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Monti's Blog - October 2014

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MONTI-LICIOUS - 10/27/14

It was a full house to see the closing night of “Georgia On My Mind” The Music of Ray Charles. The great cast led by Clint Holmes was not given enough time to find its target audience.Poster Marketing to this audience, getting the brokers behind you and full support of the hotel is the key to the survival of a show in this market.

The West Gate has reportedly begun a round of firings, including some loyal employees who have been there for 20 years and more. David Siegel and his team must have something in mind, possibly big show in the show room, and a casino that will draw locals as well as tourists. The “old-timers” could definitely help by keeping loyal patrons coming back again, and again.

AEG and the Colosseum  leave no stone unturned while looking to fill the void left by Celine Dion and the Dec closing of Shania Twain. Monti Thankfully Rod Stewart is still there and the great Elton John has just signed a new contract extending his stay another three years. There are strong rumors that Jennifer Lopez may be in talks with them regarding a residency contract. Jennifer and her long-time manager, Pat Medina, have been making the rounds in our town, and have been seen out and about.

Having a performer like Jennifer in that venue would most probably be one of the biggest coups in Las Vegas entertainment as she is one of the few who could fill the 4,000 seats on a steady basis. There is also the strong possibility that she may sign to perform at Axis in Planet Hollywood for 24 (3 days a week) over a 1 to 2 year period at $350,000 per week. Monti It would be interesting to have both Jennifer and Britney appearing at the same venue. It has been reported that Britney's salary is now over $450,000 per week Jennifer Lopez performing on the Strip is a big plus, no matter which venue she may sign with.

As for same-sex weddings I want to remind you that  I am a  Reverend and am licensed to perform wedding ceremonies. I have venues and credentials and I certainly know how to make your wedding a most memorable one. Many of the hotels and chapels are now offering special packages for same-sex nuptials, and some are refusing to perform them. Now they will see how much new revenue the gays and lesbians can bring to our town.

Jimmy Emerson’s new show, “Funny Phat & Fabulous” will open Roc Decar’s Event Center on Nov 20. The Oct show had to be postponed because of some health issues. Both Jimmy and co-star Tommi Rose are tops in their field, and as a fan of Jimmy, I support him in all his endeavors. In addition to performing Jimmy is a writer, producer, director, and simply the best.

Paige O'Hara, starring in Menopause, will celebrate the 2000th performance of that hit show. Paige, the voice of Belle in the Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast” has been with the show since it opened. I do love the show, and I do love Paige.

The Naked Magicians is now at the Tommy Wind Theater through Oct 31. Chris James, Jason Baney, and Andrew Goldenhersh perform close-up illusions combined with a strip poker theme. This is a magic show like no other. This is a magic show like no other and has that special something that should make it a hit.

The Rise Lantern Festival, an event that brings hope, optimism, and inspiration, ended on a sour note. First of all there were reportedly not enough illuminated lanterns to release into the sky, and then there was not enough staff to handle the large crowd. To top it all there was also a shortage of buses to bring the patrons back to the Las Vegas area. People waited for hours to get home, some waited until midnight. Travis Cloer (Jersey Boys) and his family described the event as one of the worst experiences of their lives.

Eric Jordan Young opened his new show, Shakin’ at the Sin City Theater in Planet Hollywood. This multi-talented all around performer is not new to the Vegas scene as he was in, Vegas-The Show, for several years. His love for the performers of the 1970's is evident especially when he recreates Sammy Davis as Mr. Bojangles. He should, in my opinion, add a female singer to the show to create a better balance. Aside from that this is a must-see show

Fashion icon, Oscar de la Renta, one of the great Latino fashion designers has passed away at the age of 82, after a long bout with illness. He was one of THE fashion designers to the stars as well as some of our first ladies and socialites. His designs made women look like women and for years were seen at so many events as well as the red carpet. An elegant gentleman, he became friend and confidant to many of those he “dressed”. He also had a thriving ready to wear line, a bridal line and a line of accessories. I got to know him years ago when I was one of Saks Fifth Ave’s top hairdressers. All, especially, those of the fashion world, will miss him. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family and friends.

Another Oscar, Oscar Pristorius, made the front pages again today as he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for the death of his girlfriend. If the new hit TV show “How to Get Away With Murder” need a story line they could just ask Mr. Pristorius, who in this writer’s opinion, did get away with murder. His sentence of 5 years with the possibility of release to house arrest in 10 months is a joke, but not a funny joke. This is one of those situations where the law has failed to deliver proper justice. The family of the deceased is clearly very unhappy with this outcome, as well they should be.

The Rev. Monti, as always, wishes you only the best.


MONTI–LICIOUS - 1O/20/2014

Last week was one of major openings, closings, and layoffs!

The new shopping mall in Downtown Summerlin definitely where the action is. Dillards, Macy’s, restaurants galore. approximately 125 store in all to make the west side of town one of the places to shop, dine, or just browse.

Coming soon is Nordstrom Rack, which should be an event in itself. A store like this makes so many items affordable to those people who could not afford them at the regular prices. 

Unfortunately, Georgia On My Mind the Music of Ray Charles closed on Oct. 15th. A great show with a great cast led by Clint Holmes. Six-time Grammy nominee Nenna Freelon worked with Ray Charles in Europe and  proved that she is one of best female jazz singers to appear in Las Vegas in a long time.The show is set to open in Orlando, Florida in Nov. The closing show was a sellout that left the crowd wanting more and more.

The SLS (formally the Sahara) Hotel, which originally started out with nearly 6,000 employees, has begun the process of layoffs. They need to improve the buffet, to limit the number of nightclubs, and get a name attraction to help draw people.For those of us who remember, the Sahara was one of THE places to enjoy high-powered entertainment, and should be once again.

I've been waiting to see what has evolved with the gay marriage issues here in Las Vegas and, as a gay man who has been with the same partner for over 36 years; I personally don't see the need to make it legal. That is my choice, though gay marriage is a great thing for couples that want the advantages of legalizing the relationship. For Frank Marino and Alex Schechter, getting married is what they want. I’d love to see that “pre-nup.” As a reverend I am steering clear of this because of the legal implications, and possible negative publicity. I have too many good things on the fire and I want to stay on track.

Everyone took issue with me talking about downtown restoration and redevelopment led by Tony Hseih and Zappo’s.  I felt it needs possibly  five more years down the road to reach its potential. There are those who take issue with me on this but this is my opinion.  My favorite hotels are the Grand and Golden Nugget.  The Fremont St. Experience, and The Mob Museum are great attractions, but the expansion of non-gaming activities along the Strip will be hard to compete with. Downtown small businesses will have to be unique in order to draw patrons.  C

Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center was the place to be when singer Cheyenne Jackson recently performed. He has a remarkable voice, and can sing pop, jazz, and rock classics with equal ease. However, between songs, he does tend to go into several details of his own life such as his bout with alcoholism and his homosexuality, not necessary in this type of show. He also introduced his new spouse, Jason Landau. Mr. Jackson has appeared in theater, film and TV. Many know him from the hit show Glee. He is definitely multi-talented, extremely good looking, and headed for a very successful career.

Rumor has it that Jeff Kutash (Splash and more) will be producing a new show for Pia Zadora once she has fully recovered from her freak accident, causing her to fall from a golf cart. Maybe this pairing can come up with a big hit for both of them.

“Crazy Girls” recently celebrated its 27th anniversary and is still a smash hit at the Riviera. Kudos: to Norbert Aleman who has consistently brought us entertainment.

The wonderful Bob Anderson has moved from Branson, Mo. to Savannah, Ga. Bob is getting ready for his show beginning in January at the Venetian. He will be coming back in full throttle, bringing the glory days of The Chairman of The Board, Frank Sinatra. His transformation to “Old Blue Eyes’ is nothing short of sensational. He has every little nuance down pat, and when he appears on stage he IS Frank Sinatra, no easy feat. Be sure to see this great entertainer transfigure himself into one of the greatest entertainers of them all.

The Colosseum has yet to fill the void left by Celine Dion. Hopefully, her vocal cord problem is going way and we are all hoping that her husband Rene’s cancer will be cured. Rumors are flying about an imminent divorce in the future - but these are only rumors.

The Rev. Monti once again wishes you the best.



Dirk Arthur and his big cats are coming to the Riviera on Dec. 1.  He has been signed by Red Mercury Productions, the company that now books all shows at the Riviera.Dirk’s most recent bookings were in Laughlin and Reno where he found that the popularity of big cats is greater than ever. He plans to use seven cats along with his magic and illusions. It was in 1997 that he began performing on the Las Vegas Strip in Jubilee. He is the first performer in two years to work with big cats on the Strip.  His mix of comedy, magic and illusions has kept him on the top of his craft and he is one of the few real successes in a group headed by David Copperfield, Criss Angel and Jan Rouven. Hopefully this will be a big hit for both him and the Riviera.

Last week I had the good fortune to take some people to the Luxor to the “More” Buffet and then on to Criss Angel’s Believe show. The show is better than ever, and is definitely a must-see and for those who have already seen it-see it again! Criss shows us why he is one of the best illusion artists of all time.The More Buffet is one of the better buffets on the Strip, serving delicious dishes in very comfortable surroundings.  This dinner and the show made for a great evening.

Last week  the Westgate held a media event to celebrate the “Purple Rain” tribute to Prince at the Shimmer Cabaret. A pre-show reception at The Tempo lounge was crowded with media. Among those present was Jeff Kutash, best known for “Headlights and Tail Pipes” and “Splash” among other productions. Rick White, entertainment guru at the Westgate, is a perfect goodwill ambassador for the Westgate. The hotel now needs a big name attraction for the show room since Barry Manilow was the last star at that venue.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, has just announced a layoff of 30 people at the offices of the Downtown Project.  This is the organization that is promoting for businesses, more art district attractions, etc. as well as a continuation of the cleanup are just the tip of the iceberg needed for this project to be successful. The Golden Nugget, The Grand and the D Hotel Las Vegas draw many people but this is definitely not enough.

Kudos, to Ron Decar and his Events Center. Rotating shows make for a different experience every night, and the care and attention given to the patrons bring them back again and again. Buffets are either available or included depending on what show is being performed that night. For information call 702-384-0771 or visit

This town has always celebrated Halloween in a big way and this year is no exception. Retail sales of costumes and other Halloween “goodies” are reported ahead of last year, and scary events are planned for all over Las Vegas. Many stores are already showing Christmas items, and Thanksgiving dinner menus can be found on the TV food channels.

On again/off again/on again!  What the heck is going on between the federal and state governments? First the Supreme Court lifted the ban on gay marriages in Nevada then they reinstated it. It seems that the state feels as if the “feds” are infringing on state’s rights and so on.  As of this writing the Clark County Clerk has begun issue marriage licenses to gay couples now that the problem seems to be solved. Shame on the government!

The Cosmopolitan has announced its New Year's Eve show, and it stars none other that Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. They will be singing hits from their new CD as well as many others. Quite a combo, wouldn’t you say?

Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the MGM  is now 2 1/2 years old and selling out whenever Brad appears, and running about 75 percent full when he is not. Brad performs whenever scheduling allows.

Also from the MGM comes the news that Jeff Beacher, of "Beacher’s Madhouse,” will undergo serious surgery and will be out for about three weeks. The Club was reportedly closing until Oct. 21, but they now may remain open one day a week until Jeff returns with a Tuesday, Friday, Saturday schedule.

Georgia On My Mind, the Music of Ray Charles, unfortunately will be closing on Oct 15th rather than Oct 29th as originally planned.  For those of you who didn’t see it, you missed a great show. Elizabeth Blau, one of the culinary world’s leading consultants has been chosen to oversee the development  and reopening of The Rainbow Room, New York City’s iconic dining and dancing establishment.  The Rainbow Room has reopened after having been shuttered for 5 years. Elizabeth’s husband, Kim Canteenwalla, who is a master chef, has been working with her on the project for the past 3 years.

Talk show personality Wendy Williams will host this years “Centric Soul Train Awards” on Nov 7th at the Orleans Arena. The show will be telecast on “Bet a Centric” on Nov 30th.  The Centric Comedy All-Stars and the Soul Train Review are also a part of this weekend event. For information please visit -,

Things are progressing rapidly for the upcoming Disco-Tex show. It proves once again that Disco-Tex (yours truly) is alive and well and still performing.

The Rev. Monti, as always, wishes you only the best.



Frank Marino, a Las Vegas fixture for the past 30 years, achieved major star status impersonating the late, great Joan Rivers.Marino, who has been dubbed “ the most beautiful female impersonator in the world,” was a longtime friend of Joan, and in a recent interview described her as the hardest-working person in show business and that her work ethic could not be matched. When I came to Las Vegas, Frank was one of first entertainers to welcome me, and helped me get started here. He can currently be seen at the Linq (formerly the Quad), where he has been starring in “Divas.”

Wonderful writer/producer/directer Troy Heard is opening his new show at Ron Decar’s Event Center.  Joni & Gina’s Wedding Show can be seen on Oct. 2nd, 16th and 30th. This hilarious show is about the wedding of two gay girls and the reactions of their respective families. Troy, who has won various awards, recently worked with ”Pawn Stars Live” and is currently hard at work writing the screenplay for my upcoming movie.

More news: Jan Rouven’s Illusions show moving to the Tropicana on Nov. 1. Murray Sawchuck leaving on Oct. 30 when his contract expires, and Raiding the Rock Vault moving to the Tropicana as of Nov. 28th.Murray is reportedly looking for a new venue for his late afternoon comedy/magic show.  He has been performing at the Tropicana for the past 2 1/2 years. Rumors are also flying about possible legal action, regarding the “Rock Vault’s” departure from the Westgate. This leaves the large Westgate showroom vacant and fills the Tropicana Theater with the first new show since the closing of Mama Mia. The Tropicana Theater hasn’t had a hit since “Dancing With The Stars-Live” and the hotel could use a few new restaurants.

As a columnist in Las Vegas, I hunt around for interesting news, both local and national. Some news is not so interesting, such as the cast changes at The View. The new team just doesn’t seem to work, as there is little chemistry among the hosts.  Maybe, after a little more time together, they might be less boring. We long for the verbal fireworks of the past - and there is news that there was a recent dustup between Whoopi and Rosie O'Donnell during a commercial break. Rosie reportedly doesn't like wearing an earpiece and Whoopi had to cut Rosie off mid-story because producers were telling her to go to commercial. Rosie puffed up and verbally attacked Whoopi and whined until Whoopi allegedly blasted Rosie. Word is that they kissed and made up later. Stay tuned to see if there are any cat fights while cameras are rolling.

"America’s Got Talent" and "American Idol" have also lost their luster. Only "The Voice" remains really entertaining. iHeart Radio was definitely not up to par, and the Jay Z/ Beyonce tour show was a bore on TV.  Too many special effects during Beyonce’s numbers, took away from her performance, however, Jay Z came across well.

How about Jennifer Lopez taking a vacation with her ex, Casper? Seems like being a cougar works for our Jenny from the Bronx.

Happy 80th to Nelson Sardelli.  He was brought on stage by Gordie Brown at his show at The Golden Nugget, and they sang “My Way” together. Gordie’s show is still the highlight of downtown entertainment. The D and the Grand, along with many new restaurants, are reportedly getting together to do a heavy promo campaign for downtown expansion.

The preshow media-night reception for “Georgia On My Mind” was held at dbBrasserie at the Venetian. If the finger food served is any indication of the quality and taste of their regular menu items, they have a giant success on their hands.

Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn feel that Internet gaming would not be good for the gambling industry in general; they both expressed this at the Gaming Global Expo here in Las Vegas. Adelson also pointed out that with Internet gaming you don’t know who the gambler is and could very well be a minor.  Wynn also feels that Internet gambling in the U.S. could result in a public relations crisis that would trigger additional gaming regulations. The slot machine industry also feels that the recent mergers will work for them and they feel the need to come up with slots that will create interest for gamblers both young and old.

Good news for Atlantic City-The failed Revel has been purchased by a Canadian company and will reopen in the not- too- far future after several details are ironed out. Hopefully this will be the start of a turn around for the city.

Another opening-another show---Eric Jordan Young, dancer, choreographer, and all around performer has opened his new show “Shaken” at the Sin City Theatre in Planet Hollywood. Young has performed in many major productions including 4 years in Vegas! The Show. They will be doing hit songs in a way they haven’t been seen in the past 15-20 years. Sounds like there’s a new hit in town.

The rev. Monti, as always, wishes you only the best.






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.



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


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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