Monday, March 30, 2015

Las Vegas Quest Preparatory Academy Bridger Campus CAREER FAIR 2015

+Quest Preparatory Academy Bridger Campus opened its doors in the Fall of 2014, and with that opened the minds of the children and the wallets of the parents. Due to unforeseen damages from the relic building, which stood as +St. Joseph's Catholic School for over 40 years, Quest Bridger Campus lost over half of its supplies and curriculum and many of the school’s funds had to be used on repairs before the doors could even open. Therefore, throughout the year parents have been asked to participate in a multitude of fundraisers and donation drives for the school.

Although the structure was crumbling this did not tear down the infrastructure of the school and parents and teachers have been working diligently to build this school (literally) from the ground up. One stride in particular was the 2015 Career Fair hosted by the Bridger PTO. Professionals from all walks of life gathered to speak in a small cafeteria which could only accommodate about 90 children at a time (half of the students enrolled). The speakers were gracious enough to stay and speak for two sessions while various Las Vegas businesses such as American Family insurance, US Bank and BLVDS LV magazine, set up tables with company insignia all around the room. As well as a host table from the office of Senator Harry Reid. Outside hosted service vehicles from the Las Vegas Fire department, the metropolitan police department, AMR Ambulance Services, a semi-truck and a hearse from Davis Funeral Home. 

The guest speakers included the Honorable
Judge Joseph Sciscento, Attorney Eric P. Roy, College of Southern Nevada recruiter Ramona Johnson, Make-up artist Blaze Linn and Aliante Casino manager Melissa Reagen. Each guest was welcomed by M.C. and PTO Vice President Charity Griego who arranged theme music to be played for each speaker regarding their profession. The guests were asked to speak on their careers and allow the children to ask a few questions, but they did much more than that. Along with their dancing and clapping, attorney Eric Roy and Judge Sciscento (who brought along his bailiff) acted out a court room scene with two children as attorneys and the rest as jurors. The gentlemen even dressed the children in their jacket and ties and allowed them to argue their case whilst the judge and jury made their ruling. The children were so excited that Judge Sciscento had to call order to the court a couple of times.

The school yard and entire street were cleaned by PTO Vice President +Charity Griego 
and daughter Magdalene Clark, who reside across the street from the campus, prior to the event. The day of the event the entire street was decorated by parent volunteers with streamers, balloons and professional banners bearing the school's logo and event title. Mother Jessica Ptolemy's family built A-frame signs to direct traffic and designated parking was arranged by the neighborhood management to accommodate the guests.  A Career ABC's was compiled and handed out the children featuring 26 careers, one for each letter of the alphabet from local professionals (all who permitted the use their information). Almost half of the names listed were parents or family members of a Quest Bridger child and the event saw the largest parent participation and interest, particularly from the men than any other. Those parents who could not attend found someone who could, such as police officer Josh Melvin who is an uncle of one of the children. The music/sound, fliers and guest certificates were all compliments of Bridger dad Hunter Clark. Mother Cat Tadeo sent donations from her dentist Kenneth Hill D.D.S and additional donations were provided by Davis Funeral home Vice President Todd Noecker, US Bank, CSN, BLDVS LV magazine, Senator Harry Reid, and Aliante Casino. 

The keynotes of the event were commitment, education, confidence, passion and of course in Las Vegas –luck! But isn't luck really preparation meeting opportunity? Hopefully this event has opened up more opportunities for the students of this preparatory academy.

Charity Griego 
on facebook and on google+

Quest Preparatory Academy Bridger Campus
Address: 1300 E Bridger Ave Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone:(702) 631-4751

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Gimmick and Grit: The Blooze Brothers at the Double Down Saloon

by +
Eric Foemmel

When I was kid and approaching my teens, before cable television, the UHF channels used to broadcast The Blues Brothers once a year.  It seemed that every kid knew the scenes and dialogue of that movie by heart.  We would laugh as we recounted the scenes while at recess.  Not only did
John Belushi and +Dan Aykroyd pay tribute to the great blues artists of Chicago and Harlem, they apparently planted seeds in the imaginations of kids watching that movie.   I can see it in my mind: The sweat drenched Reverend James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, fervently and repeatedly asking from the pulpit, “Have you seen the light?”  I had no idea he was asking us kids watching the movie this important question until I saw the +Blooze Brothers in Las Vegas at the +Double Down Saloon on March 15th, 2015.

This was a five-piece band with three guitarists, a bassist, and a percussionist: Brett Cohen on guitar; Derek James on vocals and guitar; Marky Z on vocals and bass; Anthony Raya on vocals and drums; and Goldtop Bob on guitar.  Four of the younger members of this band were in their mid twenties or early thirties, wearing untucked white dress shirts with black ties, shades, and pork pie hats.  These young men delivered blues and soul tunes with great harmony, a punk rock punch, and bit of gravel in their voices.  They had the gimmick down, but they were not impersonating the Blues Brothers.   As they said during the show, they are keeping the memory of John Belushi alive.

They sang many of the songs I remember in the Blues Brothers movie such as Soul Man and Give me Some Lovin’ by Sam and Dave, Boom! Boom! by John Lee Hooker, and I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters.  These young men played their guitars over their heads, threw out fast leads, and owned their gimmick.  They lived up to the name of their band, and the audience was dancing to their music.   I could almost imagine that they were kids from the same orphanage as Jake and Elwood.

In addition to a great gimmick, what this band has is a tremendous amount of grit that is distilled into one unassuming member of the band, guitarist Goldtop Bob.  He sat on the stage behind the rest of the band.  While subtly rocking and swaying in his seat to the music, he delivered leads and riffs just where it was needed.  He added color to the songs as the boys belted it out.  The way he presented himself on stage, he could have been sitting on a porch deep in the swamps of the Mississippi Delta, or he could have been strumming his guitar on the stoops of tenement buildings in Harlem or Chicago.  Yet, tonight, here he was at the Double Down.   

Goldtop Bob is a seasoned blues player who seems to have been through the lean times any traveling musician must face.  This is apparent simply by looking at his Goldtop Les Paul, which he has owned since 1967. Bob’s Les Paul has been through the gauntlet showing chips and small nicks.  He showed my friend, Luke Metz, and I his guitar while sitting at the bar after the show.  Bob has had to make serious on-the-spot repairs on his Les Paul without proper tools and replacement parts.  He was flat broke, hungry, and had a busted guitar.  If he did not fix the guitar and play, he would go hungry for the night.  With a butter knife, a hand drill, and a hammer, he constructed a guitar bridge out of a piece of maple wood from his father’s workbench.   He knows the wood in that bridge is one-hundred-ten-years-old.  Other repairs around the pickups use snipped tin that was once part of a barn roof in Mississippi.  Various and sundry nails and screws hold this portion of the guitar together.  As Bob said drinking his whiskey at the bar, “It looks like hell, but it plays well.”  Here is a link of just Bob playing his Goldtop Les Paul:

The renditions of soul and blues that these five musicians put together have a great balance of showmanship and true musicianship.  The younger members, wearing the apparel of Jake and Elwood, blend their stage presence with the legitimacy of Goldtop Bob.  Just as Belushi did before them, they incorporate the concept of an entertaining Hollywood blockbuster with genuine content, which makes it an interesting show to watch.  

They will be playing and hosting the Blooze and Booze Sunday, which is a free show every third Sunday at the Double Down Saloon.  You can check them out on their facebook page  

Double Down Saloon
Address: 4640 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone:(702) 791-5775
Hours: Open today · Open 24 hours

Eric Foemmel 
Dr. Foemmel's House of Cheer
on facebook
youtube videos
on google+


Friday, March 13, 2015

Frank, Vegas, and the American Songbook: A Review of Frank. The Man. The Music

by +Eric Foemmel

For the unsophisticated tourist, Las Vegas seems to be nothing more than Sin City. Perhaps it is merely a decadent town where one can eat at a trendy restaurant, visit a night club where the DJ makes an obscene amount of money for a nightly performance, and the bar bill leaves the wallet famished.  However, for the savvy visitor or resident, Vegas is a city teeming with talent. On any given night, you can listen to accomplished musicians with a lifetime of experience on the stage.  In the glow of the neon, you may realize that this town was not only built on vice, it was also built on the American Songbook. If you're visiting Vegas in the near future, I would suggest visiting the +Venetian/Palazzo Theater and seeing, +Frank. The man. The music.  

An amazing amount of work, planning, and production went into this show, which stars Mr. Bob Anderson backed by a thirty-two piece orchestra led by Vincent Falcone. It is noteworthy to mention that Mr. Anderson undergoes an elaborate make-up session to resemble Frank Sinatra.  It is equally important to recognize that Mr. Falcone was Sinatra’s music director for ten years. The result is presentation of the Chairman's songs that considers the visuals, the horns, the strings, the percussion, the audience...everything is arranged so well.

There are many highlights of this show that range from an intimate experience with Sinatra and the audience to the recreation of momentous moments of Sinatra’s career.   Near the middle of the show, the house lights are brought down and Mr. Anderson ties the belt of his London Fog coat, and causally lights his cigarette. Under the stage light, it is just the piano, Mr. Anderson, a glass of scotch, and cigarette.  It is a forlornly moment for Frank that the audience is allowed to witness. The songs that roll off the dark stage during this portion of the performance are only for the lonely.  Then at other times of the show, the stage is bright and bustling as Mr. Anderson proudly describes Sinatra’s epic recordings at Capitol Records.   The audience is given a rare treat as they recreate the Capitol recording sessions.  Being a proverbial fly on the wall, you may feel as if you are witnessing Sinatra at work with the most talented musicians of the time.

As the night continues, Mr. Anderson interprets the many years of Old Blue Eyes never losing his character as Frank.  However, there is never the feeling that you are watching a campy impersonation. Reality may not be fully suspended--and to be fair I am not sure that was ever the intention of the production--but Mr. Anderson certainly takes you to some fairly lofty heights weaving Frank’s story with visual and aural experience. The importance of Sinatra’s contribution to music is profoundly conveyed in this production.  

When it comes to an end and the house lights go up, you realize that was an era of great sophistication in musical composition and performance.  You might even be left with the feeling that we are missing something in entertainment and great music like that is fading into the noise of Electronic Dance Music. Thankfully, the Venetian/Palazzo did something to ease that haunting feeling. As you leave the theater, Ms. Laura Shaffer is sings with her band in the lounge.  In my opinion, she is Vegas royalty, and she sings the songs of The Great American Songbook beautifully and skillfully.  After listening, you can leave the casino knowing the songbook is alive and well.  In fact, I think that is a great story for next time.

Eric Foemmel 
Dr. Foemmel's House of Cheer
on facebook
youtube videos
on google+

The Palazzo Theatre @ The Palazzo Las Vegas
3325 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109 
(Cross Streets: Las Vegas Blvd. and Sands)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 8 PM and Friday 9 PM

Use code BDAY for 2 for $99 special!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Froyo Time is the first and only Froyo shop in Las Vegas to offer delivery.

+Froyo Time is open for business. I have eaten plenty of frozen yogurt, but their fudge brownie batter frozen yogurt is the best of the best! 

Owners Brittney and Rob both had previous experience in the Las Vegas restaurant scene. Brittney grew up managing and running the family owned diner while Rob developed and operated a local restaurant delivery service. 

They both enjoyed the work, but had an ever growing dream of building their own family owned business together. After discussing several ideas, they kept coming back to the idea of frozen yogurt and it was time to get a little more serious and dig a little deeper. 

As fate would have it, after first contacting YoCream, a Dannon Yogurt company (located in Portland, OR), they learned about a class called YoCream University that would be happening just 3 weeks after that first phone call. 

YoCream University teaches aspiring frozen yogurt entrepreneurs about the ins and outs of the industry. It was in that moment that they knew they were on the fast track to their dream. 

They dove right in and within a matter of months and a lot of love and support from friends and family, Froyo Time store #1 opened its doors. 

Little kid step stools

After being open for a few months, and seeing many smaller kids have difficulty seeing over the toppings bar while seeing their parents struggle to hold them up to see, they knew they had to make an adjustment. 

The step stools are a great way for the kids to feel that sense of independence. When they are able to do it themselves, it only enhances their experience. Plus, it gives mom and dad a break as well, making the step stools work out great for everyone.
Loyalty gift cards
  Earn 10% back in Froyo Funds on
your card
  with every purchase.

Mention for another 10% off!

Froyo Time is the first and only Froyo shop in Las Vegas to offer delivery.

Froyo Time LV on Google+

Froyo Time adress:
3310 E Flamingo Rd Suite 3A
Las Vegas, Nevada

               (702) 750-0100

 Party menu through
  Menu Hours: 12:00 PM to 7:30 PM

  Froyo Bar (Serves 8-10 people) - $29.99 
  Choose 2 flavors of Frozen Yogurt. Each flavor
  comes in a tub that serves 4-5 people. Includes
  Rainbow Sprinkles, Chocolate Sprinkles, a 16oz
  bottle of Lyons Chocolate Sauce, 10
  cups/spoons, and 2 Froyo serving scoops. 

  Additional Flavor Tubs may be added for $9.99
  (serves 4-5 people). 

  Each additional Flavor Tub comes with 5 extra
  cups/spoons and a Froyo Serving Scoop 

  Toppings may be added for $6.99 (serves 8-10

Froyo Time Las Vegas on Google+