2012 Year-In-Review!

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Can you believe we are already at the end of 2012? And what a year it’s been! A definite mixture of highs and lows…not an easy year, for sure…but a completely blessed one nonetheless. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in…it was a busy year! LOL

To begin with, Ron and I were BOTH incredibly blessed with many new opportunities to continue doing what we LOVE: there were several NEW VENUES for me to sing jazz (Elara Grand Vacations Resort, The Dispensary Lounge, Blue Fire Supper Club, Kelly’s Prime Steak & Seafood) and a couple of NEW SHOWS for Ron (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas & The Grand Ole Vegas Revue at The Plaza) in addition to all his emcee and hosting work (you can read all about my gorgeous hubby at www.RonSmithLasVegas.com)! PLUS, we had lots of opportunities this year to perform TOGETHER, which we love the MOST (Sun City Anthem, Starbright Theater, Wild Horse Country Club, Hit Parade, Toast of the Town, Showstoppers, Barbra Streisand Concert, etc.)!

Facebook ProfileOne of the “lows” this year was losing my older brother, Jeff. He passed away on March 26th, following a very long, painful struggle with alcoholism and all the various and numerous health problems he had because of it. Jeff and I had our difficulties over the years. Alcoholism is such a progressive, all-encompassing disease, and it literally takes over your life…and the lives of everyone around you. I had a hard time understanding what I believed to be his “choices” in life…I realize now they weren’t choices for him, he did the best that he could. My brother is finally at peace, and he will always be remembered as a good and kind man who adored his children and just wanted his family to be proud of him. And we are so grateful that we have his wonderful children, Tyler (15) and Sara (13), living here in town now…they are truly a blessing in our lives. You can read his full story on the memorial website we set up for him here: www.jeffreywaynerogers.com.

Trubble Smith: RIP 1993-2012

Trubble Smith: RIP 1993-2012

We also lost our dear, sweet Trubble this past year…my “bestest” friend and kitty of 19 years. She was such a joy in our life and such a wonderful companion through the years. I miss her so much….

Yes, a definite mixture of highs and lows…but thankfully, the highs totally outweighed the lows…again, fortunate and blessed. :)

My vocal trio, DANGEROUS CURVES, had a particularly incredible year. Here’s a little tidbit from our latest BLOG post, just to catch you up:

Dangerous Curves, 2012…it has truly been one of the most sensational years in Dangerous Curves history. And, while our history is rather short (should we simply say new?), it has been filled with the love and support of family and friends. However, we never dreamed just how much support we would literally see and feel than when we did our first Dangerous Curves, Indiegogo campaign. Crowd-funding?! That’s for big stars and artists with HUGE email lists and…well, you know…right? NO! We really didn’t know the depth and scope of your huge and generous hearts!

CD Artwork Composite

The above pictures show the fruition of that generosity in our sophomore CD called “Star of Wonder”, now available on iTunesAmazon MP3 and of course, physical copies available by simply emailing us at dangerouscurves@cox.net.

If that wasn’t enough, we have been nominated for “2012 Best Cabaret Artist – Female” on Broadway World Los Angeles! WHAT?! We couldn’t be happier! If you have a moment, would you go and vote for us? Here’s the link to vote on BroadwayWorld.com (you must first enter your email address and then complete the entire voting process in order for your vote to count). BUT PLEASE HURRY: Voting ends Dec 31, 2012.

Wow, 2012. A year filled with new fans and friends, performances, nominations, our newest CD and best of all, the absolute knowledge, that someone is listening. Someone really cares about us and knows us and loves us. Friends, we love you, too. Enjoy your holidays and we wish you a most happy and joyous New Year!

Shades of SinatraAs for SHADES OF SINATRA, we are still performing at the Clarion Hotel & Casino 3 nights a week, but we are now in the BIG 300-seat Wolf Theater Showroom (and beginning in June of this year, we moved to Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday nights at 9:00pm)!!! We continue to get wonderful crowds and so many positive comments and reviews about the show (you can read a few of them HERE on TripAdvisor.com).

Looking toward 2013, we are planning to start booking some out-of-town shows in addition to continuing our shows at the Clarion Hotel… lots of plans, lots of dreams, lots of great things ahead!

stick_figure_drawing_goalsOn a personal note, 2012 was a definite year of change and self-improvement for me. After watching a video of myself in the Valentine’s Show that Ron and I performed at the Starbright Theater (“Love is a Many Complicated Thing”), I sadly realized that the past 10 years of being married and living in Las Vegas had brought not only tremendous JOY and LOVE to my life, but also an additional 30 or so pounds!!! What?!?!? How did that happen? I mean, I knew I had gained a few pounds over the years…marriage does that to you, right? But 30?!?! Holy COW (pun intended)…I honestly had no idea. SOOOO, I decided that day to DO something about it.

I had just finished reading Jennifer Hudson’s book, “I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down” and immediately got online and signed up for Weight Watchers. Yes, THAT Weight Watchers! It was exactly what I needed. I’ve never been a person who does well with “meetings” of any kind (maybe I just don’t like people that much???), but I LOVE gadgets and tech stuff, and I LOVE being in charge and making my OWN decisions…I definitely don’t respond to someone else telling me what to do. So after reading through a few of the options, I decided to sign up for the ONLINE PLAN and track everything using my iPhone. PERFECT for me! I signed up for a 3-month plan to start with (about $18 a month for ALL the tools I would need) and figured I’d try it for 3 months and see how it went. What did I have to lose, right (besides the obvious lbs)? Well guess what? In those 3 months I lost 16 pounds!!!!! And I am not exaggerating when I tell you it was WAY easier than I thought it would be. All I did was stick to the plan and the weight literally fell off! I was EATING AND LOSING WEIGHT. I felt great. THIS was something I could actually do the rest of my life…yeah, I became a “believer”. Thanks Jennifer… ;-)

Weight Watchers

So, I decided I would keep going and lose ALL the weight I had gained since moving to Vegas…all 30 pounds of it. But I also decided AFTER that initial 3 months that I really did need to start getting some regular exercise. Not so much for the weight loss (Weight Watchers was taking care of that part), but for my own health. Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger (as much as I would like to think I am), and it was finally time to start an exercise plan that I would STICK with. But finding something that I could get excited about…now that was the kicker. Hmmmm….what to do?

184999497163930721_j8k2MhS1_bWell, over the years I have had several friends who were runners, and I always remember them talking about the “high” they would get, and the amazing feeling of “accomplishment” they would have when they’d finish a “LONG run” (which for them was, like, 8 miles, and for me would be 8 minutes!). And then I read a Facebook post from a friend where she talked about running 10 miles that day, and I thought to myself, “That’s insane…that would take 2 hours to do!!!” I wrote her and told her that she was my hero, and I could NEVER do that, and guess what she wrote back? That a year ago, she couldn’t either. But she did a program called “Couch-to-5K” and went from not being able to run 2 minutes without feeling like she was going to die, to being able to RUN a 5K in only 9 weeks. Wow, really??? Okay, again…what have I got to lose??? Let’s give it a shot!

So I purchased the “Couch-to-5K” app for my iPhone and went for my first RUN! Okay, not really a run…it was a slow jog for 30 seconds, then a walk for 2 minutes, then another 30-second jog, then walk, then…you get the idea. Each day I did the program, the time of the jog interval increased slightly, and the walking time decreased. It was not easy, but it also was COMPLETELY doable. So I did it, and continued to do it 3 times a week for the next 9 weeks, and at the end of that 9 weeks I ran in my first 5K RACE!!! Since then I have run in 2 more 5K’s, ran my first 10K in November (hubby’s 1st 5K), and have already signed up for my first HALF MARATHON next April. Yep, I am officially HOOKED!

Running Photos

So, that’s where we are. I reached my goal weight in September and have now kept it off for 3 months! I feel better than I have in my entire life! SO WHAT’S NEXT for Lisa Smith?!?!? New goals? New performing possibilities? Yes, and YES! But you’re just gonna have to wait till the next BLOG post to find out what they are…so stay-tuned! :)

In the meantime, if you’re not busy this Monday night, New Year’s Eve, come on down to Bootlegger Bistro, 7700 Las Vegas Blvd S, and celebrate with us! Gary Peterson and I will be there from 9:30pm-12:30am…LIVE JAZZ, GOURMET ITALIAN CUISINE, CHAMPAGNE….what more could you want?!?

Bootlegger NYE WEB

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE….see ya in 2013!!!

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DANGEROUS CURVES’ 2012 BroadwayWorld Los Angeles Theatre Award Nomination!

OMG…my vocal trio, DANGEROUS CURVES, has been nominated for a 2012 BROADWAY WORLD LOS ANGELES THEATRE AWARD for “Best Female Cabaret Artist” for our cabaret show we premiered down in LA last December!!! We are SOOOOOO flippin’ excited, and now WE NEED YOUR VOTE to win!

CLICK THE LINK below to cast your VOTE for us! It is the first category and all you need to do is vote for Dangerous Curves (Lisa Smith, Karen Michaels, Margaret Menzies) and then if you don’t know the other categories, you can simply say, “no nominee” on each page and continue to the next. It only takes a few moments, but you MUST click through ALL the categories to the end where you enter your name and email address for your vote to count!

Please help us out…it is an INCREDIBLE honor just to be nominated, but how great would it be to actually WIN!?! :)

Thanks everyone!
Love, the Girls of Dangerous Curves (Lisa, Gret & Karen)

“Finding Harmony on the Road Less Traveled”

Just wanted to take a few moments to brag about what’s been going on for my vocal trio, Dangerous Curves…it’s been a busy, successful couple of months! As you know, we’ve been in the studio recording our upcoming Christmas CD (to be released November 2012), and doing as many appearances around town as possible (Sun City Anthem, Ovations at Green Valley Ranch, Hit Parade at Suncoast Hotel, Tivoli Village in Summerlin, San Gennaro Feast, etc, etc…). We also have a newly REDESIGNED website (www.DangerousCurvesLasVegas.com) and BLOG (www.DangerousCurvesLasVegas.wordpress.com) to match our NEW photos & branding.

On top of all that, we premiered our new CABARET SHOW “Finding Harmony on the Road Less Traveled” at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s in Studio City, CA and received rave reviews! No, seriously, RAVE REVIEWS from 2 very highly respected cabaret guys!!! It’s so exciting!

The first was from Don Grigware of BroadwayWorld.com. Here’s a little snippet from his review:

“All three are distinctly different beauties in talent, personality and looks, and when they come together, what voices and what beautiful harmony! Not that easy to find nowadays amongst vocalists who strive to overdo style, and scream and screech to grab instant recognition. These gals can really sing and harmonize, and indeed they did with fabulous musical director Dan Ellis at the piano throughout.” ~ Don Grigware, LosAngeles.BroadwayWorld.com, Dec 6, 2011

You can read the full review here: http://losangeles.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Reviews-Dangerous-Curves-Deliver-Harmoniously-Sterlings-20111206##ixzz1iQqqluPj

The other review was by Robert Machray of BlogCritics.org…here’s just a little taste of what he had to say:

“These women are totally professional and are obviously skilled and experienced performers….Their voices blend together beautifully and one couldn’t help but be brought back to an earlier time when groups, male and female, were at the top of their game. They were reminiscent of the Andrews sisters but with a more modern sensibility….I look forward to seeing and hearing this group again.” ~ Robert Machray, BlogCritics.org, Dec 9, 2011

To read the FULL review, click here: http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/cabaret-review-la-dangerous-curves-at/

"Dangerous Curves" with Dan Ellis (musical director) & Michael Sterling following our performance at Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's

And if that weren’t enough, Don Grigware just published his “Best in LA Theatre” picks and named us one of the 4 BEST Female Cabaret Artists appearing in Los Angeles in 2011! Shu’ up…really?!? How cool is that! The 3 other artists chosen were Ann Hampton Callaway, Maxine Lapiduss & Freda Payne…nice company, huh? :)

Yes, indeed, things are very good in CURVY land right now!!

Follow “Dangerous Curves” on Twitter & Facebook!

Best Resources for Learning Acoustic Guitar!

As some of you know, I’ve been trying to learn the acoustic guitar (you know, in all that spare time I have…lol) so I thought I would take a moment to write a quick post regarding a few of the BEST online resources and iPad/iPhone apps out there for the beginner.  Now, let me preface this by saying that I am obviously no expert on the subject of guitar…hence, the first sentence saying that I am LEARNING the guitar…but the “tools” I’ll be recommending have helped me, and I thought they might help you too. So here they are, along with a description of each app from the iTunes app store page:

GUITAR TOOLKIT (iPhone & iPad): Essential guitar utilities, including an amazingly accurate tuner and a library of over 500,000 chords, all on your iPhone or iPod touch. One of the highest rated applications in the App Store.
FEATURES
– Direct support for 6- and 12-string guitar, 4-, 5- and 6-string bass, banjo, mandolin, and ukulele with a full chord library, standard and alternate tunings for each instrument.
– Highly accurate chromatic tuner using the iPhone microphone (or iPod touch with microphone headset).
– Precisely accurate metronome with a visible flash option, tempo tap pad, 13 sound effects and 12 time signatures.
– Massive chord library (over 500,000 chords) for quick and easy reference: strum chords to hear what they sound like. Includes chords for alternate tunings.
– Chord finder: simply touch the notes on the fretboard that make up a chord, and GuitarToolkit tells you what that chord is! This is a lot of fun and a great way to learn about those great-sounding chords you’ve been playing.
– Scales references in standard or alternate tunings: use the interactive fretboard to touch each note and hear what it sounds like.
– Supports “lefty mode” which adjusts chords and scales to reflect a left-handed instrument.

SONGBOOK CHORDPRO (iPhone & iPad): SongBook manages your song collections (free song downloads available via Chordie.com) complete with lyrics and chords.
FEATURES
– Tap on any chord name to see its definitions.
– Comes with comprehensive, extensible chord libraries for guitar, ukulele and mandolin.
– Transpose songs on the fly.
– Define playlists (sets) for performances or practicing.
– Auto-scrolling, metronome and much more.
– Based on the popular chordpro format. Automatic conversion of tab/crd files.
– Songbook has a simple Internet search for chordpro files built-in. You can use one of the two main search providers, or type a URL of your own. If the displayed page contains a pre-formatted song, the Import button in the lower right will become active and open the song editor. You can then save the song in the song list or cancel the edit and get back to the search view.

YOUTUBE (Web, iPhone, iPad): This has been one of my FAVORITE online resources for learning the guitar. There are literally HUNDREDS of free lessons and tutorials on there…tons of different styles, from beginner to advanced…did I mention it’s TOTALLY FREE?!?! Just do a YouTube search for the name of the song you want, along with “acoustic guitar” or “tutorial” next to it. Some of them only teach you a portion of the song, but they are a great way to get you started!

Here are a few of my favorite songs that I learned on YouTube:

“I Hope You Dance” – http://youtu.be/8j9Tx40rQN4
“You Were Meant For Me” – http://youtu.be/vz1_WPZwyXQ
“Mad World” – http://youtu.be/HZ8tIClSuGk

MY SONG LIST: Here’s a list of some of the songs I am currently working on using my Songbook Chordpro app…easy songs that for the most part ANYONE can play using the following EASY chords: A, Am, Amaj7, C, D, Dm, D7, E, Em, Em7, F, G, G7…learn those chords (and if you want to sing along, simply use a capo to put it in your key) and you can play virtually ANYTHING!

  • Ain’t no Sunshine
  • Amazing Grace
  • Before He Cheats
  • Big Yellow Taxi
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Bubbly
  • California Dreamin’
  • Colors of the Wind
  • Country Roads
  • Cowboy Take Me Away
  • Danny Boy
  • Forget You
  • Gravity
  • Have You Ever Seen the Rain
  • Here Comes the Sun
  • House of the Rising Sun
  • I Can See Clearly Now
  • I Hope You Dance
  • I’m Yours
  • Jambalaya
  • Johnny B Goode
  • Landslide
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
  • Lesson in Leavin’
  • Love Song
  • Lucky
  • Mad World
  • Margaritaville
  • Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
  • Soak Up the Sun
  • Stand By Me
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Up On the Roof
  • What’s Up
  • Wonderwall
  • You Were Meant For Me

HAVE FUN!!!!!!!

My New iPad – PERFECT for Gigs!!!

Just had to take a moment to write about my new iPad and how great it is for gigs! I absolutely LOVE it!!!! Consider that I usually bring a small suitcase FULL of lyric books and fakebooks to my gigs…literally, a SUITCASE!…particularly the one at Gold Coast Casino because we take so many requests. Now, I only bring my iPad and the charts for whatever musicians I am using (which many times means ONLY the piano book if it’s a jazz gig). I used it for the first time on New Year’s Eve for both The Orleans gig and SC Prime Steakhouse, and it went great…SOOOO much easier! My favorite apps so far are the iRealBook and the unrealBook. PERFECT for the working musician and singer!

The iRealBook is absolutely AMAZING…their website describes the app like this:

“iRealBook is an app for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android that contains a collection of hundreds of chord charts of jazz standards, jazz classics, latin, brazilian, pop classics and more.”

They also have a forum of user-added charts where you can easily download (and EDIT) hundreds more! In addition, you can easily transpose the charts to any key you want and email them anywhere, AND it now features a music player which lets you PLAY the music as well (sounds like a LIVE jazz trio accompanying you…well, sort of….but DEFINITELY good enough to practice to). In the photo of me above, that’s the app I have open on the iPad. And guess what? It only costs $9.99!!!! I know…REALLY inexpensive for what you get!

The unrealBook app on the iPad

The other app I mentioned, the unrealBook, is equally as COOL, but for different reasons. This is where I have PDFs of all my lyric sheets and any other charts or sheet music not already on iRealBook. Their website features a list of the app’s features:

  • unrealBook allows you to access your entire library of music or lyrics on your iPad with ease.
  • Replace your bulky and heavy binders with a small and light iPad filled with your music PDF files.
  • The alphabetized and indexed list makes it easy to find the song you are looking for.
  • No more asking for a light for your music stand on dark stages.
  • No more worrying about a breeze turning a page by accident.
  • Search for a song quickly and easily.
  • Create bookmarks that allow you to easily load up a large PDF and go directly to a page within.
  • Use bookmarks and PDF files together to create set lists for different gigs.
  • Hot spots allow you place highlighted areas on the page that allow you to jump from one page to another when pressed (think To Coda and D.S. signs).
  • There is a built in music player so you can listen to your music while you check out the score!
  • Connect to the world via email, URL download, dropbox support.
  • Annotate your scores with auto-highlighted text and colored pens with different sizes.
  • Create set lists easily. Jump to any song in a set list directly or step through the set list sequentially.

Within just a few hours of downloading the unrealBook (which cost $4.99), I had converted all my lyrics sheets to PDF (previously in Microsoft Word, converted to PDF form using Cute PDF Writer, freeware version) and uploaded them to the iPad. Within the app itself, I then created “set lists” based on song style (medium swing, jazz ballad, etc.) so that I could find what I was looking for easily and quickly during a gig, and added text to each lyric sheet indicating the key. Voila! I now have close to 400 lyric sheets ready to access anytime with one finger!!!!!! So easy…

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE technology!!! :)

“Music Success in Nine Weeks”

Um, okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted…like 5 months!!!!!!! OMG, I am so sorry. While part of the reason I have been so horrible about posting is that I’ve been really busy, I realize that’s not a good excuse. Everyone is busy, right? So, no excuses…here we go…again:

I am reading a new book, “Music Success in Nine Weeks” by Ariel Hyatt, and I am getting SO MUCH out of it that I just HAD to take a quick moment to share about it. Here’s a brief description from the website:

Music Success in Nine Weeks is a guide for musicians to define their brand, grow their fan-base, earn more income, and achieve success in the digital environment, whether they are new to the industry or longtime artists. Music Success in Nine Weeks provides the missing manual for musicians trying to make sense of the social media revolution and explains step-by-step how to create a profitable and sustainable business from their music. Just released in its second edition, the book can easily be deemed the “what to do next” bible for both new and established artists. Structured like a workbook, with room for exercises and notes, the book takes all of the guesswork out of where to start and how to achieve success as a musician in today’s world.

The first chapter is all about GOAL SETTING, getting things DONE, and celebrating your SUCCESSES. After writing out all of my goals by hand, I purchased a great little iPhone app (for my iTouch) call 2Do and transferred them all into there. In the two weeks I’ve been using it, it has proven to be an absolute God-send for helping me follow through on the goals and tasks that I set for myself each day (which in turn helps get me that much closer to all of my short-term, 12-month and lifetime goals!). Highly recommend checking it out.

The second chapter is about creating your PERFECT PITCH…the idea being that you need a succinct way to explain to someone who has never heard your music what’s it’s like. Here’s  what I came up with: “Classic Jazz, Contemporary Edge.” Took me a few days to settle on that, but I think it sums up what I do pretty well. Any thoughts???? Then I went through all of my various websites, social networks, and added that “tagline” to the top of every page.

Chapter 3 is about OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITES! Making sure they load quickly, giving them a consistent feel (using the same colors/photos on all of your various profile pages across the net, so that you can begin to establish a “branding look” of your own), linking all of your sites together, etc. TONS of great info there! Still working on this chapter, but I’ve gotten quite a bit done. Check out my website, www.lisasmithjazz.com, and my NEW twitter page, www.twitter.com/lovinazz! Let’s just say I’ve been having a lot of FUN in Photoshop this week!!! Let me know what you think???

I still have several chapters to go, but I am absolutely LOVING everything I have gotten out of the book so far…thanks Ariel!!!!!!

The Reading of “LEONARDO”

On Saturday I had the privilege of attending the private reading of a brand new play called “LEONARDO” by Francis Xavier Dumont, in which my husband was asked to participate. It’s the story of a young Leonardo da Vinci, one of history’s most quintessential “renaissance men,” during a little known, but significant and influential period of his life. Here’s a brief synopsis from the prologue of the script:

Leonardo da Vinci was once young and handsome. At the age of 24, he was awakened to the wonder of physical love and the wickedness of human society when he was accused of crimes against nature in the spring of 1476. Fifty years later, Giorgio Vasari, the great biographer of renaissance artists, discovered the written accusation in the archives of the Dominican friars. He searches out the still living Jacopo Saltarelli, who was accused with Leonardo of sodomy. Jacopo relates the events of that time, including his brief love affair with the young genius. These true events play out against a tapestry of political intrigue and murder…

The play was written to accommodate either a full 23 person cast, or a 10 person cast with each person (except for Leonardo) playing multiple roles. The latter is how it was done for this particular reading. Cast members included some of our most talented local actors: Lysander Abadia (as a young Leonardo da Vinci); Sean Critchfield (young Jacopo Saltarelli, Augustino, Assassin); Brian Scott (Lorenzo de Medici, Dominican Friar, Old Jacopo Saltarelli); Jay Joseph (Hercule Tornabuoni, Giorgio Vasari, Soldier); John Ivanoff (The Archbishop of Pisa, Andrea del Verrocchio); Ron Smith (Ser Piero da Vinci, Ruffian, Francesco de Pazzi); Barbara King (Lucrezia de Medici, Caterina’s Mother); Cindi Harper (Giovanna Tornabuoni, Prostitute #1); Courtney Sheets (Caterina, Prostitute #2); and Lisa Illia (Nona, Madam Alfonsina).

With Francis Xavier Dumont, Author

Okay, I have a confession to make… I normally do NOT enjoy attending non-musical productions. Particularly readings of plays where I don’t even have the luxury of beautiful costumes or scenery to look at! Now, I realize that makes me sound terribly uncultured…but alas, it is true. I get bored very, very easily…I confess.

So you need to understand how surprised I am to tell you that I really enjoyed this play! It actually kept my interest the entire time…which says a lot about the writing (and, of course, about the actors portraying the characters)! So CONGRATULATIONS to Francis Xavier Dumont and the entire cast on a job well done. I look forward to seeing the FULL production when it finally goes up…whenever that will be. I know the script has been submitted to several places, so I sincerely hope it gets picked up soon. Kudos to everyone involved!

DISNEYLAND Great for Gluten-Free!

A couple of weeks ago, Ron and I headed down to California to celebrate our friend Dennis’ birthday at “the happiest place on earth,” Disneyland! I’d heard recently that Disney had been making some changes to their menu offerings in order to accommodate their Gluten-Free guests, but I had no idea just how MUCH they were doing. Boy, were we ever impressed!!!

To begin with, we met Dennis and his family at Downtown Disney for dinner on Sunday evening. As I usually do, I called ahead to the restaurant to check on the menu and make sure there would be something I could eat, and I was told by the hostess that all I needed to do was inform our server that I needed to eat gluten-free and that they would absolutely be able to accommodate me. Good answer! When we arrived at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, we were seated in a FABULOUS little private dining room upstairs (there were about 15 of us in the party) and I talked with our server about my options. There were a TON of choices for me! I decided on the Barbecue Gulf Shrimp (minus the French bread croutons) appetizer and the Seafood Jambalaya for dinner. Wow….talk about delicious! The Jambalaya was absolutely AMAZING!!!  I highly recommend this restaurant.

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen: Located in the Downtown Disney® District, our two story replica of traditional French Quarter architecture includes a ground floor, interior, open-air courtyard flanked by a quick service dining facility (Creole Cafe) and a New Orleans-style jazz club (Flambeaux’s) Upstairs in the Carnival Club you’ll find traditional New Orleans dining rooms and an outdoor ‘Jazz balcony’ with seating that overlooks the revelry of Downtown Disney. For over fifty years, Ralph Brennan and his family have proudly served the finest Louisiana ingredients and our Chef, Darrin Finkel, has peppered those celebrated flavors throughout our menus. The Jazz Kitchen boasts festive, ‘Big Easy themed’ private party facilities and comprehensive event planning services. From our mouthwatering Louisiana cuisine to the live jazz played at Flambeaux’s every night, every detail of the Jazz Kitchen delivers on the promise of New Orleans. Pricing is moderate with entrees at lunch in the $7 – $15 dollar range and at dinner in the $13 – $25 dollar range. A full wine list, wine by the glass and a full bar are available throughout the day.

The next morning we caught the shuttle from our hotel (got a GREAT deal, once again, from Priceline.com…had a fabulous SUITE, with microwave and refrigerator included, at the Hilton Suites Anaheim/Orange for only $60 per night!) to the Disneyland resort. After picking up our 1-Day Park Hopper tickets from will-call (a BIG thank you to Dave Overcash for the tickets!!!!), we stopped by the Disneyland City Hall to pick up our complimentary Gluten-Free Guide to the Disneyland Parks & Resorts (an 11 page print-out describing all of the places you can eat gluten-free at Disneyland, California Adventure, and their 3 hotels!) and met up with our friends for a fabulously FUN day!

Oh my goodness, I can’t even begin to describe how many restaurants and vendors at Disneyland and California Adventure offer gluten-free options now…it was amazing! I was actually able to get a Hamburger with a DELICIOUS Gluten-Free Bun and French Fries (cooked in a separate fryer) at the Village Haus Restaurant in Adventureland. To be honest, I can’t even REMEMBER how long it’s been since I’ve had a hamburger WITH bun! I felt just like a “regular” person!!! :) Some of the other options available at different restaurants were Gluten-Free Cheese & Pepperoni Pizza and Gluten-Free Pasta (at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Tomorrowland), Quesadillas made with Corn Tortillas (Rancho Del Zocalo in Frontierland), Gluten-Free Waffles (Plaza Inn), Hot-Dogs with Gluten-Free Buns (Coke Corner) and SO MUCH MORE!

Kudos to Disneyland for all they are doing to accommodate their guests with dietary issues, like those of us with Celiac Disease. It’s so wonderful to know that we can enjoy a vacation somewhere without having to worry if there’s going to something to eat! Thanks Disney!!!!!!!

Gig at Addison’s Lounge, Rampart Casino

Last weekend, Friday, February 5th, I had the opportunity to sing with the wonderful Gary Olds Trio (Chuck Hoover on keyboards; Jeff Davis on bass; Gary Olds on drums/vocals) at Addison’s Lounge, Rampart Casino, over in Summerlin. What a great night we had! The room was absolutely packed and the crowd was awesome. To be honest, I was a bit worried going in because the casino had accidentally switched the dates in their advertising and some people came expecting to the group “Sixties Sensation” (who were actually there THIS weekend instead), but it turned out to be a really good thing. Mostly because it gave us the opportunity to play a HUGE range of styles (Jazz Standards & Big Band Music, R&B & Motown, Country & Blues, 1950’s-60’s Pop Oldies, etc.)…they loved everything we did, which was GREAT!

Here’s a little video I put together from that night:

As you can see, it was a lot of fun. And what a FABULOUS little venue that Addison’s Lounge is! The drinks are very reasonable, and they have LIVE music in there every Friday and Saturday night (can’t say that for very many places anymore). You can see a schedule of upcoming groups by clicking HERE.

The other really great thing about that night is that Ron got off work early enough to come and join my mother and me there (Ron did all the video-taping…so sweet :)). Just want to say a REALLY BIG thanks to the extremely TALENTED Gary Olds for bringing me in on the gig. I had an AMAZING time…you guys were a blast to play with! Um, let’s do it again real soon, okay??? Hee, hee…

Sin City Confidential!

Wednesday evening, my mom and I had the wonderful privilege of attending the invited dress rehearsal of Las Vegas’ newest Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, “Sin City Confidential.” We were invited by good friend Margaret Menzies of Dangerous Curves, who is one of six cast members making up this very fun, talented ensemble.

Here’s some information about the show from their website:

Sin City Confidential, written and directed by David Sebastian Bach and produced by BOTA Entertainment Int’l, provides a unique forum for audiences of all ages, and the cast, to interact with each other. The show takes theater goers through non-stop, side-splitting laughter, delicious food, and an unsolved mystery whose solution can win you a prize.

Barb Grant, Vice President of NV SAG Council, Stage Manager and Costume Designer, once again weaves her magic in this outstandingly funny show, performed “in the round.”

“The political situation in this country has become so terribly serious that I just couldn’t resist poking fun at some of its sacred cows”, says Writer/Director David Sebastian Bach. “Regardless of your political bent, or not, you will enjoy this tongue in cheek production”.

“We’ve also got an unbelievably talented and professional cast with natural comedic talent, and I’m honored and excited to work with them.”

Add to the mix a number of outrageously funny characters whose antics will leave you in stitches, and Sin City Confidential promises to thrill anyone in search of an evening of unforgettable fun, and a world class meal, just 5 minutes from the Strip.

Writer & Director David Sebastian Bach celebrates more than a half-century of experience in the entertainment industry internationally as a singer, song writer, actor, playwright, and director. His dinner theater productions won “Best of Phoenix” 5 years in a row.

The Tillerman is one of Nevada’s best known and most loved eating establishments.  Zagat rated, the Tillerman offers a menu to die for, with show attendees offered 4 delicious entrees to choose from, as a part of the four-course gourmet dinner served during the performance.

Sin City Confidential runs weekly, Thursday through Saturday, at The Tillerman, 2245 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV, 89119.

Ticket Price: $89.95 (includes tax)

Includes 4-course gourmet meal and show!

Doors open at 6:00pm. Show begins promptly at 7:00pm

THE CAST

John Hanks (as Senator Paul Bosun): John Hanks, a 20 “native” of Las Vegas, is co-producer and marketing director for the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company. He has appeared on stage in OKLAHOMA, THE MUSIC MAN, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS, and OUR TOWN.  He’s done numerous reality shows, game shows and commercials and impersonates Elvis, Gerry Garcia and Santa Claus. He says, “Dinner Theater is as good as it gets for an actor – close, intimate, total connection with the audience.  I love it.”

Trixie Lovett (as Abigail Bosun): While Trixie is a newcomer to Dinner Theater, she’s no novice to the stage, having 13 years dance experience.  She is a wife, and mother of two teenagers.  In her free time, Trixie enjoys practicing yoga and taking care of her pet pigs.

Mike Mackenzie (as Joe “Sparky” Lewis): From a modest start performing magic shows in his hometown of Bethlehem PA, to becoming a regular weekend radio air talent by age 14, Mike Mackenzie has been a performer for as long as he can remember.  In addition to acting here in Las Vegas he is also a professional voice over artist, voice actor and radio personality.  Mike is the voice of several radio stations around the country and has been heard on CBS, NBC, SPIKE TV and most recently for a pilot series for The National Geographic Channel.  His website is www.mikevoice.com.

Margaret Menzies (as Chastity Morgan): Margaret, a New England native, has made Vegas her home for the past 5 years.  She came west to co-write and Asst. Direct the Delisco Show (Winner, E! TV’s The Entertainer with Wayne Newton) at the Las Vegas Hilton.  She appeared in Tony & Tina’s Wedding for three years and has appeared in numerous TV, film and musical projects, and sings with the vocal jazz trio, Dangerous Curves.  She is a founding member and Musical Director for Atlas Theater Ensemble’s sketch comedy troupe “Feed the Monkey” and teaches voice, acting and piano.

Grace Kelly (as Sally Nolan): Grace served in the United States Marine corps for 4 years. For two of those years she was a Boxer for the Marine corps. At one point, she became the number 1 female amateur boxer in the USA.  She aspires to become an opera singer, and love to do Shakespearean plays. Currently she teaches drama/theater to children in “after school” programs.

Anthony Mingilino (as  Detective Sgt. Geovanni “Geo” Martini): – Anthony, originally from the town of Cicero outside of Chicago has been a resident of Las Vegas for over 10 years.  He is a five year member of the Screen Actors Guild, having worked in television, film and commercials.  He has also appeared in the comedy Joey & Maria’s Italian Wedding on the Las Vegas strip.  Anthony is the proud parent of two teenagers, a boy and a girl.  In his spare time he loves to play sports with his favorites being hockey and baseball. His favorite teams are the Chicago Cubs, Blackhawks and Da Bears.

For more info contact David Bach at 702-372-0400, www.sincityconfidential.com or to purchase tickets call the box office at 702-991-8550.

Sin City Confidential Flyer