Hollywood has rearrived in Boulder City. In the late ’30s, even early ’60s, there was an insurgence of actors from La La Land soaking in the city’s surroundings either for personal vacations or because a movie was being filmed close by. Today, our city is again attracting major Hollywood names for shopping, eating and living.
When you think of Boulder City, names like Shirley Temple, Bette Davis and Howard Hughes come to mind. Yet, within the past few years, the names attached to our city include Vanessa Simmons, Naomi Grossman, Corey Taylor (SlipKnot), the late Sen. John McCain and cast members from “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” Even more exciting is why the celebs are showing up here, which is for the dining and shopping.
Dan Fox of Fox Smokehouse BBQ has had many celebrities stop in his Elm Street location. Two of his more famous customers include James Hawthorne, who played a bus driver named Sam in the movie “Speed,” and Jimmie Walker, who played J.J. on the television series “Good Times.” Incidentally, Hawthorne, who played opposite Keanu Reeves, visited Boulder City during a time Reeves stopped through to check out all the motorcycle stickers outside of The Coffee Cup on Nevada Way.
Reeves, who has a motorcycle company called Arch, isn’t the only celebrity to enjoy The Coffee Cup’s surf and sun theme. The Food Network’s Guy Fieri of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” has been to the restaurant twice (an upcoming episode is filmed and waiting to air), members of the Vegas Golden Knights and Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) have all cracked an egg there. Even the recently opened The Tap has seen its share of celebrity diners, including MTV reality star Farrah Abraham and Bravo’s Heather Marianna at the same time and with camera crew in tow. Even Dog the Bounty Hunter (Duane Chapman) has been spotted eating dinner at Evan’s Old Town Grille on Arizona Street.
Notable short-film maker Jeff Zampino recently filmed a silent movie in the Boulder Dam Hotel, using local antique stores to help create costumes and adding a flair to the essence of the movie. He will be shopping this Charlie Chaplin-like film at major festivals, including our own Dam Short Film Festival next February. While filming here, Zampino went out of his way to use local restaurants to cater for his movie crew instead of driving into Las Vegas or using production-based catering companies.
Boulder City has a lot to offer celebrity dinners and shoppers. We’re a friendly town by nature. Our restaurants range from down-home cooking to upscale tapas and wines. Our culture offers privacy and an appreciation of the arts that generates an authentic spotlight on all the food, fun and adventure to be found here.
Regardless if you’re a celebrity like Reeves or John Doe, it’s the same authentic smiles that greet customers day in and day out, which is what makes all of the city’s locals true tourism advocates.
I’ve been told (several times) about different best-selling publishers and directors who live here and want to stay out of the limelight, but who also quietly enjoy all the food, shopping and unique events put on here year-round. I even know of a strong local tie Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers) has to the heart of this town, which would probably surprise many.
No one would ever think our quaint small town would attract such big names, but it has in the past and shows no signs of slowing down in the future. Who knows, one day we may see a flagship Arch motorcycle store on the main drag or a major movie premier at the Boulder Theatre.
The point is that you never know who you will rub elbows with when dining, shopping or adventuring on a local level. That familiar face in the crowd might just be lighting up the silver screen or selling out stadiums.
Tanya Vece is a ghostwriter and independent marketing specialist. She can be reached on Instagram @TanyaLVece.