Category Archives: Shows

Talking With Benjamin D. Hale – January 29, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo Benjamin Hale

This week, Ira spoke with Benjamin D. Hale. To listen to the interview click below.

Benjamin D. Hale, who is currently starring as Johnny Cash in “Million Dollar Quartet,” will be presenting a “Night of Cosmic American Music” in Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center on Saturday, January 31st at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Classically trained and well-practiced, Benjamin D. Hale is known for his unique ability to create music that blends a wide range of influences into one powerful voice. A lifelong career of onstage music has provided Hale with opportunities to be in multiple bands.

Previously, Hale covered the role of Raoul, the romantic lead, in “Phantom the Las Vegas Spectacular” for six years. The show brought him to Las Vegas. He is originally from Orem, Utah where his parents own and operate The Hale Center Theater, a community theater in the round. Hale’s theater is one of a few that where originally started by his grandparents, Ruth and Nathan Hale, whose theater in Burbank, California owns the title of the longest running community theater in the round in the United States.

Hale has two performing sides to him, the musical theater side and the rock’n’roll side. His dad was a rock’n’roll singer before he began to run the theater in Orem, Utah. From a very young age, Hale was exposed to both the theater and the rock’n’roll.

Talking With Tommy Roe – January 22, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo Tommy Roe
Photo by Hub Wilson

This week, Ira spoke with Tommy Roe. To listen to the interview click below.

Singer-songwriter Tommy Roe, who will be performing at the South Point January 23- 25, wrote, co-wrote, and recorded six Top Ten Hits between 1962 and 1969, more than any other single artist/songwriter during this period. “Shelia” and “Dizzy” topped the Billboard chart at #1

Roe had a total of eleven records reach the Billboard Top forty, and 23 Billboard Top 100 chart records. With similar chart success in England, and throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia, Tommy is considered one of the early pioneers of American pop culture.

Born in Atlanta, Roe started singing and writing songs at the age of 14. In high school, he and two friends, Mike Clark and Bobby West, formed a band called The Satins. In addition to neighborhood gigs, Tommy and The Satins played high school dances, and fraternity parties at Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia. It was during this time that he met Felton Jarvis, who would soon become his producer.

In February of 1962, Roe, along with Felton Jarvis, and his new manager, Bill Lowery, drove from Atlanta to Nashville, and recorded two songs – “Save Your Kisses,” and “Shelia.” The single “Shelia” was released and soon became the number one hit around the world. Little did Roe know that this would be the beginning of a career that would propel him into the spotlight for life.

In 1986, Roe was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. He is also a Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee and a member of The Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Association Hall of Fame.

Talking With Sommelier Kirk Peterson – January 15, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo Kirk Peterson

This week, Ira spoke with Sommelier Kirk Peterson. To listen to the interview click below.

Kirk Peterson grew up in a small town in Northern Nevada before eventually making his way to Las Vegas to attend film school. After working in the entertainment industry from Los Angeles to Australia, he returned to Las Vegas to make his favorite hobby and true passion a career: wine and spirits.
After joining the opening team of Carnevino in 2008 as a sommelier, Peterson now serves as beverage director for B&B Ristorante, Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, Otto Pizzeria e Enoteca, and B&B Burger & Beer.

Talking With Diane Schuur – January 8, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo Diane Schuur

This week, Ira spoke with Diane Schuur. To listen to the interview click below.

Diane Schuur (nicknamed “Deedles”), long regarded as one of contemporary jazz’s leading vocalists, is appearing in Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center through January 9.

Born in Tacoma, Washington in 1953, Schuur was blind from birth; but she was gifted with perfect pitch and initially taught herself piano by ear.

With a distinguished career that includes two Grammy awards (“Timeless” and “Diane Schuur and The Count Basie Orchestra: on GRP Records), Schuur has explored almost every corner of the 20th Century musical landscape. Her musical collaborations include those with Barry Manilow, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Jose Feliciano, among countless others. These collaborations have resulted in numerous #1 Billboard Chart recordings, including “Pure Schuur” and “Heart to Heart” with B.B. King.

Schuur has appeared on PBS and many other television specials…as well as a very special visit to “Sesame Street.” She has been invited to perform at The White House on multiple occasions, and was one of the select musical guests invited to perform for Stevie Wonder at the Kennedy Center Honors when he received his prestigious award. Schuur continues to tour and perform extensively at major concert halls and venues around the world.

Schuur’s latest critically acclaimed recording, an homage to two of her very important mentors, Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz is “I Remember You (With Love to Stan and Frank),” released on June 10, 2014 The recording features all new arrangements by Alan Broadbent, and in addition to Mr. Broadbent on piano, it includes an All-Star Band of Ben Wolfe, Ulysses Owens Jr., Romero Lubambo, Roni Ben Hur, and Joel Frahm.

Talking With Toni Wine – January 1, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo Toni Wine

This week, Ira spoke with Toni Wine. To listen to the interview click below.

Singer-songwriter-musician Toni Wine has been touring and performing with Tony Orlando throughout the country, including his Las Vegas appearances at the South Point.

Wine was born and raised in New York City where she was a child prodigy who studied classical piano at the Julliard School of Music. She went to work at Screen-Gems Publishing, where she initially collaborated with a series of writers including Gerry Goffin, Howie Greenfield and Steve Venet. Her first recorded song was the Cookies’ “Only to Other People,” but she hit her stride as a composer when she began a three-year collaboration with Carole Bayer; the first fruits of their partnership, the Mindbenders’ “A Groovy Kind of Love,” topped the U.S. pop charts in March of 1965.

By this time Wine was also recording as a solo act, releasing a handful of singles for Colpix. In 1969, she joined with Ron Dante, Ellie Greenwich and Andy Kim to record as the fictional cartoon group the Archies, contributing vocals to the blockbuster “Sugar, Sugar”; she also reunited with her long-time friend Tony Orlando to lend vocals to her song “Candida.”

Wine married famed producer Chips Moman and relocated to Memphis, where she released material for Atco and Monument in addition to a busy career as a writer and session vocalist.

Talking With Farris Rookstool III – December 18, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Farris for website

This week, Ira spoke with Farris Rookstool III. To listen to the interview click below.

Farris Rookstool III, an Emmy Award-winning historian, former FBI analyst and JFK expert, recently addressed key issues in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy at “The JFK Exhibition” at The New Tropicana Las Vegas. The exhibition, open through January 3rd, showcases artifacts from a historic time in 20th century America and features some of the most iconic memorabilia from the 35th president of the United States.

During his distinguished career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rookstool spent more than nine years reading more than 500,000 pages of classified FBI documents concerning the assassination and prepared over 3,500 pages of follow-up investigative reports.

He is the only historian to brief the United States Secret Service director and assistant directors on the JFK Assassination events and personally took them to Dealey Plaza and Oswald’s escape route. Rookstool was the only FBI analyst granted access to the National Archives Records Administration Southwest Region vault where Parkland Hospital Trauma Room One was stored. He personally transported all of the official records from Dallas to Washington, D.C. and served on the FBI JFK Task Force in Washington, D.C.

Rookstool also briefed the attorney general, FBI director, and members of Congress on the Kennedy assassination records and is the only historian to broadcast live on national television during the JFK 50th news coverage.

Talking With Norm Clarke – December 11, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Norm Clarke

This week, Ira spoke with Norm Clarke. To listen to the interview click below.

Norm Clarke’s popular “Vegas Confidential” column is featured four days a week in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He regularly breaks news about celebrities or personalities that are reported around the world.

Clarke is a Montana native, whose background includes more than 15 years in Denver as a baseball writer, sports journalist, and man-about-town columnist.

He had a 12-year stint with the Associated Press (with stops in Cincinnati, San Diego and Los Angeles) and has written two books, “1,000 Naked Truths” and “Sinsational Celebrity Tales.”

Clarke will be presenting his quarterly “Conversations With Norm” in Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center on Sunday, December 14th at 1 p.m., this time sitting down with Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton.

On Twitter: @Norm_Clarke

Talking With Brody Dolyniuk – November 26, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Brody

This week, Ira spoke with Brody Dolyniuk. To listen to the interview click below.

Brody Dolyniuk, performing in “Bronson, Brody and Beatles-A Hard Day’s Night of Legendary Music,” November 28 and “Totally 80s Symphonic!” December 7 (both at The Smith Center) is a multi-faceted, self-taught musician who began his professional music career playing in piano bars.

A chance meeting with a pair of star-shaped sunglasses led to forming an Elton John tribute band Brody called Yellow Brick Road. Soon YBR began going outside the EJ catalog to perform other classic rock giants such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and more.

Within a year, YBR was a steady working band in the Las Vegas music scene and had cultivated a large local following. YBR also became an in-demand choice for the corporate entertainment market.

After 14 years of solid work, Brody stepped down as front man for YBR to pursue other avenues, namely his role as a vocalist for Windborne Music’s touring symphony shows, singing the Music of Queen and The Who. Simultaneously Brody had been developing his own production called Symphonic Rockshow.

Now residing in Southern California, Brody continues to tour, as well as perform as a producer and session musician.

Talking With Jim Warlick – November 20, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Jim Warlick 11-20-14

This week, Ira spoke with Jim Warlick. To listen to the interview click below.

Jim Warlick, who has spent a lifetime collecting presidential artifacts, will be opening the “The JFK Exhibition” at the new Tropicana Las Vegas on November 22nd. The exhibition will showcase artifacts from a historic time in 20th century America and feature some of the most iconic memorabilia from the 35th president of the United States, all collected by Warlick.

Warlick grew up in the small town of Morgantown, North Carolina where his interest in politics was spurred on by U.S. Senator Sam Ervin Jr. As a child, Warlick collected political buttons and other memorabilia as a hobby. In 1980, while working on Capitol Hill for North Carolina Congressman Lamar Gudger Jr., Warlick came up with the idea of designing and selling political campaign buttons. Shortly after designing and creating several buttons, he attended the national Democratic convention in New York City and sold them outside his hotel. After realizing he could make a better living selling campaign buttons than working on Capitol Hill, he quit his job and hit the road to start USA Button Poll.

Warlick designed a system so each customer purchase would update a poll that showed which candidate had sold the most buttons. A few years later, several well-known national reporters began asking Warlick for regular updates on which presidential candidates’ buttons were selling the most. They realized that the USA Button Poll’s sales closely aligned with the popular vote.

In 1989, Warlick opened a kiosk at Union Station to sell political memorabilia. Within a few years, he had opened a total of six stores selling buttons and other presidential memorabilia in Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. He created an internship program and has since worked with more than 200 political science students, encouraging them to be more involved with politics.

Warlick continued collecting political memorabilia and opened his Presidential Museum in Branson, Missouri in 2002, showcasing a Boeing 707 Air Force Once fuselage, Oval Office, First Ladies’ gowns, and more than 500 presidential items. Warlick wanted more people to see his collection, so he took his American Presidential Experience across America, exhibiting at Rockefeller Center in New York and presidential nominating conventions in Denver, Charlotte, and St. Paul.

The exhibition at The New Tropicana Las Vegas, opening November 22, 2014, will feature the largest inventory and most iconic exhibits of his presidential collections, including two JFK limousines and a Boeing 707 Air Force One fuselage outfitted exactly the way it appeared on November 22, 1963. Many other personal items of both John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy will be on display for the first time anywhere in America. Many items were recently acquired from personal collectors and have not been available for viewing.

Talking With Gail Rubin – November 13, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Gail Rubin 11-13-14

This week, Ira spoke with Gail Rubin. To listen to the interview click below.

Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, will be speaking on “Jewish Funeral Traditions on Film,” at the Nathan Adelson Hospice – Walter L. Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care on Tuesday, November 18th at 7 p.m. The event is presented by the Jewish Community Center of Southern Nevada. She helps get funeral planning conversations started with a light touch on a serious subject. She hosts the TV/DVD series, A Good Goodbye, as well as a weekly Internet radio program.

As an award-winning speaker, Rubin uses humor and funny films to attract people to a topic many would rather avoid. She also helped pioneer the Death Cafe movement in the United States by hosting the first one west of the Mississippi in Albuquerque, New Mexico in September 2012.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist, a designation awarded by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). The designation Certified in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement is a fancy name for a death educator. She has made behind-the-scenes visits to mortuaries and the Office of the Medical Investigator, and takes continuing education courses on funerals, death, grief, and the afterlife.

She is also a Certified Celebrant, a Life Tribute professional personally trained by Doug Manning and Glenda Stansbury of the In-Sight Institute, the leading U.S. organization that trains Celebrants. Gail is also a public relations professional and event planner. Rubin has more than 30 years of experience creating many memorable life cycle events. She is an award-winning speaker with memberships in Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter.

As the author of “Matchings, Hatchings and Dispatchings,” an Albuquerque Tribune column on life cycle events, Rubin found that the columns on death elicited the greatest reader response, indicating a pressing need for information on the topic. She started The Family Plot Blog, a chipper online resource to provide the information, inspiration and tools to pre-plan a healing and meaningful funeral or memorial service.

Her award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, provides everything you never knew you needed to know about funeral planning and brings light to a dark subject. The book was awarded Best of Show in the 2011 New Mexico Book Awards and was a finalist in the Family & Relationships category of the 2010 Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews.