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Pechanga reveals art collection

28 June 2007

CULA, California -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Pechanga Resort & Casino today enhanced its reputation for elegant style, cultural diversity and fine art with the unveiling of six original oil-on-canvas paintings from the Pechanga Collection By Todd White, the noted expressionist who was this year's official artist for the Grammy Awards.

At a mid-day event hosted by CNN's Larry King in its SILK Nightclub, Pechanga tribal leaders, casino executives, Hollywood celebrities, VIP guests, art collectors and the media got the first look at the largest paintings White has ever created.

The unveiling stirred the interest of some of Hollywood's best stars. Drew Carey, Christian Slater and Wayne Newton were among the celebrities who attended the unveiling. Also in attendance were Kathy Najimy, Dr. Mildred Finch on CBS' NUMB3RS; Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Denny Duquette on ABC's Grey's Anatomy; Actress Ricki Lake, recently named the new host of ABC's America's Funniest Home Videos; Actor Walton Goggins, Det. Shane Vendrell on FX's The Shield; Actor Doug Savant, Tom Scavo on ABC's Desperate Housewives, and Brooke Burke, host of E Channel's "Wild On ... .".

"I thought they were great," said Christian Slater. "I walked in and saw the art and was completely blown away."

The six original paintings will be on display for public viewing from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday, June 28, in Pechanga's Grand Ballroom East. White will appear starting at 7 p.m. to greet visitors.

"The Pechanga Collection is a first for the Indian gaming industry and just the latest example of our commitment to always perfecting the Pechanga experience. We will continue to refine the entertainment experience and offer our guests the very best entertainment venue in Southern California," said Amy Minniear, President of the Pechanga Development Corporation.

The Pechanga Collection By Todd White will eventually include 11 original oil-on-canvas paintings that will portray gaming themes. Limited edition, 40"x30" giclees (spray ink prints) of the original paintings will be available for purchase by the public in the Pechanga Gallery. The remaining five originals will be unveiled later this year.

White's Rat Pack meets Picasso style, described as "art with a twist," captures timeless scenes with contrasting colors or stolen moments in dominant colors of red, khaki, black and white. Each painting tells a story of passion between lovers, friends, patrons and co-workers. Scenes depict intimate evenings filled with wine, martinis, coffee, cigarettes, cigars, cameras and most importantly, the human spirit. Physiques are exaggerated and texturized to illustrate the subject's story, whether it is masked masculinity, flowered femininity, humor or elusive mystery. Details and backgrounds are manipulated to captivate the viewer's eye and transplant him into the scene. Each painting is asymmetrical in nature yet confident and strong.

Ricki Lake said, "The collection is great. It's right up my alley because I love caricatures and humor. Plus, it combines two of my favorite things -- art and gaming!"

In "Full House," the 6'x9' canvas that will hang in Pechanga's lobby over the concierge desk welcoming all to the property, the viewer experiences a double entendre and all of the excitement that Pechanga offers. It is the largest painting White has ever created.

A multi-cultural audience under the Great Oak, a symbol of strength and spirituality for the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, enjoys all of the camaraderie, anticipated fun and full schedule of activity portrayed.

"The leaves of that great tree dissolve into all the numbers they will experience and float throughout the background, always hinting at the possibilities that await them at Pechanga," White said.

"Single Deck" and "No More Bets," both 5'x8' canvases, are the second- largest paintings by White.

"No More Bets" will hang in the casino as guests enter from the hotel lobby. It portrays players at a roulette table and is full of anticipation, possibility and promise at the moment in the game when everyone is still equal as the dealer makes the call.

"At the exact moment in the painting, everyone is still a winner just before the ball drops," White said.

True to his comedic style, comedian Drew Cary remarked, "I think they're fantastic. 'Single Deck' would look great as sheets and PJs for Pechanga!"

"Single Deck," which will hang in the casino across from the entrance to the new High-Limit Salon, is a clever play on words. It depicts single people being dealt single cards from a single deck, which to a Blackjack player always offers better odds. But in typical White style, with furtive glances and facial expressions, the players are not only checking out the cards, but also each other. "The odds are better here and we may get lucky in more ways than one," is a dominant interpretation.

The additional pieces unveiled today form a Triptych, a collection of three, 40"x30" originals that will be hung together in the lighted alcoves across from Kelsey's restaurant. Each piece, "Snap Shot," "Push It" and "Peep It," are independent but work together to portray the fun and action offered in a casino.

"Snap Shot" brings a classic image that everyone has experienced in a casino. All my friends are here and this will be a night of fun, win or lose. Drinks are hoisted, toasts are made and a Pechanga moment is captured forever.

"Push It" is another double entendre that takes place at a table game. Players are pushed in together and are pushing their luck, pushing their cards and wondering, "Did I win or is it a push?"

"Peep It," is a scene at another table game and players are guarding their two hole cards from each other. They are looking at their cards, but trying to "peep" at others. A theme is "If you show me yours, I'll show mine," which everyone knows will not happen.

"An important thing to remember," says White, "is that this entire collection is multi-cultural. Everyone is having a good time together. Whatever your background, the gaming makes everyone equal."

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