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Fall fashion









Indie film director Kelly Schwarze keeps it reel







Style, taSte and Venice on a Grand Scale

160 SiGnature StoreS. 36 world claSS reStaurantS. 1 uniquely Venetian experience. diane Von FurStenberG tory burch chriStian louboutin jimmy choo michael korS burberry bauman rare bookS tao aSian biStro & niGhtclub SuShiSamba cut by wolFGanG puck emeril laGaSSe’S delmonico SteakhouSe

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University of Nevada School of Medicine

Congratulationsto the physicians and surgeons honored in this year’s Best Doctors

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editor’s note


The art of the matter “It was the first and best perfor-

Next month in Desert Companion

I propose a toast ... to our drinking issue

4 | Desert

mance I’ve ever seen.” That’s what a grade-schooler wrote after attending one of the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s Youth Concert Series shows, an annual, five-day tear of concerts at The Smith Center that treats valley fourthand fifth-graders to what is often their first taste of orchestral music — for many, their first soul-stirring communion with performed music as vigorous, vitalizing art. Other choice quotes from the thank-you notes written by these young listeners: “I dreamed we were at a forest.” “We stopped at a castle and went through the doors, then the conductor came out and they played magical songs.” “I felt like I was in heaven. You can just imagine it.” And you can just imagine these wide-eyed students filing out of the concert hall after the show, their minds all fizzing and crackling with new energies. The Youth Concert Series in January is just one facet of the Philharmonic’s educational outreach, which also includes a statewide concerto competition for young musicians and in-school master classes that have the Philharmonic’s musicians teaching kids how to shred on the violin and rock the tuba. The Philharmonic isn’t the only one thinking about young people. For its part, Nevada Ballet Theatre offers at-risk youth opportunities for balletic expression with its Future Dance program (p. 28) — dance courses for young people who might never be able to afford such classes otherwise. For those students who show exceptional promise, Nevada Ballet Theatre offers scholarships, and even takes on toptier students as trainees. Meanwhile, The Smith Center is in the midst of

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

its Any Given Child initiative. Backed by the expertise of The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the program seeks to plug our arts, cultural and performance organizations into our schools, creating a home-brewed arts education curriculum for thousands of students from kindergarten through eighth grade. On top of that, The Smith Center recently landed a grant from Disney to help five lower-income Clark County schools build theater programs. As students herd back to school this fall, countless traditions come with the season: buying the notebooks and backpacks, packing school lunches, peeling kids off the iPad for earlier bedtimes. Another, less happy tradition: bemoaning the state of arts education in public schools. It’s no secret that the Clark County School District isn’t exactly flush with cash, and in times of tight budgets (ahem, all the time in a state with a wobbly, three-legged table passing as a stable tax structure), art and music classes are often the first to go. Consider this portion of the program your standard battle cry for improving arts education funding. Because, whether you’re an idealist or a pragmatist, you’ve got to admit the catalytic power of the arts on youth: In addition to teaching them about truth and beauty and the radiant nobility of the human soul and all that, education in the arts has also been shown to prime those spongy minds for learning math and science as well. (I dimly suspect I might have a balanced checkbook today if only my trigonometry teacher had played piano.) But what repeatedly struck me as we put together our annual fall culture

guide was how many of our local arts organizations and institutions — in addition to, you know, doing their main thing creating beauty and keeping the radiant nobility of our souls humming at proper calibration — commit time and energy to entire programs dedicated to inspiring and teaching valley youth. Amid the tussle of the larger issue of properly funding schools to include courses in art, music and performance, these groups are the boots — or, rather, the ballet slippers and violin bows — on the ground in our community right now. They’re not just stimulating hungry young minds. They’re also creating tomorrow’s audiences and tomorrow’s performers — pretty important, wouldn’t you say, in a city with entertainment sizzling in its DNA? The show has just begun, but so what: Give them a standing ovation now. Andrew Kiraly Editor


EDUCATION Education is critical to improving the quality of life for our communities. Caesars

Foundation has joined Teach For America’s efforts to eliminate education inequity by enlisting our nation’s most promising future leaders to teach in high-risk schools. Through our partnership with Teach For America we have adopted Walter V. Long Elementary School for the second consecutive year, and for the first time we are adopting Jerome Mack Junior High School – both for the 2013-2014 school year, in an effort to engage parents and students in a variety of sponsored activities. Find out more about how these organizations are supporting education in Nevada. 4 color process

Visit Teach For America’s website at and Vegas PBS at

® The will to do wonders®

contents desert companion magazine //



All Things to All People Page turners By Ricardo Torres



Gateway to Zion By Alan Gegax



Making a move By Chantal Corcoran



A very special episode By Lissa Townsend Rodgers


Refuge for the lost By Emmily Bristol



Over the rainbow roll By Brock Radke



76 Making the grade


Prep school gets a playful makeover in this season’s looks for little scholars

55 Fall culture guide

84 The plush life

Clear up your calendar, because this fall is gonna be filled with art, music, theater and more 6 | Desert

This season’s chilly weather styles blend comfort and structure

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

From rock to theater to dance, your guide to culture


End note

The Card Artist By Mike Newman

on the cover Indie filmmaker Kelly Schwarze Photography by Christopher Smith

G i r l O n B u s : Rob e r t J o h n K l e y ; B ook G u i l d : B r e n t Ho l m e s ; B a l l e r i n a : J a c ob M c C a r t h y ; F oo d : S a b i n O r r



Tony Hsieh

Michael Feinstein: The Gershwins and Me

Photo by Jay Blakesberg, Aaron Farrington.

Audra McDonald in Concert

The Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater — Fall Concert Series 2013

Photos by Scott Raffe.

Judy Collins

Zoppé — An Italian Family Circus

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra

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

Mariza World Tour 2013

Photo by Sandrine Lee.

Salzburg Marionette Theater

Photo by AJ Mast.

Ladies of Jazz

Esperanza Spalding photo by Carlos Pericas.

Kronos Quartet: Kronos at 40

Photo by Michael Wilson.

Photo by Jay Blakesberg ©


The Blues

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 Account executives Sharon Clifton, Robyn Mathis, Carol Skerlich, Markus Van’t Hul


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. “The earth has music for those who listen.” —George Santayana

Marketing Associate Lisa Kelly Subscription manager Chris Bitonti Web administrator Danielle Branton

2 2 2 2 2 2

0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 1 1 1

Contributing writers Cybele, Emmily Bristol, Chantal Corcoran, Scott Dickensheets, Megan Edwards, Hektor Esparza, Alan Gegax, Mélanie Hope, Matt Kelemen, Kathryn Kruse, Debbie Lee, Christie Moeller, Mike Newman, Mike Prevatt, Brock Radke, Lissa Townsend Rodgers, Norm Schilling, Linda J. Simpson, Ricardo Torres, Kristy Totten

7 8 9 0 1 2

Contributing artists Bill Hughes, Jacob McCarthy, Sabin Orr 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

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3433 Losee Road, Suite 4 North Las Vegas, NV 89030 8 | Desert

Companion | SEPTEMBER 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)


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Board of Directors Officers

Susan malick Brennan, chair Brennan Consulting Group, LLC cynthia alexander, ESQ. vice chair Snell & Wilmer TIM WONG, treasurer Arcata Associates

Prepare to Compete

Lee Business School’s part-time MBA is ranked in the top 28% by U.S. News and World Report.

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

Earn your degree part-time in the evening while continuing to work. Evening MBA Program The MBA program provides professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the fast-paced world of business through innovative and dynamic programs and courses. Dual MBA Programs · MBA/MS in Hotel Administration with the Harrah College of Hotel Administration · MBA/JD with the Boyd Law School · MBA/DDS with the School of Dental Medicine · MBA/MS in Management Information Systems

Elizabeth FRETWELL, Chair emeritus City of Las Vegas Jan Jones Blackhurst Caesars Entertainment Corporation John R. Klai II Klai Juba Architects gavin isaacs SHFL Entertainment 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:

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Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

SEPTEMBER 6 –7, 2013 CELEBRATE STYLE At The Forum Shops Festival of Fashion two-day extravaganza, you’ll enjoy live fashion presentations, beauty bars, food, drink, music, one-of-a-kind in-store events, limited edition products and more. For additional information visit us on Facebook at

SEPTEMBER 6 –7, 2013 CELEBRATE STYLE At The Forum Shops Festival of Fashion two-day extravaganza, you’ll enjoy live fashion presentations, beauty bars, food, drink, music, one-of-a-kind in-store events, limited edition products and more. For additional information visit us on Facebook at

Available at

When ordinary is not enough.

The Trails Village Center 1900 Village Center Circle, Summerlin 702.256.3900



to all people



Old school

Staging a movement: from left, Rehan Choudhry, Joey Vanas and Michael Cornthwaite

From left, Lou and Myrna Donato, Phil and Barbara DeFlumear, Leo Behnke and Pat McCarty


p h oto : b r e n t h o l m e s

Bound together So Las Vegas isn’t exactly known as a bookish town. Don’t tell that to Ann DeVere. She’ll laugh. “I’m just so delighted at people telling me people in Las Vegas don’t read anything but the top of a craps table. It’s not true ... there’s a whole culture of readers here,” says DeVere, owner of 20-year-old Plaza Books off Eastern and Warm Springs. “We’re a lot richer culture in that regard than people give us credit for.” Why is she so upbeat — what with e-books, Amazon, smartphones and the ADD culture of the Internet eating away at the contemplative virtues of the indie book shop? Because DeVere is part of a guild — the Las Vegas Bookmans Guild. If it sounds archaic, that’s because it is. The guild system goes back hundreds of years, when medieval merchants cooperated to establish and maintain standards of their craft. One key element of this old-school idea: focusing more on collaboration than competition. Guild members regularly refer customers to each other and meet monthly to discuss popular literary themes and buying trends. The guild ( has become a survival tactic in an era of changing reading habits. “In the used bookstore business, there is no competition,” says guild member Myrna Donato, who co-owns Amber Unicorn Books. Case in point: during the inter-

Hear more

Pop quiz: What town has Nevada’s oldest and smallest school still in continuous operation? If you answered Goodsprings — located just 34 miles southwest of Las Vegas — retired Goodsprings schoolteacher Julie Newberry might just give you a gold star. Talk about resilience. One hundred years later, class is still in session. On Sept. 14, the school, originally built as a one-room schoolhouse (with two outhouses) for the whopping cost of $2,000, celebrates its 100th anniversary. “I have said that if there is ever a fire, these things go out the window before I do,” says Newberry.

view, Donato helps a customer searching for a cookbook. When she realizes Amber Unicorn doesn’t carry it, Donato offers to track down a copy at another local store. “Our main goal is to get the book in the hands of the customer. They need to know that they’re valuable.” She says the guild has certainly helped business; Amber Unicorn’s sales are up from last year and she’s even planning to expand the store for the second time in five years. Across the street is something telling: an empty building that once housed a Borders Books. Also nearby is Greyhound’s Books. The store, rich with the smell of bound pages and swells of classical music, continued on pg. 14 is owned by Phil DeFlumear. “We want to eliminate the stigma of crap bookstores,” DeFlumear says of the guild. “You have to be worthy of shopping here to be here.” He doesn’t say this with an impertinent tone; he simply appreciates informed customers who invest time in reading. His own love of books is infectious: DeFlumear shares his 60 years of book store Keep up with Desert biz wisdom with students at UNLV, where Companion events, news he teaches classes on running a book store. and bonus features at Several of his students are even aspiring used-book store owners — and also part of the guild. Call them the next title in the series. — Ricardo Torres

Brenda Hear a discussion Priddy discusses of big books “car spy that photography” became evenon bigger “KNPR’s movies Stateonof“KNPR’s Nevada”State at of Nevada” at | 13

The party wouldn’t be a true celebration of a historic school if it didn’t have an educational twist. As part of the celebration, they’ll offer tours of the school and historical displays collected by Newberry. A parade of Model Ts, an auction and placing of a time capsule by the school’s current students are also part of the daylong event. A bonus: a walking tour of the town led by members of the Goodsprings Historical Society. Mark P. Hall-Patton, Clark County Museum system administrator and expert on the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars” says, “It’s a great way to understand some of the heritage of Clark County.” Info: goodsprings. org — Linda J. Simpson

ON THE TOWN Gather up your wenches, halberds, flagons and ye other olde medieval thingamajigs for the Age of Chivalry festival Oct. 11-13 at Sunset Park. Info:

14 | Desert

e duc a t i o n

The art of learning

It’s typical for kids to sing songs in kindergarten classrooms to help the learning process along. You already know this well — can you recite the alphabet without getting the “ABC” song in your head? Kim Glover knows this particularly well. After all, in addition to being a teacher, Kim Glover is also an actor (most recently, she played Nurse Ratched in a spring production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). She regularly incorporates the arts into her lesson plans, but this year Glover is taking music, dance and even finger-painting to a whole new level in her classroom. That’s because this year, Glover, a longtime Clark County School District teacher, is one of 39 instructors teaching at the newly opened Doral Academy. It’s a kindergarten to seventh-grade charter school, and Las Vegas’ first fully arts-integrated program. It opened last month, and it’s already popular: This summer, Doral ( fielded 1,800 applicants for only 750 spots; selections were determined via lottery. “By incorporating dancing, singing, movement, acting, I can better get my students to learn basic concepts faster and with ease,” says Glover, who is also the mother of two CCSD graduates, a high school student and a first-grader at Doral. Doral is not a school for the performing arts — say, like Las Vegas Academy. An arts-integrated school doesn’t teach just the arts, but rather teaches traditional school subjects through the arts. For instance, a fifth-grade teacher instructing on spatial relationships might work with a visual arts teacher. Together they would plan and teach the lessons, which, in an arts-integrated curriculum are often project-intense, focusing on both the art and math objective. Students

Companion | September 2013

not only explore spatial relationships, but gain an appreciation for the arts. “It’s very purposeful, and the students are very much part of that process,” says Doral Academy Principal Bridget Phillips, since the goal is “to get children up, engaged, moving, using their bodies, creating.” She adds, “Children really learn better when they’re using all of the different modalities.” To meet objectives, the school has hired some specially licensed teachers, such as its media productions teacher, formerly with Channel 13, and a dance teacher from the Nevada Ballet Theatre. Beyond core subjects and the basics such as art, music and P.E., Doral elementary students receive instruction in media production, violin, theater and dance. “Art is in my blood,” says Joanie B. Zibert Williams, Doral Academy’s board president and one of the founders. Williams says that she and other southwest community parents had been offering art classes from their homes to compensate for the lack of arts in public schools. This and her dissatisfaction with large class sizes led to conversations, which led to research and planning, and eventually the charter school, where her third- and fourth-grade children attend. Her four-year-old son will join them when Doral’s pre-kindergarten program opens in January. “I want my youngest to become a learner. I want him to love learning and to not think of it as a chore but as something fun,” says kindergarten teacher Glover. “It is not about, ‘Read this book and answer the questions.’ Using the arts in education fires different synapses in their brains that are not stimulated through regular pen and paper work.” — Chantal Corcoran

a g e o f c h iva l r y p h oto : f r e d m o r l e d g e ; I l l u s t r at i o n : B r e n t h OLMES

continued from pg. 13


Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil ® present

A CHOREOGRAPHERS’ SHOWCASE October 6 & 13, 2013 | Mystère Theatre, Treasure Island

Photo by Alicia Lee

This October, we bring back A Choreographers’ Showcase, the collaboration by Cirque du Soleil ® and Nevada Ballet Theatre presented in the Mystère Theatre at Treasure Island. This critically acclaimed partnership features new works created and performed by artists from both organizations.

Tickets: $25 & $45 | (702) 894-7722 Season Sponsors:


16 | Desert

Companion | September 2013

The Vegas pulp collection and its curator, mark hall-patton PHOTOGRAPH BY Bill Hughes

If paperback fiction authors are cooks, Las Vegas is the seasoning they want within easy reach. Setting too bland? Nothing a little Sin City can’t fix. Characters too flat? Turn them into mobsters or showgirls. It’s a secret plenty of authors have known since the dawn of pulp. Proof: Seventeen banker’s boxes at the Clark County Museum containing more than 1,000 mass-market paperback novels published within the last 60-plus years. They range from whodunits to sci-fi, but they all share that same spice: They all take place in Las Vegas.

A longtime book collector, Clark County Museum Administrator Mark Hall-Patton has been “picking up” paperback novels set in Las Vegas for around a decade. “About seven years ago, I got serious about it,” he says. As a historian, he realized that the books could provide a unique basis for research into portrayals of Las Vegas. “I chose mass- market fiction,” he says, his idea being that a comprehensive gathering of “throw-away” books would offer insight into the role Las Vegas has played in popular culture over the last half-century. With titles like Dealing Out Death and Sin Binge, they were written to entertain for a few hours and then to be tossed aside. “Neon Nightmare!” screams one back cover. “She gambled with lust in a shower of shame!” declares another. Though produced for nothing more than titillation, as a group they paint an evolving portrait of Las Vegas since the end of World War II. “Vegas shows up sometimes in places where you wouldn’t expect it,” Hall-Patton says. There’s a novel about nuns, for example, and a sci-fi story about a gambling planet modeled on the Strip. While he does use keyword “Vegas” to scour sites like Harlequin and AbeBooks, Hall-Patton also keeps an eye out when prowling used bookstores and checks out suggestions from people — always paying from his own

pocket, though he’s donated the collection to the museum. As long as the story is set in Vegas, it’s a mass-market title, and he can get a physical copy, Hall-Patton wants it. Mystery, fantasy, romance, police procedurals, television and movie novelizations, men’s action, chick lit — Las Vegas has lent its neon brilliance to all of them as well as to a more vague but instantly recognizable genre Hall-Patton calls “sleaze.” In the early novels — those written in the two decades after World War II — the Mob is a major focus. “Las Vegas doesn’t have any redeeming features,” Hall-Patton says. It’s unrelenting Sin City, described in almost mythological terms and painted in broad strokes. “Now that there are 2 million people living here,” he says, “it’s had an effect.” In contemporary Vegas novels, details are more accurate and characters more realistic. But even though fewer novels these days feature gambling and mobsters, stereotypical Las Vegas still shines through with tremendous resilience. “As much as we might like to think that Las Vegas is like every other town — it isn’t,” Hall-Patton says. “You won’t see stories set in a drugstore in Henderson.” The novels also reveal the evolution of stock characters. In early novels, women — usually showgirls — are either victims or seductresses defined by their interactions with men. These days, men might figure in, but the women are less often pawns or vixens. “They’re far more likely to be werewolves or vampires,” Hall-Patton says. After all, you can make a 4,000-year-old vampire own a casino. Nobody will ever notice that he never goes outside in the daytime. “I thought this would be an interesting and valuable collection for understanding Las Vegas,” Hall-Patton says. They might be trashy, but thanks to Hall-Patton’s perseverance, generosity and foresight, they are not trash. — Megan Edwards | 17


trend alert

Season closer

Black & white

Fall’s hottest trends to watch for — and wear

Sometimes things are just better in black and white.

LK Bennett black and white jacket, $545, LK Bennett in the Forum Shops at Caesars

by Christie Moeller

Punk’s not dead!

Particularly with these punk-inspired spikes, studs, leather and grommets. Dust off that old band T and infuse a little ’80s punk into your look.

BCBGMAXAZRIA two-tone toggle bracelet, $38, BCBGMAXAZRIA at Town Square, Fashion Show Mall, Forum Shops

DKNY black leather ankle biker boot with studs, $295, DKNY in the Forum Shops at Caesars Valentino Contrast yoke wool & silk dress, $3,390, Nordstrom in the Fashion Show Mall

Thomas Pink Carmen Shirt in white, $300, Thomas Pink in the Shoppes at Palazzo

Skirt the issue

This ultra-chic, ultra-wearable, figureflattering silhouette is a favorite this fall. Hitting just below the knee, it’s a refreshing departure from last season’s shorter-than-short skater skirts.

Bally Papillion pixie bag, $1,795, Bally in the Fashion Show Mall

Top it off

Whether it’s a simple beanie or a chic chapeau, this season, hats are where it’s at. Kate Spade “to the brim” cloche, $148, Kate Spade in the Fashion Show Mal

Thomas Pink Alice skirt, $495, Thomas Pink in the Shoppes at Palazzo

D&Y pink beanie, $24,

Purple pros

The rich vibrant color that symbolizes royalty reigned on the runways this season, chasing away last season’s blues. Sergio Rossi suede caged peep-toe bootie, $995, Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall

LK Bennett Drew heel, $345, LK Bennett in the Forum Shops at Caesars.

Bring out your animal this season with pony hair, leopard prints and zebra.

To the point

Always en vogue, this to-the-point shoe will keep you looking sharp this season.

Formula X for Sephora The Holograms in Hocus Pocus, $12.50, Sephora in Town Square, the Forum Shops at Caesars, the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood

18 | Desert

Animal magnetism

Companion | September 2013

Vince Camuto Kyla tote, $328, Vince Camuto in the Fashion Show Mall


h ow yo u r g a r d e n g r ows

A well-done stake

Take this tree advice

Newly planted trees often require staking to get them off to a good start, promoting root development and supporting weak trunks. The stake that comes with your tree is called the nursery stake or transport stake, and it should be removed the day it’s planted. These stakes are right up against the trunk and can cause injury in the long term by rubbing against the tree’s trunk tissue.

Get trunk: Plant your tree well and it will grow.

ly, take off faster and are healthier and bigger in the long run. My preferred size for new trees is 15-gallon, and if I can find a 5-gallon specimen, I’ll often opt for that. Trees that are smaller at planting time often end up larger than their bigger-planted cousins in a relatively short time — and you pay less in money and labor. — Norm Schilling

pro tip

Power plant

I’ve always said that one of the keys to successful gardening is to put a plant where it wants to be, give it room to grow — then sit back and enjoy a glass of wine. It’s a little more complicated than that, though. Once you’ve decided on the right plant for the right place, proper planting techniques will help assure a long-lived, healthy plant. Oversize the planting hole. The planting hole should be twice the diameter of the container of the plant at the top, and the same size as the diameter at the bottom. But don’t dig any deeper than the depth of the soil in the pot. The planting hole will have a sloping edge, which helps encourage root development into the surrounding soil. Amend the soils. Non-desert species often dislike our alkaline soils. To amend the soil, add the following to the pile of dirt from the hole: 1) Well-decomposed organic matter (it should look like dark, rich soil), at a rate of about 15 percent compared to the pile of backfill. 2) bone meal, 3) soil sulfur pellets (dissolved in water), 4) a good pre-plant fertilizer like Gro-Power Flower-n-Bloom 3-12-12. Handle with care. Handle the root ball gently when removing it from the container. Gently push with long strokes with the ball of your hand on the sides of the container to loosen it, then push up from the bottom of the pot to break it loose. For smaller plants, kneading the edge of the root ball helps break the roots loose and will encourage them to grow into the surrounding soil. For larger, woody plants, use hand pruners to cut the root ball out with vertical slices about an inch deep about every five or six inches around the pot. NS

20 | Desert

Companion | September 2013

If staking is required, purchase “lodge-pole” stakes. Use two or three stakes per tree, set deep into the soil, outside of the tree’s root ball. Use a flexible tie material that is not too thin, so that it doesn’t cut into the trunk tissue. Don’t stake your tree too firmly. It should be able to move in the wind. This movement encourages the trunk to grow stronger. The rule of thumb from the International Society of Arboriculture is that trees should not be left staked more than one year. Along with staking, protect your new tree from sunburn, which can devastate the tree. Protect an exposed trunk with a water-based white paint, or a product like Easy Gardener Jobes Tree Wrap. It stretches and expands with the trunk and provides great initial protection. Remove it entirely after two or three summers have passed. NS

p h oto s : b r e n t h o l m e s

Shopping for a tree? A little detective work get you a happy, healthy tree that’s much more likely to thrive in your garden. Here are some tips. Bigger isn’t better. Don’t buy too large a tree in too small a container. It may seem like a good deal, but it likely has a condition called girdling roots, or pot-bound; the roots have grown into a circle around the edge of the pot. If the condition is uncorrected, the tree may choke itself to death or snap off at the base years after planting. The thick of it. Look for trees with thick trunks for their height and lower foliage along the trunk. Lower foliage feeds and strengthens the trunk directly. It also helps prevent trunk sunburn, which can devastate a tree’s health. In too deep? The tree should also be planted at the right depth in the container. A tree planted too deep can often already have developed disease on the trunk tissue. To see if it’s planted at the right depth, wiggle it in the can or box. If the trunk is pivoting down below the soil, kind of “wallowing” around in the soil, it’s likely planted too deep. The wiggle test also helps determine if the tree has the girdling root condition. If, upon wiggling the tree, you see a heaving plate of soil in a smaller circle, or a distinct curved line where the soil is separating, that tree is likely girdled. Like ’em young. Younger trees establish more quick-

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department travel

With its bars, boutiques and galleries, Springdale is a cozy and cosmopolitan gateway to Zion By Alan Gegax

24 | Desert

Companion | September 2013


Nestled below the towering cliffs at the entrance to Zion National Park, Springdale is probably the most cosmopolitan small town in America — but most tourists seem blissfully unaware of that fact. Most of Zion’s 3 million annual visitors see the town as just a place to park to catch the shuttle in to Zion, and Springdale is fine with that. The 530 folks who call Springdale home exude a quiet confidence commensurate with the impressive offerings that line Zion Park Boulevard, the city’s only trafficked road. Towns this small are usually quiet and conservative, especially in Utah, but with the sheer volume of visitors to Zion, Springdale ( has had to keep with the times. The main road is dotted with art galleries, bars, restaurants, shops, boutiques and hotels worthy of any major city. As Springdale Mayor Pat Cluff puts it, “When you’re in Springdale, you’re not in Utah.” A touching proof of the mayor’s words comes from the two owners of Under the Eaves (, a beautifully appointed bed & breakfast just

p h oto c o u r t e s y s p r i n g d a l e to w n

We’re not in Utah anymore

Grounded sounds: The Earth Day Festival in Zion

Accessible and awesome, Zion is pretty grand, too Though Zion Canyon may not be as massive as its “Grand” neighbor to the south, the amazing features of Zion are much more accessible. Zion’s main attraction is The Narrows, where the Virgin River lets hikers “wade in the shade,” fording upstream beneath cliffs more than 1,000 feet high and as little as 20 feet apart. To get an aerial view of the canyon, test your nerves on Angels Landing, an isthmus of sandstone with 1,500-foot cliffs on three sides. Similar views can be had across the canyon at Observation Point, where hikers need strong legs instead of steady ones — it’s an extra 700 feet of climbing, but not nearly as dangerous. For a short, familyfriendly adventure, check out Weeping Rock, a permanent spring that drips water like rain from an overhanging cliff. Tip: Weeping Rock can be hiked at night, providing sweeping views down canyon with a backdrop of stars. AG

minutes from Zion’s entrance. Mark Chambers and Joe Pitti have been together for 22 years. Four years ago, vacationing at Zion, they stayed at the quiet B&B, fell in love with the place and bought it. The town embraced them. Chambers is now on the town council and Pitti is chair of the planning commission. “We’re stewards of this land,” says Pitti, echoing a sentiment shared by virtually every resident. To feel the love where the locals go, The Bit & Spur ( can’t be beat. Opened in 1981, The Bit, as locals call it, has a large patio where casual diners can watch the setting sun light up The Watchman, one of the incredibly colorful monoliths that make Zion famous. Business is bustling, but Joe Jennings, one of The Bit’s owners, knows it’s all because of Zion. “The park has to be your number one priority if you’re going to have a business in Springdale,” he says. To that end, the Bit & Spur is more than

Swan LakeA Sleeping Beauty A CT II


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Take a hike already

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Quiet riot: Springdale is surprisingly cosmopolitan.

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Companion | September 2013

happy to give up its parking lot for tourists catching the shuttle system into the park. They know that after a long day of hiking, tourists parked in their lot are likely to hop off the shuttle and walk right in to The Bit for a cold beer. The last weekend in September, The Bit & Spur hosts the Zion Canyon Music Festival (zioncanyonmusicfestival. com), a free, two-day outdoor music fest in a uniquely beautiful setting. In keeping with Springdale’s spirit of responsible stewardship, this “Leave No Trace” festival is powered by “solar trailers” that provide portable solar energy. For those with a sweet tooth, no trip to Springdale is complete without a Bumbleberry pie. Baked on site at the Bumbleberry Inn (, the sweet, tart pies have been a Springdale institution for more than 40 years. Rooms at the inn come complete with private decks and access to a small petting zoo. For a more upscale hotel experience, check out the Best Western Zion Park Inn ( Yes, it’s a Best Western, but put out of your mind any images of dreary chain hotels. Clean and modern rooms mean tourists can sleep well after adventuring in Zion. To get ready for the next day’s travels, rooms include a breakfast buffet at the on-site Switchback grill, complete with a live-action egg station (for hungry hikers, this means a lot). The dining room itself is impressive, with bare timbers and enormous, west-facing windows that the staff opens on pleasant days. Best Western’s owner, Mike Marion, embodies the dichotomy of this rural Utah destination. A practicing Mormon, Marion followed in the footsteps of LDS Prophet Joseph Smith by getting into the hotel business. Likewise,

Save the dates Sights, sounds and events in the Zion area this fall and beyond Kokopelli Triathlon Adventurous racers can test themselves with a 1,500-meter swim in the reservoir at Sand Hollow State Park, a 20-mile bike ride amid shifting sand dunes and red sandstone, followed by a 10k back through the park. Sept. 14, St. George,

Tuacahn Amphitheater See a play or hear a concert with the most beautiful set imaginable — Utah’s

Color Country. The natural amphitheater is nestled into the rocks near Snow Canyon State Park and boasts everything from “Mary Poppins” to “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Performances throughout fall,

Utah Shakespeare Festival This month’s offering is the historical drama “Richard II.” Also on tap are “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” a musical set in a 1950s high school, and “Peter and the

Starcatcher,” which tells the backstory of Peter Pan. Performances through Oct. 19,

Zion Canyon Music Festival This free, two-day concert event is held in Springdale, and hosts a variety of live bands, local foods and brews, arts & crafts and a kids’ zone. Acts on this year’s bill include the Hollering Pines, We Are Mirrors and Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. Sept. 27-28,

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“Peter and the Starcatcher” at Tuacahn Amphitheater

when he acquired the rights to the town’s only state liquor store. Adjacent to the liquor store is Switchback Jack’s, the best (and only) sports bar in town. Marion observes the more traditional side of his LDS roots at Springdale’s Mormon church. A pretty brick building, the “Visitors Welcome” sign out front is most definitely observed. About half of Springdale’s residents are Mormon, and on Sundays, the pews are packed with locals and tourists alike. According to Marion, on major holidays like Easter, attendance can be more than 80 percent tourists.

Of course, everything winds its way back to Zion. For those looking to do more in Zion than a few day hikes, the place to go is Zion Adventure Company ( It’s the one-stop shop for all things Zion — from equipment rentals to guided trips to backcountry shuttles. But their most valuable service has no price: Nobody in Springdale knows more about Zion than these people. But like everyone else in town, they’re genuinely enthused about sharing their love of the park with the tourists from around the world who discover on Zion’s doorstep a very big small town.

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Is Las Vegas getting fatter? Hear experts weigh in on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at www.desertcompanion/hearmore

department community

Make your move

At-risk kids with ballet dreams find support — and life-changing opportunities — at Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Future Dance program


By Chantal Corcoran Photography by Jacob Mccarthy

I’ve twice seen Ariel Triunfo dance. The first time was three years ago, when Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 2010 summer intensive classes were wrapping up and the parents of so many ballerinas gathered in Nevada Ballet Theatre’s large Studio B to watch the session’s concluding performance. Whether it was tap dancing, modern or classical ballet, Triunfo was always the standout. Her big brown eyes, filled with determination and joy, lit up the makeshift stage; her face and movements exuded charisma and personality; and her feet, wrapped tightly in pointe shoes for the ballet portion, moved with strict precision across the Marley floor. At 14, she was one of the older dancers in the pageant. Like so many girls, Triunfo has wanted to be a ballerina since she was very young but, like too many, her parents couldn’t afford to buy her lessons. Ballet classes are expensive. Nevada Ballet Theatre’s tuition for young dancers begins at $55 a month, for a one-hour weekly class, and the price climbs from there as students add classes or advance in levels. Once a dancer reaches the academy’s upper echelons, level seven or eight, the starting tuition is as high as $295 a month. Add to this the regular expense of tights, leotards, costumes and ballet shoes (pointe shoes run about $70 a pair) and growing a ballerina is no small investment. In New York, Triunfo’s parents managed to find their then-five-year-old daughter dance classes through various community centers, but these ended a year and a half later when the family moved to Las Vegas. Then, when Triunfo was nine, her mother spotted a notice

28 | Desert

Companion | September 2013

Getting the pointe: Future Dance graduate Ariel Triunfo

posted at the public library that would change her daughter’s life forever. Nevada Ballet Theatre’s community outreach program, Future Dance, was auditioning children for scholarships. Recipients would receive dance classes at the West Las Vegas Arts Center through a federally funded national initiative whereby Nevada Ballet Theatre teamed up with Creative Communities to bus kids from public housing into community dance classes. Terané Comito, Nevada Ballet Theatre’s director of education and outreach, remembers Triunfo’s audition. “Right away, when we saw her, we were just blown away. That’s how much natural talent she had. She had perfect turnout, great feet, musicality for days, flexibility — but no real serious training.” That’s what Future Dance gave her. They were so impressed with the young Triunfo that the

ballet teachers whisked her straight into Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Academy, bypassing the community classes, where she began studying alongside tuition-paying students. That was eight years ago. Triunfo’s been a Future Dance scholar ever since. And this past June, with two other dance scholars, Karri Jonas and Carolyn Roorda, she became one of the first graduates of the Future Dance program. ‘ I t c ha ng es c hi l d r e n ’ s l i ve s ’ For 20 years, Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Future Dance has been offering free afterschool dance classes to students in local at-risk elementary schools. Twice a week, from October through May, students in the third through fifth grades train in gymnasiums and cafeterias with Future Dance’s teaching artists. The 28week study, which includes modern, hip-hop,

jazz and ballet, culminates in a grand spring concert for friends and family in the theatre at Las Vegas Academy. Currently, 12 schools and 650 students participate in the nonprofit program, including Elaine Wynn Elementary, where Jonas first began, and Gilbert CVT Elementary, where Roorda was discovered. “It changes children’s lives,” says Erika Kirby, a fourth-grade teacher at Harvey N. Dondero Elementary who’s also been a Future Dance teacher for nine years. “The children that I teach every day in the class would never be able to afford dance classes otherwise. Their families struggle just to get by or just to deal with the basic necessities.” Nearly the entire student body at Dondero signs up to participate, but only 130 students are accepted. Behavior, attendance and grades all factor into the decision process. “They don’t have to have the highest grades, but it’s really an incentive to be in school and do your best, so that you get to be in dance class,” Kirby says of the program that, for dance’s recent rise in popularity (due to shows like “So You think You Can Dance”), attracts nearly as many boys as girls. While free after-school care certainly contributes to the demand for the program, that’s only a part of it. “They’re really fun, upbeat, nonstop classes. You’re moving the whole time. We have everything from sashays and triplets to hip hop combinations across the floor, to kicks and leaps,” says Comito, who developed the choreography-focused curriculum with the final performance in mind. And for the kids, the takeaway — beyond the new moves — can be immense. In some cases, this first introduction to dance leads kids to the Las Vegas Academy, then future careers in the arts. For others, it’s even more significant. “A lot of the times, kids that are really shy or withdrawn and they’re obviously having home problems, they come out of their shell. It’s their time to be free and be themselves,” says Comito. “It’s just amazing. Teachers and principals will come to me and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, this kid is a completely different kid in this class.’” Select Future Dance Students — about three per participating school — are offered scholarships to attend Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Dance Discovery classes with everything covered, from tights to shoes. Of 90 ballet students in the Dance Discovery program, those showing the most potential will win full-ride scholarships to attend Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Academy, as did Jonas, Roorda and, of course, Triunfo. (Currently, there are 29 scholarship students training at Nevada Ballet Theatre’s

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You thrive on big ideas and meticulous attention to detail.

Leaping ahead: Today, Triunfo is a Nevada Ballet Theatre trainee.

Summerlin site.) That’s a powerful springboard to a promising future: Jonas went on to major in dance at Las Vegas Academy and she earned a full dance scholarship to Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where she began this fall. Roorda also attended Las Vegas Academy, then received a dance scholarship to attend Southern Utah University. As for Triunfo, her path is a little different. Upon graduating as a Future Dance scholar, Triunfo, who did homeschooling, was offered a trainee position with Nevada Ballet Theatre’s professional company from James Canfield, Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director. It’s the first time Canfield has offered a trainee slot — a coveted position — to a Future Dance graduate.

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Co nf i d enc e, f o r ti tud e , per s o na l i ty The second time I saw Triunfo dance was last week. It was a routine company class, again in the large Studio B, and this time she, yet to turn 18, was one of the youngest in the group. Dressed in a purple leotard with a lowcut back (uniforms aren’t enforced on company members the way they are on students) and working through standard floor exercises — glissades, jetés, pirouettes — Triunfo exuded the confidence, fortitude and abundant personality I’d remembered from years earlier. Again, her eyes shone. So, I’m a bit mystified when we sit down

to talk, to discover how shy she is. She speaks in soft tones and wears a guarded demeanor when she explains that a free ride isn’t necessarily an easy road. Beyond the usual challenges a ballerina faces, like uncooperative bodies and physical injuries, Triunfo says of her early years at the academy, “I felt very out of place. I was shy. I really didn’t speak much and I took every rule and correction very seriously. Sometimes, I think, the other girls were like, ‘What’s with her?’” And Comito’s rules for scholars are strict: In order to maintain scholar status, a student can’t have more than three absences per year; she can’t miss any dress rehearsals or performances; she’s required to act as an ambassador for the program; and once she reaches the fourth level, she must act as a teacher’s assistant for the younger classes. “I never had an issue with any of the rules. They were there, so I followed them,” Triunfo says. But for several years, just getting to class was a challenge. When she was 11 years old, family problems left her without transportation and the young dancer was made to travel via three city buses, for as many as four hours each day just to get to dance class. “We moved around a lot, which was also financial. We’d get moved from public housing to public housing, so that would also change the bus routes,” Triunfo explains. “The hardest was when I was coming from public school. From there I had to take the bus home to the bus stop by my house, and from that bus stop I had to run to catch the bus to get here, with all my school stuff and all my dance stuff.” She was 13 at the time. Still, she insists, in her quiet voice, she never once thought to give up. Her tenacity was a factor in Canfield’s decision to invite her to train with the company. “When a young child who is devoted to dance makes the decision to follow their dream of one day dancing in a professional ballet company, they often have little understanding of the challenges of a career of this nature,” Canfield writes to me in an email. “Yet, some find their path as an escape into a performing arts world that allows them to deal with life’s trials and tribulations and communicate with others in the most extraordinary way.” His words call to mind Triunfo’s exuberance on stage and Comito’s description of the elementary school kids who suddenly bloom in the after-school classes, “Kids that are really shy or withdrawn ... they come out of their shell. It’s their time to be free and be themselves.” | 31


Vegas reality TV show “Bad Ink” features — what else? — awful tattoos. Hear an interview on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at

television ting foot in Nevada. Not that going on-location assures the maximum glamorous city experience: For “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” the trip to Sin City did involve footage from the Sands, but spent most of its time meandering around a faux-desert with Fred MacMurray. Here are eight television episodes that actually made something of the myth of Las Vegas.

Scandal! Excess! Sexy lady robots! Whether it’s social commentary or a satirical freefor-all, every TV show does a Vegas episode By Lissa Townsend Rodgers

32 | Desert

Companion | September 2013


Alfred Hitchcock Presents “The Man from the South,” Season 5, Episode 15 Original airdate: January 3, 1960 You had me at “Starring Steve McQueen. Guest Star, Peter Lorre.” “The Man from the South” is actually a short story by Roald Dahl that has been filmed a number of times (including a Quentin Tarantino adaptation). This first rendition remains the best, largely due to McQueen in all of his youthful, dashing glory as a smalltime gambler and the veteran character Lorre in portly ’n’ sinister Sidney Greenstreet mode as the man with an irresistible proposition ... It opens with a penniless McQueen lounging around the bar, chatting up a pert dancer

i l l u st r at i o n : b r e n t h o l m e s

A very special episode

Almost every show that’s been on the air for more than two seasons winds up with a Las Vegas episode. Find some pretext to pack up the cast, dump them into a car or on a plane, point them toward Sin City and let the hijinks ensue! The dramatic possibilities inherent in gambling losses or wins/unplanned weddings/ alcohol-induced amnesia do seem irresistible to any writer mired in the season-three narrative doldrums. Vegas-based stories are also deployed to distract from stars-on-leave or provide the momentum for a spin-off. (“Will & Grace” sent the cast to Sin City during Debra Messing’s maternity leave; “Designing Women” took a private jet there to distract from the absence of Delta Burke.) But sometimes a “Vegas” episode is a little misleading. Often it’s just a soundstage in Burbank with some craps tables — “Friends” did two and a half Las Vegas episodes without set-

The Twilight Zone “The Fever,” Season 1, Episode 17 Original airdate: January 29, 1960 This episode was inspired by Rod Serling’s own Vegas vacation: He decided to celebrate the successful first season on his new television show with a weekend in Sin City and found himself uncomfortably enchanted by the slot machines. Here, a woman wins a trip to Las Vegas from a commercial promotion — much to the chagrin of her husband, who is violently opposed to gambling. But when a stranger tosses hubby a coin and tells him to drop it in a slot machine, he does so … and is done for. Everett Sloane had played important supporting roles in “Citizen Kane” and “The Asphalt Jungle” and he makes the gambler’s compulsion believable: Pouring sweat, cranking the onearmed bandit for five hours at a stretch, babbling, “This machine mocks me, it teases, it beckons. Put in five, pay out four. Put in six, it pays out five …” His wife begs him to return to the room, but he refuses. He finally collapses and is hauled away, the gray-suited men pulling his wriggling arms, his feet scuffing across patterned carpet. Even when he’s back in his comped mini-suite, he hears it calling his name, spinning its cherries at him in the hotel room mirror, blinking its lights threateningly. “The Fever” wasn’t shot on location, but its visceral manifestation of one of the malevolent spirits of Las Vegas makes it fiercely accurate nonetheless.


Charlie’s Angels “Angels in Vegas,” Season 3, Episode 1-2 Original airdate: September 13, 1978 This is probably the gold standard of Las Vegas episodes: A two-part mini-movie starring Dean Martin with Scatman Crothers as Martin’s buddy/good luck charm and Dick Sargent as a bad-tempered lounge singer. There’s


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Bionic Woman “Fembots in Las Vegas,” Season 3, Episodes 3-4 Original airdate: September 24, 1977 Well, it certainly is a great title. This is Jamie Somers’ second run-in with the dreaded fembots and there is one believable thing about it: Las Vegas would be the best place to hide a sexy lady robot army. The android lovelies in shimmery pantyhose and feathered hair pop up everywhere, constantly challenging our heroine — fembots are cigarette girls, cocktail waitresses, showgirls. Fembots are never housekeeping. We do get an amusing taste of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” tourist gusto; Jamie’s normally uptight boss Oscar Goldman begins letting loose like he’s Oscar Goodman, picking her up at the airport in a Cadillac boat, hooting, “Welcome to Las Vegas! I love convertibles!” But, hey, why not? How many guys get to take the Bionic Woman to the Casino de Paris show at the Dunes? There’s a lot of detailed ’70s Fremont Street shots, as our heroine sashays from casino to casino in a wardrobe of culottes and big floppy hats, hot on the trail of mechanized showgirls. Naturally, this leads to some headdress-toppling, cyborg backstage catfights. Then, of course, it’s off to the mad scientist’s secret lair somewhere in the desert — because the mad scientist’s lair in the desert is almost as much of a Vegas cliché as the surprise wedding or big win.



— played by his then-wife, Nelie Adams. Lorre strolls up, all Continental charm and gentlemen’s wagers. “I’ve always liked the informality of Vegas and you meet such interesting people,” he says, which is how Steve McQueen winds up betting his little finger against a convertible in a gorgeous mid-century suite at 8 a.m. It’s largely a character piece, Lorre’s antsy noir trickster and McQueen’s laconic ’60s hustler meeting over room-service drinks and assorted vices, along with one last memorable character adding a final twist. Still, who has not wanted to send a bellboy out for “some nails, a hammer, a length of good, strong cord and a chopping knife”?

Bank of Nevada is an affiliate of Western Alliance Bancorporation. | 33


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even special Vegas-only credits with Jaclyn Smith high-kicking in the Folies Bergere and Cheryl Ladd in a speedboat on Lake Mead, along with classic footage of gaming tables and neon signs. Martin plays the owner of the Tropicana — back when you could win a casino in a craps game — who is, naturally, a good friend of Charlie’s and, naturally, needs the Angels to come investigate some suspicious doings at his casino. Kelly gets a gig as a showgirl and pretends to be a gold-digger on the make, while Chris winds up as a backup singer (she can actually sing, too: Cheryl Ladd was Melody’s voice on Josie and the Pussycats) with a full load of faux-naïveté. Both strategies provide fine cover for asking who owes who money or why that guy gets so upset whenever you mention his wife. Martin falls for “accountant” Sabrina — for those who recall her as the brain between two bombshells, it’s interesting to note that she was usually the one who motivated the romantic subplots. Also, for those who remember this as a bikini show, it’s weird to be reminded that these ladies wore more pantsuits in one episode than Hillary Clinton does in an entire administration.

2013 Fall Season September 6 — October 19

Peter and the Starcatcher Richard II The Marvelous Wonderettes

Cedar City


Closer than you think! Photo: a scene from Peter and the Starcatcher. 34 | Desert

Companion | September 2013

The Simpsons “Viva Ned Flanders,” Season 10, Episode 10 Original airdate: January 10, 1999 Things start with a bang, specifically the implosion of Springfield’s Montgomery Burns Casino. Soon after Homer sees Ned Flanders getting a special price at the car wash (“How come Churchy LaFemme gets a discount?!”), he tells everyone that Ned is lying to get senior citizen rates, only to find out that Ned Flanders is indeed 60 years old — his youthful appearance the result of a boring, predictable existence. When Flanders realizes that his fun-free lifestyle inspires not awe at his virtue, but pity at his dullness, he decides to change his ways. Ned finds the most-live-for-the-moment guy he knows and begs Homer, “Will you teach me the secret of your intoxicating lust for life?” Naturally, this leads to a Vegas road trip. The two cruise a cartoon Strip — “Okla-Homo!” at the Rivera, “Klon-Dykes” at the Snowshoe — before winding up at “Nero’s Palace.” Homer idly gambles away all their money as Ned prays for guidance to a surveillance camera, which intones, “Keep … gambling.” Things go south when the cocktail goddesses bring Ned a “White! Wine! Spritzer!” and we cut to a destroyed suite, golf cart crashed into the rotating bed. Ned shudders awake, fully clothed, in a jacuzzi and looks at Homer, saying, “I have

a pounding headache, my mouth tastes like vomit and I don’t remember a thing!” “Welcome to my world,” responds Homer wearily. Then, of course, in walk cocktail waitresses Ginger and Amber — who are now Mrs. Ned Flanders and Mrs. Homer Simpson. There’s a trip to the buffet and an attempt to ditch out, thwarted by the Moody Blues, Siegfried and Roy and the rest of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce: “Las Vegas doesn’t care for out-oftowners! Take your money and go someplace else!” If it all sounds a bit like The Hangover — down to the Mike Tyson (erm, Drederick Tatum) cameo — well, it does. With a fast pace, plenty of weird ersatz celebrity moments and references to Ralph Steadman and the Rat Pack, this is another strong contender for Best. Vegas. Episode. Ever, as Comic Book Guy would say. X-Files “Three of a Kind,” Season 6, Episode 20 Original airdate: May 2, 1999 Again using the “one of our leads is missing! If we go to Vegas, no one will notice!”

ploy, this episode is marked by the absence of Agent Mulder. This episode focuses on the troika of nerds known as the Lone Gunmen, who are in town trying to infiltrate the DefCon Convention — here that’s short for “defense contractor,” but wise geeks know that’s what they call the real-life Vegas hacker convention. Our heroes have also found “a place where a naked chick will teach you to shoot a machine gun.” Most of the action takes place at the Monte Carlo and there are a lot of location shots — your standard wide sweep of the gaming floor into a high-stakes Texas Hold ’Em game, as well as a trip to the Clark County morgue. The Lone Gunmen attempt to infiltrate a presentation on some new secret weapon and bumble into blowing their own cover. Then a mysterious hypodermic shot causes one of their comrades to throw himself under the bus — literally. Is it a covert government mind-control weapon at work? But of course! After a Dungeons & Dragons game (apparently the nerd equivalent of a wake) they lure Agent Scully to Vegas. It doesn’t take long for her to get the enigmatic hypodermic and turn into a chain-

smoking, ass-grabbing flirt holding court at a casino lounge, surrounded by besotted bureaucrats. (Still in her severe agent drag, which is too bad — what better use could there be for our tax dollars than to get Dana Scully a Versace?) “Why would the government want to turn Scully into a bimbo?” the Lone Gunmen wonder. Several personality reversals, a few more secret weapons and a faked death later, they find out ... The Sopranos “Kennedy and Heidi,” Season 6, Episode 18 Original airdate: May 13, 2007 The asbestos disposal is becoming a hassle, Junior is screwing up again, Tony and Christopher are riding around the dark north Jersey roads talking about some other bullshit and — major car accident! And Tony kills Christopher — who was seriously damaged, both physically and drug-test-wise, but it was more a murder of opportunity than a mercy killing. Tony keeps trying to convince himself and everyone around him that his nephew’s death is not a tragedy, but no one else seems to


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buy in. So, Tony decides he needs “some peace and quiet, chill out” and heads for Las Vegas. In a scene curiously reminiscent of the show’s Jersey Turnpike opening, Tony cruises through the airport tunnel, past the Excalibur and down the Strip, sunlit hotel marquees blazing up alongside him. Soon he’s striding across the crystal casino at Caesars Palace, winning at roulette, eating a steak dinner. But Tony Soprano has never been much of a man for solitude, and he looks up a stripper friend of Christopher’s: Again, Tony wants to mention his death to everyone, but doesn’t want to discuss it. By way of avoidance, there’s booze and sex and, finally, peyote. At close, a tripping Tony is sitting out in the desert, looking out on the valley, waiting for the sun to rise. Suddenly, he springs to his feet and shouts, “I GET IT!” But what does he get? It’s one of The Sopranos’ most cryptic final moments, only three episodes before the final one. “Kennedy and Heidi” also earned The Sopranos its only directing Emmy. Yes, I know.

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Companion | September 2013

Family Guy “The Road to Las Vegas,” Season 11, Episode 21 Original airdate: May 19, 2013 “The Road to …” episodes of “Family Guy” are always among viewer favorites, distilling the show down to the drunken dog, the angry baby and some delightful musical numbers. It’s surprising that it took so long for the Vegas episode to happen, though Stewie once daydreamed a trip to Vegas that goes from high-roller to slot loser, ending with a strangled showgirl and a bus to anywhere out of town, all set to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” In this episode, some confusion between Stewie’s teleportation machine and his time machine leads to two pairs of boy and dog on the loose in Sin City. Both keep nearly crossing paths, but are on entirely different trajectories: One pair wins “enough money to pay that Carrot Top impersonator to beat up that Rita Rudner impersonator,” the other pair has nothing but bad luck. Eventually their paths cross, with some confusion about loan sharks knowing who’s who — “Tacky?! Sir, I’ll have you know I bought this suit in the lobby of a casino!” — and whether the backpack contains a juice box and crackers or ten grand. It’s not clear which casino the duos have landed in, but it does seem to be strongly reminiscent of the Bellagio, though the opportunity for a Chihuly joke is missed. (Yes, “Family Guy” left an obscure reference unturned.)


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department profile

Refuge for the lost

Where do the faithful go when a church rejects gays and lesbians? Places like Northwest Community Church, where Rev. Greg Davis is building a safe harbor

g By Emmily Bristol Photography Bill Hughes

“God is still speaking! But are we listening?” These could easily be the words that launch a Sunday service in just about any Christian church. Today, the candles dedicated to loved ones and prayers of the sick and needy twinkle, stage left. Meanwhile, at stage right, the choir, backed by a band, keeps people on their feet. Throughout the service, the pastor preaches and directs the music — belting out a phrase or two in a rich voice, a glimpse of this very unlikely pastor’s former life as a self-described “Vegas showboy.” Meet Greg Davis, the openly gay pastor of Northwest Community Church. And that “showboy” background comes out not only in the sometimes elaborate staging of sermons — like Easter Sunday, when the cross was draped in several dozen feet of colorful fabrics and festooned with lilies — but even in some of the simpler sermons filled with more everyday references he uses to drive points home. For a Father’s Day sermon, just weeks after his own father had passed away, Rev. Davis dove deeply into not only what scripture says about fatherhood, but what pop culture does as well. Images of Ward Cleaver, Mike Brady, and even Archie Bunker flashed on the screen behind Davis as he encouraged the congregation to shout out qualities of each of the characters and how they relate to fatherhood. After the service on any given Sunday, your eyes might travel around the room and really see the families gathered around the coffee

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An open book: Rev. Greg Davis

cart. Some of these families have two moms or two dads, and there are as many sporting church-logo T-shirts as there are parishioners wearing Human Rights Campaign gear. Cars in the parking lot are dotted with bumper stickers touting their kid’s academic achievements, sporting silhouettes of athletes kicking soccer balls and promoting “NoH8.” Indeed, at this church, your stereotypical nuclear family — mommy, daddy and a baby makes three — stands out as the odd duck. Something I know from personal experience, as my family attends this church. But whoever you are, Davis will find you. The reverend bounces through the crowd on Sundays seeking out the shy and the strangers — and there have been many more new faces since Davis came on at Northwest last Octo-

ber. After watching one of his sermons, which he delivers in street clothes rather than the somber collar many clergy don, you would be tempted to see only the exuberance he delivers on his new stage, the pulpit. “I don’t know that I would attribute it to him being a gay man, but his leadership style is so much more celebratory and uplifting than (more recent pastors),” says Bill Thomas, one of the original founding members of the 12-year-old church. “There’s this really grand sense of worship.” But it is Davis’ ability to connect with people that often resonates most, as Thomas explains. “One thing that is different is that Greg is a member of the LGBT community,” he says, noting that all of the founding members of the church were straight. “For whatever rea-

son, there is that connection that we did not have before.” Davis says he can see it as well. “There’s a different solidarity.” In this space bathed in sunlight streaming through the stained glass — the picture of tradition and history — some very stubborn boundaries are being broken. And this isn’t just a Vegas thing. Churches and whole denominations are opening up to openly gay members, as well as church leaders. With the June 26 Supreme Court ruling dismantling a significant portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, it’s possible that there’s never been a better time for faith groups to open the doors to the LGBT people who were once rejected. Pastors such as Rev. Davis are leading the way. From the closet to the pulpit It wasn’t so long ago that the mere mention of a gay faith leader — whether out or in the closet — would have been nothing short of blasphemy. And there are certainly plenty of religious spaces, Christian or any other religion, who have not only hung a “Do Not Enter” sign, but that have virtually nailed the door shut. The prevailing message for much of the history of the Christian church has been pretty clear: You’re not welcome here. That message is one that many members of Northwest Community Church, which shares worship space with First Christian Church in a building off Rancho Drive, have spent a lifetime trying to reconcile even as they acknowledged that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Rev. Greg Davis is no exception. Growing up in Oklahoma, Davis, 52, was raised Southern Baptist. By the age of 13 he realized two things: He wanted to devote his life to God and music ministry, and that he was gay. “Music was a big part of my spiritual life at church,” Davis tells me when we meet for lunch a week before the Supreme Court hands down a landmark decision. “Everything I did was geared to that.” While Davis describes his childhood in mostly idyllic ways, there were some dark moments. Davis says he was sexually abused, but says when he told his parents, their support helped him move past the experience. Later on, Davis says he did his best to fit into the stereotype of a straight guy. He had girlfriends in high school, but they would always eventually ask him if he was gay. “They would always question me, ‘Are you gay?’” He says, chuckling. “I was doing the good Baptist boy thing. ‘You know, a kiss leads to …’ I wasn’t trying to get away with anything like the other boys.”

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By the time he was majoring in church music at Oklahoma Baptist University, he finally started to reconcile with the truth about himself. Still very timid in his sexual identity, Davis ventured out to a couple of gay clubs. “I was still too scared to actually do anything, but I was curious,” Davis says. When university officials found out, Davis was threatened with expulsion. Instead, however, he was sent to reparative, or aversion, therapy and required to move back into the dorms — the all-male dorms. “You think I’m gay and you’re forcing me to live in an all-male dormitory?” Davis says with a laugh. On the subject of reparative therapy — popularly referred to as “pray the gay away” — all Davis says is that it finally stopped when he inexplicably yelled out “No!” in a crowded classroom. By this time, Davis was learning fast that his dreams of one day leading a big, Southern Baptist choir were well out of reach. “Not wanting to be gay is huge,” he says, the smile fading from his face. “There is that thing inside you that you’re constantly fighting.” (The same week of our interview, news broke that one of the largest reparative therapy organizations, Exodus International, had disbanded its board and abruptly changed direction, with President Alan Chambers apologizing for the damage wrought by his organization.) Whatever memories or scars Davis carries from his experience, he quickly focuses back on music and ministry. “You’d be amazed how many music leaders in the church are gay,” he says, almost conspiratorially. “A lot of them have really mastered how to live that lie. But if churches really started kicking out all the gays, there’d be no music leaders left!” The showbiz connection By the time the AIDS crisis started to hit in the early 1980s, Davis went to study music at the University of Houston. He saw the Christian-based response as not only lacking compassion, but as a sign that he needed to redirect his love of music elsewhere. “(The church’s) response to the AIDS crisis was … well, it was hateful. That’s when I decided to go into show business instead.” Musical theater took him to major cities in the Midwest, including shows in Wichita, Kansas, Oklahoma City and Chicago. But as the ’80s drew to a close, Las Vegas came calling. On Jan. 1, 1990, Davis got a part in “Forever Plaid,” which he did for about eight years. Almost 10 years later, he was hatching plans to move back to New

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Next stage: Rev. Davis was in show business before joining the church.

York City when he took over the music department at Community Lutheran Church in October of 1999. “I had kind of fallen in love with Las Vegas,” he says. “And then everything I had ever wanted to do as a kid, I was getting to do (at Community Lutheran).” A few months after taking on his new role at Community Lutheran, Davis was feeling another kind of love in his life. In April 2000, Davis met Freddie Harmon at a Sunday country-western dance. “I saw him in the crowd and just as I saw him he looked up and locked eyes with me,” says Harmon, a native Nevadan and Chief Marketing Officer at the Tropicana Hotel. “As soon as I got home, I called him and left a message.” One of the first things Harmon remembers Davis asking was whether or not he went to church. In fact, Harmon says, his family was not very religious and he would just “float through” churches of any denomination — Baptist, Mormon, what-have-you — with none of them feeling exactly right. “It just never felt comfortable at church because of my sexuality,” Harmon says. Having grown up hearing about how homosexuality was a sin left a deep impression. “That kind of resonates with a kid. I don’t think I would have felt comfortable at any church. (I learned that) church and my sexuality didn’t go together.” Cut to 2000, and after a first date the day after they met, Rev. Davis has Harmon at church two days later. “It immediately took away what I had felt before. Being with Greg made it okay,” Harmon says. Isn’t church an unusual second date? Harmon laughs. “I just remember loving it at church, like I had been missing it. There’d been a void.”

Filling the void Perhaps it’s that void that calls so many different types of people to the littlechurch-that-could on Rancho Drive, well before Rev. Davis took the leadership role last fall. Even though Northwest is a United Church of Christ church, you’ll find Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, and even atheists who have finally found a respite amid the stormy waters of religion. Heartbreaking stories of being kicked out of churches they loved (as well as from families they were once a part of ) abound. Dr. Charlotte Morgan is just such a member. Raised in the evangelical Lutheran tradition in the suburbs of Minneapolis, the 53-year-old naturopathic doctor says she was a devoted Camp Fire Girl, spending summers out in the woods or paddling a canoe. Her other favorite pastime was singing in the church choir. “I always loved to sing,” she recalls. And then, in 1975, when Morgan was 15, a friend’s mom called and told her mother that her daughter had just come out as a lesbian. The friend’s mom concluded that if her daughter was gay, then Morgan must be, too. She remembers her mother asking her point-blank if she was a lesbian. “I think in 1975 I did not know about sex and sexuality. I had barely gotten my period about a year and half earlier. I told my mom, no,” Morgan pauses and adds, “I didn’t think that I was.” But her mother thought she was lying. And that belief caused a deep rift between the two of them. “That changed our relationship forever.” A few years later, when the choirgirl was ready to transition from the youth choir to the adult choir at church, she suddenly found herself uninvited to participate. In fact, it turned out the invitation to leave went beyond just

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choir. At 18, Morgan was shown the exit door to the only church she had ever known, where she’d been baptized, and eventually where she’d mark the passing of each of her parents. “It was very Midwest — you know how nobody ever talks about anything in the Midwest,” Morgan recalls. “No one said it in so many words that I was kicked out for being gay, but the message was clear.” When she finally did come out to her mother, the response was unapologetically negative. Her mother suggested she go to aversion therapy, which Morgan would only agree to if her mother went to a meeting at PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays). It was a stalemate. “My mom said, ‘Don’t tell your dad. It would kill him.’” Six months later, Morgan’s father died of a heart attack. And with that, Morgan packed up and moved to Seattle, bidding her family and her faith good riddance. “I was done with church. I went on and lived my life.” But as it turned out, religion was not done with Morgan just yet. In 1997, Morgan and her partner Julie Liebo were starting the two-year process to adopt the first of their two daughters. Together for seven years at that point, they were discussing what they wanted for the child who was coming into their lives. To her surprise, Morgan told Liebo she wanted to have their child baptized, just as she had been as a child. “She’s Jewish. Neither one of us had been practicing (our religions). She did not get it at all,” Morgan says. “I told her I didn’t care if it was through the Jewish faith or what. I said, ‘I so much believe in God, I don’t care what house it’s in.’” After some discussion and an urging from Liebo’s father to “Do something!” they finally agreed. But the plan was to find a church and just do a quickie baptism and get out. Neither one had any interest in maintaining a religious practice. Having newly arrived in Las Vegas in 2004, Morgan searched online for a church that was “open and affirming” – the official designation of United Church of Christ churches that welcome LGBT individuals — and found Northwest Community Church. What started as a quickie baptism has turned into nine years with the local church and Morgan starting seminary two years ago. But while many say they feel a calling by God to go to seminary and become an official religious leader, Morgan says her motivations are different. She wants to be a voice for those too

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afraid to come out; she wants to be an example to straight family members who struggle with accepting a gay relative. “I didn’t feel a calling,” she says matter-offactly. But at her naturopathic clinic, where she guides patients to create mind, body, and spiritual connections, she says she has seen a lot of miracles. “I saw that people have better wellness when they have spiritual wellness.” Churches on the outs “I think the church is coming out,” Rev. Davis says. And there seem to be people ready to find those “out” churches. According to a 2009 Barna Group survey, 60 percent of gay adults described their faith as “very important” to them, compared with 72 percent of straight adults. And 70 percent of gay people identify with America’s dominant religion, Christianity, compared to 85 percent of heterosexuals. It was a telling moment in July when Pope Francis said, “If a gay person is searching for God with goodwill, who am I to judge them?” Meanwhile, other Christian denominations, like the Episcopals, have been responding with more concrete and less symbolic gestures. In June the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest denomination in that religion, elected their first openly gay bishop. But it took a few years. The ELCA Lutherans voted to allow openly gay ordained ministers in 2009. In fact, Rev. Davis told leadership at Community Lutheran Church of his plans to go to seminary the day after that 2009 announcement. The response was that it was great news, he says, but some doubted if there could be a place for him within the Lutheran denomination when he got out in three years. “I was told that even though the vote happened, it was going to take time for change to really take hold in congregations,” Davis recalls. He was steered toward the United Church of Christ, as a religion that has a reputation for being less hostile to LGBT faith leaders. But, as Davis explains, only about 22 percent of UCC churches are open and affirming. “You have to navigate a lot of resistance.” When he got out of seminary, he found a lot of doors, even within the United Church of Christ, to be shut tight. Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and author of the new book God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage, knows something about that. Elected in 2003, the now-retiring bishop writes in his book about facing daily death threats in the

high-profile and precedent-setting role. And the agitation was not just from outside the church. In 2008, the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to invite Robinson to the Lambeth Conference of bishops in England. It was the first time a bishop had been excluded in such fashion in the centuries-old religion. He went anyway. That same year, Robinson married his partner of then-21 years, Mark Andrews, after New Hampshire passed same-sex marriage rights. Robinson says he believes this was important not only because he believes in the covenant of marriage in the religious arena, but also because he believes in the contract of marriage in the civil arena, a contract that confers more than 1,100 rights and privileges. He writes in his book, “Nothing in Scripture or orthodox theology precludes our opening the institution of marriage to same-gender couples.” And Robinson feels strongly that the visibility of openly gay leaders in church is important. “It matters who’s at the top, or who is in leadership positions,” the bishop says. “When there are LGBT leaders, that signals to everyone that change is happening.” Fire in the backyard With DOMA all but dismantled — one remaining component allows states to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states — the fight over marriage rights in the 30 states with bans may ignite anew. And it’s right here in our backyard. A joint resolution to repeal Nevada’s de facto ban on same-sex marriage passed its first hurdle during the 2013 Legislature. State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson lobbied passionately on the floor for rights and in the process came out publicly for the first time, saying, “I’m black. I’m gay.” Meanwhile, Sens. Ruben Kihuen and Justin Jones, Catholic and Mormon, respectively, ostensibly went against their religious beliefs to vote in favor of the resolution. (In order to be ratified, the resolution will have to be passed again by the 2015 Legislature and then be passed by a vote of the people in 2016.) When I ask Bishop Robinson why so many are willing to publicly come out, so to speak, for same-sex marriage and gay rights in general, his answer is simple: What’s changed is that so many LGBT people have come out. “Now that so many people know someone who is gay, they know those (negative stereotypes) aren’t true,” he says. “People have to come out. Harvey Milk said that coming out is the most political thing you can do. And he was right.” And while seeing an openly gay bishop or

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profile even an openly gay pastor at a church will no doubt cause some people to reconsider their ideas about LGBT people, Robinson says the really important thing is that it will save lives. “The person who I’m most excited about seeing (an LGBT faith leader) is the gay kid struggling somewhere, like I was,” he says, referring to growing up in Kentucky.

Freddie Harmon agrees. “I was the stereotypical gay kid who attempted suicide. When I was in high school, I thought I was the only gay kid in my city. The only gay kid in Las Vegas! To have known that there were other people, and in leadership roles, that would have saved me some heartache.” Rev. Davis finds his partner’s story to be a common one he hears from members of his church and others.

“People have been hurt. I’ve been hurt. … People are finding our church a refuge,” the reverend says. “It’s healing for people who were rejected (by religion). There are bridges out there. We don’t have to build them. But we have to find them.” The pastor encourages people to take their stories to whatever religious institution works for them. And Davis sees hope in undoing the strict doctrine that may have hurt LGBT people in the past. “A strict religious setting can be a kind of abuse,” the reverend says. Crazy thing in a crazy town Earlier this spring, with his parents in attendance, Davis went through his official ordination process in California, earning his degree and the title of reverend. It was in many ways a full-circle moment for Davis, who was happy that his parents could finally see him fulfill the calling he felt for most of his life. “It was a wonderful experience to have them there,” Davis says, just weeks after his father passed away. “I looked out and I saw my daddy on his feet, applauding. He was so proud.” A former “Vegas showboy” probably sounds like the last person you would think of to be a pastor at a church. And somehow, in a town like Las Vegas, it fits in its own non-conformist kind of way. Catch the YouTube video of Rev. Davis and members of the congregation doing the “Harlem (Palm Sunday) Shake” and somehow it’s less irreverent and more endearing. Indeed, Davis shrugs off the idea that being an openly gay pastor is trail-blazing in a town like Las Vegas. “I think it’s a lot easier here,” he says. “It’s a lot different when I go to Texas or Oklahoma. People who do it in those kinds of places are a lot more brave than I am. We’re doing a crazy thing in a crazy town. It kind of fits.” Now, on any given Sunday morning, you’ll find Rev. Davis up front and Harmon sitting in one of the back rows next to his parents, beaming at his husband at the pulpit while resting his arm on the back of his mother’s chair. As Davis likes to joke, “Freddie is the perfect pastor’s wife.” And both of Davis’ parents were able to see their son in action at Northwest. When they came after his ordination, Davis had a talk with his father to prepare him for the church’s LGBT membership. In particular, Davis remembers being worried about how his father would react to some of the transgender members. His father surprised him. “I talked to him after church,” Davis recalls, smiling. “And he was like, ‘Oh her? Yeah, she was real nice. We had a nice long chat.’”

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On August 8, Desert Companion hosted its Best Doctors Issue Party at TPC Summerlin, where we honored the 2013 Best Doctors of Southern Nevada. Best Doctor honorees and other medical industry professionals enjoyed an evening of networking, friendly competition on the putting greens, a silly skills test with an “Operation� game contest and great prizes.

To view more images from this event and others, go to To learn about upcoming Desert Companion events, find us on Facebook at desertcompanion or follow us on Twitter @desertcompanion.


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The dish

The new wave of Japanese cuisine


eat this now

Super-sized sundae


at first bite

Rx Boiler Room’s steampunk fare Use your noodle: soba and tempura at I-Naba



the dish

Over the rainbow roll Set aside the sushi menu. The valley’s new wave of Japanese cuisine boasts rich curries, exotic tapas and deep-fried everything


By Brock Radke Photography SABIN ORR

Japanese food in Las Vegas has been about much more than sushi for some time now. It’s more than the curious local foodie crowd that has made this discovery, too — a handful of restaurants offering multidimensional versions of this refined cuisine have earned national media exposure, including the still-buzzed-about Raku, which opened in 2008, and the ever-packed ramen shop Monta, born a few doors down on Spring Mountain Road in 2010. Those two restaurants, intimate places dedicated to the highest quality, and about a halfdozen other off-Strip Japanese joints have something in common — or rather, someone. Restaurant stylist Martin Koleff landed in Las Vegas in 2005 to develop what was then Okada at Steve Wynn’s eponymous luxury resort on the Strip. After that, Koleff began working with local sushi landmark Sen of Japan, which spun him toward importing talented chefs and developing and opening other Japanese eateries. Koleff deserves as much credit as can be given to one man for shining the spotlight on so many different delicious discoveries, types of food and ways of eating that locals may not have otherwise encountered. His goal of exposing new elements of his native cuisine has become contagious. Not only do

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Companion | September 2013

Dream on a plate: The Asian Pillow at Yonaka

we have a plethora of playful izakayas (kind of the Japanese version of a tapas bar) and a wave of hip ramen shops, but there are curry houses, coffee houses, soba noodle houses, sake bars, multi-cuisine fusion experiments and much, much more. It seems as if a slightly modified, somewhat personalized, exciting new Japanese restaurant opens almost every week. One of the most colorful examples is the highly innovative Yonaka (4983 W. Flamingo Road, 685-8358), which bills itself simply as a modern Japanese restaurant. Sparking the corner of Flamingo and Decatur in a space that was once home to a French bistro, Yonaka offers familiar fare in the form of sushi and sashimi and creative makimono rolls with cute names — the “Asian Pillow” is a spring roll of salmon, roasted beet, lettuce, shallots, sundried tomato, Thai chili and candied walnut, an interesting combo to be sure — but Yonaka’s

true brilliance is expressed through a variety of tapas-style small plates, served hot and cold. Seemingly simple, mouth-brightening combinations such as yellowtail with asparagus and tomato-ginger purée or albacore, avocado and grapefruit in a kaffir lime vinaigrette will have you wondering if you’re still eating Japanese, and ordering more and more. Add in the long list of daily special plates and Yonaka is easily a different dining experience every time. Small plates are the specialty of the izakaya, and we’ve got tons of them. In addition to the cult favorite Raku and the similarly beloved, late-night hot spot Ichiza, consider the southwest’s great Kyara (6555 S. Jones Blvd. #120, 434-8856). Serving lunch and dinner, Kyara heaps together several different styles, so you can experiment with tons of age (deep-fried) appetizers like squid tentacles, potatoes with butter and fried chicken, itame (stir-fried) de-



Spice of life: Kaba Curry specializes in lesser-known Japanese dishes.

Sea worthy: I-Naba’s cured mackerel over sushi rice

lights such as tofu in a savory gravy or whole squid, and kushi skewers of vegetables, chicken thigh, pork belly or bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms. This menu is huge and these bites are small, so bring your crew and work your way through. Other favorite izakayas include Miko’s (500 E. Windmill Lane #165, 823-2779), a true neighborhood favorite in the same strip mall as Bachi Burger and Shoku Ramen-ya, and the Chinatown after-hours hangout Shuseki (5115 Spring Mountain Road

#117, 222-2321), where throngs of cool kids swill cheap Asahi and get down on potato croquettes, rice or noodle bowls, sushi specials and the addictive fried chicken nuggets known as karaage. If you need some true soul food and it’s still too warm to slurp a steaming bowl of ramen, head to one of Spring Mountain’s curry houses. Koleff’s Curry Zen (5020 Spring Mountain Road #1, 985-1192) and the more whimsical Kaba Curry (5115 Spring Mountain Road #234, 589-0370) serve a similar menu, great dishes of white rice and dark brown, ultra-flavorful curry sauce with the added ingredients of your choosing (fried shrimp or pork or chicken cutlets, sausage, cheese, corn, all kinds of stuff ). Everyone’s Japanese curry house is personal and different, so try them both and declare your own winner. Then there are Japanese specialty restaurants that don’t have any competition. Cafe de Japon (5300 Spring Mountain Road #101, 839-8668) feels like an American ’50s diner with a Japanese twist, offering some of the best coffee in town and comfort food favorites like hamburger steaks and beef and vegetable stew over rice. Trattoria Nakamura-ya (5040 W. Spring Mountain Road #5, 251-0022) is Tokyo-style Japanese-Italian fusion, so prepare for magnificent pasta mash-ups like linguine in scallop cream sauce, spaghetti miso carbonara and the decadent, sublime uni tomato cream

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C O M P A N I O N ’ S

Our favorite recent dishes that have us coming back for seconds



eat this now!

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w! Call 5N9o -7813 702-2

FOR MORE INFORMATION contact your Desert Companion representative or Christine Kiely at 702-259-7813 | 49


dining — dishes that earned it Desert Companion’s 2012 Ethnic Restaurant of the Year. The highenergy Yu Yu (4115 Spring Mountain Road #101, 220-4223) is Las Vegas’ first and only — so far — kushi-age house, all deep-fried, all the time. Actually, there’s lots of tasty variety at Yu Yu, but there are few places where you can indulge in crispy-fried pumpkin, wild yam, bacon-wrapped mozzarella cheese, curry flavored lotus root, octopus tentacles and smelt. The westside’s serene I-Naba (3210 S. Decatur Blvd., 220-6060) specializes in simple soba noodles and approaches all of its dishes with a Raku-like reverence. Along with the blissful noodles — served hot or cold, alone with dipping sauce or shotgunned by tasty toppings like eggplant and daikon — I-Naba offers tempura, irresistible wedges of lightly cured mackerel on sushi rice called battera, and soba crepes with ice cream and sweet azuki beans for dessert. Nearby, the versatile and recently renovated Shobu (3650 S. Decatur Blvd. #31, 453-3377) calls itself a sake house and houses several karaoke rooms in case you want to imbibe and per-

50 | Desert

Companion | September 2013

form. But this kitchen pulls off everything well, from the textural pleasures of salmon skin salad to stellar house-made oshinko (pickles). Creativity with Japanese food can be found in our massive casinos, too. The new Nobu restaurant at Caesars Palace is a notable addition as it serves as a reminder of how Americans learned to eat and love Japanese cuisine, but if you’re looking for the next level, head over to Wynn’s brilliant Mizumi (Wynn Las Vegas, 248-3463). Chef Devin Hashimoto really hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves for his inventive menu here, which magnificently includes smoky robotayaki skewers, teppan grill items and Korean-style bibimbap. Equally overlooked is the pitch-perfect menu at Hachi (Red Rock Resort, 797-7576), which now includes true Japanese wagyu beef cooked at your table on a hot rock and a killer scallop tiradito. Perhaps because this neighborhood casino is always so accommodating, people have forgotten how fun it is to eat at Hachi. Or maybe they’re still working their way through all the fantastic new Japanese restaurants spread around the valley.

(That’s Japanese for “Let’s eat!”) Here are some other good words to know. Karaage (kuh-rah-gay): Tiny pieces of (usually) dark meat chicken marinated in soy sauce, garlic and ginger, coated lightly with flour and fried until crispy, commonly found at izakayas (casual drink-and-nosh spots). Basically, this is what chicken nuggets were supposed to be. Robata (ro-bah-tah): Traditional charcoal grill using hardwoods to impart deeply smoky flavors in skewers of meat and vegetables. Kushiage (koo-she-ah-gay): When delicious worlds collide: deep-fried skewers of chicken, pork, seafood and vegetables, typically dipped in egg, flour and panko bread crumbs before hitting hot vegetable oil. Soba (so-bah): Buckwheat. Synonymous with thin, slightly chewy buckwheat flour noodles, a popular fast-food option in Japan served hot or cold. Oshinko (oh-shinc-oh): Most commonly a yellow pickled radish, but sometimes used to describe any assortment of pickled vegetables (tsukemono) often served as an appetizer or with rice.

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

The Titanic at Carmine’s

An appropriate name for a dish that will sink to the bottom of your belly. The signature dessert at this Italian-American institution is basically a banana split on steroids: Hot brownies are smothered with scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge, chopped fruit and cookies. It’s sloppy, but so what? Just because it’s not polished doesn’t mean your entire table won’t polish it off. Debbie Lee

Carmine’s inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace,

Bacon and egg pizza at Naked City

Enjoy your breakfast in pie form. Chunks of pancetta are rendered until crispy, white garlic sauce adds extra flavor, and chopped lemony greens provide relief from the generous helping of rich cheese. Tear off a chunk of the thick, chewy crust and dip it into a barely set yolk. Toast with over-easy eggs just can’t compare. DL

Naked City Pizza Shop 3240 Arville St.,

PHOTOGRAPH BY Christopher SMith

You ReALLY LoVe ouR MAGAZINe. Now you caN Love it virtuaLLy, too. Visit us at and check out our website. Between editions of our Maggie Award-winning magazine, you’ll get web-exclusive stories, breaking cultural news and fresh perspectives from our writers. | 51


Clockwise from above Rx Boiler Room’s main dining room; bacon-wrapped bacon ’n’ egg; Rx’s signature burger


at f i r s t b i t e

Rx Boiler Room Break out your top hat and monocle. Rick Moonen shifts gears at Rx Boiler Room to full steampunk ahead By Debbie Lee | Photography Christopher smith

52 | Desert

Companion | September 2013

Perhaps on his days off, Rick Moonen swaps his chef’s jacket and toque for a tailcoat and top hat. Is there any other explanation for the pseudo-Victorian flavor of his latest project? Rx Boiler Room, which opened in early July, just might be the first gastropub in America that capitalizes on the popularity of steampunk, a subculture inspired by 19th-century science fiction. Familiarity with the theme is irrelevant. You only need to know that every trace of Moonen’s former restaurant, RM Seafood, is gone. The interior, once clean and contemporary, is accented with reclaimed wood and industrial tchotchkes. Flat-screen monitors display a slideshow of robot-themed illustrations. Over by the bar, a grandiose display of beakers evokes an old laboratory. Bartenders don precious old-timey vests, while servers strap mechanical angels wings on their backs and aviator goggles on their heads. The concept may leave some guests scratching their heads. But at the core of the makeover is a universal theme in Strip dining, circa 2013. Following in the footsteps of Gordon Ramsay and Michael Mina, Moonen is the latest marquee chef to crossover from fine dining to casual fare. (It’s the economy, stupid.) The trend suggests that caviar tastings and $50 portions of fish do not, as they say in the industry, put butts in seats — at least not as quickly as a good burger. And the burger here is a fine one. A patty of dry-aged beef is gussied up with “999 Island” dressing, balsamic caramelized onions, and house-made pickles. Just be warned that it comes without fries. And if you want cheese with that, be prepared to spend an extra four dollars per slice. (Apparently, Moonen isn’t entirely ready to abandon his predilections for high-priced food.) You could always supplement with a “flight” of onion rings. Stacked on an airplane-shaped wire display,

Food Styling BY Roni Fields

they’re just the kind of gimmicky side dish that will have tourists and foodies talking. Unfortunately, our order was heavy on batter and oozed with oil. Better to conserve carb intake for a beer or cocktail. Lead bartender Nathan Greene oversees a fantastic drink program that alone is worth a trip. How Many Licks, made with raisin-infused Hennessey and flavored with a plum-vanilla “shrub” (the fancy term for fruit vinegar), is a sweet and crisp first sip. Another favorite is the Campfire Peaches, an icy libation that mixes both smoky Mezcal and tequila for a double whammy to your liver. Diners looking for more than a bite at the bar are advised to come without vegan companions. Many of the best appetizers utilize animal parts that even the average omnivore doesn’t often eat. Start with the oxtail croquettes. The tender, braised cut of meat is crumb-coated and fried until crisp. A mouth-puckering lemon aioli balances the richness. And a chicken liver pate, served in a miniature canning jar with a side of grilled toast, is the caveman’s version of smooth peanut butter. The only misstep is a thin film of port jelly, which is rubbery compared to the silky spread beneath it. As far as entrées go, lamb osso buco with toasted orzo and zesty gremolata will be an ideal choice when the weather is cooler—it’s also half the price of the version served at RM Seafood. Otherwise, indulge in a generous basket of fried game hen. It’s perfectly crunchy while remaining moist on the inside. Moonen earned his reputation as a sustainable seafood advocate, so it goes without saying that the items on the “Ocean” portion of the menu — or as he describes it, “Nourishment Chart” — are also worth trying. Expect familiar classics with a twist. In the case of his shrimp and grits, the addition of Andouille sausage, roasted poblano peppers and a nap of Cajun gravy made our server, a Louisiana native, rave ecstatically. For dessert, a peach cobbler served in a coupe glass was sadly short on fruit and biscuit dough. And the cinnamon ice cream on top was of the Red Hot variety (pie spice cinnamon would have been preferred.) Guests can go with a safer bet, like fresh-baked cookies, or try the exotic Mahalo Matcha green tea panna cotta. Hard to say that it’s a dish that fits with the steampunk theme, but do any of them? Not that a disconnect between food and décor should discourage a visit. One could only guess that if Thomas Edison were alive today, he would enjoy his meal under the glow of his own exposed-filament light bulbs.


postrio bar & grill

american | the forum shops 369.6300

american | the venetian 796.1110


wolfgang puck bar & grill

steak | the palazzo 607.6300

american | mgm grand 891.3000


wolfgang puck pizzeria & cucina

italian | mandalay bay 740.5522

italian | crystals at citycenter 238.1000 | 53

l l a 3 1 f 0 2


Written by c hanta l co rco r a n Scot t D i c k en s h ee ts h ek to r d. es par z a mat t k elem en An d r e w K i r aly D eb b i e Lee m i k e pr e vat t b ro c k r ad k e lissa town s en d ro d g ers k r ist y tot ten


s it us, or is there a little bit of cultural renaissance going on up in here? The Smith Center is hitting its stride, the downtown arts scene is sizzling with fresh energy, UNLV’s Black Mountain Institute continues to serve up big brains and thinky discussions, and it seems there’s now a nosh festival for every food group. But for us, the strongest evidence is in the pages ahead, where we packed more than 75 must-go events this season, from concerts and plays to festivals and discussions. Hold on to this issue — and stay cultured through the end of the year. >>> | 55

s cert n Co ands &B

Sept. 19

Aidez-moi! La cuisine est fou! To say that Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu was inspired when he arrived in Paris in the 1920s is a wild understatement. More accurately, he was happily besieged by new forms and ideas: jazz! avant-garde theater! garçonnes! Martinu himself flew into a frenzy of creativity, penning three works in 1927, including his last and best, the ballet suite “La Revue de Cuisine.” A literal kitchen-table drama, the ballet features common cooking utensils embroiled in romantic intrigues — pots and lids and dishcloths flirting, falling for each other and, of course, fighting. Quelle cray-cray! Musically, “La Revue” is hardly so homely as a kitchen setting suggests, as Martinu explores the dynamics and possibilities of jazz and popular dance. In this performance, acclaimed Las Vegas violinist Wei-Wei Le jazzes it up with UNLV faculty and other guest talent. Sounds like a recipe for a wonderful night of music. (AK)

7:30p, $25, Doc Rando Recital Hall at UNLV

Sept. 21

Youth gone mild Directed by Oscar Carrescia, the young talents of the Las Vegas Camerata Orchestra will produce the sounds of the season — literally: They’re performing “The Four Seasons,” Vivaldi’s set of baroque violin concertos that recall an era before global climate change turned Earth into wildfire hurricane soup. The star violinists include Genevieve Dube, spring; De Ann Letourneau, summer; Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev, autumn; and Patrick Hsieh, winter. Keep an eye on these rising stars — violinist and music instructor Carrescia has been quietly cultivating classical talent in the valley for more than 25 years. Our forecast: a fine concert. (AK) 2p, $10-$12,

Winchester Cultural Center

56 | Desert

Sept. 22-23

A Starr-y night Ringo Starr has been pretty busy since he played in that one band that had that hit song about wanting to hold your hand in a yellow submarine or something. Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band is a supergroup whose membership rotates every year and has included rock-pantheon godlets such as Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter and Peter Frampton (but also at one time included Richard Marx). This year’s incarnation features Steve Lukather, formerly of Toto; Richard Page of Mr. Mister; and Todd Rundgren. Sic your ticketsniping bot on the Internet right now — this is reportedly the only U.S. stop on the band’s 2013 world tour. (AK) 8p, $70, The Pearl in

The Palms

Sept. 26-28

A naked voxing match It was a rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas” to end all renditions of “The 12 Days of Christmas”: In 1998, a fresh-faced a cappella group from Indiana University turned their performance of the holiday classic into pop culture trail mix, mashing in everything from “I Have a Little Dreidel” to Toto’s “Africa.” Virtually overnight, Straight No Chaser went from clever college songsters to international vocal superheroes. Their Vegas stint is more than a mere handful of concerts; superfans who spring for the $849 platinum package get nothing less than the “Chaser summit,” a three-day, four-concert a cappella orgy, an unrelenting and soul-consuming immersion in all things Straight No Chaser, including exclusive cocktail parties with the group, buffet passes and concert seats so close to the stage you just might get a quivering larynx in the face. (AK)

Suzanne Vinnik sings in "Operatic Love."

Sept. 28

Music of the heart (and other organs) What happened to romance? It’s probably buried around here somewhere, underneath all these sexts, naughty Snapchat pics and Craiglist NSA hookups. You’ll have an easier time finding it at the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s opening night concert of its masterworks series, “Operatic Love,” featuring arias from opera masters from Puccini to Mozart, as well as orchestral show-stoppers from Verdi and Strauss. Case Scaglione conducts, with Suzanne Vinnik as soprano and Cody Austin as tenor. Feel the love yet? (AK) Pre-concert conversation 6:45p, concert 7:30p, $25-$94, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center

You’re a total (picnic) basket case

has cooled down to a reasonable 127 degrees, and that means — the moment we’ve all been waiting for! — it’s finally safe to eat macaroni salad outdoors. You know what else goes nicely with tolerable fall weather? Jazz. Haul your basket and blanket to Winchester’s annual Jazz Picnic, featuring hot local acts and cool, macaroni salad-friendly weather. (AK) 5p, free, Winchester Cul-

By October, the Las Vegas Valley

tural Center back lawn

8p, $43.50-$93.50, The Pearl in The Palms

Oct. 5

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

Oct. 9

Look! He just wrote another! In the time it takes for you to read this blurb, Conor Oberst probably wrote seven songs. The Nebraskaborn singer/songwriter who defined “the Omaha sound” — it’s clever! it’s emo! you’re crying! you’re dancing! — is renowned for being alarmingly prolific. And restless: Oberst doesn’t

write songs for his bands; Oberst forms his bands to contain the songs he continually writes. For this concert, he’ll join The Felice Brothers, whose cryptic, moody jams sound like honky tonk songs you hear in half-remembered dreams. In the time it takes them to perform this concert, Oberst will totally probably write 700 songs. (AK) 8p, $30,

House of Blues at Mandalay Bay

Oct. 12

Foot fetish That quintessential silver screen duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had all the right moves, turning dance into a wordless fantasia of infatuation and romantic intoxication and *melts into steaming love-puddle*. Inspired by their sweet moves, in “Dancing & Romancing,” the Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates the spirit of 1930s Broadway and Hollywood, highlighting the music of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin. (AK) 7:30p, $25-$94, Reynolds Hall

in The Smith Center

Oct. 12

Call it gypsycore Before they became the darlings of transcontinentalist hipsters, Gogol Bordello got their start playing gypsy tunes at Russian weddings. It’s an apt beginning for a band whose raucous, exuberant spirit is preoccupied with new beginnings and raw possibilities. Not that this is the kind of band you want to cerebralize about — rather, a Gogol Bordello show puts other body parts to work: legs and feet, hips and torsos — all that’s needed for a night of frenzied gypsy-punk flamenco-moshing. (AK) 8p, $25,

The Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan

Oct. 13

[initiate Grobanite love protocol] For all his mainstream appeal and blockbuster success, it might be easy to write off Josh Groban as another entry in the classipop warbler category — that is, if the critics themselves didn’t find so

much to like in his voice, variously described — self-deprecatingly by Groban himself — as a “tenor in training” or a “baritone with some high notes up my sleeve.” Critics admire his power and restraint; Grobanites, as they’re called, like the way their hearts slow-motion explode into pink butterfly candy confetti when he sings to them, “In my eyes you do no wrong / I’ve loved you for so long.” *heartflutter* (AK) 8p, $57.50-$107.50, MGM

For a post-Smith nosh, consider the Latin fusion cuisine of Mundo.

Grand Garden Arena

Oct. 21

They write music for ENTIRE PLANETS Kronos: It’s no coincidence the name sounds both mighty and mysterious. This is no staid little string quartet mincing around with “Ave Maria.” The Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet doesn’t so much play music as perform moving, evocative soundscapes in collaboration with many world-renowned composers — and by commission from some unlikely institutions, such as NASA, which commissioned Kronos’ 2002 “Sun Rings,” nothing less than a deeply rousing ode to humanity on planet Earth. On this night, they’ll premiere new work from Philip Glass, as well as work from Laurie Anderson, Bryce Dessner of The National and composer Clint Mansell. (AK) 7:30p,

$26-$125, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center

Oct. 23

One jazzy ladies’ night Here’s a ladies night that doesn’t involve appletinis and guys in Ed Hardy shirts flogging your psyche with rancid pick-up lines: “Ladies of Jazz” showcases the contributions that women have made to the genre, featuring 2011 Grammy’s “Best New Artist” Esperanza Spalding, Grammy-winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, first place Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition winner Gretchen Parlato, composer and educator Gerri Allen and sax star Tia Fuller. Leading all this talent is Dee Dee Bridgewater, three-time Grammy winner and a vocal jazz powerhouse. (AK) 7:30p, $26-$99,

Make a night of it!

Smith Center The Smith Center’s fall season glitters with a surplus of Broadway divas. Full productions include the nun-tastic Sister Act and the showstopper-packed Evita. In concert, Betty Buckley will perform her “Vixens of Broadway” program featuring highlights from her multidecade career, while six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald will give a concert of standards and showtunes accompanied by a jazz ensemble. Before such sophisticated performance, perhaps something slightly exotic, a little spicy? Lola’s (241 W. Charleston Blvd., 227-5652) in Holsum Lofts serves up Cajun classics such as broiled oysters and shrimp remoulade, with outdoor dining an option on temperate autumn evenings. Mundo (495 S. Grand Central Parkway, 270-4400) puts a little more uptown in its downtown setting and their menu of slicked-up Mexican dishes goes down smooth with a mojito or capirinha. After the show, discuss the high notes over a cocktail at Golden Nugget’s H2O at the Tank (129 Fremont St., 385-7111). You can recline on a chaise and look up at the stars while ignoring the sharks circling below — in appropriately diva-ish fashion. (LTR)

Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center | 57

ones to

WATCH Nikita

Haduong Her discipline is admirable, her willpower exceptional, her music poignant and haunting


read that music lessons support a child’s aptitude for math and science, Mrs. Haduong enrolled each of her children in music lessons at a young age. But she never meant to start her third child, Nikita, on the violin as early as two and a half — that was Nikita’s own doing.

“When she decides what she wants to do, she has a lot of willpower and a lot of discipline,” says Wei-Wei Le, an assistant professor at UNLV’s music department and Nikita’s violin teacher for the last six years. Le knows well how arduous and tedious it can be — particularly for a teenager. “We basically lock our58 | Desert

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

selves into a small room and stay there doing really boring things, for hours,” says Le, who marvels at Nikita’s commitment — four hours each day, every day, since she was 11.

ly every major local competition several times, including the Las Vegas Philharmonic Young Concerto Competition in 2009 and 2011. Her prize: a chance to perform with the symphony at its Youth Concert Series.

“The violin is kind of like a sanctuary,” says Nikita, “as well as the tool for me to be able to express myself in a manner that I find satisfying.” So, when practicing feels like a chore, she focuses on the end result: the poignant music.

“She’s the coolest cat I have ever seen perform, anywhere,” says Connie Beisner Warling, the philharmonic’s education director. “She had nerves of steel at the age of 14.”

Speaking of results, her work ethic is obviously paying off. Not only has she performed on From the Top, a nonprofit radio show celebrating youth in music. She’s also been a finalist several times for the Music Teachers National Association Performance, and she’s won near-

Even Le is impressed by her student’s stage composure: “She’s never scared of performing in front of people. If anything, she’s quite the opposite. That kind of excitement that she gets from performing really almost makes her play even better.”

N i k i ta H a d u o n g : C h r i s to p h e r S m i t h

Jealous of her older brother’s violin lessons, the young Nikita hid an extra violin in the trunk of the family car. Once she’d arrived at her brother’s music lesson, she would have an instrument to offer the teacher and could not be denied a class. The plan worked. Nikita’s been studying violin ever since. It is this intelligence and determination that makes Nikita the exceptional talent she is at 18 years old.

Fado artist Mariza has developed her own modern interpretation to the timeless musical form, and in the process she’s become Portugal’s fado ambassador to the world, making people around the globe cry and punch the air with their tear-stained fists. Bring Kleenex. A pallet of it. (AK) 8p, $26-$125, Reynolds Hall at

Oct. 27-28

It’s not a festival, it’s a mothership Sniff, sniff. All we ever wanted was a Coachella-type music festival to call our own. Vegoose was a blast — don’t deny it, we saw you rockin’ out in your possibly ironic Daisy Dukes to Buckethead in 2006! — but alas, all good things, etc. Now comes Life is Beautiful, a music festival so polished, postured, styled and coiffed, you’d think it was an elaborate Apple ad. With mothership headliners like The Killers and Beck, superchefs like Hubert Keller and Tom Colicchio — not to mention an entire spinoff universe of bonus events and pop-ups — Life Is Beautiful looks to be muscling into the Las Vegas culturescape as a kind of institutional banner event that marks a maturing city. Our widdle city is all grown up! (AK) Start times

vary, $159.50-349.50, downtown Las Vegas,

The Smith Center

Nov. 17

America: the encore! The Killers headline the Life Is Beautiful festival.

Nov. 2

Well, aren’t you just Mr. Popularity? If there’s anyone perfectly suited to conduct a pops concert, it’s Peter Nero. The Philadelphia Inquirer doesn’t call him “the perfect pop

conductor” for nothing. Known for his populist musical taste, prodigious energy and clean, brisk piano attack, Nero conducts the UNLV Jazz Symphony Orchestra in a celebration of Gershwin melodies, including — what else? — “Someone to Watch Over Me” and excerpts from Porgy and Bess. (AK) 8p, $25-$75, UNLV’s

Artemus Ham Concert Hall

Nov. 3 “I don’t get nervous on stage,” says Nikita, “possibly because I’m having too much fun just falling into the music.”

Hopefully, there are strings attached

It’s her music lessons that set the otherwise self-assured young woman on edge; she doesn’t like to disappoint: “Right now, and probably for the past who-knows-how-long, and probably for the next who-knows-howlong, I’m struggling to feel natural with the violin, to be able to utilize it as an extension of myself, instead of this awkward piece of wood that’s under my chin,” she says.

1430, CSN’s Cheyenne Campus

Nikita’s newest mentor, Professor Alexander Kerr of Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. — where Nikita has recently been awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious music conservatory — isn’t nearly as concerned: “She has a very good ear, she is incredibly bright, and she’s tenacious — and those things you can’t teach. Hands, how to deal with the violin — that I can teach,” says Kerr. As well as majoring in music at Indiana University, Nikita also means to major in math. Mom’s plan worked — and then some. — Chantal Corcoran

Geez, if this show were any more quintessentially American, it would come with free apple pie-flavored copies of the Declaration of Independence. The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra — known to us freedom-lovers as “America’s Orchestra” — will celebrate everything from Copland to Ellington to Queen. (Okay, so Queen wasn’t American. Nobody’s perfect!) (AK)

5p, $39-$149, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center

Nov. 18

Old bluesman, meet young whippersnapper blues girl

Nov. 11

Blues is like dirt: This gritty, ordinary stuff is the soil from which so much of American music has grown, from rock ’n’ roll to jazz to hip-hop. (Where the hell dubstep came from, we have no clue.)Two generations of blues talent share the stage at this special event: Grammy-winning singer/guitarist Keb Mo, and acclaimed vocalist Shemekia Copeland. Keb Mo is considered a living link to the Delta blues tradition that birthed generations of American music; Shemekia Copeland is known for her voice that’s both potent and poignant. (AK) 7:30p, $26-$99,

You’ll never be so happy to be so sad

Nov. 19

Want to raise a few bucks for the strings program at CSN? Yeah, it gets kind of awkward for students, sawing away at cardboard “violins.” You can kick down some funds at the CSN Chamber Music Concert, which doubles as a fundraiser for the strings program, ensuring future students aren’t just playing air cello. (AK) 2p, $5-$8, Recital Hall Room

Fado is Portugal’s national export. It’s not a physical commodity, but if it were, it would likely take the form of bricks of stormy, histrionic sadness wrapped in tempestuous weeping. Fado is Portugal’s version of the blues — but it’s more accurately described as blues-coated blues with a little blues icing on top.

Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center

Classical guitar coming on like a comet A talent such as 25-year-old Mak Grgic is cometary: It shows itself only once in a long while, and when it does, it’s something to behold. The Slovenian classical guitarist is not the | 59

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type of wunderkind you might think — not hot-fingered, blazing, seemingly effortless or virtuosic. Rather, what’s remarkable about his youth is the age of his playing: the depth and sensitivity of his interpretations of classical works are hallmarks of a much older soul. (AK) $40, 8p,

UNLV’s Doc Rando Recital Hall

nedy — and honors Nevada service men and women — in “Love of Country,” a rousing concert of potent, muscular works, including Beethoven’s formidable Third Symphony, as well as works by American composers Leonard Bernstein, George Walker and Peter Lieberson. 7:30p, $25-$94, Reynolds Hall

in The Smith Center

Nov. 23

Through December

He is Michael Bublé, and he owns your soul Okay, so the critics bat Michael Bublé around like a cat toy: He’s philandering-free Rat Pack, Sinatralite, a fast-food crooner with extra cheese. Let the critics snark and wail. Because eventually, even the most iron-hearted, scissor-clawed scribes succumb to the Canadian singer’s schtick — which is all the more powerful for being so unschticky: An easygoing charm that says, hey, Michael Bublé’s just trying his pipes out on some classic songs and not at all taking this stuff too seriously so just relax and enjoy mmkay? Now let him hug you. (AK)

The ultimate jam session Sounds like an urban legend: Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins got together for an epic, one-night jam session in December 1956? Yeah, right. We bet Bigfoot was there, too, and a UFO filled with chupacabras. But it’s true: These four explosive talents gathered at Sun Records in Memphis on Dec. 4, 1956 for a night of fresh, freewheeling rock ’n’ roll. In its best moments, “Million Dollar Quar-

8p, $62.50-$118, MGM Grand Arena

Nov. 23

The sound of ’Murrica! The Las Vegas Philharmonic marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Ken-

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Million Dollar Quartet

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

tet” is more like a channeling than a mere re-enactment; the stagey moments and sometimes-corny life-lesson speeches give way (as they should) to renditions of “Great Balls of Fire,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Folsom Prison Blues” that have a looseness and reckless energy that turn a good stage show into a great concert. (AK)

Mon and Thu, 5:30 and 8p; Tue, Wed, Fri and Sun, 7p, $60.50$84.70, Harrah’s Showroom in Harrah’s Las Vegas

Dec. 7

What is a sugar plum, anyway? When you’re done shopping for gift cards and gorging yourself on cocktail wieners at the office party, take some time to celebrate the holiday in the proper spirit: with a Santa’s sackful of holiday music in your face. This year’s “We Love the Holidays!” concert by the Las Vegas Philharmonic features samplings from holiday classics such as Humperdinck’s “Hansel & Gretel” and the musical score of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” And be sure to stick around for the rousing audience sing-along, a tradition right up there with the awkward thank-you to mom for that purple checkered sweater. (AK) 2p and 7:30p, $25-

$94, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center

Dec. 11

Only thing missing: the 7-Up guy Ah, the unmistakable sound of a steel drum band: palm trees dripping day-glo tropical ice cream and toucans in festive straw hats sipping umbrella drinks. Get a taste of summer delight in the midst of our hard, bitter “winter” with CSN’s Calypso Coyote Steel Drum Band and the Wednesday Night Jazz Band, as they break out contemporary and classic tunes. (AK) 7:30p,

$5-$8, Nicholas J. Horn Theatre at CSN Cheyenne Campus

Dec. 30

Please don’t bring up Tusk Fleetwood Mac isn’t a band; it must be a collective musical compulsion. What else would hold a band together through drug drama, financial turmoil, hook-ups, affairs, breakups, wild success, commercial failure and countless rock ’n’ roll capers to be one of our enduring, steadfast rhinos of rock? Best of all, this tour’s lineup includes the Rumours-era lineup that created that drama machine — and such timeless music, too: Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. (AK) 8p, $99.50-$224.50,

MGM Grand Garden Arena


Vintner Grill's cheeses

Good luck finding an all-encompassing festival as tailor-made for its community as the two-day Summerlin Art Festival, slated to return to Summerlin Centre Community Park in mid-October. Sifting through the creations of dozens of artists and craftspeople — and snapping Instagrams of amazing sidewalk chalkage — works up an appetite that mere festival food can’t satiate. If you’ve got little ones to tow, stage a pre-emptive hunger strike with Sunday brunch at Dom DeMarco’s (9785 W. Charleston Blvd., 570-7000). Snack on meatball benedict while the kids relish the concept of pizza for breakfast. If it’s an artsy date weekend, plan where you’ll hang your new painting over glasses of red and samplings from one of the city’s best cheese programs at Vintner Grill (10100 W. Charleston Blvd. #150, 214-5590). (BR)

ART ts i

& Exhib

Through Sept. 20

Not so loony ’toons More than one artist references comic style or iconography in his or her work. Here’s why Las Vegan Michael Ogilvie does it — or, rather, not why he does: “I do not make it for catharsis,” he says, “but rather to explore the very nature of that innocence,” that is, the innocence we associate with reading comics as children. Back when we read them for the sheer joy of it, before they accrued pop-cultural associations, fanboy cred and economic significance. The work he showcases in his solo show The End of the Rainbow — which he calls “viciously cute visual poetry for the connoisseur of fanatical conjecture” — probes the links between memory and pleasure, the better to understand how one influences the other. (SD) Free, CSN

Anthony Bondi's collage work recalls old Vegas.



Freaky First Fridays

The man comes (back) around

What does “rural” mean now? An idealized Western landscape undulating around … a server farm? Cattle lowing within a cowpie’s throw of tract houses? A quaint ranching town with a big-box store and the second homes of wealthy out-of-staters? Into this rapidly complexifying place comes a loose group of artists examining rural life in the new West: the tension between the modern region and the mythic one; the conflicted relationships between rural, suburban and urban; the overlay of new economies on a place once devoted mostly to ranches and mines. Post Rural examines a timely topic no matter how far you live from the nearest cow. (SD) Reception 6p Sept. 27, free,

The blatantly unthemed millingabout that so many of us remember from First Fridays past appears to be giving way, at least some months, to a more theme-driven milling-about. August’s event, you’ll recall — either because you were there or because your social media blew up with it — adopted a whimsical “winter wonderland” motif, complete with a tromp l’oeil ice-scape painted on the street and real penguins. First Friday mullahs are rather tight-lipped about upcoming themes, not wanting to commit too early. But we’ve heard tell of a “tribal fusion” thing for September — perhaps something about celebrating your roots? And there’s a good chance that October’s FF will be devoted to books, a fine lead-in to the Vegas Valley Book Festival a month later. Kept creative — a “companions in the desert” concept sounds great to us! — these themes just might give First Friday the renewed community momentum its organizers are seeking. (SD) Free, Arts District,

CSN Fine Arts Gallery

Artspace Gallery

Through Sept. 27

Once upon a time in the West

Whether you’re a Vegas old-timer wondering, What’s Anthony Bondi been up to lately?, or a newcomer wondering, Who?, your question will be answered by a pair of exhibits this fall. What the venerable but rarely exhibited artist has been doing will be made clear Sept. 5-28, when RTZ Gallery shows his recent digital photos (paired with shots by Ginger Bruner in a show titled Suspicious Evidence). “This is the first time I have shown this work,” says Bondi, who’s lately spent much of his energy making interactive pieces for Burning Man. That’ll be followed in November with Neon Metropolis, a Sin City Gallery display (Oct. 31-Dec. 23) of the ’90s-era collages with which he cemented his rep as a Founding Father of local art. The first show proves he didn’t stop creating art a decade ago; the second, that he didn’t just start, either. (SD) Free, RTZ Gallery, Sin City Gallery

Through Oct. 4

Eyes in the skies It’s a distinctly 21st century question: How does the world look through the eye of a drone? More precisely, what are the moral, political, spiritual and emotional consequences of making lifeand-death decisions from such a lofty, distant viewpoint? (For one thing, we know some of the pilots, stationed at nearby Creech Air

Force Base, have suffered posttraumatic stress disorder.) And is there a way of making art that grapples with this new way of seeing? Such were the questions cycling though Christopher Tsouras’ imagination as the College of Southern Nevada art professor photographed the local landscapes that became the stripped-down images of technological modernity in Drone Series. (SD) Free,

Winchester Cultural Center | 61

ones to

WATCH Lauren

ADKINS Beneath a cardboard facade, this conceptual artist explores romance, pop culture and feminism


Adkins’ project, “Love Is Overtaking Me” (her graduate thesis at UNLV, by the way) was about several things: the contested nature of female fandom, the allure of romantic escapism, the grip that pop culture has on our lives. But before you got to all that, it posed, for many, a more fundamental challenge: Can you accept this as art? After all, there is art we all recognize as art: painting, drawing, sculpture. We may dislike individual examples, but the argument isn’t about their standing, only their quality. However, Adkins, 25, a bit introverted, quite unprepared for the international media spotlight, shot past those disciplines (“I can paint and draw; I just don’t enjoy it”) toward a style of performance in which the boundaries between art and other possibilities — hype, highconcept ruse, eccentric behavior — are more permeable. Marrying a cardboard Edward Cullen: How many people are going to understand that? 62 | Desert

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

“I’m probably a person who didn’t fully understand what I was doing,” Adkins says, lightly but not kidding, leaning forward in her chair at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Maryland Parkway. It’s the response of an artist committed to an exploratory frame of mind — that is, committed to remaining vulnerable in the pursuit of new ideas rather than neatly settling into a style. “If I knew exactly what I wanted to say,” she allows, “I guess it wouldn’t be art, right?” To be clear, Adkins knew what she wanted her performance to do: examine female fandom through the phenomenon of Twilight. Partly because she’s not done working with femi-

nism, pop culture and romance, and partly because she’s a stone Twihard herself. She’s seen how fanboys, that vast nerdocracy that gave us The Avengers, endless iterations of Star Trek and Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern tights, rebuffed Twilight fans because they were mostly women. She’s also seen how important it is to real women, no less valuable in identityformation than Star Wars or the Yankees are to guys. “It was actually quite brilliant,” says UNLV women’s studies professor Lynn Comella, who was on Adkins’ thesis committee. “I mean, what better way to showcase just how powerful the narrative of happily ever after is than to

LAUREN A D KIN S : C h r i s to p h e r S m i t h

January, a young Las Vegas artist named Lauren Adkins married a cardboard cutout of a dreamy Twilight vampire — actual chapel and ceremony, real wellwishers and reception — and called it art. Now: Does that make you go, Hmm …, the ellipsis suggesting an openness to such a nontraditional idea of art? Or did you go, WTF?, because, you know, WTF?

Sept. 5-28

Sept. 5-28

Paper, cut

Be your own pom-pom

Nothing we say about Tennessee artist Charles Clary’s work can quite match his own description of what they are (“strange landmasses”) and what they do: They “contaminate and infect the surfaces they inhabit, transforming the space into something suitable for their gestation.” And, as is so often true of the viral forms they evoke, Clary’s works, seen up close, are quite beautiful. Gently and meticulously carved from layers of colored paper, they are both almost familiar and notquite otherworldly, gorgeously ambiguous. (SD) Free, Brett

A young man in a sweater festooned with purple streamers walks to the sideline of an empty stadium. He begins plucking the plastic fronds until his sweater has been denuded; this takes a while. He then arranges them into two piles, manages to grip one pile in each hand — they are now pom-poms — and, after facing the absent crowd, he leaves. That’s the action in “I Am My Own Cheerleader,” a video by artist J. Casey Doyle that gives his witty exhibit — which is about gender roles, sexuality and transformation — its title. (SD) Reception 6p, Sept. 13,

Wesley Gallery

Contemporary Arts Center

Sept. 5-28

Living in their material world Artist JW Caldwell has brought together five Las Vegas artists who push the materiality of their work well beyond traditional limits. Chris Bauder forms paint into objects. Justin Favela creates pieces from cardboard, among the least permanent materials imaginable. Brent Sommerhauser’s sculptures defy easy description in summaries like this. Together, the works in Indelicate demand that we be open to new ideas about what art is — and what it isn’t. (SD) Free, Reception 6p, Sept. 5,

Contemporary Arts Center

Sept. 12-Nov. 7

marry a fictional character who is the object of desire for so many young women?” Much of the press she got didn’t see it that way. Especially in Europe, the media tended not to explain that this was an art project, instead presenting Adkins as a daft Twilight fan engaged in a bizarre, narcissistic stunt. “I was getting more the kind of criticism that celebrities get,” she says. “People calling me crazy, people calling me ugly.” Sure, the vitriol neatly illuminated aspects of her project, but for a young woman who calls this “the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” it also stung. “I like the idea that it challenged a lot of people’s belief about what art is,” Adkins says now. “Even if those arguments are never very fun, I think it’s essential to keep the dialogue going about what art is.” This makes her worth watching, here in a city where feminism, escapism, pop culture and romance are so enticingly up for grabs. Adkins is spending her post-Cullen downtime focusing on photography, video and writing. She’s continually adding to “The Look,” a video compilation of moments from popular movies in which a woman trembles as the man she loves is about to reveal his feelings. (See Eventually, she’ll be game for another big, splashy project. “As long as I’m honest about what I’m doing,” she says, “and as long as I put myself out there — I think vulnerability is really important to me as an artist — then I feel like I’ve gotten somewhere.” — Scott Dickensheets

They were into death before zombies were cool If Hispanic culture seems to be having a moment — after Hispanic voters seriously moved the needle in last year’s election; with progress seemingly possible on immigration — here’s a show to remind us that there’s more to this culture than its recent political dimension. The Hispanic-American Heritage Exhibit will present some artists you may recognize (Justin Favela, Alexander Huerta) along with talents you’ll now remember, all exploring the iconography of the annual Day of the Dead. Other artists include Theresa Lucero, Sophia McMahan, Javier Sanchez and Sandra Ward.

(SD) Reception 3-5p, Sept. 12, free,

City Hall Chamber Gallery

Sept. 18-Nov. 30

Kids’ stuff isn’t just kids’ stuff There’s more to illustrating books for children than creating cute, anthropomorphic animals that know how to count. (Although that’s a good start.) Along with the obvious task of educating young readers, these images bear a quieter, longterm burden: They are the beginning of a child’s visual education. So it’s a good thing for our future aesthetics when this vital work is created by quality artists, such as those featured in Imaginings Through Illustrations: Work by Children’s Book Illustrators. We’re talking about Jorge Betancourt-Polanco, Elisha Cooper, Adam Gustavson, Bethanie Murguia, Kip Noschese and Joseph Watson. (SD) Free, Historic

Fifth Street School

Oct. 3-26

Face the face Portraits have been squared within traditional frames since before Mona Lisa forced a smile — so long, in fact, it might seem there’s no other way to depict human features. But painter Kevin Chupik’s new work in “head • space” pushes decisively against this rectangular oppressiveness. By painting portraits on curved, bowed, oddly shaped panels, he reinvigorates the picture plane, pushing it out of its

Kevin Chupik breaks the traditional painting frame in "head • space." | 63

Make a night of it!

historical flatness and into a new sense of dimension. The image is suddenly more than just a plain old face. “Each composition then exists as a shape within other shapes,” he says. “Each portrait is imbued with a dynamic presence.” (SD) Free,

Brett Wesley Gallery

Oct. 3-25

Our trash, ourselves

18b Arts District Some people hit the Arts District in the afternoon for the furniture stores and art galleries; others head to the neighborhood for gallery openings and Preview Thursday/ First Friday. During the day, peruse the dice chandeliers at Retro Vegas, the 45s at Armstrong’s Collectibles or admire an art show at galleries from Alios to RTZ. Afterward, have a grilled cheese or jumbo omelet at Tiffany’s Café (1700 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 444-4459), where the lunch counter is still Formica-topped and true outsider art still hangs on the walls. (Feel free to check out the artisanal beer selection at the adjacent White Cross market.) Or hit longtime hangout Casa Don Juan (1204 S. Main St., 384-8070) for enchiladas, chicken mole and margaritas. In the evening hours, many of the local bars are extensions of the neighborhood’s galleries, with artwork as part of the décor. Velveteen Rabbit (1218 S. Main St., 685-9645) specializes in carefully crafted cocktails with unusual ingredients, such as curry bitters and herb-infused bourbon. Artifice (1025 1st St., 489-6339) is a laid-back space enlivened by DJs, musicians and other types of performance. (LTR)

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We are a messy people, we Americans, and plenty of artists have turned our trash against us, often in found-art critiques of our wasteful consumerism. Considerably fewer of them have taken the path that Kentucky artist Tom Pfannerstill has in his From the Street series (a sequel to his 2010 show in the same gallery). He’s carved and painted wooden replicas of tossed-away detritus he’s found on the streets, tromp l’oeil depictions that serve simultaneously as art, sociology and an anthropology of our junk. Seductive as art, quietly shaming as reminders of our wasteful ways. (SD) Free, Trifecta Gallery

Linda Alterwitz's visually haunting work explores art and science.

Oct. 3-Dec. 28

Now you see it Linda Alterwitz is a Las Vegas art photographer who often composites medical images with other styles of photography to explore realities that are hidden from plain sight. Ruth Thomas is a British printmaker who works bits of nature — grasses, worm casings — into her prints, to explore realities that are hidden from plain sight. The two exhibited together decades ago, as students, and now, as established artists, they’re together again in From Vegas to Wales. Alterwitz’s work in particular can be a visually haunting excursion into the overlap between art and science. That’s as good a reason as any to rediscover this oftenoverlooked gallery. (SD)

Reception 6-8p, Oct. 24, free, Charleston Heights Arts Center

Oct. 4-Nov. 30

Also home to the Swamp Thing If you haven’t been out there, you may think of the Las Vegas Wash — if you think of it at all — as a trickle of runoff water and treated effluent burbling toward Lake Mead. So consider “Sunset, Telephone Line Road,” a photograph from Fred Sigman’s series Bottomlands: Photographs of the Las Vegas Wash. Across the bottom is a wide flow of water that looks almost alien in the desert we know. Across the middle: a band of green lushness straight out of a Southern landscape. Only the desert sky looks familiar. In other words, there’s a whole different world hidden in our own backyard, one that Sigman has been shooting for four decades. (SD) Free,

Nevada Humanities Program Gallery in Art Square

Oct. 25-Nov. 25

I dunno, this looks kinda sketchy Finished art is great, but unfinished art has its moments, too. Sketches, notes, early revisions — the backstage stuff you don’t often get to see can shed revealing light on the creative process. That’s what promises to be compelling about

From Alamogordo to Las Vegas: Behind the Scenes of Tales From Last Vegas. Through concept designs and script pages, the homegrown creators of Tales From Last Vegas, an adventure comic commemorating the sixth annual Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival, show how the project came together. (SD) Free,

Alternate Reality Comics, 4111 S. Maryland Parkway,

Nov. 1-28

Verse-case scenario With the exhibit Poetry in Clay, artists Thomas Bumblauskas, John Gregg, Peter Jakubowski and Marc Rosenthal have set themselves a challenging and ambitious goal: render in ceramics the inspirations of their favorite poets. Think about that for a minute. Not only must they extract some definable meaning from works by such writers as Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carroll, and John Keats — and keep in mind that poetry, by its nature, resists easy meanings — they also must render it visually. But not just visually; in three dimensions. No getting away with a surreal doodle on a sheet of paper. This promises to be an interesting cross-genre experiment. (SD) Free, Clay

Arts Vegas, 1511 S. Main St.,

Nov. 1-29

Wait for it … Philip Denker is an artist of patience. Perhaps he’s plugging tens of thousands of pipe-cleaners into tiny holes to create a spazzy replica of casino carpeting, as he did for a memorable show last year; perhaps he’s making drawings of an OCD-like density; or, as in the eight large pieces in this new show, Over and Under, perhaps Denker’s repeatedly stacking and slicing plastic sheets until he’s arrived at one of his dizzying patterns. Always, the effort required and tedium endured is part of the work and its meaning. Thankfully, they’re much easier to look at. (SD) Free,

Trifecta Gallery

Dec. 7-Jan. 25

Vegas Valley of the Dolls Don’t let a sold-out Bruno Mars concert fool you. While every big-time show by a minority performer on the Strip moves Vegas another centimeter away from its segregated “Mississippi of the West” era, it also tempts us to forget that grim reality. A fine and necessary reminder arrives this fall in Reflections of the Ebony Guys, Dolls & Techs, a batch of historical photos that show us some of the minority dancers and behind-thescenes technicians who worked on the Strip when it was, sadly, much more black and white. (SD)

Reception 2p, Jan. 25, free, West Las Vegas Arts Center

Historic photos of Las Vegas' minority entertainers are on display in Reflections of the Ebony Guys, Dolls and Techs at the West Las Vegas Arts Center.

Theaatre nce &D

Sept. 20-29

The dogs that go boom The title “Dog Explosion” isn’t some kind of oblique, overreaching metaphor — the title of UNLV film professor Sean Clark’s dark comedy refers to an actual exploding dog that kicks off this work with a literal bang. In a small town in rural Mississippi, three slacker siblings must deal not only with said exploded dog — from a comically mishandled attempt at euthanasia — but with the death of their mother. As they confront the question of what to do — both with her body and with their newfound freedom — they’ll wrestle with some tough existential dilemmas, and, like proper slackers, consume all the donuts and beer required to fuel their decisions. (AK) Sept. 20, 21,

25, 26, 27, 28, 8p; Sept. 22, 29, 2p, $10-$15, UNLV’s Black Box Theatre

Oct. 6 & 13

A moving Performance Between training, rehearsals and performances — not to mention keeping those Olympian bodies in flawless shape — you’d think the fleet-footed talents at Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil would have little time for anything else in their schedules besides sleep. In fact, many of those dancers and acrobats choreograph their own pieces in their free time, and the annual “A Choreographers’ Showcase” is where they get to show off this side of their dance talent. From classic showcases of balletic poise to experimental mind- and bodybenders, “A Choreographers’ Showcase” reveals the creative minds behind these constantly moving bodies. (AK) $25-$45, 1p,

Mystère Theatre at Treasure Island, | 65

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Schwarze This young filmmaker takes on everything from sci-fi to satire — and his Indie Film Factory inspires a budding scene

Kelly Schwarze likes the Méliès comparison. “His was the first real big kind of studio in Europe,” he says. “And he was doing crazy stuff, things that no one had ever seen before. There’s a bit of that here at the Indie Film Factory.” What Schwarze, his wife Charisma and their partners have developed since founding Indie Film Factory in 2011 is an easily accessible and affordable facility for both aspiring and professional filmmakers to use or attend workshops. It’s also where Schwarze and company handle commercial and corporate assignments as 66 | Desert

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

ProWerks, and filmed scenes for his latest film, Territory 8.

somehow tied to Kelly and his company. He’s a big part of independent film in Vegas.”

The conspiracy thriller was the opening selection of the Vegas Independent Film Festival in May. V.I.F.F. director Derek Stonebarger sees Schwarze as the backbone of the local industry. A recent Sunday evening found Stonebarger opening his downtown lounge Atomic Liquors so a crew could shoot a scene from a short film there. “These are all people who worked on the Kelly film (Territory 8),” he says. “There’s something else happening like this every day, and Kelly is like the father of a lot of it, of stuff that really gets done. He started the Indie Film Factory; people utilize that. All this equipment, all this stuff, is

Schwarze gravitated towards animation and looked into attending prestigious schools, but once he saw the price tag, he opted for a different route. He studied animation at UNLV in the late ’90s, then became a volunteer with CineVegas. His fate was sealed after he stumbled across a set while running an errand for the film festival. He asked a guy with a walkietalkie how he could get a job there, which led to a gig as a production assistant on the Warner Bros. television series The Strip (1999-2000). “I was seeing all of the faculties of production at its most glamorous.” Schwarze recalls. “You

K e l ly S c h wa r z e : C h r i s to p h e r S m i t h


where in the warehouse wastelands near the intersection of Valley View and Desert Inn, there’s a black box that’s helping to change the landscape of filmmaking in Las Vegas. The Indie Film Factory is large enough to fit a car in, with a green screen fastened to its far wall. There’s a makeup mirror framed by round bulbs on one side, and large set flats with their scenery sides facing the opposite wall. It brings to mind studios from the formative years of cinema: Thomas Edison’s Black Maria, Georges Méliès’ glassed enclosure outside of Paris.

Oct. 11-13

Sucker punched by drama The bonds of family and friends are one thing — but sometimes shared drama forges stronger ties. Dennis Bush’s “Below the Belt” is about a neighborhood tragedy that ties together the lives of 10 people — people with their own histories, motives and pasts that are slowly revealed in a surprising conclusion. (AK) Free, Oct. 11-12, 7:30p;

Oct. 13, 2p, BackStage Theatre at CSN’s Cheyenne Campus

Oct. 11-27

No! No gifts! Please! Noooo! Boarding-house owners Meg and Petey Boles want to throw a nice birthday party for their tenant Stanley Webber. Of course, this being a Harold Pinter play, “The Birthday Party” quickly spirals into a dark whirlpool of menace, violence and horrific nonsense, as two thugs looking for Webber subject the ex-piano player to a cryptic and brutal inter-

closeted and conflicted Tchaikovsky lived a life of psychological torment over his sexuality. It makes Odette of Swan Lake and Aurora of Sleeping Beauty — and the musical score that animates them — that much more poignant. Nevada Ballet Theatre will celebrate his legacy with not only fine dance, but lavish scenery and costumes as well in their performances of Swan Lake Act II and Sleeping Beauty Act III. (AK) $35-$128, 7:30p, Reynolds

rogation that drives Webber to the brink of insanity. In its 1958 London debut, “The Birthday Party” certainly inspired a violent reaction in critics, who were baffled and enraged by the play’s cruelty and darkness — the qualities that today have enshrined it as an absurdist classic. Erik Amblad directs Cockroach Theatre’s production. (AK) Oct. 11, 12, 17-19, 24-26,

8p; Oct. 13, 20, 27, 2p, $16-$20, Art Square,

Hall in The Smith Center

Oct. 11

No, THIS is the la vida loca American Place Theatre inspires kids to enrich their lives with literature by bringing famous works to life on stage, from Richard Wright’s Black Boy to contemporary works such as Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. In this production, American Place puts on a production of Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle, a memoir of growing up in a household run by an eccentric dad and unpredictable, artsy mom. How eccentric and unpredictable? Think starving broke-ass nomad

had production, wardrobe and casting. You had celebrities. I was on Fremont Street, and they were doing a scene where a car pulled up and they had a foot chase and guns shooting. I was standing behind ropes right next to the director, and I was watching the director – ‘Cut! Reset! Go again!’ – and I thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’” Schwarze set about making his debut feature, Poking the Eye of the Storm, not long after that. He turned to crime for his sophomore effort, The S.I.N., admittedly overreached with a film he’s trying to forget titled The Indie-Pendant, then got his groove back with a comedy about race called You People. He’s also made an Emmy-nominated documentary about his veteran father, Dad’s Vietnam, and plans to make a documentary about Vegas entertainers sooner than later. But first, Territory 8 is getting one more round of editing before he takes it to the festival circuit. “He makes good stuff. It’s a lifelong passion,” says Stonebarger. “I think he represents Vegas Indie film real well. I think that there’ll be bigger and hopefully more films.” — Matt Kelemen

Sarah Franek in The Glass Castle

painter drunk on-the-run thieving crazy flake freak clan. Jeanette Walls not only lived to tell the tale, but she tells it with deep affection and gratitude for this most unusual upbringing. American Place Theatre’s production features 60 minutes of verbatim performance from Walls’ powerful memoir. (AK) 7:30p, $10-

$15, Historic Fifth Street School,

Oct. 18-19

Dance, mythical goat-man, dance! Talk about interdepartmental collaboration: UNLV’s Department of Dance and the UNLV Symphony Orchestra are joining up to create some beautiful music — and dance — together. For their annual Fall Dance Concert, they’ll perform “Rite of Spring” and a reconstruction of Vaslav Nijinsky’s “Afternoon of a Faun” — considered one of the first modern ballets, and certainly one of the first that cast fauns in a positive role, after years of being typecast as thugs, pimps and drunks. (AK) Oct. 18, 8p; Oct. 19,

2p and 8p, price TBA, UNLV’s Artemus Ham Concert Hall

Nov. 1-2

Magic swans > unicorns For all the gauzy, swoony charm of Tchaikovsky’s more popular works, such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, you’d think the Russian composer spent his days bemusedly cloudwalking among pink-winged cherubs. In fact, the

Nov. 8-17

The original ladies who lunch When it debuted in 1936, “The Women” took many by surprise with its sharp social satire — and some of its unusual theatrical conventions. The fact alone that it has an all-female cast — men are off-stage, only talked about (and sometimes ridiculed and criticized) — turned heads, as did its clear-eyed commentary on the straitened societal roles of women. Times have changed since then, but perhaps not as much as we like to think. Clare Boothe Luce’s seminal play still raises trenchant questions about gender roles, sexism and self-determination; Rhonda Carlson directs this classic. (AK) Nov. 8, 9,

15, 16, 7:30p; Nov. 10, 17, 2p. $10$12, Nicholas J. Horn Theatre on CSN’s Cheyenne campus

Nov. 8-16

Queue up the existential drama The next time you’re being shoved, jostled and bumped in line, here’s a comfortable thought: It’s more than a line, it’s a test of your soul. Playwright Israel Horovitz’s “The Line” weaves a tale of envy and desire from the most ordinary of situations: People waiting in line for an event. As the line grows and the crowd thickens, people began to lie, cheat, cut and shove their way for a spot at the front, revealing humanity at its most petty and smallhearted. Original title: “Walmart on Black Friday.” (AK) Nov. 8, 9,

8p, UNLV’s Black Box Theatre; Nov. 9, 10, 2p, UNLV’s Black Box Theatre; Nov. 15, 16, Cockroach Theatre in Art Square | 67

Liter&aIDEture AS Sept. 17

“Corporations are people, my friend!” *gagging self*

"Scrooge the Musical"

Dec. 6-15

Ghost of Christmas awesome You know the story: Scrooge is Tweeting up a storm about “OMG Xmas is lame!” and “Santa = govt LIE!” and “I luv reindeer ... steak! lolz” until he’s convinced by a trio of terrifying specters to stop being such a troll and get in the #xmasspirit already. In the hands of the Rainbow Company Youth Theatre, “Scrooge, The Musical” is an upbeat and holiday-affirming treat for all ages and faiths, even the stubbornly Santa-agnostic. (AK) Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 7p; Dec. 8, 14, 15, 2p, $5, Charleston Heights Arts


How better to celebrate the Constitution than to question the rights it gave us? Meta, huh? In 1787, a task force of Founding Fathers (Madison, Hamilton, Washington and other ’ons) got together to sign the Constitution, the framework of American government that dictates what We The People can and cannot do. Fast forward two centuries and corporations are people, too. But are they really, and do they have the same First Amendment rights? According the Supreme Court circa 2010 — and onetime Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who dropped the infamous quote above — the answer is yes. In “Are Corporations People?,” UCLA professor Adam Winkler will deconstruct Citizens United v. F.E.C., compare “corporate personhood” to other corporate constitutional rights (yes, there’s more than one), and show where the reform movement fails. (KT)

7:30p, free, UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Sept. 24 Dec. 6-22

Eww, you have a crush on a dead person? Jeff Chalk, the most popular boy in the small town of Clear Creek, has disappeared. Who’s going to find him? Certainly the four girls who have crushes on Chalk can help — that is, if they don’t combust in the flames of their own rivalries, jealousies, secrets and betrayals. But “The Chalk Boy” is about much more than catty teen girls and romantic competition; part dark satire, part mystery, Joshua Conkel’s play —

68 | Desert

here directed by Troy Heard for Cockroach Theatre — peels back the veneer of quaint small-town life and exposes the psychodrama seething underneath. (AK) Dec. 6,

7, 12-14, 19-21, 8p; Dec. 8, 15, 22, 2p, $16-$20, Cockroach Theatre in Art Square

Dec. 14-22

Bigger nuts, more cracking Last year, Nevada Ballet Theatre debuted its Nutcracker 2.0 in its new home at The Smith Center. Perhaps it’s natural matu-

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

rity, perhaps it’s Artistic Director James Canfield hitting his stride, or perhaps it’s the inspiring new space, but Nevada Ballet Theatre seems to have noticeably stepped up its game. The dancing of The Nutcracker last year was as crisp and fine as ever, but the sets — whimsy writ large, at once playful and polished — truly took this holiday classic into yuletide overdrive. In its new home, The Nutcracker is a tradition that is sure to become a Smith Center holiday institution. (AK) Dec. 14,

15, 18-22, 7:30p; Dec. 15, 21, 22, 2p, $52-$178, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center

Foreign territory made familiar You might say longtime UNLV writing professor and associate director of the Black Mountain Institute Richard Wiley has a mind that wanders — to places like Korea, Japan, Nigeria and Kenya, which is just a sampling of where his ambitious, searching but finely tuned novels are set. His latest novel, The Book of Important Moments, doesn’t take place in a far-flung country, but it’s troubled territory to be sure: Mother-to-be Ruth Rhodes faces the man who raped her years earlier, while her

Make a night of it!

College of Southern Nevada CSN’s fall season of theatre, music and dance events at the North Las Vegas campus culminates with an evening of themed chamber music in November to raise funds for the school’s strings program followed by the presentation of “The Women,” the Great Depression-era social satire, at the Horn Theatre, featuring an all-female cast of 35. If these entertainments from bygone eras put you in a throwback mood, consider cruising Las Vegas Boulevard to old reliable Jerry’s Nugget (1821 Las Vegas Blvd. N., 399-3000) where prime rib, fried shrimp, chocolate éclairs and other vintage Vegas eats await. (BR)

Jerry's Nugget's chocolate éclair

husband copes with the murder of his own mother. He’ll read excerpts from his upcoming novel and answer questions. (AK), 7p, free

UNLV’s Greenspun Hall

power of ideas — and the perils of censorship. (AK) 7p, free, Clark

County Library

Sept. 28

Sept. 26

A short poem

Pry my “Catcher in the Rye” from my cold, dead hand

Dear Poetry, There was a time when I didn’t understand you. But now I know you’re just a story with different spacing.

Why ban books? Well, otherwise, how are you going to know what the good stuff is? Ba-dum-bum! Seriously, while we all like to think we live in a free and open society — Tumblr porn and snarky blogs for all! — there are, surprisingly, still attempts to censor books in the 21st century. In the Vegas Valley Book Festival and ACLU’s “Uncensored Voices,” local literati will celebrate free speech by reading from popular banned titles. Afterwards, in a discussion moderated by ReviewJournal political columnist Steve Sebelius, they’ll talk about the

Celebrate written, spoken and illustrated poetry with Gretchen Henderson, an accomplished San Franciscan who has held fellowships at Harvard and MIT, and writes poetry, literary criticism and fiction. With local poets Mick Axelrod, Shaun Christensen and Jamison Crabtree, Tara Phillips, Joan Robinson and others, the Vegas

Valley Poetry Celebration will feature poetry long and short, famous and obscure — whether or not you understand it. (KT) 7p,

free, Fifth Street School

Oct. 8

his family donated a file of neverbefore-seen photos to the National Museum of Health and Medicine. In “The Amazing Saga of Albert Einstein’s Brain,” evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk recounts the travels of Einstein’s brain and reveals surprising recent findings. (KT) 7:30p, free, Barrick Museum

I’m not a zombie, but I totally want this brain

Auditorium at UNLV

When Albert Einstein, the world’s favorite crazy-haired genius, died in 1955, his body was cremated, but his brain was preserved. Thomas Harvey, the pathologist who performed the autopsy, removed it, photographed it and divided it into 240 pieces, which Harvey kept and shared with his fellow doctor friends. Einstein’s remains vanished for some years until 1978 when journalist Steven Levy, now known for co-authoring “Freakonomics,” tracked down the missing lobes. All along they’d been bobbing in mason jars in Harvey’s home office in Wichita, Kansas. In 2010, three years after Harvey’s death,

Oct. 12

A story of empowerment and intrigue History has a habit of telling his story. Now’s a chance to hear her story. From My Haley, the wife of Alex Haley, who in 1977 published Roots: The Saga of an American Family, comes this historical narrative about a seamstress slave who exposes her owner to empower herself. Roots, which was later adapted as a TV series, tells the story of an 18th-century African boy who is captured and forced into slavery in the states. The Treason of | 69

ones to


Cadets AV This innovative duo enriches local theater and turns nightlife spots into sensory playgrounds

The men behind the projector and other tech are Benton Cordor and Brett Bolton. The late-April opening of the revamped Death of a Salesman wasn’t just a statement-making season finale by Cockroach Theatre. It was also the official introduction of Space Cadets AV, Cordor and Bolton’s new creative audio/visual service partnership that aims to create multi-sensory installations. Their images sense, feed off and contribute to the energy in their host room — imagine a screensaver with a mind of its own, or a wall portal to paranormal reverie.

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Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

Death of a Salesman director Troy Heard dreamt of incorporating the technology into his thengestating production. So Cockroach Artistic Director Erik Amblad summoned his friend Bolton, who brought along Cordor, to meet Heard. “From that time on, we were like third graders bringing their toys to the playground — the possibilities were limitless,” says Heard, whose conceptual images provided a springboard for the duo to enliven a spare physical set. “The script’s final scene calls for a graveside funeral. With just a little projection magic and well-designed sound, they created a cold, wet day that elevated the emotional impact through the roof. ... Our next collaboration can’t come soon enough.”

He’ll have to join the queue. Though Space Cadets AV is a newer venture, Bolton and Cordor have significant network of creative pals and corporate clients have them busy working on projects, most of which they can’t reveal just yet. One they can share involves local filmmakers Jerry and Mike Thompson’s next feature-length movie, Popovich and the Voice of the Fabled American West, for which they are sound designers. And after a successful party installation at Ghostbar, they’re eagerly pitching ideas to various nightclubs, ideal settings for the duo to VJ (imagine Skrillex and David Fincher ruling over the same booth, synchronizing tunes and video clips in

S PACE CA D ET S AV : C h r i s to p h e r S m i t h


inside the Loman household — that stifling box of middleclass dreams gone sour in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. And then we’re not. What happened? The physical set inside Art Square Theatre never budges, but with technology and sound cues delicately segueing projected images of patterned wallpaper, then silhouetted tree branches upon it, we move in and out of the home without a single awkward, lights-out transition.

Mary Louvestre relates the journey of a Southern spy who traveled 200 miles in winter of 1862 to inform the Union Secretary of the Navy about her owner’s plans for the ironclad CSS Virginia ship. Sometimes you have to risk your life to save it, and this is a moving reminder from onehalf of a powerful literary couple. My Haley will read an excerpt and discuss her work. (KT) 2p, free,

West Las Vegas Arts Center

Oct. 15

three generations of writers — together The worlds conjured by George Saunders — sometimes bleak, sometimes absurd, sometimes dystopian, but always ringing with comic truth — strike so closely at the anxieties of the modern age, you sometimes have to remind yourself you're reading fiction. In "Three Generations of American Writers," he'll join two UNLV professors: Douglas Unger taught Saunders, and Maile Chapman studied under him. Douglas Unger’s five books include Leaving the

Land, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Maile Chapman is the author of Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto, a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award. (AK) 7p, free, Student

Union theater at UNLV

Oct. 15

You don’t know where that water’s been! If you were desperate, you’d probably drink dirty water — or Red Bull for that matter. But what if you didn’t have to be desperate? What if guzzling former sewer gunk was totally safe? Surprise: Lots of us already are. In the West, wastewater has many uses — agriculture, irrigation, industrial cooling, natural habitat restoration — and now, UNLV prof Daniel Gerrity wants to make it safe to drink. The civil and environmental engineering expert has a plan for Las Vegas that won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, which he’ll discuss in “How Thirsty Are You? Quenching the World’s Thirst with Wastewater.” (KT) 7:30p, free, Barrick Museum

Auditorium at UNLV

real time) or act as ADD-addled interior decorators transmitting various “patch” screens that mutate along with key shifts in the dance anthems and the motion of the revelers. If projection-mapping sounds complicated, it is. At downtown bar Velveteen Rabbit, it takes four different apps and programs to bring Space Cadets’ digital tapestries to life. While Bolton, a business major, taught himself via online forums — “There’s a great community online who are happy to share what they’ve figured out, and let everyone else take that knowledge and use it for whatever, maybe expand upon it,” says Cordor, learning the art form himself — it still requires a considerable technical pedigree to suss it all out. The app mastery. The computer coding. The trial-and-error mixing and matching of programs and hardware. But when Cordor and Bolton sit back at Velveteen Rabbit and watch patrons “play” with the duo’s wall wonderland, you can see the payoff of all that brain strain — and the promise of ingenuity to come. “It’s all my favorite things rolled into one, with my best friend,” says Bolton. “So, it’s nice.” — Mike Prevatt

Justin Torres

Oct. 29

Wild boys and bad dads When Justin Torres debuted “We the Animals,” in 2011, Esquire Magazine called it the best book of the year so far. It was September. The novella skews autobiographical, tracking the wild, unstructured lives of three young brothers living in upstate New York with their abusive Puerto Rican father and timid white mother. In simple, lyrical language, Torres follows the boys from childhood to late adolescence, noting the widening gap between the sensitive main character and his reckless siblings, until finally their differences come to an explosive head. Torres will speak as part of the Black Mountain Institute and Nevada Humanities Emerging Writers Series. (KT) 7p, free,

Greenspun Hall Auditorium at UNLV

Oct. 30

Books! Ideas! Literature! Fun! Bibliophiles cannot live on food and prose alone. Oh wait, yes they can. Since it was established in 2002, the Vegas Valley Book Festival has brought in big literary names such as John Irving, E.L. Doctorow, Neil Gaiman and Jennifer Egan, and this year will be no different. Lovers of the written word will enjoy four days of readings, discussion panels, writers workshops and a mini-food fest,

typically featuring small bites from local high-end restaurants. Keynote speakers are Catherine Coulter, author of “Devil’s Embrace” and 71 other works, Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Pulitzer finalist “Devil’s Highway,” and Walter Dean Meyers, national ambassador for young people’s literature, whose speech will confirm what we know to be true: Reading is not optional. (KT) Through Nov. 2, free, Clark

County Library and Fifth Street School, vegasvalleybookfestival. com

Nov. 2

From dirt street to Pulitzer finalist From a Tijuana landfill to teaching fellowship at Harvard University, Luis Alberto Urrea has seen a lot. Born in Tijuana, Mexico, to a Mexican father and American mother, Urrea was raised in San Diego and educated at the University of California San Diego and University of Colorado Boulder. In his Vegas Valley Book Festival keynote, “Universal Border: From Tijuana to the World,” Urrea will tell of his humble beginnings living on a dirt street to becoming a Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Devil’s Highway in 2004. Though much of his work is set in the Southwest, near the Mexico border, Urrea says, “Borders don’t interest me. I’m really in the business of building bridges.” (KT) 5p, free, Fifth

Street School | 71

s l a v i t s Fe

Make a night of it!

Family &


Sept. 21

Something tasty brewing downtown Whether you like to gnaw on a thick, chocolatey stout, sip a crisp lager or nip at a fizzy fruit beer that you’d swear was champagne if you didn’t know any better, the Downtown Brew Festival has a beer for every palate. What did you say? “I don’t drink beer”? Trust us — the new wave of beer festivals will open the eyes of even the most ardent oenophile loath to venture too far from his go-to pinot. Sip and swirl — and make some room in your wine cellar for some new company. Meanwhile, veteran beer drinkers who think they’ve tasted it all will enjoy some unique one-off batches cooked up by the Nevada Craft Brewers Association — think of them as pop-up beers with personalities and flavors all their own. (AK) 6p, $35-$65,

Clark County Amphitheater, 28GO's blue crabcake sliders

University District UNLV Film Department aces Sean Clark and Francisco Menendez have created the original production “Dog Explosion,” for your viewing and thinking pleasure, a dark comedy set in rural Missouri surrounding a family crisis, doughnuts, beer, a dog and some dynamite. It plays at the Black Box Theatre Sept. 20-29, and the (4700 S. Maryland Parkway, 597-9702) is the best place to get in the right mindset. It’s dark, it’s funny, and there’s a chance you might find a beer that tastes like doughnuts and/or dynamite. If your head is still spinning after the show, unconfuse it with some tasty fusion at 28GO (4632 S. Maryland Parkway, 895-9899), a tasty, trippy amalgam of Asian cuisines. (BR)

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Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

SepT. 28

Moon-gazing and mooncake-grazing Held on the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, the Asian Harvest Moon Festival is traditionally a time to give thanks for a

plentiful harvest. But for desertdwellers whose bounty is likely to come from the Smith’s produce department, there is still plenty to celebrate — like the end of a sweltering summer. Join like-minded locals at the Springs Preserve to honor this popular Asian holiday. The event includes food stalls, traditional dance performances and a children’s lantern parade. And don’t forget to try a mooncake — the iconic Chinese pastry is an acquired taste, but no festival is complete without it. (DL) 10a-5p,

$9.95/free for members, Springs Preserve

Oct. 4-6

Meet the rock stars of your mouth Just a few years ago, Vegas was the place you’d come to drink daiquiri through an IV while playing Deuces Wild video poker for 74 hours straight. How times change: Now we’re the place where you can eat a dollop of a celebrichef’s molecular pork belly foam for $37. Indeed, chefs are the rock stars of the new Vegas, and their foodie groupies will be out in force at the Food & Wine All-Star Weekend at the Aria, Bellagio and MGM Grand. With personal multi-course meals prepped by marquee names (Joël Robuchon! Shawn McClain!) live cooking demos and more tastings than you have taste buds, the Food & Wine All-Star weekend will provide you with envy-inspiring Instagram fodder for years to come. (AK) Times vary, $195-$595, Aria,

Bellagio, MGM Grand,

Asian Harvest Moon Festival at the Springs Preserve

Oct. 4-6

Fortune favors the foodies Sip on sake, nosh on noodles, and rub elbows with today’s brightest culinary stars at the LUCKYRICE Festival. The annual outdoor food festival, now in its second year, features inventive Asian-inspired cuisine prepared and presented by a diverse lineup of top chefs. Expect a mix of local favorites (Fukuburger, Wicked Spoon, Raku) and highprofile talent (Pichet Ong, Todd English, and “Top Chef” season 10 winner Kristen Kish.) The event offers all of the gustatory pleasures of an open-air market in Asia, minus the discomfort of eating from a street curb. (DL) 8p, $88, Boule-

Chalk artists take to the sidewalk at the Summerlin Art Festival.

vard Pool at The Cosmopolitan

Oct. 5

Oct 12-13

Say “prost!” and chug a bock or three

Masters of art take over a master-planned community

You don’t need to hail from Munich or drink doppelbock — heck, you don’t even need to know what doppelbock is — to celebrate Oktoberfest. The Original GermanAmerican Social Club of Nevada invites locals of every background to its condensed, family-friendly version of the world-famous festival. Traditional German fare will be served, and children’s activities will keep the little ones busy while you sample ice-cold brews. If you’ve had one too many mugs, help yourself to a second serving of bratwurst — folk dancing by the Las Vegas Bavarian Dancers and musical performances by Salzburger Echo and master yodeler Kerry Christensen will keep you entertained until you’re ready to drive. (DL) 2-9p, free, Centennial

Plaza at the Historic Fifth Street School

Downtown Vegas is not the only local destination for getting a dose of culture. At the 19th annual Summerlin Art Festival, scores of artists and craftsmen from all over the Southwest flock to the suburbs to showcase original paintings, sculptures, glasswork, pottery and more. Visitors who are inspired to unleash their own inner Rembrandts are encouraged to sign up for the popular chalk art competition; for $5, amateurs can contribute a non-juried masterpiece. Those who are less inclined to leave their artistic mark on the sidewalk can keep busy with children’s activities, live music and ice-carving demonstrations. (DL) 9a-5p, free, Summerlin

Centre Community Park,

Sample an assortment of wines and unique beers, enjoy live music from The Buster Kings, and dig into gourmet bites courtesy of El Segundo Sol, Stripburger, Mon Ami Gabi and P.F. Chang’s. Once you feel the buzz, do some impulse shopping via a silent auction. Don’t worry, your purchases will be justified — funds raised support Par for the Cure, a non-profit organization dedicated to breast cancer research. (DL) 5-9p, $40-$50,

year, the event features historical re-enactments, stage performances, jousting tournaments, and artisan demonstrations. Mayhap thou shalt learn a few medieval phrases before attending, but total immersion is not required. Festivalgoers who are uninterested in nitpicking the historical authenticity of it all can just take pleasure in gnawing on turkey drumsticks and listening to local bands. (DL) Oct. 11, 12, 10a-10p;

Springs Preserve

Oct. 13, 10a-4p, $10-$25, Sunset Park,

Oct. 11-13

Oct. 11-27

Saturday knight fever

It’s like a Halloween dress rehearsal

Oct. 5

Hic! Keep sipping for a cure What better way to do a good deed than through philanthropic alcohol consumption? In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Springs Preserve hosts its 4th annual Grapes & Hops Festival.

Spit-shine your leather boots and dry clean your wool cloaks, because the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival is back to take over (the finally renovated) Sunset Park for an entire weekend. Now in its 20th

Why limit Halloween to a single day? For three weekends leading up to the official holiday, the Springs Preserve hosts its

annual Haunted Harvest. Expect a haunted house, carnival games and a petting zoo. There’ll be candy too, of course. But if the kids take more than their fair share of Kit Kats, encourage them to stop by the donation station — members of Operation Gratitude will be on hand to collect extra sweets and thank you notes for our troops overseas. (DL) Oct. 11, 13, 18-20, 25-

27, 5p, $5-$8, Springs Preserve

Oct. 27

All candy, no creepy old hermit houses Instead of knocking on your neighbors’ doors for candy this year — how many Snickers do you really need? — dress the kids in their costumes and head over to Tivoli Village in Summerlin for Cox Treat | 73

ones to


Bastien Whether he’s doing a remixed BLT or a Tree of Life sandwich, this chef is mixing up the menu

“It’s not a fetish or a trend for him,” says David Mozes, Bastien’s longtime partner and general manager of Bronze Café. “But it is an interesting way to set himself apart as a chef. 74 | Desert

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

How can he make plant-based foods amazing and so good that you don’t even miss meat?” Take Bastien’s seitan — a wheat-derived protein that serves as a meat substitute. Made from wheat gluten, it takes on texture not unlike chicken when cooked. Bastien’s homemade seitan is far and away the best I’ve ever had. He flavors the protein with garlic, onions, cumin, cilantro and a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. To achieve the right density and texture, he steams the seitan, then cools it before chopping it into bite-sized cubes. This isn’t a concoction he found in a hipster vegan cookbook; Bastien’s recipe has

humble origins. “We had it every Saturday after the Sabbath,” he says. “We would have a potluck and whoever was cooking would always bring this dish with seitan. I grew up eating it not knowing what it was until I had it as an adult.” After years of experimentation, the seitan he now serves was developed at the kitchen of Bronze Café. For fans of more traditional faux meats, he’s also got killer tofu hot dogs and soy breakfast sausages. To be sure, there’s more than just inventive vegan dishes at Bronze Café. The eatery offers chicken, turkey and bacon on its menu to account for what they call “inter-eaters”:

PETER BA S TIEN : C h r i s to p h e r S m i t h


many people, going vegan is motivated by a passion for animal rights, better health or saving the earth. For Peter Bastien, executive chef of Bronze Café at The Center, making some of the valley’s best-tasting and most satisfying vegan and vegetarian food is the result of neither fad nor philosophical perspective. Rather, it’s the natural outcome of his upbringing. Bastien grew up in Seventhday Adventist churches and schools, and was thus introduced early on to vegetarian food. “They weren’t very strict about it, but they did encourage a plant-based diet,” he says. “So I picked up eating legumes and beans, and learned how to combine my grains and nuts so I was getting the proper combinations of amino acids.” Those self-taught Veggie 101 lessons paid off. Today, at the Bronze Café (401 S. Maryland Parkway, 202-3100), his inspired culinary creations are quickly becoming a favorite of area tastemakers and trendsetters of the new downtown.

Streets. The outdoor mall will play host to a spooky but safe Halloween fantasyland, replete with free candy, games and prizes. Entertainment comes in the form of face-painters, stilt-walkers and, perhaps scariest of all, balloon artists. Food stalls and a DJ will also be available. Note: Most of the swag at this event is only available to costumed children up to 10 years old (sorry dad, you’ll have to get your face painted somewhere else.) (DL) 3-6p, free, Tivoli Village

enter the pie-eating competition. For the grown-ups, there are beer tastings (and cider for teetotalers), chef demos and live music. Consider it your last chance for outdoor fun before winter hibernation. (DL) 8a-4p,

Nov. 9

Just like humans, dogs need to mix up their fitness routine every once in a while. Keep things interesting by bringing Fido to Tails & Trails, a day dedicated to canines at the Springs Preserve. The event features over three miles of hiking trails for you and your furry friend to explore. It’s an excellent opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and mild weather while it lasts — plus it’ll provide the two of you a chance to sniff out other animal lovers and pets. (DL) 10a-4p, free,

A festival for food-loving families Shortly before the fresh52 farmers market goes on hiatus for the winter, it hosts its annual Harvest Festival at Tivoli Village. All of the usual farmers and vendors will be in attendance, but be sure to bring the kids along for pumpkin-carving, face-painting, and a petting zoo. If Junior has a big appetite, permissive parents and unusual career aspirations, he can even

free, fresh52 at Tivoli Village

Nov. 17

A dog day in autumn (literally)

Springs Preserve

Tivoli Village's Harvest Festival

Venue index vegans and vegetarians who go out to eat with meat-eaters. They didn’t want to leave anyone out, so they made certain any meat on the menu would sate even the most discerning carnivore’s palate. Bastien’s version of the BLT is appropriately named the LGBTQ: lettuce, greens, maple-glazed bacon, tomato and “q-cumber.” “It has oven-cooked strips of bacon and is made with a bacon jam cooked down with onions, garlic, herbs and spices,” he says. “We purée that and use it as a spread. It’s a bacon sandwich with bacon in every bite.” (Don’t worry, meatless ones: They’re hoping to develop a vegan version soon.) For sweets, the café has a full range of both vegan and non-vegan baked goods as well as a variety of gluten-free, raw vegan “cheese” cakes every bit as indulgent in taste and texture as their dairy counterparts. Its beverage program includes cold-brewed iced coffee and blended drinks with ingredients such as pure matcha (powdered green tea), maca (Peruvian root) powder and chia seed. “If you can come up with something that tastes good and is good for you, then why not?” Bastien says. “Isn’t that what everybody wants?” — Hektor D. Esparza

Art Square 1025 S. 1st St., 483-8844, Brett Wesley Gallery 1112 S. Casino Center Blvd., 433-4433, Charleston Heights Arts Center 800 Brush St., 229-6383, City Hall Chamber Gallery 2nd floor of City Hall, 495 S. Main St. Clark County Amphitheater 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, 455-8200 Clark County Library 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 507-3400, Cockroach Theatre (at Art Square) 1025 S. 1st St.,

Contemporary Arts Center (in the Arts Factory) 107 E. Charleston Blvd. #120, 382-3886, CSN Cheyenne Campus (Artspace Gallery, Fine Arts Gallery, BackStage Theatre, Nicholas J. Horn Theatre) 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., North Las Vegas, 6514000 Fifth Street School 401 S. Fourth St., 229-6469 The Palms 4321 W. Flamingo Road, 942-7777 RTZvegas (at Art Square) 1017 S. First St. #195, 592-2164, Sin City Gallery (in the Arts Factory) 107 E. Charleston Blvd. #100, 608-2461, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts 361 Symphony Park Ave., 749-2012,

Springs Preserve 333 S. Valley View Blvd., 822-7700, Summerlin Centre Community Park 800 S. Town Center Drive Sunset Park 2601 E. Sunset Road Tivoli Village 440 S. Rampart Blvd. 570-7400 Trifecta Gallery (in the Arts Factory) 107 E. Charleston Blvd., 366-7001, UNLV (Artemus Ham Hall, Barrick Museum Auditorium, Black Box Theatre, Doc Rando Recital Hall, Greenspun Hall Auditorium, Student Union ballroom) 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, 895-3011 West Las Vegas Arts Center 947 W. Lake Mead Blvd. 229-4800 Winchester Cultural Center 3130 McLeod Drive, 455-7340 | 75

Aislinn Junior Gaultier short-sleeve dress, $92-$107 Junior Gaultier black- and white-striped tights, $23-$26

Oliver Paul Smith Junior slim-fit shirt with calendar print, $42-$48 Paul Smith Junior V-neck cardigan, $56-$62 Paul Smith in Crystals at CityCenter

Tayla Jo Junior Gaultier sleeveless red/green/white dress, $61-$68 Junior Gaultier long-sleeve shirt, $33-$36

Making the


Bag lunches and math homework — it’s yet another back-to-school season. Or is it? This fall, prep-school style gets a punky edge as the kids move to the head of the class 76 | Desert

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013


Jaelynn Ralph Lauren blouse, $85 Burberry dress, $95 Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall

Aden Appaman Thompson cardigan, $71 Appaman flannel shirt, $53

Stella Junior Gaultier sleeveless dress with pleated skirt, $92-$107

Robert John Kley Moeller hair and make-up Stephanie Aguilar stylist assistant Sarah Ann Miller models Aden, Aislinn, Stella, Oliver, Jaelynn and Tayla Jo photographer

stylist Christie | 77

Tayla Jo Junior Gaultier dress with side zippers, $88 Junior Gaultier checked zipper jacket, $61-$68 Cherokee cream tights, $5 Target stores or Chasing Fireflies brown leather embroidered boots, $88

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Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

Oliver Appaman varsity jacket, $93

Aden Ralph Lauren striped shirt, $65

Appaman skinny twill pant, $49

Ralph Lauren green tie, $49.50

Appaman baseball Henley shirt, $40

Ralph Lauren pants, $39.50 Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall TOPMAN suspenders, $12 TOPMAN hat, $25 TOPMAN in the Fashion Show Mall

Aislinn Stella Blu hearts T-shirt, $25 Circo for Target black leggings with jewelry, $7 Play glasses, $6 Target stores or Dr. Martens hot pink lamper boot, $75 Journeys Kidz in the Meadows Mall | 79

Oliver Paul Smith Junior Dodger blue print shirt, $54-$59 Paul Smith Junior V-neck cardigan, $56-$62 Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter Stella Gaultier Junior short puffed check skirt, $61-$68 Gaultier Junior classic long arm T-shirt, $55-$61 Gaultier Junior classic suit jacket, $107-$122 Jaelynn Ralph Lauren blouse, $85 Burberry dress, $95 Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall Sarah-Jayne Brooke boot, $34.99 Journeys Kidz in the Meadows Mall Aden Circo for Target blue striped T-shirt, $6 Target stores or Ralph Lauren pants, $39.50 Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall Appaman flannel shirt, $53

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Aden Burberry wool jacket, $450

Oliver Appaman puffy vest, $71

Aislinn Junior Gaultier black cardigan, $52-$58

Stella Appaman plaid skirt, $47

Jaelynn Cherokee knit blazer, $16.99

Ralph Lauren pants, $39.50 Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall

Appaman skinny twill pants, $49

Junior Gaultier shirt with necklace print, $26-$29

Appaman prom gathered T-shirt, $38

Paul Smith Junior long-sleeve T-shirt, $42-$48 Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter

Junior Gaultier pleated skirt, $52-$58

Circo for Target leggings, $7 Target stores or

Paul Smith Junior EPIC graphic sweatshirt, $45-$51 Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter TOMS green cordones, $42

Xhilaration glitter belt, $10 Target stores or Sarah-Jayne camper boot, $34.99 Journeys Kidz in the Meadows Mall

Appaman pep rally cardigan, $71 LAMO Footwear “sequin girl� bootie, $44

Stella Blue pink T-shirt, $25 P.S. from Aeropostale sparkle rucksack, $59.50 Meadows Mall and Galleria Mall Sarah-Jayne Brooke boot, $34.99 Journeys Kidz in the Meadows Mall | 81

Aislinn Appaman pep rally cardigan, $71 Appaman plaid skirt, $47 Circo for Target play glasses, $6 Target stores or Gaultier Junior front-checked T-shirt, $33-$36

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Stella Chasing Fireflies French terry blazer, $48 Chasing Fireflies plaid skirt, $38 Chasing Fireflies cotton T-shirt, $24 Xhilaration glitter belt, $10 Target stores or

Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

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A new Galleria at Sunset. A new experience. A destination whose time has come.

Renovation Complete This Fall

Sunset & Stephanie I 702-434-0202 I

Paul Smith wool beanie, $165 Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter Bally lamb nappa blouson, price on request Bally at Crystals in CityCenter

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Companion | SEPTtEMBER 2013

Jerry Metellus Moeller hair and make-up Shaun Saunders model Daylee, ENVY Model Management photographer

stylist Christie

plush THE

life Soft and structured styles warm up this fall’s looks | 85

TOPSHOP knit pom-pom beanie, $22 TOPSHOP in the Fashion Show Mall BCBGeneration pullover, $44 Macy’s in the Fashion Show Mall BCBGMAXAZRIA Mia printed maxi dress, $268 BCBGMAXAZRIA in Town Square

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Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

Shiraz wool ribbed hat, $85 DKNY in the Forum Shops at Caesars Donna Karan flannel wool convertible drape front jacket, $1,695 Donna Karan at Crystals in CityCenter BCBGMAXAZARIA poet blouse, $178 BCBGMAXAZARIA in Town Square | 87

TOPSHOP slouch beanie, $22 TOPSHOP in the Fashion Show Mall BCBGeneration mini-cowl, $38 Macy’s in the Fashion Show Mall Paul Smith Paul X sweater, $255 Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter

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Companion | SEPTEMBER 2013

BCBGeneration twist slouch hat, $24 BCBGeneration illusion striped glove, $28 BCBGeneration cotton blouse, $65 BCBGeneration yellow silk blouse, $65 Macy’s in the Fashion Show Mall BCBGMAXAZRIA Addison blouse, $138 BCBGMAXAZRIA in Town Square | 89

OctOber 12, 2013

3 p.m. at Summerlin Centre Community Park Join us for a fun and eye-opening interview with Cirque du Soleil on the stage at the Summerlin Art Festival. Come out early to interact with the Cirque du Soleil lively brand ambassadors who will mingle with the crowd.

Artist’s rendering. Card not available. Artist’s rendering. Card not available.

Your card gets you into Your card gets youinto. into whatever you’re whatever you’re into. Free with Museums on Us® Free with Museums on Us® Just show your Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch® credit or debit card at moreshow thanyour 150 participating museums nationwide the first weekend Just Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch®oncredit or debit card of at every month for free admission to art, science, history. more than 150 participating museums nationwide on the first weekend of Whatever is you’re into, it’sscience, on us. history. every month for freeitadmission to art, Whatever it is you’re into, it’s on us. Participating museums in Las Vegas: Children’s DISCOVERY Participating museums in Museum Las Vegas: Las Vegas Natural HistoryMuseum Museum Children’s DISCOVERY Las VegasSprings NaturalPreserve History Museum Springs Preserve

Visit to sign up for monthly email or text reminders. Visit to sign up for monthly email or text reminders.

Offer valid the first full weekend (Sat. and Sun.) of the month. Photo ID and any valid Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. One free general admission limited to cardholder at participating institution. Excludes fundraising events, special exhibitions and ticketed shows. Not to be combined with other offers. Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. Credit card programs are issued and administered by FIA Card Services, N.A. Museums on Us, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and the Bank of America logo Offer valid the trademarks first full weekend (Sat. and Sun.)Corporation. of the month. ID and valid SPN-100-AD Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. One free general admission limited are registered of Bank of America ©Photo 2013 Bank of any America | 2.2013 | AR1C767C to cardholder at participating institution. Excludes fundraising events, special exhibitions and ticketed shows. Not to be combined with other offers. Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. Credit card programs are issued and administered by FIA Card Services, N.A. Museums on Us, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and the Bank of America logo are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation. © 2013 Bank of America SPN-100-AD | 2.2013 | AR1C767C


M u s e u m s | G A L L E R I ES | A r t F e s t i v al s


Zion National Park Plein Air Invitational

Painting by Coyote Gulch Art Village artist Jeff Ham

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

Discovery Children's Museum



The Las Vegas Natural History Museum

National Atomic Testing Museum

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The Las Vegas Natural History Museum has been dedicated to educating children, adults and families in the natural sciences, both past and present and to providing a unique, educational resource in our Southern Nevada community. Recently, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum. Only five museums in Nevada are currently accredited, and of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, just 6% are accredited. The accreditation award validates two decades of work and provides significant credibility as the Museum and its Board of Directors plan for its future. Through its interactive exhibits, educational programs, and the preservation of its collections, the Museum strives to instill an understanding and appreciation of the world’s wildlife, ecosystems and cultures. 900 Las Vegas Blvd., North, Las Vegas, NV. Admission includes access to the entire Museum. $10 for adults $8 for students, seniors and military, $5 for children


M u s e u m s | G A L L E R I ES | A r t F e s t i v al s

DISCOVERY Children’s Museum

The DISCOVERY Children’s Museum addresses its core educational areas of science, art and culture and early childhood development with 26,000 square feet of interactive hands-on core exhibits. With featured traveling exhibitions, daily programs, demonstrations and activities, and special events and collaborative cultural programming for all occasions, it all adds up to an exciting family outing with lots of informal learning opportunities. The museum features nine permanent exhibits encompassing three floors. Each exhibit is designed to educate and enthrall visitors, and there is something for every interest and every age group. The DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, 360 Promenade Pl., Las Vegas, NV. Admission is $12 per person for ages 1 to 99. Yearly memberships are available. September 3 through May 31, 2014 museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information visit DISCOVERY 702-382-3445


Museums on Us® exhibit – Area 51: Myth or Reality – is a matchless experience that tells the story of the most secret place in America. The National Atomic Testing Museum, in Nevada, is conveniently located a short walk from the Strip at 755 East Flamingo Road. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. For more information call 702-794-5151 or visit our website at $20 for adults 18+, $17 for seniors and youths 7-17. $6 for children 6 and under. The Mob Museum

Located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, The Mob Museum showcases both sides of the Discovery Children's Museum's Waterworld exhibit

Through Bank of America's Museums on Us® program, you can visit more than 150 of the most popular cultural institutions in the United States free of charge on the first full weekend of every month. To enjoy this benefit you must be a Bank of America and Merrill Lynch card customer. Present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card to any particiapting museum with your photo ID and you will receive on free admission to that museum. For more information and to find a list of participating museums please visit, Bank of America is one of the world’s leading corporate supporters of the arts, partnering with thousands of arts organizations worldwide to unite diverse communities and cultures.

Neon Museum's Visitors center inside the former La Concha motel lobby

National Atomic Testing Museum

Travelers to Las Vegas rarely think of the history of “Sin City,” and if they do, it is the mob and gambling that come to mind. But Las Vegas is also an Atomic City. Since 1951, over 1,000 atomic bombs have been exploded less than 65 miles from the lights of the Strip. The Museum has many unusual oversized artifacts that help illustrate the story of our nation’s atomic testing program and its contribution to winning the Cold War. These include the B-53 bomb — the largest in our arsenal — and the uncommon “Jewel rack,” a diagnostic underground test rack rarely seen by the general public. Air samplers, bomb relays, cultural artifacts with the iconic mushroom cloud, and numerous Civil Defense-related items round out the displays and help clarify a story that weaves science and technology with Cold War history. Complementing the Museum’s exhibits is an unexpected touch – original art. Different artists are showcased throughout the year with their interpretation of our atomic past. Popup exhibits, which include everything from children’s interpretation of Mars habitats to unusual radiation items, are often on display. The Museum’s award-winning temporary

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notorious battle between organized crime and law enforcement. With engaging exhibits, high-tech theater presentations and more than 600 artifacts, The Mob Museum houses the largest collection of Mob and related law enforcement memorabilia under one roof. You can finally discover the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Mob Museum, 300 Stewart Ave, Las Vegas NV, 702-229-2734, Sun-Thurs 10am-7pm Fri-Sat 10am-8pm, Adults 18+ $19.95, Children 5-17 $13.95, NV Residents with state ID $10 The Neon Museum

Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic and cultural enrichment. In addition to an approximately two-acre Neon Museum campus, which includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, the museum also encompasses a visitors’ center housed inside the

former La Concha Motel lobby, as well as 15 restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. Both the Neon Boneyard and the La Concha Visitors Center are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North in Las Vegas. For more information, visit or call 702-387-6366. $18 general admission, $12 with a Nevada ID, free for children 6 and under.

Galleries Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

Now on view at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA), Warhol Out West features the most extensive collection of the legendary pop artist’s artwork ever exhibited in Las Vegas. Showcasing nearly 60 paintings, prints, sculptures, film and more, Warhol Out West is a collaboration between BGFA and The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. Docent tours are available daily at 2 p.m. and are included with the price of admission. On the second Wednesday of each


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M u s e u m s | G A L L E R I ES | A r t F e s t i v al s

So, you want to start a collection...

month, join BGFA Executive Director Tarissa Tiberti and Master Sommelier Jason Smith for Art & Wine: A Perfect Pairing, where artwork from the current exhibition is skillfully paired with selections from Bellagio’s wine cellar. 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd  Las Vegas, NV 89109, 702-693-7871. $16 General Admission, $13 Seniors, $13 Nevada Residents valid Nevada ID, $11 Students, Teachers, Military with valid ID, Free Children 12 and under. Mark Vranesh Studio

Returning to Southern Nevada after a few years in San Miguel de Allende has infused Mark Vranesh’s art with the colors and flavors of colonial Mexico. Vranesh’s artwork has gained international exposure through this historic community of artists and writers. His mixed media style incorporates watercolors and acrylics with collage elements of handmade paper and natural fibers. Influenced by his love for the Southwestern United States, Vranesh has revived his images of petroglyphs and landscapes in his unique approach to painting. After establishing his work throughout California with galleries in Coronado and Del Mar, Vranesh returned to Las Vegas in the mid-80s and now shares time between his Las Vegas and Sedona studios, he can often be found painting “plein air” at his traveling easel. Along with his prolific art career that has spanned more than three decades, Vranesh has been the show promoter for art festivals in

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art's Warhol Out West

Coyote Gulch Art Village

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Companion | September 2013

the Las Vegas Valley for nearly 20 years. This experience has given him the opportunity to help new artists find their dreams, just as he has. Information at, 702-245-6077, Coyote Gulch Art Village (Ivins, Utah)

Only a short jaunt west of St. George Utah and nestled beneath the majestic red rock cliffs, you’ll discover the Coyote Gulch Art Village. At the heart of the Kayenta Community, the art village is a growing enclave of art galleries, art studios, unique shopping experiences, casual dining, and outdoor theater and music. With beautiful scenery, amazing art, fun shops, and delicious food, the Coyote Gulch Art Village is a great place to spend an hour or even a whole day. The Coyote Gulch Art Village is open daily to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dinner is available Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 875 Coyote Gulch Court, Ivins UT 84738, 435-674-2306 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic

Since opening its doors in 2012, Imagine Exhibitions Gallery has captivated Las Vegas with its enticing exhibitions. In February 2013, it welcomed 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic, an in-depth exploration of National Geographic’s most celebrated photos from its 125-year-old history. 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic has taken thousands of guests to all corners of the globe, including the freezing temperatures of the arctic, the hot sands of the Kalahari Desert, underneath the Amazon River and even a foam party in Ibiza. In addition to seeing the photographs as they appeared in the magazine, visitors to 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic learn the stories behind the photos and more about the photographers themselves. At 6,800 square feet, Imagine Exhibitions Gallery is an ideal venue for hosting private events and cocktail receptions in a unique and compelling environment for up to 300 guests, any time of year. It also serves as an exhilarating field trip destination for local schools and universities, giving students the opportunity to step out of the classroom and into the world of National Geographic. “50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic” will be on display through January 2014 and is open Sunday through Thursday from

Michele C Quinn Fine Art Advisory, LLC (MCQ) How much do you know about fine art and collecting? Art is personal and emotional. You can collect with your eye, your heart, your gut, your wallet, or any combination of these things. It can take years to cultivate an aesthetic and a deep understanding of the market. But the reality is, most people don’t have the time, and they need help figuring out what to buy. But there is no reason to go at it alone. With more than 20 years of experience in fine art consulting, handling and collection management, MCQ is here to help. Whether you're an avid collector, a novice, or anything in between, MCQ will assist in guiding you through all the facets that go along with art collecting . Under MCQ's advisement, clients have purchased and commissioned works by James Turrell and Jenny Holzer, collected paintings and drawings by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst, and sculptures by John McCracken, Jaume Plensa, Paul McCarthy and Marc Quinn, among others. Owning a collection is one thing. Managing it is an art form unto itself. MCQ provides comprehensive archiving of fine art collections through an industry-standard, database-management software system. So when the time comes to sell from your collection or buy from someone else’s, there’s virtually nothing to it. For more information on MCQ's portfolio of work, please visit:

9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., last ticket sold at 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., last ticket sold at 8 p.m. General admission $18; students with a valid ID, Nevada residents, military, and seniors $15; children 12 and under enjoy free admission when accompanied by a paying adult; additional children $14. Taxes and fees not included. 702-414-9000

Art Festivals Boulder City Art in the Park

The Southwest’s largest juried outdoor art festival is a time-honored Boulder City tradition. For many Southern Nevadans, a treasured indication that Fall is officially on the way appears as temperatures start to lower, days get a bit shorter and the beloved Boulder City Art in the Park makes its appearance the first

July 27, 2013 December 3, 2013 | 702.382.3445



M u s e u m s | G A L L E R I ES | A r t F e s t i v al s

weekend of October. Not only is it an art lover's dream come true, it’s the 51st anniversary of this signature fund-raising event by the Boulder City Hospital Foundation, with all proceeds going directly to the hospital, underlining its mission to provide the community with quality health care close to home. The annual event, which draws up to 100,000 visitors, is composed of a varied and exciting range of artists, craftsmen, culinary delights and live entertainment. It is widely recognized as the largest outdoor juried art festival in the Southwest! This year’s event features hundreds of artisans spread throughout the heart of Boulder city amongst its four beautiful parks. As one of the city’s largest events, Art in the Park wouldn’t be successful without the combined efforts of members of our communities. Fine and traditional art, fine and traditional crafts can all be found at this spectacular event. Art in the Park always features a variety of food choices from hot dogs, hamburgers, roasted corn on the cob, barbecue sandwiches, Italian, Mexican, Greek, Thai and Chinese fare. And then the desserts and treats… funnel cakes, kettle corn, roasted nuts, fruity bars, frozen treats and more. Entertainment is a standard at Art in the Park. While strolling the parks and viewing artist works, guests are welcomed to relax in the shade at Bicentennial Park with refreshments while enjoying the stage entertainment from Boulder City’s traditional gazebo setting. Since the inception of the festival, every talented artist has donated one original piece to the Art in the Park raffle. That tradition continues today, making every raffle prize a “hot treasure!” Raffle tickets are available at the event booth at the west end of Bicentennial Park. For more information about Art in the Park or Boulder City Hospital please visit www. To learn how you can support our community hospital; please contact the Boulder City Hospital Foundation at 702- 293-0214. Art in Kayenta Festival

The Coyote Gulch Art Village will be hosting the 14th Annual Art In Kayenta Festival on October 11th, 12th, and 13th from the hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The art festival will feature many artists from around the country, 98 | Desert

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including nationally renowned and resident Coyote Gulch Art Village artists Edward Hlavka and Jeff Ham. Edward Hlavka, a sculpturist whose work resides in the Smithsonian and Statuary Hall, and Jeff Ham, a painter who has been featured in American Art Collector, Western Art Collector, Sedona Magazine and Southwest Art Magazine, will be competing in the Art in Kayenta Quick Draw event where Edward, Jeff and other professional artists will create an original piece of art in just 90 minutes. The pieces will then be sold in a live auction at the commencement of the Quick Draw Event. Edward Hlavka has a studio located in the Coyote Gulch Art Village where he creates his master pieces and also teaches sculpturing classes to beginner and advanced students. Jeff Ham also has a studio in The Coyote Gulch Art Village where people can see him create his paintings which use raw, bright, and explosive colors to create magical works of art. The Art In Kayenta Festival gives people a unique opportunity to experience the Coyote Gulch Art Village, the Kayenta Community, and Southern Utah as a whole. Come out to shop at the galleries, eat great food, and enjoy a great day for the whole family. 875 Coyote Gulch Court, Ivins UT 84738, 435-674-2306 Zion National Park Fifth Annual Plein Air Invitational

For hundreds of years, people have been trying to communicate what Zion Canyon means to them with symbols on rock, words on paper, and images on canvas. Today, we continue to celebrate the importance of original art in the history of Zion with the annual Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational. The Zion National Park Foundation will host the fifth annual event, November 4-11, 2013, by hosting 24 of the country’s finest landscape artists for a week of painting and teaching in the park. The artists will paint plein air (on location) throughout the week in many of the same locations that iconic artists such as Thomas Moran painted when this landscaped was first exposed to the American public. Park visitors during the week will have many unique opportunities to witness great artists at work in the park, as well as attend daily painting demonstrations and lectures. Details at and 800-635-3959

The Watchman in Dazzling Light With an Agate Sky by Buffalo Kaplinski 30 x 40, acrylic on canvas

November 4 - 11, 2013

Zion National Park, Utah

Free Artist Demonstrations - Free Evening Lectures - Peak Autumn Color - Buyer’s Preview Gala Artists Appreciation Brunch - Public Wet Paint Sale, November 9 - 11 - Proceeds Benefit Zion Youth Programs Mitch Baird Doug Braithwaite John Cogan Michelle Condrat Bill Cramer Stephen C. Datz

Cody DeLong Dennis Farris Linda Glover Gooch Bruce Gomez George Handrahan Steven Hill

Zion National Park Foundation

J. Brad Holt Hai-Ou Hou Donal Jolley Buffalo Kaplinski Greg LaRock Roland Lee

Peter Nisbet Rachel Pettit Spike Ress Dave Santillanes Gregory Stocks Suze Woolf



M u s e u m s | G A L L E R I ES | A r t F e s t i v al s


Area 51: Myth or Reality - Now Open!

Held Over By POPular demand

The National Atomic Testing Museum, 755 E Flamingo Rd  Las Vegas, NV 89119, 794-5151 Learn about the most secret place in America. The first-ever exhibit on Area 51 will explore the real truth, the real programs and address the secrecy that surrounds the base at Groom Lake. But what about the aliens? The Mothership? The Secret Underground Tunnels?

Art & Wine: A Perfect Pairing Bellagio Art Gallery, 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89109, 693-7871 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 2013 Event Dates:* September 11, October 9, December 11 For tickets please visit the BGFA ticket counter or call 877.957.9777, $30 for members, $38 for nonmembers. *Art & Wine will be dark in November 2013 and January 2014.

Art in Kayenta Festival

Kayenta Coyote Gulch Art Village, 875 Coyote Gulch Court, Ivins UT 84738, 435-674-2306 Friday-Sunday October 11, 12, 13; 10a-5pm

Art Walk Produced by Mark Vranesh Studio

October 19 – 20, Anthem Highlands, Albertson’s Shopping Center, 2810 – 2929 Bicentennial Pkwy, Henderson October 25 – 26, Boca Fashion Park, Rampart at W. Charleston, Las Vegas November 2 – 3, Trails Village Center, 1970 Village Center Circle, Summerlin

Boulder City Arts – 51st Annual Art in the Park

755 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 702-794-5124

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Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation

Las Vegas Natural History Museum, 900 Las Vegas Blvd N., Las Vegas, NV 89101, 384-3466, This exhibit showcases the science and technology used to unlock the secrets of the world’s most preserved dinosaur in the flesh, the Dinosaur Mummy, Leonardo! The 23-foot-long plant-eater from the late Cretaceous period was naturally mummified before it was turned into a fossil. This exhibit reveals some never-beforeseen images of the dinosaur mummy as we tell the story of the ground-breaking research conducted on this amazing fossil. Other permanent exhibits include: Treasures of Egypt, Engelstad Family Prehistoric Life Gallery International Wildlife Gallery, Las Vegas Founders’ African Galleries, E. L. Wiegand Foundation, Wild Nevada Gallery, Marine Life Gallery, MGM/MIRAGE Young Scientist Center

Experience Nano

Discovery Children’s Museum, 360 Promenade Pl, Las Vegas, NV 89107, 702-382-3445 Imagine and Discover a World You Can’t See! Mini Exhibition July 27, 2013 through December 3, 2013

Zion National Park Fifth Annual Plein Air Invitational

Schedule of Events: November 5 - Tuesday 7:00 p.m. – Lecture: Michelle Haas The Role of Art in Landscape Conservation November 6 - Wednesday 7:00 p.m. – Lecture: Rebecca Fogg Zion Artist-in-Residence

October 5 & 6, 2013 – 9am-5pm 401 California Ave., Boulder City, NV 89005, 293-0214. Free.

November 7 - Thursday 7:00 p.m. Lecture: Polly Schaafsma Prehistoric Art

Desert Companion on Tour with Cirque du Soleil at Summer Art Festival

November 8 - Friday 7:00 p.m. Invitation-only Art Patrons Preview and Purchase Awards presentation

Saturday 3 pm, October 12, Summerlin Centre Community Park, 1800 S. Town Square Dr., Las Vegas 89135. Free and Open to the Public

November 9 - Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Zion Nature Center Public Wet Paint Exhibit & Sale



...Only of the nation’s museums are accredited with the American

Alliance of Museums?

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is honored to be newly accredited.

CoMe expLore witH us.

Location 900 n. Las Vegas Blvd., n. Las Vegas, nV Cross streets are Las Vegas Blvd. and Washington, adjacent to Cashman Center Hours Daily from 9:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. Open at 12:00 P.M. New Year’s Day and Easter Closed Christmas and Thanksgiving Day

Zion National Park Fifth Annual Plein Air Invitational (continued)

11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Zion Lodge - Paint Out 2:00 p.m. Paint Out Sale 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Silent Auction 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Springdale Main Street Gallery Art Walk 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Canyon Community Center Zion Through a Different Lens

November 10 – Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Zion Nature Center Artist Quick Finish Painting 9:00 a.m. – Noon Zion Nature Center Public Wet Paint Exhibit & Sale November 11 – Monday 9:00 a.m. – Noon Zion Nature Center Public Wet Paint Exhibit & Sale

Have a Healthy Day! 3rd Annual Children’s Health and Wellness Fair!

Discovery Children’s Museum, 360 Promenade Pl, Las Vegas, NV 89107, 702-382-3445 Saturday, September 14, 2013 10:00 AM Traveling Featured Exhibit

Boulder City Hospital Foundation Presents the 51st Annual

ARTIN THE PARK OCTOBER 5-6 / 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Boulder City, Nevada

Hundreds of Fine Art, Fine Craft & Traditional Craft Artists FREE Admission! Benefiting Boulder City Hospital For more information maps and directions, please visit: or call: 702-293-0214

Featured Artist – Ora Tamir Booths 199 & 200

Summerlin Art Festival

Saturday & Sunday 9 am – 5 pm, October 12 – 13, Summerlin Centre Community Park, 1800 S. Town Square Dr., Las Vegas 89135 / | 101



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Mark Vranesh Studio presents

Art Walk October 19-20

Anthem Highlands

Albertsons Shopping Center 2810-2929 Bicentennial Pkwy in Henderson

October 25-26-27 Boca Fashion Park Rampart at W. Charleston in Las Vegas

November 2-3 Trails Village Center 1970 Village Center Circle in Summerlin For information, 702.245.6077

September 21, 2013 9:30 a.m. at plant world

Fun with fall planting! Join us as horticulturist expert Norm Schilling shares expert tips on seasonal gardening, yard care and how to prune like a pro. For more inFormation, visit us online at Plant World Nursery 5301 West Charleston Boulevard Las Vegas, NV 89146

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Motorcycles since 1923





Enjoy all the Southwest has to offer. Call 702.454.6269 to schedule your reservation. See store for details.

6675 South Tenaya Way •





Tivoli Village 420 S. Rampart Suite 180, Las Vegas, NV, (702) 433-1233

La Revue de Cuisine

Axiom Brass

Thursday, September 19, 2013 • 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 30, 2014 • 7:30 p.m. $25 $25

Hungarian State Folk Ensemble Gypsy Romance

Moscow Festival Ballet Cinderella

Repertory Dance Theatre “Elements”

Saturday, March 8, 2014 • 8 p.m. $15 - $30

Haifa Symphony Orchestra of Israel

Thursday, September 26, 2013 • 8 p.m. $25 - $40 - $55 - $75

Saturday, February 1, 2014 • 8 p.m. $25 - $40 - $55 - $75

Thursday, March 13, 2014 • 8 p.m. $25 - $40 - $55 - $75

Fry Street Quartet

Duo Siqueira Lima

Saturday, February 15, 2014 • 8 p.m. $40

VIDA Guitar Quartet

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 • 7:30 p.m. $25

Thursday, April 10, 2014 • 8 p.m. $40

Peter Nero with the UNLV Jazz Symphony Orchestra The Gershwin Project

Three Times Four

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman

Saturday, November 2, 2013 • 8 p.m. $25 - $40 - $55 - $75

Mak Grgic

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 • 8 p.m. $40

Thursday, February 20, 2014 • 7:30 p.m. $25

Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight!

Saturday, February 22, 2014 • 8 p.m. $25 - $40 - $55 - $75

Saturday, April 26, 2014 • 8 p.m. $25 - $40 - $55 - $75

(702) 895-2787

pure. powerful.arts. 2013 – 2014 season





A R T S + E N T E R TA I N M E N T

take Consider the humble chair. For most of us, it’s a plush pedestal for our lazy-butt, Netflixbased lifestyles, a mere booty receptacle for office work and web-surfing. But in the eyes of artist Brian Zimmerman, the chair is a medium for trenchant social commentary on our health and body issues. Sit on that! “Greasing the Skids” is on exhibit at The Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery through Sept. 27, with a reception and artist talk 6p Sept. 27

S U Z A N N E V I N N I K : A L L I S O N H A R R E L L ; A N D R E W JAC KS O N : M I C H A E L H E R B

There’ll be love in the air — literally — at the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s “Operatic Love” concert: tenor Cody Austin and soprano Suzanne Vinnik (pictured) will perform opera arias and duets in overtures by stalwarts Puccini, Verdi and Mozart. “Operatic Love” is 7:30p Sept. 28 in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, with a pre-concert conversation at 6:45p. Tickets $25-$94. Info:

Every so often, UNLV culls its best jazz students in an arcane ritual called “Dark Harvest: The Musical Soul-Reapening.” Okay, it’s actually called the UNLV Jazz Concert Series, but you get the idea. The college’s finest musicians take you through a swingin’ set of jazz classics and contemporary tunes. The UNLV Jazz Ensemble performs 7p Oct. 9 at the Clark County Library’s main theater. Free.

Long before the office of president devolved into being an elaborately coiffed figurehead for powerful megacorporate interests, there were presidents like Andrew Jackson: ardently populist, brutally decisive and an unapologetic demagogue. Got a problem with that? HE JUST CHALLENGED YOUR FACE TO A DUEL. Satirical rock musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is performed 8p Sept. 13-28 and 2p Sept. 22 at Onyx Theatre, 953 E. Sahara Ave. #16 in Commercial Center. Tickets $25. Info:

Carol Burnett was a true comedic trailblazer, proving that ladies could turn us into quivering puddles of laughter as effectively as any one of those hairy oafish manpersons. In this special evening, she’ll reflect upon her career in a freestyle Q&A with the audience — much like she began each episode of her beloved “Carol Burnett Show.” “Laughter and Reflection with Carol Burnett” is 8p Sept. 29 at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center. Tickets $39-$129. Info:

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



Through Sept. 9, by appointment only. T  his is one of several exhibits that are part of the Nevada Arts Council-Nevada Touring Initiative/Touring Exhibit Program and features 16 artists who were asked to explore the geographical and cultural differences in Nevada, if such differences truly exist. The assembly of printmakers – eight from the north, eight from the south – produced two prints from each collaboration. Free. Historic Fifth Street School, Mayor’s Gallery, NEXT EXIT: ROUTE 66 Through Sept. 15. E  xplore how local artists have interpreted this icon of the American Auto Age using a variety of media and techniques. Featuring artists include Su Limbert, Todd Miller, Andreana Donahue, Justin Favela and JW Caldwell. Free with general admission. Springs Preserve, POST RURAL

Through Sept. 27, Mon-Fri 9a-4p; Sat. 10a2p. Artist reception Sept. 27, 6-8p. W  hile mounting an exhibition at the University of Montana, the artists within this exhibition were struck by a sympathetic resonance between ideas, concerns and interests. During the ensuing discussion, it was noted that none of the group were from Montana, but all shared the experience of living in the rural West, where the signs, symbols and metaphors are not completely their own. Free. CSN Fine Arts Gallery, DOROTHY AND HERBERT VOGEL COLLECTION

Through Sept. 28, Mon-Fri 9a-5p; Sat 125p. In 2010, UNLV was the recipient of 50 contemporary works from the celebrated collectors Dorothy and Herb Vogel. The Vogel Collection has been characterized as unique among collections of contemporary art, both for the character and breadth of the objects and for the individuals who created it. Suggested donation: $5 adults; $2 children. UNLV Barrick Museum, LARGER THAN LIFE

Through Sept. 28. T  hrough this series of digitally manipulated photographs, photography duo Francis George and Francis R. Baytana introduce us to a glamorous giant as she observes her strange new world of urban metropolis and iconic local landmarks. The concept has an otherworldly feel and lives up to Las Vegas’ reputation of excess and overindulgence. Free. Brett Wesley Gallery, 1112 S. Casino Center Blvd., ART IN MOTION: THE KINETIC WIND ART OF MARK WHITE Through Sept. 30. M  ark White’s kinetic wind sculptures were designed to encourage self-

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reflection. They are precisely balanced to respond to the lightest of breezes, yet strong enough to withstand 100 mph winds. Free with general admission. Springs Preserve SCULPTURAL PATTERNS: LIFE, NATURE, AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE WORLD WE LIVE IN Through Nov. 14, Mon-Thu 7a-5:30p. A  rtist Bobbie Ann Howell worked with a variety of materials to create designs and patterns that emerge in a layering of forms, shapes and colors. This exhibition features patterns and designs created from observations in nature and the Nevada landscape. Free. Las Vegas City Hall Grand Gallery, FIRST FRIDAY

Sept. 6 & Oct. 4, 5-11p. C  elebrate Downtown Las Vegas’ unique brand of arts and culture with exhibits, open galleries, live music and DJs, food trucks, vendor booths and special activities for the kids. Free. Arts District; hub at Casino Center Blvd. between Colorado St. and California St.,

DANCE TREY MCINTYRE PROJECT Sept. 20, 7:30p. C  an dance heal and enlighten? An innovative slant on the ballet genre infusing its classical inheritance with freshness, vitality and depth, McIntyre explores not only Americana but the whole of the human condition, taking on themes such as religion, superstition, family and love. Tickets start at $29. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, TAPS, TUNES AND TALL TALES Sept. 21, 3 & 7p; Sept. 22, 3p. B  roadway’s tallest tapper, Tommy Tune, takes to the world’s smallest stage, dancing, singing and tale-telling through 50 years of big-time showmanship on only four square feet. Tickets start at $39. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center,

MUSIC GRITS AND GLAMOUR Sept. 7, 7:30p. P  am Tillis and Lorrie Morgan are veteran recording artists and performers who grace the country format with style, flair and undeniable talent. Tickets start at $29. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, UNLV JAZZ CONCERT SERIES: THE JOE WILLIAMS EVERY DAY FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP SEXTET Sept. 11, 7p. T  his series highlights the best student musicians from UNLV’s Jazz Studies Program. Free. Jewel Box Theater, Clark County Library, ARTURO SANDOVAL

Sept. 13, 7p; Sept. 14, 3 & 7p. O  ne of the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, nine-time Grammy winner


A R T S + E N T E R TA I N M E N T

Arturo Sandoval brings his group to Cabaret Jazz, featuring original compositions by Sandoval, as well as a tribute to the late, great Dizzy Gillespie. Tickets start at $42. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center, BROADWAY AND BEYOND Sept. 15, 2p. E  njoy classic Broadway hits from the great singers of our time, including Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland, as well as modern favorites. Vocalist Zipporah

Peddle and guest vocalists George Demott of Poperazzi and Briana Shaw Rossi of Cirque du Soleil’s “Zarkana” will be backed by some of the top musicians in Las Vegas. $12 residents, $15 non-residents. Starbright Theatre, STEVE MARCH-TORMÉ Sept. 27-28, 7p. Sensational vocalist Steve March-Tormé, backed by a great jazz trio, presents ballads and up-tempo songs from

GRIMM’S FAIRYTALE TOUR Sept. 27, 8p. W  ith his soulful voice, Mississippibred Michael Grimm charmed millions of viewers as a contestant on “America’s Got Talent,” parlaying his substantial singer-songwriter appeal into a first-place finish and million-dollar prize. Tickets start at $25. Sunset Station Casino,

TONY Award Winner for Best Musical on Broadway!

Now thru Oct 22

BRAZILIAN JAZZ SENSATION PATTY ASCHER Sept. 28, 7p. A  scher’s sultry jazz voice garnered industry attention on the east coast, now she is labeled the next big Las Vegas singing sensation. Spend an evening with a brilliant three-piece band, Rio Carnivale dancers and special guest star performers. $15 residents, $18 non-residents. Starbright Theatre,

“Millie cast provides a roaring good time” - The Spectrum Laura Taylor as Millie, John Preator as Jimmie

A Supercalifragilistic Tuacahn Premiere

Now - Oct 25


Now - Oct 24

Sept. 10-13, 7:30p; Sept. 14-15, 2 & 7:30p.  ndrew Lloyd Webber’s production is an A enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic reconceived for the stage. As the characters try to obtain their hearts’ desires, you will rediscover the real story of Oz. Tickets start at $26. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center,

Mindy Smoot Robbins as Mary Poppins

- Salt Lake Tribune

“It’s crisp, colorful and well done” - Deseret News

Tuacahn Amphitheatre is surrounded by the red cliffs of Southern Utah, just two short hours from Las Vegas Expect the Unforgettable

(866) 321-4953 • COMPANION | SEPTEMBER 2013

Steven M. Goldsmith as Rusty

© Disney

CELEBRATE HARMONY - THE SILVER STATESMEN CHORUS Oct. 5, 2p. C  elebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Barbershop Harmony Society with Nevada’s own – including the largest a cappella chorus in the state! With popular music from the past and present, both your grandparents and your kids will enjoy the shows. $15. Desert Spring United Methodist Church, 120 N. Pavilion Center Drive.


U.S. Regional Premiere “Starlight Express is fun, beautiful to watch…”

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the Great American Songbook mixed with his own tunes. March-Tormé covers stories and anecdotes about his life and relationship with his father, Mel Tormé, and stepfather, actor Hal March. Tickets start at $36. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center,

DRIVING MISS DAISY Sept. 22, 7:30p.Clarence Gilyard, best known as the co-star of television’s “Matlock” and “Walker Texas Ranger,” stars in Alfred Uhry’s 1988 Pulitzer Prize winner. The play is a warm-hearted, humorous and affecting study of the unlikely relationship between an aging, crotchety white Southern lady and a proud, soft-spoken black man. Tickets start at $24. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, LAS VEGAS IMPROVISATIONAL PLAYERS Sept. 28, 7p. W  hen’s the last time you laughed until you cried? Clean-burning, completely kid-safe fun for the whole family! Every song and scene is created on the spot using suggestions from the audience. Come early for Name That Tune. $10 at the door, kids free. American Heritage Academy, 6126 South Sandhill Road,

JOIN US OCTOBER 17 AT 6 P.M FOR AN EVENING OF GREAT COMPANY, HORS D’OEUVRES, COCKTAILS AND A FANTASTIC VIEW. Desert Companion and Nevada Public Radio is proud to partner with Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and the Howard Hughes Corporation & Robert Mondavi Winery for the Corporate Kick Off Reception on The Hill at TCP Summerlin. Help us honor the sponsors who have made a significant commitment to support the tournament and most importantly, to Shriners Hospitals for Children. Space is Limited RSVP at The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, October 16-20 Continuing the 30 year tradition of PGA TOUR golf in Las Vegas, NV and now a FedExCup® event, awarding full FedExCup points, The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open will bring some of the top PGA TOUR professionals to compete at TPC Summerlin. Please park at Suncoast Casino; 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas NV 89145. Complimentary shuttles will bring guests to the course from there. Prohibited items: cameras, camera bags, backpacks, and large purses (bags no larger than 6”x6”x6”)

Visit our website for more information about the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. SPONSORED BY

A R T S + E N T E R TA I N M E N T

LECTURES, SPEAKERS AND PANELS AN EVENING WITH FORMER GOVERNOR BOB MILLER: SON OF A GAMBLING MAN Sept. 5, 7p. F  ormer Nevada Governor Bob Miller and Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas ReviewJournal political columnist, sit down to discuss Miller’s early life in Chicago to his reign as longest-serving governor in Nevada history. Free. Main Theater, Clark County Library, MARGINAL WORKERS: THE POLITICS OF WORKPLACE REFORM Sept. 5, 7:30p. H  ow do workers organize to improve the laws that are supposed to protect them? In this lecture, author and professor Ruben J. Garcia examines current legislative efforts for labor law, immigration law and equal pay reform. He then suggests ways that the law might be reframed to improve workplace protections. Free. Barrick Museum Auditorium at UNLV, CREATE ALTERNATIVE SPACES Sept. 19, 6-8p. E  xplore the idea of Alternative Exhibition Spaces; how art can be installed and viewed outside of the traditional whitecube. Come listen, respond, discuss and get your thoughts heard. Light refreshments will be served. The Contemporary Arts Center, ALAN ALDA: THINGS I OVERHEARD WHILE TALKING TO MYSELF Sept. 24, 7:30p. H  aving survived a near-death experience on a mountaintop in Chile and wanting to squeeze the most juice out of his second chance at life, he listens again to advice he’s heard himself giving young people over the years and spins a story that holds on to laughter as it plunges down a few blind alleys – toward a surprising conclusion. Tickets start at $29. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, CHASING BUTTERFLIES: ENDEMIC BUTTERFLIES OF THE SPRING MOUNTAIN RANGE Sept. 25, 7:30p. Surrounded on all sides by the Mohave Desert, the Spring Mountains provide the only remaining refuge to a variety of endemic species. These include a number of rare butterflies existing nowhere else in the world. The impact of this year’s Carpenter Canyon Fire will also be discussed. Free. Barrick Museum Auditorium at UNLV,

and a moderated debate. Free. Main Theater, Clark County Library,


Sept. 7-8, all day. F  ascinated with the mob? Wonder what it might be like to rub elbows with loan sharks or hit men? Meet some of the players at this one-of-a-kind event, Vegas style! $195, $230 at the door. Palace Station Hotel & Casino, RTC VIVA BIKE VEGAS 2013 GRAN FONDO PINARELLO Sept. 21, start time 6a. R  egistration is open for the sixth annual RTC Viva Bike Vegas, the noncompetitive ride that takes you through the Strip and Red Rock Canyon. Choose between 103, 60 or 17-mile courses. After the ride, meet at Town Square for a celebration that includes live entertainment and a children’s bicycle rodeo. Proceeds benefit local charities. $85 early registration, $65 jerseys. Timing chips available. Town Square Las Vegas, GREEK FOOD FESTIVAL Sept. 27-28, 3p-11p. T  wo full days of Greek dancing, Greek music, Greek food and exciting events, including a children’s area. Listen to live music by Olympians and Etho Ellas while you browse the booths of clothing, jewelry, art and hand-crafted pastries. $6, children 12 and under and military families with ID free. St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 5300 S El Camino Road, LV INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING MEMORABILIA EXCHANGE & SHOW

Sept. 27, noon-9p; Sept. 28, 8a-6p. E  xplore the vast history of Scouting through its memorabilia, while benefitting the Las Vegas International Scouting Museum. Free. Palace Station Hotel Casino Salon A/B,

FUNDRAISERS FLAVORS OF THE HEART Sept. 7, 7p. M  eet this year’s celebrity Heart Chef, Anthony Vidal of Hash House A Go Go, at this multicultural culinary event that benefits the American Heart Association. Enjoy the silent auction, live music and food and wine tasting. $75, multiple ticket discounts available. World Market Center, DIAMOND DIG

UNCENSORED VOICES: CELEBRATING THE FREEDOM TO READ Sept. 26, 7p. In recognition of Banned Books Week, this event is a celebration of words and ideas as well as a call to action for anyone who cares about free speech. The evening will be moderated by Las Vegas Review-Journal political columnist, Steve Sebelius, and will feature dramatic readings

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Sept. 19, 5-7p. M  ine for diamonds with other lucky “diggers” and you may win the grand prize of a diamond pendant necklace worth more than $1,600! Proceeds go to Dress for Success Southern Nevada. Free to attend, “digs” may be purchased at event. Dress for Success Henderson Store, 10400 S. Eastern Ave.,

WE JUST MADE 10: A DECADE OF MUSICAL MEMORIES Sept. 21, 5p. T  he Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild commemorates their 10th Anniversary with a Gala looking back at the history of the Guild and classic Las Vegas. The evening includes a special pre-event VIP cocktail party with a musical tribute to Frank Sinatra followed by a champagne reception with a silent auction and a fabulous dinner dance featuring the Las Vegas Good Fellas and a live auction. Tickets start at $115, Riviera hotel-casino, UNITEDHEALTHCARE CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION THIRD ANNUAL TEDDY BEAR 5K RUN AND ONE MILE WALK Sept. 28, 6:30a. P  articipants can register individually or in teams of five or more. $30 for the 5K, $25 for the walk, kids 6-12 $15 for either event. Registrants get T-shirts and swag! Tivoli Village,

3RD ANNUAL “THIS ONE’S FOR THE BOYS!” PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS WALK/RUN Sept. 28, 8:30a. G  et in shape for either the 2 mile walk or 3 mile run benefiting 21st Century C.A.R.E. Foundation and UsTOO Prostate Cancer Support Group, two non-profit groups dedicated to cancer patients in Southern Nevada. $25 online, $30 at event. UNLV CampusMyron Patridge Track and Field Stadium, DUCKS UNLIMITED ANNUAL WATERFOWL BANQUET Oct. 3, 5:00p. S  upport the Las Vegas chapter of Ducks Unlimited in their wetlands conservation mission. This evening of fun and fundraising includes dinner, live and silent auctions and raffled prizes. $100 singles, $160 couples, $50 children under 18, $1500 corporate tables. Red Rock Country Club, CASA FOUNDATION 23RD ANNUAL RECOGNITION GALA Oct. 5, 5p. T  he Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program advocates for abused and neglected children. This gala celebrates the best of the best. All proceeds go to meet unpaid special requests made by children in foster care in Las Vegas. $200 each or $1800 for table of 10. The Venetian Hotel, SMILES FOR SURVIVORS THIRD ANNUAL BLOW OUT BREAST CANCER EVENT Oct. 5, 7P. F  eaturing a variety of beauty inspired treats, fun-filled auction items, inspired survivor spotlights, fine food, cocktails and the who’s who of Las Vegas and Summerlin society. All funds will go to the Smiles for Survivors awareness campaigns and patient treatments. $Square Colour Salon & Spa in Summerlin, 1225 S. Fort Apache Road,

end note

Remembering The Card Artist

o By Mike Newman

On January 1, I’ll have been out of a Nevada business euphemistically called “the gaming industry” for five years. I am not retired, mind you. Today I teach English at Desert Rose Adult High School. But this five-year mark moves me to reflect on how I was ever inspired to become a blackjack dealer in the first place. It’s simple: It was seeing The Card Artist. It all began in the mid-’60s when I was downtown one night at a previous incarnation of the Golden Nugget, watching a singledeck dealer do his thing on a blackjack table. I had quickly gone belly-up that particular night at the tables, so I strolled around the busy casino, watching the action and the movie-set crowd. I forget his name-tag name; it’s not important. To me he was a sudden vision, a casino apotheosis that I hadn’t ever achieved gambling. He was young as I was, mid-twenties somewhere. The Card Artist was perfectly groomed, his hair slicked down and shimmering. He wore an expensive white-onwhite shirt with monogrammed cuffs. His right pinkie displayed a diamond ring. His watch was thin and gold and win-win. The dealing tie was customized and the apron was Nugget issue. His nails gleamed, manicured to a T. And the cards. The way he handled the cards. His shuffle was speedy and proficient as he gripped the front edges of the evenly divided deck with his thumbs and fast-fed them together in an audible ripple. The card cut was presented before the chosen player, performed, stacked and picked up, and the top card flipped to the bottom of the deck faster than an eye could spy. The Card Artist then passed his right hand, palm down, in an arcing, skimming sweep around the table, professionally commanding, “All bets down.” The delivery blew my mind. Then The Card Artist propelled the cards from his hands like hot-rod birds coming in for a perfect landing in front of each betting base on the blackjack layout. So it was that Golden Nugget evening where I had busted out as a player myself — but saw the person I wanted to be. It was my career epiphany. The Card Artist ran the game, rode the herd, roped the players into line who weren’t following rules or paying attention or holding up the action, which, of course, in any casino, is the main attraction. As old-timer bosses would say back in that day, The Card Artist got the hands out. He made money for the house and himself, carrying on casual conversation and trading jokes with the gamblers — but he was always in control, always moving the game along. It would be a few more years before I actually became a dealer myself. I dealt to addicts, degenerates, convention junkies, boxers (Sugar Ray Leonard), quarterbacks (Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills), regular joes and schleps

112 | Desert

Companion | September JANUARY 2013 2013

and pimps, hookers and lookers, priests and rabbis, bookies and rookies, hecklers and homeless pissing off their last street corner-begged bread, and to off-duty dealers from other clubs trying to catch the impossible run, the incredible streak, the astronomical score that would close the store and, suddenly flush with cash, they could scream “Never more!” But, intermittently, magic would happen on a game when the cards rounded the bases like beautiful bullets and my schtick made the table players ignite into hilarity — and, momentarily, life’s ingrained vulgarity waned and I was an escape artist like The Card Artist, a stand-up comedian working the audience while they were correspondingly playing with me. The Card Artist was my distant muse, my catalyst, my mentor, the roots of my casino rodeo days. The tie he wore that seminal night at the Nugget was one of those two-cord, pull-tight doodads with a glittering golden steer head emblem. When the next dealer came to relieve The Card Artist for his break, The Card Artist meticulously spread the deck like miniature newspapers coming off some phantasmagoric press, clapped his hands and turned them palm up to show he wasn’t squirreling cash, thanked the players, and walked away from the pit with his shirt pocket jammed with tip chips and silver dollars. Watching him do his casino stage exit, I couldn’t help noticing his multicolored alligator cowboy boots, the toes embossed silver, reflecting the blaze of the Golden Nugget chandeliers above. Mike Newman dealt blackjack for 40 years before becoming an English teacher.


On viEW ThrOUgh janUary 2, 2014

Tickets and information: 702.693.7871 •

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, ca. 1982, Collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, © 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Desert Companion - September 2013  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada. Check out the Fall Culture Guide. Clear up your calendar, because this fall is gonna be filled wi...

Desert Companion - September 2013  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada. Check out the Fall Culture Guide. Clear up your calendar, because this fall is gonna be filled wi...