From: Norm Johnson
For: Column for 12-24-2015
A few years ago I met a young lady who was at the then Imperial Palace Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. She appeared to be the real McCoy. I said, “Hello Dolly, good to see you again.” Well guess what? It was not her (Dolly Parton) it was a tribute artist. But not just any tribute artist. No sir! This was a very special lady. I recently ran into her and this time we sat down and I interviewed her. So, let me tell ya all about her.
The highest praise a tribute artist can receive is from the person they are paying respect to. And, when Dolly Parton was being interviewed by “Q Magazine,” she replied to the question of what she thought about those who do impersonations of her: “There's one girl called Sandy Anderson who's the best one. She looks the most like me and a lot of my relatives are fooled by her."
Sandy Vee Anderson, the premier Dolly Parton tribute artist, lives in Las Vegas, NV. She flies out of McCarran International Airport for destinations to every corner of the world almost weekly, where she performs her tribute show dedicated to her friend, Dolly Parton. Anderson traded in working a 9 to 5 office job, for singing “9 to 5” when she began her award-winning tribute to Dolly Parton in 1987.
Ms. Anderson and her brother, Greg, were raised in a small rural community in Sacramento County, Ca. by her father, Andy and mother Shirley. After graduating from Mira Loma High School, Sandy got a job with the State of California as a typesetter, where she worked an overnight shift for five years. She eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1985, where she worked in the Scientific Systems department at Walt Disney Imagineering—the design and development arm of The Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation and construction of Disney theme parks world-wide.
In 1987, while taking a bubble bath and sipping champagne, a Los Angeles radio station was running a lip- sync contest and after hearing the announcement, Sandy picked up the phone next to the tub and dialed in. Sandy performed as Barbara Mandrell finishing in third place. She returned the next year as Dolly and won. Her career as a tribute artist was underway. “I loved doing Dolly, and one night in 1988 I was hired for a newscaster’s birthday party, where I was to perform as Dolly Parton. I had to use my actual voice,” Anderson smiled. “Well, I got scared and instead of singing, decided to lip-sync. When I noticed people getting up and starting to walk away, I thought ‘I better sing on my own.’ So the next song I used my own voice and the people started returning. I knew from that point forward that I needed to start using my own voice.”
That night changed her life forever. It gave her the confidence to reach for the Golden Ring. As a second job she began singing whenever she could, and started getting work around Southern California, gaining more confidence with each performance. In early April 1989 a co-worker of hers had read an ad in Variety Magazine, and told her about an audition in Las Vegas for a Dolly Parton tribute artist. The audition was for “Legends in Concert,” at the Imperial Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. Four days later Anderson auditioned as Dolly Parton before “Legends in Concert” creator and owner, John Stuart and producer Nelson Foster. Sandy was hired on the spot and opened on Monday, April 17th of that year. Her future was sealed. Sandy Vee Anderson would never look back!
1995 was an exciting and changing year for Sandy. She left the security of “Legends,” and went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to perform as Dolly in “Stars of Country.” The show lasted three months. But, Anderson liked everything about Tennessee, from the people to the area, and decided to stay, buying a house in Sevierville. Before long she found herself working with “Legends” again, this time at Dollywood where she got to perform on stage with the real Dolly, singing a sassy version of, “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.” A year later Legends hired Anderson again for a one-night special where she sang, “Islands in the Stream,” with the real Kenny Rogers.
For the next few years Anderson travelled the world with various production companies doing performances in such places as Berlin, London, Australia and Hong Kong. Sandy returned to Las Vegas in 2000, and continues to travel the world to this day. She is a three-time winner of the “Country’s Hottest Hitter Award” voted on by her peers, and has appeared on numerous national TV networks. At one time she was memorialized at the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society in Las Vegas, where her likeness, costumes, wigs, and interviews were on display. Sandy Anderson is under the management of Louis Mamo & Company of Las Vegas, NV.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Well, Andrew “Dice” Clay’s first engagement at the world famous Laugh Factory inside the New Tropicana Hotel/Casino, was a huge success. The show opened at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11th to a capacity crowd, and continued with capacity audiences through the weekend. According to management the stand-up star really loved the room. Over the three nights Clay was on stage, a number of headliners were spotted sitting in the audience, with one Chris Angel joining his buddy (Angel has already taped a spot in Dice’s new Showtime special) on stage, where he quickly wowed the audience with an illusion. Sunday night (closing night) comedians Carl LaBove and Allan Stephan stopped by and did guest sets before Dice’s regular opening act, Eleanor Kerrigan, hit the stage. For those who don’t remember the two guys, they were part of the Sam Kenison’s “Outlaws of Comedy” team. Clay returns to the Laugh Factory Jan. 1-4, and again Jan 21-23.
Calling all artists! The city of Las Vegas is looking for artisan vendors to showcase and sell their work at the 2016 Bluegrass Festival’s Craft Market. The festival will be held Saturday, April 9, 2016, from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Durango Hills Park. Applications are free and must be submitted by Feb. 29, 2016, to be considered. Vendor space will be approximately 5 by 10 feet or 10 by 10 feet. All artists who create original Americana/folk art and crafts in any variety of media, including paints, sculpture, print work, photographs, fabric art, jewelry, ceramics, woodworking and home décor, are encouraged to apply. Please complete the free Vendor Application Form available at http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/faces/home/office-of-cultural-affairs and follow the form instructions for submittal. Submissions will be reviewed by the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs management and the event coordinator. Artists are responsible for their own sales transactions and taxes, as there will not be any commission applied to the sales. For more information, call 702-229-3514 or visit www.artslasvegas.org.
For a unique experience to close out 2015 and welcome 2016, a variety of activities, including fireworks, a cruise, and a lot of dining specials, are being offered at Lake Las Vegas, the residential, golf, and resort destination surrounding a 320-acre lake in Henderson. Festivities and special packages are being offered by the Lake Las Vegas Master Planned Community, MonteLago Village Association and its restaurants: Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa, and Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa. For information, visit www.lakelasvegasevents.com.
Activities are on Friday, Dec. 31 unless otherwise noted and include: A free fireworks show will begin at midnight from MonteLago Village. Additionally there will be a DJ in the village, and village restaurants are offering dining specials. The La Contessa Yacht will set sail at 11 p.m. for a 75-minute cruise around Lake Las Vegas and viewing of the New Year’s Eve fireworks show at midnight. Tickets are $25 per person (must be 21) and include a complimentary flute of champagne. A cash bar will be available. Tickets are limited and can be purchased at www.lakelasvegasevents.com. The yacht will depart from the Lake Las Vegas Marina, 10 Costa Di Lago. The Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort is featuring a special dinner and entertainment event where guests also can enjoy the fireworks. The package includes overnight accommodations in a luxury room for two nights, waived resort fee, NYE dinner buffet for two, champagne toast at midnight, entertainment and fireworks.
For information, visit http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/nevada/hilton-lake-las-vegas-resort-and-spa-LASLKHF/offers/100083382.htm or call 702-567-4737.
The Westin Lake Las Vegas is offering several New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day events, including dinner and brunch specials, entertainment and viewing of the fireworks show. Additionally, guests may enter a raffle for a free two-night stay, including golf for two at the Reflection Bay Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas and dinner for two at Marssa Steak & Sushi Restaurant ($900 value). Entry is free, but the winner must be present to win. The drawing will take place in the Arabesque Lounge following the fireworks. For information and reservations, call 702-567-6000 or http://www.westinlakelasvegas.com/.
Well, gang; I will be celebrating my 82nd Christmas this Friday with my family and friends. It’ll be a very Merry Christmas, please believe me. Heck, I’ve had a great life and am looking forward to a fantastic 83red year on this great land of ours. We, Americans all, have it pretty darn good I would say. I know I am very proud to be an American! I’m outa here!