a local bistro, and appearing in a crooner series in the lounge at the Stardust. For his one-nighter at the Catalina Jazz Club, Joey will be backed up by Joshua Sklair (guitar), Tom Canning (piano), Michael Saucier (bass) and Jack LeCompte (drums). If you are in the area on March 3rd... Tickets are $20. Call (323) 466-2210 for reservations.

* * * * * * * *

One of Hollywood's hottest producer/director/writers, Guillermo del Toro, and his wife Lorenza Newton, stopped by to catch Dick Feeney's Rat Pack is Back show at the Rio last week. The award-winning del Toro, loved the show, and his wife wants to bring her mother to see it. Next month the del Toros plan to return to the Rio to see Feeney's other show, MJ Live.

Guillermo & Lorenza del Toro with The Rat Pack is Back Cast

Robert Jarrett, Greg Kata, Kristen Hertzenberg & Sarah Lowe

Shown in the accompanying photo are (from left to right) Robbie Howard as Joey, Brian Duprey as Frank, Lorenza Newton, Guillermo del Toro, Drew Anthony as Dean, and Kenny Jones as Sammy.

* * * * * * * *

Renee Hale will be celebrating her birthday week beginning on Tuesday, March 26th (her birthday is actually on Sunday, the 24th) from 6 to 9 p.m. at Garfield's Restaurant, 2620 Regatta, on the Lake at Desert Shores. Ned Mills will be accompanying on piano. On Tuesdays, when Renee performs, they have renamed Garfield's "The Church of Good News," with Ms. Hale as "Reverend Chuckles." They are there to Celebrate Life, and invite their favorite songbirds and crooners to join in. Of course, diners and music lovers are more than welcome. Next Friday, March 1st from 6 to 9 p.m., birthday week continues at the Onyx inside Bogey's Bar & Grill, 7770 W. Ann Road (between Buffalo and Cimarron, near the I-95), where Renee, Joni James and Kathy Perkins, will be "Celebrating 35 again!" The fabulous Dan Ellis will be on keys. The ladies are reaching out to all of their musical/tourism/convention/ hotel/marketing friends to c'mon down and enjoy some delicious food and drinks, along with great music and big fun. Lots of great talent will be sitting in too. Everyone is invited to join the party.

And speaking of off-Strip restaurant/nightclubs...the free-standing building at 3824 Paradise, that over the years has been many restaurants, including Z'Tejas and Mr. B's Bar & Grill (which only survived for about six months, closing in July), will soon become Firefly. This will be the fourth Southern Nevada site for the popular tapas restaurants. Firefly has locations at 9560 W. Sahara, 11261 S. Eastern in Henderson, and at 3900 Paradise, just down the block from the 3824 Paradise establishment. The story is that the smaller Paradise restaurant will become a different type of dining spot.

* * * * * * * *

The Tony-nominated Broadway musical, [title of show] (that IS the name of the show), which opens at the Baobab Stage, located next to Rave Motion Pictures in Town Square Las Vegas, 6605 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, for only three performances, features performers from top Las Vegas productions - Greg Kata and Robert Jarrett, both from Mamma Mia! at Mandalay Bay; Sarah Lowe, who is currently in Jersey Boys at Paris Las Vegas, and Kristen Hertzenberg, who recently ended a six year run as Christine in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular at the Venetian. Produced by the ArtsFrontier Foundation, [title of show] marks the very first all Actors' Equity theatre piece done off the Las Vegas Strip. [title of show] is directed by Matt Donnelly (co-host of Penn Jillette's pod cast Penn's Sunday School, Wayne Brady's Making *@it Up), and choreographed by Louisa Lemos (Mamma Mia!, Las Vegas Shakespeare Company). Musical direction is by the very busy Keith Thompson (Jersey Boys, The Producers, We Will Rock You). [title of show] is the story of two nobodies in New York who decide to write a completely original musical starring themselves and their attractive and talented lady-friends. It was an immediate hit, critical darling, and quickly became a cult classic among hard-core theater nuts. The offbeat comedy, with tremendous heart, shows the step-by-step process of crafting art and the ups and downs that come with it, ultimately testing their creativity, confidence and friendships along the path to Broadway. Tickets, at $30 for General Admission and $40 for Premium Seating, are available online at Please note, [title of show] contains mature language.

Natalie Cole performs at The Orleans tomorrow and Sunday, with shows starting at 8 p.m. The hit-making daughter of jazz and pop legend, Nat "King" Cole, Natalie has forged a successful career doing R&B/urban contemporary and then jazz-based pop tunes. Among her many successful recordings are, "I've Got Love On My Mind," "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," "Inseparable," "Mr. Melody," "Someone That I Used To Love," "Pink Cadillac," "Miss You Like Crazy," "I Live For Your Love," and the unforgettable "Unforgettable," a posthumous duet with her late father. Tickets for Natalie Cole range from $71.50 to $99, plus taxes and fees. Call (702) 365-7111, or (800) ORLEANS (675-3267), for reservations.

Sinatra Forever starring Rick Michel, backed by a 24-piece orchestra, plays at the indoor Pavilion of M Resort Spa Casino, 12300 Las Vegas Blvd. South in Henderson, tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6). Tickets are $19.50 and $29.50, plus taxes and fees, and may be purchased at the M Resort Box Office located at Player Services, charged by phone via TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000, or online at

* * * * * * * *

On March 3rd, All-Star Celebrity Apprentice returns to NBC. With a lineup of (in alphabetical order) Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin, Gary Busey, Marilu Henner, LaToya Jackson, Las Vegas magician Penn Jillette representing Opportunity Village, Lil Jon, Claudia Jordan, Bret Michaels, Omarosa, Lisa Rinna, Dennis Rodman, Brande Roderick and Dee Snider, TV viewers can expect plenty of cat (and dog) fights. Hosts, advisors (and referees) include the Trumps - Donald, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric, along with Arsenio Hall, Joan Rivers, Piers Morgan, John Rich and George Ross, Trump Executive Vice President and Senior Counsel.

Penn Jillette

Mindy McCready

* * * * * * * *

Cancer Train of Southern Nevada hosts its first Cut-A-Thon for Cancer, with the help of Smokin' Hot Hair Salon, 2185 E. Windmill (at Eastern), from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 23rd. The event features $10 haircuts or $10 mani/pedis. Proceeds benefit 16-year-old Leah Goldberg, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for a recently removed brain tumor. Cancer Train, founded by cancer survivor Trish Georges, raises money to help cancer patients undergoing treatment. "A cancer diagnosis is typically accompanied by a leave of absence from work, leading to little or no means of getting by," said Georges. "Cancer Train helps pay for bills, surgeries, doctor visits, and special needs during care. We're not here to find a cure for cancer, we just want to make someone's fight a little easier."

* * * * * * * *

Another tragic ending to what began as a promising career. Country singer, Mindy McCready, who was only 37, died last Sunday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In 1996, her "Guys Do It All the Time" hit No. 1. The song's dig at male chauvinism endeared her to females. Other McCreary hits included "Ten Thousand Angels," also in 1996, and her album of the same title sold two million copies. The mother of two young sons, Mindy was plagued by personal problems, including child custody issues. She had a history of substance abuse problems and previous suicide attempts over the past eight years, and just a month ago, the father of her youngest child also became the victim of suicide. Sadly, a week ago, Mindy McCready succeeded in ending her troubled life. McCready joins a list of other entertainers who died much too early. A number of celebrities, including Rick Nelson, Jenni Rivera, John Denver, Patsy Cline, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly, were just some who died in plane crashes, but too many others have died as the result of alcohol and/or drug abuse (some accidental, some intentional), among them Whitney Houston, Jimi Hendrix, Anna Nicole Smith, Freddie Prinze, River Phoenix, John Belushi, Janis Joplin, Dana Plato, and Chris Farley.

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

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

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye