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012 Mag gi Winn e er!

Dog tired

Sit. Stay. Love. Play. Your ultimate guide for a deliriously ecstatic pet

We give the pet exercise trend a workout Creatures of comfort

Humans and animals who offer helping hands (and paws) Black-eyed backbeat gurus

The sound and fury behind local theater S :::

: : : PLU

of e v a w The n e w ne i s i u c e s Japane

Life wouldn’t be

as fun

without them. You can tell how healthy and happy they are; we can tell you how to keep them that way. At Banfield, your input and our expertise will match you up with an Optimum Wellness Plan® designed to keep your pet healthy for years to come. Partnering to keep pets healthier, longer—that’s Banfield.

Find us inside PetSmart® in the following locations: 9775 W. Charleston • 9869 S. Eastern Ave. • 1321 W. Craig Rd. • 5160 S. Fort Apache Rd. 6650 N. Durango Dr. • 5915 S. Eastern Ave. • 2140 N. Rainbow Blvd. • 531 N. Stephanie Street 171 N. Nellis Blvd. • 7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy • 286 West Lake Mead Pkwy For the location nearest you, call 800-768-8858 or visit

Ask about our special new client offer available this June.

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editor’s note


Dog (and cat and bird and horse) days Went over to my brother’s house

Next Month in Desert Companion

Loosen that belt for our DEALicious Meals issue

2 | Desert

recently to say hi and drink his beer and, whoa, there’s this dog there — a happy floundering mass of jaunty angles and puppy skittishness, warping the entire familial energy field with waves of unconditional trust and love. He’s this sharp-snouted, doe-eyed monster of undiluted cute; looks like an albino bear freshly stepped out of a children’s book. All he wants to do is nuzzle. “We heard this whimpering at our front door one evening, and there he was,” my brother said. “I think someone abandoned him.” He and his wife launched the standard Samaritan campaign. They checked for a microchip, papered the neighborhood with “found dog” flyers, and asked around. No luck. As the days went by, they fed him and played with him, and the great insinuation began as the stray slowly corkscrewed his way into their hearts. Next thing you know, they’re getting him neutered, defragging him at the vet, and taking that all-important step that suggests this pup might be in for an extended stay at Chez Bro: They named him. The snowy-furred beast is now (ta-da!) Alaska. My brother is doing the grumbling, reluctant dad thing all through this, but I suspect it’s a front that’s slowly melting. I’ve totally caught him gazing upon Alaska with affection. Busted.

Companion | June 2012

Sure, pets do a lot for us — they comfort and entertain, pull off cool tricks and never, ever fail to look hilarious in hats. But there’s something more substantial to their appeal. In catching our hearts unawares, pets surprise us by provoking our kindness, our nobility, our willingness to put up with hair all over the couch — by teasing out the better instincts that make us better people. That’s why our pet issue is more than just a lolcats charm parade. Rather, we want to celebrate the deep companionship between humans and animals — which is exactly what we do on page 40 in “Creatures of Comfort.” The creatures in question are both humans and animals who serve, heal and reassure on either end of the leash. And for your own special critter, we’ve got a useful resource guide on page 53 that will have your pet pawing happily on cloud nine, with everything from dog-park picks to obedience classes to pet sitters and pet hotels. And check out our experiential tour of the dog exercise craze on page 24; we shouldn’t forget that truly pampering your pet involves some panting as well. As vets and trainers often say, a tired pet is a good pet. And we suspect this issue will make for plenty of tuckered-out animals — dog, cat, human and more.

* * * Pardon my reach while I pat our-

selves on the back — in particular, Chris Smith’s back. The Western Publishing Association honored our tireless Desert Companion art director with a 2012 Maggie Award last month for Best Editorial Layout for our April 2011 feature, “15 Great Hikes (Practically) in Your Own Backyard.” Not only did Chris trek out to all these places to take some beautiful photos, but he packaged it all in an eyecatching design worthy of Southern Nevada’s natural beauty. Andrew Kiraly Editor



At Caesars Foundation, we concentrate great effort into older individuals by globally advocating their independent living, social inclusion, and maintaining their optimal health and nutrition. We support nonprofit service-delivery organizations with these causes in mind. The® goal is to keep people thriving The will to do wonders®

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® The will to do wonders®

contents desert companion magazine //



All Things to All People Terminal velocity By Andrew Kiraly



The sound and the fury By David McKee



Petsercise, anyone? By Heidi Kyser



Rising suns: The new wave of Japanese cuisine By Jim Begley High steaks: First impressions of Gordon Ramsay’s new eatery By Debbie Lee


From rock to theater to dance, your guide to culture


History lesson You animal, you By Andrew Kiraly

FEATURES 40 Creatures of comfort

53 The ultimate pet guide

The humans and animals who do wonderful things for creatures great and small

From dog parks to pet hotels, your furry companion will enjoy these posh pet amenities

4 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

on the cover Zero, a French bulldog Photography Christopher Smith

M O N K E Y : C h r i s to p h e r Sm i t h ; A IRP O RT C O U RT E S Y O F M C C A RR A N I N T E R N ATI O N A L A IRP O RT; P O RTR A IT: B i ll Hu g h e s ; L O B ST E R : Sab i n O r r



Idina Menzel

Sunday, June 10 – 7:30pm

k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang

Friday, July 13 – 7:30pm


Million Dollar Quartet

Tuesday, June 12 – Sunday, June 17 Tuesday – Sunday – 7:30pm Saturday & Sunday – 2:00pm

Stephen Sondheim A Life in the Theater: An Evening of Music and Conversation

Saturday, July 14 – 8:00pm

Chris Botti


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Monday, August 13 – 7:30pm


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Mission Statement

Desert Companion is the premier city magazine that celebrates the pursuits, passions and aspirations of Southern Nevadans. With award-winning lifestyle journalism and design, Desert Companion does more than inform and entertain. We spark dialogue, engage people and define the spirit of the Las Vegas Valley.

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To learn more, please visit today.


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Melanie Cannon Director of Development Cynthia M. Dobek Director of Business, Finance & Human Resources Phil Burger Director of Broadcast Operations

Contributing Writers

Cybele, Jim Begley, Vicki Callahan, Rich Damico, Doug Duke, Alan Gegax, Amira Hall-Hood, Heidi Kyser, Debbie Lee, Danielle McCrea, David McKee, Christie Moeller, Jillian Plaster, Marina Rankow, Mark Sedenquist

Contributing Artists

Bill Hughes, Sabin Orr

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Florence M.E. Rogers President / General Manager To submit your organization’s event listings for the Desert Companion events guide, send complete information to Feedback and story ideas are always welcome, too.

Editorial: Andrew Kiraly, (702) 259-7856; Fax: (702) 258-5646 Advertising: Christine Kiely, (702) 259-7813;

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Member FDIC

Desert Companion is published 12 times a year by Nevada Public Radio, 1289 S. Torrey Pines Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89146. It is available by subscription at, or as part of Nevada Public Radio membership. It is also distributed free of charge at select locations in the Las Vegas Valley. All photographs, artwork and ad designs printed are the sole property of Desert Companion and may not be duplicated or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The views of Desert Companion contributing writers are not necessarily the views of Desert Companion or Nevada Public Radio. Contact Chris Bitonti for back issues, which are available for purchase for $7.95.

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to all people




A new leash on life Behind the wall of A furry client undergoes stippled glass, Neka the a CAT scan at the Las pit bull is taking it like a Vegas Veterinary champ, patient under the Specialty Center. thrum of the MRI machine. Hold steady, girl: If anyone’s going to find out whether it’s a spinal tumor causing your pain, it’ll be the docs at the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center. They’ve got the machines, the expertise and a sprawling, 20,000 square-foot shrine to advanced vet care. With its surgery suites, hospital-grade tech and staff representing six specialties — from cardiology to oncology to internal medicine — you’ll be forgiven if you mistake this place for a human hospital with a bring-your-pet-to-work day in full effect. There are dogs and cats everywhere. Some romp tentatively in rehab rooms, others are on the mend in kennels stocked with toys. Opened in 2005, the center (8650 W. Tropicana Ave., houses a blood bank and 24-hour emergency center with vets on standby, too. It also happens to be one of Las Vegas’ best-kept pet-care secrets. “People are amazed that we have this kind of technology and medical specialization available to pets,” says Hospital Administrator Dean Penniman. “But we do. It reflects not only the advancements in veterinary care, but how much people have come to care about their pets, and how much they’re willing to do for them.” What makes this animal hospital unique is how it’s pulled together a team of animal specialists and medical tech to tackle the toughest cases that stump general-practice vets, who frequently make referrals to the center. Conditions that used to be considered a death sentence — from cancer to grievous injury — find treatment here. Take the case of Bubbles, a miniature pinscher who loved to chase golf balls thwacked by her owner. Bubbles made a false start, and the owner struck Bubbles in the head with a golf club, fracturing her skull. Veterinarian Dr. Linda Weatherton not only



Fourlegged freedom

When Jennifer Arnold founded Canine Assistants in Milton, Ga. 20 years ago, she did so with people like Kelly McMahon in mind. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, the Las Vegas resident can’t walk and has limited use of her arms. At the same time, McMahon is bright, driven and, as it happens, good with animals. “This was a young woman who was struggling to be as independent as she possibly could be, and who had this great attitude,” Arnold says of McMahon. Canine Assistants places carefully trained dogs with people like McMahon,

saved Bubbles, but oversaw her total recovery — even after having to remove part of Bubbles’ brain. “I love the adrenaline rush of working in emergency pet care, of never knowing what’s going to come through the door — and the satisfaction of turning around what seems a like tragic situation,” says Weatherton. “And, of course, being there for pets and people when no one else is.” The complex handles about 500 cases a month. But the center wants even more; the staff feels that many pet owners and valley vets aren’t aware of the center — meaning second chances for pets with seemingly continued on pg. 12 dire medical conditions. “One of the most important things we offer people are options — courses Keep up with Desert of treatment that many people didn’t Companion events, news even know existed,” says surgeon Dr. and bonus features at David Mason. “And that brings them a lot of comfort. These pets are members of their family.” Mason himself doesn’t own a pet. With a workload at the center that has him rising at 5 a.m. every day, he doesn’t have time. It would be ironic but for this: In a way, the furry and purring clients of the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center are his pets. — Andrew Kiraly

Vet Christopher Yach’s clients include sharks and gila monsters. Hear him on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at | 11

who can benefit from their help. An assistant can, say, open a door and pull a wheelchair through it — then turn on the lights once inside. McMahon’s assistant is a golden retriever named Pele. “I’m constantly dropping things,” she says. “I work at the Southern Nevada Center for Independent Living, so you can imagine what it would be like having to go find someone every time I drop my pen.” McMahon now heads Canine Assistants’ local volunteer group, Noah’s Team. Although the supply of trained dogs lags behind demand, people are still encouraged to apply. Canine Assistants assigns dogs based on need, and the organization is looking to give a boost to people interested in starting their own dog-training facilities. Arnold says this would help her nonprofit’s ability to help clients — which it does at zero cost to the client. McMahon is humbled by how much Arnold and Pele have improved her life. “He’s my best friend in the world,” she says. “I don’t know what I’d do without him.” To contact Canine Assistants, email McMahon at — Heidi Kyser


Terminal velocity


ON THE TOWN These golden retrievers need some retrieving themselves. The Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Nevada holds regular adoption and awareness events through June at area pet stores. Info:

12 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

Cabbie, concierge, tour guide, host — as Las Vegans, we play these roles often for friends and relatives freshly arrived at McCarran. And it all begins with that first ritual: the airport pickup. It can sometimes seem to require ninja reflexes to maneuver among the traffic surging to pick up, drop off or park — but now it’s about to get a little bit easier with the opening of McCarran’s Terminal 3 on June 27. Terminal 3? Think of the $2.4 billion complex as a whole new airport — and more. For one, with its 14 gates, 6,000-car parking garage and 31 securitycheck lanes, it’s an edifice built on faith that the tourists will keep rolling in, for one. But it also represents an evolution in traffic and pedestrian design over its predecessor, the well-worn Terminal 1 (or what most of us know as just the airport.) “We took the best features of Terminal 1 that worked and kept them, and improved the things we knew we could improve upon,” says Harry Waters, the airport’s assistant director of aviation on landside operations. Indeed, a drive-through tour reveals a suite of changes it might be good to know about the next time you’re finally packing off Aunt Jane to Boise. The awareness begins before you even step into the car: Now all airlines will be designated as arriving at or departing from either Terminal 1 or Terminal 3. Take note and watch for the signs as you pull into the airport, whether from Paradise or the 215 tunnel. Most notably, walking from the parking garage to the new terminal should be, well, just a walk. The

McCarran’s new Terminal 3 aims to make airport travel a breeze.

three bridges from the parking garage are dedicated to pedestrians; no more waiting behind a cattle guard to be hand-waved across the lanes of traffic or stepping tentatively on the crosswalk in hopes that someone will stop. Below, on the ground level, islands separate pickups for shuttles and cabs. Cabbies also get a cut-out lane and a connector tunnel to help keep the lanes unclogged. Who asked for this? The public did, in years’ worth of quarterly surveys taken by McCarran officials, quizzing travelers on their airport. (The public also asked for more substantial, sit-down dining options that don’t involve chicken nuggets, so watch for eateries such as La Tapenade Mediterranean Café and Vegas ChopHouse to beckon in Terminal 3 while waiting for your next flight.) “The airport is an important part of the tourist experience,” says McCarran spokesperson Chris Jones. “It’s the first impression and last impression they get of Las Vegas.” Ironically, Terminal 2’s future is, well, terminal. The small terminal that services international flights will be shuttered after the Terminal 3 opens and absorbs its flights. The inside joke goes that airport officials hope to auction off the right to film Terminal 2’s implosion to a movie studio — a fitting, Vegas-style transition to make way for McCarran’s second act. — Andrew Kiraly McCarran International Airport hosts an open house 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 9 to familiarize the public with Terminal 3. Info:

G ol d e n retreiver : W ikime d ia commo n s / K i n tai yo A irport C o u rtes y mccarra n i n ter n atio n al airport

continued from pg. 11



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Officer DuWayne Layton and Boris Metropolitan Police Department Officer and Patrol dog

Best friends taking on the bad guys 14 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

Imagine patting your trusty canine companion on the head — and then sending him into a situation from which he may not return. “We had a subject who was in the attic with a fully automatic MAC-10, and he told everybody that he was going to kill himself, but he was going to kill the cops first,” says Officer Duwayne Layton, a 16-year member of the Las Vegas Metro Police K9 unit, recalling just such an incident. “We negotiated with him. We poked holes in all the ceiling tiles and put cameras up there. We gassed it. We tried everything short of sticking our head up there, and you stick your head up in an attic, you get shot.” In that case, it was not Layton’s K9 partner Boris, but another dog, Wilco, who cleared the attic and lived to chase bad guys another day. But Layton has plenty of similar stories about Boris, and his predecessor, Rico, the 14-year-old Belgian Malinois who recently retired and is living out his golden years at Layton’s home. “It’s hard to give away your partner,” Layton explains. “Rico has really taken care of me over the years.” K9s not only prevent cops from getting shot. Layton says they also prevent cops from shooting people — such as the naked, ranting, knifewielding, drug-crazed lunatic that Boris took down just outside a park full of families in February. “A day doesn’t go by that we don’t have some sort of story with our dogs,” Layton says. Besides patrol dogs, who find and chase down people, K9s can also be sniffers, used to detect bombs and drugs. They’re not only fierce sidekicks. They’re also extremely efficient team members. According to Layton, in under half an hour a dog and officer can clear a bomb-threatened building that would take a team of men a couple hours to secure. They smell things we can only detect by sight. “If we suspect there are narcotics in a car, it’s less intrusive to have a dog go around and sniff stuff than it is for me to open things up and start looking,” Layton points out. Metro has around four dozen K9s, and police forces in the surrounding municipalities and tribes use them as well, so widely accepted is their effectiveness. Turns out, they make great role models too. Marc Kahre Elementary School, whose mascot is the K9, invites Metro out each year for Kahre Honor Day, where officers on both two and four legs give demonstrations of their work. “Officer Layton and Rico really cared about the children,” says Jan Reese, who was the school’s office manager for 15 years. “He made them feel safe and (taught them) not to fear law enforcement.” — Heidi Kyser PHOTOGRAPH BY Christopher SMith

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Put a lid on it already Calling all home organizers and compartment-seekers — your new favorite store opened last month at Town Square. And with more than 10,000 products, The Container Store will make sure you never have to ask, “Where should this go?” again. The 22,000-square foot store (ironically, that’s about half an acre of space-saving merchandise) is organized into 16 lifestyle departments — including kitchen, closet, gift packing, laundry, travel and more. Tupperware troubles will be obsolete with The Container Store’s selection of 120-plus food storage options. Overflowing laundry baskets will see their last day upon meeting the store’s 45 types of hampers. Shirts without hangers can leave the back of the dresser drawer they’re stuffed in; at least one of the 80 styles of hangers in the store should Th e B r o w s e r

Pooch on a plane

do the trick. If you need even more help, they’ve even got a custom design service called Elfa. “We know that every one of our customers organizes things differently. Some are shoe-kickers and some are shoe-placers,” says Sharon Tindell, the store’s chief merchandising officer. “Our Elfa design experts create designs based on the customer’s needs and wants. It’s 100 percent customized to their space and lifestyle.” The Elfa army will even come to your house and rip out your old closet to make it Elfa-ready. This is The Container Store’s first location in Nevada and is their 55th store to open. — Marina Rankow The Container Store is located in Town Square Las Vegas at 6521 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 712-4801,

Before pet owners can lay by a faraway pool — fruity drink in one hand, bronzing lotion in the other — they have to figure out what to do with Fido. And when Paris Hilton put Tinkerbell the Chihuahua in her pink Juicy Couture bag, she set a milestone in toting around pets. Since then, many designers have made carriers for our furry friends. Now there’s luggage to accommodate pets during summer travels. Flea Bag’s Barkery and Bow-tique in The District sells dog carriers for car and air trips. Whitney LePore, co-owner of Flea Bag’s, says the store’s most popular airline-approved carrier is the Snoozer

Roll Around. The Roll Around can be converted to a backpack and car seat, and has wheel-like luggage, making it easier for owners to reach their gate without carrying the full weight of their dog (red, tan, black, $110- $115). For car rides, Flea Bag’s sells a Snoozer car seat that has a raised platform so small dogs can see out the window (black, $140). LePore recommends larger dogs be retained with car control straps by Premier (tan, $8-10) to allow movement while being safely confined. Fido’s summer vacation just got a whole lot more exciting. — M.R.

Flea Bag’s Barkery and Bow-tique in The District, 2225 Village Walk Drive, Suite 173, 914-8805,

16 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

Look down. How do your toes look? Pick out a polish and prepare for a pedicure; you’ll want to put your best foot forward when you’re strapped into sandals this summer. For a bohemian look, Gap sells a variety of multicolored bead and stone T-strap sandals ($39.95). If the bohemian style isn’t your thing, Gap also sells one-colored toe-strap, T-strap, two-strap and multi-strap sandals ($29.95-$44.95). When it’s time to dress up, Express’ animal print, color block and multi-strap wedge sandals add a lot of flair — and a couple inches to your height ($59.90$69.90). ¶ And for those occasions when nothing but a heel will do, Banana Republic’s Natalie platform sandal, available in black and tan, keep feet feeling cool while still looking stylish ($120). — M.R.

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A springtime riot — for you and Fido

With Fletcher Canyon, Mt. Charleston has brought the adventure of hiking a slot canyon to unusual heights — over 7,000 feet! This misplacement combines sheer rock walls with tall trees and verdant landscapes. The trail runs adjacent to, and crosses, an oft-flowing stream that has cut its way through solid limestone. As you continue upstream, Fletcher Canyon’s walls narrow to only a few feet wide. An added treat, Fletcher is home to the protected Palmer’s Chipmunks. Mind your nuts. (Difficulty: Easy.) — Alan Gegax

Road dogs Tripping with your furry best friend this summer? Here are a few tips to make for smooth driving.

18 | Desert


• Teach expectation. Before a long road trip, take short jaunts and let your dog get out and walk around. This builds enthusiasm for car trips. • Create pet travel kits with extra water bottles, food, toys and beds. Consider ginger capsules for carsickness issues. • All dogs should be secure in the vehicle — doggie-seat belt/ harnesses are readily available and allow enough movement for comfort.

Companion | June 2012

As it winds through Sequoia National Forest, the road’s name changes to Kennedy Meadows Road. There are two more campgrounds in this area. To continue — and if you’re looking for formal lodging — proceed west on Sherman Pass Road and wind to the top of 9,200-foot Sherman Pass. The road offers incredible views of the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada to the north. Just before the pass, take a short walk to the Bald Mountain Fire Lookout tower for even more astounding views of the area. At Sierra Highway, turn south along the North Fork of the Kern River and — hopefully it’s mealtime again — stop at McNally’s Fairview Lodge. Because it boasts its own butcher and is famed for its aged beef, McNally’s is well known for serving up some of the best steaks in California. A charming if somewhat Spartan motel provides rooms, or stay in one of the lodge’s six furnished travel trailers. A pedestrianonly suspension bridge crosses the river behind the lodge and provides great views of inner-tube floaters. If you’re there on a full-moon night, don’t miss a magical walk across the bridge after moonrise. Both Lake Isabella and Kernville offer a variety of lodging choices, and several welcome pets. Whispering Pines Lodge in Kernville is another charming option. Return to Las Vegas by retracing the route or heading south to CA-58 and return on Interstate 15. — Mark Sedenquist (Cheat sheet: US-95 to CA-190 to US-395 to Nine Mile Canyon Road to Kennedy Meadows Road to Sherman Pass Road to Kern River Road. Visit for an interactive map of this trip.)

• Dogs should be on leashes in the forest to avoid encounters with skunks, bears and other less-friendly animals. • Carry a small plastic bowl with a snap-on lid — it makes a great watering dish on the trail. • Tick collars are essential when walking dogs in forest or rural areas. Consider vaccination for Lyme disease. • Carry a complete set of medical records and contact numbers for your vet.

• When driving, stop every two or three hours to allow pets to run and stretch. • Always give water at the start of a rest break. Giving cool water to an excited dog getting back in the car can lead to unexpected upchucks in the center console. • Many pet-friendly motels offer pet treats, but resist them. A consistent diet works much better when traveling. — M.S.

F letcher ca n yo n : A L A N G E G A X ; M c n ally L o d ge : T err y A n d erso n

Fletcher Canyon

June is great pretty much everywhere, but it’s especially wonderful about 200 miles west of Las Vegas in the surprisingly little-visited Kern Plateau. Verdant meadows, blooming wildflowers and bubbling brooks full of trout — it’s a springtime riot. The road through the southern end of the Sierra Nevadas was the last paved road constructed in these mountains. Make a point of appreciating this final accommodation for people who travel by internal combustion engine while the lupine is still in bloom. The Kern Plateau is an especially appealing destination if pets are along for the ride. Dogs especially love a chance to romp under the piñon pines and chase a few squirrels. (Avoid letting them chase larger creatures, however, by keeping them on leads. Black bears are just waking from hibernation in late spring.) On the westward journey from Las Vegas, pause to top off your fuel tank in Olancha, Calif. Turn west on Nine Mile Canyon Road. Precipitous drop-offs on both sides make for an exhilarating drive as you climb from the desert floor to the 6,500-foot valley that contains Kennedy Meadows. If you’ve arrived at mealtime, stop at the Kennedy Meadows Chuck Wagon BBQ and hope that Chef Al is serving sausages — they alone are worth the drive. Enjoy the clientele, too — hikers following the Pacific Crest Trail can often be found on Al’s patio, because the trail passes through the area less than a mile away. While there is no formal lodging in Kennedy Meadows, you’ll find campsites scattered along the river in addition to a couple of Forest Service campgrounds.

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Critic Anthony Del Valle talks about why community theater is important on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at


The sound — By David McKEE | Photography Bill Hughes

m When local theaters need to set a mood, they’ve got Arles Estes on speed dial. (Cue intro music)

Mozart did it. So did Beethoven. As did Grieg and Copland. The “it” is incidental music, compositions that preface and punctuate live theater. The most oft-performed examples are the pieces that Felix Mendelssohn penned for Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — including the famous “Wedding March.” This distinguished tradition is carried on by Arles Estes. By day, he creates tunes and sound effects for slot machine manufacturer Colossal Gaming. In his spare time, Estes is an increasingly in-demand composer, sound designer and musician for Las Vegas’ theaters. Last year, he scored five local plays, one feature film and provided additional music for two other films. “You see the same show with good music in it — it has to fit right — makes a profound difference,” says Estes, who frequently illustrates his remarks with rapid finger snaps and by humming phrases of music or imitating instrumental sounds (including a dead-on trombone). “It’s a way to enhance the emotional content of a play without necessarily distracting from the text.”

Composer Arles Estes sets the mood in theater productions with carefully scored incidental music.

20 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

‘ T h e cat j u st stays co o l’ But there’s nothing merely incidental about his music. He’s made a difference in numerous local stagings, including John Patrick Shanley’s “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea,” Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” Jennifer Haley’s “Neighborhood III: Requisition of Doom” and Sarah Ruhl’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.” In May, he designed the sound for Las Vegas Little Theatre’s “The 39 Steps” and he has a full-length musical in development. A native of Texas, Estes might be called an overnight sensation three years in the making. Along with partner Erin Marie Sullivan, he arrived in Vegas from Austin in late 2008. After (continued on pg. 22)

and the fury

w Pow! Oof! Bam! Sean Critchfield is Las Vegas theater’s man of action

When actors are punching, stabbing or kicking each other on a local stage, chances are that Sean Critchfield is the man behind the mayhem. His proficiency with weapons, knowledge of how to fake a believable fight and a deceptively fierce outward demeanor have made him the go-to guy whenever the script calls for violence. He’s rolled up so many show credits he can’t keep count of them. “Easily 30 or 40. It’s getting to the point where it’s kind of a blur.” Critchfield found his calling in high school. “I had to get beat up,” he says, in a dramatization of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and he thought the fight instructors “were the coolest guys ever.” Once Critchfield learned that you don’t have to be a certified fight instructor even to work in Equity theaters, he began picking their brains and learning the rudiments of onstage combat. His “finishing school” was Utah Shakespeare Festival, where he polished his bellicose craft over the course of six seasons — summer, fall, school tours — and under the tutelage of University of California, Irvine’s Chris Villa and actor Robin McFarquhar, “a very talented combatant.” M ay hem on shor t notice When the Utah Shakespeare Festival toured “Macbeth,” the Scottish tragedy would be played in rural theaters and classrooms so small that if you swung your broadsword overhead you’d take out the lights. Hence, Critchfield became adept at re-choreographing mayhem on short notice. He pays the bills by playing King Arthur and Merlin in Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings. “Which I find ironic,” he says, “because I do one sword strike (in the entire show).” Critchfield’s fight-choreography credits began to accumulate when he was recruited (continued on pg. 23)

Fight choreographer Sean Critchfield makes sure onstage combat is realistic — and safe. | 21


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Companion | june 2012

profile (continued from pg. 20) serving as musical director on Onyx Theatre’s meta-musical “[title of show],” Estes’ name started getting around. He and RagTag founder Andrew Wright clicked, and the composer found himself steering the “Rent” band. The rock musical suffered a glitch-laden opening night, one that would have tested a quality Wright values highly. “You never see the dude sweat,” Wright says of Estes. “The cat just stays cool and brings everybody over to his level. Regardless of it’s smooth sailing or stormy seas, you’ve got to read like it’s all sunshine and roses.” “While that was going,” Estes says of “Rent,” “I’d get another phone call and I’m writing music for ‘Twelfth Night,’” Insurgo Theater Movement’s final stint at the Erotic Heritage Museum. “Then I get another phone call and I’m doing music for Born & Raised, which produced ‘Danny.’ Then it spilled into (RagTag’s) ‘Dog Sees God’ and didn’t let up all year.” Director Ruth Pe Palileo says she loves how Estes adapted Vince Guaraldi’s iconic “Peanuts” tunes for “Dog” and recruited him to compose a ballet for “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” at Las Vegas Little Theatre. Each collaboration has its own style. With Palileo, she gave Estes prompts, such as “French film” or “candlelit table with a blue tablecloth.” The “Cell Phone Ballet” had to have both mobile-phone ringtones and “a certain quirky aural approach.” S c r e e n te st Estes finds that directors tend to talk in generalities of mood and style, or supply him with pieces in the vein of what they want. Erik Amblad, who staged “Danny,” would plead guilty as charged, giving Estes “frankly, really horrible direction. And you know what? He nailed it ... Arles delivered exactly what I was hoping for — and better.” Much of Estes’ 2012 will be devoted to composing “The Corpse Grinders,” a musical-comedy adaptation of the 1971 super-low-budget horror flick by local legend Ted V. Mikels, “a campy wonderland of a project.” The project speaks to the breadth of Estes’ tastes, which are evident offstage as well. His own musical diet is a smorgasbord of everything from Russian romantic composers to jazz standards to Latin tunes. But his seasonal musical indulgence is just about to kick in. “I go through phases in terms of what I like,” he says, “But when summertime comes, a desire to listen to bad candy pop tends to hit me.”

Welcome to Kids’ Club Las Vegas! (continued from pg. 21) for John Beane’s Insurgo Theater Movement, then still based in Orange County. After Insurgo relocated to Las Vegas, Critchfield orchestrated the much-praised warfare of its “Henry V.” It generated good word of mouth and — more importantly — work. That includes teaching rape-prevention classes, which made Las Vegas Little Theater’s “Extremities” a particularly harrowing and personal project. “(It was a) a unique challenge. It was very difficult for me to say, ‘I have to effectively stage a rape!’ (But) I wanted to tell the story as honestly as possible.” For instance, he says, “rapists have a particular M.O. when they attack,” methodology Critchfield had to impart to actor Geo Nikols, who played the assailant. Also, the struggle needed to convince audiences that petite actress Jamie Carvelli really could immobilize the hulking Nikols. It meant using any weaponry that could be credibly used in a wild frenzy, whether it be insecticide, phone cords, fists or feet. That’s the crux of good stage combat: It must look realistic and dangerous — but not to the point where the audience fears for the actor’s safety. F i g hting wor ds Critchfield since has branched into full-fledged direction. “I was frustrated with the way a lot of productions in Las Vegas were handled. I had a lot of gripes.” A local theater professor, hearing his grievances, told Critchfield to direct something or shut up. Fighting words. “(CSN) trusted me to do ‘Three Viewings,’” he says, a trio of monologues set in a funeral parlor. Critchfield’s half-dozen subsequent projects have included playing “show doctor” on RagTag Entertainment’s “Rent,” fixing “some transition problems, some honesty problems.” He’s also tried his hand at musical comedy and drama (“Assassins” and “Zoo Story,” both at Onyx Theatre), as well as comedy, in LVLT’s popular “Greater Tuna” revival. Characteristically, Critchfield praises his two-actor cast and describes his responsibility as, “How do I keep my direction out of their way?” Shakespearean background notwithstanding, Critchfield isn’t drawn to the epic canvas. He says he’s “very particular” about what directing jobs he’ll take, preferring small casts, isolation and philosophical content. But when a director needs to fill her stage with actors wreaking mayhem with rapiers, staffs and knives, Critchfield is still the man of action.

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See Spot run — and do yoga?! The pet wellness biz is booming. Are doggie treadmills and yoga more bark than bite? A girl (and her dog) investigate By heidi kyser Photography Christopher smith

24 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

Mark my words: The day is coming when “dog trainer” will mean “personal trainer for a dog,” as in: “I’ll be there at 8:30, right after I drop off Fifi at the gym for her trainer appointment.” I know this because I attended this spring’s Vegas Pet Expo at Cashman Center, where at least a dozen vendors were promoting dog fitness and wellness services. These aren’t just your run-of-the-mill $10-a-day walks (although they do that too). No, they’re more and more like the things you’d buy for yourself — massages, treadmills, yoga lessons, even therapy sessions. And people are certainly buying. Americans spent more than $50 billion on their pets in 2011 — an all-time high — according to the American Pet Products Association. The service category flourished, rising 7.9 percent from 2010 to 2011. Last year, U.S. pet owners spent $3.8 billion on grooming, boarding, pet hotels, pet sitting, day care and other services — including exercise. For good reason. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs (a total of 41.1 million) are overweight or obese, potentially causing osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems, kidney

Bella takes a trot on the Dog Pacer canine treadmill.

disease and shortened life expectancy. If you’re like me, your initial reaction to this is: “Why can’t people just get off their lazy butts and take their dogs for a walk?” The answer to that question may be the key to the success or failure of the companies offering said services, but, as I would begin to learn at the Expo, it has less to do with motivation than you might think, and more to do with the psychology of dog owners. Like most dog people nearing middle age with no children of their own, I’m completely into my canine sidekick, Aja, a blue-eyed, saltand-pepper coated Cocker Spaniel. Even as I scoffed at the slackers who would outsource their dogs’ fitness activities, I was tempted to try out all those services on Aja. Call it a combined need to show her off and spoil her. The amazing self-walking dog It started with the treadmill, a collapsible, 79-pound model being made by a local startup, Dog Pacer. As I strolled by the expo booth, Aja in tow, a skinny German Shepherd trotted on the treadmill, “Over it” written all over her face.

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Companion | June 2012

“Aja could do that,” was my first thought. Forget that she’s 12 now, and recently recovered from a broken front leg. We did once win in the small-dog category of human-canine 5k. I walked over. All smiles, Dog Pacer President Yaniv Rosenberg began his pitch. He had a full arsenal of answers to my first question — the lazy butts one — mostly having to do with inclement weather and impossible work schedules preventing people from getting outside for themselves, let alone Fido. I listened as Rosenberg told me how David Ezra, the owner of the local Anytime Fitness franchise, started Dog Pacer because he couldn’t find an affordable home treadmill for Bella, the skinny German Shepherd, and understood that she needed 2545 minutes of rigorous exercise per day. Pointing to Aja, I asked, “Can she try it?” “Sure.” After a few safety instructions from Rosenberg, Aja stepped right on the treadmill and started walking … albeit at something like 0.2 miles per hour. All I had to do was crouch in front of her and hold a treat just out of reach. Every so often, at Rosenberg’s prompting, I would give her the treat and say, “Good girl,” in an encouraging voice, and take another treat from the stash nearby. He stopped after about five minutes. When I picked Aja up, I could feel her accelerated heart rate. “She did great!” he said. Yes, she did, I agreed, my vanity appeased. Leaving the booth, I saw nothing the $499 treadmill could give Aja and me that we didn’t already get on our daily walks. But I could see how it might benefit someone who is disabled or can’t get outside for other reasons. “Some people are lazy,” Rosenberg conceded. “But it’s not only that. In the northern and northeastern U.S., there are five months out of the year when you can’t be outside running with your dog. Here and other states, it’s too hot in the summer. Florida, it’s too humid. Seattle, it rains too much. In urban jungles, there’s nowhere to go.” When I would ask her later, my vet, Michelle Parantala, would point out that treadmills have long been used in pet physical therapy centers. “If it leads to people exercising their dogs and cats more, great,” she said. “But just like human treadmills, they can make great towel racks.” In other words, you can’t just put your dog on a treadmill and walk away. It still requires dedication — not on the dog’s part, but on the human’s. That point would be driven home in my next experiment — with dog therapy.

What up, dog? For that, I called Renee Cawley of Move Mutt and made an appointment for her to come to my house, as she normally does with clients. Cawley can tell you a thing or two about dedication. She said she worked with one dog, an Australian Shepherd named Tucker, for a year and half before he conquered his bad biting habit and was finally adoptable. A family in Denver took in Tucker and loves him to this day. It’s the culmination of Cawley’s dream: to prevent dogs that could be great pets, with some help, from being euthanized. Her forprofit dog-therapy company KineticK9 helps pay for her nonprofit, Move Mutt, which offers free services to dogs in the care of local rescues. Her approach, greatly simplified, is to tire them out, then submit them to the appropriate techniques for behavior modification. As Parantala told me, one truism of the pet wellness industry is, “A tired dog is a good dog.” Cawley takes the rescue dogs out for hikes, walks and other activities, and works with them to curb the bad behaviors that can prompt adopters to return dogs to rescues — in short, making these pets much more adoptable. She has some data to back her up. In a 2010 study by the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, three-quarters of shelter dogs that got daily walks were permanently adopted, compared with a little more than a third of those who weren’t walked. Three times as many of the non-exercised dogs were euthanized than the exercised dogs. The trouble with my dog, as far as Cawley was concerned, was the lack of trouble. Aja has been over her separation anxiety (common in dogs abandoned by their original owners, as was her case) for years. Although Cawley was happy to pet Aja, she could see her services weren’t needed. After telling me the story of how she survived dog-bite-induced sepsis and went on to found Move Mutt despite partial paralysis and memory loss — not to mention two amputated fingers — Cawley left, continuing the mission she feels is the reason she survived her ordeal. “I was spared for something,” she said. “I think that something is that I can, in turn, save lives. Dogs are being put to sleep in shelters that don’t need to be.” Stretch your pooch I’d actually tried doggie yoga before with Aja — and failed. At the studio where I teach, a woman had given an afternoon workshop. While other dogs sprawled in apparent

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Companion | June 2012

bliss, their owners massaging their spines and stretching their limbs, Aja crackled like an electric wire. She wouldn’t sit or lie down. If I let go of her, she’d run for the door and scratch on it. The message was clear: “I want out of here.” But that was a long time ago, and a one-onone session would be different, I thought, as I drove to the home studio of Kristen Corral, owner of Little White Dog Company. Corral, who recently completed both UNLV’s animal massage and care certification and an animal yoga training program, offers one-hour private lessons for $25. She’ll teach humans how to do “fur striping,” “animal vibes,” “drummer’s howl” and other yoga-inspired moves with their dogs. “Most dogs sit at home alone all day, and their owners sit at work all day,” she said. “This program is great because it’s physical and mental activity for both of them. It’s based on bonding and communication between dog and owner.” With a few ground rules. “Never force anything,” Corral said, trying to help me get Aja to sit on both haunches, instead of her customary sideways tilt. “An animal can’t tell you how they’re feeling, if something hurts or the pressure is too deep.” I was at little risk of applying too much pressure. Aja, just like before, would head for the door every time I let go of her. After dragging her back to my yoga mat several times, I finally gave up. Corral suggested doing some poses on our own, to see if she’d return. No dice. “It takes three to five sessions for them to get used to it,” she said. I comforted myself with other excuses: My dog is too energetic to sit still for an hour. She was distracted by Corral’s Chihuahua, who modeled the poses. It was a new place, and she needed time to sniff around. If it works for other pooches and their humans, more power to ’em. If the experiment taught me anything, it’s that I would do whatever’s required to keep my own fur-baby happy and healthy … no matter how wacky it might seem to skeptics. Still, I wouldn’t go off-leash and just jump right in: Parantala cautioned that alternative therapies should sometimes be administered in combination with traditional medical care, and always in consultation with a vet. Even the amount of exercise a dog needs depends on many factors best determined by a vet. But, she stressed, every dog does need regular physical activity and mental stimulation. And if owners can’t provide it, the number of professionals to happily fill the void will only keep growing.


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News Reviews Interviews at f i r s t b i t e O n t h e P l at e


The dish

Use your noodle


On the Plate

June’s dining events


AT First Bite

Gordon Ramsay’s high steaks Gordon Ramsay’s roasted chicken breast and confit leg with apple butter, foie gras wild rice, tikki masala and crispy chicken skin

PHOTOGRAPH BY Sabin Orr | 31


From left: Trattoria Nakamura-Ya’s uni tomato cream pasta; branzini sea bass karaage (deep fried in oil); and fried jidori (chicken)

grating to Las Vegas seven years later, instead of opening a pasta restaurant, he opened up a sushi restaurant, Kabuki. “Sushi was just gaining popularity, and I wasn’t certain Americans would like Toykostyle pasta,” Nakamura says. But he’d soon be convinced.


The Dish

Use your noodle Trattoria Nakamura-Ya brings fans of Japanese cuisine something new to chew on: Tokyo-style pasta By Jim Begley | Photography Sabin Orr

Chinatown shopping and dining hub Seoul Plaza is getting a new title: Tokyo Plaza. What’s in the name change? A telling shift that reflects the recent explosion of the Japanese dining scene — with adventurous menus that go well beyond standard sushi, from restaurants such as Monta, Raku and Kabuto. One of the latest additions, Trattoria Nakamura-Ya,

32 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

highlights a lesser-known type of Japanese cuisine: Toyko-style pasta. Tokyo-style pasta gained prominence in Tokyo in the late ’90s as Italian food surpassed French food in popularity. While the cuisine was in its infancy, Nakamura-Ya owner and executive chef Kengo Nakamura learned the craft as a sous chef in his early 20s. After mi-

Test case A fateful visit from a former boss convinced him to transition from a standard sushi restaurant into a Tokyo-style pasta joint. Three years ago, the original Kabuki, located in the University District, became his test case for his Italian-Japanese fusion. “Business has increased substantially since moving from the east side,” Nakamura says. “In the beginning, my customers were mostly Chinese and Korean. However, now we’re seeing a variety of clientele.” Among their favorites, he says, are the uni (sea urchin) tomato cream pasta and squid ink pasta. “Interestingly enough, squid ink was a bestseller at our old location also because we had a large number of Filipino doctor customers.” Nakamura-Ya’s menu consists of a set roster of dishes, a rotating selection of pastas high-


lighting seasonal ingredients scripted upon the wall, and a portable blackboard outlining nightly specials. Be sure to check all three before making a decision. An absolute must-have is the best-selling uni and tomato cream sauce spaghetti. The uni endows the tomato cream sauce with a hint of brininess, lightening the already light cream sauce even further. It’s an ethereal dish, and one of the most memorable

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Companion | June 2012

bites of food I’ve had in some time. Just be aware that as the weather warms, uni supply dwindles, and the special may not be available in the summer. Equally remarkable is the miso carbonara pasta. The traditional sauce, consisting of egg, cheese, bacon and pepper, is given a Far Eastern spin with the inclusion of miso paste, a traditional Japanese seasoning and soup base, which contributes a slight nuttiness to the dish. This, too, is far less heavy than the standard Italian presentation.

restaurants have been quietly popping up in Las Vegas, but it’s in the last 12 months that a full-on onslaught has taken place. Some would say the renaissance began with the opening of Sen of Japan in early 2006 (8480 W. Desert Inn Road #F1, senofjapan. com). Up to that point, Japanese options were limited to Korean-run sushi joints, teppanyaki or Japanese grill (think Hamada), and a single ikazaya or Japanese gastropub (Ichiza). Sen revolutionized local Japanese dining by offering innovative sushi alongside cooked options, highlighting Chef Hiro Nakano’s experience at the helm of

B e yo n d t h e c a r b s While pasta is the highlight of the menu, I’d be remiss to not suggest the jidori, or free-range, chicken. Try the fried jidori appetizer — wonderfully seasoned chicken “bits” make for the perfect starter before endeavoring into the noodle selections. Even the salads are memorable. A recent hirame (mackerel) and mizuna salad was tossed with a karashi su miso — that is, Japanese mustard miso dressing. The miso’s sharpness offset the mizuna’s bitterness, with the delicate hirame hanging in the balance in between the offsetting flavors. In lesser hands, the fish could be easily overwhelmed. While there are a multitude of exciting Japanese restaurants in town, our dalliance with the Far East is not yet over. Toyko Plaza is home to the recently opened Kabuto, which serves only nigiri (fish on rice) and sashimi (fish without rice), and will also soon host a Japanese dessert restaurant with a showcase kitchen. Meanwhile, new ramen spots are poised to spread throughout town in a migratory wave from Los Angeles. What’s missing? Well, we could always use a tempura house; however, I’m hoping for something a little more … challenging. My hope is the future brings us either an okonomyaki (Japanese savory pancakes) or takoyaki (grilled octopus) restaurant. Each is fairly rare in the States — even L.A. only has a couple of each — but wouldn’t you want to be able to hit up an octopus restaurant before (or after) a good night of drinking? That’s when we’ll know we’ve truly arrived.

Trattoria Nakamura-Ya 5040 W. Spring Mountain Road #5, 251-0022

Nobu. Next was Chef Mitsuo Endo’s Abriyu Raku (5030 W. Spring Mountain Road,, which has become a James Beard darling and after-hours hangout for chefs in recent years. Raku is known for their robatayaki, Japanese skewers cooked over charcoal, and wildly inventive specials such as whole fried flying fish and sawagani — miniature crabs flash-fried and eaten whole. Endo’s coupe de grace is his kaiseki presentation, a multicourse extravaganza that is among the most memorable dining experiences in the valley. 2009 saw the arrival of Monta (5030 Spring Mountain Road #6, montaramen. com), a ramen house operated by Takashi Segawa. Monta has been critically acclaimed since its opening and the tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen is exquisite in its complexity. Last year marked the largest wave of Japanese restaurant openings, but 2011 also harkened the arrival of two new types of Japanese restaurants — a Tokyo-style pasta restaurant (see main story) and a Japanese coffeehouse. Las Vegas received its first kissaten, or Japanese coffeehouse, with Café de Japon (5300 Spring Mountain Road #101, 4318038). Kissatens have their roots in World War II, when the Japanese were introduced to coffee by American GIs. Coffee surpassed tea in popularity, and kissatens arose to address the demand. The menus are basically a riff on standard American fare such as spaghetti and Hamburg steak with Japanese condiments and ingredients. Café de Japon is a particularly vibrant example of the genre — and serves a great cup of joe, of course. — Jim Begley


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June’s dining events you don’t want to miss Farm to Strip dinners June 1-2. FIRST Food & Bar Executive Chef Sam “Sammy D” DeMarco holds a series of twonight monthly Farm to Strip Dinners. He shops the local Downtown 3rd Farmers Market for locally grown, organic ingredients and creates a wine-paired meal for six to eight people. $42. FIRST Food & Bar in the Palazzo. 607-3478

LUCKYRICE Vegas Night Market June 23. LuckyRice features Asian street foods and flavors from 20 participating chefs from all over the U.S. Las Vegas chefs include Saipin Chutima (Lotus of Siam), Colin Fukunaga and Robert “Mags” Magsalin (Fukuburger), Takashi Segawa (Monta), David Myers (Comme Ça) and more. Asian-inspired cocktails will also be served by renowned mixologists. 8 p.m. $88-$125. Cosmopolitan hotel-casino.

Las Vegas Chocolate Festival and Pastry Show July 7. This festival showcases some of the best chocolate and pastry chefs in Las Vegas, including such luminaries as Jean-Marie Auboine, Stephan Treand, Ed Engoron and Alicia Boada. Beverage purveyors include Patron XO Tequila, Moreno Beverly Hills Sparkling Wine and Cielo Malibu wines. Proceeds from the festival benefit the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Palazzo hotelcasino. 8 p.m. $25. sincitychocolatefestival. com

36 | Desert

Gordon Ramsay’s chorizo-stuffed Maine lobster with brandied lobster cream sauce and sweet corn

Companion | June 2012

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High steaks

First impressions of British chef (and notorious perfectionist) Gordon Ramsay’s splashy debut

w By Debbie Lee Photography Sabin Orr

“What’s a triffle?” my dinner date asked as he perused the dessert selections at the new Gordon Ramsay Steak inside Paris Las Vegas. Knowing his unfamiliarity with British cuisine, I laughed and corrected his botched pronunciation of the traditional English dish. “You mean a trifle,” I said. “Uh, no.” He pushed the menu towards me. There it was, between the banoffee tart and chocolate cake: Tea Triffle. Along with the chicken tikki (sic) masala — another U.K. staple — and the bar’s signature Antioxident (sic) cocktail, this was the third glaring typo on the restaurant’s menu. Such oversights, normally forgivable in the case of a restaurant in its infancy, were embarrassing for two reasons: The first is that Caesars Entertainment had worked with Ramsay on this project for more than a year before its May debut. Second, anyone who has tuned into “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares” or “Master Chef ” would expect higher standards given the British chef ’s carefully cultivated reputation as a short-fused perfectionist. Nevertheless, Ramsay did not earn his Michelin stars with stellar spelling skills, and his latest restaurant’s success or failure will not be at the hands of nitpicking copywriters but tourists, pop culture fans and local epicures.

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dining So it’s fortunate that on a recent visit, there were fewer blunders on the plate than there were in print. Gordon Ramsay Steak is simultaneously a modern steakhouse and a showcase for the namesake chef’s greatest hits. The somethingfor-everyone philosophy — a departure from Ramsay’s other concepts, which focus strictly on fine dining (Petrus) or casual service (Bread Street Kitchen) — is right for Vegas, if not a little mottled. Once past the contrived, futuristic touches (of particular note are an army of hostesses dressed like Robert Palmer’s backup dancers and a hallway reminiscent of the Star Trek Enterprise), we were presented with a touchscreen beverage menu. The Sex Pistols blared from the speakers as we decided between cheap bottled beer, handcrafted cocktails and rare wines. This was followed by a shift back to paper menus with two prices for every dish: one for Caesars Total Rewards members, and a marginally costlier option for the common folk. A schizophrenic start, to say the least. From the limited selection of libations, The Drifter (a mix of Knob Creek, ginger liqueur, falernum, lemon and bitters) was spicy but clean. It also acted as a palate cleanser between bites from the bread plate, which included savory walnut-blue cheese baguette slices and a buttery brioche with figs and pancetta. Those first nibbles foreshadowed a meal that only grew more decadent with each course. First came Ramsay’s signature pressed pork belly, served with candied kumquats, cauliflower puree, and crunchy pork rinds. The perfect porcine rectangle was mild but tender enough to cut with a fork. A Maine lobster tail stuffed with chorizo was served lukewarm but packed more flavor, thanks to a tableside pour of saffronhued lobster cream sauce. Equally hungry but less adventurous eaters might try the Kobe beef sliders, which my date cheerfully lauded as being identical in flavor to a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. Entrees run the gamut from casual pub fare (fish and chips, shepherd’s pie) to stuffy classics (beef Wellington for two), but steak is the star of the show. The only caveat is that carnivorous diners must earn their meal by sitting through a lengthy presentation. While waiting on drinks, our server wheeled out a shiny cart displaying each cut of meat on the menu, then proceeded with a tutorial on aging techniques (such pomp and circumstance was novel and

38 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

Ramsay’s American Kobe rib cap

informative, but please spare me on the next visit). Tired of filet and New York strip? Consider ordering the American Kobe rib cap. The eight-ounce sheath of meat is shaved clean off the bone and needs none of the braising or slow cooking normally required of rib meat. Ours arrived charred with a medium-rare center, just as requested. A loaded baked potato on the side, filled with sour cream and smoked Gouda cheese sauce, looked ordinary on the surface but was redeemed by chewy chunks of bacon. Both preparations represent what Ramsay seems to do best, which is to take simple, approachable dishes and turn them into flavor bombs. Even a plain chicken breast was elevated with Indian spices and a side of wild rice with foie gras (a highbrow play on Cajun dirty rice). A garnish of crispy, deep-fried chicken Ramsay Steak’s skin shattered between the teeth atmosphere has like potato chips made for the futuristic touches, unabashed meat lover. but the focus is on flavor. A sticky toffee pudding for dessert was perfectly executed. The moist cake, made with neat cylinders and resembled miniature layer dates and napped with a buttery brown sugar cakes. The addition of tea-infused ice cream sauce, had a toasty crust and moist crumb. was an interesting but just-safe-enough alterNutty brown butter ice cream on the side, native to vanilla. shaped like an actual stick of butter, was a Sure, it was misspelled, but I suppose that cool complement — in more ways than one. detail is a trifle in itself. After all, it was still And then, of course, there was the trifle. delicious. While the dish is traditionally a hodgepodge of cake, fruit and cream, all tumbled together in a glass, Ramsay’s version, made with rhuGordon Ramsay Steak, inside Paris Las Vegas barb and strawberries, was constructed in 946-7000,

Does Your Pet Need A


Many pet owners are unaware that veterinary specialists and specialty hospitals even exist. Veterinary specialists are similar to human specialists in many ways. They are doctors of veterinary medicine who choose to specialize in one type of medicine, surgery or species. They must complete 3-4 years of additional training, usually in the form of an internship and residency program after graduating from veterinary school. Following their advance training, they must submit credentials to the specific group in question, i.e. American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), American College of Veterinary Surgery (ACVS), etc. Once they meet the preliminary criteria, they must pass a multi- day examination. Once the individual passes the examination, they become a member or diplomate of that group and are considered to be board certified in their specialty. There are currently 20 veterinary specialties recognized by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). Specialties range from anesthesiology to zoo medicine. In general, specialists see cases requiring advanced training, expertise, skill or equipment for diagnosis and to perform the most up to date surgical or medical treatments. Orthopedic surgery, complicated abdominal or cancer surgery, ultrasound, MRI/CT scans, chemotherapy, and endoscopy are just a few examples of these. Seeing a specialist is usually on referral by your primary veterinarian. In many cases, your veterinarian seeks a second opinion or knows your pet needs advanced diagnostics or a complicated procedure that they are not equipped to handle in their hospital. The Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center (LVVSC) is Southern Nevada’s only multi-specialty veterinary hospital with full-time specialists available 7 days a week. LVVSC has been working with local veterinarians since 2005 to provide the most comprehensive veterinary medicine available.

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t C om p a n


io n


Pet Issue Ju

ne 2012

Creatures of comfort M

Meet the people and pets whose commitment to the community is truly off the leash by

Heidi Kyser and Andrew kiraly Bill Hughes pet portraits Christopher Smith


Desert Companion


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

A Adagio Big horse, big heart

Lives and works at:

Dream Therapies, a Henderson center for occupational, physical and speech therapy, employing activities and exercises done on horseback, called hippotherapy. Loves to help:

Kids with disorders such as ADHD, autism, Down Syndrome and other developmental delays, Adagio's horse sense helps kids achieve calmness and focus.

under the guidance of Karen Siran-Loughery, a licensed occupational therapist who’s trained in hippotherapy. Gives the gift of:

Focus. Theories on why, exactly, abound, but being on horseback seems to facilitate concentration in those who tend to get distracted when doing tasks requiring attentiveness, such as learning their ABCs. Ask them to recite the alphabet, and they’ll forget what they were doing between “A” and “B.” Put them on horseback, have them point the horse (led by a therapist) to the post with “A” pinned on it, then “B,” then “C” and so on, and their attention span increases. Adagio’s tale:

He came to Siran-Loughery through a contact after his first owner passed away and his subsequent owner couldn’t exercise him enough. Hippotherapy horses go through rigorous testing and training to make sure they’ll tolerate the unpredictable riders they carry. The kids’ safety is at stake. Siran-Loughry says she knew she had a jewel when a canopy Adagio was standing under, with her on his back, blew off its stakes and whipped around. “All he did was jump to the side,” she says. — Heidi Kyser Desert Companion


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

K Kendra Grantz Kind (and wise) animal doc

Loves to help:

can call to ask questions about

Those who might otherwise

their pets,” says Grantz, who

skip veterinary care for

even makes house calls. She’s

their pets, such as the poor;

currently looking to do more

and those who are helping

community outreach, such as

Works at:

joined the hospital, which

to improve the lives of the

programs to assist those who

Sunset Eastern Pet Hospital,

she described as very well-

local pet population, such

can’t afford necessary, but

hers since she bought it from

built with a strong medical

as the Nevada Society for

high-dollar vet services.

the former owners in 2010.

practice — both important

the Prevention of Cruelty to

The Michigan native moved

factors in her decision to

Animals. “I envision myself as

Gives the gift of:

to Las Vegas in 2004 and

take over.

that family doctor that people

Free and reduced-price care. Sunset Eastern Pet Hospital checks out all animals rescued by nextdoor neighbor Little Friends Foundation, giving low-cost spay, neuter, micro-chipping and vaccination procedures, as well as other necessary care. Folks who adopt a pet from the NSPCA can go to Grantz’ practice for a free first exam, including general health screening, microchip scan, parasite blood tests and more. The doctor says the need is so great, that she sees a few of these each week. What does it mean?

It means nonprofit rescues can stretch their dollars further. James Williamson, manager of Little Friends, says he’s completely confident in Grantz’ integrity. “She will not suggest a procedure or medication that’s not necessary. She’ll suggest something more cost-effective and safer,” he says. “She’s just a really nice, kind, gentle person.” — H.K.

Kendra Grantz thinks of herself as a family doctor who happens to work with pets.

Desert Companion


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

Maury is one of Nevada's few certified therapy cats.

a warm, furry being, he also has the power to instantly soothe and comfort anyone who pets him — a precious gift to those in hospice care. Maury’s story: As a special needs pet at the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Maury was overlooked by many potential adopters. Nicholson was willing to nurse him back to health and administer the complicated care required

M Maury

to control feline diabetes.

Friday’s feline

She could see Maury was a rare specimen, and soon

Works at:

Gives the gift of:

had him in a Pet Partners

Nathan Adelson Hospice,

Companionship. Unlike most

program to become a

which he visits every Friday

cats, Maury will let anyone

certified therapy cat — one

with his human, Mandy

pick him up. Once deposited

of only three in Southern


on a lap, he’s content to

Nevada. Hospice residents

sit and purr as long as

treasure his visits, says Lisa

Loves to help:

owner of said lap allows it.

Browder, complementary

Elderly residents, whose

A consummate listener, he

therapies manager. “He likes

visits from friends and family

learned during pet therapist

everybody he sees,” she

are often too few and far

school to never interrupt and

says. “He gives people his full


always sympathize. And as

attention.” — H.K.

Desert Companion


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

for Holt, who was diagnosed

Tayla Hart, zookeeper and

six years ago with lupus

volunteer coordinator at

— explaining the bouts of

Roos-N-More (roosnmore.

dizziness and inflamed joints

org). But there’s more to

Works at:

she’d been suffering for

her monkeyshines than

Roos-N-More, an educational

years — Caico has become

just fun and games. Like

zoo in Moapa.

a constant source of levity

many of the critters at

and laughter, whether the

Roos-N-More — from

Loves to help:

cheeky primate is stealing

its signature kangaroos

Roos-N-More’s director and

herring from the otters or

to lemurs, macaws

veterinarian Dr. Valerie Holt

swinging by her tail from a

and African crested

cope with the symptoms

mulberry tree.

porcupines — Caico’s

C Caico The mischief-maker

role is to raise awareness

of her autoimmune condition lupus — among

This monkey shines:

about conservation and

those symptoms, fatigue,

“She’s super fun — and a

the fragility of life on the

dizziness, disorientation

little rambunctious,” says

planet. — Andrew Kiraly

— and the depression that comes with it. “My crazy toddler monkey-girl brings me incredible emotional support,” says Holt. “There have even been occasions when I’ve been feeling down and she’s grabbed a Kleenex to wipe away my tears.” While Caico is certified as a service animal, Holt relies on the playful capuchin more for brightening her outlook than opening doors. Gives the gift of:

Smiles. Four year-old Caico (kay-koe) has enough energy for several jobs on the sprawling Roos-N-More campus — and fortunately she’s got several to keep her busy. First off, her natural hamminess makes her RoosN-More’s animal ambassador to the countless school kids in Southern Nevada who visit the three-acre complex off north I-15. But

Desert Companion


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

Caico's mischiefmaking ways brings comfort to Roos-N-Moore vet Valerie Holt.

A Arica Dorff The pet-parazzi

Owns and works at:

toughest adoptee prospects.

placements for some of their

Pet’ographique pet and

The pics are unleashed

most challenging pets — such

family photography studio.

on websites, Twitter and

as Ice, a white pit bull with

Facebook — and then the

allergy issues who was in a

Loves to help:

ooohing and aaahing and

shelter for two years before

Rescue animals — from dogs

sharing — and adopting —

finding a family, thanks to

and cats to bunnies and guinea


Dorff’s photos.

helps get them out of local

Doggie come home:

people that rescue animals go

shelters and into loving homes.

“The trick with adoption

well beyond the stereotype

portraits is to really go over

of scroungy mutts (not that

Gives the gift of:

the top, so people remember

there’s anything wrong with

Completely heart-melting,

the animal,” says Dorff. (Yes,

scroungy mutts). “Part of the

mind-paralyzing cuteness.

that can mean dogs dressed

reason I do adoption portraits

In her daily work, Dorff

as butlers, cats peering over

is to raise awareness,” she

specializes in shooting family

bucket edges.) Her photos,

says. “I do it to show people

portraits where the furry kids

for organizations such as

that there are wonderful

are literally part of the picture.

the Nevada Society for the

animals that would make great

But several times a week,

Prevention of Cruelty to

companions — and they come

she takes photos that truly

Animals (, Las

in all sizes and breeds.” Dorff

change lives. Dorff donates

Vegas Hot-Diggity Dachshund

walks the walk, too: Her two

the services of Pet’ographique

Rescue ( and

beloved Weimaraners, Duke


Southern Nevada Beagle

and Drake, are rescues. So is

to several animal rescue

Rescue (southernnevada

her guinea pig, Harley — which,

organizations, taking polished,

fittingly, Dorff fell in love with

studio photos of some of their

have resulted in happy home

during a photo shoot. — A.K.

But Dorff’s photos also teach

pigs. With her camera, she

Desert Companion


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

Arica Dorff's photos of rescue animals helps them find loving homes — fast.


Freckles Therapist with paws

Gives the gift of:

they’ve learned in class and

Patience. Students meet

work through obstacles on

Freckles and his human,

their own terms.

Terry Koehler, at one of the

Freckles is a bookworm who helps kids learn to read in a comforting environment.

Works at:

libraries, where they have a

A freckled past:

The Reading with Rover

private room to themselves

Koehler found Freckles

program of the Henderson

for an hour. Sitting on

through the Lucky Star

Libraries, coordinated with

a blanket with books

Cavalier Rescue, which

Clark County School District.

scattered around, they read

said he’d been found

to the adorable Cavalier

scraggly and starving, a

Loves to help:

King Charles spaniel, often

puppy mill refugee. Koehler

First- through fifth-grade

while stroking his white

immediately spotted his

kids who are not reading up

and brown fur, which

potential as a therapy

to grade level for a variety

melts stutters into strings

dog, his gentle nature

of reasons, from a learning

of words. Having a non-

and willingness to sit with

disability to the shyness

judgmental listener (along

anyone. She’s seen kids

that can turn to sheer

with Koehler’s occasional

advance two grade levels

panic when a teacher asks

background assistance) to

or more during the six-

a student to read aloud

read aloud to gives students

week Reading with Rover

in class.

the space to take what

sessions. — H.K.

Desert Companion


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

Brook Niemiec makes sure dogs and cats (and the occasional jaguar) have strong, clean teeth.

to treat a jaguar when he spoke to Desert Companion), his bread and butter is family pets with bad teeth and gums. Gives the gift of: Education. Niemiec says most vets simply don’t have the time to educate their patients’ owners on the importance of oral care. Having spoken at veterinary conferences around the world, he says lately he’s focusing on getting the message to the public, starting with free educational videos on his website. Niemec also wants to partner with local breed clubs and rescue groups to spread the gospel of good oral hygiene for animals. Why animal dentistry? Because teeth are one of the most overlooked factors in a healthy, happy pet. For

Niemiec B Brook Clean chomper champion

Niemiec, it’s all about results. “With oral disease, there are almost no outward clinical signs,” he explains. “The

Works at:

state with no board-certified

animals that come to me are

Southern California Vet

veterinary dentist.

eating, drinking, wagging their tails. I see dogs with broken

Dental Specialties in San Diego, but visits Las Vegas

Loves to help:

teeth, abscessed teeth, even

for a few days twice a month,

Creatures great and small —

fractured jaws whose owners

using local clinic Animal

provided they’ve got tooth

swear there’s nothing wrong.

Allergy and Dermatology

troubles. Although Niemiec

Then, we treat them, and

Specialists as a base of

has treated things as wild

they come back later and say,

operations, in order to

as mountain lions (he was

‘Oh my god, he’s a whole

provide needed services in a

preparing for a trip to Belize

new dog.’” — H.K.

Desert Companion


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

Stacia Newman fights for state laws to prevent animal cruelty and improve their lives.

animal shelter volunteer, Newman’s deep-seated love for Earth’s furry inhabitants has moved her to fight ever more ferociously on their behalf. After moving to Vegas in 1998, she found there was no organized animal rights group, so she started one, People Against Cruelty to Animals, which evolved into the registered PAC that state legislators are so

Newman S Stacia Spot’s friend in Carson City

familiar with today. What keeps her going? “She’s got a great big,

Volunteers for:

scores on its website for

out of their car on a busy

huge heart,” says Nevada

Nevada Political

voters to use as a guide.

street and drive away. She

Sen. Mark Manendo, who

and another passerby made

co-sponsored the anti-

Action for Animals, a 2,000-member nonprofit

Loves to help:

sure the dog was safe, then

puppy mill bill that NPAA

advocacy organization

Those who are otherwise

Newman raced to catch up

helped to pass in the 2011

that promotes legislation

defenseless against humans

with the perps. She says

session. Manendo says

protecting animals from

— from pets abused by

she’ll press littering charges

it’s hard to enumerate

cruelty, and fights to

their owners, to wild herds

against them, since there’s

everything Newman does

make sure such laws are

of mustangs rounded up

no other law against what

in the community, not only

upheld and enforced.

by the Bureau of Land

they did.

because it’s so voluminous,

During election cycles and

Management. Days before

legislative sessions, NPAA

being interviewed for this

Inspired by:

humble about it. “She’s

rates candidates on their

story, Newman says, she

Kindness. Starting with

amazing,” he says. “People

pet-friendliness and posts

saw a couple push a pit bull

her stint as a teenage

like her are rare.” — H.K.

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but also because she’s so


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

eat and how they fit into the

of two rescued parents.

food chain; demonstrating

Because she was taken

their intelligence by getting

away from her parents while

her to say her favorite

she was young (standard

Lives and works at:

phrases, “Hi, Delilah,” and

procedure for training)

Plant World on West

“Bye, Delilah”; even getting

and hand-fed, the white

Charleston, a retail paradise

her to kiss Nelson, the store’s

cockatoo is more social

that’s part garden center,

19-year-old cat.

and teachable than most of

D Delilah Native ham

the other birds. “I like the

part animal planet, under the care of Richard “Sully”

Delilah’s home:

kids’ interest, especially the


Has always been Plant

special-needs kids,” Sully

World. She’s one of the few

says. “They’re in awe of the

born on site, 13 years ago,

animals.” — H.K.

Loves to help:

Groups of kids coming through for tours — Boy and Girl Scouts, church groups, school classes (you name it) — two to three times a week, some who’ve never seen a live animal up close outside the family dog. Gives the gift of:

Education. Delilah is one of many birds at Plant World (not to mention tortoises, cats and other fauna), but she’s the one Sully can do the most with: showing how and why birds’ wings are clipped; explaining what they

Delilah is one of Plant World's biggest hams.

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T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

L Linda Faso The entertainment police

Works for:

Berosini’s orangutan act at

What keeps her going:

A veritable alphabet

the Stardust in 1989, and has

Stoney, an Asian elephant

soup of organizations.

targeted other Las Vegas

that languished and died

The ubiquitous Faso can

Strip acts and circuses that

in August 1995 after a leg

be found at marches

use animals.

injury in the show “Winds

and meetings of Animal

of the Gods” at the Luxor.

Defenders International,

Gives the gift of:

After Stoney pulled a

the Humane Society of the

Advocacy. As fearless as

hamstring doing a hind-leg

United States, Last Chance

the lions and tigers she

stand, Faso says, his owner

for Animals, PETA and the

fights for — and even

placed him in a supportive

Performing Animal Welfare

more tireless — Faso

mechanical device to hold

Society, to name a few. She

gathers U.S. Department

him immobile and upright.

says having a supportive,

of Agriculture reports

The elephant died a slow,

understanding husband

on trainers’ treatment of

undignified death, Faso

makes it possible for her to

circus animals, meets with

says, despite the efforts of

pursue the cause full time.

magicians and other Strip

PAWS and other groups.

performers and rallies

The memory of animals

Loves to help:

troops for protests. She

like Stoney fortifies Faso:

Any animal in need, but

also takes her fight to

“Change is happening,” she

particularly those being

both the Nevada and U.S.

says, “but you’ll always have

exploited for entertainment

Congress, making frequent

someone who will crop up

purposes. She had a hand

trips to Carson City and

and try to make money off

in the cancellation of Bobby

Washington, D.C.

an animal.” — H.K.

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T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

Linda Faso is a star when it comes to advocating for animals used for entertainment.

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t C om p a n


io n


Pet Issue Ju

ne 2012

Pet guide With everything from obedience courses to dog parks to pet hotels, here's a guide that will make you howl with delight compiled by

Amira Hall-Hood and

Danielle McCrea

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T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

Good owner, good dog Sit. Heel. Stay! Everyone knows that a well-trained dog makes a happy owner. Follow these simple steps to build a good foundation for dog obedience training.

Do act consistently. It’s difficult for your dog to understand inconsistency. If you allow him to jump on you without being invited, it will be really hard to teach him to not jump on others without being invited. Instead, use an “up” command to signal when he is allowed to approach. Don’t expect him to read your mind! Don’t yell. The easiest way to get through to Fido is by both of you keeping calm, cool and collected. In addition to getting your blood pressure up, yelling escalates your dog’s mindset and can make it more difficult to get through to him. Speak at a normal volume.


Obedience Classes // In-house Training Blue Ribbon K9 Las Vegas Dog Training Center Blue Ribbon K9 specializes in puppy training, dog obedience training and behavior modification, offering private, in-home training lessons.

6210 N. Jones Blvd. #752982, 656-9719,

Do supervise around small children. I recommend that every dog — even the very best-behaved — are supervised around little ones. I’ve trained dozens of Canine Good Citizens and therapy dogs. Even these dogs should not be left alone with children — ever! — Rich Damico

Christine Hanley, dog trainer Local dog trainer Christine Hanley uses the “Bark Busters dog obedience training system,” using the natural dynamics of canine communication such as body language and voice commands to get your dog sharp and smart.

Rich Damico is the founder and head trainer for Sin City K9 dog training ( and a national canine sporting competitor.

Good Paws, LLC Convinced your human-canine relationship is falling apart because Sparky just isn’t


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listening? Good Paws teaches the skills to truly communicate with your dog, offering group classes, private lessons and behavior and nutrition consultations.

469-1437, Happy Tails Family Dog Training Offers reward-based training, inhome and phone consultations, day and board training, clicker training and “New Pup Prep” for new dog owners.


Sin City K-9 helps humans to "think like dogs" for a better understanding of canine companions.

Sin City K-9 Trainer Rich Damico’s system adapts to the dog’s personality and teaches humans how to “think like a dog,” tailoring training methods to invidual pets.

260-6586, Sit Means Sit Summerlin Dog Training Offers outdoor group classes in obedience to teach dogs to behave in high-distraction environments and teach owners to practice off-leash control.

1800 S. Town Center Drive, 518-9444, Smarty Paws Canine Coaching Smarty Paws Canine Coaching provides a stress-free learning environment. Services include agility, behavior and obedience training as well as rehabilitation and conditioning.

4161 N. Rancho Drive #120, 396-8501,

Ry Steffen, All Dog Solutions Ry Steffen is a Canine Behavior and Training Specialist who specializes in aggression management and obedience training.

Vegas Valley Dog Obedience Club Offers dog obedience training sessions three times a year, AKC-licensed trials two times a year, dog-related functions, and obedience demonstrations at local events and local schools.




T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

P hoto co u rtes y O f sin cit y k- 9

Don’t accidentally reward bad behavior. Don’t pet Fido or give him a treat if he’s being anxious or exhibiting bad behavior. When jumping, pulling or whining dogs get “calmed down” with love, attention and hugs from their owner, it actually reinforces the unwanted behavior.

Stay. Day camps // Pet hotels // Pet sitters Pet sitters A Pawsatively Purrrfect Petsitting Service Offers dog-walking, pet companionship, in-home pet-sitting, day visits, housesitting, overnight stays, pet transportation and more.

T R eats co u rtes y of T he D og H o u se


5175 S. Valley View Blvd., 255-CAMP, Doggie District Pet Resort Four indoor/outdoor play areas make for socially stimulating daytime activities with private rooms for night stays. Pick-up and drop-off services available.

all kinds of animals, including special needs, hospice, senior pets and newborns.

Reiki Master, or flight attendant, just some of the care-givers Gals on the Go provides.

4250 S. Rainbow Blvd., 252-3647,



Critter Sitter Offers hourly and extended care, pet taxis and, most importantly, reduces the stress of finding a good pet sitter.

Paws Pet Service Operated and owned by pet first aid and CPR certified Stacey Armstrong, Paws Pet Service offers pet errands, pet taxis, trail hikes, hotel visits, dog walking and more.

LV Dog Resort, Luxury Dog Hotel Las Vegas Dog Hotel is the Four Seasons for dogs, with spacious individual suites equipped with chandelier lighting, custom paint and crown molding. Every suite has a color cable TV, movie of the day, comfy beds and a plethora of toys.

Anthem Pet Sitting Anthem Pet Sitting aims to preserve the atmosphere of your home while you’re away. They focus on eliminating travel trauma for both pets and owners along with specializing care to your pet’s specific dietary and exercise needs.

8405 Pacific Spring Ave., 510-8787,

8022 S. Rainbow Blvd. #213, 568-PETS


Anytime Pet Sitters Owner Suzanne Ippolito and her team have many years of experience working with

Camp Bow Wow Camp Bow Wow is a rustic summer camp-themed dog care center complete with doggie sized log cabins. Both day and overnight camping options are available.

608-5503, Dog Duty Pet Sitting Karen Emptage’s company has a variety of services such as pet sitting, dog walking, overnight pet care and pet transportation throughout the valley.

Gals on the Go-Pet Sitting, Dog Walking and Errand Services Entrust your precious pup in the caring hands of a school teacher,

Pet hotels American Dog & Cat Resort Pioneers in cage-free boarding, American Dog and Cat Resort has amenities such as size-appropriate play areas, “temperament tests” to ensure aggressive-free playtime and plenty of hands-on help.

2900 E. Patrick Lane, 795-3647,

2675 W. Arby Ave., 560-7387, Small Town Dog: Las Vegas Dog Boarding Private villages and private villas, complete with dog house, potty area and yard to play in, starting at $25 a night. Bring your own food and blanket.

3430 E. Tropicana Ave. #65, 750-9962,

Tips on tasty (and healthy) treats Dogs love treats of all kinds, and they’re a great way to reward good behavior or just show a little extra love. But not all Scooby snacks are created equal. Less is more. Generally, the fewer ingredients in a treat, the better it is for your dog. Avoid treats that have a laundry list of preservatives, artificial flavors and additives. Opt instead for those made with whole food ingredients you recognize. ¶ Functional treats offer double the reward. Treats with added supplements or beneficial ingredients can improve your dog’s health in addition to rewarding him outside of meal times. Look for treats made with wild-caught fish, healthy vegetables, glucosamine for joints, and organic herbs to add a nutritional boost to your dog’s diet. ¶ Choose safe chews. Most long-lasting chews on the market can damage your dog’s system. Two common chews that should be avoided are hard plastic bones and rawhides. When dogs chew on hard plastic bones, they ingest little bits of sharp plastic, which can scrape their intestines. Rawhides are not digestible at all, and therefore can create a blockage that can only be removed through surgery. The best choice for a chew? Naturally shed antlers are completely safe and incredibly durable. ¶ Don’t overdo it. It’s easy to forget that treats can add superfluous calories to your dog’s diet, especially when looking at overall food intake. Overfeeding treats can lead to obesity, so if you have an overweight pooch, limit treats to two or three per day. — Jillian Plaster

Jillian Plaster owns the The Dog House and The Good Dog Food Company (

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T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

Park petiquette 101 Tips on making your visit to the dog park a happy one for you and your pet. Health first. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are current, and don’t take a dog younger than four months to the dog park. ¶ Unleash early. Have your dog on the leash walking from your car to the enclosed entry into the park. Then, take off the leash before you enter the off-leash area. Eager to greet the newcomer, the other dogs will crowd the gate. If your dog is still on a leash, he can feel cornered and it can provoke a fight. ¶ Leave treats and toys at home. Don’t bring treats, food or your dog’s favorite toy with you. This can provoke possessive behavior and start an altercation. ¶ Keep kids away. Don’t take small children or babies in strollers to a dog park. Children under 10 should be supervised at all times. Running, jumping and yelling can excite dogs and lead to nipping. ¶ Be aware of warning signs. Pay attention to your dog and stay close enough to act if there's trouble. Learn to read your dog’s body language and that of the other dogs. If the dogs start to pack up, there can be trouble; call your dog and go to another area of the park or leash up and leave. If your dog is continually annoying other dogs or being annoyed, it’s time to go. — Carol Riback and Vicki Callahan

Carol Riback is president and Vicki Callahan is director of the Vegas Valley Dog Obedience Club (

Dog parks // Dog Walkers // Events Dog parks Bark Park at Heritage Park Has a separate small dog area, trees, benches, lights, agility equipment, drinking water and a water play area.

Complex Dog Park has a large space for dogs to roam and get their daily exercise. Also has separate areas for smaller dogs to enjoy the outdoors.

300 S. Racetrack Road

Silverado Ranch Dog Park Renovated in 2003, this dog park has a separate area for small dogs under 30 pounds. The park has benches, bright lights, trees, water spigots and gravel ground cover.

Centennial Hills Dog Park This dog park has benches and a separate small dog area. The larger park is more multipurpose with an amphitheater, concession stands, playgrounds for kids and picnic areas for families to enjoy a day out with their dogs.

7150 N. Buffalo Drive Charlie Kellogg and Joe Zaher Sports Complex One of the best dog parks in town, the Kellogg-Zaher Sports

7901 W. Washington Ave.

9855 S. Gillespie St. Spring Valley Dog Park This dog park has a separate small dog area, benches, some shade is provided, and no lights. It is recommended that no children under the age of 5 are brought to the park.

7600 W. Flamingo Road Desert Companion

Veterans Memorial Park Recently opened in 2011, Veterans Memorial Park has a separate area for small dogs and a large grass area for all other dogs. Other park amenities include a fishing pond, horseshoe pit, barbeques and a water playground.

1650 Buchanan Blvd. Dog walkers A Purrfurred Pet Care Service Professional dog walker Pam Nickels will take your dog out for you around your local neighborhood and dog park. Also featuring hikes in the Red Rock Conservation area upon request.

7495 W. Azure Drive #110, 375-7230,


T h e P et I ss u e 2 01 2

8916 Happy Stream Ave., 448-4518, Events Paws Charity Golf, benefitting Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Nevada June 2, 10 a.m. Enjoy a full day of 18 holes of golf (with cart), lunch, wine, beer and spirits, “Caddies Bid,” auction, raffle, contests, prizes and great gifts.

11111 W. Flamingo Rd. Pup Crawl, benefitting Adopt-a-Rescue-Pet June 13, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Drink, mingle and be merry with fellow pet-lovers while raising money to benefit the local charity Adopt-a-Rescue-Pet. Well-behaved, leashed dogs welcome.

Coconuts Mexican Bar & Grill, 6605 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Pet Adoptions by The Animal Foundation June 24, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tivoli Village in conjunction with The Animal Foundation hosts monthly pet adoptions on the last Sunday of every month.

440 S. Rampart Blvd.

D og : I stockphoto . com / F E N N E


Fetch Pet Care Fetch Pet Care is a national search engine that provides a list of pet sitters and dog walkers across America, as well as throughout the valley.


Shelters // Pet Adoptions // Volunteer Adopt-A-Rescue-Pet Adopt-A-Rescue-Pet lodges all rescue pets in foster homes, the “under construction” rescue ranch and local boarding facilities.

The Animal Foundation The largest animal shelter in Las Vegas, this nonprofit organization also serves as an adoption center that provides help to more than 50,000 homeless, lost, neglected, unwanted and abused animals.

Adopt for lifestyle. An honest assessment of your lifestyle can help you determine whether an animal will fit well into your family. For example, are you looking for a cat who is independent and self-assured, or one who wants and needs your close attention multiple times daily? Are you seeking a dog who can join you for outdoor activities on Lake Mead or at Red Rock or on a jog, or do you prefer a wonderful snuggler while you’re reading or watching TV?

655 N. Mojave Road, 384-333,

P hoto co u rtes y of the A nimal fo u ndation

272-0010, Golden Retriever Rescue Southern Nevada For pet lovers who know what breed of dogs they want, Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Nevada is one of the several breed-specific dog rescues in town.

7065 W. Ann Road #130-656, 598-4653, Heaven Can Wait Sanctuary Originally a spay and neuter clinic, Heaven Can Wait now serves the greater pet

Adopting a rescued animal is remarkably rewarding and meaningful. Rather than choosing an animal on a fleeting or superficial characteristic, the best way to make a lifetime match is to consider personality, lifestyle and budget.

Find the right match. Far more important than size or color or age, or whether an individual animal is a “pure breed,” is whether an animal has a temperament and nature that matches or complements your own.

1500 E. Tropicana Ave. #105, 798-8663,

Foreclosed Upon Pets, Inc. Foreclosed Upon Pets, Inc. (FUPI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue of domesticated animals that have been ill-treated and/ or deserted by their owners due to economic hard times, home foreclosure, loss of employment, deficient income, death or illness.

Picking the right pet

Rescue pets of every kind are looking for loving homes in the Las Vegas Valley.

community with programs such as Pups on Parole, a dog adoption program that is run out of a local women’s correctional facility.

546 N. Eastern Ave. #175, 227-555,

Little Friends Foundation Little Friends Foundation is a nokill animal shelter that cares for dogs and cats with the help of volunteers and foster families.

6631 Surrey St., 463-9995,

Las Vegas Valley Humane Society LVVHS provides a trap, vaccinate, neuter and return to caretaker program for feral cats. Also provides a service “hotline” 7 days a week to rescue animals in trouble that are strays or deserted.

Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Home to more than 800 rescued animals, the Nevada SPCA aims to treat each animal as an individual being with a name, not a number.

3395 S. Jones Blvd., 4344-2009,

4800 W. Dewey Drive, 873-SPCA,

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Keep a budget. Have a budget that will allow you to meet the animal’s needs — and have extra in the event of emergency. Many groups urge adopters to plan on at least $1,000 annually per cat or dog. Properly caring for other species may come with fewer expenses, and many people find joy in opening their homes to fish, birds, small rodents, and other animals. — Doug Duke

Doug Duke is executive director of the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (


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



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


Before musical culture was hijacked by an army of keening Lady Gaga knockoffs wearing steel warhead bras and meat sunglasses, there used be something called a “songstress.” Velvet-voiced Jennifer Keith of the Jennifer Keith Quintet aims to bring back that lost art of the classic jazz chanteuse. The Jennifer Keith Quintet performs 9 p.m. June 15-17 at The Chandelier bar in The Cosmopolitan. Info:

Demons and angels battling it out for ultimate power in the neon-lit cityscape. Sure, that describes an average night in line at a typical Strip nightclub, but it’s also the premise of author Vicki Pettersson’s series of urban fantasy novels set in Vegas. Pettersson gives a talk and reads from her latest work 7 p.m. June 21 at the Clark County Library theater. Info:

Emily Scott paints nude portraits, but this ain’t your typical serene-contemplation-of-thegraceful-humanform stuff. Rather, these figures are set against surreal backdrops and discordant environs for a humorous and challenging twist. “Life RoomBlue Screen” is on exhibit through July 28 at Kleven Contemporary inside Emergency Arts, 520 Fremont Street. Info: klevencontemporary.

You may know Emily Bergl for her roles on “Desperate Housewives” or “Southland” or even in “The Rage: Carrie 2” but she has a secret side gig, too: As Emily Bergl. In her one-woman show, “Kidding on the Square,” she gives the traditional cabaret show a modern twist, with songs ranging from Noel Coward classics to tunes from the Scissor Sisters. Emily Bergl performs 7 p.m. June 8 and 9 at Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center. Tickets $40-$50. Info:

58 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

Want to get your event in our Calendar? Send us a brief description to

V icki P etterss o n : J efers o n A pplegate

Whenever Cirque du Soleil and Nevada Ballet Theatre join forces, it’s like the Thundercats teaming up with Voltron, with a little He-Man thrown in. Their fifth annual joint show, “A Choreographers’ Showcase,” features dancers from both groups putting on original dances. “A Choreographers’ Showcase” takes place 1 p.m. June 9 and 10 at Viva ELVIS Theatre inside Aria at CityCenter. Tickets $20-$40. Info:

ART APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS EXHIBITION Through July 1. An artist invitational featuring images of flowers. Artists include Tom Bisesti, Montana Black and more. Free. Historic Fifth Street School Mayor’s Gallery

CELEBRATING LIFE! 2012 EXHIBITIONS Through July 11. A 12th annual juried exhibit for artists aged 50 and better with six media categories, each awarded first, second, third and honorable mention awards: Drawing, Painting, Mixed Media, Photography, Sculpture and Ceramics, Watercolor and Gouache, plus a best of show award. Free. Charleston Heights Arts Center Ballroom,

RED, WHITE AND BLUE EXHIBITION Through July 19. An artist invitational exploring monochromatic patriotic colors through a variety of subjects. Artists included in the exhibit are Erik Beehn, Diane Bush, Shane Cooper, Justin Favela, Stewart Freshwater, Richard Hooker, Sandra Ward and Joseph Watson. Free. Las Vegas City Hall Chamber Gallery, 495 S. Main St., 2nd floor, 229-1012

Also playing in 2012 June 21 — October 20

The Merry Wives of Windsor Mary Stuart Titus Andronicus Scapin To Kill a Mockingbird Hamlet Stones in His Pockets

THE PINPOINT REMAINS Through August 3; First Fridays 5 p.m.-10 p.m. After living in Las Vegas for seven years and working as an assistant professor of art at UNLV, Stephen Hendee relocated to Baltimore, Md. last August, where he is a professor at Maryland Institute College of Art. His site-specific sculpture installation references the natural desert landscape while calling attention to the lack of a sense of place in the man-made environment of Las Vegas. His boulder-like forms emit a soft, fluorescent glow that shift with perspective. Free. Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery

TRASH TO TREASURE: THE SCULPTURES OF DAVE THOMPSON Through Sept 9. Artist Dave Thompson transforms old metal into magic. His recycledobject sculptures fill the Gardens at the Springs Preserve with wonder and whimsy. Free for members or included with general admission. The Gardens at Springs Preserve

LIFE ROOM-BLUE SCREEN BY EMILY SCOTT Through July 28; opening reception June 1, 6 p.m.-10 p.m., closing reception July 28, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Iconic traditional nudes by Dublin, Ireland painter Emily Scott set against a discordant backdrop of surreal, imaginary surroundings in an exciting collision of classical and kitsch. Instead of the expected – the typical calm drapery or neutral background of the life room – these placid, passive figures have their context skewed and sexed up, their stories made cinematic, dramatic or odd, like actors against a blue screen. Kleven Contemporary inside Emergency Arts,


CLAUDE MONET: IMPRESSIONS OF LIGHT Through Jan. 6, 2013. In partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art showcases works that reflect the | 59

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

height of Monet’s work with painting and light. The exhibit features 20 pieces by Monet and eight paintings by his predecessors and contemporaries. Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

FIRST FRIDAY June 1 and July 6, 6 p.m.-midnight. Downtown’s monthly arts and culture event continues to grow bigger and better, featuring art exhibits, open galleries, live music and DJs, food trucks, performances and more. Free. Arts District and Fremont East in the Get Back Alley 6 p.m.-2 a.m.

audiences of all ages. $15-$2. UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Hall

HAPPY 40TH NBT! June 3, 4 p.m. doors, 5 p.m. event. This exciting dance celebration by The Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Dance Program features jazz, modern, character and students’ own choreography. Each piece honors a Nevada Ballet Theatre performance, in tribute to the repertoire danced by the professional company over the last 40 years. $15-$21. UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Hall


DANCE THE SLEEPING BEAUTY June 2, 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. event. This beloved story presented by Academy of Nevada Ballet Pre-Professional Students is a charming performance matched with lavish sets, costumes and beautiful dancing. A gem of Imperial Russian Ballet preserved from its original 1890 staging, set to one of Tchaikovsky’s finest compositions. $15-$21. UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Hall

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD June 3, 1 p.m. The Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre presents its adaptation in an original story ballet created especially for the Children’s Program. Featuring a cast of more than 200, including a fun-loving Little Red and a notso-scary Wolf, this production will delight

June 9-10, 1 p.m. Now in its fifth year, this wildly popular performance will include original works featuring the creative talents of artists from both Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil. Tickets $20-$40. Viva ELVIS Theatre at Aria Resort and Casino in CityCenter,

Hope 5 Ballet July 14 and 15, 2 p.m. A collection of classical ballet presentations directed by Erina Noda, performed by members of Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular, Nevada Ballet Theatre and various Las Vegas productions. Benefiting CSN’s Performing Arts Center and Family Promise, an organization that assists homeless families in the Las Vegas valley, the $15-$20 tickets include a silent auction and post-show

reception. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, csn. edu/pac

MUSIC CLINT HOLMES First Fridays and Saturdays monthly, 8:30 p.m. The acclaimed singer returns to Las Vegas to begin an exclusive engagement. He never performs the same show twice, featuring a constantly evolving kaleidoscope of music ranging from contemporary to jazz to Broadway. $35-$45. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

ALLEN STONE June 1, 9:30 p.m. and 11:15 p.m.; June 2,10:30 p.m. Finely crafted, evocative songs and a smooth, soul-filled voice belie Allen Stone’s 23 years. Getting his start singing at his father’s church in small-town America, it wasn’t until later, when introduced to the greats of soul music and the confessional lyrical fashion of the ’60s–’70s singer/songwriters, that music began to ignite intense passion. Book & Stage at The Cosmopolitan

MICHAEL NIGRO IN CONCERT: A JOURNEY THROUGH LATIN AMERICA June 2-3, 2 p.m. This classical guitarist is acclaimed for his expressive playing and well-developed technique. His current program features compositions from Antonio Lauro (Venezuela), Heitor Villa-Lobos (Brazil), Jose Luis Merlin (Argentina), Jorge Cardoso, (Argentina), and Leo Brouwer (Cuba). Free. June 2 at Clark County Library; June 3 at Summerlin Library

RYAN SHAW June 5-June 7, 10 p.m. and midnight; June 8-June 9, 10:30 p.m. Growing up in Decatur, Ga., the only music Ryan Shaw was allowed to hear was contemporary gospel, while The Shaw Boys (all eight of them) sang in a Pentecostal church. He has since released a second full-length album, “Real Love,” following his 2008 debut, which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Book & Stage at The Cosmopolitan

KELLEY JAMES June 12-June 14, 10 p.m. and 12 a.m.; June 15–June 16 10:30 p.m. On the road or in the studio, music for Californian Kelley James is more than a passion, releasing two full-length records and three EPs. His reputation for delivering quick-witted lyrics over acoustic guitars, hip-hop beats and freestyle flows has developed a strong following from fans and media alike. Book & Stage at The Cosmopolitan


It’s easiest to prevent the devastating effects of bullying when you can stop it at the source. So we have to rewrite the story from the beginning. Each of us is responsible for intervening in a bad situation. Sometimes it’s telling an adult and sometimes it’s acting like an adult. But it’s never to look the other way. Take the pledge today at 60 | Desert

Companion | June 2012

June 15 and 16, 8:30 p.m. Lucy Woodward draws from a deep well of jazz and pop influences. The emotional depth, organic musicality and personally charged songcraft of her 12-song album “Hooked!” will come as a revelation to listeners who are only familiar with her via her 2003 pop hit, “Dumb Girls”. $39-$49. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

JENNIFER KEITH QUINTET June 15-June 17, 9 p.m. The “premiere classic

American quintet in Los Angeles” features vocalist Jennifer Keith, “A pinup doll with a voice reminiscent of Peggy Lee meets Patsy Cline”; “The Doris Day of today”. Heavily influenced by the vocal stylings of jazz and pop singers of the ’40s and ’50s, polish was achieved by weekly performances at the beautiful Madison supper club and the Observation Bar aboard the prestigious Queen Mary, both in Long Beach, Calif. The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan

OTIS HEAT June 19-June 21, 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. This trio from Portland, Ore., began as the result of a near-fatal car crash, the semi-conscious men being rescued from their hazardous cars by an elusive drifter named Otis Heat. Post-crash, the individuals discussed music while lying in hospital beds. They now play alterna-funk rock with a high-octane punch. Book & Stage at The Cosmopolitan

GRAFFITI6 June 22-June 23, 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. The unlikely pairing of producer TommyD and singer/songwriter Jamie Scott is a pop project so refreshingly rule-free, a sense of adventure seeps from every song. Vintage soul influences, love of Hendrix, folk and funk are evident, as well as house and hip-hop beats destined to fill dance floors. At the heart of the songs are pop melodies, making music with a main aim to have fun. Book & Stage at The Cosmopolitan

CONES OF FURY June 26, 7 p.m. Featuring instruments that aren’t usually known in virtuosic or solo circles, tubist Sam Pilafian of Empire Brass and French horn player JD Shaw of Boston Brass explore dynamic new repertoires from all genres including classical, jazz and Latin styles. $13. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

THE PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND June 29 and 30, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British Royalty or the King of Thailand, their music embodies a joyful, timeless spirit under the auspices of current director, Ben Jaffe, son of founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe. $39-$50. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

THE HEAVY June 29-June 30, 10:30 p.m. Continually crossing genres, this unit is proud to be completely musically schizophrenic. From country to rhythm and blues, garage punk to rock and roll, Studio One to the Slums of Shaolin, they create their own unique style of rock and roll. Book & Stage at The Cosmopolitan

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THEATER EMILY BERGL: KIDDING ON THE SQUARE June 8 and June 9, 7 p.m. Best-known for her role on “Desperate Housewives,” Emily Bergl puts on an old-fashioned show with costume changes, audience participation, and character songs that run the gamut from

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comedy to drama, with music that blends hits from Noel Coward to Fats Waller and Madonna to the Scissor Sisters. $40-$50. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

IDINA MENZEL June 10, 7:30 p.m. A brand-new live show of favorite songs and new material by this Tony Award-winning actress, singer and songwriter. $39-$129. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET June 12-17; 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on weekends. This musical was inspired by the true story of the famed Sun Records recording session in 1956 orchestrated by Sam Phillips with icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins together for the only time, ever. $24-$129. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center,

CRAZY FOR YOU June 13-16, 20-23 and 27-30; 6 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. event. The story of a well-to-do 1930s playboy whose dream in life is to dance and escape banking. Sent to foreclose on the mortgage of a failing theatre, he falls for a local girl and sets out to impress her by posing as a New York producer. $12-$20, under 5 free, $1 chair rental. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

DON GIOVANNI June 15, 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. event. Maestro Gregory Buchalter conducts a full orchestra with Metropolitan Opera singers in the lead roles in “the greatest opera ever composed”, Mozart’s 18th century comedy drama set in Seville, Spain. Preceding all performances an hour before curtain time is a 30-minute “Opera Talk” by opera expert and former opera singer Walt Veasy. $27.50-$95. UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall

WILLY WONKA JUNIOR June 30, 5 p.m. Ronald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this stage adaptation of “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory,” which features the songs from the classic family film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” $15. Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center

LECTURES BROTHELS IN LAS VEGAS: WWII June 6, 11 a.m. In this second installment of three talks, Maria Rowley discusses how, with Block 16 closed, prostitution moved around the valley to such locations as the Kassabian Ranch, the North Las Vegas “pig farm brothel,” and motels along the Boulder Highway. Free, Winchester Cultural Center

AN EVENING WITH VICKI PETTERSSON: ANGELS, ROCKABILLY AND THE CELESTIAL BLUES June 21, 7 p.m. Pettersson’s supernatural noir mystery “The Taken” features fallen angel and former P.I. Grif Shaw and reporter Kit

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Craig working together to track down a killer loose on the Strip. A reception and book signing will follow the talk, with books available for purchase. Dress in rockabilly garb to win prizes! Free. Jewel Box Theater in the Clark County Library

FAMILY & FESTIVALS TODDLER TIME Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Bring your little ones for kid-friendly activities and stories, with new themes weekly. It’s a perfect time for family fun before or after shopping at the Thursday Farmers Market. Ages 5-under recommended. Activity Center at Springs Preserve

BITTERSWEET HARVEST: THE BRACERO PROGRAM, 1942-1964 Through July 27, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. This bilingual exhibition, developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, explores the lives and times of Bracero workers and their families with rich insights into the Mexican-American experience, providing a historical bridge to modern guest-worker debates. Free for members or included with general admission. Big Springs Gallery at Springs Preserve

with new activities weekly. Nature, archaeology, animals, plants, history, drama, crafts, even swimming at the nearby Y. Ages 6-12. $180 members, $200 non-members per week. Extended care available for an additional $25 per week. Springs Preserve

RED, WHITE AND TUNES June 30, 7 p.m. Kick off your Independence Day weekend with family-friendly fun, patriotic live music and old-fashioned summertime treats. Low chairs and blankets are welcome. $3-$5 and free for 5 and under, with family pack tickets for $12 and half off for members. Springs Preserve

THE LAS VEGAS PERFORMING ARTS INTENSIVE July 2-Aug. 3, Youngsters aged 9-14 can take acting, voice, dance and drumming lessons from today’s most celebrated performers, choreographers and directors from shows such as: Blue Man Group, O, Love, Viva Elvis, Le Rêve, Mystère, Jabbawockeez, The Lion King, Chicago, Céline Dion and So You Think You Can Dance. Tivoli Village,


VENOM! June 1-July 15, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. Challenge your curiosity and fears in this live indoor show with some of Nevada’s most toxic and awe-inspiring reptiles. Learn how and why slitherers and crawlers such as Western diamondbacks, Mojave sidewinders, Great Basin rattlesnakes, Speckled rattlesnakes, Desert night snakes, and Gila monsters use their venom. Springs Preserve

June 1, silent auction 5:30 p.m., dinner 7 p.m. Living Grace Home is a safe haven for unwed pregnant girls between the ages of 14-22, providing housing, education, and social services. This benefit will include a silent auction, dinner and guest speaker Hunter Tylo of the “Bold and the Beautiful”. $75 per person, $750 per table, Sam’s Town Casino,

SUMMER BLOOD DRIVE BREWS AND BLUES FESTIVAL June 2, 4 p.m. Cool off while listening to four hot bands, with more than 100 varieties of beer. A portion of each ticket benefits Keep Memory Alive, which supports the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, in downtown Las Vegas. Advance tickets include early entry at 3 p.m. $35-$40 with a $5 discount for members. Over 21 only. Springs Preserve

June 2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Donate precious lifegiving blood for the local community and receive a free cholesterol test plus points in the Blood Hero rewards program, which can be redeemed for prizes on the United Blood Services website. Sign up for an appointment at and enter code flamingolib. Large Conference Room, Clark County Library

SUNDOWN IN DOWNTOWN ENVENOMATORS: THE VENOMOUS SNAKES OF NORTH AMERICA June 3-Sept 16, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Slither over to Wonderworks Exhibit Company’s “Envenomators,” which tells the story of four venomous snakes indigenous to North America: copperhead, cottonmouth, coral and rattlesnake. Springs Preserve

NEVADA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS SUMMER STRING CAMP June 11-15. Kids ages three through high school can enhance their music studies on violin, viola and cello in a creative and rich musical environment. $185-$325, Nevada School of the Arts,

SUMMER ADVENTURE CAMPS June 11-Aug. 24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Explore 180 acres of summer adventure,

June 22, 6 p.m. A hip carnival under the stars for grown-ups 21 and over, with small bites from downtown’s favorite restaurants, live bands, strolling performance artists and much more. All proceeds benefit the museum’s educational programs for under-served youth. $55 per person, $100 per couple. Las Vegas Natural History Museum,

RIBBON OF LIFE June 24, 1 p.m. Raising thousands of dollars for Golden Rainbow for the past 26 years, this has become one of the largest HIV/AIDS fundraisers in the state of Nevada. Showcasing new acts and talent, it is a unique production featuring custom numbers exclusive to the event from the best singers, dancers and performers from premier shows on the Strip. $38-$212. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center | 63


You animal, you Long before big cats were the lifestyle prop of the exuberantly mulleted duo Siegfried & Roy, a tiger was a part of actress Marilyn Maxwell’s Vegas nightclub act. Or it was supposed to be. The duo’s Aug. 23, 1954 debut at the Last Frontier was a literal flop, with Britches the tiger schlumping down on stage, refusing to budge. A series of prods and tugs finally convinced the lazy feline to exit. Why such lassitude? Britches was probably ready for an epic catnap: Handlers had fed him 16 pounds of horsemeat before the show to reduce the chance he’d snack on a human.

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The following day, a photo op with Maxwell and Britches in the casino pool began innocently enough. But according to news accounts, the tiger became panicked as it swam in the shallow end; soon the feline was thrashing around to escape the pool. The photographers scattered, but Maxwell didn’t get out of the way in time: Britches pawed her in the legs as he scrambled out of the pool. Maxwell promptly fired the beast. “We’re sending him back to his compound in Thousand Oaks,” she told a journalist. “He’s stealing the show.” — Andrew Kiraly

P h oto c o u r t e s y L a s V e g a s C o n v e n t i o n a n d V i s i to r s A u t h o r i t y

history lesson

Jingling Forester keys. The ultimate dog whistle.

We understand the bond between Subaru owners and their pets. By supporting the ASPCA and working with local animal shelters on events like “Love a Pet” adoptions, we’re matching more drivers with their favorite co-pilot. Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

Learn more at

Follow local leash laws and make sure your pet is always wearing ID. Keep your pet safe by using a leash near moving vehicles.

Subaru of Las Vegas 5385 West Sahara Avenue (702) 495-2100

Desert Companion - June 2012  

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