You’re in good hands—I’m skilled at this. Saying good-bye, that is. Not that it gets easier.
After three-plus years loitering in this space, Showstopper under my watch concludes with this final edition. With a twinge of sadness, I’m pushing on from the shores of Vegas Seven toward new professional waters. Jumping journalistic ship is a compulsion of mine.
As someone who’s kept his head above the turbulent waves of the journo-biz long enough to have been labeled an ink-stained wretch without the under-30 crowd staring at me, puzzled, looking like the RCA Victor dog (Google it, kids—it’s not on Spotify), I’ve taken this plunge perhaps too often: Showstopper is the seventh column in which I’ve verbosely pontificated about various entertainment genres for daily newspapers and magazines that have climbed to double digits on the résumé.
Yet this time was refreshing. While I’d covered television, radio, movies and music elsewhere in column form with numbing repetition, this was a shiny new challenge—my maiden voyage as a Vegas Strip columnist. Goals? Be informative, analytical, entertaining. Undoubtedly I hit them in lopsided proportions, veering from wisdom (yeah, right) to wiseass (hell, yeah), but whatever you found in these reviews, hopefully it was worth your time.
Highlights? Many: Jersey Boys, Olivia Newton-John, Donny and Marie, Diana Ross, the Ray Charles tribute Georgia on My Mind, Bob Anderson’s Frank Sinatra, The Phat Pack, Shania Twain, Véronic DiCaire, Eric Jordan Young, Zombie Burlesque.
Lowlights? Some: Elvis: The Experience (the concert, not exhibit), Surf: The Musical, Holly Madison’s somnambulant walk-through in Peepshow. Anatomical entertainment? Too many tits/ass epics to count (but I’ve got charts of cup sizes plus “real”/“unreal” ratings of every pair of Strip-show breasts in a password-protected file, slugged “PERV”). Oh, and one gender counterpart landed me in dangerous proximity to a booze-lubed girls-night-out debauch (Puppetry of the Penis).
Occasionally, I was the curmudgeon who sneered as fellow scribes swooned (Britney Spears, Frankie Moreno). And there was the flat-out WTF! (Pawn Shop Live!—and note to editors: I’m still awaiting hazard pay.)
Sincere thanks go to creators, performers, crew members and publicists who’ve shown me kindness—even when my reviews didn’t make that a two-way street. Special gratitude goes to the crack Vegas Seven staff, particularly A&E editor Cindi Reed and senior editor Paul Szydelko (whose eagle-eyed copy editing masked this columnist’s embarrassing linguistic oopsies).
While I ambled through these pages for a while, this publication’s writers will always doggedly cover our city’s fascinating entertainment scene. Return here every week for their insights and expertise.
Whenever good-byes must come, I’m warmed by the words of a beautiful old ballad my dad loved to croon—Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer’s gorgeous theme to the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn film Charade. Though the tune evokes bittersweet melancholia, these lyrics remind me that life is ever-churning, but memories remain clear, still and strong:
Fate seemed to pull the strings/I turned, and you were gone/While from the darkened wings/the music box played on …
Thank you for this music box.