Las Vegas Celine tribute artist attends Celine’s premiere night

Never thought it would happen, could happen.  I actually gave up not too long ago.  She sees the sick, she sees the celebrities, she sees the executives but not people like me. Especially, not people like me.

I am a Celine Dion impersonator and last night I not only met Celine Dion, I was along for the VIP Ride that journalists and media get to experience, all thanks to Robin Leach, my friend.

Robin Leach is a celebrity journalist and tv star best known for his TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. He is now the Las Vegas entertainment “go to” guy for pretty much everything and also happens to be a friend of mine who has covered many of the shows I have performed in.  I am a fan of his and surprisingly, he is also a fan of mine.
So imagine my surprise when he contacted me and asked me if I would like to accompany him as part of the press/Vip group to Celine’s opening night?  He decided that not only would he cover Celine but he could also infuse my job as a Celine impersonator and Legends in Concert into the story!

What to wear? What to wear? I chose a pretty little classy black dress with swarovski trim, threw on my makeup and with my heart in my throat, I took off to the great coliseum!

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I was instructed to meet Robin at the stairs by the coliseum at 5 pm sharp. There wer so many journalists and what seemed to be an infinite amounts of cameras everywhere! People magazine was there, Okay and In touch just to name a few.  The buzz was electric. Celine definitely has her fans in the media and press too!

We started the night off with Robin and his photographer grabbing some pro shots of me standing next to the Celine sign.

Elisa and Celine's photos

Next, we were lead into the coliseum for the press conference and down to the front row. Robin pointed at the front right aisle seat and said “You sit here,” and then playfully said,  “Do you think you are close enough?”, and then took his seat next to me in the left aisle seat with the rest of the journalists.

(Stage hand doing lighting before Celine comes out)

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Celine was a few minutes late but was finally introduced and she came out in a beautiful black and white polka dotted dress.

You can see the full press conference here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwZVpmt9p-c

The journalists were not going to step around the Renee issue. As Robin said last night, unfortunately,  for right now the Renee health issue is bigger than the “Celine as Celine” story.  I felt for her deeply as she had to answer question after question about Renee and how she was dealing with his imminent dying, knowing he was going to be gone etc.  I watched her dance around these brutal questions with dignity, grace and as much of a positive outlook as she could have.

In so many words, she stated that she didn’t know how she was going to make it through the night but that she was willing to try, and if she stumbled and failed, that she knew the love from her fans and her love for her family would help her get back up and keep her going.

I caught myself subconsciously placing my hand over my heart a few times as if to grab it so it wouldn’t break, when she was answering some particularly difficult questions. I wondered if she would just break down at any moment but she really held it together!

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 27: Singer Celine Dion speaks during a news conference at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace before resuming her residency on August 27, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show had been on hiatus since August 2014 when Dion stopped performing to care for her ailing husband Rene Angelil. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Singer Celine Dion performs at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace as she resumes her residency on August 27, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show had been on hiatus since August 2014 when Dion stopped performing to care for her ailing husband Rene Angelil.

One thing that really stood out to me was that she professed that all of the songs she has been singing for all of these years , now have such a higher sense of meaning and feel so much more powerful to her when she sings them. She said that she had never felt so strongly about the words that she has sung until Renee got sick and now every single note has so much more symbolization and significance!

At one point, she asked us to turn around and wave to Renee, who was watching her through a live feed in his Las Vegas home. So we all turned around and waved and I am sure I speak for everyone when I say that all of our hearts were breaking a little bit at that moment.  Sad to say, he could not make it out for her performance last night.

After the conference, we went back out into the casino where Robin did an interview for a Tv show.

IMG_0211 He then surprised me by telling me we were going to Spagos for Champagne and dinner! Sounded good to me!  And can I just say, this man knows everyone! It was nice to see how respected he is by the entertainment community. He is a very smart man with a vast knowledge of his field! And you can tell he loves what he does also.

Out comes the champagne! Out comes the caviar and smoked salmon pizza! Out comes the lobster salad. We had approximately 20 minutes to eat all of this gourmet food and we did not have a problem at least attempting it!  Before we left, one of the  heads of AEG came over to our table to say hello and it was interesting to hear he and Robin talking about some entertainment business while I tried to at least finish the lobster salad that was beckoning to me from its little plate.

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We had a short amount of time so we were back to the coliseum in 20 minutes.

Once inside, we ran into Veronic, the woman impressionist who Celine and Renee produced over at Bally’s this last five years. I was excited when she remembered me from backstage at her show last year because being the ham that I am, I had sang a few Celine notes for her when Derrick Barry ( world famous male Britney impersonator) told her my crazy job of being a Celine tribute artist.

Finally the time is here!  Celine!  She comes out in front of the big curtain and opens with “I surrender”. When she comes to the big chorus, the HUGE white curtain drops to reveal the 30 piece orchestra, band and background singers and of course people went loco, including me. She did begin to break down and cry during a portion of the song and I knew if she lost it, I was going to lose it and I did. (Those good ole empath traits!).

I told Robin as long as she was fine, I was fine but if she cried, I would cry. And that is pretty much how the whole night played out. Poor Robin, LOL!

After doing a few more songs (I helped Robin write down the set list and I can get that), an acoustic portion in front of the big curtain turned into somewhat of a challenging moment for Celine when one of her guitarists began playing and was incredibly out of tune. Realizing his problem, he walked off the stage leaving Celine and three other band members sitting there with absolutely nothing to do except improv.  And improv is what she did. She had everyone in stitches singing “Tune is in the heart” to “Groove is in the heart” and “Everybody tune now” to “Everybody dance now”.   Finally the guitarist came back out with his acoustic guitar and they ran through some tunes like “I’m alive” and “That’s the way it is”.  A very intimate moment for a very HUGE venue and audience and it was just what people wanted to see and hear.

There was also a portion where the brass came out playing a jazzy swing number and they walked through the audience, much to the audiences delight!

A few of her costumes that I can remember consisted of one very flowing, chiffon style, canary yellow gown with a delicate, sweeping matching shawl draped across her back and shoulders. She wore the same gown from her last show for Titanic which is a strapless blue number and then my fave, this incredibly sparkly intense green metallic fringe piece that made me immediately want to call my wardrobe designers and tell them,  “We have a new project!”. It is my fave outfit I have ever seen her wear and I cannot wait to have it made!  Just STUNNING!

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

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Not intending to blog or try to get a bunch of photos last night and more intent on just being in the moment,  I don’t really have much more than these few photos to include in the blog so I went online and found some more for you!

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Singer Celine Dion performs at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace as she resumes her residency on August 27, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show had been on hiatus since August 2014 when Dion stopped performing to care for her ailing husband Rene Angelil.

Singer Celine Dion performs at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace as she resumes her residency on August 27, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show had been on hiatus since August 2014 when Dion stopped performing to care for her ailing husband Rene Angelil.

As far as Celine and her mood for the evening, she wasn’t one to deny the one situation that was on everyone’s minds last night, Renee.  She thanked the audience many times over about never leaving her side through all of the tough times and spoke openly and honestly about Renee’s battle and how they were all trying to deal with it as a family.  It was a poignant concert full of laughter, love and tears.

After the show we were escorted downstairs where Robin and I took up a little spot in the back and kept ourselves entertained by talking about how the night went and other entertainment topics. At this point I was exhausted from all the emotion and couldn’t stop laughing and it was apparently contagious because Robin and I sat there in a fit of giggles for 20 minutes waiting for Celine to appear.

Not too soon after, Celine walked in and took her place in front of the cameras so she could do her meet and greet. They waited until Celine could spend a little extra time with Robin (and fortunately me) and then we approached her. By some miracle,  Robin was off talking to one of the camera guys for a second so I was just there alone with her and realized, if I don’t take this opportunity, I might never have it again.  I looked her in the eyes and said “Celine, I am a Celine tribute artist across the street at Legends in concert.”  With an amused look in her eyes she said  “Oh really?” and I said “Yes, I am a professional and tour the world well…… as YOU! You should come see us across the street sometime!”  Oh yes I did! LOL!   She then stepped back and gave my entire body a look scanning me from my toes and back up to my head again, giggled and said “Wow.. you are kinda tall for me aren’t you?” and I said “Well, yeah in these shoes I am!” and then she looked me in the eyes and  said “Well I hope I can keep inspiring you to do what you love!”

Robin then approached and began interviewing her for a few moments while we were standing there and after they finished talking, we did some photos. His question and her answer will be included in his article.

Elisa and Celine 1 PS

As our conversation came to a close, she said something about barely making it through the night and she blew out a deep breath.  I looked at her, from my heart to hers, touched her on the arm and said “You got this, baby girl.” She looked me right in the eyes, smiled painfully as if to say “Do I?” and I repeated it again “You got this”.  “Thank you” she sighed  and as we walked away, I stole one more glance at the beautiful woman that has made this past 10 years of my life one incredible journey after another.

I will be praying for you Celine.

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Standing in the Rain ( The BLUE DIVA )

SINGING IN THE RAIN, (THE BLUE DIVA)Image

Being the Glass half full kinda gal, I like to pretty much try to be positive as much as I can be. However, I don’t think a blog has to be all Unicorn and Rainbows so If I had to talk about the least fave part of my trip well guess what? I got one.  That’s right, Its whiny time and I don’t mean anything by it except for perhaps I feel it’s a bit comical.

 

So we decided to travel to this small town (called Beuvais) last night, We call it BEAVIS… ah he he he he he) where our flight is leaving from,  so we wouldn’t have to scramble to travel 100 miles and catch our plane early this morning.

 

The bus ride was a visually aesthetic one and I kept looking for Julie Andrews b/c we were seriously driving past some rolling fields with mile and miles of bright yellow flowers! The grass is greener then any grass I have ever seen! See the Grass IS Greener on the other side!

 

 After a disappointing realization that I was not going to see the Von Trapp family playing the guitar in the fields, I then decided it would be fun to film Chet who was doing that whole bobble head dance in falling asleep and jolting awake once his head reached as low as it would go on his neck. Over and over, this dance continued and I will be making a music video to this one.

By the way, anyone know anything about narcolepsy? I seriously think my fiancée has a mild case of it. The man can’t stay awake! As I type this he is sleeping next to me. He fell asleep about oh 2 milliseconds after we got on the plane. It’s almost like I am traveling alone sometimes! Cue little violin music of me having to deal with Chet sleeping while I am touring Europe.  Wah Wah. LOL

After we woke up this morning, In hindsight, there was clearly a miscommunication on a “shuttle” as the guy told us 7:42 am last night, 7:47 this morning, then 8 pm then 7 pm .. then I don’t know what the hell he was saying.

 

 

The lovely thing is that it is raining and freezing outside and we were told to wait for the shuttle in front of the hotel (where there is NO shelter at all?)  and I have no real coat or any winter wear so out comes the snuggie which I put completely over my head and body to keep myself from getting soaking wet. For those that don’t know what a snuggie is, it is one of those “As SEEN ON TV” blankets with the arms cut out of them that looks absolutely ridiculous.

  I looked like a Blue Casper the Ghost or better yet, the Blue Diva from the movie the fifth Element. If I didn’t look ridiculous enough, I was also wearing a backpack on top of the blanket.

 Lucky me… there was a hole in the snuggie so I used that little bitty hole to use one eye to look out of even furthering the complete ridiculousness of the situation.

 

After we realized the front desk French guy was probably giving us directions to the mall instead of answering our question about the shuttle, I got us a cab.

Hey.. the fun doesn’t stop there!  We then realized we were overpacked by well, about 250 dollars! Hmm slight oversight. Memo pick up another suitcase in Rome!

 

So now Chet is sleeping next to me and I am having some champagne. Yes It is only 9 am in the morning but what the heck!

No offense to the French, you are lovely people but I don’t know how everyone here does not weigh 600 pounds. My stomach looks like I am 5 months pregnant from all the bread and cheese.  Do French people eat Vegatables at all? Ever? I haven’t seen one veggie since I have been here. I never thought I would say this but I am craving Broccoli and Carrots. Is that just wrong on every level?

I am fully aware that American food is toxic and a joke but still Veggies maybe? Or some seasoning on the fries would be kinda good. Don’t mind me, I am just being an obnoxious American.

By the way, French do NOT hate Americans. They are lovely, kind people and just like us.  If you are obnoxious and running around carrying a huge football shaped beer Viking  keg with a hat and straw attached and screaming “YEWWWW!” with your belly hanging out, I am sure they might be a bit put out.

Take the time to learn a bit of their language, dress nice and use your manners and they treat you like Gold.

Today is actually a rest up day as we are both nursing colds and need a day of rest since we have been walking from 8 am until about 5 am every day since we got here five days ago.

Tomorrow morning, we visit Ancient Rome!

Here’s looking at you kids!

 

 

CRASHING A PILGRIMAGE ( and other stories of Paris)

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Disclaimer:These blogs are written like a Diary. I don’t care to go back and write bigger words, spell check or write a sentence differently so it “flows” better. This is a Diary/Blog and there are going to be grammatical errors. Please all you Grammar Natzi’s get over it. If you want to read one of my literary/journalism pieces you can go here.

THINGS I LEARNED IN PARIS TODAY-

  1. Don’t crash a Catholic Pilgrimage in the rain unless you want to be kneeling on the hard concrete in a puddle of dirty rain water for 20 minutes.
  2. Irish Coffee works wonders to unnumb your hands.
  3. It’s freaking Freezing in Paris in May!
  4.  There is nothing to eat in Paris except Bread.

Today was an interesting day. It is always hard to get me up on any given morning no matter where I am in the world,  but it is ESPECIALLY hard to get me out of the warm bed when its cold AND rainy outside and all I have are summer dresses!

Having to check out today b/c we are going to another town ( much closer to airport to Italy), we decided to leave suitcases with Concierge and hike around Paris again to see what kind of trouble we could get into for one more day!

First stop, breakfast in a little Mom and Pop restaurant in the Latin District in the Notre Dame neighborhood. Our witty waiter greeted us with his impression of an American, saying “BON JOOOER” over and over and playing with us.. so we played along. He was really fun. I decided on a big VAT of Cheese Fondue so I can be bloated for the next week. Why not?

We then stumbled upon yet another ancient Church and took a tour through it. I somehow find myself obsessed with kneeling down and praying for all my sick friends in hoping that maybe with enough prayer, I can really make a difference. It never hurts to hope and have faith. Better to be with, then be without.

These Churches are built with the most delicate detail. It seems they spent so much more care and time building things over here back in the day. As if people really cared about their religious ideals and the places they worshipped.  So much marble, bronze gilded leafing and intricate carving. Gargoyles are prevalent on these Gothic Church buildings which I find odd b/c I don’t associate religion with Gargoyles. Shows how much I know, right?  I suppose I need to research the symbolism but for me, it reminds me of Greek Mythology, not Christ or God.

The second church we came across was the Church of St ( Dave?)  Chappelle and well known for it’s gigantic stained glass roof. A true vision to behold. I took a lot of photos. There are plenty of places to light candles for your loved ones and there are many people taking advantage of this.

Because it was so cold today, we made frequent stops at café’s for coffee, cappacino’s and Coffee drinks. I am seriously tweaked at the moment from so many! (One Irish coffee, Chet flung across the table and soaked me and my tablet with) but the second one I got to drink!  Of yeah and the the third! Those will warm me up for about 2 hours!

After groundhogs day on one train,  (Scenario- we got on and went in the wrong direction, somehow made our way back to the that departure station and got on the wrong direction again doing a complete circle), we decided to go to the War Museum. There we got to walk through exhibits of World War 1 and 2 memoribilia, real war and night Armour and the most intricate and detailed, and bedazzled.. haha,  guns and knives I have ever seen in my life.. hands down. I can’t imagine that the ones we saw were even used in fighting. They looked like they were made for bragging rights only. Look at mine…. Well look at MINE!

They were absolutely beautiful like something a woman would have made. Pearl and precious jewels adorned many of them along with Gold and Silver.  Lots of pictures of those I took as well.

Last but not least, on our way out of the museum, we heard Gregorian type chanting. We made our way over to some type of pilgrimage where there were about 500 people standing in the rain and watching Catholic Mass. Turns out these people walked for three days from some other city.

Why I don’t know.. and for what? I don’t know. All I know is it was pouring down rain and the ground was filthy and puddles of water everywhere and we crashed it and next thing you know,  everyone kneeled down on the ground! I was like.. Oh man what do I do now? So I just did a squat. I didn’t’ want to be disrespecting God and Lord knows I am a religious woman but I didn’t even know what was going on and no offense to God but I am pretty certain he would not want me to be soaking wet the rest of the day. Especially when I only have two pairs of pants because i didn’t know it stays Winter in Paris for ETERNITY!

We took a subway back to the hotel, grabbed out suitcases, took a Cab to the bus stop and now we are on a Greyhound type bus to some small town in France to check into a hotel for the night so we are close to the airport. We are flying to Rome tomorrow to check into our Apartment.

Man I was just starting to understand it when French people were talking to me! I am all MISS fancy pants having little conversations with people here  but nooooooo.. . now I have to learn a whole new language! This whole cultural experience has my brain about ready to explode!

Seems the Italian’s on the bus think I am funny looking because I am wearing my bright blue SNUGGIE.  Whatever.. I am warm and this is all I have. besides my science lab coat I bought at the only store that was open the first night we got there.  Have I mentioned it was cold today?  🙂

Until next time.

Elisa

Caption This: An amateur’s dialogue of some of the most famous paintings.

Disclaimer:These blogs are written like a Diary. I don’t care to go back and write bigger words, spell check or write a sentence differently so it “flows” better. This is a Diary/Blog and there are going to be grammatical errors. Please all you Grammar Natzi’s get over it. If you want to read one of my literary/journalism pieces you can go here.

http://vegaskool.com/2013/02/16/elisa-furr-goes-to-rock-n-roll-fantasy-camp/

Paris Day 3

Our day started off at 3 am waking up too soon!  First I woke at 3 am thinking I had slept for a long time! I checked emails and went back to sleep for a few more hours and then awoke at  5:30am!  Finally, we got out at 8 am to get a good place in line for  the Museum called “Musee’ D’ Orsay which is a museum that houses original Van Gogh’s, Renoirs and Monet’s,  among many other famous artists.

First we had breakfast at a suprisingly “non touristy” Cafe right next to the museum because the customer service guy did not speak a lick of English! Out came my tablet! ON my tablet I have downloaded a astoundingly helpful app called Paris, France a Mobile reference.  It has everything you need including all the key phrases. 

I was told that the French were going to be annoyed and “Mad” that I was going to be butchering their language. Not so, I say! In fact, even if they were a bit standoffish to begin with, I always brought out a huge smile when I looked at my tablet and attempted to speak the correct phrase to them.  I come off sounding somewhat like Flo from the sitcom “Alice” and a French Movie star with a stuttering problem. My delivery is confident as I am an artist and of course the southern part comes from me being from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Every time I am able to speak to them in their language and actually understand their response ( they failed to warn you about that little pitfall_, I clapped my hands in Glee… ( yes Glee..) like a child getting a top to spin for the first time.  It is a sense of huge accomplishment being able to carry on a small conversation in French even though I may not be saying it exactly right. And they really, really appreciate you trying!

That being said for some reason he brought out, before we even asked, two croissants. We thought “Well maybe this comes with all pre-breakfasts”.  When he didn’t come back, we asked him for a menu ( in English cause there was no French word for Menu on my tablet) and when he came back with the menu he brought two really long pieces of Buttered French Bread! Hmmmm more bread.  Should we say something? At the risk of feeling a little dumb we decided against it thinking maybe this was a second free course. LOL!

Finally we ordered an egg crepe and an egg omelette.  They came out Ala Carte.  No bacon? No potatoes? Oh well… they were really good and filling! What is it about the small portions that fill you up so much? It’s some weird unexplainable phenomenon. I think Chet and I have had 4 meals in four days.  We are full so easy and never hungry! And walking 7 hours a day! If my butt is not sitting up on top of my shoulders from the muscle workout, I will be disappointed.

After eating, we walked across the street to the Museum.

B/c Chet and I decided not to get the guided tour or the audio tape recorder helper thingie… Chet and I’s dialogue went something like this as we stood in front of various paintings.

What follows is a small part true/part exaggerated version for comical effect and to put a spin on what was both a very serious visit with some added laughs.  Mind you there was also quite a  bit of very intellectual conversations as well but that wouldn’t be as entertaining to tell you would it. 

With that said,  here are a few of the not so much. ( Intelligent convo’s)

Elisa- Oh this guy is really mad Chet!  EW!
Chet- Look at all these Elk!
Elisa’ They all look like they are suffering.. what is his deal with suffering animals? What is wrong with these Elk? They are screaming! This guy is seriously depressed. I don’t like him. He likes to abuse animals.

STANDING IN FRONT OF PAINTING TWO.
Elisa (TILTS HEAD looking very confused. “What is the deal with all the boobs and the angel babies?
Chet- I think those are called Cherubs.
Elisa- All these people did were painted boobs and angel babies!  Every other picture is a picture of boobs!  I think they were obsessed with boobs.
Chet- All they had to do back then was look at boobs.

STANDING IN FRONT OF PAINTING 3. ( Monet)
ELISA ( thinking I Have just discovered something really, really cool!
– Chet! Chet!  Come over here honey! look at this one! I think this is a finger painting! He painted this one with his fingers!
CHET- No honey.. those are just large brush strokes and a big ass paint brush.

STANDING IN FRONT OF PAINTING 4.
ELISA- Look at these miserable people.. they are all standing around a piano and not one person is smiling! Their hands are all in their pants like they are all cold. These people are NOT having fun!
CHET- How do you know they are not having fun?
ELISA- BECAUSE they are NOT smiling! How many people do you know that when they are having fun, are making THAT face?
CHET- I don’t think people smiled back then, at least for pictures.
ELISA- How does an era have no smiles? You don’t just have a decade of people that didn’t smile. I just think no one had fun back then. All they did was have war, look at boobs and paint pictures of naked angel babies.  No wonder they were all mad!

Needless to say the whole museum visit went like this off and on.  IF you ever go to a really fancy museum, you must do the Mystery Science Theater 2000 thing and make your own captions.  After really looking at it and getting the most out of the painting for yourself.. in a serious way.. then you can make a funny caption up.  Best of both worlds. Win-win.

The simple things. What Paris is doing to me.

You begin to look around you when you travel out of the country and then suddenly it is as if everything becomes so much clearer to you. Why have I been stressing out about the little things?

I don’t know what it is about going to another country but you always seem to have some revelation of some sort, or at least I do. 

The most beautiful things that come to me are the realizations of how precious the simple things are and become.   They have been, of course, all along ( important)  but I just seem to have forgotten that.

For example, one day after I was here,  I began to immediately think about wanting to go home and continue writing more original music and for some reason have the undying passion to want to play them in a small cafe or coffeehouse instead of performing in some big showroom or theater like I have been. Why?

It is the need to want to strip down all things that are so artifical about the Las Vegas and other towns, entertainment scene. The glitz.. the glamour.. the skin.. the eyelashes.. the glitter.. the tight clothes.. the costumes.. the red lipstick.. the heels.  Where the &*(& did the MUSIC GO? 

Who is listening to the music when you have to worry about all this other stuff? I want for people to hear ME sing.. and me alone.. stripped down bare.. with nothing else to distract them from my voice at all.  I want people to hear my words.. the words that came to me when I was broken hearted or so happy I could burst.  The melody I wrote when I lost my best friend or _______ died of cancer.   I want the words to come from my heart and out of my mouth and straight into the hearts of those that are listening to it.

This is what Paris  is doing to me.