Ready for Action | Vegas Seven Magazine | March 19-25, 2015

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MARCH 19-21






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MARCH 27 & 28

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MAR 19, 20 & 21 ................... TOURNAMENT MADNESS VIEWING PARTY APR 17 .................................. THREE DAYS GRACE WITH SPECIAL GUESTS POP EVIL & BRAVE BLACK SEA APR 18 .................................. PAT BENATAR & NEIL GIRALDO APR 29 - MAY 16 ................ JOURNEY MAY 22 ................................. NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS WITH SPECIAL GUEST RUSTY MAPLES

MAY 28 ................................. GIPSY KINGS


JUN 4 ..................................... WHITESNAKE WITH SPECIAL GUEST DIAMANTE JUL 11 ...................................... THIRD EYE BLIND & DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL JUL 30 ................................... JUANES LOCO DE AMOR US TOUR - SPECIAL GUEST XIMENA SARIÑANA JUL 31 ..................................... BRIT FLOYD SPACE & TIME WORLD TOUR 2015 - THE WORLD’S GREATEST PINK FLOYD SHOW AUG 22 ................................. GRAMMY WINNER PETER FRAMPTON & CHEAP TRICK OCT 3 .................................... JIM JEFFERIES THE FREEDUMB TOUR ON SALE MARCH 20 OCT 7 .................................... SCORPIONS WITH SPECIAL GUEST QUEENSRŸCHE ON SALE MARCH 20 OCT 16 .................................. UB40 ON SALE MARCH 20 FEATURING ALI CAMPBELL, ASTRO, AND MICKEY VIRTUE








“The Streets Are Paved With Goals,” by Geoff Carter. Las Vegas’ roads, weathered by the recession, are finally getting the attention they need Plus, Three Questions on Rock in Rio, Ask a Native, The Deal and Tweets of the Week.

16 | Politics

“Learning Right From Wrong,” by Michael Green. How Dean Heller’s ‘signature’ moment could derail his political career.

22 | Thought

“Will We Ever Love That Way Again?” by Greg Blake Miller. Las Vegas’ Rebel moment, 25 years later

24 | COVER

“Forty-Eight Games, Four Days and One Helluva Good Time,” by Matt Jacob. If you’re a college basketball junkie, there’s no better time of year than the opening weekend of March Madness. And no better place to experience it than in Las Vegas.


“Turning the Tables,” by Kat Boehrer. Pawn Stars’ Chumlee transitions from shop counter to DJ booth. Plus, TRU Afterhours is on the way and photos from the week’s hottest parties.


“Coming Full Circle,” by Al Mancini. The Ferraro family’s goes back to their pizza roots. Plus, Al Mancini on Great American Food, and Cocktail Culture.

59 | A&E

“Second Bananas Take Center Stage,” by Camille Cannon. Comedy duo and Venetian headliners Garfunkel & Oates on writing, dating and making out with bird puppets. Plus, The Hit List, Tour Buzz and reviews of Jason Mraz and Bayside in concert.

64 | Sound Proof

“Master of Macabre,” by Zoneil Maharaj. Rapper Trade Voorhees keeps it (in the) dark.

66 | Movies

Cinderella and our weekly movie capsules.

78 | Seven Questions

Former UNLV athletic director Brad Rothermel on March Madness, Tark and the legacy of the 1990 championship team.

Coach John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats are favored, but March Madness always surprises.

ON THE COVER Illustration by Ryan Olbrysh

Seven Days Gossip Style Seven Nights Showstopper

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March 19–25, 2015








Michael Skenandore


Matt Jacob Paul Szydelko, Xania Woodman A&E EDITOR Cindi Reed ASSOCIATE EDITOR Camille Cannon Steve Bornfeld, Geoff Carter, Lissa Townsend Rodgers EDITOR



SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Melinda Sheckells (style)


Michael Green (politics), Al Mancini (dining), 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 Alyse Britt, Robyn Weiss



James Cale, Aric Lairmore, Angeline Ramirez, Danny Webster

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 2015 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited.




Ever wonder how much to tip the sushi chef, or if it’s rude to bite a piece of sashimi in half? Well, wonder no more, as Bocho’s Becky Chun runs down the do’s and don’ts of sushi etiquette. You’ll think twice before rubbing those chopsticks together. WOMEN IN POWER


While Las Vegas is often thought of as a “boys club,” the city is home to many confident, trailblazing women who are making a big impact on the local scene. In a new monthly Web exclusive, Vrated. com will introduce you to someone who is changing the game and playing by her own rules. WomenInPower.



One of the largest obstacles facing Downtown’s burgeoning tech scene is a limited talent pool. However, it looks like the neighborhood will be welcoming an influx of techies thanks to the Iron Yard, a new and intense programming school scheduled to open in May. Find out how to sign up and what to expect in the classroom at IronYard.

Velveteen Rabbit’s spring menu is here with no carrots but plenty of veggies, spices and refreshment to be found. Dining and beverage editor Xania Woodman takes us through the new cocktails at SevenSips.


A disappointing UNLV basketball season is over, so now it’s all about restocking the roster. Class of 2015 recruit (and human highlight reel) Derrick Jones tells why his game will translate to the college level, what he thinks of coach Dave Rice and what his expectations are for the 2015-16 Rebels at DerrickJones.

FACEBOOK: /VegasSeven TWITTER: /7Vegas INSTAGRAM: /VegasSeven

Jo Koy March 20





MaRCh 2 - apRiL 6 The Madness is back at Fremont Street Experience as the 6th Annual Downtown Hoopstown transforms our street into the ultimate college basketball destination. Make a fast break and join us for exciting events and performances all season, including the Hardwood Hotties featuring American Idol Season 6 Finalist Haley Scarnato. The High Hoops Zone also returns, giving you the chance to challenge your friends to basketball shoot-outs. You won’t want to miss the World’s Largest NCAA Bracket as it lights up our 1,500-foot long Viva Vision canopy, while a special Viva Vision Show plays nightly. CELEBRATE YOUR FAVORITE SPORT AT THE BIGGEST BASKETBALL PARTY ON THE PLANET, ONLY AT FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE.


“Dakota Meyer proposed to Bristol Palin at the Rascal Flatts concert at The Joint. ... The man served his country with valor, and this is how we repay him?”


Sign of the times: Road construction Downtown.

The Streets Are Paved With Goals Las Vegas’ roads, weathered by the recession, are fnally getting the attention they need By Geoff Carter

March 19–25, 2015




While much of America’s infrastructure is suffering from critical neglect, Southern Nevada is widening its roads, building bridges and even constructing a freeway bypass from Henderson to the Arizona state line. Much of this activity is being driven by the Fuel Revenue Index, a small gasoline surcharge (it averages out to about a dime a day, per driver) that will generate some $700 million in road-fxing revenue before it expires in December 2016. But there’s another, more compelling reason that the streets around your home are torn up right now: They really, really need the face-lift. Most of the roadwork being done today is addressing problems that ex-

isted before the recession hit. “These are projects that were unfunded previously, and they’re all needed,” says David Swallow, director of engineering services-capital projects at the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. “Now we have the resources to put them out there.” The list of current road projects is exhaustive, covering everything from pavement reconstruction and new curb ramps on Whitney Ranch Drive to the widening of Decatur Boulevard to four through lanes from Cactus Avenue to Warm Springs Road. (You can see the full list of Fuel Revenue Indexfunded road work at RoadImprovements.) It’s tough to pick one piece of road

construction as the poster child for our rebound from the recession, but the Flamingo Road project is as good a choice as any. Later this year, the more than $40 million worth of improvements will begin on nearly the entire length of Flamingo, from Boulder Highway to Hualapai Way. It’s a trigger that’s needed pulling for some time, Swallow says. “Flamingo’s always been a priority corridor for us. It’s been consistently our busiest residential bus route, carrying more than 12,000 passengers per day,” Swallow says. He further notes that the street connects several key parts of the Valley: It runs along the northern edge of UNLV, past several high-density residential blocks

and directly through “what we think is the epicenter of employment on Las Vegas Boulevard itself.” One of the key objectives of the Flamingo project is to ensure that the people who work in that epicenter get to their jobs quickly and, more importantly, safely. Since a September 2012 tragedy in which a car plowed into a bus stop and killed four people waiting there, the RTC has made a mission of aggressively improving pedestrian safety along our streets. Swallow says the Flamingo work will include replacing some 100 bus “shelters,” moving them “as far back from the curb as possible within the available right-of-way.” “It’s one thing to have a great transit service,” Swallow says. “It’s another thing to make sure that people can get to and from the transit stops safely.” There are other aspects to the Flamingo redo that might matter more to some than to others: dedicated transit and bike lanes, similar to the ones the RTC added to Sahara Avenue in 2011; upgraded traffc signals; and “median aesthetic enhancements” (read: landscaping). But the most exciting part of the Flamingo project, at least for me, is not so much the actual construction as what it represents: another solid, forward step. For as long as I can remember, our Valley’s roads have been an afterthought to its growth. We’re building tract houses on the far west side; guess we’d better widen the roads. Our sidewalks are terrifying propositions at best—thin strips of concrete bordered on one side by screaming vehicles and on the other by cinderblock walls. With the Flamingo project—and the Sahara project before it—the RTC is making a bona fde effort to make the streets usable for everyone, ultimately preparing us for the day when we commit to rail transit—and the day when the majority of us live in highdensity rental housing. You know, as is the case in big cities. But that’s down the proverbial road. For now, the RTC is only too happy to fx up our backlog of rough streets. The future will be sealed one pothole at a time. “We have a lot of engineers and contractors who are working vigorously to respond to the demand for these road projects,” Swallow says. “Refecting back on where we were fve years ago, when one of our economy’s largest sectors—that being construction—took such a dramatic hit, it’s nice to see this kind of turnaround.”


News, politics, deals and deep thoughts on our city’s crowning moment, 25 years hence

work we’re doing on City of Rock is specifc to this event. They hired us pretty late, so it’s an aggressive time frame. What kind of work did they need Bunnyfish to do?


When the gates to the City of Rock swing open in May for the inaugural Rock in Rio USA festival, they’ll do so with the help of a local act: Downtown-based architectural frm Bunnyfsh Studios has been asked to consult on the look of the 33-acre open-air venue at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. One of the frm’s two principals, Craig Palacios, tells us what’s required to build a city on rock and roll. Rock in Rio is a huge, huge deal. How did you and Bunnyfish co-founder Tina Wichmann land this whale?

We heard from a big tent manufacturer (Classic Tents of Torrance, California), by way of a colleague of ours who works at the Southern Nevada Water [Authority]. Third-hand, Classic Tents called us out of the blue and said they’d reached a certain point in the project where they needed an architect. So we set up a meeting with the Rock in Rio guys, and we got along singingly. They were awesome. Their outft reminds me so much of Life Is Beautiful: a bunch of young, musically interested people, making this thing happen. The


J A M E S P. R E Z A

THE GREAT MONTE CRISTO DEBATE, TAKE 2. Given the response to last week’s column detailing my futile search for a great Monte Cristo sandwich, food clearly rates as a top concern for many readers. The Cristo question generated plenty of email and social media feedback, ranging from nostalgic mental noshing to suggestions of where to taste the elusive treat. The Peppermill remains a mystery. Readers insist that the Strip’s classic 24-hour café once offered (or still offers) the sandwich, despite denials from employees and

It’s not as romantic as you might think. An architect has two general roles: One is to make things beautiful and interesting and fun, and the other is to make them safe and livable. On this project, we’re helping them in that second role. We’re taking all these parts and pieces from their Rio and Barcelona festivals that they’re shipping to Vegas, and we’re helping to get those parts fretested, to determine if they’re buildable here in the United States, that they meet ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] requirements, and that they ft within our local code requirements. It’s kind of similar to the work we just did on The D’s Downtown Events Center … only on acid. This is insanely bigger than that. What’s the best part of this gig?

Working on a Strip property that’s been derelict and shitty for too many years. And it’s something that’s going to bring an intense number of people to the neighborhood; it’s going to become like a little city 10, 12 times a year. That’s an awesome thing to us, both as architects and as neighbors. – Geoff Carter

my own recent reconnaissance. Others eagerly suggested such restaurants as the Eldorado and Emerald Island casinos in Henderson, The Lodge at Grand Teton, and Sunset Station’s Grand Café—none of which list the Cristo on the menu. Others mentioned Roxy’s Diner (Stratosphere) and Earl of Sandwich (Planet Hollywood). Nope. Are we all suffering some romantic, deep-fried, powderedsugar-fueled Vegas delusion? For nostalgia’s sake, Tami B. noted that old-timers’ fave Jo-Ell’s Diner (Decatur and Alta, now called Lou’s) used to serve one, while Steve K. remembers an “excellent” version at the Pink Pony in Circus Circus “in the early to mid-’70s.” That was around the same time that others enjoyed the sandwich at the Caesars Palace coffee shop. Clay H. fondly recalls one of my go-

to spots, the now-closed Carson Street Café (Golden Nugget), which “used to have an amazing one.” Speaking of Downtown, the Goodwich was name-checked quite a bit. While they do offer to make any of their delicious sandwiches “Monte Cristo style” for an extra buck, let’s be clear: “Monte Cristo style” is not a Monte Cristo. Ditto for the donut-based iteration at PBR Rock Bar and the S’mores Monte Cristo at Guy Fieri’s eponymous restaurant—it might be a tasty dessert version, but it bears little resemblance to the original. Other readers suggested some spots (the Barrymore, Gordon Biersch) offer it only as part of a Sunday brunch menu, but I’d call ahead. One important note: Pan-fried or grilled versions, while widely touted as Monte Cristos, cannot be counted as such—those are essentially just French toast sandwiches. “If it’s not (deep) fried,” insists reader Gerald V., “it’s not a Monte Cristo.” Want to decide for yourself? This lighter, faux version can be had at the MGM’s Grand Avenue Café and the Luxor’s Pyramid Café, and off-Strip at Mary’s Hash House, Blueberry Hill and Truffles N Bacon Café. Meanwhile, my search for the real deal rolls on … Questions? AskaNative@

By Bob Whitby THURSDAY, MARCH 19: Spring officially hits tomorrow, so get in a vernal state of mind by hitting up one of our many local farmers markets. This week we’re featuring the Green Chefs Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays at Springs Preserve. Produce, plants, herbs, baked goods—it’s all there. FRIDAY, MARCH 20: We know as well as anyone that water is a precious commodity. One Drop, a nonprofit launched by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, works to make water accessible to people around the world. One Night for One Drop, 7:30 p.m. at The Mirage, is the group’s signature fundraiser. Featuring the talents of 100-plus artists, it’s also a good time. SATURDAY, MARCH 21: If being chased around Sunset

Park by zombies sounds like your kind of thing, then your wait is finally over. The 5KRunDead happens at 4 p.m., and it looks like a hoot. You sign up, run the course and try to keep zombies from stealing your flags.

SUNDAY, MARCH 22: Or maybe a pleasant day in the park with your pet is more your speed. Got you covered there with the 19th annual WagA-Tail Walk-A-Thon, 8 a.m. at Centennial Hills Park. There’s a one-mile pet walk, contests, a raffle and exhibits, plus all proceeds benefit the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society.

MONDAY, MARCH 23: It’s another architecture Monday. This week, UNLV’s Klai Juba Wald Lecture Series welcomes Marlon Blackwell, a professor at the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture and the winner of the 2012 Architecture Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The lecture is at 5:30 p.m. at the Historic Fifth Street School. TUESDAY, MARCH 24: Certainly you’ve heard about the controversy around Harper Lee’s new book Go Set a Watchman. Did she mean to release it? Is it any good? We’ll learn the answer to the last question soon enough. In the meantime, why not re-familiarize yourself with Lee’s iconic To Kill a Mockingbird with a free viewing of the 1962 movie version? 1 p.m. at the Clark County Library. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25: How do you get people to change unhealthy habits? Community-level action. So says Ross Hammond, a fellow at the Center on Social Dynamics and Policy, who’s giving a talk on the topic at 5:30 p.m. at UNLV’s Greenspun Hall. The free event is part of Brookings Mountain West’s lecture series. Have an event you want considered for Seven Days? Email

How Dean Heller’s ‘signature’ moment could derail his political career

March 19–25, 2015




make headlines—and, no, I’m not referring to his ability to regularly serve up fodder for journalists … at least not in this instance. In case you missed it, Heller is one of 47 Republican U.S. senators who signed a letter drafted by Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., which (erroneously) lectured Iranian leaders on the Constitution and tried to sabotage negotiations over Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Now, we could focus on the fact that Heller and his colleagues may have violated the Constitution and a federal law (in fact, more than 300,000 Americans signed a petition to urging their prosecution). Or that their letter read like the work of a petulant third-grader. Or that whatever your politics, Republicans set a terrible precedent that could come back to bite them in the fanny at some point when a GOP president does something a Democratically controlled Congress doesn’t like. Instead, let’s zero in on how Heller’s lapse in judgment could damage him politically. Admittedly, that matters less to the rest of the country than whether Iran has a bomb or Republican leaders require adult supervision, but it ultimately may mean more for Nevada. Consider one of the front-page links on Heller’s Senate website. Addressing the Senate’s passage of a bill favoring construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the 42 permanent jobs it would create, Heller declared: “This marks the dawn of a new era in the Senate. Today’s vote was held in a bipartisan manner with an open process where members were allowed to offer their amendments. This was the exact way the Senate was designed to operate.” To paraphrase Daffy Duck as Robin Hood, that was an attempt to put a cloth-yard shaft through Harry Reid’s wishbone. But it also refected Heller’s quest to depict himself as a reasonable, bipartisan Republican. That certainly described the old Heller, once a respected state assemblyman and secretary of state when Carson City was becoming more partisan than it is today (but less insane). When then-Congressman Jim Gibbons returned home from Washington, D.C., to run for governor in 2006, Heller ran for Congress. In the primary, he faced Gibbons’ thenwife, Dawn, and none other than Sharron Angle, and barely

defeated both. Heller then won the general election by the narrowest margin in that district’s history. That experience appears to have inclined Heller to slide further to the right. And he’s not alone: Heller’s House successor, Mark Amodei, tried to sound like a moderate Republican when he was a state senator. Then, upon arriving in Congress, Amodei ran campaign ads warning of a Chinese invasion of the Capitol. Congress confronts different issues than elected offcials at the state level, which is why discipline matters on major votes—so long as those votes don’t negatively affect the home folks. (Prime example: Most Republicans in Congress favor a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, but Nevada’s Republican delegation could hardly be expected to vote for it.) But when Heller ran statewide for the U.S. Senate, he had to both feed red meat to his base and appeal to less loyal Republicans and even to Democrats. To win again in 2018, he must do the same. Which is why choosing to add his signature to that letter to Iran didn’t make political sense: Heller very possibly could’ve alienated voters back home who might be tempted to vote for him solely because of his supposed reasonableness. Sure, Heller has gambled politically in the past. He’s made bipartisan noises on such issues as immigration— where Republicans regularly make every effort to push away Hispanic voters (if not impede their ability to vote)—even at the risk of appearing too soft to Republican supporters. But that’s vastly different than signing a letter that hurts his country— country—that kind of roll of the dice is just foolish, and one his constituents won’t be quick to forget. After all, it isn’t just 2016 that’s closer than it appears; so is 2018. Michael Green is an associate professor of history at UNLV.


The NCAA basketball tournament is here, which means so are the parties and deals offered up at casinos and bars all over town. Much like for the Super Bowl, many establishments will announce their events right up to the opening tipoff. To get the ball rolling, here’s a March Madness primer based on what’s been made public so far: More casinos than I’ve seen in the past are offering viewing parties of some sort, but many are higher-end, at least in terms of price. SLS has a $50 party in Umami Burger that comes with a $10 bet. It’s all-you-candrink for $65 at Monte Carlo’s Double Barrel Roadhouse and $75 at The Joint at the Hard Rock. And Caesars properties are offering several programs, ranging from $25 beer buckets at the Rio’s bars to a $2,760 foodand-drink package for eight ($345 per) at the Flamingo. I guess that’s all right, but you can do the entire first four days for well under $345 by sticking with the old standards. Heading that list (as usual) is South Point, which will host parties Thursday through Sunday with $3 beers, buckets of six for $16 ($2.67 each), and $25 Bloody Mary and margarita pitchers. Right there with South Point is Westgate Las Vegas’ Hoops Central party, with $3 beers and $2 hot dogs. Get $2 drafts and $5 burgers or wings in JC’s at Rampart Casino, while Station Casinos properties and El Cortez offer $2 beers, $1 dogs and shot specials from $2 to $6. (Exception: The $1 dogs don’t apply to Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock and Santa Fe.) The Fremont Street Experience is hosting the sixth annual Downtown Hoopstown with free entertainment, drink specials and the “World’s Largest NCAA Bracket” displayed on the canopy. This year, two venues deserve special consideration: The Game, the sports bar at the Suncoast, sports 25 TVs and appears as though it was configured specifically for March Madness. And the Sporting Life (7770 S. Jones Blvd.) is the only bar in town to have a full-size and real-time odds board. The place also has wall-to-wall TVs, great food and a giant beer selection. You’ll think you’re in Lagasse’s Stadium (also a great place to watch), except at a fraction of the cost. Finally, be sure to take advantage of tournament-associated gambling deals. Many local bars have brackets promos and video poker bonuses, while a few casinos will give you something extra for your action. For example, get a logoed T-shirt for a $25 parlaycard wager at the Westgate or for a $100 table-game buy-in at The D or Golden Gate. If you’ve been thinking of funding a mobile betting app, now’s a good time at Stations, where the normal $25 sign-up bonus has been raised to $50 in March. Hey, free money—the best deal of all!



Learning Right From Wrong


@LVCabChronicles In light of reports that Floyd will earn $120M for his next fight, I will be pushing my Mayweather Bankruptcy prediction back 6 months.

@simply_stephers When Jon Taffer says, “I’m starting to get angry,” I get happy.

@BrianRScully Men’s restrooms should have a sign that says MEN... Not that picture of someone in pants... It looks like Hillary Clinton and confuses me.


The Hating Game From Bieber’s 21st birthday bash to a Palin engagement, last week was hardly one of Vegas’ fnest By Jason Scavone


Joining in the insufferable festivities were Katharine McPhee (once caught on camera making out with a married man), Miguel (leg-dropped a fan at a show) and Kris Jenner (Kris Jenner). Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only Bieber news last week: He attended the Mayweather-Manny Pacquaio press conference March 11 in L.A. and insisted that he wasn’t Mayweather’s sidekick … despite being Mayweather’s sidekick. Yet it was left to Richard Sturm, MGM’s president of entertainment and sports, to steal the show with hair that could best be described as “Phil Spector-esque.” The bigger news out of that presser, though? Tickets for the May 2 bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena will start at $1,500 and go up to $7,500. Assuming you’ll have the opportunity to buy the handful of tickets that will be released to the public. Which you probably won’t. Meanwhile, for a more thoroughly American experience, we can turn to the March 13 Rascal Flatts show at The Joint, where Dakota Meyer proposed to Bristol Palin,

@daxshepard1 Sobriety + monogamy + broken race car = very little reason to be in Vegas.

@ESPN_Colin in a match made in stupid-name heaven. Rascal Flatts’ Gary LeVox brought Meyer onto the stage and played “Bless the Broken Road,” pausing to announce to the crowd that Meyer, a Medal of Honor-earning Marine, popped the question, and Palin said yes. The man served this country with valor, and this is how we repay him? Shameful. Speaking of American heroes, Derek Jeter took over for Michael Jordan at the annual celebrity golf invitational at Shadow Creek. The charity tournament now benefts Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation, which helps steer kids from drugs and alcohol. Except for the children of Red Sox fans. There’s no saving those degenerates. Joining Jeter on the links were Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Jason Taylor, Brandi Chastain, Rob Riggle, Russell Wilson and Ken Griffey Jr. Not a bad lineup—although we can’t believe Griffey was allowed in after he knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs in 1995, in full view of a young Jeter, who was in the dugout but not on the postseason roster. Have some pride, Derek.

Those great UNLV teams had five NON NBA players in rotation. Kentucky has zero.

@RJinVegas Bookmaker Bob Scucci says the 1991 UNLV team would be favored by 6 pts over this year’s Kentucky team.

@MrGeorgeWallace Hey @FloydMayweather, you wanna go join that fraternity in Oklahoma with me? It would be lights out.

@RealSkipBayless Delusional Floyd fans, you’d better face reality: Pacquiao will knock out the 38-year-old Mayweather.

Share your Tweet! Add #V7.


March 19–25, 2015



was ever going to stage his Player Haters’ Ball for real, last week in Vegas would’ve been the time and place to do it. You had all the ingredients: a Yankee icon, a representative of the Palin clan and Floyd Mayweather’s hood ornament/particularly polarizing gerbil Justin Bieber. The Biebs spent March 14 in Los Angeles flming his Comedy Central Roast (to air March 30), then hopped in a private jet for his 21st birthday party at Omnia. When he got there, he dressed like a millennial Sgt. Pepper and danced like every black comedian’s impression of a white guy dancing. We don’t know who should be more embarrassed here: Comics who missed easy roast material by mere hours? Paul McCartney? White people? Canadians? Actually, yeah. It’s probably Canadians. His celebratory cake was a replica of his birthday gift: a ’65 Lincoln Continental. (The Haters Ball thing is really starting to make a lot of sense now, isn’t it?)

I am starting to think UNLV football can beat Gorman this year.



Plus, get a free T-shirt with $100 buy-in on table games at the D! Limit of one shirt per person, while supplies last. Management reserves all rights. Must be 21 years or older.

Downtown at Fremont Stree Experience



Kim Groberg Store manager

How did you get involved in the fashion industry? I never

went for formal training. My background is in human resources—I worked in high-end retail in the HR department, then moved to the business side of things and never went back. Where do you prefer to shop? I do a lot of online

shopping. I’m not a department-store shopper. When I travel, I always shop consignment stores.

How do you assist clients with their shopping needs?

I’ve worked with clients doing personal styling as well as done corporate seminars to help women executives—for example, in terms of how to dress like a million dollars [without spending it]. Knowing what’s fashionable and what the highend designers are showing helps. It’s having that eye for what looks expensive.


Mulberry top, bottom and bracelets. Valentino shoes.


March 19–25, 2015


– Jessi C. Acuña

Downtown Las Vegas is the hottest neighborhood in town and El Cortez is the front door to all the action. The party starts here. And since we’re the longest running hotel and casino in Las Vegas? It always has.

600 E. Fremont St. Las Vegas, NV 89101 800.634.6703 | 702.385.5200



Will We Ever Love That Way Again? Las Vegas’ Rebel moment, 25 years later

March 19–25, 2015




Stacey Augmon, who had averaged 13 points a game for a UNLV basketball team that did not need him to score much, went on the offensive. Thirtythree points later, he left the game—it was no ordinary game, mind you, but the West Regional fnals of the NCAA tournament—and was greeted by his coach. “You played as well,” Jerry Tarkanian told him, “as any forward could possibly play.” Who, one wonders, was guarding that man? The Los Angeles Times put it this way: “whoever was bold enough or close enough to try, sometimes two at a time.” UNLV 131, Loyola Marymount 101. This was the moment when we Las Vegans began to feel invincible. We certainly hadn’t felt that way after the Rebels’ 69-67 victory over Ball State two days earlier. But on that Sunday in the ponderously named Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, the Rebels had been everything we dreamed them to be, everything we knew them to be, the extension of our own self-image as a dazzling, swaggering, misunderstood city on the brink. Only we understood what Las Vegas really meant to this great nation of ours—that we were not its wicked id, but its vital, beating heart. That spring’s big meme portrayed a potential Duke-UNLV championship game as a Manichean struggle between Good and Evil. The narrative cast the kids from Las Vegas as outlaws and thugs. For Rebel fans, it took no great sociological leap to see that Augmon and his teammates were vilifed not simply for their swagger or their school or their beloved Shark, but for the peculiar place where they lived. Within four years, Time would proclaim our sinful town, on the cover no less, “The New All-American City.” But in 1990, we were still alone in our self-belief. And it felt so good. Lois Tarkanian once described the feeling to me as “electric togetherness,” and if I can’t seem to stop using the phrase, it’s only because it’s so perfect that it has no synonym. The triumphant Rebels returned home from Oakland for a brief stay before leaving for the Final Four in Denver. Las Vegas had already been through two heartbreaking UNLV losses in the Final Four—in 1977 and 1987, by a combined fve points—but the performance against Loyola bore the unmistakable scent of greatness. The preseason media guide had made a bold promise:

“The Big Year Is Here.” Now it was down to the Big Week. All through those long, late-March days, the desert air crackled with sweet tension. UNLV dispatched Georgia Tech in the national semifnal, and the showdown with Duke was set. We were ready, a whole Valley’s worth of chip-on-the-shoulder dreamers: The Good vs. Evil storyline had fused us with our team. It’s a fan’s most sacred cliché to refer to his favorite team as “we.” But that week we felt justifed in believing that, when victory came, it would indeed be “ours”—all of ours. ***** the record shows that on April 2, 1990, our Rebels defeated Duke 103-73 to win the NCA A championship. No title game has ever been a bigger blowout. “You can call us bad guys,” UNLV

Less than two months later, the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a 1989 snapshot of four men in a hot tub. Three were Rebels, one was a guy whose nickname was “The Fixer.” In the weeks that followed, Las Vegans split into mutually loathing battle camps: One side supported UNLV President Robert Maxson, who— tired of the tireless NCAA gumshoes who had pursued the university for two decades—believed he might remove the school’s black hat by removing its basketball coach. Tarkanian’s supporters, meanwhile, reasoned that the perception of Vegas villainy came with the territory, a fgment of the stunted national imagination. What did it mean to be a Rebel if not to laugh off the haters and just keep winning? On July 7, Tarkanian announced that he would retire at the end of the 199192 season. Our city was just beginning

IT’S A FAN’S MOST SACRED CLICHÉ TO REFER TO HIS FAVORITE TEAM AS “WE.” BUT THAT WEEK WE FELT JUSTIFIED IN BELIEVING THAT, WHEN VICTORY CAME, IT WOULD INDEED BE “OURS”—ALL OF OURS. forward Larry Johnson said. “You can call us thugs. You can call us hoodlums. But please, at the end of that, just put ‘national champions.’” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who before the game had been a model of graciousness, telling anyone who would listen that when he looked at the Rebels he saw no evil, was equally classy afterward: “They’re better than us.” The Rebels returned home to their adoring city. There was a parade down Fremont Street, when Fremont Street still looked like a street. The glorious year 1990 ended, as all years must. In the spring of 1991, in the national semifnals, Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils cast the Rebels out of heaven. UNLV had been 34-0; national commentators had spoken about them less as villains than as conquerors. The world had asked: Are the Rebels the best college team of all time? We had answered: Yes. It had all ended with two free throws by Christian Laettner.

its magnifcent rise, but the electric togetherness was already over. ***** twenty-five years. a quarter of a century remembering a feeling that we can’t seem to recapture. We try to explain it to the newcomers: There were about 750,000 of us in the county back then; now there are more than 2 million. That’s a lot of explaining. It would be so much easier if the feeling could only come back. But, suppose—dream, really—that our Rebels could once again rise to that level. Would they ever truly be “ours” in the same way? Would “electric togetherness” ever return? Let’s go to the tape: ➜ In 1990, Green Valley was a few years old, Summerlin was just breaking ground, Maryland Parkway was still the center of the local universe, and most Rebel fans could get home

from work, pull on a red sweatshirt and drive to the Thomas & Mack Center in 15 minutes. Try doing that these days from Lone Mountain and Fort Apache. Sprawl—which scattered the Rebel fan base just as the post-Tark program was falling into disarray— doesn’t kill civic unity, but it makes it a lot more tempting to stay home for a syndicated episode of Shark Tank. ➜ In 1990, Republicans and Democrats still spoke to one another, shoppers still shopped at stores and your physician was self-employed. Now my family doctor, who’s been practicing here since the day after the Big Bang, fnds himself Employee Number 8429 of a national health care corporation. He’s still there, but all the old waitingroom pictures of him with Las Vegas celebrities are gone. (“What’s that got to do with electric togetherness?” you ask. Well, you try ginning up some civic love under these conditions.) ➜ In 1990, Steve Wynn was just sinking his teeth into the Strip, and into the idea of being a Vegas King. Now he’s outgrown us, become an emperor and, reasonably enough, is focused on the real growth opportunity, which happens to be on an island off the Chinese coast. ➜ In 1990, Sheldon Adelson was turning the ring-a-ding Sands into a convention empire, which would evolve into the Venetian. Now he is not only, like Wynn, a viceroy in the Chinese casino biz, but one of the most powerful political insiders in the world. ➜ In 1990, Downtown meant Jackie Gaughan, who was keeping the Vegas in Vegas. Now, Downtown means Tony Hsieh, who is putting the Bay Area in Vegas. So every sign in our jaded, impersonal, adversarial, digitally addled, geographically scattered 21st-century metropolis says that electric togetherness is gone for good. But of course it’s not. Winning, like cash, changes everything. In our crazy, mixed-up world, the problems of one little college basketball team don’t amount to a hill of beans. But the victories of such a team would add up to a whole lot of beans. If a latter-day Stacey Augmon—perhaps under the tutelage of the original—were to lead the Rebels to the land of silk and money, our imperial Las Vegans would sail in from the farthest reaches of the realm and wash up on the beaches of Gucci Row. And when they looked up into the stands, we’d all be there to greet them.


By Greg Blake Miller


March 19–25, 2015



March 19–25, 2015


Forty-Eight Games. Four Days. One Helluva Good Time. If you’re a college basketball junkie, there’s no better time of year than the opening weekend of MARCH MADNESS. And no better place to experience it than in Las Vegas.

••••• earlier this month, the american Gaming Association announced results of a poll that revealed about $9 billion is expected to be wagered on this year’s


NCAA tournament. A huge chunk of that will come from bracket pools (the AGA estimates 40 million Americans will fll out 70 million brackets), as well as illegal wagers placed outside Nevada, which remains the only state to allow sports betting. That $9 billion fgure dwarfs the $3.9 billion that the AGA claims was wagered nationwide on the Super Bowl. But when it comes to legal wagers here in Nevada, the Super Bowl still reigns supreme: Last month’s NFL title tilt between the Patriots and Seahawks attracted $116 million in action; by comparison, a realistic estimate for the amount of money bet on the NCAA tournament is about $100 million. (When it comes to betting handle for basketball, the Gaming Control Board lumps together college and pro wagers, making it impossible to pin down an exact fgure.) Then again, the Super Bowl is a fourhour event that takes place on a single afternoon; the NCAA tournament offers more than 60 games spread across three weeks, highlighted by the opening four days CONTINUED ON PAGE 27


(and groans) will rattle the walls. And precious few hours of sleep will be had. Then the sun will rise, and this scene will repeat. As it will on Saturday. As it will on Sunday. It is the frst four days of the NCAA tournament in Las Vegas, a gluttonous basketball buffet of 48 games spread across 96 hours. For sports fans who prefer a little action with their action, it’s the most physically, emotionally and—on occasion—fnancially draining weekend of the year. It’s also the most highly anticipated—even more so than the kickoff to the football season. “The frst weekend of the NFL is always very exciting, because even the Browns are in frst place,” says veteran Las Vegas oddsmaker Jay Kornegay, who runs the Westgate (formerly LVH) Superbook. “But March Madness, as far as the level of excitement and the amount of bodies and the range of emotions that are fowing through the room, I don’t think anything compares to it.”

March 19–25, 2015

t 9:15 a.m. on thursday, March 19, an offcial in stripes at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh will toss an orange-and-black sphere skyward, christening the opening weekend of the 2015 NCAA men’s college basketball tournament. The crowd in the 19,100seat arena will no doubt be buzzing, but the most riveting action will be found some 2,200 miles away in Las Vegas. Here, sportsbooks (and showrooms converted into sportsbooks) will be teeming with enthusiastic fans, mostly men, mostly ranging in age from 21 to 55, virtually all with a fnancial stake in the outcome of the battle between 14th-seeded Northeastern and third-seeded Notre Dame. Over the ensuing 9½ hours, another 15 games will tip off at four venues across the country. In the interim, millions of dollars will be won and lost in Vegas. Thousands of adult beverages and artery-clogging calories will be consumed. Hundreds of ATM trips will be made. Dozens of collective cheers


SHARP ADVICE One professional bettor’s how-to guide to a proftable NCAA tournament

March 19–25, 2015




➜ Next to the Super Bowl, college basketball’s NCAA tournament is the biggest sports-betting event of the year in Las Vegas, with avid fans from across the country packing sportsbooks throughout the four-day opening weekend. The operators of those sportsbooks love the energy that comes with March Madness … almost as much as they love all the money those avid fans (and novice sports bettors) lose because they continually take the worst of it in the markets! It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. You can, in fact, have a great time enjoying the tournament and make a little cash in the process—if you know how to spot (and avoid) the sucker plays. To that end, here are some tips to help you turn this year’s Big Dance into a moneymaker: Media-hyped teams from mediahyped conferences are consistently overpriced, as oddsmakers charge a premium on these schools because they know the public will bet on them regardless of the point spread. Compounding matters, these squads are often overrated anyway! Just look at the ACC last year: Conference champ Virginia was a No. 1 seed that couldn’t get past the Sweet 16, while Duke and Syracuse were both No. 3 seeds that failed to survive the opening weekend. The Blue Devils went oneand-done after losing to No. 14-seed Mercer, and the Orange were bounced in their second game by 11th-seeded Dayton. Public bettors were paying a premium on what were already bad lines, because the ACC as a whole was overrated. Tip: Look for great spots to fade (i.e. bet against) media darlings. Study unheralded entries to see if you can discover potential Cinderellas that have the talent and experience to succeed—like Mercer and Dayton last year. Another team that’s consistently overpriced: the one that relies heavily on the 3-point shot. These squads get a lot of public support because they win by such large margins, which makes them seem unbeatable. Well, they are unbeatable—when the bombs are falling. But when those long-range shots start clanking off the rim, these teams turn mortal very quickly. One thing we’ve learned over the years is it’s much more difficult for a perimeter-oriented team to drain shots on neutral courts in a pressure-packed tournament than it is during a run-of-the-mill

regular season contest. Filling your office-pool brackets with trey-heavy teams is a recipe for heartbreak. Likewise, backing them against the point spread is a recipe for a depleted bankroll. Sure, when you bet on a squad that catches fire from 3-point land, you’ll cover by a lot of points. That doesn’t help if you’re only winning 40 percent of these bets. Tip: Rather than fall for teams that live and die by the long ball, look to bet on balanced teams that can score inside and out, and who play well on both sides of the floor. If you study the stats closely, you’ll notice that many trey-heavy teams are hiding fairly soft defenses that get exposed in March. (One such team that fits the profile this year: Davidson.) The public tends to treat the NCAA tournament like roulette. That is, some jump on “hot” teams that they believe will continue to play well. Others fall in love with the “due theory” (say, a team that just survived a nail-biter and is in position to bounce back strong). Well, here’s the thing about roulette: Everybody loses! You can’t beat roulette over time, because the “0” and “00” on the board take everyone’s money. Similarly, you can’t beat the tournament exclusively playing “hot” or “bounce-back” teams, because the minus-110 vigorish eats away at bad strategies. Each NCAA tournament game is a chess match, not a wheel spin. Smart bettors handicap the chess match to find real edges that matter. Tip: Focus on the strengths and weaknesses of each team (and its head

Spreitzer’s Selections

Professional handicapper Scott Spreitzer offers three of his top plays for the opening round of the NCAA tournament:

North Carolina State –2 vs. LSU (March 19) –––––

Michigan State –5.5 vs. Georgia (March 20) –––––

Oregon –1.5 vs. Oklahoma State (March 20)

coach) and evaluate games accordingly. Hey, sometimes a team will look “hot” when in reality their skill set is suited to tournament basketball. See Connecticut last season: The Huskies didn’t run the table because they were “hot”; they cut down the nets because great defense and guard play are proven advantages in the Big Dance! Chasing “hot” just puts you on teams that are about to crash and burn after playing a game or two over their heads. Understanding each team’s strengths and weaknesses will give you a better chance to overcome the vigorish and put you in the black. So now you’re probably wondering: How do I find those teams that are best equipped to win these chess matches? I suggest looking for teams that have experienced point guards who can pass and score; teams that can rebound (particularly on the defensive end); teams with head coaches who have consistently performed well in the tourney; teams that enjoy friendly travel/crowd scenarios; and teams that played their best basketball in the final month of the regular season. What are the characteristics that should cause you to pause? Pretty much the reverse of the above: offenses that are turnover prone (particularly those with inexperienced guards); poor rebounding teams (particularly those that struggle to secure defensive boards); head coaches who have a history of busting brackets earlier than expected; teams in awkward travel or “body clock” scenarios; and teams that peaked in the first half of the season but struggled down the stretch. Serious handicappers will have done a lot of work researching these issues in advance of Selection Sunday. That way they’re ready to take advantages of the opening lines as soon as they hit the board. If you’re serious about making money this month, you should attack that process on your own. Let the casual fans throw their money away on overpriced favorites and uninformed Cinderella hunches. Instead, follow proven strategies to ensure that you’re making smart bets—otherwise March will truly be maddening! Scott Spreitzer is a Las Vegas-based professional handicapper and bettor, and host of’s First Preview sports-betting show, which airs at 10 a.m. weekdays on ESPN Radio 1100-AM/ 100.9-FM. Follow him at @ScottWins.

flm it on Thursday morning—when everybody is just so jacked up, they’re all doing the pee-pee dance, they’re all ready to go—compared to Sunday morning. It’s almost like night and day.”

••••• it’s late in the afternoon on Thursday, and ffteen seconds remain in the game between No. 1 seed Villanova and No. 16 seed Lafayette, a school whose mascot (the Leopards) few could’ve named a week ago. Lafayette has the basketball, trailing by 25 points. The game is over. Except it isn’t at all. The Leopards are a 23-point underdog, making this fnal possession anything but meaningless. The clock ticks down. 8-7-6 … The ball makes its way to an open Lafayette shooter, who is camped behind the 3-point line. 5-4-3 … The shooter bends his knees and

“YOLO, whatever you want to call it,” Kornegay says, “these guys are going to squeeze every ounce out of this weekend.”

rises, as do the crowds in every sportsbook in this city—half of whom are holding a ticket that says “Lafayette +23,” and half of whom are holding one that says “Villanova -23.” 2-1 … The ball takes fight, reaches its apex and begins its gravity-infuenced descent toward the hoop. It hits the back rim frst, then the front rim, then … falls to the foor. Villanova bettors erupt. Lafayette bettors slump back in their chairs (then reach for their wallets and get back in line to ride the exhilarating roller coaster once again). This money-on-the-line scenario plays out multiple times during those 48 opening-weekend games, not to mention other heart-stopping moments that are tied to frst-half bets, second-half bets and over/under bets. It’s the reason why sportsbook directors like McCormick receive group-seating requests a year in advance. And why Kornegay years ago started funneling overfow crowds into the Westgate’s largest theater for Hoops Central. And why various Strip properties for the last several years have been turning nightlife venues and restaurants into proft-building March Madness viewing parties, selling tickets or charging food-and-beverage minimums for fans to watch games. One of the more popular spots every March is Lagasse’s Stadium, the Palazzo’s restaurant/sportsbook hybrid. To secure a guaranteed seat at Lagasse’s during tournament games, guests must agree to a $200 per-person food-and-beverage minimum. Despite that hefty price tag, Lagasse’s typically sells out weeks before the tournament tips off, while similar pay-to-watch-them-play setups are increasingly drawing big crowds. It’s Economics 101: limited supply, unlimited demand. “People are willing to pay that to be comfortable,” says Kornegay, whose Hoops Central offers free admission. “So if you can maximize your profts, like any other industry, I can understand that.” In a sense, it’s not much different than ponying up for bottle service during Calvin Harris’ DJ set at Hakkasan— except there’s no chance of you covering the cost of that bottle while watching Harris spin. At least with the NCAA tournament, if you place your bets properly, you’ve got a shot to recoup some (if not all) of your investment. Not that you’re required to make such an investment. After all, there’s not a sportsbook in this city that has a cover charge. Sure, you and your posse might have to show up at the crack of dawn to land seats in front of the big screens, but that’s a minor inconvenience for the opportunity to partake in what is annually the most thrilling 96 hours on the sports calendar. And the madness begins the moment Northeastern vs. Notre Dame tips off. “That frst day, the electricity in the room is just overwhelming—even before the frst ball is tipped,” Kornegay says. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”



‘Cats Tale: While John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats are the odds-on favorite to win it all, the style of play of Davidson’s Wildcats make them a tough bet.

two guys,” Vaccaro recalls. “Then two quickly became six.” Just like that, an annual Boys Weekend in Vegas ritual was born. And it continued full stop, even as college kids in their early 20s turned into working men in their mid-30s and then family men in their late 40s. “Years ago, it was a twenty- to thirtysomething crowd, but that age group has expanded over the years. And I think it’s widening,” Kornegay says. “And it’s funny: You’ll see guys, whether they’re 25 or 55, they’re letting it go. They’re with their buddies, it’s time to just relax, forget about everything.” Needless to say, all that “relaxing” often takes its toll. “It’s great to see the guys on Thursday morning, when it’s, ‘Let’s get Bloody Marys! Let’s do some day drinking!’” Kornegay says. “And then you get to Sunday morning and it’s lattes, cappuccinos. [Laughs.] I really should

March 19–25, 2015

around which groups of friends from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Texas, to Portland, Oregon, routinely plan Vegas vacations. In many cases, those vacations are stretched from four days to six, as tourists hit town as early as Wednesday (so they’re in place by the time games tipoff Thursday morning) and stick around until the fnal buzzer ends that 48th game on Sunday evening, fnally departing sometime Monday. “YOLO, whatever you want to call it,” Kornegay says, “these guys are going to squeeze every ounce out of this weekend.” Add up all the receipts—including room rates that escalate every year; three weeks ago, the Cosmopolitan was fetching more than $800 a night—and the frst weekend of March Madness ranks among the most economically important on our city’s calendar. “You look outside the sportsbook [business] and the tournament encompasses everything for a [long] weekend—visitation, hotel prices, food-andbeverage opportunities,” says Jason McCormick, director of race and sports for Red Rock Resort. “Because people are here for an extended period of time, that’s where you might say March Madness has a growing importance that may be leapfrogging the Super Bowl.” McCormick says the frst weekend of March Madness has become so popular at his property that he receives more requests for reserved seats than for any other event of the year—including the Super Bowl and Kentucky Derby. “You have guys when they leave here after the weekend saying, ‘Hey, we’ll be back here next year. Can we get that booth?’ It’s a constant massaging of requests.” It wasn’t always this way. There was a time back in the 1970s when the NCAA tournament was such an afterthought that many of the games were tapedelayed. Legendary Vegas oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro remembers those days well—and not so fondly. “March used to be a dead month around these joints,” says Vaccaro, who currently helms the race and sportsbook at South Point. “You had the dog days of the NBA and that’s it—you waited for baseball.” Vaccaro can’t pinpoint the year, but he recalls receiving a phone call from the marketing department at the original MGM Grand (where he worked at the time) shortly after a Super Bowl in the mid-1980s. “I remember thinking, ‘What the hell do they want me for?’” Vaccaro says. “And I’ll never forget it: They said, ‘Jimmy, what’s March 15?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know—what’s March 15?’” Turns out marketing was getting calls from customers interested in making reservations for the frst weekend of March Madness. “When the marketing department calls up the sportsbook, you knew something was there,” Vaccaro says. “Because they don’t move unless there’s some inertia happening.” That inertia came courtesy of young men, mostly college students spending their spring break in Las Vegas with their buddies betting tournament games. “At frst, it was mostly groups of CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25


NIGHTLIFE Your city after dark, photos from the week’s hottest parties and an off-Strip nightlife venue gets another chance

Pawn Stars castmember Chumlee transitions from shop counter to DJ booth By Kat Boehrer


Turning the Tables

AUSTIN “CHUMLEE” RUSSELL is best known as the lovable fan-favorite shop worker on the History Channel’s Pawn Stars. Having just wrapped up his ninth season on the popular Las Vegas-based television show, Chumlee began filling his time by learning the ins-and-outs of mixing, thanks to a local DJ school. News of his first DJ set at Ghostbar Dayclub on February 28 spread like wildfire after TMZ reported on the reality star’s performance rider, which listed “beautiful waitresses to escort him to the stage,” two Nerf basketball hoops and five Nerf guns and Girl Scout cookies (specifically Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties), among other random, fun-loving requests. Chumlee recently spent a few minutes talking about his possible second career and his plan of attack for breaking into the music industry.

March 19–25, 2015


Chumlee plays GBDC on February 28.



Why did you decide to start DJing?

I just love music. I’ve always been around music, and I have a studio at my house. This is my way to give back, you know? I’m not a rapper, I don’t play guitar; this is my way to show people what I love.

Just call him Chumlee.

You have your own studio?

We’ve got a lot of rappers coming into “Studio 51.” Riff Raff came in, Yowda [newly signed to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music] comes in all the time, Wale just recorded some stuff at the house. I just love to be around music. Are you going to make up a DJ name or are you going to stick with “Chumlee?”

I think I’m gonna go with “Chumlee,” with no “DJ” in front of the name. Just “Chumlee.” Maybe “DJ Chum.” Who taught you how to use the equipment?

I went to this school called Blend. I read an article about them, went over there and DJ [Tanastadi] just showed me a few things, how to use my equipment. And I just practiced what he showed me until it was time to go. I’ve got another lesson coming up, and I’m just going to keep going. He’s been DJing for like 15 years, so there is no one better to learn from. How long did it take you to learn how to DJ?

I really practiced what I knew for like a month straight. I picked out songs every night for my set list—40 or 45 songs to play in an hour—and I just always practiced with those same songs. But I was already familiar with Serato. Was this a one-time deal at Ghostbar or do you plan to continue with DJing?

Hopefully, I can do it alongside Pawn Stars. I aspire to be in the music industry. I’m not a producer, so maybe I can develop talent from the city for other people to hear. We’ve got a lot of stuff out here in Vegas that needs to be heard. What do your Pawn Stars costars think of your new career direction?

Rick [Harrison, co-owner of Gold & Silver Pawn] said he stopped listening to new music in 1987, so he wants me to turn my playlist back a little bit. [Laughs.] But they all came out and had a good time. Everyone was real supportive. They think it’s great. What types of music do you play?

Hip-hop, predominantly. You might hear a little bit of EDM here and there. My goal is to make the girls dance and the guys enjoy themselves and sing the lyrics. At GBDC, I had one hour and my goal was just to keep everyone dancing the whole time. How did you get set up with that gig?

Were you nervous?

The whole day before the show I stayed on my turntables practicing. I tried to sit down, but I was getting so antsy, so I pretty much stayed at the turntables all day. I wasn’t nervous, I was anxious to get it done and see everyone’s reaction. What could someone pawn that would work in lieu of payment for your DJ services?


Yeah, that was real. I got my Girl Scout cookies!

I dunno, I guess maybe a Rolex. [Laughs.] Nah, I’m just joking. Is your rider request that TMZ reported real?


March 19–25, 2015


Some friends were talking and the opportunity just came up. I didn’t even know if I was ready for it. I’m the kind of person who just takes the opportunity and then fgures out how I’m gonna do it later. I went in head frst, and I think I did a good job.



Camille Cannon

Kourtney Kardashian.

backward.) Here’s hoping they drop bangers “No Flex Zone,” “No Type,” “Throw Sum Mo” and—OK, we’re excited for pretty much anything they perform. (In the Venetian, 10 p.m., British techno titans Pig and Dan bless Body English during After, the late-night groove session that justifes a midnight cup o’ joe. (In Hard Rock Hotel, 2 a.m.,

SUN 22 XIV Sessions returns to Hyde. This month’s theme is Candyland, and the suggested attire is “sweet and sexy little outfts.” Is that when you wear candy wrappers as clothing? ’Cause our Charleston Chew hot pants just got wrecked in the washing machine. (In Bellagio, 6 p.m.,

MON 23 Spend your Monday with Moldovan trance DJ Andrew Rayel at Marquee. We’ve been pumping our fsts to his new single, “Miracles,” since it was released late February. Support comes from local favorite Lema. (In the Cosmopolitan, 10 p.m.,

March 19–25, 2015


TUE 24


THU 19

FRI 20

Spring has almost offcially sprung. That means it’s time to clean, organize and decide where to plant yourself for March Madness viewing parties. South Point is running a hell of a deal during Hoops Heaven in the Grand Ballroom, March 19-21. Entry is free, and spectators can score $16 buckets of Bud and $25 pitchers of margaritas and Bloody Marys. Still not sold? They’re throwing in free chair massages, too. (SouthPointArena. com.) Wanna soak up the games in a more swanky setting? Watch the matches March 1921 at the Sayers Club, where $75 gets you open bar on well drinks, wine and beer. (In SLS,

Speaking of SLS, the property’s Foxtail Pool Club opens for business today. Providing the soundtrack to your sunbathing is Swiss house producer EDX—not to be confused with the online education platform of the same name. (At SLS, 10:30 a.m., Whether electronic music or hip-hop makes you move, Surrender is the spot to be come sundown. Australian beat makers What So Not— comprised of solo stars Flume and Emoh Instead—will be joined by veteran rapper Ice Cube. Maybe What So Not is auditioning for the next Jump Street flm, or maybe this is just an epically diverse

double bill. Either way, we’re in. (In Encore, 10:30 p.m.,

SAT 21 Did you think Cash Cash was going to disappear after last year’s breakout hit, “Take Me Home”? Oh no. They’re back with “Surrender,” an early contender for Song of the Summer. The EDM trio hits Marquee Dayclub for the pool’s season preview party. Reality TV starlet Kourtney Kardashian hosts. (At the Cosmopolitan, 11 a.m., “Unlock tha Swag,” at Tao with Mississippi rap duo Rae Sremmurd. (The name is their record label, Ear Drummers, spelled

Epyk Entertainment takes over Nickel F---n Beer Night at Beauty Bar. The local event

Cash Cash.


wizards have quite the rager in store, with tunes from Canada’s Stylust Beats and support by locals Einstyles, Awry, Biz:E and Beast Fremont. (517 Fremont St., 9 p.m.,

WED 25 Perk up your Hump Day during Energy Reset at Artisan. You’ll hear everything from techno to Top 40, and snag $100 bottles of Skyy vodka. A little dance break is all you need to make it to Thursday. (1501 W. Sahara Ave., 10 p.m., ArtisanHotel. com.) If you’d rather pop and lock to ’80s and ’90s throwback jams, join DJ Lisa Pittman for the debut of TimeCapSoul Wednesdays. (217 Las Vegas Blvd. North, 9 p.m.,

March 19–25, 2015




into 1700 E. Flamingo Road. I bet many longtime residents can say the same. In its day, SRO was a hot spot for after-work (read: till-dawn) partying. This was more than a decade ago, and I’ve quite cleaned up my act. But on a recent drizzly evening I parked alongside the other few cars in the dark lot and toured the space soon to reopen as TRU Afterhours. Operator Peter Arabo’s Disco Group is a new company, but the former DJ’s history goes deep in and around Detroit. That’s where, until two years ago, Arabo owned and operated popular nightspots including Envy, Plan B, Confdential, Centre Street and Vision. Taking on TRU (it stands for The Real Underground) is a sort of coming circle for Arabo, who modeled his frst venture in 2001, Envy, after Chicago’s underground scene. When the owner (only referred to as Mr. Saeed) of the former SRO building contacted Arabo, the timing was perfect. “I was hitting home runs in the minor leagues,” Arabo says. “And I wanted to come play with the big boys.” When it opens—tentatively March 27—the venue formerly home to SRO and Club 702, among other concepts, will be a work in progress. While the entry hall, main room and restrooms have been stunningly renovated to 2015 standards, a second room awaits a permanent Funktion-One sound system (for now Arabo will rent one), and the expansive patio that fronts Flamingo needs drastic attention. Profts from the club will all, for a time, be reinvested, so that the building will be

TRU Afterhours New concept brings the underground scene to a storied of-Strip nightlife spot By Xania Woodman

effectively supporting its own rebirth. The TRU experience begins when you see that familiar baseball-diamond-shaped marquee, which will remain as such, since its size would not be approved today, Arabo says. A video screen will be added for increased visibility. Inside, a lavishly tiled hall leads to the ticket kiosk and to the central hall that connects both rooms. Ahead, the main room is ready to party with an Avalon EAW sound system with Crown amps and a raised stage for the DJ and dancers. Surrounding the hardwood dance foor are two levels of black leather VIP booths with corresponding onyxtopped bottle-service tables—all of the same quality on which you’ll fnd Alisters dancing in clubs on the Strip. On the perimeter, a long main bar and raised VIP bar await patrons, as does the bar in the more intimate secondary “Chill Room.” Plans call for an expansion of the parking lot and for the patio to become a whimsical nod

to Alice in Wonderland. “We would apply for a special land-use permit,” Arabo says, “and do some type of festival, bring in food trucks, bring in the big talent and do outdoor events during the pool season.” Even further out, Arabo envisions TRU becoming a nationwide brand, with outposts on Sunset Boulevard, in Chicago and, of course, Detroit. Security being a concern, Arabo has installed 48 high-defnition video cameras, more lights in the parking lot, a curbside valet and a licensed, insured security team. Assisting Arabo in all things lighting, sound and programming is creative director Neil Kull, formerly lighting director of Light Group and a veteran of the Chicago underground scene with 23 years of nightlife industry experience. “It’s a 360-degree omnidirectional show, a more traditional nightclub style that immerses the audience from all sides,” Kull says of what he’s created for TRU. “These

days, everything is moving toward a single focal point—i.e., a stage—forcing the audience to only look in one direction. Problem is, those shows lose cohesion when you’re not in direct line of sight. TRU’s show will look complete from every point of view in the room. The audience becomes the star.” Assisting Kull with talent is promoter Utopia, who specializes in desert parties and underground music festivals. Their aim is to establish an inclusive, artistic underground vibe as the baseline, with a wild, costumed and themed desert-style music fest each weekend. Already on board are resident DJs Vixen and David Serrano. Opening the same month as the Hakkasan Group behemoth Omnia in Caesars Palace, TRU presents a counterpoint to what is being offered on the Strip. Plans are for TRU Afterhours to open Friday and Saturday, from midnight till about 8 a.m., with live broadcasts by the Pulse 96.7-FM from midnight till 2 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays aimed at the industry crowd. The remaining days and times will be flled with corporate buyouts. As for the music, expect deep underground and tech house with what Kull calls “moments” embracing dubstep, drum and bass, jungle and trap. In case you’re not up on your lingo, underground, Arabo says, is “the sound that is not being played on the radio.” Utopia adds, “It’s the underground music community that really brings people together, and if it’s done right, it can bring them from the desert into the city.” And maybe off the Strip, as well.



The complete TRU lighting experience.



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SIX MUSIC FESTIVALS TO ANTICIPATE THIS SPRING Grab your festie bestie and check out these six spring festivals. ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL


March 27-29 Every March, Ultra’s seasoned team brings the most notable EDM acts to Miami. This year, they’ve introduced “Resistance,” a stage for noncommercial acts, such as Art Department, Apollonia and Pete Tong.

March 19 Porn Star Karaoke March 25 Energy Reset



1501 W. Sahara Ave.

April 10-12, 17-19 Coachella is known for rampant celebrity appearances and surprise guests during the sets. Headliners for this year’s gathering include AC/DC, Jack White and the Champagne papi, Drake. ROCK IN RIO USA

May 8-9, 15-16 With a legacy of success abroad, the event will make its U.S. debut in Las Vegas for two weekends of diverse lineups. Rock Weekend features No Doubt and Metallica, while Pop Weekend will bring in Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars. THE HANGOUT BEACH, MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL

May 15-17 Three days of seaside fun on the beach in the city of Gulf Shores, Alabama, will be enhanced by entertainment from Sam Smith, Skrillex, Major Lazer and more. LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE

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See more photos from this gallery at

Washington’s Gorge Amphitheater provides breathtaking views of the Columbia River. This year, such artists as Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey and Cashmere Cat will grace the outdoor theater’s stage. – Kat Boehrer


May 21-25 Music lovers get closer to nature in a largely camping-based event in Bradley, California. Art installations and environmental initiatives are a huge part of the festival in addition to the musical lineup, which includes Flume, Odesza and RL Grime.













































702.693.5555 #REHABLV




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March 19 DJ Ross One spins March 20 The Weeknd performs March 21 Adventure Club spins


“I’m not sure whether my drastically different experiences were based on luckier menu picks on one visit, or a better cook in the kitchen.” {PAGE 56}

Restaurant reviews, news and the world’s oldest martini

Father and son: chefs Gino and Mimmo Ferraro.

Coming Full Circle The Ferraro family’s latest endeavors bring them back to their pizza roots By Al Mancini

| March 19–25, 2015



to the level of fne dining, Ferraro’s is a notable exception. So it was a bit of a surprise when the family announced their next project: a pair of casual pizza spots dubbed Pizza Forte in Sunset Station this month and the Hard Rock Hotel in April. Sitting with father-and-son chef/restaurateurs Gino and Mimmo Ferraro in their eponymous Paradise Road fnedining spot, tasting pizza recipes for the new casual casino endeavors, it’s hard to believe 2015 marks the family’s 30th year of running local restaurants. It was in November 1985 when Gino—at the time working as a wholesale food supplier providing to various casinos and other restaurants—decided to open a pizzeria and deli called Ferraro’s Café on Sahara Avenue and Jones Boulevard. At the time, Mimmo was only 6 years old. “It was always fun for me,” Mimmo says of the early days. “I was there a lot, because that’s what our family dynamic was. After school we’d go to the restaurant. Homework was done at the restaurant, and after-school lunch was done at the restaurant.” He also worked there as a kid, stocking shelves and grating cheese. That frst restaurant only had six tables. But thanks to rumors that it had become popular with certain wise guys, it quickly became a go-to spot for people who reasoned that, if the Mafa liked it, the sauces must be good. In response to that newfound popularity, Gino decided to convert it from a pizza place and deli to a full-scale Italian restaurant. In 1992, continued success prompted a move to an even larger location on Flamingo Road. It was there that Mimmo eventu-


Chef Mimmo at work.


ally took the reins in the kitchen, although his father remained an integral part of the operation. Finally, they expanded once again with a move in 2009 to a still larger location across from the Hard Rock Hotel. Today, Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Bar remains a Las Vegas institution thanks to its strong Italian wine program, discounts and specials for locals, and one of the town’s most revered osso bucco preparations. Soon, with Pizza Forte, Gino will offer two styles of pizza: round New Yorkstreet-style by the pie and thin, square, Roman-style by the slice.

(He insists the latter is best enjoyed by purchasing two slices and folding them together as a sandwich.) These are the exact same pizzas he was making nearly 30 years ago at Ferraro’s Café. “Not Neapolitan!” he insists. “Because if I don’t like something—I don’t care if the public likes it—I don’t do it. And I don’t like Neapolitan pizza.” There will also be meatballs, plus three varieties of hot dogs—100 percent beef; pork and beef; and pork and veal—provided by Syracuse’s Hofmann Sausage Company. The Hard Rock Hotel location will also offer beer and wine. And in addition to dining in, customers will be

able to place orders for delivery to their hotel rooms. Gino says the expansion was inspired by the trends he’s seen while serving as a board member for the Nevada Restaurant Association. “The world and the town are moving that way,” he says confdently. “The segment of food that is growing the most right now as a business is quick-serve. Quickserve is the future.” But have no fear; father and son insist this is an expansion, not a change in direction. That superb osso bucco and the other delicacies of their fne-dining fagship aren’t going anywhere.


AN OLDIE AND A GOODIE Some people simply can’t rest on their laurels. Such a man is celebrity mixologist Salvatore Calabrese. To some, he is the Salvatore Calabrese of the Cromwell’s lobby bar, Bound by Salvatore Calabrese. Or, if you’re so worldly, he’s also the Salvatore Calabrese of Salvatore’s Bar in Playboy Club London. Still, others know him as the former record holder for the world’s most expensive cocktail. (In 2012, Calabrese combined Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac from 1788, Kummel liqueur from 1770, Dubb orange curaçao from 1860 and two dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters from the 1900s to make

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Salvatore’s Legacy, which at the time cost £5,500.) It was simultaneously the


world’s oldest cocktail. ¶ Not being one of those laurel-resters, Calabrese will on March 30 attempt the record for the world’s oldest martini at a private event where he will combine Park & Tilford New York gin and Orange Bitters, both circa 1900, and Noilly Prat vermouth circa 1890. If you’re at all curious what 125-year-old vermouth tastes like, you’re in luck as the aged ingredients will be available at Bound ... while they last. – Xania Woodman

Get the latest on local restaurant openings and closings, interviews with top chefs, cocktail recipes, menu previews and more in our weekly “Sips and Bites” newsletter. Subscribe at

As chef Brian Malarkey prepares to bring his Searsucker brand to Caesars Palace on March 27, I was lucky enough to score an invite to dine at the San Diego original. I’m embarrassed to say it was my first meal there—especially considering it’s a two-minute walk from my favorite SoCal dive bar. The night was incredible. I’m curious, however, to see how the down-and-dirty Southern vibe that works brilliantly in the Gaslamp area (Malarkey admits some of his customers are wearing flip-flops) will translate into a Hakkasan Group restaurant that will serve as a complement to its Omnia megaclub. Will the Beautiful People be able to relate? The chef admits he’ll be changing the menu a bit, adding lighter dishes for those who want to fit into that fabulous dress. But he promises Searsucker’s heart and soul will remain the same, and I can’t wait to see. And here’s a hint for those who want to mess with their friends: Order the Cowboy Caviar, and don’t tell them it’s fried testicles until they’ve happily devoured them! I had the chance to sit down with pizza genius Tony Gemignani to discuss the official opening of his second Pizza Rock location March 17 in Green Valley Ranch. As we hung out at his more casual Slice House in the resort’s food court, a chef from a prominent Strip location came over and asked Gemignani to autograph his recently published Pizza Bible. (For what it’s worth, it’s an amazing book that proves you can make any style of good pizza at home.) The chef confirmed he’s still shopping a potential TV deal. But his focus now is on Pizza Rock, followed by a new concept, Little Tony’s, in Palace Station. From there, he has his eyes set on the Strip. At this point, there are no definite plans, but the pizza maker says he’d be happy to work, by way of example, with “whoever approaches us and says ‘I want a Pizza Rock in Bellagio.’” While I’m not sure if that’s necessarily the best fit, I’d be happy to check it out. I’ve had a long and storied history with Mix by Alain Ducasse (in the Delano, 702-6329500). We didn’t hit it off at first (they were rude to me). I vetoed their inclusion in the first two editions of my book, Eating Las Vegas. Eventually we buried the hatchet, because I cannot deny Ducasse’s genius. So as we prepare for the French restaurant with one of the best views in town to re-invent itself as Rivea, I’m thrilled to have what may be my last all-out French experience there, designed by Ducasse himself. The master chef has enlisted 1,500 restaurants and embassies in 150 countries to offer a taste of France with a special Goût de France/ Good France dinner on March 19 ($90, with $60 optional wine tasting). Highlights of the seven-course meal will include crab salad, foie gras and slow-braised wagyu beef cheeks. Five percent of the proceeds will support Keep Memory Alive, benefiting the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. See you there. – Al Mancini





me when I fnd one visit to a restaurant thoroughly disappointing, and yet fnd the return trip satisfying. But it happens more frequently than you might expect. A prime example is a relatively new sandwich shop called Great American Food. I had high hopes for this place. It’s owned by the same folks who operate the Italian restaurant Café Chloe. That spot has been in operation for 15 years. I frst reviewed it positively in print nearly a decade ago, and it spent several years as one of my go-to local spots. When I heard the owners had opened a sandwich place, I was excited to see what they’d do. Great American Food is a pretty straightforward sandwich shop. It has counter service, an open kitchen, a menu on the wall and a fairly nondescript dining area. There’s a selection of 19 hot and cold sandwiches and 10 salads. There are also a few breakfast offerings, as well as the occasional pasta special, which was ravioli on both of my visits. Nearly all of the items are priced exactly the same, coming in at $8.50. But most of the sandwiches are shareable, thanks to hearty breads by chefs who don’t skimp on the fllings. My visits were dedicated purely to the sandwiches, which are a dangerous food in which to specialize. They’re deceptively simple, but if not treated with respect, they can be horrifyingly bad (e.g. the baloney and Wonder Bread mom occasionally put in your school lunch, or anything that’s ever come out of a SubGreat American Sub ($8.50), way). To grilled chicken breast me, a good panini ($8.50) sandwich and reuben ($8.50). starts with high-end ingredients—frst and foremost, the bread. But the combination of those ingredients needs to be well thoughtout, and the chef needs to prepare them properly. Unfortunately, on my frst visit, the concept failed completely on one of my sandwiches, while the execution on the second


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Menu Picks


Hit and Miss The southwest’s new sandwich shop stacks up inconsistent experiences By Al Mancini


7790 S. Jones Blvd., 702-868-1448. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner,10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Lunch for two, $10–$25.

was a disaster. The frst was a Cuban, which I was surprised to see listed on the cold menu. Like most people, I think of a Cuban as a hot sandwich in which the meats are warm and the cheese is melted. Here, while my ciabatta roll was lightly grilled, the pork loin, ham, Swiss and pickles were as cold as when they’d come out of the fridge. Moreover, the favor from a large helping of sharp Swiss cheese completely overpowered everything else. That same visit I also had a steak sandwich, which also disappointed. The meat was overcooked and tough, while the peppers, mushrooms and onions were drowning in oil. Combined with a helping of marinara sauce, the liquids drenched the otherwise hearty roll until it was literally falling apart. With two misses under my belt, I wasn’t terribly excited about returning. But I soldiered on, and was pleasantly surprised by three wonderful sandwiches. The Great American Sub came packed with cotto ham, salami, mortadella and provolone, topped with a beautiful mixture of mixed greens, tomatoes, red onions and hot cherry peppers. It was a sophisticated take on an Italian sub that offered just the right amount of spicy kick. I also loved a panino made with grilled chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto that was vaguely reminiscent of a Caprese salad. And my Reuben was made with tasty corned beef, Gruyère, housemade Russian dressing and sauerkraut on a rye that was grilled to perfection. I’m not sure whether my drastically different experiences were based on luckier menu picks on one visit, or a better cook in the kitchen. But given the quality on my second visit, I’m hopeful that the third time will be the charm.



The Great American Sub is—as its name would imply—great!

Get Graham’s Whatz tha DillyYo recipe at CocktailCulture.

| March 19–25, 2015


A Spring Mix

➜ DESPITE ITS NAME, WHEN you think of Atomic Liquors, your thoughts might frst go to beer and general manager Rose Signor’s incredible lineup of ales and sours. But for the last two years, Austin native and Atomic beverage manager Matt Graham has been balancing out the bar’s brewed offerings with seasonally focused original cocktails and plays on classics. “My mission is to be creative and fun—not stuffy,” he says. When he’s not soliciting recipes from Atomic’s bartenders, Graham is tearing up the local cocktail competition scene, winning the Mob Museum’s Boss of the Bars battle and the Vegas edition of the traveling sideshow that is Rematch. Fresh from his last win, Graham’s attention recently turned to Atomic’s spring menu, which launches April 1. “I think the word ‘mixology’ has become, at times, associated with a very dry and clinical cocktail experience,” he says. “If you can keep it lighthearted and fun, it will probably be easier to connect with patrons.” Wanting to incorporate something unexpected, he chose yogurt. Yes, yogurt. “I was trying to think of a way to add texture to a warm-weather cocktail without using egg white. I thought of yogurt—being tangy and creamy without being rich—combined with refreshing cucumber juice.” One quick consultation with The Flavor Bible and Graham had his inspiration: “Tzatziki!” Otherwise known as Greek yogurt, cucumber and dill sauce. Whatz tha Dilly-Yo ($10) starts with Noosa yogurt sweetened with Colorado hive honey. To this he adds gin, housemade dill and white pepper honey syrup, fresh cucumber juice and lemon for a drink that’s tangy, balanced and surprisingly light. Call it the other cocktail culture.




“I’d rather do a house show with 100 little knuckleheads breaking shit than a stadium of 5,000 people who don’t know a lick of my words.” SOUND PROOF {PAGE 64}

Movies, music, books and the ghost of Vegas past

Comedy duo and Venetian headliners Garfunkel & Oates on writing, dating and making out with bird puppets By Camille Cannon


Second Bananas Take Center Stage


you blush as much as you laugh. Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome, whose band name is inspired by famous musical “second bananas,” meld saccharine melodies with lyrics about Googling strangers, one-night stands and accidental masturbation. Last year saw them ink a sitcom deal with IFC. While the show will not return, Garfunkel & Oates remain busy working on new material and touring—stopping at the Venetian’s Sands Showroom on March 21.

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Bawdy babes: Lindhome and Micucci tag team raunchy tunes as Garfunkel & Oates.




9:30 p.m. March 21, Sands Showroom in the Venetian, $45 and up, 702-414-9000,

What is the writing process like for you two?

micucci: We brainstorm on a subject for a while. We can take months to plan out what we want to say in a song. Now we’ve refned it to where Riki will take that giant document and form it into [lyrics.] Then I’ll take it and form a melody around the words. But we trade off.

Garfunkel & Oates play TheM eltdown comedy show in L.A.

Is there anything you butt heads on?

lindhome: I don’t think so. We constantly go, “We can do better. We can do better.” We’re super honest with each other and constantly trying to make things better. micucci: We don’t settle until we think it’s right. If one thinks it’s right and the other doesn’t, we make sure we don’t end until we both feel good about it. How did the TV-14 rating on your IFC show affect your creativity?

lindhome: It was hard because we couldn’t swear. We couldn’t have anything too sexual. So, you know, we could only use about half of our songs. Were ideas shut down for being too risqué?

lindhome: We’ve also had it happen where it was lukewarm and the guy was like, “Ooh, interesting! I like that.” It goes both ways. It seems like a good test then, to see if a guy can hang.

lindhome: Yeah! Although it doesn’t really happen anymore though because …

lindhome: I don’t think that’s ever happened to me, no. micucci: No, I don’t think so. No? OK. One I was thinking of lately was the “body like a benz” song [“The Body” by Wale featuring Jeremih.] Have you heard it?

lindhome: No. What is it?

You guys are famous.

lindhome: People are not surprised. They don’t go on dates with us and go, “You’re in a comedy band?” At least not lately.

lindhome: There were ideas that the network didn’t like. It was more like they were too weird for a TV show. We had ideas that were so weird. So out there. Those were the ones that usually got turned down.

That’s like Taylor Swift. For a while, guys would get up in arms when she wrote a song about them. You should just know. That’s what she does.

Has the candor of your songs affected your dating life?

Do you ever hear ridiculous songs on the radio and think they might be a joke, but they’re totally serious?

micucci: We both experienced things where we were the second or third date in with a guy, and after they came to a show, it was just completely over.

Yeah. Songs that are serious but so ridiculous you can’t take them seriously.

lindhome: [Laughs.] Exactly.

micucci: Are you asking if songs were written seriously that we thought were comedy songs?

It’s a rap song. They’re trying to woo this woman by describing her as a MercedesBenz, which I thought was an interesting technique.

lindhome: No, I’ve never heard that. Oh, OK. Maybe I just asked it, but … I feel like women in comedy are asked some pretty dumb questions. What’s the stupidest question you’ve ever been asked?

lindhome: I think it was something to do with the “body like a benz” song. I set myself up for that!

lindhome: [Laughs.] No, I think the dumbest question we’ve ever been asked was when this girl opened by

asking “Why comedy?” We were like, “What? I don’t know!” It wasn’t even that it was a dumb question; it was that was a hard question. micucci: It was right after one of our shows. We just did a two-hour long show and she comes back and says, “Why comedy? That’s pretty deep for question one. So you guys are working on your next album. Will you perform new material in Las Vegas?

micucci: I’d say about half of our set is new material. And this is your first time playing Vegas, correct?

lindhome: Yes! I’ve only been to Vegas once before and that was like 10 or 11 years ago, so it’s going to be a totally different experience. micucci: I played Vegas when I frst started. My third show ever was where I sat in a box and made-out with bird puppets. I don’t know if you call that playing Vegas, but … I was at Caesars Palace making out with some bird puppets.


“29/31” Micucci and Lindhome play the same woman, two years apart. And 24 months makes a huge difference in how she feels about love, opportunity and life in general. This is the duo’s favorite to perform live.

“PREGNANT WOMEN ARE SMUG” No one wants to say it, but it’s kind of true. The finale features a giant, cartoony birth canal from which Micucci and Lindhome emerge.

“SPORTS GO SPORTS” The theme song for anyone who has ever sat cluelessly through a sports match. This song caused "by far the most negative reaction we’ve gotten to any of our songs,” Micucci told Rolling Stone. “[People] took it so personally,” Lindhome added.

“THIS PARTY TOOK A TURN FOR THE DOUCHE” It always happens when you stay too long. This one includes such rap video staples as stacks of money, wind machines and bottle service.

“THE LOOPHOLE” A little ditty about sidestepping Biblical principles by going through the backdoor. Thank you for making me holy. And thank you for giving me holes to choose from. – Camille Cannon


March 19–25, 2015



Photo by Jeff Speer







Nothing But Good Vibes from Jason Mraz


Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan, March 14 Backed by the incredible musicianship of indie-folk band Raining Jane, Jason Mraz made the Chelsea feel like a house-party jam session. “Lucky” and “Dynamo of Volition” showcased their talents. They performed songs in a huddle around one mic stand and a rotation of guitars, ukuleles, bongos and other hand-held, unplugged instruments. Between-song personal stories and jokes kept the set feeling intimate until Mraz and company transitioned the concert into a full-stage production equipped with video footage of Mraz’s home garden and his recent Antarctica excursion. “Hello, You Beautiful Thing” and “93 Million Miles” were crowd-pleasers, but “I’m Yours” had the audience singing along and dancing in the aisles. ★★★★✩ – Brjden Crewe

Celebrating 15 Years of “Devotion and Desire” Hard Rock Live, March 13

New York punk stalwarts Bayside marked their Fifteen Year Birthday Tour by blazing through the highlights of their six-album discography—from “Masterpiece” to “Pigsty.” The band hopped along to the breakneck pace of headstock of his guitar like an ax during the ponderous rhythms of “They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns.” Bayside quickly transitioned from hit to hit during the 17-song set, pausing only to thank fans for helping the band reach the milestone. Raneri ditched his beloved white Les Paul to rock the mic and spin like a top during “Landing Feet First.” He later traded it for an acoustic guitar to serenade fans on “Don’t Call Me Peanut. The band ended its set with the rambunctious “Devotion and Desire,” and fans asked the band for another 15 years by crowd surfing and singing

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along to the classic. ★★★★✩ – Ian Caramanzana


HOT TRACKS “Newgrass” is too narrow a description for Railroad Earth. The songs from 2014's Last of the Outlaws show they’ve mastered every genre, from country, bluegrass and pop to Celtic, jazz and folk. Railroad Earth performs at Brooklyn Bowl on March 22 ($22-$28).

ON SALE NOW At 74, pop legend Neil Diamond is still churning out hit tunes. Last year’s Melody Road debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard charts, and he’s in the midst of a massive, (not coincidentally numbered) 74city world tour. Diamond plays Mandalay Bay Events Center on May 17 ($60-$175).


“Sick, Sick, Sick.” Frontman Anthony Raneri swung the




By Pj Perez


By Camille Cannon




The Districts

(Self-released) Do guitars grow on trees in Portland, Oregon? The city seems to produce an endless string of new bands, but not all of them are as talented as young trio Dogheart. On its self-released debut album, the band explores a lot of the territory once known as “college rock,” from the bass-driven opener “Night Jewels” and the moody, Smithereens-like “Dead Love” to the angular post-punk of “Holding Out” and bluesy dirge of “Pumpkin Face,” which features the shout-along chorus We’re coming for your blood/ You better leave/You better learn/How to run. ★★★✩✩

(Indica Records) French-Canadian musician Xavier Cafeïne recently relocated from Montreal to L.A., a move that informs his third album, chock-full of songs heavily influenced by late-1970s/early’80s punk and new wave (there’s even a charged-up cover of The Gun Club’s “Sex Beat”). But although tracks such as “Left for Dead,” “Lettre d’amour” and “I Love You” wouldn’t sound out of place in circa-1978 CBGB, Cafeïne doesn’t entirely linger in the past on New Love—the title track’s buzzing synths recall MGMT and M83, while the propulsive “Electric” is more Bloc Party than Bloc Party. ★★★✩✩

(Fat Possum Records) It’s unlikely you’ve heard of Lititz, Pennsylvania, but it’s been dubbed “America’s Coolest Small Town.” And after listening to the new album by Lititz-spawned quartet the Districts, it’s likely this band is the sole reason. On A Flourish and a Spoil, the group defies genre conventions, offering 10 tracks of earnest, atmospheric rock that spans four-on-thefloor gusto (“4th and Roebling”), acoustic soliloquizing (“Suburban Smell”) and crunchy dissonance (“Hounds”). Even the nine-minute “Young Blood” keeps things interesting with its quiet-to-loud dynamics, spacey middle section and guitar acrobatics. ★★★★✩



New Love

A Flourish and a Spoil

Upcoming albums on Pj's radar …

The Waterboys are back after four years with Modern Blues.



Calexico, Edge of the Sun.

Exploring the Allure of Classic Literary Heroines Full of the same charm, wit, and warmth befitting any good Jane Austen protagonist, How To Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis (Vintage, $15) is a must-read for fans of classic literary heroines. Ellis, a London playwright and journalist, has written an engaging memoir that examines the female-driven novels that shaped her imagination. More than just reminiscing about ripped bodices and sassy comebacks, Ellis locates the narrative through a contemplation of her upbringing as the daughter of Iraqi-Jewish refugees. With honesty and insight, she documents the lessons she’s learned from these classics and the ways in which their heroines have dominated her life—for both better and worse. How To Be a Heroine is a love letter to literature that readers and bibliophiles will deeply enjoy. Recommended by Kristen Zory King of the Writer’s Block bookstore, 1020 Fremont St., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon-Sat, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.



Venerable indie rock band Built to Spill drops its frst album in six years, Untethered Moon.

THE BIG SPLASH Guy Laliberté’s water-access fundraiser One Night for One Drop is back with more star power than ever. R&B singer John Legend will join 100 performers from all eight Cirque shows at The Beatles Love Theater on March 20. He’ll probably stick to piano, but we think an acrobatic rendition of “Used to Love U” would be awesome. BRING YOUR BOO Season 2 of the NBC sitcom Undateable premiered March 17. If you sat at home wishing to see its stars IRL, you’re in luck! Chris D’Elia, Brent Morin, Ron Funches and Rick Glassman—all outstanding stand-up comics—bring the Undateable Comedy Tour to House of Blues on March 20. SIT DOWN, KANYE West’s Grammy kerfuffle makes it hard to forget that Beck’s Morning Phase was crowned 2014’s Album of the Year. But Song Reader—an LP’s worth of sheet music that Beck released in 2012— deserves your attention, too. For the first time in Las Vegas, local band Space Karate will bring the pages to life on March 21 at Art Square Theatre. SAND NOT INCLUDED Imagine yourself on the beach as Hawaiian music group Mamo plays the Historic Fifth Street School on March 21. The duo will serenade with songs spanning the island state’s history—from Monarchy to modern day.

What Burns the Best



March 19–25, 2015


John Legend plays One Night for One Drop.




MASTER OF MACABRE Rapper Trade Voorhees keeps it (in the) dark By Zoneil Maharaj

He was a metal baby. “If you ask my parents, they’ll say these exact words: ‘Back when he was 2 years old, before he could even talk, we would sing a song and he could pick out the album artwork, put on the record and put that song on.’ My parents used to throw metal house shows, and there were people moshing in my living room.” Freddy vs. Jason. “I used to go by Trademark but everyone would always call me Trade. … So I went by just Trade for a while. I was trying to come up with a last name and Voorhees stuck with me. I was a huge fan of Ja-

son [Voorhees from Friday the 13th] but he’s not even my favorite horror icon. I’m more of a Freddy guy. I like the charismatic come-off that Freddy has, the way that he talks; he has swagger.” Stripping the title. “I had a working title of POE—kind of a “poetry over everything” idea with Edgar Allan Poe as the inspiration. The cover is a dead raven, but none of the songs have anything to do with Edgar Allan Poe. I started thinking about titles. What’s the point? Fans create their own ideas of songs, their own pictures in their heads, things that just click with them. … If you wanna call this song ‘Shit,’ if that’s the only thing that sticks out to you, call it that.” Mosh with him. “I don’t necessarily want the whole world listening if they’re not going to catch on. I’d rather do a house show with 100 little knuckleheads breaking shit instead of a stadium of 5,000 people who don’t know a lick of my words. I hate doing shows where people don’t vibe. I hate doing shows where people just stand on the wall. You should go home. I want people to mosh. I want people to go crazy. I want people to have fun. Snoop Dogg inspired Trade to rap and John Cena made him change his name. See the full interview at



Vegas rapper/producer/slasher fick afcionado Trade Voorhees (real name Stephan Perren) will have dropped his 12th album. Like most of his recent work, it was released on Saturday the 14th, a nod to the horror series from which he derived his moniker. The project and songs are untitled—you’re encouraged to name them yourself—and will be available exclusively as a physical copy until the next Saturday the 14th, which is in November. It might seem counterintuitive in the SoundCloud era but the 27-year-old isn’t concerned with clicks, followers or branding. We talked to him about his beginnings, the concept behind his new release and his real favorite horror icon:


THE WAY-BACK PACK Celebrating Vegas icons could signal their slow fadeout WHEN DOES YESTERYEAR BECOME THE PAST?

Perhaps that’s a fne distinction. Yesteryear is something we trot out to warm ourselves with its memories. The past is something we lay to rest. Allowing a sniffe or two when the Riviera passes into history in May to be repurposed is easy, as it was for the parade of imploded landmarks before it. Though historic, they were brick and mortar and chandeliers. Elvis, Sinatra and Liberace were fesh, blood and bone—and more memorable as Vegas symbols than any single resort. Oddly, then, the upcoming Elvis: The Exhibition–The Show–The Experience, opening at the Westgate in late April, leaves me a tad sad. However entertaining, informative and celebratory it turns out to be, it still transforms The Pelvis into a museum piece. Vegas under glass. Once a pop-culture talisman—in this instance, memories of Elvis—enters its museum stage, it feels framed, cemented in place and left to calcify (excepting the lighthearted kitsch of Madame Tussauds). Later this year, the town will bust a gut celebrating Frank’s 100th birthday (born Dec. 12, 1915). Two months back, Bob Anderson kicked off centennial festivities with the Palazzo’s Frank The Man. The Music. Exceptional as the show and Anderson are—you can’t get any closer to re-creating a full-scale Sinatra concert in this town, or likely anywhere else—it feels less like a tribute than an attempted resurrection of a man who’d be a century old now. And that proposed holographic Liberace show—devoid of details since its announcement—would be a creepy attempt to reanimate a great showman who, however vital to Vegas lore,

feels far more in the past than even Elvis and Sinatra in terms of musical impact on contemporary performers. Sensational as his musicianship was—who the hell else could do what he did with a keyboard?—he wasn’t a hitmaker and his fowery style of American standards has had no real heirs. By and large, audiences—as mentioned here previously—would come for the technological curiosity, not the man’s virtuosity. Once, Vegas was a cool commingling of past and present, its history converging comfortably with its evolution—a fascinating generational prism. It still kinda is, yet you can hear the clock ticking on it, albeit very gradually. Timeless as Sinatra’s music and legacy are, the generation that lionized and venerated him—and can trade memories of seeing him—is dwindling. About to be museum-ized, Elvis isn’t a living memory for young, club-culture Vegas visitors who weren’t alive the day he died, but rather a symbol of faded baby boomer dominance that’s transitioning into misty-eyed AARP nostalgia. Always will he hold the title of “The King”: We never strip icons of the affectionate monikers we bestow. Yet while even Elvis’ death couldn’t dethrone him, time—as it does to everyone, even faster in today’s hyperaccelerated pop-culture turnover— will leave him farther away in the historical rearview mirror to those who can’t connect him to moments in their own lives. That’s when yesteryear becomes the past. Got an entertainment tip? Email



FIT FOR A PRINCESS Disney’s Cinderella is kind but not so courageous By Michael Phillips Tribune Media Services


fying new live-action Cinderella from the princess manufacturing company known as Disney has generated a whirl of pre-screening publicity regarding the billowy blue gown with the terrifyingly narrow waist, as worn by the excellent British actress Lily James. I vote for costume designer Sandy Powell as the real star of this project. The setting may be early 19th century, but Powell and director Kenneth Branagh roam freely across the decades and even centuries for visual inspiration. The ballgown favors traditional 19th century lines; in other scenes, Cate Blanchett’s evil-ish stepmother is very 1940s in the hat department, wearing more green than you’ll fnd in The Quiet Man. Downton Abbey star James was a frst-rate choice for this Cinderella, as was screenwriter Chris Weitz. It’s a sincere, open-hearted rendering of the familiar fairy tale. The voiceover narration is provided by our heroine’s fairy godmother played by Helena Bonham Carter, who appears onscreen in due course, sporting a dubious set of false teeth. The grief in the story is not fudged or shoved to the side; without being

Lily James stars in just about every little girl’s dream role.

morbid, director Branagh presents the demise of Cinderella’s mother and then her father as inevitable parts of a narrative we know pretty well going in. Cinderella’s love match, the handsome prince (Richard Madden) she does not realize is royalty when they meet, deals with his own aging parent, the king. He is portrayed by Derek Jacobi and in just two or three scenes, he delivers everything: wisdom, parental fondness, fully earned pathos and a sparkling wit. Sorry, forget about costume designer Powell; Jacobi’s the secret weapon here. That said, James is frst-billed, and she’s the rare young performer who can make consistent goodness interesting. Cinderella’s mother’s deathbed advice guides the picture: “Have courage and be kind.” As Cinderella contends with each new setback, every insult from her horrid stepsisters and their cunning mother, she and her

private allies—the computer-generated mice in her attic bedroom, for example—become lessons in coping strategy. And in the forest, when Cinderella meets the prince on a royal hunt, their mutual romantic interest is taken very seriously. It seems, well, real. The unreal stuff, of which there is much in “Cinderella,” reveals Branagh to be a workmanlike wrangler of digitized fantasy. The big transformations, notably the pumpkin coach routine, carry some nice details, such as the humanoid goose’s reluctance to take the reins. (“I can’t drive. I’m a goose.”) Yet the effects are routine. I’d like to see a live-action Disney fairy tale with a little less of that business and a little more practical magic. Branagh’s regular composer, Patrick Doyle, delivers a persistent dribbling stream of forgettable mood music, and that’s too bad; most of the scenes are

March 19–25, 2015




’71 (R) ★★★★✩

This Belfast-set manhunt thriller puts us in the precarious situation of a British private stranded behind enemy lines. Screenwriter Gregory Burke lays all this out with unusual lucidity, though his teeming character roster can get a bit confusing. Burke wrote the Scottish-warriors-in-Iraq play Black Watch, and ’71 carries a similar gut impact. Focusing on a young British soldier in the middle of a Belfast nightmare might seem dodgy, but it works; the ambiguities of purpose and alignment prevent the audience from an easy, reductive good-vs.-evil response.

Run All Night (R) ★★★✩✩

Liam Neeson is our supreme late-winter action star. The film co-stars Ed Harris and Vincent D’Onofrio, and it also makes room for a Nick Nolte cameo. Joel Kinnaman, as Neeson’s bitter and increasingly desperate son, may be the secondmost-important character in the film, but I don’t remember much about him. Directed, frantically, by Jaume ColletSerra, written by Brad Ingelsby, Run All Night promises a sprint punctuated by a lot of gunfire, and bleeding, and bodies. Mission accomplished.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG) ★★★✩✩

Three years ago, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel relied on ensemble superheroics and charmingly fractious banter. Director John Madden’s easygoing follow-up resembles a slightly scattered second season of a BBC sitcom. We’re back in the Jaipur, India, retirement hotel run by Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel), who plans to open a second establishment. The Maggie Smith character, a onetime racist, has mellowed and become Sonny’s comanager. The movie’s smooth to the point of blandness, but its faces really do tell a story.

acted so well, you don’t want anything competing with them. Branagh’s directorial career is a hardy one indeed. With his Marvel comics foray Thor and now Disney’s Cinderella, he has acquitted himself as a dutiful company man with limited visual imagination. On the other hand, he’s terrifc with actors, and it’s pleasing to come away from a movie such as Cinderella having felt something for, and with, the archetypes on the screen. Preceding the flm is a nifty animated short, Frozen Fever, which brings Disney’s Frozen gang back for a vignette about Elsa throwing a birthday party for sister Anna. The new characters, known as “snowgies,” are tiny little snowpeople created each time Elsa sneezes. Despicable Me minions: Watch your backs! Cinderella (PG)  ★★★✩✩

By Tribune Media Services

Chappie (PG-13) ✩✩✩✩✩

Writer-director Neill Blomkamp’s latest sci-fi outing is a misjudgment. Robotic law enforcement droids have improved crime stats, but gang activity is on the run. The police order up more robots from the weapons firm run by Sigourney Weaver. The firm’s lead designer (Dev Patel) cracks the code for a new iteration of droid, one that is fully human in its techno-makeup. Meantime, the designer’s colleague/rival (Hugh Jackman) continues to press for funding on a sinister droid. As voiced by Blomkamp regular Sharlto Copley, Chappie is a whining, dithering, bore.

Unfnished Business (R) ★★✩✩✩

The Lazarus Effect (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

Focus (R) ★★✩✩✩

The DUFF (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

A comedy with its heart in the right place and everything else bizarrely out of joint, Unfinished Business finds director Ken Scott following 2013’s Delivery Man with another dubious attempt to sell audiences on Vince Vaughn’s sensitive side. Playing a down-on-his-luck family man who takes an ill-advised business trip to Berlin with two unfunny sidekicks (Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco), Vaughn is the least of the movie’s worries. It’s hard to deliver a good buddy comedy when two of the buddies in question are narrative dead weights.

Will Smith plays gentleman thief Nicky Spurgeon, who runs a 30-person team of pickpockets and scam artists. Margot Robbie is the fatale-in-training Jess, looking for a mentor in the con game. The best scene in Focus, in which Smith engages in a series of risky wagers with a high-roller (BD Wong) at a football game, allows Smith to play something other than Joe Cool. Robbie, an Australian native, isn’t bad. Focus concludes with a shot of two characters limping into a hospital, and unfortunately that’s a metaphor for the movie itself.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (R)  ★★✩✩✩

John Cusack has been reduced to Z-grade action comedies. And he still turned down this half-baked sequel starring Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry. In the first movie, the guys travel back to a pivotal 1986 ski weekend from their past in what appears to be an electrical accident. But their trip was no accident, Time Machine 2 tells us. Whatever regrets Cusack may have for not returning—he says he wasn’t even asked— the proof is 93 minutes of a movie whose closing credits have the most laughs.

This is what happens when hip, smart actors commit themselves to a horror movie. Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde ably play a scientist couple whose work has led to a serum that brings the dead back to life. And with director David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi) in charge, you can be sure this isn’t some brain-munching zombie apocalypse. There’s no point in overselling a conventional horror picture that manages one good, cheap jolt and a solid hour of dread. But Lazarus reminds us that a genre overwhelmed by junk fare doesn’t need to be that way.

The DUFF stands for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend.” Kody Keplinger wrote the book when she was 17. What happens in The DUFF could be treated as a tragedy. Here, it’s handled as a comedy of humiliation. Mae Whitman plays Bianca, a high school senior and horror movie geek full of life, and smarts, and zippy comebacks. Because her best friends are willowy, runway-ready creatures, our heroine is treated as a dateless hag. The question with every movie besieged by an army of high school cliques is this: Does the movie rise above clichés? This one does.

The Last Five Years (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

Director Richard LaGravenese’s film version of the Jason Robert Brown stage show deserves attention. Brown’s chronicle of an ill-fated romance begins with struggling musical-theater performer Cathy (Anna Kendrick), still hurting from the end of her five years with novelist Jamie (Jeremy Jordan). Jamie’s scenes and songs proceed in chronological order, from the start of the affair; Cathy gives us the end and takes us back through the middle, and on back to the start. Brown’s musical has more than structural cleverness in its corner.



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What was the city like during that time?

Most Rebel fans thought we should win the tournament. They thought we were the best team, as did we. But we had been in that position before—we thought we were the best team in ’77, when we lost to North Carolina [84-83 in the Final Four], a game we more than likely should have won. And I thought we were the best team in ’87, but we didn’t play our best against Indiana [a 97-93 loss in the Final Four]. That just speaks to how diffcult it is to win the championship. So many schools and so many great teams never get to experience it. But our fans expected us to win it that year. Were you ever worried you wouldn’t?

Brad Rothermel The former UNLV athletic director on March Madness, Tark and the legacy of the 1990 championship team

March 19–25, 2015


By Mike Grimala


What was it like being UNLV’s athletic director during the school’s run in the 1990 NCAA tournament?

I had a very good staff. We’d been to the NCAA tournament before and been to the semifnals several times, so all those staff members were experienced. It wasn’t at all chaotic. Continuity is extremely important when building an organization, and that’s true of athletics. The same people working in our offce in ’90 were the same people who were there for [UNLV’s] semifnal run in ’87, and so on. That’s how the foundation was laid for the ’90 team. Year by year we got better. That championship was the culmination of a lot of years.

How did coach Jerry Tarkanian handle the team during the championship run?

He knew we were good. He knew that if we played as well as we could play, we were the best team in the tournament. You just had to hope we played our best game, and one thing about coach was that he concentrated his full devotion to [each game]. You play the frst game, you win it, then you forget about it and focus on the next game—not the game after that. He didn’t look ahead. He didn’t focus on Duke until it was time to play Duke. He would take out all the other variables for the players and keep everyone’s focus on

We didn’t play our best against Ball State [69-67 in the regional semifnal]. Ball State had a shot to beat us at the gun, and they missed. We dodged a bullet. After that, we were dominant in the next three ballgames and won by relatively easy margins. But that’s how the NCA A tournament goes. You never want to be in a position to lose on the last shot, but we got away with it. We didn’t play our best, but we were able to slip by. That turned out to be the most stressful moment of the entire tournament for us. What was the team’s mentality heading into the championship game?

We felt prepared, and we knew if we played our “A” game against Duke, they couldn’t beat us. We were better that year. We had better players, better coaches. We had experience. We had played in [McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, site of the 1990 Final Four] the year before, so we had ways of adjusting to the alti-

tude. Everything about our program was better than Duke that year. What do you remember of the 103-73 blowout victory in the title game?

It was euphoria. You wonder when you’re ever going to get a chance to win a national championship, and it’s such a struggle for all those years. And then to win it like that—right after halftime we blew Duke completely out of the game, so we had the whole half to enjoy the fact that we were going to win it. I doubt there’s ever been a more exciting 20 minutes in Las Vegas history. When the gun went off at the end of that game, it was a euphoric moment for everyone—the players, the coaches, the fans, the university. I spent most of my life as an administrator, and I was always hopeful of getting that opportunity to win a championship How would that 1990 team fare in this year’s NCAA tournament?

I doubt anyone would beat our team. Kentucky [which enters this year’s tournament 34-0] appears to be a team that is going to be very diffcult to beat, but during the tournament in 1990, I think basketball afcionados would have agreed we were one of the best teams of all time. We’ll always compare very favorably to today’s teams, even though we’ll never get the opportunity to compete on the court. We didn’t have many weaknesses; we had great starters, great subs and we had experience. It’s diffcult to fnd complete teams like that today. As we near the 25th anniversary of that Rebels squad, what is its legacy?

You have to put us right up there among the best ever. Those great UCLA teams, the great Kansas teams, North Carolina—our club that year could compete with any of the great champions.



what was right in front of them. That was the most important thing about his coaching during that tournament.

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