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Cover the red carpet! You Bette your life, I’m angry

Feb 19, 2008 3:53 AM

To all the readers of The Full Monti and GamingToday, I salute you. This columnist loves that you read and acknowledge my journalistic prowess.

Yes, sometimes it might be tongue in cheek, a little on the light side, but the column is also meant to inform readers. Imagine my delight when Freda Payne’s tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Charleston Heights Art Center last Sunday was sold out. So many of the audience told me they had read about the show in my column.

It was a great afternoon of music and when Freda sang My Buddy, a cappella style, there were few dry eyes in the audience. Freda was so gracious in her acknowledgment of yours truly, her long time friend, at the end of her show. And of course, shy as I am, I’m always ready to take a bow.

And so we move from one acknowledgment to another. In speaking to the public relations firm for Bette Midler’s opening Wednesday at Caesars Palace, I was informed that yours truly, Monti Rock III, columnist, journalist, international celebrity, recording artist, bon vivant and Las Vegas’ Most Colorful Character didn’t quite meet the level required in order to be invited. I believe the words were "not big enough or not important enough."

The public relations firm did, however, invite me to cover the red carpet, if not shampoo the carpet, which I graciously declined. They also assured me they would submit a request for tickets to Bette’s show to be used at a later time. Again, I graciously declined and proceeded to buy my own tickets.

Las Vegas may be at the top of the chart when it comes to live entertainment but I doubt if any entertainer, any performer, or any producer would turn a cold shoulder to the printed word, or word of mouth, when it comes to marketing for their product.

Keep this in mind, any imbecile can put together a press release and e-mail it to the media. But it’s the media — including publications like mine — that deliver the message to the right audience. To those who employ PR firms, including Caesars Palace, don’t underestimate that.

Can you believe it? The wonderful Jerry Lewis, who must be 80-something, has lost more than 100 hundred pounds. Jerry’s return to good health is good news for all of us.

The lovely Phyllis McGuire, one-third of the fabulous McGuire Sisters, celebrated her birthday last week. My good friend, real estate tycoon Roxanne Miller, celebrated her birthday by giving a lovely little dinner at Antonio’s where she was showered with leopard print gifts. We don’t talk about her age, though.

The Society of Seven is opening at the Flamingo with special guest star Martin Nievera, who is one of the biggest stars known in the Philippines. The Society of Seven hails from Hawaii and is one of the most polished shows in Las Vegas. I definitely recommend seeing the Society of Seven perform afternoons at the Flamingo.

The fashion police were on duty when it came to the Grammys. There was Cher looking absolutely incredible, plus Alicia Keys in that green dress thing. Too much! Whitney Houston was there with Clive Davis. Whitney’s new album will soon be released, which is more good news. These days Whitney’s ex, Bobby Brown, is doing country music and so am I.

The highlight of the Grammys was Herbie Hancock, who won for Best Album of the Year, but it was good to hear our own Keely Smith with her Kid Rock duet.

Over at the Paris, The Producers closed quietly this week. The whole cast hailed Mel Brooks, but unfortunately the show didn’t take off here in Vegas.

Also this week Mamma Mia celebrated its fifth year at Mandalay Bay with a big to-do affair, which I didn’t attend. Congratulations.

Rita Rudner, Toni Braxton, George Wallace are just a few of the headliners offered up by the Harrah’s Group on the Strip. It will be an unbiased review of as many shows as possible to give you the best value for your dollar.

A new documentary about the great Joe Louis (HBO Saturday, 8 a.m.) premiered at Palms. It shows how Louis, a true hero and boxing champion, was tossed aside in the years that followed his successes and service to our country. All sports stars should have the class that this man had, a true gentleman.

Have we been hearing much about the Palazzo? We know Gordie Brown has closed and Wayne Brady continues as the star of stars. Wayne re-worked his show but it was already good. Of course Frankie Valli’s show, Jersey Boys, promises to be a big hit. Jersey Boys is really a story about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, who were originally produced by Bob Crewe, Monti’s producer of an earlier time.

One of the big producers in town that I do love is Dick Feeney. Dick’s show, Viva Las Vegas, is one of the longest running shows in town. The show has a successful run at the Stratosphere and is currently downtown at the Plaza. Dick was once a producer of La Cage and is one of the few people who sued a partner and actually won.

We keep talking about downtown, downtown, downtown. Agreed, the Fremont Street Experience is an attraction for the tourist. The Golden Nugget does have Rich Little and Caveman. But what’s the fate of the Lady Luck?

I’m one who believes the Gangster Museum will be a plus for downtown. The new Jewelry Center building is two years away. We see all the high-rises and the new condos. Who’s moving into these buildings? Do we know? Should we know?

I’ve been busy rehearsing with my writers and producers. It’s a new show, a little on the dark side, called Miss Monti. It’s a Bronx tale all about a boy called Joey Montenez who came to Manhattan and became a rebel with a comb. He was discovered by Johnny Carson in 1962 and went on to triumph in every phase of show business.