It's The Norm!

don-ricklesDon Rickles is coming to town this weekend (Feb. 20-21), and will be performing in The Orleans Showroom on West Tropicana. What’s new this time? Rickles is bringing along singer George Bugatti as his opening act.

Working in front of big crowds and for headliners like Rickles, is nothing new for Bugatti. See, this is a guy who performed in the Lounge at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where rooms start at more than $500 a night, for seven years. Some of the stars who would stop by to listen to George sing were Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Milton Berle. Others included Ashley Judd, Chevy Chase and the great one Tony Bennett.

Bugatti has been a resident of our little village since 1998, when Steve Wynn made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: To open in the Fontana Room at the new Bellagio Hotel & Resort on the Las Vegas Strip, where he alternated with Michael Feinstein. George then moved into the Allegro Lounge where he stayed for another two years. I often stopped by the Casa di Amore restaurant on east Tropicana to listen to him sing songs from the Great American Songbook and other classics.

I think you’ll be well entertained by Mr. Rickles and Mr. Bugatti. For reservations and ticket information call The Orleans box office (702) 365-7075.

Sticking to the subject of The Orleans, while you are making those plans to attend the Rickles performance, why not take a break from the ordinary and make reservations for dinner in the Canal Street restaurant?

If you’re an old timer to Las Vegas, and perhaps went to the Stardust Hotel to see a show or two in its magnificent showroom, you may remember a gentleman by the name of John Messana. John was always at the entrance to the showroom, ready to help those who needed assistance, and to greet the hundreds of VIPs who would attend a show. When the Boyd Gaming Group imploded the Stardust, Messana was moved over to The Orleans as Canal Streets new Maitre d.’  Boyd Gaming paid for his education (many trips out of town) to become a Sommelier (and eventually a Master Sommelier). They couldn’t have picked a better person to fill the position.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, a group of us media folks were invited to a very special afternoon food tasting event inside the restaurant. Our hosts were Jasen Woehrle, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing for The Firm, and Kristy Alward, Public Relations for the Boyd Gaming Group. On hand to explain the fantastic food, as dish after dish was presented, were Rene Warner, director of food and beverage, and executive chef, Phillip J. Bonanno, along with the man who prepares the goodies, chef Anthony Oliva and Messana. With each course we were offered a different wine by Messana, who explained how it was produced and where. You would be surprised at what you can learn from a sommelier if you ask and listen!

Unfortunately, because of my allergy to shell fish and iodine, I was forced to pass up some of the special items, but my fellow scribes couldn’t say enough nice things about every item. I personally enjoyed the beef short rib ravioli and the citrus harvest salad with sliced chicken. Some of the entrees I dug into were the chili cured, cilantro crusted lamb lollipop, filet mignon, and of course the desserts: raspberry soufflé macerated berries over ice cream in a praline cup, and a flourless chocolate cake. The presentation alone is worth the trip to Canal Street, believe me. Most of the writers left the establishment with doggie bags in tow. Hours of operation are: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 11 p.m. For reservations call (702) 365-7111.


I can remember when a little show, starring a friend of mine, arrived in town and settled in to the Shimmer showroom at the Hilton Hotel. It was not given much of a chance to last through the summer of 2006. But it did! Oh, the show and the friend: “Menopause, the Musical,” and Paige O’Hara. The show, now at the Luxor Hotel/Casino, just performed its 1,800 performance as it entered its fifth year in our little village.

Paige O'HaraMs. O’Hara has been with the show from its arrival. Prior to that, Paige starred as the voice of Belle in Disney’s film, “Beauty and the Beast.” The 53-year-old Broadway singing star, who is one of Jerry Herman’s favorite singers, is also a painter of fine art. Her portraits of “Belle” have been approved by the Disney Corporation, and are being sold in all the Disney stores, as “Belle by Belle,” which I’ve been told is very rare. This writer first met Paige when she was the special guest star in the “Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular” with the Radio City Rockettes at the Flamingo Hotel. We maintained a friendship over the years, and her performance with my buddy, Robert Goulet, at the Venetian Hotel & Resort was solid Gold.

Zero gravity photoZero Gravity is something only astronauts have had the privilege to experience, up to now. On Thursday, Feb. 27, G-Force One will take off from our local airport offering its passengers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to defy the laws of gravity. Fliers will have the very unique chance to float freely in a complete weightless atmosphere during Zero-G’s flight. Zero-G is the first and only FAA-approved provider of commercial weightless flight. This is the same type of flight used by NASA to train its astronauts, and was used by film director Ron Howard for the movie, “Apollo-13” starring Tom Hanks. Oh, you might be interested in the cost of this “A-Ride” ticket–$4,950.00 per seat. For more information call (703) 894-2195.

Well, gang, that’s about it for this week. It’s now only six days until those NASCAR Haulers roar down the Las Vegas Strip, and eight days till the Nationwide race, and nine till the Sprint Cup event. I’m outa here!



2 thoughts on “It's The Norm!

  1. Excellent! If I could write like this I would be well pleased. The more I see articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there could be a future for the Net. Keep on keeping on 🙂

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