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 January 10, 2014
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - January 10, 2014


Nathan Brian Wine

Paul Badia

Unfortunately for Las Vegan, Nathan Brian Wine, he did not make the Manchester, England, cut, at Britain's Got Talent in November. "I gave it everything I had and, still to this very second, I would not have changed a thing in my delivery of the last half of my audition piece of which that was all the allotted time I had to perform," said Wine. "Think it was 120 seconds. Two minutes and that was it. A little more than a year ago, America's Got Talent only gave me 90 seconds. Go figure. The two judges were young, in their early 20s, I think. They were very polite and, of course, very British with accents hard to understand," Nathan said. "What really warmed my heart, was what happened after my audition. Three or four other singers (friends I guess), in the group behind me who were waiting to take their turns at auditioning, came down the escalator shouting at me 'please wait!' When they approached me, they asked if I had been given a call back. I said no. They looked at each other in disbelief and told me that they were listening to me through the door and that upon hearing me sing, they were very reluctant to audition right after me. I lit up like a Christmas tree. It was such a wonderful compliment to have been given me - a total stranger Yankee from the USA. They told me they didn't make it either, to which I responded in kindness that I wished I would have hung around to hear what they sang and how well they performed. Just in case you were wondering, I sang the bridge and the last half of 'This Is The Moment' from Jekyll & Hyde, which I will be performing in my show at the Winchester Cultural Center at 2 p.m., on Sunday, January the 19th." For his concert, Nathan, under the direction of Paul Badia, will have an 11 member orchestra backing him during the second half of his show. All of the arrangements have been written by Mr. Wine. He will be singing some Frank Sinatra songs, however don't expect to hear "Fly Me To The Moon" or "The Lady Is A Tramp"...or any Lady Gaga numbers. What you will hear is one of Count Basie's most famous tunes, as well as songs made known by singers from Tony Bennett to Robert Goulet to Celine Dion to Liza Minnelli, performed by Nathan Brian Wine. The songs he has picked are indeed known, just maybe not heard that often. There is a wonderful Michel Legrand medley, as well as songs that have been made famous by Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, composer Gabrielle Faure, and a man who Wine had the incredible pleasure to prepare music for from his days at Warner Bros., Ennio Morricone, composer, orchestrator, conductor and former trumpet player, who has written music for more than 500 motion pictures and television series, as well as contemporary classical works. Audience members at the Winchester Cultural Center can also anticipate hearing songs from the Great American Songbook, Silver Screen and Broadway Stage, plus a little Jazz, a little Pop, a little of this and that, and, of course some Classical. Nathan has retained some of the finest musicians for this show, including John Asti (alto sax/oboe/flute), Dave Stambaugh (tenor sax and flute), David Perrico from Pop Evolution on trumpet and flugelhorn and, from the same ensemble, Steve Meyer on trombone. Miss Kim Glennie from the Philharmonic will be playing harp (yes, Nathan has written parts for her to play), as is Alex Stopa from the same organization who will tackling the 2nd percussion parts (timps, bells, etc...). The rhythm section for the first half of the show will encompass Brian Czach on drums, Danny DeMorales on bass and Steven Lee, also from the Pop Evolution group and the Donny and Marie Show, on guitar. Dave Richardson, from Rock of Ages at The Venetian, will be on electric keyboards rounding out the string section. Badia will be conducting and playing the Grand Piano for the whole kit and caboodle as Nathan's music director. Oh, and did we mention, the tickets for all of this fine talent and incredible music are free? We suggest that you get to the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 McLeod (just north of Desert Inn) early!

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We learned this news too late to print in our last column...
Phil Everly, of the Everly Brothers, died in Burbank, California, last Friday, January 3rd, at the age of 74. Phil Everly rose to musical fame with his brother Don in the duo the Everly Brothers. Born in Chicago to a musician father, Everly formed the Everly Brothers with Don after the pair had performed as children as part of the Everly Family. Together, Phil and Don, known for their harmonies and country-inflected tunes, racked up numerous hits, including "Wake Up Little Suzie," "Cathy's Clown," "Bye Bye Love," "(Till) I Kissed You," "When Will I Be Loved," and "All I Have to Do Is Dream." The pair was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. After breaking up in the early '70s, the Everly Brothers reunited in 1983 for a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, later recording the 1986 country-music hit, "Born Yesterday." The pair also contributed the song "Cold" to the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Jim Steinman album, Whistle Down the Road. The pair received the Lifetime Achievement Grammy award in 1997. Phil Everly is survived by his wife, Patti; his brother Don; mother Margaret; sons Jason and Chris; and two granddaughters.


Everly Brothers, Phil and Don

Bob Anderson

In 1998, a story in What's On magazine told about singer Bob Anderson, who in 1973, while visiting in Las Vegas for the first time, sneaked into the Sahara's Congo Room with a friend (the late entertainment writer, Mark Tan), to watch Nancy Sinatra rehearse for her upcoming show at the hotel. Nancy's scheduled opening act, the Everly Brothers, got into an argument during that rehearsal, and walked out, leaving Miss Sinatra with no opener and, more importantly, no one to sing those Lee Hazelwood and Frank Sinatra duets with. Enter brash, 20-something-year-old Bob Anderson. He told the musical conductor that he was a singer and knew those songs. With only a few hours until showtime, and not many options, they let him prove himself. Anderson went on in place of the Everly Brothers that night, played the entire two-week engagement at the Sahara, and then, as a part of her show, traveled with Nancy to her next bookings in Northern Nevada. It was Miss Sinatra who introduced Anderson to talk show host, Merv Griffin, as her "discovery." After two appearances on Griffin's TV show, the host suggested that Anderson needed a gimmick to build an act around. During a party at Merv's house, with the host playing piano, invited guest Anderson started singing along, imitating the voices of well-known vocalists. The crowd loved it, and Anderson's act was born. A couple of years later, Las Vegas Dunes hotel owner, Morris Shenker, caught Bob's act during an engagement at Southern California's Century City Plaza Four Club. Shenker was so impressed, he hired young Anderson to perform in his hotel's new cabaret room, The Top of the Dunes. A two week booking turned into a three year engagement for Anderson. The rest, as they say, is history. For all intents and purposes, singing impressionist Bob Anderson owes his long and successful career to the battling Everly Brothers and Nancy Sinatra.

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F.I.O.R.E. Presidents - Nelson Sardelli, Former Governor Bob Miller & Duke of Fremont Street

If there is a better non-club club than F.I.O.R.E.'s (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) in existence in the entire world, we haven't heard about it. Where else can you go for a delicious lunch, enjoy great live music, see some impressive impromptu entertainment, dance if you want to, and hear some great guest speakers? Nowhere, but at the F.I.O.R.E. monthly meetings, held at the Las Vegas Italian American Club. Yesterday, at January's monthly gathering, former Nevada Governor Bob Miller spoke, entertained and informed a large crowd of Presidents, First Ladies, Ambassadors and guests. More than 100 attended this gathering. The organization keeps growing and getting classier as time goes by. To learn something about F.I.O.R.E., just visit http://nonclubclubfiore.com/. Be sure to go to the About Us page to find out if you would fit in nicely with this group of people. The F.I.O.R.E. is not necessarily for everyone (and that's probably a good thing). Next month, on Thursday, February 13th, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Italian American Club, it's the annual F.I.O.R.E. Valentine's party...always a fun event. Doors open at 5 p.m. We will have more details closer to February 13th.

On a sad note...The members of the non-club club F.I.O.R.E. mourn the passing of friend and President, Al Bjorklund. A small funeral service was held at Palm Mortuary on S. Eastern in Las Vegas, Tuesday, January 7th. "Big Al" will be greatly missed by all who knew him.


RIP Al Bjorklund

Larry "Wild" Wrice

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The lights are back on at the restaurant located at 2895 N. Green Valley Parkway, just north of Sunset. Formerly Frediani's, the new incarnation is called Bertolucci Brazilian Steakhouse. According to those who have been there, the menu offers a nice selection and the food is said to be very good. On Sunday afternoons, beginning on January 12th, from 2 until 6 p.m., enjoy the entertaining Gents of Swing - with Larry Wild Wrice on drums, Charles McNeal on horn, and Billy Nunn on keys. We suggest making reservations, as seating is limited. Call (702) 458-0080.

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Grant Philipo, Michael Travis & Anna Nateece

Yesterday, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, in conjunction with UNLV, hosted Liberace and The Art of Costume. A group of invited guests, including Producer, Director, Designer, and CEO and Head Curator of the Las Vegas Showgirl Museum, Grant Philipo, got together for an evening of cocktails and vibrant discussion about the ultimate performer, Liberace. They enjoyed a tour of the exhibit, Too Much of a Good Thing Is Wonderful, while joining designers Michael Travis, Jim Lapidus and Anna Nateece, to discuss Dressing the Glitter Man: The Costume Designs of Liberace. The get-together was moderated by author and costumers, Jan Jewett and Connie Furr-Soloman. We are told that a good time was had by all.

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Green Valley Presbyterian Church

We Sing! A Sacred Celebration, presented by Episcopal Women of Nevada, will take place at Green Valley Presbyterian Church, 1798 Wigwam Parkway in Henderson, on Saturday, January 18th at 7:30 p.m. The celebration, featuring singers from Episcopal Church Choirs, will be a concert of sacred music from various traditions, highlighting the Anglican choral tradition and spirituals offered by Tessitura - a vocal arts ensemble. This concert presents the talents of conductors and musicians in the Episcopal and surrounding communities, so that they can come together as one group and experience making beautiful music in a sacred setting. Through music, they share the passion, knowledge and resources to build new and lasting relationships with people within the community. Conductors include Barbara Buer, Dr. Jocelyn K. Jensen, Emily Slade-Meyer, Faustino Solis "NJ" (rehearsal), and Dr. Mark Wherry. Collaborative Keyboardists are Mary Ann Jones, Amy Homer-Smith and Carol Wagers. Free-Will Offerings are gratefully welcome. For additional information, call (702) 454-8484.

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Yes, we're mentioning Beverly Washburn, and showing another photo of her once again. Why? Because, she turned up on a movie airing on a Las Vegas station this week. This time, the film was 1953's Shane, produced and directed by George Stevens. Billed as "The Greatest Story of the West Ever Filmed," Shane starred Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, young Brandon De Wilde and Jack Palance. In 1954, Shane was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning one for Best Cinematography. For decades, the much respected American Film Institute has included the movie on its Top 10 List. Beverly, who is a Southern Nevada resident has been an actress, appearing in movies and on television, since she was a mere child.
In the accompanying photo, Beverly Washburn is the cute little blonde, third from the left. She is still cute, but these days, she is a cute little redhead.


Beverly Washburn in 1953's Shane

Artist Geoffrey Gersten

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Art encounter™, the new exclusive and unique art gallery in The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, will present a meet-and-greet with American surrealist artist, Geoffrey Gersten, today, Friday, January 10th until 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, the 11th and 12th, from 4 to 6 p.m. If you have read Juxtapoz, Nerdalicious, or other magazines that focus on contemporary art, then you have probably heard of Geoffrey Gersten. "Surrealism Meets Tech" is one way to describe Gersten's paintings; "alternate retro-universe homages to Las Vegas and the classic robots" is another. His humanoid machines resemble images of robots from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Geoffrey is a self-taught surrealist artist based out of Tempe, Arizona. He started painting when he was 21, creating his works using oil paints mixed with natural resin. It wasn't until 2007, that he sat before a sheet of paper and began to arrange meaningful strokes upon it. "I became so hooked, like nothing I had ever experienced," said Gersten. "This was it! This was really, really it." And he knew from the start that he was going to be a surrealist. "The experience of meeting an artist and learning firsthand about his work is inspiring," said Art encounter's executive director, Scott Ferguson. "We're looking forward to having more artists visit the gallery in the future." Art encounter has been serving Las Vegas since 1992, and was a past winner of the Reader's Choice as the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Best Gallery. In recent years, the company has been representing distinct global artists, maintained an award-winning custom framing shop, and offered certified fine art appraising to museums and private collectors. More recently, Art encounter became the worldwide distributor for Leonardo da Vinci's Horse and Rider, a bronze cast from a wax model from the hand of Leonardo himself. In November, Art encounter opened a new gallery in The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, where, in addition to the da Vinci bronze, they also feature fine art from some of the world's top private collectors. The gallery opens at 10 a.m. daily, and closes at 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. For additional information, call (702) 733-2000, or visit http://www.artencounter.com/.

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In response to the many inquiries that Nik Mastrangelo has received, asking when and where he will be singing, he tells us that one of his New Year's resolutions is to become more active. To start the new year out with a bang, Nik will be appearing with the world-renowned Richie Cole Alto Madness Band at Pete Carlson's Golf and Tennis Country Club located at 73741 Highway 1111, in Palm Desert, California, on Saturday, January 18th, from 7 to 9 p.m. If you are looking for a short getaway on Martin Luther King weekend, you would be hard pressed to find a better jazz band than Richie and his wonderful session musicians from Los Angeles. The event is being sponsored by the American Jazz Institute, which you can check out at www.amjazzin.org. Phone (760) 568-3263 for further information. Nik also has got some local upcoming events in the works. We will keep you posted on what and where they will take place as soon as we find out.


Nik Mastrangelo

Karole Foreman

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Birthday specials and big game weekend festivities are taking place at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas during the month of January. The interactive wax attraction is located on the Las Vegas Strip in front of The Venetian, and features eight unique rooms, including the amazing Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience. Take pictures with life-like wax figures of your favorite celebrities and show friends back home you hung out with the stars while in Las Vegas. With new figures continually being added to the collection, and changing special offers available throughout the year, there's always a compelling reason to visit Madame Tussauds Las Vegas!

On January 8th, Viva Elvis! at Madame Tussauds recognized Elvis Presley's birthday with 20 percent off of all Elvis-related merchandise in its gift shop. On January 12th, One Direction hottie, Zayn Malik's, birthday will be recognized. Come by and enjoy 20 percent off of One Direction merchandise in its gift shop. From January 31st through February 2nd, Madame Tussauds Las Vegas celebrates festive occasions - such as Big Game Day weekend - by opening a bar out in front of the attraction. Stop by and order a spirited libation on your way in for a visit, or take one to go. Cheers! Individual General Admission prices to Madame Tussauds are: Adults (Ages 13 and Up), $29.95; Children (Ages 4-12), $19.95; and Children (Ages 3 and under) are Free. Package prices are: The Family Package, $80 (Includes admission into Madame Tussauds for two adults and two children); Scenic Package, $46 (Includes admission into Madame Tussauds, an outdoor Gondola ride and a Madame Tussauds guidebook); Romance Package, $66 (Includes admission into Madame Tussauds, an outdoor Gondola ride, dinner or lunch at either Zeffirino or Tintoretto Bakery, and a Madame Tussauds celebrity guidebook). The Merlin Annual Pass is: Adults (Ages 13 and up), $199, plus tax; Children (Ages 4-12): $169, plus tax. The Merlin Annual Pass gives guests unlimited entry to 12 Merlin attractions and theme parks nationwide, including Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND Parks, LEGOLAND Discovery Centers and SEA LIFE Aquariums, for a year. Free valet or garage self parking is available at The Venetian. Madame Tussauds at The Venetian, 3377 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Suite 2001, opens daily at 10 a.m., 365 days per year. They are open until 9 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays, and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Phone (702) 862-7800.

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Karole Foreman, who played Tanya in Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay production of Mamma Mia!, is excited to announce that she will be performing in Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington's opera, Queenie Pie, for its West coast premiere at the Long Beach Opera. The Libretto is by Betty McGettigan, additional material by Tommy Shepherd, adapted for LBO by Ken Roht. Queenie Pie is Ellington's only opera, and one of his fairly unknown and rarely performed works. It blends big band sound and clever lyrics with the musical styles of opera, jazz, and musical theater. The title character was inspired by the life of Madam C. J. Walker, the first female, African-American self-made millionaire, who developed and sold a line of hair and beauty products through innovative mail orders and door-to-door sales. Interested in the opera genre since the 1940s, Ellington started composing Queenie Pie in 1962, when he received a commission from the New York public TV station WNET. In collaboration with McGettigan, Ellington worked on the opera until his death in 1974, leaving the project unfinished. Since then, different versions have been produced (1986 in Philadelphia and Washington, DC; 1993 in Brooklyn; 2008 by the Oakland Opera Theater; and in 2009 at the University of Texas, Austin). The LBO production of Queenie Pie will be performed at the Warner Grand Theatre, a facility of the City of Los Angeles, operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs. The Warner Grand Theatre is located at 478 W. 6th Street, in San Pedro, California. There will only be three performances of Queenie Pie, Sunday, January 26th at 7 p.m.; Saturday, February 1st at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 2nd at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $160. Student rates are available. Call (562) 432-5934 for reservations.


Duke Ellington

Mezzo Soprano Denyce Graves

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Luana DeVol, an international opera star known for her Brunhilde role, has recently been appointed general director of Opera Las Vegas. The company's first fundraiser is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. tomorrow, January 11th, with Met superstar Denyce Graves making a cameo appearance at DeVol's request. Spencer Baker will accompany Ms. Graves on the piano at the event, which will be held at the home of Bruce and Barbara Woollen in Anthem Country Club. The event, called Divas in Diamonds After Dark, will also feature a short program of Opera singing by Las Vegas students and professionals, including Isabella Ivy, Marisa Johnson, Nathan Van Arsdale, Kathleen McVicker, Jonathan Mancheni, and Trey Richards. The evening's host/emcee will be Jim Sohre.

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Due to the football schedule, entertainer Wes Winters will start his South Point show in the Grandview Lounge a little later than usual - 7:30 p.m., on Saturdays, January 4th and 11th. Friday start times remain the same, 6 p.m. Wes has resumed his Rampart engagements, and will be performing there Tuesdays in January from 6 to 9 p.m. To see all of Wes' performance dates, please visit www.weswinters.com, and click on Shows & Schedule.


Wes Winters

Chadwick Johnson

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Evan Davis Jazz presents the vocals of Chadwick Johnson, with Kenny Davidsen on keys and John Plows on drums, Tuesday January 21st, from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Mad Greek Café, 8565 W. Sahara, at the corner of Durango. We got a sample of Johnson's singing at last month's Toys For Tots event at the LVH. Quite impressive. This is entertainment you won't want to miss, and The Mad Greek advertises, Gourmet Food at Fast Food Prices. Never a cover or minimum. Call The Mad Greek at (702) 242-7669 for dinner reservations, or call Evan Davis at (702) 630-6111 to save you a table, or e-mail him at [email protected].

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Raiding the Rock Vault Cast

The LVH - Las Vegas Hotel & Casino is excited to announce that its spectacular show, Raiding the Rock Vault, has signed a long-term agreement to continue through 2014. Raiding the Rock Vault opened in March of last year, and has consistently received critical and audience acclaim. "The LVH is beyond thrilled to have Raiding the Rock Vault continue in 2014," said LVH Vice President of Entertainment, Rick White. "The show promises to only get bigger and better this year, with new cast members, songs and guest stars. We truly believe it's going to continue to be known as THE must-see show for visitors and locals alike." "We are honored to bring this incredible musical extravaganza back to the legendary stage which was the home of long term residencies by Elvis Presley, Liberace and Barry Manilow, as well as concert performances by many of the top rock, pop and country artists of all time," said the show's producer, Sir Harry Cowell. This amazing concert experience brings the history of rock 'n' roll to life with an all-star super group of musicians, the likes of which is not seen anywhere in Las Vegas. The legendary classic rock songs of the `60s, `70s and `80s, that everyone immediately recognizes - anthems for a generation, are played with stunning accuracy by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Howard Leese [Guitar] (Heart), sensational guitar player Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), phenomenal vocalists John Payne [Lead Vocals and Bass] (Asia), Robin McAuley [Lead Vocals] (MSG, Survivor), Paul Shortino [Lead Vocals] (Rough Cutt, Quite Riot), Andrew Freeman [Lead Vocals and Guitars] (Lynch Mob, The Offspring), extraordinary drummer Jay Schellen (Badfinger, Asia), and keyboard whiz Michael T. Ross (Lita Ford Band). In addition to this unbelievable roster of rock musicianship, rotating special guests will continue to be a part of the show. Previous guests included Lou Gramm, original lead singer of Foreigner, Bobby Kimball, original lead singer of Toto, founding member and lead singer of Yes, Jon Anderson, and Mickey Thomas of Starship. The show itself revolves around the "Rock Vault," a giant capsule found in the distant future and opened to reveal the history of classic rock. Entertaining vignettes, narration by acclaimed actor Richard Malmos, and historical videos on giant screens, help move the story through time. The show is, of course, highlighted by electrifying performances of rock classics from The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Free, The Eagles, Queen, Boston, Kansas, U2, Van Halen, AC/DC, Foreigner, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Supertramp, and many, many more. Written by musician, producer and vocalist, John Payne (Asia), and Grammy Award-winning record producer David Kershenbaum (Joe Jackson, Tracy Chapman, Supertramp), Raiding the Rock Vault was born to give audiences an illuminating look at the history of rock and, for those who lived it, an exciting trip down memory lane. Raiding the Rock Vault will be performed Friday through Tuesday nights weekly (schedule subject to change), beginning January 24th at 8 p.m. in the LVH Theater. Ticket prices range from $49 to $70, plus taxes and fees. A special Rock Star Package is available for $140 (which includes tickets in the first five rows, t-shirt, concert program, CD, meet and greet and VIP pass). A special 2-for-1 locals discount will be available for a short time (must present valid Nevada ID), and there are dinner/show packages with the world-famous Benihana and Vince Neil's Tatuado Restaurant & Cantina. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the LVH box office, or by logging onto thelvh.com, vegas.com, or ticketmaster.com. Tickets can also be purchased by calling (702) 732-5755, or (800) 222-5361. The show, which has been closed for the holidays and some revamping, will reopen on January 24th.

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