MONTI - LICIOUS MAY 25. 2015
The Billboard Awards show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena featured performers from the Strip and was highlighted with tributes given to Ben E. KIng , B.B. Kind, Paul Walker and to the 30th anniversary of “The Breakfast Club” film.
Mariah performed at the Billboard show for the first time in 17 years. while Britney Spears with Iggy Azalea did their song at Planet Hollywood and was shown via satellite. Van Halen with David Lee Roth wowed the audience as the opening act of the show.
Taylor Swift was the big winner with 7 awards. Other award winners included John Legend, Justin Bieber, and Pharrell Williams among others. Kanye West had the distinction of being booed for most of the time he was on stage. Jennifer Lopez, one of the presenters was caught on camera texting while during Mariah’s performance. Not nice J L, unless it was an emergency of some type.
Ludacris and Chrissy Teigen co-hosted the show. Chrissy (Mrs John Legend), was terribly miscast. She is stunningly beautiful lady, but hosting is just not her thing.
Mariah’s cancelling her show at the last minute on a recent Wednesday angered many of her fans especially for those who flew in from far places. Mariah was recovering from bronchitis and was told by her doctors not to sing that evening.
Trying to reschedule these people to see other performances was a tremendous job. In this town a singer MUST use humidifiers on a regular basis at home as well as in the theater to combat the dry desert air that in many cases causes what is called “Las Vegas Throat”. Since then she has been seen on many talk shows promoting her latest album and her semi-residency at Caesars Colosseum. Tickets for her first series of 2016 appearances at the Colosseum in February are now on sale
The Riviera had a liquidation sale week consisting of all sorts of memorabilia. Iconic comedian Shecky Greene, who was associated with the hotel for a long time, went there to buy some "artifacts" and was told to get in the line. He then went on to talk about that and the hotel at dinner at the Italian American Club.
Bob Anderson along with Pia Zadora, Frank Sinatra Jr and Vince Falcone are the guests on “Conversations With Norm” on June 21 at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center. They will be telling stories and anecdotes about Frank Sinatra. I made sure to buy my tickets early as this should be a sell out.
As a racing fan I watched the Preakness in which American Pharoah, (Kentucky Derby winner) won, this time, on a muddy track. He is now headed for a try at the Triple Crown race at the Belmont Stakes. Jockey Victor Espinoza will be making his 3rd try to win the Triple Crown. Hopefully horse racing will be making a comeback after a few years of declining interest.
The "Rock In RIo“ festival is now over after the 2nd weekend of non-stop music. Taylor Swift, John Legend, Joss Stone, and Bruno Mars, among others, performed. Attendance was reported to be 172,000 over the 2 weekends, About 15% of these were locals, this small amount probably due to the high cost of tickets and food and drink. The festival returns in 2017 and hopefully will become an annual event after that.
David de Alba, called “The Cuban Legend” brings Judy Garland back once again at the Onyx Theater on June 21st at 2:00 pm. David was the star of many shows at the legendary Finocchio’s in San Francisco. His unique approach to performing as Judy Garland makes his show a must-see. .
Dancing With The Stars Trophy winner in this 20th anniversary season, Rumer Willis, is the daughter of Hollywood royalty Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. She has finally come into her own after years of personal problems. In 10 weeks she has become a dancer who can dance with the best of them as well as acquiring a new level of self-esteem and self confidence. She and Val Chmerkovskiy, who also came into his own after being under the shadow of brother Maks, were the highlights of this season. Val will be on the Dancing With The Stars-Live summer tour and Rumer will join him for several of the performances.
Norbert Aleman’s Crazy Girls opened at the Sin City Theater in Planet Hollywood after a 24 year run at the Riviera. Let’s hope this new home gives them the same success they have enjoyed over these many years.
For those of you who remember that at one time I was a talk show guest on mostly every talk show in America from Johnny Carson in 1962, then on to Merv Griffin Mike Douglas Joey Bishop and other, but I could never get on the David Letterman show. We tried very hard but a man using makeup may have been too much for David and his particular audience even though I didn't look gay or act gay, and I also never got on with Jay Leno either. Maybe I was just “too much over the top”. David Letterman has made his show unique with all the guests, scandals, feuding with Oprah Winfrey .etc.
He is retiring from.this show, not from performing or entertaining us in other venues. He holds the record of hosting a talk show for 33 years, 2 years longer than Johnny Carson. In some way I don’t think he ever forgave Johnny Carson for handing the reins over to Jay Leno and not to him, however David’s talent helped make him one of the most successful people in show business. Can Stephen Colbert be successful in this time-slot on national TV? Only time will tell.
Golden Rainbow presents its 29th Annual Ribbon of Life benefit show at the New Tropicana on June 28th. Golden Rainbow is committed to providing housing and direct financial assistance to Southern Nevadans living with HIV/AIDS. For tickets and more information please visit www.troplv.com/ribbonoflife or call 702-739-2555.
Nu Hula “Aloha Spirit’ event will be at the Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station on Sunday, June 14th. Take a Hula voyage with Nu Hula to the land of Hawaii to help keep the Aloha Spirit alive. For more information and tickets please contact TWilliamson@suncityaliante.us.
My 75th birthday on May 29th will soon be here and I DO love gifts. We gladly accept Visa, Mastercard, Amex cards along with your good wishes. This year will be filled with small dinners rather than the big party usually associated with my birthday.
Get well wishes for my dear friend Roni Buzzi who is dealing with some serious health issues.
As always The Rev. Monti wishes you only the best and hopes you enjoyed the Memorial Day Weekend.
MONTI–LICIOUS - MAY 18, 2015
What a week! The highly anticipated “Rock in Rio USA” festival opened May 8-9 and wasn't quite what we expected. Although 82,000 passed through the gates, it rarely seemed overcrowded. The weather on opening night may have been a factor in keeping many away, but the lineup of performers did not help either. It began with a lackluster Cirque du Soleil but steadily improved with acts like Mana and Sepultura to the closing act, Theophilus London. Metallica was the show stopper. Let’s hope that the second weekend is much better. The 2015 Billboard Awards follows on May 17 at the MGM Grand. This show with its carnival-type atmosphere like the Grammys is always something to see and hear. These shows along with Mariah’s opening made for ‘mucho’ music in Las Vegas this month.
Speaking of Mariah, she can do no wrong. Her huge fan base stands and cheers for every one of her 18 hits. We DO hope that she has enough humidifiers to counter the effects of the dry desert Las Vegas climate. Her voice is her instrument and should be properly cared for. Who knows better than Celine of how to take care of the voice? Mariah's childhood videos, fabulous gowns and that incredible body all enhance her spectacular voice. Her dancers are also great. Her Saturday night show was filmed by movie director Brett Ratner, parts of which will be used for her new video. Brett, as you know by now is the son of Miami socialite and my good friend, Marsha Ratner.
The one and only Rod Stewart returns to the Colosseum to perform from July 28-Aug 15. Then Las Vegas’ favorite diva, Celine, returns with a new show, new attitude, and new outlook. Her music will be updated so as to appeal to a younger audience. “It’s good to be young!” Another icon, Suzanne Somers , will be doing her one woman show and bringing us a “healthy food" restaurant and boutique. She should be a good fit at The Westgate.
Two closings are the talk of the town. Frankie Scinta (The Scintas) is closing at “THE D” on May 20. This group is one of the better lounge acts to ever play Vegas. But, as Frankie says, it’s time to change direction. They are taking to the road this summer and plan to find a new Las Vegas venue next fall.
The other big closing is that of “Duck Commander Musical” at the Rio after only six weeks. This was a big New York kind of production that should have been successful here, but the ticket price and possibly the story content may have been why the show was losing $250,000 a week. Perhaps they should try an area like Branson. Let’s face it, we don’t like to see
After 15 seasons of American Idol, the talent-producing classic is closing its doors. The 2015-2016 season will be the last. Judges Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban along with host Ryan Seacrest have signed to appear once again. The contestants we were lucky enough to see begin their careers included Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Pickler, Jordan Sparks and for his 15 minutes of fame, Adam Lambert. The show also made household names of Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell.
Idol was the beginning of a new era of talent shows like The Voice, America’s Got Talent, and So You Think You Can Dance. In my day we had Major Bowes Amateur Hour on radio and Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour on TV.
Jennifer Lopez has finally signed a much anticipated semi-residency contract to appear at The Axis in Planet Hollywood beginning in January 2016. She will do a total of 26 shows in January, February, May and June. March and April will be devoted to the launch of her new Fox TV show, “Shades of Blue”. The Planet Hollywood show will probably be her most ambitious undertaking with dancers, singers, costumes, and musical genres. Tickets are already on sale. You can check with Planet Hollywood for dates and availability.
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are complaining about their salaries vs. the salaries of Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston on their Netflix comedy series "Grace and Frankie." They claim that their male co-stars are receiving the same pay even though they're on screen and work much less hours than their female counterparts. We all know that Jane has been controversial over the years but she and Lily, both of whom are well-payed, should not resort to this unless it is a publicity stunt to promote the show.
It’s kind of hard to believe Rosie O'Donnell cannot stay out of the news. We know she's a good mother since she left The View to spend more time with her family. She is now in the middle of divorce proceedings and despite an iron-clad prenup, Michelle Rounds now wants custody of their 2-year-old daughter, Dakota. According to Rosie’s publicist, Michelle is using the child as a pawn to get more money from Rosie, not because she wants to raise the child. This will get down and dirty. Dakota and the other four children should not be exposed to this tawdry display.
The View, thanks to Whoopi and her new cohosts, the show has gotten much better. After all these years the show needed revamping and Whoopi is so much better with her approach to the subject matter. She is a true talent who is extremely well-liked by those who know her. It really shows with the rapport she has with the guests appearing on the show.
David Letterman we wish you a fond farewell. Johnny Carson taught you well and you were able to carry on in his tradition. This month so many former guests have come on to wish you well. Unfortunately, I am not too happy with the choice of the new host, but I could be wrong. Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Myers are good for today’s audiences, but I’m not so sure if Stephen Colbert will keep people from going to sleep early.
Just in is news from producer Adam Steck that Frank Marino and the Divas show will be closing for 6 weeks as the LInq will be refurbishing the area . The space will become a ballroom and home of the show.
Other late news is that of the loss of B.B. King, on of the greatest blues performers of all time. He played his guitar (which he named Lucille) and sang the blues like no other. He died at age 89 in his Las Vegas home after a series of mini-strokes caused by diabetes 2. Mr. King was as much a gentleman as a fantastic guitarist. His rendition of “The Thrill Is Gone” says it all, and for all of us, the thrill IS gone. RIP B.B. King.
The Rev. Monti once again wishes you the best.
MONTI-LICIOUS MAY 11, 2015
Well, almost all the brouhaha over the “fight of the century” has settled except for the $5 million class action lawsuit filed against Manny Pacquiao.This suit was started by 2 men who claim Pacquiao defrauded them by not properly disclosing his shoulder injury before the fight. This injury was possibly the cause for his dull performance in the ring. Many people were disappointed in the fight allegedly claiming it was more a dance exercise than a boxing match. Pacquiao has just undergone what was reported to be successful shoulder surgery.Looks to me that a rematch might come about sometime next year. The publicity surround the fight all but overshadowed the coverage of the Kentucky Derby, which also fell on May 2. It’s always nice to see those lovely ladies in their suits and hats.
Another major show business loss was that of the great Ben E. King, age 76, whose many hit records included ‘Stand By Me’ and Spanish Harlem” I met Ben when we both were being handled by the late Ruth Bowen at her Queens Booking Agency.
Another King, (B.B. King) was just released from the hospital after diabetes problems and other ailments We hope this great blues artist can stay with us for a long time. Our thoughts and prayers go out the friends and families of these 2 musical giants.
The beginning of a new resort complex has coincided with the final closing of the Riviera. Work has been started on Resorts World Las Vegas, an Asian themed mega-resort on the north end of the Strip. The owners of this huge complex are striving for a realistic Chinese theme which is said to include a panda exhibit. This resort has been a long time in the making –ever since the demise of the Stardust and should be the gem of the north end of the Strip. Maybe if the owners of the Riviera would have periodically upgraded the hotel it could have remained as one of the iconic hotels of the Strip where so many of our greatest entertainers performed over the years. Pia Zadora, once married to the owner at that time. says she will miss the hotel/casino though it did need a lot work.
One of the many sad stories associated with the Riviera closing is the loss of most of Norbert Aleman’s ‘Crazy Girls’. costumes and props (estimated value approx $200,000.00). The truck transporting the costumes, etc., was stolen. The vehicle was later found but the contents have yet to be found. The show is still set to reopen on May 13th at the Sin City Theater in PLanet Hollywood according to the publicist. It was also the home of Norbert’s La Cage, where Frank Marino became a star. Norbert is a major player in the entertainment history of Las Vegas.
Another success story from the Riviera is that of Steve Schirripa, who went from entertainment director of the hotel to acting in a featured roll in TV’s “Sopranos” and in the Martin Scorcese film “Casino” He also wrote several books including “Big Daddy’s Rules” and “The Goomba’s Book of Love”. Steve was once working on a spot for me at the Riviera, but unfortunately that never materialized.
Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough suffered a foot an ankle injury and was not dancing for a few weeks on this how as well as his stint at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
His sub, Sacha Farber, did a superb job dancing with Nastia Liukin. Derek should be ready for the upcoming semi-finals. His sister Julianne still talks too much as one of the judges. She should stick to dancing and learn to control her rambling on and on while she is critiquing the contestants.
Speaking od DWTS, how about the superb dancing of Val Chmerkovskiy (Maks’ brother) and Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore). These 2 have brought magnificent ballroom dancing back to the show which has lately been focusing on production numbers. Now, if only they would match the music to the dances!
With the fight and Mariah’s opening behind us we can now concentrate on Susanne Somers. This multi-talented star, an unbelievable 68 years young, has what should be the first big hit for the Westgate. She has the star power that is needed at that hotel/casino.
I do hope that all of you remembered “mama” last week, she never forgot you.
The Rev. Monti once again wishes you the best.
MONTI –LICIOUS 05/04/15
This was an unbelievable end to the month of April that included the Westgate ’s Graceland exhibit followed by the arrival of the boxer Manny Pacquiaoto the Mandalay Bay and Floyd Mayweather to the MGM, and Mariah Carey’s grand welcome to Caesars Colosseum. Mariah arrived in a vintage coupe leading a caravan of 18 billboard trucks each featuring one of her top 18 recordings. Her residency at the Colosseum begins on May 6 and her fans can’t wait. Her latest song, just released, is considered by many, to be a put-down of ex, Nick Cannon, whose fortune and fame are reportedly much less than hers. They have children together and should be trying their best to co-parent so as not to damage the self-esteem, etc. of these innocent kids.
The “Elvis The Experience” Graceland opening at the Westgate was, indeed, a big affair. Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley were their to help pay tribute to the “king” and open this permanent attraction a the hotel. The Elvis show will run for 6 weeks reportedly to be followed by a different show every 6 weeks.The Graceland Wedding Chapel will surely be Las Vegas’ place to get married. These will deservedly be bringing crowds to the venue for a long time. The Suzanne Somers Show at the Suzanne Somers Theater (formerly the Shimmer Theater) along with her restaurant opens there in mid-May and is also a highly anticipated attraction for the hotel. the effervescent and talented Suzanne has a big fan base and should also draw a large audience.
It looks like Dick Feeney s production of “The Rat Pack Is Back” has found a new home. They are moving to the T Spot at Tuscany in June after being displaced by the closing of the Riviera where they were enjoying a successful fun. Speaking about the Riviera, they had a big last weekend show attended by many people were at the 1955 opening shops at this iconic hotel.
Veronica, Celine Dion’s protégé, returns to Bally’s in mid-May. This talented young lady has a repertoire of more than 50 voices that cover many musical genres: jazz, country, pop, R &B. rock and roll ,etc., etc. One of her best is the incredible impersonation of Celine.
Rumor has it that Frank Scinta will be closing his show at THE D on May 20th. The show originally called The Scintas but chnabes were made due her leaving the show because of throat problems. Their show has been a staple and crowd pleaser right from the moment they started in Las Vegas. The Scintas are of the best lounge acts of this generation.
Jayne Meadows, widow of TV legend Steve Allen and sister of Audrey Meadows died at home at age 95. She had a career of more than 60 years acting on stage, in films, and TV. Jayne was also a regular panelist on the hit game show “I’ve Got A Secret”. She and sister Audrey were mainstays in the history of TV. She will be missed. RIP Jayne Meadows.
The prestigious Tony Award nominees have been selected. ‘An American in Paris’ and ‘Fun Home’ received 12 nomination each. ‘An American in Paris is an adaptation of the 1951 film classic which starred Gene Kelly. Among the best musical revivals was ‘The King and I’ and “On the Town’.Best leading actresses in a musical are, among pthers, Kristi Chenoweth and Chita Rivera. Brad;ey Cooper, who seems like he can do no wrong, is a nominee for his leading role in ‘'’The Elephant Man” The Tony Awards TV show is always a must-see.
Daytime Emmy awards were handed out last week. Among the winners were CBS News Sunday Morning, the Days of Our Lives/The Young And Restless tie, and Talk shows Ellen Degeneres, Steve Harvey, Kelly Ripa /Michael Strahan among other. A tribute to Joan RIvers and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Betty White, in my opinion. stole the show.
Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil is said to have sold 90% his his stake in the company to TPG, a US. investment group, for a reported $1.5 billion. He will retain 10% of hos stake and stay on as creative advisor. The new company is also said to be in talks with China about expansion of their shows in that country. There are also rumors that Cirque will soon be presenting some sort of disco show. Doesn’t the success of stars like Celine, Diana Ross, Britney Spears and Tony Bennett, among others, show that we need this and less of the Cirque extravaganzas that are currently on the Strip?
The Tropicana is in the process of being sold again. Penn National Gaming, owner of the M Resort, has agreed to purchase this recently renovated piece of Las Vegas history for $360 million. They plan to spend another $20 million in improvements and then possibly to expand its restaurant and retail space. This hotel unfortunately has not been able to make the comeback anticipated a few years ago when the new owners at that time did the major makeover. The only really big hit show in the past few years was “Dancing With the Stars-Live. Scheduling problems and prior commitments made it impossible to rebook.
The Keeping the Memory Alive benefit featured R J columnist Norm Clarke among others. Norm is and has been a strong supporter of the Cleveland Clinic for some time and makes time to help many worthy charities.
Let us all remember that Mother;s Day falls on Sunday, May 10th. My mother and grandmother were very important to me and gave me support in whatever crazy thing I was doing. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Happy Mother’s Day my dear Rosa. Be sure to call your mother if you’re lucky enough to still have her. If not, take a few moments to remember all those good things she did for you..
The Rev. Monti once again wishes you the best.