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Sail your home Home means a lot of things —

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Fill the tank (and pack your swimsuit) for our travel issue

2 | Desert

sanctuary, roots, multimedia escape pod — but say “investment” these days and you’re likely to get a round of rueful, bitter chuckles. Many Southern Nevadans were laughing all the way to the bank in the Great Stucco Boom years, but the joke was on us. Now thousands of Las Vegans are clinging to — or letting go of — bloated mortgages like the bobbing flotsam of a sinking cruise liner. That bracing splash of reality has prompted a sober rethink of what home really means, but it’s also sparked a trend of reinvesting in our homes and resetting the stakes in our community. In many cases, that reinvestment means more than new kitchen cabinets and a fresh coat of paint in the living room. It entails people upgrading their homes — and their communities — by feathering their nests in more environmentally aware fashion, installing features to slash energy consumption. No preachy eco-sermon from the snore pulpit, promise. I’ll cut to the chase and propose a new conception of home in Southern Nevada, one both exotic and ironic: Your home is a sailboat. Steve Rypka will explain. He’s the president of Green Dream Enterprises. He helps people not just shave a few extra bucks off their energy bills, but retool their lives to make good green deeds a habit. We’re not necessarily talking about hammering a solar array to your roof (not yet, anyway). We’re talking about things as simple as cracking open a window in the evening. “I’ve had clients complain about their air conditioning bills or that the house is getting too warm, and all they had to do is open a window at the right time of day,” says Rypka. “You’d

Companion | APRIL 2012

be surprised how disconnected people are from operating their house.” Ah, yes. Operating is the operative word. “I liken operating your house to sailing a boat,” he says. “As opposed to, say, turning a key on a power boat, with a sailboat you’ve got to work with the wind, the seasons and temperatures to operate your house more consciously. You can save a lot of energy doing just that.” That’s how Rypka wants us to think of our homes: Not as mere static lifestyle set pieces that stand as shrines to consumption, but as happiness factories whose pistons and levers we consciously control. Many of us already are thinking that way. “There’s a great industry emerging in Las Vegas that has to do with retrofitting the existing housing stock to consume less energy,” he says. And like so many Las Vegas stories, this one involves addiction — the good kind. Rypka guarantees that after you get a taste of energy efficiency — with your first head-snapping double-take at your power bill — you’ll get sucked into an ecstatic feedback loop. “I’m addicted to energy efficiency, and look where it got me,” he says with a laugh. “I’m driving on sunshine.” Seriously. Rypka’s house is a veritable solar energy plant that produces more power than it consumes, so he pours that excess juice into his Nissan Leaf. He likes to boast he hasn’t paid a dime for electricity for seven years. And while Rypka is an exceptional pioneer, he points out that his holistic approach — which encompasses everything from family planning to diet — started off with things as elementary as installing weatherstripping to tightfist a few extra bucks. “Take it in stages,” he advises. “Tackle what’s the most attractive to

you, what’s the most interesting, and what your pocketbook can afford.” Where to start? With an energy inspection from an organization such as nonprofit HomeFree Nevada ( A smart person with a clipboard and scientific gadgets will frisk your house top to bottom and tell you where you’re wasting energy. The first steps could be as simple as changing out your old incandescent light bulbs. You may just see your home in a whole new light. Happy sailing. * * * Mark Earth Day this month by

coming out to Nevada Public Radio’s April 7 Recycling Day event. Whether you’ve got stacks of old paperwork, bags of soda cans or an old Windows 95 doorstop, we’ll shred it, recycle it or repurpose it — safely and securely. It happens from 8 a.m. to noon April 7 in our parking lot at 1289 S. Torrey Pines Drive. For more information, visit Andrew Kiraly Editor

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All Things to All People

The Smith Center’s pipe dream



Ballroom blitz By Kathryn Kruse



Getting his hands dirty By Kathryn Kruse


Environment A green what?! By Andrew Kiraly



I know this one place ... By Brock Radke



From rock to theater to dance, your guide to culture


History lesson Spring flung By Michael Green

FEATURES 54 British invasion

This isn’t foggy London. This season, UK style gets a sunny update.

on the cover

61 You’ve got the look

Peek inside homes that are icons of architectural and interior design By Heidi Kyser

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Chine and Jeremy wear Burberry Brit and Ben Sherman Photography Jerry Metellus Styling Christie Moeller Hair & Make-up Krystle Randall Models Chine & Jeremy


The Color Purple

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Th e S m i th Ce nte m


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The wrong ‘answers’?

Three words: You are wrong! That comment is directed to Steve Sebelius and his “answer” to the question, “Why did we celebrate the Las Vegas Centennial in 2005, when the city wasn’t incorporated until 1911?” (The Answers, January). In his response, Sebelius says the reason why we celebrated Las Vegas’ birthday in 2005 was “Mayor Oscar Goodman.” He also states that the city of Las Vegas was incorporated in March of 1911, and then somehow gives credit to the former mayor for the “commemorative license plates.” The 2005 birthday celebration started as a project of attendees to a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. This group was led by Louise Helton, and came up with the idea to create a license plate to celebrate the community’s 100th birthday. Led by Helton, the license plate idea became a reality and, to this day, is still funding historic presentation and celebrations, including the Helldorado parade. This group, along with historians, approached the mayor —  who initially

had misgivings and wanted it to be a one-day or a weekend celebration. At a meeting, which I attended, we were able to convince the mayor that a yearlong celebration was feasible. The mayor was concerned about costs to taxpayers, and who would do the work to make it a reality. Out of that meeting, the Las Vegas Centennial Commission was created and the rest is history. Now to the other major error in Mr. Sebelius “answer” that Las Vegas was incorporated in March of 1911. Wrong! What occurred on March 16, 1911, was that then-Gov. Tasker Oddie signed legislation that said, in part, “the qualified voters of the precinct of Las Vegas shall vote on the question (of ) whether they shall accept the charge and be incorporated as a city, pursuant to the provisions as herein set forth.” That’s from page 147 of the 1911 Statues of Nevada. On June 1, 1911, the voters in the unincorporated township of Las Vegas went to the polls and voted. The results were that 168 were in favor of incorporation and 57 opposed. The front page of the Las Vegas Age of June 3, 1911 pointed out the winning margin was 3 to 1. Mr. Sebelius did get one thing right when he wrote that “most people trace the founding of modern Las Vegas to May 15, 1905.” True, and since that auction/land sale, we have been celebrating May 15, 1905 as our community’s birthday — long before Mayor Goodman, and Steve Sebelius were born. I, of course, was just a young lad at the time.   Bob Stoldal Chairman, City of Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission

Steve Sebelius responds: I relied on the official Las Vegas website for reference to

my date of Las Vegas’ incorporation. That date is listed as March 16, 1911. As for the genesis of the Las Vegas centennial license plate, I had no knowledge of the involvement of Leadership Las Vegas, Louise Helton or the alleged reluctance of Mayor Oscar Goodman to initially embrace a yearlong celebration. I did cover the mayor and the centennial, and he was more than willing to take full credit for the event. If I was in error on that, I apologize. * * * In your January issue, you answer the question, “What is the great Northern/Southern Nevada divide?” The comment is made by Dennis Myers that the “Fair Share” battle in 1991 took place between Dina Titus and Bill Raggio. In point of fact, my husband, Jack Vergiels, was the Senate Majority leader in 1991, and it was he and Bill Raggio who fought over fair share during that session. Jack was one of the earliest, and fiercest, proponents of Southern Nevada getting its “fair share.” Halina Vergiels

Dennis Myers responds: Vergiels was  the majority leader and he certainly voted with the southern position, as did all the Clark legislators. But Titus was so outspoken on the issue that her floor speech was quoted against her in her governor’s campaign 15 years later. No one else took such an aggressive stance on the issue: “For years, Washoe County has been a sponge just soaking up the income that’s been earned by the blood and sweat of miners, gamblers, ranchers throughout the rest of the state. They don’t want taxes. They don’t want growth. They just want a handout.”

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The Smith Center’s big, brash pipe dream

P h oto o f b av i n g to n s c u l p t u r e b y c h r i s s m i t h


The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a stately limestone building whose classical composition — both elegant and formal — features Art Deco details drawn from Hoover Dam, suggesting enduring social purpose and monumental achievement. Indeed, the newly opened center has already attracted a constellation of star talent. But the most exciting performer could be found outside the building. It’s a public art installation by Tim Bavington — his first — called “Fanfare for the Common Man.” It’s a colorful reinterpretation of composer Aaron Copland’s 1942 song of the same name, Tim Bavington’s scored for brass and percussion. The caption sculpture brings a perennially popular song has been bit of verve to The Smith Center. re-recorded by Styx and Bob Dylan, among others. “I like to pick songs that have been by a tubular stripe of corresponding shade, width and redone many times,” says British-born Bavington, a height. Sound is translated from ear to eye with mathdowntown denizen. “I love that it’s a part of the culematical precision, abstracted in a vertical sequence ture.” His own sculptural version of Copland’s quintsimilar to notes on a music scale. The curving installaessentially populist song brings color, energy and tion measures 86 feet long, 17 feet deep and up to 27.5 brawn to the insistent seriousness of The Smith Cenfeet high. The 128-pipe sculpture is double-lined ter’s architecture. with ground lights every two feet, represent“He’s the only person I know who transing the 40 bars found in sheet music. lates music into art — transposing musifac t ! “The deployment of color, shape, and cal pieces into vertical lines or varying interval has its own internal machincolors and widths. The fact that he ery,” art critic Dave Hickey wrote of is local, collected around the world Bavington’s work, which he nurtured and a significant artist made him the while teaching at UNLV. “There is alperfect person to create the art sculpNumber of pipes that ways logic, in other words, but never ture outside,” says Myron Martin, The express “Fanfare for the a plan.” Smith Center’s president and CEO. Common Man” Bavington employed both logic and Bavington’s rendition consists of planning by using automotive paint for the 80,000 pounds of enamel-coated steel pipes sprightly shaded arrangement, giving it the rigor sandwiched together as a gently arcing backand resilience needed to withstand Southern Nevada’s drop for Symphony Park, the green space that abuts weather. He also takes the music inside: A scaledthe Smith Center. Appropriately, it resembles a pipe down, polymer canvas version resides inside Smith organ similar to those found in grand cathedrals. Each Center’s Reynolds Hall. — Tony Illia musical note of Copland’s composition is symbolized




Bazaar twist

Southern Nevada’s gleaming malls are great for getting your shop on, but what about that dictum to support your small, local, independent retailers? You won’t find many of those in the mix when you’re going walleyed deciphering the mall’s billboardsize directory map. But you will find them in force at The Market LV in Tivoli Village. Scheduled to open in June, The Market LV aims to bring a bazaar-like, boutique vibe to the shopping center on Rampart Boulevard. The two-level market will host clusters of indie shops that serve everything from fresh flowers to gourmet cupcakes to designer threads. “This is the kind of place where, if you’re throwing a dinner party tonight, you can grab a new throw pillow, pick up some olive oil and some wine and get your makeup, all continued on pg. 14

Tim Bavington discusses how he turned music into sculpture on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at | 13

continued from pg. 13


in one spot,” says Andrea Young, president of The Market LV. Along with her husband, CEO Russell Young, she based the idea on her popular OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa. Young expects about 40 shops to kick off The Market LV, including Best Kept Secret Boutique, chocolatier Jean-Marie Auboine and Fashion Camp LV, which is geared toward tween-aged budding designers who live and breathe “Project Runway.” “Fashion Camp LV is modeled after traditional summer camps, except instead of canoeing and archery, kids are learning about fashion,” says Erin Bianchi, Fashion Camp LV owner. “I think we’ll inject a bit of life into The Market LV. You might see a few 10-year-olds with tape measures running around.” Frazzled parents of those 10-year-olds can reclaim sanity at The Market LV’s upstairs wine bar, The Loft. Info: themarketlv. com — Andrew Kiraly



Tivoli Village

ON THE TOWN Shop locally (and eat and drink locally) at Taste & Toast Thursdays at Tivoli Village. It’s a farmers’ market, art market and more, kicking off 5 p.m.-8 p.m. April 19. Disclosure: Desert Companion is a sponsor of the event. Translation: We’ll see you there!

14 | Desert

Q: I want to avoid high gas prices and do my part for the earth — I want to take the bus a few times a week. What should a new bus rider know?

Companion | APRIL 2012

A: Four bucks for a gallon of gas? It’s just the start. No wonder a lot of us, out of necessity or deep-seated guilt, are looking into ways to keep more of our hyperinflating dollars out of Exxon-Mobil’s hands. Here are some tips for newbies. Planning on commuting to work? First, choose a route that gets you there 15 to 20 minutes early. Maybe boss-man will think you’re striving to be a model employee and finally give you that 50-cent raise that comes with assuming twice your current responsibilities. Perhaps testing the reliability of your ideal commuting route by riding it on your day off would be time well spent. More than once I’ve tested my employer’s tolerance for tardiness by placing too much faith in the punctuality of a posted bus schedule. All in all, though, they’re pretty reliable; often, tardiness was partially my fault for expecting a bus to be on time within 5 minutes of when I’m expected to clock in, and partially forces beyond most of our control— like a couple of drunk guys having a little UFC re-enactment in the bus aisle. For the way home, plan your trip on a route that has a supermarket at the intersection where you need to transfer buses. Google’s Public Transportation Trip Planner will help you do this with ease. There’s a link to it, as well as other helpful tools, on the Regional Transportation Commission’s website at Note that the RTC sells five-day and 30-day passes at grocery and convenience stores all over town — and now 7-Elevens. Or you can buy a pass online. Prepare for the trip itself. Here’s what I bring in the thick of summer: Two quarts of water. A big Indiana Jones-lookin’ hat, a couple hankies, good for soaking and cooling breezes. Mace — because there

might be bears here — and some kinda salty snack food. All these things fit nicely in a daypack with extra room for a book (plus your swimsuit, should you encounter an apartment complex’s pool while waiting 20 minutes for your next ride). Traveling north and south on streets like Decatur Boulevard, Eastern Avenue and Valley View Boulevard has proved a little faster and more reliable at getting me to my Strip job than “The Deuce.” I’ve also learned it’s helpful to plan my commute to include north-facing bus stops and 24 hour airconditioned taco shops within a 10-second sprint to the bus shelter, and combining as many errands and obligations as I can into the same route. If you’re still waiting for a better reason to ride the bus, the best I can offer is that every day I get to engage and meet new people. I find it much easier to make friends this way than by sitting in my own metal box, gridlocked on the 95. Seasoned bus commuter Mike Gwaltney can be found waiting at the bus stop where the 202 transfers to the 101.

Got a question? We’ve got the answer. Email it to

Illustration By Troy cummings


‘Some of the most important things in life are not practical.’ 16 | Desert

Companion | APRIL 2012

Helen Moore Author

Writing a poem for kids is easy, right? Just craft some sing-songy rhymes, throw in some fuzzy bunnies and talking clouds and you’ve got a hit. Not quite. On a recent afternoon, Helen Moore is talking about her new Scholastic book, “Pick a Poem,” a collection of verse for kids aged five to seven. But the work she put into the book is hardly kids’ stuff. Moore is throwing out terms like “addressing core competencies” and “fostering phonemic awareness” as she describes her process of crafting the kind of poetry for early grade-schoolers that’ll properly fire up their brains. “Writing for children is very challenging,” explains Moore, a book editor by day. “It’s like writing a recipe for a very specialized audience. Where do you start the recipe? ‘Go out and catch a chicken’? It’s something you have to think about very carefully.” But while her working method may be complex, her reason for writing “Pick a Poem” was quite elementary. “My thought behind putting this together was that you can teach children how to use language by traditional methods such as drilling, but there’s also a more fun — maybe even silly — way to do it,” she says. The roughly 300 poems — a few public-domain classics among them — cover every occasion and topic, from holidays to reptiles to math, giving teachers and parents a quiver of quick-draw options for squeezing some language learning into a typical day. In an era when many kids launch an iPad app before they turn a page, it’s a decidedly old-school way to teach language. And hey, what’s the real-world use of poetry, anyway? Moot question. “Some of the most important things in life are not necessarily practical,” says Moore. “But poetry can enrich a person’s life much like music or great art does.” And what better time for a dose of verse than National Poetry Month? Moore will be at the Clark County Library’s Spring Fling Book Fair 2-4 p.m. April 27. — Andrew Kiraly PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTOPHER SMITH


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Spring cleaning — the feng shui way


There’s a home cleanse that all the Windex and Lysol in the world can’t deliver — a balance of energy and promotion for good health and fortune that a 4,000-year-old Chinese tradition claims to accomplish. Sound more appealing than sweeping away that trail of crumbs going from the couch to the kitchen? Thought it might. World of Feng Shui in Las Vegas has been open for about 12 years. Peter Lung, owner and feng shui consultant, is familiar with client requests for spring-cleaning tips and has a few pointers to add to your typical spring clean regime. “Your house needs to be de-cluttered,” Lung says. “If you have a lot of things, how can the good chi (energy) get inside your home? And if you don’t open a window or door, how can the bad chi leave?” Tidy up the house and crack a window — what else? Feng shui uses color and natural elements to promote a specific energy in every sector of the home. World of Feng Shui sells a wide variety of products to stimulate these energies. For example, the Three Emperor Kings statue represents guidance, health, wealth and luck. The Horse on Sparrow brings wealth exclusively when placed in the south side of a home, the Flower Hon Fish when placed in the southeast side. Although Feng Shui is believed to improve your life, it is not going to drastically change it. “Feng Shui cannot be 100 percent because your life is based on destiny,” Lung says. “For example, I will never be a billionaire because my life chart (destiny) is not set to be a billionaire, but I will be better for the level I’m on. By using feng shui, we get rid of some of the obstacles on our path.” If feng shui’s crystals, colors and mirrors are too complex, World of Feng Shui offers home and business consultations. Daring do-it-yourselfers can learn the art and science behind the design form with the help of World of Feng Shui’s how-to books. (World of Feng Shui, 4011 Spring Mountain Road. 386-1888) — Marina Rankow


Last call for the jean jive

18 | Desert

April showers might bring May flowers, but the warm month doesn’t deliver much flexibility to wear the thick denim jeans hanging inside Las Vegas closets. Thin is in, and retailers are now shelving baby blues, dressy darks and pretty pastels. Skinny jeans (and the get-in-the-pants dance that comes with them) are out and a more comfortable slim fit is in. Lucky Brand’s Sienna and Charlie straight leg styles are available in a variety of colors and rises. Choose the top that pairs with your new

Companion | APRIL 2012


Over the rainbow

If it weren’t for runways flooding with spring’s bold styles, begging us to bravely go where only Rainbow Bright has gone before, many would skip over this season’s biggest trends on their next trip to the mall. But for those daring enough to venture into the new, designers did not disappoint this spring, including looks that embrace everything from bead-trimmed and floor-length to thigh-high and flashy. Block colors and strong prints are arguably the biggest “it thing” right now — think disco circa 2012. The mannequins at DKNY inside Forum Shops (650-9670) practically grab shoppers’ hands and boogie down. At DKNY, floral is made funky in a playful two-piece suit; sharp angles give an otherwise dainty dress a little more edge. On the same wave, Escada at Forum Shops (7912300) highlights this look, but in a more conservative way. At Escada, the color on each piece takes center stage, while the cut stands back and simply complements its powerful counterpart. Femininity is also in this season, and designers have showcased the most delicate material to prove it: lace — and lots of it. Valentino at Forum Shops (737-7603) makes the details in each piece shine (pictured left), and the most stunning dresses can be worn for a night on the town or a black-tie affair. At BCBGMAXAZRIA in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile shops (735-2947), lace adorns whimsical dresses and button-up blouses. They can be worn any day, but, as lace does, will make hearts swoon every day. — M.R.

straight-leg jeans after tossing those suffocating skinnies. For ladies who want to brighten up their bottoms, 7 For All Mankind sells denim in pastel colors pink, blue and yellow. These cropped pants fit tight and the soft hues scream springtime. (Lucky Brand has stores in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Fashion Show Mall and Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. 7 For All Mankind has stores at the Forum Shops and The Shops at The Palazzo.) — M.R.

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Companion | APRIL 2012

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Fashion and music have seen a recent British renaissance of sorts. From the ongoing buzz about the royal couple to Adele’s domination of pop music to the worldwide craze over Alexander McQueen, everyone’s eye is on British style — and Las Vegas is no exception. The difference is that we don’t have to look very far. British import Claire Jane Vranian, creator and designer behind Inspired By Claire Jane, has made Las Vegas her home since 2005, when she and her husband were looking for a second home and found an amazing vintage house to renovate. Although she splits her time between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, she considers Vegas her home base, and Vegas is where she creates her wearable art that is at once outrageous and ornate. “I love the desert,” she says. “I find it magical and mystical, and that inspires me. I love the calmness out here.” Vranian’s own personal style? Calm isn’t exactly the word for it. She began her career doing special effects makeup in the film industry, where she worked closely with writers, directors, sculptors, actors and artists. That fueled Vranian’s urge to design, and inspired her to Claire Jane Vranian branch out on her own and create her own line of accessories, one that fuses rock ’n’ roll lishments to create a look that’s equal parts rock and and a distinctly British vibe. Think upcycled vintage chic, decadent and dignified. The buzz her work is handbags that seem to overflow with feathers, and hair generating has put her in the position of making fans fascinators that resemble orchids from another planet. out of major figures in music, including Joss Stone “I designed my first handbag for myself in 2009, and Ringo Starr. and had such an overwhelming response, I started As far as her own fandom goes, creating custom orders for friends and family,” she Vranian confesses to being a hairsays. Her rock ’n’ roll style soon began to attract atpiece fanatic. “My hairpieces are tention from actual rock ’n’ rollers. “Then Joe Elliott a great outlet for me to really from Def Leppard asked me if I would design him divulge my dramatic, theatrical a T-shirt to wear on stage when he was coming to side. If you’re going to wear Vegas to do a guest appearance with Cheap Trick for one, make it count and make their Sergeant Pepper tribute show — and Joe dea statement. To me, fashion buted the first Inspired by Claire Jane tee that night.” and style are very personal. “I’ve known Claire a long time and know her eye You have to feel comfortfor quality, so when she told me she was going to able from top to bottom in start her own business, I was first in line to ask her to what you wear — and feel design some stage wear for me,” says Elliott. confident and fabulous.” But the ladies are encouraged to rock out, too. Throwing some devil horns Vranian handbags and hair fascinators use colorful can’t hurt, either. fabrics, exotic prints, feathers and vintage embel-

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Give Cedar Breaks a little love

If you can’t decide whether to celebrate spring in the desert or in the woods, why not do both on White Rock Loop in Red Rock? Popular among trail runners, this six-mile circle is also enjoyed by non-masochists. White Rock’s shady north side features tree-lined trails and verdant views, while the south crosses open desert and passes a goldfish pond and a pictograph site. Beats spring cleaning any day. — Alan Gegax

Interior dialogue Dwell on Design

22 | Desert

You got them blues. You got them West Elm Pottery Barn IKEA Target blues. You’re tired of living in a frigid genuflection to catalog furniture, and you want to take a crack at redesigning your home with some personality and style — but where to start? Put down that Restoration Hardware catalog and point your car west. The Dwell on Design conference is your mecca. The lifestyle design

Companion | APRIL 2012

Dwell on Design

Spread some love at Cedar Breaks.

the amphitheater,” Sewing points out. In the winter, the scenic drive is closed and it is groomed for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Three simple hikes and one strenuous trail allow active visitors to stretch their legs. An insider tip: Don’t forget the mosquito repellent. If you can, spend the night in the park’s campground, but before you close your eyes, take in the surroundings. Cool, fresh air. Ear-humming silence. Brilliant stargazing against a thick, dark sky. Is it any wonder Bryce and Zion met here for their rendezvous? — JoAnna Haugen Cheat sheet: Take I-15 north out of Las Vegas. In Utah, take exit 75 onto UT-143 S to Cedar Breaks National Monument. If you choose not to camp at Cedar Breaks, stay at a bed and breakfast in Cedar City. Dining highlights in the city include Pizza Factory (131 South Main Street) and Pastry Pub (86 West Center Street).

magazine’s annual design bash features presentations, how-to demonstrations, pro talks and vendors that are sure to provide inspiration. Want something a bit more up close and personal? Sign up for the conference’s popular home tour, which takes you on a whirl through area domiciles of every flavor. Dwell on Design takes place June 22-24 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Information: — Andrew Kiraly

WHITE ROC K LOO P : ALAN GEGA X ; C e d a r B r e a k s : Pa u l ROELANDT ; DWELL : L a u r e J o l i e t

White Rock Loop

If Bryce and Zion had a love child, it would look like Cedar Breaks National Monument. Located only 56 miles to the west of Bryce — and an even shorter drive north out of Zion’s Kolob Canyon area — Cedar Breaks is significantly smaller and much less crowded than more popular attractions in southern Utah, but it’s no less spectacular. With its stark and colorful rock formations rising out of a natural amphitheater, it resembles both Bryce and Zion in a way. In fact, it’s almost possible to believe that two of Utah’s most famous parks once spent the night here together, just to leave their illegitimate child behind, overshadowed by the expansiveness of Utah’s noteworthy landscape. Cedar Breaks National Monument may not be the shining star on the map — but that’s exactly why you should visit. One-on-one contact with park rangers, isolated hiking trails and plentiful guided walks with small groups are the norm. “We often get people who say they want to get away from crowds,” says Daphne Sewing, chief of education and partnership at Cedar Breaks. “They want to walk on trails without seeing other people, and they can do that here.” At more than 10,000 feet in elevation, Cedar Breaks is literally breathtaking. The wildflower season, which begins in June and usually ends in late August, is worth the trip alone. “The meadows explode with colors,” Sewing says. This year, June 7-22 marks the seventh annual Wildflower Festival, which features guided walks and workshops by wildflower specialists and volunteers. Beyond the flowers, there’s a five-mile scenic drive with several pull-off spots. “Take advantage of all the overlooks because each one has a different view of

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A beginner dips a toe into the dance scene to find a footloose world where strangers become friends — in just a few simple steps By Kathryn Kruse | Photography Bill Hughes Last summer, a friend of mine married into a Bavarian family. Following custom, the first dance was a full-on, magic-of-Disney, Fred-and-Ginger-eat-your-heart-out waltz — none of that gentle swaying stuff people get away with these days. She and her new hubby did all right. Only a few fumbles — and I never saw their tensed lips actually mouth the onetwo-three count. But then the groom’s 83-year-old father whispered “Schubert” to the DJ, and he and his wife took the floor. Alma and Reinhardt taught us kids a lesson in grace and style. Poised and unassuming, they sailed about the floor, clearing a path through fleeing pretenders. They were unaffected by our humble scurrying. They were unaffected by our thunderous applause. They Viennese-waltzed our pants off. I dream of a world in which I can dance like that. My boyfriend, let’s call him “Joe,” dreams of a world in which he never has to dance. However, with Alma and Reinhardt as a model, he decided a little dancing might not be such a bad thing. Seizing the moment, I decided to promenade us through studios and across dance floors all over the city, seeking the perfect class. T h e wrong foot It’s hard to know where to start. Ballroom dance is experiencing a revival, thanks to shows like “Dancing with the Stars.” As a result, one young instructor tells us, Vegas studios are “blowing up like popcorn.” One of the newest studios is Tracey Cutler’s The Stage in Anthem. The studio offers everything from ballet to Zumba, and it’s a good place to be if you’re looking for a seamless intersection between sophistication and fitness. Most students opt for $175 unlimited monthly passes over the $10-per-session fee. Fifteen students of all ages and dance levels gather on a floor — hardwood, low lights — and divide into two lines: men and women. The instructors are enthusiastic, but Joe and I literally get off on the wrong foot. We miss the down beat. He has no idea how to lead. I

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Companion | APRIL 2012

Eddie Mantsch and June Hou step out at “Ballroom Dancing with Manny” at the Gold Coast.

struggle with the word “follow.” And the shoes. In striving for “comfortable,” we learn the hard way to leave the slip-ons at home. In constant battle to keep our feet in our shoes, we stumble, trip and do not glide. Also, Joe does not love salsa (“The hips,” he says) and during a tango I get too involved in my mysterious-lady-with-piercing-gaze persona and nearly take out his kneecap on a rock-step. But it’s only our first lesson. “We had fun, right?” I ask. Joe says nothing. Parks a n d r ec r e at i o n For our second lesson, we opt for a low-key, low-cost class ($36 for six weeks) and head to the Henderson Multi-Generational Center. The studio has plate-glass windows,

but the only gawkers are kids and moms headed to swim lessons. Thankfully, they do not judge. Instructor Kimie Radke still has quite a few moves left after years as a professional dancer in Japan. “I love teaching here at the community center,” she says, sweeping her arm to encompass the entire building. “Multigenerational. Daughters bring their mothers and that affects the heart of the class. Grandparents bring kids.” Radke’s pedagogy is firm and funny as she takes us through basic steps (salsa again, poor Joe), pulling new students out to the center of the room and making sure everyone succeeds. This is definitely a “community” class. The student body cuts a wide demographic swath, the stakes are low, everyone is friendly and, if

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dancing is not enough of a workout, you can head up the concrete hall to the racquetball courts or ellipticals after class. Boys are at a premium tonight, a phenomenon we see often. But, as one woman tells me, “My fiancé couldn’t come. But it was lots of fun, and not a problem that there are not many guys.” I hear these sentiments everywhere, that going to class alone is fine, that no one feels awkward. In fact, at each venue students say that meeting new people — the social element — is at least as important as learning steps. No date? No problem. The ladies I meet talk about an added bonus to flying solo: “I get to dance with the instructor. It’s much better.” The gentlemen seem to heed what Josie Lopez, the owner of another studio, Step by

Step, tells us several days later: “If you are a man who learns how to dance, you will have a harem. I mean, if you build it, they will come.” No matter the gender breakdown, in Henderson, as in all group classes, Joe and I dance with each other very little. Every few minutes we switch partners. All the instructors say it’s good to get used to dancing with other people. Joe says, “It makes you keep your game face on. You can’t be petulant with strangers.” He’s still not having fun. Hi p - st e r s For round three, I head out of the studios and meet a friend at the expansive Las Palmas Mariachi Restaurant in Commercial Center for Latin dance night. Joe asks to be spared the all-night salsa (the hips).

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From wallflower to waltz king (or maybe duke) After a few timid steps, a novice shares tips for guys

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Guys, you’ve got to lead. Nothing separates ballroom from barroom like the need for one partner to take charge — and, traditionally, that means you. Sure, many ladies back-lead, but my initial conception of dance as me shuffling while a talented partner twirls about doesn’t really fly. The lead must lead. Being pressed into command can be daunting if, like mine, your dance experience is limited to the occasional inebriated faux-jig at a wedding. So here’s some advice from the survivor of a brief foray onto the floor. It’s chivalrous, not chauvinist. The alpha male role is touchy for many of us, but ballroom

dance is old-fashioned. When you step on the dance floor you’ve got to step back in time and put on the daddy pants. Or, as our friend exclaimed when Kathryn grabbed him to demonstrate what a proper lead feels like: “Oh, the sweet arms of the patriarch! Josef Stalin was right!” (He’s a poet, not a historian). Loosen up. Physically, not chemically. You might need to take some alone time and get to know your hips. (Tip: Your knees and thighs control your pelvis. Who knew?) Feel the music. Don’t concentrate so hard on your feet you forget about your ears. For the lead, rhythm is more important than the “right” step. If

you keep time, keep moving and provide a steady lead, you should be able to dance just about any steps and have your partner naturally follow. Be Clark Gable. It might help the reluctant lead to remember that ballroom dance is a performance — adopt a persona, get in character, imagine yourself with a rose clenched in your teeth. You might feel less self-conscious about whisking a complete stranger into closed position. But don’t get carried away. Remember, it’s leading, not pushing, pulling, tugging, or yanking. Nothing says unsmooth like a dislocated shoulder. — Joseph Langdon

Every Thursday at 7 p.m., an instructor leads a free, hour-long lesson. We arrive to find about 70 people of various ages, ethnicities and states of inebriation in a circle around the brightly lit dance floor, as if prepped for a massive hokey-pokey. Together we practice merengue. We practice salsa. Then the floor opens and some really good dancers ask me to cut a rug. They are patient and give pointers. The kitchen serves and the bar pours till 11. If you’re looking for a party that’s open to packs of single people as well as families of four, this is the place for you. But if you’re not ready to get on the floor and try your best, you might want to stick with the studios for a bit. It’s an all-ages crowd and lots of my dance partners are older. Our instructor, Louie Nevarro, 60 and suffering from chronic health issues, attests to the benefits of dance. “I know if I didn’t dance, I’d be in a wheelchair.” Back home I report to Joe. “Remember in Henderson, that older man who said, ‘Dancing helps with the ladies’? I saw him. With a lady.” Joe does a salsa basic step. What a guy. Wa l k it off I’m liking this speed. Rec center. Free salsa. But after Joe’s night on the couch it’s time we try one of the dance studios that is all ballroom all the time, one with unlisted prices and a website featuring lithe couples, sequins and dramatic poses. Somewhere that scares us. Delgado’s. At Tropicana Avenue and 215, we find Tony Delgado’s studio. He is poised and slick, and seems to quote Patrick Swayze in “Dirty Dancing.” “Arthur Murray himself saw me on a salsa floor and picked me out (for special training) 26 years ago.” Joe and I hear a lot about the competitive dance scene, and I have zero interest. Trophy? Why? But Delgado’s is heavy with the things and I see the allure: foot-and-a-half high, deco-fabulous renditions of what appear to be F. Scott and Zelda sweeping around the floor. That’s something for the mantel. “Fifty percent of amateur champions (in Las Vegas) come out of my studio. Sixty-five percent of our students end up competing,” Tony says. We schedule a private lesson/assessment session with Tony. I admit I’m nervous. He says, “If you were not nervous, you wouldn’t need us.” Waltz championship, here I come. We start with walking. Around us, the studio is a whirl of action: An adult tango class is in session, private lessons go on at the perimeters, a few women fit each other in samba gear and, through a door, | 27

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28 | Desert

Companion | APRIL 2012


we catch glimpses of five-year-olds box-stepping. After 20 minutes, Joe and I are able to hesitate our way through a foxtrot. Riding this ripple of success, we head out. On the drive home, Joe says, “I liked that walking dance.” A glimmer of hope. Just t h e t wo o f u s When we started our Las Vegas dance tour, Joe nixed private lessons: “I don’t want to know I’m the worst dancer in the room.” Everywhere we’d gone, people pushed private lessons, private lessons, private lessons, and we suspected it was just a business ploy. It turns out private lessons are pricy (around $60 per hour) — and wonderful. Especially for beginners. An hour with Step by Step instructor Jace Galvez gets us from the “walking dance” to a presentable box step, cha-cha, swing and, yes, salsa (“Don’t worry about the hips,” Jace says). The studio has thrived for 22 years, since back when PBS aired the only ballroom dance on TV. It’s a friendly yet snazzy option for the common man, only $75 for an unlimited monthly pass. Talking about dance becomes real metaphorical real quick, and a private lesson is a constant barrage of figurative truths. “Kathryn, for the dance to work, you have to wait for him.” “If you take small steps and maintain contact with the ground, dancing will be easier.” “You two must have a firm frame or your dancing will fall apart.”

Left: Nick Peterson and Courtney Pufalino at the Aruba. Right: Step by Step’s Josie Lopez instructs Kat Parren.

Manager Jim Clark offhandedly remarks, “Remember, the only thing you both have is the beat. If you hear the beat differently, you have nothing.” I wonder if it’s all right to put my head down and cry. Jace finally gives us the key to our dance. “It’s not how many steps you know,” he says. “It is the story you tell together.” Joe and I, we are writers. We tell stories. Check. Got this one. Owner Josie Lopez elaborates. “Each dance is a different story. You have a fight with a coworker? Come in and dance a tango.” She snaps to a taut pose. “Or, sometimes” — her body becomes languid, her face serious — “a waltz. Flirtatious? Coquettish?” Her eyes widen at Joe and a smile flits across her face. “It’s a cha-cha!” Da nc e da nc e r e vo lu t i o n As we stand floor-side at Aruba Swings, the weekly Friday night shindig in the cavernous Thunderbird Lounge, we see what Jace means by storytelling. The event features swing kids done up in saddle shoes and vintage skirts. They throw around lots of triple-step-deluxe maneuvers, spins and flairs. The couples we want to watch, however, aren’t the flashy aerobic dancers using their partner as a prop, they’re the pairs clearly involved in a “complex physical conversation,” as organizer Mark Brunton puts it. Disjointed athletics annoy us. They distract from the dancers who know how to communally de-


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scribe an emotional narrative — and the drama is high when it’s done right. In just three minutes, partners separate and get back together and test each other and make promises of trust and support. It gets intense. The first Friday of the month offers a free beginners’ lesson (the rest of the month you pay around $12.) Here, as everywhere, the students divide up according to gender and instructors talk about “men” and “women” instead of “lead” and “follow.” Thus, as always, surplus ladies choose to dance alone rather than take the lead for an hour. Such issues aside, Joe and I really shine at the Aruba. It may be the less formal instruction (navigating around tables to the beat of a sound check) or that we arrive an hour (and a few beers) before the class starts, but we are all over the lindy hop. Six-count swing out? Done. If you’re a young old soul and enjoy vintage and historical fiction, the Aruba’s a good place for you. The lounge has about 60 people jitterbugging through and the vast majority have made swinging a part of their lifestyle (I mean the dance). But we also see a sprinkling of novice dancers who have not started pillaging their grandparents’ closets and just want to try something new for a few hours. When the lesson ends and the concrete floor opens, the music pops a bit too fast for our novice needs, but the advanced dancers prove good entertainment. Joe says, “We should come back here.” I have to sit down. Also, I did botch the footwear again. Some of the lindy ladies had on low-heeled character shoes, but the majority of the hardcore hoppers? Keds. St r ic tly ballroom The Aruba was good. However, for the culmination of our dance blitz, we want a ballroom. I look in on one of the weekly parties Step by Step runs. It is nice, a sort of singles club-



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FORWARD TOGETHER Before there was music, there was a partnership.

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Companion | APRIL 2012

leisure meets-8th-grade dance. Everyone duds up and waltzes and snacks on chips, but it isn’t, you know, a ballroom. Zero vaulted ceilings. Zero suspicion that anyone holds count or duchess titles. For that, go through the front doors of the Gold Coast, past the Buddha, up the escalators and find Manny Bonotan. Real estate agent three days a week, golfer for two and dance instructor on Sundays, Manny runs a classy operation, the best you can get in Vegas. High ceilings. Nice wall fixtures. A wood floor unfolded over the conference room carpet. His “Ballroom Dancing with Manny” runs from 1 p.m. till midnight, and $10 gets you a lesson and keeps you on the parquet for four hours.” About 20 people come to the lesson, and 120 come to dance. Don’t come to this party if you don’t intend to get in the mix. It’s mostly an older crowd, and they are on the move, circling the floor, graceful, rhythmic and unstoppable. A waltz comes over the speakers. Joe and I prepare to engage. We stumble toward the line of dance. The panic and terror on his face takes me back to the time I drove on the autobahn. I imagine he considers the tenet “the lead must protect the follow” while envisioning collisions of suits and gowns and stilettos. “Maybe not this dance,” he says. We are not yet Fred and Ginger, but it’s okay. Everyone tells us it takes three months to grasp the basics. Getting Joe to the edge of the floor is good enough for now. I turn away for a moment and some nice ladies find Joe all by himself and take him for a few turns of the rumba. Remember, gents: a harem. T h e f i n a l st e p Like most communities in Vegas, the ballroom world feels small. I’m not sure if it’s unique to this city, but the instructors and many students use the word family when discussing other dancers. Even during our brief tour, Joe and I start running into people we had met. Dancers have lots of terms to define their dance, but the universal word I hear is social. And so it is. What a thing, in our times, to walk up to a stranger and ask if they would like to spend a moment taking a stroll in your arms. And what a thing for you to say yes. And, most amazing, what a thing for that stroll to be fun and safe and for that stranger to become a friend. As for our own little community, Joe and I are not quite ready to take on Alma and Reinhardt. But out at Red Rock the other day, we paused on a hiking trail and Joe swept me into a waltz promenade. What else could you want from a partner?


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This vibrant handbag is the only accessory required to step out in style. Cole Haan Vintage valise novelty Marisa crossbody by Cole Haan $198.00 The Shoppes at The Palazzo, Fashion Show


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Brent Sommerhauser doesn’t just create art in his studio. “I go there to solve problems.”

Getting his hands dirty


In the studio of Brent Sommerhauser, fine art emerges from dirty, hot, dangerous places By Kathryn Kruse | Photography Christopher smith In an unmarked warehouse on Industrial Road, Brent Sommerhauser ministers over a crucible of molten glass. The air stings. That’s the arsenic. A pantheon of furnaces roars, each blazing at more than 2,000 degrees. Everywhere, things are sharp, hot, breakable. Dangerous. Sommerhauser is completely at ease. Strolling over to the kiln, he shows off compressed-fiber molds. He has specially designed them to cast glass floorboards for his upcoming solo show at the Michele Quinn Fine Art gallery. For six years, Sommerhauser, 38, has been adding his unique vision to the Las Vegas art scene, showing work around the city and the world, collecting praise and awards. But it doesn’t go to his head; when he gets back to the labor of making art, it’s a lot of pushing and tugging and sawdust. In an era where creation seems to be migrating to the computer screen and artists often turn over designs to craftsmen, Sommerhauser bucks the trend and gets his hands dirty.

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“My studio is more like a laboratory,” he says. “I go there to solve problems.” His solutions often involve blowtorches, electricity, saws, vacuum cleaners and sledgehammers. The result of all this extreme art-making? Discreet, introspective, even delicate sculptures and drawings — flooring made of Emily Dickinson poems, glass arms reaching from plaster walls, drifts of pencil marks on paper. His work contemplates the effects of invisible forces and the possibility that materials can transcend their own nature. But even if Sommerhauser’s work does not scream with color and hype, it’s not boring. Elemental tensions, dangers — and opportunities — born of fundamental powers such as gravity and time grip the pieces. “The art is indicative and reflective of our era and time,” says Jerry Schefcik, Donna Beam Gallery director. “It is non-traditional methods of rethinking and art-making, of reusing.”

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profile W h e n t h e t r uck b r e aks d own Kansas farm boy and the oldest of 10 children, Sommerhauser did not have art galleries to visit growing up. “There were old farmers who welded together tractor pieces, but I didn’t think of that as art art,” he says. Farming has its own aesthetic, and he learned about creating, generating, making and doing. “When the truck broke down, you fixed the truck with what was in the truck.” He took this philosophy to college, where, six credits shy of a degree in psychology, Sommerhauser stumbled into a glass-blowing studio and discovered there were a lot of ways to make art art. And that was that. “I saw a guy take a blob, like a blob of honey, and turn it into a vase,” he says. “I saw nothing become something. This was what I wanted to do.” His work is not just multimedia. It is any media. While certain materials, (glass, pencils, wood flooring) frequently recur, Sommerhauser has the tendencies of a magpie and a tinkerer. Picture frames, wax, Styrofoam, a curtain in an emptied house, anything

Sommerhauser’s hands-on approach to art came in part from farm life. “When the truck broke down, you fixed the truck with what was in the truck.”




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wonder, ‘What was happening there?’ That’s memory; an emerging artist falls in love that comes near his hands is fair game. The good art.” with and follows an Olympic-synchronizedresult is a feeling of re-balancing as you acSommerhauser’s work leads a dialogue beswimmer-cum-baker to Vegas; wooden cept reassigned purpose and possibility — tween exterior and interior environments, floorboards defy gravity and curl like paper change and salvage. sometimes quite explicitly. Following the in a breeze; two pounds of glass and wood “The work asks the viewer to be a nutenet of “Make the thing that you fear,” he float like a balloon. Like a good story, each anced observer of the space you inhabit,” explores what happens when you enter a piece feels resolved. But, like a good story, says art historian and UNLV Assistant Prospace — a psyche or a house — and create the experience lingers and you want to get fessor Kirsten Swenson. The materials endisturbance. In one expression of this, Somanother peek. gage with their transformation and so does merhauser studied and dissected abandoned “There is life (in Sommerhauser’s work) the viewer. While the work feels effortless, homes in Detroit. Literally. Eluding feral dogs beyond the four seconds people take to look moments of inevitable disturbances — of (they hunt in packs) and, possibly, the mob (be at an art piece,” says Schefcik. “Later on you course the doors would invert upon themselves, of course the wax would flow like lava from the pencil — pleasure still comes from considering how the art came to be. Sommerhauser is not a magician who distracts the viewer with spectacle. He does not Three works by Brent Sommerhauser ask the viewer to be satisfied with whistles and bangs, to ignore the false floors behind the “Wind Drawing (Circle)” curtain. He is an architect for Pencil on BFK whom the entirety of a piece, Not to give away trade secrets, but the process behind the imagined-made-tangible is, “Wind Drawing (Circle)” involves a casino bingo-ball blower. in itself, the spectacle. The result is a practice in mark-making and a description “The story of how the pieces of powerful and ephemeral things: smoke, clouds, a Kansas are produced adds to them,” says tornado, the complete imperfections of a mind. Schefcik. But you don’t need to actually know the whole story. The layered depth and weight of each object is testament to the “Curl” questions of how to do and make. Custom tongue &

Wind, wood, glass

Th e storyteller of b r e athless moments Prod him just a little and Sommerhauser will tell you something about his own story, like how he’s been stuck by lightning three times or how, when he was a child, his family dug a basement and moved into it before building the rest of the house, each morning shifting aside the plywood roof, emerging into Kansas farmland. Once he draws you into the settings and plots of his life, it becomes impossible to separate biography from artwork. In both, Sommerhauser is an expert storyteller, hanging in the breathless moments when we wonder what will happen next — a boy is made to speedread the complete works of Kurt Vonnegut, uploading the content direct into long-term

groove flooring Sleek and effortless, “Curl” leads the viewer to question the idea of floor and the idea of wood. Playing with purpose and repurpose, Sommerhauser “uses wood to express its own fragility,” says art historian Kirsten Swenson. Something we assume to be sturdy becomes tenuous and, pushing the limits of what a material can be, Sommerhauser remakes the real.

“Not Yet or No Longer” Slumped and assembled glass Sommerhauser reminds us of the invisible forces that create experience: memory, age, disease. The piece captures the possibility of triumphant creation and melancholic nostalgia. Witnessing this moment, the desperate edge between existence and nonexistence, it is hard to not shout out like a child hearing a bedtime story, waiting for the page to turn. — K.K. | 37

profile careful where you go digging in some towns), Sommerhauser explored the detritus of an emptied city, looking for clues to lives, jigsawing out sections of flooring and walls, reshaping found objects. “They were a record without a key. They left open doors to interpretations of history,” Sommerhauser explains. The careful exploration of the spaces and the reuse of the ma-

terials became a method and means for reading that history. These accounts of wonder, subjects caught in a moment when forces act upon them, mirror the way that Sommerhauser sums up his life experience. “I stumble and I fall and I roll down a hill and land in something wonderful.” Since landing in Las Vegas in 2006, Sommerhauser has become widely and deeply involved

in the art community. You can see a white, crystalline glass piece he crafted for Domsky Glass at The Cosmopolitan’s Book & Stage. He designs and builds the collections technician for Cirque du Soleil, is a visiting lecturer for the UNLV Art Department and handles art for several galleries — everything from local art to Picassos to Michael Jackson’s glove. (“It was in a big Tupperware container and the security guards made a big deal about it like they never do with paintings.”) ‘ o f co u r s e i t ca n b e do n e ’ In Vegas, Sommerhauser’s work has grown in complexity and confidence. “The problems that must be solved have become more significant,” he says. Part of the confidence comes from stepping behind the curtain of some of the big Vegas spectacles. “(They are) false constructions that someone built to serve a visual purpose. It makes me think, ‘Of course it can be done,’” he says. The city has also increased his commitment to the finer points of craft. “I don’t want to go to the indoor forest, hear the birds singing and then see the speaker in the tree. I don’t want anything to be lost after the a-ha moment. I don’t want the experience to fall apart.” For gallerist Michele Quinn, Sommerhauser’s work speaks to the city’s physical environment. “(It’s) not what you first think of as Vegas, the shapes and colors, but the larger environment, the massive space, the openness and the quality of light. You must get close and be quiet to see the layers in his work.” She laughs. “Just like the city itself.” For Sommerhauser, Las Vegas has proven to be a productive site for his career. In just the last year, he received the Saxe Award from the Pilchuck Glass School, a Nevada Art Council Artists Fellowship, and was nominated for the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award. Galleries around the city and as far away as Germany have shown his work. He is happy about all of that, but what excites him? Opening the kiln to find that his glass flooring has turned out perfectly. He is excited for what’s next. What’s next is his solo show at the Michele Quinn Fine Art gallery, which will mark the reopening of this downtown art venue. The space could not be more perfect for Sommerhauser’s concerns with the stories of our interiors: It is an old house. Brent Sommerhauser’s work is on exhibit April 26-June 30 at Michele Quinn Fine Art, 620 S. 7th St., 366-9339. For more information, visit or

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Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of “Righteous Porkchop,” discusses eating sustainably on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at


A green what?

Meet six unlikely businesses that are taking things green. Compressed soil pucks and solar-powered chocolate, anyone? By Andrew Kiraly sunlight and turning it into energy. But Phillips says other businesses can start seeing the light by not thinking big, but by thinking small. “You don’t have to go in with a goal of supplying 60 percent of your annual energy. Instead, look at small places to improve. Can a factory power its boiler using solar energy? It helps to think of it in terms of small impacts instead of this big thing to bite off.” And as chocolate-lovers know, small bites are sometimes the best. (


C h o colate So single-minded are the confectionery warlocks at Ethel M in their pursuit of creating chocolate by whatever means necessary that they have harnessed the elemental power of the sun itself for their dark, rich arts. Ethel M recently unveiled a 4.4-acre solar farm that aims to provide 100 percent of the electrical energy to the Ethel M plant during peak chocolate-making hours. Over the course of a year, that will translate into the 2,000-panel solar array supplying about 60 percent of the chocolate factory’s energy needs. In a symbiotic arrangement, Boulder, Colo.-based Juwi Solar owns and operates the solar farm, selling the energy to Ethel M. For its

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It looks like a typical home, but this KB Home ZeroHouse model uses virtually no energy.

part, Ethel M paid less than $100,000 up front for land prep and engineering work. “It’s honestly maybe a $30,000 (energy cost) savings over the course of a year,” says Mack Phillips, Ethel M’s Henderson site director. Not a bad chunk of change, but Phillips says it’s not really about the bucks. “Moving toward solar really boils down to our business principles of being as self-supporting and sustainable as possible. One of our primary goals is to get off the grid by 2040, using 100 percent renewable energy, with no changes in the quality of our product.” Of course, not every local business has five empty acres sitting around, ripe for soaking up

Limousines Next time you plan a night cruising the Strip in a stretch Hummer, screeching “Vegas, baby!” and spraying 1928 Krug on the bosom of an exotic dancer you just met named after a precious stone you can’t remember, why not do it in environmentally responsible fashion? You can if you hire Earth Limos & Buses. Launched in 2008 by Lou Castro, the company has a fleet of 14 vehicles that run on an array of alternative fuels, from liquid propane to ethanol blends to good ol’ biodiesel. That means a smaller carbon footprint while you’re busy making “Hangover” memories. Nicole Feely, director of marketing and sales, says it was tough getting a foothold in a market dominated by big names such as Frias and Bell Trans, but she’s happy to find that tourists and companies booking conventions are increasingly trying to make their Vegas jaunts greener. “We’re a very small fish in a big, competitive pond, but people really want a green alternative even when it comes to luxury transportation,” she says. And Earth Limos has stuck to its green guns; for instance, when their biodiesel fuel supplier went belly up, Feely says they spent the money to build their own fueling station right on site. The small business’ green bona fides have already attracted star attention, too: Earth Limos were delivering celebs such as Jennifer Hudson to The Smith Center’s March 10 gala. Bravo. ( G r o ce r i e s There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the ingenuity of our modern industrial food complex by eating a Hungry Man TV din-

ner using a Pop Tart as an edible trowel, but there’s also something to be said for old-fashioned food without an ingredient list that requires a chemistry degree to decipher. That’s where Quail Hollow Farm comes in. The small, eight-acre farm in Overton isn’t just a farm. It’s a veritable organic grocery store that delivers near your neighborhood. Here’s how its “community supported agriculture” model works: You subscribe to a growing season — prices range from about $300 to more than $1,000, depending on how often you want the farm goods — and you’ll get regular deliveries of what Mother Earth has on tap that season, from crisp lettuce mixes to tomatoes so plump and juicy they’re vaguely pornographic. (In fact, last year, Quail Hollow grew more than 70 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.) “It’s like having a subscription to a farm, and our model allows us to cut out the middleman,” says Quail Hollow’s Laurie Bledsoe. Nor is there a middleman between your taste buds and all that natural veggie goodness. “The number one best thing about our produce is you’ll notice an incredible difference in flavor over vegetables that have been shipped across the country for days and sometimes weeks,” Bledsoe says. “This is local food. The next best thing is the fact that you know your farmer, and you know the philosophy of our farm, which is to be organic and as sustainable as possible.” In addition to just-picked organic fruits and vegetables, Quail Hollow also occasionally offers fresh herbs, flowers and one-off novelty foods. This year it’s agretti, a Mediterranean herb that looks like a cross between rosemary and grass. That’s a good kind of exotic additive. ( IT s e rvic es Ah, the IT guy: A pimpled dwarf who never encountered a problem that couldn’t be solved by telling you to restart your computer, right? That’s the old breed. The 21st century IT professional is much more than that. Among other things, he understands that a company’s computers, faxes, printers and servers are more than just an informational matrix — they’re also a potential energy-sucking, carbon-intensive vortex. And that new generation of IT pro is being trained at places such as the Las Vegas Professional Institute of Technology and Accounting, which offers a certification in Green IT Specialist Certification. That covers everything from properly recycling that old Windows clunker to tweaking office computer settings to save power to turning inefficient, one-trick PCs into multitasking virtual machines. “A lot of businesses aren’t aware of the en-

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environment ergy and conservation implications of their computer systems,” says Laurie Clemens, director of the institute. Her courses also train tomorrow’s IT professionals in how to shepherd companies into going paperless. Now that sounds like a fresh restart. ( T rac t homes Buying a tract home in a suburban subdivision used to be considered as ecologically sensitive as driving a Humvee made of baby seal skulls. As Southern Nevada recovers from the housing bubble hangover and reconsiders our fealty to the gods of sprawl, KB Home is trying something slightly different. In January, it debuted a model of its ZeroHouse 2.0 at Mountain’s Edge. In partnership with SunPower, a solar energy system developer based in San Jose, Calif., KB Home lets homebuyers shop for sustainable add-ons in a la carte fashion, adding features such as solar water heaters, lowe windows that radiate less heat and, of course, solar panels.

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“We’ve always let customers build their homes to order, picking their countertops and other features,” says Jennifer Haack, KB Home marketing specialist. “We decided to take the same approach with solar and other energy-saving packages. For instance, you could go with six solar panels, 12 panels or just enhanced insulation.” And there’s no crazy retrofitting that needs to take place, as the house is pre-plumbed to take in the sun. Opting for, say, 12 solar panels adds about $10,000 to the mortgage, but Haack points out that you can shave up to $200 a month off your energy bill — and a federal tax credit for 30 percent of the cost doesn’t hurt, either. If you’re looking to reach true net zero energy consumption, it’ll take some serious investment — the ZeroHouse model in Mountain’s Edge has 33 solar panels, among other sustainable bells and whistles — but as we’re all quickly learning, sunlight pays. ( Soil Soil — it’s made from the earth, so it’s, like, automatically green, right? Not nec-

essarily. It’s damp and heavy and filled with stuff not naturally occurring in the earth. Wondersoil, on the other hand, is made of compressed eco-pucks that contain stuff like worm castings, special fungi and other plant-approved goodies. And while we all know that water is good for plants, the ironic secret to Wondersoil’s earth-friendliness is how dry it is. “The dryer it is, the better it compresses, and the more it rehydrates and expands,” says Patty Rubin. “When we ship our product, we’re not shipping water, so we save on freight and save on space.” And Rubin says when you do add water to grow your herbs, the ultra-condensed Wondersoil doesn’t require as much to kick off the growing. “Instead of buying a two cubic-foot bag of potting soil that weighs 90 pounds, all you need is eight or nine pounds. It’s easy to use, easy to store and promotes better plant success.” Perhaps best of all, your own Wondersoil wasn’t shipped very far — the manufacturing plant is based right here in Las Vegas. (Available at Plant World;

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY. UC San Diego Health System is proud to announce our newest family member: Nevada Cancer Institute. Nevada cancer patients will now have access to an academic health system that leads the way in the fight against cancer. Our research and clinical care is individualized to your needs, your cancer, even your DNA. We don’t just treat the disease — we treat you.


News Reviews Interviews e at t h i s n o w ! O n t h e P l at e


The dish

Tasty gems on the Strip


At first Bite

Bottles & Burgers


On the Plate

April’s dining events


eat this now!

Seafood, meet pancake

PHOTOGRAPH BY Christopher Smith

Table 10’s Dungeness crab salad with hearts of palm and mâche | 45


TH e d i s h


I know this one place …

Next time you’re playing tour guide on short notice, consider these Strip gems hidden in plain sight By Brock Radke | Food Photography Christopher Smith

It’s a true rite of passage, one of those singular experiences that naturalizes you as a citizen of Vegas. Friends are in town or, worse, relatives. Of course you’re entertaining. No, you’re concierging. You’re dragging yourself down to the Strip on a weeknight, spending time in a big, crazy, blinking casino. Have you ever stepped foot in here before? You’re not sure. And then, the “loved ones” hit you with it: So where’s the best place to eat around here? That’s where it begins. After sapping the joy from what could have been an all-out amazing

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dinner, it ends hours later, when you’re regretting the never-ending buffet trip, or the steakand-fried-shrimp combo from the casino coffee shop you conceded to because “loved ones” don’t like tapas. Or “fancy” French food. Or Japanese. Or Mexican. Or anything interesting that tastes good. Don’t feel guilty because you haven’t memorized the dining lineups of every megaresort. (That’s my job.) And don’t let one obnoxious experience define dining on the Strip. With dozens of restaurants in a single resort, the

options can be overwhelming, especially with the added pressure of pleasing your peeps. It’s always best to plan ahead, if you can, and feel confident when sticking to your favorite spots. But if it’s time to branch out, understand there is great food everywhere on Las Vegas Boulevard. Over the last two years, I’ve been eating the Strip at a furious pace: places I always wanted to visit, and even more I never wanted to visit. And from corny themed restaurants to top-notch tasting menus, there’s always a surprise. Taking time to appreciate these overlooked culinary wonders, whether casual or formal, also is a rite of passage, an evolution of your Vegas food education. So let’s go: We’re starting at Spring Mountain Road and working our way south, stopping for a quick taste of the lesser-known restaurants of the Strip. These are places you missed or ignored, places you haven’t hit yet, and places to add to your mental inventory next time the “loved ones” ask that ridiculous question. Wynn. I’m a sucker for a great deli. Who isn’t? The fact that Zoozacrackers (770-3463) is a great deli right by the sports book inside

Z o o z a C r a c k e r s d e l i c o u r t e s y o f W y nn l a s v e g a s ; Range Steak house courtesy of Harrah’s Las Vegas

Left: Zoozacrackers is a can’t-miss deli. Above: Table 10’s wild salmon with Brussels sprouts. Right: The Range Steakhouse offers Strip views and succulent cuts.

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Bacio’s Orecchiete with sausage and broccoli rabe

what is still the most luxurious casino on the Strip is, to me, Vegas perfection. And unlike the famous imports across the street (Canter’s at TI, Carnegie at Mirage), everything here is made in-house: slightly smoky pastrami, corned beef, latkes, everything. It breaks my heart that it’s not open 24 hours. Palazzo. Location, location, location. It’s the key ingredient for any successful restaurant, and that includes those cornered in giant casinos. The Palazzo chose to stick an Emeril Lagasse restaurant on the library-quiet retail level upstairs from the casino, and it hasn’t exactly thrived. But it deserves to, especially since longtime Lagasse chef Sean Roe took over at Table 10 (607-6363). It’s a beautifully consistent American menu, driven by season-

al ingredients and favorite flavors. My picks are the Dungeness crab salad, suckling pig “porchetta” and wild salmon with Brussels sprouts and lobster sauce ($32). Venetian. When we think of great pizza, we think of neighborhood takeout spots. But on the Strip, there is truly awesome pizza to be found in fine Italian restaurants, hiding on appetizer lists or masquerading as “flatbreads.” It’s only been a couple years since uber-famous Mario Batali’s local shop changed its name to focus on our favorite food, and while there are tons of terrific pasta dishes, cured meats, artisan cheeses and great wines to sample at Enoteca Otto (6773390), the friendly prices ($17 to $20 for a pie) and tasty options make this the Orange- | 47

dining clogged One’s most accessible eatery. Try the Pizza Romana, with anchovies, capers and red chili flakes. Mirage. Literally hiding in a corner near the massive buffet, Onda (531-3825) combines a neat, modern Italian wine lounge with an ultra-cozy, old-fashioned Italian restaurant. I love the sunken floor of the main dining room; it’s like a secret, golden batcave of hearty classics like Spaghetti Carbonara, Veal Marsala and a knockout osso bucco. The Mirage has re-done itself several times since changing the game when it opened 22 years ago, and when it was refashioned in 2006, this restaurant got lost in the mix. It has such a warm atmosphere, and the food is always satisfying. Harrah’s. You don’t really “go” to The Range (369-5000), you kinda sneak up there. I’m not sure if it’s stuck in the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s, but it’s a sweet escape all the same. Exit the elevator and be aware that the cowboy

Zoozacrackers’ bold rendition of Eggs Benedict, the Zooza Benny

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statue at the host stand is a real person. Then there’s jazz in the huge lounge, views of the Strip, succulent steaks and chops, and some of the best crab cakes around. Bellagio. Of course you’ve never eaten at or even heard of Noodles (693-7223). This laidback-but-brilliant Asian bazaar is across the whole casino from Bellagio’s big name, dancing-fountain-fronting restaurants. But it’s so good: soothing wonton soup or spicy Thai tom yum, weekend dim sum, great red barbecued pork and roasted duck, and infinite noodles. No reservations required at a Bellagio restaurant? Yep. Excalibur. I’ve never advised anyone to visit Excalibur. I’d never recommend anyone should dine at a restaurant themed around a Southern rock band. But if you want the best barbecue on the Strip, suck it up and hit Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer (597-7818). It’s actually a lot of fun, a wild roadhouse/cafeteria dropped into a casino. Grab a tray, take your pick from Texas-style smoked meats (try

the beef shoulder and prime rib) and well-flavored side dishes like braised collard greens, order a cold beer and go to work. Tropicana. There are so many decent Italian eats on the Strip. It makes it hard to find a fresh approach. Part of the Trop’s refreshening was bringing in Chef Carla Pellegrino to create Bacio (739-2222), where she’s doing a killer cold seafood-and-citrus salad and rustic, artsy pasta dishes like Orecchiette Pugliese with sausage and broccoli rabe. Bacio is quickly becoming the new Trop’s signature dining experience, and it’s a friendly one. Luxor. Someday your mom might come to town and maybe she likes to eat Peking duck, and maybe she’d like to eat it inside a huge black pyramid with a laser beam shooting out the top. It’s possible. Rice & Company (262-4852), though oddly named, has got your mom’s duck, served with mushu pancakes and crisp vegetables, not to mention spring rolls, lobster Cantonese and lots of other shockingly tasty Chinese standards.

M ay w e r e c o m m e n d … Zooza Benny at Zoozacrackers in the Wynn. Zoozacrackers chef Sammy Morse teleported into my delicatessen dreams and returned with a bold rendition of Eggs Benedict, one of the must-have menu items at the most casual Wynn eatery. It starts with old-school potato latkes, crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. Vertical construction includes slabs of smoky, salty housemade pastrami and corned beef, melty Swiss cheese, perfectly poached eggs and tangy Russian dressing. One bite is bliss, which is why I always clean my plate. — Brock Radke


postrio bar & grill

american | the forum shops 369.6300

american | the venetian 796.1110


wolfgang puck bar & grill

steak | the palazzo 607.6300

american | mgm grand 891.3000


wolfgang puck pizzeria & cucina

italian | mandalay bay 740.5522

italian | crystals at citycenter 238.1000

Kurobuta Baby Back Ribs at Table 10 in Palazzo. The most decadent, overall best barbecued ribs in Vegas are actually rotisserie-roasted for hours, saturating the most flavorful, fatty marbled pork available — known as Kurobuta or Berkshire — with its own savory juices. You can grab a slab of Table 10’s baby backs for lunch or to share with the table and marvel at the luscious texture and explosive flavors, augmented by a rich, sticky, not-toosweet barbecue sauce and a sprinkle of pickled corn salad. No magical meaty morsel will be left behind. — B.R. | 49


Ferraro’s italian Restaurant


egg Works and egg & i

Ferraro’s Italian restaurant and Wine Bar is fine Italian dining at its best. Featuring Ferraro’s signature Osso Buco, traditional family recipes, and an award-winning wine cellar featuring over 1,000 international wines. Join us for lunch, dinner, or latenight dining.

Award-winning smashburger serves 100-percent Certified Angus Beef cooked-to-order smashburgers, as well as smashchicken sandwiches, smashdogs, smashsalads, Häagen-dazs shakes, and sides like veggie frites and rosemary and garlic-seasoned smashfries, daily from 10am-10pm.

A favorite for locals and tourists alike for breakfast and lunch. these award winning restaurants are Zagat rated and have been featured on the Food network’s rachael’s vacation. their menu is huge, featuring an amazing array of egg creations, home soups, salads, burgers and Cincinnati style chili. the famous homemade banana nut muffin is a must try!!!

4480 Paradise Rd., las Vegas, nV (702) 364-5300

7541 W. lake Mead Blvd (702) 982-0009 9101 W. Sahara (702) 462-5500 5655 Centennial Center Blvd. (702) 462-5503 4725 S Maryland Pkwy (702) 385-0043

4533 W. Sahara Ave. 9355 W. Flamingo Rd. 2490 e. Sunset Rd. 6960 S. Rainbow Blvd.

(702) 364-9686 (702) 368-3447 (702) 873-3447 (702) 361-3447

Dine in Style.

table 34

Grape Street

Brio tuscan Grille

Featuring Chef Wes Kendricks’ contemporary American cuisine including safe harbor certified fresh fish, wild game, duck, lamb, angus beef, and comfort food classics. Conveniently located off the 215 near the Airport. dinner tuesday - saturday 5pm until closing (around 10pm)

Grape street Cafe and Wine Bar is your best bet in summerlin for lunch, dinner or happy hour. 80 wines by the glass, bottles of wine to go at 50% off everyday, and 50% off bottles on monday’s when dining in. Happy hour tuesday-Friday 3pm-6pm - buy one drink get one free and 1/2 off all appetizers, live jazz on Friday’s and saturday’s.

In tuscany the food is everything. tuscan Culinary Creations are mastered at Brio using the finest and freshest ingredients. Brio brings the pleasures of the tuscan country villa to the American City.

600 east Warm Springs Road las Vegas, nV 89119 (702) 263-0034

Grape Street Cafe 7501 W. lake Mead Blvd. las Vegas, nevada 89128 (702) 228-9463

6653 las Vegas Blvd. So., town Square, las Vegas, nV (702) 914-9145


April’s dining events you don’t want to miss FOGO DE CHÃO’s “dine out for junior achievement” april 5. The Southern Brazilian-style steakhouse hosts a fundraising dinner for the Junior Achievement Academy of Las Vegas, which prepares students in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workplace readiness. The dinner includes unlimited servings of fire-roasted meat, gourmet salad bar, dessert and more. $25 for children 6-10, $50 adults. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Fogo de Chão, 360 E. Flamingo Road, 431-4500,

Maibock keg tapping The Double Helix stuffed burger has Angus beef and braised short ribs. a t FIRST B ITE

Bottles & Burgers by Double Helix By Brock radke | Photography Christopher smith Eating at gourmet burger joints all over town has reminded me what I love about a burger. Combining contrasting textures and splashing wild flavor around is fun, but what are we really talking about here? That super juicy, savory-rich bite of beef. Everything else is just framing. At our newest gourmet burger joint, Bottles & Burgers in the year-old Tivoli Village center, that beautiful bite is present. Cook the meat well, can’t go wrong. Some of the framing is colorful and interesting. There’s a chopped tuna burger with chiles and watercress, and a stuffed chicken burger with mozzarella and red pepper chutney. Other accoutrements are more straightforward and successful, such as the blend of onion marmalade, blue cheese and bacon. Bottles & Burgers also taught me what I don’t want with a burger, and that’s sweetness. Most of the buns are soft, fluffy, brioche-style bread. This works on the slid-

ers, where a little goes a long way. It’s a particularly nice match with the creamy coleslaw on the slightly spicy barbecue pulled pork mini-sandwiches. But a sweet roll doesn’t stack up well with the meatpile of the Double Helix stuffed burger, Angus beef and braised short ribs forming an unholy union, with horseradish, too. Sometimes drastic flavors fight it out instead of complementing each other, and now we’ve gotten away from what we love — a nice, juicy, simple burger. If you like sweet stuff, get one of the devilish spiked milkshakes, Choco-Cherry with vodka or the Hostess with the Mostess, cake-flavored vodka with vanilla ice cream and the kitchen’s remake of a chocolate Hostess cupcake. Or maybe you like sweet potato fries, served with chipotle aioli and the suggestion of a half-bottle of pinot noir. There are plenty of bottles and plenty of burgers here, lots of fun, and lots of options. Choose the right adventure.

april 27. UFC Fighter Frank Mir, a Las Vegas native and beer aficionado, will tap the ceremonial first keg of Maibock brew, a creamy and aromatic bock that is one of Munich’s oldest and most beloved beers. Free. 7 p.m. Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas, 4510 Paradise Road, 740-7888, hofbrauhauslasvegas. com

“And then there were two” master series dinner May 12. As part of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit, “And Then There Were Two” is a five-course meal that highlights Central Michel Richard’s savory signature dishes such as Asparagus Vichyssoise, tomato tartare and seared halibut with lemongrass emulsion. $135. 7 p.m. Central Michel Richard in Caesars Palace, vegasuncorked. com

Bottles & Burgers at Tivoli Village, 450 S. Rampart Drive, 431-5453 | 51

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Jajangmyun at Chapaghetti In South Korea, April 14 is known as Black Day. The anti-Valentine’s Day, it’s an occasion when the lonely commiserate by wearing dark clothes and wallowing over bowls of jajangmyun, or noodles in black bean sauce. For those of you who are bitterly unwed and interested in importing this tradition, Chapaghetti is one of the few places in Vegas serving this Korean-Chinese specialty. Massive tangles of chewy noodles are served in fishbowl-sized portions and then drenched in an inky black sauce with bits of beef. An outrageous amount of chopped onion gives jajangmyun its flavor, but it might also explain why fans of the dish remain single. — Debbie Lee


chapaghetti (inside Greenland Supermarket), 6850 Spring Mountain Road, 375-5100

Crispy seafood pancake at Surang’s Thai Kitchen

When you spot pancakes on the menu of this Thai take-out joint, throw out any notions of Bisquick boxes and silver dollars. Surang’s version is a savory cloud of eggy batter studded with shrimp, green mussels, squid and scallops. Fried in hot oil until sizzling and golden, it’s crunchy on the outside and pleasantly chewy within. A side of sweet and spicy plum sauce is reminiscent of syrup, but unlike your usual pancakes, this is best enjoyed at any hour of the day. — D.L.

Surang’s Thai Kitchen, 5455 S. Fort Apache Road, 385-0021

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J a j a n g m y u n : C h r i s to h e r S m i t h

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Cardiac Patient St. Rose Dominican Hospitals

Expect only the highest level of care for your heart when you need it most.

Commercial airline pilot Cleve was flying through his exercise routine when he started feeling ill. He was taken to St. Rose Dominican Hospitals where he underwent emergency open heart surgery. Thanks to the compassionate, quality care he received at St. Rose, Cleve is now feeling as strong as ever and is back to the flying career he is deeply passionate about. St. Rose offers comprehensive cardiovascular services with state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, including catheterization labs to repair blocked arteries, open heart and minimally-invasive heart surgery, and rehabilitation. These services are provided by a team of caring professionals all trained and credentialed to evaluate and treat cardiac diseases. At St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, we offer the highest level of cardiac technology and care. When you expect the best in care, make sure you turn to St. Rose. To learn more about Cleve’s story and our Cardiology Centers: Do you have a St. Rose doctor? Call 616-4508.

| fashion Houndstooth dress Alexander McQueen $2,565 "Dolly" raffia heel Charlotte Olympia $895 All available at Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall

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BRITISH INVASION Here comes the sun: This season, British style travels west with a twist on tradition.



christ ie moeller hair & makeup

Krystle Randa ll models

Chine & Jeremy model agency

Envy Model Manageme nt location


Slim fit suit Burberry London $1,295 Subtly striped shirt Burberry London $195 All available at Burberry in the Forum Shops

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| fashion JEREMY

Long visor Ivy cap Ben Sherman $50 Chinos Ben Sherman $129 and Macy's Striped long-sleeve button-down Ben Sherman $89 and Macy's Single-breasted "Plectrum" blazer Ben Sherman $259


Classic dark trench Burberry Brit $750 Orange ochre skirt Burberry Brit $395 Dark spice knit cardigan Burberry London $495 All available at Burberry in the Forum Shops | 57

CHINE Knitted Union Jack jumper by TOPSHOP, $92; cropped wax hooded jacket by TOPSHOP, $116; MOTO high-waist hot pants by TOPSHOP, $56, all available at TOPSHOP in the Fashion Show Mall JEREMY Striped blazer by TOPMAN, $200; Plaid shirt by TOPMAN, $56; navy vest by TOPMAN, $80; gray trousers by TOPMAN, $130, all available at TOPMAN in the Fashion Show Mall

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| fashion

Stella McCartney orange jacket $1,745 Stella McCartney graphic tee $195 Stella McCartney striped shorts $825 All available at Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall | 59

©2012 California Closet Company, Inc.Inc. AllAll rights reserved. Each franchise independently owned and operated. NV Lic. #52850 ©2012 ©2012 California California Closet Closet Company, Company, Inc. Allrights rights reserved. reserved. Each Each franchise franchise independently independently owned owned and and operated. operated. NV NV Lic. Lic. #52850 #52850









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You’ve got the look Peek inside some Southern Nevada homes that are icons of architectural style By Heidi Kyser | Photography by Christopher Smith

Residential architecture — like any other art form — has its categories, from baroque to postmodern and beyond. A common lament about Las Vegas’ design landscape is its shallowness, but dig a little and you’ll find a few gems of specific genres — and in some cases, some examples that perfectly embody their spirit. | 61

Rustic hideaway

Straw-bale construction lends itself to soft curves like those seen in Barbara Luke’s divider walls, doorways and window seats. Luke enhanced the natural feel of the design by opting for features such as tube lights, recycled wood doors and a stained concrete floor. Her high-walled courtyard conceals the view of neighbors, extending the home’s peaceful atmosphere.

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“I love the idea that once you walk away from your house, years and years from now, when nobody else wants it, it’s just going to erode away to a pile of dirt.” That’s Barbara Luke talking about her eightyear-old straw-bale home in Blue Diamond. The construction technique, which humans have used in some form or another for centuries, employs bales of hay for structure and insulation. They’re bound together and covered with plaster, creating walls known for soft lines and their ability to keep cold, heat and sound out. Straw-bale construction is also known for sustainability, because it relies primarily on a renewable resource, hay. With the help of architect

David A. Heintz, Luke integrated many other ecofriendly features into her home’s design. Cabinets are made of compressed, formaldehyde-free straw fibers; doors are made of pickle wood, that is, from repurposed pickle barrels; tube lights (capped cylindrical tunnels through the ceiling to the sky) let in sunshine with minimal heat; a hot-water-on-demand system conserves energy; and a permeable concrete driveway filters water to the table below ground, instead of sending it away as runoff. Luke says friends love having parties at her place, partly because people find it so pretty, and partly because of the sound insulation. “It’s really peaceful inside.” | 63

Minimalist mint

Las Vegas architectural legend Jack Miller was heavily influenced by Bauhaus and modernism, which is apparent in the design of his own home, shown here. Current owners Luke and Robin Vincent had to update finishes, but preserved original treasures, such as the wood paneling and Frank Lloyd Wright fireplace, and even got their hands on a Miller painting of a tree.

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Better known for the commercial and industrial projects built by his firm, JMA Architecture, Jack Miller lived in his own homage to Bauhaus until he died in 1999. Although it was built in 1964 — some 30 years after the German design school disbanded — the house on the Black Mountain Golf Course in Henderson hums with a harmony between form and function that would make Walter Gropius proud. The house’s box-like design is arranged around a central, indoor atrium looking out onto the backyard swimming pool and golf course beyond. The atrium feels like the heart of the house and, indeed, it distributes light and traffic flow through all four of its sides — to the outdoors, kitchen-dining area, living room and master bedroom. Sliding wood screens and windows open or cut off that flow depending on the activity, time of day or whim of the inhabitants. Current residents Luke and Robin Vincent treasure the historic space they’ve called home since 2005. Luke Vincent, whose grandparents were friends and neighbors of the Millers, remembered trick-or-treating there as a kid, being fascinated by the koi that used to swim in a pond by the front door. Bored in their Southern Highlands McMansion, the Vincents couldn’t believe their eyes when, driving through the old neighborhood one day, they saw the Miller house for sale. “From the moment I walked in, I could see I’d never been in a house like this before,” Robin Vincent says. Her husband adds, “I love everything about it.” | 65

Bob Fielden designed his family home to marry energy efficiency and modern aesthetics. Built on a slope, it descends in levels, hugging the Earth like interior terracing. The direction it faces, the way skylights are integrated and features such as horizontal windows maximize use of natural heat and light.

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Modern experiment


Before Robert Fielden was known for his urban planning commentaries (on News 88.9 KNPR, among other outlets); before his firm, RAFI Architecture, had a portfolio crammed with some of Vegas’ best-known public buildings … way back in 1975, the young architect embarked on an experiment with his wife, Jane, and their two kids. They built their own home. “Our house is the result of a research project that determined a unique custom home could be built using tract home techniques and materials for the same costs,” Fielden says. Working only with a couple of framers, a plumber, an electrician and two tile setters, and doing most of the manual labor themselves, the family built a 2,300 square-foot house with a pool for around $75,000. Fielden says it wasn’t DIY by design; they simply couldn’t get busy contractors interested in the time-intensive project. Back then, the location near Sahara Avenue and Jones Boulevard was on the edge of town. There wasn’t much to look at outside, so the design was inward-focused and centered around what started as a central atrium (eventually trimmed to a large indoor planter). The kids’ territory — with bedrooms and rec room — is on one end, and the grown-ups’ domain – with master bedroom and study — is on the other. The “line of demarcation,” as Fielden calls it, is the dining room and main entry in the middle. The project also came at the end of the first Arab Oil Embargo, so it was designed to minimize energy costs — and to receive solar panels once the technology was fully established (they were added two years ago). Horizontal windows reflect light in while keeping heat out, and two-inch by six-inch stud framing allowed for thicker walls with more insulation than usual. “There’s something special about living in a place you built yourself,” says Jane Fielden, Robert’s wife. “We did it all with our kids and friends." | 67

Mid-mod dream home


You can’t talk design eras in Las Vegas without someone mentioning mid-century modern. Most classic examples of the 1950s and ’60s style, found in historic districts near downtown and Las Vegas National Golf Club, are either in disrepair or have been heavily modified. Not Meghan Stoddard’s home. Having searched six months for a mid-mod home in original condition, Stoddard found this one in July 2008. She looked at it in the morning — and had it on hold by the afternoon. It’s easy to see why. Hardly a thing has been altered on the house, designed by former owners Dino and Flora D’Alessio, since they had it built in 1963. Cabinets maintain their original finish and hardware. Gold-veined mirror walls (Dino D’Alessio owned a glass company) are absent of cracks. The floral-patterned tile in the kitchen is spotless. Every rock in the wraparound fireplace separating living room from den is intact. The built-in stereo in the den still pipes sound throughout 68 | Desert

Companion | APRIL 2012

the house (albeit from Stoddard’s jacked-in iPod). All the pink kitchen appliances but one (the dishwasher) work. To top it off, Stoddard arrived stocked with period-appropriate furnishings, from Danish modern sofas and Jere-influenced wall hangings, to shag rugs under the dining set and ceramic dishes displayed in suspended glass cabinets. “I’ve been a mid-century modern enthusiast for about eight to 10 years prior to moving in and slowly collected everything you see here,” Stoddard says. She attributes her love of the era to her love of the area. Downtown is the cultural heart of Las Vegas, Stoddard says, something she didn’t realize as a young girl attending Bishop Gorman High School (when it was still located on Maryland Parkway and Oakey Boulevard). “The enjoyment of living here is continuing to refine the environment," she says. “The pleasure is finding pieces that are in alignment with the design of the home.”

Meghan Stoddard takes her mid-mod obsession seriously. When she found this pristine 1963 pad in the John S. Park historic neighborhood, she knew it was the perfect home for her growing collection of Danish Modern and Broyhill '50s and '60s furniture. She blended period-appropriate acquisitions (such as the hanging lamps shown) with original features (pink GE appliances). | 69

Nevada Public radio


Join us at the Nevada Public Radio offices Saturday, April 7, 8 a.m. to noon. Shred your old paperwork, recycle glass, aluminum and plastic — even appliances, computers and cell phones. All for free! 1289 S. Torrey PineS Drive, LaS vegaS, nv 89146

For more inFormaTion, viSiT



Art Music T h e at e r Da n c e




Kelle Groom’s memoir is titled, “I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl,” but don’t be fooled by the oblique title. This is a wrenching story of self-destruction — one Groom tells with a poet’s eye and ear. She signs books 2 p.m. April 7 at Barnes & Noble at 2191 N. Rainbow Blvd. Info:

a r t s + e n t e r ta i n m e n t They call themselves Women Fully Clothed, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. Indeed, you’ll probably laugh so hard at this sketch comedy troupe that you’ll rip your pants off and flail them over your head in a chuckle-induced frenzy. Featuring Kathryn Greenwood from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” Robin Duke from “Saturday Night Live” and others, Women Fully Clothed perform 7:30 p.m. April 13 and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. April 14 at The Smith Center. Tickets $33-$40. Info:

The artists in the Nevada Watercolor Society aren’t the dainty, flower-addled dabbers you might think. Their work ranges from pretty and subtle to the challenging to OMG SHE PAINTED WHAT?! Exactly. Their spring show is on exhibit through May 6 in Origen Museum at the Springs Preserve. Info:

Once a month, UNLV’s most dedicated, hardest-working jazz students are released from their music geek isolation chambers and allowed to touch the saxophones. No wonder the shows the UNLV Jazz Ensemble puts on are such be-bopping, hip-swaying affairs. This month’s free show is 7 p.m. April 11 at the Clark County Library Theater. Info:

Want your event in our guide? Submit your event with a brief description to

The phrase “American dream” conjures up countless images: backyard barbecues, baseball with the tykes, vast suburban lawns and a global economy collapsing in on a rotten foundation of securitized subprime mortgages. The artists in “Dreamhouse” — including Mary Warner (her “California Dreamin’” is pictured), Mark Brandvik and Emily Kennerk — explore these notions and more through June 1 at the Winchester Cultural Center Gallery, with an artist reception 5:30 p.m. April 13. Info: | 71


The average Las Vegas commuter spends 44 hours per year in traffic. Wouldn’t you rather log some of those miles on the more than 600 miles of trails in Clark County? Learn more about how you can use available trails for commuting or just for fun by visiting

Made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Contemporary Art Center’s 23rd Annual Juried Show Through April 27. Los Angeles art critic Mat Gleason curated this exhibition that features artists from all over the world in a variety of media. Artists featured include Keri Schroeder, Greg Stahl, Sue Danielson and Ilasahai Prouty. Free. MAMA’S FABRIC BY JOHN BROUSSARD Through May 5. This exhibit centers on Beatrice Dixon, a community organizer with a passion for sewing. John Broussard combined her collection of fabrics with his photography to bring Americans from diverse ethnic backgrounds together to share their families’ journeys through America. Free. West Las Vegas Arts Center Gallery, Nevada Watercolor Society Spring Show Through May 6. Watercolor paintings representing the best of the 2012 Nevada Watercolor Society. See the works of local artists exploring still life, abstracts, portraits and landscapes, utilizing the colors of the desert. Free. Origen Museum in the Springs Preserve Left of Center Juried Art Exhibition Through June 1. Artists working in all media and from all backgrounds are represented in Left of Center Gallery’s juried show. 647-7378, Claude Monet: Impressions of Light Through Jan. 6. In partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art showcases works that reflect the height of Monet work with painting and light. The exhibit features 20 pieces by Monet and eight paintings by his predecessors or contemporaries. Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Coming of Age April 5-May 26. Opening reception April 5, 5 p.m. Kristine McCallister explores

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

the broken, often brief childhood innocence experienced in today’s modern world in oil paintings that employ unique color, pattern and texture. Brett Wesley Gallery FIRST FRIDAY April 6 and May 4, 5-11 p.m. Downtown’s revitalized monthly arts and culture event features art exhibits, open galleries, live music, food and drink, performances and more in the Arts District and Fremont East in Get Back Alley. Free.

“The Jane Show” and Jayne Eastwood from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “Chicago” and “Hairspray.” $33-$40. The Smith Center Cinderella April 13, 14, 20, 21, 8 p.m.; April 15, 22, 7 p.m. The Las Vegas Shakespeare Company presents Rodgers & Hammerstein’s adaption of this classic fairy tale that first premiered in 1957. $10. Henderson Pavilion,

Dance Momix April 20, 7:30 p.m. Seeming to defy categorization as easily as its dancers defy gravity, Momix’s newest creation “Botanica” uses light, shadow, largerthan-life props, humor and the human body. $27-$65. The Smith Center Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Gala May 5, 7 p.m. The company’s official debut at

Object Builders of the World Unite: The Sequel April 2-May 18. Artist reception April 20, 6 p.m. This student group exhibition co-curated by Emily Kennerk, assistant professor at UNLV, and Keith Conley, associate professor at CSN, feature three-dimensional works in a variety of media. Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery Dreamhouse April 6–June 1. Artist reception April 13, 5:30 p.m. In this exhibit of paintings and sculpture, Mary Warner, Mark Brandvik and Emily Kennerk engage the image of house and home. They question the American Dream, society’s constructed notion of the “perfect” home, and the seduction of architecture and objects. Winchester Cultural Center Gallery

Theater The Color Purple April 3-8, 7 p.m. This soul-stirring musical is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the film by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of a woman named Celie, who finds her unique voice in the world, with a score featuring jazz, gospel and blues. $24-$129. The Smith Center, Women Fully Clothed April 13, 7:30 p.m., April 14, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. This sketch comedy show delves into the naked truth of everyday life with charm, wit and satire while providing laughs the whole family can enjoy. Stars Kathryn Greenwood from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” Robin Duke from “Saturday Night Live,” Teresa Pavlinek from

Kristine McCallister’s “Gina Gina”

Innocents, lost Remember childhood innocence? It seems to be an endangered state in a media-drenched world where the R-rated stuff is just a Google search away. Painter Kristine McCallister certainly remembers it. Her deceptively simple oil paintings in her show “Coming of Age” almost resemble wallpaper in their repeated motifs, but a closer look reveals small fractures, fissures and ripples — reflecting the shifting, troubled state of innocence itself. “Coming of Age” is on exhibit April 5-May 26 at Brett Wesley Gallery, 1112 S. Casino Center Blvd. Info: | 73

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

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. NBT welcomes audiences to be a part of this occasion and the post-performance reception. Featuring dynamic repertory, guest artists and live music with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. $47-$507. The Smith Center

Family & Festivals Farmers Market Thursdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Mario Batali &

Joe Bastianich’s sustainable farmers market. Seasonal offerings, regionally and locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, fresh eggs, honey, nuts, dates, locally roasted coffee and more. Free admission. Note that vendors accept cash only. The Springs Preserve

exhibit produced in collaboration with NASA, you’ll touch a lunar sample, step onto the “Moon Scale” and create your own mission to Mars. Free for members or included with general admission. Origen Museum in the Springs Preserve

SPACE: A JOURNEY TO OUR FUTURE Through May 13. In this interactive

CURIOUS GEORGE: LET’S GET CURIOUS! Through May 13. This exhibition inspires young children’s natural curiosity as they explore early science, math and engineering through hands-on interactive play. Visitors will recognize familiar characters and places featured in the classic stories and the television series. Entrance included with $9.50/$8.50 general admission. Cultural Gallery at Lied Discovery Children’s Museum Springs Preserve EggStravaganza April 7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m For kids of all ages. Egg hunt (kids 5 and under), bunny petting pen, pictures with the Easter Bunny, face-painting, arts and crafts, food, live entertainment and more. Springs Preserve National Junior Ranger Day April 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. In celebration of National Park Service Week, join rangers at Lake Mead National Recreation Area for this 6th annual fun day. Use a fire hose, touch live reptiles, meet Smokey Bear, Mojave Max, and Coastie (a talking robot boat) and become a Junior Ranger. Boulder Beach Picnic Area (on Lakeshore Scenic Drive within Lake Mead National Recreation Area), 293-8990

Music POPS CONCERT Apr. 1, 2 p.m. The Hot Club of Las Vegas performs with guest soloist Kristen Hertzenberg, along with the CSN Orchestra and guest conductor Dick McGee. $8 adults, $5 students/seniors. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre

www. T 702 492 3444

.com F 702 492 3440

7770 Dean Martin Dr. Suite 301 Las Vegas, NV 89139 74 | Desert

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Portugal. The Man April 5, 8 p.m. Portugal. The Man performs its sophisticated but sunny and multilayered pop. $20-$25. Veil Pavilion at the Silverton hotel-casino.

Clint Holmes April 6, 8:30 p.m.; April 7, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. The man who’s garnered countless entertainment awards launches his premier engagement at Cabaret Jazz inside The Smith Center, performing everything from contemporary to jazz to Broadway. $38-$51. Cabaret Jazz inside The Smith Center SYMPHONIC ROCK SHOW April 7, 8 p.m. Vocalist Brody Dolyniuk reunites with his former band, Yellow Brick Road, along with a handselected orchestra, for a repeat performance of last year’s sold out classic rock and laser light multimedia performance. $15. Henderson Pavilion, 200 S. Green Valley Parkway, Jed Distler April 8, 2 p.m. Thelonious Monk: The Complete Works, will be played by this pianist and composer returning to his jazz roots. He will combine every single Monk tune into a two-hour performance, playing transcriptions of the work of pianist Bill Evans for an encore. $7-$10. Winchester Cultural Center Eddie Vedder April 10 and 11, 8 p.m. The singer of legendary grunge band Pearl Jam performs his acclaimed solo material. $79. Pearl Concert Theater in the Palms Resort Sousa in the 21st Century April 11, 6:30 p.m. A tribute to John Philip Sousa that features performances by musicians, visual artists, dancers and thespians from across Southern Nevada. Students, teachers, university professors and professional musicians will perform together in this unique concert event. $10. The Smith Center UNLV Jazz Concert Series: Jazz Combos April 11, 7 p.m. This monthly series highlights the top talent from UNLV’s Jazz Studies Program. Each features different ensembles performing various styles of jazz, from mainstream to contemporary to vocals to big band. Free. Clark County Library


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

Andrea Marcovicci April 13, 8 p.m.; April 14, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Singing an array of movie songs from the 1930s through the 1990s, from “Top Hat” to “Toy Story 2,” and with a nod to silver screen legends like Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland and Bob Hope, showing how movie music has scored our lives and loves. $39-$75. The Smith Center

Noel Gallagher April 20, 8 p.m. The former singer/songwriter for Oasis performs his solo material. $45$100. Pearl Concert Theater in the Palms Resort.

An Evening with George Gershwin’s Greatest Hits April 14, 8 p.m. This Pops III Concert features Broadway star Lisa Vroman and renowned jazz pianist and Director of Jazz Studies at UNLV David Loe. Featuring “Rhapsody in Blue,” “American in Paris,” and songs like “S’wonderful” and “Summertime.” $42-$82. The Smith Center

Joey DeFrancesco April 20, 8:30 p.m. and April 21, 7p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The modern master of the Hammond B3 organ performs live with his trio. Officially emerging on the jazz scene in 1989 with the release of his first album, “All Of Me,” he has been the Downbeat Readers Poll Award winner every year since 2002. $39-$49. The Smith Center.

Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik April 15, 8:30 p.m. and April 16, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. These singer-songwriters turned music-theater composers team up to per-

The Cleveland Orchestra April 21, 7:30 p.m. Under the leadership of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, The Cleveland Orchestra has become

form some of their popular songs plus new material based on their latest theatrical projects. $33-$55. The Smith Center

one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world. Founded in 1918, it continues a nearly century-long legacy of unparalleled excellence and commitment to community. $39-$129. The Smith Center Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott with the Assad Brothers April 24, 7:30 p.m. Cello master Yo-Yo Ma, winner of more than 15 Grammys, joins the guitarist duo The Assad Brothers and acclaimed British pianist Kathryn Stott to present an evening of authentic Latin American music. $39-$129. The Smith Center Paco de Lucía April 25, 7:30 p.m. Called the most innovative and influential flamenco artist of the last 30 years, Paco de Lucía is credited with bringing new life into the art form. Collaborations with jazz artists John McLaughlin, Chick Corea and Larry Coryell and his participation in high-

Eco-friendly cleaning that proves “going green” doesn’t have to break the bank. Get your green on today; call for a free estimate! 702-522-1898 76 | Desert

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profile soundtracks have brought him to the attention of a broad audience. $26-$99. The Smith Center Jazz Roots: Al Jarreau and Ramsey Lewis April 27, 7:30 p.m. Jazz Roots presents an evening of music born out of the African-American experience celebrating the blend of jazz, blues, gospel and R&B that create the music we call soul. The evening spotlights two celebrated stars who took jazz, merged it with soul and made the result their own signature sounds. $29-$108. The Smith Center The Gamble-Aires April 28, 2 p.m. This Las Vegas group returns to Winchester after an absence of many years with “Back In The Old Routine,” a vaudeville-style performance of authentic barbershop harmony, featuring such quartets as Broadcast, The Four Suits and Older ‘n Dirt. $10. Winchester Cultural Center Spectrum April 28, 7 p.m. This tribute to Motown and R&B features Las Vegas’ own award-winning group returning, accompanied by a 13-piece orchestra. $33. The Smith Center Las Vegas City of Light Jazz and R&B Festival April 28, 1 p.m. and April 29, 2 p.m. The 20th annual jazz festival features jazz of every flavor and style, including saxophonist Boney James, guitarist Norman Brown, smooth jazz trumpeter Rick Braun, R&B singer Eric Benet and Morris Day and The Time. $63-$110, Clark County Government Center Amphitheater,

Water should not be like a box of chocolates. 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, or call 258-3930.

CSN Concert Band May 8, 7:30 p.m. The 55-piece CSN Concert Band, under the baton of Dr. Richard McGee, will perform the latest in newly published works for concert band, paired with some of the earlier works for the genre. $5-$8. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre The Las Vegas Philharmonic Masterworks V: Dvořák, Beethoven and Respighi May 12, 8 p.m.; pre-concert conversation with Maestro Itkin 7:15 p.m. The Las | 77

“Proud of our work . . .

Vegas Philharmonic concludes its 201112 season with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, Beethoven’s “Consecration of the House” and Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome” featuring brass players in the house as well as on stage. $42-$82. The Smith Center

Lectures, Readings and Panels

& grateful for the opportunities.”

Spring Fling Book Fair April 7, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Meet and greet dozens of Las Vegas area and regional authors offering new releases, best sellers, first editions and series sets. Two autograph sessions

A segment from Momix’s “Botanica”

Springing forward You’ll be forgiven if you think you’re actually outdoors at Momix’s performance of “Botanica,” a celebration of the four seasons. That’s because Momix’s custom blend of elaborate costumes, painstaking props, puppetry, light projections and — of course — the troupe’s raw but refined dance talent has been hailed as truly transportive. You may not believe your eyes — which is the point. Momix performs “Botanica” 7:30 p.m. April 20 at The Smith Center. Tickets $27-$65. Info:

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take place at 11 a.m.-1p.m. and 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Select authors will also give free lectures and workshops starting at 11:30 a.m. Free. Clark County Library   Kelle Groom April 7, 2 p.m. The author of the critically acclaimed memoir about her dramatic and sometimes tragic youth, “I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl,” signs reader copies. Barnes & Noble, 2191 N. Rainbow Blvd., 631-1775

National Rebuilding Day April 28. Presented by Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada, this daylong event unites more than 1,500 volunteers and community sponsors to repair and renovate 23 homes of low-income homeowners throughout the Las Vegas Valley. Individual and corporate donations of time, materials and money can be made at 259-4900.

Ladybug ball May 19, 6 p.m. Hosted by Kim and Dana Wagner of KSNV My News 3’s “Wake Up with the Wagners,” this fundraising ball features wine, hors d’oeuvres, the Liberace Scholars String Quartet and luxury items for bid in a silent auction. Proceeds support the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundaton. $200-$2,000. Pinyon Ballroom in the Aria at CityCenter, 735-6223,

Lara Glenum April 18, 7 p.m. Part of the Black Mountain Institute’s Emerging Writers Series, Lara Glenum reads from her work that explores gender roles, politics and feminism in writing that is both profound and earthy. Free. UNLV’s Greenspun Auditorium, David Sedaris April 26, 7:30 p.m. One of America’s preeminent humor writers, he is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. Featuring all-new readings of his work and a book signing. $51-$61. The Smith Center

Fundraisers City Lights Music Together April 15, 9 a.m. This benefit event for the Down Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada encourages you to bring your kids for some singing, dancing, drumming and other musical expressions. $18. Temple Beth Sholom, 10700 Havenwood Lane, 383-4751 Couture For Causes April 22, noon-5 p.m. This benefit event for Communities in Schools features an art auction, ballet, fashion, break dancing, barbecue, wine and more. $50$100. Goldwater Ranch, 1403 Westwood Drive, Race For Hope April 28, 7:30 a.m.-noon. This 3rd annual 5K Race and Fun Walk takes place during National Autism Awareness Month. Awards, raffle prizes, entertainment, celebrity guests and family picnic. Funds raised at the event benefit children and families in Nevada. Town Square. www. | 79

history lesson


The Las Vegas News Bureau and local publicists celebrated Easter with this March 31, 1958 photo, using the Barry Ashton Dancers to remind potential tourists that Las Vegas had — imagine this — beautiful women to see. Donn Arden was and remains the gold standard for the production show, with feather-clad showgirls from the “Lido de Paris” at the Stardust to today’s “Jubilee!” at Bally’s, but others like Frederic Apcar (“Casino de Paris” at the Dunes), Matt Gregory and Ashton, to name a few, contributed to that image of the classic Las Vegas production show. English by birth and raised in his native land’s music halls (like some more famous Englishmen, Charles Chaplin and Stan Laurel), Ashton became a dancer at the El Rancho Vegas. Reportedly, owner Beldon Katleman gave

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Ashton the chance to produce shows, and his career took off from there. He went on to produce more than 100 shows and revues across the United States and around the world, emphasizing burlesque and feminine pulchritude. He produced “Vive Paris Vive” at the Aladdin (since imploded, rebuilt, and then reconstituted as Planet Hollywood), “Verve — It Started with Eve” at the Union Plaza, and “The Wonderful World of Burlesque” at the Silver Slipper (demolished in 1988 to provide more parking at the Frontier Hotel). At the El Rancho Vegas, the Barry Ashton Dancers opened for such legendary acts as Sophie Tucker, but not for much longer after this photo was taken. The first hotel on the Strip, at the southwest corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Boulevard South, it burned in a spectacular fire on June 17, 1960. — Michael Green

P h oto c o u r t e s y o f t h e L a s V e g a s N e w s B u r e a u

Spring flung

Desert Companion - April 2012  
Desert Companion - April 2012  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada