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 January 17, 2014
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - January 17, 2014

Dr. Scott Lewis - RIP

Jolana Adamson

We were shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of longtime Las Vegan, Scott Lewis. The medical and stage hypnotist died on January 11th in Sydney, Australia, as the result of a fall from a hotel balcony. Dr. Lewis, who was 50, was in Australia performing his act, along with six other performers, in The illusionists 2.0 show, playing at the Sydney Opera House. According to Rod McGuirk of the Associated Press...A police spokeswoman said officers were called to an apartment building in downtown Pyrmont at 9:40 a.m. Saturday to find (Lewis') body lying on a balcony. Media reports said Lewis had fallen from an 11th floor balcony to the fourth floor. Lewis was staying with other performers at the building, which is a short drive from the opera house. The spokesperson said investigators had ruled out any suspicious circumstances. "The company is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Dr. Lewis," co-producer Tim Lawson said in a statement. "The entire company has decided to continue the show in his honor, and send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends." Dr. Scott Lewis, who we had known and liked for many years, had a long-running hypnosis show in the Le Bistro room at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, before taking to the road. He will be missed.

* * * * * * * *

PK Music and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts present The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas, on Wednesday, January 29th, beginning at 10:30 p.m. (after theater). Doors to the Cabaret Jazz in The Boman Pavilion at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park, will open at 9:30. The January showcase will feature the songs of local composers and songwriters, including Jolana Adamson, Joel Ferguson, Ben Hale, Martin Kaye, Windy Karigianes, Adam Knaff, Liza Likins, David Mauk, Richard Oberacker, Danny Roque, Kashena Sampson, Keith Thompson and others. Performers include Graham Fenton, Kristen Hertzenberg, Brenda Mauk, Kevan Patriquin and Josh Strickland. The players are Bill Bernatis, Tish Diaz, Mark Ferratt, Pablo Gaddo, Hubert Gall, Laraine Kaizer, Mike Mechem, Bob Sachs, Joey Singer, Lindsey Springer, Fred Stone, Alex Stoppam, Rob Taylor, Eric Tewalt, Moonlight Tran, Fred Watstein, Tyler Williams, Bill Zappia and more! Sound is by Kevin Harvey, and lights by Steven Mack. There is a Cash Bar and a Late Night Menu is available. Assigned seating tickets are $20 and are available at the box office, located in front of the theater. Reservations are strongly suggested. You can call (702) 749-2000, or go online to If you don't already have your reservations for the 29th, you will miss the January show, as it is completely SOLD OUT!

Josh Strickland

Philip Fortenberry

If Michael Douglas won the Golden Globe Award as Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie for portraying Liberace in Behind the Candelabra, which he did, doesn't that mean that his "piano-playing hands," doubled by Las Vegan Philip Fortenberry, should share the honor with Douglas? We may be biased, but we think so. Philip, who is currently on a leave of absence from his job as associate conductor for Jersey Boys at Paris Las Vegas, is in New York where he holds the same title and responsibility for Rocky the Musical. Based on the Sylvester Stallone film, previews for Rocky begin at the famed Winter Garden Theatre on February 11th.

When he is in Las Vegas, Philip is a regular participant in the Composers Showcase.

* * * * * * * *

Last Sunday, Larry "Wild" Wrice and The Gents of Swing had the crowd at Bertolucci Brazilian Steakhouse very much entertained by their music. Guests were also very impressed with the buffet. As a result, the fellows will be performing every Sunday, from 2 until 5 p.m., at Bertolucci's, located at 2895 N. Green Valley Parkway, just north of Sunset in Henderson, in the building previously occupied by Frediani's. Reservations are suggested. Call (702) 458-0080. Also, from 6 until 9 p.m., Wine and Dine with The Gents of Swing on January 29th at The Artisan Hotel, 501 W. Sahara.

Charles McNeal, Marlena Shaw & Larry "Wild" Wrice

Arnold Shaw

And still speaking of music...
Prolific jazz writer, commentator, educator, documentarian and former publicist, Arnold J. Smith, recently donated the entirety of his vast jazz collection to the UNLV Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center. The collection, with a total value that has yet to be estimated, has begun making its way to Las Vegas from Smith's home in Brooklyn, New York. The complete move is anticipated to take several months. The collection includes more than 10,000 LPs (10"and 12"); hundreds of self-recorded and edited cassettes and open reel tapes (many of rare concerts); jottings, posters, artwork, and various memorabilia. It will be accessible to students, faculty and interested public for listening and research purposes in UNLV's climate controlled facility. "I began collecting LP recordings to copy the arrangements to play with my cooperative band for which I was the pianist in junior high school in Brooklyn," Smith said, describing how his collection began. "My parents loved to dance. Consequently, they had the big band and vocal recordings on 78 rpm wax recordings. I had a hard time convincing them to let me buy vinyl and to covert their 78 rpm Victrola to an LP changer. It was a fait accompli as I had already bought LPs by saving my small allowance prior to our having something to play them on. My first LPs were Harry James Greatest Hits and a Latin collection called Seeco Sampler, which I bought to copy the rhythms for the dances the band sometimes played. I never looked back." The mission of the Arnold Shaw Center is to collect, archive and make accessible historical music materials, including music manuscripts, sheet music, recordings and memorabilia, related to the creation, performance and recording of popular music, including jazz, with a special emphasis on Las Vegas musical entertainment. Arnold Shaw's long and distinguished writing career includes music reviews, liner notes and articles numbering in the hundreds. He authored 13 books, and he is posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame for his book, Honkers and Shouters: The Golden Years of Rhythm and Blues. He originated the "History of Rock Music" course at UNLV, and also created the "Rap with the Artist" event to create a vehicle by which popular music stars could interact with university students. The sessions were recorded and combined with a series of interviews of popular music stars that Shaw recorded in the process of authoring his books. UNLV houses more than 900 hours of these interviews. "I chose UNLV because I am impressed with the openness for anyone and everyone to hear the recordings and the interviews," Smith said. "Jazz is living music, not museum pieces." Smith's donated collection also includes interviews he conducted for Down Beat Magazine, Billboard Magazine, and his 26-year series of live interviews at the New School, New York University, Hofstra University, and New Jersey City University, as well as lectures at Michigan State University and Long Island University. "We are honored that Mr. Smith chose the UNLV Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center as a permanent home for his vast collection," said Jeffrey Koep, Dean of the College of Fine Arts. "It is thanks to his keen interest in jazz, as well as his thorough, historic record keeping, that we are able to provide students and the Las Vegas community with some of the best selections of jazz recordings, performances, interviews, and notes ever to be assembled in one place." In addition to the collection, Smith also is conducting a series of lectures at UNLV – the first of which was on Oct. 26 on Duke Ellington entitled "Aspects of Duke." Topics covered included Ellington's Train Songs, the gestation of the Sacred Concerts, Symphonic Ellington, and Billy Strayhorn's contributions. Audio and rare video footage were used, all of which will eventually be housed at UNLV. The date of the next Arnold Jay Smith lecture, Louis Armstrong In Hollywood, is to be announced.

* * * * * * * *

The results are in, and the fans have spoken! Evil Dead the Musical was nominated in five categories for the 2013 BroadwayWorld Awards in Las Vegas. Going up against some of the largest shows and biggest names in entertainment, Evil Dead had a strong showing in all categories, but most exciting of all is that the production's Ben Stobber won the award for Best Lead Actor In a Musical for his portrayal of Ash! "Other shows have massive budgets, the backing of a casino, and the marketing to dominate in such a contest," says an Evil Dead representative, "but we have a secret weapon that trumps all of that - our fans! That's right. This wasn't about pandering to critics, being in the biggest venue, or spending millions on advertising. This award's outcome was determined by the voters - by you. You got to have your say and helped turn conventional thinking on its head!" The company thanks you for voting, and for being so damned GROOVY! And don't forget to check out the raddest, baddest, bloodiest show on the Strip! Evil Dead the Musical , Fridays at 10 p.m., and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m., at The V Theater, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Call (866) 932-1818.

The full list of Las Vegas BroadwayWorld winners can be found at this link:

Ben Stobber

Nicolas Cage

* * * * * * * *

Happy birthday, CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) celebrants Jordin Sparks, Holly Madison, Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Ricky Martin, Jimmy Buffett, Barbara Mandrell, Annie Lennox, Abdul "Duke" Fakir (Four Tops), John Walsh, Chris Daughtry, Tovah Feldshuh, Charles Neville, Edgar Winter, John Legend, Paula Poundstone, Jon Voight, Joseph Bologna, Michael Nesmith, Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul & Mary), Bebe Neuwirth, Don Diamont, Raul Rodriguez, Stephen Stills, Marilyn Manson, Nicolas Cage, Paul Revere, Kenny Loggins, Shirley Bassey, Little Anthony Gourdine, David Bowie, r. kelly, Dave Matthews, Crystal Gayle, Joan Baez, Frank Sinatra Jr., Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Pat Benatar, George Foreman, Rod Stewart, Felix Silla, Don Cherry, Mary J. Blige, Naomi Judd, The Amazing Kreskin, Rip Taylor, Trace Adkins, Jack Jones, LL Cool J,, Steven Soderbergh, Mikalah Gordon (Cavaricci), Pitbull, Margaret O'Brien, Ronnie Milsap, Jim Stafford, Debbie Allen, Sade, Betty White, Muhammad Ali, Kid Rock, Dick Contino, Steve Harvey, Bobby Goldsboro, Dave Attell, Desi Arnaz Jr., Dolly Parton, Michael Crawford, Paul Rodriguez, Frank Caliendo, Tippi Hedren, Charlie Shaffer, Carme Pitrello, Evan Davis, Bob Kaz, Cayleigh Capaldi, Ari Dane, Larry Edwards, Roslyn Kind, Jan Wood Lovelady, Gina Eckstine, Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Frankie Randall, Rose Eurdekian, and Sullivan Charlotte McNeeley.

Usually, all of the people on our ongoing birthday/anniversary lists have some connection to Las Vegas. As far as we know, actress Luise Rainer (Oscars for The Good Earth and The Great Ziegfeld) does not have a Vegas connection, but we are going to acknowledge her January birthday anyway. Why? Because we can, and because Ms. Rainer turned 104 on the 10th of this month.

Luise Rainer

Roslyn Kind

And speaking of Roslyn Kind, the vibrant musical artist will be performing at The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz club on Friday, March 28th and Saturday, the 29th, with shows at 7 p.m. A quote from The Los Angeles Times reads, "Forget that Roslyn Kind is Barbra Streisand's kid sister. She's too good and too special to have to worry about comparisons," and that statement couldn't be more true. Roslyn has forged a successful career in all facets of entertainment. With the combination of her lush, smooth tones and the charm of her humor and personal stories, the lady is able to captivate any audience, as she takes them along on a musical journey. Tickets are 38-$59. For reservations, call (702) 749-2000, or order online at

* * * * * * * *

Florence Henderson, most familiar to those of a certain age, as "Carol Brady" on TV's The Brady Bunch, will be honored as 2014 Woman Of The Year by the Nevada Ballet Theatre for the 30th anniversary of the Black & White Ball. This year's gala fundraiser will be held on Saturday, January 25th, at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The monies raised, through the well-attended annual Black & White Balls, enables the NBT to produce professional productions, provide quality dance instruction, and serve at-risk youth in Clark County. As Woman of the Year, Florence Henderson joins an impressive list of past honorees, recognized for their dedication to the performing arts, including (in politically correct alphabetical order) Paula Abdul, Ann-Margret, Carol Channing, Celine Dion, Mitzi Gaynor, Eva Longoria, Bette Midler, Marie Osmond, Priscilla Presley, Debbie Reynolds, Chita Rivera, Rita Rudner and Twyla Tharp. Welcome to the club, Florence.

Florence Henderson

Nathaniel Brian Wine

* * * * * * * *

We got this news from Angelo Cassaro, of the Italian American Club, on Monday...
It saddens me to notify you of the passing of Vincenzo Vivolo, 92, born Jan 10, 1921 in Bagnoli Irpino, Italy. Vince migrated to the United States through Ellis Island in 1950, and settled in Buffalo, NY. He moved to Las Vegas in 1986 to be near his children. He started his second career with Fitzgeralds Hotel and Casino as a locksmith and retired at age 89. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Maria Concetta "Connie"; two brothers, and one sister; daughters Maddalena Fontein, Mary Ann Moracco (Ron) and Dona Vivolo Griffith (Phil); sons Joseph Vivolo and Adriano Vivolo; and nine grandchildren. Vince was a proud member of the Italian American Cub of Southern Nevada for more than 25 years. Visitation was held on Tuesday at Palm Mortuary, with funeral service on Wednesday at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church in Las Vegas. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Italian American Club Scholarship Fund, 2333 E. Sahara, Las Vegas, NV 89104.

We also learned of the January 11th passing of Alfred H. Issa, 72. Mr. Issa, a retired painting contractor, was born Nov. 20, 1941, in Haifa, Palestine, and was a 38-year resident of Nevada. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor "Ellie" Issa; stepchildren, John Clinton (Monica), and Kelly Clinton (Clint Holmes); grandchildren, John Anthony Clinton and Melina Clinton, all of Las Vegas; brothers, Albert Issa (Samira), Tony Issa (Suad), and Kamal Issa, all of Cliffside Park, N.J. Services will be held in Cliffside Park.

* * * * * * * *

Nathaniel Brian Wine's show, Mr. Nathan Sings, takes place on Sunday, January 19th at 2 p.m. at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 McLeod, just north of Desert Inn . The tickets are free. Nathan has retained some of the finest musicians anywhere - John Asti (alto sax/oboe/ flute), Dave Stambaugh (tenor sax and flute), Isaac Tubb from Pop Evolution (trumpet and flugelhorn), John Klokow (trombone), Miss Kim Glennie from the Philharmonic (harp - yes, Mr. Wine has written parts for her to play), Alex Stopa, also from the Philharmonic (second percussion parts - timps, bells, etc), and Rachel Julian (third percussion). The rhythm section encompasses Brian Czach on drums, Danny DeMorales on bass, Steven Lee, also from the Pop Evolution group and the Donny and Marie Show, on guitar, and Dave Richardson from Rock of Ages at the Venetian on electric keyboards. Paul Badia is Nathan's music director, and conducting and playing the Grand Piano for the entire program. Audience members will hear songs associated with a wide variety of artists - including Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Robert Goulet, Celine Dion, Michel Legrand, Lucianio Pavarotti, Liza Minnelli, Placido Domingo, composer Gabrielle Faure, and Mr. Ennio Morricone - arranged by Nathan Wine and sung in his own style. As we suggested before, get to the Winchester early, if you don‘t want to miss this special concert of selections from the Great American Songbook, Silver Screen and Broadway Stage, plus a little Jazz and a little Pop, a little of this and that, and of course some Classical.

Poor Richard's Players, in conjunction with Off Strip Productions, challenges the artist and the audience with their version 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 Performances continue at The Onyx Theatre: January 17th, 18th, 24th and 25th at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, January 19th. The Onyx is located inside The Rack at the Commercial Center, 953 E Sahara Ave 16B E. Phone (702) 732-7225.

* * * * * * * *

Mark Nadler is thrilled to announce that he and KT Sullivan are reviving their Cole Porter show, A Swell Party -- RSVP Cole Porter, for One Performance Only, Saturday, January 25th, at , 8 p.m. The show will take place at 54 Below, 254 West 54th St. (between Broadway and 8th Ave.) in Manhattan. When the twosome did this show at The Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel a few years ago, it was their biggest hit, and they absolutely loved doing it. For this performance, Mark and KT will be joined by the magnificent Andy Farber on sax. Andy is taking the night off from the hit Broadway revue, After Midnight, to play the Cole Porter show. They will also have John Loehrke on bass, just as they did at The Algonquin. This is truly going to be a magical evening, so make your reservations PRONTO! For tickets and information, call (646) 476-3551, or go to

Mark Nadler & KT Sullivan

Artist Graham Knuttel & LV Academy Students

* * * * * * * *

Lots going on in the local art scene.
Irish painter, Graham Knuttel, plans to create giant art panels downtown, with 13 handpicked Las Vegas Academy of the Arts students. The worldwide acclaimed artist and leading figurative painter met with his new collaborators, to brainstorm and outline plans for two huge murals for the east facing wall on the Las Vegas Boulevard-side of Neonopolis. Las Vegas Academy (LVA) is a nationally recognized, award-winning magnet high school, dedicated to education in performing and visual arts and serving approximately 1,700 students in Clark County, Nevada. The Academy is a public school, located in the center of the Las Vegas Historical District, and serves students in grades 9 through 12. LVA is a five-star, high achieving, and exemplary academic school of distinction offering major courses of study in the performing arts along with rigorous academic courses. The highly visible murals will be 9'x27', and mounted close to the top of the building. Together Knuttel and the students settled on a "mobsters" theme as a starting point. Las Vegas Academy of the Arts department chair, Kelly Mabel, said they will take Las Vegas' past history, encompassing landscape, architecture and a possible showgirl, and move up to what is relevant in the students' culture today. "I thought he would take more control," said one student who was sketching away as the group shared ideas, "And he's letting us have our ideas." While some of the students have worked together before, this is the first time the whole group has been assembled. The challenge will be transferring and combining their different art techniques and developing their artistic vision together. While the students will be influenced by Knuttel and his famous art style, it will be the students generating the drawings. The students are participating in the creation of the mural from the creative process through the painting and installation, which is yet to be determined but could be as soon as this April. Knuttel is new to the Las Vegas scene, having recently opened a gallery exclusively featuring his work at the Venetian-Palazzo Resort. The gallery will celebrate its grand opening tomorrow, Saturday, January 18th, with a ribbon-cutting by Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson. Graham Knuttel's paintings and sculptures have been acquired by an array of celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, Colin Firth, Michael Stipe, and Viscount Linley, the nephew of Queen Elizabeth II. Film director, John Herzfeld, commissioned Knuttel to paint a portrait of actor Robert De Niro. Several prestigious institutions, such as Goldman Sachs and the William Morris Agency, have also counted Knuttel canvases among their displayed art. The gallery is curated by Knuttel Worldwide Ventures, a partnership between the artist and Las Vegas-based Redhills Ventures. The Knuttel Gallery of Las Vegas promises to be a leading art center of imagination and inspiration. For more information about the gallery, call (702) 228-8808, or visit

BearNDesert, LLC., DBA Art encounter™ opened an exclusive and unique art gallery at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in November. Brett Maly, Art encounter's president and appraiser/authenticator for the History Channel's show, Pawn Stars, reports that "the new 1,250-square-foot gallery is located near valet and prominent restaurant Joe's Las Vegas."

Art encounter has been serving Las Vegas since 1992 and, until 2009, maintained the largest art gallery in Las Vegas. Their reentry into the retail fine art market will be highlighted by high-end, museum quality art works from private art collections around the world. Maly added, "Art encounter will be the exclusive, worldwide showplace for Leonardo da Vinci's sculpture, ‘Horse and Rider,' a bronze casting derived from a wax model by the hand of the ‘Renaissance Man,' Leonardo da Vinci himself. Masters that will be on display will include: Spanish painter Pablo Picasso; American painter and printmaker, Thomas Moran; American Pop Artist, Andy Warhol; Swiss sculptor-painter, Alberto Giacometti; and Dutch American Abstract Expressionist, Willem de Kooning. "There will be no other art setting like this in Las Vegas," said Maly. "No one else will have this quality of work for sale to the public." Scott Ferguson, a graduate of the Sotheby's Institute of Art in London, and with a distinguished 30-year career in fine arts, has been selected to be the executive director. Ferguson will join Maly in curating unique, museum quality works for the new gallery. The new 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 and offered certified fine art appraising to museums and private collectors. Art encounter will maintain regular mall hours - opening at 10 a.m. daily, and closing at 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. They will stay open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. For information, visit, or call (702) 733-2000.

Art encounter Gallery at Forum Shops

Nicky Watts - Conceptual Artist

Nicky Watts can draw stares, turn heads, and make people point, laugh, roll their eyes and change the course of a conversation, simply by entering a room. It has something to do with the fact that for the past five months, Watts has spent 96 days with her head in a Plexiglas box, often for ten hours a day or more. "It's performance art in which I get a chance to describe my life, how I have gone through life feeling completely insulated, completely separate from everyone else in the room and really, in society," says Watts who has traveled the United States wearing the approximately fourteen by fourteen inch clear box on her head. "When I first came up with the creative vision to do this thing I barely considered people's reactions. I was concerned whether it conceptually represented my disconnection. The first time I went out in public I realized other people were going to play an active role in these performances. The entire bus stopped talking and stared. Kids laughed out loud. Their parents thought I might have a medical problem. If you want people to talk to you about life, my suggestion is put your head in a box." Watts' performance focuses on her struggle with real interaction with people. As an example Watts was recently invited to a business mixer that could have been very helpful to her tour. Instead of elation, Watts was doubled over with anxiety, what she describes as an emotional roller coaster that took her from excitement, strength, motivation, doubt, fear, perseverance, embarrassment, shame. She fled the event soon after arriving without communicating with the people who invited her. By stepping out of her comfort zone, Watts says she has been amazed at how many people understand what she is doing, "There are times that stand out for making me feel incredibly honored during this tour. The first was when I stood in Brett Wesley Gallery, my head in a box, in front of an audience, sharing these deep insecurities. As someone who considers herself a Las Vegas artist, this achieved a dream of mine and it warms my heart that Brett Wesley Sperry would believe in me to the extent that he has." "The second time is when The MET approved me to enter with my box after security held me the day before and the communications department had to investigate my work. They sent me with a wonderful escort around the museum whom I chatted art with." "The third was when the international art show, Art Basel was complete. I hadn't made enough money to leave Miami. I was stuck applying to modeling and domestic gigs, manual labor, anything that would make me enough money to leave and didn't require sex or photos of my genitals. I posted on Facebook and a new fan, someone I met at Art Basel, flew me to Vegas, my current location for the next two months. I'm so touched that I shed happy tears while I packed." Watts is preparing for the second half of her thirty-performance tour, which will take her to India, Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. She currently has an Indiegogo campaign to help support this tour. She hopes to create a magazine that describes why she has a box on her head, Las Vegas' developments in the arts, and her connection to Las Vegas as a local artist. This magazine will be given out while she's on the road. Nicky Watts is a Massachusetts native who studied Fashion, Photography and Art Education in Chicago. She began her professional career in Las Vegas, and has traveled the country multiple times on self produced tours, each exploring unique behavior patterns. Watts is obsessed with change and creating happiness and life meaning for herself and those around her. Businesses are welcome to contact Fierro Communications at for sponsorship opportunities.

* * * * * * * *

Lots of news from Lisa Gioia-Acres, of the Las Vegas Media Group...
It is with great pride I share the accomplishments of two of our esteemed LVMG members. Andy Martello is pleased to announce that all of his hard work and research on the Willie Martello (no relation to Andy!) story has paid off. His book, The King of Casinos: Willie and the El Rey Story, is published. You can purchase the book on Amazon, or get a signed copy direct from the author at the book release party on Jan. 21 between 6-9 pm at En Fuego Cigars & Lounge (328 W. Sahara). Congratulations Andy and best of luck with book sales! Next, Dr. Michael S. Green has received a very esteemed award. He was presented with the American Historical Association's Eugene Asher Distinguished Teacher Award for 2013. Congratulations, Mike! Attached is a video of Congresswoman, Dina Titus, announcing this honor: I have said time and again our group, the Las Vegas Media Group (founded by Frank Mitrani), is filled with the best of the Las Vegas best! Do you agree? Feel free to congratulate each of these members personally: Andy Martello can be contacted at [email protected], and Mike Green at [email protected].

Brian Greenspun

Now for the meeting reminder.
I am nervous about telling you all who our next speaker is. He's going to generate a lot of interest, I'm sure, and how will I know how many to expect? Our next lunch meeting is this Monday, January 20th. Our speaker is none other than Las Vegas Sun publisher and editor, Brian Greenspun. LVMG member, Thalia Dondero, really is coming through with some great speakers, wouldn't you agree? So, if you will be attending Monday's gathering, which begins at 11;30 a.m., ,you need to let me know. If one of your friends is coming, but they don't get this email, please have them call Lisa at (702) 245-9206. The location of the luncheon is 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. The phone number for questions or directions is (702) 362-6712. There is a handicap entrance through the alley between the college and The Wedding Room. Cost of the lunch is $17.

Very Important message regarding RSVP's and the COST of LUNCH. Last month I called the Wedding Room, and told them to expect 35 attendees for the lunch meeting. I based this estimate on the number of members who returned my email reminder with a Yes or a No.

GUESS WHAT? According to our server, Patty, 66 people were in attendance. Now, the problem is:
1. The wonderful and trusting couple, Don and Gretchen Payne, who take the lunch money at the door, had only 54 people noted as PAID. This is a problem, because we have to pay for the number of heads Patty counts, not the number we have listed as PAID. It cost the LVMG $17 per person times 12! We won't be able to stay "in business" if that happens every month.
2. When the Wedding Room prepared food for 35-40, and 20-plus extra heads showed up UNEXPECTEDLY, that's another problem. They had to scramble to make more food and that is not a guarantee. See why we are having an issue? Those who make the arrangements for these monthly lunch meetings are at a loss as to how to deal with this crucial issue. My persistent pleas for RSVPs has garnered some compliance, but not enough, as last month's near disaster shows.
3. If I anticipate a large crowd, as might happen this Monday, and call if for say 50 people, but only 35 show up, we have to pay for the no-shows.

Suggestions? Suggestions are welcome, but not ones that put an extra burden on those of that already put a lot of time into the meeting preparations. So, please give this some thought and consideration. I would love to ask one of the members to PLEASE sit with Gretchen and help her with incoming.

Once again, reservations for the LVMG luncheons are REQUIRED, so be sure to RSVP to Lisa by emailing to [email protected], or calling her at (702) 245-9206.

* * * * * * * *

In the January 15th edition of the New York Post, Michael Starr wrote:
Johnny Carson's favorite comic still standing. Irv Benson, who turns 100 on Jan. 31, is the subject of a new documentary, "The Last First Comic: How Burlesque Died and Irv Benson Lived to Tell It!" Benson, who's still married to Lillian, his wife of 77 years (she's 96), appeared frequently on the Johnny Carson-hosted "Tonight Show." He retired in 1991 and traces his show biz career all the way back to the 1930s, when he was a contemporary of comics including Phil Silvers, Red Skelton and Abbott & Costello. Later, as audience member "Sidney Spritzer," he "heckled" Milton Berle for 35 years on Berle's various TV specials and also appeared on ABC's "Happy Days" (in 1979). "The Last First Comic" was directed by John C. Brown and features the last film interview with Ed McMahon, Carson's "Tonight Show" sidekick.

* * * * * * * *

Pawn Shop Live!, a parody of TV's Pawn Stars, opens at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas on Tuesday, January 21st. Rick Harrison and his father, Richard "Old Man" Harrison, the REAL stars of the popular TV reality show, along with Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison, Austin "Chumlee" Russell, and other series regulars, will make occasional guest appearances at the hotel casino. Portraying the Pawn Star characters are actors Sean Critchfield, puppeteer Enoch Scott, Garret Harbison, and actress Anita Bean. The Golden Nugget shows will be at 4 p.m. Tickets range from $31.40 to $47.90. Call (866) 946-5336 for reservations.

* * * * * * *

On Friday, January 24th, and Saturday, the 25th, the Award-winning vocal quartet, Spectrum, and their stunning sister-group, Radiance, will perform together at The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz in their unbelievable tribute to Motown and R&B music. Returning for only their third Las Vegas appearance together since their two previous sold out shows, these eight stellar vocalists sing and dance their way through one of the most influential American songbooks of all time. The look, class, style, choreography, harmonies and costuming are captured as only Spectrum and Radiance can. Internationally acclaimed, they will leave you wanting more with stirring renditions of songs made famous by the Temptations, Supremes, Marvelettes, Four Tops, Miracles, Vandellas, Stylistics, along with some of Donna Summers' classic hits. Tickets prices are $34-$37.

* * * * * * * *

Bethany Owen

You can see and hear the multi-talented vocal impressionist, Bethany Owen, at the Indio Performing Arts Center, outside of Palm Springs, California, through the month of March. Bethany's schedule is as follows: One Voice - Variety Jazz to Pop, One-Woman Voice Impressions Show, through Valentine's Day, February 14th, with performances at 2 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays. Honky-Tonkin' - A tribute to Patsy Cline, with Cowboy Jack Johnson as Hank Williams Sr., January 18th, through February 9th, with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Country Queens - Country Music, One-Woman Voice Impressions Show, February 26th through March 28th, with shows at 2 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays. Tickets on sale at

Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
You can find Past Columns HERE

     Like to be notified when Claire Voyant's next column is available?
Then join Claire Voyant's announcement mailing list!
Enter your email address below, then click the 'Join List' button:

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye