Well gang, went back to the Italian American Club for the second weekend in a row, to have a great dinner in the lounge, and then to see and hear a new face to our town (last week it was Elijah Rock), Angela Teek, a world-class singer, who presented a great selection of songs from Pop to Broadway, in her classic show titled, “I Gotta Do What I Do.”
Her first song, “What a Night,” was a perfect opener, quickly followed by “Love Being Here,” and then “Love Me or Leave Me.” In those three songs she showed that she has the range of voice (three-octave) to hit any note, sing any song, and give her audience a wonderful show they will remember for a long time, which by the way she did!
Teek told us that she was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and that her singing career began in Southern California, where she studied with showbiz veteran Leonard Reed. She also mentioned that this wasn’t her first visit to Las Vegas, as early in her career she performed as Charmaine in “Aint Misbehavin” at the Las Vegas Sahara Hotel. She was also Don Rickles’ opening act during an extended Las Vegas engagement at the Golden Nugget Hotel.
Her next number was her version of a beautiful song first introduced to the world back in 1949 by Sarah Vaughan, and covered by a slew of great singers, “Black Coffee.” Next came one of my favorite songs, and a favorite for more than just a few in the audience, “Over the Rainbow.” And it couldn’t have been better presented–even if Judy Garland was on that stage. Ms. Teek has it all gang!
Then came the surprise of all surprises as she finished singing “I’m The MoMa” Angela told a little story of how her mother became her inspiration to become a singer, because as a youngster she was watching the Red Skelton Show on TV, when she first learned that her mother was an entertainer. Red had just introduced Spanky Wilson as his guest star. That was the moment she knew her Mom was a singer. Her mother then sorta jumped on stage and after some quick chatter, mother and daughter began to sing a great medley of Broadway and Jazz songs, and you knew right then where the daughter got her “chops” from. Mom then did a solo, “Cold Feeling Blues,” while her daughter went off-stage to make change.
Returning to the stage, Ms. Teek hit it over the top with “Cry Me a River,” “My Man,” and “Almost Like Being in Love.” The Joey Singer Band, with Singer on piano, included some of the best musicians in town: Dan Demorales on bass; Don Meoli, drums; Jay Rassmussan, sax; Neil Maxa, trombone, and Wes Marshall on trumpet, were perfect. The arrangements were definitely geared for this exceptional talent and together they made wonderful sounds.
Angela Teek closed out the 90-minute performance with “Steppin Out” (her latest CD), “Blues in the Night,” and the classic “This is My Life.” What a night! Angela is a great asset to our little village as a new resident. Welcome to Las Vegas.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Beginning Sunday, Dec. 2, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) will implement its annual transit service changes and improvements that include increased service on nine popular routes. The transit agency has also updated its rideRTC transit app with additional functionality, including a safety app, and will debut 55 environmentally friendlier buses next year.
Service changes are taking place on routes where improvements are most needed. For example, service on Route 115 (Nellis/Stephanie) into a busy and growing area of Henderson doubled to a 20-minute frequency. Route 210 (Lake Mead Boulevard) now runs every 20 minutes during weekday daytime hours. The BHX (Boulder Highway Express) will see Saturday afternoon frequency improved to every 15 minutes. In total, 15 of the RTC’s 39 routes will now run every 20 minutes or better during weekday daytime hours, offering convenient service. Frequency on all arterial routes has also been simplified to four categories – 60, 30, 20, and 15 minutes – during weekday daytime hours. All of these changes mean less wait time and improved transfers for riders. Details on all frequency changes are available here.
The RTC is also updating its rideRTC app with greater functionality. The rideRTC app, which allows users to find their bus, plan their trip and buy transit passes from their smartphone, will integrate Transit Watch, a new rider safety app that enables passengers to report non-emergency incidents such as transit-related offenses, suspicious activity, and safety issues. These reports will go directly to the RTC security’s contractor dispatch center, which will review the submissions and direct them for follow up to the appropriate agency, such as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The app will be available for download by the end of the year.
Users must update the rideRTC app for Transit Watch to be included and operational on their phones. Those not using rideRTC can download the Transit Watch app for free via iTunes and Google Play. The app is not intended for emergencies; instead, users are urged to call 9-1-1 just as they would in any other emergency.
Finally, in 2019 the RTC will debut 55 new environmentally friendly buses, replacing 55 older diesel vehicles. The 40 and 60-foot models are powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), supporting the RTC’s goal to operate more than 400 buses at nearly 100 percent CNG to reduce its carbon footprint. For more information on RTC, visit: rtcsnv.com
Nevada’s largest producing and most successful Winery, Pahrump Valley Winery, announced it has successfully completed a $1.7 million expansion. Owners since 2004, Bill and Gretchen Loken started the expansion in the summer of 2017 with only 1,800 square feet of production area. The new expansion added 7,000 square feet for wine production, an automated bottling line and event space in the barrel room.
“Our monumental investment to Nevada’s wine industry can more than triple our production from 9,500 cases annually to a potential of nearly 40,000 cases,” states co-owner Bill Loken. “We’re excited to have a new, innovative and state of the art wine production facility that expands our capabilities including a new fully automated bottling line.”
Highlights of the expansion include 12 new gleaming stainless-steel fermentation tanks custom-made in Germany, some standing more than 12 feet tall and having a duplex configuration so two wines can be produced in the floor space of one. The tanks now occupy a new room attached to the original winery. The new bottling line, imported from Italy, is capable of handling 2,000 bottles per hour with only three people operating it. Previously the old bottling line required eight people to fill only 500 bottles per hour. And the new line can handle screw caps, as well as corks and labeling.
250 oak barrels, American, French, and Hungarian, each with their own unique quality, serve as wine aging vessels in what Gretchen Loken refers to as her “winemaker’s spice rack.” The old winery has been completely gutted with new lighting, flooring, and new storage space to hold up to 19,000 cases of wine. A new event space in the barrel-aging room is capable to host up to 75 persons for weddings, vow renewals, special events, wine maker dinners and meetings.
The Loken’s are proud to be “bringing gold to the silver state.” Since 2004, they’ve been producing nationally recognized wines as Nevada’s largest and most successful winery, having received to date over 460 national wine awards with 113 of those for the Nevada-grown only wines. Although mostly desert, Nevada is a great place to grow grapes, Loken added. The southern, hot climate is suited for grapes destined for red wine, while cooler areas produce white wine grapes.
“Grapes grow in the desert around the world, although we’re not used to thinking about it in Nevada,” he said. “But we have proven that you can produce award-winning wines with Nevada-grown grapes.”
Pahrump Valley Winery is located at 3810 Winery Road, Pahrump, NV 89048 and is open seven days a week, except some holidays and special events. The tasting room opens daily at 10:30 a.m. and tastings are free for individuals. Group tasting for eight or more is $5 per person and reservations are required in advance.
In recognition of outstanding leadership and performance across its premier motorsport’s facilities, Speedway Motorsports (NYSE: TRK) officials named Las Vegas Motor Speedway, led by President and General Manager Chris Powell, as Speedway of the Year; while Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter and the team from Charlotte Motor Speedway was recognized as Promoter of the Year. The awards were announced during NASCAR’s Champion’s Week festivities here in Las Vegas.
“Speedway Motorsports prides itself on being best-in-class in providing unforgettable entertainment experiences for visitors from around the world year-in and year-out,” said Marcus Smith, president, and CEO of Speedway Motorsports. “From leading the way as innovators in motorsports to hosting millions of fans for races, concerts, festivals and driving schools, it’s been a banner year for Speedway Motorsports, and I’m honored to recognize those who helped lead the charge.
“Chris Powell and the entire staff at Las Vegas embraced a tremendous year of new opportunities with a new four-wide NHRA race and the kickoff of NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs to capture the Speedway of the Year award for the fifth time. Greg Walter and his team at Charlotte created a ROVALution with the first-ever road course races in the NASCAR playoffs. Recognition as Promoter of the Year for delivering the season’s most anticipated race weekend is certainly well-deserved.”
For the second consecutive year and fifth time overall, Las Vegas Motor Speedway was chosen as Speedway of the Year from among the eight Speedway Motorsports facilities. The award is presented for the best overall speedway performance during the year in such aspects as fan friendliness, attendance, financial performance, sponsor relations and creativity.
The staff at Las Vegas Motor Speedway worked tirelessly to attract and host new events to the famed entertainment complex by converting The Strip to four lanes to host the first NHRA four-wide drag race on the West Coast and adding a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend to its season schedule. In addition, the speedway undertook an ambitious renovation plan, adding three exclusive clubhouse areas; the new Turn One Social Pavilion; two separate loge-box seat offerings; and a racing-inspired, interactive sports lounge.
Promoter of the Year is an annual award chosen by Smith and given in recognition of the creativity, innovation, leadership, and execution that are fundamental to Speedway Motorsports’ way of doing business.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway staff was recognized for its efforts around the inaugural ROVAL™ weekend, highlighted by gains in attendance, TV ratings and overall customer satisfaction. The legendary superspeedway once again established itself as a leader in motorsports innovation with the introduction of the all-new, 17-turn, 2.28-mile road course – the first of its kind in NASCAR and the first-ever road course to host playoff races.
In addition to its success with the ROVAL™, Charlotte Motor Speedway also helped usher in a new era of racing as the testing ground for the 2019 NASCAR rules package during this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, providing some of the most anticipated racing of the season during both its spring and fall race weekends at America’s Home for Racing. The Speedway also undertook a bold effort to increase its partnership with the U.S. Armed Forces to include all five branches of the military in its Coca-Cola 600 pre-race celebration.
Well, gang, I will report next week on the “Cocktail Cabaret” show at Caesars Palace.