Tag Archives: movies

A Bronx Tale Spins in Las Vegas

Chazz Palminteri was sitting on the front stoop of his parents’ apartment block, minding his own business, when shots were fired during a fight over a nearby parking space. A man was murdered right in front of him, and young Palminteri’s life changed forever.

Palminteri used the shocking event as an inspiration and wrote a screenplay called A Bronx Tale about his growing up in world filled with crime, gambling and gangsters. In 1993, the play was made into a movie, directed by and starring Robert De Niro.

Now an Academy Award-nominated actor himself, Palminteri revisits his checkered past in his one-man version of A Bronx Tale at the Venetian Showroom in Las Vegas.

The production sees Palminteri retrace his steps and navigate the rough streets of ’60s-era New York, as he is forced to choose between the law-abiding life of his father and the lifestyle of a local mobster.

Palminteri premiered his production at the Venetian last year, and he brings it back for a second 11-night running now through May 9. 8 p.m., $45.75, dark April 30 and May 7.

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Marilyn Monroe’s Bust on Las Vegas Casino Auction Block

It may be one of the most famous busts in the world, and Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Casino & Hotel is offering fans a unique chance to snap up a picture of Marilyn Monroe’s chest as they’ve never seen it before.

A rare X-ray of the iconic film star’s torso will be going up for auction at the casino resort this summer. 

The radiograph was originally taken in November 1954 at the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Florida as the ‘Some Like it Hot’ star underwent surgery for a condition of the womb called endometriosis.  One entrepreneurial young doctor decided to keep the scan as a souvenir, later passing it on to his daughter who decided to put it up for sale at the vintage Hollywood-themed Vegas casino.  So much for patients’ rights…

Other memorabilia owned by the star, who passed away at the age of 36 in 1962, which will go up for auction at Planet Hollywood on June 26 include her therapy couch, a pair of skis bearing the initials “MM,” and a bottle of her Chanel No5 perfume.

Certainly, the film star’s cult following will ensure that there is no shortage of interest when the auction takes place later this summer, and Monroe fans from across the globe are expected to flock to Planet Hollywood to take home, if lucky, a little piece of sexy cinema history.

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Paris Hilton has No Takers for TV Show

The Simple Life is not simple anymore for Paris Hilton. 

Paris Hilton`s latest idea of making a new reality show on her personal life has found no takers among TV executives pitched from many channels.  It appears that television brass doesn’t care about her, leading many to say her audience appeal is vanishing at warp speed. 

Pop socialite, Hilton heiress and consummate Las Vegas partier, once being the center of tabloid action with millions of fans, had been planning a new reality television show to revive her sagging career, covering her engagement and wedding to current boyfriend Doug Reinhardt. 

In the past, the 29-year-old has found a modicum of success as a porn star, subject of a homemade sex tape, and in several reality shows. But the pop tart has failed miserably in legitimate movies- her name in the credits usually guarantees that a film won’t be taken seriously. 

Of course, the current rekindling of former BFFs Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie just might do the trick.  After a long absence, the duo was recently spotted last week seriously chatting up some scheme at Victoria’s Secret 15th Swimsuit Anniversary in Beverly Hills. 

Other viable options for Hilton could be to continue to seek out and walk red carpets – for a reduced fee – or do infomercials- IF execs see the products would benefit from her endorsements.  

Could Paris Hilton morph into the female incarnate of deceased supreme huckster Billy Mays?

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Las Vegas Movie Premier of “She’s Out of My League” Deals with Sex

The long-awaited movie premiere of “She’s Out of My League” will be held Wed., March 10, at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas, with a 6:30 p.m. red carpet that’s open to the public.

As it gets close to its release date, the movie keeps teasing audiences by releasing a new steamy snippet which shares a racy sequence. This age-restricted clip gives a preview to the movie’s star, Jay Baruchel, who admits that he has not experienced sex for quite some time, before he is going to make love with her on-screen girlfriend, Alice Eve.

In the film, Baruchel portrays Kirk, an airport security agent who is forced to believe that he is not woman’s favorite type of a boyfriend. When he gets what he never dreamed before – dating smart, sexy, charming young woman called Molly (played by Eve) – their relationship is threatened by his own insecurities and the advice from family and friends.

Beside the two lead actors, “She’s Out of My League” is supported by Krysten Ritter, who plays Patty, Mike Vogel, who stars as Jack, and Geoff Stults, who portrays Cam. Directed by Jim Field Smith, this romantic comedy is set to be unleashed in the U.S. on March 12.

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ShoWest Brings A-Listers, Galas to Las Vegas

The statistic is mind-blowing:  Over $4 billion in ticket sales for Warner Bros. alone from its 2009 worldwide box office.   In the U.S. alone, the company raked in more than $2 billion. The staggering numbers were revealed recently when ShoWest announced that it will present the Achievement Award to the company at the final night’s banquet and awards ceremony March 18 as the four-day convention wraps up at Bally’s and Paris in Las Vegas. 

A huge number of A-list movie stars not only representing Warner’s upcoming films, but many celebrities and executives from other movies as well.  Expect award parties daily, starting March 15. 

Film awardees already announced: Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, who will be awarded Showest’s Stars of Tomorrow.  Katherine Heigel, right, is being tapped as Female Star of the Year.  Jerry Bruckheimer will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.   Sam Worthington will be vetted as Male Star of the Year.   Many, many more will be honored at the Las Vegas movie convention.

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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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AVN Adult Movie Awards Kick Off in Las Vegas in January

The nominations for the 2010 AVN Adult Movie Awards were announced and the winners in more than 100 different categories to be revealed live at the AVN Awards Show on Jan. 9, 2010, at Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. 

This year’s gala event is co-hosted by none other than two of the biggest names in the world of erotica, Kayden Kross, right, and Kirsten Price, left.

The 27th annual ceremony is the most important and star-studded night for the adult film industry as it rolls out its red carpet and celebrates the best and brightest in the business.  More than 5,000 releases were reviewed by the AVN staff during the year.  The event is a Herculean effort treated with the same seriousness and on par with the talent as the Academy Awards. 

Awards will be given out in 125 categories, including Best Video Feature, Best Parody, Female Performer of the Year, Best Adult Web site and numerous Best Sex Scene awards.  Movie titles receiving multiple nominations included 2040, Nurses, The 8th Day, Throat: A Cautionary Tale, Pure, Tori Black is Pretty Filthy, Flight Attendants, The Sex Files; A Dark XXX Parody, Ass Worship 11, Teachers and many more.  Stars such as Sasha Grey, Manuel Ferrara, Jenna Haze, Tori Black and others also received multiple nominations for their work this year.   A full list of categories and nominees can be found at www.avnawards.com

Tickets are available at avnawards.com for $300 each. 

First presented in 1983, the AVN Adult Movie Awards show is the adult industry equivalent to the Academy Awards for mainstream filmed entertainment.  Each January, industry talent, producers and technicians gather together in Las Vegas – THE Sin City – for a night of accolades, entertainment and fun.  The AVN Adult Movie Awardshonors the best movies, performers and production companies in adult entertainment in more than 100 different categories.  For more information on the AVN Adult Movie Awards show, please visit www.avnawards.com

AVN Media Network has become a global leader in the adult entertainment community.  AVN’s portfolio of business includes the widely-recognized industry journals:  AVN, AVN Online, GAYVN, and AVN Novelty Business.  In addition, AVN hosts the leading industry conventions: AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, Internext Las Vegas, Internext Summer, AVN Adult Novelty Expo and the consumer show Erotica LA.  It also provides online coverage through AVN.com news and AVN Live, along with cutting-edge industry e-newsletters.  AVN also hosts the annual AVN Adult Movie Awards and GAYVN Awards ceremonies.  For more information, visit the web site at www.avn.com 

For reservation information at the Palms, please call toll free at (866) PALMS-RES, (866) 725-6773, or visit www.palms.com. For groups of 15 rooms or more, contact the Sales Department at (866) PALMS-MTG or (866) 725-6768.

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Asian Megastar Rain Plans Rare U.S. Appearance in Las Vegas

Extremely popular Korean superstar Rain, 27, promoted by J-Tune Entertainment, has announced he will play his first American concerts in three years when he headlines The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Dec. 24-25. 

Rain is one of the very first Asian pop singing stars who has a rapidly growing fan base extending beyond Asia. 

Rain’s last American concert also took place at The Colsseum in December 2006. The Caesars shows will be the first in the U.S. since the end of the lawsuit brought against the singer for canceling concerts in Los Angeles and Hawaii in 2007. 

This concert marks be the U.S. leg of his “Legend of Rainism” tour that took place in Japan in August and in South Korea last month. 

Rain is also on an American press junket to promote “Ninja Assassin,” a Hollywood extreme action movie produced by James McTeigue, in which the South Korean-born star, whose real name is Jeong Ji-hoon, plays the lead role of Raizo, an orphan who is trained by a secret ninja clan to become a deadly killer. 

Amazingly, Rain pulled off 90-percent of the stunt roles, using minimal wire support. He was hurt on many occasions, and though he didn’t break any bones he bears “many scars of honor.” 

It is also the first time a Korean star is playing the title role in a major Hollywood franchise. 

The modern martial arts flick is the South Korean superstar’s second collaboration with the creators of  “The Matrix” series. He made his Hollywood debut in “Speed Racer,” which was directed by the Wachowski brothers. 

Before playing in Las Vegas, Rain performs a two-night stand at AsiaWorld-Arena in Hong Kong Nov. 28-29, followed by a Dec. 3 gig at Jakarta International Event & Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Links:  Web  http://www.rain-jihoon.com/main.html  and http://www.rainism.com and MySpace http://www.myspace.com/officialrainusa

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CineVegas Film Festival Cancels 2010 Event in Las Vegas

The organizers of the CineVegas Film Festival, which celebrates innovative U.S. films and their Indie-style filmmakers, have sadly and regrettably canceled their 2010 June event in Las Vegas. 

Festival President Robin Greenspun issued a statement citing “the current economic climate and the pressures it created” as the leading culprit. Greenspun says organizers didn’t want to let the economy affect the festival’s quality, so they put the event “on hold” until the turbulent economy shows stronger signs of life. 

Sadlly, this was the largest film festival in the Las Vegas and the exit leaves a big void in developing Las Vegas as a cultural destination and as an incubator of fine art, with only a few more niche festivals remaining, most notably the Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City and the Las Vegas Jewish Festival. 

Meanwhile, CineVegas will continue to spread the good word in Sin City via special mini film screenings and events from time to time throughout the year. 

Creative Advisory Board Chairman and movie icon Dennis Hopper, right, is most likely not only recovering from hisDennisHopper latest operation, but probably also seething in semi-darkness, the glow from his colossal cigar creating hellfire glints in his narrowed eyes. 

This year’s CineVegas, the seventh edition, was held in June at the Brenden Theatres inside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

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Ashton Kutcher in Las Vegas for Movie Premier, Diggnation Pow-Wow Today

Ashton Kutcher, actor and husband to Demi Moore and the face of Nikon’s Cool Pix camera campaign, will join Digg.com founder and former Las Vegas resident Kevin Rose for an episode of Diggnation this evening. The show’s regular co-host, Alex Albrecht, co-creator of podcast hit “The Totally Rad Show,” will also take part. ashtonkutcher

Kutcher fans and residents of Diggnation are invited to attend the Las Vegas-based broadcast, which will begin at 5 p.m. at the Palms Casino & Resort on August 5. 

The tech-savvy trio, who exchanged plans on Twitter, will set up at the Pearl at 5:30 p.m., according to a Palms spokesperson.

The three Internet addicts will discuss the top stories listed on the Digg.com, a site that allows users to submit and share links to stories, blogs, videos and other Web content. 

Yet Diggnation is not the only reason Kutcher is coming to town. The 31-year-old star is also headed this way for the premiere of his new movie, “Spread,” which hits theaters across the U.S. on August 14. 

In “Spread,” produced by Kutcher’s Katalyst production company, Kutcher plays a fun-loving freeloader who suddenly finds himself on the street after his sugar mamma, played by Heche, discovers he’s been cheating on her with a woman younger than Kutcher — one who is Heche’s age. 

Kutcher will also walk the red carpet about 6:30 p.m. today outside Brenden Theaters immediately following his guest spot on Diggnation.  

Kutcher’s co-star, Anne Heche, will also be at the Palms for the premiere but it has not been said whether Kutcher’s famous and famously older wife, Demi Moore, will be there. 

The May-December pair, who enjoy a 15-year age difference, tied the knot in 2005.

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Cher Returning to Big Screen

Caesars Palace headliner Cher is returning to the big screen, after a 10-year absence.  She will sing while playing Christina Aguilera’s mother in “Burlesque,” which starts filming in November.

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Nevada Films Goose State Revenue

Although Nevada tourism slumped in 2008, producers and directors of film and television projects spent $110 million shooting and finishing shows in Nevada in 2008.  The results surpassed the $103.3 million the Nevada Film Office counted in 2007, when a writers’ strike in November and December brought production to a nationwide halt. 

Among the film projects in Nevada in 2008, were such major movies as “The Race to Witch Mountain,” released in March, and “The Hangover,” a paean to Vegas-based bachelor parties, scheduled to open this month.  

But the real revenue bang accruing from Nevada filming comes from television shows.  Programs including “America’s Next Top Model,” “American Idol,” “My Super Sweet 16,” and “Bridezilla” all were taped in Nevada in 2008.  “The Jerry Springer Show” and primetime dramas including Fox’s “Prison Break,” and CBS’s “CSI:  Las Vegas” were all filmed in Nevada, as well as countless music videos, commercials, student films and other media projects. 

Approximately 95 percent of the Nevada filming has occurred in Las Vegas. 

Since 2000, producers and directors have filmed or taped more than 4,500 projects in Nevada, for an economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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Las Vegas Takes One Step Closer to Hollywood, Planning Video Manufacturing Plant

Before you get the impression that Las Vegas businesses are closing down and moving out enmasse because of our sour economy, please reconsider.  Apparently, some businesses considering a move to Las Vegas are not giving up JimJannard2on the desert ship just yet.  Case in point is Red Digital Cinema, the manufacturer of the highly touted, leading cutting edge technology red camera, whose high-tech movie production equipment has been used to shoot “Angels and Demons” and many other movies.

Red Digital founder and CEO Jim Jannard has been talking to the Clark County Commission and apparently they are all ears about his plan to manufacture his cameras at an 80-acre site in the far southwest valley of Las Vegas, and to build aJimJannard sound studio there as well, along with homes for himself and others like him who work in the movie industry.   In fact, the commission has already recently voted approval of some zoning changes for the project, clearing the initial building hurdle. 

The Nevada Development Authority, which works to attract businesses to Southern Nevada, helped Jannard to find the 80 acres and is assisting Red Digital Cinema in completing the paperwork required by local governments. 

A member of Red Digital Cinema’s board of directors told the commission a week ago that the business complex, when completed, will employ from 1,000 to 2,000 people. 

Those words are more than mere hope and boastful bravado.  Jannard  has a long history of success.  In 1975 he found Oakley Inc., the company famous for its sunglasses and eyewear.  Forbes magazine last year estimated Jannard has about $3 billon in assets.

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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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Stars of “The Hangover” Hijacked in Las Vegas Orgy-fication

Actress Heather Graham plays a single mom stripper in the new Las Vegas-filmed comedy movie “The Hangover,” which opens today.   During a break in filming, Graham went to see the Cirque du Soleil hot and naked “Zumanity” show in Las Vegas with co-star Bradley Cooper and director Todd (“Old School”) Phillips. Heather Graham

Every night, for the finale, cast members toss unsuspecting audience members onstage for a sexless orgy.  The night they visited, the Zumanity cast slipped Copper into the orgy, took off his shirt and rubbed him all over, according to Graham. 

Bradley CooperCooper was not only unsuspecting, but before the show, Cirque workers assured him, Graham and Phillips they would not be orgy-fied. 

“They were like, ‘We’re not gonna take you guys up onstage,’” Graham says.  “We were like, ‘Oh good’ – and then they grab Bradley, take his shirt off, and he’s like, ‘Ohhh!’ Really freaking out.” 

But it was all apparently in fun as they just laughed the incident off.

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Las Vegas CineVegas Film Festival Celebrity Honorees Named

JonVoightJon Voight, left, and Willem Dafoe, right, will be feted at the 11th annual CineVegas film festival starting on June 14 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.  Voight will receive the Marquee Award, and Dafoe, the Vanguard Actor award. Willem Dafoe

The fest will also honor directors George and Mike Kuchar and video game creators Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago. 

The CineVegas film festival will run June 10-15 in Las Vegas.

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George Clooney Films in Las Vegas

Iconic actor George Clooney was reportedly spotted yesterday shooting film scenes and reacting to fans outsideGeorgeClooney Bally’s in Las Vegas for Paramount’s “Up in the Air.”   Later, Clooney shot scenes at a vacant hotel across from Mandalay Bay.  When filming completed, he was seen hugging everyone he worked with.

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Iconic Porn Star Marilyn Chambers is Dead, Las Vegas Memories Live On

Porn star/actress Marilyn Chambers is dead at 56. She was found April 12 in her Southern California home by her 17-year-old daughter, McKenna Marie Taylor.  Chambers is also survived by her brother, Bill Briggs, and her sister, Jann Smith.   marilynchambers1

But, sadly, news of her death barely made a blip on the Las Vegas virtually anything goes  entertainment news radar. 

Las Vegas Backstage Access waited and waited for something to appear, then decided an article was in order on the verge of her birthday.  After all, she is credited for bringing pornographic films into the mainstream and, in so doing, substantially added to Las Vegas’ colorful and alluring mystique. 

Born Marilyn Ann Briggs on April 22, 1952 in Providence, Rhode Island, Chambers was an attractive, effervescent young woman who had begun her career as a mainstream model and actress, finding fame as the smiling blonde cuddling a laughing, nappy-clad baby on Ivory Snow ads, a popular brand of detergent. When she then appeared in an adult film featuring hard-core inter-racial sex, Procter & Gamble, whose products were claimed to be “100% pure,” quickly pulled the boxes from the shelves. 

Though the manufacturer quickly replaced her,  it was later discovered that she also had a small role in the 1970 Barbara Streisand film “The Owl and the Pussycat.” 

Chambers traded her wholesome image as an all-American pin-up girl for notoriety as a porn star, credited with bringing hard-core adult films into the mainstream consciousness when she starred in the explicit very low-budget 1972 movie “Behind the Green Door.” 

Chambers was the first crossover adult movie star. 

Chambers, also known as Marilyn Ann Taylor, and then-husband/manager Chuck Traynor were fairly high-profile Las Vegas residents during the 1980s, when they co-owned a local gun and survival store, The Survival Store, backing operating partner Bob Irwin in the gun store and shooting range at Interstate 15 and Spring Mountain Road in Las Vegas. 

It was Chambers that popularized the “machine gun and bikini” image used to promote the store – a similar ploy used even today by gun stores around the country – for several years before she separated from Traynor, who was controversial for his earlier marriage to porn star Linda Lovelace (Linda Susan Boreman) and her allegations of abuse. 

Chambers and fellow actresses Linda Lovelace and Georgina Spelvin skyrocketed to fame and stardom at this time when both American social mores and the quality of hard-core sex films were changing. 

For the first time, films like “Behind the Green Door” and “Deep Throat” (also released in 1972 and starring Lovelace) had decent acting and legitimate, albeit fairly thin plots. As the audiences for them grew to include couples, they also began to take on higher production values and to be seen in places other than sleazy theaters. 

She followed the “Green Door” film with other hard-core films “Resurrection of Eve,” in 1973 and “Inside Marilyn Chambers” in 1975. Then she announced in 1976 that she was giving up adult films to pursue other interests. She starred in the 1977 horror movie “Rabid” and to put together a song-and-dance show that played Las Vegas and elsewhere.  After this, the rest of her career she spent shuffling between sex and horror flicks. 

In October 1974, Chambers performed in the dinner-theater comedy “Mind With the Dirty Man” at Las Vegas’ Union Plaza (in reference to the Union Pacific railroad station that originally stood at the site now known as the Plaza Hotel and Casino).  It was at this period she was attempting to spin her notoriety into non-porn endeavors, with plaza owners including the likes of prominent Las Vegas businessmen Sam Boyd, Howard Cannon and Jackie Gaughan.  She returned to the Plaza stage in early 1978 for “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” 

But by 1979, Chambers was back acting in sex films and onstage for a short-lived engagement in the one-woman show “Sex Surrogate” at the Jolly Trolley casino in Las Vegas. The show drew the quick ire of Las Vegas officials because full nudity is banned in casinos with unrestricted gaming. 

In 1981, Chambers became a fulltime Clark County Nevada resident and known well-known enough that a routine summons for jury duty caused a courthouse stir and generated newspaper coverage. She was dismissed after explaining to the judge, “I’m an entertainer and I have to be in Cleveland Wednesday for an engagement.” 

Chambers, married and divorced three times, remained in Las Vegas through the 1980s after her separation from Traynor, who died in 2002. She also dated Bobby D’Apice, who later made headlines as the Crazy Horse Too shift manager in Las Vegas that was sentenced to prison for breaking the neck of a customer. 

In an online chat with AdultDVDtalk.com in 2000, Chambers attempted to explain what caused her to take such a radically different career path after “The Owl and the Pussycat” and her modeling work. 

“Back then in my naive brain I was thinking that something like ‘Behind the Green Door’ had never been done before and the way our sexual revolution was traveling I really thought it was going to be a stepping stone which would further my acting career,” she said. 

She learned afterward, she said, that wasn’t the case. “There will always be a stigma on people who do adult films,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that that’s the way society has made it.” 

She returned to adult films in 1980 in “Insatiable” and through the rest of her career went back and forth between explicit movies and R-rated ones. Hirsch noted that one of the most striking things about Chambers’ career was its longevity in a business where stars quickly fade. She still has a photo gallery on the Web site Adult Video News and the Internet Movie Database credits her as recently completing a film called, “Porndogs: The Adventures of Sadie” with Ron Jeremy. 

Although Chambers was quick to point out in 2000 that she had done more R-rated films that X-rated ones, she made no apologies for the latter:  “I have to say that the adult films have been a total pleasure,” she said. “They were like getting paid to live out my greatest fantasies. The rest of the stuff … sometimes got to be a real grind.” 

Marilyn Chambers was ranked by Playboy magazine as one of the top 100 sex stars of the 20th century and was named among the top 10 adult film stars of all time. 

Her Southern California death currently remains under investigation.

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Comedian Bob Newhart to Receive NAB Award in Las Vegas

Droll comedian/actor Bob Newhart will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame during the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show Television Luncheon on April 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. bobnewhart

Newhart is being recognized for his contributions to entertainment which span comedy albums, two highly successful television series and several movies and guest appearances.   The award will be given to Newhart by NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr.

Past NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame television inductees include Bob Barker, Regis Philbin, The Tonight Show, and Star Trek. 

The NAB Show will be April 18 through 23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Hilton.  Exhibits will begin on April 20.  NAB Show information:  http://www.nabshow.com/2009/eventInfo/default.asp

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Ne-Yo has come a long way . . .

While studying at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies as a performing and visual arts major, Shaffer Smith neyolearned that it’s okay to be different.  Today, 29-year-old Ne-Yo – Shaffer was renamed after Matrix movie character Neo – doesn’t need to be concerned at all about being different.  He appears to be quite comfortable in his role as a three-time Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter, actor and record producer. 

Ne-Yo has accepted his fourth acting gig, being part of the cast of George Lucas “Red Tails” – a film about the World War II Tuskegee pilots.  Yes,  it’s that George Lucas and it’s those Tuskegee pilots.  

This will also be the feature film directorial debut for Anthony Hemingway.  In addition to Ne-Yo, the ensemble cast includes Terrance Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bryan Cranston, Nate Parker and Method Man.

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Criminal Minds Star Morphs into ‘Allllvinnn!’

CBS’s Criminal Minds very popular actor Matthew Gray Gubler is a Las Vegas product born and bred.  Performing as matthewgublerthe three Ph.D. degree-holding Dr. Spencer Reid on the TV series since 2005,  Gubler was raised in a quiet neighborhood near Bob Baskin Park in Las Vegas, later graduating from the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts High School and later attended a four-year class at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, majoring in drama and graduating in 1998.  

After that “The Gube,” started his “profiling” career by studying at the University of California in Santa Cruz and two year later decided to leave California and move to New York to enroll at  the Tisch School of the Arts, later graduating from that school in 2002.  While in Manhattan he walked the runways for some of the biggest fashion designers including Marc Jacobs, Burrberry, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger and Sisley. 

Gubler, 29, is now taking a brief television break from his “personal voyage of desperation and tragedy,” to voice Simon in the new Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel movie planned for release on December 25th by 20th Century Fox.

 “I welcome the role with open arms because it’s so fun- not that I don’t love looking at bloody fingerprints,” says a confident and beaming Gubler. 

Okay!

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Nevada Film Industry Weathers Economic Storm with Gusto

While most segments of Nevada’s economy have been shrinking, if not temporarily disappearing all together, there’s one area that not only met budget projections but those projections earned more than $100 million dollars for various Nevada coffers.  witchmountain

The Nevada Film Office (NFO) announced that film related production revenue for 2008 totaled $110,552,900, making it the 9th year that the NFO has met their $100 million benchmark. 

“The figures from the last decade confirm that Nevada is at the forefront of the film industry as a production destination.” said Luis Valera, Commissioner for the Nevada Commission on Economic Development. 

The NFO assists a variety of productions including commercials, television series and student and feature movies.   The movie “21” and CSI: Las Vegas are favorites that come to mind.  But already in 2009 the reality program The Locator, comedy show Howie Do It and the news program ABC Primetime have all completed Las Vegas filming segments. 

In 2008, the current box office smash Race to Witch Mountain spent several weeks filming in downtown Las Vegas- and it didn’t just spend time under the glitzy neon glamour lighting.  As with other productions, non-Strip Las Vegas facilities served as useful and realistic filming locations.   The Fergusons Motel on 10th street was the home of down on his luck hero cabbie Jack Bruno (aka Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson).  The El Cortez Hotel and perennial filming favorite, Planet Hollywood, was featured prominently.  And in addition to filming on the Strip and through Fremont Street, the Race to Witch Mountain crew spent time working at Red Rock Canyon – which once again appears to be the perfect setting for another far, far away and very arid planet. 

With a growing list of Las Vegas film projects already approved and permitted for 2009, this is sure to be another banner year for NFO revenues.  That should translate into more revenue in the bank for hotels, caterers and equipment rental agencies.  And, of course, Las Vegas residents who earn extra bucks playing extras, will continue to bring Nevada to life on plasma TVs around the world.  

With this amount of money spent by film crews each year, Las Vegas won’t even mind if the hero makes a grand exit through the side door of the Tropicana and walks out under the blinking winking lights of the Fremont Street canopy (Angel – Season 4 – The House Always Wins).   

After all, the buck stopped in Las Vegas, right?

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Dennis Quaid to Receive ShoWest’s Male Star of the Year Award in Las Vegas

Dennis Quaid will receive the coveted ShoWest male star of the year nod at the upcoming confab of theater owners. dennis-quaid1

ShoWest runs March 30-April 2 in Las Vegas at Bally’s and the Paris Hotel & Casino. 

Quaid will be seen in theaters with Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions’ CG-animated “Battle for Terra,” which opens May 1. Later this summer, Qauid will be acting in Paramount’s actioner “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” and then in Overture’s horror pic “Pandorum.” 

Quaid will receive the ShoWest award at the closing banquet on April 2.

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ShoWest Awardees Announced

“Where does one begin when referring to Michael Caine,” said Mitch Neuhauser, ShoWest co-managing director.  “With over five decades of films to his credit, Michael Caine has quietly commanded the screen in well over 100 roles. He simply does it all, and he does it all so incredibly well be it comedy, drama or action. With such films as ‘Alfie,’ michael-caine‘Funeral in Berlin,’ ‘Sleuth,’ ‘The Man Who Would Be King,’ ‘Educating Rita,’ ‘Hannah & Her Sisters,’ ‘The Cider House Rules,’ ‘The Quiet American,’ and of course, ‘The Dark Knight,’ Michael Caine’s diversity has accorded him this incredible ability to draw movie audiences in worldwide throughout his career. We could not be more honored to present this brilliant actor with the ShoWest Lifetime Achievement Award.” 

Michael Caine will receive the ShoWest Lifetime Achievement Award at ShoWest’s Final Night Banquet and Award Ceremony at Bally’s and the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 2.  

Also being recognized at the 2009 ShoWest event are Zack Snyder as the ShoWest 2009 Director of the Year Award, Zac Efron – ShoWest 2009 Breakthrough Performer of the Year Award (previous Las Vegas Backstage Access article), Bradley Cooper – ShoWest 2009 Comedy Star of the Year Award, Sienna Miller – ShoWest Supporting Actress of the Year and Chris Pine – ShoWest Male Star of Tomorrow (previous Las Vegas Backstage Access article).  

Kerasotes Showplace Theatres Chairman and CEO Tony Kerasotes and President and Chief Operating Officer Dean Kerasotes, will also be honored as the “ShoWesters of the Year” at the 2009 convention.

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Trekkies Eagerly Await Las Vegas Rebirth

For ten years, Trekkies made their regular pilgrimages to the Las Vegas Hilton visiting the Star Trek the Experience exhibit.   They would belly up to the Quarks bar and meet Borg in a 4-D ride with Captain Kathryn Janeway.  True fansstartrek1 would spend hours checking out the exhibits and reviewing the video timelines before embarking on a time-traveling shuttle ride.  But with declining attendance and increasing costs, the decision was made by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company to decommission the Experience on September 1, 2008. 

Now, five months later, it has been announced that the Neonopolis, a three-story shopping center at the entrance of The Fremont Street Experience, will be the new home of Star Trek in Las Vegas.  Neonopolis current tenants include the Galaxy movie theatres and Jillian’s restaurant. 

The Quark-like restaurant and retail shop will hopefully be in business by the planned May 8 opening night of the latest movie in the Star Trek saga.  However, the expectation is that the Star Trek museum and rides won’t be ready until 2010.

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Las Vegas World Movie Premier: “Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective” on March 8

Celebrities galore plan to walk the “green carpet” for the world movie premiere of “Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet ace-venturaDetective” on Sunday at Noon (line forms at 10 a.m.) at the Springs Preserve at 333 S. Valley View Blvd. in Las Vegas. 

The event, sponsored by Johnny Brenden (Brenden Theatres at the Palms) and the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, features celebrity hosts Ryan Malgarini (CBS’ Gary Unmarried) and Brittany Curran (Legally Blondes).  And walking the carpet from the film will be Josh Flitter (Nancy Drew, License to Wed), Emma Lockhart (Batman Begins), Austin Rogers (Drillbit Taylor), Reed Alexander (Nickelodeon’s iCarly), Adam Hicks (How to Eat Fried Worms, Shaggy Dog), Hunter Clary (Fuel, The Transporter II, Meet the Spartans) and Dan Curtis Lee (Upcoming Zeke & Luther, Ned’s Classified School Survival Guide). 

Attendees can receive autographs from their favorite celebrities and then all are invited to a special movie showing at the venue. 

The movie follows the Ace Ventura motion picture series made popular by Jim Carrey.  Actor Josh Flitter, 12, plays Ace Jr., the son of the eccentric detective who steps into his father’s shoes after his mother is wrongly arrested for stealing a baby panda.  The movie provides a new generation of family fun and goof-brained comedy panda-monium as Ace Ventura Jr. teams with adventurous girl-next-door Laura (Emma Lockhart) and nerdish gizmo-wiz A-Plus (Austin Rogers) to chase down leads and laughs.

Ready for fun? Allriiiighty-then. Ace – Ace Jr. is on the case!

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ShoWest to Honor Zac Efron as Breakthrough Performer of the Year in Las Vegas

High School Musical star Zac Efron will be recognized as ShoWest 2009 Breakthrough Performer of the Year at the zacefronannual Las Vegas event during the Final Night Banquet and Award Ceremony on April 2 at Bally’s and Paris in Las Vegas. 

Efron’s first appearance at ShoWest was as Nicky Blonsky’s love interest Link Larkin in the 2007 movie Hairspray.  He is best known as Troy Bolton, acting in three Disney High School Musical films. 

Mitch Neuhauser, co-managing director of the event, said, “[Efron’s] undeniable onscreen presence and charm have connected with fans around the world, and with the impending release of the comedy ’17 Again,’ Zac Efron is poised to break out as a true Hollywood star.”

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Jonas Brothers ‘Stealth’ Into Las Vegas, Then Vanish

The teen idol Jonas Brothers stealthily arrived in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon, when many were watching the NASCAR Shelby 427 race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with a yearning to watch their 3-D concert.    jonasbrothers

The virginal Disney pop trio flew to Las Vegas and rode to the nearest movie theater, Rave Motion Pictures in Town Square.   The group, girdled by handlers, said hi to the teens that leapt from their theater seats, but then were gone in less than a minute.  Oh well.

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Las Vegas Rain Nightclub Rains on Oscar Awards

The Oscar Night America event, which was to have been held February 22 at the Rain nightclub at the Palms Casino & Hotel has been cancelled due the economic downturn.  Organizer Jimmy Foster, president of Whispering Giants, the special events company in charge of organizing the event, says, “We feel it is better to skip this year and revisit our fundraising initiatives in 2010.”

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Captain Kirk Beams Down to Las Vegas in ShowWest Starship

showwestBefore Chris Pine walks the red carpet during the May Star Trek movie premier this May, he will first be attending the ShoWest Final Night Banquet on Thursday, April 2 to accept the ShoWest Male Star of Tomorrow award.  

Past winners of ShoWest Male Star of Tomorrow have included Emile Hirsch, Shia LaBeouf, Heath Ledger, and Matt Damon. 

ShoWest is an annual event for motion picture professionals and theatre owners.  This year it will be held at Bally’s and Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from March 30 through April 2.  

Although current economic trends have cut into the entertainment budget of most families, ShoWest provides an opportunity for theatre owners and operators to find enhancements and offer incentives that will not only bring those crowds back but keep them at the theatre longer.

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Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck Surprise Las Vegas Clubgoers

Joaquin Phoenix, who recently announced his retirement from acting in order to pursue his new music career, on Friday night, January 16, stepped to the microphone at the Lavo nightclub in the Palazzo in Las Vegas.  joaquinphoenix

The two-time 2008 Oscar nominee hasn’t completely walked away from the movies, though, as Casey Affleck, also an Oscar nominee, was at the Palazzo to record the special event for a documentary that Affleck will direct about Phoenix’s new musical career.

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Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival Kicks Off January 17

The eighth annual Jewish Film Festival starts on January 17 and runs through January 25 at the Adelson School jewishPerforming Arts Center, 9700 Hillpointe Road; January 22 and 29 at Cinemark’s Century South Point 16, inside the South Point, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South; and Feb 1 at the Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St. Complete festival schedule of events: www.desertspce.org/film_festival/index.html, the festival official Web site.

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Death of Las Vegas B-Movie Legend Ray Dennis Steckler

If there ever was a true filmmaking legend, it was Ray Dennis Steckler, a longtime Las Vegan.  Steckler, raysteckler70, died last Wednesday, January 7, following his courageous 10-year battle with heart disease.

Steckler made movies with virtually no money (to him, $10,000 was a huge budget) and none of the A-list actors- and they became immediate hits.  Known for such sought after cult-favorite flicks as “The Thrill Killers,” “Mixed Up Zombies,” and “Rat Pfink a Boo Boo,” Steckler did it all, being a one-man band.  He was an actor, freelance cinematographer – catching the film bug as a teen – and, after he moved to Las Vegas in 1970, he even taught filmmaking at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Yet, even has he faced death, Steckler said, “I am the luckiest man in the world,” his wife of 23 years recalls. “I made a living doing something I love.” 

If all of us could be so fortunate to have such an epitaph.

Steckler’s funeral is this Sunday, January 11, at 3 p.m. and is open to the public at Palm Mortuary at 7600 S. Eastern Avenue in Las Vegas.

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Las Vegas Goes 3D

Las Vegas visitors exchanged their beer goggles for 3D glasses at our Town Square Rave Theatre so that they could watch the Fox News broadcast of the Fed Ex BCS Title Game on January 8.  3D is coming of age and people appear to be flocking to its appeal.  Locals and guests were treated to a spectacular view of the championship event between the University of Florida Gators and the University of Oklahoma Sooners.  Only 81 locations in the nation offered the bowl game in 3D including Boston and New York. 

And this isn’t the first time Las Vegas hosted a 3D sporting event.  Special viewing parties also took place during the 2007 NBA finals and, due to their success, the NBA has announced plans to hold an HD 3D simulcast of the NBA All-Star basketball game on February 14. 

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