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Las Vegas: Satan Vacations Here
by Victoria Alexander
June 14, 2010
The Las Vegas Film Festival, Born to Sin, Society for Scientific Exploration, Suggestions for the SSE, and more...
The Las Vegas International Film Festival. The 2010 Las Vegas Film Festival took place at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel and Casino on June 4th - 6th, 2010. Director of Operations Milo Kostelecky did an admirable job putting the festival together. But he needs help! Contact him if you would like to volunteer by emailing him at Milo@lvfilmfest.com.
The Las Vegas Film Festival is Las Vegas' premiere film event and now that CineVegas is no more, it's the viable independent film festival in town. The festival offered an impressive variety of film screenings from Oscar-winning films to world premieres, exclusive celebrity tributes and interviews, interactive panel discussions, a screenplay competition, red carpet parties, a filmmaker reception, as well as a closing night ceremony and awards.
The opening night film was HOLY ROLLERS which was screened at the Hilton Theater. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, THE HANGOVER'S Justin Bartha, Ari Graynor, Danny A. Abeckaser, and Q-Tip. The director, Kevin Asch, was on hand for a Q&A after the screening.
HOLY ROLLERS is inspired by actual events in 1998 when Hasidic Jews were recruited as mules to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States. One million ecstasy pills were smuggled from Amsterdam. Sam Gold (Jesse Eisenberg), a young Hasid from an Orthodox Brooklyn community reluctantly follows the path his family has chosen for him, awaiting a pending arranged marriage and studying to become a Rabbi. It's an interesting story, but Eisenberg with side curls? I did some research on Hasidism.info.
The payos (side curls) and beard are worn in obedience to a commandment in the Torah. The side curls and the untrimmed beard are a symbol of obedience to the laws of God. Many Hasidic men also cut the rest of the hair very short.
And what are those white strings hanging down outside the men's pants? The white tassels are called tzitzis. They are worn tied to the corners of a four-cornered garment that is supposed to be worn by all Jewish men (not just Hasidim) because of another commandment in the Torah.
The Opening Night Filmmaker and VIP Party was held at The Artisan, 1501 West Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas. This was my first time at The Artisan and it is gorgeous!
Because The Artisan is so fabulous, here is The Artisan's schedule: Monday's is 80's Night; Thursdays: Soul Kitchen, Deep House with Resident Edger Reyes & guests; Fridays: Shake and Pop with DJ Mike Attack featuring House, Top 40, 80's & 90's; Friday and Saturday: Afterhours starting at 3am & ends at 10am! Afterhours features Elektrik Haze, Brett Rubin alongside local & International Guests. And finally, on Sundays is Lounge-Inn Pool Party from 3pm to 10pm featuring Reggae, Downtempo, Deep House, and Afrobeat.
Saturday's feature presentation was ONCE FALLEN written, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Ash Adams.
Chance Ryan (Brian Presley) wants a new life. But before he can start it he must deal with - the gambler he owes (Peter Weller the aunt who raised him (Amy Madigan), his new girlfriend (Taraji P. Henson), the son he didn't know he had, his troubled best friend (Chad Lindberg), the cop who won't let him go (Ash Adams), and his father (Ed Harris), who, in a violent instance 20 years ago, changed all of their lives forever. What a cast! Peter Weller is now a professor of Roman and Renaissance Art. I love Weller's hosting on the History Channel's documentary series, Rome: Engineering an Empire).
Saturday's pool party was held at Simon at Palms Place. Once again, Rubio's Mexican Grill provided a team to make tacos and the free drinks flowed all night.
On Sunday's program was a showcase of short films. I stopped in to see the feature-length documentary STRIPPED. STRIPPED is a no-holds barred, full nudity exploration into the lives of Sin City's locals who answered the Craigslist call to get naked in front of director Greg Freidler's lens.
Let me say this, after just 10 minutes I fled to see ADDICTED IN AFGHANISTAN, deciding that ordinary people naked is horrifying. It is shocking that over 100 people have absolutely no shame. Perhaps they thought they would be discovered by Steven Spielberg or get a reality show? This was an obscenity. There was even an old lady in a wheelchair – naked! I know this is all about self-love, accepting who you are, and embracing humanity's diversity, but I condemn ordinary people getting naked for public consumption or, for that matter, even in the privacy of their homes.
ADDICTED IN AFGHANISTAN was riveting. I have an Afghan friend who recently called from Kabul. He asked if I wanted anything brought back from Kabul. I said yes. I want a blue burqa. In fact, I know there are over 100 people living in Las Vegas who should wear a burqa all the time.
One million Afghans are estimated to be addicted to drugs, especially heroin. Alarmingly, 40% of these are women and children. ADDICTED IN AFGHANISTAN is an observational documentary that explores the lives of Jabar and Zahir, two 15 year old drug addicts living in Kabul.
Their parents are also lifelong heroin addicts. The boys spend $5 a day smoking pure, uncut heroin! The families are poor living in makeshift tents. They struggle for food, yet there is always money for heroin.
The Filmmaker's Panel on Sunday afternoon was quite informative with the questions answered on how to get funding and talent.
I also saw the impressive IN MY SLEEP starring Philip Winchester and Lacey Chabert. A taut psychological thriller, IN MY SLEEP is about a man who believes he may have murdered a good friend while sleepwalking. Winchester is shirtless for most of IN MY SLEEP and he should be. There are those who should and those who shouldn't. Know which one you are.
The third annual Las Vegas International Film Festival screenings were held at the Hilton and Shimmer theaters. Individual screening tickets were $8; tickets for the short film blocks, filmmaker panel and parties were $10. Passes ranged from $25 for a five-film minipass and $50 for a single-day pass to $100 for a VIP pass (priority admittance to all screenings, panels, parties, special events and award ceremonies). For more information go to www.lvfilmfest.com.
Born to Sin. BBC Knowledge magazine has a fascinating cover story called Born to Sin: Science explains why it's good to be bad. One evening a group of us could not name the Seven Deadly Sins, even though we had all seen the movie Se7en. So here they are: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, and the Number One Sin – the one taking pride of place – PRIDE.
O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet. - Saint Augustine
BBC Knowledge also had a beginners' guide to the Seven Deadly Sins.
What are the seven deadly sins? Sins are so deadly that if you were to die without confessing them, you'd receive a one-way ticket to hell.
So when were they first compiled? The Greek monk Evagrius of Pontus was the first to pen a list, in 375AD. They were ranked in order of severity from gluttony at the bottom. You then had to work your way through fornication, avarice, sadness, anger, aecidia (listlessness), vainglory (unjustified boasting) to reach the numero uno transgression – pride.
What can I do to avoid them? According to the Catholic Church the best thing to do is adhere to the seven holy virtues – chastity, temperance, abstinence, diligence, patience, humility and kindness.
What if I don't? Be warned, each of the seven deadly sins is said to come with its own unique punishment in hell:
Pride: being broken on a wheel
Envy: spending eternity in freezing water
Anger: being dismembered alive
Sloth: thrown in a pit of snakes
Greed: boiled in cauldrons of hot oil
Gluttony: forced to eat toads and rats
Lust: smothered in fire and brimstone
More important, BBC Knowledge ranked the countries according to the Seven Deadly Sins. Here are the results of their highly scientific study!
Wrath: South Africa
Sloth: Iceland (ranked by sick days)
Gluttony: United States (what a surprise!)
Lust: South Korea!
And the biggest sinner is:
1. Australia (Hurray for Australia!)
8. South Korea
9. Mexico & South Africa (tied)
The Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) is a professional organization of scientists and scholars who study unusual and unexplained phenomena. Subjects often cross mainstream boundaries, such as consciousness, ufos, and alternative medicine, yet often have profound implications for human knowledge and technology. The 2010 (held June 10-12) and 2011 meeting is/and will be held at the Millenium Harvest House, 1345 28th Street, Boulder, CO. So, all told – considering we drove and John had a Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday - we spent 6 days in Colorado.
Finally, people who spoke my language!
Photo from Banquet: From Bernard Haish, Marsha Sims (Mrs. Haish), Larry Dossey, John, Paul Smith)
The SSE's program theme was "Cutting Edge Energy & Advanced Propulsion Research and Anomalous Phenomena". To open the program on Thursday, the prestigious Dinsdale Award was given to our dear friend Jack Houck.
Thursday's program theme was: THEME I: ADVANCED PROPULSION and THEME II: FRONTIER ENERGY CONCEPTS. We had dinner with Jean and Jack Houck and Joseph Buchman.
Friday began with THEME III: NONLOCAL CONNECTIVITY and an afternoon outing to the local shopping malls. We had dinner with Larry Dossey, MD, our good friend and former neighbor when we lived in Santa Fe.
Saturday began with THEME IV: PHYSICS AND BIOPHYSICS; THEME V: PSI AND HEALING with these interesting presentations: Richard A. Blasband and Dominique Surel: Healing a Woman with Asperger's Syndrome; Dale Graff: Kundalini: A Consciousness Field Effect? and Imants Barušs: A Preliminary Study of Remote Healing Using Techniques Derived from Matrix Energetics; and THEME VI: PHYSICS, PSI, AND INTERPRETATION with this presentation from future Las Vegas resident Stephen Braude: Preliminary Investigation of a Spiritist Séance Group in Germany.
Saturday evening was the SSE Banquet beginning with cocktails, then dinner. The Banquet speakers were by Garret Moddel on the State of the Society and William Bengston on Looking Ahead.
Suggestions for the SSE. I have a few suggestions for the SSE's new president, Bill Bengston.
(1) A membership drive. Full members should be strongly urged to bring in one new member. The member who brings in the most members will be entitled to a sliding scale of incentives. Perhaps two free tickets to the next SSE Conference for interested friends.
(2) Introduce new members at the beginning of the Conference and allow the new member a few minutes to talk about themselves. This way new members will not be wandering around not socializing. One important feature of the SSE is networking, but who do you network with in a room of over 200 people? An introduction would help.
(3) Hold the Panel Discussion at a local university inviting the faculty and students.
(4) Hire a PR person.
If you would like to contact me about this column, or be included on my private distribution list for a weekly reminder, just email me at Masauu@aol.com.
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