Tag Archives: Riviera

CV! Part 155 – Oscar Weekend! (Saturday-Sunday-Monday)

CV! Part 155 – Oscar Weekend! (Saturday-Sunday-Monday)

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Saturday, April 24, 2021 – Saturday!

4:20am: We slept for a few hours and then we woke up early, before 4:00am.

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8:45am: We went back to bed.
The dogs got fed, the dogs went outside.
We drank a cup of espresso.


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We watched “History Detectives” – an episode we’ve seen before on Rock and Roll stuff.
It features Bob Dylan’s Fender guitar from Newport ’65, a couple of Beatles’ autographs, and a Frank Zappa art piece. Great episode.

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!


The 2012 episode found out that the airplane pilot’s daughter had the guitar in New Jersey, and after a legal battle, she sold the Stratocaster at auction. Indianapolis Colts owner and Rock and Roll collector, Jim Irsay bought Dylan’s Newport guitar in 2013 for $965,000.

Irsay also bought Jerry Garcia’s one-of-a-kind “Tiger” guitar, made by Doug Irwin, at auction for $957,000 in 2002, and spent Five Million Dollars on some of David Gilmore’s guitars when they were auctioned for charity a few years ago. He has an amazing collection.


10:05am: We took the dogs outside again. We made another cup of espresso.
And then we cut up a pineapple, and ate a couple pieces.

12:25pm: We are chillin’ in the Home Office with the dogs again.
We took them outside and now they’re napping.
We made another cup of espresso and ate brunch/lunch.
On the Menu: toasted onion bagel with lox and cream cheese, dill pickle,
celery & carrot sticks, Italian salami, and a black&white cookie
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4:45pm: We took a long nap with the dogs. Then we took the dogs outside.
And we just made a cup of espresso.

5:20pm: SO FUCKING TIRED OF THIS SH*T.
FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK
FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK
FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK
FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK
FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK

5:55pm: We took the dogs outside. We fed the dogs.

Josh Daniel LIVE from Atlanta, GA (two sets!) – Celebrate Life Everyday!
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7:40pm: We took a shower! Aloha Saturday Night!
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23:33 (11:33pm): Chillin’ in the Home Office. We made some dinner.
We played with the dog. Now he’s sleeping.

On The Menu: Turkey and pepper jack cheese sandwich on a toasted egg bagel,
And a piece of fancy chocolate cake for dessert
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President Joe Biden and the United States:
Recognition of the Armenian Genocide at last! 
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The Armenian Genocide was the systematic mass murder and ethnic cleansing of One Million ethnic Armenians by Turkey (the Ottoman Empire and its ruling party, the Committee of Union and Progress) during World War I.


Sunday, April 25, 2021Sunday! Oscar! Oscar! Sunday!

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8:15am: Sunday morning. Dogs got fed. Dogs went outside.
We drank a cup of espresso and some orange juice.  Drink Coffee. Drink Water.
We ate a toasted onion bagel with cream cheese.

12:10pm: SUNDAY! SUNDAY! And we have liftoff.
We went back to bed and slept for a little bit. And then there was barking…..
We took the dogs outside. And now we are fully chill. But we are hungry too.
Choreboy is about to arrive, and now there’s some stuff to do around the house.

So, Choreboy did two loads of laundry and scooped all the poop.
He cleaned out the fridge, which was already pretty empty.
And then he did some dishes. He’ll be back tomorrow most likely for more.
It’s cold, and gray, and windy outside today.
We ate a toasted egg bagel with peanut butter and raspberry jam for lunch.
And we made some popcorn and drank a coke during the Oscars.


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On The Menu: Popcorn and a coke. Let’s do this.
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6:02pm: OSCAR! OSCAR! LIVE from Union Station on ABC7 in Los Angeles.
BLOGGING THE 93rd Academy Awards – THE OSCARS LIVE!
Regina King onstage. And now make it stop please…. so self-indulgent.
And never let writers speak in public. FFS. Just STFU okay?
5:15pm: Commercial break. Cadillac promo and spot.
Expedia spot…. good luck with that. ABC Sesame Street promo.
Another fucking long ad…. WTF? Oh, Verizon. YEAH THEY SUCK.
WOULD YOU BUY A CADILLAC?
We’re back with Laura Dern (in Bjork’s leftover swan dress?)
International Feature Film…. yeah, you didn’t see any of the nominees.
“Another Round” from Denmark wins. And the filmmaker is in the house.
Did anyone get the memo to STFU and just say thanks….. Yak Yak Yak….
HOLY SHIT! DJ Questlove from The Roots can you play him off please!
His daughter was killed in a car crash and now you’re going to hear about it.
WHO IS THIS GUY? GET THE FUCK OFF THE STAGE! Okay moving on.
Best Supporting Actor. OSCARS SO DIVERSE.
Oh shit, Laura Dern looks like she’s wearing the Goat Pants from “Dragnet”.
Daniel Kaluuya? British accent. Thanks to mumbles….  OH zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Steven Speilberg’s “West Side Story” preview – December.
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M&Ms funny, Disney “American Idol” promo, local ABC7, DisneyBundle, SanDiego.org, Mercedes S-Class, ABC news promo
Don Cheadle in a brocade tuxedo jacket and silver bowtie – Make-up and Hairstyling
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” – Oscars so diverse! BLACKLIVESMATTER!
and Costume Design “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” Ann Roth (is not there so, no speech!)
Verizon, Susan Sarandon – powertothepatients, Dr Pepper Zero Sugar,
Lancome – Julia Roberts, HULU promo for Handmaid’s Tale, and Cadillac again.
Bryan Cranston at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and the Jean Herschholt Humanitarian Award goes to the Motion Picture Television Fund (MPTF) – and it’s their 100th Anniversary. Thanked everyone, and that’s the best speech of the night 
Best Director from last year speaking in Korean. And there’s a translator. Best Directing.
And now there are subtitles…more Korean. “Nomadland” we saw that one. It was boring.
David Fincher was nominated too. And Chloe Zhao wins for “Nomadland” of course. 
Okay, kitchen break during this speech……….
Rolex/Oscar best pictures, .., HULU promo for Nine Perfect Strangers”,
Another weird spot for Swarvorski crystal!, Mercedes AMG,
Rez Ahmed? Indian, with a British accent from “Sound of Metal” sign language….
Achievement in Sound award – get it? “Soul” we tried to watch it.
“Sound of Metal” wins…. he’s happy.
Now a foreign guy is reading a Thank You speech with an accent.
“and now I would like to say something more personal….” MORE RAMBLING.
Back to Rez. Live Action Short Film. Did you see any of them this year?
BRAVO! Our friend’s son co-produced “Two Distant Strangers” – BRAVO!
And now the speeches…. “Police will kill three people”  More self-indulgence.
MORE COMMERCIALS. Google. Sign Language. AARP. Over 50? Adidas. Beyonce.
Ashley Homestores. AppleTV+,ABC promo “The Bachelorette – Be a Katie”
Reese Witherspoon for Animated Short Film  – Okay did you see any of these? 
Time to feed the dogs. “If Anything Happens I Love You” wins. Cool music Questlove!
Gun violence….. thank you, thank you. Animated Feature Film. Good film clips.
And “Soul”, we saw some of that one. And it wins. Yay, Jazz! Thank you everyone:
and Questlove, Disney, and music teachers and art teachers, and Jazz musicians.
Commercials: Disney+, TJ Maxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods Lancome “Idole”, Subway app, ABC promo for “Home Economics”, and more Commercials, Lexus (black family), Visit California (interracial family), Hyundai Sonata.
Marlee Matlin (and interpreter) for Documentary Short Subject, did you see any of them? “Colette” wins. Now it’s really time to feed the dogs.
Documentary Feature Film. “My Octopus Teacher” wins, and we fed the dogs while they were giving the speech. The TV was on in the kitchen. And we took the dogs outside. Now we’re back in Home Office. That speech was WAY TOO LONG. 
More. Cadillac again….same commercial for the third time. Boring. 
Diversity in all the commercials too! Target “Black Beyond Measure”, Verizon Apple, FX promo for (black) “Pose”, ABC promo for “Rebel”, Verizon pandemic commercial, Verizon Oscars 5G promo
Asian guy presenter. Visual Effects. “Tenet” wins. Quick speech we didn’t listen to.
And now it’s Brad Pitt for Best Supporting Actress reading from the teleprompter.
Yuh-Jung Who? for what film? “Minari”, nope didn’t see it. Yuh-Jung Your is Korean.
Broken English, thank you, okay thank you, “don’t believing in competition, how can I win over Glenn Close?…. thank you so much, like to thank my two boys…… mommy work so hard”
Google – octopus (with Netflix and Youtube tie ins), Emgality migrane medicine Lilly Co., Julia Roberts Lancome, SNOOP! Zoe Saldana. Wassup? Corona Beer “the fine life”, HULU promo for “Handmaid’s Tale” shortie. Google. Oscars subtitles promo.
Halle Berry, and what happened to her hair? Best Production Design. Nice cleavage Halle.
“Mank” wins. Nope, didn’t see it. Might see it. Wasn’t sure, but now we might. 
And Best Cinematography. Phedon Papamichael is nominated. But “Mank” wins.
Amanda Seifreid is gorgeous in red. 
Lin Manuel-Miranda “In the Heights” preview. Another New York Broadway musical film.
More DIVERSITY. And more commercials: Blue Moon Light Sky Citrus Wheat, FreshPet dogfood, ABC “Big Sky” promo, more commercials, Honda, Spectrum wifi, Mercedes-Benz, ABC promos for AfterOscar and the NFL Draft. Back to Union Station.
Harrison Ford. Notes. Stupid editorial notes for “BladeRunner” from the studio. HAHAHA. Best Film Editing. “Sound of Metal” wins. Really? We didn’t see it, but, Really?
Another Danish guy! Danish Film School. Thanks everyone.
Shout out to the Deaf Community. Thanks everyone else. 
Viola Davis. Start by quoting Maya Angelou…. here we go.
Tyler Perry gets the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Yay Tyler!
HOLLYWOOD NEEDS TO BOYCOTT GEORGIA!
And now a speech about a homeless woman and shoes, racism, civil rights, rambling now.
“Mother taught me to Refuse Hate.”  GOOD SPEECH. Very “Diversity”
Commercials…. Cadillac with Regina King, Oprah! “Super Soul” on Discovery+, Incognito by Morningstar Farms artificial meat, ABC Promos, Verizon Navajo Nation,
Zendaya. Yellow dress. Music. Original Score. “Soul” wins as expected. Trent Reznor (who was also nominated for another film), Jon Batiste – SUCH AN AMAZING ARTIST! – from Colbert’s show, and Atticus Ross onstage. Jon Batiste speech is rambling on, and it’s a good one. Yay Jazz! Zendaya is just sparkling! Music time.
Original Song (just clips, not full performances). FAIL. H.E.R. wins. “Judas and the Black Messiah” wins. “Fight For You” is the name of the song. Thanks to everyone. Very pretty in a blue sequined Hadjib dress?

Guillermo (socially distanced) on the Oscars Red Carpet:178678871_10159148307593374_1742655310833000672_n
Questlove Oscar Trivia with Lil Rey
, play a game with the Oscar audience. Did “Purple Rain” win  an Oscar, and she swore on LIVE TV. No, the score was nominated, but none of the songs. THIS IS JUST AWFUL. Feeling really Diverse as they bulls*t on Live TV. Donna Summer for TGIF! “Let’s Dance” won an Oscar for “Thank G-d It’s Friday”. Glenn Close “Da Butt” and this must be set-up… she swore on Live TV too. Glenn Close just put the boogie in her butt!
“Glenn Close correctly identified a clip of Da Butt written by Marcus Miller and performed by the DC-based band Experience Unlimited (EU) from Spike Lee’s 1988 film, School Daze.”
Questlove is inspired. He directed the “Summer of Soul” documentary – short preview, and Zendaya for Lancome “Idole”, Flonase, Jeff Goldblum annoying you for Apartments.com, Jimmy Kimmel Live ABC Promo, ABC “The Good Doctor” promo, Diversity again, she’s jamming, for Grey Goose Essence, and now The Resorts World commercial! It’s weird.
Mercedes-Benz EQ, KABC news promo
Angela Bassett in a big red dress – very dramatic and SAD.
In Memoriam. COVID-19, inequality, hatred, racism poverty. Lot of people died.
And the list of celebrities is really long. RIP. We worked with a couple of them. SAD.
May the Four Winds blow them safely home.
Commercials: David Bowie “SpaceOddity” for AirBnB. Acura, HULU promo for “Handmaid’s Tale” again, Rolex Oscars “best picture” again,   
Electric Company theme! Rita Moreno. BEST PICTURE nominees now. Okay.
Anthony Hopkins clip. “Judas” clip. “Mank” clip with Gary Oldman. “Minari” clip.
And “Nomadland” which will win. “Promising Young Woman” clip, “Sound of Metal” clip, and “The Trial of the Chicago Seven” clip. And the Oscar goes to “Nomadland” of course.
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Chloe Zhao wins and Frances McDormand and a bunch of other peeps onstage. Chloe says thanks and then Frances takes the mic and howls….okay.
Commercials: man, we are tired of commercials, Verizon/Oscar bumpers, Verizon pandemic, Starbucks! FX on HULU promo
Rene Zellweger (in a peach dress). Leading Actress. Viola Davis, Andra Day, Vanessa Kirby, Frances McDormand, Carey Mulligan. And Frances wins of course for “Nomadland” 
– very short thank you speech
Joaquin Phoenix. Leading Actor. Anthony Hopkins. Rez Ahmed, Chadwick Bozeman RIP, Gary Oldman, Steven Yuen. And Anthony Hopkins wins.
And he’s not there. So no speech.
Questlove says thank you and goodnight. The End.
MUSIC WAS LIVE AND OFF THE HOOK!

Delta bumper – “air travel provided by”  
Senovva bumper – LED Walls “provided by”
And it pretty much sucked, and wasn’t very entertaining.
If we weren’t blogging it. We would have turned it off at the beginning.
No surprises. And not very exciting. Just pretty standard awards format,
with the usual COVID-19 adjustments, Nice that there was live audience, but it was STUPID and NO MASKS just sets a bad example for the public and will probably affect PUBLIC HEALTH. But, hey, lots of commercials, and lots of DIVERSITY. See Oscar isn’t so white…..
YEAH RIGHT. Alright, we’re done . That sucked. It’s going to be a ratings disaster tomorrow.
The dogs are sleeping here in the Home Office and we are hungry for dinner. 

8:22pm: “Oscars After Dark” following the Oscars. ABC is so damn DIVERSE!
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Trent Reznor, Jon Baptiste, and Atticus “After Dark”


9:20pm: We stopped, took the dogs outside,
and then went into the kitchen and made dinner.
And it’s drizzling a little outside. They said it might rain and they were right.

On The Menu: Breakfast for Dinner! Breakfast Burrito!
2 eggs over easy, bacon, and a quesadilla with salsa verde 
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We took the dogs outside again. And then they fell asleep.
And then we fell asleep…..

NO END TO THIS BULLSH*T. NO END IN SIGHT.
WE WON’T BE AT YOUR PARTY ON SUNDAY NIGHT!
ZERO CONTACT IS STILL THE RULE!
DO YOU THINK THAT I’M A FOOL?
DO NOT PARTY! AND HERE’S WHY:
IF YOU PARTY, YOU MIGHT DIE!

NOTE: We stayed the fuck home, and watched the Academy Awards’ Train Wreck.


Okay, here’s one for #StorySunday (on Monday):
Way back in the mid 1980s, we started gambling in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas. And then we started working in the Hollywood film industry in 1989, and we met Frankie Valli and a old school “Friend of Frank’s” comedian named Joey Villa. Joey was friends with Meshulam Riklis and his wife Pia Zadora. Riklis was a corporate raider who bought the Riviera in 1973. Our friend Joey was booking the comedy room at the Riviera and also appearing in the “Splash” Revue stage show for many years, so when we visited him in Las Vegas in 1991, it was all VIP fun and a big party with Perry Como in the Penthouse. It was Old School Vegas, with real mobsters, and black tie glamour, at the Riv. “And now it’s all gone” They blew it up and tore it down, and now it’s a parking lot for the expanded LV Convention Center. Vegas just eats its own. So, we have a matching set of souvenir Riviera mugs, and ashtrays, and matches and even mini shampoo bottles from the many hotel stays. And sometimes we stayed next door at the El Morrocco/La Concha Motel or at another Strip hotel. And so we found this mug when thrifting, right before they announced the closing and demolished the hotel in 2015. We have so many crazy Las Vegas stories. They moved the Crazy Girls bronze statue to Planet Hollywood, so you can still see rub their butts for good luck. (if you’re interested you can read more about Las Vegas, the Riviera, and Joey Villa in our previous JoshWillTravel Blog Posts)

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The “Crazy Girls” bronze relief statue at the Riviera Hotel


Monday, April 26, 2021 – PINK SUPERMOON TONIGHT (8:32pm PST)
Full Moon is named for the Spring bloom of the pink wildflower native to eastern North America: Phlox subulata (creeping phlox or moss phlox), also called “moss pink”

2:50am: Hello Monday morning, we’re up early. We fell asleep with the dogs for a little bit.
Not sure how long. It’s too early. So, we thought we’d update this Blog Post…. 

4:45am: Two hours later. And we decided to try to watch Disney/PIXAR’s “Soul” again.
Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
Mystics Without Borders and Moonwind Stardancer on the brink of madness!
NOTE: “Soul” was great. It was beautiful. And it had a great Disney ending.
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11:55pm: Recapping Monday. Nothing happened.
We didn’t mean to take the day off, but it happened.
The dogs got fed. The dogs went outside. We got the newspapers and the mail.
The housekeeper came. We took a nap with the dogs. We drank espresso.
Drink coffee. Drink water.
It was a nice day outside. And now it’s overcast and drizzling a littlest midnight.
We ate a toasted bagel with cream cheese for lunch. And we just made dinner.
On The Menu: Mac’n’cheese just before midnight (and we are done now)
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STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME!
ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT.
WEARAFUCKING(DOUBLE)MASK! WEARAFUCKING(DOUBLE)MASK!

Where are you? Where are we? Where do you want to be next?
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LIKE us on 
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READ OUR PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS!
THEY ARE FUN AND YOU MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING!

Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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Read our previous Blog Post “CORONAVIRUS! Part 1”>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2020/03/11/coronavirus/

Read our previous Blog Post “Depression? Questions to Ask – Before Giving Up” > https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/depression-questions-to-ask-before-giving-up/

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NOTE: Periscope is done as of March 31st, 2021. And they killed themselves. SAD.

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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW OUR YOUTUBE PAGE!>
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DO NOT TRAVEL! STAY HOME AND STAY HEALTHY!
Do not go to movie theaters, musical performances, shopping malls,

dance parties, sporting events, Las Vegas, or any kind of public gathering!
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TAKE this for what it is…. CONTRADICTORY!
ZERO CONTACT IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE SAFE!
If you can still infect someone and catching COVID-19 is still possible, and you should keep wearing your mask, because herd immunity is still far away…..2022.
HOW IS IT OKAY TO VISIT WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS (in small groups without masks)?

STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME!
ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT.
WEARAFUCKINGMASK! WEARAFUCKINGMASK! WEARAFUCKINGMASK!
“Mask Up America” is President Joe Biden’s “100 Day Masking Challenge”

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US Surgeon General recommends:
Wearing two masks can improve fit & give you better protection from
COVID19.
Wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask.

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THE MASK GOES OVER YOUR NOSE!
YOUR NOSE AND MOUTH ARE CONNECTED!
COVER YOUR NOSE AND MOUTH!

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*FULLY VACCINATED means TWO WEEKS after the second dose! 
You are not fully vaccinated after the first dose,
and you are not fully vaccinated until TWO WEEKS after the second dose.
TWO WEEKS AFTER THE SECOND DOSE!
Vaccines don’t stop you from spreading the virus!
Vaccines may protect you from getting really sick,
and may prevent death if you contract COVID-19.
YOU CAN STILL GET SICK AND DIE.
YOU CAN STILL SUFFER FROM LONG-TERM EFFECTS.
YOU CAN STILL GET OTHER PEOPLE SICK.

The COVID-19 UK variant is 64% more likely to kill you.
25% of new cases are UK variant, and it will soon be the dominant strain in California.

STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME!
ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT.
WEARAFUCKINGDOUBLEMASK! WEARAFUCKINGDOUBLEMASK!


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HAPPINESS IS A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN GOAL! BE HAPPY TODAY!
The three key aspects that will lead to our well-being and happiness:
an end to poverty, a reduction of inequality, and the protection of our planet.

Seek immediate help if you feel overwhelmed or unsafe!
If you, or someone you know, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, get professional help immediately!
If your distress impacts your daily life for any length of time (a couple days or many weeks),
talk to a clergy member, counselor, or healthcare provider.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away!
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
You can also chat with them online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.

NOTE:  if you TEXT 741741 when you are feeling depressed, suicidal or anxious, a crisis worker will text you back and continue to text with you? Many people, especially younger folks, do not like talking on the phone and would be more comfortable texting. It’s a free service to ANYONE: teens, adults, etc. who lives in the U.S. It’s run by The Crisis Text Line and is legit.

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Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health has a collection of FREE guided meditations to reduce stress, and also FREE sleep and movement exercises at headspace.com/lacounty or contact them at DMH.LACounty.gov
Phone number: 800-854-7771

City of Los Angeles “Safer-At-Home”> coronavirus.lacity.org

California Senior Citizen Help Hotline: 1-833-544-2374
Help for Senior Citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.

**GIVE BLOOD!***
THE RED CROSS NEEDS BLOOD AND PLASMA DONORS!

redcrossblood.org 1-800-RED-CROSS Blood Donor App

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BLACKLIVESMATTER! STOP POLICE BRUTALITY AND VIOLENCE!
STOP SYSTEMIC RACISM! STOP KILLING BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE!

DONALD TRUMP AND THE GOP TRAITORS REMAIN
A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER TO THE WORLD in April of 2021!

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200000 HITS! 200000 UNSOLICITED HITS!
Two Hundred Thousand Hits on this Blog!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
THANK YOU LOYAL READERS!

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THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

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Be thankful. Be grateful.
Be kind to each other – love one another – support everyone*.
Peace and Love! ❤️




ThrowbackThursday! Joey Villa at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas!

ThrowbackThursday! Joey Villa at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas!

Here’s the story about Joey Villa and the time we met Perry Como and Jilly Rizzo at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 – Today they imploded the Monaco Tower at the Riviera.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016 – Today they imploded the last towers of the Riviera

Thanks to the Las Vegas Review-Journal for the live video!

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Riviera Hotel & Casino

We worked on a film (you’ve probably never heard of or seen it) called “Eternity” in 1990.

We met many famous people: Jon Voight, Armand Assante, Wilford Brimley, Lainie Kazan, Kaye Ballard, Steven Keats, Eileen Davidson, John P. Ryan, Charles Knapp, Eugene Roche, Robert Carricart, Frankie Valli and Joey Villa.

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“Eternity” aka “Evil Brother” feature film 1989 Pictured: Jon Voight, Armand Assante, Perri Lister, Kaye Ballard, Eileen Davidson, Charles Knapp RIP and Joey Villa RIP as the Jester

We became good friends with Joey Villa and he invited us to visit him, first at his home in Beverly Hills which doubled as his booking office, and then at the Riviera Hotel and Casino on The Strip in Fabulous Las Vegas where he was performing. He was friends with Meshulim Riklis and Pia Zadora, who owned the resort at the time, and was a headliner in “Splash!” in the big showroom at the Riviera for nine years. Joey also booked acts, hosted and headlined in the comedy room at the hotel.

Joey Villa (Joseph Charles Villani) was born on March 19, 1937. He was an actor and comedian, known for “Heat” (1986 with Burt Reynolds), “Eternity” (1990) and “They Call Me Bruce?” (1982). He died at the age of 68 on December 16, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada from complication from a stroke.

Villa, a native of New York, appeared in just a handful of movies, but he made his mark as a stand-up comedian, performing in Las Vegas as well as clubs around the country. He also spent many years performing on cruise ships, and eventually booked acts for the ocean liners. Villa opened for many famous entertainers, including Nat King Cole, Paul Anka, the Pointer Sisters and Diana Ross and the Supremes. He was a frequent guest on talk shows, including “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Mike Douglas Show.” Villa was a close friend of both Frank Sinatra and of Sinatra’s “right-hand man” Jilly Rizzo. He gave one of the eulogies at Rizzo’s funeral when the celebrity restaurateur was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver in 1992 in Palm Springs, California.

Joey’s famous opening line from his stand-up comedy act for over 40 years was, “I’m going to live until I die” ……and then he would drop to the stage floor. Every audience roared with laughter as Joey stood up after falling down and began his show. He kept the audience laughing throughout his entire performance. “At the end they always applauded and cheered and left smiling, feeling they were parting as friends.”

“Joey was loved by everyone, from Sinatra on down,” Larry Manetti said.

Villa had no children and died at a local hospice. Survivors include three sisters. Joey and his former wife divorced in 1982 and remained close friends. “He was a gentle man, a much kinder man than most people knew,” she said. “He was born to make people laugh — and he made thousands laugh and applaud, and for a very short time they would forget their problems.”

Nelson Sardelli, a close friend of Villa, said the comedian will be cremated and his ashes cast into the sea. “He requested that there not be any services…He was a gentle person…Sometimes he looked like he was looking for approval…A little accolade, that’s want he wanted.” One friend described him as “happy on the outside, but sad on the inside. He was sort of a lonely person, but at the same time loved to be around people and make them laugh. But I think that is the way most comedians are.”

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

Vegas in the 1980’s before the Mirage opened in 1989 was a wild place! The last Casino holdouts of “Old Vegas” (before they tried to turn it into a “family friendly” destination and eventually turned it into Disneyland for Adults when the big corporations took over) were the main attractions. It was all about GAMBLING (not gaming) in the 80’s and they “comped” players to rooms, meals, shows and more without a plastic card. It really was “Sin City”! You could drive The Strip from Tropicana to Sahara without traffic and there were still undeveloped empty lots on The Strip!

There wasn’t a Fremont Street Experience, there was Fremont Street and Downtown Vegas, uncovered and dirty. Strip Clubs, showgirls, 99 cent buffets, free drinks, cigarette girls, $2 Blackjack…. even then we preferred The Strip.

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

Back in the day, we stayed and played at many of the classic hotels and casinos.

We saw “Seigfried and Roy” at the Mirage when it was the new joint on the strip.

Circus Circus, Thunderbird Hotel, El Rancho, The Landmark, Dunes, Desert Inn, Stardust, Barbary Coast, Wild Bill’s, Sahara, Aladdin, El Morocco, La Concha, Imperial Palace, Riviera, Las Vegas Hilton, Monte Carlo

Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Bally’s, Tropicana, Bellagio, Palms, Hard Rock Hotel, The Rio, Treasure Island, Mirage, MGM Grand, Venetian, Palazzo, The Cromwell

Pierino Ronald “Perry” Como (May 18, 1912-May 12, 2001) was an Italian American singer and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century, he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years after signing with the label in 1943.

Ermenigildo “Jilly” Rizzo  (May 6, 1917-May 6, 1992) – On his 75th birthday, Rizzo was killed when his car was hit by a drunk driver in Rancho Mirage, California

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Farewell to the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas!
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“Crazy Girls” at the Riviera Hotel

 

Dec 19, 2005 3:20 AM
In fond memory of Joey Villa
Classic comedian and longtime friend, Joey Villa, has left us at age 68. He passed last weekend at a local hospice. Joey had suffered a stoke in May, and despite rehabilitation, never fully recovered. He was a classic Las Vegas comic, a mainstay at the Riviera and an opening act for some of the top headliners ever to play the Strip including Frank Sinatra.
I first met him in New York and he always gave me great advice during my many attempts to make it big locally. He would always say, “Kid, you’d be better off going back to New York, they’ll never accept you here.” His pal Nelson Sardelli announced the sad news in an e-mail, saying Villa had gone to “the main room in Heaven,” where he was booked “for eternity, with options.”
– Monti Rock, Gaming Today


A few new old pics of Joey ripped from the interweb:

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!


And some Film Posters:

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

And a pic of a “45”:

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From Youtube: Original Three Friends Joe Villa – Blanche/Mona Lisa 


 

Farewell to the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas!

Farewell to the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas!

Today, May 4th, 2015, is the last day for the Riviera Hotel & Casino, once one of the finest “carpet joints” in Las Vegas. The hotel and casino will close at noon today…forever.

Riviera Hotel & Casino

Riviera Hotel & Casino

*NOTE: THIS BLOG IS NOT YET COMPLETE BUT I WANTED IT POSTED BEFORE THE RIV ACTUALLY CLOSED. I’LL BE ADDING MORE HISTORY AND MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES SOON. PLEASE READ AND COMMENT!*

Sixty years ago, when the Riviera opened on April 20, 1955, it was the very first high-rise and the ninth resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

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Liberace was the featured headliner at the resort’s opening and for many years afterward.

4/20/55  L-R James Cashman Sr. and Liberace at Riviera opening

 

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The casino was first proposed by Detroit mobster William Bischoff as the Casa Blanca, and received a gaming license in 1952. Bischoff later withdrew from the project, which was taken over by Miami businessman Samuel Cohen. By March 1955, Cohen, was identified as a member of Miami’s S & G gambling syndicate and was no longer part of the investment group, though rumors persisted that he secretly maintained an involvement. Harpo and Gummo Marx held minority interests in the resort at the time of the opening.

The opening of the new Riviera hotel and casino, along with The Dunes and the Royal Nevada resorts within a month in 1955, was the subject of a famous issue of LIFE magazine asking “Las Vegas – Is Boom Overextended?”

LIFE Magazine 1955: Las Vegas - Is the Boom Over-Extended?

LIFE Magazine 1955: Las Vegas – Is Boom Over-Extended?

The Riviera casino went bankrupt just three months after opening. A group led by Gus Greenbaum took over operation of the property for the Chicago Outfit. Greenbaum started in the rackets with Al Capone and was in charge of the TransAmerican wire service on the west coast for the Chicago mob beginning in 1928. After the Outfit whacked Bugsy Siegel in June of 1947, Greenbaum was appointed the Flamingo Hotel and Casino’s next manager and by 1950, he was managing the Tropicana. Known and respected in the underworld as a reliable source of information on Las Vegas real estate, he had planned to retire to Arizona and initially rejected the offer to run the Riviera, but after his sister-in-law was murdered, he accepted the job. Greenbaum’s womanizing, drug and gambling addictions led to his embezzling from the casino and in December 1958, after refusing to step down and sell his interest in the resort, Greenbaum and his wife were found murdered in their home in Phoenix, Arizona. “That was Meyer’s contract” Johnny Roselli said years later.

Gus Greenbaum - Johnny Roselli - Meyer Lansky

Gus Greenbaum – Johnny Roselli – Meyer Lansky

Sidney Korshak, a lawyer for powerful businessmen, both legitimate and illegitimate, played a major role in the Riviera’s management. His reputation as the Chicago mob’s man in Los Angeles made him one of Hollywood’s most fabled and influential fixers. Korshak was heavily involved with Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters’ west coast operations when organized labor was at the peak of its activity. Law enforcement agencies suspected that he represented the Chicago Outfit’s interest in the Riviera, and was responsible for skimming the casino’s revenue and delivering the proceeds to Chicago.

Riviera Hotel Architectural Rendering

Riviera Hotel Architectural Rendering

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHICAGO OUTFIT:

The Chicago Mafia began on the South Side Chicago with James “Big Jim” Colosimo. From modest beginnings in the 1890s, Colosimo, who was involved in vice, gambling and labor racketeering, became Chicago’s most powerful gangster during the period before Prohibition. Colosimo was reluctant to pursue the rich opportunities in the liquor trade that Prohibition offered. In May 1920 he was shot and killed in his café reputedly on a contract from Johnny Torrio.

“The Outfit” rose to power under the control of Torrio and Al Capone in the 1920’s during Prohibition. Their criminal activities including loansharking, gambling, prostitution, extortion, political corruption and murder. Following Capone’s conviction for income tax evasion in 1931, the Chicago mob was run by Frank Nitti, who committed suicide in 1943 after being indicted for extortion, and then Paul Ricca and Tony Accardo for over 60 years.

During the 1940s and 1950s, when the national syndicate was dominated by what was called the Big Six, Accardo and Jake Guzik, a trusted advisor and fixer for Capone and the Outfit, flew east weekly to meet with Joe Adonis, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky and Longy Zwillman.

The Outfit’s biggest moves in the 1950s concerned casino gambling outside of Chicago. Chicago invested in hotels and casinos in Havana, Cuba and later went into Las Vegas in a big way and built the Vegas Strip. By 1961 Chicago had major interests in the Stardust, Riviera, Fremont and Desert Inn. Their Vegas holdings, partly in cooperation with Moe Dalitz, were overseen by Johnny Roselli, while the Teamsters’ Pension Fund provided financing. The Justice Department under Robert Kennedy investigated the Mob dominated Teamsters Union and its national leader Jimmy Hoffa, who was convicted of manipulating the pension fund in 1964.

Around 1957, Tony Accardo turned over the official position as boss of the Chicago Outfit to Sam Giancana, and became Consigliere. Giancana still had to obtain the sanction of Ricca and Accardo for all major business. Around 1966, Giancana was replaced as boss by Sam Battaglia. In 1967, Battaglia was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Giancana was still living in exile in Mexico. Felix Alderisio took over as acting boss in the late 1960s, was convicted of extortion, sent to prison in 1969 and died from natural causes in 1971. Then Jackie Cerone became acting boss. Cerone was convicted on gambling charges in May 1970 and later convicted of skimming $2 million from a Las Vegas casino in 1986 along with Aiuppa, Carl Civella, Angelo LaPietra and Carl DeLuna. Milwaukee organized-crime boss Frank Balistrieri was sentenced to 10-years in prison in the same case in December 1985. Cerone died of natural causes in 1996 six days after his release from prison. He was followed by Gus Alex, Samuel Carlisi and Joseph Aiuppa. Alex died of a heart attack in federal prison in 1992. Carlisi was convicted of racketeering, loansharking, and arson in connection with an illegal gambling business in Chicago in 1996 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He died there of a heart attack in 1997.

Paul Ricca died in 1972, leaving Tony Accardo as the ultimate authority in the outfit. Giancana was murdered in the basement apartment of his home in Oak Park, Illinois in 1975 after returning from Mexico. The FBI alleged that Aiuppa conspired with Johnny Roselli to kill Giancana because he refused to share his offshore gambling profits from Mexico, but another theory states that Giancana’s murder was connected to the U.S. Senate Church Committee’s investigation into the CIA’s role in the conspiracy to assassinate Castro. Giancana was subpoenaed to testify on his knowledge of alleged government-mafia cooperation just before he was murdered.

In the 1940s Johnny Roselli was involved in the Outfit’s extortion in Hollywood of the motion picture industry. By 1956, he had become the Chicago and Los Angeles mob’s man in Las Vegas. In the early 1960s, Roselli was unknowingly recruited by the CIA. In April 1976 he was called before the Warren Commission to testify about a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Three months after his first round of testimony the Committee wanted to recall him. Roselli went missing in July and his decomposing body was found  shot, dissected, then stuffed in a 55-gallon steel fuel drum floating near Miami in August 1976. Roselli was killed on Santo Trafficante Jr.’s orders and he would have needed permission from Outfit bosses Accardo and Aiuppa for the murder. Bill Bonanno, the son of mafia boss Joseph Bonanno, claimed in his 1999 memoir, Bound by Honor: A Mafioso’s Story, that he had discussed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with Roselli and implicated him as the primary hitman in a mafia conspiracy. According to Bonanno, Roselli shot Kennedy from a storm drain on Elm Street.

Joseph Aiuppa was convicted of skimming profits from Las Vegas casinos in 1986 and received 28 years in prison. On January 19, 1996, Aiuppa was released from prison and died of natural causes three days later. In June 1986, Tony “The Ant” Spilotro and his brother Michael were beaten and strangled to death and buried in a cornfield five miles away from Aiuppa property near Morocco, Indiana. It was assumed that the Outfit ordered the murders because of Tony’s misbehavior in Las Vegas. It was also rumored that Aiuppa ordered the executions because he blamed Spilotro for the skimming conviction. In a 2010 interview with Maxim magazine, Tony Spilotro’s son Vincent claimed that the real target was his uncle Michael, and Tony was killed to prevent any revenge.

Tony Accardo bought a home in Palm Springs, California in the late 1970s, flying to Chicago to preside over Outfit “sit-downs” and mediate disputes. He died of heart failure at age 86 in Barrington, Illinois in 1992.

1975

Howard Hughes and Las Vegas:

Howard Hughes began the move into Las Vegas by legitimate operators and large corporations in the 1960s, resulting in the sale of many mob owned casinos. On November 24, Thanksgiving Day in 1966, Hughes arrived in Las Vegas by railroad and moved into the Desert Inn. Hughes bought the Desert Inn in early 1967 and then bought the Castaways, New Frontier, the Landmark and the Sands. He also bought the small Silver Slipper casino only to reposition the hotel’s trademark neon silver slipper, which was visible from Hughes’ bedroom and had been keeping him up at night. Hughes spent at least $300 million on his many properties and real estate in Las Vegas.

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The Riviera sold in June 1968 to a group of investors tied to the Parvin-Dohrmann Corp., owner of the Aladdin, Stardust, and Fremont casinos. In 1969, a deal was made to sell the Riviera to the Parvin-Dohrmann Corp. but the sale was blocked by the Gaming Control Board.

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Dean Martin was hired in 1969 to perform in the casino’s showroom in exchange for a 10 percent interest in the Riviera. They bought back his shares after Martin left in 1972, because management refused to cut his performance schedule from two shows a night to one.

Dean Martin - The King of Cool!

Dean Martin – The King of Cool!

In 1973, the Riviera was purchased for $60 million by AITS Inc., a Boston-based travel company controlled by Meshulam Riklis and Isidore Becker. The Riviera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1983. Riklis pledged money to keep the business in operation and appointed Jeffrey Silver as the new CEO to turn the Riviera around. Silver shifted the Riviera’s marketing away from high rollers towards middle and working-class gamblers.

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A Burger King franchise opened in the Riviera in 1983, the first fast-food chain outlet in a Las Vegas casino, inspiring the phrase “Burger King Revolution” which referred to the trend of hotels and casinos targeting middle-class customers.

Riviera Hotel & Casino

Riviera Hotel & Casino

The Riviera underwent an expansion from 1988 to 1990 which went significantly over budget, leading to another Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1991. The resort emerged from bankruptcy in 1993 owned by Riviera Holding Corp.

In 2006, Splash, a traditional Las Vegas showgirl revue, ended an extended run at the Riviera. And in 2009, An Evening at La Cage, featuring female impersonators including Frank Marino as Joan Rivers, ended one of the longest runs in Strip history.

On July 12, 2010, Riviera Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The decline of the Riviera was caused in part by the recession of 2008. The Riviera was once surrounded by the Stardust, New Frontier and Westward Ho which were demolished to make room for construction of the unfinished Fontainebleau and Boyd Gaming’s Echelon Place projects. Under the terms of the bankruptcy reorganization agreement negotiated by Starwood Capital Group and the other secured lenders the property was leased to Paragon Gaming.

In February 2015, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority bought the Riviera hotel and its land for $182.5 million. The hotel will be demolished in the name of progress and the planned expansion of LVCVA’s Las Vegas Global Business District exhibit and meeting center.

"Crazy Girls" at the Riviera Hotel

“Crazy Girls” at the Riviera Hotel (the show and the statue will move to Planet Hollywood)

“Crazy Girls” is immortalized with a bronze sculpture based on a promotional photo for the show at the front of the casino. It was unveiled in 1997 with the phrase No “Ifs”, “Ands” or…. Since then, the thong-clad buttocks have been worn to a shine by visitors rubbing them. Riviera ads with the same photo used to appear on Vegas taxicabs back in the day.

crazy-girls

Vegas Matchbooks! Some are long gone now, some still remain…but for how long?

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

“It’s a sucker’s game. You can’t win out there, you understand. We got the percentages rigged all in our favor. The longer you stay, the more you play, the more chances you got of losing. I don’t let nobody around me who gambles. A couple thousand, okay, but no gambling!” – Chicago Outfit Boss Gus Alex on the subject of Las Vegas Casinos

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Rivera Hotel & Casino

Rivera Hotel & Casino

Farewell to the Riviera Hotel & Casino!

Sign of the Times! Farewell to the Riviera Hotel & Casino!

 

UPDATED JANUARY 7, 2017:
Going through boxes in storage, came across a matched set of Riviera coffee mugs>

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A Matched Set of Riviera Coffee Mugs