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 May 03, 2013
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - May 3, 2013

Kenny Kerr - Pretty In Pink 1952-2013

Kenny Kerr - Election Year, October 1984

With the passing of comic/female impersonator, Kenny Kerr, last Sunday, April 28th, lots of memories came flooding back. We knew Kenny for about 35 years, meeting him not long after his start as a Las Vegas icon. It was in 1977, that Kenny, plus a cast of six other merry men (impersonators and dancers that included Jan North, Emore Dubois and Roger Caldwell) from the Philadelphia/New Jersey part of the country, made their local debut at the Sahara Talent Showcase, a weekly venue where a number of talented entertainers were "discovered." Among those in the audience at the hotel on that Monday night, was successful Vegas businessman, Herb Kaufman (Wonderworld Stores and KVVU TV-5, where he partnered with Johnny Carson). Kaufman knew something special when he saw it, and Boy-Lesque was special. Within a short time, Kaufman was advising Kerr and his partner, Roger Caldwell, and got them a trial run at the old Silver Slipper. The "trial" lasted 12 years, and Kenny Kerr's Boy-Lesque became a must-see Strip (and strip) favorite. After the closing of the Silver Slipper, different versions of the female impersonator revue played at a number of hotels, including, ironically, the Sahara, Stardust, Union Plaza, New Frontier and Debbie Reynolds Hotel. It was Kenny's uncanny resemblance to Barbra Streisand that launched his career as an entertainer while he was still in high school. Cher, Dolly Parton, Carol Burnett and others, also became subjects for Kenny's ability to transform himself into a woman. But his really strong suit, and what made Kenny most unique, was his quick wit. Kenny didn't need a script or a dress - he was just a natural comic. The off-the-cuff Question and Answer portion of his shows were a highlight. There was not a question that an audience member could come up with that would leave Kerr stumped for an answer. The crowd loved it. He was equally funny off stage. During a phone conversation with him a number of years ago, at a point, he asked us to be a guinea pig for an experiment he wanted to try. Of course, we were willing to cooperate, and said so. He asked, "Tell me, does this sound like I'm hanging up?" We said, yes it did. It took a few seconds to realize that he really had hung up! Boy, did we feel foolish. During the late ‘70s and into the ‘80s, we spent quite a bit of time in the audience and backstage with the Boy-Lesque cast members. We also attended a number of fun parties at the Kerr/Caldwell house. When it came to a worthy cause, Kenny could always be counted on to step up to the plate (most often in a glamorous gown and wig) to host or perform at a benefit. In more recent years, Kenny added singing (in his own voice) to his performances, and even recorded a CD, Songs From the Heart. The city acknowledged Kerr's contributions when, in 1999, he was inducted into the Tropicana Casino Legends Hall of Fame, along with Robert Goulet, The Mary Kaye Trio, and gaming pioneer, Jackie Gaughan.

Then there was the not so bright side of Kenny's life. With all the years that he worked, by now, he should have been financially secure. If not wealthy, he should have at least owned a nicely furnished house (or two), a decent paid for car, and had money in the bank. He had none of those things. One of the reasons is because Kenny often trusted the wrong people (including the delusional, phony, Patrick Kavanaugh, from DeStefano‘s where, Kenny performed on weekends in 2009). Mr. Kerr had a love affair with video poker machines, playing much more than he should have. And, oddly, he never realized the benefits of publicity, and rarely sought it out, even when it was warranted. A good example was when he had a speaking role in the 1996 Whoopi Goldberg-starring film, The Associate. We begged him to get someone to take photos of he and Whoopi together, feeling that the National Enquirer or People magazine would happily use them. He never followed through on things like that. A good friend, yes. An outstanding performer, yes. A smart businessman, no. Kenny's most recent performances at The Onyx in Las Vegas were sad. The death of too many family members and friends, along with his failing health, had taken its toll. Today, there is some consolation in knowing that, now, Kenny, is in good health, looking glamorous, with his mother and friends who have gone before, and probably creating laughs for a sell-out crowd.

And as for that so-called feud between Kenny and Divas Las Vegas star, Frank Marino, that was something created and stirred by people with too much time on their hands and not enough to keep them busy. Not only did we see the two entertainers, with a few friends enjoying a show by The Mentalist Gerry McCambridge together, some years ago, we know for a fact that Frank helped Kenny financially on more than one occasion, and also made the effort to get him some work

With permission, we are printing a couple of (unedited) messages we received from friends and co-workers of Kenny Kerr's over the past few days.

It seems like it was just yesterday when I met Kenny Kerr sitting on a stoop outside of the Roundtable, a club in New York. It was 1975, and he was in makeup as Barbra and smoking a cigarette between shows. I jokingly said, "Hello Gorgeous," and we instantly became friends. That friendship endured almost 40 years. Yes, there were many ups and downs, successes and failures, but Kenny was always the consummate entertainer. From his uncanny ability to transform himself with makeup, to his acting skills, to his incredible unscripted comedic abilities, his audiences came first and foremost. He transformed the Las Vegas Strip and relished the title, The Queen of Las Vegas. He was the innovator and set the standard for others to follow. When we moved Boy-Lesque to the Stardust, we sat in meetings where we discussed the show being a drag show. We made it the best damn drag show in the universe, with a tap dancing Ann Miller, Marilyn, Whitney, Tina, Ann-Margret, Madonna, eight dancing hunks for eye candy, a full orchestra, two incredible specialty acts, and the grand dame of female impersonation with his Cher and beloved Barbra. Two shows a night. Six nights a week. Every show sold out, with the Queen of Las Vegas holding court and then meeting each audience member outside the showroom after each show. Then there was the private Kenny - a loving man who adored his family and friends. Christmas' were his favorite time of the year, especially the years bringing up his son. There was the Kenny who would do anything for charity, "all they need do is ask" was his motto. So now we all know Kenny is up in heaven with friends and family and entertaining them all. Rest in peace dear Queen of Las Vegas and my friend.
Howard Jochsberger, former Producer of Boy-Lesque

Kenny was a good friend and in about 1995 Kenny was being honored by, I think it was Diabetes and I was an attendee. He spoke about being at the Silver Slipper for so many years and how he loved the Slipper and Summa but they, at the end, just called him in and said "Goodbye" going away, no saluting him for selling out the house, nothing! I stood up, yelled to him at the podium and said "Kenny, Denny Weddle, may I come to the stage". He said yes and I took the Mike, first of all citing my position and tenure at Summa and said none of you here tonight will ever realize what an outstanding entertainer Kenny Kerr was, how he sold out every show and how major his value was to the Howard Hughes Estates Properties. I said, "I apologize on behalf of the Slipper and Howard Hughes and can only believe, at the brisk pace we sold all of the Hotel/Casinos, that someone did not do what was right. Kenny, we loved you, we love you, and YOU are an ICON, "The Queen of Las Vegas" (and he loved that title), THE trailblazer as THE female impersonator all others try to emulate, no one will ever match your talents, and, if I may say something no one here probably knows --there are entertainers and there are entertainers but so many are just AWFUL to work with-- With Kenny Kerr EVERYONE in management, backstage, in the audience and before and after to the public when demonstrating your sweet, pleasant and giving demeanor were so delighted that you always where a polite, decent and appreciative Star. Thank you and know THAT is what we meant to say....." He started crying, started hugging me and saying "Thank you, thank you so much" and I could barely get loose so he could finish his Gig...which eventually he did and got a standing ovation! Sometimes a person is in the right place and I thanked God I was there. Made his day and, boy, did it make mine! What a great human being and vibrant performer...60 is way too young to go!
Denny Weddle, former Summa Corp Executive

And, speaking of Mr. Weddle, on Wednesday, something very odd and/or ironic occurred. It was the day for Denny's housekeeper, Rhonda Presley, to be working at his home. When she arrived, she asked Denny, "Didn't you know Kenny Kerr, the entertainer that passed away a few days ago?" When Denny said that he did, Rhonda told him that when she had left her home shortly before, she noticed boxes and bags sitting outside a house next to hers, waiting to be picked up and taken away with the trash that morning. She noted that the boxes had Kenny Kerr's name on them. It turned out that Kenny had been living in that house prior to his death. Denny immediately got in his car and drove to Rhonda and Kenny's southeast neighborhood where he retrieved some of what was left at the curb. Among the "treasures," were photos and programs from Kenny's shows, his high school annual and other pieces of his life. We have it on good authority that those items will wind up where they belong, in a collection made up of Las Vegas entertainment history.

Kenny Kerr, who was 60 when he passed last weekend, was predeceased by his mother, Sunny, and a sister. He is survived by his older sister, Marlena Vidal; nieces, Lorrie Vidal and Nickie Serrato; nephew, Joe Vidal; son, Kris Vidal; grandson, Alexander Jamison Vidal; and too many friends and fans to count. Marlena, tells us that a service is being planned for around the 19th of this month. When we have the details, we will certainly pass them on. Rest in peace, Kenny.

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At the next F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) meeting, taking place on Thursday, May 9th, the legendary Steve Rossi will be the guest speaker. According to President Nelson Sardelli, "Rossi is a master entertainer. His talk will enlighten, enthrall, engage and amuse you." Sardelli guarantees, "It will be one of the most fun-filled meetings in the history of our non-club club. You won't want to miss this one." As always, there will be a great buffet, live music, 50/5O drawing, and all that other good stuff. It all happens at the Italian American Club, 2333 East Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas. Doors open at 11 a.m., with lunch served at noon. Cost is $25 per person. Widows of former presidents are always guests of the F.I.O.R.E. presidents (all the male members are presidents). Reservations are ABSOLUTELY required to attend this event! No exceptions (they really mean it)! Please RSVP as soon as possible to [email protected], or [email protected]. This is an exclusive, private club event and admission is subject to the discretion of the meeting hosts listed above. It's an exclusive club. A big turnout of fans, friends, and devotees is expected for this one. On Friday, there were already more than 80 positive RSVPs (that means they were positively planning on attending).

Note from Claire Voyant: We understand that there is a possibility that F.I.O.R.E. President, comic Marty Allen, who was Steve Rossi's stage partner from 1957 until 1968, will not be in attendance at the May 9th meeting. Why? Because Marty has an appointment with his nearsighted barber.

Steve Rossi

Don and Gloria Hill

And, speaking of F.I.O.R.E. members (and their families)...The angel-protected (she has an enormous collection of all things angels), Gloria Hill, wife of The Treniers' veteran saxophone player, Don Hill, is on the mend following open heart surgery on April 1st (no fooling). It's a long process. According to Gloria, her 91-year-young husband, who just happens to be an esteemed F.I.O.R.E. president, is doing an incredible job of caring for her at home. She can't say enough wonderful things about Don. Incidentally, if you would like to learn more about Don Hill, and his life in and out of the spotlight, you may want to read his book, House Party Tonight, written with Dennis N. Griffin.

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Leigh Zimmerman - One Singular Sensation

Leigh Zimmerman Wins Olivier Award

And the winner is (drum roll please), Leigh Zimmerman! Last Saturday night, Leigh, who starred as Ulla in the Las Vegas production of Mel Brooks' The Producers (as well as in numerous roles in major shows on Broadway), won the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical, for her role as Sheila, in the London revival of A Chorus Line, currently playing at the famed London Palladium. Leigh is married to popular musician/actor Domenick Allen, and is the mother of future star, Cayleigh Capaldi. Although they don't spend a lot of time here, the family‘s home-base is in Las Vegas. Congratulations to Leigh on a well-deserved honor.

And a little closer to home, the 2013 Tony Award nominees were announced on Tuesday. Among those in the running is Jerry Mitchell, for both his Direction and Choreography of Kinky Boots, the musical story of a struggling shoemaker and his drag queen business partner, with book by multiple Tony Award-winner, Harvey Fierstein, and music by Cyndi Lauper. Director and choreographer Mitchell is the creator of PEEPSHOW, now starting its fifth year at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Jerry Mitchell Tony Nominee

The Phat Pack with Mayor Carolyn Goodman

Some Broadway trivia: Harvey Fierstein has won four Tony Awards - two in 1983, as Best Actor (Play) and Author of Best Play for Torch Song Trilogy, a performance he recreated in the 1988 film version of the same title; a third in 1984, the Book (Musical) Tony for writing the libretto of La Cage aux Folles; and the fourth in 2003, as Best Actor (Musical) in the role of Edna Turnblad in Hairspray (a role he played in the short-lived version of the musical that played at the Luxor in Vegas in 2006). His four wins tie Fierstein with Tommy Tune (who starred in EFX at the MGM Grand in 1999), for the most Tony Awards in different categories.

Also on the subject of the upcoming Tony Awards, Carolee Carmello is nominated in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category, for her role in the short-lived Scandalous (the show closed less than a month after opening). Our interest in Scandalous, based on the life of 1920's celebrity evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson‘s rise to fame, and dramatic downfall, is because of two Davids - David Pomeranz and David Friedman. The book and lyrics are by Kathie Me Gifford. The music is by Pomeranz ("Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" and "The Old Songs," both recorded by Barry Manilow, "It's In Every One Of Us"), and Friedman ( "Listen to My Heart," "We Live On Borrowed Time," "Help is on the Way," "My Simple Christmas Wish"). The Tony's will be handed out on Sunday, June 9th, and will air LIVE on CBS. No one will be answering the phone in this house on that night.

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Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman and her husband, former Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, attended The Phat Pack show in the theater at the newly renovated Plaza Hotel & Casino at 1 Main Street in downtown Las Vegas. The Phat Pack is made up of three Broadway performers, formerly with Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular. In The Phat Pack show, Bruce Ewing (Jinx in Forever Plaid on the National Tour and in Las Vegas), 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), sing the great songs of Broadway, along with American Standards, Las Vegas favorites, and some hilarious new original songs, as they share some stories of their lives and careers. The Goodmans greeted The Phat Pack with thumbs up, raves of "Terrific!," and wishes that this new downtown show would have a long life. The Phat Pack re-opened at the Plaza on March 13th, earning rave reviews and standing ovations. The Phat Pack was named The Best Of Las Vegas 2013 - Best All Around Performers by the editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Phat Pack plays Wednesdays through Sundays at 5 p.m. in the showroom at the Plaza. Tickets are available through the Plaza Box Office, by calling (702) 386-2507, or by visiting

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Renewal, featuring paintings by Paris Buchanan, officially opens at TastySpace gallery today, Friday, May 3rd. The artist will be present from 6 to 8 p.m. Buchanan is a Napa Valley-based painter who seeks to create an open dialogue through her work. She draws inspiration from travel and connecting with people she may meet and cultures she may experience along her journey. It may be said that each time we go away and come back or somehow remove ourselves from our daily lives, our souls are renewed. The Paris Buchanan exhibit will show through the end of the month. TastySpace is located on the first floor of the Emergency Arts building at 520 Fremont Street and 6th. Call Dana Satterwhite at (617) 513-7336 for gallery hours and additional information.

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Lake Las Vegas

Lake Las Vegas is the place to be on Saturday evenings for 7 to 10 p.m. jazz concerts. Scheduled for the upcoming four weeks of Saturday Night Jazz on the Lake Concert Series are: May 4th, Tommy Thompson (Wine Walk); May 11th, Everett B. Walters; May 18th, Lady J Huston & the Fire Balls; and May 25th, Anthony James Baker. Please, no pets and no coolers. For more information, contact the Village events team at (702) 289-7007.

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UNLV alumnus, Douglas Carpenter (Voice '07), baritone, of New York, won the $15,000 First Prize in the finals of the 15th annual Lotte Lenya Competition, held on April 13th at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. Founded in 1998 to celebrate the centenary of Lenya's birth, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire. Carpenter impressed the judges with a dynamic program that included "Pierrot's Tanzlied" from Korngold's Die tote Stadt and "Molasses to Rum" from the Sherman Edwards musical 1776. The other prize winners also presented exceptionally compelling performances of repertoire ranging from Donizetti and Gilbert & Sullivan to Kurt Weill, Frank Loesser, Leonard Bernstein, Michael John LaChiusa, and Jeff Blumenkrantz. The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, which sponsors the competition, distributed a record $61,500 in prizes this year. In addition to the top prizes, judges presented two Lys Symonette Awards of $3,000 each, named in honor of Kurt Weill's musical assistant on Broadway. For Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number, the awards went to soprano Rachel Kara Cordeiro-Pérez of Brooklyn, New York, for her performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Breathe" from In the Heights, and to mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson of Sandy, Utah, for her performance of "Alto's Lament" by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. The remaining six finalists each received an award of $1,000: Daniel Berryman, tenor, of New York; Christian Ketter, tenor, of Chicago; Mingjie Lei, tenor, of Hengyang, China; Erin Mackey, soprano, of Astoria, New York; Heather Phillips, soprano, of Philadelphia; and Christy Sullivan, mezzo-soprano, of Sydney, Australia. Each contestant presented a diverse program that included an aria from the opera or operetta repertoire; two songs from the American musical theater repertoire (one from the pre-1968 "Golden Age" and one from 1968 or later); and a theatrical selection by Kurt Weill. After a preliminary round of auditions, twenty-four semi-finalists from five continents auditioned in New York for adjudicator/ coaches, Jeanine Tesori and Rebecca Luker, who then selected the twelve finalists. Doug has performed the role of the Prince in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, starred in Lerner and Loewe's Camelot at the Pasadena Playhouse, and had leading roles in West Side Story, Oklahoma!, The Last Five Years, and Life Could Be A Dream. We suggest keeping your eye on Douglas Carpenter. Do we see a Tony Award in his future?

Douglas Carpenter

Jon Peterson

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The very talented Jon Peterson reminds us that his show, Song Man, Dance Man, plays at Manhattan‘s Triad Theatre (Stage 72 at the Triad), at 158 W. 72nd and Broadway, on May 7th, beginning at 7 p.m. Take a rollercoaster-ride through the lives of seven of the 20th Century's greatest male entertainers - Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, George M Cohan, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Anthony Newley - as Peterson tells the story of how their lives entwined and the impact they had on show business. "You can just drop in," says Jon, "but to guarantee seats, it's just as easy to go to and enter the show into the search, and bingo!" A year ago, Equity actor Jon came from New York to play the henpecked Roman senator Senex, in the Nevada Conservatory Theatre production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at UNLV. If you are in New York, and have the opportunity, we recommend Mr. Peterson's Song Man Dance Man. It's going to be electric! Tickets are $20/2-drink minimum. Call (212) 362-2590.

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Longtime Las Vegas DJ, Larry Taylor, who now makes his home by the Colorado River in Laughlin, wants the world to know about his son, Landon Taylor, so we will do our part to make that happen. Larry tells us that on Thursday, May 9th, a new show on the NGC (National Geographic Channel), called Mountain Movers, will feature SPT (Snow Park Technowledgy), a company Landon works for. Landon is cast as the Rookie, since he is the newest on the team.

Just go to (search) National Geographic Channel and click on the new program. They are running teasers right now. Young Mr. Taylor just got back from three weeks in Brazil, where he was setting up for the Summer X Games. In the last couple of months, he spent four weeks in France and two weeks in Breckenridge, Colorado, for the Winter X Games. Next week, he is off to Spain. Landon makes his home in the Lake Tahoe area. He will be 29 in October. He has no show biz experience or desire to be in show business, adds his father, and then WHAM! These reality shows gave him the chance to do something I couldn't do in 40 years... get a shot on national TV! "Not that I'd give up that time I spent in Las Vegas, having the time of my life and meeting so many wonderful people both on and off stage," says Larry. "Let's just say I couldn't be prouder, and wanted to share this with friends." We certainly understand.

As for Larry himself, he tells us that he is enjoying his retirement and plans to find himself a houseboat and travel from Laughlin (Davis Dam) through beautiful Topock Gorge, with a short stop in Needles at The Pirate Cove Resort, onto Lake Havasu and under the London Bridge, with my final destination all the way to Parker Dam. The trip should take about two weeks with stops at the AVI Hotel and the Casino on the California side, fishing, swimming and of coarse a lot of bright moon cocktail nights. "That will be about 100 miles down river. It may not be the African Queen, and I may not be Bogie to others, but in my mind it's all good." Bon voyage, Larry!

Landon Taylor

Mark Nadler

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Jam on with The Lon Bronson All-Star Band this weekend - tonight, Friday, May 3rd starting at 9 p.m. in the Railhead at Boulder Station, and Saturday night, May 4th, beginning at 9:30 p.m. in the Access Showroom at Aliante Casino & Hotel!

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If you are in New York, or plan to be there during any of the dates below, take the opportunity to go to The York Theater and see what entertainer Mark Nadler's brilliant director, David Schweizer, and the supremely gifted technical team at the theater have created with Mark's show, I'm a Stranger Here Myself. It has really turned into something that they are all very proud of. Use the following codes to get discount tickets: For the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday performances from May 7th through 16th, use code NADLERMAIL52. For the Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances, May 3rd through 19th, use code NADLERMAIL60. And if you come see the show, remember not to give away the ending to those who haven't seen it yet. What happens in the Weimar Republic STAYS in the Weimar Republic! For tickets, go to WWW.YORKTHEATRE.ORG, or call (212) 935-5820. The York Theatre is at 619 Lexington Avenue at the corner of 54th Street in the East Midtown section of Manhattan. Enter on 54th Street, just east of Lexington. Wish we could be there.

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The Danny Roque ShowManiaPalooza! plays at The MBar, 1253 Vine St. (across the street from El Pollo Loco, in Hollywood, Thursday, May 9th, at 8 p.m. Danny presents another night of musical fun and foolishness. Featuring a recipe of his original songs, he is joined on stage by an amazingly talented group of friends and family, including Nora, Chris and Angelica Roque, and Jill Marie Burke on vocals. The band is made up of Duane Benjamin, Jimmy Ford, Rich Cohen, Dan Spector, and Dwain Roque. The performers are terrific and the tunes are great - fresh and creative. You'll be crying one moment and laughing the next. New songs and special guest artists are featured in every show. See why people have called it "The most fun we've had in years!" There is a $15 cash cover at the door, and a $10 food minimum. Doors open at 7 p.m. To get a sample of what you're in for, see "Lunch at Costco" on YouTube, or at Check our "Facebook Friend" song, featuring Angelica Roque, at
For reservations, call (323) 856-0036.

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Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald and Her Trio will perform in the Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center on May 10th and 11th. Except...Sometimes, the debut CD from actress and author Molly Ringwald, was released by Concord Records on April 9th. An homage to the Great American Songbook, Ringwald has crafted a carefully chosen selection of nine standards which she caps off with her take on The Breakfast Club classic, "Don't You (Forget About Me)." Molly herself says, "I believe that the Great American Songbook is one of our national treasures. The songs penned by these brilliant composers and lyricists have thrilled and inspired me since I was a child. I have found equal inspiration in many of the great singers who have sung these songs. Bessie, Ella, Anita, Blossom, and Susannah have all taught—and continue to teach— me how to sing. I am both humbled and emboldened by their musical virtuosity and tremendous gifts of interpretation and look forward to performing them at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts." Show times are at 7 p.m. on Thursday the 10th, and Friday the 11th. Tickets prices are $35-$45. For reservations, call (702) 749-2000.

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On Thursday, May 9th at 7:30 p.m., the Las Vegas Civic Orchestra, under the direction of Steven Trinkle, performs the final program of the season. The concert will feature three soloists, Erin VanderWyst, clarinet, in the Weber Concertino in E-flat major, by Carl Maria von Weber; Richard Paugh, performing the Joseph Hayden Trumpet Concerto; and Johann Thomsen, in the Concerto for the Timpani by Jaromir Weinberger. Thomsen is an 8th grade student at Garrett Junior High School in Boulder City. He has completed two years of band under the direction of Alison Bradley, and two years of Percussion Ensemble study with Adam Hallam. Johann, 13, is the son of principal oboist with the Civic Orchestra, Sharol Thomsen. The Weinberg Concerto for the Timpani, composed in 1939, is one of a small handful of concerto works for the timpani. This season was Johann's debut with the orchestra and his first experience as a soloist. VanderWyst, a native of Wisconsin, is a doctoral student at UNLV completing her first year of study in Las Vegas in the studio of Marina Sturm. Paugh, a junior from Oklahoma, is a student in the studio of Steven Trinkle. The Las Vegas Civic Orchestra, sponsored by the UNLV Department of Music and the Division of Educational Outreach, is a community ensemble open to any UNLV students and Las Vegas area residents who wish to perform in an orchestra. The ensemble performs a wide variety of standard symphonic repertoire. Participation provides the opportunity to practice performing skills in an enjoyable community setting. The concert is in Room 160 of the Beam Music Center on the UNLV campus, and is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Maryland Parkway Department of Music lot, and the UNLV Foundation lot, accessible by Cottage Grove Avenue. Seating is limited.

Also taking place at UNLV, as they wind down their 10th Anniversary Season, the Nevada Conservatory Theatre is presenting the triple Tony-winning Urinetown, through May 12th in the Judy Bayley Theatre. Show times are at 8 p.m., May 3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th and 11th, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on May 5th and 12th. Tickets are $20-30 for adults, with 10 percent off for those under 18. For tickets or additional information, visit the website or call (702) 895-ARTS (2787).

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Our longtime friend, actor Bart Williams, who knows more about vintage films and the stars of the Golden Era than anyone else we know, passes along the news that Deanna Durbin has passed away. We took the following information from the Internet. Canadian singer and actress Deanna Durbin, who enjoyed a short but successful career as a Universal contract star from 1936 to 1948, has died. She was 91. Durbin passed away "a few days ago," her son told the New York Times. Cause of death was not disclosed. Durbin was discovered at age 13 by MGM but moved to Universal the next year. There her debut film Three Smart Girls earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination and launched her career as one of the most popular teen idols of her generation. In 1939, she shared a Juvenile Academy Award with Mickey Rooney for their "significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as juvenile players setting a high standard of ability and achievement." Career highlights include One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937), First Love (1939), and The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943). Attempts at a more mature image led the ex-child star to roles in the 1944 noir Christmas Holiday opposite Gene Kelly, and 1945's Lady On A Train. She retired in 1949 and, in 1960, earned a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Deanna Durbin 1921-2013

Michael Jackson by Alex Krasky

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Meet Ukrainian artist Alex Krasky Friday, May 3rd, at a 5 p.m. reception at the West Las Vegas Arts Center Community Gallery, located at 947 W. Lake Mead Blvd. Krasky, now a Las Vegas resident, left Ukraine in 1997, journeying for three years through seven countries to make his way to the United States. At the urging of his wife, Krasky took oil painting classes after he was laid off from his job in 2009. It was the first time he held brushes in his hand. After four classes, his instructor urged him to just go home and paint; she had nothing else to teach him. He has not stopped painting since. Krasky and his art have been featured on television news shows, in magazine and newspaper articles, and acknowledged by the President of the United States and other elected officials. His works will be on exhibit at the center through June 8th, and also may be seen on his website, The gallery is open to the public Wednesdays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (702) 229-4800.

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Jerry Halliday with Sista Girl & Granny Goodtimes

Jimmy Emerson

Puppeteer/comedian, Jerry Halliday, wants it known that he and some of his favorite puppet characters will be performing at the 6th Annual Prime Timers Western Regional Gathering at the Tuscany Suites Hotel Casino, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 8th. Jerry creates all the puppets and does their voices live, with no lip-syncing. For the Prime Timers event, among the characters Jerry will be doing are Bette Davis, Mae West and Carol Channing. Also providing entertainment for the Prime Timers gathering will be Jimmy Emerson's Un-BOY-lievable, with Brent Allen, Kenneth Rex, Ryan Zink, Toni James, and special guests, "eye candy," Chippendales dancer Bryan Cheatham, and dancer/internet star, Paul Pratt. Un-BOY-lievable will play at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7th, in the Tuscany's upstairs ballroom. The Prime Timers is a national organization, made up of middle-aged, mostly professional, gay men. For more information about the group and/or the upcoming Western Regional get-together, please call, Secretary Pete Pedersen at (702) 553-5713 (leave a message). Here's a teaser,

Bryan Cheatham

Bernie Allen

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Tommy Moore, from Wrightsville Beach N.C., who came across Claire Voyant while researching Bernie Allen, who he did a newspaper column on in the '80s in Philadelphia, is trying to locate a copy of the late comic's autobiography, Have A Clown on Me. Maybe one of our readers can help. Hey. Maybe Steve Rossi can help! After all, Bernie Allen and Mr. Rossi were stage partners for a spell. Readers? Rossi?

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