Daily Archives: June 7, 2009

CineVegas Film Festival in Las Vegas Offers Movies Galore- And Much More

Running over six days and one weekend, the 11th annual CineVegas film festival, starting this Wednesday, June 10, at the Brenden Theatres inside the Palms in Las Vegas offers a broader range of movie screening opportunities than ever before, providing something for every discriminating taste and style, from world premieres to sneak previews of independent film features that will be soon playing in theatres around the country.  

If that’s not enough, many seminars, parties, and A-list celebrity awards are also on tap, offering participants the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the best filmmakers in the country. 

Not surprisingly, Las Vegas itself plays a major role in several of the world premiere movie selections. 

Although there are way too many movies and events to list here, Las Vegas Backstage Access has put together our best picks, listed in date chronological order: 

Wednesday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.

“Saint John of Las Vegas”  Opening night world premiere movie starring Steve Buscemi as a gambling-addicted Albuquerque insurance adjustor, who returns to the scene of his temptation to investigate a fraud case, encountering a variety of offbeat characters, including a wheelchair-bound stripper and a human torch. 

Thursday, June 11 at 3:00 p.m. & Sunday, June 14 at 1:00 p.m. 

“Vegas: Based on  a True Story,” from Iranian director Amir Naderi,  the movie focuses on ex-gamblers trying to keep their family out of trouble- until the temptation of finding cash in the desert proves too irresistible. 

Thursday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, June 12 at 12:30 p.m.

“All In:  The Poker Movie,” is a documentary world premiere movie that was filmed in Las Vegas that focuses on poker as “a way to chase the American dream,” according to director Douglas Tirola.  

Saturday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m.

“Thor at the Bus Stop,” is a U.S. premiere movie all about a Norse god that finds himself in a Southern Nevada suburb trying to save the world. 

Sunday, June 14 at 3 p.m.

Willem Dafoe receives Vanguard Actor Award 

Sunday, June 14 at 5 p.m.

Filmmakers and Honorees Awards Ceremony & Reception at Rain Nightclub inside the Palms.  In addition to awards to Jon Voight, Willem Dafoe and the Kuchar Brothers, Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago will receive the Planet Illogica Award for New Media. 

Sunday, June 14 at midnight:

“Lookin’ to Get Out,” is a totally revamped version of Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight’s 1982 made-in Las Vegas comedy movie filmed at the original MGM Grand (now Bally’s), which director Hal Ashby recut and donated to the film archives of the University of California, Los Angeles just before his 1988 death.    Voight will also receive the Marquee Award that accompanies the screening. 

Movie screenings listed here are at the Brenden Theatres at the Palms.  Individual screening tickets are $10, except for Wednesday’s opening movie premiere of “Saint John of Las Vegas,” which is $25.  Festival movie screening passes range form $40 to $500, with Las Vegas, senior, student and military discount packages available.  Tickets may be purchased at the CineVegas box office at the Palms, or online at www.cinevegas.com or by phone 888-883-4278.

Be sure to check out prior January 6,  April 25 and May 29 Las Vegas Backstage Access articles on the CineVegas film festival.

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Las Vegas Deathfest Today

If blood-curdling, gut-churning music is your relaxing Las Vegas cup of tea on a leisurely Sunday, best to make tracks now to the Cheyenne Saloon, 3103 N. Rancho Drive, 702-645-4139.  Their eclectic music lineup includes such bruisers as Flesh Consumed, Dismal Lapse, Embryonic Devourment and more.  Need we say more? Tickets are $15 at the door.

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Dolphin Dies at The Mirage in Las Vegas

Sgt. Pepper, born on June 8, 2008 at The Mirage, one of six dolphins at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in Las Vegas died on June 4 from complications arising from a lung affection.  The dolphin is the 14th to die at the educational attraction since it opened at The Mirage in 1990. 

Animal welfare advocates have long voiced their concerns that dolphins are not suited for such public displays, and that the exhibit’s confines are inadequate when compared to the natural habitat of the ocean.

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Rare World Series of Poker Feat Pulled off by Las Vegan

Las Vegan Thang Luu, a 34-year-old Vietnam native who has been living in the United States for the past 17 years, has won the $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low World Series of Poker (WSOP) event for the second year in a row.   Luu also finished second in the same event in 2007. ThangLuu

Luu raked in $263,135 for first place, the largest cash prize ever awarded in an Omaha High-Low tournament.  He defeated a field of 918 players over three days. 

The last time any poker player has finished first, first and second in the same event at WSOP was Johnny Chan’s accumulated record in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event in 1987-1989.  Chan won the titles the fist two years but finished runner-up to poker “bad boy” Phil Hellmuth in 1989.

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Las Vegas Bartender Armando Rosairo Wins National Crown

Designing drinks on a straightforward platform of “make it fresh, keep it simple,” Southern Wine & Spirits’ Director of Mixology Armando Rosario accepted his trophy (a cocktail shaker mounted atop a marble mortar) as winner of the of the United States Bartenders’ Guild’s (USBG) 2009 Nevada championship. ArmandoRosario

Then, on May 12, Rosario represented Nevada in the USBG’s national championship at the Drake Hotel in San Francisco- and won! 

His signature fave concoction is a blend of Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, cucumber, optional dill and an optional half-ounce of vodka. 

As the national winner, Rosario will go on to represent the United States at the International Bartenders Association (IBA)’s prestigious annual World Cocktail Competition in Germany. 

“I am excited to have the opportunity to represent the U.S.,” says the native of Mozambique, “and am confident that the simplicity and beauty of the drink will be appealing on a worldwide stage as well.”

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Las Vegas Tribute Artist Trina Johnson-Finn Released in Suriname

A judge in Suriname on Friday released Las Vegas entertainer Trina Johnson-Finn who was accused of posing as singer Toni Braxton at a concert there where she was pelted with trash and booed offstage. 

The 20-year professional singer who has augmented her career by impersonating stars as a “tribute artist” is now planning her return to Las Vegas to be with her husband, Raymond Finn, emotionally drained and financially devastated after the ordeal. 

Finn, who had spent three months in jail there, said she would not be present at her formality sentencing hearing on Tuesday. 

Finn has repeatedly said she was not involved in the impersonation scheme cover up that charged up to $53 per ticket for the Feb. 28 concert in Suriname’s capital.  A crowd of 3,000 threw bottles and beer cans at Finn in what has been dubbed the “Phony Toni” concert. 

The promoters Angel Ventura and his girlfriend Signet Sampson, though, remain in custody there and are expected to stand trial in July. 

Please see  April 25 and May 7 Las Vegas Backstage Access articles covering this case.

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