Melody Sweets Circus Burlesque Benefit for UNLV Fine Arts Review - All the animals must be restrained


Photography by Greg Autry



June 26, 2015




Midnight in the portico of the famed Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino, found hundreds of cars and people trying to get in to the SpiegelWorld Tent, for the not-to-be-missed  show of Melody Sweets, presenting her ` Big Top Circus and Burlesque' Benefit.  




The first time I saw Melody Sweets perform, was last year, as she oozed out of a very large cocktail glass, as the sensuous Green Fairy in Absinthe, in this very same location. Absinthe has become one of the Must See Shows on the Las Vegas Strip. After her second show in Absinthe this Friday evening, the Diva Songstress  and Burlesque performer made ready for  her  fourth Special Event, which locals and tourist have come to anticipate regularly with delight.  




`BIG TOP CIRCUS and BURLESQUE'  was a one-night only performance, benefiting the University of Nevada Las Vegas, College of Fine Arts.  This was delightful for me, as I only recently  moved to Las Vegas, with the intention to research and write about Art and Artist, here in Las Vegas.  Future Articles will include a piece about the Bellagio Fine Art Gallery, as well as the Marjorie Barrick Gallery at UNLV.



Spiegelworld began creating its immersive live entertainment experiences in New York city in 2006. Since the company's inception they have produced  several unique shows all housed under their signature spiegeltent. Current productions include Absinthe Las Vegas,  Absinthe Tour Le Monde, (Australian Tour) and EMPIRE (N. America Tour).




Melody Sweets Emceed the night's "goings-on".  Of course there were multiple wardrobe changes, and thankfully each resulted in less.   Need I say more ?





Melody  was also the lead vocalist for the evening. Let me tell you the girl's "got Chops" !  Melody has been featured on MTV, VH1, and many hit shows. Her debut Album  `Burlesque in Black'  features original and cover songs, and many songs  she performs nightly in Absinthe.   I found myself captivated by her melodic voice while entranced   as her  body  swiveled and swirled . She is intoxicating to look at, and to listen too.




The live music for the evening featured  an all-star band with many musicians from big shows all over town, including: David Perrico of Pop Evolution, Eric Plante of `O' Cirque Du Soleil , Steven Lee of Donnie and Marie, and Mike Benigno of MJ Live.  I applaud every show with Live Musicians.  Reminds me of the good ole days.




There were `Circus Animals' aplenty, including a Gorilla, Lions, some Elephants, and a few to remain unnamed.  Assisting Melody Sweets in performing for the benefit were many Las Vegas  and  Absinthe favorites, including  Lijana Wallenda, Duo FevrierButtercup Delight,  and a couple I also recognized from covering the Burlesque Hall of Fame recently, Dirty Martini, and Mr. Gorgeous.  Many of the night's laughs were provided by Jimmy Slonina from Cirque Du Soleil, and Special Guest included the Divas, from Frank Marino's show. 





I want to give a special shout-out to Lijana Wallenda.  She is the  seventh generation of performers from her family."The Great  Wallenda's"  first appeared in the United States, in 1928, at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Tonights Act is a Special Performance for Melody's Circus Show.  After an accident in Ohio in the late 20's, the family became known as "The Flying Wallendas".



Skin City Body Painting  demonstrated amazing creativity  in "painting"  the faces and bodies of the huge cast of performers.  Sitting close to the stage I could see the attention to detail in the makeup and painting.  As a photographer and artist, I tend to notice these things.




Entertainment wise, Las Vegas is still a small town,.  It is a long time tradition in Las Vegas  for performers in one show, to support performers in others shows.   In the early 50's here in Las Vegas,  there were only a few Casinos  with Shows on the Strip.  The entertainers would finish up their shows, and not being able to go to sleep after performing, they would go and hang out at the Silver Slipper for the late night [ 3:00 AM] show, and unwind by watching the likes of Lou Ascol and Tommy Moe Raft, along with the Showgirls like Astradella.  When one of them needed help, they called their friends, thus beginning a tradition in Vegas that prevails today.  



Melody Sweets had performers from all over town calling her, wanting to perform for the UNLV College of Fine Arts benefit.  Melody said she just wanted to have her friends come, hang out, perform, and get naked . That's what I heard.    



Well Done Melody. Let's do it again, soon.


My next Article will be about the new Picasso Exhibit, opening at the Bellagio Fine Arts Gallery, at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas.  Art is alive in Las Vegas.  And you know how important that is, to me .










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