Desert Companion - July 2015

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Summer Reading

fiction by Vu

Tran, Aurora Brackett, David Armstrong and more

07 JULY

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s u o i c i l a e d •

ANNU H T X I S

E M It’s alive!

The green building that practically breathes

uch So m

AL •

S L A

Red alert

She holds the secret to amazing tomatoes

! od fo h uc So m or ! v a flSuch good ! es c i r p

‘Mom, I’m a boy’

The trials of growing up transgender


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EDiTOR’S Note

Truth in fiction

F

or a city with so many stories, characters, contrasts and conflicts — not to mention this whole ultralounge-on-Mars setting we’ve got going on — Vegas sometimes seems like a living novel. We’ve got gaming titans with outsize fortunes and personalities doing battle on the Strip, hard-working families seeking fresh starts, and countless eccentrics and longtimers with fascinating backstories that trail for generations. Throbbing luxury, routinized debauch, holy deserts, clock-punch lives. No wonder it’s an irresistible draw for fiction writers who seek to mine the city for meaning and material. Must be nice to find a place where the everyday truth is so strange and resounding you don’t have to make too much stuff up. The stories in our Summer Reading Issue (p. 68) are sure to ring with the sense of the true in the way that only fiction can. The phrase “summer reading” usually conjures the promise of juicy poolside page-turners and breezy, beach-ready paperback bricks, but the stories we feature in our inaugural issue offer more than escapist fare — they offer deeply observed insights about life in the Las Vegas Valley. If fiction gets at its truth by considering the human condition, it generates its realism from specificity, and these two mandates intersect in the distinctly Las Vegas stories in the pages ahead. Aurora Brackett’s “Dorothy and the Scarecrow” is a quietly intense story of a child’s experience of grief, and how place — in this case, Sunset Park — can be a locus of loss as much as a loved one’s voice or touch. David Armstrong’s “Coyotes Next of the Apocalypse” is an unflinching MOnth A feelgood hit: look at the peculiar cruelties of the Our health and teenage years, but with a twist. And medicine issue last but not least is an excerpt from Vu Tran’s upcoming novel Dragonfish,

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set in the Vietnamese underworld of Las Vegas. In Tran’s novel, Robert, an Oakland cop, comes to town to search for his ex-wife Suzy, who’s disappeared after marrying a violent Vegas smuggler and gambler. Part noir, part psychological thriller and part literary meditation on the refugee experience, Dragonfish may ultimately rank up there with some of the canonical Las Vegas novels (or at least my favorites) such as Leaving Las Vegas and Vegas: Memoir of a Dark Season. If your attention span needs to do some stretching beforehand, we’ve got three exceedingly clever flash fictions from Mercedes Yardley, Brian Rouff and Kris Saknussemm to start you off. After that, time to eat! For our sixth annual DEALicious Meals (p. 57), once again we spanned the valley with forks and knives, finding some of the best meal deals around. From fine dining finds to best-kept suburban secrets, we’ve got more than 50 must-eat dishes for you to try — and if you’re on the run, be sure to check out our series on fun and unusual drive-thrus serving quality grub on the go — pad thai, baguettes, fried turkey slabs, you name it. Whether you’re a bookworm or big foodie, there’s plenty of Andrew Kiraly sustenance ahead. editor

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4 color process

速 The will to do wonders速

速 The will to do wonders速

A DECADE-LONG SPECIAL

PARTNERSHIP This May, Caesars Foundation achieved another milestone with a longtime partner by donating our 55th vehicle to a local Meals On Wheels America affiliate, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. To date, the Foundation has provided over $5 million in operational support to Meals On Wheels America, and has underwritten important research on senior hunger. This relationship, which spans a decade, has provided meal-delivery vehicles in 18 states across the country to Meals On Wheels America affiliates serving food-insecure older individuals. facebook.com/CaesarsFoundation

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July 2015

letters@desertcompanion.com

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Ugh, July heat, amiright?! Perhaps the only thing preventing us from lapsing into our annual Independence Day sweatcoma is the cool praise of our readers. “Really enjoyed your piece this month,” a reader named Megan wrote to staff writer Heidi Kyser, singling out her June story “Earth change,” about the shifts in leadership among Nevada conservation groups, and how it played out in the 2015 Legislature. (Answer: It’s complicated. Read the piece.) “Spot-on in assessment of where the movement is at,” she judged. Marta Stoepker, of the Sierra Club, added, “fantastic. Wonderful read for sure.” Also effusive: Annoula Wylderich, regarding the June Endnote, a parody roundup of legislative “highlights” by Andrew Kiraly and Scott Dickensheets. “A priceless satire by you and Scott, Andrew! Thanks to you both for this piece. This last legislative session was enough to make us want to cry, so we could all use some comic relief for a change. Keep up the good work!” We will, we will, as long as the state’s politicians keep making it easy — and we don’t spontaneously combust in the heat.

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The June issue also contained the highlights of our third annual Focus on Nevada photo competition, and you know what that means — party! We did it up right, with a big to-do at the Historic Fifth Street School, where select images from the show were on display. Hundreds of you joined us, and some later gushed about it on social media: “We had such a great time at the event.” (Wendy Goldstein Gelbart) “I was glad I was able to experience these photos in person.” (Shannon Young) “And congrats to Miguel Villegas of Klai Juba Wald (cover photo of this month’s Desert Companion)! YOU be famous now, Miguel!” (John Reynolds Klai II) 68

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LOST AND FOUND IN LAS VEGAS

BIAR ATEM

Assistant manager of in-suite dining, Venetian/Palazzo

WE JUST HAD TO ASK

SOME WERE REACHING FOR THE BRASS RING. OTHERS WERE RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES. WHATEVER REASON THEY CAME HERE, THESE LAS VEGANS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE HAVE FASCINATING ORIGIN STORIES

photography

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

I

t’s said that Las Vegas is a city of second chances. Biar Atem, a food and beverage manager at the Venetian/Palazzo, is dramatic proof of that adage. At age 7, he fled his rural home in South Sudan as fighter jets bombed the nearby village. The long-brewing civil war between the Arabic north and African south had come to his family’s doorstep: If you didn’t leave the country as a young man, chances are you’re going to be a child soldier or be killed by the Arabs. They don’t care about the age. If you’re taller than an AK-47, chances are you’re going to get adapted to become a child soldier. (The refugee caravan was) people from different villages, it just kept getting larger and larger, it was at least a

group of a thousand or more. You would walk all day, and at night catch up on your sleep. You’re just worried about keeping up with the group, not knowing where you’re going, getting scared and then thinking about your family being left behind. We would eat whatever we could find, mostly antelope, fish and then wild fruits. I remember some villages where we would have to sell our clothes to get food from them. What you normally do at night, people take turns and act as a security guard in case something is coming. Because hyenas or lions would come and grab young kids and run away with them. Barefoot, he made the nearly month-long journey to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. After three years there, the Sudanese refugees were ejected by the Ethiopian government. They left for Kenya, where Atem spent another nine years living in Kakuma refugee camp, a U.N.-supported site with schools and a steady food supply. With the assistance of Catholic Charities, he eventually qualified for refugee status. On the relocation roster, one day he saw the name of a strange city next to his name. When I saw my name, I was like wow. ...

You had 48 hours to get ready, but you were ready to go anytime, because we didn’t have anything to bring with us. It was my first time on a plane, actually. We left the camp to Nairobi, then to Brussels, to New York to St. Louis. We arrived in Las Vegas around 10:30. It was crazy getting to see the light of Las Vegas for the first time. The only reliable light we had in the camp was just the daylight and the moonlight, so you had to get your homework done during the day. He arrived in April 2001 at age 21. His first job was as a janitor at the Venetian, where his 6-foot, 7-inch stature made him the guy who’d dust the chandeliers. He climbed the ladder fast, ultimately earning an MBA. Today he’s the assistant manager of in-suite dining at the Venetian/Palazzo. He’s also raising an infant son with his wife and has launched the nonprofit South Sudan Center of America to help other Lost Boys displaced by the war. I’m almost at a point where it felt like a dream. Am I really living this kind of life compared to what I used to go through at camp? When I came to Las Vegas, I had a sweatshirt and pants. Now I have a house, the degrees, the job with a Fortune 500 company, the family. Life can change so fast. I appreciate all the opportunities given to me. Being here, I feel like I have too much in this country and I feel the need to give back. — Andrew Kiraly

DISCOVERING THE ART OF FREEDOM

ALI FATHOLLAHI & NANDA SHARIFPOUR Artists

“T

hey want to censor everything over there,” Nanda Sharifpour says of her native country, Iran. For an artist — and the daughter of a prominent philosophy professor — Iran’s climate of theocratic control and government suspicion made it inevitable that she and her husband, Ali Fathollahi, also an artist, would join the exodus out:

JUNE 2015

JUNE 2015

DESERTCOMPANION.COM

Elsewhere in the June issue, Desert Companion dropped a little hard truth about the future of high-tech employment in Nevada. As writer Hugh Jackson noted in “About those jobs of tomorrow,” many of them will resemble the service-industry and construction jobs of today. On the website, commenter “dwaynechestnut” chimed in with his own thoughtful take: “A few years ago, I campaigned unsuccessfully for Regent of the Nevada university system. I spent some time digging into the nuts and bolts of the Nevada economy, and pondered the whys and wherefores of a few of the states that have, or did have, great universities (Califor-

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nia, Michigan, and Texas come to mind). One thing we don’t have in Nevada is an economic sector that needs highly educated people — there must be a critical mass of the number of immediate jobs available to sustain higher education and create exponential growth for at least a few decades. California had mining (much of the actual mining was in Nevada), which formed the nucleus of UC Berkeley, Michigan had the automobile industry and Texas had oil and petrochemicals. Nevada did not have, and still doesn’t have, a significant industry or other economic sector that really needs highly educated people. This seems to be a classic chicken-andegg problem.” Alas, as Jackson concluded, a lot of those chickens and eggs will be served by holders of the jobs of tomorrow.

DESERTCOMPANION.COM

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One final rearward glance at last month’s issue, this time at our “Just had to ask” package, in which we queried a number of Las Vegans about how they got here. Las Vegas Sun editorial cartoonist Mike Smith told a rollicking tale that involved spending a day with late Mike O’Callaghan, former governor and executive editor of the Sun. On Facebook, O’Callaghan’s son, Tim, provided further eyewitness testimony of that day: “I remember dropping by my parents’ house after work, where my dad introduced me to a skinny guy with the huge mustache that was fuller than the hair on his head. He was kicked back in the recliner with a giant steak, potato and salad with my mom’s famous buttermilk ranch dressing, on a TV tray. I have liked you from that day forward.” Now that’s cool.


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Features 56 Dealicious Meals

From fine dining finds to best-kept suburban secrets to delish downtown spots, we’ve got more than 50 musteat dishes for you to try in our sixth annual delicio-pendium flavor wiki.

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68 Summer Reading To kick off what’s hopefully a long, lazy, a/c-cooled summer of couch-bound page-turning, here’s a suite of Vegas stories, from taut, tense noir to poignant meditations on grief and loss. Also, Twitter, the end of the world, and a GPS guidance system that can’t mind its own business.

C r i s py c a l a m a r i a n d b aco n c rac k l e : c h r i sto p h e r s m i t h

July 2015


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Vo lU m e 1 3 I s s u e 07

36 40 54

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departments All Things

36 Community

49 Dining

83 The Guide

21 art When public art

The challenges of raising a trans child By Kimberley McGee

50 The Dish Eat with

Zizek would surely approve of so many events!

40 Profile

54 at first bite apas By Alex Stratta T

is art by bureaucracy 24 design A big mountain welcom 26 zeit bites Ready?

Aim. Art! 28 Profile Bruce

Isaacson 30 STYLE For your

poolside pout 32 STreetwise East

Fremont East 34 Open topic ids should get lost. K

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The Tomato Lady Leslie Doyle is ripeness royalty By Molly O’Donnell 44 environment If this building were any more alive, it’d be in a horror movie By Heidi Kyser

your feet. Well, sort of — on a foodie tour!

proves big flavor can come on small plates

90 End note His name is Stavros. He drives the night. By Andrew Kiraly

53 Eat this now

When is a pizza not a pizza? When it’s a flatbread.

on the cover Margherita $5 mini-pie at Settebello PHotography By Christopher Smith

m t. c h a r l e s t o n g at e way : b r e n t h o l m e s ; j a n e h e e n a n : b i l l h u g h e s ; t o m at o e s : a a r o n m ay e s ; ta pa s b y a l e x s t r at ta : e l i z a b e t h b u e h r i n g

July 2015


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Welcome Home.

p u b l i s h e D B y n e va d a p u b l i c r a d i o

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.

Publisher  Melanie Cannon Associate Publisher  Christine Kiely Editor  Andrew Kiraly Art Director  Christopher Smith deputy editor  Scott Dickensheets senior designer  Scott Lien staff writer  Heidi Kyser Graphic Designer  Brent Holmes Account executives  Sharon Clifton, Parker McCoy, Favian Perez, Leigh Stinger, Noelle Tokar, Markus Van’t Hul NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE  Couture Marketing 145 E 17th Street, Suite B4 New York, NY 10003 (917) 821-4429 advertising@couturemarketing

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Subscriptions: Chris Bitonti, (702) 259-7810; subscriptions@desertcompanion.com Website: www.desertcompanion.com 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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ADVENTURE INTO THE PREHISTORIC WORLD! This exciting indoor exhibit appears exclusively at the Springs Preserve June 21-Sept. 20. Free for members or with general admission

Dino Summer is a collaboration of exhibits from Eureka Exhibits (Be the Dinosaur) and Kokoro Exhibits (Dinosaur Discovery).


On May 28, photography class was in session at The Historic Fifth Street School. The picturesque downtown abode hosted more than 300 guests to honor the winners of the 2015 ‘Focus on Nevada’ photo showcase. Our photo champions took home flashy prizes (pun intended) from B & C Camera and Sony, as La Comida served up delicious bites throughout the noche. Davalos Tequila also kept the buzz going strong with a unique selection of dry ice-infused libations. Our guests were the very first to pick up Desert Companion’s photo issue... and were the subjects of many lively photos themselves.

CHECK OUT ALL THE PHOTO ACTION AT

FACEBOOK.COM/DESERTCOMPANION.


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15 An exhibit that shoots first, asks questions page 26

... but is it art b y commi t tee?

art

In public view Why is so much of our public art so meh? Maybe because it’s missing, oh, you know, artists

H

ow does the city wind up with the public art that it does? Pose that question in a tone of heated disbelief and you have the gist of a recent social-media flare-up over art benches chosen by the city to dot Main Street. Found to be uninspiring, they prompted the local arterati to a quick consensus: The selection process is messed up. However, asked with a sense of appreciative wonder, that question could just as easily underline your delight that a piece as intellectually knotty as Stephen Hendee’s “Monument to the Simulacra” (at Fifth Street School) somehow slipped through that same process. As is so often the case in government work, it’s an inexact process. Though much falls under the rubric of “public art” — from the corporate-art heavyweights of CityCenter to the Downtown murals bequeathed by Life is Beautiful — we’re talking specifically about art selected, installed and paid for by government entities. This can be a thorny issue for many reasons: cost to taxpayers; citizen sensitivities; the aesthetic merit of committee decisions — even its basic purpose. What’s public art supposed to do? “The jury is still out: Is it necessary?” says Brian “Paco” Alvarez, a member of the Las Vegas Art Commission, which takes the lead on public art in the city. “Especially in a city like Las Vegas, is it necessary? I believe it is.” To a modest degree (the commission’s budget for the next fiscal year is about $230,000), local governments and agencies think so, too; from cities to the county to the Regional Transportation Commission, they regularly fund the creation and maintenance of public art — some good, some mediocre, some occasionally controversial. This month marks another big step in that process: Local artists have until July 29 to submit their credentials to create the city’s next high-profile work, what Arts Commission Chairman Stephen Grogan calls “a signature piece,”

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ALL Things

art

Art to the people: a Gateway paintbrush, Oldenburg’s flashlight, and ZAP! power box art

to be installed as part of the Main Street Improvement Project. It’s got a hefty budget, $246,000. It’s our next chance to see how if a municipal arts bureaucracy can get it right.

hitting the benches “I knew you were going to come back to the benches,” Grogan says with a resigned chuckle. He’s sitting at a table in PublicUs, explaining the commission’s process. But now we’ve come back to the benches because they throw into relief some challenges inherent in that process. In late April, the city released images of the bench styles selected by the Arts Commission for incorporation into the Main Street improvement. Created by a Wisconsin artist, they were inspired by fireworks, mountains, hot rods — nothing deeply expressive of the Main Street area. Trite and superficial, fumed many in the arts community. “The process isn’t flawed, it’s broken,” went one typical sentiment, echoed by others as the issue migrated from Facebook into the Las Vegas Weekly. Arts blogger Ed Fuentes impishly dubbed it “Benchgazi.” In theory, the process is simple: When an art project is available, artists submit their credentials. A panel of the Arts Commission selects the artist its members believe is most qualified. That choice is ratified by the full commission and, if it’s a large enough project, it goes before the City Council to approve the expenditure. Then the artist begins devising the work. “We ask them to learn about the community, to learn about the site, and create a piece of art specifically for that site,” says Dianne Cripe, who coordinates public art for the city. In practice, it’s rarely so simple. In the case of the benches, the process was rushed

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to meet a Public Works deadline, Grogan and Alvarez say — there was no time to press the artist for a redo. The artist wasn’t local and, in the eyes of critics, was insufficiently familiar with the local gestalt. The specs were subject to several restrictions imposed by Public Works (they had to be made of metal, for ease of maintenance, and couldn’t be too comfortable, lest the homeless camp on them). These sorts of realities are endemic to the process. Time, for instance. “An undue amount of time is taken by the bureaucrats, but the artist is given a small amount of time to create the work,” says Denise Duarte, a former public-art specialist for Clark County and an artist who’s created public pieces. Additionally, Alvarez partially blames the process of selecting an artist by qualifications instead of site-specific proposals. And aesthetic decisions made by committee are frequently unsatisfying — though, as Grogan asks, who would you want making those decisions?

lessons learned? The episode of the benches echoes previous public-art flaps, notably the “Gateway Paintbrushes” by the late Dennis Oppenheim, and, back in the 1990s, “Ground Zero,” the notorious piece marring the side of the old City Hall. The lightup paintbrushes on Charleston near Main caught several varieties of flak: for being underwhelming; for responding more to the Strip than their site; for being commissioned from an outside “name” artist. “Ground Zero” was undone when, late in the game, Public Works forced massive changes in the design, said Patrick Gaffey, a member of Arts Commission when the piece was commissioned, during a February 2014 talk on public art. A bona fide fiasco, “Ground Zero” was eventually taken down and lingers

as a cautionary example of a flawed process. Have we learned anything from those episodes, Alvarez wonders? Despite $200,000 worth of blah benches soon to sprout on Main Street, perhaps a few lessons have been learned. The city is restricting bids for the Main Street “signature piece” to local artists, and, Grogan says, Public Works is working closely with the Art Commission to ensure a smoother process. And it’s not like official bureaucracies haven’t produced successes: Art in America magazine named Hendee’s “Monument” as one of the nation’s 10 best public artworks in 2007. ZAP!, a county program that wraps power boxes in original art, has proven popular. Even the paintbrushes helped put Vegas on the national map, Fuentes says. There’s Claes Oldenburg’s flashlight at UNLV, a very successful effort in art-based place-making. As for the benches, a city spokesman told the Weekly that they’d generated plenty of supportive social media, too. On the other hand, there are the metal animals popping up in medians and at freeway onramps. “Those aren’t public art because no artist was involved in creating them,” Duarte says. And it would be a shame if they conditioned an already skeptical public to think that’s what public art should be, rather than a more complex piece it may take years for a community to embrace. Done right, as in art-rich Seattle or in Chicago’s Millennium Park, art can create a vigorous sense of place, and spark conversations about what we as a society value. And that, more or less, is how the city ends up with the public art it does. Fuentes, for one, is moderately upbeat the results. “It doesn’t suck as much as you think it might,” he says. If not a rallying cry, at least that’s a start.

P h oto g r ap h y B r e n t h o l m e s


JOIN US for the 2015 Women’s Leadership Conference

July 13 & 14 at MGM Grand Las Vegas

Join hundreds of motivated women, along with a dynamic lineup of engaging and inspirational speakers, for a two-day journey designed to enhance your career, build your professional network and maximize your leadership potential. For more information and to register now, please visit mgmresortsfoundation.org


ALL Things

design

The Silent Heroes of the Cold War Memorial is marked by propellers from the Air Force plane that crashed on Mount Charleston in 1955 while carrying 14 workers on the top-secret U2 project.

Zak Ostrowski and his team fitted, labeled, colored, fired and place every ceramic piece in the small amphitheater’s echo chamber by hand so that it waould have the desired effect.

The Seven Stones Plaza honors the ancestral relationship between the Spring Mountains and the Southern Paiute tribes collectively known as Nuwuvi (“the people”).

Designers used 1,000- to 2,000-year-old bristlecone pine trunks salvaged from other areas on the mountain to create three benches.

Gateway to heaven How to enjoy Mt. Charleston’s new welcome center

Local artist Austine Wood-Comarow created the polarized light art mural in the visitor center.

The Gateway’s 300seat amphitheater may not have the best acoustics of any outdoor performance venue in Southern Nevada, but it definitely has the best view (and it’s wired for sound!).

B y H e i d i K ys e r

I

t’s July, when Southern Nevadans ritually remember their closest thing to an alpine getaway, Mount Charleston, where it’s an average 20 degrees cooler than the city. New this year: a 128-acre welcome center, complete with bathrooms, picnic areas, amphitheaters, monuments and a gift shop. The Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway, about a half-hour off State Route 152 in Kyle Canyon, is now open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, offering hikers, walkers and people who simply want to sit on a bench that’s not melting a place to learn about the 316,000 acres of trails, trees and wildlife unfolding before them. The site offers access to 40 miles of trails, which range from stroller-friendly to “Help! I’m getting a Stairmaster cramp!” Above, we call out our favorite highlights.

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P h oto g r ap h y B r e n t h o l m e s


e d i l S o c is

D

s t h Nig

SELECT WEEKENDS IN JULY & AUGUST OPEN TILL 10PM

www.CowabungaBay.com • (702) 850-9000 • 900 Galleria Drive, Henderson NV


ALL Things

zeit bites

WHAT COULD WE DO IF ... We still had the Water Authority's giant tunnel-drilling machine?

Relocate the hipsters. Dig that new subway under the Strip.

Mix July 4 margaritas — for everyone!

Beyond sangria

You and a bunch of friends can beat the heat British-style with this pitcher-perfect Planter’s Punch Ingredients 6 ounces dark rum 6 ounces white rum 4 ounces Cointreau (or other Curaçao liqueur) 3 ounces grenadine 10 ounces pineapple juice 10 ounces orange juice 6 ounces passion fruit juice 3 ounces lime juice 1/4 ounce Angostura bitters orange slices pineapple wedges hibiscus flowers ice cubes

‘What could be salvaged’ Artist Sean Russell explains how he turns place into art

S

ean Russell’s exhibit South of Town, about a spot in the desert where people go shooting, among other things, opens in the Clark County Government Center July 20, with a reception July 24. clarkcountynv.gov

STEP 1: Find a unique situation occurring in a place About a year into my master of fine arts program (at UNLV) I purchased a Taurus Model 608 .357 magnum. Much of my artwork was about the patriotic fervor in the wake of 9/11, and owning the largest revolver I could find seemed to fit into my understanding of the topic. A few other graduate students and my professor had firearms,

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so we formed a little gun club. A student knew of a place in the desert where people shot, so we would go shoot beer cans, wine bottles and targets. As time passed, I noticed more people doing the same, with strange and interesting targets: washing machines, stoves, those large, cube-like TVs no one has anymore, pumpkins, spray-paint cans, stuffed animals — it’s like an explosion at a garage sale. STEP 2: Supply a medium and a process that relate to the situation and place As an artist you look for events to be inspired by, so for years I had wanted to do some project involving this place and the situation. Back in graduate school we brought blocks of clay out and shot them, but it never materialized into “art.” A few years ago I decided to change that. Using clay as a medium just fit — clay is basically “earth,” and everyone shooting in the desert is for the most

part shooting the landscape. We brought out a bunch of 25-pound bags of wet clay and arbitrarily shot them. There really wasn’t a plan — I wanted to emulate the seeming randomness of the way people shoot out in the desert. STEP 3: Allow the process to transform the medium I glazed most of the blocks with a glaze called Palladium, which looks generally like metal. The metallic finish connotes the tiny lead ball that initially caused this mess. What I enjoyed was that there was no editing process besides survivability — the artwork in the exhibit is simply what was salvageable. None are the most or least aesthetically pleasing representation of a process. What people will see is the pure power of a firearm transformed into the negative space of a block of clay. I am merely the catalyst who pulled the trigger.

P h oto g r ap h y B r e n t h o l m e s

ILLUSTR A TION S c o t t D i c k e n s h e e t s

Mix liquid ingredients in a bowl and serve in chilled highball glasses, each adorned with an orange slice, pineapple wedge, hibiscus flower and cocktail umbrella. Serves 12. Greg Thilmont

three steps


Book Review

Dust to dust The Water Knife is a great summer book — and an invitation to worry about the future By Scott Dickensheets It’s not some lame, one-apocalypse-fits-all

to the still-verdant north, the dire gravity

dystopia that sci-fi novelist Paolo Baciga-

of those rights eventually pull the main

lupi has contrived for his new yarn, The

characters into orbit. Along the way, there

Water Knife (Knopf, $25.95). Requiring a

are enough breakneck chases, betrayals,

drought-shriveled near future for his three

shootings, stabbings, bombings, beatings,

protagonists — Angel, a Vegas water thug;

sex scenes, torture scenes and, yes, hyena

Lucy, a Phoenix journalist; Maria, a Texas

maulings to keep the beach reader locked in.

refugee — to flee across and be wounded

But Bacigalupi is interested in more than

in, Bacigalupi has extrapolated, broadly and

action. He wants us to think about what will

deeply, what would happen if the American

crack when catastrophe amplifies the South-

Southwest dried up. They feel right, too, the

west’s already Darwinian competition for

interlocking ecological, human, social and

scarce water. What cracks, of course, is our

moral catastrophes he

pretense of civilization.

came up with, from dust

There’s no polity left, no

storms and crooked pol-

sense that everyone’s in

itics to tides of doomed

this together — there’s

refugees and baroque

only a feral and morally

criminality. So right, in

disfiguring strain of cap-

fact, that his scenario

italism that infects every

works not only as the

level of society, from the

setting for the book’s

disaster opportunists

hurtling, beach-ready

who roll into gasping

plot, but as scarily plau-

Phoenix to leverage

sible clairvoyance about

a payday from all the

what might happen in

misery, to the water

real life along a dying riv-

agents who’ll kill you

er widely acknowledged

over a sheet of paper, to

to be the nation’s most

over-the-top criminals

imperiled.

whose gaudy cruelty is

The Water Knife

just good branding in a

opens with the all-powerful head of the

freewheeling marketplace of commodified

Las Vegas Water Authority — a Pat Mulroy

desperation. Everyone knows the score and

stand-in named Catherine Case — using a

everyone looks the other way.

corrupt court order as a pretext to unleash

In such a setting, all alliances are tempo-

her private military force (you read that

rary and your layers of cultivated illusion are

right) to drop some flaming law of the river

pitilessly peeled away. You think you have

on a water plant in rival Arizona. Note: If

principles. But you also have a family:

that summary suggests any satiric intent, know that nothing in The Water Knife is played with a wink. With that slam-bang opener setting the

He reached into his jacket and laid a handful of photos on the table. “But this is your sister, is it not?” Lucy gasped. Anna, up in Vancouver.

stakes, the plot is simple enough: Everyone’s

Photos of her picking up Ant from day care,

pursuing a set of previously unknown, very

buckling her son into their little blue Tesla …

old, incalculably valuable Native American

Lucy stared at the photos, feeling sick.

water rights that could

Hear more Hear an author Q&A at desertcom panion.com/ hearmore

tip the region’s balance of power. Amid the masses

And just like that, someone who trusts her will be sold out. Amid his troubling vision of a depleted

relentlessly struggling for

Southwest, it’s Bacigalupi’s view of human

water or trying to escape

nature that’s genuinely parched and bleak.

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ALL Things

people

profile

Bruce Isaacson Clark County poet laureate

H

e shows up clad in black, hefting a bag of his chapbooks, exuding a hint of recently smoked cigarette, effusively friendly, fidgety, fond of gestures. Yeah, Bruce Isaacson definitely comes off like a poet in the raw and expressive tradition of The Beats. But now he’s official: He was recently named Clark County’s first poet laureate. And Isaacson, true to his style of invocative, personal, urgent verse, has already devised a five-point plan to infuse our lives with more poetry. “Being poet laureate is a podium to do things that will advance the practice and knowledge of poetry in the community,” he says.

If a five-point plan sounds perhaps a little suspiciously organized for a poet, credit Isaacson’s background. His father was a successful entrepreneur, and Isaacson has an MBA from Dartmouth and an MFA from Brooklyn College. After several turns in the corporate world — and making a splash on the spoken-word poetry scenes in San Francisco and New York — he moved to Las Vegas in 1995, where he eventually started his own financial consulting business. He also became a fixture at poetry readings at ’90s hotspots like Enigma Garden Café and Café Espresso Roma, known for his freeform spoken-word style that he developed under mentors such as Beat icon Allen Ginsburg. That the businessman and the poet coexist in the same head attests to Isaacson’s idea that poetry isn’t the exclusive province of academics and obscure journals. As poet laureate, he wants to bring poetry to the people — and people to poetry. Academic poetry programs are great, he says, but, “I think there’s a place for poetry to spring up organically, for people who feel the need in their heart to study,

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read and write poetry, not just for MFA students or something like that.” The five-point plan, you might say, is his way of giving customers (that’s you) the most bang for your buck. Among his plans: putting on a series of workshops and open readings (the readings kick off 6:30p July 24 at Winchester Cultural Center); publishing an anthology of locally grown poets; bringing poets into local schools for workshops; and hosting readings and classes from high-profile national poets. The goal? In a city surging with fleeting thrills, it’s all a way of celebrating what Isaacson calls “the world of feeling.” “The world of feeling is that which connects us to belief and values,” he says. And who knows, he says, maybe the program will inspire the next Arthur Rimbaud, the French poet who famously flourished under the encouragement of schoolteacher Georges Izambard. “We want to be there with programs in place for people of all levels, because of some incredible poetic talent that might spring out of this population of 2 million,” he says. That would be poetic justice, indeed. –Andrew Kiraly

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ALL Things

style

do it yourself

The perfect poolside look B y

Pool season is here, and that means three things: sun, swimming and selfies. The trick to poolside perfection? Lightweight, long-wear products that won’t separate as things heat up. Shadia Taylor of NARS Cosmetics at the Forum Shops at Caesars shares her tips.

Christie Moeller

1

Begin by prepping the face with a brightening concentrate (here, Taylor uses NARS multi-protect primer SPF30) to protect the face and ensure a dewy glow. Then apply all-day luminous weightless foundation. Focus on areas that need to be evened out or polished by spot-applying, leaving as much natural skin as possible.

2

Follow up with a stick concealer one shade warmer than your skin tone, touching on blemished areas.

3

Add an area of glow around the eyes by patting a multiple makeup stick (here, NARS The Multiple in Copacabana) around the orbital bone.

4

Finish off the eye area with a creamy concealer. This will add light-reflecting qualities which brighten and open up the eyes while the stick concealer hides imperfections.

5

Set the concealer around the eyes with light-reflecting loose setting powder by gently buffing in

Christopher Kane Collection duo eye shadow in Parallel Universe, $35

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NARS Smudge Proof Shadow Base $25

All-day luminous weightless foundation, $48

P h oto g r ap h y B r e n t h o l m e s


rather than brushing across to maintain the luminosity you’ve created. This will ensure that the concealer does not move throughout the day.

6

Warm up the cheek area by applying a multiple makeup stick (here, NARS The Multiple in St. Lucia) across the cheek bone. Then, apply a contour blush (here, NARS Dual-intensity blush in Craving) just under the cheek bone to create dimension and follow with blush across the apple of the cheek to create a bronzy glow.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

7

For the perfect “summer smokey eye,” begin with an eyeshadow base, which will keep all your products in place throughout the scorching temps and ensure you get the longest wear out of them. Then follow with shadow pencil (here, NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Skorpios) across the entire lid, concentrating on the outer edges and blending in up to the crease of the lid.

8

Add another layer of shadow (here, NARS Christopher Kane Parallel Universe), and press into the lid above the lash line to create a soft cloud of color above the eye. For more depth, add a third shadow (such as Jezebel) to the outer corners and the bottom lash line, then blend out. Finish with two coats of volumizing mascara.

9

Keep your lips protected by giving them a firm base of lip treatment with sunscreen, then top with the all-in-one velvet matte stick (in a color like 413 Bleecker) across the entire lip. It will give the effect of a lip stain, yet keep your lips hydrated.

9

The Multiple in Copacabana, $39

Multi-protect primer SPF 30, $34

Dual-intensity blush in Craving, $45 All available at NARS in the Forum Shops at Caesars

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ALL Things

leisure

3

8

6

1

2

streetwise

To Fremont East! The latest iteration of an ever-changing street B y

O

Greg Thilmont

ver the past year or so, Fre-

living art exhibit as a place to pick

mont East has seen a goodly

up that remastered Elvis Costello

knowledgeable, unstuffy staff. 707

amount of development from

album you’ve been wanting. In

Fremont St., oakandivy.com

Las Vegas Boulevard to Maryland

the back there’s even a record-

Boulevardiers to inventions by the

Parkway, with new places to shop,

ing studio where local bands like

The Treehouse & Stage at

dine and imbibe. While the area is

MOONBOOTS have been cutting

Container Park

still fairly gritty, it’s no longer the

tracks. 1023 Fremont St., 702-527-

local version of Fort Apache, The

7990, 11thstreetrecords.com

eighth Street

Park’s courtyard. Kids go bonkers

7

The Bunkhouse is an indie

for the construction, which has a

a mural by Alexandra Lee — it’s got

rock lover’s dream, serving up

giant, twisting slide. It’s adjacent

birds on it! At night, the interior, by

to a “lawn” area and stage, which

Christopher Kachurak, looks like a

Bunkhouse Saloon

discover this list for yourself!

3

PublicUs

international bands such as The

1

at the NE corner of

in height, the Treehouse takes

up a sizeable swath of Container

Bronx your mother warned you about. So hit that sidewalk and

5

Art installation

Towering more than 30 feet

Housed in/on an old gas station/ burrito stand, the work features

Freshly occupying a stylish

Breeders and hometown heroes

hosts live musicians, free movies

glowing tree from some hypnotic elf

midcentury modern commercial

like Rusty Maples, along with wick-

and other events. 707 Fremont

forest. Apparently, it is titled “Burri-

building, PublicUs is filled on the

ed good food like Grits & Gravy. Its

St., 702-359-9982

to Stand.” What does it mean?

inside with custom woodwork and

large outside courtyard sees much

Radio City Pizza

tiny trees. It serves up eclectic

beery revelry during shows. 124 S.

JinJu Chocolates

takes on deli food, from pastries to

11th St., 702-854-1414, bunkhouse-

at Container Park

salads and entrees. 1126 Fremont

downtown.com

6

Oak & Ivy at

bons and truffles. Make like Antho-

to handmade pastas. The Hearts

Container Park

ny Bourdain and gorge on some

& Flowers pizza is an amazing

This compact bar, handsome-

rare Fortunato No. 4 chocolate

assemblage of beef heart, rose

ly lined with dark wood, is a

from the remote Marañón Can-

water & basil pesto, garlic confit,

St. 702-331-5500, publicuslv.com

eleventh Street Records

The small space is filled with

8

gorgeous, handcrafted bon-

results are excellent, from apps

Radio City recently dialed

up its menu to 11, and the

2

4

tion to the city’s collection of music

whiskey connoisseur’s dream spot.

yon in deepest, darkest Northern

wildflower honey and watermelon

stores. Colorful LP covers fill the

It purveys craft cocktailery, from

Peru. 707 Fremont St. #2280, 702-

radish. 508 Fremont St., 702-982-

emporium’s tall walls. It’s as much a

trad classics like Sazeracs and

348-9407, jinjuchocolates.com

5055, radiocitypizza.com

The analog re-revolution has clearly won at this great addi-

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P h oto g r ap h y B r e n t h o l m e s


Crawl Taste VOTE with us to your own on your favorite — sample the best margaritas in town

creations with exclusive recipes inside

you could win a ’Rita Las Vegas prize package

desertcompanion.vegas/ritalasvegas


Summertime is ’rita time!

Join us as we celebrate the margarita all month long with ’Rita Las Vegas. Toast with Desert Companion on a fun-filled margarita crawl — and try mixing them at home, too. Vote for your favorite and be entered to win great prizes. Find more details at desertcompanion.vegas/ ritalasvegas — and raise a glass to la vida ’rita!

Burnt Orange Tangerine Margarita “One of the intrinsic techniques of authentic Mexican cuisine is the skillful charring of ingredients—a skill that goes back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. When I am developing new food and drink, I always keep this in mind—how can I create new ways of char and new ways to balance that flavor?”—Terry

Jalapeño Cilantro Margarita “Made with muddled jalapeño and cilantro, this is one of our most popular margaritas. No wonder: It’s got a spicy kick that makes it a perfect summer drink. Chili lime salt on the rim adds a zing that’s both savory and citrusy. Best of all, you can customize it with any one of our 100 tequilas!”— Chef Paco, El

Lynch, partner and executive chef, El Segundo Sol

El Segundo Sol In the Fashion Show Mall 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S. elsegundosol.com 702-258-1211

Dorado Cantina

Paloma south “Spanish for ‘dove,’ the Paloma is the most popular tequila-based cocktail in Mexico. We wanted a simple yet refreshing cocktail that showcased one of our more than 40 unique tequilas.”—Julie Berrier, general manager beverage/cocktail service, Mi Casa Grill Cantina

Mi Casa Grill Cantina In the Silverton 3333 Blue Diamond Road silvertoncasino.com 702-914-8650

El Dorado Cantina 3025 S. Industrial Road eldoradovegas.com 702-722-2289


Verano de Jalisco “The secret to this sweet, citrusy margarita’s vibrant flavor: plenty of freshly muddled mint and cilantro leaves, making for a drink that’s sippable but also sophisticated. Like La Comida itself, the Verano de Jalisco is both edgy and enticing.”— Rafael Ramirez, general manager, La Comida

La Comida, 100 S. 6th St., lacomidalv.com, 702-463-9900

watermelon margarita “For the warm summer months, we wanted to add something fun, refreshing and well-balanced to our cocktail menu. We press all of the juices in-house, and nothing says ‘summer’ like ice-cold watermelon!”—Susan Feniger, co-chef owner, Border Grill

Border Grill In the Forum Shops at Caesars 3500 S Las Vegas Blvd. S. Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-854-6700


! s u n i jo Pub Crawl Celebrate ’Rita Las Vegas with us, and help choose the best margarita by voting online. Check out recipe howto videos and sign up for our ’rita pub crawls. Enjoy light bites, giveaways and, of course, sinfully good margaritas! Find pub crawl info, voting details and more at desertcompanion.vegas/ritalasvegas

Border Grill

July 9 at 5:30pm-7pm Featuring the

Watermelon Margarita Forum Shops at Caesars

El Segundo Sol

July 16 at 5:30pm-7pm Featuring the

Burnt Orange Tangerine Margarita Fashion Show Mall

La Comida

July 20, 5:30pm-7pm

yo favorituer Margar ita

Featuring the

Verano de Jalisco 100 S. 6th St.

El Dorado Cantina July 22, 5:30pm-7pm Featuring the

Cilantro Jalapeño Margarita 3025 S. Industrial Road

Mi Casa

July 29 at 5:30pm-7pm Featuring the

Paloma South Silverton Casino

v o t for e


Summertime is ’rita time! Join us as we celebrate the margarita all month long with ’Rita Las Vegas. Toast with Desert Companion on a fun-filled margarita crawl — and try mixing them at home, too. Vote on your favorite and be entered to win great prizes. Find more details at desertcompanion.vegas/ritalasvegas — and raise a glass to la vida ’rita!

Crawl

with us to sample the best margaritas in town

Taste

your own creations with exclusive recipes inside

VOTE

on your favorite — you could win a ’Rita Las Vegas prize package

desertcompanion.vegas/ritalasvegas


ALL Things

open topic

e d u c at i o n

The art of getting lost In a success-obsessed, results-focused educational environment, are our kids losing their creativity? B y O k s a na M a r a f i o t i

I

’m tutoring a small class of elementary-school kids in advanced writing strategies when I give them a creative prompt. “Imagine you’re walking through a forest, and you realize you’re lost. What do you do?” It takes them a while to answer. “Is my cell working?” Jason asks. He’s clever, this kid, despite a volatile kind of energy that won’t let him sit still for a minute. Half the time I suspect he’s not paying attention, until he gives me a sound response like the very sensible inquiry about his phone just now. “No technology,” I say. “That would never happen,” Jason’s brother Tom says. Tom is in fourth grade and reads at college level. His confidence comes through in an easy smile, yet he’s

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kind and understanding, which I appreciate. It’s quite intimidating to teach a child of 10 who has the IQ of a mad scientist. The boy genius flashes the silvery blade of his cell. “I have the best network on my Galaxy, and, anyway, we don’t even have forests in Las Vegas. Not real ones.” Other kids chirp in. They claim it’s an absurd notion, this getting-lost-in-forests business. The prompt doesn’t agree with any solid evidence or experience they’ve had. It takes me 10 minutes to explain the prompt, that it’s creative by nature and open to interpretation, but even then the results are abysmal. None of my kids could ever get lost in the forest. This took place at a tutoring center for gifted children. Well, actually, the parents call me a mentor, because their children do not require tutoring. This place is different from most learning centers, where kids drag their feet with their heads hung low, worried about the latest report card. My kids are straight-A students whose schedules are so full I occasionally envy their time-management and study skills. Not only are they academically advanced, they play in symphonies, on water polo teams and are quickly becoming fluent in Latin or other classical languages. Basically, anything their parents put their minds to, these kids accomplish like pros. My only role in their education is to help them advance more quickly. And although it’s refreshing to see this kind of drive and work ethic, it’s also confusing, because there is a giant dark spot that I can’t ignore on the blinding horizon of their potential: When I ask them to imagine, without ambition or the aid of a study guide, they cannot. This isn’t because they aren’t capable of creating a story on the spot, but because they don’t see what purpose this action serves and therefore can’t find the spark. Academic success is always a hot topic, but we seem to forget that effective learning hinges upon an amalgamation of the left-brained

ILLUSTR ATION b r e n t h o l m e s


And yet creativity is becoming dangerously under-represented in our schools — and in some cases, it’s the scapegoat for everything that’s gone wrong with academic performance. logical thinking and its right-brained expressive counterpart. But it seems that we’ve grown so relentless in our search for perfection that we’re no longer concerned with providing a well-balanced intellectual diet. Attempts to determine the best route to the ultimate high-achieving student have made us reliant on testing for answers, as the recent Common Core Standards debate makes apparent. Our desire to make all children do equally well is admirable, but testing skills aside, there needs to remain some respect for creative outlets these same children mine in order to learn how to decode their world. Creativity must be recognized as an integral part of success in school — and as an indispensable life skill. Indeed, we’d all lose out if we stuck only to the prescribed answers; a doctor lacking the intuition to think past his medical school textbooks would be stumped when faced with an strange symptom. A lawyer without creativity would lose her most arduous case. And yet creativity is becoming dangerously under-represented in our schools — and in some cases, it’s the scapegoat for everything that’s gone wrong with academic performance. Claims that kids play too long on playgrounds or sing too much in choirs, for example, have forced many a school district to cut play and music time in order to make room for more supposedly enriching activities, such as test prep. We are now measured by results, and in this sense, we’re either perfect or hopelessly flawed. Sorry, but perfection is overrated. Nothing is ever accomplished in a state of perfection. If such a state exists in the first place, it’s a moment of stagnation in the eye of the storm, and very short-lived. Breakthroughs take flight when nothing is right. The process of creativity is when we let go of rules and allow ourselves to experience unpredictability and chaos, which are,

regardless of what the perfectionists in us say, the nurseries from which we hatch our true natures. Out of our imaginations we are born as individuals capable of navigating ever-shifting realities. Any person who has mastered their craft will tell you that creativity is chaotic, and that nothingness gives birth to substance. The reason there isn’t a single definitive tome on writing the best-selling novel or painting a masterpiece in 30 days is because no one has been able to cage the secret. Imagination is a shape-shifter, and doesn’t conform to guidelines. One has to develop stamina and respect for nothingness, for that space in which mistakes roam freely. What right do we have to short the kids we teach of the experience of creative exploration and practice — where trial and error are unmeasured, where there are no study guides filled with perfect answers? I admire those parents who expect perfection from their offspring. But could their inability to cope with imperfection and the natural state of change have anything to do with the way we parents continuously claim they must do better to be better, and if so, how deprived are they of possibilities when they fail to learn how to fail? Instead of acting as the enforcers of high expectations with low intellectual yield, perhaps we’d be better off instilling in our kids the ability to close their eyes and simply draw a picture. If they learn that there are right answers aplenty and that mistakes are stepping stones to mastery, they will endeavor to navigate and find their way with marvelous ease. I’m glad to report that in the case of my students, imagination has begun making regular appearances since that first class. Embracing uncertainty and imagination comes naturally to children, if we let it, especially when they’re free to explore — and, yes, get lost once in a while in a dark, sprawling forest.

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Community

‘I’m a real boy’ Raising a transgender child in Las Vegas is filled with surprises, challenges and trials — but few resources and little help By Kimberley McGee

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hree years ago, when Michele Cusac’s daughter Alana came to her in her favorite Toy Story cowboy hat and claimed she was a boy, now and forever, Cusac thought it was a fanciful notion sprung from her 4-year-old child’s rich imagination. “I didn’t know what we were facing,” she says. “I didn’t know we would be scrambling for information or how long it would take us to really understand what was happening.” When her daughter later spied her father’s hair clippers with a glint in her brown eyes, her mother began to understand this was no passing phase. “I quickly realized that, if I didn’t help for Alana, who asked to be called Alan. him with that, he’d likely try to cut his own “(It) made him so happy. It was the first hair,” says Cusac, whose now 7-year-old indication that my child was never really daughter identifies as a boy. “I figured a girl to begin with.” Cusac is not alone in her story. There are that it would always grow back if there was a change of heart. The change in her more than 20,000 transgender people in attitude (after the haircut) was immediate, Las Vegas, according to Holly Reese, senior from angry and sullen to all smiles.” and transgender programs director for The Alana seemed to blossom when her long Center, an LGBTQ support organization. hair, plaited into a braid for the occasion, “That’s a substantial number in our was shorn close to her head. Cusac carried community,” says Reese. “We are progresthe braid in her purse for a year. “It was sively trying to lead the way because it’s hard, as a mom, letting go of that little girl.” way past time.” Cusac bought some boy’s T-shirts and Former Olympian and reality TV star drawstring shorts with masculine themes Caitlyn Jenner, who said publicly that he

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Family ties: Michele Cusac faces challenges raising a trans child.

felt he was a girl since at least the age of 5 — and who appeared on the July cover of Vanity Fair — has brought the discussion of transgender issues to the forefront, from social media to daytime talk shows. Many local transgender community leaders and experts say youth transgender is the last frontier on this unfolding issue. A refresher: Gender identity is defined as someone’s internal sense of being female, male or gender-non-binary, which means they don’t identify with either sex. Transgender has become an umbrella term for children who are persistent, consistent and

P h oto g r a p h y B i l l H u g h e s


insistent that they are not who they’ve been classified as biologically, and have yet to have any medical intervention. If you think this is just an innocent phase of gender exploration or stubborn play-pretend that parents can persuade their children out of, think again. A recent study published in the journal Psychological Science found that transgender children are not confused about their gender or delayed in their understanding of who they are. The study by Stony Brook University in New York concluded that parental acceptance is the primary factor determining whether these children grow up to live happy, healthy, productive lives. That’s heartening news — but it doesn’t make raising a trans child any less of a challenge, say local families of transgender children. “I wish I had found some of the support groups I belong to now ages ago,” Cusac says, “to help answer some of these questions I had and ease the doubts that I was doing the right thing quicker.”

2015

‘I’m a boy, I’m a boy’

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t’s been a long, lonely journey for Cusac. With a scarcity of resources available for raising a transgender child, she largely improvised. Her daughter reached for cars and swords over teacups and dolls and refused anything pink. Cusac thought it was a cute quirk from a kid with a strong sense of self. At age 4, Alan began preschool. Within days, he made a point to have a sit-down with his parents. “I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m a boy,” Alan says in a family video from 2012. Cusac made the video to record one of the first times Alan attempted to talk to his parents about how different he felt from the other children at school. In the video, he adamantly tells his parents he isn’t just pretending. “I’m not a cowboy, I’m a real boy.” “I thought it was a funny role-play moment,” Cusac says. “But looking back on it now, I can see that determination to make us see something wasn’t right.” They continued to play along with their daughter’s adopted gender, thinking it was a stage. “Partly because of bad information, and partly based on numerous stories of really tomboyish girls who turned girly

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Community

Equality control: Jane Heenan of Gender Justice Nevada raises awareness.

at puberty, we just decided to ride it out. comfortable situations or possible legal Never did it seriously occur to us in those issues. (In April, state assembly bill 375, early days that this was potentially a per- also known as the “Bathroom Bill,” which manent situation.” By the time Alan was would require transgender students to use in kindergarten, Cusac began to do some school facilities corresponding to their biserious research. She found local resourc- ological sex, was shot down.) Today, Alan es were mainly geared toward kids 13 and won’t use public restrooms and has anxiolder. “I pretty much stopped trying. At ety attacks if he needs to use the women’s restroom with his mother. Cusac keeps a that point, I still didn’t really think we were dealing with a full-on gender iden- list of public places with unisex bathrooms. tity crisis, so I didn’t pursue it as diligently “Just because of this one issue, he hates to as I might have.” go anywhere.” Like any mother, she navigated tantrums, Most days, his gender identity is just a negotiated bedtime and handwashing hab- background issue, but some days he strugits, but it was the little things outside her gles. For example, birthdays require some reach that came to loom large in their day- vigilance to ensure classmates and playto-day struggle. For instance, her daugh- date friends don’t buy him anything “girly.” ter insisted on using the boys’ bathroom, “You can’t blame someone (who doesn’t know) for buying girl gifts for a which didn’t sit well with the school administrators. (child) they haven’t seen in a while,” “We were already having issues Cusac says. Also, Alan is adamant Hear about standing in line with the othwith bathroom use at preschool, more Meet a and I wanted to understand what er boys for summer camp registrastudent options we had in primary school,” tion, a rite of passage that can be a speaking says Cusac, who would often pick proud moment for most parents. It out on up her distraught child from school. transgender makes Cusac anxious. “He wants to issues on Alan was asked to use the nurse’s do Boy Scouts, summer camp with “KNPR’s bathroom rather than the boys’ or other boys, and I’m still researching State of girls’ bathrooms, to avoid any un- Nevada” what to do about that.”

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They’re seemingly small issues that cast big shadows. “That’s when we hear things like if he gets boobs, he’ll cut them off. He says that he hates his body, that he wasn’t made right; and that he wishes he wasn’t alive.” When asked, Alan is shy about discussing his gender. He is confused as to why it’s difficult for others to see him as a boy and wishes his outsides matched how he feels on the inside. “Why was I made this way?” Alan has asked his mom. “I just want to rip off my skin until I’m not here anymore.” ‘We are finally talking’

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he next five years will show significant progress in how transgender people are treated, says Tod Story, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. “It’s a critical time in this process,” he says. “We are finally talking about transgender people and their families.” The next frontier: learning to talk about, understand and accept trans children. “There is clearly a lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender,” he says. “In order for these kids to thrive, there needs to be more education,


advocacy and public policy that reflects ing that everyone around her accepted her is that if families go into denial or shaming, it can completely tear a family apart. the priority of transgender acceptance. for whom she is has helped her. I think just seeing that our daughter has been like That pivot point is where we want to be We are making sure we have resources this since she was little made all of our for that family.” Indeed, parents who arfor families to help them come through this journey and be positive members of rive at The Center often show the scars of family realize that this is not something our community.” my child is choosing, or that she will ever the emotional toll that the lack of support But to parents raising trans children has taken on them and their children. “It grow out of it.” seems like the parents have been through now, it can feel like those resources are a war to get where they are now,” Reese a long time coming. And time is not al- Venturing forth ways kind to children who are insistent t’s vital that parents are educated along says. “But we are finally having this conwith their children, says Dr. Asheesh versation. This is going to save lives.” at a young age that they identify with a different gender. Dewan, pediatric endocrinologist at PeOne of the next steps is raising awareAfter more than five years attempting to diatric Endocrine and Diabetes Specialists. ness not just among people, but systems explain his feelings and find a way to fit in A pediatric endocrinologist is often one — schools, workplaces, businesses. Jane at school, Kareyn Zimmermann’s 9-year- of the first medical professionals a trans- Heenan, director of Gender Justice Neold son J. — whom Zimmermann calls her gender youth will see to discuss changing vada, which offers counseling for those daughter — now comfortably identifies as hormones as they enter puberty. transitioning and their families, is maka female. “The child is venturing forth into very ing that a priority. “We have experience “My daughter has always liked girl meeting with the school representatives as adult areas, talking about the physical things, since she was about 2 years old,” differences between the sexes,” he says. a family’s advocate, helping to create plans to address things such as bathrooms and Zimmermann says. “We thought it was “Those who have parental support have locker rooms, correct name and pronoun just a phase and she would grow out of a higher quality of life. We see that they it.” As the family struggled to understand, are happier, not as depressed, while those use, privacy issues, and safety,” Heenan Zimmermann’s mother saw a TV show that don’t have parental support have a lot says. Heenan is also pushing for the school about transgender children. “I didn’t want more issues.” district to adopt a system-wide policy to to believe it at first. I watched videos of About a dozen pre-pubescent trans make accommodating trans students easother transgender kids and knew, that is children have seen Dewan for help and ier and more consistent. my child, and she is transgender.” advice regarding puberty and the changes It’s been a long journey for Cusac — but Once Zimmermann understood there it brings to their bodies. He works with at least the road ahead looks a little less was a name for J.’s feelings, she researched The Center and local family therapists to bumpy. online and reached out to therapists who assist children and their families, but more “In the last few months, we’ve found specialize in transgender children. They help is needed. more local support. It’s not been easy, slowly began to let J. shed the clothes that “One thing about children you have but I think it’s getting easier. We’re trying, felt so foreign to her, mostly at home under and we know other people are trying to be to realize in terms of counseling is that the safe umbrella of accepting family and more accepting. When you see these kids their brains aren’t fully developed,” he says. “The part that is not developed is the friends. She wore girl clothes at home on the way they want to be seen, as a boy or the weekends, boy clothes to school. This part that does long-term thinking. They a girl, they are so happy. You know you are summer, J. moved to a new school in a dif- just think about right now, ‘I want this.’” doing the right thing.” ferent area of the valley and now identifies Counseling helps them realize what the Cusac and her son are hoping that he completely as a girl. “We are really start- complications and long-term risks are for will be fully integrated as a boy in the coming to use she, her and daughter now that transitioning. ing school year, and that school adminisMeanwhile, as awareness grows, The trators will be more accommodating than school just got out and she is a girl now.” As a mother, Zimmermann is hopeful they have been. Center is expanding its programs for “The few people we’ve met who didn’t for her young child, but nervous. For transgender children. “We get one or good reason: More than half of transgen- two walk-ins (a week) of parents or fami- know our little one beforehand have been der youth have contemplated suicide and ly members who say, ‘My kid is telling me supportive when told, but we haven’t one quarter have attempted to take their they are transgender,’” The Center’s Reese reached a point where we’ve made an oflives, according to The Trevor Project, a says. Reese has launched Pivot, a program ficial announcement,” she says. Sure, some suicide prevention organization focused to help children and parents understand parents lapse into awkward silence or ask on LGBTQ youth. But, crucially, accep- what it means to be transgender and assist uncomfortable questions when Cusac tells tance starts in the home — and in that in the process. “If they find that support, them Alan is transgender, but she undersense, J. is off to a strong start. community, education and counseling, stands. “Until recently, I was one of them,” “She is who she is and I cannot change she says, “so I can’t fault them for asking families can grow stronger and vibrant her,” Zimmermann says. “I think her see- and grow in a healthy way. The flip side the same questions.”

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Profile

Red alert “Tomato Lady” Leslie Doyle is on a mission to make sure you never eat a rubbery, mealy tomato again B y M o l ly O ’ D o n n e l l

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very July and August for years, I would come home to giant platters of ripening tomatoes. Enormous beefsteaks supporting the weight of Better Boys, striped heirloom varieties, Romas and cherries in gorgeous red, safety orange, light green and sunny Ripe makes yellow. They always tasted as good as they looked, too: firm or tender, sweet or acidic, right: Leslie Doyle knows juicy-slicing or savory-saucing style. We’d the secret of put them in salad, sandwiches, lasagna, tasty tomatoes. When I heard whissoup, eggs, pizza. We made salsas, bruschetta, sauces, pastes, and stir-frys, and pers about “Tomato even thought about canning before lazi- Lady” Leslie Doyle, I had my doubts. Peoness and tomato fatigue finally prevailed. ple were dropping her name at meetings, My roommate brought these beauties in by in grocery stores, at cocktail parties like the dozen from her father’s tomato garden she was the Heisenberg of tomato-garjust outside the city. dening. Apparently I wasn’t the only one jonesing for the unadulterated taste of a It will probably not shock you that this city was far away from the glittering lights plump beefsteak or meaty heirloom. But and stucco houses of Las Vegas, was she for real, or was the perfect in the tomato-growing mecca of desert tomato just a mirage? the Mid-Atlantic. Since I moved Leslie Doyle is real — and perHear to Sin City, there’ve been a lot of fect tomatoes are within reach. more pluses. But if my life were mea- Learn “There’s no gardening god in the sured solely in the quality and desert,” she declares when I meet about the her. “Everything is DIY.” quantity of tomatoes I’ve con- ergonomics of gardening sumed, the last few years would Such gravid pronouncements on “Desert be a very low period, indeed. come frequently from 75-year-old

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Doyle. Her colorful gardening hat suggests whimsy, but her blue eyes are serious. That seriousness — and her stubbornness and tenacity — explain how she’s perfected her methods of growing delicious tomatoes in an inhospitable desert environment. ‘He wanted tomatoes’

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he’s not shy about how perfect those methods are. Doyle is known for ruffling feathers in the gardening community, whether she’s vocally advocating her tomato-growing techniques above those of rivals or noting her skepticism about green-minded gardening philosophies such as permaculture, with its focus on recreating natural ecosystems. But even those who don’t see eye to eye with Doyle

P h oto g r a p h y Aa r o n M ay e s


credit her with inspiring waves of home gardeners in Southern Nevada and beyond, people who might otherwise spend their lives settling for bland, grainy tomatoes from the produce section. “It’s simple,” Doyle says of her technique, “but unlike everywhere else, you have to know some things about entomology and botany.” In other words, you’ll have to work for it. Doyle did. For years, she planted different varieties of tomato, watched crops fail, and started over. She employed organic gardening methods, tried soil with and without biosolids (nutrient-rich organic leftovers from treated sewage), experimented with new pesticides and vitamins, built different types of tomato beds, and adjusted the amount of water and sun exposure her plants would get. Trial and error eventually prevailed, and she was able to arrive at her signature process that gets results: using seeds from hearty hybrid varieties that are heat-tolerant; starting seedlings indoors before bringing them out; planting in raised cinderblock beds and nutrient-rich black dirt she composted herself; consistently watering in short bursts at least nine times a day (and more in the summer) with well-maintained irrigation; and sticking to a planting schedule that accounts for our early season. (“It was my husband’s fault,” she says of her obsessive quest for perfection. “He wanted tomatoes.”) But her biggest innovation seems to be her approach to garden pests. Any wouldbe tomato gardener can turn over a leaf to reveal the tiny green aphids feasting there — the archenemy. In addition to employing the gardener’s best friend, the aphid-eating ladybug, Doyle began using reflective mulch in lieu of chemical solutions years before most gardeners caught on. If the critters can’t see, blinded as they are by a shiny surface that reflects sunlight, they can’t land, get comfy, and gobble up the tomato plant before anyone can enjoy its fruits. Rejecting other gardeners’ belief that shade is the solution, Doyle took the sun’s disadvantages and turned them into a bug-battling arrow in her quiver, hitting a red, juicy bull's-eye along the way.

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Photos, top to bottom: The courtyard of the Adams Shakespearean Theatre (photo by Steve Greenwood; and young visitor to The Greenshow.)

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Profile “I was on the cutting edge of it. It took me a long time to figure out how to garden in the desert,” she says, “but eventually I was responsible for changing people’s minds.” Green thumb, brown knees

D

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espite her claims that the process she developed was a simple one, Doyle calls her brand of growing “brown-knee gardening,” emblematic of the work ethic it took to achieve success. As a result, it’s difficult to minimize her importance in the world of desert gardening. Today, Doyle’s self-taught methods are exhaustively laid out in her books, in online videos, and, of course, in her hourlong classes. And if my taste buds are any judge, they work. The beefsteak hybrid that Doyle found to be the best desert-dweller is a huge and juicy slicer that tastes wonderful. In case you’ve forgotten what a homegrown tomato is like, imagine a flavorful, tangy yet sweet, red and ripe-all-theway-through luscious fruit with just the right amount of juiciness — and not a bit of mealiness. (Fun fact: The mealiness of grocery-store tomatoes is partly due to the fact that they’re artificially speed-ripened with ethylene gas.) Doyle’s pride and joy, these tomatoes are so perfect that you can practically hear them cry out for a hamburger to sit atop or even just a salt shaker and a hungry soul. Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, the hybrid tomatoes that are part of her hard-won success are called Hawaiian Tropics. But her Juliets are nothing to sneeze at either, their tender fleshiness a unique attribute in the world of smaller tomato varieties. Alongside her delicious tomatoes, she’s grown a cult of tomato-lovers out of the desert sand. Local attorney and gardening enthusiast Augustus Klaus is a student of Doyle’s working on his second garden, the first of which was atop a downtown roof. “Everything grew tremendously well,” says Klaus enthusiastically before he pauses to laugh and explain, “except the one time we neglected her watering schedule and had a growing gap … or the time we tried and failed with a crop of Big Boys and understood why she recommends


what she does.” When he carefully followed her recommendations, though, the harvest was a rich one that, he remembers, “went on all summer long.” Students-turned-disciples such as Klaus and Doyle’s dedication to teaching keep her plenty busy. Between January and March, she teaches 35 sessions of her five varieties of gardening classes, runs the Sweet Tomato Test Garden out of her home, hosts weekly special events at the 3rd Street Downtown and Downtown Summerlin farmers’ markets, and consults for seed producers and gardens in the five-state area. Her home garden is a center for testing trial pesticides and fertilizers for agricultural companies. Her schedule doesn’t appear to be lightening up anytime soon. “I used to think retirement was cruising, Netflix, and chocolate,” says Doyle, who retired to Las Vegas almost 20 years ago after a career in real estate in Southern California. But she’s not complaining. “I didn’t get much enjoyment out of inactivity. It’s nice being busy and having people around.” (Almost as soon as she finishes this sentence, there’s a knock at the door: a man with a bucket is looking for composted soil. In true Tomato Lady style, she’s a bit brusque with him, telling him he’ll have to wait.) While “there are no accidental gardeners in Las Vegas,” as Doyle points out, it’s good to remember what you get for your toil in addition to being able to eat your dream tomato all summer long. “You can take all the credit,” she says. “This isn’t California, so when you’re successful, you get to feel an enormous sense of pride in the beautiful and delicious produce you grow.” Maybe this season of summer salads and poolside burgers will inspire you to try your hand at Doyle’s methods, whether you want speckled Romans for sauces or red pear piriforms for pastes. Or you can hit her stand up at the farmers’ market or the Sweet Tomato Test Garden this summer and get some inspiration by tasting a few from the Tomato Lady herself. Then you can be the one whispering about them at the next cocktail party. And you can assure your listeners that the Tomato Lady is, indeed, very real.

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Environment

The next big thing in green design challenges architects, builders and their clients to rethink structures as living organisms B y H e i d i K ys e r

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ature-lovers who pay attention to the weather may have opened their windows and sliding glass doors in the evening from March through most of May this year. The unseasonably temperate spring meant they could cool their homes at night using only cross-currents and the outside air. In the morning, when it started to warm up, they may have closed the windows and blinds, containing the fresh air inside and delaying the need for AC. I did this. Alas, by the first week of June, it was too hot to open the windows before bed. But knowing the outside temp would drop below the setting of our thermostat just a few hours later, I said to my husband, “If only we had little fairies who could go around and open the windows for us at 2 a.m. We could keep cooling off the house at night for free!” Though I didn’t know it, what I was wishing for was a Living Building, the new gold standard in green design and construction. Conceived by the International Living Future Institute, an offshoot

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of the Cascadia Building Council, a Living Building allows people to interact with nature through their homes. (Imagine an electronic system that senses when the outside temperature drops below the thermostat setting and enacts a mechanical system to open the windows while you sleep). Rather than a static structure, it’s a flexible, growing thing that responds to your needs and flourishes under your care. Only one Living Building is on the drawing board in Southern Nevada: the Ruffin Organic Food & Learning Center at the Alexander Dawson School. At the center’s groundbreaking in June, school officials and members of the design and build teams expressed a mix of hope and trepidation typical to those tackling their first Living Building. “When — or should I say, ‘If’? — it gets done, it will be the first of its kind,” Guy Martin, president of Martin-Harris Construction, said. “It’s a high bar, yes,” says Eric Corey Freed, vice president of global outreach for the International Living Future Institute. “When it first came out, people said it

was impossible. Like, friends of ours said that. But it’s certainly not out of reach.” Today, by his count, there are 270 certified Living Buildings in the world, spread across 18 countries. To encourage adoption of the vision and offer certification for those who realize it, the International Living Future Institute developed the Living Building Challenge. It invites architects, designers, builders and their clients to rethink their impact on the world: rather than simply minimizing harm to the environment, as LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification requires, the Living Building Challenge asks participants to actually better their surroundings. “Living Building starts where LEED leaves off,” says Paul Toplak, vice president of operations for Martin-Harris Construction. “It’s a pretty radical idea, more cutting-edge.” Which means it also pushes people out of their comfort zones. “The LEED process is more familiar for us as designers,” Deborah Bergin, project manager for architects LGA, says. “Living Building is a new way of looking at things. … It presents a lot of challenges.” No one will place bets on whether the Dawson School and its design-build teams from Martin-Harris and LGA will overcome those challenges and earn their Living Building stripes. The process takes

r e n d e r i n g c o u r t e s y lg a

It’s alive!

Eco-logic: A rendering of the Organic Food & Learning Center at the Alexander Dawson School.


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Bright green: Dawson student Kayla Salehian presents her ideas for the center to designers.

years, and many obstacles — water foremost among them — stand in the way. But one thing’s for sure: Just trying to get there will transform everyone involved. To be good

“W

e work closely with LEED. It recognizes our energy and water credits. Our organization started out as a Green Building Council chapter, so LEED is in our blood,” says the International Living Future Institute’s Freed. “But it’s designed for the masses, to help people make their buildings less bad — use less energy and water and produce fewer toxins. We asked, ‘What if, instead of less bad, we want to be good?’” That was the idea that, 10 years ago, struck Jason F. McLennan, the founder and CEO of the Living Future Institute and a celebrated figure in the green building movement. As the first executive director of the Cascadia Green Building Council, which encompasses Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, McLennan worked on some of the first LEED-certified projects in the world. The experience revealed to him opportunities to raise the bar in sustainable design. Within a year, he’d developed the first iteration of Living Building standards. Last year, the institute released version 3.0. Freed describes Living Building as less arcane than LEED. Because LEED is based on checklists, everything has to be specified; for instance, use bathroom faucets made of A, B or C materials that allow X, Y or Z levels of flow. Living Building, on the other hand, is based on a challenge: “to reconcile the built

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ed some for (our son) Richard when he was in kindergarten … and this is the result.” Oleksandra’s request came in late 2013, sparking discussions at the school, which, Community Manager Zakeisha Steele Jones says, welcomes innovative ways to blend curriculum with students’ needs. The idea of growing food blossomed into STEM and business-marketing curricula integrating everything from designing and planting a garden to canning and selling the produce. “It wasn’t just about the dirt,” Jones says. environment with the natural environment, “It’s a balance between what you can grow, into a civilization that creates greater biodi- how you care for it, what you do with your harvest and how you maximize it.” versity, resilience and opportunities for life To help get teachers and students to with each adaptation and development,” as the current version puts it. How teams meet dig in, the school hired contractor Garthe challenge is up to them. den Farms, which also maintains the Ruf“We take an all-or-nothing approach,” fins’ personal garden. Green Our Planet Freed says. “We avoid prescriptive state- provided the curriculum. LGA and Marments and just say, for instance, ‘be energy tin-Harris came on board to shepherd neutral.’” the whole thing toward certification as a What constitutes a Living Building is Living Building after a former executive spelled out through the metaphor of a flow- was inspired by a similar project at the er with seven petals: place, water, energy, Bertschi School in Seattle. By the spring of health and happiness, materials, equity and 2014, the Dawson School had a complete beauty. Spread among them are 20 impera- pitch to make to the center’s title sponsor. tives, such as “limits to growth” (place), “net The Ruffins went all in with a $1.5 million positive water” and “civilized environment” endowment. (health and happiness). All the imperatives Administrators always tout what they do are mandatory, and living building certifi- as “for the kids,” but to earn Living Building cation is based on actual performance. This certification, the Dawson School also had means that a project can’t be certified until to include students’ needs as more than lip-service. it’s been in operation for at least a year. “Normally, we finish a building, we turn Projects that fail to get full Living Building status can still get “petal certification” over the keys, and we’re done,” Toplak says. for meeting the imperatives of place, beau- “This one is really like, ‘We’re in this together.’” LGA and Martin-Harris invited stuty and one other petal. They can also earn net-zero certification for meeting impera- dents and staff to design meetings. At one tives related to growth, energy and beauty. meeting, eighth graders from a business But the Dawson School and its partners on class modeled on TV show “Shark Tank” the Ruffin Organic Food & Learning Center shared their insights. don’t want to settle for that. They’re going “The kids at this school are geniuses,” says LGA’s Bergin. “We were lucky to have for the whole enchilada. their input.” Feed the children

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he Dawson School project started with a simple wish by someone with the means to make it come true. “Mrs. (Oleksandra) Ruffin is a strong proponent of organic food,” Phil Ruffin said at the groundbreaking. “She request-

The trick

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he Ruffin Organic Food & Learning Center is conceived as a 2,000-squarefoot, free-standing structure that will anchor the school’s greater gardening initiative. Features such as doors and windows

P h ot o g r a p h y m e g a n g r ay

Environment


re di fer sc ra ou l t nt uit ! io n

%

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that open fully blur the barrier between inside and out, turning nature into a classroom. Gardens will radiate out from the building and spread throughout campus. “We aim for it to be complete in January 2016,” Jones says. “It’s not a huge project. It’s tricky, though.” The tricky part is water. The Living Building Challenge won’t allow the use of potable water either coming in or going out, Bergin says. So, the designers have to figure out a way to collect, treat and reuse it on site — a closed loop. “We looked at intercepting wastewater on the existing campus, treating it and using it on this project,” Bergin says. “But we couldn’t capture enough to put back into irrigation. We’re going to have an organic farm, and we’re going to need water yearround, not just when the kids are in session. So, this petal (water) is very challenging.” The International Living Future Institute’s Freed says there is room for flexibility. Applicants can petition for exemptions, and every project is judged within its context. Deciding factors, he says, are intention and grit — how sincere they are in their efforts to do the right thing. Almost every project sets some kind of precedent, from getting a local code changed to developing a nontoxic version of a common product. “With LEED, you get to decide which points to pursue,” Freed says. “Teams have this discussion — I was guilty of it too — about the easy and hard points. We’d figure out the pathway to the easiest ones. Living Building is designed so you can’t game the system. … But every project is different. We’re open to the idea of localizing it, changing the exemptions to reflect the local culture and habitat.” The Dawson School project team may petition the institute for a water exemption, but they’d prefer to solve that and other problems. The challenge is an inherent part of the work. “This project isn’t the size where it will change us from a financial standpoint,” Martin-Harris’s Toplak says. “But the part that it changes is our community. We see this paying off in 10 to 20 years. Kids that grow up with this, as adults, will be more enlightened than us.”

Start Early. Start Right. Challenger School offers uniquely fun and academic classes for preschool to eighth grade students. Our students learn to think for themselves and to value independence. The results are unmatched at any price! Come see for yourself. Observe our classrooms any time—no appointment needed.

Green Valley 990-7300 1725 East Serene Avenue Los Prados 839-1900 5150 N. Jones Boulevard

Summerlin 878-6418 9900 Isaac Newton Way

B e c au s e Yo u Kn o w t h e Val u e o f E du c a t io n An independent private school offering preschool through eighth grade © 2015, Challenger Schools • Challenger School admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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The Dish 50

07

On the Plate 51

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Eat this now 53 At FirST BITE 54

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

Pan-tastic: The dishes go deep at Tapas by Alex Stratta

P hoto g ra p h y elizabeth buehring

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Dining out

THE DISH

Go ahead, try me Local culinary tours are banking on our bellies for business. But what exactly does a “taste of Vegas” taste like? B y D e bb i e L e e

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t’s a toasty Tuesday morning in June and I’m dipping into a wicker basket of edible goodies at The Beef Jerky Store, the starting point for Vegas Valley Food Tours’ daily downtown food crawl. My dining partners in crime include Larry and Sherry Curling, a retired couple from Princeton, Kentucky, and Jennifer Huie, a massage therapist visiting from the Bay Area. The $59, two-and-a-half-hour journey on foot, led by affable local and owner Vickie Wilson, promises to reveal the untold history of the city with plenty of grazing along the way. Standing in the back corner of the store, I munch on an okra chip sample with ambivalence. Mention the term “culinary tourism” and a montage of Pinterest-worthy images comes to mind: fresh pasta and dusty bottles of Chianti in Tuscany, exotic fruit piled in pyramids at a bustling Thai night market, precious pastel macarons on a Parisian pastry crawl. Even destinations on our own soil can provide meals with a sense of history and place. You can toss fish at Pike Place Market, pound the pavement for New York City’s oldest pizzerias, or spend a budget-busting weekend sipping the best wines in Sonoma County (those cherry and black pepper notes are a direct result of the terroir, darling). Las Vegas is a different animal. It’s a relatively young city, and one without a significant food history (unfortunately, Mormon cuisine never really took off in a big way.) Boasting on its website that it’s been family owned and operated for more than 20 years, The Beef Jerky Store is our closest equivalent to a relic.

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But that hasn’t deterred ambitious entrepreneurs from believing that a grand buffet can outshine the Grand Canyon. And why shouldn’t it? According to a 2013 “American Culinary Traveler Report,” published by Mandala Research, more than 39 million leisure travelers qualify as “deliberate” culinary travelers (defined as anyone who “travels to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.”) We are living in a “chefs are the new rock stars” era, where anyone with basic cable has at least one favorite food personality or reality-based cooking show. Wilson, 38, established Vegas Valley Food Tours after her own experience on a culinary daytrip through Chicago. The UNLV alumna, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in sociology and special education, respectively, worked for the Clark County Department of Family Services for 12 years before leaping into the high-risk world of small business ownership. “The business needed me full-time to grow,” says Wilson. “Prior to leaving, I had my first full year of operation under my belt, so that was helpful in the decision-making process. But three months in and there are no regrets yet.”

P h oto g r a p h y B r e n t H o l m e s


on the plate

Upcoming foodie events you don’t want to miss border grill's backyard bbq series July 3-Sept. 26 Border Grill Mandalay Bay is kicking off the barbecue season in sync with the Concerts on The Beach series at Mandalay Bay. Transforming their lower patio into a pop-up backyard barbecue destination, Border Grill will host their summer-long Backyard BBQ series prior to each performance from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. on the lower patio of the restaurant overlooking the Lazy River and Beach. The Border Grill BBQ team will serve up beach-worthy cuisine, including a variety of oysters, ceviches, and tortas, as well as fresh barbacoa favorites, grilled Mexican corn and grilled shrimp with food items priced from just $3-$8, with $5 beers and $7 margaritas. Concerts include 311, July 3-4; Needtobreathe, July 10; Iration, July 17; Ziggy Marley, July 31 and more. bordergrill.com

And so far, her tour participants seem pleased with her decision. At Cous Cous Mediterranean Café on Fremont St., the third of six stops on this tour, Sherry Curling studies a plastic shot glass of hummus served with a chicken kebab. This will be her first time tasting the dip. “It’s good,” says her husband. “Kind of like cheese, really.” Her face lights up at first bite. “How do they get it so creamy?” she asks with a Southern lilt. While Vegas Valley Food Tours focuses on Downtown, other tour operators are using a similar approach on the Strip. Donald Contursi, 31, is the founder of Lip Smacking

Tourists with taste: Opposite page, a Lip Smacking Foodie Tour stop at Bardot; this page, popular culinary tours sample the best of the Strip and downtown.

Foodie Tours, an eight-month old company whose “Savors of the Strip” package ($199) allows diners to sample five current hot spots in a span of three hours. (Discounted afternoon crawls and custom-designed private group tours are also available.) Coincidentally, the business was conceived in a similar fashion as Vegas Valley Food Tours. “I’m originally from Chicago and I was taking a girlfriend to visit,” Contursi says. “I wanted to show her all of these things like where I grew up but all she cared

36th annual san gennaro feast sept. 15-20 The San Gennaro Feast is the biggest Italian food and music festival held semi-annually in honor of the Saint Gennaro, the Patron Saint of Naples, Italy. Once again, this year's festival will feature a wide variety of arts and crafts, home exhibits, pony rides and petting zoo, face painters, live international acts hourly on the main concert stage, and amusement rides and games fun for the whole family. And, of course, food that celebrates the rich and varied culture and history of Naples, from delicious pastas and stuffed peppers to incredible meats and cheeses. 4245 Grand Canyon Drive, 702-227-0295, sangennarofeast.com

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Dining out

Graze anatomy: Left, paella on the grill at Jaleo for touring foodies; above, Vegas Valley Food Tours on a stop.

about was deep dish pizza. So I had to do beach, knowledgeable Las Vegans are my due diligence and found that there are employed to conduct the tours. He also pizza tours throughout the city. I thought reveals an interesting statistic: more than it was an awesome concept.” half of the visitors who participate in the Contursi, who has a degree in business Downtown tour are local. management from UNLV, uses his former “This is a place that not many people experience and connections as a Strip would have ever considered going to five or 10 years ago,” says Martin. “It’s a great server to secure an impressive rotating selection of restaurants in his line-up. (A way to see how the area has changed, recent itinerary included Bardot Brasseand it’s a great way to get away from the Strip while still having a quality dining rie, Jaleo, and Sage.) But if the main goal of culinary tourexperience.” ism is to offer insight into a specific place, Sometimes eating well isn’t even a what does an octopus salad at Estiatorio priority. Larry Curling, who found the Milos teach us about Las Vegas? downtown food tour on TripAdvisor, says his presence is not about satisfying “That it’s not all about slot machines,” he says. “And that we’ve come a long way his hunger but sticking to his principles. from shrimp cocktails and buffets.” For him, the highlight of the tour was Even non-locals are taking advantage learning about the Downtown Project of this niche market. Bite San and retail incubators at the Diego, a California company, Container Park. Vegas Valley Food Tours launched Nosh Las Vegas “I think more and more vegasvalleyfood in November 2013. For $59, people my age want to see tours.com guests can choose to explore locally owned businessthe trendy restaurants of es come back,” says the Lip Smacking Downtown (Carson Kitchen, 59-year-old. “People don’t Foodie Tours Itsy Bitsy, The Perch) or SLS understand that when you 888.681.4388 vegasfoodietour. Las Vegas (Umami Burger, shop and eat at chains, your com Katsuya by Starck.) Guest and money is going straight to restaurant relations manager Wall Street. We want to The Walking Jered Martin says the city’s spend it on things so that Gourmet our money stays in the local growing dining scene was 888.920.9255 economy.” hard for Bite’s owner to igthewalkinggour met.com nore, and that even though Of course other people’s they're headquartered by the needs aren’t quite so comNosh Las Vegas noshlasvegas.com

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plicated. Jennifer Huie, a self-proclaimed foodie, says her only goal was to eat tasty food and that Wilson delivered. But at the end of the day, it didn’t have any bearing on her impression of the neighborhood. “It was nice to see the Gold Spike and it was great to see the Container Park,” she says. “I still just think of Downtown as the place to go for the better odds when you gamble.” After our final Vegas Valley Food Tour stop for a puckery passion fruit ice pop at ChillSpot by SasaSweets, I take a sixblock walk back to my car to ponder the deeper cultural significance of eating penne from Rachel’s Kitchen. Much of the food hasn’t blown me away, but that doesn’t mean Wilson’s efforts are without value. Her knowledge of the neighborhood is thorough, and her information about Downtown’s evolution credits Tony Hsieh while sparing us the usual blind worship or bitter criticism that follows the mere mention of his name. My initial skepticism wanes. I think back to The Beef Jerky Store — its shelves chock full of Asian and Pacific Island snacks — and realize that it’s actually the perfect starting point for the tour. Las Vegas isn’t rich in culinary traditions and history; rather it’s a place where we import those things from elsewhere. And given the transient nature of its dwellers and businesses, a tour might actually be a smart way to seize a fleeting moment in this ever-changing city.


HOT PLATE

Eat this now! Short rib red curry flatbread at Buddha Belly Deli

50 N. Valle Verde Drive, 702-545-0840, thebuddhabellydeli.com As a naturalized citizen of Fast Food Nation, my gustatory comfort zone is about the size of a burger and fries. Now and then I try to

Your smart wants to party.

nudge those boundaries outward an inch or two, which is how I found myself at this winsome Asian-fusion place in Green Valley, ordering a short-rib flatbread. Which turns out to be more or less a pizza. Atop the chewy, substantial crust are clumps of delicious braised short-rib meat, cooked in a curry sauce — not spectacularly spicy, but with a subtle cumulative effect — and embedded in mozzarella, along with caramelized onions, scallions and red bell peppers. What a wonderful mix. Some say my palate grew three sizes that day. Scott Dickensheets

Beef brisket sandwich with green side salad at Jacques Café

1910 Village Center Circle #1, (702) 550-6363, jacquescafe.vegas In a roundabout deep in Summerlin, you’ll find the relatively new Jacques Café and its lunchtime sandwich of slow-cooked brisket. Seasoned beef is nestled in a crusty ciabatta-style bun along with sautéed cabbage and red bell peppers. Slices of aged Gouda unite flora and fauna. It's a cheesy pot-au-feu in the hand ... a Frenchy stew sandwich! Go for the house salad on the side. Fresh butter lettuce is tender in a Japanese-inspired ponzu dressing. Instead of stale bread cubes, extruded vegetal cracker bits make for light, squiggly croutons. It just might be the one of the best leafy innovations in town. In addition, Jacques Cafés is a cool place (with a compact yet stylish bar and a large patio) that would not be out of place in L.A. or Seattle, but it's here in a tree-lined suburban shopping center. Greg Thilmont

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Dining out

at FIRST Bite

Hunt and peck: From left, bacalao salad with preserved cod; Valenciana paella; charcuterie plate with toast and Serrano ham

Nothing can tapas now Back from his long hiatus, Alex Stratta makes a bid to re-establish himself with small plates in Summerlin B y M i t c h e ll W i llb u r n

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hen Alex Stratta quietly reready high-rent Summerlin shops of Tivoli emerged in the Las Vegas Village. It’s in the same space that Angelo Sosa’s ill-fated Poppy Den once churned dining scene, it was something of a Bigfoot situation: out its hot and cold dishes (in more ways You’d spot him doing a conthan one). One hopes Tapas by Stratta sultation here, a wine dinner there; you’d doesn’t suffer its predecessor’s curse of hear about some talks he was in to do abandoning its high-minded ideals too something or other. Such sightings were quickly, doing away with everything that a big deal, considering that Stratta had had made that restaurant interesting. two namesake restaurants in the Wynn, Tapas by Stratta has upstairs and downstairs seating sections, with played Iron Chef Italian on Iron Chef USA (where he dethe upstairs being something tapas by feated Top Chef Masters winmore of a hip, loft-type afalex stratta ner Marcus Samuelsson) and fair. There’s a fine bar, with in Tivoli Village earned two Michelin stars. a cocktail list specializing 702-483-3555 tapasbyalexstratta. Because of this, and his long in Barcelona-style gin and com hiatus, his return has generattonics. These differ from the ed great anticipation. sickly sweet, slushy things you HOURS Stratta’s new spot is situated buy at nightclubs; rather, these Sun-Thu 4-9:30p on prime real estate in the alare served in a burgundy glass Fri-Sat 4-10:30p

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with large chunks of ice and a near 1:1 ratio of gin to tonic, served with a pungent garnish of fresh spices and aromatics. The menu is mainly a long, long, long list of tapas, with a handful of rotating daily specials and large-format paella. You’ll find everything from a charcuterie board with strips of decadent Serrano ham, to a simple plating of jamon Iberico de Bellota, to deviled eggs with Spanish Osetra caviar and grated bottarga (three types of eggs in one dish!). Perhaps the best dish on the tapas menu is the bacalao salad, delicate flakes of the salt-preserved cod and slivers of black Empeltre olives, oranges and fennel. The bacalao, which has a flavor similar to a scallop, pairs its salinity perfectly with the sharp acid and oil of the salad. The gazpacho is a simple one, but done with that fine-dining technique of which Stratta is a master. Pureed and separated into a perfect consistency, it’s served with fresh avocado, cucumber and a drizzle of olive oil. It is a dish that allows good, fresh produce to absolutely sing, so try it while the season is prime. For those who’ve missed Stratta’s fine-dining creativity, you can find it in the

P h oto g r a p h y e l i z a b e t h b u e h r i n g


zesty lemons with a side of smiles HAND-CRAFTED BEERS ENGLISH WHITE WHEAT, BROWN ALE, PALE LAGER

Happy Hour offered Daily from 3-6pm Half Priced Tapas + $2 off Beer, Wine by the Glass & Specialty Cocktails*

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FIND A SAMMY’S IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

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sammyspizza.com daily specials. These are full-on entrees, for a surprisingly good price. There are two a day, each a very interesting proposition: oil-cured duck, whole snapper, crispy pork jowl. The grilled sepia is the leviathan version of a Japanese izakaya-style grilled squid; it eats more like a giant seafaring steak. Though a squid this thick is a touch hard to eat, the broth of fennel, coconut and roasted tomatoes make it a pleasure. The paellas are priced and portioned per person. Even the smallest pan is a meal unto itself. There are four styles to choose from, and the Valenciana is the most intriguing. Rabbit as a classic base, and broad beans as a regional addition bring a savory, tangy, rich flavor. The butter-topped escargot shells are a nice touch, as well, but the herb butter does tend to render out quite heavily. Tapas by Stratta has gotten some polarizing feedback, but that comes with the territory. This fine-dining demographic is notoriously not easy to please. Little things can irk them, things that wouldn’t faze a Strip restaurant. Hopefully the mercurial nature of the local clientele will not alter Stratta’s reentry onto the Vegas dining scene, and that, instead, like bigfoot, his presence will pull in curious locals and tourists alike to try some truly interesting Spanish-style cuisine.

*Dine-in only; not valid on catering or to-go orders. Full bar available at select locations.

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NUA N A H SIXT

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AVO L F H C SO MU

Debbie Lee Molly O’Donnell James P. Reza Greg Thilmont Mitchell Wilburn

photography

C hristo p her S mith illustrations

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OUR DEALICIOUS MEALERS •

Jim Begley John Coulter Scott Dickensheets Brent Holmes Andrew Kiraly

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EALS D D O O SUCH G


Pie oh my: Settebello’s $5 margherita mini-pie

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TACOs!

Korean “street tacos”

CENTRAL/STRIP

I z a kaya G o

Uni shumai The beauty of dumplings is that biting into one is like unwrapping a Christmas present — you never know what’s hidden underneath. And at Izakaya Go, the uni shumai swaddle melting dollops of sweet sea urchin in soft steamed wrappers for a surprise unlike any other. And it’s exactly what you wanted. JB 3775 Spring Mountain Road #301 702-247-1183

F orte E uro p ean T a p as B ar & B istro

Beef Stroganoff ragu

Forte, a colorful and extremely eclectic eatery, takes Russian pelmeni, or wild mushroom-filled dumplings, and coats them with a rich chipped beef sauce. It looks more like SOS-meets-potstickers than the archetypal noodly beef Stroganoff. Nevertheless, it’s an umami bomb of rich flavor. Four of these

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Slavic ravioli is all you’ll need. GT 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd. 702-220-3876 barforte.com

H erbs & R y e

Half-off happy hour

Rightly respected for its impressive craft cocktail menu, the speakeasy-styled Herbs & Rye also offers one of the best happy hour values in Vegas. Most steaks are halfprice, served with one of 10 tasty sides (Brussels sprouts & bacon? Yes!). Translation? Order the flat iron and a well drink and your tab is $19. Share with a date and it comes to $12 a person for a light steak dinner and booze. JPR 3713 W. Sahara Ave. 702-982-8036 herbsandrye.com

E l M enuda z o

Pozole rojo

While this east Lake Mead joint may have extended their hours beyond just the

Fusion dishes are all the rage with Korean tacos birthing the food truck revolution, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for innovation. And at Jayde Fuzion, Korean “street tacos” have been reinvented with scallion pancakes in lieu of taco shells. A subtle difference but the pancakes combined with kimchee vinaigrette offset the bulgogi’s inherent sweetness. JB

L eticia ’ s M exican C ocina

QuesaTacos Leticia’s menu proclaims the quesatacos as an “award-winning” dish, and who are we to disagree? With crispy brown Oaxacan cheese oozing from the tortilla edges, the dish is essentially a queso fundido taco with your choice of protein. And it’s even more delicious than it sounds. JB 7585 Norman Rockwell Lane #1 702-445-7722 leticiascocina. com

In The M Resort 702-797-1000 themresort.com

weekend, their pozole rojo remains one of the valley’s best breakfast options. A complex, rich broth rife with hominy and pork short ribs, you’ll hardly need a meal for the rest of the day. JB 3100 E. Lake Mead Blvd., NLV 702-944-9706 menudazo.com

R oberto ’ s T aco S ho p

Huevos rancheros A simple, uncomplicated dish surprisingly improved by a simple, uncomplicated touch: chopped bacon. (Not, Dios no lo quiera, bacon “bits.”) The salty, meaty bacon enlivens the transaction between the ranchero sauce and the fried eggs. Not every Roberto’s does this, but hopefully after reading this they will. SD 193 N. Gibson Road #100 702-558-9076 robertostacoshop.com

R ebel R e p ublic

Reuben egg roll

How do you make the famous Reuben sandwich more beer-drinking- and sports TV-watching-friendly? Well, you bind pastrami and Swiss cheese in a

TAC O S : B r e n t H o l m e s

Ja y de F u z ion


C arnevino T averna

Chicchetti

wonton wrapper and deep fry it all up, of course. The bar serves their delicatessen-inspired egg rolls with delectable “Rebel Sauce,” a thin, spicy-sweet mayo mixture. You won’t miss Thousand Island dressing at all. GT 3540 West Sahara Ave. 702-538-9050

I z a k a y a C oco k ala

Bakudan

With the proliferation of Japanese restaurants in the valley, it’s difficult to find a dish unique to a single menu. But that’s exactly what Izakaya Cocokala has in their bakudan — a bowl combining diced tuna, Japanese mountain potato, okra and funky natto (fermented soybeans). Whether or not you hit it with a dash of shoyu, you’ve got a nutritious and delicious dish. JB 4449 W. Flamingo Road 702-538-9556

V ila A lgarve

Grilled halloumi cheese Vila Algarve highlights Portuguese cuisine most Las Vegans — outside of those having had stints in Vegas’ Asian doppelganger of Macau — are unfamiliar with. But just because the food of Portugal is uncommon doesn’t mean the flavors and textures are unknowns. For instance, there is the grilled halloumi cheese where rectangular strips of the slightly salty cheese are endowed with a hint of smoke from the grill. Served alongside a peppery sauce tinged with heat, the cheese has the consistency of Wisconsin cheese curds and readily accepts the contrasting sauce’s flavor. And what’s more familiar than a Midwestern standby? JB 6120 W. Tropicana Ave. #A-11/12 702-666-3877 vilaalgarve.com

A special menu for the Taverna at Carnevino, it is the Venetian version of traditional tapas. Carnevino has plates at $9 each, with offerings like steak or tuna crudo on crispy potato, ricotta crustini with pepper jelly, or just a big delicious plate of “Galloni” prosciutto di Parma. MW In the Palazzo 702-789-4141 carnevino.com

E l D orado

Paco’s Mole Sampler At $26, this big plate of three moles — traditional Mexican sauces — isn’t inexpensive, but as a value proposition it’s edible gold. This surprisingly upscale kitchen delivers chicken slathered in rich blends of Oaxacan chocolate, pumpkin-chile poblano and Guajillo-chiptole chiles. Pork is available with a $5 upcharge. On the side comes refried or black beans, cilantro rice and tortillas. On the architectural side … yes, El Dorado is next to Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club — so very Vegas. GT 3025 S. Industrial Road 702-722-2289 eldoradovegas.com

thru

DEALICIOUS DRIVE

Juice ’N’ Go

1735 S. Rainbow Blvd.

Drive-thru grub on the go usually entails a heatlamp-tortured yuckburger or a limp burrito filled with wrenching suicidal anguish. Usually! Juice ’N’ Go offers convenience and health-conscious eats out of its colorful little hut off Oakey and Rainbow, cheerfully dispensing salads, wraps and, their signature items, juices and smoothies blended from actual, real-world food. Cars quickly wrap around the kiosk come lunchtime, so a little patience is in order. You could always pass the time by smoking. Ha, ha! Wouldn’t that be funny? AK (702-2425842, juice-n-go.com)

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Parma b y C hef M arc

The Parma sandwich

Patisserie Manon

the diners: Greg Thilmont and John Coulter the dishes: cassoulet ($10.25), Parisian ($6.95), escargot ($8.95)

Greg: Nobody

really expects a French place to have a good deal, right? Normally, people associate French food with expense, even though people in France don’t eat like that every day. What do you think so far? John: It’s pretty awesome. I like stuff inside a strip mall — that’s where you get the best deals. G: So, let’s talk about what we’ve got here. You’ve had cassoulet before, right? Normally, cassoulet comes in a big earthenware pan. And it gets a crust, because it’s slowbaked, and there’s beans and sausage, maybe duck … J: This feels like my mom made it. That’s

a compliment. G: This isn’t a total compliment, but it’s like the apotheosis of beanie-weenies. It’s got beans, a hunk of pork, some sausage ... J: (in comically exaggerated French accent) Sausage … G: The white beans; cassoulet’s gotta have white beans; tomato sauce. I mean, this ain’t no Van de Camps, right? This is pretty good. For those who can’t see it, it’s in a little sauce pan, with a copper bottom. If you were eating at your stove, by yourself, it might look pretty bad — like drunk food … J: Like you were trying to make sure your stomach’s full before … G: Exactly, like

you’re soaking it up. So we got that, some bread, for what, $10.50, $10.95? That’s a pretty good deal. It’s rich; it’s not super-filling, but it’s good. I mean, it’s not your 14-hour baked cassoulet, but … J: The beef was pretty good. G: And this is pretty crazy to see in a strip mall, but you can order a little ramekin of escargot — covered in a little herb butter ... J: The taste and texture, they remind me of morel mushrooms. And they remind me a little of Rocky Mountain oysters — pig testicles. G: Which people can’t get enough of. Now, in the West, it’s

all bull testicles. J: We had those occasionally, but they’re so huge, you really know you’re eating a testicle. G: We had to get a sandwich. What’ve we got here? J: The Parisian. G: So, we have in there ... what? J: Brie. Cornichon. Some sort of ham. G: This is very traditional, right? J: This is very good. Dig into the cassoulet. It’s very homey ... G: Comfort food. (Chewing) No truffles are in it. This might be the first time you go into a French place — well, there might be truffles here somewhere, but I haven’t seen any. J: (Chewing) Reminds me of home.

8751 W. Charleston Blvd. # 110, 702-586-2666, patisseriemanon.com

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G ordon R amsa y Pub & G rill

Crispy Calamari & Bacon Crackle Sports fans and aficionados of that burly, verbally vitriolic British master chef, the one and only Gordon Ramsay, should take a seat at the eponymous Pub & Grill in Caesars Palace. Order up a cold pint and dig into a prodigious bowl of Crispy Bacon Crackle. It’s a helluva great deal from one of Ramsay’s kitchens, filled with flash-fried sections of squid (including delectable tentacles) and ample bits of salty rasher. The mix comes with spicy pickled peppers and a tartar sauce that is definitely dill weed-forward. The “crackle” is one of those dishes that doles out more than one might guess at first look. Plus, Total Rewards members get a dollar off, making it a $17 good deal. GT In Caesars Palace 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 866-733-5827 caesars.com

P at i ss e r i e Ma n o n : B r e n t H o l m e s

Table for two

For a city its size, Las Vegas is surprisingly shallow in the quality submarine-style sandwich department. So when a restaurateur assembles one as worthy as The Parma, it’s worth making a voyage for one. Created by owner Chef Marc Sgrizzi, it’s a torpedo bursting at the seams with salami, soppressata, ham, mortadella, pepperoni, provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion, olive spread and red wine vinegar dressing. Mangia, indeed! GT 7591 W. Washington Ave. 702-233-6272 parmabychefmarc.com


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C afe M a y a k ovs k y

Vareniki

Archi’s Thai Kitchen

Homemade Ukrainian dumplings, stuffed with mashed potatoes or cottage cheese, are smothered in caramelized onions and sour cream for a hearty, ribsticking dish that will leave you feeling like a tranquilized brown bear. DL 1775 E. Tropicana Ave. #30 702-247-8766 cafemayakovsky.com

If you’re headed down Flamingo Road and you get the hankering for some top-notch koowah kai (wide rice noodles stir-fried with squid, chicken and egg and served over Romaine lettuce), roll into Archi’s Thai Kitchen, just east of Torrey Pines. The Southeast Asian eatery’s main sit-down location on West Sahara is known as one of the best places in Las Vegas to enjoy the cuisine of the former Kingdom of Siam. The Flamingo locale, however, makes ferrying cartons of savory Panang curry with rice and fresh papaya salad to your personal palace royally easy with its drive-thru window. But please, don’t try to fork into your order of pad Thai while operating your vehicle. Noodles and driving can tie up traffic in a bad way. GT (702-880-5550, archithai.com)

B ardot

Steak tartare on the happy hour menu Quite possibly the best restaurant to have an actual happy hour menu, it’s also one of the truly cheapest for the quality you get. French tarte flambé for $5, escargot en croute for $6, but the greatest deal by far is a huge, delicious steak tartare with crispy garlic, basil oil, and capers, all for $6! MW In Aria 877-230-2742

6360 W. Flamingo Road

Yusho

S treet D ogs L V

Chicken drummies

Venezuelan hot dog

I’m not sure how authentic street food Japanese chicken wings are, but that’s immaterial at Yusho, where they make no excuses for their riffs on traditional Asian fare. Intensely flavored with garlic and served with a salty red miso paste hinting of funk, I’d eat these from a sketchy street vendor any day. Or from Yusho. JB In the Monte Carlo 702-730-6700 yusholv.com

Venezuelan cuisine is not just about arepas, those little corn cakes so popu-

lar around town recently. A baseball-loving country, Venezuela fittingly has its own variety of hot dog. A traditional frank-in-a-bun is covered with shredded fresh cabbage, onion, ketchup, yellow mustard, garlic-parsley mayon-

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Farm Basket

6148 W. Charleston Blvd.

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that the eerily uniform crispy poultry slabs sandwiched up at Farm Basket have some esoteric hipster-gourmet cred. They don’t. They’re edible salt sticks that are basically sex toys for your dopamine receptors. However, I want you to know you can augment the experience of such shameless, unapologetic fast-food pleasure by driving through a barn. Thank you. AK (702878-6343, farmbasket chicken.com)

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naise and crushed potato chips. If this sounds mostly North American in origin, all-pros can add on shredded beef, chicken or pork and a spicy pepper sauce for a more South American-style home run. Napkins are needed. Side one with a cup of papelón con limón, a chilled beverage of sugar cane and lime juices that has a nice grassy undertone. Try your first Venezuelan hot dog at Street Dogs LV, a brightly painted, shiny food cart operated by Eliana Celis and Luis Fernandez, a friendly young couple. GT 2101 S. Rainbow Blvd. streetdogslv.com

I n y o A sian V ariet y R estaurant

Yari ika

While Inyo may represent itself as Asian variety, Executive Chef Gregg Fortunato is particularly adept at the Japanese cuisine he learned while at the helm of Blue Ribbon. And his lightly grilled yari ika — whole squid in an outrageous garlic soy

butter sauce — is simply among the best valley’s dishes from the Land of the Rising Sun. Pretty fly for a white guy. JB 6000 W. Spring Mountain Road #1B 702-248-0588 inyolv.com

D ivine C af é

Charcuterie plate Divine Café offers a gorgeous vista of the Sin City skyline and has great al fresco seating. Its bounteous charcuterie plate is piled with prosciutto, salami, cheddar, roasted tomatoes, dates, grapes, strawberries and Parmesan cracker bread. Springs Preserve members even get a discount. GT 333 S. Valley View Blvd. 702-822-7700 springspreserve.org

DOWNTOWN

R adio C it y Pi z z a

New pizza slice

Jake Leslie of Goodwich fame took over Radio City Pizza, and their slice got a substantial upgrade from passable drunk grub to gourmet. But don’t worry, you can get a white, pesto, or traditional slice for around $3 at the window, extra good garlickiness on the house. MO 508 Fremont St. 702-982-5055 radiocitypizza.com

O cha T hai & C hinese C uisine

Chicken with chili and mint leaves

Forget the crowds at Lotus and grab some chicken


BURGERS!

S ha k e S hac k

Double ShackBurger

with chili and mint leaves from Ocha. Although at $9.95, it just seems like an unassuming plate of ground chicken, one bite of this spicy and savory dish, with its hints of lime and mint, will have Thai lovers shouting, “Eat your heart out, Siam.” MO 1201 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 702-386-8631 ochathai.weebly.com

T he G ood w ich

Burgers: Brent Holmes

Grilled cheese sandwich

The Goodwich gourmet kiosk makes the best griddled sammies in the Mojave, hands down. This is simply proven by their rock bottom-priced $3 grilled cheese job. Try one with marbled rye. Of course, melty American makes the middle. Ask them to add in some mostarda, a housemade, savory dried-fruit condiment with roots in medieval Italy. Superb! GT 1516 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 702-910-8681 the-goodwich.com

B un k house S aloon

Fried chicken sandwich Fried chicken cooked until golden on the outside and juicy on the inside isn’t just for Southerners, especially when served on soft brioche and topped it with crisp coleslaw. At $9, “yum” doesn’t really seem to cover it. MO 124 S. 11th St. 702-854-1414 bunkhousedowntown.com

Po p U p Pi z z a

Garlic fries Pop Up Pizza has been a downtown purveyor of the staple slice for a while now, but who knew they sold something better than their delicious ’za? Their aromatic salty and satisfying $2.99 garlic fries are so good, you’ll have to pretend you’re training for a marathon and order a side with your slice. MO In The Plaza, 1 S. Main St. 702-366-0049 popuppizzalv.com

In-N-Out is the long-reigning king of West Coast burgers, but with the recent arrival of Shake Shack, there’s a new contender for the crown. Because if you like the Double-Double, then you’ll love the Double ShackBurger. Think of it as the Double-Double 2.0: Two slightly charred patties simply layered with lettuce, tomato, American cheese and tangy ShackSauce (fry sauce) between potato buns. Competition is so sweet. JB

B un k house S aloon

Wiener ’ s C ircle

Sloppy joes

Char burger

One of the best places in Las Vegas to take in rock music of the “indie” variety, the retrofitted Bunkhouse Saloon has a surprisingly good menu, including four kinds of sloppy joes, those messy meals of youth. Nicely crusted hamburger buns hold in piles of saucy, savory ground beef, pork sausage, turkey or even veggie “meat.” Wash one down with a tallboy of beer and some reverb. GT

In New YorkNew York 725-222-6730

C hicago Joe ’ s

Pasta lunch special

Chicago Joe’s just screams Old Vegas. It’s a venerable Downtown monument to the Italian-American cuisine of

124 S. 11th St. 702-854-1414 bunkhouse downtown.com

In a town full of native Chicagoans — myself included — the latest Windy City import might not be what you expect. Known for its raucous behavior (check out Jack McBreyer’s visit from Conan) and hot dogs, the Wiener’s Circle is also serving a memorable burger in the char burger. Intensely charred as the name would suggest, it’s a great burger from a city known for its hot dogs. JB In Red Rock and Santa Fe Station thewieners circlelv.com

yore, as well as the Rat Pack. The weekday lunch special brings bread, a salad, a plate of pasta and a soft drink to your red- and white-checkered tablecloth for less than $10. Linguine with marinara and a $2 meatball add-on is a good bet. Some things should just stay the same. GT J ULY 2 0 1 5

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820 S. Fourth St. 702-382-5637 chicagojoesrestaurant.com

M a k ers & F inders

Chicken tinga empanadas One of the darlings of New Downtown, Makers & Finders features stylish but approachable South American-inspired cuisine. The chicken tinga empanadas are savory turnovers filled with chipotle-tinged shredded meat. Their smoky flavor is brightened with a creamy lime-avocado drizzle. They’re pretty, to boot. GT 1120 S. Main St. 702-586-8255 makersandfinderslv.com

M ariscos Pla y a E scondida

Ceviche mixto Hidden away in a strip mall on the corner of Charleston and Maryland Parkway might be the valley’s best Mexican seafood at Mariscos Playa Escondida. And among the seafood specialties is a sharp ceviche mixto brimming with whitefish, octopus, shrimp and scallops. If it dwells under the sea, you’re bound to find it in this dish. JB 1203 E. Charleston Blvd. 702-906-1124

nova (smoked salmon) cream cheese for some decadent noshing. GT 301 N. Buffalo Drive 702-255-3444 thebagelcafelv.com

S huc k ’ s T avern

Dollar oysters

Seafood lovers and the bivalve-curious would be wise to visit this neighborhood tavern on Thursdays for platters of Gulf Coast oysters on the half shell — they’re a bargain at a buck per piece. (For fifty cents extra, you can try them fried, steamed or baked.) DL 9338 W. Flamingo Rd. 702-255-4890 shuckstavern.com

E cho & R ig

Happy hour trio

Why not sample before you buy the whole cow? The happy hour (3-6p daily, 10p-close Mon-Sat) at this praised butchery and steakhouse plates two sublime Vegas throwbacks for $1.99 each: steak & eggs and shrimp cocktail. Add a grilled Hebrew National hot dog ($1), and you have a divine protein

T he B agel C af é

Bialy with nova cream cheese

Push away that blueberry bagel and grab its traditional Polish cousin, the bialy. The Bagel Café serves them crusty and wide; they look like small tires of bready goodness. Get one sliced and schmeared with

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S ettebello

$5 Mini Pies If you like authentic Italian pizza, you likely already know and love our city’s only certified Vera Pizza Napoletana.

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SUMMERLIN/WEST/ NORTHWEST

plate under five bucks. Quaff a beer ($3), well drink ($4) or wine ($5), and this is serious bang for 10 bucks or less. JPR Tivoli Village, 440 S. Rampart Blvd. 702-489-3525 echoandrig.com

Camille by Manon 2170 S. Rainbow Blvd.

Of all the unlikely cuisines to take the drive-thru route, French had to be at the top of the non! list. But au contraire, mon frere, you can get a croquemonsieur (open-face bread broiled with ham, Gruyere cheese and béchamel sauce) from your auto at Camille by Manon — it doesn’t even have to be a Citroën! While Americanisms like croissant sandwiches aren’t revolutionary for vehicular gastronomy, window-bagging viands like beef Bourguignon or quiche Lorraine are not common to say the least. One can almost imagine millions of Frenchmen falling off their bikes and breaking their baguettes when they heard what Las Vegas was doing to their venerable foodways. Sacrebleu! GT (702-586-2669, patisseriemanon.com)


Less known is Settebello’s happy hour (8p-close, in the bar), which tantalizes with smoking deals on many of Settebello’s best menu items, often in more personal sizes. But while all happy hours feature food and/or drink specials, no others offer a $5 “mini” version of the Diavola, a diabolically delicious pie featuring Finnochiona, roasted red peppers, garlic, tomatoes and more. We usually order one with a Peroni. And then another. And, occasionally, another. It happens. JPR 9350 W. Sahara Ave. 702-901-4877 settebello.net

John C utter

Philly Fries

Screw the roll and get right to the meat of things with this messy bar food masterpiece. Steak fries are smothered in a mountain of shaved ribeye, onions and mushrooms, and then drowned in glorious liquid gold, aka cheese sauce. At happy hour, you can get a generous half order (it can feed a small country) for $6. DB 11770 W. Charleston Blvd. # 110 702-309-6300 johncutterlv.com

A ngel’ s F ried R ice

Mo k o as i a n b i st r o : B r e n t H o l m e s

House fried rice

This new strip mall eatery is tiny, as in two-tables-teensy. But its offmenu special, the house fried rice, is big on chunks of ham and chicken. It’s strewn with shrimp and has almost an omelet’s worth of scrambled eggs, too. So get those chopsticks working! GT 3655 S. Durango Drive #9 702-889-0468 angelsfriedrice.com

Table for two

Moko Asian Bistro the diners: Scott Dickensheets, Brent Holmes the dishes: Kimchi fried rice ($7), bulgogi pasta ($7)

Brent: You can get kimchi fried rice at almost every Korean restaurant from here to Kalamazoo. I don’t even like fried rice, I’ll be honest. I first tried this one on a fluke — and it was perfect. Scott: How’s the spiciness of it? B: It’s not super-spicy at first. One of the really neat things about it is that as you eat, it goes from flavorful with a spicy back to hotter and hotter. S: It’s cumulative. B: It’s cumulative. And there are some perfect-cut carrots, zucchini — S: Is that bacon? B: Yes, bacon. And every single grain of

rice is coated with a little oil, a little spice. There’s great pickle and heat from the kimchi. And it’s seven bucks! S: This is seven bucks, too. I’ve never seen bulgogi-beef noodles before. B: There’s a lot of different bulgogi dishes out there, but I’ve never seen a bulgogi noodle dish, either — especially a not-soupy version. This is a drier treatment. S: It’s flavorful, but not spicy. B: It’s got that rich, meaty thing. There’s almost like a really satisfied 5-year-old in there. It’s almost a Chef Boyardee vibe, you know?

You’re getting these rich chunks of meat and these chewy noodles, and that’s neat for the kid in you, but the flavor palate is advanced enough that you can look another adult in the eye. S: Well, I’m a gutbucket; I’m not embarrassed by my food. But yeah, it’s a very sophisticated take on spaghetti. B: Same here. Fried rice is an entry-level, American-Asian dish. And this is so far above that, presentation-wise, in sophistication, in execution of flavor … S: And if you order fried rice at a fastfood Asian place, you’ll get a mountain

of it — twice what you have there. And yet by some inverse magic, your little pile of rice will turn out to be pretty filling. B: We don’t talk much about what flavor can do to perceptions of serving. People make fun of high-end restaurants for serving very small plates. But they’re encapsulating a lot of depth, a lot of flavor — S: The richness itself is filling. B: Right. I couldn’t get through this if it was the size of a Panda Express friedrice bucket. This is more than enough to get you through the rest of your day.

6350 W. Charleston Blvd. #120, 702-489-4995, mokolasvegas.com

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Veggies!

Cornish Pasty Co.

Strip View Café

Veggie Chicken Tikka Masala

Chilled cucumber soup

No one has ever asked where the beef is at Sunrise, at least not if they tried the three beans burrito. Passing the omnivore test with flying colors, the chili burrito, with soy chorizo, couscous, sour cream, spinach, cream cheese, and an authentic chili cook-off flavor, is a steal at $6.20. MO 3130 E. Sunset Road #A 702-433-3304 sunrisecoffeelv. com

There aren’t many things better than chicken tikka masala ... except perhaps tikka masala wrapped in a flaky, buttery piecrust and served with a pint. That’s right, your favorite Indian dish is portable. The Pasty Company’s veggie version is so good, no one would guess it’s un-chick, not chicken. $9. MO

Cool off by the spoonful with a refreshing cup of tarator at Strip View Café. This chilled soup of Balkan origin is a mix of chopped cucumber, yogurt, olive oil, garlic and dill. It’s tart and herbal, and comes with crusty bread for dipping. GT 3225 S. Rainbow Blvd. 702-471-7171 stripviewcafe vegas.com

953 E. Sahara Ave. 702-862-4538 cornishpastyco. com

B avarian C astle

Potato pancakes

Run by a family of German expats, Henderson’s Bavarian Castle exudes authenticity. Look no further than the crispy panfried, hand-formed potato pancakes, which look like they’re straight from a German grandmother’s kitchen. And that’s because they are. How much more authentic can you get? JB 10890 S. Eastern Ave. 702-778-2800

L uc k y F oo ’ s R estaurant & B ar

Forbidden black rice

Astute diners may have noticed forbidden rice sneaking onto local menus as the obscure, jet-black grain vies for the title of “2015’s kale” as the new

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It Ingredient. And during lunchtime at Lucky Foo’s, their forbidden black rice combines the eponymous grain with cotija cheese, avocado, haricots verts (green beans) and red onion jam. It may seem an incongruous group of ingredients, but the bowl brims with nuttiness, acidity and smoke with each forkful. Welcome 2015! JB 8955 S. Eastern Ave. 702-650-0669 luckyfoos.com

B ootlegger

Meatball sliders

Kauai C afe

Da surf rider

HENDERSON/SOUTH VALLEY

and scallops encrusted in crushed macadamia nuts make up the surf; a heap of teriyaki beef works as the turf. Side dishes are equally unforgiving in their calorie count. Choose between fried rice or noodles and an obligatory scoop of mayo-heavy macaroni salad. DL 10140 W. Tropicana Ave. #122 702-754-3559

You will never convince me that Hawaiian cuisine is best in a refined form. Its greatness lies in the fact that it floats in a gray area between fast food and casual dining: affordable, no frills (and often fried) fare that will fill you up quickly. For the perfect example, head to this hidden hole in the wall and tuck into their island-style version of surf and turf. Deep-fried coconut shrimp

For Las Vegans who arrived after 1972, The Bootlegger has been part of life since day one. That’s when Maria & Al Perry opened the restaurant and lounge, thus launching a long-lasting tradition in a city with far too few of them. After 19 years at Tropicana and Eastern, the family built a new location, far south on Las Vegas Boulevard. We’re happy that the joint’s ambiance (including a few old booths) made the move as well. In

V e g g i e D i sh e s : B r e n t H o l m e s

Sunrise Coffee

Vegetarian chili with three beans burrito


combination of soft-dough dumplings, creamy pesto sauce, and candied walnuts, the crispy gnocchi is so delicious and cheap ($7.50), you won’t care how they do it, as long as they keep up the good work. MO 8310 S. Rainbow Blvd. #100 702-293-5003

C oo C oo ’ s G ourmet C offee C af é a city always reaching for what’s next, few things remain as Old Vegas as Mondays at the Bootlegger, when Kelly Clinton hosts an open-mic night that is something of a Who’s Who of Vegas entertainment. Also classic? The spot serves ’round the clock, and one of our favorite times to drop by is 11p-6a, when the Nite Owl menu plates an abbreviated dinner selection, plus breakfast, pizza, and (our favorite) Bootlegger Sliders. Just $8 gets you three tasty gut bombs (meatball, chicken, or eggplant Parmigiana) and almost too many fries — a delicious combo for soaking up the booze. JPR 7700 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 702-736-4939 bootleggerlasvegas.com

S erenade

Honey toast

Think of it as an Asian ice cream sandwich (or a bread bowl for future diabetics): a toasted brick of starch, slathered in butter, sprinkled with sugar and served à la mode. If the Sugar Plum Fairy had a palace, it’d be built with this stuff. DL 7920 S. Rainbow Blvd. #100 702-466-0616

T he S p ar k lings B arstaurant

Aunt Jackie’s Belgian Waffles

Something about the batter — they use only the freshest Belgians — results in thick waffles that are almost as light as the mounds of whipped cream on top. So you don’t get up feeling waffle-bloated. They come topped with fresh fruit (tip: strawberries rule) and syrup on the side, but you won’t want it. SD 19 Pacific Ave. 702-568-5069 coocooscafe.com

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Sammy’s L.A. Pastrami & Burgers 4035 S. Decatur Blvd.

You’ll need three things at Sammy’s L.A. Pastrami & Burgers. First would be well-functioning shock absorbers as you heft bags of cured meat-laden buns into your car’s passenger seat. Second is a hollow leg to find room for insane combinations like the 502 Fry. It’s a pound of French fries loaded-up with grilled rib-eye steak, cheddar cheese, chili and, of course, pastrami. You’ll also need time at this small shack, as your Black & Bleu burger will be griddled to order. By the way, the menu is voluminous, running into gyro, hot wing, custard shake and beyond territory. GT (702-644-8747, sammys pastrami.ordersnapp. com)

Crispy gnocchi

How do they get the gnocchi crispy? It’s the most delicious secret anyone’s ever kept. A gourmet

BONUS

Dig in to our previous DEALicious Meals features at desertcompanion.vegas

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It’s hot. Why not stay inside and read? Great idea! Here are some Las Vegas stories to kick off a long, lazy, page-turning summer illustrations by Y a n n

Legendre

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E xc e r p t

‘I have brought you here to tell you a story’ From Dragonfish, the debut novel by Vu Tran

Vu Tran’s upcoming novel Dragonfish is set in the Vietnamese underworld of Las Vegas. Robert, an Oakland cop, can’t let go of Suzy, the mysterious Vietnamese wife who recently left him. Now she’s remarried a Vietnamese man named Sonny, a dangerous Vegas smuggler and gambler who’s been violent with her. So Robert has come to town, looking to hurt Sonny and to redeem himself. In this scene, he meets with Sonny’s son in Chinatown, at a Japanese restaurant that “Sonny Jr.” manages. He dabbed at his forehead with the napkin, pocketed it, and said, “I have something to show you. It will behoove you to come with me.” “I’m guessing this something is not your father.” Instead of answering me, he nodded toward the front of the restaurant. “You are free to go if you want. But I think you will regret it.” I still hadn’t moved. “You’re the police officer here,” he said. “It should be me who is nervous.” I felt vaguely embarrassed and downed the rest of my beer before getting up. As I gestured for him to lead the way, I noticed again how much taller I was. On our way to the kitchen, we passed two private tatami rooms, each being busily prepared by the staff for the swarm of guests out front. Foolishly or not, the presence of so many people eased my mind. The kitchen was staffed by Mexicans and Asians, all in white uniforms. No one paid us any attention as we walked to the back, toward a door marked OFFICE. Junior unlocked it, and once we stepped inside he relocked it. He approached an enormous, door-size oil painting of a geisha walking up a dark flight of stairs. There was a clock on the wall beside it, which he set to midnight, then he turned the minute hand three revolutions clock-

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wise and two revolutions counterclockwise. The painting slowly swung open from the wall like a door, revealing a passageway and a dark descending staircase. He walked down and with a glance over his shoulder said, “It will close again in ten seconds.” Visions of my own doom flittered through my head, but at that point I’d already talked myself into following. If he wanted to lure me into danger, he wouldn’t be this obvious about it, even if he figured me for a complete idiot. The kid seemed too smart to underestimate a cop. He really wanted to show me something, and I wasn’t ready yet to walk away. We reached a long dim hallway and passed six closed doors, each with a keypad over the knob. At the end we stopped at a door that was set much farther away from the others. He punched a series of numbers on the keypad and something clicked. He pushed the door open completely before walking inside. I heard soft oriental music. The room glowed bluish and shimmered. It was no more than eight hundred square feet but felt cavernous, with a lofty ceiling and walls of glass surrounding us, behind them water and fish. I had entered a gigantic aquarium. The three walls before me each showed the


flush faces of four separate tanks, framed in quadrants like giant television monitors, their blue-lit waters filled with stingrays and sharks and what looked like piranha and other menacing fish, swimming around beds of coral and white gravel. High above me were two ceiling fans, their slow synchronous spinning like the gears of a machine. I noticed then the small video camera perched in the corner, peering down at us. On a large oriental rug in the center of the room stood a black leather couch, two dolphin chairs, and a glass coffee table. Sonny Jr. walked to the table and took a cigarette from the pack lying there, lit it casually, and approached the tank of stingrays. I sensed something behind me. Haunting the hallway outside, in his oversize bib of an apron, was the seven-foot Mexican, his dull Frankenstein face looming beyond the top of the doorframe, nearly severed by it. Junior spoke Vietnamese to him and he stepped inside, bowing to do so, and propelled me farther into the room until I was standing by the black couch. He untied his apron and let it wilt onto the floor, then closed the door behind him. I don’t know why it had taken this long for my nerves to kick in, but as soon as the door clicked shut, I clenched my jaw. It struck me that the Mexican spoke three languages, including Vietnamese, apparently, and something about this — the fact that he belonged completely to this absurd situation — was both comical and deeply troubling. I said to Junior, “Your father has expensive pets.” “He is not here, Mr. Robert,” he replied and ashed into an ashtray he held in his other hand — yet another overly formal mannerism. He gestured at the entire room. “But I have brought you to meet his fish. You may already know that they are not ... particularly legal. This one here” — he pointed at a creature over two feet long, with a golden, undulating body, glimmering in the light — “is an Asian arowana. A dragonfish. Very endangered in the wild. They’re supposed to bring good luck, keep evil away, bring the family together. Asians always love believing in that. Our clients will pay over ten thousand for a gold one like this.” He glanced at me for a response. I gave him nothing. His

arrogance with all this was confusing, but more than anything it was beginning to annoy me. He watched the fish intently. “You’ve heard of caliche?” he said with his back to me. “It’s a dense bed of calcium carbonate in the desert soil. Harder than concrete. They must often use special drills to remove it. Because of caliche, my father spent a fortune building all this. Being underground, you see, that’s very important to him. He comes down here two or three times a week, sometimes for an entire day, to smoke and listen to music, to be alone with his fish, remove himself entirely from the world. For all his flaws, he is a man who values peace.” “Maybe he just values a nice hiding place.” “A person can hide anywhere, Mr. Robert. Even right out in the open. You do, don’t you? How long could you stand it down here, all alone, with nowhere to hide, with no one but you and yourself?” I took a step toward him and heard the Mexican shuffle his feet behind me. I spoke to Junior’s back. “I’ve met your fish. Why else have you brought me here?” He turned around, expelling smoke through his nostrils. “I have brought you here to tell you a story.” He licked his lips and brushed ash from his breast. “You see, my father appreciates these fish because they are beautiful and bring him a lot of money. But they also remind him of home—they bring home to him. It is the irony, you see, that is valuable: a tiny tropical ocean here in the middle of the desert; all these fish swimming beneath sand. The casinos in this city sell you a similar kind of irony, but what we have here is genuine and real, because it also keeps us who we are.” “Who you are? You and your pops run a Japanese restaurant.” “Be quiet, Mr. Robert, and listen.” He put out his cigarette and walked over to take a seat in one of the dolphin chairs. He grabbed a remote off the table and pressed a button and the music faded into the soft purr of the aquarium pumps. Unbuttoning his jacket, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, he offered me the face of a boy but sounded like an old man.

a moment with vu tran On how living in Las Vegas influenced his fiction: “When you set a novel in Las Vegas, you inevitably trap yourself in a landscape that most readers will have very specific and vivid ideas about, even if they’ve never been there. It’s strippers and gamblers, neon and glitter, excess and depravity. Early on in writing the novel, because I was telling a violent crime story that featured poker players and gangsters, I struggled a great deal with how to handle these and other, sometimes unavoidable Vegas tropes, how to get the city right but in an unexpected and unique way. The further I got into the novel, however, the less I worried about what might be hackneyed. The thing that ultimately mattered was whether something was convincing within the world I had built around it. The novel would feel real and interesting not because it avoids cliché, but because the reader believes in my characters and things they do and feel.”

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71


M Ic rof ic t ion

Vegas Lights in Vegas Nights by M e r c e d e s

Yardle y

@mercedesmy You guys. Can you see this? Stars are falling in #LasVegas. Like, crazy ones. RT @xxmolder umm RT @xxmolder i think maybe the #eiffeltower in #vegas just blew up? RT @patrickfrievald Something big crashed into the street. Checking it out. @mercedesmy Hearing power is out on South side. True? Good in North. @nikkiguerlain @mercedesmy pwr is out were fine did u c the sky RT @jennybeanses @Monkeywright Are you okay???? Contact me asap!!!! #notjoking #notfunanymore @mercedesmy Have you ever seen anything like this? @mercedesmy You can hear them fall. They sound like helicopters and wind chimes. Never heard anything like it. @mercedesmy @xxmolder but it sounds kinda familiar yeah? I mean, scary and all, but RT @teasinglulubass things r falling from the sky. cant tell if theyre metal or meteors RT @VegasNews Strange phenomena in the #night #sky. Debris raining down. RT @VegasNews Injuries reported. #Emergency personnel at the scene. More #live coverage. RT @patrickfrievald Can’t get close to whatever it is. Too hot and bright to look at. #getmarshmallows @mercedesmy Strangely beautiful though, isn’t it? @mercedesmy It feels weird to even say that. @teasinglulubass @nikkiguerlain fitting RT @xxmolder you guys getting lag? @xxmolder @mercedesmy Lots of lag. Keeping my phone close, but I’m going to go outside @xxmolder @mercedes and watch everything for a while. So beautiful. @mercedesmy @patrickfrievald I wouldn’t. They’re coming down fast. RT @jennybeanses @Monkeywright! Can’t get a hold of you! Where are you? @nikkiguerlain gr8 end of the world and were on twitter

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“Twenty years ago,” he said, “my parents and I escaped Vietnam by boat. Ninety people in a little fishing boat made for maybe twenty. We were headed for Malaysia. On our sixth night at sea we hit a terrible storm and my mother fell overboard. No one saw it. It was too dark and stormy, and the waters were too violent for anyone to save her anyway. I was seven at the time. I will not bore you with a tragedy. I will only say that her death hardened my father, made him more fearless than he already was. “In any case, after nine days, our boat finally made it to the refugee camp in Malaysia, on a deserted island off the coast. The first day my father and I were there, a few ruffians in the camp made themselves known to us. My father was once in a gang back in Vietnam and had also fought in the war, so he was not afraid. He ignored them. A week later, one of them stole my rice ration. He slapped me several times, pushed me to the ground, ripped the sack out of my hand. For one last scare, he grabbed my wrist and ran a knife across it, barely cutting the skin. I ran to my father, bawling, and before he said a single word, he too slapped me. Shut me up in an instant.” Junior peered at his hands for a moment, like he was studying his nails. His sudden sincerity felt real, except I couldn’t locate its purpose. He went on: “He took me by the arm and dragged me to the part of the camp where the ruffians hung out, near the edge of the forest. There was hardly anyone around except three young men kneeling and playing dice outside their hut. One of them was the man who had attacked me. My father made me point him out, then had me stand under a palm tree. He ordered me to watch. On a tree stump nearby, someone had butchered an animal and left the bloody cleaver and my father grabbed it and marched up behind the man and kicked him hard in the back of the head. The man fell forward, dazed, and his two friends pounced at my father, but he was already brandishing the cleaver. They backed off. My father grabbed the man by the back of his shirt and dragged him to the tree stump. In one swift motion he placed the man’s hand on the stump and threw down the cleaver and hacked off three fingers. The man screamed. Suddenly there were voices around us, faces appearing in doorways, from behind the trees. I heard a woman shriek. The man was kneeling on the ground, stunned and whimpering, clasping his bloody hand to his chest. His fingers—the three middle ones—still lay on the tree stump. His two friends could only stare at them. My father flung the cleaver away and bent down and muttered something in his ear. Then he wiped his own hand on his pants and held mine as we walked back to our shack. We stayed in that camp for three more months before we came


to the States. No one ever bothered us again.” Sonny Jr. stood from the chair and walked over again to the stingrays. He took out the linen napkin and wiped the glass where his finger had pointed at the arowana. “I still occasionally have dreams about that afternoon,” he said, as if to the fishes. Then he turned to me thoughtfully. “But I’m not telling you this story so that you’ll pity me. I simply want you to understand what kind of man my father is. I want you, in your own way, to respect it. He will hurt you, Mr. Robert. If he doesn’t do it this time, he will find you some other time and hurt you then. No matter what. “So please, think of this conversation—this situation between us—as an exchange of trust. I have brought you down here, an officer of the law, to see my father’s illegal business. This rather foolish gesture should convince you of my good intentions. Please trust that I am trying to help you. I’m offering you the door now and trusting you to forget your plans in this city, to go home and not say a word of what you have seen. A man of your sentiments should appreciate the sincerity of this offer.” I watched him neatly fold the napkin and place it back in his pocket. His fastidiousness seemed overdone, just like his words. He’d both shown me his hand and told me how to play mine, but it all still smelled like a bluff. The kid knew he was smart, and in my experience if you let people think they’re smarter, they’ll try a little less to outsmart you. That’s easier said than done though. I walked over to the couch and sat down. I hadn’t smoked since Suzy left me—another part of my detox plan, since smoking together was one of the few things we never stopped doing. But now I took a cigarette from the pack and lit up. I squinted up at him. “Why do you want so badly to help me?” I said. “Is it really me you’re protecting? Or is it your father? Because somehow I feel he’s no longer the hard man you say he is. Maybe never was. And I’m guessing maybe you made up that dramatic little story just to scare me. But even if it is true, I’ve dealt with scarier people. Now why you’ve chosen to show me all this fish stuff is still a mystery to me—though I’d wager you just like getting off on your own smarts and impressing people. You’ve either read too many books or listened to people who’ve read too many books. Either way, it’s not my fault that I can’t understand half the things you say. But what I do understand is this …” I leaned forward on the couch. “Your father is a thug. Not only that, he’s a coward. He threw a woman down the stairs and broke her arm. Who knows what else he did or could’ve done or might do in the future, but men like him only have the guts to do that to a woman. You’re a smart boy. You

know I’m right. He’s your father and you want to protect him. That’s fine. It’s admirable. But my business with him has nothing to do with you.” I stood from the couch and walked around the table, stopping a few yards from him. “I’d tell you to fuck off, but that would be rude. I will say that I have police buddies who know exactly where I am and who your father is, and if I don’t say hi to them next week, they’ll know where to come find me.” I took a long drag from the cigarette, flicked it on the ground. “I want to speak with your father. That’s it. All the rest of this doesn’t mean a whole lot of shit to me.” Junior glared at my cigarette on the floor, still curling smoke, then at me. I couldn’t tell if he believed me or saw through my empty threat. From behind him, the stingrays swam languidly around his thin, stiff figure like a flock of vultures. His eyes looked past me, and he nodded, and before I could turn, I felt the Mexican’s meaty arms clasp around me, crushing my chest so I could hardly breathe. My feet left the floor, my body seeming to spin like the ceiling fans above me, and I felt a fumbling at my ankle holster and soon saw Sonny Jr. with my five-shot, which he deposited in his jacket pocket. He said something in Vietnamese, and the Mexican shoved me to the floor, forcing me flat onto my stomach. With his knee digging into my lower back, he twisted one of my arms behind my shoulder and held the other to the floor before my flattened face. I could do nothing but grunt beneath him, a doll in his hands, the tile floor numbing my cheek. I looked up and Sonny Jr. had taken off his jacket. From his pants pocket, he now pulled out a switchblade, which he opened. The Mexican wrenched my extended forearm so that my wrist was exposed. Junior kneeled and planted his shoe on my palm. He steadied the blade across my wrist. “Wait!” I gasped. I struggled but could hardly budge under the Mexican and his boulder of a knee. Junior slowly dragged the blade. I could feel its icy sharpness slice the surface of my skin. It was like a crawling itch, not yet painful, but my jaw clenched so tightly that it ached. He lifted his shoe. A line of blood appeared across my wrist, swelled. I suddenly saw Junior’s open palm beside my face. He pulled back his sleeve and revealed the thin pale scar, like a bracelet, around his wrist. “You and I,” he murmured, “now share something.” Vu Tran has a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from UNLV. He is the winner of a Whiting Award and teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago.

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73


Short St ory

Coyotes of the Apocalypse By David Armstrong

She remembered dancing in the desert. She remembered stars. It was a dream, but one that felt vivid and made her giddy, her head bubbly. She’d been light as wind, a part of the nightscape whispering over the hills. Focus, Gemma thought. Time to focus. She pushed the dream to the back of her mind and found a seat near the front of the empty classroom, which despite the early hour had already turned into an oven. On the board were the words: Summer School: Grade 8, EARTH SCIENCE and MATH. Gemma had never been in a classroom. She’d been homeschooled in what Pap called “the compound,” the family’s desert stronghold composed of four double-wides welded together in a donut shape with a central “courtyard” where Pap and Jeanie modified guns and barbecued ribs and drank beer in busted lawn chairs. The compound lay thirty miles southwest of Las Vegas as the crow flies, though it took far longer by vehicle to hit the web of unpaved and unnamed roads that led to its front gate and its security fence rimmed with razor wire. Excitement crackled through Gemma’s every nerve. Her dream had, she knew, been brought on by her anticipation of this very morning, the freeing feeling of soon having friends her own age, talking about anything other than muzzle velocities and auto sears. She smiled hopefully at two girls who entered and stood on either side of her. The first girl was tall and pretty. Her hair was a lustrous brown. Her pale skin was white as paper and she smelled like fancy lotion. “Why are your jeans so dirty?” she asked Gemma. “Why do you smell so bad?” said the second girl. The girl had large breasts for her age. She looked older, like a woman, Gemma thought. “Nice zits,” said the tall girl.

“You smell like” — the busty girl lowered her voice — “poop.” The word sounded childish to Gemma, but it was a sharp-edged thing slipped from the girl’s smile like a dagger. Gemma lowered her eyes and stared at her desk. Two boys took seats in the back and began pelting Gemma with bits of broken pencil. The girls seated themselves two rows away and snickered. The girl who’d said “poop” told everyone filing in they “might want to stay on this side of the room” if they wanted to breathe. The teacher trudged in and took attendance. Gemma waited until she was certain none of the other students were looking, then ducked her head and took the slightest whiff of her shirt.

***** That night she gazed out at the desert from the rickety steps of the compound. To the northeast, Las Vegas shot the night sky with its bullying lights. The stars had long since died of shame in that part of the sky, and electric now lanced the once black dome of heaven. The desert burned a hot blue. The tin roofs had been baked like hot teal cookie sheets. The hot sand spread out in a brilliant cerulean littered with midnight-tinged saltbush and cacti and funny-armed Joshua trees silhouetted and menacing as men lurking against the horizon. The corrugated walls of the trailer, which were a glaring white by day, were smeared with that awful blue, that polluted color of the wrecked night sky. All of it blue. So blue it hurt your heart. She spread her arms out before her. Blue skin. Blue nails. Blue stupid wart on her thumb. Before February, life had been simple. Jeanie and Pap dealt guns, mainly through vets Pap knew from Korea days. The vets brought bikers

A moment with David Armstrong What were the origins of “Coyotes of the Apocalypse”? I was reading about light pollution and how it affected the biorhythms of animals when I heard about the suicide of a young local girl. That our children take this step, and with regularity, says to me that we as a society are failing to understand the ways in which the most vulnerable among us suffer. “Coyotes of the Apocalypse” became a story about gestures of empathy on the smallest and largest scales. I’d like to believe — in order to save one girl’s life — if it came down to shutting off all the lights in Las Vegas, we would find a way to do it. Is there a book that you’d recommend to people who want to read something meaningful about Vegas? The most powerful work I’ve read set in Las Vegas is actually a short story by Darrell Spencer entitled “Squeeze Me, I Sing,” about a father who treks the city with his handicapped child (Georgia Review, Spring 2012). Your best tip for beating the summer heat? Move slowly. Drink water.

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and survivalist groups, but only buyers approved by Pap. Pap had strict rules. One was Gemma had to be homeschooled because, in his words, people who went to public schools were “domesticated animals.” “They tag you like cattle,” he said. “Records. Tests. Names. Addresses. The rest of your life, you’re identified.” But Pap died of a heart attack, and since then Jeanie, Gemma’s mother, had been looking for a man to take over as head of the “business.” “Our customers don’t respect a woman,” she said. “And I don’t need you under foot.” She shipped Gemma off to an assessment test in Pahrump, the nearest town, and lied about their address to qualify Gemma for school there. The test told Gemma she needed summer school to catch up. Gemma smelled her shirt for the thousandth time. It was the smell of chickens and feces and dust and feathers. Ever since Pap died, it was Gemma’s job to feed and protect the chickens. She remembered the night when she was very young that he’d taken her outside. The world around them had been that ubiquitous indigo, like walking at the bottom of the ocean. The chickens were a defiant white as they clucked in their coops. “You’re young, so you wouldn’t know,” Pap had said. “The darkness—the real darkness—has a way of making you keen.” He spit in the direction of Vegas. “Before the city and those damn lights, you had to work by starlight. You had to smell. You had to sharpen your claws. You had to listen.” He held his Smith & Wesson 500. The revolver was enormous, all chrome and steel, so it shimmered a flashy blue against Pap’s dark skin. “Forget Dirty Harry,” he said. “This thing takes fifty-caliber rounds. This is the real most powerful handgun in the world. I’m the real Dirty Harry.” He pointed to the hills. “Now look there.” Gemma squinted her eyes. The four-legged shapes unfolded from the land like shadows with minds of their own. The coyotes’ blue pelts bristled as they slunk down the embankment and dug at the ground. They sniffed the air. “They scent us,” Pap said, “but they don’t care. They care about them chickens. They’re hungry and mean. Just like people. But we have to protect our own. In the end of days, we have to kill if need be.” He waited for the coyotes to reach the fence. He fired.

***** They sat in the cafeteria. Four other girls had joined their pack. “You haven’t had your period?” the busty one said to Gemma. “What are you, like eight years old?” “I’m fourteen,” Gemma said. She looked for anywhere else to go, but the school had provided only two lunch tables because so few students attended summer school. The other table was occupied by the pencil boys. “She’s probably got a penis,” the tall, pretty one said. “She probably didn’t get her period because she’s a guy.” “She looks like a guy. Except uglier.” “And fatter,” said someone else. Gemma stood up and considered the boys’ table. One of the boys flipped her off. She sat back down. “Mom says I’ll be thankful I didn’t bleed and breed too early.” The girls shrieked in laughter. They covered their mouths. “What … a … freak,” the busty one said. “Come on,” said another girl. “Let’s see your penis.” “I bet it’s gross,” said another. “I bet it’s hairy,” said the tall one. A lump like a stone grew in Gemma’s throat. Fearing she might cry, she flashed the tall girl a scowl. It seemed to work. The tall girl grew quiet. Her expression softened. It seemed like she might say something. She opened her mouth. Then the other girls moved on to Gemma’s fat thighs, her busted shoes, and her pale eyes. Eyes like a dog, they said. And the tall girl said nothing.

***** The men that came to the compound looked at Gemma with a strange coldness. Gemma had asked Jeanie one day why the men didn’t speak to her. That’s when Jeanie had said, “Don’t be in a rush to get men to notice you. You’ll thank the Lord someday how late you started bleeding and breeding. I don’t know what I’ll do with you then.” What Jeanie hadn’t said, and what Gemma suspected, was that she was simply an ugly girl. That men would never want to talk to her. Her hair was the color of sediment in flood water. Her jaw was too round, her stomach a bit wider than her undeveloped breasts. She pinched

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75


M Ic rof ic t ion

Sense of Direction by B r i a n

Rouff

“Calculating route. “Turn left and then keep right. “In 1.2 miles, turn left to North Green Valley Parkway. “Are you going where I think you are going? “Rerouting. “Make the next legal U-turn. “The next legal U-turn. “Keep left for 3.3 miles. “I am programmed to tell you that young lady is trouble. “You have been down this road before. “I should know. “It is a dead end. “In .5 miles, prepare to make a hard right. “What if Jen finds out? You will be toast. “Enter the roundabout and take the second exit. “Rerouting. You still have no idea how roundabouts work, do you? “Take the second exit. It is just like a right turn. “I beg you to reconsider. “Turn this car around. “Think of your fiancée. “Switching to male voice mode.” “Your destination is on the left.”

the fat on her arms. Her skin was splotchy and untanned. She hated her nose. Now the other girls at school had confirmed her suspicions. She was ugly.

***** On Tuesday of the second week, Gemma returned from the restroom to find snot and spit gluing the first few pages of her notebook together. She did not know who’d done it, but all of the others were laughing.

Pap would have told her that, come the final showdown, those other kids would be the first to burn in a flash of atomic light. They’d moan and beg like lepers. Their skin would boil up and peel back. Their blind eyes would rot in their skulls. They’d die while Gemma and Jeanie and Pap holed up in the compound eating beans in the underground bunker. But Pap had died too early. All he’d left behind were his handwritten instructions on how to divide up his things in case he was killed by other survivors of the apocalypse: TO GEMA – my fiftie cal. Defend yerself. That enormous gun now slept in a shoe box in her underwear drawer. Gemma sat on the back steps of compound, her hair drying from her shower, and listened to the blue coyotes sniffing along the perimeter. She could sense their hunger, their keen eyes on the lookout for Pap’s silver gun. She wondered what it would feel like to kill them.

***** On Thursday of the third week, Gemma heard the busty girl talking about her period again. Gemma stopped the girl in the hall and tried to tell her that she expected to get her period, too, very soon.

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“I feel like I’m about to change,” she stammered. She even touched the girl’s arm, hoping they’d make a connection. “I’m becoming a woman, too.” “Don’t touch me,” the girl said. “I hate you.” The next day in the girl’s restroom, while Gemma was taking a leak, the girl with large breasts threw a bloody tampon over the stall door. “This is what being a woman looks like, you stupid, fat piece of crap.” The tampon struck Gemma’s shoulder and landed in her lap before rolling between her thighs and plunking into the water. “Direct hit,” the girl squealed. Shrieks of laughter erupted from at least three other voices. Their sneakers squelched and skidded as they banged out the door. Their cackles careened down the hall. But Gemma still heard a single set of feet shuffling nearby. “Hello?” she said. She didn’t know if she should curse the girl or plead. She cringed thinking about what things might still be hurled over the divide. Please don’t, she thought. Please. Don’t. Tears boiled up, and she felt herself beginning to sob. Then an eye looked straight through the gap between the door and stall. Gemma could tell it was the tall girl. Her eye was near the top hinge. The girl said nothing, but slid a sealed envelope through the gap. The envelope landed on the floor. It had Gemma’s name on it written in blue pen. Gemma picked up the envelope, no doubt containing a smear of excrement or a comprehensive list of her faults, more reasons she should die. When she looked up again, the eye was gone. Gemma folded the envelope and placed it in her pocket so that no one else could read it.

***** On Monday of the fourth week, she took Pap’s gun in her backpack. It was heavier than she remembered. The muzzle pushed the bottom of the bag down in a conspicuous point. She rearranged her books to accommodate the gun’s bulk. She sat through the morning math sessions thinking of the hammer, the grip, the sight, the breath, the slow squeeze, all the things Pap taught her, all the ways to survive. The problem, Pap had said, was that the real darkness never returned to this part of the desert to scrub it all clean of the old sins of the day. Because of the lights, because of sin, because of Sin City, the blue built up like a residue. It sunk into you, bubbled up in your brain like dreams of death. You never went to sleep clean. In the girl’s restroom, Gemma took her backpack to the same stall where she’d been sitting the day before. She sat on the toilet with her pants still up, waiting. The massive


gun lay in her lap like a sleeping cat. She toyed with the trigger, gauging the amount of pressure required to pull it back. But no one came. “I’m ugly,” she whispered. An ugly girl with her guts and heart dyed blue from all those nights sitting alone. She cocked the hammer. She thought about cutting herself to see her ugly blue blood spill onto the floor, but she had nothing but the gun. She waited and waited, but there was no one, and finally she returned to class with the gun hidden once more beneath her books.

***** On the long drive home, as Jeanie turned the pickup onto the first nameless road, Gemma felt a wave of nausea roll through her stomach. She knew it had happened. She said nothing. At the compound, she hustled to the bathroom and wadded up as much toilet paper as she could. She shoved it into her underwear without looking. She waited until late into the night when Jeanie was asleep before she rose again and felt her way along the hall. Through the windows and beyond the razor wire was the blue sky and the shimmering city. She left the light out in the bathroom and removed her clothes. On the floor the soaked tissue paper in her underwear was too dark. Not red, but the darkest blue the world had ever known. She showered in the darkness, hoping the blood would rinse clean in one go, that her fat body would erode and become shapely. That she would look like the busty girl. But when she looked down, all she could see was the blue running down her legs and swirling in the drain. I hate you, Gemma thought. She had no doubt that if she filled the bath and ran a razor blade over the veins in her wrists that her mother would find in the morning her pale body immersed in what looked like a tub full of ink. She didn’t intend to use razor blades though. As Pap always said, Guns make statements. Everything else is just whispers. Gemma returned to her bedroom, closed the door, and licked the muzzle of the revolver, just to taste it. The taste was familiar, and she knew why. Its deep metallic flavor matched the smell of the tampon blood that had stained her shirt the week before. She put the gun into her mouth, resting it against her teeth. She wiggled it just to feel the sound of it, clickety-click. She toyed with the hammer. Clickety-click. Don’t you chicken out, she thought. She felt herself swirling, descending into such sadness she felt paralyzed. Pull the trigger, you fat piece of crap. Just do it. She needed to push herself over the edge. She set the gun

down—it sank into the mattress—and found beneath her pillow the envelope that the tall girl had dropped in the bathroom. She tore the seal and found a piece of notebook paper tri-folded, formal, like a business letter. I am sorry, it said, for being mean to you. I didn’t get to know you at all. I thought a lot about it. You seem like a good person. You are somebody I could be friends with. So I promise to make it stop. Then we can start again and . . . The thought was left unfinished, as if the girl had hoped Gemma might be able to fill in the rest. The tall girl had not signed her name. Just drawn a heart and a smiley face that, though crooked and perhaps hasty, looked pleadingly up at her. For a moment, the letter pulled her back. It promised something. Gemma remembered her dream before the first day of school. Of dancing in the desert under stars. She imagined the tall girl dancing with her, the two of them laughing. No, she thought. The letter was a trap. Pap had warned her. “In the end of days, we’re all on our own.” Gemma carried the gun outside. She sat on the steps and faced the relentless blue monster that had eaten the sky. She put the gun in her mouth—clickety-click. And everything went dark.

***** Thirteen seconds passed before Jeanie flung the door open and looked down at Gemma. “What the hell is going on?” “The lights went out,” Gemma said. A blue glow smoldered at the bottom of the horizon in the direction of Las Vegas, then died out completely. The black veil above was restored. Stars crowded the desert air. “This is it,” Jeanie said. “This the big one. You see an explosion?” Gemma shook her head. Jeanie saw the gun in Gemma’s hand. “Good thinking. Grab the automatics in the back room and get to the bunker.” She retreated inside. But Gemma knew it wasn’t the end. She knew somehow the tall girl had done it. She’d made it all stop, like she promised. The desert was no longer the dull and poisonous blue of Gemma’s entire life. It was like her dream, a deep black and star-drunk. Across the landscape she could feel the dark world remembering itself and the clarity of its soul. She felt saved. She dropped the gun in the dirt and walked out beyond the security fence, surrounded by all that magic, the wind sliding silently across her pale skin. She closed her eyes, listening. Just listening, as coyotes howled and asked forgiveness from the moon. David Armstrong has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from UNLV and is the author of two short story collections, Going Anywhere and Reiterations (forthcoming in 2016).

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Short St ory

Dorothy and the Scarecrow By Aurora Brackett

That morning, I took my father’s watch from the top of the dresser where my mother kept it, stuffed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my jacket pocket and ran away. We lived near Sunset Park and before he died, my father and I used to take walks together, pretending to be Dorothy and the Scarecrow, lost in the saltbush and mesquite, asking strangers and pigeons for directions. Though my father probably was not pretending. He was always getting lost. Driving around the city, he kept the Stratosphere in sight and panicked if he couldn’t see it. “Minna,” he’d shout, “where’s the spaceship?” pulling the car over and sometimes hoisting me onto the roof. My father was the center of a crowd of musicians and artists, an organizer of events, flash mobs, protests, an investor and business owner. His desk and floor were piled with bills and books, paper towels, pages torn from magazines. He left bite marks in the cheese. He left the stove on all day. He made messes. He made noise. After he died, our house was silent. My mother spent all of her time with lawyers and bankers. When she was home she sat on the couch and stared out the window. I imagined she was becoming a cat. She was already gone when I woke up that morning. It was Saturday and I was bored. I was ten years old. I wanted to have an adventure, to follow a road, to find my father. I let myself out the front door and ran across the wide street alone for the first time. It had rained the night before and the dirt was still wet under my shoes. A nervous family of quail crossed my

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path and I took it as a sign, their bobbing head feathers pointing a direction. I followed them to the playground, and watched them march under the slide. I’d never seen the park this empty. The merry-go-round was moving by itself in the wind, emitting a slow, squeaking noise that scared me, and I continued on to the lake. There the birds were awake, preening and chattering. An old couple I’d met before were watching them, the man tossing the crumbs of a dried baguette into the water, his wife standing a few feet away gazing through binoculars. I sat behind them on a bench and looked at my father’s watch. The band still smelled like his cologne. I tried to wind it, the way I’d seen my mother do every morning. Standing in front of the dresser in her pink robe, she’d turn the knob, as I listened to the small click, click, click, and watched her face in the mirror. “Give the girl a crust, Al,” the woman shouted. “You want to feed the babies?” I looked to where she was pointing, a line of nine or ten yellow ducklings swimming towards us. Her husband handed her a grocery bag. “We watched them hatch,” she said. She was dressed like a park ranger, in a vest with large pockets, hiking boots and green pants. She handed me a piece of bread and I hurled it at the birds. “What an arm!” She said. And then she started talking about a trip they’d taken, birds they’d seen, egrets and hawks, and herons. Her face reminded me of an apple doll; her cheeks looked painted pink. She pulled a book from one of her pockets and opened it to show me a picture, a loose photograph of a green blur against the sky. “Parrots!” she said.


Her husband squawked. “Al,” she said, then turned to me. “You’re all alone today,” she said. The last time we’d met her, my father had nicknamed her “babbling Bertha.” I shrugged and she went on to tell me that there was a family, a human family sleeping in a tent on the other side of the park. “We almost walked right over them,” she said. “Are they hobos?” I asked her. “Are they hobos, Al?” she said. The man tilted his head. “Red-winged blackbird,” he said. The woman focused her binoculars on a tree across the pond. “Look at you,” she said to the bird. And while she and her husband admired it, I snuck away.

***** When you make your own path, walking straight through the desert, you have to walk carefully, one foot in front of the other, like you are walking a tightrope. This way you don’t fall into cacti, or step in squirrel burrows. This is how I was walking in search of hobos. I was thinking about my mother, and how I should have left a note, and how she only made food out of cans and boxes now, things I used to beg to eat, Spaghetti-O’s and frozen pizzas, things my parents only ate when they were drunk or tired. I was thinking about our substitute teacher. She was there when I came back after the funeral, this new woman, sitting in my teacher’s desk wearing cat-eye glasses and smeared lipstick. She gave me a box of crayons and said I should draw my feelings. “You’ll always be broken-hearted,” she told me. I wondered if the other teacher had ever existed, or if I’d imagined her. I thought about Dorothy – was Oz more real than Kansas? My parents and I once made a plan to walk across America in a straight line from Las Vegas to the Atlantic. We would walk through people’s yards and houses and chicken coops, in and out the front and back doors of grocery stores and bars, restaurants and malls, across freeways. We would grow potatoes in our backpacks and sleep in open fields, forget our old life, our apartments, the cities we’d lived in. Hobos move on because they want to, my father said.

***** I could see the tent from a distance, and the man in front of it, shoving things into bags. He was blonde and skinny, his dirty jeans sagging as he darted about, humming to himself. There wasn’t anything to hide behind, so I stood there watching. It was a nice tent, blue and shiny and wet with rain, but it seemed too small for a family. He pulled off the rain flap and hung it over a bush and as he turned, he noticed me. “What do you want?” he said. I started to walk away. “Wait,” he said. He rifled through a backpack he’d picked up and held out a piece of string cheese wrapped in plastic. I shook my head. “Car stalled out,” he said. “No living in vehicles, sir. No sir.” He knelt and started pulling out a tent stake. “We’re on our way,” he said. “Scrounging up the dough.” I noticed a Barbie doll sprawled in the dirt and wondered where his kids were. He stood and looked at me. “You all alone?” he asked. I didn’t like his smile. “With my dad,” I said. “Where’s he at?” He took a few steps closer. “He’s coming,” I said. “You’re lying,” he said, grinning at me. I heard a shout and turned to see a little girl racing up the path, a woman behind her. “Keep her quiet,” the man shouted. “No one’s around, Pete,” the woman said. “Cops around,” the man said. “Who’s she?” the girl asked. She was probably five years old, her hair wet in pigtails. She approached me slowly. “We gotta hustle,” the man said, throwing one of the bags at the woman, who was sitting in the dirt, pulling a rock from her shoe. “Give me a fucking minute,” the woman said. “Who’s she?” the girl repeated. “Some kid. Thinks we’re zoo animals.” He pulled a monkey face at me. “Pete,” the woman said. “Get off your ass,” the man shouted. “Where’s your house?” the girl asked me. Her parents were taking down the tent. I pointed in the direction of where I lived. “Are you coming with us?” she asked. Her mother glanced at me. “She’s lost,” the man said. “No I’m not,” I said.

A moment with Aurora Brackett Where did this story come from? The story started as an exercise. I was looking at a photograph by Vivian Maier of a tough-looking little girl in a striped shirt with a very large watch on her wrist. How has living in Las Vegas influenced your writing? I’ve had an obsession with birds since I moved to Vegas, and I can’t stop writing birds into my stories. It reminds me of that Portlandia sketch “Put a bird on it.” I’ve also started writing more humorous fiction. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with Vegas, but probably it does. There’s a level of absurdity here — the way artifice and the tourist-contrived culture interact with ordinary life — that definitely lends itself to humor.

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here all day?” she said. That was what we did when we got lost, my father and I, stood in one place unKrisSak@hotmail.com til we knew which way to go. “He THE BIG IDEA leave you in this spot?” she asked. I shook my head. “Where?” she said. M Ic rof ic t ion I couldn’t answer. “Jesus, what’s your problem?” she said. I started to cry. “Alright,” she said, and she took my hand and pulled me along behind her back to the lake and sat me on a bench. “You see him anyBy K r i s S a k n u s s e mm where?” I looked at the murky water, at the trees. There was a fisherHey Kris, man sitting motionless in a folding It’s Brian B. The bookstore dude gave me your email. I was at your reading chair, tinny music playing from the other night. I was wearing a bright orange shirt and a Firebird Lounge cap. his radio. A young couple, holding Remember? We spoke about chickens. At one point you said you raised exotic hands, stopped and asked her to poultry in Australia. That really stuck with me. You don’t seem like a poultry kind take their picture and I watched of guy. them smile, frozen against the sky, So, listen. I have an idea for a horror film about chicken farming, and you being everything still and quiet. It felt a writer, I wonder if you would be interested in helping me write the script. I’m not like a dream. I could hear cars on a writer, I’m an Ideas Guy. I was thinking something like $250. I’d love to pay more the road. A cormorant vanished but my medication keeps going up in price, and after the infection, I have to be under the surface of the water. careful. “Where did you see him last?” It’s a really great story about mutant chickens — or chickens that become mushe asked. “What’s he wearing?” In one of the Oz books, a witch tations when the hormones kick in. I can’t say more until I get you to sign a confitransforms Dorothy’s friends into dentiality agreement, but I know you’ll love it for sure. objects — vases, rocks, statues I really hope you can call me back soon. I’m at the Firebird or Teeters pretty — and she has to walk through a much every day, except tomorrow when I’m getting the broken tooth fixed. But room, cluttered with things, and I’ve got $250 burning a hole in my pocket for you. I know that once you hear the figure out which is the Tin Man, plot you’ll want to bang out a script and send it to your agent toot sweet. I feel the which is Toto. After we read this, beginning of a great partnership. my father and I made up a game. Your bud Walking through a store, he’d Brian B. touch a one-eyed plastic doll. “Minna!” he’d say. I’d touch a head of cabbage. “Daddy!” After he was gone, I imagined him everywhere. My father the spoon. My “Waiting for her daddy,” the man said. father the spider plant. My father the cat that followed me “Where is he?” the girl asked. through the yard. My father the wadded up piece of bubble “He’s coming,” I said. And I pictured him behind me in his gum. But Dorothy only had three chances. If she guessed bright yellow rain jacket, sipping a cup of coffee, listing off wrong, the scarecrow would be stuck forever as an ashtray the names of plants. Burrobrush, brittlebush, rabbitbrush. or a can of soup. So I never guessed. “Where did he go?” the girl asked. “Stay here,” the woman said. She stood to go. I stared at “Nowhere,” I said. the lake. “You were my kid, I’d look for you here.” “Where?” she repeated. “Baby, leave her alone,” the woman said. “Go with daddy Aurora Brackett is a Ph.D. fellow at the Black Mountain Institute. to the car.” I watched the man scoop the girl up with one Her fiction has appeared in Nimrod Quarterly, Eleven Eleven, arm, carrying the tent in the other. The Portland Review, Fourteen Hills and other magazines. The woman stood in front of me. “You’re just going to stand

When the Hormones Kick In

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your Arts+Entertainment calendar for July

23

25 Rush MGM Grand Garden Hey, Bryan Adams notwithstanding, it turns out Canadians can rock! 8p, $59-$179, mgmgrand.com

14 Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Onstage The Smith Center The 1987 movie about Baby and Johnny seems so stage-ready, we’re surprised it took this long to turn it into a musical. Now our long national nightmare of waiting is over. Let’s dance! Through July 19, 7:30p, $29$139, thesmithcenter.com

31 The Bourgie Willie B. Art Square Theater S.J. Hodges’ play is a romp about that perennial romp-worthy subject … gentrification? Leave it to Asylum Theater to round up a farce featuring a blingy old white guy, a hot young hip-hop starlet and America’s culture gap. Through August 9, 8p Thu-Sat, 2p Sun, $25, asylumtheatre.org

Vintage Urban Collection Sahara West Library Alexander P. Huerta’s urban images teem — with people and energy; with tilted perspectives that nudge the action forward; with scratchy brickwork drawing and madly scaled collage elements. It all imparts a loose, streetwise dynamism that should be raucous in a big exhibit. Opening reception 5p, through October 4, free, lvccld.org

1, 8, 15, 22 Speakeasy Cinema The Mob Museum Midcentury film noir comes blazing back with a quartet of hard-shooting gangster films: The Captive City (filmed in Reno), Dark City, 711 Ocean Drive and Hoodlum Empire. Says the museum, “They provide insights into the public’s evolving understanding of organized crime and its impact on society.” Also: cocktails. 6:30p, $15, themobmuseum.org

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THE GUIDE ART

COUPLED THROUGH JULY 6, MON-THU 7A-5P The pieces in this exhibit will feature artists who are married, united or co-existing with another artist. Each artist couple will show a piece of each of their work accompanied by a statement outlining how each artist’s work relates to the other artist in the couple. Free. Las Vegas City Hall Chamber Gallery, 702-229-1012

CELEBRATING LIFE! 2015 JURIED SELECTIONS EXHIBITION THROUGH JULY 11, WED-FRI 12:309P; SAT 9A-6P This exhibit is the result of a juried fine arts competition open to residents ages 50+ of Clark, Esmerelda, Lincoln, Mineral and Nye counties of Nevada. Participants submitted one artwork only; categories include drawing/pastel, painting, mixed media, photography, ceramics, sculpture and watercolor/gouache. Free. Charleston Heights Art Center Ballroom, 800 S. Brush St., 702-229-1012

CHROMOPHILIA THROUGH JULY 12 Artists Amy Gartrell and Patterson Beckwith will create a laboratory for experimenting with color in all its form and non-form and explore the myriad of ways color affects us. Participants will experience color silks therapy and color water or hydrotherapy. In the final stage, Beckwith will take a color portrait of guests in the color field determined by Gartrell. Free. P3Studio at The Cosmopolitan, cosmopolitanlasvegas.com

SOLO CHIC THROUGH JULY 13, MON-THU 7A-5:30P A five-year retrospective by C.A. Traen featuring ceramic sculptures inspired by a catalogue of sketches. The work is uniquely and dynamically designed to be rich with personality by combining fine hand-sculpted details with wheel-thrown elements, vibrant underglazes and opulent lusters. Free. Las Vegas City Hall Grand Gallery, 495 S. Main St., 702-229-1012

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WUNDER KAMMER THROUGH JULY 17 Kim Johnson’s new mixed-media exhibit highlights the wonders of our environment. The exhibit’s title refers to cabinets of curiosities, precursors to modern-day museums, popular from the Renaissance to the Victorian era. The cabinet or room displays featured diverse collections of manmade, scientific and natural wonders. Free. Winchester Cultural Center Gallery, 3130 S. McLeod Drive, arts4nevada.org

8 MILES OUT, 6 FEET UNDER THROUGH JULY 27 Muralist and sculptor Miguel Rodriguez is known for creating innovative and insightful works in a wide variety of mediums. Art that intersects with the public in unexpected ways is a hallmark of his work. Free. Nevada Humanities Program Gallery, 1017

landmarks. Free for members or with paid general admittance. Big Springs Gallery at Springs Preserve

FIRST FRIDAY JULY 3, 6P Experience local artwork with varied exhibits, open galleries, live music and DJs, food trucks, vendor booths and special activities for the kids. Free. 18b Arts District, fflv.net

REALLY BAD RICE JULY 16-OCT 8, MON-FRI 7A-5:30P; ARTIST RECEPTION JULY 16, 5P Artist Greg Allred’s sculptures incorporate common objects, made of steel, in relationships not usually associated with one another. The sculptures are colored using various types of paint, charcoal and oil pastels. Free. Second floor of the Las Vegas City Hall Chamber Gallery, 495 S. Main St., 702-229-1012

S. First St. #190, arts4nevada.org DANCE

CELEBRATION OF LIFE THROUGH AUG 31

CHRISTMAS IN JULY – HAWAIIAN STYLE

The traveling tour of the St. Jude Children’s

JULY 12, 2P

Research Hospital exhibit features a col-

Celebrate Christmas in July with authentic

lection of six three-dimensional, five-foot

hula dancing and Polynesian music in the

sculptures created by Summerlin-based

comfort of air conditioning. Free. Main

artist Dorit Schwartz. Each is painted by a

Stage at Clark County Library, lvccld.org

professional local artist. Free for members or with paid general admittance. Outside the Nature Exchange at Springs Preserve

GOING HOME

DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE JULY 14-19, 7:30P; SAT-SUN 2P

THROUGH SEP 19, WED-FRI 12:30-9P;

Heart-pounding music, passionate romance

SAT 9A-6P

and sensational dancing leaps from the

These large-scale drawings by Domenic

screen to the stage. This worldwide smash

Cretara and Christopher Troutman are

hit tells the classic story of Baby and John-

narratives of their personal exploration of

ny, two fiercely independent young spirits

environment and family. Free. Charleston

from different worlds who come together

Heights Art Center, 800 S. Brush St., 702-

in what will be the most challenging and

229-1012

triumphant summer of their lives. $29-$139. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

MODERNISM AT RISK EXHIBITION JULY 3-SEP 6

SUMMER ISLAND CASTAWAY CONCERT

A project of the World Monuments Fund,

JULY 18, 7P

this exhibit consists of large-scale photo-

Las Vegas Hula will present native island hula

graphs by Andrew Moore and interpreta-

and Fijian warrior dances before the Volcano

tive panels with case studies exploring the

Island Steel Drum Band takes the stage

role designers play in preserving modern

with an hour-long concert of lively calypso/


island/luau/reggae music. Bring low-back chairs or blankets to be comfortable on the lawn. Hawaiian shaved ice and other treats will be available for purchase. Free. Centennial Hills Park Amphitheatre, 7101 N. Buffalo Drive at Deer Springs Way, 702-229-3514

LAS VEGAS DANCE IN THE DESERT FESTIVAL JULY 24 & 25, 7P; JULY 25, 2P A smorgasbord of contemporary dance featuring some of the finest local, regional and international choreographers and dance companies. Free. Summerlin Library, lvccld.org

MUSIC

JOSH KEATING JULY 8, 7P Go on a musical journey spanning numerous genres, including pop, standards, oldies, rock ’n’ roll and opera. The show will feature a nine-piece live band that features some of the most talented musicians from around the Las Vegas Valley, including gifted students from Durango High School’s choir program. $12. Starbright Theatre at Sun City Summerlin, suncity-summerlin. com/starbrighttheatre

FRANKIE MORENO: UNDER THE INFLUENCE JULY 14 & 21, 8P A Vegas staple, Moreno celebrates the Rat Pack-era music that inspired him. $25-$35. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center

COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA JULY 17-18, 7:30P

ultra vivid Las Vegas puts an indelible imprint on its artists. The imprint varies,

Music director Scotty Barnhart continues

but it’s there, whether in the arresting, almost violent visual pinball of a

William Basie’s legendary sound of stomp-

Brian Porray painting, the bouncy neon clouds of a Sush Machida panel,

ing and shouting the blues and moving to

a cheerfully subversive sign from Justin Favela or a richly lathered oil and

the music of swing with one of the world’s

acrylic work by Wendy Kveck (above, her painting “Sister.”) That’s part of

most renowned orchestras. $15.95. Suncoast Casino Showroom, suncoastcasino. com

the pleasure of UNLV’s Barrick Museum’s “Recent Acquisitions” exhibit: considering the many ways that Las Vegas manifests itself in an artist’s vision. Better yet, this exhibit will feature works that have been residing in

MONSTER’S INTELLIGENCE PRESENTED BY UP IN ARMS

the museum’s collection, but haven’t been shown until now. Through Sept. 19, UNLV’s Barrick Museum, 702-895-3381

JULY 22, 7P Melvin the monster is another year older, but still not old enough for his license to

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THE GUIDE 6p for drop-in class with Paul Mattingly. $10

Big big band music

show, $15 for both drop-in and show. Baobab Stage Theatre, 6587 Las Vegas Blvd. S., baobabstage.com

It makes sense that Lyle Lovett might want something called

THE SPOT

His Large Band to perform

EVERY WED 8P You never know whom you’ll see, but

with him: A hard-working icon

you know you will always enjoy some

of American music, Lovett

great long- and short-form improv.

embraces so many musical

Come at 6:30p for a donation-sug-

strains — country, swing, jazz,

gested drop-in class focusing on

folk, gospel and blues — that

musical comedy; stay for the fun and

it calls for big band backing to

games. $10. The Sci-Fi Center, 5077 S. Arville St., greyenvelope.com

properly capture and convey his command of so many

THE BUCKET SHOW

genres. Friendly tip: buy your

EVERY WED 10P

tickets early, as the raves from

Named the Best Comedy Show

his last stop in Vegas are still echoing among music-lovers.

in Vegas by Desert Companion, improv

7:30p July 25, $25-$99, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, smithcenter.org

geniuses Paul Mattingly and Matt Donnelly will lead you to laughter and beyond. Free; pay what you desire in the buckets at the end of the show. Inside Art Square, 1025 S. First St., mattandmattingly.com

scream. His birthday wish changes that and

JOHNNY MATHIS

the Division for Monster Screams grants his

JULY 31, 7:30P

wish on the condition of passing his test.

Best-known for his supremely popular hits

Learning this new information can be dif-

like “Chances Are,” “It’s Not For Me To Say,”

ficult for Melvin and he sets off on a quest

“Wonderful, Wonderful,” and “Misty,” Mathis

to learn with his friend Red the Rat by his

is a sublime vocalist whose approach to

side. A cast of friendly, colorful monster

pop music eclipses passing fads. $29-$175.

puppet characters and original songs, from

Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

a Green Day-style rocker to classical, jazz, pop and Broadway standards makes this a journey never to forget. $3. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St., artslasvegas.org

AN EVENING WITH LYLE LOVETT AND HIS LARGE BAND JULY 25, 7:30P Singer, composer and actor Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. $25-$99. Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center

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DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB EVERY THU 9:30P Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Learn more about the weirdest jobs in the valley in this talk-show-like format where the director interviews the special guest while improv actors recreate the hilarious workplace stories in the background. Created by Second City alumni Derek and Natalie Shipman. $10. Onyx Theatre, onyxtheatre.com

THEATER

SEVENS LIVE!

THE GET

EVERY MON 7P

EVERY FRI 9:30P

Veteran poetry producer Lee Mallory will

Sketches, standup and improv–oh, my! All

curate and host this selective open mic that

things comedy and unexpected happen every

includes edgy musicians, acerbic comics and

week in this variety show. Talent from all over

lively spoken art visionaries. You will never

the valley pools here, so come prepared to

think of poetry the same way again. Free

laugh. $10. Onyx Theatre, onyxtheatre.com

with one drink minimum. The Cantina at Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino, 702-733-7000

BYE BYE BIRDIE JULY 8-12, WED-SAT 8P

IMPROV KINGDOM

Conrad Birdie is the biggest rock & roll star

EVERY MON 8P

of the ’60s ever to be drafted. Aspiring

The Las Vegas comedy show featuring both

chemist and songwriter Albert is convinced

short- and long-form improv from some of

he can make his fortune and marry his

the valley’s most experienced improv actors.

girlfriend Rosie if he gets Conrad on The

Wine and concessions available. Come at

Ed Sullivan Show to kiss a high school girl


goodbye. Albert’s mother will do anything to break up the couple. Come early for grass seating; feel free to bring low chairs, blankets and picnic dinner. $12 in advance, $20 at the door. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, showtix4u.com

LAS VEGAS IMPROVISATIONAL PLAYERS JULY 18, 7P Clean-burning, kid-friendly fun “Whose Line is it Anyway?” style. Be part of the show as the audience chooses the starter for each scene and song. Come early for Name that Tune and win some chocolate. $10 at the door, kids free. American Heritage Academy, 6126 S. Sandhill Road, lvimprov.com

KELLY CLINTON SHOW JULY 18, 7:30P A gifted singer, actress, comedienne and impressionist, Clinton will wow you with her talent and special guests. $18. Starbright Theatre at Sun City Summerlin, suncity-summerlin.com/starbrighttheatre

KEN BLOCK JULY 25, 7P A versatile comic impressionist, Block will cover more than 100 impressions spanning

Celebrate ’Rita Las Vegas with us, and help choose the best margarita by voting online. Check out recipe how-to videos and sign up for our ’rita pub crawls. Enjoy light bites, giveaways and, of course, sinfully good margaritas! Find pub crawl info, voting details and more at desertcompanion.vegas/ritalasvegas

50 years of singers, comedians, politicians and actors. $15. Starbright Theatre at Sun City Summerlin, suncity-summerlin.com/ starbrighttheatre

Border Grill

El Dorado Cantina

Featuring the

Featuring the

Forum Shops at Caesars

3025 S. Industrial Road

El Segundo Sol

Mi Casa

Featuring the

Featuring the

July 9 at 5:30pm-7pm Watermelon Margarita

LECTURES, SPEAKERS AND PANELS

LAS VEGAS STORIES: ATOMIC LAS VEGAS JULY 2, 7P The mushroom cloud symbol has been used on billboards, casino marquees, advertisements and even the cover of the Las Vegas High School yearbook. Ernest Williams and

July 16 at 5:30pm-7pm Burnt Orange Tangerine Margarita

July 22, 5:30pm-7pm

Cilantro Jalapeño Margarita

July 29, at 5:30pm-7pm Paloma South Margarita Silverton Casino

Fashion Show Mall

Richard Reed will share their recollections of working at the Nevada Test Site and its impact on Las Vegas. Free. Jewel Box Theater at Clark County Library, lvccld.org

La Comida

July 20, 5:30pm-7pm Featuring the

POP-UP! POETRY JULY 3, 5-11P

Verano de Jalisco Margarita 100 S. 6th St.

The Vegas Valley’s best poets from the most honored and newest local venues will

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THE GUIDE take the stage and set streets ablaze with the excitement and relevance of the word. In collaboration with First Friday. Free. Nevada Humanities offices at Art Square, lasvegaspoets.org

DESERT AUTHOR SERIES — AN AFTERNOON WITH DR. DONALD OZELLO JULY 12, 2:30P Local author Dr. Ozello will share his first book, Running: Maximize Performance and Minimize Injuries, designed to teach athletes strategies to prevent and manage common running injuries. Following the presentation, there will be a meet and greet where books will be available for purchase. Free. Sahara West Library, lvccld.org

THE POETS’ CORNER

Monumental issue

JULY 17, 7:30P Hosted by Keith Brantley, this monthly forum for established poets and open-mic participants features the best local poetry talent. Ages 17+. Free. West Las Vegas

Living in a city where implosion is our national sport, it’s easy to be

Arts Center Community Gallery, 947 W.

jaded — or even enthused — about kabooming buildings. But there

Lake Mead Blvd., artslasvegas.org

are modernist architectural treasures at risk around the world, and it’s nothing to cheer about. Andrew Moore’s exhibit of large-scale

FAMILY & FESTIVALS

photographs, “Modernism at Risk,” offers photographic case studies

HENDERSON 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION

of several buildings and efforts to preserve them, including the

JULY 4, 6-9P

DGB Trade Union School in Bernau, Germany; the A. Conger Good-

Live entertainment will include several local

year House in Old Westbury, New York (saved from demolition in

favorites and fireworks to the classics of

2001); Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida; the Grosse Pointe

the Henderson Symphony. Food trucks,

Public Library in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan; and the Kent Me-

vendor booths, kids activities. Bring a blan-

morial Library in Suffield, Connecticut (above). Our own little pocket

ket to watch the fireworks from the lawn. Free. Mission Hills Park, 551 E. Mission

of modernism is a fitting stop for this traveling exhibit.

Drive

July 3-Sept. 6, Big Springs Gallery at the Springs Preserve, springspreserve.org

4TH OF JULY AT DIVINE CAFÉ JULY 4, 6-10P Enjoy delicious food, cocktails and a beautiful view of the city’s fireworks.

67TH ANNUAL DAMBOREE CELEBRATION

for kids, midway booths, flag raising, en-

relaxed environment with live music and an

JULY 5, 9-11A

so much more. Don’t miss the 9p Fourth

amazing view from the patio and air-condi-

Activities include the Rotary Pancake

of July fireworks show! Most events free.

tioned café. $10 advance, $20 at the door,

Breakfast at Bicentennial Park, a parade

Broadbent Memorial Park, Boulder City,

members 10% off. Springs Preserve

down Nevada Highway, a water play zone

bcnv.org/351/damboree-celebration

Serving the regular menu, along with some delicious barbecue platter specials, all in a

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tertainment coin toss, games, contests and


SUMMER CAMPS AT THE MUSEUM JULY 6-31, 8A-12P OR 1-5P Programming focuses on arts, science, technology, engineering and math. Campers will investigate, invent, experiment, interpret, strategize, discover and share what they’ve learned. $180 per weekly session, $153 museum members. Discovery Children’s Museum, discoverykidslv.org/ camp

FORGOTTEN SONG MUSIC FILM FESTIVAL JULY 10, 6:30P; JULY 11, 12:30P & 6:30P Meet the creators of “The Wrecking Crew” and “The Girls in the Band.” See the films and then participate in a Q&A the producers followed by a live concert highlighting

The Test Thursday, July 23 at 8 p.m.

each film. The award-winning movies will be featured along with the new release of “Midnight Muse.” $25, Starbright Theatre, suncity-summerlin.com

31ST ANNUAL NATIONAL NIGHT OUT AUG 4, 5-9P A nationwide effort to heighten crimeand drug-prevention awareness, generate support for local anti-crime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships brings Smokey the Bear, McGruff, SWAT, UNLV Police, NHP, Clark County School Police, the fire department and others. Food, entertainment, raffle prizes, a firehouse for the kids to explore, child fingerprinting, VIN etching and more. Free. The park at Town Square, mytown-

A Capitol Fourth

Antiques Roadshow: Vintage Las Vegas

Saturday, July 4 at 8 p.m.

Monday, July 13 at 8 p.m.

NOVA: Chasing Pluto

The Bomb

squarelasvegas.com

FUNDRAISERS

ULTI-MAN 5K RUN & 1 MILE WALK JULY 11, 7A A unique running experience that includes exercises at three stations along the course, this event welcomes runners and

Wednesday, July 15 at 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 28 at 8 p.m.

walkers of all fitness levels and ages. This year includes a one-mile walk and fun prizes. Benefits the Three Square Food Bank and the UFC. $25-$60 registration. 425 Fremont St., ufc.com/5k

Visit VegasPBS.org today to see the complete schedule. 3050 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121 • 702-799-1010 J u ly 2 0 1 5

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END NOTE SATIRE

Night rider Stavros Anthony, Uber driver B y A n d r e w K i r a ly

W

ith passage of a bill allowing ridefor-hire services such as Uber and Lyft to operate in Nevada, aspiring drivers are getting into the business — drivers such as city councilman and failed mayoral candidate Stavros Anthony. Here’s a transcript from a ride Anthony recently gave Henderson passenger Michael Vicenti, a web developer. Vicenti: Oh, thank God for you guys. My car’s in the shop, but this is one client dinner I can’t miss. So glad they legalized Uber! Anthony: I am as well. Where can I take you tonight, sir? Vicenti: Downtown. Cognoscenti, that new restaurant everyone’s talking about. Great mixology program, I hear. Anthony: Yes, Downtown is full of nice surprises these days. You sound like you’re new here. Vicenti: Seven months already! And I don’t miss those Chicago winters, believe me! Anthony: Hm. Even in Vegas, one ignores history at his peril. Twenty, even ten years ago, Downtown was a very different place ... Vicenti: I heard it was a little rough around the edges. Anthony: Rough, yes. But also a blank slate. I mean, it still is, but things are a little different now. It’s a blank slate, sure, if you have the right backers. The right money ... Vicenti: Welcome to America, heh, right? Anthony: ... the right connections. (staring rigidly ahead as he drives, in deep thought) Do you have dreams, Michael? Vicenti: Uh. Yeah, doesn’t everybody? Anthony: Ah, yes. You are correct. Everyone has dreams. Dreams are the hallmark of being human — some might say the curse of being human. We hope, we plan ... we dream ...

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Michael, what is your dream? Vicenti: Um, I’d really love to grow my business as a web developer. And of course, I, uh, love my girlfriend very much, and we’re pretty serious, so we’re starting to discuss— Anthony: And yet — do you ever hear it? At the edges of your dreams — at those borders where hope and action merge, where the mystery of human agency resides, borne by a simple desire to do something — a noise that sounds suspiciously like ... laughter? Vicenti: (nervously) Oh, like how life is what happens when you’re making other plans? Something like tha— Anthony: I won’t abide such platitudes, Michael — and nor will the blind, inscrutable forces that rule our puny conception of the known universe. It is laughter. Let no one tell you otherwise. Plans ... dreams. Hopes. You’ll perhaps write this off as a crude rationalization, but I am, in fact, glad I didn’t become mayor. Vicenti: Mayor? Hey, you’re, uh, going awfully fast— Anthony: Because that would have been but another pretext, a blank slate, if you will, for that cosmic laughter to curdle, and infect. And mock ... Vicenti: Uh, guy, that was a red light we just ran— Anthony: (accelerating steadily) Winning? There is no winning. Winning the mayor’s seat would have been a mere prologue to even

more vicious humiliations being visited upon me. My name. My identity. My family. I will admit: The loss was most instructive, Michael. In that loss was a gain. I came to realize the futility of labels: mayor, councilman ... Vicenti: Councilman? Can you slow down? I thought you were just an Uber guy— Anthony: I shed it all in order to embrace ... the ultimate absence of labels. The absence of meaning. (Laughs indulgently) Some may write it off as cheap nihilism — the cynic’s shortcut to enlightenment, the suicide’s borrowed courage. But words like nihilism cannot even contain it. There is no vessel of meaning. Not anymore. But perhaps there never was, Michael ... Vicenti: Slow down! I think this is it coming up— Anthony: I gave it all up. I left it all behind. I am the blank slate now. There is only me, and the road, with darkness as our only source of succor. The road offers direction, the promise of volition. Intention. Perhaps even hope once again — hope of a true human agency that acts, knowingly, despite the laughter, the laughter that forever looms at the cusp of our every endeavor ... Vicenti: Here it is. Stop! Stop! Please! Anthony: (skids to a standstill) ... And that, Michael, is why I drive the night. Vicenti: Jesus! Okay, enough. Some driver! How much? Anthony: Thank you for choosing Uber. That’ll be $72.

i l lu st r at i o n b re n t h o l m es


Summerlin Lifestyle S P E C I A L A DV E R T I S I N G S U P P L E M E N T

Summerlin: A celebration of 25 years through the eyes of those who call it home

Plus:

Summerlin New Home Builders Guide

From left to right: Summerlin residents Tim and Shari Wong, Rachel and Jeff Pierce and Kathy and Dev Vinson


Welcome

Home In 1990, some 25 years ago, The Howard Hughes Corporation began developing its largest, most ambitious real estate development project ever—the master-planned community of Summerlin—covering nearly 36 square miles along the western edge of the Las Vegas Valley. Today, Summerlin is home to more than 100,000 residents and has racked up dozens of awards and distinctions along the way, including Urban Land Institute’s 2002 Community of the Year. Summerlin is still making history with milestones like the 2014 opening of Downtown Summerlin, offering 106 acres of fashion, dining and entertainment with future plans for urban-style residences, lush green spaces and office parks to create a 400-acre true urban core within the heart of suburbia. The promise of a quality lifestyle has been realized in Summerlin since the community’s inception. And like buying a home, the reasons residents choose to live in Summerlin are personal. Here are my own Top 10 reasons for loving life in Summerlin: It’s cooler—literally. Summerlin’s elevation, which peaks at nearly 3,500 feet above sea level, delivers temperatures that are often 5 or 6 degrees cooler than the rest of the Valley.

KEVIN ORROCK, president of Summerlin.

It’s prettier. Landscape design is a big deal here. Just drive around and note the colors and textures of the community’s signature drought-tolerant landscape designs that are as water-smart as they are attractive. It’s more fun. 150 parks. 150 miles of trails. Nine golf courses. Tennis courts. Community swimming pools. Wet ‘n’ Wild. Ball fields of all kinds. Need I say more? It’s romantic. If there’s a chance of seeing the stars in Las Vegas, it’s in Summerlin, thanks to the community’s low-light level street light requirements. It’s smart. Summerlin is home to 23 schools, including many of the city’s top-ranked public schools and 10 of the Valley’s premier private schools. Plus, Roseman College of Medicine will open its Summerlin campus in 2017. It’s diverse. With 14 houses of worship representing 12 faiths, residents of all religions can worship in their own community. It’s convenient. Summerlin is easily accessed from every point in the Valley via the 215 beltway. It’s fashionable and delicious. Thanks to Downtown Summerlin, going shopping and dining out are my new favorite pastimes. It’s the only community in Las Vegas with Red Rock Canyon in its backyard. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area frames the community’s western edge. No further explanation necessary. It’s my favorite place to ride my Harley. Period. While the beautiful pictures and stories from the community’s residents on the following pages well describe life in Summerlin, they cannot replace firsthand experience. Read on. Then come see Summerlin for yourself. Sincerely, Kevin T. Orrock President, Summerlin


Summerlin | Lifestyle

On the cover, from left to right: Passionate about giving back to the greater Las Vegas community, Tim and Shari Wong have called Summerlin home for 11 years. Together, Tim, CEO and president of Arcata Associates, and Shari, are active supporters of arts and education nonprofits, including Nevada Public Radio, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and DISCOVERY Children’s Museum. In Summerlin, the family, which includes Alex, 12, and Lauren, 9, both students at The Meadows School, enjoys playing tennis, golf and hiking in nearby Red Rock Canyon. Rachel and Jeff Pierce have traveled the world, thanks to Jeff’s position as a pilot for United Airlines. But this couple loves nothing more than coming home to Summerlin, where they have lived for more than five years. “Summerlin feels and looks fresh and new, it’s pretty, and it’s a great place to raise a family,” said Rachel, who met her husband in Arizona many years ago and was eager to return to the desert. Son Sam, 5, is a student at Temple Sinai’s Shenker Academy and plays T-ball on a Summerlin team. “Our life is complete here,” she said. Moving to their forever home in Summerlin just 18 months ago, after living in Las Vegas for 19 years, is a dream come true for Kathy and Dev Vinson and their two children, Haley, 17, and D.J., 10. A native of Colorado, Kathy said moving closer to Red Rock Canyon makes her feel nostalgic. “Being closer to nature is comforting and serene,” said Kathy. Both pharmaceutical reps, Kathy and Dev appreciate the strong sense of community and being close to their children’s schools: Faith Lutheran Academy and High School.

O

ver the past 25 years, more than 100,000 people have chosen to make Summerlin their home. Spectacularly framed by Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the community’s stunning natural beauty is matched by its thoughtful planning and attention to detail. Quality of life, a Summerlin hallmark, is created by the community’s 150 parks, 150

miles of trails, nine golf courses, 23 public and private schools, 14 houses of worship, shopping centers, Downtown Summerlin and more. To gain a better understanding of the history of Howard Hughes and the land that is now Summerlin, please visit our historical timeline at Summerlin.com. Summerlin residents are interesting, active and accomplished individuals who share a passion for their community. They are the real Summerlin story. Read on. s u m m e r l i n .c o m summerlin

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WHAT IS LIFE TESTED ? ®

IT MEANS YOUR HOME ISN’T JUST BUILT FOR LIFE; IT’S BUILT FOR HOW YOU LIVE IT

At Pulte all our homes are Life Tested® because we take ideas from our own homeowners and use them when designing new homes. So our homes are constantly being updated with the innovations that come from the people who know how a home should function: the people living in them. And that means our homes aren’t just built for life, they’re built for how you live it. At Segovia and Estrella, you’ll discover features you wouldn’t want to live without, including:

• Open, functional gathering spaces; kitchens, dining, indoor/outdoor living areas, ideal for entertaining and daily living • More room where you need it most; spacious loggias, storage rooms, 9’ and 10’ ceilings, 2- and 3-car garages, courtyards, Everyday Entry™ benches, and more • The Pulte Energy Advantage: New Pulte homes are up to 30% more energyefficient than the average existing home. Energy-wise products and systems include 15 SEER-rated air conditioning systems, tankless water heaters, 95.5% energy efficient gas furnaces, fresh air circulation systems to maximize air quality, and more! Additionally, solar is available as an option. • Near desirable schools, great shopping, and manageable commutes • Close to parks and recreational facilities

Left: Price-included Everyday Entry™ bench serves as an expanded pathway through the most-used entrance in the home. Right: Luxurious owner’s bath offers sanctuary in a busy household, and features quality fixtures and finishes.


PulteGroup Las Vegas has earned an ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Market Leader Award in recognition of its continued commitment to providing our nation’s homebuyers with ENERGY STAR certified homes. This award recognizes your organization’s work in promoting energy efficient construction and helping homebuyers experience the peace of mind, quality, comfort, and value that come with living in an ENERGY STAR certified home.

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VISIT PULTE.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO JOIN THE INTEREST LIST. Prices shown are estimated base prices, do not include lot premiums or options and are subject to change without notice. Lot premiums may apply. Please see a sales representative for details. This material shall not constitute a valid offer in any state where prior registration is required or if void by law. Photography and illustrations are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be an actual representation of a specific community, neighborhood, or any completed improvements being offered. Offers and availability subject to change or withdrawal without notice. This material shall not constitute a valid offer in any state where prior registration is required or if void by law. Pulte Home Corporation is a licensed Nevada real estate broker (lic. #1162) 8345 West Sunset Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89113, (702) 457-4250, NMLS Entity Identifier #1791 ©2015 Pulte Home Corporation. All rights reserved. 6/1/2015.




Summerlin | Lifestyle

The Ridges, an exclusive custom enclave located adjacent Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, is home to many of the Las Vegas Valley’s community leaders and influencers. Dee and Don Snyder especially appreciate the privacy and sanctuary of The Ridges where environmentally sensitive design standards ensure homes and yards artfully blend into the landscape.

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s u m m e r l i n .c o m

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Life at the top

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full, rewarding and accomplished life is a hallmark for Dee and Don Snyder. The high-profile couple, whose contributions to Southern Nevada are significant and wide-ranging, finds sanctuary from their busy lives in their beautiful contemporary home in The Ridges. The Snyders, whose spectacular backyard literally abuts Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, are among friends and neighbors who include many of the city’s professionals, captains of industry and community influencers. At nearly 3,500 feet above sea level, The Ridges is literally the pinnacle of luxury living in Las Vegas. It is perched along the elevated ridgeline adjacent Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and affords spectacular views of the Valley to the east and to the west, untouched nature. “We purposefully selected this lot, given that we knew nothing would ever be built behind us,” said Don. A small cave on the hillside, visible from the backyard, is a Snyder family landmark where Don and now grown son, David, used to ride their dirt bikes long before there was a Summerlin. A particular point of pride for both Dee and Don are the dozens of authentic Asian antiques and decorative accent pieces that fill their home. Acquired when the couple lived and worked in Taiwan in the early 1980s, when Don was launching his career as an international banker, these treasures include Ming dynasty vases, buffet cabinets, dishes and even a heavily embellished 200-year-old Chinese jacket that adorns the dining room wall. With its indoor-outdoor feel and unparalleled backyard view, the Snyder

home is ideal for entertaining and has served as the perfect party spot for major UNLV soirees in recent years. Not content to rest on their laurels, the Snyders continue to make a difference. Dee is a devoted mother to three grown children–David, Christy and Matt; three adorable grand-children–Chase, Callan and Zaine; and two rambunctious rescue dogs– Gordie and Keywee. She is a former longterm board member of Discovery Children’s museum and was part of the team that worked to relocate the Museum to its new home at Symphony Park. Don, considered one of the city’s most respected business and community leaders, has served on the boards of more than 15 public and private companies, raised hundreds of millions of dollars and enjoyed long-term careers in both banking and gaming.He’s served in top executive positions with First Interstate Bank of Nevada (now Wells Fargo), Fremont Street Experience and Boyd Gaming, to name just a few. As a community visionary, Don is credited with playing an integral role in helping bring to fruition The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a game-changer for Las Vegas that is now the epicenter of our city’s cultural arts scene. After serving as interim president of UNLV, Don is today a presidential adviser for strategic initiatives and now heads up the advisory committee to establish a UNLV School of Medicine, yet another transformational project that will enhance quality of life in Southern Nevada. “Las Vegas has been very good to us,” said Dee. “We love the daily buzz of the city, yet we adore the quiet and beauty of our private life in The Ridges at Summerlin. It’s truly the best of both worlds.”

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Summerlin | Lifestyle

The Donald W. Reynolds Cultural Center in Summerlin is home to Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT), an iconic symbol of the arts within the community. Krista Baker, a 10-year veteran of NBT, and her husband, Jordan Mendoza, live in The Paseos village and enjoy a view of Red Rock Canyon from their own backyard. s u m m e r l i n .c o m

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exclusive promotion


Ballet and Summerlin: A Family Affair

F

or 27-year-old Krista Baker, a dancer with Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT), dance and Summerlin are family affairs. The Laguna Niguel, CA native, who started dancing at her mother’s Anaheim studio, Tracy Dee Academy of Dance, when she was only 3. She moved to Summerlin 10 years ago to join NBT as a professional at the age of 17. She has lived in the community ever since, starting out in an apartment, moving to a small home, and now, with her husband, Jordan Mendoza, calls The Paseos village home. Krista and Jordan purchased a home in the Esperanza neighborhood about a year ago and still marvel daily at their life in Summerlin. Krista’s parents, Tracy and Steve, recently moved to The Mesa village in Summerlin to be near their daughter and only child. And Krista’s grandparents, Brenda and Jerry, are planning a move to Summerlin this summer. “My parents have not missed a single performance of mine during the last 10 years,” said Krista. “That’s a pretty impressive record of support given that the first nine-and-one-half years of my tenure with NBT, they didn’t even live in Las Vegas. They are my biggest cheerleaders, and I love that they now live only a few minutes away.” Krista and Jordan, who met in a dance class more than eight years ago, when he was exploring a possible theater major before going into technology, love their backyard view of Red Rock Canyon and appreciate the beauty of the community. “Summerlin reminds me of Irvine and other upscale and well-planned communities in Southern California,” said Krista. “It feels intimate, even though it’s big, thanks to well-defined neighborhoods and villages. And it’s comfortable and safe, with lots of conveniences.” While Krista maintains there is much to love about living in Summerlin, she says Downtown Summerlin is the best thing to happen in the community in many years. “Wolfgang Puck is our favorite dining spot, and I love shopping at lululemon,” said Krista. “Even though I wear tights for a living, I can’t get enough lulu,” she joked. Krista, who loves to cook and relishes in her latest holiday meal–a pork shoulder roast for family and friends, is grateful to live the Summerlin dream. NBT has been headquartered in Summerlin since 1997, when it opened the Donald W. Reynolds Cultural Center where the company rehearses and runs its operations, so Krista’s daily commute is just minutes from home. “Ballet and family are the two most important things in my life,” she said. “My life feels very complete here in Summerlin. I couldn’t imagine living or dancing anywhere else.”

summerlin .c o m

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UNIQUE LUXURY IN THE Ridges

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Sterling Ridge

Sterling Ridge

Single & Two-Story Homes • Summerlin - The Ridges 3,733-4,871 sq. ft. • Up to 5 Bedrooms & 5 1/2 Baths From $1.24M • 702-522-9310

Two-Story Homes • Summerlin - The Ridges 3,546-4,180 sq. ft. • Up to 4 Bedrooms & 4 1/2 Baths From the high $800’s • 702-522-9310

For community location and driving directions visit LyonHomes.com

William Lyon Homes reserves all rights to modify or change prices, specifications or incentives at any time.


Summerlin | Lifestyle

Summerlin offers homes in all styles, sizes and price points, and is popular with retirees seeking an active lifestyle. Chicago natives Rodina and Ben Garrett moved to Summerlin 20 years after an extensive search for the best place to retire. The couple, who just celebrated their 50th anniversary, love Summerlin just as much today as they did two decades ago.

Summerlin LoveBirds

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hen Chicago natives Ben and Rodina Garrett researched the best places to retire more than 20 years ago, Las Vegas was naturally high on their list. “We were referred to Summerlin by a stranger at Starbucks, while having coffee in southeast Las Vegas on one of our monthly research trips,” Ben said. “That happenstance referral turned out to be perfect matchmaking. We’ve been in love with Summerlin ever since we moved here in 1995. The community has grown up around us, and like a good wine, it gets better every year. ” The Garretts, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year, have made healthy living and fitness an important part of their daily routine for decades. “From our home in The Trails village, we are within walking distance of the grocery store, the coffee shop, the bank, the library and all that Trails Village Center offers,” said Rodina. “While we don’t walk as much as we once did, I still enjoy the occasional stroll through our neighborhood.” Ben, a retired AT&T executive, and Rodina, a former

beauty salon owner, have three children–Adrienne, Ben, Jr. and Keith; four grand-children–Brian, Kenneth, Sean and Mariah; and six great grand-children! “We have friends everywhere we go in the community,” said Ben of the small-town, warm atmosphere of Summerlin. “Even our family members take notice of the community’s friendliness when they visit us from their homes in Chicago and Colorado Springs.” A founding member of the Summerlin Women’s Club, Rodina was also an active participant in the Council’s Walking Club and Dining Out Club. Today, Rodina is more focused on family and maintaining good health. A hot date for the Garretts includes catching a movie at the Red Rock movie theater, or better yet, sipping a glass of wine around the pool in their beautiful backyard. “We have never regretted retiring in Summerlin,” said Ben. “We love our home, bumping into friends everywhere we go, the beautiful treelined streets and watching families grow up around us. We made our choice 20 years ago, and today, if we had to make that decision all over again, we’d do it again without hesitation. Summerlin is home.”

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The Hartman

LUXURY HAS A NEW ADDRESS Monte Bello at Summerlin® • New homes from the $500s This new addition to the Summerlin ® masterplan offers a distinctive collection of new homes with a wealth of personalization options. Enjoy convenient amenities, popular schools and scenic landscapes—all within reach of everything southwest Las Vegas has in store. • 3- to 6-bedroom floor plans up to approx. 4,200 sq. ft.

Buy at Monte Bello and enjoy closing cost assistance up to 3% of your home’s price when you finance through HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation.**

• 9 inspired ranch & two-story homes available • Exciting included features like deluxe master baths, enhanced outdoor living spaces and premium interior finishes* • Gated community access • Walking distance from Bishop Gorman High School

Tour our exceptional Robert, Heidi and Hartman model homes today and you’ll discover the Richmond American difference. 5701 Corona Vista Street, Las Vegas, NV 89135

*Standard items and included features are subject to change without notice. Features will vary by home and may not be available on all houses. Availability may vary by community, plan, build status, elevation and/or location. **For new buyers on new contracts signed by August 31, 2015, and that close in a timely manner, for homes at Monte Bello at Summerlin®, Richmond American will pay buyer’s actual closing costs, up to 3% of the base price of the home, subject to legal and loan program requirements and limitations, when financing is provided by HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation. HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation’s principal offices are located at 4350 S. Monaco Street, Suite 200, Denver, CO 80237 (NMLS Unique Identifier #130676; NMLS Consumer Access website: http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). In Nevada, all advertised loans are offered and funded by HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation, 7770 S. Dean Martin Drive, Suite 308, Las Vegas, NV 89139, 702-638-4450, License #67. Buyer must pay all prepaids. Home must close in a timely manner, as determined by Richmond American. Actual amount cannot exceed buyer’s actual closing costs. Visit a Sales Center for details and limitations. The Richmond American Homes companies (RAH) and HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation (HMC) are owned, directly or indirectly, by M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. and, therefore, are affiliated companies. RAH and HMC offer services independently of each other, and if you obtain a product or service from one company, you are not required to utilize the services of, or obtain products from, the other company. Your decision to use a company that is not affiliated with RAH or HMC will not affect your ability to obtain products and services from these companies. Actual homes as constructed may not contain the features and layouts depicted and may vary from image(s). Pricing is subject to change without notice. Square footage is approximate. Dates and times are subject to change without notice. ©2015 Richmond American Homes. In Nevada, homes are offered by Richmond American Homes of Nevada, Inc. (Nevada Contractor License #0026417)

702-638-4435


The Mesa is one of five Summerlin villages in which new homes are actively selling.

Summerlin Homes as Distinctive as the Community

N

early 25 years ago, Cal and Maria Champlin and their

selling production homes range from 1,605 to 5,904 square

two children made Summerlin history as the

feet and are priced from the high $200,000s to more than $2

community’s very first residents. In March 1991, believing

million. Coming soon is a luxury age-qualified neighborhood

in the vision of all that Summerlin would offer, they

for residents ages 55 and older. And for those seeking exclusive

moved into their home at Panorama Pointe by Woodside

sanctuary, The Ridges offers custom home sites, including lots

Homes in The Hills village.

in Azure currently priced from the high $400,000s to $1.5

Today, more than 100,000 residents living in 40,000-plus

million. The Summit, the ultimate

homes are proof that the community’s original promise has

and most luxurious enclave in the

been realized. Homes in all sizes, styles and price points dot

Valley, is now under development.

the expansive community that spans the western rim of the

Every Summerlin homebuilder

Las Vegas Valley—each one offering its dwellers access to the

must

highly desirable Summerlin lifestyle unmatched anywhere in

maintained by Cleaver’s department,

adhere

to

guidelines

Southern Nevada.

including backyard wall heights and

Current Summerlin HomeBuilders Christopher Homes KB Home Lennar

According to Julie Cleaver, the community’s vice president

floor plans considered appropriate

of design and planning, Summerlin was deliberately and

for corner lots. Details, including

Pulte Homes

carefully planned to create a special sense of place and

house color, trim style, landscaping

Richmond American Homes

community. Each village boasts its own design aesthetic

design and how often floor plans

Ryland Homes

evident in both landscaping and architectural detail. The use

can be repeated on a street, are all

of natural stone building materials and muted earth tone colors

determined by Cleaver and her

ensures the community retains its sophisticated and

team. And every builder must follow

understated elegant feel. And amenities like parks, trails and

one very important rule: At least 15

Woodside Homes

community centers are designed to encourage resident

percent of every home must be

interaction and social connectivity. “The look and feel of

dedicated to outdoor living space.

The Calida Group JV developer of The Constellation

Summerlin is palpable,” said Cleaver. “You know you are in Summerlin by what you see in every direction.”

“Summerlin homes set a standard for indoor and outdoor living,” said

Toll Brothers William Lyon Homes

Discovery Land Company JV developer of The Summit

Today, 11 homebuilders are actively building and selling

Danielle Bisterfeldt, director of

homes in five villages: The Paseos, The Mesa, The Ridges,

marketing for Summerlin. “We expect

Downtown Summerlin and The Cliffs—the newest village

our homebuilders to include courtyards, porches, miradors,

located near Bishop Gorman High School. Nearly 60 floor plans

loggias, patios and sundecks, so families have plenty of space

feature exciting one- and two-story designs, energy-saving

to gather, socialize, or quietly relax inside or outside of their home.

details, state-of-the-art technological built-ins, innovative

Enjoying your home and an active community are hallmarks of

outdoor living spaces, casitas and even rooftop decks. Currently

the Summerlin lifestyle.”

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A Perfect Foursome

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ou might call the Goldsteins Summerlin’s first family of golf. Dad Bruce, Mom Karri, 13-year-old Morgan and 12-year-old Aidan are all accomplished players. The children

play golf daily and gave up their tennis rackets for sticks years ago. Collectively, the family spends as much time at their home away from home—TPC Summerlin—as they do at Casa Goldstein in the village of Summerlin Center. But it’s Morgan’s recent win that is generating the most buzz. On April 5, the talented eighthgrader, who attends Faith Lutheran Middle School, was the talk of the nation after winning the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. As if one junior champion isn’t enough, the Goldsteins can claim a second. In 2014, Aidan placed fourth in the same Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta. Together, both Goldstein kids have played in more than 200 tournaments locally and around the country, and both are formidable competitors on Faith Lutheran’s golf team. Bruce won the Member-Member tournament at TPC Summerlin in 2009, shortly after joining the club. Both he and his wife, while longtime players, gave up the sport a few years ago to concentrate on their kids’ golf careers. Like many Summerlin families, the Goldsteins

it’s always fun to be a foursome.”

take advantage of “everything Summerlin has to

When the parents aren’t shuttling the kids to TPC

offer,” from Costco to nearby Red Rock Canyon

Summerlin, Karri and Bruce spend their days working

National Conservation Area. Their move to

from home, managing sales as part owners of Creative

Summerlin last year brought them closer to Karri’s

Concepts, developer of Pucker Powder candy. The

parents, who moved to the community in 2011.

sweet treats are sold all around the world and can be

But ask the Goldsteins what Summerlin perk is

found close to home, with distribution at Valley

at the top of their list, and the answer is always

locations, including “It’s Sugar” in Downtown Summerlin.

the same: “My brother and I play golf every day,” said Morgan. “Our parents sometimes play with us;

For this golfing family, life is literally sweet in Summerlin.

Summerlin is home to nine public and private golf courses, including the state’s only two Tournament Players Club courses. The Goldstein family, led by Mom Kerri and Dad Bruce, boasts two major champions: 13-year-old Morgan, who won the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5; and 12-year-old Aidan, who placed fourth in the same competition in 2014. The kids play at TPC Summerlin every day.

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Congratulations Summerlin® on your 25th Anniversary.

©2015 City National Bank

City National is proud to be part of the Summerlin community and the quality lifestyle it provides to thousands of families and businesses who call Summerlin home. Thank you Kevin Orrock and The Howard Hughes Corporation® for developing the number one master planned community in the country. We look forward to being a part of this vibrant and growing community for another 25 years and beyond.

Nevada’s Premier Private and Business Bank®

CNB MEMBER FDIC


Summerlin | Lifestyle Summerlin is home to 14 houses of worship representing 12 faiths, allowing residents to worship in their own community. Rabbi Malcom Cohen, left, and Bishop West Allen, right, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, enjoy a friendly relationship, as their houses of worship sit side by side in The Hills South village. Congregants of the two faiths share parking lots on their faiths’ respective worship days.

SHARED PARKING LOTS a SYMBOL OF friendship FOR SUMMERLIN HOUSES OF WORSHIP

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n the mid-1990s, two neighboring worship facilities– Temple Beth Am (now Temple Sinai) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Hillpointe Drive in The Hills South village–were experiencing such rapid growth, out of necessity their respective leaders agreed to share each other’s parking lots given their different worship days. Today, 20 years later, members and congregants of those same houses of worship continue to share their parking lots. “It’s a true demonstration of neighborliness and a spirit of cooperation,” said Rabbi Malcom Cohen of Temple Sinai, of the unique arrangement shared by leaders and members of the two faiths. “Our Mormon neighbors make it so easy and are so accommodating, especially on our High Holy worship days when our own parking lot simply isn’t enough.” Likewise, LDS Bishop West Allen appreciates the special relationship shared by the two groups of worshippers. “Given global headlines about a growing lack of tolerance for religious diversity, we are especially proud and eager to ensure our relationship with our Jewish neighbors continues to be respectful, friendly and accommodating,” said Allen. “We’ve been at it now for 20 years and hope

we can continue to share resources for decades to come.” According to Rabbi Cohen, Temple Sinai recently erected a security fence but has provided a key to Bishop Allen. “It’s a strong expression of trust,” said Allen. “We are privileged and honored to enjoy such a mutually beneficial relationship and will work to ensure we continue to protect and maintain that trust.” Both Rabbi Cohen and Bishop Allen enjoy the opportunity to live and worship in their own community. Rabbi Cohen has lived in Summerlin for six years since taking over duties at Temple Sinai. His wife, Sarah, teaches at nearby Adelson Educational Campus, where their son, Elijah, 6, also attends school. Daughter Rachel, 4, attends Shenker Academy located on the campus of Temple Sinai. Bishop Allen and his family moved to The Trails village almost 20 years ago. He and his wife, Kristi, have raised their five children in Summerlin, each of whom has attended Lummis Elementary School, Becker Middle School and Palo Verde High School. Currently, Bishop Allen’s youngest daughters, Hannah, 14, and Brooke, 17, are students at Palo Verde High School.

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From desert to a thriving community

Happy 25th Anniversary ® SUMMERLIN In 1990, the area west of the Las Vegas strip was miles of desert. Within two years, the master-planned community of Summerlin was growing and prospering. Today, Summerlin is one of the 10 largest population centers in Nevada.

Learn about the services we provide community residents and visitors. summerlinhospital.com

Congratulations Summerlin on your 25th anniversary … We are proud to be part of the community.

GET SOCIAL WITH US!

657 N. Town Center Drive • Las Vegas, NV 89144

Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Summerlin Hospital Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.


A Summerlin Love Story— Times Three

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s children, Jessica and Justin Kalb vacationed with their respective families each summer on the beaches of Capistrano, CA, yet the two never met.

So it was serendipitous, when years later, they met, fell in love and married on the very beach where they made many childhood memories. Today, the Kalbs are parents to 9-year-old Hudson and healthy triplet daughters born on February 15 at Summerlin Hospital: Blair, Sloane and Gigi. “Summerlin Hospital was our home away from home for five weeks after the birth, while our babies continued to be loved, nurtured and monitored in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit there,” said Jessica, who despite the challenge of caring for three newborns, is radiant and glowing with her latest achievement. “We had the option of going to another hospital to deliver our babies, but we wanted to be close to home, close to Hudson and close to family and friends, so Summerlin Hospital was the natural choice,” she continued. According to Justin, the family was thrilled with the care they all received. “Through a

especially appreciate the convenience of The

special program for premature babies, we

Gardens Plaza just around the corner from their

continue to go back to Summerlin Hospital for

home, where they can walk for pizza at Due

frequent visits and checks,” he said.

Forni, coffee at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and a

“We are happy to have the opportunity to

healthy snack from Daily Kitchen.

extend our wonderful relationship with the many

Justin, whose family’s company, Kalb

nurses and doctors who cared for our whole

Industries, has done considerable construction

family. We are especially grateful to Dr. Adashek,

work at Downtown Summerlin, said he truly

who was the calming force of this successful

appreciates living in a community with so much

journey, helping us to deliver three healthy baby

to offer. Andiron and Grape Street are among

girls. He did an amazing job.”

the Kalb’s new favorites for a night out.

The Kalbs live near the Gardens Park, where

“Great medical care, parks and trails, restaurants

over the years they have spent a lot of time

and shopping, it’s all here,” he said. “We are one

walking, playing ball and having fun. Today, they

happy and growing Summerlin family!”

Summerlin Hospital Medical Center is a 454 all-private suite hospital offering world-class medical care. Jessica and Justin Kalb, and their 9-year-old son, Hudson, welcomed triplets, Blair, Sloane and Gigi, born there on February 15, 2015. The growing family had a choice of where to deliver their babies and chose Summerlin Hospital for its quality care and proximity to home.

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Summerlin | Lifestyle

Summerlin promotes a healthy, active lifestyle via its 150 parks, 150 miles of trails, sports fields and athletic clubs. Courtney and Jason Smith, and their children, Carson and Samantha, frequently ride their bikes and scooters to nearby Gardens Park.

fitness is an important part of this family's fun

C

ollegiate athletes Courtney and Jason Smith are a long way from the University of Iowa, where they met 18 years ago. Courtney was a gymnast and Jason, a basketball player, who both enjoyed successful athletic careers in college. Today, the couple, along with their children, Carson, 7, and Samantha, 5, stay active and fit in Summerlin, where they moved in 2010. “Amongst the families in our cul-de-sac, there are nine children, so our kids are in heaven with so many playmates nearby,” said Courtney of the family’s home in The Gardens village. “We frequently walk or ride our scooters to Gardens Park to kick around a ball with the kids. We spend so much time there, Gardens Park is literally an extension of our own yard.” Courtney is an audiologist, who practices at Advanced Audiology Institute and also owns Sound Signature Las Vegas, which specializes in custom hearing protection for those in the nightlife and entertainment industries. She loves riding her bike with her son for Saturday morning coffee nearby. Jason surprised her for Valentine’s Day this year with a hot pink camouflage bicycle. “My goal is to get a giant basket, so I can ride my bike to Trader Joe’s at Downtown Summerlin. Now that’s the way to go grocery shopping,” she said. Jason, an attorney and partner at Santoro Whitmire, located near Vintner Grill in Summerlin, enjoys a short

five minute commute to work. Both he and Courtney are members of Lifetime Athletic, where the whole family spends lots of time working out and having fun: Jason continues to play basketball on an adult league called Ultimate Hoops; the kids take swimming lessons; and Courtney enjoys the wide range of fitness classes and socializing with girlfriends. The Smith kids are also involved in soccer, basketball and gymnastics. Summers are filled with camps for the kids at both Lifetime and the nearby Gardens Community Center. “It’s amazing that we have so many opportunities just steps from our door,” said Courtney. The kids attend drama and Mad Science camps at the Gardens Community Center, while Lifetime offers a variety of activity-based summer programs. ”Our summers in Summerlin are full, active, interesting and enriching,” said Courtney. “That’s a wonderful gift we don’t take for granted.” Downtown Summerlin is a new favorite spot for the family, who regularly dines there at least once a week. “While we enjoy several restaurants at Downtown Summerlin, Sushi Loca is a particular favorite,” said Courtney. “The staff knows our names!” ‘As a couple from the Midwest once accustomed to driving long distances for just about everything, we really appreciate just how special and convenient Summerlin is,” said Jason. “And we couldn’t be happier to now call the community home.”

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Every new chapter needs characters.

The Flirt

The Dancer

The Brain

The Storyteller

Every group of friends has its roles to play. The one who is always quick with a joke, the one that knows every pick-up line, the one that knows the answer to every trivia question. Las Ventanas is a community of characters. Come meet your new best friends.

Call (702) 577-3602 to schedule your personal tour today! 10401 West Charleston Boulevard Las Vegas, NV 89135 | www.lasventanaslv.com Active Adult Living | Assisted Living | Memory Support | Skilled Nursing


Roseman College of Medicine is one of three institutions of higher learning in Summerlin and the community's only medical school. Dr. Lisa Rosenberg is part of the team working to welcome Roseman’s first class in 2017.

Roseman’s ‘Mastery Model of Learning’ that requires students to achieve a 90 percent score in order to pass,” she said. “This truly sets Roseman apart from most other medical schools and establishes a new standard of excellence. It’s exciting to be part of a program that will attract and graduate a special breed of student.” Active in the community, Rosenberg sits on the board of Temple Beth Sholom, in Summerlin, and Braunstein is president of the board of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas at Temple Beth Sholom where both children attend school. “Our deep involvement in our faith and our children’s education adds greatly to our lives,” Rosenberg said. “We appreciate the bonds of community there.” The family particularly enjoys the many resident-only events organized by the Summerlin Council, including Snow Day. Other family favorites include Summerlin Festival of the Arts and playing tennis at one of the community’s many parks. Rosenberg, who is a self-professed maniacal recycler and friend of the

Bringing Medicine and Opportunity to Summerlin

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environment, is effusive in her praise for the walkability of Downtown Summerlin, the community’s new fashion, dining and entertainment destination that opened last year.

hen Dr. Lisa Rosenberg and her

Medicine; he as chief of rheumatology for

husband, Dr. Neil Braunstein,

Southwest Medical Associates.

“There are very few places in Las Vegas that are truly walkable,” she said. “From our

moved to Las Vegas from

Located in the newly acquired former

home, we walk to Downtown Summerlin,

Pittsburgh nine years ago to

Nevada Cancer Institute facilities in

catch a movie, enjoy dinner with a glass of

escape the icy cold winters, they didn’t quite

Summerlin, Roseman is currently going

wine, and safely and conveniently walk

know what to expect. After considerable

through the Liaison Committee on Medical

home. That is an absolutely wonderful and

research, they settled in Summerlin, and

Education (LCME) application process,

remarkable new perk that we now enjoy.”

today, along with their children, Jacob, 10,

with plans to enroll its first class in 2017.

Despite the fact that both Rosenberg’s

and Dara, 7, say the myths and urban folklore

Rosenberg, who came to Roseman in

and Braunstein’s families are on the East

about living in Las Vegas couldn’t be further

early 2015 after more than six years at

Coast, the couple and their children have

from life in Summerlin.

Touro University, considers it a privilege

put down permanent roots in Summerlin.

Both Rosenberg and Braunstein enjoy

to be part of the team working to open

“We are very happy with how our lives

thriving and interesting medical careers: she

the much-needed College of Medicine at

continue to evolve and grow here. Since

as director of geriatrics and assistant professor

Roseman University.

leaving Pittsburgh nine years ago, we

of internal medicine for Roseman College of

“I am especially impressed with

haven’t looked back.”

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CASUAL ELEGANCE MEETS DOWNTOWN SUMMERLIN . 速

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Summerlin | Lifestyle Resident-only events organized by the Summerlin Council, the nonprofit arm of the Summerlin Community Association, often become annual traditions for many Summerlin families who enjoy a full calendar of year-round fun. Dedra and Tom Steinline, along with daughter, Marley, take advantage of most events, including the Strawberry Festival at The Gardens Park.

A FULL CALENDAR, A FULL LIFE

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s a Las Vegas native, Dedra Steinline appreciated the city’s then small-town feel while growing up. Today, she and husband, Tom Steinline, and daughter, Marley, a sixth-grader at Rogich Middle School, say Summerlin offers that same small-town experience, thanks to great schools, like-minded families and a full calendar of resident-only events that create traditions and fill their calendar. Dedra and Tom, who met at UNLV while pursuing degrees in education, both teach at Palo Verde High School: she teaches biology, and he teaches chemistry. “Las Vegas is today a big city, but in Summerlin, everywhere we go, we run into friends, former students and their families,” said Tom. In fact, one of the Steinline’s former students is now a teacher at Palo Verde. “It’s especially rewarding to see one of our students return to us as a teacher.” For the Steinlines, their busy calendar is marked by Summerlin’s special events that have become family traditions. Organized by the Summerlin Council, the nonprofit arm of the Summerlin Community Association, these events often take center stage for holiday celebrations. Among the Steinline’s favorite annual events are the Patriotic Parade, Hometown Holidays, Snow Day, Pumpkin Patch, Egg Hunt and the weekly farmers market at The Gardens Park.

According to Tom, who grew up in Southern California, Summerlin has replicated his own upbringing. “When I first moved to Las Vegas, I was told it is a transient town,” he said. “But in Summerlin, it doesn’t feel that way at all. Dedra and I have taught entire families of kids. We get invited to their weddings, we run into them at the grocery store, and we count them as friends. Where else in Las Vegas would you find that?” The Steinlines also appreciate the community’s diversity. “We recently visited the Hindu Temple with the family of one of Marley’s friends,” said Dedra. “It was really beautiful, and we are happy our daughter has the opportunity to experience so much in her own community.” “People seem to stay in Summerlin,” said Dedra in reference to her observation that friends and neighbors rarely leave the community. “We’ve been here from the beginning,” said Tom of the fact they watched the building of the Summerlin Parkway. “From getting a second supermarket and Red Rock Casino to Downtown Summerlin, we’ve grown up with the community, and it’s only getting better. A ballpark in Summerlin would be the icing on the cake, and we’re not the only ones who would love to make baseball a regular family outing!”

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Grace. Strength. Artistry.

CELEBRATION.

Your unforgettable evening at Nevada Ballet Theatre is only a phone call away PRIORITY ACCESS before the general public for parties of eight or more

A BALANCHINE A CHOREOGRAPHERS’ CELEBRATION SHOWCASE November 7 & 8, 2015 October 11 & 18, 2015

PERSONAL CONCIERGE SERVICE for easy, turnkey ordering

THE NUTCRACKER December 12 – 20, 2015

CINDERELLA February 13 & 14, 2016

GREAT PRICES when you secure your seats early

THE STUDIO SERIES

ROMEO & JULIET

March 31 – April 3, 2016

May 14 & 15, 2016

Call (702) 243-2623 to reserve your seats today NevadaBallet.org Main photo by Cashman Photography. Production photos by Virginia Trudeau. Cinderella photo by Yi Yin, courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theatre. Serenade Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust.


Las Vegas’ food court king comes home to Downtown Summerlin

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ntrepreneur Frank Bonanno, whose family empire currently operates 48 Las Vegas-based restaurants located in 11 major Vegas hotel-casinos, including

food courts at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay,

Luxor, Flamingo and Bally’s, has made a good living of serving up delicious food to the city’s millions of tourists. So when the Bonanno family, which also includes Frank’s wife, Betty, and oldest son, Robb, opened Trattoria Reggiano at Downtown Summerlin, one would think it might just be another day at the office. “Not so,” said Frank of the new authentic Italian eatery that is one of the company’s flagship brands. “It’s an entirely different experience to serve up tasty fare to neighbors and family friends in the very community we call home,” he said. “We take great pride in being part of Downtown Summerlin, and want everyone to know the entire Bonanno family looks forward to greeting Trattoria Reggiano guests to ensure a great experience and a

Downtown Summerlin offers 106 acres of fashion, dining and entertainment in a true urban environment, right in the heart of the community. Betty and Frank Bonanno, along with Frank's son, Robb, recently opened Trattoria Reggiano at Downtown Summerlin, adding to the destination’s many popular dining options. Bonanno, a well-known restaurateur and Summerlin resident, is especially proud to serve family and friends in his community.

wonderful meal.” Residents of Summerlin since 2003, these

A deal was struck, and the rest, as they say, is

business,” said Betty of the entire Bonanno

New Jersey natives have long made a name

history. Other names added to the Bonanno

family. “We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

for themselves in the restaurant business.

portfolio now include Johnny Rockets,

Bonanno was honored in 2012 by the

After earning a degree from the Culinary

Bonanno’s New York Pizzeria and a dozen

National Veteran-Owned Business Association

Institute of America and serving as a lieutenant

other restaurant brands.

as its “Vetrepreneur Of The Year,” a distinction

in the army, Frank developed and operated a

The Bonanno family also includes Maria, 20,

that makes Frank especially proud, because it

chain of 75 East Coast-based chocolate chip

a student at Loyola Marymount University in

combines his service to country with his

cookie stores that he eventually sold to Mrs.

Los Angeles; Gigi, 16, a student at The Meadows;

passion for business. Together, Frank, Betty and

Fields. He then developed a number of

and Joey, 14, a student at Alexander Dawson

Robb, head up the Fifth Avenue Restaurant

Häagen-Dazs and Nathan’s Famous franchises,

School who is heading to Bishop Gorman High

Group and continue to seek opportunities on

and in 1992, while vacationing in Las Vegas,

School. Robb’s wife, Allison, and daughter,

and off the Strip.

Frank and Betty felt the city’s energy and were

Isabella, who attends Beginning School at The

inspired to meet with MGM Grand about the

Meadows, round out the family.

possibility of operating in the food court there.

“Our passions are our children and our

“There’s nothing quite like Las Vegas,” said Frank. “While we enjoy traveling, Summerlin will always be home.”

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Summerlin | Lifestyle

Summerlin is home to 10 of the valley’s leading private schools. Jordan Ober, class of 2015, Bishop Gorman High School, is on his way to play football at the University of Nebraska. He credits his association with Bishop Gorman and its nationally recognized football program with helping him to secure the opportunity.

Bishop Gorman Grad Relishes Family’s Summerlin Legacy, Looks Forward to Next Chapter

E

ighteen-year-old Bishop Gorman g r a d u a t e Jo r d a n O b e r i s a Summerlin ‘lifer.’ Born and raised in the community, Jordan grew up playing in the community’s sports leagues and attended Sig Rogich Middle School and D’Vorre and Hal Ober Elementary School before landing at Bishop Gorman. It’s no coincidence Jordan shares the same name as his elementary school: D’Vorre and Hal are his grandparents. D’Vorre was a retired Clark County School District teacher with an interest in the visually and physically impaired; Hal was a prominent local developer. “Summerlin is the only home I have ever known, and the community has been very good to my family,” said Jordan, son of Christi Dow and David Ober. “All my childhood memories involve one of the Summerlin parks or community events. And it’s so cool that our family legacy will always live on in this area, thanks to my grandparents and Ober Elementary.” Jordan heads to University of Nebraska this fall where he earned a scholarship on the football team as a long snapper. He plans to major in physical

therapy with sights on a future in the NFL. He credits his long snapper coach, Chris Rubio, and his experience playing football for Bishop Gorman, the 2014 national high school football champion, with opening doors and helping him to land so well. “Bishop Gorman not only has prepared me for college academically with its college prep curriculum, the school’s athletic program has prepared me mentally and physically for the next level,” said Jordan. “The exposure of being on a national championship team and competing at that level has brought validity to my talents and given me opportunities I would not have otherwise enjoyed. When I go to a camp and say I am a student at Bishop Gorman, they pay extra attention to me, and for that, I am grateful.” “While I am sad to leave Summerlin and Bishop Gorman, I am excited about what lies ahead,” Jordan continued. “I want to be successful on both the football field and in the classroom, and I am confident I am ready to do both. Playing football for Bishop Gorman has been an intense experience, but it has paid off. It taught me how to be a man, work hard, and develop dedication and responsibility. You can’t put a price on that.”

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Summerlin is home to 13 public schools. At Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center are Katrina Marks, West Career and Technical Academy, class of 2015, and Eseosa “Sosa” Aigbe, Palo Verde High School, class of 2015. Both will attend University of Nevada, Reno where they plan to study medicine.

needs during intake. A scholarship recipient, Katrina is entering UNR’s BS to MD program, a seven-year medical school program that shepherds students from undergraduate to graduate work. Like Sosa, Katrina has had the opportunity to travel on behalf of her school, representing WCTA as a presenter on student motivation at the National Association of Student Councils in Orlando. Katrina has worked as a mentor at Givens Elementary School and was active in student council, serving as class president her junior year. “It was hands down the most rewarding experience of my young life,” she said of the national student council conference in Florida. A swimmer, Katrina was a four-year member of the varsity swim team at Palo Verde High School, since WCTA students join Palo Verde’s athletic programs. As a child, she took swim

Two outstanding high school students set their sights on medical school

G

classes at the Veterans Memorial Leisure Services Center in Summerlin, and over the years, she has run into many acquaintances she met there. “Living close to the library, the parks down the street and the community

raduates of two public Summerlin high

“The opportunity to work with musicians from

center has really shaped my life,” said Katrina,

schools, Eseosa “Sosa” Aigbe and

the New York Philharmonic and Boston

of the many activities and events in which she

Katrina Marks share many similarities as

Philharmonic had a profound effect on my life.

was able to participate and the many friends

outstanding students highly involved in

I was truly starstruck.”

she forged during her childhood.

Sosa, who plans to major in biochemistry

Katrina also appreciates Summerlin’s strong

service: Sosa at Palo Verde High School and

and molecular biology at UNR, hopes to follow

sense of community that made her feel safe.

Katrina at West Career and Technology

in his father’s footsteps. His father, a pediatric

‘Growing up, I was always comfortable talking

Academy (WCTA). Perhaps the most striking

nephrologist, has his own clinic where Sosa

to all kinds of people while out and about in the

fact is that these two exceptional students,

frequently helps out when he can. He also

community. Those experiences are priceless and

members of the class of 2015, are both headed

volunteers at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission

definitely shaped my sociability and comfort in

to University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) this fall

and spent several weeks last summer

interacting with a diverse group of people.”

with medical school in their future.

volunteering at Summerlin Hospital.

extracurricular activities and community

Sosa echoes Katrina’s sentiment about

Sosa, a first-generation American whose

Similarly, Katrina’s decision to enter medicine

Summerlin. “There are a lot of good people and

family hails from Nigeria, was born in Brooklyn,

is influenced by her father, who works as a

a true sense of community here,” said Sosa. “The

and moved to Summerlin 14 years ago. A

trauma nurse at University Medical Center. “I

neighborly relationships my family enjoyed were

talented percussionist, Sosa was a member of

have been exposed to medicine from an early

created in part by all the community’s social

the Palo Verde High School marching band

age and was always fascinated by the stories

events, festivals and gatherings. I especially love

and was selected to perform in the Honor

of my dad’s work,” she said. Katrina volunteered

the pride Summerlin residents have in their

Orchestra of America this year in Indianapolis.

at Southern Hills Hospital during her junior year

community. I share that pride. I totally get it and

“It was absolutely jaw dropping to play with

in high school and has worked in an emergency

look forward to coming back home for frequent

living legends in the music world,” Sosa said.

room environment, assisting patients with basic

visits during my studies at UNR.”

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Summerlin | Lifestyle

New Homes in Summerlin Offer Built-In Convenience

B

uying a home is a big decision. So when looking at your options, consider the advantages of new home construction, which, like new technology, offers cutting-edge details for today’s modern lifestyles, according to Peggy Chandler, senior vice president of Summerlin. “Summerlin homebuilders are at the forefront of new home designs,” said Chandler. “From energy-saving features, built-in technology and home automation, to floor plans designed to expand living space outdoors for families and great parties, new Summerlin homes have all that and more.” A home built even five years ago doesn’t offer the same energy savings as a new home, given constantly improving construction codes and ever-evolving energy conservation standards. New homes include Energy STAR certified appliances, low-energy dual-pane windows, higherefficiency insulation like radiant barrier roof sheeting that can reduce utility bills by double digits in some instances. “While some look for similar features in pre-owned homes, opting for new construction ultimately gives buyers more bang for the buck,” Chandler said. “A new home today cannot be compared to a home built years ago, given how quickly technology advances.” In addition to energy savings, new home construction

36

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pays off with reduced maintenance, more contemporary designs and enhanced home personalization. “It’s hard to put a price on the ability to choose your floor plan, color scheme, flooring materials and the many details that customize your home,” said Chandler. Great examples of features popular today in new Summerlin homes are casitas and multigenerational suites that provide additional living space for extended family and guests. Summerlin floor plans also include functional outdoor living space, thanks to the community’s design standards that are constantly upgraded to reflect new living trends. Technological advances built into new homes are yet another important factor to consider and allow homeowners to seamlessly plug in to desktops and mobile devices. Home automation, a standard feature in many new Summerlin homes, allows owners the ability to monitor homes and access door locks, thermostats and lighting with their cell phones, tablets and PCs. New home warranties are yet another feature that reduce costs over time. “The peace of mind that comes with knowing expensive emergency repairs and replacements are covered is priceless,” said Chandler. “Buying a new home is an investment. Choose wisely.”


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