March 18-24, 2010
The Run to Glory when the Rebels—and theiR city—shot to no. 1
by gReg blake milleR
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C o S Ta m e S a
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This Week in Your CiTY 13
The highlights of this week. By Susan Stapleton
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.
Don’t know Skype? Here’s what you’ve been missing. By Eric Benderoff
Why the Cannapalooza convention wasn’t welcome here, and online gambling’s move toward legalization. Plus: David Schwartz’s Green Felt Journal and Michael Green on Politics.
Caesars opens some cool new pools and Terry Fator unveils a new puppet. Plus: trends, tweets and gossip. By Melissa Arseniuk
We revisit Lotus of Siam 10 years after a national food critic put it on the map. By Max Jacobson Plus: Max’s Diner’s Notebook and Sinatra’s chef shows how to make your own pasta.
Ghostbar hosts a farewell party for the Yucca Mountain project.
Do you pack your own lunch? Here’s how to do it healthier. By Sharon Kehoe
This week’s Look, out with the old in your closet and a few choice Enviables. Plus: How to throw a better home party.
health & fitneSS
SportS & leiSure
Lon Kruger and the NCAA Tournament go way back. By Rob Miech Plus: Going for Broke By Matt Jacob
Seven Nights ahead, fabulous parties past and a DJ’s thing for shoe biz.
artS & entertainment
Wandering Strip performers, music legend Michel Legrand and Cole Smithey rates The Runaways.
On the cover: A Rebel huddle before the 1990 title game. Photo by Associated Press.Above: The victory lap down Fremont Street. Photo courtesy Las Vegas News Bureau.
Jerry Tarkanian reminisces about the glory days—and the ones that came after. By Rob Miech
the rebel alliance
Twenty years ago the UNLV basketball team changed this city forever. By Greg Blake Miller March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 9
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Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
This week in your ciTy
Contributor Editor's notE
The overnight epoch Moving to Las Vegas was like walking in at the end of a movie. Just as I sat down and saw the last ﬂicker of what must have been an epic drama, the house lights went on and everybody got up and left. It was March 30, 1991, and after I unpacked, I did what all Las Vegans did that Saturday afternoon: watch the undefeated Rebels somehow lose to Duke in the NCAA semiﬁnals. All I remember was the stunned silence drowning out the usual Vegas noise, and it spilled over into Monday, which was April Fool’s. Just like that, I began my new job and the city began a brand-new era. I’ve always been a little haunted by the timing, not just because I missed out on the glory days that Greg Blake Miller magically recaptures in our cover story, but how could I not feel like The Cooler, the guy who shows up and instantly changes everybody’s luck? My ﬁrst days here were not about community togetherness and Rebel glory but inﬁghting, scandal and the collapse of the basketball program. One day, years later, when I ﬁnally got to meet Lois Tarkanian, the ﬁrst thing that came out of my mouth was a joking apology for my ominous arrival to her town. She laughed, but the smile quickly disappeared as she launched into Bob Maxson and the bitter end. Luck, she said, had nothing to do with it. A lot has changed since those days. In fact, I’ve now been in Las Vegas as long as Jerry Tarkanian was UNLV’s coach. And the memories of the NCAA’s Pyrrhic victory over us (if I can
now include myself in “us”) have ﬁnally faded, thanks in part to the dawn of hope for another Rebel run. “There’s no way to duplicate the mood of that year,” Miller told me after I’d mentioned this. “But the memory of it can offer inspiration for something different, something new.” A championship is unlikely to happen this year, but in the air is the chance that—a million or so people later—the new we will get there again. I can’t help but think this inspiration might do us good, especially given that (is there any doubt?) Las Vegas is going to lag behind the rest of the country in the economic recovery. Winning at basketball is a welcome distraction during hard times, for sure, but it also can be an outlet for the frustrations of a young, fractured community desperately trying— against the odds and all alone, as always—to reach a new period of prosperity. I may have missed the joy of vindication the last time around, but I still feel the chip on our shoulder (think Yucca, Obama and all those “worst” lists). I’ll never know for sure, but just maybe the last two words of Miller’s story ring as true now as they did back then.
Greg Blake Miller “Rebel Alliance,” page 30 Miller, who writes about the UNLV basketball team’s 1990 national title, caught the Rebel bug early. “I was 7 when the ’77 team went to the Final Four,” he says. “You don’t recover from that sort of thing.” He recovered sufﬁciently to become a reporter in Moscow, Russia, a novelist and an award-winning columnist. After several years as a writer and editor in his hometown, he now teaches journalism and communication studies at the University of Oregon. “When I tell people I’m from Vegas, they bring up real estate,” he says. “But every so often someone brings up basketball. Those are the conversations I look forward to.”
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Visit the Vegas Seven website March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 11
Seven DayS The highlights of this week in your city.
Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk and Susan Stapleton
Thur. 18 Gets a dose of the great white north as the Clark County Library brings the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour to town. The international ﬁlm competition features the world’s best footage on mountain subjects, culled from 300 ﬁlms from 35 countries covering everything from adventure sports to wild places. 1401 E. Flamingo Road, wristbands at 6, show at 7 p.m., free.
Fri. 19 Kids grow up too fast, so take your fast-paced family to see the furry family that generations have been growing up with since 1962. The Lied Discovery Children’s Museum presents Growing Up With the Berenstain Bears, an interactive show based on the iconic children’s book series that teaches lessons in math, reading, manners and much more. 833 Las Vegas Blvd. North, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., $8.50 for adults and $7.50 for ages 17 and under.
Sat. 20 Dress in drag and run the 5K or take a milelong walk alongside characters from Zumanity and Ka at the ninth annual Run Away With Cirque du Soleil at the Springs Preserve. Costumes and superhuman ﬂexibility are not required, but a $25-$40 registration fee is (for a good cause: the Springs Preserve). The event will also feature prizes and a children’s circus play area, and cast members will be on hand for photo ops throughout the day. 333 S. Valley View Blvd., registration at 7 a.m., shotgun start at 8:30 a.m., pre-register at Whole Foods at Town Square from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. March 18 and 19, springspreserve.org.
Sun. 21 Today is the last time to see The Musical of Musicals—The Musical!, so catch the York Theater Production before it leaves town. The four-member cast spoofs the styles of Broadway legends Rodgers and Hammerstein (The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!), Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd), Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!), Andrew Lloyd Webber (Evita, Cats), and Kander and Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret) and performs the same storyline in each of the ﬁve styles. Life is a cabaret, indeed. UNLV’s Black Box Theatre in the Alta Ham Fine Arts building. 2 p.m., $13.50-$15 plus service fees, free for full-time UNLV students, 895-2787.
Mon. 22 Liberace famously “cried all the way to the bank” and his namesake museum through April 15 is loosening the purse strings to discount admission. Celebrate the 31st anniversary of the sequins-ﬁlled shrine that celebrates one of the world’s most ﬂamboyant performers and check out the elaborate costumes, jewelry, car collection, decorated pianos and more. 1775 E. Tropicana Ave., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon to 4 p.m. Sun., $8-$10 (regular price $10-$15; two-for-one discount coupons also available).
Tues. 23 I scream, you scream, we all scream—for free scoops of Ben and Jerry’s, especially. The makers of Chunky Monkey, Chubby Hubby and Cherry Garcia are serving up free cones for three good causes—the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, the Nevada Community Learning Centers and St. Jude’s Ranch for Children— today so scream on down, make a donation and sample new ﬂavors (peanut brittle, milk and cookies, and “chocowlate” chip) while you can. Galleria at Sunset, the District at Green Valley Ranch and Sunset Station locations only, noon to 8 p.m.
Wed. 24 After a 65 million-year hiatus, dinosaurs are back. Walking With Dinosaurs is a theatrical production featuring life-size renditions of 10 species of dinosaurs, including tyrannosaurus rex, plesiosaurus, stegosaurus and brachiosaurus. At 36 feet tall and 56 feet from nose to tail, brachiosaurus is the biggest of them all and took a year for a team of 50 engineers, fabricators, skin makers, artists, painters and animatronics experts to put together. Thomas & Mack Center, through March 28, 7 p.m., $20-$72, 739-3267.
March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 13
What’s hip, what’s happening, what’s going on—and what you need to know right now.
Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk
Wine the World Over
The Fortuna pool at Caesars Palace
hail, Caesars, Pool God
In ancient times, Julius Caesar helped transform the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire; now, Caesars Palace has transformed its pool area into an all-new oasis, dubbed “Garden of the Gods.” OK, maybe that’s not so revolutionary, but it is still an impressive feat considering that the property’s eight
The Apollo pool 14
Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
With 60,000 bottles, 4,000 selections and 250 wines available by the glass, wine enthusiasts know Bellagio is one of the best spots for vino in Las Vegas, if not the world. But did you know that the resort is home to the most master sommeliers on the planet, too? The recent addition of master sommelier Darius Allyn brings Bellagio’s master som count to four, effectively making it the ultimate destination for wine snobs the world over. Allyn joins the staff at AAA ﬁve-diamond-awardwinning restaurants Osterio de Circo and Sensi, while three other master sommeliers also call Bellagio home: Joseph Phillips (Michael Mina), Robert Smith (Picasso) and the hotel’s director of wine, Jason Smith. In all, the Bellagio has 17 sommeliers on site. Becoming a certiﬁed master requires completion of three levels of sommelier certiﬁcation, followed by verbal, service and blind-tasting exams. Allyn previously oversaw the wine-angel-ﬁlled cellar at Aureole in Mandalay Bay (1999-2005), taught wine classes at UNLV for six years and is married to Top Chef season-two ﬁnalist Elia Aboumrad. Though it’s difﬁcult for him to choose a favorite, he cites Domaine Sigalas Santorini Island white wine as his wine of choice at the moment. “It’s very interesting with a fresh, zesty and mineral-driven, delightful smell and taste,” he says of the 2007 vintage. “I lived on Santorini Island back in the summer of 1993 and picked some of those Assyrtiko grapes. The place is paradise and it brings back some of the greatest memories in my young life—[and] great wine is truly greater when it drives home a great personal memory/experience.”
contemporary pools encompass three levels and ﬁve acres of prime sun-worshipping space. Opening March 19, the Caesars’ new pool offerings include Fortuna, with an 18-foot waterfall and swim-up blackjack tables; Neptune, with plenty of prime people watching space; elevated and exclusive (read: invite-only) Bacchus, with paired pool areas; and family-friendly Temple, with several fountains for splash-happy kids. The catch: If you’re not staying at the hotel, you need to rent a cabana to play with the pool gods—and those start at $400 for up to eight people. Still, several packages are available, including one that offers a two-night stay, full pool access and $25 pool credit from $110 per night (use promotion code PKGCGOG). Caesars’ new adult outdoor party destination, the Venus Pool Club, won’t open until April 1, but it promises to be the place to sun, swim, see and be seen—and all in a European (yes, topless) setting. Operated by Pure Management Group, the adults-only destination will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Cover charges will hover around $30 for men and $20 for women, with special rates for local ladies. Master sommelier Darius Allyn
This Week in yOur CiTy Have a Heart, Give a Basket Not every kid in Las Vegas will have a basket waiting for them on Easter Sunday, so the ol’ bunny needs your help to spread some festive cheer (and chocolate) on April 4—and that’s where a grassroots effort called E Bunny comes in. The group has been collecting and distributing Easter baskets to local children living in poverty for 20 years and organizers say this spring’s effort will be especially important. “It’s going to be a real challenge this year, due to the economy,” coordinator Barbara Kenig says. Through partnerships with organizations such as the Las Vegas City Mission, Straight from the Streets, the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, and Clark County and Las Vegas Social Services, E Bunny handed out 2,750 baskets last year—and hopes to nearly double that this year. Assembled Easter baskets can be dropped off through March 26 at Planet Nissan (5850 Centennial Center Blvd.), Faith Community Lutheran Church (2700 S. Town Center Dr.), Nevada State College School of Nursing (303 S. Water St., Suite 160) and Nevada International Trade Co. (6650 Spencer St., Suite 110). What’s more, Rio Salon and Spa customers who donate baskets can enjoy 35 percent discounts on spa and salon services. 498-9808, tinyurl.com/ybhyw9c.
Smash Makes a Splash Denver-based chain Smashburger is determined to bring us a better burger, and for a reasonable price. Its ﬁrst Las Vegas location opened this week at the corner of Lake Mead Boulevard and Buffalo Drive and nothing on the menu costs more than $7. While you won’t be able to get the “Shocker” burger (that curiously named sandwich is reserved for Wichita, Kan., apparently), the potato chip-topped Idaho burger or Utah’s honey-barbeque-sauce-slathered “Beehive” burger, the restaurant does have a few Las Vegas-speciﬁc creations. The “Sin City Smashburger” features a fried egg, applewood-smoked bacon, American cheese, grilled onions, haystack onions and “smash sauce” on an egg bun and either beef or chicken. The local menu will also feature an “All Nighter” salad in addition to options available elsewhere, such as sweet-potato fries, fried pickles, veggie frites (ﬂash-fried asparagus spears, carrot sticks and green beans) and $4 milkshakes made with Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Smashburger already has dozens of restaurants across the country and plans to open more than 100 additional locations by the end of this year. 7541 W. Lake Mead Blvd., Suite 2, open daily, 10 a.m.10 p.m., smashburger.com.
Fator’s new Friend Terry Fator and His Cast of Thousands just added another member, and he’s a real dummy—a crash-test dummy, to be precise. Fator and his new friend, Wrex, cover songs about life behind the wheel, such as Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and Chamillionaire’s hit featuring Krayzie Bone, “Ridin’ Dirty”—though we’ve been assured neither the new puppet nor Fator are packing any heat. The America’s Got Talent champion says he developed Wrex after he “realized how many great songs there were about cars.” “[Wrex] started out as a mechanic,” Fator says, and it took three months for the folks at Puppet Heap to bring the character to life— using nothing but “polyethylene and love.” Wrex joins Winston the turtle and Vikki the cougar at The Mirage. None of Fator’s other impressionable friends have been removed, retired or otherwise replaced. So what does the cast think of the new addition? “They’re still getting to know each other,” Fator says.“The initial impression is that he tends to get ‘smashed’ too often.”
Car enthusiasts have followed the evolution of the bullet-dodging, ﬂamethrowing, bomb-snifﬁng and totally amazing Knight Industries Two Thousand since the TV show Knight Rider debuted in 1982. The KITT faithful this weekend are converging in Las Vegas for the Knight Rider Festival and many of them are bringing their super-modiﬁed street rods with them. The festival gets under way March 19 and includes a drivethrough wedding at the Little White Chapel at 1 p.m. and a stunt show at 8 p.m. The next day, more than 50 KITT inspirations will be on display at the Fremont Street Experience starting at 10 a.m. Knight Rider’s original star—David Hasselhoff—is rumored to be making a guest appearance over the weekend, while Justin Bruening (who played Mike Traceur in the NBC adaptations of the show) is among the 15 cast and crew members conﬁrmed to take part. knightriderfestival.com March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 15
THE LaTEsT THougHT Baby, You Can Park My Car
Can you really call yourself a ‘local’ if you don’t valet on the Strip?
A peculiar behavior of Southern Nevada residents is that they love to draw lines in the sand—more like cinder-block walls in the sand, actually—delineating strong differences in attitudes among us. Call it a ﬁrst line of defense in a city where it can be hard to get your bearings. There is the “east of Strip” vs. “west of Strip” wall, the suburbs vs. downtown wall, the smoking vs. non-smoking wall, the Vegas haters vs. Vegas defenders wall, and my personal favorite, the Sin City vs. “lowtax, family-friendly, how did all those casinos end up in my Summerlin backyard?” wall. But there is another I recently discovered while listening to KNPR’s State of Nevada that I hardly expected: locals who valet vs. those who don’t. In my mind, all locals valet. Such convenience is, essentially, an assumed birthright of Las Vegans. We get to park for free, and for a few bucks more, we get to park at the door. But in KNPR’s discussion about the then-just-opened CityCenter, Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Howard Stutz claimed essentially the opposite. Because CityCenter was designed as an urban environment in which valet parking is the norm, there is only one small (yet nice) parking garage on property,
So, who are these so-called locals who don’t valet? To explore the answer, I did what any 21st-century person would do—I updated my Facebook status to reﬂect my frustration: “James P. Reza is listening to KNPR’s discussion about CityCenter and wonders when ‘locals don’t valet park’ became the rule.” Within the next few hours, there were 51 comments, one of the most pointed of which was from native Stacey, who said, “These ‘locals,’ whoever they are, decide that they reject our city, and at the same time bad-mouth us ‘real locals.’ I love to valet park! If these ‘locals’ don’t like it, then leave ... Please.” Ginger, another native, softened that somewhat by explaining, “Those of us who are born and bred are different from imported ‘locals.’” That’s especially true for native-born locals old enough to recall the Las Vegas
As someone accustomed to paying $10–$30 every “time I swing my car into downtown San Diego, a few bucks is worth the convenience, the sense of safety, and, yes, the feeling of being on vacation at home.”
near the Mandarin Oriental. According to Stutz, this deliberate dearth of garages supposedly stymies the “accessibility” that locals demand. He went as far as to say that “locals will learn that the best way to get in [to CityCenter], if you don’t want to valet, ... is to park over at Bellagio and to walk over using the connection from Vdara, or take the tram from Monte Carlo.” Um, say what? I’m going to leave my car at another property and then schlep to CityCenter, all for the “convenience” of self-parking in a garage? I don’t think so. Neither does Las Vegas resident Suzie Q, who, in her Yelp.com review of Aria, responds to the parking complaints of other reviewers by stating what I believed was obvious: “Vegas taboo ... Who parks in the parking garage???” 16 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
that existed pre-Mirage, a different town to be certain. But commenter Jeff was unmoved. “ALL THIS OVER VALET PARKING?” he typed. “I never knew this was such a hot-button issue dividing the locals. Consider me apathetic.” The rest of them weren’t. Additional comments ranged from people who don’t valet because they don’t consider their car “fancy enough” (to which native-born artist Jerry countered, “I used to love valeting my old banana-yellow 1970 Plymouth Fury III ... huge piece of shit”), to those who consider their valet parking “situational,” useful for times when one is dressed fancy or in a hurry. Still, not always is valet parking the quicker option; Luxor’s valet is hard to ﬁnd and sometimes understaffed, and as
Vegas native Anne pointed out, the MGM Grand “has THE WORST valet parking on the Strip. And I’ve taken Planet Hollywood into consideration here.” Yes, MGM Mirage is the company behind CityCenter. For me, there is never a question. Valet is an ingrained part of the Las Vegas experience. I’ve always valeted, and my mom—who has been in Las Vegas since the early 1960s—faithfully valets her decidedly old-school 1985 380SL whenever she ventures out to “play the nickels.” Most of the young women I know valet as a matter of course; despite security efforts, parking garages can be intimidating places for women, and besides, every yard counts when strutting in stilettos. As someone accustomed to paying $10–$30 every time I swing my car into downtown San Diego, a few bucks is worth the convenience, the sense of safety, and, yes, the feeling of being on vacation at home, a cheap daily thrill that not enough “new” Las Vegans—the ones who “never go to the Strip”—understand or appreciate. But back on Facebook, former valet driver Michael has a different perspective: “Having valet-parked cars before, and having seen what goes on, I wouldn’t recommend it. It also handicaps people into thinking that a city block is too far to walk.” Yes, we Las Vegans exhibit a unique blend of spoiled egalitarianism when it comes to our lifestyle; it might be fair to say we’ll walk an extra block just to valet, but only if that block is inside a Roman-themed shopping mall. Recent transplant Lynn, a professor at UNLV, probably has the most diplomatic perspective: “Sometimes I valet, sometimes I don’t, and I love Vegas regardless of how I park.” That’s something I would walk a mile to hear. James P. Reza, a Las Vegas native, is a longtime commentator on our city’s unique culture and a regular contributor to Vegas Seven.
Photo by Anthony Mair
By James P. Reza
THE LaTEsT Gossip Star-studded parties, celebrity sightings, juicy rumors and other glitter.
Got a juicy tip? firstname.lastname@example.org
Tweets of the Week Compiledby@marseniuk
@JessieGibson I am still confused as to why the UNLV fans are doing the Tomahawk Chop. Really?
@carlsjrofvegas My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn’t.
@UNLVgirl The BYU players are all at Tropical Smoothie at GVR. Awwww, how sweet. NO caffeine for YOU!!
Bringing sexies Back
When worst-kept-secretcouple Audrina Patridge and Ryan Cabrera went to Vanity on March 13, they asked not to be photographed together, but of course that didn’t stop the onlookers (or the pseudo-secret from getting out). They got there around 1 a.m. and hung out in the VIP, but it wasn’t long until they hit the ﬂoor together. So much for keeping a low-proﬁle. They left about an hour later. Zzzzz. Earlier in the night, the un-couple were also spotted at Caesars Palace checking out everybody’s favorite non-JustinTimberlake-fedora-wearer, Matt Goss. Zzzzz again. 18 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Justin Timberlake was in town recently to push his 901 Tequila at the Nightclub & Bar Convention, but the booze might not be the only blue he was getting on his agave, so to speak. Rumor has it that he spent the night ﬂirting with dancers at Tao, then took one (or two?) of them back to his suite. Pictures of JT talking to the go-gos have surfaced, but the evidence is inconclusive at best. Still, it’s not the ﬁrst time everybody’s favorite nonMatt-Goss-fedora-wearer has been accused of being unfaithful to girlfriend Jessica Biel. Back in September, Star published reports that he hooked up with Rihanna, and Lindsay Lohan previously called him out for making out in Tao’s New York City sister club, Avenue. (But consider the sources for both before passing judgment, people.) For her part, Biel was in New York, busy pushing the documentary Summit on the Summit: Kilimanjaro—so feel free to insert your own joke about Timberlake climbing mountains of his own wherever you see ﬁt.
The Palms Meets The Shore Everyone’s favorite well-coiffed Jersey Shore personality kicked off his N9NE Group residency on March 12 at Ghostbar and all but overtook the Palms. Paul “Pauly D” Delvecchio started Friday night with a ﬁlet at N9NE Steakhouse, then went upstairs to Nove Italiano for another dinner with ﬁve others. All this begs the question: Does he have a bottomless stomach or bulimia? We’re going to go with neither and think that he just needed to feed that thing that lives on top of his head, whatever it is (kind of like the facehugger in Alien). Because, you know, a growing blowout needs lots of food. The house music-loving Guido also got a key to the Playboy Club during his stay, was spotted at Rain checking out DJ Jazzy Jeff, and popped by Drai’s After Hours, too—with fellow reality TV personality Rob Kardashian.
@c_e_rodriguez My ﬂight to Vegas is ﬁlled w/jr high cheerleading teams. The cacophony is deafening. 3 1/2 hrs? I want to stick my head in the engine. @Mercedeslv It’s ofﬁcial: This Friday is awesome. Why? Because I just found out there’s a tow truck company called Camel Towing.
@Alex_Acuna @arialv has a music station “pop divas.” Really? Why not just call it the gay station? Cher, Tina, Madonna, Gladys, Mariah all in a row.
@RhiaMayweather I’m giving away a free couch. It even comes with a man that’s permanently attached to it. LMAO. @Hunter Since when is Matt Goss not a has been? Caesars is treating this opening like the second coming. He’s playing a fake BOAT for god’s sake. @lyneka I absolutely do not support Mel B’s (aka Scary Spice’s) hair cut. http://bit.ly/bniJZT.
@campbell_g #daylightsavings means it’s nearly 5 p.m., time for a big glass of Sunday night vino. @Stan_Tudor Im having Sex On The Beach at Aria Casino ... :) >@casino_host Like, literally? Or the drink?
Madison Hildebrand & Lil Jon photos by Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Audrina Patridge & Ryan Cabrera photo by Shane O’Neal, Justin Timberlake photo by Retna, Mel Brown, Krysten Ritter & Pauly D photos by Erik Kabik/Retna
Madison Hildebrand at the Nightclub & Bar Convention, Soulja Boy at Eve, Lil Jon (after a few shots?) at the Nightclub & Bar Convention, “Scary Spice” Mel Brown showcases her scary new hairstyle at the debut of Matt Goss’ show at Caesars Palace, and Krysten Ritter looks bored at the She’s Out of My League premiere at Planet Hollywood.
Mountain High Environmentalists and friends of Yucca Mountain gathered at Ghostbar on March 9 to celebrate the Department of Energy’s decision to not pursue the mountainside as a nuclear waste dump. Former Sen. Richard Bryan delivered a “keynote eulogy” while other guests included Sen. Harry Reid and Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid. (See story, page 37.)
Photography by Brenton Ho
20 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
2011 SLS AMG
It has wings for a reason.
925 Auto Show Drive s In The Valley Auto Mall s Henderson, NV 89014 702.485.3000 s www.mbofhenderson.com
House of Style Wynn executive vice president of design Roger Thomas (above) hosted a “housewarming party” on March 11 that served as a gathering of the city’s design-minded set. During the reception, guests were invited to preview Thomas’ latest curations while enjoying artful conversation and spirited refreshments.
Photography by Sullivan Charles
22 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
A BeAuTy of A BrellA
Tackle the rare day it rains in Las Vegas in high style. From gowns to casual wear to stationery and accessories, Lanvin in Crystals at CityCenter is a veritable paradise for the girl who has it all. Price upon request.
Photographed by Tomas Muscionico
WhiTe hoT holgA
Holga introduces limited-edition cameras for Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes. The Jack Holga and the Meg Diana+ follow the band’s red, white and black color scheme down to the peppermint swirl on the frame advance dials. Unicahome, $180.
A Tiny ClAssiC
The Gap denim jacket is an American fashion icon—and now it is available in miniature at Gap Town Square. The all-new 1969 Premium Denim collection for babies 0-24 months is fashioned from lightweight denim. 1969 Girls Jean Jacket, $29.50.
Priscila Monroe, 26 model
Jeff Monroe, 37 trainer
What they are wearing now: (on her) Gap gray shirt, Anthropologie beige top, Guess jeans, vintage boots and a scarf she bought in Amsterdam; (on him) Lucky jeans, Ralph Lauren dress shirt, Calvin Klein suit jacket and Kenneth Cole shoes. The couple, who have been married for ﬁve years, favor simple, clean and affordable attire. “I don’t follow fashion,” Jeff says. “I just wear what I feel comfortable in. I am a T-shirt and jeans guy.” After long hours in front of the camera modeling high fashion, Priscila goes in the opposite direction off camera. “I am a Gap kind of girl,” she says. “I like basics with a little kick. I travel a lot for modeling and I have to pack light. I do love colors. ... It’s fun to have a pop of color daily.”
March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 25
Michael McGraw and friend Brian Atwood at the 10th anniversary party for McGraw and Sean McClenahan (right).
Guest List Cameron Atwood-Laidlaw
A Fabulous Spring Affair Lessons on throwing the ultimate home party from one memorable example
By MJ Elstein
Photography by Tomas Muscionico
Brian Atwood & Jake Deutsch Gloria & Mark Fine Nicole Paskvan & Perry Rogers Calvert Collins & Vince Bratlin Terri Monsour & Kenny Burt Milo Kostelecky Staci Linklater & James Reza Bonnie & Hugh Fogel Kimberly & Ric Rushton Milo Miloscia & John Nelson and many others
When Sean McClenahan and Michael McGraw decided to throw a party to celebrate their 10th anniversary, they knew they had a lot to live up to. The couple have deﬁned themselves within the community as being on the cutting edge of stylish socializing. McClenahan, an attorney, and McGraw, who is in restaurant management, have long-standing roots in Las Vegas. They are known for being men about town and for hosting extravagant bashes at their posh Scotch 80s home. With the perfect mix of high society, downtown glitterati and local personalities, as well as a few out-of-town guest stars, the party was a memorable entrée to the spring entertaining season. On the heels of the event, McClenahan sat down with Vegas Seven to talk food, guest list, cocktails and décor.
How often do you have people over and how important to your life is entertaining? Whether it is an intimate dinner party with a few friends or a large-scale event, we entertain all the time. We love socializing with our friends, and entertaining is a huge part of our relationship. One of the main attractions when buying our house was the ability to use it for entertaining. The original owners had many parties in the house back in the 1960s. How did you select the invite list? It was a list of people from every aspect of our relationship—close friends, many of who played important roles in our lives together. What did you do for the three essential parts of any event—décor, food and cocktails? Fried cornish game hens and sangria.
26 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Clockwise: Mark Fine and John Lin; Bree Goldwater and Cameron Atwood-Laidlaw; crab-claw corn dogs; Calvert Collins; McClenahan and McGraw toast; and the duo favors bright ﬂowers to set the mood versus heavy decorations.
For the food, we had Fireﬂy cater. We spent many nights at Fireﬂy on Paradise [Road] during our early years together so it only made sense for John Simmons [Fireﬂy’s owner] to cater our party. For the cocktails, the bar off our living room is the center point of our house, and we like our bar to be similar to that of a restaurant or lounge. That way any drink a guest wants is available. For the décor, the general aesthetic of our house dictates that color should come from the art and the furniture and not from paint or heavy adornments. We have very colorful pieces of art from Las Vegas artists ranging from Jerry Misko to Tim Bavington to a photograph of us by celebrity photographer Tony Duran. We use the food and cocktails as part of the décor. We also make sure to sprinkle ﬂoral arrangements throughout the house, including the bathrooms, as well as candles. What is the best party you have ever been to and why? Our friend Brian’s 40th birthday in Mykonos, Greece. There were no expenses spared and it was ﬁrst class all the way. There was a great mix of people—many of whom did not know one another but formed lasting friendships. It was a combination of amazing music, food, drink and high energy set in a spectacular backdrop. What are your ﬁve tips for a great party? Good music, good food, plenty of drinks (adult and otherwise); eclectic mix of people (not everyone should know each other already); and as the host you should relax and have fun. Were you happy with how it all came together? It was sheer perfection.
the Menu John Simmons of Fireﬂy created a signature selection of playful foods, including: Fried Cornish Game Hens Crab-claw Corn Dogs Flan-ﬁlled Spoons Bacon-wrapped Dates Fresh Shrimp Cocktail Bottomless Pitchers of Sangria
March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 27
The Modern Muse
JCrew is known for versatile workwear with mileage. Charcoal works for both spring and fall. Available at JCrew, Fashion Show.
Between a Rock and a Stylish Place By Jennifer Cornthwaite
This column is dedicated to Lee Alexander McQueen, who made clothes that were both appropriate and outrageous.
Banana Republic is always a safe bet for appropriate attire for all ages. Shown here (top and above), spring looks available at the Grand Canal at the Venetian and Fashion Show.
28 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Word on the street is that 2010 is shaping up to be a better year than 2009. Fresh starts are always exciting—a new job, a new season, a new love—and a great reason to shop. Other transitions, such as changing careers or becoming a mother, call for wardrobe additions and deletions. However, the real challenge comes when age 30 has passed and 40 is just around the corner and you are still wearing the clothes bought for your ﬁrst job. Tackling the in-between years is all about resetting, rewinding and learning from past fashion transgressions. What have we learned? There were evenings that ended dancing around with girlfriends at 5 a.m. in a nightclub. There is nothing that can take back that terrible sexy-blouse-and-of-themoment-denim ensemble that will forever exist in pictures. Personally, I fear that several skirts in my closet are too short for someone my age. In times of turmoil, it is best to ask someone you admire questions such as, what do I look good in and what is appropriate?
In Las Vegas, there are two uniforms: One for daytime that consists of a sweatsuit or other sorted gym-looking attire; and the other that comes out around 10 p.m. and includes a tight cocktail dress and sky-high heels. I’m pleading for an intervention. One of my sources for age appropriateness is Alicia Gomez, a dear friend, who has been a consultant at Dior for many years. She tells me there are two rules when examining a wardrobe to see if it is aging gracefully. The ﬁrst is to be brutally honest and aware of your body and state of being. Wonderful advice it is. Stand in front of the mirror and really look at what is working and what isn’t. Assess, regroup and make the changes needed. Leave no room for letting yourself off the hook. The second piece of advice she shares is for the husband, who can be held responsible for his woman looking ridiculous. He needs to tell her that she does not ﬁt into something anymore, or that she would look divine in this dress, not that one. Sometimes we need another set of eyes. Henri & Odette Gallery owner Jennifer Cornthwaite constantly scours the runways for the hottest trends, styles and designers. Contact her at email@example.com.
Banana Republic’s green racerback pocket dress and watercolor racerback dress are great alternatives to the typical Vegas uniform.
“You can call us bad guys. You can call us thugs. You can call us hoodlums. But, please, at the end of that, just put ‘national champions.’”
– Larry Johnson, April 2, 1990
The Rebel Alliance A city, a team and a dream of ‘electric togetherness’
Coach Tarkanian and team during their crowning moment in Denver.
By Greg Blake Miller
Anderson Hunt dropped 36 points on the Soviet National Team. Gorbachev did not intervene. The Berlin Wall fell. Maybe it’s age: The newsreel of that autumn is full of strange jump-cuts and garbled headlines and conspiracy theories from the pages of Lewis Carroll. It is, of course, unlikely that the Soviet team’s visit to America’s most American city ended the Cold War. But theories of public diplomacy and the butterﬂy effect leave the possibility open. The game took place on Nov. 7, 1989, the 72nd anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas men’s basketball team won, 107-102. That was on a Tuesday. By Thursday a host of happy hooligans had scaled the wall and started chipping at the concrete. I was in California, 19 years old, studying to become an expert on the Communist Bloc. My Cold War career was going up in smoke, but it was worth it: A thousand bitter disappointments, it turned out, could be cashed in for one great triumph. I thought it was the most optimistic autumn since 1945, and when I visited my hometown of Las Vegas everyone seemed to agree with me. All I had to do was talk basketball. Larry Johnson. Stacey Augmon. Greg Anthony. Walk into a room. Say the names. Everyone smiles at you. That’s Las Vegas in November of ’89, when the adventure began. For 15 years Las Vegans had made the UNLV basketball team the avatar of their civic hopes. We were experts in the peculiar American logic of urban legitimacy: We’re a real city. Look at our team. But the national voices kept harping on Tark’s sharkiness and calling our team “NeVAHdah-Las Vegas.” We protested, to no avail, that neither the mispronunciation nor the hyphenation was really necessary. After two agonizing Final Four losses (’77 and ’87) and a decade-and-a-half hovering in or around the top 20, we all understood that nothing but an NCAA title would liberate us from a national press that insisted on using gambling metaphors when discussing David Rice’s haircut. We wanted to climb a wall and shout to the world that we were not hooligans after all. Las Vegans felt young that year. We were the raw kid conquering gawkiness, the one ﬁghting for full possession of his gifts. Steve Wynn opened his Mirage just as the basketball season began. The stagnant days of seedy ’70s “carpet joints” were fading. The words “world class” may ring oddly hollow 20 years and a Great Recession later, but back then they were a badge of self-determination for Vegas Nation. We were not a tourist town but a world-class city that happened to put on a hell of a show for tourists. The Rebels, though, were our show. The revolution had begun. For a moment, it seemed like it would last forever.
Spotlights roamed the sellout crowd. Veteran public address announcer Dick Calvert announced the starting lineup: At point guard, a 6-2 junior from Las Vegas, Nevada … Anthony had 10 points, six assists and two rebounds that night. The Rebels won, 109-86. In a single feat of blood-curdling pain-management, the hometown kid had become, as longtime fan Larry Gabriel puts it, “the ambassador for the team, the university and the city.” “It felt like we beat New Mexico State by 100 points,” says Rice, a reserve guard on the team who later spent 11 seasons as a UNLV assistant coach. “[After the injury] we were wondering, where do we stand with Greg? And he shows up for practice the next day with a helmet on. We had a really good team before that, but that statement by Greg was, Here we go! Nothing would stop us. We’d overachieve.” The next week brought impressive victories over Arizona and Louisville. By the end of February, though, after 11 games in 26 days, the team was exhausted. David Butler had twisted his knee in the Fresno State game. Cvijanovich was still working his shoulder into form. Travis Bice had chicken pox. Chris Jeter had mono. Anthony was eating through a straw. After a loss at UC Santa Barbara, the Rebels escaped Utah State—where a water bomb exploded under the UNLV bench and drenched Tarkanian—with an 84-82 win. Suddenly the Rebels seemed vulnerable. But that was before they traveled to Long Beach Arena, scored 306
The love affair had a lot to do with winning, but it also had something to do with the gap in perception between the way the nation saw the city and the way the city saw itself.
Six minutes and 19 seconds into a game on Feb. 12, 1990, Anthony, who held the dual posts of point guard and spiritual leader for the 19-4 Rebels, collided with Fresno State guard Wilbert Hooker. Anthony then fell face ﬁrst on the hardwood. His jaw broke in two places. Stacey Cvijanovich, a steady senior reserve, entered the game and promptly separated his shoulder. The Rebels, who had scored 100 points in ﬁve of their last six games, held on to beat the Bulldogs, 69-64. That night, doctors wired Anthony’s jaw shut. Three nights later, New Mexico State, which was 20-2 and had earlier beaten the Rebels, 83-82, in Las Cruces, arrived at the Thomas & Mack Center to play a Rebel team that, to all appearances, no longer had a point guard. Fireworks burst beneath the Shark Tank rafters.
points in three days, outscored their opponents by 67 and won the Big West Tournament. As the top seed in the NCAA Tournament’s West Region, the Rebels crushed Arkansas-Little Rock in the ﬁrst round, defeated Ohio State in a workmanlike performance in the second, and then nearly tripped over Ball State, securing a 69-67 win when the Cardinals turned the ball over at the buzzer. Then came the regional ﬁnal against Loyola Marymount, a squad riding an extraordinary wave of grief and inspiration following the death of star center Hank Gathers. Before the game, two revered Las Vegans gave pep talks to the Rebels. One was Steve Wynn; the other was Greg Anthony. “They are living a dream,” Anthony said of the Cinderella-story Lions. “It’s time someone woke them up.” The Rebels won, 131-101, and they were on their way to their third Final Four. ★★★★★★★
In 1973, Jerry Tarkanian arrived in Las Vegas with a formidable assignment: put a 16-year-old university on the map. And while you’re at it, give a 68-year-old tourist town a tradition of its own. Tarkanian had taken less than ﬁve years to turn Long Beach State into a national power, and Donald Baepler, UNLV’s president at the time, consciously sought him out so he could do the same thing in Las Vegas. “In the early ’70s, if I said that I was from UNLV at various meetings, people would always ask, ‘Where?’” Baepler told The New York Times in 1989. “We realized that we could use the athletic team to get the kind of attention that helps the academic side.” For Tarkanian, it was a chance for a
Stacey Augmon (top) and Greg Anthony (above) led the “amoeba” defense, but they packed some offensive punch, too.
March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 31
Six days after Tarkanian’s arrival, the NCAA launched an investigation of UNLV. It began with allegations dating back to 1969, when John Bayer was the coach. There is no way of knowing whether these old allegations would have brought such a determined posse to town if Tarkanian hadn’t come ﬁrst. The case would continue for four years as the NCAA looked into new allegations ranging from gifts to players to free dental care to airplane ﬂights for players’ family members. In August 1977, ﬁve months after Tarkanian took the Rebels to their ﬁrst Final Four, the NCAA put the team on two years’ probation and ordered the school to suspend Tarkanian for two years. Tarkanian obtained an injunction barring the suspension and sued the NCAA, claiming the organization was a state actor and had violated his right to due process. In 1988, though, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA was a private entity and that Tarkanian had no such right. All through the 1989-90 season, it was unclear what the NCAA would do with its newfound ability to do as it pleased. It had been unable to suspend Tarkanian 12 years earlier; would it opt to do so now? Meanwhile, the Rebels spent the season in the long, slim shadow of a New York playground legend named Lloyd Daniels, who had never played for the Rebels but whose 1986 recruitment had occasioned another intensive round of NCAA investigations. In the nine months before the 1990 NCAA Tournament, the NCAA visited UNLV 11 times. If there was a smoking gun connecting, say, Tarkanian, Daniels and the Bay of Pigs, it proved elusive. But the investigation did turn up, according to Athletic Director Brad Rothermel’s
assessment at the time, about $500 in unpaid hotel incidentals from the previous season. Nine Rebels had to pay their road-trip phone bills and serve one-game suspensions. Meanwhile, UNLV President Robert Maxson, who since 1984 had been on a quest to transform the university into an elite research institution, was celebrating the school’s October 1989 designation as an “up-and-coming” institution by U.S. News & World Report. He was also ﬁghting a rearguard action against the peculiar PR generated by the basketball program. “Athletically we are not a bandit school, we are not an outlaw school,” he told The New York Times. “We’re good academically, that’s been documented. We’ve made mistakes, like other people. But we’re not outlaw, we’re not crooked.” Those words, that repetition, the drumbeat of synonyms—bandit, outlaw, crooked. The defense was too defensive. Almost as if he didn’t quite believe it himself. ★★★★★★★
By the middle of the 1989-90 season, the curious malady called Runnin’ Rebel Fever, most notably diagnosed in a 1983 song by George Dare—I don’t need to see a doctor/Or stay in bed all day/All I need to do is just to watch those Rebels play—had progressed from dizzy infatuation to something like love. Ten times the 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack hosted more than 18,500 fans. The Jaws theme and the shark clap turned tip-offs into a sort of shamanic experience, at once terrifying and ecstatic. The well-heeled denizens of Gucci Row preened for national television cameras. Scalpers paid off mortgages. When the Rebels were on
Tarkanian and team photos courtesy UNLV
Coach Tarkanian (below) had a deep and talented Rebel team in 1989-90, including cover boys Stacey Augmon and Larry Johnson.
fresh start. He had already bumped heads with the NCAA in Long Beach and had written editorials denouncing the organization’s tactics. Meanwhile, coaching at Long Beach meant being content to work in the shadow of both John Wooden’s legendary UCLA squads and the powerhouse USC teams of the early 1970s. Tarkanian, who had come of age in the small-butfast-growing town of Fresno, had looked at Las Vegas and seen a place he could make his own. “He was so excited the ﬁrst night we drove in,” Lois Tarkanian told me in a 2007 interview. “We were in the car and we were going down the Strip. It was a warm night and there was a little breeze, and we’d pass by and somebody would say, ‘Hey, Tark!’ and he’d turn to me and say, ‘See, this is just like dragging the main in Fresno.’ When I didn’t want to come here I said, ‘It’s a gambling city.’ He said, ‘No. It’s a college city. It’s a college town, Lois.’”
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The first three words of Sports Illustrated’s story on the 1990 national championship game between Duke and UNLV were “Good vs. evil.” But a small miracle occurred in the space following the word “evil.” There was a question mark. the road, swanky steak houses turned into sports bars. “The town was brimming with excitement,” remembers Cheryl Zellers, who has been a regular at Rebel games since 1988. “There were televisions everywhere. I went to a restaurant one evening and the place had rolled three or four televisions into each of its rooms so everyone could watch the games. People cheered as they ate and watched.” It was an age of giants: Wynn had become the Mozart of the casino-building set; Bill Bennett was watching the Excalibur battlements rise on Tropicana and the Strip; Hank Greenspun had died in the summer of 1989, but he’d lived to see his dream of Green Valley grow toward maturity; the corporate ghost of Howard Hughes had just broken ground for Summerlin. The city was embarking on a wonderful and cataclysmic growth spurt, but all anyone really wanted to talk about was the Rebels. It was a simple spiritual equation: When the body transforms, hold onto your soul. “The community owned that team because it believed that the Rebels were the best thing since bottled soda pop,” says Calvert, who has been UNLV’s public address announcer for 39 years. “It was just great. It galvanized the community.” Lois Tarkanian describes the civic feeling of those days as “electric togetherness.” “No matter where you went, from a 7-Eleven to Caesars Palace, everyone talked about the Rebels,” recalls Gabriel, whose work took him all across the country. “As soon as a person knew I was from Las Vegas they wanted to know about the Rebels. Where can I buy Rebel memorabilia? Do you attend the games? How good is Larry Johnson? Have you ever met Jerry Tarkanian?” The love affair had a lot to do with winning, but it also had something to do with the gap in perception between the way the nation saw the city and the way the city saw itself. When Curry Kirkpatrick of Sports Illustrated looked at UNLV, he saw “grinnin’ sons of gun and run, the progeny of Tark the Shark, the Rebels of the ﬂashy cars and NCAA suspensions and bench-clearing brawls.” When Las Vegans looked at UNLV, they saw a reﬂection of their city—a close-knit community, misunderstood, underestimated, uninhibited, uncompromising, allergic to hypocrisy and good-hearted to a fault.
During those years, Tarkanian was often derided as a Father Flanagan ﬁgure, giving refuge to misguided boys with impressive vertical leaping ability. In some ways, Las Vegans found the image offensive and demonstrably inaccurate; they often pointed to the 1987 Final Four squad’s six seniors, ﬁve of whom graduated on schedule, as Exhibit No. 1 Anderson Hunt was Tark’s deep threat, and he lit up Duke for 29 points in the 1990 title game. one of Rebel virtue. But they were also gratiﬁed by the notion of Las Vegas as a redemption-granting institubeat. He couldn’t walk. They had already re-wired his tion. “Tarkanian was an effective salesperson for giving jaw shut. The crutches hadn’t arrived yet. So I helped people a second chance and supporting the underdog,” him up and we dragged him across the court to the says UNLV psychology professor Russell Hurlburt, who press room. He looked at me and mumbled, ‘I don’t has followed the Rebels since 1976. “Whether he did know what they pay you, but it can’t be enough.’ He was that for his own beneﬁt I can’t say, but he was very good sweating and tired, and I was practically carrying him at convincing the community that it was worth it.” across the court. To this day, Greg Anthony remains Tarkanian’s success on this front was not just a one of the dearest people in my life.” function of his persuasive skills but of the perfect Such was the leader of a renowned team of thugs from conﬂuence of a man and his community. The idealized the city of sin. ethic of the Las Vegan at the start of the 1990s might In 1963, Ovid Demaris and Ed Reid had written be summed up as We do what works, we give everyone a fair a book called The Green Felt Jungle whose thesis, to shot, we don’t tell you how to live, and we ask that you don’t dispense with the nuances, was that Las Vegas was a tell us either. For a city built on gambling, fair play was really horrible place. Legends about the cleansing effect not an abstraction but a matter of honor and survival. of Howard Hughes notwithstanding, the image of the Las Vegas didn’t cheat; it welcomed the brilliant and Silver State’s southern capital remained gritty enough beleaguered who had been cheated everywhere else. It that the ﬁrst three words of Sports Illustrated’s story on was America’s America. the 1990 national championship game between Duke and UNLV were “Good vs. evil.” But a small miracle occurred in the space following the word “evil.” There ★★★★★★★ was a question mark. In the NCAA national semiﬁnals, the Rebels came back from a seven-point halftime deﬁcit to beat Georgia ★★★★★★★ Tech and its whirlwind freshman point guard, Kenny Anderson, 90-81. Anthony had injured his ankle. Joyce The signature moment of the basketball game played in Aschenbrenner, who was UNLV’s assistant athletic Denver’s McNichols Arena on April 2, 1990—the modirector for communications, remembers the scene after ment captured on the front page of the Las Vegas Reviewthe game: “Greg wasn’t on the NCAA’s schedule for the Journal, in a two-page SI spread and on a T-shirt that is press room, but they sent me back to the locker room still folded in my third dresser drawer—was Johnson’s and made me bring him to the press center. He was behind-the-back save of an errant pass midway through March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 33
“I had a bunch of Rebels stuff. People were trying to get it off me. They knew UNLV had won the championship. It went all over the world when the Rebels won.”
At this point, the story should trail off into the ho-hum magniﬁcence of dynasty. But on July 20, 1990, the ever-dogged NCAA declared that, as a ﬁnal punishment for violations committed in the early 1970s, the Rebels would be unable to defend their NCAA championship. By that time, Johnson, Augmon and Anthony—all potential high picks—had already skipped the NBA draft. Under the headline “Loyalty and Commitment,” the 1990-91 media guide published statements from Johnson, Augmon, Anthony and others asking the NCAA to reconsider. “No one,” wrote Anthony, “should have the right to take this away from us.” On Nov. 30, UNLV and the NCAA worked out a deal: The Rebels could defend, but they would be banned from the postseason in 1992. The 1990-91 Rebels won their ﬁrst 34 games. Almost none of them were close. Around town, and around the nation, people began to wonder whether the Rebels were the greatest team ever to play college basketball. On March 30, 1991, in the semiﬁnals of the NCAA Tournament, the Duke Blue Devils defeated the Rebels, 79-77. “It was as if a giant vacuum had sucked the air out of Las Vegas,” Zellers remembers. “Everyone was stunned. It was as quiet as I have ever heard.” 34
Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
On the morning of May 26, readers of the Review-Journal woke up to a front-page photograph, reportedly shot in the autumn of 1989, of Hunt, Butler and forward Moses Scurry in a hot tub. The fellow in the tub with them was named Richie Perry. Perry’s nickname was “The Fixer.” No one ever demonstrated that a UNLV game had been “ﬁxed.” But that was the morning the Rebels were broken. Perry was connected with Daniels. Daniels was connected with the NCAA’s adrenal gland. Maxson was not pleased. The Rebels’ game programs that year had included an open letter from Maxson celebrating the university’s record enrollment of 18,200, its 40 freshly admitted Nevada high school valedictorians, and its most recent U.S. News & World Report appellation as “a rising star” in higher education. He also saluted “the collection of wonderful young men who make up this team” and “their dedicated and talented coaches.” Now that the wonderful young men had been photographed in a tub, Maxson had
— Robert Smith
to decide whether the valedictorians and the talented coaches could fruitfully coexist in the public imagination. On June 7, Jerry Tarkanian announced that the upcoming season would be his last. ★★★★★★★
April 2, 1990, was a great day to be a Las Vegan. It’s tempting to brush aside everything but the pure feeling of elation, to mourn its loss and long for its return. Why remember the whole tangled context of the age? Why remember that the 1980s were a decade when two crusaders came to town in white hats and realized that everything in Vegas is a shade of gray? Why remember Joe Yablonsky, the FBI agent who came to bust the maﬁa, did his job well and was hounded out of town? Why dwell upon the reign of Maxson, who came to build a great university and wound up excising the city’s soul? Why remind ourselves that in those days the nation didn’t really think Sin City had a soul, and legislated accordingly? In 1987, Congress designated a ridge 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas as the only spot worth studying as a holding cell for the nation’s nuclear refuse. It was the story of the decade. We called it the “Screw Nevada Bill.” Sometimes at night, when our minds got hazy, we thought it had been drafted by the NCAA. We remember these things because they remind us why we loved the things we loved. Our chip-on-the-shoulder city had spent 19 years with a basketball coach who mirrored its every strength and weakness. On certain days when the Rebels were pasting some hapless foe by 35, individuals achieved a sort of transcendental union with team and town. On such days the public sphere seemed to begin and end and begin again with Jerry Tarkanian: Our city was so besotted with Tark that the hottest bar in Vegas had borrowed his nickname. The Shark Club had once been called Jubilation, and Jubilation had once been owned by Paul Anka, who wrote what ought to have been Tark’s theme song, “My Way.” Is it worth remembering that the walls of Jubilation had been covered with mirrors? We loved ourselves back then. The city was all elbows and knees, ready to grow into itself and conquer the world, checking its reﬂection for blemishes, worrying for a moment what everyone thought, then dismissing the worries and, for one last time before adulthood set in, grinning slyly and thinking, Screw them.
Photos opposite page: at left courtesy Las Vegas News Bureau; top three photos on right courtesy UNLV; Bottom right, Rich Clarkson/Allsport
Sports Illustrated captured a determined Augmon and company in the 1991 regional ﬁnals (above). Opposite page: The aftermath of the Rebel run in the tournament included celebrations on and off the court, including a parade down Fremont Street and a Vegasstyle congratulations along the Strip.
the ﬁrst half. It was the kind of ﬂat-out gorgeous play that survives in memory even without the mnemonic aids. But the rout wasn’t really on until early in the second half, when the Rebels snapped their patented Tupperware lock-top seal on the Duke offense and suffocated the poor boys from Durham, N.C., while reeling off 18 straight points. The Rebels had a name for that defense: the amoeba. To this day, when I hear the word I have visions of Duke point guard Bobby Hurley—held to zero baskets and three assists by Hunt, Anthony and a single-celled organism—searching the arena in vain for a ﬁre exit. The smoke cleared. UNLV 103. Duke 73. The Rebels put on shirts that said “Shark Takes His Bite.” Tarkanian accepted the NCAA championship trophy and told the world that the victory was not sweet revenge, but it sure was sweet. No other team had ever scored 100 points in a title game, and none had beaten its opponent by such a wide margin. I was watching on a 13-inch Magnavox in an Irvine, Calif., apartment when the Rebels cut down the nets and CBS played a strings-and-piano arrangement. I generally do not cry easily when watching college basketball games. Aschenbrenner was in Denver with the team. “I remember sitting at center court keeping the scorebook in the ﬁnal game,” she says. “Right after halftime, we just really pulled away from Duke. It was just unbelievable. We were killing them. I looked across the court and my assistant Bruce Meyers was sitting in the top row of media and we caught each other’s eye and he mouthed the words ‘Oh my God.’ I got chills and literally couldn’t stop the tears. The emotion. The pressure. That was my ‘Wow this is really happening’ moment. I still get chills thinking about it.” Back in Las Vegas, the city ascended into a state of communal ecstasy. “People up and down the street came out of their homes and screamed and shouted,” Zellers remembers. “People were driving down the expressway honking their horns and screaming out their windows. Strangers were high-ﬁving.” Halfway around the world, Robert Smith, the point guard on the Rebels’ 1977 Final Four team, was playing in France when he realized that the little school he’d helped make a name for itself was now an international sensation. “I had a bunch of Rebels stuff,” Smith says. “People were trying to get it off me. They knew UNLV had won the championship. It went all over the world when the Rebels won. To come back here and see the fans, all the people afﬁliated with UNLV, you could just see the light in people. I think it changed the city a little bit. Everyone used to look at Vegas like a small city. After they won the national championship, I think they realized that this city was going to become one of the major cities.”
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THe LocaL Newsroom Cannabis Convention Goes to Pot Cannapalooza canceled after ﬁrst being OK’d by Mandalay Bay By Kate Silver
Two partygoers celebrate at the Palms during the “wake” for Yucca Mountain. Photo by Brenton Ho
what’s next for Yucca mountain? Amid the celebration, uncertainty lingers By Jessica Prois Nearing the end of a “wake” celebrating the Department of Energy’s application to withdraw the license for nuclearwaste storage at Yucca Mountain, Jenna Morton called for one last cheer from the crowd of more than 100 local activists and politicians. “Yippee, Yucca is dead!” the partygoers chanted as wellworn battle signs reading “Bush Lied” and “Nevada Is Not a Wasteland!” dotted the crowd during the March 9 party at the Palms’ Ghostbar. Former Sen. Richard Bryan delivered a “eulogy” for Yucca Mountain and credited Sen. Harry Reid with “driving the silver stake into the heart” of the project. Morton, co-owner of N9NE Group and organizer of the event, called the ﬁght a “David and Goliath”-type battle. She has testiﬁed at DOE hearings and been a vocal critic of Yucca Mountain over the years. However, just because the DOE withdrew its application, that doesn’t mean the issue is dead. “Isn’t there a saying that ‘It ain’t over until the fat lady sings?’” says Martez Norris, executive director of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition, a nuclear waste storage advocacy
group in South Carolina that represents regulators and kingpin utility corporations. “From my perspective, it’s premature to celebrate. You’ve still got lawsuits in the courts.” The state of Washington, South Carolina’s Aiken County and the state of South Carolina have all ﬁled motions to intervene in the hearing for the license withdrawal. Washington is home to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the country’s most contaminated site. Yucca Mountain has been the intended destination spot for Hanford’s waste and used nuclear fuel. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s hearing board has yet to rule on other intervening groups as well. Then there will be a number of appeals, says Bruce Breslow, executive director of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, a state-run agency that advises the governor and Legislature. But he hopes the NRC will approve the withdrawal application this year. There’s nothing on the table in terms of future plans for Yucca, Breslow says. Ideally, he likes to think the DOE could be convinced to restore the mountain back to its natural state, which would include ﬁlling in a fully developed tunnel that is ﬁve miles deep and 25 feet wide, but there haven’t been any salient ideas put into place. “I’ve only heard the joking from wine storage to bunker-busting bomb testing,” he says. Norris supports the controversial idea of reprocessing waste at Yucca, which involves separating plutonium and uranium from nuclear waste so it can be reused in reactors. “It’s still the law of the land, but why not turn it into a reprocessing center?” she argues. “It would be a windfall in creating good-paying jobs in perpetuity. And it’s out in the desert. It’s isolated.” But that’s exactly the problem, Breslow says. He cites water rights and earthquake faults as the main roadblocks to reprocessing, pointing out that the ﬁve water basins in the area have already been allocated. He also says it’s actually cheaper to buy fuel than to remake it. “It’s a ludicrous proposal based on quicksand,” he says. “Yucca Mountain, in middle of the desert with no water and multiple earthquake faults, would be the single worst location in the country for reprocessing.”
Louis Woznicki was planning the cannabis celebration to end all cannabis celebrations: Cannapalooza. The contract for the event was signed back in September. It was to be held March 19–21 at Mandalay Bay and bring to town 200 vendors and 50,000 to 75,000 attendees. By January, Woznicki had spent around $250,000 on national marketing and was in talks with lighting and entertainment aﬁcionados. That’s when the 62-year-old businessman learned that Mandalay Bay terminated the event, no explanation given. (MGM Mirage ofﬁcials said that policy prohibits them from revealing details of business contracts with any convention customer.) “When I got the news I just kind of imploded,” Woznicki says. “It wasn’t anger, my world just caved in on me. I invested a quarter of a million dollars in putting this show together.” What irks Woznicki the most is that he was straight with the convention staff when he signed the contract. “I said are you completely comfortable with what I’m going to do here? I’m going to put on a trade show about cannabis. It’s going to be a lot about education of the cannabis industry but there’s also going to be a commercial element.” He was clear that the commercial element would include vaporizers, bongs, glassware, advanced growing systems and more—and he urged Mandalay Bay staff to run it by their legal department. He says he was still met with enthusiasm and support. But by January, that enthusiasm and support turned to tension and suspicion. Because of the nature of the event, Woznicki still had some concerns and requested to meet with ofﬁcers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He says he wanted to answer any questions they had, and let them know that he’s a successful businessman in the textile industry, not “some idiotic doper from L.A.” At the meeting, Woznicki says he felt ambushed. He’d expected an informal chat. What he found was nearly 25 ofContinued on page 39 March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven
The Local Newsroom
Green Felt Journal
Baccarat to the future By David G. Schwartz
In the past few months, the game of baccarat—more than anything else—has been responsible for breathing life into Nevada’s moribund gaming economy. Baccarat is deceptively simple: Bettors just decide whether to wager on player or banker, then wait as the dealer draws two or three cards for each side. The point totals are added up; whichever side gets the highest total wins, though if the cards add up to more than nine, the ﬁrst digit is dropped. “Big” baccarat is played on a double-lobed table, usually tucked away in a semi-secluded corner of the casino in a separate area devoted to higherlimit version of blackjack, craps and roulette. Mini-baccarat, played on a modiﬁed blackjack table, can be found on the regular casino ﬂoor, but real baccarat players like their privacy. Baccarat ﬁrst came to Las Vegas in the 1950s, but didn’t make much headway until the growth of high-end, international play in the 1970s. Caesars Palace and the Hilton led the way, and soon most casinos with any pretension to catering to high-rollers added the game. The game has had an up-and-down ride over the past two decades. In the 1980s, when mass marketing to small-budget players replaced a reliance on a select group of high-rollers, many casinos junked their baccarat tables. In 1992, there were only 59 baccarat tables in the state, and the game accounted for about $291 million in winnings, less than 5 percent of total gaming revenues. Although the game gained traction during the booming 1990s, regularly earning more than 7 percent of the state’s total win, the recession of 2001-02 (spurred by 9/11, competition from California Indian casinos and the bursting of the dot-com bubble) saw baccarat play plummet. In 2003, the game accounted for less than 4 percent of the total gaming pie. Casinos removed tables, and it looked like the game was on its way out.
Since the start of the recession, though, baccarat has made a paradoxical comeback. After reviving in 2004 and 2005, the game’s share of the total gaming market grew steadily. It suffered a decline in 2008, but roared back in 2009, when it earned $978 million, almost 10 percent of the total gaming win. This might be just the beginning. The state’s 251 baccarat tables made more money in January than its 3,366 blackjack and roulette tables combined, and baccarat’s total market share jumped to more than 12 percent. While there are several domestic high-rollers who prefer the game, it is most popular among visiting Asian gamblers. Top baccarat players generally play on credit—with lines typically more than $1 million—and usually stay in super-luxury suites with gourmet meals delivered to their room—or at the table, should they wish to avoid the hoi polloi of diners spending mere hundreds of dollars for a meal in the restaurants. The increasing importance of baccarat marks a step back from the way the industry had been moving since the 1980s, relying heavily on a small pool of players instead of generating proﬁts on volume. This may be a concern, since the universe of people who can bet $10,000 and up a hand is much smaller than those who play quarter slots. With competition intense for this small group, casinos may pay too much in comps and incentives to players. Second, with fewer players betting more money per hand, casinos will face greater volatility. Some months, they’ll have record hauls; in others, the players might come out ahead. This can impact both the ﬁnancial health of individual companies and the state’s tax collections. In times like these, casinos are happy to get revenue wherever they can. But it’s worth considering that the high-end basket is a perilous place to store gaming revenue eggs.
The state’s 251 baccarat tables made more money in January than its 3,366 blackjack and roulette tables combined.
38 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.
The Local Newsroom
Henderson Left with a Hole Loss of private school creates imbalance in Valley, opportunity for others By Tiffannie Bond The shock may just be wearing off, and now parents and students at Henderson International School are left to ponder the future. The Feb. 28 announcement that the school is closing two of its three campuses and eliminating its high school program left an imbalance in the Valley concerning private schools. The loss of Henderson International leaves Lake Mead Christian Academy as the only private high school within Henderson, and one of six in the Valley, with most located in the northwest. Henderson International’s Sandy Ridge campus, which houses ﬁfth through 12th grades, is in limbo and there has not been an announcement as to the fate of the facilities. Fifth- through eighth-grade students will move to the school’s Sunridge Campus for the 2010-11 school year. Admissions at other local private high schools were in mid-swing at the time the announcement was made, leaving many high schoolers a little late to the party. Faith Lutheran Jr./Sr. High School and The Meadows School in Summerlin are both receiving inquiries and applications from Henderson International high school students. According to Megan Hakes, spokesperson for Meritas, Henderson International’s parent organization, school administrators are trying to help students transfer to other private high schools in the Valley. “It’s a difﬁcult situation and one that was emotional and hard for some people,” Hakes says. “It’s no secret that the economic climate that has hit this country has hit Las Vegas particularly hard. … There were many parents at the school who couldn’t make their tuition payments.” Hakes says measures such as lowering tuition were tossed around to no avail. “There were a number of
considerations that were made,” she says. “We came to the decision that the high school wasn’t sustainable.” As of March 10, Faith Lutheran received six applications from students and has been contacted by 15 families of Henderson International students. The Meadows has accepted six students. “I expect we will certainly equal this year’s attendance or grow a little bit,” says Kevin Dunning, Faith Lutheran executive director. “We’re at our building capacity, so we don’t have a lot of room to expand at this point.” Faith Lutheran, a nonproﬁt, has survived the recesHenderson International has hit tough times. Photo by Anthony Mair sion virtually unscathed. In the past, the school looked “We’ve been very fortunate,” Chanin says. “We’ve seen into opening a second campus in southeast Las Vegas, but an increase in demand despite the recession because parthe recession stepped in the way, Dunning says. ents are fearful of what’s going on in the public schools.” Dunning says tuition costs could have been HenderThe closing of Henderson International’s high school son International’s undoing. This school year, tuition also leaves the nationally ranked Findlay Prep basketball and fees ranged from $17,571 for ninth through 11th program without a home. The program was added to the grades and $17,846 for seniors. In comparison, Faith school in 2006 and brought talented players from all over Lutheran posted its 2010-11 tuition at $9,100 for all the country. The team currently is 29-2 and ranked No. students. At The Meadows, the 2010-11 tuition and fees 3 by USA Today, which reported on Feb. 28 that founder add up to $21,200 for high school students. and auto magnate Cliff Findlay vows to ﬁnd the team a “If you could do it at a lower price point, I think there home. Attempts to contact Findlay were unsuccessful. is deﬁnitely the population [in the southeast area] to The Pilots are scheduled to play again in Baltimore support it,” Dunning says. “We’re having a good year on April 1-3 at the ESPN RISE National High School if at the end of the year we’ve broken even. And we can Invitational, which they won in 2009. There has been adjust our tuition accordingly.” no announcement as to the team’s future. Henry Chanin, headmaster at The Meadows, has lived Chanin expressed sadness regarding the situation at in Henderson for 30 years and believes the city could supHenderson International. port a private high school—once the economy has settled. “We felt very bad for the families for the dislocation,” he The Meadows now has a waiting list longer than Chanin says. “We’re all educators. We want the best for kids.” can remember in the last decade for incoming freshmen.
By Rob Tornoe
Cannapalooza Continued from page 37
ﬁcials hailing from the Nevada Gaming Commission, the county, undercover ofﬁcers, narcotics ofﬁcers and more. They all had the same issue: It’s against state law to sell, deliver, possess or manufacture drug paraphernalia, and to cultivate marijuana. It didn’t matter to them that Woznicki had asked about paraphernalia issues up front. And they weren’t swayed when he pointed out that bongs and glass pipes are sold throughout the city and county, accompanied with signs that say “For Tobacco Use Only.” With a show called Cannapalooza, it seemed, there’s little question as to the purpose of the items. Days after the meeting, Woznicki received the ofﬁcial letter terminating his contract. Cannapalooza had ﬁzzled. Metro says it had nothing to do with it. “Mandalay Bay could not hold that event for whatever reason, and it’s their convention space,” Public Information
Ofﬁcer Marcus Martin says. “We can’t tell a business what to do or what not to do with their private property.” Woznicki hopes to hold the show sometime in the future, but admits that the soil, particularly in Las Vegas, isn’t exactly fertile. In the meantime, he’s not sure what he’ll do. To him, the issue is larger than a breach of contract. “It’s become a civil rights issue, a ﬁrst amendment issue, freedom of speech and right to express yourself,” he says. Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, isn’t so sure. “If they just did a cannabis convention where they were just talking about legalization and things like that then there would be some signiﬁcant free-speech implications,” he says. “If the issue is the sale of paraphernalia, even though we believe the law is wrongheaded, it has been upheld.”
March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven
The Local Newsroom
Online Poker Showdown Game’s legalization seen as imminent; measure likely would beneﬁt Las Vegas By Jeff Haney Alan Boston, a professional gambler who has lived in Las Vegas for more than two decades, prefers to play poker in casinos rather than on his computer. In his role as a featured pro with online giant Full Tilt Poker, however, he has come to embrace his status as an Internet poker personality. While competing online in Texas hold ’em, Boston actively trades banter with his fellow players. The chat can range from strategy tips to which strain of marijuana his opponents are pufﬁng as they play. Online poker, viewed as illegal by the Justice Department but popular among Americans and rarely prosecuted, is again in play on Capitol Hill with Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., backing a bill that would legalize, regulate and tax it. As Boston suggests, opposition to the legislation comes primarily from socially conservative lawmakers and religious organizations that consider gambling immoral. Although Boston is merely framing the debate as a matter of personal freedom, his commentary will surely elicit some wincing among the online gambling industry’s highly paid lobbyists in Washington. That’s tough, Boston says. He is not a bureaucrat, nor is he a politician beholden to special interests. He is a sharp guy—Boston earned a degree in the biological
40 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
basis of behavior at the University of Pennsylvania— with an opinion and a willingness to express it. “We are headed for what the main battle is,” Boston says. “Any reasonable person on this planet, if you ask them about online poker, will say, ‘Well, who gives a fuck? Sure, go play poker.’ You’re not bothering anybody. You’re sitting in your house playing poker. “The question is: Will politicians in America be able to get re-elected if they come out in favor of online poker? That really is the only question. It has nothing to do with whether it’s right or wrong.” Despite its shady status, 12 million people in the United States played poker for money online last year, according to Michael Lipton, a Canadian gaming law expert who spoke at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in November. American bettors have been estimated to account for more than half of the $16 billion worldwide online gambling market, $10 billion of which is from online poker. “As long as the Democrats don’t fuck up, which they’re doing a very good job of doing, you’ll see online poker regulated in this country within two years,” Boston says. “If the Republicans get back in ofﬁce, you won’t. The Republicans are more in tune with what the religious right wants.”
Sites such as Full Tilt Poker are still considered illegal in the U.S.
Elihu Feustel, an attorney and gaming consultant in Indiana, also estimates online poker will be legalized in the U.S. within two to three years. Feustel thinks Full Tilt and its online confederates would prefer to be regulated and taxed by the U.S., but said they could face formidable competition from the major American gaming companies. “Online poker will be legalized at some point, but it won’t be because of Barney Frank,” Feustel says. “It will be because of the casinos that will want to control it. And I mean the big, brick-and-mortar casinos.” Boston sees it as a win-win situation for Las Vegas. “The legalization of online poker would help the Las Vegas poker rooms,” he says. “New people will start playing, and when they decide they want to play live poker, guess where they’re coming? Las Vegas. It adds to the poker-playing community. Casinos would be nuts not to want this legislation passed.”
Creative Cuts Businesses ﬁnding new ways to trim expenses By Caitlin McGarry Longtime restaurant owner Ernie Calderón recently slowed the ﬂow of free chips and salsa at his local Mexican eatery, Vega’s Café. He noticed that reﬁlls often are neglected when diners’ entrées are served, and told his employees to slow down when dishes are nearly ready. “I tell them, ‘You don’t have to ignore the customer, but just put on a deaf ear once in a while,’” he says, laughing. Calderón and wife Celia have been in the restaurant business since 1978, and have lived through both booms and busts as the proprietors of Vega’s. For this particular bust, the couple has been forced to deploy new strategies to keep its business aﬂoat. The restaurant closes an hour earlier now, employees who have left have not been replaced, and the Calderóns’ son and daughter-in-law often pitch in on busy nights. Most businesses throughout the Valley have faced some sort of ﬁnancial belt-tightening, and though many employers have turned to layoffs to save money, others have sought more creative ways to make ends meet. Euphoria Salons owner Donna Catalfamo says the chain of six salons she manages has a loyal clientele base, but when the recession began, customers began cutting back on the frequency of their visits. So Catalfamo has trimmed her staff’s hours and negotiated lower rents with the salons’
landlords to avoid layoffs. The end result is a seventh Euphoria location at Town Square. “I expect to start recovery from the recession in approximately the next year or so, and we’ll be positioning ourselves when the economy comes back to have better locations,” Catalfamo says. One industry that has been affected heavily is architecture. Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architects has turned to diversiﬁcation and expansion to survive the recession. Rick Sellers, founding principal and vice president of the 24-yearold ﬁrm, says the recession of the ’90s taught him that ﬁrms with specialties were hurt by downturns, while architects with a broad range of projects were more successful. “The private Vega’s Café has taken several steps to save money. Photo by Anthony Mair sector is dead,” he says. So the ﬁrm has taken on practice. Distributors of ﬁllers such as Restylane and more public works projects for UNLV and the Bureau of Land Management, simpliﬁed its designs and incorporated Juvederm have created loyalty programs through which patients who purchase a certain amount of sustainable practices to adapt to the economy. product receive coupons for future services. Garcia Most businesses can cut back without affecting qualmay not see any savings from the programs, but he is ity, but Dr. Julio Garcia of Las Vegas Cosmetic Surgery able to retain patients, which has been his main focus says he has few money-saving options. throughout the recession. “There are certainly very serious limitations in the “[Loyalty programs] don’t affect the doctor who’s health-care ﬁeld about trying to cut back costs, because delivering the product, so the patient gets the beneﬁt,” there’s really not much you can do and not directly Garcia says. “Then the company gets the beneﬁt of affect the patient,” Garcia says. keeping patient loyalty, and the doctor gets the beneﬁt He has turned to product suppliers for deals and of keeping the practice going.” discounts he can pass on to patients at his cash-only
March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven
The Local Newsroom
Stay tuned for more kapooey in ‘Cartoon City’ By Michael Green
The recent special session dealt with a deﬁcit of nearly $900 million. That hole might be $3 billion by the next legislature in 2011. But cheer up: That may not be the worst of it. Many of the taxes and fees imposed in 2009 disappear by the next session, thanks partly to Sen. Bill Raggio, the Republican from Washoe County. He will deal on something that will prove inseparable from the budget and taxation ﬁght—reapportionment. For half a century, Nevada’s legislature operated under the “little federal plan.” Like the U.S. House of Representatives, our Assembly roughly resembled the state population. The Senate consisted of one member from each of 17 counties (including Ormsby, since dissolved and consolidated with Carson City). This meant almost anything the urban counties of Clark and Washoe wanted was defeated, 15-2—unless they offered something rural senators wanted. The U.S. Supreme Court forced changes with what some experts call “the reapportionment revolution” of the 1960s. It held that malapportionment violated the U.S. Constitution and ordered states to get their houses and senates in order. Nevada lawmakers hated to do it, but they had to. In the ﬁrst post-reapportionment session, in 1967, Clark County went from one of 17 senators to eight of 20. One northern lawmaker warned Southern Nevada’s “hippies, beatniks and communists” would take over the state. Instead, the major change has been the ferocity of the ﬁghts over reapportionment. In 1991, Democrats controlled both houses by small majorities. The negotiations still were “lengthy, often rancorous,” reports at the time said, with Clark County gaining seats and Washoe County upset at losing them. Political analyst Jon Ralston called it “the session from hell,” which also describes most sessions since then. The next redistricting, in 2001, proved so hellish that Gov. Kenny Guinn had to call a special session to ﬁnish it. Those involved described special sessions as “rare.” Today they are as rare as a steak left all day on a roaring barbecue. When lawmakers thought they had an agreement, Speaker Richard Perkins said, “It went kind of kapooey,” which may not be a word, but that seems appropriate in any discussion of the Legislature.
42 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Raggio wanted to preserve northern seats by expanding the Legislature from 63 to 69 members. His right ﬂank fought him, presumably viewing even 63 legislators as 63 too many. Democrats opposed him, since their stronghold—Clark County—would beneﬁt from northern losses. That the Republican leader advocated expanding government while Democrats wanted to limit its size says all you need to know about what goes on in what some call “Cartoon City.” Making matters worse, the 2000 census entitled Nevada to a third House seat. With the ﬁrst district Democratic and the second Republican, what about the third? Some Democrats tried to gut the ﬁrst district to set up the new seat for then-Democratic golden boy Dario Herrera. In turn, Raggio offered to back funding for some pet Democratic projects if his counterparts would help Republican congressional and legislative hopefuls, especially his then-colleague Jon Porter. Raggio nearly pulled it off, and Porter won three terms in the House without an overwhelmingly GOP majority. So, in 2011, a new governor will sign off on a reapportionment plan emerging from a Legislature that looks likely to be Democratic. But how Democratic will it be? Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford will be negotiating amid rumors of an impending congressional run, and Raggio, term-limited out after this session, will be looking to cement his legacy and possibly settle scores—with both parties. Also, what about the governor? Note that Republican operatives saw Gibbons was in serious trouble and had doubts about his two opponents. Suddenly former attorney general-turned-federal judge Brian Sandoval gave up a lifetime gavel for a chancy run for governor. They had no reason to fear any Democrat would turn the state upside down on taxes and regulation, but ample reason to fear a Democratically controlled reapportionment. The next Legislature will study Nevada’s tax structure and face mammoth questions. How they determine who decides on those matters in the future could prove about as important. This could be the biggest kapooey of all. Michael Green is a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada and author of several books and articles on Nevada history and politics.
Entertaining options for a week of nonstop fun and excitement.
Compiled by Melissa Arseniuk
SeveN NIghtS Sun. 21
Thur. 18 Head down to the Venetian and check out St. Louis rapper (and occasional actor) Chingy as he makes a special appearance at Tao. Though his actual birthday is March 9, he celebrates the big three-oh during Worship Thursdays. Doors at 10 p.m., $20 for guys, $10 for ladies, all locals free.
Fri. 19 Further your X-rated education and browse the Erotic Heritage Museum’s 17,000 square feet of naughty and provocative exhibitions—for free. The tribute to all things adult waives admission fees between 5 and 7 p.m., and sexologist Susan Kaye, a.k.a. Goddess Lily, teaches a Tantra for Lovers class at 7 p.m. The museum’s current exhibition, Sex on the Streets, takes a look at erotic grafﬁti and public art while permanent installations such as the Peep Arcades, the extended biography of Hustler founder and First Amendment challenger Larry Flynt, and toilet humor (which is located in the restrooms, of course) also await. 3275 Industrial Road. Open 3 p.m.-midnight, free from 5-7 p.m., $10 for locals/students/military, $15 for all others before/after. 369-6442.
Sat. 20 The hot songbird next door is all grown up and brings Ultraviolet to LAX. Kid Sister does double duty as she hosts and performs at the Luxor hotspot while DJ Casanova spins. At Luxor. Doors at 10 p.m., $40 for men $20 for women.
Check out the newest pool party destination in town, Liquid at Aria. CityCenter’s “modern day tropical retreat” opens March 18 and boasts both a full food menu and a 1,200-square-foot pool. While there’s nothing big on the books for this weekend’s soft season-opener, enjoy the relative peace and quiet while it lasts: Tiësto is set to play the pool’s ofﬁcial opening day, April 8. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., $10 for women, $20 for men.
Mon. 22 Kick off the workweek with the night’s hottest industry night as DJs Neva and Que entertain the masses at Jet. At The Mirage. Doors at 10:30 p.m., industry and locals free, $30 for all others. If the weekend has left you weary, opt for a more relaxed evening of entertainment at Mandalay Bay. House of Blues hosts Blues Mondays, which starts and ends early, meaning you might actually make it home at a reasonable hour and, therefore, make it to work on time the next morning. 8-11:30 p.m., free, all ages.
Tues. 23 Join multitasking DJ/fashion designer Steve Aoki as he returns to spin a special set at Blush. While Aoki serves as the main event, resident DJ Mighty Mi will still be on hand to play industry night. At Wynn. Doors at 9 p.m., free for locals, $30 for all others.
Wed. 24 See a whole different side of your neighbors—and their backsides—at Stripped at the Onyx Theatre. The ﬁlm follows documentary photographer Greg Friedler as he casts and creates the fourth and ﬁnal chapter of his Naked picturebook series, then catches up with 40 of the totally exposed characters a year after their skin-baring photo shoots. 8 p.m. March 24 and 31, $10, onyxtheatre.com.
March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 45
XS | EncorE
46 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Photography by Al Powers
morillo madness at tao | the Venetian
Photography by Al Powers
Upcoming march 18 | chINGY’s bIrthdaY partY march 25 | dErYcK WhIbLEY of sUm 41 cELEbratEs hIs bIrthdaY
Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Moon | the PalMs
Photography by Hew Burney
Upcoming march 21 | goodlife sundays march 23 | double down charlie brown, justin sayne, brandon kent and j diesel
Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
EvE | Crystals
Upcoming March 24 | industry night March 25 | Jay sean perforMance and 27th birthday party
56 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Photography by Hew Burney
Sneak Satisfaction DJ Z-Trip’s Footwear Fetish
By Melissa Arseniuk DJ Z-Trip is battling a lifelong addiction to shoes. “It’s got to the point that I’ve got it under control,” says Rain’s Friday night headliner, whose real name is Zach Sciacca. “It’s not like in high school when I was like, ‘Oh, I want every single pair.’ Now I’ve got it sort of under control.” Sort of. America’s Best DJ is a serious shoe collector. “I’m very impulsive at this point because I’ve got all my shoe basics covered,” he says. “I’m the kind of guy who, if I see something, it’s like, man, I’ve got to grab it, and I’ll grab it.” Though he “ just downsized a minute ago,” the DJ’s collection still weighs in at somewhere between 75 and 100 pairs of sneakers. And when he needs to clean out his shoe closet, he knows where to ofﬂoad the excess: his older brother, Matt. “I used to get his hand-me-downs, so now it’s like hand-me-ups,” Sciacca jokes. Still, as the 41-year-old browses the offerings at Suite 160 at Mandalay Place, it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before his collection grows once again. A second stop, Undefeated on Paradise Road, is also on his Saturday afternoon itinerary. “If something really jumps out at me I’ll mess with it,” Sciacca says. Though his sneaker collection changes, the standouts remain—and he doesn’t have to think when asked about his favorites. “I started out as a grafﬁti artist so I have Futura’s shoe, I have Stash’s shoe. Those are shoes I have and I’ll probably never get rid of,” he says. “I probably wouldn’t rock ‘em—they’re a bit too ﬂashy for me—but I’m never going to throw them away because I’m a fan of their work.” He stops to take a look at one of the less-thansubtle options at Suite 160.
“Maybe in London I could get away with something like that, I don’t know,” he says, putting the plaid All Star back on the shelf. “I’m sort of a subtle guy when I rock my stuff. I’ve been rocking the same shoes for years.” “I’ve always been a Nike guy and an Adidas guy. I know it’s a cliché,” he says, pausing for an instant to look at another shoe on the rack before ﬁnishing his thought. “I always do New Balance. I also do Saucony ... and not a lot of people rock ’em.” So with all those options, how does he pick which ones to wear? “I’ll go through moods,” he says. “Sometimes there’s the boisterous, really blown-out shoe that’s, like, a lot of colors, [when] you want a lot of attention, sometimes it’s subtle. “It’s kind of like music,” he ﬁgures. “Once you’ve got your stock, you know, everything you need, it’s like, ‘Oh, there’s this remix,’ or ‘Oh, there’s this box set that’s come out that’s got this little weird thing.’ That’s what I go after at this point. I ﬁnd a shoe and I roll with it.”
UpcoMing shows: March 19: Z-Trip’s Revolution: A Party for the People at Rain at the Palms April 2: Z-Trip’s Revolution: A Party for the People at Rain at the Palms April 17: Coachella (Indio, Calif.) April 30: Z-Trip’s Revolution: A Party for the People at Rain at the Palms
Brett Kobes, 29 VIP Host for Angel Management Group
iPhone or Blackberry?
I carry both: iPhone for friends and Blackberry for business.
If you could go on a date with any celebrity, who would you take to dinner?
My wife, Heather, is better than any celebrity; a close second is Carrie Underwood.
What do you think is your most marked characteristic?
Most people say [my] smile. I wish it was my bank account statement.
What do you dislike?
Cucumbers, mushrooms, nuts, getting up for work, running, nose hair and feeling hungry or tired.
What school did you go to? West Point.
If you were to die and come back as something, what would be? A toilet seat, if karma exists.
Seattle or Bird Island, Minn.
What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
A ﬁve-day trip to Beijing when I was living in Korea.
What is something that few people know about you? I was an Airborne Ranger in the Army.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate chip cookie dough. I eat it by the tube full. DJ Z-Trip mixes sneaker shopping into his Saturday. 60 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Z-Trip photo by Eric Ita; Kobes photo by Ryan Weber
If you had to leave Vegas, where would you like to live?
The Real Beer Float As served At YArd House, $7 Forget the root-beer ﬂoat you loved as a kid; this grown-up version is a real treat. It’s simple, sweet and satisfying. All you need to do to make one at home is drop one big scoop of ice cream into the bottom of a chilled pint glass, ﬁll it up with the beer of your choice and enjoy. Yard House director of beverage Kip Snider likes to use Lindemans Framboise or Young Double Chocolate stout in his. – Mericia González
YaRd House With a fun, casual atmosphere and the largest selection of draft beer in the city, Yard House is a great place to catch the game, grab a drink after work or take a timeout from shopping. In addition to hops-and-barley-based offerings, patrons also enjoy a full restaurant menu, indoor/outdoor seating and a three-hour weekday happy hour.
sToRY FRom THe BaR CHrIS SIneS, bArtenDer At SteIner’S on LAS VegAS bouLeVArD SoutH
Vegas seven March 18-24, 2010
“A few years ago a bartender here in town was passed out drunk at a local casino. He was so inebriated; he walked up and down the levels in the parking garage looking for his vehicle. this unforeseen amount of time left him clinching his butt cheeks as he expeditiously needed to use the bathroom—casinos have a lot of conveniences but toilets in the parking garage I have not seen. He stopped and dropped between two parked cars, [then] called and got his shift covered. Subsequently he took a taxi home—he forgot about the valet check in his pocket. the next day he stopped by his place of work to thank the guy that covered his shift. noticing his colleague was a bit amiss he inquired about why he was upset. … the guy responds that when he arrived at work he stepped out of his car and into a big pile of shit. What are the odds!” – As told to Melissa Arseniuk
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The NaTioNal Newsroom This week in the New York Observer
Floppy-Haired Fellows Return A sensitive style ﬁrst popular 40 years ago appears again By Meredith Bryan
Financing concerns have impeded redevelopment of the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Business of Ground Zero Redeveloping World Trade Center site becoming ﬁnancial mess
Mark Boal photo by Retna
By Eliot Brown A half-century ago, the imperious Port Authority director Austin Tobin unveiled a plan for the public agency to build two gigantic towers on the western edge of a struggling Lower Manhattan, creating a new ofﬁce district, a city within a city, of 9 million square feet. Built in the early 1970s, the World Trade Center towers proved a tremendous drain, only starting to provide enough money to cover debt service in the 1980s and not widely viewed as a stable moneymaker until the 1990s. The $1 billion project was more than double earlier estimates; it was ﬁnanced with tax-free debt backed by the public sector. New York State was by far the largest tenant, taking a full 2 million square feet to help ﬁll what would have otherwise been empty ﬂoors. For years, this was a cautionary tale in real estate. The property may ultimately have proved successful, yet only after decades of coddling and support by a public sector. But history ﬁnds a way of repeating itself. The public sector is now on the verge of putting itself in a position to relive the very ﬁnancial pain it endured a generation ago. A yearlong battle over the World Trade Center site between private developer Larry Silverstein, the Port Authority and the city seems to be ending, with all three parties converging on a plan to use the ﬁnancial backing of various public-sector sources to help ﬁnance two of the three skyscrapers Silverstein had planned. While the details are still under discussion and talks could yet break down, it would put hundreds of millions, if not billions, of additional public dollars at risk, as some combination of the Port Authority, the city and the state would likely back the ﬁnancing on the bulk of the $4 billion–plus cost of the two
privately built towers. Silverstein would be required to use hundreds of millions in insurance money and additional capital. Taken with the $3.1 billion, Port Authority–owned One World Trade Center (formerly the Freedom Tower) currently rising, the Silverstein deal, should it indeed mature, would mean nearly 7 million square feet, or two and a half Empire State Buildings, constructed within the span of a few years on one site—all with only a single private tenant in place, China-based Beijing Vantone, for a relatively trivial 190,000 square feet, or six ﬂoors. This comes on top of prior pacts in which the federal, state and city governments agreed to numerous other incentives, including agreeing to lease more then 2 million square feet at the site and offering more than $2 billion in tax-free bonds to bring ﬁnancing costs down. The path to this point—to be on the verge of additional public subsidy of two World Trade Center towers—was a hard-fought, and backers of the Silverstein deal-in-progress insist that an overly complex site design and a ﬁnancial structure carved during the boom make the government bailout the best of many bad options. But questions of rationale aside, the total ﬁnancial risk to the public at the site as a whole, particularly in the governmentowned One World Trade Center, is tremendous. A recovery could lag, the recession could linger; tenants could eschew Lower Manhattan or the new Silverstein towers, as at least two banks—Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase—have, thereby leading to a default. (The bulk of any loss would fall on the Port Authority and would likely crimp transportation spending.) This is not how ofﬁce towers typically get built. Developers traditionally must have a large private tenant in hand to get Continued on page 70
The most striking thing about this year’s Oscars, other than that a female director ﬁnally won? The guys’ hair. There was George Clooney, whose longish (for him) do had a distinctly feathered quality in the front. Then there was James Cameron, whose soft, elongated bowl cut channeled ABBA, and was possibly blow-dried. But Mark Boal, the former Village Voice scribe who won Best Original Screenplay for The Hurt Locker, was the real bellwether of what, it struck us with a thunderclap, is a new, or at least new again, tousled trend: “Wow, thank you, Academy,” the young stud mufﬁn said humbly, his ﬂoppy, chin-length brown hair swept to one side and tucked behind an ear, his neatly trimmed beard setting off soft, pink lips. He looked less like the freshly minted Hollywood royalty of 2010 than that of 30 years ago. When the camera cut soon after to the young Up In the Air director Jason Reitman, sporting almost the same style, one could be forgiven for mistaking the pair for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas circa Star Wars. “That guy sort of reminded me of Ron Silver,” said men’s wear designer Billy Reid of Boal, approvingly. He termed the look “easy, but not sloppy.” Reid, who sells buttoned-up, Southernstyle suiting out of a cavernous shop Continued on page 71
Mark Boal March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven
The National Newsroom
Ground Zero Continued from page 69
anything but a laugh from lenders, and speculative ofﬁce space very rarely ﬂies on such a large scale. This has sparked concerns that the ofﬁce towers could be slow to lease up, potentially languishing for years without enough rent to even cover the mortgage payments. “Just building ofﬁce buildings doesn’t mean you’re creating jobs,” said Barry Gosin, CEO of brokerage Newmark Knight Frank. “It’s not like the ﬁeld of dreams. We’ve learned that lesson before.” This is particularly a worrisome concept in Lower Manhattan. Dark clouds are gathering over the neighborhood, as it is expected to soon see a tremendous amount of ofﬁce space go vacant, with no clear answer as to who will ﬁll it. Public criticism of the trade center plan is, somewhat curiously, muted, restricted to a handful of advocacy groups. This was not the case in the 1960s. Fearing a glut of space, the real-estate industry at the time, led by landlords Seymour Durst and Lawrence Wien, was incensed by the Port Authority’s plan to build the 9 million–square–foot twin towers and rallied to try to stop it with public criticism and legal action. But today many landlords—who see Silverstein’s towers as potential competition that would drive down rents—tend to restrict their grumblings to private forums, and the biggest ofﬁce brokers in the city are generally conﬂicted. Anthony Malkin, grandson of Wien and an owner of the Empire State Building, is one of the few to publicly criticize the plan today; he took out a set of ads in 2007, with Douglas Durst, Seymour Durst’s son, urging a halt to construction of One World Trade Center. In fairness to supporters of the government-backed plan for two Silverstein towers, there are no appealing options for ﬁnancing the redevelopment. Those who have urged the two-tower plan have said the ofﬁce market is in a tremendously different place than it was a few decades ago, and Manhattan has a very small amount of new, modern ofﬁce space, particularly downtown. Much of the blame for the current imbroglio can be placed on the site’s design, a tremendously complex, interdependent Rubik’s Cube that needed everything to rise at once for all of the components—the 9/11 museum, the PATH station, the deliveries roadway—to function. As the recession scuttled Silverstein’s plans to ﬁnance all three of his towers privately, he demanded that the Port Authority back ﬁnancing on at least two of his buildings. He was left in a position of tremendous leverage, as he had the right to leave his sites fallow pits—he didn’t have the money to do much else— which threatened the site’s functionality as a whole. Added to this ﬁnancial mess is the emotion surrounding the site, with the looming threat of a global embarrassment if the redevelopment faces further delay and a portion remains a pit a full decade after the terrorist attacks. This has, understandably, allowed elected ofﬁcials to obfuscate sound real estate policy with patriotism and a responsibility to rebuild. Perhaps as a result, whatever criticism there is tends not to have much effect, a lesson learned by Malkin. “My take-away was that Douglas and I really accomplished about as much as my grandfather and Douglas’ father accomplished when they tried it, which was basically nothing,” Malkin said of publicly criticizing the plan. “So long as we were prepared to run ads at our cost, people were prepared to return our phone call, but not to any effect.”
Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
iPad prepares to step into spotlight Latest Apple gizmo aims to revolutionize TV, ﬁlm businesses By Richard Siklos No, he wasn’t wearing a black mock turtleneck, but yes, that was Steve Jobs in a tuxedo walking the red carpet at the Oscars. It was Jobs who claimed some kudos for Up, which won two gold statues, and who also marked the night by airing the ﬁrst TV spot for the iPad, the latest offering from his Apple Inc. Jobs’ presence attracted an unusual amount of chatter. Speculation ranged from whether he was sending a message that he is back on his feet after his liver transplant, to whether it was true that he had motored down from Silicon Valley because he has forsaken air travel. Overall, the tech mag Infoworld noted adoringly of the outing: “Who was the richest person in attendance? Who has the most inﬂuence and commands the biggest audience? Who’s the least bound to Hollywood’s old ways of doing business? The answer to those questions is the same.” Which is why it’s been interesting to observe how little has been disclosed as yet about the iPad’s potential to change the game in Hollywood. Granted, the gizmo was only unveiled in late January and doesn’t hit stores for two more weeks. Although pitched as an affordable device that can deliver all media, the iPad’s initial directives seem to be to transform print publishing and move the exploding world of software “apps” from the iPhone to a device with physical dimensions more along the lines of what people have come to think of as a laptop. But Jobs’ presence on Oscar night was also a reminder that he harbors ambitions to revolutionize the TV and ﬁlm businesses just as much—if not more—as he does books and magazines. Since selling Pixar, he’s been a director and the biggest single shareholder in Disney (though his day-to-day inﬂuence is less than you’d imagine). The ascent of Apple has been astonishing. Last week, the company brieﬂy surpassed Wal-Mart as the third-largest company in America by market capitalization—worth some $206 billion. In the ultimate nerd vengeance fantasy,
Jobs not only has way more ﬁnancial muscle than anyone in Hollywood, he’s cooler than and has as much cultural impact as anyone of his generation. Status-conscious Hollywood views Apple as something of a corporate rapscallion. Much of its success has come from a gigantic transfer of value from the music industry, which didn’t react soon enough to the advent of iPods and iTunes. If the iPad is embraced, it likely opens a front in the battle over video’s future. While Internet video use is growing rapidly, so is viewing of TV in the home. The big video battle yet to be fought is for the living room, where cable and broadcast still rule and brands like Google and Apple don’t hold much sway; Apple TV, which lets people bypass their cable to download shows and movies and surf, is a cool gizmo but an example of one Jobs creation that has so far fallen short. People in the U.S. watch more than 30 billion videos a month online—mostly via YouTube, owned by Apple’s newish rival Google. But the average length of those views is only around four minutes, and the advertising market for online video is still comparatively miniscule to what is spent on TV and cable. Apple has reportedly been trying to convince the networks that sell episodes of their shows via iTunes to drop their prices by half to 99 cents per episode to encourage consumption on (and, ergo, sales of) the iPad. No dummies they, the incumbent TV giants such as Comcast and Time Warner have responded to the rise of Web video, pirate sites and an increasingly mobile audience by pushing an initiative called “TV Everywhere,” under which subscribers to cable or satellite will be able to watch whatever they’re paying for on their TV dial on any device. That, too, can only be good for sales of Jobs’ shiny new toy. His physical appearances may be rare, but don’t be fooled. His machines are everywhere, and every exec in L.A. will send an assistant to get one on April 2.
Floppy-Haired Continued from page 69
in Noho, himself also maintains a neat beard (reined in by an electric trimmer) and side-swept ﬂoppy hair, at least lately. He said that men’s hair and beards are becoming “more well kept. They’re paying more attention to it.” Men’s hair trends—like men themselves—are usually more sluggish than women’s. But men also seem to be experimenting more! Sure, Stumptown baristas still wear mustaches to serve mochas, and full beards are common in yoga studios in Brooklyn and at the bar at Freeman’s, but the Bowie-esque longon-top, shaved-on-the-sides look is currently in vogue at art openings and on Bedford Avenue, and many of the city’s best barbers—like its interior designers and restaurateurs—say they’re currently in the throes of Mad Men mania. Now, many are turning to the blowdryer decade for inspiration. Experts say they have sniffed the beginnings of a Jon Peters revival (he’s the hairstylist–turned–movie mogul and Barbra Streisand ex that partly inspired Shampoo), and that it’s not as low maintenance as it looks. “A more groomed, shaggy, ’70s feel is something we’ve been venturing into in the salon already,” said Shaun Cottle, an owner of a salon on West 10th Street, which features a picture of Cat Stevens on its website, adding that he himself has “a medium-length blond shag with bangs. ... I have the ’70s haircut you’re talking about. It starts at the top of my eyes with the bangs and goes right around my face to the back of my neck.” He described the look, embodied to varying degrees by everyone from Boal and Reitman to Jason Schwartzman and Noah Baumbach to New Orleans tight end Jeremy Shockey, as “obviously very stylized, and giving a really speciﬁc projection, but that projection is, ‘I am organic.’” Indeed, it’s a look that channels hot tubs and guitars, more ’70s porn star than grumpy Unabomber. “I’ve done a couple of really extreme bowl cuts from the ’70s on men,” Cottle said. “No part at all, kind of Peter Berlin in That Boy.” The style’s key elements are soft, ﬂoppy, washed locks, a trimmed beard (if one is worn at all) and a creative, unfussy effect that contrasts with that of the stylized punk hairdos, uncomfortably full beards and strangulating jeans
in which New York men have suffered through the past few years. It combines the relaxedness of a recession—very ’70s!—with, perhaps, a dawning optimism. “It’s getting away from the Julian Casablancas, that Williamsburg kind of look,” said Jordan M, a men’s stylist for Bumble & Bumble. “That grown-out, tendrilly, long, Jesus-looking hair that just looks like they haven’t had a hair cut in forever.” Unlike harder-to-pull-off trends like the Bowie do, the updated porn shag can work for anyone. “Just yesterday, someone got in my chair and it was exactly that,” Jordan M. said. “Straight guy, Rolex, works in an art department, and he had the trimmed beard and long shaggy hair, pushed back loosely, probably doesn’t use any product. He basically told me, ‘The more you can make it look like I cut it, the better.’” The faux–low maintenance of the look eases this transition, in some men, from Paul Bunyan to Kenny Rogers. “You got into a period where everyone was rough and rugged, and soon enough it’s going to be the complete opposite,” predicted Eddy Chai, co-owner of the popular men’s boutique Odin. Chai foresaw a welcome loosening of clothes to accompany the boyish, ﬂoppy shift in hair, democratizing men’s dressing back into a straightforward, unironic affair. After all, Boal and Reitman were hardly the best-looking men at the Oscars, but the look, inclusive with an air of historical signiﬁcance, lent them a ﬂatteringly low-key intellectual edge. Meanwhile, Jordan M. cautioned that the rounded shape of ’70s hair-and-beard combinations can add an unwanted fullness to the face. “When the hair’s longer on the sides, it doesn’t look like masculine or ﬂattering to me,” he said. But early adopters of the trend say they’re not after ﬂattery, but comfort. Indeed, Reid, the retro-shagged designer, who said he’d been in a continuous process of growing out and shaving off a Paul Bunyan beard since college, suggested the whole thing might be accidental. “You’re probably seeing a lot of guys saying they want a change, and that’s where they’re at—in the inbetween,” he said. “It’s hard just to take the full plunge of cutting [your beard] off and going back to nothing.”
The style’s “ key elements
are soft, ﬂoppy, washed locks, a trimmed beard and a creative, unfussy effect.”
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March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven
The National Newsroom
‘Idle’ Thoughts 1
106 107 108 109
110 111 112
ACROSS 1 What “mark twain” refers to 6 “Time to unwind!” letters 10 Acronym that omits the T (for “targeted”) 14 Proud ones, often 19 Coming-or-going greeting 20 Ship part 21 “How interesting” 22 Tapenade ingredient 23 Malingerer, e.g. 24 Lake of the Bass Islands 25 Depilatory brand 26 Capital near Lake Titicaca 27 Start of a quip about California 31 “Stop playing with your food!” 32 ___ reservations 33 Arizona’s motto, “Ditat ___” 34 “CSI” test subject 37 Worthless 41 Quip, Part 2 45 Liver spread 46 Recorded intro? 47 Verb that sounds like a letter 48 Unemotional 49 Quip, Part 3 55 Bridge support 56 Apartment number in a long-running comic strip 57 Odes and such
58 Olympics dueler 60 “___ emergency ....” 62 Love from ___ 63 Good name for a lawyer 64 2-for-1 event 67 Quip, Part 4 70 Trafﬁc sound 71 Legal org. 72 Ersatz: abbr. 73 Meet, as expectations 75 Guys with mowers 77 Motrin rival 79 One of the Seven Sisters 82 Suck up, as soup 83 Quip, part 5 87 Margarita preference 89 Western treaty grp. 90 Super ﬁnish? 91 Washstand pitcher 92 Quip, part 6 96 Court cutup 98 One way to vote 99 Breath freshener 100 Nth degree 101 Dinghy propeller 102 End of quip 110 Where besuboru is played 113 Bank holding 114 Intro to space 115 “The Nutcracker” heroine 116 Apply, as pressure 117 “Winnie ___ Pu” (Latin version of Milne’s classic that became a bestseller in 1960)
Answers found on page 74 72 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
by Merl Reagle
118 Poker player’s words 119 Spoken for 120 Wizards and Redskins, e.g. 121 Catch sight of 122 Reminiscent of 123 Skulker DOWN 1 Bonkers 2 Where David slew Goliath 3 Word with cow or slow 4 “The Cosby Show” kid 5 Cotton Club setting 6 On ___ (secretly) 7 Spiritual adviser 8 First name in tennis lore 9 Like berries and melons 10 Guest-bathroom amenities, often 11 Golfer Aoki 12 Rudolph’s ilk 13 Bordered 14 Well-positioned driver at Indy 15 “Such a pity” 16 Doozy 17 “Mogambo” ﬁrst name 18 Declares, to R. Crumb 28 Calendar square 29 Wee bit 30 Sharing pronoun 34 Actor in many Brooks comedies 35 Bye week, in publishing
36 “The airport, ___ on it!” 37 Book balancer 38 Undivided, as attention 39 WWII invasion beach 40 Classic cartoons, ___ Melodies 41 Sardonic 42 Piled up 43 Actress in Kong’s hand 44 Ending meaning “eater” 46 Violinist Niccolo 50 Author Follett or Kesey 51 “___ in peace ...” 52 American-born Jordanian queen 53 Makes impure 54 Mob-probing senator of the 1950s 59 Online purchase option 61 Waited, perhaps 62 Total wonderment 64 Does a vocal “thumbs down” 65 Marine rock-clinger 66 Manager Tony of baseball 68 “Long live ...” 69 Cowboy’s 7 p.m. greeting 70 Michael on “The Ofﬁce” et al. 72 Tools 74 Half a ﬂy 76 Shootout shout 77 What “there oughta be” 78 Take a bath, perhaps 80 Periodic table abbr. 81 Korea’s Syngman ___ 84 They may be ﬂared 85 Understood 86 Add wrong, e.g. 88 Activate, as an alarm 93 Bad way to be caught 94 Homer Simpson’s voice, ___ Castellaneta 95 Bovine soup ingredient 96 Salsa container 97 Builds 101 Be ___ mind (agree) 102 Welcoming 103 Sushi wrap 104 It means “half ” 105 The Phantom of the Opera 106 Personal ﬂair 107 Hypnotist’s last word 108 Realm 109 Reb’s opponent 110 ___ black 111 Paul Bunyan has one 112 ___ green
!!! VOLUME 16 IS HERE !!! To order Merl’s crossword books, visit www.sunday crosswords.com.
3/18/2010 © M. Reagle
Style & Culture
It’s Gloom-burg! For Spring, Try a Frown With Your Gown By Simon Doonan Grim is in! Gloom is in bloom! The Hurt Locker and Precious are the new light and ﬂuffy. Bleak misfortune is back in vogue, and I for one could not be more delighted. Call me maudlin, or just plain Maud—the dreadful unpredictability of life has taught me to answer to anything!—but I am convinced that the only truly effective way to reach a state of contentment is to confront the essential misery of life head on. I am talking about our entertainment choices. When it comes to books, movies and the telly, we don’t need moonbeams and unicorns. We need dreadful dollops of dour desolation. These afford us a refreshing perspective on the gruesome reality of our own lives. It’s an I-might-be-having-a-bit-of-arough-time-right-now-but-at-least-I’m-not-turningtricks-with-homeless-men-or-drinking-carpet-cleanerto-get-high-like-that-broad-on-the-TV kind of a thingy. As a longtime connoisseur of the greige and the grotesque, permit me to lead you into the valley of gloom: Jolly Telly: With both Intervention and Hoarders on its roster, A&E is your go-to cable network for severely depressing fare. Both shows place a helpful emphasis on the backstory of each particular addict/hoarder. This is very important. Having some sense of how you might avoid a similar fate—e.g., hufﬁng computer-cleaning aerosols while babbling incoherently—is an important part of “enjoying” this kind of programming. Bleak Books: Although Victor Hugo and Dickens are synonymous with the gnarly and the downtrodden, my award for the grimmest novelist in the history of mankind goes to Patrick Hamilton, a hard-core boozer from the last century whose hobbies included consorting with prostitutes and lurching into oncoming trafﬁc. I previously thought his The Slaves of Solitude was the saddest book I every read, then suddenly this winter, I discovered Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky. I am currently weeping my way through the last pages gleefully anticipating Hangover Square, reputedly his darkest. Tragic Trips: Whether traveling for business or pleasure, I always pack a dismal DVD or two. My new fave? Peyton Place, starring Mia Farrow and Ryan O’Neal. Zillions of episodes of the legendary 1960s soap—madness, alcoholism, murder, and that’s just the women!— are now available. I guarantee the unremitting pain will make your own sorry milieu look like Leave It to Beaver. Speaking of beavers: The fashion industry would appear to have absolved itself of any qualms about the wearing of dead animals. Next winter, we will all, if the recently unfurled fall collections are anything to go by, be traipsing around in our Altuzarras, Wangs or Bassos looking like extras from Dr. Zhivago, which could be either depressing or uplifting, depending on which scene from the movie you favor. I opt for the horrible snippet where Geraldine Chaplin and Co. are hurtling across the permafrost and frantically shoveling poo out of the door of their comfort-free cattle car. How about you? Cheerio!
The National Newsroom
A bigger tax break for writing off the costs of college By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services
Paying for college? You may be able to claim a big tax break, even if you’ve never before qualiﬁed. That’s because the Obama administration replaced an old break with a new and improved one—but only for a limited time. To take advantage of it, you’ll have to negotiate the often wacky world of tuition tax write-offs. “There is a smorgasbord of education credits available now,” said Bob Meighan, vice president of TurboTax in San Diego. “It’s mind-boggling.” What are the breaks? Who gets them? And how can you best take advantage of them? First you have to choose among a trio of tax credits and one tax deduction that offset your cost of tuition. Then you have to look at “income exclusions” for proﬁts pulled out of savings to pay college bills and see if you can write off student loan interest. Breaks for tuition The latest and greatest of the college write-offs is the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This can reduce your tax—or increase your refund—by $2,500. To claim the full credit, you must have paid at least $3,000 in eligible college bills and must meet some income restrictions. Eligible bills include college tuition, fees and books for you, your spouse or a dependent. In years past, income restrictions locked many people out of claiming education credits because individuals earning more than $50,000 and couples earning more than $100,000 would see their credit phased out. This year, the break isn’t reduced until single ﬁlers earn more than $80,000 and married couples earn
Solution to Idle Thoughts by Merl Reagle
D A F T
E L A H
CR P A A P T S A Y S N A Y
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more than $160,000. It’s lost completely at $90,000 in single income and $180,000 in joint income. But that’s based on adjusted gross income, which is the income you declare after subtracting “above-the-line” deductions for contributions to your 401(k) retirement plan, health savings accounts, any alimony and student-loan interest you pay. That means a married couple could be earning in the neighborhood of $200,000 and still get this lucrative break. Also important for lower-income taxpayers is that this break is partly “refundable.” What does that mean? Most breaks just give you back the tax that you paid through withholding. They typically stop beneﬁting you once your tax bill is reduced to zero. This one is 40 percent refundable, said Mark Luscombe, principal tax analyst with CCH Inc., a Riverwoods, Ill., publisher of tax information. That means it can provide as much as a $1,000 refund, even if you paid no federal income tax. The tax code includes two other education credits—the Hope Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. But because you can take only one tax credit per college student (if you have more than one student, you can get more than one credit), you have to choose among these and the American Opportunity Credit. Because the Hope Tax Credit provides a maximum write-off of $1,800 annually and the Lifetime Learning Credit provides a maximum of $2,000 annually, the American Opportunity Credit is going to be the best for most ﬁlers. There is one exception: If you happen to have a student attending college in one of 10 Midwestern states that were affected by ﬂoods in 2008, you can double the value of either the Hope or Lifetime Learning credits on your 2009 return. Why? If you’re looking for logic in the tax code, you’re going to be disappointed. Let’s just say that some legislators thought it was a good idea at the time. For now, it’s a nifty loophole for people going to school in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Another education tax break that you’ll probably want to forgo this year is the tuition and fees deduction. The maximum deduction is $4,000, but it’s limited to $2,000 for those who earn more than $65,000 single or $130,000 married, and is eliminated completely once single income exceeds
$80,000 and married income exceeds $160,000. Before you start thinking that sounds better than the American Opportunity Credit for those who meet the lower income restrictions, remember that a credit reduces your tax on a dollar-for-dollar basis. A deduction just reduces the income subject to tax. That means a $4,000 deduction will reduce your tax bill by $1,000 if you’re in the 25 percent federal income tax bracket. Can you claim both a tuition credit and the deduction? Only if you have more than one student going to college. You have to choose one among these four potential breaks for any individual student.
(The American Opportunity Tax Credit) can reduce your tax—or increase your refund—by $2,500. To claim the full credit, you must have paid at least $3,000 in eligible college bills and must meet some income restrictions.
Write-offs, exclusions There are other special breaks for paying education bills that can be used in conjunction with these tuition credits. For instance, if you take money out of a 529 savings plan, all the investment income (and the principal, of course) is tax free, as long as you use the money to pay for qualiﬁed education expenses. If you’ve already used up your tuition write-offs by claiming a credit against those expenses, don’t worry. The 529 money gets tax-free treatment even if it’s used to pay for room and board for a full-time student. Likewise, money taken out of a Coverdell Education Savings Account is tax-free as long as it’s used for qualiﬁed education expenses, which can include room and board as well as classroom supplies and computers. Coverdell money can also pay the cost of a private elementary or secondary school. As much as $2,500 in student loan interest also is deductible for taxpayers earning less than $60,000 when single or $120,000 when married. Lesser amounts are deductible for those earning up to $75,000 single and $150,000 married. And, in some instances, the interest earned on savings bonds that are cashed in to pay for education bills can be exempt from tax. If your employer provides tuition assistance, that’s taxfree, too, as long as it amounts to less than $5,250 a year. Not enough for you? Wait until next year. At the rate that Congress is passing tuition tax breaks, there’s a 50-50 chance that there will be another one to talk about in 2011.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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March 27, 2010
MGM Grand Garden Arena Experience a once in a lifetime concert hosted by Jennifer O’neil and Jon Voight. Michel Legrand will be conducting a 66-piece orchestra and performing with many of his superstar friends such as Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, George Benson, Pai Page, Steve Lawrence, Melissa Manchester, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Jerry Lewis. The show will pay musical tribute to some of Legrand’s Academy Award-winning MGM movies including Yentl, Thomas Crown Aﬀair and Summer of 42. The all-star concert event also will be captured on ﬁlm for a TV music special.
Tickets available at Ticketmaster, mgmgrand.com or charge by phone at 800.745.3000
visit MGMlegrand.com Legrand will be conducting a 66-piece orchestra and performing with many of his superstar friends.
Arts & Entertainment
From left: Nate Cooper, Yuval Ayalon, Amos Glick, Jon D’Ark and Jami Jones. Photo by Anthony Mair
Wandering Minstrels (and Contortionists and Jugglers) Amos Glick and his off-duty Strip performers struggle to ﬁnd a place where they can continue their once-popular late-night act
By Becky Bosshart
After you strip away the machine-made fog, the lighting, the sound technicians and the $10,000 costumes, what you have left are the artists. And whether that’s a contortionist or a cross-dressing knife juggler on a pogo stick, that’s what you found at Ok, Ok, the amos glick variety show. (Produced by the type of guy who puts his name in the title, yet purposefully lower cases it.) “The gloss from the Strip shows is torn away and you get raw skill and love of the art and performance,” says Amos Glick, whose primary occupation is Le Rêve clown. “No way do you get the vibe of a show that’s done every day, 10 times a day.” And when the underground show—starring Cirque, Le Rêve and other Strip performers—played every four to six weeks at the Square Apple, a dive bar on East Sahara Avenue across from Commercial Center, it would attract upward of 100 people, mostly by word of mouth. It proved to be a good night for the bar, whose proﬁts rose by 200 percent on those nights, and the audience, who got a free
show featuring performers they would’ve had to pay more than $100 to see at the Venetian, Wynn or Mandalay Bay. “No place was more packed than us,” says Jamaal Ealey, former Square Apple general manager. “Anyone who saw that show returned.” The grassroots effort charmed all the right people. After an article on the show ran in the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 9, Glick signed an exclusive contract with a Hollywood producer. They have been discussing the possibility of taking the show to TV. But then came a precipitous fall—the Square Apple closed in December. The show had a mutually cushy deal with the bar: no lease agreement and free performers. In exchange, all concession sales went to the venue. Getting his variety show up and running again hasn’t been easy. Glick needs a large stage for aerial and dance numbers, technical capabilities and intimate seating in a central or downtown location, so that it’s close to the performers coming off their Strip shows. And he wants Continued on page 78 March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 77
Arts & Entertainment
glick variety show Continued from page 77
To show support, ﬁnd the Ok, Ok, the amos glick variety show on Facebook, or e-mail email@example.com.
EvEn MorE vAriEty, this tiME FroM thE gEntlEr gEndEr Las Vegas’ entertainment and nightlife industry incubates a culture of dramatic diversity. Some fringe performances (such as Amos Glick’s variety show) are off-the-beaten path, others take it to a main stage. And one will bring attention to an oft-ignored performer in Las Vegas: the female magician. “There’s no other all-female variety show in Las Vegas,” producer Penny Wiggins says. Wiggins (who plays Amazing Johnathan’s magic assistant Psychic Tanya) presents her all-female variety show She-Nanigans on March 29. In addition to magicians Sophie Evans and Juliana Chen (a world champion from China), the show includes aerial work, comedy, dancing, singing and juggling by some of Vegas’ most talented female artists looking for their time in the spotlight. Wiggins hosts as MC Coco Channel. It’s tough for female magicians to get booked in Vegas because of the prominence of the many male magicians, Wiggins says. Other than former Riviera headliner Scarlett–Princess of Magic (who has her own off-stage shenanigans involving an ex-boyfriend/manager and a domestic battery charge), there are few well-known female magicians. Wiggins wants to change that, and she hopes it’ll start with audience demand at the Harmon Theater. – B.B.
She-NaNigaNS 7 p.m. March 29, Harmon Theater (Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South near Planet Hollywood). Free. For reservations, call 435-3169 or 839-0839.
Zooey Deschanel and “Zooey Deschanel.”
She and Him and Me A short history of Zooey Deschanel’s career as told by her reluctant doppelganger By Cindi reed The ﬁrst time I saw actress/singer Zooey Deschanel was my freshman year of college in a pre-screening of what would become my favorite movie: Almost Famous. An auspicious start. I was a late bloomer, perhaps. Not only did I look nothing like the doe-eyed actress, I never guessed that I ever would. She was silver-screen beautiful, and I … still had my baby fat. In the early- to mid-2000s, Zooey and I both had some growing up to do. She retreated into a string of forgettable movies (The New Guy anybody?) and I into a string of forgettable college classes. The “Hey, you look like that girl” comments started about a year ago, just when Zooey was rising above her bad movie choices and I my diet. At ﬁrst, it was really exciting. I mean, to successfully transition from actress to touring musician (as She & Him with Volume One) … I mean, to be told you look like a movie star. Then she went and married the lead singer of the band Death Cab for Cutie, thus realizing the implicit fantasy of her ﬁrst big ﬁlm. And I? No comment.
In the meantime, more and more people were telling me I looked like her. As her star rose, my response to strangers’ comments went from disbelief to ﬂattery to expectation. When the movie 500 Days of Summer exploded, my ﬂattery turned to annoyance. Why must people assume I liked faux-retro hipster threads just because she did? I hate ﬂorals! “I don’t think I’m very much like anyone else, really,” Zooey is quoted as saying on her IMDB entry. “I’m sure there are aspects of other actors that I share, but I don’t see anybody else and go, ‘Damn, they stole my thing.’” Damn, she stole my thing. But as my twin embarks upon a spring tour for She & Him’s Volume Two, I’m able to seek some perspective, maybe comb my bangs a different way. Of course, I’ll watch her perform at April’s big music festival, Coachella. And perhaps somebody will mistake us and let me backstage. It only ﬁts, I mean Zooey’s next project channels famous hippie groupie Pamela Des Barres for HBO.
Five + 10 + Punctuality = Love Two questions for the rising nerd of romantic comedy Jay Baruchel, quirky cute star of She’s Out of My League (You may remember him from Tropic Thunder and knocked Up.), left his home in Montreal to hit his movie’s March 10 red-carpet premiere at Planet Hollywood Hotel-Casino. Since the twist on this boy-meets-girl ﬂick is that the boy is a “5” and the girl 78
Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
is a “10,” we snagged a little dating advice from the unlikely Romeo: Can the ﬁve really land the 10? Yes and yes. Yeah deﬁnitely, a ﬁve can land whatever a ﬁve wants. And what does it take? Conﬁdence, good manners, smelling good, punctuality and patience.
Baruchel photo by Alex J. Berliner / Berliner Photography / BEImages
all that for free. He considered the Artisan or Aruba, but neither ﬁt. The show’s absence has left a hole in the city’s late-night cultural scene. For more than a year, Glick organized the acts such as an open-mike night. Starting at 11:30 p.m., the audience got up close and personal with the city’s best performers (from Phantom–The Las Vegas Spectacular, Criss Angel Believe or The Lion king), who felt free to be creative or risqué in front of a friendly audience. “If I jumped onto a chair next to somebody, my hips would be in their face, then I could back bend and lay into their lap and do a shoulder roll,” says Jami Jones, a professional belly dancer. “I could do that there, but not in a restaurant.” Yuval Ayalon, a Le Rêve acrobat who performed hand-balancing in the variety show, says his goal was artistic expression, but the practice he got in front of an audience was beneﬁcial to his main job, too. Glick—who often contributed his talents as a comedian/singer/ songwriter to the mélange of performers (not to mention a zombie comedian)—wants the show to return with aerial acts, which could mean he has to buy insurance. That may lead to a cover charge or drink minimum. However, if necessary, the variety show is capable of making money. This was demonstrated with a beneﬁt performance at the now-defunct Wyrick Theatre in the Miracle Mile Shops last September, when the variety show raised $5,000 for a scholarship fund in the name of a Strip show technician who was killed on the job.
Sites to see By Geoff Carter WILL IT WAFFLE? (wafﬂeizer.com) If you don’t own a wafﬂe iron, you’re missing out on the next great wave in geometrically regimented cuisine. I’ll bet you a shot of Vermont maple syrup with an Irish butter ﬂoat that you didn’t know that you could use a wafﬂe iron to make croque madame, or aloo parantha or s’mores. And did you know you could make chicken and wafﬂes with wafﬂefried chicken? Did anybody know? Check out Wafﬂeizer, and learn how to make full use of the amazing culinary dynamo that’s been sitting in your kitchen, practically untouched, for several months.
QUEEN TO BISHOP UPSIDE YO’ HEAD (chessboxing.com) The less I say about Chessboxing, “the thinking man’s contact sport,” the better. I don’t want MGM Mirage boss Jim Murren to read this, slap his forehead, say “uhhh-doy!” and begin organizing his own Chessboxing brawls at the Grand Garden Arena before I can make my own moves in that regard. Sufﬁce to say: It’s chess and it’s boxing, making sweet, angry love to each other. I’ll admit that the ofﬁcial Chessboxing site probably explains it better.
GODZILLA IS ZEN (godzillahaiku.tumblr.com) Godzilla doesn’t want your large automobile. He doesn’t want your beautiful house or your beautiful wife. He only wants an answer to the question we often ask of ourselves: “Well, how did I get here?” The answers to his screeching entreaties, not surprisingly, lie in haiku—that form of Japanese poetry that condenses the anguish of existence to 17 soft and ﬂuffy syllables. Samurai Frog composes a fresh haiku to the Tokyo Terror whenever the nuclear-powered muse strikes, and they’re all very friendly and comforting, like the turtle monster Gamera. Here’s my favorite: “Fire does not hurt / Nor do your silly weapons / But your words pierce true.” Journalist Geoff Carter is a Las Vegas native living in Seattle, land of virtual titillation. March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 79
Arts & Entertainment
Music Skinny Jeans
A Grand Occasion
By Richard Alexander
Michel Legrand tribute concert at MGM Grand includes star-studded lineup By Jaymi Naciri It was Garth Brooks who boasted of having friends in low places, but when it comes to virtuoso musician, arranger and conductor Michel Legrand, just the opposite is true. Legrand will be trotting out several of the most famous faces—and voices—in the world for his 50th Anniversary Concert Tribute at 8 p.m. March 27 in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Legrand will conduct a 66-piece orchestra and there will be performances by George Benson, Melissa Manchester, Jerry Lewis, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, Patti Page, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Steve Lawrence. Actors Jon Voight and Jennifer O’Neill will host the concert, which will air at a later date as a made-for-TV concert special. But perhaps the biggest news is the rumored surprise appearance by Sting. Why all the fuss? If you didn’t know, “Legrand is a musical genius and for many years has touched people in all age groups with his work,” says Vincent Vellardita, producer and president of concert promoter Valencia Entertainment. A three-time Academy Award winner and ﬁve-time Grammy winner, Legrand has written and conducted some of the most memorable movie music of all time. When Barbra Streisand asked, “Papa can you hear me?” That was Legrand. The sweeping score from Summer of 42? That was him, too. The Academy Award-winning song from The Thomas Crown Affair, “Windmills of Your Mind,” sung, not so coincidentally, by Sting? All Legrand. Legrand’s lifelong dedication to music (he began his study at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11) has yielded a career marked by industry and fan accolades. He has com-
posed more than 200 ﬁlm and television scores for directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Brooks, Clint Eastwood and Robert Altman, has recorded more than 100 albums with international musical stars. And you’ll get to see a few of them yourself. 8 p.m., MGM Grand Garden Arena. Tickets are $62.50, $85 and $150 (plus fees), mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com. For more details, visit MGMLegrand.com.
Gonzo Greg 7 p.m. to midnight weeknights on 107.9 The Alternative and on the Internet at gonzo.fm
80 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave. “This album is haunting and passionate, an amazing collection of his ﬁnal work. We owe a debt of gratitude to producer Rick Rubin for introducing the Man in Black to a new generation.” band of skulls, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. “This album’s just starting to get the recognition it deserves. Kinda like the White Stripes, but from Southampton, England.” the xx, xx. “A great band from London; this is their self-produced debut album, which was recorded in a small garage, mostly at night, which presumably explains its quiet, intimate sound.”
Neon trees, Habits. “Their debut album came out March 16. They’ve opened for a few dates with The Killers and have a sound that works if you like classic alt-rock like Depeche Mode or newer stuff like Silversun Pickups.” Yeller bellies, Here to Suffer. “Vegas’ own local rockabilly, roots-rockin’, skillet-bangin’ heroes are back with a follow-up to their 2008 debut, Boys Will Be Boys.”
Singles the Futureheads, “Heartbeat song”; the Courteeners, “You overdid it Doll”; ellie Goulding, “starry eyed.” “A bunch of amazing Brit rock headed our way, assuming the record companies decide it’s OK for us Yanks to listen to.”
Have you ever put on a pair of jeans that require a hop, an Olympic lunge and electro beat to don? Skinny jeans, with tapered legs and narrowpeg ankles, aren’t just a fashion statement, they’re also a musical one. Perhaps it’s that bouncy jean shimmy or their stretchy, dance-friendly maneuverability, but “skinnies” have been associated with a certain type of music—electro-tech, folky electro, electrorock, dance/ synth pop, folk pop, indie rock—since Julian Casablancas of The Strokes wore them in the early 2000s. As a skinny-jeans aﬁcionado (both musically and fashionably), I offer you the ﬁrst installment of a column that will explore the musical genre I like to call … drum roll, please … “Skinny Jeans.” Without further ado, here are some songs to listen to as you paint on those pants: Hot trax. “Madder Red,” Yeasayer: This band has grown considerably since they arrived in early 2007. They have two hit singles under their skinny jean’s belt—this may be the third. And their new album, Odd Blood, is really good. “One Life Stand,” Hot Chip: If you can’t get down with this U.K. band, then take off the tight jeans and stop reading. Hot Chip is the essential group with a mix of perfect vocals and disco-electro-rock beats. They are a dream, and I demand you listen. New ClassiC PiCk. “Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix),” Whitest Boy Alive: When it hits the fan, this 2008 mix will get you through. Freddy Falke is one of today’s “indemand remixers,” working with artists such as U2, Grizzly Bear and Miike Snow. New albums. MGMT will release Congratulations on April 13. I won’t admit I’m excited, but “they good.” Why won’t they come to Vegas? To my fellow Las Vegans: If everyone pitches in $10 to get MGMT here, I will get a stage and a location. I’m so serious. Richard Alexander is co-founder of rollerskate jam Down & Derby. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/downandderby.
Performing with the dancers of
MGM Grandâ€™s Crazy Horse Paris
APRIL 1 - 7 Call 702.891.7800 for more information Performing nightly except Tuesdays Photo: Ali Mahdavi
Arts & Entertainment
By Jarret Keene
Xiu Xiu, Dear God, I Hate Myself (Kill Rock Stars)
Butch Walker & the Black Widows, I Liked You Better When You Had No Heart (One Haven)
Liars, Sisterworld (Mute)
Frontman Jamie Stewart has jettisoned the rickety experimental indie-isms of his band Xiu Xiu’s previous works to arrive at Dear God, a fully realized and majestic gem of an album. He manages to wring real drama out of this new material, which displays everything from orchestral timpani to videogame noise to searing punk guitar riffs—all while demonstrating a lyrical wit on par with Morrissey. Stewart’s fey vocal style and penchant for wordplay had me convinced for years he was British, but hearing a tune like “Gray Death,” I suspect it’s the city of Oakland (where he once lived) that explains his dim view. Regardless, the song (like every track on this CD) is impossible to play once, boasting a ﬁerce Joy Division bass line, marimba-kissed chord changes and clanging cymbals. Then there’s the title track, which despite a self-loathing message is an attempt to Technicolor-ize an ugly world with inventive, if a little skewed, popcraft. File under “indie classic.”
82 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Back when he was a heartless fame-seeker, Butch Walker and his then-band Marvelous 3 stormed the late-’90s rock charts with “Freak of the Week,” and seemed destined for greatness. To Walker’s relief, it didn’t happen. Instead he became a coveted producer, responsible for Avril Lavigne hits and co-writing with Rivers Cuomo. A proliﬁc solo artist and live performer, Walker will likely die with a guitar strapped across his shoulders. He succeeds wildly with his new album, a brisk, bristling display of popcraft elevated to the level of art. “She Likes Hair Bands” isn’t a leftover Weezer track, but a funny Steve Miller-referencing ballad full of big, chords and falsetto hoots. The chamber-stringed “Pretty Melody” borrows a page from Phil Spector before delivering just what the title promises. Lyrically, Walker has never been funnier or more poignant, especially when he pledges to a lover: “I’ll be your waste of time/You’ll be my happy end.”
Acclaimed post-punk revivalists of the early “aughts,” New York’s Liars almost destroyed their reputation with a pretentious 2004 sophomore full-length. Fortune changed again with 2006’s fractured avant-rock classic Drum’s Not Dead, once again earning the band respect. Now Liars returns with a surprisingly consistent collection of art-damaged tunes. Walking a ﬁne line between frat-party frenzy and performance-art purgatory, vocalist/guitarist Angus Andrew keeps the arrangements interesting, for example, the gorgeous choir of voices that opens “Scissor” degenerates into a drum-thrashing maelstrom. “Scarecrows on a Killer Slant,” meanwhile, stabs the listener in the face with a vicious guitar riff swiped from a Ventures B-side and ampliﬁed into something like a jet crash-landing into the Hudson. On the softer side, “Too Much, Too Much” closes out Sisterworld with jangly guitar lines and synths, serving as a melancholy farewell to the band’s dance-ﬂoor roots. Another ﬁrst-rate effort by a band brimming with surprises.
Arts & Entertainment
Dakota Fanning as Cherrie Currie and Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett.
Hello Daddy, Hello Mom Girl rock band comes alive, again
By Cole Smithey Based on Cherrie Currie’s poorly written memoir Neon Angel: The Cherrie Currie Story (PSS Adult, 1989), about her crash-and-burn experiences with producer Kim Fowley’s manufactured all-girl rock band, The Runaways is a textbook guilty pleasure. Dakota Fanning does her best work to date as Cherrie, the band’s bisexual lead singer to Kristen Stewart’s tomboy-channeling of guitarist Joan Jett. But it’s Michael Shannon who steals the show as the famously eccentric and foul-mouthed rock ‘n’ roll impresario Fowley. Scenes of Fowley taunting the girls by throwing insults and dog-poo to extract the band’s signature in-your-face performance are riveting. Sadly, Shannon’s mascara-heavy characterization gets swept under the carpet when the newly formed band goes on tour, ostensibly because Fowley never wanted to leave L.A. to chaperone “dog meat.” Debut ﬁlmmaker Floria Sigismondi is keen on telescoping meta meaning from the micro details of the band’s ’70s-era rock lifestyle. It’s a hit-or-miss technique that works well enough. Deep lesbian kisses, avid drug abuse and irresponsible parents play into the Dionysian hand dealt by androgynous rock gods like David Bowie and Iggy Pop, whose music ﬁgures prominently in the ﬁlm’s glam-heavy soundtrack. The Runaways veers into biopic territory on more than a few occasions. Currie’s screwed up suburban home life, with an alcoholic father and adoring twin sister, is portrayed for its soul-crushing effect. The ﬁlm works better as a coming-of-age reverie about a group of tomboys who were tutored by a punk-rock Pygmalion to write songs that would outrage parents and pique the testosterone of teenaged boys who didn’t believe girls could rock. 84
Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Hello Daddy, Hello Mom I’m your ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb Hello world I’m your wild girl I’m your ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb Watching Shannon prod his underage girls into writing those still-explosive lyrics for “Cherry Bomb” in an abandoned trailer home, speaks volumes about punk’s do-it-yourself ethos. It’s an objective that’s gone missing from society for so long that the scene is shocking for the integrity it exempliﬁes. Fowley’s down-and-dirty rock ’n’ roll boot camp embodies the band’s musical growth with the singular goal of packaging them into a product. Where the ﬁlm comes off the rails is exactly where the band hit the skids. The irony here is that it was Currie who threw the monkey wrench after killing at big stage shows for rabid fans in Japan on a 1977 whirlwind tour. Dressed in Brigitte Bardot-inspired corset teddy, Cherrie kicks out the jams like any parent’s worst nightmare. Fanning does a perfect re-creation of Currie’s deep-squatting performance, which you can dial up on YouTube. For the ﬁrst time in Fanning’s overrated career, the actress identiﬁes with her character in an entirely believable way. Yet, by default, the story falls back on Jett’s shoulders as the girl who memorably pees on a guitar belonging to a rival guitarist. In the end, Fowley—now 70 and still making music—and Jett are the characters we want to spend more time with. Jett’s inﬂuence in the making of the ﬁlm is evidenced in her executive producer credit. Sigismondi’s next ﬁlm should be a Jett biopic that picks up where The Runaways leaves off. The show must go on. It’s one lesson that Fowley didn’t teach well enough.
Arts & Entertainment
An Edgier Import Than Ikea The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is book turned Swedish exploitation mystery By Cole Smithey The ﬁrst ﬁlm adaptation of the late Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (Beam Me Up, Lord!, 2007), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is an enigmatic mystery thriller ﬁred by the growling intensity of its goth-girl heroine Lisbeth Salander (ferociously played by Noomi Rapace). Although the large dragon tattoo that covers her back is never directly addressed in the ﬁlm, the Asian symbol of primordial vengeance lurks gracefully at the frayed dark edges of every scene. Lisbeth is a freelance computer hacker/activist who comes to the aid of ﬁnancial journalist/magazine editor Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) whose efforts at exposing corporate corruption have resulted in a prison sentence for libel. In the months before abdicating his freedom, Blomkvist is hired by Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) to solve the 40-year-old mystery of his niece Harriet’s disappearance, which seems connected to other cases over several generations. Following in the same vein as The Red Riding Trilog y, here is an infectiously compelling mystery brimming with intriguing characters, and plenty of twists and turns. With more than a passing reference to Blow Up, Lisbeth and Blomkvist tear into
the case from a guest house on Hedeby Island where rival family members still live. The fetishistic experience of searching for clues where none have been found before serves as a major hook that contributes to the romantic connection that builds between Lisbeth and the much older Blomkvist. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a sophisticated piece of exploitation cinema that announces its identity as such early on. Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson) is the newly appointed attorney responsible for doling out ﬁnancial support to Lisbeth. Poor Nils should know
better than mess with such an obviously badass chick, but he rapes her anyway. Soon the phallus is on the other foot, and director Niels Arden Oplev takes great satisfaction in rewarding Lisbeth with her quick and just revenge. Deﬁnitely not for the squeamish, the overthe-top scene takes on a camp quality. Although the ﬁlm’s violent set-piece climax is drawn out to comic proportions, and the ﬁnal tableau rings with a false note of commercial satisfaction, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a beautifully crafted thriller that kicks you in the head, heart and libido with equal force.
She’s Out of My League (R)
Not as crass, or as sophisticated, as the Apatow-themed humor that it aspires to, She’s Out of My League succeeds on the strength of its gawky leading man. Jay Baruchel combines humble innocence with comic chops to inspire heartfelt laughs. Baruchel plays a geeky guy with a dead-end job who somehow scores a date with the beautiful Molly (Alice Eve). This ﬁlm won’t knock your socks off, but sometimes it’s OK to leave the socks on. 86 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
By Cole Smithey
Our Family Wedding (PG-13)
Writer/director Rick Famuyiwa’s version of interracial marriage is about as much fun as a dentist’s visit. America Ferrara plays Latin hottie to Lance Gross’ picture of moneyed African-American perfection. The wedding-bound couple head home to break the news to their unprepared, and only somewhat racist patriarchs, played by Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia. The ﬁlmmaker relies on unmotivated slapstick set pieces that perpetually ﬁzzle out.
Alice in Wonderland (PG)
Newcomer Mia Wasikowska is ideal as Alice in Tim Burton’s juiced-up adaptation. Presented in 3D, Burton’s ﬁligree-ﬁlled fantasy blooms after 19-year-old Alice steps away from a marriage proposal. A messy tea party in “Underland” with Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter leads Alice on a journey to the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). It’s difﬁcult to imagine another ﬁlmmaker doing this degree of justice to this well-worn children’s tale.
Green Zone (R)
Director Paul Greengrass attempts to overcompensate for his ﬂat 2006 propaganda piece United 93 with a shaky-cam Iraq war picture carrying the moldy message that “weapons of mass destruction” were an excuse for war. The Baghdad-set action is one long and overplayed chase sequence: Matt Damon is fed up with leading his Army inspectors on fruitless missions to uncover WMD, while Greg Kinnear plays a Pentagon baddie.
Shutter Island (R) ★★★★✩
Brooklyn’s Finest (R) ★★★✩✩
The Crazies (R) ★★★✩✩
Cop Out (R) ★✩✩✩✩
For his 45th ﬁlm, Martin Scorsese crafts a gorgeously stylized psychological thriller. As U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels, Leonardo DiCaprio and his partner (Mark Ruffalo) arrive on a foggy isle to investigate a patient’s disappearance from a private prison hospital for the criminally insane. This Cold War-era mystery exponentially folds back on itself during its shocking third act. A truly engrossing picture.
George A. Romero produced this update of his 1973 satirical horror ﬂick. A spree of murder-suicides disrupts small-town bliss. Satellite-view imagery hints at unseen military ofﬁcials orchestrating an attack. Director Breck Eisner compresses the suspense into tightly edited pieces that balance thematic import with shocks of gory confrontation. While not Night of the Living Dead, The Crazies hits the zombie on the head.
Director Antoine Fuqua returns to the gritty cop drama genre that made him a household name in 2001 with Training Day. This time around, East Brooklyn’s is home to three cops (Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle) whose ethical compasses are way off—in ways we’ve seen before. Fuqua massages the script’s obvious clichés with a sense of personal attachment to his characters that makes you believe in them.
Perhaps after the miserable action/comedy ﬂop that is Cop Out, Hollywood will send director Kevin Smith back to his marginal indie fare. With a bare-bones plot that’s hardly worth repeating, police partners (Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) run around Brooklyn shooting, killing and car-chasing like a couple of clowns. You’ll yawn, you’ll squirm and you’ll wait impatiently for this interminable piece of trash to ﬁnally end.
The Ghost Writer (PG-13) ★★★✩✩
Co-written by Roman Polanski with political journalist Robert Harris, upon whose novel the ﬁlm is based, Writer is full of plot holes yet still entices. Ewan McGregor plays a ghostwriter for Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), a former British prime minister accused of war crimes. Despite Harris’ personal experience as a journalist once close to Tony Blair, the screenwriter fails to sufﬁciently ignite explosive plot points for Polanski to examine.
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March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 87
Gadgets & Tech
Catching up with Skype, a darn useful tool By Eric Benderoff When my sister—12 years my senior— tells me I need to get the latest technology spreading across her social network, I feel somewhat ashamed. “You’re the so-called tech expert,” she’ll tell me. “Why aren’t you using this?” In the world of personal technology, there’s no shortage of what’s new or what’s next. Every week there’s a shiny new gadget, a happening new website or a compelling new app that commands our attention. And, generally speaking, I think I’m pretty good at keeping pace. But in the case of Internet-based calling service Skype, well, I dropped the ball—and there’s simply no excuse. My sister, who lives in the Midwest, has been using Skype for some time now, mainly to communicate with her daughter, who lives on the West Coast. “The best thing about Skype is that I can see my nieces and nephews as often as I’d like—even if I can’t see them as often as I’d like in person,” she says. “It feels like you’re right there and not so far away. When are you guys going to sign up so I can see my niece and nephew more often?” I hadn’t been using Skype simply because I never got around to downloading the software. Boy, was that a mistake; it’s cool and darn useful, too. The fact that I hadn’t been using it until recently is rather embarrassing. (But hey, I can admit that.) Using the computer-to-computer video-conferencing software, I can sit in my Chicago living room, plop my
2-year-old daughter on my lap and call my sister in Michigan. For free. Her only complaint: “Sometimes there’s a little delay and you see the lips move before you hear the words, like a badly dubbed Japanese movie.” International calls are a huge lure for Skype users. My friend Max is a Web designer and uses Skype all the time as part of his global business. “I started using it a lot when I was traveling abroad,” he says. “It cost me a fraction of a penny [per minute] to make calls back to the U.S.” Skype launched in 2003 and by 2006 was reaching 100 million users worldwide. Today the company says 20 million people use Skype during peak hours, and about one-third of those calls are video-based. There are other choices for Internet video calling, of course. Camfrog, OoVoo and even Google’s Gmail-based chat service are among the outﬁts that offer free video calling; I personally ﬁnd the video quality in Google chat to be better. The Google video chat is integrated into Gmail’s free Web-based e-mail service, so when you are logged into your e-mail account you can see which of your contacts are, too, and which ones are available for a video-chat. (An icon of a little video camera sits next to the names of the friends in your contact list who have enabled the service.) All you need to video-chat via Skype or Google chat is a webcam and a decent Internet connection (Any cable
Skype makes computer-to-computer video conferencing easy. 88 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Screen shots of computerto-computer videochats using Skype’s free software.
or DSL connection should do; Skype recommends 60 KB/sec. for standard, audio-only calls; 256 KB/sec. for medium-quality video calls and 512 KB/sec. for high quality video calls). Most newer computers come with built-in webcams but you can buy one for about $25 if you don’t have one already. Once your camera is set up, just download the software and you’ll be videochatting in no time—it took me all of 10 minutes to download, install, register an account and start chatting. Starting later this year, Skype will come preinstalled on select LG, Panasonic and Samsung HDTVs—no downloads or additional installation required. This is just part of a wave of Webbased services such as Netﬂix and Pandora that are beginning to come pre-installed on television sets. Instead of a laptop of standard computer, these new Internet-ready TVs will allow users to use Skype from the living room sofa; the TV will replace the computer monitor and the webcam will be built into the TV set.
Before that, however, you can use Skype on Playstation Portable gaming systems and, starting this month, on select Verizon smartphones (data plan required). Likewise, there’s a Skype app for the iPhone—and the iPod touch, too, which effectively turns the Web-enabled music player into a phone. Some people think mobile Skype will hurt the mobile phone carriers, but I don’t, since users still need to pay the carrier $30 or so a month for a data plan to make the service work. Skype-to Skype computer-based calls are free but Skype-to-landline (or cell phone) calls are not. Plans start at about $2 a month for domestic calling and top out at about $9 a month for unlimited international calls, and there is a pay-as-you-go option, as well.
this month, “youStarting can use Skype on
select phones from Verizon if you have a data plan. You’ll be able to make Skype-to-Skype calls for free and international calls for significantly lower rates. Likewise, there’s a Skype app for the iPhone and iPod touch—turning that Web-enabled music player into a phone.
Chicago-based technolog y columnist Eric Benderoff writes about consumer electronics and runs BendableMedia.com, an editorial services ﬁrm. He frequently discusses tech trends and new gadgets on various national radio and TV programs. Follow him on Twitter@ericbendy. March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 89
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Dining Revisiting the Lotus
Ten years after making a national splash, this Thai restaurant is still the best
By Max Jacobson
Ever since Gourmet magazine’s Jonathan Gold singled out Lotus of Siam as “the best Thai restaurant in America” in August 2000, locals and tourists have been lining up in the drab Commercial Center parking lot for Saipin Chutima’s chicken wings, crispy rice salad and homemade Thai sausage. During this time, her husband, Bill, has been amassing a German and Austrian wine list said to rival any in the country. The acidity and sweetness of the riesling and gewürztraminer grapes match perfectly with Thai cooking. This combination explains why the walls at Lotus are lined with head shots of celebrity chefs and journos like me, posing with the chef.
The restaurant recently expanded into an adjacent space that was home to a Korean gift store. This tripled the dining capacity, to about 150, but the new space feels boxy and neutral, in spite of nice chairs and tables. Thankfully, Lotus retained the more comfortable original section, and that’s where I prefer to sit. Besides, it’s closer to the newly expanded kitchen, which now has about 15 bustling chefs. Even with more seats, you still have to line up to get in. When I visited on a recent Saturday evening, hosts couldn’t seat the parties fast enough. The reason behind the continued enthusiasm is Chef Chutima’s menu and her cooking style, neither of which has changed one iota. She has remained true to the traditional, authentic dishes of her native country. Continued on page 92
Chef Chutima’s khao soi, with braised short ribs.
March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 91
An L.A.-Vegas comparison, the best pastrami ever, and a cheese store hits the spot By Max Jacobson
Lotus Continued from page 91
She is from Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand, and the food there is as different from the Chinese-inﬂuenced stir-fries eaten in Bangkok as Spanish food is from Swedish. So, instead of the pad Thai, mint and green chili chicken, or garlic squid, you might order from the front of the menu, where there is unusual fare from the north, such as nam prik noom, an incendiary green chili purée used as a dip for pork rinds and vegetables. I love the khao soi, a Burmese-inﬂuenced dish consisting of egg noodles in a coconut cream curry. It’s amazing a la carte but even better with the addition of meltingly tender beef short ribs ($10 extra). Another compelling choice is thum ka noon, pounded young jackfruit mixed with ground pork, tomato and spices. Don’t even think about eating here without an order of that crispy rice salad, a.k.a. nam kao tod. It resembles Rice Krispies mixed with bits of Thai sausage, green onion, peanuts, green chili and long shreds of fresh ginger. It’s the ultimo beer dish. Don’t miss the specials, including a charbroiled beef dish called nua man tok; tub wharn, charbroiled beef liver; and Issan sausage, which you eat tacostyle in the hollow of a cabbage leaf. Service here, ministered to by a manager named Bang, has never been bang-up, but the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. When you ask for a dish to be ﬁve on a scale of one to 10 in hotness, the kitchen knows exactly what you want, like a great steak-house broiler man. At lunchtime, the restaurant also offers a bountiful buffet. I’m sure they are going to hate me for telling you this, but whenever I eat the buffet here, I head straight for the garlic black-pepper chicken wings and ignore everything else. That makes me just like the tourists who line up outside. But they are the best chicken wings of all time. 953 E. Sahara Ave. in Commercial Center, 735-3033. Dinner for two is $40-$75. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; dinner 5:30-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 5:30-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 92 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Lotus’ new space (top) isn’t as comfortable as the old dining room, but it does have a nice wine bar. The menu still has the dishes that put Lotus on the map, such as this rice vermicelli curry (above), plus a lunchtime buffet that features the best chicken wings ever.
I just returned from one of my bimonthly gastronomic visits to Los Angeles, and am proud to say that Las Vegas is way ahead of Los Angeles for high-end dining. (If you don’t believe me, read S. Irene Virbila’s March 11 article on CityCenter in the Los Angeles Times food section. She was quite impressed.) We have the three-Michelin-star Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, as well as Alex, Guy Savoy, Pierre Gagnaire’s Twist and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. They put us way ahead in the luxury dining department. But L.A. still has Patina, Joachim Splichal’s temple of gastronomy at the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Hall, home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Splichal owns Pinot Brasserie here, but at Patina he’s gunning for—and may well get—that third Michelin star. His executive chef, Tony Esnault, an Alain Ducasse protégé, is amazing. I had my best dinner so far this year at this restaurant, with a vegetable mosaic and a melt-in-the-mouth cod dish leading the parade. I’d ride my bicycle down Interstate 15 to eat there again. Our own China Mama has delicious juicy pork dumplings, but I detect MSG. Arcadia’s Din Tai Fun, a dumpling house from Taiwan with branch restaurants all over Asia, serves a variety of steamed dumplings that put any here to shame. Langer’s Deli, at Seventh and Alvarado Street in central L.A., has the best pastrami sandwich on the planet (sorry, Carnegie): smoky, crusty, hand-sliced meat on double-baked rye bread. And with regard to Mexican food here versus what you get in La La Land, olvidete. That’s Spanish for “fuhgeddabouddit.” After my trip, I headed over to Valley Cheese and Wine (1770 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, Henderson, 341-8191) run by foodies Bob Howald and his wife, Kristin Sande, to plan a plain home snack. There I found Red Hawk, a washed rind cheese from California’s Cowgirl Creamery, and it rivals the best cheeses of France. A wedge seemed like a perfect homecoming gift to myself, especially paired with a few slices of his imported porchetta, an organic Fuji apple and a bottle of hearty red wine. I settled on a Côtes du Rhône from Domaine Les Grand Bois, Vintage 2007, after viewing Howald’s abundant choices. At $17, you’d have to be snifﬁng model glue to think you could get a California red that compares in quality for this price. Hungry, yet? Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at foodwinekitchen.com.
Potato Knish at Cut
Market Chop Salad at Society Café
Morning Bun at Starbucks
Shrimp Pita at Crazy Pita
The famous oeuvre “Thin Cook, Fat Cook” makes me think of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, where David Robins and Lee Hefter square off on menu concepts. At Cut, arguably the best Las Vegas steak house, small potato knishes, a complimentary amuse, are dense, moist and ﬁlling. Better plan on a lesser cut of beef. At the Palazzo, 607-6300.
This dish can be ordered a la carte or as part of the restaurant’s new “Lunch Box” menu, catering to busy professionals with a taste for inventive American cuisine and a lively atmosphere. The salad consists of organic turkey, Havarti cheese, avocado, carrots, celery and pumpkin seeds tossed in a white balsamic-tarragon vinaigrette. Choose from a selection of sandwiches and for dessert, doughnut bites or fresh fruit, to complete this three-course lunch box for adults. $23 (lunch) and $16 (a la carte), Encore, 248-3463.
For years I’ve been annoyed at the quality of the pastries at this ubiquitous chain, and it is cold comfort that they are equally bad all over the country. They now have panini heated up in a special microwave, though, and this delicious, yeasty bun pulls apart in layers. Have it heated with an overroasted cup of joe, the chain’s mainstay. $1.85, various locations, starbucks.com
Mehdi Zarhloul does great rotisserie chicken, marinated in preserved lemon like the dish poulet m’chermel from his native Morocco. Pita sandwiches, stuffed with kabobs, dressed with hummus or baba ghannouj, topped with cucumber, onion and tomato, are wonderful here. His shrimp pita is ﬁlled with spiced, grilled shrimp and deliciously seasoned cauliﬂower. Bet you can’t eat just one. $7.95. The District at Green Valley Ranch, 896-7482.
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Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Vegas Starts Here.™
Knish photo by Anthony Mair
Got a favorite dish? Tell us at email@example.com.
Dishing Got a favorite dish? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lobster Wontons at Tao
Bananas Foster Pie at Texas de Brazil
Beef Carpaccio at Olives
Meat Loaf at Off the Strip
This award-winning Asian bistro/ nightclub is a go-to spot for every celebrity who comes to Las Vegas. Tao’s pan-Asian cuisine is a big reason for its popularity. According to chef Nathan Henssler, the wontons are hand-folded every day, ﬁlled with Maine lobster and shrimp, and ﬁnished with a light shitake mushroom broth and scallions. $86, the Venetian, 388-8338.
Dining at this restaurant is an experience in itself, as you choose from a wide selection of meats carved at your table for a ﬁxed price. Texas de Brazil also has the ﬁnest selection of desserts, and the Bananas Foster Pie is its leading reason to save room. The dish is layered with bananas, ladyﬁngers cake, fudge and nuts over a graham cracker crust and then topped with whipped cream and caramel. $7.50 per slice, Town Square, 614-0080.
Todd English, one of the most wellknown and respected chefs in the country and creator of this Mediterranean restaurant, has many signature restaurants that run along the East and West coasts. His Las Vegas restaurant serves this tasty starter dish made with mixed greens, thinly sliced beef carpaccio, cippolini onions, garlic aioli and balsamic reduction over crispy polenta. $17, Bellagio, 693-7223.
This wildly popular Southern Highlands café and restaurant specializes in retro red-sauce Italian, but the meat loaf is the menu’s best bargain. Two mammoth slabs of oven-baked ground meat come topped with thick brown gravy, ﬂanked by a dome-shaped potato pie. It might be the most ﬁlling plate in town for the price, and it is certainly one of the best. $10, 10670 Southern Highlands Parkway, 202-2448.
96 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Cooking With … Bufala Ricotta and Fine Herb Agnolotti With Fresh Winter Truffles Pasta dough 1 pound 00 ﬂour 4 eggs 1 tablespoon extra
virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients in a kitchen or mixing bowl, mix at low speed to a smooth consistency. Set aside and rest for two hours.
The filling 2 cups bufala ricotta ½ cup mascarpone 2 egg yolks ½ cup grated Reggiano-Parmesan 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chive ½ tablespoon chopped chervil 1 tablespoon melted trufﬂe butter salt and pepper to taste
Place ricotta, mascarpone, eggs and Reggiano-Parmesan in a food processor; blend until smooth and add remaining ingredients. Place in a pastry or piping bag.
Ingredients for truffle sauce 2 cups chicken stock 1 cup white wine 4 ounces parmigiano
In a saucepot reduce white wine by half. Add chicken stock and the rind; reduce by half again. Strain and blend in butter, salt and pepper.
Sinatra chef rolls out a pasta recipe that can be done by lesser hands
Take the dough and roll out a long, rectangular sheet, about three inches across. Cut the sides with a pastry wheel to make the sheets straight down the edges.
By Max Jacobson
98 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
Carefully squeeze ﬁlling onto a pasta sheet in a long tube. Then fold the dough neatly over, pressing lightly with your index ﬁnger to seal the edge. Press out any pockets of air.
Suggested Pairings Jonathan Feiler, the sommelier at Sinatra, has chosen his most expensive wine by the glass, a 2005 La Spinetta Pin from the Piedmont region of Italy, to pair with the dish. The wine, priced at $32, is a blend of Nebbiolo (a Piedmontese grape) and Merlot. “It’s rich,” Feiler says, “but not as full-bodied as a Barolo or Barbaresco, and mushrooms in the nose are the perfect complement to the trufﬂe butter.”
To shape: Place thumb and foreﬁnger together as if pinching something and, leaving about 1 inch of space between your hands and holding your ﬁngers vertically, pinch the ﬁlling in 1-inch increments, making about 3/4 inch of “pinched” area between each pocket of ﬁlling. Run a sharp knife or crimped pastry wheel along the bottom edge of the folded-over dough, separating the strip of ﬁlled pockets from the remainder of the sheet. This will yield around four dozen squares with crimped edges, rather like small ravioli, if you will. Drop them into rapidly boiling water and cook to desired texture. Transfer to a sauté pan, reduce sauce mixture and coat pasta, adding one tablespoon of freshly cut chives. Finish with grated Parmesan cheese and shaved winter or summer trufﬂes. You can get the cheese, trufﬂe butter and mascarpone at a gourmet food store or at a Whole Foods Market. If winter trufﬂes are no longer available, summer trufﬂes will be. Fresh trufﬂes are prohibitively costly for some of us, so using more trufﬂe butter instead will dazzle your guests without the expense.
Photography by Anthony Mair
Steve Wynn hired Theo Schoenegger to be his chef at Encore’s Sinatra because of his kitchen skills, but his people skills are equally impressive. Fluent in Italian, German and English, the good-natured Theo (pronounced tay-o) has been in the kitchen since he was a boy in Italy’s Trentino Alto Adige, where his mother ran a restaurant. Since then, the chef has built quite a résumé, including stints at Munich’s three-Michelin-star Aubergine and Tantris, and later at Joachim Splichal’s Patina in Los Angeles, where he worked as executive chef. Schoenegger is a good guy to learn from, and watching him make this agnolotti dish was especially instructive. For one thing, the task is easier than you might think. Secondly, it’s worth it: Nothing matches the spring and elasticity of fresh pasta. Try it and see.
Parmesan rind 2 tablespoons butter salt and pepper to taste
HEALTH & FiTnEss
How to Pack a Better Lunch
Option A is having a chef custom-make it every day, but if that’s not practical, we also have some advice that is
By Sharon Kehoe
100 Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
plan costs $100 (for 10 meals in all) and includes a pick of salads, wraps or entrées, such as berry salad, turkey avocado wrap or grilled salmon ﬁlet. But not everyone can afford this kind of treatment. So Holly L. Brewer, a local registered dietitian for 17 years, understands why people resort to microwaveable meals. “These choices are not ideal since most are high in sodium, preservatives and additives,” she says. “But these frozen meals are a vast improvement over takeout or delivery and, when picking the right ones, can be quite healthy as well.” Korey Goodwin, a sports performance specialist, recommends a more old-fashioned alternative: packing a healthful lunch that begins with a sandwich (see sidebar). He also suggests putting a snack in your lunch pail. “An apple is a good source of ﬁber and also helps lower cholesterol,” says Goodwin, who suggests a Gala, Fuji or Granny Smith. “And an orange is a great source of vitamin C. Both fruits keep energy levels consistent without getting that huge falloff most people experience around 2 p.m.” You should also pack a “meal replacement,” such as a Bora Bora bar or a Larabar as a late-afternoon meal, he says, so when you drive home you can eat something quick and will be less likely to stop off at your favorite fast-food restaurant. Goodwin’s ﬁnal tip may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked by us desert-dwellers: Pack a liter of water in your lunch. This will help you achieve the four-liter-aday ideal. “Dehydration decreases mental clarity and optimal performance,” he says. “So make sure you stay hydrated, and the best source of hydration is water.”
Korey Goodwin’S Sandwich StrateGy 1. choose a 100 percent stone-ground whole-wheat bread or pita bread. As an alternative, create a lettuce wrap sandwich. 2. if you have to have mayo, use 2-3 teaspoons max. As an alternative try mustard instead, or a quarter to a half of an avocado, which contains the healthful kind of fat. 3. Use spinach instead of iceberg lettuce. Spinach has a cancer-ﬁghting antioxidant, combats ovarian and prostate cancers, and improves brain function. 4. tomatoes. One of the most well-known tomato-eating beneﬁts is lycopene. This antioxidant helps ﬁght against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases. 5. cucumbers. Composed of water but also containing ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, a cucumber’s hard skin is rich in ﬁber and contains a variety of beneﬁcial minerals, including silica, potassium and magnesium. 6. to cap it off, don’t forget a lean source of protein. Turkey meat is a good option, and 2-3.5 ounces is a good serving size.
Three Chef Green lunches (from top): caprese salad with sherry balsamic reduction; steak pizziola with asparagus, potatoes and marinara sauce; halibut scampi with bok choy, tomatoes and white-wine lemon sauce.
Lunch photos by Anthony Mair
With fast-food joints on nearly every corner of our “hurry-up” streets, it’s difﬁcult to not be lured by a drive-through quickie, especially with all those e-mails to answer and phone calls to make back at the ofﬁce. However, according to a recent survey sponsored by the American Chemistry Council, almost twothirds of Americans are changing the way they consume food, thanks to our present economy, with 72 percent of us now packing our own lunches. But the survey didn’t deﬁne what types of lunches these Americans were packing. It could be those salty, preservative-ﬁlled microwaveable meals, or just eating out of a cracker box during the noon hour. Jason Craig, project manager and lead VIP host at the Palms, wanted to avoid those traps. “I’m always so busy with my daily schedule that I don’t have time to pack a lunch,” he says. “I try to eat healthy, so it’s especially hard when people in your ofﬁce eat takeout and pizza.” Such dilemmas eased when Craig found chef Josh Green of Dream Culinary Group (271-1791), who, along with business partner Dan Molitor, provides custom meals for busy Las Vegans. The contents of a Dream lunch depend on an individual’s weight and lifestyle. “Obviously a UFC ﬁghter is going to have a different lunch than an ofﬁce manager,” Green says. But generally he steers his clients away from bad fats and excessive carbs and gets them to stick with balanced meals of whole-grain foods, vegetables and proteins (so hunger doesn’t ﬂare up and create bad temptations). The chef delivers three lunches and dinners to Jason on Mondays and another two of each on Thursdays. This ﬁve-lunch-and-dinner
SportS & LeiSure No Stranger to Success Kruger back in NCAA Tournament for 12th time in 24 seasons
By Rob Miech Lon Kruger’s lone trip to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four had a happy ending for at least one member of his family. Kruger coached Florida to a national semiﬁnal match against Duke in 1994, and the Blue Devils, led by Grant Hill, rallied from a double-digit deﬁcit in the second half to earn a 70-65 victory. The loss sent 10-year-old Kevin Kruger, Lon’s son, into tears. However, the youngster also was a big Blue Devils fan, and he ended up smiling ear to ear after Duke’s sports information director led him into the winning team’s locker room, where Kevin got to meet the players and Hill signed his shoes. “He got over it quicker than I did,” Coach Kruger says, laughing. “To say the least.” Kruger is back in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in his six seasons at UNLV, and the 12th time in 24 seasons as a head coach. He is 14-11 all time, including 8-3 in ﬁrst-round games, and is just the second head coach in college basketball history (along with Jim Harrick) to lead four schools to multiple NCAA appearances—having done so with Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV. Kruger, 57, not only reached the NCAA Tournament three times as an assistant coach at Kansas State, he led the Wildcats there as a player in 1972 and ’73. After missing the NCAAs in Kruger’s ﬁrst two years at UNLV, the Rebels, led by Kevin Kruger, went on a magical run in 2007 to the Sweet 16 for the ﬁrst time since 1991. UNLV reached the second round of the tournament in 2008, but failed to make the ﬁeld of 65 last year. With the Rebels playing a ﬁrst-round game against Northern Iowa on March 19, Kruger says a key to success in the tournament is sticking with what got you there. “With players, you don’t want to have to worry about getting ready to play. You want
them to continue to do what they did to get there,” he says. “You don’t want them to think they have to do something extra all of a sudden. You want them to do what they’ve done to become a good basketball team.” With Kansas State, Kruger faced UNLV and Jerry Tarkanian in the 1987 tournament as the top-seeded Rebels were on their way to the Final Four. UNLV beat the Wildcats, 80-61, as Armon Gilliam had 24 points and 11 rebounds. “I remember how good they were, how athletic they were and how big they were,” Kruger says. “We were concerned about our ability to initiate the offense because of their pressure, and that was a realistic concern. Gilliam, the big fella in there, intimidated our guys.” A year later, the Wildcats won three NCAA Tournament games but lost, 71-58, to Kansas in the Midwest Regional ﬁnal in Pontiac, Mich. The Jayhawks, led by star forward Danny Manning, went on to win the national title. “It was one of the tougher losses, because it was to our in-state rival and we had just beaten them in the Big Eight tournament,” Kruger says. “Seeing them go on and win the championship even makes it harder.” Kruger left Kansas State after the 1989-90 season and four NCAA Tournament appearances for Florida, which he led to two NCAA berths in six seasons, including the Final Four appearance. Kruger then led Illinois to three NCAA Tournament berths in four years, but left to coach the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks in 2000. Kruger, in recalling his past, says he realizes just how precious each season is. “All of a sudden, the time ﬂies,” he says. “Philosophically, it’s been a huge priority for our coaching families, players and fans to enjoy it. Compete like crazy, but enjoy what you’re doing. It does go by quickly.” Kruger hopes not too quickly this year.
Sports park brings big-league style to Las Vegas Ever dreamed of aiming for the fences at Fenway Park, Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium? While the reality of that is pretty slim for most of us, Las Vegans now can come close to the real thing. The Big League Dreams Sports Park at Freedom Park features scaled-down replicas of six famous major league stadiums, including Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium and Crosley Field. The 35-acre complex also includes eight batting cages (four for softball and four for baseball), two sportsSoftball teams play in “Dodger Stadium” at Freedom Park. 102
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themed restaurants, an indoor soccer facility and an area for picnics and private parties. The FieldTurf-covered ﬁelds, located at 3151 E. Washington Ave., are used primarily by youth baseball, adult slow-pitch softball and girls fast-pitch softball leagues, but the public is also welcome to use them when they are vacant. Las Vegas is the 10th Big League Dreams location to be developed since 1997. For more information, call 6424448 or go to bigleaguedreams.com. – Sean DeFrank
Kruger courtesy UNLV Photo Services/Aaron Mayes
Lon Kruger has guided UNLV to the NCAA Tournament three times in six seasons.
Going for Broke
Big money awaits as Big Dance tips off By Matt Jacob By now, you’ve found a way to get out of work for the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament, be it the blue ﬂu, a “sick” child at home or a ﬂat-out no-show. You may even be reading this right now while standing in line at a sports book, with a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket. So let’s get right to my ﬁrst-round point-spread winners (Note: My bankroll remains at $6,610 with last week’s picks tied to NCAA Tournament futures): $440 (to win $400) on Texas (-4.5) vs. Wake Forest (Thursday, March 18): Texas reminds me of Lindsay Lohan: Much like the 23-year-old actress, the Longhorns started off hot, then went downhill in a hurry. They won their ﬁrst 17 games, then stumbled to a 7-9 ﬁnish. And after covering in seven of its ﬁrst nine games, Texas was a point-spread disaster thereafter (3-17 ATS). But the talent that pushed the ’Horns to the No. 1 spot in the nation two months ago is still there, and now that they’re out of the brutal Big 12 Conference and a new season has essentially begun, I look for Texas to resemble the squad that beat the crap out of Pitt, USC, North Carolina and Michigan State in the ﬁrst month of the season. That starts with this game against Wake Forest, which was even worse down the stretch than Texas. The Demon Deacons (19-10 overall) lost ﬁve of their ﬁnal six games—including a 21-point loss to Miami in the ﬁrst round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament—and has no business being in the NCAAs, let alone being a No. 9 seed. And before you even think of putting your money on Wake Forest, consider this: The Demon Deacons have cashed just once in their last 11 NCAA Tournament games and just six times in their last 30 at neutral sites. Texas is 5-2 ATS in its last seven at neutral sites and 6-2 ATS in its last nine against ACC opponents. $220 (to win $200) on Temple (-4) vs. Cornell (Friday, March 19): Two things you can count on this time of year, every year: 1) My bracket will be a complete disaster by the second day of the tournament; and 2) a No. 12 seed will upset a No. 5 seed in the opening round. The 12-5 upset will happen again—it just won’t be this one. Admittedly, Cornell is quite capable of doing damage in the Big Dance, but this is a bad matchup for
the Big Red (who got royally jobbed by drawing a No. 12 seed). Temple has been a top-20 squad all season, and the reason is defense. The Owls give up 56.1 points per game and hold opponents to 37.9 percent shooting overall and 28.1 percent from 3-point range—ﬁgures that rank third, fourth and third in the nation, respectively. They enter the tournament on a 10-game winning streak, going 8-1-1 ATS. The Owls have been a moneymaking machine all season at 22-11-1 ATS; and going back some, the Owls are on spread-covering streaks of 40-17-1 as a favorite, 21-7-1 when favored by less than seven points and 8-0-1 when laying points at neutral sites. $110 (to win $100) on Purdue (-4) vs. Siena (Friday, March 19): When the general public lines up en masse on one side of a Cinderella in the opening round, you’ll always ﬁnd me going the other way. Such is the case with Purdue-Siena. Because the Boilermakers lost their best player (Robbie Hummel) to a season-ending knee injury three weeks ago, because the Boilermakers got destroyed in their second Big Ten tournament game (69-42 to Minnesota) and because Siena sprung a ﬁrst-round upset over Ohio State last year (a 74-72 double-overtime win), this is the one matchup everyone is targeting as their “upset special.” Not so fast. Purdue still is 27-5 and shared the Big Ten regular-season title (with Ohio State and Michigan). Purdue still has two outstanding players in E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. And Purdue has the NCAA pedigree, winning a ﬁrst-round game in each of the last three years. In fact, the Boilermakers have made the Big Dance 11 times since 1994, and they have gone 11-0 in ﬁrst-round games (average margin of victory: 12.2 points).
The easiest way to get into shape doesn't exist.
Bonus plays (all $55 to win $50): Take San Diego State-Tennessee UNDER 125 points (March 18), UTEP (+2.5) over Butler (March 18), Utah State (+3) over Texas A&M (March 19) and Oklahoma State (-1.5) over Georgia Tech (March 19). 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.
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March 18-24, 2010 Vegas Seven 103
Friday, March 26 Show at 9:00 p.m. Treasure Island Theatre Tickets: 702.894.7722
Seven queStionS Jerry tarkanian
The Shark talks about the Rebels’ period of invincibility, the great fall and politics
By Rob Miech
Does it ever get old talking about the glory days? I enjoy it. The year after we won it all was the best I ever had in coaching. I used to worry about every game, but we were so good that year. I’d ask Tim Grgurich, my assistant, “Can we be this good?” We were just blowing everybody out. Tim agreed. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing UNLV shirts. There was a time when our shirts surpassed Notre Dame as the most popular shirt. Notre Dame! Can you believe that? Did you ever envision beating Duke in the 1990 title game by 30 points? I never thought we’d beat Duke like we did. I never expected that. If we played Duke the next day, it would have been a tough game. Duke was a tough team. We just caught them on the right night. What has Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said to you about that game? He talks to me about it all the time. Very few people realize how our two teams mirrored each other. We played almost the same exact type of defense, with pressure and denying the front posts. They played 110
Vegas Seven March 18-24, 2010
more our style than anyone else in the country. He talks about how dominant we were and how athletic we were. But I’ve never heard him lose a ballgame and afterward not praise the other team. Mike’s a great person.
You’ll be a loser if you do. Never blame the ofﬁcials after you lose a game. Win a game, then you can tell the ofﬁcials what a lousy job they did. Lose a game, don’t say anything. I wanted so much to come out after a couple of those games those years, and I never did. I never could. And he said don’t tell people your problems. Half of them don’t want to hear it and the other half are glad you’re having those problems. That was so right.
There was a time when our “ shirts surpassed Notre Dame as
Does the way your UNLV chapter ended still sting? No. I love the university. Every time I go to games, students are fabulous. They stand and cheer, clap. People in the community have always been great. I just appreciate their support.
the most popular shirt. Notre Dame! Can you believe that? ”
Do you get a kick out of living on Justice Lane? (Laughs.) I do. Lois and I talk about the irony. What’s the best advice you ever got? Clark Van Galder, who coached football at Fresno State, said never make an excuse after you lose a game.
Your wife and son are into politics, yet you are sour on that business. Everything you do in politics is ripping the other guy, and I don’t like that at all. We never did that when we were coaching. As much as we had coaches we didn’t like, we never ripped them. Never did any negative recruiting. I don’t like all the negativity in politics. That’s what you have to do to win. You have to do it yourself if you want to win.
Photo by Francis George
The orange basketball mailbox on Justice Lane marks former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian’s residence in Rancho Nevada Estates. He and wife Lois paid $24,000 for the comfortable, 4,300-square-foot home in June 1973, 25 years before the NCAA paid him $2.5 million in an out-of-court settlement. The 79-year-old Rebel tells me, via the guard at the gate, to just come on in. He’s lying back in bed, having just watched the ﬁrst half of the Texas-Texas Tech game. (He organizes his days around the games on TV.) He gets up to greet me and gingerly walks past a dining-room table ﬁlled with orderly piles of paperwork and plops into a large brown leather chair in his living room. Therapy has helped him recover from a difﬁcult 2009, in which he broke two ribs, fractured his shoulder and underwent spinal surgery. His voice is strained, but he’s eager to talk about the 1989-90 season, when UNLV won its lone national championship. He’s just as eager to see the Rebels play Colorado State in a few hours.