Martin Nievera says he almost canceled a show last week because it had sold only 12 tickets. But he's glad he didn't, because part of that dozen had come all the way from Alaska to see him.
That sums up the singer's quandary as he watched a dream turn into a nightmare. Nievera's attempt to become a Las Vegas headliner has become a day-to-day proposition in Steve Wyrick's theater at the Desert Passage mall.
But Nievera comes to Las Vegas with a strong following as a pop star in the Philippines. If his core audience can find him -- or be assured the show will be open if they plan a trip -- he says they will support him long enough to build a wider audience. "I know what I can do if you give me the chance."
Nievera's afternoon show opened in March as a separate venture from magician Wyrick's, a tenant arrangement in the new 500-seat theater originally financed by California mortgage broker Gene Gamalinda. But Nievera says Gamalinda apparently wasn't prepared to ride out a slow start and hasn't paid anyone. Advertising and publicity for the show have disappeared. The singer says he sold his car to pay the band out of his own pocket.
"It's not about money at the moment. I believe in the show and I'll stay on with it for as long as I can afford it," Nievera says. One potential bright side is that Nievera now is dealing directly with Wyrick's associate, Hollis Campbell, to give the show some time and allow ticket revenue to go straight toward paying the band and crew. Ticket prices also will be reduced by about $20 from their original $63 and $83.
"If I have any edge whatsoever on any other headliner in this town, it's the fact that I already have a fan base," Nievera says. Such a reversal of fortune has been "quite a challenge, and I'm accepting that challenge for as long as I can afford it." ...
The TV reality contest "Funniest Mom in America 3" reached from Las Vegas to Brooklyn for its 13 contestants. Alas, two Las Vegas women -- Carole Montgomery and Angela Hoover -- didn't make it to the finals of the Nick At Nite series.
However, five of the finalists will get to perform at New York-New York this weekend, working as opening acts for Roseanne Barr, host of the TV competition. Barr originally planned to wrap up her "All You Can Eat" forum this weekend in Rita Rudner's former venue, but has decided to extend the show to June 17.
The moms are a diverse lot, but they prove you're never too old to embarrass your children. Vicki Barbolak says her 15-year-old daughter bears the weight of her trailer park-themed humor at her Catholic high school and is telling people she's adopted. It will only get worse if two of Barbolak's reality-TV prospects come to pass: "Trailer Trash for a Day," or a behind-the-scenes tour bus show that would be the female version of Dane Cook's "Tourgasm."
Brooklyn grandmother Pat Candaras says her sons work in the financial industry and "really kept thinking it was a stage," when she went into comedy 10 years ago, after the death of her husband and the end of her job brought unexpected life changes.
She says no less an authority than Lewis Black told her, "Don't listen to all the voices, you're on the right road. Just keep doing what you're doing."
The TV talent show has validated her as a stand-up, she says. "When my children were younger, at the core of everything I was doing, my main job was to raise these three children. Now, I guess because a big part of me is paternal, I look at my talent as a child that has to be protected." ...
Fans of both Clint Holmes and Earl Turner might have wondered what it would be like to see them together. Holmes announced at Sunday's Meatball Awards for veteran entertainers that Turner will play his late father in the autobiographical musical "Just Another Man," which launches June 1 in UNLV's Judy Bayley Theatre.
At this writing it remains an agreement in principle that hasn't yet reached a formal contract. The stage musical is more than just a glorified version of Holmes' nightclub act. The father and other characters delve into the performer's psyche. Holmes' dream team also includes longtime sidekick Bill Fayne and Tina Walsh, who opened the local version of "Mamma Mia!" ...
It seems like any mention I make of half-price ticket booths gets more reader reaction than most anything else I write about in this column. So here's a new one: All Access Ticketing is a young venture with two locations. Oddly enough, both are inside Circus Circus. The first opened about a month ago near the hotel registration desk, and a second was to open this week on the Las Vegas Boulevard side of the casino.
The venture is headed by Metin Durmus, who still is part of the original half-price outlet, Coca-Cola Tickets 2Nite at the Showcase mall. He says the new operation is separate but affiliated. So far, the outlet carries 24 to 30 titles a day. The same rules apply as the other same-day discount booths: You can't call to find out what shows are on sale or buy tickets online. ...
Finally, the bad news that "Shag With A Twist" will close Monday at the Plaza after hanging on for 140 shows. All tickets are reduced to $25 for those who want to catch up to this offbeat '60s-themed dance show.
Mike Weatherford's entertainment column appears Thursdays and Sundays. Contact him at 383-0288 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.