WHO'S WHO AND WHY DO WE CARE
What makes Las Vegas an interesting place to visit, and live? For some it would be the gaming, and for others it might be the entertainment. For many people, it is both. What happens here, and places like LA, and New York that pulls us to such an experience? Who are these people who provide us with the opportunity to have something that we seem to need and crave, that we would line up in long lines, crowd ourselves in a room, and travel far distances for a peek at an illusion? What purpose do these creative environments serve? Who are these people whom we call celebrities and are there real people behind their acts?
I have seen quite a few shows, and met a lot of people since I moved to Las Vegas. (Norm Johnson. introduced me to many of the people that I met.) Growing up in Ohio, in the Mid-west, I did not have access to the stars or shows that the east and west coast have. Most of my exposure was to the small and large screen. It wasn't until later, that I discovered there are real people behind those famous and talented names. It's not that I was star-struck, but it was another lesson in illusion and reality. Being a sensitive and experiencing fame on the screen, I was separated from who these people really were. Many seemed bigger than life!
I remember when I was in Palm Beach working, and I got a call from a well-known person, and she said “yes, this is the ____.” I had just started my business, and as fate would have it, it started off with a “grace” beyond my expectation. I had an inside look at all kinds of people's lives. I started meeting incredible personalities, and worked with many well-known clients. Wow, they had a life going on just like I did. The result of this experience was an appreciation of the hard work that they put in. It was not all “fun and games.” Today with the internet, all of the magazines, and everyone in everyone's personal business, I might have missed the mystery of my discovery that people are people doing their work. Presidents, singers, actors, sports personalities, religious figures, are all performing at their jobs and trying to live a life at the same time. Why do we care so much about them
I recently saw Bob Anderson at the Palazzo Hotel. I had previously seen his opening show “No Sir! It's the Man.” I had seen Bob's shows before, and there is no doubt he is a very talented entertainer. I already wrote about the opening show in a previous column. My husband Steve Shinn and I returned to see his show recently. In a few months, it appears that Bob went from impersonating Frank Sinatra to becoming Frank Sinatra. He had adapted Frank's personality, and voice, on another level. I know mediums that become another personality when hosting a personality psychically. I became curious. I asked my friend Norm to ask Bob if he lost his own personality when off stage in his personal life with so much time and effort portraying Frank. I know actors can often get very deep into the personality of their character. Actors often tell stories of people approaching them as if they were the character, rather than the actor. Bob said: “absolutely not.” He focuses before, and during the show, then lives his life as Bob Anderson. This is interesting to me and I would say it takes a strong self-esteem to hold one's self intact when people are worshiping you as someone else. Why is he so successful? Again what draws us to the music and the experience of watching someone be someone else?
Rich Little seems to be able to do the same thing. I have seen him off stage go in and out of characters, and back and forth in minutes, keeping every character in their personality that he impersonates. Then you see Rich as himself, and going into the next personality and back. He jokes around just being Rich Little. His show impersonating Richard Nixon was like going back in time. Amazing focus
Another impersonator that I found to be so incredible is Bill Acosta. I was not fortunate to know or see Bill in earlier years when he was named The Man with a Thousand Voices.” I saw his last show. Against a mountain of challenges, he was amazing in his ability to go from one character to another, allowing me the illusion of experiencing the character, instead of him. I know Bill kept his dignity and wonderful personality, because he has to be one of the most loved and respected people in the industry. How does he do that, and why did I enjoy his characters?
I just had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne Summers at the Westgate Hotel and Casino, where she will be performing, and has a spa/restaurant. I love what this lady represents. She has written 25 books, poetry, television shows, Dancing with the Stars, but kept her real personality, and a decision to stay young, and help many women do the same. She “walks the walk.” What does she do to show us the illusion we live in? She represents youth and anti-aging, and that talent doesn't die. I don't have a clue how many women she gave the courage, and inspiration to, but I’m sure its many...many... many. I love how she defies the concepts, of blonde, aging, and profiling. What does she have in common that draws us to her? Is it the reality that we can change the experience of aging?
Kelly Clinton Holmes is one of my favorite people, and performers. It takes a special woman to go hand and hand with a husband as talented and well known as Clint Holmes, and hold her own by keeping her career as successful as she has been for years. Kelly is such a talented singer, impersonator, comedian, and one of the most gracious entertainers around. Kelly is always promoting other talent and helping them move on. Kelly is another entertainer that can flip into other characters. Why do they do this? What is the attraction of leaving one's personal style, and becoming another persona?
Last week, I attended the ribbon cutting and show…The Elvis Experience featured at Westgate Hotel and Casino. I have never seen so many people crowd in the halls waiting for a glimpse of Priscilla, Lisa, the museum of Elvis's artifacts, and later a show featuring Elvis's music. I have a friend who now gives tours for the museum. She was and is ecstatic to be able to be involved in Elvis's memory. Mary's eyes light up with so much excitement just talking about Elvis. We know there are many who keep Elvis “alive” for us. What is it that a successful owner of large corporations, now Westgate Hotel and Casino, feels that the memory of Elvis is so important to us?
What attracts us to memories of Robert Goulet, and many others that I did not mention here? Yes we can say it was their talent and incredible presence...but there are others that have this as well. Why do a few have such influence that they live on through talented impersonators, writers, educators, and media? (The younger generation has its own version of this experience.) What do they do for us?
I learned a while ago, that we often stay with other person, because of the way they feel about themselves when we are with that person! One addicting powerful hook is pleasure.
What did the stars like Elvis, Sinatra, and Mary Wilson and the Supremes, and others give us, that talented others want to impersonate their work, and their name? They gave us an experience of pleasure and opened up something inside of ourselves, that was powerful. Pleasure is addicting, especially with life's trials. If the pleasure is great enough, we will follow it, even when the person is gone.
The illusion of the impersonation is showing us something, and we are getting another chance to recall the pleasurable experience or to experience it for the first time on a more personal level.
The irony is that these incredible talented stars, have stories just like ours...full of illusion, ups and downs and disappointments and successes. Are we all acting in this matrix of life, with the challenge of exploring our sub-personalities while attempting to find our true selves? In our life’s journey, are we all really impersonators?
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