Sinatra, Cirque, Siegfried & Roy highlight Steve Wynn’s entertainment legacy

The dedication of a statue of magicians and entertainers Siegfried and Roy. This image is of Steve Wynn (blue suit) with Siegried Fischbacher (blonde) and Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn in front of the statue. Las Vegas Review-Journal file photo The dedication of a statue of magicians and entertainers Siegfried and Roy. This image is of Steve Wynn speaking with politician Ross Miller standing next to him and Siegfried Fischbacher (white jacket) and Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn (sunglasses) waiting on the side. Las Vegas Review-Journal file photo The Mirage in Las Vegas on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto The Mirage in Las Vegas on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto He brought Frank Sinatra to downtown Las Vegas when the Strip was the city’s haven for superstar headliners. He built a theater at The Mirage for Siegfried &Roy and created a billion-dollar partnership that lasted more than a decade. And before hardly anyone knew of the French-Canadian acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil, he staged a tented show on the Strip, called “Nouvelle Experience,” also at The Mirage. That was in November 1993. The next month, he opened the residency show “Mystere” at the new Treasure Island, kicking off Cirque’s ongoing run as the Strip’s predominant production company. His ouster Tuesday from the company he founded notwithstanding, Steve Wynn has made an indelible mark on Las Vegas’s entertainment culture. “I have said during lectures, ‘When I saw in 1989 that Steve Wynn was putting Siegfried &Roy onstage at The Mirage, I said that nobody would pay $125 to see Siegfried &Roy,” UNLV history professor Michael Green said. “Well, I was wrong. They did pay to see Siegfried &Roy, which was why Steve Wynn was a billionaire and I was doing lectures.” Wynn merged his personal wealth and his zeal for business with Continue Reading

Waters: Moore, Weinstein and the disgraceful culture of male supremacy

Moralizing Bible-thumpers like Roy Moore and amoral chest-bumpers like Harvey Weinstein have this in common.Deep in their addled souls, they believe they are special and, therefore, entitled to bend the moral laws of God and the universe to their desires.Entitled to determine what is right and moral for themselves and for others.Entitled by might or right to control women and their bodies through intimidation or legislation, by brute of biblical force.Entitled because they are male and they've been taught that it's a man's world.How else could any man at any age view or treat a 14-year-old girl as anything but a child?How else could any man, no matter how rich or powerful, sexually harass or intimidate or assault any woman or girl?No woman you know is surprised by all of the recent accusations and confessions and revelations of sexual harassment and assault by men.Men of every age, color and sexual orientation.Men of every religious, political and professional affiliation.Moralizers and amoralists alike, from Harvey's Hollywood to Judge Roy's Bible Belt, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, from Trump Tower to the Oval Office, from Bill Cosby to Bill O'Reilly.By men I mean males.A man doesn't "date" a 14-year-old girl. A man doesn't touch or grab or grope a woman or brag about it. A man doesn't use physical or professional or pharmaceutical power to take advantage of a woman.Real men don't sexually harass or intimidate or abuse or assault women, or try to justify those acts with a checkbook or The Book.Why do so many males fail or refuse to become men? Why do so many women become victims of male supremacy?We've all heard or read the grim and shameful statistics. One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives. Six in 10 sexual assaults are never reported. Nine in 10 rapists are never prosecuted.More than half of the women you know have experienced "unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances" -- one in four by men with influence over their education or Continue Reading

Week in entertainment: ’24: Legacy,’ ‘Dirty Dancing’ turns 30

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story a giveaway was mentioned that has now expired.Plan your week in entertainment with these highlights and pop-culture milestones: MONDAY, 2/6Watch:24: Legacy debuts after the Super Bowl this weekend but nestles into its regular time slot of 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. A spinoff from the original 24, the show follows a day in the life of war hero Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) that involves stopping a potential terrorist attack. TUESDAY, 2/7View: Has it really been 30 years since we first fell for Baby and Johnny? Have the time of your life at home with Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition, arriving on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. The limited  box set includes bonus material. WEDNESDAY, 2/8See: Bon Jovi hits Greenville, S.C., the first stop on a This House Is Not for Sale tour. The 20-city tour hits  Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles   and Denver. THURSDAY, 2/9Attend:Already in previews, Sunset Boulevard has its official opening night on Broadway.  Glenn Close returns for a limited engagement to both Broadway and the role of Norma Desmond, which won her a Tony for best actress in a musical in 1995. FRIDAY, 2/10See: Just in time for Valentine's Day, Fifty Shades Darker  hits theaters nationwide. The second installment of the Fifty Shades trilogy finds Ana (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan)still navigating a taut relationship. Continue Reading

BORAT’S ENTERTAINMENT. It’s beast meets West in wack Kazakh’s wild int’l incident

'BORAT' Shock comedy in which British actor Sacha Baron Cohen travels America in Third World disguise. With Cohen, Ken Davitian. Director: Larry Charles (1:24). R: Crudity and nudity. At area theaters. 4 Stars. The audience was laughing so hard during the September premiere of Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat" in Toronto that I was sure somebody had wet his pants. The movie, which bears the subtitle "Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," is one of the funniest I've ever watched with a guilty conscience. Guilty because most of the laughs are at the expense of people across the U.S., who were duped by the film's producers into thinking they were going to help a Third World TV correspondent learn about American culture. For their patience and good intentions, I applaud these fine citizens (well, maybe not the old redneck at a Virginia rodeo) and hope they are at least given free tickets to the movie. Cohen assumes the personality of Borat Sagdiyev, one of three alter egos invented by the Cambridge-educated comedian for HBO's "Da Ali G Show." Put simply, Borat is a genial ­village idiot with a precise knack for political incorrectness. He demonizes Jews (Cohen is Jewish, which doesn't entirely excuse him), objectifies women, and - one would guess from the wet kiss he gives his young sister ("She is number four prostitute in all of Kazakhstan," he boasts) - isn't opposed to sex with close family members. For this mostly unscripted movie, directed by TV veteran Larry Charles, the lanky Borat and his producer (Ken Davitian) travel from New York to California with a crew recording his inquiring encounters with such varied Americans as a driving instructor, a joke coach and feminists. In each instance, Cohen/Borat goads them through feigned ignorance into either revealing their prejudices or the extent to which they can control their dismay or temper. The feminists, for instance, cut their meeting short when Borat Continue Reading


Guys: If some mustachioed moron came up to your driving school, kissed you enthusiastically on both cheeks and then asked, as you were lurching along, how to find a woman to make sexy time with, would you: A: Laugh and say, "I've been wondering that myself"? B: Tell him to call 311? C: Patiently explain that women have a right to choose their sexual partners and that this is called "consent"? Well, as you probably know, the answer is always "C" in this type of fake questionnaire. But I ask because that scenario is exactly what happens to driving instructor Mike Psenicska in the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." And, after cheerfully enduring the double kiss - "I'm not used to that sort of thing but, all right" - he tutors Borat in Women's Rights 101. All of which proves to me that we are living in a paradise of tolerance, feminism and even homoerotic acceptance our hippie forebears could only dream of. This, however, is not what most culture critics have been seeing in the film. Nope. They say that Borat - actually, the actor Sacha Baron Cohen playing a horny, hopeless Kazakh journalist - "dupes his interview subjects into revealing their ignorance and/or prejudices" - the Chicago Tribune; "paints a portrait of the American subconscious that would give you nightmares" - Newsweek; reveals "the symbolic heart of America - a place where intolerance is worn, increasingly, with pride" - Entertainment Weekly (always the first place to turn for moral instruction). With a few rabid exceptions, however, most of the people Cohen encounters are not only decent and polite, they have internalized the lessons of every single rights movement of the past half-century. So when Borat calls his brother a "retard," he learns we don't use that term anymore. (Thank you, disabled rights activists!) When he describes the wild guys he spent the night with, he is told he encountered not perverts but Continue Reading


American culture has been down on one knee for quite some time. The most recent example was the 2006 Academy Award for Best Song going to some mush-mouthed illiterates for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." At the very same time, we must remember that for all of the crass stupidity and appeals to the lowest common denominator, Oprah Winfrey continues her unchallenged reign as America's queen of goodwill. That sense of goodwill recently showed itself when Winfrey and her followers built a neighborhood in Texas for some of those left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. And on a cultural level, it achieves something of an apotheosis tonight at 8 on ABC with "Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball," a superbly edited documentary of the celebration of 25 black women that Winfrey held a year ago, culminating in a Sunday morning outdoor church service on the lawn of her estate (Harpoland?), which seems the size of a small town. Anyone familiar with how easily corruption and sentimentality now combine themselves in America will be surprised first by the tone of the special. There is nothing, for example, reminiscent of the moments when rappers spout the most lewd material imaginable, then go to the mike and thank their moms, their pops, and their Lord and savior, Jesus Christ! Instead, the show makes public something that has been largely forgotten about black women, black men and black culture in general: What attracted people the world over to it in the first place was that, at its best, there was an imposing majesty, an understanding of suffering, a heroic belief in discipline and community, and an expansive sense of humor. There was a humbling vitality best rendered in the embrace of the New Testament vision that it is never too late to rise, however low one has fallen. Over the last few decades, every one of those elements has been so compromised, so mechanized into pop clichés, and so reduced to no more than a neon buffoon show. What makes this documentary so Continue Reading

FREE TRIP ON ‘SECOND AVE.’ 200 share in Jewish culture

RUSSIAN-SPEAKING Jews have been getting a bissell of yiddishkite, or a dose of Yiddish culture, thanks to the philanthropy of a local community leader. More than 200 people, young and old, received transportation and a ticket to the acclaimed Off-Broadway musical "On Second Avenue," which chronicles the cultural history of Jewish immigrants on the lower East Side. "Jewish theater is a national treasure and should be supported," said Feliks Frenkel, president of the Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations. After watching the show - starring Mike Burstyn and consisting of vaudeville routines, clips and images - Frenkel said, "Everybody should see this play." So the investment firm owner sponsored a mass purchase of two Thursday matinee shows of the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre production, which ends its one-year run today. "This culture and the performance of this material is a window into a whole world that people have left behind or their ancestors had lived in," said Zalmen Mlotek, Folksbiene's executive director. "Yiddish grew up on the soil and in the air of Mother Russia," he added. "Whether they speak it or not, it has a resonance." The 91-year-old theater group was holding its performances at the Jewish Community Center on the upper West Side. Members affiliated with the organization, an umbrella group for 42 Russian-speaking Jewish organizations, scored the tickets. While many of them are elderly, Frenkel insisted in including some younger folks as a way to introduce them to their folklore and narrow the generational gap in the community. "Culture is as important as the religious part of life or the economic part of life," Frenkel said. "On Second Avenue" offers a glimpse to the rich cultural roots of American Jews in an entertaining and engaging fashion. Much of it is in English and supertitles accompany the Yiddish portions. "Yiddish was the major vernacular of Ashkenazi [Eastern European] Jews," Mlotek noted. "It's a Continue Reading

Stop hiring strippers to entertain at funerals: Chinese officials

BEIJING — Chinese officials are launching a campaign to crack down on stripteases and other lewd shows that have become popular at funerals in some rural areas, the Ministry of Culture said Thursday. The ministry said in a statement that it will tighten control over rural culture, where vulgar performances have been thriving because of a general lack of cultural events. Such erotic performances at funerals are a relatively new phenomenon. Many rural people believe that a large attendance at funerals is a sign of honor for the deceased, and the shows are used to attract more people and display the family's prosperity. The funerals also are a rare occasion for crowds to gather as villagers working as migrant workers in industrial centers return home to bury the deceased. Performances of traditional opera were once popular at funerals, followed later by movie screenings. In the last several months, people who have returned to their rural homes for funerals have complained on social media about lewd shows, remarking that troupes hired to play dirges suddenly changed their tune and began to peel off their clothes. The ministry cited a performance by six strippers at a funeral in the northern province of Hebei and a lewd show by three performers at a funeral in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Those responsible for vulgar acts will be punished, it said. "Such illegal operations have disrupted local entertainment markets and corrupted social mores," the ministry said. Photos and videos of such performances circulating online show children in attendance at shows featuring scantily clad women. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Before Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, pop culture struggled with subject

Well before the Supreme Court's historic ruling on same-sex marriage Friday, the issue has been under deliberation in American pop culture with mixed results. "We know that from polling data that one of the biggest determinants of whether someone supports marriage equality, is if they know someone in their own life who is a member of LGBT community," says Matt Kane, director of entertainment media at the advocacy group GLAAD, "in the absence of that (personal connection), it's influenced (by) images they see in the media and entertainment." While the May 2014 episode of "Modern Family" wasn't the first depiction of gay marriage on television, the fact that 10.2 million viewers tuned in to watch proved to be a major milestone. "We know that pop culture matters, and when we watch Cam and Mitch on 'Modern Family' every week it has an impact — they're lovable and apolitical," said a veteran entertainment industry watcher, who wished to remain anonymous. Times are changing all over. Two days before the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Nintendo quietly announced that its new game, Fire Emblem Fates — on sale now in Japan, arriving on this side of the Pacific next year — would allow gamers a same-sex marriage option. The 3DS role-playing game is a milestone for the company, which drew criticism for leaving out a similar option in previous titles, reported. But not all mediums have been as progressive, says Kane, whose organization has given a big thumbs down to Hollywood. Part of the lack of representation of same-sex marriage on the big screen may stem from the adversity to risk in a business where major movies cost tens of millions of dollars or more and rely on alienating as few potential ticket-buyers as possible. The most recent GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index study found that most movies from major studios that include LGBT characters tend to be comedies, where Continue Reading

The biggest stars in fashion and entertainment grace the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala

Sarah Jessica Parker is still at the top of her game. The style icon stole the show on the Met Gala red carpet Monday night with a fiery Philip Treacy headdress paired with an H&M dress she helped design. Tabitha Simmons and Selena Gomez also interpreted the Metropolitan Museum of Art benefit’s “China: Through the Looking Glass” theme with ornate toppers The Mad Hatter would love — Simmons sporting gold leaves to match her Dolce & Gabbana gown, and Gomez in full bloom with white magnolia blossoms to match her Vera Wang dress. BILL DE BLASIO, CHIRLANE MCCRAY CHIDED FOR MISSING MET GALA The biggest stars in fashion and entertainment ascended the Met steps for the cultural icon’s Costume Institute fund-raiser thrown by Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Co-hosts Jennifer Lawrence, in Dior Haute Couture, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Wendi Murdoch and Chinese actress Gong Li arrived at the $25,000-a-ticket “Party of the Year” in couture creations honoring the museum’s new Chinese-themed exhibition, which opens May 7. The star-studded red carpet included Larry David, Emma Roberts, Diane Kruger, Dakota Johnson, Rachel Weisz, Zhou Xun, Lady Gaga, Carey Mulligan, Ansel Elgort and Claire Danes. The stars took pains to do their take on the Chinese theme while being culturally sensitive. “There’s a lot of silk, a lot of embroidery, a lot of flowers and detailing work,” said style expert Preston Konrad. “A lot of them are embracing red and black, which I would expect. I’m over it. I’m more into the women experimenting with jade, blue and white.” Bouquets of poppies covered the carpet, with hostess Wintour in Chanel and model Poppy Delevingne in Marchesa, both sporting the oversized crimson blossoms. “Poppy is giving you poppy on Poppy,” said Konrad. Red also ruled the red Continue Reading