Photos by Dianne or Burt Davis
Smith Center For The Performing Arts Opens with Gala Event
The Smith Center, a world class performing arts center, showed what it is made of on its March 10 graduation day. There were no black caps, but there were black tuxedos. There certainly were plenty of gowns - on the women. This was dress up night, a celebration.
There was a spectacular variety of artists on stage, but this evening was so much more. The grand opening of The Smith Center was a celebration of community - the community of believers who put their dollars into a dream and the community of workers who put their best efforts into building an edifice that does their city proud.
Last week I wrote about sitting in the upper balcony looking down on the orchestra where the hard hats who literally put the place together were enjoying a concert by Randy Travis. This week it was the black tie event, the extravaganza of talent, a showing off as it were, of what the Center can and will bring to the community.
Dancers from the American Ballet Theater filled the courtyard.
There was something for everyone in this potpourri of talent with representatives from every phase of the stage arts. Producers George Stevens, Jr. and Michael Stevens obviously had a generous budget that allowed stars including Broadway greats Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sherie Rene Scott, Cheyenne Jackson, Laura Osnes, Benjamin Walker and Montego Glover to share medleys from hit shows including West Side Story, Rent, The Lion King and Guys and Dolls.
Neil Patrick Harris
Actor, Singer, Director
Host Neil Patrick Harris, an import from television land seemed a bit constricted by his script, reading his lines from the gigantic cue card screen, telling a few Vegas jokes, but not conveying the depth of excitement felt by the audience. That mattered not when you have country star Martina McBride and Train lead singer Pat Monahan teamed up for a medley featuring “Marry Me” and “A Song For You,”
Violinist with his 1713 Stradivarius
Carole King brought excitement with her talents and her friend Mavis Staples. They rocked the house with their rendition of “You've Got a Friend.” Then there was Willie Nelson, one of our national treasures, a colorful character to be sure, but with so much talent that you just have to love him. And a combination of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard had the 2050 seat Reynolds Hall rocking, clapping, smiling, dancing in their seats and loving hearing the duo sing “Pancho and Lefty.” Then for good measure, add Grammy-winner Emmylou Harris to the mix to perform “Ramblin' Fever”. It's a recipe for success.
The audience was treated to Martina McBride, trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; Pat Monahan; and American rock legend John Fogerty.
Kathleen "Bird" York
Kathleen “Bird” York served as announcer for the evening. The Smith Center orchestra was conducted by Rob Berman. Kudos as wellgo to Musical Director Rob Mathes. Jennifer Hudson, backed by a 70-member choir, closed the evening with a mesmerizing rendition of “Take Care of This House.” It was clear that despite the incredible talent in the house, everyone in the sold out theater recognized that the real star of the show was The Smith Center, showing off it's ability to fill the stage with entertainers that memorize the audience in a venue with superb acoustics and beauty.
Myron Martin, center, celebrates following the performance
Myron Martin, President and CEO of the Smith Center summed up the feelings when he told the crowd, “Tonight we celebrated more than the opening of The Smith Center. We celebrated this community’s commitment to the arts and to creating something important and lasting for the people who live here and for generations to come. Perhaps part of the proof of the pudding was the reception following the two and one half hour show. Audience members filled the lobby, enjoying the complimentary offerings of chocolate lollipops, champagne and strawberries, chatting, congratulating each other, basking in the warm feelings filling the room. As one patron said, “No one wants to leave. This is such a special night.”
Dianne Davis and Mayor Carolyn Goodman
Both former Mayor Oscar Goodman and current Mayor Carolyn Goodman beamed as they celebrated this city's achievement. As Mayor Carolyn Goodman said, “Las Vegas can be proud that it has finally arrived as a cultural Mecca."
Las Vegas has come of age. We may always be known as “Sin City”, but now we can boast of a new centerpiece of cultural life. Visit the Smith Center for the Performing Arts soon and see for yourself. For more information, go to www.thesmithcenter.com.
The Canadian Tenors
Luciana Paris & Marcelo Gomes
Benjamin Walker, Actor, Broadway Star
Brian Stokes Mitchell Broadway Star and Tony Winner
Sherie Rene Scott, Broadway star
Kelly Clinton Holmes & Clint Holmes
Paul S. Beard, Kelly Clinton, Clint Holmes
2012 AVN Awards Brought Business to LV & Fun to Fans
Oh what a night! It’s been over a month since the AVN awards show was held at the Hard Rock ( January 21) , but the memories of this unique event will linger through the year for the hundreds of fans that paid $300 to be in the same room as stars of the industry. This was the second time I've attended the award show and I can't imagine what they'll come up with next.
The AVN Awards are sponsored and presented by the American Adult Video Industry trade magazine AVN – Adult Video News – to honor exceptional performance in various aspects of the creation and marketing of American pornographic movies. They are sometimes called the “Oscars of Porn.”
Looking at the program and watching the awards, it seemed like a lot of nominations. Turns out the awards are divided into nearly 100 categories. Multiply that by some categories that have only three nominations while others have up to 15 or more and you have a long show.
The show was preceded by a red carpet event with what seemed like a record number of photographers and videographers snapping photos and interviewing ladies and men from the industry. The women especially dressed to impress their fans and show off their attributes as much as was legally possible.After the awards, there were numerous parties around town with notable names from the industry “hosting” at night spots.
I was privileged to be one of the media selected to work the red carpet. More than 500 members of the press who applied were turned away. It isn't easy for a short woman to get the shots, but with the help of a makeshift ladder, a smile, and the cooperation of other photographers, I captured images of dozens of the nominees.
AVN Award Show
Following the two hour red carpet parade of nominees and executives, we filled the Joint at Hard Rock for the actual awards. The show was hosted by comedian Dave Attell along with “sexy as H-ll superstars Brea Olsen and Sunny Leone. The theme of the show was Sexier than Hell. From a fashion standpoint, it was certainly sexy and even surprising on occasion. The first surprise was the Cirque Du Soleil number performed by none other than the 2011 AVN Hall of Fame inductee Belladonna. Comedian Dave Attell was brought in to add some humor to the spice. While a show of this length needs some comic relief, Attell was not quite up to the challenge and seemed, in my opinion, not to understand the difference between sprinkling off color humor along the way to offset the long string of awards and and showering the evening with profanity for the sake of profanity.
Steven Hirsh and Dianne Davis
A special first ever AVN Visionary Award was presented to CEO Steven Hirsch of Vivid Entertainment. Hirsch received the prestigious honor for his work in the industry over the last 20 years. Hirsch became the first recipient of the prestigious honor after spending a couple of decades transcending a sometimes challenging industry while virtually making Vivid a household name. Hirsch's long time friend Joe Francis opened the presentation with an eloquent intro saying, “I’m humbled and honored to present this award to a visionary, a mentor and a true friend of mine,” before a packed house.
Awards went to Brooklyn Lee for best new starlet and Bobbi Starr for best female performer.
Manuel Ferra and Dianne Davis
Manuel Ferrara was honored as best male performer, while Xander Corvus was best new male performer. You won't find a list of the winners here as this site endeavors to be kid friendly and in that context we can't even print the titles of most of the categories. But we will give you a look at some of the nominee and attendees.
I met Evan Stone at the AEE two years ago. I remembered him. Do you think he rememered me? Sure.
Partying at the clubs
Burt Davis and a new friend.
Burt had a good time.
Marci Hirsch and Fred Hirsch
At a late night bash at Body English sponsored by Vivid Entertainment, Steven Hirsh celebrated his award. I had a great conversation with his father Fred and sister Marci, both of whom are a part of Vivid Entertainment. Marci praised her brother saying, “We work in the present and he works in the future. He sees what's going to happen and we deal with what's happening now.”
Joanie "Chyna" Laurer went from being a wrestler in the WWE to movie stardom in the adult industry. She told this reporter that, “I love my work. I'm proud of my work.” Well, if there weren't a lot of people that wanted to see the work of Chyna and others in the field, the industry wouldn't exist.
Joe Francis (left) and Michael Politz gave me a nice hello.
Make no mistake, this is a huge industry and it is here to stay. Las Vegas seems the perfect place for the annual Expo and AVN Award show. For more information, check out http://avnawards.avn.com/ Enjoy this sample of some of the attendees at the 2012 AVN Awards Show.
Bridgette B & Derrick Pierce
Daisy Layne & Dick Chibble
Dana De Armond
Dee Severe & Jimmy Broadway & Slut Bottom Chris
Ernest Green & Nina Hartley
Jacky Joy & JonJon
Jules Jordan & Bella Anderson
Karen and John Stagliano
Lee Banng & Sophie Dee
Lucy Vonne & Brian Street Team
Nick Daniels & Jack Vegas
Richard Man & Friend