CeeLo lights fire behind 'Loberace'


CeeLo Green’s flaming-piano act during his truck ride down Las Vegas Boulevard was so hot, no one was taking chances.

A flame retardant was sprayed on the five-time Grammy winner’s clothes, as well as the showgirls and showboys who accompanied him during Tuesday’s wild trip from Caesars Palace to Planet Hollywood Resort.

“The only concern was the clothing (catching fire) and if the wind blew the flame in my direction,” Green said by telephone Thursday.

Living up to his worldwide hit “Crazy,” Green’s stunt was a promotion for his much-anticipated “Loberace” show at Planet Hollywood.

Asked whether he thought Liberace would approve of the outrageous arrival, Green said, “I think Liberace either would ask me to be his apprentice or he would have known he had stiff competition.”

OSCARS DON’T PAY BILLS

For most Academy Award winners, the career-defining honor is followed by weeks of euphoria and opportunities.

Korre Heggem, who attended Green Valley High School and UNLV, spent this week accepting a bittersweet truth. At 28, this chapter is over, his future unclear.

Hours before winning his second Oscar as part of a team, Heggem joined 450 visual effects artists in a protest outside Dolby Theatre on Hollywood’s brightest night.

Later, Heggem and his team of visual effects artists won an Oscar for “Life of Pi.”

Five years ago, he was among a team that won for its work on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

Looking to cut costs, struggling studios are outsourcing visual effects (VFX) to places like Mumbai, India; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Taiwan. “Foreign governments and states offer tax incentives and subsidies for movie work to be done in their juridictions,” he said in an email. “Directors and parent studios (i.e. Fox, Universal, etc.) want cheaper and cheaper costs to making movies.”

Many VFX artists work from project to project as free-lancers. “We have no portable benefits between studios, we have no health care, we have no pensions, we don’t even see residuals from the movies we work on,” he said.

Heggem’s team was responsible for adding computer-generated lighting to the (computer-generated) tiger, orangutan, hyena, zebra, lifeboat and meerkats, with the goal to make them as photo-realistic as possible.

Adding insult to injury, on Oscar night when Bill Westenhofer, VFX supervisor for “Life of Pi” was giving his acceptance speech, he was interrupted by the “Jaws” theme, and his microphone was cut. Then Ang Lee, the director of “Life of Pi,” and Claudio Miranda, the film’s cinematographer, neglected to thank the Rhythm and Hues studio for the VFX work.

Heggem said he’s moving on, possibly returning to school to get a second degree to go with his bachelor of arts degree from UNLV in 2008.

“I simply must look out for what’s best in my life down the road,” he said.

SIGHTINGS

It was all-star chef night at Oscar’s Steakhouse (Plaza) last Monday. Always a good sign. In one group was Bruce and Eric Bromberg, founders of the Blue Ribbon restaurant empire; Kim Canteenwalla of Honey Salt in Summerlin after helming the kitchen at Society Café at Encore; Scott Conant of Scarpetta fame; “Top Chef Masters” winner Chris Cosentino of San Francisco; “Top Chef” contestant Cat Cora; celebrated seafood chef Rick Moonen; and Jonathan Waxman, a pioneer of California cuisine before moving making his mark in New York.

THE PUNCH LINE

“This morning on ‘Good Morning America,’ ABC unveiled the new cast of ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ It was a who’s who of who needs money.” — Jimmy Kimmel

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.