>> The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
>> Identity Thief
>> Gangster Squad
>> Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
>> Zero Dark Thirty
>> The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
>> Hyde Park on Hudson
>> Safety Not Guaranteed
>> The Great Gatsby (PG-13) [trailer]
>> Peeples (PG-13) [trailer]
>> Aftershock (Limited) (R) [trailer]
>> And Now a Word From Our Sponsor (Limited) (NR) [trailer]
>> Erased (Limited) (R) [trailer]
>> Sightseers (Limited) (NR) [trailer]
>> Venus and Serena (Limited) (PG-13) [trailer]
Las Vegas: Satan Vacations Here
by Victoria Alexander
April 2, 2007
Liza Minnelli at Luxor, Divine Spamalot Opens, Tropicana’s 50th Anniversary, Diablos at Monte Carlo, Darwin’s Dilemma, Straight Science?, The Pope Speaks of Hell, The Hoax, and more...
“Facts do not interest me much. Facts are for accountants.” - Werner Herzog in Esquire, April 2007
Liza Minnelli at Luxor. I did not go to see Liza Minnelli last October and November at the Luxor since I thought she had lost her career and was just performing on fan’s memories. Friends said Liza was sensational. On Thursday, I went to see Liza’s return engagement to the Luxor Spotlight Series. Liza performed few of her well-known hits but did a rather long tribute to her godmother Kay Thompson. Liza ended with a song from “Cabaret” and her signature song “Theme from New York, New York.” Her stage presence was impressive and when paired with four male singers, Liza showed off her legendary talent.
Going to a Liza concert is revelatory: she has a genuine rapport with the audience. And her audiences worship her.
This show was a special event since following Liza’s performance, President and COO of Luxor Hotel & Casino, Felix Rappaport, joined Liza on-stage for a special birthday presentation hosted by Robin Leach. Liza called her brother on stage for his birthday cake. A few rows ahead of us were Siegfried and Roy. Liza said she has known them since she was eighteen years old.
Tickets are on sale for the Luxor Spotlight Series at the Luxor Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. To charge by phone call the Luxor Box Office at (800) 557-7428 or (702) 262-4400 or order online at www.luxor.com. The Luxor Theater is a 1,500 seat venue.
Spamalot at Wynn Las Vegas. Monty Python’s Spamalot, which opened on Saturday, March 31, held a VIP media night on Friday night with a celebratory after-party at Lure. I wore my "I'm not dead yet!" button. "Monty Python's Spamalot" stars John O'Hurley (pictured), best known as J. Peterman on "Seinfeld." O'Hurley has worked on stage throughout his career and starred on Broadway in "Chicago" as Billy Flynn. This is absolutely a must-see. Monty Python’s Spamalot is so original and funny that I can confidently say that Steve Wynn has succeeded in his quest for a huge, guaranteed long-running hit. Blending modern references such as Britney Spears and Las Vegas’ newest headliner, David Hasselhoff into the show, “Spamalot” works on every level – even giving us a fast-track romp through the plague-infested Middle Ages! What’s not to like?
This version of Camelot has Vegas showgirls, the Round Table as a huge roulette wheel, Sir Lancelot is gay (and doesn’t know it), and Sir Galahad is afraid of fighting. I loved the French taunter (pictured) and the “Ni” Knights! And finally, King Arthur proclaims "What happens in Camelot stays in Camelot." “Spamalot” makes lots of fun of Broadway musical theater. I thought I liked “The Producers,” but I LOVE “Spamalot.” I LOVE God’s foot! Now, will Monty Python bring back The Spanish Inquisition?
Regular Performance Schedule (Beginning 4/2/07) is Mondays at 8:00 PM, Tuesdays at 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM, Wednesdays at 8:00 PM, Thursdays is DARK, Fridays at 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM, Saturdays at 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM, and Sundays at 8:00 PM. http://www.wynnlasvegas.com
The Hoax. I’ve seen a lot of movies this week: “The Lookout,” “Disturbia,” “Blades of Glory,” and “The Hoax.” “The Hoax” is the story of Clifford Irving’s (pictured) fake autobiography of Howard Hughes. Richard Gere, playing Irving, makes him charming, but flawed. I can’t remember liking any of Lasse Hallstrom’s films but I did like “The Hoax.” Hallstrom stayed out of the picture, allowed Richard Gere to develop a complicated character with dated mannerisms, and did not cast his wife (actress Lena Olin) as a hag.
Clifford Irving engineered an incredible hoax on the publishing world and the book buying public by pretending to write the sanctioned autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. Irving was confident that Hughes would never come forward.
Irving, who continued to dine out on his shameful fraud, wrote the autobiographical book that is the basis for this film. This means that, the facts being what they are, Irving is not really conniving but a scatter-brained prankster. He was not a con man. He was so sloppy you are shocked anyone trusted him with a huge advance based on a scribbled 3 page note supposedly from Mr. Hughes.
What is not made clear is why Irving thought he would get away with it. Did only a few people know the truth? Irving, who could trust him with telling the truth, doesn’t really come clean here.
Tropicana 50th Anniversary. I attended the invitation-only Tropicana’s 50th anniversary and it was some blowout! The 50th Anniversary party was a gala affair with a media reception and then dinner and dancing. The Stardust was just imploded and The Broadwalk Casino is gone. The Frontier will soon be leveled. Properties come and go on The Strip, but the Tropicana has endured! It started out 50 years ago as a luxury hotel that was transformed into a hotel-casino. We were told that the Tropicana will soon go through another transformation by new owner Columbia Entertainment. The ladies of the longest running show in history, Folies Bergere, performed. The buffet dinner featured lobster, shrimp, lamb and beef and the champagne flowed!
The Tropicana opened on April 4, 1957, and the ballroom gala hosted Rose Marie, Margaret O'Brien, and my friend (and Jack Ruby’s best friend) Breck Wall, among other celebrities. Columbia Entertainment is planning an upgrade that will cost up to $2.5 billion and rip up most of the existing resort. The property will be revamped destroying the low-rise motel wings (a good idea!) and build new towers that will expand the room count from 1,880 to more than 10,000 by 2010. One-armed bandit slot machines are being replaced with the latest coinless, ticket models, and the company is expanding convention and casino space.
Diablo’s Cantina. We like all things devilish here in Sin City and the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino (pictured) will soon open Diablo’s Cantina, a 10,000-square-foot multi-level entertainment complex. Diablo’s Cantina promises to be a casual dining and drinking destination. The first floor will incorporate the main dining area with a bar and lounge. Guests will be able to enter from a Strip-front entrance that will feature a walk-up frozen/specialty drink bar, or through the casino. The second floor will include an open-air center bar area and stage for live music, rotating entertainment acts and weekend DJs.
The menu will include a cross between south-of-the-border favorites such as the Diablo’s Beef Chili Nachos and Spicy Grilled Shrimp Quesadilla plus a unique spin on some traditional American classics including The Diablo Death Wings, spicy chicken wings served with a smoked jalapeno blue cheese sauce, and Diablo’s 15-ounce Burger. Diablo promises large portion sizes that will encourage sharing and ensure that no one leaves hungry. For additional information, visit www.diabloslv.com.
Hell is Real and Still Over-Crowded! Pope Benedict XVI says hell and damnation are real and eternal. Hell is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to scare galvanize the faithful, Pope Benedict XVI has said. The Pope said that in the modern world many people, including some believers, had forgotten that if they failed to "admit blame and promise to sin no more", they risked "eternal damnation - the inferno".
Hell "really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more".
The Pope also noted that "forgiveness of sins" for those who repented was a cornerstone of Christian belief. (Pictured, fragment of the Hell panel by Hieronymus Bosch representing the Death of the Reprobate)
Darwin’s Dilemma. If it were not for homosexuality, Darwinism would be sanctified doctrine. Darwin couldn’t explain homosexuality and neither can proto-Darwinist Richard Dawkins. I finally got a copy of Amazon.com: Straight Science?: Homosexuality, Evolution and Adaptation: Books: Jim McKnight. The endurance of homosexuality presents a paradox to Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Scientists are saying that perhaps there is such a thing as a gay gene. Yet, according to Darwin, homosexuality serves no reproductive purpose. Why does it persist in the human population? If male homosexuality typically does not lead to offspring, how do those gay genes survive from one generation to the next? McKnight has a fascinating theory - I don’t agree with - but I think it is rather interesting.
Straight men – you may have a little bit of “the gay gene”!
To quote Seinfeld: “Not that that’s a bad thing.”
McKnight suggests that the 'gay gene' is not only to be found in gay men, but also in straight men (genetic closeting). So, according to McKnight, there are three kinds of genetic sexual orientation to be found in men: homozygotic gay men, homozygotic straight men (who have no homosexual genetic loading), and heterozygotic straight men (who carry homosexual genetic material, but who are not themselves gay). The evolutionary paradox is solved by examining how "at an individual level some advantage is conferred to straight men ... by their one, or possibly many, homosexual alleles, which allow the survival of an otherwise deleterious gene".
Homosexuality survives, not because gay men are adaptive, but because the gay gene makes straight men (homosexually-enabled straight men) more successfully heterosexual. Based on the fact that gay men have much more sex than straight men, McKnight theorizes that this homosexual genetic loading endows some straight men with two crucial characteristics - enhanced sexual drive and charm. Such sexually enhanced and charming straight men become highly successful heterosexuals. They produce more offspring than their un-enhanced straight brothers. The hypothesis concerning enhanced sexual drive in gay men is drawn from research by Masters and Johnson, and Kinsey’s research on male homosexuality.
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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