Daily Archives: February 19, 2010

Naked in Las Vegas

Greg Friedler is a fine art photographer.  Translated, he has a passion for capturing unique still photo scenes.  But his other finely honed artsy ability is taking photographs of willing people posed clothed and naked in front of a studio canvas. 

Las Vegas, undisputed City of Sin, was squarely in his camera’s viewfinder years ago and is now part of a documentary film, “Stripped: Greg Friedler’s Naked Las Vegas,” by David Palmer, which will premier in March 2010 and is planned to be on Showtime for two years. 

Their creative effort started in 1973, working from scratch and with no confirmed photo subjects nor even a confirmed location to shoot, Denver, Colorado-based avant-garde photographer Friedler and Los Angeles-based filmmaker David Palmer embarked on a multi-dimensional and highly emotional 30-day Las Vegas roller coaster ride, that would eventually bring together 173 naked human beings of every shape, size, and walk of life. 

Participants in the project entered a small white room with a red curtain and opened themselves up, literally, for what eventually became “Stripped: Gred Friedler’s Naked: Las Vegas,” baring not only their naked bodies, but, equally important, a bit of their inner souls. 

In 2008, with a pre-release copy of Greg Friedler’s book “Naked Las Vegas” in hand, David Palmer would journey back to Las Vegas and follow up interpersonally with 40 of the book’s true-life characters whom he had documented during Friedler’s initial Las Vegas shoot.  What would become apparent was that not only had the city of Las Vegas gone through very drastic changes, so too, on multiple levels, did the people whom Friedler and Palmer had photographed. 

Through Palmer’s discerning lens, which at times becomes so humanizing that even clothed, the film’s characters feel more naked than ever; viewers are privileged to see what happens when everyday human beings stripped of clothing, comforts and society’s judgments discover an even playing field of beauty, humanity and ultimately self love. 

The variety of visual candy is amazing.  From a homeless man who strips himself of his past regrets to find employment, a home of his own, and along with it his dignity; to a hermaphrodite couple exposing the truth that beauty and love can be shared beyond social stigmas; to an Elvis impersonator nakedly confronting his own lack of trust in society and finding faith in others by keeping his own commitments, “Stripped” prevails by sharing an honest, true story of ultimate triumph over what may seem like insurmountable social and personal odds. 

In our society that is overwrought with an obsession for money, fame and beauty, this collective of unique and sometimes bizarre individuals, living in one of the world’s most infamous cities, shows all of us it is possible to grow from crisis, to find the betterment of humanity through vulnerability, and ultimately be uplifted and inspired by the triumphs of coming to terms with who we all really are.

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Eva Langoria Parker to be honored for Latin Chamber of Commerce Business Leadership Award in Las Vegas

Eva Longoria Parker, entrepreneur and owner of two new, successful CityCenter ventures, Beso steakhouse and Eve nightclub, will host the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce 35th Installation Gala on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Eve in Crystals at CityCenter in Las Vegas.  Red carpet starts at 6 p.m. for media. 

Part of the official swearing-in ceremony of the 2010 Board of Directors. Luis Valera, Chairman of the Board, will share his vision for 2010 and present Longoria Parker with the first-ever “Premio de Oro – Distinguished Leadership” award. The award recognizes Longoria Parker for her success as the Las Vegas Strip’s sole Latina restaurant and nightclub owner and for her commitment to expand opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses. 

In addition, the City of Las Vegas and Clark Country will declare February 20 as “Eva Longoria Parker Day.” 

Following the proclamation ceremony starting at 6:45 p.m. and award presentation at 7:45 p.m. for media, Longoria Parker will host an after-party celebration at Eve nightclub. Eve event is open to the public.

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Las Vegas Pawn Shop Doubles as Reality TV Show, Proving Junk Sells

Well, it’s not all junk.  But many may think their dust-collecting, largely abandoned asset won’t bring much money- that is until they haggle with Rick Harrison, center, or his father, Richard, left, or son Corey who co-own a hugely successful Las Vegas pawn shop, Gold and Silver Pawn. 

Recession?  What recession?  Boom times are out the roof, thanks in no small part to the History Channel’s hit reality TV series “Pawn Stars.” 

Back in July, before the show started, the family business about 70 customers a day that showed up at the 713 Las Vegas Blvd. South address. 

And now? “We do about 1,000 a day,” said beaming Rick Harrison. 

The 35 episodes of national TV exposure have doubled revenue and generated a non-stop waiting line of 50 customers throughout the day, which usually ends at 11 p.m. 

The Harrisons have even added a surreal touch for their customers: a velvet rope for crowd control, ala a Las Vegas nightclub. 

Two of the more shocking items that recently arrived: a bronze medal from the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics and a 1998 Denver Broncos Super Bowl ring.  Rick Harrison said he paid $700 for the medal and $11,000 for the bejeweled ring.  The medal came from a shoebox found in a garage by a son-in-law who was cleaning up after his wife’s father died. The family, who lived in the Midwest, was vacationing in Las Vegas and decided to sell the medal. 

“Names aren’t etched on Olympic medals so we have no idea who it belonged it to,” Harrison said. 

Harrison said the ring owner identified himself as a former landlord of Bronco safety Tori Noel, a late addition to the team roster. The former University of Tennessee standout saw little action that year in Denver, the first of back-to-back Super Bowl titles, and suffered a career-ending injury the next year during training camp. 

It’s not the only Super Bowl ring pawned at Gold and Silver. Harrison said he purchased Brock Williams’ ring from the 2002 Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots. 

Williams, a former cornerback at Notre Dame, was paid about $2,000 for the ring. He never returned to buy it back, Harrison said.

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Las Vegas Foodies Offered 50 Percent Discount

One of the focus areas of Las Vegas Backstage Access is fine dining, so it’s a big deal when supermarket food can be purchased at a 50 percent saving– that leaves more money in the budget for dining out at lots of cool Las Vegas restaurants! 

Today, Friday, from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Star Theater in the Greek Isles Hotel, 305 Convention Center Drive a launch party is being held for the Las Vegas Food Co-op, operated by The Verve Foundation, where multiple vendors offer a monthly menu of food items at a tremendous value.  There are no membership fees or monetary qualification to join.

The free kickoff party features The Sturdy Band, Imagine Dragons and A Crowd of Small Adventures.  A cash bar and menu is available. 

Food can be ordered online at www.thevervefoundation.org with credit cards.  Or, to pay with cash or food stamps, people may call the foundation office at 702-425-3951. 

Food orders placed can be picked up the last Saturday of each month at the foundation’s Las Vegas warehouse, 7850 Dean Martin Drive, Sutie 503.

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