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editor’s note

Museum of the possible

T

The Nevada Museum of Art

Next Month in Desert Companion

Wine, beer, coffee, tea — take a sip of our Drink Up! issue

Las Vegas stands in sharp contrast to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Whereas the Smith Center is dignified (or one might say even triumphantly staid) in its grand architectural gesture to the Hoover Dam, the Nevada Museum of Art Las Vegas is quietly daring. Its steeply angled, mottled exterior walls glint at certain angles with what looks like random shimmers of starlight — a sly metaphor, perhaps, for the improbability of our radiant city in the desert. One critic has said the structure, designed by noted Southwest architect William Bruder, looks less like a building than a “slow but brash eruption.” Inside the three-story, 70,000 square-foot space is the art — and oh, what art. It reflects Southern Nevada’s history and spirit, certainly, but not exclusively so, not provincially so. It has Dixons and Ruschas and Mondrians. It includes national and international touring exhibits. The collection — challenging, diverse and always apt — carries on a lively dialogue with the rest of the art world. Just as importantly, however, the collection inspires, informs and teaches Southern Nevadans of all ages. Of course, the Nevada Museum of Art Las Vegas doesn’t exist. But it could. Let’s keep pretending. It is seeded with $100 million from a Texas billionaire with unlikely ties to Nevada (his wife, a wild-horse activist and art collector, made a fateful foray to Las Vegas, where a tour of the nascent Symphony Park captured her imagi-

2 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

nation). Riding that wave of momentum, Nevada Museum of Art Las Vegas board members successfully prevail upon Steve Wynn, Jim Murren and the Fertitta brothers to lend — and in some cases, gift — key pieces from their private and corporate collections to the museum, to the pleasant surprise of many. The Nevada Museum of Art Las Vegas is a private nonprofit. Wisely, it’s decided early on that this is an enterprise best unhitched from public institutions, sparing the museum the often painful vagaries of — and politicians’ postured hostility to — state funding for arts, higher education and social services. (However, the museum does enjoy a healthy relationship with UNLV’s art department, even working out an agreement to house the defunct Las Vegas Art Museum’s permanent collection at the site.) This all works because, perhaps most crucially, the Nevada Museum of Art Las Vegas is an extension of Reno’s Nevada Museum of Art. That umbilical cord means efficiency in terms of shared exhibits, a common board and baked-in expertise and wisdom from an 80-year-old cultural institution to our north. It also means the Nevada Museum of Art Las Vegas is already accredited by the American Association of Museums — a valuable rarity in the art world — giving our new museum an instant dose of credibility right out of the gate. None of this is real. But it’s all possible.

Perhaps a flight of fantasy isn’t the best way to open a fall cultural guide. After all, within these pages are actual events put on by tried, true and time-tested cultural institutions and organizations — well through the end of the year. (The fun starts on p. 51). But who can blame me for the wishful turn of mind? Culturally, we’re on a roll: The Smith Center’s construction continues apace, First Friday proves so muscular it weirdly survives its own cancellation, and two of our latest casino megaplexes continue to trade heavily in their aesthete cred. We’ve earned the right to a bit of responsible dreaming, don’t you think? Besides, the first step to getting anything done, of course, is to imagine it. (And as much as I’d like to take full credit for this bit of hopeful fiction, I relied on the following people for their input and ideas: Culturalist Brian Paco Alvarez, Vista Group’s Michael Saltman, UNLV’s Kirsten Swenson and the Nevada Museum of Art’s David Walker.) Andrew Kiraly, Editor


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contents

desert companion magazine // desertcompanion.com

09.2011

10

Letters

We don’t kill roosters

13

All Things to All People The workshop for musical theater

20

26

Books

The poet who makes sonnets go boom By Jarret Keene

26

Business

The art of ... doing your taxes? By Hannah Birch

30

Community

Gay pioneers reflect as Pride arrives By Steve Friess

37

44

51

This season, elegance cozies up with texture and warmth

Our picks for theater, music, dance and more — plus rising stars in the arts

Style of the season

Fall Culture Guide

4 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 1

Dining

The secret pizza club By Brock Radke

71

Guide

From rock to theater to dance, your guide to culture

80

Last word

OMG I swear I wasn’t texting, officer LOL By Janet Manley

on the cover Photography Robert John Kley Styling Christie Moeller Hair & Makeup Krystle Randall Model Teresa For product information see page 44

V I O L I N I S t; I ll u s t r at ion ; r e s ta u r a n t : C H R I S TO P H ER S M I T H

features

51

37


the legend lives on the legend lives on

Written and directed by Jamie King Written and directed by Jamie King

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Mission statement

Desert Companion is the premier city magazine that celebrates the pursuits, passions and aspirations of Southern Nevadans. With award-winning lifestyle journalism and design, Desert Companion does more than inform and entertain. We spark dialogue, engage people and define the spirit of the Las Vegas Valley. Editorial & Art Andrew Kiraly Editor CHRISTOPHER SMITH Art Director Advertising CHRISTINE KIELY Corporate Support Manager laura alcaraz National Account Manager Sharon Clifton Senior Account Executive allen grant Senior Account Executive elizabeth guernsey Account Executive Markus Van’t Hul Senior Account Executive Marketing Catherine Kim Marketing Manager Subscriptions Chris Bitonti Subscription Manager

SENIOR STAFF Florence M.E. Rogers President / General Manager Melanie Cannon Director of Development Cynthia M. Dobek Director of Business, Finance & Human Resources Phil Burger Director of Broadcast Operations Contributing WRiters Maureen Adamo, Hal de Becker, Hannah Birch, John Curtas, Cybele, Joshua Ellis, Steve Friess, Jarret Keene, Heidi Kyser, Janet Manley, David McKee, Max Plenke, Brock Radke, Kirsten Swenson, Pattie Thomas, Gregan Wingert

Contributing Artists Robert John Kley, Aaron McKinney

OnLine Danielle Branton Web Administrator

To submit your organization’s event listings for the Desert Companion events guide, send complete information to guide@desertcompanion.com. Feedback and story ideas are always welcome, too. editorial: Andrew Kiraly, (702) 259-7856; andrew@desertcompanion.com Fax: (702) 258-5646 Advertising: Christine Kiely, (702) 259-7813; christine@desertcompanion.com Subscriptions: Chris Bitonti, (702) 259-7810; subscriptions@desertcompanion.com website: www.desertcompanion.com Desert Companion is published 12 times a year by Nevada Public Radio, 1289 S. Torrey Pines Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89146. It is available by subscription at www.desertcompanion.com, or as part of Nevada Public Radio membership. It is also distributed free of charge at select locations in the Las Vegas Valley. All photographs, artwork and ad designs printed are the sole property of Desert Companion and may not be duplicated or reproduced without the express written permission of the publisher. The views of Desert Companion contributing writers are not necessarily the views of Desert Companion or Nevada Public Radio.

ISSN 2157-8389 (print) ISSN 2157-8397 (online)

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As SNWA Lab Manager, Linda Blish makes sure our water meets or surpasses federal drinking water standards – with no surprises. Linda oversees a busy, highly trained staff. Did we mention busy? Together, they analyze our water 500,000 times a year. If you have questions about water quality - or if you’re looking for a supplemental water treatment system – contact the SNWA. No one knows more about water quality than your local water agency. Go to snwa.com, or call 258-3930.

nevada public radio BOARD OF DIRECTORS Officers Elizabeth FRETWELL, Chair City of Las Vegas Susan Brennan, vice chair Brennan Consulting Group, LLC REED RADOSEVICH, Treasurer Northern Trust Bank Florence M.E. Rogers, Secretary Nevada Public Radio DIRECTORS shamoon ahmad, m.d., mba, facp Cynthia Alexander, Esq. Snell & Wilmer Louis Castle, Director Emeritus Patrick N. Chapin, Esq., Director Emeritus KIRK V. CLAUSEN Wells Fargo sherri gilligan MGM Resorts International jan L. jones Caesars Entertainment Corporation John R. Klai II Klai Juba Architects Lamar Marchese, President Emeritus William mason Taylor International Corporation Chris Murray Director Emeritus Avissa Corporation Curtis L. Myles III Las Vegas Monorail Jerry Nadal Cirque du Soleil Peter O’Neill R&R Partners William J. “Bill” Noonan, Director Emeritus Boyd Gaming Corporation

nevada public radio COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD Mark ricciardi, esq. Chairman Fisher & Phillips, LLP David Cabral American Commonwealth Mortgage DENNIS COBB President, DCC Group Richard I. Dreitzer Fox Rothschild LLP Al Gibes Al Gibes Enterprises Carolyn G. Goodman Meadows School Marilyn Gubler The Las Vegas Archive Kurtis Wade Johnson Absolute Auto Care Megan Jones Friends for Harry Reid edmÉe s. marcek College of Southern Nevada Susan K. Moore Lieutenant Governor’s Office JENNA MORTON Steve Parker UNLV Richard Plaster Signature Homes Chris Roman Entravision Kim Russell Smith Center for the Performing Arts CANDY SCHNEIDER Smith Center for the Performing Arts Stephanie Smith Bob Stoldal Sunbelt Communications Co. kate turner whiteley Kirvin Doak Communications Brent Wright Wright Engineers bob gerst Boyd Gaming Corporation

MARK RICCiARDI, Esq., director emeritus Fisher & Phillips, LLP Mickey Roemer, Director Emeritus Roemer Gaming TIM WONG Arcata Associates

Follow us online: www.facebook.com/desertcompanion www.twitter.com/DesertCompanion

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NBT SEASON 40 2011 - 2012

Dance Dance Dance!

October 29 & 30, 2011 Paris Théâtre

The Nutcracker

letters 09.2011

We would have saved the rooster Editor’s note: The Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would not have euthanized a rooster given to the organization. This fact was incorrect in an article (“Gives you wings,” August 2011). Desert Companion regrets the error. Below, Nevada SPCA Executive Director Doug Duke responds.

Dec 17-24, 2011 Paris Théâtre

A Choreographers’ Showcase Dates & Theater TBA

One Step Closer: The Studio Series

April 17-22, 2012 The Smith Center for the Performing Arts Studio Theater

SUBSCRIBE NOW Look for Season Brochure by Mail and Online

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We work when others are sleeping, ensuring that the community has a physician at any time.

photo by Jeff Speer

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Rehearsal of Petit Mort by Jirí Kylián at the Harris Theater in Chicago, IL, USA © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2010

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10 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

www.desertcompanion.com

David McKee’s otherwise touching account of saving a hard-luck rooster named Plucky contains an erroneous statement that grossly misrepresents Nevada SPCA’s no-kill mission and our deeply held conviction that every life is precious. McKee states that our organization would have euthanized his rooster “on sight” and “charge(d) us for the privilege of murdering our new friend.” These assertions are absolutely and demonstrably false. In fact, Nevada SPCA’s no-kill shelter regularly rescues chickens, roosters, turkeys, peacocks and many other species, and has done so for years. What’s more, a substantial percentage of our annual operating budget is dedicated to rehabilitating injured animals, including many  who other rescue organizations or government-run shelters would not be able or willing to save.   To be clear, every animal  who finds his or her way to our facility is given not just food and shelter, but also appropriate medical care and the attention of a highly committed staff. We receive no government funding or money from national groups; our operating revenue is provided exclusively by generous donors who make their donations directly to Nevada SPCA. This independence provides us with the discretion to do whatever is necessary to save the dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, pigs, goats,

sheep and, yes, roosters that turn up at, or are turned in to, Nevada SPCA.  It is vitally important to all of us at Nevada SPCA that Desert Companion readers — many of whom are also our supporters — know the truth about our approach to animal rescue, and understand that Mr. McKee’s statement was made in error and without contacting the Nevada SPCA directly to see if we could help the rooster. I appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight. Doug Duke, Executive Director, Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals What about emergency docs? As an emergency medicine physician working at a number of the valley’s community hospitals, I was very disappointed to see that our specialty was excluded from your “Top Doctors” issue. As you know, Las Vegas has been hit especially hard by the recent recession. As a result, many of our patients are unemployed and have nowhere else to turn for their medical care. Emergency physicians work tirelessly to serve the Las Vegas community and communities beyond ours. In addition to treating the sickest and most critical of patients, we are also providing primary care to a large percentage of the population. We work when others are sleeping, ensuring that the community has a physician at any time. Our skills and range of services are broad; we must recognize and treat anything and anyone  who walks into our emergency  departments. Our specialty is unglamorous, and most of us like it that way. Nonetheless, I find it difficult to accept exclusion from your list when we represent such a pivotal part in our community’s health care. Dr. Salah Baydoun

We want to hear from you. Send your feedback to editor@desertcompanion.com.


B R O A D WAY L A S V E G A S S E R I E S

BE THERE FROM THE BEGINNING.

SUBSCRIBE NOW.

Season tickets for Broadway Las Vegas at The Smith Center are on sale now. Visit TheSmithCenter.com/broadwayseries today to get the best seats, best prices and priority access to WICKED next fall. THE COLOR PURPLE April 3 – 8, 2012

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TheSmithCenter.com/broadwayseries For more season ticket information, call 702.982.7805. • Find us on facebook.com/thesmithcenter Original Broadway Cast member Eddie Clendening as Elvis Presley in Million Dollar Quartet. Montego Glover and Chad Kimball from the Original Broadway Cast of Memphis. Mary Poppins © Disney / CML. Photos by Joan Marcus.


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09.2011

NEWS PEOPLE POLITICS SHOP HUMOR

M U SIC Andrew Wright, center, with the RagTag crew

W T H EATER

Singing with a net “We do our best to keep it fun,” says RagTag Entertainment Artistic Director Andrew Wright. Since bursting onto the Vegas scene a year ago, RagTag has been a beehive of activity, test-driving theatrical works in progress. Whose? Anybody’s. The company’s bread-and-butter gig is the Tuesday-night slot in Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa & Casino’s Ovation showroom. But just as important is the assistance it offers to other artists and performers. Wright is helping local authors workshop musical-theater pieces such as, recently, an unnamed rock opera. Others benefiting from RagTag sponsorship are the composer/lyricist partnership of William Waldrop and Robert Williamson. What Wright describes as “a very early draft” of their musical “Pandemic!” recently premiered at Las Vegas Little Theatre’s Fringe Festival to boffo box office (and withering reviews). “Las Vegas is unique and a good litmus test,” Wright says, “but if (your show is) not ready, it won’t ruin you. It’s a much safer proving ground” than Seattle, for instance. “It’s an entertainment community, not a theater community, so it’s very forgiving.

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“We offer a variety of help, depending on what the writers want,” Wright continues. “Some only care about getting their show staged and have no interest in it getting better or going farther. … For those who truly want to make it the best, we offer communication throughout — workshops that will give critiques, and as much help as we can provide for them to ultimately launch their product.” The process includes audience-comment cards as well as feedback from musical-theater professionals (“You need to expand the vocal range on this character”). RagTag’s bottom line, whether it’s helping UNLV theater students find an outlet for their talents or helping opera singers present Mozart’s “The Impresario,” is to keep performing artists’ passion aflame. It’s open to all. Wright suggests that aspirants send their material to ragtagent@yahoo.com “and we will work with them. At the very least, we will set up a reading. Depending on the demands of the show, and schedules, it’ll progress from there. ... We are always happy to give people a forum to take steps on getting their works out there.” — David McKee

Radio Reverb The old-school model of college radio has been on hiatus in Las Vegas since 1998, when UNLV station KUNV made the switch to a primarily jazz-based format, ditching programming such as the legendary “Rock Avenue” alternative rock show. Luckily, Donald Hickey, a former Rock Avenue DJ and fixture in the Vegas music scene, aims to fix this. In 2008, Hickey and Mark Stoermer, bassist for The Killers, launched Neon Reverb Radio, a sort of spiritual successor to Rock Avenue that Hickey describes as “new music variety — indie or uncontinued on pg. 14

Visit Desert Companion Daily for a powerful flurry of daily links to all things Las Vegas at desertcompanion.com.

“Vegas! The Show” sings and dances entertainment history on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at www.desertcompanion/hearmore

PHOTOGRAPHY By Christopher Smith

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 13


N ews

continued from page 13

B U SINESS

Diversity and change

S

The new census reflects a changing Southern Nevada — and changing business, too Sammy Davis Jr. once joked, “I’m colored, Jewish, and Puerto Rican. When I move into a neighborhood, I wipe it out.” Clark County had only 127,000 people when the Rat Pack ruled the Strip in 1960. The population as of 2010 has increased 1,436 percent. While this is an incredible factoid all by itself, what heralds even more change is who’s moved into the neighborhood over the last 50 years. Traditionally, Clark County has been mostly white with a Latino and African-American presence, but that’s been changing. 2010 marks the first census in which non-Hispanic whites are not a majority (only 48 percent). Latinos now make up over 30 percent. The number of Asian-Americans, which includes Filipinos, Indians, Pakistani, Chinese, Japanese and 36 other national backgrounds, nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010, though they remain less than 10 percent of the population. Politicians, economists and policy-makers are sorting out implications of this shift — but minority leaders already see big changes. Here are some of the biggest changes they see already taking place — to business and beyond. Small business reboot. Rodney Smith, president and publisher of Our Own Voices, a local publication focused on diversity, has his eye on small business. “We are seeing a coalescence of small businesses into networks that support each other,” he says. “These businesses will be more resilient, more energetic and have a greater power to help start-ups.” Smith believes cultural values and norms of Latinos and Asian-Americans give them an advantage in small business because they can adapt well to what he calls “the coming cash economy.” This is because they value family, community and savings. Latino start-ups. Andres Ramirez, president of Ramirez Group and member of the Latino Chamber of Commerce, says Latino business are filling the gaps left by a sour economy. “Latino-owned businesses that cater to Latino needs have skyrocketed. This has had a ripple effect in the non-Hispanic community. For example, almost every major casino night club has a Latino night now and they are doing extraordinarily well. Latino start-ups are filling vacancies left behind by failing non-Latino businesses.” Cash, not credit, is king. Ramirez also notes that Latinos are not feeling the current credit crunch in dried-up financing because most are started with cash and supported by family. “In fact, the newest trend is for commercial banks to try to win Latino business because we have not used banks that much in the past,” he says. Family ties count. Sanje Sadera, a member of the Asian Chamber of Commerce and owner of Zenith Realty Group, says similar factors make local Asian businesses stronger as well. “They raise funds from their families, their children work in the business and help out. Perseverance and living within one’s means are a part of Asian cultures.” Sadera sees not only Asians supporting other Asians, but a reaching out among all minority groups. “Las Vegas still offers a lot of economic opportunities,” he says, “especially for businesses that recognize our diverse and new community.” — Pattie Thomas

14 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

PHOTO : ISTO C K PHOTO . c o m / p i x d e l u x e

derground at its center, with a little underground folk, hip-hop, electronic, some classics from the ’80s-’00s that seem relevant today and, of course, some local.” Hickey isn’t kidding. One recent playlist features tracks by Kanye West, current indie darlings Cut Copy and Ariel Pink, protopunk godfather Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers and local 1980s cult heroes Sampson’s Army. Along with former producer and occasional guest host Ginger Bruner — herself a Vegas musician — and outgoing programming director Brynn Simons, Hickey is bringing some of KUNV’s former rock glory back to the airwaves. But in an era of Pandora and Clear Channel domination, does Vegas really need an indie rock show? Hickey thinks so. “The need for commercial radio to program to the ‘least common denominator,’ as well as public radio’s lack of responsiveness to changing culture in America, has driven the digital music revolution as much as digital music has hurt radio. Public radio stations need to cultivate modern music shows, in the same way they cultivate jazz and classical. The stations that do, tend to be very successful. Even in this economy.” Neon Reverb Radio airs Saturday nights from 9-10 p.m. on KUNV 91.5 FM. Podcasts can be found on the show’s Facebook page. — Joshua Ellis


PEOPLE

Kim Bavington’s “Art Classes for Kids” aren’t your typical art class.

“You just let them go at it.” It’s not a sentiment normally associated with construction paper and crayons: “I think kids need to think progressively, they are our future … they must be able to think creatively and see how thinking creatively changes the world.” But Kim Bavington’s enterprise, “Art Classes for Kids,” has nothing to do with the “Okay kids, time to draw for 10 minutes” approach to art kids often encounter at school. Bavington founded “Art Classes for Kids” in 1990 after an impressive career as an art director and then manager of her own graphic design firm. She may be the Valley’s only art teacher to have attended the Sorbonne in Paris after receiving her BFA from UNLV. Her approach is modern — in more ways than one. Bavington’s method of teaching kids is true to the spirit of inventiveness and experimentation of modern art: Construction paper and crayons are not in her arsenal, but, in a recent class, 3-year-olds made prints using ink rollers and Styrofoam board. Even toddlers paint on stretched canvases (in a recent class, using toys as “brushes” that roll or run through puddles of paint leaving tire tracks or dinosaur prints). The result: masterpieces to hang over the mantle rather than tape to the fridge. “You just let them go at it, which most parents don’t do very often at home.” Mentorship is a key to her program. By the time they’re teens, her “graduates” can become volunteer assistants, then paid assistants. “For many of these teens, it’s their first real job, and I make a big effort to teach them what it takes to be a great employee … Most of these selected teens go on to be art majors in college.” A generation of Las Vegas area kids has passed through Bavington’s program, and it has had an impact. “Many of my old students have gone on to have art careers or are currently going to school for some form of creative art. Many of these past students will contact me and tell me how happy they are to have the creative job.” Or they’re some other place Bavington’s intensive classes have led them. “I’ve had kids that will text me that they are at an art museum standing in front of a famous work by an artist they remember doing a kids’ art project based on.” Call it class dispersed. — Kirsten Swenson

16 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

PHOTOGRAPHY By Christopher Smith


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Perfectly coiffed, with masculine details, this fall’s ladylike style is refined and full of grace — and all about mixing classic shapes with strong textures and color. We’ve collected some of the runway’s leading looks, where the trend is mixing and matching trends. Combine any of your favorite statement pieces — sequins, tweed, patterned tights, leggings, fur, leather, or satin — because the only rule this year is to be well-dressed. — Maureen Adamo

Ali Ro scoop-back sequin dress, $265, Neiman Marcus a. Alice + Olivia meshback dress with sequins, $275, Saks Fifth Avenue

Femme-nista The look: Form-fitting and structured, turning durable fabrics out in womanly shapes Inspiration: Rebel with a cause — and a 401k Bonus points for: A sheath dress, even more daring in leather

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Color rock The look: Summer’s favorite trend is updated with neutrals, adding bright pops of color in accessories. Or, try wearing one vibrant, head-totoe hue. Inspiration: Bauhaus of Blues Bonus points for: Incorporating monochromatic blocks of texture and pattern, too.

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Animalism The look: Anything skin is in, faux real! Animal prints or patterns in big, neutral tones. Inspiration: Cowboys and mammalians Bonus point for: Snakeskin, especially in a clutch, the season’s best bag. e. Rebecca Minkoff haircalf and leather clutch, $725, Saks Fifth Avenue f. French Connection Jersey print dress, $98, Miracle Mile Shops, Fashion Show Mall

a. d. 18 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n


books

Sonnet boom Erica Anzalone’s gutsy verse embraces — and explodes — formalism

F by jarret keene

Few bards these days can rock a red

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dress and cowboy boots and still be taken seriously by their professors and academic peers. But Las Vegas poet Erica Anzalone makes it look easy as she steps up to the microphone in the Contemporary Arts Center on this March afternoon. The event is Neon Lit, a monthly reading featuring MFA creative writing students from UNLV, and Anzalone is the program’s obvious star. Her poems exude carnality and danger in an arena where pretension and autobiography reign. Like the best sonneteers — Sylvia Plath, John Berryman — Anzalone oscillates easily between form and free verse. Her language is visceral, aggressive, her images hauntingly raucous — a “stolen heart gone peekaboo on bumper cars,” a realm of “acid lullabies” and “G-spot certainty,” a romance described as “two rank porcupines, nudging closer until our soft bellies touched.” These are vivid voices and scenarios, a tad on the eerie side. Anzalone reads aloud a new poem called “Beatitude,” which begins: I would like to thank The cushy chairs and the green trees in particular. Torch singer playing a ukulele, you also deserve a zephyr of gratitude. I like the way you throw spaghetti at the sky until it sticks and stones the moon. You cry beer tears; I’ll dry. No, I am not the pedigreed Alsatian you ordered online. But I will gladly lick the chocolate chips melting in your lambent hair.

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Hear more

For poet Erica Anzalone, Las Vegas is a “brutally inspirational” place to live.

Wild trajectories Chatting with Anzalone later in a blue-collar Vegas bar like The Stake Out, where classic rock tunes like “More Than a Feeling” constantly blast from a jukebox, seems appropriate, given her working-class Boston roots. (“I drop my Rs a lot when I’m overtired or drink too much,” she laughs.) Neither of her parents earned a college degree, but they had a dream, like many people, that their kids would live better lives. So Anzalone had more books than toys growing up, for which she’s grateful. After her father died when she was 7, she took deeper refuge in reading and, later, writing. She

began keeping a journal at age 10, and poems soon followed, the usual adolescent angst. It wasn’t until she attended Emerson College and met professor and poet Bill Knott that she began to write “more serious” verse. “His passion is infectious,” says Anzalone. “At the time I didn’t know he’s a cult figure.” Indeed, Knott is a legendary and oncecontroversial presence in American letters. In the late ’60s, he published a collection of verse under a pen name, Saint Geraud. The book, which Knott has since disowned, was presented as a young man’s suicide poem. “I just knew that he cared a lot about poetry, enough to let you know when your work was

Cowboy poet Baxter Black reads his verse about the Old West on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at www.desertcompanion/hearmore

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PhotoGraphy Christopher Smith


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books good and when it wasn’t,” says Anzalone of her mentor. “I recall him describing poetry as flying from A to M to H to Z, whereas prose is plodding along from A to B to C and so on. It was difficult to change my thinking that way, but once I did I was hooked.” Her teaching career took a similarly wild trajectory. She taught English as a Second Language in San Francisco and Prague before earning an MFA in Poetry from University of Iowa’s prestigious writing program. She taught literature and creative writing as a visiting prof at Drake University before coming to Vegas via a Schaeffer Fellowship at UNLV. Her debut, Samsara, just won Noemi Press’ first book prize and is due out in 2012. “Persistence,” she says, when asked how to get one’s book of verse published. “I had entered contests for years. Sometimes I was a semi-finalist, but more often than not I was simply rejected. Noemi is a great press for innovative writing, so I’m happy my collection has found a home with them. They make beautiful books.” The book’s title comes from the Hindu concept of reincarnation, or the wheel of death and rebirth. The title poem is a powerful lyric in which “the butcher wraps the stars in newspaper” and “the babies of the dead have had their incubators turned on.” Lovely, dreadtinged images. They might be literal babies or perhaps they’re poems themselves. Whatever the case, they’re fragile, only the incubators offering hope that life will follow death.

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Pregnant clause The notion of samsara pops up again

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with “Sojourner,” in which a female narrator undergoes an abortion. The speaker doesn’t feel good about her decision, but it’s not the right time for a child. The speaker says, “Come back to me another day.” “There are lots of contemporary books of poetry about the experience of pregnancy and motherhood, but very little about having an abortion,” says Anzalone. “It’s a part of women’s experience that should be written about more. I wanted to approach it from a spiritual perspective. The speaker senses the presence of a spirit within her, feels love for him or her, but still knows there’s no other choice but to turn that spirit away.” While the poem’s sonnet form imbues the grief-colored moment with a timeless quality, Anzalone’s formalism isn’t always perfectly intact.  “I also use broken sonnets in a loose iambic pentameter,” she says. “The sonnet is a kind of Eden. What can human beings do in Eden except mess it up beautifully? I love work-


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books

Our 2011 Season June 23 — October 22 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Richard III Romeo and Juliet The Music Man The Glass Menagerie Noises Off! The Winter’s Tale Dial M for Murder

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ing within constraints because, paradoxically, that’s where you can find freedom.” In our free verse-dominated era, some poets may see working in form to be paralyzing, but Anzalone finds it liberating. It forces her to devise intriguing slant rhymes, to take on challenging subject matter. “My ear is often smarter than I am,” she says. “Art and poetry should include all aspects of the human experience, including what is aggressive or grotesque. People, and women in particular, have been taught to deny these less savory aspects of experience.” For every formal moment, there’s a counterpoint like “Pregnant with White Noise,” which offers fractured typography, as if Anzalone purposefully and precisely shattered the words on the page. In essence, the blank page becomes her canvas. “I needed more room to stomp around in,” she says. “All the poems in Samsara began as sonnets, but then — to use the Eden analogy again — I said, ‘No, I want to talk to the snake and eat the apple.’” The materiality of language is important to Anzalone — the way the poem looks and sounds. In her view, poets and writers are using a medium in the same way as painters. “I set out to create a tension, throughout the book, between formalism and free verse,” she says. Anzalone’s poetry is full of intriguing titles, many of them sounding like potential indierock hits—“Crayon Savant,” “Lamaze With Still Life,” “Eggshell Pilgrim.” Do her titles sometimes come first? “They almost always come after. A title can either open up or shut down a poem, so I always like to aim for the suggestive rather than the summative. With these, I was consciously trying to create unity within the book as a whole. ‘Crayon Savant,’ for instance, points to the importance of color and art in books.” Anzalone insists her poetry “has gotten a lot more fun” as a result of living in Vegas these last two years. For her, Sin City is a “brutally inspirational” place to live. Here the human condition is trapped in a pressure cooker of heat and ongoing economic decline. “I’ve seen things here I’ll never see anywhere else,” she says. “But now, like that laser-light show at Sam’s Town, my poetry boasts animatronics! Seriously, though, I’m grateful for the time I have spent here, friends I’ve made, the community of writers that has embraced me.” See Anzalone’s collaboration with UNLV MFA student Shannon Eakins at the Vegas Valley Book Festival in November.

24 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


An International Center for Creative Writers and Scholars at the university of nevada, las vegas

Reading We are Starved Joshua Kryah, Nightboat Books Poetry prize-winning author of Glean, will read from his newest collection, We Are Starved. Josh holds an MFA degree from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was the Poetry Schaeffer Fellow. His poetry has also been published in several journals including Shenandoah, Denver Quarterly, FIELD, The Iowa Review, and Ploughshares.

Thursday, Sept 15, 7 p.m. Greenspun Auditorium Panel Atheism / Theism

Reza Aslan, author of No god But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, moderates a discussion between Sam Harris, America’s preeminent atheist and author of The Moral Landscape, and Karen King, the Hollis Chair in Divinity at Harvard University and author of The Secret Revelation of John. Join us as we explore the boundary between atheism and theism in the twenty-first century.

Reading Nevada Emerging Writers Series: Laura van den Berg Laura van den Berg will read from her work. Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was a Barne & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, longlisted for The Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award.

Thursday, Oct 20, 7 p.m. Greenspun Auditorium Reading Nevada Emerging Writers Series: Srikanth Reddy

Srikanth Reddy, whose Facts for Visitors received fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Mellon Foundation, reads from his work. His poems have appeared in anthologies such as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation and Isn’t it Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets.

Thursday, Nov 16, 7 p.m. Greenspun Auditorium

Thursday, Oct 13, 7 p.m. UNLV Student Union Ballroom

all events are free, unticketed, and open to the public BMI’s public programming is generously supported by Nevada Public Radio, Las Vegas CityLife, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the Caesars Foundation. Call (702) 895-5542 for more information about our events.


business

The art of commerce

W

For artists who don’t know a capital gain from a canvas stretcher, there’s Financial Groove by hannah birch

When sidewalk performers start shaking it in Lady Liberty costumes to remind you it’s tax season, artists might be thinking something different, like: Can they claim that costume as a business expense? For those who make their living in the performing arts, whether to write off their outfits is just one item on a list of unusual financial concerns. Jessica Scheitler is the owner and operator of Financial Groove, an accounting and bookkeeping firm that exists to bridge the gap between the Internal Revenue Service and the world of artists. Financial Groove offers services in areas like taxes, accounting, bookkeeping and financial planning, and specializes in small businesses, such as dance studios, and individuals in fields from music to theater. “I’ve talked to a lot of people where they 26 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

feel like their accountant doesn’t really understand where they’re coming from,” says Scheitler, who has a background in dance. “Just coming from that lifestyle and knowing that these are, as the IRS calls it, ‘ordinary and necessary things’ … makes it a lot easier for me to get them a better (tax) return.” William Adamson, the president of nonprofit arts organization Creative Studios Las Vegas, is a fan. Adamson says Scheitler has “a more comprehensive understanding of what we can write off” than other tax professionals he’s used. “Certainly there were a lot of expenses that you can write off that (other tax firms) weren’t as diligent in homing in on,” Adamson said. “That’s the strength of Jessica’s business. She’s a creative person and she’s also a tough businessperson. That’s a fine tightrope to walk.”

“People don’t realize, particularly in the entertainment industry, that they’re engaged in a business,” Scheitler says. “And business is intimidating.”

Your other agent Scheitler has a bachelor’s degree in choreography from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City with minors in arts administration and mathematics. She’s also an enrolled agent with the IRS. That means she’s a tax professional who has passed an IRS test and a background check. Enrolled agents can deal with all aspects of taxation and can represent clients’ interests before the IRS. Because of her dance background, she is familiar with things like Chinese exchange rates — “because of so many people going to take

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business gigs in Macau, China” — and understands that that costume really did cost more than three months’ rent. “I’ve been there,” she says. “I did the starving artist thing.” Now, Scheitler says she focuses most on translating numbers and making them comprehensible to artists. “There’s always this moment where they get it, where we finally see eye-to-eye,” she said. “It’s just getting them to think that way.” She also handles general finances for artists. Peter Radd, an independent music professional and jingle writer, has worked with Scheitler for about two years on things like bookkeeping and general numbers consultations. “She puts everything in order so then I don’t have to worry about it too much, and that’s big,” Radd says. “She’s fun, she’s funny and she’s smart. I trust her. … If I really wanted to do it myself, I could, but I really shouldn’t. It still takes someone with that personality and those gifts to do it for you.”

It’s complicated Scheitler launched

Financial

Groove in 2007 after she moved to Las Vegas from New York City for a freelance client. She had worked in the tax industry in New York before the move, and says her contact with artists underscored a need for someone with both financial and artistic know-how. “There was always this business issue that held them back,” Scheitler says. “There were these people whose work kind of got swallowed by the minutiae of the business world, because as artists, they either just didn’t understand or just completely wanted to reject it.” For performers in Las Vegas, Scheitler says things can get especially messy. The for-profit model in Vegas tends to complicate things. “It’s a different animal and it needs a lot more care than nonprofit arts do,” she said. Also, because so many gigs are short, ranging from perhaps a couple days to a couple years, the IRS essentially views each individual as a small business. This means that tax forms accumulate quickly. And when artists don’t know how to handle their finances and the paperwork piles, that stress can hurt their art. “I want to help advance the arts by giving them a proper business foundation,” says Scheitler. “I want people to succeed in this and I can help them on that end. I can see these little missing pieces that they can’t see.” And hopefully come tax time, an artist will get a refund suitable for framing. For more information, visit www.financialgroove.com.

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community

“Visibility begins a dialogue,” says Dennis McBride, left, with Lee Plotkin and Rob Schlegel.

Into the light As Pride nears its third decade, pioneering gay community activists remember the struggles — and the triumphs

N by steve friess

Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to be a gay activist in Las Vegas. It’s no longer risky to be out of the closet in most quarters — even at Nellis Air Force Base — thanks to laws that protect workers and customers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. This month’s Las Vegas Pride celebration, then, will be yet another celebration of how far society has come, and few who attend will think twice about being seen there. It wasn’t always this way. Just a few decades ago, those willing to be publicly identified as gay or lesbian around here could be counted in the dozens. Even on the Strip, prominent entertainers left their orientation nebulous and certainly never worked towards legal advances. The idea of politicians appearing at

30 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

Pride to court voters was as absurd then as it is routine now. Several people stepped out on behalf of others before it was safe to do so, and Desert Companion gathered six of them in August to discuss how we got here. Here are highlights of that conversation.

ton and The Confederacy, opened in 1976. But there really was no community in the sense of a bunch of gay people getting together to do any kind of self-realization or build organizations or anything like that. It was strictly bars. You just grew up, as I did, knowing Maxine’s was gay, and Le Café was here, and that’s where you went.

DC: The earliest recollections would be yours, Dennis. What existed at the time you realized you were gay?

DC: Were these back-alley places people snuck into?

McBride: There were a few gay bars in the very early 1970s. Marge Jacques opened Le Café about 1970. There was Maxine’s, way out on Nellis and Charleston, which opened in the early 1950s. There was 1610 down on Charles-

McBride: Most were pretty much open. Le Café had a nice big neon sign, the Red Barn had a neon sign that’s been saved now down at the Neon Museum at the Fremont Street Experience. But being gay itself was still very under-

PHOTOGRAPHY By Jeferson Applegate


The Pioneers

ground, kind of deliciously naughty. The first adult bookstore I went to was Talk of the Town at Eastern and Charleston. I saved a little coffee can of quarters so that when I turned 21, I went to Talk of the Town and went to every single booth to see all of the movies. That was mysterious and strange and fascinating. DC: Weren’t there police raids, too? Schlegel: There were, but in general it was self-enforced. For instance, show kids from the Strip would come to The Gypsy to put on a show at 2 in the morning after work even the early ’90s, but it always had to have this heterosexual flavor because the Gaming Control Board could come down on a club that had a show with guy-on-guy dancing.

Rob Schlegel, 57 Arriving from Lacey, Wash., in 1972, Schlegel came out around 1985 and began typesetting the Nevada Gay Times. In 1986, he took over and changed its name to The Bugle, which published until 2000 when it became QVegas under different ownership. He also opened Bright Pink Literature, a bookstore which later became Get Booked. Lee Plotkin, 52 Moving from Milwaukee in 1968, Plotkin became a visible media spokesperson for the LGBT community in the early 1990s and was named Best Minority Community Spokesperson by the Review-Journal in 1994. Since 2002, Plotkin has been a commissioner on the Nevada Equal Rights Commission. Dennis McBride, 56 A Boulder City native, McBride began coming out at 15 when he saw “Boys in the Band” at the Boulder Theater. He was a founder of Dignity, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Gay Academic Union at UNLV and Stonewall Democrats. In 1984, he established the LGBT Archives in UNLV’s Special Collections Library.

DC: At gay bars?

Terry Wilsey, 67 Wilsey was co-founder and president of Nevadans For Human Rights as well as co-founder of the Nevada Gay Times, Pride, Stonewall Democrats, Lambda Business and Professional Association, the Pour Amour gay couples club and the PrimeTimers social group.

McBride: Yes. There were also anticross-dressing laws where a man could not be caught wearing more than one article of clothing belonging to the opposite sex. It even sounds stupid trying to explain it. But, that meant no drag shows. They raided Village Station bar in 1980 and shut it down.

Anne Davis Mulford, aka Princess Anne, age withheld Arriving in 1991 to attend graduate school at UNLV, Mulford was already out but had been previously married for 10 years. She served on the board of Pride and the Center, as development director for AFAN, co-hosted Lesbigay Café, the city’s first gay radio program, was a Bugle columnist and was honored as one of the most influential women in Vegas history by the Las Vegas Art Museum in 2005.

‘He got away with it. Many others didn’t’ DC: What would happen in a raid?

Strutt Hurley, age withheld Moving from Detroit in 1992, Hurley was out when she arrived to pursue entertainment production work. She served on the board of Pride and as a volunteer for AFAN, Golden Rainbow and the Nevada AIDS Project. She also produced such AIDS fundraisers as Beaux Arts Ball and the Black and White Party. Hurley also was honored as one of the most influential women in Vegas history by the Las Vegas Art Museum in 2005.

Schlegel: They would block every door to the club, make the DJ turn the music off, turn the lights on and the cops would take everybody’s name, address, phone number and where they worked, all of their identification, their driver’s license numbers and all that stuff. But then they wouldn’t really do anything with it. DC: Were any of you present for a raid?

Plotkin: Yeah, at the Gypsy. It was exactly as Rob described. At least when I was there, they would have everybody line up at the bar and ask questions. It was never really for any purpose, other than to intimidate. Then the police would leave. The OSI (Office of Special Investigations), the Air Force investigative unit, would go through the parking lots looking for Nellis stickers on car bumpers, and that would be enough for them to be discharged.

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Schlegel: There were two women from Nellis who had a commitment ceremony at the Metropolitan Community Church on Main Street one Saturday afternoon in the 1980s, and OSI set up cameras and took pictures of people coming. The women got kicked out of the military over that. McBride: I had a boyfriend for a while from Nellis. We met at Le Café. Two or three times, he took me right onto the base and I spent the night with him in the officers’ quarters. Somehow, he got away with it. Many others didn’t.

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community ‘It was powerful to declare yourself’ DC: When did a gay “community” emerge? McBride: I date the beginning to Nevadans for Human Rights in 1978. Lamont Downs and Steve Hinkson, who moved from Rochester, N.Y., started it in their kitchen. They associated themselves with the ACLU, which gave them legitimacy and a platform, and they published the first issue of Vegas Gay Times in 1979. That lasted until 1980, went moribund, and reemerged in 1982. But that period from ’79 to ’80, was very important because a whole bunch of activists moved here from other places. The Gay Academic Union at UNLV was established in 1980, and also there was a gay bowling league and Dignity, the gay Catholic group. Wilsey: Actually, the last publication of Vegas Gay Times was in June of 1981, and I picked it up right when we arrived in town. From that I learned about a Dignity meeting organized by Ron Lawrence. And we restarted the newspaper, which we called Nevada Gay Times, at our house in 1982.

The LGBT community can be “like a bunch of high school girls that are fighting with each other,” says Anne Davis Mulford, right, with Strutt Hurley.

Schlegel: I always think it’s funny, the first real facility for the church was at 510 Garces Avenue, which is Showgirl Adult Video now. Sort of funny.

McBride: It was powerful to declare yourself, to standing up with a sign: “I am gay, look at me, deal with it.” That had not been done before, and that was important, because visibility really begins a dialogue.

DC: What was the gay agenda of that era? Schlegel: Being visible so people knew we were there and so people didn’t have to hide so much.

DC: When did Las Vegas have its first gay pride event? McBride: In 1983, we held the first human

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rights seminar at UNLV. It was a joint project of MCC, Nevadans for Human Rights and the Gay Academic Union. That was our Gay Pride event. And since it was the first one, it got a lot of play in the local media. Terry was on the news as well as a straight woman ally because they couldn’t find any lesbians willing to go on television. Wilsey: I counted, and there were 193 people in the room for (The Advocate publisher) David Goodstein’s keynote speech. DC: Was there fallout for being on the news, Terry? Wilsey: Interestingly, no. And we even had the Nevadans for Human Rights listed in the phone book with our street address … Mulford: Oh, Lord… Wilsey: … and we never even got trashed. DC: Was there a sense that the community was starting to coalesce? Schlegel: Well, after I took over the gay paper in 1986, I took an ad in the Yellow Pages. It was just one line under “Newspapers” that said, “Gay and Lesbian Newspaper for Nevada” and that got me more calls than you can imagine.

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Mulford: Negative? Schlegel: No, good calls. I mean, I got a few weird calls, but mostly it was from people wanting to come out and asking what to do. My number became the gay switchboard. And then I opened my bookstore, Bright Pink Literature — we wanted to make it different from an adult bookstore so we used the word “literature” — and we moved the phone number for the newspaper to the bookstore so somebody could answer it full time. And that is still the number of the bookstore, which is now called Get Booked and is owned by other people. DC: How did Pride transition from an academic event? McBride: In 1984, we moved to Sunset Park. It went well for a while, but AIDS really hurt and demoralized the community. Attendance just fell off. By 1991, it looked like Gay Pride was about to die out, and that’s when we put one huge thing together, saying this is make-orbreak Pride. If it doesn’t happen this time, it’s just going to be over; we’re done, we’re finished. But it happened, it worked, and it revived.

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community Schlegel: I was kind of the bookkeeper at The Gypsy, so I had all these deals with some suppliers, and put the whole thing on the owner’s credit line, but he didn’t know it, to buy the beer, secure the park, get the permits, buy the ice and cups, and pay for the soda up front. And I put in every dime I had. It would’ve bankrupted me if it hadn’t worked, and the owner would’ve killed me.

sideways at a gay bar or gave him any recognition, he would throw his beer bottle at you. He got 86’d from some of the bars.

Plotkin: That was a turning point for me, too. That was when I started getting involved. Somebody from Pride asked me for money to take out an ad in the R-J and I said, “Well, why would you pay for an ad? Just send them a press release and I’m sure they’ll run a story on it.” So I did a press release and within a couple hours I was doing interviews at Bright Pink Literature.

McBride: And there was Waylon Flowers …

DC: So that Pride was a success? McBride: Oh, yes. It was the first time any elected official came. It was (then-County Commissioner) Thalia Dondero. To see this person speaking on our behalf and in our favor was magnificent. She got terrible hate mail, and the newspapers had awful letters to the editor. She didn’t care.

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DC: There were all of these gay Strip entertainers. Were any of them out? Wilsey: Kenny Kerr. Plotkin: Breck Wall. Mulford: Jimmy Emerson. McBride: Yeah, there were a few big names, like Johnny Mathis and Rusty Warren, and another, Johnny Ray. These were pretty big names. They weren’t out, but afterwards, they went out to the gay bars and were very open in the community. DC: Johnny Mathis was? McBride: Yes, and Liberace of course.

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Wilsey: Well, Siegfried and Roy, too. Mulford: They never participated in anything. Wilsey: Yeah, but I did encounter Roy over at the— Mulford: I’m sure you did. (Laughter) Schlegel: I recall one comedian — and I’ll leave his name out — who, if you looked at him

Plotkin: Why do you have to leave his name out? Schlegel: Well, it was Rip Taylor. Mulford: Who cares anymore?

Wilsey: …and Madame. He was probably the most out because (his puppet) Madame was always talking about being queer.

‘You act like that’s going to hurt me’ DC: Were there gay-bashings in Vegas back then? McBride: My car was vandalized with some windows smashed in and a note thrown in that said “AIDS Faggot” in the early 1990s. Plotkin: It was like a weekly occurrence if you were at Gypsy in the Fruit Loop area. Everybody would be screaming “Faggot” from cars. I guess it was the thing to do. Mulford: I had some friends visiting from out of town when I first got here, and we went down to Fremont Street, and people yelled “Dyke” at us. Schlegel: (Now-State Sen.) David Parks and I, in my first case of discrimination, were not allowed to become aides for Sen. Chic Hecht, the Republican who defeated Howard Cannon, because it was perceived we were gay. We both worked Hecht’s campaign, and that was the first time I ever experienced discrimination for being gay.

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group who probably R Ijust C H AgotR Ddropped M O R EoffN Oaccidentally in the Fruit Loop when Lace was open, so these couples were coming in. I think paper | $21.95 we were doing New Year’s or something. And they’re like, “No, no, we want to come in there!” They’re totally wasted. So I come out, I’m in a tuxedo, and they start looking around and they’re like, “You’re a fag. A fag! A big fag!” And I’m just looking at them like, “Yes, I am, thank you very much! You act like that’s going to hurt me.” It was funny because my parents were there and my mom walks up, and she’s like, “Yeah, and that fag’s my daughter!” You know, it was, like, the weirdest circumstance, like, this kid, it totally deflated him from being so angry, | continued on page 68


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News

09.2011

Reviews In t e rv i e w s e at t h i s n o w ! On t h e P l at e

dining

38

The Dish

Of secrets and pizza

42

Eat This Now

Choice noms for you

42

On the Plate

Eat up at upcoming events PHOTOGRAPHY By Christopher Smith

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 37


The secret pizza’s secret: sourdough starter and wild yeast.

No matter how you slice it: Behind the counter at the Cosmopolitan’s hidden pizza shop

T H E DIS H

The first rule of slice club Some of the best pizza in town is tricky to find — but worth the search by brock radke

Pizza is the most subjective foodstuff of all. You love it. I love it. But I doubt we can agree on the best in town, or even what kind of crust to order. In Vegas it’s an even more complicated issue, because we don’t have a regional tradition to guide us. We come from all over the country and all over the world to live here, bringing our preferred pie styles with us — New York, Chicago, Detroit, California. We’ve got it all. 38 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

My problem is I can’t settle on a single discipline. I crave an old-school, greasy, fold-it-over New York slice, which you can get pretty much anywhere. Then again, can you really beat thin, crisp, Neapolitan perfection? You can find it in Henderson at Settebello or in Summerlin at Due Forni. With delicious options all over the valley, it’s tough to name a champion, let alone settle on just one way to eat pizza.

Which brings us to the Cosmopolitan. I know, you don’t wanna hear the best pizza is on the Strip. You don’t wanna hear the best of anything in your city can be found in one of those glittery, glossy megacasinos you avoid until your cousins hit town and want you to show them around. But look, local, if you’re ignoring Las Vegas Boulevard, you’re missing out on a whole lotta stuff that makes your city what it is. There’s something for everyone on the Strip, and I promise there’s something for you, too. Surely we can agree that great pizza is worth it, no? So take this advice: slide on down to the Strip. Heading south on Las Vegas Boulevard, don’t go to Harmon. Take a right immediately when Bellagio ends and squeeze into Cosmo’s tight little underground garage. Find a spot near the east elevator, and take that baby up to Level 3, bypassing the casino scene. And welcome to pizza wonderland. There’s a hidden hallway between restaurants Blue Ribbon and Jaleo. You’ll know it’s the right spot when you see old vinyl record covers on the walls. At the end of this corridor is Pizzeria, or Pizza Shop, or Secret Pizza. Call it what you want, because the Cosmopolitan doesn’t have a name for it, either. It’s a tiny, New York-style pizza kitchen where you can grab a slice or get a whole pie to take away, and it’s one of the most buzzed about eateries in town. Because it’s hip? Sorta. But mostly because it’s so good.


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Brotherhood of the secret pizza “If you’re out in a big city and you get done at the clubs, you know there are those hidden spots to grab a bite late at night. That’s what this is. Ours is just one floor above the club.” That’s the explanation from chef Chris Vaughn, who supervises this pizza place as well as the room service in the hotel. (And yes, they will deliver this pizza to hotel guest rooms.) After just a few months, it’s already being hailed by Vegas visitors and foodies alike as the best NY pizza around. Think charred, bubbly, chewy crust, topped with glistening cheese. “We don’t serve ranch dressing. There’s no pineapple and no barbecue chicken,” Vaughn says. “People say credit for great New York pizza comes from New York water. We use filtered water, of course, but the secret here is a 5-year-old sourdough starter and a wild strain of yeast that adds a lot of flavor to the dough.” There’s a popular white pizza with seasoned ricotta, Parmesan, garlic and olive oil. The sauces are made in-house, as are the spicy meatballs, and there are a couple of beers on tap to wash it all down. The staff seems mildly surprised this little gem has caught on so well, but it was always part of the Cosmo’s master plan. “It’s more that we’re just flattered,” Vaughn said. “There was a lot of thought behind it, and there’s a lot of monitoring to make sure it’s a good product. It’s not as simple as it looks.” Or tastes.

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D.O.C.G.’s namesake pie features fonduta and a soft-cooked egg.

D.O.C.G. isn’t a secret, but it has been flying a bit under the radar.

Pulling down the dough But wait, there’s more. Like me, you don’t have to settle for one style of pizza, not now, not ever, and certainly not on Level 3. D.O.C.G., a wine bar and eat00ery operated by celebrity chef Scott Conant, has been flying a bit under the radar when it comes to Cosmopolitan’s superb dining offerings, perhaps because it’s nestled right up against Conant’s famous, upscale Italian spot, Scarpetta. But it’s just as good as Scarpetta, and the terrific Neapolitan pizzas are just as good as any you’ll find across the valley. “There are keys to a great authentic pizza,” chef de cuisine Stefano Chiarugi says, after apologizing for his English. (It’s not bad at all.) “The keys are mozzarella, tomato, and dough, and for us, all of those things come from Italy. That’s just to get the taste right.” His dough is simply flour, yeast and salt, but nowhere near as much yeast as you’re used to. “Maybe there’s one gram per 40 pounds of flour,” he says. “American dough uses a lot of yeast. Our process is all about timing, getting it done the night before so it has at least 20 hours to get ready.” When it’s ready, it goes in the oven at more than 1,000 degrees for just 45 to 50 seconds, and comes out perfectly crisp and savory with a slight chew. Unlike the secret pizza place, D.O.C.G. is a

40 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

full-service restaurant with a huge menu of appetizers and antipasti, salads, pasta, steak and more. The best thing about the restaurant — besides the pizza — is the way you could have a different experience every night; share wine and snacks at the bar with friends, or share a ribeye and creamy polenta with your spouse. But the pizza is still a favorite and there are six to choose from, all on that lovely crust. “My favorite is the margherita, the most simple,” Chiarugi says. Of course, he’s tried the his neighbor’s stuff at the secret pizza place. He likes it. “It’s hard to compare because it’s a totally different pizza,” he says. “For American pizza, it’s very good. All the ingredients are totally different and the cooking process is totally different, so of course you’re going to get two results that are nothing alike.” Ah, but they are alike, chef. They are both the best pizza. Everyone’s a winner here, especially me. And you, local, if you’re up for a quick trip to the Strip.

The Pizza Place at Cosmopolitan, D.O.C.G. 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (both inside The Cosmopolitan), 698-7000

M ay w e r e c o m m e n d …

At Cosmo’s “secret” pizzeria, the easy option is to get whatever’s hot. There’s a nice slab of cheese pizza waiting for you to add your favorite toppings before a quick trip back into the oven. The pepperoni, sent from Molinari & Sons in San Francisco, is easily the best in Vegas. Last time, we grabbed a slice splashed colorfully with chopped pepperoncini and added some fresh sliced tomato as a cooling agent — a deliciously dynamic duo. At D.O.C.G., the light stuff is everyone’s favorite — a traditional margherita with just mozzarella and tomatoes or a prosciutto-arugula-parmiagiano combination. But don’t be afraid of a little depth and a lot of richness. Try the restaurant’s namesake pie, coated in creamy fonduta (melted cheese with truffles) and topped with a soft-cooked egg. These decadent flavors are wondrous when soaked up by the supremely chewy pizza crust. — Brock Radke


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ON T H E PLATE

EAT THIS NOW

September’s dining events you don’t want to miss

Our favorite recent dishes that have us coming back for seconds

!

Restaurant Week Through Sept. 11. Enjoy special prix-fixe meals at top restaurants such as The Capital Grille, Rick Moonen’s rm seafood, Comme Ça, TAO and more. A portion of proceeds helps support the efforts of Three Square to eradicate hunger in Southern Nevada. $20.11-$50.11. Various locations. helpoutdineoutlv.org

Wine Amplified Festival

Pecan pie at Delmonico’s

Pastry Chef Stephanie Nikolic tells us the origins of Delmonico’s recipe for this Southern dessert staple are unknown, but it’s so popular, “it comes with the restaurant and no one would dream of taking it off the menu.” One bite past the crackling crust, bursting with pecan, butter, egg and sugar goodness and you will taste why. Nikolic says baking the individual pies in “old-fashioned, buttered, cast-iron pans” makes all the difference, giving it a “comfort food, homemade feel.” True enough, but we think topping it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, alongside some silky whipped cream, atop a perfect, sticky-sweet caramel sauce, is pure Big Easy. DELMONICO’S Inside the Venetian, 414-3737

Sept. 16-17. This two-day event features hundreds of wines, live music, food and more. Sept. 16 is “Bubbles and Chocolate,” featuring champagne, sparkling wine, pastries and chocolate. Sept. 17 features two music stages, 50 wineries and headliners Train. 8 p.m. Sept. 16, $55; 7 p.m. Sept. 17, $65. wineamplified.com

Greek Food Festival Sept. 23-24. Greek food, wine, music, crafts and culture fill out this annual festival. $6. St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 5300 South El Camino Road, lasvegasgreekfestival.com

Paneer shaslik at Namaste

After going through several ownership changes, Namaste has gotten back to the superb Indian food that put it on every foodie’s map two years ago. This highly spiced vegetarian dish consists of skewered (shaslik) grilled farmer’s cheese (paneer) atop shredded cabbage on a sizzling platter — the whole then bathed in a capsaicin, tomato and onion concoction of soul-warming intensity. On a menu full of Goan and PortugueseIndian peppery delights, this is first among equals. Order it any hotter than medium and you’ll need a fire hose to cool your mouth down. NAMASTE 953 E. Sahara Ave., 892-9695

42 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

Oktoberfest Oct. 1. The city’s annual Oktoberfest celebration will feature a variety of food, authentic music, crafts and, of course, lots and lots of beer served up in a beer garden. 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 1. Free. Centennial Plaza at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St.


in celeBration oF

September 8-11

ninhiBited trends For those dedicated to Fashion. Fendi chloĂŠ BurBerry michael kors

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{cover}

Alice & Olivia ginger ruched fitted dress, $396 Alice & Olivia Izzy Cascade cardigan, $550 Hunter “Lapins” black boot, $225 Available at Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Melinda Maria mesh large hoop earrings, $198 Available at www.melindamaria.com {this page} Stella McCartney cream cape, $1,295 Alaïa midi dress, $3,480 Hunter “Lapins” black boots, $225 Available at Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show 44 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


| fashion

sun when the

GO E S D OW N This fall, elegance cozies up with a touch of texture and warmth

ROBE RT Jjohn ohn KLE Y styling christie m oeller hair & makeup Kryst le Randall model Te resa location Gilcrease orchards photography

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 45


{below} Elizabeth & James fur jacket, $985 Hunter “Lapins” black boots, $225 Available at Neiman Marcus at the Fashion Show Donna Karan “one cold shoulder” twist dress, $3,295 Available at Donna Karan at Crystals in CityCenter

{opposite} Meg Cohen soft wool chocolate and slate scarf, $135 Available at www.megcohendesign.com Hyden Yoo Darcie cardigan, $230 Available at www.oaknyc.com Melinda Maria cage earrings, $195 Available at www.melindamaria.com Elena Antoniades tiger print dress, $1,250 Available at www.elenaantoniades.com 46 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


| fashion

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 47


| fashion Hyden Yoo Angela sweater, $240 Available at www.oaknyc.com Paul Smith Black Label zip dress, $680 Available at Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter

48 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


fall See

Hear

LEARN

TASTE

FEEL

the

2011 culture

guide Clear your calendar for the next few months. You’re going to be busy. But it’s a good kind of busy: music, dance, theater, art and more will be filling your days and nights through the end of the year. And what better friend than our annual fall culture guide? Plus, if you’re hungry for fresh talent, we’ve got that too — turn to page 54 to read about “Ones 2 Watch” in the arts and culture scene.

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 51


Sept. 15

King Ibu

2011

polyrhythmic beats, jazz, rock, reggae and

Before there was channel-

even flamenco to create

surfing — before there

a sound that’s smooth,

were even TVs — there

pensive, joyous, search-

was vaudeville. Look,

ing and sparkling. When

clog dancers! Now look:

he performs at this free

a woman yodeling! Now

concert, the Senegalese

it’s a dog playing a banjo!

musician will sing in

Why oh why did vaudeville

his native tongue and

fall out of favor? Big shrug

discuss his music and

here! But it’s coming back

lyrics between tunes.

for a night at CSN. Strap

Translation: A night of

on your bonnet. Why? It

cultural discovery with

just seems like a vaudeville

an irresistible beat.

thing to do.

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s

7 p.m. $15-$20. CSN’s

Barrick Museum

Nicholas J. Horn Theatre.

Auditorium

www.vegasvaudeville.com

global folk music is a custom blend. He takes West African blues, Senegalese dance tunes,

Yellowtail's "Big Eye Tuna" pizza

SEPT. 10

Sept. 1-11

Restaurant Week Restaurant Day? Bah. Las Vegas’ levels of deliciositude rip temporal barriers like the Hulk’s muscles rip purple pants. That’s why we’ve got Restaurant Week. But it’s actually two weeks of prix-fixe bargains at top restaurants such as The Capital Grille, Rick Moonen’s rm seafood, Comme Ça, TAO and more — you know, those nice places whose gracious, flitting waiters will spread napkins on your lap and, with the proper urging, shave truffles right into your mouth. Best of all, your flavor-heavy mouth pleasure helps to support the efforts of hungerfighting organization Three Square. Through Sept. 11. $20.11-$50.11. Various locations. www.helpoutdineoutlv.org

Sept. 16

Vegas Vaudeville: Songsters, Hoofers and First-Class Stage Actors

King Ibu’s brand of

Las Vegas Philharmonic Masterworks I Concert Renowned violist Miles Hoffman joins the Las Vegas Philharmonic as a guest violist during the Philharmonic’s performance of Walton’s Viola Concerto. If Hoffman has the chance to speak between his mad, hair-flinging fits of violing (violizing? violificating?), his voice might sound familiar: He also regularly drops fat knowledge in your face as classical music commentator for NPR. The performance also includes Glinka’s Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. 8 p.m. (Pre-concert conversation at 7:15 p.m.). $38-$78. UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall. www.lvphil.com

Sept. 16

Brew Las Vegas October’s drinking festivities are just around the corner; best get into training early with some keg stands, mug slams, belch kicks and gargle leaps (okay, totally making these up now) at Brew Las Vegas. The celebration of beer features more than 50 brews, as well as local bands such as Red Wine Rewind and Play for Keeps. 6:30-10 p.m. $25-$30. Royal Resort, 99 Convention Center Drive. www.brewlasvegas.com

Miles Hoffman

52 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

M il e s H offman : M ar y N obl e O urs

september


september Sept. 19

Sept. 23-25

Greek Food Festival First they bring us democracy and then — whoa there, overachievers — they bring us feta cheese. All hail the Greeks! Celebrate Socrates, togas, fraternities and big fat weddings at

The Paradoxes of Jeffersonian Constitutionalism

this three-day culture and

Founding Father Thomas Jefferson is often seen as Mr. Freedom King America Hurray or something, but — big

cuisine bash. $6. St. John

secret! — he was actually a conflicted and nuanced thinker when it came to government. In his lecture, “The

the Baptist Greek Ortho-

Paradoxes of Jeffersonian Constitutionalism,” Prof. David Konig of Washington University discusses Jefferson’s

dox Church, 5300 South El

complex relationship with the Constitution. For instance, Jefferson did not attend the Constitutional Convention,

Camino Road.

but he fervently wished “with all (his) soul” that it be ratified — and then he immediately called for its amend-

lasvegasgreekfestival.com

ment. WTF? In today’s rabidly partisan environment, Jefferson’s complex views might earn him this kind of ridicule: “My opponent Mr. Jefferson is clearly in the pocket of Big Confusion and the nuance industry, and in his elitist, European intellectual views, has lost touch with the common lot of the American people.” But then Jefferson would totally Tweet, “A #coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit #sourgrapes” and instantly get 10,000 followers. In your face! 7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Sept. 29

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog, or a Chicken: Why You Shouldn’t Eat Meat Alastair Norcross wants to serve your brain a well-done thoughtburger: How come we coddle our dogs and cats while thoughtlessly eating cows and chickens, sometimes going so disturbingly far as to use said dogs and cats as actual eating utensils to consume said cows and chickens? (Or maybe that’s just me.) In this provocative lecture, he’ll discuss ethical vegetarianism from a utilitarian perspective, that is, weighing the suffering of animals against any human well-being brought about, say, by inhaling an In-N-Out Double-Double. We hope he somehow carves out a philosophical exception for bacon. 7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum

Anjulie

Auditorium

Sept. 26-27

Anjulie When she was growing up, Anjulie’s home in the Toronto ’burbs was like a Pandora station drunk on bathtub rum: filled with everything from Afro-Caribbean calypso to reggae to Latin rhythms to pop and rock. Those influences fed the sound the confessed “popaholic” boasts today — pop hooks and hip-hop brashness welded to a world music beat. 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. Free. The Cosmopolitan’s Book + Stage. www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 53


Photo: Christopher Smith

c

54 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


O N E s 2W A T C H

C.J. Patton

c

Her breezy, confident style hides a secret: This young violinist plays until it hurts C.J. Patton, short for Catherine Justine, is a wisp of girl. Where older violinists might have sinew, she has green willow branches — wrists and forearms that breeze rather than flex over strings, even as she attacks the notoriously difficult left-hand-pizzicato-righthand-bowing sections of Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen concerto. If it weren’t for the one or two times you catch her looking up at you, nothing would betray the nerves or uncertainty expected from a 15-year-old girl performing a piece that even Itzhak Perlman has missed a few notes on. “Music makes her feel comfortable,” Bev Patton, her mother, says afterward, glancing up from a magazine to help explain what C.J. can’t: what music means to her. Bev has been through this before. The executive director of the Nevada Youth Orchestra shepherded two older children, Tiffany and Ryan, through the lessons, the auditions, the concerts, the solo performances.

Both are in college now, one studying veterinary medicine, the other just starting out. Neither wants to be a professional musician. C.J. is different — despite her saying she may not pursue music full-time as an adult, either. Her mother describes her as “much more advanced” than her brother and sister. Growing up listening to her siblings play, and playing herself since she was 4, C.J. has accumulated more than her age’s share of exposure. She has no memory of life without the violin. Then there’s her raw talent. “She’s one of the most gifted violinists I’ve ever heard play,” says Jeremy Woolstenhulme, orchestra teacher at Hyde Park Middle School and a cellist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. C.J. has soloed with the Philharmonic, and this year she took top honors for string instrument players in her age group at the Bolognini Competition, an annual shoot-out sponsored by the Las Vegas Music Teachers Association.

Despite these and other accomplishments — and true to her artistic sensibilities — C.J. is reluctant to toot her own horn. While acknowledging her technical mastery of the de Sarasate piece, which she’s been performing since the spring (including during a Nevada Youth Orchestra tour of China), she says she needs more work on the phrasing, or emotional interpretation. “It’s supposed to be a gypsy piece, free and wild,” she says. “I’m trying to get out of Mozart mode and get into that.” Is she ever. C.J. practices a couple hours a day in summer — up to four hours during performance season at Las Vegas Academy, where she’s a sophomore. When she’s bored, she says, she’ll pick up her violin. She plays so much, she’s developed back pain. “It’s worth all the sacrifices,” C.J. says, still struggling to explain why, exactly. “It’s kind of like work. … I couldn’t live without it." — Heidi Kyser d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 55


october Oct. 1-2

Art in the Park

Once a year, the usually quiet and staid Boulder City lets down its hair, shaking it vigorously in

slow motion as the camera pans slowly over its writhing, lingerie-clad body. That annual event is called Art in the Park, when painters, sculptors, and crafters gather at various parks in BC for a bash to benefit the Boulder City Hospital Foundation. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Various parks in Boulder City. www.bouldercityhospital.org/art-in-the-park Oct. 3

Transforming Artists Wherever you go, there you are — unless you’re in exile. Three people explore that theme in “Transforming Artists.” Choreographer Margot Mink Colbert’s ballet tells of the exodus of late 19th century Eastern European Jews emigrating to America. Author Moniro Ravanipour tells about her exodus from Iran. And scholar Roberta Sabbath brings her expertise in world literature. 7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Oct. 7-9

Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival

Falla Guitar Trio

No need to hide in your mom’s basement playing Dungeons & Dragons to get your fill of medieval merriment. The Age of

Oct. 12

Chivalry Renaissance Festival is

Falla Guitar Trio

arming a fort at Silver Bowl Park

Three players, 18 strings — and no boundaries. Califor-

for three days in October, and

nia-based Falla Guitar Trio comprises three singular

this festival is worth splurging

virtuosos, but that doesn’t mean that they’re specialists. In fact,

your gold on. Watch jousting

they’re the opposite — happy generalists who move effortlessly

tournaments, kiss wenches, eat

from classical jazz pieces to popular standards and beyond.

a turkey leg as big as your thigh

And they innovate off the stage, too: They’ve been instrumen-

and finally wear that suit of ar-

tal in developing a new bass acoustic classical guitar, testing

mor you ordered from eBay.

prototypes at their concerts. We suspect audiences don’t mind

10 a.m. $5-$25. Silver Bowl

being their guinea pigs.

Park, 6800 E. Russell Road.

8 p.m. $40. UNLV’s Lee and Thomas Beam Music Center.

www.lvrenfair.com

http://pac.unlv.edu

Through Oct. 27

Angela Bellamy Wide-angle photography is usually associated with wideopen spaces or panoramic views of the neon-spangled Las Vegas Strip. However, local artist Angela Bellamy takes her wideperspective lenses away from the casinos and landscapes of Sin City. Paradoxically and provocatively, Bellamy’s wraparound visuals portray claustrophobic spaces: diners, laundromats, sweat shops, bodegas, barbershops, dry cleaners, a dog pound and a fetish store. One can feel the perspiration, desperation and despair that seem to hang in the air of her tableaux, each of which feels as though it could have been taken at that halfempty strip mall just around the corner from your house. In Vegas, Bellamy writes, “All too often … we drive past a place and write it off as dirty, dangerous or just not our type of place, but each of these places have people who frequent them as employees and patrons and each of those individuals have heartbreaking and beautiful stories.” Each person in her panoramas is living in a “beautiful, sad universe.” Although Bellamy’s work can be seen online, a six-inch-wide, low-resolution reproduction simply doesn’t have the effect of immersing you in her encompassing vision of Vegas. This is photography that demands to be seen up-close and in person. — David McKee Through Oct. 27. Free. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St. www.artslasvegas.org

Angela Bellamy's "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

56 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


Oct. 26

The English Beat

Emerald Isle Escapade: A Literary Jaunt of Ireland

The English Beat’s second wave ska was

Ireland’s most famous writers are a colorful bunch. On the

always a curiosity: If something could ever

downside, however, they’re also dead. What to do? The

be called both subdued and manic, it was

next best thing to a corpse reanimation machine is UNLV

the stylish twitch of The English Beat’s

English professor Stephen Brown, who has rigged up a

rock-inflected ska. Calling all rudeboys,

rollicking melange of pictures, anecdotes and readings

suedeheads, peacock mods and smooth-

about this wild crew. Brown promises to take you from

ies: The English Beat still sounds fresh.

James Joyce’s tower in Sandy Cove to Lady Gregor’s es-

7:30 p.m. $24-$28. House of Blues.

tates at Coole Park to the cottage of Patrick Pearse -- all

www.houseofblues.com

that and, of course, a few pub stops on the way.

Oct. 16

Dave Wakeling of The English Beat

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium Oct. 21-Nov. 6

Neighborhood III: Requisition of Doom After a fairly staid, regressive 2010-11 season, Las Vegas Little Theatre’s Fischer Black Box returns to contemporaneity with a one-two punch. Playwrights Union founder Jennifer Haley’s “Neighborhood III: Requisition of Doom” is set in a cookie-cutter subdivision much like those that dot the Vegas landscape. In Haley’s suburban dystopia, teenagers play an addictive video game in which they battle zombies in a neighbor-

"Petite Mort."

hood very, very much like their own. Parents are worried as the planes of fantasy and reality begin to intersect. Despite the zombie factor, this isn’t

Oct. 29-30

Nevada Ballet Theatre Season Premiere

some horror-movie knockoff. Variety’s

Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 40th season begins with an especially powerful program at Paris Théâtre.

review said “Neighborhood III” “builds

Included are major works by choreographers Jirí Kylián, George Balanchine, James Canfield and

to an affectingly gruesome finale.” Guiding the cast of four through 16

Sharon Eyal. Mr. Kylián is rightly considered to be one of the world’s greatest creators of contemporary ballets. His “Sinfonietta,” danced by Ballet West, was premiered locally by Nevada Ballet in 2010 and

roles is director Troy Heard. He says

was the highlight of that program. NBT’s October program premieres another Kylián masterpiece, “Petite

Haley’s 2008 play “grabbed me by the

Mort.” The title translates from the French as “little death” and refers to the peak moment of physical love.

throat when I first read it and hasn’t

The men’s unique use of epees (fencing foils) adds symbolic significance to the theme. Choreographed to the

let go. It’s extremely contemporary in

slow movements of two Mozart piano concertos, many of the danced passages are as exquisitely beautiful

setting and language — one need only

as the music. It will be performed by guest-company Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, one of America’s most

drive up to Summerlin to become im-

acclaimed contemporary troupes.

mersed — but timeless in its theme of

The Hubbard dancers also perform “Too Beacoup” by the house choreographer of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Compa-

the disconnect between parents and

ny, Sharon Eyal. The dance’s robotic movements are said to evoke a sense of 3-D video. The renowned Jacob’s Pillow

their adolescent children.” — D.M.

Dance Festival recently presented Norway’s Carte Blanche Dance Company in performances of Ms. Eyal’s works.

Oct. 21-Nov. 6. $13-$15. Las Vegas Little Theatre. www.lvlt.org

“Concerto Barocco,” by George Balanchine, promises to be a welcome return of that master’s 1941 work to an NBT production. It has no plot — nor is one implied. It’s a pure balletic visualization of the J. S. Bach concerto for two violins. Two dances by NBT’s artistic director, James Can-

Oct. 21-22

field, round out this eclectic program. “Up” is a look at love through seven different versions of the Rodg-

Glass Works

ers and Hart ballad “Blue Moon.” Like vignettes, each

Even as 2011 draws to a close, Terpsichore, the Goddess of dance, still has much

relates a brief story about relationships: some happy,

to offer Las Vegas audiences before the end of the year. One of the community’s

some not; some beginning, others ending. “Gnossi-

outstanding sources for consistently high quality dance concerts is the dance

ennes,” choreographed to piano pieces by the French

department at UNLV, which presents “Glass Works” at Judy Bayley Theatre as a

composer Eric Satie, will be accompanied by pianist

tribute to 100 years of Tiffany Glass creations. Choreography is by faculty mem-

Vince Frates. Satie’s music, often lyrical, sometimes wit-

bers Cathy Allen, Victoria Dale, Richard Havey and Louis Kavouras. The talented

ty and eccentric, has been inspiring ballets since 1917.

performers are all Bachelor of Fine Arts students. These concerts are always

Little wonder that choreographic geniuses from Mas-

innovative and entertaining and have received international praise on tours that

sine to Ashton and Mark Morris have created dances to

include Germany, Japan and Korea. — Hal de Becker

his compositions. — Hal De Becker

8 p.m., Oct. 21; 2 p.m., 8 p.m., Oct. 22. $10-$18. UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre.

8 p.m., Oct. 29; 2 p.m., 8 p.m. Oct. 30. $29. Paris Théâtre in Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino. www.nevadaballet.org d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 57


O N E s 2W A T C H

The Mad Caps

r

Blues, rockabilly, sweat, sex, violence and camp — from two skinny twentysomethings Robots are taking over our airwaves. Every other song you hear nowadays is shot through with Auto-Tune, synthesizer or the womp womp womp of chordless bass — and it represents the push toward a genre that promises the reversal of everything the musical classics spent years to build — all on instruments that need a three-prong outlet to function. But once in a while, a band responds to this trend by raising a Johnny Cashian middle finger. And in all of Las Vegas, the middle finger of local duo The Mad Caps is by far the Cashiest. You can’t really get through a Mad Caps song without smiling — and afterward, feeling like gravel is lodged in your teeth. The influences are all obvious: Blues. Rockabilly. Sex. But the strongest influence isn’t what the band has. It’s what it doesn’t. “As a two-piece … it’s about finding out what each of you has to display to fill in for a 58 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

bassist and a singer,” says Ted Rader, singer/ howler/guitar player. “When you’re singing and playing guitar, it influences how your melodies carry with what you play.” Rader says he isn’t a great singer. But for what he’s doing, he doesn’t have to be a Mercury or a Buckley. Most wouldn’t argue that Tom Waits is a great singer. They’re more likely to say he’s a better boogeyman — which, minus the brutal rasp of Waits’ vocals, is what Rader conveys. Rader’s voice is horndog scum, the ornery hootin’ and hollerin’ of high-beam construction workers, the viscerality of a chain-gang crooner and the grit and violence of a ’50s turf warrior — not the kind of power you’d expect to come from the cords of a skinny twentysomething. In fact, the music itself is pretty uncharacteristic for what comes out of Rader and drummer Jon Realmuto. Instead of the clean electro-pop spewing from every city’s musical orifices, The Mad

Caps hawk lo-fi grunge. They’re what Raphael Saadiq is to soul — but with a vengeance. It’s the kind of music you’d expect to open a show like “Sons of Anarchy” or a Hells Angels documentary. Think Louisiana barfight music, late-night cruiser tunes played on the original eight-track. Distorted guitar that instills a darkness the same way the Creature from the Black Lagoon might. “Rosie and the Wolfman,” the single from the Caps’ latest, self-titled album, is the embodiment of the campy horror that used to lurk on drive-in screens. “I kind of made this a story about a wolfman coming to ‘claim’ Rosie,” Rader says, describing a bizarre situation involving a late-night drive in the desert, a coyote and a spiritual experience. But instead of just riding the coattails of their own novelty, Rader and Realmuto are creating something authentic — and raucously fun. — Max Plenke


Photo: Christopher Smith

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 59


Nov. 4-6

“Vespers” by the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre

Work by Erik Beehn

Through Nov. 13

“Locals only”: Erik Beehn

Nov. 3-6

If you glimpse one of Erik Beehn’s

Vegas Valley Book Festival

mixed media works — a depiction of a coffee

This year marks the 10th

shop counter, say, or a suburban street — and

anniversary of the Vegas

succumb to a suspicious touch of déjà vu, that’s

Valley Book Festival.

the point. His works focus on subtle, disquiet-

That’s 10 years of our city

ing elements of both American interiors and

appreciating the human-

exteriors, giving a ghostly impression of recent

izing power of literature,

presence recently fled. Better yet, if his exhibit at

without which we would

CENTERpiece Gallery isn’t enough, MCQ Fine Art

probably descend into

Salon at 620 S. 7th Street also hosts an extension

a twitchy, inescapable

of the show.

feedback loop of com-

Sept. 8-Nov. 13. Free. CENTERpiece Gallery inside

pulsively checking our

CityCenter. www.centerpiecelv.com

Facebook status on our

Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre is directed by dancer/ choreographer Bernard Gaddis and presents its 5th annual fall concert series at the West Las Vegas Library Theatre. The featured piece is “Vespers” by the late master choreographer Ulysses Dove to a percussive score by Mikel Rouse. Dove was a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey Company (as was Mr. Gaddis), and he choreographed ballets for major dance companies worldwide. “Vespers” was inspired by memories of his grandmother and other ladies worshipping in a small, old wooden building in South Carolina. Dove’s choreographies are difficult for companies to acquire: They are expensive and, like Balanchine ballets, troupes must first meet high artistic standards. This is a rare opportunity to see one of his works. — H.B. Nov. 4-6. Tickets $30-$40. West Las Vegas Library Theater. www.lvdance.org.

iPhone while simultaneously playing Angry Birds Nov. 5

on our retinal screen

Complexions

implant. While also, of

The directors of New York’s Complexions Contem-

course, obliviously driving

porary Ballet, Desmond Richardson and Dwight

into oncoming traffic.

Rhoden, are also former Ailey company members.

Among this year’s literary

They founded their own troupe in 1994. Their

and cultural lights: Jane

artistic vision has sought to establish a new form

Smiley, Max Brooks, Tony

of dance movement through the elimination of

Hsieh and more.

all limits on the art, be they technical, stylistic or

Nov. 3-6. Free. Various

cultural. It will be interesting to see if they have

locations around the His-

succeeded. — H.B.

toric Fifth Street School

8 p.m. $35-$75. UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall

and downtown. www.veg-

http://pac.unlv.edu

asvalleybookfestival.org

Nov. 7

Talking Trash: Listening to What People Leave Behind The past is garbage — literally. That’s what archeologists look at when studying the lives of ancient peoples: The tools, utensils, weapons and accessories they threw away. Illnois State University anthropologist James Skibo will talk about how this kind of historic Dumpster-diving can yield real treasure — not just in terms of rare objects, but in terms of valuble insights into prehistoric cultures. 7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

60 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre


november Nov. 10 Elena Papandreou

Changing People’s Lives While Transforming Yourself: Paths to Service and Social Justice They say you can’t change the world. Wanna bet? Jeffrey Kottler is here to show you how. He’s a counseling professor at California State University, Fullerton and founder of Empower Nepali Girls, an organization dedicated to ending sex slavery. He’ll deliver a multimedia presentation about how students and professionals have worked to make both large and small differences in their communities — and how you can, too. 7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Ingrid Fliter

Nov. 22

Nov. 11

Dinosaur Ball

Turing 20 this year is a mu-

Ingrid Fliter and Julian Schwarz with the UNLV Symphony Orchestra

seum that makes more than

Two virtuoso soloists on

37,000 Clark County school

one big night: Argentinian

children’s eyes light up each

pianist Ingrid Fliter and

year as they frolic among

19-year-old cellist Julian

giant dinosaur replicas

Schwarz join the UNLV

and explore the world of

Symphony Orchestra.

ancient Egypt. To celebrate,

Fliter tackles Ludwig Van

the museum is throwing a

Beethoven’s Piano Con-

Dinosaur Ball complete with

certo No. 1, while Schwarz

dinner, dance and silent

performs Joseph Haydn’s

auction. Proceeds from the

Cello Concerto No. 1 in C

event will help further the

Major.

museum’s mission to edu-

8 p.m. $35-$75. UNLV’s

cate the community about

Artemus Ham Hall

Something about the Las Vegas Natural History Museum is a bit prehistoric, and it’s not just the dinos.

Nov. 9

Elena Papandreou Technically, Elena Papandreou is a classical guitarist, but you’ll hear the word “poet” applied to her more often than anything. Widely acclaimed for her insightful, sensitive interpretations, Greek guitarist Papandreou is known not for just merely performing, but for enchanting, mystifying and inspiring her audiences. 8 p.m. $40. UNLV’s Doc Rando Recital Hall. http://pac.unlv.edu

the natural sciences. $250 per individual, sponsorships available. The Mirage hotel-casino. www.lvnhm.org d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 61


Photo: Christopher Smith

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O N E s 2W A T C H

Ruth Pe Palileo

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She writes and directs edgy, off-the-wall plays — staged on a coupon-clipping budget When a specialist in the plays of Samuel Beckett with a Ph.D. from Dublin’s Trinity College makes her Vegas directorial debut with David Mamet’s somber “The Shawl,” you expect someone tall, dour and Celtic — not short, merry and Filipino. Ruth Pe Palileo’s circuitous journey to Vegas has taken her from Bugasong, on the shores of the Sulu Sea, through Kalamazoo, Detroit, Paris, Strasbourg, Dublin and Chicago before setting up shop in Sin City. From that unlikely base, she’s striking out into theater on a nationwide basis. But Pe Palileo’s biggest detour was a collegiate career shift that saw her take a degree in microbiology, followed by a 10-year career in patent law. “One day, this sculptor said, ‘How many pages a day do you write a week on patents?’” He did the math and calculated that Pe Palileo was writing the equivalent of five plays or one novel a month. “And I was so mad!” That realization set her on a life-changing, fiveyear Irish sojourn that included directing two Beckett works, helping mount several Harry Potter-based “happenings” that raised money for Children of Chernobyl Charities and creating two plays for homeless children. Much of Pe Palileo’s work is driven by an ethnographic degree of immersion in her material — whether it reflects her native Filipino roots or her adopted Irish ones — as well as a strong desire for social engagement.

But while most of her Las Vegas productions have been in intense, character-driven chamber dramas, her tastes run toward a large-scale and mythic concept of theater. Thus she’s perfectly comfortable in historical pageantry or plays staged for Chicago’s Capricon science-fiction convention, where her productions include Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog” ... a cosmos away from Beckett’s “Endgame” and “What Where.” After earning her doctorate in Dublin, she returned to the U.S. to find that her parents had relocated from Detroit to Las Vegas, and she followed them. “You know what got me (about Vegas) was not even that there was no snow, but that people still decorated their houses with all the crazy ornaments and lights,” she recalls. “You do it to show up against the snow, right?” She also discovered Vegas’ Fil-Am Heritage Association, for whom she wrote and directed two extravaganzas at Palace Station and Treasure Island: “Waves of Migration” and World War II-based “Letters to Lily.” Staging “Waves” required four dance troupes and a cast of 83. “That’s when I learned that directing shows is like directing traffic,” she says with a laugh. “I like to (just) see what happens, but it has to happen within a certain amount of order.” Following her well-received 2009 “Shawl,” which played to sold-out houses at Las Vegas

Little Theatre, Pe Palileo returned to LVLT for “Last of the Vegas Magicians.” She also staged “Lance and the Sisters of Christmas Past” for African-American troupe House of Tribes, while her own Ruthless Dramatics presented the revamped Greek tragedy “Ismene” last spring as a breast-cancer fundraiser. It was a shoestring production, made possible by a string of Home Depot gift certificates. If that weren’t enough work, Pe Palileo was coordinating six other “Ismene” productions, from Newfoundland to Los Angeles. This month, she stages Ionesco’s “The Chairs” at The Box Office,  produced by  local Born & Raised Productions  in association with  CIRCA Pintig from Chicago. The latter is a Filipino-American troupe in Chicago with whom she frequently collaborates and where she wants to revive Erica Griffin’s recent Fringe Festival smash “Casa de Nada.” Vegas magnet school Explore Knowledge Academy has invited Ruthless Dramatics to revive Ismene in November. Although Pe Palileo is very selective about what she directs, she’s in demand. In between acting as advisor to House of Tribes’ Fringe Festival production, Local Celebrity and assisting with Table 8 Productions’ Theodora: She-Bitch of Byzantium, Pe Palileo zipped up to Ohio and staged three new one-act plays in a 72-hour frenzy at the Cleveland Irish Festival. — David McKee d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 63


december

Through December

A Place in Paradise The phrase “master planned community” usually conjures up dreaded images of mass-produced stucco blandness untouched by character, individuality or charm. But it wasn’t always like that. Paradise Palms, the housing division situated around the Boulevard Mall, was the city’s first master-planned community and, well, it’s kind of cool, representing the wry whimsy of the Mid-century Modern style. No surprise, then, that it was home to names such as Caesars Palace developer Jay Sarno, comedian Rip Taylor and entertainer Debbie Reynolds. A slate of historic photographs curated by Brian Paco Alvarez celebrates this mid-mod throwback neighborhood — including the Stardust Golf Club and the Boulevard Mall — an area that is currently seeing a renaissance as new professionals flock back into the neighborhood, attracted by its stylishness and charm. Through Dec. 31. Free. Boulevard Mall food court. www.paradisepalmslasvegas.com

Dec. 2-3 From "A Place in Paradise."

Gustav Mahler dance concert Life. Death. The Meaning of Existence. Heady themes not likely to get your dancin’ feet moving, unless you’re choreographer Kelly Roth. He’s put together a ballet honoring the Austrian late-Romantic composer Gustav Mahler — ponderous themes made fleet by CSN’s Dance department. 7 p.m., Dec. 2; 2 p.m., 7 p.m., Dec. 3. $8-$10. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre

Through December

*Rumor de Lobos Grandes: Endi Poskovic Selected Prints Endi Poskovic’s prints are like posters from bygone eras that seem at once familiar and remote, ordinary yet magical. That’s because those eras exist largely in Poskovic’s mind. Taking influences as diverse as movie posters, Japanese woodcuts and Eastern European propaganda posters, Poskovic’s pieces explore cultural identity, alienation and social history. But above all, they’re a pleasure to look at. Through Jan. 9. Free. Historic Fifth Street School. www.artslasvegas.org 64 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1


Dec. 2-18

Deadman’s Cell Phone

Dec. 3

In a New Yorker profile coinciding with the play’s Manhattan premiere in

Neil Berg’s Broadway Holiday

2008, John Lahr described Deadman’s

Santa’s coming to town,

Cell Phone’s author Sarah Ruhl’s aes-

and he’s got a big ol’ bag of

thetic as a “nonlinear form of realism—

holiday tunes to stuff into

full of astonishments, surprises, and

your Christmas-ready ears.

mysteries.” The protagonist, Jean (a

This Broadway-rich night of

role created by Mary-Louise Parker),

music features samplings

is in a diner when another customer

from everything from

drops dead. Unable to resist, she an-

“Chicago” to “Wicked.”

swers his mobile phone as it insistently

7 p.m. $35-$75. UNLV’s

rings. Consequently, she finds herself

Artemus Ham Hall

Neil Berg

enmeshed in the dead man’s cryptic business dealing as well as his comparably enigmatic family … with whistle

Dec. 10

Dec. 18

stops in both the underworld and the

The lakes Festival of Lights

Hereafter. See what happens when

Ah, the ritual of Christmas lights: The tangled snarl of wires amassed in

you don’t observe proper cell-phone

your hands like a hopeless riddle, the swaying, bow-legged ladder, the

Walt Boenig Big Band Holiday Concert

etiquette? Let Deadman’s Cell Phone

temperamental staple gun, the sour waft of a whiskey belch from below as

“Deck the Halls” is a fine song,

be a warning! Ruhl’s play opens Dec. 2

Dad screams up at you, “TWO staples between each light, son, TWO! We’re

but there’s nothing like hearing

and runs through the 18th. — D.M.

not half-assing it this year. We’ll show those snobs the Fergusons who’s got

it rendered with molar-rattling

Dec. 2-18. Tickets $13-$15. Las

the most Christmas spirit on this damn street ...” Relive the memories at the

gusto by a big band. The Walt

Vegas Little Theatre, 3920 Schiff

Festival of Lights, a Lakes neighborhood that, now for the 11th year, breaks

Boenig Big Band has been

Drive. www.lvlt.org

out lights, ladders, staple guns and more for an all-out celebration of yule-

drafted to loosen your dental

tide mania. In addition to food

work this holiday season as it

and crafts, you can get in the giv-

performs classic holiday music.

ing spirit by bringing donations

Santa Claus is coming to town,

to the Goodwill truck.

all right … AT 125 DECIBELS.

Noon-6 p.m. Free.

2 p.m. Free. CSN’s

The Lakes (West Sahara).

Nicholas J. Horn Theatre.

www.festival.lakesassociation.com

www.waltboenigbigband.com

Dec. 17-24; 20-30

The Nutcracker December: That, of course, means “The Nutcracker.” It was created in 1892 in Russia and now ballet companies all over the world have their own versions. One wonders why this ballet is so popular, beloved even. One reason may be the children: the ones performing in it, and the ones we take or once took to see it — or, perhaps, it’s the child still within us all. During the holiday season, a number of good local “Nutcracker” productions are presented, but my own favorites continue to be those of Nevada Ballet Theatre and Las Vegas Ballet Company. Whether its NBT’s lavish, mature extravaganza or LVBC’s youthful, heartfelt production, with star turns from its directors/dancers Yoomi Lee and Kyudong Kwak, it’s still “The Nutcracker” and always magical. — H.B.

Nevada Ballet Theatre's "The Nutcracker"

NBT’s plays December 17-24 at Paris Théâtre. Tickets: 946-4567. LVBC’s runs December 20-23 at Summerlin Library Theatre. Tickets: 240-3262.

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 65


O N E s 2W A T C H

Luis VarelaRico

a

He’s making beauty take flight in the streets — with or without permission A man in gray-rimmed glasses with long dark hair curling out from underneath a ball cap scans the intersection, the cameras. “Always a little nervous,” he explains. On three sides loom massive ads for cut-rate lawyers. Is this a comfort? He gestures to a phone on the dash of his truck. “My dad’s number’s in there — call him and let him know if I get arrested?” Twenty-eight year old Las Vegas artist Luis Varela-Rico has quickly gained notoriety for his guerilla installations around town. But unlike some street art, his work isn’t about breaking the law, challenging authority or even making a statement. He doesn’t mind going under his own name because his installations, while not legal, are not intended to deface any property. And they’re very pretty. All are variations on origami-style cranes and airplanes delicately crafted from thin sheets of metal. “I want to consider them beautifying the area,” he says. “I’m just bringing it where people will appreciate it — it’s recognizable, simple, people get it.” 66 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

The native of Guadalajara, Mexico, has spent most of his life in Las Vegas and studied ceramics at CSN and UNLV, but it was his day job constructing elevators that helped give him the skills and insight to mimic origami in a slightly more durable medium (YouTube “steel origami” for a video of the artist folding cranes with a blowtorch). “Everything I’ve ever done creatively is just a big snowball effect where one thing leads to another,” he says. “Accidents.” He knew he had a fortunate one when he stumbled on origami about a year ago, but it wasn’t until he began displaying his work en plein air that the cranes took off. After being turned down for a show at the Contemporary Arts Center in March, he decided to take his work to the streets and began hanging sculptures around the Arts District. Just two months later, the CAC offered him a roost in their display windows and soon the Brett Wesley Gallery snapped up the emerging artist. “You see prints a lot, but it was so exciting to see someone doing guerilla art in 3-D,” says

gallery director Victoria Hart, who first noticed his work dangling off a vacant property across the street. She pointed out the mysterious installation to painter Kevin Chupik, who happened to be a teacher and good friend of Varela-Rico, who happened to be standing right next to him. Now they’re planning a gallery show for sometime next year. But that doesn’t mean Varela-Rico is grounding his work. In just a few minutes, in broad daylight, the deed is done: birds of folded metal swoop down off a speed-limit sign while a squadron of paper planes scrambles around the stop light on Charleston Boulevard. The artist is gone, disappeared into the city (more specifically, into the Bar + Bistro for a debrief and a beer). Across the street, a lone man in a wheelchair waiting for the bus notices a strange new appendage on the street sign. He peers, approaches cautiously. Then, in the hot sun, he performs a slow tour around the post, gazing up at the cranes from every angle before retreating back to the shade of the bus shelter. — Joseph Langdon


Photo: Christopher Smith

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 67


into the light | continued from page 34

like, “I have no idea what to say at this point.” He was literally going to fight us, he was so angry, and it just totally took it away from him. DC: Strutt, when you arrived in the early 90s, what surprised you? Hurley: It felt very separate. In Detroit, men and women worked together, all the bars worked together. We had a bar guild. And I mean, this was, like, 50, 60 bars. And here, there were, like, a handful. I thought, “How weird. Why are they fighting with each other?” Plotkin: One consideration, not a defense, but Las Vegas is a very young city, whereas Midwestern cities are 200 years old, so they had a little bit more practice. Hurley: No, I totally get it, but that felt really strange to me.

Corea, Clarke & White: Forever

Friday, September 16 • 8 p.m. $35 - $50 - $75

Utah Symphony Jeremy Denk, Piano

Saturday, October 1 • 8 p.m. $35 - $50 - $75

The Falla Guitar Trio

Wednesday, October 12 • 8 p.m. $40

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Elena Papandreou

Wednesday, November 9 • 8 p.m. $40

Ingrid Fliter, Piano Julian Schwarz, Cello

with the UNLV Symphony Orchestra Tuesday, November 22 • 8 p.m. $35 - $50 - $75

Neil Berg’s Broadway Holiday

Saturday, December 3 • 8 p.m. $35 - $50 - $75

Saturday, November 5 • 8 p.m. $35 - $50 - $75

Wilsey: We tried to organize a bar guild a number of times, and they wouldn’t even talk to each other. Plotkin: On the upside politically, Nevada does have some watershed moments. The critical one was in 1993, the repeal of Nevada’s same-sex sodomy law.

‘Who is this straight woman?’ DC: Talk about that political effort. How did that happen? Schlegel: It was led by a naïve straight woman who didn’t ask our permission, and she went and did it, and we were shocked.

pure. powerful.arts. 2011 – 2012 season pac.unlv.edu • (702) 895-ARTS (2787)

68 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

Mulford: It’s like a bunch of high school girls that are fighting with each other. And it seems like it’s been that way at least since I got here, not that I brought it with me. It’s like this overriding feeling that there isn’t enough to go around. There isn’t enough spotlight. There aren’t enough advertisers. There aren’t enough patrons for the bars. So I’m going to have mine, and don’t dip into my pot. And it seems like it still persists.

McBride: And the gay community stopped fighting itself long enough to make something good happen. Mulford: We were the most unified then, in the 20 years that I’ve been here, men and women working together, and happily.


Plotkin: At the time, Kevin Kelly, a local attorney, was mounting a legal challenge to the sodomy law at the same time state Sen. Lori Lipman Brown put forward her bill in the Legislature. DC: So this wasn’t an organized political action. It was something that popped up? McBride: Not initially. In 1992, some of us got together and formed an organization. Schlegel: The plan was to wait until the last few hours of the Legislature and just pass this thing quietly. McBride: As Lee said, another group we derisively call “The A Gays” because they have money and political influence, were working on their own little effort, too, through the courts. Then came Lori Lipman Brown, a freshman, who didn’t even know any of that was going on. She just wrote and introduced this bill and threw the community into a tizzy. We were very scared and upset. “Who’s this straight woman who’s looking out for our interests? Shame on her.” Schlegel: We thought she had torpedoed all of our efforts.

McBride: But then (prominent AIDS doctor) Jerry Cade said, “Hey, what’s happened has happened. Let’s make the best of it.”

breeze! He’s never come up against somebody who has said, “I can’t publicly support you. I can’t give you any money. I can’t advertise.”

Schlegel: A bunch of us met in my office and formed Nevadans for Constitutional Equality, raised about $12,000, hired a lobbyist and helped Lori. The first time we ever pooled our resources.

Hurley: It’s all technology now. Where we had to beat the path to get the word out to tell everybody what was going on, now it’s just “text to number, bloop, bloop, bloop.”

McBride: We really made a huge difference when we learned to stop sniping at each other, and to coordinate and cooperate. And that was the first time that the straight community, through Lori Lipman-Brown, really came to our aid.

Schlegel: It was never about recognition for what any of us did, but by the same token, it’d be nice to say, “Oh, you guys won the war,” or whatever. It just sort of hurts a little bit when nobody recognizes or pays attention to you.

‘They’re standing on our shoulders’

McBride: Well, you know, on one hand, I think they don’t appreciate what we went through and what we put up with. But on the other hand, I think how successful we were, because they take so much for granted now. They just take it for granted.

DC: What do current gay leaders need to know about the history of this? Do you think the kids fighting for marriage today understand what it took to get here? Mulford: I don’t think they take any interest in it whatsoever. They’re standing on our shoulders, and we stood on and are standing on somebody else’s shoulders. Do you think (party promoter) Eduardo Cordova has any kind of challenge squeezing money out of the Mirage or wherever he has his parties? It’s a

Schlegel: They have no inkling. McBride: I hope they never find out. The Las Vegas Pride festival and parade takes place Sept. 16-17. For information, visit www.lasvegaspride.org.

SMALV.COM 702.877.5199

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 69


09.2011

A rt Music

a r t s + e n t e r ta i n m e n t

T h e at e r Dance FA M I LY

1

take

Wine used to be the province of sniffy Frenchmen in monocles and rambunctious Italian shepherds. Nowadays, though, soccer moms drink Merlot out of their purses, frat boys are doing Shiraz bombs and teens sip Chardonnay between Facebook updates and heck even I’m on my third glasd righ nOW AT WORK CANT YOU TELL/?. Help further popularize wine at the Wine Amplified Festival Sept. 16-17, featuring Train 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at Mandalay Bay Beach. Tickets $55-$65. www.wineamplified.com

2

Banning books is a terrible idea. It only encourages indignant authors to take to the streets to shout their books aloud in their entirety. To celebrate the blissful silence that freedom of expression brings, the ACLU presents “Uncensored Voices: Celebrating Literary Freedom,” a night of local authors (including Desert Companion Editor Andrew Kiraly) reading from banned and controversial books 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Clark County Library Theater. Info: www.lvccld.org

Train

Las Vegas Shakespeare Company’s “Twelfth Night”

3

Some of us call it Hendoville, others H-Town, still others Hendersonia. Shakespeare called it “O Hendertucky Mouse-Quiet and Most Inscrutab’l.” So you can understand why Henderson loves it some Bard. It’s celebrating the 25th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park with “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” Oct. 1-22 at numerous Henderson parks. Admission is free. Info: www.hendersonlive.com

4

We’re definitely not saying you should buy a handful of rubber spiders and go to the creepy-crawly-filled “BUGS!” exhibit and put a few on Sally’s shoulder and shout “Oh my God some of the deadly and terrifyingly poisonous brown recluses escaped!” And we’re definitely not saying you should do it through Sept. 25 at the Springs Preserve. Info: www.springspreserve.org

Darren Johnson’s “Don’t”

5

Darren Johnson’s paintings are like comics — word bubbles, people gabbing to each other — but the comparison ends there. Using this deceptively humorous form, Johnson explores themes of alienation and disconnection. His work is on display through Oct. 2 at the Windmill Library. Info: www.lvccld.org

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 71


ART The Best Little Pet Show in Vegas Sept. 1-Oct. 27. Participating artists Chieko Amadon, Dawn Anderson, Montana Black, Bert Hornbeck, Marty Kreloff, Clare Little, Scott VanderMolen and Mary Warner showcase both comical and serious images of pets. Bridge Gallery, 400 Stewart Ave., 229-1012

Urbis Octaptych: The City ... the Times, the Promise Through Sept. 10. Inspired by the desert landscape and Las Vegas skylines, Lincoln Maynard takes advantage of the museum’s large walls to not just exhibit paintings, but create commentary about people, cities and society. Also on display is a smaller version of Urbis Octaptych. UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum

Desert Spaces Art Exhibition

www.170millionamericans.org/ryvoice/ songs available for download through September 30th

Through Sept. 11, by appointment. Featured artists have focused in on the beauty, detail and color of the awe-inspiring expanse of our desert environment. Historic Fifth Street School Gallery

Great Basin Exteriors: A Photographic Survey Through Sept. 14. Photographers Adam Jahiel, Daniel Cheek and Nolan Preece examine themes of loss, change and abandonment in the American West in this exhibit of 30 photographs. UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum

Art Coming to Life Sept. 14-Nov. 5. View the art of Nja Onê as she captures the world’s diverse cultures in her works. West Las Vegas Arts Center

Erica Fana and Students Through Sept. 23. Take a look behind the eyes of the creator with this set of ornate oil paintings. The Gallery at the Henderson Multigenerational Center, 250 S. Green Valley Parkway

Important Conversations in Midwestern Brown Through Oct. 2. Darren Johnson fuses realist figurative images with cartoon speech bubbles in his series of oil paintings. His work depicts the people he knows, each with their own stories and shared struggles. One such struggle is the despera-

72 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 1


tion to communicate with others in order to relieve our own feelings of alienation, emptiness and lack of significance in the world. Windmill Library

The Pano Project Through Oct. 27. In her most recent set of panoramic photographs, Angela Bellamy explores the diverse spaces that constitute Las Vegas’ urban landscape and the people who inhabit them. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.

Zak Ostrowski: New Work Through Oct. 14; reception Sept. 1, 6 p.m. Using both traditional techniques and modern technology, Zak Ostrowski’s sculptures are created from metal, wood and concrete. Ostrowski shapes human forms in a mix of media to achieve his signature style. Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery

Lolita Develay: Window Shopping Through Oct. 14; reception Sept. 9, 5:30 p.m. Develay’s paintings take readers window shopping through the luxury of the Strip. The art examines consumer culture through the incorporation of futuristic mannequins drenched in high fashion, using vibrant color and an almost otherworldly sensibility. Winchester Cultural Center Gallery

Figurative Works in Raku Through Oct. 23. Ceramic artist Shari Bray showcases works in Raku that feature figures and hands line-drawn into the clay, similar to Japanese woodblock prints. Raku typically gives ceramic art a shiny glaze; Bray uses the process to create surprisingly painterly effects. Enterprise Library

Recent Works by Laraine Kaiser Through Nov. 8. Laraine Kaiser has a secret life: The Las Vegas Philharmonic musician also paints. Her recent work of oil on canvas ranges from classical reproductions to abstract originals and surreal styles. Spring Valley Library

Locals Only: Erik Beehn Through Nov. 14. Reception Sept. 8, 6 p.m. Erik Beehn’s mixed media works explore American interiors and exteriors, from lunch counters to living rooms. CityCenter’s CENTERpiece Gallery

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 73


DANCE The Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive and Festival Sept. 8-11, A four-day festival of shows, contests, workshops, shopping opportunities and entertainment are featured in a variety of venues throughout Las Vegas, for bellydancing professionals, spectators and everyone in between. Flamingo hotel-casino and the

Clark County Library Theater. www.bellydanceintensive.com

FAMILY & FESTIVALS BUGS! Through Sept. 5, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; weekends through Sept. 25. Peek at the creepy crawlies in the Springs Preserve’s new show BUGS! Tarantulas, bark scorpions, centipedes and other Mojave crawlers are all revealed

in the live animal show. Free for members or included with general admission. Springs Preserve

911 Remembrance, Igniting the Spirit of Unity: Las Vegas September 9-11. The 9/11 Remembrance Las Vegas Committee hosts a special 10th anniversary memorial with events including a car show, 9.11k run and 1 mile walk, motorcycle memorial run, 91.1k bicycle ride, family equestrian day and a heroes parade, as well as extensive entertainment by well-known musical acts and entertainers. Venues throughout Las Vegas, www.911remembrancelasvegas.org

Ho’olaule’a Pacific Islands Festival September 10-11, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Travel to a tropical paradise with the sights, sounds and smells of the Pacific Islands. Music features trio Holunape. Free. Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water Street

Marines Ironman World Championship 70.3 Sept. 11, 6:30 a.m. Ironman World Championship athletes will swim 1.2 miles in Lake Las Vegas, bike through 56 miles of desert and run 13.1 miles through scenic roadways. Free. Finish Line, 10 a.m. Henderson Pavilion

San Gennaro Feast Sept. 13-18. Authentic food, arts and crafts booths and activities round out this festival that celebrates all things Italian. Rio hotel-casino. $7$12. www.sangennarofeast.com

Wine Amplified Festival

©Disney

Sept. 16-17, 7 p.m.-11 p.m. A two-day champagne and wine-tasting event held on an 11-acre beach, filled with more than 50 wineries from around the world pouring over 150 wines. $55-65. Mandalay Bay Beach. www.wineamplified.com

Autumn Plant Sale September 17, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Thousands of native and drought-tolerant plant species will be on sale, including many unique and hard-to-find plants, as well as familiar Mojave Desert-adapted plants. Free. Springs Preserve

74 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 1


Super Run Classic Car Show Sept. 22-25, Southern Nevada’s largest car show with 1,000 classic vehicles and live music. Performances by The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards and local country music group Against the Grain. Free. Henderson Events Plaza & Water Street District

Greek Food Festival Sept. 23-25. Greek cuisine and culture is filled with folk dancing, live music and a bazaar. $6. St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 5300 S. El Camino Road. www.lasvegasgreekfestival.com

Asian Harvest Moon Festival Sept. 24, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Celebrate with food and live entertainment at the Springs Preserve’s second annual Asian Harvest Moon Festival, $3-$5. Springs Preserve

Art in the Park Oct. 1-2, 9 a.m. Art in the Park is one of the largest outdoor juried art festivals in the Southwest and the largest fundraiser for the Boulder City Hospital Foundation. Jennifer Main has been named Featured Artist for this year’s 49th annual celebration. Free. Wilbur, Bicentennial and Escalante Parks, 401 California Ave. Boulder City,, www.artinthepark.org.

Oktoberfest Oct. 1, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Enjoy German music, dance, food and beer; children’s activities and games. Free. Centennial Plaza at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St. 229-3515, www.germansocialclubofnevada.org

LECTURES, READINGS AND PANELS An Evening with Dr. John Alexander & George Knapp: UFOs — Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities Sept. 8, 7 p.m. In this program, John Alexander and George Knapp review major events in UFO history, discussing both facts and flaws, and Alexander’s book, “UFO: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities.” Clark County Library, Jewel Box Theater

It’s all connected. With smart grid and smart meter

technology, your home will have loads of new tools to help manage energy use and lower costs. Soon, they’ll all be right at your fingertips.

The future of energy. It’s right in our backyard. Learn more at nvenergy.com.

Joshua Kryah Sept, 15, 7 p.m. With poems praised for their grace and impact, awardwinning poet Joshua Kryah reads

Desert Companion ad_5x10_2011-08.indd 1

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o8/17/2011 n . c o m3:42:03 75 PM


from his latest book of work, “We Are Starved.” UNLV’s Greenspun Hall Auditorium

An Evening with Detective Chris Baughman: Prostitution, Human Trafficking and Off the Street

Frank Sinatra A TribuTe To

And The greAT AmericAn songbook

PoPS i ConCErt

Saturday, October 22, 2011 Vincent Falcone, Guest ConduCtor Bob Anderson, VoCalist

MaStErworkS ii ConCErt Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sept. 15, 7 p.m. Detective Chris Baughman discusses his debut, “Off the Street,” a work of non-fiction which details the formation of Metro’s Pandering Investigation Team. Clark County Library, Jewel Box Theater

The Paradoxes of Jeffersonian Constitutionalism Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. Washington University professor David Konig gives a lecture on Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father who searched for limits on government without limiting the capacity of the people to govern themselves. Barrick Museum Auditorium

Uncensored Voices: Celebrating Literary Freedom Sept. 27, 7 p.m. Carol Harter, UNLV President Emerita and BMI executive director, will moderate as local community leaders and writers read from controversial works in literary history. Clark County Library Theater, 1401. E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog, or a Chicken: Why You Shouldn’t Eat Meat Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m. University of Colorado associate professor Dr. Alastair Norcross will present arguments against eating meat from a utilitarian position. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Sabbath, instructor in the UNLV English department as they explore the idea of exile. UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum Auditorium

MUSIC Maryland Parkway Music Festival Sept. 2-4. The Maryland Parkway Music Festival will feature art, poetry, performances, food and more than 75 local and touring bands, including Michigan’s Americana folkrockers Frontier Ruckus and New Zealand’s Neo Kalashnikovs. The event is designed to support and celebrate the culture and history of the University District neighborhood. Tickets TBA. Various Maryland Parkway venues. www.marylandparkwaymusicfestival.com

Tony Scodwell and Friends Sept. 3, 2 p.m. Tony Scodwell, a veteran of some of America’s greatest big bands, leads this concert that also features vocalist Lena Prima, daughter of the legendary Louis. $10-$15. Charleston Heights Arts Center Theatre

Power 88’s New York City Fresh Fest September 3, 5 p.m. A throwback concert featuring the pioneers of hip-hop including Salt-N-Pepa, Doug E. Fresh, the Sugarhill Gang and Kool Moe Dee. $39-$49, Henderson Pavilion

The B-52s and Human League Sept. 4. Two mainstays from the ’80s — representing both the decade’s silliness and seriousness — perform in a late-summer concert. $45. Mandalay Beach

International Scouting Museum

Rachel Barton Pine, Violin gLAZunoV VioLin concerTo

Tickets on Sale Now! Visit lvphil.com or call box office at 702.895.2787. Concerts at UNLV Ham Concert Hall 4505 Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas, NV 89154

76 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 1

Sept. 30, 5-11 p.m. open house; fundraiser Oct. 1, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Explore the history of scouting through its rich and diverse memorabilia. Free. 2915 W. Charleston Blvd. 878-7268, www.worldscoutingmuseum.org. Fundraiser at Palace Station Hotel (Salon A/B), 2411 W. Sahara Ave.

An Evening of Music from Senegal Sept. 5, 7:30 p.m. King Ibu from Podor Senegal will be featured for an evening of original music inspired by the culture and folk music of Senegal. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

God Lives in Glass Transforming Artists Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m. This UNLV Forum Lecture Series features Moniro Ravanipour, an internationally acclaimed author, Margot Mink Colbert, a dancer and choreographer, and Roberta

Sept. 10-11, 1:30 p.m. Nevada Conservatory Theatre presents a special performance of “God Lives in Glass: Reflections of God As Seen Through The Eyes of Children” (book and lyrics by Robert J. Landy, Ph.D., with music and


Desert Companion on Tour

Have coffee and conversation with Desert Companion Editor Andrew Kiraly and a special guest from the latest issue at Bar+Bistro @ the Arts Factory.

September 17

Visit us online for more information at www.desertcompanion.com

Do you have an

IRS TAX PROBLEM? I CAN SAVE YOU MONEY! Richard A. Perlman, Enrolled Agent Licensed by Department of the Treasury 30-YEAR CAREER WITH THE IRS

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The Henderson Libraries Presents Health Fair to kick off the 60 day series Saturday, Sept. 10 • 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Galleria @ Sunset 1300 W. Sunset Road, just off I-95 Check out upcoming 60 days of programs: Zumba, Tai Chi, Belly Dancing, Tai Yoga, Educational Health Classes and More For more information about FREE programming

visit www.mypubliclibrary.com

Funded by a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Nevada State Library and Archives

Event Partners: United Blood Services, Southern Nevada Health District, AARP Medicare, St. Rose, Henderson Parks and Recreation, Trader Joe’s, SHIP – Nevada State Health Insurance Assistance Program, Visiting Angels, and Goodnight Pediatrics


additional lyrics by Keith Thompson) to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This concert benefits Family Promise and features performers from “The Lion King,” “LOVE,” “Jersey Boys,” “Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular,” “Menopause: The Musical” and the Departments of Music and Theatre at UNLV. $20-$25. UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre, 895-2787

Las Vegas Philharmonic Masterworks I Concert Sept. 10, 8 p.m.; pre-concert conversation 7:15 p.m. Masterworks performance featuring Glinka’s Overture to Russlan & Ludmilla, Walton’s Viola Concerto including guest violist Miles Hoffman, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. $38-$78. UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, www.lvphil.com

UNLV Jazz Concert Series: Liberace Jazz Combo Sept. 14, 7 p.m. This series highlights the best student musicians from UNLV’s

78 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 1

Jazz Studies Program. Free. Clark County Library

Arkansas. Free. West Las Vegas Arts Center Amphitheatre, 947 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 229-4800

ArtBeat featuring Peace Frog September 16, 8 p.m. Pre-Show at 6:30 p.m. A musical tribute to Jim Morrison and The Doors. Free. Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water Street

Miranda Cosgrove Sept. 16, 8 p.m. Star of Nickelodeon’s hit show, “iCarly,” debuts songs from her sophomore album for the Dancing Crazy Summer Tour. $21-$35, Henderson Pavilion

Henderson Symphony Orchestra Sept. 17, 8 p.m. Enjoy an evening of live music performed by the Henderson Symphony Orchestra. Free. Henderson Pavilion

West Las Vegas Arts Center Community Artist Series Sept. 24, 3 p.m. An all-ages concert in the outdoor amphitheatre by Vanessa Williams-Jackson, a native of

Casting Crowns Sept. 25, 7 p.m.World Vision presents the Come to the Well Tour featuring Casting Crowns with special guests Sanctus Real, The Afters and Lindsay McCaul. $21-$46. Henderson Pavilion

ArtBeat featuring Ambrosia Sept. 30, 8 p.m. Pre-Show at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy the smooth sounds of the ’70s with hits like “How Much I Feel” and “Biggest Part of Me.” Free. Henderson Events Plaza

THEATER AND COMEDY Aladdin Sept. 7, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Dedicated to providing entertainment “with an inherent British accent,” The British National Theatre of America, also known as Cockroach, Inc., offers their take on this classic story of magic lamps, flying


carpets and sand. 595-4789, Summerlin Library

Five Guys Named Moe Sept. 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 7 p.m. Hapless, lonely and broke, Nomax has his spirits lifted by five hipsters who take him on a rollicking tour of the music of “King of the Jukebox” Louis Jordan, including “Saturday Night Fish Fry,” “Let The Good Times Roll” and other classics. $12. Spring Mountain State Park, www.supersummertheatre.org

Native Standups Sept. 9, 8 p.m. Bryan Bruner, John Hilder, Nathan Lund, Maddog Mattern, Brandt Tobler & Sam Tripoli return for Las Vegas Comedy Homecoming 2. $12-$15. The Fiesta Room of the El Cortez Hotel, www.elcortezhotelcasino.com

Bill Maher Sept. 10-11, 8 p.m. “Real Time” host and Emmy-nominated comedian Bill Maher returns to The Orleans Showroom. $54.95. www.orleanscasino.com

VENUE GUIDE The Cosmopolitan 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 698-7000, www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com CENTERpiece Gallery In CityCenter 3720 S. Las Vegas Blvd. S., 736-8790, www.centerpiece.com Charleston Heights Arts Center 800 S. Brush St., 229-6383 Clark County Government Center 500 Grand Central Parkway, 455-8239 College of Southern Nevada BackStage Theater, Nicholas J. Horn Theater, Recital Hall, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., North Las Vegas, 651-5483, www.csn.edu Historic Fifth Street School 401 S. Fourth St., 229-6469 House of Blues Inside Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S., www.hob.com

Vegas Vaudeville: Songsters, Hoofers and First-Class Stage Actors

Insurgo’s Bastard Theater 900 E. Karen Ave. #D114, www.insurgotheater.org

Sept. 16, 7 p.m. Actors, singers, dancers and musicians of Disney’s Las Vegas production of “The Lion King” will perform. $15-$20. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre. pactickets@csn.edu

Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Centennial Hills, Clark County, Enterprise, Rainbow, Sahara West, Summerlin, Sunrise, West Charleston and Whitney libraries, 734-READ, www.lvccld.org

Charlotte’s Web Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 7 p.m.; Oct. 9, 15 and 16, 2 p.m. Rainbow Company Youth Theatre celebrates the classics and its 35th anniversary season by opening with “Charlotte’s Web.” $3-$7. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St., (702) 229-6383, www.artslasvegas.org

FUNDRAISERS Spread the Word Nevada Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m. The 10th Anniversary Storybook Gala is the highlight of Spread the Word Nevada’s annual fundraising efforts. 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the children served. $250. Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino, Marcello Ballroom. www.spreadthewordnevada.org

MGM Grand Garden Arena In the MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., www.mgmgrand.com

Albert’s Tarantella IV Death Valley Luau

Goldwell Open Air Museum presents Albert’s Tarantella IV An eclectic evening of music, art, and theatre in a historic ghost town setting! Saturday, October 1, 2011 7p.m. - 11p.m. $25 per person in advance $30 at the door RED BARN ART CENTER RHYOLITE, NEVADA featuring

Gary Haleamau

The Orleans Showroom Inside The Orleans, 4500 W. Tropicana Ave., www.orleanscasino.com

and

Reed Whipple Cultural Center 821 Las Vegas Blvd. N., 229-1012 The Springs Preserve 333 S. Valley View Blvd., 822-7700, www.springspreserve.org UNLV Artemus Ham Hall, Judy Bayley Theater, Beam Music Center Recital Hall, Barrick Museum Auditorium, Black Box Theater, Greenspun Hall Auditorium, Paul Harris Theater, Student Union Theatre. 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, 895-2787, www.unlv.edu

Killian’s Angels Limited Seating! Buy tickets now @ www.goldwellmuseum.org or call

(702) 870-9946

Winchester Cultural Center 3130 S. McLeod Dr. 455-7340

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 79


last word

Talk hard die free If cell phones are outlawed in cars, only outlaws will play Angry Birds while merging in the Spaghetti Bowl by janet manley

O

News item: On Oct. 1, a new state law goes into effect that bans talking on a cell phone or texting while driving. Some Nevadans are already on the defensive.

Officer, I am an innocent man. I wasn’t talking on my phone while driving just now, that’s ridiculous, REO Speedwagon was on the radio — you don’t talk over REO. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to believe that out of all the cars on the road, you happen to pull over the guy with the rubber antlers on the hood? Okay, I may have been talking, sure, but not to anyone, I was just orating — publicly — with my phone in my gearstick hand. Once I tune into my own stream of consciousness and begin

80 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 1

broadcasting, it’s incredibly difficult to turn it off, much like  “America’s Got Talent.” Here I was cruising along, greeted by my city’s palm trees, pimps and pleather upholstery as I went. The sunshine is glimmering in the golden hose-spray rising off virgin sidewalks; it’s like the city was speaking right to me — I can hear the symphony of electrophone jingles inside the casinos and suddenly I’m crying out, Good morning Las Vegas! But the jingles I heard turned out to be your siren. Was I also playing iPhone Tetris at the time? That’s a personal question, officer, and I’m afraid the NASA pajamas I’m wearing right now are prejudicial. Wow, you really pulled me over, huh? Just

minutes ago, I was on top of the world. I saw a double rainbow, officer, a double complete rainbow. It was so intense, traffic was backed up by the Mirage where they were warming up the fountains and lights for a big day of volcanic homage, and there it was in the mist, so I took out my phone and got a video. At 0:38, you see a woman walk by wearing a tube-dress upside-down, I swear she’s drinking a latte and has no idea — she just thinks the dress is nice and snug. A little further down, I see an entire family out strolling in Vibram Five Fingers — Mom, Dad, teen son, tween girl, not even exercising, but on their way to a buffet — it’s Vibram Forty Fingers. This is massive. It’s as rare as a Segway tour-group sighting was back 10 years ago, so I angle for a TwitPic while I roll in neutral for a second, and I’m uploading it to Twitter while trying on virtual hairstyles and playing Angry Birds when you creep up, with your “hands-free” radio and government-issue decals, and pull me over. Did you know that you just sidelined 173 Twitter followers? This is holding back the #WWBobSagetDo hashtag I just invented. Sir, I may have “liked” taco trucks on Facebook at the time in question — but who can prove I really like them? They’re too small, you accidentally get bites of paper plate, it can’t have been me. This isn’t the West I know, being shaken down over an innocent Instagramming at the helm of a sedan. My grandfather would balk at our “liberties” today. A frontiersman, he and his friend used to parade up and down the Strip in twin Comets driving level, connected by two tin cans and a piece of string. They would chat about the rise and fall of the Flamingo hotel, and the ins and outs of tapered slacks while they drove, and were they ever stopped? No. They and their pastel polyester desert-wear cruised on into old age with the top down and boxy wrap-around sunglasses fitted over their spectacles and never did they have to withhold a witty aside or pickle joke from their friend while driving — for it was a simpler age. Telephones weighed as much as motorcycle helmets, for one thing, and cans suffered debilitating loss of service from time to time, but men were free. They could talk, banter, harangue, titter, howl, Tweet, Digg, poke, Kazaam and Google from their vehicles unmolested by the nanny state, just them and the open road, and a pair of fake antlers on the hood. Australian-born writer Janet Manley shares an affinity with America’s West for desert and scratchy bushes.

Illustration BY AARON MCKINNEY


THERE’S NOTHING STANDARD ABOUT OUR STANDARD OF LIVING. When you buy a new home in Summerlin, you receive far more for your money than at any other master-planned community in Southern Nevada. You may find less expensive homes elsewhere, but you will not find a higher standard of living anywhere. Today. Tomorrow. Forever. This is home.

NEW HOMES FROM THE $150s TO OVER $1 MILLION | SUMMERLIN.COM | 702.791.4500 WOODSIDE HOMES | WILLIAM LYON HOMES | TOLL BROTHERS | RICHMOND AMERICAN HOMES PULTE HOMES | LENNAR | KB HOME | HARMONY HOMES | CONDO CAPITAL SOLUTIONS


David Hockney, Garrowby Hill, 1998, Oil on canvas, 60 x 76 inches, Collection Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection, Seth K. Sweetser Fund, and Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund, © David Hockney. Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection, Seth K. Sweetser Fund, and Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund, © David Hockney.

A SENSE landscapes from OF PLACE: Monet to Hockney

Tickets and info at 702.693.7871 or bellagio.com


Desert Companion - September 2011