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February 6–12, 2014




February 6–12, 2014

While solar-energy projects have provided sustainable power in the Southern Nevada desert, vacant casinos offer uncharted opportunities. This project reenvisions Echelon Place—Boyd Gaming’s grand project that was stunted by the Great Recession—as both a public park on the Strip and a center for energy and water independence. The project integrates a solar tower complex, as well as water collection and reclamation facilities—not to mention breathtaking pools, spas and baths. With Echelon soon to be replaced by Resorts World, of course, this is an alternative vision of 2034—but one that creatively explores the potential for Las Vegas to stay true to its whimsical roots while blazing new trails in sustainability.





February 6–12, 2014

By Gensler of Nevada



The Las Vegas Promenade reenvisions the Strip as home to a system of temporary pop-up cubes, arranged and confgured to create an array of gathering spaces. This space expresses what we call the “urban mosaic”: When we share space at any one place, at any one time, everyday life becomes a special event. The Promenade was designed to embrace the fexibility, interactivity and everchanging nature of Las Vegas. The project trades automobile traffc for opportunities for meaningful connections between locals and visitors. Meanwhile, it supports the city’s entrepreneurial spirit and— with a constantly shifting menu of options—celebrates its heritage as an entertainment capital.

February 6–12, 2014





By Jacob Rivard, Marshall Cowan and Heather Holmstrom

Of the many projects interrupted by the Great Recession, the most visible was the Fontainebleau at the center of the Strip. But time and ingenuity can heal and redeem: Our Fontainebleau Re-Engagement would go beyond completing the project: It would revise it for maximum sustainability, eliminating the need to import resources and even producing its own resources for export. The new Fontainebleau will be both a resort and a growing center for the Valley through hydroponic farming. The site uses algae panels that flter the water, and airproducing bio-fuels that help power the co-generation plant. The algae is engineered to be bio-luminescent, providing a soft glow—a nod to the neon lights of a city always prepared to re-engage its past and re-envision its future.


By Dan Sturges and Gensler of Nevada By 2034, car-free communities have become the rage in Las Vegas. The frst one was built north of the city in 2021, and a number of existing communities have been retroftted to this new model. These communities trade streets and driveways for greenways and pedestrian and bicycle paths. They also feature an automated “horizontal elevator” type of system (“PODcars”) for effciently moving people and goods within the communities through high-tech alleys.



Architecture has shifted paradigms—from the solid and static nature of building to a soft and dynamic reality. In the new paradigm, the crossbreeding of smart technology and design gives birth to a new ways to design and experience moments in space. This rendering is a proposed design solution for the Harmon (post-implosion). The blimp projects “holoscapes”—roving holographic settings, which have the potential to move to any urban landscape.

February 6–12, 2014

By Talah Pejooh



By Brett Robillard, Robert Kilian and Bergman, Walls & Associates

February 6–12, 2014

You approach via private jet, wander among interwoven gardens and waterfalls, play on the sprawling beach: It’s 2034, and Las Vegas is still the place to fnd a fresh reality. This hyperluxury resort would be the Strip’s next grand spectacle, a seamless fusion of grandeur and intimacy.





In downtown Henderson, Water Street is undergoing a rebirth spurred on by the City’s Redevelopment Agency, the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, and local business owners and residents. This project transforms the once-blighted quarter-mile stretch into a vibrant, walkable, culturally rich urban neighborhood with the addition of multifamily housing, a communityoriented public market and eclectic local retail, dining and entertainment establishments.

February 6–12, 2014

By Windom Kimsey


THE LAS VEGAS BIO-RING By Gensler of Nevada

The Bio-Ring is a new threshold around the Valley. At once created to control sprawl and to address energy and water problems, this massive undertaking would include ecologically driven elements such as photovoltaic arrays and rainwater harvesting. It would also include just about everything else: condos, highways, farms, greenbelts, arenas and offce space. The ring creates a barrier to enhance that which lies within while preserving what lies outside: the stark, natural desert landscape. It is a dramatic departure from the uncontrolled developerdriven sprawl that has characterized much of the physical expansion of Las Vegas. It is a bold, new edge.

953 CC

February 6–12, 2014

By Marco A. Davis



This post-urbanist vision reimagines the 120 acres surrounding Commercial Center on Sahara Avenue from Maryland Parkway to Paradise Road. The sculptural master plan features mixed-use forms and an intertwining, multitiered fow of pedestrian and vehicular energy.


Dig deep into vinyl and more with Jamie Jones By Deanna Rilling

him so hot? Jones routinely blends not only old and new sounds, but he does so using both retro and modern technology. That he’s booked for a 3 a.m. set at Marquee on February 15 (really, early February 16) is an indication that Las Vegas is fnally ready to go a little deeper.

February 6–12, 2014

Hot Collections

HE HAS A BAND band called Hot Natured. He’s championing the new sound of real house music via his record label, Hot Creations. And he’s earned the top spot on’s hot list. If you grade by the adjective, DJ/producer Jamie Jones is on fre right now. What makes



Your city after dark, photos from the week’s hottest parties and the new app that puts you in the VIP seat



BOOKMARK THIS! These sites deliver trending memes and hot nightlife gossip: UNLOOKER.COM



Feb. 6 Alie Layus spins Feb. 8 OB-One spins Feb. 14 Breathe Carolina DJ set

If you’re in the mood for uproarious videos and biting satire (read: procrastination) is the spot. Jack Colton—the man behind one of Las Vegas’ most honest and most visited online nightlife guides at JackColton. com—launched the “Internet’s guilty pleasure” in October with co-writers Michael Mills and Michael Kelly. The three serve as “content DJs,” says Colton, and they round up funny and shocking videos, photos and posts, and throw in plenty of snark to make the reader feel a little smarter. “At the end of the day people just want to enjoy themselves,” he says. “We decided to take that experience online.” And it’s working. Unlooker has garnered 12 million unique visitors and has been viewed from every country in the world, Colton says, except one disputed African territory. Their loss.


38 See more photos from this gallery at

Seeking to fill a gap in Las Vegas’ LGBT online community, the mysterious blog Mister Scandal launched at the end of August. Mister Scandal himself, who requested to remain anonymous, works with a small team and writes most of the content himself. Born and raised in the Valley, the blogger noticed the city lacked LGBT publications and businesses. “There wasn’t anything geared toward my demographic [18-to 30-year-olds] that really captured what gays like,” he says. Mister Scandal is flooded with fun and lighthearted celebrity and pop culture posts, but does touch on serious topics. In addition to covering Britney Spears and Beyoncé, Mister Scandal also provided insight to the controversy surrounding the closures of Krave and Drink & Drag because of liquor licensing. With a readership reaching 100,000 visitors a month, Mister Scandal says the feedback has been overwhelming. “I’ve never done this before,” he says, noting that before launching the blog he worked as a personal assistant for a local nightlife and entertainment industry CEO. “I write as if I was having a casual conversation with someone.” – Nicole Ely


February 6–12, 2014







See more photos from this gallery at


February 6–12, 2014

The Palms




The Cosmopolitan [ UPCOMING ]



See more photos from this gallery at


February 6–12, 2014

Feb. 15 Jamie Jones spins after-hours Feb. 16 Halfway to EDC Pool Party Feb. 17 Chuckie spins



THE ARTISAN 1501 W. Sahara Ave. [ UPCOMING ]



See more photos from this gallery at


February 6–12, 2014

Feb. 12 Cuban Night Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day Pajama Party


Two Naked dudes: Dolias (left) and Palmeri.

such as Canadian honey mussels steamed in spicy tomato broth and salmon Veracruzana. You don’t have to look to the fancier plates to understand why this place is so popular: Dolias pays attention to the smallest details, such as creating a rotating assortment of unforgettable rice and bean side dishes (when was the last time you raved about the rice or beans in a Mexican restaurant?), and spicing his freshly made guacamole with everything from crumbled blue cheese and bacon to toasted pumpkin seeds. About the only things not made in-house are the tortillas, but they are brought in fresh every morning from a local supplier. I’ve had nearly all of the half dozen tacos on the menu, and have never been disappointed. But the standouts have been the chivo and the pollo. The frst is slow-braised goat cooked with chilies, avocado leaf, banana

leaf, onion, cilantro and radish in a way that highlights its gamey nature (unlike so many American restaurants, which choose to conceal it). The chicken, on the other hand, is slow-cooked to make it tender and juicy, and it’s mildly favored with a green pumpkin-seed sauce and a house-made lime queso fresco. Among the burritos (all of which can be ordered “enchilada style,” or covered with sauce and cheese, for an extra two bucks), you’ll fnd a chicken version and a Cali Burrito made with skirt steak and french fries. But the burrito de machaca—made with braised beef, bell peppers and eggs—is the most interesting. I liked an early version that was a bit bolder than the most recent one I tasted, but both were delicious. In all other ways, Desnudo’s cuisine gets better every time I try it. Any minor complaints in my frst review (among them,

awkward serving vessels and an occasional order of stale tortilla chips) seem to be things of the past—although I’m still not overwhelmed by the chips. Given the overall quality of Mexican restaurants in Las Vegas, however, Desnudo already stands out as one of the city’s best, and manages to do so for a reasonable price.

DESNUDO TACOS 3240 Arville St., 982-6435. Open 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon–Sat, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun. Dinner for two, $25-$40. AL’S MENU PICKS

Burrito de machaca, enchilada style ($8.50), chivo tacos ($6.50 for two), pollo tacos ($6 for two), daily special rice or beans ($3 each), sopa de fdeo ($5), guacamole ($5-$8).


VALENTINE’S DAY DINING February 6–12, 2014

Before you dim the lights, treat that special someone to one of these romantic dinners.



Chef David Myers of Comme Ça takes inspiration from Julia Child with his three-course Sweethearts Dinner that includes chocolate soufflé with vanilla raspberry Anglaise. As if French cuisine wasn’t romantic enough, the restaurant will be candlelit for the occasion. ($59 per person, in the Cosmopolitan, 698-7910,

• Would

you share a plate with your date? SHe By Morton’s offers shareable options, including a 48-ounce rib eye ($150) and twin filet medallions with rock lobster tails ($129). Then decide whether you two would rather split a box of gourmet chocolates ($8) or chocolate bar ($10). (In the Shops at Crystals, 254-2376,

• At Andrea’s, the choice is

yours between the Look of Love tasting menu ($85 per person), which starts with an aphrodisiac sparkler toast, or the Lover’s Lane package ($110 per person), which adds a shellfish platter, chocolate-covered strawberries and, most importantly, private seating. (In Encore, 770-3463, For more ways to get to the heart through the stomach, check out – Camille Cannon

Even though it’s still several months away, food lovers from around the country have already begun their collective salivation for one of the largest culinary weekends in the country: Vegas Uncork’d. Now in its eighth year, the four-day gourmet party sponsored by Bon Appétit ( returns for the feeding frenzy that showcases some 70 chefs and 20 sommeliers through 50 events over Mother’s Day weekend, May 8-11. Tickets for the festival went on sale last week, and within a few hours, foodies hungrily snatched up seats for some prime events. Unless you were quick on the draw, you will have to miss out on sushi making and sake tasting with Nobu Matsuhisa, Old Homestead’s Master Series dinner and learning pastry tips from François Payard. But the most coveted ticket appears to be for the cooking and wine demonstration with Chef of the Century Joël Robuchon, which sold out in 90 minutes. While Guy Savoy’s May 8 master series dinner is also sold out, you can still throw down for the Krug Chef Table for six (for $5,000) on the same evening. If you think the price tag is a bit exorbitant, it’s worth a mention that the chef’s table is literally inside the Guy Savoy kitchen, so close that the chefs are practically hand-feeding you. New to the Uncork’d schedule is a mega collaboration between American contemporary master Shawn McClain of Sage and Five50 in Aria, and French culinary god Pierre Gagnaire of Twist in Mandarin Oriental, A Twist on Dinner ($400 per person) on May 8. The more casual Chef’s Counter ($175 per person) puts celebrity chefs JeanGeorges Vongerichten and Michael Mina behind the stations at the buffet in Aria on May 10. The Venetian returns to the festivities with its arsenal of chefs, including Mario Batali, Thomas Keller and Buddy Valastro, as well we chefs from sister property Marina Bay Sands Singapore with The Night Market: East Meets West ($140 per person) on May 8. The Night Market also is the battleground for the second annual Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge, where two students from Las Vegas’ Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts compete against each other, paired with professional chefs in their corners, to win $20,000. The anchor to the entire weekend, The Grand Tasting ($300 early VIP admission, $225 general admission)—or what I affectionately call the Food Nerd Prom—takes place once again around the five acres of Caesars Palace’s Garden of the Gods pool, and this is the one place where you’ll see just about every culinary star Las Vegas has to offer. I’ll be the one wearing the corsage while trying to get my picture taken with Chef Robuchon. Again. Grace Bascos eats, sleeps, raves and repeats. Read more from Grace at DishingWithGrace, as well as on her dining-andmusic blog,





Plenty of chefs can give you chicken and waffes. But leave it to chef John Church to offer chicken in a waffe ($13). At his new Downtown breakfast and lunch spot, Church’s crispy golden-fried chicken comes sandwiched between two halves of a fuffy Belgian waffe, lightly coated in homemade gravy. Forget the fork and knife, just pick it up and enjoy! 500 S. Main St., 380-8229, BLUE RIBBON SUSHI BAR & GRILL

Mmm, mmm good: M&M Soul Food’s fried chicken, mac and cheese, yams and collard greens.

Eat This Page! Fry the coop with Las Vegas’ most delicious and diverse fried chicken


By Al Mancini

➧ GOT A CRAVING for fried chicken? Sure, you could settle for fast food or supermarket takeout, some of which is pretty good. But a lot more is happening to our poultry pals in fryers across the Valley. Whatever your taste, one of these spots should have a bird to suit it. (And for you purists, we’ve left out the fried chicken skins about to be introduced at Cabo Wabo Cantina, since there’s no actual meat to that matter.)

In a restaurant that’s half sushi bar, half grill house, the signature fried chicken ($28) combines east and west. These plump, juicy nuggets of chicken are coated in a seasoned batter, but the real kick comes from the accompanying wasabi honey, a gooey mixture of hot and sweet that perfectly complements the saltiness of the chicken. Don’t be surprised if you fnd yourself licking it off the fork when the chicken is gone. And once Brooklyn Bowl opens in the Linq, there will be two places in town to enjoy it. In the Cosmopolitan, 736-0808,

It takes chef Joe Zanelli an incredible three days to make the chicken he serves every Sunday for dinner ($23). These humanely raised birds are soaked in buttermilk for two days before being fried to order in his secret blend of masa (corn) four and seasoning. The result is a beautifully spiced crispy skin that falls off of the bird—tempting you to eat it alone. But with chicken this good, that would be a mistake. 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., 445-6100, HASH HOUSE A GO GO

Hash House A Go Go’s three Las Vegas locations aren’t known for skimping, and the Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken Benedict ($15.25) is a true tribute to gluttony. Like all of the house Benedicts, it starts with a fresh, split biscuit and mashed potatoes. In addition to crispy, juicy fried chicken, chefs also pile on fresh spinach, hardwood smoked bacon, tomato, griddled mozzarella and scrambled eggs, then smother the entire mountain of food in spicy chipotle cream sauce. That’s a ton of favor—as well as a ton of calories! 6800 W. Sahara Ave., 804-4646;

in the Plaza, 384-4646; in the Quad, 254-4646, BACHI BURGER

This burger chain’s Asian take on the American staple of classic fried chicken is more complicated than the traditional Japanese kara-age you’re likely to fnd in your favorite ramen house. The chili-fried chicken ($7) is a plate of crispy little morsels seasoned in chili peppers, garlic, ginger and shoyu-style soy sauce. As all of those favors hit your palate at once, you might quickly fnd yourself addicted. Sure, this place is best known for its burgers, but these stand up just as well. 470 E. Windmill Lane, 242-2244; 9410 W. Sahara Ave., 255-3055, BAR + BISTRO

Chef Beni Velázquez puts a Spanish spin on fried chicken in his Little Pollo ($9). In addition to coating his chicken pieces in buttermilk, salt, four and traditional spices, he kicks it up a level by adding sofrito, a Spanish/Latin American spice mix. After deepfrying and sealing in all of that favor, Velázquez serves it with wedges of lemon and lime for a little citrus lift. 107 E. Charleston Blvd., 2026060,

Fried chicken, Blue Ribbon style.

February 6–12, 2014

The chicken here is a classic Southern-fried treat: crisp and moist with a beautifully seasoned crust. But if you want to take it to the next level, ask for it smothered in the thick, rich house gravy ($10-$14). Sure, it can get a little messy, but I’ll gladly wear gravy stains on my shirt the rest of the day for that beautiful combination of favors. Make sure to get the large order, because everyone at your table will be eating off your plate. 3923 W. Charleston Blvd., 453-7685,






before he became Louis CK, one-man comedy juggernaut. Those types of comics used to be found at Empire and the Playboy Comedy Club before it. Both were operated by Cort McCown, himself a stand-up out of Los Angeles. It was the only show in town that was putting the likes of Patrice O’Neal and Marc Maron onstage regularly. Since Empire folded, there were the occasional one-offs at Sunset Station’s Club Madrid or a Pearl show with some of the more established names in the altcomedy scene, such as Brian Posehn or Doug Stanhope. But nothing as regular as McCown’s showcase, and certainly no place for the next generation of breakout comics who aren’t yet household names. Someone like Norton is a safe toe in the water for a venue like Vinyl. After six specials and two New York Times bestsellers, he has a dedicated fan base that allows him to fll the 500 seats at Club Madrid despite fying under Middle America’s radar. He also has a metric ton of respect in the comedy community. Which means he’s exactly the type of comedian who has the toughest go of it in Las Vegas. The road dogs who are there to entertain weary tourists willing to go see any show for 90 minutes? They have homes up and down the Strip. Headliners like Jeff Dunham, wildly popular but little regarded by the artistic-minded? He’s flling up the Colosseum. But those veterans who the comedy nerds love, and the

up-and-comers who dazzle the obsessives, are stranded between two worlds. Comedy here goes through periods of ebb and flow. The last upswing started in 2012 when the Laugh Factory at the Tropicana and Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM set up shop. Now Bonkerz is moving from Palace Station to the Foundation Room, Fiesta Henderson has announced the Cancun Comedy Jam and several Down-

comedians we’ve done there, we knew that could also work for us at Vinyl.” But will he bring the nextgen comics who excite the cognoscenti? McAndrew booked Jim Jefferies for May 31 at The Joint, certainly a comedian who fts that quasi-underground, alt-comedy mold. But Jefferies’ spot in the big room is fueled by his FX series Legit. It’s the same model that drives The Mirage’s Aces of Comedy series, where the schedule has

Comedy Central roasts). “With the popularity of Comedy Central and shifting demographics coming into Las Vegas, we needed to look at some other acts. Some of those are a little bit edgier,” says Franz Kallao, vice president of hotel operations for The Mirage. But while this quest for edge might mean comics with more serrated material, it’s still a name game: Myers, after all, was on the cover of Time. He’s more a big thing than the

COMEDIANS ON THE RISE FIND THEMSELVES STUCK IN THE MIDDLE: THEY’RE PRICED OUT OF COMEDY’S MINOR LEAGUES, BUT THEY’RE NOT YET READY FOR THE MAJORS. town locations have either hosted, or are rumored to be starting, comedy programs. Hard Rock director of entertainment Max McAndrew helped bring comics to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in the pre-Live Nation days. Now he thinks he can replicate that success at Vinyl. “When Vinyl was built, one of the intentions was to do comedy in here,” McAndrew says. “Being the Hard Rock, we have to go after A-level talent. Yes, the lion’s share of that falls to people who play instruments. But if you look at The Joint and some of the big

taken more chances over the last couple of years. When Aces started in 2010, the lineup was safe and full of famous names: Jay Leno, Kevin James and Ray Romano. Ever since Daniel Tosh became a regular in 2012, though, it has seen an increasing number of younger and alt-leaning comics with strong TV followings: Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), Seth Myers (Late Night), Nick Swardson (Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time) and Jeff Ross (whose The Burn wasn’t renewed for a third season, but who came to prominence through the

next big thing. Last January’s Comedy Central weekend put MGM Resort’s imprimatur on big-ticket comedy in Las Vegas, with shows from Dave Attell, Norton, Schumer, Swardson and Anthony Jeselnik. (Kallao says another such weekend is on its way this year, though after the frst quarter.) So what about the lesserknowns yearning to be known? It isn’t fair to the audience or performer, Kallao says, to put them in the 1,200-seat Terry Fator Theatre. It’s a gamble to everyone involved. (And, of course, no self-respecting host wants 800 unsold seats.)

Comedians on the rise fnd themselves stuck in the middle: They’ve priced themselves out of comedy’s minor leagues, but they’re not yet ready for the majors. “What happens with a lot of these guys is they’re breaking out, doing some good road gigs, and if they get on the college tours, their expectations on the pay per week may be higher than what most of the comedy clubs can afford,” says Juaquin Trujillo, who with Matt Chavez has operated the L.A. Comedy Club everywhere from Planet Hollywood to the Four Queens to its current home at Bally’s for the last seven years. (They recently started booking talent for Las Vegas Live, the comedy showcase at the V Theater.) “When you have a comedian who needs $6,000 for the week or two shows, when the average pay per week is $3,000 for six shows, it’s diffcult for them to fnd their spot. I feel bad, because they’re at that level where they’re going to be making out big, but they’re exceeding some of the regular comedy clubs’ budgets, so they get caught in limbo.” Can Vinyl close the comedy gap? Norton’s performance was a good sign—but there’s a lot of Vegas history to overcome. “The one phase of comedy in Vegas [that’s been missing],” McAndrew says, “is when you get to that level where you’re not a total unknown but you’re not well enough to book a big room. It’s the one area Vegas doesn’t do a good job capitalizing on. That’s the black hole of the comedy circuit.”


February 6–12, 2014

Despite, or rather because of, his underground cred, Jim Norton is a tough fit for the Vegas market.



With ... Like Clockwork, this old flame ticks back into our writer’s heart and playlist.

Love at First Byte Queens of the Stone Age’s stop at The Joint rekindles early bromance

February 6–12, 2014

By Todd Peterson



QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE are dogging QOTSA encounter: June 1, 1999, I me again, just like they did the frst was headed to The Joint to catch time we met. Only now it’s much Hole. It was nearing the end of worse because, for one, I’m usually Courtney Love’s consideration as tethered to a screen, and once “the a serious musician, her post-Kurt Internet” fgures out I like someslipstream fzz-out. The opening thing, it won’t let me forget that it band’s name hadn’t registered with knows what I like. So the weird and me, but I’d parked shortly after they woozy strains of “Kalopsia” and the came on. As I made my way toward chunky funk of “I Sat by the Ocean” The Joint’s main doors, it was as if a accompany my online giant, invisible hand was Pottery Barn splurge pushing me back, such from ads featuring was the sonic force of QUEENS OF QOTSA’s 2013 album the sound. Their songs THE STONE AGE … Like Clockwork. were thick enough to Back during our initaste, as QOTSA’s frontWith Chelsea tial acquaintance in the man Josh Homme—a Wolfe at The Joint late ’90s, the idea that massive, slouching at the Hard Rock, QOTSA would ever be monolith—snarled the 8 p.m. Feb. 13, “mainstream” didn’t lyrics to “Regular John” $39.50 and up. seem plausible. Yes, and “You Would Know,” lots of so-called indie and bassist Nick Oliveri acts transitioned to strutted and thrashed larger audiences throughout the across his side of the stage. ’90s and early 2000s, and QOTSA’s Between songs, it was clear the third album, Songs for the Deaf, crowd didn’t know what to do with was a hit with critics and fans. But Queens of the Stone Age. The way I even then the group’s muscular, remember it (which may or may not groove-heavy, desert stoner rock be accurate at all) was as an eerie never seemed to me a candidate for silence, punctuated by coughing, a mass-appeal mall music. Color me few polite claps and the shuffing of wrong. Here they are, 15 years later: shoes; they were obviously there for at the Grammys; doing the latethe headliner. I, on the other hand, night shows; headlining Coachella; hightailed it to a long-since-defunct and in your town, hawking Clockrecord store and bought their selfwork during a full-throttle tour. titled debut CD. For the next six Here’s how I remember my frst months or so, in this pre-digital-

music age, it was pretty much the only disc I listened to. By 2002, when QOTSA caught fre with Songs for the Deaf, I’d moved on from Las Vegas, but caught them on this tour. Their next two albums, Lullabies to Paralyze and Era Vulgaris, were fair enough, but lacked the intensity of Songs and their debut. As Homme and other members played more frequently with side projects such as Eagles of Death Metal and Them Crooked Vultures, I, too, drifted away from QOTSA. When … Like Clockwork was released, I didn’t rush to listen to the album. After Era Vulgaris, I thought I knew what to expect from the Queens. They’d become—I felt—kinda predictable. So, on my initial spin through Clockwork, I hadn’t expected to be stopped cold by the haunted “Vampyre of Time and Memory” or the muscle-rock swagger of “If I Had a Tail.” I wasn’t prepared for much of the album. Maybe I was the one who’d become predictable? Clockwork comes six years after QOTSA’s last studio album, and its title makes for all types of clever adages about timeliness and history and such, but put those thoughts aside. Clockwork, instead, takes Queens of the Stone Age to a place they seemed headed toward to begin with, and one that’ll be better understood than 15 years ago.

For many punk fans, it seems like Happy Campers have been on an extended trip—or else wandered off into the thorny thicket of adult responsibilities, rarely to be heard from again. The Las Vegas punk band has kept a low profile for the last six years, playing the odd live show once a month and doing short tourjaunts outside Nevada. The Campers, who’ve been kicking around since the mid-’90s, are family men now, but they’re easing back into the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle for the release of a new album, Dancing With Demons. Fans will notice the addition of lead guitarist Bill Simons, converting Campers into a quartet. “Bill brings a new element to our sound,” says singer-guitarist Isaac Irvine. “His crazy solos—and everything else he does—take us up a huge notch in terms of professionalism.” Credit for the Campers’ sleeker sound also goes to Demons producer Ryan Greene (NOFX, Megadeth). Recording in Hollywood with someone who helped define the ’90s punk-rock sound has injected Irvine & Co. with creative urgency, if a melodic, blistering track like “Bleeding Me Dry” is any indication. “Before this, our CDs were done in Vegas, and they came out great,” Irvine says. “But recording with someone who has produced major-label bands pushed us to work harder.” Many of the songs on Demons come from a thirty-something perspective instead of a righteous twenty-something vantage. Of course, a Campers disc wouldn’t be a Campers disc without a politically charged anthem or three. “People who like Happy Campers are going to love this new record,” Irvine says. “It sounds like us, only a lot better.” The Happy Campers’ CD-release party takes place at 9 p.m. February 8 in front of the Hard Rock Café. Battle Born and At It Again share the bill. See Jarret’s picks for this week’s underground music, including reggae-tinged metal band Lionize’s Cheyenne Saloon gig, at





THE NEW COLLEGE TRY Parents fnd romance on their kids’ university tour By Michael Phillips Tribune Media Services


contrived. It’s also worth seeing because it breathes a little, and because Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia know what they’re doing as they guide this appealingly simple brief encounter of a romance. Their characters, Edith and George, meet in the parking lot of fctional Middleton College, where they’ve come with their respective offspring for a tour. Both Edith and George are married, not miserably but not happily. Taissa Farmiga, Vera’s younger (by 21 years) sister, plays Edith’s daughter. When the two actresses share a scene the familial resemblance—and the easy rapport, even when they’re spitting nails at each other—accomplishes a lot in between the lines. The lines were written by director Adam Rodgers and his co-author, Glenn German, and At Middleton follows a carefully prescribed narrative. The contrasts are established early and often. Edith, a seller of high-end furniture, is a two-stairs-at-a-time bounder-upper, more of a free spirit than bow-tied and slicked-back George, a cardiac surgeon. As their kids get to know each other on the

Farmiga and Garcia cruise back to their coed days.

college tour, the adults do too, on their own time and in their own way. Edith suggests “borrowing” a couple of bicycles for a while. Later they smoke marijuana with a couple of friendly students, one of whom they meet at a campus screening of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, that paragon of romantic longing in cinema. Rodgers and German are interested in exploring the possibilities, in a cozy, middlebrow vein, of the campus setting, as the younger characters are beginning

their adult lives and the older ones are beginning to question the solidity of their marriages. A lot of At Middleton (unfortunate title) feels slightly pushy in the comedy. It’s the more plaintive exchanges between Farmiga and Garcia that provide the glue. Shot on two separate campuses in the state of Washington, director Rodgers’ feature flm directorial debut was brought in for less than $3 million. The supporting cast includes Tom Skerritt, as a famous linguistics prof, and Peter

February 6–12, 2014




Labor Day (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

We can buy a lot in fiction, on the page. The movies make romantic balderdash easier to swallow in some ways but tougher in others. Kate Winslet has such sound and reliable dramatic instincts (that Face doesn’t hurt, either) she very nearly makes something of Adele. Josh Brolin lets his mellow, insinuating voice do the heavy lifting as tight-lipped Frank, a hunky amalgam of Shane and a drifter out of a William Inge play. For all his skills, Jason Reitman hasn’t fully mastered the director’s most important tool: the BS detector.

That Awkward Moment (R) ★★✩✩✩ More grating than peppy, this Manhattan-set romantic comedy proceeds as a series of awkward moments in search of a premise and a protagonist a little less stupid. Zac Efron bed-hops around as writer-director Tom Gormican’s narrator/hero. He’s a graphic designer whose life is one long hookup. This lady-killer, meant to be fetchingly blasé on the surface and a fine fellow underneath, comes off like such a pluperfect egotist, you find yourself rooting for everyone but him. That Awkward Moment sets such a low bar for Jason’s redemption it becomes a drag.

The Invisible Woman (R) ★★★✩✩

Claire Tomalin’s excellent study of Charles Dickens and his love affair with actress Nelly Ternan, outside the bounds of Dickens’ famously bustling home life (at least until it caused the end of his marriage), has now been adapted into an absorbing film, The Invisible Woman. Even if you don’t entirely buy this version of events, director Ralph Fiennes has given us a speculation that works as drama. It’s an elegant bit of goods. The film works mainly because of its actors and because Fiennes gives us a spirited, loving tribute to theatrics.

Reigert, froggy-voiced and amusing as the campus radio station DJ. The music’s a considerable plus; jazz veteran Arturo Sandoval composed the score, providing a rich variety of material, from lush strings (used sparingly, thank God) to catchy, bittersweet waltzes. Small as it is, the flm itself functions as a catchy, bittersweet waltz. You’ve heard it before, but the dancers are fun to watch. At Middleton (R) ★★★✩✩

By Tribune Media Services

Gimme Shelter (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

It’s hard not to be affected by a story about a pregnant, homeless teenager such as the one at the heart of Gimme Shelter, which stars High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens. But some movies, full of good intentions and clichés undermining those intentions, make it very hard indeed. In this one, writer-director Ron Krauss deals a mixture of truth; characters based on actual people, composites and creative fabrications. But Gimme Shelter suffers from an acute case of the fakes. The speeches sound like speeches, and not good ones.


Ride Along (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

This is the ol’ odd-couple cops routine, rigged up to support the pairing of Ice Cube, in the role of a snarling Atlanta police detective on the trail of an arms dealer, and Kevin Hart, as the detective’s prospective brother-in-law, a high school security guard with aspirations to join the force. Hart’s Ben Barber must prove his worthiness to his future in-law and show he has what it takes to be a good cop. The rest of the movie is sexual molestation jokes, misjudged brutality and a general glorification of assault weapons. No surprises.

The Nut Job (PG) ★✩✩✩✩

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

Chris Pine plays the CIA analyst portrayed in previous films by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has plenty of action, almost all of it staged and edited in the manner of a Paul Greengrass Bourne movie (hand-held frenzy, without the Greengrass spatial clarity). This is a Jack Ryan prequel, introducing our hero as an American grad student, driven to serve as a Marine once 9/11 changes the course of modern history.

Lone Survivor (R) ★★★✩✩

Director and co-writer Peter Lepeniotis’ movie comes from Surly Squirrel, an animated short the filmmaker made nearly a decade ago. It wasn’t much to look at and wasn’t funny either, and in that film the titular rodent was an unrepentant punk. Since Surly—even the new, redeemable model— spends so much of the story being a flaming jerk, The Nut Job fights its protagonist’s own charmlessness. Turning a dislikable leading character a little less dislikable by the end sets a low bar for this sort of thing. Kids deserve better. Even squirrels deserve better.

Roughly half of Lone Survivor is a standardissue Hollywood treatment of a recent, bloody and, tragic 2005 Navy SEAL mission to eliminate an al-Qaida operative in Afghanistan. But the other half—the hour or so of writer-director Peter Berg’s film dealing with what happens when four men are cut off in Taliban country, scrambling under fire—is gripping stuff, free of polemics, nerve-wracking in the extreme. Mark Wahlberg plays Luttrell. Eric Bana plays the commander back at Bagram Air Field, monitoring what becomes a terrible ambush. The heart of the film is pure crisis and response.

Her (R) ★★★★✩

Inside Llewyn Davis (R) ★★★✩✩

A delicate, droll masterwork, writer-director Spike Jonze’s Her sticks its neck out. It tells a love story about a forlorn writer, played by refreshingly rage-free and wholly inspired Joaquin Phoenix, who is remarkable as Theodore. He buys the latest new gadget, the iPhone of its day. It is an advanced “operating system” that is simply a voice. Where does the love story take Theodore and his new thrill? Better you find out for yourself. I love this film. It’s unusually witty science fiction, and it’s unfashionably sincere, as well as a work of casual visual inspiration.

We’re in winter 1961, just before Bob Dylan makes the Greenwich Village folk music scene, a few finite blocks of an island that looks and feels like a beautiful, long-ago smudge in motion. Crashing here and there, on couches uptown and downtown, Llewyn Davis has a guitar, a voice and some talent. Thanks to Oscar Isaac’s subtle and shrewd performance, the surly protagonist of Joel and Ethan Coen also comes with a sardonic charisma. As a fond imagining of a distinct locale at a specific cultural time, the film is remarkable, even with some quibbles.



Tony Marnell

February 6–12, 2014

The renowned architect and high-speed rail advocate on what’s next for the Strip, why a Vegas-to-Southern California bullet train is a must and his pick for the 2034 college football title



By Matt Jacob

As CEO of Marnell Companies, your fngerprints are on some of the most iconic structures in this city, including Bellagio, The Mirage, M Resort, the Rio and the Forum Shops. What should the Strip resort of the future look like? It should look like a place

that’s appealing and exciting and in demand for the kind of customer base that will be out there in 20 years. And that is the big question: What is that customer base going to look like? What we’re seeing right now is what I call the race to the sidewalk. Everybody is taking the interaction of what

was in the casino—the tablegame interaction of, “Hey, I’m from Miami!” “Oh, really? Yeah, I’m from Buffalo, New York”—and moving it to the sidewalk. Twenty years from now, are they still going to want to be on the street? Or are they going to want to be back inside?

What’s been the best architectural addition to the Valley in the last 20 years? [Long pause.] Well, I think I’d be prejudiced, but the M Resort moved the ball forward. But the way to answer that question goes back to this Catch-22 circle: What is architecture? If you were to ask 20 people—educated, uneducated—they’d give you a difference answer. You see all the different architecture that you see now because the American society doesn’t have a common goal, and common goals as a group produce great architecture, because there’s a consensus. Right now, there is no consensus. Round, square, upside-down, blue, green— everybody has a different idea about that part of your soul that art touches. You’re the chairman of XpressWest, the proposed high-speed rail system that would link Las Vegas with Southern California. What stimulated your interest in high-speed rail? I started looking seriously at it 25 years ago, because it was happening in Japan. I watched it explode in Europe; now it’s exploding in China. And as a planner, which is a part of architecture … it became very clear that the two-lane highway was not going to sustain the mode of transportation that we were going to need out of the Southern California market. You cannot keep making the highways wider and wider

and wider, and expect them to work. How much does the success of XPressWest hinge on California getting its line built, including the Victorville-to-Palmdale connection? Can XPressWest succeed on its own? Yes, it can. It’s a real market. There’s a very viable demand. What people don’t understand is that the second most proftable, successful rail line in America is from San Diego to Los Angeles on the Amtrak. Now, it needs improvement, but the vision here was a network of connection. But people didn’t want to understand that you have to start somewhere. And by the way, [residents of] the Inland Empire, which is a huge part of the drive into our Las Vegas market, can get to Victorville quicker than they can get to Los Angeles International Airport—a lot quicker. And they can also afford a train ticket for the price of what they’re paying for gas and wear and tear on their car. So, what are the odds a highspeed train will be bringing Southern California tourists to Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve 2034? Nothing’s 100 percent. But I would say the odds are at least 90, 95 percent. It will happen. Let me just say this: We—the collective “we” in the United States—have not done a good job at educating the American public about the benefts of high-speed rail. Americans think highspeed rail is something that’s going to happen to them. They don’t understand that high-speed rail is something that can happen for them. But as our population grows to more than 300 million, we need to start looking at [transportation] the way other countries have looked at it. High-speed rail can be very effective here if it’s built in places where there’s demand. And there is demand in this corridor and other corridors. You’ve lived in Las Vegas nearly your entire life, but you’re also a proud alum of the University of Southern California. So let’s say it’s UNLV vs. USC in the 2034 NCAA football title game: Who you got? Listen, once a Trojan, always a Trojan. [Laughs.] It’s just part of the rules of the game. But maybe it’ll be real close.



How can we make sure the Strip remains vibrant in 2034? My generation—the babyboom generation—grew up in a country where there was some gamble about you. Generation X, generation Y, the millennial generation are quite risk-adverse. You can see that just by looking in these buildings at midnight, when the line is longer to get into the nightclub than it is to get to a slot machine. Let’s put it this way: Las Vegas wants to stay in the lead, and the leadership—let’s call it the older generation that is leading these companies—is going to have to take a hard look sooner than later at this next generation of customers. These customers are going to fnd what they want. The question is: Will Las Vegas be the epicenter of what they want for entertainment?

2034: Postcards to the Future  
2034: Postcards to the Future  

In our city of ceaseless change, the next 20 years may be the most transformative yet. We asked artists and architects to envision what drea...