Monday, July 28, 2014 | 10 p.m.
As Robin Leach continues his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — in Andrea Bocelli’s hometown of Forte dei Marmi — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with dancer Shakeera Onstead of “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo and comedian John Bizarre of sister show “X Rocks” at the Rio. Up first is sensational and sizzling Shakeera.
I could never live in any other city other than Las Vegas. Growing up here, for the most part, has allowed be to become so accustomed to the 24-hour lifestyle.
And I don’t mean going out to nightclubs every night, although I’ve done my fair share, but rather eating at a restaurant at 1 in the morning instead of a place that has a drive-thru. Even something as simple as getting medicine from a pharmacy is easily obtainable.
Working in “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo has allowed me to really appreciate all that Las Vegas has to offer. Las Vegas is far smaller than most people realize, and for the most part the entertainment industry really isn’t as cutthroat as most other cities.
Even though we as entertainers have endured budget cuts and with shows closing all around us, Las Vegas is always opening something bigger and better. Whether it be a new nightclub or hotel, the opportunity is always there for entertainers to find work, and, oddly enough, we always try and help out our fellow entertainers so that Las Vegas can get back to the way it was.
I have been fortunate enough to work for a company, Stabile Productions, that has been running our show, “X Burlesque,” for 12 years now and has opened a sister show, “X Rocks,” at the Rio.
My producers, Angela and Matt Stabile, have been very smart in keeping the show fresh and new so that when repeat guests return to Las Vegas, they can come and see our show again and it will be revamped with new routines, music, costumes and even cast members.
The Stabiles are very particular as to whom is cast in all their shows. Not just anyone can be a part of the “X” family. Angela and Matt have a gift of picking the most beautiful and talented girls. Age is irrelevant to them.
If you look good and perform up to par, you can have a lasting career working for the Stabiles. We have had girls as young as 18 to the age of 40, and each and every one of them look and dance like a rock star.
I started the show at age 21 and am so grateful to all of the more experienced, seasoned cast members for helping and molding me into the performer I am today.
A big contributor to my success as a performer goes to my little sister Meeka. Though she is younger, her performance and talent are really something for all to see.
In the entertainment world, we have something called the “it” factor, and it’s rare to find, but, man, does she have “it.” Working with my lil’ sis hasn’t always been the easiest, if I’m speaking honestly, as separating business and family isn’t always easy, but over the years we have managed to make it work.
I’m so glad that I always have someone who knows what I’m going through, laughs at all the funny things that only a cast member could laugh at, and feels and understands the pain we put our bodies through. If it wasn’t for her, I would have retired years ago.
Be sure to read “X Rocks” at the Rio comedian John Bizarre’s guest column today and then Tuesday an advance look behind-the-scenes of the new SLS Las Vegas with its top executives ahead of its August grand-gala opening.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.