Las Vegas Sun

September 17, 2014

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Comedy pals to share the stage

Friends for many years, stand-up comedians George Wallace and David Brenner have never worked together.

That soon will change when Brenner joins Wallace onstage for a month's engagement at the Flamingo, where Wallace has been a headliner since January 2002.

The double bill begins Tuesday and continues through April 28.

"I hope David will have a good time while he's here," Wallace said. "I'm going into my third year - getting ready for another three years - and I've had lots of fun."

While Brenner is new to Wallace's spotlight, others have shared it in the past, and will do so in the future.

"It's my show," Wallace said. "I just bring in friends now and again, different people at different times."

Among those who have joined him are Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and many others.

How long they stay depends.

Brenner will be there a month; others may be there longer.

"Some might be here for three months," Wallace said. "It's just whatever I want to do."

When he isn't working on his act, Wallace is busy these days preparing for a radio interview show he is creating for the fall - "Bits of the Strip."

The syndicated program will be on Clear Channel in more than 100 markets.

"I'll be interviewing a lot of the entertainers in Las Vegas," he said. "And I'll be talking to people on the street."

Brenner also is busy outside of the stand-up world.

Since his 16-month contract at the Las Vegas Hilton ended recently, he has been developing projects for television, in addition to touring and performing at corporate events.

He says he wouldn't be opposed to working longer with Wallace.

"If we do a sterling business I should think someone in this town would take notice," Brenner said. "It's been a long time since two headlining comedians have worked the same stage (in this way)."

Brenner said he will take the stage first.

"It's George's room," he said. "It wouldn't be right if I closed it."

Brenner said the deal was struck over lunch.

"I've always been a big fan of George as both a comedian and as a person," he said. "We talked through the years about doing something together.

"After I left the Hilton we were having lunch and I suggested I jump onboard for a while at the Flamingo. He talked it over with his people and I talked it over with mine and here we are."

Brenner says this is a good opportunity for fans to see two veteran stand-up comedians.

"Not guys created by sitcoms," he said. "We're true stand-up comedians. They're going to see the real pros at work."

Don English

A tribute to longtime Las Vegas photographer Don English will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Nevada State Museum, 700 Twin Lakes Drive (Lorenzi Park).

The ailing English was a photographer for the Las Vegas News Bureau from 1949 to 1992.

In addition to a video tribute, many of English's photos will be on display.

Refreshments will be served.

The tribute is being co-hosted by the museum and Classic Las Vegas Archive.

Big band marches on

The Arnie Webster Big Band engagement has been extended at the Ice House Lounge through April.

The 17-piece orchestra, playing classic music of the big band era, performs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays at 650 S. Main St.

Admission is $7.

Joey Villa

Entertainer Nelson Sardelli will host a celebration of the late comedian Joey Villa's life from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bootlegger, 7700 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

Villa died in December from complications from a stroke.

"Anyone who has a good story to tell about Joey is welcome," Sardelli said.

For reservations, call 736-4939.

Villa, a native of New York, appeared in a handful of movies, but he made his mark as a stand-up comedian, performing in Las Vegas as well as clubs around the country. He also spent many years performing on cruise ships, and eventually booked acts for the ocean liners.

Esteban

Flamenco guitar master Esteban makes his Las Vegas premiere at 8 p.m. April 29 with a concert at Sam's Town Live! inside Sam's Town.

The son of a steel mill worker in Pittsburgh, the child prodigy received his first guitar at age 8 and taught himself to play.

Eventually he met the legendary classical guitarist Andres Segovia and in 1974 was accepted into Segovia's school, Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, where he studied for four years.

After his return to the United States, Esteban was in an automobile accident and suffered severe damage to his left arm and hand and he could not play the guitar for 10 years.

After years of rehabilitation, he began performing again in 1990.

Tickets start at $20. For information, call (800) 225-2277.

Roger Williams

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a concert by piano legend Roger Williams, take it.

Williams recently performed at the Suncoast, and the 81-year-old pianist exhibited the energy and enthusiasm of someone half his age.

"When I started playing piano at the age of 3 everyone said I played pretty well for my age," he quipped during his performance. "They're starting to say that again."

Before the show began he mingled with the audience, shaking hands, exchanging comments. During the performance he demonstrated his agility with a quasi-street dance.

And throughout he played the piano with vigor.

At the end he asked for requests, took four or five of them and wove them into a medley that seemed to have been created specifically for that moment.

Jerry Lewis on Jack Eglash

Jerry Lewis was among those eulogizing the late band leader/composer/ Jack Eglash at the Las Vegas Country Club last weekend, a standing-room-only affair that included family and friends.

Eglash, the longtime Sahara orchestra leader, died of complications from emphysema and anemia in February in Everett, Wash., at age 76.

He worked with some of the top entertainers in the business, including Johnny Carson, Don Rickles and Lewis.

Eglash was the conductor for about 30 "Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethons."

Lewis - 80 years old and looking healthier than he has in the last few years - reminisced about his friend for more than 20 minutes, remembering many humorous incidents as well as heart warming ones and ones that revealed his kindness.

Shortly after Lewis and longtime partner Dean Martin broke up, Lewis was going to go to London to perform at the Palladium.

He turned to Eglash for support.

"I told him I was nervous," Lewis recalled. "He said to me, 'Just do what you do and don't worry.' "

Lewis went to London and three days later received a wire from Eglash moments before he was to appear before the queen in a command performance.

"It read, 'Dear JL, do the best you can with the (expletive deleted) you've got,' " Lewis recalled.

"I cannot begin to tell you what the wire did for me," he said. "It just took me to a wonderful place that I could never thank him enough for."

In another incident, Lewis said, a French horn player came to Eglash for help when Eglash was at the Sahara.

"A French horn player in this town was pretty much like an accordion player with a beeper - he didn't get a lot of work," Lewis said.

But Eglash went against management and put another chair in the orchestra.

"But the French horn player had nothing to do," Lewis said. "There were no French horn parts, so Jack sat up three nights and wrote parts for the French horn."

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