Tag Archives: Stratosphere

A First, But Not The Last: Showbiz Roast

I think it’s safe to say, the Showbiz Roast was a success. The Stratosphere theater lobby was packed on arrival. Entertainers, local residents, movers, shakers.

The show kicked off at about 11:30 p.m. – the full theater was ready to witness the first ever Showbiz Roast Las Vegas. Singer Zowie Bowie (Chris Phillips) was the one to be roasted. What a good sport! Phillps currently performs at Red Rock Casino.

I was named one of the roasters. Honored to be a part of it, but also a bit nervous since I have never “roasted” before. The panel of other roasters included Vinnie Favorito, George Wallace, Gordie Brown, Robin Leach, John Katsilometes, Dennis Bono, Clint Holmes, Kelly Clinton-Holmes, Murray Sawchuck, vocal group BBR, Justin Spencer of Recycled Percussion, Frankie Scinta, and Brian Thomas.

This was a first for all of us. Well, except Vinnie Favorito, who makes a living roasting people during his show on the Las Vegas strip. He was the last to go, and as expected, he knocked it out of the park. What a way to end the show.

Back stage with Murray Sawchuck and Vinnie Favorito
Back stage with Murray Sawchuck and Vinnie Favorito

But, let’s rewind.

Back stage before the show, the roasters gathered to head out on stage to sit in our chairs and watch it all go down. In chatting with my fellow roasters, I realized, we were ALL a little nervous. I thought to myself, “wow, I’m surprised, I figured most of these guys and gals performed day in and day out, so this was just another day.” I was wrong. They perform their own show. They sing. They make people laugh. They do magic. But THIS was slightly “out of their element.” Plus, the room was full of Las Vegas friends, colleagues, and fellow entertainers. We all wanted to do a good job, especially since it was the first show of its kind.

This moment proved… we are all human!

The stage included a bar, cocktail waitress, live band, seats for the roasters, and the THRONE OF DOOM for Zowie Bowie. This chair was designed by producer of the show, Andy Walmsley. Walmsley is an Emmy award winning set designer. A couple of his designs include TV show American Idol and Human Nature’s new set at The Venetian. Walmsley wants to move into producing too. The Showbiz Roast was his creation.

Producer Andy Walmsley
Producer Andy Walmsley

The show was hosted by comedic magician Mike Hammer who performs at the Four Queens.

Chris Phillips entered the room from the back to the Rocky theme song, escorted by two showgirls. The roast kicked off and it was all laughs from there on out! One by one roasters made fun of the panel and Phillips. A little uncomfortable? Sure, at times. But that’s what it’s all about.

In the end, it brought everyone in the room closer and the community together to see a different side of some of our well known people.

Roasting Chris Phillips (Photo by Darryl Ginwright)
Roasting Chris Phillips (Photo by Darryl Ginwright)

The roast was a success. I followed an amazing musical roast by Clint Holmes. Tough act to follow, but I did my thing. I even poked some fun at myself. It was fun! I must reveal that all my lines and jokes were not my own. I did have some help from comedian Keith Lyle and Improv specialist Matt Donnelly, plus some friends. Thank you all! Putting it all together was a blast!

I received numerous phone calls and messages the next day from people saying they had such a good time and laughed all night long. Since then, I have bumped into Chris Phillips himself, who also had the time of his life.

Showbiz Roast Stage (Photo by khanhx.com)
Showbiz Roast Stage (Photo by khanhx.com)

Will there be another roast? Of course. Walmlsey is already on the hunt for the next roastee and roasters to follow. He admits the show went a little long, so he will work on cutting it down. He has many new ideas already.

Trust me, don’t miss the next one. It will be a night to remember. Cheers to everyone involved and kudos to Walmsley for coming up with a new and creative idea for the Entertainment Capital of the World!

Follow the Showbiz Roast on twitter to keep tabs on the next show.

A Little Help From My Friends: Craig Nyman

Every week I get “A Little Help From My Friends” when it comes to blogging. I have so many interesting friends with great hobbies and jobs. This week’s blogger is Craig Nyman. I’ve known Craig for years. We met on Las Vegas nightclub red carpets when I was freelancing for Life & Style Magazine, and he was a publicist. The Cosmopolitan hosts many music events and concerts, whenever I’m there, I run into Craig! No doubt, he loves music and knows his stuff. Enjoy his blog!


When Dayna asked me to be a guest blogger, I was honored and excited.  You see, thanks to a friend, I jumped into the world of blogging myself almost two years ago with www.doyouhearthemusic.com.

I have a passion for music and so thus I decided to share my favorite hobby with the rest of the world.  Truth be told, my friends were constantly asking me for music recommendations and this was also a way for me not to have to tell them over and over again but rather it could all be found in one place.  Writing a blog has been one of the most rewarding experiences and has also led me to landing a couple music writing opportunities (which I still hold today) as well as given me the opportunity to meet and interact with fascinating people.  I post on the blog as often as I can but not as much as I’d like because at the end of the day, the real jobs take precedent (hospitality consulting with The Nyman Group and PR with CAN Media).

Craig with Childish Gambino

I’m also an avid live music person.  If you know me, you are aware that I never miss the chance to catch live music and there is always a concert or show I am checking out each week.

With that said, this past weekend, I had the opportunity to see Frankie Moreno at the Stratosphere.  Let me be the first to say, slap me now for waiting this long.  I’ve wanted to see the show but still had not been and as I type this, I can honestly say I’d love to see the show over and over again.  What an entertainer!  I know Frankie has been performing (and in town) for years but I don’t know if those of us in Las Vegas realize the talent that is in that showroom at the Stratosphere.   It seems like all the stars are aligning and he’s just moments away from becoming a major superstar and not just in Las Vegas.

Frankie Moreno at The Stratosphere

From singing to guitar, piano and drums, Frankie plays it all.  He also has a great rapport with his band which includes his brother, Tony, on bass and eight other talented musicians.  Mix in a bit of comedy and this is one show everyone in Las Vegas should see.  While the show is fantastic, I have to say my favorite part is that Frankie works with family (brothers, Tony and Ricky and their parents ) and everyone plays a role in making the show a success.  Pretty incredible and something you don’t see too often today.  As one who works with family as well, I get it and love it.

As for this week, first up is AWOLNATION over at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Thursday. I caught these guys downtown in the freezing cold last winter and I’m excited to see how much they’re grown as a band since.  Add to the mix major airplay and being a Red Bull endorsed artist and you can imagine they have garnered quite the following in 2012.

And of course since I mentioned it above, how could I not leave you with some great music recommendations for you to check out.

Summer Playlist Vol.I – I try to make a couple playlists each season and here is one from last month. Stay tuned for Vol.II which should drop right before I head to Lollapalooza

Allen Stone – what more do I have to say to get people to listen to this guy, truly one of the next great voices in music

King Charles – like Mumford & Sons?  Then listen to this classically trained musician.  He actually got M&S to sing on one of his tracks, “Brightest Light”

The Weeks – Southern rock is making a massive comeback and these kids are going to explode

Vacationer – ready to daydream and go on a vacation?  Make sure this is on your iPod

Baywood – California duo that just got signed to Red Light Management (Dave Mathews); remember this name a year from now

White Arrows – another band you will be hearing from in the near future

Sleeper Agent – they are on fire right and starting to get heavy press and airplay

The Lumineers – I feel like everyone knows this Denver group by now but if not you are sorely missing out

Rubblebucket – amazing live band, killer horn section and they were a highlight for me at Bonnaroo 

If you have a band you think I should be listening to, feel free to send me a tweet @doyouheartmusic or drop a line onFacebook.


Peace, Love and Music.