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PUBLISHER Michael Skenandore


Greg Blake Miller Matt Jacob (news and sports), Xania Woodman (nightlife, beverage and dining) A&E EDITOR Cindi Reed SENIOR WRITERS Steve Bornfeld, Geoff Carter, Stacy J. Willis COPY CHIEF Paul Szydelko ASSOCIATE EDITOR Sean DeFrank ASSOCIATE STYLE EDITOR Jessica Acuña CALENDAR COORDINATOR Camille Cannon EDITOR



Melinda Sheckells (style), Michael Green (politics), Jarret Keene (music), David G. Schwartz (gaming/hospitality)


Ryan Olbrysh Jon Estrada, Cierra Pedro STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Anthony Mair CREATIVE DIRECTOR






Marc Barrington Jimmy Bearse DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR Jasen Ono



Christy Corda Nicole Scherer ACCOUNT MANAGER Brittany Quintana ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Robyn Weiss



Alena Cruz, Devin Howell, Jessica Kantor, Susanna Kelly, Allison Kyler, Tye Masters, John R. Schmitz

Ryan T. Doherty

| Justin Weniger







PUBLISHED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE OBSERVER MEDIA GROUP Vegas Seven, 888-792-5877, 3070 West Post Road, Las Vegas, NV 89118 Vegas Seven is distributed each Thursday throughout Southern Nevada c 2014 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited.





UPCOMING EVENTS • May 31 Brews and Blues Festival at Springs Preserve ( • June 1

Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada’s fourth annual poker tournament at Aria (


May 22–28, 2014

Nearly 900 wine lovers flocked to Town Square on May 17 to enjoy spring weather and support local nonprofit New Vista. Now in its 10th year, the Wine Walk offered live music and the opportunity to sample nearly 20 varieties of vino, supplied by Lee’s Discount Liquor. More than $11,000 was raised, all to benefit New Vista, which has provided shelter and support for locals living with intellectual challenges since 1986. The next Wine Walk is scheduled for May 31 at Lake Las Vegas before the fundraiser goes on hiatus for the summer.

Remembering Burton Cohen, who helped bring Las Vegas resorts into the modern era


May 22–28, 2014




resort executive Burton Cohen at age 90 earlier this month, we’ve had ample time to put his remarkable career into context. Cohen moved to Las Vegas in 1966 to supervise the reconstruction of the Frontier hotel, which he co-owned and managed until its purchase by Howard Hughes the following year. He subsequently helmed resorts such as the Desert Inn (on three separate occasions), Circus Circus, the Flamingo, the Thunderbird and the Dunes. Bringing operational know-how and leadership at a critical time, when the industry was growing in unexpected ways, Cohen earned his 1995 induction into the Gaming Hall of Fame. He semiretired that year, but remained deeply engaged with the industry. In 2010, he was named to the board of directors of MGM Resorts International, a post he held until his death. He also remained involved with several local philanthropies, including service as the chairman of the board of trustees of Sunrise Hospital. Cohen grew up in the hotel business in Florida, and his 16 years of practicing law made him a perfect chief executive, able to read contracts and grasp their subtleties but also aware of operational realities on the front lines. In a 2009 interview with Claytee White, the director of UNLV’s Oral History Research Center, Cohen sketched out his life in Las Vegas, starting with the changes under way when he arrived in Las Vegas. The mob was on its way out, and big money was on its way in. “I got here at a time of transition,” he said. “My exposure to that element was fairly well limited because Howard Hughes was buying hotels. Kirk Kerkorian had formed a public company. You were able to now have stock and tell Wall Street to start printing the presses and be able to fnance. So the old-timers were leaving. And in all honesty, they really didn’t know what was going on because time had passed them by.” Getting the Frontier open was no cakewalk. “The best comparison I think you can use,” Cohen recalled, “is the landing at Normandy during World War II. There were so many facets that had to be handled. Don’t forget you’re

Above all, Cohen was driven by the desire to run a better hotel. He wasn’t after long-term security or self-aggrandizement, but simply making sure the employees stayed happy, the guests enjoyed themselves and his owners got a good return on their investment. “I never wanted to be the richest guy in the cemetery,” he said. “I was not ever driven by the buck. I never had a contract with any hotel. My job was yesterday’s performance.” A big part of that performance was an abiding concern for his employees, one that lingered long after he’d moved out of the president’s offce, and one that reveals the real return on investment that Cohen left as his legacy in Las Vegas. “I still get calls—‘Hello, Mr. Cohen.’ I’ll say, ‘How are you doing?’ They’ll say, ‘I’m doing just great. Just wanted to see how you are,’ and so on and so on. That you can’t take to the bank. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.”

When writing about Las Vegas’ best breakfast buffets under $10 a while back, I missed one. I was fooled by the Suncoast, because the base price is $12.95. But there’s a big $5 discount for showing a B Connected card that drops the price to $7.95 and puts it in bargain territory. None of the buffets I originally checked had lox, but the Suncoast does, along with bagels, cream cheese, onions and capers. And not just plain bagels, but three choices, including “everything”-style. There’s also eggs Benedict, hard-boiled eggs, herring, sticky buns and cinnamon rolls, along with an omelet station. With the exception of South Point (for the unlimited Bloody Marys), the Suncoast is the best bargain-buffet play in town. • Along with the recent demise of the Triple Play bar came the loss of its great Wednesday pot-roast special. Not to worry—get an equally good pot roast on Thursdays at Kopper Keg West (2257 S. Rainbow Blvd.). And whereas the Triple Play’s was $6.99/$7.99, it’s just $5.99 all day at Kopper Keg. There are also good prime rib ($11.99) and fish & chips ($5.99) specials on Fridays. • The only thing better than a good bar special is a casino comp, and there’s a good one at the Rampart, where earning 1,000 same-day points gets a choice of four meals, including lobster tail or prime rib, in the Carmel Room. That’s $2,000 coin-in, which takes about two hours playing quarters and less than an hour playing dollars. Given that the Rampart has some of the best video-poker schedules in town, the expected loss on that amount of play is less than $10. Table-game players can get the same comp for two hours of rated play at $25 per hand, which at a full blackjack table works out to about the same expected loss for a basic-strategy player. The deal is offered seven days a week. • Video-poker players will find another good wheel game at the Edge of Town Bar and Grille (10490 W. Cheyenne Ave). Spin on all quads from 1 to 3 p.m., 7 to 8 p.m. and midnight to 3 a.m. daily, plus all day Sundays. The best game is 6/5 Bonus Poker, so it’s not a positive return, but it’s more than 99 percent with the bonus, which is a good play at any local bar. • And how’s this for a cool premium? Hit a jackpot of $25 or more on Wednesdays at El Cortez and get a free Klondike bar. • Did anyone notice the closing of the El Sombrero on Main Street? It was the oldest restaurant in Vegas, open since 1951. That distinction now falls to Bob Taylor’s Original Ranch House, which has been operating since 1955. Second-oldest is the Golden Steer, operating since 1958, and third-oldest is Macayo’s on East Charleston Boulevard, which opened in 1960, preceding the two other Macayo’s in town.

David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and

A steady hand in a volatile business: Burton Cohen in 1980.

opening a hotel/casino structure from zero. And everything had to be bought, uniformed and placed, from toothpicks on up and on down. I had what was called an item book, which was about three or four [big] books. And we would have weekly meetings, and then it got to be daily meetings. And various items were signed out to various department heads. And each one had to report back as to their process, their purchase orders. And we had a purchaseorder book that we would crosscheck. Today all of that is done by computer. [In] those days, it was done by hand.” Cohen was particularly fond of the Desert Inn. “I loved the touch of class,” he said of the resort, pointing out that it was the city’s frst fourstar hotel with a fve-star restaurant.



You Wanted This Man Running Your Hotel

May 22–28, 2014 VEGAS SEVEN

20 workout has • The only just begun:

Randy Couture at his Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas.




May 22–28, 2014

***** barely a minute into the fight, Tyson dropped Seldon with a seemingly invisible punch, then fnished him off seconds later. Shakur watched the fght ringside with Marion “Suge” Knight, a former UNLV football player who had co-founded Death Row Re-

cords in 1991. Shakur had signed with Death Row after Knight posted a $1.4 million bail to get him out of prison on appeal in October 1995. After the fght, Shakur and Knight were making their way through the MGM with members of their entourage when Shakur confronted and punched a man later identifed as 21-year-old Orlando Anderson of Compton, California, a gang member with the South Side Crips. Shakur and Knight were both affliated with the rival Mob Piru Bloods, and Shakur’s bodyguards proceeded to attack Anderson, beating and kicking him while he was on the ground. Following the melee, which was stopped by MGM security guards and captured on hotel surveillance cameras, Shakur, Knight and their crew were allowed to leave the MGM without being questioned. Anderson refused medical treatment, declined



gang violence had become a growing concern in Las Vegas in the mid-1980s, and by October 1991 The New York Times identifed the city as one with a major gang problem, largely because of the increasing migration of the Los Angelesbased Crips and Bloods amid the Valley’s record-setting population boom. By 1996, the infltration of the gangs had only become more prominent. The growth of the Las Vegas gang scene also coincided with the rise of gangsta rap, which began to gain mainstream popularity in the late 1980s through artists such as Ice-T and N.W.A., who rhymed about police persecution, gang violence, drug use and misogyny. Songs such as “Fuck tha Police” and “Cop Killer” became anthems for young black men in urban neighborhoods who identifed with the raw lyrical tales of the hardcore rappers. Shakur released his frst solo album, 2Pacalypse Now, in 1991, riffng on the usual topics of racism and police brutality, but the young rapper also addressed social issues such as poverty and teenage pregnancy. Born in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York on June 16, 1971, Shakur was raised in an environment of political unrest and social upheaval. His mother, Afeni, was an active member of the Black Panther Party, and named her son after Tupac Amaru, a 16th-century Incan emperor who had resisted Spanish colonialism. It was that revolutionary spirit—part of a childhood in which his mother battled drug addiction, and she and other family members spent time in prison— that helped shape Shakur’s views. By 1996, Shakur—whose family moved to Marin City, California, in 1988—had become a lightning rod in the growing East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry. He publicly accused New York-based rappers Biggie Smalls (a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G.) and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs of orchestrating the 1994 attack on him, and he bragged in the 1996 song “Hit ’Em Up” about having sex with Smalls’ wife. “Tupac was probably the one artist who was able to capture all the multiplicities of what hip-hop was in that era—and also in many ways capture what we want hip-hop to be,” Emdin says. “He was this non-apologetic revolutionary who was able to take a stand against the police or against anybody who seemed to speak in a negative manner about the hip-hop generation. But at the same time, he was also this man who adored women and who was able to write a song about his mother. “Even in his misogyny, there were all these glimmers of hope and love, but at the same time he was able to capture the sentiments of an N.W.A., with the hyper-aggressive, hyper-thug imagery. Because he was able to carry all those

carroll approached harmon avenue on his bike in response to the shooting call when he caught sight of the convoy erratically heading his way down Las Vegas Boulevard. “They were running traffc signals, blowing through lights the whole way,” he says. “And there’s about four to fve cars—I still can’t tell you exactly how many there were; I want to say fve. They made a hard left turn onto Harmon, and they did this right as I’m pulling up. Now, we knew the vehicles were in a shooting, but we don’t know who fred, which car fred, which one has the shooter, who’s chasing who.” About 15 minutes earlier, at 11:05 p.m., another offcer on the Strip had stopped Knight for playing his car stereo too loudly and for not having his black BMW’s license plates displayed. Shakur was in the passenger seat. Knight was let go without being ticketed, and soon turned onto Flamingo Road to head toward Club 662. It was on Flamingo that a white Cadillac with three or four men inside pulled up to the right of Knight’s BMW. One of the men stuck a weapon out of the back window of the Caddy and fred at least 13 rounds into the side of Knight’s car, four of which pierced Shakur’s body. The Cadillac then took off south down Koval. Knight managed to make a U-turn on Flamingo, as Shakur sat bleeding in the passenger seat. After turning onto the Strip, Knight weaved the BMW through traffc, blowing out two of the car’s tires and denting the rims as he drove over the median, and ran a red light at Harmon in the frantic escape. The car came to a halt near the center divider while attempting a left turn. The vehicles trailing Shakur and Knight also stopped at the intersection. “As that happens, I hop off the bike and let it go fying,” Carroll says. “I still don’t know who the shooter is, and as soon as they stopped, almost all the car doors go fying open. So I pulled out my gun, and there’s maybe 10 people. And it was apparent immediately after they got out of the cars that this wasn’t Joe Citizen driving with his wife; these were hard-ass guys. So I’ve got my gun out, and I think one of them is probably the shooter. So I’m yelling for everybody to get down; there’s a ton of people up and down the Strip. I’m concerned about crossfre; I’m concerned that I don’t know who the shooter is. I’m trying to point a gun at fve different cars at once, anticipating gunfre. And to my surprise, the gunfre never comes. “So I’m pointing my gun, and I’m yelling at guys to get down on the ground. Some of them do, and some of them don’t. Some of them were kinda thinking about it, and they’re looking at each other, almost like, ‘Do we run? Do we

May 22–28, 2014

inevitably ended Mike Tyson’s boxing career, because Mike Tyson wanted to be a super boxer, but Mike’s career ended because he also wanted to be a thug. He could not deal with the tensions of who he was and who the world wanted him to be. That’s the same thing that Tupac experienced. When the world gives you this confict, you almost inevitably selfdestruct, because you’re not allowed to be more than one thing at one time. Tupac recognized that in Mike Tyson; that’s why the two of them got along so well.”

things, all in one person, he redefned what ‘thug’ is. By being this complex person, he said that a thug is more than just this violent, angry person—that there were nuances to it.”


Return to the scene: Chris Carroll near Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, May 2014.

to fle a complaint and headed out to the Strip. Carroll was in the arena for the fght, but immediately headed back outside afterward, unaware of what had happened in the casino.


Drai’s celebrates its opening weekend with the debut of its frst female resident DJ By David Morris

May 22–28, 2014

The First Lady

TRUE, HELENA ATHERTON is stunning. But she’s also one badass DJ. Having already conquered the Australian charts, she’s now secured one of 18 core residency spots at Drai’s Beach Club & Nightclub at the Cromwell, making her the frst female headliner at Drai’s new projects. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough to make us take note, she’s signed a Sony Music management deal, hosted her own showcase at Ultra and will have a heavy festival and European presence this summer. Upon her arrival from Sydney, Vegas Seven caught up with Atherton in L.A. to chat about her upcoming residency, new music and her recent power nap in a Tokyo DJ booth. She plays at Drai’s Nightclub on May 24, 26, 30 and June 13, and Drai’s Beachclub on June 22.



Your city after dark, photos from the week’s hottest parties and Ladytron’s Reuben Wu takes control of Artifce


Life Beyond Ladytron Reuben Wu returns to his DJ roots By Deanna Rilling

ANOTHER GUY FROM A BAND is about to moonlight as a DJ. But before you cringe, consider this: Sure, Reuben Wu may be part of the notable English electropop band Ladytron, but he was DJing long before that and has a classically trained ear. So stop scoffng. We had a delightful chat with the lad from Liverpool in advance of his May 30 gig at Artifce about everything from post-punk to shoegaze and techno. Las Vegas is dominated by electronic-dance music superstars. Why should people break out from the routine and stop by your set at Artifce? I try to program a range. People will defnitely see a connection or relationship between what Ladytron sounds like, [what] I play and also stuff that you wouldn’t quite expect. To me, it’s just playing what I really like—there’s defnitely a diversion from what people think Ladytron is. A lot of the time people come and see me DJ, they’re quite surprised that I’m playing music that isn’t just like Ladytron, but also surprised that I’m actually a DJ, as opposed to someone who just plays records.



You were DJing before Ladytron was formed. How did you get into it? It was an attempt to be creative with music again, because as I was growing up, I was classically trained on violin. But I hated it because I was just playing what I was told to. I was playing in the way I was told to as well. It was just boring. And also I didn’t like the sound—but that’s another story. As soon as I stopped playing the violin, I really got into all of this other music: electronica, post-punk, indie, shoegaze, techno and all that. I was wondering, “How do I be creative with all the kinds of music I’m into?” A friend of mine had two DJ decks and was getting into DJing. He was a geek like me, so I was hanging out with him, mixing his records and realizing that I was getting the knack for it. He was into just trance, but because I was into a lot of different stuff, I was

experimenting. “How do I mix Beastie Boys with Aphex Twin?” For me, that was quite creative. That’s how I like to mix, random genres together. How does your background in classical music help you in the DJ booth? When you’re learning music, you learn about music theory and you know about key structures, minor key, major key, and you notice that two tracks will go together because they’re in the same key. Nothing really specifically to do with classical music, but

understanding the structures and the rules that define what is nice to listen to. You’ve dipped your toes into the nightclub business, as well. How did your foray into running venues begin? This was after we’d been doing a lot of touring all over the world. We came back to Liverpool, my hometown. [Ladytron partner Danny Hunt, also from Liverpool] and I decided we wanted to create a venue that our favorite bands would play at, a place we could play our favorite tunes

and a place that didn’t exist anywhere else in the northwest of England. So we opened up our own club ... and since then it’s kind of become it’s own big thing in Liverpool. While I don’t live there anymore, one of my friends who built it up with me is now one of the biggest promoters in Liverpool and booking all the right bands. It’s nice to be able to have an infuence on how a city’s scene is developing. Reuben Wu is also an accomplished photographer with a show under way in San Francisco. Follow him on Instagram @ItsReuben.


May 22–28, 2014

Who are some go-to producers you include in your sets? Right now I’m really enjoying Daniel Avery. His album came out recently on Phantasy; I really, really like it. It’s techno, but it has a lot of soul. Jon Hopkins is really good, though I wouldn’t play his kind of stuff for the dance foor.

What are the top three wardrobe essentials for the Las Vegas man this summer? One, acetate shades by Tom Ford. Two, cotton non-denim pants; see AG. Three, amphibious loafers; see Sperry or Swims. Bonus: abovethe-knee shorts. The Las Vegas heat eliminates many clothing options. How can a guy look properly dressed while still staying cool? With layers. Walk in dressed up, then stash the top layer(s) as it heats up. I’m just a dude at a pool party. How can I project “sexy” rather than “douche”? Choose shirts or tanks with textures like slub cotton or triblend, not heavy graphics. And lose the board shorts in favor of the more grown-up, above-the-knee options. Micro prints are cool; skulls and dragons not so much. I have a pocket square. What the fuck do I do with it? Fold it like a rectangle (think Mad Men) or poof it by pinching at the center (think Boardwalk Empire). Pocket squares can complement a tie, but should not perfectly match. What easily fxable sartorial misstep do you most often see tourists making? Too-long pants. Or untucked dress shirts, which are fne casually, but unacceptable with a blazer or dress shoes.

May 22–28, 2014

Now, About Those Board Shorts ... VEGAS SEVEN


Party-centric summer fashion advice for the fellas By Laurel May Bond BOTH TOURISTS AND LOCALS alike have benefited from the keen fashion sense

of Stitched senior buyer Sam Glaser. He’s doing the Lord’s work, rescuing hapless men from graphic tees and too-long jeans. And while he can’t save them all, he’s made peace with the fact that “the weirder people look, the better for Las Vegas’ world-class people watching.” So gentlemen, it’s time for a man-to-man talk.

Murse—yes or no? Guidelines for picking out a murse: Empty your pockets, slap yourself squarely across the face, then put everything back into your pockets. Option 2: Find a briefcase or messenger bag. “These [fll in the blank] cost hundreds of dollars! Why won’t the bouncer let me wear them into the club?” White Gucci sneakers. And the bouncer won’t let you in because you look like a clown in expensive sneakers. Is it ever OK to wear a blazer with shorts? Totally: for an epic entrance to your polo match or croquet tournament. Actually, this look is acceptable for a nice brunch and resort-y vacation environments. How do you feel about madras plaid? Seersucker? Any styling tips to prevent a fella from looking like an 80-year-old man while sporting them?

Use sparingly. A seersucker sport coat is cool, but save the seersucker suit for your Floridian retirement. Same for madras, which play best for those looking to display their pretentiousness. How do I wear a suit without looking like I’m going to a business meeting or a funeral? Avoid all-black suits—color of the year is bright navy. Also, look for color palettes that combine black with navy, or textured fabrics like pindots or micro-patterns. What are the essential ingredients for outfts that will make a guy stand out and get noticed for all the right reasons? Sparingly consider the small details: a pocket square or lapel flower, a stylish shirt placket (the vertical piece of fabric where buttons live) or brightly colored shoelaces or socks—just not all at once. What’s the most manly, rugged way to pull off a foral print? With a beard. Or as a layer, peeking out from beneath a cardigan or lightweight jacket. Suppose I’m a guy with a pretty solid collection of suits. I like them and they ft well, but they’re feeling a bit stale. What sort of tailoring can I consider to freshen them up? Consider adding a contrasting thread color to one or two of your button holes (lapel and sleeve, for example) or upgrading your buttons from plastic to horn. Deep Vs: Yay or nay? In moderation, best layered underneath a casual woven. Warning: Deep Vs carry a douche risk, and there’s nothing wrong with a shallow V. What about sockless loafers? Acceptable, but better with hidden loafer socks. Are bolo ties really coming back, or is that just a vicious rumor? This is a tongue-in-cheek iteration of the Southwest/ Tribal/Americana trends we’ve seen. It should come and go rather quietly. If you had a one-sentence fashion manifesto, what would it be? Dress with conviction. Follow men’s fashion guru Sam Glaser at @SammyGlaser.







The Cosmopolitan [ UPCOMING ]



See more photos from this gallery at


May 22–28, 2014

May 26 Magnum Mondays June 2 Three-Year Anniversary Party






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May 22–28, 2014

May 26 Cash Cash spins May 30 Kyle Rayner spins May 31 Paul Oakenfold spins



LAX Luxor




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May 22–28, 2014

May 25 Sunday Service May 28 Industry Wednesdays



HOW TO ... At the intimate, eightseat restaurant É by José Andrés, guests begin their meal by sharing a porrón of cava (Spanish sparkling wine). “It’s fun, it loosens people up,” explains É executive sous chef Cody Jeffs. “It opens up a conversation with us and maybe between the guests.” While a porrón is traditionally used to serve cava, red wine or cider, at Andrés’ tapas restaurant Jaleo, it’s used to pour any beverage on the menu. That includes cocktails as well as all nonalcoholic drinks. And if you want to take your drinking game on the road, servers offer custom-made plastic porróns to go. If you’re a little nervous about drinking out of a porrón for the frst time, ask your waiter for the computerized wine list on a tablet. There, you can watch a video demonstrating beginner, intermediate and advanced techniques. Here’s how Jaleo and É general manager David Oseas describes each level:

Chef Cody Jeffs fills his porrón with Spanish sparkling wine, cava.

1 BEGINNER: “Somebody

who is starting [with the porrón] very close [to their mouth]. They’re not pouring a very large stream out of the mouth of the porrón. They may be spilling a little bit.” 2 INTERMEDIATE: “They

may be extending their arm a little bit. The stream is fowing from a farther distance, and they’re able to take a couple of gulps before they’re done.”



Pour a Porrón A Spanish drinking game, courtesy of chef José Andrés By Al Mancini LEAVE IT TO JOSÉ ANDRÉS to introduce Las Vegas to a new and exciting way to drink. The pioneer of Spanish avant-garde cuisine has imported to two of his Strip restaurants what’s becoming a dying art form in his native country. A porrón is a traditional Spanish glass wine decanter that’s shaped vaguely like a watering can (or a bong, if that image works better for you). Wine is poured into the top, and consumed through the spout on the side. The catch: Your lips aren’t supposed to touch the glass so that many drinkers can share one porrón. What’s become something of a challenge for bragging rights over the years, however, is to see how far away from your face you can move the porrón without spilling the wine all over yourself.

to fully extend his arm all the way out. He’s drinking a lot of the liquid—many, many gulps. Clearly he knows what he’s doing.”

But Jeffs says those are only American standards. In Spain, some porrón drinkers take the art form to even higher levels “Some people shoot [the beverage] off their cheek and down into their mouth, and some people shoot it by their eye and still drink it,” he explains. No one at Jaleo has mastered those techniques yet. But practice makes perfect, and they’re more than willing to help you practice the next time you’re in the Cosmopolitan.


May 22–28, 2014

3 EXPERT: “An expert is able



LAURYN HILL TURNS R&B GOLD INTO REGGAE-FUNK SING-ALONG It’s been 16 years since singer-rapper Lauryn Hill dropped her only solo release, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and 18 since Fugees’ award-winning The Score. So I was naturally prepared to wax nostalgic about hip-hop and hit on 40-year-old divorcées. But what I got was even more old school. Hill’s band delivered explosive reinventions of L. Boogie’s timeless joints, giving soulful ballads reggae, funk and rock makeovers with drifts to doo-wop, gospel and ’60s soul. “Killing Me Softly” was backed by a thick reggae riddim (and later reprised as a piano ballad). “Final Hour” got a Latin bounce, and “Lost Ones” went from a fiery battle rap to a slow dub and back again. Throughout the nearly two-hour set, Hill led her band like a conductor, hushing her backup singers, signaling solos and conjuring crescendos, stretching some songs to 10 minutes. Following hits from Miseducation, she returned for a round of Fugees tracks. As if our senses hadn’t already been overloaded, she came back for Bob Marley covers before closing with “Doo Wop (That Thing)”—the line Showing off your ass ’cause you’re thinking it’s a trend a reminder that in a world where Nicki and Iggy dominate, we could still use Hill’s lessons. ★★★★✩ – Zoneil Maharaj




In the Golden Globe winner’s first SNL hosting gig since he left the cast in 2012, Andy Samberg and his The Lonely Island cohorts satiated our thirst for viral clips with a double-dose of Digital Shorts on May 17. The innocent “Hugs” (pictured) featuring Pharrell juxtaposes itself against the sexually explicit braggadocio of mainstream rap. With steady flow and serious expression, Samberg riffs, Hug so many ladies, arms shaky and shit/cuz I’m the Wilt Chamberlain of the upper-body grip. In “When Will the Bass Drop?” Samberg dons a cheesy wig as DJ Davvincii. His equipment consists of only a computer and red “bass” button resembling the Staples “easy” button, and he teases rip-roarious nightclub spectators until they’ve “turned up to death” (literally) at guest star Lil Jon’s behest. With help from pop chart-climbers, the comedy crew mimics our culture’s penchant for repetitious bangers from the inside out. And the results are damn catchy. – Camille Cannon

GETTIN’ ZIGGY WIT IT Ziggy Marley has been making sweet reggae music since 1979, but he’s been flying solo for more than a decade. The son of Bob plays Mandalay Bay Beach on May 25 ($42.50) in support of his new album, Fly Rasta.

GOTH & GOLLY Former Gossip Girl Taylor Momsen is heavy on the eyeliner and the bad-girl attitude, but how else do you front a band like The Pretty Reckless? Nobody squawked when she opened her robe in the “Heaven Knows” video. The

Pretty Reckless play Vinyl on May 28 ($23). ON SALE NOW Jurassic 5 take their Word of Mouth reunion tour to the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan on July 17 ($23).


May 22–28, 2014





Godzilla, now with less camp.

An indie director brings meaning to this monster By Michael Phillips Tribune Media Services

IN ONE FELL SWOOP, and a pretty swell fell swoop it is, the new Godzilla makes up for the 1998 Godzilla movie, the one with Matthew Broderick up against the sea beast klutzing around New York like Jack Lemmon in The Out-ofTowners. The latest Godzilla, fne and ferce, removes the camp (though it’s not humorless) and takes the smartly considered step of not overexploiting its star. Already it has become the watercooler topic for this unusually classy summer picture: Is there enough Godzilla in Godzilla? Folks, there is. There is just enough. For one thing, Godzilla’s not the only creature wreaking havoc in Japan and America. For another, there’s such a thing as pacing oneself, if one is a Godzilla movie. While it does indeed take close to an hour for the prehistoric being to get his frst full-on, gangway-world-get-off-ofmy-runway close-up, director Gareth Edwards lays the expository groundwork nicely and hands the audience what it craves in the second half. Godzilla tells two tales, one of a nuclear family reuniting, the other of a more literally nuclear family working through its problems by fghting it out. The premise of screenwriter Max Borenstein’s script, taken from a story by

David Callaham, rewrites, cleverly, the Godzilla lore as we know it. Earth’s most radiant yet most marginalized shutin, frst seen in 1954, was not, it turns out, awakened by atomic testing in the South Pacifc. Those A-bomb blasts were intended to kill or at least contain the beast. The new Godzilla begins in 1999, in a Filipino mining quarry, where disruptions to the Earth in the name of capitalism have generated unusual seismic readings. Scientists played by Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins discover a pair of massive sacs attached to a skeleton of ... something. One is empty, and there’s a trail from the quarry site leading to the ocean. The other, intact but threatening, is whisked to an undisclosed location near Las Vegas. In the manner of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, the human character roster in Godzilla isn’t neatly divided into obvious, impervious protagonists and clearly marked villains biding their time before their death scenes. Following the late 20th-century prologue, the picture’s early scenes focus on a married pair of nuclear power facility

workers played by Bryan Cranston (terrible rug, even with a $160 million production budget) and Juliette Binoche. What frst appears to be a plant meltdown is, of course, being caused by the radiation-seeking monster. The disaster leaves the couple’s son devastated; 15 years later, he’s a U.S. Navy explosives expert, played by Aaron TaylorJohnson, whose wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and child are separated from the flm’s nominal hero as things heat up in San Francisco and the monster-on-monster smack-downs arrive. Those who loved last year’s Pacifc Rim, which reveled in an all-star series of cage matches, are the ones destined to be most frustrated with Godzilla. I found that pileup entertaining but crowded. Here, there’s room for a creature or three to breathe and bide some time between clashes. The director thinks visually, which sounds redundant until you realize how many monster movies are fat, effects-dependent factory jobs. Edwards knows how to use great heights for great effect: The paratroopers’ jump, scored (wrongly, I think) to a famous

May 22–28, 2014




Chef (R) ★★ ✩✩

Chef is an hour’s worth of story with a two-hour running time. After a video of an argument with a sour restaurant critic (Oliver Platt) goes viral, a frustrated chef (Jon Favreau) loses his job. Encouraged by his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), the chef buys an old food truck, and he and his son (Emjay Anthony) embark on a Twitter-fueled marketing experiment: a cross-country jaunt accompanied by the chef’s friend and fellow kitchen master Martin (John Leguizamo). The movie, slick and shallow, is fairly entertaining anyway.

Million Dollar Arm (PG) ★★★✩✩

In Disney’s Million Dollar Arm, a modest but heartening surprise, Jon Hamm steps into a comfortable leading role, that of a canny sports agent who brings baseball to India and then brings a couple of promising athletes back to California (filmed in Georgia, where director Craig Gillespie shot Million Dollar Arm when he wasn’t on location in India). The film combines factual characters with fictional ones and keeps the sentimental uplift to a refreshing minimum. Like Disney’s Invincible, Million Dollar Arm has a way with corn, but it doesn’t feel like one of “those” Disney movies.

Palo Alto (R) ★★★✩✩

Written and directed by Gia Coppola, Palo Alto is adapted from a collection of short stories by James Franco and conjures a delicate sense of middle-class adolescence, the indeterminate, nascent feelings of the teenage years. Revolving around a group of high school kids, the film follows shy April (Emma Roberts), who falls into an affair with her soccer coach (Franco) as drifting Teddy (Jack Kilmer) pines for her. They bounce aimlessly through school and parties at once debauched but tedious. Coppola transforms weakness into strength, vulnerability into armor

piece of music used in 2001: A Space Odyssey, imparts the same sense of vertiginous thrill as a view from a railroad trestle bridge, looking downward, at a river of faming debris. There are weaknesses, starting and ending with Taylor-Johnson, who’s dull in a crucial but dull role. I fnd the screenplay’s attempts to make us care about the humans rather touching, which isn’t the same as saying the characters’ crises are dramatically vital. But so much of Godzilla works on a sensory, atmospheric level, the workmanlike material can’t kill it. Edwards’ sole previous feature, Monsters, was made on a budget of less than $1 million, and concerned an alien invasion. In that modest but satisfying debut, Edwards played peekaboo with the audience, keeping its monsters under wraps until they were truly necessary. Now, working with a budget approximately 160 times larger, Edwards surely felt the pressure of commercial expectations regarding Godzilla. Even so, the flm has the air of confdent, almost serene folklore. There’s a full complement of computer-generated effects (duh), but the battle scenes never arrive quite when you expect. Glimpses of horrendous destruction are often captured on television screens, or witnessed from behind airport terminal windows. When the Watanabe character says the big line—“Let them fght”—you’re good and ready for a fght. While Edwards has a few things to learn about handling human-based dramatic sequences, it’s heartening to see a couple of big producing entities, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, take an intelligent risk on a relatively untested director. Godzilla (PG-13) ★★★★✩

By Tribune Media Services

Neighbors (R) ★★★✩✩

One part smart, one part stupid and three parts jokes about body parts, the raunchy Neighbors is a strange success story. It’s nobody’s idea of a well-structured screenplay, even though its premise—new parents battling frat house neighbors—springs from a high-concept idea that could’ve come from scriptwriting software. Directed by Nicholas Stoller, Neighbors sets up a series of conflicts and vows of revenge as the couple goes headto-head with the bong-addled, beer-sloshing pledges next door. The family unit at the heart of Neighbors is sunny insecurity incarnate.

Devil’s Knot (Unrated) ★★✩✩✩

Moms’ Night Out (PG) ★★✩✩✩

The scope of the West Memphis Three/ Robin Hood Hills murders should’ve given director Atom Egoyan pause. The 1993 tragedy was compounded by an incompetent police investigation, ham-fisted prosecutors and a biased judge. This decadeslong case accused three heavy-metal-loving young men of a Satanic/witchcraft ritual murder. Reese Witherspoon stars as Pam, whose 8-year-old son was a victim. There’s too much tragedy, grief and outrage here for a single movie. Summing it up in under two hours does nobody justice.

Faith-based films are commonplace this year. But faith-based comedies that work? Moms’ Night Out doesn’t join their ranks. A PG-rated romp that never romps, it lacks the jokes, sight gags, pacing and performances that laughs are made of. But when you’re sending three mothers out for an “epic” night and you’re abstaining from alcohol, profanity and jokes about sex, you’d better make sure the gags are killer and that you’ve got a cast that can land those laughs. For 45 minutes, the film can’t manage so much as a smile, mainly due to bland leading lady Sarah Drew.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (PG) ★✩✩✩✩

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (PG-13)  ★★✩✩✩ 

This is a harmless but almost charmless adaptation of a book by L. Frank Baum’s grandson. It’s derivative hash set in the present day, given forgettable new tunes by pop songsmiths such as Bryan Adams sung by the likes of Lea Michele, Martin Short, Hugh Dancy and Megan Hilty of TV’s Smash. The rule is that the more impressive the voice cast, the weaker the script. There’s no point in noting the cynicism in this gold mine of a genre. Not with Disney releasing a sequel to its fiasco Planes this summer.

Locke (R) ★★★✩✩

Locke is a solo act, and Tom Hardy is its superbly talented soloist. Fate has conspired against Ivan Locke. He’s a successful construction manager whose largest-ever building project is about to begin with the pouring of tons of cement into freshly dug foundations. Months earlier Locke, married with two boys, had a bantamweight sexual encounter with a woman. Now that woman is about to give birth in a London hospital. Twenty minutes in, Hardy notwithstanding, you might be tempted to bail on Locke. Don’t.

Already spinning large webs of money overseas, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a decent superhero franchise product, lent some personality by Andrew Garfield’s skyscraper hair and the actor’s easy, pushpull rapport with co-star Emma Stone, who plays Gwen, frustratingly in love with Peter Parker. When Garfield and Stone aren’t working through their issues, the film’s essentially an extended electrocution montage. This one’s just OK, which is more than adequate from a business perspective.

The Other Woman (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

The Other Woman offers equal parts wit and witlessness, casual smarts and jokes regarding explosive bowel movements. Carly (Cameron Diaz) is a high-flying Manhattan attorney two months into a lovely affair with Mark (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj CosterWaldau). Visiting his home dressed as a stripper-plumber, Carly learns her beau is married. Carly and Mark’s wife, Kate (Leslie Mann), form an alliance once they realize the weasel is weaseling with a third, younger, vavoomier specimen (Kate Upton). Where does it go from there? All over the place.

SEVEN QUESTIONS The multifaceted artist on his new Vegas cabaret show, the appeal of the Roaring ’20s, being the life of the party, and Martha Stewart’s average brownies

May 22–28, 2014

By Zoneil Maharaj



THERE IS NO LIMIT to the stoned ideas that Snoop Dogg/Lion/Zilla will come up with. In his alter-alter-alter-ego as DJ Snoopadelic, the 42-year-old rap icon rocks parties and drops everything from G-funk classics to dancehall to electronic dance music. But if partying with Uncle Snoop in the fesh alone isn’t enough of a draw, he’s partnered with Tao Group for the Snoopadelic Cabaret. Running select dates at Tao Nightclub—the next three are May 25, July 3 and August 30—the party is fashioned after the Roaring ’20s, complete with fapper dance numbers, horn players, a burlesque performance and servers dressed like their greatgrandparents in their prime.

Are you a fan of cabaret shows? It wasn’t so much of me being a fan of it. It was more of the look that I was going for. Everything I do has to have a look, a feel and a sound to it. We got the sound, we got the feel, we just needed the look. And that 1920s look was different, and it ft the Vegas scene. It ft me.

What inspired Snoopadelic Cabaret? I’ve been DJing for about two years. I just wanted to try to get a show in Vegas, and to really capture the essence of entertainment at its fnest and its purest, when it frst began—which is that speakeasy, 1920s Prohibition era. I wanted to have that look and that feel, but be able to play all styles of music.

Why’d you decide to do it in Las Vegas? Vegas is the best place in the world for a party. You get a lot of tourism, you get a lot of exciting people who don’t mind dressing up and coming out and having a good time. There are always bright lights; there’s always something to do in Vegas. Why not have a great show like this, which is on the level of the shows that are already there?

What spoke to you about that era? It just felt like it was always fun, no matter if you was broke, rich, drunk, sober. It was always a fun time when you was in the club. The party atmosphere just felt like the best shit in the world. I wanted to bring that feeling back, and not be so of today, but of yesterday—be-

The Cabaret has more traditional stage elements than your other parties and performances. Are you planning to do more of these types of productions? I’m playing it by ear. This is all DJing right now. It’s my love of music and other people’s music and

making people party and being the life of the party. The other things I do are centered around Snoop Dogg and my music, as opposed to me having a love for other people’s music and so many genres of music. I’m able to do more when I’m doing what I’m doing right now. It’s been 22 years since your debut on “Deep Cover.” Most rappers don’t even last two years. What’s the most important thing that’s contributed to your longevity? Shit, I don’t know. Luck? I just try to make sure that I do what feels good to me and try to stay up close and personal with the people who love me and give me the spirit to do what I do. Before we go, I have to ask: How good are Martha Stewart’s brownies? About a seven-and-a-half. I thought she’d be more crackin’ than that. Nah, she didn’t put no chronic in ’em. What’s the next project Snoop Dogg has up his sleeve? Read the complete interview at


Snoop Dogg

ing able to fash back and dress up and have some class about yourself.

The Last Words of Tupac Shakur | Vegas Seven Magazine | May 22-28, 2014  

One late-summer night in 1996, a rap superstar was gunned down just off the Strip. Since then, his story has become legend. But for the Metr...

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