Las Vegas on the Big Screen . . .

. . . (and sometimes the little screen too)

With Las Vegas’ colorful history of mobsters, swanky hotels, and famous entertainers, it’s no surprise that the big screen (and sometimes the little one too) are attracted to Sin City. There is a lengthy list of films and television shows that have graced our 24-hour town. Some feature actual locations in Las Vegas while others are happy to simply use our city to set the story.

During your conference downtime, check out some of the locations that appear or inspire your favorite films and television shows. Don’t take your directions straight from the silver screen though; be sure to consult a map, GPS, or even a friendly local for the best way to visit these movie hot spots.

How many of these movie and television locations do you know?

Films:

  • Ocean’s Eleven (1960) – The closing shot shows the main cast walking away with the Sands Hotel marquee behind them.’  The Sands Hotel is no longer around, but if you go to the Venetian Hotel & Casino you’ll be standing in part of the stomping ground of the infamous Rat Pack.
  • Rain Man (1988) – Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman play blackjack at Caesar’s Palace.
  • Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992) – Filming took place at well-known places around Las Vegas including the Hard Rock Café, Mirage Hotel, and even the original Wet ‘n Wild water park (which closed in 2004).
  • Casino (1995) – Filming took place at the Riviera Casino (which served as the fictional Tangiers) but used the entrance of the nearby defunct Landmark Hotel as the entrance.
  • Mars Attacks! (1996) The demolition of the Landmark and the Luxor make a cameo in this comical science fiction film!
  • Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (1997) –This one was filmed at the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Strip.
  • Con Air (1997) John Malkovich and Nicholas Cage land at McCarran Airport and later take out the Sands (and a few other landmarks along the Las Vegas Strip).
  • Vegas Vacation (1997) – This film is also known as “National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation”. The Mirage Resort was a major location for this film, but Wayne Newton’s Shenandoah also made an appearance.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) – Circus Circus Hotel & Casino and Flamingo Hotel both make a cameo in this cult classic.
  • Rush Hour 2 (2001)- This film took place in the Desert Inn, which no longer exists, but if you stand in front of the Wynn Hotel, you will be standing over the ashy remains of the Desert Inn.
  • Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – Danny Ocean plots to rob the Bellagio Hotel & Casino and the MGM Grand Resort & Casino.
  • The Hangover (2009) The Hangover was mostly filmed on location at Caesars Palace, including the front desk, lobby, entrance drive, pools, corridors, elevators, and roof, but the suite damaged in the film was built on a soundstage
  • Get Him to the Greek (2010) – Planet Hollywood, Red Rock, PURE, and the Ultra Sports Lounge in the Plaza all make appearances in this box office film.
  • Last Vegas (2013) Last Vegas takes place at the Aria Resort and Casino and at Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel.

Television:

  • American Restoration (2010; History Channel) – I was surprised to find out that this History Channel favorite is a based in Las Vegas AND is a spinoff of Pawn Stars.
  • Bad Ink (2013; A&E) – Bad Ink has been filmed in various locations in Las Vegas, but the show is based out of the Pussykat Tattoo Parlor off the Las Vegas Strip.
  • Criss Angel Mindfreak (2005; A&E)
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000; CBS) – CSI often visit “The Rampart” Hotel and Casino, but viewers may not know that it’s far from the bustling Strip.
  • Heroes (2006; NBC)
  • Las Vegas (2003-2008; NBC) – Set in fiction, but the show is said to be inspired by the Mandalay Bay.
  • Lucky (2003; FX)
  • Pawn Stars (2009; History Channel) – This show is filmed on location at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Downtown Las Vegas, only minutes away from the Fremont Experience.
  • The Real World: Las Vegas (2002, 2011; MTV) – Las Vegas was so awesome that The Real World filmed here twice. They filmed at the Palms Casino & Resort for the 2002 season, but returned to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for the 2011 season.
  • Vegas (2012; CBS)

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_set_in_Las_Vegas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_shows_set_in_Las_Vegas

Submitted’ by Natalia Tabisaura, YALSA Local Arrangements

ALA Annual 2014: Working the Exhibit Hall

If you’ve never been to a convention before, the Exhibit Hall can be a bit overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve done ComicCon’s enough to know how to get the most out of the time you have and, really, the strategy can be applied to any convention or conference you go to. Here are some of my tips on being as efficient as possible when navigating the exhibits at Annual this year:

What Is the Exhibit Hall?

At any conference or convention there are hundreds of companies renting out booths to try and pitch their products to you, and with thousands of people rushing by, many will try almost anything to get you to stop at their specific booth. Some will offer freebies, some have raffles for awesome items like iPads and free airfare to next year’s conference and others will have author signings with some big-name people. In between all the speakers, panels, division meetings and professional development trainings you’re interested in going to, how do you manage to make the most of your time in the Exhibit Hall?

Make a Schedule

Check back on the official webpage for Annual about a month prior to the conference to see the Scheduler. You can browse, search, and select the specific programs you’d like to see and make a nice list of everything you’re interested in. The Scheduler can be a little hard to sort through but if you use the limiters such as Meeting Type, Sponsoring Divisions, and Subject you can find what you’d like to see. Once you know what your days will look like, take the time in between to visit the Exhibit Hall. And don’t feel like you have to see everything all at once. Stagger your time in the Hall throughout the conference so you have time to visit all the booths you’re interested in.

All the Free Swag

You won’t understand just how much free stuff there is until you see the Exhibit Hall when it opens. It can make librarians go mad, so use your head. At the 2013 conference, there were people with book trucks literally running inside to be the first to grab all the awesome freebies. I got caught up in it too, blindly grabbing things from each booth as I passed by, though I learned from my experience that it’s a good idea to take an extra moment to determine if you really want or need what you’re picking up or you might end up with more stuff than you’re able to get home. Be sensible, and you’ll be fine.

There are limited quantities of the best swag and those tend to disappear quickly. The booths limit how much product they put out each day though, so if it’s “sold out” when you go, ask the representative at the booth what time they’ll put out the next batch of items. It’s usually at opening the next day, so if you’ve got some time before your panel, I suggest stopping by early.’  Also, if you can make it to the ribbon-cutting ceremony on opening night, you’ll see exactly what the booths have to offer.

Author Events

Every publisher you can think of will be at the conference hoping to sell you their books and to pull you in. The best way of doing this is to bring the authors for book signings, a great ploy because it gets you to buy their book and you get to meet some of your author celebrities. For example, last year I met Laurie Halse Anderson, Marie Lu, Patrick Ness, Veronica Roth, Tamora Pierce, Francesca Lia Block, and David Levithan, and my mind was blown! I mean these are rock stars in my opinion! You can use the Scheduler to see who’s coming this year and plan ahead by buying your own books, though usually the publishers will have their books discounted for the signing. Be sure to carry cash on you though, just in case they don’t accept cards.

Some of the big, big name authors have limited spots, so you have to pick up a wristband or a ticket to attend their signing.’  It’s at the publisher’s discretion and is not always listed on the Scheduler so if there is someone big you want to see, find out which publisher they’re going to be with and on opening night for the Hall, visit their booth ASAP to see if you need a ticket to attend.

Raffles and Giveaways

A lot of the booths will have other incentives to get you to stop by, including raffles and giveaways.’  This usually requires your filling out an entry form or leaving a business card so they can contact you, but this also means they have your contact info and will be sending you emails throughout the year. Do keep in mind, if you don’t want a million spam emails, that you can unsubscribe from their mailing list when you get back home. One of the easiest ways to find out what booths are raffling off is to look at the ALA Conference Guide handed out at registration. There is a coupon book with most of the Exhibit Hall promos that you can complete before you go so you can quickly submit your entries for all of the drawings you’re interested in.

Networking Opportunities

If you are in a position high enough where you have the purchasing power to actually invest in publishers, new technologies, or furniture then do take advantage of talking with the reps at each booth to see what they have to offer. You might get some deals if you chat them up and make a new associate.

Getting Everything Home

So you went crazy and picked up way too much swag to actually take back home. What do you do? Brilliantly, there is a USPS Post Office in the Exhibit Hall for all your shipping needs. And the best part about shipping books is that you can use Media Mail which is infinitely cheaper than regular postage. Just make sure you only have books in those boxes and pack your posters, stuffed animals and other trinkets separately because the mail carriers do open up Media Mail to check that only books are inside and will charge you the difference if you have any other items in it.’  Also, to avoid long lines don’t wait until the last day to ship your loot.

One Hidden Small-but Fun-Activity

While walking around last year’s conference, I noticed that many attendees had these cool ribbons on their badges saying what division or round table they were in, if they were a first-timer, or even cute funny ones like “Library Superhero,” and I wanted to know where these ribbons were coming from! ribbonsThe division and round table ones are almost all located in the ALA Membership Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall, or sometimes near registration, and you can pick and choose which ones you’d like.’  Then there are the fun ones put out by different booths and it’s like a random scavenger hunt to find them. If you see someone with one you like, the best way to find it is to ask them where they got it.ribbons close Otherwise while you’re exploring, take a second to see if the booths have any quirky ones that you’d like. My friend and I made it a goal to see who could get the most and the coolest ones and ended up with five-foot long ribbons.’  (photo from facebook.com/farm4.static.flickr.com)

Having Fun and Relaxing

To be honest, I was exhausted by the end of the conference last year.’  Between running around to all the panels, joining up with colleagues and meeting new ones, and finding time to eat and rest, hanging out in the Exhibit Hall was actually quite relaxing and fun after the free-swag madness was over. Sometimes just taking some down time to stroll around and browse or wait in line for author signings was a nice little break from everything. I definitely advise taking time visit the Hall and enjoy what’s going on. Overall, don’t stress, have a good time, and try to pick up some good freebies or meet some authors if you can!

Submitted’ by Soraya Silverman, YALSA Local Arrangements

Las Vegas: The New Downtown

As you are making your plans for ALA in Las Vegas, be sure to save some time to see more than just the Convention Center and the Strip. Just minutes north of the Las Vegas Strip lies the downtown area of Sin City. Its laid back atmosphere and hip young crowd are drawing more visitors away from the Strip. The last few years have seen a long-awaited revitalization effort taking place in the downtown area of Las Vegas.Vegas [Photo courtesy of www.sunset.com]

Thanks to the efforts of many investors and entrepreneurs, downtown is cleaning up its old image and bringing more culture, food, and fun to Sin City. The area hosts a series of events throughout the year, like the Vegas Valley Book Festival each fall, First Friday events each month, Vegas StrEATS Food Truck Festival, and most recently the Life Is Beautiful music festival that featured local artists The Killers. Continue reading

ALA Annual 2014: Networking Professionally and Personally!

network

(image from socialmediablazer.com)

Looking to join a Division or Roundtable?’  Want to serve on a committee, or find a mentor, peers or new colleagues?’  Or even just want to meet some like-minded fun people to hang out with?’  There is every opportunity and more at Annual to discover new relationships through networking!’  Here are some resources to use depending on what you’re looking for: Continue reading

“Lucky” Vegas

luck

noun \ˈlək\

  1. : success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions

St. Patrick’s Day is drawing nigh, and talk of luck, leprechauns, and pots of gold abound. Luck (both good and bad) is also commonly associated with Las Vegas, and of the millions of people who visited Las Vegas last year, those who spent time in the casinos were most likely hoping that luck would be on their side so that they could leave town with their own pot of gold. Many bring their own lucky charms with them when they visit, but if you don’t have your own or happen to forget it at home there are a few places in town you can visit that will reportedly bring good luck your way.

blarney

Photo courtesy of blog.vegas.com Continue reading

Party like it’s 2014 in Las Vegas for ALA Annual

By Natalia Tabisaura

All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl). Las Vegas entertains like no other, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. The Strip fills with revelers. Fireworks light up the sky. The hotels and casinos are packed with people and A-list entertainers. Live entertainment is an every-night affair with top artists in music, comedy, television, and stage, but New Year’s Eve raises the bar every year. No one parties like Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. Consider your early visit to Vegas as a scouting adventure to see what Sin City has to offer.

But just in case New Year’s Eve is too early for you to get your party on Vegas-style, here’s a list of some Las Vegas night life you should make time for after a long day at ALA 2014:

Nightclubs (please note that dress code is strictly enforced.):
• XS at Encore
• Tryst at Wynn
• Hakkasan at MGM Continue reading

Getting Your Grub On, Vegas Style

by Jennifer Jost

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, the holiday when the more gluttonous among us celebrate what we are thankful for by stuffing ourselves with lots of good food. In Las Vegas you can celebrate Thanksgiving in this way any day of the year simply by visiting one of our famous buffets.

While Vegas buffets may have begun as a way to keep gamblers at the tables for as long as possible, providing a way to eat quickly for little money, many casino buffets today are a destination in themselves, with gourmet food and a price tag to match.

The newest and grandest addition to the  buffet scene is the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, which recently celebrated its first anniversary in true Vegas style, with a video choreographed by Emmy Nominated dancer/choreographer Travis Wall (of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance) :


Continue reading

How to Fund a Conference Trip on Pocket Lint and Dreams

by Natalia Tabisaura

You’re sold on the idea of going to the next ALA Conference, but where oh where will the funds come from?’  It’s easy to say you want to go, but with a place to stay, food, and transportation to consider the price tag becomes daunting and the question arises: Should I go?

Heck yes, you should! The education you get at a conference trumps any webinar or experience in class. Don’t give up hope!’  You can find conference funding in a myriad of unexpected (and expected) places. Here are a few strategies for getting the financial support to get that well-educated tush of yours to the next annual conference.

1. Student discounts! If you are a current student, ALA offers a $100 off registration to encourage library school students to attend.

2. Research grants and scholarships can make a dent in the conference costs. Be sure to pay attention to the deadlines. Also, check the web pages of the associations and subgroups you are a member of for additional opportunities. Here is a list of grants and awards (source: LISjobs.com)

  • 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant – Helps finance attendance at ALA Annual. It covers round trip airfare, lodging, conference registration fees and some incidental expenses. Must be a personal ALA/NMRT member working within the territorial U.S. Continue reading

Annual Conference 2014: Las Vegas Haunts

By Stefanie Bailey

Photo from cracked.com

photo from cracked.com

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip lies a darker side of the city.’  It has long been rumored that many famous entertainers from the golden era of Las Vegas still haunt some of the most well-known hotels and areas around town.’  Past Vegas notables such as Liberace, Elvis Presley, comedian Redd Foxx and mobster Bugsy Siegel reportedly still hang out in their old Vegas haunts.’  In honor of Halloween this month, we thought we would present to you a few of Vegas’ spooky haunts.

photo from ghostsnghouls.com

photo from ghostsnghouls.com

If you are heading to Las Vegas for the ALA Conference next summer and you’re looking for an unforgettable Vegas experience, make sure to book yourself a room at one of the supposedly haunted strip hotels.’  Big hotel resorts like the Venetian, LVH (Las Vegas Hilton), Luxor, Bally’s, and many more have all had reports of multiple other-worldly encounters.’  ‘ If you decide to stay at the Flamingo Las Vegas, don’t be surprised to run into the ghost of the former casino owner himself, Bugsy Siegel. ‘ Bugsy’s ghost has been reportedly seen hanging around in the outdoor rose garden area near the memorial dedicated in his honor.

photo from lacndb.com

photo from lacndb.com

If you’re really into the supernatural, book yourself a stay in the Panorama Suite at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino (formerly the Aladdin).’  But be warned, it is not for the faint of heart; only the bravest should attempt to stay in the suite overnight.’  It is not certain whose ghost haunts the Panorama Suite, but what is certain is that the ghost has quite a sense of humor.’  Guests have reported hearing voices in the middle of the night, the sound of the door bell ringing with no one outside, and the television turning on and off by itself. Continue reading

ALA Annual: The Windy City vs. Sin City

By Soraya Silverman-Montano

(photos from coolglobes.org/chicagomag.com)

(photos from coolglobes.org/chicagomag.com)

Wow, I can’t believe it’s September already. This year has flown by so fast! ALA 2013 is well over, and 2014 is right around the corner. This year, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Annual for the first time and it was such a great experience. The programs were very educational, the speakers were astounding, I made quite a few friends, and let’s not forget all of Chicago’s good eats. Next year ALA is coming to my home town, good ol’ Las Vegas, and I thought I’d compare my experience from this year to what you can expect in 2014!

Chicago: The Windy City- Highlights

First off, the Speaker Series this year consisted of a phenomenal line up of guest speakers. Steven D. Levitt, author of the Freakonomics series, was the opening keynote and cracked up the audience with an extraordinary story reminiscent of his books. Khaled Hosseini, bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, discussed his most recent, chart-topping novel, And the Mountains Echoed. And to conclude, the incredible Alice Walker presented, reading stories from two of her most recent books, The Cushion in the Road and The World Will Follow Joy. She is so elegant and inspiring; it was such an honor to see her present live.

(photo from theguardian.com)

(photo from theguardian.com)

The Exhibit Hall was mind-blowing! I happened to be in the area when they cut the opening ribbon and man, are librarians crazy about free swag. Not that I blame them! There were so many awesome giveaways: Free hardback books, advance reader copies, posters, calendars, flash drives, pencils, bookmarks, trinkets, tickets to blockbuster author signings and, my personal favorite, a Mo Willems Pigeon foam hand puppet. Continue reading