Together Again

For years, it has been one of Nathan Burton‘s prized possessions.

It’s been in his collection of show business keepsakes since he was a teen.

Now 35, Burton was an aspiring magician in Fort Smith, Ark., in 1991, "doing birthday parties and school shows. Anytime someone needed a magician, I was there."

At one of his shows, somebody liked what he saw.

"I got a call from a promoter," he recalled.

Next thing he knew, a poster was being plastered all over town. The teenage son of an Episcopal minister was opening two shows for touring Marie Osmond.

I asked him if the poster was framed.

"It will be after she signs it," he said. That’s because Burton and Osmond now share the main showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas.

"We’ve gone full circle," he said.

Donny and Marie Osmond opened a six-month engagement this week at the Flamingo. Burton headlines the 4 p.m. show.

"I opened for her 20-some years ago, and now we’re on the same stage," said Burton, who signed with the Flamingo last April, his first major headlining gig in Las Vegas.

His road to the entertainment capital of the world took him from library gigs to Europe, South America and Japan, before he arrived in Las Vegas in 1999.

He started here as an act in "Showgirls of Magic" at the San Remo, now the Hooters Hotel. From there, he moved to the V show at The Venetian’s C2K nightclub before joining David Saxe’s V Theatre at the Aladdin, as an act. About two years ago, he started his own show at V Theatre before jumping to the Flamingo.

"By far the biggest thing ever," he said, "was ‘America’s Got Talent.’ "

He didn’t win the NBC show’s first season, but the exposure was worth a million to Burton.

Here’s this week’s dish and dirty laundry:

Who’s in town?

Mario Lopez returns to Las Vegas this weekend to host the party scene at Wet Republic, the MGM Grand’s pool venue. Lopez, whose career has been relaunched after appearing on "Dancing with the Stars," becomes the new anchor for "Extra" on Monday, and he’s also hosting "MTV’s Top Pop Group," which premiered this week. …

Favorite lunch spot?

The Country Club at Wynn Las Vegas offers peace and quiet and one of the most spectacular settings in Las Vegas. Now that we’re approaching the best month and half of the year weatherwise, dine on the patio, which overlooks the 18th hole of the resort’s $500-a-round golf course.

Knockout items: sweet corn chowder, $12; lump crabcake sliders, $26; and grilled chicken jalapeno sausage, $19. Desserts: chocolate bombolone, $14; and the Scottish milkshake and cookies, $10.

Looking for a flashback?

Remember 1980s singing artist Bertie Higgins of "Key Largo," which hit No. 1, and "Just Another Day in Paradise"? He’s performing from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday at South Padre, formerly Club Armadillo at Texas Station…

Favorite sushi?

These four are in my current rotation: Little Buddha at the Palms, Koi at Planet Hollywood Resort, Sushisamba at the Palazzo and Simon at Palms Place.

Best interview?

Steve Wynn could qualify for best and worst, depending on the questions and his mood. But when he’s on, nobody’s a better storyteller or more knowledgeable about the city he’s taken to another level.

I caught him in a mercurial mood about four or five years ago. The tape recorder wasn’t working, and I mentioned I didn’t get the full quote. Instead of repeating the last few words I missed, he came back with an entirely reworded, 20-some word sentence. I couldn’t keep up again. I needed the full quote, and I wasn’t about to misquote him, so I fessed up that I didn’t get the entire quote. Sailors haven’t language that salty. It was a very short conversation. I went out and got a new phone recorder after that. …

Worst interview?

By leaps and bounds over anyone else, including Barry Bonds: Toni Basil, Bette Midler’s choreographer and a local icon for her 1980s hit "Mickey," Basil answered my first question with something like "I wish you would read my Web site. Everything you need is there." And it went downhill from there, with almost every question met with the same whiny response: It’s on the Web site. It was the biggest waste-of-time interview I’ve endured in my nine years here on the entertainment beat.

Note to Toni: Asking a journalist to lift quotes from your Web site is the ultimate in bad form. And I had made it clear up front: All I wanted was five minutes on the phone to do a blurb on the 25th anniversary of "Mickey."

Best reminder of a bygone era?

Country icon David Allan Coe, taking a break during last Saturday’s show at The Cannery to knock back a bottle of Jack Daniels. Twice.

(Next week: Breakfast of champions and my best and worst jaw-dropping moments in Las Vegas.)

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. His new book "Vegas Confidential: Sin-sational Celebrity Tales" comes out in November.

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