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Joe Neal, former state senator


The Strip’s quiet, quirky magic-maker


The long fight for a valley medical school


The beermeister behind Bad Beat Brewing


Longtime locals in culture, politics and activism reflect on their Las Vegas experience

We’re Living Proof Jaycee Whipple Former Children’s Medical Center at Summerlin Hospital patient

Bailey Stevens Former Spring Valley Hospital NICU patient

Ron O’Neal Former Valley Hospital rehabilitation patient Kristina Moore Former Centennial Hills Hospital patient

Living Proof

Carrie Unck Former Desert Springs Hospital cardiac patient

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I hold water to a higher standard. The Superstar Standard. My name is Matt, and my job at the Southern Nevada Water Authority is to make sure water delivered to your home meets or surpasses all state and federal drinking-water standards. At home, my job is to make sure my family drinks plenty of clean, healthy water. At the SNWA, we keep a very close eye on water quality, conducting hundreds of thousands of analyses every year to verify the quality of our drinking water. And that makes both of my jobs a lot easier. We know that some customers use additional home water treatment devices and want to help you make informed decisions. If you have questions or would like objective information about supplemental water treatment systems, visit or call 702-258-3930.

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Stay a while


have to confess a bit of queasy ambivalence when I see the bulldozers, block walls and banners signaling the start of a new suburban housing subdivision in the valley these days. On the one hand, sure, I’ll grab the pom poms and cheerlead any hopeful green shoot signaling economic comeback squeezing up out of the cracks. On the other, the sight of new homes taking root calls forth an echo of that former, fabled savior that failed us, the growth machine. (Didn’t someone mumble something a few years back about economic diversification or something?) But I can’t ambivalize too hard. I’m a child of the Las Vegas suburbs, after all (Sunrise Manor, represent), who emerged from master-planned placelessness to love and embrace Las Vegas’ sense of place. Indeed, when I tell people I grew up here and enjoyed a stable, conventional, milk-and-cookies, middle-class upbringing, they always pronounce this alien in their midst, the defier of stereotypes, a remarkable specimen — for not growing into, I guess, a chain-smoking, slot-addicted reptile-man who lives at Dotty’s. Kind of a low bar, isn’t it? My internal monologue always answers: Not doing something or not turning out a certain way isn’t remarkable. Doing something is remarkable. Take Ruby Duncan. She is remarkable. The political activist fought for benefits for struggling families, leading a famous 1971 Strip rally to protest federal welfare cuts. Or take Otto Merida. An emigrant from Cuba seeking a better life, Merida Next MOnth took advantage of one of our nation’s abundant natural resources — the endClear your calendar less opportunities of a meritocracy — — for our to become an embodiment of modern Fall Culture American success as the head of the Las Guide! Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce.



These are just two of the figures in our third installment of “We Just Had to Ask,” our annual package of Q&As. This time around, we corralled a handful of longtime Las Vegans — seminal, necessary, colorful figures in culture, politics and business — and had them share their origin stories. What brought them here? What drove them here? What was Vegas like back in the day? Each Las Vegan — from former state Sen. Joe Neal to rock ’n’ roll bar owner Tommy Rocker to ballet patron Nancy Houssels — has a fascinating (and funny, and inspiring, and sometimes surprising) story to tell. For all their riffs and anecdotes, however, what I like most about these pioneers is an attitude they share, unfashionable as it seems these days: a pragmatic optimism that sees absence as opportunity. Ruby Duncan didn’t see an organized activist movement in Las Vegas — so she started building one herself. Nancy Houssels, a dancer on the Strip of yesteryear, saw an opportunity to be part of something more special and enduring than a two-shows-nightly existence, and helped shape Nevada Ballet Theatre into a cultural keystone in the valley. The details differ. Each endeavor required a tailored grit, a customized talent, but the first thing it required was a commitment to stick around and devote themselves — another rare posture in an era of restless attention that’s always on the lookout for a bigger pond. I’ve heard many a newcomer friend consider Las Vegas, all nascent and troubled, and declare it the Wild West. I don’t think they mean it as a compliment, but I take it as one. My internal monologue says: Tame it. Start something. Build something. Thrill us with a new institution.

Andrew Kiraly editor

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® The will to do wonders®

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OPPORTUNITIES T H R O U G H E D U C AT I O N Caesars Foundation supports Teach For America’s efforts to eliminate educational inequality by enlisting the nation’s most promising future leaders to teach in low-income communities. For the 2014-2015 school year we’ve adopted Chaparral High School and in partnership with Vegas PBS and Communities In Schools of Nevada, will provide a special weekly class where students can apply what they have learned to help shape their future. Find out more by visiting,, and



Vo lU m e 1 2 I s s u e 0 8


caloric sensory assault of Guy Fieri’s earth.” We’re sold. Press food. We have a winner! “Holy hell junket! Other readers were all, More like SQUINTli- — loosen up on the thesaurus, buddy!” LaLaPico writes. “I had to stop reading cious Meals! Reader Sheila after the first paragraph. Trying to deciMcCanna writes: “Desert Companion on the break- pher this disjointed, incomprehensible monstrosity is akin to trying to articulate fast table caught my eye as I headed to read my email. a surreal epiphany had in a half-remembered dream to a mentally challenged I’m now frustrated because journalist slash hack who thinks that the I had to get the magnifying glass to read about the res- more he fills the lines of his ‘story’ with taurants (none in Summer- asinine, pretentious analogies — as if he were some master pulp writer — people lin) with delicious-looking might mistake him for being smart!” photos (all on the east side or Downtown). Then I looked through Heidi Kyser’s story about Dr. the rest of the gorgeous magazine page Ralph Conti, a beloved local peby page. ... I just cannot read the articles diatrician who was convicted of with the magnifying glass ... it’s a real medical fraud, garnered a breadth of strain.” Sorry, Sheila. At least it’s not 5-point type! As for the dearth of Summerlin-cen- responses ranging from appreciation to tric eats? Just a few DEALicious spots shock. Along with Alfred Sapse, Conti in or near your neighborhood we call out performed illegal stem-cell implantain our package: Fleming’s Prime Steak- tions on people with chronic health house, Greens & Proteins, Pink Box problems desperately seeking a cure. Doughnuts, Smashburger, Five Guys, “Superbly written,” writes Terri Skyer. Kona Grill and Echo & Rig. “Brilliantly reported,” writes Launce Rake. Others didn’t buy the theory Guy Fieri — love him or hate him, that the affable Conti was a dupe who you have to admit: He exists. An- fell under Sapse’s spell. “Really? Being drew Kiraly’s bemused End Note charming doesn’t mean you aren’t lying, riff session, “Notes from my dinner at stealing, money-driven, and selfish,” Guy Fieri’s,” inspired both fans and foes writes reader Muriel Simone. The story of the straw-haired bronnoisseur of hit close to home among many readsteroid-injected comfort food to come ers, including Review-Journal reporter out of the woodwork. “Best food review Henry Brean. “Both our children went I’ve ever read. Still cracking up!” writes to his practice, which came very highly Heather Skyler. “This article is like Fifty recommended by almost everyone we Shades of Grey for Paula Deen,” writes talked to at hospitals and doctor’s offices Strepsi. “This is the most perfect thing before our children were born. He didn’t I have ever read,” RockSalt chimes in. personally see our kids, but until recently Reader LaLaPico, however, found the ar- the magazine covers featuring his smiling ticle too rich for his taste ... gee ... almost face still hung in the waiting room of what as if we were trying to mimic the hyper- was left of his practice.”

marks the fifth year that we’ve herded our collective gastronomic adventures into an annual flavorpedia of deliciositude. Whew! Five years. At an average of 79.3 meal deals per yearly feature, that comes to [kachunka kachunka, punching buttons on calculator, kachunka kachunka] … 396.5 DEALicious Meals served up in these pages — which translates into, geez, who knows how many moments of utterly transcendent foodie bliss. But it’s not like we’re counting or anything.

Once again, forks in hand, we’ve scoured this tasty valley for great dining deals, hidden treasures and forgotten pleasures for palates of every persuasion.

Eat forth!

DEALicious Mealers: J I M B EG L E Y, C H R I S B I TO N T I , S COT T D I C K E N S H E E T S , J A R R E T K E E N E ,

A N D R E W K I R A LY, H E I D I K Y S E R , D E B B I E L E E , M O L LY O ’ D O N N E L L , J A M E S P. R E Z A , L I S S A TO W N S E N D R O D G E R S


The Farmer's Burger at Farmer Boys

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Among fans of cheap eats, our fifth annual edition of DEALicious Meals garnered a unanimous chorus of gastronomic delight — everyone together now: Ooh! Aah! Among fans of Cornwall, not so much. Reader Karen Andrews took mild exception to our wellmeaning jibe about Cornwall, the quaint peninsular nub in the U.K. known as the birthplace of the pasty. Karen writes: “When Molly O’Donnell writes about the Oggie, at the Cornish Pasty Co., that, ‘it’s a classic that, until now, was the only reason to see Cornwall,’ she reveals, I suspect, that she has spent little — if any — time in Cornwall ... sitting on a high cliff, overlooking the swooping gulls and the waves crashing into the craggy coast; listening to a brass band in the scenic harbor or eating at the renowned Seafood Restaurant in Padstow; treading the cobblestone walks in the lovely village of St. Isaac’s (featured in the PBS series Doc Martin) where the town parking lot disappears at high tide; or visiting the Tate Modern gallery in St. Ives. Had she done so, I believe she would agree that Cornwall — with or without pasties — is one of the most wonderful places on


J U LY 2 0 1 4







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Vo lU m e 1 2 I s s u e 0 8

65 We Just had

to ask: Back in the day ... Longtime locals

in arts, culture, activism and more reflect on their pivotal experiences in the Las Vegas of yesteryear



75 Best

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Whether you're looking for a primary care physician, a pediatrician for a new family member or just a second opinion, here are 95 of the valley's best doctors in 38 specialties

These unsung heroes in the health care field — from nurses to therapists — stand out for their devotion to the craft of caring


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19 60

departments All Things to All People 19 environment

Something fracking this way comes 22 healthFresh aid

for AFAN 24 zeit bitesIt's

chartacular! 26 ProfileThis

guitarist is the ONE 28 STYLEOne haute

summer 30 StreetwiseGo

Eastern, young hombre 32 Open topicThe architecture of big



34 PRofile

57 Dining

107 The Guide

Thom Rubino, wizard behind the curtain By Ashley Harrell

58 The DishBad Beat's

So much culture, you'll think you're in a yogurt factory

40 Education

db Brasserie makes a French reconnection

The power of two medical schools By Heidi Kyser 46 CRIME A 1981 cold case is finally (maybe) solved By George Knapp 52 HISTORY A tale of two Vegas nightclubs By Robert Stoldal

Weston Barkley is crafty 60 at first Bite

61 Eat this now

This shrimp po-boy isn't shrimpy!

112 End note IKEA does Vegas By Scott Dickensheets & Andrew Kiraly





Joe Neal, former state senator


The Strip’s quiet, quirky magic-maker


The long fight for a valley medical school



Longtime locals in culture, politics and activism reflect on their Las Vegas experience

The beermeister behind Bad Beat Brewing

62 at first SIP

Drinkin' and Linqin' 63 on the plate

Upcoming dining events you don't want to miss

on the cover Joe Neal Photography Christopher Smith

Most credit union members get started the same way... through someone they know. And usually it’s a personal introduction. At Clark County Credit Union, we have some families who are on their fourth generation of membership. The reason? When you talk to someone at CCCU, or go in to see them at a branch, they will most likely know someone you know. It’s that way because the tradition of service and personal connection has lasted. It brings value to your accounts. Even with all the technology of the day at your fingertips, the personal touch at CCCU is still the thing that matters most. Money-saving advice about auto loans, guidance with mortgages, wise investments that are in your best interest.

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Desert Savvy Design

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


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Publisher  Melanie Cannon Associate Publisher  Christine Kiely Editor  Andrew Kiraly Art Director  Christopher Smith deputy editor  Scott Dickensheets staff writer  Heidi Kyser Graphic Designer  Brent Holmes

Account executives  Sharon Clifton, Tracey Michels, Favian Perez, Markus Van’t Hul Marketing manager  Lisa Kelly

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ADVERTISING COPY EDITOR  Carla J. Zvosec Contributing writers  Chris Bitonti, Chantal Corcoran, Cybele, Lonn M. Friend, Ashley Harrell, Damon Hodge, Mélanie Hope, Tony Illia, George Knapp, Debbie Lee, Christie Moeller, Mike Prevatt, Lissa Townsend Rodgers, Bob Stoldal Contributing artists   Bill Hughes, Chris Morris, Sabin Orr, Checko Salgado Editorial: Andrew Kiraly, (702) 259-7856; Fax: (702) 258-5646 Advertising: Christine Kiely, (702) 259-7813;

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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 desertcompanion. com, 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.

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08 14


Eastern Avenue

oil wells that DON'T END WELL

page 30

Deep questions S environment

Like it or not, fracking is coming to Nevada. Can we be the state that gets it right? B y H e i d i K ys e r

i l lu s t r at i o n c h r i s m o r r i s

ometimes, being the first in line is a bad thing. Take hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — using high-pressure injections of water, sand and chemicals to break up underground rock and suck up the dispersed oil and gas. With a gold-rush mentality, developers had started more than 500 fracked natural-gas wells in Pennsylvania by 2009, just four years after the Bush administration loosened environmental laws, encouraging the practice. Pennsylvania paid dearly for being an early adopter. Deadly industrial “fraccidents,” polluted groundwater, and impacts on wildlife and public health made Pennsylvania the poster child for gas development gone wrong. (Even Pennsylvania’s former

August 2014


ALL Things


Hear more health secretary recently said the state had failed to ready itself for fracking’s side effects.) Five years later, fracking arrives in Nevada. Only three wells have been drilled so far, but leases for more than 600,000 acres of public land that could contain dozens of potential well pads will go on the auction block to oil and gas developers by the end of December. The tardy advent of fracking in the Silver State may give us the chance to learn from others’ mistakes. Can we get it right, or is fracking just wrong at its core? The state certainly thinks we can frack responsibly. In 2013, the Nevada State Legislature passed a bill mandating the creation of fracking regulations. The state’s Divisions of Minerals and Environmental Protection are overseeing the process, and their final recommendations go up for public comment Aug. 28. The Division of Minerals has been transparent throughout; for instance, it published online a lengthy list of chemicals proposed for use by companies that intend to frack in Nevada (with the exception, in some cases, of custom blends considered trade secrets). Among the division’s proposed regulations are requiring fracking operations to monitor nearby water sources for contamination and to test and report on the strength of their cement well casings. Nevada joins numerous other states, from California to New York, playing regulatory catchup as fracking fever takes hold. “We’ve made a lot of changes based on feedback from workshops,” says Michael Visher, deputy administrator of the Nevada Division of Minerals. “The counties wanted to be notified, so we added language that it isn’t just the landowners within the area of review, but also the county commissions that get 14 days’ notice before fracking begins.”

“There have been cases where shale gas wells have allowed for the migration of methane, and eventually it has made its way into people’s drinking water aquifers.”


August 2014

How will

Visher is confident that advances was insufficient to identify fracking in drilling technology will make nearly half of the wells at affect Nevada’s Nevada’s operations more secure. high risk of pollution, says water? Hear Here, for instance, an additional layer Rob Mrowka, an ecologist a discussion of cement well casing will be required who until recently headed on “KNPR’s beyond the usual two in other states. Nevada’s Center for Biological State of Nevada” at “As long as operators follow laws, Diversity. In May, the Center desertcomthere shouldn’t be any issues,” he lodged a formal complaint says. “Mistakes can happen at any against the BLM over its sale hearmore industrial site where there are lots of leases on 174,000 acres in of people, equipment and chemicals. the Battle Mountain District of But if you plan accordingly, you can Northeastern Nevada. Around the same minimize the times they occur and the time, a group called the Reese River Basin impact.” Citizens Against Fracking filed a lawsuit It’s that impact, however minimal, against the BLM, claiming the agency that has some people concerned. failed to adequately assess the possible “There have been cases where shale environmental detriment of fracking on gas wells have allowed for the migration 231,000 acres of public land where they of methane, and eventually it has made live, farm and ranch. its way into people’s drinking water The legal actions have energized aquifers,” says James Saiers, a Yale anti-fracking forces. Frack Free joined the professor of hydrology who studies Center for Biological Diversity and several fracking’s effects on surface and groundother organizations to form Nevadans water. In May, the National Academy of Against Fracking, which staged a July 17 Sciences published a study of more than protest outside the BLM’s Reno office. 41,000 Pennsylvania oil and gas wells; Yale professor Saiers believes the it determined that broken or weakened biggest issues with fracking in Nevada casing and cement in the wells could may be water-related. “These are typically explain the elevated concentrations of horizontal wells whose lateral portion methane in groundwater located near might extend a mile into the formation,” natural gas wells. he says. “To frack them over this distance Reno resident Dawn Harris has read might take 4-5 million gallons of water per this and many other studies. The hospice well. … The potential for problems is the worker started the group Frack Free Nevaextraction of water is local. All the water da in February of 2013 out of concern about taken out of the Susquehanna River Basin, the potential danger to the state’s rural for example, might be a small volume in areas. She doubts the regulatory process is relation to the total stream flow. But if it’s free of influence from wealthy oil and gas taken out of small streams and it’s not regdevelopers, and she notes that Nevada’s ulated, then you have a localized effect.” Division of Environmental Protection, But all of this may be moot. Unlike which would be responsible for handling in Pennsylvania and other states where any air or water contamination issues, has fracking has freed lucrative natural gas been largely absent from the process. (The deposits, the fracking in Nevada would Division of Environmental Protection be for “tight” oil — a low-grade, shoe referred Desert Companion to the Division polish-like crude that isn’t good for of Minerals for all questions.) much more than asphalt paving. “I see political corruption, social justice “There are fewer than 90 active oil issues and economic costs,” Harris says. wells in all of Nevada,” says Mrowka. “The BLM has to file environmental “There’s low probability the wells assessments, but what they’re doing is just being drilled will prove commercially saying, ‘No impact,’ which is ludicrous.” viable, but the environmental commuA recent study by the Government nity is sending a clear message that we Accountability Office that found BLM oppose any fracking, no matter how oversight of the oil and gas industry extensive.”

ALL Things



Public offering

Aid for AFAN: Antioco Carrillo has changed the agency's playbook.

Local AIDS fundraising goes from niche targets to mainstream appeal B y M i k e P r e vat t


t’s hard to comprehend the fundraising challenges of HIV/AIDS advocacy groups when 34 million people live with HIV, which still has no cure and no vaccine. And nonprofits battling the virus and the disease it causes face diminishing federal funds and grant money — nonprofits such as Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN), which assists some 4,000 affected clients. But amid those challenges, it’s been expanding its donor base in interesting ways. Formerly, AFAN supporters have traditionally leaned mostly Left Coast and pivoted a bit toward Wall Street. Lately, though, Main Street is increasingly represented on the nonprofit’s patron brag sheet. Sure, it’s still got its classic base of support in the entertainment realm (Penn & Teller, Celine Dion) cultivated over AFAN’s 30year existence. But when Antioco Carrillo became AFAN’s executive director two years ago, he altered the blueprint. “AFAN has a long history of adapting to changes of the HIV/AIDS in the community,” says Carrillo. “Managing a 30-year old organization that constantly adapts to the needs of the community requires a philosophical shift that allows us to reconceptualize how to operate the organization.” “His focus changed from a gay and lesbian initiative to a real public-health initiative, and that expanded the outreach to more companies … because it was everyone’s issue,” adds Kirk Ryder, AFAN’s director of business development. “So we could go to a construction company and say, ‘You’re affected on some level.’” A glance at the donor roster these days reveals food and beverage outfits, real-estate agencies and even construction companies. To further expand its reach, AFAN also


August 2014

began talking up its Kids’ Campus, which provides support for those under 18, and Holiday Toy Drive for families using AFAN services — a tactic to reach less traditional donors. Case in point: Henderson-based InCorp, which provides registered agent/corporate compliance services, is deeply involved with the children’s programs at AFAN. “It gives us all immense gratification to know we’ve helped these kids with this debilitating disease have a normal childhood for a second,” says Karolyn Knight, InCorp’s director of affiliate relations. When AFAN decided to rely less on grants from large corporations and banks and more on individual companies, it framed the pitch in terms of mutual benefit — and a sense of partnership. “It’s a team-building experience,” says Ryder, “getting them involved in the process in what happens when they give those dollars, and one of our 4,000 clients gets to go to a doctor’s appointment.” Such an arrangement appealed to Marisa Endy, LEV Restaurants’ director of marketing and community relations. She offered to place toy bins in LEV’s Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Jamba Juice locations during AFAN’s toy drive. “They’re

great at cross-promoting and raising awareness,” she says. “It’s always mutually beneficial. The energy is there and alive.” Other partnerings came as a pleasant surprise even to AFAN — such as when it was approached by Joe Henderson, vice president and in-house counsel for construction company Henderson Steel. Turns out Henderson has friends with HIV who also use AFAN’s services. “In construction, there’s a stereotype that we’re a bunch of rough guys and that we won’t care about HIV,” says Henderson. “That’s not the reality of the situation. My employees have been more caring and open-minded than that.” Henderson Steel is now a staple sponsor of AFAN’s Black & White Party. AFAN’s other large event, AIDS Walk, has attracted similar Main Street support. At 12,000 participants, AIDS Walk underscores the breadth of the HIV/ AIDS crisis — but also the potential for a community to rally for its cause. And sometimes that community is just a set of cubicles or a plate-processing machine or a cash register away. AFAN’s Black & White Party is Aug. 23 at the Joint at the Hard Rock. Info:

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ALL Things

zeit bites

What should I celebrate in August?

‘I barely got through every sickening page’

Classic Vegas novels reconsidered through Amazon’s one-star reviews


Are you a baby?


National Goat Cheese Month


FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS by Hunter S. Thompson “Not one funny, humorous or interesting story at all …”

Do you like food extruded from goats?


World Breastfeeding Week

Back to School Month

Panini Month

Aug. 1-7


Do you want dessert with that?

You like something different on your panini?


Come on, live a little



National S’mores Day Aug. 10


“I couldn’t shake the feeling that this whole book was written in a language I didn’t understand.”

Don’t know what extruded means?

National Water Quality Month

“I got to Page 347 where the following lines appear: ‘Slaves shook their chains. Slaves did the Shackle Shimmy Shake.’ I was not pleased with this nonsense …”



Tired of right wing domination?


“Gosh, aren’t prostitutes and alcoholics so wonderful and clever?”

Are you Jenny McCarthy? YES

“See book. See me. See me throw book in trash.”

“I barely got through every sickening page …”

Smelled Lake Mead recently?


still good to know!


Int’l Lefthander’s Day


Aug. 13

National Immunization Awareness Month

Is that because your nose is cold and damp?

Bad Poetry Day Aug. 18

Is all this just too much for you?


National Simplify Your Life Week Aug. 1-7

Well, it's about to get verse!




Work Like a Dog Day Aug. 5 *All holidays confirmed by the Internets!

FOOLS DIE by Mario Puzo “Tedious, arid, banal, boring, bromidic, insipid, lifeless, random, tangential, vapid, pointless, plotless minutia about nothing.” “If Hollywood don’t wanna

make a movie of a book, how good can it be?”

A VEGAS MEMORY BY AURORE GIGUET My dad and I used to wander the desert. One day in 1980 we found a gun. I didn’t understand; I’d never seen a gun. I can see the location in my mind: flat, lots of


August 2014

The second life of stuff

Used laptops. Butt-grooved furniture. Uh, genetic analyzers? Yep, genetic analyzers (well, very occasionally). These are some of the many, many used items you can glom onto twice a month in a back-of-the-campus warehouse at UNLV. Welcome to the purgatory of stuff: UNLV’s surplus-sale operation. This is where the decommissioned, the outdated and the recently replaced from around the campus come to await a possible second life, perhaps in the hands of a hobbyist or a collector, an ordinary citizen or a value-conscious professional. On the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, these sales routinely attract some 200 or so seekers of value, surprises or kitsch. (You can also access the auction online.) Scientific equipment tends to fetch the highest prices, says Mike Lawrence, the school’s director of delivery and telecommunications; the genetic analyzers went to another college for around $16,000. Then there are the unusual transactions — unusual for a college surplus sale, anyway — such as selling slot machines once donated to the university’s gaming institute. “That was quite a slow process,” Lawrence says. “There were no peers’ benchmarks to go off of.” Much of it is more ordinary and less pricey but still in demand. “Computers, furniture, things like that don’t stick around.”

A sampling of the “categories of interest,” as listed on the UNLV web page devoted to the auctions, assumes a kind of poetic materiality while seeming to inventory our modern techno-gestalt: agricultural machinery; automobiles; books; camper shell; cleaning equipment; clothing; communication equipment; engines, turbines, components; glassware, lab; live animal (!); lyophile apparatus (for freeze-drying stuff, apparently); medical, dental, veterinary equipment; musical instruments; pipe, tubing, hose, fittings; recreational equipment; valves. So much stuff — did we mention the books? the office supplies? the water-purification and sewage-treatment equipment? — all of it once apparently necessary but now headed for the vast second-tier market in cast-away gear. After all, UNLV is hardly alone in this. “Most governments have the same or similar operation," Lawrence says. Stuff, apparatus, paraphernalia, junk — like us, it's everywhere. For more information, see — Scott Dickensheets

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How you’re beating the heat Face-planting in a mojito at Herbs & Rye Repeated viewings of Transformers IV: 165 Minutes of Movie-Theater Air-Conditioning! Wiping your face and neck with chilling Supreme Court decisions All business meetings moved to newly opened Cowabunga Bay water park Turns out that white-hot, boiling rage about the weather is cooler than the actual weather Soothing bikram yoga “Mom, why are Dad’s boxers in the freezer?”

volcanic pebbles. We took police there, and I remember Dad saying later it had been used in a mob hit. It’s very Vegas.

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August 2014


ALL Things



Gina Gleason Guitarist, Michael Jackson ONE B y L onn M . F r i e n d


ven amid a hundred dancers, gymnasts and acrobats, giant screens, blinding lights and all the other eye-popping stage sensations, you cannot miss the shredding warrior princess with the skyscraping up-do and eight-inch platforms wielding a bullion-hued six-string. If you’ve had the electric pleasure of seeing Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay, you know what I’m talking about. But who I’m talking about? Therein lies the riff.

At 11 p.m. sharp, the late-show performance concludes with MJ’s unifying classic “Black or White” as the sold-out audience rises in a standing-O. Thirty minutes later, I’m met at the theater entrance by a five-footthree brunette clad in Phillies baseball cap, blue jeans, Chuck Taylors and a Pantera shirt. Gina Gleason. “Dude, let’s get a drink,” the 22-year-old giggles. And it’s off to Frankie’s Tiki Room, her favorite dive bar. Later, taking a sip from an exotic flaming rum concoction suggested by the heavily tatted bar mistress, the Philadelphia native tells her story. “I answered a Facebook ad that said Cirque du Soleil was looking for a female guitar player. I’d never heard of Cirque, had no idea what the gig was for, but thought, ‘Hey, this is cool. I’ll give it a shot.’ So I made a three-minute video of me jamming on the sofa in my mom’s basement in Philly and sent it in. I guess they dug it because they wrote me back asking for more clips, specifically Michael Jackson riffs, like the solos in ‘Beat It’ and ‘Dirty Diana.’ A month later, I was on my way to


August 2014

work and my cell rang. ‘So, Gina, how’d you like to move to Las Vegas and be in the Michael Jackson show?’ I almost hit the car in front me!” That was in the spring of 2012. For the heavy-metal tomboy who made zero coin but lots of fans gigging around the tri-state area in the all-girl tribute band Misstallica, the past two years have been a lightning ride. “I went to Montréal — Cirque headquarters — and lived there for six months as ONE was being created. The first day I walked into this huge warehouse, tons of props and pieces of equipment. It was like NASA space camp! A minute ago I was a 19-year-old student living at home and taking the train to Temple University. Now I’m in this surreal gigantic dorm community in the Canadian countryside with hundreds of amazing performers, meeting choreographers, coaches, costume designers, technicians, makeup artists, stylists — man, I’d never even worn lipstick!” A Ramones video comes on the monitor behind the bartender and Gina lights up even more. “I played drums

in a punk band in Philly called Emily Pukis and the Vagrants,” she laughs. “That’s why I love this bar so much, because it reminds me of the punk clubs in Asbury Park where I grew up.” Gina’s dad, a big Elvis fan, bought her that first Squire electric when she was 12. She’s come a long way but is keenly aware that the ride won’t always be magical and smooth. “I’d only been to Vegas once before landing the ONE gig and moving my life here,” she says. “My band played the Wild West Casino for, like, 20 locals, and two of ’em got arrested before our set was over. But me and Leanne Martz (from Misstallica) got a brand new group called Fever Red, and we’ll be playing around town this summer. On my evenings off from ONE, of course.” Time off also finds her riding motorcycles with friends: “I love cruising through Lake Mead and around Boulder City,” she says. “There’s a lot to see out there, and it’s great to escape from the city.” You might find her on East Fremont, too — “kinda reminiscent for me of some cool parts of Philly” — but probably not taking in the party scene on the Strip. “Rather stay home, write songs and practice my guitar.” On June 29, ONE celebrated its first year. “I’m still not super good at walking on those platform heels, but I’m getting better,” she confesses. “Wearing that heavy gold outfit and crazy wig is way outside my comfort zone and not who I really am, but when I’m on that stage, playing those amazing songs twice a night for thousands of people, I’m all in.”

P h oto g r a p h y C h e c ko S a lg a d o

Six-string theory: Gina Gleason in the studio with her band, Fever Red.

au g u s t 2 0 1 4


ALL Things


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August 2014

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ALL Things

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7 93


2 8




Go Eastern Hispanic sabor livens up this part of the avenue B y An d r e w K i r a l y


dark effigy-smashing coming-of-

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duce and dazzling salsas, Mariana’s

First Congregational

of its legendary tres leches cake.

for the bakery, magic birthplace


guac, crushing your foes. Here, the


ter Drive, North Eastern Avenue

molcajete is turned into a volcano

fully, a few Coronas. The church’s

ust before it enters North Las

know, for grinding spices, mashing

Vegas and becomes Civic Cen-

stores on either side of Eastern. I

age blood rite. 1539 N. Eastern Ave.,

Cardenas, 2400 E. Bonanza Road,

By now, you are abuzz with rib-

702-853-6692; Mariana’s, 574 N.

eye and molcajete and, hope-

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Winchell’s Donut House

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simmering in a rich tomato broth.

gesture of holy invitation. 1200 N.

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Scoop some into a tortilla and gorge.

Eastern Ave.

El Buen Gusto


Don’t let this small, cafe-style eatery fool you: It’s representing at

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with Mexican, Guatemalan and Sal-

Ave., 702-633-7595

menu. The namesake dish, El Buen

24 hours. Popping by on a Sunday

Carnitas Tortas


the regulars and they might teach

You can’t miss this sunny

you dominoes. 401 N. Eastern Ave.,

lunch spot: It’s a pointy


yellow-orange building with patio

vadorean cuisines on the exhaustive

El Rey de la Piñata

nuke from Guatemala featuring rib-


eye steak, ribs, sausage, stuffed bell

formidable standing piñata army

Gusto ($14.99), is a caloric protein

town club crawl? Winchell’s

after church? Make friendly with

One molcajete serves two very

least three countries in the kitchen,

Closing out a heroic down-

seating. Their signature dish: the

La Flor de Michoacan

This party shop doesn’t sell

torta ahogada, or drowned torta.

piñatas so much as host a

Imagine a Mexican sandwich taking


swimming lessons in chili sauce,

shakes and smoothie concoctions.

This family-run sweet shop offers a rainbow riot of sundaes,

peppers, rice and beans, Russian

— crepe-papered Teenage Mutant

and then all of a sudden you come

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Los Molcajetes


from $10-$28. There’s plenty of

A molcajete is a Mexican

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mortar and pestle — you

piñata’s innards for your child’s


August 2014

the family makes this rich, milky

Cardenas and Mariana’s


ice cream themselves. The cheesy

These two respectable Hispan-

vanilla? Muy bien! 235 N. Eastern

ic supermarket chains have

Ave. #132, 702-388-0750

p h oto g r a p h y B RENT HO L MES

ALL Things

open topic


Big should be better The large-scale architecture that ought to engage the community too often doesn’t. Some of the blame falls on us B y Ton y Ill i a


outhern Nevada’s real estate collapse was ugly and embarrassing — but it may also have been the best thing that could have happened to local architecture. Good design isn’t made by the limitless checkbooks and more-is-better thinking that were the norm during the boom years. Rather, it’s realized by innovation and creativity, vision and daring. Thanks to the recession, Las Vegas has a fresh opportunity to pause, rethink its priorities and begin to repair neglectful, damaging design made possible, in part, by a transient population of unengaged residents — particularly when it comes to the large-scale projects that do so much to define the city’s look and feel.


August 2014

Unlike Las Vegans, residents of cities like San Francisco, Chicago and New York actively shape their communities through activism, shared civic pride and moral responsibility. Despite being half our size, San Francisco has an exponentially greater sense of community ownership. The Golden State Warriors recently abandoned a basketball arena along the Embarcadero thanks to growing public concern about traffic, environmental impacts and blocked Bay Bridge views. Now, a new, privately financed, $1 billion arena, which adds an adjacent park with water features, is being built in a more appropriate location. It will boast a distinctive disc-shaped design by Dutch super-firm Snøhetta, which also completed the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan. San Franciscans wouldn’t settle for less. Why should we? As Las Vegas aspires to become a truly great metropolis, it needs less indifference and more active community involvement in shaping this urban environment. Municipalities aid the public apathy by generally letting architecture, planning and context take a backseat, while approving anything that promises to ratchet up property values and create jobs, regardless of how unsuitable or ridiculous the scheme. Henderson, for example, handed over 485 acres of public land for a proposed multi-arena sports complex that was more wishful thinking than potential reality. Envisioning a new level of sophistication, the city eagerly okayed a lopsided deal with developer Christopher F. Milam, who had tried three times, unsuccessfully, to build similar projects in Clark County and Las Vegas. This one failed, too. The scuttled deal wound up in a flurry of finger-pointing and lawsuits. This is the wrong way to build an arena. Meanwhile, MGM Resorts International is building a $375-million, 20,000-seat arena at Rue de Monte Carlo and Frank Sinatra Drive. The 650,000-square-foot

ILLUSTRATION B r e n t h o l m e s

San Franciscans wouldn’t settle for less. Why should we? As Las Vegas aspires to become a truly great metropolis, it needs less indifference and more active community involvement. venue, which broke ground May 1, is boutique by Strip standards. It was designed by the Kansas City architectural firm Populous, which also created the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Unlike most arenas, which look like oversized salad bowls, the MGM venue will have an articulated and expressive facade that engages the surrounding environment, for a sense of dynamism and excitement. The Las Vegas Arena, as it’s being called, has expansive glass windows and an LED video overlay with a 145-foot-tall elliptical cladding on the south and west building faces, which evokes the color and sedimentary layering of the nearby Spring Mountains. The planned venue, expected to host up to 150 events a year, will boast a nightclub and a two-acre outdoor plaza. It debuts in the spring of 2016. This is the right way to handle big architecture. It’s the same high-design approach that MGM embarked upon with CityCenter, its menagerie of sleek, expressive buildings arranged in an urbanist-like green campus. Although imperfect, CityCenter’s starchitect creations from Helmut Jahn, Cesar Pelli, Daniel Libeskind and Rafael Viñoly are elegant, refined and original. Stripped of theme and ornamentation, CityCenter strives to supplant the city’s otherwise crude and flashy public image with inspiring, worldclass architecture. This is the approach to big architecture that the public ought to applaud but rarely does.  Perhaps that’s why oversized, neon-strewn, amusement-park-like temples aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon, as evidenced by Resorts World Las Vegas. That is the new name for the unfinished Echelon Place, acquired last year from Boyd Gaming by the Genting Group, a Las Vegas neophyte. The Malaysian-based hospitality and gaming conglomerate plans to build a pagoda-themed resort on Echelon’s existing framework. It’s Disneyland meets Asia,

with a water park, garden, panda exhibit and aquarium. Just the type of myopic family-friendly features that failed miserably in the 1990s. (The first components will arrive no sooner than 2017.) It’s a perfect example of mediocre, uninspired design deemed good enough because nothing better is expected. There is no public outcry, no financial consequences for setting the bar so low. Just because it’s on the Strip and intended for tourists is no reason to let it slide. Las Vegas Sands spent $5.7 billion on Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, employing famed architect Moshe Safdie to create a daring and innovative design. Completed in 2010, its three towers are connected at the top by a 3-acre sky park clad in metal panels. A portion of the park cantilevers 213 feet over the north edge of the building, like an airplane wing. It gives the gently sloping glass buildings directionality while creating a dramatic gateway element. At home, however, Las Vegas Sands is content to do far less, throwing up big-box buildings with ersatz architecture. In fact, the gaming company put a tarp over an unfinished Palazzo condo project three years ago, and no one has raised a fuss since, despite its prominence on the Strip. Sure, Sands draws most of its income from China, but it’s still based in Las Vegas. Is this all we really ask from our buildings? Seattle residents have the Space Needle; New Yorkers, the Empire State Building; San Franciscans, the Golden Gate Bridge; Chicagoans, the Willis Tower. What will occupy a similar place in the public psyche and hearts of Las Vegans? As the economy begins to pick up speed again, now is the time for us to pose and answer that question. Architecture can help forge a lively and resilient community character; it can establish a complex dialectic with our socio-cultural history and future. But we can’t leave it to developers and politicians. It will only be realized if we demand it.

August 2014



The wizard behind THe curtain When you gasp in wonder at a Strip show illusion, that’s the magic of Thom Rubino. Thom who? Exactly? B  y As h l e y H a r r e l l


hom Rubino is really into choppers. How’s a chopper work? Come in! Come in! He’ll show you. You’ve got to try it, he says in his living room, surrounded by magic paraphernalia, illusion books and wizard figurines. He holds up a mini guillotine for fingers. It’s a chopper! “Go ahead, I think it’ll be alright,” he says. There’s no reason to be scared. What’s the hesitation for? “What could go wrong?” says the funny little man with spiky yellow hair and white eyelashes. He has an aura of benign mischief, but make no mistake: Rubino is as serious about trickery as a man can be. He believes absolutely in magic, and his elfin frame has grown muscular from all-nighters in his workshop, where he builds illusions for some of the most famous magicians in the world. Ask the magicians, and they’ll tell you Rubino is a genius at his job and also



maybe the nicest person in Vegas: He once flew across the country to paint the interior of his parents' home, and lends out his Toyota Prius to people he’s just met. Is this a man who would cut off somebody’s finger? “Put your f---ing finger there!” Rubino says. He’s joking but … serious. You shut your eyes. Give him an index finger. He snaps the device shut. All 10 digits remain. You scream anyway, of course, then laugh uncontrollably for a long time. He’s laughing, too. They must happen a lot here, these celebrations of intact fingers and something else, too — the incredible power a piece of plywood and some metal hold over the human psyche. Ta-da! The trick must remind Rubino of his days performing as a stage magician, but he doesn’t mention it. Things are

Now you see me: Thom Rubino prefers making magic behind the scenes.

different now. While he still makes magic, Rubino rarely interacts directly with an audience. Thousands of people on the Strip and beyond are exhilarated by Rubino’s deceptive and ingenious contraptions, although they’ve never heard his name or anything else about him. He’s the man behind the curtain. ‘I knew there was a place for me’


oung boys rarely dream of building the table the magician uses to cut his assistant in half. They want to be onstage, holding the blade. And this was certainly the case for little Thom Rubino, a 4-year-old growing up in Levittown, New York. He had just received his first magic set, a kit from Walmart that fell into his hands after his older brother grew bored of it.

P O rt r a i t BY C H R I STO P H E R S M I T H

Rubino, on the other hand, was enthralled, and spent hours fumbling with the tricks: a disappearing, reappearing coin, a fake thumb that hid scarves — and, of course, a finger chopper. He began performing these “close-up” magic tricks for his family, and took it very seriously. “He swore us to secrecy when he was about 6,” says his mother, Marlene. By the time Rubino reached high school, he was performing his magic everywhere, and always in a nice black suit and a tie (which he also wore to class). He did shows at school functions, birthday parties, holiday events and even in his grandmother’s retirement community. Although he hoped to expand his repertoire, advanced tricks were expensive. He was making some money from the shows, but not enough to afford, say, the coveted sword basket illusion. Rubino solved this problem by teaching himself carpentry. He would make his own tricks. The first illusion he built, dubbed “The See Through,” was a tall cabinet that an assistant would stand in. Four large cylinders would then be pushed through the cabinet, apparently impaling the assistant inside. It looked real and worked well. After that, Rubino began to get requests from other magicians, and the crafts he designed started to fund his magic act. Rubino’s parents and his friends and old folks in the retirement community were crazy about Rubino. They thought he was an excellent performer. But eventually, Rubino came to a different conclusion. He followed magicians like Doug Henning, a Canadian illusionist and escape artist known for revitalizing the craft of magic in the 1970s and early ’80s. Watching Henning perform, Rubino was taken with the man’s charisma, the way his voice commanded attention and respect. During Rubino’s own performances, he felt like his voice was wrong — almost cartoony. He couldn’t fully grasp stage presence. Rubino didn’t want to become one of the world’s many mediocre magicians. He didn’t want to leave the business either. “I knew there was a place for me,” he says.





Join the

BEST DOCTORS from Desert Companion’s August Issue at TPC Summerlin for our 2nd Annual Best Doctors Issue Party. Enjoy a lively evening of cocktails and good company. And, don’t forget to bring your A-game for a little friendly competition on the greens!




profile Supporting the magic habit




nothing,” Rubino says. “No contract. Just an idea of working with my friend in a show.” The greatest trick ever pulled

Left: Rubino and Johnny Thompson work on an illusion for Teller's Play Dead; right, Rubino's famed sword basket


o aspiring magic builders, the greatest trick Rubino ever pulled was breaking into Vegas. The industry is cutthroat, and its practitioners are known for being ruthless to newcomers. But looking back, Rubino’s decision was sort of like sticking his finger in a chopper. Terrifying? Yes. Risky? Perhaps not at all. He had the passion and the skill. He also had a way in. Rubino’s childhood friend Darren Romeo, who later became the protégé for Siegfried and Roy, had also left New York for Vegas. Romeo worked as a wizard in Caesar’s Magical Empire, and when Rubino and Giordano arrived, he found them jobs as a technician and a builder for the venue. During his tenure, Rubino constructed any illusions asked of him. He pulled all-nighters, drinking coffee and Slimfast chocolate shakes, making sure all the props he built were flawless. While others used cheap wood from Home Depot, Rubino worked with Baltic birch. The craftsmanship was important to him — no edges should be visible; nobody should be able to tell what the thing was made of. Rubino wanted each trick to be a work of art. If it didn’t look right, he started over. His reputation grew, and soon he was hired by David Saxe, who produced a show at the Venetian for his sister,

Melinda the First Lady of Magic. Rubino worked backstage with that show for its two-year run, refurbishing and building illusions. Then he got a job with Showgirls of Magic. He built the props for eight versions of that show, some of which went up in Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Tokyo. “Some of the best magic I’ve ever had anyone build came from Tommy,” says Johnny “The Great Tompsoni” Thompson, a longtime Vegas illusionist and comedian now filming a TV show called Wizard Wars. “We’ve given him tricks that have never been done before, and he was able to bring them to life.” In a career-making moment, Thompson recommended Rubino for a job building magic for Teller, the quiet half of Penn & Teller. As a test, Rubino was asked to construct a special trap door for the magician’s show Play Dead. Teller loved the results.   “At a distance of 1 foot, (the trap door) was utterly invisible,” Teller wrote on his blog. “(Rubino had) invented a new way to cut trap doors so that there was no visible seam around them.” Teller hired Rubino to build the rest of

R U B I N O w i t h t h o m p s on a n d S w o r d b a s k e t c ou r t e s y o f T h o m Rub i no

uring the ’80s and ’90s, the Las Vegas magic scene was booming. There were well-attended shows up and down the Strip, and none more popular than Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Resort and Casino. “A lot of magicians came here with ideas of fame and fortune and performing on the Strip,’’ says John Harrison, a magic historian and entertainment attorney who wrote the definitive biography of Doug Henning. “It’s still a great place for magicians because the community is here, and the biggest, most popular conventions are here.” Rubino felt the pull of Vegas. But for a long time, he played it safe. Out of high school, Rubino took a steady job at a print shop in his hometown. He married and had two sons, and later divorced. In the evenings and on weekends, he still built illusions for friends in the magic community. Running in illusionist circles in New York, Rubino met Vinny Giordano, a fellow magic enthusiast and technician who worked backstage helping magicians with anything they needed. Both Rubino and Giordano had attended the famous Tannen’s Magic Camp, and they ran into each other often at magic conventions. When a spot for an illusion-builder opened up in a production where Giordano was working, he recommended Rubino, and soon they fell in love. “The magic brought us together,” Giordano says. The pair bought a house in Lindenhurst, and to support their magic habit, they put their carpentry skills to use with a window display business. Soon they had an impressive roster of clients that included Gucci, Sephora, Nine West and Armani Exchange. In spite of the growing success, Rubino woke up one morning and said he wanted to move to Vegas. Giordano agreed right away. “We sold our house and walked away from our business to come out to Vegas with literally


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PROFILE the magic in the show, solidifying Rubino’s place as an illusion-building luminary. He went into high demand, and was also hired by Cirque du Soleil for three shows: Zumanity, O, Love and Michael Jackson ONE, for which he currently builds and maintains props. ‘I touch a lot of lives’


n a Wednesday night in May, Rubino takes you to a sold-out performance of Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay. Lights twinkle from the walls and ceiling of the lavish theater, and actors dressed as paparazzi pretend to harass you in your $200 premium seats. It isn’t often that Rubino watches a performance. He’s almost always backstage, or at home gulping Slimfast and working on some new illusion. But tonight he will see the show, and he’ll see how you like it. Although Rubino can’t tell you the scenes he worked on or the props he’s built, the way he watches you will give some hints. Early in the performance, when snow begins to fall in the theater, Rubino turns to you and winks. Apparently, he’s in control of the weather. A few scenes later, when acrobats wearing light-up suits fly in darkness above the stage like brightly colored constellations, he sits up higher in his seat for a better view. Did he create these mind-blowing outfits? All you can do is guess. But you’ve also got another question: After aspiring for so long to be a famous stage magician, is Rubino satisfied being the man behind the curtain? If you must know, here’s the answer: He sure is. “It’s enough to know that the work I did evoked the feelings you are feeling,” he says. “Even though you don’t know it’s me — you have no idea where this all came from — but I know. I feel like I reach out and I touch a lot of lives.” Rubino sits high again during the climax of the show, as Michael Jackson returns to life as a hologram and performs “Man in the Mirror.” As he looks over the packed theater at all of you, he sees your huge smiles and the tears you wipe away. It is, as Rubino says, a magic moment. And it’s all he’s ever wanted for you.

Our August Baby of the Month


Photographer: Meghan Poort

Elanor’s Story Ever since their wedding in 2010, Mom and Dad had longed to be parents. Despite continuous attempts, they had not found success. Mom was of advanced maternal age (over 40) and had been diagnosed by Hysterosalpingogram as having a bicornuate shaped uterus. In 2012 they turned to Red Rock Fertility for help. Dr. Littman was immediately able to determine that the abnormality was not a bicornuate shaped uterus but was actually a large uterine septum which was preventing Mom from staying pregnant. Through a hysteroscopy, Dr. Littman was able to correct the problem. After a brief recovery period Mom and Dad began their first IVF cycle and had success with their very first implantation! They became pregnant with Baby Elanor and Mom was able to carry her to a healthy delivery. Congratulations to Mom, Dad and Elanor, our August Baby of the Month.

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The power of two After years of bad blood and north-south infighting, we may finally have a cure for Nevada’s med school crisis B  y H e i d i K ys e r


eople outside health care might not realize we have a public medical school in Las Vegas. Well, sort of one. That is, we have third- and fourth-year students from the Reno-based University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM), who come here to do their clinical rotations. Often, they don’t stick around in Las Vegas after med school, either. They move Now, two Nevada newcomers, reon to cities with big hospitals that offer spective deans of the established and an lots of residencies and fellowships in emerging medical school, are attemptsought-after specialties. The unproducing to bridge the river of bad blood flowtive north-south divide in the ing between Reno and Las Vegas medical school — future doctors over public funding of medical do their academics in Reno, their education. They may just have Hear clinical work in Las Vegas —  rea shot at success too, given the more What’s so flects the state’s political divide: stakes: vast, much-needed imimportant The decision-makers are in the provements to their institutions about mednorth, but most of the voters are in and billions of dollars in potenical residenthe south. And it’s been the source tial economic impact to their cies? Learn of just as much tension, bad blood communities. the answer on “KNPR’s and hard feelings. “The bottom line for me is



State of Nevada” at hearmore

about public medical education coming together to collaborate around growth. We want to stay together and expand together,” says Thomas Schwenk, dean of the UNSOM, who’s been trying to patch up north-south wounds since he arrived in 2011. “Tom and I have been meeting regularly to talk about issues and how we’ll do things. We want to make this twice as good for the state, not drain one city for the benefit of the other,” says Barbara Atkinson, who was coaxed out of retirement from the University of Kan-

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education sas Medical Center in May to lead the creation of UNLV’s new medical school as its first dean. Schwenk and Atkinson may simply be singing the same publicity tune. Or, they could find themselves in a situation where rivals frequently do: banding together to slay a common enemy — in this case, the dearth of public funds for new projects. For the current fiscal year, the state allocated $30 million for UNSOM, which has a $160 million operating budget. The government’s contribution has decreased over the last five years. Nevada has a doctor shortage — we ranked 45th in the country for number of physicians per capita in a 2010 report by the Association of American Medical Colleges. To get more doctors, we need at least one bigger, better medical school than UNSOM, which graduates 60 students per year, as well as more fellow-

ships and residencies at hospitals. But on the state’s financial diet, expanding public medical education has been next to impossible. The lack is most apparent in Southern Nevada, with the bulk of the state’s population. A 2011 Brookings Mountain West study found that greater Las Vegas is the largest U.S. city without an M.D.-granting medical school. Of the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas, we have the smallest share of health services despite being the 30th largest city. “We’re only doing 64 percent of the medical business expected for a population center of our size,” Brookings Director Robert Lang says. Besides losing the direct spending on health care, he adds, the city misses out on the potential influx of government research grants and patent royalties, as well as the indirect economic boost from office

jobs and demand for lodging, groceries and other amenities. On Aug. 22, a statewide steering committee that includes Atkinson and Schwenk, along with the presidents and provosts of UNLV and UNR, will make its recommendations on public medical education to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. Once the regents approve the recommendations, they’ll pass them along to Gov. Brian Sandoval in the hope he’ll accommodate them in his next budget and the Legislature will adopt them in its 2015 session. Getting to a general consensus on the recommendations was already a major accomplishment, but the hardest part is yet to come: convincing the public and elected officials that Nevada needs two medical schools — and that it should fund them.

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“I’d say that’s still a work in progress,” Schwenk says. “It’s complex anywhere, and 10 times more complicated here, because of the history involved.” The present past


NSOM was established 45 years ago. For the most part, its students do their academic training in Reno and their clinical training in Las Vegas. In the ’90s, Lang says, there was some discussion about moving UNSOM south, but it didn’t go anywhere. If it had, he believes, it would be like the University of Oregon’s medical school: much higher-performing, because of its location in the larger metro region of Portland, rather than the school’s hometown of Eugene. “And it would still benefit UNR,” Lang says, “but they didn’t want to do that.” Atkinson experienced a similar situation at the University of Kansas Medical Center, which she led from 2002 to 2012. In the 1960s, she says, the university, based in Lawrence, expanded to a full-time medical school in Kansas City, where the population was large enough to train doctors. Wichita is actually the biggest city in Kansas, though. There was a branch campus there with its own building, but, like UNSOM in Las Vegas, it was only for the third- and fourthyear students — and some 50 of the 175 total students enrolled. During Atkinson’s tenure, she expanded the Wichita campus to a full, four-year school, in addition to starting a campus focused on primary care in the more rural town of Salina. The University of Kansas medical school now graduates a total of 211 students per year. Money is one reason why cities hoard medical schools; they tend to be good economic engines. A study published last year by market research consultancy Tripp Umbach found that a new medical school in Las Vegas could generate an annual impact of $1.2 billion by the time it matures in 2030 (the current medical school generates an impact of approximately $316 million). Atkinson thinks that projection sounds about right, considering Kansas’ medical school went



EDUCATION from $700 million when she arrived to $1.2 billion when she left. “There are some politics around a medical school — where it’s going to go and who gets the goodies,” Lang says. One unintended consequence of keeping UNSOM based in Reno has been a preponderance of private hospitals in the Las Vegas market. With no school to anchor an academic medical center, the local hospital system has developed in an insular, competitive fashion. Lang believes that both universities in the Nevada system having equal access to public investment in medical education would create a “Switzerland effect” — the medical schools would provide a strong, neutral public factor to offset the dominance of the private market. This would attract more high-level specialists and raise the quality of care across the board. “We have good physicians, just not enough of them,” he says. “Right now, if you call for certain things, you’ll get an appointment to be seen in October. Do you sit on it and wait, or hop in your car and drive to L.A., where they can see you next week? That’s money spent in L.A. that could be spent here.” The current Affordable Care Act-induced upheaval notwithstanding, medicine is generally a stable industry. Exporting clients rather than importing them, insiders say, moves the city (and, consequently, the state) one step away from its goal of economic diversity. But we won’t get the physicians we need to keep patients in town without a medical school. So, how do we get a medical school … or two? The new, new way


fter arriving in Nevada three years ago, Schwenk spent some time getting the lay of the land. Then, he hatched the plan he was originally hired to hatch: UNSOM would expand both its Reno and Las Vegas campuses, filling in each one’s gaps — more clinical training up north; more academics, including a classroom complex, down south. With the help of public and private investment, the two campuses of UNSOM would grow simultaneously until, some time down the road, they could be spun



"One thing I've insisted on is taking the regionalism and the fighting out of this. ... I do think a lot of the contention has been taken out of it, but this process has a long way to go. It won't be easy or cheap." off into two separate, full-fledged medical schools. Sounds great, right? Not to those who’d been baptized in the river of bad blood. For instance, Lindy Schumacher recalled how, in her former position as director of giving for the Lincy Institute, she’d been convinced to donate money to UNSOM for a Las Vegas medical school that never materialized. As Schwenk’s plan began to make the rounds, she publicly expressed her reluctance to be fooled a second time. Meanwhile, UNLV’s Lincy Institute had commissioned Tripp Umbach to do a comprehensive med school feasibility study. CEO Paul Umbach himself presented the findings at a community forum in November 2013. The study generated a spirited public debate and some behind-the-scenes wrangling, all of which resulted in med school plan No. 2: a separate UNLV medical school, but launched off the platform of UNSOM’s accreditation. A memorandum of understanding between the Nevada System of Higher Education, UNLV, UNR and UNSOM followed. System chancellor Dan Klaich got the job of shepherding the flock to a new medical school in Southern Nevada, one way or another. The way turned out to be plan No. 3: two completely separate medical schools, each with its own accreditation. Reno would get the existing UNSOM, and Las Vegas would start the new UNLV Medical School from scratch. The details of the plan are currently being hammered out — in double-time. In January, Klaich hired Tripp Umbach to refine its analysis according to the new plan. In March, he started holding meetings of the statewide steering committee. By June, the group had a tentative budget, project timeline, governing

structure and updated memorandum of understanding. Next up: a website and other public communications. The process entails much hard work by Atkinson and Schwenk, who are tasked with fulfilling two distinct visions harmoniously. The new UNLV Medical School dean must lay the foundation for an urban academic health center. When she’s not meeting with potential community partners, from philanthropists to hospital managers to private medical school deans, she’s working on UNLV’s application to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the U.S.-sanctioned authority for accrediting medical schools. Once Atkinson turns in the $25,000 application, she will have 18 months to complete a self-study, outlining her plan for admissions, curriculum, support services and facilities. She’ll have to hire faculty, pass the committee’s site visit and earn approval to begin admitting students, hopefully by the fall of 2016 so they can start classes the following year. Oh, and she’ll need somewhere to put them. She’s talking to the Veterans Administration about using the education facility at its new North Las Vegas campus in the interim, but the permanent solution is an estimated $75 million building at UNLV. For his part, Schwenk is charged with ramping up the clinical practice program in Reno. He’s working on an agreement with Renown Health, northern Nevada’s largest hospital operator, to offer third- and fourth-year teaching and fellowships in pediatrics and neurology. Others, hopefully, will follow. But, in order to grow class size, UNSOM will have to keep some of its clinical teaching capacity in Las Vegas for the long term. At a recent meeting in Las Vegas, a special committee began the

process to add cardiology and gastroenterology programs at UMC; next on the agenda are pulmonary critical care and orthopedic surgery. Schwenk isn’t relying solely on the public hospital in Las Vegas, either. Recently, Mountain View, part of the private, for-profit Hospital Corporation of America, made a $5 million commitment to UNSOM for new graduate programs in family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery and other areas. “We hope there will be as many as 150 to 160 new residencies there,” Schwenk says. “That’s slightly more than are currently at UMC. Over time, UMC may become the primary clinical teaching hospital for UNLV, and Mountain View for UNSOM.” The development of graduate medical education provides an example of how Atkinson and Schwenk could collaborate. Although UNSOM is the only current sponsor of fellowships and residencies in the state, hospitals can transfer programs between schools, and Schwenk says it’s common in other states for multiple schools to study under the same clinical roof. If UNLV and UNSOM work together, the process for distributing residencies among their students will go more smoothly.

needs. It doesn’t make sense, he argues, to have mirror images of the same school in two cities. But if a collaboration can meet each region’s particular demands through different missions and specialties, it will be a wise use of state dollars. That, Klaich says, is what he’s trying to do.

“It’s been easy in the past for the state to ignore this issue because there’s been so much political conflict,” Schwenk says. “If the two schools can go forward together, it will be hard for the state to avoid acknowledging that it has a problem, we have the solution, and it’s time to implement it.”

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The big ask


laich says the process overall has been marked by civility and cooperation so far. “We all agree that there is a greater capacity for medical education in the state, that we have a critical need for more doctors, that increasing the pipeline is one important way to meet that public health need. … One thing I’ve insisted on is taking the regionalism and the fighting out of this, so that we’re serving the real, critical public health needs of Nevadans. I do think a lot of the contention has been taken out of it, but this process has a long way to go. It won’t be easy or cheap.” The total projected cost is still being figured. It will, no doubt, be a big ask for the governor and the legislature. But Klaich says the public should feel good about UNLV and UNR coming together to meet the state’s health care

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‘She’s a true victim’


feel like I’m letting my daughter ill, showed me Jamey’s scrapbooks, page down if I don’t find out what hap- after page of honors, awards, silly photos pened,” Eleanor Walker told me back and frilly mementos — exactly what you in 2004, her voice cracking, sobs would expect from a high-school stuworking up into her throat. “I need dent in the pre-Facebook era. “She was a way to tie these loose ends together.” the first black prom queen and the first By then it had been 23 years since her black homecoming queen. Danny Tarkadaughter, Jamey Walker, an 18-year-old nian was her king,” Eleanor remembered. beauty queen and honor student, had “This is her Sweet 16 party. She was on the been kidnapped from her home and mur- executive council at Clark High School. dered. Eleanor had spent those decades Head cheerleader. I used to hear her at 3 working tirelessly to bring the killer and in the morning, practicing her cheerleadkidnappers to justice. ing, and she would tell me, ‘Mama, I’m goThat interview with the still-grieving ing to be the best.’ mom was one of the toughest sessions I’ve “She was very religious, read her Bible. ever had as a journalist. Eleanor, frail and Leader of the NAACP youth. She would



The scene: The help the less popular bridge on North kids, too. Girls told me afShore Road terward that Jamey used where Jamey to meet them in the bath- Walker (above) was found. room to help fix their hair and makeup and such. “I still think about her every day,” she said, then started to weep. That was 10 years ago. This month, a suspect is scheduled to go on trial for Jamey’s murder. Thirty-three years is a long time to wait, but while Jamey Walker’s family hopes they will finally see justice done, they are reluctant to put too much faith into it.  They’ve been disappointed before.

V E G A S WA S H B R I D G E : C H R I S T O P H E R S M I T H ; J A M E Y WA L K E R P H OT O C O U R T E S Y o F george k n app

For 33 years, the murder of Jamey Walker has haunted her family — and one journalist who covered it B y G e o r g e K na p p



n a Sunday morning in May 1981, a crackling voice on the police scanner notified listeners that a body had been found out near Lake Mead. Photographer Rich Travis and I jumped into a news van and sped toward the scene. When we arrived at the bridge that spans a wash on North Shore Road, we saw a large contingent of homicide detectives and police officers milling about. Jamey’s body lay 47 feet below, at the bottom of the wash, splayed atop the rocks and hard dirt. Someone had tossed her off the bridge the previous night, crushing her skull and mashing her bleeding body. It was horrible to behold and burned a hole in my brain. There are two reasons why these memories remain so clear. It was my very first weekend working as a part-time reporter at KLAS Channel 8. And it was the first murder victim I had ever seen. One of the detectives on the scene that day was Dave Hatch, a grizzled veteran, hardened by the dozens of dead bodies and sometimes-gruesome corpses he’d seen over the years. Jamey’s case got to him. “She was a good kid,” he told me years later. “Just a beautiful little soul. She was well-known and very popular, and someone takes her out and murders her? What caused her death is nothing she did. She’s a true victim.” Hatch and his homicide colleague Bob Hilliard believed  the kidnappers killed Jamey, then tossed her body off the bridge. (Cause of death was a fractured skull.) “I think the suspects were trying to throw her into the water,” Hatch recalled in a 2004 interview. “It was dark. They could hear that water running. They didn’t think the body would be found, and they would still get their money. It didn’t work out that way.” Jamey had been out on a date the night of Friday, May 8. She returned to her home in a part of town known as the Westside, a primarily African-American neighborhood. Her family was Westside royalty: Her grandmother, Sarann Knight Preddy, was a prominent civil rights leader and had been a champion for local African-Americans through the turbulent

’60s. Eleanor was also active in the civil rights movement, served on numerous civic boards, co-owned her own businesses and sold insurance. Her father, James Walker, owned and operated one of the area’s best-known bar and restaurants, The People’s Choice, on West Owens Avenue. People generally assumed the Walkers had a lot of money. Jamey disappeared from her home in the early morning hours of May 9. She left without putting on her shoes. Eleanor believes that someone Jamey knew talked her into opening the door, which allowed other kidnappers to enter and snatch her. Hours later, James Walker received a call at his nightclub. A male voice that Walker said sounded African-American demanded $75,000 cash for Jamey’s safe return, money James Walker said he didn’t have. According to the case files, Walker tried to buy time, telling the kidnapper that the banks were closed for the weekend. The caller proposed that Walker sell his Mercedes. During a second call, a different African-American man suggested that Eleanor’s then-boyfriend might have the money. Whoever placed the calls knew plenty about the Walker family. A third call, placed hours later to Jamey’s brother, included a few words from Jamey herself, saying she was okay, and then an odd statement from one of the kidnappers that Jamey was the wrong girl, that she had been taken by mistake and would be returned. At first the family followed the kidnap-

a little more than 30 hours. In the weeks that followed, the police received harsh criticism from the African-American community. Articles in the Las Vegas Sun alleged the cops didn’t start looking for Jamey until 10 hours after the initial call. The case files reveal one factor that might have slowed the cops: a persistent rumor that members of the Walker family were heavily involved in drug trafficking, an allegation that was never proven and which the Walkers strongly disputed. Jamey’s disappearance and murder was a huge story at the time. According to homicide Lt. John Connor, it was the first-ever case of a kidnap for ransom of an African-American in Nevada. Several thousand people attended Jamey’s funeral. Fundraisers were held to raise money for a reward, including a softball event hosted by the DA’s office.   ENTER 'THE CANNON'


he criticism of Metro appears unfair in retrospect. It might have seemed that police were dragging their feet, but the voluminous case files paint a much different picture. They show that detectives looked at some 55 potential suspects, conducted dozens of interviews, staged about a dozen lineups and ordered several polygraph exams. If anything, they had too many suspects. Tips, rumors and leads poured in, and no one provided more than Jamey’s mother. Eleanor wrote her own detailed memos about everyone who might have

It was horrible to behold and burned a hole in my brain. There are two reasons why these memories remain so clear. It was my very first weekend working as a part-time reporter for KLAS Channel 8. And it was the first murder victim I had ever seen. pers’ instructions and didn’t call the police. But after Eleanor telephoned a family friend who worked at the DA’s office, Metro was notified and a frantic search began. Her body was found that Sunday morning by three Marines assigned to Nellis Air Force Base. She’d been missing

known anything about her daughter’s death, complete with her own suspicions and background tidbits about the individuals. Those carefully transcribed notes are part of the police files — dozens and dozens of single-spaced pages. Although Eleanor gave police the



CRIME Eleanor had never gone to the bridge. ... There were no dry eyes on the bridge that windswept day. Eleanor peeked over the side to see where her daughter's body landed. It was a gut-wrenching moment.



the girls with the dogs, like sic ’em. And he would say, if you tell anyone what I made you do, I’m gonna get you.”  



etro detectives took a hard look at Shannon, in part because Eleanor kept insisting he was the killer, and in part because the police felt Shannon had lied to them about minor details during initial interviews. But they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him, or anyone else. Because it was the first murder I covered in Las Vegas, I also maintained a strong interest in it. In 2004, I received a call from Eleanor, asking if I had ever heard of the Jamey Walker murder case. KLAS had covered the story periodically over the years, but it had been a long time since I had written anything about it. Eleanor had no idea that I had been on the bridge the morning Jamey’s body was found. We started a friendship that lasted nine years. On the 24th anniversary of Jamey’s death, KLAS broadcast a story about the efforts of cold-case detectives to solve the mystery. By that time, Dave Hatch was in semi-retirement but still working certain cold cases — including Jamey’s. “The answer is right there in those files,” he told me. “The person who did it is right there, and all we need is a little help from the public.” When I asked whether Shannon was a key suspect, he acknowledged that Shannon’s name was at the top of his list. At least nine other cold-case detectives pored though the Walker files over the years, and Shannon was at or near the tops of their lists, as well.  After Jamey’s murder, Shannon’s boxing career disintegrated. He wasn’t the same man in the ring. He was listless in his next fight, though he was matched against a lowly regarded opponent. In the fight after that, he received a beating so powerful the referee stopped it in the third round. In October 1983, he failed to show up for a weigh-in because he’d

W illie L ee S ha n n o n M U G S H O T S C O U R T E S Y O F matt adams

names of several people, her attention from the beginning was focused on one name: Willie Shannon. Shannon, a 6-foot 5-inch, 185-pound ex-con, lived near the Walker home, and reportedly had been asking questions about Jamey, though angry, at 29 he started a boxing career the two barely knew each other. Shan- and quickly developed a reputation as a non reportedly had an eye for young girls ferocious beast in the ring. and a reputation for often having his way By the time Shannon arrived in Las Vewith them. According to statements giv- gas in 1979, he had a record of 14-0-1, with en later to police, Shannon once referred 11 knockouts. He won a title and became to Jamey as a “snooty bitch.” Nevada’s cruiserweight champion. At “The first time I met him at the club, one point, he was mentioned as a possiShannon told me that he always looked ble opponent for Muhammad Ali in what out for my daughter because there’s a lot would have been a storyline worthy of a of weirdos around,” Eleanor said. “Later, Rocky film. At times Shannon appeared I was thinking he was the biggest weir- humble, reserved and devout, a man trydo of all. I had a weird feeling right away ing to overcome his youthful mistakes. about him. He came to my house the day But there appeared to be another she was kidnapped because he said he side to Shannon. As Koch reported, he wanted to sign some insurance papers. showed up uninvited to a prominent All of a sudden, he said he had to run an wedding party, accompanied by a bevy of errand and got up and left.” skanky prostitutes. In the neighborhood, Shannon was a professional boxer he projected an image as someone who and well-known figure in the neighbor- liked to teach neighborhood boys how to hood. In a December 2010 article in the box, but some of those boys remember Las Vegas Sun, veteran writer Ed Koch, strange events seen at Shannon’s home. who knew Shannon, detailed the rise and Jamey’s brother James received boxing fall of the boxer’s once-promising career. lessons from Shannon and spent time at Shannon’s nickname was The Cannon, his house. In a 2009 interview, James told for reasons that would become obvi- me that Shannon routinely frightened ous. Shannon had served nine neighborhood girls into doing Cannon stilled: years in a Florida prison for things they might not otherSuspect Willie a stupid robbery committed wise want to do. "The Cannon" by a group of kids. He was 16 “He would take young girls Shannon had a when he went in, 25 when he to his house, and he had these history of run-ins with the law. came out. Tall, muscular and big dogs. He would threaten

been arrested that very day for raping and assaulting a teenage girl, a crime for which he was sent to a Nevada prison. In preparation for the 2004 story, I invited Eleanor out to the crime scene, thinking it might be a good way to demonstrate to the public the emotional impact the crime had wreaked on the Walker family. It was a terrible call on my part. Eleanor had never gone to the bridge, in part because no one else would go with her, fearing she might break down. She did. In fact, there were no dry eyes on the bridge that windswept day. Eleanor peeked over the side to see where her daughter’s body landed. It was a gut-wrenching moment. That story caused a buzz and reignited Metro’s interest in the case. A few new leads came in, but nothing solid enough to warrant charges. As the years passed, we aired periodic updates. In all, 10 coldcase detectives worked on Jamey’s mur-

der, and every one of them took a personal interest in it.  In 2009, homicide Lt. Lew Roberts said the Walker file topped his list of some 200 cases he considered solvable. His principal detective at the time, Dave Culver, said the best hope for catching the killer might be with new technology that would allow for DNA testing. What had not been reported previously was that Jamey had been raped before she was murdered. A small semen sample was retrieved from her underwear and was saved for decades  in Metro’s vault. The police did not yet have the money to conduct the complicated testing, but they were moving in that direction. Also in the files was new information about Shannon. An inmate who had served time with him in Nevada told detectives that Shannon had all but admitted his involvement with Jamey’s kidnapping and murder, that he conveyed details about the

failed ransom demand, and almost bragged about what he had done. James Walker, Jamey’s brother, said he picked up the same information while he was in the slammer, which hardened Eleanor’s resolve. Hardly a week went by without Eleanor sending new thoughts or information to me and to homicide detectives. My files contain hundreds of emails and thousands of tidbits. In 2009, on what would have been Jamey’s 47th birthday, photographer Matt Adams and I went with Eleanor and James as they visited Jamey’s gravesite. Another emotional moment. As the years went by, Eleanor grew weaker and sicker. She could barely walk, was frequently hospitalized, but she never stopped crusading. In 2010, Eleanor was elated to learn that Metro had received a $500,000 grant that would allow it to conduct advanced DNA tests on evidence from several cold cases — including Jamey’s.


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This just in: Over the years, Knapp reported numerous updates on the murder.




September 20 & 21, 2014

October 26 & November 2, 2014



December 13 - 21, 2014

THE STUDIO SERIES March 26 - 29, 2015

February 21, 2015


May 9 & 10, 2015


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Top: Courtesy of Greenspun Media Group, photo by Christopher DeVargas. Bottom: Photos by Virginia Trudeau. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Choreography by George Balanchine©The George BalanchineTrust photo by ©Angela Sterling. Giselle photo by Jeff Speer. The Nutcracker illustration by Brian Swanson.



etectives had a difficult time obtaining DNA from Shannon. A Florida parole officer inadvertently tipped him off about one plan to get a sample. Eventually, however, they succeeded. The results of the tests indicated that Shannon’s DNA was found on Jamey’s body. Detective Jon Scott told me at the time that the odds are 11 billion-to-1 that it was Shannon’s. Detectives went to Shannon’s home in Florida and arrested him for her murder. When he was brought to Nevada, Shannon entered a plea of not guilty. After his arrest, we tried several times to get a comment from his lawyer but never got a return call. In the end, justice moved too slowly for Eleanor. Shannon fought extradition, sought delay after delay, and so did the DA’s office, as each new prosecutor needed time to get up to speed. Shannon’s trial was rescheduled several times. Three and a half years after his arrest, it has yet to begin. As the months dragged on, Eleanor grew weaker. She began to realize she might not be around to testify. Last October, on the very day she was finally going to give her deposition in the case, Eleanor died. She was 70. Those who knew her think the case kept her going for at least the past decade. But the court still might be able to hear from Eleanor when — if — the matter comes to trial. There is now a substantial pile of information from Eleanor, in written form and on videotape, which could be introduced in court, assuming the trial date holds this time. Her sister, Yolanda, who lives in Atlanta, has traveled to Las Vegas to oversee the Walker estate and to be present

for the trial. She told me in March that it has been disheartening to the family to see the trial pushed off time after time. “My sister prayed that justice would prevail, and that is my hope also,” she wrote to me in July. In our last conversation, Eleanor put on a brave front, though she knew she was dying. “How do you get over your child? I have tried to go on with my life, and I am not moping over it. I’m looking forward to that day when I can stop looking and be calm enough to try and not miss something. But it is so hard to forget because everywhere I go, people stop me on the streets to say that they miss her.” If anything, Eleanor’s death has strengthened the resolve of nearly everyone who worked on the case, including me. It’s no longer just a matter of justice for Jamey. The promise we made to Eleanor to see it through is every bit as compelling as the terrible crime that brought us together. The events of that Sunday morning in 1981 have haunted me throughout my career. Even though I have pursued thousands of news stories and dozens of murder cases, this is the one I can’t shake. When the trial begins, I will be front and center in the courtroom. It’s what was promised to Eleanor. Regardless of what happens at trial, there may never be closure for the Walker family and those who knew Jamey. Although they suspect Shannon was the ringleader of the kidnapping, at least two other people participated. Eleanor told me at the end that she feels it is someone she knows, someone who “grins and speaks and says hello, but who knows what happened to Jamey.”  I have a feeling Eleanor will be watching.


Crime lords, illegal whiskey, federal stings and mysterious fires — par for the course in this tale of two historic Vegas nightclubs B Y R O B E RT S T O L D A L


omeone should put up a historic plaque next to the volcano at the Mirage hotel-casino. Not to commemorate the volcano but, rather, to mark a different kind of historic eruption: That spot is the site of the Red Rooster, the first nightclub on what would eventually become the Las Vegas Strip. The first gambling hotspot on the future Strip was a far cry from the glittering monoliths that define today’s upscale tourist playground. But the Red Rooster was no mere juke joint. It featured everything from all-girl bands to dance marathons to promotional stunts like a blindfolded race-car driver zooming in front of the club. Opened by Alice “Ma” Morris on November 26, 1930, the Red Rooster foreshadowed the famous, neon-drenched resort corridor the street would one day become. The timing of the Red Rooster’s opening was auspicious, poised on the cusp of history about to happen: The Las Vegas Valley was on the verge of becoming a very, very popular place. The U.S. government was ready to award a $49 million contract to start work



on the Boulder Dam Project (today known as Hoover Dam). The press event for the dam took place just a few weeks before Morris opened the Red Rooster, convincing her that she had picked the perfect spot for her club. At the dam press event — on the highway just a few miles south of the new nightclub — Secretary of the Interior Ray L. Wilbur drove a silver spike on the main Union Pacific line to signal the start of a railroad to the dam construction site. (Someone also picked his pocket.) The dam project attracted thousands of workers (and, just as importantly, their paychecks) to Southern Nevada. They’d need places to live, eat and relax. Hoping to provide that, Las Vegas did its best to roll out the welcome mat. Community leaders tried their hardest to convince federal officials that Las Vegas was just as wholesome and friendly as any other small town in America. Businessmen and union leaders went so far as to build a festive welcoming arch over Fremont Street at Main. It was an admirable attempt to appear quaint and small-town, but federal dam

officials didn’t buy the act. They were suspicious, and understandably so: While Prohibition had been in effect in Nevada since 1918 and gambling was still illegal, a thirsty man didn’t have to look hard to find a strong drink or paid female companionship on Block 16, the red-light district on north First Street. And it didn’t help that such vices and illegal businesses were tolerated by the police (in fact, the sheriff was a former bouncer at one of the Block 16 clubs). It came as little surprise, then, when the federal government said “thanks, but no thanks” to Las Vegas and instead decided to build its own town, one free of temptation and vice, near the dam site. The rules of Boulder City: no gambling, no prostitution and, of course, no liquor. (Meanwhile, as construction of the dam geared up, Nevada Gov. “Friendly Fred” Balzar signed legislation on March 19, 1931 that legalized gambling.) The feds even made some pre-emptive strikes. In a campaign to reduce the temptations lurking in nearby Las Vegas, prohibition agents launched an undercover operation, opening a saloon named Liberty’s Last Stand. The “pro-hi” agents, as they were called, rigged the place with a hidden microphone, stringing the cable to the roof, across the alley to the roof of the building next door, then down to where the hidden agents listened intently. The subsequent raids and arrests resulted in the tempo-

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Ace of clubs

Party animals: Alice "Ma" Morris and her husband at the Red Rooster

rary shuttering of clubs such as the Texas Moon, the Cool Shade and Blue Goose and, yes, the Red Rooster. Sure, there was money in gambling — but the real jackpot was in booze. Early Vegas clubs would succumb to that temptation again and again, and they’d pay the price. Legalized gambling proved to be an attractive opportunity in itself. To many Southern California entrepreneurs, Nevada once again looked like the Promised Land. Among those businesspeople were figures who, along with the Red Rooster’s Alice Morris, would become notable names in Las Vegas history, such as Moe Goldie and the Cornero brothers. The rise of Moe


ut the Red Rooster was the first. Strategically located on Highway 91 to be the first stop for motorists before reaching city limits, the Spanish Mission-style building looked conservative, but inside was a different story: On any given night, an orchestra might be performing popular jazz tunes for a crowded, bustling dance floor, and the restaurant would be serving dinner to hungry travelers pulling in from the dusty road. Of course, there was another attraction as well: the free-flowing booze. Indeed, one of the many attractions of the Red Rooster was how it casually flouted Prohibition laws — like many speakeasies in the Las Vegas Valley — serving beer and whiskey to fuel the party. “Ma” Morris and The Red Rooster had the help of one of Las Vegas’ more colorful historic figures: Morris Goldie, a rising player in the Southern California gambling racket known for his instinct for a good opportunity. Son of a successful Los Angeles cabinetmaker, Goldie grew up showing little interest in things like miter joints and bevel cuts. Rather than learning the family trade, the young Morris took to the streets, where he flourished. At the tender age of 14, he had already built up a successful business as a newsboy hawking the daily papers, but by night, the bustling streets and dark alleys of Los Angeles presented a different opportunity: gambling. Along with his two brothers, Goldie took to downtown


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HISTORY Los Angeles to host illegal craps games, soon graduating to operating games of chance in plush L.A. nightclubs. They also graduated from being mere newsboys to serious criminals to be reckoned with, as “Moe” became one of Southern California’s big underworld players from the 1920s to the 1940s —  a hub that included names like Farmer Page and the

Cornero brothers. By 1922, the Goldie brothers had their own illegal gambling club, the appropriately named “Goldie’s Place,” in an area of Los Angeles that is now a historic district. When police raided the joint, which featured poker, blackjack and craps that drew more than 100 players, they described it as the largest gambling establishment in the city.

Goldie’s younger brother Robert was the first of the family to establish a foothold in Nevada, when he took over an illegal gambling operation at the Cal-Neva at Lake Tahoe in 1929. It wasn’t long before Goldie, too, was lured by the promise of illegal gambling profits in the fresh new market of Nevada. In 1931, he arrived in Las Vegas, and quickly struck a deal with Alice Morris at the Red Rooster: He’d take care of setting up the gambling, and they’d share the profits. The newly created Clark County License Board granted Goldie a modest license to operate a 21 table game and three slot machines in the Red Rooster, the first gaming establishment on the Las Vegas Strip. Unfortunately, its tenure was shortlived: The feds raided the Red Rooster on May 18, 1931, arresting Morris and her husband for violating the federal prohibition law. All were found guilty, granted probation and made to pay a $500 fine. Goldie was not arrested —  but would wind up paying a price as well. When he applied to renew his gambling license in July, the county board gave him a resounding no, citing his connection to a violation of liquor laws. After the liquor bust, the county forbade Goldie to run the games at the Red Rooster. But it wasn’t too hard a blow, for now there were other opportunities. Goldie took his skills and experience across town to Louis Cornero at a new place called The Meadows. Goldie’s luck runs out


ouis Cornero, the youngest of the three Cornero brothers, arrived in Las Vegas with big plans — an upscale hotel with Hollywood-style entertainment and fine food. They also included in their plan a housing subdivision behind the hotel, complete with its own newspaper to compete with the city’s only publication at the time, the Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal.



But the resort’s real secret ingredient was nace and crumbled into a twisted mass a shady side deal Cornero had cooked up of debris. An investment of over $50,000 with the city. Officials were trying to push perished in the destructive blaze.” Hopseedy Block 16 out of the city and into the ing to save the source of his livelihood, county. They offered Cornero a deal: If the Goldie did his best to try to stave off Corneros opened up a resort just outside the consuming fire — and the fact that city lines, the city would ban prostitution — he lived in the hotel put him in the perthus sending would-be customers straight fect position to do that. A fast-thinking to The Meadows. The Corneros leapt at Goldie tried battling the flames with a the opportunity, buying up land and start- garden hose, a brave but futile effort. ing construction on the project at Fremont He didn’t have much help: Because Street and Charleston Boulevard. The city the property was located in the county, was happy to have the project outside its the city fire department merely stood by boundaries, and the Corneros were happy and watched the fire burn. Adding insult to be on the major road to the dam site. to injury, most of Goldie’s clothes were The Meadows was an evolutionary destroyed in the fire, but he didn’t take leap over the Red Rooster. It boasted the loss too hard. When a hotel staffer a spacious gaming floor, a nightclub, asked whether he had saved his pants restaurant and 50-room hotel — and you — he prized his tailored pants — Goldie could get a cup full of quality Canadian replied, “No, the summer’s over and I whiskey to quench your thirst. Of course, won’t need ’em any more this year.” The paid female companionship was avail- Corneros continued to lease the property able as well. In the nightclub, notable out through the 1930s, finally selling it to stage acts included a young singer named businessman and civic leader Nate Mack, Frances Gumm — later known as Judy who owned it when it caught fire and Garland — and a house band known as burned down in 1943. the Meadow Larks. Meanwhile, back on Highway 91, the After the Red Rooster’s liquor bust, Moe Red Rooster’s fortunes continued to rise … Goldie had been forbidden by the county and fall. In January 1933, the county grantto run the games at the Rooster — but now ed Morris’ Red Rooster what it called a there were other, more promising oppor- dance hall license. And after Prohibition tunities. He took his skills and experience was repealed that year, the county agreed to Louis Cornero at the Meadows. to grant it a license to serve only beer. The Goldie’s luck there, alas, wasn’t much club burned to the ground in July 1933, but better. Six weeks after his arrival, on Sep- it reopened on the day before New Year’s tember 7, 1931, the hotel portion of The Eve in 1933, remaining popular through Meadows resort caught fire. According World War II; in fact, retired Hollywood to The Meadows’ in-house newspaper, “A actress Grace Hayes bought the club, rebeautiful structure became a roaring fur- naming it the Grace Hayes Lodge. How-

Left: The silver spike marked the start of the railroad to Boulder Dam; above, San Souci, neighboring motel to the Red Rooster; right, a matchbook from the Red Rooster

ever, Hayes grew tired of running a nightlife operation, and over the next few years leased it to others. Next door, the San Souci auto court was also feeling the pressure, as major hotels took root nearby. Deals were made, money changed hands, and the Red Rooster and the San Souci were linked, and in 1963, the Castaways was built. (Its most notable purchaser: Howard Hughes.) The Castaways lasted for 25 years before Steve Wynn bought the site and the surrounding land, where he would open the Mirage in 1989. Bridged by nearly six decades, the Red Rooster and the Mirage were both firsts for a city built on the powerful allure of chance. Few would dispute that Wynn was the bold, brash architect of the new Las Vegas. But it was Moe Goldie and Alice “Ma” Morris who set the stage for what would become the Las Vegas Strip. Robert Stoldal is news director of KSNV News 3 Las Vegas.



The Dish 58 at first bite 60


eat this now 61


at first sip 62 On the Plate 63

Our c i ty's be st sp ots to eat & drink

Squid it or quit it: db Brasserie's calamari

P hoto g ra ph y By Sabin Orr

Dining out

He's crafty: Bad Beat Brewing's Weston Barkley was a car mechanic before he leapt into brewing. "It was a feeling that I had finally gotten my chance."

The Dish

Check your head As the craft beer trend produces crazy flavors and wacky trends, Bad Beat’s Weston Barkley aims to perfect the classics B y D e bb i e L e e


eston Barkley never considered brewing as a profession. The first beer he ever drank was an ordinary bottle of Budweiser, and his first major job — a service technician for a local car dealership shortly after graduating from Durango High School — was a stable and satisfactory gig that lasted for almost a decade. But when curiosity compelled him to buy a homebrewing kit in 2008, his calling literally came bubbling to the surface. He began frequenting beer festivals, led a local home brew club and produced countless batches of hooch in his home kitchen — some



more successful than others. “I’ve had experiments that would blow up and redecorate the entire surrounding area,” he says. “Those usually involved putting some kind of crazy dessert flavor into a beer. There was a lot of trial and error involved. I’ve found what I like best is to focus on making classic styles of beer better.” Confident in the progress he was making at home, Barkley eventually swapped cars for kegs. In 2012, he took on a shift brewing position at local brewery Joseph James. “I was nervous taking the leap, but it was more a butterfly, happy nervous,” says Barkley. “I was extremely ready to leave fixing cars behind me. It was a feeling that I had finally gotten my chance.” Now Barkley, 29, has an even bigger opportunity as he steps into his first-time role as head brewer at Bad Beat Brewing in Henderson. The fledgling brand,

P h oto g r a p h y Sabin Orr

established by husband-and-wife team Nathan and Sara Hall, is the latest to set up shop in the “Booze District” — a small patch of Eastgate Road also inhabited by the Las Vegas Distillery and Grape Expectations (a winemaking school). Barkley’s primary role is to execute and finesse Hall’s personal recipes for small-batch production. The two met through the Southern Nevada Ale Fermenters Union, Barkley’s local homebrew club. “We’ve had some lengthy talks about how we want to approach the beers,” he says. “My job is to strike a balance of mimicking what Nathan was trying to create at home and making them commercially successful.”

‘Something to prove’


ith its current set-up, Bad Beat can currently produce 700 barrels per year (with 31 gallons per barrel). The debut menu for its July opening featured six beers, including The Gutshot, a coffee-flavored stout, and Hoppy Times, a very drinkable and piney IPA. Barkley’s personal contribution to the poker-themed collection is Bluffing Isn’t Weisse, a light hefeweizen with a distinct

banana flavor. As with most of his recipes, it has its roots in an old five-gallon homebrew experiment. “I felt like I had something to prove when it came to the technical side of brewing the hefeweizen,” he says. “There is a lot of talk about underpitching, or stressing, your yeast to create more of those banana and clove esters. While that’s true, you also create more byproducts that are considered flaws. Many things suffer as a result: mouthfeel, head retention and, ironically, the esters.” Barkley strives for a product that leans towards subtle, and Bad Beat’s brand new facility gives him all of the tools for achieving that objective. “Without getting long-winded and geeky, the equipment I use is specifically made to optimize the process of making beer. Certain changes that I make to home recipes are based on personal opinion of flavor, but others revolve around adding and subtracting ingredients to balance the efficiency of the brewing process.” As a fellow brewing enthusiast, Hall appreciates that self-described geekiness. “We became friends around the time he joined Joseph James, and I would always pick his brain about different techniques,” he says. “He was always very knowledgeable, and struck me very early on as someone I would like to have on my team.”

Ostriches and herbs


t’s fitting that the brewery’s name was inspired by Hall’s fondness for poker, because every day is a roll of the dice. Barkley’s responsibilities are ever-changing — one day he’s sourcing local herbs to infuse in a new pale ale; the next, he’s arranging for a local ostrich farmer to pick up spent grain for feed. It’s a far cry from his days as a grease monkey. There are also bigger risks involved. First, there is no telling whether the Booze District, which is situated on the easternmost end of the 215, will become a popular drinking destination. Beer-drinkers who prefer sitting on

May we recommend... Bluffing Isn’t Weisse This fruity wheat beer, adapted from Barkley’s personal recipe, was an unexpected hit on opening weekend. Expect a light body with aggressive (and pleasantly surprising) notes of banana and spice — a naturally occurring byproduct of fermentation. Look for the cloudy haze of yeast that is characteristic of a good hefe. “I love its soft and fluffy body,” says Barkley. “I bet if you paired it with ice cream it would mimic the flavors of a banana split.” — DL

their couch will have to depend on local wine and spirits store Khoury’s to provide retail bottles. Distribution deals with local bars are also in the works. Second, Bad Beat must disprove a common complaint that local craft brews are subpar. “I understand how the general public could form that opinion,” he says. “Quite a few breweries in town are more than just breweries, whether they also double as a restaurant or casino. If food and gaming pay the bills, the beer becomes a novelty.” Not here. Barkley accepted his position at Bad Beat for the fact that the taproom’s only forms of entertainment are shuffleboard and Cards Against Humanity. “All we do here is make beer, and we know that’s why people come. That allows me to take risks and work on unique and dynamic flavor profiles.” With the support of his wife Amber, who tends bar in the taproom, and a newborn daughter, Hannah, he’s all in on his dream. He expects to produce a thousand barrels by Bad Beat’s first anniversary and already foresees the brand’s growth beyond Las Vegas. “It’s not like I’m trying to reinvent the wheel,” he says. “I don’t want to find the secret to making a beer taste like birthday cake. I just want to take traditional beer and make it beautiful in a way that respects those before me and excites those after me.”



Dining out

Savoir fare: Left, db Brasserie's Piggie, with pulled pork; right; the Jeffrey Beers-designed interior; opposite, vanilla sundae


The French reconnection Daniel Boulud returns to town with a modern brasserie. French fries? Of course — and so much more B y D e bb i e L e e


ike every other celebrity chef these days, Daniel Boulud makes a signature burger with fries — three kinds, in fact. (I’m partial to The Piggie, topped with pulled pork so good you’d think you were in Memphis.) Just don’t expect it to arrive in a paper bag. Boulud, a Frenchman, approaches the traditional combo meal with his signature style. At db Brasserie, now open at the Venetian, the legendary French chef feeds your fix for fast food in an impressive white-tablecloth setting. Relative to his Michelin-rated flagship restaurant in New York City, the brasserie is a casual concept. But from the perspective of a diner who can’t bear to bite into another predictable haute chicken wing, it’s the most sophisticated dining experience I’ve had this year. And one well worth


august 2 0 1 4

the wait: This marks Boulud’s highly anticipated return to our city after shuttering Daniel Boulud Brasserie at the Wynn in 2010. It is also a trip back to the Strip for executive chef David Middleton (Alex, Scarpetta), who left in 2011 to lead the kitchen at local favorite Marché Bacchus. Before we get to their collaborative efforts, I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to restaurant design firm Jeffrey Beers International. Every detail of the Beaux-Arts inspired interior — dramatic tilework, brass portrait lamps, gilded light fixtures — spoke to my inner (albeit amateur) design snob. After a recent meal, I spent the evening scouring the Internet for new dining room fixtures, my envy greener than the restaurant’s simple but stunning water tumblers. But why sip water when you can have wine? There are approximately 300 bottles

to choose from, largely consisting of French and Californian producers. You could also do the locavore thing and start with db’s Knees — a bracing gin sour sweetened with local desert honey. Mine was garnished with a velvety viola blossom and elicited a small squee of delight. (For once I regret that there wasn’t a supersize option.) From the starters, the lamb flatbread was a delicious homage to North African flavors. Apricots and labneh (yogurt cheese) added sweet and sour qualities, and the thin crust was satisfyingly loud and crunchy. I only wished for a small dash of heat to tie it all together. Traditional Francophiles will probably prefer the pâté de Campagne, or country pâté. The rustic pork terrine is served in a thin slice with country bread and precious pickled baby vegetables. Special honors go to Boulud’s fried calamari — the best I have ever had. A crackling tempura-style beer batter gave way to super-tender flesh, and a generous swipe of Thai-spiced crème fraiche (deliciously heavy on fragrant kaffir lime) provided an extra boost of flavor with each bite. The only slight disappointment was an order of escargot. There was a lot to love: the snails were tender, a topping of spaetzle was fluffy and buttery, and two chicken “oysters” (the cut of dark meat near the thigh) were a genius addition. But there’s really only one reason to ever order the little critters: snail butter. Unfortunately, that over-the-top, garlic-studded sauce was replaced with a clean, green parsley coulis. (The dish was also missing salt.)

P h oto g r a p h y Sabin Orr


Eat this now!

B i g e a sy p o - b oy : C h r i sto p h e r S m i t h

Big Easy po-boy Waiting with a slice of bread, aka my butter sponge, in hand, I was heartbroken. Please, chefs — don’t spare the fat. Anything that tastes like a wheatgrass shot can wait until my post-meal cleanse. It’s not that I shun light dishes. A filet of salmon, cooked until just barely pink and served with precious little rice beans, was satisfying without weighing me down. However, my consort’s steak frites, requested medium, arrived bloody rare. He also noted that a medallion of red wine-infused butter served on top wasn’t a universally pleasing choice. (I agreed that it was slightly bitter.) Some guests may want to ask for it on the side. Dessert, courtesy of Robyn Lucas, was excellent. A boring molten chocolate lava cake — the absolute bane of my former existence as a pastry chef — was made interesting with a side of lemon verbena ice cream. The herbal quality isn’t for everyone, but for citrus lovers, the flavor is unapologetically bold. And a pistachio and vanilla ice cream sundae with cherries, marshmallows and a brown butter cookie was a flawless take on an old-fashioned favorite. Its generous size was the only db un-French thing about the Bra sserie meal — but I doubt you’ll hear Inside the Venetian, anyone complain about that.

at Streetcar Po-boys

1624 W. Oakey Blvd., 702-901-8788, I’ve never been to New Orleans, but, lucky for me, the Big Easy’s cuisine has spread to every corner of our country faster than an Emeril Lagasse clone army on turbo fanboats. Las Vegas itself now has several worthwhile Cajun eateries, and you can add Streetcar Po-boys to that list. They’ve got everything from alligator to oyster po-boys, but I recommend the Big Easy. It’s a simple sandwich anchored by crispy gulf shrimp — but the details make the difference. The shrimp is battered in cornmeal and fried to a crunchy golden brown, then piled with shredded lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. And oh, the bread: Streetcar serves their po-boys on authentic Leidenheimer French baguettes, a pillowy white bread with a micro-thin crust that flakes at the slightest touch. The plate is finished with house-made potato chips and coleslaw. It’s a full meal, but any self-respecting foodie who wants the full immersion will finish with an order of beignets. — Chris Bitonti

The Cure at Distill

10820 W. Charleston Blvd., 702-534-1400, So-called “signature” burgers are often a letdown — the same old assemblage of beef, cheese and fixings, slammed between a bun and served under the guise of being a house specialty. So I’m confident in saying that the most unusual burger in the city is currently being served at this massive new mega-bar and lounge. The all-American classic begins its makeover with a patty that combines beef with pork for extra fattiness. Soy-marinated onions scream “umami!,” jalapeño jelly adds a sweet and spicy kick, and crispy ribbons of fried parsnips lend a pleasant bitterness. What sounds like a nonsensical mishmash of ingredients will actually make sense when it hits every taste receptor on your tongue. — Debbie Lee

702-430-1235, AUGUST 2014


Dining out


Drinking the LinQ More than a stylish makeover, the Linq swings into action with top-notch brews and curated cocktails L i s s a T o w n s e n d R o d g e r s


any changes on the Las Vegas is by the same folks who created downStrip are met with a bit of the town’s Commonwealth and Park on Fregrumble and eye roll — “I liked mont.) The atmosphere is best described the original MGM sign better!” as a sort of haute-artsy Alice in Wonder“I still miss the Stardust!” and, land, with black-and-white art nouveau “Hey, when did they tear down that mo- wallpaper, black-and-silver Victorian tel with the pink elephant?” furniture and enormous paintings that But we all approve of the Linq. No one share a whimsical/creepy aesthetic. Two mourns the Casino Royale’s weak mar- display eager robots worshipping donuts garitas and watery drafts, or O’Shea’s and ogling crullers; there are also creepy plastic Irish bar where the patrons shout- little blond girl and chiaroscuro birded a lot and unfettered their beer guts in head portraits, but the most enigmatic the desert sun. Or the jumble of tawdry is the painting of the enormous-eyed, storefronts and trinket booths and the green-pallored boy in a Little Lord dire cover bands. The Linq’s shops run Fauntleroy suit with his dog, a dog that more toward the L.A. casual celeb chic of has a lion’s mane and wheels for legs. It Kitson, the East Coast swagger of 12 A.M. will allure and trouble you, even as you RUN sneakers and the retro-Americana peruse the cocktail menu. of the Polaroid Fotobar. The Blvd.’s collection of two dozen liBut the real upscaling is in the night- bations is well-chosen for the clientele life. The Blvd. Cocktail Company holds — exotic enough to lure connoisseurs, but a prime spot in the center of the Linq, without the curry bitters or gooseberry blazing light bulbs and wall windows shrub that might alienate the hoi polloi in shining as an example of the stylishness for happy hour (that’s 5-7 p.m.). The house the new property aspires to. (The Blvd. cocktail is the Boulevardier, a modified


august 2 0 1 4

Drink to the future: Tag Lounge & Bar offers a futuristic feel, complete with holographic card dealers and table console video games.

Manhattan with Templeton Rye and chocolate bitters for an extra layer of sweet to the smoky. On the lighter side is the Melon Appeal, a sunset-tinted concoction of Grey Goose melon vodka, Aperol and cucumber, with black pepper adding spice to the floral smoothness. Also summery is the Unlucky Luciano, a blend of Hangar One Buddha’s Hand vodka, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, lemongrass and bubbles courtesy of Yuzu sake. (The name sounds like something made of bootleg whiskey and snitch’s blood, but trust me, this is tastier.) Most lovely is the Lavender Slip, a fragrant liquid bouquet of Maine blueberry vodka, lemon and lavender that seems like it should be cloying, but is actually refreshingly simple. Just the right, light thing to sip as you gaze up at the room’s centerpiece: An enormous cloudlike chandelier made out of thousands of clustered light bulbs. It hovers above a grand piano (only one, mercifully — this is not the dueling piano bar) with a fellow in a porkpie hat playing minimalist renditions of Eurythmics or Radiohead. Of course, if you want your music bigger than a one-man-band, there’s the Brooklyn Bowl, which has already hosted the likes of Gogol Bordello, Galactic and a stellar opening gig featuring Elvis Costello and The Roots. The original venue is in Brooklyn  — more specifically, in that epicenter of hip, Williamsburg —  and the Vegas outpost does its best to compensate for the mall-like location

P h oto g r a p h y Brent Holmes

The sound and the whisky: Live music at The Blvd. Cocktail Company; below, the bar's signature Boulevardier

with a loft-esque space adorned by giant mirrored disco balls and life-sized bowling trophies. There’s also abundant freak-show art and carnival memorabilia, evoking Brooklyn’s Coney Island (love the ATMs disguised as fortunetellers’ booths) although the posh, 550-foot tall, high-priced High Roller is about as distant from Coney’s open-air, coupla-bucks Wonder Wheel as Vegas is from New York City. (The Brooklyn Bowl is also a far cry from the area’s previous live music venue, the “Carnival Village” tent, which featured dreadful cover bands and luridly hued frozen drinks.) Even when there’s not a live act, the Bowl’s booming sound system and resident DJs such as Professor Rex Dart and the Juju Man keep the vibe bouncing. Naturally, the Brooklyn Bowl offers bowling, with leather couches and avant-garde art videos playing over the pins. There are also a few other unexpected features. First, the food is quite delicious — crispy fried chicken with honey, flatbread pizzas deluged with toppings and a variety of other comfort foods courtesy of Blue Ribbon. The bar is fully stocked and the bartenders fully capable, but you may want to opt for an oh-so-apropos Brooklyn Ale, especially a Brooklyn Brown, a beer that has the rich-

ness of a stout balanced with a sweet, hoppy finish. Brooklyn Bowl carries several draft varieties from the hometown brewery — their brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, just won a James Beard Award, so you know it ain’t just borough loyalty, but solid quality as well.  Heck, there’s even an outdoor patio with a view. Is there anything this place doesn’t have? Offering a completely different kind of high concept is the Tag Lounge & Bar, which offers futuristic design and oldschool beer-drinkin’. Decorated in red vinyl and silver chrome, it features NORAD-like video poker, digitized craps and a holographic blond blackjack dealer. Tables are giant monitors with Internet access and an array of video games from Tetris and Frogger to checkers and bowling. The beer selection sports more than a hundred choices — domestics are broken down by state, while the imports are organized by nation or original and feature a few rarities like Greece’s Mythos beer and Kenya’s Tusker Premium Lager. With its scarlet-and-silver décor, virtual games and global beverages, TAG is a bit like how they envisioned the future back in the ’80s — imagine you’re the hero of a William Gibson novel, sipping your Asahi Kuronama as you desultorily tap at the giant Internet tabletop and wait for your virtual girlfriend to get off work. It’s not all newness — the Linq still has an O’Shea’s, although they now favor Guinness and Jameson over domestic brews and plastic bottle-brands, and the beer pong is organized like an Olympic sport. There are still outdoor drink stands, but the cocktails are made with freshly squeezed juices rather than resembling Slurpees spiked with Everclear. Even if you don’t want to ride that big wheel all the way to the top, the Linq is a step up.

on the plate

Upcoming foodie events you don’t want to miss Restaurant Week Aug. 22-28 Eat well and do some good with this charitable effort benefiting the Three Square Food Bank. It’s easy: During Restaurant Week, many of the city’s top restaurants will create special prix-fixe menus, ranging from about $20-$50. An amount from each purchase goes to help Three Square battle hunger in Southern Nevada. Beginning Aug. 8, check out the list of participating restaurants at Get an early start on Restaurant Week with a kick-off event at Mesa Grill in Caesars Palace ($75, 702-731-7778). Since its 2007 inception, Restaurant Week has raised $852,000. Bite at the Musuem Sept. 20 Petite dishes from Pampas Churrascaria and other restaurants will be on the menu for Bite at the Museum, a fundraiser for Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada. The museum in question is the Nevada State Museum in Springs Preserve. The fare will be complemented by live entertainment and recognition of community leaders who’ve assisted the center. Comedienne and KKLZ 96.3-FM personality Carla Rae will host. $75, Wine-pairing dinner at Michael Mina Aug. 20 At his namesake restaurant in Bellagio, chef Michael Mina and Huneeus Vintners will present a six-course menu paired with Huneeus wines chosen by Mina, Bellagio Director of Wine and Master Sommelier Jason Smith, and Master Sommelier and Huneeus Estate Director Larry Stone. Appetite-whetting sample pairing: Hudson Valley foie gras, seasoned with lavender and plum, and paired with Flowers Pinot Noir. $195, 702-693-7075.



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BACK IN THE DAY ... Las Vegas is good at forgetting. It’s not necessarily a bad thing: A city of second chances and fresh starts can’t waste too much time futzing with yarns about the good old days. But there’s a lot more to memory than nostalgia. There are lessons, insights and valuable experiences. Here, a range of longtime Las Vegans recall, remember and riff on their own private Vegas of yesteryear.

photography by


august 2014


R u by D u ncan Anti-poverty activist


hen anti-poverty activist Ruby Duncan led a contingent of 1,500 protesters down the Strip and into Caesars Palace on March 6, 1971, she had no idea they were walking into history. Part of a series of national protests against Welfare Department cuts, the march focused national attention on the plight of poor people. I was not afraid. The march was fun to me, actually. We didn’t want to be on welfare. We needed jobs to be able to get off of welfare. We wanted to be able to help ourselves and our families. … I didn’t know what to expect when we started (organizing). A wealthy friend in Carson City brought me up to lobby the Legislature about food stamps. I didn’t know what I was doing, but a lot of lobbyists helped me understand the bills. I got a lot of help with this fight. Lawyers would prep me so I could talk to the lawmakers. Friends would educate me on certain programs. I was able to let the politicians know how much money would be brought into the state and how many people would be hired if Nevada accepted food stamps. It changed peoples’ minds. Duncan would serve as president of the Clark County Welfare Rights Organization and executive director of anti-poverty organization Operation Life, which opened a health-screening center, a library, a free food program, a child-care center and a public swimming pool. Today, she sees those gains under threat. It’s improved but we’re only halfway there (to a post-racial society). Racism wasn’t as in-your-face back then; it was more subtle. Today, people are more brazen with their feelings, like the rancher (Cliven Bundy). And people are not just racists, they’re also sexist and against the poor — poor white women have it hard, too. Even though racism is more out in the open, it’s an issue for older people. Most


august 2014

O tto M é rida

young whites are not racists. … When we elected a black president, racism came back out in the open in a big way. Some of the things they (lawmakers) Latin Chamber of Commerce are doing to hinder voting are motivated by racism. Some of the things they are doing to programs that help the poor (cuts to food stamps) are motitto Mérida is president and CEO of the vated by race. Poor white men and women Latin Chamber of Commerce. He came haven’t woken up to the whole notion they to the U.S. in 1961 as a political refugee might as well be minorities. Things that from Cuba. In 1973, he drove across the counhurt poor minorities also hurt them. … try, getting to know his adopted home — and getting his first glimpse of Vegas. While Duncan is pleased to see progress I bought a 1972 Vega — it was one of — and to have contributed to that progthe first hatchbacks, a four-on-the-floor ress — she can’t help but notice that some with no air-conditioning. I loved that car. things, alas, don’t change. I traveled the country — all the Midwest, Politicians and others have to have the Southwest and West with that car. It someone to talk about, to demonize. was a four-cylinder. One of the problems Poor people have always been blamed for with that car was that really it was one of something or another. The other thing is the first aluminum models, actually, they that no programs for the poor — whether were lemons. After, like 30,000 miles, they they provide aid to dependent children, started burning oil like crazy. But I loved welfare benefits or food stamps — are run that car. I remember my cousin saying, well, so it makes them easy targets. These “Nobody lives in Vegas.” I told him, “There programs are often the first ones that polhave to be people here! I’m sure people iticians want to cut, which hurts the poor who live here, work here.” Eventually I reeven more. — Damon Hodge



Musician, nightclub owner

turned to Vegas — I remember seeing that light as I drove in, and I said, “I’m in Vegas!” I drove to Las Vegas Boulevard, and I ended up on Convention Center Drive. I paid for a hotel room with my credit card and stayed there for two weeks. He settled in Las Vegas in 1974. With a stone-steady, tireless industry that would become his trademark, he co-founded the Latin Chamber of Commerce in 1976. It had a purpose beyond a mere glad-handing club for Latin businesses. When we started the chamber, we didn’t have many Hispanic support organizations. So we took that role — we’re Latin Chamber, we are for business development and so forth — but people would come to us, saying, “My kids need a scholarship.” That’s how we went ahead and started the scholarship program, which has been giving scholarships since 1985 — we gave $500 at that time. Sounds like a minor investment, but

the scholarships have been vital to — and appreciated by — a growing Hispanic community. I remember, for example, I took somebody to catch a plane early in the morning. When I was coming back, I went to the McDonald’s by Mandalay Bay. I’m eating breakfast there at 5:30 in the morning. And the lady that was picking up the trays and all of that, said, “I know you! You work for the Latin Chamber, right?” “Yes.” “You gave a scholarship to my daughter, and she graduated yesterday from the university, and now she’s going to be teaching at one of the local schools.” It happens all the time — I’m visiting a school, and someone runs up and says, “I’m the new counselor of this school, thanks to your scholarships!” We have a lot of those moments that are very rewarding. That’s why, as I’m coming to the end of this road — for me, anyway — I think we have established enough of an organization that will be long-lasting, and this is what I wanted. We’re helping with jobs and education. — Andrew Kiraly


ommy Rocker is the owner of Tommy Rocker’s, a longtime rock ’n’ roll bar on Dean Martin Drive popular with Parrotheads and late-shift Strip workers. Before he became the iconic guitar-strumming jokester at his own place, Rocker honed his schtick in the ’80s at a UNLV-area hotspot called Carlos Murphy’s — performing both as himself, but sometimes as an alter ego. For years, when I was at Carlos Murphy’s, I did part of my act as a cowboy called Darryl Green, and I had a rhinestone jacket and everything. It was just filthy, filthy, horrible, disgusting stuff, but it was really funny. The lights would go down, he would come out — I would — and some people thought it was a different person. I would change my voice and berate people and flip ’em off and everything. And they had these cardboard coasters, and they would start flinging them at me, and then that turned into wadding up things, so Darryl would come august 2014


out and there would be this barrage of stuff being thrown at him. It was the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. He’s saying, F— you, and they’re going, F— you, throwing things, just bedlam. ... For me, it gave me a chance to do really funny, dirty stuff and not be Tommy Rocker, and they didn’t hold it against me. But I finally had to abandon him. It got so out of hand that guys would be taking napkins and pouring ice out of their drink and making balls, like a baseball, and throwing them at me as hard as they could, so Darryl died an untimely death. But it was so cathartic. It

was a love-hate thing. They loved to hate me, but they really loved Darryl. Tommy Rocker’s opened in 1989. The bar/restaurant flourished over the years — but the passage of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act in 2006 worried Rocker. To sidestep the smoking ban, in 2007 he transformed the party-hearty, beach-vibe bar into a strip club. I asked the person at the county what’s the minimum we have to do to hold onto the strip-club license. They say, “Nobody’s ever asked us that. They usually ask what they can get away with!” So we

did a wet T-shirt contest once a month, just to keep the license. Unbeknownst to us, the economy was collapsing, but we had already made our move, so we had to go all in. … We were competing with strip clubs with huge, deep pockets, they’re paying over $100 a head to cab drivers just to get people in the door, and we just couldn’t afford that. I regretted it nightly. I had to stop coming in here because I didn’t get along with the strippers very well, and I tried to get up and play, but playing Jimmy Buffet and having a girl stripping just didn’t work. I always tell people, with a strip club, you have your pimps, you have your hookers, and you have your drug dealers — and that’s just the bartenders! (Laughs.) They say comedy comes from tragedy, and that’s exactly what that joke is about. Tommy Rocker’s became a bar again 2009. Today, it’s a decidedly sleepier joint nestled in the shadow of an ever-changing Strip. Because it’s been tough the last few years, I joke that in 1984, I drove into town in an old Volkswagen with $10 in my pocket — well, déjà vu! — AK


Former first lady of Nevada


onnie Bryan is probably best known as the former First Lady of Nevada; her husband Richard Bryan was governor from 1983-1989, after which he served in the U.S. Senate for 12 years. Where I grew up, you never saw the governor, and that was not very far from Sacramento, California. When I met Dick, I knew he wanted to be governor someday, but knowing it and living that life are two different things. Everybody in Nevada knew everybody then, and nobody stood on formality. Everybody worked. That was just life. When the


august 2014

Clark County School Board for running a segregated school district in violation of federal law). They took all the elementary schools in West Las Vegas and turned them into sixth grade centers, and all the children from all over Las Vegas were bused there for sixth grade. … Our children had a great experience there. They loved it. They were big shots. They had their own school, and they got to ride a bus. The one they went to (Kit Carson) was really good. The principal (Ron Gaydosh) was outstanding. It was a great way for them to get used to changing rooms for classes and having lockers. That was the good news. — Heidi Kyser

JOE NEAL Former state senator

T attempted assassination was made on President (Ronald) Reagan, they sent someone out to look at all the governors' mansions, and they couldn’t believe ours. People could just walk up and open the front door then. We had people over all the time.

have the privilege of membership. We all had to work at the thrift shop, 17 shifts a year, three hours per shift. We were required to go to meetings; now you’re not. We worked on projects together. All that formed friendships that have lasted to this day.

That’s not to say Bonnie had no life of her own — she did. A big part of it was the Junior League, which she joined in 1969, when she was 29 and the youngest of her three children was 2 years old. When I joined, nothing met at night and nobody worked. We all joined early, because back then, you had to be sustaining at 40, which means you’re no longer an active member, but you still

Her children were the biggest part of Bonnie’s life, though, and she recalls at least one way they were involved in an important chapter of our nation’s history. Our son was in the first class after they started the sixth grade centers, and all three of my kids went to them. They were created to answer the (U.S. District) Court order on integration of the schools (following a lawsuit against

he first African-American elected to the Nevada State Senate, Neal served for 32 years and earned a reputation as the upper body’s conscience, fighting for equal rights and higher taxes on Big Gaming. After he was elected in 1972, he caused one of his first stirs when he told blacks they had a right to retaliate against abusive cops. The fallout was immediate. I became a target. I came out of the Civil Rights movement in the South. When I was younger, I was willing to die for my beliefs. I was fresh from law school and knew the laws that governed this country. If a cop was abusing you, you had the right to match force with force. After I said it, cops gave me tickets all the time. If I felt the ticket was wrong, I’d challenge it in court. I got good at beating the tickets. In municipal court, I’d appeal to district court. In district court, the judge would knock it down to a parking violation. It became too costly for cops to ticket me and the court to only get $40. … I spent four years in the Air Force, where I was trained with hand-to-hand combat, so I felt that no one cop could beat my butt. I knew how to defend myself. I didn’t want to get hurt or to hurt anybody. But august 2014


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I’d seen cops have guys put their hands on the hoods of cars in the dead of the summer. If the guys flinched, the cops would Dancer, patron of culture use that as justification to hit them with a billy club. One time, I observed a cop harassing a man. The cop told me to move on. I sat there and said I have a early four decades ago, long before right to observe him in the performance she co-founded the Nevada Ballet of his duty. He wrote me up for impeding Theatre, Nancy Claire was living out traffic. The headline in the paper said, of a suitcase. Following a two-year stint at “Neal cited in arrest attempt.” The judge the Dunes, she and dance partner Franthrew the case out because you have to be cois Szony had taken their act on the road. driving to impede traffic. Cops weren’t They were in New York when she got a call happy with me. urging her back to Las Vegas. They were opening the new FoWith the Rancho High School riots in lies Bergerè at the Tropicana. I didn’t 1969, and fights in the ’70s over welfare want to come, because I didn’t think I benefits and school desegregation, Vegas could stand Las Vegas for that long. It was once rife with racial tension. Neal sees was 15 shows a week! Two a day, every things getting better — with exceptions. day, plus three on Saturday. … I told The racial climate is improving. When Maynard Sloate, the entertainment I got elected, it was because a district director, there was no way — unless I was created to ensure a black person got could get two weeks’ vacation. And he elected. Now blacks get elected in maagreed. But things turned out a little jority white districts. So the political clidifferent anyway. We opened in Demate has changed. So, politically, things cember 1968, and very close to that, are better. But we still have racial issues while I was rehearsing, I got a call. in employment — high unemployment, This voice said, “Do dancers ever go to blacks with degrees but unable to find dinner?” I thought it was an obscene work in their chosen fields or jobs providphone call. It was right when I was ing a decent salary. The gaming industry getting ready, and I had to warm up hasn’t diversified enough. And there are and get to the theater, so I was a little still issues with cops abusing minorities. rushed. Then he said, “It’s Kell Houssels,” and I thought, “That’s a weird But, he notes, diversity has a curious name.” As I spelled it out in my head, wrinkle — a melting-pot society can start I thought, “That’s the name that signs to lack flavor. my checks!” So, we went to dinner There are soul food restaurants all between shows, at a tiny little Italian over town now. You can live anywhere restaurant behind the hotel, and his you can afford, so a lot of young people lawyer was there, Mead Dixon. That are moving out of West Las Vegas and was our first date! African-Americans moving to town don’t locate there. So the area is losing Claire and Houssels married soon after. its identity as the “black” part of town Her journey from Vegas performer to caand losing its history in the process. sino magnate’s wife is filled with nuggets There’s been a lack of investment in the of bygone-era gold. area over the past 50 years, compared When I was at the Dunes in the early to other parts of the valley. In the ’80s, ’60s, we had a softball team. We played I fought to get banks in West Las Vegas. at 2 o’clock in the morning at Fantasy I went to Washington, D.C. to testify bePark. We won almost every game, before the banking committee. We have cause we had the Rudas girls. They were banks now. But now, as then, we don’t all tumblers and such, very athletic. get loans. So in that sense, not much has They were famous for the cancan at the changed. — DH


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Trop years ago. The showgirls played; everybody played. I pitched. The Dunes had a team, the Stardust had a team, all the big production shows and French shows had teams. It was great rivalry. I think we won the championship because of the Rudas girls! In 1972, Vassili Sulich asked Nancy Houssels to bring her friends and family to see a ballet troupe he’d assembled from Strip dancers perform at Judy Bayley Theater. The show inspired Houssels and Sulich to found a permanent ballet company, which would eventually be-

come the Nevada Ballet Theatre. The group’s evolution wasn’t without its backstage snafus and amateur hitches along the way. We were doing a waltz number at Judy Bayley, and for it, we got this 900-pound crystal chandelier. Well, they didn’t put it securely in the ceiling. So, one day, we’re sitting there during rehearsal, and it comes crashing down on the stage. It could’ve killed someone! Needless to say, we axed that part of the show. The poor kid who was nearby, he thought we were out to get him. He was never the same. — HK


august 2014



IRA STERNBERG Media and public relations





ra Sternberg has been a jack-of-all-media trades since his arrival here in the 1970s — writer, radio personality, casino PR whiz. Now the host of “Talk About Las Vegas” on KUNV 91.5 FM, over the years he’s intersected with a number of iconic Vegas moments. I was at home and the phone rang; it was a radio station in Los Angeles. At the time I was just writing; I had taken a lit-

tle bit of a hiatus from broadcasting. And they asked, “Can you give us any information on the fire?” I said, figure “Fire?” They said, “Yeah, the MGM fire.” I said, “I’ll call you back in five minutes.” So I find out what’s going on, I get back on the phone and I’m on the air in L.A. reporting on an event that I’d just found out about. But the more significant part of that story is this: They had a major clampdown on the media getting into the old MGM (right after the fire). I actually got in. I went in not with my media hat, I went in under the auspices of an attorney who needed a photographer (to document the disaster). So I went in. That

was quite a … (long pause) … scene. Quite a mess in there. I had a flashlight — there was no power — you would see blackjack tables with melted chips, melted cards. We went up to some of the rooms, and you would see chalk outlines where bodies were. You could see soot around the bathtubs. I knew what I was seeing was fairly rare. The pictures I took became part of that litigation. I’m a fairly sensitive guy, so I really had to steel myself, and make my presence as objective as possible. I didn’t think I was going to come across a dead body or anything; all the bodies had been removed. But still, when you see the aftermath of it — yeah, it does have an effect.

could get a hold of anyone he needed to interview. He became friends with Tony Orlando, Bobby Vinton, Shecky Greene … My best Shecky Greene story? He was going through a divorce. Shecky is fearless onstage, but he doesn’t edit himself, either. So he was very hurt by his wife at the time, who was divorcing him. He was ranting about her onstage. And I remember talking to him backstage, telling him, “Shecky, I know you’re hurt and I know that you’re pissed off, but is it wise to rant about her and call her names onstage? Because you could be sued for slander.” I don’t know that he ever took my advice, because I don’t think Sheckey likes to take advice anyway, but that was my recommendation.

There was a more casual interaction between local media and celebrities then; Sternberg says that with a single call he

If the MGM fire found Sternberg directly confronting a momentous Vegas catastrophe, he also managed to avoid one.

Do you remember Showgirls? When I was at the Trop, one of the things I did as director of public relations was, I handled all the movie stuff that would come in, TV productions —  I was the point man for all that. So I had an appointment with (director) Paul Verhoeven. Now, I rarely get angry. But he was trying to push — (pause) he was looking for places to film Showgirls, and I had read the script and I didn’t want to have it at the Trop. I think the word is cheesy. I just knew it wasn’t going to be good. But he was so over-the-top in trying to intimidate me into letting him film at the Trop — he was going to go over my head, he was trying to be heavy-handed. I finally stood up and threw him out of my office, and told him I was going to call security. If you remember, they filmed at the Stardust — and the results speak for themselves. (Laughs) — Scott Dickensheets



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Best Doctors 2014

Your health is your most precious investment. Why choose a doctor that's second best? That's why we partnered with Best Doctors, Inc., whose researchers find the nation's best physicians in dozens of specialties. In Nevada, they've identified 95 doctors in 38 specialties who meet their standards for effectiveness and expertise.



How To use this Guide: Doctors are listed alphabetically beneath specialty areas. Private practices are then listed with address and phone number. How the Best Doctors were chosen Best Doctors, Inc. is transforming and improving health care by bringing together the best medical minds in the world to help identify the right diagnosis and treatment. The company’s innovative, peer-to-peer consultation service offers a new way for physicians to collaborate with other physicians to ensure patients receive the best care. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., the global company seamlessly integrates its services with employers’ other health-related benefits, to serve more than 30 million members in every major region of the world. More than a traditional second opinion, Best Doctors delivers a comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s medical condition, providing value to both patients and treating physicians. By utilizing Best Doctors, members have access to the brightest minds in medicine to ensure the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Best Doctors’ team of researchers conducts a biennial poll using the methodology that mimics the informal peer-to-peer process doctors themselves use to identify the right specialists for their patients. Using a polling method and balloting software that Gallup® has audited and certified, they gather the insight and experience of tens of thousands of leading specialists all over the country, while confirming their credentials and specific areas of expertise. The result is the Best Doctors in America® List, which includes the nation’s most respected specialists and outstanding primary care physicians in the nation. These are the doctors whom other doctors recognize as the best in their fields. They cannot pay a fee and are not paid to be listed and cannot nominate or vote for themselves. It is a list that is truly unbiased and respected by the medical profession and patients alike as the source of top quality medical information.

Gallup® has audited and certified Best Doctors, Inc.’s database of physicians, and its companion The Best Doctors in America® List, as using the highest industry standards survey methodology and processes. These lists are excerpted from The Best Doctors in America's 2014 database, which includes more than 45,000 U.S. doctors in over 40 medical specialties and 400 subspecialties.  The Best Doctors in America's database is compiled and maintained by Best Doctors, Inc. For more information, visit or contact Best Doctors by telephone at 800-675-1199 or by email at Please note that lists of doctors are not available on the Best Doctors website. Best Doctors, Inc., has used its best efforts in assembling material for this list, but




Addiction Medicine

Melvin I. Pohl Las Vegas Recovery Center 3371 N Buffalo Dr Las Vegas, NV 89129 702-515-1373

David Lloyd Navratil HealthCare Partners Department of Cardiology 2865 Siena Heights Dr, Ste 331 Henderson, NV 89052 702-407-0110

Charles Allen Rhodes

Allergy and Immunology

Nevada Heart and Vascular Center 4275 S Burnham Ave, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89119 702-240-6482

Nevin W. Wilson

Jerry Routh

University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics 2040 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 402 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-992-6868

HealthCare Partners Department of Cardiology Summerlin Hospital Bldg 3, Ste 250 10105 Banburry Cross Dr Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-360-7600


Erik J. Sirulnick

Mark Stuart Scheller Cardiovascular Anesthesia Consultants 2850 S Mojave Rd, Ste A Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-388-8062

John Bedotto HealthCare Partners Department of Cardiology 9280 W Sunset Rd, Ste 320 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-534-5464

Carlos Fonte Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists 3201 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 502 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-733-8600

Cardiovascular Consultants of Nevada 3131 La Canada St, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-731-8224

Leo Spaccavento Advanced Heart Care Associates 2470 E Flamingo Rd, Stes A and B Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-796-4278


Colon and Rectal Surgery

Ovunc Bardakcioglu University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 160

does not warrant that the information contained herein is complete or accurate, and does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability to any person or other party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. Copyright 2014, Best Doctors, Inc. Used under license, all rights reserved. This list, or any parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without written permission from Best Doctors, Inc. No commercial use of the information in this list may be made without the permission of Best Doctors, Inc. No fees may be charged, directly or indirectly, for the use of the information in this list without permission. BEST DOCTORS, THE BEST DOCTORS IN AMERICA, and the Star-in-Cross Logo are trademarks of Best Doctors, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries, and are used under license.


Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150


Joseph P. Thornton

Donald Lawrence Kwok

University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 160 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150

Gastroenterology Associates 3820 S Hualapai Way, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89147 702-796-0231

Critical Care Medicine

Paul A. Stewart Pulmonary Associates 2000 Goldring Ave Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-384-5101


Gregory Kwok

1701 N Green Valley Pkwy, Ste 7B Henderson, NV 89074 702-257-7546

Douglas A. Thomas 9097 W Post Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-430-5333

Infectious Disease Consultants 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 780 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-737-0740 Infectious Disease

Eugene L. Speck

Gastroenterology Associates 3820 S Hualapai Way, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89147 702-796-0231

Infectious Disease Consultants 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 780 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-737-0740

Frank J. Nemec

Internal Medicine

Gastroenterology Associates 3820 S Hualapai Way, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89147 702-796-0231


Miriam S. Bettencourt

Gary R. Skankey


Hand Surgery

William A. Zamboni University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 190 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5110

Paul T. Emery King Edward Medical Group 8205 W Warm Springs Rd, Ste 210 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-735-8734

Sarah C. Heiner 70 E Horizon Ridge Pkwy, Ste 100 Henderson, NV 89002 702-778-8828

John S. Hou

Endocrinology and Metabolism

Infectious Disease

HealthCare Partners Department of Internal Medicine 4275 S Burnham Ave, Ste 255 Las Vegas, NV 89119 702-369-0088

Brian Alfred Berelowitz

Jerome Frank Hruska

Michael J. Petruso

653 N Town Center Dr, Ste 315 Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-804-9486

Infectious Disease Consultants 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 780 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-737-0740

Internal Medicine Associates 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 400 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-369-5582

Brian J. Lipman

Jerrold Schwartz

Infectious Diseases of Southern Nevada 10001 S Eastern Ave, Ste 307 Henderson, NV 89015 702-776-8300

3530 E Flamingo Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-737-8657


W. Reid Litchfield Desert Endocrinology 2415 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Henderson, NV 89052 702-434-8400

Freddie G. Toffel 2700 E Sunset Rd, Ste D34 Las Vegas, NV 89120 702-736-2021


Bradley J. Thompson 3650 S Eastern Ave, Ste 300 Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-796-8036

Best Doctors 2014

Candice Tung 3530 E Flamingo Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-737-8657


Medical Oncology and Hematology

Heather J. Allen Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 3730 S Eastern Ave Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-952-3400

Mary Ann Allison Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 1505 Wigwam Pkwy, Ste 130 Henderson, NV 89074 702-856-1400

John A. Ellerton Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada 2460 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Henderson, NV 89052 702-822-2000

Russell Gollard Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada 2460 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Henderson, NV 89052 702-822-2000

Edwin Charles Kingsley Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 3730 S Eastern Ave Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-952-3400

James Delfino Sanchez Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 7445 Peak Dr Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-952-2140



Rinah I. Shopnick Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada 2460 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Henderson, NV 89052 702-822-2000

Nicholas J. Vogelzang Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 3730 S Eastern Ave Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-952-3400



Marvin Jay Bernstein Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada 500 S Rancho Dr, Ste 12 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-877-1887

Robert W. Merrell Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada 2865 Siena Heights Dr, Ste 140 Henderson, NV 89052 702-877-1887

Zvi Sela Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada 653 N Town Center Dr, Bldg 2, Ste 70 Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-877-1887 Neurological Surgery

John A. Anson The Spine and Brain Institute 8530 W Sunset Rd, Ste 250 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-851-0792

Derek A. Duke The Spine and Brain Institute 861 Coronado Center Dr, Ste 200 Henderson, NV 89052 702-948-9088




Jeffrey Lee Cummings Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health 888 W Bonneville Ave Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-483-6000

Luis L. Diaz 3150 N Tenaya Way, Ste 520 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-233-0755

Nuclear Medicine

Paul D. Bandt Desert Radiologists 2020 Palomino Ln, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-387-6900

Michelle M. Lewis

Robert C. Wang

1701 N Green Valley Pkwy, Ste 3A Henderson, NV 89074 702-566-3040

University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology 3150 N Tenaya Way, Ste 112 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-671-6480

Kirsten B. Rojas Meadows Women’s Center 9120 W Post Rd, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-870-2229

J. Michael Scarff Women’s Health Specialists 1934 E Sahara Ave Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-369-5758

Bruce S. Shapiro

Obstetrics and Gynecology

The Fertility Center of Las Vegas 8851 W Sahara Ave, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89117 702-254-1777

David R. Aberman



Women’s Health Associates of Southern Nevada 9525 Hillwood Dr, Ste 130 Las Vegas, NV 89134 702-476-5595

Robert J. Futoran Las Vegas Gynecology Oncology 341 N Buffalo Dr, Ste D Las Vegas, NV 89145 702-410-5822

Irwin G. Glassman Women’s Health Specialists 1934 E Sahara Ave Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-369-5758

Florence N. Jameson 5281 S Eastern Ave Las Vegas, NV 89119 702-262-9676

Steven Kramer Women’s Health Specialists 1934 E Sahara Ave Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-369-5758

Mark Doubrava Eye Care for Nevada 9011 W Sahara Ave, Ste 101 Las Vegas, NV 89117 702-794-2020

Emily L. Fant Shepherd Eye Center 3575 Pecos-McLeod Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-731-2088 Otolaryngology

Jerold E. Boyers Ear, Nose and Throat Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 235 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-382-3221

Walter (Russ) Schroeder Ear, Nose and Throat Consultants of Nevada 3195 Saint Rose Pkwy, Ste 210 Henderson, NV 89052 702-792-6700



Darren Thomas Wheeler Quest Diagnostics Gynecologic and Breast Pathology 4230 Burnham Ave Las Vegas, NV 89119 702-733-3785 Pediatric Cardiology

Ruben J. Acherman Children’s Heart Center 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 690 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-732-1290

Abraham Rothman Children’s Heart Center 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 690 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-732-1290 Pediatric Dermatology

Douglas A. Thomas 9097 W Post Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-430-5333

Pediatric Medical Genetics

Colleen Morris University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics 2040 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 402 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-2229

Pediatric Pulmonology

Craig T. Nakamura Children’s Lung Specialists 3820 Meadows Ln Las Vegas, NV 89107 702-598-4411

William A. Zamboni University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 190 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5110 Pulmonary Medicine

Pediatric Urology

Ranjiv I. Mathews Children’s Urology Associates 6670 S Tenaya Way, Ste 180 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-369-4999 Pediatrics/General

Renu S. Jain University of Nevada School of Medicine Pediatric Center 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 315 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-992-6868

Beverly A. Neyland University of Nevada School of Medicine Pediatric Center 3008 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 315 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-992-6868

S. Charles Snavely University of Nevada School of Medicine Pediatric Center 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 315 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-992-6868 PLastic Surgery

Goesel M. Anson Plastic Surgery Associates 8530 W Sunset Rd, Ste 130 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-822-2100

Paul A. Stewart Pulmonary Associates 2000 Goldring Ave Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-384-5101


Radiation Oncology

Mark Bernard Hazuka Las Vegas Prostate Cancer Center 7150 W Sunset Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-834-3961 Radiology

Paul D. Bandt Desert Radiologists 2020 Palomino Ln, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-387-6900

William W. Orrison, Jr. Nevada’s Imaging Center 5495 S Rainbow Blvd, Ste 101 Las Vegas, NV 89118 702-214-9729 Rheumatology

Michael A. O’Hanlan Arthritis Associates 8905 S Pecos Rd, Ste 23A Las Vegas, NV 89074 702-734-8311


Sleep Medicine

Julio L. Garcia

W. Jeff Willoughby, Jr.

Bldg C 6020 S Rainbow Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89118 702-870-0058

10105 Banburry Cross Dr, Ste 355 Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-998-1400


Terence G. Banich General Surgery Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 370 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-382-8222

Annabel E. Barber University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 3150 N Tenaya Way, Ste 112 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-671-6480

Dennis Chong

Best Doctors 2014

Daniel M. Kirgan University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 160 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150


Thoracic Surgery

General Surgical Consultants 10001 S Eastern Ave, Ste 206 Henderson, NV 89052 702-617-1981

Peter G. Vajtai

John J. Fildes

St. Rose-Stanford Cardiovascular Surgery Clinic 2865 Siena Heights Dr, Ste 131 Henderson, NV 89052 702-616-6580

University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 160 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150

Arthur A. Fusco General Surgery Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 370 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-382-8222

John Ham University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 1707 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150 Surgical Oncology

5745 S Fort Apache Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-240-3198

Robert Wiencek



Ranjit Jain Urology Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 430 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-384-0500

Alex R. Sparkuhl Urology Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 430 Las Vegas, NV 89106

Annabel E. Barber University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 3150 N Tenaya Way, Ste 112 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-671-6480 AUGUST 2014



or the past 10 years, Touro University Nevada has been committed to improving the quality of life of southern Nevadans by fostering health, wellness and community engagement. The expanded Health Center is our vision for the future to ensure that as our community grows, we are able to meet the needs.


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CARE portraits by


These unsung health care professionals work hard to heal the sick and comfort the suffering (and deliver the occasional squealing bundle of joy)

august 2014



august 2014

She’s helping to pave the f o e v a w t x e n e th r fo y wa nursing professionals

W SUSAN VANBEUGE Assistant Professor, UNLV School of Nursing Nurse Practitioner, Brian Berelowitz Endocrinology

hen Susan VanBeuge told her grandmother she’d finally decided to go to nursing school after putting off her childhood career dream for nearly a decade, the family matriarch replied that it was fate: VanBeuge’s namesake, her great-grandmother, had also been a nurse. “Next thing you know, I get a picture in the mail, an antique photo, of my great-grandmother Susan in her nursing uniform,” VanBeuge remembers. “She was in this prim laced-up top, her hair up, and she looked very solemn. I was so inspired. I thought, ‘I can do this.’” The elder Susan would be proud. VanBeuge is not only a nurse, but also a nurse practitioner, holder of a doctorate in nursing practice and professor of nursing at UNLV. And she’s accumulated these and her other numerous titles and certifications while raising two children and breaking new ground for others in her field. VanBeuge is like a human Thor’s Hammer: The more challenges life throws at her, the more powerfully she smashes them into oblivion. An example: She’d been working as an emergency room nurse (her specialty as an RN) when she and her husband split up in 2001. Looking for a better way to support her children on her own, she went back to school for her master’s degree while going through a divorce, learning to parent on her own and continuing to work 10-12 hour shifts in the ER – all in a new city, Las Vegas. “If I put a lot on my plate, I’m much more productive,” VanBeuge says. “I don’t like drama, but I like to have a lot going on.”

This industrious spirit carried her through her greatest professional challenge, and one that helped pave the way for many other Southern Nevada NPs. After she received her board certification as a nurse practitioner, her first job was working with a surgeon at the medical school who wanted her to act as his first assistant in the operating room — a privilege previously unavailable to NPs. VanBeuge tackled the daunting administrative process of garnering the necessary permissions, one by one, at each hospital where the surgeon operated. “It took me a year, from a blank piece of paper, to being able to be in a hospital, see patients, write in progress notes and be in the OR,” she says. “At the time, I was doing it for myself. I had a job, and I needed it to work. But I later realized that other people were able to follow the same process. Now, there are lots of nurse practitioners working in hospitals all over the valley.” That’s not all that has changed for her and her peers over the last decade. There is now an American Association of Nurse Practitioners and Nevada Advanced Practice Nurses Association, which VanBeuge helped form. With the shifting health care landscape, clinics increasingly rely on NPs for many preventive and primary care services. The last big obstacle left to obliterate: the ambivalence of MDs when it comes to trusting their nursing counterparts to play a larger role in health care. “In states where nurse practitioners have gained their full practice authority, physicians are doing better financially, because nurse practitioners can see the sore throats and rashes, freeing physicians to see people with complex problems,” VanBeuge says. “I think that’s a nice way to illustrate how we’re able to work together and solve the problem of the shortage in primary and preventive care.” — Heidi Kyser

august 2014


m is r e te n lu o v d n a m is v ti c A s s le re ti is th to l ra g te in are doctor’s practice

W Dr. Lisa Miller Pediatrician Good Night Pediatrics


august 2014

hen you receive a calling in life, sometimes it takes the form of Lonnie Hammargren knocking on your door at 10:30 at night. “I had just moved back to town, and I’m still unpacking — there are boxes everywhere and I’m in my pajamas — and there’s a banging on the door. It’s Lonnie Hammargren. He goes, ‘You need to come to El Salvador!’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’” The former lieutenant governor and retired neurosurgeon explained to Lisa Miller — a fellow parishioner at Community Lutheran Church — that the church’s annual medical mission to El Salvador needed a pediatrician. Dr. Miller didn’t think twice. Since that fateful door-knock in 2008, she’s joined the church’s mission to El Salvador every year, bringing basic medical care to poor villages in the jungles. The team does everything from dispense diabetes meds to perform ultrasounds to hand out eyeglasses. “They give us a lot more than we give them,” Miller says. “When you give them a pair of glasses and they look upon their grandchildren and they can finally see them, or they get medicine and all of a sudden they don’t have horrid heartburn anymore, when they feel somebody cares about them, they give you a lifetime of karma, the feeling you’d made a difference.” The word “compassion” gets thrown around a lot in the health care industry. Doctors, medical practices, hospitals, and even insurers love to tell us how compassionate they are. These days, it’s less a word with actual

meaning than a branding buzzword intended to evoke deep human connectivity. So it’s kind of ironic that Dr. Lisa Miller doesn’t utter the word even once when we talk — not when she’s talking about her gratifying graveyard-shift work at Good Night Pediatrics, not when she’s talking about the annual medical mission to El Salvador, not when she’s talking about conscripting her two dogs, Teao and Taonga, to visit sick kids in local cancer wards. Those disparate threads are bound by a spirit of service — compassion in action — inspired by her parents, both longtime educators in Southern Nevada. “It’s not that far of a stretch to come from a family in education and go into pediatrics,” says Miller. After all, in both cases, caring for kids requires patience, understanding and a willingness to see things from their point of view. Again, the payoff is personal. “That’s the thing about kids,” Miller says. “Adults will start to get a little sick, and we’ll be grumpy and be sad and we’ll whine and complain. But kids will play and play, and they just want to be happy until they physically can’t anymore. They will keep taking what they have given to them and keep trying to be happy and live their lives.” Miller learned a few lessons of her own when she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. She was suddenly thrust into the role of patient — an invaluable experience for her. “I got a huge empathy wake-up call, because you get to sit there in the paper gown, and you get to be vulnerable and scared and worried about whether I’m gonna wake up, about what this is going to mean for my life and family — is this going to destroy everybody, will I be able to go on financially? It’s a really good lesson for a physician to pick up a lot empathy that way.” Leave it to Dr. Miller — now cancer-free — to turn a harrowing health odyssey into a vital spark for personal and professional growth. — Andrew Kiraly

august 2014



august 2014

He’s quietly orchestrated l a c lo in n o ti lu o v e r jo a a m cancer care

J James Kilber Executive Director Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

ames Kilber intended to be a few things, none of them a C-level executive. In high school in South Dakota, he loved sports and dreamed of being a coach. But his sister, who was one year older than him, had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, so he decided to go into the medical field to help people like her. Two years into nursing school, he transferred to UNLV and got a bachelor’s degree in radiology. Then, while working at Desert Radiologists and studying for his medical school entrance exam, Kilber’s boss persuaded him to do a stint as a manager. Before long, he was at a crossroads. “I had to weigh which route I would take — the clinical side of health care or the business,” he says today. “I believe I made the right decision.” That’s an understatement: Kilber ended up running Desert Radiologists. After four years as CEO there, in 2007 he became executive director of Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada. Since then, he’s upped their game considerably, recruiting 17 new physicians — including renowned researchers such as Nicholas Vogelzang and Fadi Braiteh — and investing $10 million in diagnostic and treatment technology. He’s proud to note that there’s been less than 1 percent turnover in administrative staff since he took the helm. “I believe in praising my employees,” Kilber says. “I don’t think there’s enough of that done in any business, and I couldn’t do my job without their expertise.”

But his most significant contribution may be his commitment to multi-disciplinary care. Anyone who has had a brush with disease knows how stressful the logistics can be, making several trips to different facilities and having separate conversations with various specialists (who may or may not communicate well with each other) about the same problem. Kilber’s goal is to offer as many services as possible under the same umbrella — in other words, to fully realize the “Comprehensive” in the centers’ name. His addition of a breast surgery division, for instance, means that breast cancer patients can now get oncology, hematology, radiation and surgery services from the same provider. Besides easing the patients’ stress, Kilber says, this approach is a commonsense way of reducing cost and increasing efficiency in health care. More importantly, it makes tracking outcomes and communication among physicians easier. “My goal is to get more doctors working together,” he says. “When you do that, care is improved. There’s no doubt in my mind.” — Heidi Kyser

august 2014


t? re c e s ’s e s r u n y r e v li e This d ’ e m r fo d r o w ig b a is e v o ‘L

A Elizabeth Brown Labor and delivery nurse St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Siena Campus


august 2014

fter working for seven years in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Rose Dominican’s Siena Campus in Henderson, Registered Nurse Elizabeth Brown was looking for a change. In her prior ICU position with Price Hospital in Cincinnati, Brown commonly dealt with surgical patients, helping them to live again after open-heart or thoracic surgeries. But her Henderson job, while satisfying, proved to be more physically and emotionally draining. “We deal with more alcohol, drug abuse and poor living-caused failures, kidney failures, liver failures, those kinds of things. It was more long-term illnesses and a lot of losing battles, and it was just hard,” says Brown. “So, it was time to make a switch and love in a different way.” For the last seven years, Brown has been a floor up, in Labor and Delivery. She’s attended the births of thousands of babies, and she’s nurse-delivered 35 on her own. “You know babies get to a certain point and there’s no turning back,” she says. “It’s always a little bit anxiety-producing. The most important thing is to provide that experience for the patient and the families because it is ultimately about their experience.” (For the last year, St. Rose has also maintained a physician on the floor at all times.)

And that’s what sets Brown apart from the other nurses. “She is the one we all say we would choose to be there if we ever had another baby,” says Maria McLay, with the hospital’s Maternal Child Services. “She truly makes every delivery special for our patients.” The love is in the details: Brown is well-known for her endless patience, as well as her unstinting kindness to laboring mothers (who might not always be in the mood to reciprocate); she makes sure to always include the fathers in the process, too. “I remind them how important this event is in their lives, because often times the birth of a baby is the mortar that holds families together or brings them back together,” says Brown. “And they remember their birthing story forever.” They remember Brown, too. She tells the story of overhearing a mother tell her young daughter that Brown was the nurse who delivered her — a fact the mother commemorated by naming her daughter after Brown. “We see the happy things, and that’s wonderful,” Brown reflects. “But we also have battered women and prostitutes and teenage children having babies. Being at St. Rose, we take the sickest mothers and the sickest babies, because we have the resources. We see a lot of things. Sometimes you don’t know what to say, but a lot can be said in what you do. Love, love is a big word for me.” — Chantal Corcoran

august 2014



august 2014

She helps keep together d n a s e p a h s ll a f o s ie il fam sizes (on TV and off)

S Nancy Hunterton Marriage and family therapist

ince marriage and family therapist Nancy Hunterton has a reputation for helping to heal families in the valley, it makes sense that Vegas resident Kody Brown and his four wives, of TLC’s “Sister Wives,” were referred to her. What makes less sense is why one of Nevada’s most respected therapists would agree to be a part of their messy reality-television drama. Hunterton answers the question with tact and feeling. “The issues of having a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose in a home, of strength and self-identity, those kinds of things exist no matter where you are,” she says. “If it’s a single mom with one kid, you have those issues. If you have a multiplicity of people, it’s still there.” Plus, Hunterton has experience treating patients who grew up in polygamy. “It’s very reminiscent of life on a military base when the majority of husbands have been deployed,” she explains. Even though she’s been practicing since the mid-'90s, Hunterton calls therapy a second career. Before that, the mother of two held several positions, including a few in HR in upstate New York, where she grew up. She’s also worked for the Democratic party, and she’s held various teaching support positions, both in Washington, D.C. and here — where she served a stint in the ’80s as the academic coordinator to Tark-era Runnin’ Rebels. “That pretty much integrated me into Las Vegas at a much deeper level than before,” she says. She admits that when she first came to Las Vegas in 1978 with her then-husband, Hunterton had some trou-

ble finding her role in the unique culture of the city. But, she says, “Probably at every job I ever had, I was assuming, somewhat, the role of therapist.” It was in the midst of her divorce that Hunterton really began practicing, when a local psychologist hired her to pre-interview patients in order to place them with compatible therapists. Hunterton was so soothing and caring that the patients demanded her instead. “So, this is probably where I was meant to end up, I just didn’t know it,” she says. While she doesn’t subscribe to a strict therapeutic method, encouraging deep reflection and self-engagement is often the key to good outcomes. “I am a believer in personality typing systems,” she says, “not because I think that people need to be identified as an X, Y or Z, but because I believe that often gives a neutral way for people to reflect off: Am I this way? So I use some of that and I think therapeutically, I help people pretty quickly know things about themselves they might not have known before.” But when she pulls a couple back from the brink, the rewards are mutual. “I have a sense of delight when I see them together and I know how utterly hostile they (once) were to one another.” On or off the TV. — Chantal Corcoran

august 2014


S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

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S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

Blossom Bariatrics Nationally renowned bariatric surgeon Dr. Thomas Umbach is board-certified and fellowship-trained. He’s been recognized as one of the nation’s top bariatric surgeons by Newsweek and Time magazines. Dr. Umbach’s other notable achievements include being named New Economy’s Best Health Care Consultants for 2013 and 2014, Best Bariatrics Surgeon for 2014 and Best Medical Tourism Provider for 2012 and 2013. He was also named as one of the best Weight Loss Management Physicians for 2011, 2012 and 2013 by U.S. Commerce Association. “Bariatrics has always been my passion,” says Umbach. “My practice is 100 percent devoted to helping obese clients achieve healthier lifestyles. It brings me great pleasure to see my clients shed their excess weight and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.” “Many clients also suffer from obesity-related health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease,” states Umbach. “They present with digestive disorders, sleep disorders, respiratory problems and reproductive health issues, and many are on medications for their conditions. My goal is to help them regain their health and their self-esteem so they can enjoy life.” Unlike many bariatric surgeons who focus on one or two procedures, Umbach offers his experience and expertise in gastric banding, Rouxen-Y gastric bypass, gastric sleeve resection and revisional surgery. Some Canadian clients, for example, choose Umbach for gastric sleeve procedures that they cannot find in Canada.

Clients come from all around the world

not require lengthy recovery periods. As a result, his bariatric surgery clients – especially those who travel from other states or countries – often celebrate the blossoming of their new lives after surgery by enjoying the exciting thrills of Las Vegas.

This doctor is always “in” for his clients

Umbach offers his clients something they cannot get anywhere else – his personal cellphone number with an offer to call him anytime, day or night. “I want my clients to be able to reach me 24/7 with any questions or concerns they have for as long as they need me,” says Umbach. “Most are amazed when I give them my cellphone number, and even more amazed when I answer their calls.” Umbach offers every client comprehensive presurgical and post-surgical programs, too. His presurgical program is aimed at maximizing client safety and increasing their chances for excellent surgical results. His post-surgical programs include nutrition and fitness counseling, support groups to help them adjust to life after bariatric surgery, and psychological and emotional counseling to empower them for a better quality of life.

LOCATION Blossom Bariatrics 3235 E. Warm Springs road Suite 100 Las Vegas, NV 89120 702.463.3300

Many of Umbach’s out-of-state and foreign clients combine their surgical procedures with a fun-filled vacation in Las Vegas. Thanks to the advanced technology and surgical techniques used by Umbach, most procedures do

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Desert Valley Audiology Dr. Tim Hunsaker is an audiologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with hearing loss. He is a graduate of Idaho State University and currently holds the certificate of clinical competency from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All too often, the patient experience with the hearing aid industry feels like a sales pitch. Dr. Hunsaker understands that choosing a hearing aid is a difficult process. He makes his patients feel at ease and his approach is as far from a sales pitch as it can be. His goal is to provide patients with the information they need to make a decision that will work best for their specific needs. To help in this process, he has made several informational videos addressing different aspects of hearing and hearing aids. His videos have more than 8,000 views. Having fit 5,000-plus hearing aids

in the past 10 years, he has plenty of experience to know what is best for each patient. When asked how he chose to become an audiologist, Dr. Hunsaker explains that he stumbled into his profession. He tells the story of when he was in high school and someone suggested that he should become an audiologist. His reply was, “I think I would go crazy if I spent every day watching someone raise their hand when they hear a beep.� Fortunately, the profession is much more dynamic and involved than simply watching someone raise their hand when they hear a beep. He enjoys the constantly changing technology in the hearing health care industry, such as hearing aids that are directly compatible with the iPhone. Dr. Hunsaker is still recovering from the past month of nonstop viewing of World Cup matches and is looking forward to another Rebel football winning season.

LOCATIONS Desert Valley Audiology Las Vegas

501 S. Rancho, Suite A6 Las Vegas, NV 89106


1701 N. Green Valley Pkwy. Building 8, Suite B Henderson, NV 89074 702.605.9133

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“It is incredibly fulfilling to witness the joy that having a child brings to people’s lives,” Severino says. “The most rewarding feeling is knowing that many couples probably would not have had children without our help.” As the newest addition to the team at Red Rock Fertility Center, Severino anticipates helping many more people have children through the center’s wide variety of services. These include opportunities for planning ahead. A rapidly growing trend in fertility services is oocyte cryopreservation, also known as egg freezing, which preserves a woman’s mature eggs following hormone stimulation. Preserving women’s fertility so they can achieve pregnancy at an older age provides an important option for women planning to wait until later in life to build a family. For couples who hope to achieve pregnancy immediately, there are a wide variety of therapies that can help, such as in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, egg donation, gestational carriers and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a process that directly injects an individual sperm into an egg to facilitate fertilization. “There are more options today for treating infertility issues than ever before, which inspires hope for so many families,” Severino says. “I look forward to helping many people build their families at Red Rock Fertility for years to come.”

red rock fertility

Locations Red Rock Fertility Center

Dr. Mark Severino

Dr. Mark Severino brings extensive expertise in his field to Red Rock Fertility Center, a leading fertility services center in Las Vegas. A board-certified endocrinologist, Severino offers more than 20 years of experience with helping couples across the U.S. address infertility issues, practicing in states such as Wisconsin, Oregon, New York and Nevada. Voted three consecutive years into the Guide to America’s Top Obstetricians and Gynecologists, produced by the Consumers Research Council of America, he has published numerous articles on fertility-related topics and stands as a respected leader in his field. Severino remains committed to advancing the success of fertility treatments so that many couples can enjoy raising children. His impressive career includes an appointment to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Las Vegas. In addition, he co-founded the Nevada Fertility Center for Advanced Reproductive Endocrinology and Surgery, where he incorporated cutting-edge fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization and assisted reproductive technologies to help couples build their families. Severino has found that modern fertility services can help many people facing a variety of medical issues produce children. m4 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

Las Vegas

6410 Medical Center Street, Suite A Las Vegas, NV 89148


870 Seven Hills Drive, suite 103 Henderson, NV 89052 702.749.4902

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Roseman University of Health Sciences When Roseman University of Health Sciences was founded in Henderson in 1999 as the Nevada College of Pharmacy, the institution aspired to create the best Doctor of Pharmacy program in the world. Today, Roseman is on the forefront of preparing tomorrow’s health care professionals thanks to its proven educational model and the strong dedication of its board of trustees, faculty and staff, students, alumni, partners, supporters and friends. During the past 15 years, Roseman has experienced remarkable growth that has seen expansions into the fast-growing and high-demand fields of nursing, pre- and post-doctoral dental medicine, health care business and medical research. The university’s commitment to Southern Nevada and the region as a transforming force in vital areas of health care education is steady, as it continues its planning to establish an allopathic medical school in Las Vegas. Much of the university’s success is due to how it’s different. Roseman created a highly effective pedagogical model that is unique to health professions education. The Roseman Educational Model

is immersive and incorporates mastery learning, problem-based and active learning, cooperative or team-based learning, and a block system model of curricular design specifically engineered to support attainment of learning outcomes and the highest level of achievement for all students. Roseman assesses students based on its mastery learning philosophy, rather than the traditional testing and letter grading system. Students are assessed regularly on their knowledge and skills, and must score 90 percent or higher on assessments of their programmatic knowledge and clinical skills. This model has been employed from the inception of the university and is utilized in all academic programs. Throughout the institution’s history, the Roseman Educational Model has been proven to produce competent, high-quality health care professionals. The best evidence of this success is graduate achievement on board licensure examinations; Roseman students and graduates achieve passing rates that are consistently better than national averages, with individual exam scores that are typically much higher than national averages.

Location Roseman University of Health Sciences 11 Sunset Way Henderson, NV 89014 702.990.4433

Additionally, in the past four years, Roseman has built a robust medical research program focusing on cancer; diabetes; Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, adult stem cell and regenerative medicine, and cardiovascular disease. Utilizing highly specialized instrumentation, the university’s researchers are committed to developing new therapies to treat these diseases. Roseman University has campuses in Henderson and Summerlin, as well as the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan, Utah. The university is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and each of its current academic programs is accredited by its respective accrediting body. M e d i c a l P R O F ILE s m5

S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

Hamidreza Sanatinia, MD As a board certified medical oncologist and hematologist at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN), Hamidreza Sanatinia, MD specializes in the treatment of various types of cancer and serious blood disorders. He also plays an active role in CCCN’s clinical research program and seeks to promote high-quality healthcare in Nevada by participating in numerous professional associations. Outside of work, Dr. Sanatinia is an advocate for spiritual and physical well-being. Dr. Sanatinia is a firm believer in treating patients as if they are a member of his own family. He is devoted to providing the most accurate and relevant information to his patients regarding their treatment options. To offer the best care possible, he welcomes any opportunity to further educate himself on the latest advances in the fields of medical oncology and hematology. His passion for making a difference in cancer care continues through his memberships and participation in various local and national professional associations. Dr. Sanatinia currently serves as president of the Nevada Oncology Society, where he leads the organization in pursuing its mission to provide educational programs, networking opportunities and advocacy efforts to fellow oncology professionals for the betterment of cancer care. He is a former board member of the Clark County Medical Society, as well as an active member of the Community Oncology Alliance, American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Society of Hematology. Dr. Sanatinia received his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Mass. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 1998, and his fellowship in hematology and oncology at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in 2001. Prior to joining CCCN in 2003, Dr. Sanatinia conducted research in molecular biology, leukemia and solid tumor cell lines. He also served as the Chief of Medical m6 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

Oncology and Cancer Committee Member at Southern Hills Hospital. Dr. Sanatinia currently gives oncology lectures to the community and was previously an adjunct clinical instructor for Touro University. In pursuit of spiritual and physical well-being, Dr. Sanatinia encourages a proper worklife balance. He is happily married to a physician and they have two children. He routinely practices yoga and loves to travel and learn from other cultures. Outside of the medical field, he is an avid nature photographer who enjoys capturing natural elements with aesthetic value. Dr. Sanatinia’s photography can be found at

LOCATION Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada Hamidreza Sanatinia, MD 9280 W. Sunset Road, Suite 100 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702.952.1251

S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

LOCATION MountainView Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery Associates 3150 N. Tenaya Way, SUite 140 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702.240.2963

Robotic Thoracic Surgery

MountainView Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery Associates MountainView Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery Associates is the premier surgical car­ diovascular and thoracic surgery program in Southern Nevada. We offer patients peace of mind with around-the-clock management. As a com­prehensive cardiovascular and thoracic surgery program, we provide medical options not found elsewhere in Southern Nevada. Medical Director Dr. Michael G. Wood, is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon focusing on adult cardiac surgery, valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, surgery of the thoracic aorta, minimally invasive cardiac surgery and off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery. Wood received fellowship training in cardiac and thoracic surgery at New York University. Dr. Arnold D. Chung is a cardiothoracic surgeon and is the only fellowship-trained and robotic-trained thoracic surgeon in Las Vegas. Chung’s fellowship training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center focused on minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of lung cancer.

As an affiliate of MountainView Hospital, MountainView Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery Associates works hand-in-hand with your entire care team – physicians, nurses, rehabilitation therapists, case managers and ancillary staff members – providing an unparalleled continuity of care focused on patients’ individual needs. It is our mission to integrate and streamline each patient’s care plan to provide the best patient experience and clinical outcomes.

Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery

MountainView Hospital specializes in minimally invasive techniques for the repair and replacement of aortic and mitral heart valves. The average recovery time after minimally invasive surgery is one to four weeks, while the average recovery time after traditional valve replacement is six to eight weeks. This means a quicker return to physical activities and an active lifestyle.

MountainView is the only hospital in Southern Nevada to offer robotic-assisted thoracic surgery. This minimally invasive option for lung cancer patients can result in less pain and scarring and a faster recovery.

Cardiovascular Surgery:

•Minimally invasive valve surgery: - Aortic valve via right anterior thoracotomy - Mitral valve via right lateral thoracotomy •Complex mitral valve repair (including leaflet resection and neo-cord use) •Coronary artery bypass surgery (off-pump or “beating heart”)

Thoracic Surgery:

•Robotically assisted/minimally invasive thoracic surgery including: - Lobectomy (VATS and robotically assisted) - Wedge resection of the lung

Vascular Surgery:

•Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair (open and endovascular approach) •Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) repair •Carotid endarterectomy surgery •Surgery for peripheral arterial disease •Dialysis access surgery (AV fistula creation/AV graft insertion) For a complete list of procedures and to learn more about MountainView Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery Associates, please visit: www. or call 702-240-2963. M e d i c a l P R O F ILE s m7

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LOCATIONS Desert Radiologists  7200 Cathedral Rock Drive, Suite 230 Las Vegas, NV 89128 3920 S. Eastern, Suite 100 Las Vegas, NV  89119 2811 W. Horizon Ridge Pkwy. Henderson, NV 89052 2020 Palomino Lane, Suite 100 Las Vegas, NV 89106 4880 S. Wynn Road Las Vegas, NV 89103 31 N. Nellis Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89110 

Desert Vascular Institute 3930 S. Eastern Avenue Las Vegas, NV 89119 702.759.8600

Desert Radiologists Early detection is vital for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases and conditions. Since it was founded in 1966, Desert Radiologists has been at the forefront of medical imaging in Southern Nevada. With more than 60 board-certified, subspecialty-trained radiologists, the experienced team is Nevada’s largest provider of leading-edge medical imaging and one of the country’s largest private diagnostic imaging practices. Most recently, Desert Radiologists became the only outpatient facility in Nevada to offer 3-D mammography, called breast tomosynthesis, for breast cancer screening. The latest in digital imaging technology, it produces an exceptionally sharp 3-D view of breast tissue that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures, one layer at a time, without the masking of overlapping tissue from a traditional two-dimensional mammogram. Breast cancer screening with tomosynthesis, when combined with conventional two-dimensional mammography has a 40 percent higher m8 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

cancer detection rate than conventional two-dimensional mammography alone and fewer false positives, which eliminates the need for additional follow-up studies and unnecessary stress and concern for the patient. Providing fast and accurate information is equally important, and Desert Radiologists excels in these areas. Comprehensive systems are in place to ensure the highest level of quality and service. In fact, the practice defines quality as “report turnaround, thoroughness and accurate report delivery to referring physicians and hospitals.” Measured in minutes – not hours – many reports are available in less than 15 minutes, with most available in less than an hour. In 2013, Desert Radiologists completed more than 1.4 million studies and procedures. Desert Radiologists’ philosophy of care also encompasses making its services accessible by operating five American College of Radiology-accredited full-service outpatient facilities throughout Las Vegas and Henderson. It recently opened a sixth office in northeast Las Vegas,

the only imaging center east of Interstate 15 and U.S. 95. The practice is the radiology provider for 11 Nevada hospitals and provides radiology services for a large cancer center, group of multispecialty medical centers and several other facilities throughout Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Desert Radiologists offers the most comprehensive procedures available, including angiography, computed tomography (CT), CT colonography, DEXA, diagnostic radiology (X-ray), interventional and cardiovascular radiology, MRI/3T MRI, 3-D/two-dimensional mammography, nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET/CT), stereotactic and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) and ultrasound. In addition, the practice offers a complete array of vascular services at its Desert Vascular Institute. For information or scheduling, call Desert Radiologists at 702-759-8600 or visit

S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

The Fertility Center of Las Vegas Bruce S. Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.O.G. The Fertility Center of Las Vegas founder, Dr. Bruce Shapiro, has dedicated more than two decades of scientific research to improving the safety and success rates of fertility treatments. Dr. Shapiro’s findings have reduced the incidence of side effects following ovarian stimulation, improved embryo implantation rates allowing the transfer of fewer embryos. This has resulted in better safety and success through good science, ultimately leading to some of the highest reported birth rates in the U.S. Dr. Shapiro presents his widely published research regionally, nationally and internationally, most recently as a featured presenter at the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology. Dr. Shapiro holds specialty board certification in obstetrics & gynecology and sub-specialty board certification in reproductive endocrinology & infertility. He established and heads the University of Nevada School of Medicine – Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, Holland. He completed his

fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Yale University after his residency at Yale New Haven Hospital. Said Daneshmand, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. Dr. Daneshmand holds specialty board certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology and sub-specialty board certification in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He completed his residency and fellowship training at UCLA Medical Center. His research at UCLA focused on the effect of female age on ovarian reserve. He assisted in the development of a blood test to determine the quality of eggs in the ovaries. His dedication to research would service him well in his future endeavors. After joining The Fertility Center of Las Vegas in 1999, Dr. Daneshmand was integral in establishing the city’s first egg freezing program. He’s collaborated with his partner, Dr. Bruce Shapiro, to develop IVF protocols to improve pregnancy rates, including PTEC (post thaw extended culture), one of the most successful IVF regimens currently available.

Their groundbreaking findings were published in Fertility and Sterility, hence their protocols adopted worldwide. Drs. Daneshmand and Shapiro’s voluminous research and publications have been presented at both national and international conferences. As a result of their breadth of research, The Fertility Center of Las Vegas was recognized in for its stellar pregnancy rates.

LOCATION The Fertility Center of Las Vegas 8851 W. Sahara, SUite 100 Las Vegas, NV 89117 702.254.1777 phone 702.254.1213 fax

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The University of Nevada School of Medicine The University of Nevada School of Medicine has served Nevada for more than 45 years through its mission of improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans by educating more physicians for Nevada, creating world-class research, promoting healthy community partnerships and offering an array of patient care services.  School of Medicine services are provided by board certified faculty physicians who demonstrate the highest of patient care standards. The school’s patient care centers feature a remarkable variety of primary and specialty care services throughout the Las Vegas Valley. It’s easier than ever to receive personalized primary care along with direct access to its specialists, promoting peace of mind and improving your family’s health. Family medicine  provides comprehensive primary health care for infants to older adults, offering wellness services; treatment of acute and chronic conditions, including hypertension, diabetes and more; obstetrics; geriatrics; and musculoskeletal and sports medicine. Call or visit the centers at 2410 Fire Mesa St., Suite 180 in Las Vegas, 702-992-6888, or in Henderson at 3175 St. Rose Parkway, 702-676-3620. The school’s surgery offices, home to some of the most highly qualified surgeons in Nevada, offer general surgery; hand surgery and hand m10 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

therapy; plastic and reconstructive surgery; bariatric, reflux, colon and rectal surgery; orthopaedic surgery; trauma and critical care surgery; otolaryngology surgery; head and neck surgery; breast surgery; and oncological surgery. Visit our website at for all of our surgery office locations and phone numbers. Pediatric care for infants, children and adolescents also is available at two convenient locations: 3006 S. Maryland Parkway, 702-9926868, and in Henderson at 3175 St. Rose Parkway, 702-676-3660. Referrals are made easily available to some of the area’s finest specialists: pediatric and adult allergy and immunology, pediatric pulmonology, pediatric neurology, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric infectious diseases and behavioral pediatrics.  Women’s health services include a full complement of obstetrics, maternal and fetal medicine, gynecological and urogynecological services that are available at 1707 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, 702-671-5140, and in Henderson at 3175 St. Rose Parkway, 702-676-3640. School of Medicine doctors are among the first in the nation to receive board certification in the advanced specialties of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.

Dedicated to meeting the demand for physicians located close to home and throughout Nevada, the University of Nevada School of Medicine is pleased to make high-quality patient care available, while working to educate the next generation of physicians for Nevada.

LOCATIONs University of Nevada School of Medicine multiple locations patient-care

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Palm Medical Group Palm Medical Group has been serving Las Vegas since 2008 by meeting the community’s need for board-certified endocrinology. After a successful start in the southwest region of Las Vegas, Palm Medical Group is expanding to the northwest, and is happy to announce the addition of its newest office near Mountain View Hospital. Palm Medical Group providers specialize in diabetes, thyroid and all other endocrine conditions. The providers are at the forefront of their specialized profession, with knowledge and experience gained through cutting-edge therapies in clinical research. In collaboration with Palm Research Center, the physicians at Palm Medical Group work on a variety of clinical trials in various areas, including diabetes, cardiovascular, testosterone deficiency, osteoporosis and cholesterol. Dr. Samer Nakhle is the medical director of Palm Medical Group. Nakhle completed his medical residency at St. Barnabas Hospital and completed his fellowship training at Nebraska Medical Center. He is board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Nakhle has been elected a Fellow of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and

has earned the prestigious ECNU certification. He runs a full-time clinical practice, conducting in-office thyroid biopsies and ultrasounds, amongst an active program of clinical research. Dr. Betsy Palal completed her medical residency at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County and completed her fellowship training at Rush University Medical Center. She is board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Dr. Serena Klugh graduated from Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her endocrinology fellowship at Baystate Medical Center. She is board-certified in internal medicine, board eligible in endocrinology and a Certified Diabetes Technology Clinician. Dr. Bijan Ahrari completed his residency in internal medicine from Wright State University and his endocrinology fellowship at University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He is board-certified in internal medicine and board eligible in endocrinology. Rachel Bowers received her Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Midwestern University, College of Health Sciences in Illinois. She has experience in emergency medicine,

Locations Palm Medical Group Southwest Office

9280 W. Sunset Road, Suite 306 Las Vegas, NV 89148

Northwest Office

3150 N. Tenaya Way, Suite 415 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702.696.7256

neurosurgery, primary care and endocrinology. Elizabeth Hingley is a certified nurse practitioner that completed her training at Georgetown University and worked previously with the Inova Diabetes Center and Alexandria Endocrine Associates in Virginia. She has years of experience in the area of adolescent and adult diabetes, gestational diabetes, insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring. M e d i c a l P R O F ILE s m11

S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

Clinical Pathology Laboratories For the past couple of decades, Las Vegas medical professionals and patients had limited choices for their laboratory testing. Recently, a new local medically directed laboratory services organization arrived, providing a better option for quality testing, low pricing and exceptional service. Clinical Pathology Laboratories (CPL) opened its local laboratory on Spencer Street almost six years ago and quickly has grown to become an integral part of the medical community. In January, CPL began a five-year agreement with the Culinary Health Fund to be the exclusive laboratory provider for its membership and it recently has become the preferred laboratory provider for the Nevada State CoOp. While the large national laboratories are focused on reducing their costs by consolidatm12 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

ing jobs and services into other states, CPL is investing in its local presence by providing more than 70 new jobs to the Las Vegas economy during the past six months. By September, CPL will have 16 convenient locations, providing fast and friendly service to patients on a walk-in or appointment basis. Based on a foundation of quality, medically directed service and strong dedication to being a support system to providers and their patients, CPL has been able to show the large national laboratories that what is local for Las Vegas is best for Las Vegas. CPL services the community by living up to its core values expressed in its mission statement, “Quality is in our DNA.� Las Vegas now has a local laboratory provider that understands the needs of the medical community and will remain its partner in growth.

LOCATION Clinical Pathology Laboratories 6830 Spencer Street Suite 102 Las Vegas, NV 89119 702.795.4900

S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

Visiting Angels Visiting Angels is a nationally respected nonmedical senior home care provider. Its goal is to aid seniors in continuing to live in their homes. Visiting Angels promotes seniors’ independence by helping them with such activities as bathing, dressing, light housekeeping, transportation and meal preparation. Visiting Angels is family-owned and operated by Michael and Jackie DiAsio. They have more than 270 employees and assist about 600 seniors every day. Opening in 2000, the provider now has employees (caregivers) located throughout Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas. They perform more than 200,000 caregiving hours every year. Properly licensed and bonded, a Visiting Angels typical caregiver has been with the agency for about four years. It accepts long term care insurance and private pay. Visiting Angels is also a Medicaid and Veteran’s Administration provider. Clients determine their assistance schedule based on needs and budget. Visiting Angels can provide care up to 24 hours a day.

LOCATIONS Visiting Angels Las Vegas

9436 W. Lake Mead Blvd., Suite 11-F Las Vegas, NV 89134 702.562.3322


1701 N. Green Valley Pkwy. Henderson, NV 89074 702.407.1100

Desert Institute of Spine Care Andrew Cash, MD Dr. Andrew Cash is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship-trained spine surgeon at the Desert Institute of Spine Care. Recently he expanded his practice, adding a specialty care center, Desert Institute of Specialty Care, and surgery center, the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute. Cash offers the oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF) procedure, which is considered the newest generation of minimally invasive surgery for spinal fusion patients, in the Las Vegas Valley. He is the only surgeon in Nevada currently performing the OLIF procedure.  His approach is to individualize each patient’s treatment according to their needs and manage their pain with nonoperative techniques. Approximately 95 percent of patients respond favorably to nonsurgical treatments. Cash trained under renowned surgeon, Dr. Robert Watkins, who has performed surgery on numerous athletes, including Peyton Manning and Dwight Howard. Cash’s focuses include sciatica, arm and leg pain, disc bulges and spine arthritis.

Nicole Dalessandro, DPM A seasoned podiatrist at Desert Institute of Specialty Care, Dr. Nicole Dalessandro developed a passion for health care when a close member of her family was left with a lifelong foot condition that could have been treated as a child. Recent promising advancements in medicine motivated her to enter the podiatry field to treat conditions in ways that were not available in the past.Dalessandro’s areas of expertise include diabetes, wound care, sports medicine, foot and ankle care, forefoot and rearfoot surgery and biomechanics.

Location Desert Institute of Spine Care Desert Institute of Specialty Care Minimally Invasive Spine Institute 9339 W. Sunset Road, SUIte 100, Las Vegas, NV 89148 702.630.DISC (3472);

M e d i c a l P R O F ILE s m13


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e k ta

08 14

your Arts+Entertainment calendar for AUGUST

1 13

Jo Russ Sin City Gallery

17 David G. Schwartz Clark County Library So you bop into Quickee Mart for a Diet Coke, cat food and the Sunday Times; 45 minutes later you’re still there, vainly cajoling a few bucks from a video-poker machine. Ever wonder how those damn things got entrenched in our stores, bars and restaurants? Schwartz, director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, tells you in this discussion, "Welcome to the Neighborhood." Free, 702-507-3458

You don’t have to be Holly from Miami FLA to get all het up by the premise of Jo Russ’s exhibit Walk on the Wild Side: Her exotic, edgy, sexy collages meet the “themes of fantasy, seduction, illusion and transformation” found in Lou Reed’s landmark 1972 album Transformer. And the Take 5 writer goes, “Doo do doo do doo do do doo ...” Through Aug. 24, Sin City Gallery,

2 The Hold Steady The Joint Erudite and narrative, “lyrically dense” according to the music critics at Wikipedia, and often dealing with knotty topics — religion, addiction — the songs of The Hold Steady are aural stories, with a rock soundtrack. $20-$25,

Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England

23 Magical Dances of Peru

Art Square Theater

West Las Vegas Library If we learned anything from the World Cup it’s that this globe of ours is large and varied — full of toothy Uruguayans, flopping Dutch, laser-guided Germans and Leo Messi. But of Peruvians, we learned nothing; team didn’t qualify. Now you can fill that gap in your worldliness with this performance of Peruvian folkloric dance, presented by Fundacion Cultural Peruana. $15, 702-683-9520

Madeline George’s comedy — “about jealousy … and death and rebirth and … transformations” — is set amid the closing of a “weird, inappropriate natural history museum” in a college town. Relationships! Laughter! Fossilized bones! Sounds like much ado about something. $25,

August 2014




Through Aug. 1 Mon-Fri 9a-4p; Sat 10a-2p. A solo exhibit of digitally manipulated photographs, video and animation by Kate Shannon, the Ohio State University Mansfield Assistant Professor of Art. Free. CSN Fine Arts Gallery,


Through Aug. 1 artist reception July 10, 6-8p.A group exhibition by the fine arts students of CSN, featuring new works that make use of a variety of printmaking techniques. Free. CSN Artspace Gallery,


Through Aug. 5 Beyond the breaking news, away from the glare of television cameras, daily life continues in Egypt much as it has for eons – carefully, cautiously, steadily. In this

photography exhibit, Thomas attempts to depict the duality of contemporary Egypt, a nation caught between stability and change, tradition and modernity, history and progress. Free. West Las Vegas Library Art Gallery,


Through Aug. 16 Mon-Thu 10a-4p and by appointment. In this, her third solo exhibit, artist Yasmina Chavez explores the idea of senselessness and acceptance. The work was inspired by Patricia Oakley, the first person to commit suicide by jumping off the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. Part ceramic and part video, the exhibit is about a middle where everything is gray, time works in circles and answers are nonexistent. Free. TastySpace, 520 Fremont St. #150,


Through Aug. 23 Artists in this invitational exhibit will select one or more elements and principles of art, the tools or building blocks the artist sometimes intuitively employs to make a unified piece of artwork. The artists will be asked to make a piece of artwork that explores and

BMW Motorrad USA

Motorcycles since 1923


defines the particular element and principle chosen. Free. Mayor’s Gallery at the Fifth Street School. Call for appointment, 702-229-3515


Through Sep. 6 Wed-Fri 12:30-9p; Sat 10a-6p. Fulmer studied sculpture, art theory and graphic design, receiving his Master’s in Fine Arts from UNLV in 2000. He has taught at UNLV, Wabash College, Herron School of Art and most recently at CSN. Free. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,


Through Sep. 11 Southern Nevada residents age 50 or better entered their original works in this juried event. The Winners Circle exhibit features the award-winning pieces in six media categories along with one Best of Show award. City Hall Chamber Gallery,


Through Sep. 17 Artist Yaffa Cary’s work is inspired by “Shiva Lingam,” a sacred icon of the divine manifestation. This collection of work represents a journey of developing ideas and an exploration of feelings about the duality of masculine and feminine. City Hall Grand Gallery,


Through Oct. 5 East and west collide gloriously as Japanese artist Sush Machida Gaikotsu blends traditions to fashion his own brand of stylized art, which is revered in fine art circles and commercial endeavors such as Burton Snowboards. Free with paid general admission. Springs Preserve


Through Oct. 11 Tue-Fri 12-5p; Sat 10a-3p. The exhibition will feature African statues, masks, musical instruments, baskets, cloth and various other artifacts. Also featuring paintings by internationally known artist, Calvin B. Jones. Free. Left of Center Art Gallery, 2207 W. Gowan Road,


Aug. 1 and Sep. 5 5-11p. Celebrate 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., with an extension on 3rd St. and Colorado, plus music in the Get Back Alley in the Fremont East district,

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

6675 South Tenaya Way •

108 A u g u s t 2 0 1 4


Channel 10


Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 6:30-8:45p. From the first chord to the final bow or curtsey, participants will be inspired by the driving reels, jigs, strathspeys or lilting airs. Dancers should wear comfortable clothes and soft shoes. Ages 13+. $5. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,

Ethnic Express International Folk Dancing

Aug. 6, 13, 20 and 27 6:30-8:45p. Have an evening of fun learning international dance styles, including Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Greek, Israeli, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian and Turkish folk dances. No need to bring a partner. Ages 8+. $4. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,

Great Performances:

Dudamel Conducts the Verdi Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl Friday, August 1 at 9 p.m.

The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute Saturday, August 9 at 8:30 p.m.


Aug. 23 7-10:30p. Presented by USA Dance Las Vegas Chapter #4038, a local chapter of the national nonprofit volunteer organization, dedicated to the promotion of ballroom dancing. $10 adults; $5 military/students ages 13-25. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,

Return to Downton Abbey Sunday, August 10 at 8 p.m.



Aug. 1-3 Fri-Sat 8:30p; Sun 2p. The acclaimed singer named Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year three times, Singer of the Year four times and awarded the Sammy Davis Jr. Foundation award, performs a spellbinding evening of music that’s both live and alive. $36-$46. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center


Aug. 2 7:30p.When acclaimed saxophonists Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot hit the road together last summer in support of their CD, “Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns,” they looked at it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But the four artists had such a blast that they are happily obliging requests for a return of the Summer Horns. $29-$99. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center


Aug. 6 10:30p. Jersey Boys conductor Keith Thompson hosts this monthly musical showcase that features original music from some of Las Vegas’ best composers and songwriters, performed by some of the best performers

Red Rock Serenade Wednesday, August 13 at 8 p.m.

Hubert Keller: Secrets of a Chef Season Premiere Saturday, August 23 at 2:30 p.m.

Masterpiece Mystery!

Breathless Series Premiere Sunday, August 24 at 9 p.m.

Visit to see the complete schedule today. 3050 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121

702.799.1010 August 2014


THE GUIDE and musicians from the Vegas entertainment and theatrical communities. The informal showcase is always diverse, eclectic and extremely entertaining and features a very high caliber of musicianship and artistry. $20. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center


Aug. 9 7p. One of the longest-running Sinatra tributes on the Las Vegas Strip features more than 30 of Sinatra’s biggest hits. Cast members create unique characters who draw on experiences from their own lives. Between songs and poignant stories there is plenty of zany humor and good-natured ribbing evocative of the vintage, off-the-cuff atmosphere associated with Ol’ Blue Eyes. $15 residents, $17 non-residents. Starbright Theatre,



Aug 15 9p. “Smoke On The Water,” anyone? The legendary hard-rock band makes a rare appearance in support of their new album, “NOW WHAT?!” (Their 19th, in case you’re keeping count.) Expect an evening of classic hits spanning their entire career. Free. The Third Street Stage at the Fremont Street Experience


Aug. 19 10p. Pop Evolution, a twenty-piece band, transforms popular songs from all genres to produce a one-of-a-kind sound experience. $15-$30. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center


Aug. 23 7p. Includes the all-time greatest collection of top hit songs performed by a talented cast of four amazing singers. The show covers songs made famous by Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Tim McGraw, Patsy Cline, Shania Twain, Glen Campbell and Rascal Flatts. Headlining country comedian Milo Tremley, better known as Professor Milo, puts the rip-roaring into this good time. $15 residents, $20 non-residents. Starbright Theatre,




Through Aug. 3 Thu-Sat 8p; Sun 2p. Welcome to the infamous Kit Kat Klub, where emcee Sally Bowles and a raucous ensemble take the stage nightly to tantalize the crowd and leave their troubles outside. But as life in pre-WWII Germany grows more and more uncertain, will the decadent allure of Berlin nightlife be enough to get them through their dangerous times? $24, $19 seniors/military/students. Onyx Theatre,


A ugust 2 0 1 4


Aug. 4, 8, 11, 18 and 25 8p. The Las Vegas comedy show featuring both short- and long-form improv from some of the valley’s most experienced improv actors. Wine and concessions available. Come at 6p for drop-in class with Paul Mattingly. $10 show, $15 for both drop-in and show. Baobab Stage Theatre, 6587 Las Vegas Blvd. S.,



Aug. 7 6p. Join us for a lecture on the Carnevale Bianco, held in August in the mountain village of Cegni, located in the Quattro province area of Italy. Free. Sahara West Library,



Aug. 8-23 Thu-Sat 8p; Sun 2p. Poor Richard’s Players present this award-winning drama. It is an examination of interpersonal relationships, the need to meet cultural expectations, and the unwavering strength of love and family. $25. Onyx Theatre,


Aug. 12-17 Tue-Sun 7:30p; Sat-Sun 2p. Relive the iconic and magical moments from the movie in a brand new Broadway musical that takes you on a thrilling adventure into the afterlife. You will be amazed to see inanimate objects take on a life of their own, a person walk through a solid door right before your eyes and other special effects. $28-$119. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center


Aug. 12 and 26 8p. Long-form improv in an intimate setting, so close to the Strip you can taste it! Come early to participate in improv games and to get a good seat. $10 at the door. The SciFi Center, 600 E. Sahara Ave. #13,


Aug. 22-23 Fri-Sun 7p; Sat-Sun 2p. It’s summer and Sister is NOT happy. It seems the diocese has decided to offer a summer school catechism course for those students who weren’t paying attention all year. Instead of three relaxing weeks at the motherhouse, Sister is stuck with her students this summer! $35-40. Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center


Aug. 23 7p. From musical improv to crazy games, you will enjoy being part of the action as you help create what goes on the stage. Clean-burning, interactive fun that is safe for the whole family. $10 at the door, kids free. American Heritage Academy, 6126 S. Sandhill Road,

Aug. 9 7p. One of the most inspiring movies of our time is now a one-man show starring Rudy Ruettiger. The man himself will entertain and inspire you as he shares his life story of how he accomplished his dream of going to Notre Dame and how he convinced Hollywood to make a movie of his life, which earned him an invitation to the White House. $34-$39. Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center


Aug. 17 2p. In July, author David G. Schwartz spoke about gaming development on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown. In Part 2, Schwartz will talk about how gaming came about in metropolitan properties and unconventional establishments such as supermarkets, bars and other neighborhood locations, and the challenges for those businesses to survive and thrive in the gaming industry. Free. Main Theater at Clark County Library,



Through Sep. 1 10a-6p. Eighteen holes of serious indoor fun. Explore a tropical rainforest, navigate a polluted waterway and learn how to make a wildlife refuge in your own backyard, all while playing a game of indoor miniature golf. Free with paid general admission. Springs Preserve


Through Sep. 1 11a and 1p. The real animals in Vegas come out at night. Some are freaky, some are sneaky, and some are downright creepy. You’ll uncover the Mojave Desert’s nocturnal animals including geckoes, centipedes, nightsnakes and more “hidden nightlife” that creeps out while you sleep. Free with paid general admission. Big Springs Theater at the Springs Preserve


Aug. 1-10 Fri-Sat 7p; Sun 2p. A special showing of the classic movie musical starring Julie

Andrews, with subtitles during the musical numbers so everyone can sing along. Includes a fancy dress competition, so dress up if you would like. Fun for the whole family. $25. Las Vegas Little Theatre,

turing former dancers from Nevada Ballet Theatre, Phantom the Las Vegas Spectacular and other local shows. Proceeds to benefit Family Promise of Las Vegas and the Nevada Conservatory Theatre. $12. Judy Bayley Theatre at UNLV, pac.unlv.



Sep. 25-28 Fri-Sat 3-11p; Sun 12-10p. Be Greek for a day and enjoy all the sights, smells, sounds and flavors of Santorini and the fun of Mykonos. Raffle prizes, Torch Run, booths, food, and more! Free shuttle available. $6 adults, children and active military free. St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 5300 El Camino Road,


Sep. 4 All day. To kick off Hunger Action Month,

Three Square Food Bank, in partnership with Feeding America, encourages Southern Nevadans to wear orange and update social media pages with orange backgrounds and profile photos, while businesses can get involved by promoting orange products (cocktails, food items, fashion). Last year, several hotel-casinos along the Las Vegas Strip and throughout the valley changed their marquees to orange as part of the effort. FUNDRAISERS


Aug. 21 5-7:30p. A philanthropic social event to mingle; enjoy mixologist Juyoung Kang’s tasty libations and live music by Spadoni. Proceeds from the signature cocktail will benefit March of Dimes Nevada Chapter, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies. BLVD. Cocktail Company at The LINQ, reservations at 702-322-0579

NOW – OCT 16

NOW – OCT 17 KARI YANCY as Dorothy, MARK REIS as Scarecrow, TODD NIELSEN as Tinman & TREVOR DION NICHOLAS as Cowardly Lion



Aug. 9 5:30p. Thirty-five people will be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. The reception will include appetizers, cocktails and a silent auction. The theme is “Cowboy Poetry” in honor of D. Ray Gardner, recipient of the NBA Pinnacle Award. All money raised through the auctions will go to the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcast/Communications Scholarship fund. $125. The Acacia Ballroom at the Four Seasons Hotel, 702-794-4994

AFAN’S 28th ANNUAL BLACK & WHITE PARTY Aug. 23 9p-1a. The gala everyone talks about all year is sure to be an unforgettable night of delicious food, top-shelf spirits and spectacular entertainment! Monies raised go to help adults and children of Southern Nevada who are living with AIDS. Black and white attire required for admission. Guests must be 21+. $40 general admission, $125 VIP with early entry at 8p. The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino,


Aug. 24 2p. An afternoon of classical ballet fea-

TUACAHN.ORG | (866) 321-4953 August 2014


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august 2014

I l lu st r at i o n S cot t D i c k e n s h e e t s

SAVE THE DATE VMSN Honoring Rod A. Davis

Senior Vice President of Operations Nevada

Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican

Hosted by: Dr. Florence Jameson

We need your help to continue to bring vital health care to Southern Nevada.

Saturday, November 8, 2014 6 P.M. - 10:30 P.M.

Contact us today to make your early reservation! Esther Green (702) 912-0020

Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada (VMSN) is a nonprofit organization providing quality health care and support for people without access to health care in Southern Nevada within a culture of caring.

Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada 4770 Harrison Drive, Suite 200 Las Vegas, NV 89121 (702) 967-0530

VMSN thanks Wells Fargo for their generous support and continued commitment to the community.

Desert Companion - August 2014