Austin News


Director TIM ONOSKO coming in person for LOST VEGAS!

We don't get directors flying in for Music Mondays very often, so I'm pretty stoked about this, especially since he'll undoubtedly have a lot of funny stories to tell about the Vegas old-timers in the movie.

I am a big fan of Vegas schmaltz. Unfortunately i found out at the Wayne Newton birthday party a few years ago that most Music Monday fans just aren't into it. I'm hoping you'll take a chance on this flick and come to appreciate it a bit more. I mean, I don't agree with Wayne Newton's politics, and technically he can't even sing anymore, but the guy knows how to put on a show. And I agree with the moustache he had in the 70s wholeheartedly.

Vegas is a completely unique place. It's true that you do things there you would never normally do, you can appreciate bad comedy or cheesy showtunes in a way you never would back home. But aside from their well-honed acts, what I also appreciated about the people in this movie was how hard they worked (and continue to work, for some of 'em), how many sets they did in a day, 6 or 7 days a week, keeping the same energy level for every single show and making every audience feel like they were the first. And the city gives back - these people could never live or work outside of Vegas (except maybe in Branson, Missouri).

So come on down and take in some stories about Vegas in days gone by.

MONDAY JAN. 8 - 9:45pm
ALAMO DOWNTOWN - 409 Colorado St. Austin TX


Yukmeister nirvana in this new doc detailing the life and showbusy times of second bananas who worked LV small rooms from the early 50s to the mid-70s - many of 'em paisanos from South Philly inspired by the mighty King Guido, Louie Prima. Fueled by booze and unbelievable stamina, they did six 45/15s a night for decades - 45 minutes on and 15 off. The grind was sometimes relieved by sex, steam baths (as part of Sinatra's entourage) and digging the early A-bomb testings some 65 miles away. "We useta go out the back of the clubs," says one of the crew, "watch the blast, go back inside, have a coupla blasts of our own and then do the act." Such names as Freddie Bell, Sonny King, Babe Piers, Peter Anthony, Pete Barbuti and Faye McKay (whose main bit, dug deeply by Vegas supernova Liberace, was a besotted rendition of '12 Days of Xmas') may not be remembered today, but these were the party-time rounders the headliners used to catch after doing their own more sedate acts. The flick alternates from subjects today in their desert homes to archival footage/stills to some newly filmed old shtick. Ring-a-ding lids reverently doffed to first-time director Tim Onosko (editor of the OOP early-80s softcover Wasn't the Future Wonderful? - a mind-rearranging assortment of mad '30s inventions from the brittle pages of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science). This boffo doc premiered at Cinevegas 2005. It needs distribution immediately. (Dick Blackburn)

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