Friday, October 18, 2013


Paradise, which debuts in select theaters today is also a play on words about Las Vegas.....(in case you didn't catch that)!
The film is about a young woman, played by Julianne Hough, who grows up in a small and strict religious community. She takes us with her on her journey as she leaves home after a personal tragedy scars her for life and she travels to Las Vegas in order to experience the exact opposite of everything she has ever known. There she meets bartender (Russell Brand) and slightly jaded lounge singer (Octavia Spencer).

This is another production I worked on and received a credit for but was cut from the final edit. The scene is on Fremont Street with Julianne Hough and Octavia Spencer as they make their way through the crowd and encounter Norma and I. So, although I am officially part of the cast, (listed as "Woman in the way"), I do not actually appear in the happens quite often at my level in the biz.

Me and Norma...3am on Fremont St....set of Paradise..April 2012
In this story, like so many set in Vegas and the strip, the city is depicted as the playground of the weird, freaky, fun and slightly scary where the hapless tourists are cajoled and influenced into all kinds of "sins".....Yes, that does happen here and on a daily basis, but what I find funny is that it's the tourists who are walking around drunk, spending too much, passing out in night clubs, forgetting where they are staying, and many times basically leaving their common sense back home. Us locals....mostly we are the ones working behind the bar, dealing the cards, greeting your hungover butt on the trade show floor, driving the cabs and preparing the gourmet meals. So, is it Las Vegas, or the people who come here that make it so crazy?...Of course the answer is both.

Not that us residents don't get our "wild" on sometimes but less than you'd think....a lot less. The reason for this is probably because when it's there for you 24/7 anytime you want, it's no big deal and so not a priority. When I tell people I meet I live in Las Vegas I a lot of times get an amused look and many times then the question..."How can someone live in Las Vegas?"...."Quite comfortably" I usually reply, "in the suburbs 20 minutes away from the strip!'.

Octavia Spencer and Julianne Hough

My former car, my Chrysler Sebring convertible also appears in this when that happens because we both get paid. I almost sold it to the production company because the red Sebring convertible Julianne's character drives in the film was driven from the previous shoot location in Louisiania to downtown Las Vegas but was stolen the first day it arrived! They did find the car however and so I kept mine and it just had a cameo...(so to speak).

This is the second time I have worked with Julianne Hough as I stood in for her a few times on "Dancing with the Stars."...Fortunately us stand ins were not required to dance for that show....because trust me my dancing would not very closely resemble hers....she is quite a force!

Writer and Director Brooke Busey-Maurio.....(better known by her pseudonym Diablo Cody), won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for her film, Juno....She first became known as a blogger who chronicled her year as a stripper in Minneapolis in a blog title that I can't print here....and then her subsequent book of the same story, "Candy Girl"...Paradise is her directorial debut.

I watched an advance version of this film (in reverse of most movie releases it first premiered on DirecTV and Amazon) and suggest it as a cable or DVD pick....easily watchable but not intense enough for a run to the theater....and oh, they should have let Julianne sing more!

Get to know my friend pictured with me, Norma....a real Las Vegas showgirl and so much more!

"Norma In Motion"