Monti Rock III
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January 2014

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DISCO TEX & HIS SEX-O-LETTES
AKA
SIR MONTI ROCK III IS RETURNING TO THE STAGE,
AND MORE!!
Click here: a story leading up to the present day of a legend!!

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MONTI-LICIOUS - JAN 26, 2015

We’re all getting ready for the Super Bowl on Feb 1. Las Vegas sports books will have their biggest day of the year as Super Bowl weekend draws in fans from all over to add lots of $$$ to the Las Vegas area.ad guru  Katy Perry (reportedly back with John Mayer) does the half-time honors. These half-time shows are spectacular, but they lose something on TV.  There is too much going on for the camera to capture the full scope of the entertainment.

Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL draft choice, then released by Dallas Cowboys and the LA Rams, became engaged to his partner Vito Cammissano. They were in Italy at Square, where they made the engagement official. Michael still hopes to be back in the NFL someday in the near future, and we wish him the best of luck. Perhaps an all-gay Super Bowl-type game can happen in the future.Poster There are enough gay players (those already out and those still in the closet) to make this happen.

  The much anticipated Bob Anderson tribute to Frank Sinatra opened at the Palazzo over the weekend. in one word - BRILLIANT. This is Bob at his best, no it’s Frank Sinatra at his best. As we’ve said before Bob, with a little help from has makeup man, becomes Frank, performing many of his favorite songs.  Vince Falcone, conducting a 32-piece orchestra, brings the music alive, and Bob keeps it going throughout the entire show. Frank Sinatra would be proud to see his music performed by this fine entertainer.

  Rick Lax’s TV show “Wizard Wars” on the SyFy network has been renewed. Rick, formerly a writer for Las Vegas Weekly, is hosting a Season Premier party for the show at The Sand Dollar blues bar (located west of the Mirage) on Jan 29 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The program offers a new take on magic shows and even has a competition judged by Penn & TellerMonti.

Last week I visited  downtown, and spent some time at the Mob Museum. It really does have a history of all those colorful characters, allegedly part of organized crime, who helped make Las Vegas the place to be. Who could forget the legendary Bugsy Siegel, among many others?

Caesars Palace, the grande dame of hotel/casinos, and its parent company are getting ready to file bankruptcy in order to reduce its huge debt.  Big infrastructure changes will hopefully reduce this debt by a reported $8-10 million. I have a history with Caesars Palace as I worked there in the late '60s in Nero’s Nook, but my act was a little too risque for the time and my run was cut short. Those were the days when people dressed up for the shows and showgirls performed everywhere. A dress code for the casino shows would be a good idea because a well-dressed audience adds class to these shows.

The Westgate Las Vegas is doing very well with its timeshare operation. However, the casino/hotel has yet to come up with a major show. It does have smaller venues such  as Elvis impersonator Trent Carlini's The King show and the Prince Purple Rain show,  but they do need a star headliner in their late show room. Benihana and TJ’s Steakhouse are doing well and Paradise Coffee is one of the best of the hotel coffee shops. To be a big hit off the Strip, you must have a big name to attract people. Remember, this was once the home of superstars Liza, Barry Manilow and Elvis.

May Wilson's show at Suncoast was one of her last for a while as she plans to move to LA and begin acting classes.  She brings back so many fond memories with the hit songs she performed with the Supremes, but the best song of the show was her rendition of the classic Joe Williams hit, "Here’s to Life," a song also associated with the late, great Shirley Horn.

Australian Helen Reddy, sometimes known as the Queen of '70s Pop, appeared at the Orleans this past weekend. Her mega-hit was the song “I Am Woman.” She also starred in "The Helen Reddy Show" during her heyday as a top songstress and writer.

Boyd Gaming has plans to make some needed changes and upgrades in its hotels/casinos this year - one of them is the reported closing of the Gold Coast Showroom.  One of the Gold Coast’s biggest successes was the show  “Forever Plaid” and then the long-running tribute to Patsy Cline. Rumor has it that this venue will become a restaurant.

Two long running performers move to their new homes the first week of February. Menopause The Musical opens at Harrah’s and John Bentham’s production of “Defending the Caveman” will open at a venue to be announced.

Another sex scandal allegation has former college basketball player and then on to CBS Sports analyst Greg Anthony losing his jobs at CBS Sports and CNN. It seems that today’s celebrities can no longer hide the indiscretion, etc. There is no such thing as privacy any more but the people who commit these deeds should be held responsible.

American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper has caused quite a stir as some critics have been blasting the use of snipers in the war zones. Unfortunately we are pushed into situations where this type of warfare is necessary. Where would we be if these heroes were not there to protect our freedom and our lives.  Shame on those, who put these soldiers down.

Rock in Rio, opening on the northern end of the Strip in May has already been successfully selling tickets. This outdoor festival will be here every two years. Manu top performers, among them, Bruno Mars, Sam Smith, John Legend, and Taylor Swift and other international stars have already signed. Festival execs are looking for 60,000 to 80,000 people to attend this spectacle daily. Performances are set for May 8th - 9th and May 15th – 16th.

There is a new kid on the block and that is the new buffet at the Excalibur Hotel-Casino. The buffet has been completely renovated and upgraded.  The area is large and beautifully designed featuring a huge circular dessert section.  Executive chef Tom Gorball has come up with some great new recipes in addition to some buffet staples. Food and service are top notch and a a visit to this new venue is definitely worth while.
As always, the Rev. Monti wishes you all the best.

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MONTI–LICIOUS - JAN 15, 2015

Rumors come and go.  Sometimes they are unfounded and sometimes they are more than just rumors.

For instance: Is Mariah Carey really committed to a residency at the Colosseum or will her time and energy  be spent on her divorce from Nick Cannon?  We all know how $$ costly this will be for each of them. Just in is the news that Mariah will open at the Colosseum in May. The show will feature her performing her 18 #1 singles as well as some others. She is the biggest selling female recording artist of all time.

Is J Lo ready to sign with Planet Hollywood as rumored?  This multi-talented, beautiful lady has TV commitments, movies ready for release, a business empire to run, recordings, and more. Her recent HBO special and New Year's Eve Show at Caesars Colosseum won rave reviews, as expected.

There are also rumors flying about that Lionel Richie and Lady Gaga are ready to sign residency contracts in Las Vegas, but it's only talk so far.

Then came the story that Paige O’Hara was allegedly leaving Menopause the Musical when it ends its current run at the Luxor. Paige informed us by phone that she will remain with the show when it opens in its new home at Harrah's next month. Paige, who is the beautiful voice of Belle in the Disney classic film Beauty and the Beast, also does Disney musical specials and exhibitions of her paintings. She is a good friend and we wish her the best in all of her endeavors.

A tale about Food Network stars Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis is also making the rounds.  Some people are claiming that they are just longstanding, good friends, while the gossipmongers are trying to make something of their being seen together in Miami.

Another unconfirmed story is that Pia Zadora, who is currently on the mend from her golf cart accident, is working with writer Jeff Kutash on the story of her life. She went from Broadway to opening for major performers like Frank Sinatra to some unsuccessful films and now has her own small room, Pia’s Place in Las Vegas. The girl keeps working.

Anita Ekberg passed away last week at age 83 of unspecified illnesses. She made film history with her famous Trevi Fountain scene in the 1960 international film classic La Dolce Vita. She went on to costar in films with Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Bob Hope, and Martin and Lewis among others. She returned to Europe and did some film and TV work. During a three-month hospital stay, her home was robbed and damaged in a fire. She is said to have died almost penniless - a sad ending for this beautiful star.

Last week brought us the first of the major entertainment awards shows, The Golden Globes.  For the third time we were lucky to have Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as emcees. They did not disappoint, other than having their routines cut due to time issues.  Their take on Bill Cosby and NoKorea were brilliant, as were the barbs directed at some of the stars sitting up front and close to them. I hate to think of future Golden Globes without them, or the hilarious Ricky Gervais. Being edgy is what makes the show really entertaining. Some of the surprise winners were The Affair, The Grand Budapest Hotel, actors Eddie Redmayne, Gina Rodriguez and Matt Bomer. Boyhood, as expected, was also a winner. Michael Keaton and Julianne Moore won the best film actor and actress awards. Snubbed were the great performances of Viola Davis in How to Get Away With Murder and Mark Ruffalo in The Normal Heart. Some of the best dressed women were Jane Fonda (what a body), Katherine Heigl, Emma Stone, Kate Hudson, and the winner by far, Jennifer Lopez. On the sown side were Lena Dunham and Kerry Washington.

The Oscar nominees were announced and to no surprise are the nominations of American Sniper and Bradley Cooper. This year is full of great performances and it is difficult to predict winners.  Leading the “snubs” this year are Selma (only one category) , “Interstellar”, and actors Ethan Hawke and David Oyelowo. Julianne Moore is one of the favorites as leading actress, and, of course, we have, once again, this time as leading supporting actress, Meryl Streep. What would an Oscar show be without Meryl. The show will be televised on Feb 22 with Neil Patrick Harris as this year’s host.

Mary Wilson is putting her house up for sale and moving to Los Angeles to study acting.  After 50 years in the music business, she is tired of touring and wishes to settle down and try her hand on stage and/or screen. A bid for a residency contract on the Strip didn’t work out. We wish her the best.

Happy 93rd birthday to an American treasure, Betty White, who is deservedly one of our best-loved performers. She has been captivating audiences for the last 70 years and is still going strong.  Keep on entertaining us, Betty, as nobody does it better.

In my humble opinion I feel we should back off on the Bill Cosby scandal and let things settle down. Until he is convicted, or until there is actual proof, he should cancel any bookings he may have. He has a wife and family to think of and all of these accusations are taking their toll. I feel for them for his name is tarnished forever.

The hottest ticket in town will be Bob Anderson’s tribute to Frank Sinatra show which opens at the Palazzo on Jan24. Bob brings Frank back as he performs the many great songs that Frank made his own. Backed by Vince Falcone and a 32piece orchestra, Bob takes us back to the time when great music, and great lyrics, were performed by the great “Chairman of The Board.” With the help of some cosmetics, etc., Bob becomes Frank right before your eyes. This show is a definite must-see.

The Rev. Monti once again wishes you the best.

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monti@montirock.com

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MONTI-LICIOUS - JAN 5, 2015

My year in review

This last year in Las Vegas I witnessed openings, grand openings, closings and even grand closings.

One of the “grandest “of openings was that of the SLS, which has replaced the iconic Sahara.  This was like an old-time Hollywood premiere, complete with beautiful socialites, models, etc. The temporary gaming license was finally issued with the provision  that part-owner Sam Nazarian would not be part of the day-to-day operations. Changes are necessary in order to attract locals as well as the free spending tourists. Another big opening was that of the Cromwell. This boutique hotel opened last February and has two very successful tenants in Giada’s restaurant and  Drai's  Clubs.

New to the resident performers on the Strip are Olivia Newton-John at the Flamingo and Jeff Dunham at Planet Hollywood. The biggest show to open in 2014 is the Steve Wynn production, “Showstoppers,” which boasts a large cast of performers, musicians,  and technicians.  This is the type of show that helped to make Las Vegas the entertainment capital of the world and should become one of the long-running shows in town.

Closings of good, even great, shows frequently happen here. Among them were the Abba musical, Mama Mia, which closed after only three months.  The Ray Charles tribute “Georgia On My Mind,” featuring Clint Holmes, was another surprise casualty. Great show, great music, but it failed to attract a large audience. But the really big closing was the Shania Twain show at the Colosseum.  Her contract, for some reason, was not renewed, and in my opinion that was a big mistake. Frankie Moreno ended his stay at the Stratosphere after 599 performances. He is said to be looking for a new venue in town. Vegas Nocturne, Sidney After Dark, Divorce Party and Pawn Shop-Live! also had short lives in Las Vegas.

How about the “cat fights” between George Clooney and Steve Wynn and the one between  Mayor Caroline Goodman and commissioner Steve Sisolak? Good fodder for headlines.

Hollywood gave us some great films in 2014. It’s been hard to choose which were the best but here are some of them.  Guardians of The Galaxy, Gone Girl, Boyhood, Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, Birdman and Foxcatcher. There  are more but these are definitely standouts.

2014 brought us some good TV shows to watch (instead of all that reality “stuff”). Some standouts include How To Get Away With Murder, The Affair, True Detective ,Penny Dreadful and Blackish. 

The Cosmopolitan officially changed ownership and should get  some needed  changes to finally get into the black after not showing any profit since opening. They brought us Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga together for their New Year's holiday show. The unique pairing of these 2 proved to be very successful as their admiration of each other was first seen on a recent PBS special.  The show at the Cosmopolitan had them singing jazz, standards and Broadway show hits. Each sings a few solos in addition to their duets. Lady Gaga shows us she can really sing and play piano, and not just perform as a caricature. Let’s hope they will be working together again in the future. 

This year also brought us many Frank Sinatra tributes to commemorate his 100th birthday. We got a taste of what Bob Anderson will be doing shortly when he did a special one-night only performance of his show honoring Mr. Sinatra when he opens at the Venetian later this month. There are no holograms here as Bob becomes Frank right before your eyes.
Ron Decar’s Event Center gives us daily vintage Las Vegas-style entertainment, dinner and cocktails in an affordable package. Big Band Saturdays along with Swingin’ Sundays have been big hits. Kudos to Ron for turning this venue into a successful showplace.

  Of the many losses this year, the ones that touched me the most were the deaths of Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Mike Nichols  Bob Crewe and a dear friend, Frankie Randall. It was Bob Crewe who was the genius behind the creation and success of Disco Tex (yours truly) and The Sex-O-Lettes. Bob also was instrumental to the success of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The news of his death also brought new interest in Disco Tex and the beginning of the disco era.  A show is now in pre-production to be produced and directed by Andrew Rasmussen, featuring Disco Tex. Frankie Randall, age 77, died after a long battle with cancer. He was a great jazz singer and crooner as well as a classically trained pianist.  I first met Frankie in New York at Jilly’s and when I first arrived in Las Vegas he was there to help me to find work. He was a favorite of Frank Sinatra and worked with him often and a favorite of the show business community. RIP Frankie Randall.

Louise Rainer, the Austrian actress who won to Oscars (back to back), has died at age of 104.  This lady with the soulful eyes
left Hollywood after a short time as she felt MGM did not know how to show her talent. She had the b---s to challenge Louis B Mayer, head o MGM,  at a time when other actresses would do almost anything the studios wanted.

Magic is everywhere in Las Vegas with, to name a few,  Jan Rouven, Dirk Arthur, Mac King, Nathan  Burton, Murray Sawchuck and at the top of the  list are Criss Angel and David Copperfield.  And then there is Steve Wyrick , the great illusionist who has come and gone several  times here in Las Vegas. He worked in several top locations and finally got his own theater in Planet Hollywood, only to close after a very short run. Rumor has it that Steve Wyrick is about to come back to Las Vegas in 2015, but no details are available at this time.

One of the big surprises in 2015 will be Mike Michaels and his new magic show.  Mike, in addition to designing and constructing  props for major illusionists and is now putting finishing touches on his own show, which should become one of THE best shows of its kind. Mike has also been working on the production my autobiographical film.

David Saxe has gotten another hit in Zombie Burlesque. As I’ve often said, David and Adam Steck are like the Eveready Batteries - they keep on giving us hit after hit.

The top weddings of the year were those of  George Clooney / Amal Alamuddin and the Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie. Then came the slew of same-sex marriages  while the divorces were topped with Mariah Carey / NIck Cannon and Chris Rock / Malaak Compton-Rock. There’s of fortune of $$$$$  in these 2 “splits”.

Big question for 2015: Is there room for two ventriloquists on the Strip? Can Terry Fator and Jeff Dunham coexist? I know their dummies can as can the many other dummies around town and they know who they are....

As always, the Rev. Monti wishes you all the best.

 

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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