Talking With Elisa Fiorillo Dease – July 17, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Elisa Fiorillo

This week, Ira spoke with Elisa Fiorillo Dease. To listen to the interview click below.

Elisa Fiorillo Dease (a.k.a. Elisa Fiorillo) is a Las Vegas-based singer with pop royalty connections and a wide range of musical influences, including classical, R&B and jazz. A Philadelphia native, she catapulted to national attention after winning the TV show “Star Search” at the age of 15.

Dease has worked with Prince since 1990, and joined his New Power Generation (NPG) as a regular background singer in 2009. Through the years, she has also recorded many independent projects, including the worldwide hit, “Who Found Who,” with acclaimed producer John “Jellybean” Benitez, and the album, “I Am,” which Prince co-produced.

Dease’s latest project is the duo The Dease & Reese Project, a jazz/funk/R&B collaboration with Nashville-based guitarist Tyler Reese. Their debut album, “Life in 20,” explores many of Dease’s personal experiences over the past two decades, including domestic violence, love, faith, food addiction and motherhood.

Talking With Ted Nugent – July 10, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Ted Nugent

This week, Ira spoke with Ted Nugent. To listen to the interview click below.

Rock music legend and “Motor City Madman” Ted Nugent will be performing at the Orleans Showroom on July 12.

Nugent initially gained fame as the lead guitarist of the band “The Amboy Dukes” before embarking on a solo career. He was known throughout his early career for using Fender amps, which contributed to his signature sound, and for playing the hollow-body Gibson Byrdland guitar. Nugent began touring annually in 1967 and averaging more than 300 shows per year.

Commonly recognized as the world’s leading guitar showman, Nugent’s no-holds-barred career spans five decades of multi-platinum hits. Throughout his career, Nugent has released more than 34 albums and has sold a total of 30 million records.

Nugent’s 1970s hits, including “Stranglehold,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Wango Tango,” and “Great White Buffalo,” as well as the 1960s “Amboy Dukes” hit titled “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” remain popular today and are played on classic rock and active rock radio stations across the globe.

Nugent has also appeared in several popular television series, including “Miami Vice,” “That ‘70s Show,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” and “The Simpsons,” along with reality shows “Surviving Nugent,” and “Forever Wild.”

Talking With Suzanne Dalitz – July 3, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Suzanne Dalitz revised

This week, Ira spoke with Suzanne Dalitz. To listen to the interview click below.

Suzanne Dalitz was born in 1957, at the very pinnacle of the Las Vegas Golden Age. Her father, Moe Dalitz, the legendary casino boss, owned several of the early iconic hotels, including the fabled Desert Inn. Dalitz was a brilliant entrepreneur, power broker and Las Vegas City father. But he hailed from a different life, from the mean streets of Midwestern Jewish neighborhoods where he made his mark in America’s shadows. He bootlegged liquor during Prohibition, ran illegal gambling houses in Kentucky and was involved in various rackets throughout the country. He had business interests everywhere, including ownership with his partner, Meyer Lansky, in Havana’s Hotel Nacional.

Las Vegas was where Moe Dalitz made his home. He arrived in the dusty gambling hall town in 1949 to begin a new life in a newly legal industry. But he could never move far from his past – nor could his family. He was pursued relentlessly by the FBI and US government, but was never convicted of a single crime. “I danced between the rain drops,” he once said of his resilience and independence. Dalitz was a philanthropist and Las Vegas promoter until the end, and with his partners, built many of the mid-century housing developments, malls, synagogues, churches and a hospital that stand today. Dalitz died in 1989 in a penthouse overlooking the city he loved and helped to build.

Suzanne was raised by her father and mother, Averill Dalitz, in Las Vegas, New York, Mexico and Switzerland. She became a California-based writer and editor at San Diego Magazine. She has written various articles over the years and collaborated on the book, Couples and Money (Bantam 1989). She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her family, and runs a foundation involved in international human rights and indigenous environmental causes. She is at work on a memoir about her life with her father, their amazing hometown and the dislocations of a post Las Vegas life.

Talking With Norm Clarke – June 26, 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, June 29th at 2 p.m., this time sitting down with comedian Rita Rudner.

On Twitter: @Norm_Clarke

Talking With Rita Coolidge – June 19, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Rita Coolidge

This week, Ira spoke with Rita Coolidge. To listen to the interview click below.

Two-time Grammy® Award winner Rita Coolidge, who will perform many of her top hits at the Suncoast Showroom June 21-22, began her career as a backing vocalist in Memphis in the 1960s.

Shortly thereafter, she relocated to Los Angeles and became the first call background singer for performers like Ray Charles, Jackie Wilson and The Temptations. After establishing her dominance as a backing vocalist, Coolidge was asked to join the ensemble band Delaney and Bonnie, and toured with Joe Cocker and Leon Russell on the “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour in 1970.

Following the tour, Coolidge worked with high profile rock artists, including tours and recordings with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell and Stephen Stills.

Later, Coolidge began her solo career with her self-titled debut album in 1971. Since then, she has released 15 albums and charted several hit songs, including “Fever,” “We’re All Alone,” “One Fine Day,” “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher & Higher,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “All Time High” and “Superstar.”

Coolidge has appeared in numerous movies, including “A Star Is Born,” “Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid,” “Vanishing Point” and “Christmas in the Clouds.”

Talking With Lavell Crawford – June 12, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Lavell Crawford

This week, Ira spoke with Lavell Crawford. To listen to the interview click below.

Lavell Crawford, performing at the Suncoast Showroom June 14-15, is an award-winning comic, actor, writer and producer.

Crawford’s career took off after his national exposure on NBC’s hit reality series “Last Comic Standing,” and he has been quickly climbing the comedic ranks ever since. The rising comedy star has repeatedly guest-hosted the “Steve Harvey Radio Show” and has regular appearances on “Chelsea Lately,” “Tosh.0” and “Workaholics.”

On television, Crawford is best known for playing Saul Goodman’s bodyguard, “Huell Babineaux” on AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Additional well known appearances include “Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam,” “Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam” on HBO, “Showtime at the Apollo,” “Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment,” “Comic’s Unleashed with Byron Allen,” “Steve Harvey’s Big Time” “Comedy Central’s Premium Blend,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Motown Live, ” Adult Swim’s “Squidbillies” and BET’s “Comic View.”

Crawford has also held roles in numerous films including, “Baby’s Mama Drama,” “Beverlyhood” and “Ghetto South Problems.” In the near future, Crawford will hit the big screen alongside popular film stars Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, and Uma Thurman in “American Ultra” for Lionsgate.

Crawford’s other recent projects include a series regular role on Adult Swim’s new series, “Sperm Whale” as well as his on-going recurring roles on “The Crazy Ones,” “Super Fun Night,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Crawford’s second one-hour special “Lavell Crawford: Can A Brother Get Some Love” recently premiered on Comedy Central.

Talking With Fielding West – June 5, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Fielding West Website

This week, Ira spoke with Fielding West. To listen to the interview click below.

Fielding West, performing at the Laugh Factory through June 8 at 8:30 and 10:30, along with Mike Pace and KT Tatara, was introduced to magic by his grandfather who was an amateur magician. After high school, Fielding put himself through college, paying for his degree by performing in a band as a drummer and doing magic shows for children.

In 1973 while selling cars and going to graduate school at night in Tallahassee, Florida, he met an unknown comedy magician named Steve Martin. After seeing Martin perform, he knew that he wanted to be in show business for the rest of his life. The concept of a comedy act began.

Three years later West moved to Jacksonville, Florida and started his own Saturday morning children’s show on television with a Post/Newsweek station, WJXT. The show. “Magic Gang,” was the highest rated kids show in its time slot for two years. Not being satisfied with entertaining only children, Fielding pursued a nightclub act.

A year and a half after leaving television, he put together a successful touring show called the Amazing Fielding And Company, which included illusions and hypnosis. The act, after two years, led him to Las Vegas. There West met Liberace, who helped him get his first break by showcasing his act at the Sahara Hotel. Since then he has been working all over the world as a featured star in large production shows and as an opening act for major stars.

Fielding’s career has now come full circle. He has appeared on a multitude of comedy specials and popular sitcoms. He is also a successful comedy writer for other magicians and comedians. West is well-known in the corporate market and for a course he created, called Stagecraft 101; he manages speaking seminars for young performers that teach how to speak more effectively.

Talking With Steve Tyrell – May 29, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Steve Tyrell

This week, Ira spoke with Steve Tyrell. To listen to the interview click below.

Steve Tyrell will be performing It’s Magic: The Songs of Sammy Cahn” in Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center, Friday and Saturday, May 30 and 31 at 7 p.m.

With his breakthrough performances in “Father of the Bride” and “Father of the Bride II,” Tyrell reinvented and re-popularized classic pop standards for a modern-day audience.

Tyrell’s hits, “The Way You Look Tonight,” “The Simple Life,” “Crush On You” and “The Sunny Side of The Street,” have launched thousands of weddings and millions of romances.

At the request of the Sinatra family and Quincy Jones, Tyrell was the featured performer with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at their season opening concert in which Frank Sinatra was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Also at the request of the Sinatra family, he reprised that performance at Carnegie Hall. This is one of the rare times the family has reached into the vault of original Sinatra arrangements to share them with another artist.

In 2005, after the passing of the legendary Bobby Short, Tyrell was asked by New York City’s Café Carlyle to take over their revered Holiday Season of November and December, which Mr. Short had not missed for 36 years. In 2013 Tyrell’s contract was extended through his 11th season, starting a new Carlyle legacy that now also includes performances in May.

His work in the studio as a record producer has included collaborations with such diverse and legendary artists as Rod Stewart, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Blood Sweat and Tears, Mary J Blidge, Chris Botti, Dave Koz, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson, Burt Bacharach, Bette Midler, and Stevie Wonder.

As an artist, all 9 of his American Standards albums have achieved top 10 status on Billboard’s Jazz charts, 7 of which have achieved top 5, and his first album “A New Standard” was amongst the best-selling jazz albums for over 5 years.

His songs have been recorded by such artists as Ray Charles, Diana Ross, LL Cool J and Elvis Presley, and his song “How Do You Talk To An Angel,” written and produced for Aaron Spelling’s Fox television series “The Heights,” was a No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 100 Pop Charts.

Aside from being a Grammy Award winner, Tyrell has earned 2 Emmy nominations, received a daytime Emmy, 3 Ace Nominations, 2004 American Society of Young Musician’s “All That Jazz Award,” 2004 The Wellness Community “Human Spirit Award,” 2006 Society of Singers “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and 2008 Los Angeles Jazz Society’s “Jazz Vocalist of the Year.”

Talking With Richard N. “Rick” Velotta – May 22, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Rick Velotta

This week, Ira spoke with Richard N. “Rick” Velotta. To listen to the interview click below.

Richard N. “Rick” Velotta is a tourism and transportation business reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and has been a professional journalist for more than 40 years.

He produces the weekly “Road Warrior” column on transportation issues for the Review-Journal.

Velotta spent more than 23 years at the Las Vegas Sun as a business writer and editor and wrote a weekly column on tourism in its VEGAS INC business publication.

He also has worked as news editor of the Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah; managing editor of the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff, Ariz., and as a photographer and sports writer for the Aurora Advocate, the Aurora Advocate-Sentinel and the Aurora Sun, in Aurora, Colorado.

Velotta has won numerous awards from the Nevada Press Association and the Arizona Press Association and was with the Las Vegas Sun when it won a Pulitzer Prize.
On Twitter: @ RickVelotta

Talking With Ben Vereen and Jane Monheit – May 15, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Combo Ben and Jane

This week, Ira spoke with Ben Vereen and Jane Monheit . To listen to the interview click below.

Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Ben Vereen. His first love and passion is and always will be the stage. “The theater was my first training ground. It taught me discipline, dedication and appreciation of hard work and values that will stay with me a lifetime,” says Vereen..” The stage sharpens the creative instrument and encourages you to go deeper inside and try new things.”

On Broadway, Ben Vereen has appeared in Wicked, Fosse, I’m Not Rappaport, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grind, Pippin, Jelly’s Last Jam and A Christmas Carol. Off-Broadway credits include the award-winning original production of The Exonerated. His role in Pippin garnered him both the prestigious Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for “Best Actor in a Musical.”
Vereen’s acting credits include the unforgettable Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong – Chicago Style. His television guest appearances include Grey’s Anatomy, for which he won the Prism Award, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, OZ, Touched By An Angel, Second Noah, New York Undercover, The Nanny, Star Trek – The Next Generation, The Jamie Fox Show, The Promised Land, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as well as recurring roles on Silk Stalkings, Webster, J.J. Starbuck and Booker.

“Everything I’m singing now is a reflection of my truest self,” says Jane Monheit. “After all this time in the industry, after touring for 13 years, it’s time to just be me, with complete and utter freedom.”

Monheit’s sense of liberation is apparent throughout “The Heart Of The Matter,” the acclaimed, Grammy-nominated vocalist’s ninth studio album. It can be felt in her wide- ranging choice of material, in the unique arrangements, and in her own fearless performances and interpretations. The diverse and very personal set of songs includes both familiar standards and compositions by Lennon/McCartney, Randy Newman, two songs by Ivan Lins, recorded in the original Portuguese, and, for the first time, a Monheit original.