Sundown in downtown
[ upcoming ]
July 4: Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade (Summerlin.com) July 13-14: Rock the Canyon Rally at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort (RocktheCanyonRally.com)
Photos by Hew Burney
June 27–July 3, 2013
A wave of Caribbean culture sailed through the Las Vegas Natural History Museum on June 21 during the Sundown in Downtown party. The Calypsoinspired event drummed up more than 300 attendees, including a Jack Sparrow impersonator and a group of steel-drum performers who set the scene and the soundtrack for the evening. Guests toured the museum’s seven galleries, including its newest “Sea Trek” exhibit, while area restaurants including Mundo, the Barrymore and Casa Don Juan satisfied the crowd with small bites, with cocktails provided by Southern Wine & Spirits. All of the partying was paired with a cause: The proceeds generated help support the museum’s educational programs for underserved youth.
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Unmask Your Venetian Summer CELEBRIT Y E VENTS
ART DEMONSTR ATIONS & E XHIBITS
venetian.com/carnevale # CARNEVALE LV
New York’s Brooklyn Bowl, coming soon to Las Vegas’ Linq.
“It’s not just bowling,” says Brooklyn Bowl co-owner Charley Ryan. “It’s a conspiracy to get people off their couches to a place where they can interact with each other. We put bowlers in the catbird seat for the live music, on a sound system better than anything they have at home.” That’s why Brooklyn Bowl’s bowling lanes are higher, instead of lower, than the surrounding area: They are a VIP section. But more traditional bowling is, if anything, growing in Las Vegas. The South Point recently announced plans to build a $30 million bowling center that will host United States Bowling Congress championship events starting in 2016. Alonso credits Reno’s recent renaissance on men’s and women’s bowling competitions being held concurrently for the frst time, which boosted visitation and spending. She sees a similar effect in Las Vegas. “With more competitions coming,” she says, “it’s good for the economy.” It doesn’t hurt that Station owns more lanes than anyone else in Las Vegas. So while Brooklyn Bowl highlights the next generation, there are plenty of places around Las Vegas where traditional competition and league bowlers are welcome. Participants at the International Bowl Expo, looking for clues to keeping their game relevant, have a case study in their host city.
Last week plans were approved for a resort called Dynasty that will be built on East Flamingo Road with 794 rooms. Construction is at full-throttle on the north end of the Strip, where SLS Las Vegas will open next year with 1,600 rooms. The $2 billion Resorts World Las Vegas will bring 3,500 more rooms when it debuts. Meanwhile a report by Moody’s Investor Service indicates that a current oversupply of rooms will cause the economic recovery on the Strip to remain sluggish. Sluggish isn’t good for the casino industry, but it’s darn powerful if you’re looking for a deal on a room. I found that out last week when the Las Vegas Advisor checked prices at 93 area hotels, finding 53 casinos with rates of $50 or less (59 if you count outliers such as Buffalo Bill’s, Railroad Pass, etc.). That’s 57 percent of the sample. Of those 53, 47 had rates of $40 or less, 30 had rates of $30 and under, and four—El Cortez, Hooters, Palace Station and the Quad—were below $20. Pretty amazing results, but it gets better. Several of the lowest rates were found on or near the Strip. In addition to the $18 rate at Hooters and $19.99 at the Quad, the rate was $26 at Harrah’s, $27 at Wild Wild West, $28 at Riviera, $28 at Circus Circus, $29 at LVH, $30 at Excalibur, $31 at Stratosphere, $32 at Flamingo, $35 at Bally’s, $41 at Luxor and $46 at Planet Hollywood. Want more? Check out the higher-end: Golden Nugget $42, Monte Carlo $54, Palms (or Palms Place) $59, Paris $59, Hard Rock $65, NY-NY $60, The Mirage $76, Caesars Palace $78, Vdara $84, MGM Grand $90, Trump $90, MGM Grand Signature $92, Aria $109 and the new ultra-posh Nobu $149. As good as these low rates are, there are even better deals to be had when you consider some of the bundled offers that include resort credits and other add-ons. Last month turned up a $40 rate with a $50 bar tab at NY-NY and an $87 rate (twonight minimum) with a $100 food credit at Aria. Keep in mind that this list portrays the absolute lowest rate found, even if it was available for a single day in July, so you may not be able to duplicate these numbers exactly. Also, the rates don’t include “resort fees” where applicable (which is most places these days), so most are higher than listed. Still the list serves as a good road map that points you in the right direction for the bargains. Interestingly, this year’s survey numbers were almost identical to last year’s, indicating that while things may be improving in a lot of areas, there’s still that problem of too many rooms. I expect things will remain sluggish when the new casinos arrive.
David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Studies.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.
June 27–July 3, 2013
Why bowling works in Las Vegas
lAS VegAS’ fiRSt casino bowling alley opened in 1959 when the off-Strip Showboat added lanes as part of its successful effort to refocus on locals, driving growth at the property for the next 20 years. Showboat’s success has made bowling a mainstay of locals casinos—so much so that the International Bowl Expo came to Paris Las Vegas this month (it ends June 28). Yes, it’s ironic that the expo settled on a casino without a bowling alley, but the lanes have been the purview of locals casinos: Station has fve bowling alleys in the Valley, with lanes at Red Rock, Sunset Station, Texas Station, Santa Fe Station and Wildfre Sunset. According to Station chief marketing offcer Staci Alonso, the lanes are an integral part of those casinos’ identities as all-around entertainment destinations. “You don’t have to decide exactly what you’re going to do,” she says, “until you get to the property.” Whether it’s bowling, a movie, dining or, of course, gambling, there’s always something to do. “It works,” Alonso says, “because it’s still fun. It’s fun for my 12-yearold son, for me at 40 and for my mom at 70. It’s got a diverse appeal.” Station promotes both leisure and league bowling, and, with more than 2,000 bowling birthday parties a year across its Las Vegas properties, sees the game as a major business driver. Charity games and competitions are also major draws. In recent years, bowling has even made inroads into the upscale market, which is ftting, as the game
is undergoing a national shift. According to a report by leisure consultant White Hutchinson, the demographic profle of the average bowler is younger and wealthier than it was during its 1960s heyday, and with nearly half of the more than 50 million people who bowl each year coming from households with incomes above $75,000 a year. The Palms’ 5,000-square-foot Kingpin Suite, which opened in 2005, features among its over-thetop amenities a fully functional two-lane bowling alley. Guests at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Real World Suite, though, have to make do with a single lane. It’s no surprise, then, that a major new Strip development will feature bowling, but with a twist. When Linq opens between the Flamingo and the Quad, one of its flagship tenants will be Brooklyn Bowl. The Brooklyn original is almost the poster child for bowling’s 21st century reinvention: Bowlers can kick back on Chesterfield sofas to take in performances by everyone from Guns N’ Roses to DJ ?uestlove, or order food from Eric and Bruce Bromberg’s Blue Ribbon.
Photo by Adam Kane Macchia
SluggiSh Ain’t BAd When You WAnt A loW RAte
See more photos from this gallery at SpyOnVegas.com
June 27â€“July 3, 2013
Photography by Amit Dadlaney, Jesse Sutherland, Josh Metz and Tony Tran
ElEctric Daisy carnival 2013
June 27â€“July 3, 2013
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
When tragedy cut her dance career short, Gen Cleary turned lemons into nightlife gold
June 27–July 3, 2013
By Sam Glaser
When Paul OakenfOld’s Perfecto at Rain became a renowned residency, his signature sound and persona were only a part of the appeal. Behind the literal and fgurative curtain was a dancer-turned-show producer who would hugely impact the visual landscape of Las Vegas nightlife. At that time, Gen Cleary’s dance/production company Belluscious had been gaining traction with its corporate division, Stage Spectacle, providing clients such as Chanel, Mercedes-Benz and McDonald’s a more empowering,
commercial brand of female glamor inspired by 1930s- and 1940s-era musicals. Amid such corporate success, Cleary hesitated to take on another full-time club commitment. But she agreed, then had 10 days to create the Perfecto performance from scratch, an undertaking that necessitated the deconstruction of Rain’s ceiling to add rigging points for aerialists. That six-month trial production deal turned into a four-year stint just as the U.S. electronic-dance-music movement was gaining momentum.
Today Cleary produces shows for Marquee, Hakkasan, XS and other such nightlife behemoths. She’s driven, she says, by “a personal obsession to fnd an organic symbiosis with the music, with the performances and with the visual … to break that wall between the audience and the performer.” But her story begins way before that when, at 5 years old, she took the stage as a tap dancer in Montreal. She turned pro at age 7 and was touring the U.S. by 13. In New York, she caught the eye of Fred Kelly (brother of famed dancer Gene Kelly), who became her mentor and introduced her to the particulars of Broadway showbiz. “How you ‘wow’ the audience,” Cleary explains, by integrating the music with the costumes, set designs, performances and storylines. By adulthood, Cleary was a full-time tap soloist. Unfortunately her 5-foot-11 stature
pigeonholed her as a Frenchcabaret-style dancer. Then, tragically, a 1998 car accident at 17 broke her pelvis and compromised her walking ability. Dancing was out of the question. But Cleary saw an opportunity: Commercial dancing was booming in L.A., while the art of old-fashioned performance was getting lost. She formed a dance company out of Montreal to elevate women’s status in the entertainment business and to combat the pervasiveness of sexual objectivity. Cleary was leading a paradigm shift on the performance side. “Let’s forget about the word ‘sexy’ and go with ‘sassy.’ When you’re onstage you have to tease—you’re creating dream and passion—but you don’t have to act as if you’re having sex.” Belluscious turns 10 this year, as she coordinates choreography, costume design and set designs to tell stories that complement the music. She also
manages the dancers she employs. Cleary’s frst big client was the Benson & Hedges tour that brought top European house-music producers, such as David Guetta, Paul van Dyk and Bob Sinclair, to Canadian clubs years before EDM gained mass appeal in the U.S. When the celebrity-host nightclub phenomenon started hitting, she worked with the stars of the moment, including Carmen Electra, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Venues and producers wanted more than a talking head, they wanted a show, and Cleary became the it-girl for this emerging form of nightlife entertainment. When Rain and 9Group signed Oakenfold for the Perfecto residency, Cleary was asked to help create interaction between performers, guests and the DJ. She helped the DJ “to treat our music, our visuals, our branding like a pop star, as if you’re a Madonna … treat the product just like a musical, like a rock star or a pop star.” Soon Cleary was working with the likes of Rihanna, Avicii and LMFAO’s Redfoo. In the past two months, Cleary has opened 17 more shows. She’s currently the creative director for the Cosmopolitan, and manages visuals for every residency at Marquee. She’s excited how the club’s stage lets her “get back to my roots, to try to break the cliché of what a go-go dancer is and how to elevate it.” She also choreographs the dancers at Bond. Cleary is also the resident creative and performance director at Hakkasan, where she produces shows for Tiësto, Steve Aoki and the other residents. For the Calvin Harris show, the women wear heavy helmets rigged with three fat-screen TVs. “They can’t see anything at all, and they’re choreographed!” she says, laughing. “There’s another act I created where the girls are pretty much on giant hamster wheels; the wheels spin and they can do 360s in it. The girls are insane!” What does all this creative insanity have in common? “Whether they’re go-go dancers or whether they’re onstage, we train them and we push them,” Cleary says. The key for her performers is “to focus on one person or a couple of people when they dance. Even though they are far away, that person is gonna feel it and feel part of it.”
what my sound is. It’s kind of a mix of everything—some house, some progressive, some trance. It’s very melody heavy because that’s the background I come from, a musical one. People will often say that they can tell a track that I will play or that’s by me. They can’t exactly put into words what that quality is that they pick out, but they know it’s me. So it’s kind of a nice thing. I play music I like and do my own thing. Is that what you mean when you say your sound is, “Simple yet effective?” Exactly, yes. I don’t like stuff that’s overly complicated. It doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be cheesy. A lot of stuff you hear today is very generic. You can be simple but intelligent, and you can be simple with a melody that you have never heard before. So it’s got to be smart music, and it’s got to be innovative and different from what’s come before. What I do is essentially music for dance foors. You can get away with less complexity in a club than with something that somebody would listen to at home. When’s your artist album slated to debut? When it’s fnished! I’ve been working hard on it, and have got some great material. I try not to commit too heavily to release dates, but later this year.
Smart Music June 27–July 3, 2013
Across-the-pond sensation Gareth Emery brings his simple, intelligent sound to Marquee Dayclub
By David Morris
Gareth emery has been consistently proclaimed the U.K.’s top DJ by DJ Magazine, and with bangers such as “Concrete Angel” and “Last Time” to his credit, it’s clear why. With an artist album due out later this year, a new bride and having just helped launch the EDM social media platform Vidiam, he’s certainly busy,
although we did manage to catch up with the Marquee resident to download all that he has going on. He plays Marquee Dayclub on June 29. How does being the highestranked British DJ affect your approach when you bring your sound to the U.S.? For the last four years I’ve
been doing 100-plus shows here, so it’s been reasonably well-received. Obviously, you can always [try to reach] more people, but it’s difficult to say
What else is in the works? I’ve got a new single with Krewella called “Light and Thunder” that I’m really excited about. We met at a show in Chicago back in August and talked about doing something. I sent them an instrumental I was working on, and they sent me back a vocal. It should be out within six weeks. Does it bother you when people label you as a trance DJ? No, I don’t mind it. I’ve come around. There is this thing where people think I try to get away from trance, but that’s not really the case. What I’ve always done is played music I like. If you go back and listen to my first podcast
in 2006, the first record I ever played was a Funkagenda record. It was difficult to play those songs in my club sets back then when I was playing rooms where people were banging it out. For me, the transition was when people I was excited about stopped making trance. The quality really dipped, and a lot of the house guys actually picked up the trance melodies and were making better trance than some of the trance guys were making. I was thinking that this music has the spirit of why I got into this in the first place. It’s this new sort of house music rather than the really underground stuff. I’ll always have some house in what I play, but if people think they are coming to see a house or trance DJ, that’s all great. I’ll deliver my sounds— the [Sound of] Garuda sound, and whatever box they want to put that in is cool with me. The only thing that bugs me is when they expect a set of mine to be like a set of, say, Armin van Buuren’s—that’s not what I’ve ever been, and that was never my sound. And I think occasionally there is a misconception in that respect. The vast majority of my fan base is great in that they get that it is a mixed bag, and that’s a good thing for me. Can you talk about the evolution of your sound from “Nervous Breakdown” to “Concrete Angel”? [“Nervous Breakdown”] was a hard house or hard trance record, a style that doesn’t really even exist anymore, which was played by some harder guys such as Eddie Halliwell, Lisa Lashes and people known for delivering extreme, high-energy music. My first record that I identify with as being really “me” was “Mistral,” which was played by Paul van Dyk, Tiësto and Armin van Buuren. The crazy thing is that somebody made a bootleg of “Mistral” versus “Tokyo,” two tracks eight years apart, and they sound similar and flow into one another; so if anyone thinks I’ve changed my sound, this could literally be one track!
For more on Emery’s evolution of sound, his Sirius show, his work with Vidiam and his home life, check out VegasSeven.com/GarethEmery. Follow him @GarethEmery, or watch him push out content on Vidi.am.
Gastro Fare. Nurtured Ales. Jukebox Gold.
[ Scene StirS ]
Aces & Ales TenAyA, on der wine bus, And sAve The dATe • I have seen the light. Actually, it was pitch-black when I entered the new Aces & Ales on June 22 at 2801 N. Tenaya Way, and they were still installing the sign. The neighborhood is part of that pocket of the northwest where everything is either a medical service or a service to medical services; I would classify this as the latter. Open 24 hours, the cavernous space trumps the Nellis Boulevard location by 28 taps. The kitchen wasn’t serving yet, so I sampled a Ballast Point Brewing Co.’s Habanero Sculpin IPA (hot!) and sipped a Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar. The place still has that new bar smell! Better hurry before Tasting Tuesdays starts up, and the place takes on that “something just came out of the fryer” smell. • The week started as it ended—that is, with me drinking beer in Summerlin—at the Big Dog’s beer-tasting dinner at Embers Grille & Spirits (EmbersLasVegas.com). The collaborative affair paired five courses, including seared blackened tuna, a grilled filet and warm chocolate cake with Big Dog’s brews, including my favorite, the Red Hydrant English brown ale. The next dinner is 6:30 p.m. July 15, with five courses paired with Firestone Walker beers, including Union Jack West Coast IPA, Wookey Jack Unfiltered Black Rye IPA, Parabola Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout and DBA Double Barrel British Pale Ale, for $50 per person. Call 778-2160 to RSVP—the menu looks delish.
’Merican Pie PrePAring for A blowout Fourth of July barbecue? You’ll need some patriotic provisions, including a killer cocktail that is as American as apple pie. Light Group corporate mixologist Michael Monrreal’s Apple Pie cocktail at Citizens Kitchen & Bar is all-American, right down to its American Harvest organic vodka (made from American winter wheat and water from beneath Idaho’s Snake River Plain) and Denver-made Leopold Bros. New York Sour Apple liqueur (a small-batch blend
of sour and sweet Upstate New York apples, eau-de-vie and a sour mash of malted barley). Apple juice, lemon juice and agave syrup make up the balance, and all in proportions that have punch written all over them. Multiply the recipe to have enough to offer your over-21 guests, fll a punch bowl and toss in some thin apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Or, if you will be outdoors pour it all into a fancy drink dispenser and stand back—this one is bound to go off like Roman candles. Get the recipe for Michael Monrreal’s Apple Pie cocktail at VegasSeven.com/Cocktail-Culture.
• Mid-week, I found myself drinking 42year old riesling in the parking lot of Lotus of Siam. I’d better explain: Penny Chutima, daughter of the Lotus family, invited me to meet up with the Wines of Germany Riesling & Co. Road Trip, a group of die-hard riesling fans hell-bent on demonstrating this wine’s versatility and variety. The 18-foot trailer set off from L.A. the night before, and stopped in Las Vegas June 20 on its way to New York. The pop-up wine bar featured stools, a bar top and a screen to help us spell words like Siefersheimer, Ürziger Würzgarten and Hermannshöhle. And they were diverse indeed, varying in vintage from 2011 to 1971, and in style from off-dry to definitely sweet, but always with enough acidity to keep us refreshed and munching happily on Lotus’ sour pork sausage. From now on I’ll just say “Ja” to riesling. — X.W.
Photo by Kin Lui
June 27–July 3, 2013
• Speaking of Big Dog’s, save the date: 6 p.m. to midnight July 20 for Big Dog’s Summer Beer Fest (BigDogsBrews.com/ Festivals/Summerfest) at 4543 N. Rancho Drive. More than 50 brews will be on offer, as well as barbecue platters. Live reggae music and raffle prizes will keep you occupied, as if the 50-plus beers alone couldn’t do that.
While their cultural programming recedes a little, should your donations expand a bit? Unless we’re total hypocrites, the answer would have to be yes. Collectively, we crow about “culture” as a Smith Center priority, Still, our wallets, credit cards and checkbooks favor the same entertainment genres—musicals and headliners—available on the Strip (though other eclectic acts do well) and the center obliges with affordability. Comparatively, the Smith Broadway series is a steal. Now a resident production at Harrah’s, Million Dollar Quartet prices its cheapest tickets at $69, but at its pre-Strip tour stop at The Smith Center a year ago, they began at $27. Rockin’ to Jersey Boys at Paris Las Vegas sets you back at least $55, while the recent Catch Me If You Can at Smith started at $24. Explaining the increase in their fundraising goal to $3.2 million, Martin says that selling well on those Broadway visitors also contributes to a misconception among some patrons and potential donors. “There is this perception that The Smith Center was expensive [$470 million] and we’re selling out all the Broadway shows so we must be making a fortune,” Martin says. “But as long as we make ticket prices affordable, and continue to do all the educational programs and community outreach we do, we will always have to rely on community support. It’s going to take a while for people to clearly understand that a great community asset like this requires some care and feeding.” Exactly how much care and feeding? “We’re going to ask a few more people to give another $10 here and $100 there so we can do all the mission-critical things without tripling ticket costs,” Martin says, adding that fundraising is a “different conversation” now with consumers than it was with million-dollar contributors while the center was under construction. Whether that also makes it a more diffcult conversation with middle-class patrons watching their pennies in a still-uncertain economy will be a crucial issue as the new season draws near.
87 VEGAS SEVEN
Damn that word, “culture”—at once a selling point and a turnoff, connoting sophistication but smacking of snobbery, a valued ideal at odds with mass appeal. In that ancient, eternal pull-tug between art and commerce, how do you convince people to embrace it? “If I don’t know who the performers are, it’s all the more reason for me to go,” urges Patrick Duffy, president of the Las Vegas Art Museum, a member of The Smith Center’s board of directors and a major donor. “It blew my mind on around 10 occasions. I’m like, ‘Am I glad I got off my ass to see these performers.’” Ideally, that’s a philosophy to which every Smith attendee should adhere, but many can’t, having limited leisure dollars to spread around and doling them out cautiously for the performers they consider sure bets for a good time. Is the answer in an approach to programming that’s autocratic—or democratic? “It takes mining some data and fnding out what our constituency wants,” Duffy says. “It’s not the few speaking for the many.” Counterintuitive as it seems, should, in fact, the few sometimes speak for the many, pouring more cultural offerings into the schedule and promoting them heavily until the populace fnds its artistic footing? Isn’t that part of the underlying mission of a performing arts center—to persuade us to appreciate what we never expected we could? Come August, culture at The Smith Center steps back a bit. Can’t we step forward a little?
June 27–July 3, 2013
•• • • •
The Clydesdale say farewell to the Bunkhouse.
Bunkhouse Break, suicide soluTion, anTelope hunT The Bunkhouse saloon will no longer be a Downtown live-music venue for the summer. Promoter Patrick Trout’s last scheduled show there is June 29, and he’s going out with an all-star Las Vegas indierock blowout—including Avalon Landing,
June 27–July 3, 2013
The Big Friendly Corporation and The Clydesdale, Crazy Chief.
The Downtown Project—a Zapposaffiliated revitalization group bent on changing the gritty urban core into a thriving entrepreneurial and cultural zone—bought the bar in January. Apparently, it’s time to begin remodeling the joint, which in recent years was a top place to catch cult and cutting-edge national acts from every conceivable genre. The Bunkhouse is slated to reopen in September. I’m told live music will return and that the venue will serve, according to a Downtown Project PR person, “as a cornerstone of the music scene Downtown.” But I wouldn’t bet on seeing much underground rock there. After all, death metal and crust-punk don’t really jibe with Tony Hsieh’s “delivering happiness” paradigm, right? Hot on the heels of releasing their debut album Oderint Dum Metuant (which I reviewed in Vegas Seven’s May 13 issue), gritty blues-rockers the Psyatics swing into Double Down Saloon at 10 p.m. June 28. The Las Vegas trio is led by singerbassist Rob Bell, who extends the sound and fury of his earlier band, Yeller Bellies. I haven’t yet caught a live set by the Psyatics. Based on what I hear on their CD, I’m anxious to confirm that blustering, heavyguitar-riffing tunes such as “Bourbon Sway” still sound swig-worthy in a bar
like Double Down. My wager is yes. Also on the bill: Aluminum Falcon, Stagnetti’s Cock, No One Listens and Swampass. There’s a cool singer-songwriter showcase 10 p.m. June 28 at Beauty Bar. The Revive Vegas event benefits the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and features two of my favorite acoustic artists—Mercy Music (a.k.a. Brendan Scholz) and Paige Overton (who fronts The Clydesdale). Also on the bill are two guys from punk band The Core who often trade in their electric guitars for unplugged six-strings: No Red Alice (Sal Giordano) and Brock Frabbiele. Here’s a chance to catch some of the city’s best songwriters in a format emphasizing lyrics and vocals. All proceeds will go to AFSP’s Out of the Darkness community walk, designed to help prevent and raise awareness of suicide. From the badlands of Las Cruces, New Mexico, comes gnarly sludge-rock duo Oryx, splitting the musical difference between Black Sabbath-style doom metal and heavy ambient noise. The musicians—a guy on fuzzy down-tuned guitar and tortured screaming, a gal on clanging-like-a-possessed-garbage-truck-on-fire drums—don’t leave any room for nuance. Oh, and in case you don’t know, oryx are horned antelope from Southern Africa now found at White Sands Missile Range. Big-game hunters introduced them into the ecosystem 30 years ago so they’d have something to shoot. Oryx crashes into The Dive at 9 p.m. July 2. Local avant-rockers China open. Your Vegas band releasing a CD soon? Email Jarret_Keene@Yahoo.com.
sHe & Him
Cosmopolitan Boulevard Pool, June 19 After a rousing if not syrupy performance by opener Tilly and the Wall (the Omaha, Nebraska, band has a tap dancer as part
of its rhythm section), nostalgic retro-pop group She & Him felt subdued. Composed of twee New Girl actress Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward, the duo offered sunny vocals and driving guitar solos. Although stiff and somewhat awkward onstage, Deschanel skillfully worked her way through songs from their newest album, Volume 3, as well as their back catalog.
Jessica Hernandez and tHe deltas June 27–July 3, 2013
Beauty Bar, June 22
It was this 3-year-old Detroit band’s first time in town, which may have contributed to the sparse attendance, with more than a few taking off after locals Trevor and the Joneses and Von Kin finished their sets. But those who stuck around or wandered in later were amply rewarded. Led by Hernandez, a tiny chick with some badass pipes, the six-piece ensemble opened to a small stage-side audience but by the end, most of the bar campers were up grooving and grinning to a raucous musical banquet. Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas aren’t stuffed easily into a genre-box. Channeling ragtime keys, Romani flash and grindhouse themes, their tight musicianship turns this potentially confusing stew into smartly textured compositions that reach out and pull you on the floor. “Sorry I Stole Your Man” begins with calliope keys and transitions with a ripping trombone slide into something akin to a ska/zydeco thump over which Hernandez teases out her backhanded apology. And I would swear “Caught Up” is channeling some gin joint ghosts or ’70s exploitation flick. Hernandez punches above her weight with vocal power and precision that, on tunes such as “No Place Left to Hide,” is both seductive and mesmerizing. ★★★★✩ – Kurt Rice
The appropriately beachy “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” “I Could Have Been Your Girl,” “In the Sun” and “Take It Back” were the show’s standouts. Ward even performed some of his masterful solo work. Despite being slightly upstaged by the openers, She & Him was breezy, warm and fun—all the things a summer poolside concert should be. ★★★✩✩ – Danielle Smith
She & Him photo by Erik Kabik; Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas photo by Linda Evans
promiscuous heel and his young lover as a druggie opportunist. Drawing a Vegas timeline from that to the outand-proud, loud-and-likable Priscilla is heartening. However, even as states increasingly legalize gay marriage and it’s championed by the president, Priscilla isn’t a pure statement of liberation yet. While many gay activists lauded its unapologetic embrace of gay pride, some accused it of caricaturing gays. Even the show itself seems to feetingly betray itself in a scene where goons paint “fuck off faggots” on the bus. Says one of the drag queens, sadly: “Never forget the price of our choices.” Is that the choice of drag performing? Or choice of sexuality— which is what gay-bashers claim it is, rather than a biological imperative? Producers should reconsider the ambiguity of that line. Remove politics, though—except the message of acceptance—and Priscilla may be the most fun two hours (no intermission) you can spend on the Strip until temps drop to a bonechilling 80. Borrowing a phrase, you’ll have a gay ol’ time. STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Bump and grind and shake and shimmy? Gimme! Introducing the frst Las Vegas Burlesque Festival, set for October 10-12, with more than 70 performances scheduled at Boomers Bar and the Clarion Hotel’s Wolf Theater. Promising “opulent costumes and dazzling dancers,” the event is produced by Cha Cha Velour and includes appearances by Kalani Kokonuts and Blanche DeBris. Performer applications are available through LVBurlesqueFest.com. I’ve already submitted mine. Got an entertainment tip? Email Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.
June 27–July 3, 2013
Now that’s Vegas—with a message/lesson tossed in. Anyone who can’t have a blast at the Venetian’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a big-time party poop (if so, what are you doing in Vegas?). Defaulting to that gay buzzword, Priscilla is fabulous—a rollicking, eyepopping, madcap spectacle that lifts you up as it follows two drag queens and a post-op transsexual through the Aussie desert on a hot pink bus (“rear entry on request” reads its back door). Pleasures are plentiful: lovable lead characters; incredible costumes (about 500) smothered in sequins and feathers and wild imagination (fuorescent green cupcake skirts!); a rainbow coalition of wigs and disco-era outfts; dancing paintbrushes (seriously); “angels” descending from the rafters; and witty, raunchy writing (sample exchange: “go take your hormones”; “I think I just heard a whore moan.”) Set to ’60s-’80s hits (“I Say a Little Prayer,” “I Will Survive,” “It’s Raining Men” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”), it also deploys them cleverly—songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David would chuckle over a drag queen holding a wig and crooning, “While combing my hair now, and wondering what dress to wear now.” Plus a hilarious take on “MacArthur Park” is worth the admission price. Finally, there are gentle messages about homophobia and acceptance. On an extended tour stop through August 18, Priscilla is likely a good ft for a largely tourist audience. Gay or straight, its sex jokes would be a riskier draw at The Smith Center. Watching Priscilla, I refected on HBO’s Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, in which, beftting the ’70s-’80s setting, gays were treated like a secret society, and the principal characters’ shadier sides were exposed—the late headliner as a
95 VEGAS SEVEN
Photo by Joan Marcus
Priscilla’s drag queeNs are kiNg-size fuN
Brad Pitt, sex symbol and undead exterminator.
Dead Man Running
World War Z brings on a feet-footed zombie apocalypse By Michael Phillips
June 27–July 3, 2013
Tribune Media Services
it begins the way global epidemics have begun once or twice before in the movies: with a nice American family around the kitchen table, television droning in the background, delivering news reports of a mutating virus. OK, pass the OJ! Let’s get on with the rest of our undeadplagued lives, shall we? We shall. And we shall overcome. World War Z, the messy, fairly entertaining Brad Pitt zombie picture directed by Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace), barely hangs together in story terms, and Forster’s direction is more about nervous traffc manage-
ment than tonal certainty or action fnesse. But in the key sequences, pitting our man Pitt (playing a vaguely defned United Nations investigator/ world saver) against some superfast and rabidly hungry swarms of unhumanity, the stakes are high and the excitement’s there and the results, as previously stated, are messy but fairly entertaining. Sequels are desired, clearly. The massively budgeted World War Z (production costs, not including the selling part, soared north of $200 million by most reports) would have to be really, really popular to warrant another chapter in the zombie-
wompin’ days and nights of Gerry Lane, played by Pitt, whose panic meter never exceeds 30 percent. Amazingly terrible things are happening all around him, and to him, all the time. Yet he soldiers on, glamorously, killing the already killed, saving the save-able, guided by his love for a good woman (Mireille Enos), their two gold-plated young daughters and an adopted-onthe-fy Newark, New Jersey, survivor of the outbreak. The frst big blowout in World War Z fnds the Lanes in traffc in downtown Philadelphia (the scenes were shot in Glasgow, Scotland). Suddenly: zombie attack! In a matter of minutes,
many of the world’s cities are in fames. The conceit of World War Z, based very loosely on Max Brooks’ novel, is that it takes only 10 or 12 seconds for a chomped human to join the undead hordes. 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later got there frst, and did it better, but in general it’s clear: Fleet-footed zombies are better than slow ones. Driving a stolen camper into a trashed-out, looter-friendly Newark, the Lanes are rescued by U.N. forces and relocated to an aircraft carrier, where Gerry’s old boss (Fana Mokoena) monitors a rapidly disintegrating crisis. From there World War Z sends Gerry off on a series of ad hoc missions, frst to South Korea, then to Israel, then to Cardiff, Wales, to fnd the elusive origin of the zombie problem, and/or concoct a cure. Forster’s visual strategy is similar to that of Man of Steel director Zack Synder’s: Keep the camera too close to everyone and everything, handheld style, for maximum fake realism and jiggliness. Both Forster
and Snyder might beneft from being sent to directorial re-education camp to learn the value of an extended take not designed to induce nausea. As in Quantum of Solace, half the time in World War Z you don’t know who’s hacking whom. The simplest setups and payoffs save the movie from utter confusion. In Jerusalem (these scenes were shot in Malta, with lots of extras and thousands more digital extras), the immensely tall concrete barriers prove no match for the scrambling zombie enemy. Later, on a fight to Wales, Gerry and an Israeli commando (Daniella Kertesz, in the flm’s fercest and best performance) fnd themselves sitting in what appears to be frst class, when a zombie comes out of nowhere (well, the toilet, actually) to attack a fight attendant in the rear of the cabin. A better, more subversive director than Forster might’ve done something with this condescending setup—my God, what is happening back there, in coach? But even in his better flms (Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction) Forster has betrayed not even a trace element of humor. Like it, don’t like it or like parts of it, World War Z has no interest in splattery high spirits. It got by, barely, with a PG-13 rating, though you sense an R-rated version just dying to bust out. The movie’s travails have been extensively chronicled. World War Z went into production without an ending, and the rewrites and reshoots threw out much of the fnal third (a zombie battle in Moscow, alluded to briefy in an epilogue) in favor of a new climax, set in a remote World Health Organization offce in Cardiff. There Gerry and his fellow survivors match wits with their undead adversaries, in dark hallways and a warren of biohazardous lab facilities. It’s a strangely modest climax to a globe-trotting movie. In its way, it satisfes; at least World War Z’s laborious reshoots steered the thing away from generic scenes of mass destruction, toward old-fashioned human-scale zombie vanquishing problem solving. The epilogue and attendant voiceover narration that caps it? Pure desperation. But that’s the movie all over: inept one minute, enticingly dire the next. World War Z (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩
Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. prequel makes the grade but doesn’t set the curve By Michael Phillips
Tribune Media Services what is Pixar doing, settling for adequacy? Monsters University, the weirdly charmless sequel to the animated 2001 Pixar hit Monsters, Inc., is no better or worse than the average (and I mean average) time-flling sequel cranked out by other animation houses. But there’s no point in talking about the movie without putting it in context with the reasons so many responded to Pixar’s best over the past few years. Pixar’s best—Wall-E, Ratatouille and Up for me, along with a remarkable second tier of The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and the Toy Story trilogy—followed blueprints and formulas up to a point. But the various artists at Pixar, now affliated with Disney, made their reputations on knowing when to throw all that away, and follow their instincts. Cars, one of Pixar’s weaker efforts, turned into an $8 billion global merchandise bonanza that made a sequel statistically impossible to
avoid, though Cars 2 needn’t have been quite so mechanical and bizarrely nasty. This brings us to Monsters University, a flm roughly on the Cars 2 achievement level. Three credited writers labored to bring forth three or four good jokes amid a wearying tale of college anxieties and relentless peer pressure— just what the preteens need to inculcate a sense of higher-ed dread. It’s a prequel by defnition, not a sequel, and the writers clearly have studied the Oz-prequel musical Wicked for pointers. We meet chipper, one-eyed Mike (Billy Crystal reprising his vocal chores) as a tot, dreaming of attending Monsters U. someday. The day arrives, though when he meets his future best friend Sulley (John Goodman), they’re polar opposites: Mike the studious, hardworking if innately unfrightening monster-intraining, Sulley the shambling natural saddled with poor study habits and a bullying
Billy Crystal returns to voice the studious monster, Mike.
arrogance egged on by his recruitment by the meanest fraternity on campus. How these two become friends is the crux of the screenplay, which spends an awful lot of time grinding through the annual Scare Games competition (The Hunger Games with fewer fatalities but more verbal taunts). For various reasons, the games bring Mike and Sulley and a bland group of supporting monsters onto the same team, where they learn the virtues of teamwork and playing to one’s eccentric strengths. With that lesson, how did Monsters University turn out so defantly conventional? So many questions. Was it really
a good idea to have Mike and Sulley at each other’s throats for so much of director Dan Scanlon’s feature? Is it really a promising notion, satiric or otherwise, to pull a humiliating variation on the pig’sblood bit from Carrie? There’s more genuine wit and invention in the four-minute short Mike’s New Car, made a year after Monsters, Inc., than in the entirety of this college-is-hell instructional video. The animation studio’s triumphs, and even its solidly worthwhile accomplishments, appeal to a wonderfully wide age spectrum. Monsters University tries (and may well succeed fscally). As usual, the actors are not the problem. Helen Mirren
June 27–July 3, 2013
Man of Steel (PG-13) ★★ ✩✩
The latest Superman effort takes a dark and grim turn similar to producer Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Familiarly, as the planet Krypton is destroyed, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends his powerful son Kal-El to Earth, specifically Kansas. Raised by farmers (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), the newly named Clark Kent grows up to discover his special abilities. In time, he meets journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and battles the incredibly destructive General Zod (Michael Shannon) as Superman. The film is solid, but the destruction is excessive.
This Is the End (R) ★★★✩✩
Somehow, this apocalyptic farce works. Cofilmmakers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg take a simple premise, invite a ton of their comic friends along to play alternate versions of themselves, and make an End-of-Days picture that’s incredibly crude and wildly entertaining. Rogen invites his friend Jay Baruchel to L.A. They’re invited to James Franco’s party, along with tons of other actors (Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, etc.—even Emma Watson!). Then the world begins to end and all bets are off. There are a ton of laughs here, and it’s worlds better than any Hangover.
The Internship (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩
This reteaming of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson plays like a commercial for our search engine overlords, Google. By the end of the picture, that already-too-familiar logo is seared into your psyche. L.A. wristwatch salesmen Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) find themselves out of work. Eventually, the duo video-conference their way into a summer internship at Google headquarters. There, they team up with a few fellow outcast interns in a competition to see which team wins those coveted full-time jobs at summer’s end. Not many laughs here. Just Google.
voices the fearsome Hogwartian headmaster (a dragon), and Steve Buscemi’s a valuable addition to the crew as Mike’s frst college roommate, a chameleon. I enjoyed composer Randy Newman’s hard-driving variations on the theme of College Fight Song (plus a few bars of the old standby “Gaudeamus Igitur”). It’s nice seeing some of the better-known Monsters, Inc. critters show up as junior versions of themselves. But this time the calculation is all too evident. Pixar has worked wonders. Just not lately, and not yet with sequels. Monsters University (G) ★★✩✩✩
[ by tribune media services ]
The Purge (R) ★✩✩✩✩
In the not-too-distant future, America has one night a year of catharsis, when citizens give in to their violent impulses. Murder and mayhem abound, as the well-off can hunt the homeless. Or just seek revenge. Ethan Hawke plays a well-off salesman who holes up with his family in their heavily secured home for the night. Unfortunately, his children let some outsiders in, including a hunted homeless vet. Naturally, this brings the vengeful hunters down on their happy home. The message and violence are heavyhanded. You’ve seen better.
After Earth (PG-13) ★★ ✩✩
The latest from M. Night Shyamalan, no longer “Mr. Plot Twist,” is a two-biller showcasing the Smiths, Will and Jaden. Humanity’s treatment of Earth has led to mass exodus. The planet is overrun by animals and bugs, all genetically evolved to kill humans. Cypher (Will Smith) takes his son, Kitai (Jaden Smith), on security patrol of Earth, but one crash landing later, father and son are stuck. Kitai must locate a beacon and navigate all kinds of danger along the way. Moderately entertaining.
Fast & Furious 6 (PG-13) ★★★★✩
The Hangover Part III (R) ★★✩✩✩
Star Trek Into Darkness (PG-13)
Epic PG ★★✩✩✩
Director J.J. Abrams’ second installment in the classic franchise reboot is fantastic. Life on Earth in the 23rd century is eerily familiar: a massively destructive act of terrorism sets into motion a tale that leads, early on, to an attack on Starfleet; a test of leadership for James T. Kirk (Chris Pine); and the introduction of an also-familiar adversary in Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). The result is tons of fun. The Enterprise and its crew have never looked better.
It won’t take long to sleep off the third, highly forgettable installment of this franchise. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) buys and accidentally decapitates a (digital) giraffe, giving his dad (Jeffrey Tambor) a heart attack. The Wolf Pack (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha) drive him to a rehab facility in Arizona. On the way, they’re carjacked by a mobster (John Goodman). And of course, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) is around as well. There’s hardly a laugh in the entire thing.
Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios present Adequate? This deceptively named animated feature just doesn’t provide much. A girl (Amanda Seyfried) discovers an alternative and tiny universe in the forest where warriors (Colin Farrell and Josh Hutcherson) fly on the backs of hummingbirds. Quenn Tara (Beyoncé) must pick a special flower to regenerate the forest. And the plot gets ever-more convoluted from there. Let’s just put it this way, it’s no FernGully.
June 27–July 3, 2013
The sixth installment of this car-thieveswith-honor franchise is a surprising and unlikely delight. Dom (Vin Diesel) wants to return home to L.A. after stealing $100 million in Brazilian drug money. Federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who had been after Dom and his gang of thieves, actually needs them to catch a British terrorist. The gang comes back together for a slew of incredible chase scenes, ridiculous amounts of downshifting and full exoneration. Director Justin Lin knows what he’s doing here.
99 VEGAS SEVEN
Now You See Me (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩
This super-slick magicians’ heist picture has little up its sleeve. A group of magicians: Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley (Isla Fisher), Merritt (Woody Harrelson and Jack (Dave Franco) attempt the ultimate caper. “Tonight,” they tell the audience, “we’re going to rob a bank.” Which they do, a continent away, raining currency down on the audience. Good turns by Morgan Freeman and Mark Ruffalo can’t mask the fact that there’s too much explaining involved in this twisted plot.
The museum administrator and Pawn Stars expert on the efects of fame, the role of public collections and the one museum artifact he was shocked to receive By Paul Szydelko
June 27–July 3, 2013
A life-size cArdboArd cutout of Mark Hall-Patton greets visitors in the lobby of the Clark County Museum on Boulder Highway in Henderson—a vigilant stand-in for photos when Hall-Patton is not there and an ever-present symbol of celebrity rarely achieved by a museum administrator. History Channel’s Pawn Stars, seen in more than 150 countries and dubbed into more than 30 languages, has made a star of Hall-Patton, something he could not have envisioned when he was frst asked by Downtown’s Gold & Silver Pawn Shop to evaluate an item in February 2009. Since then he has appeared in more than 100 episodes, and the 35-year museum administrator, a Valley resident since 1993, can’t go many places without being recognized.
How has Pawn Stars affected your life? It’s turned it upside down. A museum director is about the most anonymous job you can have. Your face isn’t out there; you’re the guy in the back room. You run into this oddity of celebrity. It’s increased museum attendance 66 percent in less than three years—it’s wonderful, it’s doing exactly what we want. But on a personal basis, it means that I can’t speak to people’s IQ on the freeway if somebody cuts me off. … I was in the Sacramento air-
port and a TSA agent pulled me around the metal detector and gave me a pat-down because he wanted to talk about the show. I’ll talk to you—you don’t have to touch me there, you know, that’s OK! You don’t understand how much you like anonymity until you don’t have it anymore.
30 acres, 20 restored buildings, a ghost town, walking trails and nature areas. At two bucks a head, it’s the best bargain in the Valley. The nicest thing about it, we don’t have any functioning slot machines here, so you actually save money when you come out and see us.
Do you have a standard line you use when you’re recognized? “Have you been to the Clark County Museum? If not, you’ve got to come see us.” We’ve got
You’re Pawn Stars’ go-to guy for artifacts. How do you seem to know everything? You can’t know all these things. You have to research. They’ll send me a picture. I’ve
Any item that has come close to stumping you? When I did the Soviet ICBN launch keys: There are only fve pairs of those in the U.S., and the Soviets weren’t really big on telling us how they were going to destroy the U.S. This didn’t make the front page of Pravda. I was able to track down an image of the city fag for the town of Leninsk, which is now Baikonur. And the city fag for Leninsk used the image of the launch key as a central device on the fag. OK, now I can tie that back in with the rocketry. I understand enough about their electronics to know why they’d be using titanium and not steel. So I was then able to start putting pieces together.
What item came into the museum that caused your pulse to quicken? It was a scrapbook from the Kit Kat Club, a gay club in North Las Vegas dating from 1942. There are no photographs from the Kit Kat Club, and this guy comes in with a scrapbook from it with photographs of some of the entertainers and a couple of the interiors. These don’t exist anywhere; it was a wonderful fnd. What do you personally collect? I collect anything to do with bridges and bridge engineering—7,000 books, photographs, 10,000 postcards, bridge plans, postmarks from towns named for bridges, stamps with bridges on them and nameplates off of bridges, much to my wife’s dismay. I also have about 97 fraternal swords and 20-30 military swords. Law-enforcement badges and badges for weird reasons—does the parcel room need a badge? Does the ticket-taker need a badge?
What’s out there that Mark Hall-Patton knows belongs in a museum? And how is social media changing the curating industry? Find out at VegasSeven.com/HallPatton.
Photo by Anthony Mair
got 20,000 books at home; I have 30,000-40,000 books here at the museum. Yes, I use Google and online resources. I’ve been in the feld long enough to have friends in museums all over the U.S. I’ll call them up and ask what they know about this.
What’s a public collection’s role in the life of the community? We are the memory. We are the place you can fnd out why you exist. If you want to understand why we put 2 million people in the middle of the desert, you come here and you can learn that. ... I love collectors; I am a collector; I’m not saying anything bad about them, but they will eventually go away. We will not. We are the one spot where this information is going to be held in perpetuity. Second, we are the place that gives people coming into the area some sense of the area. What is it about this place that makes it a community? … You take in what it is that you personally want. You look at one of the houses and you see something that your grandmother had, and you make a connection with that, but your 8-year-old daughter who’s walking through with you sees something else, and she makes a connection. And then you can make a connection across those generations, but you’re also making a connection throughout the culture of the community.