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The new bozohemians The secret lives of Strip clowns after dark

Bread Actor Veterinarian Theater Bookstore Public Art Dessert Etsy Crafter Place To Eavesdrop local Produce COFFEE TEA PUB CRAWL For Visiting Friends Table Salsa Secret Strip Brunch Non-ethnic vegetarian food beer Menu Non-Chinatown foodie Crawl Restaurant Closest to John Curtas’s House Wine-tasting event Tapas Restaurant to splurge at once a year Vegan dish that even carnivores would enjoy Thai Restaurant band hike to thrill you new dance company Place to score style bargains Mall Tailor Place to take your relatives to prove we’ve got more than just gambling Place to take your kids and maintain your hipster dad cred Bike ride Cultural Support ORganization Unsung bureaucrat Historic Building Political activist Hangout Beat Reporter neighborhood building New architect to watch Facebook friend Voice of Reason Bread Actor Veterinarian Theater Bookstore Public Art Dessert Etsy Crafter Place To Eavesdrop local Produce COFFEE TEA PUB CRAWL For Visiting Friends Table Salsa NATIVES VS. Secret Strip Brunch Non-ethnic vegetarian food beer Menu NonChinatown foodie Crawl Restaurant Closest to John Curtas’s House Wine-tasting NEWBIes event Tapas Restaurant to splurge at once a year Vegan dish that even carnivores One category. would enjoy Thai Restaurant band hike to thrill you new dance company Place to Two Las Vegans. This time, it’s score style bargains Mall Tailor Place to take your relatives to prove we’ve got personal. more than just gambling Place to take your kids and maintain your hipster dad cred Bikeopinions ride Cultural Support ORganization Unsung bureaucrat Historic Building Expert on the city’s best Hangout Beat Reporter neighborhood building New architect to Political activist food • shops • watch Facebook friend Voice of ReasonBread Actor Veterinarian Theater Bookstore • art • people placesArt and more Public Dessert Etsy Crafter Place To Eavesdrop local Produce COFFEE TEA PUB CRAWL For Visiting Friends Table Salsa Secret Strip Brunch Non-ethnic vegetarian food beer Menu Non-Chinatown foodie Crawl Restaurant Closest to John Curtas’s House Wine-tasting event Tapas Restaurant to splurge at once a year Vegan dish that even carnivores would enjoy Thai Restaurant band hike to thrill you new dance company Place to score style bargains Mall Tailor Place to take your relatives to prove we’ve got more than just gambling Place to take your kids and maintain your hipster dad cred Bike ride Cultural Support ORganization Unsung bureaucrat Historic Building Political activist Hangout Beat Reporter neighborhood building New architect to watch Facebook friend Voice of ReasonBread Actor Veterinarian Theater Bookstore Public Art Dessert Etsy Crafter Place To Eavesdrop local Produce COFFEE TEA PUB CRAWL For Visiting Friends Table Salsa Secret Strip Brunch Nonethnic vegetarian food beer Menu Non-Chinatown foodie Crawl Restaurant Closest to John Curtas’s House Wine-tasting event Tapas Restaurant to splurge at once a of year Vegan dish that even carnivores would enjoy Thai Restaurant band hike to thrill you new dance company Place to score style bargains Mall Tailor Place to take your relatives to prove we’ve got more than just gambling Place to take your kids and maintain your hipster dad cred Bike ride Cultural Support ORganization Unsung bureaucrat Historic Building Political activist Hangout Beat Reporter F E B R U A R y 2 01 1


Shamelessly self-appointed


the city







Land Rover Las Vegas

5255 West Sahara Avenue


579.040 0


editor’s note

I, tourist

M Next Month in Desert Companion

Pretty on the inside (and outside): spring fashion and home design

My poor brother. He had barely stepped off the plane from Chicago, still shaking off jet lag, before the whirlwind began. His annual holiday visit had typically been a weeklong power-laze whose most strenuous activities were living-room wrestling with our twin nephews and staging pre-Christmas raids on mom’s traditional Hungarian pastries, maybe a face-to-face status update with a stray friend or two. This December’s visit, however, rapidly morphed into a dense, encyclopedic near-frenzy of drinking, eating, playing and gawking. My brother, a fellow bornand-raised Las Vegan, returned to his hometown as a tourist. And I was a tourist right by his side, experiencing both the new and old through fresh eyes (and stomachs and, yes, livers). We toasted at the Huntridge Tavern, my thuggy old downtown hideout finding new life as a bohemian haunt. We sampled the vertigo on offer at the Colorado River Bridge, one of Southern Nevada’s latest architectural triumphs. We shopped the Strip for grown-up-man clothes and tested our brotherly bonds in head-to-head matches at the Pinball Hall of Fame. (I also seem to recall us drinking the famously potent Mai Tais at Frankie’s, but need documentary evidence before I admit to anything I said or did. Allegedly.) Tourist/local, visitor/resident, newcomer/native — who cares? These terms are as passé as the simplistic view that Las Vegas is some Janus-

2 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1

faced duplex city cleanly divided between the Strip and the “real” Las Vegas, between the movie set we peddle to visitors and the real community we create. Truth is, there’s a lot of community and culture in that so-called movie set; and there’s a good dose of grand spectacle and pure fun in our workaday Vegas. In this restless city, we’re all tourists. No, no, no, not that kind of tourist. Not shambling fannypackers who sheepishly seek the familiar amid the new. I mean a more muscular definition of tourist: a connoisseur of the novel experience, an acolyte of surprise. Indeed, if Desert Companion’s inaugural Best of the City issue needed a motto, it would be something like this: Be a true local — by becoming a tourist. Confession time: I used to take a twisted secret pride in knowing Las Vegas — the bars, the art galleries, the sceney hangouts — and knowing all-too-well the familiar faces that frequented them. This pride entailed a sense of smug mastery, a smirk at the city’s inability to surprise me. It was a mean little shrivel-hearted feeling, and I’m glad to be rid of it. I have to credit the city with that: Over the last decade, a booming economy has fueled a cultural, commercial and artistic growth spurt whose energy we’re still reaping. Now we’re confronted by promise we can hardly keep up with — an upstart artist here, a new hangout there, another cultural kick-start or community endeavor bringing people

together. In our own hometown, we are tourists confirmed anew, fervent acolytes of surprise. Whether you’re a longtime Las Vegan or a newcomer, our Best of the City (page 35) is sure to surprise you — and maybe even cause some debates between you and your friends. That’s because it’s penned by avid newcomers who want to share their discoveries, and natives who boast beloved favorites they’ll defend to the hilt. Whether longtime Las Vegans or new locals, though, they’re all urban pioneers whose raves are sure to introduce to you something new — or reignite a spark with an old mainstay. My brother will likely be back in the spring. I’m already planning his next trip. Or, rather, our trip.

Andrew Kiraly Editor

Names Change BUT WONDERS

NEVER CEASE The Harrah's Foundation is now the Caesars Foundation. Since 2002, our Will to Do Wonders has led us to direct tens of millions of dollars in funding to noble causes that make life better for everyone: education, health care, social services for seniors, and programs that promote diversity and a sustainable environment.

Under our new name, that Will remains unshakable. For more information, go to

contents 09

desert companion magazine //



All Things to All People

So much depends on the little desert tortoise



The secrets to great date style this Valentine’s Day

21 Art

Celebrating Oldenburg’s “Flashlight” By Kirsten Swenson



King Ibu’s global music machine By Timothy Pratt





The city’s best theater troupe is edgy and intense — and on page 42.

features 35

Best of the City

Natives, newbies and shamelessly self-appointed experts share the best in food, shops, art, people and more

4 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1


From rock to theater to dance, your guide to culture



Seeking strings-attached hookup. PLS B REAL By Glenn Truitt


T h e at e r p h oto c o u r t e s y o f i n s u r g o ; to r to i s e © i s to c k p h oto . c o m /a b i s h o m e ; b l a z e r b y c h r i s to p h e r s m i t h ; 1 2 3 0 t r o u p e b y a a r o n m ay e s

The 1230 show takes clowning to mad new heights By T.R. Witcher

Send her a love letter.



publishe D B y nevada public radio

Mission statement

Desert Companion is the premier city magazine that celebrates the pursuits, passions and aspirations of Southern Nevadans. With award-winning lifestyle journalism and design, Desert Companion does more than inform and entertain. We spark dialogue, engage people and define the spirit of the Las Vegas Valley. Editorial & Art Andrew Kiraly Editor CHRISTOPHER SMITH Art Director Advertising CHRISTINE KIELY Corporate Support Manager laura alcaraz National Account Manager Sharon Clifton Senior Account Executive allen grant Senior Account Executive Boran Pan Account Executive Marketing Catherine Kim Marketing Manager Subscriptions Chris Bitonti Subscription Manager OnLine Danielle Branton Web Administrator

SENIOR STAFF Florence M.E. Rogers President / General Manager Melanie Cannon Director of Development Cynthia M. Dobek Director of Business, Finance & Human Resources Phil Burger Director of Broadcast Operations dave becker Director of Programming Adam Burke News Director Contributors Brian Paco Alvarez, Hal de Becker, Anthony Bondi, Becky Bosshart, John Curtas, Cybele, Scott Dickensheets, Sarah Flake, Steve Friess, Gina Gavan, Jim Gentleman, Maureen Gregory, Dorian Issock, Jarret Keene, Sara Kokernot, Heidi Kyser, Al Mancini, Juan Martinez, Monera Mason, Steven Mason, Aaron Mayes, David McKee, Aaron McKinney, Sara Nunn, Sabin Orr, Tara Pike, Max Plenke, Timothy Pratt, Brock Radke, Ryan Reason, James P. Reza, Eric Strain, Kirsten Swenson, Martin Treinen, Glenn Truitt, Ryan Weber, T.R. Witcher

Susan Brennan, vice chair NV Energy REED RADOSEVICH, Treasurer Northern Trust Bank Florence M.E. Rogers, Secretary Nevada Public Radio DIRECTORS shamoon ahmad, m.d., mba, facp Cynthia Alexander, Esq. Snell & Wilmer Louis Castle, Director Emeritus Patrick N. Chapin, Esq., Director Emeritus KIRK V. CLAUSEN Wells Fargo

nevada public radio COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD Mark ricciardi, esq. Chairman Fisher and Phillips David Cabral American Commonwealth Mortgage DENNIS COBB President, DCC Group Al Gibes Stephens Media Interactive Carolyn G. Goodman Meadows School Marilyn Gubler The Las Vegas Archive Kurtis Wade Johnson Precision Tune Autocare Megan Jones Friends for Harry Reid edmÉe s. marcek College of Southern Nevada Susan K. Moore Lieutenant Governor’s Office

sherri gilligan MGM Resorts International


jan L. jones Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Richard Plaster Signature Homes

Steve Parker UNLV

Chris Roman Entravision

To submit your organization’s cultural event listings for the Desert Companion March edition, send complete information to by Feb. 5. Feedback and story ideas are always welcome, too.

John R. Klai II Klai Juba Architects Lamar Marchese, President Emeritus

Kim Russell Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Office: (702) 258-9895 (outside Clark County 1-888-258-9895) Fax: (702) 258-5646 Advertising: Christine Kiely, (702) 258-9895; Subscriptions: Chris Bitonti, (702) 259-7810; KNPR’s “State of Nevada” call-in line: (702) 258-3552 Pledge: (702) 258-0505 (toll free 1-866-895-5677) Websites:,,

William mason Taylor International Corporation

CANDY SCHNEIDER Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Chris Murray Director Emeritus Avissa Corporation

Stephanie Smith

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 www.desertcompanion. com, or as part of Nevada Public Radio membership. It is also distributed free of charge at select locations in the Las Vegas Valley. All photographs, artwork and ad designs printed are the sole property of Desert Companion and may not be duplicated or reproduced without the express written permission of the publisher. The views of Desert Companion contributing writers are not necessarily the views of Desert Companion or Nevada Public Radio.

ISSN 2157-8389 (print) ISSN 2157-8397 (online) Follow us online:

6 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1

nevada public radio BOARD OF DIRECTORS Officers Elizabeth FRETWELL, Chair City of Las Vegas

Curtis L. Myles III Las Vegas Monorail

Bob Stoldal Sunbelt Communications Co.

Jerry Nadal Cirque du Soleil

kate turner whiteley Kirvin Doak Communications

Peter O’Neill R&R Partners

Brent Wright Wright Engineers

William J. “Bill” Noonan, Director Emeritus Boyd Gaming Corporation

bob gerst Boyd Gaming Corporation

MARK RICCiARDI, Esq., director emeritus Fisher & Phillips, LLP Mickey Roemer, Director Emeritus Roemer Gaming TIM WONG Arcata Associates




Questionable nicknames for spouses and significant others

This cute tortoise is also holding the ecosystem together.


My homunculus




The next time you buy

Li’l NSA Craigslist hookup






Affection recipient #3497EX9






Craig I mean Brad yes Brad sorry I mean Paul


O Timeless Krørgg, Eater of Worlds


© i S to c k p h oto . c o m /a b i s h o m e

Roomie (This is satire. To truly impress your beloved — with a date-night outfit that screams classic style — see page 18.)



Hear More

Score a rare book, save your library

That’s my house you’re messing with Cartoon turtle Mojave Max and his kangaroo rat sidekick have a hook-up in Washington: the Endangered Species Coalition. The league of conservation organizations says that Nevada’s Mojave and Great Basin deserts — home to desert tortoises, rodents and many other animals — are among the top 10 ecosystems in the United States whose endangered species need saving. Titled “It’s Getting Hot Out There,” the recent report singles out 10 U.S. regions with habitats of highly vulnerable species. And those species are worth saving not because they’re cute and fuzzy (which they are), but because they’re critical puzzle pieces in their own ecosystems, one of which is our own yard: Southwest Deserts. That’s Mojave and Great Basin deserts, in addition to the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. Together, they span Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico. “In terms of the diversity of the Southwest and the fact it’s being so hard-hit by climate change and will continue to be hard-hit by drought, it’s a hot spot for potential species extinction,” says Shaye Wolf of the Center for Biological Diversity. Wolf led the team that nominated Southwest Deserts for inclusion in the report. Nevada is home to a lot of the endangered or threatened species discussed in the report: desert tortoises, four species of pupfish and aquatic beetles, to name a few. The report also highlights the peril of springsnails, freshwater mollusks that live in both the Mojave and Great Basin and are essential to food production, water chemistry and nutrient cycling. What’s causing the downward slide of these species? Cattle grazing, dam building, drought, fires, invasive species, mining, off-road vehicles and urban sprawl. And all are compounded by global warming, the biggest threat of all. But the report also proposes some cures: establishing and extending refuges, reducing combustible, invasive plants and, of course, saving water. — Heidi Kyser

a used book on, you might be doing more than getting a deal. You might be helping to keep your local library branch open. In November, the Clark County Library District started selling select discarded, donated and duplicate books online, and aim to make about an extra $50,000 a year to fund library services such as classes and seminars. “As tax revenues go down, district core services are being curtailed, and essentially the (library) district is taking up the slack for essential services,” says Danielle continued on pg. 10

Buying tips for Strip megashops. Pet humor. Dining advice from well-fed pros. All at

“KNPR’s State of Nevada” explores how the Sierra Nevada red fox is making a comeback at

illustration by christopher smith

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 9

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continued from page 9



Hear More

A quiet walk, a lingering touch, a discussion of LEED certification ... romance is in the air at the Springs Preserve. C U L T U RE CRA W L

Geek love caption


Dinner and a movie will only take you so far on date night. Romance your squeeze with some more stimulating fare by monera mason

Once upon a time, before bar-hopping, before imbibing and ingesting various other substances to the point of hospitalization became au courant, culture was integral to romance, not just part of it. If culture is your own ecstasy, Vegas does not disappoint. Just in time for your annual homage to St. Valentine, here are some date-night options sure to stimulate your other organs. Century 16 Suncoast Theater. While breathing in secondhand smoke emitted by grandma in a sequined hat might not seem like a quiver from Cupid’s arrow, I assure you there’s more to be had at some of our locals casinos. For instance, Suncoast hosts the only CineArts theater in town, showing art films and independent movies whose “special effects” are things such as dramatic tension and character development. So dust off your copy of Male and Female and impress your cinephile with an indie movie date. 9090 Alta Drive, 636-7111, Bar+Bistro. Situated next to the Arts Factory, Bar+Bistro not only offers a hip dining experience in the heart of the 18b Arts District, but it also plays host to some great events. Fridays are the happening night, from people-watching and Latin/jazz/experimental/punk bands on First Friday to “Camp 107,” where diners can immerse themselves in a cult movie while noshing on salmon. Your hipster amour will appreciate the novelty of seeing Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the big screen. 107 E. Charleston Blvd. #155, 202-6060, Vosges Haut-Chocolat at Caesars Palace. Nothing says love like a chocolate-tasting, and there is no faster way to a man’s heart than bacon. Only at Vosges (pronounced like vogue) can you have both in one smashing truffle. Entrepreneur/founder Katrina Markoff is one of the most creative chocolatiers in the country, and Vegas is lucky enough to have one of her boutiques. Her truffles engage the senses, delight the palate and transcend the ordinary. After that, it’s up to you. Inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 836-9866, Springs Preserve. If your date has just moved here from San Francisco, Boulder, Madison or some other bastion of environmentalist fervor, you’re in luck at the Springs Preserve. Stroll amid eco-friendly buildings and native flora, all while learning about LEED certification and native wildlife. You can also enjoy cooking classes, attend lectures on the environment, visit art galleries, and watch eagles, hawks and owls in flight — no animatronics here. 333 South Valley View Blvd., 822-7700, Delgado Dance Studios. Nothing says self-confidence like the willingness to learn a few moves. So go live out your  “Dancing with the Stars”  fantasy with the passionate and talented instructors at Delgado, led by the eponymous husband and wife team of Dana and Tony. Both former professional dancers and winners of more than 20 nationwide titles in ballroom dance, they teach everything from waltz, tango and foxtrot to cha cha, bolero, salsa, swing, hustle and the latest rage, swishflipping (okay, we made that last one up). 4220 S. Grand Canyon Road, 465-5777,

Listen to authors and artists read from once-banned books on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at

10 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1


Milam, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District and Foundation development director. Last year, the district made about $190,000 selling books in its used bookstores. The foundation hopes to increase that revenue 25 percent by going online. That money is more than chump change. Among other things, it pays for youth, cultural and literacy programs, as well as the salary of the volunteer program coordinator. It’s a big step for a district that previously had little control over its book sales. An outside contractor sold discarded books online, but the district only received a percentage of sales and the volume wasn’t that high. Revenue from the 12 library bookstores also wasn’t always clear, Milam says, because accounts kept by the Friends of Southern Nevada Libraries, which ran the bookstores, were never audited. She described this relationship as “a little distressing,” which is why the district also took over the bookstores in the last fiscal year. “We could earn more money and that’s why we are getting more savvy,” she says. The district purchased two scanners that tell the online market price of a book based on its condition. One of the biggest finds so far: an 80-pound Leonardo da Vinci coffee-table art book, priced new at a whopping $1,400. The library put it on Amazon for $500. Don’t worry. No public literary treasures are being auctioned off in cyberspace. Milam insists that only duplicates, donations that don’t fit into the collection and unpopular books are weeded out to make room for new acquisitions. To book lovers, this means a fresh stock of titles they might not have found otherwise. — Becky Bosshart


Kelly Thomas-Boyers honors her son’s memory with a center for family grief counseling.


‘It can be life-affirming to speak the same language of loss’ The tragedy: Four years ago, Kelly Thomas-Boyers lost her 21-year-old son Adam, who died from injuries suffered in a car crash. A state legislative intern and student at University of Nevada, Reno, he’d been a car passenger for less than five minutes when the driver swerved to miss someone. Adam hadn’t fastened his seat belt. “I never dreamed he’d be in a car without wearing it,” she says. The mission: Two weeks after his death, Kelly was asked to testify in Carson City about state-mandated seat belt laws. “We’re losing too many young people, and it’s preventable.” In states where there’s a primaryenforcement seatbelt law, health costs are significantly reduced. Now she’s hoping to spare others the same grief over a preventable death. The reason she continues to advocate for a seat belt law is simple: She doesn’t want someone else to experience her pain. “I’ve always been a health advocate for health measures like exercise, nutrition. That’s what seatbelts are — a preventable health measure.” Grief isn’t preventable, but there are coping tools that can help. Sitting in a Reno Starbucks, ThomasBoyers found a brochure about a grief-counseling program for children. Concerned about how her younger son was handling the loss of his brother, she searched for a similar program in Vegas and found nothing. “My family and I could afford counseling. Not everyone can, especially in this economy.” She built the program herself, and it’s making a difference. It took two years of planning, but since September, Adam’s Place, a Grief Center for Children and Families (840 S. Rancho Drive,, has trained 30 facilitators and counseled 40 families. It helps when strangers speak the same language of loss. Families commit to three visits, after which they can continue to attend Adam’s Place for as long as they’re comfortable. “Sometimes it’s easier to discuss grieving with someone who’s not family,” says Thomas-Boyers. “If we can help children better cope with a negative situation, the loss of a parent or sibling, then we’ve served them.” —Jarret Keene

12 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1


Artist’s rendering. Card not available.

Your card gets you into whatever you’re into. Free with Museums on Us


Just show your Bank of America check, debit or ATM card to over 100 museums nationwide on the first weekend of every month for free admission to art, science, history . . . whatever it is you’re into. It’s on us.

Participating museums in Las Vegas: Springs Preserve, Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Lied Discovery Children’s Museum Visit to sign up for monthly email or text reminders.

Offer valid the first full weekend (Sat. and Sun.) of the month. Photo ID and any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. One free general admission limited to cardholder at participating institution. Excludes fundraising events, special exhibitions and ticketed shows. Not to be combined with other offers. © 2010 Bank of America Corporation. Member FDIC. AR101031 SPN-121-AD



The tastiest vices

Beckley boutique offers Lover dresses and Fallon tough-girl jewels.



Worldly possessions (and obsessions) In addition to being astonishingly shiny, the brand-new Cosmopolitan resort/hotel/multimillion-dollar den of iniquity offers an actually rare shopping experience for seasoned Las Vegans. Rather than building yet another shrine to designer egos, The Cosmopolitan is host to a series of multi-brand boutiques. These well-curated shops offer tightly edited selections of labels that can be hard to find even in the Strip’s most cavernous department stores. We’re the most excited about DNA2050, a high-end denim shop offering cult


Blinded by love

favorite lines such as PRPS, Edwin, and Stitch’s. Also exciting is Beckley, a women’s boutique that offers dresses from coveted Australian line Lover and tough-girl jewels from Fallon and Iosselliani. And don’t miss UK import AllSaints Spitalfields. This London institution has been keeping British women and men in their particular brand of wellmade, vaguely post-apocalyptic togs for ages, and with this location, the U.S. onslaught is on. Get into it before everyone else does. The Cosmopolitan, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S. — Sara Nunn

Do You Believe in Love First Sight? It’s not our question — that’s the name of this gift set. In the past, Buxom has reeled us in with their mini-plumping lip gloss sets, full of sparkle and tingles, and now

14 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1

they’ve once again piqued our predilection for miniature versions of things we like with this affordable sixpack of tote-able eyeliners. Perfect for travel, nights out dancing, or one-night stands (scandal!), the col-

Cosmopolitan (the drink, not the new resort) and keep warm at the same time with Februaryfriendly hot, sweet cocktails. Brew a cup of Republic of Tea’s seasonal Strawberry Chocolate Red Tea, a caffeinefree sweet treat that benefits equally from a dash of Kahlua or strawberry vodka (or both). If you’ve got something (or someone) to stay awake for, start instead with a base of Republic of Tea’s Double Dark Chocolate Maté or add half a bottle of Guayaki’s Organic Energy Shot in Chocolate Raspberry (you animal!). Then double up your dessert cocktails with dessert in the form of local bakery Red Velvet Cafe’s unbearably delicious signature vegan red velvet cake. All are available at local Whole Foods; vegan red velvet cake available at Red Velvet Café, 7875 W. Sahara Ave., 360-1972 — S.N.

Red Velvet Café’s vegan red velvet cake: Animalfree, deliciousness-fortified

ors range from disco-ready bright turquoise to eyebrightening pearly white. $20 at Sephora in the Venetian, Town Square, Meadows Mall or Miracle Mile shops in Planet Hollywood — S.N.

BECK L E Y BO U TI Q U E C o u r t e s y T h e C o s m o p o l i ta n o f L a s V e g a s ; R e d v e lv e t c a k e C o u r t e s y o f R e d V e lv e t C a f é

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N ews

Go ahead. Crawl into it. You know you want to.


Buy it use it break it fix it


Should we scold tourists for crawling on our Strip sculptures? No. Instead, let’s give them the interactive art they want by anthony bondi

You may have read accounts about tourists climbing over the six-foot-tall, castplastic high-heeled shoes on the second floor of The Cosmopolitan, posing and mugging inside the outsized footwear. It causes a lot of laughter, but also a little worry. After all, they’re formal sculpture — California artist Roark Gourley’s, to be exact. Should tourists really be touching them? Gourley’s sculptures are set adjacent to another sculpture designed to encourage play. It looks like an oversized steampunk periscope. It’s made of beautifully textured tin and steel, covered in knobs and dials. The periscope faces what looks like another element of the piece, a small column also studded with knobs and dials, about 40 feet down the hall from the periscope. Why is one element of the sculpture set so far away from the rest of it? On one of my recent trips there, a mom and dad with some kids peeked through the periscope’s eyepiece. At first glance, the view shows what looks like a grainy film loop of people walking, maybe a clip from a ’20s silent movie. “It’s here!” said one of the kids. The eye 16 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1

piece view showed a live scene from the hall where we stood — but not what was in front of the periscope. The four or five of us had to position ourselves carefully all around the hallway to locate what view of the hall was reflected in the eyepiece. The artwork had given us an excellent reason to say howdy to each other. Thanks to this art, some strangers had some social fun. That’s not the experience we expect to find in a typical art gallery. An art gallery is traditionally a contemplative space. The most universal art gallery rule is: Don’t touch. But we would have been deceived about the intent of the periscope had we not studied it from as close up as we could, instead of from a respectful distance. Casinos are designed to distract us from sober contemplation. Casinos are designed to make us feel literally playful. The design of a casino fails if it does not lead us to punch the bet bar on a slot machine or lay some chips on a table. Can it be a proper response to good art to want to climb on it? Can something be art if

the artist’s intent is to make us want to climb on it? Yes — and that’s what Strip art should be and should expect to become: suited for interaction, part of an environment engineered for hands-on play. Those tourists crawling on Gourley’s high-heel sculpture aren’t to be written off as rubes or philistines. They’re responding in a small way to an implicit invitation on which a billion dollars has been spent in the average new casino, suggesting this is precisely what they should do in a casino. The potential aesthetic sophistication of art that calls for such direct engagement is no less than that of traditional art. Such work is the focus of interest of the French art critic Nicolas Bourriard. In 1998, he described a new school of art, which he called Relational Aesthetics. Simply put, this form of art aims at creating an environment that gets people to do something together or talk to each other. I think Steve Wynn anticipated this notion sometime in the ’80s, in a speech in which he explained how he designed casinos. He said, “How do you create an intimate space for 10,000 people?” Who would argue common ground shared by both Steve Wynn and a French art critic? Bourriard critiques discrete pieces of art or performance. A website that starts social transactions and creates community can be contained in his art theory. Wynn’s palette is the entirety of a casino. Both of them suggest there is a form of art particularly appropriate for casinos. The Cosmopolitan’s Droog store, a Dutchdesign furniture outlet, has an odd location. Why is it set at the very front of the casino, where its windows face the sidewalk in front of the property? Square foot by square foot, frontage on the Strip has been, for a good while, the most expensive land on the planet. In the place of honor in front of the Droog store is a plain-looking steel bench, maybe 10 feet long. In a tray where the bench pad might be are a lot of marbles. The person sitting on the marbles inevitably slides — and whoever else is sitting on the bench will catch a bump. Designed by Nina Farkache, the piece is called the “Come a Little Bit Closer Bench.” Like the periscope, it’s designed to create a shared social experience between strangers by encouraging a form of physical play. It’s appropriate art for a casino, and it points the way to a kind of art whose ethos fits the sensibility of the Strip. When tourists sit on, crawl into, touch and play with our Strip art, they know what they’re doing. They’re anticipating the fun they’ll have later when they hit a slot machine. Las Vegas artist Anthony Bondi has been designing interactive pieces for Burning Man since 1996.


style Your haute date The secret to great date style: Tease the senses — then indulge them

[him] Men have it easy when it comes to date outfits, insofar as male sartorial standards have fallen so low that just showing up in something other than shorts will be considered progress, and that just going for something modest, classic and well-fitting will be considered dashing. But why stop there? Rely on texture and contrast. A good date outfit says two things. The first is, “I care enough about you to think about what I’m wearing.” The second is, “You’re the pretty one in this expedition.” You want to avoid flamboyance, but you also want to show that you care. So find yourself a pair of trim wool charcoal pants. Wear a good white shirt with a spread collar. Pair the white shirt with a slim solid burgundy tie. Here’s the part that will give you pause: wear a black or chocolate blazer. In velvet. If velvet feels like too much, a good alternative is an unstructured blazer in black coated selvedge. But velvet is appropriate as long as the outfit as a whole doesn’t overdo color or patterns. And see that top pocket on the jacket? It’s for a pocket square — a pink or rose one, in this case. Executed right, you’ll find yourself wearing a limited color palette (black/charcoal, rose/burgundy, white) but a decadent range of textures: cotton, wool, silk and velvet. Your date will, at various points, lean in to inspect and touch each of these fabrics, which is the whole point of wearing them. We wear clothes to eventually — if all goes well — take them off. — Juan Martinez

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[her] If there was ever a day to go all out for a date, it’s this one. After all, you’ve had years of insistence from Hallmark and Russell Stover that this is the grandest excuse to forget it’s the bleak middle of February and give yourself over to love, sweet love. If you’ve got a date that doesn’t involve a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and your BFF Carrie Bradshaw, consider yourself Hallmarked and attack V-Day with all the glamour you’ve got. How? Look to great sirens of the past for inspiration. If he hasn’t yet proposed, remind him that diamonds are a girl’s best friend and go full-on Marilyn Monroe: strapless satin gown, elbow-length gloves, fake fur stole, and voice in a husky purr (not all that hard to fake in cold season). Curl your hair up in gorgeous waves and accessorize with only costume jewelry, the better to remind him that you require the real thing — and promptly. If your husky purr is more of a rebel yell, stand out in a crowd of red and pink cupcakes and steal the style of Morticia Addams, matron saint of gothic glam. A floor-length black gown is guaranteed drama, whether your preferred fabric is flapperesque lace or pettable black velvet. Pair it with red lipstick and a cozy shawl (or a cape!) and you’ll have your own gentleman calling you cara mia. Should gowns be inappropriate for your planned evening, try adding a little soul to this corporate holiday and emulate Billie Holiday with some fabulous ’40s flash. Flowers in the hair are, of course, key to this look, so splurge at the florist’s for big white gardenias you can pin above your ear. Skip the perfume and let the gardenia scent draw him in. A simple ’40s-style dress completes the look; think nipped-in waist and shorter heels to go along with it. — Sara Nunn

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d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 19

Water should not be like a box of chocolates. As SNWA Lab Manager, Linda Blish makes sure our water meets or surpasses federal drinking water standards – with no surprises. Linda oversees a busy, highly trained staff. Did we mention busy? Together, they analyze our water 500,000 times a year. If you have questions about water quality – or if you’re looking for a supplemental water treatment system – contact the SNWA. No one knows more about water quality than your local water agency. Go to, or call 258-3930.

art History: Oldenburg’s first major large-scale project was Lipstick Ascending (1969-1974) on the campus of Yale University — a tube of lipstick atop tank treads intended as a platform for speeches against the Vietnam War. UNLV commissioned Flashlight in 1978. This was a daring move: Oldenburg’s work was irreverent and controversial. As a woman who was a student at the time recalled to me, the campus and community were divided over the Flashlight commission. To some it was foolish and inexplicable; to others, it signaled UNLV’s transition from a provincial university to one that was engaged in international dialogues about art and culture. Iconography: A flashlight is an ephemeral, historically specific object. This form of the flashlight is already obsolete — it’s barely recognizable as a flashlight to my 18-year-old students. Oldenburg loved turning fleeting technologies bound for obsolescence (consider also his Typewriter Eraser at CityCenter: My students have never heard of such a thing) into monuments that speak of the here and now — that are decidedly not eternal (though the form of Flashlight is also a play on the classical Doric column).

Know your art by kirsten swenson

Flashlight, the monumental sitespecific sculpture on UNLV’s campus, is this city’s most significant public artwork. And I might say the same if Flashlight were in Los Angeles, Seattle, or any number of other cities with reputations for fostering public art. Claes Oldenburg is a towering figure in the postwar art world, and Flashlight exemplifies the large-scale public sculptures for which he’s best known. Flashlight was the first major project to bear the names of both Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, a curator, art historian and Oldenburg’s spouse and collaborator from the late 1970s until her death in 2009. As UNLV marks the 30th birthday of this sculpture in an exhibit at the Donna Beam Fine Arts Gallery (“The Flashlight Turns 30,” through Feb. 26), it’s a good time to consider this Las Vegas original.

Interactivity: Oldenburg started his career in the early 1960s by staging “happenings” — events or actions in public spaces that integrated the audience as part of the artwork. This interactivity remained a hallmark of his best public sculpture. Flashlight beckons viewers to squeeze inside its steel compartments — instead of a smooth surface, the artist designed corrugated niches, great for hide-and-seek. You will see it in use any time kids are around. Flashlight is also a classic “weenie,” to use Walt Disney’s term for a landmark or focal point that becomes a gathering place. Site: Flashlight has an oppositional relationship to the light spectaculars of the Strip. It is an anti-spectacle of sorts: The flashlight shines downward, with light panels set into the cement plaza surrounding the sculpture. Flashlight sits between Judy Bayley Theatre and Artemus Ham Concert Hall, and it was intended to illuminate intimate gatherings of people before or after a performance.

PHOTOGRAPHY By Ryan Weber/Radiant photography

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


King Ibu collaborates globally — and virtually — to create his Senegalese sounds.

Beats across borders How does musician King Ibu create his rich, soulful and utterly authentic Senegalese songs? In a curiously modern manner: Via e-mail

W by timothy pratt

When King Ibu needs to add a sabar drum to a song on his latest album, he logs onto a Mac in his Las Vegas home and sends a digital file of his vocals and electric guitar halfway across the world to Aziz Faye in Dakar, Senegal. The song is as likely to be in English as in French, or even Pulaar, an ancient African language. Another file will hit Ibu’s inbox a week or so later, containing the conga-like drum passage he needs. A few mouse-clicks here, some typing there, and Ibu’s song is finished. It rises from 1,000-year-old Senegalese sounds and 21st century technology. Yet it sounds seamless. “The most challenging thing (is) to make music that is easy to listen to,” says Ibu. “You open the door and invite them in.” His method isn’t exactly the same as jamming in the studio with friends, but then again, the West African music scene isn’t exactly thriving here in Las Vegas; you’re not likely to find another Senegalese musician ready to hammer out complex West African polyrhythms in a Craigslist ad. Indeed, a musician like Ibu is forced to make odd choices when knotting together the two cultures he’s come to inhabit — the culture of his birthplace and the culture he adopted when, in 1996, he came to the United States to “make music that will reach people here,” explains the soft-spoken, six-foot-four singer and guitarist. King Ibu’s real name is Ibrahima Ba. By day, he manages a retail store. By night he practices, plays and records. Occasionally he ventures to 22 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1

other cities and countries to perform his music. He sells CDs through online services such as iTunes and Rhapsody. Since moving to the U.S., he’s recorded two CDs and a single, all of which reflect a musical journey that’s included Norway, Peru and Las Vegas. Along that journey, he’s shared the stage with artists such as conga player Poncho Sanchez, flautist Tim Weisberg and rock icon Carlos Santana. And yet in Las Vegas, Entertainment Capital of the World — where he originally moved in 2003 to play in a Strip cover band — King Ibu is not quite a king.

‘Make it universal’ King Ibu is one of countless niche musicians who find their brands of homegrown music a tough sell in Las Vegas, but are none-

theless inspired at finding fellow musicians to work with — and galvanized by the borderless communities created by new technology. George Rhee is a musician and immigrant from Switzerland. By day, he teaches physics and astronomy at UNLV, but his real love is bluegrass and folk music. He’s performed several dozen times with Ibu, and marvels at how all this “really good stuff under the radar” doesn’t get that much notice here in Las Vegas. “Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined being here,” Rhee says, invoking the valley’s “terrible image” when it comes to culture. But after nearly two decades, he says, “I’ve met virtuosos here” — like Ibu. Papa Malick, a fellow Senegalese musician who has played gigs with Ibu in New York and lives in Washington, D.C. says Ibu’s stateside

Portrait By Sabin Orr

Inspiring children to achieve since

music home base is a good thing, because it allows him an opportunity to share their home country’s music with a whole new audience. “People playing music in Senegal right now, they’re not making it universal,” says Malick, a drummer. “If you’re not from Senegal, you’re not going to understand it. It’s not going to get out of Senegal. Everybody has their own roots, but you have to find a way to make it universal.” That’s what Ibu is trying to do. As his emails straddle continents, so does his music. He sings in both English and Pulaar. Electric guitars complement traditional handmade drums. Western, verse-chorus-verse song structures reveal folk melodies of Western Africa. The idea is to “mix (Senegalese music) with music here … to communicate with music, like a language,” Ibu says. It’s a commitment that might have never developed had he continued performing on the Strip, where, for two and a half years, from 5 p.m. on, he would play lead and rhythm guitar and sing background vocals for two, one-hour sets. “It was a great gig, almost like a dream come true. Everything from Christina Aguilera to Etta James,” Ibu says. “It was a school in American music.”

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But that school didn’t last. “I started to see the Paris hotel and others get rid of bands and bring in piped-in music. You knew it was over.” After that, “I went back to my roots. It forced me to look at playing my music,” he recalls. He also soon found there was not much of a local audience for what the industry calls “world music.” Undeterred, King Ibu kept recording, producing two CDs. His new material is more acoustic and stripped-down than those titles. “It reflects the way I’ve been traveling,” he says, meaning you get used to making do with less when you’re a solo act on tour with a limited budget. It also reflects the troubled times, which have caused him to look inward. “A nation can’t grow if the individual doesn’t grow,” he explains. As for the local audience — or lack of it — Ibu hopes the growth and diversification of Las Vegas over the past decade-plus eventually results in a city with broader musical appetites. Meantime, he focuses on what he can control, such as recording, performing and selling CDs — and doesn’t stress about the rest. He resorts to a Senegalese adage that says as much, and seems at home in the desert: “Once you pour water on sand,” Ibu says, “it’s gone.” Hear King Ibu’s music at kingibumusic.

An International Center for Creative Writers and Scholars at the university of nevada, las vegas

panel The Future of American Liberalism With Barbara Ehrenreich, Lewis Lapham, and Curtis White Moderated by Jon Ralston thursday, february 24, 2011, 7:00 pm beam doc rando recital hall panel Jazz: America’s Gift to the World With Ellis Marsalis, Ishmael Reed, and Richard Williams thursday, march 24, 2011, 7:00 pm beam doc rando recital hall

panel Bennett Fellows in Conversation With Uwem Akpan, Daniel Brook, and Mary-Ann Tirone Smith thursday, april 14, 2011, 7:00 pm greenspun hall auditorium reading C.D. Wright unlv’s 2011 Ghanem Chair in Creative Writing wednesday, april 20, 2011, 7:00 pm student union theatre

all events are free, unticketed, and open to the public BMI’s public programming is generously supported by Nevada Public Radio, Las Vegas CityLife, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the Caesars Foundation. Call (702) 895-5542 for more information about our events.

theater The 1230 troupe thumbs its nose at safe, packaged Strip spectacle.

Thriller clowns What do professional clowns do after hours? Create joyful mayhem off the Strip. At the 1230 show, vaudeville goes 2.0

T by t.r. witcher

The show gets going just after 12:30 a.m. — and then it really gets going. A singer warms up the crowd with a sort of lounge-act send-up — imagine classic crooner Matt Monro slinging some hardcore gangsta rap. Soon, a ballerina mistakes a can of Raid for deodorant and knocks herself out. A cowboy with gold boots and a pogo stick can’t seem to control his gun or his comically flopping comb-over. The short acts are, in the best sense, nuts: A giant banana and a clown do turns as astro-



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nauts; there’s a folk song about, ahem, intestinal distress; a power-rocker does a juggling act; and a delicate Japanese baton-twirler and faceless guy in a full-body black jumpsuit perform as an improbable duo. What’s happening this Sunday night in a nondescript Commercial Center banquet hall is wacky and funny. It’s sometimes puzzling, and always dementedly strange. It’s a clown show, but not just any clown show. The 1230 show is a collective of Strip entertain-

ers who’ve banded together in their off hours to create a stripped-down, gritty update of the comedy variety show. 1230 refers to the show’s time: Sunday nights at 12:30, after the performers are done with their day jobs. If Cirque du Soleil had started as a garage band, it might look like this. Like Cirque, 1230 has to be seen. But not because it’s a spectacle; rather because it’s the opposite of one. The show is about the energy of the spirited crowd. It’s about performers trying out new acts — and messing up. It’s about — at least metaphorically — working without a net.

Dare to flail Las Vegas entertainment is all about commercially viable, safe, large-scale spectacle. It’s about giant flasgship productions such as Cirque’s “O” or “KA,” or Wynn’s “Le Rêve,” or precision-crafted imports from

Explore the hilarious secret lives of local clowns on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at

26 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1

Portrait By Aaron Mayes


The 1230 show is inspired by New York’s famous late-night variety theater, The Box.

28 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1

“What Cirque has done to circus, we want to do with clowning,” says Brett Alters of the 1230 show. The mad science of subversion Most of the ensemble members, including Negro and Alter, met early last year in Stefan Haves’ clown class. Haves is the Los Angelesbased comic act designer and clown coach for Cirque du Soleil. For him, concocting clown performances is a science, and he sees the clowns as a vital part of the Cirque aesthetic. “The clown is the bridge of the show with the audience,” says Haves. “A clown can get as big an applause if he stands on one leg as a huge pyrotechnic act, if you set it up properly.” Haves wanted his students to do more than work out sketches in a studio. “I dared them to start to put their work in front of an audience. And they took me up on it,” he says. There was talk of a recital, but Negro — whose easygoing smile does little to conceal a supreme sense of self-assurance — had something bigger in mind: A cabaret.

P e r f o r ma n c e P h oto s : l a z l o r at h o n y i

Broadway. It’s about bigger, louder, splashier, flashier. In other words, Las Vegas is full of “worldclass performers with time on their hands.” So explains Benedikt Negro, a pantomime with “O” and one of 1230’s creators. Negro and production manager Brett Alters, a clown with “Le Rêve,” have assembled 19 performers — clowns, musicians, acrobats, jugglers, dancers, mimes and magicians — who ply their trade nightly in shows that range from “Jubilee” to “Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular,” “Matsuri” to “Crazy Horse Paris.” As good as they are, they’re more than well-disciplined cogs in gigantic entertainment machines. They are also creative talents, artists with their own ideas and a desire to find a venue where they can experiment and do what they want. Inspired by The Box, the innovative New York City late-night variety theater, 1230 represents a return to the subversive and daring spirit that launched Cirque — and Las Vegas, before both became super-slick global brands. “What Cirque has done to circus, we want to do with clowning,” says Alters. “1230 is kind of a revitalization of clowning and vaudeville specifically. Because, especially with the recession and things like that, cheap comedy that people can feel like is accessible to them on many levels is what 1230 is trying to be — or what it is.”

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“The reason we have one mindset about clowning is Stefan,” says Negro. But what is a clown, anyway? It seems like there would be a simple answer, but with this crowd, you can expect a more philosophically inflected account. To them, it has something to do with being in the moment, with self-consciously playing the fool rather than just being one, with a notion of nonconformity that owes more to Charlie Chaplin than, say, Bozo. For 1230’s founders, the clown is a modern jester, a social commentator, an artist. “I don’t see a clown as somebody who is

wearing makeup and has a red clown nose,” says Negro. “For me, a clown is somebody who ... does something that he reverses what is common. He does something that is uncommon. He does something that in our understanding doesn’t make sense.” “It’s about what’s in the moment,” says Alters. “If he just describes it in words, not a big deal. If you film it, doesn’t make sense. Being there, live, is what brings clowning to life.” Haves flies in before each show to see what the performers have come up with, offering critiques and suggestions: a part needs a better set-up or a better pay-off. He breaks down each

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vignette as if it’s a science — which for him, it is. He’s adamant, too, about the value of brevity. “If a show is over an hour long, truth be told, you can only laugh uproariously for 45 minutes.” With each show, the performers have tightened and shortened their comic sketches. I ask Haves whether he plans on appearing with the cast on stage. (He runs his own 40-member troupe, Your Town Follies, in L.A.) “Part of this for me is seeing them produce the whole thing,” he says. “I help with the aesthetic; they’re learning by doing.” They accomplish this level of clowning through entertaining but disciplined rehearsals at a loft space on the west side of town. Performers come in and work on their numbers, while Negro and Alters oversee, making suggestions — and helping tweak, splice and deconstruct acts when necessary.

Step right up Since its debut in August, the 1230 troupe has performed roughly once a month. But there’s too much playful chaos to create to settle for monthly. The goal is to produce a show a week — while keeping each show different and each infused with the spirit of inventing new gags and trying new things — and to find a permanent home downtown. “It’s nice to also work in a place like 1230 where it’s an intimate venue. You’re really on your toes, you’re really discovering every night,” says Alters. Everyone is careful not to say anything

that might be considered a jab at their big Strip employers — of course, the performers are on their toes when they perform for their day jobs — but it’s also clear they relish the artistic control they have over their upstart troupe. (For their part, Cirque officials say that while Cirque du Soleil isn’t affiliated with 1230, it encourages troupe members to pursue artistic interests beyond the Cirque stage.) I pose the big question: Have the big Cirque shows jumped the shark? With news of yet another Cirque show in the works — this one focusing on Michael Jackson — it’s been said that the subversive, innovative spirit of Cirque has, inevitably, had to yield to its new reality as a safe, hugely successful juggernaut. Negro dismisses the notion, pointing out that Cirque’s vaudeville effort, “Banana Shpeel,” didn’t catch on and that Cirque quashed the show even though it probably could have made a mint touring it around the country. If Cirque is too big, Negro says, maybe it’s only because no other group has tried to measure up. “(Cirque CEO Guy Laliberté) would like to have somebody he could battle with,” Negro speculates. “Until somebody steps up and battles Guy, yes, it will be all Cirque du Soleil. Maybe somebody has the balls to step up.” In the meantime, maybe it’s 1230 that’s stepping up — or at least offering us something new to get excited about. If Vegas is

G o l d e n S h o w e r : c a s s i t h o ma s

The 1230 show’s celebrated “Golden Shower” segment is both serious and satirical.

king of spectacle, it comes sometimes at the cost of a lack of spontaneity, a lack of improvfueled élan. The 1230 aesthetic is nowhere better captured than by Alberto del Campo and David Underwood, hand-to-hand act artists with Le Rêve, who perform “Golden Shower,” an absolutely brilliant parody of the strenuous, strongman balancing act seen in many Strip productions. People may marvel at the seemingly superhuman abilities hand-to-hand acrobats possess — using each other’s bodies for feats of balance and strength — but at the same time, there’s something, you know, a bit gay about it. “Golden Shower” takes that as a jumping point and runs with it. “Sometimes you see those movements and you laugh, because of some of the positions,” says del Campo. “It started as a joke and it ended like, ‘Why don’t we make this like a serious number?’” What’s brilliant is that both men can do the hand-to-hand, but at the same time can make fun of it, offering meaningfully blank stares as they press their faces into each other’s crotches and the crowd goes nuts. Up close — and here the small theater is critical to the success of the bit — you can see the intensity on their faces, crucial in keeping audiences guessing. “We kind of like that uncomfortable moment at the beginning when people are not sure whether we’re serious or not,” says Underwood. “Are these guys really serious? Are they that bad, or is intentional? That’s the moment we’re going for.” Del Campo says it’s vital not to break the serious characters. “For us it’s not a joke. We’re trying to make you believe that it’s actually been done by generations and generations of family,” he says. “We make fun of it and back it up,” Underwood says. “It’s going to be difficult to watch another one after watching us and not think (about those) bad positions.” The 1230 show is entertainment that belongs in our post-recession world — chastened, smaller, hungry, creative, new. It’s a show that may not appeal to the masses, but that uses its liabilities— its low-budget lack of spectacle, its small, homey venues — to its advantage. “We’re trying to keep it underground,” says Alters. “We just want a simple, good, vaudeville vibe with some serious clowning.” The 1230 Clownshow performs Feb. 11 and Feb. 18 at the The Onyx Theater in Commercial Center. Doors open at 11:45 p.m. Info:

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Y CIT E TH of Who are we to decide what’s the best in food, arts, entertainment and more in Las Vegas? ¶ Glad you asked. ¶ We’re native Las Vegans burning to tell the world about the hometown favorites we grew up with. We’re fresh transplants quick to embrace the valley’s vibrant culture. We’re passionate know-italls — about everything from bread to ballet to buildings. ¶ But don’t take our word for it. Dive into our Best of the City. You’re in for a good time. Actually, the best time. d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 35

Food+DRINK Bread For the best bread in Vegas, head to the MGM Grand. Pastry Chef Kamel Guechida of Joel Robuchon and L’Atelier has assembled a staff of six bakers who create 18 breads exclusively for those two restaurants, as well as breakfast pastries for The MGM Mansion and Skylofts. They work in shifts in their own private bakery from 3 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, constantly tweaking their recipes based on the outside temperature and humidity. That science translates into delicious art. Their creations include an epis bread made with bacon and mustard, gruyere and comte brioche, as well as luscious olive rolls. At Robuchon, which boasts 17 of the bread varieties, you’ll make your selection from a rolling bread cart, after which a server removes your choice and warms it before delivering it to your table with a buerre barrate butter from France’s Brittany region. The experience will make you see bread as so much more than just the stuff that holds sandwiches together. — Al Mancini MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd S.,

Pub crawl for visiting friends From the frat bro to the bohemian, East Fremont Street covers it all. Start with Jell-O shots (as the college atmosphere dictates) at Micky Finnz, and end at the Beat Coffeehouse, where you can either get coffee (as prior alcohol consumption may dictate) or have a nightcap off their beer and wine menu. In between, with the Downtown Cocktail Room’s Green Fairy and the Vanguard Lounge’s Ripper duking it out in your stomach, head to the

Griffin, Beauty Bar and Don’t Tell Mama for stimulating conversation, soothing beers and a digestive sing-along, in that order. Best part of this crawl? With mere feet between any two stops, you can actually do it on your hands and knees, which just might be necessary. — Heidi Kyser

Meat Protein-lovers unanimously rave about butcher and barbecue shop John Mull’s Meats, which — true to its hidden-gem status — is actually so hard to find and nondescript that you’ll wonder whether you’re in the wrong place once you’ve gotten there. The payoff: cut-to-order meats at reasonable prices for humans, and femur bones at $1.49 per pound for Spot. Woof! — H.K. 3730 Thom Blvd. 645-1200

Table salsa Perhaps you’ve forgotten about Frank & Fina’s Cocina since the homey, family-run Mexican kitchen moved from its downtownish Charleston Boulevard hut to the vast Grand Canyon retail center near the western Beltway. I haven’t. And they haven’t changed their recipe for fresh homemade salsa, the perfect midpoint between smooth and chunky, the perfect balance of cool, crisp vegetables and slowto-set heat. Let’s admit it: Our city is full of boring Mexican food. A great salsa can make all the difference. Much of the menu at Frank & Fina’s — chili rellenos, vegetable taquitos, tilapia tacos — lands a little lighter than the competition. You’ll appreciate that fact after devouring bowl upon bowl

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Natives NEWBIES Best THAI RESTAURANT ANDREW KIRALY “Oh my god. I bet I look like that guy with the melting face at the end of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’” said my friend. Beneath the glistening cataract of sweat and tears formerly known as his face, I detected a smile. Ah, Komol’s native cred: Andrew Kiraly spicy mushroom tom kha soup spent much of his twenties fueling works its magic once again. up at Komol for a night of Mortal Kombat at now-defunct Mary K’s Lest I give the impression next door. that Komol is all about putting a culinary flamethrower in your mouth: It’s not. But whatever spice level you choose, Komol’s cuisine, from its piquant papaya salad to the earthy, almost smoky shrimp panang to its Platonically ideal pad thai, boasts a level of impeccable default savor I’ve never encountered at any other Thai restaurant in town. It speaks of love, sweat and family tradition. Bonus: The menus are made of wood and look like a sorcerer’s tomes. But rest assured the only magic going on at this Thai mainstay is the good kind. 953 E. Sahara Ave. Suite E-10, 731-6542, Dorian Issock Lotus of Siam is hidden away in the funky Commercial Center with its persistent green and white fluorescent glare. Don’t let its secret cover fool you, though. One telltale sign that made me suspect I may have found the Holy Grail of Thai in my newly adopted home: discovering that Lotus of Siam offers, on request, a special Northern Thailand menu, where you’ll find regional dishes usually newbie cred: Born in France not found in the Western and raised in SoCal, Dorian Issock hemisphere. One of my looks forward to exploring what favorite specialties is A Nua else Commercial Center has to offer. He’s currently being sized Dad Deaw, a spicy and savory for a hazmat suit for his first beef jerky done Issan style. excursion to the Green Door. Another is Nua Sao Renu, charbroiled beef with a spicy tamarind sauce. Lotus of Siam also offers Thai dishes that aren’t found on any menu, such as Prawns Ocha, a unique, crispy-fried garlic shrimp dish that strikes a balance between traditional Thai spices with a delicate crunch. Warning: The food off the Northern Thailand menu is especially spicy. But brave the unknown — and the spice — and you’ll see traditional Thai food in a brand new, green- and white-tinged, fluorescently enhanced light. 953 E. Sahara Ave. Suite A5, 735-3033,

of fresh, warm corn chips, your fingers unable to stop obsessively spooning this addictive salsa into your happy face. — Brock Radke 4175 S. Grand Canyon Drive, Suite 100, 579-3017,

Non-ethnic vegetarian food Set aside the Asian, Indian and Mediterranean restaurants offering tofu and veggie dishes, and it’s slim pickings for Vegas vegetarians. Filling this void is Red Velvet Café, where

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Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental — no Victorian gloves required

you can substitute vegetarian meats (veats?) and soy cheese (choyse?) in any of the bagel melts, paninis, pizzetas, sandwiches and wraps on the menu. There’s also a lengthy selection of vegan goodies, including vegan ice cream and 50-calorie chocolate chip cookies you would swear leave butter on your fingers. — H.K. 7875 West Sahara Ave.,

Tea If you’re not into donning Victorian gloves and hat or sitting in a circle sucking on a hookah pipe, your only other option for real tea in Las Vegas is … actually a good one. The Mandarin Oriental Tea Lounge, in

the Sky Lobby on the 23rd floor, is for people who not only know the difference between a Pu-Erh and an Oolong, but also the temperature of the water each should be steeped in. And for the English crowd, it does serve traditional afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches and Devonshire cream, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. every day (no costume required). — H.K. 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 5908888,

Non-Chinatown foodie crawl This is my neighborhood. I may be biased. But take a look around — do you have what

I have? In between Rainbow Boulevard, Cheyenne Avenue, Rampart Boulevard and Summerlin Parkway, there’s impressive diversity and solid eats all around. Fine French food in a lovely lakeside setting at Marche Bacchus and its neighbor, Garfield’s. Classic Italian neighborhood restaurant with a well-traveled chef at Parma Pastavino & Deli. Old school deli? Check: Bagel Café. Terrific Thai? Try a double dose with Pin Kaow and the new Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen. I’ve got above-average burgers and pizza right next door to each other, in Smashburger and Northside Nathan’s. I’ve even got a crazy dude slinging Korean tacos from a parking lot lunch truck, the tasty

HanShikTaco. I’ve got it all over here in Old Summerlin, and I’ll put my ‘hood up against yours any day of the week. — B.R.

Beer menu Since opening a second location at the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, Yard House is making at least twice as many people happy with its solid pub grub, lively scene and seemingly infinite selection of brews on tap. What’s best about this monstrous list is how easy it is to navigate; you won’t be intimidated when making your choice (or, let’s be honest, choices). You can be sampling a fruity Petrus blonde ale and totally switch over to a strong and spicy Trois Pistoles, and the bartender won’t even

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make fun of you. In fact, he may recommend a dessert such as the chocolate-raspberrycake-ish stylings of Lindeman’s Framboise. They’re all among the ever-changing, neverending draft rotation at Yard House, and you can even check online to see whether they’re pouring your favorite. — B.R. Inside Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 797-7777; Town Square, 6593 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 734-9273,

Secret Strip brunch

French toast at Tableau — a secret worth sharing

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The Wynn/Encore complex is one of the Strip’s top culinary destinations, no matter the time of day. While foodie tourists flock to Wynn’s Country Club for Sunday jazz brunch or Café Society Encore for comfortable, weekendfriendly fare, the quiet, elegant

Tableau in the Tower Suites is overlooked. The service is excellent, the wasabi Bloody Mary is brain-smashing, and the fresh pastries and baked goods cannot be missed. Duck vol-au-vent is the best tweaked benedict of all time, succulent confit in a flaky pastry tower with scrambled eggs and a rich sauce too good to be condemned by the name hollandaise. Fig and almond brioche French toast? Peach and pecan ricotta pancakes with cinnamon butter? You’re going to need extra coffee for those. The food is so good and the room so pretty, I regret writing about it. I would rather not share my Tableau. — B.R. 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 770-3330,

Best restaurant closest to John Curtas’ house There are so many things about Anthony & Mario’s

B E E R C O U T E S Y O F YA R D H O U S E ; F R E N C H TO A S T C O U R T E S Y O F W Y N N L A S V E G A S ; W I N E : C H R I S TO P H E R S M I T H

The Yard House’s beer selection: We’ll take them all, please.

Sinskey, who hawk their wares and raise everyone’s wine IQ. Cheese tastings (paired with the wines of the day) also figure in, ensuring everyone “Cantal” a Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk from a Bellwether Farms San Andreas. In “Kase” you didn’t know, trading cheesy puns with Howald’s wife Kristin is thrown in for free, making these tastings as “Gouda” as it gets. (Ouch!) — J.C. 770 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, 341-8191, www.

Vegan dish that even carnivores will enjoy

Wine and cheeses from Valley Cheese and Wine (puns not included)

Broadway Pizzeria that chap my critic’s conscience. They’ve never met a noodle they couldn’t cook to death; clams from a can seem mandatory; and cheese (sometimes of questionable quality) gets poured over everything but the spumoni. But, for 16 years now, it gets my everyday pizza, pasta and wings business whenever a craving hits. Because there are many things to like about this neighborhood joint. The meatball hero is a thing of beauty. Ditto the sausage and peppers, which, like their house-made garlic knots, will have you eating much more of these carbobombs than are good for you. Their marinara sauce won’t send Scott Conant back to his cookbooks, but it’s plenty serviceable, thick and chunky. And while almost every pizza is overloaded with just about every ingredient

imaginable, and every order of wings is a crap shoot over how overcooked they’ll be, there’s something refreshingly old school about how cheesy, doughy and caloric everything is. Because of those calories, Broadway Pizzeria is also very special to me for a very un-Vegasy reason: I can walk to it. — John Curtas 840 S. Rancho Drive, 259-9002

Wine-tasting event From a global pinot noir sniff-and-swirl, to an allAustralian day, to a panoply of summer wines — all paired with superior cheeses and charcuterie — Valley Cheese and Wine’s wine tastings are the city’s best. Led by uberwine guy/owner Bob Howald, the weekly event (Fridays 4-7 p.m., Saturdays, noon7 p.m.) attracts such wino celebs as Randall Graham from Bonny Doon or Robert

You want to see yours truly head for the hills faster than you can say “wheat grass with bean sprouts”? Then mention anything vegan or vegetarian as a dining option. That is, until Steve Wynn recently put vegan offerings on all of the Wynn/Encore menus. Until he put his chefs to the test, most dishes of this ilk were made by people with “fear of food.” Now, such innovative chefs as Alex Stratta, Paul Bartolotta, David Spero and David Walzog are putting their considerable talents behind entire tasting menus of everything from lip-smacking truffled arancini to Tuscan vegetable soup to sautéed seasonal mushrooms. Of all of the offerings I’ve tried, it is Walzog’s orange-braised fennel with celery root puree and pea vines at Lakeside Grill that made me drop my fork in appreciation. Sweet, earthy and orangey, it is the apotheosis of fennel. And it’s so good you’ll forget that it’s good for you. — J.C. Inside Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 248-3463,

Dessert There’s something about the crisp, caramelized exterior

of canneles that gives way to the soft, subtly sweet custard within that is both haunting and addictive. Top it off with some dense, housemade gelato and a caramel tuile, and something magical happens with every bite — a confluence of almost-burnt crunch yielding to a warm, interior richness being bathed in melting cream. That’s the very definition of a dessert’s whole being greater than the


Local produce

Fresh, healthy and clean — not the usual words you’d use to describe a road trip to Pahrump. However, that drive leads you to the mothership of tomatoes and to the greenhouse of Hy-Desert Produce. And it really looks like a mother ship: Hy-Desert’s enclosed dome can produce 20,000 pounds of tomatoes and cucumbers in the middle of a no-man’s land. Hy Desert’s father-son duo use a pesticide-free approach and grounded sensibilities to ripen the flavorful produce and to diligently perfect the heirloom varieties preferred by chefs. The two most popular varieties, the Clarence and Tradiro, offer big, sharp and memorable flavors. No road trip necessary: Select your own mouth-watering tomatoes every Thursday at the Molto Vegas Farmers Market (, a hotbed for honest food. — Gina Gavan 1650 Jarvis Road, Pahrump, (775) 751-6688 She should know: Gina Gavan is founder of Project Dinner Table, a monthly dinner gathering that promotes community, philanthropy and local food.

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Julian Serrano balances flavor and technique in dishes such as his tuna-raspberry skewer.

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T U N A - R A S P B E R R Y S k ewer : C H R I S TO P H E R S M I T H ; T W I S T C O U R T E S Y O F M an d ar i n O r i ental

Avant-garde but comfortable, Twist is the city’s best restaurant for splurging.

sum of its parts. SAGE pastry chef Lura Poland credits top toque Shawn McClain with coming up with the idea of reviving this 18th century French dessert. No matter whose idea it was, bite into one of them and you’ll be hooked for life. — J.C. Inside Aria at CityCenter, 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 877-230-2742,

Tapas (in a city suddenly flooded with tapas) Every place from cocktail bars to steakhouses now features a grazing menu. But whether they’re called small plates, share plates, tasting portions, cicchetti, apps or tapas, the Spanish did them first — and still do them best. And until Jose Andres makes his mark with Jaleo, all tasty tapas in Vegas will take a back seat to those at Julian Serrano. Whether it’s a simple plate of patatas bravas (fried potatoes with tomatoes and mayo) or

his seared, sesame-crusted tuna topped with “molecular” raspberries, everything from this kitchen packs a flavor punch (and demonstrates superior technique) far beyond those of most pretenders — something most obvious in two of the most pedestrian but ethereal dishes on the menu: albondigas con tomate (meatballs in tomato sauce) and frites with fried egg and chorizo. — J.C. In Aria at CityCenter, 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 877-2302742,

Restaurant to splurge at once a year For some, a memorable, bigdeal meal demands pristine seafood a la RM Upstairs or Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare. For others, nothing less than a great steak (Carnevino or CUT) or intensive-care French (ALEX, Joel Robuchon, Le Cirque or Guy Savoy) will do. Beautiful scenery helps (Eiffel Tower Restaurant), as

Ryan Reason Look, I like a venti-soy-half-caf-almond foam with a twist of lemon as much as the next metrosexual. But sometimes, all you really want is a cup of coffee. No place in town serves up old-school joe like Tiffany’s Cafe inside White native cred: Photographer Cross Drugs. Rich and dark Ryan Reason remembers a time when the only things west of like Bruce Wayne, full-bodied Rainbow Boulevard were dirt, and powerful like Wonder lizards and optimism. Woman, this coffee may just save your world. Drive by day or night, and you’ll find no fewer than three cabs parked outside — and if anybody knows good coffee, it’s Las Vegas cab drivers. Served in classic white diner mugs and refilled just when it cools to a drinkable temperature, Tiffany’s American diner coffee is a veritable Vegas institution that goes back more than 30 years. Sure, it tastes like your truck-driving grandfather made it, but that’s why it tastes so good. 1700 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 382-1733 Glenn Truitt When some things go “corporate,” they get more bland and lifeless than a Miley Cyrus album. Coffee is not one of them. Sure, I prefer music from Zia’s, breakfast from the Egg & I and blackjack as far from the Strip as I can get it. But when it comes to coffee, give me Einstein Bros. Bagels. I know it’s a chain, but it’s also blissfully devoid of the java snobbery of Starbucks and the marginal sanitation of the “local” shops. There’s a great variety, kept fresh, with an oh-so-important note about which brew is the “strongest” without getting cute about newbie cred: Attorney Glenn it. If I didn’t have someplace Truitt recently relocated from L.A., so you probably understand his else to be, maybe I could thing about goatees. appreciate hand-painted chairs or a barista talking about her poetry. But what I really want in coffee is a friendly face, a solid selection and an atmosphere that doesn’t make me feel like I need a goatee.

does impeccable cooking (Valentino), a seductive room (SAGE), or once-in-a-lifetime ingredients (BAR MASA). Take the best of these, put them on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental — with a fabulous view of CityCenter and the Strip — and mix in some of the most innovative cooking on the planet, and you have Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. Desert Companion Chef of the Year Pascal Sanchez never fails to astonish and amuse, whether it’s with

langoustine five ways, or John Dory poached in black pepper butter. Everything on the menu is designed to pleasantly upend your ideas about how to accent and present the main ingredient. Not as classically French as Savoy, or as serious as Robuchon, Twist is both avant-garde and comfortable — in short, gastronomic heaven. — J.C. Inside Mandarin Oriental, 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 888-881-9367,

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Natives NEWBIES Best Band Jim Gentleman There’s no better band in Las Vegas

Insurgo Theater Movement will startle and outrage you.

Theater You may be outraged and probably startled, but you’ll almost never be bored when you attend a performance by Insurgo Theater Movement. Mixing classics with original drama, Insurgo favors a no-holds-barred style that aims to make Sophocles and Shakespeare sound hot off the presses. Because it works in small spaces, Insurgo flings drama into your lap, and its stagings are marked by their extreme physicality. Actors literally climb the walls (and sometimes the rafters), engage in vigorous stage combat and in simulated — but no less steamy — sexual congress. Not for nothing did the Erotic Heritage Museum sign Insurgo to be its in-house theater troupe, giving rise to a randy reimagining of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” At its best, Insurgo achieves a total integration of insightful

direction, forceful acting and arresting design, interspersed with surprising touches of poetry. The apocalyptic robot rampage of dystopian “R.U.R.” exemplified Insurgo at its best, while grippingly detailed revivals of “Macbeth” and “The Crucible” also testified to the company’s ability to fire the imagination. — D.M.

Arts event Forgive my heresy, but sometimes First Friday feels more like a mosh pit than an art crawl. And when it does, I leave my mall mohawk at home the next month and hit Preview Thursday, First Friday’s more subdued sister. There, you’ll dose up on stimulating artist talks, bang brains with fellow arts aficionados and enjoy an atmosphere that’s less carnival, more curated. Best of all, fewer people means more wine for everybody. — A.K.

the valley’s best bike ride? Two cyclists Bonus What’s pedal their views at

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Max Plenke Two huge Hawaiian guys playing ukuleles is already the key to happiness. But if you test your endorphin capacity by adding a five-piece rhythm section, you end up with HaleAmano, the local island reggae band that’s recently been troubling the musical waters like Jaws does to skinny-dippers — and Las Vegas is the naked girl in the ocean. Frontmen Ryan Fleming and Israel Waahila Newbie cred: Max Plenke is have a back ‘n’ forth stage the arts and entertainment staff bromance that inspires a writer for Las Vegas CityLife. He’s community feeling in the been living in Las Vegas since June 2010. audience — which is perfect, since HaleAmano’s music has strong political unity undertones when it’s not delving into a sweet sea of R&B-inspired baby-making music (which you could still call unity undertones if you think about it). Though local, HaleAmano tends to catch residencies at casino pools and Hawaiian cultural events. But if they keep up their current M.O. — energetic stage vibe, impressive musicianship, sweet ukulele shredding — there’s little doubt they’ll be gracing stages for crowds beyond AARP card-carriers at The Pond.

Actor She’s played a man, a cat, a murderer, Iago’s wife, a robot, a witch, a wood nymph, a rocker and a drug addict who carries an aborted fetus in her purse … and that’s just a partial resumé of what actress Breon Jenay managed to

cram into 2010. A theatrical perpetual-motion machine, Jenay is most often seen onstage with Insurgo Theater Movement but has also graced the stages of Las Vegas Little Theatre (“Great Falls”) and the Erotic Heritage Museum. The 23-year-old Sierra Vista

I N S U R G O : R YA N R E A S O N ; B R E O N J E N AY : C H R I S TO P H E R S M I T H

than Santa Fe. Currently performing Mondays at the Palms as Sante Fe and the Fat City Horns, they’ve been playing Vegas for the better part of 25 years — and heck, we’re lucky to Native cred: SK+G have held onto them for that Advertising executive Jim Gentleman grew up in Las Vegas long. Led by lead guitarist and BUT HE CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER vocalist Jerry Lopez, Sante Fe THIS SWEET SAX SOLO. has probably played more Vegas casinos than any other band around, from blasts-from-the-past such as The Mint, Sands and Desert Inn to contemporary spots such as the Palms and Caesars Palace. There’s a reason they get around: They mix in originals and popular songs from all over the musical map — pop, R&B, funk, rock & roll and jazz — and infuse them with roaring, ferocious energy while keeping them tight as a dime. Santa Fe more than earns the superlatives that fans — newly minted nightly — heap on this stunning band.

Breon Jenay is a theater prodigy — and that’s no act.

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High School graduate fairly defines “prodigy,” equally adept at wearing the masks of comedy and tragedy, as comfortable in Shakespeare as in avant-garde fare. Whether in leading roles like Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” or giving wordless walk-ons their full due, Jenay is a true ensemble player who demonstrates that there are neither small parts nor small actors. — David McKee

Public art No need to drive to Los Angeles to experience a crown jewel of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Michael Heizer’s “Double Negative” (1969), though belonging to MoCA’s collection, is located just an hour’s drive northeast of Las Vegas, outside Overton. The earthwork is the first monumental piece of “land art” created as part of a movement that includes Robert Smithson’s storied “Spiral Jetty” (1970) in the Great Salt Lake. These artists sought an alternative to the New York gallery system and salable, object-based artworks. Heizer hired locals to “carve” two facing 30-foot wide notches into the Mormon Mesa using dynamite, displacing 250,000 tons of rhyolite and sandstone. For Heizer, physical immersion within the manmade trenches, against the backdrop of the dramatic Virgin River valley, was key: “If you want to see the Pieta, you go to Italy. To see the Great Wall, you go to China. My work isn’t conceptual art, it’s sculpture. You just have to go see it.” A quick Google search yields detailed directions. A four-wheel drive vehicle is necessary. And timing your trip to coincide with the early spring desert bloom — as I did in 2010 — is recommended. — Kirsten Swenson

The Las Vegas Ballet Company breathes vigorous new life into ballet classics.

Culture-booster It can be easy to take First Friday for granted. Happens every month, so if you miss one, or two, or five in a row, there’s another in a few weeks. And its structure doesn’t really change — street-fair action along Casino Center; gallery crawls at the Arts Factory, Holsum building and Commerce Street Studios — so you figure you know what you’re missing. But eventually you go again, one of the thousands who attend now, up from a few hundred when it began in 2002. For the moment, you set aside the arguments that occasionally skitter around the event. (Does the street fair cheapen the fine-art aspect or give it an appealing grassroots vibe? How much of the art is any


Where’s the best place to take your relatives to show them we’ve got more than gambling? A native and newcomer share their picks at

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good?) You see some good pieces. You see people you haven’t seen since your last First Friday, and you talk about art. How cool is that? When else does it happen? Almost never. You have First Friday organizer Whirlygig, Inc. to thank. — S.D.

Hike to thrill you (but not kill you) Almost any hike at Red Rock will stupefy first-time visitors to Las Vegas’ great outdoors. The La Madre-White Rock Loop Trail hike, however, lays the amazement on thick with the added bonuses of winding piñon- and juniper-lined trails dwarfed by skyscrapers of red and white sandstone. At just under seven miles, it’s long enough to work off jet lag and conference butt, yet short enough to handle with a hangover. Prepare yourself for “I never knew… !” — H.K.

2010 saw the birth of a fresh, young ballet company, so rich in talent and promise that it qualifies as Las Vegas’ best new dance troupe of the year. The Las Vegas Ballet Company is dedicated to presenting only classical ballets, whether originals or legendary masterworks such as “Swan Lake,” “Nutcracker” and “Paquita,” all of which are already in its repertoire. Kyudong Kwak and his wife Yoomi Lee, who were principal dancers with Nevada Ballet Theatre for 10 years, founded the company and serve as the company’s artistic director and ballet mistress, respectively, as well as its lead dancers. They also head the Kwak Academy. The Las Vegas Ballet Company’s dedication to pure classics in a city rich in (excellent) contemporary ballets is refreshing. And when performing classics such as “Swan Lake” and “Nutcracker,” the Las Vegas Ballet Company always tries to present the original choreography by Petipa, Ivanov and other masters. The technical virtuosity of Lee and Kwak, combined with the talents of the corps, make this possible. But beyond just its technique, I’m especially impressed by the troupe’s youthful enthusiasm and unified dedication to its art. — Hal de Becker He should know: Hal de Becker is a former dancer, dance instructor and longtime local dance critic for publications in Las Vegas, New York and London.


New dance company

Shops+ Services Veggie delivery Make a contribution to the Bountiful Baskets Co-op at the beginning of the week, and by week’s end, a basket full of produce arrives at your designated pick-up location. Although not as local, organic and sustainable as other community-supportedagriculture options (e.g., Quail Hollow), Bountiful offers better variety and prices, according to those who’ve tried both. — H.K.

Recreational gear Brand-name, brand-new bike tubes, GPS units, headlamps and wetsuits are for cityslickers. Authentic outdoorsy types get their gear at the irregularly recurring and somewhat hush-hush REI Garage Sales. Stuff is “gently used” or from overstock, and for members only (but the membership is worth it). The most recent garage sale took place in November; keep an eye on the “Events” pages of the Las Vegas stores’ websites for the next. — H.K. Boca Park, 710 S. Rampart Blvd., 951-4488; The District, 2220 Village Walk Drive, Suite. 150, 896-7111,

Auto detailing The Car Butler (Brian Fastow) comes to your house and pretties up your ride using sustainable products and methods. Sure, lots of companies do this, but Fastow’s 12-year-old business is an outgrowth of his passion for everything auto, which drives him to help clients solve almost any car-related problem, from pumping gas

to minor repairs. Case in point: “I had a customer who was short-selling his condo at the LV Country Club,” Fastow says, “and I helped him sell all his cars.” — H.K. 283-1190,

Local deal website Promoted by the radio station Mix 94.1, website www. sells gift certificates to locals at half their cash value (e.g., a $50 gift certificate for the Queen Victoria Pub on sale for $25). Participating vendors are all over the board: frozen yogurt, hair salons, dance lessons, Strip shows. The only drawback is that you have to check often to find specific items you’ve got your heart set on. — H.K.

Place to score style bargains The vintage clothing renaissance has made us all a little more willing to embrace secondhand style for the sake of a sweet deal. The sweetest deals in town are found at Buffalo Exchange, the city’s principal outpost for previously adored designer jeans, vintage dresses, high-end jackets and more. Since the secondhand scene isn’t exactly raging in Las Vegas, the Buffalo tends to be the default destination for locals with overcrowded closets, making it much easier to find a great variety of high-quality clothes, often only gently worn, sometimes even with price tags still attached. Will you have to do some digging? Yes, but just think of it as a slightly easierthan-usual treasure hunt. — S.N. 4110 S Maryland Parkway, Suite 1, 791-3960,

Natives NEWBIES Best MALL Maureen Gregory The 2 million square-foot mall boasts, “Fashion Show: At the Edge of Fashion, in the Heart of Vegas.” And the mall deserves such a grandiose slogan. With more than 250 shops and restaurants —the NATIVE CRED: Maureen Gregory Levi’s Store, Louis Vuitton, misses being dropped off at Scandia and Wet ‘n’ Wild after BCBG Maxazria, Nail Art, finals at Bonanza High School. Maggiano’s, Chinese Laundry, to name a few — the Fashion Show is the most diverse mall in Las Vegas. The newly renovated Forever 21 alone is mind-boggling, stretching over the two stories that Dillard’s once occupied. If Forever is a little too 21 for you, Nordstrom has one of the valley’s best shoe and clothing selections. You can splurge on Jimmy Choos on the first floor and snag a few Pima cotton tops on the third floor. Afterwards, grab a bite at Nordstrom’s delish café, or head to the south end of the mall to Neiman’s Café and dine on the best calamari salad you’ve ever had. Just don’t get sucked into True Religion across the way. 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 862-2525,

Sara Nunn For a former Northwestern suburbanite like myself, there’s nothing more delicious than saying, “I’m going to the mall” and meaning the grand temple of excess known as the Forum Shops. So much better than the drab, two-story model of mall that’s held sway over the less citified of us for decades, the Forum Shops offers a variety of outlets NEWBIE CRED: Since moving both intensely necessary to Las Vegas in 2008, Sara Nunn has shopped the valley from the (The Gap, the Apple Store) Strip’s sparkling monuments to and harder to find (Marc designer egotism to the dustiest vintage clothing sections in Jacobs, Harry Winston), hidden antique malls. all in an atmosphere combining the decadence of ancient Rome with ... well, the decadence of contemporary Las Vegas. The massive size means you’ll get a good workout making your way from Agent Provocateur to the Cheesecake Factory, with places aplenty to stop and contemplate whether there’s any truth to that Atlantis myth. It’s the sweetest mall experience I know of, and not only because you can always get free samples at Vosges Haut-Chocolat. 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 893-4800,

Designer clothes deals Since 1975, when it opened on Park Paseo downtown, the ultra-high-end Refinery Celebrity Resale Boutique has been gathering cast-off clothing and accessories (sometimes with price tag still

attached) from well-heeled residents and travelers, and reselling them at a fraction of their original cost. For instance, owner Carolyn Kirson says, she recently sold a brand-new Hermes handbag for a mere $7,000. Other steals: Dennis Basso furs starting at $10,000,

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Refinery Celebrity Boutique: where high fashion meets reincarnation

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men’s cashmere sweaters at $1,000 and Christian Loubouton pumps at $700. — H.K. 3827 E. Sunset Road, 384-7340,

Bookstore Bibliophiles will find a cedarscented haven amid the many

wooden shelves of Plaza Books. A veritable rabbit warren of nooks and crannies, its maze-like layout cossets everything from first editions to manifold play scripts. Mysteries, suspense novels and especially science fiction enjoy robust representation, although no genre is slighted. (My last

visit snagged a vintage, hardto-find paperback edition of a thriller by German author Hans Hellmut Kirst.) Religion, history and contemporary affairs are in bountiful supply, too. While many secondhand stores are catch-as-catch-can, owner Ann DeVere’s selectivity ensures a catholic selection and high quality. If you can’t find it at Plaza Books, she’ll be happy to refer you to the valley bookstore likeliest to have what you seek. Frequent paperback purchasers can take advantage of a trade-in program whereby credits from your last sale are rolled into your next purchase. Thrift, Horatio! — D.M. 7380 S. Eastern Ave. Ste. 102, 263-2692


R E F I N E R Y B O U T I Q U E A N D TAW N Y S C H lesener : C H R I S TO P H E R S M I T H

Dr. Tawny Schlesener cares about pets — and their humans.

Trust a tailor who will tell you no: Joe Milano at Milano’s Fashion will tell you if the sleeves on a French cuff shirt are fine the way they are (they are), or if the massive reconstruction on that jacket you found for cheap on eBay is worth the hassle (it isn’t). I’ve been going to Joe for alterations minor and otherwise for five years, and have never had a problem he couldn’t fix. Joe’s a master tailor, a tailor’s tailor, much like cops in “The Wire” praise each other for being “natural police.” My girlfriend went to Joe to get some pants hemmed and


Veterinarian There are hundreds of vets across this fine, pet-loving valley of ours, but Dr. Tawny Schlesener at Green Valley Animal Hospital has a special touch with the animals — and their humans, too. It’s not unusual for Dr. Tawny to call on weekends or when she’s out of town to follow up on patients in acute situations, checking on changes and answering the same questions a zillion times if it means reassuring worried pet owners. A Kansas State University graduate who opened the Green Valley Animal Hospital, she strives to make the pet owner a part of the decision-making process rather than dictating the outcome. Perhaps the best testimonials come from the furry friends she sees, though: Even after uncomfortable procedures in her office, pets continue to sidle up to her. — Steve Friess 6150 Mountain Vista St., 795-4440 He should know: Steve Friess is a Vegas-based freelance journalist who co-hosts the weekly animalaffairs podcast “The Petcast” and lives with his three dogs, Black, Jack and Aces.

was surprised that sizing was a blur — one look, one chalk stroke, and done: a perfect hem, a perfect break. He’s been at it for more than 30 years, and his prices do run a bit higher than most, but I once took a shirt elsewhere, and it returned a wreck, cuff points twisted up and threads disintegrating. When Joe alters a French cuff sleeve, it’s as though the shirt had always fitted you properly. So yes: Joe is totally “natural tailor,” which is a term you’d use if you were doing a gritty drama about tailors. — Juan Martinez 4155 S. Maryland Parkway, 735-6866

iPhone repair When Steve Jobs has nightmares, do they feature Joe Vandewalle and Wookie Nguyen? The Desert Wireless duo — or one of their tech geeks — will repair your iPhone for around $50, depending on the breakage (compared with around $200 at the seller). Demand has led to the opening of four Desert Wireless locations around the Las Vegas Valley, and Nguyen says they’ve branched out into other phones now, too. — H.K. 292-0029,

Massage on the cheap Rub this in: In order to complete their certification requirements, students at the European Massage Therapy School have to give dozens of massages to the public in the student clinic. Under the guidance of a licensed, experienced massage therapist, a student who has completed her course work will give you a 50-minute massage for $25 or an 80-minute massage for $40. That should feel pret-ty darn good. — H.K. 8751 W. Charleston Blvd. Suite 295, 202-2455,

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Marlene Stidham’s recycled crafts draw fresh raves.


Etsy crafter It’s everything I love about Etsy: Recycling-savvy, trendy and cheeky, Marlene Stidham of Island Girlz Jewelry taps into my pleasure center and runs amok. A onewoman production, she specializes in staying on top of the latest and greatest trends in pop culture through her line of jewelry, keychains, bags and accessories. Want to rock a Justin Beiber charm bracelet? Don’t have your Dumbledore’s Army key chain yet? Or maybe you never lost your rabid devotion for Elvis. Whatever your bliss, Marlene’s got you covered. Using recycled objects from thrift stores or scrap heaps, Stidham makes over-the-top bling from Scrabble tiles, rubber tires, cigar boxes, soda cans, paper bags and more unlikely bits. She calls it “Fashion with a Conscience,” and being green never looked so good. Putting her money where her mouth is, she’s also led multiple fundraisers for environmental causes. Additionally, she’s an active leader in the Vegas Etsy team, Handmade in Vegas (disclosure: I’m team captain), and is quick to share her advice and enthusiasm for greener living. — Sarah Flake She should know: Sarah Flake is the creator of an abnormal plush toy line called Flaky Friends ( and is also the captain of Vegas’ first and only Etsy team, Handmade in Vegas, which incorporates more than 250 local Etsy sellers.

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Political activist Little more than two years ago, Derek Washington was an unknown. Then the ReviewJournal minted a star with its front-page feature chronicling the openly gay, HIV-positive black man’s struggle to afford his trip to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, for which he had been elected a Hillary Clinton delegate. He got to go and returned to help Obama win, but Election Night brought a confusing mélange of glee and devastation when Obama’s triumph was sullied by the passage in California of Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. By early 2009, Washington took control of Stonewall Democrats, a heretofore sleepy gay group

best known in Nevada for hosting genteel meet-andgreet coffees with legislators and candidates. Under Derek, it started doing what real activist groups do: agitate and organize. Derek’s assets can also be his liabilities — he’s frequently combative, persistent, irritating, vainglorious and inappropriate — but he’s undeniably effective. Proof? How about the astonishing, improbable fact that U.S. Sen. John Ensign was one of eight GOP senators to vote for repeal of the ban on gays serving opening in the military? We don’t know what specifically pushed Ensign to favor repeal, but most Vegas progressives — and pundits! — figured it was a waste of time to even try him. Washington and his posse called and visited Ensign’s offices incessantly leading up to the vote. Perhaps they succeeded because they didn’t know they should have failed. — Steve Friess

Place to take your kids and maintain your hipster dad cred You love your wife. But when she comes at you with, “Let’s take the kids to Springs Preserve today!” for, like, the hundredth time, don’t you want to reclaim your ecologically insensitive testes? Also, what if you need to hit Lowe’s and only have a small window of opportunity for entertaining the little beasts? One place that’s fun, free (to look) and won’t take all afternoon is La Joya Auto Sales at 2520 Fremont St. just off Charleston. The lot is a slice of muscle car heaven, from the 1972 Dodge Challenger (swap stick) to the 1968 Plymouth GTX (power disc brakes). La Joya proprietor Rick is a cool dude. Ask him nicely and he may

Who’s the valley’s best unsung bureaucrat? Bonus Former Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury knows. Read his pick at

M A R L E N E S T ID H A M an d D E R E K WA S H I N G TO N : C H R I S TO P H E R S M I T H

People+Places+ Community

Activist Derek Washington instigates and agitates.

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The Southwest Gas building is noble in its understatement.


Las Vegas has two worlds of architecture: global glitz and glamour on one side, and on the other side, a search for identity. You see expressions of that search here and there: The simply stated concrete masonry unit homes along St. Louis Avenue, the old SIIS building on Shadow Lane, the original Life Science building at UNLV and the Springs Preserve. What these projects share is a search for materials that weather the desert environment. One of the city’s best examples of this is the Southwest Gas building. Earthy, understated and even noble, it’s a collage of buildings along Spring Mountain Road that respects the street. Landscape and buildings front the road. Parking is ushered for the most part to the back of the property, out of sight. Buildings cluster around an elegant courtyard, well-done in form and with a simplicity of plant materials. Large overhangs help screen direct sun, but enable filtered light to reach into the core of the buildings. Materials are meant to withstand the extremes of our desert climate, but — again — simple in contrast to the overexuberance of many of today’s structures. Masonry and weathered steel suggest a structure that’s aged well in this environment. Built in 1974, it is a building we expect to survive both the economic wake and the test of time. It is an elegant structure long forgotten in design circles, but one we should re-evaluate as we discuss how Las Vegas should progress. — Eric Strain 5241 West Spring Mountain Road He should know: Architect Eric Strain is principal of Refinery Celbrity Studio. Assemblage Boutique

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let you indulge your inner gearhead by test-driving a gas-guzzler around the block with your kids bouncing around in the backseat … you know, like kids used to. That’s not exhaust you smell; it’s the odor of reinstated masculinity. Or maybe your toddlers need a bath? Whatever. Just don’t forget Lowe’s. — Jarret Keene La Joya Auto Sales, 2520 Fremont St.

Beat reporter It’s hard to imagine how the Las Vegas Sun would fill its front pages without the indefatigable Liz Benston, whose byline sometimes appears as often as five times a week out front with textured, insightful looks not just at how the gaming business works, but also how real people perceive and

interact with it. She seems to spend a lot of time talking to tourists and resort workers as well as to gaming executives, and the stories she comes back with — about everything from problematic pedestrian flows at Aria to the drama over tip-sharing — are as enlightening as they are wellwritten. Also, Benston clearly has a touch of the geek gene, what with her constant attention to developments in mobile gaming and social media. — S.F. (Disclosure: Steve Friess writes a column for the Las Vegas Weekly, which is owned by Greenspun Media, publishers of the Las Vegas Sun.)

Facebook friend Is there a more fragmented, up-for-grabs Best Of category than this? No. You



into politics? Send a friend request to ace pundit Steve Sebelius or join Jon Ralston’s fan page. Love nightlife? Look up Sammy Aguilar. Culture? Local artists galore on Facebook. But here’s my pick: local curator Brian Paco Alvarez. First, he’s indefatigable. Dude reads widely, posts frequently, and in many areas: politics, culture, social life, and with a curator’s eye for what matters. He’s often one of the first to pick up Vegas-related tremors in other places — it was from him, for example, that many of us first learned that Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn had attacked the Neon Museum. And second, he operates out of a deep love for Las Vegas, which means that he celebrates or is outraged in all the right ways. As of this writing he has 1,436 friends — plenty of room for you. — S.D. Paco.Alvarez

Voice of reason Transparency alert: ReviewJournal columnist Geoff Schumacher is my friend. While that may call his judgment into question, your faith in his worthiness as our Voice of Reason will be restored immediately upon reading his Friday columns. Week after week, in one of the most rightlurching op-ed sections in America, Schumacher patiently stakes out positions that some R-J readers think are flagrantly liberal but which, upon actual reading, are usually pragmaticcentrist, with a modest leftward tilt. Context is vital, of course — there are times when Barry Goldwater would seem centrist amid the government-haters, climate-change deniers and other flat-earthers who often decorate the section. But while

Schumacher does function as the R-J’s token liberal, his is really a post-ideological instinct for the middle ground, the workable consensus, the humane solution. All of which makes him a necessary counterbalance on the state’s largest opinion platform. If only he had better taste in friends. — S.D.

Place to eavesdrop Here’s the thing about great places to eavesdrop: You don’t go there to eavesdrop. I mean, you’re not some kind of creep, are you? So there has to be a good reason you’re there. For quality listening-in, the setting should be intimate, confined, which is why excellent peoplewatching spots rarely suffice. A restaurant, then. One with tight quarters. Casual, too, so the other diners are easygoing and talkative. Best place I know: The Omelet House downtown. Small, closely packed, serving a very diverse clientele. Last time I was there, the two guys behind me talked in great detail about an FBI raid on a hospital. (Which hospital? I dunno, they didn’t say.) The old couple to my left talked sadly and frankly about his illness. See, breakfast is a great leveler — almost everyone eats it, so the line to get in on a Saturday morning is a mix of culture, class and wildly varying status. (A friend and I once wracked our brains trying, unsuccessfully, to identify what we believed to be a hip-hop artist we should’ve recognized.) They’ll serve up generous portions of their lives — if you can tear your attention away from the delicious omelets. — S.D. 2160 W. Charleston Blvd., 384-6868,

the city’s best neighborhood? Read two Bonus What’s different takes at

Natives NEWBIES Best Hangout James P. Reza The Newsroom. Enigma Cafe. Espresso Roma. Cafe Rainbow. Copioh. All lost coffeehouses, each a critical component of the Las Vegas cultural scene. Like Macy’s (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Swami’s (Encinitas, Calif.), good Vegas cafes were native CRED: Writer James P. Reza concocts his very own organic representations of local Spring Fever Fizz, in memory of culture, places where bumper Enigma’s Julie Brewer, every spring. stickers and bulletin boards were as vital to the experience as the food. Such cafes are a rarity today, when personality and localism are often shunned in exchange for calculated sterility. In steps The Beat to reintroduce the free-spirited cafe to Las Vegas, embellishing it with a quality food menu born of passion. Like all good cafes, The Beat fosters comfortable familiarity on both sides of the counter, welcoming a cadre of students, creative spirits, adventurous attorneys, and off-center office drones, all downtown denizens with stories to share. And because it’s also the “kitchen table” of the Emergency Arts collective, interesting people are always coming and going. Like Margaret Cho. Or NPR’s own Liane Hansen. True story. The Beat is the kind of place that sprouts naturally to nurture an urban population in need of a gathering spot. As such, it is instantly familiar and comforting to anyone who has a favorite cafe “back home,” even if that home was Las Vegas circa 1993. 520 Fremont St., 300-6268, steven mason Lots of coffeehouses drink so deeply from the anti-Starbucks vibe that they’ve become caricatures of anti-corporatism. Fair trade? Check. Organic? Double check. Che Guevara posters? Venti check. So whether you’re traipsing around Greenwich Village or San Francisco’s SoMa district, finding a coffeehouse that creates an oeuvre and owns it — instead of proffering over-roasted coffee and overpriced imitations of food — is next to impossible. But that’s all because you’re not looking right here in Las newbie CRED: Steven Vegas (Boca Park, to be Mason, brand strategist, ADHD exact), where Sambalatte connoisseur, and megadose serves world-class java for consumer of caffeine, has lived in Las Vegas for 15 months. the true enthusiast, freshly roasted, ground and brewed (French press, vacuum brew, chemex, aero press or single brew), not to mention tea, foodie salads, pastries flown in from Paris and palate-cleansing gelatos. All in an open, two-story space populated with communal teak tables, giving you plenty of room for the impromptu business meeting, understated art of the pickup, or just the opportunity to spread out with books, magazines and laptops. There’s also live Latin and jazz music on many nights, unobtrusive but substantive music the rest of the time, and an eclectic mix of cool, personable coffee-lovers (as customers, baristas and servers). When it comes time for my dictionary, Sambalatte has got first dibs on the word “oasis.” 750 S. Rampart Blvd. Suite 9, 272-2333,

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Best Historic building Brian Paco Alvarez: One of the finest examples of Mayan Revival or Mayan Art Deco architecture in the American Southwest, the original Las Vegas High School downtown is the city’s best historic building. Taking clues from pre-Columbian Mayan culture and Art Deco, the main building that faces Seventh Street is beautifully adorned with Native cred: As curator of intricate friezes depicting figures, flora and fauna. the Las Vegas New Bureau, Brian But the company the school keeps only enhances its beauty. Paco Alvarez is steeped in history The elegant three-story building stands in stark contrast to every day in the form of millions of classic Las Vegas images. its surroundings of small houses and modern office buildings. Originally opened in 1931, the school and surrounding neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the school is the home of the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts, a magnet school of the Clark County School District. Hopefully this building that forms future artists instills them with a respect for our valley’s past. 315 S. Seventh Street

Martin Treinen: After three years in Las Vegas, I’m still discovering the community’s treasures. One unlikely discovery is on the Strip itself, north of the Encore. Set back from the street, obscured by landscaping and strip smalls, is the Guardian Angel Cathedral. Unless you’re a visiting Roman Catholic searching for a place to worship, you might never discover this gem in the desert — there are no 20-story signs calling out to announce this simple, easily overlooked building out of the ’60s. But a closer inspection reveals not just a building, but an entire experience designed by renowned architect Paul Williams with artwork by Edith and Isabel Piczek. A main component of the Guardian Angel Cathedral experience is the generous exterior mosaic, and the numerous stained glass windows and murals in the interior. The style is “Mystical Realism,” which I would describe as El Greco meets Mary Blair. The visual language is made up of angular sections and elongated forms of sharp planes filled with intense color, many in colored tiles and stained glass. These are colors that can only be experienced as light filtering through Newbie cred: Transplant panes of colored glass — modeled, bubbled, rough, etched and Martin Treinen is a designer and stained. artist who has worked for the This remarkable architectural collaboration can only be felt in Wynn, Encore and Mandarin Oriental. person. When I enter the space, I’m transported off the Strip to a place of repose. The Guardian Angel Cathedral is so wonderfully envisioned, designed and constructed to create a totally unique place in Vegas — and a wholly unlikely one on the Strip: a space created for reflection. 302 Cathedral Way, 735-5241

Best green initiative First, let me pummel you with some numbers: Organic waste — everything from your leftover Hot Pocket to your lawn clippings — takes up about 26 percent of a typical landfill, second only to paper. It smells for a reason: Organic material slowly decomposes in a landfill through anaerobic processes (i.e., without oxygen) to create methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Thankfully, recycling efforts in Las Vegas have reached a new level with the continued growth of A-1 Organics Nevada. Since its launch in 1974, the Coloradobased company has diverted about 8,000,000 cubic yards of green waste from the landfill. After branching out further west, A-1 Organics Nevada began accepting Southern Nevada’s green waste in 2006 and food waste in 2009. Since then, numerous hotel-casinos, grocery stores and landscapers have hopped on the mulch

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wagon, providing A-1 with material. Since 2009, they’ve turned 120,000 cubic yards of Southern Nevada’s green waste into a high-grade of compost and mulch. (Plug: At UNLV, we’ve diverted more than 100 tons of food waste and about 850 cubic yards of landscape waste to A-1 Organics in 2010). A-1’s recycling system isn’t just good for the earth — it’s, well, good for the actual earth. Their products improve the health and structure of the soil, boost

drought resistance, and shrink or eliminate the need for supplemental water, fertilizer or pesticides. People talk about closed loop recycling and sustainability, but A-1 Organics has achieved it. — Tara Pike

New architect to watch “If you want to have a design office, open that office in Los Angeles or New York.” That’s the advice I received 15 years ago. Building an architectural craft shaped on design developed from within our own community seemed like wishful thinking, and at times it still does. Architecture has long been regarded as an elderly gentlemen’s profession where plum commissions are reserved for men of distinction — or, in layman’s terms, men with white hair. But as we emerge from this economic pause, can’t we turn to new ideas and new voices? UNLV’s School of Architecture has started producing the next generation of voices worth listening to: Drew Gregory, Glen Curry, Clemete Cicoria, Vince Novak and Dan Chenin. In the meantime, another voice has entered the discussion. Educated at UCLA, Jason Strodl has returned to Las Vegas and decided, against all odds, to start up his practice during these troubling times. He’s experimenting with recreating the idea of home, offering alternatives for redoing and remaking what we’ve long thought a residence should be. His voice should be encouraged, amplified and added to the chorus we need to listen to as we remake Las Vegas into the community it should be, the community it can be. — E.S.

J A S O N S T R O D L : C H R I S TO P H E R S M I T H


Starting an architecture practice in this economy? Jason Strodl dared to care about helping reshape the community.

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Splendor in the Glass

Enjoy the taste of 65 wineries and breweries, live wine auction, silent auction and jazz quartet.

Las Vegas Hilton Hilton Center Saturday, February 12, 2011 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. $65 Advance Reservation • $80 at the Door T i c k e t s Av a i l a b l e a t : Lee’s Discount Liquor, Whole Foods Market, Total Wine, Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Vegas PBS or Fo r M o re I n fo r m a t i o n Guest Appearance call 799-1010 ext.5361 by Chef Hubert Keller Sponsors Community Patron: MaryKaye Cashman Bordeaux: Findlay Toyota Chardonnay: Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, NV Energy and Wells Fargo Aperitif: JMA Architectural Studio Printing Courtesy of Southwest Gas Corporation • Special Thanks to CenturyLink To B e n e f i t

Lee’s Discount Liquor

Total Wine & More

TICKETS for 22nd Annual Wine and Beer Tasting

I want to support Vegas PBS’s benefit wine tasting:


Number of tickets


I cannot attend. Please accept my contribution of $ … Check enclosed. Make checks payable to Southern Nevada Public Television. Please charge my credit card. … Amex … Visa … Mastercard … Discover








at $65 each = total of $




Tickets will be mailed to above address for orders received before February 1. Mail to: Vegas PBS, 3050 E. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89121 or Fax to (702) 799-2954. Visit us at /Winetasting *Must be 21 years of age or older to attend.


A rt

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

Music T h e at r e Dance FA M I LY



Here’s one reason to be grateful for America’s obsession with youth, stimulation, change, pizzazz and all that sort of newfangled humbuggery you mouthy whippersnappers will live to regret: It’s part of what made 17-year-old British composer/conductor prodigy Alexander Prior choose to pursue his musical career in America — in other words, he finds the Brits kind of stuffy. He performs in a special Valentine’s concert with the Las Vegas Philharmonic 8 p.m. Feb. 12 at UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall. Tickets: $35-$75. Info: 895-2787


Southern Nevada is a diverse community, but you’d be surprised to learn how that cultural diversity isn’t a recent phenomenon, but rather a constant thread running through our history. Celebrate the contributions of African-Americans to local history and culture at the Black History Festival 11 a.m. Feb. 19 at the Springs Preserve. Tickets $3-$5. Info:

Alexander Prior


In the beginning, there was rockabilly. Then along came a malignant entity known as the marketing department, which created electrobilly, psychobilly, motobilly and even billobilly, which is two rockabilly bands playing at once. The trends faded, the fads passed, and the only rockabilly band left in the world is celebrating by playing Vegas: Reverend Horton Heat performs 9 p.m. Feb. 4 at the House of Blues. Tickets $29.60. Info:


311 got its name because it blends hip-hop, punk, reggae, funk and 307 other kinds of music into its intoxicating blend of diverse, but most certainly finite and countable, musical influences. They play 9 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Joint by Rogue in the Hard Rock Hotel. Info: www.

The photos of Clay Heximer and others are featured in “Decade.”


It seems like only yesterday that downtown’s mascot was a talking armpit attached to a homeless man. Today, it’s a martini in skinny jeans. The exhibit “Decade” explores downtown’s evolution over the past 10 years. It shows through March 13 at the Historic Fifth Street School Gallery. Info: 229-1012

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ART First Friday Feb. 4, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. The Arts District’s monthly cultural event features artists, music and more in a street festival atmosphere. $2 suggested donation. 384-0092,

Emergy Through Feb. 17. Maria Michails’ interactive exhibit aims to inspire awareness and a renewed respect for water and energy in our arid desert region. Charleston Heights Art Center

The Flashlight Turns 30 Through Feb. 26, with a reception Feb. 18. Artists exhibit works that respond to Claes Oldenburg’s “Flashlight,” showcasing art that makes monumental pieces out of common objects. UNLV’s Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery

Poem Cycle Feb. 25-May 14. New work by artist and art professor Dan Scott will explore unique investigations of the traditional still-life genre. Charleston Heights Art Center

Be the Man You Want to Marry Through March 11, with an artist reception Feb 3, 6 p.m. Danielle Kelly’s art ensures that viewers have no idea what to expect as her work evolves from abstract to frightening and crude to precise and modern. Clark County Government Center Rotunda

Life & Times Through Feb. 26. Two longtime local photographers, Diane Bush and Curtis Joe Walker, showcase people and places juxtaposed between the present and 35 years ago. Brett Wesley Gallery, 1112 S. Casino Center Blvd., 433-4433,

Time for a Hundred Visions Through March 12. Young upcoming artists Abraham Abebe and Lance Smith showcase their paintings. Left of Center Art Gallery, 2207 W. Gowan Road, 6477378,

Decade Through March 13. Curator Erin Stellmon exhibits the last decade of change in downtown Las Vegas through photographs. Historic Fifth Street School Gallery

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Getting Close to the Event Horizon

Year of the Rabbit

Cubism Juxtaposed

Through March 20. Artist Andreana Donahue explores ideas of the impermanence of place through sculptural hand-cut paper installations that relate to forms found in non-desert landscapes. Winchester Center Cultural Gallery

Feb. 3-April 15. Numerous artists from a variety of different cultural backgrounds present their versions of Chinese New Year in celebration of the year of the rabbit. Bridge Gallery, City Hall

Through April 30. Nigerian native Day Adelaja has won numerous awards for his Summerlin floats, oil paintings and exploration of cubism. West Las Vegas Arts Center Community Gallery

MUSIC Reverend Horton Heat Feb. 4, 9 p.m. You’ll be “Laughin’ & Cryin’” with this venerable trio’s psychobilly freakout. With special guests Luis and the Wildfires. $29.60, House of Blues

Buzzworthy art

What does rocker Nick Cave’s intriguing “Soundsuit” piece have in common with the glass of sparkling Rosa Regale you’re swirling in your glass? Sip, savor and listen as Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Director Tarissa Tiberti and Wine Director Jason Smith explain the connection as part of the gallery’s “Art & Wine: A Perfect Pairing” events. The gatherings pair wine-tastings and gallery crawls into an evening that’s buzzworthy in more than one sense. The latest installments take place 5 p.m. Feb. 9 and March 9 at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. (And if you’re still fuzzy on the Cave/wine connection, you can ask Cave yourself when he guest lectures at the gallery Feb. 25.) Tickets to individual “Perfect Pairing” events are $30 for gallery members, $38 for non-members. Info: 693-7871

Firenze Sextet Feb. 5, 2 p.m. Six of Nevada’s finest female string players present Schubert and Brahms: Rebecca Ramsey and Gerri Thompson on violin; Hanna Suk and Tiana Harjo on viola; Moonlight Tran and Lindsey Springer on cello. $7-$10, Winchester Cultural Center

George Strait

One of Nick Cave’s

Nick Cave’s



Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m. Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack also appear in this country concert that emphasizes per-

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Take a peek at what we can do for your event:

Expect the best.

formance over props or pyrotechnics. $73.50-$125. MGM Grand Garden Arena

Connoisseur Cabaret Event Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy an intimate setting at a private residence while being entertained by Maestro David Itkin on piano, accompanied by “Phantom” star Kristen Hertzenberg. Tickets $125 through the Las Vegas Philharmonic at 258.5438 ext. 221

Dos Tenores y una Rosa Feb. 12, 7 p.m. Two Tenors (Marco Antonio Varela and Antonio Esclapes) and a Rose (soprano Betsy Ann Fiore) sing a tribute to St. Valentine, through songs in English and arias in Italian and Spanish. $10-12, Winchester Cultural Center

Las Vegas Philharmonic Masterworks: Rising Star Feb. 12, 8 p.m. Britain’s teenage phenom composer and conductor Alexander Prior leads the Las Vegas Philharmonic in a Valentine’s concert. $35-$75, UNLV’s Artemus Ham Concert Hall

UNLV Symphony Orchestra Concert IV Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. UNLV’s Music Department presents selections by Debussy, Penderecki and Ravel. $8-$10, UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall

Downtown Cultural Series Trinkle Brass Works Concert Feb. 18, noon-1 p.m. The Trinkle Brass Works presents South American Tango and European Jazz. Free, Lloyd D. George U. S. Federal Courthouse Jury Assembly Room

311 Feb. 19, 9 p.m. The celebrated troupe that blends hip-hop, punk, reggae and funk performs after an extended hiatus. Tickets TBA. The Joint by Rogue in the Hard Rock Hotel

Wynton Marsalis & The Jazz Orchestra at Lincoln Center Feb. 19, 8 p.m. Wynton Marsalis brings his Manhattan big band to Las Vegas. $45$90. UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall

Mother McKenzie, A Young Originals concert Feb. 25, 7 p.m. Wyatt McKenzie writes the songs, sings and plays guitar, backed by Tsvetelina Stefanova, piano; James


That’s not an odd question, coming from a hospital. The answer to that is our reason for being. And we’re here for you in ways that should make you proud.

A s S o u t h e r n N e v a d a’s o n l y p u b l i c h o s p i t a l, we ex i s t b e c a u s e o f yo u . We exist for you. Your neighbors are under our care, and because of you, we can provide some of the best care in Nevada. We have the only Level I Trauma Center in the state. It serves not only Southern Nevada, but also par ts of California, Utah and Arizona. It’s staffed around the clock with highly skilled specialists, all to get a patient to surger y in less than five minutes. Our Trauma Center treats about 30,000 patients every year, and our survival rates are some of the best in the nation. In 19 6 8, we op e ne d the L ion s Bur n Care Center. This, too, is the only one of its k in d in N evada , with the onl y hyperbaric chamber of its kind west of the Mississippi. This chamber delivers high concentrations of oxygen to the bloodstream, helping stubborn wounds h e a l f a s te r w h i l e c u t t i n g d ow n t h e chance of infection, making it effective for more than just burns. We treated nearly 1,000 people there last year.

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d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 59

Every month

over half of all


use public media And the other half also benefit from the availability of high quality programming, access to educational services and online resources. If you seek out high quality news and information you can rely on public media. If you care about the performing arts you have a champion in public media. If you care about diversifying our economy, know we partner with local businesses to reinvest right here in Southern Nevada, from start-ups to the largest corporations. Together we work to make the kind of community we all hope for a reality. We are your local public media. Some in Congress want to eliminate the annual Federal support that comes to local stations. One of America’s most trusted partnerships would be permanently weakened if this effort succeeds.

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Adams, guitar; and Andrew Yeghiazarian, cello. Poet Kris Krainock opens. $5, Winchester Cultural Center

DANCE “Chopiniana” and “Romeo and Juliet” Feb. 3, 8 p.m. Elite dancers from the Russian National Ballet perform stylized and dynamic interpretations of these two classics. $35-$70, UNLV’s Artemus Ham Concert Hall


The Little Prince

Erotic Shakespeare: Twelfth Night Feb. 4-5, 11-12. Insurgo Theater offers its unique take on one of the Bard’s classic plays. Erotic Heritage Museum, 3275 Industrial Road, 369-6442

Feb. 12-March 5. This stage adaptation follows a traveler stranded far from humanity who happens upon a young alien prince who helps him learn to love again. For all ages. Insurgo’s Bastard Theater

Lonely Planet

Spring One-Act Play Festival

Feb. 3-5, 8 p.m.; Feb. 6, 2 p.m. A funny and touching play about the relationship between two eccentric friends. $14-$15, Las Vegas Little Theatre

Feb. 16-19, 8 p.m.; Feb. 20, 2 p.m. UNLV’s Theatre Department presents its annual bash with lots of plays for short attention spans. $7.50, UNLV’s Paul Harris Theatre

The Fantasticks

Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them

St. Valentine’s Dance Feb. 12, 7p.m. The Gene White Octet provides music for a Big Band dance, including tunes made famous by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. Swing Patrol adds four-part harmonies. $10-$12, Charleston Heights Arts Center

Ballet Folklorico Izel Showcase Feb. 26, 7 p.m. Traditional Mexican folk dances by this group founded in Las Vegas by director Roman Lizaloa. $5, free for children 5 and younger. East Las Vegas Community/Senior Center Lobby

Feb. 3-5, 8 p.m.; Feb. 6, 2 p.m. This offBroadway classic is about teens falling in love — despite their parents being all for it. $17-$30, UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theater

Macbeth Feb. 4, 8 p.m., Feb. 5, 2 p.m. In conjunction with CSN’s annual SchoolFest, the Utah Shakespeare Festival Touring Company performs Shakespeare’s popular tragedy. $10-$12, CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, Cheyenne Campus

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Feb. 18, 19, 25 and 26, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 20 and 27, 2 p.m. The Department of Fine Arts at CSN presents a hilarious and disturbing comedy about all-American violence by Christopher Durang, directed by Ernest Hemmings. $10 - $12. BackStage Theatre, Cheyenne Campus

Listen Feb. 25-March 12 A play about love, cancer and the problem with Radiohead. Insurgo’s Bastard Theater

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FAMILY EVENTS Sagebrush Stories Feb. 4-5 and 10-12, 7 p.m.; Feb. 6 and 1213, 2 p.m. The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre presents enthusiastic musical tales of Old Nevada history and how the West was won. $3-$7, Reed Whipple Cultural Center

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new interactive exhibit that includes walk-through dioramas and specimens. Discover how humans can help preserve fragile worlds without light. Included with general admission; free for members. The Origen Experience at Springs Preserve


Wings Over the Springs

7th Annual Dam Short Film Festival

Saturdays and Sundays in Feb., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Audiences can get up close and personal with majestic birds of prey and explore the role they play in sustaining our environment. Included with general admission; free for members. Springs Preserve

Feb. 9-12. This celebrated annual festival of short films takes place in Boulder City’s historic Boulder Theatre, and includes panels and discussions with filmmakers. Tickets $6-$12. Info: www.

In the Dark Feb. 5–May 15, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Explore caves, the depths of the sea, a nighttime swamp and other mysteries in this

LECTURES, READINGS AND PANELS The Southern Paiute: A Portrait Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m. Writer Logan Hebner and photographer Michael Plyler

VENUE GUIDE Bridge Gallery On the second floor of City Hall and along the breezeway connecting City Hall to the Stewart Avenue parking garage. 400 E. Stewart Ave. CENTERpiece Gallery In CityCenter 3720 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 736-8790, Charleston Heights Arts Center 800 S. Brush St., 229-6383 Clark County Government Center 500 Grand Central Parkway, 455-8239 College of Southern Nevada BackStage Theater, Nicholas J. Horn Theater, Recital Hall, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., North Las Vegas, 6515483, Historic Fifth Street School 401 S. Fourth St., 229-6469 House of Blues Inside Mandalay Bay 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.,

“Getting Close to the Event Horizon,” paper works by Andreana Donahue, is on exhibit at the Winchester Center Gallery through March 20.

Insurgo’s Bastard Theater 900 E. Karen Ave. D114, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Centennial Hills, Clark County, Enterprise, Rainbow, Sahara West, Summerlin, Sunrise, West Charleston and Whitney libraries, 734READ, MGM Grand Garden Arena In the MGM Grand 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., The Orleans Showroom Inside The Orleans 4500 W. Tropicana Ave.,

Reed Whipple Cultural Center 821 Las Vegas Blvd. N., 229-1012 The Springs Preserve 333 S. Valley View Blvd., 822-7700, UNLV Artemus Ham Hall, Judy Bayley Theater, Beam Music Center Recital Hall, Barrick Museum Auditorium, Black Box Theater, Greenspun Hall Auditorium, Paul Harris Theater, Student Union Theatre. 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, 895-2787, Winchester Cultural Center 3130 S. McLeod Dr. 455-7340

interviewed 30 Southern Paiute elders from across their homelands to reveal ancient myths as well as discussions of contemporary political issues. Free, UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Time Banking: Strengthening Community through Reciprocity Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. Prof. Edgar S. Cahn draws from his book, “No More ThrowAway People: The Co-Production Imperative,” to suggests ways to create a non-market economy. Free, UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Education in the Developing World: Helping to Solve the World’s Big Problems? Feb. 10, 5:30 p.m. Rebecca Winthrop of Center for Universal Education discusses how education can and cannot help address climate change, global security and global health. A Brookings Mountain West lecture. Free, UNLV’s Greenspun Hall Auditorium

Climate Change and Development Feb. 15, 5:30 p.m. Katherine Sierra discusses how the least developed countries are not responsible for global climate change, yet will suffer most from its impact. A Brookings Mountain West lecture. Free, UNLV’s Greenspun Hall Auditorium

Nigeria and celebrated international visual artist whose murals and sculptures decorate public walls in West Las Vegas. This reception will honor him in conjunction with Black History Month. Free, West Las Vegas Arts Center

Blake and Anthony “Sachmo” Brady. $25 includes a reception and award presentation. Additional performances Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 27, 2 p.m., $10$15. Nicholas J. Horn Theatre at CSN’s Cheyenne Campus

“Claudine”, starring Diahann Carroll

Black History Month Festival

Feb. 12, 3 p.m. Discuss the movie’s music soundtrack production with entertainer Merald “Bubba” Knight of Gladys Knight & The Pips and UNLV professor Nate Bynum. A reception follows with light refreshments. The same event repeats on Feb. 27, 2.p.m., preceded by a screening of the film. Free, West Las Vegas Library Meeting Rooms A&B

Feb. 19, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Commemorating the contributions of African-Americans to Southern Nevada’s history and culture, the second Black History Month Festival will be celebrated at the Springs Preserve. $3-$5, Springs Preserve

3rd Hands Across the Arts Benefit: The Music of Duke Ellington and Count Basie Feb. 25, 6 p.m.Directed by Walter Mason and presented by The Ira Aldridge Theatre Company, featuring the Jimmie Wilkins New Life Orchestra, the West Side Las Vegas Performing Ensemble, The Soprano Sisters, tap dancer Lindell

AWARD CEREMONIES The 8th Annual Nevada Entertainer/ Artist Hall of Fame Feb. 24, 6 p.m. Tribute to Tony Curtis; induction of The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre, Danny Gans, and Roger Thomas. The inaugural Dean’s Medal will be presented to Tom Schoeman. $60 tickets include cocktails, silent auction, dinner, ceremony, and performances. College of Fine Arts & Performing Arts Center Ballroom of the UNLV Student Union

North Korea: the Politics of Succession in a Nuclear Age Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. Prof. Chung-in Moon poses thought provoking questions for discussion: What factors will facilitate or inhibit a peaceful transition of power to Kim Jung-eun? How will these succession politics affect the North Korean nuclear quagmire? What policy alternatives are available during this period of instability? Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

The Future of American Liberalism Feb. 24, 7p.m. Author Barbara Ehrenreich, editor Lewis Lapham, and novelist Curtis White discuss their views, moderated by political and business journalist Jon Ralston. UNLV’s Beam Music Center Doc Rando Recital Hall

BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENTS Artist Reception Honoring Dayo Adelaja Feb. 12, 2 p.m. Dayo Adelaja is a native of

d e s e r t c o m pa n i o n . c o m 63


Seeking encounter, strings attached Me: Transplant who’s over the fake Vegas. You: over it too. This Valentine’s Day, let’s find the real Vegas together

A by glenn truitt

About me: Tall (well, five-foot-ten; sixfoot-two in the program), dark (okay, artificially tanned with a predisposition towards Tim Burton movies and songs about rain) and ruggedly handsome (maybe harshly cute? reliably non-ugly?), young (okay, youngish) gentleman, new to Las Vegas, seeks single female for an available girlfriend position. (Note: This is distinguished from the “girlfriend experience,” which I first thought was going to be an interesting casino attraction and turned to be something much, much different.) A little more about me: Despite my somewhat pedestrian appearance, I’m somewhat of a rarity. First off, I’m in my 30s (i.e., past the age when I would consider a fitted tank-top something other than underwear, but not yet to the age where I would own a Corvette). I’m not sure where all the other thirtysomethings are hiding in Vegas, but I’m beginning to fear being snatched off the street and bused to a secret building at Nellis where I will be instantly aged 20 years and suddenly abandon grooming any hair that’s not on my head. Other wildly unique characteristics of mine: having a job that doesn’t require a name tag but does require that I have no visible tattoos or piercings and no more than one hair color (notwithstanding those cute little “side grays” that seem to be making me more J. Jonah Jameson than Peter Parker lately); owning only two pairs of white socks (which I wear only to the gym); and not owning any skate shoes. There is only one grown man allowed to wear skate shoes, and I’m not Tony Hawk. I also don’t wear my sunglasses inside, a ball

64 D e s e r t C o m pa n i o n F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1

cap anyplace but a baseball game or anything around my neck that I can’t put in the laundry. All that, and I shave. Regularly. About you: Like any attractive woman who lives in Vegas, you are, of course, “over” the party scene, but you also have something to show for it. And by “something to show for it,” I mean one or fewer of the following: stints in rehab, restraining orders, ex-husbands, children, or bad tattoos. A “bad tattoo” is one that can’t be covered up by both of my hands and what you normally wear out, does not involve anyone’s name (including yours), and does not appear, at any distance, to be a birthmark, scar or horrible disfiguration. You are no longer on a first-name basis with the doormen at every club on the Strip, and there are no photos of you on You don’t list your occupation as “dancer” or “model” if you’re being paid either in cash, tips, comped meals or controlled substances. While you do go to the gym, you don’t do it

with makeup and hoop earrings on. You don’t refer to any Vegas pool as “the beach.” You do not say the phrase “I don’t wait in line” out loud — especially during the day. Your largest monthly expense is “rent” or “mortgage” and not “entertainment,” “clothing” or “car.” You do not refer to winning contests at bars as “income.” Your dog cannot be picked up with one hand, and your purse is not big enough to hide a body in. Your car does not have any of the following words on it: Princess, Roxy, or Jesus. All that, and you shave. Regularly. Is that asking too much? I suppose I’m looking for what we’re all looking for: a partner in crime, a few laughs and someone else who knows that outside of public restrooms, intimate grooming and trips to the drug store, Las Vegas is best experienced when you’re not alone. Attorney Glenn Truitt has been in Las Vegas for 10 months and 86 dates (the last 61 or so with the same lovely lady.)


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Desert Companion - February 2011  
Desert Companion - February 2011  

Your guide to living in Southern Nevada