LA Daily News: CineVegas shines a klieg light on Vegas party spots June 1, 2008 By Rob Lowman "I try to smoke as many cigars as possible, hang by the pool fully clothed, go to movies ... and basically have a wonderful time." Having a wonderful time is usually the aim in Las Vegas, but judging by the growing popularity of pool parties at the casinos, fully clothed isn't part of the deal. Dennis Hopper, though, was talking about his time at the Cine-Vegas Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th year when it opens June 12.
(It is headquartered at the Palms Resort and Casino.) The actor-director and artist is chairman of the Cine-Vegas Film Festival Creative Advisory Board, and last year, true to his word, he could be seen down by the pool -- cigar in hand and, yes, dressed stylishly -- at the fest's many screenings or at evening festivities. Calling from Cannes recently, where he was at another film festival, Hopper said, "I like Vegas. I really like Vegas." Although an avid photographer, he doesn't have much time to take pictures when he's in town.
Hopper has worked hard to promote this meeting of Tinsel Town and Sin City ... more. less.
since he joined the festival's board in 2004 after receiving its Marquee Award in 2003. Mark Gray, People magazine's Vegas reporter, said, "CineVegas, years ago, wasn't that big a deal, but as the years have gone on, it has been quite good for the city. ...<br><br> The fact that you have a star the caliber of Dennis Hopper helps." This year, CineVegas starts off with the much anticipated comedy "The Rocker," starring Rainn Wilson of "The Office," and then mixes in some bigger films like "Get Smart" with Steve Carell, as well as cutting-edge indies, documentaries, new films from Mexico, and achievement awards to actors, who take part in Q&A sessions for the public (see related story, below). And the fest boasts another thing: "We have parties that are not only at some of the hottest places to get into in Vegas but in the country," said CineVegas artistic director Trevor Groth. While a number of the parties are held at the Palms, others are at name night spots and pools around the city.<br><br> And while a ticket to a screening or the festival likely won't get you into the parties, you have plenty of time to hit the scene after t he showings. Of course, the Vegas club scene aims for the same demographics TV networks do, with a slight variation -- 21 to early 40s instead of 18 to 45. But Sin City is never short of entertainment for any age, including the gaming tables.<br><br> That's something Hopper doesn't do, though he plays celebrity poker. CineVegas Film Festival http://www.cinevegas.com/cv Powered by Joomla! Generated: 12 June, 2011, 11:19 "I just play it on television," he said.<br><br> "I played poker all my life, but I don't gamble in Vegas. I would feel foolish with th e kind of bets I made. ...<br><br> I don't think I have the power of the dice anymore." So here's a look at some of the city's hot spots and where to cool off or get hot. Just remember, Vegas club-hopping can be very trippy. Here's an exchange overheard in a casino elevator last year on the way to a club. "You don't know where you are?" the girl in the short black party dress asked of the dude with the spiked Mohawk and untucked shirt. "No," he said, looking quizzically around.<br><br> After a beat: "Where do you think you are?" Night spots Get there early, pay a cover charge, and as long as you're within dress code, anyone can get in, said Gray, who admits to being "a nightclub guy; I like the culture." There's a "different vibe at every club" -- and different dress codes, though not every club is open every night. Obviously, said Gray, the easiest way is to buy a table, which can be pricey (usually at least $400 per bottle, plus mixers). Most of the popular spots are celebrity-heavy, including the four at the Palms -- the Ghostbar, Rain, Moon and the Playboy Club.<br><br> Since the hotel is situated well off the Strip, all have great views of the city. The Ghostbar, which is on the 55th floor and where one of the festival parties will be held, has a section of the patio with a Plexiglas bottom, so you can actually stand on it and look straight down to the road. "It's a bit of an experience," Gray said.<br><br> "You get a lot of people hovering around by the Plexiglas and very few standing on it." The Playboy Club is a "loungy atmosphere, a gaming area, really ... it's the only nightclub where you can gamble," Gray said. "It obviously has a huge celebrity following that does that because it is a unique environment.<br><br> Tables are higher stakes." Moon has a retractable roof that provides a view of the stars, while the floor is made of colored glass tiles. Rain has an elevated dance floor with a water fountain, and fireballs from the ceiling. The Tao at the Venetian, another party spot, offers "four different experiences in one club," Gray noted.<br><br> The Asian- themed nightclub has different sections: the main room, the house room and ultra lounge, plus Tao Beach, which is at the rooftop pool. "You look at Tao in Buddhism," Gray said, "and it's very peaceful. You go to Tao the nightclub and it's just the opposite -- the fake snow coming from the ceiling, the music just as loud as can be.<br><br> It's quite an environment." The beach area, another place with a great view, offers a more relaxed dress code. The Jet at the Mirage, which hosted a party last year, has three dance floors and, as Gray noted, LCD screens are mounted on the ceiling, and can create colors that dance with the music the DJs are playing. It has poles for the amateur CineVegas Film Festival http://www.cinevegas.com/cv Powered by Joomla!<br><br> Generated: 12 June, 2011, 11:19 dancer. The Mirage is home to another film festival party spot, the Beatles Revolution Lounge. True to its name, it has a Fab Four feel, and throughout the night the music moves from Beatles tunes to a combination of house, rock, techno and new wave.<br><br> To reach the Bank at the Bellagio, you walk down a candlelit hallway past a room that's filled top to bottom with Cristal champagne. The multitiered club includes a glass-encased dance floor. Over at the Prive at Planet Hollywood, where "Get Smart" will premiere and a party will be held by the pool, the celeb- magnet club boasts its own attractions -- crystal chandeliers, a Brazilian cherry dance floor and, on Mondays, money from heaven.<br><br> "They call it Money for Nothing Mondays," said Gray, "and they actually shoot out $5,000 in ones from the top of the club over the crowd, so people walk out with money in their pockets." Is Prive inviting a riot with this practice? "People are pretty much restrained," Gray said. "You can reach up in the air and snatch a couple bucks.<br><br> If it were $100,000, it might be different." The Luxor, once more of a family resort, is upping its hipness factor with LAX and the Cathouse. LAX, like the airport, aims for the A-listers, while Cathouse, with its 19th-century European bordello look, has a more relaxed feel, with a combo restaurant-ultra lounge that has dancing four nights a week. Pure at Caesars Palace is famous for its celebrity list.<br><br> Last year at this time, it was hyping Lindsay Lohan's 21st birthday - - before she self-destructed. The Wynn, which will also host a festival party, has Tryst, which offers a cool view of the resort's lagoon and waterfalls, and Blush, which it calls a "boutique night club." Blush serves Asian appetizers until 10 p.m., when tables are shifted to accommodate a dance floor. Pool parties The beat is relentless, the flesh endless, the drinking continuous.<br><br> That pretty much sums up the Vegas pool party scene. "They've become their own beast -- nightclubs during the day," Gray said. And, as with nightclubs, there is usually an entrance fee of $10 to $30 (men pay more); days and nights of operation vary. It began with Rehab at the Hard Rock, but when lines started forming to get in, the other resorts started their own.<br><br> The Palms has Ditch Friday, and the MGM Grand has Wet Republic. The Tao Beach Club offers Sunset Sundays, while the Mirage has Bare Las Vegas. Caesars Palace has created the Venus Pool club for Mondays.<br><br> CineVegas Film Festival http://www.cinevegas.com/cv Powered by Joomla! Generated: 12 June, 2011, 11:19 The one thing they have in common: Guests are showing off their assets. Indies provide the glitter of this year's CineVegas Trevor Groth, artistic director for the CineVegas Film Festival, is glad he's gotten "smart" -- as in "Get Smart" -- but hittin g the jackpot with some interesting indie films for the festival gets him animated.<br><br> "What I'm really excited about is the premiere of the American independent films, which has really been the driving force of the festival since I've been doing it," said Groth, who has been artistic director since 2002 for a festival that is centere d at the Palms Resort. One of the films that is among these "Jackpot Premieres" is "Big Heart City," by CalArts alumnus Ben Rodkin, about a gambling addict trying to pick up the pieces after the unexplained disappearance of his pregnant girlfriend. It's a "real character-driven piece about this down-and-out guy," said Groth, who added that Rodkin "shows he's really got the chops." Another Jackpot Premiere, "Your Name Here," stars Bill Pullman in a sci-fi dream from director Matthew Wilder.<br><br> Groth calls it a "hallucinogenic film inspired by the writing of Philip K. Dick ... it's really fun and bizarre and should really pla y well in Las Vegas, because Vegas is such a trippy place." Back this year is "La Proxima Ola," which highlights films from first- and second-time Mexican filmmakers.<br><br> "It's an interesting group of films that shows the promise and potential of what's coming out of Mexico today," Groth said. Now a permanent section of the festival, it includes "Deficit," actor Gael Garcia Bernal's directing debut. The movie follows complex characters at a house party just outside Mexico City.<br><br> "Gael's been around for a number of years in front of the camera and does a great job," Groth said. "It's a stylish film (that) works all these political undercurrents just below the surface. And he does it in a really smart way and pulls it off magnificently." Another film, "Ano Uno," is from Jonas Cuaron, son of Alfonso Cuaron ("Children of Men").<br><br> It's a series of still images, but Jonas pulls it off perfectly, Groth said. "As you watch this film, you sort of lose yourself in the images ... and it ends up being an emotional journey.<br><br> Compelling images and smart dialogue overlay the images." On June 16, an animation piece by renowned international artist Takashi Murakami will be featured at Wynn Las Vegas for one night only. "Planting the Seeds" will be shown on the Lake of Dreams, the resort's outdoor waterfall venue. (A retrospective featuring Murakami's work was just exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.) CineVegas Film Festival http://www.cinevegas.com/cv Powered by Joomla!<br><br> Generated: 12 June, 2011, 11:19 There are also foreign films, such "The Last Mistress" from provocative French director Catherine Breillat. It is about a 19th-century love affair between a tempestuous Spanish mistress and a distinguished, well-bred Frenchman, and stars Asia Argento, whom Groth describes as "very daring in what she does, as you would expect from her." Documentaries include "Chelsea on the Rocks," director Abel Ferrara's portrait of New York's legendary Chelsea Hotel, and "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S.<br><br> Thompson," from director Alex Gibney. There will also be a gala charity event for the showing of "Get Smart" at the Planet Hollywood; the opening night of "The Rocker," with Rainn Wilson as a failed '80s drummer who joins his nephew's high-school rock band 20 years after being kicked out of his own band; and the closing-night screening of "The Great Buck Howard," about a law-school dropout (Colin Hanks) who becomes a personal assistant to a has-been magician (John Malkovich) in need of a pretty big trick to get him out of his slump. A number of actors will be honored -- Don Cheadle, Vigo Mortensen, Rosario Dawson and Sam Rockwell -- and they will be around to do question-and-answer sessions with the public.<br><br> One night the festival is even hitting the streets of the old part of the Strip, with an outdoor drive-in-style screening of "Them," the '50s sci-fi film about giant ants. "We're going to let people drive their cars up to this one area and have girls on roller skates serving snacks; really embrace the era," Groth said. CineVegas Film Festival http://www.cinevegas.com/cv Powered by Joomla! Generated: 12 June, 2011, 11:19<br><br>