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Life a cabaret for Holmes

Last week, Clint Holmes sang as a guest star in an Alexis Park cabaret show that tested local interest in the cozy genre. Myron Martin, president of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, was in the audience.

This week, the Smith Center announced a new cabaret series with Holmes as a monthly anchor. Coincidence?

The short answer is yes, Martin says. The cabaret scene is small and close-knit, but the Cabaret Jazz series is “something I’ve been working on a long time.”

The new series will be staged in a 258-seat venue inside the new arts center. Holmes will perform the first weekend of each month, with other weekends bringing national names such as Branford Marsalis, Barbara Cook and Andrea Marcovicci.

“It fits where my career seems to be taking me,” says Holmes, who also is set to perform a tribute to cabaret legend Bobby Short in New York next month.

Holmes will function as an artist in residence and take part in educational outreach programs for the Smith Center. “The part I get paid for is to do a show once a month. The rest of it is to do what I love to do.”

As for “Cast Party” at the Alexis Park, promoter Dennis Ritz says he was encouraged enough by last week’s modest turnout to keep bringing New York performers Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch to town once a month. Their format is more open-mic casual than what is planned for weekends at the Smith Center.

Since the Smith Center doesn’t open until March, “either we’re established or we’re not by then,” Ritz says.

Martin says he has known Stritch for years, “but I can’t tell you there’s a deal in the works” to lure “Cast Party” to the new venue. …

What do the Sandau Trio and Melissa Villasenor have in common? Both were eliminated on last week’s results show of “America’s Got Talent” and both will be performing on the Strip next week.

The Sandau Trio goes back to its regular job of doing the Russian Bar act in “Vegas! The Show.” Villasenor is an impressionist, which could open doors on the Strip. For now, she’s joining the club lineup of The Improv at Harrah’s Las Vegas, Tuesday through Sept. 11.

The Circus Circus acrobats billed as Zuma Zuma also were eliminated last week. The last local hope in this week’s competition was magician Landon Swank, who lives here but hasn’t had a show here. …

Geechy Guy, the comedian earlier eliminated on “Talent,” is trying to work two sides of a recent identity crisis: “I worked so hard to reinvent myself, then ‘America’s Got Talent’ came calling and they wanted the old me.”

So he continues to helm “The Dirty Joke Show,” which was filmed Monday at Hooters Hotel for a DVD release. But he’s also working the “Exxtreme Comedy Show” at the Rio’s Crown Theater, doing the dorkier, one-liner persona seen on “Talent.”

Despite the show’s name — which may change — Guy says he is doing more the “PG-13” act people saw on TV. …

Out with the old, in with new — musically speaking. “Raack n Roll” opens Friday at Hooters Hotel. The misspelling apparently will make sense when you see a logo that conveys the twin attributes of this topless dance show (Never mind that AA isn’t the usual cup size of choice on the Strip).

Anyway, it’s from producers Angela and Matt Stabile, who also helm “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo Las Vegas. This one won’t duplicate any of the content from “X,” Angela says, and the all-rock soundtrack won’t stop at the hair-metal era, but will rage right up to the present tense.

Two shows that did look to the musical past have slipped away: “Echoes of the ’60s,” a history of that storied decade with alumni of the late Danny Gans’ band, closed at the V Theater after about 10 months.

“America’s Sound — Rock and Roll to Motown” gave up on the Four Queens after spending the summer there. That one featured Early Clover, who is still part of an oldies revue at the Crown Theater.

Labor Day weekend also closes out the season for Gregory Popovich’s “Comedy Pet Theater” at the V Theater. …

Way too much is happening around town this weekend, but there will be only one 85th birthday party for burlesque queen Dixie Evans, at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Royal Resort.

It’s a ticketed affair for the public, featuring performances by burlesque dancers of all ages, from Russ Meyer movie cult queen Kitten Natividad to Las Vegas’ own Kalani Kokonuts. …

Finally, Donny and Marie Osmond taking the weekend off (returning Tuesday) prevents an ugly Saturday showdown between two Soldiers of Love.

Fans headed to Saturday’s Sade concert at the MGM Grand probably know “Soldier of Love” is both a song and the album title for Sade’s latest release.

Fans of things Donny know he comes out rocking to his bouncy 1989 hit of the same name at the Flamingo.

Stuart Matthewman, Sade guitarist and songwriter, said most sessions for the new album ended in the early hours of the morning, so details such as researching titles sometimes lapsed.

“I think we read about (the Donny song) somewhere but instantly forgot it,” he said in an interview for Friday’s Neon section. “I think our show’s a little different from theirs,” he added.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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