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November 24, 2014

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Sasoun Athletic Challenge, in honor of Sarah Guillot-Guyard, set for Fit Labs; ‘Pin Up’ seeks singer

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John Katsilometes

James Wong is owner of Fit Labs and adjoining Studio 222, where Sarah Guillot-Guyard taught students as part of the Cirque Fit fitness school. Guillot-Guyard, a “Ka” performer, was killed June 29 after she fell about 90 feet from the stage during a performance.

Updated Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 | 12:56 p.m.

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Sarah (Sasoun) Guillot-Guyard after an end-of-session performance with her students at Cirquefit in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 29, 2013, just hours before her death.

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Sarah Guillot-Guyard

The word of the day is “waftability.” This is how to describe the sensation of driving a Rolls-Royce. I’d like to take credit for injecting that word into our lexicon, but it is actually Rolls-Royce officials who have used waftability to singularly convey what it feels like to drive a Rolls. I learned of waftability Friday afternoon while driving a 2013 Rolls-Royce Ghost and talking with Towbin Motorcars Director of Operations Jesika Towbin-Mansour.

She used waftability to explain the firm-but-pliant sensation the driver feels while cruising in a Rolls. Less verbose than firm-but-pliant, waftability means “quiet perfection” and “accelerating quickly without fuss.”

We’ll do a little fuss-free accelerating now:

• The first Sasoun Athletic Challenge, in honor of late acrobatics instructor and “Ka” artist Sarah “Sasoun” Guillot-Guyard, is set for 1:30 to 3 p.m. today at Fit Labs on 8645 West Flamingo Road, Suite 104. The challenge is to showcase young athletes pledging to perform a certain event, with a sponsor pledging an amount per repetition. All proceeds will go to the new Sarah Guillot-Guyard scholarship fund.

Guillot-Guyard taught courses each Saturday at the Cirque Fit training program at the studio. Her final session was the afternoon of June 29, hours before she fell to her death during the final scene in “Ka” at MGM Grand. During the afternoon, the children in Guillot-Guyard’s class performed their final spring performance for their families.

OSHA is still investigating the circumstances that led to Guillot-Guyard’s 90-foot fall from “Ka’s” moveable stage. It could take several weeks for the occupational safety inspectors to issue their findings.

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Anne Martinez sings during a performance of the Broadway-based open mic and variety show Cast Party on Wednesday, June 19, 2013, at Cabaret Jazz in Smith Center.

• “Pin Up” is looking for a new center vocalist, as Anne Martinez is leaving the show in September to tend to personal matters. Martinez’s final show is scheduled to be Sept. 9, and the show’s producers hope to have a new vocalist in place by the time Martinez departs. Originally a singer in the final days of “Bite” at the Stratosphere, Martinez replaced Autumn Belanger-Madill, the first singer in “Pin Up,” in April.

Also, to ratchet down the original reporting about the status of "Pin Up" swing singer Savannah Smith: She is still the swing in "Pin Up," and there is no plan for her to move her out of that role. There was confusion, initially, about how her status as a cast member of "Vegas! The Show" factored into her schedule in "Pin Up." She is to remain the swing but won't be the primary vocalist because of her commitment to "Vegas!"

Smith, who (as previously noted) is not kidding around onstage, also is Martinez’s partner in the vocal collective BBR, which in turn is teaming with David Perrico, music director of the Pin Up Players and Pop Evolution, which also plays regularly at the Stratosphere. Follow me? That tower is sort of like a lightning rod. Lots of energy crackling therein.

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Ben Hale at the grand opening of "Million Dollar Quartet" at Harrah's on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.

• The room was again brimming with performers and scenesters Wednesday for the latest installment of Composers Showcase at Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz. Inspired onstage collaborations included Travis Cloer of “Jersey Boys” singing a selection from the in-process musical “Bandstand” by “Ka” music director Richard Oberacker. In his recurring appearances at Cab Jazz, Cloer has proved to be one of the city’s most accomplished showmen and not a bad conversationalist, either.

The notoriously versatile Ben Hale (Johnny Cash in “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s, and for six years Raoul in “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian) sang an original country number with Showcase favorite Kristen Hertzenberg. Martin Kaye also performed a great original number (he’s looking to expand his identity beyond his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in “MDQ”), and Frankie Moreno delivered a great take on his “Beautiful,” with Jennifer Lynn chiming in on the vio-Lynn.

The next Composers Showcase falls on Sept. 11, which is a coincidental date for the show, but one that organizer Keith Thompson is seizing upon for the event’s first “themed” night. All numbers performed are to be inspired or somehow connected to 9/11. Given the artists who perform at Cabaret Jazz, it should be a pretty powerful experience.

Friends for Life Humane Society Benefit

Murray Sawchuck, Rick Harrison, Chloe Crawford and Gallagher arrive at the Friends for Life Humane Society benefit at Tropicana on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Launch slideshow »

• As Gallagher roamed the room wearing the same striped shirt he donned in his Geico commercials (you can tell by the hole cut in the middle for the tiny microphone), a staggering array of entertainers took to the Laugh Factory stage for the “Beggin’ for Magic” charity show. The Wednesday afternoon variety spectacular was hosted by Laugh Factory comic magician Murray Sawchuck and his wife, Chloe (she’s a member of “Fantasy” at Luxor), and served as a benefit for Friends for Life Humane Society, a no-kill shelter in Pahrump. Friends for Life does so much good helping rescue people from the streets, who in turn rescue animals from the streets.

Those who donated their time to the show, which was put together in 3 ½ weeks and raised $5,500 for the shelter, included the world’s best 74-year-old, legally blind juggler, Nino Frediani. This man is a better entertainer than a lot of Las Vegas performers who are decades younger and can actually see beyond the first row. Incredible.

Laugh Factory manager and veteran standup Harry Basil, Paul Shortino of “Raiding the Rock Vault,” Tim Molyneux (the producer of “Bite” who is now focusing on singing), Lynn (she performed three shows in one day Wednesday), “Rat Pack” performer Peter Pavone, Doug “Lefty” Leferovich and Tropicana Lounge flamethrower Sky Dee Miles also did what they do.

At times, you were sort of wondering what was the point of all this seemingly unrelated activity. But when those touched by Friends for Life explained to the crowd what it felt like to pull themselves out of the gutters (literally, in many cases) and rebuild their lives, it made sense. It was an afternoon well spent.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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