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FREE December 1-7, 2016 « RITA MORENO AT THE SMITH CENTER / THE CITY’S MOST COMFORTING STEWS / ART BASEL »

7 Courtroom SCandalS: ColleCt ’em all


THIS WEEKEND

FRIDAY • DECEMBER 2

frankie ballard SATURDAY • DECEMBER 3 CHRISTMAS WITH

jennifer nettles NYE CELEBRATION

SATURDAY • DECEMBER 31

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BIG & RICH FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9 TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Tickets available at any MGM Grand Ticket Office, MGMGrand.com, AXS.com, or charge by phone at 1.888.929.7849


SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10 TICKETS ON SALE

Tickets available at any MGM Grand Ticket Office, MGMGrand.com, AXS.com, or charge by phone at 1.888.929.7849


L A N I F E iT’S TH WN! O D T N U CO

ON THE COVER

Read Vegas Seven right-side up and then flip it over and start again with (7) SEVEN NIGHTS, featuring after-dark entertainment and the week’s nightlife happenings.

THE LEGAL ISSUE Artist GREG HOUSTON

THE SMASH HIT ‘80S ROCK MUSICAL LAST PERFORMANCE ON JAN. 1! ROCKOFAGESVEGAS.COM

I

SEVEN NIGHTS Jennifer Nettles at the Foundry

702.777.2782


TABLE OF CONTENTS

DECEMBER 1-7, 2016 BY CHARLIE STARLING

TO DO

43 A Teachable Moment

15 24/7

What to do around the clock in Las Vegas. BY SHANNON MILLER

17 Paint the Town

Life in Color festival blasts EDM and paint into the audience. BY JOHN CARR PLUS: The

Deal

FEATURE

Lessons Nevada can teach the nation after the election. BY MICHAEL GREEN

44 Viva Las Cannabis Cup

The world’s preeminent marijuana festival comes to Las Vegas. BY LISSA TOWNSEND RODGERS

46 At Long Last, Our Team Has Arrived

A golden night in Las Vegas for professional sports. BY JASON R. LATHAM

18 Disorder in the Court Seven scandalous courtroom moments.

CONVERSATIONS

BY LISSA TOWNSEND RODGERS

49 Rita and the Wolf

24 Inside the Law

A roundtable of the city’s best attorneys. BY LISSA TOWNSEND RODGERS

TASTE

31 One Bite

Guy Savoy brings caviar dreams to life. BY AL MANCINI

32 Burgers for the People

Three burger spots on the east (and best) side of town. BY JUSTIN FAVELA

35 Bountiful Bowls

Home for the holidays with Rita Moreno and the Phil. BY LISSA TOWNSEND RODGERS

50 Rock-God Pantheon

Chester Bennington in all-star ensemble Kings of Chaos. BY JARRET KEENE

51 Lucky No. 7

Our favorite TV attorneys. BY SEVEN STAFF PLUS: Ask

a Native

ON THE FLIP SIDE Seven Nights

Casting a wide net to find the city’s most comforting stews.

What to do after dark.

BY MARISA FINETTI

The DJ Next Door

36 Got Game?

Ryan Lofty turned his passions into his day job.

Local bars and restaurants to amuse you. BY AL MANCINI

SOCIAL INFLUENCE

39 Beyond the “Seven Magic Mountains”

MGM Resorts Art & Culture unifies the company’s creative endeavors. BY KRISTEN PETERSON

42 Pull Up on SKIRRT.com

Camille Cannon combines hip-hop, comedy and feminism. BY ZONEIL MAHARAJ

Star Wars Strip Tease? Nerdlesque is a sexy pop culture mash-up.

“Figur,” Norbert Prangenberg, 1999, Art Basel

BY IAN CARAMANZANA

BY JOHN CARR

A Country Christmas

OUR SITES TO SEE

VegasSeven.com Hear Now Our local music roundup is back! Vibe out to new releases from hip-hop/jazz band The Lique, altrockers Almost Normal, electro-pop wizard Kitze and more at vegasseven.com/hearnow.

DTLV.com New Crime Column To keep the community informed on the latest crime, from specific cases to general trends, DTLV.com presents a new monthly roundup with Downtown Las Vegas bureau commander Captain Andrew Walsh, who gives us the lowdown on what’s happening on the streets.

Jennifer Nettles brightens up the holidays at The Foundry.

RunRebs.com

BY MARK ADAMS

Weekly Recap Tyler Bischoff breaks down Jalen Poyser’s role as UNLV’s go-to guy, issues on the frontcourt, the team’s defensive strategy and more.

Honky-Tonk Tunes Seven country acts to catch during the NFR. BY MARK ADAMS

Where to Boot-Scoot Get your do-si-do, two-step and line dance on. BY ASHLEY MILES

SpyOnVegas.com The Hookup Find upcoming events, see highlights from the hottest parties, meet the DJs and more.

Where Beats Meet Eats Techno Taco Tuesday feeds Las Vegas’ underground scene. BY JOHN CARR

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

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COVER ARTIST

Greg Houston Greg Houston was born and raised in Baltimore. He graduated from Pratt Institute in 1988 with a BFA in illustration. He taught illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art for nine years and co-founded the Baltimore Academy of Illustration in 2015, where he currently teaches. He is the author of Illustration That Works: Professional Techniques for Artistic and Commercial Success. His clients have run the gamut from Village Voice and LA Times, to Warner Lambert and BWI Airport, to Turkish death metal band Vortex of Clutter. He and his partner Tracy Jacobs live a quiet life indulging in their twin interests— hobo racing and fire sculpting. greghouston illustration.com/ Greg Houston in Halloween costume

Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger President Michael Skenandore Chief Financial Officer Sim Salzman Vice President, Marketing and Events Keith White Creative Director Sherwin Yumul Graphic Designer Javon Isaac Technical Director Herbert Akinyele Controller Jane Weigel

Letters and Story Ideas Comments@VegasSeven.com Advertising Sales@VegasSeven.com Distribution Distribution@VegasSeven.com

PUBLISHED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE OBSERVER MEDIA GROUP Vegas Seven 701 Bridger Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101 702-798-7000 Vegas Seven is distributed each Thursday throughout Southern Nevada. Š 2016 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited.


Publisher

Michael Skenandore Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Melinda Sheckells MANAGING EDITOR

Genevie Durano SENIOR EDITOR, DINING, BEVERAGE & NIGHTLIFE

Xania Woodman ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Mark Adams SENIOR WRITER

Lissa Townsend Rodgers EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Shannon Miller EDITORIAL INTERNS

Sam Mendoza, Ashley Miles, Zauni Tanil, Ally Tatosian Contributing Editors Michael Green (Politics), Al Mancini (Dining), David G. Schwartz (Gaming/Hospitality) Art CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Benjamin Ward SENIOR DESIGNER

Cierra Pedro STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Krystal Ramirez PHOTO INTERNS

Zach McKee, Wes Morefield VegasSeven.com DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL CONTENT

Zoneil Maharaj EDITOR, DTLV.COM

Jessie O’Brien DIGITAL PRODUCER & WRITER

Amber Sampson CONTRIBUTING WRITER, RUNREBS.COM

Tyler Bischoff Production/Distribution DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION/DISTRIBUTION

Marc Barrington ADVERTISING MANAGER

Jimmy Bearse Sales BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Christy Corda DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL SALES

Nicole Scherer ACCOUNT MANAGER

Brittany Quintana ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Robyn Weiss, Matt Iles DIRECTOR OF SALES, BILLBOARD DIVISION

John Tobin


TO DO

THURSDAY 1

FRIDAY 2

SATURDAY 3

Shopping for a cowboy or cowgirl this holiday season? The Western Gift Show features vendors from across the country selling apparel, art, decorations, jewelry, gifts and more. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., through Dec. 11, South Point, southpointarena.com

Express solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe for their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Bring donations to 11th Street Records and enjoy live music with other people who care. 7 p.m., admission with donation of $5 and/or winter clothes, 1023 Fremont St., 11thstreetrecords.com

Kids can get a photo with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Container Park’s Breakfast with Santa. In addition to meeting the jolly couple, attendees can also decorate cookies and choose an ornament to take home. And maybe we should mention adults can splurge $15 more to add mimosas and spiked hot chocolate to their breakfasts. 9 a.m.–noon, adults $30-$35, kids $15, downtowncontainerpark.com

Chet Buchanan & The Morning Zoo of

PHOTO BY KRYSTAL RAMIREZ

98.5 KLUC kick off the crew’s 18th annual Toy Drive at NV Energy’s parking lot. Bring new unwrapped toys, bicycles and gift cards to help Southern Nevadans in need this holiday season. Donations accepted at all times, through Dec. 12, 6226 W. Sahara Ave., helpsonv.org The UNLV Visiting Artist Lecture Series welcomes New York artist Daniel Bozhkov. Join the conversation on the resistance and social nonconformity present in his work. 7 p.m., Marjorie Barrick Museum, unlv.edu Emo music gets a bad rap, but it’s just misunderstood! Rock some black nail polish and eyeliner (or guyliner) at the 18-and-up Emo Night at Brooklyn Bowl. 11:30 p.m., $8-$10, brooklynbowl.com/las-vegas

When reputation is everything, how do you follow your heart? Find out at Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. 7:30 p.m., $28-33, UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre, unlv.edu Four of Saturday Night Live’s most memorable men have teamed up for the Here Comes the Funny tour, featuring Adam Sandler, Norm Macdonald, Rob Schneider and Tim Meadows. Catch the comedians at

The Joint tonight and tomorrow night, with special guests in tow. 8 p.m., $50-$400, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, hardrockhotel.com

Just in time for the rodeo, George Strait returns to T-Mobile Arena. Don’t miss your chance to see the King of Country. 8 p.m., $75-$200, t-mobilearena.com

Head to The Cube gallery for the Deconstruction exhibit, a series by Eric Burwell inspired by philosopher Jacques Derrida’s semiotic analysis. Brace yourself for an existential crisis. Noon–6 p.m., through Dec. 17, 1025 S. First St. #150, thecubelv.com ’Tis the season for scouring neighborhoods for spectacular holiday light displays. Find an alternative approach to the tradition at Lake Mead’s Parade of Lights, which features themed boats floating from Lake Mead Marina to Boulder Beach. 6:30 p.m., $20 park entry before 2 p.m. (free afterward), nps.gov/lake

Against the Dakota Access Pipeline? Take a stand at 11th Street Records’ donation drive Friday night.

24/7 What to do around the clock in Las Vegas By Shannon Miller

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

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TO DO

THE LUCKY DRAGON CASINO ON SAHARA

The curtain closes on Million Dollar Quartet at Harrah’s Sunday night.

Find more stuff to do in Las Vegas at vegasseven.com/calendar

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.

Sixty years ago, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley made music that would influence rock ’n’ roll for years to come. Say goodbye to Million Dollar Quartet during its final show on the Strip. 5:30 and 8 p.m., $58–$80, Harrah’s Showroom, caesars.com Learn how to make your own ravioli, tortellini and tagliatelle at Artisanal Foods’ Pasta Class. It’s getting chilly outside, and nothing warms you up quite like a home-cooked meal, right? 6 p.m., $65/person, $119/couple, 2053 Pama Ln., artisanalfoods.com MONDAY 5

Both a Pulitzer Prize and T.S. Eliot Prize winner, Sharon Olds reads samples of her influential work, known for its portrayal of family troubles and triumph, at the Clark County Library today. 7 p.m., 1401 E. Flamingo Rd., facebook.com/lasvegaspoets

The Chinese zodiac is about to rotate again. Learn more at the City of Las Vegas’ Chinese New Year—Year of the Rooster exhibit. By appointment only, Historic Fifth Street School Mayor’s Gallery, 401 S. Fourth St., 702-229-1012

UNLV Opera presents scenes about crime and punish-

Professor Rex Dart & The Bargain DJ Collective

Opera crossover artist Andrea Bocelli graces MGM Grand Garden Arena with his fabulous tenor. 8 p.m., $82–$419, mgmgrand.com

TUESDAY 6

ment with its Law & Order revue. 7:30 p.m., $8–$10, Lee and Thomas Beam Music Center at UNLV, unlv.edu

Local Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast Frankie’s Favorite Obsession presents The Rocky Horror Christmas Show, with many surprises in store. Who doesn’t want to spend an evening at Dr. Frank N. Furter’s castle decked with boughs of holly? 10 p.m., $10, Tropicana Cinemas, 3330 E. Tropicana Ave. RHPSvegas.com SUNDAY 4

The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre presents Seussical, where one can revisit Dr. Seuss’ beloved characters … and leave speaking in couplets. 7 p.m. shows Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10 and 2 p.m. matinees Dec. 4, 10 and 11, $6, Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St., artslasvegas.org Join Po and friends from Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda during the interactive Adventure to Santa. 11 a.m.–7 p.m., ticket prices vary, Fashion Show, adventuretosanta.com

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Doug Allen Nash conjures the Man in Black at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Vinyl. Fall into the “Ring of Fire” at his Johnny Cash tribute show. 9:30 p.m., $10–$25, hardrockhotel.com

just west of the Strip is open. Early, in fact, about three weeks ahead of its announced grand opening on December 3. It’s an interesting place, all right, touted as being the most Asian clientele-targeted resort Las Vegas has ever seen. Maybe that makes sense and maybe it doesn’t, but my focus is purely on the deal. It’s a sign of the times in this town when my first thought goes to parking. Yes, there’s a big garage. And yes, it’s free to park. Good start. Limits on comped drinks? Nope, the drinks are flowing for video poker players at the big center bar. Resort fees? Ugh, $18 per night plus $2.16 tax. OK, as the famous lyric goes, two out of three ain’t bad. There are five restaurants, which is a lot for a place with only 203 rooms. There’s no buffet. Sort of. What they have instead is a “night market” called Dragon Alley that feels like a buffet, except there’s an individual charge for each item that you put on your tray, cafeteria-style. It’s a little strange right now, because there are no names or prices on the selections. No worries on the first part—the servers know what the dishes are. But they often don’t know how much they cost. A little sampling revealed that the items run from $3 to $11, with most of what you want—dim sum, noodles, pork belly stew—priced from $5 to $6. It’s the best value for food here, priced slightly lower than the Bao Now noodle stand. A buddy and I had four dishes, including whole shrimp for $10, and the tab was just $27 after a 5 percent discount for showing a players card. Which brings me to the gambling. You won’t find a stranger mix of games anywhere in Vegas. There’s no poker. No bingo. No craps. No keno—not even video keno! (Let’s see how long that lasts.) I’d categorize the video poker as … reasonable. The best game in the house for 25 cents to $1 is a funky version of 8/5 Bonus Poker that pays a flat 30 coins (per coin wagered) for all quads and comes in at a 98.48 percent return. Nothing to bang a drum about, but you’d likely do worse at more than 50 percent of the casinos on the Strip. What’s really different is the mix of table games. Of 40 tables, 27 deal some version of baccarat. (Did I mention they’re catering to the Asian market?) There are only four blackjack tables. Minimums are mostly $10, with some $5 on the “carnival” games. Join the players club and get $8 to $888 in free play. By the way, the place is teeming with “8s,” because that’s a lucky number in Chinese culture. Accordingly, I was all geared up for an $8 Budweiser at the bar. Big surprise: Domestics are $5 and imports, including Tsingtao, Sapporo, etc., are $6. That’s a deal. 7

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

bring their beats to the dive-tastic Double Down Saloon. 10 p.m., 4640 Paradise Rd., doubledownsaloon.com

Lace up your ice skates for Holiday at the Park. If skating isn’t your thing, stroll through the winter wonderland while enjoying carolers, hot chocolate and holiday treats. Photo op by the 60-foot tree, anyone? 4–10 p.m., $15 for skating, theparkvegas.com WEDNESDAY 7

This month’s Local Author Showcase features young adult and children’s book authors. Stop by The Writer’s Block for a book-signing and meet-and-greet. 5–7 p.m., thewritersblock.org

PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS

Weighing the Dragon

THE DEAL

By Anthony Curtis


TO DO

Paint the Town at Life in Color Thousands of Las Vegans will show up at Cashman Center Dec. 10 ready and willing to get covered in paint while raging to muPHOTO COURTESY OF LIFE IN COLOR

sic by Flux Pavilion, Doctor P, Cookie Monsta and Diskord. What started as Miami’s “Dayglow” party in 2007 has blossomed into Life in Color Festival, an event that has traveled to more than 40 countries firing paint cannons into the waiting crowd from all angles. “This party allows us to get as creative as we want,” Life in Color COO Eric Fuller says. Every year, the production team convenes a think tank with its loyal crew that includes circus performers to decide the tour’s creative direction. At Life in Color: Kingdom edition (“Wear white—you are the canvas!”), mood lighting will greet the arriving participants. Tensions will mount Life in Color Festival 7 p.m.-midnight, Dec. 10 $40-$70; 18+ Cashman Center 850 Las Vegas Blvd. North lifeincolor.com Instagram: @lictour

when one of the headliners begins to play, a signal that within the hour, the first blast of non-toxic, latex-free paint is going to fly. “Once the paint happens, people get more playful,” Fuller says. “It breaks down barriers.” Indeed, when everyone gets properly messy, the collective adrenaline fuels an environment not unlike a food fight. Only way more colorful. –John Carr

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

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By Lissa Townsend Rodgers Illustration Greg Houston

DisOrder in the CURSE WORDS & FOOT RUBS

(On the cover) Usually, drama comes via defendants and witnesses, but the 2007 showdown between Judge Elizabeth Halverson and Chief Judge Kathy Hardcastle was worthy of Dynasty—if Krystle was a veteran adjudicator who’d already caught the notice of The New York Times (for her personal life) and Alexis was a judicial upstart three times the size of Joan Collins. Halverson caught heat for harassing a bailiff (demanding foot rubs and massages, among other peccadilloes), “demeaning” staff and falling asleep on the bench. She took to rolling in with a pair of personal bodyguards who clashed with bailiffs and bypassed building security. As a result, she was banned from the courthouse by Chief Judge Kathy Hardcastle, who had fired Halverson from her position as a law clerk several years earlier; Halverson also ran for a judgeship against Hardcastle’s husband and lost. Halverson was eventually banned from serving as a judge by the state Commission on Judicial Discipline and died in 2014. Hardcastle retired in 2012 after 15 years on the bench.

Court

The courTroom is a place where life-changing decisions are made , where decorum and digniTy rule The day. BuT, of course , This is l as Vegas, where we do Things wiTh, ahem, flair —and going To courT is no excepTion.

HANDS OFF, OFFICER!

Wondering what it’d look like if our president-elect writes “grab ’em by the pussy” into the legal code? A Las Vegas courtroom provided a preview back in 2011. At a routine child custody hearing, marshal Ron Fox asked a young mother to pull up her shirt and bra under the pretense of searching her for contraband. When she objected and claimed he had touched her inappropriately, another marshal arrested the sobbing woman for “filing a false report.” Hearing Master Patricia Doninger sat nearby, playing with the woman’s toddler, completely oblivious to the whole thing. The state eventually settled with the young mother for $200,000; Fox was fired after the incident, and the other marshal and Doninger followed him out the door soon afterward.

nope To dopes who grope

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December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com


A DIFFERENT KIND OF BAR ASSOCIATION?

We’ve all come in to work a little ragged, but one Las Vegas lawyer took it to the next level. In 2006, Joseph Caramagno showed up in court more than an hour late to represent a client on a kidnapping charge. He slurred through a few versions of the car accident he blamed for his tardiness—the judge insisted Caramagno “did not look right,” but the lawyer declared he was “willing to play hurt.” The judge eventually ordered an in-court Breathalyzer (or as Caramagno called it, “an intoximeter”), which came back with a .075, just shy of the legal limit for impairment. Caramagno was sent home and a mistrial was declared.

DWI (DefenDIng WhIle IntoxIcateD)


THE JUICE ISN’T LOOSE

Las Vegas is a town where people push their luck—especially if they’re already on a winning streak. Which is why the man who walked away from “the Trial of the Century” with a shrug and a “not guilty” might figure that Sin City would nudge-andwink at any hotel room contretemps. When O.J. faced charges including assault, kidnapping and armed robbery in connection with a dispute over some sports memorabilia, many expected a few weeks of camera fodder and a return to the craps table, not nine to 33 years at the Lovelock Correctional Center. It does make one hopeful that Nevada can do to the Bundys what Oregon didn’t …

Busted! (Finally.)


HARD TO BEAR

In 2013, during a trial for accessory to murder, the victim’s mother appeared in court clutching a toy bear—a plush animal whose stomach was stuffed with the ashes of the deceased. She addressed the court in the voice of the victim’s 5-year-old sister while holding the bear urn, as the young defendant cried hysterically. Weird voices, unhinged sobbing, macabreyet-adorable creatures: David Lynch is sorry he missed it.

Cuddly Toy of Sorrow and GuilT


COURTROOM CUFFING

It’s not unusual for attorneys and judges to clash; it is unusual for those conflicts to conclude with slapping on the cuffs. Last year, Las Vegas justice of the peace Conrad Hafen was hearing arguments from deputy public defender Zohra Bakhtary when he decided she’d said enough. When the lawyer attempted to continue, he had her handcuffed while he finished hearing the case. Bakhtary had appeared regularly before Hafen for several years without incident, but he decided this was the moment to teach her “a lesson” about “proper decorum.” Of course, the one who learned the most from the incident was Hafen: He lost the primary for his judicial seat a month later.

Mr. M anners


COURT OF CONCUSSIONS

It’s not so much a matter of finding a Las Vegas courtroom brawl as choosing which one. During a 2006 divorce hearing, Geoffrey Wells mouthed off at the judge and wound up being restrained by four bailiffs (all of whom were later treated and released at UMC). Wells was familiar with the local court system—the previous year, he had faced charges when his 12-year-old son fatally shot himself with a shotgun that Wells had left accessible. Thanks to a plea bargain, Wells got probation, but the four battery charges while on said probation involved jail time.

HFC: Henderson Family Court


Inside the Law Vegas Seven sat down for a power lunch with five Nevada attorneys to discuss what drew them to the profession, the impact of the elections and the peculiarities and politeness of practicing law in the Silver State.

By Lissa Townsend Rodgers Photography Andrew Sea James Shot on location at Mercato della Pescheria located in St. Mark’s Square at the Grand Canal Shoppes.

What about becoming a lawyer appealed to you? Rena McDonald: I have a need to help, to fix things. It’s part of my personality. Unlike a lot of other jobs, where you don’t get to actually see the people you help, as a lawyer, I know them and I hear their stories. I go to bed at night knowing that I helped them. Jennifer Taylor: My father was a law school dean, so I knew that having a law degree was something that could open up a lot of different doors, in that it provided a way to look at issues in a critical manner. And if I wanted to do public interest law, corporate law, environmental law—which was something I really cared about when I was in law school—those options were available. Ogonna Brown: I like the challenge of solving problems, finding solutions with clients. People often overlook that lawyers can be very creative. With litigation, which is what I do, you get problems from

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December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

every spectrum—whether it’s a tax problem, a family law problem [or] environmental issues. You get to be creative, and you’re constantly learning. Amy Rose: I think I’ve always been driven by, “How can I improve the situation around me, and how can I help people around me?” When I was in college, I worked at the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center answering the hotline. They also had a legal department, where they were able to provide real justice. That was very attractive to me—providing people with solutions that make a real impact in their lives. Nic Danna: I saw the world, and I wanted to make it a better place. A lot of people say, “Well, I do it because it’s a lucrative profession.” I like the idea of being an attorney. For me, it was rooted in public service. I started at the public defender’s office and then became a prosecutor. Then I went to the Army. All of those jobs were serving something larger than myself.


A LAWYER’S LIFE By Rob Kachelriess

Obviously, you deal with a lot of people in bad situations, and every lawyer loses cases. Does the opportunity to help people keep you going? Danna: Absolutely. Yes. Especially dealing with military families, they have issues where individuals are deployed, waging our nation’s wars, and they have lost their job, or they’ve lost their home. … Being able to get them out of those situations, inform them of their rights and provide them representation is lifechanging for these families. It’s certainly a reason why you wake up in the morning sometimes. Brown: It’s the reason why, when you have a bad day because you know your client should’ve won, you keep doing it. It’s almost addictive, the satisfaction you get from knowing you can fix it, or trying to fix it. The people around this table, we take the problems home with us. I worry about my clients, too, how they’re going to survive, how they’re going to get bread on their table the next day. Taylor: When I was still practicing, the ability to reach out and do community service, community work, was one of the most fulfilling parts of my practice. I could really choose then who I was helping. Knowing that you gave three hours of your time to make a world of difference for somebody is incredibly meaningful. Is there anything about the legal framework or the clients that makes practicing in Nevada and/ or Las Vegas different? Rose: I think Nevada’s unique in that our law is fairly new and ever-evolving. Other jurisdictions have been dealing with issues and larger populations longer. Now we’ve entered that pop-

ulation status and our law is still pretty new. We deal with a lot of, “Well, in California, they did this. In Arizona, they did that …” McDonald: People come to Nevada and have ideas and do things that nobody else would think of. We have the ability here to borrow from other jurisdictions, mold the legislation and create a new and improved version based on mistakes that other jurisdictions make and things that they got right. Taylor: The other thing that’s really unique about Nevada is when you look at that first step of getting the laws made, we have incredible access to our citizen legislators, and a lot of them are lawyers. It’s also so small that people have to work together in a different way. We have a governor who is a different party than the two governing state legislature bodies. Governor [Brian] Sandoval is incredibly bipartisan. Danna: I’ve practiced in other states. One of the things that always just leaps out at me is the accessibility to lawmakers, key positions and constitutional officers in the state of Nevada. Also, the collegial way with which they work together and the responsiveness. McDonald: It’s a very small town. Everybody gets along. If they don’t, there will be ramifications, because our bar is so small that you talk. You say, “That person—put it in writing. I had two experiences with that person, and I’ll never trust him or her again.” I find the better the attorney, the more civil they are. The attorneys that maybe aren’t at a better firm or as experienced, they’re the ones who can be more aggressive and sneaky. That’s not what advances you, because practitioners don’t like that and judges don’t like that.

AMY ROSE As legal director for the ACLU of Nevada, Amy Rose focuses on anything that has to do with civil rights and civil liberties. That includes potential constitutional violations and concerns about transparency in government. Recently, the group took the Nevada DMV to task for failing to comply with the National Voter Registration Act and successfully challenged the Education Savings Account program, which diverted state money from public schools to private and/or religious schools. Before joining the ACLU, Rose advocated on behalf of Nevada workers facing discrimination or harassment, and she has also volunteered for the Anti-Defamation League and Planned Parenthood. OGONNA M. BROWN Ogonna M. Brown, shareholder at Holley, Driggs, Walch, Fine, Wray, Puzey and Thompson, wants you to know that despite all the lawyer jokes, attorneys are good people and part of a noble profession. Many of her cases focus on bankruptcy, often involving people facing medical issues or struggling with some sort of catastrophe. She is a champion of pro bono work who believes that people have a constitutional right to file for bankruptcy and should be able to do so whether they can afford an attorney or not. The UNLV alum speaks Bulgarian and German and originally wanted to be a corporate international lawyer, but found those jobs tough to land without living in a coastal city. So Brown found success in the courtroom, where she enjoys the challenge of presenting cases in front of a judge. NIC DANNA The job title is almost as big as the mission. Nic Danna is the director of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office of Military Legal Assistance. He was tapped by Adam Laxalt to help run a state program designed to offer current military members free legal representation in civil matters (where JAG attorneys generally can’t help), powers of attorney and legal advice to veterans. The program was praised by the Department of Defense and is being used as a model for similar plans in other states. Danna is an Afghanistan combat veteran himself and remains a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves. He was also a prosecutor for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. RENA MCDONALD After working as a lawyer for just five years, Rena McDonald realized she didn’t like the way clients were treated by large firms and decided she could handle things better. She opened her own civil litigation firm, covering areas such as business formation, family law, debt management and estate planning. She practices more than 50 hours a year of pro bono work and participates in the “Ask a Lawyer” program, offering answers to legal questions at no charge. McDonald also serves on the board of The Shade Tree, which offers assistance to homeless and abused women and children. JENNIFER TAYLOR As executive director of the Clean Energy Project, Jennifer Taylor has a lot on her plate. The organization was the first to support the recently passed Question 3 initiative to reduce monopolies and create competition within Nevada’s energy industry. Taylor says a thriving clean energy policy not only improves the environment, but also strengthens the economy—a message she hopes will resonate when the Legislature is called back into session next year. Along the way, Taylor has been a clerk for the Nevada Supreme Court, did litigation involving the construction industry and worked for Congressman Steven Horsford. She also offers pro bono services for the Poppy Foundation animal rescue.

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Is that the most common misconception about lawyers, that you’re all so aggressive? Rose: If I had anything that I’d want to educate the public on, it’s that attorneys really want the community they live in to be a better place. I cannot think of one other profession that’s so involved in the community on a day-to-day basis. Taylor: There are certainly plaintiffs’ attorneys that make a fantastic living, but there are a lot who don’t. What a plaintiff’s attorney really is doing is protecting consumer rights, civil rights and disability rights. Amy does plaintiff’s work just as much as one of the big trial lawyers who’s had billion-dollar cases. I think that people don’t understand the fundamental work that’s done when a lawyer brings a lawsuit: It’s to protect not just their client, but the clients all behind them. Brown: Another thing people might not understand about lawyers is that with a lot of our clients, we have longstanding relationships with them, and they end up being our friends. They’re not just clients with dollar signs. You’ll take a call in the middle of the night, because they need you. McDonald: When somebody comes to us and we take a case, we have so many different roles. We have to play their attack dog or their shoulder to cry on. We also have to be the attack dog with them and rein in their expectations. We have to be psychologists and therapists, and it’s really incredibly tense and complicated. We’ll see big changes in both the federal and state legislatures next year. Have you thought about how they might affect you or your clients? Rose: Absolutely. The policies put into place by the federal government will certainly affect Nevadans and will be an issue people are going to have to deal with, whether

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it’s an immigration issue, some kind of an issue with abortion, an issue of surveillance or whatever else is going on. Taylor: We’re lucky here in Nevada from an energy perspective. Governor Sandoval has shown fantastic work in terms of pushing clean energy forward. He understands that we don’t have fossil fuels in this state, it makes the most sense for us to develop our own state resources. He also understands that the businesses that we want to attract are businesses that are going to require direct access to clean energy. You’re not going to get a Tesla in Nevada if the only way you can power their factories is through coal. On the national front—to promise to repeal the power plan, the threats about [the Clean] Water Act and the [Clean] Air Act, the gambit of environmental laws … they don’t understand that renewables are becoming the cheapest energy. The coal market is dying on its own without any help. Fortune 500 companies have made commitments to their customers that they will get their energy in a sustainable, clean manner—it helps their bottom line, it helps their brand. I think we’ve got enough corporate kinetic energy to move the ball down the road even at a national level. We certainly have that here in Nevada. McDonald: In Nevada, I think the election is very positive. … The uncertainty is from the federal side of it and what’s going to happen there. It’s interesting to me the way my clients are already taking a step back. I have business clients that were thinking about opening businesses that are now [saying], “Let’s wait a little while before we do that.” Rose: Policies can be changed, laws can be changed, but the Supreme Court is for generations, and that is certainly a more terrifying prospect. I hope that [the president-elect] would appoint someone who would not be in favor of overturning things like Roe v. Wade, but I think we’re just going to have to see what happens. Thankfully, here

in Nevada, we have a constitutional right to abortion, but I’m concerned about the rest of the country and what’s going to happen. What about Question 2, which legalizes recreational marijuana? What kind of changes might we see with that? Brown: A lot of my business clients are calling me saying, “As a business owner, what should I be putting in employee handbooks about marijuana?” It’s so fresh and so new—I take a deep breath, do some research, figure it out. Even though Nevada wasn’t one of the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana, I think Nevada is going to become very important with how that is viewed in a business context. So many employees of casinos and these huge unions—it’s going to be really interesting, and I think we’re going to be on the forefront of changing that.

Taylor: I saw an article this morning in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about the district attorney’s office and the police department being at odds. I’m curious how the judges will react now before it becomes effective in January. There’s some immediate change. It’s not going to be slow, because [the state] moves pretty quickly on stuff. And there’s money to be made. You’re taxing it, which means it helps your citizens. Have you been to one of the grows? It is amazing, seriously: Here’s a seed, I’m going to barcode it. Here is the bloom, we’re going to track it. Then they even barcode on the debris and the leaves. One of my friends worked on that campaign, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. I’m like, “If alcohol was regulated like this …” Rose: I think for us, the biggest win on Question 2 is that people won’t be prosecuted for low-level drug crimes. That is such a huge win for them, for some people who are stuck in jail because they can’t afford the bail money, though they had just a little pot on them. Now they’ve lost their job, maybe they’re going to lose their kids and now they can’t be a productive member of society anymore. It’s really great to see the people say, “This isn’t what we want to do with our tax dollars.” I think that is going to be such a huge impact on us and in our criminal justice system. It frees people, it frees up public defenders’ time, it frees up the prosecutors’


time to focus on real crimes and issues, violent crimes. Danna: I see what it does to a secondary market where young people have cards and they’re going to buy … and sell it to kids they know. Granted, that’s something you have to deal with anyway, and I understand there’s a large percentage of the population that engages in this anyway, but it would make it even easier to distribute to high schools. Rose: I think it’s a fair point—obviously with that big a change, there’s going to be other ramifications that you couldn’t have anticipated. They already have other problems in other states, but personally and from our perspective, it’s worth it because we are not going to be prosecuting for low-level drug crimes. That is huge, that’s going to be such a big impact on our low-income communities, on people whose lives have been destroyed by this. Even if there are some negatives, that positive is such a huge win for us. If you could write or change one law, what would it be? Brown: I absolutely agree with wage equality for women. I think it should be both a state bill and federal bill. Wage equality, equal pay for equal work, there’s no reason that shouldn’t [happen]. I don’t understand why that is a controversial issue. Rose: I think one issue is that most states have some form of either temporary or permanent [voter] disenfranchisement for people who have committed felonies, and

in Nevada it can be a very complicated system. I think when we are promoting democracy and we’re trying to say everyone matters and that everyone should have a voice, it’s really disheartening that we as a society have said, “Even though you have paid your debt to society and you’ve gone to prison and you’ve done what you needed to do, that you are still not able to participate in the democratic system and your voice doesn’t matter.” That to me is so upsetting, where the people who need to have their voices listened to the most do not have that basic right as an American to vote. So that is something I would love to see change. Taylor: I’d love to see an expansion of voting rights and voting opportunities, period. There’s a ballot right now for automatic voter registration when you purchase your car or when you get your driver’s license. I think it’s important for our democracy to make sure that voting is as easy and as open and as accessible as possible.

Danna: I’d want a more consistent definition of veterans, which allows people to get VA medical care. To have the definition of veteran standing be anyone who [has] put on a uniform would allow millions of individuals to get the health care they need. Also, a streamlined process for veterans to get into the system—some of them [need services] as simple as dental care, or as big as prosthetics, where they’ve actually lost a limb. Rose: You can interpret it different ways, but we all believe in the Constitution. We all believe in civil liberties and that our civil rights need to be upheld. Whenever we see those situations as attorneys, we’re

the first ones to cry foul. There are some constitutional issues—the right to privacy, the right to free speech—that our Founding Fathers couldn’t have anticipated, the technology that needs to be addressed. I think Facebook and Google have more control over free speech than the federal government, which is really interesting. There are a lot of things that need to be fixed, and that’s OK. It’s a work in progress. 7

The Details Italian seafood restaurant Mercato della Pescheria, located in St. Mark’s Square at the Grand Canal Shoppes, was the ideal setting for Vegas Seven’s power lunch and legal roundtable. Bringing together an authentic fish market and gourmet eatery, it’s a bustling, colorful and delicious scene with hand-painted designs on the walls, cured meats hanging from the ceiling and an enticing fragrance of charcoal ovens in the air. Mercato’s custom-designed, climate controlled wine cellar and private dining room holds around 1,400 bottles. The restaurant currently carries 96 different labels—56 red, 24 white, 14 sparkling and two dry rosés—focusing on big-name, recognizable producers. Mercato della Pescheria is like a trip to Italy without the jet lag. grandcanalshoppes.com; mercatodellapescheria.com/lasvegas

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TASTE SECTION

ONE BITE

CAV I A R D R E A M S

Restaurant Guy Savoy Caesars Palace 5:30-9:30 p.m. Wed-Sun guysavoy.com Instagram: @guysavoy

While luxury dining trends come and go, the classics never go out of style. Take, for example, a simple dollop of sturgeon caviar: beautiful spheres of oceanic goodness that burst with salty, briny flavor as you pop them on the roof of your mouth. Is it any wonder that Guy Savoy has designed an entire caviar menu to be enjoyed in the new Caviar Room at his eponymous Caesars Palace restaurant? Available a la carte or as part of a five-course tasting experience ($170) that includes a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne, each item pairs one of Savoy’s delicately extravagant creations with a hearty dose of these tiny black pearls. At present, the a la carte menu includes Imperial Golden Osetra or Siberian Royal Osetra caviar by the ounce, octopus “pot au PHOTO CREDIT GOES HERE

feu,” “Colors of Caviar,” kusshi oysters on the half shell and a seasonal dish, currently langoustine pommes Maxim. But if you only have time for one bite, make it the Salmon “Mi Cuit.” Available in half or whole portions ($65/$130), the fish is prepared through a combination of salt curing and sous vide heating that leaves it in an especially tender half-raw state. That’s placed atop a beurre blanc sauce dotted with fish eggs, then finished with a large quenelle of the same. Like many items on the new menu, this is an outstanding dish even before the caviar is added. But its inclusion provides an extra touch of decadence. And isn’t that what fine dining is all about?

By Al Mancini

Photography Dusty Fruend/Caesars Palace December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

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Bacon cheeseburger at Fat Boy (top left); customers enjoying Boygers (top center); Playas Cancun exterior (middle center); Bufalo burger at Playas Cancun (middle right); Bulgogi burger and garlic herb fries at La Parilla/The Lab (bottom left); and Justin Favela crying from sheer joy (bottom center).


TASTE

By Justin Favela

Photography Krystal Ramirez

Burgers for the People STREET EATS

Three burger spots on the East (and best) side of town

S

ometimes I want a good home-style burger, just like my mama used to make: fresh ingredients, a hand-formed patty, toasted bun and all the fixings—the ultimate comfort food! A Mexican homestyle burger has grilled jalapeños, onions and mushrooms along with avocado and plenty of cheese. And lots of mayo! But when I can’t have that, here are my go-to burger spots on the east side of town.

Also known as Hamburgesas Cancun, Playas de Cancun is best known for its Mexican-style burgers. According to the lovely ladies who work the counter and the kitchen, I had to order the Bufalo Burger ($8), a fresh beef patty topped with a slice of ham, yellow and white American cheese, pineapple, avocado, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms and diced pickled jalapeños, all served between mayonnaise-slathered sesame seed buns. These hamburguesas are filling and fresh, and served with a side of fries and a roasted jalapeño. This place always hits the spot. 3513 E. Charleston Blvd. When I can’t decide between pupusas or a burger, I always head to La Parilla/The Lab, where I usually order the El Niño Burger ($8), a beef patty topped with pickled cabbage, tomato

sauce and mozzarella cheese in between two pupusas. But Salvadoran fusion is not the only thing they do here. On a recent visit I learned that my new fave is the Bulgogi Burger ($8), for which the patty is heaped with lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, American cheese and bulgogi beef (Korean marinated steak). Also, a shout-out to one of the best veggie options around, the 1 Up Burger: a grilled portobello mushroom served with grilled onions, Swiss cheese, roasted tomato and tarragon aioli. No frozen veggie patties here! 2585 E. Flamingo Rd. Boy, oh, “Boyger”! Fat Boy Restaurant is hands down my favorite burger joint on the east side. Owned and operated by the Espinoza family since 2008, this place offers good, cheap eats that will keep you coming back. With just six tables, the restaurant is small, clean and welcoming, and offers an extensive menu of dishes ranging from pizza to chicken nuggets. Fat Boy’s famous “Boygers” are all served with mustard, relish, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and chipotle mayonnaise. I like to get the Cheese Boyger with bacon ($4.50) for its simplicity and perfect balance with an added crunch from the extra crispy pieces of bacon. I also recommend the Pastrami Boyger ($5) and while you are at it, you might as well get some Chencho Fries, which are steak fries topped with homemade green chili sauce. And for all you folks afraid to venture over to the east side, there is now a second Fat Boy location in Henderson! 4425 Stewart Ave. and 1570 W. Horizon Ridge Pkwy. 7

Clockwise from left: Fat Boy’s Bacon Boyger, Pastrami Boyger and Chencho Fries; Fat Boy exterior.

Justin Favela is a Las Vegas native, artist, podcaster and taco enthusiast. When not in his studio, he is usually eating. Listen to his podcast at latinoswholunch.com.

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

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TASTE

Bountiful Bowls Casting a wide net to find the city’s most comforting fisherman’s stews By Marisa Finetti Photography Anthony Mair

From Provence’s bouillabaisse and Brazil’s moqueca to Croatia’s brodet, the world’s seafood stews are steeped in tradition and are as varied as the fish in the sea. During the day, fishermen would sell their best catch and then use whatever was left over to make a hearty and flavorful stew just before bedding down on a chilly winter’s night. In Livorno, Italy, tradition dictates that at least five different types of fish be used—one for each “c” in the word cacciucco, which means “mixture.” Cioppino, considered San Francisco’s signature dish, is a tomato-based stew that usually includes Dungeness crab from the cool waters of the San Francisco Bay. Despite being 150 miles (as the crow flies) from the Pacific, we’ve reeled in some of the best seafood stews on the Strip, with wine to pair. And if you didn’t think red wine goes with fish, think again. These selections go well with seafood because of their low tannins.

CIOPPINO, SPAGO

Served in a large earthenware bowl, executive chef Mark Andelbradt’s lunchtime cioppino is made from a fragrant fumet, a concentrated stock of fish bones, roasted tomatoes and other savories. When mingled together with potatoes, calamari, mussels, prawns and clams, it’s a complete meal in every bite. A huge fan of crusty bread, namely the end pieces, Andelbradt serves his cioppino with housemade French loaf topped with a generous amount of smoked paprika aioli with which to soak up every last bit of broth. $27, in the Forum Shops at Caesars, wolfgangpuck.com. Pair with 2012 Philippe Colin “La Maltroie,” Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, $15 glass, $60 bottle.

AHNISTO, ESTIATORIO MILOS

Estiatorio Milos’ ahnisto is a stew made with sideritis, a rare Greek white wine varietal, fresh basil, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes and the fish of your choice. Scorpena (scorpion fish) is recommended for its luxurious texture, which is akin to a cross between lobster and whitefish. The whole scorpena is steamed with all the ingredients for approximately an hour until it is infused with the flavors and aromatics. The fish is then deboned and served tableside. Ahnisto is an excellent choice for those with shellfish allergies. Market price, in The Cosmopolitan, milos.ca. Pair with 2015 Driopi Rosé, $14 glass, $60 bottle.

CACCIUCCO, CARNEVINO ITALIAN STEAKHOUSE

Culinary director and chef Nicole Brisson prepares the traditional cacciucco, a stew native to the western coastal towns of Tuscany and Liguria, with calamari, head-on shrimp, Manila clams, Prince Edward Island mussels and scorpion fish. The decadent stew is made from a shellfish brodo (Italian for broth) that is slow-simmered for hours with fish bones and collars, mussels, clams, shrimp shells, mirepoix, tomatoes and herbs. The result is a broth so complex and flavorful you just want to drink it out of a cup. $36, in The Palazzo, carnevino.com. Pair with 2007 Podere Le Ripi, Lupi e Sirene, $27 glass, $108 bottle.

Cioppino at Spago

FISHERMAN’S STEW, HARVEST BY ROY ELLAMAR

Executive chef Roy Ellamar showcases the freshest fish and shellfish seasonally available at his new restaurant. The stew’s base is a saffron tomato broth that tastes as though a cioppino and bouillabaisse playfully crossed pots. The broth is made with fish bones, clams, fennel, saffron, tomatoes and aromatics. Piled high with Maine lobster, littleneck clams and mussels, fresh crab and fish, this stew is served with grilled sourdough bread and Old Bay aioli. $39, in Bellagio, bellagio.com. Pair with Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence, $16 glass, $60 glass.

CIOPPINO FRA DIAVOLO, RM SEAFOOD

Of all the great preparations associated with fisherman’s stews, cioppino is executive chef Rick Moonen’s personal obsession. Along with a generous offering of mussels, clams, king crab, shrimp and the fish of the day, he includes a curious form of pasta called calamarata, which takes its name from its resemblance to calamari rings. Heavy on the pomodoro and spice, the chef’s cioppino also offers the right amount of kick. $38 at RM Seafood in Mandalay Place, rmseafood.com. Pair with 2011 Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva, $14 glass. 7

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TASTE

Got Game?

These local bars and restaurants invite customers to amuse themselves

By Al Mancini

W

hile Las Vegas bills itself as a gaming destination, it’s not a reference to the fun-filled social interactions of our youth. Gaming, of course, is a polite word for gambling. And gaming lounges are about the least social places ever, with dozens of heads staring down at video poker or slots as players nurse their drinks. Fortunately, one of the biggest trends to hit bars and restaurants of late is to provide patrons with actual games they can play with each other—and they don’t require gambling on the outcome to be fun. Jenga, Connect Four and cornhole (quiet down, Beavis) seem to be the most popular, but there are plenty of other options. Here are seven spots that embrace this true gaming renaissance. Unless noted, all of the games are free.

Bad Beat Brewing

Beerhaus

Nora’s Italian Cuisine

CraftHaus Brewery

Beer Park

On the outdoor patio of The Park’s popular craft beer spot, gaming options include cornhole and some of the largest versions of Connect Four and Jenga games you’ll find anywhere. (Be careful when that Jenga tower crashes!) Inside, you can find smaller versions of those two, as well as trivia and an entire cart stocked with games. Near the west entrance, you’ll also find foosball, shuffleboard and ping-pong. In The Park, theparkvegas.com. Every Saturday morning at 11 a.m., this local brewery offers a tour to entertain its customers, and the taproom shows football every Sunday. The rest of the time, guests are left to entertain themselves with chess, Risk, Connect Four and card games. And on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., the entire room can participate in beer bingo, taking a drink whenever one of the squares is called. 7350 Eastgate Rd., crafthausbrewery.com.

Hi Scores Bar-Arcade

The bar-side entrance of Hi Scores’ west side location leads to a typical video-poker bar with coin-operated video gaming and foosball. But enter on the arcade side and you’ll find 32 taps and a full menu complemented by 15 old-school arcade consoles set to free play. Titles include Asteroids, Dig Dug, Ms. Pac-Man, Karate Champ, Zaxxon and Mortal Kombat II. And since the bar’s owner is an inventor of Golden Tee, four versions of that game are available for free on the patio. 4785 Blue Diamond Rd., hiscoreslv.com.

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Photography Wes Morefield

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

Believe it or not, man does not live by beer alone. And since this Henderson taproom doesn’t offer food (although you are able to order in), its most prominent secondary attraction is the array of games. You can challenge your friends to giant Jenga, shuffleboard, steel-tip darts or one of several card games. But the coolest attraction might just be the Nintendo setup with more than 20 original games. 7380 Eastgate Rd., badbeatbrewing.com. One of the coolest features of this landmark restaurant’s new location is the outdoor bocce court. Bocce is a traditional Italian game that’s a cross between bowling, shuffleboard and horseshoes, where players try to hurl or bowl their balls closest to a smaller target ball to score points. And while a nice bottle of Italian red isn’t mandatory, it definitely makes the game more fun. 5780 W. Flamingo Rd., norascuisine.com. This beer and barbecue spot on Paris’ second-floor Strip-side outdoor patio offers numerous games for those who prefer playing their own to watching those that are usually showing on the TVs. You’ll find pool, foosball and shuffleboard tables, as well as cornhole setups and oversize games of Connect Four or Jenga scattered throughout the expansive space. In Paris Las Vegas, beerpark.com.

PKWY Tavern

PKWY’s flagship location has a huge enclosed outdoor patio with numerous complimentary games, including cornhole, shuffleboard and beer pong tables and oversize versions of Jenga and Connect Four. The place also has a nice collection of board games, including Sorry and Life. And while you do have to pay for it ($3 per person per game), you’ll find a Bowlingo miniature bowling game inside, left over from the building’s Roadrunner days. 9820 W. Flamingo Rd., pkwytavern.com. 7

Clockwise from top: Hi Scores Bar-Arcade; Beerhaus; Bad Beat Brewing


SOCIAL INFLUENCE

PHOTO CREDIT GOES HERE

Beyond Those “Seven Magic Mountains”

By Kristen Peterson

MGM Resorts Art & Culture unifies the company’s creative endeavors— including an Art Basel Miami Beach partnership

“The Bass,” 2016, Ugo Rondinone.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF ART BASEL

Clockwise from top left: “Mirage,” 2016, Jean-Marie Appriou; “Reise Ohne Ankunft (Mercier),” 2016, Alicja Kwade; “Jesus,” 2016, Tony Matelli; “Arena Parking,” 2016, Matías Duville and “10 Standing Figures,” 2000, Magdalena Abakanowicz. All works will be featured in Art Basel Miami Beach’s Public sector.


SOCIAL INFLUENCE

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n 2005, when casino executive Jim Murren spoke at a panel on art collecting in then-Downtown gallery Godt-Cleary Projects, there was no way to foresee that his passion for art and its invaluable role in daily life would have such a big impact on Las Vegas within the next decade. His concept for CityCenter would come to fruition, including a $40 million blue-chip art collection. As chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, he ushered in projects such as The Park, which features permanent and rotating artworks, and Aria’s sponsorship of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s “Seven Magic Mountains,” a two-year, privately funded art installation in the desert produced by Reno’s Nevada Museum of Art and New York’s Art Production Fund. Additionally, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art continues to benefit from its relationship with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as well as other major institutions. If all of that, plus the opening of MGM National Harbor in Maryland this month with commissioned and acquired works, doesn’t say something about MGM Resorts’ growing dedication to art in its brand, its new partnership with Art Basel Miami Beach cements it. MGM Resorts is the official partner of the Public sector at the influential art fair this weekend. The relationship could help raise the profile of the hospitality company’s devotion to art in public spaces and potentially lead to other partnerships, says Tarissa Tiberti, director of Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts. Curated by Nicholas Baume, director of New York’s Public Art Fund (which organized Rondinone’s “Human Nature” installation at Rockefeller Center), the Public sector features emerging artists’ large-scale sculptures and installations and is produced with Miami Beach’s The Bass Museum of Art, which also has a new Rondinone work. The partnership comes in conjunction with the recent formation of MGM Resorts Art & Culture, a new umbrella program that unifies its arts endeavors, allowing the company to focus on them strategically and financially. Tiberti says they’re already in discussions with Art Basel for possibilities with future art fairs, which could lead to other collaborations. “The company is continuing to grow, so its commitment to art [will continue] to grow,” Tiberti says. “It’s not only happening in Las Vegas, but with our properties in other cities. We’re growing not just the collection but programs as well.” In regard to its relationship with Art Basel Miami Beach, she says, “We’re hoping it continues.” 7

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SOCIAL INFLUENCE

PULL UP ON SKIRRT.COM Media maven Camille Cannon combines hip-hop, comedy and feminism in a new digital platform By Zoneil Maharaj

Photography Krystal Ramirez

IF WE’VE LEARNED ANYTHING

THE MOST FABULOUS THING

from our experience with Camille Cannon, it’s to always expect the unexpected from the seemingly shy journalist. A former Vegas Seven associate editor and current contributor, the curly-locked California native kept a quiet cool about herself during her time in our newsroom. But as reserved as she may have been, her ideas were wildly inventive. The 26-year-old UC Berkeley grad came to Las Vegas in 2012 with no handson journalism experience, but pos-

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Star Wars Striptease? Nerdlesque is a sexy pop-culture mash-up By Charlie Starling Photography Samuel Freeman

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

sessed a natural gift for witty, sharp and tongue-in-cheek storytelling. Cannon’s imagination couldn’t just be confined to paper. After three years, she took her talents to CBS Radio, where she now serves as digital content editor—and quickly advanced to working as an on-air weekend host on Mix 94.1. Now the media-savvy journalist is sharing her newest, and most ambitious, surprise. Earlier this year, she launched her own website, SKIRRT.com, which features video and editorial content. The site name

is a reference to both a common expression in rap music (the sound of screeching tires) and the article of clothing. “The objective was to fuse my different and sometimes conflicting interests in comedy, hip-hop and feminism,” she explains. “That word felt like a combination of those three things.” The website’s two slogans—”Looking back at it, moving forward” and “Make you think, make you laugh, make it clap”— are extensions of that. “‘Looking back at it’ and ‘make it clap’ are popular phraseologies in rap music,” she says. “The music is the foundation, and I want to build on that. I want to produce something that has a little fun with [the music] and makes you listen to it differently the next time you hear [it].” “A lot of time when I’m listening to music, I’ll catch a lyric [and] think: how can I like this song so much when it’s saying such degrading things about women?” she says, using her karaoke go-to, Kanye West’s “The New Workout Plan,” as an example. “Kanye is literally telling women how to get into shape to get a man. I’d question why I love this so much. I think it’s because that song and the video are meant to be funny.” Unlike the erratic rapper, Cannon uses humor to get her point across in a subtle way. “For me and my own

It is universally accepted among T-shirt buyers of a certain nerdsuasion that a good mash-up is always a thing of joy. I’d like to submit my Beatles/Portal T-shirt that sees the Fab Four doing their Abbey Road crossing from a blue portal to an orange one as evidence. Attendees of August’s Super Toy Con at the Orleans this past summer might’ve seen me bouncing around in that. To my mind, there is no more wondrous mash-up these days than Nerdlesque, a delightful coming-together of nerd culture and burlesque. This artistic movement has been around for a while, but is now blossoming in the most brain-tickling way. The wonderful thing about burlesque is that it is a medium in which each individual performer can convey anything they like. And personally, nerdlesque is my jam—no surprises there. In fact, it was just over a month ago that I premiered my Classic Harley Quinn act at Vegas’ smash charity event Mondays Dark, hosted by Rock of Ages’ Mark Shunock. The act is based on the supervillain’s first appearance in the Batman comic “Mad Love” by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, released in

ideas, it’s been a reconciling of my own beliefs and my own love for music, which doesn’t always match up,” she says. “I’ve come to terms with that, and it’s OK that I don’t have to choose one or the other. That middle is where I want to have fun with it.” But it’s not just Cannon who’s having fun with SKIRRT. For the site’s first video, “Drake Says She Says,” Cannon hit the streets of Downtown Las Vegas with an iPhone and some homemade props, asking strangers if they would do the things the Canadian rapper claims women do for him as a playful way to point out his sexism. Drake may be the subject, but Cannon is the star, and she flourishes in front of the camera. She’s in her element delivering quick quips and giggling with strangers. And while SKIRRT’s content is pro-women, it isn’t exclusive to any gender. “I see the audience as anyone who believes that women and men should be treated equally,” she says. “I’ve actually been hesitant to say that ‘hip-hop, comedy and feminism’ combination of words, [because] I don’t want people to feel chastised by the content.” Currently, Cannon does everything on her own—writing, editing, graphic design and props, with family and friends on camera duty—while juggling her radio gigs. January will mark SKIRRT.com’s one-year anniversary, and she hopes to grow her brand in 2017. Eventually, she hopes the site evolves into a larger platform that’s part Complex, part Bustle and part Funny or Die. But for now, she just wants to share her perspective. “I’d like to impact the way society views, talks about and, ultimately, respects women,” she says. “Trying to do that with comedy, and with the music that I love, is just the way that makes the most sense to me.” 7

1994. If you haven’t read it, do—there are piranhas involved! I’ll keep you all abreast of upcoming gigs so you can see my Harley in the diamond pasties-adorned flesh. I’m pretty proud of my prop as well, after many hours of planning and execution (plus four types of glue—hooray for E6000 craft adhesive). But no spoilers! (Unless you head to my YouTube channel; I’m terrible at keeping secrets.) I am a newbie to this genre though, and there are a plethora of nerdlesque indulgences available to you on the West Coast. Earlier this year, I was delighted to discover that my vacation to San Francisco coincided perfectly with a performance of The Devil’s Playground’s production of Star Girls, a burlesque Star Wars parody show. Obviously, my tiny brain exploded. Personal highlights include Audrey Deluxe’s ingenious portrayal of Boba Fett and the overwhelming force of sex that is Jessabelle Thunder. Find The Devil’s Playground on Facebook for info on upcoming shows, and do join me in campaigning for them to bring their brilliant show to Vegas.


By Michael Green

Nevada’s Teachable Moment

POLITICS

SOCIAL INFLUENCE

THERE ARE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM THE ELECTION. WILL THE NATION LISTEN?

W

hat did the 2016 election mean? Commentaries, analyses and tweets abound. For Nevadans, the answer is different, because the results turned out to be different. For only the second time in a century, Nevada’s electoral votes won’t go to the winning presidential candidate. But that’s OK. Nevada will remain important nationally for a while. It’s just that Nevada is two years ahead of the country on many issues and has part of every demographic that exists, including rural voters who want Clark County to finance their belief that nothing should ever change. That may mean something heartening: Nevada actually could be headed in the right direction after doing its own imitation of the presidential transition. In 2014, Republicans swept congressional races and statehouses. In Nevada, that created a mess. The GOP took over the Legislature—and, for the first time since 1929, all statewide offices, too—and then elected ultraconservative Ira Hansen as assembly speaker. Indefatigable veteran reporter Dennis Myers of the Reno News & Review dug up columns in which Hansen came across as racist and sexist. Gov. Brian Sandoval, who had been privately unhappy with the Republicans coming into power in the Legislature, asked Hansen to step aside. He did. Michele Fiore was still around. She became assembly majority leader and taxation committee chair. After finding she had $1 million in tax liens, her caucus removed her from those posts. Then came Sandoval’s quest for a tax hike to make Nevada more appealing to business—thus education funding and what Republicans mistakenly call reform, ranging from unconstitutional vouchers to destroying as many teachers’ lives as possible—and subsequent support for another tax hike to fund a stadium. Whatever else Republicans did with their power in Nevada, they didn’t win over the voters. While one state senate seat gave control to Democrats, the assembly swung from 25-17 Republican to 27-15 Democratic, thanks to bet-

ter Democratic organization and turnout and, possibly, Republicans unhappy with some of their legislators trying to drag Nevada into the 21st century, or with raising taxes to build a stadium. Flipping two House seats, Democrats retaining Harry Reid’s Senate post and Hillary Clinton’s victory here suggest Nevadans haven’t been pleased with what the GOP has done in Washington, either. Now, with control of the White House and Congress, Republicans have to actually govern after spending eight years on unprecedented obstruction of the Obama administration. The opposition—defined as those who voted against bigotry and sexual assault—must figure what to oppose and how. Reid’s successor as Senate Democratic leader, New York’s Charles Schumer, suggested he could work with the incoming administration when they agree. As critics note, that normalizes and legitimizes a president-elect who spent a campaign encouraging hatred toward Mexicans, Muslims and women, and has chosen professional hate merchants as chief counsel and attorney general. Democrats in Washington and Nevada don’t control the executive branch, which Theodore Roosevelt correctly called a “bully pulpit.” They don’t have a single official on whom all is centered. They have to come up with their own ideas and plans if they want their voters to stay with them and persuade those who didn’t vote for them to come back or give them a look. Ralph Waldo Emerson declared 175 years ago, “The two

parties which divide the state, the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation, are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made. … It is the opposition of Past and Future, of Memory and Hope. …” Republicans are claiming the mantle of innovation by proposing to destroy major social programs, although their presidential nominee actually said very little on that subject. But, agree with them or not, Republicans have an ideology. It’s “no.” But Democrats need more than an ideology, especially in the states—those laboratories of democracy where they will have the opportunity to do some governing—including in Nevada. Nationally, they don’t actually need more of it if we view the 2018 elections not as national midterms, but as 50 state elections where Democrats (and Republicans) can target individual issues, such as those Rust Belt jobs that won’t be back and the deportation of Hispanic people, causing higher prices. In Nevada, with Sandoval term-limited, aspiring governors have the chance to think broadly and dramatically. While Nevada’s approach can’t necessarily work nationally—Hispanic voters went Democratic and were actually registered, contrary to what the Las Vegas Review-Journal would like us to believe—it will deserve study. And when Democratic leaders aren’t fighting the evisceration of the republic in Washington, they’ll have some time to do that. 7 Michael Green is an associate professor of history at UNLV.

Nevada is two years ahead of the country on many issues and has part of every demographic that exists …

Another show out in Los Angeles that I’ve had the thrill of attending was Jurassic Peek—A Burlesque Parody (pictured), which is exactly what the title implies. Dinosaurs, amberensconced mosquitoes and inappropriately heeled love interests of Chris Pratt abound in this hilarious and varied show by The Hollywood Jane Revue. This company, assembled by the fabulous Blanche Bourgeois, is legit shit, yo. They’ve been invited to host a panel at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con for the past two years, which is a fact that has me fit to burst with stripper-nerd pride, especially because my glitter pal Gwen Ruby is part of the cast. And about one of those inappropriately heeled dino ladies I mentioned? That was Gwen; she killed it, and her cosplay game is strong. The troupe recently hosted a Rocky Horror-themed show, and their Back to the Future parody is imminent. If you’re not one to travel, or you’re just here for a short time, tremble not. We have our own hub of nerdlesque right here in Vegas, run by local sweetheart Penni Piper. The group’s next show is December 17 at Artifice, where they’ll present Bloody Holiday, a horror-themed Christmas show (obviously), followed by Alice in Wonderland on January 21, as Ms. Piper quipped, “for contrast.” Tee-hee! Mark your calendars now, and join the We Love Las Vegas Burlesque group on Facebook for news of these and all other local shows. Now if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the craft space at Chez Koo-Starling, planning out my cosplay for December’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 7

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

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SOCIAL INFLUENCE High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup Las Vegas March 4-5, 2017, Moapa Events Center, cannabiscup.com

FOR ALMOST FOUR DECADES,

the High Times Cannabis Cup has been the world’s preeminent marijuana festival, drawing aficionados from across the globe to celebrate the plant and its culture with concerts, exhibits and awards. In March 2017, the Cup will finally come to Las Vegas. Well, not precisely to Las Vegas—actually, it will be at the Moapa Events Center near the Valley of Fire, about 30 minutes north of town. “This isn’t just a trade show. It’s information, it’s inspiration and it’s entertainment. That’s what we’re hoping to bring to all of our Cups,” says Mary C. McEvoy, publisher and chief events officer of High Times. “It’s a live and legal cannabis experience.” (Nevada legalized recreational marijuana when it passed Question 2 this November, but the law is not yet in effect.) While the actual event may not be in Las Vegas proper, Sin City will serve as home base. “All the attendees will stay in town, eat in town and have fun in town. We expect this to be a destination event for a lot of people,” McEvoy says, noting that there will be “a major shuttle bus situation” for those who want to party and partake without problems. “We believe Las Vegas is a natural place for it. It’s a place people go to enjoy themselves and have fun and kind of get away from the world,” says Matt Stang, chief revenue officer of High Times, adding that “a lot of Vegas is built around booze and nightclubs and this is a different aspect that still gives people a great time.” Performers and guest judges have yet to be announced, but those will only be part of the experience. “We’re bringing in activation sites,” McEvoy explains. “For example, we have an edibles tent—we have chefs and they’re using the cannabis oils, they cook and have competitions kind of like Iron Chef. And they talk to people about how you do this.” She adds that growers, hashmakers and other companies will show their products as well as how they are made and used. The Vegas Cannabis Cup is only one of 11 Cup events planned for 2017, but it promises to be major. “I think Vegas is going to be one of the centerpieces of legal cannabis moving forward,” Stang says. “We want to make this a really big special event.” 7

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By Lissa Townsend Rodgers

Photography Krystal Ramirez


SOCIAL INFLUENCE

At Long Last,

Our Team Has Arrived A golden night in Las Vegas for professional sports By Jason R. Latham

Vegas Golden Knights For some, the name just rolls right off the tongue. For others, it takes some getting used to. Yet, there’s one thing they can agree. It belongs to Las Vegas. Bold in Gold. You could feel fans taking ownership of the city’s first professional sports organization as they crowded Toshiba Plaza on November 22, ready to hear the official name for the first time and chattering about the possibilities. Would it be Desert Knights? Golden Knights? Silver Knights? Anxious ones started arriving early, with a few dozen gathered around the stage at 3:45 p.m. Two hours later, the crowd had swelled to an estimated 5,000 people, with even more getting a look from the windows of the Monte Carlo and the New York-New York parking garage. They came to see their team, Las Vegas’ National Hockey League franchise. After so many years of pro-league starts and stops, so many Lyle Lanley-like stadium pitches and vague promises of, “If you build it, they will come,” the city finally had a team to call its own. Las Vegas didn’t have to pry the Golden Knights away from some out-of-state fandom; they were gifted to us via expansion, the 31st NHL team. And fans didn’t have to extract a pound of flesh in the form of tax subsidies to build a modern hockey venue. T-Mobile Arena was privately funded, constructed within three years of its inception. So when the moment finally arrived at 6:18 p.m., and the Golden Knights helmet lit up screens around Toshiba Plaza, the jubilation flowing from the crowd mirrored the torrent of streamers and fireworks coming from the stage. Minutes later, the throng of newly knighted fans began pouring into the arena’s team store where, for the first time ever, hats and T-shirts with the logo were on sale. “I just can’t wait, I was one of the first to buy season tickets,” says Dave Aikman, one of the many stuck outside, patiently waiting to enter the store. Aikman, a middle school science teacher and basketball coach at Desert Oasis High School, grew up in Michigan cheering for the Detroit Red Wings. Despite spending 10 years on the team’s season ticket waiting list, his name was never called. After moving to Las Vegas in 2006, he’d

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December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

The Vegas Golden Knights hockey team will take the ice at T-Mobile Arena in 2017.

Photography Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

spend another decade waiting for pro hockey to come to the desert. The wait has been worth it. “This is [my] opportunity,” he says. “Right now, I thought, ‘Finally, my chance.’” The Longest Reveal “Reveal the name!” a fan cried as the night’s ceremony began. It had been five months to the day since the NHL officially announced Las Vegas would be getting a team. They’d waited years for it to happen and patience was wearing thin among the crowd. Majority owner Bill Foley, the West Point alum who committed $500 million to the team and will never have to buy a drink in Las Vegas again, had long promised to include “Knights” in the team’s name as a nod to his alma mater and because they represented “the highest element of the warrior class.” “Golden,” according to Foley, acknowledges both the U.S. Army Parachute Team and the glamour of Las Vegas. “Everything here is gold, even golden sunsets. I think it’s a great tie-in.” The decision to drop the “Las” and just go with Vegas Golden Knights came down to simple arithmetic; it was just “another extra word.”

The Golden Knights logo—a helmet resembling those worn by the Spartans in 300 but with a distinctive Vegas “V”—leaked online just before Tuesday’s announcement, sparking even more enthusiasm among the crowd. “The ‘V’ really stands out, it’s modern looking, sleek, but so simple,” remarks Jason Pothier, one of the creators of the Sin Bin Vegas blog and podcast, which has been following the team’s development since August 2015 and refers to Foley as “The Creator.” “I think you can keep it the way it is for a good 20 years,” he says. “I’ll just say this, I didn’t think it was going to be possible, but it screams Vegas,” adds Ken Boehlke, Pothier’s podcasting partner. “The Vegas ‘V’ will be smack dab in the middle of the ice and will become synonymous with the city.” Both agreed that, in the end, most Las Vegans would end up referring to the team as simply, the Knights. But getting the logo right, Boehlke says, was the first major test, and this team had passed. “One of my biggest criticisms with a lot of teams is you can’t draw the logo,” he says. “I want my kid sitting in the corner of fourth grade drawing the logo. I think they can do this one.” 7


CONVERSATIONS

RITA AND THE WOLF The legendary leading lady comes to Las Vegas for the kids By Lissa Townsend Rodgers

HILTON PHOTO COURTESY OF THE L AS VEGAS NEWS BUREAU

M

ost people are nervous when all eyes are on them. But for the legendary Rita Moreno, the stage is where she feels at home. “I just love to perform,” she says. “It’s fun to make people smile, and to bring tears to their eyes. It makes you feel really good to share what is the best of you with an audience.” Moreno began headlining Vegas showrooms in the Rat Pack days, and now she’s returning to Las Vegas to perform Peter and the Wolf with the Las Vegas Philharmonic at The Smith Center. Over the past 70 years, Moreno’s personal best has also been the best in the business—she’s a member of a select group of performers who have won the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards. She received her Academy Award for playing Anita in 1961’s West Side Story, a movie and a performance that set the standard for musical films. “Which [award] means the most?” she contemplates. “Well, for a long time the most important one was the first one, the Oscar, but they’ve replaced it. Now I’ve got the Kennedy Center Honor. That was really something.” Moreno’s love for her audiences goes back to her beginnings. “I was 4 years old. I used to dance for [my] grandpa—that’s when it all started,” she recalls. “I was a tiny little girl in Puerto Rico. I thought, ‘This is good. I enjoy all of this attention.’ And if any performer tells you they don’t care for the attention part, they’re full of shit!” In the nearly eight decades since, she’s created a career that’s unique in its span of time and variety of genre and style. On television, Moreno has guest-starred on series from Father Knows Best to Grey’s Anatomy; she starred on the pioneering kids’ show The Electric Company, and also had an important recurring role in HBO’s gritty prison drama Oz. “I’ve worked with so many people, and I love the variety of what I’ve done. That’s what you want as an actor,” she says. “When I was starting out, you had to be able to do everything—drama, comedy, dancing, singing. Now it’s different. People specialize: They find their thing and that’s what they stick to.” Moreno’s latest small-screen role is the Netflix reboot of the ’70s sitcom One Day at a Time—this time with a college-dropout handyman and a Cuban-American single mom, with Moreno as the tough yet loving grandmother. “It’s very, very funny,” she says. “I’ve been dubbing it into Spanish myself, which is fun; people [in Span-

“My secret is I love what I do and I keep doing it. I’m in my eighties and I’m still touring and performing for people.” ish-speaking countries] will get to hear my voice. I’ve watched every episode in a screening room with the headphones on and it is hilarious.” Of course, One Day at a Time is only one of the legend’s current projects. “I’ve been doing my lecture and my cabaret act for the past two months … and I’m about to come to Las Vegas to do Peter and the Wolf, which is just wonderful,” Moreno says. She will do the narration to accompany the Philharmonic’s rendition of Prokofiev’s song-story. “It’s such a beautiful piece—the music. And then it’s very endearing, to look out and see all of those little faces,” she says. Moreno enjoys drawing her young audience into the magic she creates. “There’s a part where I get them to participate,” she says. “Peter gets eaten and I tell them ,‘Well, if we make this kind of noise, he might come back.’ They love that. We have such fun with it. It’s amazing how involved they get in it. I just love children.” So what keeps Moreno busier than most people half—heck, a third—of her age? “My secret is I love what I do and I keep doing it. I’m in my 80s and I’m still touring and performing for people,” she says. “I’m so lucky. I’ve been lucky—if I get a hangnail, I don’t complain.” 7

Home for the Holidays With Rita Moreno Dec. 3, 2 & 7 p.m.; Dec. 4, 2 p.m.; $30-$109; The Smith Center, thesmithcenter.com Above: Rita Moreno plays the Las Vegas Hilton on February 13, 1979.

December 1- 7, 2016 vegasseven.com

49


CONVERSATIONS

By James P. Reza

ROCK-GOD PANTHEON

What ever happened to the “celebrity designers” of Las Vegas?

With all-star ensemble Kings of Chaos, Chester Bennington holds his own

Kings of Chaos Dec. 1-3, 8 p.m., $45$100, House of Blues, houseofblues.com/lasvegas

f you recall rock radio in the aftermath of 9/11, you may have reveled in the vocal-blasting power of Linkin Park’s “Crawling.” A song about addiction, it’s also a musical testament to the indomitable human spirit in the face of tragedy. Indeed, there were few moments more cathartic than hearing singer Chester Bennington tear into the chorus: Crawling in my skin/ These wounds they will not heal. Time and great music heal all wounds. Linkin Park would go on to sell—Christ, look at this number—more than 60 million records, win Grammys and force snobby asshole critics like me to take a nu-metal/rap-rock band seriously. Even better, it only took Bennington 15 years to secure a spot fronting arguably the best rock ’n’ roll all-star team-up of the moment: Kings of Chaos. Notice I’m careful to avoid the term “supergroup” ... “From my perspective, a supergroup is when members of two successful bands leave their bands and form something new,” insists Bennington during a recent phone chat with Vegas Seven. “My generational examples of a supergroup would be Velvet Revolver and Audioslave. With the members of Kings of Chaos, we’re all in intact groups, so we have a large catalog of songs from each of our bands that we can play live.” The current Kings of Chaos lineup, which

I

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performs three shows at House of Blues this week, guarantees an incredible set list: singer Corey Taylor (Slipknot), singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), guitarist Billy Duffy (The Cult), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses) and bassist Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots). Bennington won’t give away which songs he’s performing, but he admits he’ll be sharing the mic with Taylor and Gibbons. “We try to give everyone time to shine,” he says. “There are songs I’m not familiar with, which makes for a challenge and gives me a competitive boner. Being in Kings of Chaos brings me back to my early days in bands when I was doing it for fun. We don’t have any originals. So how about we play covers of songs we love?” Speaking of love, Bennington’s musical mentor and friend, the late Scott Weiland, is never far from his mind when taking the stage. After all, it was the STP frontman who took the Linkin Park singer to his first concert featuring Camp Freddy, a now-defunct all-star rock covers outfit (and Kings of Chaos prototype), for which Bennington ended up performing. (He also fronted STP for a while.) But on the whole, there’s less melancholy and more joy when the lights come up and the amplifiers erupt. It’s during a Kings of Chaos show that Bennington checks his ego and delivers a song to an audience. “I’m just a fan, so when I go out and do, say, a Jane’s Addiction song, I want to do a great job and nail it. People don’t want to hear the Chester Bennington version. So I sing it the way I heard it growing up.” Sure, at age 40, he’s the youngest Kings of Chaos member, but don’t expect the Linkin Park leader to feel insecure among his heroes. “When I first started doing these all-star shows 12 years ago, I was onstage with all my idols one minute, and the next I’m backstage and they’re talking with me like I’m one of them. Amazing,” he says. “Now I feel like I’m in there. I’ve earned my spot. I feel like Linkin Park is on that level, that we’re all on our way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and that I’m in the right place. I just have to go out there and be myself.” 7

Ah, the good old go-go decade of 1998-2008, how we miss you so. You, with your overflow of strip clubs, nightclubs and ultralounges. Your ridiculously appreciating real estate, celebrity chefs and zero-down financing for everything from Maseratis to McMansions. And it was all fueled by your rapid implosion and explosion of our gambling and resort landscape. Beginning with Bellagio, numerous ground-up resorts opened in that 10-year period, including Mandalay Bay, Four Seasons, The Venetian, Paris Las Vegas, the Palms, Green Valley Ranch, Wynn Las Vegas, South Coast (now South Point), Red Rock, The Palazzo, Eastside Cannery, Aliante Station (now Aliante) and Encore Las Vegas. It was a heady time, and heady times require heady designs. Flush with funds and eager to impress a new class of international traveler, resorts began buying and importing talent, including renowned hospitality designers to either showcase celebrity chefs or be the celeb themselves. One of the first was New York’s Tony Chi, called on to design Bellagio’s upscale Asian diner Noodles. Understated, modern and deceptively simple, the still-open Noodles was like nothing seen on the Strip before. It was only the beginning. Soon, elaborately and/or thoughtfully designed restaurants became de rigueur for a city seeking to shed its cowtown image and be seen as a sophisticated destination. Perhaps the most prolific celeb designer is Adam Tihany. He once had his hand on almost every Las Vegas interior design worth noting, from ultralounges (the impressive but short-lived Rouge lounge at MGM Grand, which, according to a gushing press release featured a “Tihany-designed backlit projection wall of glass bottles that flicker with a variety of sensuous images”) to high-roller gambling lounges such as Bellagio’s Club Privé, where “rare spirits and world-class cigars” coaxed bankrolls from big players. Tihany’s most visible projects, however, were restaurants. His fabulous Neyla (MGM Grand) boasted an Arabian palace-inspired interior to complement its inspiring Mediterranean cuisine. Neyla was ultimately replaced by Michael Mina’s Seablue. New restaurant, new chef, same designer. The Venetian’s beloved Bouchon was a Tihany project, as well as the Bellagio’s Osteria del Circo and Le Cirque, described by one visitor guide (perhaps too glibly) as a “million-dollar circus tent.” Tihany’s most enduring Vegas restaurant is Mandalay Bay’s Aureole, the Vegas outpost of Charlie Palmer’s New York eatery. It’s bucked the Vegas trend and remained relevant for 17 years, perhaps due in no small part to Tihany’s incredible wine tower centerpiece. And his Vegas work continues. He’s poised to pen new suites at The Cosmopolitan, and is responsible for the understated elegance of Mandarin Oriental, part of the larger starchitect-designed CityCenter complex. Still, those who were here back then know it was the smaller projects (of Tihany and others) that helped transform Las Vegas, a metamorphosis without which the Mandarin might not have cared to set up shop here at all. 7 Know of any others? Send them to askanative@vegasseven.com.

ASK A NATIVE

By Jarret Keene


CONVERSATIONS

Lucky No. We asked the Vegas Seven staff:

What is your favorite lawyer commercial, billboard or jingle, and why?

PandA [Peters and Associates] Law. They have a commercial where a Panda attacks insurance companies. —Christy Corda, business development director

I have to go with Naqvi Injury Law’s radio commercials. For some reason, I just don’t mind having that catchy jingle stuck in my head all day, which I can also say about Michael E. Minden Diamond Jewelers’ tune. “If you’ve been hurt, Naqvi’s the word!” As if you aren’t finishing that line right now … —Mark Adams, arts & entertainment editor

My favorite slogan is Saul Goodman’s “Better Call Saul.” Even though he is a fictional character in Breaking Bad, his slogan influenced real-life lawyer’s slogans when the show was at its peak of popularity. —Matt Iles, account executive

“Shook & Stone’s billboards, all the way. I love seeing my good friend Leonard

The Adam S. Kutner commercials are my favorite—not because of his serialkiller good looks, but because he got a hefty speeding ticket of mine dropped to a parking violation. —Jessie O’Brien, editor, DTLV.com

“In a wreck? Need a check? Glen Lerner is the way to go, call 877-1500.” That jingle has been stuck in my head for the past five years—the entire time I’ve lived in Las Vegas. —Ally Tatosian, editorial intern

Bernstein & Poisson. It’s Jack Bernstein’s blatant cue card-reading, mixed with the cornball camera point he delivers at the end of each segment that makes this 30 seconds of television I revel in. It’s not a spoof, I swear. –Amber Sampson, digital producer and writer

Stone’s face staring back at me from a perch high above the freeway.” —Melinda Sheckells, editor-in-chief


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The Legal Issue 2016. Plus: 7 Courtroom Scandals, Rita Moreno at the Smith Center, The City's Most Comforting Stews, and more

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