Another annual banal Academy

Mar 8, 2005 2:07 AM

The Academy Awards were a big bore and snore. Maybe next year they should replace Chris Rock with Kid Rock or your Pet Rock, or make it a blonde precession of Paris, Jessica, Lindsey, and Anna Nicole. Everything seemed flat to me, including many of the chests of the winners while the derrieres were sticking out a plenty. Even the Joan and Melissa Rivers pre-show dragged (our own Frank Marino looked prettier than Joan) that I had to switch to the Weather Channel and its coverage of the East Coast snow storm for energy and excitement.

The Oscar buzz was nothing when I arrived in Hollyweird for leftovers from some of the parties. There was some talk about La Liz (Elizabeth Taylor) getting out of her wheelchair and walking at Elton John’s annual AIDS bash, but otherwise everyone wanted to know about Las Vegas. I was visiting for power lunches about my television pilot and life-story docudrama, but nobody wanted to hear about them.

Friends were asking why there isn’t any national buzz about Barry Manilow like there was for my adorable Celine or Elton? Frankie Valli was telling me how excited he was to be able to play the Flamingo for 12-15 weeks and how much he’d like to become a Vegas regular. Then there were questions about "Avenue Q," the puppet play heading for Wynn Las Vegas in September. Will the Las Vegas visitor understand it? Did Steve Wynn finally make a mistake? Everyone had an opinion and made sure it was voiced. So many of them sounded jealous because they wanted to be part of the scene. The verdict: Las Vegas is the place to be because what’s ahead is going to turn the world topsy-turvy and Monti is going to be a major part of it.

Tony Curtis will be presented with a lifetime achievement award by The Cast, Inc in recognition of his contributions to the entertainment industry. The event takes place March 20 at the Sahara starting at 5:30 p.m. The Cast, Inc is a social organization that supports community and performing artists, many of whom that have fallen on hard times. Call 737-2515 for information.

Tony Award-winning Hugh Jackman ("The Boy From Oz") will launch his world concert tour at Wynn Las Vegas on April 30, according to New York Post columnist Liz Smith. There will be a big band and a troupe of dancers with George C. Wolfe directing the show and Kathleen Marshall as choreographer.

Goodwill of Southern Nevada, to celebrate its growth and showcase the positive impact upon the community, will revisit old Las Vegas with a Glitter Gulch party on March 19 at the Great Hall in the Fashion Show Mall starting at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Goodwill Good Neighbor Center scheduled to open April 1 at Cheyenne Ave. and Martin Luther King Blvd. The building will house a computer education and training center, a Goodwill superstore and Goodwill’s corporate offices. Guests are asked to wear vintage Vegas attire.

Uncensored hypnotist Anthony Cools, a Las Vegas Strip veteran whom I adore, moves into Paris Las Vegas with his uninhibited show starting March 22. Cools will be performing seven nights a week in the Anthony Cools Experience, a 210-seat theater wrapped in 30 miles of fiber-optic filament curtain as its walls. An official premiere is scheduled April 1.

News & Notes: The final two episodes of the History Channel’s Breaking Vegas series airs at 9 p.m. on March 15 (The Gadget Gambler) and March 22 (Card Count King)”¦ Mamma Mia’s" Saturday and Sunday show times in April and May will be 6 and 10 p.m”¦ Caesars Entertainment has been named business of the year by the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce”¦ Nordstrom sponsors the Nevada Ballet Theatre’s annual Teen Fashion Show March 13 at the Fashion Show Mall”¦ The new Carnegie Deli at the Mirage can use a fountain and a vast improvement in service”¦ The Whiskey at Green Valley Ranch is undergoing total renovation as part of the hotel’s $115 million overall expansion”¦ "KÀ" at the MGM Grand will have an extended dark period from March 23 — April 14.