After years of writing this column, I can only ask the question, "What validates this columnist?" I discovered last week, following what were surreal moments, that my celebrity and my legacy are rolled into one.
Case in point: Media night at the Hilton for Cheap Trick in "Sgt. Pepper Live" was an A+. From columnists and authors Norm Clark to Jerry Fink – they were there. Guest stars for the evening were at the top of their game, too. The staging, the arrangements, all took me back to the time when music was really music. Cheap Trick at the Hilton is not to be missed.
Rick White and Ira David Sternberg from the Hilton sent word that the musicians and Robin, the lead singer of Cheap Trick, wanted to see me backstage. They welcomed me with open arms and told me how wonderful it was when we first met in the early ’70s when yours truly starred as Disco Tex with the Sex-O-Lettes. We all had a great time reminiscing about the "old days" and how we had all arrived in Las Vegas to meet again. As if that wasn’t enough, while Rick was introducing the full house to the band and all the technicians involved in the production, he took time to acknowledge Monti Rock and tell the audience he had met me in 1912. Looking back, maybe it just seemed like 1912. In show business we call this a "shout out." Thanks to Rick and all the gang. Enjoy your Hilton extravaganza.
For me, this was an eventful evening but the week had barely begun. On Tuesday, I sat for an interview with a representative of cable television’s A&E channel. It’s another documentary on "Saturday Night Fever." This was a different kind of interview because A&E is telling the story of the movie’s ensemble cast as the film continues to be rated as one of the all-time greats.
During our conversation, I mentioned Vito Bruno, who is the producer for Disco Ball and who owns the actual dance floor from the Odyssey Club in Brooklyn that was used in "Saturday Night Fever." And, of course, I believe I mentioned there will be another performance of Disco Ball in November in Atlantic City where I will once again reprise my role as Disco Tex in Get Dancin’. My cup runneth over! It’s good to be the Full Monti.
I had a long telephone chat with Charo, who was in a hospital in Beverly Hills. Ouch! During the Jerry Lewis Telethon at South Point, she severely sprained her ankle and tore some ligaments. Could take as long as three months for her to recover. Just as her show at the Riviera was catching on, this had to happen. Let me say right now that other reporters jumped the gun when they said she closed her show due to small audiences. I have the real info. Some reporters should check their facts before writing such nonsense. You KNOW who you are.
People are asking about the status of Planet Hollywood. Will it become part of the Harrah’s group? All indications say yes. For months, I’ve been talking about Planet Hollywood being built over an Indian burial ground. Robert Earl, president, has tried to bring the Hollywood flavor to Planet Hollywood but things are not the same in this economy.
Jerry Mitchell’s creation, "Peepshow" with Holly Madison at Planet Hollywood, is doing an admirable job but let’s face it – Vegas is Vegas; it’s not New York and it’s not theater country. However, they did sign Holly to another year, so they are optimistic.
The only comments I could get from anyone at the Hilton regarding Earl Turner’s departure in Voices was simply, "He’s gone." Sounds as if Lani Misalucha, the other half of Voices, will have her own show.
There was drama at the Luxor last week when Paige O’Hara, one of the stars of "Menopause the Musical," injured herself and the understudy couldn’t go on. Fortunately, a standby understudy from Reno came in at the last minute and did an incredible job. As we all know, the show must go on!
Like so many, I was glued to the television watching Oprah’s interview of Whitney Houston. First of all, I loved Whitney’s hair. It was a great look. Her highly anticipated CD came in at No. 1, yada, yada, yada… talk, talk, talk. It’s interesting when you’re away but you still have a fan base. We all want to see Whitney do well, but I wasn’t buying the whole thing. Being an alcoholic myself, I know it takes a lot of work to walk the walk – not just talk the talk. It remains to be seen if the singer really had a handle on things. I love you Whitney, but let’s have less gabbing and more singing.
Mariah Carey was a smash at Pearl at the Palms. Hubby Nick Cannon was busy as emcee for the finals of "America’s Got Talent" and seems to be getting better at it. Wasn’t he a rap artist? I could be wrong.
I can’t help but offer my critique on television’s new Jay Leno Show, or should I say the old Tonight Show. The only things that have changed are the time slot and Jay’s hairdo. The show also has a new set but it’s the same old theme. Not even the great Robin Williams or Tom Cruise could get the show moving. Maybe Jay should take a few years off to recharge and reinvent himself. Ho hum…
Television has produced a new favorite of mine though. It’s the Wendy Williams show. I like this crazy woman. It’s a total train wreck and it’s the way I would do a television show - without a script. I just like you, Wendy Williams, so don’t change a thing!
Of course, I have to address the Kanye West fiasco at the VMAs. Let’s all give it a rest. It’s not going to hurt his career, believe me. Maybe Kanye should produce one of Taylor Swift’s albums and donate his earnings to charity.
Last but not least, rumor has it that Paula Abdul is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and is kicking herself in the head for not taking the millions offered by "American Idol" producers. Not sure if that’s quite true because her recent appearance on one of television’s newest hits, "Drop Dead Diva," was absolutely delicious.
My charity event at Frediani’s in Henderson came off successfully. Thanks to all the guests and contributors and a special thank you to all my friends at Great Buns Bakery.
The Rev. Monti wishes you all a fabulous week!