MONTI–LICIOUS - 3/16/15
Nascar weekend has come and gone bringing in a great sum of money to the Las Vegas economy. Big winner was Kevin Harvick who has won 5 of the last 9 Nascar Sprints and is now a top-2 finisher.Heavy traffic is still a problem in getting to and from the speedway especially at the end of the event, but to Nascar enthusiasts it’s worth it. Other Nascar news is that Kurt Busch’s suspension has been lifted and he is back racing. No charges were filed by the authorities after his former girlfriend accused him of assault.
The 25th Joe Williams Scholarship Fund Concert was held last week at the University of Nevada Performing Arts Center. The great UNLV Jazz Ensemble directed by David Loeb and Nathan Tanouye was featured. Guest artists included, among others, Las Vegas favorite Clint Holmes, Vince Falcone, Earl Turner, Bill Fayne, Marlena Shaw, and the amazing Bob Anderson. Pete Barbutti hosted this wonderful jazzy affair. The late, great Joe Williams was supportive of the jazz genre through most of his illustrious career and his scholarship fund has been a tremendous benefit to aspiring young jazz musicians and to keeping the genre alive. Kudos to Ed Foster, who for years, has been instrumental in getting this show produced.
After the show we went to Cugino’s for some great Italian specialties and helped celebrate my friend Marci Weiss’ birthday. Debbie Gold, one of “the ladies who lunch,” was also in the group.
It looks like the countdown to the implosion of the Riviera has begun as Dirk Arthur ends his brief engagement and Norbert Aleman is about to announce the future new home for his long running hit “Crazy Girls.” The latest attempt by the hotel to bring us affordable shows was reportedly not successful. The Riviera is the last of the iconic Las Vegas Hotel/Casinos and it will soon be only a memory of the “good old days.”
“Defending the Caveman” is returning to its roots in Downtown Las Vegas. It opens at The D on March 19 once again with Kevin Burke starring in this one-man show. This is the longest running one-man show in Broadway history and is also the longest running Broadway show in Las Vegas history. For tickets and more information please call 702-388-2111.
We are all waiting to see what Mariah will be doing in her upcoming show at the Colosseum. Much of the show is reportedly featuring her top-selling 18 songs. Those in the know are saying she is back in great form (both voice and figure) since husband NIck Cannon filed for divorce last December. We are also getting ready for some be “country” goings on when the Reba/Brooks and Dunn debuts later this year. Celine should be back filling the room nightly as no other performer has enjoyed the success that she has had in this venue. She has, however, let go her long-time conductor and 2 other musicians as she reportedly feels she wants a fresh new sound to her music.
The first half of April will bring us top-rated shows. Diana Ross will perform at the Venetian to begin her semi-residency there. Let’s hope we’ll be seeing a lot of this lady from now on.
The Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga show comes to Planet Hollywood at the beginning of April for two nights. You probably got a taste of their show in recent TV appearances where Lady Gaga has shown us how versatile and talented especially with her Julie Andrews/Sound of Music tribute on the Oscars telecast. The amazing Tony Bennett is, thankfully, like the Eveready Battery, he goes on and on.
Country comes alive at the Hard Rock with the fantastic Rascal Flats show. This is country at its best. Ever since Garth Brooks began his residency at the Wynn, the sound has become a staple along the Strip. Rascal Flatts has had a three-week run at the Hard Rock as part of its semi- residency and they really made The Joint at the Hard Rock, rock.
This hotel has made some changes, as Don Marrandino is reportedly no longer at this Las Vegas location. He is supposedly working at other Hard Rock locations. Perhaps Don, who was so successful at the Flamingo, should not have left our town to go to troubled Atlantic City.
This week came the news that co-creator of The Simpsons, Sam Simon, passed away from colon cancer at the age of 59. He really was a very giving human being and was once married to actress Jennifer Tilly. Although divorced, the two remained close and gave a lot to different causes mostly finding homes for animals. He is said to have given his $100 million Sam Simon Foundation in support of animal welfare and feeding the hungry. Though he left The Simpsons after four seasons, he was still listed as executive producer and retained a percentage of its future earning.
The fights “staged” on Andy Cohen’s Housewives shows are becoming more like Jerry Springer/Maury Povich idiotic trash. Andy, it’s time to get these girls back on track and not act like teenagers. The Lisa Rinna (Mrs. Harry Hamlin) /Kim Richards episode was a disgrace. If this is what you want, find another NeNe Leakes. She can teach these gals how to handle these sequences.
The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This film is one of the best musicals ever to come out of Hollywood. Julie, who lost her extraordinary singing voice during a medical procedure years ago, is still one of the most regal ladies in show business. She proved that once again when she appeared on stage to congratulate Lady Gaga at the Oscars.
Caesars has stopped some retirement payments as part of their bankruptcy restructuring. This SERP program is one that is considered an unsecured obligation so this can be legally done. At this time about 50 employees will lose this supplemental income. This is being looked into by Caesars and the Gaming Board so an amicable solution may yet be reached. Caesars expects to eliminate about $10 billion of debt and it looks like this is just the beginning of cuts to be made.
Dancing With The Stars keeps coming up with stars that have a large fan base. Patti LaBelle is one of the latest big names to join the roster of entertainers who help keep that show alive. The great Ms. Patti at 70 years of age will hopefully give the younger celebs a “run for the money”.
American Idol, with all of its popularity has come up with only a few real stars, namely Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. These talented people have true star quality and longevity. It’s amazing that Jennifer Hudson did not win the top spot in the year she competed, but she sure is a real winner now. Others have come and gone and the show seems to survive because of the popularity of the judges especially J Lo. America’s Got (NO) Talent) has Terry Fator as its biggest success and the show, in my opinion, has lost any luster it may have had.
The Bobby Kristina Brown drama continues as Bobby Brown still refuses to allows Nick Gordon to see Kristina. It appears that the Brown family wants to be sure they get their hands on her $20 million estate. We do hope she survives as she is still in a medically induced coma and fighting for her life. Nick Gordon, her significant other, has gone into rehab with the help of Dr. Phil. He is suffering from alcohol and rx drug addiction and is suicidal. He cannot handle the loss of Whitney Houston and the possible loss of Bobby Kristina and is completely out of control. Let’s hope this rehab is successful and this young man recovers. He does come across as genuinely distraught.
The Rev. Monti once again wishes you the best.
MONTI-LICIOUS - MARCH 9, 2015
I have to say more about the press conference for the new, permanent Elvis Presley/Graceland exhibit set to open April 23rd.The luncheon was one to remember as the food from Sid’s Café and the other Westgate restaurants was exceptional, far better than what was served at other recent media events.
Elvis impersonator Trent Carlini was cancelled, leaving only the new show “Sexxy” and the incoming Suzanne Somers show along with the time-share program to lure visitors. There is also an extraordinary new wedding chapel just about ready to begin performing wedding ceremonies.
CEO David Siegel and his company are making other changes, which will make the Las Vegas Westgate a major player once again.
It has been reported that the Convention Center is definitely going to implode the Riviera and make way for a major expansion of the center, which will include floor space and a much-needed additional parking area.
Enough is enough with Giuliana Rancic and her remark about Zendaya’s hairdo on the Oscar Red Carpet.
However, only comics like Joan Rivers could make ethnic remarks and get away with them.Giuliana is not a comedian and should be careful not to make any potential slurs. She and her Fashion Police co-stars have, in my opinion, “lost it” without the late Joan Rivers. The show has become a “who can we put down this week” show rather than a legitimate and constructive critique show. Kelly Osbourne is thankfully leaving the show - no loss. She is reportedly involved with a new reality show.
The Memorial Service for great basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian was held at the Thomas and Mack Stadium on March 1. The full house attendees were treated to seeing and hearing Bob Anderson, in full Sinatra makeup, singing “My Way.” Many a tear was shed during this emotional rendition dedicated to Mr. Tarkanian.
Is Britney Spears getting married to her boyfriend Charlie Ebersol.? Britney has hinted that a wedding just might occur in the near future. Singing star Rihanna and Leonardo DiCaprio seem to be getting closer and closer, yet he is reportedly also involved with Sports Illustrated model Kelly Rohrbach. Leonardo denies that he and Rihanna are romantically involved, but just good friends. Isn’t it time for Leonardo to finally settle down?
Justin Bieber held his 21st birthday party on a private island off the coast of Granada last weekend. It reportedly was a real blast. Former flame Yovanna Ventura was there, but Selena Gomez was not. What’s going on with Justin and his girlfriends and do we really care?
Tommy James and the Shondells’ one-nighter at the Golden Nugget was a smash. The full house went crazy over this '60s rock 'n' roll icon with fans lining up to get autographs after the wild and energetic show. Tommy’s book about the “mob” may become a film and/or Broadway show.
The Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga duo, a tremendous success at the Cosmopolitan last New Year's weekend, is coming back to Las Vegas in April. They will be performing for two nights, April 10 and 11 at the Axis Theater in Planet Hollywood. Tickets go on sale on March 7th at Ticketmaster or the Axis box office.
What’s happening at Wynn Resorts Ltd? Elaine Wynn, the co-founder of Wynn Resorts was not re-nominated to serve as a director and her brother, who has been with Wynn for 30 years is no longer with the company. Strange things are happening.
Latest news at the Colosseum is that Celine is planning to come back by Sept 23rd. Hopefully, husband Rene is recovering from his latest bout with cancer. Shania may be back for a stop here as part of her 48 city road tour. She announced on GMA that this will be her last tour which will end just prior to her 50th birthday. This top sellng country/pop star can still perform with the best of them, as she IS one of the best.
Another Colosseum resident, Rod Stewart will be ending his run shortly thereby making room for the new Reba/Brooksand Dunn residency. Busy place, that Colosseum.
Marty Allen, 92 years young will be performing in The Grand Parlor in the Downtown D on March 22nd and 23rd. This special engagement comes in conjunction with the release of his new book “Hello Dere”. Marty will be conducting an after the show autograph signing of the book.
The Rev. Monti once again wishes you the best.