News from New York City and the Smith Center

Eager fans at Clint Holmes' inaugural performance of the Cabaret Jazz in the Boman Pavilion of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The performance stage is at the opposite end of the room not shown in this photo.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Smith Center Revisited
The first weekend of April, three of us attended our first concert at Cabaret Jazz in the Boman Pavilion of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. As fans, we were welcoming Clint Holmes to the Smith Center. (He’ll appear there the first weekend of every month.)

What did we think? The place was packed. Holmes’ program was wonderful and totally different from anything else of his we’d ever seen. And the ambiance? Pretty good, but not perfect.

Symphony Park in front of the Smith Center will have
heart art on display through mid-May.
Photo by Diane Taylor

One of us sat at ground level (the $51 seats) and said all was fine except one of her table companions talked a bit too much as the show began and then occasionally decided to sing along…and she hadn’t paid $51 to hear him.

The other two of us sat in the balcony (they call it the mezzanine) which surrounds the oblong performance space. In the balcony ($38 seats), you must have an even number of guests because each of the small cocktail tables accommodates just two chairs. (If you are a party of four, you buy tickets to two tables and push them together.)

The balcony chairs are tall so that one can see over the balcony railing. The railing is high, so where we sat, we moved the chairs forward pushing the table out of the way so we could see the show. (We saw a few folks in the balcony standing for long periods.) The tall seats are metal and for us, were not comfortable unless you sat way back in the chairs which meant legs dangled. The acoustics were wonderful, but next time, we are going to pay the extra money and purchase seats on the interior of the main floor. We’ll report then on those seats.

Want to watch the activities in Times Square? Bleachers are available for the curious (and tired).
Photo by Diane Taylor

This past Thursday, we returned to Smith Center to attend an evening with storyteller David Sedaris in Reynolds Hall. The performance appeared to be a sellout, and the audience loved the show. We noted the dress for this show seemed much more informal than seen previously at the Smith Center.

Outside Smith Center in Symphony Park, we saw a wonderful display of three-dimensional five-foot-tall heart statues, each one custom painted by a local professional artist. The hearts, we learned, will be auctioned May 12 in a benefit sponsored by the Las Vegas Chapter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In the meantime, local Las Vegans are invited come to Symphony Park and even bring a picnic basket to enjoy this newest public park and its heart art.

The Broadway/Times Square area of New York
is always exciting.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Times Square/Broadway
Once a year, my husband and I go to New York City to attend as many Broadway shows as we can. This year’s trip a week ago coincided with Clint Holmes’ appearance at the Cafe Carlyle at the Carlyle Hotel, some say the finest (and most exclusive) hotel in New York.

Reviews for Holmes were glowing. “A brainy showman whose sensitivity to lyrics is matched by his fearlessness as a performer” – NY Times. “There’s no doubt that Holmes is probably one of the greatest entertainers around as he finds the poetry within the songs putting his unique stamp on each one” – A number of celebrities — Chita Rivera, Michael Douglas, Susan Lucci and Brian Stokes Mitchell, among others — have attended his shows.

We wanted to see the Carlyle (the hotel where John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe secretly met following her rendition of “Happy birthday, Mr. President”). Of course, the fact that Holmes was headlining didn’t hurt.

Long before the show, this is the interior of Cafe Carlyle.
Photo by Diane Taylor

The Café Carlyle is an intimate space for only about 90 people. The maître d’ welcomes return visitors by name and calls newcomers “sir” and “madam”. The tables are very close together, so close you can’t help but meet new friends. (We were able to talk with sculptor J.Seward Johnson Jr. whose metal sculptures are in public areas in Green Valley.) The Cafe costs? WAY up there. To hear Clint Holmes at Café Carlyle, the cover charge was $45 at the bar and either $75 or $85 at a table. Dinner was extra. My Café Carlyle mimosa cocktail cost as much as an entire Las Vegas dinner: $26.

As to the Broadway shows we saw in New York, all were excellent. Broadway showcases the best talents in the country. We typically take the New York Times’ recommendations for shows, and the Times was right on target, as far as we were concerned. The shows we saw (and recommend) were: “End of the Rainbow”, “Once”, “Anything Goes”, “Other Desert Cities”, “Peter and the Star Catcher” and “The Columnist”.

Local residents Mel and Sherie Myers attended
Clint Holmes' show in New York. Here, the couple poses
with Kelly Clinton and Clint Holmes.
Photo by Diane Taylorr

Walking to and from the shows in New York is always so much fun. The streets are crowded, but New Yorkers and tourists seldom actually bump into each other. The shows we saw typically attract a mostly-white crowd, but the streets of New York are a banquet of people of different colors, languages, ages and occupations. Once again, I made a video of some of the sights and sounds from the Broadway/Times Square area. The premise of this year’s video is that although Las Vegas tried to build an urban environment called “CityCenter”, a real American city is much more interesting than just a group of tall buildings.


4 responses on “News from New York City and the Smith Center

  1. It sounds like a few growing pains for the Smith Center and about New York New York it’s a hell of a town.

  2. Yep, Smith Center is beautiful. Clint Holmes was at his best and the tall chairs are NOT for short folks.

  3. Diane, What an interesting and informative account you have given! We, too, loved Clint’s show at the Carlyle…. quite an experience. He was fabulous, to say the least. “Brilliant” is the right word!! NYC is a fascinating city with so much to offer! Was good seeing you and your husband there!! And thanks for the fun photo you took of the 4 of us!

  4. Megan and I attended Clint’s show at the Cabaret Jazz hall last night. It was, surprisingly, our first “official” visit to the Smith Center. Wow, what a fab space for music. And Clint put on a great, great show.

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