Some of you may recall that last year I attended a Mixed Martial Arts event (review), followed by the Chippendales (review). As I stated in my MMA review I believe I had failed the “maleness test,” since I actually enjoyed the Chippendales show compared to the MMA fights. In fact, my MMA review received some pretty heated email exchanges between me and a few of the fighters who didn’t take too kindly to my comparison of a Chippendales show to an MMA fight.
So this year I set out to see if I could muster the courage to try and pass the maleness test. This year would be different! I had the perfect strategy going in – my wife!
Yes, I figured I could bring my wife along, and once she started drooling over all the eye candy my jealous side would kick in and, voila, we would get into a good ole fight, leave in a huff, and have great make up sex the next day.
Now if you’ve never been to a Chippendales show, there’s a whole different kind of energy from the all-female audience. Yes, there is a smattering of males, usually gay, or whipped (if you get my meaning), but for the most part it’s nothing but women, which is why I enjoy the show – no seriously!
As the show opened with Chippendale dancers Jace Crispin, Chaun Thomas, John Rivera, Kenny King, Nathan Minor, Sami Eskelin, all coming out on stage showing off their wares, I was keeping an eye on Ruth (that’s my wife), to make sure that she wasn’t feeling that different kind of energy. While she had a smirk, I didn’t detect any outright drooling, at least for the moment, nor was she diving at the stage like most of the women.
As the show continued with the men ripping off their orange speedos (Ruth’s favorite color) they would strategically cover themselves with hats, hands or whatever was handy. I think Thunder Valley should spend a little more money on their heating system, because it looked like it might have been a little chilly in Pano Hall – I’m just saying.
Making their way through the audience, the men would stop and perform a quick little grinding action with some of the women. As they did, all the other women would scream, cheer, grab, and just downright go nuts trying to get a piece of the guys – that’s part of that special kind of energy I was referring to earlier.
At one point several women were asked onstage to act out different scenarios. One did her best lap dance, another demonstrated her favorite “position”, while another showed off her ability to place a condom on . . . a banana. Each woman performed their tasks with one of the Chippendales.
Of course the show wouldn’t be complete without the men coming out dressed as firemen, and construction workers.
It did get a tad risqué as several of the men went through the motions of masturbating. One was on a bed with a pillow while the other two were in chairs. It was at this point I realized I had forgotten about Ruth. I turned around and saw that she was laughing at me!
After the show Ruth told me she couldn’t help but laugh, since as I was drooling for the better part of the show. Damn, I hate that different kind of energy!!!
The Legends of Soul Tribute Show is a group of individuals who impersonate ““ well ““ legends of soul.
This very talented group of guys and gals, put on nothing short of a true Las Vegas style show, with each impersonator in full character during their entire set, and many performers playing multiple characters.
As droves of young and old crowded into Thunder Valley Casino Resort‘s Pano Hall on Saturday, radio personality, and the evenings emcee Nick Harper thanked everyone for coming out to the show, as well as Thunder Valley Casino for providing such a great venue.
The Legends of Soul kicked off their 2+ hour extravaganza with the legendary Sam Cooke played by Elijah Sterling (Get it? Legends of Soul ““ legendary Sam Cooke. I know, it cracked me up too.) Cooke dressed in a powder blue suit with matching hat, sang “Cupid” and “Twist the Night Away,” easily two of Cooke’s greatest hits from the early “’60s.
Following Cooke was Jackie Wilson, played by John Hampton. Wilson was known as Mr. Excitement due to his dynamic dance moves while onstage. Hampton didn’t disappoint as he took the stage by storm, dancing much like Wilson. Singing “You Keep Lifting Me Higher” and “Baby Workout,” Hampton delivered a high energy performance.
Wilson Pickett, played by Dwayne Thompson, delivered a soulful performance of “Mustang Sally,” followed by “In the Midnight Hour,” two of Pickett’s biggest hits.
The Legends of Soul wouldn’t be complete without the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, played by Samantha Richardson. A gentleman, accompanying Franklin on stage, removed a white fur she had draped around her neck and left the stage as she belted out “Chains of Fools” and “Rock Steady.” Franklin finished off her set with an extremely well done rendition of “Respect.”
The O’Jays arrived on stage singing “Love Train” and “Back Stabbers.” The trio was in perfect synchronization their entire set and sounded eerily familiar to the original O’Jays.
The Stylistics and The Dramatics also performed later in the show. Both groups performed flawlessly while they danced in-step with each other, lending to their credible performance.
Needing no introduction due to the silky tone and song choice, Lou Rawls, played by Russell Branch, came out singing “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” followed by “Lady Love.” I believe I saw a woman or two faint, he was that good.
So the show continued with one legend after another. Some audience members were lost in the moment, as I’m sure they were thinking back to those long forgotten memories, or maybe they were just dosing ,as some folks in the crowd were just a tad on the old side.
Other stars that shared the stage were Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Patti Labelle, and Stevie Wonder.
Most notable was John Hampton coming out as Stevie Wonder. Lending to the credible performance was Producer Rudolph Peter’s as he guided Wonder to his keyboard, taking Wonder’s hand and guiding it to the keyboard and microphone to ensure Wonder knew where they were. Complete with the sound of Wonder, Hampton’s performance included all the mannerisms of the legend.
Every performer did an excellent job staying in character and singing just like the real thing. The real standouts of the show, and mostly forgotten in the background, was the band, as they played a wide variety of hits throughout the night.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see this group of talented individuals performing in Las Vegas at some point in the future. They pack in the people, they love what they do, and they do it well.
Complete Cast in order of Appearance:
Master of Ceremony: Nicholas Harper
Sam Cooke: Elijah Sterling
Jackie Wilson ““ John Hampton
Wilson Pickett: Dwayne Thompson
Aretha Franklin: Samantha Richardson. Background Dee Johnson and Dewanna Slaughter
The O’Jays: Charles Boomer, David Lige, and Lionel Burns
Lou Rawls: Russell Branch
Curtis Mayfield: Elijah Sterling
Marvin Gaye: Chase Ruffin
Al Green: Lionel Burns
The Dramatics: James Hill, Stan Lockwood, Rodney James, Douglas Stepney, and Chase Ruffin
Patti Labelle: Dee Johnson ,background – Samantha Richardson, and Dewanna Slaughter
Stevie Wonder: John Hampton
The Stylistics: Ralph Greene (lead vocals), background- Elijah Sterling, Rodney James, and David Lige
Michael Jackson: Thurman Conners
Band: (Lead Guitar) Richard Cravalho, (Drummer) Rich Aguon, (Bass Guitar) Darrel Broadnax, (Keyboard Left) Archie White, (Keyoard Right) Earnest Nation, and (Congo) Glen Austin
Producer: Rudolph Peters
Globie, the team mascot, came out before the show to entertain the crowd with a little bit of magic and some dance moves. As Globie set up chairs he had four boys lay flat on their back on the chair seat. Then Globie started pulling out the chairs one by one and you could hear the collective gasp of the crowd as Globie pulled out the last chair, leaving the boys laying on one another without the need for the chairs.
Afterward Globie started strutting around like Michael Jackson as the crowd went wild, with some kids jumping up to dance along with Globie.
Even though the stadium was far from sold out, the audience members made up for it in enthusiasm. Throughout the game the crowd was cheering and clapping for the Globetrotters, with a few boos thrown in for team Elite. At times the cheering was deafening with kids and their parents jumping in to help cheer the team to victory.
As with all Globetrotter games this was an audience participation sport. One couple found out the hard way, with the wife having her purse
taken, but in true Globetrotter style they were kind enough to give her a gift for participating in all the fun and games ““ her purse.
As for her husband, he didn’t fare any better. He was dragged out on the basketball court, or should I say dance floor, as Big Easy convinced him to dance along.
Kids joined in on the fun too, with several young kids competing for a team jersey. The kids were dressed up as if they were headed to bed. Their task was to dash to the other side of the basketball court, shoot a basket, dash back to the start where a makeshift bed awaited them. The first to complete the task won – In the end they all were winners.
Of course the game came down to the wire and with 5 seconds to go on the clock the Globetrotters made a mad dash to score at the last minute just edging out the International Elite.
Some of the Globetrotters were in town earlier last week to visit with fans. You can read all about their visit here.
As is customary, the Globetrotters have had a couple of players in town before the big event on Sunday. They were meeting with television and radio stations in the area, but more importantly they were getting out to meet their fans.
I was able to meet up with “Handles” Franklin and one of their newest members, “TNT” Maddox. TNT is only the ninth woman in 86 years to play with the Globetrotters and the first woman since 1993.
I found the two at the Project R.I.D.E. facility next to Jesse Baker Elementary School in Elk Grove. The two Globetrotters participated in a bit of horseplay “” literally. Project R.I.D.E. offers therapeutic recreational horseback riding instruction to riders with disabilities.
When it came to mounting the horse, I have to give TNT credit. She jumped on as if she did it every day. Handles, on the other hand, was a little timid getting on his horse and looked to be a bit nervous, too.
In between horsing around, TNT talked about what it’s like being one of the few female Globetrotters.
“Honestly, it’s unbelievable to be only the ninth woman in 86 years to play for the Harlem Globetrotters,” she said. “What they’re about is charity, and we’re allowed to go to hospitals, schools and things like that and do things that money can’t buy. That’s something that’s special to me, and I’m happy to be a part of the organization.”
As she talked, she constantly had her basketball in motion, so I asked if she did this while sitting down to watch a little television. She said she has to in order to keep up with the likes of Handles and the rest of the team. Being one of the new kids on the block, the team is continually showing her new moves, so she’s constantly practicing to get up to the caliber of her teammates. Trust me “” she’s already there. After only two weeks of training, she said they had her playing at a junior high school.
As for the rest of the team, it looks like this will be an exciting year with 10 new players.
The 2012 rookie class has a total of three 7-footers including 7-foot-4 Jermaine “Stretch” Middleton, the third-tallest player in team history, and 7-foot Anthony “Biggie” McClain. However, Paul “Tiny” Sturgess towers over even the tallest of the tall at a whopping 7-foot-8.
Sturgess was recently recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest professional basketball player. He is also the tallest player in the Globetrotter history.
Not only do they have the tallest player in their history, but the shortest, too. Jonte “Too Tall” Hall is the shortest Globetrotter ever to play at 5-foot-2.
Other team members you may recognize are “Big Easy” Lofton and “Flight Time” Lang who, together, made their way around the world on CBS’ “The Amazing Race.”
If you’ve never seen the Globetrotters in person, you have to get off your butts and get out to Power Balance this Sunday and take in the 1 or 6 p.m. showing. These guys (and gal) are amazing to watch and extremely entertaining.
OMG! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to write this after the Chippendale’s performance at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Wednesday night.
It was only after taking a cold shower and having a glass ““ scratch that ““ a bottle of wine that I was able to start thinking clearly.
What? No! The water heater went out and a “glass” of wine is how I like to end my day.
My intent on writing this is to warn any unsuspecting women who may decide to take in a show like the Chippendales’. Don’t. Seriously, nobody liked the show!
It was quite obvious that every woman in the place, which was around 99.9 percent of the people, couldn’t stand the show. I couldn’t believe it! I was completely dumbfounded. They were screaming “Get off!” almost the entire show. The Chippendales never got the message. They stayed onstage the whole time!
The strange thing is when they finally ended the show and did get off the stage, all the women started screaming “More, more, more.” I know, I find women confusing, too. They say one thing and mean another. (Come to think of it, they may have been screaming “Take it off!”)
As for the men onstage, I felt bad for these guys. It appeared to be a little chilly in the room, but that didn’t seem to dampen their enthusiasm. All I can say is I was feeling a tad inadequate at this point.
The biggest criticism I have of the show? It was the most disgusting display of pure
animalistic behavior I have ever witnessed. It was really quite a sight to see. None of the women could keep it together. They were falling over in the aisles, standing on chairs, trying to get back stage, onstage, or anywhere close to those big hunks. Now hold on a minute! I’m only referring to them as big hunks because I know that’s how women refer to those large glistening bodies of pure muscle and all their gyrating ways.
I will say there was definitely an excitement in the air as the show progressed, but it’s difficult for me to explain the atmosphere. I liken it to when I receive a package from FedEx that I have to sign for because I know it’s got to be something really cool, otherwise I wouldn’t have to sign for it. Well, that’s the way all the ladies were acting, but I guess they weren’t interested in a FedEx package.
Speaking of packages ““ the Chippendales were the complete package, with eight of the most physically perfect male dancers all competing for the audience’s attention, all dressed in their trademark bow ties and shirt cuffs with bare torso, at least some of the time.
The opening was quite dramatic with the stage dark and ominous and smoke filling the air. One by one they took center stage with a lone spotlight lighting their muscular curves and superior physique. Is it getting hot in here?
The first few routines found these delectable morsels stripping down to pretty much nothing ““ why do I keep writing like this? Delectable morsels? Now I’m starting to worry.
As each layer came off, the decibel levels in Pano Hall rose exponentially. People were gathering outside trying to get a glimpse of the show. Quite the curious crowd.
A couple of times during the show, they danced around the audience, going down aisles and over chairs. One of the Chippendales was looking for someone to give an autographed poster to. He found her when he exclaimed she deserved it for grabbing his penis. Yes ““ there you have it. I said it, now it’s out there for all to see.
Several people had the opportunity to jump onstage. In one case three ladies were in a game show where they were told to complete a task. The first one had to perform her best lap dance on one of the Chippendales. The second had to demonstrate her favorite position when making love, and the third had to demonstrate her favorite way of putting on a condom. The third won due to her technique and the timely fashion of completing her task. Oh ““ I should clarify. She put it on a banana.
This was definitely ladies’ night out. There were a few men in attendance, and you could tell which ones were straight. They were carrying a ball and chain and didn’t look all too happy. I believe my count was two husbands/significant others in attendance.
The show was so successful that Thunder Valley had to provide additional seats to accommodate the larger-than-expected crowd.
After the show, the Chippendales remained onstage so audience members could have their photos taken with their favorites. I declined. They also announced they would be going to Thunder Valley’s Falls Bar for an after-party. [Insert loud cheers here.]
So at the end of the day I feel like I was able to embrace my inner gayness and survive. As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m convinced that I have no lingering side effects from the show.
Well I have to go. I just started to redecorate the house and have to put up these curtains that are simply to die for. And if you think that’s something, wait until you see my new landscape design. We can talk about it over the nice gourmet meal that I’m preparing.
To all my gay friends, including my kids god parents – no offense! Next time Dean, your coming with.