Column for 2-9-16
Last Thursday I attended the Clint Holmes monthly residency show inside the Cabaret Jazz Theater at the Smith Center. Now I may be prejudice, as I think Clint is a total throwback to the great days of entertainers like Fats Domino, Sammy Davis, Jr., and who can ever forget Al Jolson. I know a lot of you young people out there are going, “who is Al Jolson?” Well, he set the standard for all the singers who followed him on a Broadway stage, back in the 1920s through the late ‘50s: He would come out after a final curtain where he was starring and entertain his audience for another hour or so absolutely free. And, if there was a benefit, well you didn’t want to follow Jolson, ‘cause you would never get on. Jolson was and remains one of the greatest entertainers of any era. And I place my friend, Clint Holmes, in second place right behind Jolson. There should be an Al Jolson award in this city, since we’re supposed to be the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Just a thought!
I certainly got carried away with that little compliment didn’t I? So the title of the February show was, “What a Wonderful World,” and his co-star was another fantastic entertainer, Domenick Allen, who moved from our little village to live in Carmel, California, where he and his beautiful and talented wife, Leigh Zimmerman, created a very popular little bakery.
Let me tell you this right off the bat. It was one of the most energetic performances I’ve seen in so long, I can’t actually remember when I ever sat in the audience and was so well entertained. I must say, I believe it was when local (most beloved) resident Sonny King and Jimmy Durante starred at the old Desert Inn back in the mid-‘70s.
Clint came on first, of course, and sailed through “Route 66,” “Walking in Memphis,” and “99 Miles from L.A.” He then joined guitarist, John Wedemeyer, for a cool solo of “Brazil,” and the show was off and running at full speed.
What makes Clint Holmes so different from all the other acts in Las Vegas, or anywhere as a matter of fact, is that he doesn’t just perform the music as written or created. No, siree, he takes it home, studies the written words for hours, then he will listen to the music as performed by various other artists, and that’s when the magic happens. He literally breaks it apart, tossing it all over the room (in his mind) and carefully re-assembles it to his liking. And that’s what he did with “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” and “Chicago,” to the gratitude of his audience. Then it was time for his buddy, Domenick Allen to join him on the rather tight stage (but perfect for this venue). And, that’s when the energy (already at a very, very high) began to climb even higher, with the smooth rendition of “Sailing,” accompanied by Christian Tamburr on piano. I could go on and on about the dramatic performance these two men, along with the dynamic band, The Christian Tamburr Quartet, comprised of Jess Gopen (drums), Wedemeyer (guitar), David Ostrem (bass), and Christian (piano and vibraphone) produced, but needless to say, it couldn’t get any better than this. They paired up on such songs as “On the Road,” “Englishman in New York,” and “Space Oddity,” and other songs leading to an ending that was spectacular with “Everything Must Change,” which included a great sax solo by Domenick, followed by the two with, “God Bless America,” and “What a Wonderful World.”
All I can do is report this stuff. You have to go watch and come to your own conclusions. However Domenick, of course, will not always be there the next time (if there is a guest you can bet he or she will have a ton of energy to match up with Clint). Clint Holmes is my “Man.” He is a child of two talented people, and of unusual “genes,” that some people have and what makes them the exceptional entertainer of his or her generation. Thank God I’ve seen the best during my lifetime!
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Another friend of this writer, who I believe is headed for the stars, is Chadwick Johnson who will be presenting his special artistic way of singing a song, and some of his favorite personal songs, at the Italian American Club this Friday in the Main Showroom at 8:00 p.m. Johnson’s new show, ‘Addicted To Love’ celebrates LOVE in every sense of the word with remakes of songs by such artists as John Legend, Roy Orbison, and Sam Smith, as well as a handful of Chadwick’s very own originals! The show will be performed in the “Round,” which is a neat way of doing a show. Las Vegas Retro Vibe band members are: Jason Corpuz – Keys, Fernando Tort – Bass, Jeremy Klewicki – Drums, Carlos Mata-Alverez - Sax/ Flute/ Clarinet, and Jorge Machain - Trumpet/ Flugel Horn. Ringside seats are sold out, and I heard that there are some general admission tickets available at $20.00. Tickets may be purchased by going to www.IACvegas.com. For dinner reservations call 702-457-3866.
NASCAR fans flocking to Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 4-6 for the 2016 NASCAR Weekend are in for a treat. The superspeedway, through its partnership with Levy Restaurants, is providing a number of unique food items and menus designed for those looking for healthier options or avoiding gluten to thrill the most sophisticated of palates. During the three-day motorsports extravaganza, fans looking to avoid gluten will find paninis, tacos, beef brisket and specialty items like the Smokey Bacon Bloody Mary and Southwestern Street Corn.
“We have worked extremely hard to put together a top-notch menu that includes a wide variety of options to serve a range of dietary needs for NASCAR fans,” said director of operations for Levy Restaurants at LVMS. “Not only are we providing lots of healthy items, many made without gluten are available in locations throughout the speedway so fans can enjoy great food while not missing action on the track. LVMS will be a great place to have some great food and experience a wonderful weekend in Las Vegas, and we are proud to be a part of it all.”
Items without gluten have been available at LVMS for years and will be provided at nearly a dozen locations at the 1.5-mile superspeedway, including concourse concession stands, the Neon Garage, LVMS suites and concourse-level seating. Dozens of items made without gluten – from rice bowls, cobb salads and blackened Mahi tacos, to hot dogs, vegetable baskets and chicken fajitas – are part of the diverse menu Levy Restaurants has put together for LVMS visitors this year. In addition, Levy and Melissa’s Produce will continue to serve fresh and healthy selections in the Neon Garage, including fruit, blended fruit smoothies, salads and more. The partnership between Levy and Melissa’s Produce began in 2012 and gives fans fresh options to enjoy during their time at LVMS. Levy chefs have not forgotten about dessert. Fans can top their speedway experience with the new Checkered Flag Bites – a mix of bread pudding, brownie bites and strawberries drizzled with a vanilla cream sauce. Las Vegas has long been known for its food, and thanks to Levy Restaurants, LVMS can boast a wide and varied arrangement of tastes of all kinds during NASCAR Weekend.
Ryan Baker will stage a very special “record release party” at the Italian American Club this coming Saturday at 2:00 p.m. He will be presenting some of the music from his new album during the party. According to Baker he will perform a number of great, but obscure songs, as well as standards that everyone remembers. The title of the new album is “Timeless again,” and of course will be on sale at the premiere party for $10.00. Admission is $15.00 with complimentary appetizers tossed in. Music will be provided by leader Joe Lano on guitar, Dave Loeb at the piano, Jeff Davis on bass, Jess Gopen behind the drums, Eric Tewalt on sax and flute, and Rocky Lombardo on trumpet.
Well, gang, that’s about it for this week. Only three weeks till NASCAR weekend. I’m outa here!