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Monti's Blog - September 2014

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MONTI-LICOUS - SEPT 15, 2014

Another show business passing is that of Bob Crewe at age 83. He never fully recovered after a fall while visiting his brother in Maine several years ago, and had been in declining health since then. Bob was a singer, writer, actor, composer, and dancer.  He wrote ten songs for The Four Seasons, co-wrote Lady Marmalade for LaBelle and was very instrumental in my recording career in the early 70’s. Poster He, Kenny Nolan, and Cindy Bullens, were part of the group called DiscoTex and the Sexo-Lettes in which I starred.  He and Kenny Nolan co-wrote and produced my big hit, “ Get Dancin”. This was one of, if not the first, huge hits of the disco era. Bob Crewe and I were very close during that period.

The Joan Rivers funeral was, as Joan had always requested, a lavish Hollywood-type production. There was a red carpet at the Temple Emanu-El entrance and celebrity friends walked that carpet.  There were eulogies by the likes of Howard Stern and Deborah Norville.Monti The New York City Gay Men's Chorus sang some Broadway hits. Audra McDonald sang, “Smile” and Hugh Jackman sang a heartfelt rendition of “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady On Stage.” 

There were celebrities lined up to pay their respects to Joan, among them, Barbara Walters, Whoopie Goldberg, Kathy Griffin, Rosie O’Donnell, Donald Trump and many more.Monti  Joan’s daughter, Melissa, spoke of how much she loved and respected her mother, and thanked everyone for their support. People are still wondering why Joan went to an outpatient clinic rather than one of NYC’s fine hospitals.  The actual cause of Joan’s death has yet to be determined as the New York City medical examiner is awaiting further test results.  RIP dear Joan, you were what “one of a kind” really means. 

CORRECTION: Georgia On My Mind, the Ray Charles tributes show at the Venetian OPENS ON SEPT 18TH, as originally scheduled.  Sept. 23rd just happens to be Ray’s birthday. The cast features Clint Holmes and a group of Grammy winning and/or nominated talented performers.  Nnenna Freelon,  a singer/compose/writer has worked with Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, and George Benson and has won five Grammy nominations. Take 6 is an a capella gospel group who incorporate jazz and r&b into their music. Kirk Whalum, with multiple Grammy nominations and awards, is a smooth jazz saxophonist who has worked with, among others, Whitney Houston for seven years. Also in the show are The Las Vegas Mass Choir and the Las Vegas All-Star band. All this talent performing Ray’s music would surely have made him feel proud.

The “Standup For Cancer “ telethon brought in $119 million this year and so far has reached a total of $369 million since its beginning. Stars who appeared on this telethon, included Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, and Robert Downey Jr.

Tony Award winning “Kinky Boots” began its national tour, opening at the Smith Center in Las Vegas last week. The reaction to this show has been so positive that they are reportedly in talks about a return engagement.  “Kinky Boots” has music by Cyndi Lauper, and is directed by Jerry Mitchell. This is one of the best-received Broadway shows to play in Las Vegas.

Atlantic City may lose another hotel/casino in the coming months.  It has been reported that the Trump Taj Mahal will shutter its doors; making it the 5th major resort to close within months of each other. On the other hand, The Claridge Hotel, once the Grande Dame of Atlantic City resorts, has survived. TJM Properties, a Florida hotel developer, purchased the hotel and has converted it to a boutique-style non-gaming property. Another Florida hotel developer has just purchased the shuttered Revel.  This could be the start of converting more under-performing casinos into non-gaming venues.

Jeff Lebow, (Jersey Boys), will bring many of the Strip’s headliners together for his 4th annual “NF” Hope Concert at the Venetian on Oct. 19th. This show will benefit the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation as well as “NF” Hope.  Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disease that allows tumors to grow anywhere in the body without any warning. There is much needed research to learn about this disease. For more information please visit www.nfhope.org.  For show tickets please visit Ticketmaster or www.venetian.com.

The Linq, formerly the Quad and Imperial Palace, has its own “waterfall” which is located in the garage behind the hotel. Last week’s heavy rains flooded this area, as it always does, and water rushed through, and becomes a sort of wash.  A “fix” for this problem is long overdue.  The hotel also let 30 of its dealertainers go last week; some of whom had been longtime employees.

The Westgate has just booked “Purple Reign”, the long-running tribute act, into the Shimmer Café beginning Oct 1st. This act plus Trent Carlini and Riding the Rock Vault add up to 3 shows at the Westgate. Hopefully this is the beginning of good live entertainment at this venue was the home of great entertainment.

The Khardashians have announced the Oct 30th closing of its Khardashian Khaos boutique at the Mirage. This was supposed to be the first of more stores in the area, but the store never really took off as expected.  It makes us wonder if the Kardashian craze has begun to peak out?

The Rev. Monti once again wishes you only the best.

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MONT-LICIOUS - SEPTEMBER 7, 2014

Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas brought capacity crowds to our town. Traffic, both auto and walking along the Strip, was something else. New venues, such as the Cromwell, SLS, and the Delano were a big draws,showing that Las Vegas has come out of the recession and is, once again, THE place to visit. New malls, new stores, the Linq’s Observation Wheel and restaurants, plus the creation of new arenas, make for "something for everyone.” Las Vegas will soon be known as a sports town in addition to everything else.

Without all of the above, we could become another Atlantic City. Gaming, by itself, is not enough to support growth and expansion. Fortunately, years ago, developers in Vegas figured that out and made this town a mecca for families, too.It’s a shame to see four hotels closing one after the other, putting about 8,000 employees out of work. The biggest closing was the Revel, the $2.4 million investment that never showed a profit in two years of doing business. This luxury hotel/casino catered to upscale clientele but opened at the wrong time in the wrong place. Atlantic City does not draw the high-end, big time spenders.  The next closing is that of the Showboat on Sept. 16. Some of these closed locations may be converted to non-gaming venues.  Hopefully, the remaining casinos will survive amidst all of the competing casinos now operating in neighboring states.

Iconic comedian Joan Rivers passed away on Sept 4th. As most of you know, something went wrong during a routine endoscopic throat surgery and the 81-year-old comedienne went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. Daughter Melissa and grandson Cooper flew from California to be at her side in Manhattan. Doctors began to bring her out of the coma, but Joan remained on life support. She had been in ICU for almost a week and then was moved into private room where she was rumored to be recovering slowly, but did not make it. As of this writing the coroner has not yet confirmed the actual cause of death.

After many years in the business Johnny Carson brought her on the Tonight Show in 1965 and from then on became a frequent guest, and even hosted the show when Johnny took time off. Along came an offer for her to have her own late night show on Fox and Joan accepted. Johnny Carson was furious, and never spoke to her again. Her show was cancelled in 1987 after seven months and 100 episodes. She was never invited to appear on another NBC show until this year when she was a guest on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show.

During those "idle” years she appeared on many TV shows on rival networks, created a line of jewelry and accessories for QVC, wrote two books, starred in a reality show with daughter Melissa, and the highly successful Fashion Police show. Those who knew her, thought that if anyone could pull through, it would be Joan. Prayers for daughter Melissa and grandson Cooper are pouring in from all over the world. Joan Rivers was definitely one-of-a-kind and she and Robin Williams left a gigantic void in the world of comedy.

The eagerly awaited opening at the Venetian of The Music of Ray Charles, starring Clint Holmes, has been postponed for one week, so as to open on Sept 23, Ray’s birthday. With all the talent involved with this project, they want to pay tribute that would make Ray proud.

Beloved diva, Diana Ross, will be bringing her show to Caesars Colosseum on Sept. 19. - for one night only. The show is, as expected, sold out. Diana is reportedly being offered a semi-residency while Celine Dion is on hiatus. Ms. Ross is one of the few entertainers who could keep the house full on a nightly basis. Needless to say, Beyonce would be another who could keep the Colosseum running on full speed. Just in are rumors that Blake Sheldon and Miranda Shelton have reportedly turned down offers for a semi-residency.

Chef Jose Andres has opened his latest restaurant, Bazaar Meat, at the SLS. His intent is to show meat, as it should be seen; cooked to perfection in several ways so as to bring out the best flavor without any sauces. Some of the meats will be aged over a period of nine years - an interesting concept.

Channel 8 Las Vegas is bringing back Tedd Florendo from his one-year stint in Philadelphia. He will be replacing Daren Miller, who opted to leave on his own. Prior to leaving, Florendo was at Channel 8 for nine years.  Welcome back, Tedd!

August saw some big celebrity weddings: Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie, Jenny McCarthy to Donnie Wahlberg, and Ashley Simpson to Evan Ross.  Brad and Angelina had an intimate wedding at Chateau Miraval, in France with only 20 guests, including their six children, in attendance. When Angelina’s father, actor Jon Voight got the news, after the fact, his comment was “that’s nice.” Angelina has come a long way from her younger, wild days. She is now considered one of the most charitable and well-respected women of her generation. Jenny and Donnie tied the knot at the Hotel Baker in the Chicago area. Donnie’s brother, Mark, did not attend as he was celebrating his daughter’s birthday in California. Ashley, in her new slim and sexy body, married Evan at his parent’s home in Connecticut.  Ah! Those gowns.

The history channel brought us a film about Harry Houdini last week which gave us a new appreciation of this master of illusion.  It showed us the humble beginnings of this Jewish immigrant, his mother and his wife. Adrian Brody did a masterful job as Houdini, who was as great a showman and marketing expert as he was an illusionist. Only David Copperfield, Criss Angel and Siegfried and Roy come close to him. Today we have Mike Michaels designing and building the props that contemporary illusionists like Jan Rouven use. Bottom line is that Houdini was the real thing, not like the many frauds and so-called psychics of his day.

Foodies can have a field day this week as The San Gennaro Feast is back from Sept 9-14 at the Grand Canyon shopping mall. Tony Sacca once again hosts and performs at this fabulous Italian style feast. Food, games, arts/crafts, live music and entertainment for all.

The Rev. Monti wishes you only the best.

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monti@montirock.com

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ABRACADABRA! EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: MURRAY SAWCHUCK WEDS CHLOE CRAWFOR

Monti


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Murray Sawchuck and Chloe Crawford wed in Las Vegas on Friday, July 20, 2012. Monte Rock III officiated, Doug Leferovich served as best man, and Ashton Nicole was the bridesmaid.

When magician Murray Sawchuck and his beautiful stage assistant Chloe Louise Crawford tied the knot in a secret surprise wedding Friday night, it was truly a magical affair. The groom and bride have known each other for five years in traveling the world with his magic act and now as headliner at the new Tropicana.

“We finally decided to tie the knot,” the “America’s Got Talent” semifinalist told me exclusively. A small group of close friends, Las Vegas magicians and family, including her parents who flew over from England, witnessed the ceremony in the intimacy of the lush garden of hishome in the Lakes in Summerlin.

Monti Rock III, the 1970s icon, disco legend and licensed marriage minister, officiated the ceremony, which included the couple exchanging rings that had been selected by “Pawn Stars” stars at their Gold & Silver Pawn, where Murray serves as a regular expert on the top-rated History Channel show.

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..Criss&monti..

Also, a shout out to Mr. Criss Angel. You are a star and you made this columnist a fan! Your generosity and kindness will never be forgotten! Jersey Boys at Paris is wowing the crowds. Check out the Sugar Factory while you are there - a chocolate aroma world that's decadently divine.

The Rev. Monti once again wishes you only the best.

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A Meal With Monti
By Monti Rock III

 

 

Siena Deli

 

 
 

As a gossip columnist, committed foodie and theater critic, I spend the better part of my work week covering all the fabulous shows, clubs, restaurant openings and special events on The Strip—’tis good to be Monti Rock.

Come Saturday and Sunday, what I enjoy most is kicking back in my own neighborhood...Yes, Vegas does have neighborhoods.

One of my favorite haunts has been a Las Vegas fixture for over a quarter century, Siena Italian. Owners Antonio Accornero and Giancarlo Bomparola have created a truly authentic Italian Trattoria experience and recently relocated it to a new, urban-chic site, which includes not only a restaurant, bar and lounge with indoor and al fresco seating, but soon, an Italian Marketplace complete with a bakery, deli and coffee bar.

Trained in Milan, Italy, Chef Giancarlo works the kitchen while Antonio, with his infinite Italian charm, works the front of the house. For starters, you must have the Tortino di Riso—rice cakes, Parmesan cheese and mushrooms in truffle oil—to die for!

Going on to salad, my favorite is Mele E Noci—baby greens, roasted walnuts, apple and Gorgonzola tossed with champagne vinaigrette—heavenly!

The main event, new to the menu this month, Misto Pesce Griglia—fresh scampi, calamari, tuna, jumbo scallops and salmon simmered in lemon juice and olive oil and served with fresh seasonal vegetables—died and gone to heaven for!

And for the encore (I'm sure you’ve had this before, but not this good), Tiramisu—Chef Giancarlo’s family recipe—certain to assure Giancarlo sainthood!

Siena also features live entertainment in the bar and lounge Wed. and Sat. with Sinatra-style crooner Larry Liso. Siena Authentic Italian

Trattoria | Daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; half-price Happy Hour specials in the bar and lounge, daily, 3:30-7:30 p.m. | 9500 W. Sahara Ave. | 702-360-3358

PRESS RELEASE:

Monti Rock III will be honored during entertainment consumers’ exchange inc’s spring 2012 awards luncheon

DATE OF EVENT: 1:00pm, March 31, 2012 Las Vegas, Nevada

Entertainment Consumers’ Exchange will enshrine Monti Rock III into the Fans Entertainment Hall of Fame during their Spring 2012 Awards Luncheon Event. He will also be honored with the Excellence in Entertainment Sweet Louie Living Legend Award. The event will take place staring 1:00 PM on March 31, 2012. at Double Play Restaurant, 9495 S Las Vegas Blvd, (Las Vegas Blvd & Richmar one/ block north of the South Point Resort Casino)

Several other outstanding entertainers will be honored with Excellence in Entertainment Awards. The Shades of Sinatra will be honored with the Tribute Show of the Year. Jim D’Arrigo will receive the Saxophonist of the Year Award and Pascale Elia is to be honored with the Horizon Award for new or emerging star of tomorrow. Jazzin’ Jeanne Brei will emcee the event.

About Entertainment Consumers’ Exchange Inc.

Entertainment Consumers’ Exchange Inc is a 501c7 non-profit association for fans and their favorites in entertainment. The recently celebrated their 10th anniversary as an organization.

About Fans’ Entertainment Hall of Fame:

Fans Entertainment Hall of Fame is about giving the Fans, Audience, consumers those who pay to support their favorites in entertainment a chance to participate in the selection process of selecting who will be in this Hall of Fame. Last year t heir had their first extended display during the month of November at Studio 810 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Zee Matulonis, President of Entertainment Consumers’ Exchange Inc.

 
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