The first, of hopefully an annual event, Wounded Warrior Project Benefit was held at the M Resort last Sunday, and was, without question, a huge success. The M deserves accolades for providing a first class venue for the SRO crowd who paid either $20 or $25 to attend. But, one heck of a lot of credit has to go to three local residents who produced the star studded extravaganza. And, they are Ed Mathews, and his sons Jack and Philip.
These three men worked night and day for a good month, assembling the right mixture of entertainers, establishing the order of appearance, timing the show (it ran over by six minutes) out, and making sure everything was in place for an afternoon rehearsal with the band. The band, under the direction of Bill Fayne on piano, consisted of Jim Spota on saxophone, Fred Watstein on bass, and David Ramirez on drums.
The United States Marine Honor Guard from Basic High School, opened the show by presenting the colors, followed by a dynamic singing of the National Anthem by the spectacular Genevieve Dew. Scott Gentry, from KLUC radio, co-sponsor of the evening, was the emcee, and introduced the Swing City Dolls. These three terrific gals kicked off the show with a rousing salute to all the veterans in the audience, by singing the songs associated with every branch of the service. I was proud to stand with other Air Force veterans. Fred Williamson, a former NFL great, movie and TV star, and spokesperson for the Wounded Warrior Project, explained exactly what the, “Project” does for its veterans, and proclaimed that Las Vegas needs to form a Project for its own veterans.
Among the entertainers who performed in front of the more than 2,000 paying guests were: Clint Holmes and his conductor, Jeff Neiman, Kelly Clinton-Holmes, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Pia Zadora with conductor Vince Falcone, Swing City Dolls, Turning Point, and Patty Ascher.
This particular benefit reminded me of the great benefits the city used to stage on the Las Vegas Strip. They were always star-studded, with every major star on the Strip giving of their time. Names like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Liberace, Charlton Heston, you name them and they were there. It was produced to the “nines,” and every cent went to whatever cause it was being staged for. Advertising was paid for by the Strip Hotels, musicians donated their union wages for the day, and everyone enjoyed a great show. This was exactly like those great old days. Ed, Jack and Philip Mathews, did Las Vegas proud, by producing a fabulous show. Thank you guys!
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
The annual Christmas party, staged by those fun guys who belong to the F.I.O.R.E Club, (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events), will be held tomorrow, Thursday, December 12th, at 11:30 a.m., at the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara. This marks the 11th year for the F.I.O.R.E. party. Not to interfere with the many holiday parties happening, it’s being held this year as a luncheon event, instead of in the evening as in the past. Live Music by Gary Anderson and his band of Merry Men, great food, chocolate candy, and flowers for the ladies are all included in the $25 ticket. Anderson will present a fifteen-minute preview of the Sin City Radio Theatre, taking us back to the Golden Age of Radio and the glamour that was Vegas more than a half century ago. The Sin City Radio Theater will feature Artie Schroeck, Linda November, Peter Pavone, Nannette DiMascio, and many more talented F.I.O.R.E. members. It’s truly a fun event and everyone is invited. The nice thing is everyone is a President, and you need not be an Italian, and you can be single, divorced, married or whatever. At last count their appeared to be about 138 reservations.
On Saturday, December 7, Opportunity Village made history as 11,221 participants, dressed like Kris Kringle, lined up for the ninth annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run in Downtown, Las Vegas. Led by Grand Marshal Shania Twain, the iconic event beat its personal record and defeated Liverpool rivals for the “World Santa Challenge” championship. “We were blown away by the outpouring of support from the Las Vegas community,” said Linda Smith, Associate Executive Director of Opportunity Village. “This was truly one of our best events yet, and we look forward to keeping the momentum going into the run’s 10th year.” Shania Twain, who currently headlines “SHANIA: STILL THE ONE,” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, looked glamorous in a white Santa hat and chic black and white cape. After the national anthem, sung by JERSEY BOYS star Jeff Leibow, Twain guided the racers to the starting line on East Fremont Street, where she was escorted by none other than Santa Claus in a shiny, red Jeep “sleigh” provided by Sahara Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Twain led the traditional “on your mark, get set, go!” countdown to start the race and the thousands of runners took off for the 5k, followed shortly by a one-mile Kris Kringle Jingle walk. In honor of the event’s return to Downtown Las Vegas, Mayor Carolyn Goodman declared the morning’s festivities as the city’s official “Las Vegas Great Santa Run Day.” Representatives from Liverpool’s Santa Dash were on-hand to award the “World Santa Challenge” trophy to Opportunity Village, which has now held the coveted title for nine years. Shania Twain’s Great Santa Run team won the prize for the most funds raised and The Venetian/Palazzo took the title of the largest race team.
El Loco is coming! Las Vegas’ newest roller coaster, only the second of its kind in the United States, will offer screams and thrills at The Adventuredome at Circus Circus Las Vegas, beginning in late January 2014. As construction continues, the coaster cars that will soon speed around 1,300 feet of electric yellow track have started to arrive. The final piece of the track will be laid this week, and one coaster car is now on display at the indoor theme park, providing a sneak peek to those anxiously awaiting their turn to experience the coaster’s negative G drops, gravity-defying turns, and over-the-edge twists. The open–carriage cars, each accommodating only four passengers, are smaller than average, allowing the vehicle to make tighter, faster turns. The coaster’s unusual turns that tilt outward, combined with the open cars, create an exhilarating sensation.
Accompanied by a customized soundtrack, El Loco’s unique elements will provide guests with a 72-second, adrenaline-pumping adventure, including: A 90-foot ascent followed by a greater-than-straight-down diving drop producing a negative 1.5 “vertical G,” a 45-degree outwardly banked curve, and a 180-degree turn that races over the edge into a barrel roll. With its heart-racing drops, turns and twists, El Loco must undergo more than 2,000 safety test rides before any passenger can board. “As with all our rides, safety is our number one concern,” said Tom Nolan, vice president of operations for The Adventuredome. “El Loco has a number of unique elements that make it a thrill-a-second ride, and this extensive testing process will ensure that every rider has a safe and fun experience.” Designed by S&S Worldwide, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of vertical and family thrill rides, El Loco pushes the limits, allowing riders to enjoy movements never before experienced.
Well, gang, we’re getting ever so close to the evening, when that guy in a red suit jets across the sky. My seventh great-grandson was born a few days ago, and he has arrived safely at his home. Can’t wait to greet the guy with white hair and beard. That’s it for this week.
I’m outa here!