www.davidlv.com JUNE 2012
NIGHTLY NEON NUPTIALS WEDDING CHAPELS THAT MAKE VEGAS THE MARRIAGE MECCA
TODAY I AM A FOUNTAIN PEN BAR MITZVAH MISHEGAS AND OTHER TRIBAL RITES OF PASSAGE
DESERT WATER FIENDS
ANY BRIDE’S BEST FRIEND COLIN COWIE, EVENT PLANNER EXTRAORDINAIRE
THREE LOCAL SWIMMERS TRAIN FOR THE U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS
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Las Vegas Design Center is home to the city’s most comprehensive selection of home furnishings and interior design resources. LOCATED AT WORLD MARKET CENTER LAS VEGAS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, 10AM TO 5PM AND SATURDAY, 10AM TO 3PM COMPLIMENTARY VALET PARKING · LVDESIGNCENTER.COM
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14 explore The month’s event listings to help plan your day or your stay 18 devour Where to find some of the best eats, drinks and foodie happenings in the Valley 20 desire Sin City abounds in worldclass shopping ... these are a few of our favorite things 22 discover Hot spots to go, cool things to do, hip people to see—the Entertainment Capital of the World, need we say more 23 mingle Snapshots of the latest, greatest Vegas events
28 speak Local humorist, Corey Levitan attempts Barbie Doll alchemy. He may be on your driveway next Saturday morning. 32 believe It is not just Bar/Bat Mitzvahs that celebrate an individuals right of passage. Other cultures also do their thing. 36 taste Discovering the cultural origins of a people through their cuisine.
42 Desert Water Fiends Vegas swimmers qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. They have their eyes on the prize, London 2012. 46 Colin Cowie The man with the golden touch, wedding planner to the stars. 52 Nightly Neon Nuptials The wedding chapels that make Las Vegas the international wedding mecca.
58 Clark County Marriage License Bureau The month’s spotlight on an institution of interest
on the cover Colin Cowie on the road to yet another matrimonial masterpiece. Photograph by Liz Von Hoene.
Copyright 2012 by JewishINK LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. DAVID MAGAZINE is protected as a trademark in the United States. Subscribers: If the Postal Service alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we are under no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year. The publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited or contributed manuscripts, photographs, artwork or advertisements. Submissions will not be returned unless arranged for in writing. DAVID MAGAZINE is a monthly publication. All information regarding editorial content or property for sale is deemed reliable. No representation is made as to the accuracy hereof and is printed subject to errors and omissions.
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Volume 03 Number02 www.davidlv.com DAVID Magazine is published 12 times a year.
Copyright 2012 by JewishINK LLC. 1930 Village Center Circle, No. 3-459 Las Vegas, NV 89134 (p) 702-254-2223 (f) 702-664-2633
To advertise in DAVID Magazine, call 702-254-2223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org To subscribe to DAVID Magazine, call 702.254-2223 or email email@example.com
DAVID Magazine sets high standards to ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable manner. This copy of DAVID Magazine was printed by American Web in Denver, Colo., on paper from well-managed forests which meet EPA guidelines that recommend use of recovered fibers for coated papers. Inks used contain a blend of soy base. Our printer meets or exceeds all federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act standards and is a certified member of both the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. When you are done with this issue, please pass it on to a friend or recycle it.
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Marisa Finetti is a local writer, marketing professional and blogger. The Tokyoborn Finetti has called Las Vegas home since 2005. She has written for such publications as Spirit and Las Vegas and Nevada magazines and has a healthy-living blog at bestbewell.com. When she’s not writing, Finetti enjoys family time with her husband and two boys.
Jaq Greenspon is a noted local journalist, screenwriter and author with credits on The New Adventures of Robin Hood and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also is a literary and movie critic, has taught and written about filmmaking but is most proud of his role in the film, Lotto Love. A Vegas resident for most of his life, his native language is Hebrew, but he doesn’t speak it anymore.
Corey Levitan is a local journalist who was laid off four months before the Nevada Press Association named his “Fear and Loafing” series the Best Local Column of 2011. He is now a freelance writer, a new dad and a pauper. With unexpected time on his hands he has become a three-time NASCAR champion, an avid shrunken head collector and is now in training to become the first eunuch in space.
Lynn WexlerMargolies has been a feature writer and contributor for magazines and newspapers, locally and nationally, for over 20 years. She writes a monthly online column entitled Manners in the News, which comments on the behavior of politicians, celebrities and others thrust in the public arena. She is the Founder and President of Perfectly Poised, a school of manners that teaches social, personal and business etiquette to young people. She is a former TV Reporter and News Anchor. Of her many accomplishments, she is most proud of her three outstanding teenaged children.
Pat Teague has been a practicing journalist, manager and editor for international and regional wire services, and has worked for several metropolitan daily newspapers. He also has worked for one of the world’s largest corporations and was one of five Southern Californians in the Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored in 2000 for career achievement.
Katherine Turman likes cats, horses, books, wine, Slayer and sideshows. In her “day job,” she produces a night time radio show for Alice Cooper. At night she works on “Louder Than Hell,” a book covering the entire history of heavy metal music, due out on HarperCollins in late 2012. She’s written for pubs including the LA Times, Pool & Spa News, Rolling Stone and ‘TEEN. She did not enlist a wedding planner for her own nuptials, and ended up catching the venue on fire on her wedding night. She’s an LA native, USC J-school graduate, and lives in a Brooklyn basement with an Abyssinian.
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feedback To the Editor,
Congratulations goes to Sharma and Stewart Blumenfeld, who took this photograph with a group of dancers. The Blumenfelds visited Bali, Indonesia whilst on a world cruise on the Crystal Serenity.
In the April 2012 edition of DAVID, I read a letter to the editor from Joan & Len Wiener. They mention that they pick up 50 copies of DAVID Magazine which they distribute at the first service of the month at Temple Bet Knesset Bamidar. I have cause regarding this and I’ll tell you why. Within the last few months I have noticed a lack of DAVID Magazines on the rack at the Venetian Hotel at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. My 68 year old neighbor and I make a day of going to the Venetian Hotel and enjoy coffee whilst reading DAVID. Lately, I have noticed when we arrive at our preferred location the DAVID Magazine was not available. This month, luckily we “happened” to arrive just when the current April issue hit the stand. I was thrilled! Then I read the “feedback” portion and that’s when I read about the 50 copies that the couple distribute and it gave me pause, “HEY, are they freely taking a vast majority of these copies off the stands?” As I mentioned earlier, I have noticed at the Venetian location that there have been multiple occasions when not even one copy was left in the rack. On previous trips there used to be at least 5 remaining. and that’s just within the first two weeks of the new month! Also please notice that the couple, did say “we pick up 50 copies of DAVID Magazine which we distribute at the first service of the month”. Thank you for your attention to this matter. I think it is fine that this couple distribute the magazine but maybe they can pay for the subscription being they pick up so many at one time. Or, maybe 50 copies can be specifically given to Temple Bet Knesset Bamidar for their private distribution. Sincerely, Pamela Stidham Las Vegas
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We want to hear from you! Compliments and complaints are welcome, but only if we get them. Send them to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Letter to Editor” in the subject line or mail them to DAVID, 1930 Village Center Circle, No. 3-459, Las Vegas, NV 89134
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from the publisher “June is busting out all over” and so is it at DAVID. It is fitting that the theme of this month’s magazine is celebrations. Joanne and I have recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. With the focus this month being nuptials, we had an excuse to dig out our own wedding album. We also sat out front of the Clark County Marriage License Bureau one Saturday night, interviewing couples. For so many around the world Las Vegas is quite the marriage mecca. The city provides an awe-inspiring number of wedding chapels to choose from. It took us hours just to assemble the list we are publishing this month. It takes a Trojan effort by a team of editors, writers, graphic designers, photographers, bookkeepers, proofreaders and advertising sales staff to produce an issue of our publication. This has the effect of creating a production bubble, unfortunately removing us for a while from the world that DAVID inhabits. Occasionally, we receive letters from readers that reconnect us with this reality and for that we are truly most grateful. The letter that we publish this month provided us with a valuable perspective into how DAVID has become a part of the lives of our readership. Sometimes these missives contain compliments, and on other occasions they complain bitterly about some aspect of our content. More often than not, they contain both. One of the greatest challenges our distribution staff has is to make sure that we provide a seamless delivery experience for a growing readership. We have to monitor a rapidly expanding list of distribution locations and make sure they are stocked at all times with magazines, even toward the end of each month. Your feedback is vital, as we cannot be at all places at all times. We invite all our readers to email us with your observations, and our staff will gladly make the adjustments needed to assure that your location is always stocked. Furthermore, we are open to suggestions for new distribution locations. Upon review and successful negotiations with the location, a rack will be installed. Come on, Vegas: We have a storeroom full of magazine racks waiting for primetime. We take being a green business very seriously. Calibrating our distribution is imperative, getting as many of our publications that we print into the hands of a reader is job one. This is also important for our advertisers, as they need to trust that when we quote print run statistics these publications get eyeballs, not just those at the recycling plant in North Las Vegas. Life has many special moments of celebration: weddings, graduations, birthdays, rights of passage, etc. They are all special milestones in the stories of our lives. It is in the times in between these festivities, however, that we find the true majesty of life. Each ordinary moment is a gift and the art of living well requires us to celebrate them with joy.
Max Friedland email@example.com
Transforming Education. Advancing Care. Touching Lives.
Regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. JUNE 2012 DAVID
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pulse INSIDE explore @ 14 devour @ 19 desire @ 20 discover @ 22
Lucy Woodward. June 15-16, 8:30 p.m., $42-$55. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702749-2000. thesmithcenter.com JUNE 2012 DAVID
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eXplore L A S
Fresh Music Festival, featuring Doug E. Fresh. 7:30 p.m., $30. Orleans Arena, 4500 W. Tropicana Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-284-7777. www.orleansarena.com Summer Blood Drive. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas. 702-507-3459. www.lvccld.org
V E G A S
Michael Nigro in Concert. 2 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas. 702-507-3459. www.lvccld.org Seth Turner Band. 7:30 p.m., free. Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas. 702636-7111. www.suncoastcasino.com Grand Poker Series. Through July 4, times and costs vary, 21+. Golden Nugget, 129 E. Fremont Street, Las Vegas. 702-386-8221. www.goldennugget.com Saturday Night Jazz: Jim Spoto Band. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
Miss USA Pageant. 6 p.m., $75-$150. Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-785-5555. www.planethollywoodresort.com An Intimate Evening with Santana. Ongoing Weds.-Sun., 8 p.m., $89-$750. House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-632-7600. www. mandalaybay.com
4 Idina Menzel. June 10. 7:30 p.m., $39-$129. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-749-2000. thesmithcenter.com
thesmithcenter.com TropFest Short Film Festival. Through June 3, times vary, VIP packages available. The Cosmopolitan, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-698-7778. www. cosmopolitanlasvegas.com Our Digital Selves by Danny Roberts. Through June 30, Tues.-Sat. 12-6 p.m., free. Brett Wesley Gallery, 1112 S. Casino Center Blvd., Las Vegas. 702-4334433. www.brettwesleygallery.com Clint Holmes. Through June 2, 8:30 p.m., $38-$51. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-749-2000. www.
Glen Campbell. Through June 2, 8 p.m., $49-$79. Las Vegas Hotel, 3000 Paradise Road, Las Vegas. 702-732-5624. www. thelvh.com
Tuesday Afternoon at The Bijou. Through June 26, 1 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas. 702-507-3459. www.lvccld.org Contemporary Art Lecture. 11 a.m., free. Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, 888 W. Bonneville, Las Vegas. 702-483-6023. www.keepmemoryalive.org
First Friday. 6 p.m., free, Various locations downtown. For more information, call 702384-0092. www.firstfridaylasvegas.com Friday Night Classic Rock: Odd Man Out. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
Healthy Aging: Up2Me. Mondays through July 9, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m., free. Jewish Federation, 2309 B Renaissance Drive, Henderson. 702-616-4900. www. jewishlasvegas.org
Jewish Senior Singles. 6:30 p.m., free. NV Energy, 6226 W. Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-233-8618.
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3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-7317266. www.caesarspalace.com SATURDAY MOVIE MATINEE: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL. 2 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas. 702-507-3459. www.lvccld.org DAVID BRENNER. Through June 10, 7:30 p.m., $15.95. Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas. 702-636-7111. www.suncoastcasino. com WOLF CREEK. 7:30 p.m., free. Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas. 702-636-7111. www.suncoastcasino.com
MOVIES IN THE SQUARE. Thursdays through August 23, sundown, free. Town Square Las Vegas, 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-269-5001. www. mytownsquarelasvegas.com
JO KOY. 9 p.m., $39.95, 18+. Treasure Island, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-8947111. www.treasureisland.com D.L. HUGHLEY. Through June 9, 8 p.m., $39.95. Orleans Hotel, 4500 W. Tropicana Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-365-7111. www. orleanscasino.com EMILY BERGL – KIDDING ON THE SQUARE. Through June 9, 7 p.m., $43$56. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-749-2000. www. thesmithcenter.com
96.3 KKLZ PRESENTS JUNEFEST. 5:30 p.m. $25-$40. South Point Equestrian Center, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-796-7111. www.southpointcasino.com ONE DIRECTION. 7:30 p.m., $47.14-$56.67. Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-785-5555. www.planethollywoodresort.com SATURDAY NIGHT JAZZ: TOMMY THOMPSON PROJECT. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com MUSIC FOR A MISSION: THE B-52S. 9 p.m., $37.50-$45.50. Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas. 702-693-5000. www.hardrockhotel.com NEVADA BALLET & CIRQUE 5TH ANNUAL COLLABORATION. Through June 10, 1 p.m., $20-$40. Elvis Theatre at Aria, 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-5907760. www.nevadaballet.org
Wishing all Dads and Grads Happiness and Success
INSOMNIAC – 16TH ANNUAL ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL. Through June 10, $275-$500, 21+. Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N., Las Vegas. www. electricdaisycarnival.com FRIDAY NIGHT CLASSIC ROCK: SIXTIES SENSATIONS. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
301 N. Buffalo Drive 255-3444 www.thebagelcafelv.com
MUSIC FOR A MISSION: COLLECTIVE SOUL. 9 p.m., $34.50-$42.50. Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas. 702693-5000. www.hardrockhotel.com
CELINE DION. Through Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m, $55-$250. The Colosseum at Caesars Palace,
Donny & Marie JUNE 2012 DAVID
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Lucy Woodward. Through June 16, 8:30 p.m., $42-$55. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-7492000. www.thesmithcenter.com
Friday Night Classic Rock: Three Blind Mice. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
hookah lounge Open Every day from 5pm-1am, Happy Hour every day 5pm-7pm & Tuesdays from 5pm-1am
Music for a Mission: Pepper. 9 p.m., $25-$32.50. Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas. 702-693-5000. www. hardrockhotel.com
Featuring Specialty Cocktails, Beer, Wine, Mixed Drinks, Hookahs and Food.
16 Rodney Carrington
Idina Menzel. 7:30 p.m., $39-$129. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-749-2000. www. thesmithcenter.com
Camp Broadway. Through June 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., $650. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-7492000. www.thesmithcenter.com
Million Dollar Quartet. Through June 17, times vary, $27-$141. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702749-2000. www.thesmithcenter.com
Super Summer Theatre: Crazy for You. Through June 30, times vary, $12-$20. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, 702-8952787. www.supersummertheatre.org
The Manhattans. Through June 17, 7:30 p.m., $15.95. Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas. 702-636-7111. www. suncoastcasino.com Mitzi Gaynor. 8 p.m., $30. Sam’s Town, 5111 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas. 702-4567777. www.samstownlv.com South of Graceland. 7:30 p.m., free. Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas. 702636-7111. suncoastcasino.com Nickelback. 7 p.m., $46.05-$110.65. Hollywood Theatre at MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-891-7777. www.mgmgrand.com Saturday Night Jazz: Everett B. Walters. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
Donny & Marie: Benefit for Nevada Public Radio. Through June 16, 7:30 p.m., $70-$125. Flamingo Showroom at Flamingo Hotel, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-258-9895. www.knpr.org
hookahlounge.com paymons.com 702.731.6030 4147 S. Maryland Pkwy.
702.804.0293 8380 W. Sahara Ave. 16
Rodney Carrington. Through June 20, 8 p.m., $79.99. Hollywood Theatre at MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-891-7777. www.mgmgrand.com Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. Through June 17, times vary, $29+. Thomas and Mack Center, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas. 702-739-3267. www. unlvtickets.com
DAVID SIVAN/TAMMUZ 5772
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Dr. H.L. Greenberg, Dermatologist
Jewish Geneology Society, featuring Daniel Horowitz of WWW.myheritage.com. 1 p.m., free. Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-528-4334. www.jgssn.org
Camp Broadway. Through June 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., $650. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-7492000. www.thesmithcenter.com
Japanese Art: Humble and Bold Lecture. 11 a.m., free. Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, 888 W. Bonneville, Las Vegas. 702-483-6023. www.keepmemoryalive.org
An Evening with Vicki Petterson: Angels, Rockabilly and the Celestial Blues. 7 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas. 702-507-3459. www.lvccld.org Music for a Mission: Jimmy Cliff. 9 p.m., $25-$32.50. Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas. 702-693-5000. www.hardrockhotel.com
Jeff Dunham’s Controlled Chaos. 8 p.m., $49.50-$89.50. The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-731-7266. www.caesarspalace.com Garth Brooks. Through June 23, 7:30 & 10:30 p.m., $225. The Wynn Las Vegas, 3121 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-770-7000. www.wynnlasvegas.com Bill Engvall. 9 p.m., $54.95, 18+. Treasure Island, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-894-7111. www.treasureisland.com
• • • • • • • • • •
Botox® and filler treatment Wrinkle Reduction Laser Resurfacing Ear Lobe Repair Laser Hair Removal Chemical Peels Microdermabrasion Dermaplaning Skin Care Products Medical Spa Services Complimentary Cosmetic Consultations
Friday Night Classic Rock: Wolf Creek. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
653 N. Town Center Dr., #410 Las Vegas, NV 89144
Django Vegas Gypsy Jazz Concert. 5 p.m., $10. Historic 5th Street School, 401 S. Fourth Street, Las Vegas. 702-229-3515. www.artslasvegas.org Saturday Movie Matinee: Underworld: Awakening. 2 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas. 702-507-3459. www.lvccld.org
Medical Grade Laser Tattoo Removal JUNE 2012 DAVID
LV Derm 05_2012.indd 1
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Candlelighting Sivan/Tammuz 5772 FRI., JUNE 1, SIVAN 11 Light candles at 7:35 p.m.
SAT., JUNE 2, SIVAN 12 Shabbat ends 8:39 p.m.
FRI., JUNE 8, SIVAN 18 Light candles at 7:39 p.m.
SAT., JUNE 9, SIVAN 19 Shabbat ends 8:43 p.m.
FRI., JUNE 15, SIVAN 25 Light candles at 7:42 p.m.
SAT., JUNE 16, SIVAN 26 Blessing of the New Month Shabbat ends 8:46 p.m.
WED., JUNE 20, SIVAN 30 Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
THURS., JUNE 21, TAMMUZ 1 Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
Million Dollar Quartet.
WOLF CREEK. 7:30 p.m., free. Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas. 702-636-7111. www.suncoastcasino.com BLUES BREWS AND BBQ FESTIVAL. 5 p.m., $5. Cannery, 2121 Craig Road, Las Vegas. 702507-5700. www.cannerycasino.com SATURDAY NIGHT JAZZ: DARRYL WOOLFOLK. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
24 FRI., JUNE 22, TAMMUZ 2 Light candles at 7:44 p.m.
SAT., JUNE 23, TAMMUZ 3 Shabbat ends 8:47 p.m.
FRI., JUNE 29, TAMMUZ 9 Light candles at 7:44 p.m.
SAT., JUNE 30, TAMMUZ 10 Shabbat ends 8:47 p.m.
RIBBON OF LIFE. 1 p.m., $38-$212. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-749-2000. www. thesmithcenter.com
CONES OF FIRE. 7 p.m., $14.50. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-749-2000. www. thesmithcenter.com
MARTIN SHORT. Through June 30, 10 p.m., $39.99-$59.99. The Mirage Hotel & Casino, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-7917111. mirage.com THE PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND.
Through June 30, 7 & 9:30 p.m., $42-$56. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-749-2000. www. thesmithcenter.com HANK WILLIAMS, JR. 9 p.m., $80-$102.75. M Resort, 12300 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Henderson. 702-797-1000. www.themresort.com SARA EVANS. 8:30 p.m., $29.95-$59.95. Eastside Cannery, 5255 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas. 702-856-5300. www.eastsidecannery.com FRIDAY NIGHT CLASSIC ROCK: SIXTIES MANIA. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
WILLY WONKA JUNIOR. 5 p.m., $17. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-749-2000. www. thesmithcenter.com SATURDAY NIGHT JAZZ: CALVIN BROOKS. 7-10 p.m., free. Montelago Village, Lake Las Vegas, 30 Strada di Villagio, Henderson. 702-564-4700. www. montelagovillage.com
To submit your event information, email firstname.lastname@example.org by the 15th of the month prior to the month in which the event is being held.
DAVID SIVAN/TAMMUZ 5772
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devour Father’s Day @ Tender Steak & Seafood Looking for something to wow our patriarchs on their special day? Head to the Luxor for two dining options. Rice and Company and TENDER Steak and Seafood are offering special menus and treats that will give him a day to remember. The head chef at Rice created a special sushi roll, using the finest ingredients, including wagyu beef, avocado and jalapeno. At TENDER, Chef K.C. Fazel created a three course menu that will have even the most discerning grillers hanging up their BBQ tools. Rice and Company & TENDER Steak and Seafood at the Luxor, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-262-4774 (Rice and Company) and 702-262-4852 (TENDER). www.luxor.com
Brunch @ Postrio Wolfgang Puck has long been a fixture in the Las Vegas dining scene. Upon arrival at The Venetian ask for directions to Postrio. Providing classic “bar and grill” style in a dynamic new setting, it offers the best of both worlds – sophisticated dining in a more casual atmosphere. The menu offers a number of tantalizing options, sure to please even the most discerning taste buds. There are a number of signature dishes not to be missed. These include beer battered fish and chips, house made lasagna, and a prime rib eye steak with brandy mustard sauce. The restaurant also recently rolled out its new brunch menu. Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio at The Venetian, 3377 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-796-1110. www.wolfgangpuck.com
Fine Harmony @ STK, Cosmopolitan With the summer’s sun beating down, valley restaurants and hotels are releasing their summer cocktails for those who wish to chill. STK, featuring chef Stephen Hopcraft, is no exception. With previous locations in New York and Miami, STK fits right into the Vegas vibe, especially with an in-house DJ spinning unique tunes each night. Their cocktail menu is just as good as their food menu and now features the Fine Harmony Martini. Made with Vivid Vodka, Hpnotiq Harmonie, and sweet and sour. This gem of a drink is garnished with a Luxardo cherry and gives your taste buds a zing of fruity goodness. It’s the perfect kickoff to a great summer. STK at Cosmopolitan, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-698-7000. www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com JUNE 2012 DAVID
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Father’s Day The daily chore in front of the mirror and sink instantly becomes a luxurious ritual with the 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave Ocean Kelp shaving kit collection. Complete with pre-shave gel, shaving cream, aftershave lotion, and a pure badger black shaving brush, the revolutionary kit delivers the brand’s famous close and comfortable shave while leaving the skin with a clean, light and fresh feel. $150. The Art of Shaving at Mandalay Place, 3930 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, (702) 632-9356
Driven by a dedicated fourth hand, the Timex Adventure Series™ Tide Temperature Compass offers multiple functionality, including a tide tracker, temperature sensor and electronic compass. Perfect for the tech savvy professional with a love for adventure, the fiery red accents lend a spark of contrast to the sleek, black finish. $170. Nordstrom at Fashion Show, 3200 Las Vegas Boulevard S. Las Vegas. 702-862-2525
Designed like a running shoe, but with the incredible strength and lockdown fit needed for the demands of tennis, the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour is a unique package that’s different than any other tennis shoe out there. $130. Niketown, Shops at Caesars, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. (702) 650-8888
Follow the turtles on their journey around the world with Vilebrequin’s most beloved ’70s style cut swimwear. Made out of spinnaker canvas, the quick-drying swimwear was born on the beaches of St. Tropez. Practical, colorful and trés chic! $240. Vilebrequin at Forum Shops at Caesars, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-894-9464
Hit a home run with these classic baseball cufflinks by Metalsmiths Sterling. Hand-crafted in silver, they’re a boldly playful pair. $298. Jeff White Jewelers at Tivoli Village, 410 S. Rampart Blvd. Suite 160, Las Vegas. 702-220-9099. 20
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There’s nothing better to keep on course than a hand-held GPS unit. Whether you’re off the beaten path on a high-altitude trail or trekking through the geologic wonder of Red Rock Canyon, the DeLorme® Earthmate® PN-60 Handheld GPS Unit is your best friend - next to the dog. $299.99. Bass Pro Shops, 8200 Dean Martin Dr., Las Vegas. 702-730-5200.
Stitched strips of luxe leather is punctuated with a bright and rugged silver-toned buckle for a dapper after-hours look with John Varvatos’ Star USA Strap with Stitched Leather Overlay Belt. $85. Bloomingdales at Fashion Show, 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas 702-784-5400.
Sporty and sleek is this midnight titanium and sterling silver pendant from the Tiffany 1837™ Collection, honoring the historic year in which Tiffany & Co. was founded. Hanging off a 20” rubber cord, the pendant breathes free spirit, boldness and masculinity to the everyday style. $375. Tiffany & Co. at Crystals, 3720 Las Vegas Boulevard S., Las Vegas. 702-545-9090.
Perfect for teeing up, or heading to the coast, The “Smarterpolo” by Tommy Bahama is a versatile part of our Paradise Tech collection with fabric that’s super efficient at wicking moisture from the skin. $98. Tommy Bahama at Town Square Las Vegas, 6635 S. Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas. 702-948-8006
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discover The Mob Museum
You are sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. At least that’s how it is at The Mob Museum. A new fixture near downtown Las Vegas, the museum tells the story of how Las Vegas got its start and fills in the blanks about what the mob and the city were really like. From the perspective of the mob and the law, there is something for everyone within the walls of The Mob Museum, whether you’re new to the city or have been here your entire life. There are exceptional exhibits that cover the history, notable mobsters, and how the mob was eventually brought down. It’s a treat for all who visit, so don’t get caught missing out! $10-$18, Sun.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. The Mob Museum, 300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas. 702-229-2734. www.themobmuseum.org
KISS by Monster Mini Golf
Miniature golf is the quintessential summer activity and Las Vegas exceeds exceptions when it comes to making it an exciting activity. The latest attraction in town, that is both kid and adult friendly is KISS by Monster Mini Golf. Not only is the course custom designed, but it includes the largest KISS gift shop in the world, themed event rooms, and a café. In keeping with the celebration theme of this issue, the site also does weddings, giving couples the chance to have a once in a lifetime experience for their special day. Finally, in typical Vegas fashion, the venue will begin conducting doggie weddings at the end of June. KISS by Monster Mini Golf, 4503 Paradise Road, Las Vegas. 702-588-6265. www.monsterminigolf.com/kiss
Valley of Fire State Park
If you’re looking for a unique, breathtaking outdoor location for your next summer outing, why not consider Valley of Fire State Park. Located just six miles from Lake Mead, the park is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. Besides having some beautiful landscape and scenery, the park is also home to many plants and animals that are native only to this area of the state. This provides visitors with an opportunity to capture some beautiful photographs. The park also offers camp sites, picnic areas, and plenty of hiking trails to explore. Valley of Fire State Park, Overton. 702-397-2088. www. parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/
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Rabbi Harlig and attendee
ISRAEL INDERPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION
Hirsch family and friends
Sands Convention Center Sunday, April 29 Arms full of joy Bernstein family
Photographs by Tonya Harvey, pbth.com
Hillary Torchin and Brian Steinberg
Stone family and friends
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(left to right)Niki J Sands, Dorit Schwartz, Jennifer Seda, Jennifer Lier, Tanya Amid, Debora Ashton-Cooke and Michelle Perlmutter
Mr & Mrs Ashok Goyal
Origin India’s signature Samosas
Origin india & david, “give the gift of happy summer memories” reception for the jcc’s scholarship fund
Origin India Restaurant Thursday, May 3 Photographs by Tonya Harvey, pbth.com Debra & Mitch Cohen
(left to right)Niki J Sands, Dorit Schwartz, Jennifer Seda, Jennifer Lier, Tanya Amid, Debora Ashton-Cooke and Michelle Perlmutter Dr. Geoffrey & Charlene Sher
Juli & Dr. Saul Ruben Shari Sunder and Raj Sunder
Diners of all ages enjoy the evening
Kathy & Fiaz Raja
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mingle (left to right) Larry Smith & his mother, Christina Primack and Bruce Matza
(left to right) Bernice Friedman, Dr. Garet Gordon and Lynda Keton-Cardino
Jewish family service agency, 5th annual tzedakah lunch
Blanche & Phil Meisel
honoring: dave courvoisier, ardi najmabadi, Larry smith & mayors Carolyn & Oscar B. Goodman
Four Seasons Hotel Sunday, May 6 Amanda Underwood and Dave Courvoisier
Carrie Marshall and Jodi Fonfa
Photographs by Tonya Harvey, pbth.com
Mark & Lisa Katz
(left to right) Gabrielle Stanton, Ali Stanton with puppy â€œMitzvahâ€? and Dr. Shari Stanton
(left to right) Bruce Matza, Ardi Najmabadi, Ariella Najmabadi, Larry Smith and Christina Primack
(left to right) Henry Kronberg, Elliot Karp, guest, Leora Blau and guest
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Barbara Silverberg and Anneliese Flansburg Sharon Helberg and Kevin Shadduck
The Sandra & Stanley Mallin Early Childhood Center at Temple Beth Sholom, night under the stars gala
Grape Street Cafe Thursday, May 10 Photographs by Tonya Harvey, pbth.com
(left to right) Lara & David Stone and Andrea Behrens
Dr. Avi Weiss and Rabbi Felipe Goodman
(left to right) April Swartz, Lieuchi Fine and Sharla Oldendorf
Ashley Godfrey and Michael Dodson
Sandra Mallin and Carol Jeffries
Matthew & Nadine Kluger
(left to right) Jody Mancuso, Jill Super, Stefanie Szlamkowitz and Yonata Rubin
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live INSIDE speak @ 28 believe @ 32 taste @ 36
From the Baltics to Baltimore, Kaunas to Kansas, Gefilte Fish is the stuff of Yidisher family lore. Is Aunt Yettiâ€™s recipe realy better than Granny Fannyâ€™s? Where does it come from and why do Jews consume it eagerly in loaf form or patties? JUNE 2012 DAVID
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Open your garage for the Barbie doll collector
collect Barbie dolls. I’m not confessing a sexual fetish. This is something even more humiliating … I do it for a living. I guess I have to admit it’s a living, since it now pays me more than journalism does. Every Saturday at 7 a.m. for the past year, I have scoured Las Vegas garage sales for new inventory. My kitchen, dining room and bedroom are waist-deep in pink boxes my wife trips over and my year-old daughter is beginning to get suspicious about. My rags are Barbies and my street corner is eBay, but the job is essentially the same one my great-grandpa Sam was forced to do after arriving at Ellis Island as an unskilled Polish laborer. I am a schmatta man. I have regressed the success of my family backward one full century. My hunt usually begins in Sun City. Senior citizens know exactly what they paid for everything between 1947 and 1970. But what most don’t know is that their 1970 Julia Twist & Turn Barbie is now worth $350. I don’t know this, either – off the top of my head. But I come armed with an iPhone scanner app that tells me the eBay asking price of any box with a bar code. (If my host asks what I’m doing, I’ll pretend to be photographing each doll to ask my wife if she wants it. Otherwise, my secret would be exposed and they would ask to see how much the dolls are worth. I never claimed not to be evil.) The recession has elevated garbage-picking into a self-sustaining American economy, one glorified by reality shows such as “Storage Wars,” “American Pickers,” “Pawn Stars” and “Auction Kings.” More than 1.3 million people reportedly earn a living off eBay profits alone, adding nothing to the gross national product other than a markup. I chose vintage Barbies because they’re compact, lightweight and sell quickly. I am a grown man, by the way. As a Barbie collector, I find it necessary to remind myself often of this fact. Unfortunately, people selling vintage Barbies for a song are the exception to the rule. More often, I find people who leave the “B” out of their “GARBAGE SALE” sign. “Make me an offer!” they’ll say, as I thank them and take a pass on their half-used bottles of saline and toilet paper thrift packs with one roll missing. Other times, I’ll find items that are valuable only to those who don’t mind the pesky risk of jail time. These have included (no lie) an AC-566 assault rifle with the serial number scratched off, an unlabeled vial of white powder and a fully functioning automated teller machine. Oh, you mean those items in the back, officer? I just bought them at a garage sale. (Believe me, it’s tempting. At least selling drugs and stolen money and guns would be a real man’s job.) Mostly, though, my humiliating new career is well worth the loss of a Saturday morning for me and my partner. That’s right. I have a partner. Why does one need a partner on doll hunts? One doesn’t. So don’t make the same mistake I did. Gary started out as a friend I invited along for company. After receiving six months of extensive, unintentional training in how to buy dolls low and sell them high, Gary announced he was now my fully qualified online competitor and my profits would now be halved.
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Run, don’t walk to Camp K’helah! Programs for children ages 2 + from June 11 - August 17 on both the east and west side of town! 702.794.0090 www.jccsn.org www.facebook.com/jccsn
Every Saturday morning, Gary and I pull up to the same sales and rush toward the same dolls. I’m faster on my feet, since Gary is 15 years older and has arthritis. However, my Frankenstein is superior to his creator in every other way. Gary combines all of my knowledge with a skill for chiseling unprecedented in the First World. He will find a doll worth $100 that is on sale for $5, then offer $3 for it. “It’s not even worth that much,” he’ll say through his best poker face. Garage-saling with Gary is often painful. But garage-saling without him is worse. On the rare Saturdays that we compete separately, we invariably lie to each other that we “didn’t find much,” while secretly dreading that the other guy has found what one British businessman did in 2010. Andy Fields paid $25 for five paintings to a Las Vegas man whose late aunt cared for the young Andy Warhol. Hidden in the frames of one of the paintings was a Warhol drawing, made when the pop artist was 10 years old. It’s expected to fetch $2 million at auction. Here are two thoughts every Las Vegas garage-saler has had since that news broke: 1) Why couldn’t it have been me who bought that particular painting at that particular sale? 2) Thank God it wasn’t me who sold it. News of the Warhol sale increased the number of garage-salers two-fold, and the viciousness of the competition five-fold. Last month, Gary and I pulled up to a sale whose craigslist ad promised mint-condition 1977 “Star Wars” action figures for $10 each, less than 1/10th of their value. Although we were 15 minutes early, five competitors had beaten us to the sale and already formed a nerd line in the driveway, as though Comic-Con were about to open. When a lady in a bathrobe and curlers exited the front door to explain she wasn’t having a sale and didn’t know what we were talking about, the scam became apparent. The listing was a fake – probably planted by another nerd who had beaten all of us to another collectible sale on the opposite side of town. By far the worst thing about my new line of work, however, is getting recognized. As much as I keep my head low, it happens at least twice a Saturday. “Aren’t you that newspaper guy?” I’ll get asked.
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These days, I’ll usually answer that, no, I’m not him, “but I get that all the time.” (I imagine Gary Coleman said the same thing when he worked as a security guard.) I mean, as much as I want to stand there and discuss exactly how my burgeoning journalism career devolved into inquiring about the price of your Barbie Glam Vacation House, there is no time. Gary and I can only visit about 20 sales before 10 a.m., when everything worthwhile is gone. And stopping to converse puts me behind Gary. But I’m catching up at my own pace. Last Saturday, I found a Barbie worth $58 that was marked $5. The Sun City resident gladly accepted my offer of $3.
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Four Noble Garage Sale Truths In my year of professional garage-saling, the following truths have emerged as universal. I’ll pass them on and save you some headaches. 1. The word “HUGE” on a garage sale sign means tiny. The bigger the word is written, the tinier the sale is. 2. In a craigslist or newspaper ad, “something for everyone” means “nothing for anyone.” If this were not the case, the most desirable items for sale would have been specified. 3. “Estate sale” means “professionals-are-running-this-so-everything-valuable-has-already-been-sold-but-you’re-welcometo-grandma’s-broken-plates-and-books-about-how-to-mastergin-rummy” sale. 4. Young children running around the driveway means don’t bother stopping your car. They have unwrapped, used, dropped, chewed and vomited on anything you possibly could have hoped to resell.
Frances-Ann Fine, Esquire 8975 South Pecos Road, Suite 5 Henderson, Nevada 89074
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The Agony of Passage
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Bar Mitzvah Lessons Weren’t so Bad After All
ince prehistoric times, the period around what we now know as the month of June has been marked by celebratory events. The aboriginal people in the Northern latitudes tied theirs to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in terms of sunlight. Tradition held that June was the best time to rob the hive of its golden elixir. Hence, the Honey Moon. Newlyweds enjoyed dishes and drinks infused with honey to encourage love and fertility. The vestige of these early beliefs is our modern honeymoon that follows a wedding. But from the earliest times, cultures have originated ways to commemorate and celebrate life’s passages, from birth to adolescence, adulthood to death. We
Satere-Mawe Bullet Ant Glove
mark our academic achievements with graduation ceremonies; we celebrate the anniversaries of our births. In the Jewish faith, we delineate with bar and bat mitzvahs, a coming-of-age ceremony when boys and girls are responsible for keeping the Commandments. Roman Catholics have confirmations. These celebrations can be so elaborate, in fact, as to miss the original point, wrought with schtickluch or mishegas (Yiddish for craziness) and food, fun, family and friends. Arnold van Gennep, a French ethnographer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, avers in his seminal book, The Rites of Passage, that coming of age is fundamental to human development and socialization and requires three phases to be fulfilled: separation, transition and reincorporation.
Separation, according to van Gennep, involves ritual behaviors signifying the detachment of the individual from his former self as he prepares to create a new identity. Transition, he writes, is the period between states where the initiate is no longer part of his old life but not yet fully inducted into the new one. He is taught the knowledge needed, and called upon to pass tests to prove he is ready for the leap. Through Reincorporation, van Gennep posits, the ritual subject has completed the rite, assumed his new identity and re-enters society with his new status. This is where the celebration breaks out! Various religions and cultures have conjured up unique ways, ranging from the sublime to the abhorrent, for a boy to establish his credentials for manhood. Let’s start with something different, but palatable: breeching. It took place from the mid-16th century until the early 20th. It marked the occasion when young boys in the Western world, having arrived at the age of reason (about 7 years old), were given a pair of trousers for the first time. Before that they wore gowns or dresses. For the upper class this also meant that the father would be more involved in raising his son. For lower-class children it marked the start of a working life. In the 19th century, photographs were taken of the boy in his new trousers, alongside his father. The child collected small gifts of money by parading in his new clothes around the neighborhood, while his mother and her friends fussed over his new look and stature in the community. Another cultural rite involved the awarding of so-called blood wings. This initiation, thought to date back to World War II paratrooper training, was endured by many graduates of the U.S. Army Airborne and Air Assault schools, and occasionally other elite military training environments. The U.S. Marine Corps called it blood pinning. Upon receiving the Parachutist Badge, a superior attempts to place the pins of the newly earned Gold Wings through the graduate’s thick camouflage uniform. With the graduate’s permission, the ceremony supersedes the pinning attempt
and the badge is slammed into his chest, driving the pins into flesh. If the graduate is affiliated with a unit number, the pin might be pounded into the muscle that same number of times. This procedure, now banned officially and carrying a severe penalty for violating the prohibition, may continue in secret. The Mandan are part of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota. These Native Americans were known to initiate their boys into manhood through a gruesome rite called Hook Hanging. The ceremony begins with the anxious anticipation of a young man who has barely slept, and has had nothing to eat for three days to purge his body of impurities. As he stands before the tribal elders, agonizing pain courses through his body
Vanuatu Land Diving
as they pierce his frail chest, shoulders and back muscles with large wooden splints. Ropes, extended from the roof of a very tall hut, are attached to the splints and winch the young man into the air, with his body weight suspended as more splints are hammered through his arms and legs. Skulls of his dead grandfather and other ancestors have been placed on the ends of the splints. The young man has been crying out to the Great Spirit all this time for the courage to endure. He eventually passes out from loss of blood and pain. The elders lower him to the ground, removing the ropes but keeping the splints in place. When the young man regains consciousness, he offers the elders his left pinky to be chopped off as a sacrifice to the gods to become a powerful hunter. Finally, the young man runs inside a circle where his fellow villagers rip the JUNE 2012 DAVID
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“10% My Child”
The first time that Nico and Franny met they gave each other quite a fright, and Nico even escaped through Franny’s parents bedroom window. Nico was twenty six at the time, and Franny was seven. A few months later, when Franny’s parents Noa and Amnon decide to separate, Nico and Franny have no choice but to tolerate one another. 1 in every 3 couples get divorced. 40% of kids live only 1 biological parent. There are good chances of finding love (+ a kid)
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still embedded splints from his body in the opposite direction from how they were hammered in. The young man, exhausted and bloodied, is euphoric. Now he is a man. Think Richard Harris, A Man Called Horse (1970). Vanuatu is a small island nation in the middle of the South Pacific, where the young men participate in a yearly harvest ritual (Land Diving) that dates back nearly 15 centuries. Each spring, villagers build crude wooden towers reaching heights of 100 feet or more. When the tower is completed, the young men (or initiates) scale it. At the top, they tie one end of a vine to the tower platform and the other around both ankles. Summoning their courage, they dive off the platform, reaching speeds of 45 miles an hour as they plummet. The diver’s goal is for his shoulders to touch the ground. Any miscalculation means serious injury or death. The ritual doubles as a sacrifice to the gods to ensure a bountiful yam crop, and a passage into manhood. In the eyes of the tribe, the higher the takeoff point the manlier the diver. To move from boyhood to manhood, Australian Mardudjara Aborigines must endure a circumcision and sub-incision ritual that is loathsome even to describe. When he 4:18 PM is about 15 or 16, tribal elders lead the boy to a fire and have him lie down next to it. They surround the boy while singing and dancing. Another group of men, the Mourners, wails and cries as the circumcision is performed. The scalper sits atop the boy’s chest, facing his penis. He pulls up the foreskin, twisting it so it can be cut off. Two men take turns cutting it away with knives supposedly imbued with magical qualities. The boy bites down on a boomerang as the operation occurs. When it’s done, the dazed boy kneels on a shield placed over the fire so the rising smoke can purify his wound. Soon the tribal elders tell him to open his mouth and swallow some “good meat” without chewing. Once the freshly removed foreskin has been swallowed, the teen is told he has eaten his own boy, which will now grow inside him and make him strong. Months after the circumcision, the elders take the young man to a fire again, this time for the sub-incision portion of the ritual. An elder sits on the boy’s chest, holding the initiate’s penis. The singers and mourners perform again, as a small, wooden rod is inserted into the urethra to act as a backing for the knife. The ritual is completed as the operator uses the knife to make a split on the underside of the penis,
from the frenulum to near the scrotum. To become a man in the Satere-Mawe tribe of Amazonian Brazil, a boy must stick his hand into a glove woven with angry bullet ants and quietly withstand their poisonous stings for more than 10 minutes. The Schmidt Sting Pain Index classifies the sting as the most painful in the ant world; initiates describe the effects as “relentless waves of throbbing, all-consuming, unadulterated hell” that continue for more than 24 hours. Profuse amounts of venom temporarily paralyze the boy’s arm, as the rest of his body shakes uncontrollably for days. He may have to stick his hand in the glove several more times before he’s considered a man, and the goal is to remain silent each time – evidence of the requisite endurance and stoicism that will be needed to be an effective warrior. Many of these rites of passage still exist, but others are slowly disappearing as contact with the modern world increases, and successive generations protest. But do they protest too much? According to research by Brett and Kate Mckay, who are dedicated to restoring manliness to our culture, these rites of passage “are fading in civilized societies as well, creating the modern crisis of manhood where the extension of adolescence is stretching into a man’s 30’s, and in some cases, their 40’s.” Some social scientists believe these rites are critical in delineating when a boy should start thinking of himself as a man, and shouldering the responsibilities that go with that recognition. Without these markers, young men are unsure when the transition has occurred. If you ask, their responses may vary from “When you lose your virginity” to “When you get a car” and “When you have a kid” and so on. In nearly every culture, the coming of age journey has been inherently understood as one of the most important rituals. With no standardized ceremony, however, the crucial common thread among cultures has been a test that enables a young man to understand the otherwise abstract concepts of courage, endurance, responsibility and restraint. Without such crucibles, are we doomed to higher divorce, crime and unemployment rates, fewer men graduating college, bad parenting, a lack of vital leadership and integrity? Generations to come will answer that question — one way or the other. — Lynn Wexler-Margolies
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ecently, in a large chain bookstore, a patron stopped an employee and asked for help: “Can you help me find Jewish Studies?” The bookseller, who was Jewish and trying to be funny, led the customer to the cooking section, explaining that for Jews “food was everything.” The occasion – good or bad – didn’t matter. Food was involved. If the situation was tragic, there would be downcast eyes, a subdued voice and a quiet admonition: “Let’s eat.” A celebration, on the other hand, would result in a big hug, a kiss on both cheeks and a loud, hearty “Mazel Tov … Let’s eat!” The bookseller was right. As Jews, we really do place a high social premium on food. Any gathering outside of the temple has a gustatory component, and the merits of a future daughter-in-law have been weighed against her ability to make egg salad. And it’s not just that we eat. An even bigger part of the puzzle is what we eat. Some of the food is traditional, mentioned in the Torah or the Talmud or even the Haggadah. But nowhere in any of those reverent tomes can we find any mention of that old staple, gefilte fish. So where does this come from? Well, a good part of it comes from “the Old Country” – Eastern Europe, specifically the Baltic states, members of the former Soviet Union. Jews, who emigrated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to escape pogroms, and later from fascist regimes and death camps, brought the food to America. These foods represented ties to old communities and lifestyles, and a way to integrate into the new world, to make friends and establish common bonds. It has become such a part of American Jewry that if a Lithuanian were to visit the U.S. and want some traditional Lithuanian food, the best place for him to go would be a well-stocked Jewish deli, which leads to an important question: Is the food traditionally Jewish or is it national food that has been subverted by its close ties to the American Jewish community? According to the Jewish Community of Lithuania, “many Lithuanians who encounter Jewish dishes recorded in the recipes collected by their great-grandmother would be surprised to learn their origins.” Margarita Gurevičienė, wife of Lithuanian Jewish Community executive director Simonas Gurevičius, says that is “the beauty of different peoples living together, that after hundreds of years it becomes quite difficult to say who borrowed what from whom.” So, really, it’s a chicken-and-egg question – Which came first: Lithuanian cuisine or the Jews who cooked it? Officially, according to Elena Petrošienė, head of the Department of the Ethnic Heritage and Education at the Lithuanian Ministry of Agriculture, Lithuania doesn’t have certified Jewish foods. But that’s simply because they’ve never been registered with the National Heritage Certification Commission. Once listed, they become part of the “Lithuanian Ethnic Heritage.” But Gurevičienė, an active member of the Vilnius Jewish Community, says, “Pride of place in the Lithuanian Jewish kitchen was always occupied by the stuffed fish called gefilte fish. When you tasted it, you always knew the homemakers who made it had roots in Lithuania.” Growing up in America, the thought that gefilte fish, the boiled and jellied whitefish served at any good family gathering, came from Lithuania (or any place other than New York) seemed ridiculous, especially since it seems like the kind of traditional food you need to grow up eating to develop a taste for it. You don’t come to gefilte fish later in life. Then again, in Lithuania, the cepeliniai [“zeppelins”], a potato version of gefilte fish (grated potatoes formed and boiled into football-shaped dumplings) is considered a national dish. In all probability, Jews on the Belarussian border invented it. As
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Gurevičienė elaborates on the Jewish Community of Lithuania website: “Jews most likely gave potato dishes to the Lithuanian people. However hard it might be to believe it now, our traditional Lithuanian cepeliniai do have Jewish roots. Contrary to established stereotypes, the Jews were always a poor people. One famous song tells how a Jewish wife prepared potato dishes every day of the week, but on Shabbos made something special: kugel. People were so poor they could only allow themselves potato dishes.” So, basically, there’s a cultural exchange going on here. The kitchen becomes the neutral zone where, whether the heritage is known or not, cuisines can mix freely. Lithuania is not the only place we see this mingling, but ultimately it is one of the most important. Claudia Roden, in The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York, describes the flight of Jews starting in the 13th century into Poland from countries farther south and west. They lived in relative peace and under the king’s protection until the end of the 17th century, when growing anger forced them to move from the royal cities of Cracow, Poznan, and Lemberg into the provinces of Galacia, the Ukraine and, you guessed it, Lithuania. The pressure was relieved and the nobility in these areas welcomed the Jews with open arms, inviting them to live in the shtetls. “The nobles leased the Jews flour mills, dairy processing plants and taverns, and gave them exclusive rights to brew vodka and schnapps. They allowed them to farm fish in ponds, especially pike and carp, which became associated with Jewish foods. But the masses remained very poor, on the verge of starvation, limited by restrictions and prohibitions, and in constant fear of attacks by the peasantry and Cossacks.” The food developed during these times stayed within the Jewish communities, as well as when these Polish provinces were annexed by Russia, Austria and the Prussian Empire. The Jews, subject to the rule of one of three different countries, moved around … a lot. “It was in this way, and also with the heavy migrations of Jews from Poland into neighboring countries, that the foods of the shtetl — including those that originated in Germany, such as challah bread, gefilte fish, chopped liver and lockshen pudding — were transported all over Eastern Europe, together with the social structures (large families, men devoted to religious studies, women earning the family living) and the culture based on the Yiddish vernacular and German rabbinic traditions,” explains Roden. As time went on, the fortunes of Jewish communities rose and fell at the whims of the monarch of the moment. But through it all, the food persevered. In Russia and Poland, which shared similar regional resources, the menu consisted of “a taste for carp and salt herring, sausages and sauerkraut. They all had heavy dark and rye
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bread, they all made cucumber pickles, chicken soup, thick bean and lentil soups, pancakes and dumplings, and also sweet noodle puddings. They all used sour cream, dill, caraway and poppy seed.” In Poland, specifically, the Jews developed a “taste for sweetish Origin India Restaurant and Bar now offers India-inspired Tifﬁn foods,” which led to putting sugar into the vegetable mix and with the lunch box specials, which feature an array of traditional Indian pickled herring. It was in Poland where, according to Roden, the Jews culinary delights, straight to your door. Offered daily, from 11:30am “developed some of their most famous dishes, including fish with raisin to 3pm, guests are able to dine with ease, whether it’s for carry out sauce and the sweet version of gefilte fish with chrain — a red sauce or delivery – On Time and Hot! Order online or by phone. made with grated horseradish and beet juice that counterbalances the sweetness of the fish. The Polish heritage includes cabbage leaves 702-73-INDIA (4-6342) stuffed with rice; bagels, the famous ring breads that are first boiled, www.originindiarestaurant.com then baked; and the bialy, a bread roll covered with onion, which is named after the city of Bialystok; slivovitz (plum brandy) and the habit of drinking wine with brandy and honey.” 5/21/12 10:18 AM In Lithuania, however, the Jewish community decided to forgo sweetOrigin_India_06_2012 1 in favor of more savory dishes. Instead of sugar, they used pepper. Among the most common dishes here were sour foods, including “iced beet soup, sorrel soup with lemon and sour cream, and fermented pickled cabbage.” Along the Baltic coast, they became known for preparing their fish using Scandinavian methods and traditions. Russian and Ukrainian Jews focused on similar fare. They were “strong on beet soups, on grain — especially kasha (buckwheat) — on curd cheese and sour cream. Blini (buckwheat pancakes) and knishes (potato and buckwheat pies), pirogi, piroshki and baranki (sour cream dough cakes with poppy seed) were staples.” These foods are what we in America grew up with as the food of our ancestors, the divine menu. This is the food of our people! Ruth Ellen Gruber of the Jewish Daily Forward puts it quite succinctly: “The first time I visited Lithuania in 2006 I was overwhelmed by the extraordinary sensation that I was traveling through a giant Jewish deli that extended across the entire country. Blintzes! Latkes! Sour cream! Herring! Smoked fish! Black bread! And even — on the breakfast buffet of one hotel I stayed in — vodka, at 8 in the morning.” The next time we’re sitting down at a family function, the next time we’re eating blintzes or slurping cold beet soup (known as “cold pink soup” in modern Lithuania), we must remember that the heritage of the table stretches back a lot farther than Bubby and Zaida, even if they did come from the old country. This is the food not only of our ancestors but, as with a lot of Jewish creations, was co-opted by the nations where we lived. This is a true peace – now all we need to do is get everyone to fight with their stomachs. It’s a win-win situation.
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think INSIDE Water Fiends Making Waves @ 42 The Name is Cowie, Colin Cowie @ 46
Liz Von Hoene
Nightly Neon Nuptials @ 52
Colin Cowie goes all out for these newly weds. What a fine start to a long life together, under an arbor in the proverbial garden of love. Mazal Tov! JUNE 2012 DAVID
5/22/12 10:50 AM
Water Fiends Making Waves Three Local Swimmers Head To The U.S. Olympic Trials By Marisa Finetti Photographs By Steven Wilson
t’s precisely 4:17 a.m. on a Monday when the alarm goes off. Erin Emery, a 14-year-old Palo Verde High School student, holds consummate respect for the clock. It’s no surprise. Her life is governed by a sport where champions survive and thrive between hundredths of seconds. While many teenagers are still lost in slumber in the early morning hours of summer vacation, Erin’s awake and fully aware that she has an hour and 13 minutes to rise, eat breakfast and get to the pool for morning swim practice. Time is of the essence for her and the other swimmers who make up the reigning state championship swim team, Sandpipers of Nevada. Based in Las Vegas, the team has delivered four qualifiers for the 2012 U.S Olympic Swimming Trials so far, including Erin, who won a spot a few months ago. The others are Bishop Gorman High School student Olivia Barker, 17; Hannon Daigler, 19, originally from Pahrump; and Cody Miller, who will represent the club and his college team. He has qualified for the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley, or IM. Cody, 20, is training in Indiana and was the Sandpipers’ first 18-and-under qualifier in the 2008 Olympic trials. Each day, the swimmers practice with the rest of the team’s national group at either Life Time Athletic Summerlin or Desert Breeze Aquatic Facility. Practice, led by head coach Ron Aitken, runs roughly an hour and a half in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. The swimmers also do weight training three times a week at Philippi Sports Institute. In a given week they swim upwards of 90,000 yards, the rough equivalent of going from the southern end of the valley to Mount Charleston. The “uphill” battle that confronts these athletes describes both the yardage they must cover and the effort required to shear hundredths of seconds off their times. Is this what it takes to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials? In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell claims the key to achievement in any field, to a large extent, is practicing for a total of 10,000 hours. It can be done, but it’s no simple task. Olivia Barker is rounding out her 7,000 hours 42
this month and is on pace to reach 10,000 by the time she’s a college sophomore. A year-round schedule of 30 hours a week for about 6.4 years will get any swimmer there. Olivia has more than time on her side. “Through swimming, I’ve learned that I can really push myself harder than I originally thought I could,” says Olivia, who has broken numerous records in her swimming career. With unstinting motivation, Olivia is confident she is on the Olympic track. Her expectation for the 2012 trials is to do what only a select few will ever experience. The U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials represents one of the most exciting, pressure-filled competitions in the country. Out of some 250,000 swimming athletes nationwide, roughly 1,250 will make the cut. Twenty-six men and 26 women, about 4 percent of those who qualify for the trials, will make the Olympic team. It’s precisely this kind of challenge Hannon Daigler thirsts for. “I wasn’t even thinking about (the Olympic trials) two years ago. But over time I became very determined and willing to push myself,” says Hannon. “Yes, I like to win.” He qualified more than a year ago in the 400-meter IM with a time of 4:25:78, more than five seconds faster than required (4:30:49). Not only does he train hard, he’s voracious (literally) in his approach to nutrition. Known to snack on fresh cherries throughout the day, Hannon starts the morning with two or three bagels, toasted with cream cheese, before 6 a.m. practice. “After I get home, I usually make myself four eggs – scrambled – bacon and a couple bowls of cereal with milk.” He’s also hungry to qualify for a few other events before the trials begin June 25, unsure if his current accomplishment has even “really hit me yet.” A former coach told Erin Emery she’d reach success by the time she was 15. She made the Olympic trials cut at 14. She qualified in the 800-meter freestyle, finishing eighth with a time of 8:50:25. Five-time Olympic medalist Janet Evans came in sixth. Erin was among a handful of 14-year-old West Coast female quali-
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fiers, and the only one from Nevada. Through competitive swimming, “I’ve learned the importance of dedication, hard work, time management, sportsmanship and setting goals for myself,” she says. Sandpipers’ head coach Ron Aitken realizes the elite competitors share a common trait. “Everyone I know that talks about athletes, especially swimmers, says that the ones that hate to lose are usually at the top.” As a coach whose team has become nationally recognized en route to back-to-back state titles, Aitken holds a strong vision for his squad, including his daughter, Olivia Barker, who is headed for the trials in Omaha and has her own perspective. “It’s sometimes hard to be coached by my dad,” she says, adding that swimming is rarely discussed outside the pool (except on deck). “But then I think it must also be hard for him at times.” Ron agrees. “What can I say? She is my daughter. It is a very difficult balance. You don’t want her to fail, so sometimes as a coach you watch over her too much. She will be ranked very high in the meet. She would have to swim three really good individual swims in either the 100 fly or 200 fly to make the Olympic team. She hasn’t been through a meet like this yet, so it will be interesting to see how far she gets.” Ron says “being able to develop swimmers and keep them on track to have the most successful experience possible in the sport is our goal,” a mindset engrained early on. For 11-year-old Hannah Roth, swimming has been a passion as long as she can remember. Naturally enthusiastic, she talks about
Name Hannon Daigler Age 19 Olympic Trial Qualifier 400m Individual Medley JUNE 2012 DAVID
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Name Olivia Barker Age 17 Olympic Trial Qualifier 100m & 200m Butterfly & 400m Individual Medley 44
her respect for the older swimmers going to trials, something she hopes to achieve herself one day. The straight-A student from Adelson Educational Campus started at Water Wings Swim School. At 7, a school friend and Sandpipers swimmer dared her to join his team. Last February, at age 10 and three years removed from the challenge she readily accepted, Hannah was the high-point winner at the state championships in Carson City, taking every event she entered: the 50-, 100- and 200- freestyle; 50- and 100- backstroke; and the 100- and 200- individual medley. “I was excited,” says Hannah. “I knew I could do it, and now it’s time to set a new goal.” Josh Bengson, 12, also was a high-point winner in his age group at the state meet. “At first I just wanted to get points for the team. Then, after a few events, I set a goal for myself to achieve the most individual points.” He came in first in all seven of his events, plus his relays. Josh attributes his passion for swimming (and winning) to a support system that includes his family, friends and mentor, Chris Barber, Sandpipers’ head age group coach. “The swimmers bring excitement, competition and someone to commiserate with when practice is hard or when the coach is demanding,” says Chris. “The kids in a group can demand effort and detail in a way that the coach alone cannot.” Volunteer Janel Houck agrees. She says the team provides the nurturing support that makes swimmers that much better. “Their success as a team and as individuals is evident in the power that
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they bring to each other.” She and her husband Casey have three children who swim for Sandpipers: Ethan, 10; Hailey, 14, sectional swimmer; and Logan, 15, a distance freestyler. Logan showed his prowess this past spring at the Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions in La Mirada, Calif. His goal was to make the cut in the Junior National 1,500-meter freestyle. He did that and more, touching the wall .27 of a second off the Olympic trials qualifying mark, with a time of 15:53:87. In the process, he lopped 50 seconds off his personal best. “Nothing can take away from that amazing moment,” says Janel. “It was bittersweet in that he achieved his Junior National time, but, unknowingly, he also came so close to getting the Olympic trial time. We were so surprised, and so was he!” “I love all the great people that I swim with,” says Logan. “They motivate me every day – we motivate each other.” While there is hardly a concrete formula for success, swimmers excel through determination, commitment, competition, love and support — and the thousands of hours of practice they’ve accumulated over years. Coach Ron hopes to see the team grow and continue along its path of success. “I expect us to send even more kids to the Olympic trials,” he says. “There are so many exceptional swimmers on our team, and some are one meet away from qualifying, while others are a few years away. At some point, one of them will be an Olympian, and we would have carved a path of success for him or her.”
Name Erin Emery Age 14 Olympic Trial Qualifier 800m Freestyle
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The Name is Cowie, Colin Cowie The Man with the Golden Touch, Event Planner Extraordinaire
5/22/12 11:12 AM
Liz Von Hoene
5/22/12 11:12 AM
By Katherine Turman
he name’s Cowie. Colin Cowie. And if you want it “shaken and not stirred,” your wish is his command. “‘No’ is not a word I use very often.” The Zambia-born and South Africa-educated entrepreneur started his event-planning business 26 years ago “with $400 and big dreams.” Today, Colin Cowie Enterprises is a multimillion-dollar, multi-faceted enterprise encompassing Weddings, Life & Style and Hospitality. Known for planning lavish, no-detail-left-untouched celebrations for everyone from Oprah to Hef, Cowie’s as down-toearth as his events are over the top. With his plummy accent and svelte physique, it’s no wonder that James Bond is Cowie’s idol, though Cowie counts himself more of a tequila fellow than a martini man. For his 50th birthday last January, he planned his own fete — in Mexico. “It was the best party I’ve ever designed or ever planned or ever been to,” he gushes. “One hundred and seventy of my friends came from 11 countries and 22 cities and celebrated with me for four days! I’ve never had more fun in my entire life. I love tequila,” he confesses. “It makes me a better person. It makes me feel like 9 o’clock at 6 o’clock. It makes me feel like it’s Friday on a Wednesday.” 48
His parties do the same for clients and their invitees. The man who would be king of the event planners was born in the small town of Kitwe. Growing up with his brother and two sisters, he recalls, “There was one country club that we loved, one restaurant and a hotel you wouldn’t put your foot in.” But the Cowie family enjoyed entertaining: “I cannot think of a time when we didn’t have visiting houseguests, or someone coming over for cocktails or dinner. We really were our own entertainment. That became the genesis of my whole business. Once I came to live in America, I had clients in Beverly Hills, who had walk-in refrigerators and were eating in restaurants five nights a week. I thought, ‘there’s something wrong with this picture.’” In the 26 years since, he’s painted a new picture, one that emphasizes, ultimately, making dreams come true. “I’m so blessed to do what I do. I love what I do. I get paid well. I get to spend other people’s money making other people happy. And inspiring them to live the best lives possible … or imaginable.” All of which sounds a bit dear. Of course, it can be. “I suffer from what’s called the ‘Oprah effect.’ (He planned her 500-person farewell dinner at Chicago’s Four Seasons hotel in 2011.) In many instances people think I’m unaffordable and too expensive. It’s because they’ve read about three parties that I did in a year – but what about
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the other 250 parties that don’t have a big, extravagant budget?” The recession, of course, hit the hospitality industry especially hard. “There’s been a change in the market, so there’s less work. Everyone has adjusted their prices, including us to be competitive like everybody else’s. We all have rent and overhead. Our industry is no different than the music industry; it’s been revolutionized and changed completely. Our consumer today is 20 times smarter than she was 10 years ago. Ten years ago she wanted to be told what to do. I don’t charge any differently from anyone else who delivers work of my caliber. I’m in the business to win, so I’m competitive.” His military precision in planning events reflects his days as a corporal. At 17, he enlisted in the army for two years and spent 18 months “in active war, in southern Angola and southwest Africa. I carried a rifle and I was the head of medics, so I did all the casualty evacuations in the helicopters, directly after the contact. During my time there, I actually delivered 13 babies. I was decorated for outstanding work.” However, a different kind of “decoration” was in the young Cowie’s future. His charm and talent are matched by an intense work ethic and positivity, deepened and bolstered by spiritual exploration. “I’m very into reading books that help us to be better people; I love that little book, ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ – to
get you back on track spiritually, and to bring success in life,” he explains. “I’ve participated in seminars, Tony Robbins, etc., and we learn. To be the CEO of a business, you get to run your company based upon the skills you learn as you need them,” he observes. “I always wanted to be the best leader that I can be.” And “whether I’m sitting with the queen of England, or in a bus shelter in Thailand, I’m comfortable in knowing how to be; my parents instilled incredible values in us.” Besides his mother and father, Cowie takes inspiration from many humanitarians and mentors, including former South African President Nelson Mandela: “He came out of jail after 26 years with no remorse; we can all take a page from that book.” Cowie’s ease in the world and his search for internal and external comfort and beauty for all transfers to his clients – and friends. “I have a way of getting everybody happy and in a place that makes them look good,” he says. Even when the client has hideous taste and requests? “I once had a rapper who wanted to make purple ice sculptures of himself and the bride in the middle of the seafood buffet. I thought, ‘You know, I think we’re busy that week.’” The impeccably turned out designer says he is not a formal person, “though I do formal very well.” Purple ice sculptures are JUNE 2012 DAVID
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Liz Von Hoene
neither formal nor couth in his book. (Speaking of books, Cowie’s published eight successful tomes on the art of living and celebrating in style, with two more due out this year.) Of course, not every party can be as picture-perfect as an In Style layout. Even if there are behind-the-scenes disasters, you’ll never see this erstwhile South African sweat. “I’m far too chic to be a sweaty mess,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m one of those people, who, if the kitchen is on fire, I’d never run through the dining room. I’d walk like I’m taking my time. I really believe as the ringleader, as the maestro, as the cheerleader … you set the tone with how you behave. And being an elegant and generous gentleman is the way to go.” His staff of 45 mirrors Cowie’s cool, calm, 007-like collectedness. “We take such pride in the quality of the work, and how we interact and communicate with people both inside and outside of our company. It’s about excellence. We also strive to be ahead of the curve. We combine having an agile approach with strategic thinking and innovative planning. It’s about being the brand. We respect the brand, by respecting its essence in everything we do. Service and value. We exceed expectations in everything we do.” While he expects (and plans for) the unexpected, you can’t always stop fate – or fights. Take, for instance, the nuptials where an exboyfriend tried to tell the groom how to treat his new bride. There 50
was “furniture in the pool, and then a splash.” Or the time Cowie planned a wedding three times for the same couple — who never married. “She wanted a major, major financial pay-up,” Cowie recalls. “I’m always asked advice, and I’ve been around long enough, and seen enough to offer the right advice. I said to the groom, ‘You’ve got to be kidding. I’d run a mile now while you can.’ And I was right.” With President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, Colin Cowie Weddings will likely be doing even more same-sex celebrations than he’s planned to date. “Gay couples want the same things as straight couples,” he says. “As a wedding planner, you’re there to make someone’s dreams come through; the gender has nothing to do with it.” While Las Vegas remains the No. 1 wedding destination, Cowie often tackles events on a grander scale than Sin City unions. To wit: the 2010 grand opening of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, with Coldplay and Jay-Z. Instead of having a bride and groom walk down the aisle, Cowie’s team was on hand when all 2,000 doors opened simultaneously. “The Cosmopolitan is a spectacular property,” he says. “To bring it alive with an event like that was SO much FUN.” Cowie loves the city, but he prefers shows and restaurants to craps and poker. “I work far too hard for the dollars to put them on the
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table and risk them being lost,” he explains. As a pre-teen, Cowie imagined himself as a rock star or a doctor some day. “I just thought I would have the most amazing bedside manner. But I love helping people. To this day, I’m very active in eight philanthropic organizations. They all benefit children and education and HIV. All my friends call me ‘Buppy’ or call me ‘Daddy,’ because I’m forever taking care of everyone.” What about the rock star aspirations? “I have a great speaking voice, but not a good singing voice,” he says evenly. “Otherwise, I’d have a steel guitar and I’d be on tour right now.” He’s certainly a rock star in his chosen profession. He and his staff handle four to five weddings a year, and at least 10 other parties, including three to four bar or bat mitzvahs. “We love them, because they have great entertainment. The trend is simple: These are young kids who want to be treated like young adults. We listen to them and give them great music, dancers, entertainment, a ‘cocktail’ bar.” On at least one occasion, Cowie’s celebratory planning extended beyond this life. His client that day “went out a lot more stylishly than she came in. The family hired me (for her funeral). They had a beautiful mother and they wanted to make sure I made a beautiful exit for her.” “Whatever you want, wish, need or desire, I can make happen,” he says, uttering the precise words that make women swoon.
His satisfied clients make up a who’s who of the jet set, but Cowie’s no name-dropper or secret-revealer. And believe me, I tried. Though David wasn’t granted access to his inner sanctum in New York City, Cowie pledges no socks or underwear litter the foot of his bed. “I love order,” he confides. “I get turned on by order. I don’t have a messy drawer. Ever. There’s complete order in everything in my life.” But, he adds, “I’m not fanatical about it. I put my feet up on the sofa; I drink red wine on cashmere covers. I don’t treat anything preciously, but I have an eye like a hawk. I love having visual beauty and that comes from having things in order.” Cowie says the autobiography he’ll write some day will be “the juiciest page-turner ever. I’m going to publish that book when I can go live on an island and eat every carbohydrate I’ve said no to for the last 20 years.” What about names? “It’s really about the situations and things that have happened. I’ve lived the most fascinating life. I’ve served in the military, traveled close to 100 countries. I’ve met the most extraordinary people – heads of state, kings and queens, celebrities, innovators, motivators.” So what’s his secret? “I’ve always played to win, tried to do it better than anyone else … I’m just a simple boy from Africa, blessed with some good taste and style.” JUNE 2012 DAVID
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Nightly Neon Nuptials
t seems to me that marriage licenses should be like gun licenses, with an allowance for a “cooling off” period. However, much to the (presumed) delight of the more than 110,000 people who annually get hitched in Las Vegas, those rules don’t apply in Nevada. Back in 1931, in most states there was not only a “cooling off” period of about three days, a mandatory waiting between acquiring the wedding license and the performance of the ceremony, but also a requirement to present a clean blood test to ensure the healthiness of both participants. But the Great Depression had begun two years earlier and Las Vegas was looking for a way to increase tourist traffic to its burgeoning casino entertainments. Easing up on the restrictions to get married — and divorced — seemed like just the thing.
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Goin’ to the Chapel and We’re Gonna Get Married By Jaq Greenspon Photographs by Donnie Barnett
Taking a cue from Gretna Green, the tiny village just inside the Scottish border that had been hosting runaway elopements for centuries, Las Vegas decided to do away with the blood test and waiting period. That offered young couples the opportunity to meet, fall in love, propose and wed in literally a few hours, or even a handful of minutes. Of course, what goes up must come down and the divorce laws also were loosened, allowing for the dissolution of a union providing one member had established a six-week residency in the state. From the start, celebrities led the pack. Actor (and later Nevada politician) Rex Bell kept things close to home when he married “It Girl” Clara Bow not long after the laws went into effect. Their union JUNE 2012 DAVID
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may have started the trend of famous couples getting hitched in Vegas, but they did something most modern couples have failed to do – they stayed together. Then again, the superstar poster children for marriage longevity, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, were wed in Sin City in 1958 and were together for 50 years. Today, though, 29 of the 50 states no longer have waiting periods. Only four require blood tests. Yet, on average, 5 percent (one in every 20) of all weddings in the United States takes place in Las Vegas. Why? Vegas makes it easy. The license office is open from 8 a.m. until midnight, 365 days a year, and a number of chapels in the “Wedding Corridor” offer car service to and from the Clark Avenue office. If you don’t want 54
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to wait in a queue, fill in the application online so the paperwork is already done. Show your ID, pay your fee and get on to the ceremony. Besides making the license a no-brainer to acquire, Las Vegas gives you plenty of options for the ceremony, too. If you can dream it up, there’s likely a Vegas venue to handle it, usually several times a day. Until it closed, the Star Trek Experience offered “traditional” Klingon wedding rituals, in original Klingon. You can still get married on a pirate ship, a roller coaster, a helicopter or before or after jumping out of an airplane. All you need is to be two people of different genders and over 18 (over 16 with parental consent) and you can start a life of wedded bliss. If things don’t work out, just hang around for six weeks and we can assist you there as well. JUNE 2012 DAVID
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Las Vegas Wedding Chapels A Chapel by the Courthouse 201 Bridger Ave. (702) 384-9099 A Las Vegas Wedding Chapel 727 South 9th St. (702) 383-5909 A Little Chapel of Roses 814 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 382-9404 A Little White Chapel 1301 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 382-5943 A Special Memory Wedding Chapel 800 S. Fourth St. (702) 384-2211 All Religions Wedding Chapel 2855 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (702) 735-4179 Allure Wedding Chapel 823 S. 3rd St. (702) 791-2667 Always & Forever Wedding Chapel3003 Rigel Ave. (800) 259-2978 Belleza Wedding Chapel 2009 Paradise Ave. 877-792-2933 Caesars Palace Wedding Services 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 731-7422 Candlelight Wedding Chapel 2855 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (800) 962-1818 Canterbury Chapels, Excalibur 3850Las Vegas Blvd. S. (702) 597-7260 Celebration Ministries 3087 Ramrod St. (702) 395-6246 Celebration Wedding Chapel 3645 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 894-5222 Century Manor 2600 E. Flamingo Rd. (702) 369-1171 Chapel at Planet Hollywood 3667 S Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 696-9925 Chapel at the Monte Carlo 3770 Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 730-7777 Chapel by the Bay, Mandalay Bay 3950S Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 632-7777 Chapel in the Plaza 1 N. Main St. (702) 386-0992 Chapel of Dreams 2121 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (702) 731-5052 Chapel of Love 1431 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 387-0155 Chapel of the Bells 2233 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (702) 735-6803 Chapel of the Flowers 1717 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (800) 843-2410 Chapel of the Fountains, Circus Circus 2880 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 794-3777 Chaplain at Large 1301 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 382-5943 Cupid’s Wedding Chapel 827 S.Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 598-4444 Emerald Gardens 891 S Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 242-5700 First Church Of Religious Science 1420 E. Harmon Ave. (702) 739-8200 Flamingo Garden Chapel 3555 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 733-3232 Forever Grand Wedding Chapel, MGM 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. (800) 646-5530 Graceland Wedding Chapel 619S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 382-0091 Heavenly Bliss Wedding Chapel 516 S. 4th St. (702) 444-5444 Hitching Post Wedding Chapel 1737 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (800) 572-5530 Hollywood Wedding Chapel 2207 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (800) 704-0478 Island Wedding Chapel, Tropicana 3801 Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 739-2222 La Capella di Amore, Ravella 1610 Lake Las Vegas Pkwy. (702) 567-4700 LaBella Wedding Chapel, LVH 3000 Paradise Rd. (866) 945-5933 Las Vegas Wedding Garden 200W. Sahara Av. (702) 387-0123 Lily of the Valley Ministry 1112 Fremont St. (702) 385-1004 Little Church of the West 4617 Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 739-7971 Madame Tussauds Wedding Chapel 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (702) 862-7800 Masterpiece Wedding Chapel, Artisan 1501 W. Sahara Ave. (702) 214-4000 56
Mon Bel Ami607 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (866) 503-4400 Mt Charleston Hotel & Restaurant 2 Kyle Canyon Rd. (800) 794-3456 New York New York Hotel & Casino 3790 S. Las Vegas Blvd.(702) 740-6969 Rio Wedding Chapel 3700 W. Flamingo Rd. (702) 247-7986 Riviera Wedding Chapel and Florist 2901 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 794-9494 San Francisco Sally’s Victorian Chapel 1304 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 385-7777 Shalimar Wedding Chapel 1401S. Las Vegas Bld. (702) 382-7322 Silver Bell Wedding Chapel 607 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 382-3726 Silver Sky Chapel, Imperial Palace 305 Convention Center Dr. (702) 731-3311 Sky View Terrace 6565 Spencer St. (702) 614-9860 St Tropez Wedding Chapel 455 East Harmon Ave. 866-687-9711 Stained Glass Wedding Chapel 901 E. Ogden Ave. (866) 384-4340 Suncoast Weddings 9090 Alta Dr. (702) 636-7090 Sweethearts Wedding Chapel 1155 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 385-7785 Texas Station Wedding Chapels 2101 Texas Star Ln. (702) 631-8344 The Chapel in the Clouds, Stratosphere 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 800-998-6937 The Grandeur 3057 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 812-4224 The Grove 8101 Racel St. (702) 645-5818 The Secret Garden 3333 Raven Ave. (702) 361-2202 The Terrace 1361 W Warm Springs Rd. (702) 436-5888 Treasure Island 3300 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 798-3778 Vegas Weddings -555 S 3rd St. 800-823-4095 Venetian Weddings 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. (866) 548-1807 Victorias2800 W. Sahara Ave. (800) 344-5683 or (702) 252-4565 Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel -1205 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (702) 384-0771 Wedding Bells Chapel 2955 SLV Blvd. (702) 731-2355 Wedding Center 1301 S Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 382-5943 Wedding Chapel, Bellagio 3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (888) 464-4436 Wedding Chapel, Golden Nugget 129 Fremont St. (702) 385-7111 Wedding Chapel, Luxor Las Vegas Blvd. (866) 458-8998 Wedding Chapel, Paris 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. (877) 650-5021 Wedding Chapel, Sam’s Town 5111 Boulder Hwy. (702) 456-7777 Wedding Chapel, Texas Station 2101 Texas Star Rd. (800) 654-8804 Wedding Chapel, Tuscany Suites 255 E. Flamingo Rd. (702) 944-5283 Wedding Salons, Wynn 3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (888) 320-7115 Weddings, Four Seasons 3960 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 632-5000 Weddings, Green Valley Ranch 2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy. (702) 617-7777 Weddings, Hard Rock 4455 Paradise Rd. (702) 693-5000 Weddings, Platinum Hotel 211 E. Flamingo Rd. (702) 365-5000 Weddings, Red Rock 11011 W. Charleston Blvd. (702) 797-7550 Wee Kirk’ O’ The Heather 231 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (702) 382-9830 Westminster Chapel 1001 S 3rd St. (702) 868-4110
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grill Clark County Marriage License Bureau 309 South 3rd St. Las Vegas, NV 89101, (702) 455-3474, www.clarkcountynv.gov It is 10:30 p.m. Saturday night in the balmy corridors of downtown, Las Vegas. We are outside the Clark County Marriage License Bureau, a storefront attached to the Regional Justice Center on 3rd Street. Open 8 a.m. to midnight 365 days, marriage licenses cost $60 and are valid for one year, with valid ID. On our walk from the car to the bureau we are accosted by a few vendors offering us the services of their “best in Vegas” wedding chapels. A bleary-eyed security guard approaches and informs us that photography is not permitted inside the streamlined facility. We decide to find a quiet corner of the forecourt and talk to a few couples as they, marriage license in hand, exit the building.
DAVID: What are your names and where are you all from?
LAMBERT & MAINDA: Lambert Tibaigana and Mainda Pitts. We live in Houston, Texas but come from East Africa, specifically Tanzania.
MARSHAWN & COREE: Marshawn Williams and Coree Bradshaw. Inglewood, Gardena, Hollywood, Cali, man!
LAMBERT & MAINDA: We have dreamed of getting married in Las Vegas for more than eleven years. We talked about it a lot.
DAVID: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?
DAVID: Are you planning to gamble?
DAVID: What are your names and where do you come from?
LAMBERT & MAINDA: Yes we are, but the full story is that we were traditionally married in Africa in 2005. Tonight is the American official marriage; we have family with us to celebrate Vegas style. After this we are going to go back to the Stratosphere Hotel to get dressed in our wedding attire and then it is off to the chapel to do the ceremony. We are so excited, this is really cool!
LAMBERT & MAINDA: We just came from the airport, our plane was delayed. We go back home tomorrow morning early. Thank you Las Vegas!
LAMBERT & MAINDA: That’s what we are doing here at the marriage office, but we have been together so long that we know that our marriage is no gamble. We know what we are getting into.
DAVID: Gosh you chaps are really patient. Why tonight?
The future Marshawn & Coree Williams
DAVID: When did you get in to town and what does the rest of your stay look like? Are you planning to do anything else while you are here?
This is an hour in the life of a venerable Las Vegas institution. Here are two of the twelve couples that we ran into and were gracious enough to give us a few minutes.
DAVID: Why did you come to Vegas to get married. The future Lambert & Mainda Tibaigana
other for fifteen years. We come from the same people both here in the States and back in Africa. Things are done differently in our culture our families have to know each other and approve of us getting married.
LAMBERT & MAINDA: We have known each
DAVID: Is this something you have been thinking of doing for a while? MARSHAWN & COREE: No, we just got back together and kind of said today lets do it, lets hit the road for Vegas! We have known each other for many years; we met in 2003 at El Camino Community College. Even though we are doing this now, we are still planning the big family wedding for some time later. We drove up alone today. DAVID: So you have no time for fun in Vegas tonight? MARSHAWN & COREE: No, we just got off the freeway and are headed straight back to LA right now. We have to be in church tomorrow morning. DAVID: Congratulations, have a long and happy and healthy marriage! MARSHAWN & COREE: Thanks. You sound like our pastor.
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