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An optimistic 2008

Dec 31, 2007 3:02 AM

The year in review is a look back on Las Vegas, its talents and shows, its generosity and gifts. All of which is combined with an overwhelming optimism.

That my friends, is Las Vegas.

The Christmas shows ran the gamut from Johnny Mathis to Marie Osmond. Throw in a little Clint Holmes, a lot of fuss about Celine Dion leaving the building and yes, Christmas was a jolly affair. And, I don’t mean jolly, ha, ha.

Of course the Christmas scene fell short for Wayne Newton fans when he had to cancel his holiday show due to a health crisis. St. Nick was probably mad, but like the rest of us, he’ll get over it.

The Scintas have made their move to the Hilton where Barry Manilow is still holding down the fort. Toni Braxton is still doing her magic at the Flamingo. Another act to catch at the Flamingo is George Wallace, one of the better acts in town. His 10 p.m. show is always a sellout. Also at the Flamingo is X-Burlesque, a show that has sold out in Atlantic City, Colorado, and Wisconsin. Featured at the Sahara is Trent Carlini, a Beatles show and the wonderful mad man, Johnathan.

The new Palazzo will feature, straight from Broadway, Jersey Boys. The show is based on the music of Frankie Valli with the Four Seasons. The real Jersey Boys and yours truly share a legacy with producer Bob Crewe. With Bette Midler, who will open in February at Caesars Colosseum, Frankie Valli and Criss Angel, there’s a new hooray of stars in Las Vegas.

The new year has a lot to offer. After all, how many Cirque du Soleil do we need to change a light bulb?

I marvel at the nightlife in Las Vegas with all the ultra lounges and the Hollywood bad girls making their 20-minute appearances. After getting paid, in the $100,000 range by the various clubs, maybe this year we’ve seen the last of Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.

But off to a 2008 start are the Hilton sisters, who helped bring in the New Year at Lax. The New Year’s Eve nightclub scene was also highlighted by Pamela Anderson hosting at Pure, Mariah Carey at Tao, Kanye West at Palms among others. These clubs are the rage and are bringing in billions to the Las Vegas economy.

Included in the list of ultra lounges is Light at the Bellagio, Tabu at the MGM, Lax at the Luxor. The newest is the Cathouse at the Luxor, The Cathouse combines a rich and opulent atmosphere with the ultimate dining experience from celebrity chef Harry Simon. It’s the newest playpen for Las Vegas nightlife.

At the Venetian I found my great friend Mark Packard, who is a master promoter of nightclubs and restaurants. In my Florida days I worked as a host for Mark at Canestelles. Also in this year’s arena we have to give it to David Saxe and the V Theater. David seems to be the only one that’s good at the four-wall genre.

This year saw the passing of a Las Vegas icon and long-time resident, Robert Goulet. Another loss was the recent passing of Sweet Louie of the Checkmates. In 1968 Sweet Louie was a co-star at Nero’s Nook at Caesars Palace and was so kind to me when I arrived. Both were classy entertainers and classy gentlemen. The memorial services were filled with tributes to these titans of show business.

Just in, we learned that Pudgy, The Queen of Tease, died in her sleep on Wednesday. She was appearing in the aforementionned X Burlesque and has made appearances on HBO, VH1, Showtime, and Regis and Kelly. Another big loss!

Las Vegas to this columnist is an enigma with constant changes. It’s not what you know, but who you know. I still love Siegfried and Roy, truly icons of Las Vegas. Maybe we’ll see them present something new this coming year. And, I love the ladies like Mimi Hines, who can still sing like a bird, and Charo who should have her own room in Las Vegas. Her show at the Rampart was a sellout. Rumor has it that she’s going to be on Dancing with the Stars.

I love to be part of the fabric that has created a brand new forum for Monti Rock III. We give information about what is new, what is old, what should leave or stay and why. Case in point, I have to hand it to Steve Wyrick who’s still working, Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo for being such a gentleman, David Copperfield who is a fan, friend and possibly the greatest at illusions and magic. Also there’s Wes Winters, a wonderful, wonderful Liberace tribute artist who has become a dear friend. And, a nod to Penn & Teller at the Rio for the blood drive and the Chippendale’s for their charity work.

Let us not forget the bottom feeders, who attend every opening and eat my profits. Also there are the back stabbers attacking yours truly. Please continue your good work. There’s room for all. We are all here to create magic for the third coast, Las Vegas.

And, in closing:

”¡ Dessert lovers can enjoy the best cherry and/or apple pie from Great Buns and the fabulous Nutty Fudgy Sundae at Sammys.

”¡ I am pleased to announce the new year will include an evening with Monti Rock III in concert, my film on HBO network, the autobiography and, of course, Million Dollar Weddings by The Reverend Monti.

”¡ Last but certainly not least, well wishes go out to Breck Wall, who’s been under the weather.