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 09, 2015
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - January 9, 2015

Johnny Fortuno as Elvis

Cynthia Pepper & Elvis in Kissin' Cousins

One would have to be living on an island, with no TV, newspapers, or internet connections, to not know that yesterday, January 8th, would have been Elvis Presley's 80th birthday. In the city that played a major role in Presley's career, it shouldn't be surprising to know the occasion did not go unnoticed. There were, and are, a number of Elvis-related events taking place during the week and weekend.

In The Club at the Cannery Casino Hotel in North Las Vegas, A Celebration of the King's Life starring Johnny Fortuno with special guests, The Stamps Quartet, will perform tonight, Friday, and tomorrow, with both shows at 8 p.m. A couple of ladies who appeared in movies with Elvis - Darlene Tompkins (Blue Hawaii) and Cynthia Pepper (Kissin‘ Cousins) - will be present. On Sunday, a Gospel Concert with The Stamps Quartet, and featuring Johnny Fortuno, will take place in The Club, starting at noon. Admission prices for each show is $15 at the door. There are no advance reservations. It's first come, first seated, so get there EARLY. The Cannery is at 2121 E. Craig Road in North Las Vegas.

And, on the other side of the city, in the South Point Showroom, it's Donny Edwards - The Next Best Thing to the King. Donny Edwards is an international, multi-award winning Elvis tribute artist. Today, he is one of the most sought after performers in the business, bringing his show to stages world-wide. He is a versatile performer with the ability to re-enact each era of Elvis‘ life and career. His dynamic performance will take you back to the 1950s and the early years of rock & roll, getting you all shook up all over again. Then you will go on a ride through the 1960s, from Elvis‘ biggest hit movies to the famous black leather ‘68 Comeback Special. Finally you will revisit the legendary Las Vegas years of the 1970s, as Donny recreates the performances that made Elvis the one and only King of Rock & Roll. In August, 2013, Elvis Presley Enterprises granted Mr. Edwards the honor of being the one and only Elvis tribute artist to have performed his show on the estate grounds of Graceland since 1977. Throughout his career, Donny has had the opportunity to work beside many of the original musicians that performed with Elvis Presley himself, including The Jordanaires, The Sweet Inspirations, DJ Fontana, Charlie Hodge and Bob Moore, to name several. Donny has also had the pleasure of working with many in Elvis‘ inner circle, including Sonny West, Al Dvorin, Charles Stone and Ed Bonja. Elvis Presley Enterprises and CKX has hired Donny for tribute shows, TV spots and corporate events, many times over the years. Donny has also performed at private parties for and worked with celebrities such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the NASCAR family, Marie Osmond, Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, and Elvis‘ friends and co-stars, Jimmy Velvet, Darlene Tompkins and Cynthia Pepper. Not only is Donny known for his riveting live performances, he has also appeared in numerous TV shows and ads, including ABC‘s Monday Night Football, CBS‘s The Young and The Restless, and ABC‘s The Next Best Thing. Donny, performing with an eight-piece band, regularly sells out shows, all across the US and in countries such as Canada, Japan and Australia, to audiences as large as 25,000. Although he has performed corporate engagements and private events in Las Vegas, this is Donny Edwards' first headlining gig in this city. Shows are through Sunday, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, $25 and $30, and selling VERY fast. This show is expected to be a three-night sellout. For reservations (if there are any seats left), call the South Point Box Office at (702) 796-7111. Tickets must be picked up at the Box Office. They cannot be mailed.

Donny Edwards Tribute to Elvis

Jeanne Bavaro

Much of the success for this venture is due to the hard work of Jeanne Bavaro, who has served as consultant, producer and advisor. Bavaro has done everything from contracting to promoting, tech coordinating, script writing, legal advisor, consultant, etc. for this gig. We congratulate the lady on a job well done.

And, in keeping with all things Elvis in Las Vegas, Opportunity Village celebrated The King's Birthday with a Special Performance by the OV Elvi, Roaring Thunder, and the Official Elvis of Las Vegas, Jesse Garon, at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign on the south end of the Strip, across from Mandalay Bay. The community was invited to attend yesterday's 10:30 a.m. program.

We have learned that Joe Guercio, Elvis' long-time conductor and musical director, died last Sunday, January 4th, just four days before what would have been Presley's 80th birthday.
Guercio was hospitalized recently after a fall and died due to complications. He was 87. Joe Guercio enjoyed a prolific career, but was probably best known and admired for his work with Elvis. He was musical director and conductor for Elvis' concert shows from the summer of 1970, to the summer of 1977, when Elvis made his last concert appearance. Joe Guercio was musical director for the International Hotel in Las Vegas when the work with Elvis began. Along with the obvious contributions he made to Elvis' shows, including many of the triumphs of Elvis' 'concert era', it was Joe Guercio who created the now almost iconic six-note theme for Elvis' stage entrances and bows. It was also Guercio who suggested that Elvis' shows open with Theme from 2001 - A Space Odyssey. The inspiration came when Guercio and his late first wife, Corrine, saw the now-classic science fiction movie in a theater, for when the music began Mrs. Guercio whispered to her husband 'You'd think Elvis was about to enter.'

Note; Joe Guercio's second wife was longtime Las Vegas dancer/producer and business woman, Penny France. The London-born France, who married Guercio in 1998, died of cancer in 2005 at the age of 61.

Joe Guercio 1927-2015

Benjamin D Hale

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This month's Composers Showcase isn't until Wednesday, the 21st, but if we wait until closer to that date to let readers know, or remind them, about it, tickets will most likely be gone, so...
The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas is an entertainment forum that allows local composers and songwriters the opportunity to present original musical material to a supportive audience in an informal cabaret-style setting. Founded and hosted by Keith Thompson (Jersey Boys) and Michael Brennan (Le Reve), the showcase focuses on uniting the Theatre community of Las Vegas, giving creative spirits an outlet for artistic expression, laughing a lot and having a great time. The Composers Showcase is not "open mic." Each presentation is carefully planned. Composers and material are screened in order to provide the best and highest quality of entertainment. The Showcase takes place in the Cabaret Jazz club at The Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas. Shows start at 10:30 p.m. to accommodate the participants who work in nighttime productions around the city. The Composers whose work will be featured on January 21st include: Patty Ascher, Michael Brennan, Wayne Green, Ben Hale, Nate Harlan, Christopher Lash, Mariano Longo, Richard Oberacker, Keith Thompson, Mark Wherry and more. Performers include: Jason Andino, Lisa Davis, Kristen Hertzenberg, Jacquelyn Holland-Wright, Jason Kappus, Andrew Ragone, Jolana Sampson, Kashena Sampson, Niki Scalera, Lauren Tartaglia, Nikka Wahl and more. The Players are: Kyle Adoor, Bill Bernatis, Angela Chan, Chris Davis, Larry Esparza, Joel Ferguson, Mark Ferratt, Philip Fortenberry, Matt Green, DeAnn Letourneau, Rebecca Sabine, Eric Sande, Lindsey Springer, Alex Stopa, Kevin Stout, Matt Taylor, Rob Taylor, Eric Tewalt, Eric Walters, Rob Whited and others. The "behind the scenes" team is made up of Stage Managers - Sharon del Pilar and Brandon Burk; Lighting - Steve Mack; Sound - Kevin Harvey and Kevin Ruschmann; Video - Jeff Tidwell; Audio Recording - Marcus Ross; Photography - Don Cadette; and Associate Producer - Will Adamson. Tickets are $20 and $25. To purchase (if any are still available), call the Smith Center Box Office at (702) 749-2000.

And while on the subject of Ben Hale
Million Dollar Quartet's Benjamin D. Hale (Johnny Cash) will play himself for A Night of Cosmic American Music at Cabaret Jazz in Las Vegas' Smith Center for the Performing Arts, during two shows on Saturday, January 31, at 5 and 8 p.m.

Hale is a classically trained singer-songwriter who seamlessly fuses country, blues, gospel and folk to create his own brand of new and original music. He is melodic like McCartney, with the range of Orbison, Waylon's wailing, with a hint of Sam Cooke's soul. Known for his versatility and wide vocal range, Robin Leach states, "Benjamin Hale, onetime the understudy for Raoul in "Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular" at The Venetian, scores big as Johnny Cash.

Hale will step away from his iconic role as Johnny Cash in Harrah's production of Million Dollar Quartet to headline his own show backed by a phenomenal band including Rob Whited on drums, Eric Walters on guitar, Joel Ferguson on pedal steel, Kyle Adoor on bass and Matt Green on keys, with special guest singers including Las Vegas' own gem, Kristen Hertzenberg. Known for his versatility and wide vocal range, Robin Leach states, "Benjamin Hale, onetime the under-study for Raoul in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular at The Venetian, scores big as Johnny Cash, and it's a voice so low, Trace Adkins would stoop to find it."- Robin Leach Feb. 21, 2013. Now Vegas audiences will have the opportunity to experience this exciting singer-songwriter first hand for two shows only. Tickets are $29- $45 and are available at, or by calling (702) 749-2000. For more information visit

And speaking of Robin Leach, he will be one of the speakers at Andy Walmsley's upcoming EntSpeaks, featuring Entertainers you THINK you know. In November, the first in the series, the featured speakers were Marty Allen, The Amazing Johnathan, Christina Jones, Jeff Kutash, Shellee Renee and Mary Wilson. How could an evening be more Vegas ? The second in a series of one night only intimate evenings with the people that made Las Vegas the entertainment capital of the world, will take place at INSPIRE, 107 Las Vegas Boulevard South, on Monday, February 2nd, with a Red Carpet and Pre-Show Party, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:45. The Performance follows at 9 p.m., with an After Party from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Speakers will take their turn, walking onto an empty stage with nothing but a microphone and a lifetime of awe inspiring stories. In addition to Robin Leach, the February speakers will include Anita Mann, Nicole Kaplan, and Mac King. One at a time, the entertainers speak frankly about their lives and experiences for 15 minutes each. The evening ends with a Q and A with a twist.

Emmy award winning Andy Walmsley has production designed some of the biggest shows on television, including American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, America's Got Talent, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and The Biggest Loser, to name a few. In Las Vegas, Andy has designed Terry Fator, The Jacksons, Meat Loaf, Human Nature, Divas, Nathan Burton, Jeff Civillico, Thunder from Down Under, America's Got Talent live, and many more. Andy produced LOL with The Scintas at the Las Vegas Hilton and produces the wildly successful Showbiz Roasts.

About The Speakers: Robin Leach is best known for hosting the Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous TV show that, from the mid ‘80s to the mid ‘90s ,focused on profiling well known people and their lavish homes and possessions. His signature phrase "Champagne Wishes & Caviar dreams" was regularly parodied- and still is to this day! But did you know he shot the pilot for Entertainment Tonight and was the show's roving global reporter for its first 3-years or that he was one of the founders of the Television Food Network that turned chefs into celebrities? Robin started out as a young cub reporter in England before moving to the USA in 1963. He wrote the first cover stories for People magazine when it was launched , helped start Rupert Murdoch's Star weekly and was his showbiz editor for 10-years before switching over to television. Robin resides in Las Vegas where he contributes regularly to Fox News and writes the daily Vegas DeLuxe column for the Las Vegas Sun, which also appears in the Los Angeles Register, the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press Enterprise. Mac King has been acclaimed by MAGIC Magazine as the premiere comedy magician in the world today, Mac was just named "Magician of the Year" by the Magic Castle in Hollywood, appeared on his seventh TV special for NBC-TV, just got voted the 6th best show in all of Las Vegas, and just rocked the audience on The Late Show with David Letterman. He is currently starring in the long running The Mac King Comedy Magic Show at Harrah's Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas where, over the last 11 years, he has performed an incredible 5720 shows to nearly one and half million fans. Before moving to Las Vegas, Mac spent 200 days a year on the road as an after-dinner corporate entertainer, wowing companies around the world (Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance, Nissan, AT&T, and hundreds more) with his astounding sleight of hand and irresistible humor. He still does a select few of those shows. Anita Mann is an Emmy-award winning choreographer, as well as a dancer and actress. Mann has been honored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as one of America's top five contemporary choreographers. She is also the recipient of five Emmy Awards and accolades from every corner of the industry. Mann began her career as one of the David Winters' dancers on TV shows such as Shindig!, The T.A.M.I. Show and Monte Carlo: C'est La Rose, 5 seasons on the 1980s pop dance television show, Solid Gold, for which she was nominated twice for a Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography, The Muppets Go Hollywood, for which she was nominated for her first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography, The Cher Show, The Jacksons, The Academy Awards, The Golden Globe Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, The Miss America Pageant, which earned her her first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography, The People's Choice Awards, The Grammy Hall of Fame, The Emmys, The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which earned her another nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography, The Great Muppet Caper, Dick Clark's American Bandstand Live, as well as countless other live, film and television shows. Anita is the producer of Fantasy, which has run at the Luxor theater for 15 years. Nicole Kaplan is a Pittsburgh native and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. She most recently appeared on the National Tour of Terry Bradshaw: America's Favorite Dumb Blonde. She has performed in a variety of Broadway Musical productions, from Candide and Camelot to The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo: The Musical. Nicole has toured as a soloist with Symphony Orchestras across the country, with Grammy winners Lucas Richman and Marvin Hamlisch. Additionally, Nicole has been seen on television in General Hospital, Killer Karaoke and Legally Blonde. Nicole is a featured singer in Steve Wynn's new show, ShowStoppers, at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas.

About the Venue ( INSPIRE ) Widely heralded as a pioneer of the "new" downtown, ‘ Future Restaurant Group's ‘ founder, Michael Cornthwaite's, investment in the area isn't limited to mere business interests, he's a passionate, longtime resident. For over 15 years, Michael has been an outspoken, hands-on advocate for the area; helping to change downtown for the better, one unique, authentic space at a time. INSPIRE was created as an intimate upscale theater complex particularly suited to inspirational talks, the perfect home for EntSpeaks.

EntSpeaks is partnered with Down Town Project. Down town project's goal and purpose is to help make downtown Vegas a place of Inspiration, Entrepreneurial Energy, Creativity, Innovation, Upward Mobility, and Discovery, through the 3 C's of Collisions, Co-learning, and Connectedness in a long-term, sustainable way. The Downtown project are owners and/or investors in over 300 businesses and legal entities which collectively employ more than 900 people. For many of the small businesses and tech companies, DTP are co-owners with the entrepreneurs that founded those companies. For operations that are 100% owned and operated by Downtown Project-affiliated entities, DTP directly employs over 300 people. Admission to EntSpeaks is by Invite only ( Press, Headliners, VIP ) Web Site:

Mac King

Felix Silla & Rich Natole

And STILL speaking of Robin Leach...
In his column of January 5th, the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous fellow shares some rumors with his readers. Mr. Leach says that "Global-superstar singers Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Janet Jackson and Ricky Martin may all be getting mini-residencies on the Strip early this spring if plans work out. Reliable sources tell me that the Venetian will be the likely home for the four major entertainers in direct competition of the superstar lineup at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace." Interesting possibilities.

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Last weeks guests on Listening to the Vegas Voice, hosted by comic impressionist, Rich Natole, were actor Felix Silla on Monday, and Ron and Lisa Smith on Tuesday. Next week, Rich's Monday, January 12th, guest is singer/pianist, Linda November. Linda, also known as "The Jingle Queen," has sung hundreds of commercials, including the famous Meow Mix "Meow, Meow, Meow" one, as well as backup for many music stars. She will be appearing with Rich, sans her husband, musician Artie Schroeck, best known for arranging and composing popular songs and jingles (Frankie Valli‘s "Can‘t Take My Eyes Off You," and Frank Sinatra‘s "Here‘s To the Band" among them). On Tuesday the 13th, it's the versatile singer/actress/ comedienne, Kelly Clinton, being interviewed by Rich. Kelly's husband, entertainer Clint Holmes, will sit this one out (he will be a Listening to the Vegas Voice guest in a couple of weeks). Listening to the Vegas Voice airs on KLAV 1230 AM radio, Mondays and Tuesdays, from 10:30 to 11 a.m., and Saturdays from 7 to 7:30 a.m. PT. The local studio call-in number is (702) 731-1230. You can also call Toll Free at 1-866-820-5528. Contact the Vegas Voice off the air at (702) 251-4441.

Ron and Lisa Smith & Rich Natole

Clint Holmes Cover Boy

And speaking of Clint Holmes, he got himself a dandy New Year's gift. He is the cover boy of the current, January/February, issue of the New York-based Cabaret Scenes magazine. Congrats, Clint.

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This Sunday, enjoy The Best of Broadway with Nik Mastrangelo, the Nik at Nite Trio and special guests at the Piazza Lounge in the Tuscany Hotel, from 7 to 11 p.m. What a great turn out at the Tuscany last Sunday to see and hear Joe Lano, a true virtuoso on the guitar, as Nik and company performed an evening of Rodgers and Hart. There were more than a few talented guitarists in attendance as a testament to the high respect to which Lano is held by his peers. Joe, Bob Sachs, Mike Mechem and Nik had an absolute ball with the music! Such great material to work with. We also had a guest appearance from Tomoka Jarvis on alto sax, who performs in the Los Angeles and San Diego area, as well as her friend Yolanda Quandt, and Maggie Mancuso on vocals. This Sunday, Joey Singer will be back with us as we revisit some of the songs from Broadway we last did about four months ago, with some great new ones added. Join the party. The Piazza Lounge is located within the Tuscany Hotel (on the hotel side), 255 E. Flamingo. Help spread the word about the coolest room in town.

Joey Singer

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Here is this weekend's lineup for The Dispensary Lounge. Tonight, Friday, January 9th, it's crooner David DeCosta with the Uli Geissendoerfer Trio from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tomorrow, Saturday, January 10th, master jazz vocalist, JoBelle Yonley is with the Trio - Uli (on keys), RJ Reyes (on bass), and Angelo Stokes (drums) - from 10 to 2. Then, on Wednesday, January 14th, the Pepe Jimenez Quintet and Groove Culture, will play from 9 p.m. to midnight. Jose "Pepe" Jimenez is the drummer for Santana, as well as local favorite, Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns. His group, Groove Culture, is made up of William Zappia on keys, Ed Hamilton on guitar, Eric Tewalt on woodwinds, and Abo Gumroyan on bass. The long established Dispensary Lounge, known for fabulous music and fabulous food (try their burgers), is located at 2451 E. Tropicana, on the southeast corner of Eastern. There is no cover charge.
Thank you, Michelle.

Jose "Pepe" Jimenez

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Upcoming at Green Valley Presbyterian Church, next Saturday, January 17th, at 7:30 p.m., renowned American Cellist, Daniel Gaisford, presents an evening of Bach at GVPC: Live! 16th Season Inaugural Concert. Some of what the critics say about Gaisford, "Michael Hersch's Sonata No.1 for Unaccompanied Cello, an arching 35-minute work that amply repays the considerable demands it makes on a cellist's technique and interpretive imagination. Daniel Gaisford's spectacular performance was particularly gripping in the work's extroverted finale." New York Times. "In Haydn's Cello Concerto, Gaisford unleashed a passionate performance that crackled with electrical energy and had the faint-hearted in the audience complaining of too much voltage. Let them complain! These notes were meant to sparkle and Gaisford made them glitter." Washington Post. Free will offering. Green Valley Presbyterian Church is located at 1798 Wigwam Parkway in Henderson. Contact them at [email protected], or (702) 454-8484.

Daniel Gaisford

Rob Garrett is The King of Diamonds

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Rob Garrett and The King of Diamonds Band will perform their Neil Diamond tribute show in the Grand Events Center at Green Valley Ranch on Saturday, January 17th. From Las Vegas to Honolulu, to New York, to Berlin Germany, Rob has come to be known as the ‘King of Diamonds.' Rob manages to naturally capture the presence, passion, and energy of the legendary performer in all his glory and those who have witnessed his performances will testify that "You simply can't get any closer!" Showtime at Henderson's Green Valley Ranch is at 8 p.m., with doors to the 2,000-seat indoor Events Center opening at 7. Tickets are $26.75, and can be purchased by calling 1-800-745-3000, or by visiting any Station Casinos or Fiestas Rewards Center.

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Mark Giovi

The amazing vocals of Mark Giovi can be heard on Tuesday, January 13th, when Mark performs that night at The Mad Greek Café, from 7 to 10 p.m. The Mad Greek is located at 8565 W. Sahara at Durango. For dinner or show reservations, call (702) 242-7669.

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Bill Fayne & Mistinguett Productions presents, From Broadway to Hollywood, Broadway musicals that made it to Hollywood, at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin on Sunday, January 18th at 3 p.m. Once again, Bill Fayne and Mistinguett have joined forces to bring you this fast-paced show featuring great moments from the best of Broadway musicals that eventually made it to the silver screen. The shows featured cover the last 70 years of musical cinema, featuring movies like Cabaret, Chicago, Jersey Boys, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Les Miserables, South Pacific, The King and I, Phantom of the Opera, and a special section from the greatest movie musical of all time, Singin' In the Rain! The show stars six triple-threat entertainers - Anne Martinez, Jay Joseph, Dia Webb, James Allen, Ashley Fuller, and Stephen McClelland, with a live band directed by Bill Fayne. From Broadway to Hollywood is produced, directed and choreographed by Mistinguett. Don't miss this one! Go to: , for more details. The Starbright Theatre is located at 2215 Thomas W. Ryan Blvd. in Sun City Summerlin. Tickets for From Broadway to Hollywood are priced at $18. They may now be purchased online at, as well as at the Mountain Shadows, Desert Vista and Pinnacle community centers in Sun City Summerlin. Purchases may be made online with a credit card, or pay with cash or check at the community centers (exact change required). All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets are non-refundable. For information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

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We are still wondering why the Shades of Sinatra musical revue was bumped from the entertainment lineup at Sam's Town a week before its scheduled date. We would love an explanation...from ANYONE.

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Divas' Day Out, taking place at the South Point on Sunday, January 24th, is Las Vegas' largest annual women's event with more than 7,000+ attendees, and 150 businesses on site, offering lots of shopping and giveaways! It is strategically scheduled one full month after Christmas, so women are ready to shop, be entertained, and have fun! Divas' Day Out has everything women are looking for to stay healthy, be fashionable, manage family and finances, and more. Divas' Day Out live entertainment includes today's hottest stars from music, movies, and television! There will be performances by Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas, Thunder From Down Under, plus Derek Hough from Dancing With the Stars, America's Got Talent winner, Michael Grimm, and more. Divas' Day Out will take place in the South Point Exhibit Hall, from 10 .m. to 4 p.m., a week from Sunday.

Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas

Mark Nadler by Peter Leavy

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Mark Nadler won!!! To those of you who voted in The Broadway World Award, Mark thanks you!! "I'm positively elated to have won this award," says Nadler. "If you haven't seen the show for which this honor is being bestowed upon me, you have only one more chance to see it in New York - tomorrow night, Saturday, January 10th at 8 p.m. at the York Theater. Start your New Year by reliving the songs, sex and scandals of the Jazz Age. For only $20, you can see Mark's critically acclaimed show, Runnin' Wild: Songs and Scandals of the Roaring 20's. The York Theatre is located at 619 Lexington Ave., in New York City. There is, of course, no minimum (in fact, there's no drink service in the theatre). However, how could I celebrate the Roaring 20's and not have some booze available? SO, for those of you who don't want to see a show without a couple drinks under your belt, there will be a pre-show Martini Party from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at The York. The price to attend the show AND party is just $35. You can ONLY get tickets for this performance by going to Mark's website: There are a limited number of seats, so take advantage of this PRONTO!!! Happy Holidays from your master of music, murder and illicit gin, Mark Nadler!

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What exactly is the definition of the word "celebrity"? We think of a celebrity as someone most people would recognize if they happened to spot them at Walmart. According to one dictionary, it refers "to popular fame and public attention in the media, usually applied to a person, or group of people (celebrity couple, family etc.), or occasionally, to animals or fictional entities. Celebrity status is often associated with wealth (commonly referred to as fame and fortune) and fame can often provide opportunities to make money. Successful careers in sports and entertainment are commonly associated with celebrity status. People may also become celebrities due to media attention for their lifestyle, wealth, or actions, or for their connection to a famous person." Maybe that explains the new season of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. In our opinion (and that's the one that counts when you are reading Cousin Claire), the title of the current show, with this group of entrepreneurial hopefuls, might better be called Apprentice. The contestants are: Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, TV personality Leeza Gibbons, actor Lorenzo Lamas, musician Kevin Jonas, Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson, retired baseball player Johnny Damon, actress Vivica A. Fox, news personality Geraldo Rivera, reality star Kate Gosselin, actor Ian Ziering, former NFL star Terrell Owens, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, "Deadliest Catch" star Sig Hansen, "Real Housewives" star Brandi Glanville, actress Keisha Knight Pulliam, and reality star Kenya Moore. How many of these "celebrities" would YOU recognize if you saw them in your hood? Just curious.

Geraldo Rivera

Mary Sue Morris Hudson 1920-2015

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Condolences to Chris Hudson, of Hudson & Saleeby fame, on the loss of his mother, Sue. Mary Sue Morris Hudson passed away in Shelby, North Carolina, on January 2nd. She was 94. She was born on September 13th, 1920, in Hartwell, Georgia. Sue graduated from Hartwell High School and then attended Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville, Georgia, before striking out for the big city, Atlanta. There she held clerical positions and also was the requested pianist for many public and private social functions in the area. When she was chosen Georgia Pecan Queen in 1940, her picture was in the Atlanta Constitution, and this led to her meeting her future husband, W. Hill Hudson Jr. of Shelby. Sue and Hill married and returned to Shelby to make their home for the 65 years of their marriage. Sue immersed herself in raising her three sons, and centered the life of their family around First Baptist Church, as the spiritual mentor of her family, she led by strong example both in word and deed. She was involved in many facets of the church's work. For over 50 years, Sue taught a Sunday School class to generations of young married women, and the class was eventually named in her honor. She loved each and every one of "her girls" and delighted in sharing with them as they began their young families. In addition, for over 30 years she led a Bible study group every month around her dining room table. Friends and family will always remember the stacks of reference books, Bible commentaries and articles that were permanently stacked around her chair as she studied and wrote down in notebooks every week's lesson. Active in WMU, one of Sue's favorite things was playing the piano for First Baptist's weekly devotional time at North Shelby School. Sue was a wonderful pianist and faithful member of the Cecelia Music Club. She expanded on this love of music by entering Limestone College in 1954 and earning her degree in music education. During this time, she learned to play the cello and enjoyed for many years participating in the Gardner Webb Orchestra, the Rutherford County Orchestra, and the First Baptist Orchestra. She took particular joy in playing alongside her granddaughters in the church orchestra. A great cook, Sue was known for taking her comforting dishes of macaroni and cheese or homemade pimento cheese to the sick and grieving in the community. Sue also was an avid reader and member of the Tuesday Forum Book Club and loved the fellowship of playing bridge with her friends. She enjoyed her weekly tennis game until she was in her 7Os, and in her 30s was the Women's Golf Champion of Cleveland Country Club. Sue is survived by her sister, Edna Morris Pfaender of Hartwell, Georgia, and her three sons; Hill Hudson III and wife Carole Ann of Shelby; Louie Morris Hudson and wife Brenda of Shelby; and Robert Christopher Hudson of Memphis, Tennessee. Also surviving are grandchildren Leah Hudson Webb of Raleigh, NC; Anne Hudson Angevine of Bronxville, NY; William Hill Hudson IV of Charlotte, NC; and Lindsey Hudson Zurline of Cameron, NC, and six great- grandchildren. The family would like to express gratitude to the wonderful community at Cleveland Pines who lovingly cared for Sue for almost 2 years. Additionally, the comfort and guidance provided by Hospice of Cleveland County was cherished. Funeral services were held on Monday, January 5, in Webb Chapel of First Baptist Church of Shelby and were conducted by the Rev. Tony Tench. Visitation followed in the Ladies Parlor of First Baptist Church. Burial was private. The family invited any former members of Sue's Sunday School class to sit in a specially reserved section in the chapel. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 120 N. Lafayette St., Shelby, NC 28150, or to Hospice, 951 Wendover Heights Drive, Shelby, NC, 28150, or to Cleveland Memorial Library 104 Howie Dr., Shelby, NC, 28150. Online condolences may be made at www.cecilmburtonfuneralhome.c om. Our sympathies to the Hudson family.

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