>> 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
May 14, 2012
The National Atomic Testing Museum, 2 Transgender Rock Stars, Eli Roth's Hostel Halloween Comes to Las Vegas – Permanently, Movie Review: Dark Shadows, Who Goes to Timbuktu?, and more...
The National Atomic Testing Museum. Last week we visited the National Atomic Testing Museum at 755 E. Flamingo Road. We toured ATM's impressive new interactive exhibit Area 51: Myth or Reality. It was a lot of fun and the general public has made it a must-see tourist spot. And the final image of the tour? A video interview with John Alexander!
On May 17, 2012, there will be a reception, Distinguished Lecture and book signing by John at the Museum. Free for members, $15 for non-members.
May 17 could be called John Alexander Day with John appearing on Alan Stock's TV show called "Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock" airing at 9pm local time. VEGAS TV is available over the air on channel 25 and on COX CABLE channel 14.
Transgender Rock Star. Punk powerhouse Against Me! lead singer Tom Gabel reveals he's been living as a woman and will begin the trans-gender process in the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
Gabel tells RS that he's battled with gender dysphoria for years and will begin taking hormones and undergoing electrolysis treatments to start the transformation.
According the report, Gabel will change become Laura Jane Grace (photo), and stick with wife Heather who is also the mother of his daughter Evelyn now age two (photo). 31 year-old Tom Gabel revealed his intimate secret, the one that he has been keeping ever since he was a little boy in Florida. He has decided to undergo medical and electrolysis treatment to begin his new life as a woman.
But he's not the first in rock to change sexes. Former Jethro Tull rock star David Palmer has become a woman called Dee. In 2004, the then 66-year-old keyboard player with the legendary 70s group proudly revealed that he's had a sex-change operation. With long bleached-blonde hair and wearing make-up and black leggings, she told of his transformation.
"I want to be judged on my musical ability alone..."she said, "...well, that and my new boobs."
Dee acknowledged that many fans may be shocked. "Ian was the one who played the flute and did ballet moves," she said, "so everyone figured he was the pansy in the band. Well, I've proven that quite wrong, although I must admit---having your winkie removed in a ten-hour surgery takes a lot of balls. It's not just wimps who want to do this. To be a girl, it goes a lot deeper than that..." she hesitated a moment before continuing, "Actually, it goes about four inches deeper than that."
She said her desire to change sex had been an "open secret" in the music business for years. But it was only since the death of wife Margaret nine years ago that she felt at liberty to pursue her obsession.
"My only regret," Palmer told reporters, "was that I didn't do it in the glory days. Back then, I could have had Elvis, Jim Morrison, or my pick from the millions of testosterone-addled rock fans that constantly surrounded us while on tour. I had access to pot, speed, and lots of horny young boys, but I was trapped in the body of a Scottish farmhand. Now that I've finally found myself - with the help of a home equity loan and a scalpel - I'm a pasty bleached blond with a 42 inch bust and a beer gut; I've got varicose veins and I get out of breath tying my orthopedic shoes."
Timbuktu. Well, here is another country I can never go back to. I was loved Mali and Timbuktu was a truly exotic city. Recently, members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have desecrated a Muslim saint's tomb in the fabled city of Timbuktu.
Members of AQIM have destroyed the tomb of Saint Sidi Amar. They set fire to the tomb adding that they had pledged to destroy others too. AQIM has also kidnapped five tourists last year, killing one.
Sometimes called the city of 333 saints, Timbuktu is also home to nearly 100,000 ancient manuscripts, some dating to the 12th century, preserved in family homes and private libraries under the care of religious scholars.
The UK advises: "There is a high threat of kidnapping in Mali. Terrorists have been involved in kidnaps in the region, on a number of occasions leading to the murder of the hostages. On 15 April 2012, a Swiss national was kidnapped in Timbuktu. We believe that further kidnap attempts are likely.
At its height in the 1500s, the city, a Niger River port at the edge of the Sahara a thousand kilometres (600 miles) north of Bamako, was the key intersection for salt traders traveling from the north and gold traders from the south.
The number of tourists visiting Timbuktu had drastically decreased in recent years. In 2006, 45,000 tourists visited the city, the number fell to 6,000 in 2009 to a meager 492 in the first quarter of 2011.
Even seasoned travelers are thinking twice about visiting Timbuktu.
Movie Review: Dark Shadows. Finally, Johnny Depp's first hot sex scene. He's got real chemistry with Eva Green. Makes you wonder what happened in The Tourist.
I keep complaining that Johnny Depp has stopped playing real people and, keeping with my declaration, he has commandeered frequent collaborator (eight times!) director Tim Burton to do a film with him as vampire Barnabas Collins. Dark Shadows originally aired weekdays on ABC from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. This means no one buying a ticket in 2012 has ever seen the soap opera. Depp was an obsessed fan of the soap growing up.
Barnabas Collins (Depp) is an 18th century English aristocrat who is in love with Josette (Bella Heathcote) but the scullery maid Angelique (Eva Green) is in love with him. Angelique may be beneath him in social position but she is a witch. When Barnabas cruelly rejects her, she entrains Josette to commit suicide and condemns Barnabas to be a vampire. Then she rallies the Collinsport, Maine villagers to bury him alive.
Obviously, the villagers hated working for the Collins family and resented their dominance of the fishing industry.
Fast forward two hundred years and the town of Collinsport is undergoing a revitalization. Its fishing industry is booming under the direction of semi-immortal Angelique. Workmen uncover the casket of Barnabas and free him from his chains. In thanks, he eats all twelve rescuers.
What can he do? He's a vampire!
Barnabas goes immediately to his ancestral home, Collinwood Manor, which resembles the Beale's decrepit mansion Grey Gardens. The châtelaine of Collinwood is Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeifer). Her brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller) lives there with his son David Collins (Gulliver McGrath) and Elizabeth's cranky daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Grace Moretz). To assuage the psychological damage after the death of his mother, David has a live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter). Helping around is Willie (Jackie Earle Haley) and the ancient maid, Mrs. Johnson (Ray Shirley).
David also needs a live-in governess, so governess-without-portfolio Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) applies and gets the job. Dr. Hoffman never bothers with David and neither does Miss Winters.
Barnabas is shocked to find out that it is 1972 and while no one has a cell phone or a laptop, they do have cars and rock music. Barnabas quickly recognizes Miss Winters as the reincarnation of his beloved Josette but his vampiric looks and arcane manner puts her off. But not Dr. Hoffman, who finds having a vampire in-house fascinating.
When Angelique is told about the unearthing of a casket, she immediately knows Barnabas has come back home. And thus begins a heated anti-romance between Barnabas and the seductive Angelique. She still lusts after Barnabas.
In her office boardroom, Angelique has oil portrait paintings of herself through the last 200 years. I love that director Burton and his art department included an art deco portrait of Angelique by Tamara de Lempicka. What a clever touch!
The screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith (with a story credit by John August), nicely develops all the characters, especially pre-sex kitten Carolyn.
The use of 70's music and Alice Cooper is perfect. And Barnabas' reaction to Alice Cooper is funny.
I am sure collaborating so many times with Burton gives Depp, who also produced, free range into his character. I cannot imagine Burton actually "directing" Depp at this point. Unlike Depp's creepy man-child characters, Barnabas is an 18th century aristocrat, he's not touchy-feely. And, he needs blood and that means killing humans.
And while Bella Heathcote is photographed as ethereal, Michelle Pfeifer is terrific but her clothes are horrible, and Burton finally allows Helena Bonham Carter to look lovely like a real person, Eva Green is the showstopper.
I love Eva Green ever since 2003's The Dreamers. Who can forget her as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale? Why didn't Green's Cracks get a bigger theatrical release?
When Angelique finally seduces Barnabas, their sex scene triumphs. If only they had undressed.
Hostel Halloween. The man who brought the tourism, torture and horror to the world via Hostel is bringing a whole new type of fright to Sin City.
Eli Roth's Goretorium haunted house is scheduled to open on September 27 in Las Vegas, right in time for Halloween. "Horror fans know that with my name on it," Roth told Deadline, "it won't be for little kids. They know it will be a very scary experience."
Aiming to tap into the $7 billion a year Halloween industry, the 24/7 all year round multi-leveled Goretorium, situated at the corner of Strip and Harmon in Vegas, aspires to become "the world mecca for horror fans," says Roth. Last year, Roth's Hostel maze was the one of the most highly attended attractions at Universal Horror Nights. Roth says he's already had pre-opening offers to franchise the Goretorium in London, Tokyo and New York, as well as elsewhere in America.
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