Talking With Michael Monge – August 7, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Michael Monge

This week, Ira spoke with classic vocalist Michael Monge. To listen to the interview click below.

Michael Monge, performing at Encore’s Eastside Lounge, draws inspiration from the musical icons that put the Las Vegas Strip on the map. His vocals reflect the timeless lounge performers who made Las Vegas the entertainment capital of the world.

Monge covers hits from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin (among others) and takes a classic approach on contemporary songs from John Legend, John Mayer and others.

He has played venues throughout New York and the East Coast. “There is something special about performing in a lounge,” said Monge. “There are no barriers or stage to separate you from the audience. It becomes one shared experience where you see the smiles, shake people’s hands and dance together.”

Monge performs, accompanied by a three-piece band, in Eastside Lounge at Encore Wednesday-Monday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Talking With Peter Noone – July 31, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Peter Noone

This week, Ira spoke with Peter Noone. To listen to the interview click below.

Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits, performing at the South Point August 1-3, are responsible for such hits as I’m Henry The Eighth, I Am,” “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” “There’s a Kind of Hush,” and “I’m Into Something Good.”

In a multi-dimensional career that has garnered respect from his colleagues and millions of fans worldwide, Noone is the professional’s professional. As a child, he appeared on the British television shows Coronation Street, Knight Errant, and Family Solicitor, and went on to study acting at the Manchester School of Music and Drama.

In 1963, he joined a Manchester beat group, the Heartbeats, whose name was changed shortly thereafter to Herman & the Hermits and eventually shortened to Herman’s Hermits.” His career with that popular recording act sold well over 50 million records, at times eclipsing the Beatles themselves in sales.

His career includes critically acclaimed stage performances in two Broadway shows during the 1980s, including “The Pirates of Penzance,” to his roles on the silver screen. He appeared as Herman in two films, 1966’s “Hold On” and 1968’s “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”; was one of the few bright spots in 1978’s “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”; and performed in 1982’s “Rockin’ the Night Away: Life From Palm Springs,” 1996’s “Hullabaloo,” Vol. 8, and 2000’s “The British Invasion Returns.” In 1999, he sang the end theme to the Kirk Douglas film, “Diamonds.”


Talking With Dave Koz and Cuba Gooding, Sr. – July 24, 2014

FotoFlexer_Photo Dave Koz-Cuba Gooding Sr.

This week, Ira spoke with Dave Koz and Cuba Gooding, Sr.. To listen to the interview click below.

Acclaimed saxophonist Dave Koz, along with friends Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot, will perform in Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center on Saturday, August 2, at 7:30 p.m.

Nine-time GRAMMY® nominee Dave Kozremembers the first record he ever purchased – Tower of Power’s 1974 album, Back To Oakland. It had a powerful impact on him, as his latest album, Summer Horns, shows. Teaming up with three of his most talented and trusted colleagues – Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Mindi Abair –Koz revisited the music that made him want to pick up the saxophone in the first place: classic tracks from Tower of Power and other brassy juggernauts that ruled the airwaves from the late 1960s through the ‘70s – bands like Sly & the Family Stone, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears.

Over the decades, the saxophone has opened numerous doors for Koz. He’s played with such artists as Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Shelby Lynne, Kenny Loggins, U2, Barry Manilow, Michael McDonald, Luther Vandross and Rod Stewart. He’s become a platinum-selling artist with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.

Cuba Gooding, Sr will be joining forces with Soul On Fire for 90 minutes of original material, including the new release of “Everybody Plays the Fool,” in Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center on July 26 at 8 p.m. .
With more than 40 years under his belt as an entertainer, lead vocalist Gooding continues to entertain audiences around the world.

Gooding’s vocals were sampled by Grammy Award winning songstress Alicia Keys, on her smash single, “You Don’t Know My Name,” which, early in 2004, held the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks chart for nine straight weeks.

Having achieved chart topping hits with the Main Ingredient, Gooding continues his musical legacy by pairing up with his son Omar Gooding to produced a rap infused old school groove on the project 2 Good, while simultaneously working on his own current project Rebirth.

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.