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Sept. 14: Blind Center of Nevada’s Imagine Gala ( Sept. 28: James Beard Foundation’s Taste of America (


September 12–18, 2013

So you say there was nothing for the UNLV football team and its fans to celebrate Sept. 7 during the Rebels’ 58-13 loss to Arizona in the 2013 home opener. Well, that’s because you’re looking at the glass as half-empty. Among the more than 26,000 fans who filled Sam Boyd Stadium was Governor Brian Sandoval, who presented the UNLV athletics department with the inaugural Governor’s Series trophy, which goes to the winner of a yearlong allsports competition between UNLV and UNR (the Rebels won handily, 37.5-10.5). Adding patriotism to hometown pride, hundreds of servicemen and women from Nellis Air Force Base teamed with the Nevada Department of Public Safety Emergency First Responders to unveil the American flag as Terry Fator sang the national anthem. Back on the field, the Rebels will try again to record their first victory Sept. 14 when they welcome Central Michigan to Sam Boyd.

Gastro Fare. Nurtured Ales. Jukebox Gold.


The Mad Arc of


After a summer of tragedy, adulation and backlash, Metro’s Search and Rescue Unit gets on with the business of scaling mountains and saving lives

Somehow, he managed to stop at the 15-foot ledge, but, he says, “I landed on my head, and my left calf was crushed, and the skin was fleted open. There were blood drops all around, and I thought I might have a concussion.” Startled and alone, he managed to use his cellphone to call 911—lucky, because cellphone reception is sporadic in the canyon. “It could’ve been much, much worse—if I’d fallen the other way, I was looking at the real deal: I would’ve died.” It was about 4:30 p.m., and 20 minutes later, Metro’s Search and Rescue helicopter came buzzing over the canyon, swooped back toward him, hovered above the slab and lowered offcer Mike Young down a rope to his side. “He had a bottle of water for me, and he broke out his frstaid kit and wrapped my leg, and evaluated how coherent I was,” Baker says. “Then they lowered a cable, and put me in a harness at the waist level, and took me up. “I’m embarrassed. I should know better,” says Baker, whose crushed leg has required seven doctor visits since his initial trip to the ER. “And I’ll always be grateful to the Search and Rescue team.”

***** the image of metro’s Search and Rescue Unit has, in the course of a single summer, gone from heroic to tragic to suspect. Just two months after the relatively routine rescue of Baker, a Search and Rescue team was called to rescue a hiker stranded on a ledge near the Mary Jane Falls trail on Mount Charleston. This time, offcer David VanBuskirk was lowered to the hiker, but something went wrong. VanBuskirk, 36 and a six-year veteran of the unit, fell to his death while the unidentifed hiker was pulled to safety. As multiple local and federal investigations began into VanBuskirk’s death, the Valley mourned—a procession of police vehicles drove down the Strip in his honor, the funeral was covered by media far and wide, and a fund was set up to help his widow. The County Commission offcially recognized VanBuskirk’s family and members of the Search and Rescue team. But almost simultaneously, the image of the unit began to fray. First, news of Metro’s pilots taking Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba and his fancee on a helicopter ride

in August for their marriage proposal came out. The public rumbling began: Is Metro brass watching this unit closely enough? Or is it a team dominated by a reckless, cowboy mentality? Then, less than a week after a large crowd stood and applauded the Search and Rescue team members as “heroes” in the commission chambers, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that a 7-month internal investigation into the unit had been terminated just before VanBuskirk died. That investigation, conducted by Metro’s Critical Incident Review Team, began after SAR offcers totaled a $1 million helicopter in a hard landing during training in October, 2012. Before that, an offcer died in training in 1998 while scaling ice on Mount Charleston. The R-J quoted an internal email written by Lt. Gawain Guedry days before VanBuskirk’s death: “Our agency has been incredibly lucky thus far, in terms of not losing a single life to an aviation accident. That luck may not continue.” What followed was a wide range of public responses—

September 12–18, 2013

clear, brisk day in may lured Las Vegas triathlete Robert Baker to Red Rock Canyon, where he hiked the short Keystone Thrust trail, found a high slab of sandstone and began his yoga routine. He’d done this before—the beauty of the rust-colored rocks and the blue sky worked not only as a backdrop for mindfulness, but also, more and more frequently, as a backdrop for his photography: He likes to take photos of himself in yoga poses. The slab he’d chosen had long drops on two sides. One was more than 100 feet, the other had a ledge about 15 feet down, followed by a crevice between boulders that dropped another 75 feet. He set up his camera tripod carefully, did some warm-up stretches and lunged into a Warrior Two—one leg forward, one back, arms outstretched. But he wasn’t concentrating. Was the camera timer on? Was the angle right to capture the sky and rocks? A split second later, as Baker, 53, tells it, “I lost my balance. My sunglasses and visor went over the cliff, and I started sliding, and I thought ‘How do I put on the brakes?!’”



By Stacy J. Willis

some calling for better oversight from Sheriff Doug Gillespie, who shortly thereafter announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election as sheriff so that he could focus on lobbying for more police offcers; others calling for more transparency at Metro in general. To date, Gillespie hasn’t publicly addressed the accusations of problems in the Search and Rescue unit. Meanwhile, members of the unit have withstood a summer of loss and pressure, all the while continuing to fulfll their mission. “It’s obviously been a diffcult time,” says Sgt. Gavin Vesp. “Dave [VanBuskirk] was close to all of us. And we’ve been under scrutiny for a lot of other things that aren’t related to Dave. We’ve been represented [in the media] in a skewed fashion. But we know who we are here. Our sole purpose is to go out and help people.”

that a group of men and women whose sole purpose is to help people—albeit as a taxpayer-funded profession— should instantly become the target of suspicion after tragedy is not wholly unexpected. In a practical sense, due diligence requires investigations so that tragedies such as VanBuskirk’s do not occur again. It’s a sign of a cautious and concerned society that the National Transportation Safety Board reviewed the accident. (The board found no problems with the team’s gear.) Such a society also needs solid investigative journalism by its watchdogs to uncover institutional problems. But in another sense, we’ve become a culture that likes to dismantle its heroes. We’re skeptical and ironic; realists or pessimists prepared to be disappointed. Perhaps too many of our elected offcials and celebrity icons have proven to be unethical or otherwise disheartening; perhaps the omnivorous media has made it impossible for anyone, or any entity, to be perceived as onedimensional enough to fulfll the old understanding of the The death of Search and Rescue officer David VanBuskirk during a July rescue on Mount Charleston unleashed a flood of grief and adulation in the Valley.



THE OUTDOORS ISSUE or ATVers. Other rescues involved people who drove into fooded ravines and those who had boating accidents on Lake Mead. Not everyone could be rescued: In May, a 17-year-old Bonanza High School student fell to his death while hiking in Red Rock Canyon. The question has been raised time and again: Why should taxpayers fund the rescue of the arguably irresponsible outdoorsman? A helicopter rescue mission can cost between $500 and $1,200 an hour. It puts offcers’ lives at risk. And the Air Support Unit draws roughly $6.6 million from Metro’s annual budget.

The two were able to get cellphone reception long enough to call a buddy and let him know where they were; Masters’ buddy called 911. “So in half an hour, a helicopter was near where we were, and we shined our fashlights up at them,” he says. “They dropped supplies and blankets frst, and then [offcer Jason Connell] came down the rope.” Connell harnessed Masters’ friend and sent him up to the helicopter. “But the winds got too strong after they picked him up,” Masters says. So he and rescuer Connell had to stay put until conditions improved.

foot the bill for rescues? Do they ever resent that they are asked to put their lives in danger because of others’ mistakes? “Oh no,” offcer Mike Young said. “This is what we do.” The division started as an unoffcial group of police offcers and volunteers known as the Sheriff’s Jeep Posse in the 1950s, and offcially became Search and Rescue in 1986. The team is assigned to cover 8,000 square miles in and around the Valley and its mountains; calls for help increase in the fall and spring. Each offcer in the unit is a certifed advanced emergency medical technician, and most



What began as an inspirational day on the mountaintop for Robert Baker ended with a bad fall, deep wounds and a timely intervention by the Search and Rescue Unit.

hero—one who takes action to help those in need. There’s gotta be a catch. The very act of lauding ensures an imminent stoning—if not by the media, by hordes of anonymous or not-soanonymous online voices. The notion of a world without unsullied heroism is a bit of an existential grind, but in this case, it may help us forge a more realistic relationship with offcers like those in Metro’s Search and Rescue Unit—a relationship

based on risk and trust. We take measured risks, and we pay taxes and fees to offset those risks, trusting that a trained offcer will show up to help us out when we end up hanging on a canyon wall. In the last 12 months, Metro’s seven Search and Rescue offcers and 14 pilots have conducted more than 150 rescues. More than 130 of them involved one of their three primary helicopters; 70 percent were rescues of lost or injured hikers, climbers

hiker casey masters would be the frst to agree. He admits he made a mistake when, earlier this year, he and a friend planned their hike over the west face of Red Rock by looking at Google Earth images. “We saw a dirt road down the back side, and we thought it looked like an easy jaunt,” he recalls. “But it drops to a 700-foot cliff.” By the time the two found themselves facing that situation, they’d been hiking nearly 12 hours, much longer than they’d expected. The sun began to set, the temperature began to drop, and gusts of wind were up to 35 miles per hour. “I am an experienced hiker, but it’s easy to get in over your head,” Masters says. “We defnitely didn’t have the right equipment, and it started getting colder than we expected. Around 6 p.m., we started to worry.”

“We found a better crevice and made a fre. We stayed there three or four hours, hanging out under a tarp and blankets,” Masters says. “He had only a few bars on his walkie-talkie left, and I was so tired after hours of this. “Eventually the pilot actually set the skid bar on the side of the rock. It was surreal. It was pitch-black. They had night goggles on, but I didn’t, and they led me over to the helicopter and I stepped out, in total darkness, and got in.” Masters says the crew was “very calm and confdent, very measured.” “I asked if we were going to be fned for the rescue,” Masters says. “‘They said, ‘No,’ and they didn’t make us feel like too big of idiots.” ***** i recently visited metro’s Search and Rescue Unit in its North Las Vegas Airport offce, which is attached to their unit’s helicopter hangars on the tarmac. Several offcers and I sat in a conference room adorned with photos of various rescues and training exercises: offcers hanging on the face of Mount Charleston’s gray stone walls; offcers underwater in Lake Mead searching for the drowned. I asked them the questions that Masters had raised: Do they think the rescued should

are certifed scuba divers; all know how to work the ropes and climb. Additionally, Search and Rescue has a well-trained and diverse stable of volunteers, including a neurosurgeon and 12 tactical medical volunteers who are either ER doctors or plastic surgeons or paramedics, along with 18 non-medical volunteers, including a host of experienced rock climbers. The unit also works with multiple agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, National Parks, all local fre departments, ambulance services and hospital emergency fight teams. At the base, I noted that several of the offcers used this line in describing their jobs: “We’re just cops” or “We’re still cops,” as if to say, they may get more attention for rescues than other everyday patrolmen and women, but they recognize the pros and cons of that role. Dramatic rescues draw positive attention, but the concept of heroism is short-lived and prone to backfre. Nevertheless, Search and Rescue is one of few units that gets thank-you cards—a pleasantry a traffc cop probably doesn’t often receive. Young shows me one from a Red Rock hiker the team rescued. It’s a comic picture of a big-butted guy wearing small shorts. The inscription: “Thanks for saving my ass.”


But inasmuch as we’ve decided that the Great Outdoors is a theme park complete with imaginary guardrails and safety assurances, Search and Rescue becomes a part of the modern social contract. The American Way, circa 2013, requires that we have public servants willing to slide down ropes onto 2-foot ledges over 500-foot drops to save us.

September 12–18, 2013

We’ve become a culture that likes to dismantle its heroes. The very act of lauding ensures an imminent stoning.

it must be summer, because this particular memory, circa age 5, has me in shorts, running barefoot around the small Roswell, New Mexico, farm where I grew up. Sally Reid—the circus tent of a woman I call “Granny” but who is actually a tolerant nextdoor neighbor who keeps me entertained with her everyday rustic tasks— reaches down into a scatter of chickens and seizes one. She lumbers out of the hen house toward a battered chair behind a tree stump in the middle of the dusty farm yard, felding about one of every three of my questions: Why did you pick that one? Is it a girl or a boy? How old is she? Why do you hold them by the feet? What are you … Wham! She lops the bird’s head off with a hatchet, and there it lies, like a glistening trinket on the stump. None of the other animals—except one or two chickens sent squawking from the path of the headless body’s death lap—misses a beat in its routine rooting and chewing and bleating. There is a trail of blood, then a pool. My jaw hangs open. A condensed animal smell, hot and meaty, begins to rise. I’m not upset, but I decide not to hang around either. I know what’s coming. “Ain’t you gonna help me pluck ’er?” Granny yells as I climb back through the fence between her house and ours. *****

***** nearly two years later, my new boss and I step out of the café where we’ve just had lunch, greeted by a blowdryer wind that dusts our eyes. He comments on the weather, and I look up at the bowing palm trees, anxious. “I’m worried about my chicken,” I say, immediately regretting it. Now, I’ll have to process the usual reactions about urban chicken farming while, in my head, all I can see is Little Red, alone outside the coop, looking for shelter from the coming monsoon. If anyone knows it wasn’t meant to be this way, it’s me, the only true country girl in my circle of friends. And, honestly, if it hadn’t been for Red, my interest in the chickens would probably have remained culinary—Peter doing all the work around the garden, herding the fock from his basil patch to his corn feld, and delighting me with a basket of fresh eggs on the counter each morning.

“How many did we get today?” I’d ask. “Omelets for breakfast!” The interruption to this ideal tableau began with the roosters. While chickens are legal in Las Vegas city limits (under certain conditions), roosters aren’t. And even if they had been, I couldn’t have stood their crowing for much more than the week it took Peter to fgure out that he’d gotten two males instead of the all-female batch promised by the mail-order company. Peter found a new home for the males at Quail Hollow Farm and replaced the teen exiles with two chicks, an Americuna we named “Stripe,” for her fancy black-andwhite feathers, and a Rhode Island Red—“Little Red.” Their brooder was in the spare room across the hall from my offce. We’d learned from the frst fock that it’s important to handle chicks frequently if you want them to be tame and manageable adults. I was working at home then, freelancing, so from time to time, I’d fetch the fuzzy pingpong balls and put them in a towel on my lap while I typed. They didn’t do much but chirp and peck and poop—like any babies, I suppose. But they were still fascinating. They always fell asleep after a couple of minutes, due, I fgured, to the soft clatter of my keyboard. Left alone too long, they’d fll the hallway with high-pitched cheeps. Time for more coddling. Six weeks on, they were old enough to go outside. The reaction of the other four— now young adult hens—was swift and unmistakable: These little outsiders had to go. Peter and I watched anxiously as Stripe and Red fapped in panic, fending off sharp pecks at every turn. I rigged a high beam across a corner of the coop that the little ones could fy up to for respite, but the next day there was blood on Stripe’s back. Peter logged into an online chicken forum for help. Turns out, chickens are not welcoming creatures; the forum had many tales of newbies lost to the hazing of established focks. But there were also suggestions for working it out. Peter installed wire mesh to wall off a safety area at the back of the coop. The little ones would be out of harm’s way, but old and new members of the fock would still be in each other’s sights, encouraging integration.

This worked pretty well until the first heat wave. The second week of July 2012, temperatures inched past 110. The babies had water and shade in their enclosure, but it wasn’t enough to save Stripe. When Peter told me how he’d found her, a slump of black and white in the corner of her cage, something clicked inside me. I spread newspaper on my office floor and made a circle of leftover fencing. I filled a cardboard box with shredded bank statements, a tiny bowl with cold water and plopped Little Red down inside the makeshift coop. This chicken would not die—not on my watch. ***** of course, chickens can fy. Within hours, Red wanted to be back in her comfort zone, on my lap. The farthest away I could get her to stay was perched on the edge of my desk drawer. I flled it with magazine paper, and this became her nest for the duration of 100-plus temps. She’d settle in as I typed, her head nodding over the mouse next to my hand. Did you know chickens coo as they fall asleep? In the evening, she had to go back outside. We’d put her in the safety area, where she’d roost on the crossbeam. Come morning, feeding time, we’d open the pen, then the door to her enclosure, and she’d dart through a gauntlet of beaks to freedom in our yard. This is how Red grew up apart from the rest of the fock, a loner. As the fall dragged toward winter, I knew I had to integrate her. Soon, she’d need the shelter of the coop from the cold. We took down her enclosure wall, reasoning she’d be safe overnight, when chickens fall into a docile state. In the morning, I’d crouch in the coop, pitching rocks at her attackers while she pecked at the grain trough. Then I’d linger outside the coop watching, willing myself to go inside, have my breakfast, let her fend for herself the way nature intended. But her fearful squawks did me in day after day. I’d let her out of the coop, fguring she was better off taking her chances with alley cats and the elements than with those mean little cluckers. After I started my full-time job last September, I would

rush home and into the backyard, calling, “Where’s my chicken?” I’d surprise her pecking at the beanstalks or taking a dirt bath under the grape arbor, and she’d trot over to me, chirping with delight and allaying my ridiculous fears. ***** peter was right: chickens are fun. I fall into a meditative trance watching them scratch and peck, soothed by the simplicity of their constant motion. The frst time I saw Red drink out of our dogs’ water bowl, throwing back her head and nibbling like a wine taster, I laughed out loud. And there’s nothing like the feeling of walking outside and having a little beast come charging across the yard to greet you. Sure, they’re only interested in checking out the compost I’m carrying to the bin, but it feels like being needed. The hard part is the exit strategy. Knowing the hens could live to be 10, but will only lay eggs until age 7, Peter and I arranged for some meat-eating friends to take and slaughter them after their laying years. Even as vegetarians, we appreciate that these animals were domesticated to be eaten, not treated as pets. Red, of course, complicates this. How could I send an animal that follows me around the yard and into the house, clucking contentedly, to her death? I wish I had Peter’s healthy perspective. When Red lunges at his pant leg—now exercising on others the aggression to which she’s been subjected (my 13-yearold cocker spaniel is her favorite victim)—Peter wags his fnger at her and says, “I’ve got one word for you, lady: fricassee!” Not on my watch, Peter. As the summer sun sets, I watch Red wander into the chicken house at roosting time with the rest of the fock. She settles on a separate beam while the others huddle together in their clique. Come morning, they’ll still bully her around the grain trough, but for the most part, she’s integrated. Bigger than the others, she can stand up for herself now, even if she does so from the bottom of the pecking order. She might not be the fttest of her species, but thanks to a human connection, she survived.

September 12–18, 2013


in the gardening aisle of Barnes & Noble on Maryland Parkway, I reach the tipping point between informed and overloaded. With a sharp knee-crack, I stand up from the stool where I’ve lost an hour reading about urban chicken farming and consider the possibilities I’ve collected. I go with Backyard Chickens, by Rashelle Johnson. It seems to have all the basics, from breed selection to coop construction, and the friendly, blue-and-yellow cover is reassuring. In my car, before leaving the parking lot, I take the book out of the bag. On the blank inscription page, I write: Dear Peter, OK … you have my permission. Love, Heidi. It’s December 2010, my signifcant other’s 46th birthday. I am formally acceding to his months of pleas for chickens, a key part of the permaculture experiment for which our large, Downtown Las Vegas backyard has become his laboratory. In Peter’s vision of our selfsustainability, fowl provide natural pesticides (by eating bugs off plants), fertilizer (by pooping everywhere) and tilling services (by scratching and digging in the soil), in addition to feeding us eggs. They’ll give back as much as they take, he promises. “And it will be fun. You’ll see.”


o, you can’t have my cereal, and don’t poop in my coffee.” This I add to the running list of ridiculous things I say now that I have chickens. In the feeting cool of the morning, I palm Little Red’s chest and gently back her away from my breakfast. I’m at the picnic table on my patio; the rest of the fock is happily scratching in the dewy grass. But not Red. She’s my chicken. Or rather, I’m her mommy: grantor of corn-chip crumbs, pecked from the palm of my hand; gatekeeper of the Big House, where there’s air conditioning and ice water; and, most important, protector from the other chickens, who want her dead.



palms pool The palms

[ Upcoming ]



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September 12–18, 2013

Sept. 13 Robin Thicke performs Sept. 27 Jay Sean performs


From Nightlife to Fight Night XS’ John Wood lives at the intersection of nightlife, fashion and MMA



John Wood, a multitalented nightlife veteran and fashion entrepreneur, has ascended to impressive heights within both industries. The Wyoming native moved to Las Vegas in 1998 to study marketing at UNLV, got his feet in nightclub and retail doors, and has continued climbing ever since. Ironically, his frst taste of nightlife began in the realm of fashion. While still a student, Wood started working at Armani Exchange, where he grew from sales to store management. At 20 years old he started coordinating Armani Exchange fashion shows at Baby’s and later Rain. By arriving early to set up the underage Wood experienced Las Vegas nightlife in its infancy, before those now-departed venues as well as Light in Bellagio sparked a shift toward nightclubs as premier entertainment attractions. “They elevated table service and made it a privilege to get behind the velvet rope,” he says. In 2002, he joined the team at Ra nightclub as a promoter, and spent those early days camped out around Luxor, Mandalay Bay and Excalibur, handing out $5 club passes and later selling $175 bottles. Three years later, when Steve Wynn was opening his eponymous hotel and La Bête nightclub (now Tryst), Wood became the first VIP host, and has since risen to become the senior executive director of VIP services for Tryst, XS and Botero. But in 2006 Wood circled back to his fashionable beginnings when he met a former

Brand Jordan executive and founded a premium performance-apparel brand called RYU (Respect Your Universe). The idea was to make elite custom shorts for athletes and fans trained in martial arts, so they brought in the guy who made Mike Tyson’s shorts. A year or so after launch, fve more former Nike employees got on board, including the former CFO of Nike Golf, to help expand the brand. The team raised $13 million from friends, family and partners. RYU went public with an IPO and opened a RYU store in the Shoppes at the Palazzo. Today, RYU is sort of the Lululemon of MMA, and continues to introduce technology, fabric, style and ft into the clothing market. The brand has partnered with a gym to form the House of RYU, a 15,000-square-foot athletic center on Hacienda and Valley View boulevards. The training facility includes Spartan- and Tuff Mudder-style activities, boot camps, sprint training, tire fips and, of course, muay thai, judo and other martialarts classes. Of nightlife fashion, Wood observes that everyone in the club is still wearing skinny jeans, and that tattoos have become increasingly mainstream, particularly among women. But the most common faux pas are people showing up too casual or trying too hard and then looking uncomfortable. So, who’s the best-dressed guy in the company? “Ronn [Nicoli, XS’ strategic marketing director], hands down,” Wood says. “That guy could wear a garbage bag and look good.”

Fashionably giving: Wood was instrumental in establishing Tryst/XS’ annual contribution to the KLUC Toy Drive, which last year raised more than $170,000 in toys—three semi-trailers full—for which Mayor Carolyn Goodman declared Dec. 12 Tryst/XS Day. But what affected Wood the most was more sentimental, he says: “A giant box of amazing thank-you notes from kids who wouldn’t have a Christmas otherwise.”

Photo by Anthony MAir

September 12–18, 2013

By Sam Glaser







September 12–18, 2013

Sept. 13 Javier Alba spins Sept. 14 DJ C-L.A. spins Sept. 15 Sunday Brunch with sounds by D-Miles






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September 12–18, 2013

Sept. 14 Tiësto spins Sept. 15 Calvin Harris spins Sept. 22 Aokify Splash Vegas




Bellagio [ UPCOMING ]



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September 12–18, 2013

Sept. 13 El Grito kick-off party Sept. 14 Mayweather vs. Canelo viewing party Sept. 26 Dating Chase Walker launch party



THE ACT The Venetian [ UPCOMING ]



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September 12–18, 2013

Sept. 18 End of the World party Sept. 21 DJ Jus-Ske spins Sept. 28 Autoerotique, Sound of Stereo and Bones spin



TRYST The Wynn




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September 12–18, 2013

Sept. 12 Devin Lucien spins Sept. 13 Jermain Dupri spins Sept. 14 Lil Jon spins



Wild Woman September 12–18, 2013

As Downtown’s newest pizzeria readies to open, we learn what makes restaurateur Miki Agrawal tick. (Hint: It’s not gluten.)



By Xania Woodman

➧ WHEN I MET up with New York

restaurateur Miki Agrawal at Le Thai last month for a longoverdue dinner (it’s been, oh, about 13 years since we last saw each other at Cornell University), it was like nothing had changed since she was a soccer-obsessed whirlwind of a communications student:

The petite powerhouse was juggling a pot of hot tea, a cellphone that went off on the minute and a remarkably deep and earnest conversation with the guy one stool over. He had recognized Agrawal as the woman about to open Downtown’s newest restaurant, Wild, in the Ogden

where he lives, and was regaling her about his current obsession (aguas frescas) and drooling over Agrawal’s budding idea about a meal plan for the building’s residents. This is what she does. She networks, connects people and pulls them into her exciting web of whole-self accep-

tance and zesty energy. And when she fxes her gaze on you—two wide and searching coffee-bean eyes that hint at her Japanese-Indian parentage—you’re the center of her universe, if very briefy. Her phone complained again; a cook is in the clink back in New York. She sighed through a smile and returned fully to the intricacies of this moment in her life. “There are a million moving parts. Everyone at some point in their life should open a restaurant,” she said. “It really makes you understand 360 degrees every aspect of a business. It’s a transferable skill, and when you exit that and go into a different business, you realize this [new venture] is actually quite chill. It’ll prepare you for life, for partnership, for everything you can think of.” Putting that philosophy into practice, Agrawal, 34, is opening her third restaurant, launching a book (Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, And Live Happily Ever After, with a forward by Tony Hsieh) and is rolling out a successfully Kickstarted intelligent underwear line (SheThinx. com). When that gets going later this month, every pair of Thinx sold will fnance the production of seven washable pads for women and girls in the developing world in partnership with AfriPads. “I feel a responsibility to share more through action. ‘You achieve being through doing,’” she says, quoting the Burning Man participation principle. She sipped her tea and pulled her legs up onto the stool, momentarily looking more like a little girl than the multiplatform, serial social impresario Forbes named one of 2013’s Top 20 Millennials on a Mission. “I believe I’m going to help solve gender inequality. I believe that.” And I am inclined to believe her. After graduation, Agrawal had settled into an investment-banking gig in Man-

hattan. She overslept one morning early in that career, and had she not, she would have been in the World Trade Center’s subway stop before walking across the street to Deutsche Bank on 9/11. She also moonlighted all-toobriefy as a soccer player with the New York Magic before repeated injuries sidelined her permanently. Movie and TV production and entrepreneurial pursuits followed, always interwoven with her identical sister, Radha, who runs multimedia nutrition and wellness education company Super Sprowtz. But in all that excitement, Miki got sick. Her discovery that processed foods, gluten and dairy were simply not compatible with her body led her to open New York’s Slice: the Perfect Food in 2005, which later became Wild, a gluten-free, mostly vegan, organic, dairy-optional alternative pizzeria. Hsieh is a partner in the Las Vegas location, which is set to open September 12. Following up with Hsieh after a brief meeting in 2011, she pitched him her Thinx concept. But, she said, “He was like ‘Yeah, yeah, we’ll put it on Zappos. Now let’s talk about the restaurant!’” After dinner we slipped into the Wild construction site, where reclaimed barn wood is softly lit by dangling Edison lights, and where communal dining actually looks inviting: Happy hour will feature a “buy-one-give-one” element; staff will be trained to make sensible, serendipitous introductions; and conversation coasters break the ice. Here, Agrawal will bring together the Wild Tribe, 10 people selected each month to tastetest the restaurant’s seasonal items. “It’s fun playing restaurateur,” she says, “without all the responsibility.” Agrawal limits her dairy intake and has given up red meat and chicken. Two months ago, gluten fnally bit the dust. But fsh is still on her menu: “That’s the Japanese gene asserting itself,” she says with a wink.



With a small program, Adam Davis is able to stay on top of technological and creative trends.

is something that is defnitely part of our program,” he says. “We were fortunate to get into this relationship with the Las Vegas Film Festival and they said, ‘Bring it on!’ Now NSC has a dedicated slot at the festival.” Davis has also been putting together the technology to enable VDM students to gain experience on current equipment. “We use industrystandard editing software. And DSLRs are becoming better equipped for motion pictures, like in the latest Canon models, which we use. This is giving the students a whole new tool set. ” Despite these strides, it’s still a small program. While USC has big-name connections and a $175 million donation from George Lucas, NSC doesn’t even have studio space. Davis has an answer for that: He plays up NSC as a place of scrappy, keeping-it-real pragmatism. “[With a studio], students have to have a budget, and a lot of short flms [using soundstages] cost $25,000 or more. We have to be a little more rogue here, but there are a lot of advantages to that. You have to fnd your location, you have to fgure out how to light practically within the location, you have to fgure out how to do sound both on the set and while you’re editing in order to accommodate

traffc and air conditioner hum. In a lot of ways it refects an aesthetic and work ethic that is more typical of more lower-end production today. So if students get a job at say, a company doing promotional work or training videos, they’re probably not going to be building sets. You need to know how to work practically.”


Which brings us to the big question: “Can I get a job doing this?” Davis’ vision includes building networks and fnding internships, and may well be helped by the recent passage of Nevada SB165, sometimes known as the Motion Picture Jobs Creation Act, as local video production companies take tentative steps to ramp up their talent base. “Any job opportunities in the area will be good for our students,” Davis says. “We’re looking forward to making connections with local producers like Chris Ramirez [of Silver State Productions]. Nevada has a lot to offer in terms of landscapes and city options. Vegas is a great alternative to shooting in L.A., and you see a lot of places decamping from L.A. We anticipate having a great, willing workforce.” “That’s one of the real advantages of having a new program,” he says. “We don’t have all of this academic tradition, we can take from that what we need. We can also look to the contemporary visual culture and prepare our students for that and then look specifcally at the job market and what is going in Nevada, and locally tailor our program for that.” Tailoring is where Davis feels NSC’s smaller size and youth will help it stay nimble. He’s eager to build a program to ft

emerging markets. Computergenerated graphics and special effects take the place of physical models; video games become full-scale productions with budgets, production times and revenues rivaling Hollywood blockbusters; and mobile devices in our pockets drive the demand for video content. “[There are] so many different ways in which this media can be produced,” Davis says. “We are expanding into animation, 3-D modeling, fash animation, after effects, digital effects, all of which can be used in anything from traditional cinematic productions to iPhone and Android apps.” But the artifacts in Davis’ offce makes it clear he isn’t throwing away the past. In fact, it is his respect for the past that, with a drop of irony, binds together his coalescing plans, his hopeful change. “We are really looking to integrate digital cinema, everything that is changing with cinema, how its done, how it’s viewed, how it’s understood, how these older theories can be applied to contemporary media culture,” he says. “It’s not particularly hard to learn a piece of software, it’s all that other stuff [you learn in a liberal arts program] that equips you to use that software in interesting and creative ways. That’s the value of an education.”


A&E September 12–18, 2013 VEGAS SEVEN


“one unique degree program [and one whose] course designations are not shared with any other college. Visual media was totally designed from scratch.” But while there were a lot of great ideas, Robinson says that during the frst 10 years, VDM curriculum slid into the comfort zones of the two English professors who worked on the program part time and away from their primary disciplines. “Before Adam arrived, our focus was more on critical studies; [students] weren’t producing nearly as much as they are now and we were trying to think about what this program looked like. We didn’t have an expert in production or in new media. Now we do.” If the last decade has been about keeping the program manageable and fnding its focus, the next decade is about expanding and making a mark. At this point, Davis’ program is a pretty small piece of a relatively small school. The college runs 28 majors with a total enrollment of approximately 2,600. The VDM program graduated just fve students last June and currently has only 19 students in various stages of degree completion. Davis has a big job ahead, especially given the behemoth flm schools in California and a thriving flm studies program at UNLV. It’s easy to wonder how NSC is going to compete. To start, Davis says his recruiting challenge is made easier by NSC’s affordable tuition. Davis’ alma mater, Chapman University, rakes in $1,275 per credit and although UNLV is a good deal for Nevada residents at $191 per credit, NSC can lure budding Steven Spielbergs with a modest $138.25 per credit. Still, Davis is quick to note that NSC doesn’t seek to directly compete with other programs. “The traditional flm-studies program looks at flm theory and ways of understanding cinema,” he says. “We use it all of the time here, but when those programs get a little too traditional, they get a little bit stuffy and can become a bit elitist and sometimes not quite as practical. We’re trying to be a program that really is a product of its time.” Davis looks to make the program more practical by emphasizing hands-on student production and public exposure for their projects. “Submitting to local flm festivals


You sing in English, Spanish and indigenous languages. Do you make a decision about what language you use for a song or does that come instinctively? It really depends on the circumstance. Different ethnicities are so interesting to me … I just got done recording a track with two singers: One’s from Spain, her name is La Niña Pastori, and the other is La Soledad, from Argentina. We have been putting an album together, the three of us singing each other’s music. It’s been a challenge singing Andalusian Gypsy music to Argentinian folk music and my own music.

Raising Brows

The story of folk singer Lila Downs is more complex than you might expect

September 12–18, 2013

By Camille Cannon



LAST NOVEMBER AT Mandalay Bay Events Center, Lila Downs dominated the Latin Grammys’ stage with her earth-trembling vocals among a throng of colorfully adorned Mexican folk dancers, not to mention her winning Best Folk Album for 2011’s Pecados y Milagros (Sins and Miracles). NPR has compared her to Woody Guthrie; she’s a songstress weaving past and present, interpreting standards and writing original compositions on more than a dozen albums, including an upcoming project with Carlos Santana. She’ll perform at the House of Blues on September 13, just in time for Noche Del Grito, the holiday celebrating Mexico’s independence from Spain on September 16. Here we talk to the Mexican-born, Minnesota-raised singer about misconceptions, the challenges of cross-cultural collaboration and lessons learned from her time as a Deadhead. You have a history of beginning your performances with a ritual where you down a shot of mescal. Are you planning to do that here? We will be performing that song [“Mezcalito”], yeah. It’s a traditional offering to the Mother Earth where we thank her for giving us both miracle and sin.

And in Las Vegas you could get away with an extra shot if you wanted to. Probably, right? They kind of frown upon me in certain states. Do fans have a lot of misconceptions about you? I am a very confusing individual

Have there been any memorable hiccups throughout the collaboration? Oh yeah. We’re all kind of tough ladies, we’re road warriors. Once in a while we look at each other like, “Why did you decide that?” or “Why did you get to say that?” Sometimes we just say things in a particular regionalism. The three of us come from small, provincial places, so it’s complex and simple at the same time. The good thing is not to interpret more than you should. That’s been a LILA DOWNS great lesson this time around. House of

Blues, 8:30 In addition to your p.m. Sept. 13, music career you’re $27 and up, also a mother, but Houseofbefore that you took a break from college LasVegas. to follow the Grateful Dead. If your children grow up and say, “Mom, I want to go follow a band…” what would you say to them? I’d have to say, “I think it’s very important to drop out sometimes. Then you can objectively look at society and understand it.” Some people do that naturally, but for me it was quite difficult. The Grateful Dead—the whole scene, really—helped me come back to understanding the way we organize as people. Then of course, I found out that everybody is the same [laughs]. Everybody has the same contradictions.

VEGAS SHOCK-ROCK, AUSSIE ALT-METAL, ATLANTA POST-GRUNGE Like a lot of people, I’m caught up in the back-toschool grind (as a part-time college instructor, not a student). Which means I’m desperately seeking live music to help me forget the stacks of ungraded quizzes on my desk. Fortunately, this week delivers concert gems to ease my anxious brain. If you need to bang your head a bit harder than usual, allow me to suggest a show by Australian alt-metal trio Sick Puppies at 7 p.m. September 13 at Fremont Country Club. I keep hearing their single, “There’s No Going Back,” on rock station KOMP 92.3-FM, and it’s catchy. The Puppies have a litter of albums out, but their latest one, Connect, is their most grown-up and ambitious. I’m digging the deep cuts, like acoustic-based “Under a Very Black Sky,” which builds a wall of harmonized vocals à la Queen. Canada’s Redlight King opens. Wow, I learned something new today. Las Vegas has its own locally manufactured shockrock band called I.D.S.F.A. From what I can suss, this bizarre-looking, genre-crossing ensemble—not quite punk, not quite metal—offers a stage show that involves zombies, hazmat suits, radioactive-waste barrels, anti-aircraft guns and an army of fog machines. I.D.S.F.A. has a sense of humor. They perform “Shot Down by the Double Down” about being rejected by Double Down Saloon for not meeting the venue’s Ass Juice-slinging standards. In any case, my curiosity is piqued by “Two Cops,” which has been characterized as Alice Cooper fronting Blue Man Group. I.D.S.F.A. plays LVCS at 9 p.m. September 14 with 7 Days Lost, Willie Psycho, Vile Child and Resurrection. I plan to be back at Fremont Country Club at 7 p.m. September 17 to finally see hometown hard-rock heroes Otherwise live. I’m really digging their third single from last year’s debut album, True Love Never Dies. The track is called “Die for You,” and it’s a heavy, riff-lurching beast of a song, with singer Adrian Patrick giving a helluva performance. Otherwise is opening for longtime nu-metal act P.O.D. Yes, it’s true, I’m not a huge fan of post-grunge rock ’n’ roll, but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Sevendust, which plays Hard Rock Live at 7 p.m. September 18. After taking some serious time off, the band roared back to life by releasing the terrifyingly heavy Black Out the Sun in March. Indeed, there’s nothing rusty in “Decay,” with its barbed-wire guitar solo and singer Lajon Witherspoon’s gritty yet immense voice. Sevendust wipes the floor with most other bands working in this genre by insisting on musicianship and emotion. Also, this is one of a few modern-rock bands to have the self-respect not to add electronica flourishes to their music. 10 Years opens. Your Vegas band releasing a CD soon? Email



[laughs]. Starting out with my name, I have a very Anglo-American last name and my frst name is a bit unusual. Then when people get to know me sometimes they assume that I’m only Mexican-American, but the Indian part of my personality has become very important in my work and in life; it really centers me. Music is a very important element to teach my own people and also to teach the world about who we are.


From the anthemic and commanding “Break the Walls” to the cover of the Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” the Los Angeles band offered a high-energy blend of neo-jazz and soul fusion that struck a balance between their older and rawer classics and their new highly produced spectacles. Noelle Scaggs picked up what Fitz was throwing down, at times smoothing out his rough edges. The Tantrums’ combination of fluffy, contemplative whistle riffs—provided by multi-instrumentalist James King—with the singing duo’s deep, fervent vocals made for a lively party sound. ★★★✩✩ – Ashley Gates

Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan, September 5



September 12–18, 2013




David Sanchez Burr encourages visitors to create, then destroy By Steve Bornfeld

September 12–18, 2013



You Make It, You Break It

ture to distinguish it from the And if you come—just to see four-beats-to-the-bar standard. that concept rendered artistiReacting to the vibrations, the cally and interactively—see pieces often turn in circles, colDavid Sanchez Burr. lapse in on themselves or fall to “I want people to think about the foor, evoking the theme of their particular role in the inevitable shift or destruction. whole concept of the cycles Addressing the importance of of creation—and their coming documentation—of recording apart,” says Sanchez Burr, 42, a what we build to keep it alive as local mixed-media artist whose history even after it is gone—SanNew Citadel exhibit at the Coschez Burr keeps a video archive, mopolitan’s P3 Studio examas well as placing the altered ines the life cycle of the urban structures on a display shelf. landscape from creation to Collectively, the effect is ruination. “It’s about the things stark regarding the everywe do to build, and the things thing-changes-or-dies aeswe let fall apart or destroy.” thetic, especially in Las Vegas, Four thematic cornerstones— long the implosion capital entropy, perpetual change, of the world. Trace Sanchez maintenance and decay in the Burr’s interest in the subject to cities we call home—give this a trip he took to the National sculpture-and-sound creation Gallery of Art in Washington, its resonance. Think of Sanchez D.C., when he was a student Burr as the gatekeeper of this at Virginia Commonwealth mini-model city. Think of University in Richmond. yourself as one of its archi“I went to see the [Jackson] tects. “It’s participatory, so the Pollock paintings and a professor person can make the work that had told me in advance that the goes into the citadel,” Sanchez Pollocks are actually crumbling Burr says. “They can build their down,” Sanchez Burr recalls. own visionary, utopian city.” “He didn’t have the money Then watch it succumb to for the best quality paints. His inevitable decline—cleverly technique was more important accelerated in this exhibit by to him than the quality of his music. materials, and he learned his Visitors are invited to contechnique from Navajo sand struct small structures in any paintings, which were intended confguration they choose, using to disappear.” materials supplied by Sanchez Though Sanchez Burr says he Burr, including gypsum crystals, appreciates Pollock’s artwork plastic, wood, wire, tiny mirrors for its obvious beauty, he also and LED lights, with assistance gazes at the “crumbs” that fall from a glue gun. Surrounding from the pieces. “I thought there the work table to provide inspiwas something important to be ration are architectural tomes discussed, when we see buildincluding Socialist Architecture: The ings crumble, when we see paint Vanishing Act; Topologies: The Urban peeling, this entropy, the work Utopia in France, 1960-70 and, of nature.” most pointedly, All That is Solid Exploring that theme Melts into Air. through interactivity, he says, “I put no pressure, whatever is crucial to his artwork. Art they build they build,” he says. might imitate life, but that “And there have been all sorts doesn’t mean it has to do it froof references. There are Chris- zen in place. “Interaction cretian references, movable struc- ates transformation,” Sanchez tures with wheels, references Burr says. “If you are interactto shelters, solar panels, an oil ing with a piece, chances are derrick, even a pyramid.” you will modify it in some way. Once completed, the model Art can’t really imitate life if it’s buildings are placed on a platjust static. It transforms over form and subjected to the sonic time, just as we do.” frequency of recordCreating an exhibed pieces composed it about inevitable NEW CITADEL by Sanchez Burr and destruction, Sanchez played through a Burr takes a biblical by David Sanchez midi controller as cue, as expressed in Burr, 6-11 p.m. directed by the guest Ecclesiastes: through Sept. 15, pushing buttons. To everything there P3 Studio at the Inspired by avantis a season, and a Cosmopolitan, garde musician John time to every purpose free, 698-7000, Cage, the dissonant under the heaven. A CosmopolitanLasmusic is written in time to be born and a a 5/4 time signatime to die.


IF YOU BUILD it … it will crumble.


night of the living DeaD auDience

STRIP POSTSCRIPT: They named it The D* Word—A Musical. They subtitled it *Ditched, Dumped, Divorced and Dating. Trade ’em all for just one: *Done. After a run amounting to an overnight quickie, the so-so original musical about a quartet of forty-something single gals in search of new love, from the team behind Menopause The Musical, shuttered on September 1. Reportedly, its reception at LVH’s Shimmer Cabaret wasn’t exactly lustful. Sorry, ladies. Somewhere out there, love awaits. Until then, there’s always speed dating and vats of Häagen-Dazs. Got an entertainment tip? Email

September 12–18, 2013

laugh. Clap … clap … zzzzz … Sometimes I laugh because he’s funny. Sometimes I laugh because the silence is crushingly cruel. “You wanna see what I see?” he asks, frustrated. He stares, unsmiling, arms crossed. We stare back. He plows on, a pro toughing it out to the end, when he says, “Thanks, you’ve been a great audience.” Graciousness? Sarcasm? Both. Schlepping to so many shows, it’s easy for critics to turn jaded, elitist, even obnoxious when not entertained to the level we feel entitled. Given opulent, sensory-engulfng Vegas productions from Broadway musicals to global headliners to Cirque extravagance, we can forget the guts of a lone man or woman with a mic, literally surviving on their wits. This man worked a harder hour than I ever have or ever will. Better nights will come. Great nights, even. On this lonely Wednesday night, there is simply show-biz heroism on a small Las Vegas stage.


Do this long enough and you forget. This night was a forget-me-not. Inside the Plaza’s nondescript, curtained-off Bonkerz comedy club, this critic is reminded of how hard it is to do what this column critiques. “C’mon, work with me guys,” comedian Warren Durso fairly pleads to 20 impassive faces scattered before him, barely mustering a handful of giggles between them. “Pick a topic, I’ll do a joke.” Only a 60-minute set, but each minute feels like an hour as Durso, self-proclaimed “ugliest comic in America” and a genuinely funny man, wraps his debut week as a Bonkerz regular. Invoking the violent vernacular of comedy performance, Durso tells me later that he and opening comic Lou Magelowitz “just destroyed” in front of a receptive audience one night earlier. What a difference a day and unpredictable crowd chemistry make. Subbing for Magelowitz and attempting to warm up folks who aren’t just chillin’ but chilly, super-trouper Shayma Tash (who also opens for Carrot Top) goes beyond her time limit to try to hand off a workable vibe to Durso. With her dead-on impressions of trashy Jerry Springer Show audience members and celebrity screwing (Al Pacino schtupping Fran Drescher, Gilbert Gottfried diddling Julia Roberts) she arouses half-hearted snorts and lazy applause before Durso enters to stare into the snoozy abyss. What does he try? What doesn’t he? Honey Boo Boo. Rednecks who can’t spell. Blowjobs. Car-jackings. Prostates. Vaginas. Bacterial sprays. Japanese cabbies. Losing weight on diet shakes and crack. Drinking hallucinogenic saki. Giant cockroaches that want to split a takeout pizza with you. What does he get back? Coughs. Cackles. A once-every-few-minutes


TOMMY TUNE: TAPS, TUNES AND TALL TALES Broadway’s tallest tapper takes to the world’s smallest stage dancing, singing and tale-telling through 50 years of big time showmanship — all on only 4 square feet! “You have to see it to believe it.” — P. T. Barnum The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

Based on the series of novels, this latest fantasy film is a stilted, silly mishmash of earlier franchises. Clary (Lily Collins) finds out that she is a Shadowhunter, a descendant of a warrior angel who showed up a thousand years ago to battle demons. Her admirer (Robert Sheehan) finds out. And a mop-topped explainer Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) has the tedious job of explicating every single thing throughout the movie. There are five more of these planned, probably none of them amounting to much.

The Butler (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

Lee Daniels directs this historical drama in which the fictional Cecil Gaines (played by Forest Whitaker and loosely based on Eugene Allen) served several presidents as a White House staffer before, during and after the Civil Rights movement. His wife (Oprah Winfrey) raises their two boys while her husband spends too much time at work. Their oldest son, Louis (David Oyelowo) becomes a disciple of Dr. King and then Malcolm X. While Whitaker does great with the material he’s given, the film is a bit heavy-handed.

Saturday, September 21 — 3:00pm & 7:00pm Sunday, September 22 — 3:00pm STEVE MARCH-TORMÉ: SNAP, SIZZLE, POP Friday, September 27 & Saturday, September 28 — 7:00pm


SOUL MEN STARRING SPECTRUM A TRIBUTE TO SOUL, R&B AND MOTOWN Friday, October 18 & Saturday, October 19 — 7:00pm


361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106 I 702.749.2000 | TTY: 800.326.6868 or dial 711

Jobs PG-13 ★★✩✩✩

Paranoia (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

Kick-Ass 2 (R) ★★✩✩✩

Elysium (R) ★★★✩✩

From the writer-director who brought us District 9, this new allegorical sci-fi film is worthwhile. In the 22nd century, the ozone layer’s caput, the Earth is a mess and the one percent swan around in endless sunshine on a space station known as Elysium. Max (Matt Damon) is an ex-con factory worker who gets exposed to radiation in an accident. He joins forces with a rebel (Wagner Moura) intent on kidnapping Elysium’s CEO, and so Max can cure what ails him. It’s an exciting and interesting effort.

September 12–18, 2013

The gang is back in this sequel to the cult-favorite Kick-Ass, and the result is no worse and essentially no different than the original. Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) are back as the homegrown, limb-lopping superheroes and high school classmates. Jim Carrey, who came out against the violence in the movie after Sandy Hook, plays Col. Stars and Stripes. The movie sets up one round of heinousness after another, and the audience waits for the money shots.

In this film, we get Harrison Ford playing a Steve Jobs-type tech powerhouse who’s about to launch a “game changer” of a smartphone. Gary Oldman plays his protégé turned murderous business rival. The minnow swimming among the sharks is Adam (Liam Hemsworth), who loses his job after blowing a product pitch. Oldman’s character blackmails Adam, sending him undercover to purloin a few trade secrets from Ford’s company. It’s too bad—the basics are there, but the end result is pretty bland.


This biopic about the late Apple computer guru Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) is just not very interesting. Kutcher’s performance is bland, and the depiction of Jobs is flat. We’re shown the origin story—the start in the Jobs family garage, the early, clunky Apple computers in the ’70s, paving the way for sleek multizillion-dollar design perfection. Whereas The Social Network was an in-depth, skeptical character study, all we get from this is that Jobs was greedy and conniving, with nothing underneath.




said was going to happen pretty much happened. If we had said doors open at 7, show is at 8, Guns N’ Roses goes on at 9, we would’ve set ourselves up for failure. So we started later and included an opening act, and we were told Axl was going to come on between 11:30 and midnight. And for 10 out of the 12 shows, he was on time. Once he was a half-hour late; once he was 20 minutes late—in rock ’n’ roll time, that’s nothing. We knew he was going to play long, and a couple of times he played longer than we thought he would. Oh well, big deal. It wasn’t like, “I’m not coming to work tonight,” or he called in sick and you realize he went out and went bananas until noon the next day. There was nothing like that. We knew what we were getting into, and we got what we expected.

The Joint’s show booker on Round 2 with Mötley Crüe, his residency wish list and the honest truth about dealing with Axl Rose By Matt Jacob

September 12–18, 2013

MOST OF US grow up with a short list of dream jobs. Few of us actually end up landing one of them. Bobby Reynolds is one of the lucky ones. At age 17—about four years after being “blown away” at his frst rock concert—Reynolds got a job at The Ritz, a Manhattan nightclub owned by a friend. He worked security and served as a production runner, among other tasks, until college took him away. A couple of years later, boredom brought him back, and after rising through the music entertainment ranks across the country—he opened several House of Blues, including the one at Mandalay Bay—Reynolds, 37, ascended to his current position: vice president of booking for AEG Live Las Vegas, which includes bringing acts to The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Acts like Mötley Crüe, which returns for a second three-week, 12-show residency—dubbed An Intimate Evening in Hell—from September 18-October 6.



This is the fourth rock residency at The Joint in 18 months, and rather than book a fourth different act you decided to bring back the Crüe. Why? We had great success with them the last time—the fans loved it, the band loved it, the [Hard Rock] really enjoyed it. It just ft really well. When we were in the middle of that frst run, the band said they wanted to come back—they enjoyed being on a Mötley Crüe campus, if you will. I think they appreciate being in the same place and continuing to perform, continuing to do their art, continuing to feed

their fans’ need for Mötley Crüe music, but doing so in the same city. Of course, when you’re going back to do a deal, it’s like, “OK, is it going to work again? It definitely worked the frst time— over 36,000 tickets sold. Great business. But can we repeat it? Can we make it better?” So far, knock on wood, our sales are better in every way than the frst time around. What do you say to the skeptic who’s convinced that, because the frst Crüe residency was so over the top, the sequel can’t possibly be much better?

I don’t know. Those guys have been working for a long time—there’s a reason this band’s been touring for more than 30 years. So why not give them the beneft of the doubt? In a town like Las Vegas, with this venue at this property, give it a shot. And I’ll tell you, you don’t have to sell that kind of stuff. People came here [in February 2012] and enjoyed it. If they didn’t, our sales wouldn’t be where they are right now. The proof’s always in the pudding in that way. You’ve booked Joint residencies with Carlos Santana, Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses and

Tell the truth: How diffcult was it dealing with Axl Rose for three weeks last December? Honest to God, man, it wasn’t so bad; it really wasn’t. You know why? Because there’s a history that this guy has. So you’re expecting the worst, and you’re assured by the agent and by the manager what’s going to happen. And you know what? What they

What’s the frst rock concert you attended? Rush at Madison Square Garden. I was 12, 13 years old, and I went down with a bunch of friends. I had never seen a spectacle like that before in my life; I was completely blown away. I’m not the world’s biggest Rush fan—I like ’em, I respect what they’ve done, they’re a great band. But even that night, I was just absolutely mesmerized by the crowd and the interaction and the relationship the artist had with live music. I’ve never worked for a record label—never wanted to. But I love live music; I love watching it go down. There’s nothing better than when there’s a show in here, and you watch the crowd really enjoying themselves, and knowing you had something to do with it. Along those lines, is your gig as fun as it looks from the outside? Yeah. More. It’s awesome. Best job ever. I’m not going to be the shortstop for the Yankees, so I might as well do this.


Bobby Reynolds

now Mötley twice. But what’s the one band or artist you most want to bring in for a lengthy stay? Short list: I’m a huge Dave Matthews fan, and I think that business would be amazing out here. Roger Waters would be absolutely incredible. AC/DC would be awesome. And I think someone like a Zac Brown would be amazing. We probably have fve or six sticks in the fre right now. And while we’re in conversations with rock acts for sure, we’d love to land a country residency. Kenny [Chesney] has performed here [at The Joint] so many times—he loves the place … and he’s an artist whom we’ve talked to, and it would be a great thing. But when he’s working, he’s working, and when he’s not, he really enjoys his time off. So I respect that. But that would be a great nut to crack right there.

At the same time, after that 12th and final GNR show ended, how much sweat did you wipe from your brow and how much beer did you drink? That was a long night! That was one of those nights where you’re like, “Whew!” And that residency ended on a Saturday, so we went crazy.

The 2013 Outdoors Issue | Vegas Seven Magazine | September 12-18  

Summits and Shadows Inside a season of heroism, tragedy and controversy with Metro's Search and Rescue Unit By Stacy J. Willis Plus: The Ame...

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