failing him on some aspects of fnancial reform, Wall Street is in his district. Rural Nevadans have called Reid “Sierra Harry” for his environmentalism, but the mining industry may have no more ardent defender on Capitol Hill—unless it’s someone from another mining state. Representing his state’s interests, sometimes too ardently, makes Reid like every other successful senator in the institution’s history. But it goes deeper. Agree or disagree with Adelson, he is committed to what he believes and puts his money where his mouth is. He also seems to know the limits of his beliefs. He claims to have different views on social issues than most Republicans, but is vocal mainly about the Middle East and now online gaming, giving him fewer issues on the table than the Kochs have. Nor does he proft personally from his political success to the degree the Kochs do, with their investments in a variety of companies. That’s one difference, but there’s another that clearly roils Reid’s innards. Adelson’s father was a cab driver and his mother ran a knitting store. Like or dislike Adelson’s tactics, he has worked hard for his money. By contrast, the Kochs have built on a fortune they inherited. Politics doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In 2012, Reid won attention and criticism for accusing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of paying no income taxes—which, as Bloomberg News duly noted, was both possible and legal. But Reid’s povertystricken childhood and his admiration for FDR give us some clues to his political sympathies and antipathies: Roosevelt was a child of wealth who pursued policies designed to help the poor; Romney and the Kochs have staked out starkly different approaches to American life. So maybe Reid’s love for baseball provides another clue: He has no use for people who were born on third base and think they hit a triple.
Tuesday is Tax Day—not a pleasant prospect for many, but good for those who are getting a little something back from Uncle Sam. And while the refund amount is the bottom line everyplace else, that’s not the case where casinos are involved. While there are sure to be tax-related promotions of all sorts from many Las Vegas retailers, I’ve always been partial to those that include a gambling element. For instance, just as paychecks can be cashed at casinos for extra perks, the same is true for IRS refund checks. Once again this year, such bonuses are being paid at El Cortez, Cannery and Eastside Cannery. The offer at El Cortez is a bonus of 5 percent up to a maximum of $50. It’s paid in slot free play, but if you play it through only once, it’s almost the same as cash. At the Cannery and Eastside Cannery, there’s a tiered bonus schedule that runs from $10 to $100 in free play, starting with checks of at least $500. While it’s possible to get more at either Cannery location, the deal isn’t as good on a percentage basis. As it turns out, you’ll get the biggest bonus by cashing a check for any amount up to $4,999 at El Cortez. At $5,000 and above, the Cannery becomes the better choice. Those are two good options, but this year there’s a new player with a deal that beats them both: Club Fortune on Boulder Highway will award 5 percent of your refund in free play up to $150. This is the same deal as El Cortez up to checks of $1,000, but for refunds of $5,000 or more, Club Fortune is the better call. I’m not certain, but it appears the promotion applies to all government-issued checks and paychecks—meaning it’s potentially not just a one-time tax play. The deal is set to expire at the end of April, but if it continues, consider this play for cashing paychecks, too. In addition to these free-play bonuses, several casinos will have tax-related promotions April 15. Silverton is offering 14-times points all day, and Hooters is running 10-times points. Both are for slots only, but I can all but guarantee that other multiplier offers that include video poker will show up this week (watch the newspaper ads). Additionally, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Boulder are offering Tax Relief Hot Seat cash drawings at 4:15, 6:15 and 8:15 p.m. from April 14-18, with four $200 winners per drawing, plus bonuses. Finally, this one isn’t for gamblers, but it’s too creative to leave out: Mail your tax return from a designated area in the parking lot at Mandalay Bay on April 15 and get free admission to Shark Reef. Already filed your return? Well, you didn’t hear it from me, but it doesn’t really have to be your tax return in the envelope!
Michael Green is a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.
Reid’s Read on Republican Power Brokers
April 10–16, 2014
Why the Senator from Searchlight prefers Adelson to the Koch brothers
IN SEARCHLIGHT, there’s a foundation for a house that burned down—a house made of old railroad ties, where a hard-drinking miner and his family lived, Franklin Roosevelt was a god and the entertainment for one of the miner’s sons was listening to baseball on the radio. This helps explain Senator Harry Reid’s recent attacks on the Koch brothers, among others—and why he isn’t attacking Sheldon Adelson. Reid recently has blistered the Kochs as “unAmerican,” among other things, for their big spending on behalf of candidates committed to anti-environmental, antiregulatory policies that would make their already highly proftable companies and investments even wealthier. As Reid attacked, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, in which the fve Republicanappointed justices threw out limits on individual campaign contributions to candidates and parties. That makes it easier for the Kochs and others to wield their infuence, further corrupting a process that too many citizens already fnd so distasteful that voterparticipation levels are a disgrace. But Reid hasn’t won fve Senate terms without knowing something about politics. Some analysts have pointed out that the court’s decision also could make it easier for Democrats to argue that Republicans are the party of the incredibly wealthy who are determined to become even wealthier—and thus the political wisdom of his attacks. Another event in Reid’s backyard enabled Democrats to make that argument. Potential GOP presidential candidates descended on Las Vegas to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition and tell Adelson what he wanted to hear: that Israel started out perfect and keeps improving. Since Adelson spent as much as $150 million trying to defeat Barack Obama in 2012, Republican hopefuls have reason to be on his good side. Yet Reid had little to say about Adelson. Lest we forget, senators represent their states; as New York’s Chuck Schumer pointed out in response to his liberalism
ILLUSTRATION BY JON ESTRADA
TAX DAY PERKS APLENTY AT SEVERAL CASINOS
@Packers_Suck Taxicab Confessions was cool and all, but someone is missing out on a gold mine not having a reality show about Vegas cab drivers.
@BlakeShelton Just thought I’d stop in and say @adamlevine is stupid... Carry on..
@Puddinstrip I’d let my daughter date James Franco before letting her go out with any guy still upset over the How I Met Your Mother finale.
@morgan_murphy I’m not addicted to cigarettes, I’m addicted to standing outside alone at parties.
Jordan rules Shadow Creek and a Killer tribute to UNLV’s glory days
Big sports weekends in Las Vegas don’t always mean major NASCAR races or UNLV games or bikini bull riding. (Well, fne, they do always include bikini bull riding, thanks to Gilley’s, but there’s no such thing as enough bikini bull riding.) Sometimes, it just comes down to a lot of charity golf. (They couldn’t fnd anywhere to plug in the bull on the golf course.) The Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational wrapped up at Shadow Creek Golf Course on April 6, with the team of Brian Urlacher and Roger Clemens— whose mysterious ability to hit 400-yard drives on a line was chalked up to a strong post-career work ethic—carding a 9-under 135 to hold off Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Ozzie Smith. Jordan and teammate Dwight Freeney only mustered a thirdplace fnish, leading Jordan to exile Freeney to whatever island his frst NBA coach, Doug Collins, was sent to. (The real Collins would have never been allowed near the Washington Wizards. That’s why Jordan paid top-dollar for a Collins body double in 2001.)
Do you think Jordan’s competitive/mean streak disappeared? He dared one of his teammates in the pro-am on April 3 to jump into a water hazard. The guy did it; Jordan was snapped busting a gut. Everyone’s heard the stories about how Jordan lets Hanes product-test new dyes on Steve Kerr. When Jordan says go in the water, you’re just happy it’s only water. The Academy of Country Music Awards also did its own charity golf event, with Darius Rucker hosting. It didn’t draw nearly the same frepower as the Jordan event. Instead of Wayne Gretzky and Aaron Rodgers, it got Frankie Ballard and David Nail. Then again, Rucker never threatened Horace Grant that if he bricked another 3-pointer, he’d have to play the fourth quarter without shoes. But the big story of the ACM Awards was, you know, the awards themselves on April 6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where George Strait took Entertainer of the Year. Kanye can breathe a sigh of relief that Taylor Swift didn’t win that, too. The who’s who of the country music world saw Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan host, and such luminaries as Faith Hill and
Gotta love Killers lead singer & Vegas’ own Brandon Flowers rockin the UNLV jacket with the lineup names of the greatest team of all time.
@MarkLisanti Tim McGraw joined by noted country legends LL Cool J, Jewel and Stevie Nicks. No, we can’t explain the music industry anymore, either. Bridging the gap of both the music and sports worlds, Killers lead singer and Las Vegas native Brandon Flowers came out to do the March Madness Music Festival in Dallas’ Reunion Park between Final Four games rocking a red varsity jacket that honored UNLV’s 1990 national championship team. The jacket was emblazoned with “Never Forget” along with the names of the team’s fve starters: Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon, David Butler and Anderson Hunt. We kind of hope Flowers was just trolling Christian Laettner. Finally, our favorite sport, synchronized liver destruction, is practiced nightly Downtown. And a new stadium is soon to open up. Michael and Jennifer Cornthwaite’s Future Restaurant Group is rumored to be fnally opening their rooftop bar at Inspire and Scullery at the Ogden around the same time this month. They’ve pulled their Boozery, Beatnik and Pork & Beans establishments from Container Park, though, in search of bigger brick-and-mortar venues around town.
Someone in Vegas just made $5 billion for taking Brett Gardner to hit the first Yankee home run of the year in the sixth game.
@jrsalzman The media paints war veterans as a bunch of crazies who could snap at any moment then wonder why so many of us are homeless and unemployed.
@AndyKindler I was just under 5’ tall in high school. To reassure me, I was constantly reminded by my parents that “Mickey Rooney made it.” R.I.P.
@ItsWillTime On the plus side, some impoverished kids in other countries will get those “Undertaker 22-0” T-shirts…
@ESPN_Numbers UConn has more postseason wins at AT&T Stadium than the Dallas Cowboys.
Share your Tweet! Add #V7.
ILLUSTRATION BY CIERRA PEDRO
April 10–16, 2014
By Jason Scavone
Light resident Carl Kennedy on tunes and tattoos By Deanna Rilling
clubbers—while still letting the music breathe. It isn’t all about the “hands in the air” in electronic music, but the journey to how you get there. Based in New York but making the trek to Vegas for 15 dates this year, Carl Kennedy spins both supporting and headlining slots at Light. The DJ/producer and Wasted Youth radio host and label owner talks about bringing New York house to the Strip.
April 10–16, 2014
THE BOY FROM BIRMINGHAM, England, brings the beats to Las Vegas
29 VEGAS SEVEN
PHOTO BY MENBAR PHOTOS
Your city after dark, photos from the week’s hottest parties and meet the kids with the pumped-up kicks
NIGHTLIFE You are originally from England but live in New York. How have the two infuences shaped your sound? I’ve traveled so much—I’m based in England, I’m based in New York,
April 10–16, 2014
What’s your favorite memory from those days, and what do you think about the venue being turned into an IHOP? [Laughs.] Is it an IHOP now? Just to play there was great. It was a spectacular venue and then they turned it into another club, then the next time I walked past it about 10 years later it was a mall. I refused to look at it! I couldn’t believe I was actually at a shopping mall! I was a little bit like, “OK, that’s just the way life is.” So now it’s an IHOP? Oh, my God.
Didn’t you once spin at the infamous Limelight in New York back in the day? I did, yeah! When I first came to New York, I managed to get the very end of the Limelight days. I think the last gig I did there was with Loco Dice. That seems forever ago now.
“IT SEEMS IN VEGAS, THE CLUB OWNERS JUST WANT IT ALL ‘HANDS IN THE AIR.’” based in Sydney a lot—so I’ve played with a lot of people and played different things. I can only speak to how I feel now, and how I feel now is I’ve gone back to really driving what I really want to play. I like to play house music, and it can be anything from tech house to uplifting progressive house to techno stuff. But I just go with what works in my sets. I search all over the place to find unique records rather than just shopping in the Beatport Top 10, which seems to really be a lot of what you hear, and I don’t want to be that kind of DJ. I want to find those gems that are out there, but you have to look for them. You mention the Beatport Top 10—
more and more people are bringing that up or complaining that’s all that’s mainly played in Vegas. Why should people come hear you over all the other DJs in town? I like to play big tunes, but I like to take some different ones as well. But it seems in Vegas, the club owners just want it all “hands in the air,” Champagne flowing, and I felt a little bit pressured that you’ve got to kind of—not educate the people—but let things breathe a little as well. And that’s what I’m trying to do in my sets. Will you bring a Wasted Youth party to Vegas? I would love to. When we get to that stage, yes. I’m building the label
now, and it’s enjoyable but it’s hard work like everyone else trying to do the same thing. I’m trying to build followers and the Wasted Youth brand. Anything to listen for on the production front? I’ve got lots of productions coming out. The last few years I seem to only put out one or two tracks, but I’m releasing one every month now. The newest is called “Like an Angel.” I have a track that’s already out called “All Systems Go,” featuring Cara Salimando. That’s what I’m pushing at the moment, and I’ve been playing it the last few months in Vegas as well. You’ve got a lot of ink. Any music-related pieces? No music ones, but they’re all from moments in my life, from the dragons on my arms, to my two kids on my arm, to my soccer team and the two women who have been there through the ups and downs and joys and tears in my life, and they just become part of the journey.
FEATURE SNEAKER BOUTIQUE
3735 W. Spring Mountain Rd., Suite 205, FeatureSneakerBoutique.com
On Deck: Feature has four main partners, two of whom are DJs: Ajay Bouri, Keith Iavazzi, DJ EJ Luera and Aaron White — also known as DJ Ikon. Ikon’s residencies include Daylight, Bank, Haze, Tryst, Liquid and Rehab. Luera’s current main gig is holding it down at home with, “daughter Lily, daughter Mila and my wifey.” DJ Luera, fill in the blanks: “Dang. I better get over to Feature, because I really need those new Zanerobe Drop Crotch Sureshot Pants, to wear anywhere and everywhere. (“These are ridiculously popular right now,” he adds, “and come in every color you can think of.”) Ikon, what do you think gives a DJ an edge in a competitive business such as retail fashion? “DJs are such naturals, because to be successful in the music industry you have to be a very good businessman. The music industry is one of the most competitive and demanding industries in the world.”
KNYEW (Keeping New York Everywhere) 3999 Spring Mountain Rd., KNYEW.com
On Deck: DJ Neva (1 Oak, Drai’s Afterhours, Light Group) and DJ Crooked (Hakkasan, Hyde, Tryst). DJ Crooked, fill in the blanks: “I’m headed over to KNYEW for some fresh gear for the Drake/Kanye West concert.” Top-selling item and price: Knyew E-Long Tees ($40).
April 10–16, 2014
Dropping Beats—and Fashion VEGAS SEVEN
Trying on a trio of Las Vegas’ DJ-owned sneaker and street-wear boutiques By Laurel May Bond BY NIGHT, THESE LOCAL DJs may have the masses sweating it out on the dance floors of Las Vegas’ top clubs, but by day, they’ve got stylish Las Vegans sweatin’ the hyper-curated street wear for sale at their local retail outposts. Blending the worlds of fashion and music comes naturally to our globetrotting DJs. As 1 Oak resident Ikon puts it, the two realms “work hand in hand to make the other work more completely. Being an effective marketer in the DJ world is being up on fashion. In return the fashion industry is centered around the music industry.” Join us as we browse three local DJ-owned shops.
In the Cosmopolitan, CRSVR.com
On Deck: Co-owned by DJ Vice (Tao Group). DJ Vice, fill in the blanks: “Time to hit CRSVR for limited-edition Nikes to wear to the club. Top-selling item and price: “When we sold the Kanye Air Yeezy 2 Platinum for $275. I have never seen so much hype over a shoe and such massive crowds outside the CRSVR doors.” How did being a DJ prepare you for a place in the fashion world? “I see so many trends while traveling the world. It was natural to pick them up and bring them back into my business.”
PHOTOS BY JON ESTRADA
Feature Sneaker Boutique (top), KNYEW.
Crooked, why does the fashion world appeal to DJs?: “DJs know that in order to keep getting work you have to stay on top of the latest music. Owning a clothing store, you have to stay on top of the latest trends and fashion so that your customers will continue to want to go shopping in your place of business.”
GBDC FINALE The Palms
[ UPCOMING ]
See more photos from this gallery at SPYONVegas.com
PHOTOS BY JOE TORRANCE
April 10–16, 2014
April 13 Kid Conrad spins April 14 DJ Seany Mac spins April 14 For the Ladies with Presto One
The Cosmopolitan [ UPCOMING ]
See more photos from this gallery at SPYONVegas.com
PHOTOS BY BOBBY JAMEIDAR
April 10–16, 2014
April 11 ATB spins April 12 Gareth Emery spins April 14 Dash Berlin spins
One Night Only Behind the scenes at the Grand Tasting
April 10–16, 2014
By Al Mancini
ON MAY 9, 2,500 food fanatics are expected to descend on Caesars Palace’s Garden of the Gods pool complex to sample the offerings of 70 local restaurants, 35 bars and 30 wine stations. They’ll hobnob with culinary royalty such as Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa, Thomas Keller and Michael Mina. The centerpiece of Bon Appétit’s annual Vegas Uncork’d, this Grand Tasting lasts only two-and-a-half hours, but takes more than a year of planning and about 1,000 people to pull it off. It’s an unparalleled experience I anticipate every year. But what, exactly, does it take to make it all happen? To fnd out, I started with Bon Appétit’s events director, Nikki Reiss, who is already working on the lineup for next year. She starts by reaching out to the chefs she’d like to participate. Then she
decides where each restaurant will be represented in the huge, six-pool complex. As the host, Caesars Palace generally places its restaurants front and center. But Reiss strategically scatters big-name chefs throughout the property to encourage the crowd fow. “It’s possible that this year Gordon [Ramsay] won’t be smack in the middle,” she says. “Because we know people will seek him out no matter what.” Some chefs even have personal requests about their locations. “Bobby [Flay] and Giada [de Laurentiis] requested ‘Can we please be next to each other?’” Reiss says. “Because they’re [also] doing an event together at Mesa Grill.” Despite the level of star power, however, she says most chefs are extremely easy to deal with. “Sometimes chefs come with egos,” Reiss says. “I appreciate
that they kind of check that at the door.” While she plans the creative components of the show, Bryan O’Shields is charged with making sure everything goes off as planned. The vice president of food and beverage for Caesars Palace, Rio and Harrah’s has some 800 employees who work during the Grand Tasting, and planning begins about six months out. About 48 hours before the doors open, they start round-the-clock construction work at the pool. This year, for the frst time, Caesars is building a stage that will cover one of the pools, and each restaurant and bar is charged with creating its own service area. “They’re little baby restaurants,” O’Shields says. “They’re not just a couple of banquet tables with skirting and a backdrop; it’s a fully built storefront,” including refrigeration, grills or other
cooking elements, hand-washing stations and anything else needed to cook gourmet food poolside. Two years ago, Caesars built 12 of these storefronts (which they re-assemble every year) at a cost of $40,000 apiece. Once the crowd begins to enter the event, the Caesars team prepares to respond to any crisis immediately— from faulty equipment to the loss of gas or power. A team of stewards and environmental service people quickly remove the estimated 50,000 pounds of plates, glasses, napkins and other garbage that guests invariably discard on any fat surface before it piles up. And as the chefs interact with sometimes overzealous fans, security personnel ensure they’re not manhandled. When top-name stars such as Flay or Masaharu Morimoto or Ramsay walk the grounds, things can get hectic. “Everybody wants to get to him,” O’Shields says. “And the majority of people want to take a photograph with him. So he’s getting pulled, and it creates kind of a frenzy. We have a lot of security, and we set up a tremendous amount of backup.” Yet somehow, all of this generally goes off seamlessly, with little indication to the public how many moving pieces are involved in creating one of the most delicious food festivals of the year.
PHOTO BY ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES
“I’M MORE COMFORTABLE IN A SHOWROOM THAN IN A [COMEDY] CLUB WHERE EVERYBODY IS WELL PAST THE TWO-DRINK MINIMUM AND I’M SURROUNDED BY DESPERATION AND CONTEMPT.” – Jason Alexander
Alexander and his wig.
… In all my years with him, there was never an empty seat in any showroom where he performed. Johnny was the King of the Counts.” The act worked in a few contemporary references to win over Tonight Show faithful looking for a
90-minute version of his monologue, but for the most part, Carson stuck with a set. He was able to leverage that easy charm into nightly sellouts. The road for what Alexander is doing is bumpier. He has to lock down a new craft. Alexander did once work with
three guys who turned in their fair share of stand-up stage time—Michael Richards, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld—but wisdom wasn’t exactly being offered up. “I could be wrong about this, but I think Michael would agree. Michael did stand-up, but he never thought of himself as a stand-up. He was a sketch player, and he was doing sketch as a stand-up thing,” Alexander says. “Larry in many ways, and boy he’ll kill me when I say this, but Larry was not amazingly successful as a stand-up. I saw Larry do stand-up years before he did Seinfeld and I appreciated what he was doing, but he was a mess. And I think he would agree with that, so no, I wouldn’t have asked him. “Jerry knows I’m doing this stuff, and he’s really lovely and encouraging about it, but I don’t think I could talk to Jerry about what I do and how I do it. That would be odd. What I did get from Jerry is what it takes as a comedic artist to create what you’re going to do. Even now, he has more material than he knows what to do with. But he sits down all the time almost every day and writes. He is relentless in his pursuit of comedy perfection.” Las Vegas offers more opportunity for reinvention than just about anything else short of running from a shady past and going to work on an Alaskan pipeline. Madison was able to parlay her Girls Next Door fame into the kind of local celebrity that allows her to put her name on a burlesque bar at Mandalay Bay. Ziering kept himself out there long enough to snag Sharknado, as unlikely a hit as that was. Carson never needed Vegas the way Vegas needed Carson, but it afforded the chance for the notoriously distant comic to engage with an audience in an intimate environment, if only for 10 weeks a year. Alexander can check off another type of performance from a list that already includes a little of everything else. If it all breaks right, maybe he’s looking at his own modern Carson story. “What I would like to do is have Vegas be a little more of a home base for me as a stand-up,” he says. “In order to do that, you’ve got to make the case. I’m fully aware that most audiences don’t know me in this role. There’s an audience for what I do as a stand-up in Vegas. [I hope] it lays the groundwork for me to become a little more of an ongoing fxture. I’d love to come back and do 10 weekends, or eight weeks a year.”
AN EVENING WITH JASON ALEXANDER AND HIS HAIR 9 p.m. Fri-Sun, April 11-May 4, The Showroom at Harrah’s, $40-$125, 777-2782.
PHOTO BY BRYAN STEFFY/BRAD GARRETT’S COMEDY CLUB
A&E April 10–16, 2014 VEGAS SEVEN
“I was goofng around with the hairpiece for other professional reasons. It got such a strong reaction, and it’s such an odd, funny thing I do,” Alexander says. “Everyone knows I’m bald, but I throw on this thing and walk out, and people don’t know what the hell to do with me. It allowed me to say to people before they came into the room, ‘If you think this show should be called An Evening With George Costanza’—it defnitively says, ‘He’s not doing George. So let’s put that expectation aside and see what he’s going to do.’ ” Fine. But how hirsute was Art Vandelay? Hair, launching April 11, is the polished fnal product that started out of a series of corporate gigs for Alexander when Clay became too expensive to keep producing. Despite early reluctance, Alexander eventually caved and agreed to give stand-up a shot. But he couldn’t exactly work his way up from the open-mic set. “I guess because of my theater background, I’m a little more comfortable in a theater or a showroom than I am in a small [comedy] club where everybody is well past the two-drink minimum and I’m surrounded by desperation and contempt,” he says. The move puts him in interesting company in the history of Vegas performers. Plenty have launched or ended careers here doing what they do, but far fewer have jumped feet-frst into a new line of work by headlining on the Strip. Holly Madison made her song-anddance debut in Peepshow, and both 98 Degrees’ Jeff Timmons and Beverly Hills, 90210’s Ian Ziering took left turns into Oiledpecistan with their Chippendales runs. But Alexander’s stint could borrow a page from a onetime headliner who, admittedly, was as likely to fail as Free Lap Dance Night at Spearmint Rhino. Johnny Carson had only been on The Tonight Show for fve years before he started headlining at the Sahara’s Congo Room in 1967. He was doing two shows a night for up to 10 weeks a year for nine years before moving to Caesars Palace in 1976 for a pay bump that brought him from $40,000 a week to $250,000 a weekend for three shows. (He would go on to decline Steve Wynn’s offer of $500,000 a weekend to play the Golden Nugget, eventually ending his Vegas shows for good in 1980.) Though he’d done smaller nightclub gigs before— particularly during an era when bad contracts left him in need of fast cash—Carson found a home when The Tonight Show was on hiatus. “He liked performing. He liked being onstage, being the center of attention and doing something he did with supreme excellence,” Carson lawyer Henry Bushkin wrote in the 2013 biography Johnny Carson. “Doing stand-up was a different experience than performing on TV: no cameras separating him and his audience, no commercials interrupting the pace.
Muppets Most Wanted (PG) ★★✩✩✩
Good times are hard to come by in Muppets Most Wanted, the anxious follow-up to the successful 2011 reboot (The Muppets) and the seventh Muppet sequel to follow in the animal tracks of The Muppet Movie in 1979. The film begins seconds after filming has wrapped on the 2011 Muppet Movie. Off they go on a European tour, which turns out to be a cover for a plot to steal the crown jewels. Here, the atmosphere’s soured; the Muppets are treated as dismissible foils for the venal real-world populace.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (R) ★★★★✩
Wes Anderson’s newest film is many things. The Grand Budapest Hotel qualifies as his most exotically remote achievement in terms of locale; most of it takes place in a fictitious Eastern European province in the early 1930s. It’s also one of Anderson’s cleverest and most gorgeous movies, dipping just enough of a toe in the real world—and in the melancholy works of its acknowledged inspiration, the late Austrian writer Stefan Zweig—to prevent the whole thing from floating off into the ether of minor whimsy.
Need for Speed (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩
Need for Speed is based on the Electronic Arts gaming franchise begun in 1994. When the actors are in cars, the movie’s fun. When they get out to argue or seethe, it’s uh-oh time. Happily, there’s a refreshing emphasis on actual stunt driving over digital absurdities. Tobey’s our hero, the brooding garage mechanic and street racer played by Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad. Need for Speed isn’t much, but the story by George Gatins and John Gatins knows where it’s coming from and which movies to pilfer from.
Divergent (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩
In Veronica Roth’s young-adult trilogy of best-selling futuristic hellholes, being a “divergent” means you avoid easy categorization. The movie version of Divergent is no divergent. It’s tame, formulaic and strictly by the book in every sense. As in The Hunger Games, we have an underestimated young heroine. The generic bulk of Divergent hits its marks and moves on. Here’s hoping the second movie, scheduled to be released a year from now, rebels against the establishment in more ways than one.
Veronica Mars (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩
The way the movie version of Veronica Mars came to pass is more intriguing than the movie itself. Canceled in 2007 by the CW network, creator Rob Thomas’ wised-up danger magnet of a teenage sleuth, (Kristen Bell) left the show’s fans hungry for more. Although Veronica Mars does its duty in identifying the major characters on the fly, this one’s strictly for the fan base. Most of the clues in Veronica Mars pertain either to the Internet or the latest tablets. Anybody who works in tech support will probably enjoy the film a tad more than I did.
300: Rise of an Empire (R) ★★✩✩✩
Even with a change in directors and a halfenlightened, half-salacious emphasis on the voracious Persian conqueror played by Eva Green, 300: Rise of an Empire hews closely to the look, vibe and the casualty count of its sleekly schlocky 2007 predecessor, helmed by Zack Snyder. Likewise taken from a Frank Miller graphic novel, the sequel chronicles mighty Grecian battles. This is the genre of abs and pecs and arrows in the eye in slow motion, with geysers of globby blood floating around, prettily and painlessly, for our gamer-style delectation.
UNLV’s baseball coach on turning around the Rebels, being a Hall of Famer, shaking the fear out of Bryce Harper and potentially leaving the town he loves
April 10–16, 2014
By Sean DeFrank
You haven’t even turned 50, yet on May 30, you’ll be among fve inductees into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame. What was your reaction when you heard the news? I actually starting crying in front of my two daughters. I said to them, “This isn’t supposed to happen until you’re done.” I feel like I have 20 or
25 more years in me. But it’s humbling. You can go around the country and [not] many guys get to coach nine years of high school, 11 years of junior college and I’m in my fourth year at UNLV—three different levels, all in the same city. One of my best shortstops of all time [Kurt Anthony] lives in Nebraska, and he showed up at the [UNLV] games [in
Omaha] with his little kids last weekend. Everybody thinks it’s about baseball, but it’s really not. It’s about raising kids. At the end of the day, when they come back and hug your neck, and they’re 40, and they say, “Thanks for kicking me in the ass,” it’s pretty rewarding. The Rebels are 22-9 and ranked in multiple Top 25
What are your realistic expectations for the rest of this season? The players think they’re going to Omaha [for the College World Series]. I’m not going to tell them they’re not. Fresno State was a No. 4 seed fve years ago, and they won the national championship. Our pitching is going to carry us a long way. We’re gonna have a chance to win a bunch of games, because we pitch really well. If some things had been different, a couple of hits here and there, we could be undefeated right now. We’ve lost fve games by one run; we lost three games by two runs, and we’ve won 22 games. … If we stay healthy, we can go a long way. You coached Bryce Harper for one season at CSN in 2010. What’s the last piece of advice you gave him? When we fnished the season [losing in the National Junior College World Series], we came home and he was sitting in the locker room— everybody else was gone—and I could hear somebody crying. So I went back and said, “What are you crying about?” He said, “I’m afraid.” And I said, “Don’t be afraid. You’re ready. It’s time for you to go and do what you’re supposed to do. This is what you’ve been put here for.” He was 17, he knew what was about to
happen, and he was afraid. He said, “I love you,” and then he signed all his gear and gave it to me, then gave me a hug and left. Greg Maddux at age 21 vs. Bryce Harper at age 21: Who wins that battle? Bryce. Greg, who is a good friend, wasn’t ready at that level at 21. The thing people don’t realize is that Bryce left high school after his sophomore year. He was playing with men and killing it, breaking our [CSN] records, breaking college baseball records. And he won the Golden Spikes Award as a junior college player, which never happens. Greg is probably the smartest of all of them, and that’s why he lasted so long. He learned how to pitch. But Bryce is 240 pounds [at age 21]; he’s a huge man with tremendous ability. What’s one thing every Little League parent should know? When you’re little, the game sucks so bad—you’re basically just standing out there. So whatever it is that your kid wants to do, let them do it. Today, it’s all about [club] baseball, and they move around from team to team to team. And you want to say, “Just let them play Little League.” I played football, wrestling, track and soccer—I played everything in high school. I lettered in fve sports. Now, they play baseball, and that’s it. Let them decide what they want to do. If you shove it down their throat, they’re going to be out of the game by the time they’re 12—I guarantee it. How long do you see yourself staying in Las Vegas? I want to die here. I envision myself turning this program into a Top-20 team every year, but certain situations present themselves, and at the end of the day, you have to take care of your kids and your wife. So I really can’t answer that question. I know that the calls are coming [from other schools]. So whatever happens, for me to take care of my family, that’s what decision I’ll make when that time comes. And it’s gonna come. I know that. But I also know that I want to stay here. I’ve raised my kids here, I’ve coached in this town for 26 years; I don’t want to leave this town. Who is the one player Tim Chambers has coached who was actually better than Bryce Harper? Find out at VegasSeven.com/Chambers.
PHOTO BY JON ESTRADA
polls. Is the program where you envisioned it would be when you took over four years ago? Trust me, I’m not arrogant. But when I got the Bishop Gorman job at [age] 24, they hadn’t made the playoffs in [more than 35 years]; we didn’t miss it for eight straight. We didn’t have junior college sports in Nevada until the summer of ’99 when I started the CSN [College of Southern Nevada] program, and I said, “In four years, we’re going to be a powerhouse.” And we won the national championship in our fourth year, and then made it back again in 2010. So when I took this job, I said, “When I started coaching baseball in this town, there were 10 Class 4A high schools. Now there are 37. If we keep the local kids here, we can turn this thing around.” That was the goal. So, yes, we are where I thought we were gonna be. And this community needs to grasp onto it, because it’s a really good team. If you’re a baseball fan, you want to see this team play. They’re special.
"I'm no angel," Dad once said to me. "But I've always walked between the raindrops. I've not always done the legal thing, but I hope I've al...