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Vegas a star in 3-D Cirque film

Cirque du Soleil acrobats will be flying out of movie screens in 3-D sometime next year, collectively promoting the company’s Las Vegas shows.

The yet-unnamed release aims for theatrical distribution. It’s overseen by "Avatar" creator James Cameron and directed by Andrew Adamson, who helmed the first two "Shrek" and "Narnia" features.

Las Vegas will be the big star, in a move to collectively brand Cirque’s product here independently of its touring shows.

"All of the show content, which is the biggest part of the film, is made of excerpts from the Las Vegas shows," says Jacques Mathes, who is in charge of extending the Cirque brand into multimedia and lifestyle ventures.

"We’ve created a narrative with characters that take us from one show to the other, but we’re sort of discovering Cirque’s world in Las Vegas."

Much of the filming concluded here last weekend. Filming will continue here in late January or early February. Adamson already filmed most of the early narrative scenes in his native New Zealand. Instead of a straight documentary approach, the movie has a fictional plot structure.

"The beginning of the story takes place in a real, as opposed to Cirque-like, world, where two characters meet," Mathes explains. "And then the rest of the film is one character looking for the other, and that quest leads her through the shows in Las Vegas."

The shows will be seen as they are. "It’s not as if we’re doing a film based on or using the characters," he says, though that might happen in the future. "It’s the actual show itself," albeit with "access to a number of point of views not accessible to the public."

Cirque executives believe 3-D is a perfect vehicle, but acknowledge that scheduling a release date will be tricky, given Hollywood’s rush to glut the market with 3-D features.

"We have to find the right approach, but we all think it would look fabulous on a theatrical screen and we’re going to put it there," he says.

"Some people who don’t know us will be attracted and want to see a real, live show," he says, and the film also will play markets "where people cannot go to our shows.

"Not everybody goes to Las Vegas, and not everybody, especially families, can afford our shows. It’s an expensive proposal." …

Two show ventures previously seen in suburban casinos go really native, just like a "regular" city, with no casino attachment at all.

This evening brings the monthly staging of magician Jeff McBride’s "Wonderground" at The Olive Mediterranean restaurant, 3850 E. Sunset Road.

McBride drew mostly fellow magicians in his early attempts at Palace Station. But now he says capacity crowds — including civilians — have been turning out for the event that mixes close-up magic with dance, painting and other fantastical arts.

The collective entity known as Hot Lava has staged "A Hawaiian Christmas" in suburban casinos the past four years. But this Sunday, you’ll want to set your GPS for the Willows restaurant, 2020 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, Henderson.

Christy Copeland, Manea Manuma and Janoe Kalawa are again the lead vocalists for Christmas standards with a tropical vibe at 3:30 and 7 p.m. …

Impressionist Greg London wraps his "Impressions That Rock" on Sunday at the Riviera. He is moving to the Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton on Jan. 31, with an 8:30 p.m. time slot that pushes Shimmer’s headliner comedians from 9 to 10 p.m.

"America’s Soul Music" has ended at the Clarion after four weeks, and is presumably shopping for a new Las Vegas venue as well. …

Jazz fans may have noted the recent passing of saxophone great James Moody at age 85, and some of his Las Vegas friends will be in San Diego for services Saturday.

Though he was best known for his years with Dizzy Gillespie and his own hit "Moody’s Mood for Love," Moody came off the road in the 1970s to play in the house bands at the Flamingo and Las Vegas Hilton. He worked as an anonymous band member for contractor Jimmy Mulidore — who considers Moody his mentor — but headliners such as Bill Cosby often took notice and featured him. …

Last month, I noted bankrupt magician Steve Wyrick had agreed to pay about $150,000 for props he originally estimated in court papers at $35,000.

Now it appears that if he wants to buy them back, he will have to bid on them Friday, along with anyone else who wants to buy them.

A 10:30 a.m. auction at the Foley Federal Building gives anyone with $150,000 a chance to buy a whole magic show, including a helicopter shell, a "Death Crane" and a "Blades of Death illusion," according to the court filing.

There’s enough in the collection to take care of even the "person who has everything" on your Christmas list.

Contact Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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