Posts tagged ‘palms’

UNLV film school brats face off at annual CineVegas showcase

June 18th, 2008

UNLV showcase
Scenes from UNLV’s shorts: Clockwise, from top left: Are You Sleeping, Brother John, 48 Hours – The Mockumentary, Don’t Spill the Beans, Thin Walls.

It’s tough enough being a student at UNLV in general – looming budget cuts, bottom-ranked football team, questionably valued degrees – but for UNLV Department of Film majors, it’s perhaps even tougher. I mean, what famed director ever talks about their education at UNLV? USC, UCLA, The New School, sure — but Tumbleweed Tech? Not so much.

However, that’s not to say these kids don’t try. The highlight of their year for the film school, one must assume, is the UNLV Showcase at the CineVegas Film Festival, where the top shorts by UNLV’s film students get their time in the (potentially) international spotlight on a big screen at The Palms’ Brenden Theaters. Of course, there is typically barely any room for the outside world even to get a look at these mini-movies, as seats tend to be filled with hundreds of the filmmakers’ friends, family and crews.

But I digress. This year’s showcase seemed to offer less memorable offerings than the 2007 version, though the general production values seem overall better. Sitting through the two-hour cavalcade of amateur filmmaking was, at times, alternatively tedious, joyful, tear inducing boring and enjoyable. Though the student filmmakers should be applauded for their efforts no matter what, that doesn’t mean we’re going to go easy on ‘em all. Here’s the lowdown on the 15 shorts through which I endured last night: (more…)

‘Chelsea on the Rocks’ – best served stirred, not shaken

June 16th, 2008

Bijou Phillps and Abel Ferrara
Abel Ferrara directs Bijou Phillps as Nancy Spungen in a scene from Chelsea on the Rocks.

Day 4 of the 10th annual CineVegas Film Festival (day 2 for us here) saw the usual bizarre mix of filmmakers, press and tourists swarming the Palms on Sunday. I believe I’ve said it here (or somewhere before), but it’s a bit surreal for such a high-profile film festival to be held (mostly) at cinemas located not only within a casino property but abutting a food court, from which the red carpet is located no more than 10 feet. Hence you get a scene like the one yesterday afternoon, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson making a red carpet appearance as gawkers abandoned the snack bar and Panda Express counters to applaud or snap photos of the wrestler-cum-actor with their phones.

I was there not to match raised eyebrow with The Rock but to check out a screening of one of two Abel Ferrara entries in this year’s festival, Chelsea on the Rocks. It’s a documentary about New York’s famous (infamous?) Chelsea Hotel, temporary home to untold numbers of artists, actors, filmmakers, poets and even some plain ol’ ordinary folk over the many decades of its existence, which sees its future in question under new ownership and new management. The casual conversations between Ferrara and various past and present residents of the Chelsea — including Milos Forman, Ethan Hawke and Robert Crumb — would have made for an engaging movie on their own, as well as the atmospheric scenes of the lobby and neighboring businesses that evoke the collective vibe of the property.

But Ferrara intersperses the interviews with unnecessary recreations/imaginings of “famous” situations at the Chelsea, such as Nancy Spungen’s mysterious death and drug overdose-inducing partying by Janis Joplin. Those vignettes, combined with time-killing transitional elements, extend the film about 20 minutes longer than it needed to be, and take away from the colorful, intimate anecdotes that really should be the meat of the film. Overall, it’s an intriguing look at a New York institution, but it’s a bit dizzying with its distractions. The audience’s own ambiguity toward the film may have been evident in the stalled, subdued applause rendered Chelsea in comparison to the enthusiastic reception given to its preceding short, To Kill an American, an inspiring, three-minute short by actor-turned-director Matthew Modine.

Ferrara could not attend the screening, but here’s Chelsea on the Rocks producer Jen Gatien introducing the film:

VEGASinsight finally gears up for CineVegas X

June 14th, 2008

CineVegas X

Yes, I know CineVegas Film Festival started on Thursday, June 12. I know this because I was supposed to review the opening-night film, The Rocker, and attend the CineVegas 10th Anniversary bash the following night at Palms Place. But thanks to our prolonged spring here in Las Vegas this year (typically we’re already in the 100s by now), my season-changing cold came about a month late, which of course coincided with the start of CineVegas.

Well, I’m still not at 100 percent, but I did manage to get down to the CineVegas Headquarters inside The Palms this afternoon to pick up my press credentials and put in ticket requests for the rest of the week’s screenings (not all of them, mind you — just select films in which I had interest). I probably won’t get rolling on the action until tomorrow, but hang tight as I’ll be dropping in reports more often throughout the week including reviews, celeb spotting and other nonsense. Sadly, I won’t be reviewing Choke, the new film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, because I was informed today it’s sold out. Sigh … that’s what I get for being sick.

Either way, I won’t be wanting for comfort during my time at The Palms, as CineVegas has set up a pretty sweet lounge for its volunteers, staff and media members, complete with complimentary Red Bull, multiple TVs, comfy couches, sponsor magazines and a ping pong table:

CineVegas lounge

CineVegas X honors Huston, Caan

May 27th, 2008

Rosario Dawson, Don Cheadle
Don, we can’t take our eyes off Rosario either.

Can you feel it in the air? No, we don’t mean the encroaching heat. We’re talking that rare, popcorn-smell-tainted buzz that comes to Las Vegas every June for the last 10 years: the CineVegas Film Festival.

Yes, kids, it’s the 10th edition already of the ever-growing film festival, which – much like all other major Vegas festivals and conferences – is really just an excuse to throw awesome parties for a week. But we digress; CineVegas – held this year from June 12 to 21 – affords locals one of the few opportunities to check out the latest in cutting-edge filmmaking from around the world and our own backyard.

Jackpot Premieres this time around include Big Heart City, Dark Streets and South of Heaven. There will be shorts programs featuring both Nevada filmmakers and UNLV auteurs. And one of the rare features of CineVegas, Le Próxima Ola — featuring groundbreaking Hispanic film making — returns once again. (more…)

Shannon Elizabeth solicits Las Vegas for a ‘Deal’ at the Palms

April 17th, 2008

Shannon Elizabeth
We’ve seen a lot of prostitutes in Vegas casinos. They are never this cute or happy.

Further blurring the state line between California and Nevada, yet another star-studded movie premiere is coming to Las Vegas next week (on the heels of last night’s 88 Minutes premiere at Planet Hollywood), and yes, it’s another Las Vegas-based gambling story (as was another PH premiere, 21), this time called Deal.

The film, directed by Gil Cates, Jr., features Burt Reynolds, Bret Harrison and Shannon Elizabeth – the latter as what else but a call girl – engaged in the world of high stakes poker. The green-felt glory of Deal will debut at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, April 24, at Brenden Theatres inside the Palms (4321 W. Flamingo Road) – not coincidentally, where premiere sponsor CineVegas will hold its 10th annual film festival later this summer.

Gawkers might want to make the trek to catch glimpses of red carpet walkers such as the aforementioned Elizabeth, Mimi Rogers, Melissa Rivers, Sharon Lawrence and a bunch of other decreasingly recognizable names including some Playboy Playmates, professional poker champs and maybe a few escaped convicts. We cannot confirm the last part of that statement.

N9NE Group: Yep, we’re granolas

April 15th, 2008

Moon nightclub
One of the best views in Las Vegas, now 100-percent carbon free.

N9NE Group – the dining and nightlife company behind all those clubs and restaurants at the Palms (4321 W. Flamingo Road) in which you enjoy imbibing and engaging in tomfoolery – is taking the initiative to be more environmentally responsible, as evidenced by a couple of notable events and announcements.

First, N9NE’s Moon nightclub atop the Palms’ Fantasy Tower is hosting an Earth Day fundraiser next Tuesday, April 22 at 10:30 p.m. Not only will a portion of the $20 cover charge be donated to the Nevada Conservation League, but patrons giving contributions at the donation station outside the club will receive drink tickets valid until the end of the night. Fliers for the event are being printed on Lotka paper, made from the bark of the Daphne bush, and apparently they produce flowers if planted. Seriously? Yep. How friggin’ rad is that? Every flier should be plantable! We could grow entire gardens just using the last batch of fliers left under my windshield wiper outside Beauty Bar last week.

Where were we? Oh, yeah, so on top of all that, Jack LaFleur will be spinning house music in Moon’s Satellite Bar, and body-painted dancers (are those eco-friendly paints?) will distribute 100-percent organic cotton tees from American Apparel throughout the night. (more…)

Pearl to get a Taste of Chaos

February 19th, 2008

Taste of Chaos 2008

For you local active rock and alt-metal fans who were afraid you’d miss some of your favorite mosh-inducing bands because the Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour was not coming through Las Vegas, you can breathe easy … or mosh hard, or whatever.

Three dates have been added to the 2008 tour, and one of those is the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Resort Casino April 8. Though headliner Avenged Sevenfold will not be performing on the Vegas date, fret not — there is still plenty of guitar-shredding awesomeness: Atreyu, Bullet for My Valentine, Bless the Fall and Idiot Pilot are all part of the lineup, plus special guest Japanese rock bands MUCC, D’espairsray and The Underneath.

Tickets are now on sale, so get a move on, you Hot Topic-shopping maniacs!

The Palms question

July 6th, 2006

A three-day party at the popular Vegas resort spawns questions about its future

While the Hard Rock Hotel changes hands from owner and founder Peter Morton to its new corporate owners – possibly jeopardizing its future as a hipster, boutique resort – George Maloof’s Palms Casino Resort continues to build on its status as the hottest property in Las Vegas. The latest addition to the resort’s arsenal of nightclubs, restaurants and over-the-top party suites is the fully-remodeled, $40 million Pool at the Palms.

Completed just in time for one of the craziest holidays in Vegas’ nonstop party, Fourth of July weekend, the new pool debuted to the public with a three-day bash celebrating the one-year anniversary of 944 Magazine.

Scott Weiland, (c) WireImageEvents at the resort included DJ Robert Oleysyck’s successful breaking of the Guinness World Record for longest DJ set (now 88 hours), a star-packed premier of Superman Returns at Brenden Theatres, a day-long string of live music culminating with performances by Camp Freddy and Panic Channel, fireworks, a declaration of “944 Day” by Mayor Oscar Goodman, and … man, we are running out of breath.

The Pool at the Palms features all sorts of nifty enhancements and adornments, including private tee pee-cabanas that overlook the pool area from a tall balcony, multiple bars (including one beneath a waterfall), table gaming, plush furniture and the coup-de-grace, a glass-bottomed pool and deck that rise above the table games and center bar.

On Saturday, however, the area was converted into a makeshift concert venue at which Dave Navarro’s latest musical projects were scheduled to entertain guests as part of the anniversary weekend festivities. This meant the pools were off-limits. Strictly. And amazingly, no one defied that unwritten rule, despite the heat that lasted well into the late evening.

The Palms is a study in the dichotomy of Las Vegas. On one hand, its is a popular locals casino, filled with copious (and supposedly loose) slot machines, which inevitably draws hundreds of senior citizens to its casino floor daily. On the west side of the property is a food court and the cinemas which – save perhaps for the week a year that CineVegas holes up at Brenden Theatres – cater to the lowest-common denominator.

It is on the east side of the resort where things gets interesting: Hart & Huntington Tattoo Parlor (star of cable TV’s “Inked”), ghostbar, Rain nightclub, AMP salon and spa, the entrance to the Fantasy Tower, and the aforementioned pool.

Maybe that’s why celebrities like the Palms so much. Unlike the Hard Rock Hotel, or even some Strip joints like Caesars Palace or Mandalay Bay, the average Palms gambler is mostly concerned with the three reels in front of him or her. There is no Circle Bar surrounded by mooks looking for loose women or famous faces. Heck, after Camp Freddy’s set ended, Navarro and his crew waltzed right in the front doors of the casino, no one noticing much and no need for security.

Of course, eventually the Palms will have to deal with its identity crisis. With the opening of the Fantasy Tower – home to the must-be-seen-to-be-believed Fantasy Suites and the penthouse Playboy Club – the Palms has thrown down a challenge to any other Vegas property to steal its thunder as the premier party spot in the valley. And when Palms Place — the adjacent condominium development from the Maloof mind – opens in 2007, it will be the part-time home to a number of A-list celebrities. Eventually, that cute, locals-oriented casino with the loose slots could be considered a liability.