This week, Ira spoke with Monti Rock III. To listen to the interview click below.
In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Rock talks about his life and career; how he survived his early childhood; the insights he’s gained by turning 80; why his popularity was based on personality and character, not talent; his disappointing first appearance in Las Vegas; what his performance in “Saturday Night Fever” gave him; and the hardest thing about being Monti Rock III.
Monti Rock III, whose real name is Joseph Moses Montanez, Jr., also performed as Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes. He has been part of the Las Vegas scene for several decades. As Rock puts it, he is iconic, legendary, unpredictable, an enigma, undefinable, and a legend in his own mind.
His television appearances from the 60’s were topped by his multitude of appearances on the “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson (a total of 84 times) and his appearance in the cult classic film, “Saturday Night Fever.”
Talking With Philip Fortenberry – October 18, 2018
Photo by KillerImage
This week, Ira spoke with Philip Fortenberry. To listen to the interview click below.
Renowned pianist Philip Fortenberry (just back from China), is performing for one night only in his solo concert, “Give My Regards” in Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center October 22.
In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Fortenberry talks about his trip of a lifetime, performing in a 14-city, three week national concert tour of China; why he decided to move to Las Vegas; the two important Las Vegas events and the one person who has affected him the most; why music is so powerful and a universal language; and why this Broadway concert is very personal to him.
Fortenberry’s career includes being one of the most sought-after pianists on the Great White Way and the recipient of the coveted “Ghostlight Award” as “Best Musician on Broadway.”
He was the hand/body double for actor Michael Douglas in HBO’s biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” and has performed as a headliner on numerous concert stages from Lincoln Center to Carnegie Hall, from The Kennedy Center to The White House.
“Give My Regards” is presented and produced by PK Music with direction by Las Vegas composer Keith Thompson who is co-producer with Fortenberry of their hit musical show, “The Cocktail Cabaret” in Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace.
This week, Ira spoke with Norm Johnson. To listen to the interview click below.
Veteran Las Vegas journalist Norm Johnson has covered the Las Vegas scene for several decades.
In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Johnson talks about his long entertainment, publicity and event career in Las Vegas; how he arrived here after working as a journalist in Los Angeles, including accidently covering the Watts Riots; working with some of the top entertainers in show business; starting The Mint 400; bemoaning the lack of creativity in casinos today; what he sees as the future of the city.
Born in Burbank, California, Johnson grew up in Hollywood. His mother was Max Factor’s right hand for movie makeup, and owned three beauty salons in Los Angeles and Hollywood.
When he turned 17, in 1950, Johnson enlisted in the United States Air Force. He eventually became an investigator in the Air Police (now referred to as APIS), and was sent to Japan in April, 1952. Upon arrival in Japan, he immediately signed up to continue his studying (which he had begun as a youngster in San Diego) in the Martial Arts at the Kodakan Institute in Tokyo, where he became a third degree black belt. As an investigator he worked on numerous cases involving narcotics, illegal trade of script (used by armed forces as money), and the printing of phony script.
He was discharged in San Francisco in 1953, and returned to live with his family in San Diego. Johnson would go back and forth to Hollywood to enter dance contests. In 1955 he met James Dean while racing a Porsche for a sponsor in Palm Springs, and the two racers became good friends. Whenever he was in Hollywood, Johnson would stay at his place just above Hollywood Blvd. He met Elvis on the set of Jailhouse Rock in 1957, when he was selected to be one of the dancers in the Jailhouse scene.
In 1959, Johnson was hired to handle public relations for former Heavyweight Champion of the World, Joe Louis. That was his first of many Las Vegas connections.
This week, Ira spoke with Brian Van Flandern. To listen to the interview click below.
Brian Van Flandern is executive director of mixology, spirit education and special events for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits in Las Vegas. He also is the author of the new book, “Whiskey Cocktails.” The book is the fifth edition of Assouline’s best-selling cocktail series.
In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Van Flandern talks about his move to Las Vegas; the explosion in craft cocktails; whisky vs. whiskey; passion in pursuit of excellence; and his plans for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Academy, where industry professionals are invited to learn from master mixologists, spirits experts, master sommeliers and cicerones.
Prior to joining Southern Glazer’s, Van Flandern was the president and founder of his own mixology consulting firm, Creative Cocktail Consultants, where he focused on spirits education, innovating cutting-edge cocktail lists and training professional bartenders in the art of mixology, comprehensive spirits education and Michelin three-star hospitality dining and beverage standards. He also designed and implemented successful cocktail programs for luxury properties and prestigious clientele, such as famous chefs Thomas Keller and Geoffrey Zakarian.
Throughout his extensive career, Van Flandern has been awarded numerous honors, including “America’s Top Mixologist” by The Food Network, “One of the Top Ten Hotel Bartenders in the World” by Travel + Leisure Magazine and “Top Ten Cocktail Books of the Year” at Tales of the Cocktail for his second book “Craft Cocktails.”
He was also appointed by Diageo, the world’s largest producer of spirits, as their first-ever Global Brand Ambassador and is a certified Spirits Professional by the United States Bartending Guild, of which he is a founding board member for their New York Chapter, which is now the largest chapter in the country.