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Wilson sings, works toward safer world

Mary Wilson has lived in Las Vegas off and on since 1989, but doesn’t work here as often as many lesser-known entertainers.

Her summer stint at the Riviera is a rare showcase on the Strip, but it doesn’t mean she golfs all day. If you missed Wilson in the grocery store, she might have been, oh, you know, in Laos on behalf of the Humpty Dumpty Institute, an organization raising awareness about the continuing dangers of land mines around the world.

“Bombs are lying around in countries and they’re still there, unexploded,” she says, explaining at a pace that doesn’t give one time to put the pieces together: Mary Wilson … Supremes… land mines?

Her role with that group stems back to 2003, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell appointed her a cultural ambassador. But if you want to go all the way back to the Supremes, “we always were involved in various causes,” she says.

“We were kind of like ambassadors back in the day. For me it was kind of a natural thing to do. Life has been good in terms of other opportunities like that.” (Her new single is, fittingly enough, called “Life’s Been Good to Me.”)

Wilson also is the de facto historian for the Supremes, organizing a touring collection of the group’s show gowns and helping oversee a new three-CD collection, “Let Yourself Go,” a retrospective of the group’s final, post-Diana Ross years.

Onstage, however, Wilson ventures beyond the Supremes to cover everyone from Sting to the Stones. “I try to give the people what they want, but also introduce who Mary Wilson is after I appease the Supremes fans out there,” she says of the shows running through July 3.

“I don’t call myself nostalgia. You have to sing what people know you for, but you don’t have to stay in that same mold.” …

It’s way too early in the “America’s Got Talent” season to know how far they will go, but national TV face time on NBC can’t hurt Las Vegas comedian Geechy Guy, magician Seth Grabel or the trained parrots that have performed as the “Jackpot Bird Show.”

Grabel performs in Louie Anderson’s comedy room at Palace Station this weekend. Guy is a regular at the Rio’s “Crown Comedy Jam,” and has his ongoing “Dirty Joke Show” at Hooters Hotel.

Both of them will have to wait until their run on the show is over to promote their work on the Strip. America apparently likes the illusion of its talent as gifted amateurs, not working pros. …

Summer is high season for magicians on the Strip, but a few extra ones usually come in to compete for the family dollar. The return of Steve Wyrick is now pushed to July 7 at the Las Vegas Hilton, giving time for European illusionist Jan Rouven to beat him to the tiny Clarion across Paradise Road.

Nicknamed “The Man with Nine Lives” — some saw his “Drill of Death” on Fremont Street — Rouven promises to up the danger quotient with the simply titled “Illusions” debuting July 1. …

Nice work if you can get it. Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees fame will continue to take his shirt off and let women scream at him for the rest of the summer. His residency as singing guest emcee of the Rio’s Chippendales revue has been extended through Labor Day.

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

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