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‘Vegas Unfiltered Blog’ Is Making the Big Move to ‘VEGAS 411’

As we begin year #5, ‘Vegas Unfiltered’ joins a well-established network of News, Reviews, Best-of/Worst-of lists and much more…


It’s been quite awhile since I’ve devoted space on this blog to things about myself. From the beginning, it’s always been about you, the reader. I started Vegas Unfiltered Blog with the goal to offer advice, recommendations, warnings, and ways to make the most of your hard-earned dollars.

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But sometimes I’ve told you a little bit about my own personal matters, too. Like when I decided to move to Sin City from rural Oregon. And when I shared my personal loss of beloved pets. And the time I stayed up all night, traumatized by seeing the Las Vegas Strip being boarded up and chained on Pandemic Shutdown Night.

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Now I’m going to share another personal event, but this one will affect people in the entertainment industry, hospitality workers, and regular readers just as much as myself. In the weeks ahead, Vegas Unfiltered Blog will become part of a larger family: VEGAS 411. This multi-purpose website is a hub for Vegas-centric writers, commentators, and freelance workers such as myself. 

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VEGAS 411 also is also home to TicketKite, a ticket vendor where you can reserve seats to big productions like Mystere and Blue Man Group. It’s main focus, however, is ready-to-discover fare like Rock Candy, The Hilarious 7, Amazing Magic with Tommy Wind, and The BIG little Variety Show. It’s worth remembering that not every treasure performs inside an arena or a $60 million showroom.

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My responsibilities at VEGAS 411 will grow far beyond integrating and maintaining Vegas Unfiltered Blog. As their new Deputy Editor and part of the senior management team, I’ll be working with our writers to make a larger impact, expand our reach, and create sizzling new features. And I’ve already brought Clay Bushes, a like-minded no-nonsense colleague, on board to stir up some shit.

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I’ll also be VEGAS 411‘s “Man About Town”, so to speak. Throughout the year, I’ll attend events and openings, giving you up close and personal glimpses into everything VEGAS 411 covers. So get used to this smirky mug…it isn’t going away anytime soon.

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I don’t sugarcoat shit. I’m not Willy Wonka.

You can be assured that I’ll continue to give you the clearest and most helpful information available. When something is worth your time, you’ll know it, but I won’t spare any feelings when another asshole like Criss Angel or the next train wreck production like Magic Mike Live or R.U.N comes into town. As always, it’ll be with the intention of helping you make the most educated choices for your Vegas vacation.

“Probably Biased. Definitely Honest” – Sam Novak, Vegas Unfiltered/VEGAS411

Production Construction – ‘MEN OF THE STRIP’

Men are hard at work as ticket sales go live and an opening date looms nearer for Men of the Strip.

The following is a reprint of an article from 5/17/17…

THREE YEARS AGO

The number of details that have gone into producing Tropicana‘s Men of the Strip, like any production, have been daunting. Hours of planning, casting, networking, legalities and preparation must bring those elements together before a single performance is tallied. But they all get traced back to one thing…an idea.

Singer/writer/producer Jeff Timmons is the brains (and considerable brawn) behind Men of the Strip, the new show bowing this month at Trop’s Havana Room. As the story goes, Timmons was guest-hosting Chippendales at Rio a few years back when he became inspired to create his own cutting-edge male revue.

From there, the inevitable avalanche of brainstorming, financing, auditions and show creation yielded a nationwide tour that culminated in a triumphant Vegas showcase. Alas, things came to a grinding halt after a tragic event. Despite the successful run and a ravenous fan base, Men of the Strip was shelved indefinitely.

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Inside the Henderson, NV dance studio during costume fittings…

FOUR WEEKS AGO

This spring, the creative process is back again in full swing. Earlier in April, three key players from Men of the Strip‘s creation converged in Las Vegas for a relaunch…this time on a much larger scale (last month I reported on the expanded show/nightclub/pool party concept here). And as promised, I was there to capture some of the preparation and speak with members of the team…both new and returning.

Timmons was front and center…and all around the studio…during auditions for new dancers. An open casting call had been announced in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for the first two days of April, with candidates encouraged to pre-submit video demonstrations of their skills.

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Mike Foland arrives at Tropicana with rookie Tyler Froehlich…

Social media plays a big part in casting these days. Show choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard, returning from MOTS’s initial run, reached out to various dancers in the industry. He also stepped out of the box by direct-contacting newbie Tyler Froehlich, whose Instagram page he happened upon.

Both Timmons’ and MOTS’s Facebook pages broadcast the auditions live, with viewers encouraged to chime in on their favorites. The show’s financier Mike Foland told me that the cast would constantly be interactive with fans, both online and after each performance. He wants the audience to get to know the men as individuals and enjoy their unique personalities as much as their looks and dancing skills.

With a projected start date looming and ticket sales about to go live, only one week passed before the cast was chosen, notified and assembled to begin rehearsals. I stopped by the following Monday at The Stage, a professional studio in Henderson, where the men were already sweating through their paces.

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Choreographer Packard (far right) and Men of the Strip 2.0

Timmons wasn’t present on the day of my visit. As has been the case since announcing the residency, he was making the rounds of a media publicity blitz. That means traveling to various cities, appearing on talk shows and doing interviews to promote his baby.

Mike Foland greeted me and showed me around as costume fittings were underway. I immediately recognized the uber-cool biker costumes that opened up the show in 2014. Over in the main studio, choreographer Packard was shouting out instructions for that very same number: “Okay, helmets on your shoulders. One-two-three, thrust, turn, turn!” (or something to that effect).

After putting the dancers through their paces, Packard discussed his goals for MOTS 2.0. The multi-talented choreographer/dancer/TV star is fresh from directing his first film, PITCHFORK, a horror thriller (released on Blu-ray and DVD this month).

With creativity in overdrive, Packard said he has taken the best of the Mandalay Bay show and pared it into a fast-moving 90 minutes designed to leave audiences out of breath.

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“We’ve got a great bunch,” he said. “They’re deep into the third number, and it’s only been one week. It took a month to get this far the last time around. We’re lucky to have gotten a really good group. The challenge now is to teach what we already have to a whole new cast of men…” Packard confided.

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Advertising materials inside the resort will soon blanket the city…

Fortunately, he’s inherited ample support from the group’s mentor-figure, returning performer Joel Sajiun. Dominican Republic native Sajiun moved back to South Florida after MOTS disbanded, waiting for a phone call. “Three years I wait. Three years! I was about to take a construction job next week when the phone rang” he said. “It was fate.”

Foland echoed that sentiment. “We waited a long time for Men of the Strip to come back together. We had to heal first. When we were ready, it was hard to find the right place”. He and others scoped numerous locations in Vegas and came close to signing a deal with The Stratosphere (the former Poly Esther’s nightclub). “Then Havana Room was presented to us, and we knew this was it. Everything fell into place”.

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Mike Foland surveys the Havana Room after meeting with Tropicana execs…

Now that the team is back in action, Joel Sajiun finds it hard to keep his emotions in check. He choked up several times during our conversation. The dancer recounted stories of special-needs audience members who attended the nationwide tour, and one dedicated fan whose family sent a message of gratitude after she had passed away.

“What we’re doing here is special. It isn’t just a male stripper show. In some way, we’re making people feel better and affecting lives. Anybody can give extra attention to a pretty girl in the audience, but to us, everyone is special.”

As he stood up to rejoin his partners, Sajiun stopped and looked me in the eye. “This sounds funny, but what we’re doing here…somehow it’s special. It makes a difference to people. I know it does…and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

LAST WEEK

Timmons and Foland sat down with me at the Tropicana‘s casino lounge last week to discuss their progress. They’d just come from a meeting with hotel execs. Both were energized by the challenges involved in organizing a residency versus a tour.

“Last time around was easy!” said Timmons. “When we were touring, we just advertised at a city, showed up in our bus and performed. Now it’s a whole different game. I’m trying to make sure we’ve got coverage in People magazine, US WeeklyTMZ. We’re learning the intricacies of Vegas marketing…taxi ads, ticket brokers, hotel concierges, timeshare people. You can’t just erect a billboard here and expect people to line up.”

Havana Room never had a resident show before” Foland added. “We’ve needed to work with Ticketmaster to map out the space, arrange seats and decide on price points. Glenn has to rework production numbers for the uniqueness of the floor layout and audience placement. It’s tough!”

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Timmons and Foland chat with industry colleagues outside of the Viva Vegas awards….

With only two weeks to go before opening night, I joined the cast and management of MOTS for the Viva Vegas TV Awards celebration at nearby Mandalay Bay. That industry-centric event had already nominated MOTS for “Best Male Revue” (their showcase performance at MB in 2014 made them eligible). They ended up taking the prize over more established brands like Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under.

Clearly, the word has gotten out that Men of the Strip will be a formidable entry in Vegas male revues. Coming out of a three-year holding pattern, that’s encouraging to Timmons: “You know, we waited a long time for this. Tragedy struck and nearly wiped us out…but I never gave up hope. The universe has aligned for us”.

“Now is the time. And we’re ready!”

Men of the Strip cast

Men of the Strip will perform Thursday through Sunday at 9 pm at Tropicana beginning May 25th July 14th. Tickets start at $49.99 (plus taxes/fees) and are available via this link. Use offer code “PARTY” for a 30% discount. 

Photos: [Sammasseur, Men of the Strip]

Terry Fator – AGT’s Biggest Winner Is Sin City’s Biggest Loser

Scandal-laden puppet-master rides his shit-spewing rocket to New York NY’s obscure upstairs banquet room…


People often say that you shouldn’t kick a man when he’s down. But it’s hard to resist when the person in question is ventriloquist Terry Fator. Once the jewel in The Mirage’s entertainment crown, this walking tabloid magnet tumbled so hard and so fast that he was asked to leave the property.

Even his Tery Fator store was replaced with a shop that sold Kim Kardashian’s nasty-ass underwear. Refusing to admit defeat and fade off into memory, the controversial mouthpiece “Man of a Thousand Voices” vowed to return and rise again. Sound like anyone you know?

 

Fator managed to secure a holiday gig last year inside the former Zumanity Theater of New York NY. The news didn’t sit well with Christoper Kenny, creator of “Edie“, Zumanity’s host for more than a decade. You see, through his residency Fator has garnered a well-documented reputation of being a homophobe and bigot.

Click here to continue reading via VEGAS 411.

APERO Is Sexy, Sassy, and a Whole Lotta Fun


My latest for CHIC Compass Magazine revisits the fabulous show with DNA from ZUMANITY and Le Reve…

The state of entertainment in post-pandemic Las Vegas is one of turmoil and flux. Long-running productions have permanently shuttered, and legendary stars have been shown the door. Fortunately for some entertainers and creative minds, new opportunities have arisen. That’s how APÉRO was born.

APERO is a sexy new revue presented at Baobab Stage. A swanky, intimate showroom within Baobab Café, Baobab Stage is located at Town Square on South Las Vegas Boulevard. Featuring talent from nowshuttered ZUMANITY by Cirque du Soleil and Wynn’s long-running LE REVE – The Dream, APÉRO takes the finest ingredients of those world-famous spectaculars and blends them into a delicious, fizzy cocktail delivered right to your seat.

APÉRO‘s premise is built around the aperatif, an oh-so-French tradition of early-evening libations and nibbles (something you’re invited to partake in before and during the show). An ultra-hot cast of men and women meet, flirt…and try to impress each other with feats of grace and strength. A threadbare concept to be sure, but who cares when the antics are this sexy?

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Continue reading by clicking here via CHIC Compass Magazine…

Hot Guys of Vegas: Guitar Heroes

Songs sound so much better when the visuals match the music


“Hey, don’t objectify me. I’m a serious artist”. Yeah yeah yeah….we’ve heard it a thousand times. Beautiful people often complain that they aren’t respected for their talents. Yet most of us grew up in a time when you had to be MTV-ready to make it in the music industry. Just ask Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees.

Jeff Timmons of ’98 Degrees’ Weathers the Storm

Perennial “Hot Guys” recipient Jeff Timmons doesn’t play guitar

These days, TikTok and Instagram have made  “models” out of millions, so very little has changed. Luckily for readers of this column, three Vegas hunks have been strumming their guitars like they’re pumping iron at the gym. So here they are…Hot Vegas Guitar Heroes of 2021

Michael Shapiro –  singer/guitarist/producer

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Do you remember that old Burger King jingle “It takes two hands to handle a Whopper“? Well, Michael Shapiro not only has two full hands, but he also wears hats in two separate bands. As front man to both Many Miles Away and Reckless In Vegas, Shapiro does more in one evening than most do in a week.

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I first chatted with the handsome musician when we were guests on What The Cluck, a topical comedy chat-fest by The Bronx WanderersVin A. Prior to that, I’d enjoyed Michael’s tribute to Bruce Springsteen in World’s Greatest Rock Show at The STRAT. During the pandemic, Shapiro was busy writing music for his newest musical venture. 

Produced by Paul Fletcher, MANY MILES AWAY debuted their new songs in a showcase at The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails (inside Cosmopolitan) earlier this week. It was a star-studded affair attended by movers and shakers like man-about-town Mark Messina, comedian/actress Elaina Bhattacharyya, Paula Maggio, Vin A. (of course), his behind-the-scenes muse Elizabeth Hunt, Review-Journal entertainment columnist John Katsilometes and singer Travis Cloer (see below).

May be an image of 5 people, people playing musical instruments, people standing and text that says 'RECKLESS IAVEGAS A MODERN TWIST ON VINTAGE VEGAS Thursday, July 15, 2021 Italian American Club 2333 E Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89104 TICKETS $65 Dinner 6:30-7:00pm-- Show 8:00pm For Reservations go to iacvegas. or call (702) 457-3866'

This coming July 15th, Shapiro’s Reckless In Vegas will be back onstage at Italian American Club. Overflowing with style and sexiness, the retro-cool Reckless In Vegas takes vintage swagger and turns it on its ear with modern interpretations. Seating is 6:30 pm and you can get tickets/info by clicking here. This is one night on the town that you won’t want to miss.

Travis Cloer–  singer/guitarist/actor

 

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Photo by Dianne Davis

It’s impossible to follow Vegas music and NOT know Travis Cloer. A rip-roaring bundle of positive energy, Travis is beloved not just by fellow musicians and fans, but by the entire Sin City community. And because he’s smokin’, Travis has made it onto my Hot Guys of Vegas column twice. 

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Last November, I told you about the Jersey Boys star’s Christmas single Holiday With Me. Now he’s prepared to heat up the summer charts with Standing Here. Releasing this week, Standing Here finds the crooner fresh off a sold-out Composer’s Showcase at NOTORIETY, where he performed the new ballad.

Produced by popular Vegas entertainer Frankie Moreno, Standing Here is the type of song you play during a relaxing summer drive. Close your eyes, imagine you’re riding along a country road with the windows down, and listen to a sample right here. Standing Here is available for pre-order via the same link. 

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Thanks for the great vibes, Travis!

Miles Schon – singer/guitarist/songwriter

 

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Miles Schon is as handsome as he is talented

If I have to explain why our final Guitar Hero made the list, perhaps it’s time to visit an optometrist. Miles Schon is the ultimate hot musician. Handsome, humble, charismatic and an ace on the strings, he’s got the DNA to back up his impending super-stardom.

Miles is the son of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Neal Schon. Dad has been involved with such legends as Journey, Santana, Joe Cocker, The Allman Brothers, and Sammy Hagar. When you grow up in that type of household, you’re bound to have a passion for great music, too.

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Music is always a collaborative effort, and Miles found his perfect partner in Michael Shapiro (above). The two formed MANY MILES AWAY, a moniker undoubtedly inspired by the younger Schon’s first name. The two even wrote a single sharing the same title, which they performed in Salt Lake City earlier this year:

Miles cites R & B, pop and metal as his primary musical influences. An avid jock, he enjoys the great outdoors, which explains his stunning physique. Excited about a successful first Las Vegas performance at The Barbershop last Monday, Miles is eager to learn what comes next:

“We have no idea what the future holds. Looking back on looking into the future…I had no clue and still don’t. Just keep grinding and be the best you can be.” – Miles Schon

Photos from recipients’ social media and websites. Caricatures by Neal Portnoy.

 

Brent Barrett – Celebrating 40 Years On Broadway


Most entertainers put their heart and soul into a performance. But actor/singer Brent Barrett once put his life and limbs on the line for a role. While preparing for a German production of Phantom of the Opera, Barrett suffered a painful accident that resulted in a badly broken leg.

With only two weeks to go before opening night, the handsome Vegas resident underwent surgery and rehabilitation so that the “Phantom” could go on. Still sporting a metal plate in his lower leg three years later, he laughs it off as just another chapter in a stunning career…one that spans four glorious decades.

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This July 11th at the Italian American Club, Brent Barrett will be presenting 40 Years on Broadway, a single-night career retrospective. Click HERE to continue reading via CHIC Compass Magazine.

Las Vegas To Host PRIDE XR – The World’s First Hybrid Pride Event

All eyes will turn to sin city for a groundbreaking new virtual reality/live LGBTQ experience


Remember last summer when we were all going batshit crazy with cabin fever thanks to a certain virus? Well, the brilliant minds at Fresh Wata Creative decided to host events outside of their home base at 3905 W. Diablo Drive (near Allegiant Stadium). Topless revues, drag shows, comedy acts and more drew crowds of locals and visitors alike And just like that, Dreamland Drive-In was born.

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Fast forward twelve months, and now Fresh Wata‘s interior has been transformed into StarBase, a hybrid event center for in-person and virtual-reality functions. Born out of the entertainment needs of a deeply-changed society, StarBase is fully equipped with high tech, ten rooms of excitement and a team that’s ready to welcome revelers to our new reality.


StarBase’s creators believe hybrid events are the future for companies and brands post-pandemic and wanted to give event planners a turn-key solution by booking the event space. In hosting your conference or party at StarBase, you have the option to live stream content out to Facebook, Twitch or into the StarBase building.

There are many firsts at StarBase from the first NFT gallery in Las Vegas, to being the first fully operable hybrid event venue in the world featuring a digital twin in Microsoft’s Altspacevr called StarBaseXR. Attendees can meet at StarBase physically and virtually. StarBase XR is a world presented by a group of developers and professional producers at Fresh Wata, to replicate the venue as a 360 environment online.

StarBase XR can be visited in virtual reality from a headset, like an Oculus 2, or a Mac computer or PC. In other words, the venue is not limited to the physical location in Las Vegas and in general the team believes the sky is not the limit! Engagements will be held virtually inside StarBase XR for those unable to visit in person.


This weekend, Pride XR will lift off from the StarBase launching pad. PrideXR is the world’s first live/VR global LGBTQ Pride event:

StarBase and Dreamland presents PrideXR, the world’s first hybrid live/virtual reality Pride event on June 25 and 26, presented by Bud Light Seltzer and InterPride, a nonprofit dedicated to producing Pride parades, marches, festivals and events.
 
 
Revelers can celebrate two ways – through a custom-built virtual reality world via VR headset, or in person. Hosted on social platform AltspaceVR, the VR world features a full Pride experience with a dance floor, red carpet, vendors, hologram DJs, charity auctions and a PrideXR parade. 
 
 
Friday, June 25 at 7 p.m. – Failed to Render Comedy Show 
 
 
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Stand-up comedians from Failed to Render, the first-ever hybrid comedy show, will take the stage in real life for the first time while simulcasting their show in VR. Following the show, DJ Celeste and DJ Skye will perform at the after party, along with live performances by Puerto Rican trap artist DAmire MAjor and more. Tickets are $35 and include a complimentary drink. Click here to order. Table and bottle service also available for the live show.
 
 
 
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Saturday, June 26 from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. – Starfire Saturday
 
 
 
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Edie from Faaabulous! The Show will host the hottest LGBTQ+ dance party in the galaxy, featuring hybrid live/virtual reality performances by DAmire MAjor, Kristine Mirelle, Vanessa Lynnae, DJ Celeste, DJ Skye, DJ Aravi and DJ Luke Dice, along with surprise guest appearances throughout the night. 
 
 
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Tickets give you general access to all PrideXR events at StarBase on Saturday, June 26th, featuring the world’s first hybrid live/virtual reality nightclub experience presented by Bud Light Seltzer. With dazzling out-of-this-world performances hosted by Edie from ZUMANITY, and special celebrity guest appearances all night. 

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Tickets are $39.05 and include a complimentary drink. Vegas Unfiltered readers can get $20 off by using code “sam20.  Click here to purchase tickets. Bottle service available first come first serve or book in advance via email at info@dreamlandxr.com. StarBase is located at 3905 W. Diablo Drive in Las Vegas, near Allegiant Stadium.

Voices United: MUSIC FOR LIFE Concert at Westgate Las Vegas

Stellar talent raises awareness and funds to combat opioid crisis through ‘Victoria’s Voice Foundation’


Ah, freedom…it feels so wonderful. Gone are the capacity limits, mask requirements and temperature checks. Restaurants are back to serving great meals, clubs are opening and entertainers have taken to the stage. As Las Vegas welcomes back conventions, sporting events and concerts, one of the first fundraisers out of the gate is MUSIC FOR LIFE: An Evening to Save Lives at Westgate Las Vegas.

If you caught my article from a few days ago, you know that June 5th will be an exciting evening with actor Mark Patton (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2) to benefit LGBTQ youth. As luck would have it, the star’s host hotel Westgate will have their own spectacular show on the same evening. On June 5th at 7 pm, a collection of world-renowned names will donate their talented vocals for Victoria’s Voice Foundation.

The story behind Victoria’s Voice is one of tragedy and inspiration. Westgate Resorts patriarch David A. Siegel and wife Jacqueline lost their lovely daughter Victoria to a drug overdose in 2015. Only 18 years old at the time, Victoria left behind a secret diary that her parents found with the help of a friend. The grief-stricken parents decided to publish the diary, along with helpful resources, as a book. Their hope is that Victoria’s first-hand account might change the path of other youth facing the same demons.

In the ensuing six years, Victoria’s Voice Foundation has grown into a a massive initiative of projects, events, videos and resources. They’re aimed at ultimately ending the tragedies that result from drug dependency and abuse, especially in our young population. You can learn more about the services available from Victoria’s Voice Foundation by visiting here.

After the chaos of 2020, the nation needs charities like Victoria’s Voice more than ever. That’s why Westgate Las Vegas is bringing the power of entertainment to their International Theater for a one-night concert like no other:


Music For Life

A tribute to life, this momentous program aims to feature the country’s top talent and recognizable artists to parents and kids alike, such as AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, Chris Kirkpatrick of NSYNC, and Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees, in one of the most exclusive venues in all of Las Vegas, The International Theater of Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.
Known to be the home of music icons Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick and Barry Manilow, this venue now becomes the site where David and Jacqueline’s friends and partners will come together once again to take the mission to the next level.
An Evening to Save Lives: MUSIC FOR LIFE is a special event to support the critical mission of the Victoria’s Voice Foundation to end the opioid crisis and save our youth. The work of the foundation is even more urgent now as the current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an alarming increase in the number of overdose-related deaths. All of your support and donations from this invitation-only event will help us continue our fight.

Music for Life is being produced by Johnny Wright, one of the most successful music executives in the industry. Wright has played a key role in the careers of multi-platinum acts like Janet Jackson, Menudo, Jonas Brothers, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and NSYNC. The concert line-up definitely reflects his background, with the inclusion of some significant performers from the boy band era.

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World’s greatest party rocker DJ Lux will bring the crowd to its feet. Then Chris Blue, one of the brightest new stars on the scene, will take to the stage. Chris is the winner of season 12 of The Voice and is rising up the charts with his new single “Moon”. Watch the video here.

The roster of entertainers should thrill a broad spectrum of attendees. Fans of Detroit-style R & B can groove to the smooth, sultry sounds of Soul of Motown. This five-person act, which sets a new standard for tribute groups, just returned to Westgate Cabaret with their residency show. In addition, members Sean and Brandon Godfrey have risen to new heights with their NPerson duo gigs at Westgate’s International Bar.

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Vocalists include Chris Kirkpatrick of NSYNC, AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys, and my personal favorite….Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees. Jeff and I go back a number of years, and this Sin City mega-hunk is always ready to dive into charity events…especially ones that take place in his hometown.

To reserve your seats for this one-of-a-kind evening, follow this link. Tickets start at only $39.95 (plus taxes/fees). If you’d like to learn more about Victoria’s Voice Foundation, head here.  

 

MUSIC FOR LIFE will be held Saturday June 5th at 7pm inside Westgate International Theater. Tickets start at $39.95 (plus taxes/fees). To better accommodate accessible ticket needs, Westgate Las Vegas Resort has requested that all special seating accommodations be solicited only through their representatives. Please contact a Westgate Las Vegas Resort representative for further help with your ticket purchase. Advance ticket purchase may be required.
Telephone Number(s):702 732-5755 OR 800 222-5361

Elm Street ‘Scream Queen’ Mark Patton To Host Vegas Event Empowering LGBTQ Youth

Embattled actor shares survival story that cuts deeper than fred kreuger’s glove…

It seems as though every horror movie franchise has an entry that’s perceived as the “red-headed stepchild”. There’s JASON X, in which Friday the 13th’s hockey-masked slasher is sent into space. HALLOWEEN 3 replaced Michael Myers with a mask-making Irish warlock (sounds absurd but is actually freaking awesome!).

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Some of these films eventually gain a huge cult following for being ‘ahead of their time’. That’s exactly what happened to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: Freddy’s Revenge. A sequel to Wes Craven’s 1984 breakout hit, 1985’s homo-erotic Part 2 broke nearly all the rules. “Nancy”, the survivor of the first film, was written out and forgotten. Robert Englund‘s dream-stalking Fred Kreuger was now able to occupy the real world. But the most daring decision was to make Kreuger’s new target an awkward teenage boy.  

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That might not seem like such a big deal now, but remember that in the 80’s, Jamie Lee Curtis and other female “scream queens” were screeching their way to the top of box office and video rental charts. To complicate matters,  Elm Street 2‘s sensitive male protagonist “Jessie Walsh” seemed to be (despite initial denials by the writer) more than just a little gay. He appeared to be PLENTY gay. And as it turned out, so was Mark Patton, the actor who brought Jessie to life. 

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I could delve into great detail on how Patton’s breakout role, combined with his closeted homosexuality, made life a living Hell for the young man. But you can relive it through Mark’s own words via the award-winning Scream, Queen – My Nightmare On Elm Street. This powerful documentary, which holds a 100% critics rating on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, dives deeply into Patton’s painful treatment, fan backlash, casting-director blacklisting, public slandering, and his eventual decision to leave Hollywood and the United States behind.

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Decades later, Mark was found in Mexico by private investigators who were hired on behalf of NEVER SLEEP AGAIN. This four-hour Elm Street documentary (ironically spearheaded by Heather Langenkamp, the actress he replaced) allowed Patton to revisit his experiences on Part 2, which now carries the label of “gayest horror film ever made”. Thus began his journey back into the limelight, one that changed Mark’s personal outlook from “victim” to “survivor”….and eventually to “social activist”. 

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Patton believes that his personal survival of Hollywood homophobia can inspire today’s LGBTQ youth, so he’s coming to Las Vegas for a special screening of Scream, Queen. What’s more, he’s inviting a group of gay Las Vegas teens (some of them homeless) to attend. Cineloggia Movie Prop Museum Gallery, in conjunction with THE CENTER (also known as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Las Vegas), will welcome these young people free of charge. 

Mark Patton devotees, Elm Street enthusiasts, and the general public are invited to purchase tickets to Scream, Queen and two related events. Here’s the press release: 


Mark Patton, star of Nightmare on Elm Street 2, will be appearing for the first time ever in Las Vegas on June 4th and 5th!! We will be having an amazing three events over two days…. LIMITED Tickets available!! We will be having a screening of Mark’s documentary Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street. a signing at Nick J Benson‘s amazing movie prop museum Cineloggia, along with a private dinner with Mark. Silverscreen Appearances is working on this amazing event for our clients.

Fan Dinner – limited to 20 tickets!  Screening – limited to 60 tickets!
Don’t miss your chance! June 4th and 5th!
 
As you may remember from my previous articles, fan-centric events really are a hot ticket. I’ve covered the annual Star Trek Convention, told you about meet-and-greet opportunities at The 35 Cinema, and given you insider details on this year’s DAYS OF THE DEAD in downtown Las Vegas. Now Sin City cinephiles have the rare opportunity to spend a few intimate hours with horror cinema’s most reclusive trailblazer. 
 
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The June 5th screening will take place at historic Commercial Center Plaza on East Sahara Avenue. The entertainment/shopping district is home to famed Lotus of Siam, The Vegas Room, The Nevada Room, Hellbound H0rror Collectibles, The Sci Fi Center and a future expansion of The 35 Cinema. Cineloggia will utilize adjacent Core Contemporary Gallery in order to accommodate the audience, which is capped at sixty attendees. 
 
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Westgate Las Vegas has graciously offered their services as host hotel for Mr. Patton during his first appearance in Sin City. The iconic resort will present MUSIC FOR LIFE, a benefit for Victoria’s Voice Foundation, on the same weekend. I’ll be providing information on that concert, which raises funds to combat America’s youth opioid crisis, in an upcoming article.
 
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If you’d like to attend any or all of Cineloggia‘s Mark Patton/Scream, Queen weekend events, tickets can be ordered here. And if you’d like to offer support for THE CENTER, they always welcome sponsors, volunteers, supply donations, and financial aid. Click here to learn more about THE CENTER.
 
Cineloggia Movie Prop Museum Gallery is located at 900 East Karen Avenue, Suite D214. Call 702.707.2484 for details and directions.
 

Hot Guys Of Vegas: Grab A Handful of ‘Rock Candy’

New male revue features pedigree talent, chiseled abs…and one sizzling lady…


With nearly every major production already re-opened or slated to, it’s inconceivable that world-famous Chippendales male revue was recently evicted from Rio Las Vegas. In the past few months, a reborn Thunder From Down Under has gained steam, Aussie Heat continues to pack Mosaic Theater, and the awful Magic Mike Live‘s relaunch at Sahara Hotel is now scheduled for August (several false starts later).

While Chippendales searches for a new home, some cast members have scattered to parts unknown or taken non-entertainment roles. But at least three of the cuffs-and-collar crew are back onstage in a fledgling male revue called ROCK CANDY.

ROCK CANDY has taken a clever casting route by filling its recipe with laid-off performers from major shows like Le Reve and Cirque du Soleil productions. There’s also a heaping helping of AUSSIE HEAT with a few sprinkles of Thunder. Add a dash of one sexy lady and you’ve got a colorful display of morsels that is worth digging into with both hands and your teeth.


Rock Candy Male Revue is an intimate fantasy journey through the mind of your hostess, Rosa. This is not your typical Male revue, where the men think they know how to fulfill every woman’s fantasy. Rock Candy will entice your mind and stimulate your senses from a female perspective, as Rosa directs the dancers like her muses to bend to her will and desires. Every performance is different, while Rosa’s mind wanders from voyeuristic fantasies, uniformed dreams, and even a bit of bondage play. The Rock Candy dancers are Rosa’s playthings as she daydreams the night away.


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Rosa Agius – Your Host

The big-budget Magic Mike Live could learn a few lessons from ROCK CANDY. Foremost is how to have a female host that doesn’t run interference between the guys and the audience. Mike‘s shrill emcee yanks you out of the fun with her incessant blather, but Rosa Agius serves as the perfect tour guide.

This super-sexy dancer/actress/choreographer/entrepreneur explores a variety of scenarios that draw you so deep, deep, deep into fantasy land that you just might need a towel.

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Sydney-born Rosa is one of the most ambitious entertainers in the city. Besides performing in ROCK CANDY, she runs her own apparel/furnishings company (Aussie Allure), operates an entertainment production company and is a VIP hostess at The Garden, the hunk-packed nightspot I told you about in this article.

Rosa probably has her lovely hands in even more enterprises, but thinking about it has made me exhausted. So let’s just enjoy a few of her fabulous photos before proceeding onto the men. 

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You can see more of Rosa Agius by following her Instagram page here.

Now let’s taste a few delicious samples from the extensive selection at ROCK CANDY. Keep in mind that the large cast rotates from performance to performance….so you’ll want to dig into the candy bowl more than once.


Miguel Rivera Laureano –

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When dancer Miguel Rivera Laureano made the move from Le Reve to Chippendales, his new employers couldn’t have been more pleased. “We’ve been trying for about two years to get him”, one of them confessed to me. And who could blame them for wanting to land this level of smoldering talent? Miguel is as good of a dancer as they come, and his looks and physique made him the perfect match for their cast.

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Seeing Miguel back onstage at Rock Candy this past week was a pleasant surprise. I’ve been an admirer of his for a long time (Le Reve was my favorite production until the pandemic forced its closure). I can’t say if he’ll return to Chippendales when they reopen, but he’s a terrific fit for Rock Candy, too. And…why wait for “then” when you can see him RIGHT NOW!

Follow Miguel’s Instagram right here.


Miguel Reyes Santiago –

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If you’re into Latin lovers, then one scorching Miguel is never enough. ROCK CANDY serves up two hot tamales with the casting of Miguel Reyes Santiago. Be careful not to confuse them, as Santiago was in the Le Reve cast, too. He’s also been in Cirque du Soleil‘s MJ One and Vegas! The Show. So while other male revues are more about the looks, Santiago’s resume proves that the studs of ROCK CANDY can really dance!

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Mr. Santiago’s manly chest and rippling abs are the product of hours of training. An avid cross-fit participant, he recently traveled to Tulum, Mexico, where he gave their famous “Jungle Gym” a try. Shirtless, of course. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Take a trip with Miguel Reyes Santiago through his Instagram page.


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Ryan Kelsey –

If you’re a follower of local Vegas bands, chances are that you’ve seen Ryan Kelsey behind the guitar. A born entertainer with show business in his blood, Kelsey plays venues of all sizes. He’s also a consummate dancer, having progressed from Chippendales swing performer and calendar model to their official Dance Captain.

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As is the case with Miguel Rivera Laureano, the handsome musician joined the cast of ROCK CANDY while Chippendales loyalists await the verdict on when, where, or if the original male revue will return. In the meantime, Kelsey is tantalizing audiences at Alexis Park Resort every weekend. His fans will undoubtedly follow him there. And you can follow Ryan via Instagram by visiting this page.

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Antonio GrandA manzano –

Young Cuban Antonio Granda Manzano is another one of those handsome hardbodies that you’ve seen all over town. You might not know his name, but it’s hard to miss his memorable features on billboards and ad campaigns for The STRAT hotel, Passion libido spray (say what?), Navi Collection swimwear and INMEX eyewear.

An international entertainer who’s been all over the world, the singer/dancer/actor has been in numerous stage productions, TV commercials and films. Antonio is also a horror movie enthusiast who spends many evenings attending the fright fests at West Wind Las Vegas Drive-in Theater. And he somehow finds the time to pick up extra cash as one of the hot staff at The Garden, along with his dear friend Rosa Agius (see above).

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Get to know Antonio a little better by stalking visiting him on Instagram via this link.

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Jeffrey Garrovillo –

Every class has a clown. And every group of guys has the “bad boy”. Jeffrey Garrovillo fulfills both roles in ROCK CANDY. As outlandish as he is naughty, the seasoned entertainer sports a physique as memorable as his distinctive hair style.

Jeffrey is as home in the water as he is onstage, being both an experienced technician for “O” at Cirque du Soleil and a former man of Chippendales (yes, another one!). If you want to how this sexy stud got that slamming body, then ask Teresa Van. She’s the owner of ENVY Training, which I profiled here. Jeffrey is a trainer at ENVY and excels at kickboxing, which explains his supple abs and impressive flexibility.

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If you’d like to dive a little deeper into Jeffrey Garrovillo, then check him out on Instagram right here.

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Nino Anthony SMith –

He’s a stunning dancer. An actor. A stuntman. A teacher. A host. He’s Nino Anthony Smith, the multi-hyphenate action man of ROCK CANDY. Nino might come across as a little intense, especially with his steely gaze. But once he smiles, you’ll see the little kitten behind Nino’s panther-like facade.

Speaking of panthers, word has it that Mr. Smith was part of the large cast of Marvel‘s mega-hit BLACK PANTHER. How’s that for an impressive entry on the resume? He’s also a big fan of horror films. One of his favorite actresses is Lisa Wilcox (A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 and 5), who happens to be the manager of The 35 Cinema right here in Las Vegas. And Nino has delved into the horror genre himself, playing the undead in a recent zombie flick.

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If you want to see Nino Anthony Smith very much alive and up close, get your tickets to ROCK CANDY. And you can follow his latest activities on Instagram.


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ROCK CANDY performs Friday through Sunday at 8pm inside Alexis Park Resort at 375 East Harmon Avenue. Audiences members must be 21 or over. Tickets start at $59.95 via the official website, but you can save up to 25% by ordering via BestofVegas.com. right here.

Photos: ROCK CANDY cast and show social media, Levi Walker and Noel Dahl. Photographers are credited at those sites.