October 14-20, 2010
Best Restaurants Raku earns a top spot among the 27 winners in our very ďŹ rst dining awards
Plus: Our food critic's worst dinners ever Get on board with Zane Lamprey's Booze Tour In the studio with Imagine Dragons
NOVEMBER 5-7, 2010 ©2010 AMERICAN EXPRESS PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PHOTOS (TOP TO BOTTOM): MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONALTM; GAIL SIMMONS: COURTSEY OF BRAVO; DITOLO AND SHOOK: NIGEL PARRY
T H E C U L I N A R Y S TA R S D E S C E N D O N L A S V E G A S
HOSTED BY GAIL SIMMONS This November 5-7, 2010, join FOOD & WINE and some of the top chefs and sommeliers in the world as we join forces with MGM Resorts International’s luxurious Bellagio, ARIA and Vdara resorts for a weekend of extraordinary epicurean events. Featuring interactive cooking demonstrations, wine and mixology seminars, and of course, the world-class nightlife that has made Las Vegas famous.
FEATURING WINE AND CULINARY ALL-STARS
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J UL I A N SERRANO
FA B IO VIVIA N I A N D MA N Y MO R E ...
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Charice Seal Natalie Cole Earth, Wind & Fire Jackie Evancho
Featuring: Kenny Loggins Martina McBride Ne-Yo Donna Summer and more...
HITMAN RETURNS DAVID FOSTER AND FRIENDS
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15 Mandalay Bay Box OfďŹ ce 702.632.7580 mandalaybay.com |
FOOD + DRINK Burger Bar Hussong’s Cantina minus5º Ice Lounge Rick Moonen’s rm seafood Starbucks Coffee Yogurt In
CLOTHING Elton’s Men’s Store fashion 101 Flip Flop Shops The Las Vegas Sock Market Metropark Maude Nora Blue Paradise Island Shoe Obsession Suite 160 Urban Outﬁtters
SPECIALTY The Art of Music Cashman Crystal Fat Tuesday Frederick’s of Hollywood Jack Gallery LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics Nike Golf OPTICA Oro Gold Peter Lik Gallery
JEWELRY Forever Silver Le Paradis TeNo SERVICES ARCS A Robert Cromeans Salon The Art of Shaving
Located on the skybridge connecting Mandalay Bay and Luxor. Free valet parking.
This Week in Your CiTY 13
Yelp ﬁnds a way to help, a countrythemed weekend in henderson, and one-on-one with the Bard himself. By Patrick Moulin
A tour of three neighborhoods branded among the nation’s most dangerous, and hoA-related stress gets a name. 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.
no one is more grateful for the culinary pleasures of a 30-year career than a restaurant critic, but Max Jacobson has also had his share of miserable dining experiences. Plus: Neighborhood Epicurean, and the secrets behind Joël robuchon’s glorious mashed potatoes.
A bridge is southern nevada’s newest icon, and PBr pits man against beast. Plus: trends, Tweets, tech and gossip. The Latest Thought: hello, goodbye: Vegas living resonates. By Brett Robillard
heaLTh & fiTness
Brandy Winﬁeld went from novice to international Bikram yoga champion in six years—now she’s teaching the postures and the beneﬁts around the world. By Sharon Kehoe
This week’s Look, a few choice Enviables, and sales of products raise money and awareness for national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
spoRTs & LeisuRe
how teenage BMX star Brett “Mad Dog” Banasiewicz soars in competition while still keeping his feet planted ﬁrmly on the ground. By Sean DeFrank Plus: Matt Jacob likes the Bears to defend their turf against the seahawks this weekend in Going for Broke.
Seven Nights ahead, fabulous parties past, and a question-and-answer session with Zane Lamprey.
aRTs & enTeRTainmenT
recording artists love the studio at the Palms, T.R. Witcher reviews Biscuit street Preacher’s show at Trifecta, and Rex Reed says Howl captures Allen Ginsberg’s life and times.
Above: raku chef Mitsou endo. On the cover: raku’s agedashi tofu soup. Photography by Anthony Mair
Longtime restaurateur Freddie Glusman on the secrets of ﬁne dining, his ﬁnest memories and the city that has embraced Piero’s for nearly 30 years. By Elizabeth Sewell
The ResTauRanT aWaRDs
The ﬁrst of what will be an annual look at the city’s best dining. By Max Jacobson October 14-20, 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 senior editor, Xania Woodman 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 contributing writers
Melissa Arseniuk, Eric Benderoff, Geoff Carter, Laura Coronado, Jeanne Goodrich, Andreas Hale, Jason Harris, Sharon Kehoe, Patrick Moulin, Jessica Prois, Rex Reed, Jason Scavone, Ivan Shaw, Elizabeth Sewell, Kate Silver, Cole Smithey, Michael T. Toole, T.R. Witcher interns
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art Art director, Lauren Stewart senior grAPhic designer, Marvin Lucas grAPhic designer, Thomas Speak stAff PhotogrAPher, Anthony Mair contributing PhotogrAPhers
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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
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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 October 14-20, 2010
Max Jacobson “The Restaurant Awards,” Page 26 “I was fortunate to arrive here at a propitious moment in space and time, the fall of 1999, the close of the millennium and the true beginning of the restaurant boom in Las Vegas. Since then, the number of celebrity chefs, high-end restaurants and authentic ethnic dining spots has increased more than threefold. That’s what makes the Restaurant Awards so vital and more relevant than ever. To say that it has been a labor of love would be classic a understatement. If this isn’t the best job in the world, it would certainly make Letterman’s Top 10 list. And there will be more to come, with the opening of the Cosmopolitan this December, and the many chefs vying to get a market share in this ever-vibrant restaurant community.”
Xania Woodman Senior Editor The most recent addition to WENDOH Media, newly named senior editor Woodman has been contributing nightlife and beverage coverage to Vegas Seven since May, usually from a barstool downtown somewhere or, at the very least, wishing she was. In this issue, she lends her beverage knowledge to Vegas Seven’s ﬁrst-ever Restaurant Awards issue, better acquainting us with one of Las Vegas’ resident legends of mixology and regaling us with the virtues of the Best Restaurant Bar’s cocktail offerings, written, as a matter of fact, from a bar stool. Look for her missives in Cocktail Culture, The Grape Nut and the aptly named Drinking section.
Brett Robillard “Good Night, Las Vegas,” Page 18 During his 15-year architectural career, Robillard has designed a wide variety of projects in the United States and abroad. He has lived in Boston, New York, Chicago and Shanghai. He arrived in the Valley in 2006 to design the Las Vegas Fontainebleau. He has taught both undergraduate and graduate level studios at the Boston Architectural Center and exhibited work at the Boston Architectural Center, Roger Williams University and The Arts Factory of Las Vegas. Robillard recently moved back to Boston with his wife and 10-month-old daughter. He has a strong interest in design as a catalyst for positive change. “Architecture is a poetic exercise,” he says. “It’s the intersection of human need, the Earth, light, space and culture.”
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Visit the Vegas Seven website October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 11
Seven Days The highlights of this week in your city. Compiled by Patrick Moulin
Thu. 14 Volunteering for a nonproﬁt group can be a very fulﬁlling experience. But how do you decide which one best suits your abilities? To help you ﬁnd a match, try the Yelp Helps Party tonight at 7 p.m. at the Atomic Testing Museum (755 E. Flamingo Road). Complimentary cocktails and light food will be served as you meet and mingle with more than 20 local charities and determine which group captures your interest. RSVP for this free event by visiting yelp.com/ events/las-vegas-yelp-helps.
Fri. 15 What better way to set the Halloween mood than by watching a horror movie? Throughout this month, UNLV Film Department associate professor David Schmoeller is screening a different horror ﬁlm every Friday night for your pleasure. Begin the night with Special Delivery, an Oscar-winning animated short, at 7 p.m. at the Marjorie Barrick Museum on the UNLV campus. The real treat will be seeing Puppet Master, a popular horror ﬁlm directed by Schmoeller himself that has spawned more than 10 sequels. Call 895-2535 for information.
Sat. 16 The Valley is about to get a little bit country and a whole lot more wild at the inaugural Nevada Wild Fest at the Henderson Pavilion. The family-oriented fair is a celebration of Western culture, showcasing a weekend of country music, cooking demonstrations and carnival rides. There’s a concert featuring country legends Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell, Lonestar and Montgomery Gentry among others; and also live cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs Rick Moonen and Stephen Hopcraft. Admission to the fair (Oct. 15-17) is $7 (kids 3 and under are free), while concert tickets start at $25, which includes admission to the festival. Check NevadaWildFest.com for information.
Sun. 17 The works of ol’ Bill Shakespeare are timeless classics that continue to entertain new generations. But how much do we know about the man himself? Not enough. So for one night only, the Las Vegas Shakespeare Co. presents Shakespeare’s Roses, 5 p.m. at the Adelson Education Campus in Summerlin (9700 Hillpointe Road), a one-man show wherein Shakespeare takes us through his own torrid tale of love, loss and betrayal. Local actor Michael Hartlett plays the Bard. Ticket prices vary and a portion of the proceeds will beneﬁt the Adelson Educational Campus. Visit LVShakes.org/tickets to buy tickets.
Mon. 18 Kids grow up so fast, sometimes it’s hard to believe how small they used to be. Capture a moment in time today at the Piggies & Paws for Pink event at ClubSport Green Valley (2100 Olympic Ave.). Children of all ages can create one-of-a kind artwork using their handprints and footprints. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and parental participation is required. Tickets are $22-$38, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Call 454-4526, or visit ClubSports. com/green-valley/home.do for more information.
Tue. 19 Polymer clay is a relatively new synthetic material that can be ﬁred in a home oven, making it popular with amateur artists who don’t have access to a kiln. The Centennial Hills Library (6711 N. Buffalo Dr.) is hosting an exhibit of jewelry, sculptures and art pieces created by the Las Vegas Polymer Clay Guild. Come see for yourself at the opening reception at 5 p.m. and ask the artists how they use this modern medium. Call 5076100 or visit lvccld.org for more information.
Wed. 20 Beam Music Center recital hall at UNLV is the place to be to hear classical guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima do his thing. The guitarist, known for his amazing compositions and nimble ﬁngers, is part of the Performing Arts Center’s UNLV Classical Guitar Series. The performance begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $37.50, but discounts are available. Visit unlv.edu for information.
October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 13
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Hoover Dam image courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau
Work on the Mike OโCallaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge began in 2005. The bridge will be open to traf๏ฌc in mid-October.
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THIS WEEK IN YOUR CITY 5RGHR
Time to Hang on
PBR photo by Andy Watson
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Bucked off: J.B. Mauney gets thrown during the championship round of the Professional Bull Ridersâ€™ Built Ford Tough series in Billings, Mont.
Seven Scribe Goes Over the Edge
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THE LaTEsT Gossip Star-studded parties, celebrity sightings, juicy rumors and other glitter.
Tweets of the Week
it’s splitsville for Donny and Chip
Compiled by @marseniuk
@NiteNwite UNLV Lied Library, 4th ﬂoor, and I’m feelin Asian. Look out, books.
@FebruaryStar02 Got an e-mail for what I can only assume is a political rally, but the subject was “Megan and the President in Vegas.” Didn’t open that ... @nikii94 Why can ppl who have only met through a drunken haze get married in Vegas, but two gay ppl who’ve been together for years can’t in Vegas?!
Lightman (left) accuses Osmond of pocketing “ill-gotten gains.”
ment (CLE), has been anything but. He has conducted himself in a manner that is underhanded, devious, fraudulent and greedy. The clear goal of his actions has been to line his own pockets with illgotten gains to fund his lavish lifestyle of exotic cars, luxury hotel suites and private jets—all off the backs and hard work of those who worked tirelessly to support his career, including Lightman and CLE. “Despite Marie’s seemingly innocent nature, she too is liable for the fraud perpetrated
by Donny through her acquiescence, awareness and utter failure to disclose to CLE the steps taken by Donny to deceive CLE and circumvent their contractual obligations.” Ill-gotten gains! Nobody’s actually pocketed ill-gotten gains since Old West railroad barons hired shady characters to chase widows off their land. When these lawyers get to court, they’re going to check their pocket watches and take off their stovepipe hats before they start their arguments.
Law and Order Sasha rocks the house, in a non-dirty way.
Grey on the Tables Porn star and occasional legitimate actress (we mean in the Steven Soderbergh movie, not in Entourage) Sasha Grey took a spin on the Turntables on Oct. 9 at the Playboy Club, where she played DJ for 15 minutes. She was also the latest to be awarded one of the club’s unique keys. But isn’t Sasha Grey getting the key to the Playboy Club a little like Gen. George Patton getting all the G.I. Joes he wants? 16 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Palms owner George Maloof was arrested and charged with drunken driving Oct. 9 but, unlike some younger, blonder, girlier people we can think of, he didn’t try to fade the heat. “I was out at a wedding on Saturday night. I didn’t feel I was intoxicated so I drove home where I was cited outside the entrance to my development,” Maloof says. “My blood alcohol level was 0.087 which in Nevada is slightly over the legal limit. I take full responsibility for my actions and I can assure you it won’t happen again.” That’s a refreshing kind of honesty. Take it to the bank: If George Maloof tells you it wasn’t his purse, it really probably wasn’t his purse.
@radiomaru Just because you ARE or AREN’T fashion conscious doesn’t make you better than most people. Give it a fucking rest, hipster/geek. @Caz189xo @mattgoss Can’t wait to meet & smell you myself in Vegas in a few weeks! I think I’m the only person who hasn’t yet had a whiff! x. @Loolee76 Told the bartender surprise me. I got a cosmo. Pllffft. @CinCitiChic Not good! FBI says Las Vegas is #3 on list for terrorist attacks poss. Strip, Nellis AFB, and Hoover Dam most targeted!
@heehawbus At Green Valley Ranch. How have I not unlocked the “douchebag” badge on foursquare yet by coming here?? @DiVaDeONNA Yo, those sparkler candles for bday cakes, do they sell them in real life? Like, in Summerlin? Lol. @meowinvegas I call Vegas the city of smells... some good, some bad. Every casino smells different, but every block has that ‘ass smell’ ha ha ha.
@JoeVargas You ever wonder what other people have your number saved in their phone as? Like “Jessica super hot weirdo” or “Jack Johnson the prick” Lol.
@_shehleee So many douchers at 215/Eastern LVAC. #ﬁstpump.
Lightman, Osmond photo by Erik Kabik/Retna; Grey photo by Joe Fury
The courtroom antics of Sam Waterston aside, the actual duties of being a lawyer seem about as exciting as collecting vintage nail clippers. That is until you get a juicy breach-of-contract lawsuit that lets you get all Shakespearean tragedy up in this law game. Donny and Marie Osmond ended their relationship with producer Chip Lightman in mid-September. He countered with a lawsuit ﬁled in Clark County District Court on Oct. 1, wherein Lightman says he was forced out with two years to go on his deal, essentially, because Donny Osmond was strapped for cash. The lawsuit is peppered with phrases like “reckless disregard for the truth,” “oppression, fraud and malice,” “Donny’s devious plot,” “Donny held the Donny & Marie show hostage” and “Donny had devised a plot to defraud the William Morris Agency.” The money shot, though, comes in the suit’s assessment of the famous siblings’ character. “Contrary to the wholesome, all-American, good-natured image that he presents to the public, defendant Donny’s conduct, at least as it relates to Lightman and Chip Lightman Entertain-
Got a juicy tip? email@example.com
THE LaTEsT THougHT good Night, Las Vegas He came to build a hotel. Instead, he built a life.
By Brett Robillard By the time you read this, I will be somewhere in the middle of country, halfway back to the place I came from. So much, too much, is left behind. There is a blue tower on the Strip, a shape I drew and dreamed of, tantalizingly close to ﬁnished and bound to stay that way. There are the homes I lived in, my ﬁrst homes as a husband, as a father. There is a city that enchanted me, and an economy that charmed itself to sleep. There are 1,623 neon nights in the rear-view mirror. I counted them. Objects are closer than they appear …
April 2006: Summerlin I have rented 2,500 suburban square feet, but my life is in the city, a desert town gone wild, center-less, bustling about the thin, decadent line of the Strip. I learn that the world is divided into tourists and locals, and that I am to become one of the latter. I hear proverbs from seasoned architects and developers about what works and doesn’t work in Vaygus. They say it just like that, with a drawn-out long “A”. By year’s end, a paper design for the Fountainbleu has become a site under construction. My girlfriend has moved from Boston and is commuting from Los Angeles as a ﬂight attendant for United Airlines. My creative and social engines are blazing. I love the Wild West. I have gone from living ﬁve minutes from the Atlantic Ocean to ﬁve minutes from a “locals” casino. I become quite involved with roulette. The 24-hour lifestyle is intoxicating; I’ve come to Bono’s “City of Blinding Lights.” Neon heart, day-glow eyes. A city lit by ﬁreﬂies. April 2007: North Las Vegas I am engaged: a short trip to the Valley of Fire, an emerald ring, life on a new trajectory. We plan the wedding for June, move into a new home in North Las Vegas. The economy is buzzing. The city is our home. The Fontainebleau is growing in scope; it needs to compete with a growing array of new projects here. The resort is under construction, but the budget and focus are becoming less clear. We begin a cycle of diluting the purity of the exterior design to meet a tightening budget and an expanding, unfocused agenda for the interior design. What had been a transparent building, open to the street, is being inﬂuenced by older, “safer” 18 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Robillard with wife Gabrielle and daughter Vivienne on their last day in Las Vegas. The Fountainebleu looms in the background.
models: Glass-ﬁlled facades are abandoned in favor of a more solid streetscape with controlled entrances. I am told nobody walks in Vegas, but I look outside and see thousands of pedestrians, all seeking a new experience. My East Coast architectural values are falling prey to old-school methodology. September 2008: Soho Lofts The economy has taken a nosedive. The bank forecloses on our North Las Vegas landlord. We head downtown, to Soho Lofts. The Fontainebleau is somehow ﬁnding its way through the economic thicket. My wife and I embrace downtown and the Arts District: The Strip will always deﬁne Vegas, but the surrounding context, and downtown in particular, offer the best hope for the city to create a parallel identity. We connect with the spectacle of the city. We party. I exhibit my work in the Arts Factory. We host an absolutely wild ’70s- themed New Year’s party. Dino’s Friday night karaoke becomes a regular social event for me. I am living out a rock-star dream in a smoky dive-bar. We spend six months in Soho. Another foreclosedupon owner. Another forced move. March 2009: Newport Lofts The day we move from Soho to Newport Lofts across the street, we ﬁnd out my wife is pregnant. We look across an apartment of half-packed boxes to a grand view of the Fontainebleau out the window. The wild nights of Soho are over; we plan for our child’s arrival, picturing stability in an increasingly unstable world. My world is a blur of work tension and What To Expect When You’re Expecting books, a dizzying intersection of
the relinquishment of my wilder side and the newfound sensibility of fatherhood. The Fontainebleau goes on hold. I ﬁnd work at a local ﬁrm. For the third time in 18 months, my wife and I have to move due to a foreclosed-upon landlord. We have become professionals at in-town relocation, burned by the hardest-hit housing market in the country. We head south to Loft 5. December 2009: Loft 5 The beautiful Vivienne Grace arrives on Dec. 1. We are no longer so sure we will raise her here. I have heard that Las Vegas is a city of second chances. I wonder. We need a long-term plan. The glories of Las Vegas, so real for us just over a year ago, are fading. I am hosting a radio talk show and continuing my stints as part-time karaoke star at Dino’s. I have a onenight show with my band at the Neon Venus. I wear my Vegas-bought mirror-ball disco pants. Our time at Loft 5 is a year of short-term stability, a year of beautiful sunsets, life-changing baby smiles and personal introspection. It is a beginning. And it is an end. October 2010: The Road My wife and I are sitting in the restaurant atop the Stratosphere, spinning slowly at the heart of the city. I have requested a transfer to my ﬁrm’s Boston ofﬁce. So it’s full circle, back to the north shore of Boston, to a town called Salem, Halloween-town, a place of extremes, at least by New England standards. I am looking out at the shimmering desert, maybe falling in love with this place again, savoring my second thoughts, watching Las Vegas slide by, watching it come back.
Family portrait by Anthony Mair
Winter 2006: A New England Departure I am grinding away in Boston, working on designs for a conventional housing development, wondering what’s next. I sing in a band. I sail. I am a bachelor. My home base is an 800-square-foot apartment north of town. A call comes in with a seductive hook: “Can you move to Las Vegas?” The offer is hard to pass up. Soon I am preparing for my new gig as project architect on the design of Las Vegas Fontainebleau.
Want a face that sparkles like a diamond? Try Bvlgari Gem Essence, which brings the luxuriousness of its jewelry to the Source Defense antioxidant skin-care line. Available at Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show.
Photographed by Tomas Muscionico
Tod’s, known for its signature driving shoes, debuts an update on the classic with the pony-hair leopard-print Ballerina ﬂat and Gommino loafer. $545, available in December at Tod’s in the Forum Shops at Caesars.
FrANk PELLEgrINo Jr.
Restaurateur (Rao’s Restaurant Group), age 40 Style icons: Ralph Lauren, Versace, Prince Charles, YSL, Valentino, Armani. What he’s wearing now: Armani suit and shirt, belt from Saks Fifth Avenue, Bass WeeJuns shoes.
Hit + Run, a guerilla T-shirt-making company, will descend on the Hard Rock hotel-casino Oct. 14-17 in collaboration with the Dew Tour Skateboarding Championships. Conducting live T-shirt screen-printing, artists create a collection of single-color designs that customers can personalize with graphics available only during the event. TheHitAndRun.com.
Frank Pellegrino Jr. loves his Armani and cites a very special shopping trip at the designer’s New York City store as one of his most notable fashion achievements. “I was invited by the Armani executive team to their ﬂagship store to assemble my wardrobe for the opening of my ﬁrst restaurant in NYC, Baldoria,” he says. “I was treated like a prince.” But off the clock, he leaves the bustle of his successful restaurant business far behind. “I like to barbecue with friends and family and for that I wear my surf shorts and ﬂip-ﬂops.”
October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 21
Think Pink T retailers offer exclusive products to bene๏ฌt LLas Vegas V National Na ion Breast Cancer Awareness Month
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When the Worlds of Fashion Collide Guest columnist Ivan Shaw of Vogue adapts his New York sensibility to do Vegas in style Dear Las Vegas, It had been a while since I last visited you. With temperatures still above 100 degrees, and being the New Yorker that I am, I went through the proverbial “I have nothing to wear” moment. It would have been easy if the trip were going to be nothing but lazy days by the pool but knowing that my ﬁancée and I would be riding along with shoe designer George Esquivel, and with an impending introduction to taste-makers Sean Dunn (the Vegas Seven men’s style columnist for whom I am guest writing) and Eamon Springall, I knew I couldn’t rely on a swimsuit and sunglasses to get me through. Working my way through my closet, I went for what I consider to be the “basics” of my wardrobe, while keeping in mind my belief that the key to a great menswear wardrobe is an easy transition from day to night. For me, “basics” refer less to the standard foundation pieces such as blue jeans or a white shirt but instead rest in a “statement” piece. The idea being that you can build your whole look around one or two strong items. For this trip, I wanted a bit of glamour, since Las Vegas is certainly a dazzling playground. I started with a Thom Browne yellow jacket with an embroidered pattern. Browne is renowned for making one-of-a-kind feeling pieces that are truly original, and the ﬁt is made-to-measure, so it’s a jacket that “ﬁts like a glove.” I also pulled out my go-to party shoes, a pair of YSL leopard-print loafers. These loafers are a longtime favorite of mine, and YSL’s Stefano Pilati has just come out with a blue leopard print that is spectacular. I keep two pairs on hand. One lesson that I have learned repeatedly is that if you ﬁnd a shoe you love, get two pairs—you will always appreciate having a second pair, when the ﬁrst pair is worn thin and the designer has discontinued that style. Both items proved perfect ﬁts for the trip, and I had a spectacular time. The highlight of the trip was a tour of the soon-to-be-completed Cosmopolitan Hotel. The site is spectacular, and the hotel is sure to become a Las Vegas legend. I’m already starting to consider what to wear for the opening in December. Thanks for the good times, Ivan Shaw Photography Director Vogue
Ivan Shaw and his YSL leopard-print loafers.
24 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
NEW BALANCE G-SHOCK
NEW ERA EMPERIAL NATION
M ANDALAY BAY SHOPS 3 9 5 0 L AS V EGAS BLVD SOUTH 7 0 2.304.2513
W W W. S U I T E 1 6 0 . C O M
SUM MME R L I N V I L L A G E S Q U A R E MM 9350 W E S T S A H A R A AV E 702.562.6136
Veal photo by Anthony Mair
Vintner Grillâ€™s bone-in veal chop, and (opposite page) fresh-baked ciabatta at Bouchon.
Vegas Seven’s inaugural celebration of the city’s best dining
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By Max Jacobson
2010 RESTAURANT AWARDS
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Zach Allen of Carnevino, B&B and Otto
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Cut photo by Jeff Green; all other photos by Anthony Mair
Cutâ€™s handsome dining room.
2010 RESTAURANT AWARDS
Du-parâ€™s heavenly pancakes.
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Monta Noodle House
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Paolo Barbieri, Alex
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Payard PÃ¢tisserie & Bistro
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Abou-Ganim photo by Arnold Studios; all other photos by Anthony Mair
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Clockwise from top: Best Sommelier Paolo Barbieri, Best Chef (off Strip) Mitsou Endo, Best Chef (on Strip) Zach Allen and Best Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim.
2010 RESTAURANT AWARDS
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<PQ[ZM[\I]ZIV\Q[ร Z[\IUWVOUIVaLQ[\QVK\Q^M LM[QOV[I\)ZQI1\ยผ[IKWTTIJWZI\QWVJM\_MMVNIUML IZKPQ\MK\:QKPIZL*TWKPIVLKPMN5I[I<ISIaIUI _PWKWV\ZQJ]\MLI[MZQM[WN[SM\KPM[NZWU_PQKP *TWKP_WZSML)JIZVWNKI^MZVW][XZWXWZ\QWV[ LMKWZI\MLQVPQOP[\aTM_Q\PNWW\LWWZ[WN\MIS IVLKWXXMZK]Z^MLZMLTMI\PMZJIVY]M\\M[IVL IZKPMLKMQTQVO[Q\ยผ[UWZM\PIV\PZMM\QUM[\PM[QbM WN\PM6M_AWZSW]\XW[\I\\PM<QUM?IZVMZ+MV \MZ7\PMZZM[\I]ZIV\[I\)ZQIPI^M[WIZQVOLM[QOV[ I[_MTT;IOMPI[I_WVLMZN]TLMKWLQVQVOZWWU WNN[M\JaIZWUIV\QKU]ZIT#\PM<PIQZM[\I]ZIV\ The height of Ariaโs sophisticated restaurant designs: Bar Masa.
Photo by Anthony Mair
A Jean-Philippe Maury pastry with key lime emulsion, almond dough and whipped cream.
The ground steak burger at Bradley Ogdenâ€™s bar.
2010 RESTAURANT AWARDS
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THe LocaL Newsroom The Great Escape springs Preserve’s marketing hints at success—ﬁnally By Jessica Prois
rate of 146 incidents per 1,000 residents. The neighborhood around North 28th Street near Eastern Avenue and U.S. Highway 95 was ranked No. 4 nationally, while the downtown area surrounding D Street, extending south to Charleston Boulevard, came in at No. 8. Las Vegas Councilman Gary Reese has represented the ward in which the 28th Street neighborhood is located since 1995, and he has lived there and owned and operated a barbershop for more than 40 years. He says the area, while plagued by gang-related violence in the past, has seen a signiﬁcant decline in criminal activity. “It’s been a 150 percent turnaround in the last ﬁve years,” Reese says. Topping the national list was a neighborhood in Chicago, with an area in Cleveland coming in at No. 2. Both of those cities also had another neighborhood lower on the list. Atlanta had the most neighborhoods on the list with four. Andrew Schiller of Location Inc., the Rhode Islandbased company that conducted the study, derived his ﬁndings using 2008 FBI crime data and U.S. Census ﬁgures. He says crime can be tracked in three manners: using actual counts, rates per population, and number of crimes per square mile. He uses crime rates for his rankings, which he says is why a city such as New York, which has a high number of crimes but also an extreme-
If you see aspects of your own life in the Springs Preserve’s new commercials, you’ve gotten the message. The ad features a family in a humdrum routine around the house, followed by a peppy montage of the bustling attraction, touting its new tagline as the place “Where Vegas Escapes Vegas.” The idea was to cast a wider net, showing Las Vegans that it’s a place for everyone, especially families. And the campaign may be doing just that, helping the attraction overcome the summer lull in trafﬁc—visitation was up to 47,000 from 26,000 last summer, partially attributed to an increase in events hosted at the Preserve. The “Where Vegas Escapes Vegas” print concept rolled out quietly about a year ago, with radio ads popping up this past spring and TV ads ﬁnalizing the campaign two weeks ago. The marketing team says it’s too early to tell if there’s a correlation between the ads and visitation. But what’s for sure is that this is the latest in a line of attempts, some of which have fallen short of getting people to visit. So there’s a lot riding on this $340,000 effort. “Yeah, obviously. I think this is the effort to try to get people to understand what the Preserve is,” says Scott Huntley, who headed up the campaign on the Preserve’s end, along with local ad agency R&R Partners. “We’re proving that we’re not an elitist attraction, but a community attraction.” It might seem obvious that a place like the Preserve—home to Gila monster lizards with bright, beady scales and the seemingly Nickelodeon-inspired New Frontier Gallery that teaches kids about sustainability through interactive games—would have been trying to capture the family market all along. But it hasn’t been so. Past marketing campaigns typically resonated with those interested in education or sustainability issues, says J.C. Davis, another Preserve ofﬁcial who worked on the current campaign. “I’m refocusing it on taking back family time,” he says. “I don’t want people to think, ‘That’s not my kind of place; if I’m not into the environmental movement, I’m not welcome there.’” The message of escaping Las Vegas is right, the marketing team believes. “And they need a place to escape that won’t take a tremendous amount of dollars,” Huntley says. And it comes as no surprise that local parents agree. “We spent $600 going to Zion last year. But we won’t be doing that this year,” says Mark Sherwood, publisher of Parents Guide of Las Vegas. Sherwood, who has a family pass, sees the value in offering an easy getaway for families. And it’s a long-time coming for the Preserve, he says. “They didn’t leverage the fact that there’s an absolute market for quality family entertainment here,” Sherwood says. “If the Springs Preserve doesn’t capture that market, someone else will.”
Continued on Page 40
Continued on Page 39
Greg Bonner lives in Las Vegas’ most dangerous area, but he’s not scared.
Not in my Backyard Are some Las Vegas neighborhoods as dangerous as recent rankings suggest? We asked the people who live there.
Photo by Sean DeFrank
By Sean DeFrank The neighborhood surrounding Lubertha Johnson Park on Balzar Avenue and Concord Street will never be confused with Green Valley or Summerlin. Bars on doors and windows are standard here, and residents are suspicious of nearly every car that drives by. A small playground area in a park sits unused on a pleasant weekday afternoon; there is no sign of children at play anywhere in the vicinity. Las Vegas native Greg Bonner, 49, has lived here his entire life. Even with the threat of crime a day-to-day reality, Bonner has never considered his neighborhood one of the most dangerous in the nation. But that’s exactly what it is, according to WalletPop.com, which this month listed the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States, using data developed by real estate website NeighborhoodScout.com, information from the FBI and all 17,000 local law-enforcement agencies. Bonner’s home turf earned the ranking of third most dangerous in the entire country, with a person having a one-in-seven chance of being victim of a violent crime in one year. “I think it’s ludicrous; it’s ridiculous,” he says. “Ten, 20 years ago it was way worse.” WalletPop.com evaluated 61,000 neighborhoods nationwide; Las Vegas came up with three of the eight most dangerous. The Balzar area has a violent-crime
October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 37
The Local Newsroom
Green Felt Journal
Podcast-a-palooza comes to the Flamingo By David G. Schwartz
Las Vegas is bigger than the sum of its parts, particularly on the Internet. There are a host of websites, blogs, bulletin boards and podcasts that dissect every aspect of the city’s resort culture. And, later this month, three of the bestknown Las Vegas podcasts are broadcasting together, live from the Strip. The event is called Vegas Podcast-apalooza, and it brings together three prominent Las Vegas podcasts: the Vegas Gang, a roundtable discussion among several Vegas aﬁcionados (including this author) with a business and design focus; The Strip Podcast, Steve Friess and Miles Smith’s interview/discussion show; and Five Hundy by Midnight, Tim and Michele Dressen’s view of Las Vegas from a visitor’s perspective (the two have had a love affair with the city since their marriage here in 1997). Each show broadcasts live, from Las Vegas, in front of an audience. This year, the third for the event, Vegas Podcast-a-palooza is happening at the Flamingo on Oct. 30. According to Hunter Hillegas, creator of the Vegas Gang and the admiral responsible for coordinating the armada that comes together at Podcast-a-palooza, the event is all about enjoying Las Vegas, and talking about Las Vegas. “Most of all, we want people to have fun,” he says. “It’s a chance to meet the hosts of the various shows and to meet other listeners.” This year, for the ﬁrst time, there will be a reception after the show, in which fans of the three shows can meet the hosts—and each other—and talk Vegas until the Elvis impersonators come home. “It’s a way to spend a few hours away from the slot machines and to spend time with other people that are as interested in Las Vegas’ main industry as you are,” Hillegas says. Although the event beneﬁts fans of the podcasts, it’s also a thrill for those who sit behind the microphone. “Michele and I jumped at the chance to participate in Vegas Podcast-aPalooza largely because we have such admiration for the hosts of the other two podcasts,” explains Tim Dressen, who, according to Hillegas, coined the Podcast-a-palooza name in 2008. “Getting to share a stage with them is an honor. Getting to meet so many of 38 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
our listeners—the people who e-mail, comment, call and, ultimately, keep us motivated to continue producing Five Hundy by Midnight—is another reason we’re excited to be part of the event for the third consecutive year. “I’m a big fan of both [of the other] shows, so I look forward to seeing them even more than doing our own show.” Others share Dressen’s enthusiasm. “I think it’s particularly great that we all show through this effort that there are no rivalries between podcasters, that we all know there’s room for all of us—and more!—and we encourage our listeners to try the other shows,” says Steve Friess of The Strip Podcast. In fact, the event came together because of the hosts’ mutual admiration for each other. “I thought it would be fun just to get the three shows together, with the listeners, and do it all in person. I’d been to a couple of podcast meet-ups for Five Hundy By Midnight and they were really fun so I just wondered what the next logical step would be,” Hillegas says. “When I shared the idea with the other podcasters, everyone was really receptive. We were able to get the good folks at the Palms to take a chance on hosting the ﬁrst show, and the rest is history.” After spending a great two years at the Palms, Hillegas is looking forward to the move to the Flamingo. “We’re in one of the most historic hotels in Las Vegas,” Hillegas says, “and our friends at Harrah’s have worked really hard to crank things up a notch.” And, a rarity on the Strip, the event is free. Not only that, but the Flamingo is offering a generous package to those who book in the GO room block through a special Vegas Podcast-apalooza that includes a room rate, dining and entertainment discounts, and a Total Rewards credit multiplier. The show is at the Flamingo GO pool 4-6:30 pm Oct. 30, with a reception afterward. The is no charge for admission, but attendees need to show tickets,which are available at VegasTripping.com/ podcastapalooza. Those going to the show can a print out a ticket, or show one on their smartphone. David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.
sick of Your Hoa?
Irritable? Restless? Stressed? Solomon has a possible diagnosis for you.
Local professor posits that you may be sick because of it By Kate Silver
Homeowners Associations are about as divisive as Jersey Shore—you either love Snooki or you hate her, and it seems people either love living in a neighborhood with an HOA, or they hate it. Dr. Gary Solomon, a resident of Henderson, is deﬁnitely on the “hate” side of the HOA divide. For the last two years, the psychology professor at the College of Southern Nevada has been anecdotally studying the effects HOAs have on the people who live with their rules. And after talking with his neighbors, he’s coined a new term: “HOA Syndrome,” an anxiety disorder caused by living under the constant threat of harassment by one’s own HOA. At the same time, Solomon started HOA-busters.com, which encourages sufferers of these so-called HOA-related maladies to contact a lawyer to see if they’re entitled to damages for the duress they’ve been living under. In discussing HOAs, Solomon tends toward the hyperbolic, referring to board members as Nazis, kapos (Nazi collaborators) and elder abusers. His disdain of HOAs isn’t born only of watching others suffer their wrath—it’s also personal. Solomon and his partner owe a heap of money for HOA infractions at his home in Calico Ridge. “We’re up to $20,000,” he says. He put up a wooden gate instead of a metal one, and that’s not allowed. And he remodeled his home without written approval from his HOA. He adds that he paid about $20,000 in lawyer fees to ﬁght the charges.
Solomon says that he doesn’t suffer from HOA Syndrome—a term that is not included in the ofﬁcial Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), the bible of the American Psychiatric Association. “I’ve mainly been able to stand back and watch as other people have it,” he says. “I’ve seen a great deal of depression, sadness, stress, irritable bowel syndrome. A wide range of problems.” Skim the symptoms on his website and you might ﬁnd that we’re all certiﬁable, whether we live in an HOA or not: irritability, fatigue, restlessness, stress, body aches and pains, etc. And then there are the more targeted symptoms: fear of going to the mailbox, fear of your car being ticketed or towed, fear of your children playing outside, fear of losing a pet, loss of identity, intestinal problems/ acid reﬂux and more. (He’s giving a talk on the topic 6-8 p.m. Oct. 15 at CSN in room C-133.) Professor Robert J. Aalberts, who teaches legal studies at UNLV’s Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies, says that Solomon’s use of the word “syndrome” is a bit strong. In the 20 years Aalberts has lived in Las Vegas, people have always taken issue with homeowners associations. (There are some 2,500 of them here, after all.) But he agrees that with the current economy, the stakes have risen. “I think the economic crunch may be aggravating what’s always been there, and that accounts for the aggressiveness some
of these HOAs have,” Aalberts says. “They probably have better reason to be aggressive now than they did before, because they’ve got to collect these fees. They need it because there’s a lack of money out there.” David Stone says that Solomon’s pursuit is ultimately going to hurt HOA residents. Stone, who is president of Nevada Association Services Inc., an agency specializing in HOA collections, also lives in an HOA and has served on several HOA boards. “I know that this is going to start up a cottage industry of nonsense tort claims against HOAs,” he says. “It’s going to cause insurance rates to go up and it’s
Springs Preserve Continued from Page 37
Beyond families, the Preserve is trying to prove that it’s a meeting place with a community feel for people of all ages and all cultures. “Most of our big places on the Strip just gather people up in a convention center and swallow them up,” Davis says. The Preserve hosted the inaugural Asian Moon Festival last month, bringing in 7,500 visitors. It held a ﬁrst-of-its kind Grapes and Hops Festival Oct. 9. It’s even catering to the 20-something crowd, hosting its ﬁrst Beer and Blues Festival this past summer, for which it did much of its marketing through social media, which proved to be a success, Huntley says. Until this campaign debuted, the only other marketing the Preserve had done was three years ago. The commercial, which had a shelf life of one month, featured a turtle wandering through
going to cost people who live in the association that much more. I really hope associations ﬁght this tooth and nail and they don’t roll over,” Stone says. Stone points out that everyone living in an HOA moved there knowingly and signed the conditions, covenants and restrictions. And they all pay extra for that privilege. “People in an association move there voluntarily because they enjoy the exclusivity or the pride of the living environment that is not shared in other areas of the city,” he says. Stone says that he gladly pays association fees. “I get extra service for those fees. In other words, I get parks that are maintained. I get a pool. I get private streets.” Stone says he likes the fact that his neighbors are required to bring their trash cans inside after a certain hour, and that they won’t leave their Halloween decorations up through March. “It’s more peaceful area to live in,” he says. “And if I was one of these people that didn’t care, live and let live, I would not live in a HOA. People move and live there for a reason.” Of course, the same could be said for residents of New Jersey.
a psychedelic-looking desert landscape. “You wouldn’t have known what there was to do here,” Huntley admits. So it was back to the drawing board, and the marketing team did focus groups and “interceptive interviews” with passersby. But UNLV marketing professor Angeline Close says the current message is still a little muddled. “In this 30-second commercial spot, it’s not until about the 25th second that the words ‘Springs Preserve’ come up,” Close points out. She says if the Preserve is trying to be everything to everyone, it shouldn’t try to do it in one commercial. “A solution might be to create a variety of campaigns that speak to different groups and advertise them in appropriate channels,” she says, offering the example of marketing the place as a wedding venue in a bridal magazine, but not in a mass-market commercial. “It’s just very difﬁcult to speak to multiple groups effectively in one 30-second ad,” she says.
Party at the Preserve: Special events helped boost attendance. October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 39
The Local Newsroom
Dangerous neighborhoods Continued from Page 37
ly large population, can avoid having any neighborhood fall into the top 25 because its actual crime rate could be low. “Sometimes crime can be widespread and not necessarily concentrated into one or two particular neighborhoods that would make it into the top 25,” Schiller says. “That doesn’t mean, for example, that Detroit doesn’t have 30 neighborhoods that fall in the top 200. And falling in the top 200 out of 61,000 [neighborhoods] is ordinarily indistinguishable from being in the top 25. It’s so close.” Schiller says the number of tourists coming into Las Vegas can be a reason why its numbers seem inﬂated. “Sometimes visitors create crime but don’t get included in the population,” he says. “So therefore the crime rate seems higher, but it may be visitors doing crime to other visitors.” There are some surprises when it comes to cities that didn’t show up on the list at all: no neighborhoods in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami or St. Louis made the top 25. In fact, not one area in all of California, New York or Michigan made the ranking at all. Such omissions make Reese skeptical. “I won’t dispute the people who put this together,” he says. “I would like to ask them why they did this and how come these other cities are so perfect and we have
40 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
three in the top eight. To me, it’s ridiculous.” Antonio Barrera, 26, was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles and lived there for 21 years before moving here. Now living just blocks from 28th Street, he says there’s no way Las Vegas is more dangerous than his hometown. “It’s nothing compared to Los Angeles. I know that because I was born there,” he says. “I had to move here because of all the crazy stuff over there, a lot of bad crimes, especially drugs. I came here because I got married and I’ve got kids now, and I don’t want my kids to go through that.” The 28th Street neighborhood has a crime rate of 135 violent crimes per 1,000 residents with a one-in-seven chance of a person being victimized, according to WalletPop, yet it is described as being “more hip and trendy” than 86 percent of U.S. neighborhoods. There is a one-in-nine risk of being a victim of violent crime in the D Street neighborhood, according to WalletPop, with a crime rate of 114 per 1,000 residents in the area, which also received the “hip and trendy” tag. Reese says that the labeling of some areas of Las Vegas, or any city, as more violent than others can be somewhat deceiving, especially given the economic climate throughout the country. “Crime can happen anywhere in the United States,” he says. “It can be in the good neighborhoods, it can
be in the low-income neighborhoods. Times are bad. … Yes, we have crime. But is it one of the worst in the country? No.” In those neighborhoods that do experience higher rates of violent crime than others, part of the problem, according to Bonner, is that some residents don’t trust police and would rather deal with problems themselves. “Wherever you go in the ghetto, or wherever all the gang members are at, what goes on there stays there,” he says. “It’s just like what they say about Las Vegas, ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ What happens in my neighborhood stays in my neighborhood. “You’re not going to let the law handle it because you didn’t do it to the law, you did it to me.” Mayor Oscar Goodman has long been the defender of all things Vegas, so it is no surprise that when informed of the trio of local neighborhoods listed by WalletPop, as well as the cities excluded from the rankings, he greets the news with a sneer. “I think they’re designating areas based on socioeconomics, and that’s unacceptable to me,” he says. “If they’re telling me that there’s no likelihood to have a violent crime in New York or New Orleans or St. Louis or Newark, forget about it. I feel so much safer here than in any of those places.”
Yes, we have “crime. But is
this one of the worst in the country? No.”
The Local Newsroom
The tale of the tapes By Michael Green
History really isn’t the same thing, over and over again. But sometimes it sure seems that way. Take the recent appearance of a tape of a conversation between Sharron Angle, the Republican Senate candidate the Tea Party loves, and Scott Ashjian, the Tea Party candidate the Tea Party opposes. Angle wanted Ashjian to withdraw, telling him, “I’m not sure I can win if you’re hurting my chance.” She said her party’s leaders “don’t want me back there … because they know I’ll shake this mess up. … I shook it up in Carson City, they hated me there … 41-to-Angle was not a compliment.” She said, “That’s really all I can offer to you is whatever juice I have, you have as well.” She has “juice” with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and two of his more retrograde caucus members, Tom Coburn, who hates everybody equally, and Jim DeMint, who seems to mostly hate pregnant unmarried women and gays. So, Angle claims to have had inﬂuence in Carson City that she clearly lacked—41-to-Angle actually reﬂects her ineffectiveness. She boasts of connections in Washington, which is the opposite of the outsider she claims to be in describing her legislative record, not to mention the premise of her campaign. Further, she’s clearly a closet atheist and a terrible political analyst because she said God all but chose her to run for the Senate, and now Ashjian has the power to overcome God’s will. If you want to know how bad it could be for Angle, notice how the Las Vegas Review-Journal tried to spin the story against Harry Reid when it ﬁnally got around to covering it. Is this the ﬁrst time an insurgent candidate opposing a supposedly unpopular senator from Nevada has been caught on tape trying to self-immolate and revealing new depths of hypocrisy? Of course not. Let’s return to 1952, when America liked Ike but loved Lucy. Democrat Pat McCarran had been reelected two years before, but suffered from bad press (Hank Greenspun’s Las Vegas Sun reamed him almost daily) and declining popularity, thanks partly to a large inﬂux of new arrivals who didn’t appreciate his ability at delivering federal pork to Nevada and his ties to his power on Capitol Hill, not to mention his propensity for causing controversy. Sound familiar? 42 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
McCarran’s junior colleague, Republican George Malone, had won six years before, due mainly to Democratic divisions. He was supposed to lose his reelection bid to Democratic party favorite Alan Bible, but a funny thing happened in the primary: Bible lost to Tom Mechling, who ran outside the party mainstream. Not that Bible looked like Sue Lowden or mentioned chickens, but he ran an inept campaign, enabling someone outside the party apparatus to squeak by. Mechling barely noticed Malone. He ran on an anti-McCarran platform, blistering McCarran as running a corrupt machine that Bible represented— and it paid off in the primary. But during the general election campaign, instead of seeking party unity, Mechling kept pounding the Senate Goliath and painting himself as an incorruptible David. Then came the tape. Mechling sought a meeting with two of McCarran’s ﬁnancial angels, developer Norm Biltz and lobbyist John Mueller. He told them, “I would tell [McCarran] face to face I need somebody to show me around …. We want to win this election. Uh, we don’t want to keep this party split up.” As Biltz later said, Mechling told them “that if we would back him we could have anything we wanted. We could have 50 percent of him. That was his expression.” Biltz played the tapes for reporters, who had generally favored Mechling. The tapes demonstrated Mechling wasn’t the maverick or purist he claimed to be—that he was, in fact, a charlatan. As McCarran’s biographer Jerome Edwards wrote, “It was the tapes, not McCarran, that beat Mechling …. They tore Mechling’s previous stories to shreds.” In the end, Mechling wasn’t what he seemed and lost to Malone. Angle seemed to be honestly reactionary and anti-politician. It turns out she is exactly the kind of person she claims to be running against, with one key difference: he’s a more honest politician, and she isn’t a good one. Micheal Green is a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada and author of several books and articles on Nevada history and politics.
die every day from the lack of clean water. You can help.
one cocktail in VeGaS
for one person for a l i f e t i m e
text â€œwaterâ€? to 20222 to donate $10 today.
visit Generositywater.org for more information about our cause. and MyGenerositywater.org to start your own fundraising campaign.
Entertaining options for a week of nonstop fun and excitement.
Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk
Thu. 14 His photos adorn the pages of this very publication, and tonight Vegas Seven staff photographer Anthony Mair showcases some of his favorite images from his personal and professional collection, as Caramel hosts Cosmopolitan Connections. (At Bellagio, doors 6 p.m., no cover.) Later, Dave and Mahoney from 107.5-FM host the second of three consecutive Thursday night Oktoberfest parties at Revolver. This week, the two-person beer pong tournament awards $300 to the best duo. At Santa Fe Station, doors 8 p.m., no cover, $10 entry per team.
Fri. 15 This Friday is a big one, so choose your party—or parties—wisely. The hottest ticket in town goes for $60, which is how much tickets to see DJ Deadmau5 at the Hard Rock Hotel are going for on Mau5Tickets.com. Sure, it sounds steep, but the hotel is re-opening Body English for one night and one night only for the mouse-mask-wearing DJ. (Doors 10 p.m.) Back on the Strip, prepare to blow out some candles in a big, big way as Kim Kardashian (and, one would assume, her reality TV crew) comes to town to celebrate her birthday. The voluptuous reality TV personality always has her cake and might even eat it, too, and tonight is no exception. At the Venetian, doors 10 p.m., $20 cover, local ladies free.
Sat. 16 Kardashian isn’t the only one celebrating her birthday in a big way! Tonight, McFadden’s at the Rio toasts everyone born in October—whether they have a reality TV show, perfume line, sex tape, or not—with an All October Birthdays Party. All October birthday boys and girls drink free (with ID) 10 p.m.-midnight. If your birthday falls in another month, you can still buy your way into the birthday club for $10 (girls) or $20 (guys). And everyone can pre-game from 8-10 p.m. for $10. (Doors 9 a.m., event begins 10 p.m.) Blue Martini supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a Pink Party beneﬁt. All ladies in pink are entered to win prizes, and everyone who makes a donation receives a free glass of champagne. (Doors 4 p.m., out-of-town guys $20 after 11:30 p.m., local guys $10.) At Planet Hollywood, funny lady Wanda Sykes takes to the stage during her second of two consecutive nights of comedy inside the Chi Showroom. Doors 8 p.m., $75, 18+.
SeveN NIghtS Sun. 17 Haze is usually closed on Sundays, but this week, the Aria hot spot opens for a special performance by legendary DJ Bob Sinclar. (Doors 10:30 p.m., $40 guys, $20 girls.) Meanwhile, the Light Group’s regular Sunday night staples are still going strong: Revolution at The Mirage observes gay night in fabulous fashion, as Divas Las Vegas celebrates its one-year anniversary (Doors 10 p.m., $20 cover, locals free.), and The Bank gives the weekend a similarly stylish but straight send-off at Bellagio. Doors 10:30 p.m., $40, locals free.
Mon. 18 With the ﬁnal days of summer upon us, it’s time to pack up the pool for another year. On the bright side, there’s plenty of booze to drink! So, The Mirage’s adults-only, top-optional pool invites revelers to Drink Bare Dry. Beginning at 11 a.m., locals can drink (and drink and drink) for free until the booze is gone. Meanwhile, DJs Karma and David Christian entertain. ($20 cover, locals free.) After the sun goes down, the Beat Clan takes over Jet. The booth will overﬂow with talent as DJs Hollywood ( pictured), Karma, Ikon, David Christian, Hope and Casanova present one big super-spin session. Just call it DJ-palooza. Doors 10:30 p.m., $30 guys, $20 girls, locals free before midnight.
Tue. 19 Kick off PBR at Rockhouse, as tourist and locals both enjoy two-for-one beers and $5 shots. Meanwhile, all bull-riders (and those who are full of it, but look the part) get bottle service for $100, and there’s no cover if you show your PBR ticket. In front of Imperial Palace, doors 9 p.m., $5 guys, ladies free.
Wed. 20 Parties at the Playboy Mansion appeal to both sexes, and tonight, both girls and guys can win their way into Hef’s revered playland, thanks to Lavo. The Palazzo’s go-to club is all about equal opportunity this evening, as it swings both ways, and hosts a Ladies’ Man and Mans’ Lady Contest that awards free tickets to what may be the sexiest Halloween party on the planet—the Kandy Halloween bash at the Playboy Mansion—to the guy with the biggest Hefner-like player persona, and the girl with the most female friends. We’re thinking this is one party that Holly Madison won’t be attending. Doors 11 p.m.,$20 guys, $10 girls, all locals free. October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 45
Blue Martini | town Square
Photography by Amy Schaefer
Upcoming oct. 15 | cocktails for a cause oct. 16 | tHe PiNk PartY oct. 20 | laDies NiGHt WitH DJ Jace oNe
46 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Blush | Wynn
Upcoming OCT. 15 | FERGIE FOOTWEAR GIFTING OCT. 20 | WE LOVE HOUSE WEDNESDAYS OCT. 22 | DJ HERO 2 OFFICIAL RELEASE PARTY
48 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Photography by Jessica Blair
Pure | Caesars PalaCe
Photography by Beverly Oanes
Upcoming oct. 16 | DJ MARSHALL BARNES
oct. 19 | INDUStRY NIGHt WItH DJS cYBERKID AND SHIFt oct. 23 | DJ Jesse Marco
50 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Tao Beach | The VeneTian
54 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Photography by Tony Tran
Nightlife The X Factor
Oh, You Fancy, Huh? Now in its sixth year, Vegas Prom plays dress-up, poolside at Tao Beach
Lamprey brings his booze-fueled interactive concert to the Hard Rock Café.
Booze Traveler Zane Lamprey sings the songs that make the whole world drink By Xania Woodman Zane Lamprey, host of HDNet’s Three Sheets and Drinking Made Easy, will bring his Zane Lamprey Sings the Booze Tour to Vegas on Oct. 22. But before he takes the stage, Lamprey took a call from Vegas Seven. Zane, you just performed your educational comedy, Drinking Made Easy, at House of Blues Las Vegas in July. How would you say you made drinking even easier for us? My whole stand-up was about merging comedy and education so that people left there and went, “Wow! I just learned something and had a good time, at that.” This new show is a nine-song concert. What might we learn this time around? Oh, I hope you learn nothing! I hope that people walked away from the Drinking Made Easy tour having learned something. And I hope you walk from Sings the Booze with one of my songs that you can’t seem to get out of your head. For example? [Singing] Everybody’s got a buddy like my buddy Steve/Best friend that there could ever be/But when he’s drinkin’ and drinkin’, he takes a break from thinkin’/Now he’s your responsibility/He goes from Jekyll to Hyde, Bonnie to Clyde/Everybody’s got a buddy like Steve. Are you a singer, comedian or foodie? I’m a self-made alcohol pseudo-expert. My training was actually in acting. … I eventually landed on a show called Three Sheets, which, as with everything 60 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
I do, I put my heart and soul into it and tried to make it relatable and have me be able to relate to it … Thankfully what I was relating to was going out and traveling around and drinking. I’ve come to ﬁnd out that I’m pretty damned good at that! Throughout your travels, what has been the rarest spirit-related experience? I had Louis XIII [cognac] in Cognac, France, with the guy who actually invented it. That was sort of a big experience. And what was the wackiest thing you drank? In Season 1 of Drinking Made Easy, in Milwaukee, we went into this place called Bad Genie. This guy had a drink called the Scorpion Shot: a shot of over-proof rum with a dead scorpion in it. I said, “What’s the most anyone’s ever done in a night,” and he said nine. And I was like, “All right, can I beat that?” And he was like, “I hope you do!” And so at the end of the night I’d had 23 Dead Scorpion shots. And lived to talk about it. A bit of food and beverage going on there. You think lettuce is roughage?! You have no idea! And that’s probably for the best. So, if you had to choose: food or beverage? Shit, I’d probably last longer if I did a show about food, right? But I’m the drinkin’ guy, so I’ll stick with what works. Zane Lamprey Sings the Booze, Oct. 22, Hard Rock Café on the Strip. Doors 8 p.m., show 9 p.m., $20-25 tickets at TicketWeb.com.
“Nails done, hair done, everything did …” See, gentlemen? Hip-hop artist Drake gets it! Prom dress, proper prom coif, makeup, Choos, purse and the ultimate prom accessory—a date. It’s all labor done in hopes of winning a place in the annual Vegas Prom court. For many, prom brings back memories, for some it brings back nightmares. But no matter what your relationship to the court, this prom is decidedly different; this time there is no curfew. The sixth annual Vegas Prom (VegasProm.com) went off without a hitch on Oct. 5, a crisp early fall Tuesday evening under the stars at Tao Beach. A nightlife industry-centric prom presents unique challenges we never faced in high school; just getting through the door is a higher hurdle when everyone in line is “someone.” Inside, photographer Shane O’Neal captured the nostalgia as we mugged for him before a green screen, some shots more serious than others. At the bar, the punch was spiked with Stoli 80. After ﬁve Prom Queen nominations, last year I narrowly beat Hef’s ex, Playboy Playmate Holly Madison, for the coveted title, a credential I have more than once considered listing on my résumé. This year it was my privilege to crown as queen last year’s princess, Haze cocktail server Shannon Kelly. Faux though it may be, I at times wondered what I was doing at a prom at all, let alone crowned bouffant ’do, courtesy of Globe Salon. “Were this Bayside Their Highnesses, Kelly High,” I laughed, and Woodman. slow-dancing miles apart from a partner, “we would have graduated two years ago to Saved by the Bell: The New Class.” But for the many newcomers already making huge waves in the Vegas nightlife/daylife scene, they were rightfully enchanted by the nostalgia, just as founders Kalika Moquin, Bo Karlen and Chad McGeehan (a.k.a. DJ Vegas Vibe) intended. “But this could be so much bigger for Las Vegas!” observed one Prom court royal of the somewhat clique-y event’s potential. Not to worry—Moquin has already hinted that plans for Vegas Prom 7 are well in-hand, and that for all those dewy-fresh prom-court hopefuls, there is always next year. A “career carouser,” Xania Woodman (pronounced Han-ya) is an impassioned nightlife and beverage writer, editor, and blogger, causing a stir in Sin City since 2001. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prom photo by Tony Tran
By Xania Woodman
Excess is never enough. And, this week, we’re prepared to prove it. By Xania Woodman Ice on Ice
The Monica Martini
As served at Minus 5 Ice Lounge inside Mandalay Place and Monte Carlo, $10,000
35 BoTTles and counTIng (doWn)
nanbu Bijin ‘Frozen Beauty’ daiginjo sake Available in 720-milliliter bottles at Sushi Samba at the Palazzo for $2,010, and $2,400 at Shibuya inside the MGM Grand Seekers of extremely rare, ultra-premium sakes prepare to meet your sake grail. Kosuke Kuji San—heir to the Nanbu Bijin Kura sake brewery, Iwate prefecture brewers since 1915 and formerly Kuji Brewery—made this sake during his ﬁrst year as master brewer. When it won the gold medal in a government-sponsored competition, Kuji San stored the 65 existing bottles at subzero temperatures for 10 years, after which just 35 were released on Chinese New Year, Feb. 14, to only a handful of restaurants in the world, including two in Las Vegas. With notes of grape and candied plum on the nose, Frozen Beauty is slightly sweet, soft and luxurious on the palate, and well-rounded. Shibuya sake specialist Dieter Xiao recommends pairing the Nanbu Bijin with Kampachi sashimi with fresh yuzu, trufﬂe oil and garlic or Chilean sea bass cooked on Shibuya’s teppanyaki table. 64
Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Clockwise from above: the Monica Martini, Frozen Beauty and King Richard’s Pride.
greaTer Than The suM oF hIs parTs
King richard’s pride As served at BOA Steakhouse, in the Forum Shops at Caesars, $1,000 Not only must you be in the chips but in the know to have what Richard’s having; King Richard’s Pride is not on the menu. “The spirits used to make it are the ﬁnest in the world,” says BOA general manager Brian Mongeon. “Each one has a history all its own. That’s what we tried to capture: the ﬁnest ingredients in history coming together to make a completely original modern cocktail.” Mixologist Eric Smith’s creation begins with two full ounces of Hennessy Richard Cognac (the top end of the Hennessy brand, named for its founder, Richard Hennessy; $225 shot, $7,200 bottle), continues with nearly an ounce of Dom Pérignon Rose 1996 ($939), and culminates with Chambord, lime juice, a splash of cran and a muddled orange slice. “Despite its rich ingredients, it’s a very palatable, easy-to-drink cocktail,” Mongeon says. Adding impressive to incredible, the King’s tipple is served in a Baccarat “Vega” cocktail glass. Pride may be a sin, but you have to admit, it’s downright delicious.
The Monica Martini photo by Anthony Mair
The answer will surely be “Yes!” and likely before you’ve even popped the question as soon as she notices that her Jewel of Russia Ultra Vodka martini is garnished with a diamond engagement ring (a cool 90 percent of the cocktail’s cost). With just 48 hour’s notice, Ice Occasions will entomb the Aaron Lelah Jewelers ring of your choice into either a crystal clear ice sphere or cocktail glass made from pure Canadian glacier water. Lovebirds ﬁrst get suited up in faux fur coats and hats before being sent inside one of Minus 5’s two world-famous Vegas ice lounges. There amid the carved ice statues, pelt-covered loveseats and chandeliers, the drinks are presented to the couple and the rest is up to him. Interestingly, the Monica is so-named for a Minus 5 bartender engaged three times in two years. But perhaps that’s a bit of trivia best left on ice. Minus5Experience.com.
The NaTioNal Newsroom This week in the New York Observer
Many newcomers arrive in New York with idealized notions of living in the city but discover that life in the Big Apple isn’t all they dreamed it would be.
Gotham handcuffs It’s the ﬂip side to ‘if you can make it here’ ... What happens when you do and you want to leave?
By Dana Rubinstein When Kathleen Parker, foil to Eliot Spitzer on CNN, wrote an op-ed in the Sept. 29 Washington Post about her displeasure with her recent move to New York City—the “rules for potted plants on an apartment terrace,” “a building ban on lighting birthday candles”—Manhattan media meted out a swift punishment. The Awl encouraged her to move to Westchester. Gawker derided her “whining.” Had she spent more than three weeks here before unleashing her displeasure maybe Parker would have had the requisite time to learn an important lesson: One does not publicly castigate New York City in New York City, particularly as a newcomer. “It’s like someone telling you, ‘Here’s your dream and the emperor has no
clothes,’” said John Falk, a writer and lifelong New Yorker who recently moved to Pittsburgh. “If you’re kind of derisive about it, it’s causing you to question your whole game plan.” Of course, most New Yorkers know what’s rough about their city, and could empathize with Parker, who must suffer this town for the sake of her ambition. It sometimes seems that the only pastime occupying more New Yorkers’ minds, besides bragging about New York, is fantasizing about getting out. Yet, they won’t—or can’t. The recession has left the city more of an archipelago than ever, as opportunities recede elsewhere and strand its professional and creative classes, who remain acutely aware of what they’re giving up to give their best years to New York.
“I came here with this kind of idealistic conception of New York,” said Angela, 27, who works in a big publishing house and lives in Astoria. “That lasted for a good year-and-a-half to two years, and then suddenly over the past year and-ahalf, the high cost of living started to set in; my friends elsewhere started getting married and buying houses.” And certain things about New York just began striking her as sad. “Like two years ago, I was coming home and outside on the sidewalk there was this little adorable chubby kid, and he was making a snow angel on the sidewalk in like two inches of snow and it just broke my heart,” Angela said. “This is wrong, you’re making a snow angel on public sidewalk property! You should have a yard. I don’t think
ultimately if I ever do want a family I can do this. ... I will probably have to switch careers to do that. That’s probably going to happen.” Jeremy Smerd, a 36-year-old Park Slope resident and reporter at Crain’s New York Business, likes New York plenty, but he never imagined he’d stay here after he graduated from journalism school seven years back. “I think we’re all sort of bound to some degree by the bad economy, limiting our choices,” Smerd said. “I did not think I was going to stay in New York. I thought I was going to go to a smaller place and start at a small newspaper. But it was right around that time newspapers started tanking. I ended up staying in New York and going from one strange news organization to another. I think I’ve had an up-and-down career—not a linear trajectory, where you go from a small to a medium to a large newspaper. But I’m happy where I’m at right now, so that’s good.” The conventional wisdom is that these pros are here because they choose to be: because they picked professions that ﬁnd their apotheoses in New York, like media, publishing, ﬁnance, real estate, certain types of law. When the pace, the limitations, the expense, the loneliness sets in, you’re free to leave. Unless you’re not. When you’ve reached a certain point, what other city will have you? A $400,000 house with two acres in Decatur, N.Y., sounds lovely, but where’s the demand for a $300,000 a year banker there? (And it’s not just a hunch, either—New York really is a solid place to ride out the recession: More than 10 percent of new private-sector jobs created in the U.S. this year have been here.) “Being that I don’t have a lot of ﬁnancial backing yet, being that I’m young, New York is really the only place where I can leverage my relationships to do that,” said Jack Heaney, a 31-year-old Brooklynite originally from Chicago. “My experience is that if you’re creative and a bit of a hustler and hard worker, serious people will take you seriously here. They’ll listen to you. “That kind of opportunity is unique to New York. And that experience is reinforced even more in a bad economy.” And then there’s Sally, a 31-year-old commercial production executive from the U.K., who would love to live in a place that offers more peace, more Continued on Page 72 October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 69
Former President George W. Bush poses with then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in Washington on Oct. 3, 2008.
Wall Street’s Republican Problem In backing the G.O.P., the ﬁnancial industry has no out if things turn ugly again By Max Abelson Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was standing in front of a hardware store display of screws last month, recording the Weekly Republican Address. “Just as John Hancock,” he said into the camera, “boldly signed his name to the Declaration of Independence, so that even Britain’s King George could read it, I want to say this slowly, so there is no room for misinterpretation.” The Kevin McCarthy who starred in the 1956 sci-ﬁ fable Invasion of the Body Snatchers had died a few days earlier, at age 96. This one, the man who wrote the House Republicans’ new Pledge to
America, paused to curve his mouth into an oval. “Our government has failed us. From the billion-dollar bailouts to the stimulus package,” he said, keeping his body still but tilting his head from side to side, “you cried stop.” On the second page of its foreword, in between photographs of the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, his pledge likewise vows to permanently end bailouts. But since well before the ofﬁcial new blueprint, and even without considering the great vengeance and furious anger of the Tea Party wing, Republicans have been crusading against
government support of Wall Street. That hasn’t deterred Wall Street’s leaders, exasperated by a president who called them “a bunch of fat-cat bankers,” ﬂabbergasted by intricate new regulation and insulted that tax rates for the wealthy may go back to where they’d been before Bush. Beginning in February, when 17 of the top 25 federal beneﬁciaries of the industry were Republicans, ﬁnancial industry money has seesawed neatly from left to right. “What people care about is they want a more pro-business regime— that’s it,” one of the city’s most important hedge fund managers said in a very brief interview. But between dread about sovereign debt, the housing market, unemployment, third-quarter losses and deﬂation—if not inﬂation, too—it does not seem impossible that another ﬁnancial crisis could somehow happen again. And if Wall Street gets its way, it will have nudged into power a party that has deafeningly proclaimed the evils of government intervention.
Does Wall Street’s support of a party that’s openly pledged not to save them mean it has accepted it shouldn’t be bailed out again? Interviews with executives suggested not, for three reasons. They think that another crisis won’t happen, or that if it does, they will not need another bailout because of reforms, or that if they do, our country’s leaders would oblige, no matter who’s in power. “We’ve learned campaign rhetoric is to get elected, and when I’m elected I do what I wanted to do in the ﬁrst place. Look at this administration,” said the chairman of Petrus Partners, H. Fred Krimendahl II, an alumnus of Goldman Sachs, where he is a senior director. Krimendahl, speaking just after the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was brought to its ofﬁcial end on Oct. 3, has voted for Republicans since Eisenhower. “Look, if something happened again on Wall Street that would really threaten the entire system, and had the danger that it would bring everything down, I’m not sure it would make a difference.” The last Republican administration’s choice between free-market purity and saving the ﬁnancial system from apocalyptic collapse was not, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson wrote later, really a choice at all. Since then, as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and former International Monetary Fund ofﬁcial Simon Johnson has written, the Dodd-Frank reforms have done nearly nothing to make it any easier to safely wind down a cross-border giant like Citi without government support. What has dramatically changed is the pitch of fury. “Frankly,” as the Republican consultant Frank Luntz wrote in a memo about ﬁnancial reform, “the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout.” He advised that the outrage was a “time bomb set to go off on Election Day,” but also, in a closing section on words to use, recommended the phrase “never again,” an oath associated with genocide and the Holocaust. What would the party do, then, in case of another systemic crisis? “I think both Wall Street and everyone in Washington regard the fall of 2008 as a once-ina-generation clusterfuck,” a source close to House Republican leadership said. “You’re asking a question about a theoretical that both Wall Street and Washington don’t expect to happen.” Last month, the Congressional Oversight Panel issued a monthly report whose conclusion has an entire section called “TARP ‘Stigma’ Has Grown and May Prove an Obstacle to Future Stability.” The more something is called evil, the harder it is to use. “I can’t Continued on Page 74
70 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Photo by Yuri Gripas/ AFP/ Getty Images
The National Newsroom
I Hate You, You Hate Me Carl Paladino is one thing. But when did the rest of us get so angry? By Bob Morris I was walking out of a children’s clothing store with a toddler. A man coming in held the door for a second. “You’re welcome,” he barked as I passed through. OK, I was too distracted to notice him or thank him. But did I deserve such a harsh rebuke? In a moment of Carl Paladino, Mel Gibson and Tea Party madness, we are living in angry times. A patron outside a Brooklyn bar last week kills a man whose little dog is tied too close to his little dog. An 82-year-old theater producer on the Queen Mary 2 doesn’t like being told by a man at her dinner table to shut up or to hear him say there are too many Jews onboard, so she tells him to fuck himself and ends up locked in her cabin. “She tends to get belligerent,” a passenger told the New York Post. Demonstrators angry about a gay student’s suicide at Rutgers (where, ironically, a Civility Project for teaching courtesy and respect was in progress) recently had to be physically separated from other students. Also, anti-gay attacks were reported in Chelsea and the West Village. Congress is a war zone. AntiMuslim militias are on the rise around the country. Sarah Palin is, too, of course, and likens herself and her fans to ﬁercely protective “mama grizzlies.” Never mind that she doesn’t say what’s actually threatening her children. The anger gives everyone a reason to get worked up and bare some teeth. YouTube is a national archive of celebrity tantrums and meltdown, from Bill O’Reilly to Christian Bale and Michael Cera. You’d think that in an age when everything can go viral, the famous would practice some self-control. Yet rage seems to work for all the cable pundits these days. The angrier you are on a reality show, the higher your ratings, even if you’re Gordon Ramsay and your vitriol has been linked to two suicides. So where is all this anger coming from? It could be the economy, or
perhaps it’s the tinderbox of the world right now. Yelling gives people a voice and a sense of control, even when they have none. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times suggests the Tea Party is more a teakettle because it’s about spouting off steam more than anything else. If not blood, people want revenge. Perhaps that’s why Angry Birds, which gives power to the injured and wingless, has become such a popular video game right now. It recently inspired a New York Times Magazine columnist to gleefully declare, “I hate everything!” I’m only slightly more selective than that in my hatred. Let’s see. Street fairs that give nothing back to the city but trafﬁc jams and fried dough. Idling Fresh Direct trucks blocking streets in Manhattan, where markets and gourmet shops are within walking distance. Texting pedestrians you have to step around on sidewalks. The ones coming at you with umbrellas. Loudmouth parties at expensive restaurants. Impossibly arrogant doormen like the ones at the Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Slow drivers in the left lane. And, of course, the criminally inept. The other day, after my Long Island Railroad train was canceled, the next train to arrive an hour later was listed on the wrong track. I missed it and ended up delayed two hours. I complained to a station employee. Instead of being defensive, she was apologetic and conciliatory. It didn’t get me home on time, but it made me feel better. It also made me think that there’s hope, even in these mad-as-hell times. Look at Pete Rouse, Rahm Emanuel’s successor. He’s known for his gentle cool, not his bluster. “He puts out ﬁres,” Tom Daschle told The New York Times. “He reduces friction.” But does he hold doors open for people without expecting a thank-you?
You’d think that in an age when everything can go viral, the famous would practice some self-control. Yet rage seems to work for all the cable pundits these days. The angrier you are on a reality show, the higher your ratings.
October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 71
The National Newsroom
Call Me Irres-pun-sible 1
ACROSS 1 Vial relatives 8 African snake 13 Bit of wisdom 18 Abandon 19 Double-check, in a way 20 Make lovable 22 Deli item that always tastes a little rubbery? 24 Energy shortage? 25 Anatomical duct 26 Law, in French 27 The Trojans, brieﬂy 28 Poli ___ 29 Spam, mostly 30 L.A. movie org. with a Life Achievement Award 32 Italian possessive 33 What Menotti’s Wise Men left? 36 Type of loop that hurts when you tie it? 40 Giant slugger 41 Livens (up) 42 René of tennis 43 Sneaker bottoms 47 Pack animal? 49 Surgeon’s insertion 50 Religious folks who like to toss ideas back and forth? 55 Peruvian port (anagram of A LOCAL) 58 Cycle starter 59 Doc of the bay? 60 Space 61 “It’s comin’ right ___!”
100 104 105 106
64 Actor Kilmer 65 Crows 67 City near Kobe 69 Novel about a kid who looks just like Orville Redenbacher? 73 “You ___ be there” 74 Lassie, for one 75 Like many cold meds 76 Some wines 77 “Sail ___ Ship of State!” 78 It precedes juin 80 Reggae relative 81 Crewman under Capt. Kirk 83 Patrick McGoohan’s old TV series about Buddha? 87 Sharp-smelling 91 Surreal ending? 92 Got tight 93 Second tries, in cards 95 Lilith portrayer on “Cheers” 98 Like some stares 100 What mice are part of ? 102 Composer of “The Unﬁnished Dessert”? 107 Poetic paean 108 Nametags, brieﬂy 109 Novelist Deighton 110 Uncommon sense? 111 Boathouse prop 112 Pub order 113 Eb’s wife? 115 “Somebody Up There Likes Me” co-star Pier
Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Answers found on Page 74
41 47 51
By Merl Reagle
117 Flat, like photos of stately houses? 122 Gloria Steinem’s Ohio birthplace 123 Exhausted 124 Weight of a sort 125 “___ Work It Out” 126 Principle 127 ___ bar DOWN 1 Pak. neighbor, to the IOC 2 Pasture sound 3 Alberta, for one 4 Meat marking 5 Brand of chips 6 Duke Ellington’s inits. 7 Resembling the Baltic, e.g. 8 See 40 Across 9 Planet ending 10 High-IQ crew 11 Cookie quantity 12 Wood-shaping tool 13 Georgia symbol 14 Composer Morricone 15 Lime drink 16 “3:10 to Yuma,” for one 17 Ailing 19 Diamond stat 21 Coarse sounds 23 Stable color? 28 Jet Set jet, once 30 Piercing tools 31 Royal decree 32 “I pity the fool” utterer 33 Longfellow’s bell town
34 Get checkmated 35 Eye opening? 37 Idea 38 This, in Tijuana 39 Other, in Tijuana 44 Former Soviets 45 Wear by rubbing 46 Believer of a sort 48 Cinema droid 50 Actress Edie 51 Boob tubes 52 Awestruck 53 Defenseless 54 Practices with a pug 56 CXII halved 57 Italian racecar 61 Dumas dueler 62 “Meaner ___ junkyard dog” 63 French wine 65 Bulgarian, e.g. 66 Side issue? 68 Tidies (up) 70 Some apples 71 Beast of Borden? 72 1994 campus comedy 79 Letting-in or letting-on 81 Arrived in time for 82 Disney dog 84 Not even un sou 85 Eyelid woe 86 Say hi to 88 Thinking 89 “Kiss Me, Kate” tune, “Where Is the Life That Late ___?” 90 Mil. awards 93 Squirrels, for example 94 Language ender 95 Neighbor of A 96 Heretofore, to poets 97 Slip-on bracelet 99 John Q. Law on I-5 101 Caffeine-laden nut 103 F. Scott’s wife 104 Shake awake 105 Austrian spa town 106 Disappear over time 112 Rock booster 113 Twain protagonist 114 Like Rip’s beard 116 Common Market inits. 117 Palindromic king 118 Bad place to be stuck 119 “Or ___ thought” 120 Candle total, perhaps 121 Guitarist Paul
!!! VOLUME 16 IS HERE !!! To order Merl’s crossword books, visit www.sunday crosswords.com.
10/14/2010 © M. Reagle
Gotham Continued from Page 69
nature, less stress, more community. But in this economy, she just can’t see divorcing herself from such a good job in the one profession she knows. “It sounds totally corny, but the older I get, I would prefer to be somewhere quieter, with more nature,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure here, you know. But my job doesn’t really translate anywhere else. It does L.A. or London, but you don’t make as good money as you do in New York. But it’s hard in this economy to walk away from a really good position that other people would really die for.” In late 2009, Science magazine published an academic study of happiness in the United States and found New York state residents to be the unhappiest, vying for the honor with New Jersey and Connecticut. (Residents of Louisiana and Hawaii, were, according to the survey, the happiest in the nation. Bully for them.) Much as New York boosters like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gawker and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz may protest, living in New York these days can be a problematic proposition. “There are lots and lots of good things and bad things about New York,” said Andrew Oswald, an economist and one of the study’s authors. “But the key fact is that wages are high, people earn a lot of money there. An economist like me would say that’s to compensate them for the difﬁculties of living in the state of New York or the city of New York. Think of the congestion of New York from an Englishman’s point of view, the noise and crowding.” (Oswald is an Englishman.) “Thirty thousand a year, you can deﬁnitely get by on that in Vermont,” he added. “In New York, that probably doesn’t buy you a great standard of living.” There are countless reasons for reasonable people to reasonably conclude that New York is, at the very least, a difﬁcult place to live without a trust fund: the far-beyond-reach housing prices; the claustrophobic skyscrapers; the dirty sidewalks; the gum-spattered subways; the self-importance; the loneliness; the crowding; the Bloombergian homogenization of once disparate neighborhoods; the oceans of ambition and accompanying cut-throat behavior; the insufferable interest in food; the smell in August; the gray slush in winter; the dreary days in between; the paucity of marriageable men; the preponderance of lights from jets ﬂying low over South Slope tenements; the scarcity of stars; the ubiquity of “stars.” On and on... Perhaps it’s a matter, then, of not how could the professional and creative classes leave this wonderful place behind—rather, how could they eventually not? “A lot of my writer friends keep places in New York City, because the idea was to get there, get in the publishing world, and then they hate it,” Falk said. “And to sort of pull their troops back and move upstate and have no connection to New York City or, God forbid, move to Oregon. It’s a defeat. So you’ll put up with a lot. “In Pittsburgh, suddenly I’m hanging out with neurosurgeons and computer robotics Ph.D.s from around the world,” he said. “There’s this whole world outside of New York. It’s like that New Yorker cartoon. I was just blinded by it.”
The National Newsroom
Personal Finance Wall Street Continued from Page 70
get into the hypothetical,” the Republican National Committee spokesperson Doug Heye said. “Sure, I can stand back and say, ‘Oh, there are lots of neat paradoxes going on in this election cycle,’ but that’s not something we’ve engaged in.” What’s stranger is that Wall Street donors don’t seem to have, either. The head of investment banking at one of the large banks said that because of the recent ﬁnancial reform, Republicans wouldn’t actually be faced with the choice between systemic collapse and roaring hypocrisy. “I think the resolution authority in Dodd-Frank goes a lot of the way,” the source said. Better yet, it may not even have to be tested. “The debt creation that led to this massive bubble took over a 25-year period in this country,” he said. “I don’t know that we’re going to be in a situation like that for a long time. Having said that, the chances that we’d get through it without having to utilize something like TARP, whatever year it would be then, are higher based upon the resolution authority.” Because of that, the hedge fund manager said in the short interview, “none of these big banks are going to need a bailout for a very long time, maybe ever.” And even if they do, Krimendahl said, a solution could be found. “I think there’s a way to sell anything to the public,” he said, “if you have the right leadership.” In the meantime, the business world’s donors don’t mind that the Republican National Committee has made ads that show the street sign on Wall Street melting, with sound effects and a minor-key piano melody. “Wall Street squanders our money,” a gravelly voice says, “and Washington is forced to bail them out with, you guessed it, our money. Could it get any worse?” That ad, whose ﬁnal frame warns about President Obama’s spending plan, was from September 2008. But if Republicans have mixed emotions about Wall Street, Wall Street also has slightly mixed feelings about the Republicans. “It’s not as though they’re looking at them as blood brothers,” a private-equity communications chief said. “They’re just looking at a more sympathetic audience.” Call Me Irres-pun-sible By Merl Reagle
AMP U F OR S GOOD V A A F I W I NC L A CO S T E N C A TME T H E P H A D T ONO S A CR I B E B E F R A N L E N A NGE T O L E WE C
L E S A K E R Y E A R B S L O I M I A E R K NO S T E T T F R A L L AO V A L R I NC E O CO L MA I S E D A S I SM T E I C Y Z S H E R E S P O L I T U DO U S A N T E
MAMB E R E A L I N T U S C AMA H T R E A D I S B E T R I BOA S A ND T L I E K A M A NMA N S E D E E B E T A R A DORM E DU P N E T
74 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
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S L S O T S E T V T S H E O T R S N R KO OD L E A N T S
P E A C H T R E E
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A R T O PO C U L A E D S Y E F S I ON I N
A R L D E A R EM I A A D S OK U P P E P S T I A N S GA P S A K A P P E R R E D S U CR I D E A L S S T EM I D S L O ON A L N AGE G L E S
Shorter-term mortgages not always a better solution By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services
Should you shorten the term of your mortgage? Today’s low rates have millions of homeowners rushing to reﬁnance. However, a large number of mortgage owners in the U.S. are switching from the old industry standard of 30-year ﬁxed-rate loans to those that must be paid off in 15 or 20 years, said Jeff Lazerson, president of the online brokerage Mortgage Grader. Lazerson estimates that between 40 percent and 50 percent of his customers have been choosing shorterterm loans in recent months. The shorter-term loans can save a half-percentage point in interest charges. And repaying sooner means you pay less interest over time. The downside? You obligate yourself to a higher monthly payment. And even if you can afford that, there may be better ways to invest your cash. “The long-term beneﬁts of a shorter-term mortgage are real,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of the consumer mortgage website HSH.com. “Is it the best use of your cash? That’s going to depend.” Let’s take a look at the options, using two hypothetical consumers—Suzie Secure and John Chance—who each need a $300,000 loan. In today’s market, they could secure 30-year ﬁxed-rate mortgages at about 4.5 percent or 15-year loans at about 4 percent. Suzie Secure chooses the lower-rate 15-year mortgage, which comes with a monthly payment of $2,219. John Chance secures the 30-year loan, paying $1,520 a month—nearly $700 less than Secure. Secure pays off her loan after 180 monthly payments, for a total cost of $399,420. Chance pays for 360 months, which brings his total cost to $547,200—or $147,780 more than Secure. So is Secure better off? That depends on what Chance does with his monthly savings. If he invests that money regularly and is able to earn more than 4.5 percent in interest, he’d be comparatively better off. Let’s say, for example, that Chance invested in a diversiﬁed portfolio of big company stocks, which has earned an average of about 9.6 percent over the 83year period tracked by Ibbotson Associates, a market research ﬁrm headquartered in Chicago. Assuming he got that average return, Chance would end up with a nest egg worth $279,305 at the end of 15 years, but he’d still owe $198,701 on his mortgage. If he wanted to be debt-free like Secure, he could take that savings and pay off his loan, and still have more than $80,000 left in his investment portfolio. Of course stock returns are anything but guaranteed, as the last “lost decade” so vividly illustrates. If Chance wanted to take a somewhat safer course,
he could put the money in a portfolio made up of 50 percent stocks and 50 percent bonds, which has been considerably less volatile than portfolios made up of stocks alone. Historically, this investment mix produces long-term returns of 8.2 percent, according to Ibbotson. That would leave Chance with $246,216 at the end of 15 years—again considerably ahead of Secure. What about taxes? Chance will pay less federal income tax over the life of his loan because he can write off mortgage interest—and he’s paying more of it than Secure—but he’d owe tax on his investments when they are sold. For purposes of this example, we’ve assumed that this combination makes the tax issue a wash. The catch is that stock market returns are not guaranteed. So where Chance might end up with a windfall, he also might end up with less. In today’s market, there are no guaranteed investments that earn more than 4.5 percent. That said, the odds of earning more than 4.5 percent on long-term money are in Chance’s favor. There have only been a handful of 10-year periods when average stock market returns have been negative—two of them during the Great Depression and the rest during this last decade. Investors have a tendency to believe that whatever happened most recently is most likely to happen in the future, but Ibbotson data refutes that notion. If you look at decade-by-decade returns, bad decades were often followed by blockbuster decades; good decades—such as the 1980s and ’90s—were followed by this miserable decade, which was the worst in recorded history. Although no one knows when markets might turn, the chance of stocks earning more than 4.5 percent on average over a long stretch is good, history tells us. But, Gumbinger said, there’s another risk. Namely, Chance might not be disciplined enough to invest his savings. If he’s not, he ends up paying more with the longer-term loan and has nothing but depreciating consumer products to show for it. “Too many of us, when we have an extra $100 bucks, say ‘woo-hoo’ and the next thing you know it’s gone,” Gumbinger said. “You’ve got to look at these questions in the context of your life when you decide the smartest thing to do.”
The chance of stocks earning more than 4.5 percent on average over a long stretch is good, history tells us.
Kathy Kristof’s column is syndicated by Tribune Media Services. She welcomes comments and suggestions but regrets that she cannot respond to each one. E-mail her at email@example.com.
Arts & Entertainment
Laughs and long hours in the control room: (from left) chief audio engineer Mark Gray, Imagine Dragons lead vocalist Dan Reynolds and producer Brandon Darner.
A glimpse into the hidden recording studio at the Palms with local band Imagine Dragons
Photo by Anthony Mair
By Carla Ferreira I’m squeezed between guitar cases on a leather couch in the back of Studio X’s control room, trying to make myself a ﬂy on the wall. Although hidden in a sound booth, Dan Reynolds’ throaty Modest Mouse-esque vocals still reverberate into the room. The other members of his band, Imagine Dragons, are scattered in various glass-windowed isolation rooms, allowing everybody to see, but not hear, each other. Each separate voice and instrument ﬂows into the control room, uniting sound into music. My eyes come to rest on the mixing console,
which spans the length of the opposite wall. Hundreds of shining knobs and dials blur under my gaze as the distinctively pure sound of Reynolds and his band washes over me. That purity is the result of the vacuum silence of the Studio at the Palms, which produces an oddly disorienting space where there’s no such thing as an echo. Everything in the studio—the geometric shape of its rooms, the absence of corners and parallel lines, the multilayered ceiling, and the springy wood ﬂoor—was designed to create and maximize sound quality. For example, the wooden RPG wall panels diffuse sound. And the entire facility ﬂoats, physically isolated from the Palms building—a shell inside of a shell, a room sitting on pucks. At this moment, that sound is the Dragon’s catchy new song “Tokyo.” They play it over and over again, starting, stopping, tweaking this and that. And even though I’ve never heard the song before, I ﬁnd myself humming along. The Studio at the Palms is the best in Nevada. But when it opened in December 2005, it was intended to
be a mere service for artists staying in the hotel, like an elaborate equivalent to the famous Palms suite with a basketball court. However, according to studio director Zoe Thrall, “It has evolved into a destination studio for artists, providing them with services they can’t get anywhere else—from hotel perspective, food and fun.” Occasionally when an artist is in town or playing a show at the Pearl, they pop in and record some tracks. In case the artist packed light, the studio provides everything they could need, from vintage gear to state-of-the-art equipment. (Artists who have played the Pearl then recorded songs at the studio include Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Jay-Z, Maroon 5, John Legend, Usher, Ciara, Mary J. Blige, Chevelle and Hinder.) The studio’s also hardwired to the Pearl, allowing for shows to be recorded live with little notice. Live concert recordings can also be sold after shows with a new USB technology called Adara. Reclusive musicians who don’t want to use Studio X (or its sister, Studio Y) can record from any room in the Palms, thanks to the studio’s technology. Although many techno toys stand ready for visiting artists, the majority of the work done Continued on Page 78 October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 77
Arts & Entertainment
Music Palms studio Continued from Page 77
Hippie Hip-Hop Young rapper Wiz Khalifa enjoys peace, love and herbal pleasures By Andreas Hale
Hardware Store The Studio at the Palms has won the prestigious Mix Magazine Tech Award for Outstanding Studio Design, but the music that’s recorded there has also gone on to win awards. Here’s a sampling: GrAmmy-winninG AlBumS/SonGS: Best Rap Album: Eminem, Relapse. Best Contemporary R&B Album: Mary J. Blige, Growing Pains. Best Pop Performance by a Duo or a Group: Maroon 5, “Makes Me Wonder.” Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds sings in the isolated sound booth.
Las Vegas location doesn’t actually distract artists. “Once the artists are in here, they camp out,” Thrall says. “And the other distractions they usually have—like managers and record producers popping in—they don’t have because we are isolated from the music industry. But when they ﬁnish at 4 a.m., they can still go get a great meal and the streets aren’t dead—no other city has that to offer.” Five hours have passed and I’m exhausted, but the Dragons have a long night ahead of them. Closing the control room door behind me, I can still hear the muted sound of the band. And as I walk out, I admire a corner where the wall has been autographed by famous musicians. Lady Gaga signed one wall as “Government Hooker.” Katy Perry signed “a.k.a. Kitty Purry.” Wayne Newton wrote around the ﬁre detector that he’s “on Fire.” And the ﬁrst to sign one of the walls, Celine Dion, drew a giant pair of lips. I marvel at how many hours of hard, repetitive work each signature represents. Back on the casino ﬂoor, the everyday noise of life is shocking. I stare toward the Fantasy Tower and can’t imagine that somewhere up there is a ﬂoating studio. Imagine Dragons perform live with White Rabbits and Interpol at The Joint at the Hard Rock at 9 p.m. Oct. 22. $25.50-$29. Their new music will be available at ImagineDragonsMusic.com by the time of their Oct. 22 show, and will be available on iTunes at a later date.
Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa is not a household name. But his fans are so passionate that they call themselves the “Taylor Gang” (named after his favorite shoe—the Converse Chuck Taylors). The (self-proclaimed) Bob Marley of Hip-Hop’s music can be coined as hippie hip-hop. His songs embody partying, women and weed. Examples of those themes include 2007’s hit single “Say Yeah” and his recent “Kush and Orange Juice” mixtape, which trended on Twitter the day it was released. Since he debuted in 2005, his work has been recognized by hip-hop heavyweights Drake, Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross. In fact, Khalifa turned down touring with Drake in favor of going solo.
Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Tony Bennett, Duets: An American Classic.
PlAtinum SAleS: The Killers, Sam’s Town, multi-platinum. Maroon 5, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, multi-platinum. Tony Bennett, Duets: An American Classic, platinum. Timbaland, Shock Value, platinum. Celine Dion, Taking Chances, platinum. Journey, Revelation, multi-platinum. Gun’s N’ Roses, Chinese Democracy, platinum. Jamie Foxx, Intuition, platinum. Eminem, Relapse, platinum.
But as Atlantic Records’ newest signee prepares his as-yetuntitled album, he knows that making it on his own is the true sign of realizing his dream.“Like I always say,” Khalifa pauses to take a pull from his herbal pleasures. “I got to keep it going for myself so people will continue to respect it and I can one day be on the same level as a Rick Ross or a Snoop Dogg.” The 23-year-old paused after a show in Detroit to talk on the phone about his tour. “Every show has been sold out. We’ve made sure that everyone who comes out to the show leaves happy. Everyone participates, so it’s all fun. No ﬁghting and no violence. “Just expect hella energy,” he says, regarding his stage show. “It’s Taylor Gang mania.” House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, 6:30 p.m. doors, Oct. 24, $27, all ages
Palms Studio photo by Anthony Mair
at the Studio is actually long-term record projects. The Dragons have ﬁve days in the studio, which is shorter than a longterm project, but just enough time to record their seven new songs. That is, if they work efﬁciently. “What we like about this band is that they work hard and are really prepared when they come into the studio,” Thrall says of the classically trained musicians who each play multiple instruments. “Those are the things I want to tell local artists that they need to do.” Back in the control room, Dragons’ producer Brandon Darner listens to the band play, turns up the volume on Andrew Tolman’s drums and comments to Mark Gray, the Studio’s in-house sound engineer, that they should speed them up a bit. Darner is pushing the band to shake off the solemn recording vibe and instead produce an organic, natural performance. Bassist Ben McKee hopes that with Darner’s help, “This next group of songs [are] more close to what a live Imagine Dragons performance is—on an album.” Few local bands record at the Studio at the Palms because it costs about $1,500 a day. But the Studio does support the local arts scene. In addition to the annual recording of the Las Vegas Academy’s big band, Thrall handpicks local artists “to help them get into a studio of this caliber.” Imagine Dragons were selected to record in the Studio. When I’ve nearly memorized “Tokyo,” the music stops and the Dragons cram into the control room to decide which track they like best. Sprawled on random ﬂat surfaces (one has even joined me on the couch), the musicians retreat to their inner world while listening to imperceptibly different versions of the same song. Their faces are all so serious, but I’m having fun, enjoying their energetic mix of synth-pop and powerful lyrics. Although the Dragons aren’t sure if they’ll turn these songs into an album, the recordings are still crucial for the year-and-a-half-old band. McKee says it’s the “best group of songs so far … potential for breakthrough … lots of buzz. Some ears [who are] receptive to what we are doing are offering help to get them done.” After a few hours it’s hard to fathom that there’s a casino full of slot machines clanging below. Perhaps that’s why the
Arts & Entertainment
By Jarret Keene
Neil Young Le Noise (Reprise) Punning on the name of producer Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan), who constructed the dark soundscapes of Le Noise, Neil Young has released his most challenging work—which says something since Young has done synth-folk (1982’s Trans), R&B/blues (1988’s This Note’s For You) and feedback-noise (1991’s Arc). In interviews, Young characterizes his latest as “a horror movie”: eight stark songs recorded in Lanois’ Silver Lake mansion, full of big windows and tube amps, with the Canadian legend playing live and howling through a P.A. system. Afterward, Lanois tweaked and processed the recording like it was old photo ﬁlm in a darkroom. Loudest moments are “Walk With Me,” a plea for love wrapped in distortion, and the crushing “Angry World,” an acknowledgment of people’s wrath today. There are two acoustic, no less ambient moments, including “Love and War,” in which Young warbles: “I don’t really know what I’m saying.” A troubled masterpiece for troubled times. ★★★★✩
Belle & Sebastian Write About Love (Rough Trade) After enjoying the Scottish band’s excellent if a little mawkish Oct. 2 performance at The Pearl as part of the Matador At 21 party, I was eager to hear the new B&S disc. It’s very pop and a lot more polished than previous works, displaying much of the ’80s-style synth sound so rife today. The one-two upbeat punch of “I Didn’t See It Coming” (sung by violinist Sarah Martin) and “Come On Sister” provides a sugary rush at the album’s onset. It quickly subsides thanks to downer ballad “Calculating Bimbo,” for which prancing frontman Stuart Murdoch’s shaky alto isn’t suited. Footing is regained with the exuberant, bass-grooving, chiming-guitared “I Want the World to Stop,” which is hard to spin only once. The afterglow, however, is extinguished by another crappy ballad, “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John,” a duet with (barf!) Norah Jones, that offers trite lyrics: “Love is like a blossom that fades so quick.” The bloom falls off the rose of insipid, marzipan-grade R&B, too. ★★✩✩✩
Antony and the Johnsons Swanlights (Secretly Canadian) Hunger for transcendence—over mortality, sickness and heartbreak—graced every fragile note of transgendered British singer/songwriter Antony Hegarty’s 2005 masterpiece I Am a Bird Now. The work that followed has been ﬁrst-class yet lacking in the mysterious aura that helped Hegarty win the Mercury Prize. Swanlights is another beautiful but conceptually adrift effort in search of an idea. Part of the problem: Hegarty hasn’t moved on to new subject matter. Not that he needs to, but if the song “The Great White Ocean” is to be carefully considered as a work of art, it needs to, for instance, cease referencing “sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers,” and reach for more compelling language. Everything’s in place—Hegarty’s eerie, Bryan Ferry-like vibrato and consummate musicianship—but there’s nothing to make of abstract lines, “Ghost, leap from my heart/Chase the river/Chase the sunlight.” Vague yet intriguing, Swanlights is far from an ugly duckling. ★★★✩✩ 80 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
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Arts & Entertainment
The End Is Nigh
You’ll need to stock up on energy drinks and earplugs By Jarret Keene I’m either going to have to clone myself or develop a serious meth habit in order to keep up with the excellent live music happening this week in Las Vegas. Let’s start with New York-by-way-of-Denton, Texas, chillwave act Neon Indian at House of Blues on Oct. 14. The brainchild of Mexican-American Alan Palomo, Neon Indian last year released Psychic Chasms, a crushed-up, blissed-out electronic opus that I never tire of spinning. The track “Deadbeat Summer” is psychedelic candy that melts in your ears like a tab of acid on the tongue. You won’t need drugs to bask in the sunshine of this music; it’s that good. Unsigned baroque-popsters Kinch take command of The Bunkhouse on Oct. 15. If you miss the good old days of the Elephant 6 collective, then this Phoenix-based quartet delivers melodically winding, catchy tunes that rival Squeeze, Elvis Costello and other hook-crafting heroes. The guys who organize Neon Reverb have been booking some incredible shows at The Bunkhouse, and apparently they have a hard-on for guitar-happy Minor Suns, since the band is once again opening. If you’re more in a mood to suffer hearing loss that night, let me suggest Chapel Hill, N.C.’s bearded hard-rock avengers Valient Thorr at Las Vegas Country Saloon. Most of the time, these dudes sound like a bluesy, punked-out Judas Priest, but it’s their AC/DCinspired “Tomorrow Police,” a futuristic, libertarian-edged paranoid tale of an encroaching police state, that stands out. Been digging this band since I saw ’em open for Motörhead a couple years ago. Portland stoner-rock outﬁt Red Fang opens, and these guys kill on disc. Live? Let’s ﬁnd out. Even more volume and testosterone will be generated by Alice in Chains, Deftones and Mastodon, as these three powerhouse acts lay siege to The Joint on Oct. 16. (The show’s sold out, but there’s always Craigslist.) While I’m not a fan of these bands (mainly because I’m afraid listening to them will give me jock itch), I’ll put personal taste aside and admit this is one of the year’s bigger heavyrock shows in Vegas. Bring Lotrimin, and you should be ﬁne, ladies. Or take a more indie-rock route that evening with Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit at Beauty Bar, a show that was rescheduled from earlier this year. If you like Modest Mouse, you should enjoy the delicate, angular songcraft, especially as heard in Rabbit’s 2010 album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, which earned rave reviews. Also, this will be a see-and-be-seen-at show, so wear your best hipster garb. That same night, out of nowhere, producer Don Was’ quirky pop project, Was (Not Was), which garnered much acclaim and attention in the ’80s, performs at Rocks Lounge in Red Rock hotel-casino. It gets loud again with the Jägermeister Music Tour on Oct. 20, with Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax at The Pearl. Like I said, too much incredible music crammed into the next seven days. Please, God, give me the strength to absorb it all, especially the evil Slayer. Do you know any of the artists performing at this week’s Green Girl Music & Arts Festival? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. 82 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Biscuit Street Preacher’s colorful paintings prophesize a dark techno future By T.R. Witcher Las Vegas artist Biscuit Street Preacher’s new show at Trifecta Gallery is titled From Zenith to Nadir. But there’s not a lot on these involved canvases that leaves you thinking about high points. It’s the latter sense that predominates. The show—his third at Trifecta—plays like a fugue of American meltdown. Through his multilayered Basquiat-like collage style, Biscuit (née Robby Martin) presents a vision of society run amok, of faceless people seemingly zapped of identity, facing a chaotic world. Bits of technology ﬂoat all throughout the works: electric sockets, light switches, pipes and gauges. Perhaps these are symbols of our technological prowess, or perhaps instead a pathetic reminder that technology is incapable of saving us from ourselves. Among the most arresting pieces is “Zeus Meets His New Neighbors,” which features a series of orange horses outlined in neon green, with “B” brands—like they’re moving cuts of meat—in front of a Greek temple that seems not to evoke Zeus so much as the façade of a bank on Wall Street. Hovering to the side are ghoulish pink masks that resemble a mash-up of the ghosts in Pac Man and distended KKK hoods—while a forlorn Zeus looks on from above. Large wooden slats cover part of the canvas called “Thinking About Them,” but then they open up, revealing an image of a ’60s style, NASA-like control bank and a lonely man sitting on a mattress. The amorphously rendered humans in these paintings are more ideas of people than the real thing. The idea here is that we’re watching the scene from above rather than straight on, peeking in above the room’s dropceiling and ﬂuorescent lights, and we can see all the way down to the drain. Pieces of wood jut and dangle from many of these canvases. For example, “Population LA” contrasts an empty room full of green power generators with an empty locker room (there are two Chinese food containers but no workers around)—the “appendages” make the art seem like a found object, like it was ripped off of some billboard, pulled out of another context altogether. But these extra pieces also help destabilize the frame—as if the frame were buckling and bending and twisting to contain the myriad ideas and imagery smashed together inside. The piece that resonates most hopefully—and at that just barely—is his “The Next 100 Years,” which
Top: “Ice Cream Cold, Radiator Hot,” 69 by 71 inches, $3,800. Left: “The Big Comet Theory,” 52 by 42 inches, $3,000.
features a gallery of onlookers looking out from the top of a heavily stylized Hoover Dam (so stylized that one portion of the dam actually resembles the under-construction Freedom Tower at Ground Zero in New York). The more regular, controlled geometries of this painting seem to offer a measure of stability, of order—maybe of hope—but it’s hard to see which way we’re headed—up toward the heights of our achievements, or down to the bottom of the canvas, where a McDonald’s drink cup and a ﬁshbone nestle at the edge of another drain. The show’s title piece, “From Zenith to Nadir,” features a group of robot-looking people standing in front of an enlarged slide wheel of an old ViewMaster. According to a sheet of notes about the show, the painting is about people “trying to get their lives together but the View-Master reel shows them repeating history, never getting anywhere doing the same thing over and over.” The words seem a little hollow in the face of such a stark painting, which seems to depict the entire world undergoing a lobotomy. In both this painting and the others, the Biscuit Street Preacher reveals a grimly poignant world where our gauges, dials and generators may hum on reliably, but we seem to have lost our way. It’s well worth checking these bracing works for yourself. Through Oct. 29, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Fri, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sat-Sun, Trifecta Gallery, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., #160, 366-7001, TrifectaGallery.com
Arts & Entertainment
Sites to see By Geoff Carter “FASHIONABLY ENGORGED” (mallorysclothes.tumblr.com) I love Justine Bateman, OK? And it’s not because she’s picked up hipster cache since her halcyon days on Family Ties; nor because she’s a licensed pilot; nor because she has her own clothing line; nor because she testiﬁed before Congress is support of net neutrality; nor because she did a funny turn on Arrested Development; nor because she’s even more smoking-hot now, at age 44, than when she traded comic jabs with Michael J. Fox in 1982. No, I love Justine Bateman because the always-fashionable actress could rock a pair of shoulder pads like no one before or since. Tumblr blog, Mallory’s Clothes, which is posting every one of Bateman’s Family Ties outﬁts in chronological order, proves my point—and it even goes as far as calling one of Bateman’s padded-shoulder sweaters “fashionably engorged.” Mallory Keaton, I would happily put my head on your shoulder. Not a metaphor.
TO THE BATMOBILE, LET’S GO (buybatparts.com/joomla/index.php/replicas) “Atomic batteries to power! Turbines to speed!” With these immortal words did Adam West and Burt Ward ﬁre up the mighty Batmobile, the third best-looking thing on the original 1966-68 Batman television show (after Julie Newmar, of course, and Cesar Romero). The Batmobile, a custom-built hot rod based on the chassis of a Lincoln Futura Show Car with the engine and transmission of a Ford Galaxie, was one sick, sweet mother of a mover onscreen and a creaking, stalling piece of shit in real life. That’s not the case with the custom Batmobiles built by Fiberglass Freaks of Logansport, Ind., however—these exact, licensed replicas, a steal at $150,000 apiece, have GM 350 crate engines and all manner of working accessories, including the belch of ﬂame that issues from the exhaust. Look, you may never buy one of these; either you have the money and no desire, or vice versa. But it’s all kinds of fun to look at the Batmobiles in motion on the Fiberglass Freaks page, and to softly sing the theme music to yourself. Da na na na na na na na ...
“HI, SALLY” (youtube.com/watch?v=zXDeKw40Fcc) Last month brought sad Hollywood news: Quentin Tarantino’s longtime ﬁlm editor Sally Menke—the great artist who trimmed down Tarantino’s rambling narratives into the concentrated punch of Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Inglourious Basterds— died in a hiking accident. This short video of outtakes from Inglourious Basterds, taken from the Basterds DVD, is a ﬁtting tribute to Sally—it features actors from the movie blowing their lines, looking into the camera and saying, “Hi, Sally.” Mike Myers, in particular, seems to blow his lines on purpose just so he can say hello. Journalist Geoff Carter is a Las Vegas native living in Seattle, land of virtual titillation. 84
Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Arts & Entertainment
Movies Poetic License
James Franco stands out in this intriguing documentary of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg By Rex Reed
The irrepressible performance artist James Franco as poet Allen Ginsberg.
86 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
Howl is a quasi-documentary with an impressive group of actors re-creating the four-part poem of social protest published in 1955 by controversial Beat Generation guru Allen Ginsberg that led to a celebrated obscenity trial in 1957. Now there’s a subject destined to draw millions into the Cineplex. I wanted to see it for all the extraordinary talents involved: James Franco, who looks absolutely nothing like the yeasty, hirsute, Jewish beat poet Ginsberg, Jon (Mad Men) Hamm as his defense attorney, David Strathairn as the prosecutor in high moral dudgeon, and Alessandro Nivola, Treat Williams, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeff Daniels as various scholars, critics and other experts who were called as witnesses to determine the literary value of the poem. They are all ﬁne, but their roles amount to nothing more than walk-ons. Even though I have less interest in ’50s beatniks than I do in ’50s songs by Bill Haley and the Comets, I found Howl a fascinating and imaginative evocation of mid-20th- century liberation, a merciful 85 minutes long. This is not surprising, since Howl is the work of award-winning documentary directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, two exemplary ﬁlmmakers whose work includes The Times of Harvey Milk and The Celluloid Closet. They wanted to base Howl on court records of the trial and interviews with surviving participants, but found their research too inconsequential to sustain a feature-length narrative (especially since nothing earth-shaking ever happened). Unable to ﬁnd an acceptable form to distill the essence of Ginsberg’s life and work, they eventually discarded the idea of a conventional biography and divided the ﬁlm into three parts—the spiritual awakening of the poet himself, revealed in a long interview with an unseen reporter, the obscenity trial, and the text of the poem, illustrated through the imagery of computer-generated animation. There is also a sketchy chronicle of familiar events in the life of then N.J.-Newark-born poet (drugs, gay sex in public parks and baths, jazz, LSD, political protest, American social injustice, road trips, porno movies) that led to the literary baptismal fount he called Howl and dedicated to two of his unrequited lovers, Jack Kerouac and bisexual car thief Neal Cassady. Searching for truth in the social cesspool of the ’50s, Ginsberg was arrested often and did time in a psychiatric asylum where he avoided
electro-shock treatments by promising to go heterosexual. His mother was in and out of loony bins from the time he was 6. At 21, he had to sign papers for her lobotomy. No wonder his confusion led to so much rage in the kind of rambling poems whose style, language and rhetoric were viciously denounced by academics. Undaunted, he remained forever mischievous and an outspoken defender of the gay rights movement. (He was once thrown out of Cuba for calling Castro “cute.”) We are told his work still sells, but when was the last time you saw someone on the subway reading a poem by Ginsberg? The other beatniks disappeared young, but Ginsberg lived until 1997, when he died of liver cancer in Greenwich Village with his longtime lover, Peter Orlovsky, at his side. He was 70. There is no deﬁning story of lasting importance here, so the directors opted for a small narrative, a lot of drawings and snippets of the trial. It’s ﬁlled with graphics, but doesn’t really amount to much of a ﬁlm or an illumination of the man’s life. Colorful portions of the poem, delivered in public readings by Franco, still resonate, but nobody cares much about beatniks like Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg anymore— once celebrated as crude and fearless watchdogs of sexual freedom, now mostly forgotten footnotes to the poetry of changing times. The courtroom scenes lack power, and since the public transcripts are only peripherally acknowledged, we don’t know what effect the trial had on the outside world. Howl was a milestone in freedom of expression at a time of great homophobia and censorship, but why it had more of an impact on First Amendment rights than Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass remains puzzling. I guess I have mixed feelings about the ﬁlm, but not Franco. Actor, writer, poet, rock musician, sometime soap opera regular and perennial graduate student, he never conforms to what society expects him to be and marches to the sound of his own drum. In Howl, he adds another vital character to his growing portrait gallery, but he is mostly shown hunched over a typewriter in a white T-shirt and horn-rimmed glasses. Better you should wait for him in 127 Hours, in which he plays a hiker who falls through a crevice in a Utah canyon pinned under a boulder and forced to amputate his own arm. Now that’s a performance you won’t forget.
NO BUSINESS LIKE MONKEY BUSINESS. LUNCH SERVED DAILY
Arts & Entertainment
It’s Kind of a Good Movie This bright mental institution love story is good for a laugh By Jason Harris Poor Craig. He’s depressed. He has suicidal dreams. His goes to the best school in New York City. And his friends love him. So what’s wrong? He’s 16! It’s Kind of a Funny Story opens with an entertaining dream sequence where Craig (Keir Gilchrist) walks out onto a bridge, ready to end it all. Before Craig can jump, his parents (Parenthood’s Lauren Graham and comedian Jim Gafﬁgan) and his little sister appear on the bridge, trying to talk him down. Not only do they love him, but they paid a lot of money for his bicycle and if he kills himself, who will take care of it? After Craig wakes up, he commits himself to the hospital mental ward (against doctors’ recommendations), where he quickly learns that there are people with much more serious problems. He reverses his decision and wants to go home. But Dr. Minerva (Viola Davis) lets him know, once you’re in, you’re in—for at least ﬁve days. Luckily, the ﬂoor is ﬁlled with a cast of colorful characters. Craig befriends the cuddly Bobby (Zach Galiﬁanakas of The Hangover) and falls for the lovely teen cutter Noelle. The motley crew may all be mentally ill, but really, none of them seem too sad, not even Craig’s roommate Muqtada, who never gets out of bed. Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, Story is kind of funny and that’s kind of it. Everybody just follows straight lines from beginning to end. Nobody gets sicker. It’s like the anti Cuckoo’s Nest. In fact, writers/ directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who have previously teamed for critically acclaimed ﬁlms Half Nelson
Mental illness for the hipster set: Keir Gilchrist and Zach Galiﬁanakas.
and Sugar, don’t delve into much of anything. It’s more like mental institution summer camp, where there are super-fun activities and hot cutter chicks to date. The tone is reminiscent of Nick and Norah’s Inﬁnite Playlist, a ﬁlm about two teens with angst who spend all night getting to know each other and trying to ﬁnd a secret rock show. That type of hipster vision works well for a couple of kids trying to get to a concert, but not a ﬂoor full of patients with mental problems. Boden and Fleck switch between a straightforward shooting style in the hospital and a number of wouldbe-interesting-if-we-hadn’t-seen-them-in-other-ﬁlms-
so-many-times techniques as they explore what’s inside of Craig’s mind. Animation, grainy home movies, voice-over against stills—it’s really nothing that hasn’t been done better many times over. If you are deeply craving a fun, bouncy movie about how awesome mental hospitals are, then Boden and Fleck have made the ﬁlm for you. It’s well-acted and has a good soundtrack. Otherwise, if anything, wait for It’s Kind of a Funny Story to air on cable, if you kind of want to watch it at all.
it’s Kind of a Funny Story (PG-13)
By Cole Smithey
Legend of the Guardians: the owls of Ga’hoole (PG)
Lush animation can’t disguise a tone-deaf narrative. Screenwriters John Orloff and Emil Stern fumble with story construction about two young owl brothers (Soren and Kludd) who are kidnapped. The stunning visuals are at odds with the poorly executed tale. As for the ﬁlm’s timid 3-D effects, once again ﬁlmmakers are afraid to “break the window.”
88 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
This dramatic ﬁlm follows the relationship between Penny Chenery Tweedy (Diane Lane) and the thoroughbred she guides to racing success in the early ’70s. Crafted as a PG-rated entertainment, as opposed to the PG-13 Seabiscuit (2003), this is a polished family movie. Lane and John Malkovich (as a veteran horse trainer) deliver showcase performances, and choreographed horserace sequences capture the excitement of the races.
the Social Network (PG-13)
Everybody will love David Fincher’s fast-paced drama about the meteoric rise of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Jesse Eisenberg gives Zuckerberg an acid-tongued and fast-twitch cyberpunk attitude. And Justin Timberlake’s performance is awesome. Aaron Sorkin’s dazzling script toggles between law ofﬁce depositions and ﬂashback sequences that tell the whole story. Context and tone are everything in this pitch-perfect drama.
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Arts & Entertainment
Age is just a number: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren.
All Climax and No Impact Red stands for ‘retired, extremely dull’ in this abysmal action ﬂick By Cole Smithey Director Robert Schwentke’s adaptation of a DC Comics action/comedy graphic novel is nothing but a series of creaky narrative half-steps. The result, Red, leaves no cohesive story for an audience to invest in. Bruce Willis is a lonely retired CIA op named Frank Moses who strikes up a ﬂuffy phone romance with Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) a young government clerk who Frank repeatedly calls to report his undelivered social security checks. An assassination attempt against Frank alerts him that he and his fellow retired CIA hit-men pals, Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin ( John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren), are under attack by a black-ops kill squad as revenge for a falsiﬁed assassination attempt our old-school group supposedly committed many moons ago. Behind the kill order is CIA black widow Cynthia Wilkes (Rebecca Pidgeon) and her physically intimidating underling Will Cooper (Karl Urban). After kidnapping Sarah— for safety, of course—Frank takes her on a cross-country road trip to roust Joe from a nursing home and meet up with trigger-ﬁngers Marvin and Victoria who also know a thing or two about automatic assault weapons. Malkovich’s Marvin is the loose screw of the group due to 11 years of daily LSD testing. Naturally, our team of elderly assassins need to break into CIA headquarters to extract top secret ﬁles that will exonerate them should they live that long. There’s nothing distinctive or original about this puddle-jumping shoot ’em up. Even the razzle-dazzle is a snooze. Red, we learn, stands for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous.” But if there’s supposed to be some pithy social com90
Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
mentary—funny or otherwise—about the ability of old people to kill people, the moment never arrives. Red falls into this year’s similarly small-minded action fare that includes Killers, The A-Team, The Losers and Takers. What these ﬁlms share in common, beyond their interchangeable titles, is a general disrespect for their audience. Where an engaging exploitation action movie such as Machete rattles across the screen with a knowing hum of its raw stylized form, Red steamrolls your senses into oblivion with a constant barrage of light-hearted violence. Perhaps it works if you’ve never seen big explosions on a big screen, or watched thousands of rounds of ammunition being ﬁred at miraculously invisible human beings. If that’s the case then you might ﬁnd some degree of spectacle satisfaction. However, in the grand scheme of cinema, screenwriters Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber have turned in an incompetent script that’s been bankrolled into a big-budget disaster. It’s sad to see a talented cast of actors doing such an obvious paycheck job. You spend the movie trying to forgive the performers for allowing themselves to be so diminished by the ﬂaky source material they cling to like a lifeboat. If there’s a winner in this cinematic travesty it’s Mary-Louise Parker whose handling of her quirky role provides the audience with a character who’s just as victimized as they are. Even viewed as a comic book or cartoon ﬁlm, Red fails in its nonexistent use of thematic values or character arcs. Oddly, this is a movie that’s all climax and no impact.
Illustration by Jerry Miller
Dinners From Hell
Join our intrepid critic for a journey to the culinary abyss, because not all restaurants are award-winning
By Max Jacobson
In the course of a 30-year career as a restaurant critic, I’ve had more than my share of unpleasant experiences, perhaps none more than in an Indian vegetarian place in Missoula, Mont., that landed me in the ER, or an encounter with a live worm that crawled out from a cabbage leaf in my wife’s soup while we were lunching at a Korean restaurant on the Strip. My wife warned me not to eat the rice in that Indian restaurant, but I told her it would be ﬁne. “It’s old,” she insisted. By 11 p.m., I was sure that a gremlin was trying to remove my gallbladder with a trowel. I spent the night strapped to a gurney. She wasn’t happy about the worm, or the cashier’s pusillanimous offer to remove her dish from the bill, either. When she suggested the entire lunch should be free of charge, the cashier demurred. “Your husband’s food was ﬁne,” she was told. I’ve been 86’d from restaurants for a number of reasons. At Sushi Fever, a Japanese restaurant operated by Koreans on the westside, the manager asked me to leave after I asked a waitress how to say Screaming Orgasm—the name of a hand roll—in her native tongue. If it’s good enough for English, I reasoned,
then what the hell? The manager did not share my logic. I even got thrown out of an Original Pancake House on Sunset Road (which isn’t there anymore) for bringing in my own maple syrup. I’m from New England, and I like pure maple syrup, which the management of our local franchises refuses to offer. “Outside food is not allowed,” the manager told me, asking me to leave. One night, while in a Benihana of Tokyo, I was mistaken for someone else. “You owe me money,” came a booming voice from a man I’d never seen before. It turned out he thought I was a person called Billy Vlahos. Even after I showed him my ID, he was convinced it was a fake. “If I don’t get my money by Monday,” he screamed, “I’ll burn your house.” I have a devil of a time getting a runny omelet, Thai food that isn’t so sweet it makes my teeth hurt and authentic Chinese dishes in areas in which the Chinese do not live. “Make it for me like you make it for your family,” I entreat them. They invariably nod, smile, and ignore me. Speaking of being ignored, as much as a food critic like me Continued on Page 94 October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 93
A double Cosmo preview and Dos Caminos’ tasty new breakfast
The University District has a lively combo of quirkiness and tastiness By Michael T. Toole
Dinners From Hell Continued from Page 93
complains about certain trends, no one seems to listen. So, as a measure of revenge, here is a compilation of dishes that constitute my Menu From Hell: Starter: a scallop. I have nothing against the mollusk, but it’s already the perfect size, and 94
Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
By Max Jacobson
Cugino’s Italian Deli and one of its best menu items: Donnie’s Special (right).
had a Black Butte Porter of late?), a knack for booking good bands who are accommodated with some decent ﬂoor space and a bar staff serving you wonderful beers and whiskies with unpretentious good cheer, then congrats! The Freakin’ Frog is your new home. The crowd is straight out of central casting: pseudo-bohemians, skate punks, frat kids, white-collar suits and disillusioned barﬂies— they all have a reason for calling the Freakin’ Frog a haven. 4700 S. Maryland Parkway, 597-9702, FreakinFrog.com. Aloha Kitchen. The cheerful minimalism here is a gas. The decor refreshingly lacks the usual tiki trappings and ceramic dolls in hula skirts that you tend to ﬁnd in such an eatery. But the real attraction here is the food. The excellent Hawaiian dishes at this mini chain (there are now three in town) include the kalua pig (roasted, shredded and served on a bed of cabbage) and the terriﬁc lumpia shanghai (Filipino egg rolls stuffed with ground pork, chopped onions and minced carrots). Be prepared for a lunch crowd packed with UNLV students and staff, but the upside is that you can always befriend someone in line while waiting for your sesame soy chicken salad. 4745 S. Maryland Parkway, 895-9444, AlohaKitchenLV.com.
every lazy chef serves one as an amuse. I’m sick of them, unless they come deep-fried with tartar sauce, in a paper box. Salad: chopped salad. Doesn’t anyone out there know that a chopped salad is made with little or no iceberg lettuce? Main dish: Atlantic salmon. Why is this tasteless ﬁsh, which is farmed and ﬁlled with toxins, the
salmon on our menus 99 percent of the time? Dessert: tiramisu. If I even read the word “tiramisu,” I lose my appetite. This boring dessert isn’t worth the calories, but it gets more exposure than Paris Hilton. Maybe next year I’ll tell you the story about the time I got in a ﬁstﬁght over a falafel. Check, please.
Diner’s Notebook took a big bite out of the Apple recently, with visits to a pair of New York restaurants slated to open in the Cosmopolitan this December. Here’s a sneak preview of what to expect. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill, on 58th Street in Manhattan, was started by two brothers, Bruce and Eric Bromberg. As another Jewish boy who loves Japanese food, I can see why their eclectic menu has been such a runaway success. Every table was full, and the buzz was electric. The real surprise was how much I liked it. I’m somewhat of a snob in terms of Japanese food, having lived in Tokyo, and I often ﬁnd that an emphasis on nigiri (sushi topped with raw ﬁsh or shellﬁsh) ignores the other aspects of this complex cuisine. After our sassy, charming Thai-American waitress took our order in the rustic, wood-paneled dining room, I had several appetizers and cooked dishes that matched the quality of usuzukuri (ultra-fresh ﬂuke sashimi) and the perfectly crafted sushi. Among the highlights: chawan mushi, a delicate custard with chicken and mushrooms; smoked pork belly; and fried chicken crusted with panko and red pepper. I can’t wait. One more star in the hotel’s ﬁrmament is Scott Conant, who runs the successful New York restaurants Faustina and Scarpetta. The latter, a soon-to-be Vegas import, is a sleek, modern room on West 14th Street, and it was also full on the Sunday evening I visited. Conant’s food is smart, creative and often disarmingly simple. A fried mozzarella “in carrozza” had the elegance of top-notch tempura. Tuna “susci” comes with marinated vegetables and preserved trufﬂes. And many of the pastas are museum-quality pretty and delicious. Red beet and smoked ricotta casonsei with pistachios and poppy seeds—sort of like open-faced ravioli—knocks it into the Bronx. With superstar chef José Andrés of Washington, D.C., the Greek eatery Milos and many other innovations coming to the Strip, I’d say that the CEO John Unwin and his team have hit a home run as well. We’ll see. On the homefront, another New York import, Dos Caminos Mexican Kitchen inside the Palazzo, has started a morning menu that is served 7-10:30 a.m. seven days a week. It’s a buffet for $20, and includes exotic Mexican specialties such as pan torrejas, Mexican-style French toast; huevos con chorizo, the Mexican version of sausage and eggs; and chilaquiles, a baked tortilla casserole. Bagels, bread, fresh juices and coffee are included among the many other delicious offerings. Who said Vegas wasn’t a great breakfast town? Hungry, yet? Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at foodwinekitchen.com.
Photography by Anthony Mair
Here is a district that is often overlooked by most travel guides and those weekend reporters who parachute into town to report on the latest openings for the idle chic. In a way, you can’t fully blame them since our University District doesn’t have the green-friendly ﬂair of the University of Texas’ The Drag or the studied commercial suss of UCLA’s Westwood. Heck, you might even say we’re pretty darn ramshackle in the way we lump eateries, bars, pastry shops, clothing and comic book shops together. But here is my question: Why is that a problem? In reality, if you look past the chains (Einstein Bagels, Starbucks) and the clutter of cheap student housing, you might be surprised at what’s packed in the area between Tropicana Avenue and Flamingo Road on our city’s near eastside, with Maryland Parkway as the main drag. If “charm” is too strong a term for what it has, can we at least say “atmosphere”? Listen, on one lazy afternoon, after visiting a former professor on campus, I had a bowl of tripe soup; bought a piece pipe for a friend’s birthday; found a spiffy brown bowler hat for $7; purchased a couple of Daniel Clowes comics; then moseyed to another place for kalua pork; downed a few pints of Duvel (my favorite blond Belgian ale); and befriended a lady in a parking lot with an interesting take on the moon-landing “hoax.” And I wasn’t even trying. So if you can swing with what I’ve told you, here are a few must-stops of epicurean interest for the area: Cugino’s Italian Deli. It’s the best Italian deli on this side of town. The menu is pretty lively: The tripe soup has nice snap; there’s always a fresh batch of rice balls; a tang-tastic variety of antipasto salads (try the sweet peppers with the marinated mushrooms); garlicky garlic knots and classic New York pizza (thin, crisp and ready to fold); and a great sandwich in “Donnie’s Special” (chicken cutlet, peppers, fresh mozzarella and sweet vinegar. The fact that it doubles as a grocer for a variety of meats, cheeses and olives makes it feel like a little piece of Brooklyn. 4550 S. Maryland Parkway, 895-7561. Freakin’ Frog. If you’ve always envisioned a university bar with a delirious variety of ales (have you
Dishing Got a favorite dish? Tell us at email@example.com.
Bits and Bites at Todd English Olives
The Mediterranean restaurant features this tray of delights for dessert, and the warm, fresh-baked cookies are extra delicious: chocolate chip with pecans and walnuts, oatmeal with butterscotch chips and white chocolate macadamia nut. Add an orange cupcake with vanilla butter cream icing (think w), marshmallows and nougat, and the delicious sampler is complete. $11 for dinner and $9 for lunch, in Bellagio, 693-7223.
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Linguine with Mixed Seafood at Lavo
Linguine in a spicy red sauce is mixed with shrimp, meaty New England sea scallops that are harvested in the cold waters of the Georges Bank, Prince Edward Island mussels and Little Neck clams from Long Island Sound, which give this dish distinctive ﬂavor. $38, in the Palazzo, 791-1800.
Crab and Artichoke Dip at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
Developed at the chain’s original concept, Big River Grille & Brewing, this appetizer was so popular among guests it was brought over to Gordon Biersch Brewery about two years ago. It is made from fresh ingredients and quality crab. In an au gratin dish, it’s baked until bubbly and golden brown. Then it’s served with freshly toasted crostinis. $9.95, 3987 Paradise Road, 312-5247.
Grilled Portobello & Poblano at Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill
The Grilled Portobello & Poblano tacos consist of corn tortillas topped with toasted cheeses, habanero citrus salsa, grilled Portobello mushrooms, poblano peppers, cilantro, onion, creamy chipotle picante sauce and sliced avocado. It is served with pinto or black beans and chips. $10, Monte Carlo, 262-1988; 9310 W. Sahara Ave., 804-5860; 7290 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 233-0050; 2390 E. Serene Ave., 270-3187; 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 254-7470.
Cooking With … Suggested Pairing Joël Robuchon wine director Harley Carbery recommends Bruno Paillard “Réserve Privée” Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($60, at Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits), a non-vintage sparkler derived from Chardonnay grapes. It’s very creamy, rich and delicious, he says, just like the potatoes.
The Robuchon Mashed Potatoes Serves 4-6
500 grams ratte potatoes (similar to ﬁngerling) 250-300 grams cold butter, sliced into inch-by-half-inch squares. (As a substitute for Échiré, Le Tohic recommends Pamplie butter, which is imported from France and comes in a log instead of a stick. It’s $7 for 250 grams at Whole Foods.) ½ cup whole milk, warmed Salt, to taste Method: Wash potatoes, then place in pot ﬁlled with water. (Do not peel potatoes, or cut into smaller pieces.) Bring water to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Drain, then peel potatoes while still warm. Pass potatoes through a food mill, then repeat a second time. (Robuchon follows this by putting the potato paste through an extra-ﬁne metal screen, 1/3 cup at a time, using a spatula. However, this step can be omitted at home.) Return ground potatoes to pot, and place on stove on low heat.
The chef shares the recipe for what might be the city’s best side dish: the Robuchon mashed potatoes By Melissa Arseniuk There is no real secret to the legendary mashed potatoes at Joël Robuchon: They’re just potatoes and butter—a lot of butter—mixed with milk and a dash of salt. Still, it’s the exceptional quality of those four ingredients and what Robuchon does with them at his Michelin-rated restaurant at the MGM Grand that makes this side dish stand out. “Mashed potatoes can be nothing special, or they can be something quite special,” Executive Chef Claude Le Tohic says. “It depends on how you make them.” The restaurant serves about 10 pounds of mashed potatoes a day, preparing one batch at the beginning of service and another midway through the evening to ensure freshness. They take about 45 minutes to make and, like everything else here, they are meticulously prepared. The recipe has been in use for nearly three decades, and the silky smooth starch was ﬁrst served in Paris, where Robuchon ﬁrst achieved three Michelin stars at Restaurant Jamin. (His namesake dining room in MGM Grand has since received the same honor.) Le Tohic worked at Restaurant Jamin from 1987-90, where the mashers originally accompanied a veal chop. While veal has come and gone over the years, what may very well be the most luxurious mashed potatoes ever made have remained on the menu. The opulent accompaniment is now considered to be one of Robuchon’s 98 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
signature dishes, along with caviar and langoustine. The ﬁrst trick to making praise-worthy potatoes is to cook them with their skin on, then peel immediately afterward. “It’s important to peel the potatoes when they’re very hot,” Le Tohic says. “If you peel them when they’re cold, you’re not going to have the same result.” Next, the butter should be very cold, while the milk ought to be warm. “If you do the potatoes with warm butter,” Le Tohic says, “you’re not going to get the same taste. When butter gets warm, the taste changes.” It’s also important to use the best ingredients you can ﬁnd. Robuchon uses ratte potatoes (similar to ﬁngerling), which are known for their nutty and buttery taste. Meanwhile, the restaurant imports a special brand of butter from France, called Échiré, “because we want to have the French taste in the mashed potatoes,” Le Tohic says. The recipe not only calls for speciﬁc butter, but a lot of it. Even in the low light of the dining room, the potatoes glisten.“It’s pretty rich,” Le Tohic admits. “But, for me, I think it’s better to eat a spoon full of mashed potatoes like this than french fries.” He also says proper execution requires “a lot of passion,” which is chef-speak for “hard work.” Still, he says the passion in preparation pays off: “The people who do the potatoes have big arms.”
Once half of the butter has been added, begin emulsifying the mixture by stirring vigorously for 15 seconds using a wire whisk. Resume adding butter and milk, whisking occasionally. Continue to add butter and milk until desired consistency has been reached. Salt to taste, and ﬁnish with a whisk to blend. Serve immediately.
Photography by Anthony Mair
Claude Le Tohic
Stir constantly with a spatula, adding two cubes of cold butter at a time, in 15-30-second intervals. Ladle no more a few tablespoons of warm milk for every other or every third addition of butter.
Food thatâ€™ll set your soul en fuego. Cocktails to stoke the flames.
lunch & dinner reservations at 702 262-5225 tacosandtequilalv.com
HEALTH & FiTnEss World champion Brandy Winﬁeld in two of her Bikram yoga poses.
The Queen of Yoga By sharon Kehoe Brandy Winﬁeld’s mother pushed her into going to a Bikram yoga class one day six years ago. Not only did she keep going back, it soon changed her life. While some of us mere mortals have a hard time getting motivated to drive to a yoga studio down the street, Winﬁeld, a former real estate agent, wound up in India pursuing her new passion: Bikram yoga. “I’m a big believer in continuing education,” she says, “and I wanted to learn from the best.” That mission escalated when she won last year’s Nevada Regional Championships at Bikram Yoga in Green Valley. That qualiﬁed her for the international championship in Los Angeles. And it was at this point when the creator of this particular form of yoga, Bikram Choudhury, asked her to move to the birthplace of yoga to study under him and manage his school while she trained for the competition. After eight months of that routine, she ended up taking ﬁrst prize in Los Angeles, thanks in part to nailing her choice posture that took her two years to perfect: the bowleg peacock. Winﬁeld, 30, has made Las Vegas her 100 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
home base as a yoga instructor, dabbling in all forms. Her yoga of choice is still Bikram, which is known as “hot yoga” because it involves 26 postures, two breathing exercises and a room temperature of about 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity. A classically trained dancer during her youth, the discipline came naturally, but the rawness of it remained challenging. “In the beginning, I battled with it,” she says. “During class I would hate it—the heat and difﬁculty—but afterward I felt amazing. But it took me about a year to develop a love affair with it.” The beneﬁts Winﬁeld felt easily outweighed her early frustrations. With the injuries she suffered during her ballet days, such as tendonitis in her feet that prevented her from putting on pointe shoes, yoga healed her physically and mentally. So in 2006, after a year of practice, she was inspired to become a teacher and spent nine weeks in an intense yoga “boot camp” in Los Angeles to get her credential. “I came out on the other side committed to becoming the best teacher and practitioner that I could,” Winﬁeld says. She has recently been on tour with her winning male counterpart teaching yoga in
Mexico and the United States. They’ve also put a lot of energy into doing demonstrations at local schools to boost awareness in children and create some excitement toward yoga as a preventive medicine. But Winﬁeld is mainly delighted to share her gifts with the world and turn more people toward the teachings of yoga. She begins the second leg of her world tour this month, covering Europe, New Zealand, Australia and the United States. But as traveled as she is, Las Vegas remains her favorite place to teach. “Yoga is all about balance and connection, balance between work and play, strength and ﬂexibility. In a city like Vegas, balance can be tough to come by. But I think it’s because of this that the people here appreciate it so much more.”
Lisa Balash, personal trainer and owner of Elite Physiques Las Vegas, has been getting locals in shape with her kettlebell and Pilates workouts. Now she’s reaching out to the masses with a new DVD. Endorsed by her most famous client, four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, it’s called Kettlebell Bombshell, and you can buy it for $50 at KettlebellBombshell.com. It includes three 30-minute workouts. But the kettlebells, those weights with the U-shaped handles, are sold separately. The beauty of kettlebells, Balash explains, is that your body responds more effectively to their design than it does when hopping through different machines at the gym. That has to do with terms such as “stabilization” and “planes of motion.” But the simplest thing to understand is that, with kettlebells, you nail two birds with one stone because every muscle is exerted while you’re doing cardio. “We can’t all ﬁt a personal trainer or gym time in our schedules,” Balash says. “So in my DVD I give instructions on how to use a kettlebell and include three follow-along workouts. The key is a perfect combination of kettlebell and Pilates—all in the comfort of your home.” – Sharon Kehoe
NevAdA RegioNAl YogA ChAmpioNships Twenty of the best yogis in Nevada hope to follow in Brandy Winﬁeld’s footsteps on Oct. 16 at the Bikram Yoga Courtyard, 1550 N. Green Valley Parkway. The competition, which runs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., requires each to perform a series of seven postures, which are judged on proﬁciency of alignment, physical strength and ﬂexibility. Admission is free. Call 463-0671 for more information.
Yoga images by Jasper Johal
A local instructor’s long journey to winning the crown
A Bombshell Workout
SportS & LeiSure
High Flying phenom
Teenage BMX star carrying the lead heading into Dew Tour Championships By Sean DeFrank There’s really not much for visiting 16-year-olds to do in Las Vegas, especially activities that can result in huge ﬁnancial gain. But Brett “Mad Dog” Banasiewicz isn’t the average teenager. The South Bend, Ind., native is leading the BMX Dirt standings heading into the Dew Tour Championships, which is the crowning event of the world’s largest professional action sports tour. Besides the BMX disciplines of park (performing tricks on a skate-park course), vert (doing jumps while riding in a half-pipe) and dirt (riding on a track with dirt ramps), the Dew Tour Championships, set for Oct. 14-17 at the Hard Rock Hotel, also will feature the ﬁnals of skateboarding park and vert. Banasiewicz, who just turned 16 last month, was the youngest rider on the 2009 Dew Tour circuit and quickly made his mark, improving his position at every stop, capped by a third-place ﬁnish at Salt Lake City in September, and ﬁnishing 11th in the season-ending standings. He continued his progression this year, becoming the youngest BMX athlete in the six-year history of the Dew Tour to top the podium with his victory in the dirt ﬁnal in Chicago in July. He followed that up with another ﬁrst-place ﬁnish in August in Portland, Ore., where he became the ﬁrst rider to successfully land a “cash roll” in competition. In describing the trick, which was created by fellow Dew Tour competitor Daniel Dhers, Banasiewicz says, “It’s like a 180 forward spin but you ﬂip backwards, too. So you, like, front ﬂip and back ﬂip. It’s pretty hard to explain.” And even harder to do. Video of his Portland ride can be found on YouTube, and he will attempt to duplicate the feat at the Hard Rock. The high-ﬂying Banasiewicz, who graces the cover of
the November issue of BMX Plus magazine, also became the ﬁrst athlete since 2007 to make the podium in two different disciplines at one Dew Tour Brett Banasiewicz is the youngest BMX athlete to ever win on the Dew Tour. event in Portland, with his and I don’t plan on stopping,” he says. “I want to try and dirt victory and second-place ﬁnish in BMX Park. ride as long as I can.” Banasiewicz closely resembles Justin Bieber, but he Banasiewicz carries a 30-point lead in the standings probably has stronger staying power then the teen pop over Brandon Dosch in BMX Dirt heading into the Dew star. He started riding with his older brother at age 6 Tour Championships. He remains conﬁdent that he will and was competing in events by the time he was 8, earnmaintain his advantage in Las Vegas, but with his early ing his “Mad Dog” moniker for his fearlessness on his success still coming unexpectedly, being overtaken for bike. It was around that time that he started attempting the season title isn’t of primary concern to him. tricks, beginning with footers, one-handers and 360s. “I wouldn’t be too disappointed,” he says. “I’d be miss“I got good from basically just riding my bike all the time,” he says. “I would come home from school and just ing out on probably 75 grand, but no big deal.” With or without a victory in Las Vegas, the rising star hop on my bike.” of the BMX world plans to hit the foam pit after the Banasiewicz modeled his riding style after BMX stars season ends to work on new moves. Because for BanasieAnthony Napolitan and Scotty Cranmer, who now trail wicz, learning bigger, better and more outrageous tricks their much younger rival in the standings. Banasiewicz is simply the next step in what promises to be a long and says he still can’t believe that he is not only competing successful career. against his heroes but beating them, as well. “There’s always room for improvement,” he says, “and “When I look on the deck and see that they’re right that’s what the sport is about.” beside me, that’s pretty cool,” he says. Banasiewicz describes many aspects of his success and life as a professional BMX athlete as “pretty cool.” He Tickets for the Dew Tour Championships can be purchased still attends school in South Bend, and practices each day through Ticketmaster or at the Hard Rock Hotel box ofﬁce. for about ﬁve hours after getting out of class. He promised An Oct. 15 concert by N*E*R*D and an Oct. 17 show by the his parents that he will ﬁnish high school, but knows that Wavves, both at The Joint, are also being staged in conjunccompeting on the Dew Tour is where his future is. tion with the event. For more information about the Dew Tour “I love riding my bike. That’s what I do all the time Championships, go to allisports.com.
UNLV basketball tips off practice with free event for fans Rebel basketball fans, the wait is over. It’s time to get your ﬁrst glimpse of this season’s team following the program’s third trip to the NCAA Tournament in four years. UNLV will hold its ﬁrst ofﬁcial practice at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center, and the public is encouraged to attend the free event. The evening will feature a team scrimmage, preceded by team and individual drills, and culminate with fans being invited onto the court to meet the players and coach Lon Kruger. 102 Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
UNLV returns all ﬁve starters from last season’s 25-9 team, and joining them this year are forwards Quintrell Thomas (at right), a 6-foot-8-inch sophomore transfer from Kansas, and 6-11 redshirt freshman Carlos Lopez (at left). The ﬁrst 4,000 fans at the Thomas & Mack will receive a poster of the 2010-11 Rebels, and UNLV representatives will be available to answer questions and help fans purchase season tickets, which start at $90. For information about UNLV season tickets, go to UNLVtickets.com or call 739-3267. – Sean DeFrank
Going for Broke
Bears will keep Seahawks reeling on the road By Matt Jacob So my neighbor Shirley, a big football fan who proudly ﬂies a Nebraska Cornhuskers banner in front of her home each fall, paid me a visit recently. “I’ve been reading your article every week,” she tells me. “You better start winning there, buddy boy!” So that’s what it took to get me going: a kick in the pants from my 70-something neighbor? Whatever works. All I know is I delivered my best performance of the season last week, hitting six of eight plays and clearing $623. Over the last two weeks I’m 12-6, pushing my bankroll up to $4,475. Between that and Esquire tabbing actress Minka Kelly as the “Sexiest Woman Alive” and celebrating the honor with an online photo gallery— reason No. 1,384 why the Internet is the greatest invention ever!—let’s just say it’s going to be difﬁcult to wipe the smile off my face this week. (What’s that? My Chargers lost to the Raiders? The Raiders? Thanks for the buzz kill.) On to this week’s winners …
$550 (to win $500) on BEARS (-6½) vs. Seahawks: I don’t know if Jay Cutler (concussion) will be back running Chicago’s offense this week. Don’t care, either. The Bears (4-1) could drag Sid Luckman out of the grave and prop him up under center and I’d still lay the chalk here. That’s because the Seahawks are like a philandering husband: They cannot be trusted away from home. Seattle lost its ﬁrst two road games to Denver and St. Louis by a combined score of 52-17, and is now 3-18 when venturing away from the Paciﬁc Northwest since December 2007 (two of those wins came against the once-crappy Rams). The Seahawks have scored 21 points or fewer in 17 of those 18 road losses, including two touchdowns or less 10 times. Now they face a rejuvenated Bears defense that’s giving up just 14.8 points and 295 total yards per game. Bottom line: You know how many times you’ve won money if you bet on the Seahawks in their last 11 road contests? Once. $220 (to win $200) on IOWA (-3) at Michigan: Remember the movie Groundhog Day when Bill Murray kept waking up to the same day over and over
again? Michigan fans are experiencing it in real life. Last year, the Wolverines jumped out to a 4-0 start, including a close victory over Indiana in their Big Ten opener, before falling to Michigan State and Iowa in consecutive weeks and spiraling to a 1-7 ﬁnish (with their only win coming against Delaware State). Well, this year Michigan jumped out to a 5-0 start, including a close victory over Indiana in the Big Ten opener, only to get clobbered by Michigan State last week. Now here comes 15th-ranked Iowa. The difference between these teams? One plays defense like the 1985 Chicago Bears (Iowa has given up 17 points in its four victories this year and allowed 31 total points in its last six wins); the other plays defense like the French Army (Michigan has given up more than 30 points in three of its last four overall and eight of its last 10 conference games). $110 (to win $100) on TEXAS (+9½) at Nebraska: I’m going to hear from Shirley about this, but if you give me this many points with an angry Texas team that a) is coming off a bye following consecutive losses, and b) hasn’t dropped three in a row since 2000, I’m jumping all over it. Sure, Nebraska freshman QB Taylor Martinez has put up some gaudy numbers, but not against a team that can play defense like the Longhorns, who allow just 254.2 yards per game and 2.6 yards per rushing attempt. Texas has defeated Nebraska ﬁve straight times and is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings, and the underdog is 6-2-1 against the spread (ATS) in the last nine in this rivalry. The Longhorns are also 6-2 ATS in recent years in the rare role of underdog, while Nebraska is 0-5-1 ATS in its last six as a home favorite. BEST OF THE REST: Rams (+9) vs. Chargers ($44); California (+2½) at USC ($44); Ravens (+2½) at Patriots ($33); Steelers (-14) vs. Browns ($33); Virginia Tech (-22½) vs. Wake Forest ($33). 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. October 14-20, 2010 Vegas Seven 103
For tickets, call 877.386.8224 or visit montecarlo.com
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22
Saturday, October 23 Mandalay Bay Box OfďŹ ce 702.632.7580 mandalaybay.com |
If it’s old-school Las Vegas you want, Piero’s is your restaurant. The famed eatery’s owner talks about how life in the restaurant business, and the city, has changed. By Elizabeth Sewell The walls of Piero’s, Freddie Glusman’s Italian eatery on Convention Center Drive, are ﬁlled with pictures of some of Las Vegas’ biggest characters. Whether it’s Sammy Davis Jr. sipping cognac, Wayne Newton nibbling on osso buco or Joe Pesci ﬁlming the movie Casino, the history of one of Las Vegas’ most notable restaurants is right there when you walk in the door. Much of the restaurant’s storied past can be recounted by its charismatic owner, who has been in Las Vegas since 1957. Glusman opened Piero’s on Karen Avenue in 1982, and it quickly became one of the town’s toughest reservations, frequented by celebrities and casino bosses. Glusman, known for his hands-on management style, harkens back to a Vegas run by an entirely different set of entrepreneurs, when deals could be sealed with a handshake. These days, Glusman splits his time between Las Vegas and Newport Beach, Calif., where he owns Piero’s sister restaurant, The Ritz.
Who is your all-time favorite customer? The locals, the old casino owners, the old casino bosses—they’re my favorite customers. They’re more fun. They were real, and everything was a handshake. Who was the most interesting person you’ve had dinner with? Jerry Lewis was my favorite, and Steve Lawrence. They still come. Steve Lawrence comes in every Thursday night. Jerry comes in all the time. We also deliver Jerry food to his house. Why are old-time Vegas people attracted to Piero’s? Because of the good food and because of the ambience. It was a comfortable restaurant. They were all 110
Vegas Seven October 14-20, 2010
friends of mine. As long as the food was good and the service was good, they supported me. There aren’t too many left; they’re all old and gone, but they still support me. What’s the “Glusman Rule”? Well, that’s a long time ago. I have a gruff voice. I’m from old Las Vegas. And then on the other hand, I’m very charming and people don’t get offended when I tell them, “Just relax, you’ll get your food in an hour or two.” They take me with a grain of salt, and they get the attention and I don’t believe the customer is always right. He may be beeﬁng with his wife or she may be beeﬁng with him and they take it out on the waiter or they take it out on someone else because they’re afraid of saying anything to their spouse. I haven’t had too many of these customers and if they start something I just ask them to leave. But that’s only happened once or twice in about 28 years.
What’s your favorite Piero’s memory? Jerry Tarkanian was, and is still, one of my closest friends who used to come and support us, and when we started playing basketball at the [Las Vegas] Convention Center I had good seats. Jerry actually was instrumental in putting Piero’s on the map with all the sports ﬁgures in the country. When he had the problems with UNLV and the NCAA, we used to sit there and think of ways to save his job and the conspiracy that they had against Jerry Tarkanian. That’s my favorite story. How has owning a restaurant in Las Vegas changed over 30 years? Competition. I was one of the very few gourmet restaurants in Vegas in my old location on Karen Avenue in 1982. We only had 80 seats, and you couldn’t get in the place. [What changed is] competition, with the city growing and all the great chefs that are here now.
Photo by Anthony Mair
What’s the secret for success in the restaurant business? Good food and good service. From the valet to the moment a customer gets his check, you have to be consistent through all of it. You have to be consistent in any business. That’s my success, besides good food, and having a great personality.
LEWIS BLACK October 22 & 23
RAY ROMANO & KEVIN JAMES â€˘ October 29 & 30 For tickets, please visit mirage.com or call Performing in the Terry Fator Theatre.