This is the week that was! "Too much information" is an accurate statement for yours truly, Monti Rock III, but here goes.
Lance Burton surprised us all with his announcement about leaving the Monte Carlo. This legendary illusionist has been an MGM MIRAGE headliner for 14 years, so his announcement caught everyone off guard. The press release stated Lance and the Monte Carlo were not on the same page, but I call it creative differences. Maybe it’s all part of the economic downsizing of the major properties in Las Vegas. Lance has always been a gentleman to this columnist and is known throughout our community for his charitable attitude. His manager, Peter Reeves, most certainly has some input on this latest chapter for Lance. We all anticipate that Lance will remain a Las Vegas star.
The California Hotel & Casino downtown will be celebrating its 13th Annual Lei Day Polynesian Festival May 1-2. The Festival includes musicians, dancers, artists, fabulous food and a true showcase of the best of Hawaii. A concert is part of the celebration and tickets can be purchased by calling (702) 388-2705. Sounds like a real Hawaiian feast.
For months I’ve been writing about the changing landscape at the Steve Wyrick Theater at Planet Hollywood. The major announcement is that indeed David Saxe has taken over the lease on the Steve Wyrick Theater and may put some major shows in place. David knows his business and will continue to guide the V Theater while the Steve Wyrick Theater will be an addition. Renamed the Saxe Theater, the 435-seat facility will debut this June and will be home to the first major talent-driven Las Vegas stage production in more than a decade.
After speaking with Steve Wyrick, it sounds like his reality show is a reality. He’s expected to make an announcement within the next few days.
Soaring box office receipts of "PeepShow" at Planet Hollywood have led to the addition of an eighth show each week. Some of this interest is attributed to the popularity of its star, Holly Madison.
The last couple of weeks, I was busy with Rock ‘n’ Roll 2 Soul for their media opening on April 13 at Palace Station. Three well-oiled acts including the Mary Williams group, performing classics by the Supremes, the Shirelles, and the Vandellas, the No. 1 Elvis Presley impersonator, Jonathan Von Brana, and of course, the world famous Coasters, who bring down the house every night with their familiar sounds and light-hearted comedy. The show is produced by Tom Biscardi and John Stuart. The ticket price is right, it’s good family entertainment and makes for a great night on the town for young and old alike. You won’t be disappointed.
Tom Biscardi produced a Doo Wop show at the Castaways Hotel & Casino several years ago where I appeared as the host. At that time, the Castaways wanted to promote me as the spokesperson for what was to become an alternative lifestyle hotel. As it turned out, I toured with the Doo Wop show in Reno at Caesars and also in San Francisco and ultimately the Castaways disappeared.
The Fremont Street Experience, which has become the main attraction for downtown, will be doing a major ‘70s show in September spotlighting the disco era, which seems to be in a revival mode. Well anyway, let’s hope so. I was on the phone last week with Vito Bruno who might bring his Disco Ball to Las Vegas. Yours truly has been the host of the show in Atlantic City the last two years. As a reminder... Monti Rock III, aka Disco Tex, together with the Sex-O-Lettes sold seven million records between 1973 and 1975 with "Get Dancin" and "I Want To Dance With You." With the recent dance explosion taking place across the country, disco may be on its way back!
I’m certain it must have been the talk of the entire television industry when "Dancing With the Stars" beat "American Idol" out of the No. 1 spot. With so many TV shows available, it takes a lot to reach the top of the heap. By the way, Buzz Aldrin showed us how to gracefully accept defeat when he was eliminated from the show. He is a class act and we’re proud of this American hero.
The Venetian Resort & Hotel is building quite a stellar lineup of entertainers for limited engagements in 2010. As mentioned last week, Joan Rivers in April and July, and now Craig Ferguson in May and June. In addition, they just announced the return of Wayne Brady in his show "Making It Up." Wayne is known for his showmanship and is considered an "improv" genius. Without question, it’s entertainment at its best and for Brady fans his return to the Strip is terrific news. Hopefully, his health will enable him to keep working. Making It Up with Wayne Brady starts May 27. Not spectacles - spectacular performers.
Gilley’s Saloon and Dance Hall, formerly at the New Frontier, is back. Treasure Island is the new home for the popular club that famously features a mechanical bull. This new bull is reportedly slightly more gentle than its predecessor. However riders, you should still watch your a--!
Last week brought the passing of veteran actor John Forsythe. He is best remembered as the smooth voice of Charlie in the original "Charlie’s Angels" and the elegant patriarch of TV’s hit series "Dynasty." According to his costars, he was a true gentleman as well as a fine actor. The music industry lost Afro-Cuban jazz singer Graciela at age 94. She arrived in this country from Cuba in 1939 and worked until 2006. Graciela, affectionately known as Gracie to her close friends, was also set to appear in a musical tribute to herself along with the late Celia Cruz and La Lupe later this month in New York City.
Our old friend Tommy James, of Tommy James and the Shondells, has written a book entitled "Me, the Mob, and The Music." Tommy tells the intimate story of the complex and sometimes terrifying relationship between the young, naive musician from middle America and the bombastic and brutal bully from the Bronx, Morris Levy. Tommy was one of many young rock ‘n’ roll performers cheated and swindled on their way up. When hits kept coming and strong-arm tactics and payola were the norm of the Mob. This book makes for some very interesting reading.
For you pasta lovers, it’s time to try Vinny’s on South Durango. Twelve different pasta dishes served with Vinny’s mild, medium or hot sauce.
Great Buns Bakery on East Tropicana has some of the best bundt cakes and crumb coffee cakes in this town. There is also the usual large selection of breads and rolls. Be careful! It’s hard to have just one.
Fans and business associates alike know yours truly as a gentleman. Eccentric maybe, but gentle and thoughtful – not a critic, an observer, an entertainer, a gossip columnist. Perhaps my horizons should expand and I should consider opening my own rehab center for jerks. The list of possible clients might start with Tiger, Jesse, David, John, Mark, Tiki, on and on and on and on. An unlimited client list. Just a thought.
The economic turnaround is here, you can feel it. Last month, there was a 33 percent increase in housing sales in Las Vegas and sales of American cars are also on the upswing. Auto workers are slowly being called back to work.
The Monti Rock Chapel of Lust at Rick Belcastro’s Badda Bing Club will tentatively open on April 28. This will be the place to have a truly memorable wedding. That’s for sure!
The Rev. Monti, as always, wishes you a great week.