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December 22, 2014

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Hot dogs and hypodermic needles: Five thoughts from Tropfest Las Vegas

At the Cosmopolitan, June 2-3

1. This is the chillest I’ve seen the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard pool. VIPs, Tropfest filmmakers and media folk hang in an Astroturf pen starring up at short films projected on a wall, while others lounge on daybeds around the water. It’s so peaceful you’d hardly know the Strip is just beyond that wall.

2. As we walk in, a man with a hot dog cart by the bar shouts his wares. Suddenly last weekend’s bacon smell at the Childish Gambino show makes sense.

3. Tonight’s lineup features locally made films and favorites from the last 20 years of Australian short film festival Tropfest. One short documents proper towel-flicking technique, including how to disarm your opponent and use his towel against him. Given that we’re at a pool, I wonder if they’re going to give out towels and let us practice.

4. The Tropfest all-stars film portion of the evening closes with a pair of shorts from festival success story and Hollywood stuntman Nash Edgerton. The films, Spider and Bear, follow the well-meaning pranks of Jack, who always takes things one step too far, according to his girlfriend Jill. Jack gets his comeuppance in both films (think hypodermic needle to the eye), much to the wincing amusement of the crowd. When fest founder John Polson takes the mic afterward to thank Edgerton he says exactly what we’re all thinking: “Nash is one sick puppy.”

5. There’s more! Tropfest’s main event, the All-Star Competition hosted by Rob Corddry, is Sunday at Boulevard pool from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. And tickets can be reserved for free here. The hot dogs, however, you’ll have to pay for yourself.

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