Saturday, November 16, 2013

Frank Leone Visits the Las Vegas Media Group

We have such a dedicated group of members that even though we changed our meeting date for the month of November (due to a previously scheduled wedding at the venue), the usual number of members (and suspects, ha ha) showed up.  I was worried and only called in for 25, but more than 30 people attended, providing proof that our group loves the food, company and speakers we put together.
Since it was Veteran's Day, the group took a moment to give thanks for the service of all of our Vet's past and present.

This month, Thalia Dondero, who took on the role of speaker coordinator when Cork moved away, once again provided us with a terrific speaker.  Frank Leone, president of the Musician's Union of Las Vegas entertained the group with stories of the way things used to be in the "good old days" when live music and not prerecorded or "canned" music became the norm on Las Vegas stages. 

Frank Leone, president of the Las Vegas Musician's Union
Photo courtesy of Joe Thomson

Thanks to A.D. Hopkins and David VanZanten for providing notes on Frank's talk.  A.D.'s was especially detailed, which I won't provide here, but if anyone wishes to know more about what Frank had to share, please contact Lisa at and I will be happy to send you the notes.
Speaking of Thalia, she has a birthday coming up and it's amazing the amount of activity this woman participates in.  We are so lucky to have her as our friend and LVMG member.  Las Vegas has a gem in Thalia!   
Other birthdays of note for November:  
Claytee White
Sara Denton
Bobbye Fitzgibbons
Cary DeGrosa
Marty Harrell
Mike Pinjuv
Peggy Kiing
Naomi Gibbs
Wow!  That's a lot of birthday babies in the month of November!
Helen Mortenson invited members to attend an event for Women of Diversity (member Marlene Adrian's wonderful non-profit that recognizes the contributions of Nevada women).  On January 11, 2014 a celebration of the First Ladies of Nevada takes place at the Augustus Ballroom at Caesar's Palace.  For more information on attending, please go to Nevada Women's Virtual Center (
Everyone please put our friend and founder of the Las Vegas Media Group, Frank Mitrani on your prayer and thought list.  He is having surgery soon.  We need friend with us for a VERY LONG TIME so we need him to have a full and speedy recovery.
New attendee and president of the soon-to-open Las Vegas History Museum, David VanZanten asked the group to think about contributing to the photographic exhibit of old Las Vegas.  Find out more about the museum at  Call David at 702 580-5760 or email him at
I think that's it for now.  Our next meeting is on the regular day: THE THIRD MONDAY OF THE MONTH, December 16th, and I plan on being there to see all my friends. 
In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, I hope you all get to spend it with those you love.  For me, I am ever so thankful to have all of you in my life! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Best Kept Secret in Las Vegas: Las Vegas Media ("Old Timer's)" Group

Cork Proctor is one popular guy! 
LVMG Member, Mark Massagli
introduces his old friend, Cork Proctor

On Monday, October 21st, Cork was the guest speaker at the Las Vegas Media Group luncheon.  Cork expatriated to Ecuador, South America about a year ago and is living "in Eden" as he calls it.  He let me and several members of the group know that he would be in attendance at the October lunch and would love to share his new life experiences with the group members.  We began to put the word out a few months ago, and for Cork's part, he let some of his cronies know where to find him on that particular date. 

The response was overwhelming, to say the least.  Normally, our group attendance for the monthly Media Group lunches runs anywhere from 35-45 people.  I knew to anticipate a few extra bodies because I was getting phone calls and emails from Cork's friends that they'd like to attend.  However, this is a group that, for the most part, doesn't know the meaning of "RSVP."  Try as I might, each month I encourage group members (160+ receive my meeting reminder emails) to let me know if they are going to come or not.  If I am lucky, 10 percent do so.  So, I usually call in a head count based on instinct. 

For Cork's appearance I called in a conservative 40.  Our wonderful food server, Patty, heard the hesitation in my voice.  I don't like to be wrong on the head count because if I call in for 40 and only 35 show up then we have to pay for 40 - that's $17.00 out-of-pocket.  Patty shared after the Monday lunch that she was planning on more than my 40.  Then, LVMG angel, Gretchen Payne, who, along with her hubby, Don take the money at the door on meeting days, also had a sneaking suspicion that we'd be bombarded.  Gretchen called Patty and said, "plan on 50."  She also suspected we'd have more than the usual crowd. 

None of us expected the actual numbers of people that showed, however. 

I could not be attendance so just before noon on Monday the 21st, I texted a member and asked for an update.  When I checked my messages at 2:00 pm I was shocked to read that a total headcount of 69 people had been in attendance!  Thank goodness I have people who didn't take my first prediction seriously!  We would have run out of food.

There are two lessons to be learned from this experience: 1) Don't underestimate the popularity of Cork Proctor or other Las Vegas icons.  The masses want to hear their stories, and 2) RSVPs are necessary so anyone reading this post who wants to attend the "Best Kept Secret in Las Vegas" - Beware - RSVP or risk not having a seat to the best show in town or a plate of the best fare from the Wedding Room.

Las Vegas Media ("Old Timer's) Group meetings are every third Monday of the month.  If you love Las Vegas history, this is a must-attend event. 

And, I hold the keys to your admittance!

Enjoy some of the photos from the Cork Proctor Experience!

Lisa Gioia-Acres
Contact us at
or find us on Facebook

Cork at the mic, photo courtesy of Nelson Sardelli

Cork holding court, photo courtesy of Joe Thomson

Always the comedian.  Cork Proctor
photo courtesy of Nelson Sardelli

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our meetings are getting crowded!

Here's a group shot of a regular lunch meeting of the Las Vegas Media Group.  We hold our meetings monthly at The Wedding Room on Sahara Ave. 

September, 2013
Photo courtesy of Joe Thomson
Maybe you recognize some of these Las Vegas people?  There is a wealth of Las Vegas history in this room!

If you'd like more information about our group, send an email to

September Meeting Recap with UNLV's Michelle Light

A full house at Monday’s (Sept. 16) Las Vegas Media Group meeting; we have over 40 people there.  Many visitors from UNLV came to support Special Collections director, Michelle Light. 

Michelle Light
Photo courtesy of Joe Thomson
Michelle talked about the treasures housed at the library, brought some of the items from the collections,  
and explained how members could donate their own Las Vegas history so it would be accessible to the general public and cared for professionally.  It was a great, informative talk.  After the meeting I saw several members getting more information from the Michelle, Claytee White, and Su Kim Chung.  We hope to see these new faces at future LVMG meetings! 

Rich was not at the meeting, so a big THANK YOU to Joe Thomson for facilitating.  We had a great raffle of prizes (as always, thanks to Phil Jensen for always bringing in books!), a great meal, and wonderful conversations, including SKYPE visits from Frank Mitraini (from Kanab, Utah) and Cork and Carolyn all the way from Ecuador.  Remember, Cork Proctor will be our October speaker. 

Lisa has a favor to ask.  As most of you know she won’t be at the next few meetings so in order for her to send out these recaps, hearing from the members who do attend about what took place at the meeting will be much appreciated.  Just send her a quick email with who and what happened and she’ll include it in the recap email and on our blog.  Thanks in advance for your help!

A couple of upcoming events of interest:

Oscar Goodman will be signing copies of his book at a fundraiser for the Doberman Rescue organization.  Members Pat and John Getter are very involved so contact them for more information.

On October 20, UNLV is hosting an event to celebrate the Oral History Research Center’s 10th anniversary with a meet & greet of members of the Las Vegas music community who were interviewed for the project, ALL THAT JAZZ.  To find out more and to RSVP, contact Claytee White at 702 895-2222

UNLV is also presenting and AUTHOR SERIES of events.  The first author to speak on October 6 is Rex J. Rowley, who wrote Everyday Las Vegas: Local Life in a Tourist Town. 
Go to for more information and to RSVP. 


Marlene Adrian
Wally Carson
Carl Harley
Rollie Gibbs
Lisa Gioia-Acres
Judy Reich
Nelson Sardelli
Z.Z. Zorn

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

August 2013 Meeting with the Getters

What a great meeting we had on Monday, Aug. 19.  Joining the group via a SKYPE chat was our leader, Frank Mitrani.  I can’t believe we didn’t think to do this sooner; Frank was able to watch the comings and goings, talk and see his old friends, and stay with us for most of the presentation (until the computer battery ran out.  I forgot to bring the cord!).  It was so good to see Frank and his beautiful wife, Jean.  As you know, Frank is going through some health challenges and can’t make it our meetings for the time being, so being able to visit with him this way was the next best thing!

A member chats with Frank
John Getter and his wife, Pat were are team speakers.  Both shared a bit of their history as authors, journalists, and now as public speakers.  Pat gave some wonderful anecdotes about her pre-Las Vegas history when she and her mother visited as tourists.  It gave a different perspective to all of us Las Vegas Old Timers!  In addition to the photographs, check out brief snippets of their talk on our YouTube Channel

John and Pat Getter

A few brief announcements:

Michele Light (I provided her surname incorrectly in my Meeting Reminder – please accept my apology!), from UNLV’s Special Collections will speak to the group at the September 16th meeting.

Cork Proctor, funny man and now living in Ecuador, will be home for a visit and is coming to tell us all about his recent life change and adventures for the October 21st lunch meeting, Rollie Gibbs said that the Las Vegas High School Alumni Reunion (always a great event!) will be held at the Orleans on September 7.  Anyone interested in attending can contact Rollie at 702 873-7939.  Talk about having Las Vegas history in one room!  This is the place.

Rich Friedland and his band, Zodiac Dragon, performs this Saturday at the AFAN Black & White Party.  To find out more or to buy tickets, go to the Website.

Birthday Well Wishes this month go to:

Harriet Trudell
Terry Williams
Len Yelinek

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July Meeting Recap with Janet Geary as the Speaker!

At the July 15th, 2013 meeting, Ms. Janet Geary, publisher of Nevada Magazine, shared her Nevada history with the group.  Some members shared that this was one of their very favorite meetings and speakers ever!  

Marlene Adrian, president of Women of Diversity and founder of the website, Nevada Women's Virtual Center (NWVC) took video of Janet during her talk and in the near future I believe the presentation will available on the website for all of us to see.  I will let you know when that happens.  In the meantime, the NWVC website is a Nevada women's history resource that you should all check out at:

Birthdays for the month of July include:  

Lenn Cooper
A.D. Hopkins
Chuck Evans
John Foley
Roger Buehrer
Sam Upton
and....................  John "Buzzy" Ullom who turned 80 on July 16!

Monday, June 17, 2013

June Meeting with Member Collections

This meeting we did things a bit different.  Instead of having a speaker, it was decided to have our members share their very own Las Vegas history by brining in their collectibles.  Of the nearly 40 members that attended, about half of them brought in photographs, ephemera, pottery, buttons, casino memorabilia, and even an old outfit to share.  It was a great meeting and we got to know our members a little better. 

Here are photographs taken of the meeting.  Enjoy!

Frank Valeri and Lisa Gioia-Acres

Some of the great stuff on display

Phil Hodson and Carey Burke

Fight photos

Casino napkins
Carey Burke and Phil Jensen

Florence and Juel Mayhew check out
Frank Valeri's photographs

The very first gaming license in Nevada. 
Dated 1931

Bo Boivert dons goggles he wore when, as a photo
journalist, he witnessed the atomic tests
at the Nevada Test Site

Lenn Cooper

Frank Valeri talks about his photos