ShoWest 2000: Waiting for Jim Carrey

A city of pure illusion, a destination of promised opportunities, a dustbin of broken dreams. … It’s certainly not hard to see the cosmic affinity between Las Vegas and Hollywood.

And starting Monday, these two mirage factories shall converse and converge in what is known as ShoWest — a four-day theater exhibitors convention by design and a star-studded industry event distilled to its purest form (read: a marathon of power luncheons and dinners) in essence.

And when we say star-studded, we don’t mean no washed-up Vegas acts and two-bit types deep in the pits of obscurity. What’s on tap at ShoWest is Hollywood’s biggest, brightest and (usually) most unavailable players. If we were to namedrop, we could have mentioned — in a casual and inconsequential manner, no less — Jim Carrey, Annette Bening, Hilary Swank, Angelina Jolie and very important dealmakers from studios such as New Line, Sony and Columbia.

But we won’t namedrop since we’re committed to bringing you hard-hitting movie-theater scoops such as the recommended butter ration per serving of popcorn or the latest edible delicacy primed to hit concession stands.

But as of now — the night before ShoWest — all is quiet (if not, boring) on the Strip. At the main venues — the Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s hotels — semi-aggressive security guards stand watch as about four people tap away at Internet-connected kiosks put up by AOL and Moviefone. As far as excitement goes, that’s about it for tonight.

What about those promised famous people?

Mused one guard: “Famous people? What famous people! They’re not coming here until Thursday night.”