Went to a party last week, and what a party it was too. It brought back a few great memories of a time not too long ago that, unfortunately, we all know will never return. The host of this unusual party was a great and wonderful friend, and entertainer, Murray Sawchuck and his beautiful wife, Chloe, and their two extremely special dogs, the little black and white, Abby, and Kahlua.
The theme was come as you want, but if you wish dress like you did in the ‘60s and ‘70s. So, I wore a pair of Levis and a nice sport shirt. The party was to sorta give a farewell wave to the historic, and soon to be destroyed, Riviera Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It was staged in what was known as the President’s suite, the Sinatra suite, and the Dean Martin suite. It also became quite famous when Dean (who also owned a number of shares of the hotel) was kicked out of the hotel for refusing to do two shows a night, after performing there for nearly two years. It was reported that Ed Torres, who was running the hotel at the time (and reportedly owned a lot of the shares) had the locks changed on his suite, and piled everything in the hallway for Dean to find upon returning to the suite. That’s just one of many stories that I can personally attest too.
There was the time, when Shecky Greene (who incidentally will be at the Dennis Bono Show this Thursday afternoon inside the showroom at the South Point) who was starring in the Starlight Room (a very plush lounge at the time) was known to blow his top at times. One night, when he learned earlier in the day that the room was going to be replaced by a Keno Room, Shecky decided to tear up the stage with an axe, giving some of the stage to the audience as souvenirs. Torres had actually decided that evening to keep it open for another month. Shecky was unbelievable as an entertainer and still is to this day.
Just a few of the more than 200 guests who showed up included: Rich Little, Pia Zadora and husband Mike, Jeff Kutash, Michael Godard (Olive Artist), Jimmy Mulligan (Disney Artist), Frank Marino, Chadwick Johnson, Bob Anderson, Myron Martin (Smith Center), Douglas ‘Lefty’ Leferovich, Mistiguette, Lenny Windsor (Benny Hill Show), Dennis Bono, Lorraine Hunt-Bono, Adam Steck (Producer), Shelle Renee (Original Crazy Girl), and the cast of Fantasy (Chloe’s Show).
Murray performs his very special brand of magic at Sin City Planet Hollywood daily at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. except Friday when he stays home to rest. Tickets are priced at $44.20 and $56.20 including taxes and fees. I can attest to the fact you will leave amazed and amused after watching this very clever man of comedy magic do his thing. That’s a promise.
I was going to do a review of Kelly Clinton’s show this week, but will hold it over until next week.
THIS AND THAT QUICKY:
Back in the 1970s, while living in San Francisco, Jeffrey Axelrod turned his artistic bent towards creating Hip-O-Potamus Tees, which was the first-ever licensed manufacturer of silk screen and private label t-shirts for Rock ‘n Roll artists, concert tours and the music, film, and entertainment industry — as well as for the 1972-74 marijuana initiative, Today, with 23 states plus Washington D.C. – including Nevada — having laws on the books legalizing medical or recreational marijuana, Axelrod is busy turning over a new leaf where his t-shirt business in concerned.
Now that the smoke has cleared, the acclaimed assemblage artist, some of whose unique art is on display and can be purchased at Jana’s Red Room at the Arts Factory in downtown Las Vegas, has reinstated Hip-O-Potamus Tees for which he has brought out the company’s renowned signature vintage marijuana artwork that had been in storage for the past 35 years. The Allman Brothers were the first to wear the Hippo t-shirt with the marijuana leaves design and over the years, some of the company’s shirts have sold on eBay for $1,500 to $2,500 apiece. In addition to the vintage artwork, seven different designs of which are also being sold on t-shirts available at Jana’s Red Room as well as online, Axelrod is adapting new artwork to each legalized marijuana state to create tees specific to those individual locales.
Axelrod and Barry Anderson literally pioneered the industry and Hip-O-Potamus gained a reputation as being the only honest printer. As a result the company was picked to be the first in the U.S. to be the guinea pig to experiment with the first automatic silk screen printer. Eventually, Hip-O-Potamus became one of the biggest companies in the country for silk screening, morphing into a 50,000-square-foot, $10-million business with anywhere from 40-100 employees at any given time. Clients and brands included the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, Santana, Steve Miller, Pablo Cruise, Bill Graham Presents, Jefferson Starship, the Bee Gees, Willie Nelson, CSN&Y, and many more. In between the rock groups, the company also got the licensing for such movies as Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, Amadeus, The English Patient and many others. Hip-O-Potamus was also the first company to do printing for Greenpeace and other organizations to raise money to protect endangered species.
When the California marijuana initiative took place in the 70s, Axelrod and Anderson found themselves smoking hot in the middle of the foray, creating t-shirts to get the vote out and also to raise funds for such groups as Mothers for Marijuana. As for his assemblage artwork, from which he donates some of the sales proceed to The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Axelrod paints – with teas — and has been told that he is the only artist in the world to paint with more than three colors of tea. In actuality, he has over 200 teas in his studio that he uses for color. He embellishes his artwork with found objects ranging in age from 500 years old to present day, finding these items in garage sales, in junkyards, on the street, and also among things he collected as a child. He’s stirring the “pot” once again with his latest venture.
From singing star to dress saleslady, Rosanna Telford takes a giant step forward to regaining the vocal stardom she earned in her native Costa Rica before moving to Las Vegas nearly three years ago. This Wednesday evening, the sultry, sophisticated lady steps before the stage lights at the Italian American Club with her puzzle-like biographical journey, “Pieces of My Life.”
Telford has assembled nuggets of her musical passage, presenting songs from her starring roles in “Sound of Music,” “Grease,” and others. Responding to audience requests, Telford broadened her act to include her special tributes to four iconic women of the stage and screen. Rosanna also promises some surprise performances with her guest male singers Chadwick Johnson, Willie Nelson tribute artist Roy Hammock, and everybody’s favorite Neil Diamond, Rob Garrett.
As so many do when relocating to Las Vegas, Telford was forced to rebuild her musical resume working retail daytime jobs while performing walk-ons and open mics at night. She was an immediate hit with audiences and her fellow performers. Telford landed a regular spot in the weekly rotation at the Italian American Club’s famous star studded lounge, before a busy touring schedule with Garrett’s Neil Diamond shows stole her away. Again her striking sound and style propelled her from backup singer to sharing the spotlight performing the duet “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” Tomorrow night’s show features an all-star band: musical director Ned Mills on keyboard, Michito Sanchez percussionist and the “drummer’s drummer,” John Plows. Tickets are $20 on line www.iacvegas.com or by phone for tickets and dinner reservations, (702) 457-3866. The Italian American Club is located at 2333 E. Sahara Av., Las Vegas…1/2 block east of Eastern Av. Showtime is 8:00 PM.
Well, gang, that’s it for this week. I’m outa here!