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February 7-13, 2013

“Vegas is a permissive, unfashionable, commercial town.” – Dave Hickey

“If you have a weakness, Las Vegas will punish you.” – HAl ROTHMAN

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Andy Warhol’s celebrity photos, including Mick Jagger, are unpacked and set to be displayed at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art.

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14 | The LaTesT

Depending on transportation for survival, welcoming another boost for the Ruvo Center and hitting some beneath-the-radar slopes. Plus, Going for Broke, Tweets of the Week and Anthony Curtis’ The Deal.

16 | About Town

How did the Mob Museum fare at the box office in its first year? David G. Schwartz looks at the numbers. Plus, James P. Reza’s Ask a Native takes on those old Vegas standbys: hookers and tipping.

20 | Green Felt Journal

David G. Schwartz goes to Great Britain and finds a gaming culture that’s vibrant—and nothing like our own.

22 | Style

His and hers champagne wishes.

24 | National

The New York Observer on the culture of escort services.

27 | Cover

To celebrate the third anniversary of Vegas Seven, we offer our 100 Things Every Real Las Vegan Should Know—and invite you to add to it.

37 | NIGhTLIFe

Seven Nights, Gossip, questions and answers with Excision, and photos from the week’s hottest parties.

61 | DINING

Max Jacobson on Poppy Den. Plus, Oyster Bar’s Brian Baldwin shares his recipe for gumbo, Dishing and Cocktail Culture.

69 | a&e

“Curatorial Tutorial,” by Steve Bornfeld. A peek inside a gallery director’s job as a major Andy Warhol exhibit opens at Bellagio.

72 | Music

“Scamming the Grammys,” by Deanna Rilling. The curious case of how one talentless musician pulled a Jethro Tull and got an award nomination—and what we can do to stop the madness. Plus, Jarret Keene’s Soundscraper, CD reviews and our concert pages.

76 | Art

“Cultural Entrepreneur,” by Jarret Keene. Zesty public arts administrator Richard Hooker opens a private gallery.

80 | Movies

Bullet to the Head, Warm Bodies and our weekly movie capsules.

Departments

February 7-13, 2013

15 | Seven Days 94 | Seven Questions Photo by Andrew James

“If you have a weakness, Las Vegas will punish you.” – HAl ROTHMAN

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on the cover

Design by Christopher A. Jones.

9 VEGAS SEVEN

12 | Vegas Moment

February. 7-13, 2013

11 | Dialogue “Vegas is a permissive, unfashionable, commercial town.” – Dave Hickey


las Vegas’ weekly City magazine FounDeD February 2010

Publishers

Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger assoCiate Publisher

Michael Skenandore

editorial

eDitorial DireCtor Phil Hagen managing eDitor Greg Blake Miller senior eDitor, nightliFe, Dining anD beVerage Xania Woodman senior writers Geoff Carter, Heidi Kyser assoCiate eDitors Steve Bornfeld, Sean DeFrank, Matt Jacob a&e eDitor Cindi Reed CoPy eDitor Paul Szydelko CalenDar eDitor Deanna Rilling eDitorial assistant Elizabeth Sewell

Contributing editors

Melinda Sheckells, style; Michael Green, politics; Max Jacobson, food; Jarret Keene, music; David G. Schwartz, gaming/hospitality

art

art DireCtor Christopher A. Jones senior graPhiC Designer Marvin Lucas graPhiC Designers Thomas Speak, Jesse Sutherland staFF PhotograPher Anthony Mair, Elizabeth Wolynski

VegasseVen.Com

DireCtor

Danny DeFreitas

DePuty DireCtor Felicia Mello DeVeloPer Billy Steffens eDitor Jason Scavone staFF writer, runrebs.Com Mike Grimala ProDuCer Hayley Sparre

ProduCtion/distribution

DireCtor oF ProDuCtion/Distribution Marc Barrington aDVertising CoorDinator Jimmy Bearse Distribution CoorDinator Jasen Ono

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business DeVeloPment DireCtor Christy Corda senior aCCount manager Nicole Feely aCCount serViCe manager Nicole Bullis aCCount exeCutiVe Robyn Weiss

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Jessica Albano, Camille Cannon, Ashley Gates, Yazmin Kelley, Kaleigh McIlveen, Amanda Pamblanco, Trey Tagliaferri

Wendoh media ComPanies

Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger ViCe PresiDent, Publishing Michael Skenandore ViCe PresiDent, marketing anD eVents Kyle Markman CreatiVe DireCtor Sherwin Yumul

FinanCe

ChieF FinanCial oFFiCer Kevin J. Woodward assistant Controller Donna Nolls general aCCounting manager Erica Carpino

letters and story ideas February. 7-13, 2013

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Copyright 2013 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited. Vegas Seven, 888-792-5877, 3070 West Post Road, Las Vegas, NV 89118


leTTers “His Own Private Hideaway,” the Conversation

Heidi Kyser’s January 31 essay (VegasSeven.com/DTP/Hideaway) on the tension between the Downtown Project’s stated communitarian ideals and its strategy of creating private amenities in traditionally public spheres sparked comments from a number of readers.

The idea that private enterprise is based on restrictions and exclusions is completely contrary to reality. Virtually everything that drives people here is a private enterprise: restaurants, casinos, shows, bars, nightclubs, etc. What do they have in common? They exist to serve their patrons, not to exclude them. I walk past public parks and property every day on my way to Fremont East. I know I’m getting close when the smell of urine and fecal matter becomes overwhelming. The only patrons in the park are homeless people. It is troubling when one views any attempt to set standards for a community park as some sort of exclusionary effort to keep people out. The public sector’s efforts to create parks accessible to all are exclusionary as well. I never find parents or children in these areas. Setting zero barriers to entry created a pretty massive barrier to entry by excluding pretty much everyone but the homeless. The Downtown Project’s “barriers to entry” in the planned dog park have more to do with creating a desirable park for the community

than with creating some type of “wealthy-only” establishment. To the extent that this project pushes the public sector out of providing parks and related services, that would be a wonderful blessing. – Robert Fellner, via VegasSeven.com It makes me so happy to see people stop circle-jerking over the Downtown Project and start to ask real questions about what Tony & Co. are actually doing. – @Symsonic via Twitter All hail King Tony and his Downtown hipster land. Stay tuned for the Fixies-only bike shop, the super-tight jeans store, the pub that only serves PBR, the eyeglass shop with the super-thick black frames. Stay tuned for the cloud of irony and cynicism that will form as this new Downtown takes shape. If you don’t think you’re cool enough to be a part of it you probably aren’t. Cop an attitude and find it all a bit passé, and you’ll fit right in. While we are at it, let’s import some trustafarians. – Gabe Pinkman, via VegasSeven.com

This week@VegasseVen.com The More You Know

Visit VegasSeven.com/100Things and add your nominations for Things Every Real Las Vegan Should Know in the comments section. You can also check out our roundups of famous Las Vegans and the city’s most dramatic celebrity meltdowns—both exclusively online. Plus, watch a reel of film cameos of Hollywood’s favorite Las Vegas hotel.

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February. 7-13, 2013

Hard to believe, but Vegas Seven—your weekly city magazine—has been around three years now. No, we don’t really feel older—still have that don’t-tell-us-itcan’t-be-done audacity of youth. But we do feel wiser. Both qualities might explain this week’s meditation, “100 Things Every Real Las Vegan Should Know.” It may sound a little pushy for a meditation (hey, it is our party), but the point is to provoke a fun, healthy conversation about this town. It started several months ago in a bar, where we invited a tableful of Seven confidantes to discuss this list, including Ginger Bruner, longtime radio personality and cultural sage; Anthony Curtis, who writes The Deal for Seven; and James P. Reza, our “Ask a Native” columnist. It continued with input from Seven’s ever-growing staff and pool of experts, including politics/history writer Michael Green and our DTLV editor, Geoff Carter. This back-and-forth went on and on (and from bar to bar) until we felt we had something to share. Now it’s your turn. Skip the nice anniversary cards, flowers and champagne, and instead, please peruse our 100 Things and tell us what you know about Las Vegas. That’s our idea of a good time. – Phil Hagen

11 ®

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February 7-13, 2013

vegas moment


Goodfellas ď‚ľ Erik Kabik

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa unsheathes a samurai sword as business partner and actor Robert De Niro looks on February 2 during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the first-ever Nobu Hotel, at Caesars Palace. Check out the details on Page 38.

Have you taken a photo that captures the spirit of Las Vegas this week? Share it with us at VegasSeven.com/Moment.


“This is gambling at its most liberated—far more in-your-face than in Nevada.”

Green felt JOurnal {paGe 20}

News, politics, essays and high-class tips

By David G. Schwartz

February. 7-13, 2013

On the surface, transportation to Las Vegas seems to work well enough. Outside of getting tunneled on their way from McCarran International Airport to the Strip, tourists are able to get from point A to point B relatively smoothly. But the apparent seamlessness of what we might call the “transportationhospitality complex” masks its delicate nature. In other words,

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it doesn’t take much to throw the machine out of whack and put the Valley’s economy at risk. Take, for instance, the possibility of a taxi drivers’ strike. This isn’t just academic conjecture, since members of the Industrial Technical Professional Employees Union—which represents drivers at Yellow Checker Star Transportation, the secondlargest taxi operator in town—

[ Science ]

Ruvo centeR takeS nothing foR gRanted The 3-year-old Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is again proving that a stand-alone nonprofit science outfit can thrive in Las Vegas. The center is part of a consortium that recently landed a major research award from the National Institutes of Health. The award could total $55 million over five years, starting with $11 million for 2013, according to the NIH’s division on aging. The money is going to the Alzheimer’s

recently authorized a strike. If drivers were to strike, and YCS didn’t field replacements, about one-quarter of the taxis in Las Vegas would be off the streets. This would lead to longer lines at the airport and casinos. While it wouldn’t break the system, it would certainly strain it. Taxis aren’t the transportation-hospitality complex’s only weak spot. Labor trouble with

union pilots, mechanics or flight attendants could ground flights, choking off the supply of visitors. When you’re turning over your visitor base two or three times a week, any disruption is serious. Labor strife isn’t the only thing that could grind things to a halt. An overturned tractortrailer on Interstate 15 can keep cars out. And after 9/11, when planes were grounded

Disease Cooperative Study consortium to fund four studies on the detection, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s. The Ruvo Center’s portion will depend on its contributions to the studies. As one of 70 research institutions in the consortium, the center will participate in three of the four studies, including one that looks at the potential effects of exercise on cognition and the parts of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s. Another study could lead to prevention of the disease, says Ruvo Center director Jeffrey Cummings. It tests a new drug in people who appear outwardly normal, but whose brain scans show early signs of Alzheimer’s pa-

David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Studies.

thology. Follow-up scans will determine whether the drug has any effect on their cognitive function. Cummings feels a sense of urgency about such treatments. “There are 5.5 million victims of Alzheimer’s in the U.S.,” he says. “If we don’t find a way to treat or prevent this disease, there will be 13 million by 2020, as the population ages and baby boomers move into their risk period.” The NIH grant and studies fall under a national plan to address Alzheimer’s outlined by U.S. Health and Human Services last year. The massive, coordinated effort is meant to find effective prevention and treatment by 2025. – Heidi Kyser

Illustration by Thomas Speak

Rethinking the TransportationHospitality Complex

nationwide, Las Vegas became a veritable ghost town. The city’s isolation makes it a good vacation spot, but also vulnerable: Unlike cities on the East Coast, we don’t have any passenger rail service to pick up the slack. All of which raises the question: Why doesn’t the system have more redundancy? Tourism is Las Vegas’ lifeblood, and if the tourists can’t get into town, or can’t get around once they’ve touched down, the economy will grind to a halt. That’s why it makes sense to look seriously—more seriously than ever before—at alternatives and redundancies in Las Vegas transport. A viable high-speed rail link to Southern California might be one, and taxi alternatives such as Uber Technologies—which hasn’t gotten off the ground in Las Vegas because of regulatory issues—is another. Extending the monorail to the airport and Downtown would ease the reliance on cabs to provide much of the touristtransportation infrastructure. This won’t be cheap, but it’s worth considering. Even mitigating one of the many choke points in the transportation-hospitality complex would, in the event of a crisis, be an economic life-saver. As we learned during the Great Recession, it’s not always a good idea to roll the dice and hope for the best, unless you’ve got a contingency for rolling snake eyes.


By Bob Whitby

Thursday, Feb. 7: The Dam Short Film Festival started Feb. 6 in Boulder City, but we didn’t want you to miss this cultural gem. Through Sunday you can screen dozens of short films (some made right here in Nevada), schmooze with directors and rub elbows with fellow filmaholics, all in the comfort of the charming Boulder Theatre. Visit DamShortFilm.org for schedule and ticket information. Friday, Feb. 8: The Utah Shakespeare

Shakespeare photo by Karl Hugh; Cockroach theatre photo by Ryan Reason

If you should find yourself three hours from Las Vegas, hunting powder and thrills on the slopes of southern Utah (home of “the Greatest Snow on Earth”), I suggest you keep driving. It’s just 30 more minutes to the tiny town of Beaver, then a few miles of gasp-inducing switchbacks. Tucked into the folds of the Tushar Mountains, Eagle Point (SkiEaglePoint.com) is a mediumsize resort spread over two peaks, one with a mix of short, easy and intermediate runs—perfect for warming up or working on technique— and the other almost entirely given over to expert-level, black-diamond runs. On-site owner-operator Shane Gadbaw oversees a happy staff that seems to rejoice in the resort’s remote location—a detail that makes his an all-too-well-kept secret. There is very little cell service or Internet access beyond the Can-

For more on Eagle Point, visit VegasSeven.com/ EaglePoint.

Found MaTerial

What’s in a Name? Depending on where you live in the Valley, your street name could have direct ties to the area—the metal-related street names near the industrial plants in downtown Henderson come to mind—or it could have no significance at all. Odds are, your street name falls under the latter category, especially if your neighborhood was developed during the building boom of the 1990s and early 2000s. A recent story on the New York-based website TheAwl.com examines our Valley’s street names, and how we ended up with such ridiculous locations as Pillow Talk Court, Exotic Plum Avenue and Big Bird Court. This rapid expansion also brought us “Bugsy Siegal Circle,” “Jane Austin Avenue” and “Alfa Romero Avenue,” street names created so quickly that nobody thought to look up the proper spellings of the inspirations behind them. The article is both entertaining and informative—a key source is Clark County historian Mark Hall-Patton, who authored the 2009 book Asphalt Memories, which provides the origins behind many of our street names. Along with neighborhoods that have streets named after Star Wars characters, astronauts and Los Angeles Dodgers players, we also have one with Wall Street-themed names such as Capital Gains Drive and Stock Option Street. Thankfully, it doesn’t include a Foreclosure Lane. Too many of our streets could have been mistaken for that one. – Sean DeFrank Find the link at VegasSeven.com/Found.

saTurday, Feb. 9: It’s Saturday night, and, admit it, you’re really hungry. Belly up to El Cortez’s monthly Vegas StrEats Festival, a food truck, art and music extravaganza in the open air of Fremont East. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. sunday, Feb. 10: You have to love Cock-

roach Theatre’s production Gruesome Playground Injuries for the title alone. This play, about two childhood friends whose lives intersect in odd ways over the course of 30 years, has a lot of promise. And we’re big on small theater. 2 p.m. at Art Square Theatre, 125 S. First St., 483-8844, Flavors.me/ CockroachTheatre.

Monday, Feb. 11: It’s the Year of the Snake, and the Meadows School will greet the Chinese New Year with a traditional dragon parade through the Forum Shops at Caesars. The 120 dancers will be joined by the school’s current and former mayors Goodman, and there’ll be plenty of firecrackers to ward off evil spirits. The parade starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12: As of Feb. 8 the Bellagio

Gallery of Fine Art is the new temporary home for 56 works from Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum. Warhol Out West features some of the pop artist’s most iconic pieces, including, of course, “Double Elvis.” (See story, Page 69.) Through Oct. 27, $13 Nevada residents, Bellagio.com.

Wednesday, Feb. 13: If Valentine’s Day only serves to remind you of that jerk/witch who broke your heart, Goodwill has something you might find cathartic: the Dump Your X’s Stuff donation drive. Think how satisfying it would be to fill your trunk with his/her crap to get it out of your life, for a good cause. Through Feb. 14 at any Goodwill of Southern Nevada. Check SNGoodwill.org for a location near you. For our complete calendar, see Seven Days & Nights at VegasSeven.com.

February. 7-13, 2013

GeTTinG To The PoinT

yonside lodge. It’s silent on the slopes except for the creaking pines, the whirring lifts and the occasional whoop of snowboarders catching air in the terrain park. Most notably, there is no snowmaking at Eagle Point—it’s organic! In fact, most weeks, Eagle Point is open just Thursday through Sunday, allowing the snow to (hopefully) accumulate the rest of the week. (On March 13, the resort opens on a Wednesday, with free lift tickets for Nevadans.) Without the crowds typical of a mega mountain, I found myself taking greater chances on the slopes. But the hairiest moment was not getting stuck on the high-speed quad lift for nearly 10 chilling minutes—as I write this, I’m dangling above the Moki Steps run, occasionally nipping from my flask—but when I finally took on Tushar and Hoodoos, two steep blackdiamonds. I survived them—and I’ll be back soon for more. – Xania Woodman

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[Travel]

Festival is in town again for Schoolfest, an annual effort to demonstrate the magic of live theater to Clark County students. As part of the fest, USF will stage Romeo and Juliet for the public at CSN’s Performing Arts Center. 7:30 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. tomorrow, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., $12, $10 students and seniors, 651-4720, CSN.edu/PAC.


The LaTesT

About toWn

Is there a “Vegas Way” of tipping?

Mobbing the Mob Museum One year later, is Oscar’s dream a box-oáce hit?

February. 7-13, 2013

By David G. Schwartz

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When the Mob Museum opened a year ago, expectations were high. Championed by former mayor and mob lawyer Oscar Goodman, designed by Dennis and Kathleen Barrie—the duo behind Washington, D.C.’s International Spy Museum—and set up in the old Federal Courthouse where the Kefauver Committee hearings took place in 1950, the museum was aiming for more than to be a cozy local institution. Rather, it was tasked with bringing both cultural luster and tourists Downtown. All this in a town that buries museums the way a hit man dumps bodies in the desert. For a long time, the consensus was that people didn’t come to Las Vegas for culture. Then Steve Wynn started showing Manets and Picassos at Bellagio, and the Guggenheim opened two museums at the Venetian. When Wynn opened his namesake hotel in 2005, he displayed some of his personal collection in a public gallery, while Bellagio’s gallery shifted to hosting traveling exhibitions. Fast-forward a few years, and both Guggenheims and Wynn’s gallery were gone. Even a place as unmistakably Vegas as the Liberace Museum closed. It looked as if Las Vegas might not be the best environment for a museum. But the Mob Museum—together with the 2012 openings of The Smith Center and the Neon Museum—signaled a new era for Las Vegas’ cultural institutions, and a

commitment to Downtown. These institutions have deeper local roots, and it seems more likely that they’ll have staying power. That being said, was the Mob Museum a (box-office) hit in its first year? It certainly drew a crowd, attracting about 225,000 visitors. True, the Spy Museum, D.C.’s tribute to spooks, celebrated its 10th year in 2012, and it averages about 600,000 visitors a year. But that’s in Washington where, front-row seats to legislative gridlock aside, there’s not much to do outside of visit museums (the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum notches 8 million visits a year). “By every measure, we’re very pleased with the results,” says Jonathan Ullman, the museum’s CEO and executive director. “For a museum of our size and resources, located where we are, that’s pretty impressive—200,000-plus is a lot of people, for Las Vegas or any city.” Ullman cites an American Alliance of Museums study that put the average attendance for U.S. museums with annual operating budgets over $4 million at 180,000— evidence that the Mob Museum is more than holding its own. One of the museum’s biggest lessons in its first year, Ullman says, was to focus on community outreach. “It took us about four to six months to figure out how to operate as a new museum,” he says. “In the last quarter of last year, we stated to develop new program-

ming as part of our educational mission to bring greater depth to the museum, and also to broaden out to different niche audiences, to give them a reason to come back.” The highest-profile program has been a series featuring speakers such as FBI agent Joaquin “Jack” Garcia, global organized crime expert Mark Galeotti and law professor G. Robert Blakey (who helped to draft the RICO Act that torpedoed many organized crime families). Other special events, like the November 15 Kefauver Day (free admission for Nevada residents to celebrate the anniversary of the Kefauver Committee’s testimony in the third-floor courtroom that is a centerpiece of the museum), helped the museum add members. Now that Downtown is no longer a gritty underdog urb but a generator of local and international buzz, the question is whether the Mob Museum will ride the wave. Will it be a niche curiosity or a must-see for visitors who figure to increasingly come to Downtown to see what all the talk is about? The first boost should be increased foot traffic following the opening of the adjacent Downtown Grand (formerly Lady Luck). If all goes well, the Mob Museum will not only benefit from the Downtown renaissance, but also help drive it. “We see ourselves as having an important role in the Downtown community,” Ullman says. “And we’ll continue to strive to be as accessible to locals as possible.”

Today, scenes such as the one in Casino where Sharon Stone’s sexy scammer deftly slips square-folded bills into the handshakes of everyone she meets are mostly gone. With reserved seating in showrooms paired with imported restaurants treating everyone with the same indifference, greasing has almost disappeared. Mostly, the usual service-industry tipping standards of Los Angeles or New York City apply, with a few Vegas additions. Card dealers get tipped; old-school standard is 10 percent of buy-in, but today it’s more common to tip only when winning (or you can place a side bet for them during winning streaks). Engaging bartenders who wish you luck and never let your drink run dry get 5-10 percent when you hit that royal flush. “Free Valet Parking!” really is free, theoretically, but hand over $2-$5, depending on the venue and your stomach for appearing cheap. That said, Las Vegas has perfected the service economy, and because tipping fuels our larger economic engine (the welltipped server = the well-tipped busser = the well-tipped hairdresser = the well-tipped server), doing it properly usually results in more attentive service. Remember: Tip means “to improve service,” so if the return valet line is long (after a concert), a $10 bill when you present your ticket (to a human, not a barcode scanner) should get you bumped up to “next.” Waitresses in a slammed nightclub will be at your table more quickly and often if you politely introduce yourself when seated, thank them in advance for taking care of the group and show some “love” right off the bat. If you frequent a joint that gives you “buy-backs” (free drinks mixed in with the paid), make sure to reward that largesse when tipping, or next time you may not only miss the comps, but wait longer for the ones you buy. And remember: We’ve seen it all, so don’t be a flashy loudmouth about it. Your attitude is almost as important.

How do you spot a hooker in Vegas?

Dude, don’t you have Internet? The days of the stereotypical Las Vegas streetwalker are over. As recent news stories reveal, e-hooking websites have pretty much taken over the trade and attracted a whole new type of high-class escorts. That leaves public solicitation to those at the very bottom of the prostitution hierarchy. If you want to pay for play, your best bet is to take a limo ride to Pahrump. Remember, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas! (Cough, cough.)

Questions? AskaNative@VegasSeven.com.


CIRCUS OZ

PADDY MOLONEY AND THE CHIEFTAINS

THURSDAY, 2/21 & FRIDAY, 2/22 AT 7:30PM SATURDAY, 2/23 AT 2:00PM & 7:30PM

Ireland’s official music ambassadors perform century-old Irish tunes along with reimagined modern hits to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

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Australia’s national circus bounds into Las Vegas with high-flying stunts, family-friendly hilarity and their own live band.

Tickets starting at $29

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JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA WITH WYNTON MARSALIS THURSDAY, 3/7 AT 7:30PM | Tickets starting at $26

PHOTO BY FRANK STEWART

NEW YORK CITY BALLET MOVES TUESDAY, 3/5 & WEDNESDAY, 3/6 AT 7:30PM Tickets starting at $26

AN EVENING WITH THE YELLOWJACKETS

Friday, 2/15 – 7:00pm | Saturday, 2/16 – 2:00pm & 7:00pm

JUST THE TWO OF US: KEVIN EUBANKS & STANLEY JORDAN Friday, 2/22 – 7:00pm | Saturday, 2/23 – 2:00pm & 7:00pm

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February. 7-13, 2013

the latest

Betting

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Treading Lightly After Another Super Success i’ll say this much about deer-antler spray: It tastes like bile mixed with paint thinner mixed with pigeon droppings, but, man alive, does that shit work! Just a few squirts under the tongue daily, and—voilà!—I produced a 5-2-1 NFL playoff record, capped by the Ravens plus-4 points and the Ravens plus-150 on the money line in Super Bowl XLVII (my third straight winning Super Bowl, for those keeping score). Throw in a 6-3 mark in college basketball two weeks ago, and I’m in the midst of an 11-5-1 run that’s netted more than $800. And then there was the nonfinancial windfall over the past month: Tom Brady and the Patriots go down, Peyton Manning and the Broncos go down, Ray Lewis goes away, Norv Turner gets exiled to Cleveland, Alex Rodriguez (and tangentially the Yankees) get caught up in another performance-enhancing-drug scandal and San Francisco gets denied its world-championship daily double. About the only thing that could’ve made that four-week stretch more enjoyable was if Sports Illustrated had hired me to be a guest body-painter for its upcoming Swimsuit Issue. Unfortunately, in three years on this job, I’ve learned the hard way that what goes up tends to come down. To wit: Exactly one year ago, my bankroll stood at $7,033 after a profitable Giants-Patriots Super Bowl … then came a disastrous college-basketball stretch that lasted through the Final Four. Which is why, for the foreseeable future, I’m going to proceed more cautiously than Manti Te’o on an online dating site. On to my selections for February 9 (note that all point spreads are projected, and all stats are as of February 4) … $88 on Indiana State -7½ vs. Southern Illinois: To answer your question: Yes, I do know the nicknames for both of these schools—Sycamores and Salukis— and, no, I didn’t need to look that up (as far as you know). However, this I will admit to researching: Indiana State has been one of college basketball’s most profitable teams for two months running, going 12-3 against the spread since mid-December (4-1 ATS at home). On the flip side, Southern Illinois has failed to cover in five straight games and nine of its last 12. True, the Salukis’ lone Missouri Valley Conference victory was against Indiana State on January 12 (76-71 as a 1-point favorite). But that

@NickSwardson

In Vegas. Put five dollars on third-quarter power outage. Made 800 billion dollars.

@Puddinstrip

If Travis Bickle took me to see Swedish Marriage Manual on our first date we’d probably still be a couple.

@GuyEndoreKaiser

“Dear Roger Goodell, remember how you fucked our season? Oops, the lights are out.” – New Orleans

@OddsMakerAdam

Honest to God, there is a guy going through the garbage can in the bathroom looking for tickets just in case this gets postponed.

Indiana State and guard Jake Odum are out for revenge against Southern Illinois.

Bankroll: $1,768 LASt WEEK: 2-1 (+$183) NFL PLAyOFFS: 5-2-1 (+$673) COLLEGE BASKEtBALL: 6-3 (+$138) In February 2010, we gave Matt “$7,000” to wager. When he loses it all, we’re going to replace him with a monkey.

just puts the Sycamores—who are 8-1 at home—in a nice revenge spot. There’s also this from the history department: Southern Illinois has failed to win (or cover) in its last three visits to Indiana State, losing the last two by 10 and 15 points. $66 on Miami -8½ vs. North Carolina: Speaking of the Sycamores, they’re one of only three teams this season to take down Miami, which is 17-3 and ranked eighth this week. But that game was played in Honolulu on Christmas Day. This game against the Tar Heels is being played in a different

tropical locale: South Beach, where the Hurricanes are 9-0 straight-up and 7-0 ATS. The last two teams to walk into the BankUnited Center— Florida State and then-top-ranked Duke—walked out humiliated, losing 71-47 and 90-63, respectively. As for North Carolina, let’s just say these aren’t your father’s Tar Heels (hell, they’re not even your older brother’s Tar Heels). A month ago, UNC lost 68-59 to Miami as a 4-point home favorite, part of its 5-3 record in ACC play. The Heels are also 1-3 ATS as an underdog, including an eight-point loss at North Carolina State (which led by 28 midway through the second half), a nine-point loss at Virginia and a 24-point loss at Indiana. $55 on Florida -25 vs. Mississippi State: At this point, betting on second-ranked Florida is as automatic as breathing. Yeah, the Gators didn’t cover a week ago in a 78-64 win over Ole Miss as a 17½-point home favorite—ending an 8-0 ATS run—but they still posted their 10th straight victory, all by double digits. In fact, each of Florida’s 18 wins has been by at least 13 points. What about laying this big of a price? Well, I was hesitant … until remembering the Gators’ 82-47 win at Mississippi State on January 26—part of the Bulldogs’ current six-game losing skid (1-5 ATS).

For the rest of Matt Jacob’s weekend college basketball picks, visit VegasSeven.com/GoingForBroke after 5 p.m. Feb. 8.

@NotJJones

This is the fastest they’ve ever gotten aid over to the Superdome.

@JonaCuff

If you sit next to me on flight to Vegas today please know I’ll quote the movie Swingers the whole way. Sorry, that’s just how I was raised.

@JuliaSegal

For Valentine’s Day, don’t give a woman a box of chocolate then lingerie and expect it to fit.

@EDSBS

That commercial would have been funnier with two men in a shitty horse suit playing the Clydesdale.

@matt_nieto

The Puppy Bowl is all fun and games until one of them gets drafted by Michael Vick.

@BritneySpears

I don’t think so honey. #VivaLasVegas :) RT@ hannahspears Mommy, are dogs allowed to gamble in Vegas? Gonna cash all my bones in for chips.

Share your Tweet. Add #V7.


the latest February. 7-13, 2013

Rules of the (British) Game

VEGAS SEVEN

20

To americans, the British approach to gambling seems paradoxical. Their casinos—limited in size by regulatory fiat—average less than two-dozen table games, mostly roulette, and 20 slot machines. Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, by contrast, average about 100 tables and 2,000 slots. The result is a casino industry that is tiny by American standards. British casinos are far more niche than ones in Las Vegas or other places in the U.S. With a small spread of games, few slot machines and not much to offer outside of gaming, there’s just not much of a reason for a nongambler to spend much time there. It’s the photographic negative of Strip casinos, which seem to be about everything but gambling these days. But take a walk down any major London street, and you’ll run across one or more betting parlors before you reach the end of the block; there are more than 9,000 of them in the U.K.. These storefronts offer the chance to wager on a variety of sports as well as horse racing, and in recent years have come to feature up to four electronic gaming devices, which mostly feature roulette. A few national chains that dominate the betting scene; William Hill, which operates 164 sports-betting locations in Nevada, is one of them. And according to the U.K.’s Gambling Commission, sports betting is flourishing with no obvious ill effects on the population or sport. Betting shops, though, are just the tip of the iceberg. Since 2005, the British have been betting online and on their mobile devices in ways that would boggle even the most jaded Nevadan. There’s actually

something that is best described as a roulette infomercial playing on not-so-late-night TV; it features a live roulette game that players can bet on from home using their mobile phones. That’s right: Roulette on TV; the closest anyone in the U.S. has gotten to that is those Player’s Club commercials from the 1980s starring Telly Savalas. Meanwhile, 12 percent of British betting is done remotely, while U.S. online gaming remains more concept than reality. This is gambling at its most liberated—far more in-your-face than even Nevada, where regulators have only recently approved mobile betting on devices such as Cantor Gaming’s eDeck in hotel rooms. Casinos represent only 15 percent of the U.K. gambling market, compared with 60 percent in the U.S. Betting, chiefly on sports, is 52 percent of the U.K. total. In the U.S., where it’s legal only in Nevada, sports wagering is about one-tenth of one percent of the annual $100 billion spent on gambling. It’s ironic that the form of gambling that most Americans believe is the most beneficial to communities—casino gaming—is stifled in the U.K. by size limits preventing the construction of Las Vegas-style tourist meccas, while sports betting— which the U.S. government treats

as gingerly as toxic waste—is almost universally available for the British. So while the small casinos suggest an overregulated market hindered by unnecessary restrictions, it’s actually much easier to place bets on sports or via mobile devices in Britain than it is in the United States. While that suggests a regulatory model that missed the boat on casinos (the U.K. still doesn’t have its single legislatively approved “super casino,” which means something a little smaller than Downtown’s El Cortez), these restrictions might have paradoxically made it easier for Britain to move into the digital age. When players who really want to gamble can do it as easily on their phone as on a slot machine, it doesn’t make sense to invest in hundreds of machines for a casino. Britons who want to gamble—whether it’s on televised roulette, sports or the lottery— have ready access. In many ways, it’s a far more sensible solution than anything on this side of the pond. U.K. casinos will never be onestop entertainment shops like those in Las Vegas or Macau, or even Atlantic City or Biloxi. But there’s no reason that they should be. Modern U.S. casinos developed in response to the specific conditions of postwar America, which demanded the compartmentalizing of gambling in self-contained resorts. That those resorts have been successfully exported to Asia shows that the model works in other cultures, but Britain is proof that there’s more than one way to bet. David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.

Does it make sense to cash your paycheck in a casino? Now, there’s a subject on which you’re certain to get conflicting opinions. A lot of people don’t think it’s a good idea for the obvious reason—having a pocketful of money in a casino makes it easy to make a big mistake. It’s a valid concern if you’re susceptible to that sort of temptation. But assuming you’re not, and most rational people aren’t, cashing a paycheck in a casino can be a nice little advantage play. Gambling expert Max Rubin got it right in his classic book, Comp City: “This is a no-risk no-brainer that anyone who lives in or near a gambling mecca is crazy not to take advantage of. Casinos with checkcashing promotions let you spin a wheel, pull a handle, or scratch a ticket to give you some kind of chance at winning up to double your pay. The worst you can do is get a free drink. A lot of people get comped meals, cash and other juicy prizes. Every once in awhile, someone pops for the whole deal and walks out a thousand or two richer. Cash your paycheck at a bank and they’re afraid you’ll abscond with the pen.” These programs aren’t quite as common as they used to be, but there are still plenty of them around—especially at the locals casinos. Things change, but a recent check turned up at least 50 casinos with programs, including the Stations, Fiestas, Boyds, Canneries, Ellis Island, Tuscany, Terrible’s, Rampart, El Cortez, Las Vegas Club, South Point, Silverton, and Palms. The best way to play it is to start experimenting with different places. Cash your check in a couple of casinos to see which program gives you the most. You can get details by inquiring at the cashier’s cage. Which is best? That’s fairly subjective, which is why you want to check around. But a good starting point is any Station or Fiesta casino. Their program is solid in that you get both a free drink and a shot at a big prize by spinning a wheel. How big? It’s possible to win a car, a truck or $10,000 in cash (I recently heard of a truck being won). The range of prizes at Ellis Island runs from a free slice of Metro pizza to $250 in free play. Cash at the Palms on Fridays and get a $3 spin on Megabucks. The point is, by cashing your check in a casino, you can get a bonus, and sometimes the opportunities extend beyond paychecks. One of my favorites is at El Cortez, where they’ll give you 5 percent of the amount of your IRS refund check in free play, with the rebate topping out at $50. Try making that deal at a B of A. Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com, a monthly newsletter and website dedicated to finding the best deals in town.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid

Paycheck Bonus


the latest

style

Champagne Wishes

Spark up some Valentine’s Day romance with a concoction that would make Cupid proud: jewels and bubbles

For Her

VEGAS SEVEN

22

Photos by Anthony Mair

February. 7-13, 2013

Clockwise from left: House of Harlow Sahara Sand ring, available at Nordstrom in Fashion Show; David Yurman Starburst Cluster ring, available at David Yurman in the Forum Shops at Caesars; J. Glenn pearl and crystal ring, available at J. Glenn in Tivoli Village; Kendra Scott Paulina ring, available at Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show.


February. 7-13, 2013

23 VEGAS SEVEN

For Him

John Hardy Bedeg woven chain bracelet, available at Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show; By Chari red classic bracelet, available at CRSVR in the Cosmopolitan.


the latest

national

The Luxury Rental Girlfriend Why buy the long-term relationship when short-term does the trick? By Lisa Taddeo

VEGAS SEVEN

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Jack is in his 30s. He’s goodlooking, makes money and has a nice apartment, and in New York City, what all that gets you is almost everything. He meets me on Greenwich Street one morning for black coffee. Two girls he knows come walking by. He smiles, and his blue eyes are warm, but on one girl’s face you can see that whole wringing week she waited for a call. You’re Jack, and you take a girl out to dinner at Blue Ribbon, and she spends three hours deciding if you’re the kind of guy who will like her more if she sleeps with you or if she doesn’t. If you like her enough, it will mean East Hampton on Memorial Day and Nantucket on Labor Day and New Canaan for life. And, God help her, there will be golden retrievers. Jack can have any girl he wants. A blond event planner who wears heels on Sunday mornings. A former fit model who looks great in Hanes white. A yoga instructor who makes him spicy tempeh wraps with steamed kale on the side. There are girls who make great Bloody Marys and there are good girls who go to church on Sunday with their families, but last night they were at Jack’s. There are lawyers and designers and tall ones and short ones, stacking their needs up across his walls and then saying those are not needs, they are shadows. So why does Jack prefer escorts? One night Jack comes over to my apartment. He brings over a girl named Kimberly (her fake name) who says she’s 24 (her fake age). She’s wearing jeans, a black scoop-neck shirt and tall black suede boots. She looks like the part of Florida she’s from, sun-pressed and squeezed out into a glass.

She and Jack have this easy back-and-forth, sitting side by side at the kitchen table. They’ve known each other for about a year. He found her on Backpage.com, which is where people like Jack have gone since Craigslist shut down its Adult Services section. The first time, she gave him oral sex. She came over to his big apartment, and it was a blinder date than usual because Jack was looking for a quick fix. Normally he does his homework, using Eros.com, which is an escort directory, and The Erotic Review, or TER, which is Yelp for the sex trade, where johns trade information about the escorts and offer specific statistics. Hair length? Photo accurate? Shaved? Created a decade ago by a john who was tired of being misled, TER sees about 350,000 visitors a day, men between the ages of 35 and 55 with a median income of $80,000. They wax nostalgic about Mistress Natalie and Emma of New York, and if you pay for a membership, you too can read about how WkndWhacker found VIP Daisy’s breasts even fuller in the flesh than they looked on her website, and how the way she kissed was like “honey warming in his mouth.” The guys refer to themselves as hobbyists. The hobby is sleeping with beautiful women, and then reviewing and categorizing them. It’s as routine as Zagat, clinical in its ratings, exuberant in its quotables and so much a part of a hobbyist’s daily throttle that a group of escorts recently offered a holiday discount to johns who make donations to the K.I.D.S. Hurricane Sandy relief fund. Many of the girls provide the Girlfriend Experience, or GFE. They rub your back and

you take them to dinner, and they are in tune with politics, so you can say how you feel about Obamacare. You share some Kumamoto oysters and Sancerre, and then you cab back to the Waldorf. There’s Venezuelan Goddess, who has long black hair and D-cup breasts in a lace demi and ankle cowboy boots. There is Bai Xi, who always pops up in the top 10; she’s small and Asian

and replies to emails promptly. There is Jessica, with her Farrah Fawcett waves and Eastern Bloc lips. She says, “I have very long blond hair and soft skin with amazing eyes and great smile. My outgoing personality will have you feeling very comfortable from the moment we meet, as if we have known each other for years.” And that’s the main ticket.

That’s why guys like Jack hire Jessicas for $1,000 a night instead of paying $200 for dinner with the lawyer who’s got a CrossFit addiction. Why go out with a Wife in Training when you can go out with the Perpetual Girlfriend? She puts out every time like she’s bucking for a rating, while the Wife in Training wants to know why you didn’t walk the four flights of her walk-up to collect her for dinner. She wants

Illustration by Thomas Pitilli

February. 7-13, 2013

The New York Observer


and she’s a blond Australian with large breasts, a small waist and an equestrian face. She charges $5,000 for an entire evening. They catch up on the couch for 45 minutes. He tells her about the grandchild he’s raising with his wife. She tells him about her dives in Mexico. After a glass of wine, they start to kiss. Every man I speak to about Katelyn talks about the way she kisses. “She is also incredibly smart,”

February. 7-13, 2013

the general counsel of a CPA firm, which he’s been with for more than 30 years. Mitchell’s a master hobbyist. He sees about 25 girls a year. He makes over a million dollars annually and spends about $50,000 a year on the hobby. He pays a minimum of $500 an hour for a girl and doesn’t price shop. Mitchell has a girl in every city he travels to. I know his New York girl. Her work alias is Katelyn,

The level of self-awareness among johns varies. But for most men who sleep with escorts, they’re getting what they need from women without having to give back. If they do something nice for the escort— which many of them do—it’s purely voluntary. There’s a joy in doing nice things when they’re unexpected, like at the beginning of a relationship. There is, too, the excitement of the secret life. When your friends have gone home to their girlfriends, or the girl you’ve gone on a first date with has gone home to dream of your wedding, there is the promise of the evening that follows. “Sometimes it’s just that I can have this beautiful girl sitting on the couch beside me,” Jack said. “I don’t even want to fuck her necessarily; it’s just nice to know I can reach across and touch her right boob, if I want to.” The thing is, with Mitchell and Katelyn and Jack and Kimberly, it is an intimate relationship with boundaries. With Katelyn, you pay for a certain amount of time, and you feel for her and she feels for you—during that time. What she has that Mitchell’s wife doesn’t is the magic switch. “Ideally,” Mitchell said, “you want to have the feeling of making love without having the emotional requirement thereafter.” Men want to be loving. They want the GFE without the LTR. They want to make love and nibble on lips and watch television and Herbal Essence a woman’s hair in the shower and even tell her that they love her, and know she won’t turn it into something else. They feel it in the moment, then they go to work and the moment stays home, until next time, or until they fall in love. Mitchell has said to Katelyn, “I love you.” She has said it back. Both of them mean it in the moment. But you can’t turn every ride into an odyssey. So you’re Jack, and you are single and disarming and the world is waiting for you, but you’re not ready. So you sit back on your couch and watch the game, and you crack a beer and call a girl up, and she comes over in a black turtleneck dress and thigh-highs, or she comes over in sweats. She comes over and then she leaves, and she leaves more than she comes over.

25 VEGAS SEVEN

your mornings. The Girlfriend only needs your nights. You arrange to meet a married john at a place where a married john would go to meet an escort. There’s a bar on the seventh floor of the W New York hotel called The Living Room. It’s got white leather and no windows. Mitchell arrives, all high-low in monogrammed French cuffs, a great suit and a Kenneth Cole Reaction tie. He’s

Mitchell said. She was a marketing executive in another life, and she is well-read in the classics and on current events. She reads a lot about human psychology, and she understands the pathos behind the desires she fulfills. Mitchell calls his hobby “seeking relationships outside of marriage.” He has sex with his wife only sporadically. She’s overweight again. A few years back, she lost 150 pounds, but now she is back in the upper 200s. “I don’t see it as cheating,” he said. “I believe what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” Jack has seen a good 50 percent of the stock on Eros. He sleeps with older women, mothers and women with overgrown roots. Some months he pays for their car insurance. “How about this one?” I asked, pointing to Nikki Irish on the screen. She is older and not Jack’s usual type. “Oh yeah, Nikki,” he said. “Don’t make that face. What’s great about Nikki is she loves sex. Maybe it’s just sex with me,” he said, winking at Kimberly. “The point is we’ll do it, and then 10 minutes later, she’ll want to do it again, and we’re over her time and she doesn’t ask for more money. Look, I’m not one of those fools who go to strip clubs and think the girl falls in love with them. But I know when a woman likes sex. And men like women who genuinely like sex.” On a Monday night at Katelyn’s apartment on the East Side, she is wearing a melon-colored shirt and loose jeans, and her blond hair is up in a clip. There is a shoe closet where the spiked Louboutins and the slick yellow YSLs are in labeled bins. “You take care of expensive things,” she said, which is why she charges a high price—twice as much as Kimberly. “The more you charge, the more worth it a man thinks you are.” When Katelyn is not working, she is working out and reading and dining out with friends and going to London for the weekend and Paris for the week. She is practicing yoga and bettering her body and her mind and advancing her entire being so that she will continue to appreciate in value, in a world where youth is prized over experience, and in a city where women will sleep with men for less than Katelyn makes in a minute.


Your turn, wise readers. Send your lists of things every real Las Vegan should know to Comments@ VegasSeven.com, and your recommendations could appear in our follow-up story.

27 VEGAS SEVEN

urs is a town of impermanence. The casinos you see on the Las Vegas Strip today are not the ones your dad knew back in the day. Of course, your dad probably wasn’t here back in the day. Nearly everyone you know, in fact, came from somewhere else, and plenty of them are hanging out long enough to get their mortgages upright. Even the springs at the Springs Preserve deserted this place years ago. But there are things about Las Vegas that remain relevant amid all the swirling change: the tried and true facts, theories and spirit of this place. There are things that have come and gone but still define us. And we’re not talking about the nonsense that out-of-towners try to put on us: “Prostitution is legal,” “The town was founded by Bugsy Siegel,” that sort of thing. No, these are the things that every Las Vegan should know to be true in his or her heart-of-hearts. The things that make this place real. There are millions of facts about this town that are nice to know, but we’ve reduced it down to the 100 that you should know if you’re going to live here longer than a few weekends a year. Read them, internalize them, and see if they don’t make you feel a little more attached to this place than you did when you came in.

February. 7-13, 2013

EVERY REAL LAS VEGAN SHOULD KNOW


[1]

Reno is neaRly twice as faR away as los angeles.

2

What the inside of the Huntridge Theatre used to look like. The key features were the split-level lobby, the exposed barrel ceiling (installed after the cave-in of 1995) and the circular indentation in the ceiling that once accommodated a chandelier. You get bonus points if you remember what it looked like from the stage—the rows of battered red seats, the gently curved back wall that boosted the sound of monaural movies but made it difficult for touring bands to get a good mix.

[3] Dan Tanna. 4

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Helen Stewart saved this city before it was even a city. She took over the Las Vegas Ranch after her husband Archibald’s shooting in 1884 and ran it until selling it in 1902 to copper baron William Andrews Clark, who wanted to build a railroad (and did). Had she sold her holdings sooner, Las Vegas might not have developed as it did. After the sale, Stewart remained in town, helping to start the Mesquite Club and serving as the first woman on the school board and on a jury, giving the Southern Paiutes land for the colony they still live on Downtown, and becoming known as “The First Lady of Las Vegas.”

[6]

“if you have a weakness, las vegas will punish you.”

– Hal RoTHman, neon meTRopolis, 2003

7 This is an internationally respected center of

activity for celebrity meltdowns, including our gossip columnist Jason Scavone’s all-time favorite: Shecky Greene made playing in the lounge a viable hot ticket at the Riviera, and he was the headliner when Elvis made his first abortive Vegas run at The Last Frontier, but it was at Caesars Palace where Greene perhaps made his most lasting impression. To hear Shecky tell it, he picked up his car after a show one night in 1966, drunk, because the parking attendants always thought it was funny to hand him the keys in those situations. He tore off down the Strip, slammed through a post, spun out across the street and wound up in the fountains in front of Caesars Palace. The apocryphal climax: When the cops rolled up on the scene, wipers running and all, Shecky is alleged to have rolled down the window and said, “No spray wax.” (For the rest of Scavone’s favorites, go to VegasSeven.com/Meltdowns.)

9

UNLV has one of the top two hotel-administration schools in the nation. The other one is Cornell. Cornell’s in the Ivy League. So we’re, like, practically in the Ivy League.

10

Las Vegas is second in the nation in ragweed allergies (we trail Phoenix). Other Valley allergen-producing species you may enjoy: olive trees, mulberry trees, oleander and Bermuda grass. Like most of us, they are aliens.

11 You should never drive under the Charleston Underpass when it rains, and you should never go to the Strip on New Year’s Eve.

[8]

We should be in the Guinness Book of Records for having broken so many freakin’ records. A few favorites: highest thrill rides (Stratosphere), most hotel rooms at one intersection (14,762, Trop and Las Vegas Boulevard), simultaneous wine-bottle openings (308) and most simultaneous high-fives (3,504—thank you, Zappos).

[ 12 ]

the 515 and the 95 and the 93 aRe—foR a miRaculous multi-numeRaled stRetch thRough the heaRt of the vegas valley— all the same Road.

Photo by ABC Photo Archives

February. 7-13, 2013

The one book about Las Vegas you need to read is Stanley Paher’s Las Vegas: As It Began—As It Grew. It was written in 1971, published by the author’s own company, measures 10 by 13 inches and, from the outside, looks like a coloring book. But open it up and you’ll find a treasure trove of information, classic photographs and anecdotes about the Valley’s infancy—Paiutes and pioneers, Mormon missionaries and military forts. The tale of O.D. Gass’ establishment of the Las Vegas Ranch is told in loving detail, as is the epic story of Helen Stewart. There are other great candidates—the muckraking Green Felt Jungle, Hal Rothman’s magisterial Neon Metropolis and Eugene Moehring’s yeoman history, Resort City in the Sunbelt. But Paher dug into the nearforgotten sands of Las Vegas history and produced an unassuming classic.


ever< real laS vegan ShOul' knOw

FiFth Street iS not really miSSing; it’S laS VegaS BouleVard.

15 There are several

places to get a decent breakfast at 4 a.m., and many of them aren’t in casinos. Longtime Las Vegans experienced in matters of caffeine and carbs recommend the Bootlegger, Tiffany’s Café (located in the former White Cross Drugs at Las Vegas Boulevard and Oakey), the Peppermill, Honey Pig and Home Plate Grill. Your casino options—the Henry (at the Cosmopolitan), Du-par’s (at the Golden Gate) and Grand Luxe (at the Venetian)—will also bed down your hunger, but walking the length of the casino floor may bring it back.

[ 16 ]

It’s impossible to fry an egg on the hood of a car in the heat of summer. Don’t ever try it. We did once and ruined our paint and our appetite.

Photo by Anthony Mair

[ 17 ]

We actually like our heat dry, So go roll your eyeS Someplace elSe. try orlando.

[ 19 ]

you don’t need to Water your laWn eVery day. eVen in auguSt.

20 The weather forecast actually is important

here—just not our forecast. We are wholly and completely at the mercy of the annual snowpack of the Rocky Mountains, whose runoff on the western slopes flows into the Colorado River. If you could, listen to some John Denver today and say a little prayer.

[ 21 ]

The dark, sculpted mountain south of Frenchman Mountain—the one that looms over Lake Las Vegas like a sentry saying “Build no more!”— is called Lava Butte. Just down the west face of Lava Butte is one of the Valley’s most beautiful—and unsung—geologic features, the aptly named Rainbow Gardens.

[ 24 ]

When it’S time to leaVe the caSino.

25

You’re not gonna get a cab if you’re leaving a hotel with a big nightlife presence between 1 and 4 a.m. It’s best to walk to a less-busy hotel.

26 The MGM Grand fire of November 1980,

which killed 85 and injured 700 more, didn’t happen at the place we now know as the MGM Grand. The hotel-casino now known as Bally’s was once consumed by the second-worst hotel fire in American history.

[ 27 ]

You can ride local RTC buses (and the Strip-Downtown Express) for a full 24 hours for just $5. Transportation deficiencies may be blocking Las Vegas’ road to becoming a major city, but few other places offer such a sweet transit deal.

22 There’s a genuine fallout shelter built under-

neath the Boulevard Mall. And in the concrete outside the mall entrance rests a time capsule placed on April 29, 1966, to be opened in 2066.

[23] One leg Of the StratOSphere haS a kink in it— the reSult Of OvercOmpenSatiOn fOr what waS thOught tO be a cOnStructiOn errOr.

February. 7-13, 2013

[ 14 ]

18

The Valley averages 300 days of sunshine per year, yet is among the 14 states with the lowest incidence of skin cancer in the U.S. In a land of 115-degree summer days, people learn how to get things done at night or in the shade.

29 VEGAS SEVEN

Speaking of: A person moves to town and thinks Lake Mead Parkway and Lake Mead Boulevard are connected. He or she becomes horribly lost. Finally, this person realizes that one road is in Henderson and the other is at the north end of the Valley. Years later, this person tells the next set of newbies that the two Lake Meads are completely parallel and—as parallel lines tend to be—disconnected for all eternity. This makes the former newbie feel like a wise old local. But wait! One day he or she keeps driving all the way down Lake Mead Parkway until it turns into Lakeshore Road, then turns left at Northshore Road, which, after a few short and scenic miles, links up with Lake Mead Boulevard and leads back to the city. It’s almost as if the two Lake Meads were really one long, horseshoeshaped road. This place is full of surprises.


28

As great as the hiking at Red Rock and Mount Charleston may be, there are several unsung hiking areas worthy of exploration—such as Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

[ 32 ]

The Stratosphere Tower is your north star if you get lost.

33

You’ll never get lost if you know your mountain ranges. Those are the Spring Mountains to the west, home to both Mount Charleston and the Red Rock National Recreation Area. To the south is the McCullough Range; its most prominent feature, the antenna-festooned Black Mountain, is your lodestar in the southeast. The landmark in the northeast is Frenchman Mountain—which many people mistakenly call Sunrise Mountain. To the north is the Sheep Range and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

29 Bicycle riders in Las Vegas are required to

have headlights, rear reflectors, bells and brakes in good working order. They’re not strictly required to wear helmets, though judging by the cavalier manner in which many drivers disobey the three-foot bicycle passing rule, that’s a good idea.

[ 30 ]

The besT place To ride a bike in The Valley is The 34-mile riVer mounTains loop Trail.

31 That the overused exclamation “Vegas, baby!”

came from the 1996 Doug Liman comedy Swingers, in which Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn drive all night from Los Angeles to hit the Stardust, where they lose a bundle at the tables and notably fail to get laid.

34 The bare spot on the face of Frenchman

Mountain is an old landfill—named, amusingly enough, Sunrise Mountain Landfill. The landfill closed in 1993 after becoming home to 25 million tons of waste.

[ 35 ]

how To spoT a hooker. (ask a naTiVe, page 16).

36 The Las Vegas Country Club was once the

center of our little universe. Where else could you play tennis on a court next to Tony Spilotro, hear Moe Dalitz paged over the intercom, then go to the lounge and sit next to Joe DiMaggio’s poker game? (For an LVCC reminiscence, read “The Realm of Kings” at VegasSeven.com/RealmOfKings.)

37 Sapphire, the world’s largest strip club at

71,000 square feet, used to be an athletic club called the Sporting House. In the early 1980s, it was the place for a pickup basketball game.

[ 38 ]

Those are real strippers on your inbound Southwest flight on Thursday and your outbound flight on Sunday. Dancers refer to the airline as “Stripper Air.” Yes, their performing names are fake.

39 Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman wrote our

unofficial city anthem, “Viva Las Vegas,” in 1963. Elvis Presley performed it in the film of the same name in 1964, and it has since been covered by Bruce Springsteen, the Dead Kennedys, ZZ Top, Vince Neil, Nina Hagen, Dolly Parton, Wayne Newton, the Residents, Johnny Ramone, the Stray Cats and pretty much anyone else who has ever recorded sound.

40

The paint on your car will surely fade unless you park it in the shade. Red cars seem to fade faster than others. And white cars have a higher resale value here, probably because they do a better job of deflecting heat.

41

Downtown is nearly everything north of Sahara, bordered by Valley View and Eastern, and ending a bit north of Cashman Field.

42

The most underappreciated Las Vegas photo of all time is of our city’s true founder, U.S. Senator William Andrews Clark of Montana, triumphantly arriving here in 1905, amid the twilight of America’s Gilded Age.

apostrophe because Jay Sarno wanted everyone who visited the

30

resort to feel like a Caesar. Even you, Zach Galifianakis.

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau

Caesars Palace doesn’t have an

VEGAS SEVEN

February. 7-13, 2013

[ 43 ]


EVERY REAL LAS VEGAN SHOULD KNOW

44 The waitresses at Cae-

sars Palace used to be sewn into their dresses.

45 Las Vegas figures

prominently into tennis legend. The Alan King Caesars Palace Tennis Classic came to Las Vegas every year during the golden age of American men’s tennis (1972-85)—meaning we got to see Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe at their brattiest and most brilliant. The tournament was a sort of community tennis holiday—one day, a little mop-headed kid named Agassi even got to hit with Connors on center court before a match. It’s a shame the tourney didn’t last until his heyday.

46 The Paradise Crest home of Dr. Lonnie Ham-

margren, formerly this state’s lieutenant governor, is largely uncontested as the weirdest crib in the Valley. If you don’t know why, we won’t tell you. If he opens it up again on Nevada Day, as he has off and on for years, be sure to visit.

We have tried professional sports no fewer than 28 times, including women’s volleyball (Vipers), two roller-hockey teams (Flash, Coyotes) and two football teams named the Aces whose leagues folded before ever kicking off. In all there have been nine football teams, seven basketball teams, five soccer teams, four hockey teams, two baseball teams and one volleyball team. Four are still active (the 51s, Wranglers, Legends and Sin).

never buy insurance in blackjack.

[ 52 ]

[ 58 ]

Never pay full price for a show on the Strip before asking for the locals discount.

(ask a native, Page 16)

[ 53 ]

Parking is actually Pretty cheaP here comPared with other cities. Quit yer bitchin’.

locals don’t Pay to get into the club. what, are you kidding?

If the monorail had gone down the center of the Strip, it would be a world attraction. Just sayin’.

[ 56 ]

Sgrizzi’s new pizza joint on Centennial Parkway, Novecento, can bring dishes from Parma, his other restaurant, on request. One of our most unheralded Thai restaurants, Penn’s Thai House in Henderson, makes the most incredible sweet steamed buns for dessert. And perhaps our town’s greatest secret deal is the $7.77 steak, shrimp, potato and salad special at Mr. Lucky’s in the Hard Rock Hotel (although you need a players club card these days).

[ 49 ]

[ 50 ] Photo by Anthony Mair

51 Many “specials” aren’t listed on menus. Marc

54 “Industry Night” really means “Locals

Night.” It’s just assumed that if you live here, you must work in hospitality. So, y’know, get yourself that Nevada driver’s license so you can flash it at the door.

55 Cashing your paychecks in a casino can

actually be a good idea. (See The Deal, Page 20.)

57 The maître d’ used to enjoy more respect and prestige, like today’s nightclub hosts. And they were tipped better back in the day, too.

how to tiP, vegas-style.

59

The romantic age of the casino is over. Even when bosses are as flamboyant and nationally recognized as Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson, the major casino issues (union contracts, regulatory reform, online gaming) are really decided by committee. The most powerful political entity in the greater metropolitan area is the Clark County Commission. Because the Strip is entirely within Clark County and not in the City of Las Vegas, the commission deals most directly and closely with the state’s most powerful industry, which generates the state’s greatest revenues. Perhaps the greatest proof of the commission’s power is that several of its members in recent years—including Chris Giunchigliani and Tom Collins—left the Nevada Legislature to serve on it.

February. 7-13, 2013

Vegas Park, from September 4 to October 19, 1953. It was in the space between what is now Joe W. Brown Drive and Sahara Avenue, behind the current site of the LVH. It only featured 13 days of thoroughbred racing. Ironically, LVH would go on to become the best spot in town for horse bettors.

31 VEGAS SEVEN

47 This town briefly had a horse track, the Las


with nearly half of the region’s gross domestic product related to the hospitality industry. In 2011, tourism generated $40 billion in revenue.

62 From hotel workers to homebuilders, Las Vegas

February. 7-13, 2013

had always been a place where a working-class job could lead to a middle-class life. The boom threatened that balance by ratcheting home prices to levels unaffordable without gimmicky mortgages. And the bust threatened it more by pushing out unemployment above 15 percent in 2009 (it’s still above 10). Nevertheless, we remain a town of blue-collar dreamers. In fact, a recent study projects that the working class will grow here by more than 15 percent by 2020, second only to the growth in Washington, D.C. Whether those workers will have the same access to the American dream as their Las Vegas forebears remains to be seen.

VEGAS SEVEN

32

Our chief contribution to the culinary world is exposing the mainstream to trends on the American culinary landscape. People from the heartland may not partake in restaurants by chefs like Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck or Joël Robuchon, but they visit Vegas in droves, and most at least take notice. In the long run, Vegas brings imagination and diversity to the national food scene—if not directly, at least by slow osmosis. After all, even buffets here have dozens of dishes that you’d never see in Des Moines.

63

[ 64 ]

Las Vegas was not better when the mob ran the town. Just smaLLer.

65

The Las Vegas Sun wasn’t always an insert in the Review-Journal. The newspaper had not only a purpose, but a heyday: For decades, it was this town’s aggressive little independent paper, with voices that ranged from publisher Hank Greenspun’s “Where I Stand” columns to John L. Smith’s views on sports.

66 Hank Greenspun—whose storied life in-

cluded gun-running to the Haganah during Israel’s battle for statehood in 1947 (he was later pardoned by President Kennedy) and telling Senator Joseph McCarthy just where to stick it—got his start in media as Bugsy Siegel’s publicist.

[ 67 ]

The first Strip resort was built by Thomas Hull, not Bugsy Siegel. Hull’s El Rancho opened in 1941.

68

E. Parry Thomas is the most important Las Vegan of all time. He came here in the mid-1950s to run the Bank of Las Vegas for a group of Utah and Nevada investors. He concentrated on banking while Jerome Mack emphasized real estate. Thomas was the first banker who systematically loaned money to casino owners, whom banks usually avoided because of their mob connections, real and perceived. Thomas reasoned that they would respond to respect with respect, and he was right. He also helped a young Las Vegan named Steve Wynn on a land deal and then with obtaining control of the Golden Nugget.

[ 69 ]

In 1980, 8 percent of Clark County residents were Hispanic. Today, that number is nearly 30 percent.

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau

61 Our economy is still a one-horse engine,


EVERY REAL LAS VEGAN SHOULD KNOW

72 Nevada’s land is about 80 percent publicly

owned/managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Clark County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, etc. This creates both a natural boundary to excessive development—provided leaders keep these public lands intact—and unique opportunities for outdoor recreation.

[

73 ]

Only 4 percent Of Our electricity cOmes frOm HOOver Dam.

74 Southern Nevada and the entire desert

Southwest profoundly owe their growth to the federal government. “Without power from Hoover Dam and water from Lake Mead, today’s Las Vegas (not to mention today’s Phoenix and much of today’s Southern California) is unthinkable. The Strip came into existence in the 1940s because of the old Highway 91 from Los Angeles, and it boomed as a result of the Interstate Highway System, which transformed Highway 91 into Interstate 15 and allowed millions of tourists to cross the Mojave in less than five hours. In the 1950s and ’60s, when most banks wouldn’t touch Vegas, the town’s cash flow came from two decidedly nonlibertarian sources: the federal government and the Teamsters Pension Fund. If you harken back to the cowboy days, things still don’t get much more libertarian: The mining industry, the rough-andtumble source of Nevada’s frontier mythology, owed its viability to the 1862 Pacific Railroad Act signed by President Lincoln—and to the centuryand-a-half of preferential tax treatment that followed.” (From “The Freedom Fighters,” November 11, 2010, VegasSeven.com/FreedomFighters.)

[ 75 ]

all tHe same, many cOnsiDer tHis libertarian territOry.

77 Although only slivers of evidence remain— NFR, Helldorado, Vegas Vic, the Benny Binion statue—this is still a cowboy town at heart. (See “Our Rodeo Soul,” VegasSeven.com/RodeoSoul.)

[ 78 ]

UNLV’s original mascot was a Confederate dog named Beauregard, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Goofy.

79

The 1976-77 UNLV men’s basketball team invented the modern local spirit. Those Rebels scored 107 points per game, turned the Convention Center rotunda into a giant, flying-saucershaped revival tent, and went all the way to the Final Four. Before that season, out-of-towners would ask, “Do you live in a hotel?” After it, they were just as likely to ask about Jerry Tarkanian and the run-and-gun. Sometimes the insinuations were just as offensive—blackjack school in the desert, etc.—but they drew us together in defense of our town and our team. Las Vegas had always been a host; the Rebels made it a home.

80

Contrary to outsider belief that this Valley is a wasteland, we do have quite an array of indigenous wildlife. Jim Johnson of the Springs Preserve shares his five favorite examples—in order: relict leopard frog, gray fox, desert cottontail, pocket gopher and Gila monster. Ours, in no particular order: roadrunner and coyote.

[ 81 ]

tHe spearmint rHinO is nOt an inDigenOus species. [ 82 ]

California fan palms are the only palms native to the Mojave Desert. The rest are imported.

83

Two Vegas kids help maintain the relevance of the increasingly irrelevant medium of broadcast television: Chaparral High grad Anthony Zuiker pretty much owns prime time with his CSI franchise, and Jimmy Kimmel, the pride of Clark High, is poised to take over late night. Las Vegas is where celebrities are born, not made. Some famous Southern Nevadans (who were at least raised here) include actors Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) and Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer); star pitchers Greg Maddux and Mike Maddux; UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta, plus UFC fighter Roy Nelson and “Octagon Girl” Arianny Celeste; musicians Jenny Lewis and Ne-Yo; fashion designer Laura Dahl; aerospace visionary Robert Bigelow; adult-film star Jenna Jameson; and members of the Killers and Imagine Dragons. For a fuller list of stars in our heavens, visit VegasSeven.com/FamousNevadans.

95

February. 7-13, 2013

71

You will make many friends in Las Vegas, but many of them will also move away within a couple of years. In 2010, for example, 30,000 residents moved here; in 2011, nearly 70,000 moved out.

76

We’re a military town—have been since the 1940s. In Southern Nevada, there’s Nellis Air Force Base, the Thunderbirds, the Test Site and the controversial pilotless Predator and Reaper drone planes operated out of Creech Air Force Base near Indian Springs. And Henderson was “born in America’s defense” with the construction of the Basic Magnesium Plant to supply the valuable metal during World War II.

33 VEGAS SEVEN

70

The block now occupied by luxury estates on Tomiyasu Lane used to be part of Bill Tomiyasu’s sprawling farm. In the 1930s, its produce fed workers building Hoover Dam.


87 Many of the icons of the “family Vegas” era are the work of one architect, Veldon Simpson. He designed Luxor, Excalibur, the current MGM Grand and Circus Circus’ Adventuredome.

[ 88 ]

Mccarran is the best daMn airport in the West. [ 89 ]

Departing flights out of Vegas are much more peaceful than arriving flights.

90 The Easter Island head at Sunset

Park used to be in front of the Tropicana—a remnant of the hotel’s “Island of Las Vegas” phase. And one of the ornate tiki carvings that once graced the Trop’s porte cochere is now next to the door of Frankie’s Tiki Room on West Charleston Boulevard.

VEGAS SEVEN

34

This is actually a pretty decent town for concerts, no matter what the haters say. Elliott Smith once played a gig Downtown at the now-defunct Enigma Garden Café, circa 1993. Perry Farrell’s Lollapalooza festival made a stop at Sam Boyd Stadium in 1994 (the headliners were the Beastie Boys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Breeders, George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars, the Boredoms, and Smashing Pumpkins.) And the Beatles played two shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center on August 20, 1964, for which they earned $30,000.

85

86

Frank Gehry’s Lou Ruvo Center isn’t the only Vegas building designed by a superstar architect. Show off your insider knowledge by also name-dropping the Las Vegas Library (Antoine Predock), Tsunami Asian Grill (Thom Mayne), Clark County Library and Performing Arts Center (Michael Graves), Aria (Cesar Pelli) and, of course, La Concha (Paul Revere Williams).

a weird bond for many years. Before the Sahara was built, Sahara Avenue was San Francisco Avenue, part of a long tradition of Las Vegas linking itself with the legacy of a boomtown that made it big. Later, during the themed fever dreams of the 1990s, there was a lot of talk about a San Francisco-themed megaresort. We didn’t get that, but we did get the Fog City Diner. And of course, we’ve had the Golden Gate all along—it outlasted San Francisco Street and the Sahara and the fever themes and the Fog City Diner, and it will probably still be here, serving Du-par’s hotcakes, when all the rest of us have been imploded and replaced with better people.

[ 92 ]

If you want to see what Las Vegas looked like 30 years ago, check out the cliffs and dunes at Charlie Frias Park at Tropicana and Decatur.

Photo by Anthony Mair

February. 7-13, 2013

91 San Francisco and Las Vegas have enjoyed


EVERY REAL LAS VEGAN SHOULD KNOW You may have heard the name Moe Dalitz primarily in stories about the mob, but he was also a city father instrumental in the development of the Boulevard Mall, the Las Vegas Country Club and Sunrise Hospital, which is the ninth-largest for-profit hospital in the United States. You should also know the name of his partner in these projects, Irwin Molasky, who went on to build Park Towers and help ring in the age of Manhattanization.

[ 94 ] Irwin Molasky was a founder of Lorimar Productions, which was responsible for such deathless TV classics as Eight Is Enough and Dallas.

95

The hotel-casino you’re seeing in that movie is likely the Riviera. The Riv has traditionally been game about allowing film crews to set up shop for extended periods, as long as the casino is mentioned in the finished product. Films shot at the casino include Diamonds Are Forever, The Hangover, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Casino, Go, Showgirls and the original Ocean’s 11. To watch some of the casino’s Hollywood cameos, visit VegasSeven.com/Riviera.

96 Maryland Parkway was once the place to

shop in Las Vegas. Say the word “WonderWorld” to a longtime local and watch his eyes go all misty about the dime-store rocking horse out front.

97 Fremont Street used to be the best night-

time street in the world. If you’d like to see it in its prime, watch the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever or the music video for U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

98

The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign was created in 1959 by Betty Willis, who also created the iconic signs for the defunct Moulin Rouge casino and the Blue Angel Motel at Charleston and Fremont. The design was never trademarked, which is why it appears on so many of our cheaper souvenirs.

Photo by Terry O’Neill

– cultural critic and former las vegas resident dave Hickey (in bomb magazine, 1995)

100 Reno sucks.

35 VEGAS SEVEN

“Vegas is a permissiVe, unfashionable, commercial town.”

February. 7-13, 2013

[ 99 ]


By Deanna Rilling

“We’ve had cops come to our shows ... we’re banned from a lot of venues.”

‘The execuTioner’ {page 40}

Your city after dark, hot gossip, DJ profiles and party pics 5

Thu 7

Sun 10 2

If the Hard Rock Hotel’s aknocking, it’s probably because of the new Thursday-night party at Body English. Appropriately called BASSment (get it?), the inaugural night will darn-near blow speakers and rattle your teeth thanks to headliner Kill the Noise (1). (10 p.m., BodyEnglish.com.) Soccer doesn’t really woo the States; maybe rugby can! The USA Sevens rugby team (2) (no affiliation to this magazine, but a snappy name nonetheless) will kick off tournament week with opening ceremonies on Fremont Street starting at 6:30 p.m. with tunes by Light Group’s resident DJs. Keep the team spirit going with official after-parties at Haze on Friday (in Aria, 10 p.m.), 1 Oak on Saturday (in The Mirage, 10 p.m.) and The Bank on Sunday (in Bellagio, 10 p.m., LightGroup.com.)

“You Are Like Nobody Else.” At least that’s what Russian trio Swanky Tunes (4) thinks. Their forthcoming single drops on Monday. Together 15 years, these guys will keep the crowd in the mix—and probably celebrate the heck out of that single release with the Las Vegas party people at XS. (In Encore, 10 p.m., XSLasVegas.com.) It’s time to channel your inner someone else for another edition of Alter Ego at SHe. Nightlifer Noah Auspitz goes all 007 on the venue as James Bond, while Eric DLux spins. (In Crystals at CityCenter, 10 p.m., She-LV.com.)

Mon 11 Bartenders Unite! No, there’s isn’t a citywide labor strike, but a night for bartenders to relax while the crew at Oracle Mansion takes the reigns. The second Monday of each month, all bartenders can take in dinner and a show, as well as enjoy hookah and drink specials while the flair flies. (3500 W. Naples Dr., 9 p.m., Facebook.com/OracleNightclub.)

4

Fri 8

3

Rugby photo by David Barpal

SaT 9 With all the nauseating red and pink accouterments at every drugstore, there’s no escaping the impending Valentine’s Day. But the girls of Grindhouse Burlesque share our sentiments and are putting on their third annual Dark Valentine’s Burlesque at Choices Pub & Showroom. (6720 W. Cheyenne Ave. 9 p.m., Facebook.com/GrindhouseBurlesqueLV.) If class in a glass is more your thing, the 24th annual Splendor in the Glass tasting event benefits Southern Nevada Public Television. So you better attend, or Big Bird could lose his job. (At the LVH, 3 p.m., VegasPBS.org.)

1

While New Orleans celebrates the final night of Mardi Gras debauchery, you can do the same in Las Vegas when Fat Joe (5) puts on a special Fat Tuesday performance at Pure. (In Caesars Palace, 10 p.m., AngelMg.com.) There’s also Party Gras at Ranch House Kitchen with hurricane cocktail specials and beads (in Town Square, 9 p.m., RanchHouseKitchen.com); a Bourbon, Beads and Bulls celebration all day at PRB Rock Bar (in Miracle Mile Shops, PBRRockBar.com); and the Rock You Like a Hurricane Mardi Gras-themed specials at Rockhouse (in the Venetian, 10 a.m., TheRockhouseBar.com.)

Wed 13 Think You Can Go-Go? Try out your shimmy and shake at LAX tonight for the chance to win $5,000. DJ Gusto will drop beats to help you get into the groove. (In Luxor, 10 p.m., AngelMg.com.)

February. 7-13, 2013

Tue 12

37 VEGAS SEVEN

S-V-D! At Marquee! The delightful Dutch DJ/producer Sander van Doorn (3) returns with his new Underworld/Mark Knight collaboration in his crate. Read about that, his contribution to the Halo 4 soundtrack, signing with Jay-Z’s label and more at VegasSeven.com/SvD. (In the Cosmopolitan, 10 p.m., MarqueeLasVegas.com.) Free tattoos and haircuts! Really! The Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum Airstream will be pulling up with tattoo artist Tommy Banas and hairstylist Audra Luzell of Black Banditz, plus anyone getting a peacock feather inked will get a free Sailor Jerry cocktail at Commonwealth for life. (525 Fremont St. 9 p.m., CommonwealthLV.com.)


That Robert De Niro was there with chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa for the February 2 ribbon cutting on Nobu Hotel wasn’t surprising. De Niro co-owns the Nobu restaurants and hospitality group with Matsuhisa. What was surprising is that someone trusted the nearly 70-year-old actor with a samurai sword to do the cutting. We get nervous driving next to your average 69-year-old, let alone standing in close quarters with the nigh-septuagenarian set wielding edged weapons. Especially one who, let’s face it, still has to have some lingering rage about Righteous Kill. Gordon Ramsay was there for the official launch of the former Centurion Tower, as was De Niro’s wife, Grace. As of press time, no one was reported to be running around with anything severed like a villager in a Kurosawa flick, so we suppose the whole samurai sword thing turned out OK.

Ladies: How many men does it take to cut a ribbon?

February. 7-13, 2013

Gronk Does exactly What you’D expect Gronk to Do

VEGAS SEVEN

38

You know how people always talk about sports as a way to give “troubled kids” something to do so they don’t wind up on the streets? The kind of thing where there’s a hope these kids will outgrow their rambunctious ways and become productive members of society? Apparently pro football is still like that for New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk spent the latter half of his Super Bowl Sunday at XS, dancing like an idiot with his shirt off—just like you’d figure he would—when he picked up a friend and body slammed him on the stage. The only problem is the friend seemed to fall onto Gronk’s injured left forearm. Relax, Pats fans: He popped up just fine. But really, Bill Belichick needs to hire a nanny to tell Gronk he can’t do things like wrestle his friends while clubbing, or shave the cat, or eat his Legos.

Valderrama flies solo. Steve McMichael, Ric Flair and Lawrence Taylor.

ValDerrama Does hyDe Without loVato Apparently Wilmer Valderrama’s on-again, off-again relationship with Demi Lovato is back to “off again,” because when he rolled into Hyde on February 2 with his friends for his 33rd birthday, she didn’t come along. Or, you know, it’s because she’s only 20 and Valderrama hasn’t had the epiphany yet that once you’re in your

30s, it’s kind of a bummer to try to get your girl a fake ID. Considering she was 6 years old when it came on, she has to still think of That ’70s Show as “one of those shows grownups watch.” Regardless, Valderrama—who still apparently calls his friends his “wolfpack,” from which we can only assume he did try to get Lovato a fake ID, only it was a timely McLovin one—spent the evening with the guys, briefly making an appearance in the DJ booth. Where we assume he played the Dora the Explorer theme to try to lure his girlfriend out of hiding.

the ’80s say hello The night before the Super Bowl, the greatest linebacker in the history of the game, Lawrence Taylor, had his own LT Bowl at Tao. He was there celebrating his birthday, as well, with the Nature Boy, Ric Flair. It was basically the exact scenario of our dream birthday party when we were 9, except for some reason Skeletor and Cobra Commander weren’t there, too. That night also saw Lions quarterback Matt Stafford in Marquee’s Boom Box Room, as no Lions are allowed by NFL rule to be within 500 miles of the actual Super Bowl.

Jason Scavone is editor of DailyFiasco.com. Follow him on the Las Vegas gossip trail at VegasSeven.com/Blogs.

Nobu photo by Erik Kabik; McMichael, Flair, Taylor photo by Al Powers; Valderrama photo by Bryan Steffy

nightlife

Nobu Trusts De Niro With a Weapon


nightlife

animations made for them. But we’re always getting more made. I’ve already changed up things a lot from the first show of the tour, which was only [January 25]. There are definitely limitations, but we’re trying to keep it as close as possible to a traditional DJ set where I can read the crowd and have flexibilities to play what it seems like they want to hear— not like other acts in the past who always play the exact same set for the entire tour.

The Executioner

Pack the earplugs—Canada’s Excision brings the bass to melt your face By Deanna Rilling

February. 7-13, 2013

You maY want to invest in those big ol’ earmuff headphones folks who work around airplanes wear, because 100,000 watts of sound is coming to rattle your soul. Bass-music master Excision is bringing his new Execution Tour to Las Vegas’ House of Blues for his first solo headlining show. He’s also got a grip of subwoofers and an insane true-3-D video-mapping stage experience that will blow your minds as much as your eardrums. Vegas Seven geeked out on all the tech specs with Excision before the February 15 show.

VEGAS SEVEN

40

Your stage setup for this tour is called “The Executioner,” and the technology brings to mind previous electronicmusic stage setups such as DJ Shadow’s Shadowsphere or Amon Tobin. How does your stage compare? Those are definitely good comparisons. We went quite a bit bigger than those guys did with their initial stages. We spent a ton of money; instead of going with one specific crew or company to build our stage and do our animations, we took everything on ourselves to hire 50 animators from around

the world to each do one or two each. There’s a massive variety of styles and differences between each of the animations that creates a unique show that’s constantly changing. Sometimes it’s a crazy tank, sometimes it’s a beast thing, other times it’s just super fast-track geometric type stuff. What is “The Executioner” comprised of, tech-wise? It’s made of an aluminum frame with a plastic material called Sintra. Our last tour, the X Tour, we had a stage called “X-Vision” made out of wood

and had to repaint it, drywall and repair it each week. This new stage is basically invincible compared to that. How about that sound system? It’s a 100,000-watt sound system provided by PK Sound, the premier sound company in Canada. I work closely with them. It’s going to be the loudest sound system that 99 percent of the people at the show have ever heard. We’re bringing 40 subwoofers individually and a huge line array. It’s really, really loud. We’ve had cops come to our shows many times, and we’re banned from a lot of venues across America. I think people will like it. Is it fair to say a lot of bassmusic fans haven’t experienced the music on a proper sound system? Definitely, the way that I produce my music, it’s a lot of low sub-notes that on your standard stereo you’re not going to hear them. On your iPod, you’re not hearing the full way that the music was meant to be heard. When you hear it on this sound system, you’re getting the full effect. It will literally blow you away. Will you guys be handing out earplugs?

We’ve got two different kinds of earplugs. We’ve got the cheap little foam ones and we’ve got some super-nice, high-quality ones that we sell. I’d definitely recommend them. What’s it like touring with all of the gear and a whole crew when nowadays it’s super convenient for DJs to show up with just a laptop or flash drive? I guess we’re going the opposite way of the trend. Our crew keeps getting bigger, even though it’s a simpler setup technically. We’ve got a truck and two tour buses all full of people. It’s good because you can do so much more and really put on a wicked show for people that’s different than what they’re used to seeing. With so much on the tech front, how does that affect the programming of your DJ set? We have put a lot of effort into making sure that I can still DJ a real DJ set and play songs however I want to play them, in whatever order. Obviously with some animations being made for specific songs, I’m limited to playing the songs that have

On the music front, is the follow-up to your last LP, X Rated, going to be out this year? We’re working on the album for Destroid, which is my new group/band/project that launched last Halloween. We have that album coming out in a couple of months. It’s an Excision/Downlink/KJ Sawka Destroid album. We’re collaborating with other feature artists like Space Laces, Far Too Loud and Delta Heavy. I’ve personally been involved in every single track on the Destroid album, so it’s kind of like a dual-purpose album. You’ve been involved in bass music for nearly a decade. What do you think of Skrillex? Honestly? He is the absolute nicest guy in the entire scene that I’ve ever met. Even if anyone did hate his music, they would never say anything because he is such a nice guy. I actually like his music; it’s really well produced. He got very good at producing very fast, so I have nothing but respect for him. What do you think about his impact on the scene? He’s blown it up for all of us, and he makes a great leader. He’s got the special look, he’s got his own sound and he’s not ripping off anyone. He’s doing his own thing. It’s great for the scene; it’s giving it a mainstream avenue for artists to get more exposure. People who like his music usually end up delving further into bass music and discover other artists they would want to come and check out. I definitely see his impact on my own shows and my own attendance. I’ve got nothing but love for him.

For Excision’s thoughts on fan tattoos and dinosaurs, visit VegasSeven.com/Excision


nightlife

parties

tao

The Venetian [ Upcoming ]

VEGAS SEVEN

42

See more photos from this gallery at SpyOnVegas.com

Photography by Karl Larson, Al Powers

February. 7-13, 2013

Feb. 7  Worship Thursdays with DJ Five Feb. 8  Tao Fridays with Ross One Feb. 9  Sounds by Vice


nightlife

parties

Xs

Encore [ Upcoming ]

VEGAS SEVEN

46

See more photos from this gallery at SpyOnVegas.com

Photography by Danny Mahoney

February. 7-13, 2013

Feb. 8  David Guetta and Kris Nilsson spin Feb. 9  Avicii and Warren Peace spin  Feb. 10  Swanky Tunes and Warren Peace spin


nightlife

parties

pUre

Caesars Palace [ Upcoming ]

VEGAS SEVEN

50

See more photos from this gallery at SpyOnVegas.com

Photography by Amit Dadlaney, Bobby Jameidar and Roman Mendez

February. 7-13, 2013

Feb. 12  Fat Tuesday performance by Fat Joe Feb. 19  Miguel hosts  Feb. 22  Eric D-Lux spins


nightlife

parties

Body english Hard Rock Hotel [ Upcoming ]

VEGAS SEVEN

56

See more photos from this gallery at SpyOnVegas.com

Photography by Hew Burney

February. 7-13, 2013

Feb. 7  Kill the Noise spins Feb. 8  Chris Garcia and Richard Beynon spin  Feb. 9  2000 and One and Stellar spin


dining

“The bowl comes steaming hot and full of big lumps of crab, lobster and shrimp—as good as you’d get on the Bayou.”

go gumbo for mArdi grAS {pAge 64}

Reviews, Diner's Notebook, Dishing on Valentine’s Day and tasteful tidings from Hakkasan San Francisco

Poppy Den’s miso salmon with shishito peppers.

Tivoli’s Second Wave

Poppy Den springs up from Petra’s ashes and positively takes oÞ By Max Jacobson

[ Continued on Page 62 ]

VEGAS SEVEN

Photo by Anthony Mair

February. 7-13, 2013

Angelo SoSA, the young, moviestar-handsome chef at the new Poppy Den in Summerlin, is a protégé of Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Like his mentor, Sosa is a world traveler; as I write this, he is consulting on a project in Korea. The result of his wanderings is a menu filled with whimsy, imagination and bold flavors. But it’s reductive to call Poppy Den an Asian gastropub. The poppy den chef has the chops to inject his own At Tivoli personality into his Village, 802food, so that almost 2480. Open every dish here has 11:30 a.m.-10 an eccentric, indip.m. Sun-Thu, vidual spin. Where 11:30 a.m.-11 many chefs serve p.m. Fri-Sat. tuna tartare, Sosa’s Lunch for two, take is done in a $29-$53. glass jar, with a sort of rémoulade sauce. His signature burger gets sriracha and a fried egg. His tomato soup comes in three tiny cups, swirled with curry cream. Does it work? You bet. Things have changed at Tivoli Village since this space was a Greek tragedy called Petra. Bottles & Burgers has quietly closed. An interesting 61 place called View Wine Bar has opened. And a second Mexican joint, Chinita Mexican Bar & Grill, has recently opened


VEGAS SEVEN

62

to give Tivoli’s other Mexican restaurant, Cantina Laredo, a run for its money. To make Poppy Den, the former Petra space has been completely redone. The cozy upstairs is now an art deco lounge open Thursday through Saturday. The main dining room—a long, narrow space with cramped booths and tables done in black, polished to a mirrorlike sheen—has what I’d describe as an early-tearoom décor. Even the flowery crockery, which owner Kelley Jones acquired at various flea markets, is rustic and unusual. Enter through a bar, where a number of creative cocktails, such as the Poppy Sling—a combination of Pusser’s rum, Heering cherry liqueur, pomegranate juice and fresh pineapple—are served. That’s an outdoor patio beyond the windows. (It’s not being used during the cold months, but it will turn into a private seating area when the weather warms.) I’d say they’ll need it. The bar has already turned into a popular scene during the evening. I love Amma’s Homemade Tomato Soup. The curry cream reduces the acidity that plagues so many tomato soups, and I like the idea of sipping soup from a demitasse cup. Sosa’s Caesar salad uses smoked whitefish instead of the expected anchovy, and has a hint of wasabi in a yuzu (a Japanese citrus) based dressing. Veddy innn-teresting. This is not to say that everything works. I didn’t much care for the unwieldy The General’s chicken wings ($9). They were nicely spiced, but had too much cornstarch in their crusts, and the Jurassic-size wings lacked any visual appeal. More conventional Asian bites fare better, such as Korean barbecue short ribs (tasty, but light on the sesame oil and garlic), or an interesting, Korean-influenced take on seared-pork dumplings, As to entrées, miso salmon

Fat Choy ahoy, Bellagio ups its epiCurean series game, and ramsay makes niCe

Moist strawberry shortcake.

with shishito peppers is the best, with something called Steak & Potatoes ($24) coming in a close second. I’m not sure how Sosa achieves these potatoes—spicecrusted golden-brown medallions. If you like home fries, though, these potatoes are about 10 times better. I also loved the Poppy Burger, although it’s not for purists. If you’ve saved room for dessert, Sosa’s take on the conventional strawberry shortcake will dazzle you. Instead of that dry biscuit, he uses what looks and tastes

max’s menu piCks Poppy Sling, $9. Amma’s Homemade Tomato Soup, $7. Jarred tuna, $12. Miso salmon, $19. The Poppy Burger, $13.

like tres leches cake without the gooey frosting. But by dessert, nothing this Dominican-Italian chef does will surprise you.

[ a SmaLL Bite ]

TasTeful Tidings If every there was a brand perfectly matched to the current Las Vegas scene it is Hakkasan, the behemoth restaurant-nightclub scheduled to open this spring at MGM Grand, a collaboration with Angel Management Group. Its London outpost received a Michelin star and since then locations in Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Dubai and Miami (plus recently added New York and San Francisco) have garnered a reputation for offering a dining experience well matched to lovers of modern Cantonese cuisine. On a recent jaunt to San Francisco I was given a preview of what’s in store for the Las Vegas iteration. Abloom in a signature lotus flower motif, the second-floor dining room on the corner of Kearny and Market streets operates at a fast tempo, much like the flavors of the delicately prepared and presented fare. While there is no confirmation what items will make their way to Las Vegas, a few safe bets include the steamed dim sum platter—a collection of eight carefully wrapped packages ranging from black peppered duck with pumpkin to the more traditional scallop shumai—the roasted silver cod in a champagne-honey sauce and the crispy Peking duck salad with pomegranates, pine nuts and shallots, which I predict will become a new city favorite. - Melinda Sheckells

Sheridan Su—a French-trained, Chinese-American chef who ran a terrific food truck, Great Bao—has surfaced in a new venture, Fat Choy in the Eureka Casino (595 E. Sahara Ave., 794-3464). And it’s here he’s being given a chance to showcase his unique gifts. A sign over the door tells us we are in for Asian-American fare. And how! A few Eureka denizens, according to Su’s wife, Jenny, may have to acquire a taste for Su’s delicacies, such as shrimp toast and roast duck rice, but they’re already enjoying a fusion menu that includes short-rib grilled cheese, Peking duck buns and burgers. As for me, I’m already dreaming about more shrimp toast, and I love his roast duck rice. Su does authentic, accomplished cooking in his modest space. Pork-sauce noodle is really the Northern Chinese dish jia jiang min, a tangle of chewy noodles with diced pork and fermented soy beans, laced with green onion. Think Chinese Bolognese. And I applaud his take on the Cantonese classic wonton soup—delicious broth with fat, meaty wontons made in Su’s kitchen. For breakfast, there is an Asian take on steak and eggs with thinly sliced, Korean-style kalbi short ribs, standing in for the usual top sirloin. I was recently privileged to attend two crackerjack food events. The first was a dinner in the Bellagio Epicurean Series featuring chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (of Prime and Jean-Georges Steakhouse) and Francis Ford Coppola of Inglenook Winery in the Napa Valley. You may know him as a film director. Perchance you’ve heard of The Godfather. The dinner was amazing. Vongerichten demonstrated his technique in the hotel’s Tuscany Kitchen, where 61 lucky souls dined on tuna tartare, spicecrusted snapper and a terrific crispy wagyu short rib. Coppola’s wines are superb, especially the amazing ’09 Rubicon, which at over $200 a bottle, should be. Winemaker Phillippe Bascaules was also on hand. In February, Diaoyutai State Guest House from China will be in the Tuscany Kitchen to prepare delicacies few Westerners ever get the chance to taste. Contact Epicurean Epicenter at Bellagio.com for details. Gordon Ramsay staged a British Invasion on January 27, where the chef demonstrated how to prepare his Brittania Burger at his newest venue, Gordon Ramsay BurGR in Planet Hollywood, topped with English sharp cheddar, arugula and mango chutney. Then, a group of journos boarded a double-decker bus—the kind you’ll find in London—to be ferried over to Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace for a proper Sunday roast, held weekly at 11 a.m. The menu included roast prime rib eye, fingerling potatoes, honey-roasted parsnips, thyme-roasted carrots, minted English peas and two sauces, horseradish cream and red-wine marrow and was excellent. And even the irascible Ramsay seemed to be in good spirits, in spite of his frenetic, globetrotting schedule. Hungry, yet? Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at VegasSeven.com/Blogs.

Photo by Anthony Mair

February. 7-13, 2013

Dining

[ Continued from Page 61 ]


Make It a Perfect evenIng

American Prime. Italian flavor. Indulge in savory American steaks and irresistible Italian favorites that will keep you coming back for more. Located on the 2nd Floor. Nightly 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Call 702-388-2220 for reservations.

301 Fremont Street • theD.com 


Dining

cOOkinG

It’s Called Fat Tuesday for a Reason

The Oyster Bar’s Brian Baldwin shows you how to roux the day

February. 7-13, 2013

By Grace Bascos

VEGAS SEVEN

64

➧even aT 10 a.m., the Oyster Bar in Palace Station is bumping. All the seats around the open kitchen are occupied while a couple waits patiently in line. But no one’s here for steak and eggs. In fact, the Oyster Bar doesn’t even have a breakfast menu—they’re all here for the tried and true New Orleans favorite: gumbo. If you didn’t get your fix during the Super Bowl hosted by New Orleans on February 3, Mardi Gras is February 12. It’s time for you to brush up on the Creole classic. Palace Station executive chef

Brian Baldwin is quite familiar with the thick, seafood-based dish. He put in many hours at the Oyster Bar in his early years with Station Casinos and as corporate chef for the company’s various properties. But the one at Palace Station, he says, is special. It’s the original outpost for the brand and the most popular. Tourists often make this their first stop as soon as they get into town; locals know the best times when the line isn’t too long. And after the pan roast (incidentally, neither a roast, nor

served in a pan), the gumbo is their most popular item. Even people from the Big Easy itself proclaim this dish as spot-on. The national dish of Louisiana combines the culinary traditions of the cultures that defined New Orleans: French, West African, Spanish, German and Choctaw. The Creole version is often seafood-based and also the most popular variety at the Oyster Bar. The bowl comes steaming hot and full of big lumps of crab, lobster and shrimp—as good as you’d get on the Bayou. Andouille

sausage and okra—other ingredients one would typically find in a gumbo—get added at the end, along with some spice at your indicated heat level. A scoop of rice waits patiently to be spooned into the bowl as you eat. The key to the dark, rich sauce in the Oyster Bar’s gumbo is in the roux, Baldwin says. “The recipe has been the same since it opened in 1996.” Typically, butter or oil and flour are combined over heat, and the Oyster Bar cooks its roux down until the mixture is a dark chocolate color and is as thick as wallpaper paste. “That takes about three hours,” Baldwin explains. “It’s a long, tedious process, but it’s very rewarding.” A roux in that state will not only thicken the gumbo, but also give it a velvety texture and impart a nutty, almost sweet quality to the gumbo sauce. Even as I tucked into my gumbo that morning, the chef surprisingly ordered one for himself. “I so rarely get to eat here,” he says excitedly as his own bowl is placed before him. “The line is always so long, and I don’t get to cut!”

The OysTer Bar’s seafOOd GumBO Serves 12-14

O cup unsalted butter 12 ounces diced Andouille sausage 3 tablespoons Cajun spice 2 cups diced carrots, onions and bell peppers (a.k.a. The Trinity) 1 pound precooked okra 48 raw shrimp (26-30 count) 1 raw 2-pound lobster, removed from shell and cut into 1-inch pieces 2 pounds cooked crab claws 1N gallons gumbo sauce (find the recipe at VegasSeven.com/Dining) 3 tablespoons lemon juice 12 cups steamed white rice Sliced green onions In a large stockpot melt butter and sauté Andouille sausage till caramelized. Add Cajun spice and stir. Add the Trinity vegetables and okra and sauté till soft. Add the seafood and cook halfway, about 5 minutes. Add the gumbo sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for another 5 minutes. Ladle gumbo into a large bowl and top with a scoop of steamed rice. Garnish with sliced green onions.

Photography by Anthony Mair

The makings of the Oyster Bar's gumbo (left) and the composed dish finished with steamed rice and sliced green onions.


Dining

Mysterious.. .

Dishing Compiled by

Magical..

CUT

The couple who eats well together will definitely be well fed at Wolfgang Puck’s steakhouse. Cut has lined up “The Things We Do For Two,” a shareable selection of dishes that includes a 34-ounce American Kobe porterhouse ($190), a 3-pound pan-roasted Maine lobster with black truffle sabayon ($125) or wild turbot with confit fennel, artichokes, olives and saffron mascarpone emulsion ($90), all of which can be spoonfed to your significant someone while you gaze longingly at each other. In The Palazzo, 6076300, Palazzo.com

The View wine Bar

The airy and modern restaurant and wine bar anchoring the Market LV is one of the city’s newest romantic spots, thanks to its pretty view of Summerlin. For the holiday, the View offers the braised Lover’s Lamb Chop for two, accompanied by whatever vegetables are great at the market that day and a red-wine reduction. Get a little closer with the paired wine flight, featuring vintages from Hahn Winery. $15, Tivoli Village, 280-7390, ViewWineBar.com.

The Barrymore

Celebrate with your honey in vintage supper-club style. Champagne and caviar are combined in the first course as gelée, followed by tuna poke with macadamia nuts. For

the main course, tandem-dive into the 16-ounce chateaubriand before finishing off with the cute and sweet rose timbale. $110, in the Royal Resort, 407-5303, BarrymoreLV.com.

marChe BaCChUs

Fall in love with the ambience, the view and the four-course menu, starting with a choice of shrimp bisque or winter vegetable salad. Move on to lobster risotto or seared foie gras, and then either sole amandine or filet mignon. It’s not Valentine’s Day without chocolate, so a duo of cocoaladen mousses awaits you at the finish line. $75 per person, includes a glass of champagne, 2620 Regatta Dr., 8048008, MarcheBacchus.com.

mooD

One of the most clandestine locales on the Strip, Mood in the Artisan Hotel offers an intimate four-course experience. Choose coriander-crusted ahi tuna or poached and chilled lobster, and then either blue crab cakes or sun-dried tomato ravioli. For the main course, you’ll have to decide between Colorado rack of lamb, seared petite filet mignon or seared sea scallops and Baja shrimp with fettuccini. Dinner is topped off with six layers of white chocolate mousse for the both of you. $99, 214-4000, ArtisanHotel.com.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9 DOORS OPEN AT 8 P.M. • GOLD DIGGERS INDULGE IN A NIGHT OF DANCING, DRINKS AND DEBAUCHERY

$15

per person or

$25

per couple

AdvAnce cover chArge*

TAble reservATions cAn be mAde in AdvAnce (1 boTTle minimum)

TickeTs mAy be purchAsed by cAlling

702.386.8100

or online AT goldennuggeT.com

February. 7-13, 2013

Who loves you, baby? We do! Which is why we have made your Valentine’s Day dinner plans a cinch. But, if you’re one of those masochistics who needs more choices, see our more comprehensive love letter to your Valentine (jealous?) at VegasSeven.com/ Dishing.

65 *Cover charge includes admission (must be 21 or over), complimentary beads, doubloons and mask. $20 per person at the door.

Got a favorite dish? Tell us at Comments@VegasSeven.com.

VEGAS SEVEN

Grace Bascos


drinking Dining

[ Scene StirS ]

What SHe’s Having

A bArtending guide for the rest of us, beer Vs. wine And hot stuff for V-dAy • In Vegas Seven’s recent Intriguing People issue, I wrote about former United States Bartenders’ Guild president Livio Lauro, who has spent the past six years developing the USBG Master Accreditation (MA) Program. Lauro advises bartenders wishing to start on the road to their MA to begin with the USBG Study Guide, which comes out February 13 at USBG.org. Also, Lauro’s self-published book 12 to 1,200 Cocktails is due out this spring. Co-written with Southern Wine & Spirits director of mixology, Armando Rosario (one of the three current MA candidates), the book introduces the craft of bartending and offers a better way of learning cocktail recipes by understanding 12 basic categories and techniques. BarAnywhere.com. • Wine and Canvas will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a celebration at Kahunaville in TI, 5:30-9 p.m. February 13. If you caught my dispatch from the class I attended (“Pinot While You Pain?” Nov. 1, 2012) then you already know that this is an art class unlike those you recall from grade school. Enjoy cocktails, cupcakes and raffles while you learn to paint a masterpiece you can keep, give away or hide for all eternity. $35 (does not include food or beverages), RSVP for a spot at Facebook.com/WineAndCanvas.

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endar, February ushers in the Year of the Snake, but Las Vegas is making an impressive argument for this being the Year of the Woman. Welcome SHe by Morton’s to the party, a steakhouse that celebrates the fairer sex in every way. Here, a fashion runway cuts a swath through the center of the restaurant; a makeup mirror is tucked into the dessert menu; a menu of “She Cuts” highlights the steaks fit for a queen; and a cocktail menu by SHe beverage director and nightclub GM Leah Benefiel has a lot of sexy, feminine appeal. “The first thing I always do when I go to a bar or restaurant is look at the drink menu and look for something fun and different,” Benefiel says. Her Lavender Lemontini is a vision in purple (Benefiel’s favorite color), delicately sweet with “a tease of refreshing lavender flavor,” Benefiel says. “The Lavender Lemontini is a drink that screams as it passes you by, ‘I am as fabulous as the ladies who enjoy me!’”

Lavender Lemontini

As served at SHe by Morton’s in Crystals at Aria, $15 In a cocktail shaker, combine 1½ ounces Stoli Razberi vodka, ½ ounce St-Germain, 1 ounce crème de violette and ½ fresh lemon sour. Add ice, cover, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a long lemon swath wrapped around three raspberries on a cocktail pick.

• I recently found myself in a fermentation quandary when I attended a pairing dinner at Aureole that pitted wine against beer. Mandalay Bay wine director Christophe Tassan did the honors with the wine, while Nevada’s only female certified cicerone Sarah Johnson held it down for the beer crowd. Course by course, each selected a beverage to pair with executive chef Vincent Pouessel’s five-course menu: Charlie’s onion soup, green salad with roasted quince, roasted monkfish tail, blue cheese and poached-pear tart with creamy fromage blanc and an all-American dessert sampler. Liquid highlights included the Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René, Goose Island Brewing Co.’s Matilda, a 2007 Côtes du Rhône grenache from Château de Fonsalette and the Old Rasputin XV Anniversary Barrel-Aged Stout. The results? Beer 3, Wine 2. So, can we do this again? • I cannot personally attest to the purported aphrodisiac qualities of Angels Aphroenergy drink (and probably wouldn’t cop to it even if I could), but I can say with certainty that I dig the gentle energy boost (as opposed to a jittery jolt) and the tangy strawberry flavor. One can of Las Vegas-based Angels delivers a proprietary blend of horny goat weed, damiana, ginseng, yohimbe, guarana, ginko biloba, taurine and caffeine among other things to, you know, get your wings up. $4 per can at Liquor Library in McCarran International Airport, DrinkAngels.com. For more scene stirrings and shake-ups, visit VegasSeven.com/Cocktail-Culture.

Cocktail photo by Lucky Wenzel

February. 7-13, 2013

According to the lunar cal-


OPEN HOUSE AND PET ADOPTION WEEKEND

• FREE Spay/Neuter Vouchers for the first 100 Chihuahuas to arrive with their owners* • Shelter Tours, Vendor Fair and Carnival • Adoption Discounts: $50 off dogs 2 years and older, cats 1 year and older* The Animal Foundation Campus, 655 N. Mojave Rd., Las Vegas

PLUS $50 Adoption Discounts Friday, Saturday and Sunday on all dogs 2 years and older and cats 1 year and older* Discounts available on animals at The Animal Foundation’s Campus (655 N. Mojave Road) and The Everyday Adoption Center (inside PetSmart at 286 W. Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson)

Thanks to our Sponsors:

*Vouchers distributed to the first 100 Chihuahua owners to arrive on campus WITH THEIR DOGS on Saturday, February 16 beginning at 11Aam. Limit one voucher per person./family. $50 adoption discount valid on cats 1 year and older, and dogs 2 years and older. Cannot be combined with any other discount.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT ANIMALFOUNDATION.COM/EVENTS


A&E

“War Horse could be a step toward booking more straight plays whose only music resides in the hearts and souls of the characters, the rhythm of their words and the poetry of their stories.” ShowStopper {page 79}

Music, movies, art, concerts and the dark side of the Grammys

A peek inside a gallery director’s job as a major Andy Warhol exhibit opens at Bellagio

Photo by Andrew James

By Steve Bornfeld

waiting to get suited up, photo by photo, painting by painting. Soon, he will be ready for company. Upon the February 8 opening, Bellagio will host the most comprehensive Warhol exhibit in the U.S. beyond the artwork’s home base, the Andy Warhol Museum in the late pop artist’s hometown of Pittsburgh, and the source from which 56 pieces—paintings, prints, sculptures, celebrity photos and wallpaper—were borrowed. (Yes, the Campbell Soup paintings are included.) Cue the wine, the cheese, the accolades, the revisiting of an eccentric, brilliant man’s impact on American culture— the whole art-world schmear.

That’s the end product. But how did the product begin? How did Andy get from there to here? Enter the curator, captain of this cultural ship, as we peek inside the making of Warhol Out West. Our guide: Tarissa Tiberti, curator/director of the Bellagio Gallery. Select the theme. “We look at what’s on tour, or what we’d like to do. Warhol is transcending time right now. With social media right now, things he was doing in the ’60s and ’70s are coming back again. He was ahead of his time, in terms of advertising and how people are trying to get the word out for whatever their

[ Continued on Page 70 ]

69 VEGAS SEVEN

Curatorial Tutorial

Curtained off to tourist foot traffic passing by its doors, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is in a rare condition—closed—its newest houseguest not ready for company.   Inside, Andy is naked. Once the wardrobe goes on, Warhol Out West will be snappily dressed all over these walls, which will belong to Warhol for nearly nine months. Still, this day these walls are white and bare, waiting to wear what’s lined up on the floor beneath them: portraits of John Wayne, Teddy Roosevelt, General Custer and Annie Oakley. Framed, iconic, unhung. Everywhere around here, in fact—some still stacked in crates, others freed but girdled in plastic—Andy is

February. 7-13, 2013

Tarissa Tiberti, director of the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, assembled Warhol Out West.


agenda is. It’s fun to look at that again and put it into context for ourselves.” Visit the loaning museum. “I’ve seen plenty of Warhol pieces in group shows, and I had an agenda before I left about what we were looking for: The “Diamond Dust Shoes” [painting], I really thought that would be incredible, and the dollar sign [painting]. When I was out there, I was like, I would love to have that, and I’d get back and start putting it into our model and seeing what can fit, and they come back and say, that can’t travel or we only have one of these but it’s a smaller version or it’s only a silk screen or a print— going back and forth. “ Consider how your choices fit into the gallery space.   “How do people walk into a gallery? Which way do they go with your layout? Are people going to go to the right automatically? Are they going to go to the left? Do you have an audio guide? What is the flow, how does it tell your story? Then there’s what walls to build. I know I have four walls and one in the center that are permanent. Everything else I can change.”

February. 7-13, 2013

Decide how to group the pieces. “They [the Warhol Museum] have a large space—four or five floors. We have a limited space [2,600 square feet on one floor]. We’re doing it chronologically, but we’re not taking entire decades; we’re putting things in other groupings as well. We have his Cowboys and Indians series, so we’re putting those together. We have celebrity Polaroids, so even though we try to do things chronologically, they belong together.”

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art

Adhere to the requirements of the loaning museum. “They gave me a free hand but you have to work within parameters, hence the [cow] wallpaper. If there’s something hanging on top of it, it has to be on or near the decade it was created [in 1966]. We can’t put the wallpaper in the room with the stuff from the ’80s, that wasn’t how Warhol made it. I have to give them a layout of the show so they can see how the work is going to flow.” Keep eye level in mind. “There’s a median height that everything goes at, it’s called a center line, and it’s

Liza Minnelli is among the Andy Warhol celebrity photos being hung, as well as the artist’s self-portrait.

usually at 60 inches. That takes into consideration an average of people’s height, where somebody who is 6-4 and somebody who is 5-4 both feel comfortable viewing something. If you have all pictures or photographs, they’re all flat, but you also don’t want things bouncing along the walls, so you need to keep an even center line.” Space the pieces conveniently for the viewer. “When you put something on the wall, then what’s on the wall next to it? Do you have enough distance to step back and see the whole piece? If it’s a large piece, what’s the piece next to it? If somebody is going to get more intimate with [a piece] and look at it more closely, you don’t want them in the way of the view of the person stuck in the back. I’m a spatial person, I’m a trained sculptor and a three-dimensional artist, so space to me is the first thing I’m looking at.”

Arrange the lighting. “Lighting is a huge thing. Each piece can only support a certain amount of light on it because light deteriorates paint and paper. Things on paper, whether it’s photographs or prints, you can use less lighting than you can with oil paint. If something isn’t lit well or lit from the right angle, it can get a reflection from the glass if it’s behind glass. With a long space, if you turn around, the light can be glaring you in the eye, so it’s all of that.” Create wall text and an audio guide to tell the story. “[The museum] sent specific stuff on each piece, and we will also do our own research. We try to make our audio guide between 30 and 40 minutes because that’s a good amount of time for the space we have. People quantify their experience by how much time they spend and how many pieces they see. In the past, the text was more biographical and the

audio guide was more about the pieces and the theme of the show. With Warhol, there is not going to be much text because there are so many pieces, so it’s mostly going to be the tour.”

mond Dust Shoes” and dollarsign painting—Warhol’s ode to consumerism—are wrapped in special, non-coated plastic, without the gasses and chemicals that might otherwise leak through to cause damage. Inside, Andy’s still being Gallery regulars will note that dressed—painstakingly so. On an 11-foot wall has been erected the wall reserved for Warhol’s ce- near the entrance to create an lebrity snapshots, it takes nearly open-ended enclosure, now 30 minutes to hang one Polaroid slathered in his famous cow of Dennis Hopper. Positioned wallpaper. Gun-toting Elvis, center-wall and center-height, cowboys, Indians and Warit will set the standard so the 10 hol’s arrangement of multiple other famous-folk “Mona Lisa” depicphotos—including tions are scattered Warhol out West Liza Minnelli, Sly around the floor, all Stallone, Jane Fonda, wall-ready. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Truman Capote and On the galdaily Feb. 8-Oct. Grace Jones—can fan lery’s center wall, 27, Bellagio out left and right of however, one has Gallery of Fine Hopper in the same already made it to Art, $13; $11 dimensions. Each will prominent display students, teachget the same 30-minposition—the arters and military ute TLC. ist’s self-portrait, personnel, free Hugging the floor geeky and ethereal, children 12 and while awaiting their surveying his new under, 693-7871, turn to dominate Vegas digs.  Bellagio.com. another wall, the Andy’s about ready 90-by-70-inch “Diafor company.

Photos by Andrew James

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[ Continued from Page 69 ]


A&E

Music

SCaMMiNG THe GraMMyS The curious case of how one talentless musician pulled a Jethro Tull and got an award nod— and what we can do to stop the madness

February. 7-13, 2013

By Deanna Rilling

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When the GraMMy committee announced the 2013 nominees for Best Dance Recording, there were the usual suspects who churned out massive commercial club-bangers: Avicii’s “Levels,” which was not only my pick for the most overplayed club song of 2012, but licensed in car and cruise commercials. Also nominated were Calvin Harris’ “Let’s Go,” “Bangarang” by three-time Grammy winner Skrillex, and “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia. Rounding out the category? Al Walser with “I Can’t Live Without You.” If your first reaction was, “Who???” you’d be in the majority. When nominations were announced, I feared some gem of a producer had somehow escaped my radar. But after a Google search the day the nominations were announced, the song’s video popped up with only 30 or so total views. Not 30,000. Just 30. Pressing “play” assaulted my ears with a poorly produced cacophony that made me cringe. Add horrible vocals, lame-ass lyrics, a video that looks as if they paid $20 to stand in front of a green screen at a mall kiosk and Walser awkwardly grooving around with a keytar (side note: There is only one EDM producer who

can pull off using a keytar, and that’s France’s Joachim Garraud). So, how did a virtual unknown get nominated with one of the worst, cheesiest piece-of-crap songs I’ve ever heard? Similar WTF moments have happened before. Remember when flute-toting folkies Jethro Tull beat out Metallica for the Hard Rock/Metal Grammy in 1988? To get insight into the minds of the folks behind the Grammys (that’d be the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), one must learn more about the process. For perspective, I chatted with a multi-Grammy nominee/academy member who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Sure, art is subjective, but this shit-song Grammy nod (mocked on the Internet as “Walsergate”) had to be a mistake, right? Frighteningly, it wasn’t. When you peer into the nomination process, you discover that Walser’s song was eligible. Walser earned enough credits to join the academy through his membership in the mid-’90s German euro-dance group Fun Factory. And his song earned enough votes to be nominated. Sure, he essentially spammed other members via Grammy365.com, asking them to nominate his track,

but that was within the rules. And sure, he hobnobbed with the “right folks” as exemplified by a plethora of “look at me with important people” pictures online. (Go to AlWalser.com/ photos.html to see him with apparent uber-fan Hillary Clinton.) But that’s within the rules, too. “The end result how Mr. Walser made it was that he’s eligible and he got the votes,” says my insider contact. “They’re not going to pull a nominee unless there’s been actual proof of foul play—tampering or something like that.” (Apparently, using German producer Zedd’s stems from a remix contest to craft Walser’s song isn’t “foul play.”) It looks like some academy members need to brush up on what’s deemed good/bad in certain genres, or just opt out of voting in particular categories. America is just gonna have to live with Walser’s nomination. Frighteningly, it could win, particularly if votes are split between the other nominees. I’m told the day after the announcement, a pop-up appeared on Grammy365.com, allowing members to opt-out of direct messages, i.e., Walser’s solicitation method. Is there anything us non-academy members can do besides bitch? Musicians, producers and engineers don’t need to be famous to become a voting member (as exemplified by Walser), just have six-to-12 commercially released songs (details are on Grammy365.com). Ineligible musicindustry folks can become associate members. There are even memberships for college students. There is one bright side of sorts: The Best Dance Recording category usually isn’t televised.

Women on the front lines? I’m all for it, especially when the ladies dig deeply into the trenches of extreme music and descend like combat-ready valkyries upon Vegas. All-girl Glendale, California-based Chicana pop-punk band Go Betty Go gets going at 10 p.m. February 9 at the Bunkhouse. The quartet released a cool EP and album for the SideOneDummy label in the “mid-aughts.” But a hard life on the road despite success on the Warped Tour caused the band to break up as they were gaining momentum. They reformed last year and have been playing shows all over the Golden State, with Vegas serving as their sole foray into the Southwest. Go Betty Go specializes in straight-up, catchy-as-hell, melodic punk with curveballs thrown in—like Latin-grooved, reggae-kissed, flamenco-guitared, Spanishlanguage “No Hay Perdon,” which I hope they’ll perform live. Local all-female garage-rockers The Seriouslys and Henderson all-dude comedy-rockers The Forget Me Nows share the bill. If that’s not gritty enough for you, how about the female drummer who co-leads/co-sings in Vegas blues-rock trio the Dirty Hooks? I wrote about Jenine Cali and her ferocious yet tuneful band a lot last year, and the Hooks are finally getting the notice they deserve from local entertainment rags. Shoot, they even played Vinyl in the Hard Rock (opening for Mike Watt). The band is still riding high on the acclaim heaped upon 2012 full-length Electric Grit, which gets better every time I spin it. (My new favorite track is sensual yet aggressive “Breakin’ the Skin,” in which Cali sings, Bang, bang, let me in/I’m all broke and razor-blade thin. I’m curious to experience the band in an intimate club such as Artifice, which they rock at 10 p.m. February 9. Local synth-rockers Love Vendetta and dark psych-jammers Dinosaur Hypnosis share the bill. Metal is enjoying an awesome gender-uplifting renaissance with a slew of female-fronted bands headbanging their way to the fore. Christian Mistress, Witch Mountain and Landmine Marathon (playing the Bunkhouse March 19, yay!) are some critically acclaimed, increasingly popular groups helping redefine the genre’s typically masculine sound and lyrical themes. Vegas hosts Castle, a lady-led juggernaut from San Francisco at 10 p.m. February 10 at the Bunkhouse. Bassist Elizabeth Blackwell’s voice is heavier than heaven, louder than love and a melodic foil for guitarist Mat Davis’ and new touring (woman) drummer Rae Amitay’s (Mares of Thrace) thrash-tinged, fire-eating doom-metal grooves. Castle’s songs are daringly, poetically constructed. My favorite is the menacing “Corpse Candles” from the band’s 2012 sophomore CD Blacklands. In it, Blackwell sings, like a ghost-haunted Edgar Allan Poe, Deathly white, lifelike fright/Frozen masks of pained delight/A thousand eyes shine dead light/And drip like wax into the night. Can’t wait to see this trio light it up. Vegas’ own female-fronted Demon Lung opens. What’s your favorite female-fronted Vegas band? Email Jarret_Keene@Yahoo.com.

Illustration by Thomas Speak

Girls, Girls, Girls


music

cD reVieWs By Deanna Rilling Big Room House

Clockwork, Surge EP (DimMak) Apparently only two tracks constitute an EP these days, even though in music history that’d be more akin to a single and B side. Such is the case for the two-song EP from American youngster DJ/producer Clockwork. By teaming up with dance-music diva Wynter Gordon on “Surge,” it has all the formulas for a successful EDM track … but that’s the problem: It’s a formula. Though production is strong, it’s another soon-forgettable combo of builds, drops and weak lyrics. “Tremor” is a bit better, but still feels like it’s been done plenty of times before. Sigh. ★✩✩✩✩

1. Local Natives, Hummingbird 2. Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob 3. A$AP Rocky, Long.Live.A$AP. 4. Hatebreed, The Divinity of Purpose 5. Tomahawk, Oddfellows 6. Ben Harper With Charlie Musselwhite, Get Up! 7. Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city

electRonic

Zeds Dead, Hot

Sauce EP (Mad Decent)

Hot Sauce burns with almost every flavor of electronic seasoning. Take “Demons,” which resembles a group of music-sampling robots having a seductive conversation—with orgasmic noises. In this five-song EP, the Canadian duo delves into some eight-bit blip-y territory with a dash of trap thrown in for relevance on “Playa.” An admirable experimentation of sound made even more so by including audio from classic horror films on “Mr. Sub” (a cool, grooving track), and fun throwbacks to breaks with “Rave.” Hot Sauce takes a few tracks to get into, but rights itself. ★★✩✩✩

etHeReal House

Late Night Alumni, The Beat

8. Bad Religion, True North

Becomes a Sound (Ultra)

9. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (Expanded Edition)

Sexy! Seducing the listener with breathy vocals and sensuous house vibes, it’s the kind of album to put folks in the mood. The fourth LP from electronic band Becky Jean Williams, John Hancock, Finn Bjarnson and Ryan Raddon (a.k.a. Kaskade for the less-educated), delivers another palatable offering with just enough technical complexity to keep things interesting (though the beginning of “Shine” does sound a bit like “Move for Me”). Things get a little more soulful in the 12 tracks on “Summer Lies,” and jerk a few tears on the piano ballad “Sun Space.” Buy this for your lady; it’ll get you laid. ★★★✩✩

10. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist

uPcOming reLeases

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FeB. 26: Speaking of Kaskade, his remix of “In My Arms” by Plumb is still a fave, and the singer’s collaboration with Paul van Dyk, “I Don’t Deserve You” was also a gem. Need You Now will be her next solo album. maRcH 5: “Nicest Thing” by Kate nash is also a beloved tune, so hoping for some more lovely singer/songwriter treats when Girl Talk drops.

VEGAS SEVEN

According to sales at Zia Record Exchange on 4225 S. Eastern Ave., Jan. 27-Feb. 3.

February. 7-13, 2013

What We’re Buying

Upcoming albums on Deanna’s radar …


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concerts

natalie Merchant

The Smith Center, Jan. 29 Backed by a 20-piece symphonic ensemble, the ex-10,000 Maniacs frontwoman, gray-haired and lovely at 49, stepped onstage …

and botched her intro. “Welcome for coming,” she said. Realizing her flub, Merchant hilariously experimented with an Eastern European accent before launching into string- and horn-laden chamberpop versions of songs culled from 2010 children’s-verse album Leave Your Sleep. She also rendered a half-dozen solo-career tunes from

1995’s Tigerlily and 2003’s The House Carpenter’s Daughter. It was an intimate, casual, simmering performance punctuated by Merchant’s crying bouts that, for reasons I can’t explain, enriched the material. Her baroque yet soul-wrenching version of “Beloved Wife,” about a widower who longs to join his recently deceased wife of 50

years, was achingly gorgeous. And when Merchant, voice cracking, sang Would it be wrong if I should just turn my face away from the light, go with her tonight?, my heart splintered, too. The real treat, though, was hearing the debut of two new songs—including vaguely anti-war, staggeringly powerful “The End”—from her forthcoming album. Despite

a stripped-down acoustic guitar/ piano/conga encore in which she struggled to recall lyrics and had to abort “Frozen Charlotte” and (yikes!) “Suspicious Minds,” her good humor and pluck ensured everyone left satisfied with one of America’s greatest living songwriters—symphonic-rock or otherwise. ★★★✩✩ – Jarret Keene

KoDo

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The percussive music of Japanese drumming company Kodo did more than remind a packed audience why a superb-sounding facility like Reynolds Hall is important. The troupe’s ritualistic wallop also revealed how today’s skins-smacking Vegas shows—Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère— are indebted to the art form of ensemble drumming, or taiko. The roots of taiko can be traced to the pre-Christian era, and for two hours (which included a 20-minute intermission), one felt viscerally transported to a sonically enlivened, more primal world. From the hummingbird-whisper-toshattering-climax rim shots of “Kaden” to the drum-switching leapfrog of “Monochrome,” the program’s first half was short and sweet, yet merely a warm-up for the second half’s thunderous devastation. The massive O-daiko drum, measuring 4 feet across and hewed from a centuries-old cypress, pounded like a warrior god’s vengeful heartbeat thanks to a cast of rotating male performers, each wearing a silk mawashi (sumo diaper) and little else. Watching trapezius muscles ripple like lightning strikes along a drummer’s back was hypnotic. The concluding “Yatai-bayashi,” in which two drummers beat large cylindrical drums from seated positions, was a feat of sound and abs-crushing strength. In sum, Kodo One Earth Tour 2013’s Vegas stop inspired everyone on a musical level, and made many of us consider renewing our gym memberships. ★★★★✩ – Jarret Keene

Natalie Merchant and Kodo photos by Glenn Brogan

February. 7-13, 2013

The Smith Center, Feb. 1


PUNKS AND GRANDFATHERS: I’ve some mixed feelings on this one. I’ve always wanted to see The Who perform live, as they will do at The Joint on February 8 and 10 ($71-$350). And the fact that they’re playing their 1973 album Quadrophenia from start to finish surely doesn’t hurt; it’s my second-favorite of their “concept” albums, after The Who Sell Out. (Tommy is third.) But there’s a voice in the back of my head—my full-time rock-critic voice, thankfully retired—that’s loudly insisting that The Who doesn’t exist anymore and hasn’t since bassist John Entwistle died (in the Hard Rock Hotel! Mere steps from The Joint!) nearly 11 years ago. And there’s a guy behind that guy who’s yelling, “Fuck that noise. The Who actually died with Keith Moon in 1978.” And here’s the thing about these two guys: They look exactly like Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, the band’s only two surviving members. I guess that as we grow older, Quadrophenia afflicts us all.

Overkill LVCS, Feb. 3

Overkill photo by Wayne Posner; Izzy Cox photo by Linda Evans

Rocking out for more than 30 years isn’t easy; it only looks that way when Overkill plays. Before the thrashmetal quintet went on, the enthusiastic crowd was treated to a light show,

which included an illuminated drum set. In return, a hearty “Overkill” chant began. The room became electric when Overkill blasted “Rotten to the Core.” Frontman Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth howled lyrics with such force and intensity, it was hard to believe that this guy was old enough to be my father. My disbelief would continue for an hour and

half of a performance that never lost its energy. Overkill’s set list mixed classics (“In Union We Stand”) with more recent favorites (“Ironbound”). The blend was seamless in a way that no fan could say, “I liked their old stuff better.” Overkill came, conquered and showed us all that they would not stop rocking anytime soon. ★★★★✩ – Michelle Franco

izzy COx

Double Down Saloon, Feb. 3 This one-woman band offered a sonic portal to a different world. Her tantric drum beats combined with what Cox calls “voodoo billy” guitar riffs, painting a portrait of sideshow circus freaks living in a twisted gypsy den. But that’s just her music. Cox’s powerful voice pierced the air, inviting the audience to read her heartbreak-laden diary pages. She calls herself the “murder ballad queen” because of her affinity for lyrics such as I’m gonna burn, burn, burn your house to the ground, and I feel, I feel like killin’/Something’s wrong with my brain. Although she does well performing by herself with just a guitar and a bass drum, a real band might enhance and round out her sound. It’s hard to pin any specific genre onto Izzy Cox’s music, but the seedy backdrop of the Double Down was the perfect place for her to perform. Let’s just say she’s out for blood, and she doesn’t care who knows it. ★★★✩✩ – Ashley Gates

SEX PANTHER: Pink is coming out (to Mandalay Bay on February 15), so you had better get the party started (by paying $60 to $140 for concert tickets). Oh, I’m sorry, is “Get The Party Started” stuck in your head? Well, that’s the price you pay for making me write about an artist who records nothing but earworms: “So What,” “Raise Your Glass,” “Fuckin’ Perfect” and scores of other immediately catchy songs with anthem-like choruses. Seriously, if there’s a single hit by Pink that you can sing aloud without pumping your fist in the air, you just name it—and if you know how to keep “Don’t be fancy; just get dance-y” and other Pink-isms from looping in my head ad infinitum, I beg you to tell me how. I suspect the answer is to see Pink performing these songs live, but what if I’m wrong? NOW ON SALE: Having one of the most anticipated residencies of the year isn’t enough for golden-voiced R&B lunatic Cee Lo Green, who sets up camp at Planet Hollywood from February 27 through April 13 (tickets start at $55). He’s doing a full-blown production called Loberace, with “mind-twisting magic and sexified showgirls” and a “larger-than-life wardrobe.” Will this show be crazy? Possibly.


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art

Cultural Entrepreneur

Zesty public arts administrator Richard Hooker opens a private gallery Downtown By Jarret Keene

What does “RTZ” stand for? Richard Thomas with a “Z” for zest. I don’t want it to be called the Hooker gallery!

February. 7-13, 2013

Why did you feel it was time to retire? I loved working at the City. I think art is an agent of change for yourself and your community. Before Vegas, I worked in Santa Fe as an artist and had a gallery. But I noticed I was able to effect change on a larger scale whenever I worked with a municipality. That’s the reason I went into public administration. But after 13 years with the City, I felt I’d accomplished everything I could. I know the people working there now are ready help push Vegas along to the next level of growth.

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Why open a gallery in Art Square? When I decided to leave the City, I had to adjust. I asked myself, this time as an entrepreneur instead of a public admin, “What intersection works? Where would I need to exist as a commercial space?” First Street and Boulder Plaza looked best. I really believe Art Square will be an energetic hub of the Arts District. I like the neighborhood’s diversity. Also, my colleagues from the City are just a few blocks away. Now that I’m a civilian, I hope to join some private and public collaborations, only this time from the other side. What kind of shows can we expect? You’re an artist yourself, so any solo exhibits of your own work? I think of RTZvegas less as a gallery and more of a project space. I really see it as a platform for other artists, writers and performers. I don’t have a philosophy as far as what I plan to exhibit. It will be work that resonates with the times, work that interests me. In addition to monthly exhibits by local and out-of-town artists, we’ll be launching a writers’ residency and a limited-edition line of collaborative products by artists and designers that will be sold here, online and in other retail spaces. Your gallery debuted this month with Another Time, Another Place, a show of photographic prints by Charles Morgan. Why? I was going to open with an-

other artist. But when Charles came in to show me his work for a future group exhibit called Asleep in Vegas, he had these lush images of hotel signs on the Strip taken 15 years go. I love their beauty, which is different now because the landscape has changed since they were taken, and their vernacular, which is familiar. One of the exciting aspects about being a private gallery owner is not having to

plan everything out a year in advance. … It was also a chance for me to come full circle, since Charles, a working artist in Vegas since the ’70s, was the first artist I bought work from when I came to town. ... I also think it’s important to celebrate artists who have been here for a long time and helped build the arts community. They established a foundation upon which so many younger artists

Steel YourSelf for thiS Bouquet On January 31, the Wynn unveiled a $33.7 million steel sculpture by celebrity artist Jeff Koons. “Tulips” is a three-ton bouquet of high-gloss, candy-colored flowers, which matches Las Vegas’ perennial style: expensive, famous and seductive in an image-conscious kind of way. Depending on the viewer, Koons is either a brilliant artist for the ages or a Kardashian of the art world (which may be giving Kim and Khloe too much credit). Steve Wynn, as a major art collector, would be remiss not to own at least one piece by Koons, and what better place to display his big win than at the Wynn? Many of Koons’ “balloon style” sculptures focus on ephemeral subjects such as flowers, puppies … and flower-covered puppies. Their banality makes them pop-tastic, playful and irreverent. “Tulips,” part of Koons’ Celebration series begun in the late ’90s, may be a mere, fleeting pleasure. But that shouldn’t stop you—go see the sleek, shiny bouquet on display near the Wynn’s showroom lobby. These steel blooms are made to last. – Cynthia Behr Warso

are working today. This is my way of honoring that. There are great windows in here. Tell us about the Writer in the Window program. The windows area is a big reason why I’ll be launching what I call our Writer in the Window residency. [Once a month], we’ll invite a writer to sit at this window facing the plaza of Arts Square and spend two hours every day using the space for their work. We’ll provide what they need—desk, lamp, rug. And the residency includes a catered lunch at Mingo, the restaurant next door! Because I worked with the book festival, I met many great writers in Las Vegas, and I want to create a good vibe. Another Time, Another Place by Charles Morgan at RTZvegas through Feb. 22, 1017 S. First St., Suite 195, 592-2164, RTZvegas.com.

Photo by Anthony Mair

For 13 years, Richard Thomas Hooker served as senior cultural specialist for the City of Las Vegas. During that time, he played an instrumental and collaborative role in a series of projects that transformed Downtown. He co-chaired the Vegas Valley Book Festival; spearheaded the Aerial Gallery (which stretched along Las Vegas Boulevard); secured the first of historic signs that comprise the Neon Museum Boneyard; wrote a NEA grant that branded the Arts District; and helped develop the city’s involvement in First Friday during its first 10 years. He sat down to chat about his recent retirement from the public sector and the opening of his gallery, RTZvegas, in Art Square.


stage

War Horse could be trial balloon for drama at tHe smitH center experience also worth seeing for its more subtle aspects compared to the fine but overpowering movie version, Aug. 7-11); Once (2012 Tony-hogger—11 nominations, eight wins, including Best Musical—May 20-25, 2014); and The Book of Mormon (blasphemy turned into hilarity in the most celebrated musical in recent memory, June 10July 6, 2014). The rest: The Wizard of Oz (not Wicked—you can boo the lime-faced broomstick jockey, Sept. 10-15); Sister Act (Whoopi produces, but is nowhere in, um, View, Oct. 15-20); Evita (revival hits the road, crying over its flop Broadway run, never mind Argentina, Nov. 26-Dec. 1); Mamma Mia! (déjà vu, Las Vegas? Jan. 7-12, 2014); Flashdance— The Musical (grab a welding torch and boogie, baby, Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2014). Credit Smith Center Prez Myron Martin for maximizing his schedule from the tour roster. Though a newbie on the circuit, our performing arts joint isn’t settling for scraps, fronting a lineup on par with major cities across America. Plus one—War Horse—holding a promise for the future. Can we get an amen? Or at least a whinny? STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Recently, a Rat Pack-themed, Vegas-set version of Rigoletto opened at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, and will be broadcast live at 9:55 a.m. February 16 at several local Century and Regal theaters. Among the characters is a Sinatra-esque, white tux-clad Duke of Mantua, belting out an aria to a casino crowd. No word on whether he decks Rigoletto in a Sands bar fight, but should they make it a movie, retitle it Opera’s 11. What Broadway musical do you hope comes to The Smith Center? Email your choice to Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.

Mickey Gilley February 16

February. 7-13, 2013

Tucked inside The Smith Center’s newly announced 2013-14 slate of touring Broadway productions—that last word nearly always synonymous with “musicals”—is War Horse, and it’s as close to a curveball as we’ve been thrown since our arts headquarters opened almost a year ago. Among 10 titles reaching our marquee, War Horse (Oct. 2-6), a Brit import, was filmed by Steven Spielberg in 2011 but also entranced New York stage audiences that year. Based on the World War I-set, boyloves-horse novel by children’s author Michael Morpurgo, it’s is a live-action/ puppetry hybrid about a regal thoroughbred that inspires the best qualities of humans around him, even when reduced to dragging a plow or enduring the carnage of a cavalry charge. Blatantly heart-tuggy—a flat-out weepie—War Horse boasts an orchestra performing a symphonic score, plus several folk songs. Yet the music serves as mood-enhancers rather than plot-advancers and characterexplainers, making it mainly a drama rather than a musical. Broadway agreed, letting it gallop away with a 2011 Tony Award for Best Play. War Horse could be a step toward booking more straight plays, perhaps eventually those whose only music resides in the hearts and souls of the characters, the rhythm of their words and the poetry of their stories. Once the current season climaxes in June—that slate includes previously announced Anything Goes (now playing), West Side Story, Shrek, Beauty and the Beast, Billy Elliot, American Idiot and Catch Me If You Can—comes a solid roster, given available tour choices, beginning in August: Must-sees: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (critically hailed despite Stephen Sondheim blasting it for creative alterations, April 15-20, 2014); Les

8PM TREASURE ISLAND BALLROOM TICKETS 894.7722

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Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

say amen—an actual “play.” Sorta-kinda. Misérables (transcendent theater


A&E

Movies

Bullet to the Plot Director Walter Hill returns to cinema with a cliché-ridden action àick By Michael Phillips

February. 7-13, 2013

Tribune Media Services

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We’ve been here before. The Sylvester Stallone vehicle Bullet to the Head concludes with an ax fight featuring Stallone against his sneering, murderous adversary, played by Jason Momoa, going at it like maniacs in the bowels of an abandoned power plant, the sort of cavernous industrial space featured in a hundred different movies starring Jean-Claude Van Damme or Jason Statham. Or Vin Diesel. I believe it was also used by Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers. Director Walter Hill, shooting his first theatrical feature in a decade, has been here before, and not just in spirit: Hard Times, one of Hill’s best, made in 1975, contained a scene shot in the very same beat-up and abandoned New Orleans warehouse. The world is full of such buildings. They’re a cliché. As is Bullet to the Head. It’s junk, and it’s excessively violent, which is a

given. Approach it as a Stallone movie (which it is) or as a Hill movie (which it is), but it’s more interesting as a Hill movie. If it gets this director back into the hard-driving action game, then it will have done its duty. Back when he was hotter, Hill made The Long Riders and 48 Hrs. and the undervalued Geronimo: An American Legend, and he knows a lot about how to film and frame and deliver violence and violent stories onscreen. The style here—hairline-to-chin close-ups, nervous, jacked-up editing—isn’t Hill at his best. But the movie has a certain grungy panache, “panache” being a French word and Bullet to the Head (initially titled Headshot) being derived from a French graphic novel titled Du Plomb Dans La Tête. So, voila. The bare bones of the graphic novel remain, though a key plot

A hit man (Sylvester Stallone) and a cop (Sung Kang) form one of those only-in-cinema pairings.

element has been foregrounded. The movie wastes no time in bringing together the vicious but honorable hit man played by Stallone and the crusading police detective played by Fast & Furious co-star Sung Kang, who’s a tad dull. Stallone is something other than dull: He’s riveting in his way. His hairlike hair and facelike face certainly command attention. The part he’s playing is a Stallone-y variation on Nick Nolte’s cop in 48 Hrs., the sort of lug who makes jokes about Confucius even though his wary partner

in bad-guy killing, the Kang character, hails from Korea. The plot has something to do with police corruption and skeezy development deals and an incriminating flash drive. Stallone’s character, Jimmy Bobo, has a tattoo artist daughter, played by Sarah Shahi. The vibe of the movie recalls a Crown International Pictures programmer from the Reagan era, but with more confidence behind the camera. This is thanks to Hill, who can’t make the material any better. But some of the less overtly gory sequences,

such as a fast, brutal tangle in a men’s room, work well and take you back to Hill’s heyday. And before they get what’s promised by the title, supporting players such as Christian Slater (amusing as a Big Easy party boy who throws an Eyes Wide Shut-style masked ball) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (as Mr. Big) give their boilerplate dialogue a lift, thanks to a merrily sadistic wag of the eyebrows or an extra spark of venality in the eyes. Bullet to the Head (R) ★★✩✩✩

[ VIDEOGRAPHY ]

“Flow Chart,” arima EdErra Bad thing about no-budget videos? Visual limitations can doom a good song. Good thing about no-budget videos? They don’t let you waste money executing dumb ideas, thereby dooming a good song. Las Vegas R&B singer Arima Ederra does the sensible thing with her lack of record-company-promotion dollars by simply inviting friends to dance with her in nighttime Jean Dry Lake Basin, casting shadows with bonfires and car headlights, in the video for her single “Flow Chart.” The song, from her recently released debut Earth to Arima, is ambient soultronica that staves off hunger pangs you might be suffering until Lauryn Hill does another record. Director Ashlay Cashlay lets the beauty of the desert (or “Mother Nature,” as Ederra sings it) do the hard work with images of dusk-lit mountains, floating ash-embers and beautiful, sparklerwielding Ederra herself, always on the verge of busting out a yoga move. Unfuck the World, reads the T-shirt of one Ederra gal pal. For a moment, this blissful ode to the natural world makes the slogan seem possible. Watch the video at VegasSeven.com/videography. – Jarret Keene


A&E

movies

their hearts Will die On

This fun rom-com asks the eternal question: Can a zombie win the love of a warm body? By Michael Phillips

Tribune Media Services the tween-minded zombie

romance Warm Bodies pulls a comic-romantic twist on a genre better known for its entrails. It is narrated by the undead fellow known as R, played by Nicholas Hoult, soon to be slaying giants in Jack the Giant Slayer. The voice-over narration confirms our hero’s sensitive side. “I just want to connect,” he tells us, accompanying footage of R stumbling around an abandoned airport on an ordinary undead day, among his fellow zombies in a postapocalyptic landscape. R covets his long-playing records (actual vinyl!), and like the title character in Wall-E, he’s a collector and a nostalgist by nature. All he needs is love. The film, written and directed by Jonathan Levine, comes from Isaac Marion’s novel, and its rules of zombie life and lifelessness are pretty clear. By eating human brains, zombies can experience that victim’s memories. More pertinent to

the narrative, which riffs on Romeo and Juliet to the point of including a balcony scene, in Warm Bodies the zombie state is not permanent. It’s reversible. If you’re in love with a young woman (Teresa Palmer) who is not yet dead, this is promising news. Palmer’s character, Julie, is the overprotected daughter of General Grigio, leader of the movement to keep the zombies at bay on the other side of the quarantine wall. (What’s up with that character name? Is he a crew chief at Trader Joe’s?) Julie and R have their own little “meet-cute” according to rom-com requirements: While hunting for zombies with her boyfriend and some other pretty people, Julie is saved from being eaten by R. The pale young man’s heartstrings go zing! when he spies her lovely loveliness. Her dawning interest in decaying nerds with poetry in their souls sparks a revolution. We’re a long way from the

Teen dating, now even more awkward: Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.

manic, repulsive, jolly slapstick of Zombieland. This is more like a sensitively bent version of a Nicholas Sparks novel, where lovers must overcome significant social obstacles before moving on to the bed. At one point we hear R remind himself: “Don’t be creepy ... don’t be creepy,” as he tries to pass for human among actual humans. Hoult has a nice, sympathetic quality at such

moments, though the whole of Warm Bodies, in both its comic and dramatic strains, lacks a certain ... what? Ooomph? Intensity? Invention? Levine has a strong instinct as a packager of moments, ladling on the alt-rock just so before ladling on another ladle’s worth. So far he’s proven himself wildly uneven, careening from the smugness of The Wackness to the heartening

February. 7-13, 2013

short reviews

VEGAS SEVEN

82

Stand Up Guys (R) ★✩✩✩✩

We know these old mugs well. After a 28year prison sentence, small-time hood Val (Al Pacino), and his nutty hair, is greeted at the gates by old friend Doc (Christopher Walken) and his nutty hair. Doc’s been hired, under threat of execution, to kill his pal Val. But first, some fun. The lads pay a visit to old friend, Hirsch (Alan Arkin). Misadventures, sex with Russian hookers, nostalgia and retribution upon a gang of rapists fill out the dance card. The trio are wasting their time here. It feels like three months in the movie slammer.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (R) ★✩✩✩✩

You have to know what you’re getting into if you choose to see this R-rated horror action comedy fairy tale. It’s more Gatling guns and grenades than the Brothers Grimm. Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have become witch hunters ever since their original goose cooking made them famous. They’re hired to save the village of Augsburg from its witch blight and the Great Witch (Famke Janssen). There’s plenty of action and F-bombs, but it just doesn’t really work.

Mama (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

The prologue tells us of a father fleeing scandal, grabbing his children and speeding into the mountains. They crash, wind up at a remote cabin, and then something happens to him. Five years later, searchers find the girls, now feral, nonverbal, like rats almost. Their uncle (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) takes them in, but his girlfriend (Jessica Chastain) is reluctant. Naturally, all is not as it seems, thanks to whatever kept them alive in the woods. Chastain and the girls, Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse, are great. A solid ghost story.

success of 50/50. Warm Bodies lands somewhere between the two. Rob Corddry, as one of R’s undead pals, quietly steals the show in his first wholly effective screen turn. Usually, Corddry gives audiences too much, playing the boor. Here, he may be zombiefied, but he warms to the underplaying opportunity at hand. Warm Bodies (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

[  by tribune media services ]

Broken City (R) ★★★✩✩

Billy (Mark Wahlberg) is a disgraced former cop turned private eye who is hired by the mayor of New York (Russell Crowe) to tail his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom he suspects of having an affair. Billy finds some evidence all right, but that’s when the script goes a little nuts with coincidence and improbability. Crowe is a great shady mayor, and the scenes in which he growls back and forth with his rival played by a masterful Jeffrey Wright are worth the price of admission. All in all, it’s entertaining, if a little too convoluted.


movies

Gangster Squad (R) ★★✩✩✩

Arnold is back. The results are OK. Schwarzenegger plays Ray Owens, the sheriff of a sleepy Arizona border town. Little does he know that Mexican gangster Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped federal custody and is speeding toward them to escape into Mexico. Federal agent Bannister (Forest Whitaker) warns Owens that they’re coming. So it’s up to Owens and his ragtag crew, which includes town eccentric Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville), to block the border.

A triumph of production design but a pretty dull kill-’em-up, this 1940s-set L.A. cops vs. gangsters movie falls short. Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and based on a nonfiction book, the movie’s violence is over the top and its script is underwhelming. Sgt. O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and his team of rogue officers (Ryan Gosling, Giovanni Ribisi, etc.) take on the notorious Mickey Cohen, played with relish by Sean Penn. It’s entertaining enough, but as a whole it lacks a lot.

Zero Dark Thirty (R) ★★★★✩

Django Unchained (R) ★★✩✩✩

The Guilt Trip (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

Barbra Streisand returns to the big screen here, and the result is not bad. Streisand plays Joyce, the long-widowed mother of inventor Andy (Seth Rogen). Out of guilt, Andy asks Joyce to accompany him on a work trip. The secret mission is to hook up Joyce with a long-lost beau. A tight if formulaic script does well enough, but the performers here do a lot of the lifting. It’s a sweet movie, in its way.

Quentin Tarantino returns to the big screen with his long-anticipated and extremely controversial slave revenge Western film. Jamie Foxx plays Django, a freed slave who teams up with his bounty hunter savior (Christoph Waltz) to rescue Django’s wife (Kerry Washington) from a venal plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). It’s a mashup of Tarantino’s favorite old movies and songs, and it’s brutally violent in action and language. A lot of it is engaging and typical Tarantino style, but after the second hour, it gets stale.

This first of three movies to be extracted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s slim novel is moderately engaging. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a homey hobbit ill-suited to dangerous adventures, gets mixed up in just such a quest. Bilbo and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and 13 dwarves set out to reclaim the ravaged kingdom or Erebor. Peter Jackson is up to his old tricks, and it’s pleasant enough, but three films seem a bit extreme.

February. 7-13, 2013

Director Kathryn Bigelow has accomplished something pretty special in this partially fictionalized yet pseudo-realistic film about the Osama bin Laden manhunt. Jessica Chastain plays Maya, a CIA operative in Pakistan, who ultimately is appropriately sidelined for the climactic raid on bin Laden’s compound. Bigelow strives for immediacy and realism, and the film remains impressively complicated and nonpartisan in its treatment of the events. The best film of 2012.

83 VEGAS SEVEN

The Last Stand (R) ★★★✩✩


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If you had to take a multiplechoice test on rugby terminology and rules, could you pass? It might be a “C,” but I think I could pass. When I was a kid, my uncle played a lot of rugby, so I got to go to a lot of practices and to a few games. So I’m a little more familiar with it.

Mike Newcomb

The Sam Boyd Stadium and Thomas & Mack Center boss on rugby’s appeal, UNLV’s proposed mega-events center and who’d be favored in a rugby fan vs. cowboy throw-down

February. 7-13, 2013

By Matt Jacob

VEGAS SEVEN

94

To puT iT bluntly, Mike Newcomb’s job is to put asses in seats—as many as possible, as often as possible and however possible. So when a group of officials from USA Sevens rugby came to Las Vegas several years ago to discuss the possibility of relocating North America’s premier rugby tournament from San Diego to Sam Boyd Stadium, Newcomb—then second-incommand and now executive director of the Thomas & Mack Center, Sam Boyd Stadium and the Cox Pavilion—didn’t flinch. “We’re always looking for new stuff to do,” he says, “and we’re

not afraid to take a risk.” Then the USA Sevens folks spelled out their plan. “We were like, ‘What? The games are only 16 minutes long? And there are 44 of them in two days? How does this work?’” Long story short, Newcomb and his team figured it out, so much so that he’s expecting record attendance—in excess of 50,000 in total ticket sales— when the USA Sevens returns to Sam Boyd for a fourth consecutive year on February 8-10. The rugby tournament, of course, is just one of dozens of events that fill Newcomb’s day plan-

ner—next up is a soccer friendly between the Colorado Rapids and Chivas USA at Sam Boyd (Feb. 15), followed by the Mountain West Conference basketball tournaments (March 12-16) at the Thomas & Mack. However, Newcomb’s most important task may lie down the road: protecting his turf if the planned UNLV Now mega-events center ever comes to pass. USA Sevens attendance has increased each year. Do you see it growing into a miniNational Finals Rodeo? Yeah, definitely. It’s probably

What’s your stance on the UNLV Now mega-events center? Well, obviously we think Sam Boyd is a great facility. We take some heat for being eight miles away [from campus]; sometimes I see that as an excuse. A lot of people find their way out there when it’s important to them. … Would the mega-events center be great for the city? I think it would be. Will it happen? We’ll find out more in the next couple of months. We’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the talks and the planning. It’s expensive, [but] it would be beautiful. Would it attract some other events that we currently don’t get? I think it would. You say it would be good for the city, but would it be good for Sam Boyd Stadium? Could it survive? Sam Boyd Stadium would still survive. We’d have to reinvent ourselves and find another niche, and we’d have to find new ways to make revenue, because obviously we’d lose a few events that would be looking for a higher-profile, sexier place right off the Strip. I’m

sure most of our current major events would want to look at moving to the mega-events center. But at the end of the day, might some of them want to just stay out there [at Sam Boyd] just because of what the price might be to operate, or because we have the luxury of a lot of space out there—with the Star Nursery Fields, and we have parking for 20,000 on-site? It could happen. Both Sam Boyd and the Thomas & Mack are getting up there in years. If an anonymous donor slipped a $5 million check under your door, how would you spend it? We’re looking at doing some renovation—there are some plans in the works. … A lot of systems need to be updated— electrical, air conditioning, that kind of thing. But that anonymous check needs to be more like $50 million! [Laughs.] The stadium may be what it is, but the mega-events center [is projected to cost] $900 million. If you were to sink some money into Sam Boyd, you could make that place really nice. The NFR contract is set to expire in 2014. What’s the status of negotiations on an extension? We should announce an extension probably this summer. Michael Gaughan and the Las Vegas Events board are working hand in hand with [Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association] Commissioner Karl Stressman. They want to be here, and obviously we want them. They just need to come together and iron out a few details. But all indications from both sides are that nobody’s worrying about it going anywhere. If we’re not announcing an extension this summer—or at least before this year’s rodeo—I’d be shocked. A rodeo fan and a rugby fan in a steel-cage match—who wins? Oooh, that’s a tough one. Different techniques there—oldschool, hard-and-tough cowboy versus a brawler? I might have to side with the rugby fan; he’s probably a little bit younger. I’d make the rugby fan a small favorite. But after how many beers are we talking?

What’s the one legendary musical act Mike Newcomb would love to bring to Sam Boyd Stadium? Find out at VegasSeven.com/Newcomb.

Photo by Zack W

7 questions

one of our top five financial-impact events that we do, between [the Thomas & Mack Center] and the stadium. Like the NFR, the rugby matches are a small part of the experience, but it’s more about the event. And the passion is very similar. If you’re a rodeo fan, you have to go to NFR, and if you’re a rugby fan, you have to go to this if you can. We’re trying to educate the locals that even if you’re not a rugby fan, it’s amazing [to watch], with the different fans from different countries, all side by side. The matches last 10-12 hours [on Saturday], and we don’t have any issues crowdwise. You can go out there and watch your team two or three times a day. It’s our favorite event. … It’s been great for the stadium, great for the city.



100 Things Every Real Las Vegan Should Know