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 August 16, 2013
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - August 16, 2013

Eydie Gorme 1928-2013

Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme

This community, as well as other parts of the world, are mourning the death of legendary singer Eydie Gorme, who passed away last Saturday, August 19th, at the age of 84. A onetime big band singer, Turkish-Spanish Gorme, born Edith Gormezano in the Bronx section of New York, was known primarily for dramatic, romantic ballads, as well as her Spanish-language recordings and Latin-sounds. Although she had a very successful early career as a solo artist - with hits such as Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann's 1963 hit, "Blame It on the Bossa Nova;" the Grammy-winning "If He Walked Into My Life," from Jerry Herman's Mame); "What Did I Have That I Don't Have?," written by Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner, from Broadway's (and later the film) On A Clear Day You Can See Forever; and "Don't Go to Strangers," by Redd Evans, Arthur Kent and Dave Mann - the popular nightclub and television performer was best known in more recent years as the distaff half of the act known as Steve and Eydie, paired with her husband of 55 years, Steve Lawrence (birth name, Sidney Liebowitz). In 1953, during her first television appearance, Gormé met her future husband, when she and Steve, the son of a cantor, were booked on the original The Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allen. Steve Allen not only played cupid for the two young singers, he also wrote one of the songs most closely identified with the duo, and in the case of Steve and Eydie in 1953, the most appropriately titled, "This Could Be the Start of Something"...and it certainly was. In 1958, the twosome starred together in The Steve Lawrence-Eydie Gorme Show, a summer replacement for The Tonight Show. Much honored for their work, in 1960, Steve and Eydie were awarded the Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group for the album, "We Got Us." In 1995, Gormé and Lawrence were honored for their lifetime contribution to music by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. That same year, at a Beverly Hills gala, Steve and Eydie were presented with the Society of Singers' prestigious Ella Lifetime Achievement Award. Past recipients include Ella Fitzgerald (for whom the award is named), Frank Sinatra, Tony Martin and Peggy Lee. The SOS is a non-profit organization that helps professional singers in need of financial assistance. The Lawrences also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, and have won multiple Emmys for their TV specials that include "Steve and Eydie Celebrate Irving Berlin;" their tribute to George and Ira Gershwin, "Our Love Is Here To Stay;" and "From This Moment On," their musical salute to Cole Porter. Together the duo appeared frequently as guests on TV, including 13 appearances on The Carol Burnett Show. They also appeared together on Broadway in the musical, Golden Rainbow. During the 1970s, the two made guest appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, with either Eydie appearing as the guest and going into her song with Steve suddenly coming out from backstage and joining her, or the other way around. One of the highlights of their half-century career was the "Diamond Jubilee World Tour" with Frank Sinatra. Earning rave reviews, the year long, SRO tour culminated at New York's Madison Square Garden. After the 1970s, the couple focused strictly on the American pop repertoire, recording several albums themed around individual American composers. Not only did these two sing some of the best music ever written (they described their repertoire as "no punk, no funk, no rock, no schlock"), they were funny! The dialogue exchanged between the couple was more humorous than that delivered by most professional comics. Their shows were much more than a concert; they were variety shows of the first order. They became famous on stage for their banter, which usually involved tart, yet affectionate, and sometimes bawdy, references to their married life, which remained a feature of their live act. "If Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme don't entertain you, then no one can entertain you!" said talk show host, Larry King. These two multi-talented entertainers should have been required viewing by any up-and-coming wannabe performer. As the 21st Century arrived, the couple announced their plans to cut back on their touring, launching a "One More For The Road" tour in 2002. In August of 2008, Steve went solo in the showroom at The Orleans, filling in the weekend dates left open by George Carlin's death on June 22nd.

Steve and Eydie had a long Las Vegas history. They were married here at the El Rancho Vegas on December 29th, 1957. They had a home (homes) here, where they lived on and off for many years. Much of their career was spent headlining on the stages of Las Vegas, among them the Desert Inn, Caesars Palace and the Stardust. When they were here, it wasn't unusual to see Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence having dinner is an off-Strip, neighborhood restaurant. It was at Sunrise Hospital, not far from the Lawrence home in Las Vegas, where Eydie, with her family at her side, took her last breath. We hope that in Eydie's memory and honor, and because he is so darned talented (the man still sings like he drinks honey for breakfast, and he is also very funny), that Steve Lawrence will return to the stage. He deserves to be seen and heard by the music-loving public. In addition to her husband, Steve, Eydie is survived by her son, David, an ASCAP award winning composer, and a granddaughter. Steve and Eydie's other son, Michael, died suddenly from ventricular fibrillation resulting from an undiagnosed heart condition in 1986, at the age of 23. Although we don't have details for Eydie Gorme's funeral service, we understand it will take place in California and will be private.

On a personal note...
One evening in the 1980s, during a winter visit to Southern California, and before making our way back across the desert to Las Vegas, we made our usual stop at the famed Nate 'n Al Delicatessen in Beverly Hills to pick up "supplies." While waiting for our number to be called at the deli counter, a lady, wearing a scarf on her head and a long coat over a bathrobe of some sort, came into the popular establishment. It took us a minute to realize that the deli shopper was Eydie Gorme. When we smiled in recognition, Eydie put her finger up to her lips, indicating that we should not show our excitement. It wasn't easy, but we managed, smiling again as we passed her while leaving the restaurant. Although we had seen their show many times over the years (including final performances at both Caesars and the Stardust), this was the first time we ever saw Steve or Eydie off stage. Whenever we are asked who our favorite live headliner entertainers were, and are, for more than 40 years, our answer has always been the same - Sammy Davis Jr., Anthony Newley, Shirley MacLaine, and Steve and Eydie (no last names were, or are, necessary). Rest in peace, Eydie Gorme.

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Former ice skater and Desert Research Institute employee (now retired), Gail Lucas, sends us this message, found on one of the internet social sites and posted by Jean Pierre and Patrick Romano. "It is with tears in my eyes that I'm posting this sad news. Our Father Tony Romano of the bicycle act the " Romano's " passed in his sleep a few days ago. He was 99 years old. Tony had performed on stages around the world his whole life, including the major night clubs in Europe, the Tropicana, Dunes, Stardust, Aladdin hotels in Las Vegas and Ice Capades from 1967 to 1975. I'm sure he will continue to entertain in heaven. He will be greatly missed." Our condolences to Tony's family, and thank you to Gail for sending the information.

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Maynard Sloate F.I.O.R.E. Guest Speaker

Dr. George Ritter Honored by F.I.O.R.E.

The list of F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) members and great guest speakers just grows and grows. Last Thursday was no different. Maynard Sloate, a Las Vegas show business icon, touched all bases, talking to more than 90 luncheon attendees at the Italian American Club. The crowd, made up of a large number of entertainers and Sloate fans, asked some great questions. It was a terrific program. Also, Dr. George Ritter, who in addition to being a medical doctor, is also a fine musician, was presented with a F.I.O.R.E. Friendship plaque at the meeting. For the Thursday, September 12th gathering, the guest speaker will be radio personality, Heidi Harris. RSVPs are already rolling in. We will have more information about Heidi in an upcoming column.

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Longtime Las Vegas musician (by way of Des Moines), Doug Taylor, is looking for his old friend, Jim Blaine, who used to work as a pianist/singer and conductor/arranger around here in '70s and '80s, before moving to Palm Springs. Doug knows that Mr. Blaine works as an entertainer at Jillian's in Palm Desert, but Jillian's, like many businesses in the area, closes up for the summer. They don't reopen for the season until October, but Doug hopes to locate Jim sooner than that. If any readers know how to contact, Jim Blaine, please e-mail Doug at [email protected].

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Rob Garrett, plus his 9-piece King of Diamonds Band, perform their annual (this is the fourth in the series) Hot August Night concert at the Cannery Casino Hotel in North Las Vegas, tomorrow night, Saturday, August 17th, beginning at 8 p.m. Garrett has accumulated quite a large fan base and his shows are generally SRO. In 2008, he was awarded the "Male Musical Tribute Act of the Year," marking the only time a 'Diamond' act has ever won such an honor. Joining Garrett on stage tomorrow night are Keith Neal (guitar/vocals), Daryl Slade (bass), Steve Gerard (keyboards), Jay Boyer (keyboards), Jeff Borree (drums), LJ Harness (percussion), and Rosanna Telford and Elisia Tutt (vocals). Elisia just happens to be the daughter of Neil Diamond's (not to mention Elvis Presley's) legendary drummer, Ron Tutt. Tickets are $10 at the Cannery Club door. Suggestion for you Diamond/Garrett fans...since there are no advance reservations available, get there early, before the room is sold out.

Rob Garrett

Jennie Lee

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Grant Philipo, who knows more than we do about such things, corrects some misinformation that we provided last Friday, saying that "In the early 1990s, the late Dixie Evans established an Exotic World Museum in Helendale, California, and the Miss Exotic World Pageant, both tributes to burlesque dancers." The correct information (we hope) is that Miss Exotic World Museum was the brainchild of 1950s and 1960s stripper, burlesque entertainer, pin-up model, and movie actress, Jennie Lee. It was Jennie who started the ranch in Hellendale, not Dixie. Jennie allowed many Burlesque Old-timers, including Dixie and Tempest Storm to live in trailers, for free at the ranch. When Jennie passed away in 1990, Dixie took over the museum. Jennie Lee had started collecting burlesque memorabilia when she owned the Sassy Lassy nightclub in San Pedro, California. After Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer, she and her husband moved to an abandoned goat farm in Helendale, located in the Mojave desert about one third of the way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. After Lee died, Dixie took over the farm and turned it into The Exotic World Burlesque Museum, aided by Lee's widower, Charlie Arroyo. Lee's memorabilia formed the core of the collection, but people from around the world soon started to donate items to Exotic World. The collection grew large enough to fill the entire farm. In late 2005, the museum was temporarily closed for inventory and renovations in the wake of Arroyo's unexpected death and significant weather damage to the museum facilities. Although the museum was not open at the time of the annual Miss Exotic World Pageant in 2006, the pageant was nevertheless held at an alternate venue, the Celebrity Theater in downtown Las Vegas. In the years since, Vegas has remained the home of the Miss Exotic World Pageant.

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Don't make plans to see pianist/entertainer Wes Winters at the South Point or Rampart, where he usually plays, on the following dates - August 24th, September 24th, 27th and 28th, and October 1st, 4th and 5th, as the much in demand Mr. Winters will not be performing in Las Vegas at those times. Instead, he will be entertaining at a private event in Los Angeles, followed by a two week corporate job in South Africa. Yep. That's what we said. South Africa. Have pith helmet, will travel!

Wes Winters


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The Italian American Club called their last Sunday night fundraiser, Welcome Home Dondino. About 300 people turned out to see and hear Dondino, who had been away from Las Vegas for about a decade, and to support the 54-year-old East Sahara social club. Mayor Carolyn Goodman proclaimed August 11th, 2013, as Dondino Day, while other accolades came from Nevada State Governor Brian Sandoval, Railroad Pass GM Curt Thompson, IAC president Angelo Cassaro and others. A seven-piece musical ensemble, led by Debbie Richards on keyboards, John Nasshan on drums, Bob Sachs on bass, Gary Queen on guitar, Don Johnson (no, not THAT Don Johnson) and Bill King on trumpets, and Graham Barry on trombone, backed entertainer Dondino (NOT Don Dino) as he performed a wide variety of songs. Among the selections Dondino sang were, "Let It Be Me," "That Old Black Magic," "You're My World," "Quando, Quando," a Fiddler On the Roof medley ("To Life," "Matchmaker," "If I Were a Rich Man," "Sunrise, Sunset"), "Tiny Bubbles" (done in Don Ho-style), "Your Cheating Heart," "Release Me," a snippet of MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," "Proud Mary," "Chantilly Lace," "Only You," "Tears On My Pillow," "Cherry Pie," a couple of Italian numbers (we were probably the only ones at the Italian American Club who didn't know the songs - but we DID know all the songs from Fiddler), "That's Amore" (THAT Italian song, we know), "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" (according to Dondino, the song might have been recorded by Tony Orlando and Don (not Dawn), as in Dondino), "Hopelessly Devoted To You," and "New York, New York." "My Way," followed by a medley of "How Great Thou Art/America the Beautiful," closed the two hour show. (See. We WERE paying attention.) What comes next for Dondino? When we know, we will share the information.

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The IV Tenors

Mistinguett Productions presents The IV Tenors, at not just one location next weekend, but at two theaters on both sides of the city. If you liked Poperazzi, you will love The IV Tenors. Greg Thompson, producer of dozens of hit shows all over the world, including here in Las Vegas, has developed The IV Tenors - four brilliant performers who sing music from Broadway, along with classical masterpieces, rock and pop music anthems, and even some big sky country music. The repertoire of The IV Tenors includes mega hits like "Ghost Riders in the Sky," "Cool Water," "Shenandoah," "It's Now or Never," "Nessun Dorma," "Danny Boy," "You Raise Me Up," "Hold On," "Won't Go Home Without You," "The Lady Red," "Mariah," "Oklahoma!," "New York, New York," "76 Trombones," "Seasons of Love," "Working My Way Back You," "Hallelujah," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and more. The formula of their success is that each tenor has his own individual style and genre in which he sings exceedingly well. Then they come together as a group and change styles and cross genres without missing a beat. Included in this show is a segment celebrating some of the great groups during the last century like the Mills Brothers, Beatles, The Mamas and The Papas and Aerosmith. The show also features some comedy by the foursome's resident funny man, Brian Damson. In addition to Damson, the tenors, who have been singing together sine October of 2011, are made up of Morgan James, Michael Scott Brooks and Ken Nielson. Four big strapping guys with big strapping voices who sing everything from Puccini and Bon Jovi, to Meatloaf and Michael Buble. They can blow the roof off of a theatre with their powerful voices as well as bring down the house with their brand of comedy. Broadway World described the group as "Knockout harmonies with fun, sexy charisma!" The IV Tenors have thrilled audiences wherever they have appeared. Don't miss the opportunity to see this hit show as they pass through Las Vegas on their National Tour. Catch The IV Tenors at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd, Saturday, August 24th at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $18 for non-residents. They are available at the door, or by going to the box offices at one of three Sun City Summerlin locations or by calling - Pinnacle (702) 240-1301, Mountain Shadows (702) 966-1410, or Desert Vista (702) 363-1341. For additional information, call (702) 240-1301. On Sunday, August 25th at 3 p.m., see The IV Tenors at Freedom Hall Theatre in Henderson's Sun City Anthem, 2450 Hampton Road. Tickets are $15 for residents, and $18 for non-residents (available to non-residents after August 18th), at the Box Office. Call (702) 614-5864. For additional information, please e-mail Mistinguett Productions at [email protected].

Mamas & Papas (or Whatever)

Talk about confusing...and most strange. Take a look at album covers for the popular 1960s recording/performing group made up of John and Michelle Phillips, Cass Elliot, and Denny Doherty, who had hits with songs such as "California Dreamin'," " Monday, Monday," "Words of Love," "Dream a Little Dream of Me," and "Dedicated To the One I Love." What was the name of this folk rock, psychedelic/sunshine pop singing quartet? We guess that depends on which album you are looking at. On some, they are called The Mamas and The Papas (as we called them in the paragraph above), while on others, they are The Mama's and the Papa's (which is grammatically incorrect), The Mamas & The Papas, and on one, they are even billed as Papas & Mamas. Maybe the boys were mad at the girls during that time. Very strange. Very strange, indeed.

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Woody Woods, best known around Las Vegas as a composer/pianist, is also a photographer and an author. Wearing his hat as an author, Woods will be performing his poetry, in Los Angeles, at the 9th Annual Black Book Expo, where he will also be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award. Woody's 15 minutes at the Expo will include excerpts from his show, Conversations with Myself... and Others. This event will take place tomorrow, Saturday, August 17th, beginning at 1:30 p.m., with Woods' portion starting at 4 p.m. The Awards Ceremony begins at 6. Some top poets will be performing and competing. This will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa Blvd, 90015, West Hall, Room 511C.
If you are in the Southern California area tomorrow, stop in and support everyone.

Woody Woods

Children's Letters To God Cast

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This is a reminder, from Lisa Gioia-Acres, that on Monday, August 19th at 11:30 a.m., the Las Vegas Media Group will hold their next lunch meeting. As they do on most months, they will meet at The Wedding Room, 3601 West Sahara on the southeast corner of Valley View. If you know where the Gallery of History is (was?) located, and/or The Cellar, then you know where it is; Mariana's Grocery Store on one side and Kaplan College on the other. There is a handicap entrance through the alley between the college and The Wedding Room. The phone number for any questions or directions is (702) 362-6712. Lunch is $17, and RSVPs are required. The speakers for August (yes, there are two this time!) are John and Pat Getter. "Both are LVMG members," says Lisa, "and it is high time we had them share their life and career stories with us because they are both successful and have lots of Las Vegas history. We are really looking forward to this talk." Lisa goes on to say, "As I mentioned in a previous email, our leader, Frank Mitrani, is suffering a health crisis. The update is he is undergoing chemo-therapy and then his doctors will decides what is next to help him overcome this disease. Although Frank is unable to be with us at the meeting in person because he lives in Utah now, we think we can set up a way for all of us to send him our best wishes. I am bringing my computer and we are going to SKYPE Frank in during the meeting. We will all get a chance to say hello to him." Lisa received a message from LVMG member, Cork Proctor, who currently resides with his former wife, Carolyn Hamilton, in Ecuador (where they appear to be happily divorced). Cork has an international cell phone now, and if anyone wishes to contact him, the number is 011-593-99-059-9215. Cork is will be the LVMG speaker in October, as he will be in the neighborhood and wants to come visit the group and share his recent adventures. Next month's speaker will be Michelle Little, from UNLV's Special Collections department. Thalia Dondero is working on the November presenter. July speaker, Janet Geary, has extended a wonderful offer to the group. Not only can they pre-order the Nevada Sesquicentennial book, but group members will receive the state employee discount of $24.95 + $6 for shipping and handling. To order, call (775) 687-0610, or e-mail Janet at [email protected]. For more information, here is Nevada Magazine's website: And now some news about Lisa. After a few years of trying, the busy lady announces that she has secured a college teaching position, "in a place that is green, rains a lot, and has lot of rivers and trees." She is moving to southern Oregon on August 20th. "While I will be living there full time, I will be back in Vegas on a monthly basis because my husband has a good paying job here and we still have a home that, unlike the rest of the desert is underwater," says Lisa. "For the time being I will be a dual resident of both states. I will be at the August and the September meetings, but will not be at future ones for the time being as I will be teaching in Oregon on Mondays and Wednesdays." Lisa goes on to say, "I will always consider myself a member of the LVMG, and will continue to promote the organization and members; I just have to do it from a distance." Please remember to RSVP for Monday's lunch meeting.

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Last weekend, we went to church (can't say that very often). We didn't go to pray for forgiveness (which we probably could use), we went to see a musical program called Children's Letters to God at the Desert Spring United Methodist Church. Children's Letters to God was a Drama Desk Award nominated off-Broadway musical, based on the inspirational best-selling book by Stuart (Stoo) E. Hample and Eric Marshall, with music by David Evans, and lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen. The musical is about five young friends, discussing their beliefs, ambitions, uncertainties, and questions about God, in songs with titles like "Thirteen," "Like Everybody Else, " "Questions for the Rain," "An Only Child," "When I Am In Charge," "Daydreams," "Silly Old Hat," "How Come?" and "I Know." The play was directed by Scott Miller, with musical direction by Robert Holland, and the talented cast of young people was made up of Katherine Berger as Joanna, Kevin Graeser as Theo, Brady Lanier as Brett, Ava Rogers as Ava, and Bella Zoila Smith as Iris. The audience ranged from children to seniors, with some beaming, and occasionally tear-shedding, parents and grandparents in attendance. The afternoon offered a nice change of pace from everyday life. Congratulations to all involved, and a big thank you to Jodi Tyra for her help.
Seen in the accompanying photo (from left to right): Kevin Graeser, Brady Lanier, Ava Rogers, Katherine Berger and Bella Zoila Smith.

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Las Vegas hotdog-eating champ and internet blogger, Kid Cary, shared some of his summer vacation news with us, and, with his permission, we are sharing it with you. Last month was his darling's birthday, and she wanted to visit one of her girlfriends in Tennessee. Sophie (aka Cary's darling) has another girlfriend in Florida, so the plan was a big Pow-Wow in Nashville, a reunion party for the three girls, and a birthday party for Cary's darling. They spent their first day visiting Nashville, and in the evening had a birthday dinner for Sophie. The downtown Broadway area had a few gift shops, restaurants, and nightclubs. There was Opryland, a large complex with gift shops, restaurants, a boat ride and waterfalls next to the Grand Ole Opry. "Except for an occasional country music show, there's not much to Nashville," says Cary. "I found it boring, but clean. Every time I travel I learn something new. My darling wanted to see Graceland, I said OK, but who knew it was in Memphis? Memphis is two hundred miles west of Nashville, and because we drove the back roads and stopped to investigate everything, the trip took all day. This must be what they call "The Bible Belt." As we drove across Tennessee, there were more churches than gas stations. There was a church on every corner, sometimes two or three. We stayed in a Holiday Inn Express downtown, because I like their Pancake Machine, and it was near Beale Street. Who knew Beale Street was the birthplace of the Blues? It was about four blocks long, with restaurants, and nightclubs. Every club had live music, in fact we sat down in one place for a beer, and they had a 17-piece big band. Wow, it was great." Another thing that Cary didn't know, but does know now, was that one of the featured singers with that big band, was Doug Saleeby, who with his performing musical partner, Chris Hudson, lived and performed in Las Vegas, as Hudson & Saleeby, from the mid-1970s till 1982. The "big band" was the Memphis Jazz Orchestra, and the place where they were playing, and Doug was singing, is called Alfred's on Beale (probably because it is located on the famous Beale Street). The live music is a regular Sunday feature, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Alfred's (in case you happen to be in Memphis on some Sunday evening). Cary goes on to tell us about more things he didn't know, but does now. "The Lorraine Motel is in Memphis. This is where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. Next stop, Elvis. What an organization. Graceland claims 600,000 visitors a year; they have 400 employees and make $55 million annually. There are tons of gift shops and restaurants. We also went to Sun Records, the studio where Elvis started his recording career. Elvis passed away in August of 1977, but he still lives on. In fact, if it wasn't for Elvis, Memphis would probably be broke. We visited the Peabody Hotel for the performance of the "Parade of the Ducks"; we took a streetcar ride, and a cruise on a steamboat down the Mississippi. After a week, it was time to say farewell to Tennessee. Memphis has more to see and do, and more history than Nashville, but it's no Las Vegas. We had a great time. However, be it so humble, there's no place like home. You really need to visit other cities, to realize how spoiled we are in Las Vegas!" Thank you, Cary and Sophie, for sharing your adventure with us.

Doug Saleeby & Kid Cary in Memphis

Lucky Lady

And speaking of being spoiled in Las Vegas...
Last Friday, all it took was two spins on a 25-cent slot machine for a lucky player to leave the Riviera with a pinch under $1 million. Mozelle Wallace of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sat down at the progressive Wheel of Fortune game Friday to celebrate her 69th birthday. On her second spin, maxing out her bet at 75 cents, three Wheel of Fortune symbols popped up for the jackpot. Her payout? $937,608.36. Wallace said she would like to use the money to help out family, according to a Riviera spokeswoman.

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Don and Gloria Hill (musician Don was a member of the Treniers for more than 50 years) are grieving the loss of their precious little apple Chihuahua, Rita, who crossed over The Rainbow Bridge on July 14th. "We are lost without her," says Gloria. "We had her for 11 years, and she never gave us a problem about anything. She didn't bark, which in itself you don't ever find, as Chihuahuas are usually real yappers. Rita was 17 years old, and the joy in our lives." We share the sorrow of your loss.

Don & Gloria Hill's Beloved Little Rita

Nino Frediani

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Nino Frediani, and his talented bunch of professional friends, are unstoppable, in a variety show of the same name, taking place at The Onyx Theatre, on Sunday, August 25th at 4 p.m. Unstoppable features a group of veteran performers - vocalists Maggi Albisani and Victor Moea; Judy Garland tribute artist, Denise Rose; and 79-year-young (not 89, as we said in last Friday's column) magician, Zaharin. Producer/performer, Frediani, is a member of a nine-generation show business family. He began performing in the circus at the age of two, and latched on to juggling. He was named the "World's Fastest Juggler" in 1968, toured around the world four times, performed twice for the Queen of England, and worked with Elvis Presley! Tickets for Unstoppable are $20, and may be ordered by phone at (702) 732-7225. The Onyx Theatre is located inside The Rack at 953 E. Sahara, Suite B-16, in Commercial Center.

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Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who was at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas in July of last year, is being awarded one of the top honors in the arts world: the Edward MacDowell Medal for lifetime achievement. The award is being presented Sunday at the MacDowell Colony, the prestigious retreat for artists, writers and composers in Peterborough, New Hampshire. This is the first time the medal has been awarded for achievement in musical theater. Past recipients include Robert Frost and Georgia O'Keeffe. In a statement when the award was announced, Sondheim called the medal a "sort of homecoming," noting that as a child he used to play compositions by Edward MacDowell, for whom the prize is named. Sondheim has won more Tony Awards than any other composer. His hit musicals include Follies, A Little Night Music, Company, Sunday In the Park With George, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and much more. An amazing body of work. Simply amazing.

Stephen Sondheim by Martin Kreloff

Martin "Rabbit" Mancuso

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Enjoy Romantic Music in the lounge at Kelly's Prime Steak & Seafood, 3900 Paradise Rd.
"The Man with the Singing Saxophone," Martin Mancuso, with Bill McClure on keyboards, will entertain tonight, Fridad August 16th, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Among the selections, hear romantic ballads, rhythm and blues, standards, Bossa Nova, blues, and even Bocelli. "Every song is a performance." Join them for fantastic food and music. Kelly's Prime Steak & Seafood is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 4 to 10 p.m. Call (702) 791-7011.

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Las Vegas saxman and arranger, Gary Anderson, will be joining a stellar group of jazz legends for an exciting weekend of big band jazz at the Prescott Jazz Summit in Prescott, Arizona. Festivities begin on Friday, August 23rd, through Sunday, August 25th. Lead by Prescott resident and former lead trumpet player for the Stan Kenton Band, Mike Vax, the weekend's concerts will include great instrumental and vocal jazz. Featured performers this year include saxophonist Kim Richmond (Kenton alum), renowned trumpeter Carl Saunders, trombonist/ vocalist Scott Whitfield, drummer Gary Hobbs (Kenton alum), trombonist Bill Tole (Jimmy Dorsey), vocalist Ginger Berglund, as well as Anderson and many others. Gary Anderson was music director, arranger and saxophonist with Woody Herman's world famous Thundering Herd. Gary's five year road tour with Herman included performances and recordings with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Della Reese and Mel Torme. After a successful 30 year career in the studios of Nashville, London, Hollywood and New York City, Gary relocated to Las Vegas to be chief arranger for the MDA Telethon, and continues to write music for TV and Film. Recent projects include music for the feature film Arbitrage (starring Richard Gere) as well as music for ABC News, PBS, CNN and Animal Planet. To see the complete Summit lineup and event times, check the website at

Gary Anderson

Loretta Holloway

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On Friday and Saturday, August 23rd and 24th, Williamston, South Carolina, will be the site of the Spring Water Festival. The Festival will include a wide variety of entertainment during the two day event which will be held in Williamston's Mineral Spring Park. Friday night will feature "Beach Music," with the Original Out-of-Towners Band, and Saturday will feature headliner Loretta Holloway, a jazzy blues singer from Belton. Holloway is known as South Carolina's "First Lady of Song." She has appeared in showrooms in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, opening for headliners including Bill Cosby, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg and others. Holloway was presented to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in a Royal Command Performance in Australia, and has performed in China, Thailand, Egypt, Japan and Russia. Boxing fans have seen Holloway in major arenas, singing the National Anthem prior to fights by champions Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya. She starred in the New York off-Broadway production of Mama I Want To Sing II, and her movie credits include, Pure Country, with George Strait, and Elvis and Me. She also sang the sound track for the United Artist movie release of Black Jack. Holloway also appeared on local TV in the CW TV show, The Bishop's Wife. She appeared on stage at the Spring Water Festival last year, performing as a guest singer with local blues legend, Mac Arnold. Holloway will star as herself in the upcoming movie, Clipped Wings, They Do Fly, written and produced by William Michael Barbee. The festival, held annually, will again include the 5K Spring Water Run, approximately 50 craft vendors, local business and non-profit displays, antique auto show, antique fire truck rides, children's rides and entertainment, and a farmers market. Miss Holloway will perform on the Amphitheater Stage, Saturday, August 24th, from 6 to 8 p.m. The Spring Water Festival is a Free Family Event.

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Rod Russell in Kansas

Lee Roy Reams by David Gordon

Happy birthday to Leo birthday celebrants (July 23-August 22), Will Collins, Larry Manetti, Charisma Carpenter, Gallagher, Lynda Carter, Pam Tillis, Kristin Chenoweth, Verdine White (Earth Wind & Fire), Mick Jagger, Roger Taylor (Queen), Darlene Love, Sandra Bullock, Dorothy Hamill, Kevin Spacey, Jerry Van Dyke, Peggy Fleming, Bobbie Gentry, Maureen McGovern, Bill Engvall, Sally Struthers, Jacques d'Amboise, Kevin Spirtas, Martina McBride, Paul Anka, David Sanborn, Gary Lewis, Robert George Allen, Tony Bennett, Catherine Hicks, Faith Prince, Herb Reed, B.J. Thomas, Lana Cantrell, Raul Malo, Mel Tillis, Connie Stevens, David Steinberg, Ronnie Spector, Patti Austin, John Conlee, Eric Carmen, George Hamilton, Kid Creole (August Darnell), Buddy Greco, David Crosby, Steve Martin, Antonio Fargas, Sarah Brightman, Jimmy Webb, Madonna, Belinda Carlisle, Denis Leary, Robert Redford, Elayne Boosler, Lee Ann Womack, John Stamos, Don King, Kenny Rogers, Jackie DeShannon, Collin Ray, Tori Amos, Sandi Davis, Rod Russell, Woody Woods, Angelo Tolentino, Taj Jackson, Jimmy Girard, Judy Thorburn, Taryll Jackson, Toni James, Sally Porter, Elizabeth Foyt, Marty Kreloff, Spencer Baker, Lou Toomin, Perry Palmer, Billie Ann Sabala, Giovanna Sardelli, Doug Taylor, and Lee Roy Reams.
And anniversary wishes to Jim Semmelman and Ray Disco, and Marlon and Carol Jackson.

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Did any of you readers know ventriloquist, Stu Scott? Stu, and his sidekicks, George and Barney, were a popular Vegas variety act, "in the day." Stu passed away sometime in the late '80s. We are trying to get the exact date of his death. If you can help, please contact Claire Voyant at [email protected]. Thank you.

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Today, August 16th, 2013, marks the 36th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. Today also would have been the 85th birthday of singer Eydie Gorme, who passed away last Saturday.

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