Nicolas Cage and his family are among the many celebrities that have relocated to Las Vegas. Like so many who have moved here, from the stars and executives to just ordinary folks, the question from others is often ..."Why?" After all, it's Sin City! That's no place to raise a family. Well I think if you can see beyond the neon as Nicolas has, you'll find out there's much more to Las Vegas, but this side of it just doesn't have the catchy marketing and slogans, or it's reality anywhere near how it's often portrayed in movies or on TV.
Yes, Las Vegas is notorious, but for something you might not imagine. Charity Fundraisers and Benefits, and community contributions that are found everywhere around town and all through the year. Celebrities, entertainers, and business leaders play a large part of making it all happen. But just as you'll find with Celebrity reports in tabloids or on the internet, bad news, whether true or not, is what attracts headlines and attention. The good about a person or a city with notoriety often gets a small blurb, if anything at all.
Nicolas has discovered this hidden secret of Las Vegas. It's a city that is filled with caring and compassion, with a very real sense of community and charity. Giving back is the norm, not the exception.
Opportunity Village, founded here in 1954, offers children with intellectual disabilities not only arts, recreation, and social activities, but provides training and employment opportunities, done through community fundraising and the businesses they've created.
Tim Arnold, creator of The Pinball Hall of Fame, doesn't make a dime from his unique museum filled with his private collection. Instead, over the years he's donated hundreds of thousands to the local Salvation Army.
The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, now a world leader in Alzheimer Research and Treatment, was made possible by Las Vegas' Keep Memory Alive Foundation and their annual Power of Love Gala performances.
The Downtown Project, created by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, has committed $350 million to revitalize and reshape downtown Las Vegas. This in addition to partnerships in Venture for America and Teach for America, as well as drawing other venture firms and businesses into the area to expand the reach of his plan.
These are just a very few examples of the many charitable causes going on in Las Vegas, that you may have never heard mentioned, nor imagined they'd be going on in a place nicknamed 'Sin City'.
Since moving his family here, Nicolas has been lending his support to many of our local charities. Most recently he was involved with the 4th Annual Cadillac of Las Vegas Celebrity Benefit Show, Vegas Stars Brighten the Holidays, held Dec 1 at the LVH Hotel Theater. His involvement drew local media attention, helping to get the pre-show word out to other entertainers, who eagerly donated their talents.
In an unfortunate turn, Nicolas had a conflict with his filming of his latest movie 'Joe'. While it was disappointing, for both him and all of us, that he and his family wouldn't be able to participate in person at the event, it didn't stop Nic from contributing. He immediately offered to make a video for the show from the Texas location set, taking time out for both himself and his staff to shoot and edit the amazing piece. It was truly the awesome surprise of the evening, with his own words and feelings that were coming straight from the heart.
Nicolas also gave his permission to put the video online, saying "Sure, anything to help the Marines and the children," and it has. I was just at Cadillac of Las Vegas yesterday, and there are still toys being dropped off at the dealership, now long after the show.
So let me share the Nicolas Cage Toys for Tots video and The Vegas Underground Blog description, done with the approval of friend and annual show producer LJ Harness, and the post's writer, who was also involved with the show. A disclaimer that the latter was not too difficult to reach, since his home office is next to my own.
Nicolas Cage video, USMC Toys for Tots Las Vegas Celebrity Benefit Show Vegas Stars Brighten the Holidays. It was one of the highlights of the sold out Dec. 1, 2012 event held at the 1700 seat LVH Hotel and Casino Theater. This was the 4th and largest Toys for Tots show produced by LJ Harness of Cadillac of Las Vegas. LJ introduced the video by stopping the show to make an on stage cellphone call to a mystery friend, “someone who couldn’t be with us tonight.” While holding out the phone he asked the audience to wish a Merry Christmas, and the response was loud and clear from the packed house. Then this video was shown, and you could hear the roar of the crowd when they discovered it was Nicolas Cage.
The roar and applause came again as Nicolas spoke about children and family, and thanking the Marines not only for their Toys for Tots program, but for our freedom. His thanks to the many Las Vegas entertainers who volunteered to make the show possible and to the caring of the audience to support this cause, just added to the applause at it’s end. His heartwarming thought created many teary- eyes in the room that night.
There is more to this story, as Nic had been working behind the scenes for the event. His involvement added so much to it’s success of raising well over $150,000 of toys plus thousands more in cash for Toys for Tots. His status as a celebrity helped to get the word out prior to the show, and as Las Vegas entertainers became aware of it, they did what they’ve always done and eagerly volunteered their talents.
Nicolas wasn’t planning on doing a video, but attending with his wife Alice and son Kal-El. Unfortunately a conflict arose from his filming schedule for the movie ‘Joe’, being shot in Austin, TX. When this happened, he immediately offered to contribute with the making of this video. In it’s own way it became a unique opportunity for everyone there that night to experience him on a much more personal level. As LJ said when he first saw the video, “That IS so Nicolas, just as he speaks to me with such passion about so many things.”
Celebrities, entertainers, and the like have their lives held under the microscope, and so often the victims of media spin. Great actors can be so believable in a role, that they can become stereotyped with the characters they portray. When in public it can become a scene so frenzied with fans and media that they have to be sheltered from the crowds, not allowing the real person to shine through. This video allowed for everyone in the house that night to see the real man behind the curtain.
Las Vegas itself falls into this celebrity status category. Nicolas’ choice to move his family here was because he’s discovered what hides behind the marketing and perceptions the silver and small screens have created. Lurking beyond the bright lights of this world-class city is a small town filled with some big hearts. The outpouring of entertainer support, plus that of so many others who became involved with this show, are just small examples of it. There are so many more of these well attended charity events that go on in the Las Vegas valley that often go unnoticed from the masses.
For the many at the LVH Theater that night that asked to see it again, and for the many more in the community that weren’t able to see the show, we asked Nicolas if we could share it online. Again to honor the Marine Corps Reserves for their service to country, and to our local community. It also gives everyone an inspiring holiday message that can be appreciated well beyond one theater, one night, in one city. Thank you Nicolas, for sharing yourself with us, becoming part of our community, and helping the Marines and the children of Las Vegas.
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Many thanks go out to Nicolas and all the Las Vegas entertainers that performed or appeared to make the show a success. I have posted pictures of the Red Carpet and the Show Performers on stage, on my facebook page.
Whether you get to interact with Las Vegas entertainers or celebrities like Nicolas Cage, or simply benefit from their many contributions to our community, it's what makes the Las Vegas Valley such a great place to call home. If you are interested in relocating to Las Vegas or would like more information on Las Vegas Real Estate, please email me, at Roberta@RobertaLaRocca.com, or call 702-354-8988. I look forward to hearing from you!