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Give downtown an Oscar for dramatic rise

Apr 29, 2008 7:00 PM

The Full Monti by Monti Rock III | Luster is coming back to downtown.

Last week our honorable Mayor Oscar Goodman broke ground on Union Park, a parcel of acreage near downtown that will house the Performing Arts Center, the Jewelry Center and a 60-story high rise.

This has been Mayor Goodman’s pet project for years. Las Vegas is ready for a performing arts center since we already have a ballet company, repertoire theater and a school for the performing arts. Our landscape keeps changing as the years pass, evidenced by Steve Wynn’s Encore, the Trump Towers, Turnberry Place and City Center.

Las Vegas isn’t immune to the economic plight being felt across the country. Gas prices headed for $4 a gallon, major Las Vegas properties laying off mid-management employees, empty seats at some of the shows and foreclosure signs continue to appear in our neighborhoods. Despite all that we still see new buildings and bigger properties on the rise.

Not all the news from Las Vegas is bad. We finally got off the No. 1 status for stolen cars. That’s a good thing.

It’s not like we don’t have serious traffic issues in Las Vegas, because we do. But recently there was a ribbon cutting ceremony acknowledging the latest I-15 project. It reminds me that two or three years ago they had a similar ceremony for I-215 except that those doing the honors were dressed in tuxedos and top hats. I guess it really is a celebration. Can’t believe I wasn’t invited.

Now is the time for locals to get theater or show tickets. Remember to check the Internet where you can find deals on tickets as well as dining out price breaks. Check on Tickets for Tonight. But what do I know? I’m just a columnist. .

Cher, my lovely Cher. She will Cher the room with the Divine Miss M and Sir Elton John. She’s in town rehearsing with her own security force, but I hear the show will be spectacular. What can we say about the iconic Cher? To me she’s a true renaissance woman, a chameleon. She’s ageless.

Cher is a pioneer of show business. She’s bringing to town Bob Mackie gowns with those wonderful wigs. I’d like to borrow one of her wigs, my darlings. I’m all set for the opening. Yes, I’m a fan.

Sidebar: Many years ago on the "Mike Douglas Show", yours truly was with Cher when she and Sonny co-hosted. She was quite gracious to me. Rumor has it that Tina Turner will also be bringing her brand of magic to the roster at the Colosseum, along with Bette, Cher, and Sir Elton.

At the Palazzo, "Jersey Boys" is selling out night after night. The buzz is all positive. I went to look at the Frankie merchandise at the Palazzo, where you can buy leather jackets, T-shirts, CD’s and books. You can hear people humming the songs from "Jersey Boys," those familiar tunes like "Earth Angel," "Sunday Kind of Love" and, of course, a longtime favorite of so many, "Sherry."

Charo, comes to town May 16-17 at the South Point. Charo has been on a tour that included London, Paris and home to Spain to check on her properties. That girl can tour! And, she’s scheduled for "Viva Hollywood" the television show. The big news surrounding Charo’s return is her own reality show for television. I can hardly wait.

I’d better be on it.

As we reported earlier, Toni Braxton will not be returning to the Flamingo and a lot of shows are waiting in the wings. The big hit is George Wallace, who is going on his fourth year. Also, the Society of Seven may be returning in September. Meanwhile, Nathan Burton, the comedy magician, is doing a strong afternoon business. Donny and Marie Osmond begin a six-month stay at the Flamingo on Sept. 9. There will be a stage renovation to accommodate their extravaganza.

At Planet Hollywood, Robert Earl was a big smash at the Calzaghe-Hopkins fight. Rumor has it that Whitney Houston (you do remember Whitney?) may have a home at PH. Whitney and Mariah Carey may become my newest Dueling Divas. She will have to play catch up with Mariah since her latest album is already No. 1 on the charts.

The wonderful female impressionist Larry Edwards was personally invited by Oprah Winfrey to join her for the taping of a show at Caesars, where she will be interviewing Cher and Tina Turner. Larry knows how to bring down the house with his impressions. Larry is hosting at Tao restaurant at the Venetian after having performed in "La Cage" for many years.

The "Crazy Horse Paris" at the MGM has the wonderful Scott Brothers. Many of you will remember them storming the stage in "Into the Night." They were standouts! Their brief, but spectacular, routine about midway through has become a real showstopper.

Jay White stars at the Riviera as America’s Neil Diamond. Since 1999, he’s been a recurring performer at The Riv. Jay is a multitalented singer, musician and performer.

Tim Molyneaux invited me and potential backers to his home for a preview of a new musical titled "All In A Poker Musical." It’s the story of the World Series of Poker. While there, I ran into my friend Mike Hartzell and some of the Las Vegas entertainment bigwigs. Don’t be surprised if you see the show headed to a major property in the next few weeks.

 What a concept! Las Vegas, poker, and music.

 For my fans who follow "American Idol," as I said earlier, it’s going to be David vs. David. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music is very hard to sing but David Cook sang it to the letter. Brooke White was saved again after fluffing the beginning of her song.

 You can’t talk TV without including "Dancing with the Stars." Marlee Matlin did a courageous job, though unable to hear the music. In the reality show "Check Up," do we want to see Denise Richards and the Lohans, and the Kardashians? It’s a little too much.

On the Rock III watch, Monti’s annual birthday party will be in celebration of "The Big 7-0." Again it will be a white theme to celebrate the life of the most colorful character in Las Vegas. For those lucky enough to be invited, there will be some big announcements and some surprises.

Don’t forget to catch me on radio. The show is "Vegas Rocks with Meg" on May 16 at 2:30 p.m. See you there! Maybe the Reverend Monti will ref a wedding ceremony on radio one of these days. Who knows?