Talking With Dan Sperry – March 31, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo Dan Sperry

This week, Ira spoke with Dan Sperry. To listen to the interview click below.

Shock Illusionist and Anti-Conjuror Dan Sperry’s fascination with the art of magic began when he was four years old and he performed his first paid show at age 11. By the time he was 17, Sperry was already an internationally recognized champion with honors including being one of the youngest illusionists to headline the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood.
Shortly thereafter, his resume would grow to include multiple appearances on the hit TV series “Masters of Illusion,” the youngest illusionist featured in several shows on the Las Vegas Strip, and tours taking him around the world including France, Italy, Canada, and Greece. He is also the only illusionist to ever be awarded the title of most original magician on FOX’s “World Magic Awards.”

In the fall of 2011 Sperry traded in his longtime Vegas residency to call New York City home. Starring in his Off-Broadway headlining engagement, “MAGICSHOW” nightly in the heart of the theater district of Times Square Sperry quickly gained the attention of the mainstream entertainment industry. With acclaim from audiences and critics alike it was voted “Best of Manhattan” for 2012 and 2013. Sperry was also awarded the coveted Merlin Award from the International Magicians Society and was bestowed the honor of Most Cutting Edge Magic twice in a row and holds that title to this day.


Talking With Gerald Alston – March 24, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo Gerald Alston resized

This week, Ira spoke with Gerald Alston. To listen to the interview click below.

Gerald Alston, lead singer with the Manhattans (performing at Sam’s Town Live! April 2), was born in Henderson, North Carolina, the son of Rev. J.B. Alston and the nephew of gospel great Johnny Fields of the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, who learned his trade in church.

As a teen he formed Gerald Alston & the New Imperials, a group that, performing both secular and religious music, called themselves The Gospel Jubilee when they appeared in churches. During a local appearance, Alston met the Manhattans when they borrowed equipment from Alston’s band. When The Manhattans heard Gerald rehearsing, they loved what they heard and asked the 17 year old to join the group.

Alston took over as their lead singer in 1970. The group enjoyed enormous success in the 70s and 80s with songs such as: “There’s No Me Without You,” “Wish That You Were Mine,” “Hurt,” “We Never Danced To A Love Song,” “Don’t Take Your Love From Me,” “I Kinda Miss You” and “It Feels So Good To be Loved So Bad.” Their 1976 single, “Kiss and Say Goodbye” was both a number one R&B and Pop hit.

The Manhattans won a Grammy in 1980 for the big hit “Shining Star.” After 17 years, Alston left The Manhattans to pursue a solo career. His debut album with Motown Records, “Gerald Alston,” was followed by “Open Invitation in 1990.” His third album in 1992, “Always In The Mood,” was a blend of classic R&B songs with 90s music and nuances.

In 1993, Gerald signed with Scotti Brothers/Street Life Records and recorded his debut album, “First Class Only,” which Alston believes is one of the best albums he has recorded. In the same year, Gerald reunited with Blue Lovett and The Manhattans for a 30th year reunion performance and has continued leading the group.


Talking With Tony DeSare – March 17, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo Tony DeSare

This week, Ira spoke with Tony Desare. To listen to the interview click below.

Singer-songwriter-pianist Tony DeSare, who will be performing March 25-26 in Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center, was named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat Magazine. He has been winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe.

DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, and the Today Show.

He is also an accomplished award-winning composer, having won first place in the USA Songwriting Contest, and writing the theme song for the motion picture, “My Date With Drew,” along with several broadcast commercials.

What sets DeSare apart is his ability to write original material that sounds fresh and contemporary, yet pays homage to the Great American Songbook. His compositions include a wide-range of romantic, funny, and soulful sounds that can be found on his top-selling recordings.

He releases new recordings, videos of standards and new originals every few weeks on his YouTube channel, iTunes and Spotify.


Talking With Don Gavin – March 10, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo Don Gavin

This week, Ira spoke with Don Gavin. To listen to the interview click below.

Don Gavin, the Godfather of Boston comedy, who is headlining at the Laugh Factory in the Tropicana Las Vegas through March 13th, considered the Godfather of Boston Comedy.

He was one of the original founders of the famous Ding-Ho Comedy Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts (a launching pad for some of the funniest, brightest and most original comic talent in America.)

Later, Gavin founded Nick’s Comedy Stop and was a pioneer at the Comedy Connection. He has toured every state of the union performing in clubs, theatres, festivals, colleges & corporate events.

Gavin has performed in more than 100 countries with his work with the USO and cruise ships.


Talking With Naomi Emmerson – March 3, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo Naomi Emmerson

This week, Ira spoke with Naomi Emmerson. To listen to the interview click below.

Naomi Emmerson will be performing an intimate one woman musical theatre drama, “PIAF: LOVE CONQUERS ALL” at the Winchester Cultural Center in Las Vegas, March 4th at 7pm & March 5th at 1:30pm. This performance is a celebration of Edith Piaf’s 100th birthday and The Little Sparrow’s life, loves and music.

As an actor,Emmerson has been working steadily in theater and television for the past 19 years. Born in Montreal and an art/music graduate of Concordia University (BFA), she began her singing career performing simultaneously with punk/pop band “Sons of the Desert” and studying bel canto style voice with Carmen Mehta and Barbara Lewis. She also sang in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Ewan Edwards and Charles Dutoit.

In theater, she has played lead roles in both drama, comedy, musicals and straight plays.

While living in Toronto for 10 years, she took part in performance workshops for both The Mirvishes (Peggy Sue Got Married) and CanStage (Moll by Leslie Arden). She appeared with Matthew Broderick in Walt Disney’s TV movie The Music Man where she also sang on the cast recording. Other film and TV credits include: The Tuxedo, Blizzard, The Man Who Saved Christmas, Monk and St. Ralph. She has appeared in many commercials, and has added her voice to Sailor Moon and other animation and commercial projects. Ms. Emmerson’s directorial debut (outside of Piaf) was for Smile Theater for Leslie Arden’s The Happy Prince.

Emmerson lived in Brooklyn, New York where she and her husband headed Tone Poet Productions, the company responsible for producing over 200 performances of the one woman show Piaf: Love Conquers All. The show won “Outstanding Musical” at the Fringe NYC then went on to a 10 week off-Broadway commercial run. It has toured in over 16 venues in the USA and Canada and abroad including San Francisco and Manilla Philippines (see show history here)

After living in Austin, Texas for 4 1/2 years and singing in a western swing band, The Bordertown Bootleggers, she moved to Las Vegas in January 2015.