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Ambassador Noghès and Consuls of Monaco hosted by Siegfried and Roy in Las Vegas June 24, 2012

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Consulate of Monaco, Grace Kelly, Las Vegas, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Princess Grace of Monaco, Principality of Monaco.
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Rare Tour by the ‘Masters of the Impossible’ themselves takes Monaco diplomats behind the scenes in rare animal habitat.

Forty-six year friendship of the performers with the Principality evidenced by hospitality during historic Las Vegas visit of Monaco officials

Siegfried and Roy circa 1966

Siegfried and Roy with “Chico,” circa 1966

Long before they ever came to Las Vegas, Siegfried and Roy made a Royal Command Performance for HSH Princess Grace of Monaco at the 1966 Red Cross Ball (Gala de Roi) at the Sporting House in Monte Carlo.  During the performance, Chico, the Cheetah who starred with the duo, ran off stage and headed for the kitchen.  The event was a big hit and garnered much press.  Some say it was the big break for the magical duo.  Two decades later, with unprecedented Las Vegas success accredited their show, they would return to the Principality and serve as judges for the Grand Prix of Magic in Monte Carlo.

Friends of the Monaco Royal Family for a generation, Siegfried and Roy were the consummate hosts of the official representatives of the Principality during the first meeting of the Monaco US Consular Corps in Las Vegas.  The group held its first meeting outside Washington, D.C, at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas on June 14.  The meeting also marked the first official visit of the Ambassador of Monaco to Las Vegas.

Siegfried and Roy with Crown Prince Albert of Monaco and HSH Prince Rainer III

The Consulate of Monaco in Las Vegas, with the help of a team of volunteers including Las Vegan Steve Schorr, arranged for H.E. Gilles Noghès, Ambassador of Monaco to the USA and Canda, and consuls from 6 districts in addition to the Las Vegas consulate, to meet with Siegfried and Roy and tour their Dolphin Habitat, Secret Garden and the behind-the-scenes lairs of the their legendary white tigers, white lions and other great cats.

The group was astounded at the high quality of life, health and beauty of the great cats.  Touring the garden with the narration that only Siegfried and Roy could give was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not lost on the audience of Monaco officials.

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Consulate Hosts Historic Las Vegas Visit of Ambassador and Consuls of Monaco June 21, 2012

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Consulate of Monaco, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Consular Corps, Monegasques in the USA, Nevada Consular Corps, Principality of Monaco.
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Exclusive Monaco Private Label dinner welcomes Las Vegas society.

Ambassador of Monaco receives Key to the City of Las Vegas.

H.E. Gilles Noghès, Ambassador of the Principality of Monaco to the United States and Canada, was welcomed in Las Vegas on June 14, 2012 by Consul Jonathan Warren.

Mayor Pro Tem of Las Vegas Stavros Anthony and Consul of Monaco in Las Vegas Jonathan Warren presenting the Key to the City of Las Vegas to Ambassador Gilles Noghes.

The arrival represents the first official visit to Nevada of the first Ambassador of Monaco ever accredited to the United States.  It was also the first official visit of any Ambassador of Monaco to the Consulate of Monaco in Las Vegas, which was first opened in 1956.

The Consulate of Monaco in Las Vegas and the Embassy of Monaco in Washington, DC worked closely with Mr. Michel Bouquier, Special Economic Advisor to the Government of Monaco, to host the first Monaco Private Label dinner in Las Vegas.  Monaco Private Label was introduced by the Principality in 2010 to offer special access, of a level and nature which money alone can not buy, to very special visitors to Monaco.  Members must be invited by a consul or ambassador of the Principality.  Twenty Las Vegans were presented with the honor.

Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Las Vegas, Stavros Anthony, awarded the Ambassador the Key to the City of Las Vegas.  Mayor Pro Tem Anthony cited the Ambassador’s work, with the approval of HSH Prince Albert II, to re-open the Consulate of Monaco in Las Vegas by appointing Las Vegan Jonathan Warren as Honorary Consul in 2010.  The Consulate had been moved to Los Angeles 47 years earlier when Consul Henry Leigh Hunt retired in 1963.

Consul Jonathan Warren with Steve Wynn at MPL Dinner

The event took place within Thriller Villa at Hacienda Palomino, the former Las Vegas residence of Michael Jackson.  security was high as fifty-five guests, including such Las Vegas notables as Steve Wynn, Sig Rogich, Richard Goeglein, Steve Schorr, Aner Iglesias, Marykaye Cashman, Vera Goulet and Monaco Grand Prix champion Enrico Bertaggia joined the Embassy delegation as well as Mr. Patrice Solamito, Director of the Casino Monte Carlo and Guillaume Rose, Monaco Director of Conventions and Tourism.  Seven consuls of Monaco were present, including the Honorable Maguey Maccario, Consul General of Monaco in New York, the senior consular officer of Monaco in the United States.

The evening opened and closed with opera by tenor Marco Varela and soprano Betsy Fiore, with harpist Kim DeLibero during dinner.

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Photos by IM Photography

Consul of Monaco joins Board of Directors of Liberace Foundation May 9, 2012

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Las Vegas.
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Consul Jonathan Warren recently agreed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Liberace Foundation for the Creative and Performing Arts. 

Liberace with Zsa Zsa Gabor in Monaco, 1955

Liberace with Zsa Zsa Gabor at the Red Cross Ball in Monte Carlo, Monaco, 1955

Liberace was the opening act of the then-tallest hotel in Las Vegas, the Riviera, in 1955.  He lived in a sumptuous suite in the Monte Carlo Tower, and was then the highest paid performer on the Las Vegas Strip.  The Riviera Hotel had been developed on land owned by Henry Leigh Hunt, who, coincidentally, that same year would be selected as Honorary Consul of Monaco in Las Vegas. 

A long-time Las Vegan, Liberace in 1977 carried out a Royal Command performance for HSH Princess Grace of Monaco.  He was a regular guest on the Monte Carlo Show, filmed at the Sporting House of Monaco, and was known to be fond of both Las Vegas and Monte Carlo.

“I can have a vacation at my [Las Vegas] home comparable to a season in Monte Carlo.” – Liberace

The Liberace Foundation provides scholarships in the creative and performing arts.  Consul Warren believes that fresh approaches to delivering the impact of Liberace on music and fashion has the potential to dramatically increase the profile of the Foundation.  He very much looks forward to working with other board members.

Las Vegas to host Monaco US Consular Corps, Inaugural Visit of Ambassador April 24, 2012

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Las Vegas, Monegasques in the USA, Prince Albert II of Monaco.
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Wynn Resorts to be venue for meeting of Monaco consuls from all areas of US

 

First official visit of a Monaco Ambassador to Las Vegas as H.E. Gilles Noghès presides over conference

The Consular Corps of the Principality of Monaco in the United States has chosen Las Vegas as the venue for it annual meeting on June 15th, 2012. 

Monaco Consular Corps in the USA

Monaco Consular Corps in the USA

Normally taking place in Washington, D.C, the venue for the meeting was changed this year when the Embassy decided to instead gather the US consuls in the West.  Las Vegas won the conference after the Las Vegas Consulate lobbied its colleagues and the Embassy for the June 15 meeting.  The Consulates chose Las Vegas in a vote, and will be arriving from all over the US, led by H.E. Ambassador Gilles Noghès.

Ambassador Gilles Noghes

Ambassador Gilles Noghes

Ambassador Noghés will make his first official visit to Nevada to preside over the conference.  This visit also marks the first time any Ambassador of Monaco has officially visited Las Vegas.  The Ambassador, whose father was the founder of the legendary Monaco Grand Prix, has led a long and distinguished diplomatic career and was previously Ambassador of Monaco to the United Nations.

The Las Vegas Consulate of Monaco will play host to the visiting dignitaries, introducing them to Las Vegas officials, personalities, history and culture.  Consulates represented include Boston, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  The entire team of the Consulate of Monaco in Las Vegas is excited to be involved as the local Consulate prepares the program for the visit.

A Portrait of Friendships: Sinatra and the Royals August 16, 2011

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Grace Kelly, Las Vegas, Monegasques in the USA, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Princess Grace of Monaco.
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Alejo Vidal-Quadras and Princess Grace

Alejo Vidal-Quadras and Princess Grace

Alejo Vidal-Quadras was one of the great portrait painters of the 20th century.  His subjects included royals, celebrities and great personalities of his time.  In the 1950’s he painted three portraits of Princess Grace of Monaco, one of which included young Princess Caroline and Prince Albert.

“I consider Grace Kelly as one of the purest faces I have ever studied.” 
– Alejo Vidal-Quadras

A favorite of many is Vidal-Quadras’s triple portrait of Princess Grace.  One little-known fact about this sketch is that it was actually done at the home of Frank Sinatra, during a visit there by the Prince and Princess of Monaco.Triple Grace was sketched at Sinatra's home

“A few years later, she asked me to draw a triple portrait of her as a Christmas present to the Sovereign Prince.  Whilst looking for a date to do the drawing we realized that we would be together, at the same time, in Los Angeles.  The Prince and Princess were going to spend a few days in Palm Springs at Frank Sinatra’s.  I myself had an exhibition in Beverly Hills.  Hence it was decided that I would do the triple drawing at Frank Sinatra’s home.

Princess Grace with young Princess Caroline and Prince Albert“On another occasion, in Monaco, to facilitate the settings for little Prince Albert and Princess Caroline, when I was painting their portraits, Princess Grace read them fairy stories.  We were in the nursery.  To listen to her was a real pleasure, she used her acting talents and the children were fascinated.  One of the stories was about Christmas, and the little Princess Caroline, aged four, suddenly interrupted her mother, “Mummy, tell me please, does Father Christmas live near my Palace?”  – alejovidalquadras.com

We did it our way: Lyrical Connections of Monte Carlo and Las Vegas August 14, 2011

Posted by jonathanwarren in Grace Kelly, Las Vegas, Monaco Royal Wedding, Monegasques in the USA, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Princess Grace of Monaco.
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Claude Francoise on a Monaco yacht, 1966

Claude Francoise on a Monaco yacht, 1966

Claude “Cloclo” François spent his childhood in Egypt, before moving with his parents to Monte Carlo when he was 17, in 1956.  Having had natural talent and musical training all his youth,  François was soon to start a meteoric rise to stardom.

Frank Sinatra at the Monaco Train Station 1958

Sinatra in Monaco, 1958

1956 was a bustling time in the Principality.  Prince Rainier III and Academy Award-winning actress Grace Kelly had just been married.  The wedding celebrations took place to the flashes of hundreds of press photographers.  The event was covered in spectacular style by the acclaimed French poet and author Louise de Vilmorin, a former resident of Las Vegas, on assignment for Marie Claire Magazine and invited by the Royal couple.

Stars of Hollywood and Las Vegas were often seen in Monte Carlo.  Frank Sinatra, then a part-owner of the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, had co-starred with Grace Kelly in the movie “High Society” which was released in 1956.  He frequented Monaco with friends, as did many other entertainers.

Claude François started his musical career in this energized environment, in the orchestras of Monaco and the French Riviera, and quickly moved into the pop music scene.  Often called the ‘French Elvis’, he had great success before opening his own stage production and record company, in 1967 at the age of 27, in Paris.

It was then that François and Jacques Revaux wrote a song in French called Comme d’habitude (“As Usual”), which became a huge hit in Francophile countries.

Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka re-wrote the lyrics in English for an American audience in 1970, as the song “My Way”.  It became the identifying song of both Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra during their long-standing residencies in Las Vegas.

Elvis Presley had a long-running show at the Las Vegas Hilton until he died in Las Vegas in 1977.  Claude François died of an accidental electrocution seven months later.  Only Frank Sinatra continued to sing the song.

Anka’s rendition, written with Sinatra in mind, came to define the man.  His star-studded 80th birthday party was titled: “Sinatra: 80 Years My Way.”  On the night of his death at the age of 82 in 1998, the lights on the Las Vegas Strip went dark for ten minutes, in tribute.

Claude Francois and the Claudettes 1966

Claude Francois and the Claudettes, 1966

Claude François had become known as the “King of Kitsch” in some circles for his flashy shows in his later career.   His showmanship and style now has him making something of a posthumous comeback.  A film of his life is soon to be released, partially filmed in the Principality of Monaco.

Las Vegans enjoy royal treatment at Princely wedding in Monaco July 3, 2011

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Monaco Royal Wedding, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Charlene of Monaco.
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Of the almost four thousand guests invited from all over the world to the wedding of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and Miss Charlene Wittstock, at least 4 were from Las Vegas.

Mr. and Mrs. Steve Wynn walk the red carpet at the Monaco Royal Wedding

Mr. and Mrs. Steve Wynn walk the red carpet at the Monaco Royal Wedding

In addition to Jonathan Warren, Honorary Consul of Monaco in Las Vegas and Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl, Honorary Consul of Chile in Las Vegas, the front rows of the plaza at the Prince’s Palace also included Mr. And Mrs. Steve Wynn.  Mr. Wynn is the founder and Chairman of Wynn Resorts, which operates some of the largest and most luxurious gaming and resort properties in Las Vegas and Macau.

Several other Las Vegans visited Consul Warren while in Monaco to enjoy the Principality’s national celebrations.

Prior to the July 2 religious ceremony at the Palace, guests were treated to an Eagles concert, and a spectacular music and light show over the Port de Hercules, viewed from the vantage point of the balcony at the Hermitage Hotel.

A select few attended the civil ceremony.  Some went to the Opera for the reception, and others to another reception at the top of the Oceanographic Museum for a spectacular dinner and view of the fireworks.

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Las Vegas to be represented at Monaco Royal Wedding June 26, 2011

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Grace Kelly, Las Vegas, Monaco Royal Wedding, Monegasques in the USA, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Grace of Monaco.
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Long-time Las Vegans are among the holders of coveted invitations to the Royal wedding of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco to Miss Charlene Wittstock.

Consuls Warren and Biggs Sparkuhl with Mayor Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas

Consuls Warren and Biggs Sparkuhl with Mayor Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas

Jonathan Warren, Consul of the Principality of Monaco and a life-long Las Vegan, will be accompanied by the Honorable Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl, Consul of the Republic of Chile in Las Vegas and a resident of the City for three decades.  The will join the other invited guests of HSH Prince Albert II on the plaza of the Prince’s Palace in Monaco, to witness the wedding of the Sovereign to Miss Charlene Wittstock.

The last wedding of a Sovereign Prince of Monaco was in 1956, when Prince Albert II’s parents, Prince Rainier III and American Academy Award-winning actress Grace Kelly were married in Monaco.

An Eagles concert and a Jean-Michel Jarre concert-light show over the Port de Hercule will be just a taste of the celebrations marking the July 1st and 2nd civil and religious ceremonies.

Consul of Monaco rescues rare Grace Kelly print from Sahara Hotel closure June 14, 2011

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Grace Kelly, Las Vegas, Princess Grace of Monaco.
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Denied purchase, Consul of Monaco pulls local strings

thief

Consul Jonathan Warren with rare print rescued from Sahara liquidation

After making inquiries through all proper channels and sending known emissaries to the highest levels of the ownership of Sahara hotel, just before it was shuttered on May 16, 2011, the Consul of the Principality in Monaco in Las Vegas was denied the ability to purchase a rare print of Grace Kelly.

“Nothing is for sale.”  Came the word from the Sahara’s leadership,  “We don’t think it is polite to pick at what little meat is left on our bones.”  This despite Consul Warren’s offer even to purchase the piece and gift it to the Principality in the name of the Sahara’s holding company or its officers.  The Sahara has since announced a public sale of everything in the hotel, set for Thursday, June 16.

For many years the heavy piece hung on the wall behind the font desk at the Hotel.  Grace Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco when she married Prince Rainier III in 1956.  Consul Warren is headed to the wedding of her son, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, on July 2nd.  Jonathan was determined to obtain the print for the Consulate of Monaco in Las Vegas.

“I wasn’t going to be dissuaded by some guy who owned it for three years and had no idea what it was, or the significance of the piece,” says Warren, “so when I was turned down at the highest level, I went back to the street level.”

Friends of Warren worked at the Sahara as far back as when he went to dinner there after his Junior prom, 30 years ago.  He got the tip that a private sale was going on for a closed list of bidders, two days before the public liquidation of the Sahara’s contents.  The informant told him that all the prints were sold except this one, which would be gone very soon, and was momentarily under the watchful eye of a connection.

“Fortunately, the Sahara still had some old-time Las Vegans, not tied to management or ownership, who cared about things like this.”  Warren says,  “with a little help I managed to gain access to the buyer pool and dole out some cash for the piece before anyone was the wiser.  I’m afraid they’ll miss it at the public liquidation which begins Thursday.  I would apologize – if I were sorry.”

To Catch A ThiefConsul Warren says the piece is a rare, semi-candid shot of Academy Award-winning actress Grace Kelly in April of 1955, a few months before she would meet Prince Rainier III of Monaco, whom she married one year later.  She is pictured with Cary Grant, her co-star in To Catch A Thief, which was filmed in Monaco, and during which she was first introduced to the Principality.  According to a friend of Consul Warren’s, archivist and historian Brian Paco Alvarez, the Las Vegas New Bureau holds the original 1955 photo in its collection.

Pictured with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant are actor/singer Ray Bolger, who was the first performer at the Sahara when it opened, and Cary Grant’s wife, actress Betsy Drake.  The Sahara sign is clearly visible in the background.  The print now belongs to the Consulate of Monaco, and will hang there permanently.

Asked who helped him obtain the sale ahead of the gavel at the Sahara, Warren just smiles, “I can only report that Las Vegas has saved face, Monaco has recaptured a rare artifact, and Grace has left the building.”

Consul Warren to keynote Convention Services Association luncheon June 2, 2011

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Las Vegas, Monegasques in the USA.
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Convention Services Association of Las Vegas

Consul Warren will be the keynote speaker at the Convention Services Association luncheon on June 22, 2011.  The CSA of Las Vegas was organized in 1968 to promote cooperation, professional growth through education and fellowship among its members in the convention and tourism industries in Las Vegas.

“Las Vegas:  Meeting Place of the World” 

Monte Carlo:  Consul Warren with consuls of Chile, Yemen, and Dem. Rep. of Congo

Monte Carlo: Consul Warren with consuls of Chile, Yemen, and Dem. Rep. of Congo

In his talk, Consul Warren will discuss the impressions of his home town of Las Vegas outside the US,  and why it is the most visited city in the world.  He will inform the group about the history of the Principality of Monaco, and its unique position in business diplomacy, and in hosting conventions and conferences.  Consul Warren will bring news from the wedding plans of HSH Prince Albert II and Miss Charlene Whittstock.  He will also introduce others who he describes as the new breed of honorary consuls, a new guard in the world’s oldest form of bilateral diplomacy.

Consul Warren will describe his vision for Las Vegas as the business diplomacy center of the United States, and how local business will profit from helping make this vision a reality.

Reserve early, seating is limited to 80 attendees.  See the Facebook invitation to view other attendees.

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