Cameras to close in on 'real' Las Vegas

His "Sopranos" song has ended, but Steve Schirripa (who played Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri on the HBO mob drama) returns to Las Vegas this week for Spike TV's "Casino Cinema."

Based at the Hard Rock, the shoot will feature "an insider look" at Las Vegas, Schirripa promises, from interviews with local celebrities to chats with "casino hosts, showgirls and dealers, to see the real Las Vegas," he says. "Not the one you get on the Travel Channel, but what goes on, where to go, how you tip, how to get treated like a high-roller -- even if you're not."

Schirripa ought to know; before his big "Sopranos" break, he was the Riviera's entertainment director.

"Best Damn" pool party: Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" returns to the Hooters pool from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Fans are welcome to stop by; crowd participation and giveaways are on the schedule, along with such guests as "Beauty of Magic" co-star Pamela Anderson, Penn & Teller, boxer Floyd Mayweather and players from the NBA's summer league.

Chris Rose, John Salley, Rodney Peete and Rob Dibble host; the shows air July 16-18.

Double down: CBS plans final-table coverage of this weekend's Ultimate Blackjack Tournament Classic Sunday in The Venetian ballroom. If you'd like to watch the finals from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. -- or the celebrity finals from 2 to 6 p.m. -- call The Venetian's Players Club at 414-4116. Seating is limited to 100 spectators per round.

"Baby-O" talk: The temperature's hot, but the music's cool as "Baby-O" (co-written by and starring another "Sopranos" alum, David Proval) continues production, with stops at Just Jazz, the Rampart Casino, Last Call Truck Stop, Desert Canyon Rehabilitation Hospital and driving scenes in and out of town.

British invasion: A British television pilot titled"Civilizations," featuring Tufts University history professor (and "Civilizations" author) Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, visits Las Vegas to search for evidence of "civilizations past and present," explains director Andrew Graham-Brown.

"It's an amazing place," Graham-Brown says of the Strip's around-the-world-in-80-steps ambience. And Valley of Fire, the pilot's other primary location, has "lots of signs of early civilization," he adds.

Also expected in town: the BBC's "World's Greatest Elvis," which plans on-the-street interviews Tuesday and Wednesday as host Vernon Kay travels the world in search of the ultimate King. (Or at least the ultimate pretender to the throne.)

Countdown clock: The annual 48-Hour Film Project returns Aug. 3-5, with participants writing, shooting, editing and scoring a project in a beat-the-clock burst of cinematic creativity. To form (or join) a team or find out more about the competition, click on

Carol Cling's Shooting Stars column appears Mondays. Contact her at 383-0272 or e-mail her at