A new dawn for Don Marrandino

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The Full Monti by Monti Rock III |

The big news of the week surrounds Don Marrandino, who is a
favorite Las Vegas gaming executive of mine. Once again Don has been promoted by
Harrah’s and will be leaving Vegas for Atlantic City, where he will be
president of Harrah’s Eastern Division.

Don is the man who brought Donny and Marie Osmond, George
Wallace, Vinnie Favorito and Anthony Cools to our scene. He’s done a great job
in the entertainment genre for Harrah’s and Las Vegas will miss him. Don,
please don’t go! I was about to pitch you my latest show. Monti needs you!

My friend Frank Marino will open his new extravaganza, The
Ultimate Drag Show, at the Imperial Palace over Labor Day weekend. Frank has
been a longtime Vegas entertainer, and since La Cage at the Riviera closed, we’ve
missed seeing his stage persona. The Ultimate Drag Show will be in addition to
Matsuri, the Japanese dance production, and Human Nature, the Motown revue, both
currently at the Imperial Palace.

Another Vegas executive, Felix Rappaport, who heads up the
Luxor, will be doing double duty by adding the Excalibur to his already busy
portfolio. After all, the Luxor is currently the home of Criss Angel’s
Believe, crazy man Carrot Top and Menopause the Musical, while the Excalibur
hosts Thunder From Down Under, Louie Anderson and Defending the Caveman. Felix,
my friend, your entertainment plate is pretty full, but you can call me anytime
you need my help. Criss Angel is lucky he has Felix at the Luxor and that his
television show, “Mind Freak”, is back. It helps give Criss a wider
fan base.

Rumors are still rumbling through the entertainment circles
about Barry Manilow allegedly moving to either the Paris or Caesars Colosseum.
Still, everyone denies, denies, denies! I’ve even heard some columnists
reporting Manilow might be moving to the Monte Carlo, which just signed their
current headliner, Lance Burton, to a new six-year contract.

It was also just announced that funny man Frank Caliendo has
signed a 10-year deal with the Monte Carlo. Frank may be better known for his
frequent television spots, but a 10-year gig in Las Vegas will really put his
name on the map, don’t you think?

“Dancing with the Stars” has announced this season’s
line-up. Are we excited? As reality shows go, this is one of my favorites. Of
course, we all suspected Donny Osmond would join the show. I understand he’s
been practicing his fainting routine. We won’t comment any further until we
see the new cast perform. LaToya Jackson backed out after Michael’s death. It’s
a lot of work organizing the possibilities for all that money from her brother.

News out of Los Angeles is that Michael Jackson will be
buried at Forest Lawn on Sept. 3. His doctor resurfaced saying he’s become the
scapegoat for the whole affair. Jermaine is out and about talking about his
tell-all book regarding the family and especially about Michael, which really
was very nasty. Where were all these people who were supposedly close to him?
Why couldn’t they see he was on drugs? Michael has become a real cash cow now
that he’s gone.

It was only about 15 years ago when my partner and others
were responsible for the intervention for yours truly that changed my life. I’ve
been drug and alcohol free since then and consider myself to be one of the lucky
ones. Too bad Michael Jackson didn’t have that same support and care.

As a tribute to Michael Jackson and a benefit to school-aged
kids everywhere, including Nevada, the Palms will hold “Las Vegas
Celebrates the Music of Michael Jackson” on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 3 p.m.
Cast members from several featured shows around town such as Jersey Boys, The
Lion King and Phantom will be performing.

What’s so great about this benefit is that 100 percent of
the proceeds will go to the Keep Music Alive charity. Thanks to the Palms and to
all the performers. Whether you’re a fan of MJ’s or not, this is a chance to
show your support for the arts in the lives of future generations.

Following the concert there will be a rare screening of
“Moonwalker”, the 1988 Michael Jackson film. Proceeds go to the Clark
County Public Education Foundation.

On Sunday, Aug. 23, Shag Me Salon held its 2nd annual
Shag-A-Thon to benefit American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Keep these
benefits going, guys. Worthy causes are constantly in need of funds.

I was glued to my television set to watch America’s Got
Talent. Oops, maybe America doesn’t have talent.

And to my lovely Paula Abdul, this is for you. Take the $8
million you’ve been offered. You can share it with yours truly, which I would
gladly accept. From what I hear about television’s number one show, American
Idol, guest judges such as the Jonas Brothers, Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham) and
Ellen DeGeneres aren’t expected to make too big of a splash. Why doesn’t
anyone think of yours truly as a judge? I’ll never know.

Charo’s appearance at the Riviera continues to do brisk
business, but I am exhausted just thinking of her schedule. Besides her nightly
show at the Riviera, she manages to fly to Los Angeles every day to film her own
reality show. It’s true! She is a bundle of energy.

It’s happening again. In September a crew from NBC will be
in Las Vegas to conduct an interview of yours truly for another “Saturday
Night Fever “anniversary.

To all my readers of GamingToday, your news,
gossip and e-mails are welcome.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Monti Rock III

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