Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Nov. Las Vegas Backstage Talk column-Casino Player Magazine

ayout 1Nov. edition-by MicheleLaFong

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Las Vegas Backstage Talk column in Casino Player Magazine-Nov.

Nov. edition-by Michele LaFong

Longevity, and the ability to stay relevant in the ever-changing music business has always proved challenging for even the most talented of artists.  Some however, have been able to transcend, and maintain their popularity throughout their careers despite taking a long hiatus. One such example is three-time Grammy Award winner Harry Wayne Casey, KC for short, of KC & The Sunshine Band. Their recent sold out performance at The M Resorts & Casino had the audience on their feet and dancing in the aisles.

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KC also proved to be quite “the showman” and comic. KC, now 61, and in-spite of his new-found weight-gain, was still able to shake his booty, moving and grooving in-step with his very talented ensemble of singers, and back-up dancers while simultaneously nailing and holding those high notes!  It was quite a workout! I was getting winded just watching him!   KC was very at ease on stage and demonstrated his sense of humor, often poking fun at himself.  “We play a lot of casinos. In fact, I may have had 1 or 1000 too many free buffets!”  His smile truly lit up the stage.  It was great to see KC shine, and come alive during his performance on stage, as that does not always translate in an interview.

K.C. & the S.B 035The costuming, wardrobe, choreography, lighting and production were also extremely well executed. There was never a dull moment in this artsy, entertaining and electrifying extravaganza. The show was very well paced, contained many costume changes, and experienced no lulls.  It was like a big dance party, a celebration of familiar hits which included; “Boogie Shoes,” “Shake Your Booty,” “Get Down Tonight,” “Give it up,”  “That’s the Way (I Like It),” to name a few…as well as some cover tunes from the release of their new album.  Celebrating over 40 years of performing together, KC & The Sunshine Band continue to tour all over the world, performing over 100 dates a year.

Another example of staying-power is the group Wilson Phillips.  Singer, Talk Show Host, Reality Star Carnie Wilson, daughter of Icon Brian Wilson, one of the original founding members of The Beach Boys, recently guested on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong, to promote her up-coming shows with Wilson Phillips at The Eastside Cannery.  Carnie, and childhood friend Chynna Phillips, daughter of Michelle and John Phillips of The Mamas and Papas, co-founded Wilson Phillips with her younger sister Wendy when they were in their teens.

Carnie & husband RobWilson Phillips band

I happened to be sitting directly behind proud mom, Michelle Phillips when Chynna introduced her out of the audience. I loved watching her react to Chynna’s many dramatic vocal runs on-stage.  I got a few really good photographs of the enthusiastic crowd on its feet, and the back of Michelle Phillips head!

Towards the end of the show, when Carnie introduced the band members, she also introduced her husband, Musician Rob Bonfiglio, and credited him for many of their arrangements.

Wilson Phillips did not disappoint.  They delivered a high energy, “feel good” show.  Their hits and harmonies are still in my head!  Backstage, I felt like I was at a picnic at my neighbor’s house. Everyone was “down to earth,” and fun to hang out with.  Carnie was looking forward to subbing once again as one of the Guest- Hosts of CBS’s “The Talk” that following week.

2013-09-20 17.33.16Grammy Award winner, Meat Loaf guested on LVBST recently to plug his new starring role in “RockTellz” and Cocktails” at The Planet Hollywood Showroom, at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.   This is an inter-active show with Q&A sessions about his 47-year music, stage and film career.  Performances incorporate his biggest music hits like “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” as well as “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” from his 1977 classic Bat Out Of Hell – the 3rd best-selling album of all time.

The shows run every Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday, Sept. 26 to Nov. 5. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m.

During my videotaped interview with Meat Loaf, I also asked about his recent stint on Donald Trump’s reality show, “The Apprentice,” on NBC when he lost his temper with Gary Busey.  His answer was quite interesting.  Excerpts of this video are posted on casinocenter.com

Meat Loaf is another fine example of a star that continues to stand the test of time and always manages to stay relevant.

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Speaking of relevant… Bill Maher returns to The Pearl Theatre at The Palms H&C, on Nov.2 & 3. He delivers an entirely new show with every performance.  Amazingly, he never seems to lose his place, stammer, nor ask “what should we talk about next…?  He generously invited me backstage to show me his “tried and true” way of cueing himself with notes without skipping a beat.  I’m really looking forward to that but remain painfully aware that this method may not prove to be as “user-friendly” with me!

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Pia Zadora, Jon Manfrellotti-LV Backstage Talk w/Comedian Michele LaFong

Nov. 15, 2013- 6-7pm PST 1230am in Las Vegas & The Web

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Pia Zadora guests in-studio on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Golden Globe winner, GRAMMY Award® nominee, ShoWest winner, accomplished singer, film and Broadway star all describe Pia Zadora. Performing since the age of six, for those who have seen her in concert, what comes to mind first and describes this multi-talented performer is simply this: Pia Zadora is the complete entertainer. For more information, visit http://piazadora.com or follow her on Twitter @OfficialPiaZ.

Consummate performer and Las Vegas resident Pia Zadora joins forces with another notable mainstay, Piero’s Italian Cuisine, with the opening of “Pia’s Place,” a space long known as the Monkey Bar. Opening September 19, Zadora will perform in the intimate room Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings indefinitely beginning at 9 p.m.

At “Pia’s Place,” the chanteuse reunites with legendary Sinatra pianist and musical director Vincent Falcone rounding out a quartet. Zadora will showcase her versions of standards such as “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Old Black Magic,” and “All of Me,” as well as a variety

Pia Zadora performs in “Pia’s Place” at Piero’s Italian Cuisine, 355 Convention Center Drive, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings starting at 9 p.m. beginning September 19. A cover of $30 includes two drinks. Must be 21 and over with a valid ID.

Jon Manfrellotti

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Actor/Comic Jon Manfrellotti guests on LV Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong in a backstage interview from his suite at The Riviera H&C, where he was trying out some new material at The Riviera Comedy Club.  Manfrellotti, has been Ray Romano’s opening act at The Mirage for the last fifteen years, in rotation with Comic/Actor Richie Minervini.

Manfrellotti got his first role in Flodder in Amerika! in 1992. Since then he has made several minor appearances in several mainstream shows. These include Law & Order, Seinfeld, Platypus Man, NYPD Blue and Mad Men. He has also appeared in several films including Grilled, Just My Luck, Welcome to Mooseport, Crime of the Century and Spy Hard.

His first major role was as Ray Barone‘s friend “Gianni” for 25 episodes on Everybody Loves Raymond and Doug Heffernan‘s friend “Gianni” in 1 episode of The King of Queens.[1] He enjoyed a recurring role on the comedy-drama Men of a Certain Age during its two-season run on TNT, appearing with Ray Romano— who created Everybody Loves Raymond with writer Mike Royce.

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Frank Caliendo, Robert Klein-Las Vegas Backstage Talk w/Comedian Michele LaFong

Nov. 15, 2013- 6-7pm PST 1230am in Las Vegas & The Web

Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

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Comedian, actor and impressionist Frank Caliendo guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Caliendo is perhaps best known for his impressions of famous actors Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro; former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; broadcasters John Madden and Charles Barkley; and talk show hosts Dr. Phil, Jay Leno, and David Letterman.

A veteran of televised comedy, Caliendo has starred in numerous television shows including “MADtv,” “Mike & Mike,” “Hot in Cleveland,” and his own series on TBS “Frank TV” in 2007 and 2008.

From 2003 to 2012, Caliendo was a fixture on the “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show where he worked with Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and the rest of the team. His “Frank’s Picks” segments were featured during the broadcasts of Super Bowls XXXIX, XLII and XLV.

Frank is appearing at The Orleans Showroom November 15 and 16 at 8pm.

Robert Klein

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Actor/Comic Robert Klein guests on LV Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.

In 1975, Klein was the first comedian to appear in a live concert on HBO. Since then, he has gone on to star in eight one-man shows on the network.

Among many starring roles in television, he has co-starred in “Sisters,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Stones” and “Heartland.”

Klein has also appeared in many notable films including “Hooper,” “Primary Colors,” “People I Know,” “Two Weeks Notice” and “How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days.”

He is appearing at The Suncoast on Nov. 16 & 17.   Showtime each evening is 7:30 p.m.  www.suncoastcasino.com.

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Dennis Miller, Uri Geller-Las Vegas Backstage Talk w/Comedian Michele LaFong

Nov. 7, 2013- 6-7pm PST 1230am in Las Vegas & The Web

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Dennis Miller guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Michele LaFong.

Celebrated as a witty comedian with an entertaining and intriguing stand-up routine, Miller keeps audiences laughing with his irreverent observations. A favorite of the public and critics alike, The New York Times said, “Mr. Miller is exquisitely attuned to contemporary foibles … his material can be scathing, his delivery low key … Mr. Miller reaches a bit farther than most comedians for the scorching comment … this smart aleck has an uncommonly sharp eye.”

Called “one of the premiere comedy talents in America today,” Miller emerged on the national scene in as the “Weekend Update” correspondent on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. After leaving SNL in 1991, Miller moved to HBO, where he hosted the critically acclaimed talk show Dennis Miller Live for nine seasons. No stranger to television talk shows, Miller is a regular on Fox News Channel’s Hannity and The O’Reilly Factor. He was also host and executive producer of CNBC’s Dennis Miller, which featured conversation, opinion and humor.

For more about Dennis and his radio show, click here.

Dennis is appearing at Caesars Palace with Bill O’Reilly on Nov. 15.

Uri Geller

Uri Geller guests on LV Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele Lafong and tells the story of how his appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson almost ruined his career.

Watkins Publishing has signed an authorized biography of Uri Geller which tells his life story and explores recent claims about his clandestine work with the CIA and the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, during and after the Cold War.

Geller is best-known for his Vegas-style act where he bends spoons, describes hidden drawings, and performs other paranormal feats.

Michael Mann, publisher at large for Watkins, said: “Uri is world-famous for mind reading and spoon bending but his work with the CIA and Mossad during the 60s and 70s as well as, it seems, in post 9/11 times, has until now remained secret. The Secret Life of Uri Geller tells the real story of his extraordinary life and his alleged continuing undercover work for the West’s major spy agencies.”

“The Secret Life of Uri Geller”: CIA Masterspy?   http://www.amazon.com/The-Secret-Life-Uri-Geller/dp/1780287615

 

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