September 30-October 6, 2010
The Most Interesting Men in the World? Maybe not. But thanks to the science of the pickup, there's no resisting the Lair, ladies. Plus: A new reality for UNLV's new institutes The Neighborhood Epicurean dines in Paradise
KEVIN HART October 8 & 9
For tickets, please visit mirage.com or call
Performing in the Terry Fator Theatre.
702-369-5000 • www.harrahslasvegas.com V 50 0 Must be 21 or older to gamble. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. ©2010, Harrah’s License Company, LLC. HV0-
Introduce your sense of style to your sense of wonder. Crystals, the Las Vegas fashion destination that is a journey through couture, cuisine and entertainment.
Louis Vuitton • tiffany & Co. • ErmEnEgiLdo ZEgna • robErto CaVaLLi • tom ford • Christian dior • fEndi • VErsaCE bVLgari • CartiEr • CaroLina hErrEra • hErmÈs • miu miu • baLLy • PauL smith • bottEga VEnEta • Kiton Van CLEEf & arPELs • KiKi dE montParnassE • marni • nanEttE LEPorE • assouLinE • miKimoto • brunELLo CuCinELLi LanVin • h.stErn • tourbiLLon • PorsChE dEsign • iLori • dE grisogono • thE gaLLEry fEaturing daLE ChihuLy thE art of riChard maCdonaLd PrEsEntEd by CirQuE du soLEiL® • rodnEy Lough Jr. • CEntErPiECE gaLLEry bEso stEaKhousE • WoLfgang PuCK PiZZEria & CuCina • soCiaL housE • todd EngLish P.u.b. • mastro’s oCEan CLub
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
This Week in Your CiTY 13
Bikers roll in for fun, walkers stride against cancer, The Zombies Walk Among Us and the Fremont street experience dresses up for halloween. By Patrick Moulin
Lincy and Brookings Mountain West adjust, and how Vegas tailors its marketing messages internationally. Plus: David G. Schwartz’s Green Felt Journal and Michael Green on Politics.
reports on culture, politics and business from The New York Observer. Plus: The NYO crossword puzzle and the weekly column by personal ﬁnance guru Kathy Kristof.
arTs & eNTerTaiNmeNT
humorist Darren LaCroix teaches you how to be funny, Andreas Hale previews the weekend in art, and Rex Reed unearths reasons to love Buried.
A republic’s founding can’t make everyone happy. By Max Jacobson Plus: Neighborhood Epicurean and room-service chef Brian kenny maintains Wynn/encore’s high standards.
The Biggest Tattoo show on earth, Frozen Fury Xiii and a unique running event land in the Valley. Plus: trends, Tweets, tech and gossip. The Latest Thought: evaluating the Sun’s journalistic mission. By Greg Blake Miller
Telluride reﬂects the West’s rowdy spirit. By James P. Reza
The Community Counseling Center of southern nevada celebrates 20 years, and supporters of Catholic Charities get together to raise money.
sporTs & Leisure
Former unLV golfer seema sadekar brings a strong fashion sense to her drive to make the LPGA Tour. By Patrick Moulin Plus: Matt Jacob says the Jags will cover against the Colts in Going for Broke.
This week’s Look, a few choice Enviables and a cardiologist has his ﬁnger on the pulse of the fashion world.
Seven Nights ahead, fabulous parties past, and a few new nightspots deserve your attention.
Above: roderick Tung, doctor and designer. Photo by Tomas Muscionico. On the cover: Men of the Lair. Photography by Francis + Francis, shot at Herbs & Rye Restaurant.
Cindy Funkhouser on the city’s art scene, cancer and the future of the event she founded—First Friday. By Elizabeth Sewell
Call it a creepy pastime, harmless fun or self-help therapy, men of the Lair turn picking up women into an art form. By David Davis September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 9
Vegas seVen Publishers
Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger AssociAte Publisher, Michael Skenandore
Editorial editoriAl director, Phil Hagen MAnAging editor, Bob Whitby senior editor, Greg Blake Miller AssociAte editor, Sean DeFrank A&e editor, Cindi Reed coPY editor, Paul Szydelko contributing editors
MJ Elstein, style; Michael Green, politics; Matt Jacob, betting; Max Jacobson, food; Jarret Keene, music; David G. Schwartz, gaming/hospitality; Xania Woodman, nightlife/beverage contributing writers
Melissa Arseniuk, Eric Benderoff, Geoff Carter, David Davis, Aly DeYoung, Elizabeth Foyt, Andreas Hale, Sharon Kehoe, Patrick Moulin, Rex Reed, James Reza, Jason Scavone, Elizabeth Sewell, Kate Silver, Cole Smithey, T.R. Witcher interns
Candice Anderson, Kelly Corcoran, Carla Ferreira, Jazmin Gelista, Natalie Holbrook, Charity Mainville, Nicole Mehrman, Alicia Moore, Jill Roth, Kathleen Wilson
art Art director, Lauren Stewart senior grAPhic designer, Marvin Lucas grAPhic designer, Thomas Speak stAff PhotogrAPher, Anthony Mair contributing PhotogrAPhers
Jessica Blair, Hew Burney, Francis + Francis, Brenton Ho, Tomas Muscionico, Beverly Oanes contributing illustrAtor, Jerry Miller
Production/distribution director of Production/distribution, Marc Barrington Advertising coordinAtor, Jimmy Bearse
salEs sAles MAnAger, Sarah Goitz Account eXecutives, Christy Corda and Robyn Weiss
Comments or story ideas: email@example.com Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution: email@example.com Vegas Seven is distributed each thursday throughout southern nevada.
WenDOH MeDIa COMpanIes Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger vice President, PUBLISHING, Michael Skenandore chief MArketing officer, Ethelbert Williams MArketing director, Jason Hancock entertAinMent director, Keith White creAtive director, Sherwin Yumul
FinancE director of finAnce, Gregg Hardin Accounts receivAble MAnAger, Rebecca Lahr generAl Accounting MAnAger, Erica Carpino credit MAnAger, Erin Tolen
PublisHEd in association WitH tHE obsErVEr MEdia GrouP Copyright 2010 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited. Vegas Seven, 888-792-5877, 3070 West Post Road, Las Vegas, NV 89118 10
Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
David Davis “The Ladykillers,” Page 32
Who Cares About the Kids?
“I went to my ﬁrst Lair meeting with a friend who didn’t want to go alone. I thought the group would be a bunch of misogynists bragging about their conquests, and told another friend I expected the experience to be ‘sort of like slowing down to watch a trafﬁc accident.’ The way members objectiﬁed women bothered me, but I found myself drawn in anyway. Like many of the new members, I’ve always been a bit nerdy and haven’t had great social skills. So I found the prospect of learning to approach people and start conversations very attractive. It’s a skill schools don’t teach. I still have mixed feelings about the group, but have come to respect what it teaches—although I do think they would beneﬁt from more female members (and I’m sure the current members would agree).”
Aly DeYoung “Layers of Sweet Sound,” Page 82
I’m incredibly disappointed in this article, and in Vegas Seven for printing it [“What Would I Tell my Daughter?,” Sept. 23]. It’s a shallow, reactionary, fear mongering “think of the children” look at a complex and compelling subject. There is a large and important discussion to be had on the commodiﬁcation of women and sexuality in Las Vegas, but this was not it. There are plenty of people who actually live and work in Vegas who are more than capable of facilitating this conversation, even in a brisk and pithy 900 words. Such a pity Vegas Seven wasn’t willing to reach out to any of them. – Laurenn McCubbin
Originally from Michigan, DeYoung moved to Las Vegas in May and has survived her ﬁrst summer in the desert. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she started writing arts and entertainment pieces and hasn’t looked back. “Las Vegas has so much raw character,” she says. “I can’t wait to meet everyone.”
Our Sept. 9 story about Las Vegas artist Sush Machida Gaikotsu (“Opulent Pop”) wasn’t clear about the location of the Centerpiece Gallery, where Gaikotsu’s work is on display through Nov. 7. Centerpiece Gallery is located at CityCenter in the porte-cochere of the Mandarin Oriental. Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily, 739-3314.
Vegas Seven Mobile
Davis photo by Anthony Mair
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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
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Hoover Dam photo courtesy Las Vegas News Bureau
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Party Like Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1959
Everything old is hip again at Mondo Lounge
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The Avalanche take on the Kings for bragging rights.
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Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Seven Reasons to Get Furious
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The Suluape family comes all the way from Samoa to tattoo attendees.
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THE LaTEsT Gossip Star-studded parties, celebrity sightings, juicy rumors and other glitter.
Got a juicy tip? firstname.lastname@example.org
Tweets of the Week
Jenni “JWOWW” Farley held up her end of the bargain Sept. 24 when she came to host at Jet inside The Mirage, along with new boyfriend Roger Mathews. (Farley split with Season 2 boyfriend/manager Tom Lippolis after she was caught in ﬂagrante Guid-itco with Mathews while ﬁlming Season 3.) Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino, though, was a no-show for his Sept. 26 stint at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Rehab. Ofﬁcially, Sitch called off from doing the pool party due to illness. That day, though, the boogie-down Dancing With the Stars contestant posted to his Facebook account at noon that he was, “Practicin [sic] quickstep, have one more day to pull off a pretty ﬂashy routine.” He also, for the record, posted “GtL, GFA ‘you dirty lil hamster.’” So, at least regardless of illness, he still had the presence of mind to forcefeed his catchprases to a grasping, baby-bird public. You can’t keep a good wordsmith down Maybe it’s that kind of dereliction of duty that led the Hard Rock Café to sue the Hard Rock Hotel for tarnishing its trademark. The company, which licenses the Hard Rock name to the hotel, alleges that in the wake of TruTV’s Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel, that the brand has been damaged. The suit throws around the term “drunken debauchery” like it’s a bad thing. Of course, the suit also throws around words like “sexual harassment, violence and criminality.” Maybe if Rehab had a better role model, one who stuck to his responsibilities instead of running all over the country to Rumba God knows where and paso doble with God knows who, it wouldn’t have turned out like this.
Compiled by @marseniuk
@robdelaney Every time you fart as you’re walking through ﬁrst class getting on a plane, Jesus high-ﬁves your grandmother.
@memorybank A freshmen girl just sang an A Capella version of “Shots” by @LilJon. Speaking of shots, shoot me.
@joanna_haugen Just passed Elvis running through @ExcaliburVegas parking lot. #OnlyInVegas
@JimGafﬁgan The recession is @LasVegasLisa Can anyone ﬁnd me enough bubble wrap to completely cover me? Seriously, I am prone to accidents and could use it! Mixed couple: Karina Smirnoff and Sorrentino.
Morillo to spin on New Year’s Eve.
Marquee Attraction The Tao Group’s 63,000-square-foot megaclub set to open in December with the Cosmopolitan will be called Marquee. Details about the joint are sparse, but it will handle both day- and nightlife, and according to the New York Post’s Page Six, will feature DJ Erick Morillo on New Year’s Eve. That gives another look to the Cosmo that night, which already announced Jay-Z and Coldplay as its headliners. Tao ﬁrst operated in New York City before Jason Strauss, Noah Tepperberg, Marc Packer and Rich Wolf put a second location at the Venetian. Lavo started at the Palazzo and recently opened a Gotham outpost. Marquee ﬁts in with its two-coastsone-brand strategy for clubbed-up twinsies. 16 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Board of Directors Skateboarding: It’s not just for Limp Bizkit videos anymore. Rob Dyrdek brought his Street League Skateboarding championship to the Thomas & Mack Center on Sept. 25. Shane O’Neil was crowned the winner, and for his trouble, Dyrdek presented him with a bottle of champagne Sept. 26 at Vanity inside the Hard Rock. The club was full of skaters the previous night, with Dyrdek bringing in Dave Duncan, Derek Johnson, Brandon Biebel, Tyler Hawkins, Kelly Apo Kimetlian, John Tracy, Matt Miller, Nick Dompierre, Taylor McClung, Justin Eldridge, Dave Lalimar and Jake Brown. If only they could’ve convinced Christian Slater to come, they might have had a shot at ﬁnancing that Gleaming the Cube remake.
@kingBrian702 So, apparently I had a party at my house! N I was not invited, how is that?! LOL Woke up to a kitchen full of beers n a Grey Goose bottle!
@Mr_Reznor Only thing Bieber can hold claim to is being this generation’s Hanson. Except “Mmmm Bop” made me feel less physically ill than his SHIT.
@hannahsatana I think we should start a revolution and throw all the members of the Tea Party into Boston Harbor.
@helloross I haven’t had a carb in a week. I’d almost rather be fat & in a long-term relationship with Doritos. #TheresGottaBeABetterWay
@PeterGrifﬁnn Good friends do not let you do stupid things ... alone. @Oscarmolina Dude, the DMV knows how to party! They are serving E, G & H at all the counter here!!!!
@MissKellyO Why do people think it’s an insult to say, “You’re only famous because of who you parents are!?” No shit, that’s a fact, not an insult!!!!! Dyrdek brings the lettuce to skateboarding.
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Karina Smirnoff by RD / Orchon / Retna Digital , Rob Dyrdek photo by Hew Burney, Erick Morillo photo by Al Powers
over? Does that mean I get to keep the rest of my hair?
Everywhere Girl What’s a girl to do? She lives in the desert and dreams of the forest. She’s stuck in the present and longs for the past. For some reason she’s got a cell phone in her pocket and all she wants is a kerchief and some colorful thread. Kathryn Foster is wearing a brown T-shirt. It says, “Forget shining armor: I’m loving my hero in ABUs.” An ABU is an Airman Battle Uniform. Foster is 19 and has a boyfriend stationed at Nellis. With all due respect to him, we have some bad news: She really hasn’t gotten over the shiningarmor thing. If you stop by Sunset Park on Oct. 8-10, maybe hoping for a quiet walk around the lake or a good remote-control boat race, what you’ll get instead is the crack of clashing rattan swords and the smell of roasting … whatever. Those folks liked their meat in the ninth century. You’ll have stumbled into the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival, and there you’ll ﬁnd Foster, a lady-in-waiting, putting stitches in a garment or one more row of yarn on the navy blue sweater she’s been toiling over. She used to don the armor herself, but she retired when she realized that she screamed when hit. Foster is a member of the Empire of Chivalry and Steel, an organization devoted to keeping the arts and culture of the Medieval Era alive. At Sunset Park, Foster’s beloved Middle Ages will collide with everything from Roman centurions to strutting pirates with cornball accents. But she doesn’t mind. “It doesn’t make sense,” she says. “Why the Roman Empire and pirates? But I won’t lie: Pirates are fun people.” Foster doesn’t like “period Nazis” anyway; why harness yourself to a single time and place when it’s possible to imagine your way into all times and all places at once? For a girl who can’t seem to get out of Vegas, it helps to have a cultural life that takes her from darning knightly socks to performing at the occasional Rocky Horror Picture Show. “I’ve always been an anywhere-but-here girl,” she says. “Around 8 or 9 I started looking for boarding schools for my mother to send me to.” Before graduating from Silverado High School, she put out applications to colleges in Italy. Alas, the logic of comparative pricing landed Foster at UNLV, where she has a triple major in anthropology, political science and German. She’s done a good job turning Las Vegas into her very own global village. But her escape is almost at hand: Next year, she’ll be studying in Lüneburg, Germany. “How will I come back?” she wonders. “Maybe they’ll have to drag me kicking and screaming onto the plane. “Or maybe I’ll really miss Vegas.”
18 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Photo by Anthony Mair
By Greg Blake Miller
S E X Y
I N T I M A T E
B O U T I Q U E
702.823.2210 • 8665 W. Flamingo, Suite129 • Las Vegas, NV 89147
THE LaTEsT THougHT
The strange endurance of the Las Vegas Sun By Greg Blake Miller
20 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
liberal Sun, and vice versa. It’s a unique opportunity to take in dueling editorials for the cost of a single morning paper. Unless you do it for free on the Web. Who are we, anyway? For a while, the Sun’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, won for an investigative series on Strip construction deaths, seemed to provide the answer: We’re the paper that won the Pulitzer. The Sun had given excellent reporters the time, space and support to do ﬁrst-rate in-depth work. A wave of layoffs in December, though, did no favors for the Sun’s reputation as a writer’s newspaper. What’s more, the Sun had a parallel answer to the identity question: We are a full-service miniature newspaper—complete with news, sports, comics, and puzzle pages—conveniently located inside your Review-Journal. In a full-size newspaper, the all-things-to-allpeople identity and the Pulitzer identity could comfortably coexist, but with a small staff, a limited page-count and no possibility for appropriate section breaks between, say, a feature on juvenile incarceration and the Tuesday Sudoku, the two visions can be contradictory and mutually nullifying.
The question mark is not intended as an insult. Uncertainty breeds creativity, which has never been the R-J’s institutional strong point. The Sun has had the opportunity over the past ﬁve years to rethink traditional newspaper priorities, to reimagine the news story, and to experiment with the mission of print in the Internet age. Exploration, of course, is a long-term business. And like anyone tossed onto open seas, the Sun is still ﬁnding its bearings and asking itself the big questions. How should we be different? It may on occasion be fascinating to read a story in the R-J, ﬂip over to the Sun, and read the same story from a different point of view. In two-newspaper cities, this kind of rival framing of events is an important service to the reader. But when the Sun has only a few pages to work with, it’s fair to ask whether duplicate coverage is the best use of resources. What the Sun can do, and often does, is ﬁnd the forgotten
stories, the stories that don’t really look like news, and tell them so well that we discover the relevance of the seemingly irrelevant. This is a big city, with plenty to say that the R-J leaves unsaid. What voice should we speak with? Each day, nearly half of the Sun’s pages are ﬁlled with stories from The New York Times. This is partly a side effect of economics and stafﬁng. And the Sun does choose interesting stories that one would never ﬁnd in the R-J’s national pages. But if the Sun’s goal each day is to show its readers a different Las Vegas than the one the R-J shows, where exactly does the Times ﬁt in? Are we still that falling tree in the forest? The survival of the Sun editorial page is one of the great success stories of the 2005 reshufﬂing. Today, every coffee-sipping reader hunched over the R-J’s libertarian editorial page can, with a quick rattle of the ﬁsh-wrap, switch to the
Isn’t our real future online? On the Web, the Sun gives Las Vegas a gift that most American cities lost long ago: a traditional news-organization counterpart to the dominant daily. In print, though, the Sun is at its best when it strays furthest from its daily-news heritage into the longform work the R-J often neglects. Unable to tell all the stories, the ink-and-paper Sun can focus on telling some of them really well. Ironically, the old-fashioned page count, rather than the limitlessness of the digital world, may pose the most exciting creative challenge for the Sun. What do our readers need? What we need, much more than information for information’s sake, are the habits of mind required to think intelligently about our community, to see past conventional wisdom and to interact creatively with the world. Empathy, patience, proportion—these habits are taught, as they have been for a few thousand years, by good storytelling. Here in Las Vegas, the Sun is in a good position to jump-start the lesson.
Illustration by Jerry Miller
Every morning, I fetch the Las Vegas Review-Journal from my driveway, open it up and read the Las Vegas Sun. It’s a good read, but the amazing thing is that we have the opportunity to read it at all. It has now been ﬁve years since the Sun’s 55-year run as its very own bundle of newsprint came to an end and the paper squeezed itself physically, though not institutionally, into the Review-Journal. The slim new Sun that appeared in October 2005 ran 6-10 pages and could have been mistaken by an inattentive reader for a peculiarly designed R-J special section. But the devoted reader could see that the newspaper, having lost much of its body, had saved some portion of its soul: After a difﬁcult downsizing, it retained its own small staff, its own editorial voice, its own banner and fonts and design. By that time, readers of the Sun had suspected for 15 years that the end was nigh. Beaten in the ad wars by the larger R-J, which had the backing of the national Donrey Media chain (now Stephens Media), the Sun had in July 1990 accepted the crippling salvation of a joint operating agreement with the Review-Journal. Under the agreement, the R-J became the town’s sole morning daily and would handle ad sales and circulation for both newspapers; the Sun, meanwhile, became an afternoon paper in a city with no commuter trains. By 2005, the newspaper’s circulation had fallen to 28,000, compared with the R-J’s 165,000. When the afternoon idea was at last abandoned, Review-Journal publisher Sherm Frederick had a bit of fun with his rival, comparing the Sun’s afternoon editorial voice with the proverbial tree that falls in the forest. Today, the Sun is in no danger of succeeding or failing without witnesses. Every R-J subscriber is automatically a Sun subscriber, too. But those successes and failures cannot be measured by the usual standards of a newspaper. Comprehensiveness, speed, scoops, range of lifestyle coverage—none of these measures can be seriously applied to a few daily pages produced by a handful of staffers. The 2005 agreement did not simply repackage the papers—it instituted a division of labor. Or at least it should have. The Review-Journal is the Valley’s full-service traditional newspaper. The Sun is …?
For more photos from society events in and around Las Vegas, visit weeklyseven.com/society.
Museum’s Bite Night Bite at the Museum was a high-spirited affair celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada. Held Sept. 18, the affair was among the ﬁrst to use the nearly completed Nevada State Museum at Springs Preserve. Upon entering, guests enjoyed the exhibition of artworks created for the Center, with pieces by Diane Bush, Kevin Buckley, Drina Fried, Carl Deaville and Atsuko Parker.
Photography by Hew Burney
22 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
For more photos from society events in and around Las Vegas, visit weeklyseven.com/society.
Dinner With Gustav Chef and restaurateur Gustav Mauler and his wife, Denise, were the gracious hosts of Catholic Charitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; wine tasting on Sept. 17. Held on the patio of Spiedini, their restaurant at JW Marriott, the fundraiser drew a crowd of more than 225 supporters, among them Tom Warden of Howard Hughes Corp., District Judge Mark Denton and his wife, Alice, auctioneer Christian Kolberg, Brian Land, Ed Skonicki, Anne and Brian Menzel and author Jack Sheehan. Catholic Charities is the largest social services provider in Nevada.
Photography by Jessica Blair
24â&#x20AC;&#x192; Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
M.E.N.U.S Mentoring & Educating Nevada’s Upcoming Students Beneﬁting the Epicurean Charitable Foundation
Friday, October 8, 2010 - 6 p.m. M Resort Spa Casino Henderson, NV
Please join us as we party poolside and honor one of Las Vegas’ ﬁnest, Mr. Tony Marnell. This memorable evening will feature Las Vegas’ best restaurants, pairing their masterpieces with spectacular wines and cocktails. The evening will culminate with an exciting private concert. Tickets on sale now. For tickets or more information, please visit www.ecﬂv.org or call 702-932-5098
This event provides funds to the Epicurean Charitable Foundation for their scholarship program beneﬁting talented and deserving local high school students who wish to pursue a career in the hospitality and culinary industries.
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.
The original MCQueen
Persol introduces the Steve McQueen collection, an exclusive line of limitededition sunglasses. Only 10,000 will be made, featuring a new color combination inspired by the icon’s signature tortoise frame with blue lens shades. $360, available at Sunglass Hut, Fashion Show.
Style The Look
Photographed by Tomas Muscionico
EmILy JohNSoN ANd JoNAthAN JoSSEL Investment ﬁnance, age 26; director of Las Vegas properties for Tamares, age 28.
Pininfarina, best known for designing Ferraris and Maseratis, has partnered with Acer to create an LED TV collection. The edges have been softened and slightly rounded and the pedestal is sleek and thin. Amazon.com.
Sanrio is celebrating 50 years and has partnered with Target to launch a crosscountry mobile pop-up boutique “Small Gift” that will carry limited-edition items featuring Hello Kitty and her friends. Track the mobile shop (which consists of two trucks) via a special iPhone App. Target.com/sanrio.
What he’s wearing now: Chester Barrie Saville Row suit, Tom Ford shirt and belt, and Silvano Sassetti shoes. What she’s wearing now: Alexander McQueen dress, glove and handbag, and Kate Spade high heels. Emily and Jonathan spend a lot of time downtown for both work and play, and as a result their styles reﬂect a certain urban sensibility. However, what they like and dislike most about each other’s wardrobes is comically outside their citiﬁed “natural” habitat. “I love her most in her Stella McCartney-Adidas tennis outﬁt,” he says. Emily notes that although she loves Jonathan’s European style, she is “not a fan of his overly baggy jeans for Saturday morning coffee.”
September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 27
Roderick Tung with his shirts at Avedon in Beverly Hills, Calif.
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Photo by Tomas Muscionico
Cut, Sew and Tung
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Seven Very Nice Things
A pot or pan for every occasion Compiled by Carla Ferreira 1. Cuisinart GreenGourmet Eleven-piece Tri-ply stainless, nonstick cookware set, $400. Bloomingdale’s Home Store, Fashion Show. 2. Silver Dollar Pancake Pan CrateandBarrel.com, $30. 3. Giada De Laurentiis for Target Cast-Iron panini pan with press, $71. Target, various locations.
4. Paula Deen Signature Nonstick Cookware PaulaDeenStore.com, $120.
5. Rachael Ray Cookware Pan with porcelain enamel exterior, $70.CookWare.com. 6. Calphalon Unison Slide nonstick, 10-inch fry pan with poacher, $99.95. Williams-Sonoma.com.
7. Le Creuset Five-and-a-half-quart round oven pan, $335. Sur La Table, Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
30 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Nike • Adidas • Elwood Stussy • New Balance New Era Emperial Nation G-Shock • Converse Travis Mathews Creative Recreation Kidrobot • Sneaktip Mandalay Bay Shops 3950 Las Vegas Blvd South 702.304.2513 Summerlin 9350 W Sahara Ave 702.562.6136 suite160.com
The Ladykillers What drives a mere mortal to become a pickup artist? By David Davis
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Photo by Francis + Francis; shot at Herbs & Rye Restaurant
Ready for the hunt: Vegas Lair leader Ryan Jaunzemis (center) shares a moment with fellow pickup artists CJ Walker (left), Christian Valentino, Charles Starr and DJ Mazen Abed-Rabbo before a night on the town.
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At work and play with the Lair. Above: Jaunzemis leads a seminar, pickup artists โ sargeโ at Race for the Cure and denizens of the Lair go โ peacocking.โ Below: DJ Mazen Abed-Rabbo ๏ฌ nds his crowd, CJ Watson goes ballroom and Charles Starr psyches up the troops.
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$ 3LFNXS $UWLVW *ORVVDU\ AFC (n)โ Average Frustrated Chump, an ordinary guy, not a pickup artist. Close (v)โ To end an interaction with a woman. Usually designated by type, like โ number-closeโ for getting a phone number, โ e-mail-close,โ โ Facebookclose,โ โ fuck-close,โ etc. DHV (n)โ Demonstration of Higher Value. Anything which will raise the status of the PUA in the targetโ s eyes. HB (n)โ Hot Babe. Obstacle (n)โ A friend or other member of the targetโ s group, who makes it dif๏ฌ cult for the PUA to get to the target. Open (v)โ To start a conversation. Peacock (v)โ To wear ๏ฌ amboyant, eye-catching clothes. PUA (n)โ Pickup Artist. Routine (n)โ A practiced game or story, designed to increase interest and/or demonstrate value. Sarge (v)โ To pick up girls, e.g., โ The PUAs went out sarging for the evening,โ or โ He decided to sarge that girl.โ Target (n)โ The girl a pickup artist is trying to pick up. Two-Set (n)โ Two women together; a man and a woman would be a โ mixed two-set.โ Wingman (n)โ A male friend (or โ wingwomanโ for a female friend) who assists the PUA. The wingman will often distract the obstacle so the PUA can work on the target. The Lairs Johnโ s Group: LasVegasLair.com. Jaunzemisโ Group: VegasLair.com.
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Each year, tens of thousands of seals, many of whom are still babies, are massacred. It’s time to demand a permanent end to Canada’s cruel seal slaughter.
END CANADA’S SEAL SLAUGHTER
THe LocaL Newsroom You catch It, You eat It The Lobster Zone turns consuming crustaceans into a game. Not everyone is amused By Kate Silver
In the coming year, Brookings Mountain West, the ﬁrst U.S. “branch ofﬁce” in the 84-year history of the storied Washington think tank, the Brookings Institution, plans to get more involved in the university’s teaching mission, partnering with faculty and students to bring Brookings’ staff and research into the classroom. “Brookings’ staff are going to be directly involved in curriculum development, actually helping to shape the curriculum of UNLV,” says Robert Lang, a sociologist who is UNLV’s director of Brookings Mountain West. “The partnership is going to evolve into something closer that will extend the beneﬁts of Brookings into undergraduate education.” Details of this plan, parts of which were announced in UNLV President Neal Smatresk’s State of the University speech on Sept. 14, are still being worked out. But it represents a more hands-on role than was originally envisioned for the policy researchers. Smatresk, in his speech, said UNLV may have to charge different tuition for different college majors, shrink enrollment or raise admission standards as the legislature continues to slash the university’s budget. At this all-hands-on-deck moment, everybody is being asked to pitch in. The reversal of Las Vegas’ fortunes has affected the institutes’ academic direction as well. Lang says Brookings Mountain West began with the idea that the region represents a new American heartland, similar
Las Vegas isn’t exactly the kind of city where you’d expect to ﬁnd a seafood restaurant with a “you catch it, we’ll cook it” policy; there just isn’t that much to catch around here, this being a landlocked desert and all. But if you like to make your dinner into a sport, look for a restaurant that has a machine called The Lobster Zone. Picture a plush-toy-ﬁlled claw machine, but instead of stuffed animals it’s ﬁlled with saltwater and live Maine lobsters. For $2, players get to move the claw (shaped like a lobster’s) to try to grab one. If they catch the lobster, the claw carries it to the back left corner of the machine and drops it in a bucket. From there the crustacean is whisked to the kitchen, given the steam bath of its life and served for dinner, at no additional charge. Southern Nevada is home to seven of these machines, which are located in bars and restaurants across the Valley. They’re distributed by a company called Smart Vending, which stocks and feeds the lobsters and maintains the machines. Eric Johnson, general manager of Fremont Street’s Mickie Finnz, says he’s seen nearly 300 people win lobsters in the six months since the restaurant got its machine. He’s also watched players put $200 into the machine and walk away crustaceanless. Johnson himself has pumped a fair amount of money into The Lobster Zone. “I’ve been trying damn near every day for six months,” he says. “I haven’t won one yet.” When people do win, it’s customary to have their photo taken with the lobster. One man requested to have the lobster pinching his ﬁnger, dangling for the photo. (He wasn’t allowed to.) Another woman wanted to take her lobster home with her rather than let the restaurant cook it. (Again, not allowed.) Even though the lobsters are death-bound, Johnson says he does his best to respect them while they’re still alive. “We tell people please don’t pound on the machine, don’t bang on the glass. We try and keep it as humane as we can,” he says. “But the bottom line is people want to eat you. And they’re going to try.”
Continued on Page 40
Continued on Page 39
change of Plans
The Lincy Foundation’s Lindy Schumacher says it’s time for Nevada to ask for what it needs.
A year after their founding, UNLV’s two new research institutes are adapting to a new reality
Photo by R. Marsh Starks /UNLV Photo Services
By Molly Ball The original plan for the Lincy Institute at UNLV was to hire from out of state. The institute, a Kirk Kerkorian-funded initiative aimed at bringing together researchers and nonproﬁt groups, wanted to supplement Las Vegas’ academic talent pool, not raid it. But the economic woes facing the community and the university scrambled the equation, says Lindy Schumacher, director of Nevada operations for the Lincy Foundation, which funded the institute with a $14 million grant last year. After a painful round of cuts to the state’s university system, the talented people Lincy sought were, in some cases, unemployed. “Our original goal was to bring in talent from outside Nevada,” Schumacher says. “What we found, a year later, with the economy the way it is, was that the university was having to lay off some of this great talent. It made more sense to keep these people in Nevada.” The grinding reality of Nevada’s dismal economy has a way of deﬂating the loftiest ambitions. And that has been the case with UNLV’s two new research institutes, Lincy and Brookings Mountain West, which launched last fall. A year in, their missions have become more urgent: As the incredible shrinking university to which they are attached is less able to stand on its own, the well-funded institutes ﬁnd themselves trying to pick up the slack.
September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 37
The Local Newsroom
Green Felt Journal
Even with no NFL team, Vegas scores big during football season By David G. Schwartz
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38 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Even though Las Vegas doesn’t have an NFL team, football is a popular pastime in the city, and one that has a huge economic impact on the area. Yes, there are the Locomotives of the United Football League and the UNLV Rebels, but football’s real impact here isn’t felt on the ﬁeld or in the stands—it’s in the sports books and bars of the Valley. To provide an idea of what this means, some perspective from the “real world” of big-city professional sports: Proponents of new stadiums have estimated the annual economic impact of a football team to be between $100 million and $150 million. That’s not bad for eight home games a year, but Las Vegas—with the closest games being played just less than 300 miles away—doesn’t do so badly either. Last October, for example, Clark County’s 109 sports books accepted about $59 million in straight-up wagers on football (both pro and college) a week. They took about $2.9 million more in parlay-card action per week. The books kept more than $2 million a week of the nearly $62 million wagered on football. Multiplied by the 17 weeks of the NFL regular season, that’s more than $34 million of football sports-betting revenue— and that doesn’t include the playoffs. Sports books alone account for a pretty good chunk of the economic impact that an NFL team might have—with no public funding for a stadium or infrastructure improvements, and no threat that the team will leave in a few years for a newer, shinier home. One could argue that sports betting is more resilient than the game itself. NFL ticket sales have seen a decline since the recession began in 2007. This year, game attendance is forecasted to fall to 1998 levels. But Las Vegas-area sports betting, while experiencing overall annual declines since 2007, has been surprisingly robust during football season. From September through December of last year, Clark County sports books reported winning more than they had in 2008, a bright spot amid a general decline. Even when people don’t want to spring for tickets, they still want to bet on games. And that works to the advantage of Las Vegas, the country’s mecca for legal sports wagering. But football brings more economic activity to the Valley than simply through
sports betting. According to Chris Abraham, vice president of marketing at Golden Gaming, the games are a godsend to the company’s taverns. “Football fans are really in our demographic: 25 to 45 years old,” he says. “Football is a great television sport and we make sure our taverns have plenty of HDTVs.” What kind of economic impact does this devotion make? According to Abraham, Monday nights are the slowest during offseason at most Golden taverns as people are settling back into the swing of the workweek. During football season, however, Monday is an extremely busy night, when overall business can more than double. Because the season is relatively short with 16 regular-season games per team, fans feel like each game matters and don’t want to miss one. The addition of Thursday and Sunday night games helps, as well. On Saturdays and Sundays, games run all day, extending the usual evening peak hours. Because football lends itself to a group dynamic, it’s perfect for bars and sports books. Whether or not a fan has money riding on the game, watching in a public place seems to make it more of an event. And taverns compete avidly for football fans. Golden’s taverns, which include PT’s and Sierra Gold locations, offer a variety of food and drink specials to get customers through the doors, as do competitors such as Steiner’s pub. With watering holes trying to outdo themselves to attract customers, there are plenty of values to be found, which translates into more people going out—a welcome boon in these difﬁcult economic times. In the end, football might be such a good draw because it invites people to join the crowd, celebrate big plays and play bar-stool quarterback, arguing a coach’s play-calling often with a better high-deﬁnition view of the action than the coach himself. In a way, those fans watching on TV have plenty in common with Las Vegas, which seems to be proﬁting quite well from football despite its lack of an NFL team of its own—just another way the town has shown that, given lemons, it can make a great lemon drop. David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.
What Happens Here Sells There How the people who market Las Vegas to the world adjust the pitch depending on the audience By Kate Silver John Bischoff doesn’t speak Spanish, but he knows this phrase: Lo que pasa aqui, se queda aqui. As the vice president of international brand strategy for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Bischoff has spent the past three years repeating those words in Mexico, and the all-too familiar English version—”What happens here stays here”—in Canada, while working to woo international travelers to Las Vegas. Bischoff’s department, which has 12 ofﬁces representing Las Vegas in 75 countries, strives to be, in his words, “culturally smart and country speciﬁc” when promoting the brand. Yes, brand. Las Vegas may be a city, but that city wouldn’t be even a spin of the slot reels without the ad campaigns behind it, selling it to visitors and locals alike. Just think of how the phrases roll off the tongue: “Entertainment Capital of the World,” “dining destination,” “adult Disneyland,” “shopping mecca,” “wedding capital of America.” No one says such things about Topeka, Kan. In China, where it’s illegal to advertise gambling, the big draw is our proximity to the Grand Canyon. It’s a lot of work to keep the tourists’ Euros and pesos coming. Seventy percent of international travelers come from Canada, Mexico and the United into how to speak not just the verbal language of foreign markets, but the cultural language as well. That means when they’re in Milan they talk up the MAGIC Kingdom, and each region is targeted differently. The French speakers in Quebec (fashion) convention. In Paris they talk about ﬁne dining. In Japan they tout big shows have come to expect Las Vegas ads featuring Celine Dion, whereas the rodeo is more and entertainment. In Brazil, it’s all about the nightlife and the laid-back, Carnivallikely to grab the interest of residents in western Canada. In Mexico, lively ads hone esque atmosphere. In China, where it’s illegal to advertise any kind of gambling, Las in on nightlife, shopping and the lo que pasa aqui, se queda aqui philosophy. Vegas is known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon—the Arizona park is one of the Over the pond, things are different. There, our Vegas catchphrase holds no meanfavorite destinations for the Chinese. ing. “Earlier tests of that slogan a few years back proved that it didn’t resonate with Bischoff says that much of the success of the outreach depends on just how easy it the traveling consumer,” Bischoff says. “We have not come up with and we’re not is to travel to Las Vegas. The top three markets—London, Canada and Mexico—all trying to come up with a slogan.” Clearly, they don’t need to when you consider the 10 successful years of direct ﬂights offered by Virgin Atlantic, and the fact that British have direct ﬂights. “It’s all about the air service and airlines,” Bischoff says. “Getting people to come here is a major part of an international strategy, so we’re always Airways began nonstop ﬂights from Heathrow last year. Bischoff says that the Brits thrilled when there’s a direct ﬂight.” are drawn to Las Vegas for its European-style nightlife and DJs, as well as sports— As the LVCVA continues to work with the major markets and emerging markets particularly Ricky Hatton ﬁghts and soccer games. (India, Russia, China and more), its sights are also set on a couple of upcoming International travelers make up 14 percent of the 37.5 million annual visitors to Las landmarks. In 2012, the international terminal at McCarran International Airport Vegas, and over the next few years the goal is to increase that number to 20 percent. will be complete and Las Vegas will become more accessible than ever. And in 2013, “Frankly, it’s common sense,” Bischoff says. “They’re planning a trip longer in adthe international airline conference, the World Route Development Forum, will take vance. They’re staying longer and they’re spending more. So we have data to support place here, bringing in 3,000 executives from airlines around the world. Who knows that the international visitor is more attractive compared to domestic.” what language we’ll translate lo que pasa aqui, se queda aqui into then. Consulting reams of market-speciﬁc travel data, LVCVA representatives delve
Lobster photo by Anthony Mair
Lobster Zone Continued from Page 37
Enrique Tinoco is another Lobster Zone fan. The owner of Tinoco’s Bistro, located in the Vegas Club, says the machine draws people in to his restaurant—particularly the convention crowd. He’s also found a fan base among locals. A small group of lobster lovers actually plan their schedules around Mondays and Fridays— the days that his machine is stocked. “They come those speciﬁc days because they know they’re deﬁnitely going to get a lobster,” he says. Of course, not everyone is a devotee. The vending machine is, as you might guess, an issue for animal activists. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has spoken out against The Lobster Zone, and in some states (not Nevada) managed to convince bar and restaurant
owners to get rid of the machines in the name of animal cruelty. “We’ve gotten complaints pouring in from all over the country,” says Ashley Byrne, a senior campaigner for PETA. “Everywhere these machines are there are horriﬁed bar and restaurant and club customers who think making a game out of tormenting live animals is despicable.” Kevin Lush, who owns Smart Vending, the company that distributes The Lobster Zone in Las Vegas, says that every time PETA puts the spotlight on the machines, he actually sees business increase for his clients. “God put animals on this Earth for us to eat,” he says. “I mean, that’s in the Bible and I truly believe in the Bible. We’ve made sport out of ﬁshing, we’ve made sport out of hunting and everything else. Not that this is a sport, but it is a game.”
With $2 and a little luck, you’ve got a lobster dinner.
September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 39
The Local Newsroom
UNLV’s new institutes Continued from Page 37
to the role the Midwest used to play in American culture and politics. “Remember that old saying, ‘Will it play in Peoria?,’” he says. “Well, Peoria, Ariz., is now bigger than Peoria, Ill.” (It’s true: The Phoenix suburb’s population is nearly 150,000, versus less than 115,000 for the Midwestern city.) The West’s status as an increasingly important swing region in national politics will be the subject of a conference hosted by Brookings Mountain West on Oct. 8. Titled “The Political Demography and Geography of the Intermountain West,” the day of panels and presentations will feature new public opinion polling that will gauge the attitudes of the region’s voters. For issues from energy sustainability to immigration, the West is ground zero, and Southern Nevada is the perfect case study. “The mandate was to bring Brookings out of the Beltway and into the ﬁeld, and Las Vegas is a wonderful laboratory,” says Lang, who came to his current post from Virginia Tech. But the nature of the laboratory has changed dramatically since 2007, when Las Vegas media and real-estate baron Brian Greenspun, a Brookings Institution board member, ﬁrst began courting the organization. Then, Las Vegas was a case study in the new American prosperity—the vibrant center of population and job growth that was fueling the postindustrial economy.
40 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Now, of course, Nevada is a laboratory of America’s hard times. It’s foreclosure central, the boomtown gone spectacularly bust, the No. 1 state in the nation for unemployment as of May when it ended Michigan’s four-year reign. When America was doing well, Las Vegas did very well. But since America began doing poorly, Las Vegas has been doing very, very poorly. As Las Vegas gropes for a way out of its predicament, it stands to reason that America should be paying attention. “Solving Las Vegas’ problems is like solving America’s problems,” Lang says. “How do you move the economy beyond just consumption? What do you do after the housing bubble? How do you move cities beyond subdivisions and freeways?” Part of the answer, Lang believes, is faith in an integral role for higher education, and he rails against what he sees as a shortsighted decision to starve the university system to feed the rest of the state budget. Advocate for UNLV’s survival: Another unexpected role. For the Lincy Institute, helping Southern Nevada’s nonproﬁt groups apply for federal grant money is a service that’s more needed than ever before. Distressed cities such as Baltimore and Detroit have a vast infra-
structure of knowledgeable institutions cannily applying for the resources that are out there. In Las Vegas, the scene is fragmented and sparse. Lincy aims to connect UNLV researchers who work on topics related to education, health care and social services with nonproﬁt groups searching for data on the scope of the area’s needs. Then, the institute plans to provide top-notch grant-writing assistance. (The two grant-writer positions it hopes to staff have not yet been ﬁlled.) The institute’s ﬁrst year was spent putting the right scholars, fellows and graduate students in place, and installing Lang, who directs the Lincy Institute along with Brookings Mountain West and who arrived in January. In the coming year, Schumacher says, the institute is working with a few nonproﬁt groups—details aren’t being disclosed—on projects that, it hopes, will show the community what it’s capable of doing. “As a state, we haven’t asked for a whole lot in the past,” Schumacher says. “We paid our own bills. We took care of ourselves. We should be proud of that—we created something out of nothing.” But now that the money is no longer ﬂowing, Nevada, she says, needs an education in how to ask for what it needs.
do you move “ How the economy beyond just consumption? What do you do after the housing bubble? ”
The Local Newsroom
Some dam good thoughts for your consideration By Michael Green
Sept. 30 marks the 75th anniversary of the day Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Boulder Dam, as it was then called. Recently, the Boulder City Chautauqua commemorated the occasion with “That Dam Depression,” an unforgettable gathering of historians and residents, and performances by historian Doris Dwyer as photographer Margaret Bourke-White and journalist/historian Frank Mullen as Babe Ruth. Beyond a reminder that the Chautauqua is a creative way to learn history, the events offered other perspectives on the past, present and future. Bourke-White was a legendary photographer whom Candice Bergen portrayed in the ﬁlm Gandhi. As much as she admired the great Indian leader and advocate of non-violence, BourkeWhite couldn’t understand his aversion to technology—and lamented that the Holocaust demonstrated the evils to which technology could be carried. What would she say now? Some of you may read this on the Internet, where information and misinformation go hand-in-hand. Small wonder that lies circulate so easily—and make it difﬁcult for the any Democrat, Republican or independent who would like to know about the opposition to discern what’s happening. Note, too, how campaigns increasingly use all of the Web’s resources, from e-mail blasts to Facebook. Apropos of that, could Ruth survive media scrutiny today? His story is inspiring: An unmanageable boy, sent to a reformatory, becomes a great athlete and one of the most beloved, memorable ﬁgures in American sports history. But he was equally adept at carousing. Isn’t that his own business? Many reporters and editors believed so at the time. But Ruth was a public ﬁgure, and if his carousing affected his on-ﬁeld play (it sometimes did), that matters to a customer spending his or her money to watch him. Similarly, a politician’s personal life affects us when it affects his or her performance, whether it’s Sen. John Ensign’s peccadilloes demonstrating hypocrisy, or why any ofﬁceholder votes as she or he does. Considering Ruth’s incredible career, his personal life may not have mattered much. Considering their policies and how they affect or will 42 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
affect us, what politicians do out of our view may matter just a little more. As we rattled through slides of old Boulder City, Dennis McBride, the state museum’s curator of manuscripts, identiﬁed everyone and everything, while Guy Rocha, Nevada’s archivist emeritus, offered his usual wit and knowledge. Without McBride’s efforts, much of Boulder City’s history might have been lost, just as Rocha has kept watch on Nevada. Laura Kelly Smith, who came to Boulder City at the beginning with her family, the Godbeys, provided memories of growing up there. Their words and deeds highlighted how an individual makes a difference, whether preserving an archive, building a community or casting a vote. They also remind us that without knowledge of the past, we are lost. And no sooner did they demonstrate that than the State Historic Preservation Commission revoked funding for projects designed to preserve our past. No wonder those whose failure of vision has made Nevada an economic and moral wasteland prefer to ignore history. Michael Hiltzik spoke in conjunction with his terriﬁc new book, Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century (Free Press, 2010). The dam’s construction was a monument to ingenuity and hard work—and man’s inhumanity to man and the environment. Working on the dam provided jobs in the Depression. The timing actually had nothing to do with the federal government trying to help we the people—but it had the effect of easing the Depression’s impact, so call it an unintended stimulus, and it was as wrapped up in politics as anything going on today. While the lack of jobs also enabled Six Companies to treat workers like dirt, those workers welcomed the model city the government built and ran as a federal reservation, with ironclad rules. We often make choices between security and liberty. Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” But Franklin never saw Hoover Dam nor lived through the Great Depression. Michael Green is a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada and author of several books and articles on Nevada history and politics.
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Entertaining options for a week of nonstop fun and excitement.
Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk
Thu. 30 Wanted: Sexy cowgirls. Reward: $5,000. Worship Thursdays goes wild, wild West as Tao hosts the Hoe-Down. There are no bucks in this nightclub rodeo; the contest awards cold, hard cash to the hottest girl in boots. Meanwhile, everyone in Western wear can enjoy free rein, with an open bar well. Yee haw! (At the Venetian, doors 10 p.m., $20 guys, $10 girls, locals free.) If that sounds a little too, uh, NFR for you, head to the Hard Rock Hotel, where DJ Norman Doray entertains during Godskitchen at Vanity. Doors 10 p.m., $40 guys, $20 girls, local ladies free.
Fri. 1 Celebrate what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday (Oct. 9) at Lake Las Vegas with a free lakeside concert by Beatles tribute band The Fab at the Village, 7-11 p.m. At The Mirage, Rolling Stone kicks off the Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth with Weezer at Bare Pool Lounge (doors 7 p.m., $100), or you can sex-up your Friday as Crazy Horse III (pictured) comes of age, turns 1 and enjoys a striptease from Rock of Love tartlet Heather Chadwell. In addition to the peep show, there will be free sushi, and free Budweiser and shots of Stoli vodka from 8-10 p.m. (Open 24/7, no cover.) Also tonight, First Friday after-party The Get Back marks eight years of fun downtown, and John Doe returns to do his thing at Beauty Bar. 517 e. Fremont St., doors 9 p.m., $10 men $5 women.
Crazy Horse III photo by Anthony Mair
Sat. 2 It’s been a big year or so for Avril Lavigne: She divorced her rocker husband Deryck Whibley, started recording a new album, and found new love—or lust—with Brody Jenner. Now the former pop-punk princess comes to Vegas to throw herself a big-girl-style birthday party at Wet Republic. (At MGM Grand, doors 11 a.m., $50 guys, $20 girls.) Maybe the birthday girl will bring Jenner with her, and make it ofﬁcial—with tattoos, rings or both. (OK magazine did report in June that Lavigne told friends to stand by for a Vegas wedding in August or September.) Alternatively, you can avoid the madefor-reality-TV drama and check out DJ Shr3d and the view of the pool at SkyBar. (At the Hard Rock Hotel, doors 11 a.m., $20.) Later, Qbert and Manufactured Superstars are at Rain for Perfecto. At the Palms, doors 11 p.m., $30, local ladies free.
SeveN NIghtS Sun. 3 Toast the king of Las Vegas’ LGBT community, Eduardo Cordova, as the man who managed to make a gay night work at a mainstream club celebrates his birthday. Closet Sundays fêtes its founder with a birthday party to remember at Revolution; all revelers enjoy $5 beers and $5 vodka drinks, regardless of orientation. What’s more, DJ Jason Lema sets the soundtrack. (At The Mirage, doors 10 p.m., $20, locals free.) If you can’t wait to get the party started, pre-game with Robbie Rivera at Wet Republic. At MGM Grand, doors 11 a.m., $40 guys, $20 girls.
Mon. 4 If you’ve got a golden voice, show it off at Beauty Bar as Fremont Street’s No. 1 hipster joint hosts its weekly karaoke night. Or, if your pipes are made of bronze (or, worse yet, brass), stick to the simple stuff: booze. It’s called Beauty Bar for a reason, and theirs is well-stocked, thankfully. (517 e. Fremont St., doors 10 p.m., no cover.) Or make a night of it and hit a few other watering holes while you’re in the area. Our suggestions: tried, tested, re-tested and still true bars such as The Grifﬁn (511 E. Fremont St.), Downtown Cocktail Room (111 Las Vegas Blvd. South) and the Bunkhouse (124 S. 11th St.), or, better yet, the newest addition to the scene, the Vanguard (516 E. Fremont St.).
Tue. 5 Grab a glittery corsage and call a limo instead of a cab: Botown Productions and KLUC 98.5-FM present the 2010 Las Vegas Prom, and this year the bash is at Tao Beach. (At the Venetian, doors 9 p.m., advance tickets $20 women, $40 men, $50 couples via VegasProm.com, or more at the door. Cash and toy donations accepted in support of HelP of Southern Nevada.) Afterward, Lavo hosts the after-party, featuring Tone Loc (pictured). (At the Palazzo, doors 10 p.m., $20 guys, $10 girls, locals free.) Alternatively, you can ditch prom (again) and instead hit up Moon as Graham Funke plays Bang! at the Palms. Doors 11 p.m., $20 cover, local ladies free.
Wed. 6 Don’t just drink, get downright crunk as Lil Jon takes over Surrender at Encore. You might think of him as little more than a hype man, but he’s actually an accredited S.K.A.M. Artist DJ. Don’t believe us? Check him out, then decide. Doors 10 p.m., cover from $40. September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 45
ghostbar | Palms
Photography by Jessica Blair
Upcoming Sept. 30 | Soundbar featuring boddhi Satva and tommy boneS oct. 3 | ghoStbar SundayS preSentS JuStin bauLe oct. 6 | Snitch WedneSdayS With m!KeattacK and dJ 88
46 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Haze | aria
Photography by Brenton Ho
Upcoming OCT. 7 | INDUSTRY THURSDAYS WITH DJS KARMA AND DAVID CHRISTIAN OCT. 17| BOB SINCLAR
48 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
cadillac ranch | town square
Photography by Beverly Ones
Upcoming SEPT. 30 | ISLAND THURSDAYS WITH BARRY BLACK OCT. 1 | DJ CO-1 OCT. 4 | LADIES NIGHT WITH DJS DTWR AND SUPA JAMES
50 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
TrysT | Wynn
Upcoming SEPT. 30 | INDUSTRY THURSDAYS WITH DJS BIG DEE AND FABIAN OCT. 1 | DJS FABIAN AND G-SQUARED
54 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Photography by Jessica Blair
The X Factor
What’s Going Down As in down-Strip, downtown and Down & Derby By Xania Woodman Veteran nightclub operator Mike Milner greeted me at the Copa Room’s door, and in an instant it was just like old times. Since April, the former Studio 54, Tabu and Teatro GM has been laying low, but been busy nonetheless, keeping his focus on the burgeoning events lineup at his new nightspot on the south end of the Strip. Formerly Matryoshka Euroclub (so named for those little Russian nesting dolls and known brieﬂy and only for its Club LED party), Milner’s new project is annexed to ex-Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt’s 10-acre swath of land that includes the Bootlegger Bistro. Outside, the wall still reads “Euroclub” but inside, the Copa looks like the love child of MGM Grand’s Teatro (now Rouge) and the once and former freestanding home of house, Ice—all chrome and concrete with splashes of color and dramatic white silks. As the logo states, the Copa Room hosts weddings, banquets and
has private function rooms for 30 to 300. But in the wee hours, it’s a DJs dream come true. Milner has a 15-year history of assembling solid teams. At the Copa Milner’s team includes DJ R.O.B. (Robert Hathcock), DJ Lisa Pittman and DJ Pryme Tyme (Matthew Tufono). But the ranks are still building, and the events program is growing ever more robust. Two Saturdays a month, DJ and promoter Lisa Pittman presents Booty Bar (LesbiansLasVegas.com), a wildly successful night “for girls who like girls” featuring guest DJs and the so-called L-Word Girls bartenders (a pack of sassy, chic lesbian barwomen). “This is the nicest venue the lesbians have seen in Vegas,” she says. R.O.B.’s increasingly popular Facebook parties (DJRightOnBeat.com) take on the alternate Saturdays, with an old-school-meets-today sound and where breakdancers take advantage of the Copa Room’s smooth
Breakdancers: It’s going down on The Copa Room’s ﬂoor
The Last Sip of Summer
concrete ﬂoors. He teamed up with DJs Frankie and Bubby to present the Shark Club Reunion on Sept. 24, a long-overdue party honoring DJ Derek “The Doctor” and that seminal Vegas nightclub. When I stopped by, the newest player, DJ Pryme Tyme, was just about to launch his new weekly Radio Tuesdays on Sept. 21. Since then, DJ Arty (of Club Rio’s Latin Libido fame) has announced that his Latin Grooves Fridays will launch on Oct. 8 along with another Club Rio alum, DJ Dave Guzman. For all events, doors open about 10 p.m., and parties regularly sail past 3 a.m. Bonus: Bottle specials hover in the $100 range. Spirits are high where the bottles prices are low! (the Copa Room, 7700 Las Vegas Blvd. South, at Robindale. 562-0756. BootleggerLasVegas.com) Meanwhile, downtown, the Vanguard Lounge, Maharaja Hookah Café and the 14,000-square-foot new Latin nightclub, Azul Tequila, popped their corks Sept. 29. Vanguard Lounge (516 E. Fremont St., 868-7800, VanguardLV.com) quietly opened Sept. 16 and is now open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, serving beer, craft cocktails and boutique wines. Just a few doors down, Imtiaz Ali of Kabob Korner across the street and partner Aisf Jah opened Maharaja (506 E. Fremont St., 684-7900) on Sept. 24. Stop by between 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Thursday or 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday to enjoy 15 kinds of chai, six varieties of coffee, international appetizers and desserts, and—as the name would imply—50 ﬂavors of hookah. If you frequent downtown, you might also have noticed a new saffron-yellow entertainment compound at 115 Seventh St. Says owner Francisco Lara—also owner of Commercial Center’s Las Palmas restaurant—Azul Tequila (476-6498) will be Vegas’ largest full-time Latin nightclub and concert venue and can accommodate more than 700 guests, 21 and over. Although the ribbon has been cut, the grand opening will be celebrated Oct. 21 with a band on the 6,000-square-foot patio. Modeled after a Mexican hacienda, Lara says, Azul specializes in tequila and will have its doors open from 8 p.m. till at least 2:30 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday for Latin bands, DJs, rock en Español, meringue and salsa, and a downtown-centric Tuesday industry night. And save the date now—Oct. 8—for the relocation of Down & Derby to the New Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Let’s see if a little old-school eight-wheeled roller disco jam can bring new life to the beleaguered property. “That’s the Joint, that’s the jam!”
The Silver Whistle As served at Mandarin Bar, Mandarin Oriental, $20
All right—everyone out of the pool! From 23 ﬂoors aloft in the lifeguard’s chair that is Mandarin Bar, the last few sips of a long, cool Silver Whistle cocktail are harbingers of the end of Summer 2010. Time to put away those water wings and break out the light jackets, Las Vegas. Says William Grant & Sons mixologist Charlotte Voisey, who created the drink, “The Silver Whistle provides a contrast in style to classic Champagne cocktails by using the bubbles to act as a ﬁnal balancing agent through its crisp acidity, all the while allowing fruity ﬂavors of watermelon and cherry through.” Summer’s rich and decadent ﬂavors are buoyed by a bit of effervescence in this balanced, luscious, fruit-forward and refreshing cocktail. Perhaps summer needn’t come to an end after all. 60 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
1½ ounces Lillet Rouge Aperitif 1 ounce Stolichnaya vodka 5 pieces fresh watermelon 4 Luxardo Marasca cherries Veuve Clicquot Champagne 1 watermelon cube for garnish Edible silver dust Muddle cherries and watermelon together, then add Lillet, Stoli and ice. Shake well and strain over crushed ice in a tall glass. Top up with Champagne and stir gently. Garnish with a pinch of silver dust and a watermelon cube or single Marasca cherry on a clear cocktail pick.
Copa room photo by Anthony Mair
By Xania Woodman
By Xania Woodman
autumnal sake pairings Shibuya “hachiko,” Junmai GinJo By Shirataki Brewery, from Niigata prefecture; $17 (6 ounces), one of Shibuya’s three private-label sakes.
M Fantasy As served at all M Resort bars, $10 “The M Fantasy is swanky and sophisticated with a fresh, delicate, smooth taste,” says its creator, assistant beverage manager/mixologist Charlie Moavero. And pretty, too. “There wasn’t just one thing that inspired me to create this cocktail. I just wanted to create an eye-popping cocktail that would sell itself.” And so it does, to just about anyone who lays eyes on the elegant showpiece drink, which is also the perfect vehicle for Silkroad’s yellow-plum-infused sake. 1½ ounces Silkroad Plum Sake 1 ounce Stoli Blueberi vodka 2 ounces sour mix 4 blueberries An edible orchid for garnish Muddle blueberries in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and ice, then shake and double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an edible orchid.
A sake (sah-kay) primer Honjozo: At least 30 percent of the rice grain is typically polished away, plus a small amount of alcohol is added. Ginjo: At least 40 percent of the rice grain is polished away. Reﬁned, aromatic. Daiginjo: At least 50 percent of the rice grain is polished away. Even more reﬁned, elegant. Less aromatic. Junmai (as in junmai ginjo, junmai daiginjo, etc): Adjective indicating purity, that nothing has been added to the sake. Genshu: Cask-strength or undiluted (typically higher alcohol content). Nama: Unpasteurized. Always genshu. Typically wild, bright and acidic. 64
Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Nigori: Roughly ﬁltered; appears cloudy or milky from the rice solids, which add some sweetness. Very ﬁlling. Kimoto: Sake produced using a natural, traditional brewing method with little human intervention. Works well with spicy food. Yamahai: Sake produced using a natural, traditional brewing method with no human intervention. Works best with spicy food. Shizuku: First run of sake, akin to the ﬁrst pressing of grapes or olives. Light, clean and expensive. Tokubetsu: Indicates special, higher quality level than listed in the bottle, and sometimes higher aromatics.
Recommended by: Dieter Xiao, Advanced Level 2 sake specialist, Shibuya at MGM Grand. Nose: Bright and fresh fruity aromas. Palate: Light, smooth, easy drinking. The somm says: “It is a great sake to be enjoyed by itself or with light foods. It pairs well with most light fare no matter the season.” Pair it with: Shibuya’s Kani salad, with three kinds of crab (king, snow and Dungeness), seaweed, pickled cucumber, dry soy and lotus chips.
black RiveR anniveRSaRy edition, Junmai daiGinJo kimoto By Kurosawa, from Nagano prefecture; $142, at Sushi Samba in the Palazzo. Recommended by: Tiffany Dawn Soto, kikizake-shi (master sake educator), restaurant consultant and president of the North American Sake Institute. The somm says: “This sake is complex but not so much as to take away from the warm, fuzzy feeling it gives you as it passes across your lips. The rich aromas combined with the elegantly smooth palate perfectly accompany the hearty complexity of the fall menus, a welcome departure from summer.” Nose: As unique as it is wonderful. With light scents of yellow apple skin and subtle mushrooms, then something elusive, rich, familiar and comfortable, reminiscent of buttery pound cake. Palate: Soft and ever so slightly sweet with a level of elegance rarely achieved in a kimoto sake. Pair it with: Sushi Samba’s Berkshire Pork Gyoza with kabocha puree and su-shoyu dipping sauce.
haRuShika (“SpRinG deeR”), Junmai daiGinJo From Imanishi Shoten, from Nara prefecture; $310 (720 milliliter) at Sensi in Bellagio. Recommended by: Sanae Halprin, sommelier, Sensi at Bellagio. The somm says: “This sake is made shizuku style, which means it was not pressed. As a result, it’s very fresh and soft. The weather in autumn, especially in Las Vegas, is fresh and soft, just like this elegant sake.” Nose: Floral aroma, melon, banana. Palate: Soft and silky smooth, light body. Pair it with: Sensi’s Sashimi and Crudo Sampling. For more pairings, visit WeeklySeven.com.
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The NaTioNal Newsroom This week in the New York Observer
Traders on Wall Street and many others within the ﬁnancial industry have accused President Obama of having antibusiness policies.
Businesspeople have become wild critics of the president. Why? Because he hurt their feelings. Who knew bankers were so vulnerable?
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
By Max Abelson On Sept. 14 in the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on W. 53rd St., just after lunchtime, Jamie Dimon made a joke. “I put this next slide in, the next one, for fun,” the JPMorgan chief executive told his audience at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference, clicking to page 18 of his presentation. A terrible mass of regulatory spaghetti popped up on the screen in vomit yellow and two shades of green, dotted and straight lines crisscrossing from top to bottom. “This is our regulatory system,” he explained, as laughter broke out. “It—” he started, but his audience was applauding. By that morning, all around town, Dinesh D’Souza’s Forbes cover story had begun making the rounds. “Barack Obama is the most antibusiness president in a generation, perhaps in American history,” it opened. “Critics in the business community—including some Obama voters who now have buyer’s remorse—tend to focus on two main themes. The ﬁrst is that Obama is clueless about business. The second is that Obama is a socialist,” he said. “These theories aren’t wrong so
much as they are inadequate.” It’s that he’s an anticolonialist, the Forbes cover story explained, just like his father, a “philandering, inebriated African.” Fury has been ﬂourishing lately. Professor Todd Henderson, a former McKinsey man now at the University of Chicago Law School, where Obama taught from 1992 until his election to the Senate in 2004, wrote a widely read essay that detailed the unacknowledged struggles of living on hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Life in America is wonderful, but expensive,” he explained. On CBS, Ben Stein said the president’s tax proposals would reprimand him for success: “When did it turn out that was a crime to be punished?” Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman registered the same kind of complaint, only more ﬂoridly, when he compared the proposal to close what’s known as the carriedinterest loophole to Hitler’s 1939 invasion of Poland. As it stands, that rule taxes the money that private-equity executives make as if it were capital gains, not income. Schwarzman apologized last month. “However,” he
said, “the fundamental issue of the administration’s need to work productively with business for the beneﬁt of the overall economy is still of very serious concern.” Two weeks later, in a letter to investors, the hedge fund star Dan Loeb likened the president’s tax policies to the violation of “constitutionally guaranteed protections against persecution of the minority and an inexorable right of self-determination.” And even before the president’s sporadically astonishing town hall meeting hosted by CNBC on Sept. 20, Paul Krugman dedicated his column to the anger of businessmen, diagnosing belligerence, blood lust and self-righteousness. But that isn’t exactly right. What’s been blossoming, according to interviews with senior executives from four of the major New York ﬁnancial institutions, is a very different kind of rage. Bankers are offended. They speak of betrayal. Feelings have been hurt. On Sept. 20, a sturdy-looking man with well-combed hair and a good suit stood up in front of the president. Anthony Scaramucci was a vice president in private wealth management at Goldman and a Lehman Brothers managing director before he started a hedge fund that, as he told the president, has “$7.4 billion under management.” Another program on CNBC, Untold Wealth: The Rise of the Super Rich, once showed him waking up at dawn in a Long Island, N.Y., mansion decorated by a jumbo gold harp. “I also went to law school with you,” he told the president. “It’s great to see you. You’ve done very well,” the president joked. “If I fouled you on the hoop court, it wasn’t intentional,” Scaramucci said, for some reason. He has the air of a prosperous brother-in-law. “I remember that!” the president said. Everyone laughed. “You would remember if I fouled you,” Scaramucci said. Chuckles faded. “I’ve got a low center of gravity.” The president did not respond. “The question I have, sir,” he continued, “and this is something I really, you know, a lot of my friends are thinking about. Listen, I represent the Wall Street community. We have felt like a piñata. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re whacking us with a stick, but we certainly feel like we’ve been whacked with a stick,” he said. “When are we going to stop whacking at the Wall Street piñata?” “There is a big chunk of the country that thinks I have been too soft on Wall Street,” the president answered, before discussing hedge fund pay and tax problems. “I didn’t see any olive branch,” Gordon Bethune, the former Continental Airlines CEO, and a current board member at Prudential Financial and Willis Group, said on CNBC afterward. “I’m looking for one, but I didn’t see it.” The reason why executives such as Scaramucci and Bethune were not reassured, and were looking for reassurance in the ﬁrst place, has something to do with a question that had come a little bit earlier. “There are some people in business who think, to use a phrase that you used recently about your critics, you talk about them like dogs,” moderator John Harwood had told the president. “We haven’t increased taxes on businesses. Actually, we have instituted about 50 tax cuts, many of them going to businesses large and small,” he answered. He reminded his audience that income taxes are lower than they were under Reagan, and Eisenhower, too. Continued on Page 72 September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 69
Standup comedian Max Silvestri, who writes about Top Chef for the food blog Eater, is among a growing number of writers hired to recap TV shows.
Rise of the Recappers For a new class of struggling writers, it’s time to watch TV By Dan Duray Last month Jerry Saltz, the art critic and judge on the recently ﬁnished ﬁrst season of Bravo’s Work of Art, praised the practice of TV recapping in an essay posted to his popular Facebook proﬁle. “WoA provided an unintended occasion where many of them wrote on the SAME THING AT THE SAME TIME,” the post read, in part. “This is where writers are ﬁnally forged; not in the pages of glossy journals or daily unedited personal tirades: But where the voices of the town square become part of the group mind.” All the same, recent Columbia graduate Hillary Busis, who recapped the show for The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog, wasn’t thrilled to engage the group mind when she learned that Saltz himself would be providing recaps for New York. “When I saw his ﬁrst post I was like, ‘Oh, people will care a lot more about what he’s saying than about what I have to say,’” she said. The rise of the Internet television recap has been an inevitable side effect of a medium that allows for instant reactions, favors a freelance model and realizes
that the winner of a reality show will dominate Google searches on the day following a season ﬁnale. Many sites, Entertainment Weekly’s for one, offer straightforward play-by-play summaries of a show for people who haven’t watched, but nearly every major publication and journalistic blog now offers some form of instant analysis of popular shows. Slate and Vanity Fair, where James Wolcott offers a Mad Men postgame, are two of the less likelier spots that have joined the recap game. New York currently employs some 30 writers to cover as many shows. Then there are the sites where recaps take the main stage, like the NBCowned Television Without Pity, whose editors work right out of 30 Rock. That site is home to Jacob Clifton, who has become known for his sprawling 27-page recaps of shows ranging from American Idol to Doctor Who. “It’s a performance,” said Clifton, who lives in Austin, Texas, but has gained a reputation among New York editors. “Not to compare myself to anybody else but my image of myself has always been sort of Derrida or somebody, Barthes, in
a shop window being like, ‘Well here’s what the story’s really about.’” The rise of the recap was swift. Jessica Coen, the editor of Jezebel who has also worked as an editor at Gawker and New York, views the current model as dating back to Gossip Girl, a show that Gawker began recapping in part because it provided the opportunity for a reliable hit-garnering weekly feature. “It’s got a lot of smart little pop-culture references, it kind of plays with viewers. It talks back, it’s aware of what people are writing about them. The OC was kind of the original Gossip Girl,” said Coen, who wrote about that show on her own blog before coming to Gawker. “This was when blogs weren’t huge for-proﬁt enterprises just yet. Everybody recapped The OC, everybody talked about it.” Compare that to today, where standup comedian Max Silvestri says he has three friends who are paid to recap Top Chef alone. Silvestri is currently at work on a pilot for Comedy Central and pens frenetic recaps of Top Chef himself, for the food blog Eater. “I guess I’ve now done three or four seasons?” he said. “Maybe
ﬁve. Jesus, such a waste of time.” “It’s great for the audience of the people that watch your show, but then you’re spending four hours on a freelance humor piece that has a very small market of people that are going to read it,” Silvestri said. “I always sort of struggle with that. I’m like, ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘Why aren’t I writing something that’s a little broader?’” But for young writers hoping to get a foot in the door, the increased demand for recappers can only be viewed as a good thing—after all, it’s a paycheck and it beats, say, fact-checking, being a paralegal or waiting tables in terms of literary gratiﬁcation. Busis, who now recaps Mad Men in addition to Work of Art, recalled when her editor at The Wall Street Journal offered her a freelance Gossip Girl post, unsolicited. “I don’t really remember how he knew that I watched it, but I wrote back right away and I said, ‘Sure,’ because it sounded awesome since I was going to be watching it anyway,” Busis said. “Then all the sudden I got another e-mail saying, ‘Can you be our regular Gossip Girl recapper?’ and I was like, ‘Sure.’” Gawker’s Richard Lawson is something of a poster boy for this kind of online Horatio Alger narrative. He worked in Gawker’s ad sales department but through the strength of his comments on the site secured a writing job and is now the go-to name in online television recaps, distinguishing himself with his playful extra-narrative adventures for the shows’ characters. “I think it’s an accidental byproduct of my being able to kind of just go a little bit nuts with the recaps, because they were never supervised and they weren’t edited or anything,” Lawson said. “I get to showcase a lot more of me as a writer than you can see in a short post about Marc Jacobs or whatever.” “Richard’s an incredible talent,” said Choire Sicha, who edited Gawker when Lawson was ﬁrst published there. “And in this weird change or whatever that we’re still now in, the world has to accommodate talents like Richard’s.” And Lawson’s name is on the lips of publishers. He’s had meetings with people at a “big agency” but struggled in translating his voice to a comic novel format. Clifton has found the vacuum of working without commenters difﬁcult—he’s close with his, a handful have even come out to him via e-mail—and has serialized all four of his novel efforts online. Right now, the career path of the TV recapper is largely undetermined. One would think that the job would lead to a career in traditional television journalism. “But of course how long is the kind of more formal, old-school criticism going to be around? Or is this just going to take over?” asked New York Times TV Continued on Page 74
70 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Photo by Michael Nagle
The National Newsroom
Put on some clothes, people! Mr. Hotpants at a dinner party broke one of the last remaining rules of social etiquette By Bob Morris shower, where men in diapers served The dinner was called for 8 p.m. The Champagne. “He should be able to do hosts were casually dressed, as was the whatever he wants.” Well, yes, because it help. One guest, a young man, who is a free country, and the spiritual home didn’t know the hosts, arrived in what of “if you’ve got it, ﬂaunt it.” But most could only be described as hot pants. people I know are scratching their heads He sat down and put his BlackBerry on at Jacobs in the buff, and then they’re the well-set dinner table as if he were at looking the other way. a Starbucks. Then he checked messages “I liked him better when he was a and texted throughout dinner. nerd,” one public relations executive The hostess looked chagrined. Was told me. this man nervy or simply clueless? “Who wants to see it?” a designer of It’s a question that comes up often women’s wear added. in these socially rudderless times. Of Not Miuccia Prada, who calls the course, we can always blame everytendency to show too much ﬂesh “the thing on celebrities, who set standards desperation of the based on ego, not sexy.” In the case etiquette. At the of Marc Jacobs, last U.S. Open, I would call it a where some players midlife crisis. might as well have As for that young been in a strip show man in the teensyin Vegas, Venus weensy shorts at Williams, in a black a seated dinner corset, seemed to be party, I would say in competition with he needs to learn Britney Spears as when hot pants are she ran around exsimply not pants. posing ﬂesh-colored The difference panties that made has to do with her look like she was the occasion. A mooning us. Does it fashion director occur to Lady Gaga who showed up that while wearing for afternoon a meat dress is ﬁne cocktails at my for an awards show, weekend place in baring her crotch at her sister’s high Marc Jacobs gets oiled up to sell you cologne. teeny shorts and heels that made school (along with a her look like a pinup girl deﬁnitely had beekeepers’ veiled hat to cover her face) nerve, but was within the parameters is not? of acceptable. It was still daytime, after Then there’s Marc Jacobs in ads for all, and we were outside in the warmth his new men’s cologne. He’s nude, legs of a summer’s day. At his recent runway splayed open with his oily, tattooed and show, Ralph Lauren showed tiny suede buffed body on full display but for his shorts that would take nerve (and privates, covered with a bottle of Bang, money) to wear, too. a peppery, woody fragrance. He decided But not to a seated dinner. Even in a it was more appropriate than posing in graceless society, that’s my rule. Like a shirt. “I thought, OK, I feel comforttoo much cologne at the table, clothes able,” Jacobs has said. that are too provocative deﬂect from the Which is ﬁne for him. But what about point of the meal, which is communion, the rest of us? It’s one thing when it’s conversation and tender meat on a plate, a model you don’t recognize in an not on a chair. underwear ad. But when it’s a highly “Can you believe he wore hot pants to regarded designer whose collections are our dinner?” one host asked later. known for creativity, not sensuality, isn’t Yes, I can. And I’m also relieved that it just overshare? summer is now ofﬁcially over. “But he’s so talented and he works so It’s getting chilly out, folks. Let’s get hard,” one magazine editor told me in dressed. his defense at a recent fashionista baby September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 71
The National Newsroom
Totally Q-Less 1
108 109 110
ACROSS 1 King’s place 7 Goya subject 11 “Think of it!” 18 “Carefree” star 20 Ad of a sort 22 Roustabout, for example 23 Publicity photo from the ﬁlm “Tombstone”? 25 Disperse 26 Shorter mo. 27 Outdo 28 Yale students 30 Pressure preceder 31 Basket? 40 Solidarity guy 41 Okinawan port 42 Burly Burl 43 Nabokov novel 44 Do a mining job 47 D.C. fundraiser 48 Strap 49 Whirled 50 With 82 Across, one way to describe a home run derby? 56 Arabia’s Gulf of ___ 57 Injured 58 Criticizes, slangily 59 Questionnaire answers
115 116 119
NOTE: I made a puzzle last January that was chock-full of Q’s, so here’s one in which they’re “conspicuously absent.”
60 Roast holder 61 Ex-Laker outlined on the NBA logo 62 Window feature 63 What he is 65 Warning on a Tim the Tool Man drill? 71 Like Cheerios 72 Competes 73 Nurse Jackie portrayer 74 Make the effort 76 Deep sleep 79 VMI program 80 It rests on the violin 81 Citi Field replaced it 82 See 50 Across 87 Red inside 88 1985 U.S. Open winner Mandlikova 89 Joke 90 “Toy Story 3” voice 91 “___ your dime” 92 D.A. in “The Dark Knight” who becomes Two-Face, Harvey ___ 93 Come (from) 95 Raced 97 Reacting to your ﬁrst jog in 10 years? 103 St. crosser 104 Wood strip 105 ___ Paulo 106 Dead battery ... who ya gonna call?
Answers found on Page 74
By Merl Reagle
Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
108 In party mode 112 What they called Shakespeare after that really bad haircut? 117 Shunned 118 Nosy one 119 “___ be seen again” 120 Signs you unfurl 121 Decreases 122 Do an usher’s job DOWN 1 Gag answer to “Why are birds so noisy”? 2 So far 3 Infection type 4 Make lace 5 English ___ 6 Provocative, in a way 7 Speed abbr. 8 Everyday verb 9 Mr. Pulitzer 10 F lyer’s ﬁrst name 11 They, in Paris 12 1990s dance craze 13 Early cal cu la tor 14 Rose 15 NYC subway 16 Born 17 Speak out of turn, e.g. 19 Tennyson’s Arden 21 Connected to the ear 24 Toll rd. 29 They schuss to be happy 32 Actress Page of “Juno”
33 D.C. PBS station that produces Jim Lehrer’s “NewsHour” 34 Pass (a law) 35 Pool hall device 36 “Stop the World — I Want To Get Off ” girl 37 Half a 1960s foursome 38 Draw out 39 Admiral and general, e.g. 44 Buy things 45 Staff notes 46 Muse with a lyre 47 Hairlines? 48 E-mail button 49 Fine 51 Major U.S. farm export 52 Bold, saucy girl 53 Neighbor of SoHo 54 Corridors 55 “Generation of Vipers” author Philip 61 Pooped 62 Bash, biblically 63 Battleﬁeld shout 64 Quick as ___ 66 Bond before Dalton 67 City in central Portugal 68 Drew Barrymore went through it at 13 69 Historical Allen 70 Rubbish 75 Tibetans own them 76 Font ﬂourish 77 Egg-shaped 78 Intrinsically 79 Car for the duration 80 Icy sen sa tion 81 Hue 83 Sometime or another 84 Loiter, nowadays 85 Legal document 86 Kid’s sliding board cry 92 Cause to disagree 93 ___ out of the park 94 Pulsating 95 Lover boy 96 One initiating a call 98 “Amo, amas” class 99 Cat resting places 100 Medium ability? 101 The Congo, previ ous ly 102 Conference site of 1945 107 Oodles 108 Terrif 109 Sister of Zsa Zsa 110 Part of the Holy Trinity 111 Redundancy removers: abbr. 113 It has corn all over it 114 Word with lock or mock 115 The day before 116 “Scream” director Craven
9/30/2010 © M. Reagle
Wall Street Continued from Page 69
But there is a difference between a question about insults and emotion and an answer about policy. “I think of it ﬁrst as a language issue,” a managing director at one of the largest private-equity ﬁrms in New York complained, when asked to explain the anger at the administration. “The language they use is the language of villainy and populism.” Harwood had said that Wall Street felt Obama treated them like dogs, but he’d mixed his metaphors. “He went on 60 Minutes and said ‘fat-cat bankers,’” one of the four senior executives The Observer talked to complained. “He didn’t say Dick Fuld or Ken Lewis, he just said ‘fat-cat bankers.’ Meaning all bankers are fat cats. And we have over 1 million bankers in this country. And they’re all taxpayers.” That interview was in late December, after the year’s huge bonuses were announced. Later on in the interview, the executive, who watched the CNBC town hall but, exasperated, had to turn the sound off after ﬁve minutes, came back to the slur. “He just said that we are all fat cats! All of Wall Street! He said ‘fat-cat bankers.’ He said ‘fat cat,’ he’s doing name calling, stereotyping, which is pretty amazing.” Back during the second month of the administration, writing in New York, Gabriel Sherman documented the anxious rage of a privileged class that was unsure of what to expect. What has happened to Wall Street under Obama, though, has not been bad at all. But never mind the death of the Brown-Kaufman amendment, which would have limited the size of the nation’s mega-banks; or the softened Volcker Rule; or Goldman Sachs’ record 2009, followed by a quarter this year when Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman and JPMorgan made a trading proﬁt every single day; let alone the administration’s satisfaction with the new Basel III rules on leverage and capital ratios, which were much laxer than they would have been without the banks’ massive global lobbying effort. “We’ve been ostracized,” another source said. “I went to jury duty about a year ago, and when I said I’m in investment banking, the people in the jury room were making ugh sounds, and I’m like, ‘Fuck you. I’m proud of what I do.’ And I think this ﬁrm did a lot to get the recovery going. Somewhere ranked below a pimp and well operator is not right.” A White House spokesperson did not comment. But Wall Street’s emotions have consequences. “If, as a result of this anger, credit becomes unavailable, particularly for small and mid-size businesses,” Schwarzman wrote in The Washington Post this year, before his Poland blunder, “then at best the economy will slow and, at worst, we will ﬁnd ourselves in a dire situation.” He said bankers felt under siege and were responding by “becoming conservative,” a lovely little pun about lending and politics. “He’s pissing on us and Wall Street and bankers and capitalism; then we have gotten afraid,” the executive who turned CNBC on mute said. “We then are not investing in maybe what we should invest in.”
Bankers are offended. They speak of betrayal. Feelings have been hurt.
The National Newsroom
Personal Finance Recappers Continued from Page 70
critic Ginia Bellafante — who, incidentally, recaps Mad Men for the paper. “I certainly hope it doesn’t, but how viable is a TV critic’s career anymore?” Lawson had a taste of this. He left Gawker in 2009 for a new job at TV.com, a more mainstream website owned by CBS, before returning to Gawker after ﬁve months. “I did these depressing phone interviews with TV actors and I was one of 20 they were doing in an hour,” Lawson said. “But that’s good; I mean you would have to cut your teeth there to become the next Virginia Heffernan or whatever.” Bellafante attributed the proliferation of recapping to a fundamental change in the TV medium. “I think it is a conﬂuence of the popularity of blogging in general and the nature of TV now,” she said. “TV is long form. Even if blogging had been all the rage in 1988 there wasn’t as much to say.” Sicha has taken a public anti-recap stance, banning them from his site, The Awl. “We broke the ban once or twice,” he said. In addition, the site has run Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s “Footnotes to Mad Men.” “Natasha found a way to go in sideways and started her own Tumblr—then we’re like, ‘Hmm, yes! Come to us!’ Now she has written a sort of profound book of cultural studies about a TV show, based essentially on a Tumblr? That’s new.” Sicha isn’t sure how long the traditional model of criticism, like Saltz’s, will exist. He pointed to Bravo’s new watch-along iPad app as an example of this. “They’re turning all of their viewers into recappers!” he said. Busis, for her part, intends to continue freelancing her recaps. When asked if she gives any considerations to a show’s popularity—as getting in on the ground ﬂoor of a show that becomes a hit could lead to a higher proﬁle—she said she doesn’t. “I didn’t really think that Work of Art would take off, and it didn’t, but I would have been watching it either way,” she said. ”I mean my thinking was, ‘It’s summer.’ What else are you going to do, right? Nothing else is on.” Totally Q-Less by Merl Reagle
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I MAG I L A BOR S C A T T S A CU K E RU P P I V E S A E I N S P R E AWH A S Y E S MA L E R EW I R E E D I E T H I N S H A C KWH A B H A N S P E D EWH E E Z S AO A P I N EW I N E V E R R E S E
74 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
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Low-cost dates can be fun, generous and classy By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services
The date that turned John Owens’ girlfriend into his wife didn’t cost much. He ﬁlled a cooler full of beer and sandwiches and took her on a night ﬁshing trip with another couple. “It was a great night, and it cost me a couple of bucks for bait and that was it,” said Owens, now head of marketing for ING Direct USA in Wilmington, Del. In a still-dragging economy, Owens thinks more people should follow that example. But a new study by his company indicates that cheap dates might be dicey for guys. The reason: When asked what words they associate with a frugal blind date, women said a guy would be stingy and boring, while men thought a frugal girl would be smart and sexy. The tough news for guys is that this smart and sexy girl is probably going to expect her male counterpart to pick up the check, said Evan Marc Katz, a Los Angeles dating coach and co-author of Why You’re Still Single (Plume, 2006). That used to be because women earned considerably less than men, if they worked at all; now it’s because women ﬁnd a generous man nurturing. “It’s not about money per se,” Katz said. “The appearance of generosity in a date is very important to women.” But the date does not have to be expensive. Particularly in big, vibrant cities like Los Angeles or Las Vegas, great dates can be cheap, Katz said. In fact, going to inexpensive events can be more engaging than the traditional dinner and movie, no matter who is footing the bill. Katz says he and his wife check out the weekly festivals around Los Angeles, which offer a variety of ethnic foods, art and athletics. A recent Google search for “festivals in Los Angeles,” for instance, turned up bountiful entries, including the free Abbot Kinney Youth & Family Court festival with live music and 300 vendors. Many park and recreation departments put on outdoor ﬁlm festivals. One recently screened The Princess Bride. And there were vendors on site to sell food. “If you are paying a cover charge and you’re buying funnel cakes or whatever they’re selling, it’s going to cost you something, but it’s not going to break the bank,” Katz said. “These are great dates and you’re going to get out for less than $40.” Owens also recommends taking a picnic to the park or mountains or using the downloadable FourSquare application on your phone to ﬁnd local happy hours and other restaurant deals that you can “accidentally” stumble onto without looking like you’re trying to be cheap. Coupon websites such as Groupon, Living Social and Restaurant.com can also help you buy a meal for a fraction of the retail price. Restaurant.com typically sells $25 restaurant gift certiﬁcates for $10; Groupon and Living Social deals are all
over the map. Groupon recently offered a threecourse meal and ﬂamenco show for $15 (a $36 value) while Living Social was advertising 57 percent off cupcakes. If your date is active, the possibilities are endless, Katz added. It could be rollerblading or bike riding in the mountains or at a lake. You could go hiking, and if you don’t know the local trails, search the Web. Local Sierra Clubs sponsor night hikes all over the country. You could also play one-on-one basketball or go ﬁshing, Katz suggested. Museums and botanical gardens are also a deal. Some are free. Others charge a small entrance fee.
In big, vibrant cities like Las Vegas, great dates can be cheap. In fact, going to inexpensive events can be more engaging than the traditional dinner and movie, no matter who is footing the bill. If you go frequently, an annual pass can save a few bucks. After several dates, you can offer to cook dinner, Katz added. But cooking too soon is considered bad form, partly because it sounds like a line to lure your date into your lair. To be sure, you may want to schedule an elegant evening here and there, but planning bargain dates for a good portion of the time is practical, not stingy. “If a man goes out on two dates a week, and 50 percent of the women don’t want to see him again, he’s spending a lot of money on strangers,” Katz said. “There’s no correlation between a good date and an expensive date. If she thinks there is, she’s probably not the right person.” Besides, he says, those cheap, active dates are often better and low-pressure. “You’re not just sitting across a table interviewing somebody for the role of your future spouse.” 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.
The Only Latin Night Under the Stars
WEDNESDAYS 9:30 PM
Arts & Entertainment Stage
Aha Funny Las Vegas humor coach insists anyone can be funny—even you By Kate Silver
Photo by Anthony Mair
Darren LaCroix enjoys the catalyst that made his dreams come true: a Subway sandwich.
Darren LaCroix insists he wasn’t born funny. In fact, the Las Vegas resident says that he was considered “least likely to be funny” in high school. Today, the 44-year-old is laughing all the way to the bank as he makes his living teaching others how to be funny. On Sept. 30, he’s even offering a free lesson to the public (more on that later) on the art of humor. The freedom to do comedy was, admittedly, born from ﬁnancial tragedy. It was in the early ’90s in Boston that his Subway franchise tanked. Another Subway opened up just a couple of miles from his and started taking all of his customers. He sold the business at a loss and, in his early-to-mid-20s, moved back in with his parents. He was working as a telemarketer at Bose to pay off his debts. Knowing he was at a low point, a friend gave LaCroix a motivational tape that asked this pivotal
question: “What would you dare to dream if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” “I said, ‘Man, if I could do anything I would be a comedian. Making an audience laugh and earn a living at it? That would be the ultimate.’” He had nothing to lose at that point. So what if he tried to be funny and ﬂopped? So he went to a comedy show, found a comedian and asked for advice. The guy’s ﬁrst question: “Are you funny?” LaCroix’s response: “No.” So the guy told him to buy some books, take some comedy courses and attend open-mike nights to see how the amateurs start out. A good student, LaCroix took his advice. He read. He workshopped. He toured the amateur circuit, and one night, when he had the courage to get up onstage, he bombed. Still, LaCroix kept at it. He was convinced that humor was something he could learn. His mentors
encouraged him, saying the most important thing is stage time. “They said it’s not about how well you do tonight,” LaCroix says. “If you go up tonight you’ll be better next week.” So he spent two years getting comfortable onstage, practiced telling jokes and learned from watching others do the same. In addition to the comedy clubs, LaCroix added Toastmasters to his circuit. There, at the nonproﬁt organization that helps its members hone their public-speaking skills, he not only tried to make people laugh, but he shared with them the lessons he’d picked up along the way about comedy. To his surprise, his fellow Toastmasters shared his desire to master humor. They even laughed as they learned. Before long, Toastmaster members were inviting him to be the keynote speaker at their conferences. By accident, he found his calling. LaCroix was happy to trade in standup “haha” Continued on Page 78 September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 77
Arts & Entertainment
Stage Humor coach Continued from Page 77
Artists in the OES tents: (clockwise from top left) Suki Singharath, Michael Monson & Tony Flanagan, Randy Jones, Crystal DiPietro.
The First Friday of Fall What you must see on the most artistic day of the month By Andreas Hale If you’ve been skipping downtown’s monthly art festival, First Friday, because of the summer heat, then Oct. 1 is the time to go. Not only is the event celebrating its eighth anniversary, but the weather will be perfect. Of the 20 blocks of entertainment, food and art, here’s what you should check out. Local artist extraordinaire Jennifer Henry curates the First Friday Outdoor Exhibition Spaces (OES) and showcases 18 artists; that’s three times the normal number. Gaia Flowers, Gifts and Art (4 E. Charleston Blvd.) will present abstract paintings and painted furniture from Leslie Rowland (HabitatDesignStudios. com) and stained-glass works by Las Vegas’ own award-winning glass artist Christine Curtis Wilson (ChristinesGlass.com). D’Arte Designs POP-UP Gallery (DArteDesigns. com), in association with William Powell Interiors, will showcase 78
Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
a sculpture exhibit by the name of “Metallikos” featuring new works by Gregory Allred, Chris O’Rourke and Scott Sandoval at Holsum Design Center (241 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 140). Over at 1211 S. Main St., Retro Vegas (retro-vegas.com) will be displaying the photography of Las Vegas resident Todd Duane Miller (ToddMiller.zenfolio.com) whose obsession with old and dusty car lots has translated into some great photos. Local favorite Biscuit Street Preacher’s show, From Zenith to Nadir, opens at Trifecta Gallery (TrifectaGallery.com) in the Arts Factory. And while you’re in the building, make sure to check out P. Detta’s exhibit of twisted-mundane photos, Alterna-Life, at Laura Henkel Fine Art gallery (LauraHenkel.com). For information, First Friday Trolley route and a map, go to FirstFriday-lasvegas.org.
More outSide Art Boulder City’s 48th annual Art in the Park festival features more than 300 arts and crafts vendors, live music and demonstrations to beneﬁt the Boulder City Hospital Foundation. Although the population of Boulder City is less than 20,000, the event draws nearly 100,000 attendees. Ribbons will be awarded in Fine Art, Fine Craft and Traditional Craft categories, as well as an overall “Best in Show.” This year’s featured artist is former Boulder City resident Patricia Ragone. Her watercolor painting of a rooster in pink tennis shoes, “Yippee,” will be on display. The image celebrates her friend Shelley Cranley’s victory over breast cancer. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 2-3, Wilbur, Bicentennial and Escalante parks, Boulder City, free.
moments for corporate “aha” moments. Teaching sales forces, CEOs, public speakers and others about humor actually turned out to be a better business than trying to be funny. Before he knew it, he was making $2,500 and up per speaking gig. He teamed up with another speaker in Boston and they began hosting humor boot camps, storytelling boot camps, public speaking boot camps and more. Along the way, he became a kind of Toastmaster supreme: In 2001, he competed against 25,000 people in 14 countries to win Toastmasters International’s World Championship of Public Speaking. He quit his job at Bose and started traveling around the world to conventions. That led him to Las Vegas, where, about a year ago he decided to stay. Here he has easy access to convention trafﬁc, and he gets all the stage time he wants—so much that even the license plate on his silver Mercedes SLK says “STGTIME.” But what’s most important to him is that during that stage time, his audience is gracious. Teaching is a performance in itself and people actually thank him after his shows. It’s a big change from the comedy circuit. “People were glad when I got off the stage because I was so bad,” he says. Now, LaCroix is the one getting the last laugh. Join Darren LaCroix at 6 p.m. (doors open at 5) Sept. 30 at the Venue (near the Silverton Casino), 7850 S. Dean Martin Dr., Suite 503, for a free humor seminar in concert with the launch of his new DVD, Get More Laughs By Next Week. To learn more about LaCroix and his upcoming humor boot camps, visit darrenlacroix.com.
HuMor tipS FroM tHe pro 1. Get over your shyness. It’s not about you! It’s about the audience. 2. recycle stories. Take the stories you tell friends and family and perfect them. Those will be your best material. 3. illustrate humor through photos. If you’re doing a presentation, nothing breaks it up like a funny picture. Always be on the lookout for something you could use. 4. Humor stems from tragedy. Your most embarrassing moments are comedy gold. 5. Comedy is in the eye of the beholder. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to think the same thing is funny.
Arts & Entertainment
Sites to see By Geoff Carter SO BOARD (downtimetown.com) Here in Seattle, the geeks, dorks, nerds and Microsofties have gone completely wackadoo for a board game called “The Settlers of Catan.” You’ve never seen anything like it, unless you’ve logged some time under a Dungeon Master. Parties will actually stop dead, or split in two, as large numbers of believers gather round a table and play a board game while the Xbox sits forlornly in a corner, remembering when that Metallicathemed “Rock Band” made it the most popular geek implement in the house. DowntimeTown is a website that caters to this New Geekery pretty much wholesale—it features critical reviews of board games old and new, previews of upcoming games and loving close-ups of “Magic: The Gathering” cards. (There’s a tiny section on video games, but it seems mostly neglected.) I don’t know if this site will ever get me to sit down at a table where “Settlers” is being played, but it’s nice to read an acknowledgement of the gaming traditions that reigned supreme in the thousands of years before the Wii.
NO FAIR (lostworldsfairs.com) I would rather be at a World’s Fair right now. There’s a stunningly beautiful expo taking place in Shanghai through Oct. 31, and I truly wish I could be there to see it. Taking it further, I wish I could have seen Expo 2000 in Hanover, the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and the Atlantis World’s Fair of 1962. The pressurized greatness of the latter is only hinted at in “Lost World’s Fairs,” a tribute site for Atlantis and two other World’s Fairs—El Dorado 1924 and The Moon 2040—whose nonexistence doesn’t change the fact that all are about hope. Even when stripped of an actual bricksand-mortar fairground, the World’s Fair concept has just about the same impact: In the end, World’s Fairs are all about imagined possibilities, our hopes for the future and some really cool fonts. While the only place that the El Dorado, Atlantis and Moon Expos will ever exist is on this website, you hardly mind because the graphics and fonts are tip-top. I wonder what fonts will be like ... in the future?
DOT CALM (dotty-dots.appspot.com) This one takes me back. Dotty Dots reminds me of the early days of the Interwebs, back when pages that showed off a certain kind of animation were a dime a dozen. This simple Web app does two things: It allows you to write out a phrase in multicolored dots, and to scatter and swirl those dots by mousing over them. It’s so basic that it’s kind of brilliant, and damn if it isn’t big fun to play with for minutes at a time.
Journalist Geoff Carter is a Las Vegas native living in Seattle, land of virtual titillation. 80 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Arts & Entertainment
Layers of Sweet Sound Inside the mini jam-band mind-set of local favorite the Jeremy Cornwell Project By Aly DeYoung Do you know a band that plays Fresh Prince of Bel-Air lyrics to the tune of Sweet Home Alabama? Well, you do now. The Jeremy Cornwell Project, an eclectic rock duo comprised of Michael Quarantello on keyboard and Jeremy Cornwell on guitar, is known for their mixture of Jeremy Cornwell’s ﬁrst Vegas gig was at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. cover songs, original material and a cer“If in 10 years I’m still doing what I’m doing, I’ll be tain level of quirkiness. Their sound is rhythmic, energetic happy,” Cornwell says. “But, what is success? It’s a value and catchy, but in a laid-back jam band type of way. judgment. We could always buy a minivan and throw our Watching them play in off-Strip lounges around town is stuff in there.” similar to admiring a perfectly made layer cake. They build “Is that what we’ll take to the moon?” Quarantello asks. their songs from the ground up, recording musical phrases as Citing “rock, jazz and funk inﬂuences,” the duo enjoys they play them, and then recording and playing new phrases on top of that, creating the sound of a much larger band. For sitting down and playing their instruments to see what comes out. The guys have real passion, which is apparexample, when Cornwell plays one of their original songs, ent on their joyfully resonant album, Blue Bonnet & the Senses Too, he establishes the rhythm with a guitar riff. Then Louisiana Mockingbird. he taps a new rhythm on the side of his guitar alongside that “You have to take success not as a deﬁnitive,” Quaranriff. Then he does a soft beat box to that combined sound. tello says. “If I’m making a living and getting to play my And then another one. He adds a little guitar ﬁligree, like instrument, I try not to complain.” loop-de-loop icing on a cake. And ﬁnally, Cornwell bursts As much as they like playing their own music, the into song, playing the melody alongside Quarantello’s piano. Jeremy Cornwell Project gets many requests for covers, They use this style on some of their covers as well, imparting which comes with the territory of performing in casinos. their personal imprint on songs everybody has heard before. For the most part, though, they don’t mind doing their Cornwell and Quarantello talk freely—and playfully— own version of what’s already been done. about their musical ambitions and the simplicity of what “We had to put our foot down on some things,” makes them happy. Cornwell says. “Journey … and Poison.” “My goal is to retire off of playing my music,” a freespirited Cornwell says. “I’d like to be Jimi Hendrix’s lead guitarist.” QuaranThe Jeremy Cornwell Project has two regular gigs: 6-10 p.m. tello jokes, continuing their banter. “We’d like to play a Thursdays at Twin Creeks Lounge at Silverton hotel-casino. show on the moon at some point.” 8-11 p.m. Fridays in the Lobby Bar at Green Valley Ranch.
Ratatat, the band-less rock band By Jarret Keene
Electronic psyche-rock duo Ratatat’s Sept. 22 show at House of Blues was an experience not unlike existing for 90 minutes inside a mindwarping, booty-shaking Rock Band videogame session performed by two guys who ﬂat-out love playing guitar. You wouldn’t know it from their faces, as Mike Stroud and Evan Mast were obscured in shadow, smeared with video-projection light and disintegrated by heavy strobes. But their guitars, employed in lieu of traditional pop vocals, ungently wept overEvan Mast and Mike Stroud. driven, melodic tears. Ratatat’s set list tilted in favor of tracks from the just-released LP4 (for instance, the lurching, laser-blasting “Bilar”), but there was also a healthy dose of earlier material for which the band-less band is known, such as the sinister, disco-ballbusting “Shempi,” complete with mutilated remixing of ABBA music videos. Speaking of visuals, the crowd writhed in delicious tandem to every song, as images of cut-up kung-fu ﬂicks, a sunglasses-wearing Baroque string duo and distorted stock videos played eerily onstage. Ratatat comprehends that the best rock shows sometimes require pushing the band to the background. ★★★★✩ 82 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Fine food and phat rhymes By Jarret Keene For Three Square Food Bank’s annual beneﬁt event, DISH, the nonproﬁt organization has recruited grunge-era California alt-rock band Smash Mouth to play Sept. 30 at the Palms Pool and Bungalows. The event, which goes from 6:30 to 10 p.m., begins with cocktails and food prepared by 20 of the valley’s top restaurants. Everyone who’s anyone in Vegas will be attending. Leave the jeans at home and wear nice shoes, because after schmoozing, you’ll be ushered into Rain for the concert. If you’ve been living in a soundproof cave, Smash Mouth is responsible for rocked-up, sunny megahits “Walkin’ on the Sun” and “All Star.” I’m not a fan of “fun” music, but this show’s for a good cause. Besides, who doesn’t like songs this infectious? DISH tickets cost $100 per person, with proceeds beneﬁting Three Square to help provide nutritious food to Southern Nevada seniors and families struggling with hunger. For more info or to buy tickets, visit ThreeSquare.org. After an evening of elevated cuisine and uptempo pop-rock, you’ll need to stabilize your mood with what will be one of the best underground hip-hop shows this year: Minneapolis’ Atmosphere and Columbus, Ohio’s Blueprint at House of Blues Oct. 1. I chatted with Blueprint—the perfect combination of rhyme-battling wordsmith and in-your-face narrative rapper—on the phone about his new material following last year’s Sign Language release. “The content this time is heavier,” he says. “In these new songs I’m rhyming about real serious shit. I’m also working on momentum. Live, the thing I’m trying to capture is, like, when you see a metal band putting ﬁve songs right up together, no space in between, and you’re left waiting to breathe. When they ﬁnally let up, you’re like ‘Whoa, what just happened?’” Blueprint has performed in Vegas before, most recently in March with Killah Priest at HOB. He admits being a little intimidated in the city where Tupac was taken out. “It just feels dangerous there,” he says. “Last couple times I’ve been there, I was worried about getting pulled aside and ‘pop!’” Blueprint’s in no hurry to exit the planet. “Three months ago, I stopped drinking, and all of my brain just came alive,” he says. “I want to work at the highest level for a long time, so I need to stay healthy, even in Vegas.” Going to the Oct. 1-2 concert extravaganza, Matador at 21 at The Palms? Which band are you most excited about seeing there? Got extra tickets? Wanna give ’em to me? Please? Pretty please? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Arts & Entertainment
By Jarret Keene
Tim Kasher The Game of Monogamy (Saddle Creek) After a symphonic overture with harp and timpani, the ﬁrst words out of Cursive frontman Tim Kasher’s mouth are: “I am a grown man/How did this happen?/ People are gonna start expecting more from me.” It’s a sincere statement that Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo has never considered. The two released albums in the same month, and Cuomo and Kasher are Bizarro versions of the other: The latter takes risks, earns acclaim, while the former is a successful jock-rocker. Monogamy is another ambitious, bruisingly confessional record in Kasher’s discography. This time, arrangements are wildly sophisticated. Punchy horns, stuttering handclaps, background female vocals pop in and out, driving home a conceit: The endless Rubik’s Cubing of a relationship kills passion. “Cold Love” and “No Fireworks” are lyrically astute folk rockers with post-punk edges. Only the draining, guilt-laden “Bad, Bad Dreams,” in which Kasher screams “I gotta see a priest!” makes you wonder if Cuomo was right to be private. ★★★✩✩
Grinderman Grinderman 2 (Anti) Realizing he was becoming a morbid piano man—a drinking existentialist’s Billy Joel—Bad Seeder Nick Cave unleashed his inner shit-throwing monkey with 2007’s eponymous Grinderman debut, a return to noisy form for the ex-Birthday Party frontman. With a second album, Cave elevates the discourse with trickier chord changes and varied rhythmic excursions. It’s the same darkly comedic psyche-garage attack he and Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos and Martyn Casey introduced before—only with better songs. In the Bo Diddley-meets-Iggy Pop “Worm Tamer,” Cave whips himself with a lover’s words: “Well, my baby calls me the Loch Ness Monster/Two great humps then I’m gone.” In the stomping “Heathen Child,” he channels libertarian paranoia: “You think your government will protect you/You are wrong.” But it’s the absurd seduction in “Kitchenette” (“What’s this husband of yours ever given you/ Oprah Winfrey on a plasma screen”) that captures Grinderman’s lusty ethos. ★★★★✩
A Crowd of Small Adventures A Decade in X-Rays (National SouthWestern Electronic Recordings) Goddamn it, where did all these incredible Vegas indie-rock acts come from? It’s a golden era, and we’d better enjoy it, courtesy of Kid Meets Cougar, Minor Suns, Hungry Cloud, Las Vegas Club, Mother McKenzie—and, of course, the best of the bunch, A Crowd of Small Adventures. Frontman/songwriter Jackson Wilcox possesses the standard, anxious indie alto, but his songcraft is epic and unique and deeply literate, particularly in the post-apocalyptic, desert-blasted “Bang Bang,” in which he boasts to a lover of “a plan that will get us out of here alive.” It’s easily the best WW III-survivalism pop tune ever. There’s also the gorgeous “Gemini,” shot through with haunting violinand-synth lines and bright and bubbly Telecaster licks. “Bone City,” a drinking beerguzzling anthem for the ghosts of Hoover Dam, sounds like Neutral Milk Hotel trapped in The Pogues’ distillery. In other words, this is ardent, thoughtful rock for anyone who appreciates eerie, compelling musicianship. ★★★★★ 84
Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Arts & Entertainment
Ryan Reynolds in Buried, which debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
escape Artist Ryan Reynolds is Buried alive in this ambitious suspense thriller By Rex Reed The ﬂickering ﬂame from a dying cigarette lighter illuminates the darkness and agonizing terror begins. Buried provides a solid answer to the query: “Can stud mufﬁn Ryan Reynolds carry a 90-minute movie all by himself?” This harrowing nail-biter about a man buried alive is one of the most terrifying movies ever made, and he’s the only person on the screen. Who knew he could be so riveting? Nothing this underrated actor has previously done measures up to the emotional diversity, focus and self-control required of him in a one-man exercise in underground suspense that Alfred Hitchcock would envy. He plays a civilian American truck driver delivering supplies in Iraq whose convoy is hijacked by insurgents. When he wakes up, he’s trapped in a wooden cofﬁn six feet below the ground, covered with sweat and dirt, equipped only with a Zippo and a cell phone with a weak signal. He can’t go 86 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
anywhere. He can barely move. For the entirety of the movie, neither can we. For the duration, frustration morphs into paralyzing primal fear as he tries to reach his wife in Michigan with batteries running low, the darkness interrupted by voices of various telephone operators, hostage negotiators and terrorist captors demanding ransom money from the U.S. Embassy with a 90-minute deadline before they leave him to die. Never has the phone company’s annoying recorded message “We are sorry— your number cannot be completed as dialed” sounded so maddening. A tiny ﬂask of water, a few oxygen pills, and a wonky ﬂashlight help ward off despair and insanity, but then—brace yourself!—it gets worse. It’s amazing how much action can be squeezed into no more than eight feet of playing space lit only by an intermittent glow. But Reynolds is capable of an awesome spectrum
of facial mood shifts, and he uses them all with skill, enhanced by Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés’ sundry array of light sources and an array of diverse camera angles by cinematographer Eduard Grau (who also shot Tom Ford’s A Single Man) that add visual tension to the ﬁlm’s otherwise stationary set-up. Reynolds disappears into the role with ferocious strength, almost every shot in a detailed close-up. The military politics and corporate cruelty in Chris Sparling’s screenplay border on inhuman incredulity, but for an actor, the star is beyond reproach. Reynolds could not ﬁnd a more challenging or physically demanding role if he was playing Hamlet. While he struggles to free himself from a nightmarish prison—and you wait to see if he survives—the effect is genuinely creepy, but do not even think of seeing Buried if you suffer from claustrophobia.
Arts & Entertainment
More Fun Than Facebook The Social Network is a tech-wave feast By Cole Smithey Tech geeks won’t be able to prevent themselves from outbursts of clapping, laughter and bladder leaks while watching The Social Network, David Fincher’s fast-paced drama about the meteoric rise of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg has, of course, famously derided this quasi-biopic as ﬁction. And although he is portrayed as an acid-tongued, fast-twitch cyberpunk who wilts every lesser intellect around him, perhaps he needn’t worry about his image. Napster co-founder Sean Parker (played dynamically by Justin Timberlake) comes across as a much bigger genius-idiot-douchebag than Zuckerberg (a better-than-expected Jesse Eisenberg). The movie kicks off with Zuckerberg on a stormy date with girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara). The future mogul confronts, condescends, accuses and changes subjects like an ADD/OCD speed junkie on a tear. After Erica hands him his walking papers Zuckerberg rushes back to his Harvard dorm room to get drunk and blog about Erica’s intimate failings. Then he cobbles together a which-girl-is-hotter comparison website called “Facemash” that invites every frathouse guy to humiliate their female classmates by rating their attractiveness (or lack thereof). One hour and 20,000 viewers later, the site crashes Harvard’s mainframe—and turns Zuckerberg into a big man on campus. Soon rowing crew twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss approach the genius coder to build them a Harvard social network site. Zuckerberg agrees, only to blow them off. Instead, he cooks up his own soon-to-be-spectacularly-popular networking site with the help of best friend and newly appointed CFO Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garﬁeld). Aaron Sorkin’s dazzling script toggles between law ofﬁce depositions of Zuckerberg and the litigious Winklevoss twins (who are out to sue him), and ﬂashback
sequences that tell the backstory. Eduardo is also there, demanding $600 million in punitive damages. Context and tone are everything in this pitch-perfect drama, anchored in the mishandled friendship between the cold-blooded Zuckerberg and the disrespected Eduardo. The Social Network arrives at an unprecedented time in modern history when the inertia of the Internet zeitgeist can be encapsulated in one word: Facebook. The ﬁlmmakers wisely stay away from explicating how people use Facebook or in any nitty-gritty details about the application itself. Fincher and Sorkin utilize a compressed communicative shorthand to tap into a coded tempo of frenzied energy that people use when engaging on Facebook. These are characters that think and talk fast. Very fast. The way the ﬁlmmakers and actors grab the audience by the lapels and pull you up to speed with them, is more than a little arresting. It’s telling that we’re introduced to Napster co-founder Sean in the bed of an impossibly nubile Stanford college student in the morning after a night of sex. She is as shocked to discover his afﬂuent identity as he is to be introduced to Facebook for the ﬁrst time. He immediately recognizes the “coolness” element that makes Facebook a much sexier medium than sites such as Craigslist. Zuckerberg’s execution of “taking the entire social experience of college and putting it all online” is an iceberg tip that the narcissistic and “paranoid” Sean appreciates as just the thing to turbo charge the economically ﬂagging silicon valley region of Palo Alto.
Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg.
Some critics have fallen all over themselves comparing The Social Network to Citizen Kane for their thematic similarities of emotionally slighted young media mavericks who took advantage of the people closest to them to accomplish their goals. But it’s a quicksand trap to make such a comparison. Critics panned Citizen Kane when it came out as a “labyrinth without a center.” But it’s clear that the economic center that has made Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire in history is a young-minded public of Internet users hungry for attention and safe interaction. There’s an undercurrent of sadness to the ﬁlm’s scale and techo-laced musical score that recognizes its subject’s frat boy logic and sorority girl gamesmanship. The tragedy here isn’t personal; it’s public.
the Social Network (r)
By Cole Smithey and Sharon Kehoe
Legend of the Guardians: the owls of Ga hoole (PG) ★★✩✩✩
Lush animation can’t disguise a tonedeaf narrative. The fumbled story is about two young owl brothers (Soren and Kludd) who are kidnapped by a Nazi-like army of owls. The stunning visuals are so at odds with the poorly executed tale that the ﬁlm is rendered nonsensical. As for the ﬁlm’s timid 3-D effects, once again ﬁlmmakers are afraid to “break the window.”
88 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
You will Meet a tall Dark Stranger (r) ★★✩✩✩
Woody Allen’s study of inﬁdelity is a roulette-wheel of vaguely unlikable Londoners. Roy ( Josh Brolin) ﬂirts with Dia (Frieda Pinto), while his wife, Sally (Naomi Watts), works for a charming Antonio Banderas. Sally’s mom (Gemma Jones) has split with her husband (Anthony Hopkins), who loves a prostitute. Plot treads dangle like spaghetti, and these characters merit little empathy.
easy A (PG-13)
Emma Stone (Zombieland) plays high school student Olive who goes along with her best friend’s incorrect assumption that she hooked up with an older guy. When Olive gets a reputation for being the school slut, she agrees to pretend to have sex with every boy in school exchange for cash and coupons. Stone’s sustained sardonic tone and unconventional beauty makes Easy A a provocative teen comedy.
You Again (PG)
A defective formula comedy, You Again is a complete ﬂop. Kristen Bell falls ﬂat as Marnie, a PR exec who discovers that the cheerleader who bullied her in high school—J.J. (Odette Yustman)—is about to marry her brother ( James Wolk). The fact that J.J.’s mother is a former high school rival of Marni’s mom ( Jamie Lee Curtis) promises laughs that never come. You Again is an embarrassment to everyone involved.
Arts & Entertainment
Fun With Numbers Freakonomics is a best-selling book turned documentary By Cole Smithey A compilation of four mini-documentary chapters, respectively directed by Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney, Eugene Jarecki, and the duo of Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, Freakonomics is a mixed-bag adaptation of the popular book by Stephen J. Dubner and economist Steven D. Levitt. The charismatic authors supply humorous commentary spiced with personal anecdotes about their data-supported topics. Jarecki helms the segment, “It’s (Not Always) a Wonderful Life.” Its link of the drop in crime during the early ’90s to the legalization of abortion in 1973 is fascinating. Fewer unwanted children, in other words, means fewer criminals. Unfortunately, Morgan Spurlock drops the ball with his scattershot installment about the signiﬁcance of baby names. Titled “A Roshanda by Any Other Name,” his segment looks at how your name helps determine your potential future economic achievement (or lack thereof). Most gripping is Alex Gibney’s “Pure Corruption,” about cheating as viewed through the scandal-riddled prism of Japanese sumo wrestling. The premise that “a thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for”
carries all sorts of ramiﬁcations for our corruption-saturated society. Finally, the Grady/Ewing-directed story “Can a 9th Grader Be Bribed to Succeed” feels forced. The two follow a pair of boys in a Chicago high school where $50 cash incentives are doled out for every grade they make above a “C.” Director Seth Gordon (King of Kong) edits the ﬁlm together into a fairly cohesive whole. While not as thoroughly informative or entertaining as it could have been under the control of a single director, Freakonomics is a nonetheless a thought-provoking documentary that leaves you wanting more.
A pie graph speculates about the drop in crime.
Alpha and Omega (PG)
A gentle courtship guide for youngsters, this is a free-spirited animated comedy with acrobatic chase sequences. The cast of voice actors—including the late Dennis Hopper, Justin Long and Hayden Panettiere—give lively performances. This ﬁlm strikes a balance between goofy adventure and sincere emotion. But the ﬁlmmakers play it too safe, so the 3-D effects go largely unnoticed. 90
Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
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Dining The New Republic The kitchen and bar serve some interesting and tasty American fare, but overall it’s no Fado
By Max Jacobson What makes a restaurant feel that it has to create a menu that is all things for all people? Chefs, like any craftsmen, have both strengths and weaknesses. Restaurants are better when they stick to what they know. Chef Josh Green of the new Republic Kitchen & Bar clearly has talent. His refreshing spin on an American comfort food menu is good, but there are holes, some gaping.
Photo by Anthony Mair
Continued on Page 94
TV Dinners have never been as tastefully presented.
September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 93
Republic, in a bustling strip mall on Eastern Avenue south of Interstate 215, recently replaced the Irish pub Fado, a national chain whose food I like. And I’m evidently not alone; some of the customers I’ve seen wandering in are still looking for the bangers, corned beef and whiskey bread pudding that the old place used to serve. The space has been totally redone. The theme is a relaxed restaurant and bar concept, where locals can hang out and eat food they grew up with. Where there were once Celtic eaves and a series of small rooms, there is a large dining area with a white brick wall and a large bar, furnished with banquettes and hard wooden chairs. The lounge is now upstairs, a nice place for kicking back with a game of darts, like at, hey, an Irish pub. Green impressed me on my ﬁrst meal with terriﬁc Pigs in the Blanket—cocktail franks in pastry jackets with cheddar fondue and good whole-grain mustard on the side. I also loved the crust on my chicken potpie as well, but I could have used a microscope to ﬁnd the chicken inside. Oddly, a whole chicken, looking rather grand on a large platter served with a choice of two sides, may be the best deal on the menu, at $24. I loved the moist meat and crisp skin. The sides I chose—broccoli tossed in garlic and oil, and
creamed corn that was just too creamy—were fair. At lunch, I was more impressed by a Kobe-beef sloppy joe. I’d put it up against any sloppy joe in the city. And when I tried the lobster potpie, I didn’t have to search for the lobster meat. There was plenty of it. I ran into a few problems at Sunday brunch, in spite of chicken and wafﬂes that I’d call world-class and delicious homemade sticky buns. I sent back my omelet, which I had ordered easy, because it was as rubbery as a squash ball. When it came back, it was less so, but still far from easy. And the Monte Cristo needed even more work. I was expecting egg-battered French toast ﬁlled with ham, turkey and Gruyère, dusted with powdered sugar. Instead, I got a greasy sandwich with no batter. And the traditional strawberry jam on the side was missing, as well. But Green makes some excellent pancakes. In addition to the normal pancakes, which are yeasty, ﬂuffy and available for lunch and dinner, toothsome lemon ricotta pancakes are addictively good.
If you have the appetite, poached egg on pastrami hash is a hoot, though not on anyone’s healthful eating regimen. And the TV Dinners (from the dinner menu) are interesting, served in little trays. I’d take the meatloaf over the turkey— the dry stufﬁng in the turkey tray can’t even compete with Stove Top. There are nice cupcakes and an excellent cookie plate for dessert. Oh, and yes, they do serve Guinness, plus more than 20 other brews on tap. Republic Kitchen & Bar, 9470 S. Eastern Ave., 463-3500. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays, dinner 5:3010 p.m. daily. Brunch 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat-Sun. Dinner for two, $45-$75.
New District dining, a big gourmet effort and a Panevino treat By Max Jacobson This has been a busy week for the Vegas food world. Presidio at the District at Green Valley Ranch is the new kid on the block, having replaced Kennedy’s. The concept belongs to the same folks behind the popular Henderson mall’s pizza parlor, Balboa, among them Pete Kaufman, a longtime casino host, and entrepreneur Jeffrey Fine. Picture a brick cellar on the ground level, dominated by a glossy black U-shaped bar in the dead center. The menu is eclectic: cheese fondue; ﬂatbreads such as pesto shrimp; chicken and beef satay; entrées such as a Cajun pork chop; even mud pie for dessert. Not far off, at 2275 E. Sunset Road, another entrepreneur, 25-year-old Brett Ottolenghi, has opened a gourmet food store, Artisanal Foods. If you read Dana Goodyear’s proﬁle of him, “The Trufﬂe Kid,” in the Aug. 16 issue of The New Yorker, then you may know him already. It has to be the most ambitious gourmet food project of the year. The store is stocked with imported meats such as Pata Negra ham from Spain, cheeses such as ﬂor, a pecorino from Sardinia, exotic caviars, Ecuadorean chocolate, aged balsamic vinegars, and many other hard-to-ﬁnd products. “This is for chefs who want to cook at home, and any other serious food people,” Ottolenghi says. Call 436-4252, or visit ArtisanalFoods.com. The old master, Wolfgang Puck, was on hand to do a cooking demo for Grazie Club members on Sept. 16 in the Venetian’s showroom. In front of a packed house, he prepared a seafood Louie, risotto with matsutake mushrooms, and raspberry soufﬂé, along with a team of his chefs from Postrio, including pastry chef Melissa Zahnter. Puck, always entertaining and a tad raunchy, took the recipes from his cookbook, Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy (Thomas Nelson, 2004). As he did his customary handshakes after the demo, I sneaked onto the stage to taste everything, and the dishes were all terriﬁc. Life is hell. Lastly, I had a wonderful dinner at Panevino—the hangar-like restaurant just south of McCarran International Airport’s runways (246 Via Antonio, 2222400)—prepared by chef Mario Andreoni from Italy’s Trentino Alto Adige, just south of Austria. This man can cook. Tagliatelle with lamb ragù, risotto with sautéed clams, pancetta and peas, wild-caught Alaskan halibut with caramelized fennel in Pernod sauce, braised saddle of rabbit with artichokes, Kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes on mascarpone cheese polenta and grilled lamb Porterhouse with asparagus tempura were highlights. Dessert was a homemade prickly pear semifreddo. Hungry, yet? Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at FoodWineKitchen.com.
Republic (above) abolished Fado’s look and instituted glorious wafﬂes (top). 94
Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Photography by Anthony Mair
Republic Continued from Page 93
Dishing Got a favorite dish? Tell us at email@example.com.
Finger Lickin’ Buffalo-Style Wings at Fix
These tender tulip-cut wings are crispy and tossed in Fix’s own Buffalo sauce. You can dip them in creamy Point Reyes blue cheese and calm your taste buds with a mason jar of crisp carrots and celery sticks. $16, in Bellagio, 693-7223.
96 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
American Kobe Rib Cap at Strip Steak
Chef Michael Mina’s modern steakhouse menu stars this tasty eight-ounce cut of meat. Freshly seared on the wood-burning grill, every tender cut of the premium meat is infused with unbelievable ﬂavor and a subtle smokiness. $65, in Mandalay Bay, 632-7414.
The Bobbie Sandwich at Capriotti’s
Ready for a taste of Thanksgiving? You can get one anytime at this chain sandwich shop. The Bobbie is a splurge of stufﬁng, cranberry sauce, turkey and mayo on a fresh-baked roll. It’s a fulﬁlling combination for which regulars have long been giving thanks. $6.50, multiple locations, Capriottis.com.
Rosca at Sushi Samba
After dining with friends on Brazilian, Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, share this dessert with the whole table: decadent homemade doughnuts with a hazelnut chocolate sauce for dipping. It’s a real crowd-pleaser. $9, in the Palazzo, 607-0700.
Seven Things Brian Kenny Can’t Live Without A grill. “A house is not a home without one.” The mountains. “Clean air, no cell coverage—what more could you ask for?” His morning workout. “All great days begin this way.” Toasted wheat bagel with peanut butter. “The start of almost every morning. Then, there’s bacon …” Tropical smoothies with lime and three Splendas. “Sweet and tart! That’s how I like it.” Hope and faith. “Hope for the best; faith it works out in the end.”
The Five-Diamond General
Sunglasses. “Wow! It’s not only hot, it’s bright!”
Brian Kenny aims to please, and as executive chef of room service for Wynn/Encore, that’s a tall order
Chef Brian Kenny doesn’t see the Wynn and Encore as a pair of hotel-casinos; to him, they’re one big, sprawling, 4,700-room restaurant. It takes a small, efﬁcient army to cater to thousands of guests’ demands 24/7, and as executive chef of room service, Kenny is its peerless leader. His command center is split between two nearly identical kitchens, each operating inconspicuously below the properties’ casino ﬂoors. He calls his work spaces “the Cadillacs of roomservice kitchens,” and for good reason: They’re massive—5,200 and 6,200 square feet, respectively—and contain both the ingredients and manpower to deliver culinary perfection, along with the occasional culinary miracle. The two AAA Five Diamond resorts share a 20-page, 140-item room service menu that runs from domestic favorites 98 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
to exotic ﬂavors. Plus, if you want something not listed, odds are they’ll make it. “That’s what we’re here for,” the chef says. “What they want, they get.“ And they’ll get it in less than 45 minutes, which is the AAA standard for room-service excellence. (Kenny’s staff actually shoots for 30 minutes, and he has their clock set ﬁve minutes ahead of time to keep them on time and on their toes.) It helps that in-room dining here has an impressive collection of neighbors to call upon if they need something. Whether it’s SW Steakhouse for fresh scallops or Sinatra for angel hair pasta, a vast selection of high-quality ingredients is just a quick dash across the casino. Still, there are a few things that can’t be found on-site, and when this happens, Kenny has to either ﬂy it in or have his staff make it themselves. “If someone wants fresh yogurt,”
he says, “we’ll go out, buy the yogurt machine and make them fresh yogurt.” And yes, he has. “I’ve blended an omelet in orange juice,” he says. Apparently pureed ham, cheese, eggs and OJ tastes a lot better than it sounds. “It was pretty good!” he says. “I was shocked.” The average Wynn/Encore guest orders 1.6 meals from room service every day, which translates to about 700 orders on a slow day, rising up to 3,000 orders during peak times. Weekends are always busy, with 1,500 orders on a typical Sunday. Last New Year’s weekend, in-room dining did $312,000 in sales. Sometimes those sales come in big chunks. His staff has prepared $1,000 breakfasts of ultra-high-grade, omi beef (price: $495 per 12-ounce steak, with side of Caesar salad extra). For one guest, they made French Brittany blue lobster
three times a day. “We charged her $250 a meal,” he says with a shrug. “That’s all she would eat.” Guests do get what they pay for with inroom service, Kenny says. “Some people think it’s highway robbery, but this is a very expensive machine to operate.” He cites a recent request—a New York strip steak, lobster and caviar-infused omelet—as an example of the valuefor-top-dollar. While the delicacy-laced concoction cost $80, he says, “It was so big you couldn’t fold the omelet over.” Similarly, a room service BLT sandwich costs $18, but Kenny insists it’s a relative bargain. “There is half a pound of bacon on my BLT,” he says. “Every time I go out and I want to have a BLT, there’s never enough bacon on it, so we made a monster BLT. Sure, I charge $18 for it, but if you can ﬁnish that sandwich, wow.”
Photo by Anthony Mair
By Melissa Arseniuk
The artichoke toasts at Fireﬂy.
The Unsung Center
Paradise Road offers the full gamut of dining spots, and you can even walk it By T.R. Witcher Paradise is the great in-between space in Las Vegas. Linking the airport, UNLV, the convention center and the Hughes Center, it stands in the center of town and yet remains a step or two outside the spotlight. A collection of hotels, condos and ofﬁce towers, it also has one of our most diverse collections of restaurants. Start with Fireﬂy (3900 Paradise Road), where the vibe is effortlessly cool and the selections are endless, from bacon-wrapped stuffed dates to potent sangrias. The view from the patio includes a towering grove of palms shielding the handsome Wells Fargo building. Up and down the street you’ll ﬁnd cuisine from nine countries and ﬁve continents. In the same strip mall as Fireﬂy, Satay serves a variety of Asian cuisines in its ﬂagstone-lined dining room (it’s also home to the Chicks Wafﬂes & Burgers’ breakfast menu). At the back of the Havana Cigar Shop is a great little bar that’s perfect for a discreet rendezvous, but if you need a more festive spot, there’s live belly dancing at Marrakech, a Moroccan eatery. Paradise is also steak-house central: Heavyweight chains such as Morton’s (400 E. Flamingo Road), Del Frisco’s (3925 Paradise) and Ruth’s Chris are clustered within walking distance. Other upscale chains grace the intersection of Paradise and Flamingo roads, including McCormick & Schmick’s (335 Hughes Center), which has reliable seafood and a sweet little happy hour in the bar/patio, and Gordon Biersch
(3987 Paradise), which operates a sleek outpost. But just as you’re about to dismiss this stretch as Boca Park Central, a gritty strip mall houses the hearty Indian buffet at Gandhi (4080 Paradise). Near Harmon Avenue sits the renovated Hard Rock, where Ago serves chic Italian in an elegant room, and the Mexican fare at the Pink Taco is raucously tasty. Across the street, in a small strip center (4080 Paradise), you’ll ﬁnd classic cheese steaks at Capriotti’s, upscale Indian at Origin India and the legendary osso buco at Ferraro’s. The stout Hofbräuhaus (4510 Paradise) is the road’s great southern bookend, the last bit of urbanity before the road makes its journey to the airport. Grab a seat, festival-style and dig into sausages, schnitzel and giant steins of superb beer, while tubas play German folk tunes. If you’re lucky you might catch the lederhosen-clad waitresses administering an ass whooping with a paddle to (one hopes) a tourist. Las Vegas is starved for what we might call “classic” urbanism. Downtown hits the spot in ﬁts and starts; the Strip is impressive but sometimes too much to handle; and the great commercial arteries—Sahara, Charleston and Flamingo—are wide and uninviting. Paradise may not be the city we dream of, but it’s the city as it is: multifaceted, jumbled, unplanned, occasionally walkable and unexpectedly satisfying. September 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 99
To Hell You ride
Telluride at sunset and during the Blues & Brews Fest (below).
Beyond a wealth of skiing, this Colorado town offers a taste of the true West By James P. Reza
100 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
can leave something, you can take something, and by doing so help the universe retain its karmic balance. Inexplicably, adding a ski run allowed Telluride to survive while remaining true to itself. Despite what some would call the commercial ruination of ski towns like Aspen, Telluride has, for the most part, been able to maintain its authenticity. That’s likely because an entirely separate resort area, Mountain Village, was built on the other side of Gold Hill. From Telluride, this fancy enclave of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops is reachable only by enclosed gondola (free, 24 hours a day) or a 30-minute drive, thereby isolating such modern development from the old town. The split nature of Telluride is evident when driving from Las Vegas. And, much like Las Vegas, everyone, it seems, comes to Telluride to escape. In recent years, the town saw an inﬂux of few free spirits who had left New Orleans running from Hurricane Katrina and never looked back. Sure, more folks who made their money elsewhere are owning the restaurants, but the hippies and ski bums still take your order, still vie for lift tickets during winter and concert tickets the rest of the time. Many of them will ﬁt you for ski boots during the day and pour your whiskey at night. Telluride, it seems, is a lifestyle choice for those who live there. Las Vegas—and Las Vegans—could stand to learn something from the balance they seem to have struck with their past, present and future. Telluride’s main street: Colorado Avenue.
If you go Getting there: Fly into Telluride Regional Airport, or take an amazing road trip, looping north through Moab, Utah, and down into Telluride, then south through the Four Corners and Flagstaff, Ariz., back to Vegas. Staying: It’s not cheap, but the Hotel Columbia (800-2019505) is recently remodeled and at the base of the free gondola to Mountain Village. Eating: Excelsior Café reminds us of Las Vegas’ legendary Jazzed Café: a comfortable wine and pasta spot in an old bank building (200 W. Colorado Ave.). For a lively scene, visit Honga’s Lotus Petal. Drinking: We love the historic bar at the base of the Sheridan Hotel (231 W. Colorado Ave.), perfect for bourbon and branch water. The adjoining Chop House is a classic for steaks. — J.P.R.
Main street and sunset photo by Whit Richardson
Las Vegas has been called the last great frontier town in America, but given the changes of the past 20 years, it hardly seems that way anymore. Enter Telluride, a Wild West enclave at the tip of what might be the longest dead-end road in America. And if it isn’t, it certainly feels that way. Bootstrapped into the bottom of a box canyon in Colorado’s southwest corner, Telluride is home to 2,500 hardy, freedomloving locals who have carved out a living by capitalizing on the town’s location at the base of the towering San Juan Mountains. Skiing and snow sports dominate Telluride from November through March; hiking, mountain biking and a full festival calendar—food, music and ﬁlm—rule the warmer months. Throughout the year, the spirit of Telluride seeps in, a variation of the frontier libertarianism (“I don’t care what you do as long as you don’t do it to me”) that once ruled the West. It’s the kind of place where modern troubadour Edward Sharpe plays the same festival as Lyle Lovett, and everybody loves it. It’s where the fungi-focused Shroom Fest just had its 30th installment, and where one of the town’s longest-running restaurants was a 1975 bakery and pizza joint called Baked In Telluride (wink, wink)—one of the ﬁrst eateries in the nation to focus on sustainable food. (Sadly, Baked burned to the ground in February, and plans to rebuild are tentative.) But Telluride wasn’t always this way. Much like Las Vegas, it has suffered cycles of boom and bust. Also like Las Vegas, the discovery of gold and silver fueled the ﬁrst boom in the mid-19th century. For 60 years, Telluride (whose name, folklore says, originates in the Gold Rush-era send-off “To hell you ride!”) was home to thousands of fortune seekers, many at the edge of lawlessness. The infamous Butch Cassidy is said to have launched his career here, hitting up the San Miguel National Bank and setting the stage for a string of brazen robberies that would become part of Western folklore. But by the mid-20th century, mining was tapped out and the boomtown had shrunk. With a main street of picturesque Gold Rush-era buildings, an Old West cemetery and a river running through it (the San Miguel), the remote Telluride might have become a prize stop on the ghost-town tours of Colorado if not for the effort of some industrious locals in the 1970s. Hoping to save their town by capitalizing on the rapid rise of snow skiing, a ski run was carved on the edge of Gold Hill. The area’s annual 170 inches of snow is little more than half that of Aspen, but Telluride’s Alpine terrain resulted in a chiseled run that more than makes up for that with difﬁculty. Telluride quickly became a must-visit spot for technical skiers looking to boost their Black Diamond experience—not the type who spend their time warming their feet in the lodge. With the fringe skiers came fringe folks to serve them. Hippies, ski bums and all manner of outsiders (re)discovered the little town on the edge of the world, and Telluride became the Alpine equivalent of the surf enclave. A sushi joint is within a block of a coffeehouse/bookstore selling fringe political material; a nice hotel room costs $200 a night, within sight of the town’s legendary Free Box, where you
SportS & LeiSure Fashion Fore-ward
Former UNLV golfer Seema Sadekar combines love of sport and style By Patrick Moulin Even from her earliest swings, Seema Sadekar never dressed in traditional golf attire. At 11, she attempted to play a round in cut-off jeans and a yellow tank top but was denied access to the course. Disappointed but still interested in the game, she learned to tolerate the boring polo shirts and khaki shorts her father made her wear. Now a professional on the Futures Tour, Sadekar, 25, is not only competing for a spot on the LPGA Tour, she’s moving fashion forward on the course. The former UNLV golfer is easy to spot during play with her gold leather golf bag, sparkly club covers and form-ﬁtting tops and sequined skirts. “I’ve always been into apparel,” she says. “I like to keep it cute and feminine and just stand out and be different out on the golf course. We don’t have many options when it comes to golf clothing. When you’re out there a lot of the girls are wearing the same outﬁts, and I never wanted to do that. I branch out and shop at random stores that people would buy clothes to go out in, and I wear them on the golf course.” Sadekar and her older sister, Nisha, a former golfer on the Futures Tour, have combined their loves to launch Las Vegas-based Minx Golf, which assists new and existing brands in developing golf-related fashions and accessories. “We’re trying to make golf attire a little more transitional,” Nisha says. “We want to create outﬁts that you can run errands in, play a couple holes and then go meet the ladies for a drink, all with a simple change of shoes.” The sisters left their native Toronto in their teens to hone their golf game at the IMG Leadbetter Golf Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where Seema earned AJGA All-America honorable mention honors. When it was time for her to select a university upon graduation in 2003, she chose UNLV and its blossoming women’s
golf program, which debuted just two years earlier. Sadekar wasted no time making her presence felt at UNLV as a freshman, helping to redesign the Rebels’ look on the course. The old uniforms were “these pleated khakis and tapered ankle black pants,” she says. “I was like, ‘If we’re going to be UNLV, we are going to be cool and wear short skirts and cool outﬁts.’” At UNLV, Sadekar was part of three straight Mountain West Conference championship teams, was named AllMWC in 2005-06 and set the conference scoring record with a round of 66 at the 2004 MWC Championships. After lettering for four years at UNLV, Sadekar turned pro in 2008 and joined the Canadian Women’s Tour, where she became the leading money winner that year. It was early into her pro career that Sadekar sought to create a look that would distinguish her during play. Searching the Internet, she found inspiration in a Christian Dior golf bag made of brown and gold leather but realized that there was no real fashion presence in golf. “I thought, let’s design our own golf bags instead of carrying the same bag as everyone else,” Sadekar says. “Your
golf bag is like a little purse; you gotta make it your own.” Nisha, having ended her pro golf career in 2004, shared her sister’s aspirations. “We took golf bags to the next level and turned them into accessories. We feel just like a purse or any other fashion move, it should represent you.” Besides being involved with Minx Golf, Seema is also an integral part of another Las Vegas-based venture, Play Golf Designs, started by Nisha. The company stages golf outings for high-rollers, corporations and charitable organizations, and provides professional female golfers for each event. Seema’s attractiveness and fashion sense landed her on Sports Illustrated’s list of the world’s hottest athletes, and she was a participant this year in the Golf Channel’s Big Break reality TV series. But despite all her outside interests, she remains focused on reaching her ultimate goal of earning her LPGA Tour card. “This year has been very overwhelming,” she says. “There’s been a lot going on in my life, but I don’t think that takes away from my biggest focus which is going out there and winning.”
102 Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
Six different sports will be represented at the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the M Resort on Oct. 1. This year’s class consists of men’s golfer Jeremy Anderson (1996-2000), men’s soccer player Daniel Barber (1989-92), softball player Julie Crandall (1995-98), football player Nick Garritano (1991-94), baseball player Ryan Ludwick (1997-99), men’s tennis coach Larry Easley (1992-
2003), the 1994 football team, the 1985 men’s soccer team and longtime donor Bob Mendenhall. Palms owner George Maloof, a former UNLV football player, will receive the inaugural Silver Rebel Award to honor his accomplishments following his UNLV athletic career. With the new inductees, the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame will grow to 105 members. Former student-athletes must
have completed their eligibility at least 10 years earlier to be selected, while coaches and administrators must have ceased working for the university for at least ﬁve years to be eligible. Tickets for the induction ceremony are $125 and can be reserved by calling 895-4753. For more information about the inductees or the ceremony, go to unlvrebels.com. – Sean DeFrank
Sadekar photo by Anthony Mair
Diverse group to be inducted into UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame
Going for Broke
Bad week has reinforcements warming up on the sideline By Matt Jacob Here’s how bad things are going for your resident football prognosticator: After last week’s 3-7 showing, I got an e-mail of thanks from President Obama, who was giddy about the fact there is someone in this country whose approval ratings are lower than his. That was followed by a text from Lindsay Lohan with her drug dealer’s contact info, “in case you need to numb the pain.” Hell, even UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck called to say, “Come on, dude. It’s not that hard to win a game!” But being a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, let me point out the positive: If you had gone against every one of my picks over the ﬁrst month of the football season, you’d have a 23-15 record and be up more than $1,600! Yep, that’s what you call reaching for a silver lining. But, in reality, my 3-7 performance cost me another $534 and dropped my bankroll to $3,651. On to this week’s picks, which come with a guarantee: If I lose again, I’m turning next week’s column over to guest pickers—and I’ll call in everyone from the mayor to my 9-year-old daughter. $330 (to win $300) on JAGUARS (+8½) vs. Colts: Let’s see, Jacksonville is coming off consecutive losses by the combined score of 66-16, with the only touchdown occurring on the ﬁnal play of a 38-13 setback at San Diego. Indianapolis is coming off back-to-back wins by the combined score of 65-27. Colts QB Peyton Manning has thrown for 1,013 yards with nine TDs and no picks. Jags QB David Garrard has passed for 448 yards with four TDs and ﬁve INTs. So, of course, I’m taking Jacksonville! Seriously, very little has gone according to logic so far this NFL season—just check the standings (and my wallet). So I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see Jacksonville give the Colts ﬁts here. As it is, this has been a very competitive divisional rivalry, with ﬁve straight meetings decided by a touchdown or less (the Colts swept last year’s series by a combined six points). Also, after playing in excessive heat at altitude in Denver, Indy hits the road again to play in muggy Jacksonville. $220 (to win $200) on GEORGIA TECH (-10) at Wake Forest: How
do you justify laying double digits on the road with a team that’s a) coming off an embarrassing 17-point loss as an 8-point home favorite, and b) ﬁelding a starting quarterback who is completing 32.6 percent of his passes for 79 yards per game? You focus on the opponent’s ﬂaws, of course! Well, Wake Forest has allowed 48, 68 and 31 points in its last three games, losing the latter two to Stanford and Florida State by a combined margin of 99-24. Georgia Tech (averaging 320.5 rushing yards per game) should run all over Wake Forest (allowing 175.8 rushing yards per game), and the Yellow Jackets have been outstanding the last three years when coming off a loss, going 9-1 straight-up and 8-1-1 against the spread. $110 (to win $100) on UNLV (+20½) vs. Nevada: When the Golden Nugget released odds for nearly 200 of this year’s marquee college football games, Nevada was installed as a 7-point favorite against the Rebels. Now the Wolf Pack are laying nearly three touchdowns? Granted, Nevada is better than most thought prior to the season and UNLV is worse, but that’s still an insane line move. Consider that in the last eight battles for the Fremont Cannon, the spread has ranged from 1½ to 6½ (and UNLV was favored in ﬁve of those contests). And keep in mind the Rebels are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 as a home underdog, including covering this exact number against Wisconsin in the opener (and Wisconsin is better than Nevada). Finally, there’s no doubt in my mind that Hauck has been preparing for this one since his ﬁrst day on the job. It’s UNLV’s most important game on the schedule. BEST OF THE REST (ALL $33 TO WIN $30): Georgia (-4) at Colorado; Alabama (-9) vs. Florida; Washington State (+27) at UCLA; Bills (+5½) vs. Jets; Rams (+1) vs. Seahawks; PanthersSaints OVER 45; Ravens-Steelers UNDER 34½. 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 30-October 6, 2010 Vegas Seven 103
First Friday’s founder discusses the ups and downs of establishing a home for the local arts scene By Elizabeth Sewell As the force behind First Friday, downtown’s monthly, arts-driven street fair, Cindy Funkhouser has created an arts haven in Las Vegas where many thought it could not be done. Funkhouser, who also owns the Funk House antique store downtown, was inspired by a similar event in Portland, Ore. The Oct. 1 First Friday will mark the eighth anniversary of the festival, which has survived its share of problems, from the crumbling economy to Funkhouser’s own battle with cancer in 2007. She has had to scale things back, but people have still showed up. With Funkhouser back to health, she’s trying to ensure that First Friday lives on, even if she’s not at the helm. How has First Friday changed over the years? We probably had about 300 people at our ﬁrst event, and now we have thousands. It’s gone through a lot of changes because we used to get a lot of city support, so we did it on a much larger scale, another block in each direction. And then we went through the changes of adding fencing and the city was supplying fewer services, so we started collecting donations at the gate and the attendance went down. In June of 2009, we decided we’re not doing anything except getting licenses for artists on the sidewalk, nothing else, and people still came in droves. We’ve had to learn to really cut back expenses. I ﬁnd myself going through old invoices and I say, “I can’t believe we spent all this money on stuff, it’s insane.”
Why was this important to you? I’ve been doing art at the Funk House for almost 10 years. I show different artists every month or every two months. I’ve never charged commission. So we were doing that a year and a half before I ever went to Portland and ever saw what they were doing up there. I wasn’t that involved with the contemporary arts community. I’ve collected vintage art for years, and been in antiques for years and of course been in museums and aware of contemporary art, but not so much in the sense of local artists. Doing art at the Funk House made me realize how much artists need a place to show work. What has disappointed you about the arts scene in Las Vegas? There’s not enough support, for sure. I think the community has really realized that it’s an important event 110
Vegas Seven September 30-October 6, 2010
to the city and if the community doesn’t support it, it’s just not going to happen. We’re getting that support, but it’s still not enough. We need more corporate support. I think if some of the major casinos here, being the major industry—$5,000 or $10,000 or $50,000 to them, you know they spend that in the blink of an eye remodeling a suite—and I think they should step up and do something to help support the event. Quite frankly, it’s disappointing that some of the people come to the event and set up illegally. It’s very disappointing to me that they are willing to draw off of something that is very hard to keep aﬂoat. We’re a small nonproﬁt, and it’s pretty much month-to-month if we’re going to have the funding. It’s not small companies; Red Bull comes down here, Monster, and park right outside our gate. Did having cancer change your outlook on life? No. It’s kind of funny because the other day a friend was in and he had cancer and he was saying, “Life is too short—I’m going to travel.” I said, “You know, I can’t say I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted, but I’ve done a lot of things I wanted to do. I’ve traveled, and I always wanted to own my own antique store and I’ve achieved those things and experienced a lot of things and I’m not one of those I almost died now I’m going to do this people. There was no epiphany.
What do you say to detractors of the Las Vegas arts scene? Probably the same thing I would say to people that don’t vote. If you’re not involved, don’t bitch. You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem. If you think there’s something wrong with it, step up and help it, don’t just complain about it. Do you see a day when you’re not involved with First Friday? Yes, I do. I have some goals in mind, and that’s why we’re actually trying to build our board. We make it very clear when someone new wants to be on the board that you have to be an active member. This is not a ﬂuff board, no one is donating a bunch of money to be on the board. This is a working board; we don’t need any non-working members. We need working members. I kind of see the 10th anniversary—although given the economy that might be too soon—but what I would like to see is the event to be at the point to hire people that can do the logistical things. Someone to write the grants. I’m not even a grant-writer, and I write all the grants. In the end I’d still be involved, maybe on the board and maybe more on the fundraising end of it. And then maybe eventually I would be out of it. I don’t know.
Photo by Anthony Mair
Does Las Vegas support art? I don’t think it’s devoid. I think there are people and organizations that support the arts. This is a new city. We don’t have the support they have in L.A., New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Dallas, but those are all really old cities. Vegas is a city based on casinos being the main industry for so many years and hopefully we’ve learned something from that being the case.
Goal-oriented: Funkhouser at her shop, the Funk House.