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November 4-10, 2010


Introduce your sense of style to your sense of wonder. Crystals, the Las Vegas fashion destination that is a journey through couture, cuisine and entertainment.

Louis Vuitton • tiffany & Co. • ErmEnEgiLdo ZEgna • robErto CaVaLLi • tom ford • Christian dior • fEndi • VErsaCE bVLgari • CartiEr • CaroLina hErrEra • hErmÈs • miu miu • baLLy • PauL smith • bottEga VEnEta • Kiton Van CLEEf & arPELs • KiKi dE montParnassE • marni • nanEttE LEPorE • assouLinE • miKimoto • brunELLo CuCinELLi LanVin • h.stErn • tourbiLLon • PorsChE dEsign • iLori • dE grisogono • thE gaLLEry fEaturing daLE ChihuLy thE art of riChard maCdonaLd PrEsEntEd by CirQuE du soLEiL® • rodnEy Lough Jr. • CEntErPiECE gaLLEry bEso stEaKhousE • WoLfgang PuCK PiZZEria & CuCina • soCiaL housE • todd EngLish P.u.b. • mastro’s oCEan CLub

crystalsatcitycenter.com

866.754.CITY


Only Vegas delivers a Cirque du Soleil ® experience like this.

NOV. 29 – DEC. 5 Daring acrobatics. High-flying action. Stunning costumes, choreography and music. It’s the Cirque du Soleil experience only Vegas can deliver. For one week only, see Cirque du Soleil like you’ve only imagined it – up close and personal. Exclusive show packages include backstage tours, intimate events that allow you access to the performers and more. For complete details, specially priced Cirque Week ticket packages and to book direct with hotels, go to VisitLasVegas.com/CirqueWeek.

Offer valid for select performances from November 29, 2010, through December 5, 2010. Available performance days and times vary per show and are subject to availability. Zumanity™ has been created for guests 18 years or older. Tickets for “O” are very limited. Prices do not include tax and fees. Valid on select seating areas. Not valid on previous reservations or in conjunction with any other discounts or promotions. Management reserves all rights. Restrictions apply.


JONovember KOY13

RAY ROMANO & KEVIN JAMES • November 19 & 20 For tickets, please visit mirage.com or call Performing in the Terry Fator Theatre.

702.792.7777.


NOW PLAYING.

ANNOUNCING MOHAN AND MAJESTIC, OUR TWO NEW WHITE TIGER CUBS. Oversized paws. Fuzzy ears. Curious blue eyes. The wonder of these adorable animals is something you can’t miss. But if you wait too long, you will. See them, along with the rest of our Ambassadors of Conservation, at Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat.

For visiting hours and ticket information, call or go online. 702.791.7188 • miragehabitat.com


PHOTO CREDIT: TIMOTHY WHITE

WHOOPI GOLDBERG Friday, November 12

Shows at 7:00 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Treasure Island Theatre Tickets: 702.894.7722


Contents

THIS WEEK IN YOUR CITY 13

37

SEVEN DAYS

The Valley hosts the Silverman Triathlon, Cadillac Ranch invites aspiring comedians, and the Nevada Conservatory Theatre presents one-act plays. By Patrick Moulin

LOCAL NEWSROOM

Successful house flipping requires diligence and discipline, and what to do about Nevada’s alarming dropout rate. Plus: David G. Schwartz’s Green Felt Journal and Michael Green on Politics.

77

69

NATIONAL NEWSROOM

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.

14

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

T.R. Witcher explores the artistry of Fall Out: New Vegas, and Rex Reed says Jolene is worth the wait.

93 DINING

Service makes Michael’s at South Point an exceptional experience. By Max Jacobson Plus: Neighborhood Epicurean visits Fremont East, and Aureole’s desserts reflect Megan Romano’s passion for art.

THE LATEST

A convenient way to quaff beer, Wynn’s secluded bar gets a new look, and the Food & Wine All-Star Weekend is here. The Latest Thought: How we’re failing to achieve even modest recycling goals. By T.R. Witcher

100

20

HEALTH & FITNESS

Horseback riding is an unheralded but effective exercise. By Melissa Arseniuk

SOCIETY

A milestone for Signature Chefs, and Dish Las Vegas raises funds for Three Square food bank.

102

25

SPORTS & LEISURE

This week’s Look, a few choice Enviables, and Saks Fifth Avenue executives look at fashion trends.

Juan Manuel Lopez and Rafael Marquez are both predicting a knockout. By Sean DeFrank Plus: Matt Jacob says the Falcons will beat the Bucs and the Bills will cover against the Bears in Going for Broke.

45

110

STYLE

NIGHTLIFE

Seven Nights ahead, fabulous parties past, and DJ Vice readies his shoe boutique at Cosmopolitan.

Above and on the cover: Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi is among the November Nine, the final players in the World Series of Poker’s Main Event. On the cover: Photography by Gary James. Shot on location at Ra Sushi near Miami.

Features 30

THE NOVEMBER NINE

The World Series of Poker’s Main Event is down to its final hours— and its most resilient players. By Gary Trask

SEVEN QUESTIONS

Chef Julian Serrano on his honor in Esquire, the achievement of CityCenter and what his last meal would be. By Elizabeth Sewell

34

ANOTHER DAY ON PARADISE

An excerpt from the new book My Week at the Blue Angel: And Other Stories From the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas. By Matthew O’Brien November 4-10, 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, Geoff Carter, Elizabeth Foyt, Jeanne Goodrich, Sharon Kehoe, Patrick Moulin, Rex Reed, James Reza, Kurt Rice, Jason Scavone, Elizabeth Sewell, Kate Silver, Cole Smithey, T.R. Witcher interns

Candice Anderson, Gabi de Mello Costa, Kelly Corcoran, Carla Ferreira, Jazmin Gelista, Natalie Holbrook, Charity Mainville, Nicole Mehrman, Alicia Moore, Kathleen Wilson

art Art director, Chris Jones senior grAPhic designer, Marvin Lucas grAPhic designer, Thomas Speak stAff PhotogrAPher, Anthony Mair contributing PhotogrAPhers

Francis + Francis, Gary James, Roman Mendez, Tomas Muscionico, Beverly Oanes, Amy Schaefer contributing illustrAtors, Ted McGrath

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

sales sAles MAnAger, Sarah J. Goitz Account eXecutives, Christy Corda and Robyn Weiss

Comments or story ideas: comments@weeklyseven.com Advertising: sales@weeklyseven.com Distribution: distribution@weeklyseven.com Vegas Seven is distributed each thursday throughout southern nevada.

WenDOH MeDIa COMpanIes Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger vice President, PUBLISHING, Michael Skenandore chief MArketing officer, Ethelbert Williams MArketing director, Jason Hancock entertAinMent director, Keith White creAtive director, Sherwin Yumul

Finance director of finAnce, Gregg Hardin Accounts receivAble MAnAger, Rebecca Lahr generAl Accounting MAnAger, Erica Carpino credit MAnAger, Erin Tolen

Published in association With the obserVer Media GrouP Copyright 2010 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited. Vegas Seven, 888-792-5877, 3070 West Post Road, Las Vegas, NV 89118 10

Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010


CONTRIBUTORS

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Kurt Rice “Pick Me, Lior!,” Page 78 Most of Rice’s past writing and editing work is classified Top Secret. Really. That’s because he spent many of his 25 years in the U.S. Air Force in operations intelligence, working on material he’d get thrown in federal prison for writing about here. He came to our attention when he won the Vegas Valley Book Festival’s Flash Fiction writing contest, and although he wasn’t able to find out any of Lior Suchard’s secrets, he did write this review pretty damn fast. He augments his government pension, slightly, by teaching English at Spring Valley High School.

Gary Trask “The November Nine,” Page 30 Trask has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years, and has spent most of that time covering golf and poker. Amazingly, he’s still a high-handicapper on the links and a painfully average poker player, but he has picked the winner of the World Series of Poker’s November Nine correctly the last two years, so he’s got that going for him. Trask was an inaugural member of Harrah’s Poker Hall of Fame media committee, and when he escapes his Boston home to make “business” trips to Las Vegas he can be found setting up camp inside the sports books, where he tries to cash in on the fact that he’s spent decades reading the sports page before the front page.

These Are the Good Old Days I was bemused by Douglas Unger’s recent eulogy for Las Vegas culture [“Years of Glory,” Oct. 21]. I found his piece especially ironic because I read it after spending the morning at KNPR 88.9-FM “bemoaning” the sheer number of new arts- and literature-related activities that have come to Las Vegas since 2004, when Unger claims we hit our peak. Take, for instance, the elevation of literary culture on UNLV’s campus. Black Mountain Institute now hosts up to a dozen world-class authors for public readings and panels each year, in addition to providing residential fellowships for noted writers and improving funding streams for the university’s graduate creative writing programs. UNLV also continues to have a terrific performing arts series and has hosted numerous and substantive programs through its partnership with Brookings Mountain West. The Smith Center for Performing Arts is well on its way to completion … and the Springs Preserve has seen a marked increase in visitors in 2010. Now in its ninth year, the Vegas Valley Book Festival presents more than 100 events and reaches 10,000 readers. Likewise, the Nevada Opera Theatre has expanded its offerings, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theater are alive and well in spite of financially challenging times. Even our state-supported arts and humanities organizations, in spite of budget cuts, continue to attract national regard. Well, you get the point. We all miss the varied activities Glenn Schaeffer conceived and/or seeded during the last decade. But Las Vegas is finally hitting its stride with a multitude of offerings and supporters; no one person is driving this train. Rather, endeavors to raise the level of quality arts-and-culture programming are increasingly communal and showcase visiting artists and writers from a multitude of directions. The glory days are just beginning to emerge in our community. It’s hard to believe that some folks haven’t noticed. Carol C. Harter Executive Director, Black Mountain Institute

Vegas Seven Mobile Try It Now STEP 1:

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Visit the Vegas Seven website November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven 11


Seven Days

The highlights of this week in your city.

Compiled by Patrick Moulin

Thu. 4 With more than 8,000 varieties of wine from which to choose at Summerlin’s Total Wine and More (730 S. Rampart Blvd.), picking the right bottle can be overwhelming. So it’s a good thing Total Wine offers classes to expand your wine knowledge and educate your taste buds. Tonight’s topic: the sexy wines of Spain and Portugal. At 6:30 p.m., experts will take you through one of the hottest new collections from the Iberian Peninsula, including a tasting of eight different selections. Classes cost $25. Call 933-8740 or visit TotalWine.com for a schedule.

Fri. 5 Bluff, fold or go all in. These terms apply to poker, and life. The Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution at the UNLV Boyd School of Law will demonstrate how at How to Play Your Hand: Lessons From Poker for Negotiators. Poker notables—including gaming legend Jack Binion and World Series of Poker winner Howard Lederer (pictured)—will be on hand to discuss how poker strategy can give you the edge in life. It’s free and open to the public at the Cox Pavilion. Call 895-2486 for information, or visit UNLV.edu.

Sat. 6 Halloween has come and gone, but the skeletons are still hanging around at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos at 4 p.m. The holiday is a 3,000-year-old Hispanic celebration to honor those who have passed, and this year’s celebration of those who’ve gone before includes live entertainment, traditional dances, sugarskull decorating, face painting and classic Mexican cuisine. Bring your used, candle-less jack-o’-lanterns so that the gardeners at the Preserve can compost them. It’s free and good for the environment. For information, visit SpringsPreserve.org.

Sun. 7

As one of the most grueling events in North America, the Silverman Nevada Triathlon attracts athletes from around the world. The race is 17 punishing hours of endurance, starting at Lake Las Vegas with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and concluding with a 26.2-mile run to the Henderson Pavilion. More than 1,100 gluttons for punishment from 43 states and 17 countries will compete. Visit HendersonLive.com or call 267-2171 for more information.

Mon. 8 Are you the funniest person in your office? Always cracking up your co-workers? See if that funny bone translates to the stage at Open Mike Nite at Cadillac Ranch in Town Square. Hosted by Garlyn “Tek G” Norris, the event is open to fresh faces and seasoned stand-ups alike. Potential comedians should arrive by 8:30 p.m. because the show starts at 9 p.m. There’s no cover charge, ladies drink Johnny Love Vodka for free at starting at 10 p.m. and drinks are half price for everyone all night. Call 294-7300 for information.

Tue. 9 Removing a fired pot from a kiln while it’s still hot can result in cracks or a crumbled piece of pottery. However, artists using the Japanese firing process called raku have learned to control this fracturing to create unique pieces that look like they’ve been around for centuries. Local artist Shari Bray has developed her own technique, creating ceramics by drawing, painting or lightly carving pieces with a lace-like pattern. Check out her work, Figurative Works in Raku, starting today at the Summerlin Library, 1771 Inner Circle Drive. Visit LVCCLD.org for more information.

Wed. 10 If you think short films are cool, you might dig one-act plays. These self-contained performances maintain the high production standards, sets, costumes and the large casts of longer plays, but they’re over quicker so you can get your culture on and get out. The Nevada Conservatory Theatre presents its fall oneacts: 27 Wagons Full of Cotton by Tennessee Williams and Glory in the Flower by William Inge. Shows start at 8 p.m., and tickets are $7.50 (free to UNLV students). Visit NCT.UNLV.edu or call 895-3663 for information. November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven 13




THE LATEST

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Pour Your Own

New pub table puts the taps within reach

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Grape Fight!

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Wynn’s Secret Bar Gets an Overhaul

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

Got a juicy tip? gossip@weeklyseven.com

Tweets of the Week

Compiled by @marseniuk

Nightmare on Jersey Shore

Invader from another planet, or Scott Stapp?

Kroeger’s Taste in Aliens There’s got to be something surreal about having Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger judge you on anything. Taste in music. Sense of style. Ability to write terrible songs for the Spider-Man soundtrack. Yet one lucky winner, Shinji Baba, caught Kroeger’s eye Oct. 31 at Surrender inside Encore. Just after midnight, Kroeger came in with Buckcherry, Hinder and Three Days Grace—go ahead, try to find four bands that belong together on tour more than those—and picked out his favorite: Baba as a giant, angular alien. Baba is now expected to move to Canada, pursue a solo career and try to live down comparisons to Scott Stapp.

@billyinlasvegas Help I’m surrounded by executives!

In the intra-Jersey Shore costume contest, there’s a clear winner. (Well, as much as there can be with this sort of thing.) Of the three who were here this past weekend, Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino comes in a distant third. He hosted Jet’s Nightmare in Jersey on Oct. 29 and didn’t even bother to wear a costume. But being The Situation is practically a full-time costume in and of itself. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi had a custom-tailored job for her Pickle Princess outfit for Round 2 of Jet’s Nightmare on Oct. 30—complete with dill chip dress, green cape, tiara and giant pickle scepter. It was over-the-top and vaguely desperate, so it fit right in with the Jersey ethos. The shocker of the night, though, was when Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio turned up at Moon on Oct. 30 decked out in his most authentic Justin Bieber finery. He came in a purple hoodie with green high-tops, cheap sunglasses—and no blowout. Pauly D looked vaguely Caesarian in his get-up, but quickly covered up his de-gelled locks with a baseball cap when it came time to work the turntables. It was the first time he was able to wear a hat in public without scraping up against the ceiling all night. Pauly D channels Bieber.

Back for More Heidi Montag didn’t have a Halloween costume when she hosted at Pure Oct. 30—she claimed she was dressed as Heidi Montag, which may win the contest as the greatest meta-commentary of the year. It’s OK, though, because on-again husband Spencer Pratt had plenty of costume for the both of them. Pratt decked himself out in a green robe and alien mask for the occasion, like some kind of shameless, reality-TV-hogging ALF, but without the precise comedic timing. After calling off their “divorce” at the end of last month, the couple kissed for the cameras. They’re like the Ali-Frazier of manufactured celebrity couples. Just when you think they’ve torn each other apart and have nothing left to give, they come back for another improbable rematch. Maybe next time someone will get punched in the face. Montag costumed as … Montag.

16 Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

@lakeeriemonster I want it to be Halloween again because I thought of a seriously awesome costume, and I will forget it by next year. @chetbuchanan I truly enjoyed eating @meginmotion’s muffin this morning. Just what I needed. Thanks!

@jimmyfallon After the election is over, please keep the puppy vote going. The cutest thing on TV!!! I heart the puppies!!! @bfosterlv Yup, everyone officially sucks.

@jackcolton I’ve just decided “Teach me how to Dugie” is the new “Macarena,” and Justin Bieber is the new Ricky Martin. Both will end the same way.

@A2D2 Just bought Fallout: New Vegas. Must. Not. Call. In. Sick. Tomorrow.

@_hiiRaven I’m ready for UNLV basketball! Football season is depressing! LOL. @DavidKrauseA5 Not sure what is worse; Watching parents of 4 yr (old) act like fools at soccer, or going to Wholefoods at 3pm on a Saturday? @KellsBells1 Only one day past Halloween and Christmas decorations are already up at the mall.They don’t mess around. @FandPinLV Holy crap. We just scored. #UNLV

@RichardAbowitz In the Middle East “the situation” refers to decades of conflict and misery. In the USA, “The Situation” means a guy with abs and a tan. @irapedhim I’m not a hoe, I’m just a hoe lotta fun.

@Slashleen Note: Fat girls don’t really like it when you go up to them at the gym and tell them they’re fired.


Down in the Dumps When it comes to recycling, Las Vegas has that ol’ can’t-do spirit By T.R. Witcher Las Vegas does a number of things well, and recycling isn’t one of them. The Valley recycles 17.4 percent of its municipal waste; the national average in 2007 was 33.4 percent. Our recycling rate in single-family homes is a pathetic 3.5 percent. We can’t chalk up our recycling incompetence to being new to the game. Nevada has been trying to recycle—or at least pretending to try to recycle— since 1991, when the state Assembly passed a bill mandating a recycling goal of 25 percent. The bill required cities to establish particular recycling policies based on size. Twenty-five percent. Pretty modest number, right? And seeing that it’s almost 2011, we should be pretty confident two decades into this. Statewide last year, we hit 20.3 percent, so we’re in the ballpark. That’s just under 700,000 tons of municipal solid waste. Half is metals (mostly ferrous scrap metals). A third is paper (mostly corrugated cardboard). Clark County had been on the upswing in recent years—in 2006 the recycling rate was 15.4; a year later it had risen to 19.4. But in 2009 the figure had dropped to 17.4 percent. So what, you say? Well, according to the EPA, the national recycling rate, among other benefits, reduces emissions equivalent to taking nearly 40 million cars off the road for a year and saves enough energy to power 13 percent of U.S. homes. Recycling paper saves trees, and trees absorb climatechanging carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, 18 Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

less waste in landfills cuts down on the release of methane, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Let’s bring the problem to a place where we can grasp it—our curbside. I’ve seen the guys from Republic Services come by to collect the recycling. I’m pretty good about separating the paper from the aluminum from the bottles into those red, white and blue crates. My garage is small, so it’s a tight squeeze to get everything out; and the recyclers come early, so sometimes I’m just meeting them at the curb. But here’s the thing. I’ve spent all this time carefully sorting stuff out, washing out the bottles—I even used to pull staples out of magazines until I heard that you don’t need to—and these guys just dump every bin into their truck, unsorted, so what difference did it make? Republic seems to understand that asking earnest recyclers to perform inefficient, irrelevant actions is lousy environmental marketing. The company has a pilot program running in 50,000 households across the Valley that gives residents one large 96-gallon container, instead of the three 12-gallon milk crates we use now. The big container has a lid. It’s a vision of recycling heaven. You just toss everything in. The Republic guys come once a week to collect the recycling,

rather than once every other week (which means that, currently, you sometimes forget which week is the right week, and when you miss a week, your little recycling bins overflow, and you just say, Screw it, and throw stuff in with the trash). Guess what—people in the program are recycling past the 25 percent goal. There’s another problem in the Valley, too: our numerous apartment and condominium complexes, where recycling is, in the words of Republic Vice President Bob Coyle, “nil.” Apparently, whenever you put a recycling container next to a regular dumpster the recycling containers gets filled with trash. Because people are idiots, presumably. Republic is trying out a program with Camden Properties to put bins in

mail rooms to collect junk mail, and then have custodians take the bins to a locked recycling container on the property grounds. Tenants who wanted to recycle could get their own key, as well. What exactly does it say about us that we have to put recycling bins under lock and key? Maybe we should just clearly tell people what can and can’t be recycled. Let’s keep this thing simple. Still, hopefully you see the bigger problem here. It’s not really the bins. It’s not really the condos and apartments. It’s that we’re a bunch of lazy SOBs. I mean, we can’t even get to 25 percent? And 25 percent, if we got there, is supposed to be impressive, worthy of pats on the back, maybe a rise of a few notches in one of those awful Forbes lists about the best cities? Look, I don’t want to get too overthe-top here, but I’m thinking of our Greatest Hits. The moon shot. Jazz. The Internet. We built Hoover Dam in half a decade. During a depression. I’m thinking of a sentence that begins (and ends) with “It’s not rocket science.” We got this or not? It’s time to get past thinking about recycling as some inconvenience, some leftist conspiracy to Take Away Our Rights, or some Nanny State Solution; it’s time to think of recycling simply as something that has to be done, as a kind of admission ticket to the globalized 21st century. Republic’s Coyle tells me that implementing the large recycling containers across the 510,000 homes in the Valley will take three to five years and cost $80-$90 million—he says the costs won’t result in a rate increase for customers. This is provided that Republic gets its wish and, in addition to increasing recycling pick-up to once a week, can also reduce regular trash pick to once a week. (County commissioners seem to be resisting this idea, but they really shouldn’t—if people start recycling more, the amount of trash they’re discarding should decrease dramatically.) So, let’s get rolling and get these damn recycling containers across the city. Make things easy for folks, and they might actually start using them. You don’t even need the whole save-theplanet guilt trip. Just get one big bin.

Illustration by Thomas Speak

THE LATEST THOUGHT


2011 SLS AMG

It has wings for a reason.

925 Auto Show Drive s In The Valley Auto Mall s Henderson, NV 89014 702.485.3000 s www.mbofhenderson.com


Society

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

Signature evening Signature Chefs celebrated its 13th anniversary recently as the primary fundraiser on behalf of the local March of Dimes. Hosted by the Palms in its upstairs ballroom, the dinner event was notable for the caliber of participating chefs and restaurants, among them Geno Bernardo of Nove Italiano, Arnauld Briand of Ventano, Barry Dakake of N9NE Steakhouse, Megan Romano of Aureole and Luciano Pellegrini of Valentino, to name just a few.

Photography by Sullivan Charles

20â&#x20AC;&#x192; Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010


S E X Y

I N T I M A T E

B O U T I Q U E

702.823.2210 • 8665 W. Flamingo, Suite129 • Las Vegas, NV 89147


Society

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

Good Food, cause Dish Las Vegas, a fundraising event for Three Square food bank and a treat for foodies of every description, was held recently in the pool and bungalows at the Palms hotel-casino. Guests set their own pace at serving stations where chefs from restaurants including Alize, The Capital Grille, Bradley Ogden, Vintner Grill and N9NE Steakhouse provided examples of their menu favorites. Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, New Amsterdam Gin, Stella Artois and Bacardi were among the providers of the cocktails.

Photography by Beverly Oanes

22â&#x20AC;&#x192; Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010


ENVIABLES

SIGHT UNSEEN

Gemvara.com launches a line of fully customizable braille-inscribed jewelry made of precious metal/gemstones. Gemvara.com, $100 to $700.

Style The Look Photographed by Tomas Muscionico

Nick San Pedro

Visual artist, age 31.

HIGH SPEED

Diesel has come out with a new shoe that isn’t meant for running but for kicking ass, and it includes instructions on how to do so. The sneaker has a mix of leather, suede, nylon and mesh and comes in four color combinations. Available at Diesel in Fashion Show, $100.

VERY COOLA

Style icons: Traver Rains, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen. What he’s wearing now: Christian Dior bow tie, Just Cavalli button-up, H&M vest and jacket, Chrome Hearts bracelet, Seven jeans, Kenneth Cole shoes and Guess belt. Nick San Pedro is so stylish even Beyoncé took notice. “I have a wicked colorful Cavalli shirt that caught the eye of Beyoncé, which led to a lap dance in front of 9,000 people,” he says. “I think of her every time I look at that shirt.” And when he’s not dressing to impress the A-list, you can find this trendsetter building off his wardrobe staples. “I love that my Seven jeans are a great base to dress up or down.”

COOLA’s Natural Hand and Body Lotion Bars are a blend of Shea Butter, natural oils and emollients. Available in four scents, plus unscented, the bars are solid at room temperature and melt when rubbed in your hands. $12 to $22. Available at Wynn and Encore, the Spa at Aria, Vdara Spa & Salon and online at CoolaSuncare.com. November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven 25


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Saks general manager Mari Landers with fashion director Eric Jennings outside the Fashion Show store.

Window Shopping By MJ Elstein

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Photography by Francis & Francis

Eric Jennings of Saks Fifth Avenue heralds the return of the sport coat and the fashion phenomenon known as the ‘restaurant top’




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Style 

Tips From a Pro

The Temptu Airbrush Makeup System   ($225) and its Air Pods (from left):   standard base ($55 for a set of two),   blush ($30) and highlighter ($35).

Use Your Illusion Airbrush makeup can give  you flawless skin without  the aid of Photoshop By Whitney Urichuk

28  Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

One of the biggest challenges in cosmetics is finding the right foundation. With  so many products available, it’s hard to  know what works best with each skin type.  Whether you are oily, dry or combination, it is important to find a formula that  gives the desired coverage and leaves skin  flawless throughout the day.  Three years ago I was introduced to  airbrush makeup. I was a skeptic at first,  I admit. Out of pure curiosity I decided  to take a few classes to see what all the  fuss was about. Today, it is the only  product in my kit. Did you ever wonder how Hollywood’s  starlets always look so naturally beautiful? One of their secrets is airbrush  makeup. Only a few brands offered  product in the beginning, but now many 

cosmetic companies are developing their  own lines. With such a surge of availability, it is now the No. 1 request for  professional makeup artists. And you can  now bring it home, thanks to brands such  as Kett and Temptu. Airbrush makeup is a lightweight,  highly formulated foundation that  is run through an airbrush and air  compressor. It is then sprayed directly  onto the skin. After learning the proper  application technique, it will leave  the skin with a flawless, long-lasting  coverage. Many liquid foundations  have a tendency to get cakey after a  few hours, but airbrush makeup will  look as good as it did when you first put  it on. It provides sheer to maximum  coverage without feeling like you have 

tons of makeup on. There are two different formulas, a water-based, oil-free  foundation and a waterproof version.  For daily use I suggest the water-based.  The best part is that the formula does  not leave a filmy residue. Where can you get your hands on this  amazing product? For those of you who  consider yourselves makeup connoisseurs, you can order the airbrush systems and product online (I recommend  KettCosmetics.com and OCCMakeup. com) or visit your local Sephora store  to check out the consumer-friendly  Temptu system.  Whitney Urichuk of OneLuvAgency.com makes  Las Vegas beautiful one false eyelash at a time.  E-mail her at whitneyurichuk@gmail.com.


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Ou inside line on who’ll go home from Our m the World Series of Poker’s final table th e with an $8.9 million paycheck By Gary Trask



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-DVRQ6HQWL Age: 29 Hometown: St. Louis Park, Minn. Chips: 7.62 million (ninth) Odds to win: 18-to-1

It’s the Super Bowl of poker, affectionately referred to as the November Nine. It will

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draw thousands of rabid poker fans to the Rio hotel-casino’s Penn & Teller Theater beginning Nov. 6, and thousands more will get shut out because of the limited seating, causing a spectacle much like a heavyweight boxing match. Come the wee hours of Nov. 9, the last man standing at the World Series of Poker’s Main Event will win much more than a check for $8.9 million—he will earn himself a place in poker history and, of course, the piece of jewelry that anyone who has ever uttered the words “all in” dreams of wearing: the diamond-and-gold encrusted Main Event bracelet. Back in July when the 41st annual WSOP Main Event began, 7,319 players (the second-largest field in history) ponied up $10,000 each with the hope of making it to this weekend’s final table. In an effort to create more interest and allow ESPN to provide “same-day coverage” of the final table, the WSOP made the controversial decision in 2008 to add a four-month delay into the proceedings, creating the November Nine concept. The results have been rather auspicious as TV ratings have soared, and so have field prizes and sizes. Each of the nine players who remain has their own story to tell. Here’s a look at the personalities in this year’s November Nine, as well as a forecast as to how it will all play out once the cards go in the air. (The odds, current as of Nov. 2, come courtesy of online handicapper Bodog.com.)



-RVHSK&KHRQJ Age: 24 Hometown: La Mirada, Calif. Chips: 23.52 million (third) Odds to win: 13-to-2 *WZVQV;W]\P3WZMI+PMWVO QUUQOZI\ML\W\PM=VQ\ML;\I\M[ _PMVPM_I[4I[\aMIZPMMIZVML LMOZMM[QVX[aKPWTWOaIVLUI\PI\ \PM=VQ^MZ[Q\aWN+ITQNWZVQI;IV ,QMOW_PMZMPM_I[QV\ZWL]KML \W\PM_WZTLWNWVTQVMXWSMZ0Q[ [\]LQM[PI^MKWUMQVY]Q\MPIVLa )N\MZNIQTQVO\WKI[PQVVQVMM^MV\[ I\TI[\aMIZ¼[?;78+PMWVOUILM \PMUWVMa\PZMM\QUM[\PQ[aMIZ0M IT[W_MV\\W\PM-]ZWXMIV8WSMZ <W]Z¼[4WVLWV[\WXL]ZQVO\PM ÅVIT\IJTMLMTIaIVL\WWS[MKWVL I\\PM 0QOP:WTTMZ<]ZJW -^MV\ILLQVO \WPQ[ JIVSZWTT 8ZWOVW[Q["1NVW\NWZIVMXQK JILJMI\LQ[PMLW]\Ja.QTQXXW +IVLQWWV,Ia ¸IPIVL_MTT KPZWVQKTMLWV-;86_PMVPQ[XWKSM\IKM[OW\KZIKSML¸\PMUQTLUIVVMZML +PMWVO_W]TLJM\PMKPQXTMILMZ;\QTTPMZIV^MZa_MTT\PZW]OPW]\\PM5IQV -^MV\IVLQ[ILMÅVQ\M\PZMI\\W_QV]VTM[[PMNITT[^QK\QU\WILQNÅK]T\[MI\ I[[QOVUMV\

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Age: 24 Hometown: Bonita Springs, Fla. Chips: 46.25 million (second) Odds to win: 15-to-4

0LFKDHO0L]UDFKL Age: 29 Hometown: Miami Chips: 14.45 million (seventh) Odds to win: 6-to-1

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-RQDWKDQ'XKDPHO Age: 23 Hometown: Boucherville, Quebec Chips: 65.97 million (first) Odds to win: 5-to-2 7VMWN\_W+IVILQIV[I\\PM\IJTM,]PIUMT¸ _Q\PPQ[\ZILMUIZSOZIaPWWLML[_MI\[PQZ\¸KWV [\IV\TaPI[ITWWSWVPQ[NIKM\PI\[Ia[PMSVW_[ [WUM\PQVOaW]LWV¼\<PMIXXZWIKPPI[_WZSML R][\ÅVMNWZ\PMKWTTMOMLZWXW]\\]ZVMLXWSMZXZW _PWQ[\PMaW]VOM[\XTIaMZI\\PMÅVIT\IJTMJ]\ IT[W\PMUIV_Q\P\PMTIZOM[\[\IKS;QVKM\]ZVQVO XZWQV ,]PIUMTPI[JMMVUW[\TaIVWVTQVM KI[POIUMXTIaMZJ]\\PQ[aMIZPMUIVIOML\PZMM ?;78KI[PM[ 8ZWOVW[Q[",]ZQVO\PMÅVITPW]Z[WNXTIaQV 2]Ta,]PIUMTKPQXXML]X[QOVQÅKIV\TaIVLMV\MZ[ _Q\P_PI\_W]TLIXXMIZ\WJMIKWUUIVLQVO TMILJQOMVW]OP\PI\PMKW]TLXZWJIJTaNWTLPQ[ _IaQV\WNW]Z\PXTIKM*]\PQ[\WZaPI[XZW^MV\PI\ \PMKPQXTMILMZLWM[V¼\IT_Ia[_IT\bQV\WPMIL[]X XTIa?M¼TTKITTNWZI\PQZLXTIKMÅVQ[P

)ROORZWKH:623)LQDOV See it live: Play begins at noon Nov. 6 in the Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater. The tournament culminates with a two-man showdown at 8 p.m. Nov. 8. Capacity is 1,400, but the line typically starts forming hours before the doors open, at 11 a.m. Seating is first-come, firstserved. Admission is free; 21 and older only. Watch it from afar: WSOP.com will provide live chip counts and hand-by-hand reporting. The event will be streamed on ESPN3.com on a five-minute delay. Coverage of the final table can be seen on ESPN from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 9. Read Vegas Seven’s daily analysis: Follow Gary Trask’s reports and updates at WeeklySeven.com  9HJDV6HYHQ 6W^MUJMZ

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Age: 26 Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia Chips: 16.70 million (๏ฌfth) Odds to win: 10-to-1

Age: 24 Hometown: Port Richey, Fla. Chips: 19 million (fourth) Odds to win: 13-to-2

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)LOLSSR&DQGLR Age: 26 Hometown: Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy Chips: 16.4 million (sixth) Odds to Win: 11-to-1

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&XRQJโ€œ6RLโ€ 1JX\HQ Age: 37 Hometown: Santa Ana, Calif. Chips: 9.65 milion (eighth) Odds to win: 16-to-1 6O]aMVQ[\PM[MVQWZUMUJMZWN\PM6W^MUJMZ6QVMIVLPM[aUJWTQbM[\PM?;78UIV\ZI\PI\ยนIVaWVMKIVMV\MZIVaWVMKIV _QVยบ<PI\ยผ[JMKI][MPMQ[IT[W\PMTWVMIUI\M]ZI\\PM\IJTMIVL\PM5IQV-^MV\_I[R][\\PMNW]Z\PTQ^M\W]ZVIUMV\PMM^MZ MV\MZML6O]aMVKWV\QV]M[\WTWOPW]Z[I_MMSI\PQ[RWJ_Q\PIUMLQKIT[]XXTQM[KWUXIVaJIKSPWUMIVL[Ia[M^MVQNPM[PWKS[ \PM_WZTLIVL_QV[\PMJZIKMTM\PM_WVยผ\Y]Q\PQ[LIaRWJยน1KW]TLVM^MZ\]ZVUaJIKSWVUaJW[[IVLKW_WZSMZ[ยบPM[Ia[ 8ZWOVW[Q["6O]aMV_PWKIUM\W)UMZQKINZWU>QM\VIU_PMVPM_I[[Ia[PMยผ[JMMVยนTQ^QVOILZMIUยบM^MZ[QVKMPMUILM \PM6W^MUJMZ6QVM*]\PMยผ[ZMITQ[\QKIJW]\PQ[KPIVKM[ยน1PI^M\PM_WZ[\[MI\I\\PM\IJTM1PI^M\PMTMI[\IUW]V\WNM`XMZQMVKM J]\1PI^MUWZMTQNMM`XMZQMVKM\PIVIVaWVMMT[M<PI\ยผ[OWQVO\WJMIP]OMPMTXยบ 6W^MUJMZ 9HJDV6HYHQ 


Another Day on Paradise

Thoughts, observations and confessions from a low-rent apartment in the shadow of the Strip By Matthew Oโ€™Brien

1

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This story is excerpted from Las Vegas author Matthew Oโ€™Brienโ€™s new book, My Week at the Blue Angel: And Other Stories From the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs, and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas (Huntington Press, $15), released Nov. 1. Oโ€™Brien will be a panelist at the Storytelling in the Modern Southwest discussion for the Vegas Valley Book Festival at 1:45 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Historic Fifth Street School.


Photography by Bill Hughes

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Residents Mark Conway and Erica Williams (top), and fashion designer Valentino Santiago.

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THe LocaL Newsroom Dropping in on the Dropout Prevention Summit If Las Vegas is really that dumb, would we even be talking about this? By Kate Silver

Jimmy, a husky bald man probably in his 40s, leaves. Blakeley has just pounded out research on half a dozen or so  properties that may go up for auction in a parking lot outside  his office at 10 this morning. He’s making recommendations  to his pool of 50-70 investors, and several are wanting in at  various price points on certain properties. “Watch, I’ll send a bid in right now,” he adds. He scrolls  through several names on a spreadsheet, then taps out a  $300,000 bid on a home he estimates is worth $800,000. The  home may not even go up for auction at all or could sell for  quite a bit more. But he’s ready, the information is sent downstairs to Jimmy’s laptop, where the colleague is now opening a  fold-up chair near an auctioneer’s podium.

On Nov. 8, nearly 300 people  from across the state will convene  at UNLV for Nevada’s Statewide  Dropout Prevention Summit.  The conference, which is being  held nearly two weeks after Las  Vegas was designated the nation’s  “dumbest” city by The Daily  Beast, is the second of its kind.  Organizers from the Nevada  Public Education Foundation hope  to bring public awareness to the  issue of dropping out and involve  community members in solving  the problem. It is free and open to  the public, but participants must  register in advance at NVPEF.org. “This isn’t an issue just for  parents who have kids in the school  district,” says Chanda Cook, director of the Southern Nevada region  for the Nevada Public Education  Foundation. “This is everyone’s  issue, and our economic viability is  dependent on it. The importance  of us having an educated workforce  is going to affect each and every  one of us, because the youth of  today are going to be our caregivers, our doctors, our lawyers, our  accountants, our grocery store  clerks of the future.” Nevada’s graduation rate varies  depending on source, ranging  from 52 percent (according to the  U.S. Department of Education) to  71 percent (according to the state  of Nevada). “Regardless of what  numbers you use, they’re bad,”  Cook says.  The Nevada Public Education  Foundation, a nonprofit group  that works to get communities  more involved in schools, is hoping  to change that by increasing the  value of education in the eyes of  the community.  The summit will bring together  representatives from social services, the juvenile justice system,  educators and members of the 

Continued on Page 39

Continued on Page 39

Every day, some 600 properties are scheduled to come up for sale at the trustee auction downtown.

art of the Deal

Downtown real estate auction is house flipping’s final frontier By Brian Sodoma It’s 9:30 a.m., the worst time of the day for Griffin Group  CEO B.J. Blakeley. The door to his second-floor office in  a downtown two-story building on Fourth Street is open.  Employee foot traffic is steady, and everyone seems to have a  question. Blakeley doesn’t shy away from answers. Somehow  he stays focused on the many tasks that come his way via  alerts on his two computer monitors and oversize corner  plasma screen. “Cooper’s been postponed,” he says to someone in his office.  “That’s a crappy house. … Nevada Ranch, that’s no good. …  Peccole Ranch, I love it.” Then the enthusiasm fades for a moment. But after a few clicks, “We have a winner folks! … Double  Down’s good. I like Double Down. Jimmy, send a driver.”

November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven  37


The Local Newsroom

Green Felt Journal

Vegas convention biz heads for cutting edge By David G. Schwartz

702-385-5200

6th & Fremont www.ecvegas.com 38  Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

The business travel market has always been important for Las Vegas. But with the 2008-09 downturn in convention bookings, it’s clear just how crucial meetings are for the local economy. Recently, MGM Resorts International began a few programs that help convention guests stay connected while they’re here. Convention bookings have suffered more than leisure visits during the recession. From 2007 to 2009, the total number of visitors to Las Vegas dropped from 39.1 million to 36.3 million—a 7 percent decline. The total number of convention delegates, on the other hand, shrank from 6.2 million to 4.5 million— a drop of more than 27 percent. The convention crisis means more than empty conference rooms. Convention visitors tend to outspend leisure travelers at restaurants and for rooms, so their absence has a disproportionately large impact on casino revenues—and casino employment. Getting conventions to come back isn’t going to be easy, though both the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority and several casinos are reporting more robust bookings next year. The challenge will be keeping these guests happy in Las Vegas, and increasingly, technology is helping to do that. Several MGM Resorts International properties have released iPhone applications that let guests learn about amenities, view rooms, download gaming guides and in general use their mobile devices as virtual brochures. It’s a necessary move to a platform from which visitors are increasingly getting their information. Convention guests, however, can use their iPhones to do much more than regular hotel guests. Groups can create passcode-protected pages that include news, meeting schedules, special offers for conference attendees, and more. Conference organizers can now continuously update their delegates in real time. This is in keeping with national trends; convention centers from Boston to San Diego have been experimenting with apps to deliver news to attendees for about a year now. With so many choices available to visitors, it’s not surprising that Las Vegas resorts like those in the MGM family are doing the same. A demo shows the capabilities: A wedding party can access a schedule

of events (no more guessing where and when the wedding photos were being shot), view the guest list, read a short bio of the couple and even submit songs for the band to play at the reception. “We think it’s a new way to get more productivity out of our convention sales teams, and get better responses from our convention guests,” says MGM executive vice president for sales and marketing Richard Harper, acknowledging that this is terra incognita for his company. “We haven’t seen many folks doing anything quite like this in the convention space, and we saw this as an opportunity to get out in front of it, to build something meaningful that would improve the overall convention experience.” He admits that the company is still finding its way. “It’s one more way we’re looking to provide something unique. And you don’t know if it will work if you don’t try it. We might make some mistakes along the way, but there’s a lot of potential there.” Harper is enthused by the possibilities for better marketing to guests before— and, in real-time, during—their stay, and by the way that technology can overcome a problem many guests have: getting lost en route to their sessions. “GPS is a great way to help people move around the property,” he says. According to Harper, convention visitors with Blackberry and Android smart phones will be able to join in on the fun, starting in January. That will coincide with a rebound in convention visitation that he sees happening around that time, with his company forecasting “at least double-digit growth” in the number of convention guests compared to this year. Yet it’s not all about technology. Harper believes that the human touch is essential to the convention hospitality business. “The last thing we want to do is become so automated that we lose touch with our guests,” he says, though he acknowledges that “if a customer finds a need for a technological solution that will increase their loyalty to us, we’d like to get behind it.” As conventioneers become more reliant on mobile devices, the Strip’s casinos will be increasingly speaking to them there. David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s  Center for Gaming Research.


House flippers Continued from Page 37

Blakeley has the manpower and  technology to monitor every move at  the trustee sales auction, which occurs  weekdays in the downtown parking lot  of the Nevada Legal News, the newspaper  that publishes legal notices for foreclosure  properties. The auction, for cash buyers  only, is that legal step for distressed Las  Vegas homes and condos before the  banks actually take them over. It is what  Blakeley refers to as “the last frontier  of flipping,” and people like him, who  have amassed the resources to look up  property liens, inspect abandoned homes  and assesses market values very quickly,  are in demand. “Flipping is virtually impossible to do  in the retail real estate environment,”  adds Anthony “Tony” Martin, owner  of LVDefault.com, another resource  that provides information for investors  looking at auction properties. Martin says banks learned their lesson  from the 2008 crash, when too many  properties were on the market at once,  prompting a steep drop in pricing. He  says, now, they are “spooning” houses  onto the market to keep supply low,  stabilizing prices but making “deals”  tougher to come by.  “There are really no [bank-owned  deals] to be had,” he says. “Banks are  holding everything. These auctions are  the only way to do this. [Banks] are  trying to wait out the storm.” But it’s a storm that will not likely end  anytime soon. Martin wouldn’t give  specifics, but says he’s learned through his  banking industry contacts that there is a  “staggering” number of defaults and foreclosed homes that the banks are sitting on,  a number so large, he says, it would prompt  political intervention if it was revealed. Locally, Blakeley estimates about 600  properties are scheduled for sale each  day at the trustee auction. About 10  percent actually go up for bid and only a  handful of those are worth it, he says. Outside, an hour later, a dozen properties have gone up for bid. The crier  doesn’t have a microphone, but she’s  easy to hear under the three-car canopy  where 40 or so potential bidders are  seated. They’re equipped with fold-up  chairs, laptops and notepads. At this auction, all of the properties  have gone back to the bank. Flippers say a 10 percent profit in  120 days is reasonable, if you do your  homework. “There are 10 ways to die  out here,” says Lorren Stiles, head of  investor relations for Horizon Realty  Group. Stiles, who has been buying  houses at trustee sales for eight years,  rattles off a couple of the big ones: not  researching liens carefully and underestimating a property’s damage.

But the kiss of death is “buying a  second,” or second lien position. In  other words, a bidder will buy a home  for what appears to be a great deal, but  the money is only going to pay off the  second loan, not the first. That first loan  must be repaid before the home can be  sold to someone else. What appears to be  a $100,000 gain could easily become a  $100,000 loss, if not more. “I’ve seen amateurs get scorched in  this place” says Mickey Griffin, managing partner with Progressive Real Estate  Investments. “If you’re coming in here  with your last few hundred grand in  savings, forget it.” Griffin has been buying trustee sale  properties since 2003 and always has 30  homes in his portfolio; 10 being rehabbed,  10 for sale, and another 10 in escrow. Still there are amateurs here who are  trying their luck, and some are seeing  modest success. Carmen Marcuccio, 31,  just purchased a North Las Vegas home  for $111,000. He looks nervous handing over a cashier’s check and putting  receipts into a blue deposit envelope  with the name of his family’s LLC on it.  He plans to flip the home and is mum  on too many details. Marcuccio, who is  using some family savings, buys about  one home a month and knows very few  people at the auction. Marcuccio befriended a man named  Ritchey, who sits under the canopy and  bids for him while he paces in another  area of the parking lot. “People think auction property is a  great buy,” says Marcuccio, a former  rental-car salesman. “But that is a huge  misconception. You need to be prepared.” Spotting HOA liens, for example, is  one area where amateurs trip up. Blakeley gives an example where he thought  the HOA liens on a property, after  calculating the monthly dues and other  fees, would be about $900. The bill was  $3,600. He refers to HOA collection  companies as “legalized extortion.” Of course, there’s another side to that  story as well. David Stone, president of  Nevada Association Services, a local homeowner association collections agency,  says flippers don’t understand the costs  his company incurs when taking on  a collections account. Abiding by the  Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices  Act, for example, necessitates keeping a  staff of more than 20. “It’s ironic that [flippers] are complaining about fees when they’re making  a boatload of money,” he says. “The  liens are statutory public record, there  really is no surprise here. I don’t know  what their gripe is other than they feel  they’re paying too much. Conversely, I  think they’re making too much.” 

Some sources put Nevada’s graduation rate at 52 percent, while others put it at 71 percent. Dropout prevention Continued from Page 37

business community to talk about the  issues facing high school students,  the impact that dropouts have on the  economy and how to intervene before  a student drops out. Keynote speaker Bob Wise, president  of the Alliance for Excellent Education  and former governor of West Virginia,  will give a talk on the value of a high  school diploma titled, “The best  economic stimulus package is a high  school diploma.” Dr. Pat Levitt, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute  at the Keck School of Medicine at the  University of Southern California,  will discuss the latest brain research  development and how it relates to  youth success. And Applied Analysis’  Jeremy Aguero will discuss the social  impact of dropouts.  Laura Granier, chairwoman of  NPEF, says the summit is a way to 

encourage community and business  involvement with schools.  “With the  financial tsunami Nevada is facing,  I think the business community is  recognizing the connection between  education and our economy and how  important this is to coming out of the  hole we’re in,” Granier says “We’re  facing a time where we need to look  at where we’re at economically and  come up with a strategic plan for the  state of how we develop industries  and attract new business here. We  need an educated work force, and we  need a solid public education system  to attract businesses and workers and  employees for those businesses.” The goal of Nevada Public Education Foundation is to increase graduation rates by 10 percent by 2013. That  may not catapult us into “smartest  city” territory, but it’s a start.  November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven  39


The Local Newsroom 

On the Road Again Local RV show is a sign that the economy is moving By Kate Silver When the RV Super Show hit South Point hotel-casino Oct. 26-31, it was more than just a sales opportunity  for some 200 new and used recreational vehicles.  Sponsored by Camping World, the show was the  company’s second in Las Vegas since February, following a two-year hiatus, an indication that the economy  may be picking up speed. Recreational vehicles are a  disposable-income splurge, the type of spending that’s  the first to go and the last to recover in a recession.  “Two and a half years ago this housing thing hit  and we’ve been pretty much struggling ever since,”  says Kevin Wise, regional vice president for Camping  World. “Financing a recreational vehicle is disposable.  It’s not like your car, it’s not something you have to  have to get back and forth to work or transport your  kids to school.”  The average price of an RV from Camping World is  $40,000, but higher-end units can cost $100,000-plus.  As with the housing and job markets, the Las Vegas RV  market suffered tremendous blows. “We’re seeing that the Vegas market and Nevada in  general was one of the harder-hit markets,” Wise says.  “Where we had a very successful store, we found it even 

40  Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

more challenging than some of  our other markets. But we’re  seeing it rebound slowly. It’s  still a work in progress. We’re  seeing our service revenue and  our parts revenue much better  than in years past and our sales  volume has increased over the  last year. And we’re hoping it  continues.”  In fact, production in the  industry is expected to be nearly  45 percent higher than a year  ago, according to Kevin Broom,  director of media relations for  the Recreation Vehicle Industry  Association, which is located  The RV industry hit its peak in 2006, and has been slumping since. outside Washington, D.C., and  But as the credit market loosens up and people are  is the national trade association representing manufacslowly returning to their pre-recession lives, things are  turers. That’s following a roller coaster of a decade in  looking up for the RV industry. “The feeling is that the  RV sales.  buyers are coming back,” Broom says. “The pent-up  The industry hit a nearly 30-year high in 2006, says  demand is starting to be released.” Broom, when 390,500 RVs shipped from manufacturBroom says that the most popular item is the travel  ers to dealers. In 2007, when foreclosures started picktrailer. It’s less expensive than an RV and it attaches on  ing up, RV shipments dipped about 9.5 percent. Then  the credit markets froze, and neither consumers nor RV  to an SUV, which many families already have. Broom  adds that if you’re going to travel, this is an incredibly  dealers could get a loan. Consumer confidence plumaffordable way to do it.  meted, and in 2009 only 165,000 RVs shipped. Two of  “It’s the least expensive way to travel, except if you  the largest RV makers (Monaco Coach and Fleetwood  want to drive your car and sleep in a tent,” he says.  Enterprises) filed for bankruptcy protection. 


The Local Newsroom

Politics

What it all may have meant By Michael Green

You are reading this after the election, but it’s being written before the election. That might seem to make analyzing the results difficult. Actually, it doesn’t. Some pre-election thoughts on postelection matters: Sharron Angle aired ads that were racist and dishonest, and both agreed with and denied some of her own recorded statements. She still received a lot of votes. Now, bear with me. You can share— even justify—her opposition to government playing the role in our society that it plays (it might surprise you that I can make that argument, and do, in some cases). You can so disagree with or dislike Harry Reid that you refused to cast a vote for him. But if you punched the button for Angle, how do you then claim you don’t sympathize with the racism, dishonesty and hatred that characterized her campaign? The answer is you can’t. That says a lot about us, or you, and what it says shouldn’t please you. Nor should you be terribly pleased with yourself if you didn’t stand up to it. We’ve come a long way, baby, but we clearly have a long way to go. Did anyone notice whether the Republican Senate Campaign Committee paid for a lot of ads on behalf of Angle? It sure didn’t look like it. Does that tell us anything? Possibly that she didn’t need the help. One theory floated before the election was that liberals might be happier with Dick Durbin of Illinois or Charles Schumer of New York as Senate Democratic leader. The inverse is at least as interesting: Republican senators might prefer to deal with Reid, who is more moderate than the aforementioned Democrats. A theory about the Rory Reid campaign from the outset was that being on the ballot with his father would hurt his chances with those who often invoke the Bible but still visit the supposed sins of the father upon the son. Let’s try the theory from the other direction. For Reid to have called for higher taxes might have appealed to some voters but cost him many others, since voters on both sides prefer not to acknowledge reality. Perhaps he should have suggested that the solution to the state’s problems is closing down

its government wherever people dislike government, so only Clark County should have any services. But whatever Rory Reid said might have hurt his father’s chances, and so he couldn’t tell some of the truths that needed telling, any more than his father could. The wisest man who never lived, Adam Schiff, the district attorney on Law & Order, once told prosecutor Jack McCoy, “Your credibility is not a boomerang. Give it up and it doesn’t come back.” That the Las Vegas Sun favored the major Democratic candidates was obvious, but it also reported a great deal on the merits and failings of both sides. The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s coverage of the Reid-Angle race was a journalistic embarrassment—not merely because the R-J skewed its coverage so heavily against Reid, both in layout and in reporting on the race, but that it was so transparent and thus incompetent about doing so. This begs some questions. First, did that coverage actually matter? It certainly didn’t help Reid, but whether the R-J (or the Sun, or any other publication) actually affected any votes can be debated from now until doomsday. Second, should we expect anything else? The R-J and Sun historically have tilted one way or the other, often depending as much on personal feelings as partisanship, and newspaper publishers and editors tend to be human beings, even when columnists aren’t. This year’s campaign ads were the most negative in memory, and that’s going back some. But negative campaigning continues because it works, and it will keep working until we refuse to accept it. So, live with it, or stop it. But quit complaining about it. Speaking of which, the media want the candidates to discuss issues. How many really in-depth stories did you read or watch about issues, as opposed to reports on the races and the campaigns? Physician, heal thyself. Then again, the patients could use some help, too. Good thing they got health care reform.

heal “ Physician, thyself.”

42  Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

Michael Green is a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada and an author of several books and articles on Nevada history.


Presents

The Only Latin Night Under the Stars

WEDNESDAYS 9:30 PM

rhumbarlv.com


Nightlife

Entertaining options for a week of nonstop fun and excitement.

Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk

Thu. 4  It’s a night of snowboarding, swag giveaways and movies at Crown, as the Rio’s nightspot teams up with Powder and Sun and Tyrant Snowboards to present Snowboard Cinema. This week’s feature presentations are Paint It Red and F--- It. And the first 100 people through the doors will receive a free copy of Paint It Red. Meanwhile, C-Money and The Players Inc. (which includes members of Slightly Stoopid) and DJ Crime provide musical entertainment. (Doors 10:30 p.m., $5.) At the Palms, Little Buddha hosts a night of Japanese beer and sake tasting, as Hitachino hosts a party at the back of the restaurant, likely spilling over onto the rarely used patio. Nine Asian ales will be showcased, along with sake and sushi-inspired snacks. (8 p.m., $25.) Back on the Great Boulevard, punk rockers the Misfits (pictured) are at the Hard Rock Café on the Strip, along with Juicehead. Doors 8 p.m., show 9 p.m., $20 in advance via TicketWeb.com, $25 at the door, ages 18-plus.

Fri. 5  Get your weekend off to a hilarious start as Saturday Night Live veteran Kevin Nealon begins a two-night stint at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club. (At the Tropicana, 8 and 10 p.m., $39.) Later, head to The Mirage, where uber-hottie Arianny Celeste heats up Jet. (Doors 10:30 p.m., $30 guys, $20 girls.) Or avoid the Strip altogether, and head downtown for First Friday, then Get Back to the basics with a night of funky soul at Beauty Bar with DJ John Doe. (517 E. Fremont St., doors 9 p.m., $10 men, $5 ladies.) And over at Wynn, skateboard legend Tony Hawk hosts a kick-off party for Saturday’s Stand Up For Skate Parks event. Doors 9 p.m., $30.

Sat. 6  Paul Oakenfold’s Face Lift tour comes to the superstar DJ’s home away from home, Rain at the Palms. Oakie’s namesake party, Perfecto, hosts both him and the EC Twins. (Doors 11 p.m., $30, local ladies free.) Meantime, Far East Movement (pictured) plays Surrender at Encore. (Doors 10 p.m., $40 men, $30 women, local ladies free.) Just across the way, Tao celebrates five years at the Venetian, as DJ Vice spins. (Doors 10 p.m., $20, local ladies free.) And since this is the night we fall back to standard time, you get an extra hour’s worth of drinking at the already-reasonably priced, all-you-can-drink happy hour at McFadden’s. Pay $10, then drink Rio’s Irish-inspired bar dry from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. (No cover.) And finally, Drake celebrates the end of his Light Dreams & Nightmares tour at Tryst. At Wynn, doors 10 p.m., $30 men, $20 women.

SeveN NIghtS Sun. 7 Strike a pose as Closet Sundays at Revolution hosts a vogue-off that awards $1,000 to the best Madonna mimicker. Meantime, everyone enjoys $5 beers and vodka drinks, and locals get in free. (At The Mirage, doors 10 p.m., $20 for non-locals.) Head to The Bank for some bar-time voting, as The Bank hosts the 2010 Vegas Elections. Cast your ballot for President, Social Chair and Sexy Secretary. (At Bellagio, doors 10:30 p.m., $40, locals free with valid ID.) Alternatively, give the clubs a rest and instead check out Franky Perez (pictured), who entertains in the lounge at the Palms. The honorary member of Camp Freddy plays classic rock covers starting at 10 p.m., and, as always, it’s free.

Mon. 8 Sure, the calendar might say it’s “Monday,” but it’s actually Football Day. As such, head to Playboy Club, where Monday Night Football means no cover during the game, whether you’re cheering for the Steelers or the Bengals. (At the Palms, $20 for men after 11 p.m.) Or keep it simple, and head to your neighborhood PT’s, where there’s never a cover, but plenty of beer and wings—and screens on which to watch the game.

Tue. 9 Grammy award-winner Roger Sanchez (pictured) is in the house, and tonight the New York-hailing DJ brings his housed-up hip-hop to Lavo. Revel in the joy that is “ just another Tuesday in Las Vegas” and call your bored friends back home (or in the Midwest) on your way out, then party extra-hard knowing there’s never a dull moment—or day of the week—in this town. At Palazzo, doors 10 p.m., $20 men, $10 women, free for all locals.

Wed. 10 Ladies, work up some courage (may we suggest drinking it?) to ask a +1 to join you at Revolver at Santa Fe Station as the saloon hosts a Sadie Hawkins Dance. Couples in matching outfits get in for free and receive their first drinks on the house. Otherwise, it’s $1 cover and $1 drinks for dateless ladies. Doors 8 p.m., $5 for unmatched men. November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven 45


Nightlife 

LAX | LuXor

Photography by Amy Schaefer

Upcoming Nov. 5 | DJ Casanova Nov. 10 | Industry night

46 Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010


Nightlife 

Moon | PalMs

Photography by Beverly Oanes

Upcoming Nov. 9 | Bang! celebrating ERock’s birthday Nov. 16 | Bang! with DJ Ruckus Nov. 23 | Bang! with DJ Jazzy Jeff

48

Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010


Nightlife 

Stoney’S RoCKIn’ CountRy | 9151 LaS VegaS BLVd. South

Photography by Roman Mendez

Upcoming Nov. 4 | $1 Ladies Night Nov. 5 | Free Beer Fridays Nov. 7 | Underground Sundays

50 Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010


Nightlife 

Tao | VeneTian

Upcoming Nov. 6 | Five-year anniversary Nov. 11 | Worship Thursdays with DJ Edward Maya Nov. 13 | DJ Sander Van Doorn

54

Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

Photography by Beverly Oanes


Nightlife 

Profile

Get Your Kicks DJ Vice to start the Cosmopolitan off on the right foot with his sneaker boutique

By Melissa arseniuk

Sneaker pimp: DJ Vice’s biggest vice? It’s gotta be the shoes.

He just might be the DJ world’s answer to Carrie  Bradshaw—and he has the closet to prove it.  “My running shoes are on top, and there’s a  Dunks section that goes across, and this is the  Air Jordan section,” DJ Vice says, explaining  the layout of the massive shoe closet in his  Hollywood, Calif., home, where Vegas Seven paid  Vice a personal visit. “These are my favorite Air  Jordans, Air Jordan 3s, and it continues with the  Air Jordan 4s, down there.” Indeed, there is a method to the madness that  is his 100-plus sneaker collection. “It’s like a  supermarket,” he says. But there is gravity, too, to the collection he  curates. In the middle of the colorful array sits  a pair of custom Dunks that once belonged to  Vice’s friend and mentor, the late DJ AM. “They’re size 12, so I can’t wear them; they  just stay right there,” he says, crediting AM as  the one who got him into interested in collecting  shoes in the first place. “He really helped me  kick up my shoe game,” Vice says. “He started  showing me the eBay ropes.” Not that Vice has to go online to buy shoes  anymore. Two years ago, the DJ opened his  first shoe store in Santa Barbara, Calif. He  and his business partner, Nick Sakai, will up  their combined games next month inside the  Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, when they open  their second CRSVR (pronounced “crossover”)  shoe boutique.  Vice and Sakai had been searching for a Las  Vegas location ever since they developed their  business concept. “The feel of our store wouldn’t fit at a Forum  Shops, or a Wynn, or even the Palms,” Vice  says. The DJ, who is a resident DJ at Tao and  Lavo, says the Cosmo offers convenience:  “We’re literally right outside the doors of  Marquee, the new club  that Tao Group is doing,”  he points out. “It’s going  to be a nonstop, constant  flow of traffic—which is  scary, actually.” The 1,800-square-foot  shop, which opens Dec. 

15, along with the hotel, will offer a colorful variety of fashionable footwear, as well as clothing,  accessories and a Beats by Dre listening station.  Included in the design is a DJ booth, which  Vice and his DJ friends will hop on from time  to time for impromptu shows and occasional  special events. Vice admits he and Sakai, who met at  McCarran International Airport, are unlikely  business partners. “We were on the same flight out of Vegas going  to Santa Barbara,” Vice recalls. “We ended up sitting next to each other and both had Air Maxes.” Vice asked his seatmate where he got his  sneakers, and Sakai, who was working as a  wedding planner at the time, said he had driven  all the way to L.A. to get them. The two agreed  that there was a void in the sneaker scene and,  six months later, they opened their first location.  “We had a five-day camp-out for these shoes,”  Vice says, pointing to one pair in his closet.  “People slept outside of the store for five days,  but, luckily, since I own the store, I got to skip  the lines.” (He picked up two pairs: one to wear  and one to save for later.)  While shoe store ownership certainly has  its perks, Vice maintains that he’s earned his  stripes, so to speak. “I used to get in lines and  wait for shoes, so I paid my dues, in that sense,”  he says.  “I remember I walked a few hours in Germany just to find these,” he says, of his beloved  pair of Stone Mesas by Nike. “I literally drove  two hours, then waited another two hours in line  for these,” he says. “I bought two pairs.”  While Vice never thought he’d open a shoe  store, he says the retail projects have been a  good fit, allowing him to mix business with  pleasure. Or, in his case, business with passion. 

Winterized Party Patios Brrrrrring on the chill! These nightclub patios are ready and thrilling By Xania Woodman

EncorE BEach cluB/SurrEndEr nightcluB Surrender’s 5,000-square-feet of indoor real estate gives way via sliding-glass to Encore Beach Club’s sprawling al fresco splendor. But don’t let the plummeting mercury send you running indoors; the 60 Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

pool complex recently underwent a thorough winterization. Each of the 26 cabanas and eight bungalows has its own heating system and even blankets, and 150 space heaters dot the remainder of the massive venue. New furniture has also transformed the temperaturecontrolled Switch restaurant patio into a comfortable, sexy, outdoor lounge. In addition, one of Encore Beach Club’s three pools will be covered to provide another dance floor. It’s not quite the same as a pond freezing over, but it’ll do.

rok VEgaS

BluSh BoutiquE nightcluB

It’s the patio that rock built. Just on the other side of New York-New York’s welltraveled Brooklyn Bridge is Rok Vegas’ 2,000-square-foot party patio, recently renovated from the flooring to the new silver upholstery on the 18 couches, which are available on a first-come, firstserved basis. Eight heaters (and Rok’s new Ginger Spice cocktail, $15) will make sure the season stays both warm and bright.

This winter, make sure that all your toasts stay toasty. Walled in from offending desert breezes, Blush’s intimate patio at Wynn is now home to a dozen space heaters. Like Surrender, Blush staff offers blankets to chilly outdoor table guests. Consider the possibilities: When was the last time you got to ask a cocktail server to tuck you in?

DJ Vice by Ja Tescon

The heat is on! Check out Switch’s winterized party patio.

Even a mild Vegas’ winter can put a chill on your hot night out. That is, of course, unless you head for these party patios, winterized for your year-round pleasure:


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Nightlife 

Cocktail Culture

By Xania Woodman 

El Pepino

As served at Munchbar,   Caesars Palace, $10 Despite the idea being to taste the tequila straight, Vegasbased Milagro brand ambassador Gaston Martinez wasn’t  having it. For him, last month’s Spirits of Mexico festival in  San Diego was a chance to not only show off the Milagro  tequila portfolio (blanco, reposado and añejo) but also to show  off Milagro’s incredible mixability in cocktails such as the  Freshest Margarita and El Pepino.  Martinez, who has an extensive culinary background, has  long been amazed that more bars don’t take advantage of the  array of flavors available to them from their respective   kitchens. So he decided to concentrate on “culinary  cocktails,” that is, cocktails that pair well with food and  have culinary ingredients in them. “This is a great one  that not only pairs well with fresh Mexican food but also  with shellfish and sushi,” Martinez says. “It is also a great  poolside refreshment.” “You definitely need to like spice to like this one,” he says  of El Pepino’s jalapeño kick. “But the freshness of this cocktail  appeals to all people.” Also, while Martinez prepares his  El Pepino without it, at Munchbar, bartenders add a bit of  Combier Triple Sec orange liqueur. Like all things, it’s just a  matter of taste.              

See for yourself! Scan here to have the cocktail  action delivered directly to  your mobile device or visit  WeeklySeven.com.

Heavy Medals Gold medal winners all, these top tequilas  also took top honors in their respective  style categories at the 2010 Spirits of  Mexico festival.

Best of Show and Best Reposado Chinaco Reposado,   ChinacoTequila.com

Best Blanco Regional Blanco,   RegionalTequila.com

2 ounces Milagro Blanco tequila ¾ ounce Combier Triple Sec orange liqueur 2 ounces fresh margarita mix (1 part freshly squeezed lime     juice, ¾ part agave nectar, ¼ part water) 4 slices fresh cucumber, plus one for garnish 1 sprig fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish 1 small jalapeño, sliced

Muddle cucumbers, herbs and jalapeño slices. Add   remaining ingredients. Shake with ice and double-strain into a   rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a cucumber slice   and fresh cilantro sprig.

Best Añejo Kah Añejo,  KahTequila.com

Best Extra Añejo Abandonado  Extra Añejo,  DiscoverTequila.com

Get into the Spirits of Mexico Celebrating its seventh year, the Spirits of Mexico festival in Old Town San Diego  recently attracted the tequila scene’s best  and brightest for a weekend of tastings,  cultural education and tequila-fueled fun.  At the awards dinner, tequila makers such  as Kim Brandi of Kah Tequila tipped  their hats while the event’s founder, Dori  Bryant of PolishedPalate.com, announced  the winners in each category. “The spirits  of Mexico are presented in a cultural and  historic setting, providing authenticity  and respect to the generations of master  distillers whose ‘art’ and soul are in every  drop,” Bryant said. The main event, which was open to  the public, brought more than 200 styles  of tequila, mescal and sotol to the masses.  This year, 90 brands were represented,  64  Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

making it the largest ever  such gathering in North  America, doubling last  year’s record of 45 brands.   The next day, intrepid tequila aficionados  boarded Mark Cannon’s  fifth annual PocoTequila. com Lobster Bus. Three  coaches journeyed south from Tijuana to  Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, a lobster village  rich in two things: tequila and Baja-style  lobster. On the breezy coast, we feasted  while the Fortaleza and Corrido tequila  flowed freely. Since then, Bryant has received some  very good news, which she is sharing first  with Vegas Seven. Bryant will join forces  with the Nightclub & Bar Show (NCB), 

held every March in Las Vegas, to  present Spirits of Mexico Las Vegas, the  only portion of NCB’s 27th annual event  ever to be open to the public. “These  spirits are being singled out and identified as being among the fastest-growing  categories of the world market,” Bryant  says. “For the first time in its history, the  NCB invites consumers to attend only  Spirits of Mexico Las Vegas.”  Salud, Dori!

Best Cream & Liqueur Casa 1921 Cream,  Tequila1921.com


The NaTioNal Newsroom This week in the New York Observer

The Chelsea Hotel in New York has attracted the likes of Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan. A new owner, however, might be difficult to find.

metaphor on 23rd street The Chelsea Hotel has history and architecture—is that enough for a $100 million sale? By Zeke Turner Two punks pushing middle age, a man and a woman dressed in black, sat together on a bench in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel on the afternoon of Oct. 29. The room was decorated for Halloween. Near the couple’s feet, three plastic tombstones and some fake bones were arranged beneath a black-and-white photograph of Andy Warhol operating a camera, part of the lobby’s permanent collection. The couple was on vacation in New York City, and the Chelsea was their last stop. Ten days earlier, the hotel’s owners—a group of 16 shareholders led by the descendants of three Hungarian men who purchased it in 1946—announced that, after years of bad publicity, abortive management changes and dozens of lawsuits, the icon was for sale. The man wore a black leather jacket covered in zippers and two oversize metal rings. His hairline receded into long sideburns. “It doesn’t exist anymore. They made it into a suite or something,” the man told the woman. He was talking about Room 100, now part of Room 103, where Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious allegedly

stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death in October 1978. “I loved her, but she treated me like shit,” he told police when he was arrested. He killed himself with three injections of prime heroin later that year. “Please bury me next to my baby in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots,” he wrote in a suicide note that was found in his pocket. “Goodbye.” The woman in the Chelsea lobby pulled her straight, jet-black hair into a bundle over her left shoulder. Her face was white with powder. “This has been a bad-luck trip,” she said. The Chelsea sits fortress-like on 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth avenues. When the 12-story building opened in 1883, as a 44-room co-op apartment house, it was the tallest in New York. The Chelsea isn’t named after the neighborhood; the neighborhood is named after the Chelsea. In 1905, it began accepting transient hotel guests, and over the next century, the original rooms were split into 101 apartments—a mix of single-room occupancies and one-, two- and three-bedrooms—and

125 hotel units. Patti Smith, who moved into the hotel with Robert Mapplethorpe in 1969, described the Chelsea as “a doll’s house in The Twilight Zone” in her recent memoir Just Kids (Ecco, 2010). When other 19th-century hotels like the original Waldorf and the Astoria were being knocked down in the late 1920s, the red-brick Chelsea remained. “It was a boutique hotel before they thought up the name,” said Tom McConnell, a broker at the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. The Chelsea’s hulking physicality—its L-shaped sign, which can be seen blocks away hanging over 23rd Street; its facade, speckled with terraces—sets the building apart from nearby neighbors such as Burritoville, 99¢ Creation and Pet Central. But it’s the litany of cultural touchstones in (or formerly in) residence that makes it the Chelsea. It’s where Mark Twain stayed. And Jack Kerouac. And: Thomas Wolfe, Frida Kahlo, O. Henry, Arthur C. Clarke, Willem de Kooning, Henri Cartier Bresson, Allen Ginsberg and

Martha Graham. It’s where couples from Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe to Leonard Cohen and Janis Joplin made love. It’s where Dylan Thomas collapsed into a coma in 1953—“I’ve had 18 straight whiskies. I think that is a record!”—which led to his death four days later in St. Vincent’s Hospital. Upon arriving in New York City in 1964, artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude stayed in the Chelsea and borrowed money from the front desk to eat. The hotel became known for allowing tenants to pay rent with original works of art, some of which still hang in the lobby. The idea of the Chelsea as a place where beautiful young people took “downies,” smoked cigarettes and groomed their bangs crystallized in Warhol’s 1966 film The Chelsea Girls. In the year before the movie was released, Bob Dylan, who had written much of Blonde on Blonde while living in a third-floor room, moved out of the building. “When Chelsea Girls came out, it was all over for the Chelsea Hotel,” Dylan said in a 1985 interview. “You might as well have burned it down. The notoriety it had gotten from that movie pretty much destroyed it.” Although there is really no previous transaction to measure the sale of the Chelsea against, the owners are hoping the Queen Anne–style building, whose history and lore shriek like marketing banshees, will fetch at least $100 million, according to several sources. Doug Harmon, a top broker at the firm Eastdil Secured, is representing the owners. Harmon repped the families that sold the Apthorp on the Upper West Side in 2006 to Maurice Mann and Lev Leviev for $425 million, then a record for a U.S. apartment building. Harmon is also handling the potential sale of 111 Eighth Ave. to Google, which has its New York headquarters there, for $2 billion in what could be one of the most expensive property sales ever in New York. Harmon declined to comment. Finding a buyer for the Chelsea, especially at $100 million, is a giant problem. According to one source inside the building, hoteliers Ian Schrager and André Balazs, as well as the real estate scion Scott Resnick, the sort of buyer who might favor a residential repositioning of the building, have said they are not interested in the property. They all declined to comment. The timing of the sale and the Manhattan hotel market are not the problem. The market is ripe. Hotel revenue per available room is up 15 percent in 2010 over 2009, and nightly occupancy rates have climbed back above 90 percent this year. There were more than 2,000 hotel rooms under construction or planned in Chelsea in the Continued on Page 72 November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven 69


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 Justin Timberlake gets the star treatment at the premiere of The Social Network at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 24.

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The National Newsroom

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55 “I ___ for any special interest group, big or small ...” 61 A little grizzly 64 Jadedness 65 Rejuvenates 66 Film computer 67 Corn concoction 68 Dolly, to Lloyd, for example: abbr. 69 Helping hand: abbr. 70 Mongrels 71 Hit the road 72 Hobby shop buys 73 TCM host Mankiewicz 74 Intro to “boom-de-ay” 77 Ignited anew 78 Get the idea 79 “I know I’m not the most exciting guy ___ ...” 82 Mini-masterpiece 83 Floyd cuts his hair 84 Amount 85 Rose Kennedy’s youngest 86 “They can ___ that all they want ...” 91 Palm tree starch 94 Long time 96 Big man on the court 97 Classic Jaguars 99 “But if I’m going to reach that ___ called the Capitol ...” 104 Ryan and Whitman 105 Whiz 106 Marked down 108 Unvarnished

Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

109 Big bird 110 NATO founding member 111 Mel’s Diner waitress 112 Much of Santa’s mail 115 Cultural-grant org. 116 “I’ll need to be more than just the ___ of the primaries ...” 120 “I’ll need your continued support. Without it, I will surely ___! I’m Marlin Goldfish and I approved this message.” 122 Idiotic 123 Mother with a Nobel Prize 124 Politician’s add-on 125 Geeky types 126 Like some rye 127 Like Santa’s suit on Dec. 26 DOWN 1 Reproves 2 “Star Wars” first name 3 Assns. 4 Soprano ___ Te Kanawa 5 Crown coating 6 Cheering section? 7 Wear away 8 ___ solution 9 African antelope 10 River project 11 Athlete’s asset 12 WWII island 13 A chilling idea?

14 Orff ’s “___ Burana” 15 Less fuzzy 16 Companion of “no play” 17 Inscribed marker 18 Plaster of Paris ingredient 21 Poky 23 Actor Wally 26 Benefit 31 Individual 33 “___ man speak” 34 Drive-time sound? 35 Hardness scale 37 African ruminant 38 Took a tumble 40 Cheese type 41 Ruler over Tolstoy 44 Program, to Ed Sullivan 46 Coward et al. 47 Adjusts slightly 48 Singer Milsap 49 Like talent, maybe 51 Astronomy unit 53 Prophet finish 56 Pulls 57 Simple type of answer 58 Boomer? 59 Roil 60 Ingot units 61 “Chill!” 62 Different from 63 Whacked 67 ___ school 69 Big boomer? 70 Bird word 74 The top number? 75 Goes on to say 76 Charles and Elizabeth, e.g. 77 Swab again 79 Cyan relative 80 Finish off, Fischer-style 81 Nam chopper 82 Students’ stats 86 Enters 87 Windflower 88 Frequent patron 89 Bovine-pulled vehicles 90 It’s often played on a beach 92 Soccer score 93 Slice-___ (realistic) 95 Bird’s beak 98 Polished off, as this puzzle 100 Magnetic flux units 101 Stopped flowing 102 Place for fishing 103 “Now/this” insert 105 Sun Devils’ sch. 107 “Hang ’Em High” sight 110 Applications 111 Scarecrow’s dread 113 Pamplona runner 114 Heavyweight sport? 117 “Is there no ___?” 118 “Devil or Angel” singer 119 Old cousin of “awesome” 121 D.C. player 11/04/2010 © M. Reagle

Chelsea Hotel Continued from Page 69

summer of 2007, and, in spite of the economy, no fewer than 10 new hotels have opened in the neighborhood since the beginning of 2009. One source intimately familiar with the Chelsea and the local hotel market suggested the building could have gone for twice or three times as much as $100 million three years ago. The source also said that a new owner would probably spend between $50 million and $75 million (between $400,000 and $600,000 per hotel room) renovating the property. A broker who toured the property recently estimated that the renovation would cost between $100,000 and $150,000 per room. Another broker who toured it and declined the listing said $100 million was “a stretch.” Eastdil Secured’s listing underscores the size of the existing hotel rooms, which a new owner could subdivide to create more revenue-generating units. “The limiting factor is how much is it going to cost to renovate. If it’s $20,000 or $30,000 a room, that’s one thing, but if it’s $200,000 per room, that’s another thing,” said McConnell of Cushman & Wakefield. “It starts getting a little dis-economic at that location.” There is also the headache of renovating a landmarked building, not to mention one whose central design feature—an open central stair—is now illegal in New York City (fire doors have been installed). And then there are the litigious tenants, who will have to be won over—or kicked out. “To me, the Chelsea without the tenants isn’t really the Chelsea,” McConnell said. “I mean, if there’s one hotel in New York that you have to sprinkle a grain of salt on when it comes to tenants, it would be that one.” Down a set of black stairs to the right of the hotel’s entrance is a club that opened in the middle of October, the Chelsea Room. “This is all the original brickwork from when the building was built in the 1800s,” said Marcus Bifaro, the club’s general manager, moving his finger in an arc across the lounge’s walls and vaulted ceiling, which were sandblasted for two weeks to remove layers of accumulated paint. “The Chelsea Hotel, it’s an artistic place, obviously,” Bifaro said. “To tie myself to the Chelsea Hotel, I feel like we also ourselves have to be kind of artistic, not only in our design but putting up some pieces of art. That’s my next step.” The Chelsea Room hopes to attract the type of clients who will pay for bottle service or, at the very least, $13 cocktails. Bifaro has made sure to stay on good terms with the hotel and the residents, who were largely unhappy with the Star Lounge, which closed in the same space earlier this year. He beamed when asked if he was excited to be managing a club at the bottom of the Chelsea. But what of the sale? “There’s a million Trump Plazas, there’s a million boutique hotels out there somewhere, and I definitely don’t think that’s what they should do. I think they should leave it for what it is.” On the night of Oct. 30, Bifaro, like many of his guests, dressed in costume. “I was going for Gangs of New York, but I ended up as this disco cowboy thing,” Bifaro told The Observer, popping a puffy cap onto his head. He wore a fake mustache and a vest with a pocket watch over his rolled shirtsleeves. The club had a drink special for $10: vodka, Chambord raspberry liqueur, lime juice and cranberry juice, on the rocks and garnished with a slice of blood orange. Behold the “Sid and Nancy.”


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The National Newsroom

Personal Finance Justin Timberlake Continued from Page 70

from things I’ve worked on that his name comes up a lot in meetings. At any point in time, there’s always a viable list of actors people are betting on, and he’s certainly on that list.” Timberlake currently has two other movies with Sony scheduled for release next year: Bad Teacher, a comedy opposite Cameron Diaz, and Friends With Benefits, with Mila Kunis. “We think he can do broad comedy, we think he can do drama, we think he can do romantic comedy,” said Sony co-chair Amy Pascal. But perhaps what Timberlake needs is the opposite of Hollywood’s girl-meets-boy comedies to wipe away that proverbial shininess and use this newfound attention to show us something else. “I would like to see him do a drama and maybe something even further away from what the perception of him is—like a psychological introspective,” Hiller said. “I’d like to see something where he’s a little less shiny.” Should he do Broadway? “If he did, it would probably sell out, but I don’t think he needs to do that.” Timberlake turns 30 on Jan. 31. He’ll be 18 years removed from his Mickey Mouse Club days; 13 years since “I Want You Back,” ’NSync’s first hit; and nine years since he cried a river over Britney Spears. And more importantly, if the Hollywood Foreign Press allows it, the shiny new boy will be two weeks away from taking home a golden statue. “The interesting analogy to make here, if The Social Network continues to be in the running for Best Picture,” O’Neil said, “is its parallel to From Here to Eternity, which had Frank Sinatra, a pop singer and a heartthrob of his day who went on to win Best Supporting Actor for the same kind of hell-raiser role that Justin plays in The Social Network.” “He will certainly be nominated at the Globes and that will put him in the awards game,” he continued. “And then it depends on what his acceptance speech is at the Globes, because usually that is your audition for the Oscar. If you wow us like Hilary Swank or Jamie Foxx did, who had extraordinary speeches that carried them to an Oscar win, Justin could do it, too.” Angling For Votes By Merl Reagle

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Betterment.com brings index funds to the masses By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services If you’ve been thinking about getting started in investing but don’t have a lot of money, an option has opened up that could ease you into the stock market. A company called Betterment.com is essentially bringing index funds to the masses by providing a Web-based service that allows you to invest small amounts—even just $10 or $15—and still get a diversified portfolio of both stocks and bonds. Index funds are investment pools that buy and hold every stock or bond in a particular market index with the notion that the fund will reflect the performance of the entire market. They’re offered to reflect stock indexes, bond indexes, international and real estate investment indexes. Many seasoned investors like index funds because they usually beat the performance of actively managed funds over time. Also, index funds charge fees that amount to only about 0.2 percent of assets, versus actively managed funds that typically charge 1 percent or more. But it has been tough for small investors to buy index funds because the lowest-cost funds simply can’t afford to take small deposits. If you invested $100 in Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index fund, which charges 0.18 percent a year, for example, the fund company would lose money just by sending you an annual statement. Your account would generate an 18-cent profit, but the envelope and stamp would cost at least three times that. As a result, Vanguard usually requires minimum investments of at least $3,000 and restricts adding money to an account in increments of less than $100. Index funds have a sister product, called Exchange Traded Funds, that can hold the same underlying investments but don’t impose investment minimums. But you buy them through brokers and have to pay a trading fee each time you buy or sell. Even the deepest discount broker charges at least $4 per trade, which makes buying ETFs on a monthly basis too costly for the small investor to contemplate. Betterment.com, which launched in May, changes the model by offering ETFs without the brokerage fees. Instead, you pay an annual fee of 0.9 percent of your invested assets. It doesn’t matter how many trades you make. How does that help? Consider an investor who wants to invest $50 a month. That person could open an account with a deep discounter, such as Sharebuilder.com, and pay just $4 per trade. But even at that, the $4 adds up to $48 a year, which effectively eats up one of the 12 monthly deposits. The Betterment model would cost less than $3 in that first year because of the way the company charges fees. Those fees are levied quarterly based on your average annual balance. In simple terms, because the investor is building a balance from zero to $600 over the course of the year, the average works out to be $300. A 0.9 percent fee on that amounts to $2.70.

(Under either model, the investor also would pay 0.2 percent average management fees on the ETF portfolio.) “Betterment compares very well to a brokerage account where you are paying a fee for every share that you buy,” said Jon Stein, the company’s chief executive officer. “You can set this up in 10 seconds and you have this automatic savings plan.” The other bright side to Betterment’s approach is that you get both stocks and bonds. Betterment gives you a pro-rata share of a basket of funds that are designed to reflect the entire U.S. stock market, plus a fixed-income portfolio that’s made up of Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, also known as TIPS. You decide on the investment mix. But the Betterment approach, with its same fee formula, makes sense only for small investors or those just starting out. Steve Vernon, an Oxnard, Calif., actuary and author of Recession-Proof Your Retirement Years (Rest-of-Life Communications, 2009), says Betterment’s economics start to turn sour once an investor accumulates as little as $3,000. If you had $3,000 to invest, for example, you could get a similar mix of stocks and bonds by buying into Vanguard’s Star Fund. Star is a balanced fund that keeps about 40 percent of its assets in fixed-income funds and about 60 percent in stocks. Vanguard charges $20 in annual maintenance fees when you have less than $10,000 in your account, plus 0.37 percent in management fees. But it also does not charge any fees to buy or sell. The bottom line: If you had $3,000 in the Vanguard fund, you’d pay $11.10 in annual management fees plus $20 in account maintenance fees, for a total of $31.10. If you invested through Betterment, you’d pay the site’s 0.9 percent fee, plus the 0.2 percent average management fees on the ETF portfolio, for a total of $33. Admittedly, you can’t start with nothing at Vanguard the way you can at Betterment, and it’s probably not worth switching to Vanguard from Betterment for a cost savings that amounts to less than $5 annually. That said, Vernon thinks you should consider a switch once you accumulate $5,000 to $10,000—that’s when Betterment’s model starts costing $55 to $110 each year. And it’s a really bad deal for somebody with $100,000 invested who would pay $1,100 annually with Betterment versus $370 with Vanguard’s Star Fund. “Paying 0.9 percent of assets gives me a headache,” the cost-conscious Vernon said. Betterment’s Stein says the site is considering cutting fees for bigger accounts, but hasn’t done so yet. For now, Betterment is a great place to start, but not a place to stay.

Kathy Kristof’s column is syndicated by Tribune Media Services. She welcomes comments and suggestions but regrets that she cannot respond to each one. E-mail her at kathykristof24@gmail.com.


Arts & Entertainment

Creating concept art—such as this illustration from Fallout: New Vegas—is the first step in developing the look of a video game.

Games

Unexpected Art In a fictional Las Vegas, pixels become the palette for the end of the world and beyond

By T.R. Witcher What a brilliant idea for a video game: Set a postapocalypse in the desert Southwest and position Las Vegas as the only surviving city—one part Bartertown, one part … hell, it sounds like Las Vegas now. After all, we’ve been hit by something of an economic cataclysm, and we’re still standing, right? The only thing missing is the giant wall that surrounds the city, as it does in the alternate universe of the video game. Fallout: New Vegas is the fourth title in the popular Fallout series of role-playing games; in this edition you play a courier trying to deliver a computer chip across the wastelands of the Mojave. The game is set in a nuclear winter a few hundred years hence, and borrows from a smorgasbord of mid-century design references—from gee-whiz ’50s sci-fi to pulp fiction

and magazine art. It’s almost like a mid-century modern version of steampunk—but better, because wafting through the game are songs from the era (particularly Sinatra singing “Blue Moon”). To boot, Wayne Newton even lends his voice as a DJ. But how do you go about creating a video game version of Las Vegas anyway? The answer: Know what you’re after. One of the first things project director Josh Sawyer told game designers at Obsidian Entertainment is that the vibe for this simulation of Vegas, called New Vegas, had to be very Rat Pack, very 1950s. So lead artist Joe Sanabria went online to research the look and feel of the era. He soon found himself pouring through a Flickr photo group dedicated to all things vintage Vegas, a “huge library of images, postcards

and pamphlets.” As they nailed down the aesthetics of the era, designers turned to modern architecture and a particular subset of curvaceous, Atomic-age design known as Googie. (Think of the Space Needle in Seattle or the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.) The hotels in the game were not based specifically on real locations, but they do carry some stylistic quotes to old standbys such as Caesars Palace and the Sands. In addition, the Hoover Dam and a Fremont East-style district called Freeside also feature in the digital landscape. These locales are more than background, too—the courier character must navigate through them all during the game. Above all rises the Lucky 38, a tower that is half-Landmark, and half Stratosphere, with a flying saucer-shaped observation deck that recalls, Sanabria says, a roulette wheel. Howard Hughes owned the real Landmark; the Lucky 38 is the headquarters of the Hughes-like ruler of New Vegas, the mysterious Mr. House. It is this structure that most marks New Vegas as something out of a surreal dream, one that threatens to become a nightmare. About two dozen designers built the world of the game in a mere 18 months (three years is more typical). So how real to life is the game’s version of Vegas? Given the fact that the Landmark opened in the late ’60s, the visual vibe is perhaps as much ’70s as ’50s. Then again, Continued on Page 78 November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven 77


Arts & Entertainment

Stage Review

Pick Me, Lior! Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard brings the whole audience in on the act By Kurt Rice Lior Suchard’s Supernatural Entertainment is a solid little magic show. Strolling onstage in jeans, an untucked shirt and loose sport coat, he worked the crowd in the pleasantly intimate Lounge at the Palms, managing his misdirection well and directly engaging almost every willing audience member with light, funny patter and some pretty cool trickery. Despite the tantalizing publicity images of the mentalist gazing through a wine glass with a bent stem and another of him holding a bent spoon, he never tried these illusions. Instead, he started off with some rather pedestrian cold readings. In what appears to be a trademark bit, Suchard named audience members’ first loves. “It’s the accent,” one woman allowed when he came close, but didn’t quite nail the name of her old beau. What followed was more intriguing. He brought a pair of audience members onstage, separated them by a dozen feet, and then tapped, stroked and tickled one to produce the same tap, stroke or tickle “remotely” in the other. Suchard got some PG-13 humor out of this trick when he told the audience the “effect will last about a week, so wherever he touches himself, she’ll feel it too.” Although Suchard was crowned Uri Geller’s successor by the old spoon-bending charlatan himself, he thankfully de-emphasizes any claims of raw, mutant “mind power.” He instead lays down a more seemly assertion that his act combines “psychology, sensitive intuition, supernatural skills and guided imagination.” Certainly, his intuition spotted me fairly quickly. He scanned the crowd looking “for a skeptic,” and we locked eyes almost immediately. “You, you look skeptical,” he said, and indeed I am. Then I was onstage, soon to be joined by my wife, more audience members and a cocktail waitress, all of us attempting to hide $100 bills in our hands with the promise that if he picked the wrong hand, we’d all be 200 bucks richer. Of course, there was no way we were getting those crumpled bills, but that didn’t stop us from trying.

Touring cast of So You Think You Can Dance.

Triumphal Return So You Think You Can Dance comes back to Vegas with a show-stopping tour By Sharon Kehoe

Ultimately, Suchard did what all good magic acts do: suspend disbelief while encouraging futile attempts at explanation. I got as much enjoyment out of watching the main show as I did watching him read the crowd. But the show’s real draw is Suchard’s seemingly unaffected friendliness and his fearless proximity to the audience. So, if your inner child has her hand in the air as high as it can go and she’s screaming “pick me, pick me,” then hustle on down to the Palms for a magic show you can both enjoy. Supernatural Entertainment featuring Lior Suchard, the Lounge at the Palms, 8 p.m. Thu-Fri through Nov. 19, $43-$63, 944-3200.

New Vegas Continued from Page 77

designers did a bang-up job adding signage throughout their digital Vegas—they help convey the zany optimism of Las Vegas, post-apocalypse or not. After all, the heart of Las Vegas is not any one architectural style. It’s all symbolic here, that feeling you get when you’ve been driving through the Mojave for hours, at night, and then the city finally unfolds in the distance as this impossible oasis of light and color in the middle of nowhere. (Parts of the Mojave already are “post-nuclear” environments, given years of atomic testing that went on during the same years the game references.) That’s Las Vegas, and it’s that vibe that Sanabria 78

Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

Concept art depicting the energy and danger of New Vegas.

and the other designers have successfully captured in New Vegas. Sanabria says designers were clear from the outset what their game required: “At all costs when a player arrives there it was impressive.”

If you are familiar with the term “pirouette” or the button-nosed dancer Lauren Froderman, take note: The hit reality show So You Think You Can Dance is bringing its live tour to Las Vegas. “We’ve got six or seven new dances for the tour,” says Adéchiké Torbert, who was a Top 4 finalist in Season 7. “I think it gives the fans a bit more to look forward to because some things have been given a twist.” That twist includes new group routines and surprise partnering, but also something familiar. Season 7 winner Froderman, along with 12 dancers from the TV show, will perform at the same place where the show taped its version of Hell Week, “Vegas Week.” “There are going to be memories we will have to live out all over again,” says Robert Roldan, a Top 3 finalist in Season 7. “I might scream about getting a camera out of my face, just for old time’s sake.” You can find your favorite numbers on the tour, including “Collide,” where two young lovers part after prom; “Mad World” about a homeless man and a businessman recognizing one another; and “Fix You,” which follows a son helping his mother through cancer. “I think we all lived in a bubble on the show,” Roldan says. “We didn’t fully understand how many people supported this show and dance in general until we went out on tour and heard over a thousand fans screaming. It’s absolutely surreal.” Theater for the Performing Arts at Planet Hollywood, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12, $37.50 and up, 800-745-3000.


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Arts & Entertainment

Stage

Golden Girl Whoopi Goldberg shares her  stories, opinions and birthday  with Las Vegas By Patrick Moulin You’d think that buying a gift for a celebrity would be difficult, but Whoopi Goldberg is easy to shop for. “Get me a dollar scratch-off and I’m happy,” she says. But this year, the Academy Award-winning actress will celebrate her 55th birthday with two Las Vegas performances. The actor, author, comedian and producer has returned from overseeing the final performances of a successful London run of the musical Sister Act, which may make its way here someday. “It might be fun there in Vegas,” she says. This is coming from a lady who knows where Las Vegas comes from. “In the old days, you couldn’t bring children to Las Vegas,” she says. “You could go hear Wayne Newton, or you could go see the tiger men, umm … Siegfried & Roy, you could go hear Shirley Bassey and Steppenwolf. My time period, which was the ’80s, was exciting and wonderful. So I got to meet some of the all-time Vegas folks, like Sammy [Davis Jr.] and Dean [Martin].” One of the guys Goldberg got to know was Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, whom she met while filming a commercial for Steve Wynn’s then-new casino, The Mirage. “I really liked him. He had a great sense of humor, and there

Get a View of Whoopi on Nov. 12.

was no one like him. When you listened to him sing, you realized that you were hearing something that was on its own and unlike anything else.” And then there’s Bill O’Reilly. As seen on a recent episode of The View, O’Reilly’s stubborn views caused Goldberg and fellow co-host Joy Behar to walk off the set. “I suspect that had Joy and I not left, he would not have apologized, which he did,” Goldberg says. “Now it was a backhanded apology, but clearly he knew something was necessary, because that’s not a man that apologizes for anything.” TI’s Mystère Theatre, 7 and 9:30 p.m.   Nov. 12, $79-$99, 894-7722. 

Theater Review

Claire Sinclair turns a ‘Paige’ at MGM Grand’s Crazy Horse Paris By Carla Ferreira With her love for all things vintage and her traditional hourglass figure, Miss October isn’t your average Playboy Playmate. Brunette pin-up model Claire Sinclair, 19, recently joined a list of high-profile guest stars at MGM Grand’s  Crazy Horse Paris. But how did Sinclair’s weeklong stint (Oct. 21-28) measure up? After the signature opening with British Royal Guards, Sinclair appeared solo in the second number—“Leçon de Séduction”—in a costume designed for her. The black camisole and rhinestone bra wasn’t as exciting as the designer-label decadence of former guest star Dita Von Teese. Sinclair’s next act, “Upside Down,” was set to a sultry remix of Britney Spears’ 80  Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

“Toxic.” Unlike former guest star Carmen Electra, Sinclair has no previous dance history. This translated into some awkward grinds, slides and rolls around a lip-shaped sofa. Although she didn’t move with the grace of the regular cast, Sinclair pulled off some memorable Bettie Paige poses. All in all, Sinclair was an OK reason to see this beloved show again. But, really, you don’t need a reason. Lest we forget amid the excitement of celebrity, the regular cast of Crazy Horse is sexy, talented and entertaining enough on its own. 8 and 10:30 nightly, dark Tuesdays, MGM  Grand’s Crazy Horse Cabaret Theatre,  $50.50-$85.50, 891-7777.


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Arts & Entertainment

CD Reviews

By Jarret Keene

ELECTRO-AMBIENT

Brian Eno Small Craft on a Milk Sea (Warp) For all the superlatives attached to the name Brian  Eno, the synthesizer pioneer and famed U2 producer’s solo work has never struck this critic as being  particularly huge in sound and size. If anything, Eno’s  ambientscapes are fiercely intimate and unique, like  a series of dusty battery-operated music boxes from  the future, or from across the galaxy. Opening each one is always a sonic treat, and the  anticipation of hearing the uncanny is usually rewarded. His first album for the Warp  label, Small Craft on a Milk Sea, offers a gorgeous journey to the new outer reaches  of electronic music, starting with placid crystalline miniature “Emerald and Lime,” and  progressing to the razor-scraping-a-coke-mirror dance interlude of “Flint March,” and  culminating in the gauzy spiritual drift of “Late Anthropocene.” With each track, Eno  achieves a brand-new texture, a palate-expanding flavor, in the electronic music genre.  Quietly brilliant and definitely among the year’s best.  ★★★★✩

TWEEN COUNTRY

Taylor Swift Speak Now (Big Machine) Twenty-year-old Taylor Swift can’t catch a break.  Famously dissed by Kanye West, infamously dumped  by John Mayer, and sued by an ex-manager, Swift is  poked and prodded like a caged bear by lesser-talented  men. Heck, even the skinny Black Crowes guy said  she was “horrible,” though that’s likely because she  physically resembles his ex-wife. Much as I despise  fake country, it’s difficult to dismiss Swift’s surefire songcraft, which doesn’t get enough  credit. She’s no Leonard Cohen, but every song she delivers has a point and purpose;  there’s never vague angst or bad poetry—just matter-of-fact narratives about hearts  being broken, mended or fused. Speak Now is rough on the male species; for instance,  the kiss-off ballad “Dear John” (“All the girls that you’ve run dry / have tired, lifeless  eyes / ’cause you burned them out”). But they’ve had it coming. Besides, when she says  she’s sorry in the mandolin-touched “Back to December,” you hear genuine remorse  plaguing her voice. Too bad she doesn’t have a dick; she’d be hailed as the new Ryan  Adams.  ★★★✩✩

RETRO-PUNK

Die Laughing 9-10 Demonstration (Vomitcore) Local punk-rock trio Die Laughing writes and records  music as if “the aughts” never happened, as if hardcore  and metal were still peanut butter and chocolate  with no chance at sweet, mouthwatering unification. Which is a long way of saying that the band’s  11-song debut, 9-10 Demonstration, delivers sloppy,  sticky-fingers-stuck-in-the-PB-jar punk. Guitarist L. Bro doesn’t mince riffs, unleashing  skewed, angular lines of distorted power chords with zero fanfare and even less technical  polish. The gruesome drums of “El Sludge O” courtesy of Bob Dawson don’t help the  situation, neither does the rubbery bass guitar of “Be Yourself.” Still, I know better than  to chalk it up to amateurism, because Die Laughing is a lethal live act that plays Vegas  dive bars regularly, which explains how this CD got in my car. Besides, any band whose  untitled final album track contains the chorus “I miss my mom” definitely knows what  it’s doing.  ★★★✩✩

82  Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010


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Wham! Pow! Zap! Comic book rock

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Wednesdays

By Jarret Keene Just when I think I’ve covered every  kind of music in this column, along  comes a dynamic duo of superheroobsessed songwriters. Kyle Stevens is a Seattle singer/guitarist; Jim Demonakos is founder/organizer  of Emerald City Comic Con. Together  they’re Kirby Krackle, taking their  name from a visual effect by Jack Kirby  (creator of Fantastic Four). Over the  summer, Kyle and Jim released a sophomore album, E for Everyone, which boasts  buoyant melodies, cracking drums 

Tuesdays

about characters we love. Other songs  emerge from a guitar riff, like “Marvelous Girls.”  “Marvelous Girls” lauds characters who, because of their gender, get short shrift. Jim had the idea of writing a dedication of love for what you might call “nerd  girls.” The idea expanded into a musical  love letter to the women of the Marvel  Universe—almost as if written by a  lovesick guy who lives, or thinks he lives,  in that universe.

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Is Jim strictly a “lyrics guy”? You can say that. He  possesses a huge backlog of  references and lyrical ideas  that, when combined with  mine, results in songs we get really excited about. He’s a good  editor, too.

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“One of the Guys” is a humorous song about Ben Grimm (the Thing). But you also tap into the character’s pathos. The Thing is actually the  real heart of the Fantastic Four.  Underneath his monstrous  exterior, you find someone  who genuinely cares about his  “family” and finds the strength  in himself to embrace what it is  that makes him different.

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I love the line, “I’ve found a place among my friends/ and I’ll be there up until the end/with the first Jim Demonakos (left) and Kyle Stevens. family to make me forget I was so grim.” The song speaks to and Cheap Trick-ed-out guitar riffs. I  the “family” feeling of the comicrecently chatted with the band, which  book community. has a performance in the Clark County  The Thing is an allegory about the  Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) at 2  comic-book community. Many fans  p.m. Nov. 6 as part of the Vegas Valley  start reading comics as an escape from  Comic Book Fest. the real world, and many fans get a new  perspective on their own existences by  How does “The World’s First reading the trials and tribulations of  Comic Book Rock Band” write these characters. As characters like the  a song? Thing embrace their differences and go  The first song we ever wrote was the  out in to the world to live their lives, so,  Mario Kart-inspired “Back to the Begintoo, can the readers.  ning,” in which the lyrics came first. We  write songs that are, first and foremost,  “good songs,” followed by lyrical content  For more info, visit KirbyKrackleMusic.com.

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November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven  83


Arts & Entertainment

Reading Bookjacket

Art of McSweeney’s a delightful yearbook of literary success By M. Scott Krause To be honest, I’ve missed the boat on a few things. I thought Harry Potter wasn’t particularly well-written. I was lukewarm on The Da Vinci Code. Twilight? Who knew? That said, it’s a real point of pride I got in on the ground floor with Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the groundbreaking, all-star literary journal Dave Eggers founded in 1998, prior to hitting it big with A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering  Genius (Vintage, 2000). For the last dozen years, McSweeney’s has distinguished itself by pairing literary excellence with exquisite design. The McSweeney’s name is a guarantee of quality—catnip for book collectors. Art of McSweeney’s  (Chronicle Books, $45) is a coffee-table-size celebration of all things McSweeney, an oral biography with behind-the-scenes recollections from Eggers, contributing writers, artists and production staff. It’s also a lush scrapbook with previously unseen material, starting with the Eggerspenned e-mail that outlined his original concept. (He imagined the new journal would be “about 160 pages, perfect-bound and . . . look like most literary quarterlies.”) There are sketches and drafts from most issues, a peek at early graphic influences (antiquarian titles, in particular) and detailed invoices from printers. It’s interesting to see how the bar was raised for each subsequent issue. Can we do an issue with a soundtrack from They Might Be Giants? Sure. A high-concept issue designed to look like a bundle of

junk mail? You bet. Can we include DVDs and pocket combs? Why not? How about issues with rare, Z-shaped binding (think tiny, literary accordion) or a cigar box full of stories? Absolutely. In 2001, McSweeney’s published its first novel: Lawrence Krauser’s Lemon, which came with a cover that the author personally illustrated. Within a few years, the roster included Jonathan Lethem, Neal Pollack, Nick Hornby, David Byrne, Eggers and William T. Vollmann. But that’s not all, as infomercial announcers are so fond of saying. In 2003, McSweeney’s launched The Believer, an alternative monthly edited by Eggers’ wife, Vendela Vida. Wholphin, a quarterly DVD magazine, followed a few years later. Art of McSweeney’s chronicles the whole story. At a time when both literary journals and publishers are struggling to sell books and stay afloat, the McSweeney’s empire flourishes by constantly raising expectations about what books are, what a journal is. They manage to glorify reading while delighting in the printed word, rather than finding ways to transmit them electronically. At McSweeney’s, it’s all about the book, and Chronicle’s Art  of McSweeney’s is a handsome, wellwrought history. Keep warm with “Bookjacket,” Vegas Seven’s new cold-weather reading series.

The Librarian Loves ... Selected by Jeanne Goodrich, executive director for   the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. Local author (and Vegas Valley Book Festival participant)  Deborah Coonts has a winner with her debut mystery, Wanna Get Lucky? (Forge Books, 2010). Lucky O’Toole, head problem  solver at The Babylon, the Strip’s most luxurious property,  finds herself juggling customers (swingers, porn stars, whales  who need special attention), former and future lovers (after  a long dry spell she finds herself attracted both to the head  of security and the most glamorous female impersonator in  town) while trying to figure out why a woman has taken a  header out of the casino helicopter into the TI pirate show.  Scores of unusual characters and lots of funny, smart talk. 84  Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010


Movies With Flaming Locks of Auburn Hair Jolene the movie has the same plucky resolve as its title character

By Rex Reed Every movie is a gamble. With the fear of filming anything that’s just a little bit different, and the uncertainty of what makes a gamble pay off commercially, it’s a miracle that good movies ever get made. It’s more disconcerting when a good movie gets made and sits on a shelf for years. Jolene is a very good movie that toured the film festival circuit in 2008 and disappeared. It’s opening at last, and it’s good enough to ask aloud, what happened? Sensitively directed by Dan Ireland, a co-founder of the Seattle International Film Festival who makes interesting, offbeat, critically praised movies (The Whole Wide  World with Renée Zellweger, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont  with Joan Plowright) that almost always run into distribution problems, Jolene has been carefully adapted by Dennis Yares from a short story by E. L. Doctorow. One would hope that it might change Ireland’s continual run of bad luck, but the way it has been ignored by both the majors and the small film companies that specialize in low-budget independent indie-prods, I worry that a lot of people who crave fascinating departures from the normal Hollywood rinse cycle may never get a chance to see it. This would be a shame for many reasons, but most of all because Jolene introduces in the title role a captivating and totally original newcomer named Jessica Chastain. This movie boasts a terrific cast and Chastain not only holds her own corner of every scene, she’s the only thing you want to watch. It’s a smashing debut. Jolene chronicles 10 years in the hardscrabble life of a freckle-faced redhead raised in a series of foster homes in South Carolina. All she’s got is an amazing talent for art, which nobody encourages, so in her desperation to start a life of her own, she marries a boy named Mickey (Zeb Newman), a shiftless weakling with no ambition. Mickey moves them into the house of his Uncle Phil (another perfect performance by Dermot Mulroney in a thankless role) and surly Aunt Kay (Theresa Russell). In no time, horny Uncle Phil is showing Jolene all the bedroom tricks her callow husband has only seen in Kama Sutra illustrations. But when Aunt Kay finds them in their underwear, Jolene becomes a homewrecker and a widow in the same day, labeled a juvenile delinquent with no living relatives and sent to a mental institution. The first chapter in her new life ends like Elsie Dinsmore. Still searching for someone to love and protect her, Jolene is an instant hit in the loony bin, attracting the 86  Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

attention of a lesbian matron (Frances Fisher) who helps her escape, provides her with crayons, and introduces her to new sexual adventures that—well, let’s just say she adjusts quickly. Part Raggedy Ann, part Marilyn Monroe, Jolene is irresistible. Everyone she meets promises her a home and unconditional love. Somehow, the daydream always ends when the police arrive. Running away again, she hits the road on a Greyhound bus to see the country, occasionally selling her hidden pleasures to meet expenses. Working as a waitress on roller skates in a burger joint in the Arizona desert, she meets and marries a tattoo artist/drug dealer named Coco (Rupert Friend, who played Prince Albert in The Young  Victoria). Things are swell until his other wife (Denise Richards) arrives with a baby called Coco Jr. What’s a poor, jilted bigamist to do? Jolene heads for Vegas. Working as a pole dancer, she meets and marries Sal (A Bronx  Tale’s Chazz Palminteri), a wealthy businessman, which is the Vegas word for gangster. Sal is kind and adoring, giving her everything she ever wanted, including her own art gallery and a taste of real security, “like eating cotton candy all day long.” Alas, the sugar turns bitter, forcing Jolene to flee again. Years pass and she ends up a receptionist in Oklahoma, where she hypnotizes Brad Benton (Michael Vartan), a rich, handsome eccentric whose family owns half of Tulsa. Mr. Right turns out to be a born-again Christian, control freak and closet sadist. At 25, against all odds, she has become a voluptuous, profoundly accomplished artist, but her oomph and talent are all she’s got left. In the words of Peggy Lee’s hit song “Is That All There Is?” you begin to hum “If that’s the way she feels, why doesn’t she just end it all?” But you don’t know Jolene. The movie builds its trajectory, brick by brick, as she falls under the spell of a string of bogus rescuers who reward her with nothing but temporary shelter from grief. Every time she gives her heart, someone breaks it. (It really is a role Monroe was born to play.) The perils that hide behind every door, waiting to pounce

Jessica Chastain as the unsinkable heroine, Jolene. 

on life’s innocents, has fueled literature from Voltaire to Nabokov. Jolene is Candide with genders reversed, Lolita  with a moral center. What sets Jolene apart and saves her from being another hapless victim is her unwavering optimism, painting every relationship as she survives it. When the right doors don’t open, she enters the wrong ones. She’s so adaptable to her fate that when all else fails, she can shift gears faster than a Maserati. The movie suffers from too many abrupt mood swings; it doesn’t know if it wants to be comedy or melodrama. With its noir twists, sex bordering on soft porn and brutal emotional treatment of a naive heroine who is gullible and trusting as a new kitten, some cynics will make obvious comparisons to Fanny Hill. But Jolene  treats misfortune with a wry smile, and with Chastain’s beauty and vulnerability as the focus, her dreams and realities are vividly etched. You go away exhilarated. The movie has been through as many hurdles getting here as dear, sweet Jolene, but sometimes the most engaging movies are the ones worth waiting for. Rex Reed is the film critic for the New York Observer.


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

END CANADA’S SEAL SLAUGHTER


Arts & Entertainment

Movies

Two-man wolf pack: Zack Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. 

Delightfully Odd Couple Robert Downey Jr. is the straight man to   Zack Galifianakis’ crazy in Due Date By Cole Smithey

On the rebound from the mammoth box office success of The Hangover, director Todd Phillips (Old School) has sharpened his comic sensibilities to detonate laughs where none seem possible in Due Date. With a conventional roadpicture format Phillips draws mightily on the delightfully asymmetrical chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Zack Galifianakis. In a role that Downey himself could have played to perfection in an earlier incarnation of his checkered cinematic past, Galifianakis plays wannabe television actor Ethan Tremblay. On his way to Hollywood to follow his dreams, Ethan is an effeminate scarf-wearing misfit who might as well have a sign around his neck announcing “trouble happening.” Taking medical marijuana on a commercial flight? Check. In tow with an annoying little dog named Sonny? Check. Deceased father’s ashes in a coffee can? Check.

Naturally, Ethan spoils straight-arrow architect Peter Highman’s (Downey) Atlanta-to-Los Angeles flight plan, where he is due to arrive in time for the birth of his wife’s baby. Oil and water never seemed so diametrically opposed. Outrageous pratfalls and situational slapstick humor take the cake between off-kilter comic dialogue that erupts like a spastic volcano of cinematic expression. The filmmakers ingeniously tweak the same straightman/funny-man design that gave legs to comic pairings such as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Downey defiantly performs his share of politically incorrect acts, such as spitting in the dog Sonny’s face. The bits create a particularly irreverent variety of humor that will offend those audience members not willing to take the bait. Downey’s thinly disguised gusto makes the funny bits all the more enjoyable. What we experience is comedy history being made. Even if Downey and Galifianakis never work together again, their collaboration here establishes a remarkable pairing of wit and dramatic restraint that plays against itself as much as it elevates the obvious tension between the mismatched characters. One well-publicized scene has Peter sharing a personal story from his childhood that causes Ethan to burst out in a fit of inappropriate laughter. It’s one of the most uncomfortable scenes in the movie and also one of the most engaging. However much we might want Ethan’s character to be someone else, he’s not and he isn’t ever going to be. And it’s this kind of grudging acceptance that gradually transforms Peter’s hatred for Ethan into something akin to brotherly love. It also allows Ethan to get away some of the most boneheaded deeds three caffeinated screenwriters could dream up. For example, stealing a border patrol police vehicle with an attached office trailer. It’s refreshing to see the Judd Apatow school of physical comedy get a run for its money. Phillips (screenwriter on Borat) has outdone himself. Due Date is a laugh-out-loud movie that earns its R-rating and pays off just as heartily as The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The joy is in what happens in the actors’ faces.

Due Date (R)

★★★★✩

SHoRt ReviewS

127 Hours (R)

★★★★★

Based on mountain climber Aron Ralston’s ( James Franco) memoir, this film tells the story of how he became trapped by a boulder and was forced to cut off his own arm in order to save his life. A master of movement, director Danny Boyle has fun compressing time with dream sequences that mirror Ralston’s warped mental state, one that comes from being trapped for more than five days. 88  Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

By Cole Smithey

Saw 3D (R)

★✩✩✩✩

The year of worthless 3-D effects rolls on with the final installment to the gimmicky horror franchise. With gallons of fake blood, director Kevin Greutert (Saw VI) takes audiences through a gauntlet of timed killing machines ostensibly designed by the prodigious serial killer known as Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). Slasher flicks have never been big on story, but the Saw franchise takes screenwriting back to the Stone Age.

Paranormal Activity 2 (R)

★★★✩✩

The low-budget sequel to last year’s Blair Witch-inspired horror movie relies on a found-document captured by surveillance cameras. Low on atmosphere, the anti-narrative involves a family of four, their Latina housekeeper, and the wife’s sister and brother-in-law. An utter lack of any thematic impulse beyond making its audience periodically jump in their seats makes the movie feel like a film student film.

Jackass 3D (R)

★★★★✩

What began as a juvenile MTV series in 2000 has gone on to inspire laughter via the Jackass franchise’s ever-funnier movies. As with the first two films, a carnival atmosphere of perverse male-centric performance art comedy pervades. It’s just funny watching people who are willing to get stung by bees. Yes, it’s over-the-top-gross-out humor but if you can’t laugh at this, you can’t laugh at nothin’.


ENJOY OUR PRODUCTS RESPONSIBLY. ©2010 BACARDI AND THE BAT DEVICE ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS AND THE TORCHED CHERRY DEVICE IS A TRADEMARK OF BACARDI & COMPANY LIMITED. BACARDI U.S.A., INC., CORAL GABLES, FL. RUM SPECIALTY – 35% ALC. BY VOL. MUST BE 21+ TO PARTICIPATE. STANDARD TEXT MESSAGING RATES APPLY.


Arts & Entertainment

Movies

Sean Penn and Ty Burrell.

Spy Games The story of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame gets the Hollywood treatment By Cole Smithey The Bush Administration’s outrageously vengeful act of outing veteran undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame gets a vigorous telling under Doug Liman’s top-notch direction. The soul of the story hinges on the vulnerable relationship between Valerie and husband Joe Wilson, a former U.S. Foreign Service diplomat. Wilson’s 2003 New York Times op-ed piece, refuting White House claims about Iraq’s attempts to purchase yellow cake uranium from Niger as a way to “exaggerate the Iraqi threat,” comes at a heavy price. In the

blinking of an eye, his wife goes from having a top-secret identity to posing a direct threat against the lives of her trusted international contacts. As Plame, Naomi Watts hits the nail on the head with a tough-minded intelligence that transcends an organic truth of Valerie’s essence. Watts and Sean Penn (as Wilson) worked together in 21 Grams. Their timing and choices here couldn’t be more precise. Penn’s trademark tenacity strikes a dominant chord that harmonizes against Watts’s measured intensity. Fair Game is a tricky movie because it’s not an espionage thriller, although those are its apparent trappings. It’s a story about two very brave and smart people whose life was all but destroyed by design at the hands of Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and a certain George W. Bush.

Fair Game (PG-13)

★★★★✩

Movie Times

Welcome to the Rileys (R)

★★★✩✩

Director Jake Scott’s tale of redemption attempted works better as an actor’s showcase for Melissa Leo, James Gandolfini and the ever-watchable Kristen Stewart than it does as a work of cinema. Stewart plays Mallory, an underage New Orleans hooker with a heart of gold who tries to proposition traveling businessman Doug (Gandolfini). Away from his wife (Leo), Doug stays to help the trouble-prone Mallory. 90

Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

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Dining

Luxe Vegas

Michael’s is still among the best old-school gourmet rooms, and the experience still comes at a high price

Photo by Anthony Mair

By Max Jacobson

Michael’s maitre d’ José Martel serves the Dover sole.

The Liberace Museum’s recent closing  made me nostalgic for a brush with  Old Vegas. “I’ll be seeing you,” his  theme song went, “in all the old  familiar places.” Dinner at Michael’s at the South Point  hotel-casino seemed like the perfect  place. The restaurant moved lock, stock  and barrel from its former home down  the Strip at the Barbary Coast, where  it operated for more than 25 years. But  nothing else has changed: the red velvet  walls, Tiffany skylight, the staff led by  José Martel and his team of tuxedoed  waiters, and certainly not the menu. So when I told a fellow food journalist  in New York I was going to be eating  sautéed fresh mushrooms a la crème,  Dover sole and Cherries Jubilee for  dinner, the response was a gasp. “I don’t  think there’s any restaurant in New  York still doing that stuff,” she told me. I’m happy to report that dinner at  Michael’s is still first-rate. The one  problem I have is the prices. Veal Francaise, a relic composed of veal in an egg  batter, is well over $70, as are a good  number of the entrées. Caesar salad is  $25, which is outrageous for leaves and  condiments, in spite of it being mixed  with a flourish tableside. And although the service is elegant,  attentive and knowledgeable to the  point of waiters being as close to mind  readers as humanly possible, a meal at  Michael’s is only justifiable on super  special occasions, or if an expense  account is involved. That said, I liked almost everything I ate here. I requested my  Caesar light on lemon juice, heavy on  Worcestershire, and got what I asked  for. The complimentary relish tray,  a lazy Susan, is terrific; the pickled  cauliflower and sun-dried tomatoes  being two highlights. Meals begin with  a basket of tiny pumpernickel cheese  toast, which is also free. Most of the classic continental dishes  are done well. The onion soup gratinée  is properly beefy and rich. Maryland  lump crab cocktail has a tangy house  cocktail sauce, and the meat is fresh and  Continued on Page 94 November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven  93


Dining 

Diner’s Notebook

Michael’s Continued from Page 93 The fresh and tangy

Michael’s, in the South Point, 796-7111. Dinner nightly, 5:30-10 p.m. Dinner for two, $165-$240.

The Grape Nut

Enter the Unique Boutique Parc Ave Wines keeps Vanguard in good, hard-to-find juice By Xania Woodman In the world of spirits, there’s smallbatch and then single-barrel. And  in wines, beyond merely boutique  distribution there is Joseph Guida of  Parc Ave Distributors. One of two Las  Vegas companies I know of that deal in  excruciatingly small production (Guida  routinely drives a truck all over creation  to pick up a few cases of rare wine here  and there that normally never leave  their home state), Guida is decidedly  anti-corporate. Or, as he puts it: “I’m  a one-man show!” His stuff cannot be  purchased retail. “I’ve always been a  fan of wines you can’t find in grocery  stores.” With a portfolio of just 45 producers, each making no more than 1,000  cases of wine per year, Guida classifies  himself as ultra-boutique. (That 90 percent  of that portfolio is organic or bio-dynamic makes him  downright mythical.)  94

Vegas Seven  November 4-10, 2010

But then there he is, Tuesday nights, leading informal  tastings at Vanguard Lounge (516 E. Fremont St.),  showcasing highlights from the list he created with owner  Andrew Wheatley. On the night I visited, he was tasting  guests on the 2007 Basel Cellars’ “Forget Me Not,” a Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend ($11 glass/$33 bottle) and  a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from Reynoso ($15/$45), a  “tier 1 producer to Silver Oak.” Two years in oak and  three in the bottle (unheard-of restraint by today’s  standards, Guida pointed out) gives it a complexity  of which Guida was happy to sing the praises. Also  unheard of is Vanguard’s price point: Glasses range  from $6-$22, bottles from $18-$88, and all are  half-off during happy hour, daily from 4-7 p.m. Working closely with Guida to build the  Vanguard wine list—nine whites, nine reds, one  port and one sparkling—Wheatley is himself  getting increasingly into wines. Faves from his own  list include the Canoas Malbec ($8/$24) and the  Jason-Stephens Syrah ($9/$27). My personal favorite (there may have been a  squeal) is the 2007 Chianti Colli Senesi from  Poderi del Paradiso ($10/$30), the second oldest  winemaking family in Tuscany. Some of their  vineyards date back to the 1500s, and they  produce just 800 cases of this balanced, earthy  Chianti, redolent of the Tuscan terroir. With a  bright cherry nose and a bit of minerality on a  velvet-soft finish, this Chianti is not food-dependent like most, it’s sippable. Says Guida, “I’m trying  to demystify what’s really cool about wine.” I ask you:  What isn’t cool about wine?! 

Town Square loses an innovator, and two chefs make Esquire list By Max Jacobson Town Square has claimed  another culinary victim: Talented chef Brian Howard has departed for the French  Laundry in Napa Valley, Calif.  Before he left, he dazzled his  fans at Nu Sanctuary with an  extravaganza he dubbed “The  Last Supper,” featuring dishes such as steelhead with  cucumber and crème fraiche, and char-grilled Hudson  Valley foie gras paired with smoked duck.  I’m not implying Nu Sanctuary won’t continue to be  accomplished without him. But Lolita’s has lost some of  its early luster, and chains such as Cadillac Ranch and  Miller’s Ale House dominate the landscape. Serious  cooking just doesn’t play well at Town Square, it seems.  Cooking has taken a serious turn, though, at the  Sporting House Bar & Grill in New York-New  York, which recently replaced the ESPN Zone there. Credit Ark Restaurant Corp.’s executive chef David  Waltuck, of Chanterelle in New York City, for his effort.  The menu is a departure from that of the typical sports  bar. Here, you can do Maine lobster club wrap, Wagyu  Kobe flatiron steak or smoked meat loaf. The menu doesn’t ignore traditional fare, though,  just tweaks them. Hoisin sauce chicken wings, woodroasted barbecue chicken pizza, Philly cheese steaks  and interesting burgers are on hand. Twelve beers  are featured on tap as well, along with premium and  crafted bottled beers. It’s open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily (9  a.m. on weekends during football season). Kudos to Julian Serrano and Shawn McClain,  both of whom were singled out for praise by John  Mariani in the November issue of Esquire. Serrano’s eponymous Aria restaurant was included  in Mariani’s list of the “20 Best New Restaurants of  2010,” while Sage, also in Aria, made a list called “11  U.S. Restaurants Not to Miss.” McClain is Sage’s chef. Meanwhile, I’m singling out chef Kim Canteenwalla  for his incredible new fall menu at Society Café in  Encore. Society made Mariani’s list last year, but the  chef has really hit his stride now. This man has been in  kitchens around the world, from Dubai to Singapore  and Mississippi. His food is as eclectic as any in the city. New to the dinner menu are buttermilk-fried chicken  oysters (not oysters, but tender nuggets of flesh from the  chicken’s back), barbecue pulled-pork pot stickers, a  split-pea soup flavored with tasso ham and pickled green  beans, and roasted young beets with poached pears, blue  cheese and Minus 8 vinegar made from Iniskillin, an  Ontario winery noted for its dessert wines. Society is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven  days a week. Hungry, yet?  Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews  and tips at FoodWineKitchen.com.

Photography by Anthony Mair

flaky. Michael’s creamed corn,  Maryland lump crab a vegetable side dish, is a must.  cocktail. ( Just remember that all items  on this menu are a la carte and  you won’t need smelling salts at  check time.) The Dover sole ($88), expertly  boned, is the best in the city.  Petite filet mignon ($68) is a  good piece of beef, but you can  do better farther up the Strip  for a lot less, without the tired  mushroom cap employed here.  In between the appetizer and  the entrée, you’ll get a tiny  palate cleanser, a little sorbet.  It’s another of the many nice  touches here. There are nice touches at  dessert, as well. A tray of complimentary chocolate-covered  fruits and petit fours is really  satisfying, but if you want one  of those old familiar desserts,  there is bananas Foster ($25) or  the Cherries Jubilee ($25), both  excellent, plus a huge cart of  pastries clothed in fresh whipped cream. On my last visit, I may have been the youngest customer in the whole restaurant, and  I’m a baby boomer. I guess nostalgia isn’t big with Gen X and Y’ers. 


Dining

Dishing

Roma Sandwich at Roma Deli

With a range of Italian products on hand and freshly baked bead, this deli by day and restaurant by night makes a compelling case to be the “most authentic Italian experience outside of Italy.” This is their best sandwich, made with domestic prosciutto, mozzarella and roasted peppers. $12, 5755 Spring Mountain Road, 871-5577.

96 Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

Kelly D Special with Garlic Ponzu at Spicy Tuna

This creative roll is an explosion of flavors in the mouth. It features jalapeño, softshell crab, avocado, tomatoes and yum yum, a mayonnaise and eel base sauce, wrapped in fresh tuna. And if spicy is not your cup of tea, ask for the mild version. $13.25. 10345 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 190, 722-2424.

Tuscan Vegetable Soup at Circo

This is the only place in Las Vegas we know of to eat the delicious soup called ribollita in Italian, a staple in any Tuscan grandmother’s home. The name literally means “reboiled,” and it’s a thick soup made from beans and leftover vegetables—sort of like a heartier version of minestrone. Here it’s served with a crunchy Italian crouton on top. $14, in Bellagio, 693-8150.

Philly Cheesesteak Pot Stickers at Society Café

Kim Canteenwalla is one of the most creative chefs in Vegas. In his threemeal restaurant, he’s doing three new types of pot stickers, including this one, featuring pulled pork and slaw. And it may be his masterpiece. $11, in Encore, 770-7000.

Roma sandwich and Kelly D photos by Anthony Mair

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


Dining

Profile

Sweet Success

7 Things Megan Romano Can’t Live Without

Aureole pastry chef Megan Romano infuses desserts with artist’s sensibility By Patrick Moulin

98 Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

Intense, flavorful dark chocolate. I love the intensity of chocolate, where your best bet for leaving your mark is to simply play along with this bold ingredient. My favorite pairings are tipsy truffles, salted-lime margarita and cabernet fleur de sel. Caymus Select wine. It is a great excuse to spend time with my husband, Joe Doesn’t get much better than that.

Romano and one of her intensely flavorful creations, a grape sorbet.

seasonal ingredients to create her own line of desserts. “I do like to incorporate things that you might not expect,” says Romano, who uses more savory elements than the typical pastry chef. “There’s an avocado-tequila sorbet that is awesome. I would like you to finish the dessert and not get bored with it or not think it’s sickeningly sweet. And although I want them to be beautiful, my main focus is on flavor.” Before that first bite, your eyes will devour the delicate, elegant design that the chef incorporates into her plating. “I do think that I draw on my fine arts background when cooking,” Romano says. “As early as I can remember, I watched my mom create beautiful works of art on canvas at home using oils, acrylic paints. I think that I inherited her eye for detail. My style is pretty straightforward without a lot of gimmicks. I focus on presenting the dessert in a way that reinforces my cooking method and the integrity of the ingredients.” It’s those amazing flavors, recipes and tips that the awardwinning chef recently put together in her self-published dessert book, It’s a Sweet Life ($40, Chef MeganRomano.com). It was also a chance to bring her early influences of artistic expression and food experimentation full circle. “It has been very rewarding to summarize years of work into a piece of artwork,” Romano says. “If nothing else, I think the product is far better than if I hadn’t put my name on it. It’s the process of the artist, at some point you want to express yourself and you want people to know that you’re behind it.”

Concord grape sorbet. It is to die for! It is a fleeting indulgence as it appears in farmers markets for only a few weeks each year. Starbucks Frappuccino. I’m addicted to it! One sip and my day is off to a quick start. A breathe of fresh air. It works well for our highly energetic family, as we hit the great outdoors in Red Rock to blow off some steam. Travel. This summer, we hit the road to Bozeman, Mont., to soak in the spectacular views. It fuels my body and soul and becomes my inspiration for creating art in the kitchen. Daily workout. The other man in my life, Jake—a 90-pound yellow Lab—reminds me of his morning run by sticking his wet nose in my face. Wakes me up every time!

Photography by Anthony Mair

Homegrown food and art always surrounded Megan Romano in the quaint home in which she was raised in North Haven, Conn. Not far beyond the front door, snap peas, strawberries, squash and blueberries sprouted in a small garden tended by her mother. Down in the basement, artwork emerged from the canvases and acrylic paint in her mother’s makeshift studio. “My mom, she’s a very adventuresome cook. Things exploded sometimes and didn’t always turn out right, but she was curious and everything tasted great,” Romano remembers. “She was also an artist. Beautiful paintings line the halls of our house. She is a very visual person, and I took a lot from her.” How these two talents flourished and merged in Romano’s young mind shaped who she is today: the executive pastry chef known for her chocolates and desserts at the Michelin-rated Aureole in Mandalay Bay and Charlie Palmer Steak in the Four Seasons. “The combination of art and food somehow clicked,” Romano says. Nearing graduation at Northwestern University, where she was a communications major, Romano began looking for a job that involved activities she enjoyed doing in her free time. This lead her to make the short trip to Chicago, where she applied at a restaurant she had never heard of—Charlie Trotter’s. With no experience, Romano was just looking to get her foot in the door. “Had I known [who Charlie Trotter was] and I had researched it, I would have been like, You should not be here, you’re so out of your class,” she recalls. Trotter, finding her serious lack of experience amusing, had Romano come into his restaurant every Tuesday to work for free as a commis—basically an unpaid culinary intern. After her graduation three months later, and with Trotter’s recommendation, Romano was accepted into the Culinary Institute of America in New York and moved back East. But then, on one fateful night before school started, Trotter introduced his budding protégé to Charlie Palmer. After learning that she would be attending the CIA, Palmer extended an invitation to spend a day in the kitchen of his New York restaurant, Aureole. “The stuff I was learning in that one day was amazing,” says Romano, who never ended up going to the CIA. “I just rolled with it and realized that [Aureole] was my school. It was very physical, but it came at the perfect time.” Palmer was impressed with Romano’s work ethic and skills, so he sent her along with her husband, Joe (a chef and fellow alumnus of Aureole in New York City), to open a concept restaurant, Aqua Terra, in Palm Beach, Fla. After that, Romano earned her post at Aureole and moved to Las Vegas in 1999. Since then, she has steadily evolved her craft, with a focus on using

Cooking with my kids in the kitchen. It was once a real chore— extra work, extra cleanup—but now they know the ropes. They enjoy good food and always want a hand in the project!


NEIGHBORHOOD EPICUREAN

Our New Frontier

Fremont East is finally living up to the hype By James P. Reza

It’s easy to overindulge on East  Fremont Street. Despite a naysayers’  reputation that the area is more talk  and less reality, the nascent Fremont  East entertainment district—the three  blocks between Las Vegas Boulevard  and Eighth Street—has evolved into a  small but effective collection of unique  bars and the closest thing Las Vegas  has to a proper pub crawl. In fact,  forget pub crawl; with art, poetry, live  music, food and independent shops,  Fremont East is becoming a bona fide  culture crawl. Starting more than five years ago with  the young and raw indie chic of Beauty Bar, and soon after, the serious speakeasy mixology at Downtown Cocktail Room, the district then welcomed the  Brit-styled Griffin (where the drinks  come fast, hard and cheap) and an  outpost of NYC’s Don’t Tell Mama (a  piano bar where Strip ringers often step  in after drunken singers). Bar No. 5—the indoor-outdoor   Vanguard Lounge— slid open its giant  garage-style door in  September to offer  Fremont East’s first patio  seating. Like Downtown Cocktail Room,  Vanguard takes pride  in an ever-changing  list of specialty cocktails  (try the Vanguard Cider,  made with Maker’s Mark);  unlike any other bar in the  district, the Vanguard has  an ambitious wine-by-theglass menu (see Page 94). But mankind does not live by grapes  and grains alone. Until recently, unless  you wanted to cross the Boulevard west  to the “other” Fremont Street under  the Experience, options were limited to  Kabob Korner (a brightly lit Halalcertified counter selling falafel, kabobs  and hummus) and Uncle Joe’s Pizza (a  cramped NYC-style joint serving slices,  lasagna and the like). Both offer eats  cheap and tasty. Both close inexplicably  early on weekends. Enter The Beat and Maharaja Hookah Café: two vastly different late-night  food experiences bookending the north  side of Fremont East. Maharaja is beautifully furnished, featuring ornate pieces  handcrafted in Pakistan, and offers dozens 

Maharaja Hookah Café.

of flavors of hookah, both traditional and  modern. Operated by the same folks as  Kabob Korner, Maharaja has an extensive  appetizer and small-plates menu, but we  hold hope that the full Kabob Korner  menu makes its way here. At The Beat, an urban café where  coffee, art, music and thinky people  working on laptops collide, are some of  the best sandwiches and sides to be found  in Las Vegas. This is no cheerleading  hyperbole; chef Andy Knudson has an  impressive kitchen history (D.B.  Brasserie and Guy Savoy).  Adding melody to The  Beat? They now serve draft  beer and wine by the glass  after 7 p.m. If these hip joints  just aren’t serious  enough for your  downtown date,  consider The Flame. Resurrecting a beloved  steak-house name  to rebrand its fanciest  dining room, the El Cortez gives  Vegas a taste of what many say is  missing: high-quality dining at fair prices.  Unique specials punctuate the classic  steak-and seafood selection: the grilled  walleye pike is delicious ($17!), but with the  one-pound Stone Crab ($28 per person) in  season, there really is no other option. But save yourself some room. Later, you  can step outside to Cheffinis, a gourmet  hot dog cart that sets up outside the door  to the Emergency Arts complex, which  also serves as the perfect place to hail a  cab after your downtown culture crawl.  Got a cluster of restaurants and bars in your neighborhood worth knowing about? Write to us at comments@weeklyseven.com. November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven  99


HEALTH & FiTnEss

Where to Ride Hunter’s Edge Farm This small, private facility offers training in hunter/jumper, equitation and other forms of competition-riding skills. Lessons, grooming and on-site personal trainers available. 7475 Cameron St., 496-2752, HuntersEdgeLV.com.

Along for the Ride

Saddling up means shaping up—and not just for the horse underneath you By Melissa Arseniuk When you watch someone ride a horse, it may seem like the horse is the one doing all of the exercise, but riders actually get a great workout as well. “Riding is very physical, and it’s physically demanding on your body,” says local champion hunter-jumper and riding instructor Amy Self. “Most people think that it’s not a cardiovascular workout, but when you get going and really start riding, you’re definitely working, too.” And as cool fall temperatures replace triple-digit summer heat, now is an ideal time to put your feet in the stirrups and see for yourself. Basic horseback riding requires a certain amount of physical fitness, and doing lunges, squats and seated ball squeezes—squeezing an exercise ball 100 Vegas Seven November 4-10, 2010

between your knees while sitting— will help you tone up and prevent saddle sores. Still, Self, who has been riding since she was 4 and has been competing for nearly two decades, assures, “The best way to get in shape for riding is to ride.” She teaches English riding lessons at Willow Pines Ranch north of Las Vegas, where hourlong lessons run about $60. “We start with the very basics on a very gentle horse,” she says of her lesson plan. After mastering the basics—balance, posture, etc., all at a walk—the workouts get more difficult, as students move on to learn the rising or posting trot (jog), canter (lope) and more difficult exercises. Even at a walk, a rider’s body is working. As you sit in the saddle, your body

constantly has to make adjustments to stay upright, which means your core and legs are working, whether you realize it or not. A 150-pound person will burn about 175 calories an hour while riding a horse at a walk, and the same person would burn about 200 calories per hour walking on their own. And the faster you go, the more calories you burn: A 150-pound person will burn about 465 calories per hour while riding at a trot (or riding a stationary bike for the same amount of time, at 125 watts). Your calves and thighs, along with arms, abdominals and back muscles, all stand to reap the rewards. Meanwhile, the psoas and iliopsoas muscles, which hold your torso upright, are also put through their paces, so to speak. “The inner thigh gets a tremendous workout,” Self says. She runs, does yoga and does strength training at least three times a week to keep herself in top condition. “You have to do a lot of things to keep your body balanced. … If you do other things, it really helps,” she says. “You expect your horse to be an athlete, so you should be, as well.”

Willow Pines Ranch This is a full-service training facility with classes for everyone from 2-years-olds and up. Lessons, available five days a week, include individual, trainer rides and lessons with a school horse. 5770 W. Rosada Way, 396-5063, WillowPinesRanch.com. The S&F Ranch This fully equipped facility with spacious grounds offers a variety of classes, from hunter and jumper to dressage and horse training. 8545 Log Cabin Way, 768-1460. Ride With Leigh Ann The personalized training program, which operates out of a private facility on the south Strip, is for equestrians and includes English riding lessons for beginners. Classes available for patrons 5 years old to adult. 524-1214, RideWithLeighAnn.com.

Photography by Anthony Mair

Riding instructor Amy Self (above and right) has competed for nearly two decades.

Johnston’s J-Bar-B Stables This five-acre horse ranch has five arenas and a full-service course for riding and jumping, plus a spacious roaming area. 7529 W. Gowan Road, 645-7799.


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SportS & LeiSure Fight of the Year?

Power-packed WBO featherweight title bout will likely result in only one man left standing

By Sean DeFrank

Urijah Faber, right, has lost three of his last five fights.

Lopez vs. Marquez

says he feels like an underdog despite his champion status and a reputation as one of his sport’s rising stars. But the pride of Puerto Rico also realizes that Marquez has much to gain, as well, with a victory. “Without a doubt I know he’s coming to prove himself, that he’s still at the same level as he’s always been,” Lopez says. “And I’m out to prove that I’m at the same level that he’s at.” Marquez says his experience and ability to put punches together will give him the edge against the left-handed Lopez, who was knocked down late in the first round by Bernabe Concepcion in his last fight, on July 10, before scoring a second-round TKO. “I know how strong he is, I can see how powerful he is, but I also see his weaknesses,” Marquez says. “His chin is not that good, so we have to take advantage of that.” The fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 18, but it was postponed when Marquez injured his right thumb during training. The native of Mexico City has fought just twice since March 2008, going a total of six rounds, and his last fight, a third-round KO of Israel Vazquez on May 22, concluded a series of four brutal fights with Vazquez since March 2007—with each boxer winning twice, and the second and third bouts being named Fight of the Year in 2007 and 2008, respectively, by The Ring. Despite the combination of heavy mileage in the

Tickets for the fight can be purchased through Ticketmaster. The fight also can be viewed on tape delay at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

Ex-champ Faber looks to get back on track in 135-pound debut at WEC 52 Urijah Faber is a star in World Extreme Cagefighting, having held the organization’s featherweight (145-pound) title for more than two years until losing to Mike Brown in November 2008. Including that defeat, Faber (23-4) is 2-3 in his last five fights, so he has a lot to prove Nov. 11 at the Palms when he makes his 135-pound debut in a bantamweight bout against highly touted Japanese striker Takeya Mizugaki (13-4-2) in the main event of WEC 52.

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ring, his recent inactivity and his advanced age, Marquez says he remains in great shape and isn’t worried about being sluggish or rusty against Lopez. “As long as you take care of yourself, as long as you prepare well for a fight, that shouldn’t be any problem,” he says. “I’ve always taken care of myself and I think I have a lot more to give. I don’t think that age matters.” Lopez, who has fought just nine rounds over two bouts since winning a unanimous 12-round decision over Rogers Mtagwa in October 2009, believes Marquez’s camp wants the fight to get into the late rounds, although he didn’t express any reservations about that occurring. “They think I’m going to get tired, that I’m not going to be able to fight 12 rounds at the same pace he will,” Lopez says. “We’ll just have to see what kind of a guy I get, if I get the real aggressive guy or the guy that is going to counter.” Marquez, a former IBF bantamweight champion and WBC super bantamweight champ, is coming up in weight for the opportunity to fight Lopez, but says that 126 pounds is a more natural weight for him at this stage in his career. If victorious, Marquez and his brother Juan Manuel Marquez would become the first siblings to win world titles in three different weight divisions.

The fighters were scheduled to clash in August, but the bout was postponed when Faber was injured in training. WEC 52, which also features four other fights on the main card and six on the preliminary card, is the WEC’s penultimate event before the organization merges with its big brother, the UFC, in 2011. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Pearl box office, and the main-card events also can be viewed live at 6 p.m. on Versus. – Sean DeFrank

WEC photo J. Kopaloff/Getty Image, Lopez & Marquez by Chris Farina

When Juan Manuel Lopez and Rafael Marquez enter the ring for their WBO featherweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden on Nov. 6, the two boxers will carry similar traits but contrasting backgrounds. Both fighters are two-division world champions who have won an overwhelming number of their fights by knockout—with Lopez (29-0) winning 26 of his bouts by KO, and Marquez (39-5) making short work of his opponents in 35 of his wins. So it’s no surprise that both men believe that their scheduled 12-round fight will conclude with only one of them standing. “I expect the fight to end in a knockout, I really do, but I don’t think it will be early,” says Lopez, the reigning WBO featherweight champion and former WBO super bantamweight titleholder. “I think it will be a long fight and I think it will end in a knockout, but late. I think we both have the power to knock each other out, and as long as it lasts it’s going to be a war.” Marquez, however, sees an earlier ending. “It could go either way,” he says. “We’re both so powerful that it could end early, or we could take each other’s punches for a while. I just think it could end earlier more than it could end late just because of our power.” Regardless of how long the bout lasts, though, each boxer called it the most important of his career and thinks it has the potential to be named 2010’s Fight of the Year. Marquez, 35, has fought in 11 world title fights in his 15-year career, and a win over Lopez, 27, would give him a championship in his third weight division and essentially secure his spot in the Boxing Hall of Fame. “I’m ready for anything he brings into the ring,” Marquez says. “If he wants to exchange, I’m ready to exchange. If he wants to box, I’m ready to box. I just think that when you fight this type of fighter who is a really great fighter, he just motivates you to do better.” Even with Marquez’s complimentary comments, Lopez


Going for Broke

Play on Falcons will keep bankroll soaring By Matt Jacob Wondering who had the most profitable October? It took some digging, but I uncovered that list, and it goes like this: 1) Media outlets that accepted political advertising. (If I had a dime for every time Harry Reid or Sharron Angle popped up on my TV during a football game last month, well, I could afford to run for Senate!) 2) Charlie Sheen’s drug dealer/liquor supplier. (Seriously, can we waive the five-year waiting period and put this guy in the Partier’s Hall of Fame right now?) 3) Me! OK, maybe that last one is a bit of an exaggeration—I have to believe the Favre family jeweler out-earned me—but I did go 27-18 in October for a net of exactly $1,700. And last week I turned in my best performance yet, going 6-3 and clearing $820, pushing my bankroll up to $5,351. (Take that, monkey!) Yeah, I know, Jimmy the Greek isn’t exactly shaking in his grave; after all, I’m still in a hole since the nice folks here gave me this platform. But at least I can finally see daylight without a telescope! On to this week’s picks … $660 (to win $600) on FALCONS (-8½) over Buccaneers: Tampa Bay is 5-2 overall (3-0 on the road) and tied with Atlanta for first place in the NFC South. Pretty impressive for a team that was expected to win maybe five games all season. So why do I believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Randy Moss’ ability to become the ultimate team player more than I do the Buccaneers? Because four of their victories have been by a total of 10 points against the Browns, Bengals, Rams and Cardinals; the other was a rout of the Panthers. The two losses? To the Steelers and Saints by a combined score of 69-19. Needless to say, the Falcons are a lot closer to Pittsburgh and New Orleans than they are to the five cupcakes on which the Bucs have feasted. Atlanta also has won 17 of its last 20 home games, going 14-6 against the spread (ATS). $220 (to win $200) on BILLS (+3) over Bears: Last week, the NFL treated England to Broncos vs. 49ers. This week, they’re shipping Bears-Bills to Canada. I understand Commissioner

Roger Goodell’s desire to “globalize” his sport, but he might want to consider exporting, you know, quality teams every now and then. (Don’t worry, Mexico, the Cowboys and Vikings have already played each other!) As for this matchup, the winless Bills can’t stop the run (they allow a league-high 189 rushing yards per game) or rush the passer (11 sacks), but the Bears can’t run the football (89 yards per game) or protect the quarterback (league-high 31 sacks allowed). The difference here: Buffalo is coming off consecutive overtime road losses to two first-place teams (Baltimore, Kansas City); Chicago is off consecutive home losses to the Redskins and Seahawks. Also, three of the Bears’ four wins have been by 13 total points. The Bills finally get in the win column … and all of Canada yawns. $110 (to win $100) on UNLV (+18) at BYU: No truth to the rumor that, after his team’s 48-6 home loss to TCU last week, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck called Sheen and said, “Dude, wanna get a drink … or 15?” Eight games into the Hauck era, the Rebels have one victory (over New Mexico, the worst team in major college football) and seven doubledigit losses by an average of 29 points per game. So of course I’m backing UNLV this week. Why? Because BYU is just 3-5 (three wins by five, three and six points); is averaging just 16 points per game (which is less than the Rebels!); and has scored more than 18 points just three times all year, with the high-water mark coming in a 25-20 home win over Wyoming two weeks ago (Wyoming, at best, is a field goal better than UNLV). The Rebels are 4-1 ATS in their last five trips to Provo, and BYU is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 home games. And I’m 2-0 when playing UNLV this season! BEST OF THE REST: Seahawks (+5½) vs. Giants ($55); Florida (-14) at Vanderbilt ($44); Illinois (+3) at Michigan ($44); Saints-Panthers UNDER 42½ ($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. November 4-10, 2010 Vegas Seven 103


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Seven QueStionS Julian Serrano’s journey to owning one of the top restaurants in the country started on cruise ships in Miami. The Madrid-born chef worked his way west after arriving in the United States in the mid-’70s, landing at Masa’s, San Francisco’s most celebrated French restaurant, in 1983. It was another French restaurant, Bellagio’s Picasso, that gave Las Vegas an introduction to Serrano’s cooking. But it wasn’t until he was approached by CityCenter that Serrano finally got the chance to realize his dream of owning a Spanish-style tapas restaurant in the United States. Julian Serrano, the restaurant, opened at Aria in December, and this year was the only Las Vegas restaurant to be named to Esquire’s esteemed Best New Restaurant list. Serrano will be one of the chefs featured at the Food & Wine All-Star Weekend at Bellagio on Nov. 5-7. How does it feel to be the only Las Vegas restaurant on the Esquire list? Fantastic, for me personally, for the restaurant and for the people that work here. The restaurant is a team, and they make it possible. It’s incredible for the city of Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, 10 or 15 years ago, it was “forget it about anything.” Now, Las Vegas is one of the cities in the United States that new restaurants are looking into. It’s very positive for everyone. For me, obviously, it’s great because it’s my restaurant and my name, but also it’s for everyone—the company and the people.

Julian Serrano The celebrated chef talks about being honored by Esquire, french fries as his last meal and why this is no time to relax By Elizabeth Sewell

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How is Julian Serrano different from restaurants you’ve done in the past? It’s totally different. I’ve cooked French in other restaurants and this is Spanish food, tapas. It’s not a new concept, and there have been restaurants that serve tapas in Las Vegas before, but not many. The people have started to like the concept, the food and to share, they feel like it’s fun to eat in this type of restaurant. You can come in with friends, and it’s fun to share the food and talk. There’s no real format. It’s not like you have to sit down and then the first course comes. Here everything goes. It has a lot of energy. What do you love about cooking? Cooking makes people happy. One of my joys at Picasso or [ Julian Serrano] is when the food comes and I see people taste the food and I see their expression. That is what I like about cooking.

What do you like about CityCenter? I like that it’s fresh. I like that it’s green. I like that it’s the hotel for the future—maybe not today but for tomorrow. It smells good. I like it for many more reasons. I like the company and how it’s run. I like that we’re working hard to make it to this point. It was so difficult to open this property that every day I think the business is better, and you feel better. Before it opened we were worried about not opening. We hired people, had tables and then we thought we couldn’t open. Now that we’re open, everything tastes better.

“My goal is not to open 20 or 30 of these. I am happy with one or two. I would like that.” How do you relax? Now is not time for me to relax. I’m not thinking about it. I’m thinking about work. I’m thinking sometimes in the morning when I’m awake and so tired, I think I need some time off. But when my body starts moving I realize it’s not time for me to rest. I can tell you the things I like. I go to the Pacific, to the islands alone, but it’s not time for me to do that. It is so important to be here. What’s next for you? I would like to expand with this restaurant. I would like to expand here in Vegas with MGM. I can open nothing else without them here. It would have to be with them, but I don’t mind. They are good partners, but if I could open somewhere else I wouldn’t mind doing this kind of restaurant in other cities. But I’m not a person to jump at any offer. I’ve been around for a while and the people talk too much and then they don’t have anything. My goal is not to open 20 or 30 of these. I am happy with one or two. I would like that. What would your last meal be? I like things very expensive and I like things very cheap. My favorite thing is french fries. I can’t eat them, but I crave them a lot. What I would make is something stupid like french fries with mayonnaise.


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