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 30, 2015
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - January 30, 2015

Amy Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr.

Joe Franklin 1926-2015

Very sad news...
We learned late last Friday, January 23rd, that Amy Arnaz, wife of Desi Arnaz Jr., had passed away earlier that day. Amy had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of 2013. She was 63 when she lost her battle with cancer last week. Amy was a dancer, and trained with Christina Carson. She also studied with the late Sonja Arova, and taught ballet at the University of Nevada. Her dancing was also influenced by Vassili Sulich, the founder of Nevada Dance Theatre. Amy, affectionately known as 'Miss Amy' to those that knew her, was the executive director of the Boulder City Ballet Company. Amy Laura Bargiel, born on September 12, 1951, married Desi Arnaz Jr. on October 8, 1987. The couple made their home in Boulder City, Nevada, with their daughter, Haley, and owned the Boulder Theatre, a cinema converted into a theatre and home to the Boulder City Ballet Company. Besides Amy's interest in dance, she was also an animal activist. Amy and Desi supported the rescue of many baby elephants that hade been orphaned due to the ivory trade, by adopting them. Amy is survived by her husband, Desi Arnaz Jr.; daughter, Haley; brother, Tom (Gloria) Bargiel; sister, Lisa Bargiel; and niece, Desiree Bargiel. Family will be holding private services. Family and friends may sign an online memorial guestbook at www.bouldercityfamilymortua

Joe Franklin, born Joseph Fortgang, March 9, 1926, radio and television host personality from New York City, passed away on January 24th at the age of 88. His show began in 1950 on WJZ-TV (later WABC-TV), and moved to WOR-TV (later WWOR-TV) from 1962 to 1993. He claimed to have interviewed more than 300,000 guests during his 43- year television career, which may have been an exaggeration. Among those that Franklin did interview were Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Cary Grant, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Rudy Vallee, Jimmy Durante, Madonna, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, The Ramones, Lou Albano and five U.S. Presidents, including John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon). Woody Allen, Andy Kaufman, Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, Bruce Springsteen, Robin Williams, John Belushi and Richard Pryor got their first television exposure on The Joe Franklin Show. Frank Sinatra appeared four times. Billy Crystal, who impersonated Franklin on Saturday Night Live, was also an occasional guest. Franklin appeared as himself in such New York-based films as Broadway Danny Rose and Ghostbusters. While on the East Coast, jazz great, Joe Williams, and songstress, Loretta Holloway, who both lived in Las Vegas over the years, appeared on The Joe Franklin Show.

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Helen Reddy had a full house at The Orleans showroom on Saturday night. She is still woman, hear her sing. Reddy sounds great, and after a 10 year hiatus, it is evident that she is having a good time on stage and glad to be back performing. Backed by Lenny Colton (musical director/guitar), Jonathan Pintoff (bass), Robin Swenson (keys/piano) and Tom Walsh (drums) Helen sang some of her past hits, along with some of her favorite songs, including "Stars Fell On California," "Long Hard Climb," "Bluebird," "Nice To Be Around," "Ruby Red Dress" (Donald Fagen-style), "Best Friend," "You Know Me," "Showbiz," "Long Time Looking," "Angie Baby," "Unchain My Heart," "Somewhere in the Night," Delta Dawn/Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady," "You and Me Against the World," and, of course, "I Am Woman." Thanks to Helen's artist representative, Jackie Stander of The Stander Group Inc. She can be reached at 4533 Van Nuys Blvd #401, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Call (818) 905-7000x104, or fax (818) 905-6813. [email protected] or (visit for clips and more info).

Helen Reddy

Mr. Blackwell with Martin Kreloff Portrait

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Las Vegan, Martin Kreloff, was pleasantly surprised to see one of his paintings featured in the Special Double Oscar issue of Entertainment Weekly. The pop artist discovered it as he was leafing through the new magazine. The portrait of Mr. Blackwell is featured in the issue. The painting was commissioned by Mr. B in 1994, and was beautifully displayed in his palatial home in Los Angeles. "Working with him was really fun," says Kreloff, "as he shared such great movie-land stories." We have many hidden treasures in this community - Marty Kreloff being one of them.

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Elaine Wynn at Grant Philipo's Las Vegas Showgirl Museum

Businesswoman, Elaine Wynn, took a recent tour of Grant Philipo's Las Vegas Showgirl Museum. She, like the others who have seen the collection, was most impressed. Philipo is seeking a public space to display the historical costumes.

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Renee Hale and Paul Lowden

Las Vegan, Renee Hale, had a wonderful time singing at the Nevada Ballet Black & White Ball, honoring Debbie Allen at the Aria on Saturday. "What an incredible event to support Nevada Ballet," Renee says.. "My gorgeous sis, Jodi Hale Fonfa, along with beautiful, Lynn Weidner, did an amazing job chairing the event! Debbie Allen, guest of honor, was off the charts, and Motown founder, the Chairman, Berry Gordy, introducing her. Wow! Entire evening. Details, superb! I was honored to sing at the cocktail reception with a couple of my heroes! The Legendary Paul Lowden on keys, world renown, Dick Eliot, on guitar, Las Vegas' own terrific Mike Mechem on drums, and Chris Gordon on upright bass. The joint was jumpin'!!" I hadn't seen Dick in 40 years! He used to work with Sammy Davis Jr, Sinatra, Elvis, and all the stars at Caesars then the Riviera. He since moved to Milwaukee, but was in town for a couple weeks. He worked with Paul years ago! They were fabulous together!"

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Nik at Nite

Anyone who joined Nik at Nite at the Tuscany in the Piazza Lounge last Sunday, hit the trifecta. First, they got to enjoy the masterful guitar work of Joe Lano, playing music from the movies along with Bob Sachs and Mike Mechem. Second, they were treated to a guest appearance by the talented vocalist, JoBelle Yonely. Third, as an added bonus, the other talented vocalist was Naomi Mauro. It was an evening of exceptional music! The group will be off this Sunday to make room for a Super Bowl event in the lounge, but will come roaring back the following Sunday, February 8th for their one year anniversary celebration. It Was A Very Good Year! Starting at 7 p.m., there will be a special red carpet event, followed by a quintet, special guests and drink specials. Mark your calendars for this one, and celebrate with Nik Mastrangelo and company. The Piazza Lounge is located in the Tuscany (on the hotel side) at 255 E. Flamingo. Help spread the word about the coolest room in town.

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American Trilogy Desert Tour

The American Trilogy "Desert Tour" is paying tribute to three of the greatest icons in popular music history - Frank Sinatra, portrayed by Nick D'Egidio; Travis Allen as Elvis Presley; and Neil Diamond, interpreted by Rob Garrett - with special guest, Rosanna Telford as Connie Francis. The tour runs from February 3rd through March 21st, with five weeks in Coachella Valley and two in Southwest Arizona, playing mostly Country Clubs, Resorts and a few theaters.

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The Cunninghams - Alicia & Don

The UNLV Department of Music/College of Fine Arts Jazz Studies presents An Evening of Jazz in celebration of Black History Month, featuring the UNLV Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Dave Loeb, Nathan Tanouye, with Don Cunningham, Gary Fowler, JoBelle Yonely and others. This will take place on Tuesday, February 3rd, at 7:30 p.m. in UNLV's Black Box Theater. Tickets are available through the UNLV PAC Box Office. General Admission: Adults $10, Students free with School ID. The program is in memory of Alicia Cunningham.

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The benefit concert for Police Unity Tour will return to Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall Sam's Town Live! on Saturday, February 7th. Local classic rock cover band, Crossfire, will perform hits from Led Zeppelin, Journey, Van Halen and more. The Police Unity Tour is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty through an annual bike ride. This year's concert will honor Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo. Crossfire features Dave O'Leary on guitar, Maurice David Crutcher on keyboards, Joey Hicks on drums, Brad Grover on guitar, Harold Madden on bass and Eric Knight singing lead vocals. Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at any Boyd Gaming box office, by calling (702) 284- 7777, or visiting Tickets will be available at the door for $15, starting at 7 p.m. the night of the show. Guests must be t least 21 years of age. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Police Unity Tour. 5111 Boulder Highway Saturday, February 7 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.

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Stan Irwin, Judy Garland & Nelson Sardelli (1965)

An awkward but timely and needed reminder from the friendly folks at the F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) non-club club. Annual dues for 2015 are...DUE, and now being graciously accepted. Presidents pay $25. First Ladies, $10. Unattached Ladies (Ambassadors), $15. The initiation fee is an exorbitant $1. ID Badges (optional, but cool) are $15. Widows of former Presidents pay no fees at all, and are always the guests of F.I.O.R.E. (however, new husbands or boyfriends are on their own).
Where your money is spent (some of the expenses through the year):
Live music at all meetings. Roses and chocolates for the ladies at all special events. "Comping" widows and special guests. Printing and postage. Extra tipping to the overworked servers, An occasional trophy. (Conrad Villella runs a tight ship, and the F.I.O.R.E. books are open)
No dues for those 80 years or older (but, if you insist in contributing, they will accept).
Please send checks or money orders, payable to: THE NON CLUB CLUB FIORE, c/o PRESIDENT CONRAD VILLELLA, 8005 RYAN'S REEF LANE, LAS VEGAS, NV 89128
F.I.O.R.E. also accepts cash with two forms of identification. It is a must that everyone, current and new members, read the About Us page on the web site at, to know and understand the F.I.O.R.E. RSVP to [email protected].

Note: F.I.O.R.E. president, Nelson Sardelli, wants it known that the late producer and personal manager for many celebrities, Stan Irwin, talked him into opening for Judy Garland in 1965. Irwin did his part. We have done ours (see accompanying photo).

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Rich Natole & Gary Anthony

Last week, Rich Natole had Frank Sinatra tribute artist, Gary Anthony, as his guest on the Monday edition of Listening to the Vegas Voice radio show, and on Tuesday it was entertainer, Clint Holmes, fielding questions. This coming Monday, February 2nd, Natole's guest will be Beverly Washburn, Beverly has been acting since she was a child, appearing in major films such as Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show On Earth; Shane, with Alan Ladd; The Juggler, with Kirk Douglas; Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye; and Walt Disney's Old Yeller, with Dorothy McGuire and Tommy Kirk, as well as the top TV series of the 1950s and '60s, including Star Trek, Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, Wagon Train, The New Loretta Young Show, and many, many others. On February 3rd, comic impressionist Natole's in-studio guest is Kurt Brown, producer of the Elvis tribute show, All Shook Up, playing these evenings at 6 p.m. in Planet Hollywood's V Theatre. Incidentally, Rich Natole emcees All Shook Up on Friday nights. 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.

And speaking of Clint Holmes...Get in the Valentine's Day mood early with Las Vegas' Mr. Holmes in Romance By Requests. The acclaimed performer will croon songs of romance, from vintage Frank Sinatra and classic Beatles, to retro-inspired Michael Bublé, in the Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center on Friday, February 6th and Saturday the 7th at 8:30 p.m., and on Sunday, February 8th at 2 p.m. Tickets are $37 and $46. Call (702) 749-2000 for reservations.

Rich Natole & Clint Holmes

Terry Lavell

And speaking of The Smith Center...Las Vegas newcomer, and a new face at The Smith Center, Terry Lavell, is originally from New Orleans, where he graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, with a Bachelors degree in Dance and Theater. He has more than 14 years experience in ballet, tap, jazz and gymnastics, Terry was also the choreographer of the Demon Dazzlers and Purple Essence dance lines at Northwestern, as well as a collegiate cheerleader. After doing numerous shows at Northwestern, Terry danced with, In The Company of Dancers, a professional modern dance company, in Baton Rouge. After graduating, he moved on to work for Walt Disney World as a dancer, and also performed for Universal Studios Florida, in the Beetlejuice Rock & Roll Graveyard Revue show, and also did Busch Gardens Tampa. Terry has traveled all over the US, on the Broadway national tour of Smokey Joes Café. He was also in the Las Vegas production of Hairspray as Seaweed, starring Harvey Firestein and Dick Latessa, was in Boys From Syracuse, at Center Stage Theater in Baltimore, Little Shop of Horrors, West Side Story, Assassins, Dreamgirls, Pippin, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and in the Broadway production of la Cage aux Folles, with Kelsey Grammer, Douglas Hodge, Christine Andreas and Bill Nolte. Welcome back to Las Vegas, Terry Lavell.

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The Laugh Factory inside the New Tropicana, will be celebrating a special birthday on Saturday, February 7th, when a veteran of the comedy scene, Sammy Shore, celebrates his 88th birthday on its stage - birthday cake and all. Shore was the comic who was hand-picked by Elvis to be his opening act. Headlining the entire week at The Laugh Factory, starting on Monday, February 2nd, through Sunday, the 8th, will be Brian Scolaro, with Rick Right the featured comedian, and Traci Skene doing the hosting chores. Tickets for the 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. performances at the Laugh Factory are priced at $34.95 and $44.95. For information, call (702) 739-2411, or (800) 829-9034.

Sammy Shore

Patty Ascher

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A note from author, Wes Davis. "Glad to say that all my copies of Stanhope Legacy and Aunt B's Bordello were sold at the recent book signing at Get Booked. I will be having some more soon. The novel Stanhope Legacy just finished with the last edit and is now on sale. The first edition had some minor errors which have been corrected. So far the reception to it has been very good. I am working on the second book of the series, and hope to have that one out in 2016. The books can be ordered at Stanhope Legacy 18, and 02 for Aunt B's Bordello. The links are for CreateSpace. They will take you to the web pages. You can use those links to order books and have them sent your house. For my friends, they can contact me and I will be happy to deal with them directly."

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Here are this week's offerings at The Dispensary Lounge. Tonight, Friday, January 30th, it's Brazilian songstress Patty Ascher Live with the Uli Geissendoerfer Trio - Uli on keys, RJ Reyes on bass, and Angelo Stokes on drums - from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Patty, who is the wife of Jerry Lewis' son, Anthony, is making her Dispensary debut! Saturday, January 31st, popular local entertainer, Ronnie Rose, performs with the Uli Geissendoerfer trio from 10 to 2. Blues harmonica, and jazz classics all night. Ronnie puts on a great show. Wednesday, February 4th, enjoy a Jazz Jam with the Uli Geissendoerfer quartet from 9 p.m. to 12 midnight. Uli on keys, Charles McNeal on sax, Steve Flora on bass, and Ryan Rose on drums. Lots of great players stop by on Wednesdays, and the house has been consistently packed, so get there early for a seat! The happening Dispensary Lounge is located at 2451 E. Tropicana, on the southeast corner of Trop and Eastern. They offer fabulous burgers and more, great music, and a late night hang!

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Tomorrow, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, January 31st, soprano, Rossana Cota, will sing "Una Noche de Canto" at Green Valley Presbyterian Church. Spencer Baker will be at the piano with LVA Mariachi Ensemble "El Mariachi Internacionál" and Spanish Art Song, Zarzuelas, and Latin American Folk Music. The church is located at 1798 Wigwam Parkway in Henderson. For additional information, call (702) 454-8484, or go to

Rossana Cota

Adriana Lomysh for PASNV

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The Performing Arts Society of Nevada proudly presents Sweet Inventions - Broadway's Great Love Songs, on Sunday, February 8th, at the Winchester Cultural Center Theater. The show, which starts at 2 p.m. (doors open at 1:30), will feature five accomplished vocalists, including Brett Pruneau - a protégé of David Downes (Celtic Woman producer) and current Planet Hollywood's Piano Man lead, Adriana Lomysh - Ithaca College graduate and New York stage veteran (Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes, Sound of Music, Pirates of Penzance, Man of La Mancha), Dane Reis - Boston Conservatory graduate, Carnival and Silversea Cruises singer, and current lead dancer in Donn Arden's Jubilee!, Nicole Desantis - Off-Broadway and Theaterworks USA veteran and New Orleans jazz crooner, and Drew Aber - Broadway veteran (Tale of Two Cities), Kennedy Center writer, and current Jubilee! singer. The artists will perform beloved classics from long running Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady, South Pacific, The King and I, Camelot, Kiss Me Kate and many others, as well as treasured love songs from more contemporary productions like Rent, Jekyll and Hyde and The Phantom of the Opera. Joining the vocalists will be Australian born dancer, Jessica Durski, who danced around the world on cruise ships for both Carnival and Silversea Cruises, and was a Paris, France "La Nouvelle Eve" showgirl. Also featured will be current Jubilee! dancers, Sean Viator and Elyse Corbin. Sean graduated from University of Arizona in 2013 and was the first male ever to receive their most prestigious dance "Triple Threat" Award for excellence in Ballet, Modern and Jazz. Elyse hails from Sydney, Australia, and graduated from the celebrated Newton School of Performing Arts. She has also danced on the high seas performing on numerous ships for Carnival Cruises. With beautiful songs, spectacular vocal harmonies, and some of Las Vegas' most entertaining performers, this "make your heart skip a beat" concert is sure to get you in the mood for romance. Be sure to make a date for PASNV'S pre-Valentine's Day program, Sweet Inventions - Broadway's Great Love Songs, on February 8th at the Winchester Theater. The Performing Arts Society of Nevada is a non-profit dedicated to affordably bringing the Performing Arts to the public and creating a venue for artists to explore new work and hone their craft. The society has been conducting programs and educational trips for more than 20 years. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door with unreserved seating. For more information on how to purchase tickets, please call PASNV at (702) 658-6741, or email [email protected].

Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

And speaking of Broadway, Broadway at Birdland presents Eric Comstock, piano/vocals; Barbara Fasano, vocals; and Sean Smith, bass, in Only In New York: A Big Apple Valentine, Monday, February 9th at 7 p.m. Swing into Valentine's week, as they celebrate rhythm, romance and New York! This talented group has put together a free wheeling mash-up of contemporary theater songwriters, Jeanine Tesori, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, and Steven Lutvak, along with classics of the jazz and pop songbooks. Five brilliant artists - Billy Strayhorn, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Joe Bushkin and Bart Howard - whose centennials are this year, will be saluted. The Birdland Jazz Club is at 315 West 44th St. in New York City. For reservations, call (212) 581-3080.

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Toni Basil

As Seen on TV...
What are we doing when other people are sleeping, or mopping floors, or something very constructive? Although we don‘t WATCH TV (except for Undercover Boss), it is always on. As a result, we see some interesting things, often quite by accident. Very early (5:50 to 7:40 a.m.), Monday morning, January 26th, GetTV, seen in Las Vegas on channel 3.3, aired Village of the Giants, circa 1965, starring Tommy Kirk. Among the other cast members were Beau Bridges, Johnny Crawford, Ronnie Howard and Toni Basil. Tommy Kirk and Toni Basil both have strong Southern Nevada connections. Kirk, best known for his performances in a number of highly popular movies made by Walt Disney Studios, such as Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, as well as beach party movies of the mid 1960s, has been a Las Vegan for a number of years. Basil was born Antonia Christina Basilotta in Philadelphia. Her mother, Jacqueline Jessica Anderson, was a vaudevillian acrobatic comedian in her family's act, Billy Wells and The Four Fays. Her father, Louis Basil, was an orchestra leader who conducted orchestras at the Chicago Theatre and at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, among others. It was while her family was living in Las Vegas that Antonia attended high school here; she was one of the sports cheerleaders for the Las Vegas High School Wildcats, and graduated as part of the class of 1961. Already known by the nickname "Toni," she incorporated her cheerleading experience into her dance career, and her performance of the song, "Mickey." In 2010, Toni choreographed The Show Girl Must Go On, Bette Midler's award winning show at Caesars Palace.

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This is what The NiteKings have in store for you for February, the shortest month of the year:
Every Sunday, they will be performing at Sam's Town, in Roxy's Lounge, from 7 to 11 p.m. =
February 1st (right after The Super Bowl is completed), the 8th, 15th and 22nd. Sam's Town is located on Boulder Highway and Flamingo. Every Wednesday, you can listen to The "Hall of Fame" NiteKings at The Orleans. They entertain the crowd in The Bourbon Street Cabaret from 4 to 8 p.m. on February 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th. The Orleans is located on Tropicana, west of The Strip. And on Sunday, February 8th, they have a "Special Date" performing at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin at 2 p.m., Motown and More. Doors open at 1:30.
Tickets are $15-18. The Starbright Theatre is located at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. Please call (702) 240-1301, or (702) 255-0695 for more information. Happy Valentine's Day from The NiteKings - Victor, Angelo, Eddy, Skip, Rich, Mike B, Red, Mike T, & Tony.

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Kelly Clinton

Ron DeCar's Event Center presents The Clinton Club, starring Kelly Clinton, with musical director, Michael Clark, tomorrow night, Saturday, January 31st. The Clinton Club features music, comedy and Kelly's special guests. The Las Vegas entertainer may be best described as "a kaleidoscope of talent." No matter which performing direction she turns - singer, actress, comedienne, impressionist, television personality, MC, or events host - Kelly‘s charismatic rays always shine through. For eight years, Clinton was the headliner at the exclusive Las Vegas Stirling Club at Turnberry Towers, where she also served as entertainment director. Being an "entertainers' entertainer," Clinton drew many of Las Vegas headliners and performers to her shows. Saturday nights often turned into old Vegas-style jam sessions with Clinton sharing her stage with the likes of Bill Medley, Jack Jones, Clint Holmes, The Scintas, Gordie Brown, Mary Wilson and other Strip entertainers. Doors at the Event Center open at 7 p.m. tomorrow, with show running from 8 to 10 p.m. General admission sating tickets start at $15. Buffet, dinner and cocktails are available. The Ron DeCar Event Center is located at 1201 Las Vegas Blvd. So. Find out more about Kelly Clinton at her website:

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