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 June 07, 2013
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - June 7, 2013


The Art of Garilyn Brune

West Hollywood srtist, Garilyn Brune (pronounced Broo-nie), brings Larger than Life Art to Las Vegas in a sexy exhibition at RTZvegas at Art Square. The Big Big World of Garilyn Brune is a show- stopping tribute to a storied career that turns Americana on its head with a sexy, brash, stylish, controversial and utterly outrageous body of work. And now it is in Las Vegas where it has always belonged. RTZvegas gallery teams with guest curator, Michael Feder, to present the artist's retrospective exhibition. The West Hollywood-based fine artist has devoted his career to turning Americana on its head, and with "The Big, Big World of Garilyn Brune. A onetime fashion designer whose love of illustration superseded his desire to make garments, Brune is perhaps best known for his illustrations of full-figured women, some of whom will be donning showgirl outfits for this Sin City stand - and his confrontational 1995 Tom of Finland Emerging Erotic Artist Award-winning piece which invigorated his career while very nearly ending it. Both facets of Brune's work will be on display at RTZvegas, along with a few big surprises. Brune's life is itself a form of art. Born into a Pentecostal household in 1955, Brune grew up underneath an extraordinarily diverse umbrella of styles and cultures: He took equal inspiration from gospel music, the glam and Black Arts movements of the 1970s and the costume designers of Hollywood's golden age. It was a lot for a young, shy, gay man to process, but when it all came together, it resulted in art that's like nothing you've seen before. "The Big, Big World of Garilyn Brune" will push your buttons. It takes determination to stare down the work even if its message of fighting sexual abuse within the church is ultimately a profound and timely one. And though his "Fat Girls Series" promotes positive body image, there's something down-and-dirty about the way those ladies regard your gaze. "Size acceptance is the last bastion of acceptable discrimination in the world," says Brune, and the subjects of his work tell you that they won't put up with it. This is a big moment for both Garilyn Brune and Las Vegas - a collision of pop culture, sex, religion and politics. See it for yourself at 1017 S. First Street, Suite 195. The Big, Big World of Garilyn Brune" runs at RTZvegas through Saturday, July 27th. RTZvegas gallery at Art Square is an entrepreneurial arts space launched by Richard Hooker. The gallery presents monthly exhibitions and serves as a platform for special projects. For gallery hours, call (702) 592-2164. As for guest curator, Michael Feder, he is an art collector, art dealer and is instrumental in the development of the Southern Vernacular Art collection at the House of Blues. As a managing partner in the creative service organizations, Fame Farm and Entertainment Exhibitions, Mr. Feder develops and executes unique licensing and exhibition campaigns for select clients.

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Bill Fayne

Vita Corimbi

Reminders...
It's The Book of MERMAN! at The Onyx Theatre, 953 E. Sahara, Bldg. 16, in Commercial Center, this weekend. Ethel Merman was the last of her kind: a grand talent with equally immense vehicles to showcase her clarion voice and impeccable comic timing. Merman sang into her mid seventies. In her sixties she performed in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel. She was referred to as "The Happy Earthquake to Hit Las Vegas." Our show recreates the music from her Las Vegas show and recalls stories and the great music spanning her long illustrious career. This show was created by Bill Fayne and features three different and equally talented "Ethels"... Vita Corimbi, Kellie Wright, and actor/comic, Jimmy Emerson, who slips into his stilettos to fill in for an ailing Denise Clemente. Show times are at 8 p.m. tonight, Friday, June 7th, and at the same time tomorrow night. Tickets are $20. To purchase, buy them at The Onyx Box Office, call (702) 732-7225, or go to www.OnyxTheatre.com.

And, on Sunday, June 9th at 2 p.m., the Las Vegas Men's Chorus presents their free spring concert, All I Really Need To Know I Learned From Broadway, at the Community Lutheran Church, 3720 E. Tropicana Ave. Directed by The Phat Pack's Bruce Ewing, the chorus members and guest soloist, Casey Lee Moore, will sing selections from Broadway's past and present, including numbers from West Side Story, Damn Yankees, Titanic: The Musical, The Book of Mormon, Will Rogers Follies, Guys and Dolls and more. Ewing says this performance "will appeal to Broadway experts and novices alike. If you enjoy listening to entertaining singing, you will love this concert. Please come join us as we show you what we have learned from Broadway!" Donations, to be used to produce future concerts, will be gratefully accepted.


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The Thursday, June 13th meeting of the F.I.O.R.E. Non-Club Club should be most interesting. The special guest (they are ALL special) speaker will be Ken Walther, former CIA agent. During his career with the CIA, Ken spent 17 years serving on overseas assignments, and his work led him to visit 102 countries. Twenty years of experience, with the CIA and military, allowed Ken to experience a variety of cultures, languages and operational activities. He built many relationships with persons of all types, ranging from heads of State to low level agents and unsavory characters from the dark side of the equation. This exposure to a cross section of humanity was extremely valuable in being able to communicate and convince certain personalities to commit themselves and even risk their lives for the overall good. Ken retains some fluency in French, Spanish with conversational familiarity in Mandarin, Thai, German, Swedish, and Swahili. Living for extended periods in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and Europe were building blocks in a succession of intelligence operations against a variety of targets to include: Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Espionage, Counter-Narcotics, Counter-Intelligence and Arms Interdiction. Ken will discuss a controversial topic that addresses the Terrorism that is seldom recognized for what it is: Radical Islamic Terrorism worldwide and their protected status through Politically Correctness that is killing many parts of the Western World, including France, the UK, Holland, many African States and most importantly, the USA. Refusing to recognize the root of Terrorism will insure their success. Of course, there will be a great buffet lunch, live music, 50/50 adventures, camaraderie and more - all for a mere $25.

The fun takes place at the Italian American Club at 2333 E. Sahara, beginning at 11:30 a.m. RSVPs are a MUST. Contact [email protected], or [email protected].

Nelson Sardelli also reports that the annual Father's Day event, on Sunday, June 16th, at the Veterans Home in Boulder City is shaping up well. We will have some details, including the names of those who are donating their talent to entertain the man and women who have served our country, next Friday.


Ken Walther

George & Barbara Bush with Rat Pack Is Back Cast

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Former President, George H. Bush, and former First Lady, Barbara Bush, had a ring-a-ding good time attending a performance of Dick Feeney's Rat Pack is Back show at Maine's Ogunquin Playhouse this past weekend. The cast, just completing a sold out three week engagement at the famed theater, were honored and overwhelmed when the President and First Lady wanted to go back stage and meet the cast. The Bushs were so impressed with the performance, they invited the Rat Pack Is Back cast to visit them at their famed and exclusive Kennebunkport, Maine, retreat. Presidents and members of the Rat Pack. Sounds familiar.

Photo caption (from left to right): Kyle Diamond (Sammy), First Lady Barbara Bush, Drew Anthony (Dean), President George H. Bush, Richard Hall (Musical Conductor), Brian Duprey (Frank) and Mickey Joseph (Joey).

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Frankie Moreno & Firenze Strings Ensemble

Normally, if you want to see Frankie Moreno singing and playing the piano, you would have to head to a casino at night (he and his band currently perform at the Stratosphere, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.). However, tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, June 8th at 2, you can see and hear Firenze (String Ensemble), Frankie (Moreno) & Friends (whoever shows up), in the theater at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod (just north of Desert Inn). Described as "A new spin on Classical), tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For additional information, call (702) 455-7340.

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Jim Caruso's Cast Party with Billy Stritch makes its Smith Center debut on Wednesday, June19th, with a show in the Cabaret Jazz club at 9:30 p.m. For those who don't know, Jim Caruso's Cast Party is a wildly popular weekly open mic event that has brought a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the legendary Birdland in New York City every Monday night for the past 10 years. It's a cool cabaret night-out, enlivened by a hilariously impromptu variety show. Showbiz superstars hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle. Caruso, and musical director/pianist Billy Stritch, who made their Vegas debut a year ago in an off-Strip venue, are chomping at the bit to celebrate and join forces with the extraordinary local talent. At their last Vegas outing, they were joined by Donny Osmond, Clint Holmes, Mimi Hines, Frankie Moreno, and Cashetta (the plus-size medium), along with stars of Jersey Boys, Vegas! The Show, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, and so many more. On Monday nights in Manhattan, Birdland has been the ultimate spot to mix and mingle with show folk and their fans. The buoyant, sharp and charming Caruso guides the entire affair like a bubbly cruise director, musical genius Billy Stritch holds court at the ivories, and the audience is invited to participate in the festivities! It's the bash that would happen if somehow David Letterman and Ed Sullivan threw a hip house party around a nine-foot concert grand piano. Among the A-Listers seen at New York's Cast Party have been Liza Minnelli, Michael Feinstein, Fiona Apple, Martin Short, Melissa Manchester, Donny Osmond, Josh Groban, Betty Comden, Jason Alexander, Linda Lavin, Jon Bon Jovi, Dave Koz, Carol Channing, Stephen Schwartz, Tony Bennett, along with Las Vegans, Brent Barrett, Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton Holmes. Tickets for Jim Caruso's Cast Party are $20 and $30. Hopefully, we will have the names of some of the Smith Center performers in time for next Friday's column. The Smith Center is located at 361 Symphony Park Ave. in downtown Las Vegas. For reservations, call (702) 749-2000, or go to the website at www.thesmithcenter.com.


Jim Caruso & Billy Stritch

Philip Fortenberry

And speaking of The Smith Center, Philip Fortenberry, virtuoso pianist, composer, recording artist, and associate conductor of Jersey Boys on the Las Vegas Strip, will debut The Man at the Piano, his new, intimate acoustic 75-minute cabaret-style concert in the elegant 250-seat Cabaret Jazz showroom on Sunday, June 23rd, at 2:30 p.m. Fortenberry will showcase his signature playing style with the music surrounding his own life story as a pianist from rural Mississippi, to becoming a much sought-after Broadway pianist, a concert artist at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, The White House, giving command performances for royals and dignitaries such as President Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, the late Margaret Thatcher, then on to his journey to Las Vegas on the famous Strip with Broadway-Vegas shows, as the featured musical artist in residence at the Liberace Museum with his critically-acclaimed one-man show, Liberace and Me, eight solo CD releases, and performing numerous concerts around the U.S. During the concert at The Smith Center, Philip will share his insights into the music and the special meaning it has for him by performing solo offerings of popular classical and Broadway show music he loves, including "Memory" from Cats, "Getting' Ready Rag" from Ragtime, "Malaguena," Chopin's "Aeolian Harp" Etude, and Liberace's famous arrangements of "Nola" and "Chopsticks," all presented with Fortenberrry's own brand of southern charm. Tickets are $35 and $25, and can be purchased at The Smith Center Box Office, by phone (702) 749-2000, or online www.thesmithcenter.com. For more information about Fortenberry's prestigious career, or to purchase his solo CDs, check him out online at www.philipfortenberry.com. Now that we have you ready to run for the phone, we have to let you know that, if you haven't already made your reservations, you are out of luck when it comes to seeing Mr. Fortenberry's concert at The Smith Center. It is more than two weeks until show time, and the much anticipated concert is already Sold Out! He (or she) who hesitated, will have to wait until Philip's return to the Smith...which we are sure, based on the public interest, will happen. We will keep you posted.

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Join Lisa Smith on vocals, and Greg Hartline on guitar and vocals, as they bring cool, acoustic-type jazz to the Tropicana Lounge in The NEW Tropicana Las Vegas, at 3801 Las Vegas Blvd South on the Las Vegas Strip, tonight (Friday, June 8th), and June 15th and 16th, for the 5 to 8:30 p.m. Happy Hour. Guests must be 21 or older. There is no cover charge. TropPlus Players Club Members can purchase drinks for half-price, so get your card if you don‘t already have one. (We can't impress enough how important is to have a TropPlus players card if you are going to buy a drink, of ANY kind, anywhere in the hotel. If you don't have a card, the price of the drinks (sticker shock) will knock you on your you-know-what!!! You have been warned!

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A week ago, more than 200 Caesars Entertainment employees, along with entertainers, world champion juggler and The Quad headliner, Jeff Civillico and comedian, magician and headliner at Harrah's Las Vegas, Mac King, dedicated the company's newly-adopted Angel Park Trail during its Kids to Parks Day event on June 2nd. As part of the outdoor celebration, team members and their families enjoyed outdoor activities, including obstacles like a speed ladder and army crawl along the first leg of the trail. There was also entertainment, games and a cookout with sustainable and healthy menu items. National Kids to Parks Day is a program that promotes conservation and recreation, while inspiring families to explore America's parks. This is the second year Caesars has participated in National Kids to Parks Day as part of the organizations CodeGreen sustainability initiative. Caesars Entertainment, the company with a heart!


Mac King & Jeff Civillico

Grant Philipo Escorts April March

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Much like the late Perry Como (you remember Perry, don't you?), "We get letters. We get lots and lots of letters." Here are some examples of what readers have on their minds...
Regarding the HBO Liberace/Scott Thorson biopic, here is some of what we heard about Behind the Candelabra...

From the Gay Travelers (coming to a town near you), Donald Pile and Ray Williams in Kansas City, Missouri, here is some of what they had to share with us (we almost feel like we had been there!):
We have cable but not HBO, so with four gay couples here who are good friends of ours who do not have cable and wanted desperately see the movie, we pooled our money (ha ha, $10 each) and rented a hotel room (actually because the hotel was not booked up, and they knew what we wanted, they gave us a Suite. We all brought our own liquor, cheese and munchies and that is how we watched the movie. We also brought some of our Liberace framed photos, etc. to sit around. Poor Debbie Reynolds only had a VERY small part and only said about 10 words in the movie. She truly WAS unrecognizable! The movie DID put Liberace in a VERY bad light. It was VERY depressing. Dan Aykroyd's part was just a flash in the pan also. We think that sometimes it is best just to let sleeping dogs lie and not tell the whole world about one's life. After seeing the movie we are glad that it did not go out in movie theatres across the nation as it would have been a total bomb! And you are 100% correct about the parents/guardians of a 17 year old boy (or girl) allowing them to get into a relationship with a person old enough to be their father (OR GRANDFATHER). Lee was 57 when he first got with 17 year old Scott ! Philip Fortenberry's part of the film was the best of all! But the movie is a MUST see for people like you and us.

In response to our comments last Friday about producers/investors who make no effort (or even cooperate with the media) to take advantage of FREE advertising available to promote their projects, reader Tom Hammant sent the following message:
For the record, I first visited Vegas in 1966, then lived there in 1972-73, before retiring and moving back here from the East Coast (MD/DC/VA area) in 2006 (my relatives have lived here since the 1960s). I was an avid musical theatergoer for many years (since 1961 actually) back East and saw that the only way theatre really survived back there was when folks understood that one had to nail down the "business part" of show business first before any show would last. I strongly believe that lack of the business/advertising/promotion whatever you want to call it is a big reason why many efforts at "show business" continues to fail here in Las Vegas. Hopefully, one day, folks here will get the message, make the unglamorous business effort, and the "show will go on," so to speak. Talented People, Lack of Audiences in Las Vegas. Re: Putting on the Show (UNLV). This seems to be a permanent problem in this town. With all of the talent here, there is a definite lack of emphasis on the "Business" part of "Show Business." All of the talented people involved always seem to believe, if you have the talent people will just show up. Well, Vegas is NOT NYC or LA. One really has to focus on getting the butts in the seats first, otherwise no show. Hopefully, the Powers that Be will finally recognize this fact. The people/potential audiences are here (2,000,000 now) in Vegas, but they have to be drawn in by savvy advertising, etc. Just my opinion after 7 years living here.

And regarding the sad news about the passing of the multi-talented Billy T (Tragesser), Allen Tramont sends along this note:
I am very sorry to hear about Billy T. He was a fine musician. This recording of "America, I Love You So" is Billy's final arrangement and cut. Mike Corda wrote the music and lyrics to it, and I did the vocal version. It was Mike's favorite. We did it live for all the dignitaries in town... even for Ross Perot over the phone. The lyric was written into the congressional record in 1995 by Harry Reid. Billy will be missed.
We wish we could figure out how to attach the Link to "America, I Love You So" in this column, so readers could hear it for themselves. Mr. Tramont did a fine job singing it.

Note: How many have been around here long enough to remember when the local TV stations used to sign off the air during the late night hours? When Channel 8 was going off, they would show a peaceful-looking video, accompanied by Robert Goulet singing Mike Corda and Paul Francis Webster's beautiful "The Green Years of Love." We were rather disappointed when the channel started staying on around the clock. We missed the music when they stopped using it. The song is available on Goulet's 1990 CD, The Best of Robert Goulet.

And Diana Saunders wrote us after her experience at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. Here is some of what she had to say:
I just got home from seeing "The Burlesque Hall of Fame" at the Orleans! It was so fantastic, I just needed to share it with you! It was the night of the legends! Jan Rude, aka Rudalenska, performed with the wonderful Lulu. Rudalenska makes us women look bad! He has been taking dance class with me at Backstage Dance Studio with Angelo Moio, teacher extraordinaire...and it showed!! Delilah Jones was also fantastic, as was Dusty Summers and Gina BonBon!! The reason I know these names is that Grant Philipo, who was responsible for most of the costumes at this event, introduced me to them at many of his wonderful soirees that he has at his home! I felt honored to be among this most eclectic group of entertainers! The audience reaction was the best I've ever encountered! If only we could bottle their enthusiasm!! I had such a great time! It was totally amazing!!!

A little background on Ms. Saunders. She has performed on the stages of New York, and is a former production show entertainer who is currently supervising the gondola program at The Venetian. She has been invited to the watch the Tonys in L.A. as they are being simulcast from NY. Tommy Tune is hosting the California event! Diana worked with Tommy in her first Broadway show, Baker Street, so she is looking forward to seeing him again! We have the most interesting readers!

And, speaking of the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, as part of the weekend at The Orleans, in addition to creating some of the glamorous garments worn by the participating queens of tease, on Saturday afternoon, June 1st, Grant Philipo shared historical and anecdotal information about the trajectory of the business in Showgirls, Showboys, and Vegas-style Burlesque. Drawing from his extensive experience as a producer, writer, choreographer and designer in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Philipo knows his stuff. Born and raised in Iowa, Grant is the youngest person to ever produce a full-scale, 35-plus cast member, multi-million dollar spectacular for a major Las Vegas Strip property. His 90 Degrees & Rising premiered at the Dunes Hotel & Casino to rave reviews. Most impressive is the fact that 90 Degrees & Rising was produced for a fraction of the amount spent on similar Strip extravaganzas. Philipo's career has taken him from years of artistic, vocal and dramatic achievements and awards, to professional careers as a lead singer/dancer and makeup artist, to being a top high-fashion model, and on to working alongside and designing with, and for, such greats as Bob Mackie, Michael Travis, Ann-Margret, Dolly Parton, Eartha Kitt and Liberace, to mention just a few. Grant has earned scholarships, and performed and trained others at the Des Moines Museum of Art, USC San Diego, Stage 7 (San Diego's only Professional Entertainment Academy), Barbizon, San Diego Ballet Company and the Pygmalion Institute in Las Vegas. For a number of years, Philipo's costumes have been displayed alongside those of major well-known designers at UNLV's Art Museum Showing of "The Las Vegas Showgirl," as well as been featured on MTV, Biography, A&E and the Billboard Music Awards. Grant's award-winning shows and costumes have graced almost every stage in Las Vegas, as well as a number of those in Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Japan and Mexico. Unlike others in his profession, he produces, writes, designs, directs and stages all of his own shows. His collection of costumes contains the largest number of privately owned Bob Mackie creations, as well as numerous pieces by Pete Menefee and Michael Travis. As the onetime Artistic Director for the Hollywood Wax Museums, Grant's re-creations of garments worn by stars and royalty are still on display in both the Los Angeles and Branson, Missouri, locations, as well as in Fong's Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and the Guinness World Book of Records Museums in California and Florida. Philipo's work had also been on display at the now closed Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park, California.

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Here is something to ponder, if you have the time to ponder. How can a person with the credit/financial history of, say, a Wayne Newton, manage to live the way he does? The latest in the Newton saga, which has included bankruptcies and lawsuits, is that the onetime "Midnight Idol" has purchased the former home and property of producer Norbert Aleman (Crazy Girls). What we have learned about the Aleman "estate," is that it is located at 4140 Oquendo Road, in the southeast part of Las Vegas. According to the real estate listing on the Internet, the main house, built in 2003, is approximately 9,145 square feet in size (don't know if that does or doesn't include the six-car garages). The Internet indicates that the property sold around May 30th, for a little more than $3 million, in a cash deal. By the time you are reading this, "Mr. Las Vegas" may have already moved out of his famed, and troubled, 40-acre estate, Casa de Shenandoah, where he has lived for more than four decades. The herd of horses Newton owned have apparently been moved from the Pecos and Sunset property. His new property should have enough room for his collection of exotic birds. Neighbors around Casa de Shenandoah are probably breathing sighs of relief that they won't have to deal with the projected tourist attraction that we might have named "DisGraceland."


Wayne Newton

The Late Anthony Del Valle

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Greg Marciel, 61, of Henderson, passed away at his home on May 31st. Greg was a devoted father and respected musician in the Las Vegas community. He took up the study of trumpet in the fourth grade, and was later awarded a scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Greg played in virtually every showroom in Las Vegas, and also performed with his own band, Group Therapy. Greg is survived by his mother, Pat Turner; father and stepmother, Steve and Irene Marciel; brother, Glenn Marciel; brother and sister-in-law, Gary and Katy Marciel; niece and nephew, Emily and Kirk Marciel; former wife, Jessica Marciel and daughter, Lexi Marciel; and former wife, Ellen Marciel and daughter, Ariana Marciel. Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow, June 8th, at Community Lutheran Church, 3720 E. Tropicana Ave. in Las Vegas. Our sympathy goes out to Greg's family.

And a reminder...
Las Vegas' oldest community theater, The Las Vegas Little Theatre, has graciously agreed to host the memorial celebration of life for Anthony Del Valle. The service for the late theater critic, who passed away on May 21st, at the age of 60, will be held at 3 p.m. on the Little Theatre's Mainstage, Saturday, June 15th. The theater is located at 3920 Schiff Drive, near Spring Mountain and Valley View. The public is invited to attend.

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Esther Williams by Martin Kreloff

The Million Dollar Mermaid, Esther Williams, died yesterday, June 6th, at the age of 91.
The swimming champion turned actress starred in glittering and aquatic Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. Following in the footsteps of Sonja Henie, who went from an ice skating champion to a movie star, Williams became one of Hollywood's biggest moneymakers, appearing in spectacular swimsuit numbers that capitalized on her wholesome beauty and perfect figure. Films, such as Easy to Wed, Neptune's Daughter and Dangerous When Wet, followed the same formula, "romance, music, a bit of comedy and a flimsy plot that provided excuses to get Esther into the water." Although we remember lots of the films that Ms. Williams made, where she wore a swimsuit in many of the scenes, we also remember, quite clearly, a dramatic movie she made in 1956, called The Unguarded Moment, in which she co-starred with George Nader. The REAL reason we remember that motion picture was because of another cast member, a young (21) and handsome Jon Saxon in one of his very first films.

Among Esther Williams four husbands, was actor Fernando Lamas, who always looked "marvelous." Esther is survived by her husband of almost 20 years, Edward Bell.

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American Idol Live!

Idol Judges Need New Photo

Idol chatter...
We're not sure why, but a number of scheduled stops for the American Idol Live! tour have been cancelled, including the July12th date at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. If you had planned to see Season 12 Idol finalists - Amber Holcomb, Angie Miller, Burnell Taylor, Candice Glover, Curtis Finch Jr, Devin Velez, Janelle Arthur, Kree Harrison, Lazaro Arbos, and Paul Jolley - in person, looks like you will have to do it someplace other than Las Vegas. Also, if you hadn't already heard, neither one of the Idol "diva judges," Mariah Carey and/or Nicki Minaj, will be returning next season. Dawg, Randy Jackson, had announced earlier that he would be leaving Idol. So, the question is, who will be sitting at the judges table next season.

And speaking of television programming, apparently, we aren't the only ones who don't like Katie Couric's talk show. According to the Internet (FOXNEWS.com and TV Buzz on Wednesday), "(Katie - the name of the show) is an unmitigated disaster," one seasoned studio executive said. "One of the biggest failures ever in syndication. Terrible ratings, no growth, shouldn't be on the air. Where did it miss the mark? Let's start with her, she is dreadfully boring. The show offers nothing new to the audience, nothing to say." When Katie launched in September 2012, and many expected that Couric would fill Oprah's shoes as the ultimate talk show Queen, and although the show is number one in the ranks of first-year talk shows in terms of ratings, it has endured an erratic, overall underperformance. Nielsen Media Research reported that in mid-May Couric's show averaged a 1.6 rating/5 share average in households, down 30 percent from the same time period last year. From the co-host of NBC's once unbeatable "Today Show" to an esteemed CBS Evening News anchor, Katie Couric was once America's most trusted sweetheart for delivering the news. But could her freshman daytime ABC talk show, be her demise?" "The program has had trouble finding a hook," wrote Laure Bennett for New Republic. "On ‘Katie,' Couric has seemed at times like a peppy lifestyle reporter and at times like a defanged news anchor..." In Las Vegas, Katie is on FOX-5 twice a day, first at 2 p.m. and then repeated at 3 a.m. We find her most annoying - from her cloying behavior with celebrities, to her attempts to "compete" with her guests, whether it be trying to out-sing Hugh Jackman (would we make this up?) or beat other guests in games or TV trivia. And what is with her constantly blinking eyes? We know. We know. That's why they made remote controls. Are we being mean-spirited, or just brutally honest? You decide, dear readers.


Katie Couric

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Super Summer Theatre and Huntsman Entertainment present The Music Man, June 12th through 29th, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:05 p.m. The Music Man is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson (with two "L"s in Willson), based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys' band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive townsfolk before skipping town with the cash. In River City, Iowa, prim librarian and piano teacher, Marian Paroo, sees through him, but when Hill helps her younger brother overcome his fear of social interactions due to his lisp, Marian begins to fall in love with Harold. Harold, in turn falling for Marian, risks being caught to win her. In 1957, the show became a hit on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and running for 1,375 performances. Songs include

"Ya Got Trouble," "Seventy-six Trombones," "Goodnight, My Someone," and "Till There Was You." The cast album won the first Grammy Award for "Best Original Cast Album" and was No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 245 weeks. The show's success led to revivals and a popular 1962 film adaptation and a 2003 television remake. Rated G. Super Summer Theatre is located about 15 miles outside Las Vegas, within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. There are two routes to the park. Directions via the Charleston Route - If you head west out of Las Vegas on Charleston Boulevard, 10 miles past the intersection of 215 and W. Charleston Boulevard, the entrance to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park will be on the right. Watch for the signs. Directions via the Blue Diamond Route - You can also enter the canyon area from the south by taking I-15 South to State Route 160 (Blue Diamond Road). Take Route 160 West, turn right onto State Route 159, go past Blue Diamond. You will pass Bonnie Springs and 1 mile further will be the entrance to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park on your left. While there is normally an entrance fee of $7 per vehicle to enter the park, this fee is waived for Super Summer Theatre Patrons arriving after 5 p.m., when General Parking opens. Meadow seating opens at 6 p.m. Don't arrive late! The main park gate closes at 8:30 p.m. Pass through the Park entrance gate and make a left at the "T" in the road following the ‘ALL THEATRE PARKING' sign to the theatre parking lot. You can purchase your tickets online through our "print at home" option at ShowTix4u.com or "mail to your home" option at UNLVtickets.com. Tickets may purchased in advance for $12. Children 5 and under are FREE. Tickets may also be purchased at the gate on the date of performance. Gate tickets are $20. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! It's a long way to drive, only to find out the show is Sold Out. You can purchase tickets in person at the UNLV Performing Arts Box Office located at Ham Hall (4505 S. Maryland Parkway) or Prestige Travel's Summerlin office (7550 W. Lake Mead Blvd. in the VONS Shopping Center). You can bring blankets, picnic dinners, snacks, beverages (or enjoy the Concession stand), regular folding or patio chairs, or rent chairs at the park for $1 each. PLEASE do not bring high-back chaise lounges, sandchairs or pets (except for service animals). Note: No matter the temperatures in Las Vegas, it can get cold at Spring Mountain Ranch once the sun goes down. We urge you to take jackets...really!

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If you are in the San Fernando Valley, it's Mark Winkler and Dolores Scozzesi on stage at Vitello's Jazz & Supper Club, 4349 Tujunga Ave. in Studio City, starting at 8, TONIGHT! (Hey, don't blame us for the late notice. We just got this!) Mark will be singing songs from his Top 25 Jazzweek CD, The Laura Nyro Project. He will be joined by the one-of-a-kind vocalist, Ms. Scozzesi, who will be singing tunes from some of the other great "Troubadours" of the Seventies - Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Phoebe Snow and Richie Havens. The duos play list includes, "Stoned Soul Picnic," "And When I Die," "Upstairs By a Chinese Lamp," "River," "Poetry Man," "You Can Leave Your Hat On," and much more. Mark and Dolores will be backed by The Rich Eames Quartet, featuring Dave Tull, Kevin Axt and Pat Kelley. Tickets are $25. Call (818) 769-0905, or just show up!


Mark Winkler & Dolores Scozzesi

Sammy Cahn

And, if you're in Manhattan...Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, with special guest, Jeff Harnar, will celebrate composer Sammy Cahn, who would have turned 100 on June 18th, with a show at The Triad's Stage 72, at 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 18th. Cahn wrote songs made famous by Dean Martin, Doris Day, Nat "King" Cole, Mario Lanza, Bing Crosby, and, oh yes, Frank Sinatra. Known as "The Rat Pack Poet," the New York-born, multi-Oscar-winning lyricist, includes "All the Way," "Call Me Irresponsible," "I Fall In Love Too Easily," "Love and Marriage," "The Tender Trap," "Day By Day," "Come Fly With Me," "Time After Time," "It's Magic," "Be My Love," "I'll Walk Alone," "My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)," "The Second Time Around," "Because You're Mine," and many, many, many more. The Triad is located at 158 West 72nd Street in New York City. General admission is $25 ($26.87 with service fee). Please note the venue has a 2-drink minimum. You may purchase tickets securely online or by 24/7 Ticket hotline at (800) 838-3006. All Tickets are Will Call. Please arrive about 20-30 minutes prior to the show to get your seats.

This year, in addition to Sammy Cahn, born 100 years ago on June 18th, the year 2013 also is the centennial year of the births of, among others, Frankie Laine (March 30), Dan Dailey (December 14), Alan Ladd (September 3), Harry Babbitt (November 2), Danny Kaye (January 18), Hedy Lamarr (November 9), Vivien Leigh (November 5), Mary Martin (December 1), Tyrone Power (May 5), Red Skelton (July 18), Tony Martin (December 25), Jimmy Van Heusen (January 26), and Loretta Young (January 6). Our friend, actor/film producer, Bart Williams, tells us that Actors Equity Association also celebrates its 100th year in 2013. You never know when this information might come in handy.

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Next Thursday, June 13th, the "Dynamic Duo," Lady "J" Huston and Ricco Diamante, will host the Variety Toast of the Town in the Sam's Town Live! Showroom, at Sam's Town Hotel, 5111 Boulder Highway at Flamingo Rd. The one hour show starts at 2 p.m., with doors opening at 1. Tickets are Free and available to B-Connected Card Members, through the Casino's Kiosks. If you don't have a card, sign-up is free.


Lady "J" Huston

The Piano Guys

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The UNLV Performing Arts Center proudly welcomes The Piano Guys to the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 13th. Hailing from Utah, The Piano Guys became an Internet sensation by way of their immensely successful series of strikingly original self-made music videos. They have made 35 since joining forces a little more than a year ago. Their most recent hit video is an innovative 10-handed version of One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful." But it's the Guys' highly original blend of classical music with pop that has really been the cause of an Internet phenomenon that brought them to their major label debut album, The Piano Guys, released on Sony Masterworks in October 2012. The album features more of the imaginative mash-up arrangements that The Piano Guys are already famous for, including sources ranging from Michael Jackson to Mozart, The Bourne Identity to David Guetta. It also includes an original song and innovative takes on hits by Adele and Christina Perri. Just who are The Piano Guys? Actually, there's only one piano player, Jon Schmidt, and one other instrumentalist, Steven Sharp Nelson, on cello. Yet the other three - Paul Anderson, producer/ videographer; Tel Stewart, videographer/editor; and Al van der Beek, music/studio - are equally significant members of the group. The Piano Guys' name comes from Anderson's piano store in St. George, Utah, which was called The Piano Guys. They have appeared on TV with Ellen DeGeneres, and on the Today Show, as well as a number of other programs. Tickets to The Piano Guys are $30, $45, $60 and $80, and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at (702) 895-ARTS (2787), or by visiting pac.unlv.edu. A $1.25 facilities fee, in addition to the ticket price, is charged on all Performing Arts Center tickets. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Founded in 1976, the Performing Arts Center at UNLV is Southern Nevada's longest-running performing arts venue. Located on the north end of the UNLV campus, the PAC hosts a variety of performances each year.



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