By Bill Sewers
As all good birthday parties are, it was a wonderful time. Good friends, good food and refreshments, great music, and a fun but relaxing atmosphere. In this case, the ‘birthday girl” was Minnie Madden and the honoree was CALLBACK, Minnie’s little entertainment paper that grew into a major mover for the entertainment industry here in Las Vegas and, increasingly, for the international market.
As with many successful projects, CALLBACK’s beginnings were humble, in this case a Las Vegas dancer/choreographer by the name of Minnie Madden who recognized a void. There seemed to be no viable way of knowing where the entertainment jobs were, apart from the tenuous word-of-mouth ‘jungle drum’ method and the callboard postings backstage at the shows. But if you didn’t have a backstage to go to, then the first option was the only one available.
Minnie answered the need in the form of an 8 ½” x 11” newsletter that she and friend and ex-Hollywood Reporter scribe hastily turned out on a typewriter in Mark’s living room in early 1989. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, they named it “Dirt Alert,” an allusion to the pastime of showbiz gossip. Minnie went to press using money from her own pocket and Mark Tan became the tiny publication’s first Editor, a post he held for many years following. The mandate then was simple: to help show people get jobs.
Today, “Dirt Alert” is known as CALLBACK, our readers number in the thousands worldwide, our advertisers and clients are some of the major movers in live entertainment and the prime focus is still to provide job information for professional entertainers so show people can work.
But back to the party. Held at Piero’s Trattoria on Flamingo on Wednesday, March 13, guests were an eclectic mix of show people, advertisers, media people and friends, reflecting an invitation list carefully orchestrated by CALLBACK’s public relations director Bruce Merrin. Editor Bill Sewers, office manger Toni Wolfe, art directors Delaney Gillian and Buzz Wolfe, sales director Brandon Thomas and special projects coordinator Garnet Pasquale helped Minnie welcome guests. An excellent jazz trio, headed by Joe Lano, provided live music.
Highlight of the evening was the presentation of a Proclamation to Minnie and CALLBACK from Mayor Oscar Goodman and the City of Las Vegas, heralding March 13 as Minnie Madden Day. The presentation was given by Minnie’s longtime friend Joe Esposito on behalf of Mayor Goodman and reflected the esteem with which she is held in the show community.
As CALLBACK enters its 14th year, all of us remain committed to continuing to serve the entertainment industry in new and bigger ways to keep everybody working. And that’s a reason to celebrate!