Terry Fator At Mohegan Sun

There’s no doubt, he’s extremely talented. He’s a ventriloquist who does impressions. Most are excellent. Few are less than very good.

terry-fator.jpgHelaine and I went to Mohegan Sun last night to see Terry Fator. He’s the guy who won America’s Got Talent–and he does ‘got’ talent. I’m not sure that’s enough. More on that in a sec.

Mohegan Sun is a beautiful casino complex. It is now as good looking as nearly all the hotels in Vegas (this is not faint praise). It is also immense.

I have mentioned before, the Cabaret Theater is a great place to see a show. It’s intimate by today’s standards with excellent acoustics and sound. It’s perfect for comedy which is much more demanding of sound than a music act (seems anti-intuitive, doesn’t it?).

OK–back to Terry Fator. There’s no doubt he’s extremely talented. He’s a ventriloquist who does impressions. Most of his impressions are excellent. Few are less than very good.

Soon he’ll be performing in Las Vegas as Danny Gans’ replacement at the Mirage. Gans is also an impressionist and considered by many Las Vegas’ premiere house act. He may be the highest paid act you’ve never heard of! The bar is high.

What Terry Fator doesn’t have is a polished act. He has many 2-3 minute bits, but the transition from one to the other is mainly slow and nearly always disruptive. He is not helped by his use of canned music, which really locks in his ability to shift timing and gauge an audience.

There are moments of silence during Terry Fator’s act. That’s a no-no.

Fortunately for Terry the format of America’s Got Talent hid this problem. He never had to worry about transitions because he never got more than a few minutes!

If I had the choice to have no talent or no act, I’d choose the latter, because an act can be bought or developed. I suspect that’s what will happen here. There’s too much talent in Terry Fator to squander.

Gordie Brown At Venetian

I’ve seen ads for Gordie Brown for a while here in Las Vegas. It wasn’t until I saw him on Letterman that I decided maybe he’d be fun to see. Tonight was our night.

We caught the monorail (after I spent ten minutes looking for our ten trip pass) and headed to the Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station. It’s still quite a walk to the Venetian.

Why wasn’t the monorail run right down the center of Las Vegas Boulevard, where it would be an instant hit and remove a great deal of the vehicular traffic and congestion? It was poorly placed.

The big act at the Venetian is Blue Man Group. Gordie Brown is almost an afterthought. It’s an excellent show, performed tonight in a room 2/3 empty! That’s embarrassing for a Friday night.

Gordie is a singer/impressionist. Here in Las Vegas, the obvious comparison is Danny Gans. Gordie Brown compares favorably.

It’s obvious this show isn’t getting the same kind of support bigger shows get. There were four piecees in the band, plus Gordie who plays guitar. The staging is stark and modern in a hotel that’s mainly Italian and somewhat over-the-top.

The theater itself is very nice. I would guess around 7-800 seats. We were front row center.

Considering the audience was anywhere from 21 years old to death, Gordie took a lot of chances. Did they know Alanis Morisette? How about Eminem?

When the impressions weren’t 100% on the mark, the material was funny enough to cover. Among his best, Kenny Rogers, Sammy Davis and Michael Jackson.

It was 90 minutes of fun. I’m glad we went.

Still poker obsessed on Thursday

Thursday, I managed to get up early and head to Luxor for their low stakes poker tournament. It’s a noon tourney, but I got there early because it does fill up. Four tables of nine limits it to 36 players. I believe the buy-in was $25… and I won $37, netting me $12.

As poker tournaments go, this one has players of limited skill. There were a bunch of players who needed instruction on what to do next.

Meanwhile, before playing, I had enough time to take the tram from Luxor to Mandalay Bay. There was plenty of sunshine and hot temperatures. Sunshine is good for picture taking, so I shot off some more photos before heading to play.

Some casino hotels have beautiful design. Everything seems to be properly placed. I like Mirage for that reason. On the other hand, when I was in The Aladin, there were casino areas that seemed to be afterthoughts at best. Excalibur looks good from the outside, but like a dump from the inside (as if they decided ‘no maintenance’ after it was built). Luxor is another properly designed hotel. And, the theme nature is really reinforced with the Egyptian ‘artifacts’ that frame the public areas.

This was going to be our walking day. so, as the temperature climbed to the mid-teens, we walked the Strip. You know what? As much as I enjoy the heat in Las Vegas, you can find days that are incredibly stressful. Yes, carrying a bottle of water helps, but 110+ (and in the sun it’s even hotter) is everything you’d expect it to be and should be respected.

Thursday evening, we went to see Rita Rudner. She’s now the house act at NY, NY. I had seen her in an astoundingly small, and hazardously overcrowded room at The MGM Grand a few years ago. Helaine had seen her more recently, when she and steffie went to Las Vegas. She is very funny and works clean!

She says, now that she and her husband have adopted a baby, working in Las Vegas allows her to have a ‘normal’ family life without all the traveling. A few years ago I heard Danny Gans say the same thing.