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as When it comes to good deeds, these Big-Hearted Las Vegans have the Golden touch


Stocking stunners

The gift guide for everyone on your list

M a g i c a l ly delicious

DW Bistro’s Jamaican je ne sais quoi Double ta k e

Revisiting LVAM at UNLV

S p l at t e r m at t e r s

A shock theater guru’s bloody secret


Named after the Holiday star, Stella Artois was first brewed as a holiday beer as a gift to the people of Leuven, Belgium. A golden lager in contrast to the popular dark ales of the time, its brilliant amber color illuminated holiday celebrations for generations thereafter. “Artois” acknowledges Sebastian Artois, t he master brewer and owner of t he brewer y. Always Enjoy Responsibly. © 2012 Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A., Stella Artois® Beer, Imported by Import Brands Alliance, St. Louis, MO


Educating • Enriching • EmpowEring lEarn morE at Ethical

editor’s note


Give yourself up already Someone at the podium made an in-

Next Month in Desert Companion

Feast your eyes on our 16th annual Restaurant Awards

4 | Desert

teresting offhand comment during the round of thank-yous and speechlets at the recent media bash for the Neon Museum, the newly opened trophy case of historic Vegas signs. A gloss: Las Vegas may not be known as a global exporter of capital-c Culture, but — woot! — we sure know how to make some pretty signs. True. If we’ve got one item on the resume we want to put a fat bullet point next to, it might be that: our facility for slick, rakish presentation, the art of our packaging, the adoring depth with which we treat surfaces and appearances. We do superficiality so well! This is nothing to be ashamed of. Superficiality can be a high, complex and rich endeavor. When you tour the Neon Museum (, you’ll realize our signs do more than function as mere devices of brash beckoning and sly entrapment. They embody history, culture and commerce. (Case in point: Prepare for a wha? moment when the docents talk about how the Stardust sign was, in part, a giddy gesture to our state’s role in the nation’s atomic testing program — specifically, the radioactive dust the tests would send skyward in deadly, sparkling plumes.) Nearly 20 years in the making, the Neon Museum reflects the passion and commitment of a volunteer board of community leaders who believe our signs have something to say that’s more than neon-deep. But that’s not why the offhand comment was interesting. It was in-

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

teresting because it was an incidental call-out to another recent development — one that ultimately seeks to establish Las Vegas as an exporter of that capital-c Culture. I’m talking about the launch of the First Friday Foundation. Now 10 years old, First Friday has become a reliable monthly supernova of creative energy downtown. The hitch: What do those artists do the rest of the month? To be sure, First Friday has already generated plenty of overflow; there are artist talks and preview events dotted throughout the month. The newly launched First Friday Foundation wants to give that evolution a nudge. In addition to helping pay for the hard costs of putting on First Friday (which comes out to about $75,000 a month), it also seeks to connect valley artists with opportunities outside the monthly downtown arts bash. Think of the foundation ( almost as a guild, connecting artists with public and private projects that might otherwise be handed off to some design consultancy in New York. For local artists — industrious but sometimes insular — the foundation can serve as a management agency to hawk their talent well beyond gallery walls. “Many artists find it challenging to market themselves, or to deal with big entities or corporations,” says Joey Vanas, executive director of the First Friday Foundation. “On the other side, a lot of businesses don’t know where to start to find local talent.” The foun-

dation aims to forge that missing link. Already it’s plugged Las Vegas artists into valley businesses big and small for design, decor and consultation jobs; also on tap are public art competitions to beautify the cityscape. The big tie-in is that these two organizations, the Neon Museum and the First Friday Foundation, can always use a hand (or a few bucks). More? There are plenty of other golden opportunities to help on page 58. And for a bit of inspiration, check out page 47 for our “Good as gold” profiles, celebrating Southern Nevadans doing good deeds of every kind, from providing life-saving surgery for the uninsured to helping our furry friends find homes. Good times, indeed. Andrew Kiraly Editor

HELPING NEVADANS GET BACK TO WORK With the financial support of Caesars Foundation, local organizations are helping Nevada residents qualify for and find employment opportunities. This year the Foundation has helped: 4 color process

> Goodwill of Southern Nevada debut a new mobile store that provides career attire and supports its job search program. > Opportunity Village purchase new vehicles allowing the organization to further 速 its mission of providing programs and services that help people with disabilities The will to do wonders速 become independent, productive members of the community. > Vegas PBS to provide its Back-to-Work program that includes nationally accredited skill certifications, GED programs and English as a second language courses to help Nevada residents receive the skills they need to re-enter the work force. For more information about organizations assisted by the Caesars Foundation visit:

速 The will to do wonders速

contents desert companion magazine //



All Things to All People Awaken the giant By Andrew Kiraly



LVAM 101 By Danielle Kelly



Blood, sweat and chainsaws By David McKee



A moment of silence By Andrew Kiraly



The next big little thing By Brock Radke




History lesson Model behavior By Andrew Kiraly

FEATURES 47 Good as gold

These big-hearted helpers have a golden touch

6 | Desert

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

58 Get your good on Help these worthy organizations help the community

63 Holiday gift guide

No matter who’s on your list, we’ve got their stocking stuffed

on the cover Photography Christopher Smith

S k at e r : B i l l H u g h e s ; U N ITE D WAY A N D M U S EU M : C H RI S TO P H ER S M IT H ; B r e a d : S a b i n O RR

From rock to theater to dance, your guide to culture

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BRAZIL meets FUNK featuring Sergio Mendes and Candy Dulfer Friday, 11/9 – 7:30pm

Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen Saturday, 11/10 – 7:30pm

Jim Brickman’s On A Winter’s Night Monday, 11/12 – 7:30pm

The Irish Tenors – Wright, Kearns, Tynan The Premiere Irish Holiday Celebration Tour Tuesday, 11/27 – 7:30pm

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Under the Streetlamp

Classical Mystery Tour

Wednesday, 11/28 – 7:30pm

Friday, 11/30 – 7:30pm

Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour 2012 Tuesday, 12/18 – 7:30pm

Share the wonder by giving your friends and family a night out at The Smith Center


Clint Holmes

Sam Harris in Concert

Friday, 11/2 – 8:30pm Saturday, 11/3 – 8:30pm Sunday, 11/4 – 2:00pm

Friday, 11/9 – 8:30pm Saturday, 11/10 – 7:00pm & 9:30pm

Betty Buckley starring in “Ah, Men! The Boys of Broadway” Thursday, 11/15 – Saturday, 11/17 – 7:00pm Sunday, 11/18 – 3:00pm


Visit to see the full lineup today

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Bob Anderson – Simply The Best Friday, 11/23 – 7:00pm Saturday, 11/24 – 7:00pm Sunday, 11/25 – 3:00pm

Time to Prune, Do it Right!

p u blishe D B y nevada p u blic radio

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.

Publisher Melanie Cannon Editor Andrew Kiraly

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n Young Tree Development n Cabling & Bracing n Tree Inventory & Assessment n Tree Rescue & Repair n Evaluations & Estimates n Transplanting

Art Director Christopher Smith Sales manager Christine Kiely National account manager Laura Alcaraz Account executives Sharon Clifton, Robyn Mathis, Carol Skerlich, Markus Van’t Hul Marketing Associate Lisa Kelly Subscription manager Chris Bitonti Web administrator Danielle Branton

We provide thoughtful, high quality tree care backed by education, experience & certification.

Contributing writers Jim Begley, Lynnette Curtis, Chantal Corcoran, Cybele, Megan Edwards, Alan Gegax, Mélanie Hope, Jarret Keene, Danielle Kelly, David McKee, Christie Moeller, Brock Radke, Lissa Townsend Rodgers, Mark Sedenquist

Prune your tree’s now, the cool season is the best time!

Contributing artists Mike Hill, Bill Hughes, Sabin Orr

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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

Editorial: Andrew Kiraly, (702) 259-7856;

Fax: (702) 258-5646 Advertising: Christine Kiely, (702) 259-7813;

Subscriptions: Chris Bitonti, (702) 259-7810;

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Website: 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.

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

Once upon a time, a single question was posed to the desert sky. p u blishe D B y nevada p u blic radio

Desert Companion Board of Directors Officers

How big can a dream get? The answer is clear. The signs are everywhere.

Elizabeth FRETWELL, Chair City of Las Vegas Susan Brennan, vice chair Brennan Consulting Group, LLC cynthia alexander, ESQ. Treasurer Snell & Wilmer Florence M.E. Rogers, Secretary Nevada Public Radio


shamoon ahmad, m.d., mba, facp Louis Castle, Director emeritus Patrick N. Chapin, Esq., Director Emeritus

Book a tour

KIRK V. CLAUSEN Wells Fargo sherri gilligan jan L. jones Caesars Entertainment Corporation John R. Klai II Klai Juba Architects Lamar Marchese, President Emeritus William mason Taylor International Corporation Chris Murray Director Emeritus Avissa Corporation Jerry Nadal Cirque du Soleil Peter O’Neill R&R Partners William J. “Bill” Noonan, Director Emeritus Boyd Gaming Corporation kathe nylen PBTK Consulting Anthony j. pearl, esq. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas MARK RICCiARDI, Esq., director emeritus Fisher & Phillips, LLP Mickey Roemer, Director Emeritus Roemer Gaming TIM WONG Arcata Associates

Follow us online:

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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

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to all people


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u n i t e d way p h oto : c h r i s to p h e r s m i t h

Awaken the giant You know the United Way. They’re that organization that does, well, you know ... helpful, charitable stuff. The one that does, uh, good things in the community. That one group that helps people ... somehow. If that’s your impression of the United Way, Vanessa Maniago forgives you. She’s the vice president of branding and marketing for the United Way of Southern Nevada. “Many people told us, ‘I know you do good things, you have great brand awareness, but at the end of the day, what do you do in Las Vegas? I don’t know,’” she says. “That was part of the charge — re-educating people on what we do, but in a fresh way.” Perhaps you’ve seen the results as part of the Southern Nevada branch’s campaign launched in August — on billboards, in magazines and even movie theaters: bold colors, smiling faces and crisp logos trumpeting the United Way’s triad of impact areas: health, education and financial stability — everything from immunizations to financial literacy to improving high school graduation rates. (Don’t be fooled by the campaign’s slickness; while Maniago boasts a Madison Avenue pedigree, she does shoestring magic: The faces are from a stock image site, the copy crafted in-house). This rebranding is more than logo deep. It represents a reinvigorated presence by the United Way of Southern Nevada (, which chose to lay relatively low after the economic crisis. It also marks a pivot in their approach to focus more on direct impact than tapping wallets for other nonprofits, treating the public as prospective investors in the commonweal. (Perhaps fittingly, their new building on west Flamingo Road once housed a bank that foundered after the crash.) Recent initiatives include Family Resource Engagement Centers — that is, a place for at-risk students and parents to huddle at school and take advantage of programs to help them graduate; pre-school scholarships to help toddlers get a head start; even dental health programs that en-


The helpers’ helpers: Vanessa Maniago and Cass Palmer of the United Way of Southern Nevada

The Smithsonian may always rule as the nation’s attic, but for artifacts peculiar to Southern Nevada, no other assemblage equals the collections on daily display at the Clark County Museum. “If I can get you here once,” says Museum Administrator Mark Hall-Patton, “You’ll come back.” The Clark County Museum? Indeed, with all the buzz about arts and culture downtown Las Vegas, it might be easy to forget about the Henderson museum, established in 1979 on an erstwhile gravel plant on Boulder Highway. Hall-Patton is on a sort of unofficial awareness campaign

courage kids to brush, floss and avoid sweets — a big deal when a toothache can completely wreck a day at school. “In the past five years, we’ve been respectful, knowing that everyone was hurting,” says CEO Cass Palmer in explaining the quiet period. “Now, we are out there talking about our work, driving additional dollars, and ultimately directly impacting the Southern Nevada community with those dollars.” They’re hoping to augment their annual $13 million budget (about 80 percent of which is funded by about 30,000 donors who largely give through payroll deductions) with a push to increase their leadership donors — those giving $1,000 or more — to pre-crash levels. In other words, now that the worst is over, it’s time to work on strengthening the United continued on pg. 14 Way’s financial foundation. “Vegas is great at reacting to immediate needs — we’re a very giving, responsive comKeep up with Desert munity that way. But we need to build a longCompanion events, news term plan to fix our more systemic social and bonus features at ills,” says Palmer. The rebranding campaign focused on results should help. “In this economy, people want to see a return on their investment, whether they’re giving $5 or $5,000,” says Maniago. It’s an advertising message she doesn’t mind spreading. “I am lucky to do what I do. I’d rather drive behavior change than sell a Slim Jim.” — Andrew Kiraly

Learn tips on how to cope with child-care costs on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at | 13

lately, leveraging his regular appearances on “Pawn Stars,” “American Restoration,” and “Mysteries at the Museum” to encourage more locals to visit the museum. The museum trades largely on its status as heir to the collections of early Las Vegas entrepreneur Anna Roberts Parks. Parks, perhaps best known for founding Palm Mortuary, was a lifelong collector of local artifacts, rocks, shells, Native American arts and crafts, and “even a stuffed penguin,” Hall-Patton says. “Her tastes were eclectic.” Today, the main exhibit hall at the museum, named for Parks, features exhibits about Southern Nevada from prehistoric to modern times. Also on the 30-acre site are 20 restored historic buildings, including a newspaper print shop, the 1932 Boulder City Depot and the Candlelight Wedding Chapel. (1830 S. Boulder Highway, 455-7955) — Megan Edwards

ON THE TOWN No time is better for a visit to the Clark County Museum than Dec. 7 and 8. Its “Heritage Street” will sparkle with historically accurate holiday lights and decorations — to tunes by madrigal singers from Green Valley High School. Admission (and hot chocolate) is free.

14 | Desert

Pundit in flight: Jon Ralston is taking his brand solo.

THE media

The man, the mouth, the legend — now solo “I guess I was hungrier than I thought,” says Jon Ralston. He’s just devoured a personal pizza at a recent lunch — in the same way he can devour a flip-flopping politician on his TV gabfest: in a flurry of compulsive piranha bites. Or maybe it’s nervous eating. Because, after 12 years as a political columnist at the Las Vegas Sun, Ralston has left his perch at the paper and taken his platform solo. On Sept. 19, he launched He’s also changed the name of his daily show on KSNV-Channel 3 to “Ralston Reports.” The vervy brand name-iness of it (his name! a verb!) is not accidental. “This is a leap of faith for me,” he says. “Over the years, I’ve built my brand as the politics guy. Now the question is: Is that worth something to people? Trying to monetize a brand is a gamble. But it’s a gamble to try to monetize anything on the Internet.” It’ll be especially interesting in the case of Ralston, a media stalwart in Las Vegas since the mid ’80s. He’s long touted his fierce and independent journalist’s mind; now he’s doing a stint as independent businessman. With no staff and no investors — and no Greenspun backing — he’s flying by himself. His split from Greenspun is widely believed to be tied to the departure of former “Face to Face with Jon Ralston” Executive Producer and Sun reporter Dana Gentry, who resigned

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

from the Sun after being yanked from covering an ongoing story about investor lawsuits against Aspen Financial Services — but says that wasn’t the only reason he left. (Las Vegas Sun Publisher and Editor Brian Greenspun declined to comment on “personnel issues.”) But Ralston’s new venture is not exactly a blind cliff dive. He inherited from the Sun his 750-1,000 Flash newsletter subscribers, who pay $350 a year for email scoops and breaking news from Ralston. (The premium package is $600 a year, $1,200 for corporate accounts). But in an age when free punditry is just a click away on the Internet, can a site like thrive? Even as we eat, he’s restlessly brainstorming about hiring help to grow subscribers, setting up a corporation, the trials of learning HTML … Gentry is upbeat about the prospects. She isn’t involved in the website, but she’s worked with Ralston long enough to trust his instincts — whether political, journalistic or business. “Ralston is practically a household name in national press circles,” she says, citing his frequent name-checks on shows such as “Morning Joe” and “The Rachel Maddow Show.” As far as making quality content profitable? “That’s the conundrum,” she says. “Smarter people than me are trying to figure that out.” — Andrew Kiraly

j o n r a l s to n p h oto : b i ll h u g h e s

continued from pg. 13


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King of beers Mark del Monte

general manager of Public House

Dopplebeck. Sour. Helle. Belgian. Trippel. Huh? Most people can’t reel off varieties of beer as easily as they do Cabernet, Merlot or Zinfandel, but that day is coming fast. Drink this in: “Wine is always going to be there, but beer is going to give it a run for its money,” predicts Mark del Monte, general manager of the Public House in the Venetian, Las Vegas’ first gastropub. But Public House isn’t a pretentious boîte full of beer snobs. Think vintage signage, piles of books, photos of monkeys wearing suits, Queens of the Stone Age on the sound system. Oh, and more than 200 beers. From Maui Coconut Porter to Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard to Lakefront New Grist Gluten Free. This ain’t no wine cellar. But there’s a lot of art and smarts behind curating the brews. Del Monte is a licensed cicerone; cicerones are to beer what sommeliers are to wine. However, any similarities end there in light of del Monte’s buzzy enthusiasm about the wide world of beer — and passion for splashing it around in the kitchen. “Let’s not just drink with it. Let’s cook with it!” del Monte says. “We’ve been braising our short ribs in the blackened porter. We’ve got a chocolate stout layer cake that is just fantastic.” There’s IPA batter on the onion rings, Saison batter on the halibut and a cider gastrique on their crispy oysters. Such, ahem, educational dishes are catching on among drinkers tired of bland old light beer. Del Monte will drink to that. “America has been so accustomed to the American pilsner — the Millers, the Budweisers, the Coors, all of your line-level beers we push down people’s throats,” he explains. “But once Sam Adams came in and started getting a reputation as a beer that tasted like something, people got excited. The import explosion has been ridiculous — believe it or not, there are more labels of beers than there are of wine.” Ooh. Sounds like someone’s throwing down the goblet, so to speak. What gives beer an edge? Rich, frothy versatility. “We can use all of these different hops and barleys — strains that have 16 | Desert

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

been around for thousands of years,” he says. “But you can only make so much wine and use so many ingredients. You can put anything in beer.” Even bacon, as Rogue has recently done. “Yes. That’s definitely a breakfast beer. You can’t make a wine like that. Only beer can be so eccentric and such a blank canvas. We have a Stone Smoked Porter, it’s a smoked beer. They smoke the barley — you can really taste the smoke.” And then when you’re really ready for something to chew on? Del Monte is full of recommendations, from Flemish sour red ales to India pale ales to beer made by … monks? That would be the Trappist Rochefort 10. “My favorite one of only six Trappist beers. Only a handful of monks brew it, the recipe is ancient — only 20 monks know it and no other monk can learn it until one monk dies. There’s only one water source. Amazing beer.” Amen and pass the pitcher. — Lissa Townsend Rodgers PHOTOGRAPH BY SABIN ORR

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Shopping (without dropping) this Black Friday That fated day is just around the corner: Black Friday. You’ve heard stories of deal-seekers trampled in stampedes and normally sweet elderly ladies turning into shopping ninja-gladiator hybrid terminators ready to take you out over a deal. Never fear. Here are 10 tips to surviving Black Friday. 1. Do your research. Read the newspaper, flyers and check sites like in the weeks leading up to Black Friday for the best deals. Don’t expect to find crazy haute deals by just roaming the mall. This is not the time for a Sunday stroll. 2. Use your apps. Black Friday apps can help you research, plan and execute the best Black Friday shopping, from sneak peeks at Black Friday ads to personal shopping lists. Try these free apps: TGI Black Friday by Ecatcher, The Black Friday App by and Black Friday by Bradsdeals. 3. Shop in a group. Divide up the store to cover ground more quickly. (I even saw a family with walkie-talkies doing this one year.) To get in and out faster, have one person stand in line while the others shop. 4. Get in, get out. There is no browsing on Black Friday! Get in, get what you want and get out. 5. Beware of impulse buys. Do you really need it? Many deal-seekers waste money by purchasing things they don’t need because they think it’s a good deal. Just because an item has a big red “sale” sticker on it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right gift. 6. Avoid the “one for you, one for me” trap. I


Thank gourd for pumpkin Pumpkin is good for so much more than jack o’ lanterns and pie. Pumpkin is the perfect pore refiner, exfoliant and break-out inhibitor (plus, it smells delish), making it the perfect ingredient in skin-care products. Carve into this season’s best pumpkin beauty products. WEN Fall ginger pumpkin cleansing conditioner This conditioner is hair-raising — literally. This blend contains

18 | Desert

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

know it’s hard not to fall into the “I’ll get one of these for myself too” mentality. Stay focused. Remember your purpose. Buying gifts! Not for yourself! 7. Dress comfortably. Comfort and functionality are the keys for a hectic shopping day. I’m not saying to head out in sweats or PJs (yes, I’ve seen this), just ditch the heels for sensible flats. 8. Leave the expensive handbag at home. You want your hands free — a cross-body bag that fits your wallet and phone is all you need. 9. Caffeinate and eat a good breakfast. You don’t want to be cranky and have a grumbly tummy while engaged in retail battle. 10. Color yourself relaxed. Wear relaxing colors like pinks, aquas, greens or just about any light color in the spectrum to give you the energy for attracting that special deal — and the patience to handle the most distressed of shoppers. — Christie Moeller

pumpkin seed extract, which is a natural DHT blocker (DHT is the enzyme that causes male pattern baldness). $32, Isvara Organics pumpkin facial mask This mask isn’t scary. This healing and rejuvenating mask contains pumpkin, sugar cane extract, vitamin C and 5 percent alpha-hydroxyl acids (those are enzymes that digest dead skin cells). $27.95, Om Aroma pumpkin night serum Rub a few drops of this organic serum on at night before bed — and wake up to fresh, rejuvenated skin. $58, — C.M.

I mustache you a favor

Have you noticed a dramatic increase in mustache sightings lately — from handlebars to walruses, from Fu Manchus to Tom Selleckstyle chevrons? It might be due to Movember (that’s mustache + November), a month devoted to doing good with the power of facial hair. It began in 1999 with a small group of Australian men and is now the world’s largest global men’s health charity. The power of the ’stache raises awareness and money for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. How does it work? Movember encourages men to grow mustaches throughout November while getting friends and families to donate to their “growing” efforts. With campaigns in 21 countries, Movember has raised more than $299 million globally to date and $126 million in the US. Funds raised in the U.S. benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG. Dying to start your mo? Register at Is your mo a no-go? If genetics are failing you or you have a chaetophobic boss (!), you can still support Movember by supporting their partners who create special products with a portion of the proceeds going to the Movember cause. • [1] Electric Hero Sunglasses available at • Fuzzy Ink “I Heart Mo” T-shirt available at • [2] Fuzzy Ink “Moustache is King” T-shirt available at • [3] TOMS Movember Botas ($78) and Classics ($58) available at select TOMS retailers, • hook + ALBERT Movember Socks available at — C.M.





G e t IN G EAR

Send your special someone packing with this travel gear

Arizona Hot Springs

It’s hot spring season! Thanks to the Hoover Dam Bypass, there’s a shiny new parking lot on the Arizona side of US-93 near mile marker four, where adventurers can find the trail that leads to the Arizona Hot Springs. Soak-seeking hikers will head downhill to the Colorado, turn left, and look for the National Park Service-installed ladder for a fairly scary climb up a flowing waterfall to a series of progressively warmer, sandbag-dammed hot springs. Good times and pruned hands! Difficulty: Medium to strenuous. — Alan Gegax

Start shopping for the road-trippers on your gift list, and you’re practically guaranteed to come down with wanderlust yourself. Whether you end up wrapping them or keeping them for yourself, here are some let’s-hit-the-highway ideas for holiday giving. Motorola’s Roadster 2 In-car Speakerphone ($64). Stream music and audio content from your smartphone or tablet through your vehicle’s speakers with this small but powerful portable device that also lets you answer your phone hands-free. Its built-in speaker comes in handy in motel rooms, too. Streamlight Twin-Task flashlight ($39). Light up the night with this flashlight’s incandescent beam. Then, when you catch sight of a scorpion, switch to ultraviolet mode and watch the critter glow. The perfect gift for desert explorers. Base Camp Las Vegas ($16) by Deborah Wall and Geologic Tours in the Las Vegas Area ($27) by Joseph Tingley. These two well-researched books inspire and guide exploration into our local scenic areas. Both have plenty of color photographs in addition to excellent and detailed descriptions and maps. Mini-Inverter with USB port ($20). From GPS receivers to laptops, electronic devices have become a vital part of road travel, but they’re nothing but paperweights when their batteries run out. A mini-inverter offers just enough wattage to charge up most devices using your vehicle’s power point.

Camelback Hydration Pack ($50). Desert exploration rule 1: Carry water. Make things safer and more pleasant for your desert hiker with a hands-free hydration pack. This one has room for wallet and keys, too. Motorola Talkabout MH230 ($45). With a range of up to 23 miles, a pair of these twoway radios is a perfect way to stay in touch while caravanning or on hikes. You can also get local and regional weather reports and alerts. Sundancer UV Protective Hat ($38). For ladies who love the desert but don’t necessarily want to look like they’ve joined the French Foreign Legion, this chic “flap hat” with its generous brim and pleated “waterfall” neck drape is the stylish answer. Road Trip Game from Daddy-O Productions ($20). Packed in a tin box shaped like a vintage Airstream trailer, this easy-to-play game lets the entire family compete in wacky word challenges while “driving” a classic station wagon on a coast-tocoast adventure. — Mark Sedenquist

Hiking uphill is hard. Hiking downhill can be painful. Trekking poles (think ski poles without the skis … or snow), can help on both counts. Long popular in Europe, trekking poles are quickly gaining a following with the outdoors set stateside. For hikers who are carrying extra weight in a backpack or a spare tire, or anyone who wants to make hiking less taxing, poles distribute the burden away from the legs and lower back and make ascending easier. They also make a handy prop so hikers can lean over to rest instead of having to sit down. Going downhill, poles serve as an extra set of brakes and absorb some of the pounding usually reserved for the knees. Trekking poles aren’t ideal for every situation, and can become a burden if hikers need to use their hands for things like scrambling over rocks, but on lung-busting climbs, they’re nearly indispensable. Add to that their usefulness in emergency situations for building a shelter, creating a splint, using as crutches — and even as defensive weapons — and it’s easy to see why the familiar click-clack of carbide tips on the trail is becoming more ubiquitous. My favorite brand: Black Diamond trekking poles, which are light but sturdy enough to take a beating from the toughest trails. — A.G.

20 | Desert

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

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UNLV’s Jerry Schefcik and LVAM board President Patrick Duffy discuss the exhibit on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at


Double take


A second look at the revived LVAM collection in the newly reopened Marjorie Barrick Museum reveals new intrigues and pleasures By Danielle Kelly Photography Christopher smith

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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

While working as a docent at the Venetian’s ill-fated Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, I had the strange and wonderful privilege of hosting student tour groups. Void of self-conscious ramblings, these tours were eyeopening: kids are astute observers and, truth be told, say the darnedest things. After greeting school children under the bubbling putti of the frescoed Venetian lobby, we’d spend the next hour or so moving through the galleries, stopping at relevant pieces as I coaxed conversation from their impressionable young minds. Every tour had its moments, but one stands out from the rest. While organizing a group of predictably aloof pre-teens, a girl of about 12 asked, “Are we going to see real paintings?” Puzzled, I assured her that real paintings were, indeed, in her immediate future. She squinted, unconvinced. Our first stop on the tour was a luminous Rembrandt, and she asked again: “Is this a real painting?”

A sense of display: The “Into the Light” exhibit features some bold curatorial choices.

Eventually it became clear that she thought we were looking at a reproduction — a poster of the painting. She had never seen a “real painting” — and a quick survey of the other students revealed much the same. Cue corny music as I pulled all of the students as close as possible to the canvas’ surface to point out the delicate shadows cast by Rembrandt’s more effusive brush strokes, physical evidence of the painting’s veracity. Who knew that the whipped-cream peak of a 350-year-old dollop of oil paint could blow a 12-year-old’s mind? Drooling with an equally blown mind before the frenetic peaks and valleys of Michael Reafsnyder’s dense acrylic cacophony “Confetti,” I am reminded of “real” painting’s heartier pleasures. Looking at art just feels good. It’s not supposed to hurt, it might make you confused or angry, but good art thrives and so do its viewers. Who knows why or how the girl and


her compatriots had managed to go 12 years without seeing a “real painting.” There’s a first time for everything, and theirs was a thrill. Reafsnyder’s “Confetti” is part of the eclectic exhibition “Into the Light” at UNLV’s recently renovated Marjorie Barrick Museum. “Light” marks the museum’s premiere not only as part of the university’s Department of Art, but also as custodian of the Las Vegas Art Museum collection. It is a beautiful trifecta — the Barrick, the Department of Art, LVAM — a momentous turn of events expanding the local roster of high art venues and with it the opportunities for looking at art. Culled from LVAM’s collection of roughly 200 works of art that have been in storage since the Museum’s closing in 2009, “Light” is a paintingheavy mixture of old and new works by a wide range of local and national artists. Given the diverse scope of the collection, UNLV Donna Beam Gallery Director Jerry Schefcik’s curatorial strategy for the exhibition was to foster a series of conversations. By identifying subtle (or not so subtle) ways in which two or more pieces might exist in dialogue, Schefcik has shaped an experience in which a viewer might easily insert herself into the exchange. Never intimidating or condescending, navigating “Into the Light” is as rigorous as a game of Chutes and Ladders. With that in mind, I suggest beginning with a monologue rather than a conversation. Which brings us back to “Confetti” heckling from its own little slice of heaven near the entrance of the exhibition, its small size unsuccessfully masking a big personality. Easily mistaken for a painter’s palette, it is a frenzy of thick acrylic paint and heterogeneous colors exuberantly sloshing across panel. The drama of such painterly pursuits is punctured by the inclusion of what every serious painting needs — a smiley face with large lavender antlers oozed straight from the tube. Reafsnyder’s painting trips you as you walk by, pokes you in the eye, and then tickles you in the ribs for good measure. The Ab-Ex physical comedy of “Confetti” is a beautiful way to begin “Into the Light,” inspired in its passion and generous with its humor — a necessary tool when visiting any art exhibition. The piece holds its own opposite comparatively muscular work by David Ryan and Bradley Corman, by contrast a more minimal introduction to “Light.” The taut sculpture/painting tight rope navigated by each artist is accentuated by Schefcik in a pairing whose forced marriage heightens this dynamic to a crescendo. Ryan’s clean, bright abstract painting “NV 316 NHJ” consists of panels that appear to flatten layer upon layer of cartoon thought balloons, thick and sculptural in their perceived two-di-


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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

mensionality. Simultaneously, all subjectivity is erased from Corman’s austere machined aluminum triptych “Tropo III (for Anssi),” three long and lean rectangular slivers that move sculpture from the floor to the wall. A ruthless show of curatorial showmanship, this pairing is a doozy. From here, it is impossible to resist the pull of the north gallery, a Pop and candy concoction of mostly UNLV graduates. More of a party than a conversation, this grouping offers a juicy slice of UNLV’s Dave Hickey era. The influential cultural critic spent several years teaching at the university, and a simplistic articulation of his aesthetic celebrates the beautiful over the conceptual. Southern California car cultureinflected hard-edge is the dominant vibe, and Yek’s “The Dream (Orange)” vibrates distractingly from the corner. A concave panel mesmerizes in shimmering sherbet acrylic, irresistible to the eye and soothing to the mind. Things get quieter in transition to the south gallery as the exhibition shifts in tone, a series of hushed tête-à-têtes that open into a collection of figurative work often in muted colors or soft memories. An historical dialogue between paintings by John Clarke and Robert Beckmann dominates the room. Clarke’s “Venus and the Guitar Player” gives ’70s-era hippies a dreamy art historicism in contrast to the dark romanticism of Beckmann’s apocalyptic flooding of the Las Vegas Valley, “The 100 Year Flood.” Theirs is the broadest conversation in a room full of detailed realism and modestly scaled intimacies. Coiling through to the architectural and conceptual center of the Barrick Museum, I find myself in a tiny space at the feet of “Bahiana,” by Mary Cady Johnson. All of the work in this space

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a special holiday edition of It takes two: The curatorial goal of Gallery Director Jerry Schefcik was to spark a series of conversations.

has what Schefcik describes as a vintage feel, painted or drawn by lesser-known artists mostly in popular styles of the ’50s and ’60s. “Bahianas,” with its bright colors and loose brush work hinting at figurative expressionism, is identified by Schefcik as the first work of art acquired by LVAM and the first numbered in the collection. There is something tender and vulnerable about the painting, working so hard at something it perhaps never achieves. Every piece in this tiny central gallery is earnest and thoughtfully crafted, whether a crushingly delicate graphite rendering or jazzy thick paint on cardboard, each wears its heart on its sleeve. Relationships based on formal concerns or content dissipate into a lovely and earnest whole. “Bahianas” may be the kernel of the collection, but this gallery is the essence of the exhibition. Is a painting only “real” when it’s seen in a museum or gallery setting? Far from it. But the immense intellectual and spiritual pleasure of marinating in the simple act of looking at something, an act afforded and promoted by institutional and educational settings, is incomparable — and infectious. It can start with Michael Reafsnyder, but quickly bounces out of the gallery into street art and casino carpeting and neon signs. There’s so much to see. Aren’t we lucky to have a museum again in which to see it? “Into the Light” is on exhibit through Dec. 15 at UNLV’s Barrick Museum. However, the museum will be closed until Nov. 19 for a lighting upgrade. Mon-Wed, Fri, 9a-5p; Thu, 9a-8p; Sat, 12-5p.

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Behave yourself! Learn about theater etiquette on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at


Blood, sweat and chainsaws The rise and fall — and rise and fall — of shock theater impresario Sirc Michaels. (Insert f-bomb here)


By David McKee Photography Mike Hill Jacked up on Mountain Dew and blitzing audiences into shock with a barrage of fbombs, he came seemingly out of nowhere to set Las Vegas’ theater scene on its ear. Rarely have Sin City stages seen personalities — and fortunes — so mercurial as those of Sirc Michaels, who’s gone from presenting smallscale community theater to producing three Strip shows in well under two years. And, oh, what Strip shows they are: “Evil Dead The Musical,” a campy, gory, goodrenched tribute to an ’80s cult horror flick about a spectral force terrorizing teens in a remote cabin; “Awesome ’80s Prom,” a free-form, interactive “happening” that bombed before it ever truly opened; and “Legwarmers,” an ubercheesy jukebox musical that Michaels likens to the entire MTV era come to bright, bouncy life. His surprising flops are as frequent as his unlikely hits. But amid the vagaries of fickle audiences and hard-to-gauge markets, one quality of his is constant: A burning desire to not just attract an audience, but to forge fans — hardcore, cult-following, seen-it-20-times fans. “Theatergoers will go and see the show,” he says. “Fans will go to see the show, they’ll buy the T-shirt, they’ll buy everything you’ve got, they’ll want their tits autographed, they’ve got the tattoo. It’s a rabid sort of vibe — and I’m one of them.” Rabid is certainly one word that comes to mind when describing Michaels, a feisty, verbose, bearded bantam seemingly crossbred from P.T. Barnum and Wolfman Jack. The only thing he enjoys more than making productions is making waves — and headlines. “Here in Vegas, I’m just flabbergasted that no one has done these types of shows because it makes sense. You have a fan base. You don’t have to do traditional marketing. You don’t

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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

This is my boomstick: Sirc Michaels likes his theater loud and messy.

have to fight for the average theatergoer. You can go to fans, put it on their boards and they will spread that across the country. They’ll flock here. We’re in Vegas.” It might be a stretch to say he’s hit upon some magic formula to draw crowds to his circus-like events. But Michaels’ approach and sensibility has certainly tapped a nerve — and brought to theater venues people who otherwise might not know William Shakespeare from Sam Shepard.

Q u i e t sto r m How ironic that his start was so … quiet. After a series of unrelated crises unraveled Onyx Theatre’s 2010-10 season, the hithertounknown Michaels was brought in, mid-year, as artistic director of the cult house, which operates out of the back of a fetish shop (The Rack) in Commercial Center and had presented mostly gay-friendly entertainment. Michaels quickly carpentered an ambitious production slate for a venue that had been at the mercy of


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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

whatever fell across the transom. After some fits and starts, he hit paydirt with “Evil Dead The Musical,” which played to sold-out houses in October 2011 and again last January. Yet behind the boffo box office, trouble was brewing. For reasons that remain murky to this day, Michaels — a nom de voyage for Chris Palkow, who places his origins vaguely “in Jersey” in the early 1970s — was given the sack last February. However, Michaels still had a hot property in his back pocket — “Evil Dead” — and he quickly began shopping it, eventually landing, of all places, in Planet Hollywood’s V Theater, where it plays 10 p.m. Fridays and 11:30 p.m. Saturdays. Despite debuting opposite $10 million ultra-megaflop “Surf the Musical” (“their opening sucked the air out of ours,” Michaels says), “Evil Dead” has thrived in its new home while, upstairs, “Surf” was a swift wipeout. Maybe the secret is splatter. By Michaels’ estimate, “Evil Dead” plays to 75 percent of capacity and regularly sells out its “Splatter Zone.” Splatter Zone? This is the front of the house where fans pay a premium to be doused with pink goo – a spectacle that sometimes brings the show to a screeching halt. “Presently we can hold up to 100 people in the Splatter Zone alone,” says Michaels. “At the Onyx, 100 seats was the entire venue capacity.” Although “Evil Dead” audiences at V are split roughly 60/40 between newbies and fans of the cult films — a trilogy directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell — the show is definitely best appreciated by those who have seen and liked the flicks. When protagonist Ash proclaims, “Good? Bad? I’m the guy with the gun,” movie fans go ape while novices draw a blank. “The whole thing is a deliberate exercise in bad taste and over-the-topness, so you can’t say there’s a right or wrong way of doing it,” wrote the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Mike Weatherford, a perceptive chronicler of Michaels’ transformation from local provocateur to Strip celebrity. “The show is written very specifically to be a stand-alone production,” explains “Evil Dead The Musical” author George Reinblatt. “We’ve seen tons of audience members who know nothing about ‘Evil Dead’ — and they love it. That being said, if you are a fan of the movies, you’ll hear the lines you want to hear and once in a while you’ll catch a little something that maybe not everyone gets. But when done correctly, these insider moments don’t take away from the production and the show

is enjoyed by both fans and non-fans alike.” But don’t write it off as mere (literally) splashy schlock. Michaels — who can switch hats from showman to champion of the arts at the drop of a bloody chainsaw — insists there’s a nobler end to it all. “As a producer, my job is butts in seats. As an artist, my desire is to instill in everyone a love of the arts,” he says. “So if I see that happening, I know I’m doing something right. I’m speaking to people who live now. They’re not necessarily high-minded. That’s not what they’re about. They’re coming because it’s ‘Evil Dead.’ ‘I love those movies. They’re awesome. Oh my God, it’s a musical? I’ve gotta see that. It’s not at all what I thought theater was.’” He muses, without a hint of irony, that today’s “Evil Dead” fans may be tomorrow’s audience for “Antigone.” C h i cken fee d and bloo d Relocation to V also enabled Michaels to upsize his budget and restage parts of the show for a Strip sensibility. Animatronics have been augmented, video interludes added

and the low-budget Onyx set has been given a higher sheen. Blood-spurt effects, however protracted, are less obvious in their execution, there’s an audience-participation encore and the prolonged finale has been completely restaged, incorporating Michael Jackson and Jabbawockeez impersonators. Rolling billboards, the bane of Strip motorists, were soon schlepping mammoth “Evil Dead” logos up and down the boulevard. Such adaptability, along with persistence and eye to the main chance, sets Michaels apart from most Vegas-based producers. The starving-artist pose is not for him. He’s unabashedly commercial and doesn’t care if he’s perceived as a lowbrow. While marketing is practically an alien concept off-Strip (and sometimes on-Strip as well), Michaels has studied it and misses no opportunity to hawk his product — as when he and cast members made an in-character appearance at Las Vegas Comic Expo, held in late September at the Riviera. While flops invariably outnumber hits in show business (and this has been no different for Sirc Michaels Prods.), the peppery impre-

sario drew to a hot hand with “Evil Dead” and has run the table with it. At V, it was done on a budget less than $100,000 … chicken feed by Strip standards. “If someone tells you that you need a ton of cash to make something happen, they don’t know what the hell they are talking about. What you need is dedication — and a f---ton of it,” says Michaels. Landlord David Saxe has also allowed Michaels to keep ticket prices relatively low, starting at $55. Saxe and Michaels, however, were not so fortunate with a companion show, “Awesome ’80s Prom.” A plotless “happening,” it required audience members (“You will dance and sing along,” promo materials commanded) to mingle and role-play with “Evil Dead” cast members who were doing double duty as prom queens, faculty, etc., in order to amortize their salaries, since “Evil Dead” only plays twice weekly. But dancing and singing can only take you so far. Unlike “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” or “Marriage Can Be Murder,” there was scant seating and no dinner to ameliorate the steep ticket prices, higher than “Evil Dead’s.” Nei-


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theater ther coupon offers nor added seats could stave off the inevitable. After innumerable previews and no media night, “Prom” folded on Sept. 16, making it that rara avis: a Strip show that closed before it officially opened. While Michaels still thinks “Prom” might work in Vegas, he chalks up its failure, tellingly, not to failure of art, but a failure of marketing — “an inability to market the show properly,” Michaels says. “If that isn’t in place, no matter how many drinks you give away or how good your performers are, ultimately not enough people will see your show to make it viable.” Ya got ta hav e l eg s But he lets no grass grow under his feet. Scarcely was “Prom’s” obituary posted when Michaels announced its replacement — a jukebox musical of his own devising, “Legwarmers,” which opened Sept. 20. It’s another audience-participation/sing-along show, also employing “Evil Dead” actors, born of Michaels’ own nostalgia for the ’80s. He describes as the MTV era “come to life,” and plans to shoot music videos as part of a viral marketing campaign. Michaels is a great believer in online marketing and word of mouth. “It is irresponsible not to go that route,” he says. Last January’s “Evil Dead” revival sold to the rafters although press coverage was minimal and “we did nothing in advertising. I’m going to use everything at my fingertips to reach everyone: the fan sites, the boards, places that theaters don’t normally go. But once you put it out there, they spread it amongst themselves. You get to engage directly with your potential fans.” He’s also proud of having cast two Strip shows (with a third to come) entirely from talent within the community. “Evil Dead” lead Ben Stobber has become such a cult figure already that he was the centerpiece of a Review-Journal feature on the “Evil Dead” phenom. “There is an endless supply of strong talent right here that, for a production show, it is shortsighted to pass over,” Michaels says. For “Legwarmers,” he signed the busiest actress in town, Breon Jenay — a publicity coup. “We needed a strong female for the show,” Michael explains. “I’d wanted to work with her for a while.” So he cold-called her. “After seeing ‘Evil Dead’ and ’80s Prom,’ I was pretty psyched to get on board with ‘Legwarmers,’” Jenay says, though she’s a relative newcomer to musical theater. “I was a bit nervous about the prospect, but Sirc and the cast made me feel right at home. It’s a bit of a

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Companion | november 2012

dream come true for me because I love Eighties music and the song selection is dynamite.” Or just a bomb? Jenay soon left the show and inked a contract with “Marriage Can Be Murder” at The D. (It cannot have helped that Michaels took an extended — and well-publicized — Disneyland vacation smack in the middle of “Legwarmers’” abbreviated rehearsal period.) “ H o r r i b l e ” p r os p ec ts If “Legwarmers” doesn’t have legs, Michaels may attempt a Strip version of his first Onyx show, Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” a musical comedy about the romantic rivalry between a superhero and a supervillain. “I could see it doing very well as an afternoon or early evening show,” he says. Still other projects are hushhush, “just thoughts and conversations.” In the meantime, “Evil Dead” will be Michaels’ bread-and-butter (bread-and-splatter?) product. “We have to live off the tourists, otherwise we won’t make a return off our investment,” he says, adding that his responsibility is to make the show both affordable and profitable. Even slow nights (say, 120 people) “are pretty damned full. We’ve hit sold out a couple of times, but no one expected that to be the norm until we got closer to October. We have people who come to Vegas specifically to see Evil Dead.” Its box office performance is seemingly immune to fluctuations in Vegas tourism. The producer/director reports that sales are up when those for other shows are down and “over the top” when tourism is strong. It surely helps that Evil Dead isn’t standard “tourist” fodder but plays to a coterie of loyal cultists, the kind who still stick with their fandom through thick and thin — and that it has one of the lower price points on the Strip, a precinct notorious for stratospheric fares. “I’m not sure how many shows on the Strip have that sort of pull,” Michaels says. “Some nights the place turns into a madhouse with people screaming, laughing, singing along and generally having a raucous time and other nights the audience is a bit more subdued. I can envision a day when the audience is full of repeat customers. It will take time to get there, but it isn’t an impossibility.” That’s the moment when the standard audience member is transformed through Michaels’ strange alchemy of shock and camp into someone quite different. “I don’t want to do a show where people sit in a chair and watch it,” he says. “I want them to be in the environment and become part of it.” Because that’s what fans do.

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travel Can you hear me now: Grand Canyon-Parashant’s prime asset is its silence.


A moment of silence One of the most prized assets of remote national monument Grand CanyonParashant is — shhhh — the quiet By Andrew Kiraly Photography Christopher smith

“Stop right here!” Eathan McIntyre tells us. So we halt our humble two-vehicle caravan, and now we’re stopped on an unpaved road a dozen or so miles inside the Arizona border. To our right, low hills and scrubland. To our left, low hills and scrubland. No hiking trails or interpretive signs to lend a comforting sense of human sanction. The arbitrariness of stopping here seems absurd. McIntyre, now carrying a small blue duffel bag full of tools and a small orange tote of computer components, strikes off to the left. He is a young scientist who works for the National Park Ser-

vice, but he looks something more like a cable repairman dressed as Crocodile Dundee. And right now he has about him an air of mischief as he starts marching off into the desert. We dutifully follow. We walk along a cow path that meanders around the creosote, being careful not to break the delicate soil. We take a small rise into a dip of more low hills and scrubland. “Tell me when you can see it,” he says. “See it yet?” Ah. There it is: a solar panel winking from the landscape. Next to it is an anemometer — that is, a wind speed sensor, which looks | 33

travel like a windmill made out of three measuring spoons. Then there’s the microphone, which can capture sounds on the ground up to quarter-mile away and 22 miles up in the air. Finally, on the ground is what appears to be a tackle box on steroids. All this comprises a veritable sound database that has a month’s worth of noises, from thunderstorms to birds to airplanes — a rich soundtrack of nature and man in this national monument on the western edge of the Grand Canyon. “Birds, crickets, rodents, bats — we hear it all,” says McIntyre. His four soundscape stations — hidden from humans and pretty wellarmored against prying creatures, too — monitor this never-ending natural concert to figure out what the noises are, how loud and frequent they are. “I want to understand the biodiversity of the area, and learn how it reacts to sounds from aircraft, ATVs, air touring, even people walking,” he says. Lots of scientists study visible and tangible impacts on wilderness; McIntyre studies something unseen and often unappreciated: sound. The lockup is intense for such a remote placement. Wires are encased in steel conduit (“Critters love plastic,” he says), and the electronic guts of the operation sit tight inside the plastic trunk. It includes a sound pressure meter, a data logger for the anemometer and a 30-gigabyte mp3 recorder. Once a month, McIntyre makes the trek here to switch out the data cards and calibrate the mic. “We capture some really rich soundscapes. It allows us to know what we do have — and what we need to save.”

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34 | Desert

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

Arthur M. CAMbeiro M.D. Announces the ArrivAl of T h at far-out sound Parashant is remote. Good luck getting here if you don’t have a trusty four-wheel drive vehicle (and a few spare tires). But you might say it’s remote by design, as part of the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management’s joint mission to provide a wilderness experience. “It’s so special because it’s so hard to get to,” says Rosie Pepito, the monument’s superintendent. “But when you do get out here, the chances for discovery are endless. You drive

out here and the geology is spectacular, and the wildlife is amazing.” That’s a good thing: The remoteness and difficulty of access make for a brand of quiet and distance that at times triggers a sense of otherworldly solitude. But that isn’t to say that Parashant isn’t subject to human encroachment. It is. However, in this case, the culprit comes from an unlikely source: sound. Amid the thick-spread blanket of desert silence out here, you’ll notice on occasion the churr and buzz of an airplane, the rhythmic chorp-chorp-chorp of a helicopter. That’s because this million-acre monument on the western edge of the Grand Canyon gets a lot of spillover noise from the frequent air tours. It’s more than just an annoying reminder

Above left and right: The soundscape recording station overseen by Eathan McIntyre; below left and right: Tassi Ranch features lush foliage and a rushing spring.

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travel that you’re not alone. More crucially, it freaks out the animals — and we’re not just talking about some bighorn sheep being a little bit skittish. The anxiety-inducing noise can pile on to other stresses — say, an especially tough winter, a lean season for foraging — to make it more likely that wild animals will get sick. McIntyre, who has been monitoring the Parashant soundscapes since the spring of 2011, ultimately wants to draft a soundscape management plan for the monument. O p e n your eyes ( a n d e ars) Of course, any trip out to Parashant is about more than mere sound. The sights are pretty spectacular, too. “Some spots in Parashant look like golf courses. It gets so green when it rains,” he says. This day trip to see McIntyre’s sound work culminates in a picnic at Tassi Ranch, a stone house that was part of a cattle operation in the 1930s. Imagine a scruffed-up version of a Thomas Kinkade painting and you have an idea. An oasis abuzz with dragonflies and shaded by gargantuan cottonwoods, it sits against a rock-strewn hill that hosts a vigorous, rushing spring. After lunch, we pile into the SUV, where McIntyre plugs in his Zune (!) to play back some mp3s of his Parashant soundscape recordings. Plucked from time and place, they become aural puzzles that are at once peaceful, intriguing — and sometimes eerie. “This one’s called ‘Birds and Wind,’” he says. In it, the sustained breeze sounds — almost theatrically — like a vast and continuous spectral breath, against which a lone bird cries. “Fly” captures a fly manically buzzing onto the mic for a landing. Your nose will twitch as you “feel” the fly come up close. “Thunderstorm” is operatic to the point of smiling suspicion — can these Hollywoodworthy thunderclaps and lugubrious downpour be real? McIntyre finishes up with a mystery sound, a high, warbled yelp that calls to mind a small dog — no, a crow — wait, a raven — or maybe a bobcat? McIntyre is still trying to crack the case. But it opens your eyes — or, rather, your ears — to the preciousness of sound in the Southwest.

Getting there: Take I-15 north toward Mes-

This page: Tassi Ranch is a dragonfly-buzzing oasis banked on a hill with a vigorous, rushing stream. The former cattle ranch is a fine picnic spot.

The cure the common co CPA T he cu c ure for for the common CPA

Prescr ipt ions f or: nizations a • Nonprofit Org ties Enti • Government ss • Small Busine • Individuals

quite. Before Mesquite, take exit 112 south to Gold Butte Road. After you reach Whitney Pockets, roads are unpaved and require a four-wheel drive vehicle. w ww.T .T Tru rustHR stHRC.c .com | 37

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News Reviews Interviews anomymous O n t h e P l at e


The dish

Little big deal


at first Bite

Breakfast goes eclectic


On the Plate

The month in eating


eat this now!

Flavor in the round

Well-bread: DW Bistro’s brunchtime pastry basket is a must-eat.



The Dish

The next big little thing

Amid the chain eateries of the southwest suburbs, DW Bistro stands out with eclectic, spice-infused cuisine — and a comfortably upscale vibe


By Brock Radke Photography SABIN ORR You can feel it best on the weekend, during busy brunch. Sunday is ridiculous. It’s noisy and active but never uncomfortably so; it feels like the family is home for a holiday and you’re recovering together, over coffee and scones, from a wild night out. But you can feel it other times, too, like at the bar after work, where it feels fancy for the southwest Vegas suburbs but not too fancy to suck down a Red Stripe. (Honestly, the décor at DW Bistro cries out for a cocktail, so maybe switch to the Tingy V, made with Ketel One, guava liqueur and a splash of Jamaican grapefruit soda.) This place definitely has layers, different experiences within a single venue. This feeling is the common thread. What is this feeling, and how did it come to live at DW Bistro? It’s immediately comfortable, yet never boring. There’s excitement, mostly when you’re perusing the unique modern American menu, with heavy hints of New Mexican and Jamaican spice. It’s fun and

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friendly, utterly champagne-worthy. If you take someone from out of town to DW Bistro, they might say: “Ooh. This is nice. This isn’t what I expected. This is so not Las Vegas.” And then you have to think about what that means. “We get that all the time,” says Bryce Krausman. If you’ve been to DW, you know Bryce and you know Dalton. Bryce Krausman and Dalton Wilson opened the restaurant in the spring of 2010. “It’s funny to think about that, because I’m born and raised here. They say it feels like San Francisco or L.A., and maybe it’s because there’s no gaming or TVs here like at so many neighborhood bars.” Kraus-

man knows, though he won’t say it, that what they’re really saying is: This place is cool. This place reminds me of other cool places that I like. “It’s kind of an intangible thing,” he says, “but they might not know that to us, this is Vegas, this is what it feels like to us. This is the environment we’ve created.”

Oasis of the hip After two and a half years, what they’ve created is Las Vegas’ next great neighborhood restaurant. It’s equal parts great food and great vibe, and a clear leader in its part of the valley. In this wide-open southwest-

Clockwise from left: DW Bistro’s jalapeño bacon burger has kick; the airy, comfortable interior; their signature New Mexican pork bowl

ern sprawl (think Spring Valley with chunks of Summerlin, Peccole Ranch, Rhodes Ranch and other tony housing communities), big chains still dominate the dining landscape. DW Bistro is something of a hip oasis. “We were blessed with a nice space,” Krausman says. It’s true. (La Madonna inhabited this space before moving downtown to become Mundo.) Its artsy-edgy Latin design was replaced by DW’s charming, spaceage tangerine-creamsicle motif. This past July, an expanded northern dining room opened. Putting the pieces together was an easy agreement; Krausman and Wilson have been friends for a long time. “We like the same things, eat at the same restaurants, and once we go somewhere we love, we always go back,” Wilson says. “This restaurant, the food, it’s our life story, basically.” Krausman and Wilson met when Wilson was working at a local Williams-Sonoma store and Krausman was looking for a 12-inch pie pan. “We didn’t carry it anymore. We got into a little fight about it,” Wilson says. Krausman returned to apply for a job, and a friendship began. They went to dinner, exchanged recipes, cooked for family, hosted brunch every Sunday. “We really took our time to make sure brunch was perfect, much to the chagrin of our friends who were like, ‘Can we get it

Take our survey you could win lunch on us What did you like about the latest issue of Desert Companion? What could we improve? Take the new monthly Desert Companion reader survey. It’s fast, simple and fun. Plus, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win entry to the Desert Companion Restaurant Awards luncheon in December.

going already?’” Krausman says. They knew something would happen, but Krausman was thinking about a cookbook, not a restaurant. But this turnkey space became available, and they saw its intimacy and potential, the right light coming through the windows. It could be what they wanted in a neighborhood restaurant; the transportive, un-Vegas element occurred naturally.

You’ll mix and mingle with award-winning chefs and the Desert Companion team — and enjoy a gourmet luncheon. Take the survey through Nov. 30 at

A d i f f e rent kin d of heat People came for the food. Wilson’s background was diverse and he wasn’t afraid to let it shine through. There’s Ja- | 41

M ay w e r e c o m m e n d …

dining maican jerk seasoning, on a chicken salad with grilled vegetables or on juicy lamb chops. There’s a different kind of heat, from New Mexican chilis, stewing tender pork for a ridiculously good omelet with melted jack cheese. “Our first sous chef thought the menu was aggressive for a neighborhood restaurant, but we didn’t think so,” Bryce says. “Half the menu isn’t spicy. We have a chicken and bowtie pasta dish with garlic sauce and people just love that sauce.” Others want their butts kicked with flavor, from a cheeseburger with green chiles and jalapeño bacon to oven-roasted pork shoulder marinated in that jerk seasoning. At brunch, those savories (chicken chilaquiles or yes, jerk chicken and waffles) are balanced with sweet stuff, including the perfect pastry basket, chocolate chip pancakes or challah French toast. DW Bistro has become, well, a brand, in a relatively short period of time, and Krausman and Wilson are being careful with it. Widely rumored to be expanding downtown, where Krausman lives, they are in fact exploring

the possibility of taking over the space once known as Andre’s. But nothing is final. “It’s a great space, very iconic. And we love what’s going on downtown, but we want to do it right when we go,” Bryce says. “If you come to Dalton’s house for dinner, it’s just like DW. It’s DW times ten. Wherever we go, we need to be able to transport that energy.” Also, there are other projects that need attention. That cookbook needs finishing. There might be a small, fast-casual DW concept popping up wherever it’s needed. “We have customers all over town, now,” Bryce says. However the intangible thing was achieved, they know the formula. “It’s about everybody having a great conversation, talking about the night before, being with friends and family, and having the best time,” Dalton says. “We appreciate our customers so much. They’re unbelievable.”

DW Bistro 6115 S. Fort Apache Road #112, 527-5200, Tue-Thu 11a-9p; Fri 11a-11p Sat 10a-11p; Sun 10a-2p

DW Pastry Basket. You cannot brunch without it. “I’ve never been to a great brunch when you couldn’t get a great pastry basket, so we wanted to make sure every table gets one,” says Dalton Wilson. “And if they don’t, they look to the table over and think, ‘How come nobody told me about that?’” It’s most often anchored by a chocolate croissant and addictive, meltin-your-mouth blueberry and white chocolate scones. Whatever’s in the basket, rest assured it’s warm, flaky and tastes beautiful. New Mexican pork bowl. At most restaurants, the rice bowl is a throwaway, a foolish dish to order. At DW, it’s a hearty, satisfying meal with robust, homey flavors. The Jamaican curry chicken bowl is killer, too, but this mini-mountain of pork slowsimmered in red chile served over rice with eggs over easy hits every note. Hard. It’s meaty, spicy and rich, and finishing the sauce-soaked rice might be the best part.


Khoury’s Mediterranean

Brio Tuscan Grille

Table 34

Khoury’s prides itself on excellence in the preparation of food, presentation and quality of service. Serving some of the finest Lebanese cuisine available in Las Vegas, Khoury’s restaurant will stimulate and delight your senses. Close your eyes as you savour this fantastic food and drink, and you’ll feel you’ve stepped into the heart of Beirut.

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

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

6115 S. Fort Apache #100, Las Vegas, NV, (702) 671-0005

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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

ToWN SquARE, 6653 Las Vegas Blvd. So., Las Vegas, NV, (702) 914-9145 TIVoLI VILLAGE 420 S. Rampart Suite 180 Las Vegas, NV, (702) 433-1233

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Upcoming dining events you don’t want to miss LAS VEGAS TEA FEST NOV. 10. Whether you like your tea loose or bagged, this premier event is steeped in wonderful ways to enjoy and appreciate leaves and spices. Sample incredible tea products and services, visit with retailers, sit in on tea classes and take part in tea ceremonies. A silent auction and raffle will support Studio8Ten, which provides creative, business-based employment to people with disabilities. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $10. Arts Factory,

DOWNTOWN3RD FARMERS MARKET Sea what we mean: Eat’s shrimp and grits


Eat By Jim begley | Photography Christopher smith Sitting at the breakfast counter at Eat is an inspiration. Watching the black-clad, mostly heavilyinked staff flit back and forth, you get the feeling you’re witnessing the beginning of a renaissance. Like a baby giraffe struggling to find its gait, Eat is still in its infancy, but you can sense it’ll be galloping gallantly in no time at all. Natalie Young’s Eat is the first of what are bound to be many restaurants financially backed by Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project — powered by Zappos. After helming P.J. Clarke’s at the Forum Shops and working in other high-profile Strip kitchens, Young wanted to strike out on her own. A fortunate introduction to Hsieh resulted in what is soon to be a downtown favorite. Young’s menu is filled with simply prepared, traditional comfort dishes. The chicken-fried steak is destined to be a classic — and may be one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. (Health food this is not, but I can think of few tastier ways to go out.) Smothered in robust gravy, the lightly battered and freshly fried steak arrives to your table piping hot. Young’s huevos motuleños — a Yucatanese breakfast dish with black beans, tortillas and plantains — have gotten more press and, while they’re good, they’re no

chicken-fried steak. And more delicate dishes such as the shrimp and grits are stunners as presented on the plate, but I say the chicken-fried steak is the way to go. My only criticisms are really preferences. Fresh orange juice would be the perfect foil for some of the heavier dishes, but it’s not available. Also, the tasty wheat toast served with our dishes would’ve been well-served with some housemade preserves befitting Young’s made-to-order menu. These are minor nitpicks that I’m certain could be remedied in short order and would only enhance an already excellent eatery. Service is friendly, if not frenetic — understandable for a restaurant in its infancy. As with any restaurant, mistakes are made and the staff readily responds. Young herself is also in the mix, gliding effortlessly from diner to diner, striking up conversations and listening to feedback. If you live downtown, this will be your favorite breakfast/lunch joint. If not, it’s worth the jaunt downtown. In an area desperate for dining options, Young’s Eat is a beacon of hope. Years from now, we’ll talk about how she was among the first in the downtown food renaissance, but most assuredly not the last.

FRIDAYS. Every week, Las Vegas’ latest and largest indoor Farmers Market transforms a former bus terminal into a seasonal, sustainable healthy lifestyle center with luscious local and organic produce, artisanal foods, classes, art shows, family activities and famous chefs’ demonstrations. Free street parking adds to the draw, as well as continuing development of the area into a pedestrianfriendly metropolitan center. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. 201 N. Third St.,

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Eat 707 Carson Ave., 534-1515,, Mon-Fri 7a-3p; Sat-Sun 8a-2p | 43


eat this now! Our favorite recent dishes that have us coming back for seconds

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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

Round Reuben

at Murphy’s Law Irish Bar & Grill Murphy’s Law is a nondescript gaming bar on East Flamingo; however, hidden away in a kitchen the size of a small automobile is chef Michael Colby — the Charlie Daniels of the fryer. His is not a necessarily low-calorie menu but it’s definitely tasty. The Round Rueben is genius — a whole Reuben macerated through a grinder and deep-fried in Colby’s special beer batter. The result: a meaty sphere cooked to perfection in a dish worth checking out. — Jim Begley

Murphy’s Law Irish Bar & Grill 1590 E. Flamingo, 697-0529,

New York Deli Night

at the Rampart Casino buffet Head to the west part of town to get a taste of Back East at the Rampart Casino buffet’s New York Deli Night. A majority of the products are shipped in from the East Coast specifically for the Thursday night noshing, while the Doc Brown’s sodas are unlimited. Highlights are the chopped liver, smoked salmon and egg creams. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Houston Street on the Lower East Side — without the scary taxicabs. — JB

Rampart Casino 221 N. Rampart Blvd., 507-5900,


Revitalizing Las Vegas one performance at a time Bank of America is proud to be a member of the community of funders that helped make the dream of a world-class performing arts center a reality. As a catalyst of the economic revitalization of Las Vegas, The Smith Center project — from groundbreaking to completion — has created thousands of jobs. Future performances will continue to infuse our local economy with a projected $29 million annually.

Juan Mendez is one of the 2,600 people from Clark County employed by The Smith Center development project.

© 2012 Bank of America Corporation

Our November Baby of the Month.


Kaleb’s Story Kaleb’s parents went through a lot! Their initial therapy started in 2009 with multiple failed cycles of Clomid and an injectable FSH intrauterine insemination cycle that resulted in a tubal pregnancy. In 2010, they also had undergone an IVF cycle at another center in town which was unsuccessful. Kaleb was conceived at our center on their second injectable FSH intrauterine insemination attempt! Congratulations to Kaleb our November Baby of the Month!

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When it comes to helping those in need, these Southern Nevadans have the golden touch

Portrait Photography By

Bill Hughes | 47

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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

Red Rock Search and Rescue The challenge: In January of 2012, Ronald Kirk went missing at Red Rock National Conservation Area. With Kirk’s fitness level and outdoors experience, he could have been almost anywhere in Red Rock. Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s Search and Rescue team spent days looking by land and air before calling off the search due to limited resources. The local outdoors community, however, was bursting with support. Kirk’s family teamed up with the Hash House Harriers (a local running group of which Kirk was a member) and VegasHikers (a more than 5,000-member local hiking group) to continue scouring the desert. The search went on for weeks, and some days saw more than 100 volunteers show up at Red Rock to lend a hand. All that help needed someone to organize it, and that’s where volunteer David Cummings stepped in. The solution: The group that led the ragtag volunteers in the search for Ron Kirk became the executive board of Red Rock Search and Rescue, with Cummings as its commander. Their throng of volunteers started training in earnest, forming teams of trackers, technical rescuers, medics and more. Fast forward nine months later, and the volunteers of Red Rock Search and Rescue, thanks to fundraising and sponsors such as REI and Nevada State Bank, had received more than $500,000 in training. On Sept. 14, as floodwaters from a massive Vegas storm receded, David Cummings received a call over his radio. “Command Post 3, 1144.” 1144 is the radio code for a fatality. The body they’d been searching for, washed away from a golf course during torrential summer rains, had been found. “Over twenty years I have seen countless recoveries,” Cummings wrote on the team’s Facebook page, “but this one was special and it was a test of these novices … A word I will not use again.” Less than a week later, Cummings and his crew got a call to find a missing hiker at Mt. Charleston. The 47-year-old woman was found in a canyon, given medical aid, and transported to the hospital. Red Rock Search and Rescue has no plans to rest on their successes. They are currently forming a dive team, a mountain bike team, and are constantly improving the skills of their members. Thanks to donors, all of this is done without any cost to the taxpayer or the victims. To be a part of the action, fill out an application on their website. They also take donations via PayPal and accept material support. ( — Alan Gegax To the rescue: from left, Dana Richardson, Dave Cummings and J.D. Laguana | 49

Rosalind Brooks

Fo u nder and Executive Director, Vegas Roots Community Garden The challenge: Brooks, a Las Vegas native, vegan and former schoolteacher, had long been disturbed by the ever-growing childhood obesity rate — and the fact that local kids had little clue where their food came from or how to eat healthfully. She was particularly worried about young people in West Las Vegas, an urban “food desert” where residents had to fight for years just to get a grocery store. She believed they deserved more access to fresh produce, a stronger connection to the origins of their food and a greater sense of community.   The solution: In early 2010, Brooks — who knew next to nothing about gardening — invested $3,000 of her own money to launch a community garden on five dusty, donated acres on Tonopah Drive near Bonanza Road. The land has since become something of an outdoor community center, an unlikely desert oasis lush with volunteers and fresh fruits and vegetables — watermelon, squash, strawberries, onions, tomatoes and more. There’s also a chicken coop, a playground and a walking path where visiting schoolchildren can exercise before getting down to gardening. (“They first have to do a lap around the track,” Brooks, 45, says.)

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Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

The kids love being outside with their hands in the dirt. “They’re naturally inquisitive and interested,” Brooks says. “They’ve never been exposed to growing their own food. They learn quickly and soon I have little workers to help me.” While the community has embraced the garden, it’s a constant struggle to stay afloat, she says. Fundraising for the nonprofit is always an issue. High water bills have threatened to sink the garden more than once. Vegas Roots’ main source of income comes from renting gardening plots. For $500 a year, residents and community groups can “adopt” their very own plot for planting crops. The fee includes soil, water, tools, seeds and a wooden sign to paint and personalize. So far, the garden includes about 30 such plots. Brooks says all the effort is worth it when she sees what grows inside the children who visit. “They hear, ‘Plant a seed,’ all the time,” she says. “Now they can relate it back to where it came from. They understand that if you plant something good, something good will come from it. They can carry that through their entire lives.” ( — Lynnette Curtis

Hektor Esparza P u s h For ward Skate Mentor Program

The challenge: Tagging. Fights. Drug use. In 2006, Winchester Cultural Center Skate Park drew a rough crowd of dropouts resembling an outtake from gangsploitation B movie “The Warriors.” The county wanted to shut down the ramps. But cultural programs supervisor Patrick Gaffey gave it one last shot by staffing the park. He asked skate instructor Hektor Esparza for help, hiring him to police and keep bad elements at bay. But Esparza was no rent-a-cop. He knew the best way to truly clean up the place was to engage kids head-on and put them on a path of self-cultivation. To teach them the art of skateboarding and its rich history — how skate culture impacted alternative music, filmmaking and photography. “There was skepticism expressed that I could get teens interested in the arts, much less higher ed,” says Esparza. The solution: In his 30s, Esparza holds his own on the ramps. This way he earns kids’ respect and they meet an adult skater. He explains how skaters are leaders in the arts — director Spike Jonze (“Adaptation”) to painter/photographer Ed Templeton. Esparza, a writer himself, taught six weeks of skate instruction, which included a sit-down class on the history of skate culture. Kids signed up to learn how to

carve and grind; they also discovered how the sport they love is an art, too. Esparza organized contests, inviting industry pros to discuss competitive skating and nutritionists to explain how breakfasting on a bag of Funyuns can hurt a half-pipe performance. Esparza formed a Winchester skate team, requiring kids to audition on boards and with their art — drawing, rapping, writing, whatever. They had to be passing classes and on track to graduate. He took the team on field trips from CSN’s Charleston campus to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “I’m impressed with the impact the program has had,” Gaffey says. “There are a number of skaters who, thanks to Hektor, will be first in their family to attend college. He has changed their views of themselves and the world.” Six years and 500 students later, Esparza gave up his job to collaborate with Winchester via his nonprofit Push Forward. He hopes to spread Winchester’s success to the valley’s 30 other skate parks with an ambitious mentoring program. “Fewer kids getting arrested and into trouble means more kids going to college,” he says. ( — Jarret Keene | 51

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Red Rock Rotary of Las Vegas The challenge: Rotary is old — in more ways than one. Founded in 1905, Rotary Club is an international service organization with 34,000 member clubs dotting the globe. They do everything from leading polio vaccination campaigns in developing countries to raising money for children’s charities. But — as you might expect from a club founded by white businessmen — it’s old in another way too: Your typical Rotary group gathering has more than a few gray hairs and jowls going on. This isn’t a blockbuster observation. They’re more than aware of the image problem; indeed, there’s a playfully grumbled admonition among members that Rotary must be careful lest it become too “male, pale and stale.” “‘Rotary? Isn’t that an old man’s thing?’ We get that a lot from people who don’t know what Rotary is about,” says chapter President Betsy van Deusen, president of the Red Rock Rotary of Las Vegas. The solution: With a boost from some longtime valley Rotarians, Red Rock Rotary of Las Vegas launched in September 2010 as part of a “new generations” initiative to de-gray the organization. Not only do Red Rock Rotary members skew younger — most are in their twenties and thirties — but their chapter boasts other key differences that aim

to attract Gen Xers and Yers. For instance, rather than ask members to reach into their pocketbooks, they more often ask them to reach into their calendars — and set aside time for the hands-on projects they attack each month. (In November, they’ll be walking dogs at Lied Animal Shelter and making chew toys; in December, they’re helping foster kids pick out clothes during the “Santa Clothes” charitable shopping spree.) “They’ve proven to be one of the most active of all the Rotary clubs in town in terms of hands-on projects,” says Dave Cabral, a longtime Rotarian who helped shepherd the club along to fruition. And no sleepy country club lunch meetings for these guys. Dues are kept low and the weekly meetings happen after work — and at a lively southwest valley bar, no less, where the young Rotarians unwind with a glass of wine or beer (on their own dime) before diving into the dirty work of saving the world. “I’m from a small town — Elko — where people don’t hesitate to help each other,” says member Patrick Sullivan. “That’s what I was looking for in Rotary.” He and other young people found it — and now they want to share it. ( — Andrew Kiraly | 53

Ellen Ross Volunteer site steward

The challenge: The Mojave Desert surrounding Las Vegas becomes ever more endangered as the urban population grows. Crowds, development, mining and the quest for alternative energy sources threaten fragile ecosystems, natural beauty, and the cultural history of Native Americans. The petroglyphs carved onto rock faces in canyons in and around the Las Vegas valley are especially imperiled. Already, paintball vandals and thieves with chisels have defaced, removed, or destroyed dozens of these fragile mementos of ancient valley residents. A Las Vegas resident since 1975, Ellen Ross feels called not only to protect the Mojave and its history, but also to inspire community respect for the pristine but shrinking “sacred space” that surrounds our city. The solution: Ross has embraced the challenge to preserve petroglyphs in the same way they are lost: one by one. As a volunteer site steward, Ross has adopted a petroglyph site on federal land not far from the city — but nonetheless remote. Because of its endangered status, the exact location is kept secret — even from friends and family. While on location, Ross photographs and documents the condition of the glyphs, noting any vandalism or natural changes since her last visit. Ross was not always a desert activist. Born in Cape Cod, Mass., she studied classical ballet at the Boston Conservatory of Music until she received the harsh message that “nobody wants a sixfoot ballerina.” Undaunted, she came to Las Vegas and joined the Stardust’s “rhinestone army” as a dancer with the Lido de Paris. Raising a family and founding a real estate firm that represented vacant land awakened Ross to the beauty of the desert — in particular the markings on canyon walls. “I wanted to connect the dots,” she says, “to learn about the people who put them there. (The desert) is not an empty place — not a passive place. You’ve got to be engaged just to survive, and then you discover the mystery, the thrill, the beauty, the history.” As a Colorado River guide, Ross shares her ever-deepening knowledge of the desert with all who accompany her on kayak trips. Together with elders of the Mojave tribe, Ross is currently protesting the wind farm under development near Searchlight. More research is needed, she believes, before the enormous installation destroys delicate ecosystems and monuments sacred to the Mojaves. As with her work as a site steward, Ross is putting focused action behind her beliefs. “I’ll be doing this for a long, long time,” she says. One petroglyph at a time. — Megan Edwards

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Christine Robinson Executive Director, The Animal Foundation

The challenge: In early 2007, the Lied Animal Shelter was in crisis. The shelter — Nevada’s largest and operated by The Animal Foundation, a nonprofit — was forced to close for a week and euthanize 1,000 animals after a team visiting from the Humane Society of the United States discovered a disease outbreak caused in part by overcrowding. The Humane Society later released a scathing report detailing severe problems in management and animal care at the shelter, including shoddy disease control, poor sanitation and a lack of compassion shown to the animals. The shelter’s director resigned in the wake of the controversy. The solution: Robinson left a comfortable job as an assistant county manager to take the helm at the troubled north Mojave Road animal shelter, which takes in a staggering 50,000 animals each year. “I knew I could help, and I was so passionate about the mission,” Robinson says. She began by addressing every concern in the Humane Society’s 216page report, focusing first on providing the best animal care possible on the eight-acre campus. The shelter cleaned up, beefed up training for employees, and began vaccinating animals upon intake and housing them in their own cages. Sick animals were quickly quarantined.

Next, Robinson approached the three jurisdictions with which Lied contracts for animal shelter services — Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Clark County — to fix an ongoing money problem. “The operations of this organization were woefully underfunded,” Robinson says. “I told them I couldn’t operate at a loss in providing services they are mandated to provide.” She succeeded in getting the contracts renegotiated, a move that brought in an additional $2 million per year. (The shelter’s annual budget is $8 million.) Robinson also built a shelter leadership team with more experience in animal services — and some business sense too. “It takes more than passion to be effective and provide quality care for animals,” she says. Today, Robinson is concentrating on the shelter’s future and a recently launched capital campaign to raise money for campus renovations and a new building to house the adoption center, education area and administrative offices. “We could run in maintenance mode forever, but that’s not OK with me,” she says. “Unlike so many other social problems, we have the answers for this one. That is so encouraging and provides such hope.” ( — Lynnette Curtis | 55

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Dr. Kevin and Kelly Petersen Helping Hands Surgical Care

The challenge: One in three men will develop a hernia in his lifetime. If he doesn’t have health insurance or money for surgery, he may suffer for years, become crippled and unable to work — and possibly even die. Dr. Kevin Petersen is painstakingly aware of this. A general surgeon specializing in no-insurance care, Petersen has a unique perspective on the reality that many uninsured Nevadans face. As the list of patients whom his practice, No Insurance Surgery, Inc., was forced to deny for an inability to pay even discounted rates grew to near 30,000, the doctor and his wife, Kelly Petersen, knew something had to be done. But it’s about more than doing free surgery. Beyond the cost of the surgeon, surgery is still expensive. The cost of anesthesia, prescriptions, lab fees, nurses, surgical techs and facilities all add up. The solution: Thanks to their experience and nonprofit background, Kevin and Kelly Petersen were able to negotiate down the hard costs associated with surgery and round up charitable physicians to offer free surgery to candidates in need. That’s the recipe of Helping Hands Surgical Care, the nonprofit they founded in 2011. Since then, 24 Nevadans have received free life-changing operations, including 10 surgeries that were performed last November on their inaugural Charity Surgery Day. (On that busy day, they repaired six hernias, removed two gallbladders, performed one full hysterectomy and did one spinal surgery on a woman who had been nearly paralyzed by disc problems in her neck.) The charity also offers cataract removals, cleft palate and facial disfigurement repairs, as well as select back and gynecological surgeries. “We’d like to do them all, but we’re limited by the amount of funding we have,” says Kelly, executive director. The Petersens want folks to understand that they work for free, operate on a zero balance, and at almost cost level — so $50 will buy an EKG; and $5,000 could pay for two or three surgeries. “It’s really meaningful, impactful giving,” says Kelly, who’s seen too many people die while waiting for relatively simple, low-risk surgery. “This is not someone you don’t know. It’s your neighbor, who lost his job three months ago.” In the meantime, Dr. Petersen and his fellow surgeons are scrubbing up for the second annual Charity Surgery Day Nov. 13, when they aim to exceed the 10 surgeries performed last year. “I know I can’t take care of everybody,” says Dr. Petersen, but he hopes that Helping Hands inspires other surgical charities across the country. ( — Chantal Corcoran | 57

Get your good on

Unleash your inner hero — by lending a hand to these valley organizations in need


ALL FUR LOVE ANIMAL SOCIETY ( What they do: Dedicated volunteers are committed to the rescue, safety and welfare of abandoned kittens and cats. This no-kill organization gives the animals loving foster homes, where they can be cared for and nurtured until ready for adoption into forever homes What they need: Volunteers to help with adoption fairs and special events; foster homes to help save more little lives; money, kitten and cat food, toys and kitty litter; cleaning supplies like trash bags, paper towels and bleach Who to call: Main line, 362-5617

Editor’s note: This select list of local organizations seeking volunteers, funds and donations is by no means exhaustive, and is intended to reflect the broad range of opportunities to help in different areas of community need. The information was supplied by the organizations on request. Their inclusion in this list does not reflect an editorial endorsement by Desert Companion or Nevada Public Radio.

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COMMUNITY CAT COALITION OF CLARK COUNTY ( What they do: Trap, spay/neuter and vaccinate the Las Vegas valley’s 200,000 feral and stray cats and return them to their colony caretakers What they need: Donations to cover spay/ neuter costs and volunteers Who to call: Main line, 582-5867

Arts and culture FOUNDATION TO ASSIST YOUNG MUSICIANS ( What they do: Encourage and support gifted

young musicians (up to the age of 26) in early training and provide advanced study and professional career development for those in need of financial aid and/or mentoring What they need: Used instruments and monetary donations for scholarships and the “Violins for Kids” program for underprivileged youngsters, which offers young students instruments, materials, and two lessons a week free of charge Who to call: Hal Weller, 279-6858 GATEWAY ARTS FOUNDATION ( What they do: Provide affordable community cultural programs and scholarships for advanced private music studies for outstanding students: Gateway Gallery is an on-going neighborhood beautification project to combat graffiti with murals created by Las Vegans. Hattie’s House is offered for small recitals and has a large collection of original artist costume renderings for viewing and purchase What they need: Supporters to attend their events: Admission prices benefit the performers as well as the Gateway Scholarship Fund, which pays music teachers directly for continued private studies Who to call: Camille Duskin 255-0695

NATIONAL ATOMIC TESTING MUSEUM ( What they do: This national museum documents and interprets the unique history and innovative technological achievements associated with nuclear weapons research conducted at the Nevada Test Site. It exhibits thought-provoking and interesting displays of science, math, engineering and technology, presents distinguished lectures from leading authors and scientists, provides tours for student and other groups, and rents out the venue for events, lectures and filming What they need: Volunteers, interns, members and monetary donations from individuals and corporations, as they do not receive funding from the government or the Smithsonian Who to call: Main line, 794-5151

Children ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF LAS VEGAS ( What they do: Provide services that enrich the lives of children in need, through programs like Operation School Bell, The Bear Program, The Kids on the Block, Layette Program, Assistance League’s Closet and Rose Warren Volunteer Program What they need: Donations and shoppers at the Assistance League Thrift Store, 6446 W. Charleston Blvd.; monetary donations Who to call: Main line, 870-2002 BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF SOUTHERN NEVADA ( What they do: Provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better What they need: Volunteers willing to dedicate their time and friendship to a child or youth; donations of used clothing (call for pick-up); cash Who to call: Main line, 731-2227 COMPUTERS FOR KIDS, INC. ( What they do: Receive donated computers from individuals and businesses, repairing and refurbishing them for distribution as complete, ready-to-use packages to students for use at their homes, non-profit organizations, or schools, enhancing their education and gaining high tech skills. Provide training sessions and free technical support What they need: Any kind of electronics, except for televisions (what they cannot use is recycled); volunteers to clean computers, keyboards and mice, help build and program working computers and tear down unusable

M OST H I G H LY AWA R D E D I N N E VA DA . UMC receives highest Awards for Cardiology and stroke

At UMC, patients receive a caliber of care unavailable anywhere else in the state, ranking at the top of the nation. UMC recently received the American Hear t Association “Get With The Guidelines” Hear t Failure Gold Plus and Stroke Gold Plus awards. UMC also has been awarded the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s NCDR ACTION Registry – “Get With The Guidelines” Platinum Performance Award for 2012—one of only 164 hospitals nationwide to do so. assessment of cardiac patients; The Joint Commission accredited

physicians, nurses and suppor t

UMC as a Primary Stroke Center,

staff with an intricate understanding

recognizing our dedication

of cardiac care; a monitoring

to of fering the fastest, most

program to ensure thorough

sophisticated treatment available,

assessment of low-risk patients;

resulting in the best possible

PCI (angioplasty procedures that

outcomes for our patients. At

unblock arteries) and community

UMC, a stroke patient can be

outreach efforts.

t r e a t e d i n a m o n g t h e n a t i o n’s fastest times—right when ever y

And we have our Marlon Cardiac

minute counts. A nd we’re here,

C a t h e te r i z a t i o n L a b o r a to r y, to

f o r t h a t v e r y r e a s o n , 24 h o u r s

investigate, diagnose and treat heart

a day.

ailments. This new lab is yet another

UMC Cardiology has received a c c r e di t a ti o n f r o m th e S o c i e t y of Chest Pain Centers, an international organization d e d i c a te d to e l i m i n a t i n g h e a r t disease as the number one wo r l d w i d e c a u s e o f d e a t h . We we r e r e c o g n ize d fo r o u r ti m e l y

way to bring the best heart care to our community. The awards all have a reason: we save real lives here, every day. We heal the hear ts of your friends, neighbors and family. We are here for you, and because of you. Which makes UMC’s Cardiology and Stroke Center a community achievement— something we all can be proud of.

TogeTher, we shine. | 59

systems; grants, donations and other funding to scholar children Who to call: Molli Wingert or Natalie Lowder, 366-0909 DJS FOR PJS ( What they do: Provide new pairs of pajamas to benefit children in need who reside in social service agencies What they need: New pajamas, infant through teen sizes Who to call: NavĂŠ Marquez, 944-2464 x21

GIRLS ROCK VEGAS ( What they do: Empower girls through summer camp and school-based rock and roll programs. Participants learn to play electric guitar, bass, drums and keyboards and write and perform original songs at showcase concerts What they need: Instrument instructors, band coaches, workshop leaders, roadies, donors and sponsors Who to call: Heather Rampton, 608-GIRL (4475)

Diamonds are a girls best friend.

Families FAMILY PROMISE OF LAS VEGAS ( What they do: Provide housing and supportive services to homeless families with children What they need: Financial support to continue vital services to families Who to call: Terry Ruth Lindemann, 638-8806 HELP OF SOUTHERN NEVADA ( What they do: Strategically expand programs and refine services to better serve the poor, the homeless and those in crisis. Help over 100,000 clients yearly become self-sufficient by assisting parents with newborns, weatherizing unfit homes, drug rehabilitation, work readiness and job experience. They also operate a homeless youth center, refer clients to other local nonprofits and brighten holidays for families in need What they need: Monetary donations and volunteers to assist clients, receive, sort and distribute holiday donations Who to call: Joan Lima, 369-4357 HOMEAID SOUTHERN NEVADA ( What they do: Build and maintain dignified housing for temporarily homeless families, where they can rebuild their lives; partner with non-profits that provide housing for the homeless and members of the building industry who provide materials and skilled labor What they need: Financial support; builder, subcontractor and general contractor volunteers Who to call: Kathleen Dye, 838-4243

Physical, mental and emotional health Present this ad for

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60 | Desert

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AFS ( What they do: Support exchange students coming to the United States and studying abroad What they need: Host families looking to explore other cultures while sharing ours, students wanting to study abroad, volunteers and tax-deductible donations Who to call: Ken Sheehy, 324-5316 COMMUNITY OUTREACH MEDICAL CENTER ( What they do: Provide non-insured individuals with low-cost, quality medical services such as prenatal care, family planning, cancer screening, primary care for HIV/AIDS patients, general medicine, STD program, pediatric sports physicals and immunizations.

Get your good on All that is needed to access services is an I.D. What they need: Monetary donations to defray costs for medical supplies, laboratory testing and equipment Who to call: Main line, 657-3873 DIVORCED AND WIDOWED ADJUSTMENT, INC. ( What they do: Provide emotional support for people experiencing difficult times in their lives, brought about by the loss of a relationship through separation, divorce or death of a loved one. Trained and caring volunteers help heal deep wounds in free weekly support groups that include working through deaths of pets as well as loved ones lost to suicide or murder What they need: Financial donations, gifts and bequests to provide funding for their programs Who to call: Main line, 735-5544 (24 hours) THE GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY CENTER OF SOUTHERN NEVADA ( What they do: Support and promote activities directed at furthering the well-being, positive image and human rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, serving more than 30,000 peo-

ple each year What they need: Monetary donations to help fund renovation on a larger building, enabling expanded programming to help countless more individuals Who to call: Arlene Cooper, 733-9800 HELPING HANDS OF VEGAS VALLEY ( What they do: Provide free, assistive services to senior citizens 60 and over, allowing them to maintain their dignity and independence while improving health and daily living; maintain a food pantry and deliver free food bags monthly; provide a respite voucher program for caregivers What they need: Volunteers to drive seniors and deliver meals (all receive orientation training and a background check), food pantry workers, event coordinators and food package assemblers Who to call: Lorri Highet, 633-7264 x30 TRAUMA INTERVENTION PROGRAMS ( What they do: Ensure that emotionally traumatized people in emergency situations receive the support they need; provide practi-

cal assistance and explain the procedures of various agencies to guide victims involved in the crisis through difficult hours until they are able to depend on family, friends, neighbors, and others What they need: Volunteers 16 years and older. Mandatory training includes a 36-hour course, plus 3-hour continued education classes per month, taught by rescue personnel and mental health professionals Who to call: Main line, 229-0426 UNITED WAY OF SOUTHERN NEVADA’S VOLUNTEER CENTER ( What they do: Engage more than 14,000 dedicated and passionate volunteers with more than 400 nonprofit and community based organizations, inspiring, equipping and mobilizing individuals, families, groups and corporations to change lives in fun and meaningful ways What they need: Volunteers for an hour, a day, a week, or all year long to read to children, prepare taxes for qualifying families, feed the hungry, assemble hygiene kits for the homeless, and more. Who to call: Main line, 892-2300

The SMA Lifestyle Centers Now that’s powerful medicine.

There’s just no denying it. Active seniors are healthier seniors. That’s why The SMA Lifestyle Centers are so important. Finally, there’s a place you can laugh, learn and stay healthy. The SMA Lifestyle Centers, the newest way Southwest Medical is caring for seniors.

The SMA Lifestyle CenterSM –West 8670 W. Cheyenne Ave. Suite 105 (800) 638-4113 The SMA Lifestyle Center–East 5820 S. Eastern Ave. Suite 100 (866) 249-7674


The District Tree Lighting spectacular Christmas tree Lighting & the Arrival of SAnTA

Save the DATe Friday November 16 6:00PM

2 2 2 5 V i l l a g e Wa l k D r i v e , S u i t e 1 7 1 , H e n d e r s o n , N V 8 9 0 5 2



everyone Something for

Whether the loved ones on your gift list are foodies, fashionistas or big happy families, we’ve got the goods

Compiled by Christie Moeller

Desert Companion



gift guide

For the Fashionista S hine on you crazy perfume Agent Provocateur Diamond Dust perfume

Agent Provocateur has created a luxurious version of their signature scent that leaves glittery traces of diamond dust on your skin. Perfect for adding some literal sparkle to your look on New Year’s Eve. $120, Nordstrom in the Fashion Show Mall

S h e ’ s r e ad y to g e t c r a c k i ng

Henri Bendel Nutcracker Henri Bendel’s take on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is a sure-footed, shopping soldier girl, complete with accented hat, gloves, belt and leggings. $298, Henri Bendel in the Fashion Show Mall

S a v e y o u r di g it s Coach Turnlock gloves

Wind nipping at your nose? Fine. Wind slicing at your frozen fingers? Not cool, Jack Frost! Keep your fingers toasty with soft leather cashmere-lined gloves that recall Bonnie Cashin’s original designs from the ’60s and ’70s. $168, Coach in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

All the right angles

French Connection Geometric beading dress This unique geometric look has pattern and structure — and don’t forget texture: The beads add a touch that just asks to be touched. $398, French Connection at the Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood


gift guide


Desert Companion

T r e a t h e r l i k e a p r i ncess Disney Cinderella Collection by Sephora

Sephora knows every girl loves a fairy tale. The purse-friendly mirror is designed after the iconic clock that spells an end to Cinderella’s nightclubbing; the Midnight Hour eye shadow palette features smoky, alluring shades. Mirror, $20; eye shadow, $30, Sephora at the Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood and the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace

Don’t be a Mrs. Claws

Christmas in the City Holiday Nail Lacquer Trio Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann has three reasons why your nails will shine this holiday season: A trio of sassy, sophisticated shades that capture the season with a bit of verve. $42, Nordstrom in the Fashion Show Mall

D a s h e r , D a nc er, P r a nc e r … a n d P e n e l o pe? Tory Burch Penelope Tote

We “reined” in Tory Burch’s latest creation, the Penelope Tote — a simple, stylish bag for carrying goodies all season long. $650, Tory Burch in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

’T is the sequin t o b e j o l l y Black sequin cosmetic case

You won’t lose face with this stylish cosmetic case — perfect for holding all your beauty secrets in one luxurious place. $125, DKNY at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

Rosy cheeks a l l a r o u nd Louis Gray brush set

TOPSHOP has collaborated with the geometricminded fashion designer Louis Gray to add a burst of color to your cheeks. Talk about holiday color. $64, TOPSHOP in the Fashion Show Mall

Make the time for this Modify QR code watch

For the TECHIE K iss those sile n t nights goo dby e Ozaki “Boom Box”

This iPhone amplifier — complete with a port that recalls the style of an old-school boom box — will truly make “Jingle Bell Rock” rock. $34, Nordstrom at the Fashion Show Mall

The gadget freak in your life will love this watch, whose face features a QR code to scan for the time. Impractical? Maybe. A beautiful, inexpensive conversation piece? Definitely. $45,

Desert Companion



gift guide

B e a l o rd o f t h e c o r ds

W hen you’ve outgrown Inst a g r a m

Hugo Guinness for Coach electronic zip cord pouch Until we’re all uplinked into a wireless worldwide sentient SkyNet system, we have to deal with clumsy, unsightly cords. Fortunately, Coach lets your favorite techie organize them in style. $198,

Photojojo 3-lens pack

Smartphone pics just got an upgrade with Photojojo lenses — from fisheye to telephoto to macro. Each is made from solid aluminum and outfitted with thick, high-clarity glass. For Android, iPhones and the 11 people who still own a BlackBerry. $49,

Let the game s b e g i n Wii U from Nintendo

Is it a game? A game controller? Both! The Wii U’s touch-screen game pad can control the action on the TV screen — and can become the game screen at the flip of a switch. Perfect for settling those TV wars that have savaged many an American living room. $419.97, Toys R Us

The si l v e r t o uc h Agloves touchscreen gloves

If you need to get your Angry Birds on in the chill of winter, these gloves will keep you blowing up pigs while keeping your fingers warm. The secret: The silver in the gloves is a conductive element that allows your fingers to connect with your touch screen. $34.99,

Do you hear what I hear?

Tumi headphones by Monster Cables If you’ve never heard “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” in all its true audio richness and sonic majesty on quality headphones, now is your chance. $395, Tumi at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace holiday

gift guide


Desert Companion

a c a s e o f style

Paul Smith leather iPad case The iPad is already stylish, but it gets an upgrade when it’s slipped into this hip black leather case with multi-strip trim. $505, Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter

Truffle shuffle

Vosges holiday truffle collection

For the Foodie

Prepare your mouth for dazzling decadence with this dizzying collection of gourmet truffles, from peppermint candy cane to holiday plum pudding – even egg nog. $32, Vosges in the Forum Shops at Caesars

M e r r y ( h ic !) Navidad Patron XO Café dark cocoa liqueur

However you express season’s greetings, you’ll be saying it in the international language of buzz. This ultra-premium liqueur blends Patron Silver tequila and a hint of coffee and chocolate. $18.99, Patron retailers nationwide

Wasn’t ther e a reindeer na m e d F i z z y ?

Henri’s Tasting Soiree champagne sampler

Sc e nts of the s e a s on

This exquisite soiree of champagnes takes you on a bubbly tour of boutique champagnes from premier cru blancs to grand cru rosé. Includes tasting notes and champagne facts. $160,

Philosophy The Bake Shoppe

These holiday seasonscented bath goodies — Christmas cookie shampoo, shower gel/bubble bath and sweet creamy frosting lotion — will make you smell good enough to nibble on. Beware hungry elves on Christmas eve. $22, Sephora outlets and Nordstrom in the Fashion Show Mall

you feel go o d e n o u g h t o e a t Votre Vu Tarte D’Amande Almond Pie Rich Souffle body lotion

Beauty is skin deep — but deliciousness is forever. Yes, this sounds like a decadent dessert, but it’s actually a rich, moisturizing lotion that will make you feel like the main course. (In a good way.) $27.50,

Desert Companion



gift guide

Gnome for t h e h o l id a y s

I n t h e h o od

TechFit cold-weather half-zip hood

Vosges Chocolate gnome lollipops

Gnomes: cute, magical and now edible! Better yet, these three holiday flavors are set on sustainable birch lollipop sticks. $4 each, Vosges in the Forum Shops at Caesars

This gift will warm the heart and the head — and some of the upper body — of someone you love. Brave the elements while standing out from the crowd. $60,


Y ou little tart (an d cookie and ca k e )

Simply Sensational Desserts by Francois Payard The cook in your family will drool over this collection of Francois Payard’s awardwinning pastry recipes — and you’ll eat like a king! A French king, to be precise! $36, Payard Patisserie at Caesars Palace

O’er the (baseball) f i e l ds w e g o

Ravi Ratan Chicago Cubs cuff links Hit a home run with the sports fan in your life with these stylish but sporty cuff links. You don’t need an umpire to realize they’ll strike a pitch-perfect chord. Okay, we’ll stop. $125, Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall

W h e n g olfing g o e s e xtreme Nike Lunar Bandon golf shoes

If the golfing fanatic in your life will take a swing in any kind of weather, the Nike Lunar Bandon shoes will bring joy to his sole. They’re flexible, lightweight, comfortable and withstand the harshest weather (but not the cuss words that cascade out of his mouth after a shank). $180,

Ru n t o t h e h i l l s ( a nd b ack ) Nike+ FuelBand

S mell the spir i t

Archipelago Macaroon mini-diffuser and tin gift set If you’re tired of sniffing your little tree car air freshener to get you in the holiday spirit, feast your nose on this set. $25,


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Desert Companion

This sports band tracks several metrics to help keep your workout on track, whether it’s monitoring time spent, calories burned, steps taken or wheezes heaved out of your rapidly collapsing lungs. $149,

What are you running from? Adizero XT 4 trail shoe

This trail shoe blends a lightweight feel with rugged construction. Better yet, these minimalist kicks don’t make you look like you’ve got robot gorilla feet. $100,

Head games

Gents designer caps Tired of that Raiders hat he’s been wearing for the past year? Get him a custom-made designer cap from Gents — with a choice of seven colors, two-dozen symbols and personal monograms. Best of all, it only takes seven to 10 days to get your order, which means you won’t lose your head with impatience. $59,

I t ’ s a w r a p ! (N o , r e a l l y, it is) Pendleton woolen motor robe with leather carrier

Om for the hol i d a y s Lululemon namaste yoga mat tote

The yoganaut in your life will say “namaste” for this handy yoga mat tote. Now she can downward-dog anywhere. And probably will. $48,

In the days of horse-drawn carriages, winter travel could be a chilly proposition. That’s why they invented the motor robe. (Think a scarf on steroids.) Use it in the car, by the fire or on the porch. We guarantee you’ll warm to it. $88,

Give yourself a h a nd Billy Jealousy’s Golden Gloves hand cream

Outdoor winter activities can mean cracked, chapped hands. Who wants to hold hands with Mr. Flakyhand Callous Claws? This hand cream delivers a TKO of softness. $28, Nordstrom in the Fashion Show Mall

Desert Companion



gift guide

Right in the balls Santa or Frosty Surprise Balls

These mini-piñatas are filled with small holiday treats — perfect for hanging on the tree or letting the kids bat them around as a Christmas party highlight. Blindfolds and bats? What could go wrong? $16,

For the KIDS

W i n t e r s l u m b e r l a nd

Girls' Butterfly Sleep N Play and Hat and Mitten Set from Truly Scrumptious by Heidi Klum Whether the kids are bundling up for outside or cozying up for a raging sleepover, they’ll do it in über-cute fashion this year. Sleep N Play, $16.99; hat and mittens, $9.99, heidiklum

Fa la la la huh? Kate Spade “Huh?” earmuffs They may not hear you tell them Santa’s watching their every move using the latest in cloud-based global surveillance technology, but at least their ears will be warm in these whimsical wool earmuffs. $68, Kate Spade Forum Shops

Nestled all snug i n their be d s

Hanna Andersson kids’ long johns These cozy, organic cotton sleepers will have the kids dreaming of sugar plums and XBox 360s. $38-$42,

Grow your own

master of muppe t s FAO Schwarz Muppet Whatnot kit

What are Muppet Whatnots? They’re those zany-looking extras you see in every Muppet production — and maybe in your nightmares afterwards — and now your aspiring little puppetmaster can build her own. Available in orange and blue. $64.99, Toys R Us

Sl e i g h s a r e so o o 2 0 t h ce n t u r y Paul Smith V Swifty scooter

This sleek, stylish scooter from Paul Smith will give Santa’s sleigh a run for its money any foggy Christmas eve. $989, Paul Smith in Crystals at CityCenter


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Desert Companion

Hello Kitty chia pet

This kitty is easy to take care of — just add water and watch its cat 'fro grow. Best of all: no litter box needed. $17.99,

Do you hear what I hear?

Melissa & Doug mini grand piano Inspire your little Ludwig Van Beethoven — or Clara Schumann — with this mini grand piano. Even if it’s a nerve-jangling cacophony at first, remember: At least it’s not drums. $155, Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall


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Saturday, December 15 – Sunday, December 23, 2012 The Smith Center for the Performing Arts For tickets call 702.749.2000 or visit

The Nutcracker LEAD SPONSOR Houssels Family Foundation

CAPITAL CAMPAIGN SPONSORS Bennett Family Foundation Dee and Ken Ladd II Sandee & Tito Tiberti Dr. & Mrs. Leon H. Steinberg Gaughan Family Trust

SUPPORTERS William S. and Judy Boyd Mr. and Mrs. Peter Simon


Art Music T h e at e r Da n c e FA M I LY



a r t s + e n t e r ta i n m e n t If you’ve lived in Las Vegas for more than a year, you know well that our fall season lasts approximately 4.7 minutes, wedged between mind-melting summer and gusty, bonecracking winter. Better yet, savor the brief season indoors at the Bellagio Conservatory’s fall display, a wine-themed harvest thang featuring a real vintage wine press, cider mill and, that staple of any harvest scene, a tree with an eerie old-man face. It’s on display through Nov. 24 at the Bellagio hotel-casino. Info:

San Francisco artist Mary Anne Kluth loves two things: 1) theme parks and 2) her dad. Her exhibit “Visitor Center” melds the two loves in fanciful fashion, recreating her father’s memories with a vibrant sense of playful wonder. “Visitor Center” is on exhibit through Dec. 22 at the Contemporary Arts Center. Info:

Ballet Folklórico de Mexico is the troupe performing here, but don’t be surprised if the energy, passion and heart pouring forth from this veritable institution of Mexican culture inspires you to do some dancing yourself. (For maximum preservation of dignity, please refrain from said dancing until you are in the privacy of your own home.) Ballet Folklórico de Mexico performs 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4-5 at the Smith Center. Tickets $24-$59. Info:

How smooth and seductive is Fourplay’s jazz? It’s like a cashmere-and-champagne bubble bath for your ears. In the morning, it even leaves a rose on the pillow and a Starbucks gift card. Oh, baby. This is love. Fourplay performs 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall. Tickets $13-$55. Info:

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Guitarist Ana Vidovic performs delicate, nuanced interpretations of classical standards. In the context of classical music fandom, that’s the equivalent of being A TOTAL AXE-SHREDDING SIX-STRING MANIAC. Ana Vidovic performs 8 p.m. Nov. 17 at UNLV’s Doc Rando Recital Hall. Tickets $40. Info: | 73

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ART INTO THE WILD: NEW WORKS BY SU LIMBERT Through Nov. 30.This Las Vegas artist weaves elusive narratives through a recurring cast of ethereal female and animal characters, who explore themes of vulnerability and empowerment. Her new works include surreal watercolors, oil paintings, hand-cut china and a site-specific installation. Meet the artist at First Friday Nov. 2. Blackbird Studios,


With the purchase of any pizza of equal or greater value. *Not valid on take-out orders or with any other offers or promotions. Coupon must be presented at the time of purchase . Not valid during Happy Hour. One coupon per party of four or fewer. Expires 12/30/12 NP60 Green Valley - South Rainbow - Centennial Hills - Sahara - Flamingo

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FIRST FRIDAY Nov. 2 and Dec. 7, 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.

DANCE “STEPPIN’ OUT” WITH BEN VEREEN Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.This Tony Award-winner and Broadway legend dazzles audiences throughout the United States with his one-man show, which travels through his stage and television career with song and dance, paying tribute to his iconic journey on Broadway and highlighting the work of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. $24-$59. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center FALL DANCE CONCERT “WISDOM” Nov. 30, 7 p.m.; Dec. 1, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.CSN’s Department of Fine Arts Dance presents a revival of Professor Kelly Roth’s 1997 dance work, a reflection of Princess Diana’s life and a collage of the unexpected events that made headlines that year. $8-$10. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre,

MUSIC “SONGS OF PROMISE AND JOY” Nov. 1, 7 p.m.Las Vegas Academy Band, Choir and Orchestra present selections from Copland’s “The Tenderland,” Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, and “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with The Las Vegas Academy Wind Ensemble, Academy Singers, Bella Voz, Konzert Chorale and the Philharmonic. $20-$100. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center





Rentals available. Call 702.454.6269 to schedule your reservation. See store for details.

6675 South Tenaya Way • 74 | Desert

Companion | NOVEMBER 2012

“WARRIOR’S JOURNEY” THE MUSIC OF NATE KIMBALL Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. ASCAP Award-winning composer, International Trombone Association “JJ Johnson” Competition-winning trombonist and Las Vegas native Nate Kimball premiers his first album of original music “Warrior’s Journey” with his quintet and jazz orchestra. $20-$50. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center VOCAL JAZZ SOLO NIGHTS Nov. 2-3, 7:30 p.m. The College of Southern Nevada’s Department of Fine Arts’ Jazz Sing-

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

ers showcase their talent with individual solos and ensemble selections, performing tunes from “The Great American Songbook” ranging from jazz standards to Broadway. $5-$8. CSN’s BackStage Theatre,

LAS VEGAS PHILHARMONIC - CHARLIE CHAPLIN’S “CITY LIGHTS” Nov. 3, 8 p.m. Not only did Charlie Chaplin write, direct and star in this popular rom-com featuring The Little Tramp and his beloved Flower Seller, he also wrote an orchestral score for his famous 1931 silent film, performed this night by the Las Vegas Philharmonic. $46-$94. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center JAZZ ROOTS: BRAZIL MEETS FUNK Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. Brazilian music and funk have roots in the drums and rhythms of West Africa and these organic elements form the musical DNA of all the music of the Americas. Exploring both genres are two award-winning stars: Sergio Mendes is a Grammy-winner and undisputed master of Pop Brazilian Jazz. Candy Dulfer is a Dutchborn alto sax star and funk master who made her name as a soloist for Prince, Pink Floyd, Van Morrison and Dave Stewart. $29-$99. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

SAM HARRIS Nov. 9, 8:30 p.m.; Nov. 10, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Starring on Broadway, television and in concerts for over 20 years, this artist has redefined the vast American Songbook, exploring songs from the ’20s up to today. In these concerts, he will bring his singular interpretation and inimitable style to an eclectic collection of Broadway and pop classics from Hammerstein to Sondheim, U2 to Lennon to Hendrix. $39-59. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

BETTY BUCKLEY STARS IN “AH, MEN! THE BOYS OF BROADWAY” Nov. 15-17, 7 p.m.; Nov. 18, 3 p.m. Featuring men’s songs from popular Broadway shows, with the centerpiece as “A Hymn to Her,” a rewrite of My Fair Lady’s “A Hymn to Him” in which Henry Higgins asks: “Why Can’t a Woman be More like a Man?” This prolific singer reverses the question in a witty retort complete with musical references to iconic male roles. $40-70. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

JIM BRICKMAN’S “ON A WINTER’S NIGHT” Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m. The best-selling solo pianist of our time has become a staple during the holidays for over a decade. This two-time Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling pianist and songwriter wows audiences, weaving together holiday favorites of new and old, plus all his hits. $26-$79. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

BOB ANDERSON - SIMPLY THE BEST Nov. 23-24, 7 p.m.; Nov. 25, 3 p.m. Johnny Carson, Tony Bennett, Jack Jones and Tom Jones concur: This genuine, accomplished, topquality performer has no rival when it comes to capturing the essence of the entertainers he re-creates. $36-$56. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

UNLV’S JAZZ CONCERT SERIES Nov. 14, 7 p.m. This series highlights the best student musicians from UNLV’s Jazz Studies Program. This month’s concert features UNLV Jazz Ensembles I and III. Co-sponsored by UNLV’s Department of Jazz Studies. Free. Main Theater at Clark County Library

Say I Do In a Wonderland

THE IRISH TENORS - THE PREMIERE IRISH HOLIDAY CELEBRATION TOUR Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m.Ronan Tynan, Finbar Wright and Anthony Kearns bring together people of all ages to hear their richly orchestrated performances of hauntingly beautiful music of Ireland and glorious, spirit-lifting Christmas music. $26$99. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

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culinary arts catering THE EXCLUSIVE CATERER FOR THE SPRINGS PRESERVE © 2012 Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, an Equal Opportunity Employer/Program Photos courtesy of Ron Miller Photography | 75

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

UNDER THE STREETLAMP Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m.The dreamy voices of this pop quartet bring the repertoire of The American Radio Songbook of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s to a whole new audience, while simultaneously reminding the original fans why they fell in love with the music in the first place. $24-$59. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center TRIO CAVATINA Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m.Deeply rooted in a strong sense of shared musical values, pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, violinist Harumi Rhodes and cellist Priscilla Lee comprise one of today’s outstanding chamber ensembles. $25. Doc Rando Recital Hall UNLV Performing Arts Center, CLASSICAL MYSTERY TOUR Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.Find out what The Beatles would have looked and sounded like if they had the chance to perform live in concert with a 28-piece symphony orchestra! Surpassing a rock concert, this show presents more than two dozen Beatles tunes, performed exactly as they were originally recorded. $26-$79. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

THE TIERNEY SUTTON BAND Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.Comprised of acclaimed vocalist Tierney Sutton, instrumental virtuosos Christian Jacob, Trey Henry, Kevin Axt and Ray Brinker, this incorporated partnership is a model of both musical and business unity, currently celebrating its 4th consecutive Grammy Nomination, for “Best Vocal Jazz Album”. $39-49. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

THEATER ZARKANA BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL Nov. 1-2, 7 p.m.; Nov. 3, 4, 7 and 8, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (previews).Regular performances begin Nov. 11, Friday-Tuesday 7 and 9:30 p.m. Zark, the ringmaster of an extraordinary circus, guides audiences through an abandoned theatre populated by a motley collection of off-the-wall characters. Previews $62-$167, Regular performances $69 -$180. ARIA, “THE MINEOLA TWINS” BY PAULA VOGEL Nov. 1-3, 9-10 and 15-17, 8 p.m.; Nov. 4, 11 and 18, 2 p.m.This show by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author deals with issues of gender, sexual identity and the American political spirit. A comedy in six scenes, four dreams and seven wigs, Myrna and Myra are almost identical

twins (both played by Shanti Lleone) battling each other through the Eisenhower to Bush years over virginity, Vietnam and Family Values. $15-$18; Art Square Theatre, 1025 First St. #110,

NEIL SIMON’S “THE ODD COUPLE” Nov. 3, 8 p.m.; Nov. 4, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.Unger and Madison are at it again! Florence Unger and Olive Madison, that is, in the female version of this hilarious contemporary comic classic. Presented by the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Nevada. $28-$34. Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center “AH, WILDERNESS!” BY EUGENE O’NEILL Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 11-18, 2 p.m. CSN’s Department of Fine Arts’ Theatre presents Eugene O’Neill’s retrospective portrait of small town family values, teenage growing pains and young love. $10-$12. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, RITA RUDNER LIVE Nov. 12, 21 and 24, 8:30 p.m.This multi-awardwinning comedienne is known for her clever observations, sharp timing and soft-spoken humor. She has starred in seven HBO comedy specials, her own PBS special, and has had the longest-running, most successful one-person

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

comedy show in the history of Las Vegas. $59$79; $109 VIP Package includes a pre-show photo and exclusive Rita ring. The Venetian Showroom,

“I KNOW I CAME IN HERE FOR SOMETHING ...” Nov. 17, 2 and 7 p.m.This hilarious middle-age musical comedy revue has audiences raving, laughing and calling the best show about aging. Memorable songs and comedy by Carl Ritchie and Wayne Moore include “The Change,” “High School Reunion,” “Baby Boomers Blues,” “Try our Pill” and “Middle-aged Mom.” Pre-show performance by two-time Gateway Arts Foundation Scholarship-winner Alex Christopher. $32. Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center, THE ADDAMS FAMILY Nov. 20-24 and 25, 7:30 pm; Nov. 24-25, 2 p.m. This magnificently macabre new musical comedy features an original story: Wednesday has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. She confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother, but Gomez has never kept a secret from Morticia. Experience the unfolding on the fateful night they host a dinner for the “normal” boyfriend and his parents! $24-$129. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

LATE NITE CATECHISM Nov. 30 and Dec.1, 7 p.m.; Dec. 1-2, 3 p.m.This uproariously funny play takes audiences back to their youth, with the irrepressible Sister teaching class to a roomful of “students.” The benevolent instructor rewards correct answers with glow-in-the-dark rosaries and other nifty prizes, but naughty students may well find themselves on stage, sitting in a corner. $30$38. Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center

LECTURES, SPEAKERS AND PANELS AN EVENING WITH CHARLAINE HARRIS Nov. 1, 7 p.m.; wristbands 6 p.m.The opening keynote of the Vegas Valley Book Festival is this New York Times best-selling author of the urban fantasy Sookie Stackhouse series, basis of the hit HBO television series True Blood. Free with wristband. Main theater at Clark County Library, 507-3459 VEGAS VALLEY BOOK FESTIVAL Nov. 1-3.The largest annual literary event in Las Vegas brings together more literary and cultural programs than ever before, expecting to feature 100 authors and 100 events, including panel discussions, readings, signings, workshops, vendos, art exhibitions, spoken word and more. Free.

Historic Fifth Street School and Clark County Library,

GOVERNOR’S CONFERENCE ON SMALL BUSINESS 2012 Nov. 2, 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.Hear from industry leaders and government officials during informative and interactive panel discussions and interface with service providers, regulators and development authorities. Keynote address by Governor Sandoval. Spearheaded by the Nevada Department of Business and Industry and in conjunction with local chambers of commerce. $35-$45 includes light breakfast and luncheon. Orleans Hotel and Casino, VEGAS VALLEY COMIC BOOK FESTIVAL Nov. 3, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.Now in its fifth year, this celebration of comic book culture brings together some of the top names in the industry, with panels, portfolio reviews, the lively artist jam, an Artist Alley, free films, a marketplace, Kirby Krackle in concert and the city’s most popular food trucks. Part of the Vegas Valley Book Festival. Free. Clark County Library, BOOK FESTIVAL KEYNOTE SPEAKER: JENNIFER EGAN Nov. 3, 3:30 p.m.The Vegas Valley Book Festival’s

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headliner is a prolific and best-selling author who has won a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and more. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, Granta and McSweeney’s, and her non-fiction articles appear frequently in the New York Times Magazine. Free. Historic Fifth Street School,

NEVADA HUMANITIES SALON – NEVADA VOICES Nov. 3, 5 p.m.reception in the Poetry Courtyard, 6 p.m. salon in the Auditorium. Readings and showings of creative work interwoven with a discussion focusing on connections, place and inspiration sought and shared by these Nevadans: photographer and writer Peter Goin, poets Shaun Griffin and Donald Revell, fiction writers Maile Chapman and Christopher Coake. Free. Historic Fifth Street School, “POETICALLY CORRECT” FEATURING “LABLAQUE” WILLIAMS Nov. 10, 3 p.m.This spoken word artist presents a collection of poems that chronicle a man struggling with religion versus spirituality on his quest to live the life he believes God planned for him. Free, with tickets required (may be

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picked up in advance). West Las Vegas Arts Center, 947 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 229-4800

EDNA PURVIANCE: NEVADA’S FIRST STAR OF THE SILVER SCREEN Nov. 17.Did you know Charlie Chaplin’s leading lady was a Nevada native? To celebrate her unique contribution to film history, two of her films will be shown, with a brief biographical discussion before each one: “The Kid” at 1 p.m. and “A Woman of Paris” at 5:30 p.m. Free. Nevada State Museum, BMI’S EMERGING WRITERS SERIES: PETER COVINO Nov. 27, 7 p.m.One of the founding editors of the literary press Barrow Street Inc., and Barrow Street Books, he is the author of Straight Boyfriend, winner of the 2001 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Prize. His poems have appeared in many fine publications and he is completing a translation project of Italian poets for an anthology on Contemporary European Poets. Free, made possible by a Nevada Humanities Grant. Marjorie Barrick Museum,

FAMILY & FESTIVALS ZOPPÉ - AN ITALIAN FAMILY CIRCUS Nov. 1-2, 7 p.m.; Nov. 3, 2 and 7 p.m.; Nov. 4, 2 and 5 p.m.A world of acrobatics,

equestrian showmanship, canine capers, clowns and lots of audience participation. Always charming, often thrilling, the entire show is performed inside a 600-seat tent located in Symphony Park, so that no one is more than 25 feet from the ring! $25-$50. Symphony Park at The Smith Center

DIA DE MUERTOS Nov. 2 and 3, 4-9 p.m.This family-friendly feast for the senses blends rich customs with exciting activities: live theater and dance performances, mariachis, traditional Mexican food, face painting, sugar skull decorating and an art exhibition. Installed across the Preserve are publicly created altars and catrinas. Vote for your favorites and the winners receive cash prizes! $5-$8, free for ages 4 and under and half off for members. Springs Preserve CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG - LIVE! Nov. 6, 6 p.m. Join Clifford and Emily Elizabeth on a musical journey to Birdwell Island for adventures with their friends. They will share Clifford’s BE BIG!™ Ideas, such as Help Others, Work Together, Believe In Yourself, Share and other timeless values with laughter, music and dancing for the whole family. $17-$29. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

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

ETHEL M CHOCOLATES’ 19TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CACTUS GARDEN Nov. 14-Jan. 1, 2013, 5-10 p.m. nightly. An illuminated winter wonderland featuring more than 600,000 sparkling lights decoratively displayed throughout a sprawling 3-acre Botanical Cactus Garden. The holiday hot spot also boasts live entertainment Friday - Saturday, photos with Santa Friday - Sunday and a display of “meteor lights” that look like falling snowflakes when seen through 3D glasses (available for $3). Free. Ethel M Chocolates, 2 Cactus Garden Drive in Henderson,

FUNDRAISERS WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP COUNCIL’S ANNUAL FALL SUIT DRIVE Nov. 2, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. This annual one-day drive hosted by the United Way of Southern Nevada’s Women’s Leadership Council collects business attire (suits, dresses, shoes, handbags and jewelry) for women in need, helping them prepare for career opportunities and gain confidence to succeed during job interviews. Donations benefit back-to-work programs for women, provided by Goodwill Career Connections, HopeLink, S.A.F.E. House, Safe Nest, The Shade Tree, Women’s Development Center and W.O.R.C. (Work Opportunities Readiness Center) of Help

of Southern Nevada. NV Energy’s parking lot, 6226 W. Sahara Ave.,

18TH ANNUAL HONORARIUM TO “CELEBRATE COMMUNITY” Nov. 3, 5:30 p.m. The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada hosts this premier Southern Nevada LGBTQ fundraiser, recognizing three community heroes: Kris McGarry (Woman of the Year), Todd VonBastiaans (Man of the Year) and Desirée Duncan (Volunteer of the Year). $150-$250. Rain Nightclub at Palms Casino Resort, MUSICAL POLITICAL SATIRE BY ROY ZIMMERMAN Nov. 4, 5:30 p.m. He has appeared with George Carlin, Bill Maher, Dennis Miller, Sandra Tsing Loh, kd lang, and Andy Borowitz. His song “Buddy, Can You Spare a Trillion Dollars?” was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times describes him as having “a lacerating wit and keen awareness of society’s foibles that bring to mind a latter-day Tom Lehrer.” $13 advance; $15 door. UUCLV, 3616 E. Lake Mead Blvd., FLORENCE HENDERSON – ALL THE LIVES OF ME, A MUSICAL JOURNEY Nov. 8, 8 p.m. America’s favorite TV mother takes audiences on an intimate musical journey from

her beginnings on Broadway in the early 1950s as a favorite of Rodgers & Hammerstein (who cast her in Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music), to her role as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch. Humorous, warm and touching, this evening of cabaret benefits AFAN (Aid for Aids of Nevada). $35 -$75. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

8TH ANNUAL “IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE” GALA Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m. Adelson Educational Campus honors Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel with the Pursuit of Excellence Award for his literacy and activism in human rights. $250 per person includes live and silent auctions, dinner, dancing and more. Corporate sponsorships and tables available. All proceeds benefit the school’s scholarship program. The Venetian, TOYS FOR TOTS SQUARE DANCE Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m. Help the U.S. Marines make children’s Christmas wishes come true. Newcomers and families are welcome, no need to bring a partner. Class-level dances, Plus and Round dances, door prizes and refreshments! Co-sponsored by the Stardusters, Las Vegas Square and Round Dance Club. $6 with new unwrapped toy; $8 without toy. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,

T 702 492 3444 F 702 492 3440

7770 Dean Martin Dr. Suite 301 Las Vegas, NV 89139 www.

.com | 79


Branching out

In this 1954 promotional photo shot at the Sands, we see the gorgeous Copa Girls marking the holidays by stacking themselves in the shape of a Christmas tree. (It helps if you hold the page back a bit from your face and squint a little — there! Starting to look a little like Christmas, right?). Now, if you notice a sort of rigid formality to the tableau, a certain je ne sais stiffness, it’s not accidental. That the famous Copa Girls are here posing themselves — and proposing themselves — as a simulacra of a Christmas tree perhaps subtly reflects the aesthetic philosophy of their boss, Jack Entratter. The nightclub impresario is perhaps best known for successfully importing to Las

80 | Desert

Companion | november 2012

Vegas the Copa Room, a Sin City variation on the successful Copacabana Club in Manhattan. But he also brought with him a decidedly settled idea on how showgirls should look, act and be. By Entratter’s standards, they should be 5’4”, weigh 116 pounds, and sport ideal proportions of 34-24-34. If that sounds mechanical, consider also that Entratter didn’t require his Copa Girls — whom he screened and vetted with the fussy eye of an assembly-line inspector — to have much dancing ability. He’d leave the thrashing showgirls to his rival down the street, Donn Arden. Entratter’s legacy would be the showgirl as model to be gazed upon like sculpture. Or trees. — Andrew Kiraly

p h oto : 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 ; i n f o r m at i o n s o u r c e : UN LV ’ s D i g i ta l C o ll e c t i o n s

history lesson

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Desert Companion - November 2012  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada

Desert Companion - November 2012  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada