Happiness is 2003
(in the rear view mirror!)

Jan 6, 2004 2:08 AM

I never look back because I’m scared to death that if I do, I’ll realize I’ve more than passed the nine lives of a cat. The past weekend was my first chance to rest in weeks what with celebrations, shows and out-of-town guests, whom I allowed to stay too long.

I realized how thankful — yet deserving — I am of my success. People tell me that I’ve become a legitimate columnist, and I couldn’t agree more in my humble opinion. The year 2003 was an eclectic ride with the following happy and sad memories:

Number one on the list is Roy Horn’s tragic accident, which ended Siegfried & Roy’s performances. I doubt if we’ll ever really know what happened or how much of a recovery Roy will make. I hear that he has progressed, but there’s an awful long way to go. Everything else is much brighter.

Clint Holmes garners my entertainer award for his hard work and talent on and off stage. He is the consummate gentlemen; a professional devoted to his craft, family, friends and our community. He deserves to be escalated to superstar status as he is a unique soul in our razor-edges city.

Celine Dion is next as she raised the entertainment bar along the Strip. Who would have ever thought that someone could draw 20,000 patrons a week into a showroom? She’s also a classy lady who is also becoming a real member of the Las Vegas lifestyle.

Show and performers came and went, but I really miss Charo. Had Sevilla given her the support she deserves, cootchie-cootchie would be going strong.

Since we have the best bodies in the world, why shouldn’t T&A make a statement that it’s back and here to stay. The MGM’s "La Femme" rates number one with me followed by "Midnight Fantasy" at the Luxor, and "Skintight" at Harrah’s.

"Jubilee" and "Follies Bergere" remain the classic production shows, but my favorite is Dick Feeney’s "World’s Greatest Magic Show" at the Sahara.

My new fave individual is the cool, hunk and hip hypnotist Anthony Cools, who does late shows at the Stardust. He easily puts me under his spell every time I see him.

The afternoon delights are topped by the FREE "Airplay" show at the Tropicana. Then there’s the terrific Ronn Lucas at the Rio, who will leave you with a major belly ache from laughter; and the magical Mac King at Harrah’s.

In the food category, which is my favorite list, the value for the dollar as far as I’m concerned goes to the Aladdin’s Spice Market buffet. The taste and quality is sensational. On the next rung is the Rio’s seafood buffet.

Upscale favorites are Gallagher’s at New York/New York and the Venetian’s Lutece.

The producers of "Mr. Bojangles," a new musical about the life of Sammy Davis Jr., will hold auditions on Jan. 10 in Chicago, Jan 17 in New York and Jan. 24 in Los Angeles. Opening of the show is planned for March and will tour major cities.

I’m an oldies music buff, so I’m sorry to report that Dick St. John, half of the Dick & Dee Dee duo, passed away at age 63. Dick & Dee Dee’s top chart hits include "The Mountain’s High," "Young and In Love" and "Thou Shalt Not Steal."

The passing of lounge lizard Blackie Hunt is so sad. I’d be willing to bet that he passed away from a broken heart after restraining orders kept him away from his house and beloved Bootlegger restaurant. He also reportedly couldn’t take his wife of 35 years, Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, parading about the city with her new beau, Dennis Bono.

THEhotel at Mandalay Bay has opened to phenomenal reviews.

An outdoor concert by Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band will mark the grand opening of Margaritaville at the Flamingo on Jan. 22. I know my invite is in the mail.

Casino Legends Hall of Fame chief Steve Cutler is upset, to say the least, with Debbie Reynolds’ comment about his place on "Vegas Live!" I hear that lawyers have been hired.

Congrats to David Cooperfield for selling out 34 shows in 10 days at the MGM Grand. David also told me that he’s a fan of mine, which concerns me.

I’ve heard that a New Year’s Eve "disagreement" means that Connie Stevens will no longer be playing the Suncoast. We’ll find out what happened to "Cricket."