Patti LaBelle to get Lifetime Achievement Award

Jul 5, 2011 3:00 AM

I was watching the 2011 BET Awards and they had a tribute and Lifetime Achievement Award for Patti LaBelle.

She and this columnist go back a long, long time – even before Disco Tex. I used to open for the Rolling Stones and Patti LaBelle (then appearing as La Belle. I was a little-known singing hairdresser) and we clicked.

Later on, Bob Crewe wrote Lady Marmalade and introduced my (Disco Tex’s) records, "Get Dancing" and "I Want to Dance With You," which sold seven million copies. Cee Lo’ Green did a tribute to Patti that included a wig and hairspray which was hysterical.

Green is on the new hit show, "The Voice," along with other judges/coaches Christina Aguilera, Adam Levin and Blake Shelton. This show is my new guilty pleasure.

Is Jennifer Lopez returning to "American Idol?" Rumor has it that it’ll take more millions and I mean millions to entice her to return.

What can I say about last weekend in Las Vegas? Well, the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a huge success. Very few arrests even though over 80,000 attendees and 1,000 security guards were there. Reportedly the revenue for Las Vegas was huge. I’m sure it will be back next year.

Britney Spears was a big hit at the MGM Grand Arena even though she reportedly did that lip-sync thing. However, the production, singers and dancers were so great it didn’t matter. She also made an appearance at the Tropicana’s Nikki Beach Club arriving after 1 a.m. and sipping bottled water and sodas. It appears Nikki Beach Club and Britney are both tremendous successes.

The newly refurbished Plaza Hotel downtown looks wonderful and they’re hiring. Luckily, they were able to purchase all of the beautiful furniture that was supposed to go into the now defunct Fontainebleau-Las Vegas.

• The Four Queens Hotel and Casino will be the new home of An Evening At La Cage with Jimmy Emerson as host beginning July 13. Jimmy is known for his outrageous characters. His Wynonna Judd and Tammy "Spraynette" Wynette are two of his most hilarious impressions.

Emerson and Frank Marino are two of the best female impersonators around. Let’s call this new episode the Dueling Divas. May the best drag queen win! Rumors have it the Four Queens is toying with the idea of keeping the room open after the show as a nightclub.

• Two major properties will now be in the "gay bar business." They are calling it alternative lifestyles, but I call it "gay bars," boys. Let’s not forget gays have legal rights in New York now but many partners, like me and my roomie, have been together for years – like 35 and still counting for me – with no legal paperwork needed.

• What is happening to Sandy Hackett at the Riviera? There is a rumor the Rat Pack show is closing due to alleged union problems, but this is only from what I hear.

• I must make a retraction from last week’s column – oh man did I get it wrong? This gossip thing has me wallowing in retractions. So, to the producers of Menopause let me say the show has been, is, and will keep on being one of the most entertaining in town.

Sometimes I do get my facts wrong but that’s life. When you’re dealing in whispers and innuendo, interpretations can sometimes get a little muddled.

• Another one of the big attractions this past week was the playback party for the newly released Mark O’Toole CD at the M Resort’s Ravello Lounge. The evening, hosted by Clint and Kelly Holmes, was full of film clips. Why didn’t they call me?

Among those on tape were Frankie Scinta, Terry Fator, Carrot Top (he knows my number), Kelly Clinton and a very thin Sally Struthers doing "Hello, Dolly" somewhere in America. I’ll be doing "Hello, Dolly" in some summer stock one day soon.

O’Toole has an extraordinary story. This incredible young man has beaten stage four cancer and has one of the best producers, Keith Olsen, who has produced some of the major stars in the industry. Besides the new CD, Mark is performing at the Ravello. It’s well worth your discovering this fabulous crooner. Some of the standards he covers "Maybe This Time," "When I Fall in Love" and I"It’s Not For Me to Say."

In the audience were Lorraine Hunt and Dennis Bono along with the lovely Vera Goulet, wife of the late Robert Goulet. Vera was the highlight, just stunning in her black suit and red hair. She is keeping Goulet’s legacy alive by doing a retrospective of Bob’s life on YouTube.

Mary Wilson, who I featured in his column last week, is still stunning at 67 and her Riviera show proves she can still belt out songs with the best of them. In particular, she’s mesmerizing with her rendition of that great one, "Here’s to Life."

• I had a pleasant surprise at M Resort by getting my Rewards Card. For $8 each, locals and a guest can have the most scrumptious lunch on Wednesdays. This is one of the best bargains in Vegas today and the food was wonderful – paella, cappuccino, desserts to die for and a pleasant ambience. It is their homage to seniors.

Am I a senior? Oh man, I’m not ready for that yet.

• Back to my old friend Mr. Holmes, who had a great run in Vegas at Harrah’s (I saw him at the Golden Nugget originally). Clint has a great story to tell.

The consummate performer was recently playing Feinstein’s in New York and got great reviews. He’s going to be appearing at the Cafe Carlyle in New York in October. The Carlyle had Bobby Short for many, many years and he held court with Gloria Vanderbilt, Jackie O, Truman Capote – the crème de la crème of New York café society.

Bobby always liked Rock III and tried to help me stage my act. What act? I never had an act. The act was being III. As for Holmes doing homage to Short, Bobby would play piano and sing Gershwin and Cole Porter. No one, unless you were there, could understand what that scene was all about.

The Algonquin and the Carlyle were full of intellectuals and café society wannabee’s. It was the jet set of its day. If anyone can bring a sense of what it was, it will be Clint. I call it the renaissance – everything old is new again.

The Rev. Monti hopes you had a great July 4 holiday and wishes you a great week!