Last year Monti Rock III had a health scare. I saw the lights and they were not just at the end of a strange tunnel. It humbled me, provided new perspective, a change of life and a new sense of gratitude.
How lucky I have been to come back at the start of 2013 stronger than ever, resuming the filming of “Monti Rock Unmasked” and finishing my autobiography, “Charm, Wit, and Bulls–t.” It is about the life and times of a Puerto Rican hairdresser who was plucked from the chorus to be on TV and became an icon for the ages.
This year Mr. Rock is co-producing his stage play about one night in this fabulous life as a tribute to mentor Bob Crewe, producer and creator of Disco Tex and the Sexolettes, That album sold 7 million records. The irony is I never got paid. Life does goes on!
I do have some reflections on 2012 outside of health concerns.
I was wild about Prince Harry and he was wild about me. He gave the whole world a look at “the family jewels.” We often need to be reminded that we all put our pants on one leg at a time.
There is the pregnant Holly Madison who made her exit from The Peep Show and made that show peak. Of all things we have Kim Kardashian being impregnated by Kanye West and even Harry’s brother has hit the jackpot (Kate’s pregnant).
We lost Whitney Houston and just recently the great Patti Page. Patti has sold over 100 million albums, had television shows, appeared in several movies and was to receive a special award at The Grammy’s. A true lady and a great talent.
Patti (Clara Ann Fowler) was hailed as “The Singing Rage.” She was the best selling female artist of the 1950’s and was performing select concerts across the U.S. and Canada prior to her passing.
I was also deeply saddened with the passing of John Fredericks, the wonderful TV meteorologist.
On the stage front, I asked the question “how could you close the greatest production in the most fantastic theatre in Las Vegas with Anthony Crivello, the chorus, the music, the sets, the costumes, etc., etc., etc.” I am talking about Phantom of the Opera – a true masterpiece.
We have the one year anniversary of the Smith Center. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this as a cultural arts center and the defibrillator on the heart of this great city. I did witness Bob Anderson at the Cabaret, Wicked and La Cage in the theatre. My good friend George Hamilton starred in La Cage and he missed a performance on a Saturday matinee. Several of the patrons were disappointed because he missed the performance they had flown in from Chicago to see, just to see George.
Get over it patrons, this happens when you are doing 7-8 shows a week.
We had the abrupt closing of Garth Brooks at The Wynn. I kept trying to find out what the real scoop on that closing was and he said it was for his family. Didn’t he retire once before? He’s married to Trisha Yearwood, a successful country/western singer who now writes cook books (so do I!). Maybe she needs someone to tote her books for her.
The Brooks retirement was puzzling, but in his place we have Tim McGraw and Faith Hill at The Venetian plus the great and incomparable Shania Twain at The Colosseum.
Cirque certainly made headlines with the closing of my favorite show, Viva Elvis. Why did I love this show so much? Why couldn’t it find an audience? Cirque didn’t leave the void unfilled for long because in came the spectacular Zarkana with acrobats, contortionists, balancing acts, jugglers and other performers who all make for a visual ice cream sundae. Can it find an audience? The jury is still out.
Vegas this year also has a “building” problem – I mean structures. Will the Harmon become a homeless shelter? What about the Fontainebleau? What’s happening at Plaza downtown and with the Lady Luck reopening?
The Golden Nugget had problems with the food. Now really, check your kitchen! Zappos is investing in downtown and they just celebrated the 10th anniversary of First Friday.
Parking downtown has always been a problem. They need more sponsors and ADA assistance. There’s room for a real revitalization but it is going to take lots of heads getting to review the whole concept. In pieces it makes sense but getting a coherent concept will take work.
This year Gay Vegas has been, well, Gay Vegas. It’s been gayer than ever. As a gay icon I welcome the brand of the “new gay” and the new Krave removing itself from the Planet Hollywood. Moving downtown was a brilliant decision. With drag waiters and singers and transgender acts – oh, excuse me, I did that 40 years ago. I was Lady Gaga’s mother.
I welcome same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, civil unions and all the rest because we cannot legislate or moralize about who we are, who we love, how we love and what constitutes family in this new millennium.
Gay performer Adam Lambert a critic! I don’t think so. He lambasted the hit film “Les Miserables” for the way they presented the songs, live instead of pre-recorded and looped. The story line calls for reality rather than “perfection” and that is what it gives us. Adam spends too much time applying makeup. It has clouded his mind.
Quite a few young producers last year surprised us with shows that have staying power. John Bentham produced Kevin Burke (Defending the Cave Man, Marriage Can Be Murder) at The D as well as Country Super Stars at The Golden Nugget.
Adam Speck (Thunder Down Under, Divas Las Vegas, Australian Bee Gees) is to be commended for what he did regarding Mike Tyson, producing a brilliant theater show.
Monti Rock, who starred with John Travolta is the classic Saturday Night Fever, is a legend, performer, GamingToday entertainment columnist and marketing expert. Contact Monti at [email protected].