Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recap of Vegas AIDS / HIV Fundraiser - Help & Donate Now

27th Golden Rainbow Ribbon Of Life Cast at Smith 
Center Vegas, Photo by Tom Donoghue

Rather than try to cover already covered ground, I thought I would republlish the press recap of an important Southern Nevada charity helping men and women living with HIV AIDS.

Golden Rainbow celebrated 27 years of service to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Southern Nevada at its 27th annual “Ribbon of Life” fundraiser at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, June 30.

“Ribbon of Life” raised more than $152,000 and drew in a crowd of 1,424 attendees. The extravaganza’s lineup included world-renowned, two-time Grammy winning singer Jon Secada, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” star Michael Grimm, and cast members from the Las Vegas Strip’s premier shows. TV personality Chris SaldaƱa and Edie of Cirque Du Soleil’s Zumanity hosted the spectacular that featured special tributes to legendary artists Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Simon & Garfunkel, Billy Joel, The Bee Gees, Stephen Sondheim, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Liberace, Kenny Kerr; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent;” films “Dirty Dancing,” “The Lion King,” “Funny Girl,” “Nine;” and Nkosi Johnson, a South African child who made a powerful impact on public perceptions of HIV/AIDS and its effects before his death at the age of 12. Aside from Secada and Grimm, this year’s acts included performers Clint HolmesJosh StricklandWes WintersFrankie Moreno and Reva Rice; vocal groups Mo5aicThe Las Vegas TenorsHuman Nature and Celebrity City Chorus; members from Jubilee! and VEGAS! the Show; and many more.

In addition to the fundraising spectacular, Golden Rainbow hosted a silent auction with exclusive prizes including tickets to some of Las Vegas’ top shows, dinner at the city’s best restaurants and trips to premier destinations. The celebration continued at Mingo, Kitchen & Lounge for the official “Ribbon of Life” after party where cast members and guests came together to honor the success of the show. For every “Sweet Sensation” drink purchased, Mingo, Kitchen & Lounge donated $2 back to Golden Rainbow.

All proceeds from “Ribbon of Life” benefit the nonprofit’s efforts in providing housing and direct financial assistance to the Southern Nevada HIV/AIDS community. As a result of the last year’s fundraising efforts, Golden Rainbow provided 8,184 nights of shelter, 527 days of utility assistance, 1,054 days of transportation and medical and dental assistance to more than 500 households in 2012.

“Ribbon of Life” 2014 is set to return to The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in July. For more information on Golden Rainbow or to order copies of this year’s “Ribbon of Life,” please visit www.goldenrainbow.org.

About Golden Rainbow
Golden Rainbow is a nonprofit organization that provides housing and direct financial assistance to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. Founded by members of the entertainment industry in 1987, Golden Rainbow is committed to serving the HIV/AIDS community through fundraisers like Ribbon of Life and HIV/AIDS related education. For more information, visit www.goldenrainbow.org or call 702.384.2899.

Follow Golden Rainbow on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.



Photo Focus: WSOP in Full Swing, Rio Hotel


The WSOP (World Series of Poker) kicked off May 30 and will be running through July 13. People come from all over to try their skills against bracelet holders and amateurs. Buy ins vary and can be studied for your consideration at http://www.wsop.com/2013/. Rio has been host for many years to the event in Vegas, though it is owned by Caesars Entertainment. WSOP's official charity is One Drop, who's effort is to provide water to those less fortunate [http://allinforonedrop.com/en/]. Gawking and photos without flash or video are allowed at the event. Let us know what poker celebrities you spot, they are strewn about the event like candy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Photo Focus: Las Vegas Neon on the World Famous Strip

Photo by Frankie Tease - click to enlarge on FLICKR.com

Does this make you want to walk the strip? Taken in June of 2013, you can see the famous neon lights of Caesars, Mirage, Trump Tower, and the Flamingo. But don't be fooled, it's well over 100 degrees this week, so bring that bottle of water if you dare to walk the strip. I recommend a tour on a air conditioned bus, personally. One of the most densely travelled intersections of any tourist destinations in the world, this is shot from the street at Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo heading North on the Strip. Some things don't change like the neon beauty of Fabulous Las Vegas. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

LA Comedy Club Keeps Going and Going and Going, Las Vegas

Shawn Halpin Headlined LA Comedy Club 6/20/13 
Photo by Frankie Tease

Joaquin Trujillo and Matt Chavez have had the LA Comedy Club (Las Vegas) brand since 2007. In those six years they have danced through many worthy venues in town, always keeping a great lineup of local, regional, and national talent. Why else would they be able to pull off six shows a week? It all started at Palace Station, moved to Trader Vics and when Trader Vics closed down, they went on to the Four Queens for two years downtown, then moved back to Cabo Wabo to reclaim their spot (same spot at Trader Vics, different operator). Now it's traversed to Bally's. Trujillo stated "We are kind of a hybrid, we cater to tourists, but we have always catered to locals as well. They always get a two for one ticket price, and we issue special tickets to locals who have always supported us when we invite them on down". It's also worth mentioning that they have an all-you-can-drink special at every show. Be sure to check that out. On a side note, these guys also handle all the broker relations and brand management for Chippendales, they're busy.

I found parking at Bally's fairly easy, though newbies may get confused as neighboring Paris Hotel shares parking with Bally's. No worries though, just follow the signs. For your information, the LA Comedy Club is situated upstairs near the front of the building so you could conceptually park elsewhere and have easier access. 

I joined the forming cue outside the club, where a gorgeous woman walked the line offering tickets for those who hadn't 'already obtained them. An usher took each patron to their seat, while exceptional service and a bar in the lobby of the showroom is available if you just can't wait. 

The showroom started to fill up on that Thursday evening and the show started pretty much right on time. Our Host for the evening was Hawaiian Comedian David Lee. Lee brought out jokes and stories of Asian people coming up and telling him what race he was, and trying to bond with him, even though they wouldn't believe he's not Lao, but Hawaiian. He did a short set for us, then moved on to his three comedians who'll play all six shows for the week. 

Brandon "Gooch" Hahn Keeps Rockin in Vegas
Photo by Frankie Tease

JP McGuire, was the opener, and told stories about his son and daughter saying "My daughter is gay, so now both kids are bringing home hot girls". We moved to  the Feature Comedian and local long-time favorite Brandon "Gooch" Hahn was up. Aside from hosting a radio show on KOMP locally five days a week, Gooch gets around, performing for over a decade in Vegas. Young, t-shirt and jeans wearing, and very good looking, he surfs through topics like nobodies business, from sports, to relationships, to current events. Sporting raunchy and clean jokes, what's amazing about Gooch is his ability to go into the audience with such ease, and continuity, creating a really personal experience for those in attendance.  He did this over ten times and I lost count. Who was next? And even if he didn't interact with them long, he treated the audience like pop up gophers in that arcade game where you pound them as they emerge, hitting a different seat every few minutes. Gooch doesn't miss a beat, when doing it. It's the sign of someone so prepared, so polished that you can sit back and enjoy the ride. "The New York Jets were like the Jews to Jesus" is one quotable gem I took away. Definitely keep this guy on your radar, if you like to laugh-cry.

The headliner was Shawn Halpin for this stint, and he was a soft and cuddly bear with a beard, who started by joking about his appearance, and wound that into his ever relatable set. At one point "She said my dick looked like a button on a fir coat" he stated, joking about his hairiness. He wound through his set and what was most notable was his comfort in feeling out the audience as he went. This wasn't the same set he did all the time, that was apparent. "We should just have a lock-in, do some meth, and everyone has to have sex with someone else" he stated "What? nobody's down for that?" Halpin went on to do some racial jokes saying "There is only one black person here, I guess we can start the meeting" and to talk about what it's like living in LA. It should be mentioned that Halpin hosts "Full Count Podcast" with Mike Faverman via shawnhalpin.com, and is delightfully funny. My makeup was running after his set.

The beautiful showroom which has been the new home of the LA Comedy Club for six months features an all-windows backdrop overlooking the strip which is stunning. The show's balance includes local and national TV and stage comedians. Fun and well-booked, I would highly recommend the weekly lineup, and who wouldn't? It's being run by people that know exactly what they're doing, and they've been keeping locals and tourists happy for a long time doing it. Congrats on the new location guys, nice pick.

LA Comedy Club is dark Mondays with shows at 9:30pm, doors at 9pm, Tuesday through Sunday at Bally's Hotel on Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd. on the 2nd floor. Prices start at $29.95 and can be purchased via TheLAcomedyclub.com or www.ballyslasvegas.com

Host: David Lee photo by Frankie Tease

PJ McGuire photo by Frankie Tease


Related Links:
See our in-depth interview with Comedian Brandon Gooch Hahn in "The Best of Frankie Tease Magazine" ebook at http://www.frankietease.com/p/ebooks.html



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tidbits and Teasers: Ent.Tax Kicked to Curb, New Film Incentive Passed, EDC Invades Vegas

Walking the Strip by Frankie Tease

Entertainment Tax Bill Shot Down
There are many who've been following the recent proposed entertainment bill that would add a tax of between 8-10% for all Nevadans in the industry. Kirkpatrick re-wrote and presented the bill, and it still got shot down. There are small and huge festivals sighing a huge breath of relief including the annual Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) and the National Bullriding Convention (NBR) to name a couple of ginormous ones. Something tells me that won't be heard about anytime soon, and to think they even were considering taxing gyms as entertainment.

Film Incentive Tax Score
Nevada went a step in the direction of entering the modern world this month when Senator Aaron D. Ford (District 11) successfully got a bill giving anyone who films in Nevada a financial incentive. Find out about the details and how it can create new jobs on this video by the Senator himself. http://youtu.be/AcBMYy0vOuw. Nevada was one of the few states that didn't offer any incentive for directors to choose its amazing famous tourist destinations, lighted neon, or most mountainous in u.s. terrain of desert.

Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas
The electronic music rave by any other name is set to invade Las Vegas again June 18-25. Its organizer and head of Insomniac Entertainment is famous for being the father of famed Playboy Playmate Holly Madison's daughter, and also for potential embezzlement, and drug complications leading to the death of a concert-goer [Huffington Post]. Tickets are expensive, mostly sold-out, and the location [LV Motor Speedway] in Vegas has dealt with wind and more in the past. That doesn't stop the party and thousands of people traversing the roads and air to make it to this one-of-a-kind experience with some of the most popular DJ's in the world on roster. Stay safe and drink lots of water though, you'll be outdoors and its a desert out there, for reals. See http://electricdaisycarnival.com/.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tidbits and Teasers: Burlesque Hall of Fame 2013 Recap


Catherine d'Lish by bluehairmedia.com

The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend held its 56th annual all-star Burlesque Showcase and Tournament of Tease Weekender Event, May 30 - June 2, 2013 at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which was established as a fundraiser for the Burlesque Hall of Fame's at what is now a tiny little museum storefront in Downtown Las Vegas. The event has been held at many locations in the past since 2006 when it moved from Los Angeles to Vegas. Venues for the event have included the Palms, The Celebrity Theater, and The Plaza Hotel. The Hall's Weekender has experienced a lot of drama among organizers including during 2011, rivalry among board members [Wall St. Journal]. But there was no sign of any of strife at this year's event held during the first week of June as is its tradition featuring a competition, awards, and showcases.

Icons and Allstars at BHOF by Blue Hair Media

A highlight of the 2013 event was when Dita Von Teese (a BHOF board member)  surprised the crowd and took the stage during the Sunday Icons and All Stars show to give long-time friend and performing legend Catherine d'Lish a coveted "Sassy Lassy" award, reserved for a select few each year.

Lou Lou D'vil by bluehairmedia.com

The famous "Tournament of Tease" took place Saturday night and the new Queen of Burlesque was chosen by a panel of judges. LouLou D’vil (Finland) was crowned the new queen for 2013, while second place was bestowed upon Sydni Deveraux (Seattle) and third place was handed to Lola Frost (Canada). 2013's King of Boylesque is BHOF favorite and returning solo performer Ray Gunn (Chicago/Stage Door Johnnies). There were other categories of winners such as best debut, best duet, and best group. The weekend showcases many types of talent in the 800 person showroom Thursday through Sunday and during the day offers classes, panels with legends, and a bizarre. I can't help but wonder if the word actually got to the public about the Burlesque Hall of Fame (a 501c3), how it would be received. Perhaps its yearly attendance would go from approximately 2,000 to match that of Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend (held at Orleans) of 12,000 (20,000 for Sat.). With only an 800 person showroom, and a fundraising ticket price, the weekender is still reserved for a devoted few, albeit international in scale. For now its organizers are content to use the annual festival to gather, teach, and remember legends. Though many of the original founders of this event are no longer involved, it will continue to be a beacon of talent in the world of burlesque for many years to come.

Photos of Lou Lou D'vil by 
Cory of BlueHairMedia

 



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

YCS Cab Strike Over, An Interview with ITPEU Shop Steward Dustin Qualls

Photo by Frankie Tease of  Workers 
who were on strike Mar. 2, 2013


The first day of the strike was midnight March 2, going into March 3.  A cab job runs various hours, 24 hours a day. It's a "we never close" business. The strike ended Midnight May 1, 2013 going into the second day. That's two months of striking, and it finally ended. On day two of the strike, I went and interviewed the strikers, filmed the rally after midnight, and interviewed my Twitter friend Dustin Qualls. He's Shop Steward for the ITPEU which in plain speak is their union. 

See the first report at http://www.frankietease.com/2013/03/yellow-checker-star-vegas-cab-strike.html. After hearing the strike had ended right before the very busy Cinco De Mayo weekend 2013, I had to call up my cabbie contact and see what had been accomplished after two full months of organized protest with the YCS workers and their union. Here is what DQ had to say (aka @vagascab on Twitter).

FT: What is a shop steward?
DQ: My job is I kinda oversee the day-to-day operations at work. Make sure that the contract is being complied to, make sure the workers are happy and doing what they are supposed to be doing, well. Not just the company. Making sure the contract is being complied to every day.

FT: As a peace-keeper and facilitator every day, what was your role in the strike?
DQ: My role in the strike would actually be strike captain. I had to make sure the drivers didn't get out of line. And, to oversee everything the company wasn't doing. To make sure they weren't doing unfair labor practice like surveying. 

FT: How many workers were there at YCS, and how many went on strike?
DQ: We had over 900 workers at the beginning of the strike, and we had a little over 700 when we finished. 

FT: How many drivers does YCS employ?
DQ: 1700. About half went on strike at the beginning.

FT: What were your goals, and did you accomplish what you wanted?
DQ: We did actually. We were asking for movement on... (I don't know the exact number) I know we ended up getting movement on sixteen issues. At the 11th hour, we sent a notice to the company that we would not end the strike unless A, B, C, and D, were moved upon, and they moved on all four of the items. 

FT: Did that include the long-hauling issue? 
DQ: No it didn't. That has to be dealt with later at the Taxi Cab Authority. 

FT: What then did you accomplish?
DQ: We got a raise, we got our bonuses increased, we got our shifts back to where it isn't mandatory for drivers to work 60 hrs. a week. 

Photo by Frankie Tease, strikers after midnight 
assemble in protest, Las Vegas Mar.2, 2013.

FT: Tell me about how the tension between strikers and non-strikers is on a day-to-day-basis for you?
DQ: It's actually, like I said from day one during the strike: A lot of people came up to me and told me they couldn't strike, even though I don't like it, I respect them for coming up to me and telling me they couldn't. There's going to be a lot of hostility. I tried to make it as non personal as possible. I tried to keep it between union and company, and keep personal feelings out of it. A lot of people aren't going to be able to do that. It could get a little ugly from time to time, and it has. 

FT: So those that didn't strike didn't lose pay like those that did strike who lost pay?
DQ: We did lose our pay while we were on strike, we did get a strike benefit. I don't know that they want me to divulge what the strike fee was, but it wasn't a lot. It was barely over minimum wage. I feel I personally lost $8,000. or $9,000. 

FT: What is your favorite part of being a cab driver in Vegas?
DQ: I make my own hours, I don't have a boss standing over my shoulder.

See the union website at http://www.itpeu.org/