'Mama Pia!' Las Vegas has something to behold

Jul 3, 2012 3:00 AM

Pia Zadora and Planet Hollywood. Comeback stories both and welcome sights for Las Vegas.

But first, I have to give my kudos to the Golden Rainbow’s “Ribbon of Life.” As a gay man and humanitarian, I recognize this is a worthy cause to help people infected with HIV-AIDS. I also have to say that Clint Holmes, Frank Marino, Reva Rice and others all performed and gave their time and talent to this worthy cause.

The standout was Zadora, who originally opened for Frank Sinatra and was at one point married to the owner of the Riviera. The history and the legend that is Pia will be back in Vegas working at The Smith Center. Watch for it.

Oh, by the way, the benefit took in about $200,000.

My entourage is excited about seeing La Cage Aux Folles with George Hamilton. This should be a romp without the hay. Which brings me to the other big comeback story.

Planet Hollywood is bringing in big shows starting with Surf the Musical – featuring music of the Beach Boys and a boy/girl story line. As a sidebar I once opened for them at some rock concert many years ago.

The Beach Boys are the newest entry into the market as an original show. Cee Lo Green is becoming the tanner version of Liberace and will have a residency engagement at Planet Hollywood. Let’s not forget that David Saxe, outstanding producer and director, survives scandals and keeps bringing good shows to the venues at Planet Hollywood.

Saxe is to be commended for surviving all this and keeps on going as a producer/director. Peep Show with Holly Madison was a hit so Planet Hollywood should be proud of the comeback it is making in the industry. Vegas! The Show is a standout among the events currently running at the Saxe Theatre and for one wanting to see an enjoyable perspective of life in Vegas.

A reminder to my readers that Aretha Franklin is coming to The Colosseum on July 15 and is almost sold out, while k.d. lang will be at The Smith Center two days earlier. Both of these women are on the “do not miss list.”

This week I went to see my old friend David Cassidy at South Point. David may bring a few big surprises for Vegas which I can’t mention now.

Let’s not forget that Phantom. The spectacular, in my view the best show to ever hit Vegas, is closing and you don’t want to let this one leave without seeing it.

This week we saw the opening of Magic Mike the movie with all the sexiest men they could find. It may spark interest in the “stripper male genre.” This all star cast and their G strings may help us appreciate the Chippendales, Thunder from Down Under, American Storm, X Men, Y Men, etc., etc., etc. It also will solidify the super star status of Channing Tatum. Matthew McConaughey (Mr. Six Pack) just about steals the film as a seedy club owner.

How many magic shows, magicians and others do we need? None of them can top David Copperfield and his brilliance with illusions. Are we just filling up the spaces with these sleight of hand artists? Are they artists even? I know I’m jaded but magic, as an art form, doesn’t deserve this many headliners.

Chaka Khan was in town down at Primm and did not disappoint her fans. She has a new look – much thinner (almost sculpted) and her sound is as reverberating as ever. She let us in on her conversion experience and now no longer has drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll in her life. She devotes herself to her kids, charity and maintaining the new life style.

Chaka still has those magnificent high notes and, though I was not familiar with all of the music, she blew the roof off with Tell Me Something Good, I’m Every Woman, and her conversion soliloquy. Quite an evening.

We were saddened by the death of Nora Ephron who brought depth, wit and urbaneness to some of the most memorable moments in recent films. Who could forget that scene from “When Harry Met Sally” and Rob Reiner giving his mom the now famous line “I’ll have what she’s having?” Ephron lost her bout with leukemia last week and she will be missed.

The Rev. Monti wishes you all a great week and happy 4th of July.