Unwanted bird in La Cage?

Oct 17, 2005 3:47 AM

I feel like I’ve been part of a wrestling match featuring two of our city’s darling drag divas. You can be sure the mud was slinging.

On one side we have Frank Marino, my friend, a legend and star of the long-running La Cage at the Riviera. Pretty boy Frank (I wish I could afford to pay for the surgeries he’s had) has been a staple of fun for 20 years in this town, and is very much a part of the fabric of Las Vegas.

It seems that Norbert Aleman, "La Cage" producer, was having a 20th anniversary party at Body English (I couldn’t make it because my hairdresser used the wrong toner). My spies tell me it was like the last supper when Frankie walked in to see Aleman sitting with Kenny Kerr, an aging queen and former star of "Boylesque," signing some type of contract.

I’ve known Kenny since he was 14 years old and I was a diva in New York. I was a star of Trudy Heller’s nightspot in New York. Kenny was a teenager and one evening when I was getting into my yellow Rolls Royce, Kenny revealed that he was going into show business and the rest is history.

Months ago I reported that Kenny was up for the part that Joey Aryes does in "Zumanity." Kenny didn’t get the gig and was indignant, to say the least. Personally, I don’t think he could have done the job, either.

Now, although Jimmy Emerson has been doing a fine job in relief of Frankie, Aleman has signed Kerr as his replacement. So when Frankie is off, Kenny will step in.

All I can say to Frank is to ”˜hang in there’ because there is no way an aging queen can replace the world’s quintessential female impersonator.

Frankie, you ARE the queen of Las Vegas! And, you have the entire city behind you!

A not-to-be-missed event occurred at The Venetian, where the Blue Man Group christened its new theater. The show is still a marvel. It’s been made bigger with more musicians and the theatre is divine.

The party at Tao at The Venetian was basically the party of the season. There were the usual suspects, the so-called celebrity media creatures. Plus, there were corporate people from New York who produce Blue Man Group, and a very good friend of mine, Marc Packard, who owns the Tao and Harley-Davidson Café. Marc and I go back a long way from Aruba to Miami to New York. I consider him a really good friend. This restaurant and nightclub is one of the miracles in Las Vegas. It is an elegant Mr. Chow’s but most important, it is laid out with such ambience and the food was wonderful.

With the Blue Man group, and "Phantom of the Opera" on its way, Sheldon Adelson keeps his winning streak alive. Not to mention those meandering canals. Wow, I get seasick thinking about them.

At Wynn, as I keep saying, "Avenue Q" is a winner. Steve Wynn, who has been redoing and refining, decided that the lounge acts are a thing of the past and terminated all of the performers. I really can’t figure this move out. We have him redoing some of the restaurants to refine them, but I repeat they have the best buffet in town and I stake my reputation as a food connoisseur and I think what is happening at Wynn’s is that Mr. Wynn is a visionary and he keeps coming up with new and refined and elegant moves to make the visitor see the new Las Vegas. Again, I recommend "Avenue Q" to all my readers.

Surprise, surprise, surprise. Can it be that Frankie Valli has found a new home? Where, you might ask? Believe it or not, try the Luxor. I love Frankie, but I think that he’s going to have problems drawing patrons especially after his lousy numbers at the Flamingo.

Wayne Newton has also found a new home, though it will be only temporary. It is the aforementioned Flamingo! It’s a four-wall deal and totally contradicts Harrah’s loud-and-clear message that it wants to change and lower it demographics. He’ll be moving to another Harrah’s property when the contract of the current headliner is finished, says my source.

Harrah’s has only signed Penn & Teller to a new contract and reportedly is looking into redoing "Jubilee."

The Las Vegas Hilton had classy opening to introduce Wayne Newton’s protégé Delisco, who won the top prize on The Entertainer television show. The young man’s voice is fantastic; the band superb; the conductor a genius at 25. The Hilton is going through a lot of wonderful hodgepodge of entertainment. The Hilton treats this columnist with such respect. Stay tuned for more surprises from the Hilton.

Soon I will announce the annual Christmas parties. And last, but not least, we love you Roy Horn. We want only the best for you — we want you healthy, because we love you.