Museum makes offer you can’t refuse

Finally, there’s a reason for Las Vegas mob fans to sing the praises of crime-busting Sen. Estes Kefauver: free admission.

On Thursday, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, better known as the Mob Museum, will let locals in without charge in honor of the anniversary of the 1950 appearance in Las Vegas of Kefauver’s U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce. The Kefauver Committee, as it came to be known, failed to vault the Tennessee senator into the White House, but it did provide enormous entertainment value to U.S. television viewers and newspaper consumers.

And, really, how many Senate committees can be said to accomplish even that much?

Mayor Carolyn Goodman will declare Thursday Kefauver Day.

In keeping with the spirit of the ceremony, perhaps the mayor will present a key to the count room of Moe Dalitz’s old Desert Inn.

It was Dalitz who made himself unavailable to the committee for several weeks before finally relenting and agreeing to be interviewed. Ever the savvy survivor, Dalitz made his appearance before the committee in Los Angeles accompanied by attorney Charles Carr, who just happened to be the old college pal of Kefauver himself.

FESTIVAL TIME: Final preparations are being made for Saturday’s 24th annual Festival of Trees and Lights at the Paris Las Vegas to benefit the Down Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada, the charity devoted to assisting locals and their families touched by the genetic disorder that causes mental impairment.

The organization helps provide a variety of services ranging from speech and occupational therapy to yoga and social interaction.

For more information, contact the organization’s office at 648-1990 or click on

COLORFUL LIFE: The remarkable artist Karen Wheeler is set to unveil her latest watercolor at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at McMullan’s Irish Pub, 4650 W. Tropicana Ave.

Las Vegas is home to an increasing number of talented artists, and Wheeler ranks among the best. She manages to produce works of great beauty despite being challenged by spinal muscular atrophy, which severely restricts her movement.

Her work and life continue to inspire.

HONORING DRACHE: New Poker Hall of Fame inductee Eric Drache is not only one of the world’s great card players, but he’s also a certified Vegas survivor. The longtime poker room manager made the transition from poker’s rough-and-tumble days to an era that finds it celebrated widely and aired on ESPN.

So when are we going to be able to read his memoirs?

MUSIC MAN: The career of saxophone player Don Hill, now over 90, is something to behold. He’s best known for his decades jamming with the legendary Treniers, but Hill also has memories of Louis Armstrong and other jazz greats.

His musical tour of duty is highlighted in the just-released “House Party Tonight” with Dennis N. Griffin and “Jazzin’ ” Jeanne Brei.

ON THE BLOG: Praise for longtime Southern Nevada educator Bill Evans continues to reverberate following Sunday’s column.

Local teacher Carter Condon observes, “I have had the distinct pleasure to know Bill and Judy since I taught fifth grade with Judy at Frank Kim (Elementary School) many years ago. Bill is not only a warm wonderful friend but is also an example of the consummate educator all teachers should strive to be. I am thrilled that he received the recognition he has deserved for many years.”

For more on Evans and insight from other educators, check out my blog at

ON THE BOULEVARD: More developments coming in the Afroditi Eliades-Ledstrom bankruptcy case. Her family is the longtime owner of the Olympic Garden topless cabaret, whose manager Emmanouil “Manny” Varagiannis now faces federal income tax and money laundering charges in connection with allegations of payments inside the club.

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at

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