June 3: Documentary Screening of “The Misunderstood Legend of the Las Vegas Moulin Rouge” with short introduction by filmmaker
“The Moulin Rouge brought pride and hope to black Las Vegas. In its one shining moment the Rouge changed the world and then the world moved on.”
– Filmmaker Stan Armstrong, who will introduce the documentary, in a 2013 Smithsonian magazine interview.
On May 24, 1955, the first racially integrated Hotel and Casino, Moulin Rouge, opened in the gambling boomtown of Las Vegas. Built on the Westside, the African-American enclave, the Moulin Rouge attracted the leading lights of entertainment, black and white, who played to mixed audiences within the same timeframe as the Emmett Till murder in Mississippi and the heroism of Rosa Parks in Alabama.
In this documentary local filmmakers Stan Armstrong and Gary Lipsman tell the story of the Moulin Rouge. Plagued by fires and rumors of Mob connections, investors still came with plans and dreams for its future, including Sarann Knight Preddy, the first African-American woman to receive a Nevada gaming license. So far all plans have failed.
The film also showcases the memories of owners, management, entertainers, and ex-employees, such as Maurice Hinds Sr,. as well as stories and remembrances from former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, long-time Las Vegas journalist John L. Smith, and Michael Green, professor of history at UNLV.
Armstrong will introduce the documentary prior to its screening and sign copies of the film following the showing.
Narrated by Antonio Fargas.
Stan Armstrong, founder of Desert Rose Films, has spent over a decade exploring hidden or forgotten aspects of history, culture and race in the United States. Born in San Francisco and moving later to Las Vegas, he was educated in the 1970s, later to inspire his documentary The Rancho High School Riots. Armstrong says he has witnessed first-hand the staggering growth and social change in his home city. Documenting the fascinating history and development of his local community in West Las Vegas, he shows how their stories have so often been a microcosm of the wider African-American experience.
He has a degree in communications and film history and was appointed instructor in African-American Film and Ethnic Studies at UNLV. He also lectures throughout the United States.