Virtual Film Fest, Downtown Debut and Wink World

In Vegas VIP Scene-ery by Vegas Only Entertainment

BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW

Contributed by Jackie Brett

‘WINK WORLD: PORTALS INTO THE INFINITE’ OPENS AT AREA15: Chris Wink, co-founder of Blue Man Group, has opened “Wink World: Portals Into The Infinite” at AREA15. This horizon-expanding, immersive art experience represents Wink’s most ambitious art and entertainment project since he left Blue Man Group in 2017. Drawing upon his skills as an experience designer, music composer and overall purveyor of high-impact visual entertainment, the 1,500-square-foot space fuses whimsy, color, art, technology and music. Wink World comprises a series of six infinity-mirror rooms, each one showcasing a stunning production number drawing upon Wink’s love of black light and other dazzling stage effects designed to evoke “life force” and inspire wonder. Wink’s penchant for transforming everyday objects into art or entertainment provides his delightful brand of dynamism to the experience, as ceiling fans transform into kinetic art and children’s toys like Slinkies and Hoberman Spheres become elevated into a chorus line of dancers and entertainers. Tickets to enter the attraction are $18 for adults, $13.50 for children. There are discounts for locals, seniors and members of the military. All prices include ChromaDepth 3-D glasses.

17th BOULDER CITY’S DAM SHORT FILM FESTIVAL GOES VIRTUAL: The 17th Annual Dam Short Film Festival, Feb. 11-15, will be an online virtual event this year presenting the full festival experience with access to more than 160 films, live-stream events, Q&As with the filmmakers, and more. Despite the pandemic, this year’s film festival will premiere and screen more than 160 short films, broken down into 25 thematic 60- to 75-minute program blocks with categories including Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Horror, International, Love & Romance, Music Videos, Nevada, Sci-Fi and Underground. It comes as no surprise countless films with pandemic subject matter were submitted to the festival; however, only a handful of films were chosen to screen, with selections in the Comedy, Love & Romance, and Nevada categories.  “Though we will not be physically together for our 17th Annual Festival, we are excited to be able to stay true to our mission of making original, unusual and entertaining short films available to the general public,” said Lee Lanier, Dam Short Film Festival founder and director of continuity. “What’s even more exciting, is that by going virtual, we can make these films accessible to even greater audiences.” “Filmmaking continues to be an important and impactful art that we are honored to share with movie lovers,” said Tsvetelina Stefanova, Dam Short Film Festival executive director. “The Dam Short Film Society received more film submissions this year than any years past.” Powered by Eventive, the Dam Short Film Festival’s virtual experience will offer viewers an on-demand screening experience, with tickets sold for entire households to enjoy rather than per person, like in years past. All-access household passes to the entire festival are available for $100, while household tickets to individual program blocks can be purchased for $12 each. A full lineup of live-streaming events will be announced soon. For more information and to purchase passes, visit the event’s website. The Dam Short Film Festival ranks in the top 1% of more than 9,000 film festivals and contests worldwide, as per Film Freeway – the premiere platform for festivals and filmmakers. Throughout its 17 years, the festival has screened more than 2,000 films – giving international filmmakers a platform to showcase their films, and audiences the access to original stories.

VENETIAN’S WISHING TREE AUGMENTED TO INSPIRE HOPE: The Venetian has unveiled a magical new experience for guests at The Wishing Tree, a one-of-a-kind art installation located in the epicenter of the retail level inside The Palazzo Tower. The enchanting new experience was intentionally designed to evoke positive emotions to inspire and bring hope to guests. To create this magical experience, the Grand Canal Shoppes partnered with BESTAgency, a local creative agency specializing in events and entertainment and Lumen & Forge, a local immersive technology company with expertise in augmented reality (AR) and projection mapping to develop the Instagram filter that will transport guests into the new experience. Aspirant guests will be able to unlock the magic and add a personal wish to The Wishing Tree by scanning a nearby QR code with their smartphone. This will open an Instagram filter where a guest can use the voice-activated technology to say their wish and then watch it magnificently transport itself to the carefully constructed canopy of The Wishing Tree to live virtually amongst all the other wishes. Commissioned exclusively for Grand Canal Shoppes and standing 20-feet tall, The Wishing Tree is the center piece of the recently renovated 375,000-square-foot retail space that resembles an Italian garden. Boasting a life-like feel of an olive tree commonly found in Venice, Italy, The Wishing Tree is dressed with more than 3,700 hand-installed brass leaves that were individually computer designed and 3D printed. Adding even more to the charming atmosphere, the piece holds a variety of blue, red, jade, pink, rose, and olive cast-glass bird sculptures that nest in the tree and can be heard in the outdoor-inspired space. The Wishing Tree AR installation will be available for a limited time.

‘MURAL WAY’ ART DEBUTS AT DOWNTOWN CONTAINER PARK: The Downtown Container Park (DTLV) is starting the year off with a new look. DTP Companies, a $350 million investment initiative dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas, and ISI Group, a Las Vegas artist collective, debut fresh paint and interactive art by local talent creating a must-see destination for art lovers and Instagrammers. “Mural Way” art piece entitled “Y2K” evokes a new turn of the millennium-inspired piece by graphic designer and muralist Slive and combines artful interpretations of digital characteristics like glitch and data distortion patterns to reflect on the impact of the period. The mural takes on new life through the AR app “Artivive,” an interactive lens guests can download to their phones for free. “There’s a different technique to composing a piece meant for animation in AR,” said Slive. “The piece has to have a digital counterpart required to break down for animations while the execution needs to be exact for it to work seamlessly in the app, so there is little margin for error.” In addition to the interactive work by Slive, Brett Rosepiler debuts a warm, earth-anchored piece of art depicting a woman enveloped by nature, wisdom and life. Rosepiler leaves the interpretation of the artwork’s elements up to its viewers. Both murals are located on the exterior east wall of Downtown Container Park between Fremont Street and Carson Avenue. Additional DTLV artwork curated by Dana Anderson and the ISI Group can be found on the exterior wall of Downtown Terrace and inside premier nightlife venues like Corduroy and Gold Spike.

DUELING AXES OPENS AT AREA15: Dueling Axes, the nation’s premiere indoor axe throwing lounge, has opened at Las Vegas’ newest immersive art and entertainment complex, AREA15 near the Strip. The nearly 7,000-square-foot modernized attraction features a beer and wine bar, flat screen TVs to flank the perimeter of the lounge, 18 private or group reserved lane accommodations for up to six participants, and a private VIP room. The original Dueling Axes opened in 2018 on South Fourth Street in Downtown Columbus.

THE MOB MUSEUM LAUNCHES SELF-GUIDED AUDIO TOUR: The Mob Museum downtown is launching a self-guided audio tour taking guests on an auditory journey through and beyond the Museum’s four floors of exhibits. This new resource provides an eye-opening deep dive into some of Mob history’s most intriguing events and personalities. Running 85 minutes, the tour offers more than 40 audio stops featuring fascinating tales narrated by long-time Museum volunteers, as well as insider anecdotes from former Mob defense attorney and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. The audio tour allows guests to select the length of their experience with the ability to start or stop any time, whether they seek just the tour highlights or want to dig deeper. Some example topics include untold stories about Al Capone’s prison band, details from the notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and law enforcement’s most effective methods of taking down the Mob. Known for his trademark, tell-it-like-it-is style, the tour includes Oscar Goodman reliving stories of his 35 years defending some of the most notorious alleged Mob figures. Guests will hear Goodman tell the story of his first case in the Mob Museum’s historic courtroom, discuss the murder of his most notorious client, Tony Spilotro, and recount what it was like representing Meyer Lansky. Goodman also recalls his experiences filming the movie “Casino” in 1995 where he appeared as himself. Guests can add the audio tour to any Museum ticket for $8 per individual or $7 for groups of 10 or more.

IGT AND PLAZA CELEBRATE WHEEL OF FORTUNE® SLOTS ZONE: International Game Technology and the Plaza have debuted the Wheel of Fortune® Slots Zone, a dynamic, branded space within the downtown casino. The space is dedicated exclusively to legendary Wheel of Fortune slots games. The themed Wheel of Fortune Slots Zone covers more than 2,900 square feet and is conveniently located in the heart of the gaming floor. The space is home to more than 40 IGT Wheel of Fortune slots games, including both new and classic themes in mechanical reel and video reel formats. The destination features the most in-demand Wheel of Fortune games and embodies the jackpot-paying legacy of the iconic slots brand. Wheel of Fortune slots is the most successful slots theme of all time. Since the game’s 1996 debut, IGT has made more than 250 variations of the player-favorite slots theme and distributed them in countries around the world. Wheel of Fortune slots have minted more than 1,000 millionaires, totaling well over $3 billion in jackpot payouts, and have earned dozens of accolades on the merit of attributes ranging from innovation to player affinity.

EL LUCHADOR OPENS AT MOUNTAIN’S EDGE: El Luchador Mexican + Cantina has opened its dining experience at Mountain’s Edge in Southwest Las Vegas bringing a fresh Mexican concept to the booming area. Conceived by hospitality veteran Andy Hooper of Hooper Hospitality Concepts, El Luchador is open for dinner and happy hour serving American-Mexican cuisine and more than 80 Tequilas and Mezcals in a casual atmosphere. Like the history of a champion luchador, El Luchador’s spirits menu is expansive, colorful and might knock you off the ropes. Boasting more than 80 Tequilas and Mezcals, even the pickiest Tequila drinker and Mezcal aficionado will be satisfied. Craft Cocktails run from the sweet to the spicy and smoky.  Happy Hour menu, including both food and drink specials, is available Monday through Thursday 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. El Luchador is located at 7825 Blue Diamond Road and open for dine-in beginning at 4:30 p.m. daily.

CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT OFFERS NEW EMPIRE HOTEL DEALS: To usher in 2021, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. introduces its New Year, New Empire sale featuring discounts on hotel rooms in popular U.S. destinations including Las Vegas, for travel through December 2021. For details and to book, visit caesars.com. The New York, New Empire sale is available through Feb. 22 using the offer code: NYNE21. For Las Vegas resorts the offer is up to 20% off. Accommodations range from a new Bunk Bed Room at the Flamingo or a sophisticated room at the adults-only boutique hotel The Cromwell, to a suite with panoramic Strip views at Planet Hollywood or a luxurious villa at Caesars Palace.

DESIGN A NEW LIGHT DISPLAY FOR THE GLITTERING LIGHTS: Glittering Lights gives local kids the opportunity to put their own touch on the fan-favorite outdoor holiday light show. Kids aged 6 to 16 are invited to design a light display for the 2021 Glittering Lights experience returning in November. Submissions must be entered by Feb. 20 for a March Madness tournament-style voting process on social media. The display does not have to be holiday related, but contestants are asked to share why they chose their display and what it represents. The winner will receive a $500 scholarship, see their display in lights for the duration of the upcoming season, and receive additional “glittering” perks. There’s also a runner-up prize that includes $200 and other perks. Entries must be posted to Instagram and tagged with @lasvegaslights and #GLMarchMadness. Entry must be sent to glitteringlights@ivorystar.com with contestant’s name, email, and Instagram handle, along with a description of their design and why they selected it.

JW MARRIOTT AND RAMPART HOLD TWO-DAY BLOOD DRIVE: January is National Blood Donor Month and JW Marriott and Rampart Casino are hosting their first blood drive of 2021 with Vitalant on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 30 and 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Marquis Room. Blood donors are vital to ensuring blood is available for the one in seven people who enter the hospital and require blood to survive. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 14,600 Vitalant blood drives have been forced to cancel due to COVID-19, representing about 364,000 uncollected donations. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. All blood types are needed to help. A need also continues for convalescent plasma donations of those who have recovered from the virus. Donors participating in this drive with a successful donation will also receive a voucher for a free breakfast burrito at Sonic. Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment online at bloodhero.com to reserve a spot. Enter ‘RAMPART CASINO’ as the code and donors can sign up for this blood and plasma drive, as well as other upcoming drives.