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.

Talking With Steve March-Tormé – November 6, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Steve March Torme 11-6-14

This week, Ira spoke with Steve March-Tormé. To listen to the interview click below.

Steve March-Tormé will be performing in “An Evening With The Next Generation,” on Saturday, November 8th at the M Resort. The next generation includes, in addition to Steve (who is the son of Mel Torme): Ricci Martin, Son of Dean Martin; Lorna Luft, daughter of Judy Garland; and Lena Prima, daughter of Louis Prima. The Master of Ceremonies is Anthony Lewis, son of Jerry Lewis.

March-Tormé was born in New York City to the multi-talented Mel Tormé and the former model, Candy Tockstein. They were divorced when Steve was two and a half years old. Shortly thereafter, Candy married the actor/comedian Hal March, who was the host of NBC-TV’s The $64,000 Question Show and subsequently starred in Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn on Broadway.

An avid baseball player and fan growing up in Westchester County, N.Y., March-Tormé dreamed of playing for the Yankees. While listening to games on the radio in the basement of their home, he discovered his love for music almost by accident. Following every game, he’d switch to the Top 40 music stations and find himself singing along with such artists as The Four Seasons, Nat King Cole, The Temptations, Ricky Nelson and Gene Pitney. With his natural ear for harmonies, his favorites quickly became and remain The Beatles. By the age of 12, he knew that he wanted to be a performer and at 13, he earned his first paycheck, fronting his own band. After his family moved to Beverly Hills, he formed friendships with other second generation “show biz kids” like Desi Arnaz Jr., Dean Martin Jr., Miguel Ferrer, Carrie Fisher and Liza Minnelli while attending high school. During this time, he continued to develop as a musician and his influences grew to include Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Todd Rundgren and Steely Dan.

Following the early death of his stepfather, March-Tormé rekindled his relationship with his father Mel, and soon realized they had a great deal in common besides a love for performing and various types of music. They also shared an avid interest in vintage planes, trains and automobiles.

In the late 1970’s, March-Tormé recorded his first LP, Lucky, for United Artists Records, supporting it with a very well received 20 city, national concert tour. Upon returning to California, he produced and sang on Liza Minnelli’s Columbia Records release Tropical Nights, which became a favorite of the New York dance clubs.

Since then, March-Tormé has wooed audiences in every venue from intimate jazz clubs to Performing Arts Centers to festivals worldwide (Australia, England, Japan, Canada, Brazil, to name a few).

Talking With The Naked Magicians – October 30, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Naked Magicians

This week, Ira spoke with The Naked Magicians. To listen to the interview click below.

Jason Baney and Charles Bach perform in “The Naked Magicians,” a show that combines magic and strip poker and involves the audience as well. The show is presented at 4 p.m. in the Tommy Wind Theater on the Las Vegas Strip through Halloween. Charles is producer/creator/choreographer for “The Naked Magicians and Jason is a cast member.

Bach’s career of more than 20 years began with a combined interest in acting, puppetry, magic, and dance. The last decade and a half has been spent touring the world with his own illusion show, a residency at Caesars Palace for four years, and producing and choreographing dance shows, musical revues, game shows, and magic shows for casinos, theaters, and corporate events.

Bach is the only magician in the world performing an incredible death-defying Underwater Escape locked in 100 pounds of chains, locks and shackles. This spectacular feat of skill has been performed around the world at large events, on cruise ships and grand openings. As a testament to the genuineness of this performance, men from more than 65 different countries have had the experience of chaining Charles up for the escape. In six years of Charles Bach performing this escape, over 500,000 people have witnessed it live.

After several years as a successful competitor and performer on the convention circuit, Baney was hired for the first time as a creative consultant by fellow magician Kevin James, a role which has continued for more than 10 years. Meanwhile, he took his act overseas, performing in Europe and Asia, performing live and on television for millions.

Upon returning to the United States, Baney took up residence in Las Vegas. It wasn’t long before he started performing in the longest running daytime show in the city’s history, “Viva Las Vegas.” Those performances directly led him to land a spot in the coveted “World’s Greatest Magic Show” for the next three years