Las Vegas Sun

October 2, 2014

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VegasBeat — Timothy McDarrah: Believe in first (and second) impressions

Talk about stars!

VegasBeat had dinner Tuesday night with Robert DeNiro, Johnny Cash, Mike Myers, Robin Williams, Bette Midler, Will Smith, President George Bush, Queen Elizabeth, Ozzy Osbourne, Barbra Streisand -- and two Britney Spearses.

We also broke bread with Marilyn, Elvis, Madonna, Bogey, Liberace, then another Marilyn, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, another Johnny Cash, Barry White, Cosmo Kramer, two more Elvises, Abraham Lincoln, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra, and we just loved Lucy.

No, it wasn't Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.

It was the International Guild of Celebrity Impersonators and Tribute Artists dinner and awards ceremony at Treasure Island.

It was truly a delightfully insane event that personified Las Vegas itself.

If we were a television executive, this is an evening we'd bend over backward to broadcast.

There was enough material in the room to write a book and enough people who worship celebrities to keep shrinks busy for the next decade.

Probably the only guy who was dressed in his own clothes was presenter Stephen Sorrentino, who lives in Las Vegas, and walked off with the Best Male Celebrity Impressionist award for his work as Elton John.

Also, booker and producer Bea Fogelman won a couple of awards for her work promoting and legitimizing the industry.

Only sad part was that most of the younger folks were clueless when presented with impersonators of classic entertainers such as Groucho Marx, Patsy Cline and John Wayne.

New name

We hear that when they were in Vegas over Memorial Day, the only point of contention between lovebirds Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck was her nagging him not to leave such big tips at the gaming tables.

As a result, some casino staffers have apparently taken to calling her "Pay Lo."

Respect him

Brain surgery? No problem. Rodney Dangerfield is playing Vegas again.

He has made a miraculous recovery from a procedure called extra-cranial intra-cranial bypass surgery, and is celebrating his health with a July 19 performance titled "One Night Only" at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"I feel like a new man," Dangerfield said. "Before the operation I knew I was in bad shape. I joined a weightlifting class and they started me on helium balloons."

Tickets, priced at $60 and $85, go on sale Saturday.

Off his back

Lisa Reynolds, who works in the Roni Josef Salon at Stratosphere, ran into ESPN anchor Dan Patrick at the hotel's Hootie and the Blowfish concert last weekend.

She spied his Dallas Mavericks NBA playoffs T-shirt and asked if she could trade something for it -- such as a Hootie shirt.

"My boyfriend is such a huge ESPN fan, it was just something that came to me out of nowhere," Reynolds said.

Later, Patrick emerged from a dressing room and handed Reynolds the ESPN shirt -- after procuring his own concert garb.

"It was so sweet of him to do that," Reynolds said. "Sam (her boyfriend Sam Aguilar) was sooo happy!"

Good deed

VegasBeat takes its shots at Las Vegas City Hall, so it is only fair to give credit to Mayor Oscar Goodman when he does something positive.

Seems that the Southern Nevada Retired Teachers Association didn't have enough funds for its annual Appreciation Luncheon.

But when Goodman heard about the problem, he whipped out his checkbook and underwrote the MGM Grand affair, which catered 73 retiring teachers and their guests.

"We have thanked him personally but sometimes such generosity goes unnoticed and I felt it should be shouted from the rooftops," group president Jeanne-Marie Soderquist said.

Boy toys

As we reported a few months back, Celine Dion doesn't want any other female performers to perform on her stage at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

During her first vacation in May, Jerry Seinfeld was booked. Now Tim McGraw has been announced for July 18 and July 19.

Meanwhile, during her July time off, Dion will hardly be on vacation. She will perform July 9 in Quebec at "Simplement Marnay," a tribute to French songwriter Eddy Marnay.

VegasBits

Girl watchers: Scott Wolf ("Party of Five") and Dana Carvey were both at the 10:30 p.m. performance of "La Femme" on Wednesday ...

Conventioneers: Rapper Ludacris and daytime television star Judge Glenda Hatchet are expected to speak at the 100 Black Men of America conference this weekend at the MGM Grand ...

Strip winner: Comic strip "Get Fuzzy" by Darby Conely, which appears in 300 newspapers including the Las Vegas Sun, has been named Best Newspaper Comic Strip of the Year by the National Cartoonists Society ...

No joke: Phyllis Diller is an amateur artist. The Stirling Club is having an exhibition of her abstract works June 13, and she is scheduled to attend the champagne reception. Diller is donating a portion of sales to Nevada Ballet Theatre ...

Their way: Frank Sinatra Jr. and his 20-piece orchestra are giving a free concert on Mulberry Street in Little Italy in New York City on Saturday. Nancy Sinatra plays at the House of Blues (Mandalay Bay) July 16. That one isn't free ...

Congrats: One of Las Vegas' most eligible bachelorettes got engaged Wednesday night. She and her betrothed barrister in the whirlwind courtship both have kids, so we'll let them share the news with the family this weekend before we congratulate them by name.

From Sun wires

Performances by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Branford Marsalis will highlight Reno's eighth Artown festival in July.

Baryshnikov will perform July 21-July 22 at the Eldorado Hotel showroom, and the Branford Marsalis Quartet will play July 26 at the Hawkins Amphitheater, organizers announced recently.

The monthlong event, featuring 1,000 artists and 200 events at 40 locations, will open July 1 with Na Lei Hulu, a Hawaiian dance company, said Beth Macmillan, Artown festival manager.

Artown will close July 31 with Michael Andrew and Swinghead, a big-band-style swing band with vocals in the tradition of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, she said.

John Shelton, Artown's interim director, calls the festival "31 days of creative magic."

Artown began as a small, mostly local festival that attracted 30,000 people in 1996. Last year it counted 146,000 visitors and now embraces other festivals such as the Reno Basque Festival and the city's annual Celtic Celebration.

It takes a TV movie: If you don't want to bother with the book, there's a Hillary Rodham Clinton TV movie in the works.

A&E announced Thursday it will make a two-hour movie on the New York senator and former first lady that is expected to air in early 2004.

No one has been cast yet, but producers have already talked with Sharon Stone about the title role, according to a source close to the production.

A&E's announcement comes just days before Clinton's book, "Living History," is scheduled to hit bookstores.

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