Vicki Barbolak, who opens Thursday at the Laugh Factory inside the Tropicana Hotel/Casino, is one of America’s funniest and most authentic comedians. She was a fan favorite and top 10 finalist on Season 13 of America’s Got Talent in 2018 on NBC. Howie Mandel told Vicki and America, “I think you just came up with your own sitcom, you’re wonderful I love you.” And Simon said, “I think you’re the best comedian we’ve had on this show.” Vicki was also featured on the 2019 AGT Champions show and Britain’s Got Talent Champions.
When Vicki was 38 years young, she saw an ad for a stand-up comedy class. That class changed her life. Vicki quickly realized that making people laugh gave her more happiness than she ever dreamed possible. After a few years of open mic nights, Vicki was taken under the wing of Mitzi Shore, owner of The Comedy Store where Vicki developed as a Comedian. E! Entertainment, in its True Hollywood Story of the Comedy Store and its owner, Mitzi Shore, predicted Vicki would be the next “breakout star” to come out of that famed institution.
Drawing on her roller-coaster life of working in a family carpet business owned by her dad, a former Pittsburgh Steeler, dueling with ex-husbands who think alimony is an Italian ice-cream flavor and raising two great kids all while living in the ultra-posh Vista Manor Trailer Park near San Diego. Vicki has created a comic persona that has earned her well-deserved praise. She is considered unique both in the character she has created as well as the fresh material she consistently delivers.
In 2007 Vicki won Nickelodeon’s “America’s Funniest Mom” show hosted by Roseanne Barr. Roseanne was so impressed that she hired Vicki as one of her writers and requested that Vicki open for her at the New York New York Casino in Las Vegas. In addition to being crowned as America’s Funniest Mom, Mark Ross, and Bob Reid, Talent Coordinators for the Jay Leno Show selected Vicki for the 2010 Jay Leno Laugh Squad. Family Circle Magazine’s September 2011 Issue profiles Vicki as an Expert in Joke Telling for their feature article, “How to Do Anything Better”. Vicki’s true story about performing Stand up at a funeral was included in Mark Schiff and Rich Snyder’s Best-Selling Book, “I Killed, Road Stories from America’s Top Comics”.
Vicki was one of six comediennes winning a nationwide search for “Jenny’s Comedy Diva’s” on the Jenny Jones Show. Vicki also was the first winner of “California’s Funniest Female” Contest. Vicki is also the proud winner of the “Russian River Gay Comedy Festival.”
Since being on AGT, Vicki Barbolak has embarked on an international tour and is selling out shows everywhere. Vicki will be doing two shows nightly, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., through Sunday at the Laugh Factory. Call 1-800-829-9034 for reservations and information.
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In honor of National Historic Preservation Month, Nevada Preservation Foundation (NPF) today commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Plaza Hotel & Casino by bestowing its bronze plaque to the iconic downtown property at a special event with city of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. The Plaza is the first commercial building to be honored with NPF’s venerable bronze plaque, which celebrates buildings that are at least 40 years old and raises awareness of living history, iconic architectural design, and a building’s historical significance.
“The presentation of NPF’s bronze plaque to the Plaza marks a shift in the organization’s approach to honoring local buildings, legacies and sites, as NPF previously focused on only residential achievements,” said NPF Executive Director Cynthia Ammerman. “We look at living history and buildings realizing the importance of honoring institutional places that are not only iconic to the people of Las Vegas but to the world.”
“The Plaza is very proud of its heritage and excited to celebrate its 50th anniversary,” said Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel, who added the property received approval earlier in the morning to operate at 100 percent capacity. “It is a great honor to welcome guests to the Plaza and to be recognized by the Nevada Preservation Foundation for our unique place in Las Vegas history.”
“The Plaza sits on the site of the 1905 land auction that was the beginning of Las Vegas,” said Mayor Goodman who provided a proclamation from the city of Las Vegas recognizing the Plaza and its significant history. “What a legacy the Plaza has carried on throughout the years as a preeminent destination in Las Vegas. From Jackie Gaughan, Sam Boyd, Kell Houssels, Sen. Howard Cannon and Frank Scott, who were among the early ownership group, to Jonathan Jossel, Poju Zabludowicz and the Tamares team, the Plaza is truly a global icon.”
The Plaza’s official 50th anniversary date is July 2, 2021. NPF will be coordinating with the Plaza throughout 2021 to celebrate the milestone, including a revamped annual Home + History Weekend and holiday engagement. For more information: www.nevadapreservation.org.
The Baller Dream Foundation, in partnership with Blue Heron, and presenting sponsor Kamran Zand of Luxury Estates International, will celebrate its return to Las Vegas to honor two local “Ballers,” children who are currently being treated for cancer, on Thursday, May 27. An evening mixer and fundraiser will be held in one of Blue Heron’s newest show homes.
“After this long break, we are thrilled to be back in Las Vegas to honor two very special ‘Ballers,’” said Frank DeBlasi, the founder of The Baller Dream Foundation and himself a cancer survivor. “It’s through the generosity of the Las Vegas community from partners like Blue Heron and Luxury Estates International that make it possible to bring these incredible gifts and experiences to life for our ‘Ballers.’”
The Baller Dream Foundation is a nonprofit organization that lifts the spirits of children, young adults, and their families battling cancer. When Frank DeBlasi was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 29, he was truly fortunate to have a wonderful support network, which included family, friends, and co-workers. Recognizing this was not the case for several warriors battling this disease, the groundwork for a mission centered around children and young adults fighting all types of cancer took shape. Those served by this foundation are not called patients, or beneficiaries, but instead are called “Ballers”. A modern-day term that suggests one is doing well, feeling well and in control. These “Ballers” are incredibly resilient, courageous, and deserving of recognition. More information about the organization and how to get involved is located on the website https://ballerdream.org/ or on Facebook and Instagram.
The new Vegas Ballers who will be honored that evening include six-year-old Makenna Lai and 16-year-old Tanner Levi Greer. Lai is an energetic, sassy first grader. In June of 2020, she was diagnosed with stage four high-risk Neuroblastoma. Through five cycles of chemotherapy and now clinical immunotherapy trials, she is on the road to gaining control of her cancer. Lai is an amazing big sister to her little brother. Her personality is magnetic, and she can make friends with almost anyone. Even at her young age, she enjoys watching documentaries and cooking and travel shows and then sharing what she learned.
Kindhearted Greer loves to tell jokes and riddles and enjoys making those around him smile. In November of 2019, Greer was diagnosed with B Cell Pediatric Lymphoma. He fought hard and eventually sent his cancer into remission. Then, in November of 2020, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and realized the journey was not finished. He fights through, always with the same sweet positive attitude, never giving up. He continues to joke and laugh often.
“Blue Heron is proud to host the Baller Dream Foundation’s first Las Vegas fundraiser since pre-COVID,” said Tanja Anguay-Brennan, VP of Business Development at Blue Heron. “Tanner and Makenna have been fighting cancer hard. We are in their corner and applaud their bravery.”
This fun, inspiring event will be held at the latest show home by design-led development firm, Blue Heron. Event attendees will be treated to “Sips and Bites” by Cut and Taste, live entertainment and a ceremony to honor the new Vegas Ballers. Details, tickets and sponsorships are available on the website https://ballerdream.org/lasvegas or at Blue Heron Ticketing.
Drai’s, the world-renowned epicenter of Las Vegas day to nightlife, will celebrate The Strip’s first holiday weekend since 2019 with a four-day weekend of parties. Memorial Day weekend will also bring the much-anticipated return of Sundrais with DJ Franzen, the award-winning party held every Sunday, to the stunning rooftop pool and club found 11 stories high at The Cromwell.
On Friday, May 28, and Saturday, May 29, DJ Franzen will also usher in the unofficial start of summer with nighttime performances at Drai’s Nightclub. Plus, Drai’s Beach club, the only rooftop oasis towering above the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, will be serving up the hottest day parties throughout the holiday weekend with DJs spinning daily through Monday, May 31.
Since 2015, Sundrais with DJ Franzen has been widely recognized as the epic Sunday party on The Strip to close out the weekend. The City of Las Vegas recognized the unprecedented weekly event and proclaimed the day as DJ Franzen Day, honoring the popular DJ with the key to the City. Drai’s will honor that day on Friday, May 28, with a special engagement with DJ Franzen.
Named the “All-Time Best DJ in Las Vegas” by Las Vegas Weekly in 2020, DJ Franzen has been making monumental moves and breaking records since his Bay Area start in the early ’90s when he was just 13 years old. One of the first Twitch ambassadors, DJ Franzen has been streaming live at www.twitch.tv/DJFranzen, where he’s now topped more than 200 hours live. Fans of his Twitch include Drake, who, in addition to bringing Franzen on for countless private performances, has given him a slot on his radio show. Franzen’s even mentioned in one of Drake’s songs. For more than 20 years, Franzen has introduced radio listeners to chart-topping hip-hop and R&B legends in the making. Franzen is currently a D’USSÉ brand ambassador, on-air DJ at Las Vegas’s Hot 97.5 every Friday, and headlines throughout the U.S.
DJ Maria Romano will get the weekend started at Drai’s Beach club on Friday, May 28. Saturday, May 29 will bring Baddies Only to the Beach club DJ booth, with Patrick Cornett on Sunday, May 30. Blueprint Sound Takeover will keep the party going on Monday, May 31. Drai’s has built a reputation for cultivating a home for live entertainment in Las Vegas with a roster jam-packed with talent and full, 45-minute performance sets, combining the vibe of a club with the sound and lighting of a major live music venue.
Drai’s Beach club is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drai’s Nightclub is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. – 3 a.m., and also on Sundays beginning May 30. Reservations and bottle service requests can be made either online at www.draisgroup.com or by emailing [email protected].
Well, gang, hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend. I know I will.