Page 1




Aspiring MMA fighters flock to Vegas


ALL DAY ALL NIGHT 24 hours in the life of the city


FASHION dreamy, daring and dramatic


CULTURE GUIDE The season’s best art, music, theater and more


A fully stocked bar and the best views of the Strip, footsteps from the hottest nightlife, shops and restaurants. This is your ride to the higher side of Vegas. Mention Desert Companion at The High Roller Box Office to receive $10 off! Offer Ends: 10/15/2015



Š2015 California Closet Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Franchises independently owned and operated. NV Lic.#52850



e n t r y way

wa l l b e d

media center





pa n t r y

Now offering barn doors and sliding doors! Your home is a sanctuary and it should be as beautiful as you can imagine. Visit one of our showrooms and let us help you make your dream home a reality. We are experts in creating stunning storage solutions for you and just the way you live. Call today and arrange for your free design consultation.


4115 S. Grand Canyon at Flamingo


7350 Dean Martin at Warm Springs



Working together, we can provide Southern Nevada with a reliable water supply so our families and neighborhoods can continue to thrive. Over the years, the community has conserved billions of gallons of water and is still continuing to flourish. Proving a little water can grow a city. Using less means more. Learn more at Southern Nevada Water Authority is a not-for-profit water utility.







Eugene Kohn special guest

Heather Headley


Aida Garifullina


FOR THOSE WHO ARE MORE OFF-ROAD THAN MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Some people expect a little more from life. And when you combine the capability of a Land Rover vehicle with a folding second and third row for versatility, as well as a panoramic roof, it’s no wonder you attract drivers who are anything but average. To experience Discovery Sport for yourself, visit Land Rover Las Vegas for a test drive today.

Jaguar Land Rover Reno

9150 S. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89511 775.332.4000


Portrait of the artists


his issue marks the sixth year of our “Ones to Watch” feature, where we profile up-and-coming talent on the Vegas culturescape. For this year’s package, we looked back in order to look forward, tapping previous Ones to Watch honorees to see who’s blipping on their radar these days. Their selections didn’t disappoint. Starting on page 75, you’ll meet an artist whose photography explores memory by cleverly manifesting its very tricks and distortions; a young dancer who switches gears from jazz to ballet to hip-hop with alarming ease; a TV personality who’s building a talk show by tapping deep roots in the valley’s entertainment community; a singer with a silken voice and a strong head for business; and a theater director who wants to provoke as much as entertain. Reconnecting with our Ones to Watch honor roll also gave us an opportunity to check our track record: How many of the artists we’ve profiled over the years have blown up, dried out, faded away? I’m proud to say the record reflects our exceedingly good taste. A random selection: Lauren Adkins (2013), the conceptual artist best known for marrying a cardboard cutout of Twilight heartthrob Edward Cullen, is teaching and producing art in Los Angeles. Young violinist CJ Patton (2011) is a science undergrad at UC Santa Barbara, but still makes time to play and perform. Dancer and choreographer Bernard Gaddis (2010) has continued to develop the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater into a scene stalwart (check out LVCDT’s Ella Fitzgerald tribute, “Simply Ella,” Nov. 13 at The Smith Center). Next And Peter Bastien (2013), the chef masMOnth termind behind The Bronze Cafe, conPassages: A tinues to serve cuisine with a culinary guide to aging pedigree that belies its modest home in and end-of-life issues a community center cafe.


September 2015

You’ll notice that some of these creators have used Vegas as a launch site for what promise to be multi-stage careers; others have stuck around to not just build a career in Las Vegas, but to build up Vegas itself as a viable place to actually have a creative career. Our fall culture issue always marks a good place to dogear the page and think about what we can all do to make Las Vegas an attractive place for artists and creatives. Supporting the arts, for one? Obvs! Which is astoundingly easy with our sixth annual fall culture guide (p. 74), packed with events well into the new year. Of course, day-to-day Las Vegas can be a cultural spectacle all its own. That’s what we capture in our “24 Hours” feature (p. 90), a kaleidoscopic cross-section of a full day (and night) in the life of Las Vegas. We conscripted writers, artists, poets and photographers to spend an assigned hour of a chosen day somewhere in Las Vegas, with the goal of creating a jigsaw panorama worthy of the town. From rush hour to after-hours, from dayclubs to dive bars, from Strip life to the swap meet, these 24 slices of Vegas life will, I hope, intrigue and inspire Andrew Kiraly you. (And, man, wait ’til you see what an editor artist saw at the Double Down.)

Follow Desert Companion

the will to do wonders

Caesars Foundation’s Will to do Wonders is working wonders each day, in cities and in towns throughout the U.S. and globally. Our primary focus is on helping older individuals live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. We are also committed to marshaling our financial resources, and the volunteerism of our colleagues at the Caesars group, to promote a more sustainable world. Finally, Caesars Foundation works to provide innovative educational opportunities, particularly for underserved populations,in dozens of communities where the Caesars group operates. Visit for more information.


September 2015

Vo lU m e 1 3 I s s u e 9

Why did he do it?

O O The puzzling crime and untimely death of pediatrician Ralph Conti

story by HEIDI



One summer evening eight years ago, Nina and Lawrence Dibbs drove to Foothills Pediatrics on the Siena campus of St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson. The couple, married nearly 30 years, was excited: They were going to visit someone who, they thought, could help slow the accelerating march of Nina’s progressive multiple sclerosis, which had recently begun to make her legs feel like two-ton dead weights. The source of their hope was not a pediatrician, however; it was Alfred Sapse, owner of a business called StemCell Pharma, who was marketing and selling what he described as a revolutionary cure for several diseases, including MS. Nina’s aunt had discovered Sapse on the Internet. “Nina, you don’t have to go to Europe for the stem-cell treatment, after all!” she had shouted through the phone earlier that day. “They’re doing it right down the street from you!” Nina called Sapse, and he told her to come right over. The reason she and her husband were going to a pediatrician’s office is that Sapse wasn’t licensed to practice medicine in Nevada — or anywhere in the U.S. Although he claimed to be the scientist behind the procedure Nina sought, he needed a licensed physician to actually perform it. Enter Ralph Conti, owner of Foothills Pediatrics and a phenomenally popular doctor throughout the valley, where he operated five other locations, in addition to the one in Henderson.


J U LY 2 0 1 4


J U LY 2 0 1 4




Even as it slumbers in the Desert Companion archives, our big July 2014 report on the late Dr. Ralph Conti — a beloved local pediatrician whose career was ruined by a stem-cell scam — continues to touch readers. Not just locally, either. This just in from across the ocean: “I took my ex-wife from South Africa to Vegas in Jan 2006, for stem-cell therapy,” Marthinus Stander writes after encountering Heidi Kyser’s story online. “She suffers from multiple sclerosis and had a serious relapse after the treatment, due to an infection. I revisited Vegas in 2012 as state witness in the case against (Albert) Sapse and Conti. While it was easy to direct fingers at Sapse, I felt sorry for Dr. Conti and could never understand what made him become involved. “The guilty verdict and failed restitution did little to fix anything, but I still feel resentment towards the FDA and the state of Nevada. Too slow and too little, too late in the whole saga.”


More recently — the August issue, to be exact — we published a roundup of facts contextualizing Nevada’s new school-choice law, said to be the nation’s most far-reaching. The idea behind the law, rerouting dollars from public schools to private and charter schools, wasn’t wellreceived on social media. “So happy to see there are sound structural reasons why our vouchers will predominately go to the well-off,” one Facebooker responded to our factoidpalooza. Another went a bit further: “So much for the good old American concept that good citizens are best formed in


September 2015

public schools that teach common, non-sectarian American values, and not by the often divisive doctrines and slants taught in crackpot and unregulated charter schools. The entire idea that my tax dollars are being used to fund a religious school is obnoxious.”


Speaking of obnoxious: The Aristocrats! The classic comedy documentary, which features some hundred comedians each telling what is possibly the foulest, dirtiest joke known to humor sapiens, turned 10 last month. We celebrated with Julie Seabaugh’s wide-ranging oral history of the movie’s making. It really made the rounds, too, as various comedians — Gilbert Gottfried being one example — tweeted the link to their hundreds of thousands of followers. Meanwhile, over on The Comic’s Comic blog, writer Sean L. McCarthy wrote: “Reading what went into making the movie — and comedians reminiscing about how Provenza and Jillette convinced them to participate, with the late great George Carlin providing a vital piece of advice in addition to his own footage — creates great foreplay and excitement should you decide to watch The Aristocrats again with fresh eyes today.”

An oral history of the iconic comedy film The Aristocrats as it turns 10 — from its conception in a Las Vegas lounge to its legendary status to its meaning for comedy and free speech by JULIE SEABAUGH illustration JSKA PRIEBE


hen comic magician Penn Jillette and comedian Paul Provenza conceived the film The Aristocrats in the Peppermill Lounge, they couldn’t imagine the continuing legacy their dirty-joke documentary would leave. Featuring more than 100 performers, some of them among the biggest names in comedy, each offering a unique take on the mythic “secret comedian handshake” — an ever-contorting tale spun out of taboo sex acts, improvised bad taste and cathartic obscenity — the 2005 film celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.

106 A U G U S T 2 0 1 5





Finally, this gem, from the comments section beneath George Knapp’s August farewell to famed cowboy sheriff Ralph Lamb: “I remember my dad scaring us just before we drove through Vegas back in the ’60s. If we were bad he was going to drop us off at the crazy Vegas sheriff’s office.”


Love is a four-legged word.

Subaru owners and their four-legged copilots agree on a lot. The adventures Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive makes possible. The eco-friendliness of Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles. And though they can’t say it in words, our pets appreciate the fact that Subaru has seven 2015 IIHS Top Safety Picks. Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

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

September 2015

Vo lU m e 1 3 I s s u e 0 9

Features 64 Fall


Amid the primordial pines of Mount Charleston, elegant fall fashions offer a vision of the season’s evanescent beauty. Also, a cool crown, left.

74 Fall

Culture Guide

A big-deal poet comes to town. Offbeat musicians unite for an evening. Artists show their work, actors emote onstage: fall will be chockablock — that’s right, chockablock! — with culture. Our smartly curated guide will help you make the most of this autumn bounty.

90 24 hours

in las Vegas Fa s h i o n : R o b e r t J o h n K l e y

A love song (sorta!) in two-dozen parts.


September 2015


Deliciou s

New Restaurants NOW OPEN

Macy’s • JCPenney • Dillard’s • Kohl’s • Dick’s Sporting Goods And over 140 shops, restaurants and services 702-434-0202

Stay connected:

September 2015

Vo lU m e 1 3 I s s u e 0 9





All Things

34 business

55 Dining

119 The Guide

19 educationThe B

This family’s business is taxidermy By Stacy J. Willis

56 drinksHow to

These events have no horizon, there’s so darn many of them

38 culture

fried chicken — at a steak place

word and its consequences 22 healthPedaling for

their lives 24 zeit bitesOpen

those streets! 26 ProfilePublic

artist with a twist 28 STYLEMarisela

Altamirano, trendsetter 30 STreetwise

Boulder City, you’ve been Streetwised! 32 Open topic  oing the right (solar) D



September 2015

Vegas noir — 10 films you should add to your queue By Bob Stoldal 46 sports Aspiring mixed martial artists flock to the sport’s mecca: Las Vegas By Dan Hernandez

tipple like a Vegas icon 61 Eat this nowPan-

61 cocktail of the monthThe elegant

128 End note A moolah of our very own

Cordelia is ready for fall 62 first bite

Does the feel-good food at Therapy portend a new era in Downtown dining?

on the cover PHotography By Robert John Kley

D r i n k : S a b i n Orr ; L a s V e g a s S h a k e d o w n c o u r t e s y B o b S t o l d a l ; S u n : Br e n t H o l m e s ; T a x i d e r m y : C h r i s t o p h e r S m i t h


Somebody’s making money off your mortgage. Shouldn’t it be you? FREE Pre-approval. Your realtor will LOVE you for this!

Talk to a CCCU mortgage expert first. Then go home shopping - worry free. Pay nothing upfront. We’ll match a home mortgage loan to your budget and life style.

You get a share of the profits.

When you open an account at CCCU, you become a member/owner. That means all of our extra earnings are really yours. This year, CCCU member-owners shared a $2.7 million Bonus Dividend in direct cash payments. Since 2001, it’s been over $50 million. That’s cash to help with your loan payments, household bills, or savings for college. Your deposits are insured up to $250,000

American Share Insurance insures each account up to $250,000. This institution is not federally insured, and if the institution fails, the Federal Government does not guarantee that depositors will get back their money.

NMLS Registry #371854

You’re going to bank somewhere. Why not get paid for it? When the next bonus dividend comes around, you’ll get a piece of it.

To open an account and get your mortgage started, Call (702) 228-2228, or online at

Where words leave off, music begins. THE 2015-2016 SEASON

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 Marketing manager  Lisa Kelly Subscription manager  Hannah Howard Web administrator  Danielle Branton traffic coordinator  Karen Wong OCTOBER 24






ADVERTISING COPY EDITOR  Carla J. Zvosec Contributing writers  Cybele, Dan Hernandez, Mélanie Hope, Tony Illia, Lee Mallory, Christie Moeller, Launce Rake, James P. Reza, Lissa Townsend Rodgers, Kris Saknussemm, Bob Stoldal, Greg Thilmont, Mitchell Wilburn, Stacy J. Willis, Xania Woodman (senior editor, Vegas Seven) Contributing artists   Jared Africa, Bill Hughes, Robert John Kley, Gary Mar, Aaron Mayes, Sabin Orr, Hernan Valencia, Lucky Wenzel Editorial: Andrew Kiraly, (702) 259-7856; Fax: (702) 258-5646 Advertising: Christine Kiely, (702) 259-7813; Subscriptions: (702) 258-9895; Website:


MAY 21& 22


Tickets available at The Smith Center Box Office at 702.749.2000 or at


September 2015

Desert Companion is published 12 times a year by Nevada Public Radio, 1289 S. Torrey Pines Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89146. It is available by subscription at, or as part of Nevada Public Radio membership. It is also distributed free at select locations in the Las Vegas Valley. All photos, artwork and ad designs printed are the sole property of Desert Companion and may not be duplicated or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The views of Desert Companion contributing writers are not necessarily the views of Desert Companion or Nevada Public Radio. Contact Hannah Howard for back issues, which are available for purchase for $7.95.

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


RESOURCE Barrick believes every child should have what they need to succeed in school. That’s why we’ve donated millions to education initiatives throughout the state.

a br i ght er n e v a d a . c o m

Desert Savvy Design

Board of Directors Officers cynthia alexander, ESQ. chair Snell & Wilmer Jerry Nadal vice chair Cirque du Soleil TIM WONG  treasurer Arcata Associates Florence M.E. Rogers  secretary Nevada Public Radio

Directors kevin m. buckley First Real Estate Companies Dave Cabral emeritus  Business Finance Corp. Louis Castle  emeritus Patrick N. Chapin, Esq. emeritus Richard I. dreitzer, Esq. Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, LLP Elizabeth FRETWELL emeritus City of Las Vegas bOB GLASER BNY Mellon


eat the heat with a Schilling Horticulture Group desert savvy design. Desert adapted plants are easier to care for, use less water, thrive in hot weather, and enjoy a longer bloom season than most ornamental landscape plants. We create and transform outdoor living spaces, strive for sustainability, and reveal the beauty desert plants have to offer.

don hamrick Chapman Las Vegas Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram gavin isaacs  Scientific Games Jan Jones Blackhurst Caesars Entertainment Corporation John R. Klai II Klai Juba Wald Architects

Mention this ad when scheduling your appointment for a complimentary packet of Schilling Seeds, our custom blend of Mojave native wildflowers.

Lamar Marchese  president emeritus William mason Taylor International Corporation Chris Murray  emeritus Avissa Corporation

2 0 0 7 2 0 1 5

(702) 452-5272 Like us on Facebook

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


September 2015

license 0057280 Licensed, Bonded, & Insured

Call to schedule a design consultation

William J. “Bill” Noonan  emeritus Boyd Gaming Corporation


kathe nylen Anthony j. pearl, esq. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas MARK RICCiARDI, Esq.  emeritus Fisher & Phillips, LLP Mickey Roemer emeritus Roemer Gaming

Follow Desert Companion

Some Call Them World-Class Chefs. You Can Call Them Neighbors.

C U L I N A R Y. FA S H I O N . L I F E S T Y L E .

Chef Alex Stratta, Tapas by Alex Stratta

Chef Sam Marvin, Echo & Rig Butcher + Steakhouse

Stop In And Say Hello To A Great Dining Experience Today.

Chef Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau, Made L.V. I #HowToTivoli

Nothing Pairs Better with Beer and Wine Than a Cure.

Enjoy a delightful evening with good friends to benefit a great cause at the Springs Preserve. While you’re here, you’ll get a chance to sip on some amazing wines, tap into handcrafted brews, and enjoy live music and an array of mouthwatering eats made by some of Vegas’ best restaurants. Proceeds benefit Par for the Cure. So while you’re raising a glass, you’ll be raising money for breast cancer research.

Open to guests 21 and older.

SATURDAY • OCTOBER 3 • 5 TO 9PM Tickets starting at $40. For tickets and more info, visit

09 15

i t tak e s a village to p ol ic e a s c ho ol

Veterans therapy keeps it wheel page 22


Push and shove A tough new law puts more pressure on educators to respond to bullying incidents — or face punishment B y L au n c e R a k e


onsider the pressure faced by school district principals. They must juggle schedules to fill thousands of teacher vacancies. They are directly responsible for the welfare of thousands of elementary, middle-school or high-school students. They are the direct supervisors of hundreds of teachers and support staff. They must meet or exceed educational benchmarks to maintain their funding and positions. Now they face new bullying policies that, if they fail to quickly and fully investigate and report an incidence of bullying, could mean the loss of their professional licenses. The new bullying rules stem from Senate Bill 504, a law drafted and strongly supported by Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office, which passed the Legislature in the spring as one of a raft of education-oriented bills that included funding increases for the public schools and vouchers to support private and religious schools. No one we contacted — school principals, teachers and Clark County School District staff — discounted the threat that bullying poses to the physical and psychological well-being of students, or of the impact that bullying can have on a students’ educational achievement. There have been, on the national level, some experts who have warned that serious incidents can be lost in the flood of less-serious or even unintentional bullying reports. But overall, almost all states have anti-school-bullying laws and, with reports of school violence and suicide linked

i l lu s t r at i o n b r e n t h o l m e s

september 2015


ALL Things


to bullying, schools and teachers are taking reports of bullying as red flags. “I think my colleagues and I take bullying very seriously, because there is no way to know how it will end for the student,” says Elizabeth Camp Bell, a 20-year veteran who teaches Spanish at Las Vegas’ West Career and Technical Academy. “We must report when we think kids are at physical risk and our responsibilities are very clear in that case, but we’ve traditionally under-emphasized the emotional and psychological damage students face. At least the new bullying reporting rules put everyone in the kid’s sphere on notice that he/she may be at risk.” The new rules say that “teachers, administrators, principals, coaches or other staff members” who fail to investigate and report to parents’ allegations of bullying within 48 hours can lose their jobs and their licenses to teach. Principals or their designated representatives have, at the latest, until the end of the next school day to notify parents of a bullying incident and everyone involved has to be interviewed within 48 hours.

‘Out of control’ rules? Along with the new rules, the legislation created an Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment that will maintain a full-time hotline and website by which a person may report bullying or cyber-bullying or receive information regarding anti-bullying efforts. The new rules also require administrators to respond to incidents even if they happen outside of regular school hours. The mandate also includes an appeal process both for bullying victims and their families and for accused bullies. Administrators declined to be interviewed on the record for this story. Their local union, the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the new bullying policies. One principal says, on background, that the new rules are “becoming an out-of-control issue,” but there appear to be few options for principals or other


september 2015

school staff: SB 504 is the law, and everyone affected has to respond. The issue of bullying is not new. During hearings on the legislation, the father of Hailee Lamberth, a White Middle School student who they said committed suicide after bullying, testified for the bill. Other students told the Legislature that they were victims of bullying. Parents told the Legislature that their children were physically and emotional scarred by bullying that the previous law — which gave principals 10 days to investigate incidents — did not address. In the 2013-2014 school year, the district reported 2,286 incidents of bullying, 2,284 of which were confirmed after an investigation, according to the last complete year available from the annual Nevada Report Card of schools. There were 3,189 confirmed bullying incidents statewide. In that same year, the incidents led to 391 cases of suspension or expulsion from district schools, 725 suspensions or expulsions statewide. One factor that teachers and former teachers anecdotally reported: There are (or have been) wide differences in how bullying is reported, investigated and handled between schools. This appears to be supported by the Nevada Report Card. For example, in the 2013-2014 year, 13 district schools reported 30 or more incidents; one, John C. Fremont Middle School, reported and confirmed 90 incidents, leading to a dozen expulsions or suspensions. But 97 public schools in the district reported no bullying at all. Either there has been a marked difference in the cultures of bullying in different schools, or staff has not been responding in a consistent way. The law should address inconsistencies in the response, former State Superintendent Dale Erquiaga says. (Erquiaga has since been appointed the state’s chief strategy officer by Sandoval.) “The governor heard loud and clear about a year ago from a group of families on this issue,” Erquiaga says. He acknowledged that principals are concerned that the new rules provide “very tight timelines” for responses to

incidents, but there is some flexibility built in when administrators and other school employees make a good-faith effort to respond. “Everybody’s working to get it right.” “Keeping a child safe at school is our primary responsibility,” he says. “Nevada has adopted a zero-tolerance policy.”

‘It’s different today’ Erquiaga says that as a student, he too, had been bullied, but it was before the era of computers and cell phones that bring peer groups literally into bedrooms. “I could get away from it,” he said. “It’s different today.” As part of the new law, six employees of the new Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment are working to provide training materials, guidelines and other supports for schools statewide, he says. Clark County School District staff have been working through the summer to respond to the new mandate. Tammy A. Malich, district assistant superintendent, said the focus has been providing staff, especially administrators, with flow charts and other written guidance and in-person training to ensure that decisions are made correctly at every step in response to an incident. “I believe we have prepared them to handle it to the best of their ability,” Malich says of the new bullying rules, but she acknowledged that the real test will come with the new year. It won’t necessarily be easy, but the district staff is working to make adopting the rules as smooth a process as possible. Brandon Moeller, assistant director for the district Equity and Diversity Education Department, says one key element for the new rules would be for families and victims to quickly report incidents. “Report, report, report,” he says. “The sooner we can involve our administrators and teachers, the sooner we hear about, the sooner we can respond.” Erquiaga agrees. “Everybody’s looking at how to get it right,” he said. “This is an important year for families in Nevada. We’re going to turn the corner on our challenges.”


Tickets On Sale Now

Tickets available at all Ticketmaster速 locations,,, or charge by phone at 800.745.3000.

ALL Things


health care

Ride to live Veterans offer their peers therapy on three wheels B y H e i d i K ys e r


ooming around the parking lot of Utah Trikes in 2013 — she on a standard recumbent three-wheel bicycle, he in a “bullet,” the pod-encased version — Kelley and Peter Guidry were grinning ear-to-ear for the first time in years. Both U.S. Air Force veterans, they’d been struggling for years with physical and psychological injuries suffered during their military service. But the trikes reawakened some of the strength and independence that they thought they’d lost. “We felt like kids,” Kelley says, “like when we first met in our 20s, because we were at our physical peak then.” Peter adds, “It was amazing to get mobility back. I walk with a cane, so I couldn’t believe I was physically able to ride with those bikes. The fact that it’s recumbent means I don’t have to hold myself up or balance, and it was an


September 2015

ter also lead group rides Downtown on Saturday nights and occasional outings to Lake Mead and Red Rock. The local need for such services is immense. In Nevada, 46 out of every 100,000 veterans dies from suicide, a rate 74 percent higher than the national average of 12 deaths per 100,000 veterans, according to a state health and human services report released this summer. One Nevada veteran dies from suicide every 2.8 days. The report was the latest step in a multiyear effort supported by Governor Brian Sandoval to quantify the state’s veteran suicide problem and identify solutions. The Nevada Department of Positive spin: From Veterans Services recently began left, Ruth Ibarra, Ron McGee, Kelley Guidry offering online peer-counseling and Peter Guidry of classes that lead to certification Forgotten Not Gone as a Nevada Veterans Advocate. All seven student veterans who work in UNLV’s Office of Veteran incredibly freeing Services are expected to complete feeling. … I felt like the certification by December. I was alive again for the first time after “Peer-to-peer counseling is really being in prison.” effective,” says Bruno Moya, one of the Call it cycle-therapy. The mental-health UNLV student vets who’s currently community increasingly recognizes the working toward the certification. “It effectiveness of alternative treatments, works much better than having a civilian including exercise, for anxiety and therapist sit down and talk to you.” depression, but even after the War-RelatThose well out of school may be the ed Illness and Studies Center prescribed a hardest to reach and most in need, howtricycle for Peter, the VA Southern Nevada ever. The state report indicates that age Healthcare System couldn’t provide the groups 55 and older account for 63 percustomized equipment, which starts at cent of veteran suicides. Disabilities, lack around $2,500 and can cost as much as of independent living, and poor health $15,000. So the Guidrys took out a loan and personal finances are contributing and got the trikes on their own. Kelley says factors. Peter Guidry believes Forgotten she could immediately see the difference it Not Gone offers one solution. made in Peter’s mood and sleep patterns. “We have one guy, Ronn McGee, the But the Guidrys weren’t content just Admiral we call him, who’s in his 60s,” feeling better themselves; they wanted Guidry says. “His kids are older than I am, to share their discovery. They rode in and we ride together all the time. For a the 2013 Veterans Day parade, and Peman his age, it’s easy to get caught up in ter’s bullet got a lot of attention. So they self-destructive behaviors, but instead, he formed a 501(c)3 corporation, Forgotten gets to be active every single week.” Not Gone, whose mission is “to help On Sept. 5, the Guidrys will participate save veterans and their families from the in an expert panel at a town hall meetdestruction of suicide.” They’ve acquired ing about veteran suicide prevention. nine recumbent bikes, seven adult-sized Sponsored by the nonprofit EMG Cares and two for kids, and offer vets the Foundation, the meeting is meant to raise chance to ride them for free with family public awareness and provide information. members and fellow former soldiers The National Suicide Prevention whenever they feel like it. Kelley and PeLifeline is 800-273-8255.

p h oto g r a p h y BRENT HOLMES









*Price varies depending on show, date and time and does not include tax and fees. Must be purchased 3+ days in advance to receive offer. Valid through September 30, 2015. Valid on select seating areas and categories. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Management reserves all rights. Subject to availability. Some restrictions apply.

ALL Things

zeit bites

street smarts

Not seeking closure With another festival closing streets Downtown — which happens all too frequently — a heartfelt plea for more open roads B y Ja m e s P. R e z a


love Downtown. So much, in fact, that I have been called (not always nicely) a “Downtown cheerleader.” It makes sense, then, that in 2007 the time had come to reconcile money and mouth by relocating my business to Downtown. Revitalization was finally taking hold, and I was determined to be part of it. Of course, to pick up a downtown by its bootstraps you need a few things: new businesses, welcoming sidewalks, a can-do energy. Part of any success hinges on enticing more people — many of whom have avoided the area for years — to visit, patronize and perhaps live there. One way you do that is with events. In theory, that’s wonderful. But each fall, I get anxious. That’s when events pop up all over Las Vegas, and when they happen Downtown, it almost always means disruptions: street closures, parking challenges, folks staying away. Over the years, there have been overwhelming moments when it feels as if we go months without a break in weekend events, from fun runs to festivals, parades to parties. In the beginning, we hardly knew they were coming. Sometimes we’d arrive at work Saturday (typically the busiest day) to find closed roads and minimal access. That led to frantic scrambling, frustrated guests and lost revenue. It’s as if we were being tested by the very bureaucracy that wants revitalization to succeed. Random irritants like power outages and equipment failure are one thing. But street

closures require planning and permits. Why couldn’t we get some useful advance notice? Faced with frustration, we initiated work-arounds. For instance, on parade days (the ones we knew about), we shifted operating hours to begin after the parade. Not everyone can do that. I also complained to and met with city officials; I wasn’t the only one, to be certain. As a result, event signage and parking control has significantly improved. Event routes have been diversified instead of repeatedly disrupting the same businesses and residents. Communications have improved; we’ve gone from being blindsided by street closures to having an events calendar and the occasional


Still Life Las Vegas*, by James Sie It’s dark, quiet by Vegas standards. I think that’s why this place has hung on as long as it has: It’s hopelessly outdated, so lacking in any kind of glamour or excitement or even decent lighting that it feels innocent. It’s so tacky it’s virginal. (p7)


september 2015

The drinks are served in plastic vessels shaped like the Venus de Milo. There are Day-Glo pink straws poking out like a severed artery from the opening at her neck. (p232)

informational meeting about their impact. It’s a good start, but there’s more distance to cover. Wouldn’t it be great if Downtown businesses had time to coordinate eventthemed promotions? Shouldn’t area residents be afforded information to participate in them instead of being awoken by them? Can’t we curate events, instead of allowing every oddthemed fun-run to take over the streets? Running a business is never easy. Revitalizing a downtown isn’t, either. All the pieces must fit together in balance, a giant urban jigsaw of successful small business, civic pride, healthy residents, a vibrant street scene. That’s why I’m here. And I do love a parade — I just wish I had a better idea when they were happening.

He imagined himself rigid in the Venetian boat, like a dead Norseman out at sea, his belongings piled on either side of him. The canals would overflow, the waves would mount, and he’d be carried down Las Vegas Boulevard, washed away by Jove’s tears. (p177)

“I said I would never set foot in Las Vegas,” Vee says, addressing me for the first time. “I meant it.” Jenny squeezes Vee’s shoulder. “Well, it’s lucky you’re in a wheelchair, then, isn’t it,” she says brightly. (p286)

*St. Martin’s Press, $26.99


FROM YOUR PHONE TO YOUR FEET Discovering beautiful trails right in your own backyard just got easier with the new Neon to Nature App from the Southern Nevada Health District!

Now, more than 800 miles of trails, perfect for walking and biking, are available on your Android device on Google Play and the Apple App Store. Each trail listing includes photos and a detailed map description of its location, length and amenities. The App also features tips and resources on living a more healthy and active lifestyle.

Download the Neon to Nature App, today!

Made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

ALL Things



Wayne Littlejohn P Artist

ublic art can infuse a community with a shared sense of civic pride and cultural ownership. It can be a powerful, engaging and often emotional experience that is both collective and personal. It’s with that hope in mind that a piece of homegrown public art will soon adorn the still-under-construction, 20-acre Siegfried and Roy Park, on Russell Road between Maryland Parkway and Paradise Road. The distinctive art will be the work of Wayne Littlejohn. “This large-scale piece will become a communal meeting place within the park,” says Littlejohn, who has tentatively entitled his work “Dream Machine.” “I have been hoping to do something like this for 15 years.”

The spiral-stem structure will measure 28 feet high, topped by a 14-to18-foot wide offset mushroom-shaped cap. The sculpture will be built from stainless steel and cast bronze and feature a silver-like sheen achieved through a careful calibration of brass and copper. The underside of the cap will feature colorful translucent lacquers, while a graffiti-proof film is meant to protect the base. Continual display lighting will perennially showcase the sculpture. The piece is a logical, large-scale extension of his recent work, interactive, three-dimensional, organic-shaped sculpture that draws inspiration from the natural world — particularly oceanic — and meteorological phenomena.   “This piece is an abstraction inspired by climatic energy spirals such as dust devils and tornadoes,” Littlejohn says. “It embodies the awkward yet resilient elegance of


september 2015

a desert lifestyle where dirt can be transformed into gold.” “Dream Machine” promises to be a landmark element amid the tennis courts, splash pad and walking trail of the $11.5 million park. Littlejohn, an art professor at the College of Southern Nevada, was among 26 artists who submitted proposals for the $261,900 contract; the trio of jury-selected semi-finalists also included Miguel Rodriguez and ARVs Collaborative. It took a while for Littlejohn’s selection to sink in: “To be honest, it’s only in the past six weeks that this has actually felt real.” The park is set to open by year’s end, with “Dream Machine” tentatively scheduled for installation in late January. A painter and sculptor, Littlejohn

was born in Winnipeg, Canada. After extensively traveling Asia, he landed in Las Vegas in 1994 and enrolled in UNLV’s Masters of Fine Arts program. Littlejohn studied under the influential MacArthur grant-winning art critic and curator Dave Hickey, who helped him find and refine his creative vision. Littlejohn’s work subsequently was included in Hickey’s Las Vegas Diaspora, a seminal 2008 group show exhibited in Laguna and Las Vegas, showcasing an exuberant and serious local art scene rich with under-recognized talent. Littlejohn has since exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, his best work drawing upon high and low, ancient and modern influences for wholly original, provocative compositions. “Wayne is an egg and a merman and an aficionado of the tidal pool,” Hickey says. “He is also a Canadian, but I suspect he just started walking south until his toes thawed out here in Vegas, where he is a happy citizen. His work carves white primordial ooze the way Michelangelo carved his Pieta. An odd mix, but a good one.” “The coolest thing about this project,” Littlejohn says, “is that I’m really just a conduit, and in the end this sculpture will continue to evolve long after I’m gone. Ultimately it belongs to the surrounding world.” Tony Illia

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

September 2015


ALL Things


What fall trends are you excited to slip into? I’m excited

about the continuation of the ’70s revival but with a rich, upscale bohemian vibe. What is your fall 2015 hero piece? A sleeveless duster coat for

us Las Vegas peeps. They’re perfect for mild weather layering and can be styled with anything. What item could you not live without? I couldn’t live without Low Beams nipple concealers by Commando. Perfect for those days when a bra is just not an option, but neither is having your girls on display. I use them year ’round. They’re life-changing.  Which fashion rules are made for breaking? Fashion and personal style are having a major moment right now. Individuality is being celebrated more than ever, so now is the time to break all the rules and experiment.  Three things no woman should leave the house without? Proper

undergarments. SPF moisturizer, face and body. Enough water to get through the day.  trendsetter

Marisela Altamirano Fashion and lifestyle blogger at  By Christie Moeller Describe your personal style: It’s transitional. Grounded in classics but always incorpo-

rating trends to the mix. I’m all about cost per wear.  How did you get started? I maintained a blog for a previous business venture, and once that ended I didn’t want to stop blogging. So I transitioned it to a personal style blog.  Finish this sentence: “What I love most about fall is …”:

The luxe textiles and rich hues.


September 2015

best style advice you have ever been given? “Dress for the

position you want.” She was referring to a promotion I was seeking at work, but nonetheless it stayed with me. a funny fashion faux-pas story? My best friend was here on vacation, and we headed out for a night of fun. At our first stop she broke a heel. We popped some gum, headed to the bathroom and attempted to glue the heel back on. Needless to say, it didn’t work very well, but it didn’t ruin our night. She avoided pressure on that heel and we continued to have fun. Not a single person picked up on it. 

P h oto g r a p h y Lu c ky w e n z e l

5 Things I can't live without


GIAMBA Crepe Flared Trouser $945 Available at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Fashion Show Mall


TOPSHOP Sleeveless Floor-Length Duster $75 Available at TOPSHOP in the Fashion Show Mall


Free People Tassel Belt $138 Available at Free People in the Fashion Show Mall and FreePeople. com


Alice + Olivia Lavana Tiered Fringe Suede Skirt $495 Available at Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall


Miu Miu Suede Platform Sandals $690 Available at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Fashion Show Mall






September 2015


ALL Things



2 3 8

6 7


A Mayberry of our own

“Monday thru Sunday.” It opened

detailing the sacrifices of the men

in 1947 and hasn’t changed much,

and women who built Hoover

fortunately. One note: There’s lots

Dam. It includes a café open for

of league bowling. 504 California

breakfast and lunch, a small hotel

Ave., 702-293-2368

and art gallery. The hotel was built in 1933, and the museum opened

Evan’s Old Town Grille

in 2000. 1305 Arizona St., 702-

Sampling the small-town ambiance of Boulder City’s Arizona Street


By Launce Rake

Greek and pasta dishes. There is a

The Boulder Dam Brewing

full bar. 1129 Arizona St., 702-294-


Evan’s is a family-owned slice


of Boulder City specializing in

he intersection of Nevada Way


like at its shaded outside tables or

and Arizona Street in Boulder

small interior. It is, says beverage

City is the heart of the little town’s

chief Cameron, “cheap and cheer-

Bicentennial Park and

offered visitors to the historic

historic district and the center of

ful.” 534 Nevada Way, 702-293-

Wilbur Square

district live music, burgers and

the historic city itself. Three-dozen


works of art, sculptures that are in




For eight years this brew pub and restaurant has

Dating to the Hoover Dam con-

more than a dozen special-

struction in the 1930s, Wilbur

ty brews, such as Hell’s Hole

varying degrees historic, whimsical

The Dillinger Food and

Square was a recreational area for

and clever, populate a street that


dam workers and their families, and

beer garden and the bar features many pieces of equipment from

Hefeweizen. There is an outside

berry. Along with the atmosphere


remains one of Boulder City’s most popular places for families to relax.

the dam construction. 453 Neva-

of small-town America and the per-

nights Thursday-Saturday. There

With the adjoining Bicentennial

da Way, 702-243-2739,

haps-unexpected commitment to

is a full menu. Burgers include,

Park, since 1963 the seven acres of

public art, Boulder City has a com-

naturally, “The Executioner,” “The

lawn and leafy shade have been

otherwise could be lifted from May-

The little bar with the gangster theme has live music

mitment to fine food and fun that

Hostage,” and “The Widowmak-

the site of the town’s popular annu-

finds its heart at the intersection.

er.” 1224 Arizona St., 702-293-

al Art in the Park festival. Arizona


Street and California Avenue, 702-

Milo’s Cellar


The cellar, with a small bed-


Boulder City Bowl

attached (opened in 2003) has a


large wine selection and serves

next to the American Legion Hall,

and-breakfast-style inn now

“Italian-inspired” sandwiches, soups and salads, cheese plates and the


september 2015

The Flying Saucer /Area 52


Every town has to have a weird little store selling

kitschy items to visitors; this is the mission of The Flying Saucer.

Around the corner from Boul-

Boulder Dam Hotel and

Get your photo taken inside a

der City Antique Market and


small UFO on the street and

Boulder City Bowl is an adorable


eight-lane bowling alley open

— includes a nifty little museum

This building — on the National Registry of Historic Places

meet an animatronic alien named Eak. 443 Nevada Way, 702-2931823,

P h oto g r a p h y s c ot t l i e n

University of Nevada School of Medicine

Congratulations to the physicians and surgeons honored

in this year’s ‘best doctors’ edition, including those who teach and volunteer at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Dr. Renu Jain checks on a young patient at the medical school’s pediatrics center in Las Vegas.

Faculty Physicians COLON AND RECTAL SURGERY Ovunc Bardakcioglu, M.D. Joseph P. Thornton, M.D. MEDICAL GENETICS Colleen Morris, M.D. OTOLARYNGOLOGY Robert Wang, M.D. PEDIATRIC GENETICS Colleen Morris, M.D.

PEDIATRICS/GENERAL Renu Jain, M.D. Beverly A. Neyland, M.D. SURGERY John J. Fildes, M.D. John Ham, M.D. SURGICAL ONCOLOGY Daniel M. Kirgan, M.D.

Community-based Faculty ADDICTION MEDICINE Melvin Pohl, M.D. CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE Tillmann Cyrus, M.D.

MEDICAL ONCOLOGY AND HEMATOLOGY Fadi Braiteh, M.D. Russell Gollard, M.D. Nicholas J. Vogelzang, M.D.



OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY Jocelyn Ivie, M.D. Bruce Shapiro, M.D.

ALL Things

open topic



Here comes the sun The falling price of solar makes an economic case for upping Nevada’s renewable energy production. Will residents reap the benefits? B y H e i d i K ys e r


september 2015

hile NV Energy and rooftop solar advocates have been busy debating whether to raise the statewide cap on distributed generation and/or charge Nevada’s rooftop solar customers fees for being on the grid, something else significant has happened in the world of solar energy: Its cost dropped below that of natural gas. In July, NV Energy asked the Public Utilities Commission to approve two proposed deals for solar power plants. The two 100-megawatt proposals included costs of $46 per megawatt hour fixed for 20 years and $38.70 per megawatt hour with incremental increases over 20 years. The current cost of natural gas is around $70 per megawatt hour. Why does this matter? Let’s start with the practical reason. Solar reaching price parity with natural gas means it’s a more stable long-term investment. Whereas natural gas prices fluctuate in response to market forces, the price of sunshine is always the same: $0. That doesn’t mean it costs nothing to capture and distribute, of course. It also doesn’t mean that solar is cheaper than natural gas, per se — at least right now in Nevada. That’s because NV Energy, which provides electricity to 95 percent of the state’s residents, has enough power generation capacity available to meet current customer demand. If the company built excess capacity today, it would likely increase rates to cover the cost of its existing investments. Think of it this way: It’s cheaper to just keep driving a gas-guzzler than to add a Prius to the garage and drive it instead, so long as you’re still making payments on the gas-guzzler. What the falling price of solar does mean is that it’s the smarter choice for any new capacity the state needs going forward — or any additional capacity it deems necessary to hedge its bets against the volatile price of natural gas. Naturally, environmentalists are ecstatic about this development. Despite Senator Harry Reid proclaiming Nevada the “Saudi Arabia of solar” several years ago, the state doesn’t lead the nation in this

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

If we can avoid fracking our land — which could destabilize the geology and trash the water supply — then why wouldn’t we? regard. According to data from last year, Nevada was fifth in the U.S. in installed solar energy capacity, with enough to power 120,000 houses. Not bad, to be sure. And the clean-energy bill passed in the 2013 state Legislature (referred to in the industry by its number, SB123) required NV Energy to retire its coal-fired generating stations by 2019 and replace 350 megawatts of that capacity with renewable energy — a progressive move toward replacing carbon-emitting power plants with cleaner-burning facilities, and the reason behind the two proposals for solar plants that NV Energy submitted to the PUC in July. Unfortunately for those who take more than market prices into account when estimating the value of a type of energy, SB123’s mandates were loosened somewhat by a bill in the 2015 Legislature, AB498. This law gave NV Energy flexibility in complying with the coal shut-down law by delaying construction of the remaining clean energy facilities, beyond what’s already out to bid, until after there is a demonstrated need for further capacity. Intended or not, it’s an argument in favor of the status quo. And, again, it’s not a horrible status quo. NV Energy has more than 1,240 megawatts of renewable energy under contract or under development and claims that the state ranks first in the nation per capita in installed geothermal and solar energy. Still, as of last year, only 3 percent of Nevada’s electricity generation came from solar while 64 percent was from natural gas, according to trade association Advanced Energy Economy. Since the state has ample resources to meet its renewable portfolio standard of 25 percent by 2025 (and Southern Nevada is already at 20 percent this year), we’ll probably end up exporting much of the solar power we add to California. Meanwhile, as far as our own consumption goes, Nevadans use eight times more fossil fuels than renewables, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. This matters to anyone who’d like to

see America end its so-called addiction to oil (and all the geopolitical problems that come with it). Sure, natural gas produces half the CO2 of coal, but that’s like saying Captain Crunch has half the sugar of Fruity Pebbles. Neither one is good for you. And now, it seems, the organic bran flakes are cheaper, too. When the PUC asked Energy & Environmental Economics to evaluate the statewide impact of net metering (compensating rooftop solar customers for the excess energy they produce that goes back into the grid), the research firm took more than per-megawatt-hour energy prices into consideration. In its 2014 report, it also assigned value to societal benefits, such as avoiding the public health cost of treating respiratory diseases related to pollution. I would go further, asserting there’s enormous value in the abstract idea of environmental stewardship. If we can avoid fracking our land — potentially destabilizing the geology and trashing the water supply — then why wouldn’t we? Particularly if the price of solar is on par with or lower than that of natural gas? And, as their presence at public hearings has demonstrated, many Nevadans would argue in favor of choice. Whether because of an aversion to oil dependence, or a preference for sustainability — or because they simply can’t stand relying for electricity on an investor-owned utility when there’s all that high-quality sunshine falling from the sky 300 days a year for free — recent protests suggest there are plenty of people who’d like to go, or stay, solar. Particularly if the state, utility and utilities commission are going to block distributed generation (and I hope they don’t), then they should see to it that more clean energy is generated centrally, not just for export, but for local consumption as well. Go ahead with those remaining 100 megawatts of solar, even if the law doesn’t require it. It’s a chance for Nevada to win at something that makes the world a better place, and it’s what we want.

Your smart wants to party.

September 2015



Still life: For the Werner family, taxidermy isn't just a business, but an art and a craft.

Lifelike For the Werners, taxidermy — “capturing the spirit” of a dead creature — is all about family, tradition, memory and a love of animals B  y S ta c y J. W i l l i s


hen I call Werner Family Taxidermy in Henderson to arrange a visit, Ryan Werner is remarkably friendly and open. “Sure, come on down,” he says, just as it says on their website: “Come check out the showroom.” The shop sits beside their house on Basic Road, across from Dog Beauty Parlor pet grooming. Upon entering, I’m greeted by several dozen animal heads, or mounts, displayed on the walls. Then I get a friendly handshake from Ryan, a bearded man wearing a Guinness beer T-shirt, shorts and baseball cap. Behind him, his wife, Vikki, sits with a scalpel, thinning a deer hide strewn over a bench. She’s focused and bespectacled. Their pet dog, a rescue mutt, runs around in the shop, and one of their three sons is hanging out in the back, where later he’ll


September 2015

show me a coyote that he killed and mounted at age 14. He’s 17 now. But first, I spot a small bobcat mount of some sort, and ask Ryan if I can touch it. He seems relieved. “Yes! Go ahead, we want you to touch them,” he says. “That’s part of what this is about. We want you to be able to experience them because you’d never get this chance in the wild.” True enough. If I saw this cat in the wild, I’d walk the other way. Perhaps run. Here, I touch its fur, which has been cleaned and brushed, the skin tanned, and then stretched over a foam model in an action pose. I pet its fur; it’s soft. All around me, glass eyes carefully placed in elk and antelope faces stare me down. Ryan invites me to walk around and feel the horns and fur, while he talks about the family business. As children, both he and Vikki hunted

with their fathers, and they continued the tradition with their three kids. After a hunt in 2008, they sent their “harvest,” as hunters call it, off to a taxidermist to be mounted (not “stuffed”; that’s a common misnomer). They weren’t impressed with the results — it had visible staples, among other problems. So Vikki decided to learn the trade herself, in their carport. “We bought a tarp to cover the front so that the cars driving by wouldn’t see,” says Ryan, who also works full-time for Clark County doing roadwork. “We made tools out of scrap metal and whatever we had.” Vikki did a taxidermy apprenticeship, and initially, she barely charged her new customers. “We’d give them a lower rate (to attract them) and use that money to buy more materials and tools and reference books and freezers and paint,” Ryan says. But she got better at it quickly, and the business grew. Ryan learned some basics, too, and eventually, they had to move the business into a building beside their house. Their three sons began learning the trade to help out, and later, an adopted daughter joined the effort. What started as 10 or 20 animals per year has turned into about 1,000 mounts annually, primarily from Nevada hunters, although some come from as far away as Africa. This year, as hunting season began in August, they hired extra help and started tossing around the idea of expanding to a new shop, perhaps in Arizona. “We didn’t think it would get this big,” says Ryan, who acts as the business manager while Vikki remains lead taxidermist. “From August to January, it’s just crazy.” Still avid hunters themselves, they have to schedule their hunts carefully to keep up with the demands of taxidermy, which come at all hours: “Say we get someone who has a harvest from Pioche, three hours away. They may not have it back to their truck until 10 p.m, so they may not get it to us till 1 a.m. We have to be available on standby because you need to get it in the freezer. Most people

P h oto g r a p h y C h r i sto p h e r S m i t h

can’t fit an elk in their freezer. You’ve got to take care of the hide; you don’t want it to dry out or the meat to go bad.” The Werners eat all of the meat they hunt, and they don’t buy beef at the grocery store. Instead, they take their venison harvest to one of their two favorite local butchers, John Mull’s Meats (which also operates the Road Kill Grill restaurant that was featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives), or Branded Meats & Deli. “It’s delicious,” Ryan says as we look at a deer mount that has straight pins holding its lips in place while it dries. The process goes something like this: A hunter brings in the animal, usually having already gutted it. If not, the Werners gut it, clean the hide, preserve it with salt and then ship it to a tannery to be rehydrated. After that, a meticulous process of stretching the hide over a foam form begins. Taxidermists usually use molding clay in the lips and eyelids, screws to secure the antlers or horns, and carefully glue the glass eyes, which, like the foam forms, are ordered from suppliers and are specific to the species. It usually takes six to eight months to finish a mount, but it varies depending on the size and condition of the animal, the pace of the season, and custom requests (such as positioning). We walk under a huge fly zapper — bugs are drawn to the flesh — back to where Vikki is thinning a deer cape — the hide of the neck and head. She’s using a scalpel to carefully shave the inside of the cape, pulling off excess strings of fat or flesh. I touch it: cold, sticky, gray. Vikki says she tries to capture the spirit of the animal, and be true to its original beauty. “It is an art,” she says. “But I don’t like to say it that way because then my artist friends come and want a job —” she laughs — “and you can’t just make whatever you’re feeling inspired to make. You have to see what (the animal) is going to look like and work towards that. It takes practice.” Although the Werners offer pet taxidermy, Vikki is cautious about accepting those jobs. “It’s very hard to capture the spirit of the dog or cat they knew for years. Sometimes, they bring it in when they’re grieving, and a few months later

September 2015


Business Into the wild: The Werners mount about 1,000 animals every year at their Henderson business.

they may not want it anymore. So it’s hard.” On the other hand, the Werners say, hunted wild animals turn out more lifelike, but also bring a memory with them. “The reason we enjoy taxidermy,” says Ryan, “is that we’ve been hunting since we were young — my dad and both grandpas were hunters — and it’s been handed down in our family since I don’t know when. You can take photos, yes, but you put photos away and forget about them. Taxidermy is a 3-D photo. When I walk past mounts, I remember everything that happened on that hunt and everyone who was there, and I remember the animal. You remember it in a way you don’t when you look at a photo. You really get to see it and enjoy it.” That's the case for customer Greg Veire. "It brings me back to the moment I encountered the animal, and I can relive those moments," the lifelong hunter says. THE 5 PERCENT


lthough animals were mummified or otherwise preserved as far back as ancient Egypt, taxidermy as it’s recognized today became more common in Europe in the 18th century as the interest in studying nature grew. It was a symbiotic relationship: taxidermy helped scientists study nature, and advances in science helped develop methods of taxidermy. By the Victorian era, taxidermy mounts had outgrown the world of science and nature and moved into living rooms and parlors as a fashion statement. Since then, it’s seen ebbs and flows in popularity, but remains a standard way to display hunting trophies, and a way to display animals at museums. While some people enjoy it for the memories it evokes or the educational experience, others see it as a grotesque or


September 2015

unnecessary reminder of animal killing. About 5 percent of the U.S. population hunts, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Wild animal populations are managed by the state, and the number of hunting tags (tickets to authorize a big game animal kill) issued each season is determined with a goal of managing animal populations. Hunting license fees and tag fees go to efforts to manage wildlife and their habitats. Big game species in Nevada include mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, mountain goat, pronghorn antelope and black bear. Additionally, hunters may kill certain species of quail, grouse, dove, coyotes and jackrabbits. NDOW licenses more than 90 commercial taxidermists in the state. In July, international anti-hunting passions roiled up after Cecil, a well-known lion living in a wildlife park in Zimbabwe, was killed illegally by American trophy hunter Walter Palmer. People flocked to social media to lambaste the hunter, publicize his Minnesota dental practice as a target for protest, and threaten his life, driving him temporarily into hiding. The government of Zimbabwe called for his extradition to face criminal charges. The Werners shake their heads about this — they espouse hunting rules and ethics, which allow hunters to kill approved species in approved areas. Law-abiding hunters are keenly aware of the damage done to their sport by those who don’t follow the rules and draw attention to what non-hunters consider to be brutal or unfair treatment of animals.

“Listen, we love the animals. And we go to places to see bighorn sheep where we just take cameras. It’s about preserving the beauty,” Ryan says. “Taxidermy is not for everybody ... but with taxidermy, you can come touch it and feel how thick the horns are and rub the fur and see how it’s soft this way and coarse the other way. ... You can’t just walk up to an elk and do that.” The Nevada Department of Wildlife hunter education course, which is required prior to acquiring a license, instructs hunters to follow the “fair chase” rules, which prohibit using vehicles, electronic animal calls and shooting within a fenced enclosure. The hunting guidebook also advises hunters to “strive for a quick, clean kill, ensure that meat and usable parts are not wasted (and) treat both game and nongame animals ethically.” Ryan and Vikki say they’re active in conservation efforts with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Last month, they rounded up 25 volunteers to install water guzzlers

for an antelope herd; they’ve held fundraisers that benefit habitat management. They're also active at meetings of the county's wildlife advisory board, frequently offering input about wildlife issues. "Everybody knows the Werners," Veire says. "They're always up to jump in and help out (with conservation efforts)." “We’re not just excited about the size of the hunt or the business, we’re just as excited to see kids get their first deer, even if it’s a doe with no horns. We’re just as excited about that as getting the guy with the state record (biggest mount),” Ryan says. The Werners do offer taxidermy for African animals, provided they were legal hunts. Their website’s price list includes a full-size lion for $5,875 and a giraffe for $28,725. But their bread and butter — Nevada’s antelope, deer and elk cape mounts — run closer to the $600-$1,200 range, more for full-body, life-size trophies.



yan shows me a bird mount — a little bird, smaller than my hand — and ushers James, his 17-year old, youngest son, over to talk to me. “I found it outside, it was already dead,” James explains. “And I was just bored.” So he took it into the shop and carefully sliced it open, removed the innards and bones, preserved it and, he says, gave it some dignity by displaying it here, looking upright and clean in the shop. In his three years of hunting and doing taxidermy, he’s completed all kinds of mounts that have taken on a lifelike appearance. But it all started with a coyote. We walk over to the coyote mount, which seems small, and even to the inexpert eye, a little ragged compared to the finely stitched mounts around the shop. It seems somehow less lifelike than the others — but I can’t be sure why, since none of them are alive. “It was his first (kill),” Ryan says. “And

he said he wanted to (mount) it, so we let him ... It was pretty good for his first one, but it’s actually pretty bad.” Ryan and James laugh as we look at it. Although I don’t see any staples or thread, it’s missing that weird moment where you double-take for a second and allow your mind to imagine a live coyote. And that’s one way to tell well-crafted taxidermy from that which is less so: the fleeting sense that it was once alive. To the Werners, that’s a valuable experience. In fact, in addition to growing the business, one of their long-term goals is to provide more education about wildlife, hunting and taxidermy to Southern Nevadans. “Vikki would love to do a whole education (display) at the County and let people interact with hunters and let them know we’re not bad people,” Ryan says. “We’re animal-lovers. We don’t want anything to be extinct.”



Cleaning Completed By 11/30/15 Promo Code: 79DEAL

Cleaning Completed By 11/30/15 Promo Code: 50TILE

asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification applies to Carpet Cleaning service only.

asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification applies to Carpet Cleaning service only.

Minimum charges apply. Not valid with any other offer or coupon. Valid at participating locations only. Certain restrictions may apply. Call for details.

Minimum charges apply. Not valid with any other offer or coupon. Valid at participating locations only. Certain restrictions may apply. Call for details.




Residential only; cannot be used for water restoration services. Must present promo code at time of service. Valid at participating locations only. Combined living areas, L-shaped rooms and rooms over 300 sq. ft. are considered 2 areas. Baths, halls, large walk-in closets and area rugs are priced separately. Offer does not include protector. Offer not applicable on natural stone flooring. Offer does not include protector.

September 2015



Film noir set in Sin City explores the shadows beyond the neon — and offers a historic glimpse into a long-lost Vegas  By B ob Stoldal


hether they’re exploring gam10. Johnny Cool, 1963 bling addiction or plumbing United Artists, 103 minutes The plot of this film is simple enough: the minds of sadistic killers, Johnny Cool, played by Henry Silva, is sent the best Las Vegas noir films to the United States by an exiled gangster reveal a decidedly different side of Las Vegas — one in which the fog of living in Italy. Johnny Cool’s mission: a desperation engulfs men and women who bloody vendetta against the men who tried to take his boss down. Along the way, sell their souls. Sometimes they sell their souls for money, sometimes for love (or what Cool picks up Darien “Dare” Guinness (a they think is love). Other noir protagonists pre-Bewitched Elizabeth Montgomery), a see Las Vegas as the last hope before free-spirited divorcée who abets the darkness triumphs. Whatever Cool’s crime spree. Hear the case, film noir has long had a fasThe film succeeds artistically more cination with the extreme behaviors with the use of stark black and Bob Stoldal that Las Vegas seems to squeeze out white imagery. And it’s a historic discusses of people. My 10 favorite noir films gem as well. From images of the Vegas noir are among the genre’s darkest, but Las Vegas Strip to Fremont Street on “KNPR’s State of they also preserve a visual record of to inside the casinos, Johnny Cool Nevada” a long-gone Las Vegas. provides viewers with a snapshot at desert companion. vegas/hear more


September 2015

noir film stills courtesy bob stoldal

Vegas goes dark

Clockwise from top left: Dark City, 711 Ocean Drive, Las Vegas Shakedown, The Lady Gambles

e h t d n a

r e n n i w ...

of what the town looked like in the early 1960s. But what really sets Johnny Cool apart is the dark image it portrayed of the town’s operators. In the 1950s, film studios came to Las Vegas and most left with glorified song and dance routines, from Girl Rush to Viva Las Vegas. Johnny Cool would be the first Vegas movie in more than a decade to put a noir edge to the town.


9. In Cold Blood, 1968

Columbia, 134 minutes Based on Truman Capote’s nonfiction novel about the November 15, 1959 murders of a Kansas family, In Cold Blood is a noir in which artful flashbacks add grim shadows to an already dark story about these infamously brutal homicides. Six weeks after the murders in Kansas, the killers were arrested in Las Vegas. (Another Nevada connection: One of the killers was born near Elko, and lived in Reno as well as in Las Vegas.) This film takes advantage of that and captures some wonderful images of the city: The police follow the murderers on the Strip, to the Union Pacific Depot and finally to Fremont Street. It also features shots of the old city police department, from the jail cells to the interrogation room. And, if you look closely, you’ll find former Clark County Commissioner Darwin Lamb in several scenes. Lamb, who appeared in several Las Vegas films, plays one of the officers who arrested the two men. 8. Highway Dragnet, 1954

Allied Artists, 70 minutes Highway Dragnet opens with a downand-out former fashion model who’s seen better days — at least according to Richard Conte’s character, Jim Henry. Just out of the Marines, Conte’s character is on his way to California. He stops first in Las Vegas to meet a fellow Marine staying at the Sunset Hotel. Henry insults the blonde, they fight, kiss and make up. After partying with his Marine pal until dawn, Conte hitchhikes his way out of town. Back in Las Vegas, the blonde is found murdered. Las Vegas police Lieutenant Joe White Eagle puts out an all-points bulletin for Conte. Confronted by the police, Conte flees — and the noir escape thriller action is on.




Paloma South

Mi Casa grill Cantina

Verano de Jalisco

La Comida Honorable Mentions: Watermelon Margarita

Border Grill

Jalapeño Cilantro Margarita

El Dorado Cantina

Editor’s Choice

Burnt Orange Tangerine Margarita

El Segundo Sol

Thanks for voting!

Recipes and how-to videos online at

September 2015


Culture Famed B-movie producer Roger Corman’s first film, Highway Dragnet was hyped to be about a “THREE-STATE ALARM FOR A THRILL-KILLER Along the Roaring Crime Route from Las Vegas!” Overheated teaser aside, it has some fine Las Vegas footage, including opening with a nighttime shot of Las Vegas looking west from Second and Fremont, with the Golden Nugget on the left and the Hotel Apache on the right. 7. Invisible Wall, 1947

20th Century Fox, 72 minutes A week after being discharged from the army, Harry Lane, a World War II veteran, goes back to his old job making payoffs for a Los Angeles bookmaker. His first assignment: Take $20,000 to a winner at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. His boss adds, “Now, at the Flamingo, you can do anything you want, but if you do any gambling, use your own money.” Too bad Harry Lane has a


September 2015

gambling problem. By the end of the film, Lane is connected to two homicides and in love with the wife of one of the dead men. What makes this film especially interesting is it was filmed at the Flamingo while Bugsy Siegel was alive. He allowed the film to be shot on location with the stipulation that the film was titled Flamingo. The producer finished the on-location shooting May 27, 1947. Six weeks later, Siegel was killed. The film is filled with interior and exterior shots of the Flamingo, as well as Las Vegas. At one point, our hero tries to stay away from the gambling tables by going horseback riding in the nearby desert. Another bonus: Well-respected Las Vegas gaming executive Carl Cohen makes an appearance. Cohen at one time owned part of the Sands Hotel, before it was sold to Howard Hughes. He became famous as the guy who punched Frank Sinatra in the nose, knocking off the caps on his front teeth.

Las Vegas Shakedown

Grace. Strength. Artistry.

6. Las Vegas Shakedown, 1955

Allied Artists, 79 minutes The noir-tinged Las Vegas Shakedown stars Dennis O’Keefe as Joe Barnes, who runs “a clean operation” in his casino. Thomas Gomez plays Al “Gimpy” Sirago, who plans to kill Barnes out of revenge — Barnes sent him to prison with his testimony. Now free, Sirago and a couple of his hoods arrive in Las Vegas with plans to take over the resort and murder Barnes. Elements of the story are loosely based on real-life Bill Moore, one of the owners of the Last Frontier. Moore testified before the Kefauver hearings, providing the Senate subcommittee with the financial dealings of his casino operations. One of the highlights of the 1955 Las Vegas Shakedown is the visual record of Las Vegas. Images of the original Mirage Motel with the above-ground pool with windows, the Thunderbird Downs race track, the Union Pacific rail yards near Charleston Boulevard, and the interior and exterior images of the Hotel El Rancho Vegas are well-preserved for posterity.

NEVADA BALLET THEATRE Reserve Your Tickets Now

Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil® Present

A CHOREOGRAPHERS’ SHOWCASE October 11 & 18, 2015

A BALANCHINE CELEBRATION: Serenade / Slaughter on Tenth Avenue / Who Cares?

THE NUTCRACKER December 12 – 20, 2015

From Tchaikovsky to Rodgers & Hart to Gershwin

November 7 & 8, 2015

Season Packages still available

Save up to 40% off single ticket prices

5. The Las Vegas Story, 1952

RKO, 88 minutes Howard Hughes’ 1952 film The Las Vegas Story is misnamed, as it’s simply a story that happens to take place in Las Vegas and, for that matter, could have occurred in Morocco 10 years earlier. Lloyd Rollins (Vincent Price) is in deep financial trouble and thinks he can beat the odds in Las Vegas by winning the money back at craps. He puts up his wife Linda’s (Jane Russell) diamonds for credit. When the diamonds disappear and a casino owner is found murdered, Las Vegas police detective Victor Mature (who happens to be an old flame of Linda’s) goes after Price. Any similarity between the Las Vegas Story and Casablanca is not an accident — but Russell and Mature are no Bergman and Bogart. Still, several factors make the film worth viewing, including the images of Las Vegas in 1951; one highlight is a beautiful night shot of a train coming into the Union Pacific depot, where the Plaza is now located. In addition to the sign, you get treated to more views inside and out of the depot,




February 13 & 14, 2016

March 31 – April 3, 2016

May 14 & 15, 2016

For the best seats, order today!

(702) 749-2000 Groups of 10 or more call (702) 243-2623 to save up to 30%

Serenade Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photos by Virginia Trudeau. 2014 A Choreographers’ Showcase photo by Ginger Ana Griep-Ruiz. Cinderella photo by Yi Yin, courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theatre.

September 2015


Culture including a view of Fremont Street looking east from the roof of the railroad station. There was plenty of drama behind the scenes of this movie as well. Paul Jarrico, the screenwriter who wrote the initial version of The Las Vegas Story, was fired by RKO owner Hughes. The billionaire thought the writer leaned too far left, especially since Jarrico refused to testify before the House Committee on un-American Activities. Hughes also yanked Jarrico’s name off the credits. 4. Split Second, 1953

RKO, 85 minutes This film noir crosses a classic crime situation — escaped convicts taking hostages — with the ultimate element of suspense: an atomic bomb set to go off. Stephen McNally plays Sam Hurley, one of two killers who escapes from the Nevada State Penitentiary in Carson City. The sadistic Hurley and his

gut-shot pal head south on U.S. 95, killing and kidnapping along the way. Meanwhile, Larry Fleming (Keith Andes), a reporter for the Las Vegas Globe newspaper, is on assignment at Mercury to cover the detonation of an atomic bomb the next morning. At the last minute, he’s reassigned to cover the escape of the two killers. On the road, he meets up with stranded dancer Dottie Vale (Jan Sterling). Next thing you know, the two are kidnapped by the killers headed south on 95, with other hostages already in tow. Hurley takes the hostages to New Hope City, which happens to be dangerously close to Ground Zero. When two more people show up at the ghost town, nine people’s lives now hang in the balance as the atomic countdown begins to what the studio promised to be “the most sensational climax ever filmed,” thanks to a generous dose of government footage from the “Nevada Proving Grounds.”

3. The Lady Gambles, 1949

Universal-International, 99 minutes Easily described as the Lost Weekend of noir gambling films, The Lady Gambles gives us a glimpse of what gambling in Las Vegas was like in the late 1940s. The movie opens in a dark Chicago alley with Barbara Stanwyck being beaten up in an alley for her role in a crooked crap game. And, again, the story rolls out in a series of flashbacks, courtesy of Stanwyck’s film husband, Robert Preston, who describes Las Vegas thus: “... a cockeyed oasis. It’s a wide-open, 24-hour-a-day carnival that lives off three things — quick marriages, quick divorces, quick money, won and lost. ... It’s fun for most people, but for some people, it’s a trap. It grabs down deep and won’t let go.” Preston’s character gets assigned to write a travel story about Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. He’s joined by his wife, who


Tim Trumble Photo, Childsplay (Tempe, AZ)

© Axel Scheffler and Macmillan Children’s Books




Adapted from the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Based on the book by Dr. Seuss Play originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain

OCTOBER 21 • 6:30PM

JANUARY 13 • 6:30PM


Family Series sponored by




FEBRUARY 17 • 6:30PM

MARCH 30 • 6:30PM



702.749.2000 | TTY: 800.326.6868 or dial 711 | For group inquiries call 702.749.2348 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106


September 2015

Culture decides she’s going to pen an expose on gambling. But she gets in too deep, becoming a gambling addict, giving up everything, including her husband. Her hair turns blonde and she winds up in New Orleans with a dice cheater named Frenchy. In the end, the film had everything the Las Vegas Chamber of Com-

merce didn’t want movie audiences to see, including the clubs along Fremont Street looking like something on Skid Row. Another note: An actor named Anthony Curtis has a small speaking part as a bellboy at the Hotel Pelican. He would change his name to Tony Curtis and became a major star.

2. Dark City, 1950

Paramount, 98 minutes A rigged poker game sets off a series of murders in Dark City — but it’s the strong acting and moody cinematography that set this 1950 film apart. In his starring-role film debut, Charlton Heston plays Danny Haley, a World War II veteran just out of the service. (He’s no star-spangled hero, though: While in the Army overseas, he killed a man he found in bed with his new English bride.) Heston lures a sucker into a rigged poker game with his group of lowlife hustlers. The victim loses his own money, as well as that of his company, and kills himself. The story takes off when the man’s psychotic brother, bent on revenge, begins stalking and killing each of the crooked gamblers, and Haley is next on the list. Ironic but true: Dark City was produced by Hal B. Wallis, who would later produce many Elvis Presley films, including Viva Las Vegas. New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther praised Heston’s acting, declaring him a “new star,” but bashed Dark City for its “low and lurid level of crime.” Heston himself would remember Dark City as “definitely not an A picture, but a pretty good B.” 1. 711 Ocean Drive, 1950

Columbia, 102 minutes Like any good film noir, 711 Ocean Drive starts with a flashback. Lt. Pete Wright of the Los Angeles Gangster

711 Ocean Drive


September 2015

Squad is on his way to Las Vegas to arrest Mal Granger (Edmond O’Brien) on a murder charge. As the flashback begins, Lt. Wright tells how Granger let the dark side take command of his soul. A humble telephone repairman with a passion for horse betting, Granger is tapped by gangster Vince Walters to use his electronic savvy to expand Walters’ illicit racing wire. When Walters is murdered, Granger takes over the operation and partners with an East Coast syndicate. Granger grows the illegal business until his greed, lust and a hunger for power lead to a series of double-crossings, swindles and murders that get Lt. Wright on his trail. A climactic foot-chase scene filmed in the tunnels of Boulder Dam makes for a noir-worthy finale. It’s also one of the few scenes in this film that was actually shot in Southern Nevada. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, worried about the script’s violence and darkness, tried to stop Producer Frank Seltzer from shooting the film here; the chamber even tried to enlist the feds to stop him from shooting at Boulder Dam. The chamber lost the dam battle, but did kick Seltzer’s crew off the Strip and Fremont Street. (Still, the Fremont Street scene made it into the movie). “If we can’t shoot in Las Vegas,” Seltzer said, “we will build Las Vegas in a Hollywood studio.” They did, and, after opening July 1, 1950 in New York City, 711 Ocean Drive began a successful run across the country and around the world. Las Vegas films have come a long way from the days when an image-conscious chamber of commerce could bar a Hollywood studio from filming in town. These days, the Legislature kicks in millions of dollars to encourage film companies to come to Nevada, with no script strings attached. That openness has brought audiences countless dark, provocative, creative and funny Vegas movies. (Let’s just pretend that Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 never happened.)

September 2015



Hitting it big Far from the UFC limelight, hundreds of amateur mixed martial artists fight to go pro — or just straighten out their lives. Las Vegas has become their mecca B y D a n H e r na n d e z


he first time Emily Whitmire attended a mixed martial arts event, on a whim she removed her earrings, put her blonde hair in a ponytail and stepped into the cage. “I was a little drunk,” she now admits. When the ring announcer had asked for a volunteer to wrestle one of the night’s female competitors, a professional fighter whose specialty was grappling, Whitmire, then a skinny 18-year-old, was the only woman in the crowd to raise a hand. “I’ve always been a more physical girl,” she says, “always had a tough-girl mentality. It seemed like a good idea at the time.” This took place six years ago in a small town in southern Washington. We’re talking ringside now at a different gym in a different city, here in her adopted home of Las Vegas. For much the same way aspiring actors flock to L.A. and tech bros gather in the Bay Area, anyone with serious ambitions to apply guillotine holds for a living knows Las Vegas is a place you go to “make it.” I’m visiting the gym to learn exactly why that is — and to find out what the heck draws these seemingly well-balanced people to such a grisly sport in the first place. Going into that cage with zero grappling skills, Whitmire was choked and nearly had an arm broken and was quickly dispensed with. It was an arrogant, impulsive decision that nevertheless proved fateful and positive in the long run. Recognizing her toughness, someone in the audience invited Whitmire to train at an MMA gym in nearby Portland, Oregon. Like many 18-year-olds, she was still figuring out what she wanted to do with her life and open to trying new things, so she gave the sport a whack. “If I wouldn’t have gone out that night, and if I didn’t raise my hand, my life for the past six years wouldn’t have happened,” she says. But then she wouldn’t have suffered an LCL tear in her left knee two years later, either. Or broken her nose twice in one month. At the young age of 24, Whitmire has several nagging injuries that she trains through four or five times a week.


September 2015

And so it went that five years after her humbling introduction to MMA fighting, Whitmire moved to Las Vegas to join its thriving MMA community and receive coaching at Xtreme Couture, an elite gym run by former UFC champion Randy Couture. “Las Vegas is the epicenter of the MMA boom in part because the UFC has made the city its home base for more than a decade,” Jonathan Snowden, author of The MMA Encyclopedia, writes via email. “But the Super Bowl of MMA isn’t the city’s only contribution to the sport’s growth. Lots of prospective fighters now make a pilgrimage there, and many end up staying to train at the gyms that have popped up all over town.” Theirs is an undeniably brutal sport, and so upon learning that Las Vegas is a mecca for aspiring fighters, you might see this as a negative. As if the city needed more vice, with its throngs of gamblers, sex workers and drunken revelers, we’re also a destination for people whose calling is fisticuffs? But then you tour the gyms and remember that Las Vegas is a transplant city, and the people coming here are almost always dreamers. And it’s hard to knock that. These fighters make livings as security guards, busboys at steakhouses, nightclub promoters. Some are college students, yet even that is viewed as a backup-plan for the ultimate goal of lifting belts in the UFC. Whitmire is a waitress at Cabo Wabo on the Strip, which she considers the best restaurant in the town because it serves fresh-made guacamole and because the

P h oto g r a p h y S a b i n O r r

Nevada Public radio

Aggression pact: Aspiring MMA fighters James Hof and Emily Whitmire are committed to making it big.

management allows her enough time off for her to train for official bouts, like the one that may go down as the breakout fight of her career. In June, Whitmire won her first title, beating Utah’s number one female amateur in two minutes and eight seconds with a crucifix hold and a flurry of hammer-fist blows that convinced the referee to end the match. This “Future Stars of MMA” event was hosted by Tuff-N-Uff, the Las Vegas-based amateur MMA promoter that also gave Ronda Rousey her start, and which is partially responsible for the city’s allure as a training destination. Its straw-weight championship should allow Whitmire to fight professionally now. “I grew up riding horses,” she says. “My passion and love growing up was barrel racing, and my dream for the majority of my childhood was to ride in the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center — and that’s where I ended up winning my Tuff-N-Uff belt. It wasn’t the right belt,” she admits, “but it was one just as good.” I ask how the pilgrimage here, to the undisputed MMA capital of the world, played into that emerging success. “The training here is just way better,” she says. “There’s more girls, more people traveling here, better coaches, better fighters. Just kinda better all around.” In another area of the gym, off to the side of the mats where Xtreme Couture’s

RECYCLING DAY Saturday, November 14, 8 a.m. to noon. • Shred old paperwork • Recycle glass, aluminum, plastic, cardboard • Bring your old computers, cell phones, appliances and more • Donate clothes, jewelry, housewares, home decor, etc. Pill Take Back. Turn in your unused or expired medications for safe confidential disposal and destruction. We will even take the prescription bottle.

all for free! More information at



ca e

PILL tAkE BACk sPoNsoRED BY: coalition

©Antonio Gudino


September 2015


Sports top amateurs practiced wrestling holds and escapes, I meet a lean 31-year-old man from Idaho named James Hof. He had just moved to Las Vegas and was in the gym to get in shape for an amateur team tryout that would take place in two days. “I’ve been to prison twice,” he tells me. “I threw hands in prison so I know this is something I can do.” Watching the practice with a look of melancholic envy, he talks about the tattoos running up School of hard knocks: his arms, chest and neck. “Nobody A class at wants to employ me,” he says. “I’m Xtreme too customized. People don’t like my Couture gym background. This is the only place Syndicate MMA, Wand Fight that accepts me.” Team, One Kick’s Gym, Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu, Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu, Las VeON THE REBOUND gas Krav Maga and Hawaiian Fighting Arts treme Couture doesn’t look much like also employ current or former MMA stars a holy site from the outside. One more as coaches. long stucco building in yet another geFor all that vigor, the training scene here neric office park. You can hear the thwap of a is apparently on the rebound. shin kick hit a punching bag as you approach “When the sport took off in 2005, 2006, from the back lot. Grunts, slaps, the rattle of Vegas was a really popular place to train — heavy weights. You might assume the place is it had a lot of gyms, a lot of fighters — but used as a black site for odd corporate hazing it faded out as other cities slowly caught rituals, but then you see young men sitting out up,” says Dann Stupp, editor-in-chief of the front in Tapout gear, gym shorts and kneewebsite “Fighters in the pads. In addition to Gatorade bottles, they Southeast would end up in the same Florcarry the nervous energy of people about to ida gyms. People in the Midwest would go to cities like Milwaukee. But now Vegas is engage in hand-to-hand combat for sport.   Inside, the gym has a dedicated re-emerging. We’re seeing some of the big weight-training zone with all the requisite names return to the bigger Vegas gyms.” goodies, including a sledgehammer and Emily Whitmire was convinced to move monster truck tire. I see a couple of octagon here by her friend Miesha Tate, one of the top cages in use for sparring (Roy “Big Country” women in the UFC. Tate and her boyfriend, Nelson versus Randy Couture while I was Bryan Caraway, who is a high-ranking UFC bantamweight fighter, moved to Las Vegas there). On several large open-mat areas, from Washington in late 2014. According to they offer classes all day. You can sign up for grappling, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, traditionWhitmire, a lot of fighters from the Northal boxing, cardio kickboxing or something west have moved here in recent years. called “sub grappling,” or simply focus on the Stupp says, “We talk to fighters who are new-breed style that integrates the best of based in Vegas and they say they really like it. the above when all of the above are allowed. A lot of events take place there so it’s conveXtreme Couture has 24,000 square feet nient. But more than that, you always have a of brawl and workout space, making it the fresh set of fighters coming into town.” largest MMA gym in town. When considHe refers also to MMA fighters who ering that, and more importantly the level visit as tourists. Whether in town to see of talent coaching and training inside, jourConor McGregor fight or attend a friend’s nalists often rank it the number one gym bachelor party, they like to visit these gyms in Las Vegas, which automatically puts it while here — thus exposing resident fightamong the best in the world since there ers to an even more diverse array of talent. are almost as many elite fighting gyms in “The fact that they get a revolving door of this city as there are slot machine parlors. guys coming in and training and getting looks



September 2015

during sparring sessions really works to their advantage,” Stupp says. “You get that in Vegas more than anywhere else in the world.” Another benefit to the training scene here is the presence of a successful amateur fight promoter, in Tuff-N-Uff, and the organized system of MMA “teams” at each gym. Stupp says in other cities, amateur fight promoters are notorious for running out of money or cancelling events, or even failing to get all the fighters to show up. Tuff-N-Uff will fly in out-of-state competition when a top local amateur dominates the region (the way Rousey once did, and Xtreme Couture’s Mike Hobby does now). Tuff-N-Uff also piggybacks on the UFC by organizing fight cards on the eve of major title bouts on the Strip. Yet even when the pro league is inactive, as many as 16,000 locals and outof-towners have shown up to these events because Las Vegas has a strong fight town culture and a passionate MMA community. The coaches always make sure their fighters are ready to represent their gyms. Teammates who train with the pugilists all week offer boisterous support from the crowd. It’s the ideal ecosystem for aspiring amateurs to gain experience and catch the attention of scouts from the UFC. “Ten years ago, there wasn’t really much of an established amateur system. Now whether it’s the gym or just amateur-specific events, it’s developing,” Stupp says. “That’s one of the biggest strides the sport has made in the past 10 years, which is good because if you’re not getting good training, if you’re not in a good gym, it’s obviously a very dangerous sport. It just makes things so much safer for the guys who are just starting out.”


pretty much knows it’s over, the winner and loser know who the winner and loser will be, but everyone has to let this violent coda play out because, as often happens, the loser refuses to tap out. Some might find this beautiful. The vanquished man struggling against his pride and what he feels he owes his supporters. You can see this tortured negotiation between pain and ego going on in his eyes when he’s not shutting them as the knuckles land. He won’t do it, can’t tap out, not without another vain attempt to squirm free. He just about always fails to block the punches raining down again, again. Again. The winner is good at finding unprotected flesh. Finally, the ref calls the match. That whole gladiatorial, voyeur, bloodlust thing may not be for you. What you’ll find interesting, rather, is the story beneath the fighter’s commitment. What compels a person to organize their life


any people don’t like MMA. There are impressive moments of athleticism, yes, and you can admire the poise and controlled ferocity shown in situations that would leave most of us crab-walking around the cage in fright. But then some fights are just glacially slow; watching two people clutch each other in exhaustion is not everyone’s idea of entertainment. Really, though, what I suspect repels a lot of people (including me) is when a fight ends in crazy bloodletting. It’s uncomfortable to watch the inevitable winner bash his defenseless opponent’s head in with a “ground and pound” flurry of hammer-fist blows. The loser is usually writhing on his back, and that effort convinces the referee to let it play out. The crowd, meanwhile, knows it’s over, the ref


Bring on the heat! Though small, Thai chili peppers pack a flavorful punch. It can transform any dish into a robust and exciting trip for your taste buds. We believe that the same zing should be added to your overall dining experience.

around something so brutal? In a sport with so little money in it? One in which a devastating injury is all but assured? I ask Whitmire why she stuck with MMA after rehabbing from the LCL tear in her left knee. The motivation is always changing, she says, but at its core are two powerful things: “The people — the feeling of family — and the feeling of doing something really hard and getting it accomplished.” She says, “I honestly have no idea where I’d be without it. Before, I drank beer and smoked cigarettes and was kind of a depressed angry girl with no direction, no parents — no anything, really.” I talk to Dennis Davis, head coach of the amateur MMA team at Xtreme Couture. He came to the sport in a strikingly similar way, having lost his father at the age of 14. Davis didn’t enjoy school; he got in fights all the time and coped with grief through aggression. “I was a very angry kid who just wanted to hurt people,” he says. “My childhood was not great.” Then by picking up MMA, Davis found a way to let out some of his frustration. The sport also introduced him to a father-figure coach who helped him settle down and develop the foundation of what would become a successful fighting career. “MMA can save a lot of people,” he tells me. “Say I didn’t get into MMA, maybe I would’ve become a punk who beat people up on the street. Who knows? And for a ton of these kids, that is the case. You may have a person who’s not great at school or just doesn’t like it. I also know a few guys who’ve come out of the military and got PTSD, and so coming in here to train and mix it up kind of helps get that out.” Davis acknowledges that most of his students won’t make it to the UFC — some will, but most won’t — and yet that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wasting their time.   “I LOVE THIS STUFF”




September 2015



go back to Xtreme Couture to see James Hof compete in their amateur MMA team tryout. A total of 22 young men show up. Most appear to be in their mid-twenties, but there are also teenagers, and, thanks to Hof, at least one man in his early thirties. The coaches lead them through a typical

practice, which includes intense workouts, grappling and striking exercises, full-contact sparring sessions and then even more physical conditioning, a regimen grueling enough to weed out unfit, unserious hopefuls. The action takes place on a long stretch of mats walled by chain-link fencing and surrounded by packed bleachers. There are a lot of MMA enthusiasts in town for UFC Fight Week, so about 75 people show up to watch what was essentially a high-stakes practice for lower-tier amateurs. In the end, six make the team, a larger number than Davis planned to accept because it’s a more talented group than he’s used to seeing. Atom Fogarty, one of those who make the cut, is trying out for the fifth time. He, too, says it’s the most competitive group he’d ever tried out with. Hof — who says he has a young daughter to support — struggles to keep up with lunges and leapfrog exercises. He scurries off the mats at one point to dunk his head into a nearby trashcan, causing one coach to howl, “We’ve got a puker!” “God, I feel old,” he tells me afterward. Many professional fighters retire by 31, so I suggest that perhaps Hof is, indeed, too old to break out in the sport. “People keep telling me that,” he says. “I don’t care. People have been downing me my entire life. I don’t listen to them.” If sportsmanship were the only criteria for a spot on the team, Hof would’ve been picked. By far the most generous person on the mats, he congratulates opponents and cheers on peers by name even when they’d only just met. As his energy starts to flag, they return the gesture, lifting him verbally and physically. And though his name isn’t called in the end, several fighters encourage him to work on his cardio and try out another time. “I’ll be back,” he says, “I love this stuff. I’ll make the team — I know I will.” Trading arm bars and elbow strikes is apparently a bonding experience, which is good because even if his dreams don’t come to fruition, showing up to MMA gyms in Idaho and now Las Vegas is a vital part of Hof’s routine. He started training as a way to give up drinking; those prison terms stemmed from alcohol and marijuana-related offenses. So Hof is using the sport as a kind

of sobriety program. At UNLV this fall he is pursuing a degree in business, in the hope that as a college graduate he’ll find a sympathetic employer. But there might yet be occasions when he, as do so many others, needs to step into an octagon-shaped cage. They do it to demonstrate strong will, cope with stress, let out tempests of frus-

tration and enjoy pride in newly developed finesse. None of that is as surprising to me, though, as the fact that people use this somewhat violent, individualistic sport as a way to overcome anger and loneliness. Count me among those now who feel proud that this happens in Vegas more than anywhere else in the world.

HONORING OUR AWARD WINNING CARDIOLOGISTS. DEDICATED HEALTH BEGINS WITH A DEDICATED TEAM. The state of health care in Nevada cannot improve without constant innovation and development.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our cardiologists, patients can enjoy improved access to high-quality health care and advanced medical technology in Southern Nevada.

Dr. Bedotto

Dr. Navratil

Dr. Routh

Dr. Sirulnick

“Best Doctors”—Desert Companion

September 2015


Throughout the month of July we celebrated the margarita with ’Rita Las Vegas and invited Desert Companion readers and margarita connoisseurs to sip their way through some of the best margaritas in Southern Nevada. Including the: watermelon margarita Burnt orange tangerine margarita Verano de Jalisco Jalapeño cilantro margarita paloma south


special thanks to our hosts:

watermelon margarita

Burnt orange tangerine margarita

Verano de Jalisco

Jalape単o cilantro margarita

paloma south

The Dish 56

09 15

Eat this now 61 Cocktail of the month 61 First Bite 62

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

Fun, guys: Therapy's mixed mushroom flatbread

P hoto g ra p h y Brent Holmes

September 2015


Dining out Hunter S. Thompson Most Las Vegas icons earn their status over decades: It took Hunter S. Thompson a long weekend. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas remains the blueprint for every off-the-chain and over-the-top trip to Sin City ever since. Of course, the Horse-a-Round bar at Circus Circus has been turned into an ice cream parlor, but there are still trapeze acts and creepy clowns aplenty. Get yourself a double Wild Turkey, stake out a spot under the big top and let the games begin. For a direct liquor-based homage to the good doctor, Atomic Liquors (702-982-3000) offers the Hunter S. Mash, essentially a mint julep juiced up with Aperol and ginger in honor of Thompson’s southern heritage — and his hair-raising trip to the Kentucky Derby, which inspired some fine and crazy writing of its own.

Stirring tribute Vegas icons from Sinatra to Zsa Zsa all had their signature, go-to cocktails. Here’s how to catch a bit of their buzz By Lissa Townsend Rodgers


as Vegas is a city where a personality can tower over the landscape like a giant neon sign or an enormous Ferris wheel. Long after their names have left the marquee, people still come here seeking a bit of Elvis or Frank, trying to grasp a hint of their legendary mojo, if even for a moment. Times may have changed, but these icons can still provide guidance for drinking in classic Vegas style.


September 2015

P h oto g r a p h y S a b i n ORR

Liberace Liberace was the headliner who opened the Riviera back in 1955, part of a career on the Strip that would last more than 30 years. Vegas may have changed since his day, but there’s still enough flash and glitter to make “Lee” feel right at home. And they do have that Riviera sign lit up at the Neon Museum … Another spot that would appeal is the Fizz Bar in Caesars (702-776-3200) — and not simply because one of the backers is that other flamboyant Vegas piano player, Elton John. Imagine him ensconced amidst the gloss and shine, sitting beneath a David La Chapelle photograph, drinking a Kiss the Bride, a mix of champagne, vanilla and cake-flavored Three Olives vodka that tastes a little like a full-length white mink coat probably feels.

September 2015


Dining out Frank Sinatra

If there’s a paragon of how to enjoy Las Vegas, it’s the Chairman. Frank was very specific about his chosen cocktail: Jack Daniels on the rocks, two cubes of ice. As he called it, “A gentleman’s drink.” It’s available everywhere, but why not hit one of the joints Frank used to frequent back in his Rat Pack days? The Golden Steer still maintains the velvet wallpaper and tuxedoed waiters it had when it opened in 1958. It’s easy to imagine Frank sipping his bourbon while watching his Caesar salad be made tableside to his particular specifications (no vinegar: lemon juice). A modern rendition of the Sinatra vibe can be found at Sinatra restaurant in the Encore (702-770-5320). The décor works a Palm Springs vibe with garden views and touches of orange — Frank’s favorite color. The menu features Italian dishes he favored, like Veal Milanese and Clams Posillipo but, naturally, there are also libations. The Sinatra Smash has earned the approval of the James Beard Foundation and, while it’s a little sweeter than what the man himself favored (there’s Gentleman Jack whiskey, but also blackberries and crème de cassis), we still think it’s elegant enough to earn his nod.


September 2015

Zsa Zsa Gabor

She may have gotten married nine times, but one really must consider Zsa Zsa Gabor the ultimate bachelorette: After all, this is the woman who used to hold press conferences about her relationships with other women’s husbands. Zsa Zsa and her sisters Eva and Magda also headlined their own Las Vegas show. Unsurprisingly, it was mostly witty one-liners about romance, delivered in fabulous gowns. Today, one can imagine Zsa Zsa meeting her sisters for a leisurely lunch — along with plenty of dish — at Giada’s in the Cromwell. Afterwards, she’d glide down to the clubby atmosphere of Bound to meet with her divorce lawyer over a La Belle Vie, essentially a Bellini gone Provence luxe with champagne, white grape juice and a splash of Martell cognac. Here’s to freedom, darlings!

September 2015


Dining out Bugsy Siegel Bugsy Siegel’s time in Las Vegas may have been brief — he owned two casinos during the course of three years, but he left a deeper mark than many with 10 times his tenure. Siegel got his start in the liquor business (read: bootlegging), but Bugsy wasn’t much of a drinker: He was notoriously vain, so he feared developing a pot belly that would ruin the line of his custom suits. (And when Bugsy began losing his hair, his barber literally feared for his life when he found too many strands in the comb.) The El Cortez was the first casino Siegel owned, and they continue to pay homage to the affiliation by prominently featuring him on advertising posters and naming their new restaurant Siegel’s 1941 (702-385-5200). The menu has something to please every member of the mob — corned beef and cabbage, spaghetti marinara, matzoh ball soup — as well as themed cocktails. The Siegel Spritzer has a spiked-lemonade appeal with a mix of grapefruit liqueur, vermouth and lime, while Siegel’s girlfriend Virginia Hill is given the nod with Virginia’s Margarita, a cocktail inspired by her time in Mexico — where she received her “Flamingo” nickname. While nothing of Bugsy’s original Flamingo resort remains, you can pay your respects at a commemorative plaque in the gardens.


September 2015

P h oto g r a p h y S a b i n ORR


Eat this now!

You’re invited ... September 19 Desert Companion on Tour with Norm Schilling at Star Nursery Get expert tips on all your fall planting needs from horticulturist guru Norm Schilling

November 6

Pan-roasted chicken

Holiday Appreciation Party at Galleria Mall

pa n - r oast e d c h i c k e n : c h r i sto p h e r s m i t h ; co r d e l i a : b r e n t h o l m e s

at 35 Steaks + Martinis

In the Hard Rock hotel/casino, 702-693-5500 I know: Why, why, why (forehead-slap!) get chicken at a steakhouse? Because this pan-roasted chicken is like Chicken: The Concept Album on a plate. The main breast serving is delicate and tender, with a perfect brown crisp on the skin that looks like it was applied with an airbrush. It’s served on a bed of trofie — elegant but unfussy capsule pasta — swimming in an earthy mushroom truffle cream previously only available to one-percenter forest pixies. Save the pastry-wrapped drumstick for last. The crispy wrapper flakes away to reveal a confit leg so rich and velvety you might as well consider it dessert. This dish is $34 à la carte, but if you get it as a course in 35 Steaks + Martinis' $49 summer prix fixe menu, it’ll be just one sumptuous surprise among many offered by this underrated Hard Rock restaurant. Andrew Kiraly

Celebrate another great year with Desert Companion and Nevada Public Radio.

Fall 2015

Desert Companion Mixer at Tivoli Village Date and details to be announced soon at

Cocktail of the month

The Cordelia at Other Mama “By all these lovely tokens, September days are here,” Helen Hunt Jackson once mused, probably while sitting at

the bar in Other Mama, and by “these lovely tokens” surely meaning a flight of iced oysters and, especially, the elegant Cordelia. Other Mama kept the Cordelia off of its menu during the hot months — this suave drink doesn’t readily comport with summer’s demand for friskier cocktails. The Cordelia does not quench. Now it’s back for fall, its robust orange-and-cinnamon bourbon, honey and lemon (which, btw, richly demonstrates the role aroma plays


November 14 Nevada Public Radio Recycling Day

Bring all your recyclables, old electronics, gently used clothing, confidential documents and unused medications

in a drink’s satisfaction) perfectly delivering the message of September: Retire your flip-flops and beach reads; time to get real again. The Cordelia makes it easy. Scott Dickensheets 3655 S. Durango Drive #6, 702-463-8382,

More information at September 2015


Dining out

Farm-aceuticals: Left, Therapy's fried pig ears; right, chicken and red-velvet waffle slider

at first bite

Feel-good cuisine Therapy brings a new maturity to the Downtown dining scene, and points the way forward B y M i t c h e ll W i lb u r n


hen it comes to food writing, a particular pet peeve of astute readers is the overuse of the maxim, “It was good for what it was.” That usually signals a covert apology for food that was well-intentioned but poorly executed. What the writer is really saying is, “It was good, you know, for being bad food.” The progression of Downtown has been dogged by this phrase. Outside of a very few true standout successes, the Fremont-area food scene was mired in laurel-resters basking in such praises as, “Well, they are the only (insert genre) restaurant Downtown …” The newer and smarter investors smelled money in the air, and the savviest among them predicted a


September 2015

change towards finer, more honest dining. This prediction is in the process of coming true. The first big flare-up of it is right in the neighborhood’s very heart, Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard: Therapy. In what was once a 99-cent store, the new owners of the space have gutted it and left a very pretty skeleton. Nothing overtly unique or fine, but it brings attention to the charms of the 1950s building: big wood beams and laid brick instead of prefab MDF joists and aluminum studs. Sunken bar, open kitchen, lounge seats. The menu is the product of Chef Daniel Ontiveros of the tragically late Comme Ça in The Cosmopolitan. Some of the all-around best food in the city came out of that kitchen, and you can

see that same creativity in this menu. For example, Therapy’s crispy fried pig ears were pulled right from the Comme Ça bar menu, but the technique has improved to the point where these ears melt like butter in the center of the breading, a perfectly satisfying vessel for the balanced truffle honey mustard. The steak tartare is a revived favorite from those days, as well. Another small-bite winner on this menu is the “Gnudi,” a baked ball of ricotta with truffle honey and fig jam, paired with a walnut and cranberry crostini. Don’t miss the oxtail empanadas, either — ultra-savory, especially with the harissa lime crème fraîche. The “handheld” section of the menu offers two sandwiches, one a satisfying

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

brie-topped burger, as well as two flatbreads. The mixed mushrooms flatbread is the pinnacle of good flatbread. Aside from the mix of seasonal mushrooms, it is made of diced bacon, caramelized onion and a poached egg, all on top of a fluffy, crispy, puff pastry. Heaven in 12-by-9-inches. There is a chicken and red-velvet waffle slider that defies description. The chicken is double-breaded and terrifically juicy, between airy clouds of red waffle, paired up with just a bit of remoulade slaw and kissed with vanilla bean/ bourbon maple. This is second only to another chicken dish, the roasted Jidori chicken. An airline breast (boneless, skin on, with a little humerus as a handle) arrives perched atop puréed summer corn, roasted cipollini onion and a mushroom chicken jus. It is deceiving in its simplicity but maddening in how savory and addictive it is. By now, Therapy’s had an opening, some feedback, even made a couple happy-hour deals (Ears and Beers: either the pig ears or street corn, plus a beer for $10; a good idea from any perspective) — but what is the trajectory? A restaurant doesn’t thrive without change (unless you’re some Beverly Hills executive meme restaurant), and from the caliber of food that Ontiveros is capable of, there is plenty of potential for it. Overall, the soul of the menu speaks to a kind of opening jitters. Everything has plenty of unique style to it, and a solid foundation of technique, but it speaks to a crowd. You can almost picture a meeting in which maybe three times the number of dishes were pitched, and the ones with the most common denominators were chosen. Luckily, even things simplified from this kitchen are head and shoulders above the rest of Downtown. All Therapy needs now is to steadily up the level of cuisine; change out the prep of this, add a seasonal that, bring back some of the wacky, wild, Willy Wonka-like inventions that made Ontiveros a superstar. Therapy is the opening note for this new chapter in Downtown dining, and with some smart decisions, it can lead the chorus for years to come.



Three Course Menu Served Family Style $25 person | 3pm - Close

SUNDAY BRUNCH Complimentary Mimosa! 10am - 3pm


Bites and Booze 3pm - 6pm | 9pm - Close | Daily


CUT steak | the palazzo LUPO italian | mandalay bay SPAGO american | the forum shops CUCINA italian | the shops at crystals WOLFGANG PUCK BAR & GRILL american | mgm grand

September 2015


nchanted E eauty B Dreamy, daring and dramatic — this season’s look embraces a

fashion-forward fantasy

Photographer Robert John Kley Stylist Christie Moeller Hair and make-up Krystle Randall Stylist assistant Hannah Kinser Model Jessy of TNG Models Location Mt. Charleston

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall Fashion 2015

St. John origami pleat skirt, $1,195 Roberto Cavalli silk blouse, $1,670 Suxi Rocher stretch belt, $215 Oscar de la Renta rose motif wire necklace, $650 Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show mall

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall Fashion 2015

Halston Heritage tulip skirt sleeveless gown, $725, Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall Tory Burch Jacquard top, $495, Tory Burch in the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and the Forum Shops at Caesars Molly Gaddy gold crown, price on request, Artifact in Town Square



D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall Fashion 2015

Tarina Tarantino Copenhagen necklace, $350, Paul Smith sheepskin coat, $12,665, Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter Tory Burch lace gown, $895, Tory Burch in the Forum Shops at Caesars

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall Fashion 2015

Alexander McQueen paneled lace flared dress, $5,375, Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall Tarina Tarantino gilded necklace, $63, Paul Smith sheepskin scarf, $525, Paul Smith at Crystals in CityCenter

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall Fashion 2015

Ines Di Santo Zora black and pink Chantilly lace gown, $7,040, Molly Gaddy gothic crown, price on request, Artifact in Town Square

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall Fashion 2015

Valentino embroidered gown, $28,000, Valentino at Crystals in CityCenter Charlotte Olympia “This Is Not a Shoe� heel, $845, Charlotte Olympia in the Forum Shops at Caesars

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall Fashion 2015

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall Fashion 2015

Ines Di Santo Sidra silk chiffon cocktail mini, $4,840, Jimmy Rosana pump, $850, Jimmy Choo at the Grand Canal Shoppes in the Venetian and Crystals in CityCenter

Fall fashion has never been more fun! With so many stores, I’m sure to find the latest styles for my wardrobe. And when the bags get heavy, I can break for lunch and cocktails, or even a movie. It’s all right here in Town Square.

#mytownsquare 100+ brands & boutiques | 20+ dining destinations | 18-screen AMC theatre | 9,000 sq. ft. children’s park

otography Ones to Watch ph

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide


{ through 09| 1 1

Guns don’t crEate art, artists USING guns do In a patch of desert on the outskirts of Vegas, artist Sean Russell shot blocks of sculpting clay with a variety of firearms, then cooked and glazed the results. The upshot: the weirdly beautiful and tormented pieces in the exhibit South of Town that comprise a treatise on randomness, the captured moment and the extraordinary power of guns. (SD) Clark County Government Center, free, 702-455-7340

{ through 09| 1 1

Cuban nature Whimsical and folkloric sculptures by Rafael Espino, a Cuban émigré artist who’s said to have been an imprisoned enemy of Castro. (SD) Rhizome Gallery (in Emergency Arts), free,

{ through 09| 1 2

50 is the new arty Celebrating Life! Collects the winners of the city’s 15th juried art show for local artists of a certain age — 50



Mikayla Whitmore A r t i s t, p h o t o g r a p h e r

Selected by Jennifer Kleven, Ones to Watch 2012

Memory. It functions like (a) photographs neatly tucked into folders; (b) digital images stored in files you sometimes can’t find on your hard drive; or (c) photos that’ve been cut into confetti and which you reassemble with a blow-dryer? That the answer lies somewhere between B and C is fortunate for artist Mikayla Whitmore, as the distortions and corruptions of memory provide the raw thematic material of her recent art photography. (The “art” distinction is necessary as she’s also a photojournalist for the Greenspun Media Group.) See for yourself come November, when she installs her exhibit When the Night Comes in the Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio. Whitmore was still working out the deets at press time, but the basic setup will involve a group of slide projectors flashing images, her own family snaps mixed with found negatives. Over the course of the residency, she’ll distort the photos in various ways — by introducing mirrors to splinter off parts of the projection; by burning into or drawing onto the negatives themselves — by way of “tracking how your memory over time corrupts, corrodes, how you start to piecemeal things together …” She intends to involve viewers by having them run their own photos through a button-making machine, creating two buttons of each image: one they keep and one Whitmore will add to a wall display. You see what she’s doing, right? Getting right down into the complex interplay between the evanescence of memory and our need to hold on to it? “I’m trying, in my own, unscientific way, to physicalize it — make it tangible,” she says. That impulse toward specificity lies at the heart of her devotion to photography. “It’s the most concrete way of expressing what I’m thinking,” she says. At the same time, photography can seem like an instant, hands-off process — point, click, done. Whitmore counters that through some inventive formal strategies, from the burned negatives of her P3 show to words hand-stitched in thread into her prints. “Her evolving artistic style has been an exciting and brave journey to watch,” says Jennifer Kleven, who hosted Whitmore’s first big show in her former gallery, in 2012. “She ... explores new techniques and methods to convey her point of view. She understands light better than anyone I know, and engages it with subtle manipulations. ... We may be looking at an artist whose work is collected by world-class art-lovers and museums alike!” (See Scott Dickensheets

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide

and up — in seven categories, including drawing, painting, photography and 3-D work. (SD) Las Vegas City Hall Chamber Gallery, free, 702-229-1012

{ through 09| 1 2

This is the line my pencil makes as it scoots across the paper The action of drawing — an emphasis on the movement of the instrument against the surface as much as the resulting image — is the subject uniting the five artists from America and beyond whose work is shown in Action + Object + Exchange. Some are deceptively simple, others not so much, but the emphasis on process is palpable in each. (SD) Satellite Contemporary Gallery (in Emergency Arts), free,

{ through 09| 1 9

Hey, look! A real museum! The Barrick Museum highlights selections from the Vogel Collection as well as some recent acquisitions. Though it can be easy to lose track of the Barrick in the larger context of UNLV, it’s still the city’s prime museum, and these shows are a good way to see what it’s been up to lately. (SD) Barrick Museum, free,

{ through 09| 1 9

The big draw Narrative, large drawings by Domenic Cretara and Christopher Troutman. To do a Google image search on these guys is to be bowled over by their sheer skill. Now

imagine some of those images drawn large. (SD) Charleston Heights Art Center, free, 702-229-6383

{ through 11| 09

Thinking inside the box Follow the bouncing theme: Because artist Marlene Siu has a thing — referred to as an “obsession” in the PR materials — for building containers, and another thing for photographing people in their environments; she has merged those things in this series of large color photos. She’s built environments for specific people, then shot them within.

09 03

(SD) Winchester Gallery, free, 702-455-7340

va r i o u s d at e s

{ through 11| 2 5

museum on the move

Artists get literary

Heady times over at UNLV’s Barrick Museum! This fall will see the museum close out its well-received shows of recently acquired work, and then launch what is certain to be one of the most popular local shows of the year: October 23’s Break Ups and & Tear Downs, a powerhouse three-parter featuring Erin Stellmon, Wendy Kveck and Jo Russ. Add to that a busy and varied schedule of artists talks, highlighted by the great Robert Irwin on November 5. (SD)

In a nod to the Vegas Valley Book Festival, a group of mostly local artists — including Montana Black, Gig Depio, Richard Hooker, Bobbie Ann Howell, Kim Johnson — interpret the ideas of “narrative” and “mystery” in the show It Happened Like This. (SD) Historic Fifth Street School, free, 702-229-1012

{ 09| 21

We think they’re symbolic For her stylized evocations of the desert, artist Rebecca Pugh paints old strips of bed linens in landscape shades — browns, tans, ochres, yellows, blues — and attaches them to free-standing frames. (Opening reception 6p, September 25.) (SD) Through November 13, Clark County Government Center, free, 702-455-7340

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide

A little bit of everything

For his show at Blackbird Studios, artist Spencer Olsen says, “I will be showing a series of paintings and drawings. A series of collages. Some large prints of drawings I’ve never exhibited.” And the pièce de résistance? An animated installation, half of which is handmade, the other half of which was generated on computer. It’s a collabo with the artist KITZE. (SD) Blackbird Studios, free,

09 09

Could anyone be more of-the-moment?

Lecture by Hrag Vartanian, co-founder of art blog Hyperallergic and expert on performance, online, multicultural and street art. (SD) 7p, Barrick Museum, free,

{ 09| 2 5 -2 7

Life is artful Once again, Life is Beautiful includes a visual-arts component, ranging from murals and street art (D*Face, MTO) to the annual “art motel,” which brings together a vast roster of artists that includes Anthony Bondi, Jim Braire, Kim Johnson, Sin City Gallery, Eric Vozzola and the UNLV Robotics Lab. (SD) Downtown Las Vegas,

{ 10| 01

That’s right, we said “murder a clown” Mike Cockrill’s figurative paintings have a sharp, racy edge. Evoking both advertising and high art, and often leavening their sexual undertones with sly humor, his paintings depict adolescent longing and the occasional desire to murder a clown. Ought to make for a heck of a lecture. (SD) 7p, Barrick

criteria (had to be one to 100 years old; no larger than 10 inches square), were accepted for Resurrected: The Early Works. (SD) Satellite

team up for a big show titled Break Ups & Tear Downs. Each will show a mix of new and previously shown work, all touching on how the artists work societal themes into their pieces, whether the issue is women and power (Kveck), gender and sexuality (Russ) or destruction and rebuilding (Stellmon).

Contemporary Gallery (in Emergency Arts), free,

{ 10| 2 3

(SD) Through January 23, Barrick Museum, free, unlv. edu/barrickmuseum

If there was a Justice League of Art, this would be its core

{ 10| 2 9

Talking the walk

Three superheroes of Las Vegas art — Erin Stellmon, Wendy Kveck and Jo Russ —

10 16

Artist Carrie Moyer

Yes, Cuba has contemporary art

Work by four Cuban artists — Angel Delgado, Sandra Ceballos-Obaya, Ariel Orozco and Sandra Ramos — who chronicled and challenged the fraying of Cuban society under its communist regime. The exhibit, Through Windows, Through Curtains, Call on Us: Contemporary Cuban Art, was curated by UNLV professor Robert Tracy. (SD) Through November 14, UNLV’s Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, free,

Museum, free, barrickmuseum

{ 10| 01

discusses her work, which covers a lot of ground. Her recent paintings have layered brightly colored biomorphic abstractions in ways that are both eye-popping and, if you’re into that sort of thing, rich with art-historical references. But she’s also done explicitly political agitprop. (SD) 7p, Barrick Museum, free,

{ 11| 05

Straight outta Baghdad Recent work by Nanda Sharifpour and Ali Fathollahi, sumptuously talented artists who emigrated to Las Vegas from Iran. You read about them in the June Desert Companion, now see their handiwork. (SD) Through November 30, Blackbird Studios, free,

{ 11| 05

Hey, everyone, it’s Robert Irwin! Lecture by Robert Irwin, the legendary artist most recently hailed for his vast Grand Garden at the Getty Museum in L.A. (SD)

Su and Sierra Blackbird Studios rocks October with pair of shows by gallery favorites Su Limbert, known for her alternately whimsical and melancholy figurative pieces, and Sierra Slentz. (Opening reception

7p, Barrick Museum, free,

{ 11| 1 9

Build it and they will come (study it)

6p) (SD) Blackbird Studios, free,

{ 09| 1 0

First come, first hung

Lecture by Matthew Coolidge, founder and director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation, a think tank and project creator devoted to examining the built landscape. (SD)

No jurying for this art show: The first 100 artists who applied, and whose work met the basic selection

7p, Barrick Museum, free,

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide



Natalie Kalei Ventic M u s i c i an

Selected by singer Brittany McKay, Ones to Watch 2014

In one of the larger studios of Audio Mix House, 21-year-old Natalie Kalei Ventic recently strode deliberately through the door and up to a mic, where she began singing her slow, sweet rendition of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.” A skinny cameraman followed Ventic, circling her with a large console at various heights and proximities. The mic was off; she was singing over a previously recorded track that blared into the studio from the control room next door. This performance was all about capturing footage for a video to be released with a forthcoming album, her first. As the track cut off mid-song, Ventic abruptly switched from soul singer — hands gracefully stirring the air, slightly pained facial expression — to all business. “I think that one was good,” she said to the cameraman, who agreed. “Do you want to get one more shot of the entrance, starting out in the hall?” Ventic comes by her apparent ease in this environment honestly. She remembers sleeping on couches and playing on floors of recording studios similar to this one as a child, while her father, Steve Ventic, a professional musician who was keyboardist and producer for 1980s freestyle band Exposé,

{ 12| 03

09 05

The twee of life

No idea what “Nostrosound” means, but the band definitely sounds dizzyingly eclectic: You got your pan flute (Hector Flavio Martinez), percussion section and small, guitar-like charango (David Seleme), more percussion (Antonio Pazos) and an extra dose of guitar (Carlos Urtubey). Expect an addictive mix of pan-Latin rhythms that will fire a little salsa into your veins. That’s what Nostrosound means. (AK) 2p, Winchester Cultural Center, $10-$12, 702-455-7340

Group show themed to the movies of Wes Anderson. Whimsy galore! (Reception 6p.) (SD) Through December 31, Blackbird Studios, free,

{ 12| 03

Beyond the frame Lecture by Letha Wilson, an innovative photographic artist who’s created photo sculptures and photos with 3-D elements. (SD) 7p, Barrick Museum, free, barrickmuseum

{ 09| 1 2

Sound introduction

pastoral Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Opus 73, Beethoven’s more rigorous Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Opus 37 and contemporary composer Dan Visconti’s Breakdown, known

2015 marks Donato Cabrera’s first full season as the LV Phil’s music director, and “Beethoven and Brahms: Opening Night” is an apt introduction to Cabrera’s range and sensibilities: the

D e se rt C o mpan i o n

Nostro what?



Fall culture Guide

for its vivid directness and fresh American idiom. In other words: A strong, friendly, inquisitive handshake. (AK) 7:30p, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, $26$96,

worked late into the night. Father and daughter now work together in their own business, Just Look Up Productions, which specializes in launching the music careers of child performers. Their clients include Asia Monet Ray, the daughter of former Mr. Olympia Shawn Ray who has her own reality TV show, Raising Asia, and JoJo Siwa of Dance Moms fame. Unlike a lot of producers, who dress young girls in revealing clothing and write provocative lyrics for them, Just Look Up lets kids be kids. “We work with all our artists to help them stay their age,” Natalie Kalei Ventic says. “We’ve found that kids around the world relate to them better that way, and it sends an important message.” As evidence of the strategy’s success, Steve Ventic points out that their first song for Siwa, “I Can Make You Dance,” went to No. 24 on the iTunes Hot 100 with no major recording label, just social media marketing. After more than two years behind the scenes, learning the business from the ground up, Natalie Kalei Ventic is returning to her own work, which she calls “life music,” a fusion of her various influences, from reggae to rock and roll. “It feels so good,” she says. “I’ve had all the songs recorded and written, and I’ve just been waiting patiently. ... But I’m glad I’ve had the last two years. I was always afraid of writing and producing before. Since I’ve been pretty much living in the studio, I’ve learned to love it.” Shadowing Just Look Up’s high-profile clients, Ventic has also gotten a taste of fame. “I see people notice them just walking around,” she says. “I can’t wait to have that experience, because I’m around it, but I don’t know what it’s like.” Heidi Kyser

{ 09| 1 3

Three’s a crowd-pleaser They’re called the Laura Taylor Trio, but there’s only one Laura Taylor in this group, and that’s plenty. (Three might cause some kind of mass eargasmic jazzilicious overload.) The seasoned jazz songstress, pianist and composer (cred: she penned “Think I’m in Love” for Diana Ross) will dish out songs both modern and

n o v.-Ja n.

santanic rites

i sense a theme

Place: It can be a powerful theme in art, whether it evokes the details of a specific location or imagines a series of almost-places.

09/ 1 7

11/ 1 7

Downtown Architecture

Valentin Yordanov

Commissioned by the city, photographers Ryan Reason and Jennifer Burkhart have compiled In Focus: Downtown Architecture, an exhibit documenting some 25 Downtown buildings that are considered significant. (Opening reception 5p, September 17.) (SD) Through November 19, City Hall Chamber Gallery, free, 702-229-4631

What does a “nonplace” look like? Artist Valentin Yordanov does his best to create them, bending lines and shapes and colors into arrangements that snuggle into the space between abstract forms and recognizable landscapes. (Reception 5:30p, November 20.) (SD) Through January 8, Winchester Cultural Center, 702-4557340

classic, including, no doubt, a generous helping from her latest release, Have Mercer on Me: Laura Taylor Sings Johnny Mercer. We think we’re in love. (AK) 2p, Winchester

statement. And yet even that doesn’t do his multifaceted life justice — whether it’s his genre-spanning oeuvre, his tireless support of the arts or even his humanitarian work.

Cultural Center, $10-$12, 702-455-7340

(AK) 7p, The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, $79.50$500,

{ 09| 1 5

{ 09| 1 8

essential voice

Two harps enter ...

To call the enormously accomplished Plácido Domingo anything less than the quintessential voice of opera is a woeful under-

Mariano Gonzales and Cristina Cabrera both play

’Tis the season to ROCK OUT MOTHERS!!! The Las Vegas Philharmonic performs the score to The Snowman during a screening of the film (Jan. 9-10, The Smith Center). Nevada Chamber Symphony does holiday classics at “Home for the Holidays” (Dec. 13, Clark County Library Main Theater). Want a little seasonal brass? Head for the Las Vegas Brass Band’s holiday concert (Dec. 6, Clark County Library Main Theater). (Warning: May contain flugelhorns.) For early birds who dig kilts, check out Celtic Thanksgiving (Nov. 21, Clark County Library Main Theater), an afternoon of Gaelic pipe music and Irish dancing. (AK)

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide

harp — but their similarities end there. Gonzales is an internationally acclaimed master of the Paraguayan harp, famous for his sweeping, sensitive interpretations of traditional Paraguayan guarania music. A trained harp-maker, he’s also hacked his instrument of choice for custom gear that embraces the entire chromatic scale. Mexican-born Cabrera specializes in a more nimble, sprightly form of harp music informed by Venezuelan and Mexican folk traditions. In this afternoon “dueling harps” concert, they’ll enter into a beautiful, border-spanning dialogue that will showcase their traditions’ similarities and singularities. (AK) Noon, Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse, Jury Assembly Room, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. S., free, 702-229-3515

{ 09| 1 8 -1 9

ROCKJAZZ INYERFACE! Is it jazz? Is it rock? It doesn’t matter, because your body has combusted into a writhing volcanic fugue of vampiric life-lust. New York’s The Rad Trads mash up jazz, funk, rock and probably a few Schedule 1 drugs into their frenzied sound. (AK) 7p, $29-$49, Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center,

{ 10| 04

{ 10| 1 5 -1 6

Pop goes classical

Voice with a heart

A little classical, a little pop: Nevada Chamber Symphony Orchestra’s “Music Maestro” will feature both, including Warlock’s frenzied “Capriol Suite” — imagine a country dance gone crazy — Bach’s “Arioso” and more.

Goapele (gwa-puh-lay) is a soul artist in more ways than one. To be sure, she’s got a voice that sounds like melted sex, and her videos are exercises in sophisticated seduction. But the Oakland-born artist has soul in a different sense, too: She puts her music into the service of the community, frequently performing at rallies, demonstrations and political gatherings. (AK)

(AK) 3p, Clark County Library Main Theater, free,

7p $39-$69, Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center,

{ 10| 2 2

Strings attached The Pacifica Quartet is based in Bloomington, Indiana, but make no mistake: The ensemble is a force on the global chamber music scene, having earned a reputation as interpretive masters of string quartet cycles, acclaimed for their studied intensity and stamina. And, who knows, maybe a few screaming, stratospheric, hair-flinging solos too. (AK) 7:30, UNLV’s Dr. Arturo Rando-Grillot Recital Hall,

Robert Randolph

10 06

{ 10| 2 3

A soothing bowl of sound

Jesus is doing a guitar solo!

You could technically call Diáne Mandle a musician. But she’s something more like a spiritual flight attendant. Mandle, with her precisely tuned Tibetan bowls, planetary gongs and esoteric percussion instruments, creates otherworldly soundscapes that aim to soothe, inspire and transport listeners. Typically, you go

You’ve heard of church organs — but church guitars? Welcome to sacred steel, a form of pedal steel guitar music that blends the rousing religious ecstasy of traditional church music with steel guitar’s shimmering, six-string stylings. If on the eighth day God totally whaled on an axe, this is probably what it would sound like. In this concert, jazz funkists Medeski Martin & Wood and blues/soul supergroup North Mississippi Allstars join up with sacred steel prodigy Robert Randolph for a night of musical communion — and with this explosive blend of the sacred and the scorching, that’s sure to be true spiritually and otherwise. (AK) 8p, Brooklyn Bowl, $25-$30,

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide

to a concert for stimulation — volume, lights, $12 beer in a plastic cup?! Come to this concert to chill. It’s probably the only one you’ll ever go to where you’re encouraged to bring mats to lie down on. (AK) 7p, Winchester Cultural Center, $25-$30, 702-455-7340

{ 10| 2 4

World in your ear Travel the globe — minus the ritual indignity of having to remove your shoes and belt — at Passport to the World. The LV Phil will cover an eclectic international musical menu, from Manuel de Falla’s “Ritual Fire Dance” to Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” to Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” (AK) 7:30p, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, $26$96,

{ 11| 05

String cred In the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Svecený is synonymous with the violin — and deservedly so. The renowned violinist is a considered a national treasure, and not just because of his long resumé of virtuoso performances or his role in popularizing the violin through his 44 albums and major media appearances. He’s also an expert on the history and construction of the violin, earning an appointment as the country’s official forensic expert on stringed instruments. Joining him on tour is acclaimed Czech pianist Vaclav Macha. (AK) 2p and 7p, $10-$12, 702455-7340

{ 11| 2 1

Finnish, him! The main event of the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s

“Cabrera Celebrates Sibelius” is, of course, Sibelius, with a performance of his vibrant, charged Symphony No. 1. But there’s also some local talent on tap: The philharmonic will also perform the world premiere of “Desert Flight,” composed by principal trombonist Nathan Tanuouye — yes, the same guy blowing the roof off the Palms every Monday night in Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns. (AK) 7:30p, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, $26-$96,

{ 12| 05

Beckin’ call In 2012, musical artist Beck released the album Song Reader. Except it wasn’t an album. It was a book of sheet music for 20 songs — and a challenge and invitation to musicians everywhere: How would you perform these songs? Local experimental music collective Space Karate is taking Beck up on the offer, building a concert out of performing Song Reader. With a name like Space Karate, expect some fun and funky interpretive jiu jitsu — especially with a lineup that includes that four voices, basses, drums, guitars, banjos, clarinet, keyboards, accordion and, of course, ukulele. (AK) 7p, Winchester Cultural Center, $10-$12, 702-455-7340

S e p t. 25 -2 7

music is beautiful Musical omnivores will love this year’s Life Is Beautful lineup, which includes many a musical icon (Stevie Wonder) and retro-hip fave (Duran Duran). But scroll down the roster for some new sounds, such as the clockwork, syncopated arena rock of Night Terrors of 1927, the tense, sinuous power pop of Meg Myers, Against Me’s raw and ragged post-punk, or Run the Jewels’ arch hip-hop rife with sociopolitical crit. (AK) $115-$2,495, Downtown Las Vegas, lifeisbeautiful. com

Poncho Sanchez

i sense a theme

Las Vegas is a musical crossroads, as demonstrated by these three performances — among others — that feature traditional Latin styles melded with other influences both near and far.

11/ 2 7-2 8

10/ 0 9

10/ 2 5

Poncho Sanchez


Trio Camino

Poncho Sanchez grew up in L.A., where cultural currents crossed, clashed and blended. That explains his eclectic, celebratory brand of salsa that mixes Latin jazz, bebop, swing and soul. (AK) 7p Nov. 27, 6p and 8:30p Nov. 28, Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, $37-$59

Mariachi: It’s not just great music to bwomp in your face at a Mexican restaurant. It’s also educational, teaching discipline, responsibility and the power of a wellplaced trumpet fanfare. Kids in the school district’s mariachi program show their loco chops in ¡Viva el Mariachi! (AK) 7p, Clark County Library, free,

Talk about range: Classical guitar threesome Trio Camino performs songs from Greece to Latin America, including work by Mexico’s Julio César Oliva, Greece’s Manos Hatzidakis and more. (AK) 2p, Clark County Library Main Theater, free,

business of pretty dancing.

{ 09| 1 0 through 10| 03

(HK) 5 and 8p, Onyx Theater, 953-16B E. Sahara Ave., $20,

Younger, hungrier … and they can sing!

{ 09| 1 2

Dia des los vivos

If any camp classic was begging to be made into a Vegas musical, Showgirls is it. The 1995 so-terrible-it’s-wonderful movie has beget Showgirls the Musical, sure to feature abundant locals-only winks and nods on the dirty

D e se rt C o mpan i o n

Contrary to popular belief, Mexican Independence Day is September 16 (not May 5). Celebrate this year by watching Ballet Folklorico Martha Luevanos,



Fall culture Guide

the original Mexican troupe, perform dazzling traditional dances from the Tarahumara Native Aztec people and Michoacan region. (HK) 6 p.m., Winchester Cultural Center, $7, 702-455-7340

{ 10| 1 0

Princess, bright and dark Will dashing Siegfried

release beautiful Odette from the curse put on her by evil Von Rothbart? Or will the princess be damned to life as a swan, forever under the sorcerer’s spell? Find out in the Russian Grand Ballet’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s classic, Swan Lake. (HK) 7p,

O c t. 22-25

heard is the word You think your schedule is full? Troy Heard, the creative whiz behind Onyx Theatre and Table 8 Productions, has 11 full-length plays to produce between now and May besides directing weekly presentations of sitcom parody Full House: The Very Special Episodes. Table 8 wraps up its 2015 season with Miss Margarida’s Way at the Smith Center Oct. 2225, overlapping Onyx’s season. It’s the first time in 10 years that the Onyx has a full calendar, including comedy, drama, musical and scifi pieces. (HK)

Water by the Spoonful

i sense a theme

Henderson Pavilion, $10 and up, 702-267-4849

Two productions this season feature plays that have won the Pulitzer Prize for their bold exploration of relationships that cross race and class divisions.

09/ 1 1 -2 7

09/ 1 8 -2 7

Clybourne Park

Water by the Spoonful

Bruce Norris’s Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatic comedy comes to town at yet another moment when Americans can use a reminder of race’s role in the country’s development. The first act, set in 1959, has a black family moving into a white neighborhood; the second, 50 years later, shows gentrifying whites moving back in. (HK) 2 and 8 p.m., Las Vegas Little Theatre main stage, $21-$24, lvlt. org

{ 10| 1 1 &1 8

Toe jam Seven times, Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil have fused their respective forms into an acroballetic feast for the eyes and ears. For the eighth time, this year, the companies have created A Choreographer’s Showcase of completely new acts.

Two networks intersect inthis 2011 play: an online community for drug addicts and a traditional family. At the center is Elliott Ortiz, returning from Iraq to his Philly neighborhood broken in body and spirit. Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes won a Pulitzer Prize for this meditation on human connections. Nevada Conservatory Theatre. (HK) 2 and 8 p.m., UNLV Black Box Theatre, $16.50, nct/r

(HK) 1p, Mystère Theatre, Treasure Island Hotel & Casino, $25 and $45,

{ 10| 1 5 -3 1

Monster moll In She Kills Monsters, playwright Qui Nguyen doesn’t just pull back the curtain on the world of fantasy role-playing games; he brings it to life on stage through the story of Agnes Evans, who discovers her recently deceased teen sister’s

Dungeons & Dragons notebook. (HK) 5p and 8p, Onyx Theatre, $20,

{ 10| 1 5 -1 1/01

the tinker calls Given the experimental mandate of theater company A Public Fit, not to mention the title of this show (A Summons From the Tinker to Assemble the Membership in Secret at the Usual Place), not to mention its source material (a trial scene in the 1931 thriller M), this full production ought to make for a wild evening. (SD) 8p, tickets and location TBA,

{ 11| 0 6 -2 2

Changing face What happens when an Asian-American playwright, who’s been a vocal critic of casting white actors to play Asian characters, accidentally casts a white actor to play an Asian character in one of his own plays? In David Henry Hwang’s semi-autobiographical play Yellow Face, the director covers it up by insisting that the actor’s ancestry as a Jew from Siberia qualifies him. (HK) 2p and 8p, Las Vegas Little Theatre Black Box, $10-$15,

{ 11| 07- 0 8 11 13

Pitching a Fitz

A quartet of dances pay homage to Ella Fitzgerald in The Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater’s Simply Ella, a one-night-only performance that includes Alvin Ailey’s “Night Creatures” and “Feeling Good” with live singing by Clint Holmes and Reva Rice. (HK) 7:30 p.m., The Smith Center, $35-$125,

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide

Tchaikovsky, Rodgers and Gershwin walk into a bar… To the live accompaniment of the Las Vegas Philharmonic orchestra, Nevada Ballet Theatre presents a triptych of George Balanchine’s bestknown works. A Balanchine Celebration begins with the

acclaimed Russian choreographer’s first American ballet, Serenade, set to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C. Then, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue switches gears to Broadway composer Richard Rodgers, who included this Balanchine ballet in the musical comedy On Your Toes, which he created with Lorenz Hart. The finale cracks open the American Songbook with an energetic and uplifting dance tribute to George Gershwin. (HK) 7:30p and 2p, The Smith Center, $29 and up,

{ 11| 1 3 -2 2

The dissident is here For its season opener, Sin City Opera presents Gian Carlo Menotti’s first full-length opera, The Consul. The tragic story of a woman trying to leave an unidentified totalitarian country to join her fugitive husband won Menotti the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for music. (HK) 2p and 7p, Winchester Cultural Center, $15,




Teya Urena D anc e r

Selected by Jabbawockeez performer Perris Aquino, Ones to Watch 2014

On a Friday afternoon in August, 17-year-old Teya Urena pranced in slow motion across the open wooden dance floor of a mirrored studio on South Rainbow, dragging one foot behind her and flourishing one arm in front with each step. Fancy walking, to the untrained eye. Meanwhile, her ballroom dance coach Mariusz Zakrzewski, leading the movements a few feet in front of her and to the left, pointed to

11| 1 9 through 12| 1 3

different parts of his body and shouted technical observations about counter-oppo-

Remote control

sition between hip and shoulder rotation, the use of abdominal and lat muscles. After a few trips across the room like this, a line of perspiration appeared down the back of Urena’s grey tank top. “The audience likes to see light, easy, like nothing,” Zakrzewski says, accentuating his heavy Polish accent with a hand gesture every couple of words. “We know what we need to do to create the work, but that’s not what the audience wants to see.” Urena acknowledges the lesson with a serious nod. The Las Vegas Academy senior is well aware of the hard work required to create the illusion of floating on air. A dancer since the age of 3, she had hip surgery last July, at 16. As a child, she had to overcome shyness and fear to attend dance classes; to this day, she occasionally battles low self-esteem. “It’s definitely a journey,” Urena says. “I’m constantly learning and finding out new things about myself. … It helps me believe in myself more.” Others believe in her, too. Suggesting her for this story, Perris Aquino noted she’s already doing industry gigs for big-name companies. In July, she was invited to perform in a show by well-known L.A. choreographer Talia Favia at DancerPalooza. Urena returned to ballroom at Zakrzewski’s Elite Dance Studio after a yearlong break necessitated by her surgery. She’d discovered the style a few years earlier while taking time off from competitions in jazz/lyrical dancing and immediately took to it, winning in her age group at her first contest. A couple years ago, she danced in the Nutcracker, forcing herself to overcome her dislike of ballet. She also performed with a hip-hop crew Prodigy for a time. Dance, in all its forms, beckons. “But I do have a backup plan,” Urena says. “I want to go to school for nursing and be a pediatric nurse. So if I don’t pursue dance as a career, I can do that. And that would be really cool.” Heidi Kyser

Pulled not only from headlines, but also from local reality, the one-woman drama Grounded by George Brant follows a military fighter pilot who’s been reassigned to operate drones from an isolated facility outside Las Vegas. (HK) 2p and 8p, Art Square Theatre, $16-$20,

{ 12| 03 -1 3

The ghosts of Christmas presence Whatever cultural flavor you use to spice up your

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide

December, Charles Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge can enhance it. The holiday spirit prescribed in A Christmas Carol — giving, receiving, togetherness — adds a little heart-warmth to any celebration. (HK) 2p and

{ 09| 1 6

Writer reads acclaimed stories

8p, UNLV Judy Bayley Theatre, $27.50 and up,

An evening with writer Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of the new short story collection Night at the Fiestas. Lotsa resumé talking points here: publication in The New Yorker, one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35.” A talent to watch. Part of Black Mountain Institute’s Emerging Writers Series.

{ 12| 0 4 -1 3

Warts and all The City of Las Vegas’ culture department offers this all-ages family gem: A Year With Frog and Toad, the musical rendition of the Frog and Toad children’s story brought to life by The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre. (HK) 2p and 7p, Charleston Heights Arts Center, $5,

09 09

(SD) 7p, Rogers Literature & Law building, room 101, free,

Keep Austen weird!

Jane Austen’s been on a roll lately, particularly on film, where adaptations of her novels have appeared steadily in recent years. UNLV English prof Tim Erwin explores Austen’s cinematic triumph. Co-sponsored by The Jane Austen Society of North America, and now you know there is one. (SD) 7:30p, Barrick Museum auditorium, free, liberalarts.unlv. edu/forum

{ 09| 03

Vu Tran’s Las Vegas You’ve read the excerpt of the novel Dragonfish in Desert Companion (July). You’ve seen the early raves in the book press. Now you can watch author Vu Tran — a 2006 Ph.D graduate of UNLV — discuss his novel of Vegas’ Vietnamese underworld. Part of the Black Mountain Institute’s Alumni Reading Series. (SD) 7p, Rogers Literature & Law building, room 101, free,

09 12

Keeping the Beats

You don’t have to be starving hysterical naked, looking for an angry fix to enjoy the work of the Beat poets. You know, your Allen Ginsbergs, Diane DiPrimas and Gregory Corsos. In his Beat Poetics Workshop, Clark County Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson introduces you to the movement’s luminaries and their work. (Open poetry reading to follow.) (SD) Noon, Winchester Cultural Center, free, 702-455-8340

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



{ 09| 1 7 va r i o u s d at e s

words up There’s a new sheriff at Black Mountain Institute: Author Joshua Wolf Shenk takes over as the literary organization’s director. While he came aboard too late to have had much impact on this season’s events, the panels and readings indicate the solid foundation he’ll be able to build upon — from the return of a high-profile alum, novelist Vu Tran (Sept. 3) to a stellar lineup (journalist Timothy Egan, poet Gary Snyder, Sept. 24) who will convene to discuss the conflicted lands of the West. (SD)

Fall culture Guide

Page-turner and hooch Words and booze — they go together like F. Scott Fitzgerald and a hangover. In this installment of The Writer’s Block’s Bourbon Book Club, participants will discuss James Salter’s classic novel A Sport and a Pastime while tippling Bastille 1789, a blended French whiskey selected by The Whisky Attic. Registration required. (SD) 6p, 1020 Fremont, free,

{ 09| 2 2

Military bearing With the role of the military in American society a continually charged issue, it’s probably a good time to hear out R.M. Ryan — a Vietnam-era Army vet — as he reads from his memoir-novel about the military and culture, There’s a Man With a Gun Over There. (SD) 7:30p, Barrick Museum auditorium, free,

{ 09| 2 4

Contested land, spreading out so far and wide The question of who owns the land of the West, and under what conditions — who gets to use and profit from it — has been one of the defining issues of the region at least since it was settled. Developers, environmentalists, extractive industries, indigenous peoples and lately would-be Sagebrush rebellion-types have all clashed over this question. For This Land Is Your Land … Or is It?, Black Mountain Institute convenes an impressive panel to address it: Timothy Egan, New York Times columnist; iconic poet and writer about the land Gary Snyder; economist and writer Terry L. Anderson, advocate of free-market environmentalism; Virginia Scharff, director of the Center for the Southwest at the University of New Mexico. (SD) 7p, UNLV Student Union, free,

{ 09| 2 5 -2 7

Life is learningful This year, as before, the Life is Beautiful Festival Learning Series busts out a lineup of speakers. From Bill Nye, best known as a “science guy,” to Vampire Diaries actress Kat Graham; from transgender activist Geena Rocero to Priceline co-founder Jeff Hoffman to many more, the Learning Series will provide a brainy respite from all the devil music outside. (SD) See full schedule at

{ 09| 2 9

You can confiscate my Huckleberry

Finn when you pry it from my cold fingers To be honest, we think Band Books Week is hardly worth … what? It’s Banned Books Week? Well, okay! The centerpiece of BBW (September 27-October 3) is Uncensored Voices, a celebration of the trouble-making books that, dozens or hundreds of times a year, are targeted for removal from bookstores, libraries and schools. Review-Journal political columnist Steve Sebelius anchors a team of experts and educators who’ll discuss censorship in Nevada. Co-sponsored by the ACLU of Nevada and UNLV’s Curriculum Materials Library. (SD) 7p, Clark Coun-

Juan Felipe Herrera

i sense a theme

Poetry is more than prose with funny line breaks — it’s a compressed, allusive and often challenging way of getting across nuanced ideas.

ty Library, free,

{ 10| 07

A poet you should know

09/ 2 6

10/ 02

10/ 1 6

Juan Felipe Herrera

Olivia Clare

The Three Wise Guys

A reading by Juan Felipe Herrera, author of Senegal Taxi and many other collections, and America’s first Hispanic poet laureate. Introduced by Clark County poet laureate Bruce Isaacson. 7p, Nevada State College, free, 4557340 (SD)

Black Mountain Institute’s Emerging Writers Series brings to Las Vegas the young poet Lucas de Lima, a native of Brazil who lives in Pennsylvania, and whose 2014 poetry collection, Wet Lands, attracted plenty of acclaim. (SD) 7p, Rogers Literature & Law building, room 101, free,

{ 10| 0 9

Local man peddles book!

Schumacher’s last remaining clinically sane friend. You should attend his event anyway.

Local historian Geoff Schumacher, a frequent Desert Companion contributor, will read from and sign the newly revised, expanded and lemon-freshened edition of Sun, Sin and Suburbia: The History of Modern Las Vegas, a nearly comprehensive volume that still manages to overlook the historical contributions made by the writer of this blurb, also

D e se rt C o mpan i o n

This is writer Olivia Clare’s time: Her poetry collection The 26-Hour Day will be out shortly, and it was recently announced that prestigious Grove Atlantic will publish both her short story collection and novel. On this evening, she’ll read from her poetry. 7p, The Writer’s Block, free, (SD)

(SD) 7p, The Writer’s Block, free,

{ 10| 1 3

Beyond the binary As an issue, intersex



Fall culture Guide

Geoff Carter, Dayvid Figler and Gregory Crosby will sling some spoken-word and poetry as part of the Downtown Cultural Series, in conjunction with the Vegas Valley Book Festival. Noon, jury assembly room 333 of the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse, free, (SD)

diagnosis — that is, people who seem to exist between genders, or borrow elements from both — sits at an intersection of medicine, social issues, gender identity, activism and more. This is a talk by Georgiann Davis, an assistant sociology professor at UNLV, who literally wrote the book on the subject, Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis. (SD) 7:30p, Barrick Museum auditorium, free,

{ 10| 1 5

{ 10| 2 1

meltzertastic! Imagine the first lady strolling through the aromatic Rose Garden, only to find — a severed arm! Clutching something valuable! “OH, MY GOD,” she screams, “I MUST BE IN THE FIRST SCENE OF A BRAD MELTZER NOVEL!” The President’s Shadow, in fact, Meltzer’s newest. The best-selling author and TV personality (Brad Meltzer’s Lost History) opens the 2015 Vegas Valley Book Festival with this keynote address and book-signing. (SD) 7p, Clark County Library, free,

{ 10| 1 6

Brad Meltzer

Walter Kirn

See you in the funny pages The Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival is back with high-caliber guests such as Matt Wagner, Jen Van Meter, Carla Speed McNeil, Shannon Watters and more, more, more. There will be panel talks and workshops, vendors, live music and a movie screening. (SD)

Because they’re immersive and responsive to players, video games pose fundamental questions about the nature of narrative in the post-book age. That’s what Amy Green, an assistant professor in residence in UNLV’s English department, will address in her talk The Stories People Play. (SD) 7:30p,

9:30a-4:30p, Clark County Library, free,

Barrick Museum auditorium, free,

{ 11| 1 7

water in the desert

All about Kirk

The seventh consecutive volume of Las Vegas Writes — an annual anthology showcasing local writers as part of the Vegas Valley Book Festival — launches with a reading and party at The Writer’s Block. Contributors to the book, titled The Anarchy of Memories, include Doug Elfman, Jessie Humphries and Erica Vitale-Lazare. (SD) Time TBA,

10 17

Joysticks + extra lives = narrative?

{ 11| 0 5

Area writers compile book

The Writer’s Block, free,

{ 11| 07

What’s scarcer than water in Death Valley? Some

Few figures hog the foreground of modern Strip history like Kirk Kerkorian, the casino mogul — the MGM empire — movie tycoon and multibillionaire. In The Remarkable Life of Kirk Kerkorian, Father of the Las Vegas Megaresort, David Schwartz, director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, traces Kerkorian’s rise and rise. (SD) 7p, Clark County Library, free,

The day of the book

You want hot topics? This year’s Vegas Valley Book Festival has panels on the 2016 presidential campaign, race and ethnicity, and threats to free speech. You want brainy stuff? Try panels devoted to the classics, to poetics and the mechanics of a good sentence, to the modern evolution of the Southwest. You want murder and romance? Got that stuff in spades. Big names? Howzabout Column McCann, Brad Meltzer, Claire Vaye Watkins, Walter Kirn. Plus the usual extensive YA and kids offerings. More than 100 authors and events. (SD) 10a-6p, Historic Fifth Street School, free,

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide

of the very rare creatures that live in that harsh desert aquasystem. Those endangered species, and the stresses on water in the Southwest, are the subject of Christopher Norment’s book Relicts of a Beautiful Sea: Survival, Extinction, and Conservation in a Desert World, which he’ll talk about at the following time and place: (SD) 7p, The Writer’s Block, free,

{ 12| 01

The plane truth Thought experiment: Imagine the cities of the West without air travel. Instead of the polyglot cosmopolitan places that some of them are, they’d be provincial, culturally isolated. In “Pushing Boundaries,” Daniel

Bubb of UNLV’s Honors College talks about the impact, growth and challenges of the airline industry in serving the West. (SD) 7:30p, Barrick Museum auditorium, free,

Thursday, Springs Preserve, access to market is free,

three-day passes from $195-$595,

Also, Brandon Flowers will be there

Welcome to Sleigh Town! Patricia Cafferata, a state treasure, has come out with Christmas in Nevada, a book that gathers Yule stories from the Silver State, going back to 1858 — some stories by the well-known (Mark Twain, Gov. Richard Bryan), others by everyday Nevadans. She’ll read and sign. (SD) 7p, The Writer’s Block, free,


and stimulation, they release 90,000 good-time-seekers. It’s all too much, but in a good way. (SD) Downtown,

{ 09| 2 5 -2 7

{ 12| 0 4


Market at the Springs Preserve. There are also cooking demonstrations and things for kids to do. (SD) 10a-3p every

Come Life is Beautiful weekend, a vast tract of Downtown gets fenced into a giant urban-cultural game preserve of musicians (Stevie Wonder, Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar and dozens more), chefs (Jose Andreas, Donald Link, and many more), plus artists and speakers — and then into this throbbing miasma of entertainment

{ ongoing Thursdays

Faster, pussycat, kale, kale! Kick Salad Day up a notch with local and regional produce and herbs, plus baked goods and more, all available at the Green Chefs Farmers

Will Edwards

Cultural exchange This has been a year of renewed interest in and controversy about race and ethnicity — so it’s to be hoped that more people are spurred to explore heritages other than their own. Here’s an excellent chance: the annual Asian Heritage Celebration at Springs Preserve. Cultural demonstrations — lion dancing, Taiko drumming, live music — food concessions,

on Desert Inn and Valley View, The Will Edwards Show endures not just because of his persistence (or, as Edwards calls it, his “psychosis”). The program, a mix of breezy interviews, comedy sketches and live music (all fueled by the show’s signature drink, the Ghettotini — fruit juice and whatever alcohol is handy) has tapped deep roots in that segment of the Las Vegas entertainment scene — radio personalities, off-Strip magicians and hard-working local musicians — who might otherwise get lost in the neon shimmer. “That’s exactly the point of the show, to introduce Las Vegas to the best of Las Vegas,” says Edwards. “This is something locals can call their own.” “Will is unique because of his persistence and determination,” says filmmaker Kelly Schwarze, one of Desert Companion’s Ones to Watch in 2013. “He started his show when so many people turned him down. Now he’s become one of the city’s most known local personalities and has his hands in everything.” That’s not an overstatement. Edwards also hosts “We Funny,” a monthly comedy show at Inspire Theater, and helps write and produce a sitcom, Church Business. He’s getting ready to unveil a line of Ghettotini bottled cocktails. And this month, he’s launching SqWear by Will Edwards, a line of repurposed pocket squares. True to his DIY ethic, Edwards scours the thrift stores for stylish secondhand shirts, and cuts, sews and finishes the squares himself. “If I can leave New York City with a couple bags of clothes and build a humble brand here in Las Vegas, anyone can,” he says. “All you have to do is start.” Andrew Kiraly

En t e r ta i nm e n t impresario

Selected by filmmaker Kelly Schwarze, Ones to Watch 2013

Will Edwards just wanted to borrow some furniture to shoot the pilot for his ambitious late-night Vegas variety talk show: a host-worthy desk for him, a sofa for guests, maybe a table. High on upbeat, can-do mojo, he sauntered into a local furniture store and asked the owner. The owner said no, and then some. “He says, ‘Your show will never succeed! Nothing’s going to come of it. Nobody will watch it! Don’t even bother!’” Edwards recalls. “He actually yelled at me. I was devastated. It almost crushed my dreams.” It was Edwards’ first encounter with that strange, sour undercurrent of pessimism and pre-emptive schadenfreude that runs beneath the Vegas ethos of optimistic hustle. “I started thinking, should I even do this?” A few months later, in July 2011, the New York City transplant was hosting The Will Edwards Show twice a month to live audiences at Downtown’s Theatre 7. (He ultimately bought a desk from Target. “We accidentally built it backwards.”) Now taping its sixth season at the Indie Film Factory

D e se rt C o mpan i o n

{ 09| 2 6



Fall culture Guide

cooking demonstrations and more offer a glimpse into the richness of Asian culture. (SD) 10a-4p, $5 adults, $3 children,

{ 10| 03

guys in lederhosen playing accordions!



Ann-Marie Pereth

A r t i s t i c d i r e c t o r , A Publ i c F i t Selected by Sarah O’Connell, Ones to Watch 2014

“Well, hopefully there won’t be much confrontation,” Ann-Marie Pereth replied. What? No, no, I said “conversation.” She laughed. “I thought you said confrontation,” she said, raising her fists. “I was like, are we going to box?” Funny, she seemed up for it either way. Probably not surprising, as conversation and a sense of confrontation both underline her work as artistic director of the newish theater company A Public Fit. The work she selects for the company’s productions and readings tends toward the challenging, the edgy, the thematically knotty. Take Foxfinder, A Public Fit’s first full production, last November. It’s a dystopian fable set in England, where people have been told foxes cause most human ills: disease, bad weather, crop failure. It’s a stinging Kafkaesque critique of fundamentalist certainties. It was, she says, just the play’s second North American production. Or look at this entry from the upcoming season: A Summons From the Tinker to Assemble the Membership in Secret at the Usual Place. Written by local theater mainstay Joe Kucan, it’s extrapolated from a trial scene in Fritz Lang’s 1931 thriller M. “I choose material that is very contemporary, very relevant, very dynamic,” she said. A Public Fit was born in conversation. Just out of grad school at UNLV, where she studied directing, she watched as friends and fellow students left for New York and L.A., places where they might better earn livings as artists. “So we gathered them together and we read this play” — Adam Bock’s Thugs, described by the New York Times as “a delightfully paranoid little nightmare” — “and afterward we had this amazing discussion about the play. I’m like, wow, that was really great.” So she kept it going, regular readings of difficult plays, 15 people showing up for the first one, 20 for the second, 35 for the third. “Pretty soon we were busting out of the house.” A Public Fit’s shows, whether readings or full productions, are followed by what they call The Buzz, a kind of heightened audience-feedback sesh that drills into each play’s thematic complexities. “You know that feeling you get when you’ve just seen a really great piece of theater, and then you get in the car and talk about it on the way home ... and then you wake up the next morning and you’re like, wow ... That’s really what our mission is about, creating that unending conversation, keeping the themes of these plays in the minds of people.” (See Scott Dickensheets

D e se rt C o mpan i o n



Fall culture Guide

Oktoberfest is here! Finally, the excuse you’ve been waiting for all year to listen to oompah music! Also, drink beer and indulge in your wurst behavior. German food, beers, music, beers, Bavarian dancing, beers — and you can bring the kids because there will be activities for them, too. Presented by the city and the German-American Social Club of Nevada. (SD) 3-9p, Historic Fifth Street School, free admission,

{ 10| 03

Hop to it Enjoy wine and beer food-pairings for a good cause — the Springs Preserve’s yearly Grapes & Hops Festival benefits Par for the Cure, a breast-cancer research nonprofit. 21 and over, please. (SD) 5-9p, $40 advance, $50 at the gate,

{ 10| 0 6 -3 1

You had us at “haunted maze” Halloween is about more than preadolescent sugar consumption — at Springs Preserve’s Haunted Harvest, it’s about preadolescent sugar consumption and a haunted maze and carnival games and live entertainment. Plus, for a

small fee, a haunted train ride. (SD) October 16-18, 23-25, 30-31, 5-9p, $6,

{ 10| 2 9

Help a baby out Cuisine for a cause: Some 20-plus top Las Vegas chefs will bust out their signature dishes for the March of Dimes’ 18th annual Signature Chefs of Las Vegas fundraiser. Money raised goes to support premature babies — some 5,000 born in Nevada every year — and their families. (SD) 7p, Green Valley Ranch Resort, $250 for individual ticket,

{ 11| 01 - 02

Scythe’s the limit! Few things underline the joy of life like a good Mexican-style Day of the Dead festival, and the Winchester Cultural Center’s annual deathapalooza has become a community mainstay. This year marks the 15th annual edition of the festival, making it the quinceanera of the festival’s mascot, Elizadeath, a deceased Las Vegas showgirl. All the proper rituals — candles, food, artifacts of the deceased — are observed, while music, dance and poetry tell Death to shove off. (SD) 5-9p, free (some rides have fees), 702-455-7340

{ 11| 0 6 - 0 8

Don’t fear the reaper If Death didn’t have such lousy people skills, even he might show up for Día de Muertos at Springs Preserve. This Day of the Dead celebration will feature traditional Mexican food, mariachis and

other live entertainment, storytelling, sugar-skull painting and more. (SD) 4-9p, ad-

12 26

African celebration

Begun in 1966 and timed at year’s end to evoke ancient first-harvest celebrations in African communities, Kwanzaa has become a significant event in black cultural life. It’s an occasion to celebrate African values, culture and community. This year’s event will feature a speaker, performances, a marketplace and more. (SD) 11a-4p, West Las Vegas Arts Center and West Las Vegas Library, free,

vance tickets $8 adults, $5 children, $10 and $6 at the gate,

{ 11| 07

Actually, the gags are still great, but the mustache has gotta go In this era of computer-generated movie thrills, the style and methods of Charlie Chaplin — physical comedy and a meticulous control of props and stunts — might seem charmingly out-ofdate. But as you’ll see at Wine, Cheese, & Chaplin, an outdoor (lawn-seating alert: Bring low-backed chairs!) showing of some of his classic silents, great entertainment transcends era. Wine and cheese will be available for purchase. (SD) 7p, Lorenzi Park, free,

02 10-13

This’ll be the 12th year of the Dam Short Film Festival. Organizers plan to pack more than 100 films into four days, not to mention parties, filmmaker meetings and an awards gala. See website for times and ticket prices. (SD) Boulder Theatre (in Boulder City,


D e se rt C o mpan i o n

Alas, we only had 11 puns on the word “dam”



Fall culture Guide


laughing at death “Death,” Steve Jobs once said, “is the single best invention of life.” It clears out the old and nourishes the new. Of course, its finality is a downer. So you can fear it, or, as with the Mexican culture that brings us the Day of the Dead, you can celebrate all up in its face. Go ahead, eat Mexican food like there’s no tomorrow (because one day there won’t be), enjoy music and art ... send death a message. Events at Winchester Cultural Center (November 1-2) and Springs Preserve (November 6-8) can help. (SD)


september 2015



Noon, July 31 to noon, August 1

It’s an enjoyably daunting two-part challenge: One, how many facets of this valley can we capture in one 24-hour period? And, two, in how many vividly diverse ways? To that end, we dispatched writers, photographers, artists and even a poet to a different location every hour. What they brought back aggregates into a kaleidoscopic, 24-part look at the people, behaviors, public and private spaces and narratives large and small that make our city such a dynamic place.

september 2015




LUNCH TIME 12:04 p.m. It’s lunch hour in the employee dining room at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa. Here’s what three workers are eating today.


Marcelo Solorzano JR., engineer Taco meat, quesadillas, chicken, clam chowder Friday is taco day. Usually I keep away from the carbohydrates, but today it seemed like I should have carbohydrates. I had the taco meat, put some sour cream on there, and two quesadillas, and the clam chowder, and a piece of chicken. But I gotta have the clam chowder every Friday. I don’t eat it anywhere but here. It has a good taste to it. Well, this one does. It depends on the cook. But I don’t really know where it comes from.

september 2015

But it’s great that they offer anything you want. I am kind of on a diet, but I didn’t eat as much today that’s bad, that my wife won’t get mad at me about. I’m a big guy, and I don’t need to get any bigger. Ryan Larsen, security bike officer Chicken breast, steamed broccoli and a banana I have the same meal every day. Steamed broccoli is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. A cup usually has about 92 calories, 6 grams of protein. The chicken breast is lean meat. A cup is about 42 grams of protein.

It’s about 292 calories — good calories. It comes down to discipline and the sport I’m competing in, mixed martial arts. I try to think of the results I’m going to get sticking to this regimen. My stomach, oh yeah, it wants everything, and I’m so hungry sometimes. At the same time, I’m working really hard for the end results. The chicken and broccoli is just another step closer to my goal. Natasha Dennis, assistant housekeeper Nachos and quesadilla Nachos, that’s my go-to.

If there’s nothing that I’m feeling, that’s usually my goto. If I’m feeling a salad, then I’ll get a salad. Today I was feeling more carbs. Their eggrolls are really good. I’m pretty sure they’re just, like, frozen, but they’re really good. I was like, I hope it’s not eggrolls today because I’ll probably just get a whole bowl of them! I had a bowl for the nachos and a plate for the quesadillas because when I first went through, I was thinking I’d get some pico de gallo, some sour cream and get all fancy with my quesadilla, but then I was like, no, I’m hungry, screw that.

1 pm



2-3 pm // Ditch Friday, Palms Casino Resort

1:02 pm // Las Ventanas retirement community, Summerlin. Friday fitness hour with instructor Rich George 3 sets of 12 squats with balance pole 3 sets of 15 leg lifts with balance pole 3 sets of 15-second heel-totoe balance stances with balance pole 5 sets of 10 dumbbell curls 5 sets of 10 hammer curls 5 seated dumbbell “boxing” exercises: n

3 sets of 10 jabs


3 sets of 10 hooks


3 sets of 10 uppercuts


3 sets of 10 side-to-sides


3 sets of 10 crunches

4 sets of 10 standing kicks 6 sets of 15-second balance lunges 20 sitting toe-taps 20 sitting heel kicks, slow 20 sitting heel kicks, fast 3 sets of 30 sitting “tick tocks” with dumbbells 4 arm stretches 2 leg stretches 1 chest stretch



Las Ventanas residents in attendance

Las Ventanas resident working out in a smart navy blue summer pantsuit, also with bracelets, earrings and sheer kerchief


Las Ventanas resident wearing a shirt with a cartoon crab that reads, “Don’t bother me, I’m crabby”

­Andrew Kiraly


september 2015


At the indoor garden chapel of Vegas Weddings, Terry Eveland waits to be given in marriage by her father-in-law Richard Gatewood Sr.

CHAPEL OF LOVE 3-4 pm // Vegas Weddings Party 1 First Name: Richard Last Name: Gatewood Current Resident City: Bakersfield, CA Gender: Male Witnesses: Mom, Penny, and dad, Richard Sr. Motivation: “It’s the right thing to do.” Party 2 First Name: Terry Last Name: Eveland Current Resident City: Taft, CA Gender: Female By her side: 2-year-old son, Wyatt Why Vegas? “We’ve been married before, and we’ve never been to Vegas.”


september 2015

➥ It’s a sticky 105 degrees on the sidewalk of South Third Street between Lewis and Clark avenues, but the tall courthouse building that holds the county marriage bureau casts welcome shade on Charles Armstrong. The wedding promoter sits on a bench bird-dogging the corner where taxis drop off couples applying for licenses. He’ll try to get to them before one of his competitors. “Do you have a chapel picked out?” he’ll ask, and, if they say no, “Do you know what kind of ceremony you’d like?” If he can get to this question before the couple brushes him off and heads inside, it’s a cinch for his employer, Vegas Weddings, which offers just about every kind of ceremony imaginable within walking distance, right here on Third. At its newest location, down on Bonneville, there’s an upscale chapel, recep-

tion space and drive-through. A half-block north, there’s the socalled Marriage Commission, where 50 bucks and a half-hour gets you a civil ceremony. In the same building are Downtown Tux & Gown rental shop and a full-service photography office, where Vegas Weddings turns the bulk of its profit, according to marketing director Ann Parsons. And just past the marriage bureau is the original chapel location, or “indoor garden,” as Parsons calls it, where Richard Gatewood paces in a waiting room, chit-chatting with his parents. Down the hall, Gatewood’s bride-to-be sits cool as a cucumber at a vanity table in the bridal suite. On the table, nothing but her bouquet. She’s made-up, coiffed, dressed and ready to go — all the more beautiful for her composure. The family drove up Thursday night, and Vegas Wed-

dings took care of all the details, soup to nuts. Her only worry? “Making sure my family got here on time.” They did. Vegas Weddings receptionist Priscilla Goldberg ushered the group — along with the groom — into the small chapel room, whose trellises and silk vines are meant to evoke an English garden. Then Eveland was allowed to come out of hiding, take her father-in-law’s arm and walk up the aisle: 4 p.m., right on time. Back out on Third Street, Armstrong is finishing his shift. How many bookings today? Only four. A good day is seven or eight, for which he gets commission on top of his hourly wage. “Weddings are down lately,” he says. But there’s always tomorrow. Vegas Weddings is open seven days a week, ’til midnight on weekends. Heidi Kyser


4 pm THERMAL BREAKDOWN 4-5 pm // Sunset Park 102 Degrees Fahrenheit of official temperature

WHAT I’M THINKING NOW 5:24 pm // Stuck in traffic, Spaghetti Bowl

172 Degrees Fahrenheit actually

4 Picnics taking place anyway in various shady ramadas

24 Kids splashing in the new splash-pad playground 10 Adults monitoring the splash-pad playground 80 Percent of those adults getting a little wet, too

7 Pre-teens too awesome to play in water features; sitting on wall sweating

1 Number of lit cigarettes it takes to ruin the fresh air around the water playground

1 Number of stern adults it takes to get

2 Height, in inches, of the well-groomed,

teen to extinguish cigarette green lawn in the sprawling 185-acre park

4 People sleeping on blankets under trees

7 Pigeons cornering black-and-white Chihuahua tied under tree by sleeping owner

1 Passersby it takes to shoo pigeons away

12 Bike riders who cross the park in the hour

0 People running on the dirt exercise track 1 Dedicated Frisbee golfers playing nine holes

2: Little boys fighting over a swing in a mid-park playground

5 Swings available right there

3 Languages heard spoken within an hour: English, Spanish, Arabic

100s Fish in the murky pond

0 Fish the only fisherman has caught yet

40 Approximate number of ducks seen on and around pond 60 Percent increase in park tranquility added by ducks gliding on pond

5 Ducks chasing little girl in pink dress

0 Percent fear in little girl, who chased them back to the water

1 Mother doing yoga on grass, unfazed by duck fight, namaste

28 Fluid ounces of Gatorade consumed by this writer while walking the park for one hour


Stacy J. Willis

september 2015



The Estes family marks the end of the work week by firing up the grill and inviting the neighbors over to splash around.

ON THE WATERFRONT 6:18 pm // After-work backyard pool party


7 pm IN THE HIGH CHURCH OF DINO 7-8 pm // Italian American Club 6:59 I pass the two concrete sentinels guarding the front door of the Italian-American Social Club (“Social” is on the sign outside but is no longer used, at least on the restaurant side). I introduce myself to the managers, Jimmy and Benny, as a freelance writer with Desert Companion.


september 2015

They have never heard of Desert Companion. I explain the KNPR connection. They ask if I am doing a radio show. I grab a seat at the bar. 7:05 I order a Manhattan and take a slow look around. The customer base is well-dressed, skewing towards 60 and up, apparently well-heeled. They’re here for the food, they’re here for the music, they’re here because this is their regular haunt. 7:07 Drummer Michael Tramontana and pianist Michael Shane open with some jazzy mood music. I peruse the dinner specials.

7:11 Craig Canter, one of the club’s regular crooners, opens with “The Look of Love,” a great Bacharach-David song. He flirts with the attractive blonde with very big hair at the bar, two seats to my left.

7:30 Craig does a musical impersonation of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

7:15 I order the aglio y oglio, pasta with anchovies, pine nuts and lots and lots of garlic.

7:43 Craig does a Jerry Lewis impersonation.

7:19 Wow. Order up, with bread. Craig and the band are working through a swinged-up trio of Beatles songs. 7:25 I note the arty photos of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

7:35 Another attractive woman with even bigger blond hair joins her friend at the bar.

7:50 I’ve reached carbohydrate overload. No tiramisu for dessert. 7:55 Craig and the band launch their version of Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman,” which may be the most perfect pop song ever written. After the song, the trio takes a break. I tell Craig I appre-

ciated “Lineman,” and that I briefly considered running on stage to fill in the song’s “deetdeedeetdeedeedeetdeedeetdeet” telegraph parts. I decided not to, however, as it might interrupt the performance. Craig agrees that might have been a distraction. 8:00 The end of the hour in the High Church of Dino in Las Vegas, the Friday night Shabbat of the Synagogue of Sinatra. I thank Jimmy and Benny and make my way out, pausing to salute the Italian flag on the pole over the parking lot. ­Launce Rake


8 PM

joker in the beer line

the human comedy 9-9:40 pm // Flamingo and the Strip

8-9 pm // Danzig show at Brooklyn Bowl At 8 p.m., a witching hour spread its moody cloak over the Strip. A blue moon slowly rose behind a thick gauze of monsoon clouds. It was a bit like Halloween in July: The legendary metal horror show known as Danzig was in town. Droves of fans lined up for frontman Glenn Danzig’s phantasmagorical croons and soul-shaking screams. Droves, indeed. A buddy and I spent a half-hour in line waiting to get in, and it was a little surprising to get wanded and frisked, too. That doesn’t happen at the sedate indie-rock shows I usually attend. It looked like a full house. Another pal joked “the room is full of angry white men.” I certainly wouldn’t describe it as a multicultural event. Nevertheless, the audience seemed pretty mellow as the opening act — hardcore punk rockers Pennywise — started to thrash. There were, of course, a few super-wasted reelers and pre-puke stumblers who bumped across the main floor now and then. Including the joker who cut in front of me in the beer line and then tried to bait me with a one-sided staring contest. If you’re that thirsty, bro, step right up ... it’s all yours! Everyone was singing along in perfect harmony with Pennywise’s anthemic lyrics as 9 p.m. chimed in. I’d show you pictures, but there was a strict no-camera, “click and get bounced” rule. So not 2015. Oh, since this is metal, I’m going to break the time constraints and tell you that sometime after 11, Danzig performed a fun cover of Elvis Presley’s “Let Yourself Go.” Viva, Glenn, viva. Grëg Thïlmønt GARY MAR

september 2015


10 pm

11 PM


Anything you want

10-11 pm // Wetlands Park

11 pm-midnight // Fremont Street, heading east 11 Here we are all in one place — thousands of us, bobbing in the hot broth of a July night as the Fremont Street canopy flares to life. Instantly, the action shifts upward, the freak show on the ground slowing for the light show above; the plastic-bucket percussionists, the nearly naked photo girls, the painted human statues, even the Darth Vaders, all power down a bit as the speakers begin thundering “Livin’ on a Prayer” and a thousand cell cams rise devotionally. 11:05 “Can you be a little more generous?” grumps the woman wearing a cowboy hat and not much else. The Experience tonight is like a best-practices seminar in cultivating an urban id: a teeming, disorienting zone swirling with noises, smells, culture clashes, gawkers, hawkers and exotic megafauna galore: Contortion dancer! Dwarf Mr. T! Costumed and uncostumed characters who’ll pose in your selfie for tips! What, I wonder, should we make of all this? Cosplay capitalism invigorating the social commons? An existential tox-screen of the lowerish middle class? A useful pressure-relief nozzle for a society convulsed by issues of identity, direction and Trump? Or ... maybe I should give up thinking of this as a lens, and just grok the scene. So I want to ask Ms. Cowboy Hat how business is doing, and figure I should pay for her time. But when I tip my last $2 for 15 seconds of posing — which I thought sounded good on the open market of commodified semi-nudity — she exposes me as a cheapskate. Still, I persevere. Uh, how’s business tonight? “Pretty good,” she sighs, turning away while hundreds of adult humans around us bellow, “ooh, livin’ on a prayer …” HERNAN VALENCIA


september 2015

11:08 “Oh, I make pennies in Vegas

between the boulevard and Sixth; farther from the throbbing chakras of FSE, surprisingly few for a Friday night. Maybe a half-dozen wait for the Container Park’s mantis to exhale fire. 11:43 Overheard amid a bro-pack near the shuttered Western Hotel: “... but it smells like Vegas, and that’s all I want.” 11:44 Passing Tony Hsieh’s Airstream park. What’s that aroma drifting over the wall — campfire smoke?! Even in this bikram swelter, someone in there believes it’s necessary to stoke the hipster-campout vibe? Nearby, the ghost of the recently deceased Bunkhouse mopes unconsolably.


compared to Brooklyn or L.A.,” says Jesus, a drummer who performs on plastic buckets, for tips, despite malformed arms, essentially small hands emerging from his torso. Standing there, shirtless and sheened in perspiration, Jesus is philosophical about the penny-pinching Downtown crowd. “If you can’t pay, come talk to me — pay me with a hug!” He’s less sanguine about rules proposed by the city to tame this cultural DMZ by confining buskers to specific spots and times. “They’re trying to run us off,” he says. “I’m going to register, but if I can’t get a space, I guess I’ll go back to Brooklyn.” 11:24 Crossing Las Vegas Boulevard. Definite energy drop-off. People loiter

11:55 Now in a grittier, less surreal stretch of the urban id, we hold the door for a graybeard tottering into Family Foods Market. “I walk slower than you,” he jokes. Maybe not, oldtimer; by now I’m moving like a snail — slowly, leaving a trail. Inside, I hit the ATM and get in line to buy bottled water. Ahead, the old guy’s purchase rings up to two bucks and change. “You go ahead,” he tells us, smiling. He needs to work out some timeconsuming boozer’s math, X nickels + X dimes + X pennies = two cans of swill, long-divided by the years, multiplied by need. Here’s a guy livin’ on a prayer. So I answer it. From my change, I set three dollar bills on his coin pile: This is for you. Karmic balance restored, Cowboy Hat Lady! Anyway, I guess I’m with Sinatra — whatever gets you through, whether it’s busking your ass for tips, a campfire’s fragrance of community or just a few glugs of beer. Old fella rears up in happy surprise, and this time my generosity’s not in question. “Thanks!” he blurts. “If I ever see you again, I’ll buy you anything you want!” You know what? I believe he would. Scott Dickensheets



1 AM

stand. your. ground. 1-2 am // Omnia nightclub, Caesars Palace At the hands of resident DJ Jeff Retro I am directed to “Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat.” To boil existence down to a cycle of just three actions seems about right, considering my circumstances. I am captivated — well, captive: feet planted firmly at the center of the dance floor, torso swaying, not to Calvin Harris’ remix but in the wake of each partier who squeeeeeezes through the scrum to get a drink or find the restrooms — a vicious, perpetuating cycle, that. Standing beneath the club’s kinetic chandelier, my fellow swayers and I hold our ground, awaiting the changing of the guard. Opener Retro should give way to headliner Nicky Romero right about now. It’s so loud my nose hairs vibrate. So loud the bass sucks the air out of my lungs and pushes it back in, a kind of thrilling dance-floor CPR. It’s a scene

that has to have been inspired by the one in Independence Day when the alien-welcome party on the roof gets annihilated by the space ship above. Every moment beneath the chandelier is like that. I take an elbow to the clavicle, a breast, but still we stand, necks craned to see what will come next out of the bum of the 20,000-pound chandelier writhing above us. “We’re on Ecstasy!” a young Asian man screeches, the extent of our introduction. “And we’re from Chicago!” I nod. I can’t see this world through his eyes anymore; after 15 years of this, I know too much. But I can imagine that to him, this is Oz, he’s made it into the Emerald City and above us is the Wizard. Reporting for duty tonight in addition to myself and Chicago are a predictable mishmash

of archetypes: the Bros, the Bachelorettes, the Midwesterners, the Asian tourists and a handful of locals dragged from their Netflix by one of the aforementioned creeds. Finally something happens. Two dangling aerialists begin flipping … faster … faster … as the air again gets bass-sucked from my lungs. The chandelier plummets to within feet of our heads, spraying cryo fog, water and confetti. Tarred and colorfully feathered, we finally hear from Romero: “Hello. I’m Nicky Romero.” The crowd goes wild. A 250-pound ’roid rage in a tank top slams into me so hard I skid three feet. As Romero drops the beat, this man hurls himself in concentric circles to clear space for the clearly spaced-out woman he wears like a lobster bib. Wide berth secured, he rocks her gently and not even remotely in time with the music.

They continue to work on me, these strong men, and even some waify women with sharp nails. Like a river to stone; where there is weakness, they make gains. But when they come upon something more stubborn than themselves, they take a new direction. Canyons were carved this way, as is the path to the ladies room. The floor crunches with discarded drink glasses. “When I die,” Chicago says, “this is how I want to go! Wouldn’t that be amazing?” I was truly not prepared to discuss topics of such gravity. “Right?!” I shout, nodding in approval of his EDM-scored death fantasy. At 2 a.m., I use the bodies of two security guards as fulcrums to extricate myself just as Haley Williams sings: “Are you gonna stay the night?” Sorry, lady, an hour was plenty. Xania Woodman

september 2015


3 am

2 am

Occupancy 168* ‘Valerie Harper in Crisis’

2-3 am // UMC Adult Emergency Waiting Room

➥ A middle-aged woman holds back tears as she paces by the automatic doors outside of the Emergency Room. A portly man with a limp barrels out, coughing through a sanitary mask. “Oh man, it hurts,” he says, as he grasps his chest. He pulls the mask down, takes a few raspy breaths of warm night air and turns to head back inside. Four other people are waiting at 2:04 a.m., and yet, as a nurse calls someone in, she apologizes for the wait. There are more than 40 empty wooden chairs. One of two TVs plays Entertainment Tonight. What’s entertaining the people in UMC’s ER tonight? A feature about actress Valerie Harper’s struggle with cancer. “Valerie Harper in Crisis!” the cheery announcer says over a high-def image of a sickly Valerie Harper. A little boy, maybe 11, shakes his head. He’s wearing pink fuzzy earphones around his neck, and he’s there with an ailing, frail man in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank strapped to its back. Each time the man gets wheeled back, the boy silently goes with him. His high-tops squeak on the gray tile floor like it’s a basketball court. Each time they come back, the boy sits down, fiddles with his earphones, but never puts them on. People trickle in: A bone-thin elderly woman in a huge, floppy hat is wheeled in by paramedics who talk to her in gentle, hushed

tones, then leave her facing the TV, where Inside Edition bounces excitedly between Valerie Harper’s cancer and Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death. The coughing man coughs, wheezes, groans. So often, UMC ER’s overcrowding has been the subject of political debate. Thankfully, in this hour it is not so chaotic, and the staff handles the intake efficiently. But when sparseness replaces chaos, the gravity of bad things is perhaps louder, and a quiet loneliness pervades the room. A middle-aged woman comes out of the exam area holding a vomit bag and sits down to wait; a man carries his own IV bag back to a wooden chair to wait. The old woman slowly reaches up to remove her floppy hat, revealing long gray hair. She covers her drawn face in her hands, and stays that way. At 2:45 a.m., back outside, a young woman in shorts and a tank top sits on the cement barrier by the pick-up lane, waiting for a ride. She’s still covered in round, white electrode stickers from her EKG. They’re on her chest, arms and legs. She reads through her discharge papers in the quiet night. She doesn’t want to talk about it. At 3:01 a.m., she’s still there, now lying down atop the cement block, curled up in the fetal position, clutching her papers under chin, eyes closed, white electrodes glowing in the night, still waiting.

At 3 AM is it early or late? 13 in this N. Las Vegas Denny’s, two cops, empty high chairs, bits of pancake on the grimy rug Where fit-fare’s a loose promise evident in the dull smiles of the night shift, and cops stiffen as I approach I avoid the pungent stir fry and butter my pancakes, chug Coke from the iconic plastic glass; swayed by ceiling tinsel left over from Christmas, while a kid eyes the hooked toy grabber, set to drop mom’s quarters and snatch some joy I lean against the paint-worn sills, on an inside booth, and find solace in the unremarkable. My balding friend orders Bourbon Chicken Skillet, a chubby couple talks calling it a night, the Motown pleads, “Don’t Hang Up” while the couple decides if it’s too early, or too late Across from us, a long haul trucker downs his last cup of joe to wake himself for St. George or Salt Lake For me, my placemat touts a movie, says, “Every hero has a weakness” as the trucker eyes the waitress, a leggy, country redhead— then thinks of his kids, his Midwest wife, and counts the highway miles. Soon he rises to the rush hour dawn like the couple, the cops, and me, too And then there were 6. Lee Mallory

Stacy J. Willis

* 3-4 am // Denny’s on Losee Road

4 am everyday low prices 4-5 am // Walmart, Tropicana Sodium streetlight dark. Ambulances wail — and somewhere a car alarm goes hormonal. Metro officer smoking out front takes no notice. Inside, BIG sign: Together, we are reinventing retail and making a difference for millions. “You should see it when it rains — or when the

100 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 5

welfare checks get cashed.” Pallet loaders everywhere, night-fill in full swing. Employee to shopper ratio? Ten to one. Morale surprisingly high — maybe because everyone has a walkie-talkie. I ask an African-American gal if she minds working graveyard. “You hear any screaming kids?” A barcode scanner drops. So, who’s shopping at this witching hour? A large and incharge tattooed goth, with a cigarette-thin boyfriend, like an impulse-buy accessory … a Latino father and son, proudly flaunting the socks and sandals protocol … and a black giant still in his MGM security uniform, looking like a

sleepwalking WWF action figure. Checkout. Acne-scarred hombre at the register with a distinct Sonoran accent and characteractor-rich Mexican-Indian features. He gives me a big smile — a fine effort, given that his left eye is covered in surgical gauze. “Robbed?” I ask. “Just grab-and-runs. But last week a tweaker punched me for carding him. See a lot in this job. You know Tigger?” “Like in Winnie-the-Pooh?” “One winter night, this homeless comes up in a rotten Tigger costume. Stank.” “Sad.” “What was sad was that he had

this greasy handful of change and was trying to buy deodorant! Still had pride, man. Probably found the suit in a dumpster — only wearing it ’cause it was so cold. I let him slide. Get an Egg McMuffin.” “What brand did he choose?” “Old Spice.” “Hope the eye heals.” Out in the parking lot shadows, a skinny woman struggles with a bloated sack of cat food. I’d go help, but I’m afraid I’ll frighten her. Pulling out, my headlights hit the bars of a shopping cart cut loose from the herd. Car alarm still honking. Maybe mating season. Kris Saknussemm


5 am in transit 5-6 am // Bonneville Transit Center, downtown

6 am

7 AM

6-7 am // Red Rock National Conservation Area

7:17 am // Dotty’s, Charleston and Bruce

scramble This 6 a.m. version of my friends (left to right) Deb Meinberg, Tammy Pitts, Heather King and me (second from left) is fresh and ready to tackle Kraft Mountain in Calico Basin. We’re happily ignorant that one fateful decision — “Let’s scramble up the front rather than taking the trail around the back. It’ll be faster and more fun!” — will land us back here an hour and a half later than expected, exhausted, scratched up by desert brush and grateful to be back on horizontal ground. Adventure! Heidi Kyser

morning in america Door jangles open. Damp, tenuous aquarium light and murmurs of greeting, assent, resignation. Slow funk jam seeping through the speakers, the methodical taptaptap of fingers on machines. Beneath, the human silence is stubborn and hard, an old yellow fingernail. Timeless unSaturday morning. Shake it up, shake it down Move it in, move it round, disco lady ... (Please insert your card! PLAY 100 CREDITS) 78 credits. Man in paint-sprayed coveralls smoking meditatively, staring at an invisible horizon. Two old women

on robo-carts grooming wins and losses at glowing screens. Well, hey, sexy lady Said I like the way you do your thang Lord have mercy, girl You dance so fine and you’re right on time ... 45 credits. Door startles open with its choked

bells. Shadows in passage, silhouettes: Woman in black dress, black patent heels, pushing a walker. Man with a backpack bounding in, searching the room, restless, before a machine seizes his attention, draws him to it like a magnet. You’ve got me groovin’ I feel like movin’ You’ve got me movin’ Can’t sit still, I’m groovin’ ... 18 credits. One of the old women has rolled to the door to talk to a man. “You can’t take me to the bank?” Shake it up, shake it down Move it in, move it ’round, disco lady ...

4 credits. He considers her robo-cart, the complications of accommodation, movement and travel. Shakes his head and sips from a power-drink bottle to muffle his answer. You got me hypnotized, so mesmerized ... 0 credits. He tugs the door open and she rolls out alone, passing the window with its plastic plants, kitschy vases and dolls, languidly rolling with the current of the littered strip mall sidewalk. Move it in, move it out, Shove it in ’round about, disco lady ... (PLAY 100 CREDITS) Andrew Kiraly




8-9 am // Star Nursery, Eastern Avenue Day laborers Oscar Ortiz and, behind him, Joseph Dominguez, await work opportunities — which, on this quiet morning, are slow to materialize.


9 AM

staying busy 9:40 am // Salvation Army, Owens Avenue

➥ John Mears got up at three this morning. Had his coffee, read from the Book of Joshua in the Bible, read pages 86-88 of the Big Book of Alcoholic Anonymous (“Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? ... Were we kind and loving toward all?”), meditated in prayer and ate breakfast. On this Saturday morning, he’s “bebopping around,” the 53-year-old Navy veteran says. In other words, trying to stay busy — chit-chatting with Salvation Army staff,

102 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 5

running errands, doing laundry. Staying busy is important. Staying busy keeps his mind off vodka. Staying busy keeps him on the steps. “They say I’m always on the move, that I’ve got to slow my mind down.” He entered the Salvation Army’s Community Integration Program in April (his second time), a VA-funded initiative to help military vets beat alcoholism. “I’m really good at getting my ducks in a row really fast. But then the train always falls off the

track.” He used to work construction — he talks with pride about the boom-era projects he worked on — but his last gig before the bottle got

in the way again was being the guy on road projects who holds the SLOW sign. But things are looking up: supportive

family, clean since April. He’s not taking a chance with his second chance. Next week, he heads to an inpatient rehabilitation program in La Jolla. “I balked at it at first — it’s a hospital program. I’m so strong-willed, I don’t think I could handle being locked up for 14 hours a day. But something has to be done.” In his tidy simple room where morning light creeps in, he points out a picture of his grandson. Andrew Kiraly

10 AM

A WORLD UNTO ITSELF 10-10:45 am // Broadacres Swap Meet

11 am


11 am - noon // Coffee and rehearsal with Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes A croissant for him. A fruit-and-oat bar for her. Dark-roast coffee with half-and-half and artificial sweetener (“because they don’t have Stevia here”) for both. Jeans, loose tops, comfortable shoes. This is no red carpet, where most photos of Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes are shot. It’s Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at The District, where they can be found on weekend mornings when Kelly isn’t at Zumba and Clint’s usual brunch buddy, Antonio Fargas, is out of town. The pair chats amiably, finishing each other’s sentences, answering my always-wanted-to-know questions. (How do you avoid Vegas voice? “Drinking lots of water,” Clint says. What’s it like being married to another performer? “So much easier to understand each other,” Kelly says.) She watches his mouth as he talks. He lays a hand softly on her thigh. Then the caffeine kicks in and it’s time to get down to business. We pile into Clint’s Mercedes and head to his friend and musical director Jeff Neiman’s house. Neiman’s living room-turned-studio is where Clint does most of his arranging and rehearsing. The pair is developing their September show for the Cabaret Jazz club at The Smith Center. It will have a James Taylor theme. The clock strikes noon as Clint launches into his version of “Fire and Rain,” one of a handful of songs they have nailed down. There’s still plenty of time to work out the rest before the show starts. Heidi Kyser BRENT HOLMES


september 2015


More than an art festival. A cherished Summerlin fall tradition.

A FREE OUTDOOR FESTIVAL OCTOBER 10 - 11 | 10 AM - 5 PM | DOWNTOWN SUMMERLIN® View and purchase artwork from more than 100 celebrated artists and craftspeople Full entertainment line-up featuring fine arts, dance performances and live music Delicious food and beverage offerings from Downtown Summerlin restaurants and eateries

SUMMERLIN.COM ©2015 The Howard Hughes Corporation. All rights reserved.



DESTINATION: SOUTHERN UTAH Southern Utah is an ideal destination to get outside and enjoy the cool fall temperatures and experience live theater, musical performances, fine art and great food. ¶ With a gorgeous backdrop of changing autumn color against towering sandstone cliffs, the clean, crisp air of Southern Utah enhance the season’s events. ¶ A perfect fall road trip might include a visit to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Escalante Canyons Art Festival and the Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational. On the way, a stop in St. George and visit Downtown Farmers Market and the George Streetfest on Main, which features local artists, crafters, a variety of food and live music. Read on and plan your adventure.






zion national park


southwestern Utah, the Zion National Park Foundation hosts the seventh annual Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational, Nov. 2-8. The event celebrates the role art has played in the creation and history of the park by hosting 24 landscape fine artists for

106 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5


a week of painting and teaching in the park. Invited artists paint plein air throughout the week, as park visitors watch and interact. Daily painting demonstrations and evening lectures, as well as a paint-out and auction on Saturday, cap the week of celebration. More than 150 paintings go on sale at the Zion Human History Museum on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7 and 8. Event proceeds benefit Zion National Park. If you can only visit the park once this year, this is the ideal time to come. For more information visit or call 800-635-3959.Â


November 2–8, 2015

escalante, utah


• 24 Invited Artists • Free Daily Demonstrations • Peak Fall Colors in Zion • Free Evening Lectures • Paint Out & Sale • Public Wet Paint Exhibit & Sale • Proceeds Benefit Zion National Park

do something out of the

ordinary this September and escape to the Escalante Canyons Art Festival in Southern Utah. Enjoy the beauty of the high desert, while gathering with people who celebrate stunning landscapes through art. Our plein air event and art festival is off the beaten path in the clean, crisp air of Escalante, which is located along Scenic Byway 12 in the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument area. Now in its 12th year, Escalante Canyons Art Festival has something for artists and those who simply enjoy art. Make plans now! Artists from all walks of life come with a blank canvas to paint within a set time frame. They find endless places around the landscape to express their artistic talents in oils, acrylics, watercolors and, perhaps, pastels – whatever medium answers their muse. And behold, the celebration of place through art begins! Events include the plein air painting competition for registered artists; arts and crafts sales by vendors from near and far; a speaker series that includes writers, musicians, scientists and artists; exhibits of plein air works; workshops and demonstrations by artists and artisans; as well as live music and tasty food, of course. There’s something for everyone! Find out all about the Escalante Canyons Art Festival by visiting and save the dates. Experiences span from Sept. 18–27.

Plein Air Art

z i o n n at i o n a l pa r k

i n v i t a t i o n a l


zion national park foundation 1-800-635-3959





Escalante Canyons ART FESTIVAL * Everett Ruess Days * Millions of Acres of Inspiration: Escalante is located in the heart of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks.

Celebrating Twelve Years of Art Inspired by Place


18-27, 2015

Plein Air Workshops & Art Sale & Competition Demonstrations Auction Sept 18-24 Sept 19-26 Sept 25-26 Arts & Crafts Fair Sept 25-26

Live Entertainment Sept 25-26

Speaker Series Sept 21-26

cedar city, utah


ESCALANTE, Utah (five-hour drive from Vegas)

108 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5


a regional Tony Award-winning professional repertory theater company that produces Shakespeare, classical dramas, comedies and musicals. The 2015 fall season features three plays performed in rotation in the

state-of-the-art indoor Randall L. Jones Theatre: Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona, the British farce Charley’s Aunt and the literary classic Dracula. Performances run Sept. 11 through Oct. 31. During September and October, other related activities include free orientations and seminars, backstage tours and Repertory Magic, the fascinating and well-choreographed scene change process that occurs between matinee and evening shows. From June to September, The Greenshow, a free 30-minute frolic


of song, dance and laughter, and educational classes are held. Additionally, the New American Playwrights Project – when Festival actors and artists present the plays of visiting playwrights as staged readings, followed by an instructive discussion between the playwrights, actors and audience – takes place. During the off-season, between January and April, a popular Shakespearein-the-Schools tour travels throughout the Mountain West Region. Founded in 1961, the Utah Shakespeare Festival is one of the oldest and largest Shakespearean festivals in North America. The Festival is located in Cedar City, Utah, a community of approximately 28,000 people located within a day’s drive of seven national parks, numerous national and state forests, monuments and recreation areas. Via Interstate 15, the city is two-anda-half hours northeast of Las Vegas and three-and-a-half hours south of Salt Lake City. The Festival is located on and around the Southern Utah University campus. The Festival’s annual budget is more than $6 million, and it attracts nearly 130,000 guests each year. In August 2014, construction began on the new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts. This new complex will include the new Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre, the already existing Randall L. Jones Theatre, artistic and production facilities, rehearsal and storage spaces, and administrative offices, as well as the Southern Utah Museum of Art. It is anticipated that it will be completed in time for the Festival’s 2016 season. Tickets and more information can be obtained by calling (800) 752-9849 or by logging on to #utahshakes

Your Festival Experience

CHARLEY’SAUNT Our 2015 Season

Now playing through October 31

Charley’s Aunt • Dracula The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Professional Theatre at Southren Utah University CEDAR CIT Y

B A R D . O R G


# u t a h s h a k e s

8 0 0 - P L AY T I X Photos, top to bottom: Michael Doherty (left) and John Pribyl in Charley’s Aunt, 2015; and Brendan Marshall-Rashid (left), Michael Doherty, and Tasso Feldman in Charley’s Aunt, 2015. SEPTEMBER 2015




st. george, utah


the heart and soul of Southern Utah, and it features all the local flavors and history for which this region is famous. One of the seasonal favorites is the Downtown Farmers Market – currently in its eighth season – in Ancestor Square. Every Saturday morning from May through October, rain or shine, the community can find the best locally grown organic produce, artisanal foods, artists and craft vendors here from 8 a.m. to noon. The Downtown Farmers Market belongs to the Historic Downtown Business Merchants group (, which also has brought a new series of community events this summer called George Streetfest on Main - First Friday. Premiering on June 5 and continuing on the first Friday of each month for the rest of 2015, the community can enjoy the celebration, which features local artists, performers, crafters and vendors, as well as a variety of food, fun and shopping options, between 6 and 10 p.m.




Also on First Friday nights, the George Jazz Garden at Ancestor Square provides live jazz musicians along with wine, beer and tapas for adults. On Saturday mornings, in conjunction with the Downtown Farmers Market, Ancestor Square hosts performances by local musicians from 9:30 until noon and offers cooking lessons spotlighting some of the farm-fresh produce sold at the market each week. September brings cooler weather and even more outdoor music. The Southern Utah Songwriters Association hosts a series of events every Thursday evening in May and September in Historic Downtown St. George. You can find out more information at farmersmarketdowntown. com and, or, sign up for the weekly newsletter by emailing You also can check out market updates and other event information on either the Farmers Market or Downtown St. George Facebook pages.


st. george, utah


This philosophy is what Chef Randall Richards from The Painted Pony lives by. The Pony’s seasonal menus accentuate locally grown produce; all-natural, free-range, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and chicken; sustainably harvested fish; and the belief that real food is the centerpiece of artistic expression. Making everything on the menu from scratch, including the chicken, veal and beef

broth for the soups and sauces, allows the flavors of the dish to be the highlight of the menu. “Locally harvested, ingredient-driven food and attentive service are the things that set us apart from other restaurants,”Richards said. “We have an incredibly loyal staff, many of whom have worked with us for over a decade. We are like a family, and when you dine with us, you feel cared for.”

with late summer and early fall

comes the best time of year for fresh garden harvests, and The Painted Pony Restaurant is known for its organic, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes. The restaurant’s owners have a 1-acre garden in Dammeron Valley, located just 15 miles north of St. George, Utah, that offers the perfect growing climate for its homegrown tomatoes. During the past 10-plus years, The Pony has become famous for its mouth-watering harvest, and its most popular dish is the organic heirloom tomato salad. So simple yet so delicious, the salad is composed of thick slices of tomatoes layered between mozzarella cheese, which is topped with a balsamic gelee and a shallot vinaigrette, then served with house-made focaccia. These delicious tomatoes are featured throughout the menu this time of year, in everything from the BLT lunch special, to the tomato sauce for the pesto stuffed chicken. And, yes, the basil for the pesto comes from the same garden.  “Make food simple and let things taste of what they are” said Maurice Edmond Sailland, better known by his pen name, Curnonsky, who was nicknamed the Prince of Gastronomy for his celebrated writings on the topic during the 20th century in France.




JULY 3, 2015 – JANUARY 10, 2016

Tickets and information 702.693.7871




Pablo Picasso, Woman with a Chignon and a Yellow Hat, Oil on Canvas, June 1962, 36 x 28 ¾”, © Estate of Pablo Picasso, Paris/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

s p e c i a l a dv e r t i s i n g s e c t i o n

museums, exhibits+Festivals

Explore your city, clockwise from left: The Neon Museum, DISCOVERY Children's Museum and the National Atomic Testing Museum

Museums and Galleries and Fun. Oh, My!

cultural family fun in las vegas From exploring the area’s pop culture history, to viewing fine art, to partaking in exciting, fun-filled family events, Las Vegas is home to a plethora of activities that’ll delight kids and adults alike. Brighten your day with an enlightening trek through the city’s world-famous vintage neon signage that once graced some of Vegas’ biggest hotels and casinos, wedding chapels and more, at The Neon Museum. Have a blast at the National Atomic Testing Museum, while learning about the nuclear bomb, Atomic Age and the powerful effects

they had on the world. Stroll through an intimate world of fine art at the Bellagio Gallery, featuring extended exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and other masterpieces by some of the world’s most renowned and influential artists, such as Picasso, da Vinci and Monet. Celebrate your kid’s big day with a trip to the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, where the Birthday Experience provides loads of fun and excitement, and a truly wonderful and memorable time. Whatever you do ... enjoy all Vegas has to offer!



s p e c i a l a dv e r t i s i n g s e c t i o n

museums, exhibits+Festivals

FALLOUT SHELTER Not to be missed!

The National Atomic Testing Museum tells the story of the Nevada Test Site and America’s Nuclear programs that were tested right here in Las Vegas’s back yard. Get the inside story and facts that chronicles the geo-political struggle of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Follow the progression from the first tests to present day. Experience an atomic explosion in the Ground Zero Theater, view the timeline of our country’s popular culture, and interact with hands-on exhibit displays. Area 51 Myth or Reality Exhibit is to be experienced – America’s most secret military installation is now revealed! Please allow at least 1 ½ hours to view both the Museum and the Area 51 Myth or Reality Exhibit The National Atomic Testing Museum is one of only 37 congressionally recognized National Museums, And is a Smithsonian affiliate. Don’t miss out! The Area 51 exhibit is being re-classified. The count down to the end ends November 1st, 2015.

755 East Flamingo Road Las Vegas, NV 89119 Phone 702-794-5151 Fax 702-794-5155



What’s in the National Atomic Testing Museum? See for Yourself ... It’s the Bomb! only at the national atomic

Testing Museum, located in the heart of Las Vegas, can you push the button to start a simulated nuclear test in a replica of the Nevada Test Site’s Control Point. You can also take a trip to view a unique pieces of Nevada history that is rarely taught in school. Not so long ago, more than 100 atmospheric atomic mushroom clouds lit up the skies near Las Vegas, while atomic tourists drank cocktails on casino roofs and watched in amazement. Now you can see for yourself the history that helped double the population of Las Vegas in the 1950s. From yearbooks to an atomic energy lab for children, you can witness

the significance that the atomic bomb had on the pop culture of the world. The NATM hosts the only display of the “Most Secret Place in America,” Area 51, in the Myth or Reality exhibition. The presentation has been visited by people from around the world. Authors, lecturers, engineers, military experts and scientists all have come to contribute and take part in live events at the museum. However, the Area 51 Myth or Reality exhibit is scheduled to leave the building for reclassification soon; your last opportunity to view this one-of-a-kind display is Nov. 1. If you’re looking for an explosive experience that’s quite a blast, make your way to the NATM. The Smithsonian affiliate, which is one of 37 congressionally designated national museums in the U.S., is located at 755 E. Flamingo Road. For more information, call the museum at 702-794-5151.

s p e c i a l a dv e r t i s i n g s e c t i o n

Put a Little Spark in Your Day! Enjoy an Enlightening Experience at The Neon Museum the neon museum is dedicated to

collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. Last year the museum welcomed more than 75,000 visitors, and its education and public engagement program continues to grow. The museum encompasses the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, a visitors center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery, where weddings, educational programming and special events are held. Its PRISM “Times of the Signs” lecture series presented by CenturyLink has recently featured panel discussions on motel court architecture, as well as the singular artistry of the handpainted sign. The museum’s annual Boneyard Bash takes place this year with a “Haunted Fairytale” theme on Friday, Oct. 30. The Neon Museum, located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. N., presents guided tours seven days a week.

Whoever dreamed up this candy-colored alternate universe knew what they were doing. There’s no other place like it. Anywhere. Well, not on this planet anyway. Come feel the glow.




s p e c i a l a dv e r t i s i n g s e c t i o n

museums, exhibits+ Festivals

Birthday Parties are a Piece of Cake at DISCOVERY Children's Museum D IS C O V ER Y C h i l d r e n ’ s Museum birthday celebrations are extra special and extra easy. That’s because they make sure every birthday includes fun-filled, unforgettable experiences. The Birthday Experience room plus museum play equals the best birthday ever! The museum is the perfect setting for a fun and memorable birthday for your child. Every Birthday

Experience includes all-access to the museum’s nine galleries packed with extraordinary hands-on adventures, as well as package amenities that include Freed’s Bakery birthday cake with candles, ice cream cups and drinks, a special T-shirt for your birthday child, party favors, a 30-minute facilitated activity, streaming birthday music, a customized birthday child video tribute, plus much more. And, best of all, complete setup and cleanup is handled by the museum staff. For DISCOVERY Children’s Museum Birthday Experience pricing and reservations, call 702-382-KIDS (5437).

Girls blink more often than boys.




are proud to sponsor

A Free Outdoor Festival Featuring Arts, Entertainment & Culinary Creations October 10 - 11 | Downtown Summerlin® | 10 am - 5 pm

More than 100 artists and craftspeople from around the country ® Delicious food and beverage from Downtown Summerlin restaurants and eateries

Performances by Clint Holmes, ABSINTHE’s tap-dancing duo Sean and John, The Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre, a special appearance by performers from Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil and much more… Special Thanks to Saturday Emcees: Desert Companion’s Andrew Kiraly and KNPR’s State of Nevada’s Host Dave Becker






ResiDenTiAL AnD COmmeRCiAL AiR COnDiTiOning AnD HeATing


d Maintenance d Service d repairS

d new inStallation CALL us TODAY (702) 420-3723

BMW Motorrad USA

Motorcycles since 1923


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

6675 South Tenaya Way • m118 M e d i c a l P R O F ILE S


e k ta



your Arts+Entertainment calendar for September

16 Brent Sommerhauser Barrick Museum

The thoughtful and chance-taking artist — “he has designed a machine that spins pencil stubs against paper inside a sealed chamber,” the museum reminds us — talks with Barrick staffers about his process. 6p, free,

16 Russell Peters The Pearl at the Palms

Summer’s over, pal. We’re heaving into the dank gullet of autumn. You need a laugh. Here’s your guy. 8p, $49-$99,



Body Awareness

The Misunderstood Legend of the Las Vegas Moulin Rouge

Inspire Theater

A staged reading by the theater company A Public Fit. Annie Baker’s play is set during Body Awareness Week at a Vermont College. Comedy and serious issues ensue, or, as the New York Times reviewer put it, “its quiet rewards steal up on you …” 7:30p, free,

18 Joan Jett & the Blackhearts Hard Rock Hotel

You love rock ’n’ roll, and ex-Runaway Joan Jett has been supplying plenty of it for most of her life. Break out the leather and go. 8p, $39.50-$150,

West Charleston Library

Filmmakers Stan Armstrong and Gary Lipsman celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic, history-making hotel with a film screening and Q&A session. 2p, free,

September 2015






SEPT. 8, 2P

SEPT. 18, 7:30P


Bountalo (Black Scorpion), led by

With a career spanning the ‘50s to

A project of the World Monuments

kora player Toumany Kouyate with

today, few have had such an impact

Fund, the exhibit consists of large-scale

guitarist King Ibu, celebrate African

on popular culture as Anka. He and

photographs by Andrew Moore and

roots with the Las Vegas Senegalese

his mighty band will be performing

interpretative panels with case studies

Association and plenty of authentic

his greatest hits. $29-$149. Reynolds

exploring the role designers play in

food. Toumany is one of the world’s

Hall at The Smith Center, thesmith

preserving modern landmarks. Free for

foremost players of the kora, or Af-

members or with paid general admit-

rican harp, and has played in Cirque

tance. Big Springs Gallery at Springs

du Soleil’s “O” since it opened in 1998.



$15. Winchester Cultural Center,

SEPT. 19, 2P

Foster combines his jazz organ with


These large-scale drawings by Domenic Cretara and Christopher Troutman

Jake Langley on guitar and Jess


Gopen behind the drums. $10 in advance, $12 on concert day. Winchester Cultural Center, clarkcounty

are narratives of their personal ex-

SEPT. 9, 7P

ploration of environment and family.

An eclectic evening of jazz, all ar-

Free. Charleston Heights Art Center,

ranged and composed by students.

800 S. Brush St., 702-229-1012

Free. Main Theater at Clark County

SEPT. 19, 7P


Bill Fayne’s tribute to Stephen Sond-


SONDHEIM CELEBRATION heim, the most prolific composer



and lyricist of contemporary musi-

Artist Greg Allred’s sculptures in-

SEPT. 9, 7P

cal theater. Fayne has put together

corporate common objects made of

Metropolitan Opera baritone Daniel

the highlights of Sondheim’s best

steel in relationships which are not

Sutin performs in an evening of arias

work along with a sensational cast.

usually associated with one anoth-

and ensembles from megahits Aida,

$20. Starbright Theatre at Sun City

er. The sculptures are colored using

La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto and


various types of paint, charcoal and

more. He’ll be joined by local talents


oil pastels. Free. Second floor of the

from Opera Las Vegas’ Youth Artists.

Las Vegas City Hall Chamber Gallery,

$49-$89. Cabaret Jazz at The Smith

495 S. Main St., 702-229-1012





The brilliant fingerstyle guitarist comes to us straight from Nashville, playing in the style of Merle, Travis,

SEPT. 11-12, 8:30P; SEPT. 13, 2P

Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. He plays

SEPT. 1 & 8, 8P

Multiple award-winning entertainer

country music, bluegrass, folk, jazz,

A Vegas standard who brings back

Clint Holmes takes on the catalog

pop and classical. $10 in advance, $12

that Rat Pack glamour, Moreno will

of James Taylor favorites. $37-$46.

on concert day. Winchester Cultural

share the music that inspired him the

Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center,


most. $25-35. Cabaret Jazz at The

Smith Center,



September 2015




“There was a time on the Strip when murder settled bets, blackmail evened the odds and revenge was the payout. This is the story of the good old days.” – from the 1995 movie poster

New temporary display on the FIFA scandal Secrecy


Breakdown of the corruption plaguing FIFA, the organization that runs international soccer. Free with admission and Free for Museum Members

JOHN ALITE: INSIDE THE GOTTI CRIME FAMILY September 10, 7 p.m. Author Talk

Hear Alite, mobster turned government witness, share stories from his often-violent past as Mob enforcer for the Gotti crime family or as he calls them “Mafia misfits.” Free with admission and Free for Museum Members


September 23, 7 p.m. Courtroom Conversations Cybercrime

Human Trafficking

November 7, 7 p.m. Courtroom Conversations

You’ve seen the movie. Now learn the truth behind the characters and events portrayed in this awardwinning Martin Scorsese film in honor of its 20th anniversary. $25 with 10% discount for Museum Members The Mob Museum is a world-class destination in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to the thrilling story of organized crime and law enforcement. True stories of Mob history are brought to life in a bold and contemporary style via engaging exhibits, high-tech theater presentations and more than 885 artifacts, the largest collection of Mob and related law enforcement memorabilia under one roof.

Identity Theft

It’s not John Gotti’s Mob any more. $25 with 10% discount for Museum Members

Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang, bootleggers and hijackers from the 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Detroit News.

Made possible by a grant from Nevada Humanities Steps from Fremont Street | Downtown Las Vegas | 300 Stewart Ave | 702.229.2734


hits to perform, so he’s decided to do

R&B singer and songwriter will use

them all. $39-$49. Cabaret Jazz at The

her smooth and smoky voice to

Smith Center,

create a night to remember. $39-$69.

SEPT. 25, 8P

OCT. 3, 3P & 7P

Known as a magical trumpeter, com-

Ann Hampton Callaway is one of the

poser and conductor, Perrico brings his

world’s finest jazz voices. She and

newest musical creation along with an

her amazing band will perform her

all-star band to perform your pop fa-

world-renowned solo album in its en-

SEPT. 12, 6:30-11P

vorites. $20-$30. Cabaret Jazz at The

tirety. $39-$59. Cabaret Jazz at The

Dance the night away at this

Smith Center,

Smith Center,

1950s-theme event for folks 50+! $10.

Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center,




The Center, 401 S. Maryland Park-



SEPT 26, 7P

Think Simon and Garfunkel meets The

The Melanie Spector Trio brings a

Andrew Sisters. Their melodic chem-

OCT. 11 & 18, 1P

fresh sound of acoustic folk, rock and

istry and clever lyrics make them a

Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du

country music which is comfortable

group you’ll remember. Lawn seating,

Soleil present this showcase of amaz-

like a well-worn easy chair and at the

bring low-back chairs or blankets.

ing talent and original new works.

same time energetic and heartfelt. This

Free. Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza

Watch as two of the city’s most excit-

nostalgic musical journey from the ’60s

in Lorenzi Park,

ing performance companies combine

OCT. 10, 7P

to the present, with captivating vocals



their dynamic artistry to bring you

and amazing harmonies, is sure to be a


an experience like no other. $25-$45.

memorable experience. $12. Starbright

OCT. 11, 2P

Mystère Theatre at Treasure Island

Theatre at Sun City Summerlin, sunci-

A traditional British-style ensemble

Hotel & Casino,

made up of local talent, both amateur and professional. Be prepared to


hear many styles of music from The Beatles to marches by Sousa. Free.


SEPT. 26, 7P

Main Theater at Clark County Library,


Combining ethereal vocals with the

The Las Vegas comedy show featur-

rock and pop sound of bands like

ing both short- and long-form improv

Radiohead, Beck and The Beatles,


from some of the valley’s most

this multiple award-winning band is

OCT. 14 & NOV. 4, 7P

experienced improv actors. Wine and

worth a listen. Lawn seating; please

The cream of the crop from the col-

concessions available. Come at 6p for

bring low-back chairs and blankets.

lege’s world-renowned jazz program

drop-in class with Paul Mattingly. $10

Free. Huntridge Circle Park, 1251 S.

will perform various styles of jazz.

show, $15 for both drop-in and show.

Maryland Parkway,

Free. Main Theater at Clark County

Baobab Stage Theatre, 6587 Las


Vegas Blvd. S.,

OCT. 2, 7P



Mark OToole’s only challenge was de-

OCT. 15-16, 7P


ciding which of Barry Manilow’s many

This acclaimed American soul and

You never know who you’ll see, but




September 2015

October 15-17, 2015

Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St. and Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Rd.

The 14th annual Vegas Valley Book Festival is free and open to the public, with over 120 authors and 50 events, including author readings, spoken word, book signings, workshops and book vendors.








Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times  best-selling author of The President’s Shadow, The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate and six other best-selling history and political thrillers. Meltzer is the host of Brad Meltzer’s Lost History.

Colum McCann received

Jon Scieszka is a children’s

Kelly Jones is on the 2015 top ten books to read for summer with her first and only book, Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer. She grew up in California’s Bay Area and currently lives

Claire Vaye Watkins,

author best known for his books The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and, most recently, for the Frank Einstein series for middle-grade readers. He is the founder of Guys Read, a web-based literacy program .

Mac Barnett, co-author of the New York Times  best-selling series The Terrible Two, also wrote  Extra Yarn, which won a 2013 Caldecott Honor, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole and Battle Bunny, written with Jon Scieszka. He also writes the Brixton Brothers  series of mystery novels.

Jory John is the author

the National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin. He is the author of six novels, including the recent Transatlantic and two story collections. Born in Ireland, McCann’s work has been published in more than 35 languages.

of picture books Goodnight Already!, All My Friends are Dead and the forthcoming  I Will Chomp You! He spent six years as programs director at 826 Valencia, in San Francisco. Jory is also the editor of Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids’ Letters to President Obama.

For more details on the Festival locations and schedule please visit or

near Seattle.

one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35,” is the author of Battleborn which won the Story Prize, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. 

Boulder City hospital Foundation Presents the 53rd Annual


-4 OCTOBER 3 m :00 p 9:00 am - 5

benefitiing Boulder City hospital

THE GUIDE you know you will always enjoy some great long- and short-form improv. Come at 6:30 for a donation-suggested drop-in class focusing on musical

ity. NV Boulder C

comedy, stay for the fun and games. $10. The Sci-Fi Center,

Hundreds of Fine Art, Fine Craft and Traditional Craft Artists!

5077 S. Arville St.,




Named the Best Comedy Show in

For more information maps and directions,

Vegas by Desert Companion, improv

please visit:

geniuses Paul Mattingly and Matt

or call: 702-293-0214

Donnelly will lead you to laughter and

“We’re All in this Together” – by Fea

tured Artist: Rob

ert Marble – Boo

th # 202

beyond. Free, pay what you desire in the buckets at the end of the show. Inside Art Square, 1025 S. First St.,


Sketches, standup and improv – oh, my! All things comedy and unexpected happen every week in this variety show. Talent from all over the valley pools here, so come prepared to laugh. $10. Onyx Theatre,


Good question. Join Sun City Community Theater Club for the answer as it presents the latest musical comedy on late-in-life love and mixed feelings from family members. $8. Starbright Theatre at Sun City Summerlin, starbrighttheatre

september 19, 2015 9:30 a.m. at Star NurSery Fun with fall planting! Join us as horticulturist expert norm schilling shares his tips on seasonal gardening, yard care and how to prune like a pro. more information at Star NurSery SouthweSt LocatioN 9480 W. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89147


September 2015


Join in on some swift, original humor for a good cause! This month’s LVIP show benefits Helping Hands of Vegas Valley,

La Belle Époque

September 16 • 7:30 p.m $25

Pacifica Quartet

October 22 • 7:30 p.m. $30

National Circus & Acrobats

of the People's Republic of China October 2 • 8 p.m. $70 - $50 - $35 - $20


October 24 • 8 p.m. $70 - $50 - $35 - $20

Carlos Barbosa-Lima & Larry Del Casale

Rockapella's Holiday Concert


$70 - $50 - $35 - $20

November 21 • 8 p.m.

December 5 • 8 p.m.

For a complete listing of this season’s events, visit us online at or call (702) 895-ARTS (2787).

4 0 Ye a r s o f t h e A r t s i n L a s Ve g a s 2014 – 2015 season



grandma will enjoy. $10 at the door or

OCT. 3, 9A-4P

A cultural festival to celebrate German

bring a can of tuna for free admission.

Offering multiple services and

traditions with traditional dress, food,

American Heritage Academy, 6126 S.

companies that gear toward the

dance and beer. There will be several

Sandhill Road,

50+ crowd, there will be more than

children’s activities and games, too.

30 speakers presenting on various

Free. Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S.


topics. Free food, parking and en-

Fourth St.,

OCT. 2-11, THU-SAT 8P; SUN 2P

which offers free assistive services to senior citizens. Family-friendly fun even

tertainment. Free. Cashman Center,

In Shakespeare’s beloved romantic comedy, a lovers’ trap is set for sworn bachelor Benedick and Beatrice, his



Sample fine wines and a unique selec-


tion of beers and food from some of

is in the making. $8-$10. Judy Bayley

SEPT. 18, 7P

to HaleAmanO perform live reggae. A

Theatre at UNLV,

Join the parade on the 18th and enjoy

fabulous event benefitting Par for the

the festival through the weekend.

Cure, a non-profit organization raising


Begin with the pre-show at the Main

funds for breast cancer research. $41-

Stage, then the parade starts at W.

$100; designated drivers, $26. Springs

Charleston Blvd. and heads north along


OCT. 16-17, 7P

4th Street. Free.

favorite verbal sparring partner. The gloves are off and a comic love story

This all-Spanish language comedy brings the fairytale classic into the 21st Century with its technological


Vegas’ finest restaurants while listening


This is a women-only fitness festival

trappings and cultural references.

SEPT. 20, 10A

that contains both cycling and running

$10-$12. Winchester Cultural Center,

More than 150 antique, classic and

events. For cycling you can choose 30,

custom cars, motorcycles and hot

60 or 100 miles. For running you can

rods will be on display. There will also

choose 5 km, 10 km or a half mara-

be food vendors, music and artists,

thon. A portion of your registration fee

making this a full-on festival! Free.

goes to charities that provide real-hair


Mountain View Community Center

wigs to women in cancer treatments.

parking lot located on Dell Webb

Hair donations are also collected at

SEPT. 30, 7:30P

Blvd., 702-966-1410

the event. $44.99-$99.99. 11945 W.


Charleston Blvd., ending at Red Rock

Lezlie C. Cross, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre, UNLV, focuses on Beatrice from Much Ado About Noth-


OCT. 3, 3-9P



ing. A beloved Shakespearean heroine

SEPT. 26, 11A-3P

known for being witty and loving, Be-

Delicious food, a children’s lantern

atrice has become a reflection of mod-

parade, traditional music and dance


ern womanhood. This lecture focuses on

performances and so much more make

SEPT. 1-13

the actresses who played Beatrice in the

this a day of fun for the whole family!

Supporters will design, construct

late nineteenth century and will demon-

Kids can enjoy free crafts, face painting

and decorate pet houses and play-

strate how this role brought female stars

and Lil’ Gliding Paws rides. Adults can

houses. The houses will be placed on

— and feminism — to American stages.

enjoy authentic Asian beers. $4 kids

display and raffled off during a VIP

Free. Barrick Museum Auditorium, liber-

ages 5-12 (under 5 are free), $6 adults.

party. Each ticket will help HomeAid

Springs Preserve,

Southern Nevada continue its mission

September 2015


Channel 10

of building new lives for Southern Nevada’s homeless through housing and community outreach. $5 raffle tickets. Town Square Park,


Fabulous door prizes, lots of freebies, networking and a good workout — all to benefit 21st Century C.A.R.E. Foundation and UsToo Las Vegas Prostate

Ken Burns’ The Civil War

Cancer Support Group. The first 200 participants to register will receive an event T-shirt. $25 online, $30 at the

Monday – Friday, September 7-11 at 9 p.m.

event. UNLV Track & Field Stadium,


Las Vegas’ only brain and hearthealthy epicurean event! Benefitting the American Heart and Stroke Associations and Teens Cook with Heart program. There will be live music, wine tastings and more than 25 local restaurants offering healthy dishes. $75 individuals, $140-$1,000 parties. World Market Center, Worldview on

Walt Disney: American Experience

Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise, Series Premiere

Monday – Tuesday, September 14-15 at 9 p.m.

Tuesday, September 22 at 8 p.m.

Cook’s Country From America’s Test Kitchen

Indian Summers On Masterpiece, Series Premiere

16, Building B,


This event is to create awareness about pregnancy loss and infant mortality in our community and meet families who have come together in memory of their angel babies. Proceeds benefit Jalen’s Gift, dedicated to assisting families grieving from the devastating effects of infant loss.

Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. in September.

Sunday, September 27 at 9 p.m.

Free, register for team fundraising. Sunset Park, Area G, | 3050 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121 • 702-799-1010 September 2015


END NOTE money, it’s a gas

bucks wild With artisanal cash trending, local artists imagine an LV currency


n August, the New York Times reported on cities that’ve created their own money — “small-batch currencies designed by locals ...” Great idea! Now, it might seem as if Las Vegas already has its own bespoke financial system, a fluctuating mix of poker chips, comps and celebrity connections. But what if we were to make it more official — something you can fold into a money clip or a maitre d’s palm? We’d be the envy of the U.S. Treasury if we circulated (clockwise from top) the cheery bill designed by Maureen Adamo; Jw Caldwell’s devaluation-ready culture bucks; Matthew Couper’s social-commentary currency; Sean Jones’ entertaining tender; or Bobbie Ann Howell’s liquid cash. Spend it all in one place!

128 S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 5

Desert Companion - Sept 2015  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada

Desert Companion - Sept 2015  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada