There are moments, just little moments that occur that will live with us forever. One of those moments happened last Friday night at Chianti CafÃ© near Las Vegas’ Summerlin neighborhood. On the tiny little platform that transforms from elevated dining room to a cramped stage were 6 or 7 of the most talented musicians you probably never heard of, Sean West and his A K Music Band. Their fabulous lead singer, Treasure Guffy is quick to graciously share the stage with the current and old time Vegas pros who regularly drop in for a song or two. This night, it could have been Dean or Sammy on stage, or Bobby Darin, or Kelley Smith or Louis Prima or any of the other legends. This night it was Frank. It was Frank at his smoothest, most compelling best. This Frank was a tribute by the magnetic Gary Anthony, singing and gliding across the stage, then down the stage steps to be with the diners and admirers as he performed “Fly Me to the Moon.” Off to the side, a tall, slender waitress picked up from a nearby table one of the pads used to present diners with the bill; she found that the only path to the cash register was to cross in front of the crooner. As he performed, Anthony saw her path would meet his. The singer gracefully raised his left hand, palm down and cupped it, as if dancing a colonial minuet. Without missing a beat, the classically trained ballerina-waitress raised her right hand to rest on his left, and for the next four seconds pirouetted and arabesqued her way…thank you Google…across the dining floor as if they had rehearsed it for hours. It was breath-taking; Sinatra, ballet, wine, atmosphere, the whole nine yards. Those who witnessed those brief seconds exploded in applause, beaming with delight and appreciation. This was an event that will never be repeated and that everyone who witnessed it will remember for the rest of their lives. Helloooo Las Vegas!
There are moments like this nearly every Friday night at Chianti CafÃ©. You never know who will drop in and pick up a saxophone, the drumsticks or grab the microphone for a song or two. The other special treat that night was an amazing performance by an unidentified, absolutely fabulous woman who sang Carol King’s “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman,” before returning to her table. The woman, known to the Band, was obviously one of local performers who frequent Chianti CafÃ©.
It wasn’t until days later that I learned that our “mystery ballerina” was Mary LaCroix, waitress extraordinaire and dancer with the Nevada Ballet. (For a message from Mary LaCroix, please scroll down to the last paragraph.)
My wife Lesley and I have become regulars, sometimes for a full meal, sometimes just for a glass of wine or the world’s best (that we’ve had) cannoli and a cup of coffee. We go there for those 6 or 7 great musicians and the unforgettable vocalist Treasure Guffy who is equally at home singing blues, jazz, my era rock ‘n roll with a but of dance music thrown in. For those two and a half hours, we’re transported back 50 years from the pressures of work, the “stuff” on TV, the screaming headlines, the world news; we’re in a world that we wished for when we watched the movies of that era but we never knew it still existed.
Lesley and I have always enjoyed sharing wonderful times with the people that we care about the most. These performers, Sean West, the members of his AK Music Band and Treasure Guffy, are now considered friends. Lesley and I are recommending them to you so you too can experience those moments and share them with the people in your lives. And if you take our recommendation, request that Treasure perform “Killing Me Softly with his Song;” it will bring tears to your eyes.
The band plays Friday nights from 8:30 PM until about 11:30. Chianti CafÃ© is right off Towne Center. From our Henderson home, it takes about 25 minutes; we take I-95 to Summerlin Parkway, then exit at Town Center and turn right. We navigate one traffic circle and then a block or so down, it’s left into the shopping center and you’re there. For better directions, call Chianti’s at (702) 228-3330. They’re at 1916 Village Center.
From Ballerina Mary LaCroix: Here is the info on my next show! Its called Ribbon of Life, and its an AIDS fundraiser for Golden Rainbow. Its composed of lots of small numbers by artists from all over the city, so it should be really eclectic with lots of good music and dance. The performance is Sunday June 13th at 1:00pm at the Las Vegas Hilton. You can buy tickets at www.goldenrainbow.org/ribbonoflife.php I hope to see you there!
In another late development, Gary Anthony will be appearing with a live band at Chianti Cafe Saturday, June 12 in A Tribute to Frank Sinatra. Show times are 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM with show packages or dinner packages. There will be a “late night band part bash for all ticket holders.” Tickets are available at www.ShowTix4U.com