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 February 27, 2015
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - February 27, 2015

Keith Nelson

John Wedemeyer

How can we NOT mention the Oscars? As the In Memoriam segment on last Sunday night's Oscar telecast was coming to an end, Cousin Claire called a friend to ask if we had missed seeing Joan Rivers' name and picture among those who passed in 2014, or, if in fact, she had been omitted. It turns out she had been omitted. How could the Academy voters forget Rabbit Test, the 1978 film written and directed by Rivers, and starring Billy Crystal as the world's first pregnant man? And why did John Travolta take heat for playing unsolicited touchy- feely with Idina Menzel and Scarlett Johansson, while Oprah got no criticism for doing something similar to David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King, Jr., in the film, Selma. Personally, we found Oprah's attack more offensive. We gained new respect for Lady Gaga as the result of her Sound of Music medley. Thought she did a fine job. We were also touched by Jennifer Hudson's emotional take on "I Can't Let Go" from NBC's Smash, and moved by Tim McGraw's version of Glen Campbell's "I'm Not Gonna Miss You." Campbell is dealing with Alzheimer's, and the lyrics of "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" conveys that. John Legend (using his real name, John Stephens) and Common reduced the audience to complete silence (and some tears) as they delivered a joint acceptance speech for "Glory," which won best original song. As for multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris as the Oscar host, we thought he did fine under difficult circumstances (especially the way too long length of the show). Loved Harris' line about producer Dana Perry's pom-pom dress ("It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that"). When NPH came onstage stripped down to his tighty-whities in honor of "Birdman," we could have, and did, say "It takes a lot of balls..." about him! There's always the 88th Academy Awards show in which to make improvements.

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And we also have to mention one of our most favorite "Vegas Things," the monthly Composers Showcase (we haven't missed one for more than eight years). The March edition will take place in the Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center on the 4th. It will feature the original music of Roopak Ahuja, Jason Andino, Dennis Blair, Michael Brennan, Larry Esparza, Joel Ferguson, Adam Knaff, Aaron Ramsey, Danny Roque, Matt Taylor, Keith Thompson, Shana Tucker, Tyler Williams and more. Performers include Heath Burgette, Kris Coleman, Rochelle Collins, Dina Emerson, Corwyn Hodge, Paul Johnson, Jason Kappus, Andrew Ragone, Noah Rivera, Savannah Smith, Niki Scalera, Lauren Tartaglia and others. Players will include Tris Beezley, Gary Cordell, Chris Davis, Tish Diaz, Mark Ferratt, Philip Fortenberry, Keith Hubacher, Walter Jones, De Ann Letourneau, Tom Lipps, Jimmy McIntosh, Keith Nelson, Mark Pardy, Rebecca Sabine, Angelo Stokes, Kevin Stout, Eric Tewalt, John Wedemeyer, and possibly others. The Team is made up of - Stage Managers: Sharon del Pilar, Brandon Burk and Justin Lex. Lighting: Steve Mack. Sound: Kevin Harvey and Kevin Ruschmann. Video: Jeff Tidwell and Chuck Akin. Photography: Don Cadette. Associate Producer: Will Adamson. The upcoming monthly Composers Showcase dates through June are April 15th, May 27th and June 24th. Make your reservations early and mark your calendars. Shows start at 10:30 p.m. (after theater). See you there!

And speaking of Keith Thompson...It has just been officially announced (in both Las Vegas daily newspapers) that his and Buddy Sheffield's bawdy, original, laugh-out-loud musical comedy, Idaho!, paying homage to Broadway's Golden Age classics, will play in The Smith Center's Reynolds Hall in May/June of next year! Idaho! was actually born in La Vegas. A number of readings were done here, and Composer Showcase goers were treated to some of the songs over the past few years. Idaho! was also part of the New York Musical Festival in 2008.

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Stephen E. Braude

Robin Leach

The March F.I.O.R.E. luncheon, taking place on Thursday the 4th, starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara, will feature Stephen E. Braude as special guest speaker. Braude is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and author, and a Paranormal Investigator and Authority on Psychic Phenomena. Braude will talk about one of his most spectacular case investigations, The Gold Leaf Lady, a Florida housewife whose body would break out in a golden-colored foil. Stephen is also a professional pianist and composer and a prize- winning stereo photographer. The cost to attend the luncheon is $25 per person (widows of former F.I.O.R.E. members are guests of the non-club club). Enjoy a delicious lunch, live music and entertainment, prizes and a good and interesting time. RSVPs are a must. Contact [email protected].

We have just learned that the special guest speaker for the June F.I.O.R.E. luncheon will be Robin Leach. In order to secure his participation, to accommodate his schedule, the meeting that month will take place on a Friday, instead of the usual Thursday.

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Last Sunday, at the Piazza Lounge in the Tuscany Suites, singer Nik Mastrangelo, known on the stage at the Tuscany as Nik at Nite, and the Nik at Nite Trio, had a great time performing the music for a new theme: Songs About Places, as they did numbers like "April In Paris," "Moonlight In Vermont," "Stars Fell on Alabama," "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square," "When In Rome," "The Girl From Ipanema" (in Italian), and many others. Nik says, "I know I've said this before, but it still bears repeating. I couldn't be prouder of my band, which consists of the very best musicians in Las Vegas: Joey Singer on keys, Bob Sachs on bass and Mike Mechem on drums. The sound they produce each week is nothing short of exquisite." This Sunday, in response to several requests, beginning at around 7 p.m., the group will reprise songs that were recorded by Tony Bennett, which they last did more than four months ago, with some new songs added. This proved to be quite a crowd pleaser. The Piazza Lounge is located in the Tuscany Hotel (on the hotel side) at 255 E. Flamingo. Help spread the word about the coolest room in town.

Tony Bennett by Maurice Seymour

Raul Rodriguez 1944-2015

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Tomorrow night, music will once again be coming from the Liberace mansion on Shirley Street in Las Vegas. Now owned by Martyn Ravenhill. the pianists' former home has been lovingly restored by Ravenhill, a longtime fan of Mr. Showmanship. Five talented piano players, including Spencer Baker, Philip Fortenberry, Martin Kaye, and Jacob Tolliver, will perform on instruments in different rooms throughout the home during a fundraiser for the Opera Las Vegas Young Artists program. For more information, go to: millions/bringing-music-back-liberace-mansion

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As for the future of the 60-year-old Riviera hotel casino on the Strip? Apparently there isn't one. It seems the decision has been made to close the property and implode the buildings. The farewell date for customers appears to be May 4th. What will happen to the shows that are housed at the Riviera, once the performance space of major stars including Liberace (who introduced a very young Barbra Streisand to Las Vegas show goers), The Carpenters, Vic Damone, Sammy Davis Jr., Joan Rivers, Barry Manilow, Mitzi Gaynor, Totie Fields, Bob Hope, Johnny Mathis, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra, Bernadette Peters and many others. The open Riviera lounge was another happening place that once was home to a lot of local favorite musicians. Then things changed. Headliners made way for revues. There was a brief glimmer of hope for the return of marquee names, when, in the summer of 2011, the hotel brought back headliners from the past, launching with Connie Stevens and John Byner. Not much imaginative booking, and very little advertising, resulted in that concept going bye bye fairly quickly. The main showroom at the Riv was recently refurbished and reopened after being closed for some time. Producer Dick Feeney's two shows, The Rat Pack Is Back and MJ Live, that had successful runs at the Rio, both closed at the off-Strip property last week, with plans to open at the Riviera on March 2nd. Obviously that isn't going to happen. A new location for the Feeney shows is expected to be announced soon. Did we mention that Duck Commander Musical, based on the A&E Duck Dynasty TV show, will be opening in the Rio showroom in April? Yep. You read that right.

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We are saddened to report the passing of Raul Rodriguez.
Sam Roberts of The New York Times wrote, Raul Rodriguez, who designed more than 500 floral floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade and conceived dazzling confections for other private and public celebrations around the world, died on Wednesday at his home in Pasadena, Calif. He was 71. His spouse, Robert Cash, said that Mr. Rodriguez had been ill for some time and that he died of cardiac arrest. Mr. Rodriguez dreamed up floats for Disneyland's 50th anniversary in 2005; was the art director for the "We the People 200" celebration of the Constitution's bicentennial in Philadelphia in 1987; served as a consultant to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles; and designed installations for casinos (including the Flamingo Hotel's pink neon facade in Las Vegas and the 22-story clown that graces the Circus Circus Hotel in Reno, Nev.), stores, restaurants and entertainment companies. He also illustrated children's books. His most conspicuous creations, though, were those he made for the Rose Parade. He designed his first when he was 15, a snow scene for the City of Whittier in California, and his final one in 2014, when - typically - he fielded multiple floats in the annual New Year's Day procession in Pasadena. Mr. Rodriguez was classically trained in drawing and painting, but when it came to pageantry he might just as well have been inspired by Oscar Wilde's credo that nothing succeeds like excess. In 2013, the chromatic "Dreaming of Paradise" float he designed for Dole Packaged Foods, and which he rode on with his signature pet macaw, featured a 26-foot-tall volcano spewing smoke and flame and 1,000 gallons of recycled water cascading into a fruit-laden tropical rain forest adorned with about 25,000 hot-pink roses, 10,000 dendrobium orchids and 8,000 florescent orange roses. The Dole float won the sweepstakes award that year, contributing to Mr. Rodriguez's record as the winningest designer in the parade's history. The City of Cerritos in California once asked him to replicate its library on a float, to encourage reading. Instead, he whimsically built a 50-foot-tall bookworm. For Natural Balance Pet Foods, he conceived a 113-foot-long float on which dogs could slide down a chute into 4,000 gallons of water. Raul Ruben Rodriguez was born on Jan. 2, 1944, in Los Angeles, the son of Ruben Rodriguez, a sheet-metal worker, and the former Natalie Cortez, a department store supervisor. His parents encouraged his artistic talent, he told The Los Angeles Times in 1992: "My mother wouldn't erase the drawings I did on the dining room wall." He won a scholarship to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and graduated from Cerritos College and California State University, Long Beach. Mr. Rodriguez viewed his floats as "moving stage sets," unique art forms that allowed him to recreate exotic locales from around the world. While his fanciful creations were meticulously planned for months, they were built with natural components and typically for one-time events, which meant they usually lasted only a matter of days. In an interview with The Glendale News-Press, he described the Rose Parade as "the five-and-a-half-mile smile." Each Jan. 1, he said, "If we can start the year on a positive, we did our job." In addition to Mr. Cash, Raul Rodriguez is survived by two sisters, Irene Rodriguez-Morgan and Teresa Arzola.

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Joe Williams by Merryl Jaye

Jack Jones

On Sunday, March 8th from 2 to 3:30 p.m., the University of Nevada Las Vegas will host the 25th Joe Williams Scholarship Fundraising Concert, Keeping Jazz Alive, benefiting the Jazz Studies Program at UNLV. Presented by the Joe Williams Everyday Foundation, and the Social Register of Las Vegas, the program will feature performing artists Marlena Shaw, Jack Jones, Jo Belle Yonely, Tezz Yancey, Ronnie Rose, Clint Holmes, Earl Turner, Reva Rice, Eric Jordan Young, Bill Fayne, Vince Falcone, Bob Anderson, Don Cunningham and other special guests, and be hosted by Pete Barbutti. The concert will take place in Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV. The Joe Williams Every Day Foundation scholarships provide UNLV Jazz students with financial assistance for the academic year. Before he died, at the age of 80 on March 29, 1999, jazz singer/recording artist/actor, Joe Williams, and his wife, Jillean, along with some of his closest friends and collaborators, created the non-profit Joe Williams Every Day Foundation. Its aim is to provide support for music and musicians, especially those in jazz, and to create career opportunities for deserving young talent. General admission tickets for this special benefit event are priced at $25 for all seats. To purchase tickets by phone, call the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office at (702) 895-2787 (ARTS). For more information on this event, contact the [email protected].

And also taking place on the University campus, the Charles Vanda Masters Series will present 2CELLOS, at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7th in Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall. Breaking down boundaries between classical and popular music, Croatians, Luke Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, are equally impressive whether performing Bach and Vivaldi, or rocking out to AC/DC. Tickets are $40 and $25. Discounted tickets are available to seniors, military members, the differently-abled, UNLV faculty and staff, and UNLV Alumni Association members. All students may receive one ticket at the student rush price of $13 (plus $1.50 facilities fee) subject to availability and with valid ID. Student rush tickets will be available at the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office one hour prior to the performance. To purchase tickets by phone, call the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office at (702) 895-2787 (ARTS). [email protected]

Martin Nievera

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Chadwick Johnson's Golden concert is back on the boards by popular demand! On Wednesday, March 18th, beginning at 8 p.m., Golden returns to the Italian American Club Showroom. Joining Johnson is special guest, songstress Naomi Mauro. Tickets are $20. For choice seating, call Maxine at (702) 818-4747. For dinner reservations, call the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara, at (702) 457-3866.

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There are a couple of Class Acts (the name of Colleen Custers' Talent Agency) on approach at the M Resort Spa Casino's indoor Pavilion. On Saturday, March 14th, it's Justin Shandor in his Aloha Elvis Tribute Show, and on Saturday, April 4th, it's The Concert King of the Philippines, Martin Nievera, taking to the stage at the south Las Vegas Blvd. hotel casino. Billed as The World's Ultimate Elvis Champion, Justin has been making a living impersonating Elvis Presley since he was 16 years old. In August of 2010, he won the Ultimate Elvis Contest in Memphis, securing an endorsement from Graceland. Showtime for Shandor at the M is March 14th at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6. Ticket prices re $30, $36 and $42, plus LET and FAC fees. Following a Sold Out show at the M last year, Martin is back by popular demand. He has an incredible voice, and a winning stage persona, a combination that makes for a great entertainer. Nievera has appeared as a celebrity judge on The X Factor Philippines, and his soulful performances have earned him 18 platinum, 5 double platinum, 3 triple platinum and 1 quadruple platinum album. Showtime for Martin Nievera is Saturday, April 4th at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6. Ticket prices are $30, $38, and for VIP $46, plus LET and FAC fees. Tickets are on sale now at the M Box Office located at Player Services; charge by phone (800) 745-3000; or any ticketmaster location. Tickets are non refundable. Ticket required for all guests age 2 and over. No Cameras or Video or Audio Recording permitted. Both of these talented gentlemen are performers represented by Colleen Custer.

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Bill Fayne is most excited about his upcoming 6 p.m. March 21st show at Ron DeCar's Event Center! Bill and company will pay tribute to Stephen Sondheim in honor of the composers 85th birthday, which occurs on March 22nd. And what a company it is! Twenty-five of some of the best singers in captivity - James Allen, Brandon Burk, Adriana Lomysh Campell, Marcia Cope-Hart, Rita Davidsen, Joy Demain, George DeMott, Ayler Evan, Bruce Ewing, HayleyAnn Hart, Laurina Hendricksen, Sandra Huntsman, Jay Joseph, Anne Martinez, Karen Merstik-Michaels, Pat Newell, Vivien Rothwell, Niki Scalera, Tina Walsh, Kelly Ward, Dia Webb, Kellie Wright., Jessica Vanek, Marco Varela, and Mr. Fayne himself, will sing songs from some of Sondheim's smash shows, including Sweeney Todd, Company, Gypsy, West Side Story, Follies, Into The Woods, Dick Tracy, and more. Tickets, which are sure to sell out quickly, are $15 to $30, plus taxes. To purchase, call (702) 384-0771. Doors open at 5 p.m. for buffet. Showtime is from 6 to 8 p.m.

Brandon Burk

Rich Natole & Salway Twins

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On Monday, February 23rd, comic impressionist Rich Natole's guest on his Listening to the Vegas Voice radio show was personality, Barbra Brighton. Tuesday, he interviewed talented and beautiful teenage twins, Cambry and Carly Salway, This coming Monday, March 2nd, it's actress Cynthia Pepper as Rich's guest. Cynthia is probably best known for her 1964 co-starring role with Elvis in Kissin' Cousins. She also starred in the TV series Margie. Then on Tuesday, Greg Bonham, with his soaring rich vocals, sizzling trumpet playing and warm engaging personality, will be in the hot seat. Born on a sheep farm, on the "edge" of the Australian outback, Greg is now based in Las Vegas, where he has worked with a number of stars, including Jay Leno, Don Rickles, and the late Joan Rivers. 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. Tune in and give a listen to Rich and company.

Cynthia Pepper as Margie

Roseanne Barr at The Venetian

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Deana Martin returns to Las Vegas, for dates at the South Point on May 29th, 30th and 31st.
This time around, the talented lady will be calling her show Deana Martins' Big Band Swing. Her big band, led by Rick Krive, will be made up of 18 top musicians. Mark your calendars.

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Roseanne Barr, the funny, and often profound, lady will be back at The Venetian in the Sands Showroom on upcoming Saturdays - February 28th, April 11th and June 6th, to perform in the Lipshtick series, featuring today's premier comediennes in "The perfect shade of stand up."
Comedy superstar, award-winning actress, best-selling author, recent presidential candidate, and the original Domestic Goddess, Roseanne continues to amaze. After nine years, 224 episodes, four Emmy awards, and countless other accolades, you couldn't blame her if she wanted to quietly slip away, able to take solace in the fact she single-handedly re-landscaped the medium of situational comedy forever. Roseanne began her career as a stand-up comedian, turning her experiences as a wife and mother into a hilarious comedy act that audiences couldn't resist. She subsequently produced and starred on her own hit sitcom, Roseanne, which ran for nine seasons and averaged approximately 30 million viewers each week. The role earned Barr an Emmy Award as well as Golden Globe, Kids' Choice and multiple American Comedy Awards. Her creation and stark portrayal of Roseanne Conner and the Conner family on Roseanne, was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as "the most groundbreaking kitchen-sink sitcom since All in the Family." The series, which also won a prestigious Peabody Award, became an internationally syndicated hit, seen in more than 150 countries worldwide. In recent years, the Salt Lake City native guest- starred on The Office, Portlandia and The Millers. Her earlier TV guest spots include My Name Is Earl, Futurama, The Nanny, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and The Larry Sanders Show. Barr also had her own talk show, The Roseanne Show, which earned her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination as outstanding talk show host. Her big screen credits include She Devil, Freddy's Dead, Blue in the Face, and Meet Wally Sparks, and she also voiced characters in Look Who's Talking Too and Home on the Range. She has written three books: Roseanne: My Life as a Woman, My Lives, and most recently, Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm. The Lifetime series, Roseanne's Nuts, which she also executive produced, followed Barr as she ran a nut farm in Hawaii. At Full Moon and High Tide Studio (FMHT), Barr's family-run production company, she is currently spearheading numerous projects. The studio produced her first DVD for children, titled Rockin' with Roseanne: Calling All Kids!, which was inspired by Barr's grandchildren. FMHT has produced original programming for VH1 and also produced her 4th HBO comedy special, Roseanne Barr: Blonde and Bitchin.' In 2013, Roseanne returned to her stand-up roots and was the headline act for an exclusive run at the legendary Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Most recently, Roseanne can be found as the center judge on America's most compelling comedy competition on NBC's Emmy Award-nominated series, Last Comic Standing. She can be found blogging daily on her website, Ventian shows are at 9:30 p.m. in the Sands Showroom. Tickets, priced from $49.50 to $118.25, can be purchased at any Venetian/Palazzo Box office, or by calling (702) 414-9000, or (866) 641- 7469. Upcoming shows are scheduled for 9:30 p.m., on Saturday, February 28th, Saturday, April 11th and Saturday, June 6th.

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Former Las Vegan, vocalist Loretta Holloway, will be joining Joe Gransden and his 16 piece Big Band as their special guest in The Sounds of the Big Band Era on Monday, March 9th, at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center in Roswell, Georgia. It promises to be a grand event and a most spectacular evening of great music. Check at for ticket details. As we say...if you're in the neighborhood...

Loretta Holloway

Renee Hale

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Renee Hale tells us that she will b singing at the Italian American Club one more time before her upcoming hip replacement surgery. "I'll still be celebrating my birthday along with several of my friends. Please come down and join us for "39 & holding" in the lounge at the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara, Wednesday, March 4th from 7 to 11 p.m. I have Ned Mills on keys and vocals, and John Plows on drums. We're going to have a blast! We always do! Looking forward to my favorite songbirds and crooners coming down and sitting in! Be sure to call (702) 457-3866 for reservations. Food is awesome! Come join the party. The joint will be jumpin'!" Happy birthday, Renee.

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JRW Group Entertainment announces: Women of Magic - A Magical themed stage show in Association with The Attic Community Theater. Women of Magic features four headlining female magicians, all performers at Hollywood's world-famous Magic Castle. On March 7th, the veteran performers, who have toured globally, will materialize in Women of Magic at the Attic Community Theater in a four part, ongoing weekend series running through the end of March. Titled Magic in the Attic, this show, the first in the series opens with these local and international headliners: Ekaterina Markova-from Bulgaria, an international, award-winning magician bringing an original and colorful European flair to her form of magic; Sisupon - Laotian born and a mysterious Oriental beauty known as "The Lady of Magic" and "Entertainer to the Stars." She combines the sexy image of a Lucy Liu with the fast paced physical comedy of Jackie Chan; Corinne Renee - the only Orange County resident on the bill is a female magician of a different variety. Dark and mysterious with magic that's ethereal as it is macabre. A bewitching combination of magic and her connection with the other side gives her a unique and beautiful style to behold; Farrah Siegel - from Hollywood will emcee the show, also known as the "Mistress of Precarious Playthings" from yo-yos to hula hoops! By combining her talents as an award winning magician, bullwhip artist, and a bona fide national yo-yo champion, her delightful dexterity defies belief. Following the opening of Women of Magic, weekly themes such as Comedy & Magic, Young Magicians and Close-Up Magic, will be presented through March 29th. The March 21st performance of "Young Magicians" will feature award winner Cody Clark from Kentucky, with a very inspirational story of how performing magic has helped him battle living with Autism. The Magic in the Attic show series is Created and Produced by Huntington Beach resident, Jim Whirlow, to bring additional family variety arts entertainment to the Orange County area and to help give the veteran magicians, up-and-coming young magicians and variety artists a stage where both locals and tourists alike can enjoy their performances in an affordable public forum. Group transportation arrangements are available and luncheon and dinner shows throughout Orange County are taking place. Showtime is Saturday, March 7th at 2:30 to 4 p.m. Doors open at 2. Advance General Admission is $25, Senior (60+) $20, and Students (w/student ID) $15. The Attic Community Theater is located at 2834 S. Fairview in Santa Ana, California. For tickets, call the Attic Community Theater Box Office at (714) 662-2525, or go online at
JRW Group Entertainment is a Theatrical Stage to Screen Production Company and SAG/AFTRA Signatory Company. Connect with Jim Whirlow: Writer, Producer/[email protected] (310)251-1546, or eMail: [email protected]; NOW THAT'S MAGIC: View our Las Vegas Style One-Woman Show at

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Barbara Cook is back at The Smith Center for performances on Friday, March 13th and Saturday, March 14th with shows at 7 p.m. plus a Sunday, March 15th matinee at 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $37. USA Today describes Barbara Cook as "Musical theater's greatest living singer!" "We shall not see her like again. There's just no one to take her place!" says Musical Stages. With a decades-spanning career and an unmatched list of accolades including Kennedy Center Honors and Tony, Grammy, and Drama Desk awards, Broadway icon, Barbara Cook, is beloved for her legendary performances in the premiere production of The Music Man and lauded revivals of Oklahoma! and Carousel. The first female pop singer ever to perform a solo concert at the Metropolitan Opera, the silvery soprano returns to The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz to show why she is still "the greatest singer in the world," to quote Financial Times.

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David de Alba returns to The Onyx Theatre on Sunday, June 21st for a 2 p.m. show - By Myself on a Lonely Stage, 2015. Award-winning actor, singer-impressionist, David de Alba, "The Cuban Legend," who worked for many years at the world famous Finocchio Club in San Francisco, California, as the revue's bilingual singing main feature, will bring Judy Garland back to life with his own live singing impersonations on the late Star. The show will also include many lovely costumes changes, and Mr. de Alba will give some anecdote narrations; some of his personal ones on Judy and other anecdotes that Judy was famous for telling during her 1960s USA television appearances. This show is a must to see for any Judy Garland fan and for those who will appreciate a LIVE singing female impressionist at best. Tickets to David de Alba's LIVE Tribute to Judy Garland are $20 for VIP Seating (First Two Rows), and $18 for General Seating. The Onyx Theatre is at 953 East Sahara, 16B, in Commercial Center. Phone (702) 732-7225 for reservations. Geared to audiences 21 years and up.

David de Alba as Judy Garland

Allen, Capaldi & Zimmerman

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Stage Kiss plays at the Cockroach Theatre, 1025 S. First Street, Suite 110, in the downtown Art Square Theatre, tonight through March 15th. Art imitates life. Life imitates art. What really happens when two actors kiss onstage? The newest missive from award winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, explores the chemistry, the construction, and the sometimes ridiculous consequences of a staged kiss. Reality and artifice meld, linear time collapses, and theatre happens. Directed by Taliesin McEnaney, and featuring Jamie Carvelli Pikrone, Brenna Folger, Ross Horvitz, TJ Larsen, Scott McAdam, Jacob Moore and Amy Solomon. Stage Manager: Marni Lewis. Musical Director: Jolana Sampson-Adamson. Set Design: Timothy Burris. Costume Design: Abby Stroot. Props: Stacia Zinkevich. Lighting Design: Erica Courtney. Show times for Stage Kiss are Friday, February 27th; Saturday, the 28th; Thursday, March 5th; Saturday the 7th; Thursday the 12th, Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th, all at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, March 1st, 8th and 15th, at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $16 to $20. For reservations, call (702) 818-3422.

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Here is what former Las Vegans, entertainers Domenick Allen, his wife Leigh Zimmerman, and their daughter, Cayleigh Capaldi, are up to these days. Article written by Elaine Hesser of The Californian publication.
Monterey Meringues offers unique treats
I know, I know. Meringues usually fall into one of three categories: dry and crumbly, damp and rubbery, or "meh." I wasn't prepared to be dazzled by Monterey Meringues, but that's exactly the word to describe these just-right morsels: dazzling. Chef-owners Domenick Allen and Leigh Zimmerman, along with their daughter, Cayleigh, turn out the beautiful and tasty treats in the Commercial Kitchen Incubator in Watsonville. The incubator is part of the El Pajaro Community Development Corporation, and Allen and Zimmerman can't say enough about the support they've received there. The couple has been married for 21 years and to say running a food business is a change from their first careers is an understatement. Allen is a lifelong musician who plays 11 instruments and played with Foreigner. He debuted in Vegas as part of Liberace's show, and later headlined his own show there. Zimmerman performed on Broadway in Chicago, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and numerous other shows. Both have been on television, where Allen had a recurring role in the daytime drama, Days of Our Lives. They just returned from a year and a half in London, where Zimmerman earned a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance as Sheila in A Chorus Line. The award is all the more impressive when you find out she was already planning for the meringue business by attending classes at the London campus of Le Cordon Bleu. Allen attended the Waitrose cooking school in London and Cayleigh studied at Westminster Kingsway Culinary College, and in Master Chef classes at The American School in London. Then, they followed the show biz mantra: "Practice, practice, practice." Allen said, "We went through ovens like Pete Townsend went through guitars!" They baked thousands of meringues and, as it turned out, the London fog was the perfect preparation for our own coastal humidity. Meringues are notoriously fussy — Allen joked, "They're temperamental, like rock stars." They seem to have a solid recipe nailed down, though. The meringues come in a vivid array of colors purchased from a company in San Francisco that makes them from fruit and vegetables juices. The proprietary painting process leaves each meringue with a thin layer of bright colors or patterns, then they're often dusted with nuts or other crunchy bits, creating textural interest. With names like "Beach Boysenberry" and "Purple Hazelnut," they fit right into the rock-and-roll, hippie image Allen and Zimmerman have developed, partly as an homage to the Monterey Pop festival of 1967. The confections go beyond eye candy, though. They're light, sweet, a little crunchy, a little marshmallow-y and decidedly flavorful. The "Miley Citrus" has a bright, tangerine-orange tang, while the "Purple Hazelnut" — part of the "Dazed and Infused" line — oozes chocolate ganache when you bite into it. The "Nuts and Roses" shows a bit of British flair with a little rosewater added to the mix. In all, there are 40 flavors available — and counting. They've been used as decorations on wedding cakes and as small, sweet bites for all kinds of events. The family hopes to open a brick and mortar storefront or two within the next few years and right now they're working on getting their online ordering system up and running. Meanwhile, you can order by using the information found on the "contact" tab at their web site, They decided early on that some of the proceeds would go to their other passion, music education. And almost all of the treats are gluten, dairy and cholesterol free. Their motto is "Music, Meringues, Peace and Love." Having tasted the meringues, all I can say is, "Rock on!" In recent years in Las Vegas, Domenick performed in Vocal Soup and Vinyl, and Leigh played Ula in the Las Vegas production of Mel Brooks' The Producers. To get in contact with Monterey Meringues, call (831) 238-2276, or e-mail to [email protected].

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This information comes from longtime Southern Nevada businessman, Robert George Allen, . CEO Vegas Tours USA. ATTENTION! SCAM WARNING!
I am the owner/director of the Haunted Vegas Tours, The Vegas Mob Tours, The Goodsprings Ghost Hunt and The Haunted Mob Tour and I have been proudly producing these high quality tours for over 10 years. Recently, some unscrupulous people have been using my tour names for several low cost, downtown Las Vegas, copycat tours. For over several weeks now, I have been receiving e-mails and phone calls from people who have been duped into taking these counterfeit tours and that they are very disappointed that they were not my quality products. Be warned that they are infringing on my copyrighted names and my attorney is taking immediate legal action to stop them. Do not be fooled by these low quality imitations of my award winning tours and shows.
See review below that was sent to me!
My mother and dad traveled to Las Vegas last year and went on a ghost tour and a mob tour. They raved about them both for months and told me not to miss them when I go to Las Vegas. Well my friend and I traveled to Las Vegas in November 2014 and were hanging around the Fremont Street Experience when we heard about a ghost & mob tour being sold down there. We called the phone number and were told that this is the only tour of its type in Las Vegas. Thinking it was the same tour my parents went on we bought the tickets. We met the shabby dressed tour guide and a group 6 others in front of the Heart Attack Grill on Fremont street. The female tour guide took us on a hour walking tour of some downtown Las Vegas buildings and stumbled over what was a bad attempt at telling the history of the city. It was not spooky, fun or educational. In fact it was horrible! We wanted to leave the tour before it was over but we stuck it out in hopes it would get better. It only got worse! Later we went to a bar for a drink and I told my friend I couldn't believe my parents actually thought this was great. When I got home I told my mom about our experience and she seemed shocked. She looked through a drawer and found the brochures for the tours they had taken. The name of the tours were the Haunted Vegas Tours and the Vegas Mob Tours. They were 3 hours and done on a bus with costumed guides and professional ghost hunting equipment. They went to many haunted Las Vegas locations and even got to go to a free pizza party. Obviously the tour we went on (Spirit Expeditions aka Haunted Las Vegas Tours) is a cheap imitation of the 2 tours my parents took and enjoyed. I felt totally "Ripped Off" so I called to get my money back but all I got was an answering machine and no one ever called me back. BUYERS BEWARE! DON'T BE FOOLED! This is a cheap imitation of the original haunted and mob tours that have been touring Las Vegas for many years. See all of our quality tours at:
Please share this e-mil with everyone who thinks stealing is wrong!

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We received this missive from Jimmy Marino, President of Team Frankie Laine. In case you readers don't know, hit maker ("I Believe," "That's My Desire," "Jezebel," "That Lucky Old Sun," "Mule Train" and others), Frankie Laine, performed in Las Vegas starting in the late 1940s. His last appearance here was in 2000 at the Suncoast. "It's now my big job to raise funds for Team Frankie Laine," says Marino. "If you haven't heard, Team Frankie Laine is now an affiliate of American Jazz Institute. This means we can accept tax deductible contributions because we are now a 501(c) (3) Charitable Corporation. With these funds, we will go after several goals: To keep the music and image of Frankie Laine Alive and Relevant. Working with the City of San Diego to rename Kellogg Way, Frankie Laine Way. Sculpt and erect a Bronze Statute of Frankie Laine. Establish a radio program featuring Frankie Laine music. And continue to communicate with the millions of Frankie Laine fans all over the world. If you have friends, or companies that would like to contribute to Team Frankie Laine/American Jazz Institute, please contact them and help us raise money for these and other goals we will pursue. We will reply to those donors with a tax deductible certification letter. They will be listed as sponsors of Team Frankie Laine and American Jazz Institute. This would be a great help to Team Frankie Laine. This would be a nice opportunity for companies, corporations and people of means, to support the legacy of Frankie Laine, and American Jazz Institute. We realize there are many important charities out there, however, there are only a few that support the promotion and education of great musicians and their music. What do you think about all this ? Can you help ?" Readers?

Frankie Laine by Maurice Seymour

Tommy Kirk

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As seen on TV...
We love spotting familiar faces in older movies and TV series that turn up on local, non-cable TV stations like COZI TV, Antenna TV, MeTV, M! (for Movies) TV, this TV and the newest one, Get.TV. During the past few months, we saw actress Jane Connell in 1963's Ladybug, Ladybug, a film that starred William Daniels. Jane Connell portrayed Miss Hannigan in the production of Annie when the musical played here at the Desert Inn in the early 1980s. We also saw It's a Bikini World, circa 1967, starring Deborah Walley and Tommy Kirk. Kirk, was also in Walt Disney's Old Yeller. Like Beverly Washburn, who also appeared in Old Yeller, Tommy Kirk is a Southern Nevada resident. The Night They Raided Minsky's ( ) featured Dexter Maitland, Herbie Faye and Marilyn D'Honau, sister of Las Vegan, Lillian D'Honau, all with Vegas connections. In Stanley Kramer's 1961 Oscar- winning film, Judgment at Nuremberg, longtime Las Vegan, the late Joseph Bernard, appears with major stars Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell and others. Foxy Brown (1974) aired recently on THIS TV (Channel 33.2 in Las Vegas). It starred Pam Grier and current Ls Vegas resident, Antonio Fargas (Huggy Bear in the Starsky & Hutch TV series). On a recent vintage Alfred Hitchcock episode, former Las Vegan, Peter Lind Hayes and Lillian Gish co-starred. Rock Around the Clock (1956), featured Freddie Bell, along with Bill Haley & the Comets and The Platters in cameo roles. Among the cast members in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, Jim Nabors, David Engel, and Annie Gaybis (Mrs, John Byner) all had roles. We noted that some of the music for the 1974 film, For Pete's Sake, starring Barbra Streisand and Michael Sarrazin, was written by Artie Butler. Artie spent time in Las Vegas as the longtime musical director for Suzanne Somers. He also is the co- writer of the beautiful "Here's To Life," recorded by, among others, former Las Vegan Joe Williams, and Shirley Horn. To learn this stuff, you have to be anal enough to read through the credits (or look them up on the Internet). We are.

Joseph Bernard

Mark Nadler

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About Mark Nadler, Stephen Holden says, "Mark Nadler's new cabaret show, "Addicted to the Spotlight" at 54 Below, is a ferocious but good-natured retort to those critics (including this one) who complain that once he is on the stage, it is almost impossible to drag him off. He is a proud throwback to those voracious song-and-dance men from the vaudeville era whom you might have thought had gone the way of the dodo. But here he is. In their maniacal quest to shoot the moon, his closest equivalents are probably Liza Minnelli and Mandy Patinkin, who both also have sawdust in their blood. I've said it before, but the appellation applies more than ever; Mr. Nadler, with his talent and boundless drive, has earned my vote for the title of Mr. Show Business." You can see Mark for yourself at 54 Below. Addicted to the Spotlight will be performed on March 11th and 25th, and April 15th. Show times are at 7 p.m. (doors open at 5:15), and tickets range from $40 to $65. There is also a $25 food and beverage minimum. For reservations, call (646) 476-3551. 54 Below is located at 254 W. 54th Street in Manhattan.

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The City of Henderson's 2015 Spring Season calendar includes Bark in the Park and St. Patrick's Day celebration. All of the events include complimentary admission and feature an assortment of affordable activities fit for any age. The schedule is subject to change. There is Bark in the Park, Saturday, March 7th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Cornerstone Park, 1600 Wigwam Pkwy. Bark in the Park is a celebration for dog lovers and their canine friends. The event features entertainment, contests, vendors and pet adoptions. For more information, visit, or call (702) 267-4000. The Southern Nevada Sons and Daughters of Erin St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival, will take place March 13th through 15th (times vary). The parade will occur on March 14th, starting at 10 a.m., at the Henderson Events Plaza, 200 Water St., in the Water Street District. There may be a charge for some special activities. Join in for one of the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the country. Enjoy three days of family fun - the Irish way! The tribute to the Emerald Isle, from the Blarney Stone to Dublin, includes an exciting carnival, authentic Irish entertainment, car show, and a parade. For more details, visit, or call (702) 267-2171.

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In the news...
Unfortunately, a number of well-known people, whose names start with the letter B, have been getting a lot of unwanted press these days. We are sure it is just a sad coincidence, but nonetheless. There is Bruce Jenner (called "TransJenner" by our clever friend, MMS), Brian Williams, Bobbi Kristina Brown and Bill Cosby. As we approach our Friday deadline, none of these stories have concluded.

Shirley MacLaine was always near the top of our list, when it came to favorite live performers (Sammy Davis Jr., Steve and Eydie and Anthony Newley are others at the top of our list), but calling Shirl's "thinking" off stage a bit out there (as in Out On a Limb, the name of MacLaine's 1983 autobiographical book) would be putting it mildly. The veteran Oscar-winning actress' latest opinions are causing some outrage as she asks, "Were Holocaust victims paying for sins in past lives?" And did 'her friend' Stephen Hawking, whose life inspired the award-winning film, The Theory Of Everything, bring his devastating motor neuron disease on himself? This thinking is shared in the 80-year-old authors latest book, What If...A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure, from the lady, who once insisted that she lived on Atlantis in an earlier life, is beyond bizarre. We suggest that Shirley MacLaine stick to a script, and keep her wacky thinking to herself.

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Direct from Graceland. For the first time in 40 years, Elvis is back in the building. Graceland presents the first, permanent Elvis exhibition, featuring hundreds of artifacts never before displayed outside of Graceland. All will be on display at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in beginning on April 23rd. There will also be live Elvis-themed entertainment shows in the historic showroom where Elvis delivered more than 600 Sold-Out performances.

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Xtra special thanks to those who took the time to make contact with Claire Voyant following her last week's announcement of her impending retirement. Kind messages came from Wendy Clancy, Bart Williams, Stan Evans, Rob Beal, Jasen Woehrle, Jerry Vann, Larry Taylor, Donna Booth Koger, Lou Garcia, Carole Fishman, Jackie Brett, Norm Johnson, Bobby & Jeannie Kelley, Mary-Jo Coombs, Janine & Jack Zane and others. All are very much appreciated.


Although this is the last of our weekly Claire Voyant columns (do we hear cheering from some parts of the city?), it is not quite the end of Cousin Claire.

When she has something profound to share, it will turn up on this site. It may be once a month, or once a decade, but you know she always has something on, what is left of, her mind, that she can't keep to herself.

For those who have been getting e-announcements when a new weekly column was up online, they will continue to get notices when Claire has something to say. If you would like to be on the notification list, put your email address in the designated place at the bottom of any of Claire's columns. Those who do so will NOT get solicitations or be bothered with anything else, and their addresses will not be shared...we promise. Have we ever lied to you before?

Good bye for a while.

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