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July 8-14, 2010

Saving the Preserve Why aren't people drawn to the birthplace of Las Vegas? Can a new leader and campaign turn the Springs Preserve around?

PluS:

The world of DJ Fogg Our own Mr. Baseball Seven questions 'Poker Barbie'


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Lilith Fair July 9 The Wailers July 10 Gipsy Kings July 16 Ziggy Marley July 17 Jimmy Cliff July 24 Sublime with Rome July 30 and the Dirty Heads Adam Lambert July 31 with Orianthi Blondie and August 7 The B-52s

Lost ’80s Live August 14 Michael Franti August 21 and Spearhead Steel Pulse August 27 UB40

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Contents

This Week in Your CiTY 37

13

LocaL NEwsroom

sEvEN DaYs

A local group helps African refugees, and an exit interview with the Bartenders’ Guild prez. Plus: David G. Schwartz’s Green Felt Journal and Michael Green on Politics.

The highlights of this week. By Bob Whitby

14

69

93

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.

our food critic reviews the best three-meal restaurant in town. By Max Jacobson Plus: Max’s Diner’s notebook and the man behind sammy’s Woodfired Pizza.

NaTIoNaL NEwsroom

DININg

ThE LaTEsT

100

kids learn where food comes from, and a new bar opens downtown. Plus: trends, Tweets, tech and gossip. By Melissa Arseniuk

TravEL

need a resort-style getaway? here are the four hottest destinations in the West. By Geraldine Campbell

20 socIETY

102

Penn & Teller throw a party to celebrate another successful AiDs fundraiser.

sporTs & LEIsurE

25

The nBA Vegas summer League showcases top new talent. By Sean DeFrank Plus: Why you should bet on the nL All-stars to finally come through in Going for Broke. By Matt Jacob

sTYLE

This week’s Look, a few choice enviables and designer James Gundy.

45

110

NIghTLIfE

sEvEN QuEsTIoNs

seven nights ahead, fabulous parties past and a talk with DJ Dave Fogg.

77

arTs & ENTErTaINmENT

Two very different true stories about gambling addiction, and a guide to the remix revolution.

Lacey Jones, a.k.a. “Poker Barbie,” talks about how she got her nickname and why you’d be a sucker to believe it describes her. By Elizabeth Sewell Above: Don Logan. Photo by Anthony Mair. On the Cover: The springs Preserve. Photography by Francis + Francis.

Features

30

TroubLE IN paraDIsE?

The springs Preserve tries again to attract a crowd. By T.R. Witcher

34

homE-fIELD aDvaNTagE

Don Logan could have left the Las Vegas 51s long ago. Be glad he didn’t. By Matt Jacob July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 9


Vegas seVen Publishers

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

Editorial editoriAl director, Phil Hagen MAnAging editor, Bob Whitby AssociAte editor, Melissa Arseniuk news editor, Sean DeFrank A&e editor, Cindi Reed coPY editor, Paul Szydelko contributing editors,

MJ Elstein, style; Michael Green, politics; Matt Jacob, betting; Max Jacobson, food; Jarret Keene, music; David G. Schwartz, gaming/hospitality; Xania Woodman, nightlife contributing writers

Richard Abowitz, Eric Benderoff, Geoff Carter, Jeanne Goodrich, Jaq Greenspon, Andreas Hale, M. Scott Krause, Caitlin McGarry, Jessica Prois, Jason Scavone, Elizabeth Sewell, Ida Siverio, Cole Smithey, T.R. Witcher interns

Mark Adams, Kelly Corcoran, Renata Follman, 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

Sullivan Charles, Francis + Francis, Roman Mendez, Tomas Muscionico, Beverly Oanes, Tony Tran contributing illustrAtors, Jerry Miller, Hernan Valencia

Production/distribution director of Production/distribution, Marc Barrington Advertising coordinAtor, Jimmy Bearse

salEs sAles MAnAger, Sarah Goitz Account eXecutives, Christy Corda and Robyn Weiss

Comments or story ideas: comments@weeklyseven.com Advertising: sales@weeklyseven.com Distribution: distribution@weeklyseven.com 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

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  July 8-14, 2010


COntributOrs

Caitlin McGarry “A Helping Hand,” page 37, “Finding the Right Mix,” page 39

MJ Elstein Style editor The mysterious Elstein (center) enjoys long walks on the beach in Prada and Ferragamo, and never leaves home without her passport. She fancies The New York Times, but doesn’t actually read it, enjoying instead the simplicity of its folded form on the sill of her gilded door. She actively seeks gift bags of all monetary values, as well as designer handbags and sample-size fragrances. The way to her heart is through FedEx, so please send samples.

Armed with a journalism degree from Northern Arizona University and a vast knowledge of Las Vegas—she’s one of the rare breed of people born and raised here—McGarry covers everything from business trends to refugee resettlement for Vegas Seven. In addition to writing the news for us, she’s an assistant editor at Global Gaming Business magazine.

Marvin Lucas Senior graphic designer When not on his iPad, Lucas can be found at 3070 W. Post Road doing his thing, which is helping design the magazine that is Vegas Seven. Originally from the mean streets of Honolulu, Lucas made his way to Las Vegas to enroll in art school. Prior coming to Seven, he spent five years as an editorial and advertising designer for the Greenspun Media Group. He’s an illustrator for numerous T-shirt companies and also an accomplished DJ for Las Vegas b-boys Full Force Crew. Also, he’s a Street Fighter IV champion. You can read his blog on marvski.com and follow him on Twitter@marvski.

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Seven DayS The highlights of this week in your city. By Bob Whitby

Thur. 8 President Obama is in town to do a little stumping for Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. Air Force One is scheduled to land at McCarran International Airport at 5 p.m., and then the prez is off to the Aria hotel-casino for a Reid fundraiser. He’ll stay the night and then give a speech at UNLV Friday morning at 9:20 a.m., which may or may not be open to the public. Maybe this time he won’t insult us.

Fri. 9 Something bothering you about Las Vegas? Take it up with Mayor Oscar Goodman this morning, 8:30 to 10 a.m. He’ll be available to chat at the Omelet House in Summerlin, 2227 N. Rampart Blvd., presumably sans martini. This is Vegas and lots of good things happen after midnight, including softball—Henderson’s 22nd annual Midnite Madness one-pitch tournament, to be exact. Teams pitch to themselves, games take 30 minutes and the winners move on the one-pitch playoffs in Florida in the fall. Play starts at 7 p.m. and continues at three local parks through the weekend. Call 267-5700 for information.

Obama photo by Dennis Van Tine/ Retna Ltd.; Beer tap photo courtesy Jesse Smigel

Sat. 10 Ready to drink to a good cause? Or any cause? Good, because today is Beer Fest, 4-10 p.m. at the Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd. Your $20 at the gate ($15 for members of the nonprofit Contemporary Arts Center, for which Beer Fest is a fundraiser) buys you unlimited samples of brews from area microbreweries and local distributors, a chance to hang with downtown hipsters and the opportunity to see a 5-foot-tall beer tap carved out of Styrofoam. Where’s the downside?

Sun. 11 You may know John Philip Sousa as the guy who wrote our country’s national march, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” but did you also know the “March King” penned 135 other marches and a few operettas? Hear a few of his best for free today when the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the National Community Band put on a free concert, 3:30 p.m. at UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall. Call 895-2787 for information.

Mon. 12 Hoop dreamers between the ages of 10 and 16 listen up: the city of Las Vegas is putting on a Basketball Boot Camp today through Wednesday at the Doolittle Center, 1950 N. J St., and the instructor is none other than former NBA player Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams. Two sessions are scheduled for each day, at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The cost is $49 per session, or $79 for both. Come brush up on your fundamentals. Call 589-4658.

Tues. 13 That screenplay you’ve been working on, the one about a lonely Goldfield miner and his unrequited love for a prostitute named Toots? Bust it out, dust it off and polish it up because the Nevada Film Office is conducting its 23rd annual Screenwriters Competition. To qualify, your work has to be unsold, in standard screenplay format and filmable mostly in Nevada. Oh, and it can’t be pornographic. The winning script is eligible to be pitched to production companies and earns the writer a one-on-one consultation with an “industry professional.” The entry fee is $25 per script in PDF form, $50 in hard copy, and the deadline is Aug. 31. Entry form and info are at nevadafilm.com.

Wed. 14 Kids and dogs go together like ice cream and apple pie … usually. Sometimes they go together like coffee and toothpaste. If that’s the case in your house, and you can’t get rid of either the dog or the kids, then you need to dog-proof your kid or Kid-Proof Your Dog. Clark County’s Parks and Recreation Department can help with the latter today, 9 a.m. at Dog Fancier’s Park, 5800 E. Flamingo Road. You’ll learn how to teach your dog not to attack your kids, and other necessary behaviors. Call 455-6877 for information.

July 8-14, 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

Concert

Lilith Soldiers On

Getting dirty: Create a Change raises student gardeners.

Community

home Grown

Where does food come from? A lof kids can’t answer that question, and that’s a problem “When kids get their hands in the ground, planting and then pulling out fresh-grown carrots, those carrots take on a whole new meaning,” Candace Maddin says. Rallying around Maddin’s mantra, a small-but-growing group of local chefs is eager to teach kids how to grow, harvest and cook their own food. First they have to change some perceptions. “Kids think food is grown in the grocery store,” she says. Last November, Maddin co-founded Create a Change Now, a nonprofit group that teaches kids about food and nutrition. Luciano Pellegrini and Alessandro Stoppa of Valentino, Adam Sobel of RM Seafood, Kuldeep Singh of Origin India and Culinary Training Academy instructor Sterling Burpee are among the chefs working with Change Now. 14

Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Thomas Trevethan, a pastry chef at the Paris resort, is also involved, and recently went to Washington, D.C. to work with White House head chef Sam Kass on a project called Chefs Move to Schools. The program is part of Let’s Move, first lady Michelle Obama’s plan to fight obesity. “Our children’s generation is in trouble, in terms of living an overall healthy lifestyle, and changes need to be made now,” says Trevethan, himself a father of four. Create a Change Now hopes to develop two “edible gardens”—crops of fruits, nuts and vegetables—at local schools. Before its members can do that, however, they need money— about $5,000 to build a 100-by-60foot raised garden at Rose Warren Elementary. The land is available—

“They’ve got a wonderful, large plot of land that they’re not using,” Maddin says—but the school needs a financial boost to get the garden going. “We’d like to do a nice, cool-weather planting in the fall of lettuce, spinach, beets, celery and cauliflower,” Maddin says. “The staff is very eager for us to orchestrate some planting there, and we have chefs who are eager to get into the schools. They can teach the children how to prepare good-tasting food that they have grown, and we are hoping to have chefs in the classroom every other week.” Create a Change Now is also hoping to make improvements to a garden at Gene Ward Elementary, but that will take an additional $5,000 in donations. Visit createachangenow.org for more information.

Sarah McLachlan’s all-female festival, Lilith Fair, returns this summer from a decade-long hiatus. Well, maybe. The traveling concert series has been forced to cancel 10 of its 35 stops, including one in Phoenix just prior to the Las Vegas show. Meanwhile, several of the remaining dates (including the July 9 show at Mandalay Bay) have been moved from large arenas to smaller venues. Organizers don’t think the public has lost its appetite for the all-girl festival; they blame slow ticket sales on the weak economy. Lilith suffered another blow last month when Norah Jones, who was scheduled to join the tour for five shows next month, pulled out. Undeterred, the festival kicked off its scaled-down itinerary in Calgary, Alberta, on June 27. The Las Vegas show is still on as of press time, although organizers recently moved it from Mandalay Bay Events Center to the much-smaller Mandalay Bay Beach amphitheatre. Ticket prices have also been adjusted, from $50-$195 to a flat fee of $65. Sources at Mandalay Bay say ticket sales have been “decent” enough to give the concert the go-ahead. However, just three of the acts—McLachlan, Miranda Lambert and The Bangles— have confirmed with the resort, leaving Queen Latifah, Emmylou Harris and others up in the air.

Fair partly clouded: McLachlan.


This week in your ciTy Eat

Downtown’s latest: Andrew and Jennifer Wheatley.

Opening

The new Vanguard Fremont East will soon have a new cocktail bar as husband and wife co-owners Andrew and Jennifer Wheatley prepare to open Vanguard Lounge by the end of the month. Their plans include hot espresso, cold beer and handcrafted cocktails in an atmosphere reminiscent of San Diego’s Gaslamp District, complete with what Jennifer describes as “Hôtel Costes sounds”—a nod to the renowned Parisian hotel’s sophisticated compilation CDs. Opening a bar together is old hat for the Wheatleys: The couple met and married while working together at the Artisan Hotel. “I hired him!” Jennifer says. The lounge will be in the space previously occupied by Fremont Street Guitars. Its concrete floors are in, the foyer walls are distressed and an industrial garage door will be installed to take advantage of the area’s foot traffic. Misters will keep customers cool while al fresco; indoors, patrons will find white leather couches, glass tiles, a concrete bar, a dance floor and a live DJ four nights a week. “We want this to be a neighborhood bar, but also for someone from Summerlin,” Andrew says. The opening marks the first time since the February 2009 arrival of piano bar Don’t Tell Mama that the Fremont East entertainment district has added a new venue. 516 E. Fremont St., 2 p.m.-4 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday, vanguardlv.com. –­Xania­Woodman

Latin Lolita

Picture Perfect

The chef from Napa’s beloved restaurant, Meritage, has gone Mexican. Carlo Cavallo hasn’t left Meritage, and he still calls Northern California home, but he has recently been spending a lot of time at Town Square, specifically. Former Border Grill and Pink Taco executive chef, Tacho Kneeland, has joined Cavallo in the kitchen, and after a string of delays, Lolita’s Mexican Cantina opens July 15. “We have two way-overqualified chefs,” says the man behind the project, Eric DeBlasi. DeBlasi says Lolita’s will have an atmosphere similar to Señor Frog’s, “but with better food, and more interactive.” The food will also be affordable: While Cavallo’s cooking is at a premium in wine country, he and Kneeland developed a menu without high-end pricing, including a range of tacos for under $3, tableside guacamole and a plate of five chicken empanadas for $8.50, and a ceviche trio for $11.95. Located above Nu Sanctuary, Lolita’s second-floor space offers seating for 275, plus a dance floor, stage and DJ booth. Outside, a small patio looks across to Rave theaters, and plans for a walk-up takeout window are under way. DeBlasi is quite confident the venture will be a success: The restaurant isn’t even open for business but he is already looking to expand to other markets and expects to be in at least six other cities by this time next year. Opens July 15, noon-2 a.m. Sun.-Tues., noon-4 a.m. Wed.-Sat., lolitascantina.com.

It’s been about two years since I last reviewed a digital picture frame, and here’s why: I’ve come to dislike them. They’re bulky, awkward to set up and complicated when adding pictures. But a new wireless frame from Kodak is changing my opinion, making me think there is a place in my home for a digital picture frame. Better, you can put one in grandma’s house and not worry about her struggling to upload pictures. Just send new images to her frame via e-mail. The Kodak Pulse digital frame is easy to set up and use. There are several ways to wirelessly send photos to the frame: From a computer, via e-mail and through Facebook (or the Kodak Gallery). Each worked seamlessly. More specifically, I e-mailed photos from two smartphones, sent my Facebook photo albums to the Pulse and added two dozen pictures from a recent camping trip from my Mac’s iPhoto software via Wi-Fi. You can also add photos to the frame by inserting a memory card or attaching your camera via USB. The frame has 512 MB of internal memory, which is plenty. I’ve loaded more than 300 images onto my frame, only 8 percent of its capacity. Managing the Kodak Pulse is a snap, too. You can control the frame via touch or through a website set up just for your account. With either method, you control how quickly you flip through photos, how they are displayed (I love the collage mode) and what times to turn the frame on and off. You can also easily delete photos from the frame. The 7-inch Kodak Pulse comes only in black and one size. That’s fine by me, actually, as at it has a thin and elegant profile, with just enough black around the edging to make it look like a proper picture frame. It sells for $129, but I found it for less at several online stores. ­–­Eric­Benderoff

New niña on the block.

Sports

Boys of Summer

Wheatleys and Lolita’s photo by Anthony Mair

Tech

If the NBA Finals left you wanting more basketball, you’re in luck. The league’s summer showcase of up-and-coming players returns to Las Vegas on July 9-18. Twenty-two NBA teams—including the championship-winning Los Angeles Lakers, top pick-holders the Washington Wizards and George Maloof’s squad, fifth-round decision-makers the Sacramento Kings—compete across the Summer League’s 58-game schedule, along with the NBA Development League select team. The annual tournament is designed to help teams evaluate new prospects and veteran free agents. The tournament involves up to eight games a day split between the Thomas & Mack Center and the Cox Pavilion. $15 student/senior, $25 adult. 739-3267, UNLVtickets.com.

Kodak Pulse

Here’s a tip: Summer league play is starting. July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 15


THE LaTEsT THougHT

Bigger Isn’t Always Better Las Vegas is out of whack, but that may not be a bad thing

Ask any longtime resident when the “good old days” of living in Las Vegas ended and you will get answers that range from when the mob left town (1986, the death of Anthony Spilotro), to the opening of first mega-resort (The Mirage, 1989) and the near-simultaneous capitulation of the Musicians Union Local 369 (taped music in showrooms, 1990), to when Wet ’n Wild water park and its old-school Strip neighbor, the Algiers Motel, were “disappeared” to make way for the never-realized promise of a new Ferris wheel-centered resort and the unfortunately named Krystle Sands condo tower (2004). Corporatization has certainly had an effect on the feel of the Strip, but given the light-speed changes of a boom-and-bust town, it’s hard to conclude that one generation’s overhyped mega-resort won’t be the next generation’s fondest Vegas memory. After all, the small-by-comparison Mirage is already held up as “old Vegas” by those unimpressed by the brash CityCenter. Nostalgia is an emotional and personal thing. But population figures are not, and neither are visitor-to-resident ratios in what remains—despite the dead-end rhetoric about diversification, a tourismdriven town. The Las Vegas metropolitan area has demonstrated a viable annual visitor-to-resident ratio of roughly 23-to-1. In 1970, when the Valley had a population of 273,000, the visitor count stood at 6.3 million. In 1985, 562,000 residents served 14.2 million visitors. In 1990, with a population of 852,000, Las Vegas broke 20 million visitors for the first time, and our visitor-to-resident ratio held steady at 23-to-1. By 2000, 1.56 million called Las Vegas home, serving 35.8 million visitors. In 2001, the population dropped to 1.48 million, and the visitor count eased off to 35 million. For three decades, the historically viable ratio was holding fast in both growth and decline. The city had seemingly struck an inexplicable balance with itself. Las Vegas was a success, money was easy and even 16 Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010

the members of the old guard were eating up the city’s relentless reinvention. As a striking metaphor for just how good we had it back then, in 1998, the spillways at Hoover Dam were cranked open for only the third time in history, allowing excess water to flow down the Colorado River. Yes, folks, Lake Mead was overflowing! But something was about to change, and it has less to do with the effects of 9/11 or the recession than it does with a change in “us.” Las Vegas—long the place for many to escape for a weekend, but rarely a lifetime— was getting heavy press as a great place to earn a living. Cultural commentator Kurt Andersen actually meant it as a compliment when he called Vegas “the Detroit of the 21st century” in 1999, and many took it to heart. Early in the new century, a building boom that had started slowly in the mid-1990s was now blanketing wholesale chunks of outlying desert with affordable Stepford subdivisions. Sin City became the Fastest Growing City in America. The impact of such a population boom should have been easy to spot, but it was hard to do through a downpour of cash that seemed to reach every pocket. Forget tourism; growth itself became the city’s raison d’etre. In 2002, that blind ambition resulted in an unnoticed-butsignificant shift: After decades of maintaining a sustainable balance, our visitor-to-resident ratio dropped below 23. It has yet to recover. At the height of the housing boom—in 2006, when building, selling and buying houses seemed to be the Valley’s top industry—the ratio fell to 20.8-to-1. For 2010, it is projected to fall to 19-to-1. That is a scary number. It is four fewer visitors per resident than when our economy was healthy, and 10—10! —fewer than the 29-to-1 ratio we had in 1995. We’ve heard the mantra again and again: Until visitors return, the Las Vegas economy will be tough. Based on visitor numbers of the past three years, our population is out of whack with reality. Las Vegas is economically

(and, we are learning, ecologically) unable to support at least a quarter-million of its inhabitants. To return to the 29-to-1 levels of 1995, we would have to attract 17 million more visitors in 2010 than is projected. That’s not going to happen this year, or next year, or likely ever. Something has to give, and few folks seem willing to consider what is starting to emerge as a meaningful alternative: a smaller Las Vegas. But a smaller Las Vegas likely means a better Las Vegas. It means we have an opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and put those lessons into action. It means that families can once again thrive here, not just survive. It means we can sustain a quality of life that appreciates the limitations of our environment without sacrificing a half-gallon of water just so another house can be built. It means we will have the breathing room to remember why people relocated here from the urban centers of the East Coast to begin with: to enjoy the freedom of open space, the freedom of making one’s own way, the freedom to succeed or to fail. It means we can reinvent ourselves yet again with a clear perspective, one unclouded by all that expectation we put upon ourselves during the boom and unfettered by waking up every morning feeling a responsibility to feed an uncontrolled need to grow at all costs. This can happen by default. When people say Las Vegas is dying, they mean it’s dying for them. Let them go! When the media sobs about the “brain drain,” challenge them to write about the “brain gain”—a much more difficult task. When friends talk about moving here, think hard before you encourage them. Before long, Las Vegas will be back to the “good old days” of 11 years ago—even if it means only 1 million of us will be left. Yes, my mom is a showgirl; yes, my dad is a blackjack dealer; and yes, I live in a casino. So? I can wash my car in my driveway without the water police writing me a ticket.

Illustration by Hernan Valencia

By James P. Reza


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

Got a juicy tip? gossip@weeklyseven.com

Happy Fist-pumpin’ Birthday to You, and You Las Vegas suffered from Jersey Shore double vision over Independence Day weekend: Not one, but two fist-pumping reality show cast members were in town to celebrate their birthdays, and many of their co-stars came to Las Vegas to watch them blow out candles and take Atlantic City West by storm. Theirs is the kind of fame only possible in America … at least until CBC starts production on an even cheaper knock-off version for Canadian audiences, Newfoundland Shore. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Pauly “D” DelVecchio were the two celebrating birthdays, and JWoww and Ronnie were there to take in the fun. Sitch embarked upon a whirlwind tour, hitting the Miracle Mile Sugar Factory on July 3 before partying at Vanity at the Hard Rock Hotel later that night. He stayed on site to host at Rehab on Sunday— and, as we all know, this human equivalent of an ’89 IROC-Z, wearing a wife-beater and telling drunken girls about the Patron stock he owns, is uniquely qualified for the job. Pauly D held it down at the Palms on July 3 where he DJ’d by the pool before bouncing to both Moon and Rain. It was also a big night for Jenni “JWoww” Farley, who debuted her line of MTV-approved clothing for the pop-savvy hooker, Filthy Couture, at Ghostbar. She also made the rounds to Moon and Rain before leaving around 3 a.m. Finally, Ronnie “Least Interesting Member of the Cast” Ortiz-Magro headed up Jet at The Mirage on July 2. While this all sounds a bit much, the kids deserve some credit: They’ve kept the blitz up ever since the first season became an inexplicable sensation, and have bravely defied the Gods of Overexposure as they (and many others) have tried to strike them down. Now that the second season is nearly upon us, it’s back to being relevant again. Still, we’re thinking everyone will probably stop caring well before the third season fires up in earnest, which means their Vegas relevance will end about 2014. The Situation gets older, but does he get wiser?

All Hail King Larry Larry King’s life might be a shuffling, undead shambles, with CNN pushing him aside for (reportedly) Piers Morgan and his relationship to 83rd wife, Shawn King, crumbling amid rumors of divorce, infidelity and her desire to resume relationships with actual living, breathing human beings who aren’t kept walking the earth through some combination of network makeup artists, voodoo and an insatiable need to interview Justin Bieber. None of that, however, stopped King from bringing Shawn and the kids to see Terry Fator at The Mirage on July 2, even going backstage to meet the ventriloquist. Because vampires can go anywhere, as long as they’re invited in first.

Hot—and She Plays Cards, Too! Shannon Elizabeth is not just the hot chick from American Pie: She took second place in the World Series of Poker’s annual charity tournament, Ante Up for Africa. We’re hoping her morphing into a respectable poker player doesn’t means she’ll start to look like Greg Raymer. That would be tragic. Poker pro Phil Gordon won the July 3 tournament, which raised $275,000 for charity. It also drew celebs Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Brad Garrett, Montel Williams, David Alan Grier, Evander Holyfield and Jerome Bettis. You’d think Damon would’ve done better than Elizabeth just by being in a better poker movie than her 2008 Deal. He got to relive Rounders and Ocean’s 13 moments that night when he and Cheadle dined at Martorano’s at the Rio and the restaurant played clips from the films on the dining room’s televisions. Elizabeth shows her poker face.

18 Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Tweets of the Week Compiled by @marseniuk

@Maggie When you’re waiting on something, cell phones are the new cigarettes.

@mindykaling Kids, don’t peak early. It is better to be overlooked in high school.

@garyvee I am laser focused ... and when that happens ... crazy awesome rad super shiz ensues.

@kellyoxford Mme Tussauds, please add a wick to Kim Kardashian’s wax figure. Thanks. @GerryDuggan Mel Gibson is the Oscar Wilde of racist maniacs. @Konstantined 750 Million, Really? Tiger had to pay her more than BP has paid out to the LA for the oil spill so far.

@bauserdotcom Sheesh. Downtown Niagara Falls looks like the Vegas Strip fucked Bourbon Street, then abandoned the baby on Coney Island.

@brittneypalmer K.. Someone talk me out of buying an iPad.. :-/ @oskargarcia Dear ESPN: Please stop informing me of the MLS game of the week. I don’t care. Thanks! @Pokerati Apologies to @ riovegas. I hit one of your orange cones w/ car @wsop drop-off area. Can pay for damage w/ unused food comps.

@SICK_STAR Summer sweater = bear rug chest hair in the heat. Tao Beachin’ with some of Vegas’ finest.

@NOLA_lovebug I appreciate that “dog eating contest” is trending right now... I can only hope its meant for the hot dog eating contest....

@ LVDaveG Dear liver, please forgive me for any distress I may cause you in the next few hours. It’s all @TheeRealFDHC fault!

Photos by Erik Kabik/Retna

THE LaTEsT Gossip


Society

For more photos from society events in and around Las Vegas, visit weeklyseven.com/society.

Making Strides Illusionists and AIDS awareness advocates Penn Jillette and Teller on June 29 threw a party for those who helped Aid for AIDS of Nevada during the 20th annual AIDS Walk. About 1,000 of the walk’s 8,500 participants signed up for the Penn & Teller Challenge, which raised $176,000 after the headliners’ matching donation. In all, the AIDS Walk on April 25 raised $500,000. Challengetakers who raised $500 or more were invited to the special reception at the Rio. Teller shared a few magic tips with the group, and afterward everyone took in a special performance of Penn & Teller.

Photography by Bobbie Recob

20  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010


Summer Shopping Spectacular Try it on, take it home, taste a sample, or quench your thirst ALL AT SPECIAL MIDSUMMER DISCOUNTS UP TO 40%! 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

July 10

Easy access from I-15, I-215 and Las Vegas Boulevard to our complimentary 24-hour valet.


Society

For more photos from society events in and around Las Vegas, visit weeklyseven.com/society.

Poolside Performance At a June 30 preview of Blue Hour, Las Vegas’ elite poolside mixer, guests enjoyed a private performance from the dancers of MGM Grand’s provocative French sensation Crazy Horse Paris. MGM executives and guests of Vegas Seven braved the heat and cooled down with refreshing summer-themed cocktails that highlighted Belvedere’s new pink grapefruit vodka and Moët & Chandon’s Ice Imperial champagne.

Photography by Sullivan Charles

22  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010


Nike • Adidas • Elwood Stussy • New Balance New Era Emperial Nation G-Shock • Converse Travis Mathews Creative Recreation Kidrobot • Sneaktip Mandalay Bay Shops 3950 Las Vegas Blvd South 702.304.2513 Summerlin 9350 W Sahara Ave 702.562.6136 suite160.com


ENVIABLES

Style

Dually NoteD

Moleskine’s Volant notebook is now available in extra large and in two new colors: lavender and gray. The classic pad comes in a two-tone set with rounded corners and ivory paper (available in plain, ruled and squared). The last 16 pages are detachable for loose notes. moleskine.com

the huNgariaN effect

The Spa at the Four Seasons now offers Omorovicza, an all-natural product line that incorporates minerals found in Hungary’s legendary thermal waters. Try the 50-minute Gentleman’s Facial ($160) or the Hungarian Body Wrap ($245).

The Look Photographed by Tomas Muscionico

JoELE CorrIgAN Mom, 39

Style icons: Jane Birkin and Victoria Beckham. What she’s wearing now: Carolina Herrera dress and Christian Louboutin shoes.

Shop the place

Mandalay Place will be having a sale from noon to 6 p.m. July 10. Every shop will offer discounts, from 50 percent off select eyewear at Optica to 20 percent off merchandise at Nike Golf. Register to win prizes ranging from a $100 Maude gift certificate to a $2,500 Mandalay Bay gift card.

Joele is the mom you always wanted: stunning, composed and stylish—with an edge. “My absolute favorite thing in my closet is an Alexander McQueen brass knuckles handbag,” she says. “I purchased it back in November and I get so many compliments.” Beyond shopping at all the best spots, Corrigan’s favorite pastimes are staying fit and on top of the world of fashion.

July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 25


Style 

26 Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010


King of Clubs James Gundy is the design mind behind Las Vegas’ sexiest spaces, from Bare Pool Lounge to King Ink By MJ Elstein getting tatted up. The interior measures 4,000  square feet, including the retail, bar, tattooing  and lounge, and the patio measures 2,000  square feet.  Gundy deems projects such as King Ink to be  the future of Las Vegas design. Business owners  are straying from the mega clubs and the mega  budgets, opting instead for more boutique  ventures. “We didn’t spend $30 million, but  we didn’t spend $200, 000 either. We spent 

Gundy gave King Ink the old-school castle treatment.

the right amount of money for the market,” he  says. An opportunity to do something fresh and  unique is every designer’s dream. And while others just view Vegas as a  stepping-stone, Gundy is firmly planted in the  city he says is the center of hospitality design.  “If you’re in hospitality design there’s only  one place to be, and it’s Las Vegas,” he says.  “There are other cities in Asia, there’s Dubai,  Miami, L.A., New York—but for hospitality it’s  really about Vegas … and Asia. Those are the  hot spots.” 

Portrait by Anthony Mair

He’s created some of our city’s most memorable  interiors, but you’ve probably never heard of  James Gundy since he saves the flash for his  clients versus self-promotion. Gundy, principal  of 1027 Design Management, has already struck  gold in 2010 with the opening of King Ink at  The Mirage, a project he designed for renowned  tattoo artist Mario Barth. Years before the  getting inked trend began to dominate Vegas,  Gundy was envisioning sexy lifestyle spaces for  locals and tourists. Gundy got his start in the corporate  development department for Mandalay  Resort Group. While there, he created  the original Moorea Beach Club and  the (now-closed) 55 Degrees Wine +  Design and 3950 Steakhouse. Following  his early success, he signed on to design  Bare Pool at The Mirage, Leor at the  Palms, LBS Burger at Red Rock Resort,  Venus at Caesars Palace and Bambu  Bar at Mandalay Bay pool, which  opened last summer. A California native, Gundy came to  Las Vegas via Arizona State University, where he studied architecture. His  first job was under Bill Richardson at  Circus Circus Enterprises, which later  became Mandalay Development. After several  years on Richardson’s team, Gundy branched  off and used his deep connections to secure  great clients. King Ink is one of the hottest and trendiest  spots on the Strip. Adjacent to Jet nightclub,  the tattoo lounge includes three studios, a large  retail area and a bar, which also opens up to  the exterior patio space. The vibe: old-school  European castle. Design elements include  polished white floors, white ceilings and very  clean lighting—all the things you want when 

For Bare, Gundy went contemporary chic.

July 8-14, 2010  Vegas Seven  27


Style 

Seven Very Nice Things

1

2

3

Lash Effect

Mascaras that will have you   batting your lashes all night long

5

1. Cargo Blu-Ray Available at cargocosmetics.com, $20. 2. Laura Mercier Long Lash Mascara Available at lauramercier.com, $24.

6

3. Pixi Voluptuous Lashes Available at Target, $19. 4. DiorShow Available at Nordstrom, Fashion Show, $24. 5. Benefit Bad Gal Lash Available at ulta.com, $19. 6. Givenchy Phenomen Eyes Available at givenchybeauty.com, $29. 7. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Available at Saks Fifth Avenue in   Fashion Show, $30.

4 7

28  Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010


Trouble in Paradise?

Three summers after opening, the Springs Preserve is trying again to attract crowds By T. R. Witcher

Photography by Francis + Francis

If the Las Vegas Springs Preserve were a lesser attraction it would be easy to criticize. But by almost any measure, it is a first-rate amenity. Its grounds are beautifully landscaped, its LEED Platinum-certified architecture is handsome. Its interactive central museum, the ORIGEN Experience, which recounts the natural history of the region, is the best in town. There are trails, wetlands with 265 species of wildlife, gardens with 128,000 plants, an outdoor amphitheater, art galleries, playgrounds, museums and even a Wolfgang Puck café. “There’s nothing quite like it nationally,” says museum consultant Robert Brais, an early adviser on the project. And yet, three summers after opening, Spring Preserve officials will tell you, the 180-acre, $250 million site suffers from a bit of an image problem. Namely, what the hell is it? “One of the challenges they have is conveying to people what it is and what a great place it is,” Brais says. Indeed. The more you try to describe it, the fuzzier the focus. The Springs Preserve is a nature preserve, with desert trails. It’s a campus of learning, featuring hundreds of interactive exhibits, the consumer-friendly Desert Living Center and an eco research facility (plus, coming soon: the Nevada State Museum). It’s a zoo, as motorists on U.S. 95 might guess from the animal-laden sound wall. And it’s a historic preservation site, a glimpse back into the past of Las Vegas that frames spectacular views of downtown and the Strip. “There are very few places in the Valley where people can experience what they can experience at the Preserve,” says board member and Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown. “That’s one of the things we’re touting right now.” All the pieces seem to be in place, but it may not be enough. Attendance has grown modestly since opening, but remains only a fraction of what planners projected. Tourists are staying away in droves, and there’s a palpable sense that many Las Vegans have never been there. But why? Besides the image problem, there’s the location. Bordered roughly by Alta Drive, Valley View Boulevard and U.S. 95, it is right in the heart of the valley and yet rather invisible. You can’t quite grasp what the Springs Preserve is from the street; you have to drive in, park and descend down an artificial box canyon (with bubbling stream) until the place opens up around you. It’s a great bit of theater, but not something you can understand while speeding by. Price is another issue. The center cut prices for locals from $19.95 to $9.95—while this puts it on par with 30  Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010

other attractions (the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay runs $16.95 for adults; the Atomic Testing Museum is $12; the Hoover Dam tour costs $11)—there’s still the perception that it’s too expensive. You can get in for free to wander the grounds, but tickets are collected at the entrance, rather than at the museum, which may give the impression that the place is an attraction and not a park. Put the three together and you have a recipe for confusion—a high-culture-but-invisible oasis in a city that likes its entertainment visible and cheap. If you’ve been there, you know the site of the Springs Preserve was the birthplace of Las Vegas. It was where Native Americans lived. The Old Spanish Trail passed by, as did the steam locomotives in need of water on the hot run from Salt Lake to Los Angeles. “Las Vegas” means “the meadows” in Spanish—these were The Meadows. The underground wells at the site fueled Vegas’ growth for half a century, before Lake Mead did that job beginning in 1972. (The springs stopped flowing 10 years prior.) According to an early planning document, a landscape site was proposed during the ’70s by a local horticulturist named Lloyd Rooke. The Las Vegas Valley Water District provided land at Alta Drive, and in 1982 a demonstration project opened. The Water District rechristened part of the site the Desert Demonstration Garden in 1990, and then asked a research team at UNLV to draw up a master plan for the North Well Field, site of the current preserve. One of the chief planners of the site was landscape architect Jack Zunino. He remembers early charrettes where the preserve was considering two directions. One was a true nature preserve, barely developed and with extremely limited access. The other was an Epcot-like model with rides and attractions. (There was even talk of aerial gondolas and waterslides.) In the end, planners—with public input—opted for a middle route that shades more toward the preserve: Huge swaths of relatively organic trails and wetlands, plus a zone of smart, mature exhibits and attractions. In 2005, the Springs Preserve’s project budget was $145 million; it would top out ultimately at $250 million—$160 million was covered by the Water District. Fundraising helped cover the rest. The Springs Preserve opened to the public in June 2007 with plans to attract up to 750,000 visitors per year—more than the Hoover Dam tour draws. Initial projections had about 70 percent of those visitors pegged as tourists. But attendance has never come close to hitting those figures. Since opening, visitation has gone up—in fiscal year 2007-2008 it stood at 157,000, minus

20,000 school kids; fiscal year 2008-2009 saw it rise to 190,465 (again minus kids); and this year’s figures just topped 204,000, a 5 percent bump over last year that doesn’t look so bad when set against a weak local economy. But only 5,600 of those—2.7 percent—were from out of state, making those initial projections look wildly optimistic. “You can do the best study in the world but you don’t know how people will embrace you until you open,” says Elizabeth Herridge, the Springs Preserve’s managing director since last fall. The preserve is run by a board of trustees comprised of civic leaders in city and county government. Its fundraising is spearheaded by a separate foundation. Herridge was appointed by the foundation in a bid to crystallize its generally hazy image. Herridge worked on Wall Street for 17 years, including running the fixed income compliance group for Bear Sterns, earned a degree in connoisseurship in art, then went on to run the short-lived Las Vegas outpost of the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum. “I think we’d like to have more attendance,” Herridge says, noting that attendance figures don’t include people who come on to the site and wander the trails for free (a group the Springs Preserve doesn’t track). Memberships are also up from 8,000 to 13,000. Still, she acknowledges that the preserve’s marketing has not adequately sold its virtues. “[The public] knew it was here,” Herridge says. “They knew maybe vaguely that we had gardens and we had trails and we had some of these other things. And maybe they even knew it was the historical birthplace of Las Vegas. But they didn’t know what can you do here. That was the big barrier we’ve had to cross.” Part of the problem may have been billing the Springs Preserve as our version of New York’s Central Park. The latter is five times as large, and is overwhelmingly visible—when you reach the park you know you’re there. You can drive right by the Springs Preserve on Valley View Boulevard and not know it. The Springs Preserve is less than Central Park—and in some ways it may be more—but the two are not easily comparable. But more fundamentally, after a big advertising push when the site opened, leaders simply dropped the ball. The Springs Preserve launched with a stunningbut-vague animated commercial featuring a tortoise strolling through a colorful desert sprouting with flora, hopping with fauna and laced with rainbows. The tortoise sings a catchy song based on Sam Cooke’s “The Birds and the Bees” and promises, “Let me tell you ’bout the Springs Preserve … .”


The Springs Preserve’s gardens hold about 128,000 plants.


Take two: Managing director Elizabeth Herridge is readying a new marketing campaign.

“After the opening there really wasn’t a particularly strong effort made at marketing or advertising,” Herridge says. “There was a lull there … you lose momentum, you lose interest, you’re not in front of everybody all the time.” In the spring of 2009, local ad agency R&R Partners was brought in by the Springs Preserve to conduct focus groups and help freshen up the message. The groups were small—less than 50 people—but the comments confirmed what Springs Preserve officials suspected. “People knew the name Springs Preserve but they didn’t know what it meant, what to expect,” says R&R senior account executive Shannon Doherty. “There’s a level of mystery.” Some had misperceptions about the price—and the attendant question of value. Some were simply uninformed. 32 Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010

People who were encouraged by R&R came back as fans, but those who had been a couple times, Doherty says, “wanted more activities, more events, more reasons to go. They wanted another draw.” As a result, last fall the Springs Preserve launched a series of major festivals, including a haunted harvest, a winter lights event and programming to celebrate Day of the Dead and Black History Month. In almost a year, the Springs Preserve has hosted 27 such events, up from six in the year the center opened. In addition, Herridge has launched a scholastic art contest, writing awards and fine art programming in two galleries. The festivals are helping to redefine the preserve, and they’re driving this year’s modest up tick in attendance—the Day of the Dead celebration alone brought in 8,000.

“We just do a lot of different things that bring people back to the property again and again,” Herridge says. “So if you’ve been here once you don’t have to wait a year to come back. You can come back this month, next month and there will be new things for you to do that will be extremely high quality.” But only if the Preserve can manage its budget in a fragile economy. In fiscal 2008-09, the Springs Preserve’s budget was $11 million, $9 million of which came from the Water District while the rest was revenue. In fiscal year 2009-10, which ended June 30, the total budget was $9.5 million, of which the Water District paid $8 million. Put another way, the Springs Preserve covered only about 17 percent of its expenses through revenue in its last fiscal year. Budget cuts are looming from the Water District, and there are suggestions that public support should be zeroed out altogether. At a county meeting a few weeks ago, Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani raised questions about whether the district should continue to support the Springs Preserve. In an interview last week, she said that, even given the initial start-up costs the district help fund, “Most of us figured within three to five years, [the Springs Preserve] should be a viable, self-sustainable program.” She adds,“I don’t think it’s fair to justify that [Las Vegans] have to pay when they think they’re just paying for water.” Herridge is planning on a much smaller level of support from the Water District. “The Water District has said they don’t expect us to ever get to zero,” she says. But they do want their subsidy to be in the range of $4 million to $6 million a year. So even with the decreased payout for this coming year, the Preserve is, at the least, more than $1 million off the pace. To cut costs, the Springs Preserve laid off 11 employees last winter, 17 percent of its staff, a savings of $600,000 a year. “We’re good where we are right now in terms of the money,” Herridge says. “We’re being extremely responsible in terms of looking at how we use resources, how we use labor, how we control our expenses.” But more work remains: Herridge is charging her departments to trimming operating costs (not salaries) by 50 percent. She expects in-kind donations to help make a dent, and says that by turning her staff into, essentially, fundraisers, the Preserve could save $1 million this year. “We have to walk the walk here and be sustainable. We have to buy in and be accountable.” The $5 million endowment has to be grown, “where it’s really going to throw off some meaningful cash,” she says. The Preserve is rolling out a more vigorous campaign for corporate donations. NV Energy donated $400,000, and private donors have chipped in, but Herridge knows her job is to “go out and get this money. People are interested in philanthropy and interested in our mission.” Corporate sponsors have stepped in to help get the festivals off the ground, but Zunino says early planners anticipated more financial support from the casinos. That never came through. Herridge notes there hasn’t been much coordinated planning between the Springs Preserve and the resort industry, but she says MGM Resorts International gave $250,000 over five years to help pay for buses to ferry school kids to and from the site. (Cox Communications is also a partner.) Nonetheless, the Springs Preserve has yet to snap out of its marketing doldrums. “I don’t think it’s ever been marketed well,” Giunchigliani says. In the meantime, the Springs Preserve is pushing ahead with new ventures. Three old Union Pacific cottages at the site’s northeast corner will be relocated


Harmonious surroundings: The Desert Living Center’s rotunda.

close to the still-incomplete Nevada State Museum. An exhibit built around the Preserve’s working pumping station, Waterworks, is being planned. The Preserve’s art program will expand—a show featuring Vegas glass designers Barbara and Larry Domsky is already scheduled for March. The biggest coming attraction is the Nevada State Museum, which has been sitting empty since last spring due to lack of funding from the state. Exhibits

“The issue is, one, we live in a community that wants to be entertained. There’s not much entertainment out there.”

– Architect Bob Fielden

are under construction, and director David Millman’s best guess is that they’ll be installed by spring. “As far as moving into the building and being open, that really is unanswerable. It depends on the state budget.” Ironically, the museum could further confuse the message. Originally, the Springs Preserve was billed as a kind of meeting place. Now the branding is centering on a “place to do things,” a message that’s soon going to be on the airwaves. The new spots—the first TV ads since the site opened—are debuting this fall; this year the Preserve plans to spend more than $800,000 on advertising. “The message is still the same,” Herridge says. “The subliminal message is about resource conservation and the history of Las Vegas, and about education and embracing our culture …” If that sounds a little inexact—the problem that haunts the place—the Springs Preserve and R&R have dreamt up a slogan that has more pop: Escape from Las Vegas. But will the message resonate this time? Do people really want to escape Las Vegas? “The issue is, one we live in a community that wants to be entertained,” local architect Bob Fielden says. “There’s not much entertainment out there. It’s a learning place. We want to be spoon-fed everything. Let it become a community festival center and a learning center at the same time.” Here’s another thought: Given Las Vegas’s dearth of cultural institutions—the Las Vegas Museum of Art is gone, and it’s doubtful one in four Las Vegans could tell you where the Museum of Natural History is—the Springs Preserve is emerging as the one-stop shop for cultural life. In bigger cities, the wealth tends to get spread around. But here, maybe one super institution—part park, part ecological preserve, part museum campus— may be Vegas’ best bet. But it has to embrace the role for which it may be uniquely suited—the city’s chief cultural attraction for those of us who live here —and then figure out how to get that message across. July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 33


Home-Field AdvAntAge Las Vegas 51s president Don Logan could have left for the big leagues long ago. Be glad he didn’t. By Matt Jacob

Portrait by Anthony Mair


The first Little League uniform I got was a Yankees uniform. I wore it to bed that night. I’ve had the bug my whole life. – Don Logan The best thing about dreams? You can plant them anywhere, and if you fertilize them with a little belief and a lot of determination, they’ll grow. So when a young boy from Tonopah dreams about one day making it to the major leagues, it is no more farfetched than if his dream germinated in New York or Los Angeles. But what if that kid from Tonopah charted a life course that put him on track to fulfill his dream, or at least a variation of it? And what if he had it within his grasp, then chose not to reach out and grab it? What do you make of someone who would forgo multiple big-league opportunities in exchange for 26 years in the meat grinder that is Triple-A baseball in Las Vegas? How rural was Tonopah in the 1960s and ’70s? Rural enough that there was no high school baseball, and the stick-and-ball sport of choice for young adults was fast-pitch softball. Still, Don Logan played the game well enough as a young man to play for Utah State in—ironically—Logan, Utah. Despite a successful senior season—“I think I hit about .330 with a couple of dingers,” he says—Logan quickly surmised that if he wanted to make it to the major leagues he needed to put down his glove and pick up a briefcase. He enrolled in law school in Sacramento, Calif., with the goal of becoming an agent. Then one summer day in 1983, Logan and some classmates made their weekly trek south from Sacramento to catch a San Francisco Giants game. There at Candlestick Park, he had a chance meeting with then-Giants owner Bob Lurie. He mentioned his plan to break into the big leagues as an agent, and Lurie replied that baseball didn’t need more agents, it needed people who knew the game. He suggested that Logan get a job as an executive and learn the business. That was all Logan needed to hear. He dropped out of law school and fired off résumés to every major-league club and every minor-league franchise in the West, only to get a grand total of four responses. And the only promising one came from a new club in Las Vegas. Larry Koentopp had moved his Triple-A franchise here from Spokane, Wash., in time for the 1983 Pacific Coast League campaign and dubbed them the Las Vegas Stars. Following a successful inaugural season, Koentopp added four people to his front-office staff. “Then Don came in to interview and I liked him so much I said, ‘Heck, I’m going to hire five guys.’ Don was very, very good—head and shoulders above everybody.” On his 25th birthday, Logan started as an account executive with the Stars and rapidly progressed through the ranks. By 1985 he was the ticket manager, and the following year he was promoted to assistant general manager. “Don was Mr. Reliable from the get-go,” Koentopp says. “He came in and he wasn’t intimidated by anything. Whatever assignment he had, he would take it and run with it, and I knew it would turn out good. He’s a very bright guy and he’s got a lot of imagination.” Not only did Logan quickly establish a reputation as a promising baseball executive, he also proved to be as comfortable in the boardroom wooing a prospective sponsor as he was in a locker room commiserating with baseball prospects not much younger than him. “He was the guy everyone went to with all your issues—‘Hey, where’s this, where’s that? How do I do this, how do I do that?’” says former major-league All-Star John Kruk, who played with the Stars in 1984 and ’85 and who now is a baseball analyst for ESPN. “When you’re 23 years old and you don’t have any idea

what life’s all about, he’s the one you went to to get all the answers. He was Mr. Vegas to all of us.” By the time the 1991 season rolled around, Koentopp tapped Logan as his general manager. Next season he was named Pacific Coast League Executive of the Year. Everything seemed to be falling into place. At age 32, Logan was running the day-to-day operations of a professional baseball team just one rung below the big

“When you’re 23 years old and you don’t have any idea what life’s all about, he’s the one you went to to get all the answers. He was Mr. Vegas to all of us.” – John Kruk, former All-Star leagues, and he had gained the respect of key people at the next level. It was only a matter of time before the kid from Tonopah would, like so many of the prized prospects he witnessed at Cashman Field, get called up to the big leagues. Sure enough, the Padres—the parent club of the Stars until 2000—came calling in the early ’90s. They wanted Logan to be their assistant to the minor-league farm director. There was the dream, well within his grasp. Only Logan couldn’t bring himself to extend his arm and snatch it. “I got divorced in 1994 and I made a decision then that I didn’t want to be an out-of-town dad,” he says. “I didn’t want to be traveling back and forth. I didn’t want my ex-wife’s new husband to be the primary guy in my daughter’s life.” San Diego would call again after the 1998 season. This time then-Padres General Manager Kevin Towers—whose relationship with Logan dated back to 1988 when Towers pitched for the Stars—offered his friend the chance to run San Diego’s entire farm system. “Tempted,” Logan says of the second offer. “Very, very much so.” But once again, he declined. “It would’ve been a great challenge for him and he would’ve been very good at it,” Towers says. “But he’s a man of great values and he’s got his priorities in the right area. Family’s No. 1.” Logan, whose daughter is now a 21-year-old college student, stands by that difficult decision. “Even though I probably would have had a pretty [significant] position at the big-league level, I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with her. She’s the light of my life. She’s my only child. Seeing her grow up, I didn’t miss any plays, I didn’t miss any games. We had a great relationship and always will have. But I think it’s because I was around.” The second thing that has kept Logan here is his love of Las Vegas. Over the past quarter-century, he has forged

numerous relationships with community leaders. And while he can walk through a local mall without being bothered, the city’s movers and shakers are keenly aware of his civic contributions. On the field, he’s been the point man for bringing in events such as Big League Weekend (the annual series of major-league exhibition games) and the 2008 Major League Baseball winter meetings (for which Las Vegas received major national exposure). “We all refer to Don as Mr. Baseball, because he truly is that,” says Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “And I’m extremely grateful that he’s decided this is his home and this is where he wants to be. … The fact that he’s stayed here is a testament to his commitment to Las Vegas, and not only the business community.” Off the field, Logan serves on the boards of numerous local organizations, from the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Southern Nevada (he was their Humanitarian of the Year in 2007) to A.L.S. of Nevada to the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada. “You’ve got to give back,” Logan says. “You’ve got to be a good community partner. And I would say that for any business, really. With our fan base being so diverse, we’ve got to spread our wings and get involved with as many different things as we can. But that’s just the right thing to do.” Koentopp sold the Stars following the 1993 season, and the franchise has subsequently experienced two more ownership changes, plus two affiliate shifts (from the Padres to the Los Angeles Dodgers, then to the Toronto Blue Jays) and one controversial name change—the Stars became the 51s in 2000. Logan, now 51, has been the one constant. He now holds a 5 percent stake in the franchise and remains the club’s general manager. He also served as the team’s president for 11 years until last month, when the Stevens Baseball Group—which purchased the 51s in 2008—chose to bring in someone within its corporation to “manage their investment.” That decision caught many by surprise, but Logan insists nothing has changed in terms of his daily duties or the 51s’ mission: to provide affordable family entertainment each summer. He continues to work toward his ultimate goal of getting a new stadium built somewhere in the Valley to replace aging Cashman Field. “This community deserves a state-of-the-art baseball facility,” Logan says. “I really want to get that done.” And should he get that new facility built, what then? Is there still time to pursue that big-league dream? “In time, I do think scouting would be fun, Jen [his wife] and I can just get in a car and drive and go watch baseball,” Logan says. “This won’t be my last stop on the train. I do want to experience working on the next level in some capacity. What that capacity is remains to be seen.” More than a few who know him well believe when he does make the leap to “The Show,” he’ll hit a home run. “I have no doubt he could be a great major-league general manager,” Kruk says, “because if you’re a player or an agent, the thing you ask for from a general manager is to be honest. Don’t tell me one thing and then say something else behind my back. I truly can’t believe Don Logan has that in him. He’s going to tell you how he feels.” Says Towers: “Don could do just about anything he wants to do—he could run a marketing department, he could run a public relations department, he could run a farm system, he could be the COO of a club. A lot of the game is about contacts and networks, and Donny knows just about everybody in the game. There’s not a lot of people you could say that about.” July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 35


Each year, tens of thousands of seals, many of whom are still babies, are massacred. It’s time to demand a permanent end to Canada’s cruel seal slaughter.

END CANADA’S SEAL SLAUGHTER


THe LocaL Newsroom Balancing act Many workers claim just enough in tips to safeguard against IRS audits By Jessica Prois

Eliab Munyehirwe, a refugee from Rwanda, was helped by the ECDC African Community Center upon moving to Las Vegas in 2003.

A Helping Hand African Community Center provides aid for refugees

Munyehirwe photo by Anthony Mair

By Caitlin McGarry On Nov. 21, 2003, Eliab Munyehirwe arrived at McCarran International Airport with only a pair of shoes, two pairs of jeans  and a couple of T-shirts in his bag. With no family or friends in  his new country, Munyehirwe, a refugee from Rwanda seeking  asylum in the United States, was greeted at the terminal by  a representative of the African Community Center, a local  organization that would become instrumental in shaping his  new life in America. Munyehirwe had never ventured outside of Rwanda’s  borders when political unrest in the country and threats to  his family forced him to flee alone to Uganda in 2001. After  spending nearly three years in a refugee camp, Munyehirwe  was approved for resettlement in the United States—Las  Vegas, to be exact. “It was such a culture shock,” he says. “I thought I was  prepared, but I wasn’t really. I took two weeks to learn and to  get as much information as I could so I wouldn’t be surprised  when I moved here, but it was just overwhelming.” When Munyehirwe arrived in Nevada, the African Community Center—an affiliate of the national nonprofit Ethiopian  Community Development Council, which assists refugees  throughout the resettlement process—found him an apartment  and paid his first month’s rent. The center also helped him apply  for a Social Security card, paid his utility bills, gave him clothes  and took him to classes for English as a Second Language.  Munyehirwe learned how to speak English while in Uganda,  but the ESL classes taught him about American culture and  how to apply and interview for jobs. Within three months, he  was working as a food runner at the Imperial Palace. Since 2003, the ECDC African Community Center has  helped hundreds of legally admitted refugees resettle in Las Vegas, often working with Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada 

and Nevada Partners to provide much-needed resources such  as health insurance, language classes, job training and cash. “One of the missions of the ECDC is to resettle and to help  refugees, to integrate them fully in their new community and to  help them find their way around in the new community, and to  organize all the resources available, public and private, toward  that end,” says Berihun Teferra, managing director of the  African Community Center. The center obtains funding from federal agencies such as  the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office  of Refugee Resettlement, which offers a variety of assistance  programs. The programs’ qualifications vary, and the center  sifts through the details to find funding sources for every  refugee. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration also provides $1,100 of direct  assistance for each refugee, which the African Community  Center manages on their behalf. Prior to the recession, the African Community Center saw 80  percent of its refugee clients placed in jobs within three months  of arrival, which limited the amount of monetary assistance  they needed. Now it usually takes six to nine months for  refugees with training and knowledge of English to find work. “Times are tough,” Teferra says. “Nevada is leading the  nation in unemployment. That makes our task more difficult,  but we’re not giving up. We have to do everything possible, and  we are optimistic that the public is still generous.” Private donations help bridge the gap when federal funding  runs out, Teferra says. The African Community Center also  relies on its partnerships with local hotel-casinos to find jobs  for new refugees. Seven years after landing in Las Vegas, Munyehirwe is now  a nursing student and homeowner. He is still connected to the  African Community Center, visiting newly arrived refugees,  helping them make the transition and sharing his experiences  with them, letting them know he has been in their shoes, and  they are not alone. 

When it comes to reporting tips  accurately, it’s anything but a guessing game for gaming and restaurant  employees in Las Vegas. These workers  ensure their earnings reports align  with IRS regulations, so they aren’t  worrying that bars and restaurants  nationwide are being examined for underreporting the amount of gratuities  their employees earn. Emily, a former bartender off the  Strip who did not want her last name  used, says about half of her tips came  from gamblers who won big and threw  her some cash. “They’d sometimes sit  there for my whole eight-hour shift, and  tipping me was part of the etiquette,”  she says. She split tips with the other  employees and says she and the other  bartender were sure to claim the same  amount so nothing looked suspicious at  the end of the night. It’s the same scenario at nonfood  service establishments, such as salons.  “Nobody wants to report all of their  tips because people live off of those,”  says Talitha Thomas, owner of Saints  and Sinners boutique salon. She says  salons report the entire commission for  each transaction, but if someone gets  cash there’s no real way to regulate  it. “If it’s cash, you can’t monitor; you  can just assume they’re not claiming,”  Thomas says. She says the number of  patrons who tip with a credit card and  cash is about even. Sandy, a massage therapist on the  Strip who didn’t want her last name  used, says she follows tip compliance,  but she is self-employed and prefers her  clients pay in cash so she’s not taxed on  Continued on page 39

For more information about the ECDC African Community Center or to provide assistance, call 836-3324 or go to ecdcinternational.org.

July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven  37


The Local Newsroom

Green Felt Journal

A long journey for that first WSOP bracelet By David G. Schwartz

Sigurd Eskeland was walking on air. The second-grade teacher turned poker pro from Norway was onstage in the Rio’s Pavilion Ballroom, with hundreds of poker tables and dozens of cheering supporters in front of him, and a wall bedecked with pictures of champions behind him. He stood silently as World Series of Poker director Jack Effel presented him with a diamond-encrusted gold bracelet, then he silently mouthed the words of the Norwegian national anthem being played in his honor. With the flags of many of the nations represented in the tournament fluttering in the air-conditioned breeze, it was a moment worthy of any Olympics or World Cup. The ceremony marked Eskeland receiving his first WSOP bracelet, one of professional poker’s most valued prizes. Good poker players win money, and great ones win tournaments, but only the best of the best have the bracelets awarded to the winners of World Series of Poker events. There’s no better example of what the bracelet means than Gavin Smith, who was born in Canada but now calls Las Vegas home. Smith, who’d worn the unofficial crown of “best player never to win a bracelet” for years, has been playing poker professionally for 13 years. Nothing was sweeter than his finally winning a WSOP bracelet at Event 44, a mixed $2,500 Texas hold ’em game, on June 28. “It’s the Holy Grail, what everyone’s after,” says Smith, a likable 41-year-old who’s won more than $5 million at the tables, including a $1.2 million payday for winning the 2005 World Poker Tour Mirage Showdown, part of an incredible run that saw him named WPT Player of the Year. Yet the big one always got away, until now. “To get so close and not get it hurt,” says Smith, who finished second in a 2007 pot-limit hold ’em event. “It’s been five years of battling through a lot of ups and downs.” Winning the bracelet wasn’t easy, even for a player of Smith’s talent. The three-day tournament only ended after hours of heads-up play between Smith and Danny Hannawa during which Smith was mindful of history—both the tournament’s and his own.

38  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

“This time, I stayed focused on the job,” he says, referring to his end game with Hannawa. “A few times in the past I acted too quickly, and it cost me. This time, I took my time with every decision. I knew that I might lose, but if I did, it wouldn’t be because I made a mistake.” As Smith built up a chip lead, he didn’t move in for the kill, instead playing “small ball” with Hannawa to “grind him down.” As the stacks in front of Hannawa dwindled, Smith allowed himself to look up. He was amazed at the number of people crowded around the table at almost midnight to cheer him on. Just before his ace/queen beat Hannawa’s 10/eight in the final hand, Smith locked eyes with his friend and backer, Erick Lindgren, who won his first bracelet two years earlier in the same event—mixed Texas hold ’em. When the final card of the hand—a jack—was dealt and Smith was declared the winner, he had one thought: how much his dad, who had taught him to play cards, would have loved to witness the moment. Afterward, Smith celebrated modestly with a few friends at a local bar, then went to bed around 5 a.m.—not unusually late for a professional poker player. He didn’t take much time to savor his walk into poker history. A few hours later, he woke up, went to church and then headed back to the Rio for another event. Smith won’t wear his bracelet, or even keep it on his mantle to show off. Instead, he’s giving it to his big brother, who’s “always been there for me, been my voice of reason.” It’s a fitting gesture from a bighearted man who guesses that the birth of his first child—scheduled for November—will mean far more to him than even his bracelet win. “You’ve just got to know when you’re playing well,” he says to those still trying to win their first bracelet. “Eventually you’ll get results. Keep pushing; don’t lose heart. [The tournament] is seven weeks. That’s more difficult than dating or selling life insurance—you keep getting kicked in the teeth every day, but you’ve got to keep coming back.” David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.


Tips Continued from page 37

any of it. She has her own suggestion for  the government: “Why not give us two  years off from paying taxes on our tips  given the down economic state?” she  asks. “They already tax our checks.” National Public Radio recently  reported that the IRS is auditing tax  forms filed by food and beverage industry workers due to the fact that it doesn’t  receive as many tax disclosure forms as  it anticipates. But underreporting incidences are rare in Las Vegas, experts  say, since most tipped employees operate  under a voluntary tip compliance  agreement. The IRS wouldn’t comment  on whether audits are taking place in  Nevada, but a spokesman says it’s simply  continuing to stress the importance  everywhere of the agreements. “The gaming industry is one of the  most highly regulated and scrutinized  industries in the U.S.,” says Grant Govertsen, analyst and co-founder of Union  Gaming Group, a Las Vegas-based  gaming research and consulting firm.  “Consequently, gaming licensees are  going to do everything in their power to  comply with any and all regulations they  are subject to, including tip compliance.” Tip compliance means that employees  and employers who elect to participate  report a determined amount of their  income as tips, ensuring that they won’t  be audited. “Underreporting of tips is not an  issue in our resorts since almost all of  our tipped employees are signed up to  a Gaming Industry Tip Compliance  Agreement,” says Shawn Sani, senior  vice president of taxation for MGM Resorts International. “Under this  agreement, our tipped employees report  hourly tip amounts that are agreed to by  the IRS.” All employees who adhere to these  types of agreements are meeting the  minimum standards of compliance, but  the IRS technically requires that employees report all of their tips. Gratuities  accumulated through credit-card sales  are automatically reported, but a number  of Las Vegans admitted that they don’t  report all of their cash tips. Raphael Tulino, a Nevada spokesperson for the IRS, says unreported cash  tips are a “micro-level problem”   and says people should be following the  IRS guidelines. Govertsen says more employees nationwide will probably take Las Vegas’  lead when it comes to tip compliance.  “Looking ahead, and due to certain  high-profile IRS probes over the past  few years, I would suspect that more  and more employers will opt in on tip  compliance,” he says. 

Under the leadership of Livio Lauro, the United States Bartenders’ Guild has grown from 150 members to more than 1,300 in five years.

Finding the Right Mix outgoing chief of Bartenders’ Guild revitalized organization By Caitlin McGarry When Livio Lauro was appointed interim president of the  United States Bartenders’ Guild in May 2005, the organization was in a rut. Saddled with debt from a failed convention,  the USBG was disorganized, essentially run “as a place for  bartenders to get together and have a beverage,” Lauro says. Five years and two re-elections later, Lauro has led the  group—which has grown from 150 members to more than  1,300—in a new direction that emphasizes knowledge and  craftsmanship. Due to term limits, a new president will be  elected this month to take over the guild, but Lauro is leaving  his post with fond memories and big hopes for the future. Lauro’s first order of business as president of the USBG, an  affiliate of the International Bartenders Association that was  established in 1948, was to move the headquarters from Long  Beach, Calif., to Las Vegas. Lauro, who has served as district  manager of Southern Wine and Spirits since 2001, thought  transitioning the USBG’s base to Las Vegas would enable the  group to “start our history from scratch.” After relocating and  cleaning up the guild’s finances, Lauro set about changing the  organization’s mission statement. “The mission of the Bartenders’ Guild is to elevate the image of the bartender in our country and promote the craft of  the cocktail as well as the brotherhood of bartenders,” Lauro  says. “We try to make sure that everybody understands that  we don’t just welcome the crafty bartenders. We like to reach  out to bartenders of all walks of life.” One of the issues facing many bartenders was lack of healthinsurance coverage, but Lauro fought to fix that, and now the  guild offers a variety of health-insurance plans to its members. “I’d say the biggest keys to Livio’s success are his passion 

for the guild and never wanting to take any credit for it,” says  Bobby Gleason, a former vice president of the guild and Beam  Global Spirits and Wine’s master mixologist. “He’s so unselfish  doing what he does, just giving all his time and efforts. We all  give him that credit, and he’s very modest about it.” In 2007, Lauro partnered with some of the country’s  top beverage professionals to develop the USBG’s Master  Accreditation Program. Launched in 2008, the program tests  bartenders’ skills on three levels: spirits professional, which  requires a 100-question written test; advanced bartender,  which includes a 150-question written test and a practical  exam; and master mixologist, for which candidates submit a  written thesis and must pass a panel interview. “Bartending was simply a gig,” Lauro says. “Nobody saw  it as a form of culinary art. Very few bartenders felt that that  should be their lifelong career. The master accreditation was  born to sort of create a standard as well as give knowledgeable  bartenders the opportunity to validate their knowledge.” Beyond the master accreditation exams, USBG’s members  put their skills to the test at guild competitions, which range  from local chapters’ cocktail contests to the USBG national  bartending competition. The annual competition’s winner advances to compete in the IBA’s world bartending competition.  In 2005, the USBG placed 45th out of 55 countries participating in the competition. Last year, the guild placed fourth. As he leaves his post with the USBG, Lauro hopes the guild  continues to prove that bartending is more than just pouring  shots and serving beers, and that bartenders have the business  acumen and skill to elevate crafting cocktails into an art form. “In 2008 and 2009, when the smartest money people—the  CEOs and the CFOs—were struggling and putting companies into bankruptcy, here’s a group of bartenders who  are growing a guild by 300 percent,” Lauro says. “While  the trend was that businesses were closing down, here’s a  group of bartenders running a Bartenders’ Guild, and it was  growing and growing and growing and growing. It kind of  highlighted the fact that bartenders have brains; they have  business sense when they need it.” 

July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven  39


The Local Newsroom 

After-Hours Ed CSN doubles late-night class offerings for fall By Jessica Prois The College of Southern Nevada is expanding its latenight menu of class offerings for students whose work shift  ends at the time when many others are going to bed. With an increasing enrollment as people look to  retool themselves, and positive feedback from students  in the eight red-eye classes offered in the spring, CSN  is offering another 17 late-night class sections this fall.  Registration is under way for classes that will begin at  12:05 a.m., as well as 10:35 p.m.—a new addition to the  schedule—at CSN’s Charleston Campus. “The late-night classes seemed to be a real success,  so the thought was, ‘Let’s try it with others; it worked  for X, Y, Z course,’” says Darren Divine, CSN’s vice  president of academic affairs. The school’s enrollment climbed 7 percent from 2008  to 2009, much of it directly related to the economic  downturn as more people look to switch careers or  become more competitive, Divine says. The 10:35 p.m.  slot was added under the philosophy that students could  bounce from that class to a midnight class. CSN is expanding beyond the general, required latenight classes it offered last spring to include in-demand  courses such as criminal justice and astronomy. David Goldwater will teach astronomy at 10:35 p.m., 

40  Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010

which he says will enhance the course’s  curriculum. When students look through  a telescope, they’ll be able to see star  clusters, gas clouds and planets such as  Saturn and Jupiter, which they wouldn’t  be able to see during the day. Goldwater will receive the same rate  of pay for the late-night classes, but he  doesn’t mind. “Most of us [astronomy  professors] are night owls anyway,” he  says. “It goes with the territory.” The professors keep weary students on  their toes, says Carl Koterwski, 41, who  took late-night algebra last spring. “The  teacher joked, kept things lighthearted  and was much more amusing than  daytime lecturers,” he says. Koterwski, a stage manager at  CSN is one of the few colleges in the country to offer late-night classes.  Harrah’s, is working on the prerequisites  are not feasible or appropriate for us.” toward a physical therapy degree, and the late-night  Nevada State College, a four-year school in Hendercourse offerings are helping him to get through them  son, is looking at “making class times more convenient  faster. “I don’t want to be 60 years old and still carryfor students,” spokesman Spencer Stewart says. ing a ladder,” he jokes. CSN is leading the way with late-night classes along  Koterwski hopes to transfer to UNLV after finishing  with a few other schools across the country. Bunker  at CSN, but he will have to adjust his schedule at that  Hill Community College in Boston and Clackamas  point. UNLV has no plans to offer late-night courses,  Community College in Oregon City, Ore., offer  says Dave Tonelli, senior director of public affairs.  midnight courses. Anne Arundel Community College  “CSN, as a community college, and UNLV, as a  in Arnold, Md., is planning to offer midnight sections  university, are differentiated in their missions,” he says.  of psychology in the fall.  “Thus, midnight classes may make sense at CSN but 


The Local Newsroom

Politics

Race, the Moulin Rouge and retrograde Republicans By Michael Green

The Moulin Rouge was Thurgood Marshall’s kind of place and probably not Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s. That is not the only connection between some recent developments: • Solicitor General Elena Kagan, whose list of achievements includes being dean of Harvard Law School and an earlier appointment as a federal appellate judge that Republicans buried because a Democrat appointed her, went before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Republicans spent a great deal of time complaining that Marshall, the Supreme Court justice for whom Kagan once clerked, was an “activist” judge. • The Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission approved demolishing the remnants of the Moulin Rouge, which a fire largely destroyed in 2003 after long neglect, benign and otherwise. Some originally thought the site could remain on the National Register of Historic Places, but knocking down the remaining structure may mean no listing. • Angle unveiled her new website, which mysteriously eliminates earlier pronouncements about privatizing Social Security, the Millennium Scholarship program’s evils, her endorsement by the Minuteman PAC and how global warming is a hoax. Back in 1968, Richard Nixon ran for president using the “Southern Strategy,” with code language like “law and order” reassuring Southerners he supported their fight against equality. In 1980, Ronald Reagan opened his post-nomination presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., where white supremacists killed three civil rights workers in 1964, and endorsed “states’ rights”—but he meant nothing racial at all. The old saying goes like this: When they say it isn’t about race, it’s about race. Many hoped that electing an African-American president would be a long step on the road to removing one of the greatest stains on our nation—racism and its effects. So, a South Carolina Republican shouted “You lie!” at President Obama during a speech to a joint session of Congress, and his party leaders and faithful embraced him, but they forced a Texas Republican to apologize for expressing his party’s position that BP has been wronged.

42  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Now, at Kagan’s confirmation hearing, Republicans denigrated Marshall. They may not know that before he was an “activist” justice, he argued numerous NAACP cases before the Supreme Court, culminating in Brown v. Board of Education, which made segregated schools unconstitutional. One wonders how stupid the GOP thinks African-Americans are. Marshall is a heroic figure for all, not just for blacks. He literally risked his life seeking justice for those denied it. In Nevada, we have come a long way from when this was “the Mississippi of the West.” The Moulin Rouge symbolizes that. It opened in 1955 as the first interracial resort in the Valley. It closed quickly, for a variety of reasons. For half a century, various people and groups have tried to revive the Moulin Rouge, with little success. Sadly, no one has had the money and vision to turn it into what it should be: a museum and community center that might actually attract people to West Las Vegas and revitalize the area. It probably can’t be saved and will join the list of historic local sites that disintegrated. Angle has joined her fellow Republicans and our community in losing sight of their history. She fits in well with the theory behind the Southern Strategy and with trying to slime both Kagan and Marshall’s memory. And when Angle isn’t in the warm cocoon of Fox News or the Las Vegas Review-Journal, she backtracks as much as possible on advocating violence against government officials. Thus, the irony. Earlier this year, a book reported Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., making a well-intentioned but insensitive statement about Obama. Republicans tried to use it against Reid, but Obama and other African-Americans defended him because they know his character, and the issue blew over. Senate Republicans and Angle are showing what’s in their hearts—a very different blackness than the kind for which the Moulin Rouge stood. The former hotel-casino may soon been toppled. The same should be done to leaders who don’t understand what it stood for. 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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Nightlife

Entertaining options for a week of nonstop fun and excitement.

Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk

Thur. 8 The one and only Mr. Freeze is at Revolution to present the I Am Hip Hop grand finals, where one b-boy or b-girl will be crowned the greatest of all time. Sure, the title may sound a bit much—but it’s Mr. Freeze, and what he says, goes. (At The Mirage, doors at 10 p.m., $20 cover, locals free.) Meanwhile Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship is at Aria to perform as part of industry night at Haze (doors at 11 p.m., $40 for men and $20 for women, industry free with supporting ID), and retro-themed roller skating continues its sweep of the city and comes to Sante Fe Station. The best part: The costumes at Boot, Scoot and Boogie are almost as old-school as the prices. It costs $2 to get in, $5 to rent skates, and there are $2 drink specials all night long. Or try your luck with the mechanical bull—for free! Doors at 8 p.m.

Fri.  9  It’s Christmas Eve in July, as the secret Santas at Eve present Eva’s Gifting Suite. The event gives 25 local ladies complementary and unlimited one-month memberships to Tan Factory, while 100 others receive one-time tan passes. (At Crystals, doors at 10:30 p.m., $30 for men, $20 for women.) If you get tired as the night goes on, don’t go home—head to Gold, where DJs OB-One and Five join resident DJ David Christian to play after-hours sets, starting at 2 a.m. At Aria, $40 cover.

Sat. 10  Canadian-born pin-up Playmate Pamela Anderson was born on Canada Day—that’s July 1, kiddies—but she celebrates her 43rd year today, with not one party, but two! The blond bombshell starts things off at Tao Beach, where DJ Jason Lema sets the soundtrack, then moves things indoors, to Tao proper, later that night. DJ Vice will be in the booth, so the party promises to sound as good as Anderson looks. Or did, back in her Baywatch days. (Tao Beach doors at 10 a.m., $20 for men, free for locals and all ladies; Tao doors at 10:30 p.m., $40 for men, $20 for women, free for local ladies.) Kathy Griffin is also in town this weekend, and brings her self-deprecating stand-up to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. 8 p.m., $49.50-$85, 866-1400.

SeveN NIghtS Sun. 11 Slather on the SPF and prepare to party! Wet Republic has Sander Kleinenberg and Ferry Corsten (at MGM Grand, doors at 11 a.m., $50 for guys, $20 for girls), while DJ Loczi is at Liquid. (At Aria, doors at 11 a.m., $20 for guys, $10 for girls.) Or just keep things simple and spend the entire day at the Hard Rock Hotel, starting at Rehab, where resident DJs Swift and Ikon do their thing (doors at 11 a.m., $40 for men, $20 for women), then towel off and clean up before heading to Vanity, where DJs Presto One and Five play the ever-popular Sin on Sunday and local ladies drink free champagne until midnight. Doors at 11 p.m., $40 for men, $20 for women, free for locals.

Mon. 12 Recover from the weekend that was by the pool at Encore Beach Club, as the city’s newest adults-only pool destination marks Monday with its weekly industry event. DJs Freddy B and Jace One set the sounds for the beach party, and locals get to have some fun in the sun, no cover charge required. Noon7 p.m., $50/$40 for men/women with out-of-state ID.

Tues. 13 It’s another bang-up night at the Palms, as DJ Jazzy Jeff returns for another installation of Bang! The night gets under way at Moon at 10 p.m., and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum will take to the tables about 11 p.m. ($20 cover, local ladies free.) Another option for your Tuesday night party awaits at Pure, where DJ Shift plays industry night. At Caesars Palace, doors at 10 p.m., $30 for men, $20 for women, free for locals.

Wed. 14 Wednesday night is all about the numbers, and this week DJ Adam 12 joins DJ 88 and plays a tandem-style set during Snitch at Ghostbar. The guest DJ, better known as Adam Bravin of She Wants Revenge, trades his bass to take his place at the 1s and 2s alongside Las Vegas’ own Bree Cohen. (At the Palms, doors at 10 p.m., $20 cover, local ladies free.) Another option: Head to Blush for House Wednesdays, where DJs Steve Walker and Brett Rubin spin and ladies drink free champagne from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. P. Diddy will also be in the house, in spirit, with specials and tastings of Puffy’s vodka, Ciroc, all night long. At Wynn, doors at 9 p.m., $40 for men, $30 for women. July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 45


Nightlife 

Red Rock cabana club | Red Rock casino

46  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Photography by Beverly Oanes


Nightlife 

Pure | Caesars PalaCe

Upcoming July 10 | DJ Jesse Marco July 17 | DJ Marshall Barnes July 18 | 2010 PlayBoy PlayMate of the year hoPe Dworaczyk hosts

48  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Photography by Roman Mendez


Nightlife 

ArtisAn | 1501 W. sAhArA Ave.

50  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Photography by Tony Tran


Nightlife 

Jet | the Mirage

Photography by Sullivan Charles

Upcoming July 9 | Amber meAde And SArAh michAelS from love GAmeS And bAd GirlS club July 10 | dJ homicide July 12 | Go-Go Showdown

54  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010


Nightlife 

The Captains’ Log

How the Pyramids Were Built A magical nightclub history tour with DJ Dave Fogg

By Graham Funke

The Strip is full of world-class nightclubs  with superstar DJs. You might believe  it was always like this—but it wasn’t.  There is little documentation of city’s  nightlife evolution, which leaves the  chronicle to be told by those who were  there. Dave Fogg is one on these men:  a working DJ when it all began, and  still a force with which to be reckoned.  To discuss Vegas’ rich nightlife history with him, as we recently did, is to  consult the oracle. Fogg’s tale starts in  a far-away time, back when casinos had  no nightclubs on property, and continues  through to present, when it is almost  unimaginable to have a casino open its  doors without one.

60 Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010

The Captains, StoneRokk and Graham Funke (holding microphone), interview DJ Dave Fogg.

Luxor and spent a lot of time in the proximity of RA, where you were a resident—along with DJ Five, Warren Peace, Mr. Bob—and the DJ booth was protected by lasers! It was what you would now call a  mega club, based on a specific sciencefiction movie that wasn’t necessarily  good, [yet it] somehow translated to this  amazing concept for a nightclub! RA  was the first club to bring international  DJ talent and have an established electronic night. They were the first club to  really start promoting a mash-up night  … back when that movement was very  relevant. … Thursday nights were probably one of the biggest hip-hop nights in  the country. It became one of the first  places to define what I would call a “big  room” night. RA closed in 2004. Where did you go next? I went immediately to Tryst as that  opened. Wynn had opened Le Bete, but it  took Victor Drai to make it work. [They]  changed the name, spent millions to  renovate a new club and it became Tryst.

Which led to XS, which was ranked the No. 1 nightclub in the country while you were at its musical helm. If you’re familiar with how Bar and  Nightclub magazine does the ranking,  it’s revenue, but if you get past all the  other criteria one would use to judge a  nightclub—door policies, etc.—the model  XS uses for business is the reason it ranks  high. The music format played a big  part, though you would never know I was  playing there. Their model maintains that  the DJ is no more important than a busser  or cocktail waitress or a bartender or the  GM. … You would never see a DJ on any  type of marketing, but something kept  people coming back, and I like to think  the music had a lot to do with that.  But the word I’m hearing is that you’ve recently and amicably split from XS. This is true. Vegas is a small town, so  it’s best not to burn bridges, and I left  for my own reasons—which is saying  something, since XS is, quote-unquote,  the No. 1 nightclub in the U.S. But I 

was offered a position as the program  director for the N9NE Group. What place does “program director” hold in the world of nightlife? We have this entertainment industry in  Vegas, and it’s been the place since the  ’50s. The title of entertainment director  was created here, and is still in place for  casinos. Having grown up in Vegas, I  always wanted this job. It’s the same as  somebody wanting to be a maître d’ back  in the ’60s and ’70s; they were the guys.  And 20 years ago, being head valet was  the position.  GF: OK, so let me ask you this: As the  new program director at N9NE Group,  do you have the power to fire me? DF: Yes, I think I do.  Graham Funke and StoneRokk push the boundaries of what it means to be a DJ, determined to  restore the once-glorious luster to their craft. In  addition to contributing to Vegas Seven, The  Captains of Industry (thecaptainsofindustry. com) entertain audiences at clubs across the  country and maintain weekly residencies at  Moon and Playboy Club.

Photo by Anthony Mair

How is it that a lot of DJs, myself included, complement Vegas residencies with constant appearances in other nightlife markets, yet you’ve managed to stay put? If you can work five days here and  make your money, why would you travel?  When you look at all the other DJs who  are traveling, what do you hear them  talking about? Being stuck in the airport!  They’re Tweeting about their flight being  late, how there’s no good spots to eat.  But if you’re here, and you’re solid, and  you’re making a career out of playing in  Vegas, my opinion is that there is really  nowhere else to go. Where did you start playing in Las Vegas? I got involved in DJing when I was in  college. I did college radio [KUNR at  University of Nevada, Reno, then KUNV  at UNLV a few years after that]. The  first R.E.M. record, first Public Enemy  record—you were able to play all that  stuff under one program. I started there,  and then made my way into nightlife. What spots once dominated but wouldn’t have a chance in today’s Vegas? It’s kind of hard to grasp now—[today]  it’s basically mandatory to have an  ultra lounge and a nightclub in every  casino—even a pool and a beach! But …  there was a place called the Shark Club,  which was partially owned by [ Jerry]  Tarkanian, back when the Rebels were  hot [and] college basketball was hot.  That was the spot to go for tourists.  When I started performing in Las Vegas in 2004, I lived in the


Nightlife 

Cocktail Culture

By Xania Woodman

How to work with prickly pear fruit

Big Bright As created by Eben Klemm and served at Dos Caminos, $12 “It is a constant game to try to sneak in Latin American liquor options other than tequila at Dos Caminos,” says BR Guest Restaurants’ senior wine and spirits manager, Eben Klemm. To make the Big Bright, Klemm uses Macchu Pisco from the Andes, which has “a more vibrant aromatic structure than other brands.” His choice of fruit is similarly rare. “The best part of cactus fruit is that you can really feel the heat of the sun in its flavor,” he says, noting such high acidity is rarely found in something other than citrus. A fresh, high-quality purée takes the sting out of working with the tricky fruit. To make the Big Bright at home, Klemm suggests using prickly pear cactus fruit purée from Napa Valley-based Perfect Purée ($25 for 30 ounces, perfectpuree.com). 2 ounces Macchu Pisco 1 ounce prickly pear Perfect Purée 2 tablespoons sugar 3 lime wedges 3 mint sprigs, plus 1 for garnish

The pulp of the bulbous, magentacolored fruit of the prickly pear cactus is flavorful, acidic and a wonderful addition to cocktails, lemonade and desserts—but it’s not called prickly pear for nothing. To remove the ripe, juicy pulp, you must overcome large spikes, imperceptibly small spines and a thin, calloused skin. Mariena Mercer of BarMagic of Las Vegas grew up picking and eating fresh prickly pears that grew by Chaparral High School. Still, it was not until she became a tequila goddess at Treasure Island’s Isla Mexican Kitchen that she discovered the smoky, earthy, tangy flavor it brings to tequila and margaritas. Mercer recommends seeking protection before handling prickly pears. “Put gloves on,” she says. “Then individually pick off the large spines, [and] use tweezers for the smallest ones.” After that, use a sharp knife to cut the fruit in half to reveal the sweet inner flesh. “Press the skin to expel the pulp—it should come out easily that way,” Mercer says. Then the pulp is ready for use in any recipe. “They’re extremely tricky,” she says. “But they’re worth the effort.”

Layer sugar, lime wedges and mint in a cocktail shaker and muddle briefly. Add pisco, purée and ice. Shake vigorously 10 times, then strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Peruvian Pisco Essentially a distilled Peruvian grape spirit or aguardiente, pisco (PEE-so) was developed in Peru by Spanish settlers in the 1600s. Whether puro (one grape variety) or acholado (a blend), unoaked Peruvian pisco is delicate, floral, earthy, aromatic and grapey—a stark contrast to its robust, oak-aged Chilean cousin of the same name. Peruvian brands to look for include Macchu Pisco, Gran Sierpe, La Diablada (when you can find it) and BarSol. Like rum to the mojito and cachaça to the caipirinha, pisco is probably best known in its namesake cocktail, the Pisco Sour. A very tasty example of this elegant classic can be found at Caña Latin Kitchen & Bar at Town Square, which also serves a dessert-like drink—the Delicioso—made with pisco, guava, fresh lime and agave nectar. Pisco paradise: the Caña Latin Kitchen & Bar. 64

Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010


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The NaTioNal Newsroom This week in the New York Observer

The end of Trust Tumblr boys, Blogger girls—you’re turning us into timid paranoids

Illustration by Dale Stephanos

By Leon Neyfakh

Joshua Cohen, author of the recent novel Witz (Dalkey  Archive Press), was at a bar recently telling a girl he’d met  an hour and a half earlier about a family member who  was being treated for cancer. The next day, he saw that  she was writing about it on her blog. And even though all  she said was that she hoped Cohen’s relative recovered, it  made him queasy, like he was living in Soviet Russia. “Whenever I say something to a person, I’m trying  my best to consider just that person, not that person’s  larger audience or constituency,” Cohen said. “I think  if I start thinking that way, I’ll become even more of a  loathsome person than I already am. That’s essentially  living like a politician, or a Supreme Court justice during confirmation hearings, where you can’t give your  opinion, you just want to get by.” Cohen, 29, has friends who have become so reserved  out of fear of being quoted on acquaintances’ blogs  that when he is in casual social situations with them,  he is self-conscious about looking like an irritating  loudmouth in comparison.

“I fear becoming, through really no fault of mine,  a caricature,” he said. “It’s my natural personality to  say what I feel, and I feel like more and more, because  so many other people are guarding their tongues, I’m  going to look like some old obnoxious Jew, just screaming at people. It used to be that you were your opinions.  Now it’s almost like you only consist of your discretion.” What are people so afraid of? They are not always  sure. Sometimes it’s that they don’t want to offend  someone. Other times, they don’t want a person they  only kind of know finding out that they were talking  or thinking about them. Everyone just wants to be in  control, but control is getting harder and harder to come  by. “It is a fear of unknown repercussions,” said Brian  Stelter, a media reporter for The New York Times. “The  repercussions are not obvious here.” So much for the new transparency. Although Web  evangelists will tell you that society is on the verge of a  new era in which everyone is always honest and secrets  don’t exist, the reality is that people are keeping more 

from each other than ever before and watching what  they say with unprecedented vigilance. They have more  secrets than they ever did, and they have never been  more afraid or calculated in their day-to-day interactions. Thus, what constitutes a secret has expanded to  include even the most seemingly innocuous details, and  the circumstances under which the disclosure of facts  can turn into social inconveniences have proliferated.  This phenomenon threatens to destroy personalities, or  at least render us dull to talk to.  Reporters have been dealing with this conundrum  as long as there have been newspapers. In recent years,  though, it’s grown far beyond journalistic circles, as  the range of circumstances under which anything can  potentially be made public grows larger. It takes on different forms, of course. “Don’t write about this on your  blog.” “Don’t Tweet what I just said.” “Don’t mention I  was here if you write about this party.” “Don’t tag me if  you put that picture on Facebook.” Stelter said he’s probably not going to be saying “off  the record” to his wife. Short of that, he said, he and his  friends tend to stay on their toes. When Stelter, 24, went  out for brunch a few weeks ago with a group of friends— among them a TV producer, a lawyer, a magazine  columnist and a couple of bloggers—it didn’t take long  for someone to stop the conversation and make sure that  everything said at the table was going to stay at the table.  “People were so nervous,” Stelter said. “Not even  because they were saying inappropriate things, but  because we just don’t always know the parameters of  these conversations.” So what were they talking about, anyway? The story  of Dave Weigel, of course, the columnist who recently  resigned from The Washington Post after coming under  fire for e-mails he sent to a list-serv. Although the list was  meant to be a confidential forum for friends in the media  to discuss current events among themselves, Weigel’s  e-mails were leaked. His is a cautionary tale, not only for  journalists but for anyone who has ever used e-mail to  express thoughts that weren’t intended for a big audience. Cases like Weigel’s, in which an indiscreet remark  made public results in some degree of ruin, have turned  people into a timid breed of paranoids, always hedging  and holding back. It doesn’t help that there are vultures  out there such as Andrew Breitbart, who has offered a  $100,000 reward to anyone willing to leak the full archive  of JournoList, the list-serv that got Weigel in trouble. “We’ve lived for about five years sharing everything  and saying everything out loud, and we keep hearing  about people who suffer the consequences of doing  that,” Stelter said. “We’re at the point where ‘off the  record’ is shorthand for ‘I’m gonna say something  that’s gonna surprise you.’” “The making sure it’s OK, the asking, is always kind of  sad because it essentially implies that I don’t really know  people’s boundaries,” said Meaghan O’Connell, the  25-year-old outreach director of Tumblr, who is known  for blogging in exuberant detail about her personal life.  “I want people to trust me, obviously, and not feel like I  am going to humiliate them on my Tumblr or say things  they wouldn’t be comfortable with.”  Hrag Vartanian is an art blogger at Hyperallergic so  dedicated to writing about his personal life that he had  to warn his husband when they started dating that he  Continued on page 74 July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven  69


The National Newsroom 

The Postmodern Hester Prynne Guess what, fellas? Women cheat, too—they just tend to be a bit more nuanced about it By Maria Russo

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Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Rosin’s recent, well-received Atlantic cover  story, “The End of Men,” readers of that  magazine excoriated Sandra Tsing Loh  for her confessional piece about leaving  her husband after an affair. And yet  somehow, compared to what the male  cheaters inspire, female adulterers’ hold  on our attention is short-lived, even, in  the end, a bit ambivalent. Nikki Haley’s  reported extramarital liaisons were good  for maybe a week of headlines, and did  little to slow her political rise—she is  now the GOP candidate to succeed, yes,  Sanford as governor of South Carolina.  Over in Hollywood, when Laurie David  left Larry David—gossip had her hooking  up with the handyman of her Martha’s  Vineyard estate—the story was a blip  on celebrity blogs for a few days, then  disappeared. Where was Larry David’s  anguish, his healing, the journey that,  say, Sandra Bullock has been on since  revelations that Jesse James was cheating?  Made into a mockery by “Larry David”  on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Whatever the  real Larry David was going through, we  looked politely away; maybe it’s just too  much to contemplate, the idea that a rich,  successful man isn’t a winner in romance,  too. Laurie David, meanwhile, has gotten  more fulsome tabloid attention in a week  for her rumored role in the story of Al and  Tipper’s divorce than in the adulterous  provocation of her own. Even noncelebrity men want to be  part of the story line of the cheating,  sexually voracious husband and the wife  who is muted or uninterested in bed. It’s  a staple of men’s magazines and male  confessional journalism: the half–cri de coeur, half–boast about how hard it is to be  monogamous when you have such a monster sex drive, or how some anonymous  author has decided to indulge in guilt-free  adultery since his otherwise exemplary  wife simply cannot fill his needs. But let’s put aside media mythologizing  and look at real life for a moment among  the married, educated, affluent class, who  share the background and lifestyle of the  über-cheaters. Is it a hotbed of unbridled  male lust desperate for an outlet, coming  home to a female libido that the highachieving wife has shushed as adroitly as  she puts her baby down to sleep? That  scenario seems more and more passé— not to mention blind to certain realities  of female erotic nature. The statistics  say that marital cheating is at about 25  percent for men, 15 percent for women.  But one wonders about those numbers.  Self-reporting about any sexual matter is 

notoriously unreliable, and with adultery,  any overreporting is likely to be by men  while underreporting is likely to be by  women, due to cultural pressures on men  to be studly and women to be chaste. There is this perhaps uncomfortable  fact: Sex means just as much to women as  to men, but secrecy is a more fundamental component of sexuality for women.  “My sexual life is pivotal to me, as I believe it is for everyone else,” novelist Edna  O’Brien once said. “For me, primarily,  it is secretive and contains elements of  mystery and plunder. My daily life and  my sexual life are not of a whole—they  are separated.” A cheating woman will  tend to be very, very good at hiding it. Not only are women better at keeping  secrets, the forms their extramarital  relationships take tend to be much more  varied, often easy to not even classify  as cheating: The IM relationship, the  “emotional affair,” the “work husband”;  there is perhaps less boning in a hotel,  more pouring out of her heart and drop-

of the cheating part, but of the neediness it seemed to advertise. There is one giant exception to the  rule of female sexual secrecy: women  who sleep with the married alpha males.  These women seem to relish the chance to  tell the world about their romance with,  or their shoddy treatment at the hands of,  someone famous. Their blabbing is in fact  another big reason that the public face of  cheating is so overwhelmingly male. “Hollywood women probably cheat  just as much as the men,” speculated  Amy Sohn, author of the novel Prospect Park West (Simon & Schuster, 2009),  which depicts cheating among the Park  Slope stroller set. “But there are all sorts  of reasons that the men they have affairs  with wouldn’t go to the tabloids, where  the Tiger Woods–type women do. For  one thing, the women they go for—the  low-hanging fruit, as they say, not their  economic or social equals—have an  economic incentive to expose it, while  the men don’t, necessarily.”

Al Gore (left) and Larry and Laurie David all have been subject of rumors concerning cheating.

ping erotically charged lines to someone  who is not her husband, someone she  may not even have met in person; she  may be trying to decide if she is in fact  having an affair with the guy. The  experts agree: It’s all infidelity. When Karen Karbo tried to get  women to talk about their experiences  with “online cheating” for an article in  Canadian Elle, she found her subjects  slinking away after initially agreeing to  talk. They were ashamed not so much 

In the end, the female propensity to  wrap sex in romance may explain why  they, more than men, can find that  cheating does not brand them with  notoriety—if they handle it right. “With  the cheating women, they often end  up in a relationship with the person,  so there’s nothing tawdry about it, and  the stories just fade away,” Sohn said.  “It means you fell out of love with your  first husband and fell in love with your  second husband! Wow!” 

Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Oh, these naughty alpha males and  their uncontrollable libidos! We’ve had a  parade of powerful men in picture-perfect  marriages, exposed as lying horndogs:  John Edwards, Mark Sanford, Tiger  Woods, Eliot Spitzer, now even (allegedly)  Al Gore. And just look at their lovely,  betrayed wives, each one “handling” the  situation with her own brand of dignity. It’s like some postmodern myth cycle,  Zeus and Hera in a 21st century of  zoom-lens pap photos and manic dirty  texts that live forever courtesy of AT&T.  We can’t, or won’t, stop consuming the  details. The narratives hurtle from the  first mistress revelation in The Enquirer  or a trashy blog to—a million or so  Huffington Post comments later—the  wife’s book deal and public “healing”;  at the moment, we have forever-shocked  Elizabeth Edwards in a second media  push as her book, Resilience (Broadway,  2009), comes out in paperback. As the recession grinds on, there must  be something primally reassuring in these  stories of male infidelity and wronged  female virtue among the elite. The übercheaters give us evidence that entitled  males still exist, are still in charge, while  sober, de-eroticized women—even nubile,  beautiful, ultra-blond Elin Nordegren  seems willingly desexualized—safeguard  The Family. “The saddest part for me,”  Elizabeth Edwards told Larry King last  week, “is that I know I’ll never again be  held in that way … with passion.” Meanwhile, Tiger has a new girlfriend already;  Sanford is working on “rekindling things”  with his Argentine lover. These tales of hookers and half-hookers and gold diggers and fame diggers  and “soul mates”—it all presents itself as  censure, but the sheer volume of media,  the obsessive attention to it, represents a  kind of cheering on. “We really want to  believe that powerful men have harems  or the equivalent,” as a prominent female  West Village writer of 50 put it to me,  “because it’s reassuring us that boys will  be boys. The alternative is unthinkable.” She went on to speculate that famous  male serial cheaters want to be exposed.  “I think being held up as the bad boy in  front of a nation is kind of a turn-on for  some of them. A lot of men want to think  of themselves as naughty, and of course  they know that other men will envy  them, which is one reason, no doubt, that  they are so ambitious in the first place.” When elite women’s cheating goes  public, meanwhile, the outrage can  be shrill: Just a year before Hanna 


Hollyworld

Hollywood’s cheapskate secret By Richard Siklos Last week on a soundstage on the Disney lot in Burbank, Calif., the feds held a press conference to announce that they had taken down some websites that were providing illegal free and paid downloads of TV shows and films. Dramatically called “Operation in Our Sites,” this collaboration between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued a passel of warrants and took down sites with names such as Planetmoviez.com, Thepiratecity.org and NinjaVideo.net. This is a worthy fight. Say what you will about our cultural drivel, but big Hollywood movies and TV series are among the few things that America still does demonstrably better than the rest of the world. And yet here’s a notso-secret secret about Hollywood that is at odds with the message sent by the studios and the piracy police: No one actually pays for anything here because this is the town that has turned the freebie into an art form. Whether we’re talking about an Oscar swag bag, the preposterous “gift rooms” around award shows or the “celebrity outreach” emissaries of luxury and gadget companies, a mark of success in L.A. is getting things gratis (in inverse proportion to how much you actually need something for free) and showing the world how awesome that is. Practically no one I know who is tangentially in the biz goes to the movies as a civilian on a regular basis—the exception being if they have small kids and a Toy Story 3 comes along. Instead, there is a steady stream of buzz-building advance screenings that are the preferred mode of cinematic consumption by many, along with deep gift closets full of the latest DVD releases. And some people who receive Oscar screeners have practically set up lending libraries (complete with waiting queues and due dates) because their friends are shameless about asking

to borrow them. The rest of the country might say, “I’ll wait for Cyrus to come out on DVD.” In L.A. we just say, “I’ll wait until Dave gets his screener.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has tried to crack down on this practice by putting watermark codes in the screeners and even giving out special DVD players to watch them on, though the latter moved proved to be a bit of a bust. Still, it’s notable that this year, far fewer screeners were leaked online than in previous years, according to Andy Baio, a journalist and programmer who has been tracking these trends for sport since 2003. “Are studios doing a better job protecting screeners and intimidating Academy members?” he wondered on his blog Waxy.org. “Or was this year’s crop of films too boring for pirates to bother with?” Regardless, all across the media, the tide is turning in the quest to disavow people of the notion that everything should be free—provided you have given all your pocket money to Steve Jobs and some kind of broadband provider. One minor but interesting local example of this was the opening a few months ago of a branch of Soho House in West Hollywood. Founder Nick Jones insisted on keeping the club true to its London roots by charging a membership fee, but he initially faced resistance from celebrity handlers who expect their clients to be granted free access (and everything else) in exchange for their illustrious presence and the good publicity that would bring. But Jones held fast with a no-freebies policy, and the celebs have turned out in volume nonetheless. But even beyond the velvet rope, the idea that everyone should pay their freight equally is one whose time has come. I have more to say on the matter, right after I see about getting invited to a screening of Inception.

Here’s a not-so-secret secret about Hollywood. ... No one actually pays for anything here because this is the town that has turned the freebie into an art form.

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July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven

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NOTE: “Eggcorns” are things people say and write that are technically incorrect but which have a logic of their own, such as “wheel-barrel” (since a barrel holds things, too). Forthwith, some of my faves. ACROSS 1 Inbox clogger 5 Joan of art 9 Tot’s pop 13 Home of “The View” 16 Tantalize in a mouthwatering way? 20 It comes with status 21 Disagreement of biblical proportions? 23 Spigoted server 24 UAE VIP 25 Sickly pale 26 Words from “the great and powerful” 27 Bring ruin upon 29 Rice ___ 31 Little diggers 32 Frigid finale 33 Dance, slangily 37 Sharpen the focus of ? 41 Completely exposed? 44 Like a sequoia 46 The old you 48 Good, Bad, Ugly / Clint, Lee, ? 49 Work with needles 50 Counter to one’s faith? 53 Patricia of “Hud”

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55 Having claws 57 “___ the first cock crow” (Shak.) 58 Tornado dir., maybe 59 Yard planning that requires no grass or watering? 62 Leaped 65 Actress Katey 66 CD followup 67 Bonus recipient, often 68 As good as dead 71 Thinly scattered 73 Indicator of the winds of change? 76 Litigators’ org. 79 Tax-deferred item 80 Type of singer or fisherman 82 “___ help you are” 83 Loosely interested? 86 Bern’s river 89 Wedding figs. 90 Rights defender 91 Green beans 92 Formerly gung-ho sort who leaves the country? 94 Agreeing words from one in attendance? 97 Orchestra leader 98 Solved with ease 99 Toga party site 101 Become one on the run 105 Not old-school 108 Scare 110 Said twice, a treat

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113 Scientology founder, partly 114 “___ in your way?” 115 Strange places where even hired boats never go? 119 Ltd. relative 120 No easy matter, especially if there’s asphalt? 121 Polygraph exciter 122 Romeo or Juliet 123 Becomes Jell-O 124 Marked down DOWN 1 Wise guy 2 Jeopardy 3 Draw 4 “Pretentious? ___?” 5 Watt starter 6 Has begun 7 Org. that flew Lancasters 8 Deciding 9 Judges 10 Jukebox selection for a Lawrence Welk tune? 11 “Knight and Day” co-star 12 Off-road four-wheeler, briefly 13 Pool shade 14 Harris ending 15 Volcano top 17 Opp. of 58 Across 18 Excellent, slangily 19 An ___ resemblance 21 Vitality

22 Delhi dress 28 Large, at Starbucks 30 Blue state? 31 Sound portion: abbr. 32 Buck feature 34 Beach shade 35 Yokohama woofer 36 Fixes again, as a book spine 37 High-pressure pitch 38 No longer separate 39 Cries of surprise 40 We, oui? 41 Auto pioneer Karl 42 Peter Fonda film, “___ Gold” 43 Princess topper 44 Lovable bunch 45 Rocks, at a bar 47 Take off the shelf 50 Dance partner? 51 Mighty mad 52 Columbus’s hometown 54 Cabin walls, sometimes 56 Mortal span 60 Flavorful 61 Nurse Barton 63 Medieval weapon 64 Goons’ guns 67 Mobile phone 69 Japanese sliding screen 70 Largo or lento 72 Complained bitterly 73 Feathery scarves 74 Finishes filming 75 Breather 76 It’s under Tenn. 77 Fugue figure 78 Limo bar? 81 Presley’s label 84 Surrounding glows 85 Military address 87 Singing mobster 88 French 101 verb 92 Mom’s dinner order 93 Take a chance, with 107 Down 95 Hosiery hue 96 Salon dye 97 “From the ___ of ...” 99 Valley ___, Pa. 100 Tim of “Pulp Fiction” 102 Often-dipped snacks 103 Skin-care subjects 104 Nav. rank 105 It may be junk 106 Old Dodge 107 See 93 Down 108 “Out, out, out!” 109 Fast Eddie portrayer 110 Exhausted 111 Casino figures 112 Area E of the Yukon: abbr. 116 Kennedy or Lincoln, for ex. 117 Wade opponent 118 Comcast alternative 7/8/2010 © M. Reagle

Answers found on page 74 72  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Me and Mr. Jones: A skeleton in my clan’s closet By Simon Doonan I’m surprised there were no poofs caught in the net of that Russian spy haul last week. The connection between espionage and the “friends of Dorothy” is well-documented with names such as Guy Burgess and Anthony Blount. It all makes perfect sense: We gays have a much greater familiarity than the average breeder with the concept of secrecy, spending, as we are obliged to do, our early years wrapped in a feather boa of undisclosed thoughts and desires. With good reason, too. If I had told anyone at my Secondary Modern School that all I wanted to do was dance the frug with David Hemmings—remember him from Blow-Up?—they would have turned me into Piggy, as in Lord of the Flies. My gay secret life was at its naughtiest and most clandestine when watching TV. Although we Doonans might all have appeared to be staring at the same box, I was focused on very specific aspects of the program content, and getting all hot and bothered in the process. While my mum and dad were watching Lloyd Bridges’ underwater adventures in Sea Hunt, I was focused on his other harpoon, if y’all know what I’m sayin’. This is not to say that the straight Doonies did not have their own share of secrets. For example: When I was in my late 20s, I asked my parents for my original birth certificate. They had always been evasive on this issue, proffering a range of excuses. I finally put the squeeze on Betty Doonan because I needed it to process my green card. When, reluctantly and with lowered lids, she handed over the document in question, I suspected it might contain a secret or two. I was correct. His name was Mr. Jones. Between anxious puffs on a cigarette, Betty told me that this man was her first husband, a wanker, by all accounts, who had abandoned her for some Italian broad at the beginning of the war. My mum had kept it a secret for almost 30 years. People say that keeping secrets makes you a prisoner and releasing them sets you free. This was not the case for Betty. Her life was much better back when Mr. Jones was a shadowy memory, stuffed in a drawer. Once the cat was out of the bag, she had to deal with my relentless, stress-inducing inquisitions and reproaches. But sometimes the discovery of a family secret can bring true happiness and genuine exaltation. Such was the case with my Jonny. When I met Jonathan Adler 15 years ago, he was a workaday potter who thought he was just like everybody else. He had no idea how very, very, very special he was. Everything changed when, about a month after I met him, he found out that … hang on to your chromosomes, girls! … his grandparents were first cousins!! Far from inducing feelings of discomfort or shame, this revelation increased my Jonny’s joyous self-esteem about tenfold. He rebranded and repackaged this potentially concerning tidbit as follows: “I’m not inbred; I’m purebred.” Go, Jonny, go!


The National Newsroom 

Personal Finance Trust Continued from page 69

couldn’t dictate what he did and didn’t blog about. “I had to make it clear and say, ‘Look, just so you  know, everything is fair game,’” Vartanian said. “It’s  just the nature of what I do. You’re just gonna have to  deal with it.” Vartanian, 37, balks when acquaintances tell him  not to Tweet about something they’ve said, or declare a  banal observation to be “off the record.” “I don’t understand it at all, especially when it’s something as simple as ‘so-and-so dated so-and-so but don’t  tell them I told you,’” Vartanian said. “I’m like, who  cares? Something simple like that? We’re in New York  City! I mean, everyone’s dated everyone, you know?” As far as Vartanian is concerned, if something really  happened, people shouldn’t be embarrassed to discuss  it. “I’m like, either it’s a fact or it isn’t!” he explained. But even evangelists of blanket transparency such  as Vartanian admit that they’re keeping more to  themselves than ever before. “I’m starting to think about it more and more—I love  to joke around and be snarky, but I’m being much more  conscientious about it than I used to be because you  realize people can take that and transform it,” he said.  For Nathan Heller, a 26-year-old writer for Slate,  there are rewards in resisting the pressure to be  unobjectionable. “A few weeks ago, I went to see an illustrious  60-something poet read his work at a jazz club—he’s  done this for years; it’s his thing—and the poems he  read carried him into this uncomfortable, sometimes  confessional-type place,” Heller said in an e-mail. “He  seemed to come apart a little at the microphone. It  was a sharp, immediate performance, and a moving  one, because it was so candid. And I realized that I  couldn’t imagine anyone our age doing this, ever—not  something that raw and exposed. Which alarmed me.” Heller cited a remark a colleague of his made to him  not long ago: “Tweet that, coward! You make a career  by getting on people’s shitlists, not by staying off them.” Heller noted that he was paraphrasing, and declined  to disclose the name of his colleague, just in case. 

Gathering Eggcorns by Merl Reagle

S P WE P A R EM I P I L B E N Z

U L E E S

A B L A A C H MO AM I N L I

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AM M T ON E T I NG R WA A F CU T A T T N A K I K N I A L T ROS C A AGA L S P A R A I R A X A D A I L U L E R E H E A C E D D E RN I UNC C A T E R

I RO D A D A S A P P E T I T E O F T H EWA V E S N I AMO Z R A A N T S A I R RUG HON E I E D G I A N T T S A CR E L I G A L ON E D E R E P I NG S P R A N E F G C EO T O S E B E L LWE A T RO L L E R S I C A L A A R E I MA S E X P A T R E MA E S T R F R A T E S POOK BON H A R T E R E DWA OUGHROA D T O O L E S E T S L

Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

A Q U V A E NO T H I O S G A S T H SO J R I O L O L R T E HO E S

B U R G

C O N E

N OU U S S E T E M P O

R E S T

P E ON R S E S

Vacation expenses can be tax write-offs By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

Tough economic times may make it difficult to  donate to worthy causes such as helping to clean up  the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, much  less finance a nice summer vacation. But if you’re  willing to combine the two, you might be able to have  fun and support charities at the same time. Just ask Rob Seltzer, a Beverly Hills, Calif.,  accountant, who writes off a weeklong bike trip  from Burlington, Vt., to Portland, Maine, on his tax  return each year. Cheating? Not at all. The ride is sponsored by a  group called Charity Treks, which encourages avid  cyclists such as Seltzer and his wife to find sponsors  who will write checks for AIDS research. Seltzer has been doing the ride since 2002 and typically raises between $5,000 and $7,000 for the cause.  Charity Treks provides funding for research at the  UCLA AIDS Institute and the Emory Vaccine Center  at Emory University in Atlanta. As a result, Seltzer’s airfare  from Los Angeles, the cost to ship  his bike, hotel accommodations  before and after the race, the $175  registration fee and some meals  all qualify as legitimate federal  income-tax deductions. “I figured I could do a good  thing and ride down the coast,”  Seltzer says. “It’s fun and an  amazing experience.” The trick, says Gregg Wind,  partner at the Los Angeles accounting firm of Wind & Stern,  is to connect with a qualified  charity that’s willing to give you  an assigned task “in a genuine  and substantial sense throughout  the trip.” That’s a quote from  IRS Publication 526, which  explains what volunteers can and  cannot deduct. Ironically, you’ll probably get a much better tax  result when you volunteer for groups that operate on  the other side of the country (or world) than you would  helping a local charity, he adds. That’s because your  time is not tax-deductible, but your travel expenses are. If you teach kids to read at a local shelter, for  example, the only costs that would be deductible  would be the transportation expense to get there.  That can either be claimed at a real cost—the taxi or  bus fare—or at a rate of 14 cents per mile. If, however, you fly to Mississippi to serve as a  teacher with a qualified charity, your airfare, taxi,  hotel and meals typically are all deductible. “The deduction for travel expenses will not be  denied simply because you enjoy providing services  to the charitable organization,” Publication 526  explains. “However, if you only have nominal duties, 

or if for significant parts of the trip, you do not have  any duties, you cannot deduct your travel expenses.” What does that mean? If you’re a Scout leader, taking a group of kids on a trip where you’re overseeing  the set-up and providing adult supervision the whole  time, your trip is deductible, no matter how much you  enjoy hanging out with the kids. But if you devote only a few hours each day to  charitable work and then spend the rest of your time  poolside or exploring the local sights, the trip is not  deductible regardless of how hard you work for the  charity in those few hours. And although you may not deduct the cost of theater tickets when writing off your excursion to work  all day with the underprivileged in New York, you  could write off a reasonable expense for the meals  you eat in the city, Wind says. The caveat: Don’t make the meals—or your  accommodations—”lavish” or  they may well be disallowed  by the IRS, Wind says. What’s  lavish? Like many tax questions,  there are no bright-line answers,  but Wind says you can get a  good idea by looking up the “per  diem” rules in Publication 1542. Per diem rates are determined  by the U.S. General Services  Administration to help businesses  figure out what employee travel  expenses are tax deductible.  But Wind says they can help  taxpayers figure out what kind  of charity travel write-offs won’t  raise IRS hackles, too. The rates are published on  a city-by-city basis to account  for regional differences. In San  Francisco, the per diem rate  for food and lodging is $263; in  Memphis, the per diem rate tops out at $161. (In New  York City the rate can be as high as $411.) How do you claim charitable travel deductions on  your tax return? You call them “cash contributions”  and claim them on Schedule A, the form for itemized  deductions, Seltzer says. You generally don’t need to  specify how you came up with the donation figure on  your return, but he thinks it’s wise to add a statement  providing the detail, just in case. Also be sure to keep meticulous records. Like all  other tax documents, you should retain receipts and  other data supporting your tax return for at least  three years after filing. 

Ironically, you’ll probably get a much better tax result when you volunteer for groups that operate on the other side of the country (or world).

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 kathykristof24@gmail.com.


Arts & Entertainment Reading

Of Girls and Gambling

Two new female-penned memoirs show the spectrum of gambling, from addiction to ecstasy

Illustration by Jerry Miller

By Richard Abowitz When you get past the absurdity of the euphemism “gaming,” you quickly accept that gambling is woven into the fabric of Las Vegas life. From grocery stores to the local bowling alley, gambling is omnipresent. Spend enough time living here, and you’ll meet someone with a gambling problem and/or you’ll see a friend develop one and change into an addict before your eyes. Yet, viewing Las Vegas as a tourist destination, a place where gambling is mixed with shows, shopping and dining, you can see how a few bets, hands or pulls on a slot are, in the true sense of the word, a game. And that gambling can also just be another form of entertainment, harmless fun that just happens to have a higher profit margin than other amusements. Which, if either, of these views is the better perspective on gambling? For all their differences, the female authors of two new accounts of life in gambling culture agree on one point: Ultimately to treat a game as more than recreation becomes emotionally, personally and often financially destructive. The two books—Beth Raymer’s Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling (Spiegel & Grau, $25) and Mary Sojourner’s She Bets Her Life: A True Story of Gambling Addiction (Seal Press, $18)—otherwise share little in their approach to the gambling life. Raymer has written an adventure story documenting her time with sports bettors. And as the use of the word “addiction” suggests, Sojourner has written an activist’s memoir. After looking at how casinos bus seniors from retirement homes to slot machines where they lose “every penny of their Social Security checks,” she happily concedes: “If vengeance is possible for them, I hope this book is part of it.” She has an ax to grind. Both Raymer and Sojourner found the same tremendous pitfalls (and rewards) that derive from making a game into a life. They both liked the adrenaline. They both used the world of gambling as a substitute for things lacking in their existence outside casinos. Raymer, an aimless young person, winds up by chance the assistant to Dink, an expert sports bettor, one of the few areas a gambler with knowledge, betting savvy and hard work can gain a small chance of beating the house. Yet, Raymer learns ultimately that even when winning, the gambling life is a trap. And she watches her mentor get caught in the artificial glamour, which shows itself to be endless stress, and leaves him wishing his life had not been wasted in contemplating the next bet. Sojourner’s story is more common if her focus on women players has been less explored by the genre of Continued on page 78 July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 77


Arts & Entertainment

Reading

Sites to see By Geoff Carter CLUMP ‘EM AND DUMP ‘EM

Girls Gambling Continued from page 77

Cover story: At first glance, the books already show their differences.

books about how gambling destroys lives. For her, playing slot machines became not a science of advantage but the addiction of the desperate. As opposed to Raymer’s world, Sojourner and the women she wrote about were not making professional decisions rendered only after a great deal of study. Rather, Sojourner’s story is familiar to all who’ve read a 12-step book: Ultimately, a women’s support group is formed, and they learn to help each other escape the abyss of their addiction. Sojourner’s book is a testament to their efforts. The author desires to share her hard-learned knowledge with other women who may feel alone and trapped by their addiction. The opening sentence makes clear her intent: “If you have opened this book, chances are, you or someone you know may be a woman trapped in compulsive gambling.” That is an opening that also lets you know whom her book is less likely to interest: the rest of us. On the other hand, Raymer sees gambling less as an addiction and more as an adventure. When Raymer’s mentor, Dink, drops in on a 12-step gambling meeting, his view of the proceedings is approvingly and succinctly summarized by Raymer: “All of these people thought that they were smart. Then they lost all of their money and decided they were sick. Dink wondered why they didn’t decide that they were just stupid.” Not at all politically correct, Raymer has created a fast-paced read looking into a small subculture of elite gamblers. Sojourner’s book exists to refute that view by offering herself and her friends as not just suffering from a disease, but almost being victimized by the casinos. The title of one chapter: “Get Her to Sit Down: The Industry’s Strategies to Keep Women Playing.” These strategies are marketing and attempts to maximize profits and efficiency. In essence, casinos create an environment and incentives to encourage women to keep on gambling, knowing the longer women play the more they will lose. The problem is that casino marketing is not dissimilar from the way cars or movies are sold. Imagine a sports car commercial with a dorky guy who suddenly draws the attention of a hot 78

Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

chick with his new car. That is why they call it marketing. To Sojourner, the gambling industry understands how to manipulate women’s desire in such a way as to foster addiction. For example, she cites a direct mail advertisement with a picture to which women specifically would relate: A “sturdy older gal” waving “handfuls of hundred-dollar bills in the air.” The problem, as she notes, is that she would have been an addict anyway. Indeed, even romantic infatuation is on her list of things that women can become addicted to as readily as gambling. Her book leaves the impression that there are so many ways modern American women can be addicted it is amazing any manage to not need some group of fellow sufferers to keep them grounded. The addiction industry in America is huge. Some people have problems with compulsive gambling, others make poor choices. That casinos do their best to attract customers is what every business does. Sojourner has no smoking guns; the casinos run their business like any other. Raymer sees those who bottom out, too. She notes that all the gamblers she knows go broke at least once. But rather than being reduced by their addiction, for Raymer, even her minor players become beloved eccentrics and, at times, even charming characters. Sojourner ends her book with a pulling-thecar-over-to-the-side-of-the-road revelation, another cliché of the self-help genre—before thankfully heading on “toward home,” a metaphor for safety from her addiction. Raymer, on the other hand, ends her tale on a plane to Rio after liberating $21,000 in winnings from a totally unsympathetic client. One book looks back at gambling with life-destroying regret and the other as a few exciting years of an adventurous childhood. Both are valid takes on the infinite nuance of the relationships we bring to games of chance. And both women needed, in the end, out of the world of gambling. They found their lives distorted by the ways that a game played in real money, a gamble, had become the joyless center to their lives.

(getridofthings.com) Bad credit. Spyware. Nasal congestion. Anxiety. “Stripper stank.” No rational human being wants these things (except maybe that strip-club smell—I mean, it’s part of a process), but remarkably, the majority of us put up with them. Maybe that’s because we don’t realize that there are easy, step-by-step processes to get rid of these things. This site, fittingly titled “How to Get Rid of Things: A People’s Guide to Better Living,” collects hundreds of do-it-yourself guides to purging yourself of everything sucky, from rust to rosacea.

LOVELY PLUMAGE (alltheprettybirds.blogspot.com) Street fashion photography can be obnoxious in the wrong hands. Too often, it adds up to a parade of man-boys in hoodies and lumberjack shirts, and girls dressed like Cyndi Lauper circa 1983. But I love Tamu McPherson’s street fashion blog “All The Pretty Birds,” partially because she avoids those easy captures, but mostly because the people in her photos are recognizable as adults. Good-looking adults, too. To my mind, McPherson’s photos transcend street fashion: They’re nothing less than the antidote to those oily, sad-looking kids you often see in hipster magazine ads.

OH YEAH? (youarenotsosmart.com) Opposites attract? Not really. “Despite the pleasant idea of polar opposites being pulled intangibly toward one another ... the research suggests otherwise,” writes David McRaney, author of “You Are Not So Smart: A Celebration of Self-Delusion.” McRaney uses hard science to tear down the truths we hold self-evident, and to his credit, he’s not a total dick about it. You almost don’t mind when tells you that hindsight is not 20/20, that you can’t make realistic estimates of how competent you’ll be in an unknown situation, and that coffee doesn’t really make you superhuman. And please, please read what he has to say on car alarms, because I’m tired of hearing yours.

Journalist Geoff Carter is a Las Vegas native living in Seattle, land of virtual titillation.


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Arts & Entertainment

Reading Bookini

Book this passage By M. scott Krause

On paper, Justin Cronin has no business writing a summer best-seller such as The  Passage (Ballantine Books, $27). Summer books, like summer movies, are mostly predictable affairs. Readers expect twice the plot and half the logic, and everyone is so crazy from the heat that nobody bothers to ask questions. Cronin—whose previous books include Mary and O’Neil (Dial Press, 2002), a novel of interconnected short stories that won a PEN/Hemingway award, and The Summer Guest (Dial Press, 2004), which was well-reviewed but mostly ignored by book buyers—is simply too literary to be associated with a blockbuster. Summer books are supposed to be entertaining but disposable, made to fade faster than summer tans. Cronin, a Harvard graduate who polished his writing skills at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, never got the memo. Of course, Cronin’s pedigree is exactly what makes The Passage so refreshingly different. Here’s what you need to know: It’s a vampire novel, yes, but extremely well-written and highly detailed, with references to Shakespeare, poet Louise Gluck and Katherine Anne Porter. The first 250 pages are fascinating, full of rich characters and plot complications, and the last 300 pages are action-packed and wholly engrossing. The Passage sags a little in the middle, but—in Cronin’s defense— it takes time to adequately describe a post-apocalyptic environment almost a hundred years after an experimental drug administered to violent prisoners resulted in a virus that turns victims into vampires (known as “virals”) and wipes out the world as we know it. There’s a good story in The Passage, but there’s a good story behind it, too. In the fall of 2005, Cronin’s 8-year-old daughter suggested he write a book about a girl who saves the world. The basic story evolved over a three-month period, while Cronin jogged and Iris biked around their neighborhood. What emerged was the story of a special little girl who is abandoned by her mother, abducted by the government and who carries the future of the world in her bloodstream. Cronin is aware his vampire novel might draw comparisons to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, but claims his real influences date back to ’60s soap opera Dark  Shadows and actor Bela Lugosi. 80  Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010

The Passage was the subject of an intense bidding war among publishers, and Ballantine Books (a division of Random House) eventually paid $3.75 million for the rights. It looks like that gamble will pay off; The Passage sold out its initial print run (250,000 copies) and seems destined for multiple reprints. Cronin is already working on the second installment of his projected trilogy, with the other books due in 2012 and 2014. Even director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) is anxious to sink his teeth into The Passage.  His production company paid $1.75 million for the film rights, and—in a nod to Cronin’s intricate plotting—will likely adapt The Passage into two movies. In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether The Passage is actually a literary novel in best-seller’s clothing. All that matters is that the story works, and Cronin, in trying to satisfy an audience of one, ended up writing a story that will ultimately captivate millions. ★★★★★ Because reading is more sexy in a swimsuit,   Bookini is the name of our summer reading series. 

RequiRed Reading FoR the apocalypse The official apocalypse of the Baby  Boomers: A super-flu in stephen King’s  The Stand (Doubleday, 1978) transforms  the world into the final battleground of  good and evil. cormac Mccarthy’s The Road (Knopf,  2006) gives us utter finality in a grim,  ashen, yet strangely life-affirming world. We don’t need nuclear war or undead  plagues to destroy us in gene Wolfe’s  dark masterpiece, Book of the New Sun  (Simon & Schuster, 1983). The extinction  of the sun is sufficient. harlan ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (Galaxy, 1967) warns us of  the folly of building our own gods, especially when those gods are demented,  omnipotent supercomputers. A million year-old ghost narrates the  obsolescence of the human race in Kurt Vonnegut’s latter-day gem Galápagos  (1985, Delacourte Press). — Jens Rushing


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Music

Remix Revolution

Our guide to good remixes and five new songs for the summer By Mikey Francis The remix has changed dance music forever. Just try to imagine a DJ set without those catchy bits and pieces of popular songs scattered throughout the madness of the music. It’s nearly impossible because remixes have become an essential tool in helping a DJ craft a personal style. As you might have heard, there have been plenty of bad remixes that have made their way out of bedroom studios and onto the Internet. But I am here to help guide you to the good. The beauty of a good remix is that it takes an existing piece of music and breathes completely new life into it. The best DJs can blend almost any type of song from any genre into their set. Sometimes genres are flipped out and lyrics are tricked out, but however the producers behind the remix choose to reinvent the song, the hooks will always shine through. Here are five fresh remixes that are making some noise within the DJ community, along with a link to stream the songs online:

Soundscraper

Country (Saloon) Girl By Jarret Keene

LCD Soundsystem gets the Soulwax shine.

LCD Soundsystem – “You Wanted a Hit” (Soulwax Remix) Dance-punk pioneer James Murphy gets his band remixed by the electronic music gods Soulwax to give you the hit you always wanted. The track, pushing almost eight minutes in length, mixes James’ familiar vocal style with the signature Soulwax synths, pads and drum sounds. soulwax.info Passion Pit – “Little Secrets” ( Jack Beats Remix) The perfect combination of two very different styles of music. Jack Beats gives the light and fluffy Passion Pit track a dark, hard, electronic edge that will send a dance floor into complete mayhem. Next time you see Jack Beats perform, expect him to drop this crowd pleaser. myspace.com/jackbeats Friendly Fires/Flight Facilities – “I Crave Paris” (Aeroplane Remix) This track is quite the masterpiece because it is three tracks in one. It all started back in September 2008 when Aeroplane released a hit remix of the Friendly Fires’ track “Paris.” The boys in Aeroplane recently released a newer version of the track with the same music as the original remix, but with the soft, seductive female vocals from Flight Facilities’ track “Crave You” layered in the mix. soundcloud.com/ aeroplane/i-crave-paris

Best thing about local music promoter/ Pigasus bassist Roxie Amoroso? She’s never hung up on the past and keeps a positive outlook about the future of live music in Vegas. As well she should. After years of booking shows for just about every mediocre bar in town—Club House, Roadhouse, Squiggy’s, Texas Station’s South Padre Lounge—Roxie has finally landed a venue on Fremont Street, where she hopes to transform Las Vegas Country Saloon into the Vegas version of CBGB’s. Her boast causes me to snort out loud, which pisses her off a little. She takes a swat: “Do you even know what the initials CBGB stand for?” “Of course I do,” I say. “Um, wait. Hang on. [Long pause.] Dang. OK, I forgot. Tell me.” “Country, Bluegrass and Blues.” Good point: Hillbilly-sounding names can be overcome. Still, what’s going to draw live rock music fans? Roxie insists it’s all about location; she may be right. The venue is just across the touristhipster divide from Downtown Cocktail Room, and validated parking ( just hand your parking ticket to the LVCS bartender). If you get drunk, the saloon has a restaurant: you can eat and drink coffee until you sober up. There are also free mechanical bull rides! Actually, there are two music venues inside LVCS: the saloon itself and the cozy, neighboring Brass Lounge, where you can escape the louder (usually national or headlining) band, enjoy a cool balcony view (the venues are situated above Hennessy’s Tavern on Fremont) and groove on a low-key, local indie-rock

group. Roxie’s booking both spaces, relying on bands she nurtured at her previous establishment, Boomers, which, between 2009 and 2010, she transformed into an underground punk/metal hotspot—emphasis on “underground.” “Not everyone wanted to play in an industrial area,” Roxie says. “With the saloon, we’re offering a bunch of free shows featuring local bands, no cover. This way bands can bring all the friends they want and play through a top sound system.” The list of national acts scheduled to perform at LVCS looks promising, even if you don’t count the punk/rockabilly/ surf/garage extravaganza Las Vegas Shakedown (Aug. 13-15), with shows split between the saloon and Beauty Bar. Before that, C.J. Ramone of the Ramones plays July 8, Babes in Sin burlesque troupe plays July 16, No Bunny performs July 24, and Dead Lazlo’s Place arrives July 31. “I put my Louboutin on the ground and said, ‘No more pay to play,’” She laughs. “I’m the new rock ambassador of Fremont. I want to do right by the bands and the fans.” Your friendly neighborhood Soundscraper has already enjoyed two saloon shows: Pigasus performed June 23, and 3 Day Crush (featuring ex-Ozzy Osbourne guitarist turned shut-in Jake E. Lee) played on July 3. Hey, with any luck, maybe LVCS will become the next CBGB’s. What’s your favorite live music venue? Contact  jarret_keene@yahoo.com.

The C90s — “10:01” (Villa Remix) A massive wave of feel-good, dance floor-friendly Disco-House is finding its way into more and more DJs set lists. If you are already into that style of music, or are curious about getting a dose of the good stuff, check out Villa’s Remix of The C90s track “10:01.” Its funky bass lines and happy electro-bleeps will put a smile on your face. myspace.com/thec90s Green Velvet – “Harmageddon” (Felix Cartal Remix) The legendary house music producer Curtis Jones (a.k.a. Green Velvet) got quite the makeover from the young up-and-coming producer Felix Cartal on this track. These two musical minds collaborated to create an intense, dance-heavy electronic musical journey that will definitely be turning heads in the near future. soundcloud.com/felixcartal/green-velvet-harmageddon-felix-cartal-remix Catch C.J. Ramone at the Las Vegas Country Saloon July 8. 82  Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010


By Jarret Keene

“ Blue Giant Blue Giant (Vanguard) To create yet another alt-country album at this moment in time seems an exercise in sentimental futility. However, Blue Giant, a Portland supergroup (comprising members of Viva Voce, the Decemberists and others) adopts a more craft-oriented or writerly approach, eschewing heart-on-sleeve confessionals in exchange for extended metaphor and hard-bitten wordplay. In “Target Heart,” for instance, singer Kevin Robinson croons “I keep moving but you’re just too smart/Our love is frozen like an empty hearth” over a big, open six-string chords, slide guitar and saloon piano. And in the stomping, psychedelic, banjo-slapping hoedown of “Blue Sunshine,” his wife joins in to note the contrast between “your white dress/and my black eye.” Those seeking maudlin tear-in-your-beer ballads, à la Merle Haggard, should look elsewhere. Blue Giant is, generally speaking, geared toward those who prefer their country clever, like, say, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas.” ★★★★✩

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ALT-COUNTRY

CD Reviews

CERTIFIABLY HILARIOUS.

Joe Morgenstern

NEO-FLAMENCO

Sun Kil Moon Admiral Fell Promises (Caldo Verde) Ex-Red House Painter Mark Kozelek travels to the beat of a different drum; can’t you tell by the way he runs from concept to concept, style to style? After an album of unfaithful, acoustic-based Modest Mouse covers, and the massive guitar calisthenics of 2008’s April, he returns with a 60-minute flamenco-influenced set of originals, just his melancholy voice and a nylon-string guitar. Kozelek has always been recognized as a quiet virtuoso, but Admiral cements his reputation, especially on the pyrotechnical track “Australian Winter,” which will turn most indie-rock ax-grinders green with envy. Jazz/classical fiends will probably turn their noses up at the lyrics and haunting vocal melodies, but anyone who enjoys great songwriting plus proficient technique will cherish this record. The title track alone is enough to give this critic chills after midnight. Another sadly beautiful masterpiece. ★★★★★

Sundance Film Festival SXSW Film Festival BAMcinemaFEST Los Angeles Film Festival

ROOTS-ROCK

Alejandro Escovedo Street Songs of Love (Fantasy) After nearly dying of hepatitis in 2003, acclaimed but unjustly obscure Texas singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovedo (often cited as alt-country’s godfather) seemed reborn, shedding his punk baggage (a tendency to rely on occasional album filler) in favor of a more mature, musically ambitious approach. The last six years have resulted in three classic albums: the experimental, John Cale-produced The Boxing Mirror in ’06, Real Animal in ’08 and now Street Songs, a savvy, rocked-up collection of gritty tunes featuring guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen and Ian Hunter. “This Bed Is Getting Crowded” has everything you want in a kiss-off—anthemic chorus (“Call it what you want/but this don’t feel like love to me!”), snarling guitar lines and pounding drums. There are still sonic surprises, like the bottle-clanking rhythms and sneaky synth-bass riff of the title track, a back-alley sketch of characters trapped in love’s consolation bracket. ★★★★✩

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Arts & Entertainment

Movies Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson bring tween fantasy to life (and death).

No Total Eclipse of the Heart

The third Twilight continues its lackluster love triangle By Sharon Kehoe

The world of cinema has supplied us with some amazing female characters: Dorothy braving the yellow brick road; Sarah Connor firing her guns against judgment day; Erin Brockovich succeeding as both single mother and community activist. Unfortunately for the Twilight Saga, Bella Swan doesn’t fit on such a list. She’s dull, indecisive and consumed with a crush on a vampire who claims he devotes his life to protecting her, but in reality needs a hefty restraining order. In The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Bella (Kristen Stewart) is faced with a dilemma: Will she choose Edward Cullen (the hair-tastic Robert Pattinson) or Jacob Black (the six-packed Taylor Lautner)? This lovey-dovey conflict comes to its highest climax so far in this third installment of the series. 84

Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

While Edward and Jacob brood over who loves Bella best, a vampire army led by a fiery, revengeful vamp Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard replacing Rachelle Lefevre) is planning to kill Bella. Victoria creates new vampires— Newbies—who are superhuman and dangerously strong. To fend them off, the Cullens and wolf tribes suck up their longtime rivalry and work together in order to keep Bella alive. Yet Bella doesn’t really care about being alive. She yearns to be bitten and initiated into the Cullen family. But Jacob begs her to be with him, for he has warm skin and a beating heart: “You wouldn’t have to change who you are for me,” Jacob pleads. These exchanges would mean something if any of them were able to formulate some

plausible thoughts with emotive expression. Unfortunately, not one second was I convinced that what they felt toward each other was love, especially considering, at one point, Edward disables Bella’s truck so she can’t leave home. No, that’s not love. That’s criminal. Miraculously, our so-called heroine is given a few moments to figure herself out. One such moment includes a heart-to-heart with her mother, who is concerned that Bella’s relationship with Edward is overly close. But this speech is overshadowed as Edward looms in the background, watching—“protecting.” Bella’s mother, for the few minutes she was present, is a highlight in the movie, as is a graduation speech about being young and alive, which clearly never registered with our lust-lorn heroine because she can’t seem to see past all of Edward’s sparkles. When Edward and Jacob aren’t playing tug-o-war with Bella, the movie actually succeeds in creating some suspense and thrills. Director David Slade (30 Days of Night) finally makes the action sequences believable—they don’t look like pale people swinging from cables anymore. However, Slade could’ve given audiences more fright and a bit of gore, because the buildup to the battle nearly

eclipsed the actual battle sequences. Although the incessant, never-movingforward love triangle gets the most attention, there is a glimmer of a real story. The wolfpack gets some time to shine around a campfire as the tribe’s chief tells us why wolves and vampires can’t seem to get along. On the other hand, there’s the Volturi—led by Jane (Dakota Fanning)—who are crudely cunning and apathetic toward their own vampire kind. If only this got more screen time than the staring contests between Bella, Edward and Jacob. Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg did the best she could with the material at hand. I respect the humor she tried to bring between the main characters. Sadly, the laughs that escape aren’t exactly intentional. Whether it’s Jacob’s washboard abs, Edward’s permanently furrowed brow or Bella’s inability to make a decent decision for herself, it’s almost impossible to take this movie seriously. Surely, the self-proclaimed Twi-Hards and Twi-Moms will love it, but these movies are to them what Edward is to Bella: a massive, high school crush … with a possible criminal record. Good luck to everybody else.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

★✩✩✩✩


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Arts & Entertainment

Movies

All the Right Notes Lisa Cholodenko liberates the lesbian family in this touching slice-of-life drama By Cole Smithey Perhaps the most remarkable thing about The Kids Are All Right is that there aren’t more films like it. LGBT cinema is long overdue for mainstream success. For all the splash that Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain made, it wasn’t a mainstream film. Worse yet, its story supported an oft repeated cautionary tale about gays that Hollywood cooked up a half-century ago. Even great movies such as Boys Don’t Cry and Mysterious Skin exist in a dark netherworld of societal cruelty. That’s where writer/director Lisa Cholodenko makes a beeline departure. The Kids Are All Right lives in the kind of nurturing environment that you might imagine sex columnist Dan Savage maintains with his partner to raise their son. In a funny way, Cholodenko has stripped away all of the artifice and bullshit to show a family grappling with multiple predicaments of growth and interaction. The mid-life parenting crisis of a lesbian couple (awesomely played by Julianne Moore and Annette Bening) is the narrative cornerstone for a memorable comedic family drama. Together for 20 years, Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) raise their teenage children Laser ( Josh Hutcherson) and Joni (Mia Wasilkowska) in the comfort of a well-appointed Los Angeles home. The couple’s teenage son hangs out with a juvenile bully, while 18-year-old Joni tracks down the man who anonymously donated his sperm to their mom, Jules. Their biological father turns out to be Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a groovy motorcycle-riding restaurateur with a passion for locally grown vegetables and a bevy of attractive women. Paul warms quickly to the idea of acting out his fatherhood fantasies, soon ingratiating himself into Jules’s and Nic’s family. He even offers to

become Jules’s first landscape design client. When fireworks ignite between Jules and Paul, the story turns into an exploration of desire, honesty and loyalty in an unconventional familial setting. Cholodenko’s precise plotting, canny dialogue Love triangle: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. and spot-on production during her days working on his garden design. design complement solid performances from the lively We understand exactly where motivations and ensemble cast. The Kids Are All Right is a thoroughly objectives get tangled up and confuse the characters cohesive and entertaining movie that celebrates LGBT because the filmmaker has laid such meticulously layered relationships in a long-term family setting. narrative groundwork. Here are people like us, who There’s a scene in the film when Nic and Jules are getwant things they can’t have because they’ve made other ting back to a favored fetish of watching gay male porn choices. The decision to have children has created an while getting it on. Someone rolls onto the remote and internal combustion for Nic and Jules. Now that Joni is the television volume goes blasting. Their daughter Joni going off to college, and Laser is defining who he wants hears it and is appropriately shocked. The scene is rich to be, the moms are coming up short for answers. Paul’s with affection, humor, surprise and farcical interaction. influence on Joni and Laser is massive, but his inability to We see and hear the subconscious levels of well-meancontrol his attraction to Jules and respect her marriage to ing people living out their lives with an understated Nic ends up costing him more than he bargained. complexity that is intrinsically life-affirming. It’s like a Next to his work in David Fincher’s Zodiac, The moment from a great Woody Allen film, but without the Kids Are All Right represents Ruffalo’s finest work. It’s overbearing artifice. fascinating to watch him play against such incredibly Later in the film, Nic lets loose with an acapella rendiseasoned actresses as Bening and Moore, who also tion of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” at Paul’s dinner table with deliver career-topping work. From an acting standpoint, the whole family as her audience. It’s a transcending this is a movie that gives its actors the context and space moment that allows Bening to jump off a cliff with her to run full tilt. You’ll like it. character, knowing that the safety net of the situation and storyline will catch her. It’s breathtaking. So too are the adulterous assignations that Jules and Paul share the Kids are All right (PG-13) ★★★★✩ By Cole Smithey and Sharon Kehoe

Short reviewS

Jonah hex (PG-13)

✩✩✩✩✩

“Slipshod” doesn’t begin to express the approach that its team of screenwriters and clueless director ( Jimmy Hayward) take in making a pejoratively cartoonish movie. Most upsetting is the utter waste of talents Josh Brolin, John Malkovich and Michael Shannon. Rather than a cohesive story with developed characters, Jonah Hex is an abomination of disjointed apocryphal elements set during the Civil War.

86 Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

the Karate Kid (PG)

★★✩✩✩

Adhering to the 1984 original, this Will Smith-produced remake goes to China. Jackie Chan is Mr. Han, a martial arts master who mentors the young Dre ( Jaden Smith). The film feels bloated and yet unsatisfying: Director Harold Zwart (The Pink Panther 2) doesn’t dig deep enough into his characters’ motivations. For all Dre’s training (Smith studied with stunt coordinator Wu Gang), we never see the learning process take seed.

the A-team (r)

★✩✩✩✩

Inspired by the ’80s-era television series, four Special Forces vets are forced to go rogue after being imprisoned for a vague crime involving counterfeit money in Baghdad. Liam Neeson is team strategist “Hannibal” Smith, Bradley Cooper is a charmer with romantic ties to U.S. military heavyweight Charisa Sosa ( Jessica Biel) and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson fills Mr. T’s shoes as B.A. Baracus. This films offers stupefaction over satisfaction.

Killers (PG-13)

★★★✩✩

Despite a story driven by Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl that doesn’t pick up until the halfway mark, Killers provides this summer with some good ’ol entertainment. Ted Griffin supplies a decent enough script with great thrills and even a few laughs, but Catherine O’Hara and Tom Selleck carry much of this movie through their supporting roles. It’s no masterpiece, but Killers is an unexpected fun ride.


Arts & Entertainment

ShoRT ReviewS

Grown Ups (R)

★★★✩✩

The SNL gang share more laughs onscreen than the audience does, but when the guys are on their game, they score and entertain. In a fun summer setting, the BFFs and their families show us what being on vacation and playing in the sun is all about. Grown Ups doesn’t resonate past a week, but it’ll surely inspire more trips with good friends this summer.

Knight and Day (PG-13)

★★✩✩✩

This is a spastic piece of celebrity eyecandy action drivel. Cameron Diaz plays mechanic June Havens, and Tom Cruise is CIA counterspy Roy Miller. Roy and June adopt each other as vaguely romantic counterparts on a tail-chasing mission around the world. Closer in tone to the recent Mr. and Mrs. Smith knock-off Killers than the suave Bourne Identity, Knight and Day is a shell of a movie.

Toy Story 3 (G)

★★★★✩

Feels like no time has gone by when Woody, Buzz and the gang are on screen in this third installment of the Toy Story franchise. Turns out their beloved owner Andy is college-bound, leaving them panicked over their fate. With a mix of creepy and cute new characters, and a hellish day care center, the toys are back in town and still at their best.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

Jake Gyllenhaal’s biceps couldn’t save The Sands of Time from being another notch in the forgettable summer movie belt. As a mystical dagger threatens to fall into the wrong hands, Dastan (Gyllenhaal) leaps across Persia to save face after being accused of his father-King’s murder. The movie provides mindless fun set to a predictable storyline.

Movie TiMeS

Shrek Forever After (PG)

★★★✩✩

The fourth installment of Shrek is the most polished. Even new viewers will enjoy the slapstick tone of the easily likable characters. Married with kids, Shrek (Mike Myers) yearns for his bachelor days. Rumpelstiltskin (wonderfully voiced by Walt Dohrn) tempts Shrek to trouble. The film’s 3-D effects seem extraneous, but the spunky vocal characterizations are spot-on and the jokes elicit laughs. 88 Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

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Dining Eastern Influence MOzen Bistro offers variety, any time of day

By Max Jacobson It’s not enough that the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter is the city’s most elegant hotel. It also has cutting-edge French cooking at Pierre Gagnaire’s Twist, and what I call our best three-meal restaurant, the casual MOzen Bistro. MOzen Bistro sits on the third floor at the hotel, reached by the only elevator I know of with a velvet-upholstered bench. Valet parking is de rigueur, but the good news is that I’ve never had to wait more than five minutes for my car (as opposed to an interminable waiting time at the adjacent Aria). What makes MOzen great is that executive chef Shawn Armstrong, a personable American with chops in his own right, has so much help it almost seems unfair. The hotel caters to a tony Asian clientele, so the restaurant needs to satisfy all their whims.

Photo by Anthony Mair

Continued on page 94

Embarrassment of riches: the Royal Tandori Platter.

July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 93


Dining

MOzen Bistro Continued from page 93

because I love the rice porridge, a.k.a. congee. Here, have it with chicken, scallops or shrimp, an enormous bowl of Asian comfort food, flanked by sides of toasted peanuts, fresh ginger, marinated spring onion and chili sauce. Western breakfasts are sublime, too; great pancakes with real maple syrup, walnut banana bread French toast, or Southern eggs, poached with pulled pork and homemade buttermilk biscuits. Lunch is a good time for Asian fare. Japanese customers will be pleasantly surprised to see toro, their prized fatty tuna belly, on the sushi list for only $15; they’d pay three to four times that in Tokyo. Salt and pepper calamari, a Chinese dish, is great for sharing. The crust is as light and crisp as first-rate Japanese tempura. The house pad thai is exquisite, not sticky sweet as in most of our Thai restaurants. Spice lovers might cotton to lamb shank curry served with a tray of Indian condiments, rice and thick lentil gravy. I prefer it to any such dish I’ve eaten in Las Vegas. Things are quiet during the evening, a good time to indulge in the American fare created by Armstrong. The 72-hour short ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, sensuously perfumed with rosemary and thyme. The best fish dish might be herb-roasted Alaskan halibut with green peppercorn butter sauce. The dessert list is short and sweet. There is a classic lemon tart, and something called matcha, a green tea mascarpone accompanied by an espresso-soaked, hard Italian biscotto. Never the twain shall meet? That sentiment is woefully out of date. MOzen Bistro at Mandarin Oriental, 590-8888. Breakfast 6:30-11 a.m.; lunch 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner 6-10:30 p.m. Lunch for two, $43-$95.

Asian comfort food: a bento box (top) and sushi being prepared.

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Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Revel in Sinatra’s wine, an off-Strip innovator and superb bargains By Max Jacobson One of the things making Wynn Las Vegas such a compelling destination for foodies is owner Steve Wynn’s insistence on having his chefs in house. Alex Stratta, Jet Tila and Paul Bartolotta are just three of the stars cooking every day at the hotel. The talents of Theo Schoenegger, executive chef at Sinatra, shone brightly at a recent wine dinner for Sinatra Family Vineyards, attended by Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Tina, and Wynn himself. The chef did a menu of delicacies to match the Sinatra Family’s La Voce Sangiovese, from Tuscany, and the cabernet sauvignon from the Napa Valley. The dishes included polpettini, bite-sized meatballs, and the chef’s signature agnolotti with summer truffles. Over in Green Valley, at Todd’s Unique Dining, 4350 E. Sunset Road, another chef answers the call every day, except Sundays, when he has a family day and the restaurant is closed. That man is Todd Clore, who runs one of the few really outstanding restaurants in the city that’s not located in a casino. Clore came to Vegas from Laguna Beach, Calif., and for a time, toiled as a chef at Bally’s. But he longed for his own place, and realized that dream seven years ago. Clore’s cooking is eclectic, with south-of-theborder and Asian touches; terrific pot stickers, steak on fire, some of the best desserts in town. Open for dinner only. Call 259-8633. Meanwhile, the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at the Paris is offering a good deal, a $59 pre-theater menu. It’s a chance to eat in one of the Strip’s top restaurants without lightening the wallet too radically. The starter is Maine Peeky Toe crab salad with avocado and cucumber, the entrée is chicken with baby spinach and chorizo, or lemon-poached Atlantic salmon with braised green asparagus, and dessert is crème brûlée. The menu is available 5-6 p.m. weekdays only. Weekends see another bargain, a country-style, blowout breakfast at Memphis Championship Barbecue, served from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday and Sunday. Blue Ribbon Breakfasts ($6-$11) such as smoked pork and eggs come with a choice of country potatoes or grits, spiced apples and either toast or buttermilk biscuits. There are johnnycakes—fluffy cornmeal griddled cakes served with candied apple syrup—and a real Monte Cristo, like a French toast sandwich stuffed with ham, turkey and Swiss. As if all this weren’t enough, there are even bread pudding bites with a warm praline sauce. Better loosen that belt before you show up for a breakfast here. Hungry, yet? Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at foodwinekitchen.com.

Photography by Anthony Mair

That’s why the kitchen has a top-notch sushi master, a dim sum chef, even an Indian chef making the best tandoori in Las Vegas. Order the Royal Tandoori Platter, for instance, and you’ll get beautiful pieces of lamb, chicken and shrimp with an amazing spice crust. Dim sum like ha gow shrimp dumplings and barbecued pork buns are as good as you’d get in Hong Kong. What an embarrassment of riches! The dining room has a clean, slightly sterile feel, punctuated by a trio of steel and glass chandeliers. Seating is either at view tables or at a series of leatherupholstered banquettes. The noise level is subdued at best; lighting is, in the classic Asian manner, on the bright side. I love to come here for breakfast, not because of the complimentary newspapers and filter coffee, but

Diner’s Notebook


Dining

Dishing Got a favorite dish? Tell us at comments@weeklyseven.com.

The King at Memphis Championship Barbecue

This chain restaurant features classic family recipes and authentic slow-cooked barbecue dishes. A sandwich that is certainly fit for a royal appetite, The King is a towering pile of shredded barbecue pork and topped with Memphis-style slaw, barbecue sauce and Mike’s Magic Dust (a secret family sauce recipe). $4.50 sandwich, $7.99 with a choice of two sides, 2250 E. Warm Springs Road, 260-6909; 4379 Las Vegas Blvd. North, 644-0000; 1401 S. Rainbow Blvd., 254-0520.

96  Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Chicken Quesadilla at Diablo’s Cantina

This quesadilla is sinfully delicious with pulled jalapeño-spiced chicken, lots of blended cheeses and cilantro in a tortilla. It is served with sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo. Walk up to second-floor nightclub Diablo’s, right on the Strip, if you’re in the mood. $15, Monte Carlo, 730-7979.

French Onion Soup at Mimi’s Café

This traditional soup is especially delicious. Available every day and served in a crock, the beef broth is enhanced with sautéed onions and seasonings. It is topped with Swiss, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses and a toasted baguette, making it the perfect comfort food. $4.50 small and $5.50 large, 596 N. Stephanie St., 458-0726; 7315 Arroyo Crossing Parkway, 492-1573; 1121 S. Fort Apache Road, 341-0365.

Ambrosia and Naga Truffles at Vosges

For the sweet lovers, Vosges has two must-have treats. The first one is a Naga truffle, which is a combination of sweet Indian curry powder, coconut and milk chocolate. This truffle was inspired by the tribes of northeast India and its fertile landscapes. The next truffle, Ambrosia, promises to melt in your mouth with Macadamia nuts, Cointreau liqueur and white chocolate. $2.25 each, Forum Shops at Caesars, 836-9866.


Dining 

Profile Healthy life, healthy food: Ladecki handpicks each menu item.

Sami Ladeki

SEVEN THINGS SAMI CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT

By Elizabeth Sewell

Wine. Jesus drank wine, so it’s good enough for me.   It’s good for the heart and good for the soul.

In the 1980s America was on a running craze, and  carbohydrates dominated the dinner table. At least  that’s what Sami Ladeki, the owner and creator of  Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, says when describing  how he got the idea to open a pizza restaurant.  The Lebanese-born Ladeki knows that things have  changed, and he has given his menu a healthier, more  balanced slant. The pizza, though, can trace its roots  to the country’s obsession with running. Ladeki’s path to pizza took him to almost every  continent and countless cities before settling in Las  Vegas and San Diego. He left Lebanon at the age  of 20 to study hotel and restaurant management in  Germany, and it was soon after graduation while he  was working in London where his path diverted to the  United States. Ladeki soon found himself working at  Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. “I was like a kid  in Disneyland,” Ladeki says. It was 1968 and like so many young men at that  time Ladeki was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army  during the Vietnam War. Unwilling to give up his  U.S. visa and return to Lebanon, Ladeki spent two  years working in an Army mess hall. “It was scary,”  Ladeki says. “Looking back now, it was the best  experience I’ve had in my life.” Back safely in the civilian world, Ladeki moved  around the country, managing restaurants and  98 Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010

nightclubs and even taking a stint as the food and  beverage manager at Caesars Palace. It was on a trip  to California to visit his brother in 1989 that Ladeki  finalized the idea to open his own restaurant. It was  his favorite, Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, that served as  an inspiration for Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, and  he turned to Puck’s former pizza guru Ed LaDou to  consult on the menu.  Twenty one years and 17 restaurants later, Ladeki  still handpicks each item on the menu, and aims to  keep ingredients fresh and healthy. “I lead a healthy  life and eat healthy food and I try to give my customers the same thing,” Ladeki says. He steers clear of  heavy mayonnaise-based dressings for salads and tries  to cut trans fat and excess oils from pizza ingredients.  “The country is going that way, and we have to go  with the flow.” This flow had led to a menu filled with a lot more  variety than just pizza. Ladeki has added a smallbites menu, a plethora of salads and tacos and mini  burgers to Sammy’s repertoire. “I like pedestrian  food,” he says. “As long as you give people goodquality food with good value, they will eat it.” Ladeki keeps the menu evolving with new dishes  inspired by his colorful background and constant  travel. Food, he said, is like fashion—people’s tastes  are always changing. 

Music. Jazz, soul … I like European influences as  well, Italian, Spanish, French.  It’s all great as long as  the rhythm and soul are there. Great, healthy food. “Eat Well. Feel Good” is the  Sammy’s tagline, because this is my motto.  I’ve always  followed a Mediterranean diet, and we try to impress  these principles at our restaurants as much as our  guests will allow us. The Caribbean sea and sunshine. One of my  favorite places on the globe. Beauty, warmth, cleanliness, clarity of the water. It clears my mind from the  hectic business pace and relaxes me. Southern France. The excitement here rejuvenates  me.  I travel here as often as I can; utter sophistication,  elegance and history. The region is so well preserved,  and the people are unlike any other. Chocolate. I’m addicted; who isn’t? I practically  shoot it into my veins. Giorgio Armani. Everything Mr. Armani represents—class, style, polish—is admirable. I buy his  clothing because it fits. No alterations are ever needed.   Absolute precision in everything he does.

Photo by Anthony Mair

World travels inspire creator of Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza


Travel First resorts Looking for a full-service retreat? Here are four of latest and greatest destination hotels out West By Geraldine Campbell A Classic Revisited: Park Hyatt Aviara (Carlsbad, Calif.) The Aviara isn’t new, but it was recently reborn as a Park Hyatt. Built in 1997 as a Four Seasons, the iconic property is reminiscent of the Breakers in Palm Beach or the Hotel del Coronado: A grand entrance, lined by towering palms trees and indigo-flowered jacarandas, leads to a sprawling Spanish colonial resort on 205 acres, with an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, a 15,000-squarefoot spa and six tennis courts. Driving in from Las Vegas, it feels as if the temperature drops with each passing minute, and by the time I reach Carlsbad, my car thermometer reads 75, a full 30 degrees cooler than the scorching desert I left behind. The valet attendant, noticing my bike, suggests a ride along the old Highway 101—and remembers my name for the remainder of my stay. My room, on the fifth floor, features a private balcony that overlooks the pool. The huge soaking tub beckons, but not before a quick bike ride to scope out the beach. For less athletically inclined guests, there’s a “beach butler” who will get you there and supply you with towels, chairs and umbrella. Dinner at the Argyle steak house, overlooking the 18th hole, is a must. And every morning should start with a ginseng herbal facial, followed by breakfast of La Columbe coffee and warm beignets. parkaviara.hyatt.com; from $280.

Park Hyatt Aviara

100 Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain

Urban Escape: W Hollywood Residences There’s been much buzz about the “new W,” and the latest opening is definitely part of the new-and-improved brand portfolio. Yes, you’ll still find Bliss bath products and sexy valet attendants, but the look—red-carpet entrance, glitzy crystal chandeliers, grand spiral staircase—is pure Hollywood. And despite the hotel’s location in a slightly seedy part of town, everyone from bellboy to receptionist manages to make you feel like an A-lister. The “Wonderful” room is basic but comfy enough, and the Cool Corner Suites have wraparound windows with views of the iconic Hollywood sign. We suggest you leave all your gadgets at home, but if you must travel with your iPhone, iPod and iPad, rooms are kitted out with the Sanctuary, an all-in-one charger with cords for whatever you’re packing. And if you’re feeling nostalgic for Vegas, there’s an outpost of Drai’s on the top floor. hotels.com/hollywood, from $219. Desert Oasis: Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain (Marana, Ariz.) Tap into your inner John Wayne at this Sonoran Desert retreat tucked into the Tortolita mountains. The 253-room property feels like a family ranch of epic proportions, and while the heat isn’t any less oppressive here, it’s certainly a change of pace from the Strip—it’s 30 miles to Tucson, if you need nightlife. But that’s sort of the point: Out here, it’s all about communing with nature, albeit in posh digs. If you tire of admiring the ancient petroglyphs and majestic Saguaro, book an early tee time at the Jack Nicklaus golf course (where the Accenture Match Play Championship is held each February) or opt for a sunrise hike on the property’s 20-odd miles of trails. Cool off in one of three pools—the 235-foot waterslide is a must—and spend afternoons getting pampered at the spa. Dinner at Core, helmed by Dean Fearing protégé Joel Harrington, is a must for hearty

The W Hollywood

Southwestern fare, such as prickly pear barbecued quail. ritzcarlton.com/dovemountain, from $169. Family Fun: Trump Waikiki (Hawaii) Let’s be honest: Trump Las Vegas missed the mark (its saving grace is the plush purple spa), but the Donald got it right in Waikiki, where his 462-suite resort is the first luxury property to open in 25 years. The building isn’t much to look at from the exterior, but you’ll be won over by the two-story open-air lobby and spacious suites that have full kitchens—perfect for traveling with tots in tow. Get there on Hawaiian Airlines (nonstop flights from $214 each way) and have your personal attaché stock your refrigerator with groceries. For daytime fun, the beach is just 200 yards away—have the attache arrange for water sports and box lunches. At night, sip cocktails and relax by the sixth-floor infinity pool. trumpwaikikihotel.com, from $299.

Trump Waikiki


SportS & LeiSure Hoops Hotbed Vegas Summer League puts city at center of NBA offseason activity

With Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall, this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick following an All-American freshman year at Kentucky, ready to make his professional debut at the NBA Vegas Summer League, event organizers are bound to have another overwhelming success. “I think his games will be packed; I think they’ll be sold out,” says Albert Hall, vice president of business operations for the Summer League. “I think people know that for a $25 ticket, I don’t think you can get a better value in sports.” The Vegas Summer League, set for July 9-18 at Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center, has established itself in just six years as one of the top places in the world to watch professional basketball. All-Stars such as Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant and Al Horford headline the list of players who have taken the floor here on their way to NBA success. With 10 of this year’s 14 top draft picks expected to play in Las Vegas this month, the city will once again become the hotbed of NBA offseason activity—excluding the hype surrounding this year’s star-studded class of free agents. The league is holding its Board of Governors meeting here for the second straight year, and NBA players, coaches and executives can be found daily getting a dose of Summer League competition. With the Summer League growing from six teams in 2004 to 23 squads this year, Hall calls it a basketball powerhouse, with the only other NBA Summer League being held in Orlando, Fla., with just eight teams. “The NBA is obviously the premier league; it’s the best league in the world,” Hall says. “We think this is the second-best league in the world.” One major advantage the NBA holds over the NFL and Major League Baseball is that

rookie salaries are determined entirely by draft order, which guarantees that there are no contract holdouts and all draftees enter training camp on time and participate in the Summer League. “It’s very nice for us to ensure that the top players are going to be there,” Hall says. “And more importantly, the teams love them there. ... It’s a great way for those rookies to get in, get situated, understand the system and really start playing at a high level.” With so many people watching—all 58 Vegas Summer League games can also be seen on NBA TV and NBA.com—players give it their all during play, knowing that reputations can be made and opportunities can be found with an impressive showing. “The reality is: Everybody plays hard,” Hall says. “The rookies are trying to impress; the seasoned guys are trying to make a team and get a job, and the overseas guys are trying to get some exposure.” The Summer League is usually a good barometer on how well rookies will fare during the NBA regular season. Last season’s standouts were the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, the top overall pick in last year’s draft; Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans; Golden State’s Stephen Curry; and Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings. And while Griffin’s season was destroyed by injury, Evans was named NBA Rookie of the Year, while Curry and Jennings finished second and third, respectively. While Wall and fellow rookies such as Minnesota’s Wesley Johnson, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Detroit’s Greg Monroe are expected to gain most of the headlines this year, it is often unheralded players who earn the most attention. A leading example of this is Golden State guard Anthony Morrow, who scored a Summer League-record 47 points last year against New Orleans after going un-

drafted out of Georgia Tech in 2008. “The beauty of the Summer League is there are diamonds in the rough every year,” Hall says. “You have a really good idea who is going to make it [with the top draft picks], but it’s those second-tier guys that step up and make a name for themselves. The NBA is a lot about confidence, and if they can come out of the Summer League with a swagger, their play is accelerated and their learning curve is accelerated.” Along with rising prominence, the Vegas Summer League attracts more and more fans each season. Last year, attendance was 4,370 per day, up from 4,036 in 2008, and Hall expects that number to grow again. “Having both gyms allows us to continually have top action for up to seven and eight games per day,” he says. “So we just want to keep growing the model, growing the market, obviously provide great talent and continue to increase the fan experience.” Tickets for the Vegas Summer League can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack box office or through unlvtickets.com. All general admission tickets are $25 per day; seniors and children 3-12 are $15 per day; and children 2 and under are admitted free of charge. For the complete schedule of games, go to NBA.com. Wizards rookie John Wall.

Trio of 51s selected for Triple-A All-Star Game Las Vegas 51s left fielder Chris Lubanski was thrilled to be voted to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game this year, especially with it being played in Allentown, Pa., just 50 miles from where he grew up. However, an undisclosed injury suffered July 4 likely will keep Lubanski out of the July 14 minor-league showcase. There are still two other Las Vegas players, though, who will make the trip. J.P. Arencibia will be the Pacific Coast League’s starting catcher against the International League, and first base51s left fielder Chris Lubanski. 102

Vegas Seven July 8-14, 2010

man Brett Wallace earned a reserve spot. Through July 5, Arencibia was hitting .317 and led the 51s in homers (21), doubles (26) and RBIs (57), while Wallace was batting .301 with 14 homers and 42 RBIs. Lubanski, with a .308 average, 14 home runs and 46 RBIs, was the PCL’s top votegetter in online fan balloting. The Triple-A All-Star Game can be seen live on MLB Network at 4 p.m. – Sean DeFrank

Wall photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images; Lubanski courtesy Las Vegas 51s.

By Sean DeFrank


Going for Broke

Superiority in arms race gives NL All-Stars edge By Matt Jacob As a kid growing up in the Bay Area in the late 1970s, I used to look forward to three things every summer: 1) The San Francisco Giants wallowing in (or very near) last place; 2) The family car pulling into our driveway after a nine-hour, 400-mile journey from my grandparents’ house in Southern California (bad enough that Dad refused to push the speedometer needle past 55, but even worse that the 8-track rotation would be Engelbert Humperdinck, Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow); and 3) Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Back in the days of bell-bottoms and feathered hair, there was no better summer evening than flipping on the TV (by hand, of course), maneuvering the rabbit ears just so and settling in to watch Steve Garvey, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tom Seaver kick the crap out of the American League. For 11 consecutive seasons from 197282, the National League dominated baseball’s “Midsummer Classic.” And if not for Reggie Jackson’s 520-foot home run at Tiger Stadium in 1971, the NL would have won 20 straight from 1963-82. Well, the times they have a changed, haven’t they? Instead of 8-tracks, rabbit ears and the NL owning the All-Star Game, we have iPods, satellite dishes and the AL destroying the NL like Tiger Woods does a marriage. On July 13 in Anaheim, Calif., the AL will attempt to extend its winning streak to 13 in a row (not counting the infamous 2002 tie). Going back to 1988, the AL is 18-3-1 in All-Star action. So of course it’s an absolute lock that the AL will once again light up the NL like Snoop Dogg does a bong, right? Not so fast! I’m playing the NL to win for the first time since Bill Clinton was in his first term as president and Michelle Pfeiffer was still hot (1996). Why will this year be different? First off, the last four All-Star Games were one-run nail-biters with the AL prevailing, 3-2, 5-4, 4-3 and 4-3 (including a 15-inning marathon in 2008). Translation: The NL has been very close to breaking through in recent years. Secondly, injuries, voting snubs and the new rule prohibiting pitchers who start on the Sunday prior to the All-Star

break from pitching in the All-Star Game will rob the AL of some of its best players. Among those not expected to participate are three injured Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez and Clay Buchholz), ace pitchers Felix Hernandez of Seattle and Jered Weaver of the Angels (snubbed), and Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia (likely unable to pitch). Finally, and most importantly, the balance of power on the mound belongs to the NL this year. Check out the arms that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will have at his disposal: Ubaldo Jimenez, Adam Wainwright, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay and Tim Hudson—five guys with ERAs under 2.50. And that doesn’t even include former Cy Young Award winners Chris Carpenter and Tim Lincecum. Add it all up and throw in what is certain to be an underdog price, and I’ll take a shot with the NL to increase my bankroll (which now sits at $5,345). ALL-STAR BONUS PLAY: I’ve already detailed the incredible pitching staff the NL has assembled, as well as how the past four All-Star Games have seen less scoring than Bill Gates’ bachelor party. Beyond that, we’ve already had four no-hitters this year (five if you count the perfect game stolen from the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga), making this without question the Year of the Pitcher. Two additional factors point toward a low-scoring game: 21 of the last 30 AllStar contests have featured nine runs or fewer, and with this game being played on the West Coast, shadows will come into play at Angel Stadium for at least a couple of innings, giving the pitchers a big advantage. I smell another 4-3 final. THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS: $200 – National League to win the All-Star Game (Estimated odds: +130) $50 – All-Star Game UNDER the total (Estimated total: 9 runs) 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. July 8-14, 2010 Vegas Seven 103


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Seven QueStionS Lacey Jones A talk with ‘Poker Barbie’ reveals how she got her start in the game, and why you shouldn’t underestimate her By Elizabeth Sewell

Who taught you how to play poker? The first person to teach me was my grandmother. I could get money when we would have our summer vacations, so instead of playing gin rummy with my mom I insisted on playing blackjack or something that would make money. It was never anything I took seriously and I never actually thought that it was a guy’s game, so in high school and college I would play home games with my guy friends and I would always be the only girl at the table that knew how to play. So it would be a bunch of guys, my jock friends. All my other girlfriends were doing shots and hanging out chatting and dancing at the parties and I was making money, which is kind of funny. How does being a woman affect how you play poker? A lot of people talk about being tight-aggressive or loose-aggressive. I obviously have those in my arsenal, but I also play fun and flirty, which I know a lot of females probably disagree with my 110

Vegas Seven  July 8-14, 2010

take on, but I feel like if I make friends with the guys at the table and they like how I look, then they’re going to play a different way to me, they’re not going to want me to get off the table. They’re going to play a little bit softer. If I do take down a big pot they’re not going to be as angry with me because I’ve made friends with them already. Who are some of your favorite players to play with? I’ve been lucky to know a lot of these players and a lot of them are just a ball of fun. It’s almost like a family at this point, I’ve been playing with them for so many years. You have to love Mike Matusow, he’s always out there loud and obnoxious and talking, but that’s just his style and he’s really good at what he does. Gavin Smith … he’s probably one of my favorite people to play with; he’s just a ball of fun. He actually just won a bracelet last week, which makes me so happy that he finally got something like that. Why do you think America is obsessed with poker? I feel like in a capitalist society people always want to make themselves better. When we had [Chris] Moneymaker in 2003 win the [WSOP] Main Event from a $30 satellite, people said, “Wow, maybe I can do that, if he has a chance I have a chance.” It’s just a glimmer of hope that they could become a millionaire one day. It’s a game that everyone can play. It’s easy to learn. It’s very difficult to master, but at the same time anyone can really learn how to play hold ’em. I could never be a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys—it’s just not going to happen—but I can have a chance at winning a bracelet if I try my hardest and try to play my best poker. How do you get taken seriously and not just be “Poker Barbie”? At first it kind of bothered me when I got the nickname. I got it at the Borgata

[casino in Atlantic City] in a tournament where a guy kept saying he couldn’t believe he lost to the “Poker Barbie.” He made a really bad play and of course he didn’t assume that I knew how to play at all. I embraced it in a way that if people are going to underestimate me then I take full advantage and that gives me more power at the table. Why don’t more women play poker? I think it’s the intimidation factor. There are a lot of women playing online now, where you can act like you’re a guy on the tables. I used to have screen names that sounded like I was a guy so they’d be like, “Nice hand, bro,” and I would say, “Thanks, man.” I think a lot

of people in this society in general, when they think of poker they think of a bunch of guys, poker night, smoking cigars and talking about their lives or whatever. But with women all they have to do is just step into a casino and realize that anyone can sit down and play this game. Do you believe in luck? I do. I think there are some people that are very lucky and I think that just putting it out there I try telling myself that I’m a lucky person in general with my life and I’m very grateful for the things that have happened to me. If you think you’re lucky then you will be lucky, and if you think you’re unlucky you’re going to be unlucky. I try to stay positive.

Photo by Anthony Mair

Although poker is a notorious boy’s club, Texas native Lacey Jones has found a way to reconcile her model looks with an ability to keep pace with some of the world’s best card players. Jones learned to play poker at a young age to earn candy money. She played throughout high school and college, scoring extra cash at nearly all-male tables. After taking up modeling and acting, she began hosting poker events. But her poker skills didn’t go unnoticed. She landed in her first World Series of Poker in 2005, and became the official WSOP hostess in 2007. She’s been dubbed “Poker Barbie,” and has developed a unique style that plays to her femininity. When not participating in major events, or practicing at Caesars Palace or the Venetian, she works on her charity that helps soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. She’s about to embark on a USO Poker Tour.


Saving the Preserve  

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

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