Talking With Tom Santopietro – March 29, 2018

Talking With Tom Santopietro – March 29, 2018

Photo by Joan Marcus

This week, Ira spoke with Tom Santopietro. To listen to the interview click below.

Tom Santopietro is author of “Considering Doris Day (Doris Day will celebrate her 96th birthday April 3).”

In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Santopietro talks about Doris Day’s unique status as one of the top entertainers of the 20th century, her extraordinary success in movies, radio, recordings and television; the lack of recognition due her by Baby Boomers based on a few motion pictures that cemented an image; Paul McCartney’s acknowledgement of her as a great singer; and why she agreed to play Las Vegas, but could not come to terms with the casino.

He also is the author of five other books: “Barbara Cook: Then and Now,” the best-selling “The Sound of Music Story,” “The Godfather Effect: Changing Hollywood, America, and Me,” “Sinatra in Hollywood,” and “The Importance of Being Barbra.”

A frequent media commentator in programs ranging from the PBS documentary “The Italian Americans” to the Jimmy van Heusen biography “Swingin’ With Frank & Bing,” Santoprieto conducts monthly interviews for Barnes and Noble and lectures on classic films. Over the past thirty years he has managed more than two dozen Broadway shows.

Prior to becoming an author, Santopietro worked as a tennis pro and has spent twenty-five years as a manager of more than 30 Broadway shows, including Phantom of the Opera, A Few Good Men, Jersey Boys, and Master Class.


Talking With David Goldrake – March 22, 2018

Talking With David Goldrake – March 22, 2018

This week, Ira spoke with David Goldrake. To listen to the interview click below.

Luxembourg’s award-winning illusionist David Goldrake, who is presenting IMAGINARIUM at the Tropicana Las Vegas Tuesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m., now calls the city home.

In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Goldrake talks about discovering magic at age eight in a small country; learning to perform through reading books and using magic to validate his existence as a child; coming to Las Vegas after successfully establishing himself in Europe; combining reality and fantasy, as well as the grand illusion and close-up for his show; and why he believes magic is a universal language.

Representing a new generation of illusionists, David Goldrake’s IMAGINARIUM allows guests to lose all sense of reality, creating a surreal scene caught somewhere between reality and a dreamlike world full of dreams and fantasies.

From the classics of magical history to modern experience, the grand illusionist treats guests to an interactive show featuring escapology, music and choreography blending with modern 3D mapping technology.

Goldrake developed IMAGINARIUM with the best creators in the field of magic and entertainment, and undertakes a journey through time that challenges the laws of nature.

He started his career as a professional magician in 1999. In addition to being a regular performer at the renowned Magic Castle in Hollywood, Goldrake has performed all over the world and has amazed more than 20 million guests in more than ten countries. He speaks seven languages.

In 2010, he was awarded the coveted ‘Mandrake d’Or’ award (The Oscar of Magic) ranking him alongside names such as other Las Vegas favorites including David Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy. In 2015, Goldrake was awarded the “Merlin Award” for “Best Illusionist Europe 2015” by the International Society of Magicians.


Talking With Jack Hanna – March 15, 2018

Talking With Jack Hanna – March 15, 2018

(Photo by Rick Preberg)

This week, Ira spoke with Jack Hanna. To listen to the interview click below.

America’s favorite zookeeper Jungle Jack Hanna, who will be appearing with some of his favorite animals in JACK HANNA’S INTO THE WILD LIVE! in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center March 17, is recognized around the country as America’s favorite zookeeper. Included on stage with Hanna are an eight-foot alligator, a spider monkey and an African porcupine.

In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Hanna talks about his philosophy of loving what you do and working hard; respecting animals in their natural habitat; why zoos and aquariums are imperative; and the importance of education and technology in saving what remains of the wild.
Hanna has made countless television appearances since 1983 on shows such as Good Morning America, The Late Late Show with James Corden, David Letterman, FOX and CNN News.

Hanna and his TV crew have travelled to Africa more than forty times. Although he has explored many fascinating cultures and animals throughout his travels, the country that has truly captured his heart is Rwanda. There Hanna has experienced the thrill of observing the magnificent mountain gorillas, while also spending time with people in the community.
He is proud to support a number of Rwandan wildlife and humanitarian organizations, including the Gorilla Doctors and Partners In Conservation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.


Talking With Emilio Castillo – March 8, 2018

Talking With Emilio Castillo – March 8, 2018

This week, Ira spoke with Emilio Castillo. To listen to the interview click below.

Emilio Castillo, cofounder of Tower of Power, which is performing March 9-11 at South Point Casino, has delivered the best in rhythm and blues music for 50 years.

“We’re not a smooth jazz band, or a retro band…we don’t follow trends, we just make our music exactly the way we want it to be. We noticed years ago that when we did that, the fans liked it,” says Castillo. “We stay true to that, and that makes it easy to go to work on a daily basis. Every time we go to play, we’re playing music we love because we got to make it our way.”

Their first record, East Bay Grease, helped to define the East Bay sound, and did well enough to warrant a recording contract with Warner Brothers. Bump City, their 1972 debut for the label, was a hit on both the Billboard 200 and the chart’s R&B Albums chart, and netted them the hits “You’re Still A Young Man” and “Down To The Nightclub.”

The decade of the 1970s were a boom period for the group, who hit with radio classics like “So Very Hard To Go” and “What Is Hip?” and the band has continued to tour and record over the years with their latest project Hipper Than Hip being a live flash back to their 1974 tour. Castillo says their love of the stage is the same today as it was back in 1968.

In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas With Ira, Castillo reflects about his early days forming his first band; developing the style and music of what became Tower of Power; how the band came to be named; the influence of Sly Stone.

He also talks about his relationship with impresario and rock concert promoter Bill Graham; playing with the Rolling Stones, and releasing two albums celebrating the 50th anniversary of the group.


Talking With Don Brewer – March 1, 2018

Talking With Don Brewer – March 1, 2018

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

Don Brewer, cofounder of Grand Funk Railroad (performing March 9 at The Golden Nugget Las Vegas), is considered one of the most celebrated drummers in classic rock history.

By the age of 12, Brewer started his first band, The Red Devils. Developing his own style, he moves on to his next band, the Jazzmasters.

This band evolves into Terry Knight and the Pack, and Brewer experiences his first top 40 hit in 1966 with “I Who Have Nothing.”

1969 is a pivotal year when Brewer, along with Mark Farner and Mel Schacher, forms the first major power trio to rock the world with Grand Funk Railroad. His career sky-rockets in 1973, especially with Grand Funk’s #1 hit, “We’re An American Band,” that he not only wrote, but sang while playing his historical drums licks.

Also to his list of credits are “Shinin’ On” and “Walk Like A Man.”

Grand Funk goes on to record 12 Gold and 10 Platinum albums.

In the years 1983 and 1987, Brewer is recruited to play on tour with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. The 1987 tour proves to be the largest grossing tour of that decade. He also tours extensively with Seger in 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2012.

Career highlights include bongo features on Frank Zappa’s song “Let Me Take You To The Beach”; a feature in Classic Rock Drum Solos, Modern Drummer Magazine; VH-1’s “Behind The Music”; and “Classic Drummer’s” 2011 Hall of Fame.

Since 2000, Brewer continues touring with Grand Funk Railroad, performing 40 shows a year.