Stories From the Chorus Line

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Stories From the Chorus Line

Step inside the dressing room and we’ll tell you a tale...
Thursday, February 11 7:00am By Lissa Townsend Rodgers VegasSeven.com 

Grant Philipo

                                    Grant Philipo

                                    Dunes (1980s)

I had auditioned for Donn Arden three times. … I was singing in the Cub Lounge at the MGM Grand with Renee Lee—they used to have a lounge directly across the Ziegfeld Room. I got involved in designing costumes and a little while later, I was working at a clothing store called the Hotel for Haberdashery. I was doing the window displays and somebody knocked on the window and it was Fluff LeCoque, waving for me to come out and talk to her. She said, “We’re having the auditions for Jubilee!.… This is going to be a great show. We want it to be the biggest and best show ever. Please come to the auditions.” I went to the auditions, and I’m looking at these guys with my head stretched up toward the sky because they were so friggin’ tall. I didn’t get hired because, at 6 feet 2, I was the shortest guy.

Without the showboys, you couldn’t have those great numbers dancing with the women, doing the lifts and all of that kind of stuff. Showboys didn’t get all of the accolades that the women did because nine times out of 10, they weren’t used in the advertising like the women were. They used the people in their shows to basically entice people to their properties. People automatically start thinking prostitution, and it never was: It didn’t mean that you had to go to bed with them; it meant that they had someone gorgeous on their arm.

I ended up producing my own show at the Dunes in 1992, which was dedicated to Donn Arden and Frederic Apcar. Donn actually sat in the audience and cried and I was like, “Oh, my God, what’s wrong?” And he said, “Nothing. It makes me so proud to see one of my babies do something that I would have done.”

Most production numbers have five to six sections per number, and that’s something that I learned from Donn. There’s sort of a mathematical way to structure shows so that everything keeps building until you get to the end of that vignette and that’s got to be the most spectacular thing. They always used specialty acts to [allow] time to change the sets and the costumes. In my show, we were trying to show people what the shows were like during the ’60s and ’70s in Vegas, when the showboys and showgirls both were practically naked but dripping in thousands of dollars’ worth of jewels and feathers. They were a mix of eroticism with such elegance that it was really important for people to see that this was what Vegas was all about.

Read the entire article here

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Future of Las Vegas Showgirl Museum undecided

Yasmeen Hassan

6:45 PM, Jan 5, 2016

The future of The Las Vegas Showgirl Museum is up in the air right now.  

It opened in 2010, but it could be forced to close down for good. An anonymous complaint was filed with Clark County, and after investigating the county discovered the museum has been operating without a use permit.

"We're not doing it for money. We're doing it to keep the image of the showgirl alive and to keep all this history that is based in Las Vegas in the eyes of the public," curator Grant Philipo said.

It will be up to the planning commission to decide if a use permit will be used, but Philipo says he is going to fight for his museum. This is his passion, and he says Las Vegas deserves this piece of history.

"We're not out to compete with anyone. We truly believe that Vegas has enough history for a million museums, let alone the number of the museums that are here," says Philipo.

Read the ABC Action 13 News article here

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LAS VEGAS SHOWGIRL MUSEUM UNDER ATTACK!

The World's ONLY Showgirl Museum is in Las Vegas, in a Home and is now on the verge of being denied the right to continue showing this great History to guest's of their home. An "Anonymous" complaint was filed against them stating they Sell Tickets for $10 - $25.00 per person and that there are No Bathrooms.

The Facts are, this business has had a State Business License for ALMOST 6 years and has Never sold any tickets. Being also a Non-Profit, "The Society For The Preservation of Entertainment History", they only request a donation for the preservation and restoration, of the Collection. Everyone associated with this, works for FREE. Also, it should be noted the home has 6 working bathrooms!

Now, the County wants to deny or limit them from having tours! Stating it will negatively effect Traffic and Noise. They also want to limit the amount of tours per month to 4 Total and no more than 10 people at a time! This means if you want to come for a tour and have too many people, Like UNLV Students who have come in the past or others or we have met our quota for the month, then you will be denied, entry! Most tourist take Taxi's and in most cases are driven back to their hotel, as a courtesy, so they will not have to wait the extended time for a Taxi to return!

Each tourist has to make a confirmed appointment and they can NOT just walk-in, they must call for entry. Also, the tours of the Collection which includes over 150 Mannequins wearing costumes from Famous Designers, like BOB MACKIE, PETE MENEFEE, MICHAEL TRAVIS, etc... and Shows from Paris, New York, Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Hollywood and Stage as well as screen!

If you feel this is un-just and would be a bad decision, please help us by voicing your opinion with a signature ( First and Last Name and City & State ) showing support for this Historic Landmark of Las Vegas. The last place to see a Real Showgirl in Las Vegas when, DONN ARDEN'S "JUBILEE" Closes on February 11th, 2016!

If you want to look up the complaint you can find it:

Application Number: UC-0784-15

Owner: Maryadelia Mantle

Use Permit for a museum.

Waivers of Development Standards for following: 10 reduced parking; and 20 modified landscaping requirements.

DESIGN REVIEW for a Museum ( Private Collection ) in conjunction with a single family residence on 0.2 acres in an R-1 ( Single Family Residential ) Zone. Generally located on the west side of Gaucho Drive, 100 feet north of Sombrero Drive within Winchester. ( For possible action )

 

 

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Don't Let the Showgirl Die!


Help us keep our doors open to the public!

There are other museums with Showgirl and Showboy Costumes but in our museum, our Guided tours bring their stories back to life as you learn about everything involved! Not by reading it on a card but by someone who was a part of it, telling it like it was!

PLEASE Join Us showing your support!

As a Reminder, we need all of our supporters to attend the:

Clark County Planning Commission TUESDAY January 5th at 7:00 pm at the Commission Chambers, Clark County Government Center 500 S. Grand Central Parkway Las Vegas, NV.

Even if you have signed the petitions, we still need your support!

Bring your friends and show them that there is enough History in Las Vegas to keep many Museums Open and a shame to prevent the public from enjoying our Culture, Past and the image that made Las Vegas Famous - The SHOWGIRL!

PLEASE feel Free to SHARE this!

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Las Vegas Showgirl History Museum: Keeping a piece of Las Vegas Alive

  By:  Debbie Hall Las Vegas Arts & Exhibits Examiner Showgirls are synonymous with Las Vegas. Up until recently, extravagant productions featuring beautifully costumed women were part of the Las Vegas Strip. One man who was lucky enough to be part of Las Vegas during this era was Grant Philipo, who is working hard now to preserve this aspect with the Las Vegas Showgirl Museum. Visiting Las Vegas for the first time in 1976, Philipo knew he wanted this to be his forever home. Shows such as “Lido de Paris,” “Hallelujah Hollywood,” “Splash,” “Enter the Night,” “Jubilee!” and “Les Folies Bergere” were all part of the entertainment along with big name headliners and the first residency shows of Sigfried and Roy and Liberace. With intricate detail, rhinestones and feathers while still barely there, the showgirl represented glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. It was during this period Philipo would start his collection of costumes. Moving to California, Philipo return to Las Vegas to briefly from 1980-81 when he accepted the lead male role in “Lido de Paris.” Unfortunately, while waiting for the show to open, the fire at the then MGM (now Bally’s Las Vegas) killed his deal and he moved back to Los Angeles. Philipo would begin to design costumes for the some of the top designers as well as restore older costumes. Along with performing, modeling and producing; Philipo also has a background in art and museums. “I have been working in museum since the 6th grade when I won my first art scholarship,” he explained, “I have a love of history. Also performing in Las Vegas, I saw this as something that needed to be preserved but I never imagined I would open my own museum.” He moved back to Las Vegas in 1990 and has called it home ever since. In his residence, Philipo would exhibit various costumes on mannequins while many remained in storage. With the purchase of a building in 2002, it was suggested to create a museum which became a reality in 2010. Grant Philipo's Las Vegas Showgirl Museum houses actual wardrobe pieces, sets, props, costume designs, film footage, historical documents, and photos paying homage to the glamour and beauty of Las Vegas entertainment, as well as show business history from other parts of the world. The collections begin in Paris showcasing all aspects, including live re-enactments of some of Las Vegas' most famous production numbers, headliners and specialty acts. The last showgirl production show, “Jubilee!” at Bally’s Las Vegas, will close on Feb. 12 after being part of the Las Vegas Strip since 1981. The magnificent work of designers Pete Menefee and Bob Mackie is on display at the museum, which owns all of the original opening costumes of, "Jubilee!” Due to an anonymous complaint stating that tickets were being sold and there were no restroom facilities available to the public, a hearing will be held at Clark County Planning Commission on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. about the future of the museum. The museum holds a state business license, only asks for donations, has six bathrooms available and each tourist must make a confirmed appointment with no walk-ins allowed. Supporters are urged to attend the Clark County Planning Commission on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Commission Chambers, Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.

 

By: 

Debbie Hall

Las Vegas Arts & Exhibits Examiner

Showgirls are synonymous with Las Vegas. Up until recently, extravagant productions featuring beautifully costumed women were part of the Las Vegas Strip. One man who was lucky enough to be part of Las Vegas during this era was Grant Philipo, who is working hard now to preserve this aspect with the Las Vegas Showgirl Museum.

Visiting Las Vegas for the first time in 1976, Philipo knew he wanted this to be his forever home. Shows such as “Lido de Paris,” “Hallelujah Hollywood,” “Splash,” “Enter the Night,” “Jubilee!” and “Les Folies Bergere” were all part of the entertainment along with big name headliners and the first residency shows of Sigfried and Roy and Liberace. With intricate detail, rhinestones and feathers while still barely there, the showgirl represented glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. It was during this period Philipo would start his collection of costumes.

Moving to California, Philipo return to Las Vegas to briefly from 1980-81 when he accepted the lead male role in “Lido de Paris.” Unfortunately, while waiting for the show to open, the fire at the then MGM (now Bally’s Las Vegas) killed his deal and he moved back to Los Angeles. Philipo would begin to design costumes for the some of the top designers as well as restore older costumes.

Along with performing, modeling and producing; Philipo also has a background in art and museums. “I have been working in museum since the 6th grade when I won my first art scholarship,” he explained, “I have a love of history. Also performing in Las Vegas, I saw this as something that needed to be preserved but I never imagined I would open my own museum.”

He moved back to Las Vegas in 1990 and has called it home ever since. In his residence, Philipo would exhibit various costumes on mannequins while many remained in storage. With the purchase of a building in 2002, it was suggested to create a museum which became a reality in 2010.

Grant Philipo's Las Vegas Showgirl Museum houses actual wardrobe pieces, sets, props, costume designs, film footage, historical documents, and photos paying homage to the glamour and beauty of Las Vegas entertainment, as well as show business history from other parts of the world. The collections begin in Paris showcasing all aspects, including live re-enactments of some of Las Vegas' most famous production numbers, headliners and specialty acts. The last showgirl production show, “Jubilee!” at Bally’s Las Vegas, will close on Feb. 12 after being part of the Las Vegas Strip since 1981. The magnificent work of designers Pete Menefee and Bob Mackie is on display at the museum, which owns all of the original opening costumes of, "Jubilee!”

Due to an anonymous complaint stating that tickets were being sold and there were no restroom facilities available to the public, a hearing will be held at Clark County Planning Commission on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. about the future of the museum. The museum holds a state business license, only asks for donations, has six bathrooms available and each tourist must make a confirmed appointment with no walk-ins allowed.

Supporters are urged to attend the Clark County Planning Commission on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Commission Chambers, Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.

http://www.examiner.com/article/las-vegas-showgirl-history-museum-keeping-a-piece-of-las-vegas-alive

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