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 December 27, 2013
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - December 27, 2013

Deana Martin by Lindsay Hebberd

Dean's Daughter Deana by Lindsay Hebberd

Deana Martin's shows at The Smith Center last weekend were a treat for the audiences who filled the Cabaret Jazz club for all three performances. Backed by musical director, Florida's Rick Krive on piano, Bob Sachs on bass, Dave Hart on guitar, Mike Mechem on drums, Dave Stanbaugh, on sax, and Dale Rampton on percussion, Deana sang songs, told family stories, showed videos and slides, and slipped in some cute puns and jokes (about Santa's helpers having "low elf esteem" and Santa being North Polish). Starting with "I Love Being Here With You" (with special lyrics), it was obvious that she DID love being here. Deana covered "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," "Silver Bells," "Beyond the Sea," "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," "Let Is Snow," "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" and more, with some special highlights including duets - Deana singing with Andy Williams on "Winter Wonderland," and her father, Dean Martin, on "True Love." The lady, who is very comfortable on stage, was a beautiful vision in white, looking like she had been sprinkled with sparkling snow flakes. As was the tradition with Deana's father's weekly TV show, she too had surprise celebrity guests join her on stage, although not through a closet door, following a knock from the other side. For her weekend at The Smith Center, two of Deana's "surprise" guests were Rich Little and Pia Zadora, who is currently appearing Thursdays through Saturdays in Pia's Place at Piero's Italian Cuisine, just off the Strip on Convention Center Drive. Deana stayed after the show to meet the people, sign autographs and pose for photos. A lovely way to start the holiday week.

We witnessed an impressive display of kindness following Sunday afternoon's performance. An audience member, that was to return to a downtown hotel by cab after the show, was left waiting for a taxi for two hours! Audience members, even those who had to wait to get their cars out of valet, were long gone, while this person was left waiting...and waiting. The only people left at the Performing Arts Center, or so we thought, were the fine members of The Smith Center security staff. What we didn't realize was that Pia, Deana, Deana's husband, John Griffeth, and Deana's musical director, Rick Krive, were still in the building. When they were departing the cabaret, they spotted the person waiting for the cab. After hearing the story, they insisted on waiting with her until the cab arrived...about a half-hour later. A fine example of holiday spirit, we must say.

Pia Zadora

"Rocky" Akers

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From Harley and Gail Akers, comes a cute little story for the season. We know that cats find mice interesting "toys," but we hadn't heard about dogs finding them fascinating playthings as well, until we learned about the Akers' Rocky, sometimes called Rocket or Rocco. She's about four years old and, according to the vet, she's a pure-bred miniature Poodle. The Akers' got her at the pound (a rescue puppy). She has the run of the house and, in the winter, sleeps under the electric blanket with her masters. Rocky suffers from separation syndrome, and works very hard to get into trouble when left alone for too long. One of the things she does to amuse herself when she is home alone, is tosses her toys around. She picks them up, runs through the house and throws them over her head. That's what Harley and Gail think happened to their missing computer mouse; she picked it up, ran through the house and tossed it somewhere. The mouse has been MIA for about a month, and although the house has been searched (including Rocky's usual hiding places), the owners of the mouse, AND the dog, just don't know where or what she may have done with it. They still have never found the mouse, and Rocky's not talking.

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Here are some of the things coming up on New Year's Eve around Las Vegas. Among the special entertainment events taking place on Tuesday night, December 31st...
Emmy® and Tony® Award-winner, Kristin Chenoweth, makes a rare Las Vegas appearance to celebrate New Year's Eve at The Smith Center. The evening will feature Chenoweth performing an array of her most memorable songs and Broadway show tunes, including music from Wicked, Promises, Promises, and Glee. This unique night with the multitalented performer promises to take concert goers on a ride of laughter, heartbreak, thrills and great music. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets from $49.

Kristin Chenoweth

Tony Orlando

It's Tony Orlando and Wes Winters at the South Point Grand Ballroom. Includes: Dinner, Party Favors and Champagne Toast. Doors to the Grand Ballroom open at 8 p.m. Piano and easy listening with Wes Winters until 10:15. Dinner will be served at 9. Tony Orlando from 10:30 to 11:50, followed by New Year's Eve countdown and midnight celebration. Show ends at 12:10 a.m. on January 1st, 2014. Ticket Price: $179.
Note: If you don't have your reservations in place for Tony and Wes already, too bad. Their New Year's Eve show is completely Sold Out!

Wes Winters

The Pointer Sisters

The Pointer Sisters will perform at the Eastside Cannery Events Center, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $34.95, plus taxes and fees. Call (702) 856-5470 for reservations.

The Lon Bronson Band is playing a rare public New Year's Eve concert/party this year! And it's at a good location for locals - far away from the gridlock of the Strip - in the gorgeous Aliante Access Showroom. The concert will be starting at 10:30 p.m., and playing right into the New Year. Tickets in advance are only $25 ($35 at the door), which, for New Year's Eve in Las Vegas, is extremely locals friendly. Please note, when you go to Aliante website to buy tickets, do not be scared off by the SRO Gen Admission disclaimer. There are plenty of seats in General admission (the green section), and only if you were to come super late would you possibly have to stand. So join The Lon Bronson Band this December 31st. They are gonna party like it's 1979!

Lon Bronson Band

Adam Levine, People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" and coach on the NBC reality series, The Voice, and his band, Grammy-winning Maroon 5, will perform at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, with a show beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $99.50. For reservations, call (702) 632-7580.
There is more. Check all local publications and the Internet.

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Former Nevada State Governor, Bob Miller, has graciously agreed to be the guest speaker at the January 9th F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) Luncheon Meeting.
Distinguished as the longest serving governor in Nevada history, he was the 26th Governor of Nevada from 1989 to 1999. Bob Miller has held several public offices, including Lieutenant Governor and Clark County District Attorney. He served as the Chair and Vice Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), as well as on various committees including - Chair for the Center for Best Practices; Co-chaired ACHIEVE, the NGA public/private partnership to improve American Education; Co-lead governor on crime issues; Lead governor on natural resources; Chair of Legal Affairs Committee; and Chair on the Committee on Justice and Public Safety. During his tenure as District Attorney, Miller served as the President of the National District Attorney Association, and was one of nine individuals that President Ronald Reagan selected to serve on a Presidential Task Force for victims of crime. Bob Miller also served as Chair of the Western Governors Association, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. An Honorary Consul General for the Republic of Bulgaria, Miller performs primarily commercial, trade and tourism promotion functions with the goal of furthering the development of the economical, cultural and scientific relations between Bulgaria and the United States. Formerly a partner in the Las Vegas law firm of Jones Vargas, he practiced legislation and government relations, as well as international business law, resort hotel development law and gaming law. Bob Miller is a current board member at International Game Technology (IGT) and Wynn Resorts, and previous board member of Newmont Mining Corporation, Zenith National Insurance Corp and America West Airlines. He serves as past president for the International Association of Gaming Attorneys (IAGA), 2009, as well as former principal in Dutko Worldwide, a multi-disciplinary government affairs firm, which he now serves as senior advisor. Most recently, he formed Robert J. Miller Consulting in June of 2010. Bob Miller has received numerous civic and charitable awards, including an honorary doctorate from Santa Clara University and the Distinguished Nevadan award from the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. He also serves on the advisory board for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. A Las Vegas resident for more than 50 years, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of Santa Clara and a Juris doctorate from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Clark County Bar Association and the State Bar of Nevada. He is married to Sandy Miller, and they have three children, Corrine Miller-Liebe, Megan Miller and Ross Miller, who is currently Nevada Secretary of State. We will have more details, not about Bob Miller, about the gathering, in next Friday's, January 3rd, column.

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The Dispensary Lounge presents An Evening of Eclectic Jazz with vocalist Windy Karigianes, tonight, Friday, December 27th, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Windy will be accompanied by Bill Zapia on keys, Fred Watstein on bass, and Ryan Rose on drums. The Dirty Hairy Blues Band will be special guests. The Dispensary is located at 2451 E. Tropicana, in the Ocotillo Plaza on the southeast corner of Trop and Eastern.

Windy Karigianes

Burt Bacharach Vintage

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In his memoir, Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music, released in May of this year, Burt Bacharach, one of the greatest songwriters of all time, offers a frank and riveting account of his unparalleled life. From his tumultuous marriages and the tragic suicide of his daughter, to his collaborations with Hal David, Carole Bayer Sager, Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello, and others, Bacharach details his long-lasting success as well as the never-before-told stories behind the hits. Major success didn't come immediately to Bacharach; he spent much of his early career as a pianist for such entertainers as Steve Lawrence and Marlene Dietrich. It wasn't until he was nearly 30, when one of his songs, written with lyricist Hal David, became a number-one hit in 1957. Although he partnered with various lyricists, it was his collaboration with David that produced some of his most popular work, including a lengthy association with Dionne Warwick. Film work followed: the score for the 1967 spoof, Casino Royale, and his hugely popular song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" (lyrics by David, of course), for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The list of artists who recorded Bacharach's songs is impressive - Johnny Mathis, Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, Cher, Herb Alpert, and many more. Just some of the hits from the six-time Grammy Award winner, and three-time Academy Award winner, include "I Say A Little Prayer," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," "The Look Of Love," "A House Is Not A Home," "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," Wishin' And Hopin'," "Don't Make Me Over," "Any Day Now," "I'll Never Fall In Love Again," "Anyone Who Had A Heart," "What The World Needs Now," "What's New Pussycat?," "Alfie," "Make It Easy On Yourself," "This Guy's In Love With You," "Message To Michael," "One Less Bell To Answer," "Walk On By," "Trains And Boats And Planes," "Wives and Lovers," "On My Own," and "That's What Friends Are For. Las Vegan, Linda November, gets a mention in Anyone Who Had a Heart, with Burt writing, "I brought in three white girl singers who were making a lot more money at the time doing jingles than any of us were ever going to see from a record. One of them was Linda November, who could sing all the way up into the stratosphere. She and the other two girls would walk into the studio, hang up their mink coats, and be ready to go to work." Linda, known as the "Jingle Lady" because of all the musical commercials she has done (including the famous "Meow, Meow, Meow" Meow Mix song), sang on Dionne Warwick's very first hit, "Don't Make Me Over," that required 32 takes because Bacharach was such a perfectionist.

Linda November (Circa 1960s)

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

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What do Dancing Queen in the showroom at Planet Hollywood, and Katie, the daytime talk show, hosted by former news anchor, Katie Couric, have in common? Both will be shutting down. Dancing Queen, a high energy, well reviewed singing/dancing revue, featuring some of ABBA's greatest hits, including "Money, Money, Money" and "Waterloo," and other golden oldies of the 1970's, such as; "Staying Alive" and "Night Fever," will end its run on Monday, December 30th. Too bad. The show deserved a longer run. As for Katie, we (along with many in the media television business) were most surprised that the show was picked up for a second season. Her ratings were never impressive. We weren't surprised. We found her to be cloying, juvenile and often embarrassing, when dealing with many of her guests. And what about the constant, annoying eye blinking? Maybe the lady should just stick to reading news reports. Katie will air through June. Bye, bye, Katie.

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Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brings the Rattle Them Bones – 20th Anniversary Tour to The Orleans Showroom, Sunday and Monday, December 29th and 30th. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy got their big break when they took over the Wednesday night residency at the Derby Dance Hall in Los Angeles from previous incumbents the Royal Crown Revue in 1995. The director of the independent film, Swingers, Jon Favreau, became a regular visitor at Derby Dance Hall and befriended the band. Their performances of "You & Me & The Bottle Makes Three Tonight (Baby)," "I Wanna Be Like You" and "Go Daddy-O," were all included on the Swingers hit soundtrack. Another one of the band's songs, Cruel Spell, was featured in an episode of TV's Party Of Five. By the end of 1997, the band had self-released two albums - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Whatchu' Want for Christmas - which were local hits and led to a major label contract with Capitol Records. With Capitol Records, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy released three records: Americana Deluxe (1998), This Beautiful Life (1999) and Save My Soul (2003). This Beautiful Life also featured a cover of "I Wanna Be Like You," from the 1966 Disney classic Jungle Book. In 2004, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy doubled up with "BBVD Live" and "Everything You Want for Christmas." In 2006, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy returned to familiar vine-swinging territory, with a song for the Disney film, The Wild. In 2009, the band released "How Big Can You Get?" -- a tribute to their hero, musician Cab Calloway. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's music has been featured in countless films and television shows, including Despicable Me and Family Guy, and has even been used for Olympic gymnastic and figure skating routines, including Carly Patterson's 2004 Gold Medal win. To date, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has released nine studio albums, most recently Rattle Them Bones in September 2012. The new 12-song set is a mixture of music styles that have influenced the band, including swing, big band, jazz, jump blues, pop, rock and more. "Rattle Them Bones" has been described as an homage to many eras from 1920s Prohibition to the swinging '60s of "Mad Men." The seven-man group is comprised of Scotty Morris, lead vocals and guitar; Kurt Sodergren, percussion; Dirk Shumaker, double bass and vocals; Andy Rowley, baritone saxophone and vocals; Glen "The Kid" Marhevka, trumpet; Karl Hunter, saxophones and clarinet; and Joshua Levy, piano and arranger. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is one of the few neo-swing bands to boast both a gold record and an alternative radio hit. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are available starting from $19.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased at any Boyd Gaming Box Office, by calling (702) 365-7075 or visiting

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If you watch television in Las Vegas, a recent Highway to Heaven episode, Catch a Falling Star (1984), featured Eve "Mother Goose" Smith, in a small, but memorable, role. "Mother Goose," as she was called when she lived in Las Vegas, was a frequent "audience member" in local lounge shows that starred the likes of Billy Kay, Dondino, Babe Pier, Marlene Ricci, and others. The sweet-looking grandmotherly-type would be innocently sitting in the audience, only to be coerced up on stage after acknowledging that she was celebrating a birthday that night. After telling the "host" or "hostess" that she used to sing opera, the little old lady would be talked into sharing a tune with the crowd. It turned out NOT to be anything like opera, but something naughty called "The Mailman Song." The audience would be in hysterics! Eve Smith left Las Vegas and headed to Hollywood to became an actress when she was well into her 70s. She made a number of movies, including Romancing the Stone, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and Who's Harry Crumb?, appeared regularly in a bunch of TV series, including Night Court, Room 227 and Happy Days, and was featured in national commercials for Kodak, Prudential Insurance and Frosted Flakes. Eve passed away in 1997, three days before her 92nd birthday.

Eve "Mother Goose" Smith

Beverly Washburn 1952

The cute little blonde girl, interacting with Danny Kay in the musical "Thumbelina" number in 1952's Hans Christian Andersen, that aired here about a week ago, is Southern Nevada resident, Beverly Washburn. Beverly was in Walt Disney's Old Yeller, Here Comes the Groom, The Juggler, The Greatest Show On Earth, and Spider Baby, along with just about every TV series that aired from the 1950s through the '80s.

David Engel

Annie Gaybis

And among those that we spotted in the musical, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, were David Engel, Annie Gaybis, and Jerry Mitchell (of Las Vegas Peepshow-fame). You never know who might turn up in reruns of old TV series, or vintage movies. If you are in Southern Nevada, and haven't discovered to joy of COZI TV (at 3.2 if you don't have cable, and 123 COX if you do), ANTENNA TV (3.3 and/or 127), ME TV (8.2 and/or 129) and THIS TV (33.2 and/or 124 on COX), and "no," you do not have to have cable TV to watch these nostalgia-filled channels.

Jerry Mitchell

Lainie Kazan

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Best of Las Vegas nominee, Poor Richard's Players, will challenge the artist and challenge the audience with their production of John Logan's Tony Award winning play, RED. It's 1958, and famed abstract expressionist painter, Mark Rothko, has just been offered the biggest commission in the history of modern art - to paint a series of murals for The Four Seasons restaurant inside the new Seagram Building. Rothko and his young assistant, Ken, work feverishly in their New York studio – until Ken begins to realize his fundamental ideas of what art is are vastly different than those of his mentor. As Ken begins to question Rothko's motivations to work on such a commercial project, the already troubled artist begins to unravel as he dwells on his own mortality and the legacy he is to leave behind. This six time Tony Award winning play encourages a much-needed conversion in Las Vegas' growing arts community. "What is art?" Director, Benjamin Loewy, and his cast, Taylor Hanes (Rothko) and Cory Goble (Ken), are ready to tackle that question head-on. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Performs at The Onyx Theatre, 953-16B E. Sahara in Commercial Center, on January 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 24th and 25th, at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, January 19th. Contact Executive Director, Benjamin Loewy, at (702) 769-4345, or [email protected], for additional information about Poor Richard's Players or John Logan's RED. Founded on May 1, 2011, Poor Richard's Players is comprised of award winning artists who came together with a unique vision to take theatre to the next level. Their mission - "Challenge the artist. Challenge the audience" - helps to provide a voice, not only for the artists who produce theatre, but also for the audiences who receive it. PRP strives to create theatre that inspires conversation and provides a shared experience. In 2012, Poor Richard's Players was honored as Best of Fringe in the LVLT Fringe Festival. Tickets for RED are $20. Call the Onyx Box Office at (702) 732-7225, or go to

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Lainie Kazan will perform two shows in The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz club on Friday and Saturday, February 28th and March 1st, with both performances at 7 p.m. The Tony and Golden Globe nominee is the embodiment of the word entertainer. Her acclaimed cabaret show takes audiences on a journey through her nearly five decades-long career, from her start as Barbra Streisand's understudy in Broadway's Funny Girl, to appearing on The Dean Martin Show a record 26 times, to her beloved turn as Maria Portokalis in the hit film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Along the way, Kazan pays homage to her idols, Judy Garland, Ethel Merman and Sophie Tucker, in an inspired and enlightening musical evening. Tickets are $39 and $49.

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The City Of Las Vegas Arts Commission, which oversees public arts projects, recently elected new officers. The Commission has a new chairman, first vice-chair and second vice-chair. Stephen Grogan was elected chairman; Glenn Nowak first vice-chair; and Jerry Schefcik, second vice-chair, at the recent Arts Commission meeting. Grogan is an executive with EWM Investments and an author; Nowak is an assistant professor at the School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, at UNLV; and Schefcik is director of the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery at UNLV. The city of Las Vegas Arts Commission is responsible for the creation of permanent and temporary public art projects that transform public space, stimulate intellectual discourse and celebrate cultural diversity. Through a commitment to excellence that prioritizes community collaboration, the Las Vegas Arts Commission nurtures and promotes artists, elevates civic awareness and helps contribute to a sense of place that fosters creative enterprise, generates cultural tourism and keeps Las Vegas at the forefront of global interest. Its members are appointed to by the Las Vegas City Council. The Las Vegas Arts Commission just completed the fabric sculpture Nephele by Las Vegas artist Cyd Bown in the atrium of the Development Services Center. The commission is also working with the city's Public Works Department on enhancements to the Ogden underpass at Main Street and Ogden Avenue, which is a continuation of their partnership with COLAB on NDOT's Project Neon I-15 enhancement initiative. In addition to these recent projects, the Las Vegas Arts Commission has overseen, initiated and/or partnered on many public art projects throughout the city since it was first convened in 1987. For more information on the Arts Commission, contact: (702) 229-5431.

Steven Lee, Brenda Leonard Cowart & family



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