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Sports, leisure

& Outdoors issue

Plus Mascots unmasked The sound and the furry

MARCH 2013


rising stars of sport are ready for their

big shot

Bishop Gorman's 7-foot (!) sophomore


Hoop it up

Where to watch

March Madness Step to this



join us for E AST E R F UN

o n mai n str eet at

saturday MARCH 23 EASTE R PA R A DE A ND




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editor’s note


Great(ish) outdoors The thing about exercise is it’s so

Next month in Desert Companion

Style’s in season in our spring fashion and home design issue

2 | Desert

... exercisey. Every time I work out — and by “work out” I mean oversleep (again, whoops!) and do a bunch of frantic sit-ups and push-ups and maybe a downward-facing dog and then a quick, cartilage-grinding dash around the neighborhood — I can’t help but think, “You know, I wouldn’t need this absurd ritual if I were an old-school hunter-gatherer, compelled to roam the danger-fraught earthscape for nuts and berries while also avoiding saber-toothed tigers.” When you’re getting chased by tigers, the pounds just melt away naturally. Needing to exercise is a symptom of the whole world having a desk job. Which is hardly anyone’s fault. Let me state for the record: Exercise — it’s great! My point is that the formal institution of exercise — let’s call it Fitness, Inc. — with its gyms, fads, diets, books, apps, gurus, contests and contraptions, has sunk a taproot into our peculiarly human penchant to schizophrenically compartmentalize our lives: This is desk job, this is (huff! puff! pant!) exercise. That arrangement, I fear, can distract us from the more challenging and less glamorous dialogue about creating a healthier community wherein we consider active lifestyles literally at ground level: That is, by creating a more walkable community. This isn’t about guiltily torching the calories from last night’s bucket of buffalo wings on The Body Inquisitor at your local gymporium. It’s about a brisk ritual stroll to your neighborhood park to meander meaningfully with the dog and tykes. Call it the great(ish) outdoors.

Companion | March 2013

According to countless studies, walkable communities are healthier, safer and more economically prosperous. Sure, tent-poling our town with all-in-one urban shopping experience megaplexes is, arguably, a baby-step in the right direction, but I’m watching other projects take shape in the valley with much more satisfaction, such as Clark County’s trails project that’s transforming the Las Vegas Wash into an urban nature walk right in our own backyard (, search “trails”). Even more ambitious is the Outside Las Vegas Foundation’s mission to string together the valley’s natural headliners, from Red Rock to Lake Mead and Sloan Canyon to the proposed Ice Age National Monument, into a grand loop of more than 100 miles called the Vegas Valley Rim Trail (see They’re two admirable projects — and their benefits go well beyond the fuzzy, feelgood variety of being, you know, somehow kinda good for the good of the community in some way. They’re also part of a different, happier kind of trickle-down economics in which public investment in our shared spaces pays off. According to a recent study by the Outdoor Industry Association, spending on outdoor recreation is “an overlooked economic giant,” generating $646 billion annually — compare that to $428 billion spent annually on “gasoline and other fuels.” In Nevada alone, we spend $14.9 billion a year on outdoors activity, which generates $1 billion in state and local taxes. Leisure, it turns out, does a lot of heavy lifting. This is welcome news, especially given the constant chorus about the

need to give our state economy a few more stool legs to stand on — a chorus rising predictably anew now that the Legislature’s back in session. Can I get a sponsor for my proposed resolution requiring lawmakers to walk to the legislative chambers? A little circulation will do us all some good. * * * Hey, here’s a chance for you to

better enjoy your own great outdoors (also known as your yard): Join us 9:30 a.m. March 23 at Plant World Nursery (5301 W. Charleston Blvd., 8789485, We’ll be chatting with horticulturist and KNPR’s “Desert Bloom” commentator Norm Schilling, who’ll dish on spring gardening, pruning tips and his favorite plants. Just bring your toughest gardening questions — the coffee’s on us. Andrew Kiraly Editor


SAVES LIVES 4 color process

Every day, thousands of hotels discard millions of pounds of soap and shampoo. Every day, impoverished people around the world die from infection and disease because they have no soap. Studies have shown that simple hand washing substantially reduces the spread of these diseases. Thanks to $400,000 in 速

grants from Caesars Foundation, Clean the World is able to partners with many The will to do wonders速 North American hotels, including Caesars Entertainment resorts, to recycle and distribute these discarded soap products to impoverished countries worldwide and domestic homeless shelters. Find out how you can help by visiting

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contents desert companion magazine //



All Things to All People

Watershed moments By Andrew Kiraly



Where things go bloom By Donna McCrohan Rosenthal



Throwing like a girl By Emmily Bristol



‘Chaos, chaos, chaos!’ By Mike Newman

Off the eaten path By Debbie Lee



From rock to theater to dance, your guide to culture


End note

Let’s talk about the weather By Alan Gegax the

SportS, leiSure

& outdoorS iSSue

FEATURES 46 Champions on the rise These up-and-coming athletes bring their best — on and off the court 4 | Desert

Companion | March 2013

The sound and the furry


Mascots unMasked

MARCH 2013


60 March Madness

The best places to watch the game (and maybe catch a buzz)

64 So you want to be a runner Tips and insights before you lace up those shoes

rising stars

Bishop Gorman's 7-foot (!) sophomore

stePHen ZiMMerMan

of sport are ready for their

big shot

Hoop it up

Where to Watch

March Madness Step to this



on the cover


Photography Sabin Orr

2/21/13 10:27 AM

L u c i a B at ta : s a b i n o r r ; c i r q u e p h oto : j o h n r o h l i n g ; f l a g f o ot b a ll : c h r i s s m i t h ; s h e r i d a n s u : b r e n t h o l m e s



JAZZ At lincoln cEntEr orchEStrA With Wynton MArSAliS thurSday, 3/7 at 7:30pm | tickets starting at $26

photo by Frank Stewart

An EvEning With Burt BAchArAch thurSdAy, 3/28 At 7:30pM tickets starting at $26

BoBBy McFErrin: SpirityouAll a reimagining of classic spirituals by the ten-time Grammy® winner and his band.

SundAy, 4/7 At 7:30pM tickets starting at $29

Arlo guthriE hErE coMES thE kid Folk legend Woody Guthrie’s son takes to the stage to celebrate his father’s memory.

thurSdAy, 4/11 At 7:30pM tickets starting at $24

chick corEA & BÉlA FlEck duEt

An EvEning With BrucE cockBurn

FridAy, 3/29 At 7:30pM

SFJAZZ collEctivE “thE MuSic oF chick corEA”

Bluegrass and jazz finally meet as two master musicians of piano and banjo come together for a historic duet.

tickets starting at $26

Friday, 3/15 & Saturday, 3/16 – 7:30pm

Friday, 3/22 – 7:00pm | Saturday, 3/23 – 2:00pm & 7:00pm

viSit thESMithcEntEr.coM to See the Full lineup today. 702.749.2000 | tty: 800.326.6868 or dial 711 | For group inquiries call 702.749.2348 361 Symphony park avenue, las Vegas, nV 89106 SeaSon partnerS

Award Winning Gardens!

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 Art Director Christopher Smith Graphic Designer Brent Holmes Sales and marketing manager Christine Kiely National account manager Laura Alcaraz


e don’t set out to create Award Winning Landscapes. We build intimate and delightful garden spaces that grow ever more beautiful, year after year. We invite nature into our lives, help the environment, and celebrate life in Southern Nevada. “One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.” —W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

Account executives Sharon Clifton, Robyn Mathis, Carol Skerlich, Markus Van’t Hul Marketing Associate Lisa Kelly Subscription manager Chris Bitonti

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0 0 0 1 1 1

Web administrator Danielle Branton

7 8 9 0 1 2

Contributing writers Taylor Bern, Emmily Bristol, Cybele, Elisabeth Daniels, Acamea Deadwiler, Alan Gegax, JoAnna Haugen, Mélanie Hope, Debbie Lee, Christie Moeller, Mike Newman, Brock Radke, Donna McCrohan Rosenthal Contributing artists Sabin Orr, David Rosenthal, James Shepherd

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

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

Design | Installation | Renovation | Consultation | Maintenance | Tree Care Hardscapes | Small Jobs | Irrigation | Lighting

(702) 452-5272

3433 Losee Road, Suite 4 North Las Vegas, NV 89030 6 | Desert

Companion | march 2013

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

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 at select locations in the Las Vegas Valley. All photos, 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)



HOME. Find wide open spaces, soaring peaks and a higher standard of living. Find more than 150 neighborhood parks and 150 miles of trails. Find timeless values and brand new homes. Find it all in the most ideally located master-planned community in Las Vegas. If you’re ready to elevate your life to new heights, start your new home search today at Today. Tomorrow. Forever. This is home.

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Desert Companion Board of Directors Officers

Susan Brennan, chair Brennan Consulting Group, LLC cynthia alexander, ESQ. vice chair Snell & Wilmer TIM WONG, treasurer Arcata Associates Florence M.E. Rogers, Secretary Nevada Public Radio


shamoon ahmad, m.d., mba, facp kevin m. buckley First Real Estate Companies Louis Castle, Director emeritus Patrick N. Chapin, Esq., Director Emeritus KIRK V. CLAUSEN Wells Fargo


postrio bar & grill

american | the forum shops 369.6300

american | the venetian 796.1110


wolfgang puck bar & grill

steak | the palazzo 607.6300

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italian | mandalay bay 740.5522

italian | crystals at citycenter 238.1000

Elizabeth FRETWELL, Chair emeritus City of Las Vegas 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

Follow us online:

8 | Desert

Companion | march 2013

macy’s men’s store now open

at tHe eDGe oF FasHIon In tHe Heart oF VeGas Featuring Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Forever 21, Topshop Topman and over 200 stores and eateries, including our newest arrivals Scotch & Soda and Henri Bendel.

On The Strip across from The Palazzo, Wynn and TI | 702.369.8382 |

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



to all people


t e ch

Speak easy


e l s a lva d o r p h oto : n a d i a k n o r p p ; r e h e a r s a l p h oto : j o h n r o h l i n g

Watershed moments Okay, so Southern Nevada gets its water from a drought-prone river that we share uneasily with a gaggle of other thirsty Western states — boo hoo. If you think we’ve got water problems, consider this: According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people around the world don’t even have access to water that’s safe enough to drink. Perhaps it’s strangely apt, then, that Las Vegas will host a fundraiser show March 22 for a nonprofit dedicated to helping solve the world’s water woes: One Drop, launched in 2007 by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté. “Water is at the core of so many issues around the globe,” says One Drop CEO Catherine Bachand. “It really is the important issue of the 21st century.” Another water do-gooder group? A few things set One Drop apart in the world of water activism: First, a near-mania for measuring results. Visit and click on a project — whether it’s rehabbing wells in Nicaragua or distributing purifiers in India — and you’ll be treated to a series of progress bars that track numbers of filters distributed, gardens planted, reservoirs built, educational movies screened. “People are increasingly seeking measurable impacts with their philanthropic dollars, and they want to know that as much of their dollar is going to the field as possible,” Bachand explains. “They want to know they’re not just throwing money at a problem.” Second, this wouldn’t be a Laliberté production without a flair for the dramatic — literally. As part of its educational outreach, One Drop works with local communities to put on artistic workshops and touring shows to teach people about the preciousness and the delicacy of water. Sounds simple, but that can be an uphill battle in

Hear more

Left: a One Drop project in EL Salvador; above: a performer rehearses for the upcoming show.

Don Thornton uses cutting-edge methods to save ancient languages. Through his Las Vegas-based company Thornton Media, Inc., he’s developed software to teach young Native Americans tribal tongues that might otherwise fall through the generation gap. He’s worked with more than 170 tribes in North America to develop software that teaches their tribes’ vocabulary, written symbols and even their creation stories. It’s software that tribes have come to fervently embrace. “One tribal leader said to me, ‘I think people have this idea that American

developing countries where a lack of education and infrastructure converge to create a perpetually polluted water supply. “In India, where sanitation is the greatest issue impacting water, how do you tackle the idea of why it is better to go to the bathroom in a closed latrine versus going in the open air?” she says. The Cirque-ified solution: community theater productions that both educate and entertain. “By addressing it through theater, even making it fun, it can have a very positive effect and inspire actual change.” The one-night show at the Bellagio aims to do that as well, in true Cirque style. The show, directed by veteran Cirque producer Krista Monson, is expected to be unprecedented Keep up with Desert in its urgency, resonance and emotional Companion events, news intensity. And, of course, wet. and bonus features at “One Night for One Drop” is March 22 at the Bellagio’s “O” Theater. Tickets $150-$250,000. Info: — Andrew Kiraly

continued on pg. 12

Hear critics of the proposed rural water pipeline at “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at more | 11

Indians should be learning their language while sitting barefoot in a teepee in front of grandpa,’” says Thornton, a Cherokee. “That’s not the case at all. They want to use technology to build and revive their cultures.” Now Thornton is taking his language-software savvy to the mainstream market — with a new company and a new approach. His latest language-learning initiative isn’t quite a Matrix-style cranial download, but it’s close. Forget brute memorization and conjugation exercises. His new company Talking Games plans to develop a third-person questing game that teaches Spanish in fast and fun fashion. Imagine something like Grand Theft Auto, except you wield words instead of a weapon to get what you want. Even cooler: You can help. Thornton is speaking the universal language of Kickstarter, and is seeking funders to help Talking Games bring language learning into the 21st century. Info: ndnlanguage. com — Andrew Kiraly



ON THE TOWN Artist David Sanchez Burr has a different heritage in mind — that of our region’s natural resources. His exhibit, “Beyond Sunrise Mountain,” is on display at the Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery through March 22.

12 | Desert

Happy hour knows no color

Companion | March 2013

John Harrison prefers not to have his photo taken. Maybe he’s a bit camera-shy — but he’s also looking to shine the spotlight on the people who make this thing happen. “You can take a picture of the crowd,” he says. “It’s about the people anyway.” The people he’s referring to? Those drinking, chatting and laughing on a recent Tuesday night at Blue Martini. That’s one hotspot where Harrison’s culture and events website,, has held its NeoSoul Happy Hour. Sure, it’s a reliably packed happy hour that draws a standing-room-only crowd (it recently moved to Tuesday nights at Bagatelle in the Tropicana). But it’s also evolved into a socially rich, old-school gathering where people do more than sip appletinis and swap business cards. Harrison is proud to say that NeoSoul regulars have found everything from spouses to jobs to medical advice at events. (Just don’t call it — ugh —  a network mixer. Too staid. “Nobody wants to get off of work and go talk about work some more,” he says. “They want to go and chill.”) Perhaps more significantly, in an era when Facebook sometimes seems to have poured us all into one big generic melting pot, Harrison’s BlackVegas. com website is interesting because its version of diversity is straightforward and no-nonsense: It’s a black thing — and you’re invited. A Houston native, Harrison bought the site 12 years ago and launched it as a clearinghouse for black culture, events and entertainment, selling ads himself and eventually partnering with businessman Devin Moore. His business partner Moore senses a lucrative market beyond Las Vegas: He aims to

Soul proprietors: Fans of’s NeoSoul nights

eventually develop a string of city websites under his GoUrban banner, catering to blacks, Asians and Latinos. “When you go to different cities and you’re looking for black things to do, rarely do you find anything online,” Moore says. “Or, you find it from websites that aren’t updated or have little information.” Like Harrison, Moore says the focus on minorities isn’t intended to be exclusive — but neither is he apologizing for it. “Being able to connect with people that are just like you is all-important and should never, ever be seen as something that other people are excluded from,” Moore says. Harrison has a take that’s more in line with his Houston roots. “People, in the beginning, they may think about race (when they see the site),” he says. “They may think about exclusiveness, but when they see that I’m just a big country boy from Houston that don’t really give a damn and don’t really like anybody that I don’t like, they don’t bother me!” Hm. Maybe it’s a Texas thing. — Acamea Deadwiler

b l a c k v e g a s . c o m : B r e n t h OL M ES

continued from pg.11




David Gardner The Duke, Wranglers mascot • Gardner will never forget the first time he donned the suit for The Duke. In particular, he’ll never forget the scent of condiments — courtesy of a couple drunken ladies heckling Gardner his first day on the job. “Next thing I know, this crazy lady throws a freaking cheeseburger that seemed to open in the air just perfectly to coat me in ketchup and mustard. That was two seasons ago, yet still, I climb into that giant green suit every home game. I admit, I fell in love with it.” • Climbing into the Wranglers rig requires elaborate choreography. Each piece of the costume has to be put in a specific order — and it can’t be done alone. Says Gardner, “With zippers, clips, and buttons almost everywhere, only a contortionist would be able to do it by themselves.” • There’s a kinky part to Gardner’s job — neckwise, anyway. The Duke’s head piece weighs 20 pounds, and every bit of that heft sits on Gardner’s shoulders. “It’s a guarantee that the morning after a game I’m gonna have a stiff neck.” Fortunately, Gardner gets four 10-minute breaks to work it out. • Between the food fights, the rigmarole of getting dressed, the pressure to perform and the toll on the body after the last puck is passed, why would Gardner want to be a mascot? “The explosive cheers and chants from over 7,000 spectators is really an adrenaline rush,” he says. — Elisabeth Daniels

14 | Desert

Companion | March 2013


Dustin Erickson Cosmo, Las Vegas 51s mascot • Six-foot-three Dustin Erickson became the googly-eyed face of the 51s thanks to his height — and a bit of happenstance. “I was there one day, just doing the normal stuff around the stadium,” he recalls. “The guy who usually played Cosmo wasn’t there, and I happened to walk in the office at the right time. They go, ‘He looks tall enough — we’ll stick him in!’ They hooked me up with the suit, told me to dance around and act goofy.” Six years later, Erickson is still goofing off for fans. • First rule of mascothood: Never break the illusion. That almost happened to Erickson during a kid vs. Cosmo novelty race between innings. “They had just watered the field, and right when I went around second base, I slipped in the mud.” Faceplant. Worse: Erickson’s chinstrap came undone, and Cosmo’s head began to separate from his body. Fortunately, Erickson’s forward momentum kept his alien alter ego in one piece. “I was like, ‘Aw, man, that was close.’ That kid would’ve been traumatized if he saw that. Dreams would have been crushed. Needless to say, the kid destroyed me in the race.” • Erickson’s advice for aspiring mascots: If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the costume. “I probably have the longest streak of being Cosmo,” he says. “Other people who work inside all day have tried to be Cosmo and gotten heat exhaustion — they can’t handle it.” Erickson’s home-team advantage: He’s a full-time exterminator, a job that keeps him acclimated to the hot Vegas summers. • “Cosmo is a prankster, a goofball. He likes to have a good time,” says Erickson. “One thing we have in common is that we’re both pretty terrible dancers. People must look at him dance and go, ‘There’s definitely a white boy in there.’” — Andrew Kiraly


trend alert

Go green This year’s cool color

by Christie Moeller The color gods have spoken, and emerald green is the 2013 Color of the Year. Each year, Pantone, considered the world authority on color, tracks color trends in tech, design and fashion. It surveys designers at New York Fashion Week, huddles for a consensus and — voila! — the color of the year is announced. Go green this year with these lush looks.

United Nude men’s green split suede desert boot $200,

Topshop tights $20 Topshop, Fashion Show Mall

Sephora/ Pantone Color Watt highlighting mascara $18, Sephora locations

Thomas Pink Balmoral spot tie $135, Thomas Pink, Forum Shops at Caesars

Vince Camuto Alexa Hobo bag $278, Topshop skater skirt $32, Topshop, Fashion Show Mall

n e w a n d n o t a bl e

Your next meal is Fixt Busy lifestyles don’t make eating healthy the easiest thing in the world, which is why Michael Buczek and Erik Herbert founded Fixt Health & Wellness. Their mission: to make healthy living simple, convenient and accessible. Think of Fixt Health & Wellness as a personal chef — blended with the healthy mindset of a personal trainer. Fixt offers 16 fresh, reasonably sized meals to choose from — delivered to your home each day. No unidentifiable sludge or bland microwaveable entrees here. Fixt meals are created by a team of five-star chefs, registered dietitians and fitness experts. Before they start serving, though, they’ll figure out your dietary needs and fitness goals, and craft a custom menu to match. Three-meal plans start at $45 a day. Among the menu items: blueberry crepes with fresh berry compote, butternut squash ravioli and goat cheese fritter ratatouille. 900-8790, — CM

the browser

16 | Desert

Companion | March 2013

Leoncio is hoping to capitalize on the city’s nightlife, glamorous image and world-class shopping that attracts globe-trotting fashionistas. Her angle: making lounging by the pool as stylish an affair as painting the town. How? Leoncio says she designs to accentuate a lady’s best assets, with push-up or padded tops, ruched bottoms and close-fitting fabrics. Her swimwear aims to be elaborate and intricate, but functional and versatile. “Our designs can change the way you see your body by hugging it in the right places and covering just the right amount of skin,” she says. She must be doing something right: In 2010, her designs were featured Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition. 2013 will be her third year in the magazine. Her next move will no doubt make a splash as well: expanding into beachwear and silk dresses. — CM

Going swimmingly: Katya Leoncio

K at ya L e o n c i o at s t i tc h fa c to r y : C h r i s to p h e r Sm i t h

Talent pool

You might not imagine sexy, sophisticated swimwear having family roots in the Old World, but that’s the case with Katya Leoncio’s My Dolcessa line. When she was growing up in her native Bulgaria, her two grandmothers taught her to sew and knit. Her parents helped too — with a gift of two giant professional sewing machines. It wasn’t long before Leoncio’s creations were catching the eye of the style-savvy. “I was making my own outfits, and people around me were asking where they could buy my designs,” she says. “That’s when I was inspired to turn my hobby into a career.” After a lot of classes — and a lot of sewing — she released her first collection in 2008. Today, her increasingly popular luxury swimwear line ( is a bit more at home at its headquarters in Las Vegas, where

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Easter Bunny Arrival – Sat March 9 at 11am in the Food Court Macy’s • JCPenney • Dillard’s • Kohl’s • Dick’s Sporting Goods And over 140 shops, restaurants and services 1300 West Sunset Road, Henderson, NV 89014 702-434-0202 Stay connected:



2 1

3 4

Arville St



Via Vaquero ave

Las Verdes st

W Sahara Ave


8 5 S Valley View Blvd

4 Y o u r c i t y, bl o c k by bl o c k

Sahara of the west Some dub this spicy stretch of Sahara Naughtytown for all its leather and Lucite. Amid the fetish and fantasy, though, are thrift bargains, fine cocktails, live music, memorabilia and exotic eats. Goodwill 1 The stalwart of thrift stores just cut the (gently used) ribbon on this new superstore. Bright! Clean! Smells neutral! Skip the hit-and-miss housewares in favor of surprising scores amid the racks. 4580 W. Sahara Ave., 214-2066

18 | Desert

HobbyTown USA 2 Whether you like flying RC helicopters or like stormin’ Normandy in an epic match of Risk, the global geek empire known as HobbyTown is your Store of Awesomeness + 4. 4590 W. Sahara #103, 889-9554

Companion | March 2013

Rani’s World Foods 3 Latter-day hippies get their staples at this Indian market: incense by the brick, basmati rice by the bag and ... fenugreek leaves by the box? Oh yes! And nom alert: The back lunch counter dishes out decent quickie Indian plates. 4505 W. Sahara Ave., 522-7744, Zia Records 4 Spotify hasn’t yet wiped out the last vestiges of music stored on old-timey disc-shaped thingamabobs. This regional-chainthat-doesn’t-feel-like-achain also offers edgy comix and novelty items. 4503 W. Sahara Ave., 2334942,

9 10

Tacos Mexico 5 This string of tacoslinging nodules strung across the valley are fast, cheap and reliable. Want the most tender bite? Get the lengua taco. Tasty! Get it? 3820 W. Sahara Ave., 444-1171 Tamrich Dr

Mega Ramen 6 The Thai/Japanese menu double-fists with two mighty cuisines. Don’t be fooled by the fast-foodish sign: This is a decently appointed sitdown spot that livens up on karaoke nights. 4251 W. Sahara Ave., 754-4999 Lady C Leather 7 Can’t talk about westcen Sahara without giving a (submissive) nod to

this Naughtytown staple. Odds are you’re not in the market for a flogger or ball-gag, but you’ll be king of your lucha libre league with a leather zipper mask! 4037 W Sahara Ave., 641-3834, Herbs & Rye 8 We gotta pour a blurb for our own 2012 Cocktail Bar of the Year! Forget your usual — dive into the era-spanning cocktail menu at this cozy standalone and literally drink in the history. 3713 W. Sahara Ave., 982-8036, Gallery of History 9 From The Wayner to Eugene O’Neill to Charles Schulz, this historic curiosity shop deals in autographs and artifacts of the rich, famous and often dead. 3601 W. Sahara Ave., 364-1000, Cellar Lounge 10 This quiet neighborhood bar is literally underground. Perfect for ducking in for a furtive nip — and we swear the subterranean acoustics give the music extra oomph on Cellar’s frequent blues nights. 3601 W. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, 362-6268 — Andrew Kiraly

s t r e e t w i s e p h oto s : b r e n t h o l m e s , H e r b s & Ry e : C h r i s to p h e r Sm i t h


Photography By: Serge Raymond


MARCH 22, 2013 A one night only performance featuring over 200 artists from Cirque du Soleil® alongside world renowned guest performers in the “O” Theatre at Bellagio


b i d s , b i t e s & b e v e r a g e s P r e s e n t i n g Sp o n s o r : T h e R i d g e s i n S u m m e r l i n

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b i d s , b i t e s & b e v e r a g e s P r e s e n t i n g Sp o n s o r : T h e R i d g e s i n S u m m e r l i n

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 21


Why paint flowers in the desert? Mary Warner discusses her art on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at


Where things go bloom The Ridgecrest Wildflower Festival has blossomed into a must-go event for flowerhunters — but this gathering has a personal backstory By Donna McCrohan Rosenthal Photography David A. rosenthal

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Companion | March 2013


Petal power: the wildflowers of Ridgecrest

The “bellyflowers” of the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert three and a half hours from Las Vegas will bring you to your knees. Awe has a lot to do with it. In a good year when they blanket the foothills, you can admire their deep colors from a distance. But even when peak season follows less-than-average winter rainfall, you can experience their intricate patterns up close and personal — hence the term “bellyflower” applied to any blooms you have to squat down to examine. They begin to emerge in February and last through April, sweeping across expanses that stretch from Death Valley to the Sierra Nevada. As it warms up at lower elevations, prime viewing advances upslope at a rate of roughly 1,000 feet every two weeks. The Upper Mojave Desert city of Ridgecrest, Calif. pays homage to the annual outcropping each spring with the Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival, a floral jackpot with a personal story behind it.

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MIND Research Institute Miracle Flights for Kids National Hemophilia Foundation Nevada Child Seekers Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation Nevada Community Associates Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth Rainbow Dreams Educational Foundation Ronald McDonald House Charities S.A.F.E. House Solari Hospice Foundation Special Olympics Nevada Spread the Word Nevada The Adoption Exchange The Center The Public Education Foundation Touro University Nevada

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department travel Collinsworth makes warming up fun with exercises such as “animal stretches.”

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Companion | March 2013

Getting there The wildflowers of Ridgecrest will bring you to your knees — literally.

‘ O u r wi l d f low e r s ’ No wonder the ancients rejoiced when spring flowers arrived. Praise the heavens. Life renews itself. We can stop being cold for a while. Our crops will grow again. Nature and the universe reward us with ample expressions of this happiest stage in the cycle, everything from chirping baby birds in their nests to longer days and shorter nights. But nothing says “celebrate” as ecstatically as these glorious little bouquets. Dave died of colorectal cancer in 2007, snapping extraordinary images pretty much to the end, as if packing every possible adventure into his camera and into the months he had left. When a friend in the tourism office asked me some years ago what Ridgecrest had going for it that might inspire a signature event, I remembered Dave’s excitement over that first bud, those splendid displays. “Desert wildflowers,” I answered. “Not only wildflowers. Desert wildflowers. Our wildflowers.” With that, and enthusiastic support by the tourism board, a festival ensued. The Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival returns this year with activities town-wide, including vendors, food, exhibits, lectures, workshops and wildflower tours. The Kerr McGee Center on 100 West California Ave. serves as the main hall. With Maturango Museum’s annual wildflower exhibit at 100 East Las Flores Ave., antique, book and consignment shops in Old Town, and Ridgecrest’s dozen-plus hotels and more than 50 restaurants, you’ve got the makings for a memorable family weekend. If I sound biased, I admit it. But hey, we’re talking bellyflowers, guaranteed to bring you to your knees.

The 2013 Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival is April 12-14. To get there, take I-15 south to Barstow, then CA-58 west, then US 395 north to the town of Ridgecrest. Trip time: about 3 1/2 hours. Info:

Tin y wh i te d ots A born and bred New Yorker, I met Dave Rosenthal among Yucatan pyramids 15 years ago, married him and moved to his home in California’s East Sierra. An engineer on the U.S. Navy’s China Lake base and a Renaissance man, he embraced all of creation. He did science reporting for CNN, had a part in testing one of the Mars vehicles, flew Medevac helicopters for the National Guard, traveled the globe to witness eclipses and mastered the nuances of Maya archaeoastronomy. But more than any of these, he had a passion for wildflowers. We’d go out together finding wildflowers; I was the spotter, he was the photographer. On one balmy morning when his subjects wouldn’t stop swaying in the breeze, I lost patience and plopped myself onto a blanket. I noticed tiny white dots at my feet, no bigger than pinheads. When I pushed my face right up to them, I saw a diminutive red dot inside each one. I called Dave over. He took a picture. Not until we got back to our house and enlarged the shot did we realize the complexity of a design obviously intended for insect eyes. Wow. Bellyflowers for bugs. We identified it as rattlesnake weed. From that moment, I succumbed to the bright white pincushions, yellow goldfields, violet phacelia, orange poppy and apricot mallow, pink and red desert calico, red Indian paintbrush, brilliant purple in-

digo bush and the playful white-tipped magenta owl’s clover.

Nearby Points of interest for Ridgecrest flower fans


The Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History, on Highway 395 an hour and a half northwest of Ridgecrest, preserves the diverse movie lore of Lone Pine, Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra with 10,500 square feet of exhibits, an 85-seat theater, a gift shop and “Back Lot” – the Alabama Hills outside. These rugged rocks have figured prominently on screen from Gene Autry and Roy Rogers cowboy action thrillers to, more recently, William Shatner and William Downey, Jr. films, all in the shadow of Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States.


Randsburg, once a mining

boomtown and now a living ghost town off Highway 395 a halfhour south of Ridgecrest, has hardly changed in the intervening century. Highlights include art galleries, Randsburg Opera House, the White Horse Saloon, sarsaparilla and an old-fashioned soda fountain at the General Store.


The U.S. Naval Museum of Armament and Technology on

the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in Ridgecrest has a lunar soft landing vehicle (the Sidewinder), missiles and rockets developed and tested at China Lake. Admission is free, but you have to obtain a pass to enter the base, either from the Visitors Center or from the guard at the gate on weekends. Present a picture ID for each individual and proof of car insurance.


The stunning shapes and striations of Red Rock Canyon State Park (seen in “Jurassic Park” and Disney’s “Dinosaur”) 20 minutes north of Mojave on Highway 14 and the surreal, imposing spires of the Trona Pinnacles National Natural Landmark (“Planet of the Apes” and Will Ferrell’s “Land of the Lost”) a half-hour northeast of Ridgecrest on Highway 178 appear often in movies and TV commercials. | 25


Hear a discussion of girls’ high school sports on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at


Run with it: Cimarron-Memorial Spartan Tiffany Hargrove


Throwing like a girl

Girls’ flag football is catching on in school sports curricula. Sure, it’s fun — but it’s also about fairness By Emmily Bristol | Photography Christopher smith It’s a gray, windy day as play starts on the CimarronMemorial High School football field. But the chill doesn’t slow the Spartans who, with a few quick plays, score on their opening drive against Mojave High School. “Did you see that?” a student on the sidelines asks his buddies. “That was a 20-yard pass!” Indeed, senior quarterback Brandi Gutierrez has quite an arm. Some might say, “Not bad for a girl.” But if you hear the cluster of players from the Spartan boys’ football team brag, it’s clear that the girls’ flag football team has some true fans. And those boys aren’t the only fans of the burgeoning girls’ team. While 3:30 p.m. game times are tough for many parents to make, those who can make it are hardcore in their enthusiasm. It’s hard to miss Lidia Escobar, who is holding her toddler on the sidelines, while watching her daughter Ashley Escobar on the field. It’s the first time her husband

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Companion | March 2013

couldn’t get off work to watch a game. “She’s here doing something she loves and I couldn’t be happier,” Escobar says. “She tried boxing and some other sports, but nothing stuck.” T hr ow d own Now in its inaugural season, girls’ flag football is the newest sport sanctioned by the Clark County School District. But its addition came from an unusual source. It is the first new sport added in response to a Title IX complaint filed by the National Women’s Law Center in 2010. The 41 year-old Title IX is a landmark federal law that requires schools to offer equal opportunities for girls and boys in athletics and academics, as well as address issues related to discrimination. “There are many, many districts, unfortunately, across the country that are not complying with Title IX,” says Neena Chaudhry, senior counsel for the Law Center and director of equal opportunity and athletics.

10 a.m.:

Climbed the Summit.

12:15 P.m.:

Mastered nutrition.

2:30 P.m.:

3 P.m.:

Danced in the spotlight.

Carrot sticks.

HERE, it’s just an average day. The new DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, located at the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center, adjacent to The Smith Center. Grand Opening, March 9. And check out our first traveling exhibition, Discover George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon.

sports In November 2010, the center filed complaints regarding 12 school districts, including ours, in a campaign aimed at highlighting the disparity in opportunities for girls. While half of all high school students in America are girls, only 41 percent of high school athletics provide options for girls, according to the center. That adds up to 1.3 million girls nationwide who don’t have a sports option for extracurricular activities

— which can in turn curb college scholarship opportunities. Like the other schools, the Clark County School District was called out for a gap between athletic opportunities for girls and boys. Under the law, there can’t be a difference greater than five percent between athletic opportunities offered for boys and for girls. In 2010, the district’s gap was more than 10 percent, or roughly 4,000 girls in the district who had no opportunity to play sports at their schools. “There was quite a bit of difference between the (opportunities for) girls and boys,” says Ray Mathis, executive director of student activities for the school district. “We have been proactive in addressing those concerns.” And compliance is no laughing matter. Failing to comply with Title IX can result in a loss of federal funding for school districts, from buses to lunch programs, says Mathis, who adds that the Left: Spartans celebrate after a play; below: Spartan Brandi Barnson is on the tail of a rival.

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Companion | March 2013

“I think this is the best sport I’ve ever done in all of high school. I can see how the boys feel (about football). This is part of my life. I’m a girls’ football player!” school district doesn’t use federal funds for athletics. And school districts can’t get waivers or opt out because of a lack of funds or budget cuts. “Cost can’t be a factor,” Mathis says. “We don’t really have a choice.” T h r e e cheers f o r f lag f ootbal l Since 2010, the district has looked at

ways to increase opportunities for girls to participate in sports, including adding freshman girls’ soccer to the already existing JV and varsity offerings. This added about 450 girls, but that’s still a far cry from the goal. So, last year, the district put out a student interest survey to get a read on what girls wanted to do. Overwhelmingly, girls voted to add ... competitive cheerleading? Yes. But since that activity is not sanctioned under the terms of Title IX, the district couldn’t justify new costs that wouldn’t get them any closer to compliance. So the district went with the students’ second choice, flag football, which beat out other contenders, including lacrosse, field hockey, gymnastics and badminton. In its first season, flag football has rolled out in 35 schools with approximately 15 girls (or more) on each team at a cost of about $225,000 to the district. The district is still tabulating participation numbers for the season. Mathis says next year there are plans to add a junior varsity level. Judging from the enthusiasm from players and their parents, flag football is a success.

Chauncy Garbutt, who coaches the girls’ team for Cimarron-Memorial as well as serving as an assistant coach for the boys’ football team, says he’s been enjoying working with the girls. “The girls are really, really coachable,” Garbutt says. “They picked it up really fast. I taught them the same way I teach boys.” T he f u tu r e o f f l ag There are a few differences with flag football compared to standard boys’ football, including a seven-player lineup and no special teams. Also, everyone is an eligible receiver. Many of the girls who tried out have no experience playing football, but have tried other sports. Tiffany Hargrove, a senior wide receiver, played tennis before trying football. “I would have done this the whole time (if it had been offered),” Hargrove says. “I think this is the best sport I’ve ever done in all of high school. I can see how the boys feel (about football). This is part of my life. I’m a girls’ football player!” But there is one problem with flag football,


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which students and parents are quick to point out. There are no NCAA scholarships or a future at the collegiate level. This point isn’t lost on the National Women’s Law Center, which encourages school districts to look not just at interest, but at future opportunities when adding girls’ sports. “Interest is a factor,” Chaudhry says. “But if one sport offers more of a future, why not choose that one? That’s been one of our concerns with flag football.” She adds: “We want to make sure that schools are adding things not just because they are easy or cheap, but because there is a future.” Flag football is a relative newcomer to the school athletics scene. Florida and Alaska were the first to adopt it, with Nevada and some districts in New York following close behind. In addition, the sport has gained a cult following through coed community programs, with teams for children as well as adults. And as concern over concussions in boys’ sports continues to be a factor, there may be more op-

30 | Desert

Companion | March 2013

Toss up: Spartan quarterback Brandi Gutierrez makes a play.

portunities and more money for flag football programs for girls and boys in the future. But these bigger issues are hardly on the minds of the players on the field this season. With a glint in his eye, Michael Robertson watches his daughter Brandi Barnson play as his wife and sons, one of whom plays for Ci-

marron-Memorial’s boys’ football team, cheer in the stands. “It’s developed her into a more confident person,” he says. “We have more to talk about, more in common. This year, for the first time, she sat down and watched the NFL games with me. It’s all in the family now.”




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The “Indie Band Survival Guide” covers your rock dreams on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at


‘Chaos, chaos, chaos!’

a I thought Doors frontman Jim Morrison would appreciate crashing at the pad of a struggling writer. Was I ever wrong

At first I didn’t know who exactly my friend Bob was bringing up to my Bonanza Hilltop apartment in that desert winter of 1968. Then I saw Jim Morrison walking up the outside stairs to my pad, and it freaked me out: The rock god himself, dressed in black leather from his boots to his neck, his long hair ebbing and flowing. My apartment was upstairs, with a balcony and a sparkling view of lower Las Vegas at night, spread out from Nellis Air Force Base to Henderson like a cache of jewelry. I was making do between construction jobs, living on unemployment, and working on an eventually unpublished novel about a young white guy living on the black side of a very prejudiced Vegas. I was living in, let’s say, genteel bohemian squalor. Perhaps to boost my artist cred, Bob delighted in telling Morrison that I had lived on D Street until everything I had of value was stolen, no doubt to hock for drug money. My friend Bob — better known as Robert Gover, author of the cult classic satirical novel “One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding” — was profiling Morrison for the Los Angeles Free Press. Bob was a best-selling novelist at the time, and I was just a dude living on unemployment between construction jobs — and trying to go clean after years of hard-partying with pretty much anything you could smoke or swallow. It was unreal to me at the time that someone could live like Bob on writing alone — with a beach pad down in Malibu, no less. Upon walking into my apartment, the Liz-

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Companion | March 2013

Break on through: Jim Morrison spent a brief — but colorful — episode in Vegas.

J im M o r r i s o n p h oto c o u r t e s y wi k im e di a ; p h oto i l l u s t r at i o n : B r e n t H o l m e s

By Mike Newman

Out of the blue, security descended upon us. Bob and Morrison gave the rent-a-cops a lot of lip. ard King himself brushed by me and headed straight to my stereo, which was set up on makeshift bricks and boards on the living room floor. I was a Doors fan at that time and their debut album had been coincidentally propped up against the stereo set — and thus it was one of the first things Morrison saw when he came into the apartment. Jim sat Buddha-style in front of the stereo, immediately putting on my copy of his group’s first album, tuning us all out as he dug his own sound and peered at his own face on the shiny album cover. C h aos, chaos, chaos! Such self-absorption set the tone of his Vegas visit. When Bob dropped me off to file for my weekly unemployment check, Morrison feigned napping, ostensibly bored with all that a struggling writer was going through. When we ate out at the Aku Aku tiki restaurant at the Stardust, with those crazy Easter Island statues out front, Bob picked up the tab, although the rock star could have bought and sold him. When we were driving later down Casino Center Boulevard toward Fremont Street, Morrison demanded to drive. Once he got behind the wheel, he floored it. Before we knew it, we were speeding toward Fremont Street with Morrison howling, “Chaos, chaos, chaos!” Bob finally wrestled the wheel away from him, kicked his foot off the accelerator, and got control of the car. If Bob hadn’t gotten control of the car from the crazy bastard, we would’ve been in a horrific car wreck. Later on during their visit, while we were heading into the Pussy Cat A Go Go — then a popular Strip disco — Morrison flipped a Pall Mall cigarette butt into some artificial bushes near the club’s entrance. A security guard spotted him doing it and, no doubt reacting to Jim’s hippie appearance and overall screw-

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Morrison seemed like a nihilist who wanted to merely kick life in the balls. (But then again, most of us have a bit of that in our souls.) TM



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off demeanor, screamed, “That guy just threw away a roach!” Out of the blue, security descended upon us. Bob and Morrison gave the rent-a-cops a lot of lip, got roughed up and were taken downtown by regular police and booked for disturbing the peace. Both were bailed out after a few hours and, in true rock-star style, Morrison walked out of the jailhouse with his arms spread out Christ-like, his hairy head tilted with a sarcastic “I win” grin. Luckily for them, neither Bob nor Jim had any pot or other drugs when they were frisked and stripped at the station, since Vegas law was hellish on drugs then. (Incidentally, another depiction of this Strip encounter is in “No One Here Gets Out Alive,” a Morrison biography by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman.) Icy r ec epti o n The last time I saw Morrison was in 1969 before he headed to Paris the following year. The Doors played a now-legendary Vegas gig at the Ice Palace skating rink in Commercial Center. By this time, Morrison had a beard and had put on a lot of weight — a different man than the slender, sleek, leathered lead man of 1968. Morrison was in bad form on stage but, being such an icon, it didn’t seem to matter to the fans. But I saw something more like a cautionary tale — perhaps, for me, the road thankfully not taken. Because in July 1971, Jim would be dead in Paris at age 27, another drugged-out rock-star saint, taking his exalted place with Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and other “27 Club” members who ended by way

of their own excesses. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Morrison had lived. Would he have achieved a more significant kind of musical or literary greatness beyond mere rock-star status? In the light of my brief encounter with him, I doubt it: Morrison seemed like a nihilist who wanted to merely kick life in the balls. (But then again, most of us have a bit of that in our souls.) b r e a k on throug h When my son Ben was a teenager, we had our differences, but one day he had a few friends over and wanted me to tell them about my knowing Jim Morrison. I decided I would; after all, I think my son thought the only thing cool about me was that I had known Morrison. I told some of the above story and said that Morrison wasn’t any role model, but rather emblematic of a wasted life and that the drug and alcohol scene was a dead end. At the time, Ben and his buddies were disappointed to hear me say that. But the thing about that 1969 show is that Morrison’s disheveled appearance — the beard, the gut — made me remember myself on a ferry back to Gibraltar from Tangiers in 1965. I had barely gotten out with my mind intact after smoking hash laced with I’ll never know what, but my brain had been disintegrated into a trillion molecules and beamed out into the cold universe. Somehow, I got to the American consulate, where a kind official loaned me enough money for passage back to Spain, my own money having been spent on (you guessed it) partying. When I got back to Madrid, where I was hanging out with the movie crowd doing extra work, I was offered LSD. I turned it down. Another Tangiers or LSD experiment would have slam-dunked my soul for sure. I split back to America, to Vegas as always. Many times during my 40-year career as a blackjack dealer, I’d crack to patrons, “I gave up drugs at the end of the ’60s while I still had enough brain cells left to be able to add to 21 — and I’ve been making a living ever since.” In spring 2011, pulsating above the tourists on the electronic canopy of the Fremont Street Experience was a Doors montage titled, “The Doors: Strange Days In Vegas.” One of the highlights? Of course, it was “Break on Through”:


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The dish

Off the eaten path


at first bite

It’s BurGR time


On the plate

Upcoming dining events


Eat this now!

Something fishy about this pizza

Asian flair fare: Fat Choy’s fried pork sauce noodles and kalbi steak and eggs

PHOTOGRAPH BY brent holmes | 37


the dish

Off the eaten path

Sheridan Su has cooked in Michelin-rated restaurants, food trucks, even the back of a beauty salon. Now he’s serving creative Asian-American fare — in a tiny locals’ casino

a By Debbie Lee Photography brent holmes

At first glance, the Eureka Casino is unremarkable. A notch above the city’s ubiquitous video poker taverns — but second-rate to slick Strip properties — the 49-year old slot parlor on East Sahara Avenue still assaults the senses like a typical locals’ casino: with garish carpet, cigarette smoke and the clang of penny slots singing like a siren hungry for a Social Security check. But there’s also a surprising instance of good taste. Past the haze of Newports and promise of progressive jackpots, diners can strike food gold at Fat Choy, where Chef Sheridan Su is eschewing safe bets like shrimp cocktail and prime rib in favor of creative Asian-American fare. You might wonder why Su, 30, would

38 | Desert

Companion | March 2013

Bao before him: Sheridan Su has cooked in some unusual places.

choose to settle in this gritty part of town. The Southern California native not only boasts a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, but also spent six years earning experience and accolades at various high-profile restaurants, including Joël Robuchon at The Mansion, Social House, Wazuzu and Comme Ça.

Wouldn’t his talents be better appreciated on the Strip, or perhaps in the newly gentrified East Fremont Street? “We want to raise the profile of the area,” he says. “Besides Lotus of Siam, the nearest dining options are a couple of overpriced chain restaurants. When I envisioned Fat Choy, I

Hear today.

Above: Chef Su makes duck bao; left: kalbi steak and eggs; right: pork belly bao

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wanted to strike the right balance between an affordable neighborhood place that makes our local clientele happy, but with dishes that are interesting enough to attract foodies from all over Vegas.”

Trucks, trials and travails A small casino off the beaten path is hardly an unconventional choice compared to Su’s initial solo ventures. In 2011, he invested his savings in Great Bao, a food truck serving playful riffs on Taiwanese steamed buns. While it was a hit with street food aficionados, Su was not as pleased with his own project. He quickly learned that the perks of a roving restaurant — cheap initial investment, low overhead, fewer hours — were anything but. “I thought I was getting a super deal, but the truck kept breaking down,” he says. “Suddenly a $6,000 project had turned into a $30,000 project. My bank account was dry, my credit cards were maxed out, and I had a few hundred dollars left to my name.” Like other desperate people in the digital age, he turned to Craigslist for salvation.

That’s where Su came across an unusual offer: a local beauty salon was looking for someone to operate an on-site café for its customers. It was an affordable brick and mortar option for Great Bao, but Su was unsure about the peaceful coexistence of soy sauce and shampoo. “I told myself there was no way,” he says. “People would never come. It was just too weird. But Jenny (Wong, Su’s fiancée and partner) told me, ‘Do what you do, and if you do it well, people will find you.’” Wong was right, even if Su describes the first few weeks as brutal. “There were days when I’d buy $200 worth of produce, then make $14 in sales,” he says. It took three months before Su ever saw a profit. After another seven, customers were spilling over from the café’s six seats into the salon area. That’s when the business changed management and cut ties with the chef. Su was unsure of where he’d land next; he only knew that it would not be at a celebrity chef’s mega-restaurant. “After Comme Ça, I decided that I’d never work for anyone else again,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot from my mentors, but I wanted something more. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted. It was time to execute a vision that was mine rather than someone else’s.” That vision began to take shape as early as

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dining age three, when Su participated in the immigrant’s version of Take Your Kid to Work Day. “My mother is from Taiwan, and her first job in the United States was working in a Chinese restaurant seven days a week,” says Su. “The only way I could see her was to tag along. To me, the kitchen was this giant playground, and that magic was never lost.”

A kitchen to call his own Now, after paying his dues in a truck and salon, Su finally has a legitimate kitchen to call his own. Fat Choy, born from a handshake deal with Eureka owner Ernest Lee, opened in January, and so far the chef has successfully kept his promise to please different palates. If bone marrow or Peking duck bao are not what you crave after a round of Wheel of Fortune, there are also more familiar options like Ms. Wong’s spaghetti and meatballs — inspired by the first meal Su’s fiancée ever cooked for him. And whether he’s making American classics or his grandmother’s recipe for Chinese noodles, diners can expect him to do it with

the same pride and care of a fine dining chef. “Sheridan is one of the most consistent, even-keeled cooks I know,” says chef and Comme Ça owner David Myers. “He has the tactical calmness of a fighter pilot or surgeon.” Myers, who first mentored Su at his acclaimed Los Angeles restaurant Sona, describes him as Buddha-like before wondering, “But inside, who knows what the hell is going on?” Su admits that frayed nerves do exist beneath the surface. He’s anxious to see if his latest move pays off — not just for him, but the dining community as a whole. “Making that jump from employee to employer is one of the scariest things you can ever do,” says Su. “Chefs on the Strip become comfortable making six-figure salaries, so not too many are willing to take the risk of going off on their own. I hope that my leap of faith can help inspire others to join me and contribute to a real Vegas dining scene — one that’s off the Strip, for the people.”

fat choy in the Eureka Casino 595 E. Sahara Ave., 794-3464,

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Fried pork sauce noodles Su’s version of zhajiangmian, inspired by his grandmother’s recipe, starts with fresh strands of wheat noodles bathed in a black bean sauce. Nuggets of crispy pork belly are strewn across the top for added richness, while cucumber, carrots and daikon sprouts lend a cool, fresh flavor with each bite. Kalbi steak and eggs Fat Choy reinvents an all-American breakfast favorite by replacing a boring cut of beef with flavorful Korean short ribs. Even to Su’s surprise, it’s a hit with the locals. “An older gentleman who used to eat at the restaurant (before it was Fat Choy) was coming in every day and complaining that I took his steak and eggs away,” he says. “So I decided to run a special, replacing the traditional steak with something more interesting. He gave it a try and loved it.” — DL

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Companion | March 2013

Dining & Entertainment


March’s dining events you don’t want to miss The Cooking Experience by Mise En Place Starts March 1. Employing cutting-edge kitchen tech — from Sub-Zero Wolf appliances to French Mauviel 1830 copper pans — The Cooking Experience offers a la carte culinary education classes taught by renowned chefs. The newly opened facility off the 215 offers classes for every skill level and taste. 9500 S. Eastern Ave. #170, 754-4400,

nascar viewing parties

Eternal flame: the Hell’s Kitchen Burger

At f i r s t b i t e

Gordon Ramsay BurGR

March 8-10. Public House Las Vegas is offering NASCAR fans a drink deal: $3 PBR tallboys and $8 PBR tallboys with a shot of Jack Daniels during their NASCAR viewing parties March 8-10. The pub’s usual offerings — the crazy range of beers and the upscale bar fare (cheesesteak spring rolls, anyone?) — is still in full effect as well. Inside the Luxor hotel-casino,

By Brock Radke | Photography by Christopher Smith Gordon Ramsay likes to play around with us. His TV reputation may be that of a fiery, demanding kitchen commander, but he’s got restaurants in Las Vegas now and that’s all about fun. And the first bite at his BurGR joint is pretty playful: jalapeño poppers set in their own little shot glass full of cheesy ranch dipping sauce. One of these peppers/poppers has seeds intact, meaning one is way hotter than the rest, our server tells us when setting down the plate. One man’s spicy pleasure is another’s frivolous lawsuit, no? This whole place is a playground, a futuristic cafeteria done in colors of ketchup and mustard. The service, from young, well-trained and energetic people in odd, too-tight outfits, is as overwhelming as the environment. It feels like a foreign McDonald’s on growth hormones. But the food is much better. “Honey Pig Bao Buns” are a tastier appetizer than those danger poppers, a thick chunk of tender pork belly with hoisin sauce in a nicely steamed bun. The fries, made from less starchy Kennebec potatoes, are thrice-fried,

which could mean ultimate crispiness or crusty dryness. Mine were fine. Burgers are more than respectable, thick patties of a semi-fatty, very flavorful beef blend grilled over applewood. But I detected zero smoky flavor in the Farm Burger, with English cheddar, a fried egg and duck breast bacon, nor in the most popular Hell’s Kitchen Burger, with salty Mexican asadero cheese, roasted tomatoes and jalapeños (no seeds) and creamy avocado. But clearly, there’s enough juicy flavor in both burgers without an extra grilling step. For dessert, Ramsay’s outstanding sticky toffee pudding dessert is presented in push-pop form, and thick milkshakes get thicker with crazy custard combinations. So they’re having fun, but are we? At $12 to $15 per a la carte burger, you can complain about celeb chef prices all you want. But the cost at other fancy burger joints on the Strip are similar. At least you’re assured some tasty stuff here, and you certainly don’t have to buy a souvenir cookbook on the way out.

Restaurant Week March 8-15. Enjoy special prix-fixe meals at top restaurants such as Bar + Bistro, Rick Moonen’s rm seafood, Comme Ça, TAO, DW Bistro and many more. Better yet, each restaurant is crafting a special menu at a special price just for this annual food-fest. A portion of proceeds helps support the efforts of Three Square to eradicate hunger in Southern Nevada. $20.13-$50.13. Various locations. | 41


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

Table 34 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 and Warm Springs. Dinner Tuesday - Saturday 5pm until closing (around 10pm) 600 E. Warm Springs Road Las Vegas, NV (702) 263-0034

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Smoked Salmon Pizza at Red Square More a retro-Russian twist on lox and bagels than a Spago-style pizza, this addictive appetizer is just one of several new bites on the re-imagined menu at Red Square. The foundation isn’t pizza dough, but a toasty, crispy tortilla, layered with cream cheese and richly flavored fish. Topping it off? Capers and lightly pickled onions, of course, to add vinegary and briny notes to an impressively well-balanced bite. And oh yeah, there’s a generous amount of luxurious domestic caviar sprinkled about. No Soviet-era austerity here. — Brock Radke

Mandalay Bay, 693-8300

Lo-Ba at Chada Thai & Wine For every nine people who order the pedestrian pad Thai at their local Thai food joint, there’s that one diner who takes cues from guys like Andrew Zimmern. Those lone gustatory thrillseekers will relish this platter of pig offal. Slivers of ear, tongue, and heart are braised until tender and then flash fried for texture. A few slices of cucumber on the side aren’t just for garnish — the cool, crisp bites are respite from the richness and will keep you from feeling like a pig yourself. — Debbie Lee

3400 S. Jones Blvd. 641-1345,



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High school sophomore

StePhen Zimmerman Center, Bishop Gorman H.S.

He’s tall. He’s very tall. And he knows how to use it The sky’s the limit for the Gorman 7-footer, who already has scholarship offers from Kansas, Arizona, UCLA and UNLV, just to name a few. Zimmerman didn’t play much last summer because of a knee injury, but by the fall he was back on the court and taking on a larger role for the Gaels than ever before. As a freshman, he was buried behind guys like Shabazz Muhammad, the consensus No. 1 recruit in 2012. Now Zimmerman is in the first year of being a major contributor — and developing into the player that has so many recruiters knocking at his door. It starts with size; any coach in the country will tell you that you can’t teach 7-foot. The key to success is knowing how to use that size, and that’s where Zimmerman literally stands out. He’s such a defensive presence on the floor that opponents — whether they’re big men in the paint or guards looking to drive to the rim — have to know where Zim-

merman is. And, more often than not, they have to adjust their shot because of him. That defensive success makes him valuable on the court no matter how well he’s playing on offense, which can be up and down. A knock against big men is that they move like big men (read: not well); that Zimmerman doesn’t is what sets him apart from the rest of the exceptionally tall pack. He’s worked very hard on his footwork; it shows when you see him making moves in the post or getting up and down the court. He’s rarely the most graceful guy out there, but he doesn’t put a drag on things when the game speeds up. The sophomore has a couple more years left in Las Vegas, and in addition to Bishop Gorman’s games you can find him on the courts this summer for the Dream Vision AAU program. This city is a major destination for the summer circuit, especially for one weekend in July. In a couple of years Zimmerman will be easy to spot at his college of choice, perhaps even staying in town to attend UNLV. Sevenfooters have a hard time blending in with the crowd, even on a basketball court.

Th e P l ay e r

Center, sophomore, Bishop Gorman High School boys’ basketball

Th e b u z z

Five-star recruit, 2012 state champion, CoMVP of Freshman/ Sophomore West Coast Camp

Th e p r o s p e c t s

Zimmerman will have his pick of any school to attend in 2015. Once he’s there? Anything is possible.

Zimmerman will have his pick of any school to attend in 2015. Once he’s there, anything is possible. His mother, Lori, helps keep Zimmerman grounded, and he’s already shown the requisite work ethic both in training and rehab to succeed at the next level. Wherever he goes, he’s sure to stand out. | 49


High school senior

Th e P l ay e r

Forward, senior,

Jada Brown

F o r wa r d, C e n t e n n i a l H . S .

Centennial High School girls’ basketball

Th e b u z z

2012 Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year, state champion, two-time Las Vegas Sun Super Seven honoree

Th e p r o s p e c t s

Thanks to her stellar junior season, Brown heads to the University of Kansas in 2013.

She’s singleminded, tenacious and versatile — and she just plays hard When Brown sets her mind to something, she accomplishes it. Take last season. After being honored as one of the region’s top seven players before her junior year, Brown said her personal goal was to win Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year. A few months later, after averaging about 13 points and eight rebounds, Brown had done just that. As a team, Centennial fell short of its goal to repeat as state champs because of a last-second 63-62 loss in the Sunrise Regional semifinals. That’s something Brown and fellow seniors Breanna Workman and Tamera Williams plan to fix this season. All three will go to Division I programs next season, with Workman headed to the University of Arizona and Williams going to New Mexico State. Thanks to her stellar

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junior season, Brown is heading to the University of Kansas in 2013. As part of the top recruiting class in the Big 12, Brown will face a lot of pressure as a Jayhawk. It may be particularly challenging because, at 6 feet tall, Brown will be asked to move out more to the perimeter to small forward from her traditional spot at power forward. That move should be gradual, according to Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson, allowing the Jayhawks to take advantage of Brown’s tenacity inside while she works on developing her game to include more face-tothe-basket and off-the-dribble abilities. Henrickson said she has no doubt Brown will be able to make the transition because of “how hard she competes.” That desire to get out on the floor will no doubt drive Brown to make the changes necessary to succeed at Kansas. Brown will go to Lawrence just as another Las Vegas grad, Cheyenne High alum Elijah Johnson, is leaving the men’s basketball team. While most star athletes from this area still end up on the West Coast, this pipeline shows that Las Vegas’ talents are wanted all across the country. Johnson made it to the 2012 national championship game, which sets a high bar for Brown. Of course, it also leaves room for her to get to the game and win it. If Brown sets her mind to it, who’s to say it won’t happen? | 51

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High school junior

Tyrell Crosby

O F f e n s i v e tac k l e , G r e e n va l l e y H . S .

This rocksolid blocker has some surprisingly nimble moves Thanks to the 2009 movie “The Blind Side,” a whole lot of otherwise clueless people now know the importance of a good offensive tackle. So do the Green Valley Gators, who have a solid one anchoring their line in senior-to-be Tyrell Crosby. At about 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, Crosby has the size to get in a defender’s way and the nimble footwork to stay there — that’s because Crosby also plays some basketball. At this stage, he’s got the perfect combination college coaches are looking for, which is why he’s drawn interest from a host of Pac-12 and Mountain West schools, including Oregon, Utah, UNLV and San Diego State. The list of schools showing up to offer Crosby a scholarship will continue to grow as he does, because — make no mistake — he’s still got room to get bigger, faster and stronger. Crosby’s 40-yard dash time ranges from 4.9 to 5.3 seconds while his shuttle run — a good test

of speed and agility — is a hair over five seconds. Those are really good times for a young man at his size; the goal will be to maintain those figures while adding strength and weight. That process goes to another level in college, where Crosby will have even more coaches to help build and mold him into the ideal lineman.

Th e P l ay e r

Offensive tackle, junior, Green Valley High School football

Th e b u z z

Scholarship offers from Pac-12 and

Want to catch him in action? The senior-to-be can be found on football fields around the valley this fall, when Green Valley will look to build off its 9-2 record and advance even further in postseason play. After that, the destination is still up in the air, though it’s likely you won’t hear from Crosby for a couple of years. It’s hard for any freshman to step onto a college football field and contribute right away, especially on the offensive line, where size is such a factor. Give him time, though. Crosby has shown considerable promise — and don’t be surprised if you hear his name mentioned on a college football broadcast a few years down the road.

Mountain West schools; 2012 Las Vegas Sun All-City Team; helped Green Valley finish 9-2 last season

Th e p r o s p e c t s

No matter where he takes the field, Crosby’s going to get a shot to be groomed as a premier offensive lineman for one lucky college.

Thanks to his work in helping Green Valley finish with a 9-2 record last season, Crosby has a nice selection of destinations. The best of the bunch so far, and maybe even the best fit for Crosby, is the University of Oregon. The Ducks run a spread offense that puts up points at a prodigious pace at the Division I level. Green Valley also runs a spread, so the learning curve for Crosby may be more manageable there than other destinations. But no matter where he takes the field, Crosby’s going to get a shot to be groomed as one of that school’s premier offensive linemen. | 53


College junior

Lucia Batta

Th e P l ay e r

T e n n i s P l a y e r , U NLV

Tennis player, junior, UNLV women's tennis

Th e b u z z

2012 Mountain West Player of the Year, 2012 NCAA Singles Championships qualifier, 2011 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, 2011 ITA Regional Freshman of the Year

Th e p r o s p e c t s

The path to the pros in tennis is much less clear than in basketball and football. Even though she’s a tier below the college game’s elite players, Batta has time to get there.

This resourceful athlete triumphed over an injury with ingenuity and inspiration Any conversation about the best female tennis players on the West Coast has to include Batta, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year for UNLV. The Budapest native excelled from the moment she stepped on the courts in Las Vegas. Only a couple years before, it was uncertain she’d be able to do any of this. Batta suffered a torn ligament in her right, dominant wrist, and only found out about it after months of playing through the pain. When Batta got back on the court, she realized she could no longer create sufficient power on her forehand — a swinging stroke with her right arm — because of the weakness in her wrist. To compensate, Batta tried something unusual: She started hitting forehands with both her left and right hands

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on the racket. The extra footwork necessary to cover enough ground to hit that shot with two hands instead of one is Batta’s weakness, but the power she regained as a result is the reason she’s excelling. It’s not the way you would teach someone how to play, Rebels Coach Kevin Cory has said, but Batta makes it work for her. You can see it for yourself. UNLV hosts six events in March and another two the weekend of April 13 at the Frank and Vicki Fertitta Tennis Complex, located on UNLV’s campus near the football practice fields and Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium. Plus, Batta has her entire senior season of fall and spring events coming in 2013-14. Catch her while you can, though. The path to the pro circuit, should she choose to pursue it, is far from a certain thing in women’s tennis, and once there only the top events and players get much air time. Do yourself a favor and go relax in the stands at one of the Rebels’ home events, because it’s difficult to comprehend just how much skill and precision a player of Batta’s level possesses until you see it up close. Batta is one of two Rebels from Budapest on the current roster, and both are the latest in line of Hungarian players to find success in the desert. What she’ll do beyond UNLV is tough to predict, because the path to the pros in tennis is much less clear than in basketball and football. What is clear: Batta will have a chance to go that route, should she choose to take it. Coming into the heart of her junior season, Batta still stood on a tier below the college game’s elite players, but she has time to get there. And she’s already proved that she’ll try anything to succeed — including an unusual shot that may just become her signature. | 55

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College senior

Kevin Penner G o l f e r , U NLV

He makes it look easy — but works hard at inspiring others

onship in his hometown. Penner survived a three-way, sudden-death playoff to win the major amateur championship event just two weeks after receiving Honorable Mention AllAmerica recognition for his junior season.

The best golfers, the ones you

Arbor View High grad Zane Thomas and Coronado High grads AJ McInerney and Kenden Slattery are all freshmen on this year’s team. Just like practicing against great players every day in sports like basketball and football can make you better, so too can competing with and against someone like Penner on the links, day in and day out. The saying goes, “Iron sharpens iron,” and so too do irons, putters and drivers.

watch from the couch on a Sunday afternoon, make it look so easy. Whether it’s an almost unnoticeable change in their swing that puts the requisite backspin on a ball or the perfect read on a long putt, great golfers take an activity we in the desert enjoy year-round and turn it into an art form. Kevin Penner is one of those golfers — and soon enough, he could be among that group you watch on TV, playing for a tournament title on Sundays. Penner, a Sammamish, Wash., native, is a senior at UNLV and the top golfer in the Mountain West. In the Rebels’ fall season, Penner played four of the five tournaments, finished top 10 in each and came out with a 71.09 scoring average per round, which led both the team and the league. As a junior last season, Penner had seven top 10s, including two victories. His 71.61 scoring average was the 10th best in school history, and that only set the table for his dramatic July victory at the Sahalee Players Champi-

The future? Penner has a chance to become just the second Ben Hogan Award winner this season, following fellow Washington native Ryan Moore (2005). Maybe more important for the program and Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame coach Dwaine Knight is that there are a lot of young Rebels to learn from Penner this season, including a trio of locals.

Th e P l ay e r

Golfer, senior, UNLV men's golf

Th e b u z z

2013 Ben Hogan Award watch list, 2012 Honorable Mention All-America, two-time All-Mountain West, three career individual victories

Th e p r o s p e c t s

Penner may have a shot at a spot on the PGA tour — even though the route is tougher than it used to be, requiring more work on the Tour and success in a three-tournament series.

After UNLV’s home event at Southern Highlands Golf Club the second weekend of March, Penner will wrap up his collegiate career in places like Arizona and Texas before a potential date with the NCAA Championship in Atlanta at the end of May. Once he’s done as a Rebel, Penner will try to take his swing to the PGA Tour, though the route just got tougher. Players used to be able to earn their PGA Tour cards through Qualifying School, but that system ended in 2012. Now it will take more work on the Tour (the equivalent of the NBA D-League) and success in a three-tournament series. That may sound daunting, but remember, the best golfers always make it look easy. | 57

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Fine NINE One professional sports fanatic picks the best spots for catching a case of March Madness this season by Taylor Bern

In the last three years, I’ve been lucky enough to attend three NCAA Tournaments, including a pair of Sweet Sixteens — one for work, one for play. And don’t get me wrong — it’s great. But when you’re sitting courtside in the thick of the game, you often miss, well, the madness that makes March Madness so special. Plopping down in front of a plethora of screens, cracking open a cold one and letting glorious, sudden-death basketball wash over you creates a feeling unlike any other. In Las Vegas, there are plenty of places to do just that. Here are nine of my favorites. illustration by James shepherd | 61



R e l ax e d R e b e l m a n i a

Boulder Dam Brewing Co. When I’m on the road covering UNLV basketball and football, I always try to fit a microbrewery into the trip. Sure, they tend to lack the awe-inspiring screen displays of a traditional sports bar, but they make up for it with a relaxed atmosphere and beers you often can’t get anywhere else. Boulder Dam Brewing is that spot. It’s not going to be a place where people are living and dying with every basket — a plus or a minus depending on how deep your Rebel red runs. Where: 453 Nevada Way, Boulder City, 243-2739, St r i ct ly lo c a l

Born and Raised The official home-away-from-home for UNLV’s road basketball games, BAR will be a locals’ March Madness destination thanks to a wall generously covered in flat screens. With that many TVs, brace your attention span: You can expect to see basically every game as it’s happening, though said wall will obviously be dominated by one game whenever UNLV is on the court. This is the premier place to watch the Rebels play — and, hey, with about 20 beers on tap, there are plenty of options to drown your sorrows should UNLV exit the tournament in the Round of 64 for the fourth consecutive season. (Hope that’s not a jinx!) Where: 7260 S. Cimarron Road,


D i v e i n to t e a m s p i r i t

Back Stop Sports Pub

With so many tourists flocking to the Strip for the weekend, locals need a place to get away and hide. Look no further than the Back Stop. Located on the spectrum between dive and hole in the wall, the Back Stop attracts patrons who are known for being, er, delightfully unrestrained. The good-spirited verbal abuse you may take is just the price you pay for saving money on drinks and shuffleboard. Where: 533 Ave. B, Boulder City, 294-8445,

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Wild side

Mr. D’s Sports Bar

When the Round of 64 games begins Thursday morning, you may still see the remnants of the bike night and wet T-shirt contest that goes down every Wednesday night at Mr. D’s. Known more for occasions like that — and some truly raucous karaoke nights — than simply as a sports spot, Mr. D’s hosts a different crowd than almost anywhere else in the area. And that’s what makes it great. Where: 1810 S. Rainbow Blvd. 362-8777

5 M e at m a d n e s s

Grind Burger A more food-focused destination, Grind separates the formidable burger bar from sports fan nirvana: a full lounge with flat screens and gaming. The best part as far as UNLV games go? Location! Just southwest of the main campus, you’re close enough to celebrate victories by running out the door and streaking up through the quad and to the gymnasium. (Ahem, not that I’m encouraging such activity.) Where: 360 E. Tropicana Ave. 262-9181,

6 T h r i l l s by t h e ya r d

Yard House This is the most extensive beer list you’re going to find at any place in the valley showing the games. That’s enough to get some people in the door, but if you want more, the food is good, too. The best part: the chalkboard series beers, a rotating list of specialty brews and limited offerings that could change by the time you finish reading this sentence. See? It just did. Where: Town Square, 6593 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 734-9273; 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 363-9273,




Lu c k o f t h e I r i s h

McMullan’s and Murphy’s Law The tournament’s opening weekend — what I call the best 96 hours in sports — almost always includes St. Patrick’s Day. With that in mind, why not celebrate both at Murphy’s Law or McMullan’s Irish Pub? McMullan’s is the official home of the Las Vegas Wranglers, and it’s also the gathering spot for Michigan State fans and, by extension, Big Ten fans. Considering that’s the best basketball league in the country this year, this should be a fun spot to watch a lot of high seeds try to avoid the inevitable upsets. Like Grind Burger, Murphy’s Law is just off of UNLV’s main campus, meaning it could be packed on St. Patty’s Day with as much scarlet as green. UNLV may be a commuter school, but there’s still something special about watching a team play when you’re within spitting distance of its home arena. Where: Murphy’s Law, 1590 E. Flamingo Road, 697-0529, McMullan’s Irish Pub, 4650 W. Tropicana Ave., 247-7000,

9 B a l l i n t h e va l l e y

Green Valley Ranch GVR is one of the best Stations locations for catching the game, with a good amount of seating set up in front of five large projector screens — and a lot of familiar faces, if you’ve been more than once. This place won’t get a lot of foot traffic from people who flock to Vegas for the tournament, which is part of what makes it so appealing. You get the full “sports book on a big sports day” experience — without a lot of the extra noise. Where: 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway, (866) 782-9487, | 63



WANT to be A

RUNNE Your guide to lacing up in Sin City by joanna haugen photography by Christopher Smith

64 | Desert

Companion | MARCH 2013

ou R

We sweat. We sunburn. We stink. We can’t get enough. We get up before dawn and head out after dark. We brave desert dryness, brutally windy days and hot summer afternoons. And, if we want to do it with other people, we pay cold, hard cash. | 65

because of — an economy that’s forced many people to cut back on extraneous expenses. In 2011, they estimate 518,000 men and women completed a U.S. marathon, a record high. “I think the allure of running is that it is so accessible to most people,” says Joyce Forier, founder of Calico Racing, a Las Vegas-area racing series. “No special equipment is needed, no special skills or talents are required, and those of all levels can participate in some way.”

You used to know us as your

Las Vegans have latched on to the sport, and

neighbors, co-workers and family members,

organizers have introduced or enhanced

but now we’re also runners. That used to be

numerous races to meet the growing desire to

me — a daughter, a wife, a friend — and then I

join others on a pre-determined course. Some

made a decision that would add miles to my life.

events, such as those organized by Calico Rac-

It was a cold, winter Wisconsin morning. I’d

ing, are no-nonsense races that appeal to run-

just returned from serving in the Peace Corps

ning purists; others, such as the Zombie Run

and needed a purpose. In a matter of minutes,

and the Color Run, add entertainment to the

I went from being merely active and inspired

fitness factor. Some, like the 36-leg, multi-day

to becoming a goal-driven person with my eye

Ragnar Relay, incorporate teamwork into the

on a prize: my first marathon finish. Since then,

race, and still others — such as Tough Mudder

I’ve completed several half marathons and relay

and various versions of the triathlon — meld

runs as well. Now I, too, am a runner.

running with other physical activities.

My story isn’t an unusual one, and chances

Given the drastic changes to running culture

are this growing population isn’t going

in the last few years, it’s hard to say what the

anywhere anytime soon. In fact, according

next five years will bring.

to Running USA, a non-profit organization devoted to raising the profile of distance run-

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,” Forier

ning, a record number of Americans have tak-

says. “We’re all just happy to get people out

en up the sport, buying more running shoes

there moving.”

and apparel and using technology and apps to track their progress, despite — or maybe

66 | Desert

Companion | MARCH 2013

Lace up your shoes and join us.

Of all the races you’ve run,

Runner Resources

which did you most enjoy? My favorite was the Mayor’s Midnight Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska. It was my very first race, and I was overweight and recently diagnosed with diabetes. The race course was awesomely beautiful. The race aid stations were frequent and stocked with fruit, water, energy drinks, cookies, first aid and, best of all, enthusiastic and well-trained volunteers. I was spoiled! What makes for an ideal race? The organization of the event by the race director, the beauty of the course and the element of fun, and the knowledge and enthusiastic support of the

Four questions with

Jenn Ty


If you’re new to running but want to give it a go, here are a few tips from race regulars.

Originally a New Yorker, Jenn Ty now lives in Las Vegas, where she embraces the desert as her training ground for several road races annually (primarily half-marathons in 2012) as well as her first Ironman, which she hopes to complete in 2014.

1 Forget the clock. Don’t worry about your time. Instead, concentrate on your distance and how your body feels. First and foremost, running is about fitness.

2 Slow and steady wins the race. Start with a walk, then work into walking and running. Rushing into the running lifestyle can lead to burnout or, worse, injury.

Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik Apps RunKeeper Tracks runs with pace information. Stats allow users to track improvements over a prolonged amount of time. Nike+ Running Rich with stats, history and sharing capabilities. No Nike accessories required for use. Couch-to-5k Train for a 5k with just 30 minutes a day, three days a week for nine weeks.


she runs for fun!

Books Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes

What is your favorite race day memory?

MapMyRun Collects information about running routes, including distance and elevation.

I ran a half-marathon in Seattle, Washington, six months after my diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. I finished in two hours and 43 minutes. I haven’t been able to repeat that time since, but I am working on it. Do you have any race traditions or habits? Only one: If it isn’t fun, I will not run.

3 No pain, no shame. It’s okay to walk. Even seasoned runners walk during races.

4 Listen to your body. Take breaks when you need them and pace yourself. Running is a lifelong activity, so moderation is key.

5 Partner up. Need motivation and accountability? Find a running partner at a similar fitness level. The social factor will keep you hitting the trail or asphalt.

6 Keep advancing. Ready for the next level after a few 5ks, maybe a half-marathon? Choose races out of town and reward yourself with a minivacation. | 67

What sets the Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon apart from other races? The biggest element that makes the race different is the fact that runners get to run on the Strip. Also, it’s one of the very few marathons or half-marathons to run at nighttime, so the combination of a nighttime race and Las Vegas Boulevard makes it a unique event. The run-thru wedding is a very Vegas element as well. Red Rock Running Company

What tips do you have for someone getting ready to run


the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon for

Fleet Feet 7575 W. Washington Ave., 458-3338,

the first time? Ninety-five percent of races are held first thing in the morning, so

Red Rock Running Company 7350 W. Cheyenne Ave., 870-4786; 120 S. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson, 998-9054, redrockrunningcompany. com

you have to prepare for running in the evening. Do some of your long runs at night so you can prepare your body for how it’s going to react. Think about what

Village Runner 217 N. Stephanie St., Henderson, 898-7866,

you eat during the day, what you drink, how much you’re on your feet and how you dress, so it’s not a total surprise when you get out there at 4:30 in the afternoon. h e r u n s w i t h e lv i s !

Three questions with

Adam Zocks

What can runners expect for the 2013 race? It will be at night again. We want to continue to enhance the entertainment elements on the course and upgrade some

In 2011, the top 100 U.S. timed races included 15 from the famed Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series, which is represented by Competitor Group. Adam Zocks is vice president and general manager of the company, which hosted 30,000 runners at the Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon in December 2012.

68 | Desert

Companion | MARCH 2013

of the finish line festivities. Otherwise, we’re very happy with the event we had in December 2012, and though we’ll make some slight adjustments to the course, it will be very similar to what runners would have seen if they ran last year.

Get Set ... Go!

s h e ' l l r u n u p yo u r m ot i vat i o n !

Three questions with

Melissa Farrell runners, the main focus is often improving performance while implementing a structured resistance training program. What advice do you have for new runners? Be patient with your performance. You have plenty of time to make progress, but going out too hard may lead to injury and possibly the end of your running program. Stretching, running and strength training are the three cornerstones of any running program. Keep in mind that running should always be fun — at times difficult and challenging, but fun. How can runners who’ve been with the sport for a while stay motivated? Always focus on new goals for yourself. It may be setting a new personal best time for a certain

A certified personal trainer and running coach, Melissa Farrell works with locals of all ages and experience levels to reach their fitness goals. She completed her first 50k in April 2012.

What does a running coach do, and how can someone benefit from using one?

distance. It may be doing a longer distance that you haven’t tried before. It may be branching out and trying a

A running coach’s main objective is

triathlon or adventure run in order

to help runners improve their per-

to vary your training. Make your

formance while avoiding injury. My

training runs fun by changing where

focus for newer runners is primar-

you do your runs, or try joining a new

ily to ensure they don’t start out too

running group. Avoid getting in a

fast, too hard, which can result in

rut where it becomes mundane and

injury or overtraining and, eventually,

unexciting. Variety is the spice of life

discouragement. For more advanced

— and running!

Ready to run? Lace up your sneakers and sign up for one of these upcoming local races. Summerlin Half Marathon April 13; Labor of Love (100 miles, 50 miles, 50k, marathon, halfmarathon and 10k) April 20-21; Running with the Devil (50 miles, marathon, halfmarathon, 10k and 5k) June 29; Las Vegas Triathlon September 22; Iron Girl Las Vegas Women’s Triathlon October 26; Saints and Sinners Half-Marathon October 26; saintsand Ragnar Relay November 8; Scavenger Dash Las Vegas November 9; Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half-Marathon November 17; Hoover Dam (marathon, halfmarathon and 10k) December 14; | 69

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in polit ics


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

Remember when graffiti was a wrenching semaphore of inner-city crime and despair? Yeah, us neither. If you love vibrant street art, Peat Wollaeger’s stencil graffiti will grab you — and you don’t even have to get mugged to enjoy it! “Eyez on Las Vegas” is on exhibit through March 22 at Get Up Gallery in Emergency Arts at 520 Fremont St. Info:


take Take a bumbling ogre and a feisty princess who wants it all, and what do you get? Well, yes, Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign — but you also get the twisted fairy tale, “Shrek the Musical”! “Shrek” is 8 p.m. March 19-24 at The Smith Center. Tickets $24-$129. Info:

If this were a zany presidential time-travel comedy flick, the tagline would be, “Harry’s baaaaack!” But President Harry S. Truman is back for real — er, as channeled by Truman impersonator Noel H. Pugach of the University of New Mexico, anyway. Truman/ Pugach will dish on blowing up Japan, invading Korea and other lighthearted moments of his tenure as King of America. “A Visit with President Harry S. Truman” is 7:30 p.m. March 12 at UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium. Free.

72 | Desert

Companion | March 2013

From “Over the Rainbow” to “My Heart Will Go On” to the themes to “Chariots of Fire” and “Rocky,” there’ll be so much savagely poignant and fiercely inspirational movie music at the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s “Lights, Camera ... The Oscars!,” you can forget Kleenex — your tear ducts are going to need an adult diaper. “Lights, Camera ... The Oscars!” is 8 p.m. March 9 at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center. Tickets $46$94. Info:

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

LV P hilharmonic : todd rosenberg

Artist Damien Hirst’s spot woodcuts are his way of using formal means of controlling color in an artistic medium. Much better than his previous method, which was going to the hardware store and shouting, “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” at the housepaints. Hirst’s work is on exhibit through April 26 at Michelle Quinn Fine Art, 620 S. Seventh St. Info:

ART LOOKING THE OTHER WAY, A JURIED ART EXHIBITION Through March 2, Tue.-Fri. 12-5p & Sat. 10a-3p. Local artists highlight themes such as tolerance, multicultural understanding, hunger and homelessness, immigration reform, peace and justice, working conditions, health care, and the environment. Left of Center Art Gallery and Studio, 2207 W. Gowan Road, North Las Vegas, BUY KINGDOM BY ERI KING Through March 8. This artist works with repurposed materials such as discarded clothing and outdated electronics to make sculptures and installations, in a critique of consumer culture. The sheer volumes of material and their physical transformation speak to production, consumption and waste. Winchester Cultural Center Gallery NARRATIVES OF PROGRESS BY ARMIN MÜHSAM Through March 16, Wed.-Fri. 12:30-9p & Sat. 9a-6p. This artist’s paintings focuses on the relationship between the natural and the human-built; the absence of humans, but not of humanity. He imagines the land after technology has rendered it nearly uninhabitable, despite its promises to create a better world. Charleston Heights Art Center, 800 S. Brush St., BEYOND SUNRISE MOUNTAIN BY DAVID SANCHEZ BURR Through March 22. This installation references the historical significance of Southern Nevada with an emphasis on mining and geography, examining notions of community, exploring the desert as a potential site of utopia or dystopia, dependent on man’s relationship to the landscape, technology and other human beings. Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery NEVADA WATERCOLOR SOCIETY’S 2013 SIGNATURE MEMBERS’ EXHIBIT Through March 23, by appointment only. A juried show of original paintings and collages in water-based media done in the last two years without the aid of any instructor nor with use of photographs taken by anyone other than the artist. Historic Fifth Street School, Mayor’s Gallery, 401 S. Fourth St., AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE BY LOLITA DEVELAY Through April 18, Mon.-Thu. 7a-5:30p. This 2014 Master of Fine Arts candidate at UNLV’s works are well-painted surfaces, which reflect her interest in realism, often focusing on light acting on an object. Las Vegas City Hall Chamber Gallery, 495 S. Main St., Second floor,

There’s no surprise when you see what’s coming. One of the new tools on MyAccount will show you your projected monthly bill. And the earlier you know how much energy you use, the earlier you can find ways to save. Sign up today at | 73

He wasn’t expected to survive. But it’s our job to defy expectations.

It was a whirlwind trip to another town in southern Utah to pick up a brand-new truck. The backand-forth was so fast, and Luke was so determined to get it done, that he fell asleep behind the wheel. The sound of his tires whizzing over the lane bumps w o k e h i m . H e j o l t e d , o v e rcorrected, and his new truck careened off the side of the road. When the truck stopped rolling, it was destroyed—and so was Luke. He was flown to UMC’s Trauma Center, where he was m et by Tra um a S u rg e o n D r. Michael Casey. Dr. Casey and the team were immediately in action, assessing and prioritizing Luke’s injuries. Nearly every part of Luke was broken, including his neck. This left him a quadriplegic, unable to move a single limb; he couldn’t even move a finger or a toe. Dr. Casey had to tell Luke’s anxious family that the chances of his survival were small.

But the team worked, stabilizing and setting and striving to make Luke stronger. Days later, Luke was stronger in a dramatic way. He moved his fingers. Then his toes. Dr. Casey was able to take a shattered young man and send him, full of hope, to rehab. Today, Luke no longer needs a w h e e l c h a i r. A n d w h e n h e reunited with Dr. C asey at a Survivor’s Celebration, he was able to take a few hard-won and joyful steps! Only a Level I Trauma Center could have accomplished that. And UMC has the only Level I Trauma Center in the state. Every single day we return life, not just to the patient, but to all who love him. When we’re entrusted with people, even when the odds are against them, we do our utmost to hand them a second chance.

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4 | Desert 7

Companion | March 2013

40 SPOT WOODCUTS BY DAMIEN HIRST Through April 26. One of his most recognizable series, these prints created in 2012 exemplify this artist’s exploration of repetition and formality of structure and color, with a direct relationship to Systematic Painting. MCQ Fine Art, 620 S. Seventh St., SCULPTURES IN GLASS BY BARBARA AND LARRY DOMSKY Through May 30, Mon.-Thu. 7a-5:30p.  Glassworks designed and created by this husband-and-wife team, including newer pieces that fit the format and space of City Hall as well as pieces from their collection. Las Vegas City Hall Grand Gallery, 495 S. Main St., First floor, ART IN THE GARDENS - ART IN MOTION: THE KINETIC WIND ART OF MARK WHITE Through Sept. 30. Relax and contemplate nature and art amidst the blooming Botanical Gardens! Designed to encourage self-reflection, these sculptures move whimsically, precisely balanced to respond to the lightest winds, yet strong enough to withstand 100 MPH winds. Free for members or included with paid general admission. Springs Preserve WARHOL OUT WEST Through Oct. 27, 10a-8p; complimentary docent tours 2p daily. The only comprehensive Andy Warhol collection in the United States outside of his namesake museum in Pittsburgh, showcasing 59 of the iconic artist’s works and focusing on his depiction of all things Western in paintings, sculptures, photographs, screen prints and wallpaper. $11-$16 includes audio tours; free for 12 and younger. Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, 50 GREATEST PHOTOGRAPHS OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Limited engagement, daily 9:30a–7p, last ticket sold at 6p. Learn the stories behind these iconic photographs and more about the photographers themselves, including “near frames”: the sequence of images made in the field before and after the perfect shot, plus documentary videos. $13-$16, 12 and under free when accompanied by a paying adult. Imagine Exhibitions Gallery at the Venetian, FIRST FRIDAY March 1 & April 5, 5-11p. 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, SKY FIELD BY SCOTT GROW March 1-23, reception March 3, 3-6p. P  art of

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

this artist’s ongoing work, “Voyage of the Man Who Fell to Earth,” his project involves a miniature “spaceman” cast from a melteddown meteorite that landed on Earth nearly 6,000 years ago. Also, a neon/aluminum sculpture, “Poor Pluto,” and a series of acrylic/ resin paintings inspired by deep space and astronomical time. RTZvegas at Arts Square, 1017 S. First St. #195,

gone couture. Organized by Fashion for a Cause and the Springs Preserve, this exhibit features looks from designers constructed from recycled or reused materials, sustainable fabrics or locally-produced wares. See how fashion can make a positive impact in the community. Free for members or included with paid general admission. Big Springs Gallery at Springs Preserve

DANCE XOCHIPILLI FOLKLORICO March 16, 7p. T  his Mexican folkloric dance troupe is named after the god of art, dance and flowers. In this show, the group takes the audience on a journey through Mexican culture, through its folklore and its dance. $10 advance, $12 door. Winchester Cultural Center Theater

THE 10TH CIRCLE - TO HELL AND BACK March 2-April 13; March 13 artist talk and panel discussion. Curator David Pagel brings together works that look like they have been through the wringer and have emerged from the journey battered and more beautiful than ever before: more fierce, even ferocious, in their pieced-backtogether defiance, their mutant beauty more unsettling and potent. VAST space projects and USA Lounge, MICHAEL SUMMERS March 8-10. The “Pop Surrealist” paintings by this artist portray a crisp and colorful world, alive with nostalgia, splendor, playfulness and whimsy. By taking everyday objects and imagery and putting them in a new context, he encourages people to take another look at the world around them. Exclusive Collections Gallery inside The Forum Shops at Caesars, KRYSTAL RAMIREZ March 19-May 10, reception March 22, 5:30-7:3p.  This mixed media installation of photography, drawings, and video reflects on the construction of our public identities through technology and social media, including the editing of our settings and selective posting and over-sharing through obsessive status updates. Winchester Cultural Center Gallery, SPIRIT JOURNEYS BY RAINER BERTRAMS March 21-May 4, Wed.-Fri. 12:30-9p & Sat. 9a-6p; reception March 21, 6-8p. Images focusing on meditative subjects and themes that explore humankind’s existential struggles for a universal understanding of human nature. Charleston Heights Art Center, 800 S Brush St., SEVENTH ANNUAL MINIATURE SHOW March 22-24. Throughout the ages, miniature works of art have become some of the most coveted of all art forms. This rich tradition continues with masterful small paintings by 13 top artists, including Henry Asencio, Christopher M., Michael Flohr, Gloria Lee, Daniel Merriam, Daniel Ryan, Michael Summers, and more. Exclusive Collections Gallery inside The Forum Shops at Caesars, SUSTAINABLE STYLE: FASHION AND PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT March 22–June 16. The Springs Preserve has | 75

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

FOLK CELEBRATION AND STAGE PERFORMANCE March 23, 12:30-6:30p. This full day’s celebration includes: a theatre concert featuring Zarnia, an international dance artist who specializes in Middle Eastern dances with elaborate costuming; musician RJ Fox playing flamenco-style guitar accompanied by flamenco dancers; and the Las Vegas Kaminari Taiko Drummers, a performance group affiliated with the Japanese American Citizens League. $10.

Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St., IVERIA March 30, 2p. T  his Georgian national song and dance ensemble won First Place in 2003 at St. Petersburg’s Days of Commemoration of the city’s 300th anniversary. Directed by David Rusiya and choreographed by Irakli Rusiya, the ensemble performs the traditional poignant songs and fiery dances from nearly every region

of Georgia in its authentic style. $10 advance, $12 door. Winchester Cultural Center Theater

MUSIC MASTER SERIES: CHINA NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA March 6, 8-10p. A  truly international program that includes Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor and the violin concerto “The Butterfly Lovers,” featuring solo violinist Xi Chen, under the music direction of Xia Guan. $35$75, $14.25 student rush tickets available one hour prior to curtain time. Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, THE COMPOSERS SHOWCASE March 6, 10:30p. “Jersey Boys” conductor Keith Thompson hosts this monthly musical showcase that features original music from some of Las Vegas’ best composers and songwriters, performed by some of the most well-known local performers and musicians. The informal showcase is always diverse, eclectic and entertaining, featuring a high caliber of musicianship and artistry. $20. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center SPEAKEASY SWINGERS March 9, 2p. This jazz band’s members are: vocalist Jeanne Brei, trombonist Bobby Scann, trumpeter Michael Ray Tyler, pianist Charlie Shaffer, bassist Dick Jones, drummer Paul Testa, and 91-year-old saxophonist Don Hill, who played two years with Louis Armstrong and was an essential part of The Treniers (the early R&B and rock band that became the longest-lasting Las Vegas lounge act in history). $10 advance, $12 door. Winchester Cultural Center Theater THE DOO WOP PROJECT March 9, 5 & 8p. A  night of singing and storytelling from the cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway smash, “Jersey Boys.” You’ll hear about their upbringings and their lives in show business, while enjoying Doo Wop classics such as “Gloria” and “I Only Have Eyes For You” along with recent hits by Amy Winehouse and Jason Mraz. $39-$65. Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center LIGHTS, CAMERA … THE OSCARS! March 9, 8p. L  as Vegas Philharmonic presents an evening of memorable Academy Award -winning and -nominated film scores and songs, conducted by Randall Craig Fleischer with soprano Teri Dale Hansen and baritone Nat Chandler. $46-$94. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, MONTREAL GUITARE TRIO March 13, 8-10:30p. T  ouring the U.S. to launch their new CD, “Live,” Canada’s hottest classical guitar ensemble is noted for their wit and warmth of audience interaction. Sponsored by Dr. Mitchell and Pearl Forman. $40, $14.25 student rush tickets available one hour prior

6 | Desert 7

Companion | March 2013

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

to curtain time. Lee and Thomas Beam Music Center at UNLV, DOWNTOWN CULTURAL SERIES: BILL AND KATE ISLES March 15, noon-1p. B  ring your lunch and enjoy this all-ages concert by an acoustic singer/ songwriter duo based in Duluth, Minn. They tour nationally, entertaining audiences with a wide variety of musical styles, catchy melodies and memorable songs. Free. Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse, Jury Assembly Room, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. S., ORGAN RECITAL BY DR. JAMES KIBBIE March 15, 7:30p. Internationally renowned as an authority on the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Dr. Kibbie, Professor of Organ, has performed the cycle of Bach organ works in a series of eighteen recitals, releasing recordings of the complete Bach works on historic baroque organs in Germany. Hosted by The Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Free. Christ Church Episcopal, 2000 S. Maryland Parkway, BRUCE COCKBURN March 15-16, 7:30p. Performing songs from his 31st album, “Small Source of Comfort,” this prolific musician’s first appearance in Las Vegas is primarily acoustic, yet rhythmically savvy. A rich blend folk, blues, jazz and rock, it will also feature his typically detailed observations about the human experience and stories from his world travels. $35-$45. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center UNLV OPERA THEATRE: THE ELIXIR OF LOVE March 16, 7:30-10p; March 17, 1p. Gaetano Donizetti’s classic comic opera, updated to a contemporary Vegas casino. Sung in Italian with English supertitles, featuring the famous aria “Una Furtiva Lagrima.” Directed by Linda Lister, with the UNLV Symphony Orchestra conducted by Taras Krysa and the UNLV Chamber Chorale directed by David Weiller. $15-$25, $5 for students with valid ID. Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, FLOGGING MOLLY WITH MARIACHI EL BRONX March 16, 9p. Enjoy a raucous and adrenaline-fueled show, headlined by a band that has always defied categorization: Punk rock infused with Celtic instruments (violin, mandolin and accordion) and blues progressions are merged with grinding guitars and traditional Irish music, making music of exile and rebellion, of struggle, history and protest. $47.75. Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan, THE MUSIC OF CHICK COREA BY THE SFJAZZ COLLECTIVE March 22, 7p; March 23, 2 & 7p. E  ach year, these exceptional soloists, composers and bandlead-

78 | Desert

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ers perform new compositions, as well as new arrangements of compositions by a modern jazz master. Through this pioneering approach, honoring jazz history while championing the music’s up-to-the-minute directions, they embody a commitment to jazz as a living, ever-relevant art form. $39-$59. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center WINCHESTER’S ENCORE, A SHOW CHOIR March 29, 6p. A  choir made up of youth between the ages of eight and 18 who love to perform pop hits as a choir, as soloists and in duets, presenting their own arrangements and choreography. $7. Winchester Cultural Center Theater

THEATER EQUUS BY PETER SHAFER March 8-9 & 14-16, 8p; March 10 & 17, 2p. P  sychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart is faced with treating a boy who has blinded six horses in a hysterical fit of passion. These violent acts lead the doctor down a twisted road of discovery to a complex and disturbing confrontation with his new patient. Directed by Todd Espeland. $20$30. Judy Bayley Theatre at UNLV THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD EARNS HER WHISTLE March 9, 10:30a. This uplifting musical follows the adventures of The Little Blue Engine, who dreams to someday pull the Piney Vale Express, just like her best friend Rusty. Emboldened by self-confidence, she then performs an extraordinary feat of strength and courage! Presented for all ages by Target and ArtsPower. $3. Historic Fifth Street School Auditorium,

LECTURES, SPEAKERS AND PANELS RED ROCK CANYON VISITOR GUIDE BOOK SIGNING March 2, 1-3p. Local author Tom Moulin provides the best of what to see and do at Red Rock Canyon, as well as insight into the area’s colorful history, amazing plants, and exciting animals. A guide for both locals and visitors, it is sized to be out in the field and constructed to withstand years of abuse. Free. Nevada State Museum, 309 S. Valley View Blvd., AN EVENING WITH JULIA QUINN AND SARAH MACLEAN March 4, 7p. Join these best-selling historical romance authors for a vibrant discussion of love and literature. Through Quinn’s wild romps through London and Scotland and the lush world of MacLean’s 19th century casinos, they will shed light on the romance genre and talk writing, research, history and happily ever after. A booksigning and reception will follow. Free. Jewel Box Theater at Clark County Library,

THE ARAB SPRING: BETWEEN HOPES AND IMPEDIMENTS March 6, 7p. In 2011, popular uprisings swept across North Africa and the Middle East, fundamentally reshaping the political landscape of the Muslim world. Professors John P. Entelis, Hamadi Redissi, Mustapha Marrouchi and Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation of Human Rights Sophie Bessis will discuss the successes and failures during this pivotal time. Free. Student Union Ballroom at UNLV, SEX FOR SALE March 7, 7:30p. In Western cultures, it is widely held that prostitution is immoral and ought to be illegal. Arguments come from a variety of perspectives: religious, historical, sociological, psychological, legal and ethical. Dr. Graham G. Priest, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, will examine these views and show why they are not justified. Co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV. Free. Barrick Museum Auditorium ROSEMAN UNIVERSITY TEA March 9, 2-4p. A wonderful afternoon of tea and treats, accompanied by a talk about how to prevent dental problems for children. Presented by Dr. Prashanti Bollu, national speaker and professor of Dental Medicine and research. $75-$110. Ravella at Lake Las Vegas, 1610 Lake Las Vegas Parkway, A VISIT WITH PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN March 12, 7:30p. Dr. Noel H. Pugach, Emeritus Professor of History, has been impersonating President Truman for more than 25 years. He will discuss his presidency, with an emphasis on foreign affairs: the decision to drop the Atomic Bomb, the evolution of the Cold War, the recognition of Israel, the Korean War, and the firing of General MacArthur, as well as his initiatives on Civil Rights. Free. Barrick Museum Auditorium, WHY EVERYONE (ELSE) IS A HYPOCRITE March 14, 7:30p . Why are people so inconsistent and often seem to contradict themselves? Why do they say “don’t do X” and then go do that very thing? Robert Kurzban, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, explains why: The mind, like a smart phone, is made up of a large number of parts, which conflict with one another! Co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, UNLV. Free. Barrick Museum Auditorium, THE POETS’ CORNER March 15, 7p. A monthly forum for established poets and open-mic participants, featuring the best local poetry talent. Hosted by Keith Brantley. Free. W. Las Vegas Arts Center Community Gallery, 947 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 229-4800

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

THE END OF MEN: MYTH OR REALITY? March 19, 7:30p. Ann C. McGinley, William S. Boyd Professor of Law, challenges Hanna Rosin’s assertion in The End of Men that women will soon overtake men in workplaces. She explores changing relationships between the sexes and how the law has affected gender dynamics at work, and how the increasing sexualization of Las Vegas casino jobs affects job prospects and relationships. Free. Barrick Museum Auditorium, EUROPE IN CRISIS: THE ECONOMY, THE PUBLIC, AND THE WELFARE STATE April 2, 7:30p. Although the EU has a common market, welfare assistance varies widely. During economic downturns, diversity increases as countries shield their citizens in varying degrees from the main fall-out of the crises. Are these experiences so diverse, we cannot speak of a common European social net? Christine Lipsmeyer, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, answers the question. Free. Barrick Museum Auditorium,

FAMILY & FESTIVALS CSI: CRIME SCENE INSECTS Through May 12. Crime-solving insects crack the case, and you’re the witness! Inspired by the hit television series, this hands-on exhibit developed by ExhibitIQ invites investigation into the fascinating field of forensic entomology (the use of insects to help solve crimes). Free for members or included with paid general admission. Springs Preserve 10TH ANNUAL BARK IN THE PARK March 2, 10a-3p. Raffles, a pet/owner look-alike contest, silly dog tricks, fly ball and Frisbee fun by Atomic Dogs, demos by the City of Henderson Police Department K-9 Unit, and pet adoptions! Dogs must be leashed and under the control of a handler at least 10 years of age and responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Free. Cornerstone Park, 1600 Wigwam Parkway, WILD SOUTH AMERICA - ANIMAL SHOW March 16-May, weekends and holidays 11a & 1p. From rainforest to desert, these animals have adapted to survive in their unique habitats, much like the animals in the Mojave. Rotating cast of live animals may include snakes, macaws, llamas, conures, parrots, tarantulas, coatimundi, capybara, kinkajou, Patagonian Mara, and the endangered Andean Condor. Included with general admission. Outdoor Amphitheater (weather permitting) at Springs Preserve WILD SOUTH AMERICA - BACKSTAGE PASS March 16-May, weekends and holidays 2p.

Touch and take photos with several of the animals from the Wild South America show, and learn more about how they are cared for and trained. $10 per person; a paying adult must accompany children under 5; all guests 2 and older must be ticketed for the Backstage Pass. Springs Preserve EGGSTRAVAGANZA! March 30, 10a-3p. Hop on by for an egg scavenger hunt for kids of all ages, bunny petting pen, pictures with the Easter Bunny, arts and crafts, food, live entertainment and much more. Made possible in part by the generous support of MGM Resorts International. Adults free, kids access activity pass $8 members, $10 non-members. General admission required for museums and galleries. Springs Preserve

FUNDRAISERS ST. BALDRICK’S HEAD-SHAVING March 2, 1p. S  hed your locks to support the fight against childhood cancer! Interested participants can register online to be shaved at Rí Rá or donate time or money to the cause. Once registered, volunteers raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation by soliciting donations for the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. Rí Rá inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place,


NEXT We will highlight spring fashion in a gorgeous photo feature and profile the valley’s most interesting homes. We’ll also show readers how to do a little interior design themselves.

HOPE IS BORN NIGHT OUT March 14. A cocktail party hosted by a local celebrity, with a heavy appetizers buffet, edgy performances, live and silent auctions. Proceeds benefit The Pregnancy Foundation, which promotes full-term pregnancies by providing scholarship opportunities to physicians specializing in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. $150 individual, $1,750 table of eight, raffle tickets $100. The ACT at The Shoppes at The Palazzo, SPRINGS PRESERVE RUNWAY SHOW March 20, 6p. This sustainable fashion show features looks from local designers constructed from recycled or reused materials, or sustainable raw materials. Hosted appetizers and drinks pre-show, during a silent auction of selected fashions. Proceeds will benefit the Springs Preserve Foundation, supporting educational and programming activities at the Preserve. $100 general admission, $150 VIP seating, $150. Springs Preserve, Katie Horn at 822-8630 23RD NEVADA CHILD SEEKERS ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT March 25, registration 11a, shotgun 12:30p. P  rep your caddy bag, polish your golf clubs and dust your golf shoes to raise awareness and funds for missing, abducted and runaway children. $100 per person. Painted Desert Golf Club of Las Vegas,




w! Call 5N9o -7813 702-2

FOR MORE INFORMATION contact your Desert Companion representative or Christine Kiely at 702-259-7813 | 79

end note

The cold truth: Red Rock on a recent winter morning


Early last year, I managed to convince two buddies to go camping with me at Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park — in the dead of bone-cold winter. We knew it was a fool’s errand, with daytime highs in the teens and overnight lows in the ... well, let’s just say I still shiver to think about it. When we set up camp, we realized we were the only hikers crazy enough sleep out in that bitter cold. Ours were the only tents in the entire national park. It wasn’t comfortable, but we didn’t suffer. We came prepared with warm clothing, good sleeping bags and a passable bottle of bourbon to accompany our campfire. (Fact: While liquor does not actually warm the body, it is good for morale.) The frigid temperatures were a small price to pay for a magical trip I’ll never forget. Capitol Reef is beautiful any time of year, but with the usual palette of reds, pinks and purples complemented by ephemeral, brilliant patches of white, it was breathtaking. And the sounds. We heard the bubbling of distant creeks, birds chirping from cliff tops,

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Companion | MARCH JANUARY 2013 2013

squirrels crunching through snow — the sounds that few humans get to hear any more. Amid this snowy solitude, we knew what it was like to be pioneers, to visit a natural and incredibly scenic land — and to have it to ourselves. During our visit, the park would only see nine other tourists. It doesn’t take a trip to central Utah to have this kind of experience. For a few days each year, Red Rock is overcome with nature’s bitter chill. Icicles hang from red cliffs; drab browns and grays are replaced with a vibrant white. The park, already beautiful, is transformed into the kind of place that wins photo contests. Best of all, the usual throng of weekend warriors is nestled snugly indoors. There’s a saying in the outdoors community: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices.” When “inclement” weather has me stuck indoors, I think back to these fleeting moments, grab my coat and camera, and head for the hills. Maybe you’ll see me there. Or, better yet, maybe you won’t see anyone at all. — Alan Gegax

r e d r o c k p h oto : m i c h a e l m c c o o k

Let’s talk about the weather

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Desert Companion - March 2013