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April 22-28, 2010


Green is our city?

From water conservation to recycling: an Earth Day progress report By T.R. Witcher

Plus The New Monument to Human Ingenuity Paradise Found ‌ in a Teepee The Best New Coffee Shop in Town


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This Week in Your CiTY 37


LocaL NEwsroom

sEvEN DaYs

Fish-tank stars in Vegas, copper thievery and growing community gardens. Plus: David Schwartz’s Green Felt Journal and Michael Green on Politics.

The highlights of this week. By Susan Stapleton




Reports on culture, politics and business from The New York Observer. Plus: The NYO crossword puzzle and the weekly column by personal finance guru Kathy Kristof.

Solar-powered gadgets. By Eric Benderoff

NaTIoNaL NEwsroom




The Golden Gate imports a classic coffee shop from L.A.: Du-par’s. By Max Jacobson Plus: Max shares two of the best dining deals in town in his Diner’s Notebook.

The 20th annual AIDS walk and Earth Day’s 40th birthday. Plus: trends, tweets and gossip. By Melissa Arseniuk




The governor’s black-tie gala and a showcase of sustainable style.


Every day is Earth Day at the quietly beautiful China Date Ranch. By Timothy O’Grady




This week’s Look, seven very nice selftanners and a few choice Enviables. Plus: A trip to the Volcano House.

sporTs & LEIsurE

An Air Force officer goes to extremes in preparation for the XTERRA West Championship Triathlon. By Matt Jacob Plus: Matt breaks down baseball betting in Going for Broke.



Seven Nights ahead, fabulous parties past and the final chapter of Privé.




Above: Completing the arch of the Hoover Dam bridge. Photo by Jamey Stillings On the cover: Artifcial turf—the Vegas idea of xeriscaping?

The monster mash-up continues and Cole Smithey loves Oceans.




A special Earth Day report on Southern Nevada’s sustainability efforts. By T.R. Witcher


Penn Jillette talks about his origins in magic, his present level of fame and his future. By Elizabeth Sewell


a Dam gooD show

Human ingenuity is indeed part of nature—just look. By William L. Fox April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 9

Vegas seVen Publishers

Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger AssociAte Publisher, Michael Skenandore

Editorial editoriAl director, Phil Hagen AssociAte editor, Melissa Arseniuk News editor, Sean DeFrank A&e editor, Cindi Reed coPY editor, Paul Szydelko coNtributiNg editor, T.R. Witcher coNtributiNg writers

Eric Benderoff, David Breitman, Ed Condran, Mericia González, Jeanne Goodrich, Michael Green, Jaq Greenspon, Matt Jacob, Max Jacobson, Jarret Keene, M. Scott Krause, Eric Olsen, Jessica Prois, Rex Reed, Jason Scavone, David G. Schwartz, Elizabeth Sewell, Kate Silver, Cole Smithey, Susan Stapleton iNterNs

Mark Adams, Kelly Corcoran, Jazmin Gelista, Jena Morak, Patrick Moulin

art Art director, Lauren Stewart seNior grAPhic desigNer, Marvin Lucas grAPhic desigNer, Thomas Speak stAff PhotogrAPher, Anthony Mair coNtributiNg PhotogrAPhers

Jessica Blair, Sullivan Charles, Francis + Francis, Brenton Ho, Tomas Muscionico, Jamey Stillings, Tony Tran, Ryan Weber coNtributiNg illustrAtor, Jerry Miller, Rob Tornoe

Production/distribution director of ProductioN/distributioN, Marc Barrington AdvertisiNg coordiNAtor, Jimmy Bearse

salEs AccouNt eXecutives, Christy Corda and Robyn Weiss

Comments or story ideas: Advertising: Distribution: Vegas Seven is distributed each thursday throughout southern nevada.

WenDOH MeDIa COMpanIes Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger vice PresideNt, PUBLISHING, Michael Skenandore director, MARKETING, Jason Hancock eNtertAiNMeNt director, Keith White creAtive director, Sherwin Yumul eveNt coordiNAtor, Richard Alexander

FinancE director of fiNANce, Gregg Hardin AccouNts receivAble MANAger, Rebecca Lahr geNerAl AccouNtiNg MANAger, Erica Carpino credit MANAger, Erin Tolen

PublisHEd in association WitH tHE obsErVEr MEdia GrouP Copyright 2010 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited. Vegas Seven, 888-792-5877, 3070 West Post Road, Las Vegas, NV 89118 10

Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010


Jeanne Goodrich “Librarian Loves …,” page 78 We thought it was time you knew a little more about the woman who does our mini book review every other week. Goodrich has been executive director of the 24-branch Las Vegas-Clark County Library District since June. Before that she worked for 10 years as an independent library management consultant. She has also held library positions in Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Carson City and Idaho Falls. Goodrich has been involved in the community everywhere she’s been, and her off-duty activities here include being a member of the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way and the local fountain-pen club. When she’s not reading books, she’s getting to know the area better via hiking trails.

Jamey Stillings “A Dam Good Show,” page 32

Jason Scavone Nightlife, page 60

The Santa Fe, N.M.-based photographer has traveled the world for 28 years, shooting for publications such as Time and Discover. This past year his primary focus has been on the construction of the bridge at Hoover Dam. It began as an assignment for The New York Times Magazine, the amazing results of which were published in June 2009 under the title “Bridge to Somewhere.” His images were also displayed in a special exhibit in Santa Fe last fall. He has since continued the work as an extended personal project. A few of those recent images appear in this issue, including one that was taken just a couple of weeks ago. You can follow his progress at

Our WeNDOH Media teammate is a 1998 graduate of Lex Luthor University, where he majored in Mad Science with a minor in evil Business Administration. He has since been a nonstop disappointment to his mother by failing to put that education to work, and instead taken up residence as editor of Although he still maintains a hobbyist’s interest in devising a chemical formula that when slipped into their respective water supplies will bring both Metropolis and Gotham City to their knees, he spends most of his time curating Fiasco, which he describes as “Las Vegas’ drinkingest, fightingest and handsomest nightlife, entertainment and gossip blog.”

Scavone and Goodrich photos by Anthony Mair

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Visit the Vegas Seven website April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 11

Seven DayS The highlights of this week in your city. Compiled by Susan Stapleton

Sun. 25 Thur. 22 Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day at unWined (6485 N. Decatur Blvd., 869-4633), where, from 11:30 a.m. till 7 p.m., they’ll be “pouring and explaining” bio-dynamic wines and organic liqueurs. If you want to take a bottle home, being green will save you some green, too: Bring in your used corks to recycle and receive up to 15 percent off your purchase. Later that night, revisit the mid-’90s with one-hit wonders Marcy Playground at the Hard Rock Café on the Strip. Keeping with the Earth Day theme, print your free tickets from on recycled paper, then walk to the venue from the MGM Grand or take the Las Vegas Monorail, since parking at the venue is nearly impossible and circling the block is bad for the environment. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.

Fri. 23 Check out Chuck Mead as he brings the sounds of Nashville to ArtBeat at the Henderson Events Pavilion. The country crooner co-founded fun-loving alt-country band BR549, but plays this show solo. Get there early for art displays and crafts for the kids. 200 S. Water St. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m., free.

Sat. 24 Sing along to some sweet melodies in perfect harmony as inductees to the Boston-based Doo-Wopp Hall of Fame of America perform at the Venetian. The stars from the ’50s and ’60s include Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners (“Since I Don’t Have You,” “Pennies from Heaven”), The Marcels (“Blue Moon,” “Heartaches”) and the Royalty of Rock ’n’ Roll All-Stars featuring Billy Davis. The five-act concert 90-minute show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets from $54.45, 414-9000.

According to Native American legend, whispering wishes to butterflies delivers the messages to the Great Spirit. With this in mind, make a wish during the seventh annual John Anderson Celebration of Life Butterfly Release. Last year, more than 200 people released 350 butterflies (and wishes) in memory of loved ones. It costs $25 to release a wish-granting monarch, which isn’t cheap, but if your wish is to win the lottery, it could be a relatively small investment. More important: Proceeds support Nathan Adelson Hospice, which provides daily care to more than 350 patients. At Buckskin Basin Park, 7350 Buckskin Basin Ave. 2 p.m., 938-3910.

Mon. 26 Pull the kids out of school for the day and take them to UNLV to learn about how their bodies work at Bodyology. Host Slim Goodbody from PBS provides the audience with fitness challenges, songs and storytelling while giving an entertaining, educational performance suited for students in pre-K to eighth grade. UNLV’s Artemus Ham Concert Hall. 10 a.m., $6.50, 800-962-7546.

Tues. 27 Celebrate National Prime Rib Day in true Las Vegas style by taking advantage of one of the city’s world-famous specials. Take a drive out to Arizona Charlie’s Sourdough Café (4575 Boulder Highway) and take advantage of its $7.99 prime rib and shrimp dinner (6 a.m.midnight), visit Magnolia’s Veranda at the Four Queens for a $9.95 prime rib dinner (4 p.m.-midnight), or go for a $12 all-you-can-eat prime rib dinner at the Casino Café at Circus Circus (2 p.m.-2 a.m.).

Wed. 28 Tenor sax player Rocky Gordon has played with Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, and on April 28 he’s playing for free, so head downtown to see the show at Centennial Plaza. Gordon and his group, the Rocky Gordon Jazz Quartet, perform from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., so bring some food and enjoy some smooth jazz and fresh air on your lunch hour. It is Jazz Appreciation Month, after all. 401 S. Fourth St. April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 13

The LaTesT

What’s hip, what’s happening, what’s going on—and what you need to know right now.

Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk

Future of art

They’ve worked hard, and now the 13 students in UNLV’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program are ready to showcase their works. The visual cornucopia of fine arts that is the 2010 BFA Exhibition will be unveiled April 23 in the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, as well as the Jessie Metcalf Gallery at the Richard Tam Alumni Center and Grant Hall Gallery. Through June 4, you’ll see glass sculptures from Justin Crabtree, photography that incorporates all five senses from Felicia Gassen and sculpture influenced by family and culture from Justin Favela. Jerry Schefcik, director of Donna Beam, says to also watch for works by Nico Inman Holmes-Gull, who “seems hell-bent on reviving the avant-garde for a new generation.” Joshua Navarro, he says, “keeps the storytelling tradition of photography alive and well in a series of restless, paranoiac images that make you think twice about strangers in our midst.” And Yoshabel Cortez straddles the line as an artist and designer by “bilingually confront[ing] love and loss in strong images of women moving toward the edge of empowerment.” Opening reception 6 p.m. April 23, exhibit open Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., free.

Clockwise from left: “Gracesthree,” Nico Inman Holmes-Gull; “Small Girl in a Big Girl’s World,” Ian Rocoma; “Burberry Fit,” Jim Seely.

Cirque du Soleil has confirmed months of rumors and announced plans to unveil a Michael Jacksonbased show in 2011. Shows, actually—there will be two of them. The first, a touring arena show, will debut next fall and get “an extended run” in Las Vegas before the permanent Jackson show opens in late 2012. Assuming none of the existing shows—KÀ, The Beatles Love, O, Mystère, Zumanity, Believe or Viva Elvis—don’t close between now and then, the incoming MJ spectacle will make the eighth resident Cirque show in Las Vegas. Cirque is keeping tight-lipped about where the show and its promised “special lifestyle projects, including a nightclub,” will be housed, but the day of the announcement, KLAS-TV reporter Dayna Roselli posted, “It’s going in Mandalay [Bay],” to her Twitter account, citing a “good source.” 14

Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

Although the announcement comes less than a year after Jackson’s death ( June 25), Vegas Seven entertainment writer Richard Abowitz thinks MJ would approve of the project. “Covering Vegas, I was always aware that Jackson was taking his kids to the Cirque shows. He was obviously a fan,” Abowitz says. “In many ways, Cirque and MJ are a perfect affinity group.” Unsurprisingly, MJ’s estate will receive royalties from the projects—but it will also share in half the costs of “creating, developing, building and producing” the shows, too. Abowitz expects the size and scope of this Cirque show to be unprecedented, as Jackson fans “expect a larger-than-life amount of budgeting and spectacle.” He adds that we may see 3-D technology worked into the production, too. “I am guessing this will be the largest budget for any Vegas show,” he says. “I don’t see how you can go any other way with MJ.”

Mystère will get a new sister show when the Cirque family welcomes a Michael Jackson production in 2012.

Cirque du Soleil photo by Al Seib

A Match Made in Heaven?

Washing machine: Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star program; Johnny Smalls photo by Anthony Mair

This week in your ciTy Dinner is served

earth Day Birthday

There is no shortage of delicious, multi-course meals or acclaimed chefs to prepare them in Las Vegas, yet a new dinner series is bringing something different to the table. Project Dinner Table debuts April 24 and aims to showcase locally produced ingredients in a unique setting. The inaugural meal invites discerning, community-minded diners to take one of about 150 seats at the table—yes, the table; there is only one but it’s very long—and enjoy a six-course meal at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Orchard in North Las Vegas. The menu was prepared by Sensi chef de cuisine Roy Ellamar and includes a salad using Overton-based Quail Hollow Farms greens, grass-fed beef (from Bar 10 in northern Arizona) served with vegetables grown at our very own Gilcrease Orchard. Part of the proceeds from the $150-a-plate meal will support Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada, and the venue and chef will change with every monthly installment of the series.

Earth Day turns 40 on April 22, and while the event may now be considered over the hill, it is still fighting an uphill battle. Green energy, water conservation and climate change are focal points of this year’s campaign, and an estimated one billion people in 190 countries will observe the day of environmental awareness. There are several ways to get involved, on Earth Day and every day: Walk or bike instead of drive, use a refillable water bottle or coffee mug or bring a reusable shopping bag to the store, to name a few. Then, on April 22, attend Earth Day events such as the rally in support of the Clean Air Act at Sen. Harry Reid’s office at 11 a.m. (Lloyd D. George Building, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South), the Earth Day Fair at UNLV (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) or GreenFest at The District from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.,

Cash for Junkers Spring is upon us, and the Nevada Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program is giving us reason to clean out more than just our closets. The new initiative rewards consumers for buying green appliances and recycling their old ones. Think of it as an appliance edition of the last year’s popular Cash for Clunkers program. Nevada has been given $2.5 million to entice residents to recycle their junker appliances and replace them with more efficient, Energy Star-rated machines. This means we can save $200 on refrigerators, $150 on washing machines, $150 on freezers and $100 on dishwashers. Although often more expensive than their power-hungry counterparts, Energy Star-rated appliances helped Americans shave more than $17 billion from utility bills in 2009. or call 877-273-6213 for a list of participating retailers.

Small Plates, Big Taste

The new kid at the Hard Rock: Johnny Smalls.

Rare 120 has a little brother and his name is Johnny Smalls. The newest restaurant to hit the Hard Rock Hotel was unveiled April 13 and serves up lots of tasty little plates from around the world—all for $6-$12. The eatery lives by a few simple rules: no reservations, no entrées, no sequence of service. It’s a departure from the Hard Rock Hotel and Dolce Group’s first culinary collaboration, Rare 120, which does take reservations, does serve meals in sequence and does offer entrées, charging between $29 and $56 for each of them. Still, the partners are hoping Johnny will follow in his sister spot’s successful footsteps. Located in the new HRH Tower (near Vanity nightclub), Johnny Smalls’ menu has more than 50 eclectic tapas-style dishes. Chef Scott Minervini channeled Spanish, Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican and American flavors to create Smalls’ big menu, which features diet-busters such as Chinese Take-Out flat bread with soya chicken, cashews, chili sauce and scallions; Mac and Cheese Daddy Sliders; ale-battered alligator bites with Smack Ya Momma remoulade; and grilled PB&J sandwiches. Still, the talk of the town has so far been the “smalls balls”—rounds of creamy risotto laced with parmesan and short ribs. Open from 5 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 11 a.m. Sat. and Sun., 693-4414 (not that they take reservations).

Chef Roy Ellamar of Sensi at Bellagio.

Walk This Way Entertainment and exercise collide for a good cause at the 20th annual AIDS Walk Las Vegas on April 25. The event, starring Penn & Teller as grand marshals, gets under way at 8 a.m. at the World Market Center. The illusionists once again challenge the 8,000 or so walkers to take their “Team Challenge,” vowing to match all donations. Last year, P&T raised more than $120,000, and the entire walk raised about $550,000.

Cher’s director and choreographer, Doriana Sanchez, will perform at this year’s event, as will Peepshow’s Josh Strickland, and DJ Axis. The walk, AFAN’s largest fundraiser, helps support those infected with HIV and AIDS in Southern Nevada. Although registration is free, a minimum donation of $35 per person is encouraged. It includes an official AIDS Walk Las Vegas T-shirt. AFAN’s annual AIdS Walk takes place April 25. April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 15


The author at one of his favorite watering holes, Frankie’s Tiki Room.

Embrace This I hear you, Vegas Hater. Not that I want to, of course, but I don’t really have a choice. I’ve been subjected to your beer-fueled anti-Vegas rants at my local watering hole. I’ve stumbled upon The Hate while foolishly perusing the unfiltered comments section of local newspaper websites (especially following a story about a UNLV study suggesting that one in four Las Vegas residents would rather live elsewhere). I’ve even suffered the tiresome refrains of friends who incessantly glamorize Portland, Ore., or Austin, Texas, as that legendary (ahem) “real city” where the beer is always colder, the people always smarter and the grass always just a little bit greener. Yeah, yeah—you want to move there and farm something, right? Yep, Las Vegas is once again under attack, and unlike the periods of anti-Vegas sentiment in the past, this time it’s also coming from the inside. Fueled by extraordinary financial woes, the emotional impact of the recession on Las Vegas emerges. Hundreds of thousands of people relocated to Las Vegas in the past 20 years, lured by a lie that suggested “Easy money!” while slyly glossing over the harsh realities of living in a city where much of the fun comes from creating something from nothing—or at least gambling on the idea. Making things worse is the overwhelming feeling of being trapped in one’s home. For many of you, the mobility of 16 Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

the old five-year buy-sell-move pattern provided a nice emotional buffer from actually having to settle down here. That pattern is an option no more. Cash is hard to come by, credit even more so. You’re stuck here, and many of you are sick of it. I get it. But guess what? You know all those accusations you throw around, those things you complain about (the lack of culture, the lack of friends, the lack of good breakfast joints and coffeehouses)? You are now officially part of the problem. Your tenuous, superficial love affair with Las Vegas—the one based all on good weather, low taxes and the quick buck—was never really committed, was it? You always had one foot out the door, ready to bounce. Whenever another city would wave its big, bouncy beaches in your face, or wrap its long, artistic arms around your waist, you were all like, “Vegas and me? Naaaah ... We’re just booty-call pals. I’m not really into Vegas ...” Well, friends, perhaps it’s time to get into Vegas. To embrace Vegas. To try to understand how and why this city in the middle of nowhere even exists (risk!), what fuels it (change!) and what drives those of us who love it (freedom!). As the only major city founded in the 20th century, Las Vegas is dynamic and not bound by tradition or sentimentality. Change isn’t challenged here, it is expected. You complain that Las Vegas isn’t

like the place you left? You’re right, it isn’t. Figure out what makes it unique. You complain that Las Vegas is all about money? You miss the point; money has always been the great equalizer here, not the great divider. You complain about a lack of community? A population number does not make a community; an engaged citizenry does. Bitching anonymously on websites does not count. In fact, bitching at all doesn’t count. Participation is what counts, and whether you do that by visiting a gallery, supporting a local business, coaching a soccer team or simply smiling when someone looks at you, your effort will go a long way toward re-creating what old-timers call the “electric togetherness” that connected our community long before The Big Migration. Most of you aren’t going anywhere for a while, so you are better off looking at your stay in Las Vegas like a marriage instead of a jail sentence. After all, the food is much better at home than in jail, and the time off for good behavior, especially in a city like ours, can be a lot more fun. I even know of a few places where the beer is colder than in Portland. Welcome to Las Vegas, friends. Now make yourself useful. James P. Reza, a Las Vegas native, is a longtime commentator on our city’s culture and a regular contributor to Vegas Seven.

Photo by Anthony Mair

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THE LaTEsT Gossip Star-studded parties, celebrity sightings, juicy rumors and other glitter. 

Got a juicy tip?

star Gazing

Tweets of the Week  —The Coachella Edition — Compiled by @marseniuk

@JessieGibson @Sarah_Jr:  Where’s Coachella again, Ibiza?   Me: Really? @Sarah_Jr: I know  I know, thank God I’m pretty! 

@wesisrad So I guess the hot  hipster fashion of Coachella 2010 is  for them to dress like gay Indians?  Lots of face paint and feathers.

Battle of the Exes This week’s biggest losers in the game of  celebrity life? Brandi Glanville and Dean Sheremet, who got to sit on the sidelines as  their former spouses, Eddie Cibrian and LeAnn Rimes, cavorted across Las Vegas all  Academy of Country Music Awards weekend. Cibrian and Rimes started out with dinner   at N9NE Steakhouse on April 16, and they  checked out Love at The Mirage the following  night, where they joked while taking pictures  that they would “pretend to like each other.”  And with that, they officially became the  most insufferable pair to hit the tabloids since  Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul shared a  table on American Idol. The dynamic duo was spotted April 18 at  Lavo, where they had dinner before heading up  to the club. The hot spot was an funny choice 

of venue, considering, Cibrian took Glanville to  Lavo about a year ago that. Well, not funny in  a “ha-ha” way; more like funny in a “Isn’t it  weird that a guy would have two kids with  a broad and then leave her for a frog-faced  country singer on the set of a Nora  Roberts Lifetime movie” way. It’s  more or less the same thing. But, then again, Glanville has  since revisited the scene (she  attended Tao-Lavo anniversary  weekend last year), so perhaps  Cibrian is just settling the  score or something. Because,  you know, it is a contest, and  that contest will be determined by which one of them  parties the hardest and makes  the most post-break-up PDAs   in Las Vegas. Game on!

Bachelor No More

Going on The Bachelor is prima facie evidence that you want to get married. Badly.  Although former fiancé Matt Grant  might say otherwise, Shayne Lamas met  her destiny when, after a commitmentcementing day or so with’s  Nik Richie, the two got hitched on April  18 at the Little White Wedding Chapel. They opted for the Michael Jordan  package—Jordan married Juanita Vanoy  there in 1989, and the chapel has a package  deal named after the basketball star— because, you know, that one turned out so  well. And by “well” we mean in a recordsetting $168 million divorce settlement. The wedding cost the couple more than  $500, but it included 36 digital pictures 

The happy couple on their wedding night. 18  Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

@loquaciousgabby Just saw  2 girls wearing heels. Seriously, who  wears heels to Coachella?

@CallMeGoldie A lot of fun  costumes here. A taco, pizza, hot dog.  Jesus & Waldo are here too! I found  Jesus & Waldo on the same day! :)   @miamoretti Who just spilled  a drink on my new Celine (Topshop)  clogs!! Rude!

@MetromixPS David Hasselhoff  at Neon Carnival—best #Coachella  sighting EVER! @undocumentedAM Coachella is  like the NBA All-Star game for pro hos. maggielillis Self-diagnosing that  girl with a nasty case of “I don’t  have pants on.”

@RaDD678 Ha ha @katyperry  (ready to post to MySpace) and a DVD of  the ceremony (perfect for e-Bay, though a  DVD of the wedding night would sell better).  Richie confirmed the nuptials on Twitter,  saying, “Last night I got married to an  amazing person and we are extremely  excited to share our lives together.” And, as  we all know, if it’s on Twitter, it’s not some  attention-seeking ploy. It’s love. The newlyweds headed to the Hard  Rock Hotel to celebrate their union as  any respectable couple looking to get their  new life together off to a good start would:  posing for the paparazzi at Wyclef Jean’s  afterparty at Vanity. Those two are destined to have the  classiest children in America, we can tell.  

got her wallet stolen at Coachella.  See what happens when you sass   the beer wench?

@katyperry You can steal my pocket  book but you can’t steal my spirit!  #fuckthemthievinbitches@coachella @theandystratton Just spent  $14.00 on a sandwich and bottle   of water. Must be at the airport.   Or #Coachella.

@erinmachine Outta clean  clothes, outta drugs, outta Indio.   ’Til next time, Coachella.

Chuy, Lamas and Richie photo by Hew Burney; Swift, Kidman and Urban photo by Erik Kabik/Retna; Rimes and Cibrian photo by Al Powers

Chuy gets it goin’ at Rehab; Taylor Swift smiles sweetly (well, almost) at MGM Grand; Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban put on their  “happy couple” faces at the ACMAs; and Julianne Hough does her thing at Bellagio.  


Sustainable Style Second-year UNLV interior architecture student Baylee Jo Turner on April 13 showcased a range of original designs created from recovered and recycled materials. The Material Girls Fashion Show at Brand Lounge helped finance scholarships for financially challenged aspiring design students, and Turner hopes to develop the event into an annual fashion-forward, forward-thinking affair.

Photography by Sullivan Charles

20  Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

{exclusive} The only place in Las Vegas to find stores and restaurants that speak your language for the exclusive and one-of-a-kind. michael kors sushisamba 7 for all mankind christian louboutin jimmy choo

barneys new york fendi table 10 by emeril lagasse tory burch catherine malandrino diane von furstenberg chloĂŠ (partial listing) suit: versace. provided by barneys new york | dress: poleci

On The Strip in The Palazzo - 2nd Level Located adjacent to The Venetian 702.414.4500


Silver Black tie Southern Highlands Golf Club was the epicenter of elegance on April 8, as it hosted the 10th annual Governor’s Black Tie Invitational gala. Jim and Joan Hammer were presented the Governor’s Philanthropist of the Year award at the event, which also featured an extravagant silent auction. Funds raised helped support eight local charities, including the Children’s Heart Foundation and Opportunity Village.

Photography by Brenton Ho

22  Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

2011 SLS AMG

It has wings for a reason.

925 Auto Show Drive s In The Valley Auto Mall s Henderson, NV 89014 702.485.3000 s



an earful

Ever wonder if Fido is rockin’ out with you to your favorite jams? Pet Acoustics says yes, but it may be harmful to his delicate ears, so they have created My Pet Speaker sound system and iPhone App for the sensitive hearing capabilities of dogs, cats and horses. My Pet Speaker, $249.95,; Pet Acoustics Application, $1.99,

uniquely unica

Heads up, design aficionados: Las Vegas furnishings superstore Unicahome opens its warehouse and showroom for a blow-out sale 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 24 and 25. 4065 W. Mesa Vista Ave., Suite B.

The Look Photographed by Tomas Muscionico

NIchoLAS MANghuM UNLV law student, 27

Style icons: Tom Ford, Lapo Elkann, André Benjamin What he’s wearing right now: Alexander McQueen skull scarf, Alexander Wang shirt, a vintage pocket square, Dries Van Noten blazer, Hermès belt, Gucci trousers and Lanvin sneakers.


Designer Emanuela Frattini Magnusson introduces her new accessories company. Using her background in architecture and design to create the collection, she uses unexpected details such as vintage Porsche snaps and multicolored animal hides to add style and luxury to the line. $410,

“Twisted classic” is how Manghum describes his funky look. “I hate socks. Love tailored pieces, unconventional items and details, nothing mainstream,” he says. “Oftentimes I mix several patterns and colors.” What’s the one trend he previously embraced that he won’t be wearing again? “Von Dutch hats. I had like 30 of them. I’m so ashamed now.”

April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 25


For Sale: Volcano House

The 1,800-square-foot Volcano House sits   atop a 150-foot cinder cone.

The California classic has midcentury beauty, rich history and it’d be just a two-hour commute  By Dauphine Crane While many a volcano has flared up lately with maddening consequences, the cinder cone that hosts the  “Volcano House” in Newberry Springs, Calif., offers  nothing but cosmic, barren beauty. The creation of architect Harold J. Bissner Jr., the dome house has been sitting  atop a 150-foot conical hill of volcanic fragments since  1968 and is now for sale, at $750,000. The 1,800-squarefoot home—guarded by two caretakers whose faces have  been sculpted by desertic whim—and its adjoining 60  acres belong to Huell Howser, the host of California’s Gold,  the travel show for PBS affiliate KCET that highlights  places of interest in California, often along remote paths.  Howser became so popular that Matt Groening, creator  of The Simpsons, featured a “Howserian” character named  Howell Huser in two episodes. Somehow HH also ended  up on a bottle of Broguiere’s milk.   Initially the house was commissioned by Vard Wallace, an engineer who built a business selling drafting  machines and airplane parts to the likes of Lockheed  & Co. during World War II. Wallace, also an inventor who patented the first “skateboard” (a plank with  wheels and a short pole for steering), picked the remote  location as a tribute to his passions for trout fishing and  astronomical pursuits. And perhaps to be close to his  personal secretary, who had purchased several acres  nearby. During the Wallace years, Lucille Ball was  rumored to have been a guest. After Wallace and before  Howser, only one owner occupied the home, British  developer Richard Baily.   26  Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

Bissner, who’s still in business at age 84, is known   for his unique architecture of midcentury modern,  post-and-beam and “pole house’’ (where the main   vertical structure is comprised of telephone poles)  motifs. His oeuvre has spanned England to Shanghai,  and he’s designed private residences in Southern  California and corporate headquarters and production facilities for Baskin-Robbins and restaurants  for Lawry’s and Van de Kamp’s. (For example: The  landmark 1967 Van de Kamp’s Windmill that sits  on the corner of Huntington Drive and Santa Anita  Avenue on Route 66 in Arcadia, Calif.—now occupied  by a Denny’s—and is designed with an hexadecagon  shell and folded plate roof.)   Bissner was not in the least daunted by the bizarre  logistics of the “Cinder Cone” house project when first  approached by Wallace, who was inspired by the design  of the Edison Co. reception center at San Onofre, Calif.  The semicircular Glulam beams supporting the structure were fabricated off site and, once erected, were  connected with horizontal one-by-three-feet Douglas  fir strips set on edge and toe nailed. Over this beehivelike framework was lathered a solution of elastomeric  sealer embedded with perlite to form a well-insulated  monolithic waterproof shell. The circular foundation  and parabolic structure were anchored in the center by  a fireplace that boasts a lot of concrete.  The structure offers two bedrooms and two bathrooms that create a loft-like effect, thanks to partial 

block walls and open space overhead. The natural  gravitational center of the abode is the fireplace   carved out of a stone cylinder and surrounded by a  sunken conversation pit with Austin Powers-like commands. It’s right next to an equally open fully furnished  kitchen that abounds in wood cabinetry.   The architectural tour de force, however, lies in the  unencumbered 360 degrees of glass that creates an  overhang, which partially shades the interior from   the merciless desert sun. This sleek pad, which is about  two hours from Las Vegas, is the perfect antidote to  modern living (even the ubiquitous golden arches are  nowhere to be found). It sits close enough to Interstate  15 (near Barstow) and is so devoid of all trappings that  you can land there in a helicopter. The surrounding  area offers quirky attractions, though (quite a few of  them conveniently featured in a video by the owner,  Road Trip With Huell Howser #107—Newberry Springs),  including the Buffalo Ranch, Big Al’s Pistachio  Ranch, the Ostrich Farm and especially the Bagdad  Café, from the eponymous 1987 movie, a cult   favorite of Euros.  So to all meditative moguls with a penchant for  disciplined and daring architecture, raw helicopter  landings, stupefying views and European flicks trivia,  here’s your chance.  Agent Scott Quattrochi of Los Angeles deasy/penner&partners,, 310-275-1000. 

Harold J. Bissner Jr. was the home’s architect.

April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven  27


Seven Very Nice Things

3 1


Bronzed and Tanned

From a natural glow to Malibu Barbie,  these shimmers supply sunkissed skin  just in time for summer.  1. Tarte Glam Gams Leg Bronzing Stick Sephora at Town Square, $30. 2. Sunkissed Bronze Instant Self Tan Lotion with Tint Victoria’s Secret in the Forum Shops at Caesars, $12.


3. Liquid Bronze Body Bronzer Available at Juicy Couture, $45.  4. Nars Monoi Body Glow II Neiman Marcus, Fashion Show, $59. 5. Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow Body Dior Cosmetics, the Shoppes at the Palazzo, $33. 6. Lorac TANtalizer Body Bronzing Luminizer Sephora at Town Square, $32. 


7. Guerlain Terracotta Sunless Smoothing Self-Tanning Emulsion Guerlain, the Shoppes at the Palazzo, $50.  – By Whitney Urichuk, One Luv Agency


28  Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010


In honor of Earth Day (April 22), writer T.R. Witcher looks for sustainability progress behind our city’s (mostly) misleading façade.


hen land and resource economist Josef Marlow was preparing a study about Las Vegas earlier this year, the title of his report, “Growth and Sustainability in the Las Vegas Valley,” had his colleagues in the Tucson, Ariz., office of the nonprofit Sonoran Institute shaking their heads. “People were asking whether it was an oxymoron,” he says. It’s a fair question, even for those of us who live here. His answer? “On the surface it looks like one of the most unsustainable places on the planet. But there’s a lot of stuff under the surface.” Stuff beyond the city’s glam and glitz includes the new Bus Rapid Transit, coordinated water policy planning and landmark green projects such as CityCenter and the Springs Preserve, which is a showcase of sustainability that rivals anything in the Sonoran Desert. But a look around our valley on this Earth Day (April 22) will show there’s still much more for us to do—especially given that the institute predicts 500,000 more people will be moving to the Las Vegas area over the next few decades. Take water. Despite the aggressive conservation efforts started by the Southern Nevada Water Authority—most notably its turf-replacement rebate, where homeowners are paid to rip out their lawns and replace them with xeriscaping—water demand is on pace to outstrip supply. Right now the average Las Vegan still uses more gallons per day than his counterparts in Tucson and Albuquerque, N.M. (The Sonoran report recommends residents cut back 40 percent on indoor and outdoor water usage, and that, to get us there, the authority use more aggressive water pricing.) We’re not doing that well with recycling, either. Since 1991, the state has had a goal of recycling 25 percent of its solid waste. According to the Division of Environmental Protection, between 2006 and 2007, Clark County’s recycling rate jumped from 15.4 percent to 19.4 percent, which not only is beneath the target but also is far behind the recycling rates in Douglas County (50.5 percent) and Carson City (40.3 percent), not to mention the national average (35 percent). According to a report from the Southern Nevada Health District, our recycling rate actually dipped to 18.9 percent in 2008. What would help get us closer? “The Valley should absolutely go to single-stream recycling on the residential side,” says Len Christopher, CEO of Evergreen Recycling, whose company recycled more construction waste from CityCenter last year than Republic Services collected from homes across the Valley. This singlestream system, in which all materials are comingled, would not only encourage more recycling but cut down on CO2 emissions by requiring fewer trash-day pickups. “That’ll help tremendously,” he says. “You have to make it easy for people to participate.” One area in which the Valley has seen success is in promoting tougher energy standards for new homes. In Southern Nevada in 1998 a meager 91 homes were energy-compliant, says Annette Bubak, president of NV Energy Star Partners, a coalition of developers, environmentalists and the Environmental Protection Agency. Now there are 80,000 homes. That means we’ve saved the equivalent of 227 million pounds of coal. “There’s better awareness than there has been historically here about what things are viable to do in the desert and what things are not,” says architect Eric Roberts of SH Architecture, one of the Valley’s leaders in sustainable design. He says more and more homeowners are interested in on-site renewable energy

generation such as solar or wind, as well as water conservation. His only concern is that with the stalled economy, “things will go back to ‘faster, cheaper.’” Also below our neon surface, Las Vegas is in position to take advantage of its chief attribute: abundant sunlight. Earlier this month, UNLV submitted a $45 million proposal to the Department of Energy to fund a research center that is meant to be a one-stop shop for all things related to solar power, including worker training for solar manufacturing. Perhaps this will help Nevada achieve its ambitious renewable portfolio standard of 25 percent by 2025, meaning utilities must provide that percentage of energy from renewable sources. “Nevada is doing a great job,” says Chris Brooks, director of Bombard Renewable Energy, one of the largest photovoltaic suppliers in Nevada. “They could do better. That’s up to our state Legislature to mandate the utility to do better, but the utility has done a great job in responding to the mandates that they’ve been given.” There is no shortage of green councils and task forces in town, and municipal governments now have at least a couple of sustainability gurus helping to coordinate green activities. The city of Las Vegas runs a Green Building Program that provides rebates for builders who bring new or existing builders up to sustainable codes, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. (This applies to city-owned buildings, too, and brings us closer to standards pioneered long ago by cities such as Portland, Ore., and Scottsdale, Ariz.) Las Vegas also participates in a pilot program called Green Chips, which will perform energy audits and retrofits for 10 low-income households. And most of the city’s fleet of vehicles runs on alternative fuels. (The county is also converting some of its 2,600 vehicles.) “Over the last couple of years we have managed to put more emphasis on the issue of sustainability,” says Randy Lavigne, executive director of the Las Vegas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which has been a leader in the push for a more sustainable region. “The city and county are much more alert to the kinds of things they need to be doing.” But for sustainability to really take hold, the city may have to work harder to change its image. Cities such as San Francisco, Portland and Seattle may benefit as much from the perception that they are environmentally progressive as they do from actually being progressive. Last year Clark County started an Office of Sustainability, from which has come dozens of progressive policies. Chief among them is a federally funded program to audit and retrofit 20-25 of the county’s largest energy-consuming properties—to help the county meet an aggressive goal of reducing its energy usage 10 percent every five years until 2050. The department is 30 percent toward meeting its first five-year goal. Other programs work to mitigate air pollution. One proposal, called the Truck Stop Electrification Program, would provide electrically generated heat and air conditioning to truck drivers when they stop for the night at truck stops, so they don’t have to run their engines. If funded, the program could cut CO2 emissions in trucks that use it by 93 percent. So, all in all, the county that is home to the Las Vegas Strip is now actually a “little bit ahead of the curve” relative to other counties across the country, Sustainability Director Lesa Coder says. And it’s about to get better, she says. “Now it’s time for us to go into the community and share our best practices with each other.”

Green Ideas Local experts share ways Southern Nevada can become a more sustainable place: Eric Roberts, vice president of SH Architecture: “There are cool ideas like Portland’s bike rental program. They have city-owned bikes that you pay a fee to ride anytime you want and then just leave them at a city-designated location.” Robert Fielden, owner of RAFI Urban Planning, Architecture and Design: “Urban agriculture is a term that is just starting to return to the United States. In Berlin today there are 55,000 urban farmers who grow and raise about 40 percent of the produce that is used to feed the people in that city. They use alleyways, undeveloped spots; they have community gardens in parks and also on rooftops, so that these all become far more productive uses of space and uses of facility.” Cindy Godzisz of suggests that we could emulate the co-ops in California, where used items are traded and recycled instead of going into the landfill. “What we don’t do a lot of is repurposing. I don’t think that’s very popular here in Las Vegas.” Tara Pierce, local organizer of Green Drinks, a networking group that creates awareness about eco-conscious businesses and concerns: “Recycling is a huge issue here in Las Vegas, particularly glass recycling. Some cities have adopted a recycling rewards program as an incentive for communities to recycle. That would be a great program for Las Vegas to adopt.” Steve Rypka, president of GreenDream Enterprises, thinks renewable energy is the key to our future: “Our goal should be to become the first carbon-neutral state in the U.S. We have all the resources we need to make that happen and we’ve been challenged to do as much by President Clinton. We have strong advocates in Washington, especially Sen. Harry Reid. I think it’s time to set a big goal like that and put a lot of people back to work.” Eric Strain, principal architect at assemblageSTUDIO: “The French refer to terroir in winemaking, meaning a group of vineyards from the same region, sharing the same type of soil and weather conditions, which contribute personality to the wine. Every community should have its own character, a spiritual terroir. The architecture of Las Vegas should seek to capture this feeling of place and specific identity. Do we have any sense of place in our designs right now? We should have canopies to shade, heavy walls to shield ... not the latest architectural fads—just sound design ideas, time-tested for desert climates and crafted of appropriate materials and technology.” – Compiled by Mark Adams

April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 31

A Dam Good Show A unique dialogue is forming over the Colorado River between old and new monuments to human ingenuity Essay by William L. Fox

32 Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

Photography by Jamey Stillings

Two engineering marvels side by side on Oct. 21, 2009.

April 22-28, 2010  Vegas Seven  33


oover Dam is so big that we can’t help but think its only  purpose is to hold back the water behind its immense arc.  But the dam has had many reasons for existence that keep  shifting over time. And now the opening of the Boulder  City Bypass this fall will put the longest single-span concrete arch in  the country only 1,500 feet downstream from the dam—a new arc  counterpoised with the old.  Hoover Dam, whose last bucket of cement was poured 75 years ago  this May (and it’s still curing deep inside the structure), was conceived  of as a public works project that would prevent the Colorado River  from flooding agriculture in California, create work relief during the  Great Depression and provide electricity. After World War II, the  reservoir became popular as the Lake Mead National Recreational  Area, and it was soon the single largest source of water for Las Vegas.  That history, from Depression to prosperity, is signaled by the building of marinas along the shores of Lake Mead and the spread of lights  along the Strip.  What the dam stood for has also changed over time. In 1955 the  American Society of Civil Engineers named Hoover Dam one of the  Seven Modern Engineering Wonders of the World, and in 1985 it  was designated a National Historic Landmark. In between, environmentalists came to see it as a threat to the health of the river and  advocated for its demolition. The status of Hoover Dam as a tourism destination started out  modestly; in the early days you could only approach it from the Arizona side along a dirt road. Now it sees an average of 14,000 vehicle  crossings a day. The most recent wrinkle is that the route across the  river has become important to the North American Free Trade Agreement, a corridor for goods flowing through the West from Mexico to  Canada. And that’s a problem, as the dam can’t accommodate the  increased traffic, nor will the Homeland Security Department allow  trucks across it since 9/11. Hence the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman  Memorial Bridge (named after the former Nevada governor and the  Arizona football player/U.S. Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan.) Like the dam, the bridge features a jaw-dropping amount of  curved engineering, atop of which will run a road—the newest  version of that old dirt route from Arizona. The soaring arch meets  the straight road at its apex, with the pavement seeming to appear  out of nowhere from the deeply cut approaches on both sides of the  canyon. The pavement flies almost 900 feet above the river, touches  the arc, then continues to other side. If the designers of Cirque de  Soleil created infrastructure instead of showroom sets, this kind of  daring would be in their vocabulary. At night, Hoover Dam is bathed with light, and so will be the  bridge. Safety for drivers is part of the reason, security for the  structures another. But it’s also for aesthetics, for the sheer audacious  theater of bridging the aptly named Black Canyon with imagination.  Plenty of reasons exist in the world to decry the hubris of monumental  engineering projects interfering with the flow of nature. But sometimes  you just have to acknowledge that such structures are also monuments  to human drive and ingenuity, which are also part of nature. Although foot traffic will still be allowed across the dam upon the  opening of the bypass, all vehicular traffic will use the new bridge,  and you will be able to approach the dam only from the Nevada  side. Hoover Dam will appear to us in yet a different light—seen  from above. The bridge will be so high that you won’t see the dam  from most car windows, and it’s difficult to say which will be more  popular, the walk across the dam or the walk across the bridge to see  the dam. I’m going to predict that people will want to do both, and  that dusk will be the time they choose, just as daylight fades and the  lights come up.  William L. Fox, director of the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art +  Environment in Reno, has published 12 books on art, architecture and landscape.  Construction of the roadway on April 13, six months before the scheduled completion.


Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

MikE O’CaLLaghan-Pat tiLLMan MEMOriaL BridgE the arch: At 1,060 feet long, it will be the longest concrete-steel arch bridge in the United States. Length and height: 1,900 feet long (Hoover Dam is 1,244 feet) and 900 feet above the Colorado River. Location: 1,500 feet south of Hoover Dam. approach: Two miles of roadway on the Arizona side; three miles of roadway on the Nevada side. Construction time: January 2005 to October 2010. (Hoover Dam was constructed from April 1931 to the last concrete placement in May 1935). Cost: $114 million; $240 million for design and construction of the entire bypass project. (Hoover Dam cost $49 million, or $736 million adjusted for ination through 2008.) Visiting: There will be a sidewalk on the north side, along with a parking lot and plaza.

THe LocaL Newsroom Getting Tanked custom fish-tank creators to star in reality-show pilot for animal Planet By Jessica Prois

Photo by Anthony Mair

There are five community gardens in Las Vegas, including this one at Archie Grant Senior Homes, with two more in planning.

a Growing Idea Professor shows Las Vegas the way to cheap, safe food through blossoming community garden program

By T.R. Witcher Before she became one of the top gardening experts in Las Vegas, Angela O’Callaghan was a social worker in a rough stretch of Boston, helping single homeless women and AIDS patients. She was 44 when she went back to school to get a master’s degree and Ph.D. in horticulture from Cornell. Soon after she finished, she learned that the University of Nevada, Reno was looking for someone with experience in both horticulture and social work. Her second career was born. As associate professor with the university, O’Callaghan now oversees an ambitious community garden program through that school’s Cooperative Extension here in Las Vegas. Although she’d never imagined she’d end up in a metropolis in the Mojave Desert, it’s proven to be the perfect lab for her combined talents. “This is the best gig anyone could possibly have,” she says. When she began the program there were only a few such gardens. Now there are 60 school gardens (mostly at the elementary level) and five community gardens (mostly for low-income seniors) with two more in planning. The Mojave doesn’t seem like a gardenfriendly place, but “if you get direct light

in the morning or early afternoon,” she says, “you can grow just about anything.” Lately, more and more people are calling O’Callaghan’s office (222-3130) to find out about gardening classes. The extension is considering starting a demonstration garden at Floyd Lamb Park and Meadows Senior Housing. It also received a USDA grant to teach low-income residents to grow herbs on their window ledges and to use them in healthful dishes. On a recent April morning, master gardeners were at work weeding the community garden at the Archie Grant Senior Homes near Cashman Field. The garden doesn’t look like much now—most are covered in protective mulch—but last summer these plots produced corn, squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, chilies, eggplant and more. In the fall, gardeners grew broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beets and carrots. Gardeners and residents grew so much produce that they donated the 1,500-pound surplus. “They were giving stuff away hand over fist,” says Elaine Fagin, the community gardens coordinator. The biggest challenge is not only getting past people’s hesitations about gardening in the desert, but finding land that can be used, says O’Callaghan,

whose extension enters into partnerships with landowners. “The next thing we really need to do is see what parts of town people want to establish gardens in, and then see what usable land is there.” O’Callaghan sees three forces driving the growing interest in community gardening. One is environmental consciousness. “We have to be doing something a little more green,” she says. “We can’t keep shipping food from Argentina or Texas or even California. We can’t keep polluting the air. We have to figure out how we’re going to survive on the planet.” The second are food scares. Every time E. coli turns up in spinach or lettuce, for example, people become more interested in growing their own produce. The third, of course, is the recession, as Las Vegans look to stretch their dollars. O’Callaghan points to research that suggests that people who plant gardens eat more vegetables. “It’s something you find is very enjoyable. It pulls you out of yourself and into a natural world.” Lastly, it may help residents put down roots. “If you feel like you have a certain level of stability,” O’Callaghan says, “putting in a garden is a testament to ‘This is where I want to live.’”

Walking into Acrylic Tank Manufacturers is something like Finding Nemo meets How It’s Made meets The Dukes of Hazzard. The custom fish-tank creator’s facility houses a 1,100-gallon tank teeming with mineral-blue water, winding coral and tropical fish. Behind the scenes, there’s a full manufacturing shop. Then there are the employees— unlikely characters with names such as “The General” and “Redneck Rob.” The obvious product of this equation is a television reality show. Animal Planet will film a pilot on May 10 for Tanked, a program that will document the 13-year-old Las Vegas-based company’s work, creating underwater landscapes of at least 50 gallons. An airdate is not yet set. ATM, the top custom fish-tank seller worldwide, specializes in anything from regular home setup to one of its self-proclaimed “strangest” projects: installing an arched tank with a builtin 60-inch plasma TV over the bed of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. “We’ll do anything from a little fish bowl all the way up to the sea,” says CEO Wayde King, who got his start in the industry 30 years ago cleaning aquariums in New York City with his stepfather. It was through a friend that King and COO Brett Raymer recently connected with the Philadelphia bureau of Nancy Glass Productions, which produces content for Discover CommuContinued on page 39

ATM’s work at a Texas church sanctuary. April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven


The Local Newsroom

Green Felt Journal

Bellagio offers fine example of embracing green, cuisine By David G. Schwartz

The casino resorts of the Las Vegas Strip do not spring to mind as environmentally sound institutions. From their blazing marquees to their overflowing buffets, they seem to be studies in excess. With the current mindset conflating any sort of personal indulgence with environmental degradation, casinos seem a lost cause. But many casinos have made great strides in delivering a little slice of decadence to their patrons in ways that use fewer resources and are more cost-effective. If protecting the environment is important to patrons, it stands to reason that they will sooner spend their money at a vacation resort that works to minimize its environmental impact than one that doesn’t. Major projects— such as CityCenter and the Venetian/ Palazzo/Sands Expo Center attaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status— grab headlines for their green impact, but much of the real work takes place on the front lines—in the kitchens and on the loading docks of hotels and casinos. Restaurants are an obvious place to start looking at how casinos are trying to run greener. On any given day, about 450,000 meals are prepared, served and cleaned up each day for visitors to Las Vegas. That’s a lot of food to be shipped, packaging to throw out and dishes to wash. Those numbers are almost too big to contemplate, so let’s look at a single casino resort to put them in perspective. Bellagio, which has been particularly serious about conserving resources, provides a great example. Each day, the resort’s restaurants log 15,000 to 18,000 covers (industry parlance for meals), while its employee cafeteria serves about 5,000 more. And most of these meals aren’t fast food. Bellagio has received nine consecutive AAA Five Diamond Awards for excellence, and its fine-dining restaurants are known for using the finest ingredients, consistently prepared in innovative

and artistic ways. You don’t get this kind of recognition by cutting corners. According to executive chef Edmund Wong, Bellagio’s restaurants are guided by a “food-focused, people-driven” philosophy that puts an emphasis on exquisite cooking while encouraging 900 team members to help create new concepts. “Every step of the way, from selecting the vendors to serving the meals,” he says, “we focus on maintaining our integrity and giving our customers incredible food.” It’s possible to keep that standard while making strides toward sustainability. One way Bellagio has reduced its waste is by embracing upstream recycling, a way of separating trash at the source into color-coded bins for plastic, glass, metal, paper, cardboard, kitchen grease and food waste (much of which ends up as livestock feed at a local pig farm). As a result, removing the need for an extra sorting stage further “downstream” reduces labor costs, and less energy is wasted carting trash to the landfill. Sometimes a little effort can translate into big savings. If you’ve prepared asparagus at home, you’ve probably clipped the stem ends and pitched them into the trash. Many restaurants do the same. But following the dictates of upstream recycling, Bellagio no longer tosses these edible ends; instead, they are cleaned and kept for soup stock and low-profile uses. It might not seem like much, but with 2,500 pounds of asparagus served each week, it adds up. In little ways such as this, the Las Vegas casino industry is adapting to a leaner, smarter model that is both sensitive to environmental concerns and good business. In both cases, a greener approach doesn’t take away from the customer’s overall experience, and if casinos do a better job of communicating their efforts to conserve resources, it might even enhance it.

The casino industry is adapting to a leaner, smarter model that is both sensitive to environmental concerns and good business.

38  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

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

Tanked Continued from page 37

Rebuilding Blocks Nonprofit group fixes up homes, puts lives back in order By Kate Silver A drunken driver plowed into Alice Guriel’s North Las Vegas home three years ago, ripping into the living room and knocking the house off its foundation. Insurance money paid a pittance, and the 51-year-old woman was literally left with a broken home. Battling a litany of medical issues, Guriel works only part time and hasn’t been able to afford any repairs. Recently, an organization called Rebuilding Together found her. The national nonprofit organization, Rebuilding Together helps repair homes for low-income families, seniors and veterans. which has more than 225 affiliates I would say 98 percent of the people I assist have never throughout the United States, rehabilitates housing for heard of us before.” low-income homeowners. After hearing about Guriel’s And it’s not for lack of trying. In 2009, Rebuilding Toplight, it rallied the troops, gathering dozens of volunteers gether helped more than 530 people, including low-income from throughout the community (including a general families, seniors and veterans. Its goal is to attend to emercontractor) and whipped the house back into shape gencies and allow people to remain safely in their homes. earlier this month. Lowe’s donated paint. Rainbow Rocks In addition to rebuilding, the organization helps homeowners donated landscaping materials. And after more than 24 year-round with water heaters, air conditioning and heating, hours of hard labor, Guriel was able to open her front minor electrical problems, plumbing and more. Rebuilding door for the first time in three years (she’d been using the Together also has a home modification program, and works to garage door). She was able to look out the window that had been covered with particleboard and see a landscaped make homes accessible to people with physical challenges. But first, those people need to learn whom to ask for help. yard that had once been in ruins. “We’re just like this little secret here,” Elliott says. “It looks really nice,” Guriel says. “Even the neighbors “And we really need to get our word out.” are so happy.” Guriel is just one of the many lives that Rebuilding Together will touch this year. On April 24, nearly 2,000 To learn more about Rebuilding Together or to get involved, volunteers from the community will come together for go to or call 259-4900. National Rebuilding Day. They’ll work on 23 homes throughout the Valley, three of which will be complete gut rehabs. TORNOE'S TOONS By Rob Tornoe Therese Elliott is the director of program development and marketing for the organization, and in the last 13 years she’s seen it all: Las Vegas families who have lived without air conditioning for 20 years, people living in homes where ceilings have collapsed from leaking roofs, and more cockroaches than she cares to think about. “It’s amazing how, after living in substandard conditions, people get used to living like that,” Elliott says. Her goal is to get the word out to people who are unlikely to hear about Rebuilding Together but need the organization the most. “We’re trying to reach the homeowner that doesn’t drive, that might be disabled in a wheelchair, that can’t get out of their home,” Elliott says. “Those are the ones we’re trying to reach to let them know that we’re here to help them.

nications. Raymer says the TV production company was drawn to the family aspect and the creative process of tank construction. King and Raymer are brothers-in-law, both from New York. The show will focus on their good-humored relationship as family and business partners. “I’ll call him bald; he’ll call me fat,” King says. Discovery Communications, which is affiliated with Animal Planet, handpicked four other employees for the show as well. Overseeing the operation is Irwin Raymer, Brett’s father and the corporate manager, dubbed “The General.” He’s the frontdoor gatekeeper and provided much of the original funding for ATM. “Redneck Rob,” the installation manager, actually lives outside the office in a trailer during the week and travels home to Colorado on weekends to visit his family. King calls him the “MacGyver of the company” and says he got his name because of his love for hunting and fishing. He oversees the fabrication shop, which houses a saw that can cut through six inches of acrylic and a garage-size oven that can reach 500 degrees in order to bend the tank materials. Then there’s Agnes, the estimator, a spunky Polish blonde, and Heather, the outspoken New Yorker who’s King’s wife and Brett Raymer’s sister. “One way or another, there’s going to be arguing. Everybody thinks they know what they’re doing and none of them do,” King jokes. ATM, located inside Beltway Business Park at 6975 S. Decatur Blvd., Suite 130, just south of Interstate 215, guides customers through the initial design of the tank, selecting coral inserts and fish, and installs the entire exotic creation. The company orders fish from places such as Australia and the Philippines, and partners with local companies for the engineering and cabinetry work and a California company for the coral. ATM’s tall orders have come from a wide range of venues. It installed the acrylic panels at the Palms’ Playboy Club, and created a gaping stone archway tank that serves as a vestibule into a Texas church sanctuary. They’ve done work in countries such as Colombia and Scotland, and have offices in Hong Kong and Seoul. ATM’s clients are typically creative and “somebody that wants to be unique,” says Brett, who works to personalize each design. Besides the aesthetic value of the creations, they also provide therapeutic qualities to many customers. “I love the live fish, the colors, the movement, the shapes. It’s just all very relaxing,” says ATM client Rocky Bocarsky, who finds the tank to be a reprieve from the daily flood of phone calls and e-mails. The company installed a 375-gallon saltwater tank in his home office in Henderson. “It’s the nicest thing other than my family that I enjoy every day,” he says.

April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven


The Local Newsroom

Copper Crooks Hard times, soft dollar contribute to significant increase in metal theft By Jessica Prois Visitors to the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame can play themed machines that date back to the 1940s and drink from Mountain Dew “throwback cans” resembling ones from the 1950s. It’s a simple formula that has worked, as the nonprofit business has made ends meet or better for four years, with surplus revenue going to local charities. And director Tim Arnold intends for it to stay that way. “We’re like the cranky old man down the block with a rotary phone and a manual sprinkler who doesn’t want to change,” Arnold says. But he had no choice after April 12. That’s the day thieves broke into the business at 1610 E. Tropicana Ave. and stole about $100 of copper wiring. In doing so the culprits caused about $9,000 in damage by ripping apart breaker panels that provide power to the pinball machines and also by cutting live wires on an exterior transformer. They didn’t touch the pinball machines themselves, though, many of which are vintage and quite valuable. Strange? Metropolitan Police didn’t think so. Metals are a hot commodity during these hard times, they say, though most scenes of the crimes are homes and


Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

buildings left vulnerable by foreclosure. Copper, brass and aluminum theft is up about 40 percent compared with this time last year, with almost 70 cases reported in 2010. Air conditioners are the main attractions for thieves, who will cut the wires to get to the copper, Metro public information officer Barbara Morgan says. The increase in theft may also be due to “exchange rate play,” says Stephen Miller, economics department chairman at UNLV. As the value of the American dollar has grown weaker, exporters have had to raise their prices on copper, a commodity that is priced worldwide in U.S. dollars. Copper prices have increased 70 percent in the last year, according to Bloomberg L.P., a financial news and data company. As a result, local sellers earn more money from scrap metal recyclers, or whomever they can sell it to. “When the price goes up, it makes it more attractive to steal copper and resell it,” Miller says. “As the price rises, you’ll get more of that activity. If it keeps going up, we might start hearing stories of, say, people stealing wire out of light bulbs in neighborhoods.”

Copper prices have jumped 70 percent in the last year.

But it wasn’t so easy for thieves at the Pinball Hall of Fame. Arnold guesses they used a crowbar to “peel back the door like opening a can.” He estimates that it would have taken the thieves an extensive amount of time to chip away at two inches of steel door to reach the deadbolt lock. The worst part of the break-in is that his extra expenses will mean fewer funds donated to charities, such as the Salvation Army. Arnold has also had to pay more to bolster security to prevent this from happening again. “We’re reinforcing, tightening up and bolting things,” he says. “Maybe we’ll also have to put in a gator pit at the door.”

Sign Me Up Talent makes a difference in the booming human-directional business

Photo by Anthony Mair

By Kate Silver If you’ve driven through any major intersection in Las Vegas (or even along the outlying roads) you’ve likely encountered one of them. They’re pumped up, rhythmic, sweating and holding (or spinning, or jumping over) some kind of sign while trying to make eye contact. In the industry they’re known as “human directionals,” and they take many forms—ranging from a man in an Astro Boy costume with a “COLONICS!” sign at Green Valley Parkway and Interstate 215 to Pelvis Cleansly, the colonics-crooner dressed like Elvis who works for A Gentle Cleanse on Wigwam Parkway and Pecos Road. While we’re a bit, uh, murky on why human directionals point toward colonics so frequently, we do know this: Sign spinners are about more than clean colons. They’re used by all kinds of businesses. And in Las Vegas, they’re perennial. They’re not just Craigslist finds, either. A variety of companies offer the services

of human directionals, a.k.a. sign twirlers or sign wavers. EyeShot, for example, lays claim to being the “original human directional company,” having been in the directional business for more than 26 years. EyeShot works with local businesses to pair them with its attentiongetting sign spinners. The four or five times a year Cricket Communications uses human directionals from EyeShot, the business has a noticeable increase in traffic, says Traci Holman, office manager for Cricket in Las Vegas. “It drives business,” she says. “Some of them are quite hilarious. Some of them are really talented.” Those talented ones put a lot of effort into looking effortless. Sign spinners who work for AArrow Advertising, which is based in San Diego but operates in Las Vegas and 26 other cities, puts its spinners through a boot camp. By the time they’ve hit the street corners they’ve learned up to 500 tricks out of AArrow’s “tricktionary,” with names such as the Bruce Lee, the Helicopter and Jump Rope. But it’s not just about the tricks, according to Joe Ambert, director of business operations for AArrow. A large amount of training is devoted to

the presentation of the sign—how to freeze it and give each of the thousands of passing cars time to read it. That personal touch, he says, is key. “Traditional forms of advertising are becoming obsolete almost—radio, TV, print,” Ambert says. “Nowadays you have to have something new, you have to stay on top of it. Having street-level advertising that’s targeting the people one by one, or hitting each single target it really causes them to remember the message.” For five years, sign spinner and AArrow director of training Johnny AArrow (who legally had his name changed because, he says, he loves being a sign spinner) has worked to share many messages. But to hear him talk, he’s received at least as much as he’s given. “On a good day it gets to the level you would see at a concert when someone’s performing onstage,” he says. “There’s 10, 20 people leaning out of their cars screaming, ‘Yeah! That’s awesome!’ And we get tips and, I don’t know how appropriate this is, but I’ve definitely had a couple of people flash me on the corner. It’s full-scale performance. I put everything I have into it and I think people recognize that.” Human directional LaDaynian Jordan.

April 22-28, 2010  Vegas Seven


The Local Newsroom


Searching for balance in the Review-Journal By Michael Green

If you want to understand polls and campaign stories in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, meet Garet Garrett and Frederick Birchall. In 1915, Garrett wrote editorials for The New York Times. Today, liberals call the newspaper conservative and conservatives consider it liberal, but back then all sides agreed the paper’s editorials were conservative and wishy-washy. Times publisher Adolph Ochs wanted balanced coverage of the war in Europe, and Garrett noted, “The Times prints a very great deal of pro-German stuff and yet, the cumulative typographical effect of the paper is extremely anti-German. You can’t prove it on any one day. It is the continuing effect that comes from reading that which is more displayed with greater interest and attention than that which is less displayed.” Garrett discussed this with Birchall, the assistant managing editor, whose response should be memorized: “Let me control the headlines and I shall not care who controls the editorials.” Democrats stamp their feet at R-J editorials. They gnash their teeth when nearly a full page of the Sunday commentary section goes to an excerpt from a book by the aptly named Dick Morris; and columns by the publisher, the editor and two editorial writers tilt so far right that they meet the far left coming around. They smile when Media Matters, a nonprofit progressive research and information center, calls publisher Sherm Frederick’s blogs and columns inaccurate. They concern themselves with the wrong things. Many blogs and most columns are and should be opinionated. The real issue is how the R-J displays news stories and how much space they get. Nothing new there. In 1962, Gov. Grant Sawyer was upset at the R-J’s attentions to his Republican opponent. When he met with publisher Donald Reynolds, he compared the number of column inches given to the two candidates. Sawyer didn’t care about what was said about him; he cared about how much was said about him and where it was said. Then there’s the Valley Times boy editor-turned-history professor and Vegas Seven space-filler who is neither without sin nor casting the first stone. I played up some stories and played down others. Nor would I be dumb enough to deny

42  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

it or think I am the only one. If the R-J wants to claim otherwise, that noted journalism critic, Michael Corleone, put it best: “Don’t insult my intelligence.” The R-J has made journalistic love to GOP Senate candidates through Sunday profiles covering much of the front page. It plastered much of a Sunday front page with its latest poll in that race. On the same day, it relegated an immigration rally at which Sen. Harry Reid spoke to at least 3,500 people in downtown Las Vegas to the front of the “B” section. Meanwhile, the Tea Party converging on Searchlight received more space and photos—a good deal of it properly on the front page—than might be expected of the Second Coming. To which you may say, the Sun transparently favors Reid and other Democrats. Fine, but that would be a craven attempt to obfuscate. This is about the newspaper’s layout, not the reporting. The Sun is a section inside the R-J; you have to look inside for it, but the R-J is staring at you. None of which makes the R-J unusual. Journalists always talk a better game of objectivity than they play, partly because they are human—at least most of the time. And the R-J will climb all over a scandal involving either side—unless you count how often Sen. John Ensign’s peccadilloes have appeared in R-J banner headlines. All of which presents an added problem for Democrats—the Reids and Dina Titus in particular (If you read this column, you know I support them). Nevada’s largest newspaper gives them as much unfavorable and as little favorable attention as possible on its front page. That obviously benefits their opponents, unless the undecided public is as cynical about journalism as journalists are. Is there a solution? Blessedly, the press is free, much like the advertising the R-J gives the GOP—but so, supposedly, is the marketplace of ideas. Read and watch as much as you can, especially from the side you disagree with. Perhaps anticipating this debate, Thomas Jefferson said of the purpose of the University of Virginia what all of us should believe: “We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” Michael Green is a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada and author of several books and articles on Nevada history and politics.


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Entertaining options for a week of nonstop fun and excitement.

Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk

SeveN NIghtS Sun. 25

Thur. 22 It’s that time again: Get ready to get Down and Derby as the monthly roller-skate-infused night of disco-themed fun returns to the Palms. DJs SHR3D and OB One provide the soundtrack, along with special guests Ill Cosby and Yelle. Doors at 9 p.m., $5 if you RSVP in advance via, or $15 at the door, $5 roller skate-rentals, no Rollerblades allowed. A second party at the Palms gets under way as the roller action takes over at Rain—and this one has no roller skates required (or allowed, for that matter). Soundbar moves to Ghostbar as it celebrates its nine-year anniversary. Commemorative T-shirts and CDs will be given out to mark the occasion. Doors at 8 p.m., party starts at 10 p.m., $20 cover, local ladies free.

Fri. 23  Worship the sun with the pool goddesses at Tao Beach as the rooftop destination kicks off Good Fridays with Erica Arana and her fellow Raiderettes. Once the sun goes down, Arana will celebrate her birthday at next door, at Lavo, and party at the Palazzo. Tao Beach at the Venetian. From 10 a.m. until sunset, free for ladies and local guys, $20 for out-of-town dudes. Lavo doors at 10:30 p.m., $20 cover, local ladies free.

Sat. 24  Sun yourself with S.K.A.M. Artist as the agency behind turntable heroes including DJs Skribble, Vice, OB One, Five and Reach kicks off its weekend pool party, S.K.A.M. Saturdays, at the Hard Rock Hotel. Lil Jon spins the inaugural set, which gets under way at noon and continues ’til 6 p.m. $20 for non-hotel guests, free for those staying on-site, discounted admission for locals. Later that night, Hugh Hefner’s ex, Bridget Marquardt, hosts a “Halfway to Halloween” costume party at Eve. The party awards $3,000 for the sexiest and scariest costumes, so leave your club wear at home and dress the part. Doors at 10:30 p.m., $30 for men, $20 for women, ladies free with local I.D.

See who emerges victorious at the inaugural Las Vegas DJ Awards at The Bank. About 40 DJs duke it out across 12 categories for the title of top turntablist in town, including Best Local Following, Best Female and Sexiest DJ. While there are no cash prizes, winners get trophies and bragging rights for the next 365 or so days. At Bellagio. Doors at 10:30 p.m., $30 cover, locals free. Vote for your favorites at

Mon. 26 Not everyone knows April 26 is National Pretzel Day, but most can appreciate that nothing complements a fresh-baked pretzel like a cold beer. Celebrate the occasion with a festive pairing at Hof bräuhaus, which offers both authentic German pretzels (and Münchner Wurstsalat, Raditeller and Ofenfrische Leberkäs) and five varieties of Hof bräu brews (original, Dunkel, Hefe Weizen, Maibock and Oktoberfestbier) to wash it all down. 4510 Paradise Road at Harmon Avenue, no cover.

Tues. 27 Did somebody say “pillow fight?!” Rockabye Blush presents a night of pillow talk at its adultsonly pajama party at Wynn. Silk, satin, lace or flannel? That is the question. Meanwhile, resident DJ Mighty Mi provides the lullabies. Doors at 9 p.m., locals free, $30 for all others.

Wed. 28 Take a break from the club scene and head downtown to check out Deer Tick, Devil Car and Dylan Control at Beauty Bar (517 E. Fremont St. Doors at 9 p.m., $10 in advance or $12 at the door, 598-1965, Or, if you can’t go one night without an on-Strip club fix, head to Lavo as Vegas Seven style columnist Sean Dunn and his fashionable colleagues from Astor & Black host Looks Can Kill. This week’s installment of Label Junkie also features the city’s top barge act, the ever-dapper Englishman Matt Goss, as its special guest. At the Palazzo. Doors at 10:30 p.m., $20 for guys, $10 for girls, free for locals. April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 45


Tao | The VeneTian

Upcoming April 22 | Worship ThursdAys lAdies nighT April 24 | CourTney loVe hosTs noBody’s dAughTer AlBuM releAse pArTy

46  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

Photography by Tony Tran



Upcoming April 22 | love is Blonde April 24 | kristin cavallari

48  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

Photography by Tony Tran


Haze | aria

Photography by Jessica Blair

Upcoming April 29 | performAnce by nick Hexum of 311

50  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010


The Bank | Bellagio

Photography by Jessica Blair

Upcoming April 22 | DJ EDDiE McDonAlD

April 25 | inAugurAl lAs VEgAs DJ AwArDs

54  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010



Lights Out at Privé The beleaguered Planet Hollywood nightclub closes for good By Jason Scavone After a year of scandals, investigations, shutdowns, court hearings and headline-worthy shenanigans, the party is finally over for Privé. The embattled nightclub at Planet Hollywood officially closed on April 9—this time for good. The news came as somewhat of a surprise, despite ongoing legal and financial issues. Upcoming events were posted on the nightclub’s website even after it had ceased operations and its phones were disconnected. (The party ads were eventually taken down, a few days later.) Things moved so fast that some personnel didn’t get so much as a phone call—including the club’s Monday night resident headliner, DJ Five. “I found out on Twitter,” he says. “I saw someone Tweeted about it. I asked one of my friends who worked there and he said, ‘Yeah, they’re closing the doors.’” The S.K.A.M. Artist DJ, whose real name is Jerid Choen, hadn’t been staying on top of the club’s rising and falling fortunes, so he didn’t expect the club to suddenly shut down without so much as a “don’t come in tonight” phone call. “My checks were always on time,” he says. “I didn’t think they were going to get shut down.” Although his workweek just got one night shorter, he doesn’t think the closing is a big deal. “I would just go there on Mondays, DJ for a few hours and leave,” says Choen, who had been playing weekly gigs at Privé for less than a year, but maintains residencies at Tao and Lavo and frequently plays at the Palms and Hard Rock Hotel. “I didn’t really get involved with what their business was. For me, it was just a night of work. I’m over it.” Privé opened New Year’s Eve 2007 as a four-wall venture owned by a group of investors and overseen by Miami-based nightlife powerhouse Opium Group. Last year the Nevada Gaming Commission slapped the club with a nine-count citation after it was found to have served underage patrons, allowed lewd activity and permitted drug use onsite, among other infractions. The citation led to $500,000 in fines and made it difficult for the club to restore and maintain its liquor license. Planet Hollywood footed the bill and agreed to take on additional, unprecedented responsibility over the club’s

operations, but demanded Privé reimburse a portion of the fines, to the tune of $375,000. (Privé has since repaid $175,000 for the fines.) After a tumultuous series of hearings and reforms (and the dumping of partners Frank Tucker and Greg Jarmolowich, at the county’s behest), the club seemed to turn things around last fall. Ownership was reorganized under a new corporation, Vegas Nightlife Partners, and the county agreed to allow the club to re-open in October, issuing 90-day temporary licenses as investigations continued. The backroom VIP, Table 69, was shuttered, but other business resumed, Cocktail server at Revolver and producer Jermaine Dupri signed on as Friday night resident for the club’s We Rock Hip Hop party. Yet trouble persisted, and Privé was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in November. In January, the venue reported a net monthly loss of about $153,000, despite If you weren’t working at $752,700 in sales. Revolver what would you Time finally ran out in February, after Harrah’s be doing? purchased Planet Hollywood and, along with it, the I’d be doing something that utilized all my debt Privé owed to the casino. Under the bankruptcy creative energy, like a professional dancer, proceedings, Privé owed Planet Hollywood more than playing in an orchestra or a pastry chef. $300,0000 in overdue rent and another $200,000 for reimbursement for prior gaming-related fines. Privé, in If you were to die and turn, unilaterally decided to reject its lease, then filed come back as a person or court documents asking for its bankruptcy case to be thing, what do you think dismissed since, without a lease, the business could not it would be? continue operations. I would probably come back as a Snuggie. “I guess after all the stuff that happened, it was more of People underestimate the Snuggie. a headache for them to keep Privé open,” Choen figures. On a side note, another group of Opium Group-affiliated Who is your favorite investors had been making efforts to open a nightclub, The fictional character? Rose, at Mandalay Bay late last year, but that project failed Why that would be Mr. Darcy to get off the ground. (That ill-fated project involved an [from Pride and Prejudice], of course! altogether different group of investors and was not affiliated in any way with Privé.) Dogs or cats? Meanwhile, Planet Hollywood hasn’t said what it will I’d have to say dogs. Where else will you do with the space that Privé once occupied. find that kind of unconditional love?

Maria Nicolas, 28

Vegas Seven contacted the Opium Group and Harrah’s for comment, but both requests were declined.

If you could go back in time and change anything, what would it be? I’d go back to elementary school and not be such a jerk.

Guilty pleasure?

Mini churros from Jack in the Box or anything from Cold Stone.

What is your motto? “Go big or go home!”

I really can’t stand people that interrupt other people. Just wait your turn. If it never comes, then what you had to say obviously wasn’t meant to be said.

Who is your favorite relative?

After three and a half years, the party is over at Privé.

60 Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

My niece Amaya. Her perspective on the world is incredible and refreshing. I could spend hours with her talking about anything and everything. Oh, and did I mention she’s 4 years old?

Nicolas photo by Anthony Mair

What’s your pet peeve?


Cocktail Culture

Sticky ’n Sweet As served At BAr Moderno At AriA, $12 Aria’s director of beverage, Heidi Hinkle, likes to start her day with a glass of milk and a peanut butter and honey sandwich, so it’s no surprise that she created a cocktail with those same flavors for Bar Moderno that can be enjoyed at any time, day or night. Hinkle says the Sticky ’n Sweet is as close to a PB&H in a glass as it gets—and she should know. 1 ounce Mount Gay rum 2 tablespoons peanut butter 1 ounce honey 3 ounces unsweetened coconut milk ice toasted coconut for garnish Combine all ingredients a blender with ice and mix on med-high for 15 seconds. Serve in a 16-ounce specialty glass of your choice and garnish with toasted coconut. – Mericia González

Bar Moderno

TARA GReeR, BARTendeR AT HooTeRS, 7155 S. RAinBoW Blvd. “Back when i worked at Hooters Hotel, there was a group of Marines down by the pool one day. one of them must’ve lost a bet because he was dressed head-to-toe in a chicken costume. Well, the day went on and they got pretty wasted and the chicken guy hadn’t paid his tab [and] disappeared. i looked all around [for him, and] i ended up at the men’s bathroom. i shouted out, but nobody was in there and i walked in. He was passed out on the toilet with the chicken suit on his lap. Good ol’ military boys!” – As told to Patrick Moulin

Photography by Ryan Weber

Located just off the casino floor at Aria, this casual yet classy spot is one the few non-smoking bars in Las Vegas. In addition to clean air and cool cocktails, Bar Moderno glitters with golden tree trunks and starlight crystal fixtures, and features live music several nights a week.

Story From the Bar


Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

The National Newsroom

The NaTioNal Newsroom This week in the New York Observer

Bloomberg’s offshore millions The mayor of New York’s foundation sends millions to the Caymans, Bermuda and elsewhere, but his city doesn’t get a dime

By Aram Roston It was a dark time for the city. In 2008, and early into the next year, morale was low, Wall Street was sputtering and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was steeling New Yorkers for pain. Brace for service cuts and tax hikes, he warned—while also pledging to find a way to keep tax money, particularly from the city’s richest citizens, from fleeing. “I’ve said this before, but the first rule of taxation is, you can’t tax too much those that can move,” Bloomberg intoned on a radio show late in the crisis. “You know, we’re yelling and screaming about the rich. We want the rich from around this county to move here. We love the rich people.” And yet the richest New Yorker of them all—Bloomberg himself—had been ignoring his own advice. According to an extensive review of the mayor’s financial records by The Observer, even as Bloomberg was trying to counter the loss of taxes and other income from the richest New Yorkers, the foundation he controls was in the process of shuttling hundreds of millions of dollars out of the city and into controversial offshore tax havens that would produce nothing at all for the city in terms of tax revenue. By the end of 2008, the Bloomberg Family Foundation had transferred almost $300 million into various offshore destinations—some of them notorious taxdodge hideouts. The Caymans and Cyprus. Bermuda and Brazil. Even Mauritius, a speck of an island in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Madagascar. Other investments were spread around disparate locations, from Japan to Luxembourg to Romania. Why was the mayor’s flagship foundation sending hundreds of millions of dollars offshore? Neither the charity nor the mayor will explain. What is clear is that the issue could get prickly for Bloomberg, in part because his investment strategies have been so closely associated with Steve Rattner, the onetime boy wonder financier who remains under investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for his involvement in a state pension controversy. Last week, Rattner’s

former firm, Quadrangle Group, took the extraordinary step of excommunicating him, saying in a statement that it “wholly disavow[ed]” Rattner over his role in securing state pension contracts—conduct the company called “inappropriate, wrong, and unethical.” On Dec. 26, 2007—the same day that the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board opened the door for Rattner’s firm to manage the foundation’s money— the foundation immediately sent $210 million to a new fund—“QAM Select Investors (Offshore) Ltd.”—based in the Cayman Islands. A month later, the foundation was given clearance to allow two city workers to use municipal time and resources on foundation work—on the assumption that the charity would “ultimately serve the city” and “further the interests and purposes of the city.” And what of the benefit that was supposed to come New York’s way as a result of all of these millions? Bloomberg donated more than $1.8 billion to the foundation in its first three years of life, according to the foundation’s tax filings. About $67 mil-

lion—$36 million in 2007 and $31 million in 2008—was given away. Much of it went to anti-smoking initiatives, including the World Lung Federation and an Indian anti-smoking group; other grants went to the government of Vietnam and the World Health Organization, for injury-prevention efforts. No grants went to organizations directly benefiting New York City. Several weeks ago, the foundation named a new 19-person board that reads like a who’s who of national politics and finance: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson are among the members. It is all part of a push by Bloomberg to put the foundation on a par with other big charities and put his name on the list of America’s great philanthropists: Gates, Carnegie, Rockefeller and Ford have their foundations, and now so does Bloomberg. Beyond the U.S. border, in places like the Caymans, the climate for charities is much more inviting. Nonprofit organizations like the Bloomberg Family Foundation are tax-exempt, but some investments that aren’t related to an organization’s core mission can be subject to a levy called

Illustration by Robert Grossman

Continued on page 71

The Twitter Tutor At Columbia’s esteemed school of journalism, one guru is gently guiding old-media refugees into the 21st century By Felix Gillette

Recently, some 65 middle-aged authors, editors, producers and publicists, and other survivors of New York’s battered old-media landscape, gathered at Columbia’s Journalism School for the first installment of a four-week course on how to use the social media sites Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It was taught by Sree Sreenivasan, a 39-year-old professor who was introduced, to applause, as one of Ad Age’s “25 Media People you should follow on Twitter.” Sreenivasan stressed that the course was about more than sharing photos efficiently. This was about long-term survival! As with

agriculture and economic development, sustainability was crucial. “How do I do social media and keep my family intact?” he said. “How do I do social media and keep my day job?” Left unsaid was the inverse question, the one that is increasingly nagging an entire generation of anxious, anti-Internet Nellies: Can I ignore these silly sites and keep my day job? Tuition for the course was $495. The class would meet once a week for 2½ hours. Setting up a Facebook and Twitter account was a prerequisite. Homework would be

assigned. Twenty would-be enrollees were too late and were turned away. Demand for Facebook and Twitter instruction was booming, according to Sreenivasan. Later in the week, he would be giving workshops at The Washington Post and National Public Radio. “I want you to get in the habit of seeing things around you and using it to bring people together,” he said. Sreenivasan has been teaching at Columbia’s J-school for 17 years and is now a dean there. During that time, he has written extensively about technology for a wide variety of publications and reported Continued on page 70 April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven


The National Newsroom

On Newsday’s sports page, it’s all good

Columbia’s Sreenivasan

Since the Dolans showed up, the edict has been clear: no more attitude or sass By John Koblin


Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

Twitter Continued from page 69

on tech issues for local TV stations in New York. Recently, Sreenivasan has become something of a Twitter celebrity. He has more than 11,000 followers. Earlier this year, he told the class, he served as a judge at the Shorty Awards, which honors excellence on Twitter. His fellow judges, he said, included MC Hammer and Alyssa Milano. The four-week course for media pros was adapted from one Sreenivasan regularly teaches students at the J-school. On the first day of those classes, Sreenivasan said, he always tells the students that if their parents found out they were paying Columbia tuition for their children to learn Facebook and Twitter, they’d probably ring up the school and call for his head on a shiv. But social media in 2010, Sreenivasan argued, was like the Internet in 1996, TV in 1950 and radio in 1912: a revolutionary medium still in its infancy. Since social media was so new, Sreenivasan assured his class, it wouldn’t take them too long to catch up. They should all be reading the website, Sreenivasan recommended, describing it as The Wall Street Journal of social media. The professor told his class that there were no hard rules on Twitter. That said, etiquette was important. Don’t Tweet more than three to five times a day, he suggested, because too much tweet from one person gets annoying. Most importantly, be concise. Twitter allows you to express yourself in a maximum of 140 characters. But Sreenivasan advised his class to use only 120—the better to encourage re-tweeting. Along the way, Sreenivasan also demonstrated a number of third-party Twitter tools, including Twitpic and Tweetstats, HootSuite and TwitterSheep. At one point, he showed how you could use a website called Twiangulate to find compelling people to follow on Twitter. As the workshop wound down, Sreenivasan gave a new assignment (live-tweeting an event) and reviewed the previous week’s homework. “How hard was it to tweet twice a day?” he asked. “Anyone have trouble?” Hands flew into the air. Sreenivasan said it was OK. Remember the early days of e-mail, he asked? Back then, you probably checked your e-mail once every two days. Over time, you learned to check it obsessively. “And now you don’t get anything done,” he joked. Give it time, he promised, and Twitter, too, would become an addiction. Get a smart phone, he said, and tweet when you’re standing in line or waiting for the bus. “Unless you get into the habit now,” Sreenivasan said, “you won’t be comfortable on Twitter when you really need it.” He paused. “Of course, you may never really need it.”

Photo by Joseph Lin

Observer detailed the emotionally draining war stories of Newsday has a new policy for its sports page. The paper’s how the Dolans treated Knicks beat reporters. editors have told their writers there has to be a new, One sports columnist who left Newsday in the wake of softer tone. They don’t want loaded words. They don’t the new policy is now speaking out about his experience. want name-calling. They don’t want stories to be unIn late December, Wallace Matthews was told twice necessarily harsh. that the tone of the sports page would have to change, In interviews with several staffers at the newspaper, the policy was explained to Newsday’s sports reporters and col- and he’d have to make an adjustment. A few days after the new year, Matthews handed in a column about how umnists around the beginning of the year. Here are the much better the Jets were for having Rex Ryan as their early results: Stories have been killed because they didn’t coach, especially when compared to his predecessors. adhere to the new policy. One columnist left the paper in In his first draft, Wallace called former Jets coaches Bill response. Reporters, both within the sports department Parcells “surly” and Eric Mangini “something like ‘he’s and in the Newsday newsroom, are suspicious of the motives behind it. Depending on whom you talk to, the edict about as communicative as a mummy,’” he said. That’s not exactly breaking from conventional has either created a more informed and balanced paper, wisdom—both coaches have been described in worse or it has left the faint air of censorship hanging inside terms by local sports pundits. Nor is it really breaking the paper’s headquarters. “Anyone reading our sports from how tabloids cover local sports teams. coverage this year will see that it has been tough and fair, Matthews’ lines were edited thorough and award-winning,” out and rephrased. “I said, e-mailed Newsday editor Debby ‘Why?’” said Matthews, Krenek in a written statement recalling the conversation he sent by a spokeswoman. had with his editor at the time. “It’s rank censorship,” “[Sports editor] Hank Winsaid a current Newsday sports nicki said that Debby doesn’t reporter. “You can’t tell jourwant name-calling.’ I said, ‘It’s nalists that there are things to not name-calling.’” avoid and call it anything but In February, he was assigned censorship.” to write a column on GroundThe new policy was initiated hog Day about the Mets. He less than two years into the said he wrote a “sarcastic” ownership of Newsday by James column about how the Mets and Charles Dolan, the Caseem to suffer from the same blevision execs who also own problem year after year. He the Knicks and Rangers. A said there was no name-calling. spokeswoman said the Dolans “Hank called me and said, ‘You had no role in the new policy. know this can’t get into the “We want hard-hitting facts paper,” Matthews said. “I said, about the games and the people ‘If it’s not getting in the paper, we cover, whether the news is then I’m done writing columns. good or bad,” Krenek said in I know I still know how to write her statement. “My team and a column; I just don’t know how I believe this is the right direcNewsday’s sports coverage has taken a softer tone. to do it for you.” tion for our readers.” Matthews said that after the Mets column was killed, But staffers say the new policy could leave people he started to get fazed out the paper’s sports coverage. with the impression that a company that owns both Sensing that his time at Newsday was done, he began a newspaper and sports franchises has conveniently negotiating with ESPN’s New York channel. revised its strategy for its sports coverage. “What’s the Winnicki caught wind of those talks and asked why the old saying about perception and reality and perception columnist hadn’t informed him that he was considering becoming reality?” said a sports reporter. “That’s what leaving the paper. “I don’t want to work here anymore the perception was from Day One of their ownership, and I can’t imagine anyone who would,” Matthews said and over the last two months, it’s become a reality.” he told his editor. “I’ll innumerate the reasons. A, I’m Since the Dolans announced they had purchased getting more money; B, a freer contract; C, I don’t have Newsday, they’ve suffered a series of damaging bits to work for the Dolans; D, I can write what I want.” of bad publicity. When they were closing the deal to Though Matthews, who joined ESPN’s site, said buy the paper in May 2008, their spokesman scolded he had no firsthand knowledge that the Dolans were a Newsday editor who assigned a reporter to visit the Dolans’ Long Island home, seeking comment. Last year, involved in his dealings with the paper, he said the perception that they could have been is damaging enough. Newsday’s editor at the time, John Mancini, reportedly “These are the people who fired Marv Albert for walked out of the newsroom because of a dispute over being too critical of the Knicks,” Matthews said. “They how the paper was handling the Knicks. In January, have tarnished the paper. They’re running it into the The Observer reported that in three months of putting its ground the way they did with the Garden and the Wiz. website behind a paywall, only 35 people had signed They’ve turned it into shit.” up for it. And in 2007, prior to buying the paper, The

Bloomberg Continued from page 69

the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT, for short). So to avoid more than 40 percent in federal and local taxes on unrelated businesses, nonprofit organizations use a legal loophole, routing investments through offshore tax havens. “It cleanses the unrelated business taint from the total return,” Harvey Dale, of New York University’s School of Law, told The Observer. “You invest in the same thing through an offshore entity. You are making the same investment; you are just putting an intermediary entity in the middle. Instead of investing directly in the hedge fund, you invest in the foreign entity, which, in turn, invests in the hedge fund.” “Is (using the loophole) allowable under the law? Yes,” said tax expert Dean Zerbe, a former staffer at the Senate Finance Committee. “Is it something that is a best practice, particularly by an elected official? I think they should look very hard when they are engaging in this kind of activity. What does it say to the average New Yorker?” The foundation’s tax returns indicate that Rattner’s team migrated much of its money to large hedge funds with ostensible island charters, including several in the Caymans. Tax havens remain legal. “I made a lot of effort to shut down that loophole,” former district attorney Robert Morgenthau told The Observer. In spite of the flurry of investments, it appears that for years, Bloomberg’s foundation had no office, phones, staff, website or public brochures. In late 2007, the mayor wrote a second letter to the Conflicts of Interest Board, looking for another blessing: Some of his staffers at City Hall, he argued, were asking him, “unsolicited,” if they could help with his foundation. Saying that the foundation would “ultimately serve city goals,” the board approved. At least three of his staffers were even allowed to use government resources, like office space, phones and Internet service, for foundation work. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides a contrast in its investment style. While the Bloomberg Family Foundation is hardly alone in embracing the savings provided by the offshore loophole—according to a 2007 New York Times piece, large universities like Yale and Duke, along with charities like the Rockefeller Foundation, engaged in the practice—The The Times also reported that the Gates Foundation did not invest in offshore hedge funds. “When instructing the investment managers, Bill and Melinda also consider other issues beyond corporate profits, including the values that drive

the foundation’s work,” explains the Gates Foundation’s website. “They have defined areas in which the endowment will not invest, such as companies whose profit model is centrally tied to corporate activity that they find egregious.” Rattner’s Quadrangle Group wasn’t beholden to any such strictures relating to the Bloomberg Family Foundation’s portfolio, and throughout 2008, the foundation made liberal use of the offshore loophole. Compared with those of the great foundations of America, the Bloomberg investment strategies stand out. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s about as opaque set of investments as you can find,” said Rick Cohen, who covers foundations and charities for Nonprofit Quarterly, and who agreed to review the foundation’s tax return. “This involves extensive investments in hedge funds offshore, where the motivation and purpose is not discernible, so you can’t tell what kind of activity it is or who is going to benefit from the investments.” One former state official, however, defended the activity. “I don’t think there is anything unusual here,” said Bill Josephson, who headed the state’s Charities Bureau when Eliot Spitzer was attorney general, and examined the tax returns for The Observer. “It is impossible to look at this and determine the intent of the hedge funds investments. You can’t figure it out from the 990 [tax form],” Josephson said. “The Bloomberg foundation is not that significantly different from the foundations of other individuals who come out of the investment world.” The mayor announced some time ago that he would strip his funds from the Quadrangle Group, while allowing many of the Quadrangle managers who tended to his money to continue to do so at another firm. Quadrangle continues to manage about $100 million in New York City pension funds, according to the comptroller’s office. As for the isolated Rattner, who remains under investigation, the mayor stands by him. “He’s a friend whose advice the mayor has, and continues to, rely on,” said a Bloomberg spokesman. Rattner declined to comment. While almost nothing is known about the foundation’s investments since 2008, Bloomberg is now preparing to burnish his place in the annals of philanthropy. What exactly that means is not yet public.


Reid Pillifant and Azi Paybarah provided additional reporting. Research support for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute.

April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 71

The National Newsroom

The Snausages Made Me Do It 1
























70 75 79

51 54 57


67 73


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ACROSS 1 Woman’s name, either way you look at it 4 Cod and Horn 9 Engrossed 13 Miles from Hollywood 17 Catcher of a sort 18 Luciano’s love 19 California nine 21 1956 hit, “Since ___ You Baby” 22 Head of a wiretapping operation? 25 Hook, for ex. 26 Policy experts 27 She plays Nurse Jackie on “Nurse Jackie” 28 Getaway island 30 Signal 31 Actor Chad 34 French chef ’s nightmare? 38 Historic Parks 39 Bridal path 41 Time off 42 Seagoer’s shout 43 Pull a few strings? 44 “Your Highness” 45 Talks idly 46 Behavior guidelines for a former TV host’s family? 52 Neck accessory 53 Start of an O’Neill play 54 Michael and Sonny’s pop 55 Onion feature 56 Brownstone feature 57 Slender






108 109












































21 25






43 47

12 20









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59 Pottery flaw 63 Inn selection 64 Movie villain’s favorite thing to get in the mail? 68 Greek letter 69 Film noir classic, “Out of the ___” 71 Race place, familiarly 72 Fiction writers? 73 “So long” 75 Shed implements 77 Pitcher Martinez 78 Tidies the terrace 79 Ann-Margret film about really comfortable shoes? 84 Tripoli features 85 Road division 86 Circus barkers? 87 Land on the Red Sea 88 End in ___ 89 “Good night” girl and others 91 Little fight 95 Approach that won’t work on Judge Judy? 98 Ratfink 100 Bolivian export 101 Active one 102Alleviate 104 “Tyger! Tyger!” poet 105 Oklahoma city 107 Result of an oldfashioned one-twopunch knockout? 112 Beatles song, “Love ___”

113 More slippery and slimy 114 Sierra Nevada lake 115 Magazine income source 116 Radiator sound 117 “You ___ me!” 118 Eurasian diving ducks 119 Protein source DOWN 1 This clue has one 2 Once more, in Latin 3 Does community service, e.g. 4 Thicket of small trees 5 Kim Hunter played one opposite Charlton Heston 6 A pop 7 City or lake 8 Summer shoe 9 Hightailed it 10 Throw in 11 Property 12 Ricky or Lucy, to Fred or Ethel 13 Actor Tayback 14 Underfeed, perhaps 15 Disgusts 16 Bears witness (to) 19 Jury member, perhaps 20 Early TV actor Erwin and early Beatle Sutcliffe 23 Gumbo ingredient 24 It rolls in 29 Going nowhere

By Merl Reagle

32 Jeer at 33 Lilliputian 35 Hunter in the sky 36 Llama land 37 Toyota model 40 Under, at the hospital 43 Old overlords 44 One who may wait on you 45 Excellent: slang 46 Sung syllables 47 Voice of Chef on “South Park” 48 See 1 Across 49 Atlanta university 50 Down Under denizens, briefly 51 Moralist’s targets 52 Show appreciation 56 Brains 57 Oscar Night turnout 58 Oscar-nominated Max Ophuls film of 1950 60 Less cordial 61 Pork portions 62 Plant one on 65 Physicist Bohr 66 Assistant 67 Stares 70 Short intro for Al Sharpton 74 Actress Sandra 76 Bid first 77 Blender setting 78 “1 vs. 100” host 79 Dressed to ___ 80 People, scientifically speaking 81 In the end 82 Thirst, in Calais 83 A long time 84 Gamblers’ methods 88 Fred Astaire’s sister and others 89 Brit’s sentence starter 90 Puts back to zero 91 “Star Wars” character 92 Public squares 93 Japanese martial art 94 Lilliputian 96 Ear feature 97 ___-do-well 99 Cousins of English horns 103 Dutch cheese 106 Recommended behavior 108 Tenet’s org., once 109 Entry enabler 110 That miss 111 Immediately

!!! VOLUME 16 IS HERE !!! To order Merl’s crossword books, visit www.sunday

4/22/2010 © M. Reagle Answers found on page 74 72  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010


A New Glo in Tinseltown By Richard Siklos As the sun drenched the beach in Santa Monica, Calif., one morning recently, I sat in a conference room nearby and surfed the Web with Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman. Braun is the former ABC network programming chief who famously was fired after green-lighting Lost (and lives on as the stentorian voice of “previously, on Lost” on the show); he subsequently had a twoyear stint running the media operations of Yahoo! in headier days at the Web portal. Berman is a former president of Paramount Pictures who also headed entertainment at Fox Broadcasting for several years. We weren’t looking at TV pilots that morning but rather something rather East Coasty in style and delivery: a new women’s lifestyle online magazine called Glo. In and of itself, Glo is not that remarkable: The everywoman site features photos of pretty (but not too pretty) models and stories on how to organize your entryway, cool clothes for rainy days and pieces on “body insecurity.” What grabs attention, though, is how much Glo resembles a physical print magazine, and the parties who banded together to create it: BermanBraun, Microsoft and Hachette Filipacchi, publisher of such magazines as Elle, Woman’s Day and Car and Driver. Whether Glo works or not, its debut a couple of weeks ago says something about the evolving relationships between old and new media and among West and East Coast corridors of cultural power. Over the past years of digital hurly-burly, one thing has been repeatedly and abundantly clear: New York, Hollywood and Silicon Valley are distinct animals, and the species have a tough time interbreeding. Think of the connection between these three locales as a kind of Bermuda Triangle into which many dollars and promising careers have disappeared. Glo grew out of a relationship BermanBraun already had with Microsoft, under which the L.A. firm a year ago launched Wonderwall, a celebrity site that has proven a quick success not only at attracting page views but also at convincing viewers to stick around for a while. What is interesting about Wonderwall—and now Glo—is the degree to which the sites are visually driven. Glo’s content is a mix of original features and content, roughly 25 percent of it material from Hachette, and other stuff from MSN and around the Web. It is striking how much Glo mimics the look and page layout of a conventional magazine—though, as with Wonderwall, much of the magic with Glo is in its navigational tools rather than its content. More than half of BermanBraun’s staff of roughly 50 are digital and technology folks, some of whom followed Braun from Yahoo! The company also develops actual TV shows, but notably it is not trying to create online “Webisodes” of original programming, for which there is not yet much in the way of a business model. (Another project it is doing is building a new online fantasy football league for the NFL.) Conceptually, Glo is a new wrinkle on a question that has vexed publishers for years: Are they smarter extending their known physical brands into the digital world, or creating new brands? If Glo is any indication, the answer for now seems to be to do both, because, as the famed Internet futurist William Goldman once said, nobody knows anything.

The National Newsroom

Personal Finance

Keeping adult children on your insurance policy By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

With college graduation around the corner, parents are peppering their insurers with questions about how the new health-care reform law will affect their adult children. The law has two provisions of particular interest to parents. One bars insurers from refusing to cover children under age 19 because of pre-existing medical conditions. Another allows parents to keep their kids on their family plan even after a child graduates from college. Until now, kids typically have been booted off mom and dad’s insurance once they hit a certain age (that varies from 19 to 24) or once they’ve stopped being full-time students, depending on the terms of the policy. The new law allows parents to keep an adult child on their policy until he or she turns 26. But both of the new provisions have left consumers with questions about when the rules take effect and how they apply. Here are a few answers. Does the law mean I can put my college graduate back on my health plan? Not immediately. The law allows children to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26, but it doesn’t go into effect until sometime in the next year, depending on when it’s time for a policy’s annual renewal. That means your insurer probably will allow you to enroll a college graduate when the next “plan year” starts, most commonly in January. My child graduates from college in May. What do I do in the interim? You can enroll your adult child in COBRA coverage until he or she can go back on your employer-provided plan. Or you can buy a policy in the individual market.

Snausages by Merl Reagle












74  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010










Healthy young people can generally find insurance for less than $100 a month, said Sam Gibbs, senior vice president of, a Web-based health insurance shopping site. There’s also a possibility that your insurer will allow your child to stay on the plan for the few months before the law kicks in. That’s not required, but some speculate that insurers may just decide that it’s silly to dump dependents who are certain to boomerang back in a matter of months. Does it matter if my child is a dependent? Not in the Internal Revenue Service definition of the word. The law makes it clear that a “dependent” for purposes of health insurance will not follow the tax definition, which demands that the parent pay most of the child’s living expenses. According to Laura Baker, principal at Mercer, an employee benefits consulting firm, your child could have a job, be married, be living on his own and supporting himself and still qualify to be covered under your plan. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will soon issue regulations to define dependents for purposes of health insurance, but Baker says the law has few restrictions. There’s one caveat: Anyone, including a working-age child, who has access to employer-provided health insurance at his own job is expected to obtain coverage through his employer. What if the parent’s coverage is better—or less expensive—than what an adult child could get through work? As the law is written now, you will be able to get dependent coverage for any child under the age of 26, regardless of whether the child has other insurance available. But for the time being, the child can jump on your policy only if he doesn’t have an employersponsored plan of his own. Does that also mean the child can’t get on our family plan if he can buy coverage through school? No. The only thing that would exclude your adult child is employer-provided health insurance, Baker said. Does the law have any long-term implications for youths trying to get coverage? In the long run, premiums for young adults buying coverage are likely to rise fairly significantly because of a provision that restricts how much premiums can vary by age. Currently, people over age 60 pay five to six times as much for health insurance as people under 30, said Robert Zirkelbach, press secretary for

America’s Health Insurance Plans, a Washington-based trade group that represents insurers covering more than 90 percent of Americans. The law stipulates that, in most cases after 2014, premiums for one age group can be no more than three times as much as premiums for any other age group when other criteria are the same. “The age-rating issue is a big one that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention,” Zirkelbach said. “This is likely

The (new health-care reform) law makes it clear that a “dependent” for purposes of health insurance will not follow the tax definition, which demands that the parent pay most of the child’s living expenses. to mean that people of those (lower) ages will see an increase in premiums of as much as 50 percent—that’s on top of any other changes in the law that might affect premiums.” On the bright side, 2014 is also when employer coverage will be mandated and when subsidies will be available for those who can’t afford to buy insurance. What about younger kids with pre-existing medical conditions? How do the rules work with respect to them? Starting in September, children will not be subject to coverage restrictions that force people with longstanding medical conditions to pay the cost of treating that ailment out of their own pockets. This rule, incidentally, came from a post-passage compromise between Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the insurance industry, which had previously argued that the law could be interpreted to say that coverage of a child’s pre-existing conditions wouldn’t be required until 2014. Sebelius, hearing that the industry planned to deny pre-existing-condition medical coverage for four more years, sent a sharply worded letter to the industry’s main lobbying group saying that her upcoming regulations would make it clear that this rule will go into full effect in September. America’s Health Insurance Plans said in a written response that insurers understand the difficulty of having a child with uncovered pre-existing ailments and “will fully comply” with any regulations Sebelius comes up with. Kathy Kristof’s column is syndicated by Tribune Media Services. She welcomes comments and suggestions but regrets that she cannot respond to each one. E-mail her at

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Arts & Entertainment


Not Just for DJs Anymore Illustration by Jerry Miller

Mixing and scratching is the hottest new trend … in books

By M. Scott Krause

Call Jason Rekulak the Victor Frankenstein of the  literary monster mash-up.  While surfing the Web in 2008, he discovered a  Groundhog Day trailer that reimagined the Bill Murray  comedy as a horror film, courtesy of some clever editing  and creepy music. Inspired by what he calls “creative  copyright infringement,” he asked himself how he could  do the same thing without getting sued.   Rekulak is an editor at Philadelphia-based Quirk  Books, the indie upstart founded by David Borgenicht,  co-writer of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook  (Chronicle Books, 1999) and numerous sequels.  Rekulak compiled a list of 300 classic novels, such as  War and Peace, Moby Dick, Oliver Twist and Pride and Prejudice, all from the public domain (pre-1923 material  whose copyright had lapsed). In a separate column, he  included elements like goblins, ninjas and robots. His 

“eureka” moment came immediately after connecting  Jane Austen with zombies, creating the germ for what  would become the smash hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Quirk Classics, 2009). “It was a great dumb title,”  Rekulak says, and he quickly fell in love with the idea of  combining Regency romance and zombie horror.   Rekulak contacted Seth Grahame-Smith, an L.A.based screenwriter whom Rekulak had previously  collaborated with on The Big Book of Porn (Quirk, 2005).  “Seth got the idea right away,” Rekulak says, and they  set about cutting the original novel to make room  for the living dead. The result was a thrilling literary  cocktail composed of finely aged Austen, a few shots of  hundred-proof flesh-eaters and a dash of ninjas.   Quirk had modest expectations for the book, setting  the initial print run at just 10,000 copies. Although the  book was originally slated for a July release, the jacket  Continued on page 78 April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven  77

Arts & Entertainment 

Monster Mash Continued from page 77

From Student to Master James Patterson’s protégé finds solo success By Ed Condran Timing in the world of writing is essential. When  Bear Stearns collapsed in September 2008, for  example, author Andrew Gross realized it was time  to write a financial novel. “When I heard what happened to Bear Stearns,  it hit me like the World Trade Center going down,”  Gross said. “It was like a tidal wave. It was a new  world. Business was no longer relegated to the  business section. It was on the front page.” That was the beginning of the inspiration for  Gross’ latest novel, Reckless (Harper Collins), which  he will promote Monday, April 26, at the Clark  County Library, the day before it hits shelves. Gross’ specialty is tapping into universal fears.  And in the case of Reckless, it’s a palpable sense of helplessness due, in part, to the economic collapse. “This is something people can relate to,” Gross said. “A  lot of people have been touched by this meltdown. People  thought it would go on forever. But there wasn’t one more  house to sell. Vegas was ground zero for what has been  going on with housing trouble. The people there should be  able to connect.” The financial world wasn’t the only influence in Gross’  fourth solo novel. The grisly murder of a doctor’s wife and  two daughters in the bucolic town of Chesire, Conn., in  2007 inspired Gross—who also resides in the Constitution  State—to write about how no one is immune to tragedy. “What happened to that poor family in Chesire proves  that affluence doesn’t protect us,” Gross said. “People  might think they are safe due to what they have but that’s  wrong. Bad, inexplicable things can happen to anyone.  Life isn’t always up. Sometimes negative things happen  and you have to figure out what to do next.” Gross can relate. He was president of Head Sports  Equipment for much of the ’90s until he lost his post at the  end of the century. “I came home without a job, and my wife and I  wondered what we were going to do with three children 

Author Andrew Gross has risen from the corporate world.

in private school,” Gross said. “I begged my wife to let me  write for a year.” The move, which some could have called reckless,  worked out for Gross. The novice obviously possessed  some ability. One of his manuscripts landed in the hands  of the mega-successful suspense writer James Patterson,  who was looking for a collaborator.  Patterson, who is known as the “King of the Thriller,”  and his protégé co-authored five books, all of which hit the  New York Times best-seller list. Gross struck out on his  own three years ago to pen  dramatic page-turners like  his mentor: “I’m a believer in  setting the pace and getting the  reader to invest in the plight of  your hero in 10 pages. I like to  write books that are difficult to  put down.”  Free. 7 p.m., Monday, April 26, at the Jewel Box Theater in the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 734-7323.

The LibRaRian Loves ... Selected by Jeanne Goodrich, executive director for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. Jaron Lanier is an Internet visionary, father of virtual reality and author of You Are Not a Gadget (Knopf, 2010), a manifesto against the “hive mind” created by what he calls “cybernetic totalism.” He warns against the depersonalization—mob behavior, crowd identity and anonymity—fostered by Web 2.0 and social networking. He remains optimistic about the possibility of these technologies, however, calling for a renewed dedication to digital humanism, which values individuality and creative self-expression. This is a book guaranteed to make you think and reflect upon our digital culture and our personal behaviors. 78

Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

art was leaked in February, and once it hit the  blogosphere, the book was fast-tracked to April 1  to take advantage of the positive word-of-mouth.  It went on to sell a million copies, was translated  in almost two dozen languages, and a movie— starring Natalie Portman—is in the works.   Once the public fully embraced Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Rekulak knew that a slew of  imitators would soon flood the market. “We don’t  own this concept,” Rekulak says. “The formula is  evolving with each new project.” Before the first  book even hit the shelves, a sequel of sorts—Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (Quirk Classics,  2009)—was already under contract. In response  to readers’ requests, the new book featured less  Austen and a greater contribution from co-writer  Ben H. Winters, a playwright and journalist who  had authored several entries in the Worst-Case Scenario series.    With two brisk-selling books, and GrahameSmith completing work on Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (Grand Central, 2010) for another publisher,  Rekulak was ready for a new challenge, but wanted  to avoid anything too predictable. “You don’t just  do Scarlet Letter and Dinosaurs,” he says.    Enter Steve Hockensmith, an established genre  writer with four books in his humor-filled Holmes on the Range (Minotaur, 2006) mystery series,  featuring two cowpokes from 1890s-era Montana  who sleuth in the manner of Sherlock Holmes  and Dr. Watson. Hockensmith, whose work has  been nominated for multiple awards (including an  Edgar and a Shamus), was tasked with writing a  wholly original novel: a prequel, of sorts, to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Hockensmith was very happy to be offered the  project, but rankles at the term “pastiche” and  had little interest in submitting an entire novel  of ersatz Austen. “When the opportunity came  along,” Hockensmith says, “the question was, ‘Can  you do this? Will you do this?” What sealed the deal was the freedom Hockensmith was given in terms of plot, and the opportunity to tell the story he wanted to tell. The novel  that emerged, Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Quirk Classics,  2010), took Hockensmith seven months to write.  The collaborators took great care with Dawn of the Dreadfuls, and it shows. The book is genuinely funny, compulsively readable, and—in  many ways—more satisfying than the original.  Hockensmith credits Rekulak with being “savvy  and proactive,” and calls the Quirk Classic series  “a testament to Jason’s imagination.”  “Ultimately,” he says, “it was the most fun I’ve  had writing a book in a long time.” Hockensmith acknowledges the “huge awareness” surrounding Quirk Classics (the books  are now preceded by official trailers, and fans  were able to sample free chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls prior to the book’s release date), but puts  his faith in the quality of the material. “Hype  sometimes wins it,” he says, “but it is always my  hope that quality will win out.”  Dawn of the Dreadfuls is available now. A fourth book, Android Karenina (Quirk Classic, 2010) by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters, is due in June.

Arts & Entertainment


See WWI’s pre-videogame pastime at this free show.

The Beauty of a Shell Casing Atomic Testing Museum explores the canvas that is wreckage with Trench Art By Jaq Greenspon The Art of War: From Swords to Plowshares, the latest in a series of temporary exhibits at the Atomic Testing Museum, is a testament to man’s ability to create art out of destruction and find beauty amid death. The free show focuses on a relatively modern form of wartime creations known as Trench Art: the taking of materials found on the battlefield and turning them into souvenirs or using them as part of the rehabilitation process. The idea of creating art and souvenirs from war’s cast-offs has been around as long as war itself. But it wasn’t until World War I when it was finally given a name, since it was in the trenches of the battlefields where most of these works were created. “World War I was very interesting,” curator Karen Green says. “It was a kind of a cusp in warfare. You had everything from carrier pigeons to dogs to horses. You have the beginning of air warfare.” And you had a lot of time sitting around, waiting for something to happen. Time to create. According to Nicholas Saunders, an expert on Trench Art, “Unlike commissioned paintings and war memorials, which represented war from a distance,

Trench Art was made from the waste of war itself and utilized the vehicles of death and mutilation directly. … Trench Art was made for a variety of practical reasons—for sale, barter and personal use—but could also possess deeper spiritual meanings associated with religious belief, grief and mourning, and relief or guilt at surviving war when so many did not.” Most of the 150 works on display use large shell casings as their primary medium, with designs punched out from the inside. For example, there’s a brass rendition of a captain’s hat and a shell casing vase with the image of a graceful woman on the side, her demure head tilt an ironic or incongruous fate for a weapon fragment. The brass materials proved malleable enough to allow soldiers to use improvised tools such as their knife hilts to beat the metal into intricate patterns. Similarly, you can try making recycled art yourself at 10 a.m. April 24 with the museum’s $5 Family Fun Day. Now through June 14, Monday–Saturday,   10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.,   755 E. Flamingo Road, 794-5161, free. 

Art Alert What: PRIDE (and prejudice) photo essay on the 2009 Gay Pride Parade in St. Petersburg, Fla. Medium: large-format digital photography. Artist: Lamar Marchese, founder of Nevada Public Radio.

Where: Historic Fifth Street School Auditorium, 401 S. Fourth St.; 229-1012. When: 5-7 p.m. April 29; 3-10 p.m. April 30 (coincides with the local Pride Parade); 1-4 p.m. May 1. Admission: Free and open to the public. One of 30 photos on display.

80 Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

Arts & Entertainment

Music Soundscraper


Kris Allen plays The Joint April 23.

Act Two

Singer/Songwriter Kris Allen plays a post-Idol world By David Breitman It’s no secret that America is searching for an artist to transform the current state of modern music, fix the economy and find a way to help the Chicago Cubs end their century-long battle with futility. Sadly, American Idol-winner and current harmony heartthrob Kris Allen may only cross one of the aforementioned goals off of his “to do list” this year. “I’d like to do a lot of things in my life,” laughs the laid-back pop star. “But right now, I’m just focused on trying to grow through my music.” Ever since Allen burst onto the scene with a 2009 American Idol victory, the 24-year-old singer/songwriter from Arkansas has become an iconic pop-culture figure thanks to his boyish good looks and Southern charm. “The whole sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll thing didn’t suit me, I guess. I’m just more of a country guy,” Allen says. His aw-shucks attitude and adamant refusal to follow Lindsay Lohan down the celebrity walk-of-shame (which smells a lot like stale beer and Dave Coulier’s apartment), have allowed critics to pigeonhole Allen into a role that doesn’t aptly reflect his range as a musician. “Obviously I know what the perception of me is,” he says. “But I don’t think how I act offstage defines me when I’m on it. I’m always going to be the kind of person I was raised to be, but that doesn’t mean I can’t grow as an artist.” Since shaking Ryan Seacrest’s adorable little hand after the American Idol finale last year, Allen has been trying to find his direction as a self-described “pop ’n’ roll” star. He has spent countless hours scribing songs that he feels properly reflect his unlikely journey to the apex of stardom and the challenges that lie ahead. “I always try to be real with what I’m writing.” Allen says. 82 Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

“I think people appreciate honest music.” He admits that if he wants to enjoy a long and storied career, he’s going to have to turn his sincerity and passion into ubiquitous ballads. Allen acknowledges that the business has dramatically changed over the last 20 years, noting that the value of a hit song is higher than a carefully crafted album. “It’s no secret that this entire industry is focused on singles and getting that one song that’s going to get popular on the radio,” he says. With the advent of iTunes and Attention Deficit Disorder, the music world has haphazardly fallen into a one-hit wonder paradigm that places pressure on musicians to consistently record hit songs in order to stay in the limelight. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in the back of my head when I sit down to write sometimes,” Allen says. “It’s impossible to describe how to write one, but the minute you play it—you just know.” His first single, “Live Like We’re Dying,” soared up the charts and helped his debut album reach No. 11 on Billboard in November. The airtime his prominent tune earned established the humble crooner as a mainstay artist and allowed him to avoid the post-Idol jinx that has led some cast members from seasons 2-7 to pursue work in the evergrowing “Where are they Now?” reality show industry. “When it’s all said and done, it’s still just about the music and not the ride,” Allen says. “It lets me live my dream and share the experience with people across the country.” One of the places Allen will entertain fans is Las Vegas. On April 23 at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel, he will open for country star Keith Urban for what will no doubt be a raucous crowd. “I really love this town,” Allen says. “There’s so many great people and amazing things to do. The poker tables are probably my favorite.” Allen quickly adds. “Oh, and my show, of course. I’m looking forward to that, too!” 8 p.m. April 23, The Joint at Hard Rock, $95.50, 693-5000.

Is the old school the new school in Las Vegas? Or is it simply that some performers never really went away? As the local economy lags, does the “return” of veteran acts like the Scintas and Tony Sacca suggest tourists desire more affordable lounge-based entertainment instead of big productions with elaborate stages, confetti cannons and loud rock? These entertainment families are off-Strip, of course. Still, in a tough economy, the Vegas entertainment industry seems eager to give warhorses another shot. Actually, Sacca is giving himself a shot, having founded Las Vegas Rocks Café inside Neonopolis, the structure—with a city-financed parking structure—where nothing seems to succeed. Sacca’s “retro Louis Prima-style act” is different for Fremont Street, however. If a show like his will work, it’s in the retroappropriate location. At 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, with no charge for admission (except a drink or three), you can see Sacca take the Marquee Room stage with a few musicians, interact with the audience and run through hit tunes from Oldies, R&B, Manilow, Elvis and more. For about 10 years, the Scintas have played big stages at places such as the Rio, Sahara and Hilton. Now they work two nights in the 500-seat Suncoast Showroom next month (7:30 p.m. May 15 and 16, $29.95). As a snobby indie-rocker, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing them. But I’m glad I finally caught a show at the Hilton a few years back. Their impersona—er, I mean the “guest appearances” by Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and others are a lot of fun. On the dying medium of radio, my old writing acquaintance Steve Grogan, author of the cult crime novel Vegas Die: A Quest Mystery (Addison & Highsmith, 2008), is launching a new “hour-long cultural entertainment show” on KLAV 1230-AM called Grogan’s Tavern. Why? “A pub or tavern is the perfect watering hole for intellectual gossip and camaraderie,” he says. Catch the show at 7 p.m. Fridays. If you’re interested in appearing the show, e-mail Even neo-jam-bands are getting their retro on. Santana’s horn section apparently joined Moksha onstage for a couple songs during the band’s April 9 CD-release party at House of Blues. Moksha and Santana brass? Somehow it feels right. Moksha CD Release. Got photos of me drinking at concerts? Blackmail me at

Moksha photo by Erik Kabik/Retna

By Jarret Keene

CD REviEws

By Jarret Keene


Natalie Merchant Leave Your Sleep (Nonesuch) Six years in the making, the new release by the ex10,000 Maniacs singer/lyricist earns high marks for attempting to combine literary verse with spry folk arrangements. Problem is, Merchant’s been grooming herself into a schoolmarm for too long, leaving us unsurprised to find she’s adopted 26 poems, lullabies and nursery rhymes by (mostly) obscure 19th- and 20th-century British and American poets. (More famous bards whose writings she borrows include Robert Louis Stevenson and ee cummings.) Merchant thinks she’s infusing life into an art form that lies flat on the page, but her insistence on sticking to a tired acoustic-based format—like the one that propelled the Maniacs into the limelight 25 years ago— drains the enthusiasm out of this double-disc endeavor. Give her credit, though, for finding the needle of Nathalia Crane’s “The Janitor’s Boy” in library haystacks. ★★✩✩✩


The Sequence of Prime Virion (Self-released) When not designing logos for top metal magazine websites ( by day, Kansas boy Brandon Duncan records music by night under the TSOP moniker, specializing in a doom-tinged brand of electronic-enhanced thrash that never removes its black boot from the listener’s throat. Virion is an epic, lyrically frightening concept album about how a single, tiny, infectious microbe (for example, a virion like HIV) can upend massive organisms and whole universes. In other words, this dark meditation on mortality offers deadly riffs and programmed beats that make Ministry’s Al Jourgensen sound like a wuss. Bask in the eco-apocalyptic horror of “Backlit” at your own risk. And whatever you do, don’t spin instrumental track “Icosahedron” after sunset. The crushing drum solo will ice your blood. Download at ★★★★★


Kaki King Junior (Rounder) If there were any justice in this world, 30-year-old Kaki King would’ve starred in last year’s It Might Get Loud guitar documentary instead of Jack White (who’s a better songwriter than axe-man). It’s the film’s loss, because King is an inventive, imaginative, post-rock shredder on par, if not superior to, her heroes—Pete Townshend, Bob Mould, etc. With Junior, she joins her awesome technique with producer Malcolm Burn’s rich treatment, resulting in 11 remarkable tracks. Titles like “Spit It Back in My Mouth” and “Death Head” should indicate for you the wounded direction this album (King’s fifth) takes. Her cool voice, placed over searing six-string performances, aptly conveys the tender agony of total heartsickness. No wonder Dave Grohl worships this woman. She‘s a monster—on guitar and as a songwriter, too. ★★★★★



April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven  83

Arts & Entertainment


Jeffrey Dean Morgan leads the pack of Losers.

Double-Crossed in this story of betrayal and revenge, it’s the audience who suffers By Rex Reed The trash explosion fuses early this year. Why wait for the dog days of summer when you can get The Losers now? Staying awake during this ordeal of incompetent, incomprehensible stupidity is not difficult. It’s so noisy you can hear it in the next town. Staying interested is something else entirely. Here is yet another DC comic book targeted for brain-dead kids with animated action heroes brought to life without a shred of wit, imagination or cinematic talent. The plot—which you could carve on the head of a carpet tack—involves yet another “Special Forces Unit” composed of five rogue CIA operatives on a secret mission searching for terrorists who get double-crossed by yet another CIA master-villain called Max. Ambushed, deserted and targeted for death in a plane that blows up with 25 innocent children on their way to safety, the team is deserted in the Bolivian jungle and presumed dead. The rest of the movie is about how they survive, get out of the jungle and head for Miami via Dubai, Mumbai, Texas, the Mexican border and the port of Los Angeles to clear their names and get revenge. Typical of the hurdles they are forced to endure is a near-fatal hook-up with yet another sexy, karate-chopping operative named Aisha (Zoe Saldana), who is also tracking Max with an agenda that is never satisfactorily explained. When the captain of the Losers ( Jeffrey Dean Morgan) takes her to his bedroom, they beat the hell out of each other for no reason whatsoever and set the hotel on fire. Naturally, they end up in sheets that haven’t seen the inside of a Laundromat in several years. 84

Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

As much as I hated Avatar, Saldana looked better painted blue. It is never clear who she is or where she works, but she’s tougher than the rest of the Losers put together. (When she was a child, she collected human ears.) Max ( Jason Patric) is the kind of CIA S.O.B. who dresses like Tennessee Williams, promises one billion dollars to Dubai thugs for atomic missiles so powerful they haven’t even been invented yet, then blows out the brains of an over-endowed Lolita who drops his umbrella. Planning an international terrorist conflict with weapons that will change the world, he has the most fun of anybody, probably because he’s the best actor. The team’s computer-hacking geek is played by Chris Evans, who wisely vacillates between Tennessee Williams scripts (The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond) and crapola like the Fantastic Four flicks that make money. The rest of the cast is as memorable as last week’s egg fu yung. Racing to the rescue to save their country, the indestructible Losers get burned, stabbed, slashed, blown through windshields, thrown through plate glass windows and bombed by special effects, with no more damage than a paper cut. One gets shot in both legs and still walks away, like somebody on a Jerry Lewis telethon. I guess it doesn’t matter that none of this violent nonsense makes one lick of sense. To me, movies about the CIA never do. I always wonder how covert operatives blow up whole cities and it never even makes the papers. Gullible people are so conditioned to hate the government you can tell them the CIA is hiding Osama Bin Laden in a Georgetown townhouse next door to Hilary Clinton and they’ll believe it. The Losers targets an audience of kids who couldn’t care less. The script—by James Vanderbilt (no relation to Gloria) and a once-gifted actor named Peter Berg—sounds like it was written with soft No. 2 lead pencils on Big Chief tablet paper. As a director, Sylvain White would make a much better sanitation worker. He is clueless about how to tell a story with any kind of arc. The producer is Joel Silver, who has made a career out of dispensing junk, and as long as the junk makes money, it will proliferate. Kids may enjoy The Losers enough to wish for more. At the end, the evil Max phones again, guaranteeing a sequel. Next time, I’ll plan to be out of town. Former actor Rex Reed is a famous New York film critic who was born in Fort Worth, Texas.

April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven  85

Arts & Entertainment


Under the Sea Not since The Little Mermaid has Disney made the sea so compelling By Cole Smithey

“Just look at the world around you, right here on the ocean floor.”

This year, Earth Day is marked by the release of Oceans, a lush documentary by Disneynature about the magnificent waters that cover more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface, and the vast number of creatures that live there. Under Pierce Brosnan’s commanding narration, filmmakers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud explore immense regions of the ocean’s depths to celebrate the wild and colorful herbivores, carnivores and detritivores (creatures that eat decomposing organic manner) that live there. Although it sounds like the kind of documentary you’ve seen a thousand times before, Oceans takes full advantage of state-of-the-art equipment to show audiences a crystal-clear vision of intriguing sea creatures, such as the Red Sea’s dugong marsa alam and the intricately cloaked garden eel, from Indonesia’s Lembeh Strait. The filmmakers are careful to spend the majority of the film celebrating the dramatic and peaceful rituals of a wide variety of ocean animals, while punctuating the film eloquently and briefly with the enormous problem of plastics and pollution being dumped into the oceans. Most disturbing is satellite footage that shows the dark streams of pollution emanating from American rivers directly into the sea. Modern audiences have such terrific access to wildlife programs on television that it’s easy to take for granted the work of filmmakers like

Perrin and Cluzaud. But it would be a mistake to discount this film’s inspiring, informative and entertaining effect. On the Europa Island Mozambic Canal, tiny baby green turtles hatch from under plush white sand to make a mad dash for the shoreline before being gobbled up by swarms of attacking birds that swoop down on their young, helpless prey. In California’s Coronado Canyon, a gigantic humpback whale gobbles up thousands of tiny orange krill in a single gulp. In the Arctic, blubbery Coburg walruses wallow together on the ice in familial tenderness. And the list goes on. There’s a profound thrill that comes as the camera glides along with a huge team of dolphins as they speed through the surface of the water, constantly jetting out to soar through the air for brief spins of pure joy. Without Jacques Cousteau’s lifelong contributions to oceanic exploration, a film like Oceans would not be possible. When asked what he saw as the biggest threat to our planet, Jacques Cousteau said that by far it was our population explosion. America’s population has more than doubled since Cousteau made that statement. If anything, Oceans makes us aware that sea creatures are people, too. In an effort at improving an essential part of the ocean floor, Disneynature is donating a portion of the film’s first-week proceeds to save our coral reefs.

ShoRT ReviewS

Death at a Funeral (R)

By Cole Smithey


Audiences unfamiliar with Frank Oz’s 2007 original film by the same title will enjoy Neil LaBute’s lesser remake, whose conceit lies in transplanting the setting from the U.K. to the U.S. and replacing the all-white cast with a largely African-American group (Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan). Screenwriter Dean Craig updates his own comedy of errors but much of the original’s humor gets lost in translation.

86 Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

Kick-Ass (R)


Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) oversees this dumb story co-written by comic book writers Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr. The story is about the young Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) who reinvents himself as Kick-Ass. He finds assistance from a Bat-Man wannabe (Nicolas Cage) and his Robin-ish daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz). From its cartoon bad guys to its profanity and gory violence, this film spells disaster.

The Joneses (R)


The Joneses is a satire from debut director/co-writer Derrick Borte. A gated suburb is the hunting ground for a manufactured family of product-placement experts. David Duchovny and Demi Moore are phony parents to perfect teens (Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth), while Lauren Hutton plays their boss. Concerning the greedy pre-financial meltdown, The Joneses is a superfluous footnote whose relevance has passed.

Date Night (PG-13)


This middle-aged rom-com splits between slap-stick and saucy comic delivery. As a wedded couple, Tina Fey and Steve Carell are plausible and funny. Screenwriter Josh Klausner’s hackneyed plot puts the couple on the run in a case of mistaken identity. Cameos from Mark Wahlberg, Ray Liotta, James Franco and Mila Kunis barely improve the script. Fey and Carell deserve better, but their comic timing make it worthwhile.

SHoRT ReviewS

A Prophet (R)


Jacques Audiard’s look at the French prison system hinges on a criminal’s transformation from submissive ignorance to an intelligent dominant force. Impressive newcomer Tahar Rahim plays the jailed Malik, who works for the leader of the jail’s Corsican mafia (Niels Arestrup). A most worthy contender for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.

The Clash of the Titans (PG-13)


In spite of a miscast Sam Worthington and a lame CGI Medusa, Titans is an enjoyable spectacle based on the myth of Perseus. Director Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2) makes the most of big action set pieces that include intense battles. To all the critical moaning about this update of Desmond Davis’ 1981 original, I say pishaw. Solid performances from Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes add gravitas.

The Perfect Game (PG)


A sweet sports movie that’s ideal for introducing baseball to young fans. It’s 1957, Mexico and a former Cincinnati Reds ballboy (Clifton Collins Jr.) coaches a group of ragtag children to the Little League World Series. Based on a true story of the only “perfect game” (when a pitcher never allows a runner on base) in the league’s championship history.

Hot Tub Time Machine (R)


Considering John Cusack produced this lackluster comedy romp where three buddies (Rob Corddry, Cusack and Craig Robinson) travel back to their ’80s-era heyday, Time Machine should at least feature some cool music. Chevy Chase and Crispin Glover are wasted in minor roles. Homosexual hijinks and poorly executed slapstick pratfalls attend this sloppy comedy.

Movie TiMeS

The Runaways (R)


Runaways follows the crash-and-burn experiences of the 1970s all-girl rock band of the same name. Dakota Fanning delivers her best work as the band’s bisexual lead singer, while Kristen Stewart channels Joan Jett. But Michael Shannon steals the show as their famously eccentric producer. Debut filmmaker Floria Sigismondi is keen on meta meaning, while Joan Jett and record producer Kenny Laguna executive produced.

Scan here for up-to-the-minute movie listings delivered directly to your mobile device.

April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 87

Gadgets & Tech

Let the sun shine on your gadgets By Eric Benderoff

Looking to take a vacation away from technology? Good luck. These days, it takes a lot of discipline to turn off your Blackberry or iPhone and get away from it all. Even a weeklong camping trip to the Valley of Fire State Park doesn’t mean you’ll be without access to e-mail anymore. OK, it can be tricky to get cell reception, but there’s no need to go without power. Here’s a look at some products you can use to enjoy the great outdoors, from solar- powered chargers to wireless, portable speakers. These products don’t require a tent to enjoy them; they’ll work just as well on your porch or at a tailgate. Let’s start with solar-charging devices: You can now find cases, stand-alone chargers and even backpacks to provide iPhones with the necessary juice to keep them going. One of my favorite new products is the Novathink Surge ($80, novothink. com), available for the iPhone 3G and 3GS and iPod touch. The Surge is a solar-powered case that provides a charge by harnessing visible sunlight. The case has a hole in it that allows users to clip it to a belt or backpack with a carabiner (those things once reserved for mountain climbers that people clip to belt loops and often use as key chains). The clip makes it relatively easy to keep the case exposed to sunlight if you’re biking, jogging, hiking, or otherwise enjoying the outdoors. There’s an important caveat about this case and other solar-powered chargers: They are designed to be supplemental

The rugged Novathink Surge case can easily be fastened to your backpack, and will harness solar energy to charge your phone while you hike, bike or otherwise enjoy the great outdoors.

88 Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

power sources. You cannot rely on them to be a primary charging device, as the technology for tapping into the sun can’t yet provide enough power to satisfy a typical gadget’s consumption needs if the devices are in constant use. And we’re still waiting for a solar laptop charger. In the case of the Novathink Surge, for instance, two hours of direct sunlight generates just 30 minutes of talk time on a 3G network or 60 minutes of talk time on a slower network, according to the company. This means that you’ll have to take advantage of the case’s built-in USB jack and connect the device to a computer or wall socket to give your iPhone or iPod touch a proper charge before you go rafting down Black Canyon. The case feeds your iPhone through Apple’s standard 30-pin dock connector, which means you don’t need to remove your iPhone to give it a full charge—just keep it in the solar case and let the sun or the wall provide a charge. The hard case includes LED-powered bars to tell you how much charging power has been stored, and also protects from bumps and scrapes, too, in case you drop it during your hike. For a more versatile solar charger, the entire Solio product line will work with nearly every major gadget out there, thanks to interchangeable charging tips. I’ve used the Classic-i ($80,, a sweet-looking triple-bladed charger, and found that it works very well. Each blade holds one solar panel, so the combination of three panels provides juice faster.

The Solio Classic can deliver juice to re-power almost any electronic device.

Solio products are exceptionally portable, which is convenient, too. The Classic fits into the palm of your hand when closed, which means you can toss it into a backpack or purse when you’re on the go. You can also attach it to a backpack or your belt with that handy carabiner of yours, and keep it exposed to the sun. Solio sells single-panel chargers as well, the Rocsta and Mono ($50-$80), that include one charging tip of your choice. (Extras will cost you $10.) Another option to consider: Instead of attaching a solar panel to a backpack when you explore Red Rock Canyon, why not use a backpack that has a solar panel built right in? My favorite solar backpack is the Juice Bag ES100 by Reware ($275, This big and spacious backpack is able to fit hefty textbooks as well as all the day-to-day gear we tend to schlep around. If you’re a camper and pack reasonably light, this bag will work for you, as well. The Juice Bag collects solar energy to charge your electronics as you walk, hike, bike or otherwise expose it to sunshine. It needs up to four hours to fully charge a device and does not store solar power, but you can purchase solar batteries that will store the energy for later use. The ES100 includes a built-in CLA (car lighter adapter) socket to charge gadgets that allows you to plug a charger into the backpack’s built-in socket, just as you would in a car. Granted, the bag isn’t cheap, but the company sells other solar panel-equipped bags under the Juice Bag brand, including messenger bags, briefcases and smaller backpacks. Another, smaller-yet-similarly expensive solar backpack comes from Voltaic Systems ($250,, but the backpack isn’t big enough to hold more than a few newspapers, some knick-knacks and a hardcover book—so if you’re a student and have a lot of big textbooks to lug around, this solar backpack isn’t for you. OK, back to being outdoors and enjoying things other than nature.

If you must have music, the Cy-Fi Wireless sports speaker ($100, is a nice choice. It’s waterproof, mounts on a bike handle or backpack and connects to your music player via Bluetooth. It’s super light, too, weighing less than four ounces. The audio quality is adequate enough—not great if you want to hear fine details in music, but perfect if you want to stream a Major League Baseball game over your iPhone while setting up the campsite. Likewise, if you just can’t live without TV when you go outside (or to a tailgate party), remember that that old portable model you have been using for years won’t work this season thanks to the recent transition to digital TV. This means you will need a portable digital TV, and luckily there are a few decent, affordable options for you to choose from. Look for models from Haier, Eviant, Coby and Insignia, with models starting at about $60 for screen sizes ranging from 5 to 7 inches. These battery-powered products can also be handy in emergency situations, such as a power outage during a major storm—but don’t expect the batteries to last long. Another nice thing about these TVs: Thanks to the digital transmission, the picture is stunningly clear, even on a small screen. (It’s highdefinition, after all.) The bad part: The antennae are small, and getting a signal can be a challenge. Chicago-based technolog y columnist Eric  Benderoff writes about consumer electronics and  runs, an editorial services  firm. He frequently discusses tech trends and  new gadgets on various national radio and TV  programs. Follow him on Twitter @ericbendy.

The Voltaic Backpack

April 22-28, 2010  Vegas Seven 89

Dining An Instant Classic

Time-tested Du-par’s coffee shop opens a tasty new/old era at the Golden Gate

By Max Jacobson On the way into Du-par’s, the new coffee shop at  the Golden Gate Hotel, grab a souvenir menu from  1938—the year the restaurant debuted in Los Angeles—and compare it with today’s. Amazingly, it is  relatively unchanged, except for inflation, of course.  Then eyeball the fresh, double-crusted fruit pies in  the display case behind the counter. Whether it’s  the buttery cinnamon rolls in the cake holders or  doughnuts straight from the fryer, you won’t  find anything comparable in this town. Continued on page 92

Du-par’s hotcakes: The best you’ve ever tasted.

April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven  91


Diner’s Notebook

Du-par’s Continued from page 91

The main dining room looks like a  scene out of the days when McCarran  was our senator, not our airport. It’s  staffed with waitresses clad in mostly  white uniforms and frilly caps. It’s a  long room with red leatherette booths,  a floor-to-ceiling beveled mirror, and  framed black-and-white pictures of San  Francisco, circa 1906—the year of both  the Great Earthquake and the founding  of this hotel. Du-par’s is the only true Las Vegas  example of that vanishing breed, the  Great American Coffee Shop. Imagine  a place where burger meat (pure chuck  steak) is ground to order, where the  jams are made in house, and where the  hotcake recipe is so closely guarded that  the owner, Biff Naylor, actually bought  the company to obtain it. Du-par’s, which still has the original  L.A. location at the Farmer’s Market, and another in  the San Fernando Valley, makes most of their menu  items from scratch. The staff squeezes orange juice to  order. They make their own boysenberry and strawberry jelly. They grind their own corned-beef hash.  They make their own meatloaf. So when Golden Gate President Mark Brandenburg  decided to give Las Vegas’ oldest hotel a face-lift and 

Forget it, Mac … Mozen and Payard have the real deals By Max Jacobson

Try the blueberry pie at Du-par’s old-fashioned counter (below).

tear out the moribund Bay City Diner, it was serendipity that he was contacted by Naylor, whose father,   the legendary Tiny Naylor, was one of the casino’s   original 22 partners. Biff, a hale and hearty 70, actually built the kitchen  here in 1964, and was confident he could make it  all work. But just for safety’s sake, he brought in his  daughter, Jennifer, onetime chef at Wolfgang Puck’s  long-shuttered Granita restaurant   in Malibu, Calif. Breakfast is my favorite meal here,  but the entire menu is served 24/7.  Many Du-par’s customers tell Naylor his  hotcakes are the best they’ve ever tasted,  and I’m on the same page. Fluffy, tangy  and drenched with clarified butter,   a full stack—five giant cakes—is a  lumberjack’s feast. If you like the bacon at the Original  Pancake House franchises, this is the  same product, sliced thinner here. This  corned-beef hash has crisp edges, and it  must be at least 90 percent pure meat.  “Why would you want potatoes in the  hash,” Naylor asks, “if you serve hash  browns with it?”  Hmm, good point. Entrées can be single-crusted chicken  pot pie—all cream, carrots and whitemeat chicken—or a chicken-fried Harris  Ranch steak, doused in a cream and  sausage gravy. There is a traditional  turkey dinner and a grainy, homemade  meatloaf. If you like your burger, try   the patty melt; the rye bread is also   made in the kitchen, and it’s the best   rye bread in town. If you’ve got room for dessert, there are  more than 20 fruit- or cream-based pies  to choose from. If you’ve ever wondered  what Americans ate three generations  ago, wonder no more.  Du-par’s Restaurant, in the Golden Gate Hotel, 1 Fremont St., 385-1906. Open 24/7. Breakfast for two, $15-$23.

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Don’t think me ungrateful  when I confess to moments  when I wish I weren’t such a  committed food journalist.  In the interests of science,  I recently felt compelled to  spend $1.49 on the Mac Wrap at McDonald’s. I’d only eat this vile creation  again if I were as hungry as Tom Hanks in Cast Away.  The fermented sea slug I once slurped out of a Coke  bottle in American Samoa had more appeal. On a tastier note, the Strip is suddenly a hotbed of  great deals for foodies. In Caesars Palace, Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro, the province of New York-based  super-chef Francois Payard, now offers a three-course prix-fixe lunch for $19. That gets you a choice of  goat-cheese onion tart or lobster salad for openers,  an amazing salmon en papillote (served steaming in a  parchment bag) or some of the best couscous I’ve ever  tasted, topped with chicken and merguez, a North African  sausage. If that weren’t enough, one of Payard’s fabulous  pastries is included, such as the Manjari chocolate tart  or his mind-blowing rhubarb Napoleon. Given the  charm of the room, quality of the service and excellence  of the kitchen, I can say without reservation that this is  the best deal on the Strip, if not in the entire city. Another upscale venue that has been overlooked is  Mozen Bistro at the Mandarin Oriental. Through  June 30, locals receive 20 percent off their bill, not to  mention a selection of complementary newspapers,  snappy valet parking and a ride in the cushy, perfumed  elevator. I have long been a fan of Mozen’s Royal  Tandoori Platter ($38), the peerless, made-to-order  sushi and the best club sandwich in town. Chef Shawn  Armstrong and his eclectic team run what he calls an  “all-day, contemporary Asian-influenced bistro,” but  don’t overlook the roast chicken or any of the other  American classics. For reservations, call 590-8882. Finally, at 4 p.m. April 24, Project Dinner Table  founder Gina Gavan is hosting a special evening at the  University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s orchard,  4600 Horse Dr. in North Las Vegas. Her mission is  to “create meaningful and adventurous experiences  around the dinner table by celebrating local artisans,  community and philanthropy.” The dinner will feature  the cooking of Roy Ellamar, chef de cuisine at Sensi in  Bellagio. The chef intends to “keep things simple with  fresh products that evoke memories.”  The menu isn’t announced in advance, which is part  of the adventure, but contributing local purveyors will  include Quail Hollow Farm, Colorado River Coffee  Roasters of Boulder City and the artisan bread producer  Bon Breads. To reserve a spot, call 275-2624, or visit The $150 admission raises  funds for Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada. Hungry, yet?  Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at


Dishing Got a favorite dish? Tell us at

Veggie Frites at Smashburger

This Denver-based chain is making a big splash here with its tasty burgers and salads, but this guilt-free side dish is an appealing twist on what most of our mothers don’t want us to eat: french fries. The cooks oil-fry green beans, carrots and asparagus au naturel— without breading. They are addictive when dipped in the house ranch dressing. $3.99 ($2.99 with sandwich), 7541 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 982-0009.

94  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

Thinly Sliced Fried Bologna at Todd English P.U.B.

Chef English has added another unique restaurant in Las Vegas. His P.U.B. (which stands for Public Urban Bar) features comfort food. English’s grandmother used to make this sandwich for him as a child. So, when he opened the P.U.B. he knew this dish needed to be on the menu. You never knew that two slices of white bread, bologna, mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise and mustard could be so comforting. $16, in Crystals at CityCenter, 489-8080.

BBQ Brisket Sandwich at Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ

Picture a huge pile of tender, shredded beef brisket on a tasty bun, flanked by pickles and coleslaw, and you have a true Southern-style treat. Lucille’s, a popular barbecue house in the District, uses a real wood smoker, so the meat is complex, almost medicinal. The restaurant is named for a real woman named Lucille, and many of the recipes are hers. $9.95, 2245 Village Walk Dr., Henderson, 257-7427.

Hot Dog Sliders at Daddy Mac’s

Chef Michael Hunn takes three mini Vienna Beef wieners from Chicago and fits them into small buns with three different toppings: one a traditional Chicago-style dog, the second with sauerkraut, and the third with his delicious Angus beef chili. Sweet and regular potato fries are served in a paper cone on the side. $6.95, 2920 N. Green Valley Parkway, 272-0913.


Dishing Got a favorite dish? Tell us at

The most interesting three-meal restaurant on the Strip may be Society Café at the Wynn Encore. The breakfast menu is filled with kid food. The French toast is battered with Frosted Flakes, for instance, with caramelized bananas and chocolate cream. But this cinnamon roll takes the cake. It’s lathered with a buttery caramel sauce and thick icing. Eat the whole thing and you may be at your caloric limit for the day. $7, in Encore, 770-7000.

Parmesan Crusted Sand Dabs at King’s Fish House

Sand dabs are delicate Pacific fish similar to sole, with sweet, snow-white flesh. They are also a specialty at King’s in the District, which is a favorite with local seafood lovers. Here they are lightly coated with flour, butter and Parmesan cheese before being bronzed perfectly on a flat metal grill. You get two sides from which to choose, such as the ratatouille and carrots. $13.75 lunch, $17.95 dinner, 2255 Village Walk Dr., Henderson, 835-8900.

Firefly Fries at Firefly

Chef John Simmons always wondered why fries were usually only seasoned with salt. To make simple fries fit the exclusivity of the restaurant’s tapas menu, he seasons them not only with kosher salt but pepper, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. “The fries come out soft and steamy and creamy and light on the inside and perfectly brown and crunchy on the outside,” he says. The dish is also served with creamy aioli. $5.50, 3900 Paradise Road, 369-3971.

Chopped Liver at Weiss Deli

Master deli chef Mike Weiss makes everything from scratch at his small, friendly deli, even the breads. His chopped-liver appetizer might remind you of the one your Yiddish grandmother made—a suspension with egg, onion, chicken liver and schmaltz, a.k.a. chicken fat. Served with bagel chips, pickle and tomato, it is a filling treat. $7.50, 2744 N. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson, 454-0565.

Who would ever put pickles on a pizza?


Crispy Stuff Yum!!!

5 Consecutive Zagats Best Pizza Awards & Best Pizza R-J Readers Poll America’s Neighborhood Pizzeria 1395 East Tropicana Ave. 4001 South Decatur Blvd. 1420 W. Horizon Ridge 4178 Koval Lane

702-736-1955 702-362-7896 702-458-4769 702-312-5888

4111 Boulder Highway


(Inside Ellis Island Casino)

(Inside Boulder Station Casino) Also visit us at: 96  Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

We’ll do it when pigs fly. BBQ pulled pork, fried onion rings and chopped pickles. Sounds really weird...Tastes really great!

Firefly Fries by Anthony Mair

Sticky Buns at Society Café


Cooking With …

Geno Bernardo

The self-taught Nove chef gives a lesson on grilling pork, Italian-style By Max Jacobson Geno Bernardo always comes to mind when I think of the term autodidact. The Jersey boy is an accomplished chef who taught himself to cook. He comes from the town where Bruce Springsteen used to hang out, Asbury Park, and he started cooking at the tender age of 15 in a little restaurant called Massimo’s. Today he is executive chef at Nove, the cutting-edge Italian restaurant atop the Palms’ Fantasy Tower. And in its kitchen, he has never failed to blow me away with his skill, exhibited in fare such as a thin-crust white clam pizza, or his take on crudo, raw fish sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt. Bernardo is a true renaissance man. He conducts cooking classes in the restaurant, and he is also growing his own vegetables at two farms in Pahrump—goodies such as heirloom Bloomsdale spinach and spring mesclun mix for his salads. But he hasn’t neglected his roots. If you go to the restaurant, you must try Nana’s Meatballs, made with veal, pork, beef and a surprise addition: lamb. They will make you forget Mama back in Jersey. For the serious home cook, Bernardo has created this simple but delicious recipe, Pork Braciole.

2003 San Felice Poggio Rosso Nove’s charming sommelier, Anu Hawkins, has selected a fairly patrician wine for this dish (it’s $95 at the restaurant), from Italy’s Chianti wine region. “I love the dark fruit and the Sangiovese grape,” she says. “It is a perfect match for the orange in the salad and stuffing.” A less expensive Chianti, she admits, will work as well.

Pork Braciole Serves 4 people

1 cup toasted bread crumbs (Japanese panko or seasoned Italian) 2 ounces thinly sliced salami (the chef prefers Fra’ Mani) 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon chopped pine nuts 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley Grated zest of 3 lemons ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 8 pieces (4 ounces each) thick-sliced boneless pork 2 blood oranges ½ bunch picked parsley, tops only Combine all ingredients except the pork, oranges and picked parsley, in a mixing bowl; bind with oil to make a light stuffing. Using a meat mallet, pound the pieces of pork thin. Season with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of stuffing on each slice. Roll the pork lengthwise using a toothpick to secure. For the grilling: Brush the pork rolls with oil, further season with salt and pepper. Place rolls over medium-heat grill, cook about 15 minutes until the meat is around 185 degrees. There should be grill marks. Arrange on a platter, garnished with the orange slices and parsley, then drizzle everything with more extra virgin olive oil.

98 Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

Photography by Anthony Mair

Suggested Pairing


an Indian-Style retreat

Cynthia’s China Date Ranch oasis features three “comfortably furnished” teepees and a tiny museum (below).

There’s a refreshing dose of ancient desert quiet in the ‘five-star teepees’ at China Date Ranch

By Timothy O’Grady

100 Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

patterns in the sand, slot canyons with streams flowing down the rock faces and a desert-floor waterfall. Cynthia Kienitz, owner of the teepees, was there  when we came back. We lay in a hammock outside our  teepee, and she rocked us gently in the dusk light and  told us about how she came to the desert. She’d been  an interior designer in Las Vegas—she designed the  Bedouin tent-like Paymon’s Mediterranean Café on  Maryland Parkway, with its Hookah Lounge—and  when her children were grown decided to begin again.  Although she was originally from the lake lands of Wisconsin, she found her place in the desert. “I don’t know  what it is—the ancientness, the light, the silence—whatever, every time, every day, it just makes me happy,” she  said. She has a hostel and three-room guesthouse up on  the Old Spanish Trail closer to Tecopa, but has plans  for a bigger, more ambitious desert experience, a place  of food and talk and beautiful rooms. “I love connecting with people,” she said as she rocked us some more.  “I love bringing them together in the extraordinary  environment that the desert provides.” Cynthia went to her cottage, and we sat out with  glasses of wine under a spectacle of starlight. In time  we went into our teepee, a high, cream-colored cone  with Turkish rugs on the floor, art deco lamps with  upturned palms holding candles and a magnificent  bed piled high with pillows. “There are other places  where you can sleep in a teepee, but they usually give  you sleeping bags or camp beds,” she said. “Mine are  the only five-star-level ones.” We lit a fire in a steel  grate at the foot of the bed and watched the smoke  rise through a hole into the sky, listening to the nighttalk of the coyotes.  Timothy O’Grady, a novelist, is a fellow at UNLV’s Black  Mountain Institute.

If yOu GO … To get to Cynthia’s “unique desert lodging” (, 760-852-4580), take Interstate 15 to Highway 160 toward Pahrump. Then take the Old Spanish Trail Highway to China Date Ranch. In the vicinity, there are many wonderful desert walks. The China Date Ranch, in which the teepees ($148 per night) are set, is a fascinating operation in itself, with its own tiny museum. There’s a bigger regional museum in Shoshone, Calif. (760-852-4524). There, in Cafe C’est Si Bon (760-8524307), you can have crepes and special fruit juices amid hanging veils, paintings and delicate, otherworldly music. Up the road at Death Valley Junction is the legendary Amargosa Opera House and Hotel (760-852-4441) established by Marta Becket, who covered the walls and ceiling of an old meeting hall with beautiful murals and danced nightly, sometimes just for herself. There are still performances there at weekends. In Tecopa itself you can eat pleasurably in the relaxed and amiable Pastels Bistro (760-852-4307) and bathe in hot springs run by California Land Management. – T.O.

Photography by Anthony Mair

Somewhere between the Strip and the Brothel Art  Museum art near Pahrump there’s a turn to the  left marked by a little sign that says “Tecopa.” It’s  the Old Spanish Trail, and it leads in a long fine  line through flat desert land, a little snarl of sharp  mountain turns and then down again to the desert  floor. Signs appear just before Tecopa, leading you  down to the China Date Ranch. My wife and I weren’t prepared for what we saw  next: a slaloming, amusement park ride of a road descending through towering gray rocks into an oasis of  cool air, lush grass, date palms from North Africa and  the Middle East and the sound of flowing water and  what seemed like thousands of loquacious frogs. I’d  seen desert oases in old westerns, but never knew how  surprising and peaceful and exhilarating they could be  until I experienced this one. A Chinese borax miner  with a name like a sneeze (Ah Foo) planted vegetables  and raised cattle here in the late 19th century; Vonola  Modine (grandmother of the actor Matthew Modine)  put in the date palms in the 1920s; and the Brown  family of Shoshone took over a half-century later. We’d come for the dates, but before we left we went  down a dirt track that ended at a small cottage set on a  lawn and in the shade of high cottonwood trees, with,  in its back yard, three majestic, 24-foot-high Plains  Indian teepees. They were, we learned, for rent, and  constituted the most unusual and intriguing hotel we  had ever seen. It seemed foolish to resist. We booked a teepee a few weeks later, and drove  the 80 or so miles from Las Vegas. When we got to  the Date Ranch, we went for a long afternoon walk  through the Amargosa River Valley, along an old  railway line, past abandoned mine shafts and the  hulks of old rusting cars and into a surprising desert  water land of high riverside vegetation, swirling water 

SportS & LeiSure endurance test

Eric Springer is set to compete in his fourth XTERRA triathlon since 2007.

Triathlon helps Air Force officer push his body to extremes

By Matt Jacob a weekend filled with a variety of demanding off-road sports events—encompasses a one-mile swim, an 18-mile mountain bike ride through the surrounding desert and a 6.2-mile trail run. This will be Springer’s fourth XTERRA triathlon since 2007, but that doesn’t count the 20 or so adventure races he’s competed in since discovering the sport five years ago. In fact, on April 10, Springer and a Canadian Army soldier teamed up for the Desert Winds six-hour adventure race at Lake Mead. That journey involved kayaking across the lake followed by biking and running through the rugged adjacent terrain, all while trying to locate various checkpoints with little more than a map and compass. Springer’s team finished the race in six hours and seven minutes, beating nine other two-man teams. If that’s not enough, Springer and another Canadian serviceman will return to Lake Mead next month to compete in a 24-hour adventure race. “I’ve been a rock climber, a mountain biker and a runner my whole life, so I was always trying to find something that put all those things together,” says Springer, who has been in the Air Force for 17 years. “My first adventure race was about four years ago in Idaho, and I did it with a team of three guys. I was absolutely hooked. “When I’m out there with a teammate in an adventure race, it’s just us against

ourselves. How far can we go? How fast can we go? How far can we push ourselves? It’s not necessarily about how well we compete against everybody else. It’s about reaching your own objectives and your own goals.” Springer, who lives at Nellis with his wife and two children, says that’s why he puts his 5-foot-9-inch, 180-pound body through hell training for and competing in adventure races and triathlons. But there’s also an ulterior motive. During competitions, he and his friends—fellow soldiers from as far away as Australia and England—represent the Wounded Warrior Project, a not-for-profit charity that helps wounded servicemen resume physical activities they once loved, such as skiing or rock climbing. “When I lived in Missouri, one of my adventure-race teammates was a

guy who was injured in Iraq. He lost part of his hand, almost lost his leg and almost died,” Springer says. “But with help from this charity, he recovered to the point where he’s doing 12-hour adventure races. So it kind of became a goal for us to get the word out every time there’s a race.” As for his personal goal for the triathlon at Lake Las Vegas, Springer says he hopes to finish in about three hours, but adds, “I never know going into a race how I’m going to fare or how it’s all going to work out. That’s part of the appeal. But I know I’m always going to finish, one way or another. And yeah, you kind of beat yourself up, but in the end, when it’s over, you sit there with your buddies and enjoy a cold beer. It’s a good day.” No doubt it’s a beer he can enjoy guilt-free.

Ryan Wolfe

Wolfe among Rebels hoping to hear name called in NFL Draft Injuries could lead to record-setting wide receiver signing as free agent Ryan Wolfe established himself as one of the top wide receivers in the nation at UNLV, becoming not only the Rebels’ all-time leading pass catcher, but also the Mountain West Conference’s career leader with 283 receptions. Even with those lofty credentials, though, there is a chance Wolfe will not hear his name called during this week’s NFL Draft. A broken foot suffered late last season combined with a pulled hamstring at UNLV’s pro day last month has made him a question mark to many NFL scouts. Wolfe could be drafted as high as the fifth round, but going undrafted might be in his best interest, as that would allow him to sign as a free agent with a team that provides the best fit. The first Rebel likely to be drafted is offensive lineman Joe 102

Vegas Seven  April 22-28, 2010

Hawley, who impressed scouts with his strength and agility at the NFL Combine and UNLV’s pro day. Hawley, who showed versatility by starting seven games at center and five games at right guard his senior year, is projected to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick and is said to be getting a close look by Chicago, Denver and Atlanta. Linebacker Jason Beauchamp also was invited to the NFL Combine, but reportedly did not test that well. He and defensive tackle Martin Tevaseu could get drafted in the later rounds, but probably will end up signing with teams as free agents. Two other Rebels—defensive back Marquel Martin and wide receiver Rodelin Anthony—also could end up as post-draft pickups. – Sean DeFrank

Springer photo by Anthony Mair; Wolfe photo UNLV Photo Services

Eric Springer doesn’t need to compete in adventure races and triathlons to challenge himself. The Air Force major has served multiple tours in Iraq and this summer will deploy to Afghanistan for six months. But the self-proclaimed “adrenaline junkie” doesn’t take it easy when he’s not on duty. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Springer usually wakes up at 4 a.m. and drives to the gym, where he jumps in the pool for mile-long swim at least three times a week. He continues around lunchtime when he busts out his mountain bike and goes for a taxing ride. That’s followed by a lengthy run in the late afternoon or early evening. And then on the weekend, when many people are taking things easy, Springer is conquering a desert trail (by foot and/or bike) at Red Rock or Boulder City. All this just so the 34-year-old Air Force officer can be in tiptop shape to punish his body further by competing in grueling adventure races and triathlons. “It’s the adventure, it’s the unknown that I’m drawn to,” says Springer, who has been stationed at Nellis Air Force Base since July. “Above and beyond that, it’s about continuously redefining your own boundaries and who you are. For me, that’s what it’s about—pushing myself further than I thought I could go, and then going a little further than that.” Springer will be among more than 1,000 athletes competing in the XTERRA West Championship Triathlon at Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort on April 24-25. The triathlon—which highlights

Going for Broke

Baseball is no longer America’s game, but it is a bettor’s best friend By Matt Jacob Baseball still may refer to itself as our national pastime, but let’s be real: Football has long been king in this country, especially among the betting public. It pains me to say this, but baseball has slid so far off the radar that if you polled male sports fans ages 25 and younger on whether they’d rather watch a nine-inning game on ESPN or a Susan Boyle swimsuit shoot on the Lifetime network, it would probably be close to a 50-50 split. That said, while it may no longer be popular with the masses, baseball remains a sports bettor’s best friend. Not only does it bridge the huge gap that spans the end of March Madness to the start of the football season, but if you do your homework, the boys of summer can actually fund your bankroll for the fall, winter and spring. Unfortunately, deadline issues make it unfeasible to issue baseball picks here. However, over the coming weeks, I’m going to provide a baseball-betting guide that should prove useful to those who want to fall back in love with the game— and maybe make a little coin in the process. I’ll start with some general tips, and then as the season unfolds I’ll focus on which teams have “buy” signs on them and which you should look to fade. (Note: With my two picks last week tied to NBA playoff futures, my bankroll remains at $5,455.) It’s Pointless: In football and basketball, it’s all about the point spreads. Either you like a favorite to win by a certain margin, or you like an underdog to stay within a specified point range. However, baseball wagering is based on the “money line.” Here’s an example: Let’s say you like the Padres in a particular matchup against the Mets and you’re willing to risk $100. If the line on the game is “Mets -140/Padres +130” and you put $100 on the Padres and they won, you’d collect $130 plus your original $100 wager. The mathematical formula is your wager (in this case 100) multiplied by the odds (1.3, or +130). But if in the same scenario you like the Mets (as a -140 favorite), you’d have to risk $140 to win $100 (100 multiplied by 1.4, or -140). If the Mets won, you’d get back

$100 plus your original $140 wager. My general rule with baseball wagering: Never lay more than -150. At the same time, I always look for value in big underdogs—even those around +200. That’s because the very best baseball team almost always will lose at least 60 of 162 games, and the very worst team almost always will win at least 60 games. It All Starts With Pitching: Baseball odds are based almost exclusively on starting pitching. So when Yankees ace CC Sabathia is matched up against some rookie from the Royals, the Yankees will be favored in the -300 (or 3-to-1) range, even on the road. So when mapping out a baseball betting strategy on any given day, your first focus always should be on the pitching matchup. Because starting pitching is so critical, I recommend listing one or both of the starters when making your wager. That way if a guy has to be scratched for any reason and doesn’t pitch, your wager is voided. For instance, if Sabathia gets injured warming up for his start and never takes the mound, your bet is canceled if you listed him as the Yankees’ starting pitcher. If you didn’t list him and he gets scratched, you’re stuck with the bet. Lay It on the (Run) Line: One way to back a big favorite and avoid laying hefty money-line odds is to play the game on the run line. In this instance, you’re giving 1½ runs before the first pitch is thrown, so your team must win by at least two runs to cash your ticket. It’s a popular bet because you can pretty much cut the odds in half. Two things to keep in mind here: 1) If your team only wins by a single run, you lose your bet; and 2) if you play a home team on the run line, they don’t get their final at-bat if leading after 8½ innings. Finally, run lines work both ways, meaning you can take an underdog at +1½ runs (so if a big underdog loses by one run, you win). Matt Jacob is a former local sports writer who has been in the sports handicapping business for more than four years. For his weekly column, Vegas Seven has granted Matt a “$7,000” bankroll. If he blows it all, we’ll fire him and replace him with a monkey. April 22-28, 2010 Vegas Seven 103

Seven QueStionS Penn Jillette

The outspoken comedian-magician talks about danger, his favorite cause and his eventual sucking

By Elizabeth Sewell Penn Jillette is not only a Las Vegas treasure as the taller, talking half of Penn & Teller, but also as one of our community’s most outspoken members. An unabashed atheist, libertarian and antiwar advocate, Jillette lends his colorful commentary to everything from public radio to his Showtime series, Penn & Teller: Bullshit! He first teamed with Teller in 1975, and the pair sharpened their act off Broadway on their way to gaining fame for producing a new twist on an old genre. They hit the Vegas jackpot as Rio headliners back in 2001 and have been among the Strip’s most popular acts ever since. Basing their show here also led the comedy-magic duo to become involved with Aid for AIDS of Nevada. They will be grand marshals for the AIDS Walk on April 25, and they will match donations dollar for dollar through the “Penn & Teller Challenge.” How did you get involved with the AIDS Walk? We started Broadway Cares, which is a Broadway performers AIDS group, when we were on Broadway in New York, and when we moved out to Vegas we actually wanted to get involved in something a little closer to our new home.

What will your lasting contribution to magic be? I don’t think in terms of genre. I think in terms of individuals. … For me, the stuff that I love is all individual. I don’t really care at all what Bob Dylan did for folk music. I only care about what Bob Dylan does for Bob Dylan. So I don’t really think we’ll have any lasting contribution. There aren’t any people in the Penn & Teller style that are coming along. There’s a lot of Cirque du Soleil style, but there’s really no Penn & Teller style. Where do you get your inspiration for new bits? Andy Warhol said, “It’s just the work,” and I’m 110

Vegas Seven April 22-28, 2010

inclined to agree with him. We meet in the afternoon, and we talk about what we’d like to see onstage and then we figure out if we can do it. The thing we’ve been doing lately is really, really hard stuff. We’ve been trying to do really complicated, hard stuff. We’ve been working together our entire adult lives. We’ve done thousands of shows. I think we’re knocking on having done as many shows together as any two people have ever done, and we’re trying to do stuff that you couldn’t see anyone else do because it’s really hard. I’m having fun with that. Have any of your tricks ever gone bad? Well, everything is going a little differently than we want it to all the time—that’s the wonder of live performance. The most important thing is safety. We believe it’s morally wrong to do things onstage that are actually dangerous. I’m very uninterested in the magicians that hang by their nipples and drown themselves. No matter how dangerous our stuff looks, and it often looks really dangerous, I want the audience to know it’s a trick and

know that we’re safe. I want a morality out of our audience that celebrates life and doesn’t celebrate danger. Do you ever wish you could get away from being Penn from Penn & Teller? I do that all the time. I guess my children perceive that I’m on billboards, but they don’t know that everyone isn’t on billboards. Most of my time is not spent out; most of my time is spent reading. When I would hang out with Debbie Harry or Madonna or David Bowie, people grabbed them, trying to rip parts off them, but with me people say, “Hi.” It’s really not that terrible. Can you see yourself retiring any time soon? Oh, no. No. I think there are some performers who kind of reach their peak, like Johnny Carson, and they go out gracefully when they’re at the top. And then there are other performers who just keep getting worse, and they suck and get embarrassing. I plan to be one of the latter. I plan to keep going as I suck and get embarrassing and go beyond that.

Photo by Francis + Francis

What was your initial attraction to magic? I didn’t really have an attraction to magic. I thought it was cheesy. I thought it was full of lies. I thought it had no intellectual content, and I really hated it. I met Teller, and Teller had this idea that what was terrible about magic was what people were doing with it, and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it. … I love music, and there were bands that I really love. Why go into music when there’s Bob Dylan? Why go into music when there’s Tiny Tim? Why go into music when there are people that are doing it really well, whereas in magic there was no one who I thought was doing it really well, so I thought it was a good field to go into.

April 22 - 28

For tickets call 702.891.7800 •

How Green Is Our City?  

Vegas SEVEN is an innovative weekly publication about life in Las Vegas—news, nightlife, sports, style, A&E and everything in between.

How Green Is Our City?  

Vegas SEVEN is an innovative weekly publication about life in Las Vegas—news, nightlife, sports, style, A&E and everything in between.