If you like comedy, then you have one heck of a week to get your fill with what is going on at the Laugh Factory, inside The Tropicana Las Vegas, beginning Monday, Feb.12. First off local resident, and one hell of a funny comedian, Shayma Tash will be headlining, with Jason Love and Cole Parker sharing the stage from Monday through Friday, Feb. 16. Jamie Kennedy takes over the stage with a special engagement with showtimes set for 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Friday (the 16th through Sunday, Feb 18).
The big guy, Jim Belushi, returns with his Board of Comedy friends, after a very successful weekend at the Laugh Factory last year. Jim will perform two shows on Saturday, Feb 17, and Sunday at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. The first thing you need to know about Belushi is that he’s a performer. Not just an actor, not just a comedian, not just a singer, but a performer. Which is pretty much all those things put together and multiplied by two or five or something. The second thing you need to know—and this is, in some way, more important than the first thing—is that he has absolutely no shame. None. Zip. Zero.
Jim has been a favorite of film, television, and stage audiences for more than 30 years, one of the great leading character actors equally at home in drama, comedy, and is a gifted performer who can also hold a room as front man of his rhythm and blues band. A proud Chicagoan, Belushi graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Speech, Education, and Theatre before moving on to become a resident member of Chicago’s famed Second City for three years. In 1979 he left for Hollywood, where writer-producer Garry Marshall cast him in the Paramount Television series “Who’s Watching the Kids” and later in “Working Stiffs” with Michael Keaton. His Hollywood career took off from there.
Shayma Tash is a comedian and actress who has gained quite an impressive resume. She has opened shows for George Lopez, Bill Maher, and Dice Clay. Tash is also known for having played several pranks on celebrities on MTV’s.
Shayma was born and raised in San Francisco and San Diego by four parents – her biological mother (a flower child from Haight-Ashbury); her Turkish father (the black sheep of the family who moved to San Francisco to play with Santana); her step-father (a biker); and step-mother (a very nice Armenian woman). She is of Turkish decent, which is where she gets her unique beauty from. The name Shayma, if you’re wondering is an Arabic feminine given name meaning “beautiful“.
No conflicts in that household… Because of these influences, Shayma craved stability in her life. She became a comedian! Prior to her career as a stand-up comedian, Tash had many jobs, including as a black jack dealer on an Indian reservation, and a deli cashier. Growing tired of her job as a cashier at the Beef in the Sack Deli, Shayma got up the courage to audition for the open mike night at the Comedy Store in La Jolla, and within a few weeks she began performing at the club, where eventually she was asked to join the Comedy Store Players sketch group, which helped her develop her timing and various characters.
Shayma Tash now lives in Las Vegas, and commutes to various clubs throughout the United States where she headlines. She has performed for America’s troops in over 15 MWR tours including: Afghanistan, Korea, and Japan. Tash has extensive television credits including: the Keenan Ivory Wayans show, Make Me Laugh, and has Punk’d celebrities on Ashton Kutcher’s famous MTV show. She has appeared on Chelsea Lately, MTV’s Punk’d, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Best Damn Sports Show Period, and has appeared over a dozen times as a commentator for the E! Network. A favorite in the comedy circuit, Shayma Tash is an edgy, high energy performer that you won’t want to miss.
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The City of Las Vegas invites the public to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Charleston Heights Arts Center, Saturday, Feb. 10, with a free open house, class demonstrations, building tours, gallery exhibition, public art talks, afternoon contemporary dance performance and an evening of Big Band music. The center is located at 800 S. Brush St. Call 702-229-ARTS (2787) for more information or to RSVP for the events. The Saturday schedule is: 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Open House with class demonstrations from the award-winning Rainbow Company Youth Theatre, building tours, gallery exhibition and public art talks. From 2-3:30 p.m. Contemporary West Dance Theatre Performance live in the Jeanne Roberts Theatre for Performing Arts. And, at 7-10 p.m. Justin and the SwingBeats perform for the Big Band Gala Dance in the Ballroom.
The Contemporary West Dance Theater, formerly known as Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre, is dedicated to preserving and presenting the work of generations of great artists, choreographers, and teachers, as well as highlighting the work of emerging talent in a broad spectrum of dance styles. The company’s vision is to become distinguished ambassadors of America through the universal language of dance. Through the sharing of dance’s many rituals, these performers share Las Vegas with the world and bring back a little of the world in return.
Justin and the SwingBeats play Big Band standards of the Great American Songbook as well as jazz, iconic dance classics, pop, and Top 40 hits. RSVPs are strongly suggested to the Contemporary West Dance Theatre performance and the evening gala, as space is limited.
The Charleston Heights Arts Center was just remodeled, including a complete re-roofing of the building with Thermoplastic Polyolefin. All center bathrooms have been made ADA-compliant and renovated; this required extending the building in the front. Offices were reconfigured, and two classrooms were added. All drop ceilings have been replaced, and the center was repainted and re-carpeted throughout. Five of the seven air conditioning units were replaced as well as all air conditioning ducting; the other two units were previously replaced. The building has been made compliant with current fire codes and a new exterior building sign and trash enclosure were installed. Gas service was added to the building; lighting fixtures, electrical wiring and transformer were replaced. The theatre audio system was completely replaced. The renovations were estimated to cost up to $2,100,000.
A wee bit of history is needed here. The Charleston Heights Library and Arts Center opened in 1978, built with federal public works funds and opened in joint management with the Clark County Library District and the city of Las Vegas, which owned the land. The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District built the West Charleston Library at 6301 W. Charleston Blvd., opening Jan. 18, 1993. The library moved to the new building and the 1978 library building became the Charleston Heights Arts Center. The city of Las Vegas, through its three arts centers: Charleston Heights Arts Center, West Las Vegas Arts Center, and the Historic Fifth Street School, offers a diversity of programs and classes in performing, visual and public art. Arts education offerings include group and private dance, visual arts, drama and private music and voice lessons, Rainbow Company Youth Theatre classes, camps and performances, and summer dance camps. The arts centers additionally host a variety of cultural performances, including a children’s summer concert series; social dances, festivals and literary events for the community, and music, dance, and theatre events. Theatres, ballrooms, multi-purpose rooms and conference rooms are available to rent. Call 702-229-ARTS (2787) for more information.
Nik at Nite and his trio will be celebrating its 4th Anniversary of performing at the Tuscany Suites this coming Sunday. Joining him will be Joey Singer, Bob Sachs, and Mike Mechem from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.
A little bit of information about the leader of the band. It was Nicks love for the classic tunes from the golden era of song, and for the masters who made them famous that led Nikolas “Nik at Nite” Mastrangelo to discover and develop his performing talent. With the special touch of singing select tunes in Italian and Spanish, Nik also performs the best-known classics from greats like Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and Bobby Darin every week.
During the twilight of his performing career Frank Sinatra befriended Nik and gave him an open invitation to see his shows from backstage on The Las Vegas Strip. Taking that inspiration, Nik has since honed his skills as a performer, continuing his day job as an attorney. Over the years he has been backed by some the very best of the Vegas musical community including Gus Mancuso (multi-talented musician who worked for many years with the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine, and the Mary Kaye Trio), Vinnie Falcone, pianist and former accompanist and conductor for Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Steve and Eydie, and a host of other band and studio musicians. He’s had numerous return engagements at the Railhead at Boulder Station, the Chrome Room at the Santa Fe Station, the Bootlegger Bistro, and was a regular featured performer in the Plaza Hotel Showroom. Additionally, he is a frequent guest of the popular duo Zowie Bowie when they perform with their big band and has also frequently appeared on the TV show “At Your Request” where he, along with other noted artists donate their time and talents to support musical scholarships for young aspiring musicians. Nik has a repertoire of over 450 songs which consist of the very best jazz and standards of American popular music I must tell ya, gang, this is one heck of a show and it’s free. No cover charge. I also want to warn you, get there early if you want to get a table, as it fills up quickly. This is a damn good show.
I hope to run into you at Nik at Nite or at the Laugh Factory.