Charity and PR is match made in purgatory

Oct 30, 2001 2:16 AM

As I wrote in last week’s column, the USO Benefit Concert on November 11, at Mandalay Bay, has quickly turned into public relations blood bath over pumped-up egos, Johnnie-come-latelys, and where’s the spirit that was behind it all originally? This event should be for the people, not for the people who are in it!

Here’s a for instance: at the photo-op for the event, in front of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Strip, people were jockeying for positions in front of the camera. In the first row we had Phyllis McGuire, Roy Horn (of Siegfried & Roy), Lance Burton, Clint Holmes, Louie Louie, David Brenner, Buddy Greco, Jimmy Hopper, with some minor skirmishes, bad mouthing, and back stabbing by some of the old timers who were put in the back row. Because of rehearsals for my upcoming Halloween bash at New York-New York I was unable to be there.

Another who was absent from this menagerie, was the incredible, fabulous, star of the moment, Danny Gans. Rumor has it that it conflicted with his rehearsal or sound check.

But Gans was quick to change gears: his management, Chip Lightman, started to do damage control. Chip donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross, and $75,000 more to the local relief fund. But there is more to this story. Chip and Danny are alienating a lot of stars, including this columnist, by being so above us in this community. Remember, what goes up can go down.

With so many benefits, why don’t we do one big one, sell it to HBO, and keep the money in this community where it is so badly needed at the present time. Paige O’Hara and Monti Rock went downtown to visit 600 displaced workers and their families. We must do something now to help these people, food is not enough! Enough said.

On a lighter note, the wonderful Connie Francis sold out at Texas Station. Not only sold out, but they screamed for more. I, for one, was shocked and impressed (or was it depressed?). Wonders seem to amaze this columnist.

Don’t forget the very private wedding of Andre Agassi and his beloved Steffi Graf that happened last week. Rumor has it that many family members were left out.

Another rumor has it that the Aladdin Hotel, one of my favorite properties, is being bought by Park Place or the MGM? Which one is it? As I wrote in this column before, the Desert Passage has become the Deserted Passage. Merchants are struggling to find ways to promote sales in a barren marketplace. While the Blue Note is thriving with it’s new promotion of hip hop/R&B, the rest of the property is dying on the vine.

My old friend, Marc Packard, who worked with me 15 years ago in Florida, had a Harley drag party, that is, a drag racing party, at the Harley Davidson Café on October 19. It was Hog Heaven for all!

The Golden Nugget Cabaret Theater, one of the best rooms downtown, announced that David Brenner, who has done a brisk business, will be closing as of October 31. In his place will be an unannounced star.

The latest from The Venetian is that Charo, the coochi-coochi girl, who is represented by Bill Moore, will soon be starring in Beats of Passion. Que bien!

The Desert Inn was imploded quietly. Thank goodness the mercy bombing is over. This was one of my favorite properties of all time. Steve Wynn will be building his new dream, Le Rêve, on the site. I hope it lives up to the previous resident.

At New York-New York, Bobby Collins will perform while Rita Rudner is on vacation. He used to work with Calvin Klein; and wasn’t he married to Rhonda Shear?

Also at NY-NY, don’t miss the big Halloween bash hosted by yours truly, and featuring entertainment, prizes, contests and outlandish happenings. Wear a costume, bring bail money!

Last weekend while in Hollywood, I saw David Lynch’s new epic film, Mulholland Drive. Ann Miller, Ann Miller, Ann Miller. The movie had so many endings, so many twists, that I got lost. Which way out of Mulholland Drive? Maybe he can find an audience.