Monday, June 15, 2009 | 8:03 a.m.
Willem Dafoe has had plenty of opportunities to come to Las Vegas over the years but nothing ever convinced the actor to visit the city - until Sunday night.
Yet it wasn’t a luxurious nightclub, extravagant pool party, or opulent night out on the town on a casino’s dime that got the actor to come to town.
It was CineVegas.
He finally arrived in Las Vegas Sunday, just in time to catch the tail-end of the 11th annual film festival.
Until Sunday’s visit, the 53-year-old star had never set foot in Las Vegas.
Dafoe explained his half-century-long Vegas stand-off while walking the red carpet outside Sunday night’s CineVegas Awards Reception at the Palms.
“I never had a good enough reason to come,” he said just moments before accepting the CineVegas Vanguard Actor Award, which honored his retrospective of brave performances.
“This was a good reason,” Dafoe said, of the award.
“This is the first time I’ve been here,” he reiterated, “And I’m happy I came.”
The two-time Academy Award-nominated actor said his first visit to Las Vegas probably won’t be his last one.
“I’ll probably be back,” he smiled.
Dafoe spent Sunday afternoon at CineVegas, which is being held at Brenden Theatres and concludes today.
He answered fans’ questions following a screening of his 1982 film, “the Loveless,” before walking the red carpet outside the evening’s reception.
While Dafoe admitted Sunday that he had yet to see much of the city aside from the interior of the Palms, the actor still said he liked his first, tiny taste of the city.
“Oh, man, my head is buzzing,” he said.
“It’s interesting,” he said. “I’m digesting a lot.”
The Wooster Group co-founder noted his inaugural visit to Vegas would be a relatively low-key one.
“I’m just going to do some things today and see a couple of films tomorrow,” he said.
In addition to picking up some prestigious hardware at Sunday night’s reception and checking out some films, Dafoe said his itinerary would also involve some father-son bonding.
“I brought my (27-year-old) son so maybe we’ll do some things around the films tomorrow,” he said.
The 11th annual CineVegas film festival continues now through Monday. While the majority of screenings and events take place at the Palms, a complete guide to the festival, its events and corresponding parties can be found here.
Melissa Arseniuk writes about Las Vegas entertainment and celebrity events. She can be reached at 702-948-7823 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palms Casino Resort has come a long way since its "Real World" debut in 2002. The boutique property features three distinct towers and a diverse mix of bars and restaurants across a 95,000-square-foot casino.
Palms, which features more than 1,200 rooms and fantasy suites, is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation that will encompass an Ivory Tower room and suite redesign, new culinary additions, re-imagined gaming spaces and new, distinctive nightlife experiences.
In addition to newly designed rooms, during the first phase of the renovation, Palms will welcome Heraea, a high-energy American restaurant and lounge, and XISHI, a pan-Asian restaurant and lounge.
Fantasy Suites include the Hardwood Suite, the only hotel room in the world with its own basketball court.
Other amenities include the all-new Cantor Gaming® race and sports book, one of the few sports books in Las Vegas to include a poker room; SOCIAL; Scarlet; Chocolat Bistro; tonic bar; ghostbar; Pearl Concert Theater; Moon Nightclub; N9NE Steakhouse; Nove Italiano; Simon Restaurant & Lounge; Palms Pool & Bungalows; Kim Vō Salon; Drift Spa & Hammam; Brenden Theatres, a 14-theatre cineplex and more than 60,000 square-feet of meeting space.