By Judy Thorburn
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Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - Las Vegas Round The Clock
Entertainment Reporter/Film Critic - Las Vegas Tribune
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - The Flick Chicks
www.theflickchicks.com

VEGAS HAPPENINGS
By Judy Thorburn

Showbiz Society Roasts Mayor Oscar Goodman at the Plaza


On Saturday afternoon, September 6 the Showbiz Society threw a celebrity filled roast for Mayor Oscar Goodman in the main showroom at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas.

Master of ceremonies was Show Biz Society President, Tony Sacca.  Labeled “The Event of the Year” the event was to honor the Mayor for his outstanding contribution and dedication to the entertainment industry in Las Vegas and raise money for a good cause, the Showbiz Society, an organization whose main purpose is to financially assist entertainers in their time of need.


Tony Sacca with Mayor Oscar Goodman and his wife Carolyn


The ticketed affair included a sit down luncheon, silent auction, raffle prizes, and of course the award ceremony/roast.
To raise additional funds for the organization, the Mayor agreed to be auctioned off, with the highest bidder (starting at $1,000) winning a dinner and show with the Mayor and his wife, Carolyn at Josette’s Bistro.

When Tony met with the Mayor to discuss this event and the possibility of doing more than just honoring and recognizing him, the Mayor stated, “Bring it on, let’s make this a fun event and let me see what they’ve got.”  Celebrities, friends, and family who participated in the roast included The Society of 7, the cast of the Rat Pack, four hunks from Thunder Down Under (who presented the Mayor with a calendar), several members of the Las Vegas cast of The Sopranos, David Brenner, Rich Little, Tempest Storm, Sigfried (who donated $2,000 to the organization), and the Mayor’s wife Carolyn Goodman. In addition, Ed Swindle, the Director of the Las Vegas Walk of Stars presented a check for $2,000 towards the cost of making the Mayor’s very own star a reality.


Thunder from Down Under hunks


The cast of "The Rat Pack is Back"


Siegfried Fishbacher


Tony Sacca with Tempest Storm and the Mayor

First up was Congresswoman Shelley Berkley in fine comical form.  She compared Goodman to Republican V.P. nominee/Gov. Palin of Alaska stating, “She likes to shoot caribou while he likes to shoot craps. And, the mayor’s idea of oral sex is talking about himself.” Getting down to more serious business Berkley read a proclamation of congressional recognition to the Mayor and his wife who were seated on “thrones” on the stage.  In a surprise turnabout the honorable leader of the city called the proclamation a “piece of crap” and tore the certifcate in half.  Although meant for a laugh, it came as a shocking surprise to everyone in attendance.  Nevertheless, as they say, the show must go on and no doubt it a fun filled affair, filled with affectionate humor.


Congresswoman Shelley Berkley

After reading a proclamation from the Mayor of Honolulu proclaiming September 6 Mayor Goodman Day, The Society of 7 presented the Las Vegas Mayor with a key to the city of Honolulu and jokingly included a boat paddle as a gift to paddle his way to Hawaii. A hula dancer also performed and gifted the mayor and his wife with leis.

Society of Seven


Highlights of the roast included David Brenner who grew up in the same Philadelphia neighborhood as Goodman.  About the mayor’s grades in school, Brenner said they were F, U and C. Before leaving the podium the comedian took aim by announcing, “The Mayor has done for Las Vegas what painting by numbers did for art”.

Tony Sacca, David Brenner and the Mayor
Impressionist Rich Little added a few zingers at the Mayor, who as a lawyer was known for representing mobsters. “The mayor is a household name, but big deal, so is Drano,” said Little. “Without Oscar there would be no Las Vegas. He knows where the bodies are buried.”

Rich Little

Cast of "The Sopranos"
But when it came to no holes barred, poking fun at the Mayor, the honors went to the king of the roasters, insult comic Vinnie Favorito with his signature caustic humor and sarcasm that is meant strictly for laughs and not to be taken seriously. Secretly in cahoots with Goodman’s wife, Vinnie conspired to “steal” the mayor’s prized menorah from their home and present it to him on stage. Referring to the mob’s reach, Vinnie declared in jest, “We still have the power”.   As for the paddle that was given as a gift, Vinnie called it a drink stirrer for the mayor and then hit harder by adding, “The mayor adopted four children, which proves his wife didn’t want to have sex with him.” And these were just a few examples of his zingers.

Vinnie Favorito and the Mayor

All in all, the afternoon’s affair wasn’t as hard edged as one expects from a roast. Yet, the proceedings was tender and well done, and best of all, benefited a worthwhile cause, the Showbiz Society.

 

Hard Rock Hotel Hosts Sports Dream Team Poker Tournament


On Monday September 15, The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino hosted Celebrity Basketball’s “Old School vs. New School” Poker Tournament that attracted sports heroes from across the country  who participated for a good cause.  Proceeds were raised to benefit Operation Smile, a humanitarian and medical relief organization, and the American Cancer Society, nationwide community-based voluntary health organization.


Danny Granger


Greg Anthony


Ike Diougu


Jermaine O'Neal


Jonathan Ogden


Representing the “old schoolers” and playing host for the tournament was Greg Anthony (Chicago Bulls – retired), while Jermaine O’Neal (Toronto Raptors) represented the “new schoolers.”  Other players included Danny Granger (Indiana Pacer), Warren Moon (NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback), Robert Horry (San Antonio Spurs – retired), Jonathan Ogden (Baltimore Ravens – retired), Ike Diougu (Portland Trail Blazers) and more. 

The tournament began at 2 p.m. and ended at 4 p.m. and the lucky winner was Lute Miyazaki, an invited guest.

 

Entertainers and Artist Honored at 6th Annual UNLV Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony.


On Thursday evening, September 18, several luminaries in the field of arts and entertainment were inducted into The Sixth Annual Nevada Entertainment/Arts Hall of Fame from The College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada.  They join the list of previous inductees that include Tony Curtis, Wayne Newton, Rich Little, Anthony Zuiker, George Sidney, Phyllis McGuire and others who have made a significant mark on Nevada’s culture, UNLV’s College of Fine Arts, and the world.

The award ceremonies, emceed by KTNV Channel 13 newscaster Casey Smith was held at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall with a VIP reception afterwards.  Proceeds from the evening’s event went to assist students in the College of Fine Arts.  Prior to each presentation, video clips that spanned the career of those being honored were shown along with a piano accompaniment by Otto Ehling, a member of the Liberace Jazz Quartet, which earned first place at the prestigious 46th Annual Reno Jazz Festival this spring.


Jeffrey Koep, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and former award recipient Phyllis McGuire

The Hall of Fame award is named The Sidney, after the late great, Academy Award winning producer/director George Sidney who was a guest lecturer at UNLV and an inspiration for students.  This year’s recipients recognized for their contributions and achievements in the community and the arts were singer/entertainer Clint Holmes; architectural designer Tony Marnell who helped shaped the Las Vegas skyline; classical ballet dancer/choreographer and co-founder of the Nevada Dance Theatre Vassili Sullich; Las Vegas based, internationally recognized alternative rock band, The Killers; and posthumously honored, Robert Goulet the legendary actor/singer considered one of the greatest baritones of our times.
Also on hand for the awards presentations was Jeffrey Koep, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and former award recipient Phyllis McGuire.

Upon graciously accepting his award, Clint Holmes spoke about having the “passion” for his craft, stating he was lucky to know at a young age that he wanted to be a singer.  He jokingly said, “I flunked out of college and this (the award) is the closest to a degree I will get.”  Being the consummate showman who loves to perform, he went on to sing a song he wrote, aptly titled “I Sing” that displayed his amazing talent and, well, just about says it all.


Clint Holmes

Tony Marnell, owner/chairman of the only Las Vegas architectural/Design Company specializing in building hotel/casinos, was honored for being a true giant in the architectural field. For the past 30 years he has been involved in over $6 billion worth of construction including the Rio All Suite Hotel/Casino, The Bellagio, Wynn, and the upcoming new M Resort, as well as involvement with charities and conservation groups. Marnell said he was humbled and moved to be getting this award. After giving thanks, he stressed the need to think about young people and encouraging them, since they are the hope of the future.


Tony Marnell

Bernice Fischer, a member of the College of Fine Arts Advisory Board and friend of Vasilli Sullich, introduced the Yugoslavian born dance legend whose remarkable career has encompassed stage, TV and film and is also an accomplished artist and poet.  Now residing in Rio de Janiero, the co-founder of the Nevada Dance Theatre was thrilled to be back in Las Vegas, the city whose culture was enriched by his accomplishments in the art of dance.  Upon receiving his award, he extended his feelings to the audience by saying, “I love you. You’ve made my life one happy event.”


Vasilli Sullich

The entire band wasn’t able to attend but two members of the Killers, Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vannuci (an alumni of UNLV) were on hand for the induction ceremony.  Described as “true Las Vegas products”, the outstanding musicians, having transcended Las Vegas, have received worldwide recognition for their talent and originality, combining music styles from the 70s, 80s and 90s with modern synthetic music. Since their debut album in 2004, the Killers have sold in excess of 12 million records worldwide, received 50 award nominations and numerous awards including MTV Video Awards, and seven Grammy Awards. “We are babes among these giants in the Hall of Fame and we have a long way to go”, said Vannucci after receiving the honor.  He then raised his arms and yelled “Hell, yeah!” in true rock star fashion.


Members of the Killers, Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vannuci

 

Vera Goulet, Robert’s lovely, flame haired widow poignantly accepted his award, on his behalf.  With a career that spanned over 6 decades in every entertainment medium, the Tony, Emmy and Grammy winning performer was considered one of the most prominent musical stars to grace the stage. As a Las Vegas resident for more than two decades, he was active in the Las Vegas community, involved in many charitable causes worldwide, and as a cancer survivor was a spokesman for The American Cancer Society. Beloved as a performer with immense talent and said to be a wonderful man with a great sense of humor, the entertainment world mourned the loss of Robert Goulet in 2007. On the day of his funeral the strip was closed for his funeral procession with every Las Vegas hotel featuring his name and image on their marquee. Vera Goulet stated that her husband was a champion of the city and his association with UNLV brought him joy.  So, it was perfectly fitting for the evening’s ceremony to close with a video clip of Robert Goulet singing “Remember the Happy Times.”   Thanks to all of the honorees who have enriched our lives with their contributions and achievements, we can.


Vera Goulet

 

Additional recent and upcoming “happenings” in and around Las Vegas include:


Lance Burton is offering Southern Nevada residents 2-for-1 tickets to his show “Lance Burton: Master Magician” at the Monte Carlo now thru Friday, October 31 (Halloween night).  Call 730-7160 or log on at montecarlo.com. 

Pink Jeep Tours, the premier off-road tour company in the Southwest, and Nevada Cancer Institute will kick off October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month with the first annual “Trek for the Cure.”  Throughout October, Pink Jeep Tours will donate $4.80 from the sales of all Red Rock Tours to the Nevada Cancer Institute. “They’re pink, we’re pink.  Partnering with the Nevada Cancer Institute for Breast Cancer Awareness month is a natural fit,” says Alix Reed, general manager, Pink Jeep Tours.  “Giving back to the community in a meaningful way is important to our culture of the company.  This year’s ‘Trek for the Cure’ marks the beginning of a fruitful partnership.”

Comedian Rogerson, one of those guys you've seen him before, but you just can't think of his name, delivers his brand of Drop Dead, Fall Down Funny To The Riviera - Sept. 29 to Oct. 5. Also appearing with Kenny are Rebecca Corry and Klaus Meyers. Mickey Manners, an 82-year old comedian that has been wowing audiences for nearly 50 years. Will be performing his “old school” humor at the Riviera's Comedy Club October 6 - 12. Appearing with Mickey are Kathleen Dunbar and Chris Monty.

Hash House A Go Go’s kicks off its 3rd anniversary from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30 with its three-year anniversary party.  The event includes special drink and food promotions, as well as complimentary Bacardi cocktails and Linenkugle beer, a giant pancake birthday cake and a variety of prizes.  The restaurant is located at 6800 West Sahara Avenue. For reservations or inquiries, please call 702-804-4646.

Shining City, by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, opens October 3 in the Judy Bayley Theatre at UNLV as the first Main Stage Season show in the Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV 2008-2009 Season. Due to the language and subject matter, Shining City is intended for mature audiences only. Performances are October 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on October 5 and 12. Tickets are $20, $25 and $30, and on sale at the Performing Arts Center Box Office.  Call  895-ARTS (2787).

The UNLV School of Architecture Klai Juba Lecture Series welcomes Steve Van Gorp, deputy director for the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1 in the new Downtown Design Center at the Fifth Street School, located at 401 South 4th St. The lecture is preceded by a reception. Both the reception and lecture are free and open to the public. For more information, please call 895-3031.

From October 2 – 5, the 33rd Annual Indian National Finals Rodeo, in which for the first time in history, the Nation's Top Native American Cowboys and Cowgirls will compete in Las Vegas for World Titles, will be held at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center. The INFR will feature four rounds of rodeo, with two performances each day. The weekend will come to a close with the INFR World Champions crowned on Sunday, October 5.   For more information on the INFR and all of the scheduled rodeos throughout the rodeo season, visit www.infr.org or call 406-338-7684.

On Friday, October 3 at 8 p.m. multi talented Rita Moreno – one of only nine performers ever to win all four of the most prestigious show business awards: the Oscar, the Emmy, the Tony, and the Grammy, opens the New York Stage & Beyond Series at The UNLV Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $35, $50, and $80 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting pac.unlv.edu. Student rush tickets are $13 each and available one hour prior to each event, based on availability and with valid student I.D. A $1 facilities fee, in addition to the ticket price, is charged on all Performing Arts Center tickets.

For six nights in October, SFS Entertainment will present “I’ll Be Seeing You: Hollywood Canteen 1943”, a live musical production that salutes all veterans and service men and women, and highlights popular wartime songs from the 1940’S, at the beautiful 300-seat Starbright Theatre in Summerlin, 2225 Thomas Ryan Blvd. Tickets for the show scheduled for Oct. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19,  are $20 per person and can be purchased at the Starbright Theatre box office, 2225 Thomas Ryan Blvd. at West Lake Mead. Saturday performances on Oct. 4, 11, 18 will be held at 7 p.m., and Sunday matinees Oct. 5, 12 and 19 will be at 2:00 p.m.

On Saturday, October 4th at 6:30 pm Lied Discovery Children’s Museum located at 833 Las Vegas Boulevard North, will be hosting a major fundraiser, Fantasy 2008: A Green Gala  in the elegant Grand Ballroom at The Mirage. Master of Ceremonies will be TV newscaster Gary Waddell. On this 26th Anniversary of the event, over 500 guests are expected to attend the event, which opens with a silent auction of unique items generously donated by Vegas entertainers, local businesses and national artists. The evening’s festivities will include eclectic entertainment, the ever popular Live Auction, and back by popular demand, The Baby Booty Paddle Raffle. For more information call (702) 382-KIDS or visit the Museum website: www.ldcm.org.

In celebration of the 10th Anniversary season, the Las Vegas Philharmonic has added an exciting new pops series featuring contemporary music including jazz and Broadway guest musicians, as well as a Christmas concert celebration to its impressive line up of concerts. At 8 p.m. on. Saturday, October 11, 2008  Pops I welcomes trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling performing a jazzy tribute to Louis Armstrong with the Las Vegas Philharmonic.The concert will take place at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, on the UNLV campus 4505 Maryland Parkway. Ticket prices range from $25 to $65, excluding tax and fees. To purchase tickets call the UNLV Box office at (702) 895-2787 or visit LasVegasPhilharmonic.com.

A fifteen-member orchestra and more than twenty performers from the Las Vegas Strip will participant in the concert reading of “Dracula – A New Musical” at the College of Southern Nevada’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre on Oct. 18 and 19 at 2 p.m. each day. The concert reading allows the audience to use their imagination to take them on the journey with the use of projected headings and visual images to help convey the story. The orchestra, instead of just a piano, will accompany the actors’ singing to help the audience experience as much of this ear movie as possible. The two shows, complete with silent auction and VIP reception, are being held as a benefit for the CSN Performing Arts Center and Family Promise of Las Vegas. VIP tickets for each show are $50 and will include preferred seating and a post-show reception with the performers.  Second tier seating is $30. Call the CSN Box Office at 651-LIVE (5483) or visit www.familypromiselvtickets.com for reservations. The CSN Performing Arts Center is located at 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave. one mile east of I-15.

On October 25-26 the Best Friends Animal Society is presenting the No More Homeless Pets National Conference at the Alexis Park Hotel.  The focus will be on tried and true life saving programs as well as exciting cutting edge approaches in grass roots animal welfare. For information and to register for the conference visit http://www.NoMoreHomelessPetsconference.org.

Celebrity sightings:


Monday, Sept. 15, 2008, the great tenor and international singer Placido Domingo spotted enjoying dinner at Strip House inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

Tuesday night, September 16, actress and supermodel Angie Everhart was seen checking out Lavo nightclub in The Palazzo, the newest hotspot in Vegas. Angie is a long time fan of TAO and was so excited to see LAVO. Also spotted was former 98 degrees band member Jeff Timmons and three friends who arrived around 1am to the club.

Las Vegas performers Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton spotted at Barack Obama’s rally at Cashman Field on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Holmes sang “Who Will Stand” and “If Not Now, When” prior to Obama’s speech. Following the rally, Holmes and Clinton met and spoke with the presidential candidate.


Barack Obama, Kelly Clinton and Clint Holmes

 

On Thursday evening (Sept. 18) Janet Jackson, Jermaine Dupri, Bow Wow and a host of dancers from Janet’s tour gathered for dinner in the private dining room of LAVO at The Palazzo.  They were celebrating Jermaine’s birthday and following dinner were given a tour of the new restaurant and nightclub by owner Noah Tepperberg.

Also dining at LAVO was Tony Bennett, who was with his daughter.  The crooner posed for pictures with Chef Ludo. 
Over at Dos Caminos at The Palazzo, football legend Brian Bosworth enjoyed tacos and Dos Equis.


Tony Bennett

Thursday night (Sept. 18) Carey Hart and Jesse Rooke lead a pack of over 150 bikers from Hart’s warehouse in the southwest to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for Wasted Space’s new bike night, “Thursday Night Ride.”  After mingling and posing for photos with guests, the pack made their way into Wasted Space for the Sin City Sinners Concert which takes place every Thursday night.


Carey Hart and Jesse Rooke

 

On Friday (September 19):

TV reality show stars Kris Kardashian and daughter Khloe enjoyed an afternoon lunch of tacos at Dos Caminos in The Palazzo.

Laurence Fishburne and birthday boy Columbus Short dined at LAVO on Paella, Bruschetta and Twice Cooked Roasted Chicken. Justin Bartha also dined at the restaurant and had the server make recommendations for the group – they had Bistro Salad, Pizza, Lamb Shank Quesadilla, Crispy Artichokes, Fliet Rossini, Spaghetti Cacio e Peppe, Bread Pudding, Apple Crips and Zippole.

Saturday evening (September 20):

Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag from The Hills had dinner for Heidi’s birthday at Dos Caminos.  The two had Patron Reposado Margaritas, the restaurant’s famed guacamole, Queso Fundido and Asada Tacos.  Their meal was finished with a dessert platter adorned with a candle.

Girl group Nina Sky, which consists of sisters Natalie and Nicole Albino, made  an appearance at Body English inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for the weekly Smashtime party.  The duo partied with Daily 10 stars and Smashtime hosts Ben Lyons and DJ Clinton Sparks.  They treated the crowd when they got on stage and performed a couple of their smash hits.

Actor Efren Ramirez, better known as Pedro from “Napoleon Dynamite,” enjoying VIP service and Snow Queen vodka at Torrid at Hawaiian Tropic Zone.

Sunday evening (Sept 21) former supermodel and TV personality Tyra Banks was spotted at Cher’s show. Tyra was filming for an upcoming Las Vegas episode of her hit daytime talk show “The Tyra Banks Show”. Also noted in the crowd cheering Cher on was Star Jones (formerly of The View).  Tyra spotted Star in the crowd and ran to greet her as they exchanged comments about the pop stars show.

On Sunday, after sampling the LAVO appetizers from Chef Ludo at his Billionaire Boys Club clothing event at Barneys, Pharrell Williams headed to LAVO for dinner before his show.  He returned later to host his concert after party in the nightclub where Common joined him at 1 am and DJ Rokaton manned the tables.

Rapper Lil Jon spotted dining at Strip House inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas last night, Monday, Sept. 22.

Also spotted on Monday was professional boxer Zab Judah enjoying Monday Night Football at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops.

I will be back next week with more of what’s “happening” in and around Las Vegas.