September 2-8, 2010
The Winner UNLV football has been mired in mediocrity for 30 years. Bobby Hauck is here to change that.
Plus: Solving the riddle of David CopperďŹ eld Sharron Angle, before she was a Republican Labor Day pool party guide
ANNOUNCING MOHAN AND MAJESTIC, OUR TWO NEW WHITE TIGER CUBS. Oversized paws. Fuzzy ears. Curious blue eyes. The wonder of these adorable animals is something you can’t miss. But if you wait too long, you will. See them, along with the rest of our Ambassadors of Conservation, at Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat.
For visiting hours and ticket information, call or go online. 702.791.7188 • miragehabitat.com
RAY ROMANO & KEVIN JAMES September 10 & 11
For tickets, please visit mirage.com or call
Performing in the Terry Fator Theatre.
This Week in Your CiTY 13
A celebration of horses, a clever park for dogs, and an iconic telethon to ﬁght MDA highlight the Labor Day weekend. By Patrick Moulin
A look at sharron Angle’s past political afﬁliations, and why Las Vegas is lagging behind other housing markets beginning to recover. Plus: David G. Schwartz’s Green Felt Journal and Michael Green on Politics.
Why all eyes are on spain’s rafael nadal as he competes in the u.s. open. Plus: The New York Observer crossword puzzle and the weekly column by personal ﬁnance guru Kathy Kristof.
arts & ENtErtaiNmENt
The myth and the magic of David Copperﬁeld, and Cole Smithey says “Mexploitation” is all the rage in Machete.
Three delightful wine, cheese and meat pairings to share with friends. By Max Jacobson Plus: Max Jacobson’s Diner’s Notebook and a proﬁle of fun-loving restaurant mover-and-shaker kelley Jones.
Grand plans take shape for the F street connector, and another ignominious ranking for our city and state. Plus: trends, Tweets, tech and gossip. The Latest Thought: sell unLV to China for $6 billion. By Douglas Unger
its pedestrian-friendly downtown is among the reasons salt Lake City is a heavenly retreat. By T.R. Witcher
The Jewish Community Center opens in style, and o-Vino raises a glass for a good cause.
sports & LEisurE
Junior wide receiver Phillip Payne is a focal point of this year’s unLV offense. By Sean DeFrank Plus: Matt Jacob likes Missouri over illinois in Going for Broke.
This week’s Look, a few choice Enviables and the Las Vegas outlet Center gets a makeover.
Seven Nights ahead, fabulous parties past and question-and-answer sessions with DJs sharam and Pete Tong.
Above: A do-it-yourself tasting platter. see Page 93. Photo by Anthony Mair On the Cover: unLV football coach Bobby hauck. Photo by Anthony Mair
esPn’s Colin Cowherd on what makes for compelling radio and why Las Vegas isn’t ready for a pro sports franchise. By Sean DeFrank
A winner wherever he’s paced the sideline, Bobby hauck opens a new era in unLV football. By Matt Jacob September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 9
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Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Matt Jacob “Game Face,” Page 32 When given the opportunity to proﬁle new UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck, Jacob was equal parts enthusiastic and apprehensive. Enthusiastic because he was curious why Hauck—who won 80 of 97 games in seven years at Montana—would choose to make the leap to Division I-A football at UNLV, which has had just three winning seasons since 1992; apprehensive because he was aware of Hauck’s reputation for distrusting reporters and was concerned he wouldn’t open up. “What I found in our discussion at a coffee house across from campus was an engaging, extremely conﬁdent and highly motivated coach,” says Jacob, “but one who never lets down his guard and never strays far from coach-speak.”
Natalie Holbrook “Your Labor Day Weekend Pool Party Itinerary,” Page 54 After living in Las Vegas for a month, San Francisco native Holbrook gave in to her passion for the city’s nightlife, music and events and U-Hauled the rest of her life to the desert. When she’s not tending to her goal of traveling the world via music and ﬁlm festivals, the soon-tobe UNLV grad spends her time digging for new jams, practicing yoga and indulging in her style addiction.
Douglas Unger “A Modest Proposal,” Page 18 Unger is the author of four novels, including Leaving the Land (Harper & Row, 1984), a ﬁnalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Voices From Silence (St. Martin’s Press, 1995), a selection of The Washington Post’s “Book World.” His most recent book is Looking for War and Other Stories (Persea Books, 2004). His new work appears in Southwest Review, Boulevard and The Writer’s Chronicle. In 1991, he came to Las Vegas to cofound the MFA in Creative Writing International program, then later, the Schaeffer Ph.D. with a creative dissertation. In July 2007, both writing programs were cited by the Atlantic magazine as among the top ﬁve in their categories nationally, and in November 2007 were honored by Poets & Writers as being among the top nine programs in their categories. Unger served as interim chair of the Department of English from 2007 to 2009.
Editor’s note In the last issue, we featured Rumor mixologist Thomas Kunick’s Foxtail cocktail. The Foxtail was originally created for and ﬁrst appeared on the spring 2010 menu at Downtown Cocktail Room before currently being served at Rumor. The Foxtail is still a part of the DCR cocktail repertoire and is available for $10.
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Visit the Vegas Seven website September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 11
The highlights of this week in your city.
Compiled by Patrick Moulin
Thur. 2 The Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse—which we didn’t even know existed until now—is once again putting on Celebration 2010, a show dedicated to the esteemed breed. The four-day event takes place in the South Point Equestrian Center and features photography workshops, art exhibits, demonstrations from top instructors and breeders, and a national judging competition. Most events are free to the public, but check southpointeventscenter.com for speciﬁcs before you go.
Fri. 3 Now that we’re well into the dog days of summer, it’s only ﬁtting that Henderson open the gates to its Bark Park at Heritage Park, 300 Racetrack Road. The new, ﬁve-acre dog sanctuary is the largest in Henderson and features agility courses, dog runs, walking paths, benches shaped like giant bones and even drinking fountains for use by man and/or beast. Speciﬁcally designed with input from pet owners, Bark Park features an 18-foot-long, 6-foot-tall puppy statue that still needs a name. If you’ve got one in mind, or for more information, visit cityofhenderson.com.
Rebel photo by Anthony Mair
Sat. 4 We don’t usually see many badgers in the Valley—this is cougar country—but that will change today as the UNLV Rebel football team takes on the Big Ten’s Wisconsin Badgers at 8 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium. This is Bobby Hauck’s ﬁrst stint at a Division I program, but the winningest coach in Montana history brings much-needed buzz to the program after a disappointing 5-7 record last season. Be sure to support your Rebels as they try to kick off the season with a win. Check unlvtickets.com for more information.
Sun. 5 Filling 21 and one-half hours of television airtime can’t be easy, but the Jerry Lewis Labor Day MDA Telethon makes it look like it is. Originating, for the ﬁfth year, from the South Point Casino, the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual telethon is full of musical acts from all over the spectrum, including Barry Manilow, Lynyrd Skynryd and Enrique Iglesias. Also lending their talents to the event will be local comedians Carrot Top, Terry Fator and George Wallace, and performers from popular Strip shows. Visit mda.org for more information.
Mon. 6 Bankruptcy, foreclosure and divorce are realities for many Las Vegans, making the free law classes at UNLV an important resource. Held at various times and locations across town, local attorneys and students from the UNLV Boyd School of Law teach classes on family law, small claims, Social Security disability beneﬁts and tenants’ rights and other topics. For a fall class schedule call 895-3671, or visit law.unlv.edu.
Tues. 7 Tired of the gym routine? Try the library. The Las Vegas West Library (951 W. Lake Mead Blvd.) is holding a night of virtual exercise on the Wii, beginning at 4 p.m. If you’d like something a bit more exotic, the Shifting Sands Belly Dancing Guild has free belly dancing lessons at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road). It’s all about seduction and nice abs. Call 451-7483 for more information.
Wed. 8 As evidence that Las Vegas is not as devoid of culture as many would have you believe, we offer UNLV’s awardwinning Liberace Jazz Quartet displaying their chops in front of a live audience. The concert takes place at the main theater of the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) at 7 p.m. and features the top students from the Jazz Studies program at this free monthly concert.
September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 13
Go west: Someday youโll be able toโand in styleโin the new F Street connector.
Wine Walk This Way
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The Jewish Community Center is now open in Summerlin.
Any Way You Like It
Here We Go Again
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Star-studded parties, celebrity sightings, juicy rumors and other glitter.
another Tangle for paris
Roses, tears and validation at Rumor.
Ah, the Single Life The Aug. 29 poolside nuptials at Rumor between Bachelor contestant Ann Lueders and Bachelorette hopeful Jesse Csincsak drew a litany of Bachelor alumni; enough that when The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad form an independent corporation of professional romance seekers, this crew could be their workforce. Among the attendees were Chris Bradshaw, Brian Westendorf, Jeannette Pawula, Tara Durr, Jason and Molly Mesnick, Jesse Kovacs, John Hardesty, Vienna Girardi, David Vargas, Suzie Williams, Natalie Getz, Nikki Kaapke, Renee Simlak and Adam Duvendeck, who all jump-started the celebration on Aug. 28 at Vanity inside the Hard Rock Hotel. It was roses, champagne, hot tubs, tears and a desperate need for validation as far as the eye could see.
Got a juicy tip? firstname.lastname@example.org
boyfriend) that evening was Cy Waits, managing partner of XS and Tryst. Waits was charged with driving under the inﬂuence of drugs and/or alcohol. Hilton will be charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, which could net her anywhere from probation to four years in the tank.
Now we see the power of the Shaggy defense in action. Paris Hilton will cling to “It wasn’t me” as her excuse after getting popped for possession of cocaine the night of Aug. 27. Hey, it worked for her weed bust in South Africa earlier this summer. Stick to what you know. After Hilton was brought into the Wynn’s security ofﬁce, she told Lt. Dennis Flynn of Metro that she needed to put on some lip balm. It’s just that lip balm usually goes on the outside of your lips. Not, say, rubbed on your gums. When she opened the purse, Flynn spotted what appeared to be cocaine as “a clear baggy began to fall from the purse into my hand,” according to his written report. Then came the litany of denials. Hilton said the purse wasn’t hers, the cosmetics in the bag weren’t hers, the baggie wasn’t hers, but the $1,300 Hilton looks better in her in cash, broken tablet of Al- booking photo (right) than buterol, package of Zig Zag you do on a good day. rolling papers and credit It was a roller-coaster week for Waits, cards were hers. Even better, she said she who took over the Wynn and Encore thought the 0.8 grams of cocaine was, in clubs, along with twin brother Jesse, fact, gum. after Victor Drai ofﬁcially parted with But Metro wasn’t buying the story that Wynn Las Vegas. Before that, Waits nearly a gram of blow was Juicy Fruit. was in Los Angeles with Hilton when She claimed the purse—and the coke— an intruder with two knives was found belonged to a friend. It’s like when you looking into a window at the heiress’ put on a winter coat you haven’t worn in home. Waits pulled a gun on the guy, a while and ﬁnd $10 in the pocket. Nathan Parada, and held him until Hilton was released about 2:45 a.m. police arrived. the following morning. Her driver (and
Snoop to the Rescue
American Idol Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino was back onstage just weeks after a suicide attempt. It seems that Snoop Dogg, like time, heals all wounds. Snoop was headlining the Fantasy Football Superdraft tailgate party at the Palms pool on Aug. 27 when Barrino joined him onstage. That night at Rain, Snoop returned the favor as she performed songs from her newly released third album, Back to Me—including a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” She told fans, “They thought I was ﬁnished. They thought I was done. I would never, ever stop. I don’t care what no one says.” Doggy style: Snoop and Barrino at the Palms pool. 16 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Tweets of the Week Compiled by @marseniuk
@SpongeBobThinks Facebook is 4 the people u know. Twitter is 4 the people u wish u knew & Myspace is 4 the people u wish u NEVER met. #FB @dwpoker On my way to the airport in Vegas saw a billboard advertising just @djﬁve. No venue or anything. Real baller shit.
@djjazzyjeff215 Funny when people r having a good time but management isn’t. can u say ... The Right Party at the Wrong Place? Fuck it. AM lives. Ahh yeah. @aplusk I’m watching someone learn [to] Dougie. God I love Vegas.
@Clement23 Wow @OGOchoCinco just said the NFL ﬁne was 2 months payment on his Bugatti. #mustbenice. @TrueTeenLives What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But what happens at high school sure gets around fast!
@duce702 Glenn Beck is so sexy. The way his bigotry glistens in the sunlight... Oooh. Sex to the E.
@50cent I’m looking for a good main girl. I got me a good side bitch already.
@Djaarontheera It’s so cute seeing girls tweeting about football. Wait a minute!? What r they doin’ out of the kitchen? Go make some samitches!
@Adeleena saw Paris Hilton’s mugshot http://bit.ly/aQwiXR and all I could think was, “Like, I want to get my hair done like that!!!”
@AbbyTegnelia I need to reslutty-ify my wardrobe. A year in a Central American pueblo didn’t yield me enough Vegas party dresses. I feel like a nun. @mande_jo On my way in to school I just saw a hitchhiker, a prostitute and a guy dressed in drag... I love Vegas!
Hilton photo by Erik Kabik/Retna,
THE LaTEsT Gossip
THE LaTEsT THougHT a Modest Proposal UNLV needs money. We know who’s got it
Higher education in Nevada is dying. It’s a slow and excruciating demise, an ancient Chinese torture, death by a thousand cuts. The losses so far: eight departments and programs, 100 full-time faculty, at least 300 staff positions, plus 30 more layoffs in the pipeline. Classiﬁed employee salaries have been cut by 6 percent; nontenured faculty salaries by 5 percent. Tenured faculty are slated for similar reductions. And make no mistake: Students are suffering, the undergraduates hard-pressed to get into required courses, graduate students burning out by teaching two-course loads and trying to ﬁnish their degrees while barely subsisting. UNLV is already set back at least 10 years in its mission to build a nationally respected school. With further anticipated cuts, our university may be butchered to what it was 25 years ago—little more than a gloriﬁed, four-year community college, the butt of bad jokes on late-night TV. Yes, times are hard and business is bad. But hostility to public investment in education—stoked by editorials in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that treat teachers like bums— is ruining our state. It’s time to stop the bleeding. My modest proposal: Let’s give the “no new taxes” gang what they apparently want. Let’s sell UNLV. Put it all on the block: land, buildings, infrastructure, faculty and remaining programs. The land alone is valued at $600 million; replacement cost for buildings about $2 billion. Let’s guesstimate that the intellectual assets and “the brand” might be worth as much, with UNLV’s top-ranked College of Hotel Administration the jewel in the crown. Let’s put a price tag of $6 billion on the whole schmear, as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Who would buy? The People’s Republic of China, that’s who. I’ve delivered lectures at and visited Chinese universities, so I’ve seen how China is doing all it can to invest in education and build for the future. For at least 1,800 years—since the Han dynasty originated a civil service examination and ranked scholar system—the Chinese people have proven they revere higher learning and honor the relationship between quality education and the accumulation of wealth. American manufacturing was shipped off to China long ago, and Las Vegas hotel-casino companies are just completing multi-billiondollar resorts in Macau. Why shouldn’t UNLV be the ﬁrst American university to catch the wave? China needs an American university. In China, students are taught to be followers, to repeat verbatim what professors tell them, and the authoritarian government discourages creative thinking. At CHINA-UNLV, we could teach our Chinese students how to be creative, how to reason independently, how to stand out from the crowd. Plus, there’s that priceless Hotel College to help China build its tourism industry into the best on the planet. And what better place than the 340 primo acres of the UNLV campus to park a few loose coins from those mountains of American trade-deﬁcit cash? Six billion dollars: Imagine the joy that check would bring to the no-big-government crowd. The nonpartisan
18 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Tax Foundation has found that every year for the past three decades Nevada has had one of the three lowest combined state and local tax rates in the nation. But China’s purchase would permit a whole new level of public parsimony. Here at last, a guarantee of no new taxes! Six billion would take care of that looming $3 billion budget shortfall, with enough left over for the next shortfall. Enemies of public investment could delight that the investment has already been made—by the Chinese public. Faculty would beneﬁt, too. We could resume developing the research and teaching missions that deﬁne excellence instead of watching the programs we’ve built bleed to death. Every faculty member would get a graduate assistant and generous research funding. But faculty would have to produce. There’s no real tenure system in China; contracts from three to 12 years are as secure as it gets. Professors who don’t show results will be shown the door. With such increased pressure—reporting to a Chinese government committee—CHINA-UNLV would earn a top-tier ranking. And just imagine the donations to a CHINA-UNLV endowment. Does anybody believe Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson and the MGM board won’t drop checks for sums the UNLV Foundation never dreamed of when they’re hit up by ofﬁcers of a government that controls travel visas for Macau-bound gamblers? You can bet Nevada’s casino-mogul cheapskates will donate like never before. CHINA-UNLV would teach mainly Chinese students. They would come to the U.S. on visas and attend for about $1,000 a year plus expenses—average for a public university in China. Only the brightest would be admitted. Professors would have to adjust curriculum radically to better prepare our smart Chinese students. We’d all have to take a stab at learning Mandarin. But at least CHINA-UNLV wouldn’t have to change the colors of team uniforms—just stitch those ﬁve gold stars from the Chinese ﬂag to Runnin’ Rebel red and we’re good to go. The Chinese ﬂag would replace the American ﬂag in the Thomas & Mack Center, and fans would sing “The March of the Volunteers” instead of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” For years, American business leaders have sung to China’s tune, so why shouldn’t we? What about Nevada students? Well, they could also attend CHINA-UNLV, provided they pay tuition at the rates of a good private school: $20,000-$30,000 a year, the price rising as the ranking improves. Hard-working Nevadans dreaming that college can get them or their kids a better shake in life will have to ﬁnd a different dream; China’s investment won’t change our state’s unwillingness to invest in its working poor or middle class. So Nevada students can do what the power elite, state leaders and the editors of the R-J want them to do: Learn to deal cards, sling cocktails, change sheets in hotel rooms or grind away at low-paying service jobs until they either wise up or die trying. In Mandarin, they say it like this: zhù z˘i h˘aoyùn! Good luck!
Illustration by Jerry Miller
By Douglas Unger
The Numbers Guy
Johnny Avello has been called the “Wizard of Odds,” posting lines on everything from sporting events to the Academy Awards to American Idol. But the 57-year-old’s career in Las Vegas started in 1979 under far less prestigious circumstances. The Poughkeepsie, N.Y., native had planned to move to Atlantic City after graduating from the New York School of Gambling, but the city that inspired the board game Monopoly wanted dealers from gaming schools in New Jersey. That led Avello to move here and take a job as a dealer at the Hilton, where he also started writing betting tickets part time in the sports book as a clerk in 1985. That led to jobs at the Sands and Bally’s, where he became sports book director in 1995. At Bally’s, Avello worked under Lenny Del Genio, who started posting odds on the Oscars in the early ’80s. Avello began making his own lines for the Oscars in ’95 and expanded his range to reality shows in 2000 after TV Guide asked him to make odds for the ﬁrst season of Survivor. Now Avello, who moved to Wynn in 2005, gets calls from national publications asking him to set odds for such varied competitions as Dancing With the Stars, the Westminster Dog Show and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and even oddities such as celebrity marriages and rock bands reuniting. He uses the same mathematical formula for entertainment odds as he would on future book odds in the sports world, ensuring that the book makes a proﬁt if an equal amount were bet on every competitor. There’s also a bit of intuition that goes into making entertainment-related odds, as Avello solicits input from trusted coworkers to help sort things out. Avello’s most recent offerings were odds for the Emmy Awards, which were held on Aug. 29. (He nailed Best Comedy Series, Best Drama Series and Best Actor in a Drama). Of course, no legal wagering is allowed in Nevada on any of the entertainment odds, but it’s a great marketing tool for Avello, who follows all the events he posts odds on. “If I’m making odds on it,” he says, “I’m watching it.” – Sean DeFrank
20 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Photo by Anthony Mair
Johnny Avello, The Wynn’s execuTive direcTor of rAce And sporTs book operATions
For more photos from society events in and around Las Vegas, visit weeklyseven.com/society.
Wine and charity The fourth annual O-Vino wine tasting drew a crowd of more than 800 to Opportunity Village’s Englestad Family Campus on Aug. 28. The event helps support Opportunity Village, which provides education, employment and social opportunities for the intellectually challenged. Golden Gaming provided the buffet and Southern Wine & Spirits supplied an array of wine and other beverages. Lee’s Discount Liquor also sponsored the evening.
Photography by Hew Burney
22 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
2011 SLS AMG
It has wings for a reason.
925 Auto Show Drive s In The Valley Auto Mall s Henderson, NV 89014 702.485.3000 s www.mbofhenderson.com
For more photos from society events in and around Las Vegas, visit weeklyseven.com/society.
Home for Good There were few empty seats for the Aug. 29 dedication of the new Jewish Community Center in Summerlin. The ďŹ rst such facility in Southern Nevada, the JCC will house educational, social, athletic and cultural programs on the campus of Temple Sinai, 9001 Hillpointe Road, near Hills Park. Dr. Larry Copeland provided the silver mezuzah used in the opening ceremony, which featured an appearance by U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Las Vegas.
Photography by Sullivan Charles
24â€ƒ Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
at Mandalay Bay Shoppes • Eateries • Fun
CLOTHING • Elton’s Men’s Store • The Las Vegas Sock Market • Metropark • Maude • MAX&Co. • Nora Blue Urban Outﬁtters • Paradise Island • SHOES • Flip Flop Shops • Shoe Obsession • Suite 160 SERVICES • ARCS (A Robert Cromeans Salon) • The Art of Shaving • SPECIALTIES • The Art of Music • Cashman Crystal fashion 101 • Fat Tuesday • Frederick’s of Hollywood • Jack Gallery • LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics • minus5º Ice Lounge Nike Golf • OPTICA • Oro Gold • Peter Lik Gallery • JEWELRY • Forever Silver • Le Paradis • TeNo • FOOD • Burger Bar Rick Moonen’s rm seafood • Starbucks Coffee • Yogurt In • Hussong’s Cantina Easy access from I-15, I-215 and Las Vegas Boulevard to our complimentary 24-hour valet.
French perfumer Lolita Lempicka introduces Si Lolita, a new fragrance in its whimsical line that leaves you loving the bottle—meant to resemble a four-leaf heart—as much as the scent. Notes include mandarin, bergamot, pink peppercorns, sweet pea, elemi, amber, patchouli and tonka bean. $69-$89, Neiman Marcus, Fashion Show.
Conceptual artist Jenny Holzer (see her work in the North Valet at Aria), who is known for her use of wordplay, has joined forces with Keds to create a signature shoe in honor of its sponsorship of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The sneaker says “Protect Me From What I Want.” $70, keds.com.
Photographed by Tomas Muscionico
LAurEN BowEr ANd JohN LIN
Public relations and marketing manager for Wynn Las Vegas, 28; vice president of business develop- ment for Boyd Gaming, 34. What she’s wearing now: Proenza Schouler dress, Manolo Blahnik shoes, Tiffany & Co. gold bracelet and Alexis Bittar earrings. What he’s wearing now: Astor & Black bespoke suit, Salvatore Ferragamo shoes and Camicissima shirt.
Ermenegildo Zegna, Italy’s premier men’s clothier since 1910, is celebrating not only its 100th year but also the debut of its second U.S. Global Concept store at Crystals inside CityCenter. The store represents the brand’s collaboration with architect Peter Marino and incorporates motifs found in Zegna’s textiles into its design.
About his style, John says, “Stay sharp but not too fussy. Go with a tailored suit or vintage trainers. Or both.” While Lauren leans more toward the laws of high fashion, “I like classic ensembles that go from morning meetings to evening cock- tails, never too formal and always with a playful twist,” she says. But when it comes to who wins the battle of best dressed in their home, John says, there is no contest “Deﬁnitely her.”
September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 27
The Shopping Report
More in Store
An architectural rendering of the remodeled Las Vegas Outlet Center.
Amid a battered retail industry, Las Vegas Outlet Center accelerates its growth By Laura Coronado Las Vegas is at the center of a rapidly evolving retail world, and Las Vegas Outlet Center is one of its driving forces. With the addition of 70,000 square feet and a host of new retailers, this retail property at Las Vegas Boulevard and Warm Springs Road is marketed to conjure buzz, interest and hype. “Everyone beneﬁts from an overhaul of this nature,” says Alexandra Goranson, area marketing director for both Las Vegas Outlet Center and downtown’s Las Vegas Premium Outlets. “Aside from creating new construction and retail jobs, we are amplifying our already enhanced shopping destination for area residents and visitors.” Although the setting of the Las Vegas Outlet Center looks a little rough, with rubble and gates surrounding the center’s construction areas, there is potential for a diamond of a shopping site. The future includes a Gap Factory Store, Guess, Loft Outlet, New Balance, True Religion and Under Armour—all set to open in the spring upon completion of the expansion. More store openings will be announced soon. The additional space will increase the size of Las Vegas Outlet Center to 540,000 square feet, which includes retail and restaurants. An architectural extension of this enormity allows select stores already at the center to proactively develop their retail model and merchandise inventory by moving into larger suites. “Expanding Las Vegas Outlet Center not
28 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
only fulﬁlls merchants’ demand for space, but also satisﬁes shoppers’ desires to have an even greater selection of brands,” Goranson says. Meeting the necessity of eco-friendly considerations while also upgrading the interior lighting, the mall is progressively lowering its energy usage and overall carbon footprint through the use of high-efﬁciency and compact ﬂuorescent ﬁxtures. Another improvement that shoppers will enjoy is a larger parking lot designed to complement the increased size of the complex. Today, Las Vegas Outlet Center boasts 130 stores featuring an impressive list of leading brands such as Calvin Klein, Converse, Sean John, Nike, Volcom and Zales with sizeable discounts of 25-65 percent off retail prices. There are also two food courts, both of which are receiving a wall-to-wall remodeling as part of the planned expansion. Despite a sluggish economy, Goranson says that the mall owner, Simon Property Group, has advanced the project exactly as planned. “Everything just came together,” she reports. “New merchants showed an interest in joining the property while current merchants wanted to expand. We know that shoppers always love to ﬁnd more choices, and Las Vegas is a destination that keeps changing. It’s exciting to add new stores that keep the center fresh and current.” More surprises are in store, too, Goranson says, and that may include a
Gap Factory, Guess, New Balance and True Religion will join the outlet’s current collection.
change in the property’s name. Originally opened as Belz Outlet in 1993, Simon changed the name in 2003 when it purchased the property and on the same day it opened sister shopping center Las Vegas Premium Outlets. Since then, Las Vegas Outlet Center has welcomed the supplement of heavy cache brand-name retailers to its merchant mix: Coach, DKNY, Esprit and Kenneth Cole. In November, popular surf and snow lifestyle brand O’Neill will open. The Las Vegas Outlet Center, at 7400 Las Vegas Blvd. South, is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (till 8 p.m. Sundays).
Seven Very Nice Things 2
Fall Trend Report Dress to impress with the season’s latest looks for men 1. Leather Jackets Kenneth Cole ensemble, Fashion Show. 2. Bold and Gold Canali red and gold thread tie, the Shoppes at the Palazzo.
3. Well-heeled D&G jacket at Saks Fifth Avenue, Fashion Show. 4. Retro Michael Kors ensemble, the Shoppes at the Palazzo. 5. Plaid True Religion shirt, Fashion Show. 6. The Boat Show Jump shoes, zappos.com.
7. Fur Bally boots, Fashion Show.
– Compiled by M.J. Elstein
30 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
NO BUSINESS LIKE MONKEY BUSINESS. LUNCH SERVED DAILY
Can anybody turn around UNLV football? Perennial winner Bobby Hauck gets the chance to ๏ฌnd out.
By Matt Jacob
Photography by Anthony Mair
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Double duty: Hauck leads a youth football clinic in early August.
7KH+DXFN)LOH *QZ\PLI\M" June 14, 1964. <PMPWUM\MIU" He and wife Stacey have three daughters (Sydney, Alexandra and Elise) and a son (Robby). <PM_WZS\MIU" UNLV has 15 returning starters (eight offensive, seven defensive). Roster by class: 20 seniors, 19 juniors, 16 sophomores, 46 freshmen. +WV\ZIK\" Three years, $350,000 annually, with some pay deferred and incentives tied to victories, bowl appearances and student-athlete graduation rates. :QOP\QV\W\PMĂ…ZM" The Sept. 4 Wisconsin game will test the Rebelsâ€™ ability to play on the big stage. The aftermath of the Wisconsin game will test the Rebelsâ€™ ability to persevere.
<PMJQOWVM" The Rebels host the University of Nevada, Reno on Oct. 2. <PM\W]OP[XW\" The next week, they travel to West Virginia. +PITS\ITS" The UNLV Rebels Football Foundation and Hauck host breakfast at Big Dogâ€™s CafĂŠ (6390 W. Sahara Ave.) at 7:30 a.m. Thursdays before all home games. Free for members, $15 door. 6M_ZMKZ]Q\QVO XIZILQOU" â€œWhy go to Florida to get a kid that you can get right down the street here in Nevada?â€? 0WJJQM[" Fishing, ďŹ shing and more ďŹ shing in his home state of Montana. ;WUM\PQVO\W\PQVS IJW]\_PQTMĂ…[PQVO" Of UNLVâ€™s nine head coaches, only one (Ron Meyer) got a head-coaching gig after leaving UNLV.
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THe LocaL Newsroom The Independent American Party believes Jesus is mentioned in the Constitution
minor Party angle’s major Inﬂuence A look at what the candidate for U.S. Senate stood for before she was a Republican
By Molly Ball The Independent American Party of Nevada, for which Sharron Angle once campaigned, believes that Jesus Christ is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. (It’s right there in Article VII, where, before George Washington et al. scribbled their signatures, they noted the date in “the Year of Our Lord” 1787.) The party also believes abortionists “deserve neither life nor liberty”; that the right to bear arms is necessary because “political tyrants ... always prefer unarmed victims”; and that “the Marxist graduated income tax and the fearful IRS” must be abolished. Also, it’s time to “prohibit the ﬁnancing of the New World Order with American taxes.” These principles are listed on a petition that Angle, now the Republican nominee against Sen. Harry Reid, signed in 1992. Angle’s signature appears twice on the page ﬁled with the Nye county clerk’s ofﬁce: once as one of the registered voters signing the petition, and again at the bottom of the page, as the person circulating it. Angle was part of the effort to revive the then-dormant party, one of a small core of activists who believed its voice and views needed to be heard. She was a registered party member from 1992 to 1998.
Now that Angle has spent two months on the national stage, countless stories have been written about things she’s said. She’s told interviewers that God asked her to run against Reid, that the separation of church and state is unconstitutional, and that victims of rape or incest will eventually be grateful they couldn’t get abortions. She’s suggested that armed revolt is percolating and accused Democrats of violating the First Commandment, committing “idolatry,” by expanding government. Where does she get this stuff? Many of the ideas Angle has espoused, from her religious interpretation of policy to her desire to radically curtail an overbearing government, are traceable to the philosophies of the Independent American Party (IAP). The time of her membership in the party coincides with her ﬁrst elected ofﬁce, when she was a Nye County school board member. She left the party and became a Republican in 1998 not because her views had changed but because she didn’t think she could get elected to the state Assembly on the IAP ticket. The IAP, Nevada’s third-largest political party, may be the Rosetta Stone that offers the key to Angle’s beliefs.
Despite the long shadow it casts over her career, Angle has never spoken publicly about her time in the IAP. A campaign spokesman didn’t respond to e-mailed questions about the party’s role in her history. Some have recently sought to tie Angle to a philosophy known as Christian Reconstructionism, which emphasizes bringing government into line with Biblical teachings. Howard Phillips, a Christian Reconstructionist, founded the national Constitution Party, of which the Independent American Party, though founded separately, is the Nevada afﬁliate. The attempts to link Angle to Christian Reconstructionism aren’t surprising considering Reid’s campaign has given reporters a 27-page packet making the case for such a connection. But Angle can plausibly deny she’s ever heard of the obscure movement. What’s undeniable is that for six years at the beginning of her political career, she was an active member of the Independent American Party. Anyone involved in Nevada politics has run across the IAP—which is to say the Hansens, the Mormon siblings who are its driving force. Daniel Hansen, who founded the party in the 1960s, died in a car accident in 2002; he refused to wear the seat belt that might have saved his life, family members have said, because he didn’t think the government had the right to mandate it. Janine Hansen, a grandmother who raises heritage turkeys on a seven-acre spread in Elko, is a presence in the state capitol during each legislative session; when Angle was a legislator, Janine could usually count on her as an ally, she said recently. Christopher Hansen is the in-your-face activist; instead of the candidate ﬁnancial disclosure he was supposed to submit to the secretary of state a few years ago, he submitted a 14-page letter decrying “these tyrannical forms” as unconstitutional and making the case for the gold standard. Joel Hansen is a Las Vegas attorney who takes the party’s claims to court and often wins: For example, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that Christopher’s son be allowed to register to vote and run for ofﬁce despite not having a Social Security number, which, Christopher explained recently, is a “100 percent voluntary” opt-in to the nanny state. Joel was Angle’s lawyer in 2006, when she challenged her close loss in a congressional primary. Together with several offspring, the Hansens are perpetual candidates, omnipresent gadﬂies and sincere people passionate about state government. In 1990, when Janine Hansen met her through an anti-abortion campaign, Angle was living in Tonopah, substitute teaching part time and had just been elected to the school board. Angle’s husband, Ted, worked for the federal Bureau of Land Management. The IAP petition calls for all federal lands to be given to the states, meaning Sharron was petitioning to put her husband out of a job. Dormant during the Reagan years, the party sought to regain its access to the ballot in 1992 by collecting voter signatures across the state. It had just 300 members to collect more than 10,000 signatures. That’s the drive, eventually successful, for which Angle circulated the petition. The IAP stirred up a controversy in 1994, when Angle was a member, by distributing a 16-page pamphlet, under the banner “The Independent Continued on Page 39 September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 37
The Local Newsroom
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The laws of supply and demand aren’t sentimental, particularly when it comes to hotel rooms. No matter what kind of rate a suite might have gotten in the past, when there are more beds than bodies to ﬁll them, the room rate will go down. But when running a luxury property, there are concerns beyond just ﬁlling rooms tonight: Long-term position of the hotel’s “brand” can make price-cutting a double-edged sword. This might be the biggest problem that Las Vegas casino resorts, particularly those on the luxury end, are facing today. Since the start of the recession, the total supply of rooms in town has increased from 132,900 to 148,900, or about 12 percent. In the same period, the numbers of visitors coming to town has declined by about 7 percent. Considering that most of the rooms are in resorts that are more about luxury than bargain-hunting (the Palazzo, Encore and CityCenter’s hotels ﬁll that bill) and that those who are still able to visit Las Vegas are spending less, it’s no surprise luxury properties are facing an unprecedented crunch. The easy solution is to drop prices, putting pressure on operators further down the amenity food chain and cutting short-term revenue per room, but that can have bad consequences long term. Offering rooms for $50 a night, for example, makes it hard to charge $200 again when demand picks up; the value of the room has been diluted. So savvy marketers are suggesting other approaches. “Instead of just slashing prices across the board, you can selectively comp rooms,” says Aaron Righellis of Up All Day Creative Solutions, a Las Vegasbased marketing company that works with area casinos. “If you comp a room, you’re not diluting your brand; you’re giving customers a value in the hopes that they’ll spend money elsewhere.” This is Casino Marketing 101, but it goes against the price-cutting stampede that overtook casinos as the economy wilted. And as Righellis points out, how you frame a discount is sometimes more important than how much of a deal you’re offering. “A two-for-one promotion, where customers pay for one night but stay for two, speaks more loudly than a 50 percent cut in room rates, even though the bottom
line for the hotel is the same. For the customer, it’s a more positive message: The value of the room hasn’t dropped, but you’re getting a great deal.” The recession is making some casinos rethink how they appeal to guests, and Righellis thinks this isn’t a bad thing. “Over the past two years,” he says, “we’ve seen Vegas getting back to its core values: great room rates and great deals. That’s bringing people in and keeping them focused on gaming.” It’s not that casino managers have become philanthropists. They’re still looking to maximize revenues, which means getting customers to spend. It’s just that they’re more willing to offer better deals to get people in the door. A look at the numbers bears Righellis out. For most of the decade before the recession, hotel occupancy percentages bounced around the upper 80s and lower 90s. After charting a high of 94 percent in 2007, the recession shrank the percentage of hotel rooms occupied to just over 85 percent in 2009, the lowest occupancy rate for Las Vegas since 1991. This year, despite a huge growth in supply (not only CityCenter’s 6,000 or so rooms, but also the Westgate Towers at Planet Hollywood’s 1,200 suites), the monthly occupancy rate has edged over 86 percent and seems to be improving. Gaming revenues, however, have at best stopped declining as rapidly as they were last year, which is why, as Up All Day partner Michael Bohn points out, smart operators are broadening their customer base. “They should be putting out stronger offers for locals and the drive-in market,” he says. “Why not take a ﬂyer on a local player who will not spend as much per trip, but who’ll come back more often. The overall value is going to be there, even if you don’t see it right away.” With most visitors coming to town with less money in their pockets, that might not be a bad strategy for every guest, no matter where they’re from. No one knows when the recession will end, or what the Vegas landscape will look like when it does. But those who are planning ahead are thinking not just about survival, but also the future. David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.
The Local Newsroom
Building Boomlet Habitat for Humanity ﬁnds opportunity in economic downturn By Kate Silver If there is a silver lining to Southern Nevada’s real estate collapse, Habitat for Humanity Las Vegas has found it. The nonproﬁt, which works with volunteers to build and sell affordable housing, hopes to build 45 homes over the next three years. That’s more than double what it’s built in the last three years. Doug Kuntz, affordable housing coordinator with Henderson’s Neighborhood Services Division, says the city recently helped the organization acquire land for a fraction of what it paid in the past, thanks to plummeting real estate prices. For example, six lots in Henderson’s Pittman neighborhood cost less than what two lots cost in previous years. “The land we just assisted them with purchasing was an old trailer park that had been in real bad shape over the years,” Kuntz says. “We were able to move the trailers out of there and we’re going to be able to put some nice houses there.” Volunteers will begin working on the lots Sept. 11. Some of those volunteers will be the actual homeowners. Habitat for Humanity requires that homeowners put in 300 hours of “sweat equity” building others’ homes, as well as their own. The organization then sells the home to the low-income family. (Income requirements vary depending on household members. For example, a family of four must make between $26,000 and $52,550 to qualify.) In the end, the family pays Habitat back for the zero-interest loan. In coming months, Habitat will also be working on projects in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. Kuntz says that Habitat has helped improve the Henderson area for more than two decades. “They build
really nice houses,” he says. “And they make sure that people keep them maintained.” Of course, with the ﬂood of available houses it’s difﬁcult these days to convince donors to provide funds to continue building. That’s an argument that Habitat for Humanity Las Vegas president Guy Amato ﬁelds regularly. “A lot of people are saying we don’t have a housing crisis anymore—you can buy a house for $130,000, why does anybody need help?” says Amato. “Our clients are working families that just don’t have enough money to get a traditional mortgage.” It’s those nontraditional ways—namely, the fact that Habitat doesn’t rely on proﬁting on its homes—that helped earn the national organization of Habitat for Humanity the No. 8 spot on Builder magazine’s Builder 100 list, designating it one of the top 10 homebuilders in the U.S. Amato acknowledges that the ranking makes more of a statement about the state of homebuilding than it does about the organization. “It’s not necessarily because Habitat Habitat for Humanity takes the long view, says president Guy Amato. for Humanity, as a group, has built more support necessary to do so. Founded in 1976, Habitat houses,” he says. “It’s because some of the has worked on 350,000 homes worldwide, and its other builders haven’t built any houses.” reputation as a nonproﬁt homebuilder is engrained. That’s because houses are some of the last things “We have a very long-term view of growing this that a place like Las Vegas needs right now. Nevada organization and the impact it will have on our has ranked No. 1 in the nation for foreclosures for 43 community,” Amato says. “This foreclosure crisis that consecutive months. Amato says that he has looked into we’re in is, compared to our timeline of planning, very the possibility of Habitat purchasing and refurbishing short-term.” foreclosed homes, but hasn’t gotten the funding and
Angle Continued from Page 37
American,” warning about the “homosexual agenda.” “Sodomites,” it claimed, were determined to legalize pedophilia and to advance their cause, which the Bible tells us will lead to national ruin. One article was titled, “Can the HIV Virus Survive in Water?” The publication was part of an attempt to get an amendment on the ballot that would have allowed anti-gay discrimination. Janine Hansen does not back down from the views in the pamphlet, saying all you have to do is look around to see how the homosexual agenda has advanced. These beliefs were part of the party’s “pro-family” stance at the time Angle was a member, but Hansen said Angle “had nothing to do with that newspaper,” which was really “a project of my brother Danny.” Hansen was emphatic about this, despite saying she couldn’t recall many other details about Angle’s involvement in the party. In 1998, having moved to Reno, Angle set out to run for Assembly and joined the GOP. “She joined the Republican Party because she wanted to get elected,” Christopher Hansen said bitterly. “She sold out principle for power.”
Janine Hansen agrees with that analysis of Angle’s reason for leaving the party. But she points out that Angle never became a mainstream Republican. “Sharron has a lot of courage and strength,” Hansen says. “She was willing to buck the Establishment. Very few people don’t succumb to the party pressure. There’s a lot of pressure to do what the party wants them [legislators] to do.” In her four terms in the Assembly, Angle was known for standing on principle to vote against uncontroversial measures on constitutional or limited-government grounds; the resulting votes were commonly termed “41-to-Angle.” Angle was one of the legislators who sought to block a 2003 tax increase, provoking a constitutional crisis; the IAP was on her side. Perhaps inspired by the IAP’s near-constant petition drives, Angle has thrice tried and failed to get a Proposition 13-style property-tax limitation amendment on the ballot, most recently in 2008. In the Legislature, she stood up for conspiracy theories about poisonous ﬂuoridation and abortion causing breast cancer. In her current campaign, she’s famously called for getting rid of Social Security and the departments of energy and education, while warning that “the nation is arming ...
to ﬁght for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.” Since 2006, when she left the Assembly, Angle has been running in Republican primaries, always as the far-right candidate out to convince voters that the establishment candidate in the race was not conservative enough. This is shaping up to be a banner year for the IAP. With more than 60,000 registered voters, it is bigger than ever, and ﬁelding an all-time high of 54 candidates. Janine Hansen is running for an open Assembly seat and likes her chances. She doesn’t use the words “Tea Party,” but she says people are coming out of the woodwork to join the IAP because they are worried for their country and don’t trust the major parties. For U.S. Senate, Janine Hansen plans to vote for the IAP’s candidate, Tim Fasano. “He’s running on our ticket and I’m an ofﬁcer in the party,” she says. “We’re trying to keep building the party for the future, and I don’t see any hope in the Republican Party—they always betray us.” But if Angle can pull off a win against Reid? “That would certainly be a historic day,” Hansen says. “I wish her well.”
September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 39
The Local Newsroom
Odd City Out Housing improves elsewhere, but not in Las Vegas By Stephanie Sims It’s not news that housing prices are down in Las Vegas. But adding insult to injury are new reports showing that while other cities are inching toward recovery, we’re not. Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Indices of 20 U.S. cities was published July 27, and it showed small home-value increases in 19 of the 20 cities sampled for May compared to April, and also compared with May 2009. Las Vegas was the only city that had a decrease—0.5 percent—from April, which puts values off 56.4 percent from their peak in August 2006. In addition, Las Vegas’ existing-home sales were 3,592 in July, a 17.8 percent decrease from the same month a year ago and down from 4,298 in June of this year, according to Home Builders Research, a company that specializes in the Las Vegas market. (There was a bit of good news as well: Sales here are up 3 percent for the ﬁrst seven months of 2010 compared with 2009.) The inventory of unsold homes on the market here grew to 14,000 in July, according to ﬁgures compiled by ZipRealty Inc. and published Aug. 6 in The Wall Street Journal. The inventory of unsold homes is the main reason why Las Vegas’ housing values are still sliding, says Coldwell Banker listing agent Mark Rink. “We still have inventory to clear out before we’ll see an increase in housing values,” Rink says. There are a lot of people here who have to come to terms with the fact that property they invested in is now worth less than half of what they paid for it.
40 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Prices rose in 19 other cities, but dropped here.
“Lots of people who have good jobs, like doctors or lawyers, and can make their payments,” he says. “But if they’re paying more than it’s worth and there’s no end in sight, when are they going to get that money back? At that point, they have to make a business decision and let the house go.” The good news? One day, housing values will rise, he says. “Once people make a decision and get off the fence, and decide to short sell their property or go into foreclosure, we’re closer to housing values going back up.”
The Local Newsroom
How dinner with Horsford resulted in a sour taste By Michael Green
These days, whenever Richard Hofstadter comes up, it’s almost always in connection with “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” (Harper’s, 1964), the title essay in his collection that helps explain the idiots who cannot accept that President Obama was born in the United States, is a Christian, is not a Marxist and does not plan to place rightwingers in concentration camps. But understanding the mess state Sen. Steven Horsford recently created for himself requires another Hofstadter classic, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It (Vintage Book, 1947). Horsford devised a fundraising plan for his political action committee, which is designed to expand his 12-9 Democratic majority in the state Senate: dinner with himself and various committee chairs for contributions of $25,000 or more. Once the offer became known, he apologized, gave assurances that no one needs to pay to speak with him and promised to return all resulting donations. To his credit, Horsford didn’t attempt the defense that everyone does it, which would have brought more criticism despite having the virtue of being truer than we wish. He also is taking his lumps from advocates of public campaign ﬁnancing and better ethics in politics, who should include everybody. His connection to Hofstadter comes through the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian’s set of essays on a dozen key political ﬁgures in American history, ranging in approach from “Abraham Lincoln and the Self-Made Myth” to “Franklin D. Roosevelt: the Patrician as Opportunist.” Hofstadter introduced them by saying, “The ﬁerceness of the political struggles has often been misleading; for the range of vision embraced by the primary contestants in the major parties has always been bounded by the horizons of property and enterprise.” Hofstadter saw the rise of industrial capitalism as crucial to understanding American history. Because he denied that political leaders had been all that deeply conﬂicted on this subject, some wrongly saw him as advocating a view of our past as one of agreement and consensus. It’s no disrespect to leaders from the Founding Fathers to Obama to say the golden rule always has been that he who has the gold makes the rules. Some
42 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
have fought it, but most have accepted it and tried to work within that rule—as Horsford did. Nevada and Horsford ﬁt into the tradition Hofstadter deﬁned. In its early years, mining and railroads controlled much of the government, especially buying legislators to assure favorable state taxes and regulations, and the election of U.S. senators who would carry that attitude to Capitol Hill. In recent decades, casinos usually have wielded the most power in the Legislature, but even when the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce wound up in a cold war of sorts with casinos for a few years, both sides did well in Carson City with both major parties. Historically, representatives of major industries even sat next to legislators on the ﬂoor and provided the beneﬁt of their wisdom. The politician who attacked gaming or, before that, mining and railroads wound up on the endangered species list. Most Nevadans have depended on these industries in some way for their livelihood. Thus, most sing these industries’ praises even when citing their faults or, on rare occasions, trying to rectify them—just as Hofstadter found consensus generally on the wonders of capitalism in his examination of American politics. Horsford tried to make the existing system work for him and took a position that all of us who believe in capitalism dislike, although it reﬂected capitalist ideology and Hofstadter’s arguments about the ties between politicians and the economic leaders of the moment. If that bugs you, don’t blame Horsford. He did something stupid, but his loudest critics either don’t get enough of your support to change the system or do their best to keep things as they are—or don’t associate with anyone who couldn’t pay the freight anyway. It wasn’t Horsford’s ﬁrst bad move and it won’t be his last. But what made it bad wasn’t dishonesty; it was the bald-faced honesty of it. Anyone who believes calls from large donors don’t get returned faster than those of less afﬂuent constituents, please see me about the Hoover Dam bypass bridge I’m offering for sale, cheap. But no dinner with it. Michael Green is a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada and author of several books and articles on Nevada history and politics.
Entertaining options for a week of nonstop fun and excitement.
Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk
Thur. 2 You might be tempted to stay in today because it’s going to be one hell of a weekend. But for those wanting a head start, don’t miss DJ Chris Lake spinning at Vanity. In the Hard Rock. Doors 10 p.m. $40 men, $20 women, local ladies free.
Fri. 3 The helluva weekend gets off to a strong start at The Bank where wannabe billionaire Travie McCoy performs his money-chasing chart-topper. (At Bellagio, doors 10:30 p.m., $30 cover.) Meanwhile, Cali Swag District show us how it’s done as they teach us How to Dougie (and party) in high style. (At Jet, in The Mirage, doors 10:30 p.m., $30.) For a more housey night, head to Encore, where the Steves—Angello (pictured) and Aoki—hold it down at Surrender. (Doors 10 p.m., $40 men, $30 women.) Alternatively, you can ditch the club scene and check out Imagine Dragons as they rock the Pub at Monte Carlo (doors 9 p.m., show 10 p.m., $5) or watch the big boys—and a few girls!—lace ‘em up at the Rio as Friday Night Fights move to Crown. Among those scheduled to hit the ring are Henry Namauu (who was on the Holyﬁeld/ Botha undercard earlier this year), Rocco Santomauro and female ﬁghters Crystal Hoy and Mandy LaPointe. Doors 6 p.m., ﬁghts 7 p.m. $25-$100.
Sat. 4 After a monthlong hiatus, Paul Oakenfold returns to Perfecto, and he’s bringing Markus Schulz and Manufactured Superstars with him. (At the Palms, doors 11 p.m., $40.) Back on the Strip, the always-funny and always-obnoxious Chelsea Handler (pictured) entertains at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace (10:30 p.m., tickets from $49.50), and Kid Cudi cuts a rug across the casino ﬂoor, at Pure. (Doors 10 p.m., $30 men, $20 women). Also tonight, the Voodoo Glow Skulls light up downtown, as they play Beauty Bar. 517 E. Fremont St., doors 9 p.m., $12.
Sunday provides a trio of urban options: Busta Rhymes is at Haze, Soulja Boy is at Jet, and— yeah!—Lil Jon (pictured) takes over Sin on Sunday at Vanity. (Haze at Aria, doors 10:30 p.m., $30; Jet at The Mirage, doors 10:30 p.m., $30; Vanity at the Hard Rock Hotel, doors 10 p.m., $40 men, $20 women, local ladies free.) What’s more, Benny Benassi is at Rain at the Palms, along with Eddie Halliwell, John O’Callaghan and DJ Donald Glaude (doors 11 p.m., $50) and Erick Morillo marks his triumphant return for what promises to be another late night at Tao at the Venetian. (Doors 9:30 p.m. Men $60, ladies $40, local ladies free before 11 p.m.) Or, for a more rocking night, check out No Use for a Name at Wasted Space, along with openers Versus the World and Friends With the Enemy. At the Hard Rock Hotel, doors 9 p.m., $12 in advance or $15 at the door.
Mon. 6 The former Hawaiian Tropic Zone has been reborn as the newest rough-andtumble spot on the Strip, and this weekend PBR Rock Bar busts out of the chute and hosts a Labor Day ladies night, featuring two-for-one beers for everyone on the patio all day long, plus a girls-only open bar from 10:30 p.m-midnight. (At Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, no cover.) Further south on the Strip, Tabú postpones what is usually a Sunday night party and hosts Confession industry night, featuring DJs Shift and Irie (pictured). At MGM Grand, doors 10 p.m. $20 men, $10 ladies, local ladies free.
Tues. 7 Celebrate Brazilian Independence Day at SushiSamba, as the Brazilian-Japanese- Peruvian hot spot channels Rio de Janeiro with capoeira demonstrations, samba dancers and all the caipirinhas you can drink. At the Palazzo, no cover.
Wed. 8 Mark midweek in high style during the Fashion Night Out pre-party at Lavo. This week’s installment of Label Junkie is presented by General Growth Properties and showcases the playful and feminine designs of Betsey Johnson. At the Palazzo, doors 10 p.m., $20 men, $10 women, free for all locals.
September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 45
rehab | hard rock hotel
Photography by Hew Burney
Upcoming Sept. 4 | Skam artiSt SaturdayS Sept. 5 | model Search Sept. 6 | relax, induStry Pool Party
46 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
MidsuMMer night’s dreaM | playboy club at the palMs
Photography by Beverly Oanes
Upcoming Sept. 26 | Miss Playboy Club Model searCh
Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Liquid | AriA
Upcoming Sept. 4 | Scooter and LaveLLe Sept. 5 | richard viSSion Sept. 9 | tequiLa and turntabLeS
50 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Photography by Beverly Oanes
Wet Republic: your Labor Day weekend house-music headquarters.
Is It the New Disco Ball? Neil Sater’s Aurora dramatically updates the nightclub focal point
Your Labor Day Weekend Pool Party Itinerary By Natalie Holbrook FRIDAY, SEPT. 3 The Captains of Industry—otherwise known as DJs Graham Funke and StoneRokk—take over Ditch Fridays, Vegas’ famous industry gathering, at the Palms Pool & Bungalows. Doors at noon. $25 cover, local ladies free. Las Vegas resident DJ Twisted sets the mood with fresh house tracks and the classics you love at Azure Luxury Pool. DJ Twisted also spins Monday. In the Palazzo. Doors 11 a.m. $20 cover. Hopefully those arms are rested and ready to be pumped when chart-topping DJ Boris and the legendary Bad Boy Bill kick off the weekend at Wet Republic. In MGM. Doors 10:30 a.m. $30 cover. SATURDAY, SEPT. 4 Immerse yourself in the transcendent house beats of New York’s Claudius Raphael, a.k.a. DJ Serious, at the elite and upscale Azure Luxury Pool. Serious also spins Sunday. In the Palazzo. Doors 11 a.m. $20 cover. Party with the one-and-only Diddy as well as with international DJs Serge Devant and Funkagenda at Wet Republic. In MGM. Doors 10:30 a.m. $100 cover. The “Pursuit of Happiness” will be fulﬁlled when Cleveland rapper Kid Cudi performs with DJ Felli Fell on the turntables at Venus Pool Club. In Caesars Palace. Doors 10 a.m. $40 guys, $20 ladies. If you’re a little bit hip-hop and a little bit house, San Diego veterans Scooter and Lavelle will be your new favorites, spinning at Liquid. In Aria. Doors 10:30 a.m. $40 guys, $10 ladies. LMFAO has taken the music world by storm. With the electro/rock/DJ duo’s anthems such as “La La La” and “Shots,” this party is bound to rock Tao Beach. In the Venetian 10 a.m. $30 guys, $20 ladies. Palms Pool & Bungalows brings you a killer West Coast lineup with San Diego’s Craig Smoove, L.A.’s DJ Dainjazone, San Francisco’s 54
Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
E-Rock and Scottsdale’s DJ MCB spinning everything from hip-hop to ’80s to house mashups. Doors 10 a.m. $25 cover. SUNDAY, SEPT. 5 Global trance DJ/producer Gareth Emery headlines alongside electronica geniuses The Crystal Method at Palms Pool & Bungalows. Opening sets by BT, Reza, Jordan Stevens and Scotty Boy. Doors 9 a.m. $25 cover. Celebrity rapper/producer/DJ Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will be spinning your favorite jams all day followed by progressive house DJ Sharam of Deep Dish at Wet Republic. In MGM. Doors 10:30 a.m. $60 cover. Celebrate the dynasty of Vegas’ own summer resident Kaskade, the U.K.’s Pete Tong and Australia’s Dirty South as they put you in a state of ecstasy at Encore Beach Club. Doors 10:30 a.m. $40 cover. Crystal Method. Lady Gaga. LMFAO. Grammy-nominated producer/DJ Richard Vission has remixed them all. The unstoppable DJ will make you “Get Down” at Liquid. In Aria. Doors 11 a.m. $20 guys, $10 ladies. Ibiza’s Club Amnesia resident and Grammy Award-winner Roger Sanchez will make waves at Tao Beach with sounds from his latest compilation, “Release Yourself Vol. 9,” an international hit. In Venetian. 10 a.m. $30 guys, $20 ladies. MONDAY, SEPT. 6 West Hollywood hot spot The Abbey Food & Bar teams up with LGBT event aﬁcionado Eduardo Cordova to create Abbey Beach. In Vdara. Doors 10 a.m. $20 cover, $10 locals, hotel guests free. The festivities come to an end with an out-ofthis-world lineup featuring Robbie Rivera, Fedde Le Grand, Laidback Luke, DJ Chuckie and Afrojack at Wet Republic. In MGM. Doors 10:30 a.m. $75 cover.
At rest, it looks like a priceless sculpture. Or an avant-garde birdcage. Or the world’s largest Christmas tree ornament. But artist/sculptor Neil Sater’s Aurora could very well replace the disco ball as the new heart and soul of nightclubs around the world. And soon! Custom-made in about three months at the artist’s studio in Solvang, Calif., the Aurora is a spinning metal sculpture—“kinetic art,” Sater says—based on the spirals of DNA. The design proportions are ﬂexible, allowing the artist to fashion the chandelier-style or pedestaled pieces on a grand scale (think 90 feet tall at the center of a Strip casino’s fountains or with acrobats inside during a Cirque show) or petite, such as 12-inch tabletop lamps. But the Aurora will most likely make its debut in a Vegas nightclub in the place of honor traditionally held by the disco ball. And like that shimmering nightlife icon, Sater’s Aurora spins (slowly or up to 35 mph) while club lights play off its brushed stainless steel blades. “It’s the idea of painting on the wall, and the pattern of light and shadows it creates in the space,” explains worldwide director of sales Chris Ian Garlington. “Whoever gets this in Vegas will be the ﬁrst in the world with one.” Already, one local club is said to be mulling over a purchase of three. “All the biggest, best stuff is found in Vegas,” the artist says, “so that seems like a natural place to start.” At a recent private demonstration downtown, Blush/Surrender/Encore Beach Club resident DJ Freddy B worked the speed controls while local gallery owner Brett Sperry assumed control of the colored lights. “The bare space in between the blades blurs and looks like liquid,” Freddy observed. “Hypnotic,” Sperry declared. The Aurora, whose features can include colored lights, strobes, fog, lasers and even water, began life as a water feature. In fact, it was ﬁrst called the Portal until the artist noted how the light show it creates resembles the Aurora Borealis, nature’s own light show. “The ﬁrst thing that came to mind was the ﬁrst time I walked into XS and saw the disco chandelier replacing the disco ball,” Freddy B says. Perhaps that’s the evolution: disco ball to disco chandelier to Aurora. Sperry seems to think so, because it takes club lighting to “a whole other level.” As it should, because the disco ball has not kept pace with modern nightclub lighting and technology. It’s an icon for a bygone era, and Sater says, “We want the Aurora to be the icon for a new era.” See a ﬁve-foot model of Sater’s Aurora in motion on First Friday, Sept. 3, at the Arts Factory and by appointment only thereafter for a limited time by calling Garlington at 310-579-5069.
Aurora photo by Peter Harasty
By Xania Woodman
A Taste of Wonderland Tracks-talking with DJ/producer Pete Tong By Mikey Francis Pete Tong is one of the most inﬂuential ﬁgures in electronic music. A world-renowned DJ and producer. Elite party promoter. Record label entrepreneur. And host and producer of one of the most innovative electronic music radio programs in existence, Essential Mix. That’s someone we’ve just got to talk to, especially since he’s in town for Labor Day weekend. Vegas Seven recently caught up with Tong to discuss parties, collaborations and compilations.
Single Serving of Deep Dish A solo DJ Sharam rides into town to share his new Americana-infused sound By Melissa Arseniuk He may have been born in Tehran, Iran, but Sharam Tayebi has a love for Americana—from the Wild West to classic cars. The Washington, D.C.-based DJ’s forthcoming record as part of Deep Dish (with Ali “Dubﬁre” Shirazinia) is full of high-octane house, but before it hit the streets, Sharam talked to Vegas Seven about his solo Wet Republic gig and life on the open road.
So tell us about this new record of yours. My new album is another concept album. My last album, Get Wild, was all about the Wild West … and this one is inspired by racing and American muscle cars.
As a DJ, how do you view Labor Day in Las Vegas—is it a great excuse to party or another day at the ofﬁce? It’s kind of like a music conference. A lot of different DJs come around, so for me it’s an opportunity to showcase my music and also to go check out other DJs that I wouldn’t usually be able to see perform … just to get the ﬂavor of what everybody’s up to, what everybody’s playing, and see how people are reacting. It’s kind of like a working vacation.
Then you must have found plenty of inspiration earlier this year, when you drove from Niagara Falls to New York as part of the Gumball 3000 international car rally. What was that like? Traditionally, people that participate in this kind of race, they bring the latest super car— Ferrari or Bugatti or Lamborghini or something like that—and I thought it would be cool to bring in a classic American muscle car and showcase that and also represent the album through that. … I got a 1970 Dodge [Coronet] Super Bee Hemi … [and] I made a track called “Super Bee,” one of my favorite tracks.
Which DJs do you hope to see while you’re in town? Usually I make a point of going to see [Erick] Morillo. He always puts on a great show, and I always have a great time and enjoy what he’s doing. [Morillo plays Tao on Sept. 5.]
Last year it was the Wild West, and this year it’s the open road. Is there a pattern forming? Ha! From riding horses to riding cars! The theme is riding, so as long as I’m riding something, I’ll continue to do these.
You’ve reached the point in your career where you can pick and choose your gigs. Why did you decide to play Wet Republic this Labor Day weekend? Wet Republic is one of the mainstays for me—I always have such a great time there. I’m looking forward to the drink that Zee [Zandi, Angel Management Group’s special events marketing manager and Vegas’ undisputed Queen of House] usually prepares for me, which is basically pear juice and Patrón. It sounds odd, but it’s amazing.
That begs the question, if you weren’t riding the DJ wave, per se, what would you be doing? Or, better yet, what did you do before music paid the bills? I managed a shoe store, so I’m pretty good with women’s shoes and anything to do with footwear. It comes in handy once in a while.
60 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
DJ Sharam of Deep Dish plays Wet Republic at the MGM Grand on Sept. 5. Will.i.am co-stars, along with Cedric Gervais. Doors 10:30 a.m., $75 admission, WetRepublic.com.
How did the concept for your Wonderland party in Ibiza come about? I wanted to start a new party in London inspired by the best bits of Ibiza. ... I wanted to start a party where I could book an eclectic mix of DJs that reﬂects the music I champion on my radio show. This led to Wonderland. You’re doing a small run of shows around Labor Day weekend, including a stop at Encore Beach Club. What can we expect? Well, I have never played Labor Day weekend and people keep telling me it’s one of the best weekends in America, so here I am. .... Three cities in 24 hours will be mad. I’ve got so much great music from the summer in Ibiza. I’ll be giving people a little taste of the island: New York, Miami, Vegas, then back to Ibiza. ... It’s not a bad life, is it? How do you go about picking tracks? I really like to dig deep and call my favorite DJs and producers and see if they will make something special for the occasion. It’s about creating a mood, it’s about surprising people and picking tunes that are timeless,
that won’t sound annoying after a couple of months, ... and trying to do something original. So many dance compilations revolve around the same few “hits.” How has the experience of hosting Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 helped shape your career? It’s hard to think of it as groundbreaking in 2010 now that dance music is more prevalent, but in the early ’90s it really was. DJs still get really inspired when we ask them to do it. It’s still something that the scene holds great value in. I’m thrilled about that. We will continue to innovate with the show and hopefully it will be around for a bit longer! BBC Radio 1 is an amazing radio station, a national treasure. How does Vegas compare with other nightlife meccas, such as Miami and Ibiza? The scene in Vegas is going from strength to strength, and electronic music has got a real grip on the city, ﬁnally winning over the hip-hop dominance. It’s a crazy place to be. Everyone is on a holiday, so the mindset is the same as Ibiza and Miami—it just looks completely different! What’s on your plate for the rest of 2010? Another Tong & Rogers EP for Toolroom. I want to follow up the “Muchness” release I did with Dave Spoon for Size Records as well. I also have a track in development with Chris Lake, and I want to try out some more experimental stuff, too, with vocals. Another soundtrack soon, I hope. ... Keeping busy!
Kaskade Sundays with Kaskade, Dirty South and Pete Tong, Encore Beach Club at Encore, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 5. $40 cover, subject to change.
By Xania Woodman
The Bacon & Bourbon Manhattan Vegas on Manhattans
“Other than bacon being a rumored cure for a hangover,” says mixologist Max Solano, “there is really no signiﬁcant history or relationship between bacon and cocktails.” Until now. And since this is Bourbon Heritage Month, you can celebrate not only our country’s native spirit but this beverage evolution, too, by calling Delmonico/Table 10 to see if beverage manager Solano has whipped up a batch of his delectable bacon-washed bourbon recently. Then run— don’t walk!—to try it neat or in bourbon-loving cocktails such as the classic Manhattan or the Maple Leaf. After nearly two years of tinkering, Solano has ﬁnalized his own preferred method for infusing whiskey with bacon grease. Sound gross? It shouldn’t—it might be how your perfume or cologne was made, by infusing alcohol with a fat. The ﬂavor takes, but when the fat is skimmed, what’s left behind is not pork ﬂavor per se but a spirit imbued with all the things bacon is: salty, buttery, savory—umami. Hey, Max, pass the bacon! 3 ounces house-made bacon fat-washed and infused Baker’s Bourbon 1 ounce Cinzano sweet vermouth 2 dashes Fee Brothers Old-Fashioned Aromatic bitters House-made brandy and bourbon cherry (or Luxardo maraschino cherry) for garnish Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, stir for 15 to 20 seconds, and strain the contents into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandy and bourbon cherry. Watch Max Solano make the Bacon & Bourbon Manhattan at WeeklySeven.com/cocktail-culture.
Manhattan-based barman Eben Freeman.
Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Widely credited with bringing the fat-washing process from culinary to beverage, renowned molecular mixologist Eben Freeman tells you how to porkify your bourbon: “Next time you are frying up some bacon at home, why not make some bacon bourbon to go along with it? Some folks are using all kinds of fancy, locavore (locally produced) bacon to ﬂavor their hooch—which is ﬁne by me—but it really doesn’t require any special equipment you don’t already have at home. Just follow these ﬁve easy steps to add a new dimension to your drinking pleasure.”
Step 1. Fry up a pound of bacon and strain the drippings through a ﬁne mesh strainer.
a quart size container with a wide mouth and place in the refrigerator, covered.
Step 2. Eat the bacon.
Step 5. After 48 hours of chilling out in the refrigerator, use a spoon to remove the fat cap and strain the liquid through a ﬁne mesh strainer. If you don’t like your baconbourbon country-style, strain through a coffee ﬁlter to remove any solid bits.
Step 3. Pour the hot bacon fat into a non-reactive bowl with a bottle of your favorite bourbon. You can even add a couple strips of bacon if you like. Step 4. After the bacon and bourbon hang out for a while at room temperature (Solano recommends 4-8 hours), transfer the mixture in
Bellagio bartender Sean Bigley recently went out on the town with Vegas Seven in search of the city’s’ bourbon barometer. Here are our top ﬁnds: • For a classic-style Manhattan, try Herbs & Rye, where barman Gerardo De La Torre selected Woodford Reserve (a high-rye bourbon in homage to the traditional choice, rye) along with Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth and Fee’s Old-Fashioned bitters. • The Milan to Manhattan at Sage could be likened to a slightly tomboyish young lady. The cocktail combines rough-and-ready Bulleit Bourbon with the more feminine Peychaud’s aromatic cocktail bitters and Carpano Antica. Substitute Basil Hayden bourbon and she slips on a frilly frock. Thank you, barman Aaron Baca, for letting us play. • The Manhattan with the greatest sense of whimsy was found at Noir Bar, home of Andrew Pollard’s Good Morning Manhattan liqueﬁed breakfast: maple syrup, orange marmalade, sweet vermouth, Michter’s rye whiskey (we cheated on bourbon; it’s that good), chocolate bitters and a bacon-syrup foam with Starbucks coffee liqueur and caramelized cinnamonsugar. That hangover won’t know what hit it.
Cocktail photo by Anthony Mair
As served at Delmonico Steakhouse (the Venetian) and Emeril Lagasse’s Table 10 (the Palazzo), $15
The NaTioNal Newsroom rally round Nadal, Boys Why has the world’s top-ranked tennis player never won a U.S. Open?
Illustration by Philip Burke
By John Koblin At last year’s U.S. Open, we saw a glimpse of the future: Roger Federer ﬁnally losing his grip on the tournament he’s owned for the past seven years (crumbling to the languid, loose-limbed 20-year-old Argentine, Juan Martin del Potro). It wasn’t easy to watch. King Roger, now 29, has been New York’s adopted son. We’ve been happy to claim him—with Anna Wintour by his side, his two-week residence at the Carlyle, his trips to Oscar de la Renta shows and that shiny, sleek Swiss hair—as our own. This is a man who can sell a luxury watch! But Federer has won only once since his triumph at the Australian Open earlier this year, and we’ve got few other places to turn. Forget women’s tennis. Without Serena Williams—who’s been moonlighting as a manicurist and will miss the Open due to a mysterious foot injury involving glass—that’s a wasteland. As for the men, the glory days of McEnroe, Connors and Agassi-Sampras are long over. For the ﬁrst time ever, for a few weeks this summer, there were no American men ranked in the top 10. Nope, we’ve got little choice but to start rallying behind the guy who has never won here before: that brooding and brutal 24-year old Spaniard, Rafael Nadal. Rafa is coming in healthy; he’s got both the Wimbledon and the French Open in the bag this year—which puts him at eight Grand Slam victories, three more than Federer had at the same point in his career—he has a compelling, counterpunching game; and he’s the world’s best right now. He seems due. But while Rafa offers all the stuff that makes him the obvious new favorite—his No. 1 ranking, his relentless tenacity, his muscular frame—there’s something about that makes him so, well, Na-Dull. He’s never made it to a men’s ﬁnal here. He’s never brought the passion he’s displayed in other tournaments. He always seems to arrive in Flushing either hurt or exhausted. It’s questionable how much he even likes New York. Instead of having dinners with Robert De Niro or making trips to Le Bernardin, Nadal has been known to take his days off in New York and quietly head to the ESPN Zone to nosh on some chicken ﬁngers while watching the European soccer league. In lieu of royalty or the requisite celebrity quotient, Nadal’s player’s box at Arthur Ashe usually consists of a coterie of publicists, friends from Spain and that deadly serious Uncle Tony. Even his girlfriend—Maria Francisca “Xisca” Perello— keeps such a low proﬁle that it’s hard not to yearn for Boris Becker’s gorgeous ex-wife, Barbara Feltus. It’s hard to explain why we’ve never taken to Rafa, or why he’s never seemed to have taken to us. Maybe it’s the language barrier, maybe it’s the injuries, maybe it’s the low expectations that he’ll win—but there never seems to be any buzz around him. “Globally, he’s huge. He’s adored,” said Jon Wertheim, the Sports Illustrated tennis writer who wrote a
book about Nadal’s victory in the 2008 Wimbledon over Roger Federer, titled Strokes of Genius (Houghton Mifﬂin Harcourt, 2009). “But you get here and people are like: ‘What’s the big deal?’” Every year, reporters convene in Queens and ask the softballs that make for good curtainraising copy: Why do you love New York and the Open? Veterans such as Federer know how to play it. Even Scottish-born Andy Murray, a hometown hero at Wimbledon, has called the Open his favorite tourney. But Rafa rarely takes the bait. Last year, when a reporter asked Rafa what it would mean to win here, he shrugged: “For me, have the title here doesn’t change my career.” He said that winning the Open would be an important milestone—that means he’ll have all four Grand Slams— but he has referred to it, somewhat dismissively, as “another Grand Slam.” Three years ago, when asked to rattle off the things he loved about the Open, he mentioned a renovated men’s locker room. And when he was asked whether he preferred a small town or a big city, he said, “I prefer the same like always. I prefer be at home with the family, with the friends, my closer friends. I know my friends from the school. So I am very, very happy living in Mallorca. Is a very nice place, very quiet place.” While lots of tennis players have shown some cosmopolitan interests—think of McEnroe (art!), Serena (fashion!)— Rafa has said that when his career is over, he’d like to buy a “normal-sized boat” so he can “go ﬁshing in the sea.” A cosmopolitan lifestyle this is not! “Players always come in and talk about how they went to Barneys and Nobu, and people love that,” Wertheim said. “But when [Rafa] says he’s doing nothing special, maybe get some room service and have a light hitting session? This is not a guy who gives a shit about Fashion Week or meeting Wintour.” That would be ﬁne, of course—if he’d ever won here. Although Rafa has chewed up the other Grand Slams, and is quickly entering the “Greatest of All Time” conversation, right up there with Federer, he hasn’t been able
to master the tempo of the blue courts of Queens. Despite the fact that he’s made the semiﬁnals each of the past two years, his performance in each of those semiﬁnal matches has been oddly lifeless. Commentators rarely even ﬂoat the possibility of a Rafa-Roger ﬁnal, which is a surprise considering it might be the best sports rivalry of our time. “Rafa’s never played his best tennis in New York,” said Mary Carillo, the former player and tennis analyst who does work for CBS, HBO, NBC and ESPN. “Those courts are too fast for him.” Rafa has won on hard courts before, but Carillo points out that it’s a different game here. The courts are, simply, much faster at the Open. “The big problem for Rafa is the big boys can knock Continued on Page 70 September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven
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Where Did the Money Go? U.S. ﬁnancial aid for Afghanistan doesn’t seem to be helping in the places most needed By Ted Rall HERAT, Afghanistan — OK. The roads are impressive. Speciﬁcally, the fact that they exist. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, more than two decades of civil conﬂict had left the country bereft of basic infrastructure. Roads, bridges and tunnels had been bombed and mined. What didn’t blow up got ground down by tanks. Maintenance? Don’t be funny. It took them too long to get started, but U.S. occupation forces deserve credit for slapping down asphalt. Brutal, bone-crushing ordeals that used to take four days can be measured in smooth, endless-gray-ribboned hours. Bridges have been replaced. Tunnels have been shored up. Most major highways and major city streets have been paved. But that’s about it. As of 2008 the U.S. claimed to have spent $1.3 billion on construction projects in Afghanistan. Where’d it all go? Roads don’t cost that much. That’s the Big Question here. As far as anyone can tell, the only sign of economic improvement is a building boomlet: green and pink Arab-style glass-andmarble McMansions, guarded by AK-47-toting guards and owned by politically connected goons, are going up on the outskirts of every Afghan city. Most Afghans still live in squalor that compares unfavorably to places like Mumbai and Karachi. Beggars are everywhere. Most people haven’t gotten any help. “Assistance is coming to Afghanistan, but we don’t know how it is spent, where it is spent,” Amin Farhang, the Afghan minister of economy, said at the time. Afghan ofﬁcials tell a similar story now. “When the Americans came after the 11th of September, we thought,
‘Good, they will rebuild our country,’” Ghulam Naider Nekpor, commander of Torgundi, a dusty town near the Turkmen border, told me. “Instead of help, they send soldiers. And not only that, they send weapons and money to the other side—Pakistan.” (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency ﬁnances and arms the Taliban.) “We thought Americans were to help. Now we see they came to take, and take, and take from us.” There are three big problems. First: Instead of construction, money was wasted on troops. As of 2009—before the Obama surge—the Defense Department had blown through $227 billion in Afghanistan. Bear in mind, the World Bank estimated back in 2002 that the country could have been put on solid economic footing for about $18 billion. “Please stop sending soldiers” is a standard plea here. “Can’t you send help instead of soldiers?” The money we wasted on blowing up wedding parties and killing Al Qaeda Number Twos could have rebuilt Afghanistan 12 times over—or transformed it into a ﬁrst-world country. As for those soldiers, they aren’t doing much. The Taliban range freely over the countryside, raiding and kidnapping at will. The Afghan National Police have ceded most of the country—everything outside the big cities—to the Taliban. Ninety-nine percent of U.S. troops are either sitting on their butts on military bases surrounded by blast walls and concertina wire or ﬁghting in remote areas along the sparsely populated border with Pakistan. There are supposedly 140,000 U.S. troops here. But most of the country never sees one. Why aren’t Continued on Page 74
Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
him off a fast hard court,” she said. (Nadal is 6 feet 1 inch.) “A guy who is 6-4 or 6-5 and who has a twohanded backhand especially can just take that stuff and ﬁre it back at him and hurt him. And hurt him early on. See, what makes him so tough on clay is you can’t hurt him early in a point and the longer and more protracted the rally the more he’s gotcha. On grass, Rafa’s serve is really wicked. It’s the lefty serve, and he knows how to spin it. The grass takes his speed and adds more to it. A fast hard court, it’s … It was hard for Borg to win a fast hard court, and it’ll be hard for Rafa.” Moreover, Carillo added: “New Yorkers want a show.” It’s not like Nadal’s performances here have lacked for possible theatrics. In 2007, he lost in the fourth round to David Ferrer at the ungodly hour of 2 a.m. But for the past two years, he’s arguably been screwed by the schedule. His second-week matches have been delayed by rain, forcing him to play the same match over the course of a few days in front of small, awkward crowds. And then there are the injuries. In 2007, banged-up knees. In 2008, mental exhaustion after playing a full schedule and winning gold in Beijing at the Olympics. Last year, an abdominal tear (which Nadal referred to, hilariously, as “I broked my abdominal”). Aww, why doesn’t he just Nupe it, like Jimmy Connors?! For all that’s held Nadal back in the past, there are plenty of reasons to believe that he’s due to hoist the Open trophy, and that this is the year. For one thing, he is relentless. Early on in his career, he looked like yet another Spanish clay-court specialist who could do little else. Then he became the best clay court player ever. Then he began to crack the grass at Wimbledon, where he has won twice. He began to ﬁgure out the hard court in Australia and won last year. You can feel an inner steel—unlike the similarly mild-mannered Bjorn Borg, who ﬁnished his career without a victory here. “In a way, he’s Connors-like,” Carillo said. “He tries to win every single point he’s a piece of. Every single point! I gotta think if he really gets on a run, the New York fans are going to like that. They like someone who is willing to throw themselves around and grind and burn. I agree with you he’s never shown his best stuff in New York. But I don’t think he’s like Borg, who just didn’t like the chaos of New York. Borg never really warmed up to the noise and the trafﬁc and the airplanes and the blimps! That did not ﬁt his personality and his sensibility. I think Rafa wants to be good everywhere.” There is hope! After the French ended this year, Rafa told NBC, “See you in the U.S. Open! Because it is the one that remains for me, and I have special motivation for that.” And he smiled. And when you consider that Federer might be on his last legs, and the second tier of players—Murray, Djokovic, Roddick—aren’t even close to cracking through to the top (and that last year’s champion, del Potro, is not playing due to an injury), we might as well hand over our support to Rafa as fast as we can. After all, the options are few. “It took New Yorkers a while to like Connors,” Carillo said. “Remember when he wins at the Open in ’78? He has that great speech, ’cause he was a never a fan favorite, really, at Forest Hills, and he comes and wins and”—now her voiced turned hoarse—“says, ‘You may not like me, but I like you!’ And from there on out, he owned the joint! He owned it!” So give us a roar, Rafa! Give us a reason to cheer, and we’ll be right behind you.
Photo by Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images
Nadal Continued from Page 69
The Artful Codger By Richard Siklos It was just another Sunday in Beverly Hills, Calif., for Hugh Hefner. His latest girlfriend, Crystal Harris, and other playmates lounged by the pool at the Playboy Mansion, while Hefner played backgammon nearby with “the boys.” In the evening, it was movie night in the screening room: Inception, which Hef declared “a mind blower,” though he and Crystal went on to watch True Blood afterward before calling it a night. I know all this not because I was there, but because for the last month or so I’ve become an avid follower of Hef’s Twitter feed, a slightly anachronistic thing for an 84-year-old who wears pajamas all day: As he recently told Larry King, Harris gave him an iPad and “I’m now a Twitter bug. When I was a kid, I was a jitter bug.” In fact, I wouldn’t pay much mind to Hefner if not for the curious news recently that he was planning to make an offer to take Playboy Enterprises, the company he founded 57 years ago, private. At ﬁrst glance, this would seem to be evidence of Aging Macher Syndrome, wherein people with money and power in their dotage do silly things to remain in the mix. (For instance, check out Sumner Redstone’s recent voice-mail ﬂap with Daily Beast reporter Peter Lauria.) But now I’m thinking: maybe El Hef-e is a sharper old codger than most people give him credit for. Playboy ceased being a giant dot on the cultural radar quite a while ago, as its magazine suffered from the same recessionary technological forces beating down everyone, and the company’s core competency—hot young ladies in suggestive repose—was usurped by the easy availability of hard-core pornography in videos and now online. In the latest quarter, revenue at the magazine in the U.S. plunged by half compared to a year ago, and the company overall posted a small loss. When most people think of Hefner today, I expect the ﬁrst image that comes to mind is the benign and slightly goofy supporting role he plays in the reality show The Girls Next Door on E!. But then watch the fascinating new documentary: Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, by Oscar-winning Canadian ﬁlmmaker Brigitte Berman. In the ﬁlm, you see that Hefner not only pushed the bounds of moral acceptance in the magazine’s early heyday, but
that he was also a crusader for racial equality and women’s rights and even used his private jet The Big Bunny to ferry Vietnamese war babies across America. More than that, you see the present-day Hefner as lucid and thoughtful as he was as a young man hosting Sammy Davis Jr. on his syndicated black-and-white TV show Playboy’s Penthouse. Berman said people tend to overlook Hef’s serious side because the hepcat and sexual persona is just too distracting. (Typical of Hef’s charity, he recently committed $900,000 to save the Hollywood sign from being sold to developers, the second time he has rescued the landmark since moving to L.A. from Chicago in the mid-’70s.) Where his bid for Playboy is concerned, it’s a peculiar thing because his ostensive reasoning is that he is unhappy with the direction the magazine is taking. And, yet, he controls nearly 70 percent of the votes at Playboy Enterprises and is the magazine’s editor and chief creative ofﬁcer. “It really isn’t that personal,” he told Larry King. “I want to be sure that the brand and the magazine are secure and going in the right direction.” Hefner’s offer was initially seen by analysts as too low, and sure enough a rival company—an Internet outﬁt that now publishes his once great rival, Penthouse—has made what it calls a higher bid. As controlling shareholder, Hefner says he’s not selling—and he has a private-equity ﬁrm ready to go in with him on his offer. One theory, put forward by a Reuters columnist, is that Hefner understands that there are undervalued assets in the company, including its 5,000-piece photography and art collection, and particularly the storied mansion. Purchased in 1971, the 20,000-square-foot house is on Playboy’s books at $1.2 million, but ought to fetch $25 million or more were it to sell. Hefner, who is paid $1.5 million a year by Playboy, sends about $800,000 of that back to the company to pay for rent and personal expenses at the mansion. Can the octogenarian reverse the trajectory of print publishing or Internet porn and otherwise turn back the clock to Playboy’s glory days? Of course not, but behind the wizened face and loungewear he knows the party can’t go on forever—and he knows a seductive opportunity when he sees one.
September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 71
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Fast Company 1
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ACROSS 1 It’s often smoked 4 Honeymoon sour note 8 Stuka stunt 12 Saying 17 Actor Sim 19 Film director’s early role 20 Produce place 22 Motorcycle club for women? 24 Tuscany, once 25 Acronym on a CD 26 Biker club for beer distributors? 28 Gear parts 30 “You’re ___!” (line from “Rocky”) 31 Dazed and confused 35 Motorcycle club for dairy farmers? 43 Biker club for shrinks? 47 Skip over 48 Quartet voice 49 Wrecks 52 Mosey 53 Jersey comment 54 Computer-data format 55 October birthstones 57 It might have blight 58 Sign up, variantly 60 Motorcycle club for martial artists? 65 Mormon letters 67 Veep before Al 68 Ugliness exemplar
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69 Biker club for Jewish guys? (This one’s real; their shirts say, “This hog is kosher”) 77 Snorkeling areas 81 Beret-wearing rebel 82 Testiﬁer’s bombshell 83 Select few 85 A/C setting 86 “Arabesque” actress 88 Environmental watchdog 92 Pint-sized 93 Wall features? 94 Motorcycle club for astronomers? 96 Biker club for press agents? 101 Stampede 102 Soaks, as ﬂax 103 Ben Stiller’s mom, Anne 106 Motorcycle club for Marilyn Monroe fans? 114 Foul-up 119 Dutch humanist 120 Club for guys who like really big bikes? 122 Digression 123 Artist Nadelman 124 Set off 125 Saltpeter, to a Brit 126 Marvel superheroes 127 Language that gave us “bard” 128 Homer’s neighbor DOWN 1 Gloater’s taunt 2 Prelude to bad news
Answers found on Page 74 72
By Merl Reagle
Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
3 Antony of antiquity 4 “___ & Son” (British series that inspired “Sanford and Son”) 5 Piper’s take? 6 Seat choice 7 Blue eyes, for example 8 Balcony section 9 Phone co. employee 10 Cottonseed et al. 11 Bit of Cuban bread? 12 Sherlock’s creator 13 Slangy money 14 “We’ll tak ___ o’ kindness yet” (line from “Auld Lang Syne”) 15 City SSW of Leipzig (ana-gram of RAGE) 16 Holder of Obama’s Cabinet 18 It grabbed Patty H. 20 Manage 21 Talk a lot 23 Highest (degree) 27 Music notes 29 “Tarnation!” 31 Veni 32 Windbreaker fabric 33 Company member? 34 Olympic nickname, ___-Jo 35 Coleman, Young, et al. 36 Fair Deal pres. 37 Greek letter 38 Old French sword 39 Perignon was one
40 Fire sign? 41 Little brooks 42 Arise (from) 44 Violin section? 45 Sports-shoe brand 46 Hide-out 50 Bk. after Galatians 51 ___ Miguel (largest of the Azores) 52 Be ambitious 54 Buzz in space 56 Recordings in sleeves 59 Schnozz extension 61 “Basically,” basically: abbr. 62 Mai ___ 63 Finish 64 TNT’s ﬁnish 66 Aero or para ﬁnish 69 Sailing hazard 70 Nero’s earth 71 Newton’s tree? 72 Das kin 73 Sit behind ___ 74 Over or sight follower 75 Oil of ___ 76 Shaving mishap 78 Yale’s Mr. Yale 79 Type choices 80 Nothing-but-net sound 81 Staff leader? 84 Quartet voice 87 Bailout key on a PC 89 When France is bakin’ 90 D.C. player 91 7 on old phones 92 Apt. VIP 95 “... who lived ___” 97 Oscar role for Streep 98 Uninteresting 99 Alamogordo trial, brieﬂy 100 Lee’s side: abbr. 103 My, to Mimi 104 Wear away 105 Moore/Knight co-star 106 Take-home pay 107 Algerian port 108 Sari-clad royal 109 Certain NCO 110 Roswell’s st. 111 Soothing stuff 112 Netter Nastase 113 Sharp 115 Actress Grey or Martin 116 Playwright Ayckbourn 117 Lavish party 118 Played for a sap 121 Oz. and others
!!! VOLUME 16 IS HERE !!! To order Merl’s crossword books, visit www.sunday crosswords.com.
9/2/2010 © M. Reagle
Super Hot Sexy Love Stories By Michael H. Miller Out of nowhere in Rick Moody’s new novel The Four Fingers of Death (Little, Brown and Company), there is a gay sex scene involving two astronauts ﬂying on a rocket ship to Mars. “There was a sharp stabbing sensation, sort of how I imagine it must feel to ﬁnd your innards impaled on a pike,” Moody writes. “This was the Big Bang of interplanetary sex.” The scene goes on for almost 10 pages, ending with the line, “The two of us breaststroked around the capsule, attempting to swallow the afterglow of our profane and inadvisable entanglement.” Most striking about Moody’s scene is the lack of restraint. Moody is not alone. This has been a summer of strange, dirty sex in American ﬁction. Writers are dealing with the topic in all its awkward, gruesome and (one hopes) lascivious detail. Fictional sex in 2010 is as unhinged as Norman Mailer’s apocalyptic orgasm. Forty years after the old guard’s ﬁctional promiscuity, the mere presence of sex in ﬁction has long ceased to be interesting. Authors now focus less on the social implications of writing about sex and instead on the thematic possibilities of the act itself. This summer’s novels run through the entire spectrum of possible intercourse: missionary, ménage à trois, bondage, torture and every variant in between. In all instances, sex is not an aesthetic decoration, a superﬂuous indulgence or a signal of an author’s bravery; it drives plot and deﬁnes character. The scenes are highly stylized in erotic, often gritty language: the 18-year-old performing oral sex on a music executive old enough to be her father in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (Knopf); the virile Sam Sheppard’s extra-marital affairs in Adam Ross’ wonderful debut, Mr. Peanut (Knopf); Benjamin Israelien’s tongue cleaved to the clitoris of a woman impersonating his mother in Joshua Cohen’s Witz (Dalkey Archive Press). The sex scene, as it becomes more and more pornographic, paradoxically shifts from hormonal to metaphorical. The dirtier the sex, the more essential it is to the story. It is no accident that many of the writers offering the most unreserved representations of sex have expressed anxiety about the state of the novel and of publishing, particularly the increasing digitization and consequent simpliﬁcation of language. Gary Shteyngart in his excellent Super Sad True Love Story (Random House) interprets this directly through the juxtaposition of Eunice Park’s Gchat-speak e-mails with the long form prose of Lenny Abramov’s diary entries, creating what is, essentially, a critique of technology-mediated writing. Lenny’s jarring eloquence—“She must have sensed just how much her youth and freshness meant to me, a man who lived in death’s anteroom and could barely stand the light and heat of his brief sojourn on earth. I licked and licked, breathing in the slight odor of something authentic and human”—is mirrored by Grace’s crude e-chatter—“I met this old, gross guy at a party yesterday and we got really drunk and I sort of let him go down on me.” Sex in ﬁction is, more and more, a device through which authors experiment and take risks. A participant in the second highly pornographic scene in Moody’s book unknowingly sums it up quite succinctly: “Would I be coy about a device that’s all about turning the tables so that what’s wrong is right,” Moody writes, “and what was bottom is now top?”
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Personal Finance Afghanistan Continued from Page 70
Predator drones being used to take out the Taliban bike gangs that rule the countryside and attack motorists? Why don’t U.S. troops attack Taliban strongholds in the north, west and center of Afghanistan? If we’re going to spend a quarter of a trillion bucks on troops here, they ought to provide security. Afghan cops say they know where the bad guys are. But they don’t even have the basic tools, like helicopters, needed to go after them. The U.S. military does—but they ignore Afghan requests for help. Second problem: Corruption and American stupidity. They go together; stupid American organizations like US AID pick U.S. contractors or ﬂy-by-night outﬁts connected to the Karzai regime and fail to audit their expenses. Bills are padded to spectacular extents. Work, when it gets done, is shoddy. Highways paved three years ago are already warped due to inferior roadbeds. Moreover, work often takes place without consultation with, or the beneﬁt of, locals. No one asks villagers what they want. Outsiders do the work; locals sit and watch. Areas that need a hospital get a road. Those that want a road get a school. The Frontier Post, a Pakistani newspaper based in the Afghan border towns of Quetta and Peshawar, editorialized: “Afghans have little to be grateful to America for. It may have pumped in billions of dollars in aid—but only theoretically. Practically, much of that has been siphoned off and ploughed back by American contractors, making them rich while Afghans get only lollipops.” Third: The Afghan people are last priority. In a war for hearts and minds, there’s no place for the trickle-down approach. But that’s what the U.S.—when it makes a serious effort, which is rare—does. I wouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan in the ﬁrst place, but if I were put in charge here I would deploy the “trickle up” approach: direct ﬁnancial assistance to the people who need it most. Help subsistence farmers buy their own plots of land. Build new houses and apartment blocs for the homeless. Invite bright children to attend colleges and universities tuition-free. Above all, don’t let people starve. We have spent $229 billion here. Meals cost less than a dollar. No Afghan should be starving—yet millions are.
Fast Company by Merl Reagle
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Buying coupons for deep discounts carries risk By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services
Never pay retail. The marriage of the Internet and advertising has created a hot new trend—coupons that you buy to get deep discounts on everything from clothing to kayaking. That’s got some experts saying that consumers should think twice and shop around before ever agreeing to pay retail prices again. But remember there are also some risks to buying coupons, including the classic tendency to overspend because you can’t pass up a bargain. “Coupons are much more attractive and enticing than they’ve ever been, so we are seeing them become more of a problem,” said Linda Davis-Demas, a counselor at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas. “I would strongly discourage people from buying things just because they have a coupon for it.” That said, if you’re already planning to go out to dinner, join a gym or learn salsa dancing, there’s a good chance that you could pay a fraction of the retail price by seeking out online coupon sites that will sell you a deal for 40 percent to 60 percent off retail prices. “It used to be that you might be able to search around and ﬁnd out about a happy hour here or there, or some discounted deal,” said Jim Moran, co-founder of Yipit, a New York aggregator of purchased coupon deals. “Now it’s everything.” Feeling ﬂabby? A coupon site called Groupon was selling Los Angeles ﬁtness classes for 67 percent off recently. (Coincidentally, they also had a half-price deal on cookies the previous week.) Want to take in a Dodgers game? One recent day the site was offering premium seats for 53 percent off. Another site called Living Social was offering discounts on kayaking in Malibu, Calif., and indoor rock-climbing lessons in Riverside, Calif., not to mention a variety of coupons that would allow you to eat elegant meals for 50 percent less than the price on the menu. Annie Korzen, an actress who used to appear regularly on Seinfeld, says her favorite coupon sites provide deals on dining out. Korzen, who recently penned Bargain Junkie: Living the Good Life on the Cheap (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2009), is particularly fond of Restaurants.com, which will allow you to buy $25 gift certiﬁcates at popular eateries for just $10. Sometimes those certiﬁcates get discounted further and can be picked up for as little as $2, she added. The coupons aren’t just for meals at sketchy diners, Korzen stresses. Whereas Groupon will sometimes offer half-price coupons for fast-food establishments, Restaurants.com was recently advertising cut-rate
deals at such famous eateries as Morton’s Steak House and Roy’s, a Hawaiian seafood restaurant. “I’m a bargainista, but I’m also a snob,” Korzen said. “I like good, well-prepared food.” Deals on spa treatments are so ubiquitous that Moran says you’d have to be crazy to pay retail. “It would be ﬁnancially irresponsible for you to make an appointment for a massage,” he contends. “Deals on massages pop up every two or three days.” Discounted gym memberships are also so common that Moran recently wrote a blog post about how you could get a full year of widely varied workouts at a fraction of the cost of joining a gym by buying the right coupons. A site called BuyWithMe.com recently underscored the point by offering a two-month gym membership, with a free personal training session, for $45 recently. What’s the catch? Unlike traditional coupon sites, such as RetailMeNot.com that share “coupon codes” for free, most of these deeply discounted coupon sites require you to pay upfront for goods that you’ll consume later. If you don’t end up using that gym membership before the expiration date, you’ve thrown $45 out the window. Most of these pay-in-advance deals are also offered only in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco but also can be found in Las Vegas. You’ll be hard-pressed to ﬁnd many coupons for retailers and restaurants in smaller towns. In addition, all the coupon offers have restrictions and expiration dates. Some restaurants, for example, will only let you use the coupons at lunchtime or on low-trafﬁc days. Many demand a set amount of spending—you need to buy $35 worth of food to use a $25 coupon purchased from Restaurants.com, for example—and tax and tip aren’t included, nor is takeout. These restrictions are spelled out in the terms and conditions, but you need to read those terms before you buy. The biggest risk, credit counselor Davis-Demas said, is that you can get so caught up in getting bargains that you spend more than you can afford on things you don’t need. “We see people who just can’t resist the thrill of the save,” she said. “If they have a coupon for something, they’ll buy it. They don’t even think about whether it’s something they need.”
Most of these discounted coupon sites require you to pay upfront for goods that you’ll consume later.
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 email@example.com.
Arts & Entertainment
Hero of His Own Life Looking for the man behind the myth of Las Vegas resident and world-famous magician David Copperﬁeld
By C. Moon Reed
Magician David Copperﬁeld is more famous than the character that inspired his stage name. The original Copperﬁeld, a plucky Brit created by Charles Dickens 160 years ago, comes in second on Google searches to the man born David Seth Kotkin 54 years ago this month. Little surprise. Everybody knows what Copperﬁeld the magician does, and how rich and successful he became doing it. (Quick recap: Copperﬁeld has 21 Emmy awards, 11 Guinness world records, his face on postage stamps in six countries, French knighthood, 11 islands, a charitable organization called Project Magic, a monumental magic museum and two shows a night at the MGM Grand.) But beyond all that is a person, and that’s who I wanted to know about. So I went to see his show, and while everybody else was oohing and aahing over truly impressive illusions, I studied his demeanor. His clothes were chosen to blend in rather than stand out: black slacks, a slate-gray button-up shirt and comfy black shoes. His gestures were understated, and his dominant expression was a
loaded smirk. If you could ignore what was happening onstage and judge only by his face, it seemed less like he was conjuring miracles and more like he was showing old friends his titanium leg at the VA Memorial Day barbecue. “Hey, get a load of this,” he seemed to be saying as he revealed not a metal appendage but a car or a motorcycle. But then each time the audience reacted, Copperﬁeld’s eyes would light up. All in all, though, I could never quite tell if he was having fun. That’s the problem with magicians— they’re professional liars. They’re not experts at doing magic, they’re experts at making you think they’re doing magic. And when dealing with a class of people so adept at illusion, it’s hard to tell what they’re really feeling or thinking, ever. But I had a trick up my sleeve: I’d set up a face-to-face interview. What I couldn’t divine, I could just ask. After the show, when my date was fully immersed in how-didhe-do-that, a stagehand wearing show-blacks led me out of the theater, around the casino and to a hidden
hotel room. It felt like the beginning of Interview With a Vampire, when the journalist meets Lestat in an empty room, with nothing but a tape recorder and his own fear of getting eaten. In my case, I had a tape recorder, two stagehands and a fear of the usual celebrity nonanswers. Either way, the gravitas was the same. The magician sat across from me in the little desk that comes in every hotel room. He had intense artist eyes, he was strikingly tan and his right hand stayed up against his face, either protectively or because he was tired. After a few misguided warm-up questions that led to meaningless answers, such as “Vegas is great in the summer,” I lit into the burning question: “You’re in the unusual position of already having achieved every dream a person could ever conceive of having, so what’s left to look forward to? What’s left that challenges you?” He inhaled and exhaled so audibly that it picked up on my recorder. “I worked really hard to check things off the list of things I had to do. And that’s why it was Continued on Page 78 September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 77
Arts & Entertainment
This One’s for You
Barry Manilow’s ‘15 Minutes’ continues with a new album, a gig at Paris and a way to help students follow in his footsteps By Richard Abowitz Barry Manilow in person has the same heart-on-sleeve sentiment and, even more, the boyish earnestness that he offers his audience each night. He energetically talks about how fantastic iPhone’s standard recording app is for capturing sound (“It’s great. It is called Voice Memo, right? That’s what we use!”), and then effortlessly
transitions into a detailed explanation of his offer to the public to trade used instruments for tickets to his show at Paris. Manilow donates the instruments to school music programs. Manilow, ﬁttingly, sees the stakes in music education as a lifeline to youth. “I come from a rough neighborhood in nowhere Brooklyn, New York. I went to a dump of a high school, but at least we had an orchestra. I wasn’t good at sports, and I did not want to join a gang. I joined the orchestra. That was my gang. And it set me on the way to where I am now.” So, when Manilow heard about budget cuts to school music programs around the country a couple years ago, “It just about killed me, because I would not be here if I did not have music in my young life.” After some pondering along the lines of “I am just one skinny singer, what can I do?” Manilow eventually up with the instrument exchange, now dubbed The Manilow Music Project. Manilow’s own music continues with a new album in the works. On his forthcoming disc, Manilow reveals that he’s just like the rest of us, having spent time taking in the gruesome details of Lindsay Lohan’s life. “The new one is all original songs, called 15 Minutes, and it has an idea to it about fame. You see Lindsay Lohan and you know what goes on. You see all these kids who get hit in the face with fame. The songs are about fame, and can you handle it?” Manilow’s voice takes on the quality of a worldweary veteran, not the energetic champion of school orchestras from a moment earlier, as he recalls the fame that came at the start of his hit-saturated career. “It was rough. It was rougher to be a success than it is to be a failure. They don’t teach you how to handle success. I was 29 when ‘Mandy’ hit. I was already Bette Midler’s musical director. Fame still knocked me off my feet. I can’t imagine younger kids with a No. 1 record. It knocks everyone off their feet, and some never make it back to be a well-rounded human being.” Barry Manilow performs at Paris Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3-5, 24-26, Oct. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17 and 22-23. $65-$250, 9467000, manilowparis.com. Drop off new or gently used musical instruments at the Paris Theatre box ofﬁce to receive show tickets.
My Favorite Show By illusionist Dirk Arthur
After ﬁve years at the Tropicana, magician Dirk Arthur debuts Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magic at O’Sheas. The 60-minute show features comedy, dance, magic and exotic cats. But the most striking thing is the small upstairs showroom, which allows audiences to see uncaged tigers, leopards, panthers and more at a range as close as 10 feet. The show is nightly at 7 and 9 p.m. starting Sept. 15, dark Wednesdays and Fridays, $23-$34, 733-3333. My all-time favorite show was Sieg fried & Roy. Originally, they inspired me to work with the big cats. I love the Cirque shows as well. But I just recently saw Donny & Marie, and they’re my current favorite show. I absolutely love it. I’ve always been a fan of Donny and Marie. I thought the show would be kind of conservative, but it was totally exciting and contemporary. The production value was great—the lighting and the pacing. It’s so cool to see two stars who are powerful and entertaining in their own right perform together. It was fun to see their personalities by themselves, too. The fun Donny and Marie banter is always cute, from when they were little to now. Just as funny, the brother and sister thing. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 78
Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Copperﬁeld Continued from Page 77
interesting, not just to buy an island, not just to own a big thing, or actually 11 islands, but to put my creative abilities and my creative team’s abilities into making [the island itself into] a very special kind of show. There’s lots of statues that rise out of the ground. Secret tunnels. A secret village of amazing things happening to you.” (Stays at the Islands of Copperﬁeld Bay start at $37,500 a day, custom treasure hunt not included.) Now, Copperﬁeld is turning his attention to developing new material for his stage show and ﬁnding his next big thing. “For years and years, Madonna-like, I have rebranded myself,” Copperﬁeld said. He’s gone from Broadway dance to making giant icons disappear (think Statue of Liberty) to an MTV phase to creating a show with Francis Ford Coppola where he used magic to tell stories about his life. “My thing was to do with magic what a ﬁlmmaker or a songwriter would do, that is to convey certain emotions and feelings, tell stories with the magic. In entertainment, that’s a pretty classic thing, but in magic, it didn’t exist.” Copperﬁeld’s storytelling works in part because of the relationship he forges with his audience. “I think the audience becomes very involved, especially with a magician, if they feel like they understand him as a person, if he’s a guy they can relate to, yet he’s able at the same time to do amazing things.” But other than plain clothing, how can we relate? “I don’t take myself that seriously,” Copperﬁeld said, telling me the one misconception audiences have about him. “If you see my pictures, always one eyebrow happens to be raised. That’s the picture that they use because it’s mysterious, but when they come to see my live show, they say, ‘He’s kind of funny, I kind of want to hang out with him.’” My 10-minute interview had already taken 20, and I was wondering if I had embarked on a fool’s errand, trying to understand anything about anybody in such a short meeting. I had one more shot. Is there anything left unchecked on your life list, other than developing new tricks? He took another breath. “You know something,” he said, “I really enjoy my job. I really have a good time when I’m up onstage. Backstage, the work isn’t so fun. The business isn’t so fun, what you have to do to maintain all that is going on, but the actual performance onstage is really a pleasure. … “It’s not about new tricks, it’s about ﬁnding a way to take the art that I’m good at and use it to elicit a response or make people think about their life, be moved in a certain way. … The magic is important, but parallel to that.” Dickens’ David Copperﬁeld is the classic example of the bildungsroman, a story of personal growth in which a thoughtful young protagonist goes out into the cruel world to ﬁnd himself and ﬁnd his fortune. Intentionally or not, the magician Copperﬁeld’s life is a mirror of his namesake’s. But whether he believes in his own success is another story altogether. “People think that I don’t have to prove myself,” Copperﬁeld said at the end of the interview. “Eventually you get to a point where you don’t have to prove yourself as a writer, a magician or whatever. But I still feel like I have to prove myself. That’s a good thing.” David Copperﬁeld performs at the Hollywood Theatre at the MGM Grand. 7:30 and 10 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Sundays) through Sept. 15 and Sept. 30–Nov. 3. Tickets are $69 and up.
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Arts & Entertainment
Sites to see By Geoff Carter REJECTAMENTA (therejectionist.com) The author of the Rejectionist blog is, in her own words, “a cranky, underpaid, whiskey-swilling, snack-deprived assistant to a Very Important New York Literary Agent.” There is perhaps no one better equipped to explain why three-quarters of the new releases at your local bookstore feature young vampires or elitist professionals taking a year off to “ﬁnd themselves.” The Rejectionist reads all, spares none the red pen of her vengeance— not the idiots calling on the phone asking stupid questions, not the gay-bashers who vex her by continuing to breathe, and not even the late Stieg Larsson, who’s responsible for the other quarter of the titles on that new releases shelf. That said, she does her share of good deeds by pointing you to authors who deserve to be read and offering no-bullshit advice to potential authors that comes straight from the mouth of the furnace. Here’s a tip, author-friends: “Waiting to be published in order to live your real life is a lot like hanging out on the sidewalks of Manhattan hoping someone will notice you are special. The odds are not in your favor.”
THINKING ASTRIDE OF THE BOX (apartmenttherapy.com) I have lived in apartments for most of my adult life. I chose to live in apartments long before certain catastrophic economic failures made them cool. (Rhymes with “bousing hubble.”) As Las Vegas slowly becomes more urban and compact it’s perhaps inevitable that you’ll end up living in an apartment, too, and when you do you’ll be happy that I told you about Apartment Therapy. It’s not a form of psychoanalysis, but a blog that celebrates shared-wall living and provides daily examples of what other apartment dwellers do with their limited spaces to make them more attractive and functional. Much of what you’ll see is stuff you can’t afford to do or that your landlord won’t allow you to do, but every now and again, you’ll be able to swipe a nice idea off the top.
IRONY MAN (pinuprdj.tumblr.com) What would you say if I told you that I’ve discovered a Tumblr blog whose sole reason for existing is to Photoshop the face of Robert Downey Jr. onto the bodies of girlie pinups of the 1950s and 1960s? You’d probably say the same things that I did: Aaaaaaagh, followed immediately by, Yeah, I’d still hit that.
Journalist Geoff Carter is a Las Vegas native living in Seattle, land of virtual titillation. 80 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Arts & Entertainment
Be a Young Original and bask in the Dusty Sunshine By Jarret Keene
Ben Plant and his new recruits make up Miami Horror.
Innovative Aussie producer Miami Horror’s journey from DJ to four-piece band By Mikey Francis From the conﬁnes of a bedroom studio in Melbourne, Australia, electronic music producer and DJ Ben Plant (a.k.a. Miami Horror) and his newly incarnated live band worked diligently to complete their debut full-length album, Illumination. Making the album was a multi-year adventure for the four-piece psychedelic indie-electronic outﬁt, but well worth the effort. Plant seasoned Illumination with a variety of musical inﬂuences—from psychedelic and chillwave to disco and French house. In preparation for the blog darlings’ Las Vegas stop on their U.S. tour, I recently chatted with Plant about the making of Illumination, his favorite Miami Horror remix and his plans for 2011.
band” route versus the “DJ” route? I was a little over the direction club music was moving in and didn’t really wish to either play it or make it. Secondly I had always aimed to have some form of live show at some point and found DJ sets a little limiting.
What is the musical concept behind Illumination? We wanted to move away from the EP, which was a little old by the time it actually came out, something a little less dance-y and with a live-r sound. The focus has always been to make something classic, however, there was a greater focus on originality for this album.
The new record includes a bonus CD with remixes from artists/producers Fred Falke, Treasure Fingers, Yacht, Baby Monster and Shazam. How did you go about selecting these artists? I think the Shazam remix of “Sometimes” is my favorite. It’s a good balance and pretty much the kind of mix I was looking for at the time. It’s often hard to get remixes you want, and even then you don’t know if the mix will be good. We generally make a list with the label of potential artists we’d like to get and then see what’s possible.
What were some of your biggest musical inﬂuences in writing Illumination? We didn’t want to make anything that could be pigeonhole-able or too relevant to any speciﬁc trends. The album was inspired by a lot of nostalgic ’70s pop, but we also let our disco and psychedelic inﬂuences seep through. We were listing to bands like Pink Floyd and Supertramp, while also going back and listening to old favorites like the album Moon Safari by Air. What made you decide to make the live incarnation of Miami Horror a four-piece band? Why did you decide to go the “live 82 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Miami Horror also performs a lot of DJ sets. What inﬂuences your musical those? We tend to play a lot of upbeat disco and pop with a few newer house tracks thrown in. If we get the chance we generally try to introduce the crowd to older things they may have not heard without losing the party.
Any big plans for Miami Horror in 2011? We’ve recently done a collage of the album called Lucid Stream using only our favorite tracks and parts, it’s an example of where our heads are at currently. It’s much more psychedelic and disco-orientated than the album. It’s something we really want to get out there and hopefully perform live one day, so check it out! Miami Horror plays the Beauty Bar with Teen Wolf and Jacuzzi Hi-dive at 9 p.m. Sept. 5.
Public arts centers used to be the last place I’d look for cool music. Chinese ﬂute recitals and Native American chanting, sure. But electric guitars? No chance. That’s all changing, at least at Winchester Cultural Center, where two new shows have just been announced for the fall. These shows extend the Young Originals concert series, which kicked off last month to little fanfare but much acclaim. So mark your calendars and buy tickets early. First, on Oct. 22, Dusty Sunshine and Mike Weller will take the stage at 7 p.m. Dusty Sunshine is a Las Vegas indie-rock supergroup involving Heidi Guinn and Summer Soll (the two gals who comprise folk-pop duo The Petals), the vocalist Chani Riiell from Rubiks Hotel, violinist Megan Wingerter from A Crowd of Small Adventures and Hungry Cloud, and Jason Aragon from I’m The Rabbit and The Clydesdale. Dusty Sunshine offers a fuller vocal approach with plenty of four-part harmonies. Mike Weller of Hungry Cloud will open with a solo acoustic performance. The wildly funky and very danceable Moshka will perform at 8 p.m. on Nov. 19 at Winchester. Moshka’s self-released album, Mammal or Machine is great. Visit accessclarkcounty.com for more info on Young Originals. Good Lord, I’d Dusty Sunshine forgotten all about Diablo’s Mexican Cantina at Monte Carlo. The venue has given me no good reason (other than their spiced skirt steak nachos) to return. Now I have a reason: The Head Cat, a rough-andready rockabilly group led by none other than Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. The band performs Sept. 4, and I’m so excited I can barely keep my ducktail properly lubed. Local post-hardcore act This Romantic Tragedy is recording its full-length debut with producer Will Putney. Titled A Day to Remember, the CD’s projected release date is “late 2010.” Putney has produced a slew of releases by Suicide Silence, Cobra Starship and Lamb of God. Finally, I hope to see my punk-rock peeps at the Know Your Saints show on Sept. 7 at Las Vegas Country Saloon. This cool-as-all-hell Seattle trio hits like Hüsker Dü crossed with Social Distortion and makes me long for the golden days of alt-music, before the Goo Goo Dolls ruined everything. Go to myspace.com/knowyoursaints, listen to “Like a Funnel Cloud” and bask in the beautiful din of three guys, three chords and the ugly truth. Selling a Boba Fett Youth 7-inch? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arts & Entertainment
By Jarret Keene
Lissie Catching a Tiger (Fat Possum) Perhaps you know her from her ridiculously good live cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” which has generated nearly a million views on YouTube. If not, you should check it out and then listen to Lissie’s debut full-length, which crackles with all the polished energy of a classic John Hammond production. Sure, there are a few weird curveballs, including skanky (as in reggae) opener “Record Collector,” that may not instantly satisfy. But once you reach the second track and album single “When I’m Alone,” with its smooth R&B bass line and nimble melody, Lissie’s voice will claw its way into your heart and stay there. Indeed, momentum builds with spooky poprocker “In Sleep” followed by the piano-based ballad “Bully,” which crescendos into a massive Phil Spector-Wall-of-Sound confection. Lissie explores her inner folkie with “Little Lovin’” and captures a ’60s girl group vibe with “Stranger.” A diverse effort that deserves attention; don’t let this animal slip by. ★★★★✩
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan Hawk (Vanguard) Why the Scottish former Belle & Sebastian cellist Isobel Campbell has grown so enamored of the musical hodgepodge genre known as Americana isn’t clear, especially given her twee-pop background. Regardless, the (now three) records she has cut with Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan are pretty solid, as long you have an afﬁnity for Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood desert psychedelia. Like Nancy, Campbell isn’t a gifted vocalist, but she has a knack for expressing the naïve, wide-eyed vitality of a sun-ﬂecked tumbleweed hurtling down a lonesome highway. The bluegrass doom stomp of “Snake Song” is hard to beat when she and her smoky-voiced male counterpart share the line “I’ve got poison/ Just might bite you.” Other Lanegan-less moments may sound like subpar Mazzy Star (“To Hell & Back Again”), but overall Campbell’s songwriting instincts have broadened and deepened. “Cool Water,” for instance, possesses a stumbling yet alive standup bass pumping below her plea for a vague kind of spiritual quenching. Play this one very late at night. ★★★✩✩
Jenny and Johnny I’m Having Fun Now (Warner Bros.) Vegas-raised Rilo Kiley lass Jenny Lewis and actormusician boyfriend Johnathan Rice have crafted an entire album’s worth of bright, shining, Beatlesque rock, something Lewis’ previous musical projects (including her solo efforts) have been seemingly afraid to accomplish. From start to ﬁnish, every song here is an upbeat pop gem, even the oddly titled tracks “My Pet Snake” and “Just Like Zeus.” The twin, effervescent singles that drew attention to this record—the full-throttle “Big Wave” and the sharp yet simple “Scissor Runner”—ﬁt nicely among the lovely harmony vocals and strummed acoustic guitar chords in “Switchblade,” and “While Men Are Dreaming,” which takes a nearly a capella approach that brings to mind Brian Wilson. “Animal,” meanwhile, with its clever, religion-citing lyrics, sticks to the brain with an intriguing chorus: “Show your teeth to everyone/Don’t let no one prove you wrong.” An ideal summer pop record; too bad it was released during the dog days. ★★★★✩ 84 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Arts & Entertainment
Movies Taste the Fury Mexpliotation comes to town and brings a social commentary greased with violence By Cole Smithey Robert Rodriguez’s codirected grindhouse fun-fest Machete is loaded with laughs, gore and ’70s-styled social commentary about America’s current immigration crackdown. Rodriguez has coined the phrase “Mexpliotation” to describe his ironic reversal on vigilante ﬁlms, such as Dirty Harry and Death Wish, which were considered by some at the time of their release to represent a fascistic right-wing mentality. Extrapolated from the faux movie trailer Rodriguez created for the Quentin Tarantino-partnered Grindhouse, Machete follows a former Mexican Federale named Machete (played with gusto by Danny Trejo), whose wife was brutally murdered before his eyes when he worked as an agent, by a vicious drug lord played by Steven Seagal. While looking for day labor work a few years later in Texas, the illegal immigrant Machete is propositioned by Booth ( Jeff Fahey), a wily local millionaire, to assassinate U.S. Sen. John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) during an election rally in exchange for $150,000. In his off-hours, McLaughlin has a penchant for videotaping himself riding around with his redneck border patrol buddy Lt. Stillman (Don Johnson) to mercilessly shoot Mexican immigrants attempting to cross the border. Needless to say, Machete soon becomes public enemy numero uno and wages a one-man war against the bigoted powers that oppress and kill his people. You can easily guess his weapon of choice. As hilarious as Machete is, it’s funnier still that there’s Internet buzz about the ﬁlm’s potential to set off a race war in Texas or Arizona. Evidently, the ﬁlm’s tagline, “If you’re going to hire Machete to kill the bad guy, you better make damn sure the bad guy isn’t you!” has struck a nerve. It can’t go unmentioned that Machete is a 20th Century Fox ﬁlm, so its paradoxical proximity to Fox News is exceptionally amusing. The genius of the picture is that Rodriguez has found a way to hitch the ﬁlm’s thematic wagon to a real issue in the same way that B-movies of the ’60s and ’70s did for their subjects. It’s fascinating to see the grindhouse visual and narrative dialectic retroﬁtted with such energy and attentiveness to detail. There’s a looseness to the hyperbolic way violence occurs that sets the tone for the corruption that underlies all aspects of border life. It’s a given that all politicians and corporate ﬁgures on both sides of the perimeter are in bed with one another. For his part, Trejo is so unattractive that, like Have Gun—Will Travel’s Richard Boone (on television 195763), he’s positively perfect. Jumping in the sack with Michelle Rodriguez’s revolutionary leader, Luz, comes across as a match made in cult movie heaven. Soul86 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Genius casting: Before becoming an actor, Danny Trejo was a drug addict, boxer and convicted criminal.
kisses with Jessica Alba’s smokin’ hot U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, Sartana, drives home the message that Machete is a superhuman rebel who exists so far beyond the law that such a romantic union is inevitable. Obligatory nudity also comes with the territory as Machete proves he’s just as much a lover as a ﬁghter when he frolics with Booth’s naughty wife and daughter (Lindsay Lohan). Machete comes closer to House of the Devil as a retrohomage picture than a throwback action ﬁlm such as The Expendables. Jagged quick edits and cracked ﬁlm stock lend an intentional feel of disintegration. An apocalyptic impression of social collapse lingers over the movie like a bad smell. Blaxploitation ﬁlms of the ’70s such as Shaft, or the lesser-seen but more incendiary The Spook Who Sat by the
Door, served an important function of giving minority audiences an outlet for their day-to-day problems. Clearly, the time is ripe for Mexican audiences to have the ﬂaws in the American immigration system put on the big screen in an explosive and funny way. An NRA member would say, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” In the case of Machete, his very name is the blade that decapitates an entire system of calculated prejudice. There’s a deﬁant expressiveness here that is easily more sophisticated than any argument a news pundit could articulate about America’s confusion over immigration. Machete doesn’t need no stinking card to prove his citizenship, and neither does anybody else. You can taste the fury.
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Arts & Entertainment
Documentary Demons The Last Exorcism combines two genres and sends them to cinematic hell By Cole Smithey More a sketch of an idea for a horror movie than a fully formed ﬁlm, The Last Exorcism is a yawn-inducing attempt to cash in on a combination of exhausted genre tropes. Following in the shaky-cam, found-footage footsteps of The Blair Witch Project, Daniel Stamm directs an incompetent script about an evangelical con man, Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian). Cotton carries on his family’s well-established business of conducting exorcisms for illiterate backwoods types who traditionally respond well to the power of materialsupported suggestion. Cotton takes along a couple of documentarians—the cameraman is never shown but the annoying sound girl (Iris Bahr) can’t keep her mouth shut—to record his experiences as a way of coming clean about his dicey religious practices. The trio go on a road trip to rural Louisiana where Louis Sweetzer, a fundamentalist farmer, believes his daughter Nell (Ashley Bell) is possessed and is responsible for killing their livestock in the dead of night. Homeschooled Nell turns out to be quite a contortionist when the opportunity presents itself, and her freaky brother Caleb (Caleb Landry Jones) is just as threatening as their dad turns out to be. Riddled with poor lighting, inappropriate music and a plot you could ﬁt in a teacup, The Last Exorcism has all the appeal of a gloriﬁed student ﬁlm. The Last Exorcism is set up as a traditional documentary. Cotton and his dad give direct-to-camera interviews about their family, and we get introduced to Cotton’s wife and young son. The boy knows that Daddy is really an
Hack Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) attempts to save the young Nell (Ashley Bell).
atheist and has a sense of humor about his dad’s hypocrisy. If the character development is slapdash, we don’t mind so much because there are secrets on the table. Anyone who has seen William Friedkin’s masterpiece The Exorcist knows that the movie spends a lot of time establishing the characters of the young priest, the mom and the innocent little girl who will become unrecognizable by the ﬁlm’s shocking third act. It’s a lesson that the ﬁlmmakers here would have been wise to learn. Instead of establishing any of its characters beyond a thumbnail sketch, screenwriters Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland rush into the exorcism with no idea of how or why the promised event should constitute the ﬁnality of the ﬁlm’s title.
Before the exorcism, the family waits outside Nell’s bedroom while Cotton surreptitiously preps the room with candles, ﬁshing line and whatever little magic trick effects he plans to employ during the procedure. Cotton is shown as a master of his destiny, as well as a master of the people he cons into believing that he will exorcise of their demons. But then the premature and surprisingly brief exorcism takes place. Cotton’s pre-rigged cruciﬁx emits a few puffs of smoke and bingo, all is done. We know it is us, the audience, that has been conned.
the Last exorcism (r)
By Cole Smithey and Sharon Kehoe
Written by a committee of four screenwriters, Takers is a nondescript heist movie with one-dimensional characters and an inexcusably silly plot. Misguided director John Luessenhop wants his audience to admire his well-dressed gangsters who talk like they’re taking a semester away from Harvard to pull off an armored car job in L.A. To see talented actors Matt Dillon and Marianne Jean-Baptiste stoop so low is a travesty. 88 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Piranha 3D (r)
This is one of the most gleefully gory horror movies of all time. Director Alexandre Aja’s update of Joe Dante’s notorious 1978 ﬁlm (written by John Sayles) packs in exposed boobies and dismembered bodies. Lake Victoria, Ariz. (Lake Havasu), is the partying ground for a slew of horny college students. Aja (High Tension) ramps up the tension and gore to a fever pitch before sprinkling in a hearty dose of gross-out humor.
the Switch (PG-13)
Thanks to the lovable chemistry between Jason Bateman and newcomer Thomas Robinson, The Switch is a fun and endearing ﬂick. Bateman plays Wally, who switches his best friend Kassie’s ( Jennifer Aniston) sperm donor swimmers with his own. Despite the plot being unoriginal and the ﬁrst half a bit of a snooze, once the second half picks up you’ll be on board as the movie’s touching and comic events unravel.
Mesrine: Killer instinct (Not rated) ★★★★✩
Based on Mesrine’s memoir Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Part 1), director Jean-François Richet creates an action-packed crime drama. The story opens in ’60s France where war hero Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) starts his career by meeting mob kingpin (Gérard Depardieu). There’s an addictive quality to the ﬁlm due to the story’s unpredictable nature and the expert ﬁlmmaking on display.
Arts & Entertainment
Lottery Ticket (PG-13)
The Other Guys (PG-13)
Co-writer/debut director Erik White seems more concerned with stereotypes than modern-day African-American culture. Kevin wins a $350 million lottery jackpot on the Fourth of July holiday, and everybody in the immediate vicinity tries to get a piece of him. Crude physical humor and disposable dialogue make for an unsatisfying urban comedy.
Co-writer/director Adam McKay (Step Brothers) gives humor to an off beat buddy ﬁlm that never quite ﬁnds its pitch. Detectives Allen (Will Ferrell) and Terry (Mark Wahlberg) attempt to replace their doomed predecessors (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson). This action comedy would’ve worked better with more comedy and less action.
Eat Pray Love (PG-13)
Stuffed with navel-picking excess, the movie adaptation of the best-selling book is as crass as Sex and the City. An unintended indictment of everything wrong with Americans’ sense of global entitlement, the narrative follows Liz ( Julia Roberts) as she travels to Rome, India and Bali, where she eats, prays and loves respectively.
Christopher Nolan’s futuristic intrigue thriller is am astonishing magic act, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb is reminiscent of his performance in Shutter Island. Cobb takes on a mission of corporate espionage with his team. By the time the ﬁlm gets down to the dream-within-a-dream-within-adream, the puzzle of narrative complexity loses some of its appeal.
Nanny McPhee Returns (PG)
A vast improvement over the 2005 franchise introduction of co-writer/ actress Emma Thompson’s household savior, this sequel ﬁnds modern-day meaning in its World War II-era English trappings. Nanny helps farm-owner Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) by teaching her unruly charges “ﬁve lessons” that will leave the family members “wanting” but not “needing” her continued service.
90 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
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Dining Pairing 2: three meats and a Vina Robles Cab.
Got guests coming over? A couple of professional epicures share tips on matching wine, cheese and meat
By Max Jacobson Any Las Vegan who calls himself a foodie owes a debt of gratitude to Bob Howald and Kristen Sande. The couple operate the only true gourmet food shop around, Valley Cheese and Wine, which they opened in 2006 in a quiet strip mall at 1770 Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson (341-8191). They have struggled through a down economy—“I keep crossing my ﬁngers, hoping the recession is over,” Howald says—but aren’t ready to throw in the towel, thanks to a loyal following. I’m one of them. As you may have read in my weekly Diner’s Notebook, I often stop by for items such as imported mortadella, Italian pesto in jars, hand-rolled Italian,
Photo by Anthony Mair
Continued on Page 94
September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 93
Fast-food winners, a home-cooking bistro and Vegan vegan
The explanation: Howald likes the idea that you get all three milks used primarily in cheese-making (cow, goat and sheep) for contrast. He chose this wine because “the acidity cuts nicely through the richness of the cheeses, and is bright, crisp and grassy.” Serve the wine chilled.
Pairings Continued from Page 93
and Spanish chocolate. The couple have a terriﬁc inventory of cheeses and boutique wine, too, and they conduct wine classes regularly.. Those qualities, and the fact that they make party trays, led me to conclude that Vegas Seven should share some food and wine pairing ideas for Labor Day weekend, which kicks off the home-entertainment season. Howald and Sande were happy to help, as they always are when it comes to sharing foodie knowledge. Here are three very different offerings: Pairing One This is basically a savory cheese and wine pairing, great as a prelude to a dinner party. The cheeses: Organic Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery, a soft, buttery triple cream ($33 per pound). Bucheron, a French goat cheese (also $33). Pecorino Toscano, a salty, nutty sheep’s milk cheese ($30). The wine: Quincy Sauvignon Blanc ’08 ($25). On the side: Potter’s Washington Island Flaxseed Crackers ($6).
Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Pairing Two This pairing is heartier, since it is meat, and therefore suits an afternoon snack at a social gathering. The meats: Pâté de campagne from Fabrique Delices, a bold, earthy pork-based country pâté ($23 per pound). Bresoala, Italian air-dried beef, ﬂavored with juniper berries and other botanicals ($40). Parma, soft, silky Italian ham that melts in the mouth ($33). The wine: Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ’06 ($20). The bread: Your favorite crusty French baguette, cut into thin slices. The explanation: The couple often pair pâtés with cold cuts for their guests and at wine tastings. The fat in the pâté softens the big tannins in the wine, and the saltiness of the beef and ham adds dimension. Pairing Three Think of this as dessert. It will dazzle your guests after a meal. The tray: Gorgonzola picante drizzled with American Farms honey from Iowa ($25 per pound), a nice combination of the sweet and the salty. Marcona almonds ($21 per pound) for richness and nuttiness. Michel Cluizel Noir aux Ecorces d’Orange ($6)—chocolate with orange peel. The wine: Chateau Puy-Servain ’04 Semillion ($33, for a 375-milliliter bottle). The explanation: This classic dessert Sauternes is made by the same people who do the mega-expensive Chateau d’Yquem. It’s rich, full and viscous, redolent of candied apricots. Here you have a riot of different ﬂavors and textures. You may never serve your guests chocolate cake again.
Here is some info relevant to burger lovers: According to a fast-food survey by the Zagat people, the best burger comes from the Virginia-based chain Five Guys. We don’t have Five Guys here, but take heart, we do have In-N-Out Burger, which took Top Food among large chains. We also have Dairy Queen, which ruled Best Milkshakes, McDonald’s (where else) for Best Fries, and Boneﬁsh Grill, which won Top Regional Seafood. But wait … Boneﬁsh just shut down its Henderson location. Still, three outta ﬁve ain’t bad. The survey, whose results were revealed live on NBC’s Today, covered 136 chains nationwide. Full results are available at Zagat.com/fastfood. I write about the sprawling Sansome Park Place in Vegas Seven’s new dining feature, Neighborhood Epicurean (Page 99), but I wanted to tell you a little bit more about Republic Kitchen & Bar (9470 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 110, 463-3500), which just opened there. It’s an American bistro with home cooking and a busy bar scene. It replaced the Irish pub Fado, and the revamped space has hard wood ﬂoors, a ﬁreplace and a white brick wall, as well as an upstairs area they call The Loft. The menu is based on comfort foods such as the Kobe Sloppy Joe ($11), with ground Kobe beef, Maui onions and ripe tomatoes, and the Vermont Cheddar Grilled Cheese ($10) on sourdough bread with soup. If that’s not nostalgic enough, you could order a “TV Dinner”: either the meat loaf with garlic mashed potatoes ($16) or the turkey with stufﬁng, corn and a mini cherry cobbler ($15)—both are served on a porcelain TV tray. Or you can splurge and get the fancy-dancy lobster potpie ($23). Meanwhile, on the Strip, there are further menu developments as the result of Steve Wynn having gone vegan. His team of star chefs has introduced a vegan dining program for guests—a forward-thinking idea if there ever was one. Every ﬁne dining and casual restaurant at Wynn and Encore now offers vegan items, the ﬁrst place on the Strip to do so on a large scale. Alex Stratta is doing fava-bean purée with hon shimeji mushrooms, snap-pea salad and aged balsamic vinegar at his eponymous Alex, while Kim Canteenwalla has responded with a chopped salad with avocado, carrots, celery, pumpkin seeds, edamame and tarragon vinaigrette at Encore’s Society Café. Mark Lo Russo has created Summer Vegetable Gratin at Botero; there is now risotto whipped with seasonal vegetables at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare; and Jet Tila has put a Vegan Crunch Roll with crispy asparagus, avocado, cucumber and arare on his menu at Wazuzu. It’s almost enough to make a boy give up steak. Hungry, yet? Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at foodwinekitchen.com.
Photography by Anthony Mair
By Max Jacobson
Dishing Got a favorite dish? Tell us at email@example.com.
Peppered Seared Ahi Tuna Salad at Mon Ami Gabi
This classic salad from Nice, France, has all the ingredients to make it a full meal. The black peppercorn-crusted ahi tuna is seared rare and placed around watercress and butter lettuce, shaved celery, egg, potato, niçoise olives and cherry tomatoes in a white balsamic and herb dressing. $18, Paris Hotel, 944-4224.
96 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Fish & Chips at Nine Fine Irishmen
This dish is made from fresh Atlantic cod that is deep-fried in a lager beer batter and served with Irish chips, homemade tartar sauce and a lemon wedge. For an even more traditional experience, eat it with a cold Harp. $20, New York-New York, 740-6463
Baby Back Ribs at Lucille’s Smokehouse Barbecue
The recipe starts with tender, meaty little pork ribs, which are slow-cooked for three to four hours with sweet hickory smoke. The ribs are grilled and basted with Lucille’s special sauce and served with homemade biscuits and a choice of two sides. $25 full-rack, $22 half rack, at The District, 2245 Village Walk Dr., 257-7427.
Federal Hill Calamari at Nove Italiano
This seafood delight is quickly fried then tossed in a pan with the garlic, pepperoncini, parsley, white wine and sprinkled with cheese. It is called Federal Hill Calamari because chef Geno Bernardo worked on Atwells Avenue in Federal Hill in Providence, R.I., and it was a signature dish of the area. The calamari also comes from Point Judith, R.I. $16, in the Palms, 942-6800.
Seven Things Kelley Jones Can’t Live Without
Mr. High Société
With P.U.B. and other new projects, hospitality guru Kelley Jones is on a roll By Patrick Moulin Squeezing through the crowd during a busy Thursday lunch shift at Todd English P.U.B., I am eager to meet one of the men behind this apparently recession-proof business: Kelley Jones, managing partner of the P.U.B. and CEO and founder of Société Hospitality, a Las Vegas-based hospitality and lodging group. He greets me with a friendly smile, a handshake and an invitation to sit down at his “ofﬁce,” the last table in the back of the CityCenter eatery, surrounded by diners. “When I’m here, this is where I sit,” Jones says. “From this array I can see everything that goes on in the restaurant.” The vantage point is crucial to a management philosophy built around connecting with guests, sensing their needs and adjusting quickly. “People are more forgiving of a friend than they are a stranger, so we become friends with the table,” he says. “When I was a chef, I never would have admitted this, but I can overlook an overcooked steak, but I can’t forgive rude or inattentive service.” The biggest reason for Jones’ success, though, may be his young heart and hippie soul. Although he turns 46 this year, he feels like he’s 25. The New Jersey native plays in a ﬂag football league every Sunday, has earned black belts in two different martial arts, and has two drum sets in his home so that he can jam with visitors. “At the end of the day, I want to have fun,” Jones says. 98 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Fun is one reason the P.U.B. stands out at CityCenter, where many establishments are on the serious side. Some of Jones’ ideas include nickel beer night, beer pong tables with a gumball machine that dispenses pingpong balls, and the seven-second beer chugging contest. “I’ve opened over 70 properties, and every time you learn something you didn’t know before, including this one,” says Jones, who, before Société, was president of Light Group, vice president of restaurant operations for Starr Restaurant Organization and vice president of restaurant operations for the Kimpton Hotels. When Todd English brought Jones in just three months before P.U.B.’s opening, he knew he was getting a manager who understood how to create a unique experience. “He is one of the best operators I know, and believe me, I have seen my share in all my years,” English says. “His enthusiasm and energy are contagious. He is great with his peeps and with the customers. All in all, I don’t know many better at this biz better than K.J. I love working with him.” The team hopes to continue its winning ways, as Jones and English are developing Todd English Burger, a gourmet burger bar in Manhattan. This is but one item on a crowded agenda for Jones: He’s working on eight other projects, too, including a seasonal ﬁne-dining restaurant called Eden with a self-contained garden in Miami. He also has fresh plans for Las Vegas: A create-your-own sushi bar is in the works at Tivoli Village in Summerlin, and Jones was hired to consult on New York-New York creator Mark Advent’s plan to expand the Orange County Choppers Roadhouse on the Strip. In each of his projects, Jones is looking for new approaches to the old art of dining. “I’ve worked at some great restaurants and with the industry’s leading individuals,” he says. “But now it’s about, How do we have fun? If it ain’t broke, break it.”
Live music. Jones went to more than 300 concerts during his ﬁrst ﬁve years living in Las Vegas. His favorite bands include Phish, U2 and the Grateful Dead. Drums. Jones has two sets in his music room. “I always sit someone down and get them to start playing. I can turn anyone into a drummer.” Dogs. Jones has two female labs, Joey and Casey. “I wanted to give them the same issues I had growing up—I gave them names where people didn’t know if they were a girl or a boy.” Food and wine. “There is nothing better than to sit at a table with great friends, a great meal and a great bottle of wine. In most cultures, the sharing of food is a communal event.” Treadmill. “I don’t particularly enjoy running, but it’s a necessity because I love to eat and drink.” Travel. “I’ve crushed grapes in Tuscany and Bordeaux, and I love the wine regions of the Old World. I love Europe; you can see so many different cultures.” New York City. “There are so many different neighborhoods where you can have so many different experiences.”
Photos by Anthony Mair
“K.J.” at the P.U.B. (above); and his concert-ticket collection at home.
The Eastern Front
A globe-hopping collection of tasty eats awaits in this Henderson hot spot
Photo by Al Powers
By Max Jacobson The stretch of Eastern Avenue that runs from Interstate 215 to Anthem may be the most diverse “restaurant row” in the Valley. As soon as you exit the freeway you see an In-N-Out Burger and a Coco’s, and continuing south, you get to Richmar Plaza, which features Grimaldi’s, where you can enjoy coal-ﬁred pizzas and good beer on the patio, and one of the city’s best coffeehouses, Espresso Culture & Cuisine. People often make the trip across the Valley just for those two hot spots. But across the street there’s a bigger reason why it’s bustling here day and night. Sansone Park Place (9480 S. Eastern Ave.) is a sprawling retail complex, home to an amazing diversity of places to eat and drink. Many of the mall restaurants are relatively new, having replaced ones that failed during these challenging times. Pizzeria Enzo sits where Le Golosita was, for instance. It serves good pizzas and house-made gelati. Elixir, an all-organic café with an emphasis on vegetarian dishes, recently opened in place of a Greek restaurant. And changes are ongoing. Perhaps the most anticipated opening is Republic Kitchen and Bar, an upscale American concept that’s moved into the space formerly home to the Irish pub Fado, which was quite popular and is sorely missed. True Island Grill, the only Las Vegas place that featured the cooking of Guam, is being replaced by Kabob Grill. A Chinese-Indian fusion concept, Jai’Ho, opened this month. You’re not going to starve here no matter what. There is a core of busy, successful places already well established. One is BJ’s Pizzeria and Brewhouse, which has the best happy hour in the area (discounted drinks and half-price mini pizzas and appetizers from 3-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and from 10 p.m. to closing Sun.-Thurs.) and American sandwiches. The Brazilian Grill, open for dinner only, is a churrascaria—allyou-can-eat Brazilian-style meats on skewers. For breakfast and lunch, there is a cheerful café called The Griddle, done in soft pastel earth tones. Hotcakes and basics from the griddle, such as wafﬂes and French toast, rule the roost,
and there are wraps, melts and salads for lunch. In the middle of the mall, there is the popular Thai restaurant Pin Kaow, with a huge menu of appetizers such as Thai beef jerky, fragrant Thai-style curries and ﬁery salads. For a Filipino food ﬁx, visit the market Kababayan Ko, equipped with a steam table and a hot case for to-go treats such as pancit rice noodles and sisig, a spicy ground pork dish. It’s at the south end of the mall. I haven’t even mentioned the ever-popular Red Mango, a South Korean yogurt place with branches in Los Angeles and Seoul. Red Mango does only four ﬂavors of 100 percent natural, gluten-free yogurt—the original tart ﬂavor, Madagascar Vanilla, Pomegranate and a special ﬂavor that changes from time to time—but they’re all good. They do smoothies, too. Whew! I feel like I’ve just circumnavigated the globe. Got a cluster of restaurants and bars in your neighborhood worth knowing about? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Republic: the new concept on the block.
September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 99
travel Salt Lake City’s skyline and Tabernacle Choir (far left).
What’s Great about Salt lake By T.R. Witcher
you visit the latter, make sure to check out the sprawling rooftop gardens, which frame spectacular views of the city, mountains and the temple itself. The urban bona ﬁdes of Salt Lake City may seem hard to ﬁnd, Salt Lake’s growing light-rail, begun in 1999 and now hidden under the gorgeous Wasatch Range, which hugs the being expanded to the airport, snakes past Temple Square eastern rim of the city. But what makes Salt Lake such a nice and heads down Main Street. There you can check out the diversion from Las Vegas is that, slowly but surely, the city’s excellent Sam Weller’s Bookstore, a two-level shop with an central districts are being successfully stitched together into a especially good collection of books on the history and culture walkable, livable urban environment. of the West. Next door, the Salt Lake Film Center hosts The best place to start is at the heart of Salt Lake: downtown’s screenings each Thursday night in September. Four blocks Temple Square, headquarters of the Mormon church. The over, Pioneer Park hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday Temple, built between 1853 and 1893, is a soaring six-spire strucmorning through mid-October. ture that’s ﬂanked by two visitors centers that lay out the history of the Latter-day Saints. The temple is closed to the public, but As you pass to the edges of downtown, other nuggets abound, docents—young Mormon women from all over the world—profrom the stately Romanesque Cathedral of the Madeleine to the liferate around the complex; they’re more than happy to answer swirling Moshe Safdie-designed central library, a curving, sixyour questions about Mormon lore. And the square is an urban story arc of glass. Salt Lake’s central neighborhoods are stuffed planner’s dream, its grounds ﬁlled with ﬂowers, fountains, plazas with stunning arts-and-crafts bungalows. To the south and east and people, making for a perfect stroll. of the library is Liberty Park, an urban and very leafy residential At 9:30 a.m. Sundays, catch a free performance of the public space that’s home to the Tracy Aviary, which describes Mormon Tabernacle Choir, in its 82nd year of broadcastitself as one of only two freestanding aviaries in the country. ing. Performances are held either in the small, silver-domed Downtown is full of epicurean delights, too. Enjoy dozens of Tabernacle Choir building, where the acoustics are so good you tea varieties at the Beehive Tearoom (12 W. Broadway), a colorcan actually hear a pin drop from the stage, or across the street ful quasi-Bohemian hangout. Afternoon tea is at 2 (call ahead in the cavernous auditorium of the LDS Conference Center. If for reservations: 801-328-4700). If your tastes are more robust, head a few blocks down to Squatters Brewpub (147 W. Broadway), a bustling local brewery with a plethora of beers, solid entrées and a lively outdoor patio. And you don’t want to visit Salt Lake without outdoor recreation on your itinerary. So head to the Great Salt Lake, where you can explore Antelope Island, the lake’s largest island, home to a roaming herd of hundreds of bison, as well as mule deer and coyote. There are also trails for mountain biking horseback riding and hiking. Otherwise, you can simply enjoy the Great Salt Lake itself, that glistening, mysterious body of water in which it is possible to venture quite a ways without swimming—almost like Salt Lake’s ever-growing light-rail transit. you’re walking on water. 100 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Getting There If you want to drive, Salt Lake City is about 400 miles away; you can make it in less than seven hours. By air, Delta has round-trip ﬂights as low as $191.
Accommodations Enjoy the Old World elegance of the Peery Hotel (peeryhotel.com) in the heart of downtown. Rooms run from $87 to $149; try the Romance Package ($209 to $249) and receive a $50 dinner credit at Romano’s Macaroni Grill as well as a carriage ride through downtown Salt Lake. Or decompress at Wildﬂowers Bed and Breakfast (wildﬂowersbb.com), a restored 1891 Victorian a few blocks south of Liberty Park that features a wildﬂower garden. Rates run between $89 and $125.
To Do Follow the Rebels on the road: The football team battles the Utah Utes in Rice-Eccles Stadium, just a few miles east of downtown. The game’s at 2 p.m. Sept. 11. Tickets start at $30. The Utah Heritage Foundation offers self-guided architecture tours of downtown; download the 44-page PDF and choose from among ﬁve one-hour tours. Or you can download an audio tour as an MP3 ﬁle, then wander the city’s Gateway District. Through Sept. 16, the Salt Lake Art Center (slartcenter.org, 20 W. Temple St.) is hosting an unusual exhibition in which artists from Utah and across the nation have made contemporary art installations that double as miniature golf holes that you can actually play.
Cityscape by Adam Baker; Light-rail photo by Eric Schramm
From light-rail to a pretty cool square, the city has some heavenly urban offerings
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SportS & LeiSure Rebels’ junior receiver Payne catching on just ﬁne in new role as team leader By Sean DeFrank
Phillip Payne expects to draw a lot of attention from defenses this season.
In his ﬁrst two years at UNLV, Phillip Payne learned what it takes to be a leader on the football ﬁeld. Now he’s applying those lessons to his own game. The wide receiver had the luxury of playing last season alongside Ryan Wolfe, the Rebels’ all-time leading pass catcher, and his freshman year with Wolfe and Casey Flair, who is second on the career receptions list. Their presence helped take much of the pressure off of Payne, and they also showed their young teammate what it takes to get better. This season it is Payne who is drawing major attention, being named to the preseason AllMountain West Conference team, and being looked upon to show the way for a relatively inexperienced corps of receivers. And the junior from Western High School says that’s ﬁne with him. “Casey, he brought me in when I got here and showed me the ropes,” Payne says. “And last year, Ryan, he taught me to lead by example. So by me going ﬁrst in line [during drills] and just trying to do the little things, I’m just trying to lead by example for the rest of the receivers.” Despite playing with such talented receivers the past two years, Payne has deﬁnitely earned a reputation as a serious threat on his own, catching 87 passes for 1,097 yards and 14 touchdowns, including a memorable leaping, one-handed TD grab while falling backward in his third collegiate game to help the Rebels gain a road upset of Arizona State, and a gamewinning catch in overtime the following week against Iowa State. The 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pound Payne has great hands and amazing leaping ability, accounting for his red-zone success, but in his attempt to become a more well-rounded receiver, he has been concentrating on running better pass routes and focusing mentally, something he struggled with during preseason camp until new UNLV coach Bobby Hauck intervened. “There were times when I just got down at camp and had to force myself to pick it up,” Payne says. “And [Coach] gave me a pep talk. He told me that everybody else looks up to me. He said it starts with me.”
Local amateur skateboarders, BMX riders get chance to show their stuff In a quest to ﬁnd the top amateur skaters and BMX riders in the country, the Gatorade Free Flow Tour is coming to Las Vegas on Sept. 4-5. SkateCity Indoor Skatepark will host the event, which is open to male and female amateur competitors 21 and younger. The tour features 30 skateboarding and 17 BMX competitions at 30 parks across the United States. Winners from each event will be ﬂown to the ﬁnals in Salt Lake City on Sept. 16-19. There is a $15 entry fee, and all participants under 18 must bring a parent or guardian to the event to sign a liability waiver. Registration is available at gatoradefreeﬂowtour.com or on site the day of the event. This is the sixth year of the Gatorade Free Flow Tour, which is the ofﬁcial amateur series of the professional Dew Tour, but the ﬁrst time the competition has been held in Las Vegas. – Sean DeFrank 102 Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
While Hauck is still learning about the players he inherited, he likes what he has seen in Payne thus far. “It was a tough camp, and he fought through it, which was good,” Hauck says. “He had a decent offseason; it looked like he worked hard over the summer. It would be good for our team if he could keep progressing and have a good year.” Payne is embracing the coach’s philosophy, especially after disappointing 5-7 seasons in each of his ﬁrst two years at UNLV. In fact, when asked what his personal goals are this season, the Las Vegan didn’t mention anything about catches, receiving yards or touchdowns. Instead he cited one thing: making it to a bowl game. “Winning is the big goal,” he says. Payne says he has already sensed a change in the football program since Hauck was hired in December to replace Mark Sanford. “He’s deﬁnitely more honest. He pushes us more,” Payne says. “He’s deﬁnitely more into it, more hands-on. He deﬁnitely makes us work harder. … There’s more of a work ethic. We’re a more blue-collar team than we were last year.” The Rebels will get a tough test immediately when they face No. 12 Wisconsin on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium, and after catching 58 passes for 661 yards and seven TDs last season, Payne is bound to get a lot of attention from Badgers defenders. It’s something he will have to get used to. “I’m looking forward to it,” he says. “If teams are going to double-team me, that’s going to open it up for the other receivers. … And it’s going to help the run, too. I feel like if I’m getting double-teamed, then I’m doing my job.”
RTC giving FanS a LiFT FoR UnLv gaMeS The Regional Transportation Commission is providing bus service to Sam Boyd Stadium for UNLV’s six home games on Routes 601 and 602 this season. Buses will run about every 20 minutes for both routes. The RTC recommends that passengers buy a 24-hour pass for $5 to cover the round-trip to and from the stadium. For more information, go to rtcsnv.com.
Payne photo courtesy UNLV photo services; BMX photo by Adam Wilson
‘it Starts With Me’
Going for Broke
Kickoff of football puts bankroll back in action By Matt Jacob The commercial touting ESPN’s upcoming Monday Night Football doubleheader ended with the following graphic: “Only Eight More Days to Go!” That’s when the wife let out a cry as audible as, well, a Peyton Manning audible. “Noooooooooo!” she shrieked. “I only have eight days left?” To which I replied: “Not exactly. College football starts in four days!” Much like USC coach Lane Kifﬁn “tries” to stay on right side of the NCAA law, I tried to contain my glee. I don’t think she bought it. So I opted against fanning the ﬂames with a sarcastic comment like, “Look on the bright side: There is rarely any football on Tuesdays or Wednesdays!” (Hey, it’s taken 16 years of marriage, but I’ve learned a thing or two, like when to shut up!) Needless to say, the big screen will be working overtime over Labor Day weekend, with 35 college football games on the betting board from Sept. 2-6. Then, 72 hours later, the NFL season kicks off with a rematch of the NFC Championship Game between the Saints and Vikings. It’s enough to make a grown man cry—and a wife consult a divorce attorney! There’s a lot to like for opening weekend (with my bankroll at $5,605), but I’m going with the following ﬁve plays, which come on the heels of four opening-night (Sept. 2) games that I released last week (see below): $440 (to win $400) on Missouri (-12½) vs. Illinois: This border rivalry has been as lopsided as snake vs. rodent in recent years, as Missouri has won and covered ﬁve straight meetings with the Illini going back to 2002. The teams have opened the season on a neutral ﬁeld in St. Louis the last three years, and the Tigers’ margin of victory has grown each time, from 40-34 to 52-42 to 37-9. If you read last week’s column, you know I’m bullish on Missouri, which returns a strong-armed quarterback in junior Blaine Gabbert, its top ﬁve rushers and eight defensive starters. On the other sideline, Ron Zook is just 21-39 with one winning season in ﬁve years as Illinois’ coach, and he could be looking for a new gig after this season.
That’s because Illinois is breaking in a new quarterback (and a freshman at that), and the Illini defense last year ranked 91st or worse in points allowed, total yards allowed and passing yards allowed. Illinois has failed to cover in 11 of its last 15 games overall, seven of its last eight out of conference and four of ﬁve in September, while Missouri is 13-5 against the spread in its last 18 nonconference contests, 5-1 ATS in its last six against the Big Ten and 9-2 ATS in its last 11 in September. $220 (to win $200) on Oregon State (+13) vs. TCU: With a 26-3 record since the end of the 2007 season, TCU has stamped itself as a legitimate Top 10 program. And with 16 starters returning, I wouldn’t bet against the Horned Frogs ﬁnishing with their second straight unbeaten regular season. However, I will bet against them in this contest—played at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas—because this point spread is out of whack. The Beavers will be supremely motivated for this game for two reasons: 1) It’s against the sixth-ranked team in the country, and 2) the last time it faced a Mountain West Conference opponent was in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl, where BYU pounded the Beavers, 44-20. Oregon State wants redemption in a big way. The Beavers have covered the spread in 30 of their last 46 games, going 11-2 ATS in their last 13 as an underdog. BEST OF THE REST: Oklahoma State (-15½) vs. Washington State ($55); Washington-BYU OVER 56 points ($55); Boise State-Virginia Tech UNDER 50 points ($55). LAST WEEK’S PENDING PLAYS: USC (-21) at Hawaii ($330); Northern Illinois (+3½) at Iowa State ($110); Ohio State (-29) vs. Marshall ($55); Utah (-3½) vs. Pitt ($55). 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. September 2-8, 2010 Vegas Seven 103
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seven questions Colin Cowherd
The voice behind The Herd talks about success, partying and why Las Vegas will never get a major sports franchise By Sean DeFrank Colin Cowherd has come a long way since beginning his professional career as a play-by-play announcer for the Las Vegas Stars in 1987. He was named Nevada Sportscaster of the Year ﬁve times while at Channel 3, before moving in the early ’90s to Tampa, Fla., and then Portland, Ore. Cowherd, 46, and based in Bristol, Conn., is now one of the biggest names in sports talk radio, hosting The Herd With Colin Cowherd ﬁve days a week and co-hosting SportsNation with Michelle Beadle on ESPN2. Do you miss Vegas? I’m married now, so I spend a lot of time with my wife and family. In Vegas, where my career took me seven hours a day and my life took me 15, now it’s just the opposite. But I prefer it this way. Social life is ﬁne, but I get bored with it. I will say that when I was in Vegas, it was really fun being single. The women were beautiful, there was a lot to do and I’ve always liked the looseness of the city. You’ve got a lot of weirdos, ﬂakes and freaks, and it’s fun. There’s the saying about whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. I’ve always felt the opposite. Whatever happens in Vegas, tell everybody. Whatever happens in Dayton, Ohio, keep to yourself because nobody cares. Why is your radio show is so successful? In order to cut through, you have to be different. And if you’re different, you’re going to get a lot of negative feedback, and positive. I always tell young broadcasters, “You want to matter? Then get hate mail.” If you get hate mail, it means you’re cutting through. It means you’re pissing people off. It means you sound different. So I’ve always had my own style, which is brutal honesty. I’ve never spent too much time worrying about hurt feelings. You have a reputation for having little tolerance for those who disagree with you. Do you think it’s warranted? When somebody calls the radio show on his car phone who is a fan, who has an agenda, who’s not objective, yeah, I’m not going to give him much. He’s got very little rope. The minute I think he’s being a fan, he’s going to get cut off. There’s a never-ending supply of people who call the show who have an emotional attachment to a team. Well, I don’t. I’m just working around data, preparation, three hours of research. 110
Vegas Seven September 2-8, 2010
Can you imagine walking into a restaurant and thinking, “I know more about this stuff than a chef does?” In order for you to come on my show and knock me off the pedestal, you better come in fully armed, because I am. I’m ready to go to battle and I’m not going down easy. If you’re offended by someone who argues, I’m not your guy.
ing to me: Only 4 percent of all the money bet on the NFL is actually at Vegas casinos. People are betting in Hoboken [N.J.] and you have two teams in New York, so I think we tend to look at Vegas, and people are frightened of it, but it’s a tiny, tiny percentage of sports bettors, especially with the Internet, who are actually in Vegas or betting in Vegas.
Do you ever see Las Vegas landing a major professional sports franchise? I don’t, and I’m not sure it’s necessary. Vegas is not Milwaukee; it has a very active nightlife. It’s not even Phoenix, which is a fun city. Vegas doesn’t need pro sports to be interesting at night. There are a couple of things to remember, and one of them is: Very few people that live in Vegas are from Vegas. It’s not St. Louis or Philadelphia where 70 percent of the people that live there are from there and have been rooting for the same team forever. You can’t build a team on a fan base of the visiting teams. It doesn’t work that way. The other thing is: A lot of the afﬂuent people in Vegas who would buy season tickets are working at night. No other city in the country, other than maybe New York, has that many people working at 7:30 at night, which is your typical starting time for an NBA or baseball game.
If you could change anything about Vegas, what would it be? Vegas needs to mature as a city; the economy needs to diversify. And that would go a long way in helping Las Vegas become a professional sports city. But when I go to Vegas, I don’t want to go to games. I can go to games anywhere. When I go to Vegas, I want to gamble. If there were games in Vegas, I would never go. I can’t go to casinos in Milwaukee, Denver or Chicago, but I can go to games there. If I was in Vegas, even if the Lakers were in town, I wouldn’t go. I’d rather go to a really cool casino.
What do you think about the NFL’s stance on Las Vegas and betting? Everybody bets the NFL. It’s always been interest-
Who do you have winning the World Series, Super Bowl and college football championships this season? Super Bowl, I’ll go with the Baltimore Ravens beating the Atlanta Falcons. World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Texas Rangers. College football, I think Boise State is going to meet Ohio State for the national championship, and I’ll go Ohio State, 21-17.