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Getting “Soul-chestra” with Violin ‘Soul-o-ist’ Karen Briggs and the 20 Pearls Foundation of Las Vegas

30 Mar

Karen BriggsBack in January the 20 Pearls Foundation, the charitable arm of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Theta Theta Omega Las Vegas Chapter, of which I and my mother are proud members, presented “An Evening with Violin ‘Soul-o-ist’ Karen Briggs with special guest Freddie B,” for a concert in support of the HerShe Group Foundation, Inc., an organization preparing girls in foster care for successful transition into adulthood.

Me and my mother Patti

Me and my mother

I remember asking, “Who is Karen Briggs?” when it was requested I write and distribute the press release on behalf of our chapter’s 20 Pearls Foundation. Seriously, I had no idea who she was, and I fancy myself “in the know” when it comes to popular jazz artists (See my Jazz Groupies post), so not having name recognition had me less than excited, as well as being told “she toured with Yanni” had me thinking the 90s, world music, a mustache and a mullet. Any enthusiasm to write the news release was all but removed.

Karen Briggs on stage with bandCome to find out after a little digging, I could not have been more wrong. Karen Briggs is a highly sought after featured soloist who has perfected the melismatic style (I had to look that term up, and for those of you that don’t know what the word means either, it is defined as “A passage of several notes sung to one syllable of text, as in Gregorian chant” ~The Free Dictionary by Farlex.) Her musicianship is reflective of her exposure to countless music genres including jazz, gospel, Latin, classical, African and Middle Eastern.

 

Karen Briggs with band 2She is world renown and has played Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, the Apollo Theater, and the Kennedy Center.  Her nickname, “The Lady in Red” was given to her by her fans (I am now one of them) after extensively touring with Yanni.  She was a part of his critically acclaimed and live multi-platinum recorded album Yanni Live at the Acropolis (1993) which became “one of the best-selling PBS specials of all time and was broadcast in 65 countries.”

She began her professional career with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra after graduating from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia. Several years later she released her self-titled debut album Karen (1992), her sophomore album Amazing Grace (1996), followed by Soulchestral Groove (2009). And has collaborated with many influential musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Swinging into the 21st (2012) and Selections from Swingin’ into the 21st (2011); Ledisi, Lost & Found (2007); Kenny Loggins, More Songs from Pooh Corner (2000); Vertu’, Stanley Clark, Lenny White and Richie Kotzen (1999); Diana Ross, Every Day Is a New Day (1999); and Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams, The Hopeville Tour/DVD (2009), to name a few and there are many to name.

 

Karen Briggs talking to a fan.

Karen Briggs talking to a fan.

That was a great night and she is one funny lady who really loves and appreciates her fans. At one point we were all grooving when I noticed she had us all clapping along to a square dance song. It felt like Hee Haw for a minute. I was waiting for a Minnie Pearl look-alike to appear on stage.

I highly recommend you catch a show when you can. She has her schedule on Facebook at Karen Briggs, Violinist Page II. She will be in Austin, Texas on Friday, April 5 at the Women in Jazz Association, Inc.’s JAZZ IN P!NK CONCERT.

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Summer Lovin’ with Kaskade

4 Mar

Kaskade Summer Lovin' 2013 ResidencyHot off the press release! Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub will have  Fire & Ice Grammy-nominated DJ Kaskade host SUMMER LOVIN’ starting in May and ending in August. That’s 12 weeks of daylife poolside and nightlife in the club at the Nightclub & Bar number one ranked venue in the nation.

If you live for electronic dance music there are VIP “All Summer Long” packages for diehards:

Package 1 ($900 pp): Move to the front of the line and get a commemorative ticket package mailed to your home.

Package 2 ($18,500 pp): Terrace Studio two night accommodation, VIP entry and premium open bar for two people with a personal room coordinator at the hotel and a personal host at Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub with available table upgrades and a commemorative mailed ticket package.

Package 3 ($25,000 pp): Premium wraparound Terrace Suite two night accommodation, VIP entry and premium open bar for two people with a personal room coordinator at the hotel and a personal host Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub with available table upgrades and a commemorative mailed ticket package.

For reservations email: allsummerlovin@marqueelasvegas.com.

Summer Lovin’ with Kaskade at Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South
(702) 698-7000

NIGHTCLUB                                                                       DAYCLUB

Saturday, May 4                                                               Sunday, May 5    

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Saturday, June 1                                                               Sunday, June 2    

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Saturday, June 22                                                            Sunday, June 23 

Saturday, July 6                                                                 Sunday, July 7    

Saturday, July 20                                                              Sunday, July 21      

Saturday, August 3                                                          Sunday, August 4    

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Saturday, August 17                                                        Sunday, August 18    

Saturday, August 31                                                        Sunday, September 1    

 

Filet and Lobster

27 Feb

steak-lobsterIt’s the little things that make life exciting, like the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar filet mignon and North Atlantic lobster tail combination back for spring until April 7. I’m thrilled because lobster with drawn butter is my mother’s favorite (I’ll be taking her soon) and this savory combo, at only $37.95 (excluding tax and gratuity), comes with a choice of the wedge salad or French onion soup to start, and sautéed spaghetti squash with lime butter with entrée. Simply add wine and dessert.

This treat is only available at all locations and upon request and I suggest a reservation, however eating in the bar is fun too!

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
8721 West Charleston Boulevard (Summerlin)
Las Vegas, NV 89117
702-838-4774

 

Inside Hakkasan Las Vegas

5 Feb

hakkasan-LogoOn Facebook, Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub shared a video on the progress of the mega dayclub/nightclub/restaurant, which I mentioned in my January 15 post Hey DJ Won’t You Play That Song And Keep Me Dancin’…

Click here to view the video called “First Look…”

Eat. Breakfast & Lunch Joint by Chef Natalie Young

4 Dec
Adrienne and Chef Natalie Young

Me & Chef Natalie Young

The first time I heard of Eat. was about one month ago on a call with Cedric Crear when he mentioned having a great breakfast. Not understanding what he had said, I asked, “Where did you go?” and he replied “Eat.” I said, “Yes, you ate breakfast… where?” ‘Eat. I ate at Eat Downtown.”

Oooohhhh! Duh. I am usually on top of new things in Vegas, but I missed this one. The second time I heard of Chef Natalie’s new restaurant was on my Facebook feed when Gina Gavin posted “A hearty breakfast at EAT this morning. It was good! Thank you Chef Natalie for bringing a great breakfast & lunch joint to the hood.” I had to try this place.

AKA EYL

The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Theta Theta Omega Las Vegas Chapter

The morning started with my mother at our sorority’s (Alpha Kappa Alpha) Emerging Young Leaders presentation at the 100 Academy of Excellence then across the street to the “Get Out the Vote” rally at the William U. Pearson Community Center with the intentions of voting early until we saw the long line (I didn’t vote until the final day of early voting at Albertsons grocery store which was unusual for me since I’ve always voted on day one of early voting. I even got a Civic Duty badge from Foursquare when I checked in.) 

Chef-Natalie-Young-by-the-kitchenAfter our sorority meeting I remembered my conversation with Cedric and headed downtown to 7th and Carson. Because it was a Saturday and the restaurant closes at 2 p.m. on weekends, we only had an hour of which I waste a good 15 minutes trying to find the place  neatly tucked away in an old apartment building. I kept driving past the entrance not realizing it was on the corner where the people were standing out front (duh.)

Eat-interior-1

I parked across the street and luckily found a meter with an hour left. My mom and I lucked out that day because it was not too busy with plenty of seating when we arrived. I have to say I loved the interior and since it was not packed yet, Chef Natalie was able to sit and chat for a good while about the interior.

Eat-interior-2She designed the space herself and cleverly used reclaimed wood from shipping palettes to add texture to the wall under the counter at the kitchen and the emergency exit. She chose a summery green for her banquettes to coincide with bright orange chairs  made from a recycled material as well and black and white art on the walls. All art is from local artists, the very spirit of Downtown. Eat interior 3 with arrow

Chef Natalie told us artist Krystal Ramirez spent an entire day hand painting the mural “I’ll See You In The Flowers”  on the wall which reminds her  of her mother. It complements the open duct ceiling painted black. It’s cozy and comfortable. A place where you get lost in conversation with friends.

Shrimp & Grits with Bacon and Two Fried Eggs

Shrimp & Grits with Bacon and Two Fried Eggs

When James and I dine we make it a point not to order the same dish so we can sample the others plate for variety. Not my mother. No matter how much I tried to talk her into not having the shrimp and grits with bacon and two fried eggs it fell on deaf ears. We had the same meal down to the glass of water and cup of coffee which was really good and not surprising, the Sumatra from Colorado River Roasters. It was creamy and light. I ate the entire bowl. My mother said, “Usually grits are heavy and loaded with cheese and butter and make you want to take a nap.”  To which I responded, “That’s the difference between a seasoned chef and cook.”

My sister Carri

My sister Carri

Fast forward to the end of November and Eat was exactly what we did again and this time brought along my sister Carri and my niece Jaslynne who graced us with her presence after attending a concert the night before…teenagers. Three weeks ago being seated was quick as was this time, but only because we arrived as tables were leaving. It was packed as expected since the food, service and atmosphere is exceptional.

Jassie

My adorable niece Jaslynne

Jaslynne had the chicken fried steak with two eggs scrambled, country gravy, smashed potatoes and toast, our mother had two eggs over medium with smoked bacon, chive potatoes and toast, while my sister and I enjoyed the DWBLT  (smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado) minus the  chipotle mayo (I’m allergic to mayo) on toasted sourdough with a pickle and homemade chips. I cut out the pickle and my sister added potato salad. Since I can’t have mayo I poured freshly made ranch dressing and Dijon on my sandwich giving it an extra kick of deliciousness.  My plan is try everything on the menu at least once before summer. I think I’m off to a great start.

DWBLT - smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato  avocado and chipotle mayo

DWBLT:  Smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato avocado and chipotle mayo

Chicken Fried Steak with two eggs scrambled, country gravy, smashed potatoes and toast

Chicken Fried Steak with two eggs scrambled, country gravy, smashed potatoes and toast

two eggs over medium with smoked bacon, chive potatoes and toast

Two eggs over medium with smoked bacon, chive potatoes and toast

eat-v15

Address: 707 Carson Street (at 7th)
Number: 702-534-1515
Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday
8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Thank you for reading.

Adrienne xo

Jazz Groupies?

29 Sep

Tanya Flanagan and Temako Roque

Two weeks ago was the Las Vegas Jazz Festival at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa. My mother had talked about going for weeks and since I consider myself a fan of jazz (all types of jazz) I decided I would go too and meet up with our sorority sister Tanya and her niece Temako. Plus, I was curious about the venue and how it would pull off a concert with limited space. It was tiny. It had a few vendor booths where I purchased a really cool huge butterfly necklace and tried on some big round black glasses which got a resounding “No!” from my 17-year-old niece Jassie when I text her asking if she liked them on me.

It was a three-day festival, but we decided to go on the last day and thank goodness we did because I don’t think I would have lasted for more than one day in that heat.  It started at 12:30 p.m. and ended at 8:30 p.m. We arrived around 2:30 p.m. and spent the day listening to Sax Pack, The Rippingtons, Eric Darius and Larry Braggs and finally Will Downing to close out the day. I have to say, I was completely caught off guard by the jazz groupies. It has been many years since I cared if I was in the front row at a concert because I had a crush on the artist, plus this is jazz and there are no back up dancers or elaborate stage sets to look at to keep you entertained; and the women didn’t care. They were in full effect in miniskirts, stilettos, biker shorts, and skin-tight jeans ready to pounce… and I couldn’t get enough people watching.

At one point, a musician, a saxophonist, went into the crowd and was mobbed as if he was Prince. It was hilarious. I was waiting for a security detail to start pushing people back. Needless to say it was a good grown up time.

Next up for Vegas:

 

Thank you for reading.

Adrienne xo

FNO 2012 – Caught Up for a Good Cause

7 Sep

 

Tanya Flanagan and Ronald Smith

Last night I attended Fashion Night Out at Crystals at City Center  to support my friend’s and their charities – Jenn is the PR Director for the Nevada Ballet Theatre and Tanya serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Las Vegas After–School All–Stars. Initially, I was there for moral support but once I arrived I was immediately caught up for a good cause. It’s been a while since I paid retail for anything, then I thought of a conversation I had the last week with my hair wizard Richie. He and I agreed that if you attend a charity event and freely imbibe and eat their food, it is morally appropriate to financially support their efforts … the free-flowing champagne helped me release my purse strings.

Melinda Sheckells

First stop was Bottega Veneta for Tanya to show face and take a look at some handbags. One of the things I love about events like this is running into my friends I haven’t seen in a long time like the super talented Melinda Sheckells, editor-in-chief of Vegas/Rated magazine. She and I used to work together at Greenspun Media Group. I was her publicist and she was editor of Las Vegas Home + Design. We chatted for a bit and vowed to have lunch soon. I hope we actually keep our word.

NV Ballet VCA Event March 15 2012 Photos By Denise Truscello Las Vegas Nevada

Jenn Kratochwill 3/15/12 Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

Next stop was upstairs to Stella McCartney to say hello to Jenn who looked fabulous in a purple sheer dress with a slim gold belt. As I walked around the boutique I fell in love with a pair of off white wide-legged embossed pants and then quickly fell out of love with the $1500 price tag. So I keep looking until I spotted the tiny kids section and the most adorable pink tulle skirt. I almost chose it until I turned around and saw a set of Stella McCartney Peonie girl organic cotton ‘days of the week’ panties.

Stella McCartney Peoni panty set

Stella McCartney Peoni Panty Set

They screamed buy me for Brielle, my almost three-year old great-niece – sadly, I recently found out I am unable to have children – so I vowed to spoil her as if she were my own and the panties brought back memories of when I was a child and the days of the week sets my mother used to buy for me and my sister. As ridiculous as the price is I bought them anyway. It’s for a good cause I kept telling myself. I had another glass of champagne after that one.

Tobacco Vanille Eau De Parfum

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille Eau De Parfum

On to Tom Ford to say hello to Suzanne a friend of a friend, meet up with the extremely well dress Ronald Smith, and unknowingly purchase the second item which was a bottle of Tobacco Vanille Eau De Parfum for me. I have been without this scent for nearly a year and the moment I smelled it again I knew I had to have it. It exudes sensuality. I feel super sexy every time I wear it. It was also cause for another glass of champagne before buying it.

Tiffany Bow ring in platinum with diamonds

Tiffany Bow ring

The final stop was at Tiffany to try to find me a gift suggestion for my August 17 one year anniversary with my boyfriend James. Our special day was put on the back burner because he was in the process of moving to Texas to work for Chevron in their North American Exploration Division so I think I deserve something extra special. For our first Christmas he got me a Tiffany Elsa Peretti Letter “A” pendant in sterling silver with three little diamonds so I was hoping it came in a ring or earrings so I would have a set. Unfortunately it doesn’t, but I wasn’t deterred. It is Tiffany. I kept looking. I fell in love with their diamond platinum bow ring and sent a picture to him via text. I hope he understands I want him to buy it and not just look at it. I’ll keep you posted.

Adrienne xo

 

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