By Judy Thorburn
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - Las Vegas Round The Clock
Entertainment Reporter/Film Critic - Las Vegas Tribune
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - The Flick Chicks
Photos credit: Judy Thorburn (unless otherwise indicated)
Terry Fator and His Cast of Thousands Opens at The Mirage
After completing a series of sold out performances at the Las Vegas Hilton, America’s Got Talent second season winner Terry Fator signed a five year contract with the option for another five years (to the reported tune of $100 million), as headliner at the Mirage replacing Danny Gans, who moved on to the newly opened Encore. With his name up in lights and a showroom that carries his name, Terry Fator’s dream has finally come true. It only took over 30 years of honing his act for the comedy ventriloquist/ singer/impressionist to make it as an “overnight” sensation, and there is no doubt, the immensely talented performer deserves the stardom he has finally achieved.
I saw Terry perform at the Las Vegas Hilton last year and gave him a rave review, so I was thrilled to be in the audience at his Official Grand Opening performance followed by a Gala After party, Saturday, March 14 at The Mirage.
Alone, Terry is an outstanding singer impressionist and in a class all his own. What makes him stand out from the rest is his unique ability to blend those talents with unparalleled ventriloquism, using several of his puppet “friends” including yodeling cowboy/ladies man, Walter T. Airdale, Emma Taylor, Winston the Impersonating Turtle, “soul man” Julius, stoner/rocker dude Dougie Scott Walker, and the stuttering, self proclaimed Elvis impersonator Maynard Thompkins, that share the stage. Throughout the show, Fator and his co-stars effortlessly perform singing impressions of an eclectic group of music superstars such as Roy Orbison, Garth Brooks, Maroon Five, James Blunt, Tony Bennett, Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Elvis, Justin Timberlake, Rod Stewart, The Bee Gees, Gnarls Barkley, Brooks & Dunn, Pussycat Dolls, Louis Armstrong, Tracy Chapman, Kermit The Frog, and the list goes on.
In addition to the two new puppets, Vikki, the sexy “cougar,” and The Beatle (not John, George, Paul or Ringo, but the hyphen between Lennon-McCartney) that have been created specifically for his new show at the Mirage, it is apparent that Terry has slimmed down quite bit (he lost around 30 lbs) and appears more relaxed, polished and self confident.
Although he lost some of the paunch, Terry has added a bit of raunch to his act in regards to some of the comical back and forth banter between him and his puppet sidekicks. What used to be a family friendly show now demands at least a PG rating. My advice would be to tone it back down. As they say, if it isn’t broke why fix it? Terry’s Michael Jackson impression, on the other hand, is a bit old and worn out. Terry looks more like Weird Al Yankovic in long curly black wig than the King of Pop.
Nevertheless, all things considered, this doesn’t dismiss the fact that Terry is an extraordinary performer. As a crowd pleaser with a charming personality, he has no trouble enlisting a volunteer out of the audience to assist in a hilarious take on Sonny and Cher. This particular evening as part of the star studded guest list, Lou Ferrigno was seated in the audience and was invited up to the stage. After being dressed up as Cher with wig, costume, and a face mask controlled by Terry, a duet of “I Got You Babe” was set into motion with Terry (as Sonny), of course, doing both vocals. Later during the show, as another surprise, The Commodores joined Fator on stage for a short performance as well as singing an exclusive duet with puppet co-star Vikki, "the cougar."
This was indeed a special night. Believe me when I tell you, Terry Fator delivers the goods and will captivate audiences on any given night. With his ever growing repertoire of famous voices, you never know what amazing superstar voice he will come up with.
Fator is great at what he does, really great. How great? American Idol judge Simon Cowell calls Terry Fator “one of the best entertainers in the world”. I concur.
Terry with wife Melinda
Terry Fator and his Cast of Thousands perform Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in The Mirage’s Terry Fator Theatre. Ticket prices range from $59 to $129, excluding tax and service fees. The $129 ticket will include preferred seating, a photo souvenir and front-line access to a meet-and-greet with Fator after the show.
Celebrities Attend Terry Fator’s Opening Night at the Mirage
An array of celebrities was at Terry Fator’s Gala Opening Night of his new show at The Mirage. The invited VIP guests who walked the Red Carpet included “The Office’s” Kate Flannery and Oscar Nunez, Jerry Mathers, Lou Ferrigno and his wife Carla, rocker Slash, actors Kevin Sorbo (TV’s Hercules), Jonathan Silverman and his wife, actress Jennifer Finnegan, Dee Wallace, Tony Dennison, Mariette Hartley, Kristy Swanson (Buffy, The Vampire Killer) and her husband, ice skating champ Lloyd Eisler, Maeve Quinlan, Eddie Mekka (TV’s Laverne and Shirley), comic actor Fred Willard, Kathryn Joosten (from TV’s Desperate Housewives), comedian Louie Anderson, singers Deborah Gibson, Clint Holmes, Skip Martin, The Commodores, “The Masked Magician” Val Valentino, female impersonator Frank Marino, Rasheeda Ali, and former American Idol contestant Ace Young.
Terry with Former American Idol contestant Ace Young
Terry Fator with Lou Ferrigno and his wife Carla
Terry with Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton
Frank Marino with his mother
Terry with Dee Wallace
Terry with Jerry Mathers (left)
Terry with Louie Anderson
Terry with Kevin Sorbo and son
Terry with Rasheeda Ali
Terry with Slash and his wife Perla
Terry with Fred Willard
Terry with Jonathan Silverman and his wife, actress Jennifer Finnegan
Terry with Tony Dennison
Terry with Kristy Swanson and her husband Lloyd Eisler
Terry with “The Masked Magician” Val Valentino
Terry with Eddie Mekka
Terry surrounded by sister (on left) and mother (on right) and other family members
Other celebrities spotted in the audience were magician Nathan Burton, Kim Vō, the most sought-after colorist in Hollywood/owner of the Kim Vō Salon and Spa at the Mirage, and comedian George Wallace.
MMA Ring Girls Chosen at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops
On Tuesday, March 17, Hawaiian Tropic Zone hosted a MMA Ring Girl search for the Xplosion V: Coach’s Best MMA fight which was held at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Friday, March 20. Twenty contenders took to the catwalk with official ring cards for the chance to be an official MMA Ring Girl for a day. The top five contestants were determined by the crowd of onlookers and the final three were chosen by Hawaiian Tropic Zone’s guest judges. The winner was Amanda Tamayo, second place was Kathy Corpus and the third ring girl to be chosen was Denai Thompson.
The winner MA Ring Girl search Amanda Tamayo (third from left)
Volunteers at Extreme Makeover Home Edition Construction Site Get Special Treats From Roni Josef International Salon and Spa
ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" was in Las Vegas last week building a new home for a needy family in the northwest part of town. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers who joined together, this home was built in a short amount of time. To keep the volunteers motivated, a group of massage therapists from all three Roni Josef International Salon & Spa locations across the Las Vegas valley were at the construction site, Thursday 3/12/09 thru Tuesday 3/17/09 from 10 am. to 2 p.m. to offer free chair massages to all the volunteers during this stressful process and to thank them for all the hard work and time put in to make sure the home was complete before the unveiling.
Brian Smith, manager of the Roni Josef International Salon & Spa west location, presented the Cerda family, on behalf of the Roni Josef International Salon & Spa family, with gift certificates for makeovers at the salon. Smith also presented gift certificates to Wright Engineering for all their hard work in coordinating the building of the home.
Other recent and upcoming “happenings” in and around Las Vegas include:
Las Vegas based magician Jeff McBride was awarded Lecturer of the Year from the Academy of Magical Arts (The Magic Castle) during its 41st annual awards show at the Avalon Hollywood Theater.
Erich Bergen, who currently performs as Bob Gaudio in the hit musical JERSEY BOYS at the Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino, presents two gala concerts at the Liberace Museum, 1775 East Tropicana Avenue, on March 25 and April 8. Each concert begins at 7 p.m. and all proceeds will benefit the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts, which assists students pursuing careers in the arts through scholarship assistance. Tickets can be purchased at the Liberace Museum or by calling (702) 798-5595 extension 14. Regular seating is available for $15, with a special VIP Liberace Package available for $50.
At 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 The UNLV Film Department and the UNLV Short Film Archive present An Evening of Notable Shorts that Became Feature Films in CBC A-106 UNLV campus as part of the on-going short film screening series organized by film associate professor David Schmoeller. Included in the screening is ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH THX 1138 4EB, 1967, a USC student film by George Lucas that became the feature film THX 1138. Also showing is PELUCA, 2003, by Jared Hess, is about the day in the life of Seth, super nerd extraordinaire. In 2004, Hess turned Peluca into the feature film NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, the most successful independent film of that year. LA JETÉE, 1962, the landmark masterpiece short film by French filmmaker Chris Marker, is set in a devastated Paris in the aftermath of WWIII. In 1995, director Terry Gilliam made LA JETÉE into the feature film 12 MONKEYS starring Bruce Willis. Other shorts include TRUE, 15, and FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING. The screenings are free. Call 895-2535 for information.
The AAA Lucha Libre Tour featuring the highest level of professional wrestlers directly from Mexico including La Parka, Cibernético, Charly Manson and El Mesías is coming to the Orleans Arena on April 2 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Reserved Seating, $75.00, General Admission, $29.00 for the first 1,000 tickets sold, $40.00 thereafter. All prices include tax.
Southern rock band The Outlaws will perform their hits “Green Grass and High Tides” and “There Goes Another Love Song” among other favorites at The Club Inside Cannery Casino & Hotel on Saturday, April 4 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14.95 plus tax and fees.
The UNLV Department of Music hosts the 3rd Annual NEON (Nevada Encounters in New Music) composers’ symposium April 7-11 in the Beam Music Center on the UNLV campus. The symposium offers five days of intensive activities including free public concerts, lectures, private lessons, and master classes. For additional information, please visit http://neonmusicfestival.blogspot.com.
The Five Star World Poker Classic tournament returns to Bellagio Wednesday, April 1 with the first of 13 No Limit Hold ‘em tournaments. The month-long event concludes April 18-25 with the Season VII World Poker Tour® (WPT) World Championship. To compete, players may either pay the $25,000 entry fee or earn a seat by participating in one of the seven super-satellite tournaments held throughout the first three weeks. For more information visit www.worldpokertour.com.
The 44th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 8 p.m. EST/PST on CBS. In addition, the Academy has announced the ARTIST OF THE DECADE SPECIAL Honoring George Strait which will be taped at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Monday, April 6, 2009 to air at a later date on the CBS Television Network. Music, film and television legend Reba McEntire will host the 44th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS for the 11th time. She has won 11 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Popular Hawaiian variety act Society of Seven with special guest Jasmine Trias, season three American Idol finalist will perform for a Limited Engagement April 10-12 in the Suncoast Showroom. Tickets start from $19.95, plus tax. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
Viva Las Vegas! Rockabilly Weekend Returns to Las Vegas at The Orleans Hotel and Casino beginning Thursday, April 9th and continuing until Monday morning. The four day event is the largest event of its type in the world, and features bands and fans from all over the globe who come to experience Rockabilly, ‘50s music, the Classic Car Show, burlesque performers, dance lessons and contests, a Tiki Pool Party and more than 120 vendors. Four-day unlimited admission passes to Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend are available for $99.00.
Edward Albee’s successful Broadway comedy “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?”, which won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play and turned heads because of its subject matter, will be staged by the College of Southern Nevada’s Department of Fine Arts. Performances are April 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and April 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. in the BackStage Theatre on the Cheyenne Campus. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For reservations, call 651-LIVE (5483).
The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) Performing Arts Center and the Ira Aldridge Theatre Company will present their 2nd Annual “Hands Across the Arts” benefit on Friday, April 3, 2009 at the Nicholas J. Horn Theatre on CSN’s Cheyenne Campus (3200 E. Cheyenne Ave.) to raise much needed funding to support performing arts students. The title sponsor of the event is Cox Communications.
The event will honor longtime Las Vegas headliner Clint Holmes with a “Lifetime Performing Arts Award” and Commissioner Lawrence Weekly with a “Lifetime Community Service Award.” John Daly, a journalist, author and public speaker, will emcee the event.
The evening will begin with a VIP Reception at 6 p.m., followed by an awards presentation at 7:15 p.m. and a curtain call at 7:30 p.m., featuring the premiere of the 1964 Broadway hit “The Amen Corner” written by James Baldwin and produced and directed by Walter Mason. Tickets for the April 3 VIP Reception and Performance are $50 per person. General admission tickets for all performances are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. Three performances are scheduled: Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday, April 5 matinee performance at 2 p.m. For tickets, call the CSN Box Office at 651-LIVE (5483).
On Friday, April 10 at 8 pm and Saturday, April 11 at 2 pm, Nevada Ballet Theatre will present American Masters, an evening of works by contemporary choreographers Christopher Wheeldon, James Canfield and Val Caniparoli at UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway The program includes four Las Vegas premieres and performances by distinguished guest artists Wendy Whelan, Albert Evans and Sébastien Marcovici, who are principal dancers with the New York City Ballet (NYCB). Ticket prices range from *$25 - $75, and can be ordered by calling (702) 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting www.nevadaballet.com.
The Association, one of the most popular and successful bands of the sixties, will perform at The Club at the Cannery Casino & Hotel on Saturday, April 11 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14.95 plus tax and fees.
PEEPSHOW, the new, sophisticated, ultra-hot show at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino begins preview performances on March 30, 2009 with opening night planned for April 18. As previously announced, chart-topping musical artist “Spice Girl” Mel B. will star alongside co-star, TV temptress Kelly Monaco. Backing up Mel B. and Kelly Monaco are the soon-to-be infamous PEEPSHOW GIRLS, known for taking the innocent fairytale and turning it into a “tale with a tease.” Sexy showstoppers from film, TV, Broadway and beyond were handpicked to complete the highly-skilled, voluptuous cast for a show unlike any other on The Strip. Tickets are on sale now for preview and regular performances. Tickets range from $65 - $100 + tax, with a VIP package available at $165 + tax per person.
On Monday, March 16 Paris Hilton began filming “Paris Hilton’s my new BFF”, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Paris’ 20 hopeful contestants started the grueling long day at 11am and didn’t end until 2am. The filming took place all over property including the Porte Cochere, Celebrity Suites and Body English. Paris’ current flame, Doug Reinhardt flew in on his private jet to meet with his sweetheart and make a special surprise appearance in a few of the scenes inside Body English. Doug stayed with Paris at the property and may possibly appear in a few more scenes during her filming out at the Hard Rock’s pool.
Doug Reinhardt and Paris Hilton
Photo credit: Erik Kabik/RETNA
For the final day of filming Paris Hilton gathered her BFF hopefuls for some fun in the sun out at the Hard Rock’s famous pool. Making a special guest appearance for the shoot was flamboyant former BFF contestant from last season, Onch. Paris and her lovely candidates stayed outside all day as filming continued straight through the night. Standing nearby was Doug Reinhardt patiently waiting behind the scenes for the breaks so he could go hang out with the heiress.
St. Patrick's Day at LAVO inside The Palazzo, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray fame was joined by his longtime girlfriend Carin Kingsland and several other couples. They dined at a center table downstairs at LAVO before heading up to the nightclub where the St. Patty's Day party was already in full swing. DJ Five handed over the microphone to McGrath and was later caught by surprise when sparklers and cupcakes came out, an unexpected treat to celebrate turning 41 the past Sunday. McGrath made sure to proclaim his Irish spirit, showing off a number of shamrock tattoos and wearing green shoelaces.
Around 1 pm, Paris Hilton, adorned in a rhinestone headpiece, and wearing a green skirt in celebration of the holiday, arrived at LAVO with current squeeze Doug Reinhart in tow. The duo and friends from her show "My New BFF," took a VIP table in front of the DJ booth near Mark McGrath and the happy couples posed for pictures together.
Paris, who was spotted canoodling with her beau throughout the night, hopped on the microphone to join McGrath in announcing LAVO's contest to find the sexiest leprechaun.
Tuesday night March 17, Retired NFL quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, James “Jim” Plunkett and two friends were seen dining at N9NE Steakhouse inside Palms Casino Resort.
Wednesday night, March 18, UFC Lightweight Champion, Jay Dee “B.J.” Penn (also known as “The Prodigy” and “Baby Jay”) dressed in jeans and a green t-shirt, was spotted at N9NE Steakhouse with two friends. The trio drank beer in the lounge and left shortly after 10 p.m. making their way up to ghostbar.
Friday night, Saturday Night Live cast member, Kristen Wiig enjoyed a small feast of Mexican specialties at Dos Caminos inside The Palazzo. Joined by a friend, the pair was so hungry they started ordering before the server could even go through the menu. The star requested a table off to the side, away from the main action, and was extremely gracious to the staff.
Record producer Jeffrey Townes, better known as DJ Jazzy Jeff, and three friends dined in the main dining room of Nove Italiano at the Palms Casino Resort. Later that night, Jeff partied at Rain Nightclub with five friends, alongside the DJ booth.
Alison Waite, Playboy Playmate of the Month (Miss May 2006) was also seen enjoying herself at Rain Nightclub.
Playboy Playmate of the Month (Miss July 2008) Laura Croft had dinner at Nove Italiano with her parents and friends. Croft was seen partying at Playboy Club later that night.
Over at N9NE Steakhouse, former NFL running back Eric Dickerson stopped by for a couple drinks and to sign Executive Chef Barry’s famous door. He later was spotted at Playboy Club where he was accompanied by a friend.
Also at Playboy Club was Roland “Champ” Bailey, NFL cornerback for the Denver Broncos. He was joined by a lady friend. NBA player Kenny Anderson also was seen at the Playboy Club with two friends.
Early Saturday evening March 21, Eddie Kennison, NFL wide receiver and free agent, was spotted having dinner with a couple of friends at N9NE Steakhouse.
Meanwhile “American Idol” contestant Katrina “Bikini Girl” Darrell hosted an evening at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops. Darrell showed up in her trademark bikini and partied with a group of lovely Las Vegas ladies. She enjoyed strawberry hookah while sipping on Ed Hardy Vodka and later joined the go-go dancers on stage. Darrell spent the evening taking pictures with fans and signing autographs.
Ending her hit show’s run at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace until April, Cher was welcomed by a grand finale of celebrities on Sat. March, 21. At the show was (and attending separately) Jeffery Katzenberg and Nikki Hilton, fashion designer Michael Kors, The Colosseum headliner Bette Midler and actress Vivica Fox who met Cher after the show.
I will be back next week with more of what’s “happening” in and around Las Vegas.