This week in Las Vegas there seems to be some wonderful news on the real estate front. Financier Carl Icahn received the go-ahead on his offer of $150 million to purchase the stalled Fontainebleau Hotel. Experts report it was a steal since it was an estimated $2 billion project. Good news for both Icahn and Vegas. Hopefully, completion work will start soon and put some people back on the job.
Another real estate deal in the headlines was the sale of Nicolas Cage’s Las Vegas estate. Unfortunately, it sold for far less than the Oscar winner’s purchase price and the money went straight to Uncle Sam. Seems Mr. Cage’s tax status has forced him to sell several of his properties.
With Bette Midler’s final show approaching at Caesars’ Colosseum, I decided to catch it one last time with some friends and was surprised when the tickets were less than $50. Again, I have to hand it to this lady for having one of the most energetic, entertaining shows and for being the diva she is. Her closing night performance had a special first row section that included dinner at Bradley Ogden’s and a "meet and greet" after the show. This special was reportedly a mere $2,010 per!
Although Bette Midler and Monti Rock III go back a long ways, in the last two years since she’s been a Las Vegas headliner she has never acknowledged yours truly as a columnist, or anything else for that matter. Not to worry, life goes on. I recently heard through the grapevine that she will not be going to a Wynn property, though rumor has it negotiations have been taking place for months. Actually, Bette and the Wynn would be a good fit.
George Clooney immediately jumped in to organize and oversee a massive television event that ended up raising almost $70 million for aid to earthquake ravaged Haiti. His fast response to the reported devastation proved to all what a high-class gentleman he is. The A-List of movie and TV celebrities got on those phones and spoke to the public for at least two hours. The cream of today’s musical performers included, among others, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift.
Other television news included the cancellation of ABC’s "Ugly Betty" and the departure of Rob Lowe from ABC’s "Brothers & Sisters." Once before, Mr. Lowe left a successful television show – "West Wing." Guess the long haul isn’t for him.
Sunday, Jan. 31, the television lineup included the Grammy Awards with Lady Gaga. I love her name.
"BET Honors" aired on Monday, Feb. 1. This year’s honorees include Whitney Houston and Queen Latifah.
"American Idol" continues to be a favorite of mine, even though I didn’t like the attitude or anything else about guest judge Katy Perry last week. A guest judge with a bad attitude doesn’t fit in with the No. 1 show on the tube, even though she’s had a couple of hits. Bad girl, bad! Let Simon keep up his role as Mr. Mean. With guest judges like that, I miss Paula Abdul even more. But I must admit the show is still entertaining to me.
Paula Abdul and ABC have reportedly been discussing her joining the cast of "Dancing With The Stars," and now it was announced that Samantha Harris will not be returning as co-host next season. Paula would be a good choice for this position, especially since she is, among other things, a dancer and choreographer.
It was just announced that crooner Matt Goss will open at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace with tickets going for $40. Seems a bit on the high side but who knows how Mr. Goss will do. He just completed a successful four months at the Palms Resort. Maybe the Strip is the right move. He will be backed by a nine-piece band and sexy female dancers known as the Dirty Virgins. This production will surely add another exciting entertainment dimension to Caesars Palace.
For those who may not remember, that venue was originally called Nero’s Nook and in 1968 yours truly, Monti Rock III, opened there with the Checkmates and Woody Woodbury. I was fresh out of New York City and I was the most controversial performer ever seen in Las Vegas. Of course, I did get fired after 14 weeks, but, the legend goes on.
For weeks we’ve been talking about Tony Sacca who opened the Marquee Room, his new lounge downtown. Jazz will be featured every Tuesday. The restaurant is known as Las Vegas Rocks Cafe. Nothing bad to say and you definitely have to credit Mr. Sacca. This is a big undertaking. We wish him nothing but good luck.
The cast of MTV’s surprise hit "Jersey Shore" is pulling a "Friends" act. They are asking to double their salaries from $5,000 to $10,000 a week. If you remember when "Friends" became a hit, the cast reportedly demanded and got what they wanted. Let’s hope these "reality stars" don’t cut their own throats in the process.
Once again the Miss America contest was held at Planet Hollywood. Not much fanfare or much press. Miss America is no longer the draw it used to be, but Mario Lopez hosting again could help. Since his stint on "Dancing With the Stars," Mario has been one of the busiest young men around with multiple TV shows, ("America’s Best Dance Crew" and "Extra"). He is now being groomed for a role on "Glee," the new hit series on Fox.
Lily Tomlin will return to MGM Grand in "Not Playing With A Full Deck," March 11-17. Lily is one of America’s most brilliant comediennes and is best remembered for the characters she created on "Laugh-In" – Ernestine, the telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the precocious child.
Also returning to the Vegas scene is singer Jimmy Hopper. Jimmy will be performing at the Palms on Sundays beginning Feb. 14. Among his awards were "Las Vegas Entertainer of The Year," "Performer of The Year" and "Vocalist of The Year." Welcome back, Jimmy!
Our good friend, the talented Bob Anderson will be at The Cannery North on Feb. 19 and 20. As we’ve said before, Bob should have his own room here.
Last Wednesday, I attended a VIP/Media event celebrating the opening of Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant on Paradise. This was the best mix I’ve seen in years. The ambiance, the food and the guests created one of the better openings I’ve attended. The food and wine, as expected, were top-notch and plentiful. Gino Ferraro hosts the restaurant and creates the mood for a great dining experience. His chef son, Mimmo, trained in Italy, creates the fabulous food.
Jay Leno appeared on "Oprah" last Thursday to discuss all the hullabaloo and misconceptions revolving around the NBC circus. Let’s face it, neither Jay nor Conan are to blame. NBC programming experts are the culprits. Jay will be back, where he belongs, and Conan will most likely be landing a night spot on Fox. We hope that any hard feelings will be mended in the near future. It’s now time for the late-night hosts to stop badmouthing each other. It’s fine to poke fun at one another, but in this case some of them have gone too far.
As usual, the Rev. Monti wishes you all a great week!
Juicy gossip from Monti Rock III arrives fresh every Tuesday.