Age of Magic | Vegas Seven Magazine | Sept. 26-Oct. 2

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How to construct a culture of creativity, what you need to know about the health care exchange and 3 Questions on benefit corporations. Plus, Ask a Native, The Deal and Tweets of the Week.

18 | Next Exit

“Behind Every (Big) Bird, a Story,” by Stacy J. Willis. Why is our favorite feathered friend standing in the middle of the Strip?

24 | Green Felt Journal

“In Monte Carlo, Back to the Past,” by David G. Schwartz. Finding the ghosts of a long-gone Vegas in the land of Princess Grace.

28 | Character Study

“Woman of Influence,” by Heidi Kyser. Career coach Alexia Vernon wants to help women find their path.


“Siegfried and Roy and Everything After,” by Cindi Moon Reed. Ten years ago, a tiger named Montecore ended an era in Las Vegas entertainment. What did we lose?


Seven Nights, a Q&A with Liv Nervo, a profile of Phoreyz and photos from the week’s hottest parties.


Max Jacobson on Las Cazuelas. Plus, Diner’s Notebook, appreciating the art of charcuterie, Dishing With Grace and Cocktail Culture.

77 | A&E

“Undercover and on the Road,” by Jason Scavone. Hells Angels nemesis Jay Dobyns spent two years infiltrating the biker gang. But did he have more in common with the outlaw motorcycle club than he realized?

80 | Music

“The Resonance Man,” by Camille Cannon. Armed with heartfelt ambition and timely opportunity, local rapper Ekoh aims for wide reverberation. Plus, Jarret Keene’s Soundscraper, CD reviews and our concert pages.

86 | Art

“Endangered Liaisons,” by Steve Bornfeld. Photo exhibit of animal skulls speaks to species under threat of extinction.

88 | Movies

Prisoners, Battle of the Year and our weekly movie capsules.

102 | Seven Questions

Impressionist Véronic DiCaire on honoring Danny Gans, spontaneous grocerystore performances and the pop princess who’s tough to pin down.


22 | Going for Broke



12 | Vegas Moment 14 | Event 17 | Seven Days

ON THE COVER Siegfried and Roy at the Stardust in 1980.

Photo illustration by Ryan Olbrysh

26 | Style


20 | Gossip

September 26–October 2, 2013

11 | Dialogue



Michael Skenandore



Greg Blake Miller

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


Melinda Sheckells, style; Sam Glaser, nightlife; Michael Green, politics; Max Jacobson, food; Jarret Keene, music; David G. Schwartz, gaming/hospitality


CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ryan Olbrysh ART DIRECTOR Christopher A. Jones GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jesse Sutherland STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Anthony Mair, Elizabeth









Adam Culler, Devin Howell, Tye Masters, John Schmitz




September 26–October 2, 2013









Copyright 2013 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited. Vegas Seven, 888-792-5877, 3070 West Post Road, Las Vegas, NV 89118


“Siegfried and Roy and Everything After,” Page 30 In 2011, Reed snagged an invite to Roy Horn’s private birthday party at the retired magician’s Secret Garden at The Mirage— despite technically not knowing the birthday boy. While certainly not as excessive as Roy’s famous past extravaganzas— former Siegfried & Roy dancer Bette Gaines-Snyder donned a giant banana costume and did a Josephine Baker style-dance for a past party—the celebration was exactly how one would hope it to be. Dolphins frolicked in the nearby pool while waiters passed champagne amid the tropical paradise of an early October evening. Roy emerged to the polite cheers of the small group, and the evening ended in the Terry Fator Theatre for a screening of the 1999 Imax flm Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box. And when a mutual friend fnally introduced Reed to Siegfried, he took her by the shoulders and sang to her. She thinks it might have been the chorus to Elvis Presley’s “Cindy Cindy.” Say what you want about the admittedly bad singer’s vocals, but the magician knew his audience. The moment was as thrilling as it was brief, and it was the spark for this week’s cover story marking the 10th anniversary of the sudden end of Siegfried and Roy’s storied career.


At the recent Nevada Designs Conference (Page 16), a team of sketchers armed with pens, pencils and watercolors fanned out to capture scenes of Downtown Las Vegas. See what they came up with at

Life Is Beautiful to Host Human Calculator, WordPress Founder

With the festival right around the corner, organizers revealed the details of the Learning lineup this week—more than 40 speakers from felds as disparate as speed reading and endurance racing. Get educated at VegasSeven. com/LearningIsBeautiful.

Speaking Up for Downtown’s Teens

Nevada Congressional representatives Mark Amodei and Joe Heck have both voted to defund the Affordable Care Act. As their districts change, will their votes come back to haunt them? Columnist Michael Green weighs in at

Rebel Recruiting

Prized Class of 2014 prep recruit Rashad Vaughn has narrowed his college list to seven schools—and UNLV is one of them. Follow the story at


Join our club.


Counting Republican Votes on Obamacare

September 26–October 2, 2013

The City Council is considering a revision to curfew rules Downtown, and the community is debating the desirability of increased police presence during First Friday. But Push Forward founder Hektor Esparza says the energy that’s attracting teens Downtown is an opportunity to engage and enlighten them. Read Heidi Kyser’s interview with Esparza at



September 26–October 2, 2013



 Gabe Ginsberg

AH, JUST ANOTHER DAY in the Downtown Renaissance, with balloon-festooned barges piloted by bright, blasé young people awaiting the next urban miracle. OK, it’s actually Parking Day, Sept. 21, when groups gathered to transform Downtown parking spaces into ... well, something else! And this group from UNLV’s Downtown Design Center just may know how to make the city soar. Have you taken a photo that captures the spirit of Las Vegas this week? Share it with us at






Sept. 26 Three Square’s Dish Las Vegas at Palms Pool ( Oct. 5 New Vista’s Cocktails and Canvas at JW Marriott (


September 26–October 2, 2013

Who says the streets of Las Vegas aren’t bicycle friendly? Well, they were—for one day, at least, on September 21, when nearly 2,000 riders whizzed through the city as part of the sixth annual Viva Bike Vegas. Sponsored by and Pinarello Bikes, this year’s event attracted cyclists from as far away as Canada, England, Italy and Spain—including Óscar Pereiro (pictured left), the 2006 Tour de France winner, who chose the 61-mile route (two additional courses were 17 and 104 miles). Proceeds from this year’s Viva Bike Vegas will be evenly split to benefit After-School All-Stars Las Vegas, Communities in Schools Nevada, Nevada Child Seekers and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

“I ask myself, because I am a reporter with keen instincts, What’s the connection between Big Bird and Las Vegas?”


News, essays and a roll of the dice in Monte Carlo

The Construction of Creativity An architecture conference has a few good lessons for the rest of us



NOT LONG AFTER the architect Bill Snyder moved to Las Vegas in 1978, he ran into some unpleasantness with the contractors on a library he was building. There were threats, veiled and unveiled, and it was unclear how, exactly, a young designer on unfamiliar ground in the still-roughhewn Southern Nevada of the cowboys-and-mobsters era was going to make the threats go away. His boss—the revered George Tate, who had been working in Las Vegas since the late ’50s—was out of town. Who do you turn to for help when everyone else in the business is a competitor? In Bill Snyder’s case, you turn to a competitor. He called Bob Fielden, another of the pioneers of modern Las Vegas architecture, and the two of them worked together until those threats faded away. Snyder told this story at the Nevada Designs Conference, an all-day mix of creativity training, shop talk and history hosted on September 20 by the Nevada Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. His adventure captured the three dominant themes of the proceedings at Downtown’s Historic Fifth Street School: engagement, risk and fellowship. Each of those themes, in turn, inform that elusive and often misunderstood concept called creativity. So the day’s lessons were relevant not only to the architects in the audience that day, but to the builder in all of us: Engagement: The most seemingly irrelevant detail in Snyder’s narrative—that he happened to be building

Capturing the city: The Downtown sketching class was a highlight of the conference.

“DON’T TELL US WHAT NOT TO DO. TELL US THE PROBLEMS, AND WE’LL FIGURE OUT A WAY TO FIX THEM.” a library—may be the most telling of all. Snyder went on to spend a signifcant part of his career designing schools, libraries and other public projects. He is responsible for the kids’ paintings on tiles at McCarran International Airport’s D Gates and for the School of Mines at Gordon McCaw Elementary School. He has a school named after him, and still spends time there regularly (“The kids ask if I own it,” he says). He built schools in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010. The joy of creating community buildings,

Snyder says, was in watching the way the public used them. As it happens, this was also the best way to learn and come up with more elegant solutions the next time around. For years, the Clark County School District told architects what not to do: Don’t include windows, because windows break; don’t build two stories; elevators break, too ... “We said, ‘Don’t tell us what not to do,’” Snyder recalls. “Tell us the problems, and we’ll fgure out a way to fx them.” Risk: In the 1970s, it wasn’t easy to recruit architects to Las

Vegas. The city might make an acceptable short-term bivouac en route to California, but it was hard for young architects to see it as a place to make a career. But that’s where a bit of “creative courage” (the apt title of artist Alex Raff’s workshop at the conference) came in: Snyder had come to Las Vegas to watch an acquaintance by the name of Larry Holmes fght Ken Norton for the heavyweight title. He looked around, saw that the desert would be fertile ground for a young man wanting to make a difference, and

decided to stay. “There were opportunities here,” says Tom Schoeman, a prominent Las Vegas architect who arrived here in 1978. “You don’t get those opportunities in other cities. In New York, it’s 20 years before they let you do door details.” Perhaps no one at the conference was in better position to address risk and opportunity than Chris Lujan, who in 2008 graduated from UNLV’s architecture program into the worst time in the worst place to be an architect, well, ever. But he wound up with Tate Snyder Kimsey, which, after taking a severe body blow from the recession, began exploring the Chinese market. Five years later, Lujan fnds himself fying to the formerly sleepy fshing village of Shenzhen to help shepherd high-rise projects for the transmogrifed megalopolis of 15 million. Fellowship: Snyder’s story neatly captures the way professional friendship aids creative problem solving. Of course, corporate-tribal boundaries goose creativity through competition. But knowledge needs to be shared; elders and juniors need one another’s paradigm-shifting perspectives; and the creative mind craves communication to enlighten, leaven and humanize its hours. And sometimes simply to save the day. For a gallery of Downtown sketches from the Nevada Design Conference, visit


September 26–October 2, 2013

By Greg Blake Miller

By Bob Whitby


What’s a beneft corporation? A new type of entity: It’s forproft, but also has nonproft characteristics. Its mission is to make money and distribute it to shareholders, but it also has a mission to serve a public beneft. Why do we need this? For two types of people: 1) the entrepreneur who doesn’t believe benefting the public requires a vow of poverty, but wants to make sure that his offcers and directors put the benefts mission on equal footing with making money; and 2) the philanthropist who wants to turn the traditional model of giving—make a one-time donation, collect the tax, use it as PR and move on—on its head. This allows him to remain a shareholder, vote on actions and, if it’s successful, reap huge dividends for years to come. The idea is to create a win for the investors, the directors and the common good. How is this not a tax shelter? Because there is no tax beneft. If you had a regular for-proft corporation and converted it to a beneft corporation, you would continue to be taxed in exactly the same way as before. If a beneft corporation made a donation to a nonproft, the corporation would simply get a tax deduction similar to what you or I might get. – Heidi Kyser

If you’re looking for health insurance, and you’re wondering what the years of endless noise about “Obamacare” means for you, October 1 is worth circling on your calendar. That’s the day you can go to and start shopping for coverage on the Silver State Healthcare Exchange. Open enrollment continues through March on the exchange, which Nevada created as part of the Affordable Care Act. Chances are that amid the roiling politics surrounding the act, you haven’t heard much practical advice on how to use the exchange. We turned to Tom Zumtobel, the CEO of Nevada Health Co-Op—one of four carriers on the exchange—for a primer: The exchange is for individuals who don’t already have insurance coverage or those looking for different coverage options. If they’re low-income (but not Medicaid-eligible), they’ll also have access to subsidies that help them afford it. If you have insurance through your current employer, the exchange isn’t for you. There will also be options for small employers, who can send employees to the exchange to choose more individualized coverage—still on the company plan—than they could get in the past. Four insurance carriers qualified to offer their products on the Nevada exchange: Anthem, United Health Care, St. Mary’s Health Plans and the Nevada Health Co-Op, the only nonprofit option. Five levels of coverage are available: platinum, gold, silver, bronze and catastrophic. Different companies’ plans at the same level will vary in co-pay amounts and deductibles, but the ratios of consumerto-insurance responsibility will be the same. For instance, on all gold plans consumers will pay for 20 percent of their care and insurance companies will pay 80 percent. The standardized levels are designed to make it easier for consumers to compare plans.


FOR REBEL BASKETBALL, JAMAL AYTES ARRIVES JUST IN TIME Just a little more than a month ago, Jamal Aytes wasn’t even on the UNLV basketball roster. Now the 6-foot-6 freshman forward could fnd himself playing a key role for the Rebels this season. Aytes committed to UNLV on August 19, taking the scholarship that was vacated when guard Katin Reinhardt transferred to USC in May. He caught the eye of UNLV coach Dave Rice in July while playing for AAU team Dream Vision in the adidas Super 64 tournament at Rancho High School, dominating on both ends of the court. Aytes realizes that if he wants to play signifcant minutes for the Rebels this season, he’ll have to be an all-around contributor. “Defense and rebounding, those are my strengths,” he says. “I think I can bring those things to the table.” Aytes is mobile enough to play multiple positions in the frontcourt, but he’s mostly been practicing at power forward. With sophomore forward Savon Goodman suspended for the season in August because of legal issues, Aytes may have to get up to speed sooner than expected. As a senior at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California, Aytes averaged 15 points and nine rebounds per game, drawing the attention of such programs as Arizona, Gonzaga and Miami. – Mike Grimala For more on UNLV basketball, visit

nothing more appealing than whatever we weren’t allowed to see/hear/do. Still isn’t. In that spirit, we note that we are in the midst of Banned Books Week (Sept. 22-28), and the Vegas Valley Book Festival and the local ACLU are marking it at 7 p.m. at the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Rd., with the fourth annual Uncensored Voices, a celebration of freedom of speech.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 27: Singing, dancing, great food and music … at a church? Indeed. It’s time once again for the Las Vegas Greek Food Festival, today through Sunday at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 5300 El Camino Rd. It’s like a trip to Mykonos without the jet lag. Tickets: $6. SATURDAY, SEPT. 28: We’re festival heavy this weekend. Over at Springs Preserve they are celebrating the Asian Harvest Moon Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The party features food, crafts, artisans and live entertainment, all to mark one of the world’s most cherished celebrations. Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for children.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 29: One more while we’re at:

the Las Vegas Jazz Festival, Friday through today at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa. This one celebrates one of this country’s most loved traditions with 24 jazz and R&B artists taking the stage, including saxophonist and Las Vegas native Paul Taylor. Tickets: $65 and up.

MONDAY, SEPT. 30: UNLV’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series

rescues your Monday with a talk by artist Gay Outlaw, 7 p.m. at the Marjorie Barrick Museum. Born in Alabama in 1959, Outlaw learned about pastry in Paris, photography in New York and sculpture in San Francisco. In 1995, she baked a 35-foot-long wall of fruitcake bricks and installed it in a San Francisco park.

TUESDAY, OCT. 1: UNLV is also graciously offering to lessen your Tuesday doldrums with a lecture by Michael Eisner, the guy who pretty much reinvented and revitalized the Disney brand, 7:30 p.m. in Artemus Ham Concert Hall. The talk is free, but tickets are required and only available at the UNLV Performing Arts Center box office. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 2: You can go see War Horse at 7:30 p.m. at The Smith Center for the heartwarming tale of a soldier and his loyal horse that’s been winning over audiences around the world, or you could go see it for the amazing puppetry that brings it to life onstage. Either way, it’s worth seeing. Through October 6, Tickets: $26-$129.

For our complete calendar, see Seven Days & Nights at

September 26–October 2, 2013

Let’s say you wanted to follow in the footsteps of Blake Mycoskie, the icon of philanthropic capitalism who, for each pair of TOMS shoes his company sells, gives another pair to a child in need somewhere in the world. Would you start a nonproft? A for-proft? What’s the business model for that? Corporate law attorney Mark Gardberg of Lionel Sawyer & Collins has the answer: a beneft corporation, made possible in Nevada by Assembly Bill 89, passed in the 2013 Legislature.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 26: When we were little tykes, there was





Behind Every (Big) Bird, a Story

September 26–October 2, 2013

Why is our favorite feathered friend standing in the middle of the Strip?



SO MUCH TO love in this city. Sometimes I visit the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign to glom onto tourists’ giddiness. The scene today: a 5-yearold boy fresh from his aunt’s wedding, wearing a turquoise tuxedo, white Nikes and a fedora; four guys in striped soccer jerseys who leapt into the air simultaneously for their Fabulous photo; and Big Bird. Yep. Big Bird. Over 7 feet tall, yellow feathers blowing in the wind, bright orange legs, substantial beak. He’s just chillin’ on a stool on the median in front of the sign, cars rushing by. Hmm. I ask myself, because I am a reporter with keen instincts, What’s the connection between Big Bird and Las Vegas? I saunter over to the Bird. “Hello?” I speak in the general direction of his googly eyes. “Hey.” The voice comes from his chest. “What’s up?” “Aw, nothing. Just watching a movie.” “What?” “‘Fast and Furious 6.’” I wasn’t asking which movie. I was asking something more like, What do you mean, you’re watching a movie? Are you high? You’re sitting in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard in a Big Bird suit. It’s 100 degrees out here. Have you lost your way to Sesame Street? Have you lost your way in a more metaphysical sense? Or—please tell me no—is there some sort of new Big Bird Does Vegas awful stripper porn thing happening now? Turns out, this is not your

average Las Vegan in a costume posing in pictures for tourist money. In fact, I’ve stopped at our welcome sign in the middle of a weekday and met Lionel Douglass, who played Big Bird on the Sesame Street Live tour, was a body double for Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies, and is now, at 58, an ordained minister sitting inside a homemade, air-conditioned version of his

former stage-bird self. The costume is specially designed with a generous midriff to accommodate his water-fueled cooling system and an iPad. Inside, he’s watching movies and texting his wife. Outside, he’s just sitting there all big and misplaced and lovable beside a donation can, which has only a couple of bucks in it right now. When I ask him how much he makes in a typical day, he says, “Well, I don’t want to get the IRS all over me, but let’s just say it’s worth it.” I can hear him smiling when he says it, but all I can see is this giant, pop-eyed megabird who, for a second, seems to be staring me down. Don’t get the IRS on me. Then he laughs. It’s not the nasally, naive voice of the children’s icon; it’s the seasoned voice of a man who still likes to entertain. He and his wife retired here from Irvine, California, a few years ago, but he wasn’t cut out for golf. He missed the show—not so much Sesame Street, but the people who parade in front of him, the cast of characters who populate the everlasting audience. He wrote a book about Big Bird, life, God and showbiz called Feathers of a Color: What It Was Like Playing the Famous Bigbird [sic], and then he took up a piece of sidewalk on the Las Vegas Strip, where he’s now available for weddings. Just as I start to fall into Big Bird’s dreamy eyes, a human hand reaches out of his feathered mesh chest to give me a business card, and then disappears back inside.

When I was a kid in Vegas, I saw house windows all over town covered with tin foil. Was this thought to protect against potential rogue radiation from the Nevada Test Site? Interesting guess, but it was actually another Vegas thing that prompted the practice: the commonality of the swing shift in our 24-hour city. Given that most people operate on a sunlight-driven circadian rhythm, it can prove very difficult to sleep while the sun is blazing, no matter your work schedule. The quick, inexpensive, noncommittal Vegas solution? Cover bedroom windows with a sun-beating layer of aluminum foil. Of course, this was before apartment and homeowners association rules prohibited such aesthetic anarchy. Now, day-sleepers shell out big bucks for blackout blinds or curtains to accomplish the same thing.

It’s been so nice outside recently. Is it safe to sock away the linen suits and cotton sundresses? It’s a predictable September social media theme: “I can’t wait to break out all my cuuuute fall styles!” Not so fast, fashionista. This (relatively) cool, post-monsoon awesomeness might lull you into a bout of scarf-season anticipation that may eventually sucker you into sweating through lunch sporting boots on a surprisingly warm day. If you won’t bother to check your weather app, at least know your geography: In the high desert, cool nights that swing into warm days are the autumnal norm. And listen to your neighbors. Las Vegas folklore maintains that, no matter what the calendar says, fall doesn’t start until Nevada Day (you may know it as Halloween). So keep that sunscreen handy!

White Castle visits Las Vegas. Given the unanticipated intense reader interest in whether White Castle ever had an official Las Vegas store, I feel somewhat obligated to share this tidbit: The famed slider spot will return to a temporary, company-approved setup at the Las Vegas Foodie Fest (Oct. 18-20 at the Silverton Casino). White Castle set up shop at last year’s festival, and the result was absurdly long lines. So this year, the Castle has employed three times the staff to work triple the number of grills. Also on hand? More than 30 local and national food trucks.


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@TexDolly Tournament poker has just about busted all the poker players. You could shoot a cannon through poker rooms and fail to hit anybody.

@GregVegas ESPN: “When do sports celebrations cross the line?” I don’t know, maybe when the matador bows in front of the bull he just stabbed to death.

@Yassir_Lester I only believe the Illuminati exists when I hear “Blurred Lines” on the radio, switch to another station & the song is right where I left it.


By Jason Scavone

September 26–October 2, 2013

At the recent Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival at Mandalay Bay Events Center, headliner Dave Chappelle talked about going to visit the Pawn Stars shop, and someone from the audience shouted, “Why?” “Why?” Chappelle asked. “Because they’re on TV. Why are you all here to see me?” You cannot deny the power of the screen. And neither can a pair of Las Vegas notables. Lance Burton stepped away from his live shows in 2010, but he’s been working movie mojo since then. First as a consultant to James



Franco-as-proto-Frank Morgan in Oz the Great and Powerful, where he taught Jimmy Frank to do magic. But closer to home is the indie flm Burton is nearly done shooting, Billy Topit: Master Magician. Burton directs, stars in and co-wrote the fick with Michael Goudeau, who racked up 10 Emmy nods for his work on Penn and Teller: Bullshit! It’s Burton’s frst time behind the camera, but not his frst in front of it. His lone IMDB credit is for a 1986 episode of Knight Rider, where he played the phenomenally named villain Austin Templeton. There’s no release date yet for the movie, in which Burton plays a children’s party magician who

ran afoul of the mob. (Because Burton’s character helped a casino bust them cheating, not because the mob really would have preferred a clown and a piñata.) Meanwhile, Kyle Busch’s heir apparent as the face of Las Vegas racing, Dylan Kwasniewski, is doing his own dance with the cameras. The 18-year-old driver is doing an online documentary series, Flat Out, about his life as a teen who’s encouraged to go 160 mph, instead of having their dad take away the keys of the family Impala when they do. The series is being shown at We guess Keeping Up With the Kwasniewskis was too on the nose?


The September 20-21 iHeartRadio Music Festival was a treasure trove of celebrity after-parties, but only one of them was big enough to get a casino mogul to join in. Katy Perry, Muse, Adam Lambert and Brian May were among a group of 50 who had dinner with Steve and Andrea Wynn, and son Nick Hissom, at Botero on September 20, before

@ditzkoff Breaking Bad wins the Emmy Award for best drama/show I wish I’d watched instead of the Emmys.

@RobbyJayala If Miley Cyrus is trying to be that “edgy slutty coke whore” kinda diva, Ke$ha beat you to it.

@ChrisDElia Hey dummies, when you Shazam a song, you don’t have to hold up the phone, because it’s just a song and sound goes everywhere.

@JustKramer Burning the roof of your mouth on delicious French fries is God just being passive aggressive.

@Slash Just OD’d on pinball at Pinball Hall of Fame. New Metallica pin is pretty awesome.

they all moved to XS to take over three cabanas. … 1 Oak drew Jason Derulo for his birthday September 21, along


with fiancée Jordin Sparks. Jermaine Dupri was popping bottles for the occasion, while Dave Chappelle swung by

Shout to all my music industry friends in Vegas tonight pretending to enjoy the @iHeartRadio concert.

after his Mandalay Bay Events Center turn. The following night, owner Richie Akiva was doing his birthday party, and he got Robin Thicke there to do “Blurred Lines,” because there’s never going to be a moment in time where “Blurred Lines” isn’t being played anymore. … Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick had dinner at Hakkasan with rapper Tyga on September 21, joined by Khloe Kardashian, still rolling solo sans Lamar Odom, which won’t in any way fuel the divorce speculation. – J.S.

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The Lure of the Screen

Congratulations @JManziel2 for putting on a fantastic show. He may not be able to make money off himself, but I can.

Football, Parenting and Hard Knocks As troubling data on concussions grows, a father confronts the limits of tough love By Matt Jacob

POSTGAME ADVICE to my son, a sophomore quarterback on his JV football team in Henderson: You’ve GOT to step into your throws and not be afraid to get hit! In-game text to his mother an hour earlier: He almost needs to take a big hit to prove he can survive it. Hold on a minute here. I watch football. A lot of football. (Too much football, if you were to poll my wife.) Because of this, I’m keenly aware that the sport’s hot-button topic the last few years has been concussions. Billion-dollar lawsuits have been fled (and settled) because former players have suffered life-altering head trauma. Decades-old rules have been changed in the hopes of preventing current players from developing life-altering head trauma. And here I am quietly rooting for my frst-born to take a big hit?

complained of dizziness. Then he collapsed. Two days later, he was dead. Cause of death: blunt-force trauma to the head. I learn this, and immediately think back just a few weeks, when I was extremely frustrated watching my 6-foot-4, strongarmed son pacing the sideline during early-season games, barely getting any playing time:

September 26–October 2, 2013




A keyword search of “football head injuries” last week on The New York Times’ website yielded four articles written about the topic just from September 14-18. Included was a thought-provoking essay by former NFL linebacker Scott Fujita, titled, “Would I Let My Son Play Football”? Adjacent to the link to Fujita’s article was a chilling research study from 2007 which stated that at least 50 high school football players (or younger) in more than 20 states had been killed or sustained serious head injuries on the feld from 1997-2007. One of those tragedies occurred here. In 2003, Las Vegas High School defensive back Edward Gomez made what appeared to be a routine tackle in a game—so routine that he high-fved a teammate before jogging off the feld. But when Gomez got to the sideline, he

I bet the parents of Edward Gomez would give anything to rewind the clock and see their son standing safely on the sideline. ***** Jay Beesemyer is an assistant director for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, which governs high school athletics statewide. Among his duties is to man what he calls the complaint department. And as you can imagine, Beesemyer felds his share of calls about the NIAA’s concussion policy, which essentially states that any player diagnosed with a concussion can’t return to the feld until he is medically cleared. As you probably wouldn’t imagine, the majority of parents calling Beesemyer about this issue complain that their concussed kid isn’t concussed.

This is wrong! My kid’s fine. He should be playing Friday night. He’s not going to get to play when the scouts are going to be there. You’re costing my kid a scholarship! “I’ve heard more of those calls than, ‘The coach is putting my kid out there even though my kid said he doesn’t feel good and is dizzy,’” Beesemyer says. “I don’t get those calls. Thank God.” My son is one of an estimated 1.1 million boys playing high school football, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Another 3 million participate in youth tackle leagues. Those numbers are dropping—likely permanently. In fact, at a National Federation sectional meeting earlier this month, Beesemyer was informed of a signifcant decline in youth football participation, which is destined to have a trickle-up effect. “You’ve got parents who were good football players back in their day, and they’re fatout saying, ‘You know what? I’m not letting my kid play football,’” Beesemyer says. “If those people are saying that, then you can imagine [the mindset of] people who aren’t that familiar with or in love with the sport of football. There’s going to be a decline. It’s a dangerous sport. I watch the NFL—it’s brutal.” ***** In his essay, Fujita never did answer the question, “Would I let my son play football?” He didn’t have to. He doesn’t have a son, but rather three daughters. Which is one more than the leader of the free world has. “I have to tell you,” said President Barack Obama, noted football fan, prior to last year’s Super Bowl, “if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.” Stay safe, son. And there’s no need to take that big hit.

DUCKS’ SPREAD-COVERING DYNASTY TO END VS. CAL If you happen to be a little strapped for cash, you might want to be on the lookout for Joe Public, the novice (which is a nice way of saying “clueless”) bettor who blindly backs big favorites, no matter the point spread. Joe Public is easy to spot these days, as he’s the guy strutting about town like Steve Wynn. The reason? Last week, college football teams laying at least 30 points and NFL squads favored by a touchdown or more went a ridiculous 15-4 against the spread. It’s not supposed to be this easy for the betting community’s hoi polloi. Nor is it supposed to be this difficult for seasoned handicappers (most of whom make a living backing inflated underdogs). Which brings me to Oregon. The No. 2-ranked Ducks are the biggest favorite on the board this week, laying 37 points at home. Not against Florida A&M or Bethune-Cookman. Not even against Nicholls State (whom the Ducks pummeled 66-3 in their opener). Nope, Oregon is a 37-point favorite against … California. As in Pac-12 rival California. As in the school Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers attended—the school that’s appeared in eight bowl games since 2003, winning five of them. This can’t be, you say? Oh, it be, for several reasons: Oregon has crushed its first three opponents (Nicholls, Virginia and Tennessee) by the combined tally of 184-27, and the Ducks are on a 10-1 ATS run (including a 59-17 rout at Cal last November). Conversely, Cal has just one victory (against Portland State) and no spread-covers in its last eight games. And the Golden Bears couldn’t corral a pig in a phone booth (they allow 265 rushing yards per game and have surrendered 59, 62, 44, 30 and 52 points in their last five). Still … a 37-point spread? Clearly, the bookmakers are begging for Cal money, and understandably so. Well, they’re getting mine. Because the Bears’ new up-tempo offense (33.7 points per game) is better than anything Oregon has seen to date. Because that offense won’t need directions to the end zone in the second half against the Ducks’ scrubs. And because the Oregon ATM has to run out of cash at some point … right? Lucky Seven: Cal (+37) at Oregon (Best Bet); Toledo +3 at Ball State; Florida -13 at Kentucky; Bears-Lions OVER 48; Cowboys -2 at Chargers; Falcons -1½ vs. Patriots; Dolphins +6½ at Saints. Last Week: 1-6 (0-1 Best Bet). Season: 10-14 (7-5 college; 3-9 NFL; 0-3 Best Bets). Says RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) of Lay the points with the Saints. They’ve covered 11 straight at home under coach Sean Payton, and their new defensive scheme has exceeded all expectations. Yes, the Dolphins are 3-0, but they’ve been outgained in every game. Saints by more than a TD!

Matt Jacob appears Wednesdays on’s First Preview, which airs 10-11 a.m. weekdays on ESPN Radio 1100-AM.





haven means there’s no shortage of millionaires and billionaires (hence all the Ferraris). It’s just that the enclave is no longer a major gambling destination. To put Monte Carlo’s place in the casino world in perspective, Macau made $38 billion from its casinos last year; Nevada made less than $11 billion. Monte Carlo’s $230 million puts it just under New Mexico’s $241 million in casino revenue. Why is this? Monte Carlo’s decline as a gambling destination started long before the recession. Shifting demographics, failure to innovate, changing public tastes, new competition—these have been working against Monte Carlo since before any of us were born. Inertia and genteel respect have kept it propped up all this time. What’s more, a quick spin through the literary artifacts of Monte Carlo’s Victorian-era golden age will tell you that it had its problems even back then. Characters just as seedy as the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang pop up with alarming regularity in the novels and memoirs that tell the tale of the casino in its heyday. So perhaps Las Vegas was right to avoid emulating Monte Carlo (well, except for the Monte Carlo hotel). While we might think that a Mexican cantina tacked onto a Strip-front façade is an affront to Old World elegance, that’s nothing compared to the outrage of a European casino dominated by American roulette.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about several good football-related deals around town, most of which are associated with football parties or contests. Those are all still valid, but every year new deals show up after the season begins. Here’s an update: Reduced Juice: When you make a football bet, the typical arrangement is to bet $110 to win $100, which is referred to as “laying ten cents” or “betting at -110.” On Thursdays from 3 p.m. till close, the SuperBook at LVH offers minus-105 betting, which means you bet only $105 to win $100 (college and NFL sides only). It’s a good deal that cuts the bookie’s edge from 4.5 percent to 2.4 percent, but be sure to use the bet numbers from the “minus-105 sheet” at the window or you won’t get the reduction. Independents: Here’s another leg up for bettors: The industry keeps consolidating, but there are still several “independent” books where you’ll often find lines that are off in either direction from the market. The value of that varies, but for most bettors it means that if you “shop” these books, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a half-point or better when looking for the best deal on a team you want to play. You can define an indie in different ways, but the main criterion is that they don’t have outlets in multiple places. In Las Vegas, these are LVH, TI, Wynn, Golden Nugget, Jerry’s Nugget and Aliante. Groceries: This one’s pretty cool. Shop at any Albertsons on a Sunday and wear an NFL jersey with a name and number to get 10 percent off your bill. And the discount is on everything— meat, toiletries, even alcohol. I’m told this is a national deal, so you can share it with your friends in other cities, though they might have to wear a jersey from that city’s NFL team if it has one. Free Contests: When I wrote about the contests in August, I mentioned only the big freebies at Boyd and Station casinos. You can also play free contests at Aliante, Ellis Island, Silver Sevens and Silverton. Play the first three at their respective casino kiosks; find the fourth online at Finally, last year I used this whole column to provide a full list of bars that follow specific NFL teams. Since the Las Vegas Review-Journal does the same thing (and you can Google that list), this year I’ll give you only the ones that my researchers uncovered that the R-J didn’t. Bears—Brando’s, E-String, Shucks; Broncos— Four Mile Bar; Browns—Boulevard Bar & Grille, Giuseppe’s; Chargers—Michael’s Pub; Chiefs— Joey’s; Dolphins—Tropicana Lounge, Whiskey Dick’s; Eagles—Off The Strip; Giants—Dealer’s Choice; Lions—Meatheads; Packers—Big Dog’s Draft House, Champagne’s; Patriots—Cavalier Lounge, East Coast Eats; Raiders—Shifty’s; Saints—7-11 Bar, Lola’s; Steelers—Noreen’s; Vikings—Blue Ox East.

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

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and

In Monte Carlo, Back to the Past

September 26–October 2, 2013

Finding the ghosts of a long-gone Vegas in the land of Princess Grace



IF YOU WERE born in a gambling city back when that meant you were a little different from everyone else, you grew up vaguely holding Monte Carlo as the platonic ideal of what a gambling town should be: refned, elegant and timeless. Actually visiting the place, though, reveals something quite different. Driving by the famed Monte Carlo casino at night, it looks every inch the way you’d expect: the famous twin spires lit, seemingly by ambience alone, stand guard over a driveway flled with more Ferraris per square meter than anywhere else in the world. The inky sky above, the Mediterranean lapping somewhere behind—this is what Atlantic City aspired to when it legalized casinos nearly 40 years ago (but to which Las Vegas has been curiously indifferent). Returning under mundane daylight the next afternoon, though, you notice that a few Toyotas have ingratiated themselves along the promenade. Stepping up to the casino entrance, there’s the feeling that you’re entering, if not hallowed ground, someplace serious—maybe a museum or a library. This is history. The anteroom doesn’t disappoint. But one step into the casino it all falls apart. A few dozen slot machines—mostly titles long past their Las Vegas prime—line the walls. The casino’s main room is dominated by American roulette, whose doublezero layout means worse odds for players. Classic single-zero European roulette can be found, mostly in the VIP rooms, which are largely empty, at least during the day.

And the crowd wouldn’t be out of place anywhere on the Strip: T-shirts and shorts, with just about the proportion of bad tattoos to bare skin that you’d expect in Las Vegas on a summer weekend afternoon. In other words: the exact opposite of the stately elegance we’ve been imagining. If Atlantic City once dreamed of making itself more like Monte Carlo than Las Vegas, perhaps it has. Like Atlantic City and Las Vegas, Monte Carlo gets the bulk of its casino win from slot machines. The action is spread around four locations in addition to the original casino. The adjacent Casino Café de Paris, the design of which bears an uncanny resemblance to Reno’s Peppermill casino, is dominated by slots and “American games.” Recent years have not been kind to Monte Carlo: In fscal 2012, gaming revenues were about $230 million for the fve casinos Monte Carlo SBM operates in Monaco—a 33 percent decline from the $347 million the operator earned in 2008, which just about matches Atlantic City’s slide during those years. You could say that the recession has been a particularly harsh mistress to Monte Carlo. But Monaco writ large is doing fne—its reputation as Europe’s most desirous tax



A Monaco casino in 1974.



Eric White

Assistant general manager at XS and Tryst I tend to always … wear white. It looks the most professional, and I think less is more. Ten years ago I was dressing more to get attention, but that’s changed as I’ve gotten older. I started working in the industry … when I was 21. And even now at 35, I still enjoy the excitement of the nightclubs. It’s a demanding industry, and you never get bored. There are lots of different personalities.



“I like H&M suits, because they’re more fashionable than most others you’re going to pay a lot more for.” H&M suit; Ferragamo belt; Astor & Black custom shirt; Topman shoes; Cartier watch.


September 26–October 2, 2013

I grew up … in Valencia right by Magic Mountain. My frst job was there; I ran a snake tattoo booth. People would pick out a design, and it was like a sticker you put on with water. The tattoos washed off right away, so people would come right back. – Jessi C. Acuña

“Live� Featuring Brody Dolyniuk

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October 2 | 8pm

October 26 | 7pm

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brating 60 Years Cele

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Woman of Infuence

Career coach Alexia Vernon wants to help women fnd their path

September 26–October 2, 2013

By Heidi Kyser




mic and surveying a roomful of well-dressed women chatting over wine and juice shots. Only someone who’s danced and performed since childhood could stand so tall and relaxed in spiked heels and a short dress stretched over a fve-month-pregnant belly. It helps that Vernon, 33, is a professional speaker: She’s a career-development coach, and this is her element. She lifts the mic and says again, a little more frmly this

time, “Begin, please, to wind down your conversations.” It’s the opening of Women of Infuence, an event which, as the name implies, features fve high-powered Las Vegas ladies discussing their paths to the top of the dining, energy, health care, hospitality and real estate industries. The one-off mixer and panel discussion serves as a teaser to Infuencer Academy, Vernon’s nine-month program for helping women kick their professional lives up a notch.

That begins October 11. At check-in for this evening’s event, each guest was handed a name tag and pen, and asked to write two frst names: her own and that of a woman who has infuenced her. This sets the stage for the icebreaker, when strangers are invited to turn to one another and talk about the names on their tags. After the din from this exercise dies down, Vernon introduces her idol, her mother, Diana Poole. The black-haired 61-year-

old waves amicably from the middle of the room. “She’s an incredibly strong woman,” Vernon had said in an earlier interview, recounting how Poole supported her through her recovery from childhood sexual abuse, standing up to other adults who said such matters were best swept under the rug. Both Poole and Vernon’s father raised their daughter to believe she could do anything she set her mind to. But Poole worked especially hard—renewing a dormant nursing license to go back to work after the couple divorced, then enrolling Vernon in a private girls’ school—to make sure her daughter found her voice. Vernon believes it’s her calling to pass along this gift, teaching clients to see their dreams and goals as a story

they write themselves into. When people take ownership of their narrative, she says, they can approach diffcult situations with less fear and more creativity. Pinpointing the women’s issue du jour, she says: “I would change this new paradigm emerging for young women, who feel like they have to make a choice early on between a corporate path with a lot of personal sacrifce and an alternative path that allows them to preserve their spirit, and have a family and healthy relationship. … Instead, we should be asking how to take those things from the alternative path and infuse them into what we call corporate work. Because it doesn’t just beneft women, it also benefts men and families—society as a whole.”






September 26–October 2, 2013

Siegfried and Roy AND EVERYTHING AFTER Ten years ago, a tiger named Montecore ended an era in Las Vegas entertainment. What did we lose? By Cindi Moon Reed


Roy Horn stood next to his partner of

half a lifetime as they tapped the ceremonial keg at Hofbräuhaus and ushered in Oktoberfest. Siegfried Fischbacher, in a traditional green jacket and lederhosen, looked like a Bavarian fairy-tale prince. Roy, dressed in an American and German fag-patterned jacket and a white glove on his right hand, stood with the help of an assistant ILLUSTRATION COURTESY FELD ENTERTAINMENT

crouched behind him. The assistant was not visible to the audience of eager photo-snappers. Siegfried took the ceremonial mallet, and after three warm-up swings tapped the keg. Cheers all around, cameras clicked and glass steins were raised.

Âś The ceremony was over, and

with the help of an assistant, Roy lowered himself into his electric wheelchair, leaving Siegfried to face the crush of fans kept at bay by two employees carrying a comically ineffectual rope barricade.



Siegfried and Roy’s show at The Mirage has been closed for a decade. Yet for all the time that has passed, their fans remain ardent, and no Strip headliner has emerged as their equal. There is still a mullet-and-tiger-shaped vacuum in the hearts and minds of tourists and Las Vegans. October 3 will mark 10 years since the era-ending “incident,” as insiders call it. “It was not an ‘attack,’ and it was not an ‘accident,’” says the magicians’ longtime manager Bernie Yuman. So why did Montecore, a then-7-year-old white Bengal tiger, bite Roy in the neck and drag him offstage? Depends on whom you ask. The offcial Siegfried and Roy account is that Roy fainted or had a stroke due to a bout of high blood pressure, and the tiger carried him to safety as a mother would carry her cub. Steve Wynn, who as the owner of The Mirage had access to the neverreleased tapes of the event, says an audience member’s hairdo distracted the animal. According to eyewitness accounts, Roy prevented Montecore from going into the audience, getting his arm bit in the process, causing him to fall as he hit the tiger with his microphone. And once Roy was on the ground, the tiger went for his neck. Publicist Wayne Bernath, theorizes that it was the unfamiliar smells from Roy’s 59th birthday party lingering from the night before. In the 1970s, Bernath had seen one of Roy’s tigers go crazy over the scent of a lamb during a photo shoot. Or, as comedian Chris Rock says, it was simply the “tiger going tiger.” Whatever the reason, the result was the same. A stagehand staunched the bleeding as Roy begged for Montecore to remain unharmed. The entertainment community gathered at University Medical Center, waiting to fnd out if one of their favorite sons would live or die. “You can’t ignore the symbolism of doing our bullet catch [routine] and then walking offstage,” says magician Penn Jillette, who learned about the incident after that night’s Penn & Teller show at the Rio. “I guess it’s just [a case of] riding a motorcycle without

Siegfried and Roy at their home and onstage at the Stardust, 1975.

“ON HIS OWN, SIEGFRIED IS ONE OF THE GREAT MAGICIANS OF ALL a helmet for a really long way. I felt scared, worried. I probably felt a little bit of guilt for all the jokes I made about someday the tiger’s going to bite his fucking head off. I wanted to get to the hospital and worry about him with other people who were worried about him.” “The show manager called me and told me what happened,” show producer Kenneth Feld says. “Obviously, I didn’t sleep. There were a lot of decisions. We had to make decisions in the best interest of the show. There was unbelievable sadness. We didn’t know the ultimate outcome, so you hope and pray. There were hundreds of people who were employed that had families. We had to

think about that, and what we were going to do from a business standpoint.” “I talked to Siegfried, and he was distraught,” says Gary Waddell, a now-retired anchor for KLAS-TV Channel 8. “His life was on that stage— that was where Siegfried was the happiest.” “The weird thing was the juxtaposition from that night and the night before,” says longtime friend and magician Lance Burton, who rushed to the hospital after his show and waited in seclusion with Siegfried and close friends to hear from the doctors. “That night before was Roy’s birthday, and they had a big party for him at The Mirage. There [were] a couple hundred people there in the showroom. They had

music playing and dancing, and people brought gifts. When I saw Roy that night of his birthday, I said, ‘Hey, Roy, happy birthday.’ He said, ‘You know, I want to forget my birthday, but they won’t let me forget.’ [Laughs.] And he kind of gestured because there were a lot of people there. And I said, ‘But, Roy, all these people love you, that’s why they’re here.’ And he smiled, and everybody was having a good time. And then the next night was terrible.” ***** Instead of “abracadabra,” Siegfried and Roy devised their own magic word: “Sarmoti.” It stands for “Siegfried and Roy Masters of the Impossible.” The most

impossible thing that Roy did? He lived. After fatlining three times and suffering a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Credit the efforts of neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Duke and the UMC trauma center. And credit Roy. “Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn has the will of a thousand men,” Yuman says. “He returned from the dead. He had more work to do.” As Roy fought for his life, fans and friends gathered for a prayer vigil. “You could feel it through the whole magic community,” Burton says. “A lot of guys my age remember when they were kids looking up to them, seeing them on TV. They’re really beloved fgures. It was like a family going through that.” “The city was shocked,”


September 26–October 2, 2013


THE LAST TRUE HEADLINERS What does it all mean now? A decade is enough time for Las Vegas to reinvent itself. And it did. We fnally have enough distance to understand exactly what was lost when the $60 million spectacular went dark. “On his own, Siegfried is one of the great magicians of all time,” Burton says. “I feel confdent in saying that as an authority on magic. Roy has an amazing gift to be able to communicate with animals. Roy was Superman for 30 or

40 years. He was doing things that no human should really be able to do. So you have these two guys, both gifted in separate areas, and then combined together, you have something totally unique that the world’s never seen before and will never probably see again. Once you’ve gone in the Apollo spacecraft and walked on the moon and come back to Earth, you did it. You’re not going to go out and fy a kite after that. Those two guys were walking on the moon. And that’s how we’ll remember them.” Unlike Celine, Elvis or Sinatra, who all arrived in town as fully formed stars, Siegfried and Roy made their fame and fortune in Las Vegas, growing alongside the city, absorbing its personality

and imprinting it with their own. (In this, their careers best resemble that of “Mr. Las Vegas,” Wayne Newton.) They arrived in 1967 to do a three-month gig as a specialty act in the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana. Then it was a upward trajectory through Le Lido de Paris at the Stardust, Hallelujah Hollywood! at the original MGM, and, in 1981, their own production show at the Frontier, Beyond Belief. They took a break to prove their mettle outside Las Vegas with shows in Japan, where they performed in Japanese, and at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Finally the big kicker came in 1989: their own show and a $57.5 million contract at Wynn’s paradigm-busting new luxury resort, The Mirage. “Mr. Wynn gave them the

best toy box on the planet, full of the best people and said, ‘Go do it.’ And they did,” says Todd VonBastiaans, the president of Alios, an entertainment and architectural lighting company that works with Cirque de Soleil, Caesars Palace and Le Rêve. VonBastiaans saw Siegfried and Roy for the frst time in 1994. He would see them 20 more times, and cites the show as one reason he left a career in L.A. doing lighting for flm, TV and theme parks in 1996 to work in Las Vegas. “[Wynn] elevated them. They took it and ran and created something that was totally monumental.” “When you go to New York, you see the Statue of Liberty,” Yumans says. “When you go to Las Vegas, you see Siegfried and Roy.”

THE FANTASY Nobody has embodied the “fabulous Las Vegas” ideal better than Siegfried and Roy. That great nebulous thing that gamblers hope for every time they pull the handle, that idea of winning—winning!—we need our headliners to live it, to give it shape and form, to build a scaffolding for our vague hopes and directionless yearnings. We need them to

September 26–October 2, 2013

Waddell says. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. These were house cats at that point in our minds. We never dreamed that that would happen.”

– Lance Burton



This was fame, Las Vegas style. The late Danny Gans, another Wynn protégé, was a successful Vegas-bred performer, but he never reached the stratospheric heights of Siegfried and Roy. Today, musician Frankie Moreno is giving it a try at the Stratosphere, as is magician Jan Rouven at the Riviera, singing impressionist Véronic DiCaire at Bally’s and puppeteer-impressionist Terry Fator at The Mirage with the help of an America’s Got Talent win. But while Siegfried and Roy showed the way for these performers, none have yet rivaled the phenomenal splendor of the magical duo. “It was an era, and I don’t know if that ever comes back,” Waddell says. “We were entertainment back then. Now it’s spread out across the country and it’s television and it’s all that. Back then, we were the place, we were the big names. Siegfried and Roy were the end of that big-name-only-in-Las Vegas-type event.” As such, they bridged the gap between Old and New Vegas. And they helped create New Vegas by opening The Mirage. “[After] Sinatra and the Rat Pack and Steve and Eydie, Siegfried and Roy may have been the transition point,” Waddell says. “Right in the middle. They were the frst of the non-name entertainers. That was what moved Las Vegas to where it is today, to the production shows.” “We had a goal, to bring theatricality to Las Vegas that had only existed on Broadway and London,” Yuman says. “We changed the face of live entertainment as we knew it in Las Vegas, and forever. The derivative is commonplace, but the original is extraordinary. Siegfried and Roy were the frst original entertainment in Las Vegas history, paving the way for all that came after.”

Clockwise from top left: With Bernie Yuman at The Mirage in 1990; The Mirage marquee; the fiery spectacle.

September 26–October 2, 2013




provide a dream of riches that we can recognize as our own. Siegfried and Roy represented wealth with a Las Vegas fair—a fortune so outrageously lived that it became an inspiration in itself. Old-money East Coast wealth is foreign to us; that’s not the life to which we aspire. We wouldn’t know which fork to use. But to have a sumptuous “Jungle Palace” or “Little Bavaria” over acres of land with swimming pools and thick imported rugs and tigers roaming around—yes, this is exactly our type of fairy tale. And Siegfried and Roy invited us into their storybook, both with their unapologetic style and with

home videos and books such as 1996’s Siegfried & Roy Little Bavaria: A Magical Hideaway. Jillette, whose own mansion is called the “The Slammer,” often mocked Siegfried and Roy on The Howard Stern Show. But he always respected the duo’s unrepentant fabulousness. “The people who do it right are the people we ridicule,” he says. “Those are the poets, those are the ones standing naked onstage.” Here’s an anecdote about Siegfried and Roy that Jillette likes to tell so much that he included a longer version in his 2011 book God No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales: “I’d be in jeans and a work shirt,

looking like I was there to fx the toilets,” Jillette says of seeing Siegfried and Roy on various red carpets in yak-fur dressing gowns with glittercoiffed hair. “I realized they were the ones doing it right; I was the one doing it wrong. When it looked like Roy was going to live, I went off by myself to the Forum Shops, to Versace, and bought the most expensive pair of leather pants I could buy and the most expensive shirt. I would try to be a star. I wanted to show the respect.” In Las Vegas entertainment, the spangled culture of the 1980s remained ascendant through the grungy early

Barnum, Houdini, Rousseau, Pink Floyd, Fantasia, Peter Pan and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In short, it’s 1986. If there is a year in which Las Vegas, for its own good, should permanently exist, that year is 1986. This is the quality that former Mayor Oscar Goodman alludes to when praising the duo. “I’ve seen them all,” he says, “I’ve seen the Rat Pack, Elvis, Liberace and Celine. I’ve got an idea as to why they were so great— because they had natural talent, which was a God-given gift. But Siegfried and Roy were different. They created their own world, and they were unique as well as iconic.”

To better understand this aesthetic, Google “Boris Vallejo.” He’s Siegfried’s favorite artist, as described in the duo’s 1991 autobiography, Masters of the Impossible; Siegfried and Roy based their show’s aesthetics on Vallejo’s paintings. The artist, who created the movie posters for Barbarella and National Lampoon’s Vacation creates hyper-real, hypersexualized depictions of barbarians and slave girls populating a fantastic Eden where every muscle is rippling and every bosom bouncing. A theme through both Vallejo’s work and Siegfried and Roy’s shows is man conquering beast (even through Roy’s “affection conditioning”), be it feline or feminine. “There was nothing in the show that I liked,” Jillette says. “Music was horrendous. Set design was not my taste. But it was one of my favorite shows: Siegfried and Roy, walking onstage in blue glittery rhinestone costumes, just standing there, so naked and true. I compare them mostly to the Ramones and Bob Dylan and, of course, Liberace. They are what the Rolling Stones tried to be. The Rolling Stones are really, really good, but not as good as Siegfried and Roy. I love being part of their trip, part of their fantasy. They carried themselves onstage with that much honesty.”

THE MAGIC OF THE INDIVIDUAL When Siegfried & Roy closed in 2003, there were three Cirque de Soleil shows on the Strip. Today there are eight—we’re more Montreal than Vegas. Cirque rules the Strip, perhaps because its ensemble nature has some distinct advantages. With few words spoken, no language barrier excludes international tourists. With an anonymous cast, there are no stars and thus no reliance on any one human’s frailty. When Sarah Guyard-Guillot fell to her death during the June 29 performance of Kà, the show closed out of respect to her. But when it reopened 17 days later, audience members would not be able to recognize her specifc absence. This was never a possibility for Siegfried and Roy. Despite a bizarre old rumor that the true Roy died of AIDS and


’90s and into the digital age. Siegfried and Roy made sure of that. “It was always 1986 at the Siegfried & Roy show,” VonBastiaans says. “It was the ’80s in the most deliciously decadent way— lots of moving lights and action. It was a giant cocaine rush when you sat in your seat for 90 minutes.” What one references with “1986” is a sort of celebratory kitsch. It’s the same appeal as the Peppermill. It’s the glory of the scene in Siegfried and Roy’s show where they light a disco ball on fre, open the top and out jumps a white tiger. The tiger jumps on top of the disco ball, Roy jumps on top of the tiger and the whole thing rises up, foating in the air and spinning, throwing beams of fabulous fractured light around the room as the fog machine chugs out magic. Siegfried poses and the theme song “Bless the Beasts and Bless the Children” plays. “It’s a magnifcently goofy image—man astride the ghostly animal atop the spangled globe—somewhere between William Blake and The Little Prince,” art critic and former UNLV professor Dave Hickey wrote in his 1997 book Air Guitar. “The show is at once a seamless spectacle and a plausible, subversive confation of Wagner,

was secretly replaced by his brother Ray, when tragedy really did strike, there was no replacing Roy. “Vegas should be known as Siegfried and Roy, not as Cirque,” Jillette says. “It should be known by people who are individuals who should be recognized. Cirque obliterates the individual for the collective. It’s what a lot of cultures do, but America has rugged individualism. We had Elvis.” As individuals, Siegfried and Roy represent the American dream, the lone cowboy conquering the Wild West. As opposed to DJs who look to meld with machines by wearing mouse-eared helmets, Siegfried and Roy are superstars at a very human level. As an audience, we connect with them. Unlike today’s era of Us Weekly celebrities who are “just like us!,” a connection with Siegfried and Roy offers fans a glimpse into a life that is not like ours at all. And we love them for it. “They are ‘showbiz’ to their toes,” Dave Hickey wrote. “But I couldn’t help liking them, nor avoid feeling about them (as Fred Allen did about Hollywood) that beneath all that phony tinsel, there is real tinsel.” Siegfried & Roy was personality-driven; the show was built to magnify its stars right down to their wildest idiosyncrasies. “They didn’t sing, they didn’t dance,” says producer Feld, who fnanced $30 million for the Mirage show when it opened. “They were illusionists at the top of their game— entertainers. You wanted to spend time with them. You were in their living room. That doesn’t exist anymore. There was a warmth that you couldn’t believe—that was the true magic.”

of July party. Goodman remembers Roy throwing his crutch away and walking with the crowd at the Santa Run a few years ago. On October 3, Roy will celebrate his 69th birthday with a private party at The Mirage. Similar to his birthday party a decade ago, Roy will be surrounded by people who love him. But instead of a precursor to tragedy, Siegfried and Roy will use the event to offcially announce the formation of their Sarmoti Foundation, which will provide support to organizations that protect endangered and threatened animals. It’s part of their continued, if considerably quieter, engagement in Las Vegas: They remain involved with the Downtown Boys & Girls Club, Opportunity Village and the Metro Police K-9 Unit. They are donors— and occasional visitors—to The Smith Center for the Performing Arts; Siegfried reportedly caught Jethro Tull’s July gig at Reynolds Hall. Siegfried and Roy have a total of 30 animals, down from the days when they had more than

50 white tigers. Roy still has a rich interaction with his menagerie. He rides horses and plays with his dogs. When his swans and alpacas see him approach, they line up to be fed. Publicist Dave Kirvin describes it as a quiet but active retirement. “We’re talking about guys who were on a frst-name basis with the world,” he says of a new life where “they’re anything but in hiding.” Yuman, who sometimes seems to speak in fortune cookies, says that his charges have lived their dreams and are fulflling their destinies. “Their lives are flled with philanthropy, and their hearts are flled with knowing that there was nothing left unsaid, there was nothing left undone.” ***** Back at the Hofbräuhaus, on the dawn of another Oktoberfest with Vegas’ favorite German immigrants, the fans—otherwise politelooking grandmotherly types—are getting aggressive. This is their chance to commune with their heroes, and they aren’t going to miss

it. They come bearing gifts and seeking autographs for their memorabilia: a VHS cassette tape of the Masters of the Impossible television special, a stuffed white tiger, a ceramic bust of a white tiger, an old photo of Siegfried and a fan. One middle-aged female fan, younger than most, presents Siegfried with a framed sketch of a tiger. The magician graciously accepts the gift and poses for photos. The fan returns to her friends and receives envious congratulations all around. These fans, all jostling into view, have not lost any enthusiasm in the years that the duo has been offstage. The scene is oddly reminiscent of a ’60s-era anecdote Roy tells in the book Mastering the Impossible. The event takes place after a nightclub performance in Madrid before the duo had ever performed in the U.S.: “There were three typical old American ladies with bluerinse hair, little strands of pearls and mink stoles. They all recognized Siegfried. ‘Oh, you’re the magician. Oh, my God, you’re so handsome!

... You and your partner are terrifc. Have you ever performed in America? You should! … You’re absolutely tailor-made for Las Vegas. We go there all the time, and you would be fantastic there.’” Siegfried and Roy leave the Hofbräuhaus while the party is still raging and before the alpenhorn is even getting started on a jaunty cover of “Yellow Submarine,” which sounds like a mountain trombone playing underwater. They move in herds, surrounded by an entourage halo. First Roy in his sleek motorized wheelchair—the sun of this solar system. He’s orbited by caretakers and friends. Then Siegfried and his ravishing former co-star, Evil Queen Lynette. In their wake, rolling and billowing like a laser-flled fog, are the whispers. That’s their fame. It’s atmospheric. A slight yet perceptive elevation from normal, like the anomalous feeling of humidity in Las Vegas. Siegfried and Roy are gone. The party roars on, but the rainbow-magic fog has dissipated, and it’s dry again in the desert.

Siegfried and Roy at this year’s Hofbräuhaus keg tapping.

September 26–October 2, 2013

“The story of Siegfried and Roy is very simple,” Yuman says. “Take the human spirit to the highest level and overcome adversity.” From their childhoods in World War II-era Germany to Roy’s miracle recovery from the tiger bite, Siegfried and Roy are exemplars of mastering the impossible. While Roy’s movement is not as free as it once was, his playfulness still shines through. Burton says Roy was lobbing water balloons and snappers at passing guests at his Little Bavaria Fourth




Gastro Fare. Nurtured Ales. Jukebox Gold.


“It comes from years of growing up with each other and knowing when to push and when to stop.” WITH THE DJ {PAGE 38}

Your city after dark, party pics and meet local

mover and shaker, DJ Phoreyz


SUN 29

THU 26 Happy Arthur’s Day! Arthur Guinness (1), that is. He founded the eponymous Irish beer, and the frst 100 guests to arrive at Rí Rá in time for the worldwide toast at 5:59 p.m. get a free pint of Guinness. (In the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 5 p.m., Set Your Life to Music at the Boulevard Pool with reggae’s original At the Cosmopolitan, 8 p.m., CosmopolitanBad Boys, Inner Circle. (At The EDM arms race continues as Calvin Harris and Nervo co-headline at Hakkasan. We all know the Scottish superstar; now get to know the Nervo sisters on Page 38. (In MGM Grand, 10 p.m.,


MON 30 Stop by La Comida before 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for its new happy hour featuring $5 beers and $5 freshfruit margaritas that include prickly pear, pomegranate and, my personal favorite, tamarind. (100 Sixth St., 3 p.m., Speaking of East Fremont, Vice was recently confrmed to play the GlowRun AfterGlow block party in the Fremont East district; he returns to Marquee tonight. (In the Cosmopolitan, 10 p.m.,



SAT 28 Laidback Luke comes to Wet Republic after recently teaming up with Martin Solveig ( MGM on the bleepy collabanger, “Blow.” (At Dyro (2) heads Grand, noon, toward Light with one of summer’s gems, “Never Say Goodbye,” a collaboration with his mentor Hardwell featuring Bright Lights. In Mandalay Bay, 10 p.m., (In After substantial anticipation, Avicii hits XS after releasing his debut LP True last week. Billboard says True could be “what catapults Avicii from superstar DJ to fat-out In Encore, 10 p.m., superstar.” (In Vice Saturdays at Tao welcomes Dirty Dutchman Chuckie,, who was recently knighted in ( the his home country of Suriname. (In Venetian, 10 p.m.,


Dip into Hyde for the Lost Angels industry party featuring SKAM Artist, Knyew boutique owner and streetwear-infuencer DJ Crooked. (In Bellagio, 10 p.m., Then head to Lavo for All Night Tuesdays, featuring Slovenian techno veteran Umek, who’s been uplifting fans since ’93. (In the Palazzo, 10 p.m.,

WED 2 Get jacked as Afrojack (4) turns Surrender into Afroland. The Grammy Award-winning Dutchman recently released a teaser for his upcoming documentary, March of the Afrojack Afrojack, which chronicles his meteoric rise. (In Encore, 10:30 p.m.,

September 26–October 2, 2013

Head to Hardwell at Hakkasan. The Dutch electro house prodigy is about to let fans behind the scenes with his forthcoming I Am Hardwell documentary. (In MGM Grand, 10 p.m., Skrillex returns to Light after recently debuting tracks from a new collaborative project with Diplo, Jack U, at the Mad Decent Block Party in San Diego. Expect to hear a lot more from the new bassheavy super-duo. (In Mandalay Bay, 10 p.m., We hope Mad Decent artist Dillon Francis brings to Surrender “Without You,” his awesomely unexpected collaboration with indie-dance cult favorites Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. (In Encore, 10:30 p.m., Nearby and on the opposite side of the EDM spectrum, David Guetta takes the stage at XS. The DJ/producer-turned-pop star is reportedly cutting tracks with Chic legendturned-“Get Lucky” collaborator Nile Rodgers. (In Encore, 10 p.m.,


FRI 27

Dutch duo W&W is still airborne from “Jumper,” its summer single with Hardwell, and headlines Marquee Dayclub today. (At the Cosmopolitan, 10 a.m., Also getting wet: Steve Aoki and Nervo at Wet Republic. (At MGM Grand, noon, The ever-energetic Aoki exudes epic endurance by taking center stage at Hakkasan. (In MGM Grand, 10 p.m., If you somehow managed to stay dry all day, redeem yourself with techno legend Eric Prydz (3) for the season fnale of XS Nightswim, the defnitive nighttime pool party. (In Encore, 10 p.m., Our game-day tour continues with our frst stop at a dayclub. Liquid has 48-inch plasma TVs, $30 buckets of beer and the Cabana Special: two bottles, two pitchers of specialty cocktails or mixed drinks and food platters for $1,000. (In Aria, 10 a.m.,


Upwardly mobile: From the Cosmopolitan’s center bar in 2010 to Hakkasan, Liv (left) and Mim Nervo have come a long way.

Liv Nervo on super-collabs, the transition from songwriter to producer and life on the road with her sister/partner By Sam Glaser

September 26–October 2, 2013

AUSSIE TWINS Liv and Mim Nervo form one of the hottest acts in house music. The songwriters turned Grammy Award-winning producers, Cover Girl spokesmodels and featured Hakkasan/ Wet Republic DJs have an epic catalog of electro-bangers that may (or may not) be more awe-inspiring than their striking collective sexiness. Vegas Seven caught up with Liv in anticipation of the sisters’ appearances September 26 at Hakkasan and September 29 at Wet Republic.



You began your careers as songwriters. How did your production skills emerge? We always played instruments; since we were 7 years old we’ve been playing the piano. So about fve, six years ago we actually ended up doing a course in Logic Pro to get acquainted with that side of the music, and just started producing more and more. Then we had quite a bit of success with some DJs—writing songs for them—so we decided to get ourselves an agent and take it from there. Maybe about three years ago we got William Morris onboard, and

I think that was the turning point of our career. Describe the experience of being twin sisters and production/DJ partners. We’re just always with each other. We have quite a good fair creatively. In the studio, certainly there will be moments where we’ll need space to develop something further. But we have a good understanding of that, and it comes from years of really growing up with each other and knowing when to push and when to stop. We just kind of have that click between us. That really

Who is better at what in the studio? [Laughs] You’ve opened a can of worms there! Mim is better at vocal production and automation and stuff like that. Mim’s better at mixes, vocal mixes especially. I’m better at riffs, I think. But then, you know, Mim will surprise us and come out with the best riffs this week. What’s been your experience as women in this malecentric scene, and who are your other favorite ladies? We love it! We have so many great friends that we get to work with, and the guys are so supportive of us. We’re also so happy that the rest of the world is really excited about electronic music and this kind of rave culture. It’s just a great time to be working in it. We really love Rebecca and Fiona—they’re just great girls; they have such great music and great style, and they’re party animals. Maya Jane Coles—her records are just beautiful. Miss Kittin is another one; Annie Mac in the U.K.—she’s has great taste in music. We interviewed Nicky Romero at Electric Daisy Carnival, and he said that

LIV’S FIVE ESSENTIAL NERVO TRACKS 1. “’The Way We See the World,’ which would be the Tomorrowland anthem from two years ago that we did with Like Mike, Dmitri Vegas and Afrojack.” 2. “The next one would be our single, ‘Hold On.’” 3. “I still love our second single, ‘Irresistible.’” 4. “‘Reason’ with Hook N Sling.” 5. “‘Like Home’ with Nicky Romero.” BONUS: “I’d also say ‘When Love Takes Over’ by David Guetta, which we wrote.”

you are like his sisters. How did your “Like Home” collaboration happen? We were always touring with each other. So for about two years we would see each other at gigs constantly. I think the very first gig we met was at Pasha Ibiza. We were both playing for David [Guetta]— we were opening, then David played and then Nicky closed. We were like, “Hey, we’re big fans,” and he said, “I’m big fans of you guys!” Then we just kind of became friends, and we were playing at a festival in Holland and Nicky said, “Why don’t you come to my studio and let’s finally get this done.” That was when “Like Home” was born, last summer.

How’s the debut album coming along? Really well. We’re just chipping away. We keep fnding new ideas, and now we’ve got so many ideas that we just need to narrow it down. It defnitely has an electronic heartbeat, but they’re not all on the foor 130-beat-per-minute clubbangers. We’re shooting for some variety in there. You signed on as Cover Girl spokesmodels last year. Give us some tips! Beauty tip: Try to get eight hours of sleep a night—something we hardly ever get—drink water and moisturize. For a fashion tip, it would just be to be comfortable in what you’re wearing and feel confdent.

Live versus Internet? Find out how the Nervo Twins like to collaborate at


The Ascension of Nervo

helps in our work from the live aspect and also the studio aspect.


Sound It Out

The under-the-radar DJ who has Las Vegas seeing double—introducing Phoreyz

September 26–October 2, 2013

By Bree Delano, a.k.a. DJ88



AFTER NINE YEARS as the Get Back’s First Friday resident and, recently, two years of challenging himself with more mainstream weekly sets at Insert Coin(s), one of Downtown’s best-kept secrets is heading for the Strip: DJ Phoreyz is the newest addition to the DJ lineup at the Ling Ling Lounge in Hakkasan. Unlike many of today’s young, connected and privileged DJs who have had residencies thrust upon them (ready or not), Phoreyz is one of a handful of seasoned vets whose versatility and persistence have granted them relevancy that far surpasses the latest sub-genre fad DJ. They are ninjas in the booth, and their ability to adapt to any situation and win over any type of audience make them invaluable to nightclub owners, no matter the feeting music trends. Phoreyz’s fexibility and a well-timed introduction to the Get Back’s founder John Doe prompted an invite for Phoreyz (real name Eric Ballesteros) to join the Get Back’s esteemed DJ ranks. Coming up on its 11-year anniversary October 4, the Get Back has become a Downtown staple for feel-good music fans thirsting for funk and soul in Las Vegas. And for this N.Y.-born, L.A.-raised DJ/ producer, his participation in that scene is nothing short of organic considering his musical infuences growing up. Phoreyz’s father—a guitar player and “tech geek”— would let his son use his super-charged stereo system

to record radio shows by renowned New York DJs such as Kool DJ Red Alert, Chuck Chillout, Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack and the Latin Rascals, a cassette collection he still boasts about having. “Music was always playing in my house growing up,” he says. “From the Beatles to surf rock to Earth Wind & Fire to the Soulsonic Force. I basically grew up in a roller rink on the weekends from a very young age—probably not the safest thing, but it did mold and shape my musical tastes and versatility as a DJ.” Speaking from a DJ’s standpoint, when Phoreyz commands a room he is genuinely exciting to listen to, and what separates him is his dedication to the art of mixing live blends. A Phoreyz set is fooded with “Ohhhhhh!!!” moments, and consists of rare genre-blending remixes and edits, many of them his own and things most DJs wouldn’t dare to mix together. “I’m very lucky to be able to play at a spot on the Strip that lets me do me, and they’re happy with it,” Phoreyz says. “I wouldn’t say it differs from Get Back or Insert Coin(s), but is more of a combination of both: I can play anything, from funk, reggae and soul to anything considered mainstream that I’m into. Like with any open-format room, the bottom line is reading the crowd and gaining their trust so that you can create great energy in the room.” Constantly downplaying his unique good looks courtesy of Filipino and Italian parents, Phoreyz has

a distinctly understated style both in and out of the DJ booth, and his sense of humor and approach to music is often satirical. A record collector since the age of 12, Phoreyz hadn’t intended to follow in the footsteps of his brother, acclaimed Los Angeles radio DJ, DJ Enrie. He started DJing in 2001 and stayed below the radar, grinding it out between Las Vegas and his home in L.A.

until he finally moved here four years ago. In his travels, Phoreyz has delivered sets in Japan, Mexico City, New York, L.A. and San Francisco, and has collaborated with and remixed records for Radiohead, Lenny Kravitz, Beyonce and Talib

Kweli. Aside from his residencies, he is currently working on a production project, The Tone Collectors with Dez Einswell, “Leap Second” with friend and fellow DJ 8Bits, as well as a few remixes and mix tapes that he will drop at the end of the year.

Catch Phoreyz on Sept. 27-29 in the Ling Ling Lounge at Hakkasan in MGM Grand.







See more photos from this gallery at


September 26–October 2, 2013

Sept. 29 Eric Prydz spins Oct. 6 Wolfgang Gartner spins Oct. 20 Sultan and Ned Shepard spin






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September 26–October 2, 2013

Sept. 27 Jordan V spins Sept. 29 W&W spins Oct. 5 The EC Twins spin






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September 26–October 2, 2013

Sept. 27 Peach Fridays with Stellar Sept. 28 Stafford Brothers spin






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September 26–October 2, 2013

Forum Shops at Caesars






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September 26–October 2, 2013

Sept. 28 Last Splash of Summer Party Oct. 4 Aq-Toberfest Night Swim


“We just brought in a bunch of testicles from the farm from the roosters, and we did a testicle terrine the other day. It didn’t go over that well.” SCENE {PAGE 72}

Bring a friend (but not too many) to Las Cazuelas for the city’s best Poblano By Max Jacobson

Shredded chicken chanclas with avocado and onion at Las Cazuelas.

September 26–October 2, 2013

Sixteen Seats, Great Eats

SOMETIMES IT FEELS as if this town neglects its more modest establishments, a pity since we have so many worth writing about. Most of us only eat $50 steaks on the Strip if we can expense them. And that makes Las Cazuelas, a tiny Mexican joint in a corner of Silverado Ranch Plaza, all the more compelling. “Poblano” refers to the cuisine of Mexico’s colonial city of Puebla. Perhaps you’ve heard of mole Poblano, one of Mexico’s most famous dishes? At Las Cazuelas, chef/ owner Manuel Avendaño does a mean one, plus lots of other dishes popular in his hometown. This isn’t what you’d call a date LAS CAZUELAS restaurant. It’s a narrow, 9711 S. Eastern four-table café Ave., 837-0204. decorated with Open 9 a.m.-9 cazuelas—round p.m. Sun-Thu, clay or copper 9 a.m.-10 p.m. serving dishes— Fri-Sat. Dinner for mounted on two, $17-$28. pastel-color walls. Food is served in mini cazuelas, stainless steel serving vessels with twin handles. Order at the counter, and food is ferried to your table by Avendaño himself. Do note that Las Cazuelas has no beer or wine, but BYOB is allowed. This is Mexican fare you won’t fnd anywhere else in the Valley: chanclas, pelonas, molletes and other Pueblan favorites, not to mention various tortas (sandwiches), tacos and sides. Avendaño cooked at Ventano for more than a decade, doing Italian specialties. Now he has the chance to cook dishes he grew up with, and he’s hitting them out of the park. Avendaño slow cooks roast 69 pork adobo style, in an oven with ancho chile, spices and salt, before pulling it apart and stuffng it into a crusty roll with sliced ripe avocado. It is called torta de pierna on VEGAS SEVEN


Diner's Notebook, Cocktail Culture and charcuterie that makes the cut

IRISH PUB GRUB IS STRONG IN LAS VEGAS: THE TOP FIVE BLARNEY GOOD DISHES Las Vegas has more than its share of Irish pubs, most of them specializing in stereotypical dishes eaten for centuries around the Old Sod. The funny thing is, most Irish people under 60 don’t really eat that way anymore, preferring pasta or chicken curry and even Chinese dishes to their traditionally heavy farmhousestyle cooking. On a recent trip to the Isle, most young people I spoke with smirked and said, “That stuff’s only for tourists,” or “I haven’t had Irish stew in 20 years,” when I mentioned what we ate in America’s Irish pubs. Stick-to-the-ribs fare, such as bangers and mash and the notorious full Irish breakfast, has yielded in the face of Ireland’s prosperity, tech boom and full membership in the European Union. Dublin looks more and more like any European capital these days. Ironically, Las Vegas might be a better place than Ireland to eat Irish pub fare, starting with these five.

MAX’S MENU PICKS Torta de pierna, $7. Chanclas, $7. Frijoles charros, $3.50. Elotes, $3. Gelatina de fruta, $2.


THE BEER EVENTS KEEP POURING FORTH! • Through October 6, Park on Fremont is daring guests to try all of its beers. Not in one sitting, of course, but by stamping their Oktoberfest punch card with each purchase. Studs and studettes who try all 66 get a free night at El Cortez and $50 gift cards to Park on Fremont and Commonwealth. • Beer-lovers have two nights to take in the fourth annual Golden Nugget Fall Beer Festival. The All American Craft Beer Tasting ($50) kicks off 7-10 p.m. October 18 with more than 125 craft-beer selections as well as appetizers and live music. The free Paulaner Oktoberfest pool party goes off 1-7 p.m. October 19 at The Tank, with more than 150 American craft beers available for purchase along with bratwursts and pretzels. 866.946.5336, FallBeerFest.asp. • Save October 22 for the inaugural Spago Oktoberfest, a dine around-style affair featuring executive chef Eric Klein’s contemporary interpretations of traditional German fare (think mini-schnitzel), plus an array of breweries (Reutberger, Schonramer, Hopf—oh, my!) offering more than a dozen beers. $70, 6-9 p.m., in the Forum Shops at Caesars, 369-6300. – Xania Woodman

Corned Beef and Cabbage. Actually, this is an American invention. The Irish eat bacon and cabbage, which is shredded cabbage cooked with Irish back bacon, accompanied by potatoes. Ri Ra does the dish American-style. The corned beef here is just about the best in the city, tender house-brined meat that falls apart if you look hard at it. The kitchen uses delicate Savoy cabbage, and the accompanying mashed potatoes and parsley sauce are delicious. In the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 632-7771. Irish Stew. I love lamb, especially in this hearty stew of potatoes and carrots. At Blarney Castle’s cafeteria, I sampled a bowlful so thick with flour you could have baked it into a cake. But at McMullan’s Irish Pub, a dark, clubby place next to the Orleans, the kitchen combines gamy, flavorful chunks of lamb with vegetables in rich, velvety gravy, adding cut stalks of celery, as well. 4650 W. Tropicana Ave., 247-7000. Shepherd’s Pie. This casserole of ground beef, mashed potatoes and cheese isn’t easy to find in Dublin these days, but most of our Irish pubs serve it. I prefer the one at Sean Patrick’s, even if they spell it funny (Sheppard’s Pie on their menu.) The potato-top crust is baked to a nice crunch, the veggies are nicely minced and the proportion of meat to potatoes seem just right. 8255 W. Flamingo Rd., 227-9793. Fish & Chips. The atmospheric Summerlin Irish pub J.C. Wooloughan’s was transported from Ireland piece by piece. Chef Sid Barai makes great fish and chips, three huge pieces of Pacific cod battered with Harp Irish lager, flour, baking powder and spices, the better to puff up golden brown. Sides include cole slaw and shoestring potatoes, per pub regulars. The fat, Irishstyle chips didn’t fly. 221 N. Rampart Blvd., 869-7725. Full Irish Breakfast. Every hotel I stayed in had an Irish breakfast buffet, and all were unspeakable, but Nine Fine Irishmen does a good one: two eggs; bangers; rashers of bacon; tomatoes and mushrooms; plus muffin-shape pieces of white and black pudding. What’s that you say? White pudding is fatty ground pork mixed with oatmeal. Add blood for black. Yum! Well, not really. In New York-New York, 740-6463. Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at


DINING September 26–October 2, 2013 VEGAS SEVEN


the menu, and it’s a dream sandwich, especially when eaten with a bowl of the terrifc frijoles charros (cowboy beans) as a side dish. The frijoles (in this case, pinto beans) are served in a mini cazuela, bubbling hot in a stew favored with bacon, onions, chile, cilantro, peppers and chunks of sausage. It’s the best bean dish I’ve had in many a moon, and it makes a good accompaniment for many of the items on this menu. How about chanclas? These are two large shredded chicken sliders served “wet”—again with avocado and onion—smothered in a ragu of chopped Spanish chorizo. Make it shredded beef, fry the bread and you’ve got pelonas, this time also using a spread of refried beans and spicy sauce, turning them into a somewhat more flling proposition. Did I mention molletes? Picture a long submarine roll, split, then topped with beans, mozzarella cheese and lots of pico de gallo (chopped tomato, onion and chilies) added after the sandwich is grilled in the oven so the cheese can melt. What Avendaño doesn’t do is cemitas, which border on religion in their native habitat of Puebla. Cemitas are sesame egg buns stuffed with milanesa, a pan-fried beef cutlet, or pork skins, plus Oaxaca cheese, avocado and salsa. But Cowboy up: terrific frijoles charros. take heart—he’s looking for the bread. Now about that mole. You’ll eat it here on shredded chicken and served with a shaker of enchiladas, and it’s just about powdered chili that you add to the most chocolate-rich mole I’ve taste. For dessert, a dish called ever tasted. (Avendaño’s wife gelatina de frutas—multicolored makes it.) If that doesn’t float cubes of Jell-O in various flavors your boat, then surely you’ll drowned in cream and sugar to want elotes, Mexican street corn, obscure their different colors—is dusted with powdery cheese surprisingly refreshing.


I was a young boy I was helping my family.” Klein has made encased meats his entire career, and when he arrived at Spago in 2007, it was no different. He specializes in fresh sausages for the restaurant, grinding out the ingredients that go into other dishes, such as the Italian sausage and andouille for Wolfgang Puck’s famous pizzas or blood sausage for a choucroute garnie royale special. You’ll see a lot more of those at Spago than dry-cured ones such as prosciutto or salami, but that’s not to say Klein hasn’t tried. “I try to promote [the cured meats], but a lot of times [guests] don’t understand,” Klein admits. “When it comes to sausages, they only think of sausages grilled, barbecued, hot links. … If you tell them it’s an antipasta platter, then they’re looking for a bunch of peppers and olives.” Spago Las Vegas in the Forum Shops at Caesars, 369-6300,

Terrine Territory

September 26–October 2, 2013

Cure for the Common Cold Cut



When it comes to charcuterie, waste not, want more By Grace Bascos


about ordering charcuterie at a restaurant. Maybe it’s the hearty sausages, silky pâté and thinly sliced meats that melt on your tongue. Maybe it’s the savory, hearty bites that pair so well with good wine and bread. Maybe it’s because “charcuterie” is so fun to say. The art of charcuterie was born out of necessity. Before the days of refrigeration,

every part of the animal was consumed, and the meat had to be preserved. Chefs fgured out ways to make it easy for the rest of us. They say there are two things you should never see made: law and sausages. We’ll take the sausages any day.

The Sausage King

Chef Eric Klein has been making sausage for just about his

whole life. Before he began cranking out Spago’s lamb chorizo and duck pastrami, he learned the craft from his mother, who was a butcher. “After I was done with my homework,” he recalls, “my mom would say, ‘OK, let’s make some beer sausage, some weisswurst … you have to turn the bacons, you have to cure that, put some more wood in the smoker.’ So since

At Comme Ça, the charcuterie program is more than just a way to use every bit of product—it’s an educational tool, and not just for the guests of the French brasserie, but the cooks and staff as well. After introducing me to a classic country-style pâté and a duck, pistachio and artichoke terrine, chef Brian Howard points out the chicken noodle soup terrine. “I get my chefs to be experimental with some things,” he says, as well as seasonal. In spring, for example, “more feathers and things like that, rather than hooves,” appear on the charcuterie menu. If there’s one genre of forcemeat that forces cooks to get creative, it’s pâté. Generally made with offal, pâté has long been the way for chefs to use of all the nasty bits that may not be as palatable on their own. Comme Ça gets all of its animals whole, which the chefs butcher themselves, so they know exactly what’s left over after it’s broken down. And for the most part, guests dig it. The restaurant even sold out on a calves’ brain terrine the frst night it debuted. But, Howard acknowledges, sometimes the delicacies don’t

always fy off the shelf. “We just brought in a bunch of testicles from the farm from the roosters, and we did a testicle terrine the other day,” he informs me. And? He deadpans, “It didn’t go over that well.” In the Cosmopolitan, 877-893-2003,

The Cure

The aging room at B&B Ristorante is under lock and key, so when Jason Neve opens the door, it’s like you’re being allowed into Mario Batali’s secret stash. No bigger than a walk-in closet (technically, it’s a walk-in cooler), there’s meat hanging from speed racks. All kinds of cured meat. Neve, director of culinary operations for the B&B Restaurant Group in Las Vegas, starts rattling them off nonchalantly like a butcher in Little Italy. “There’s coppa, anduja (which is like a soft-ripened salami that’s kind of spreadable), culatello, pancetta, guanciale we use for bucatini and stuff like that,” he says, pointing to some bigger cuts tied up and hanging out deep in the back. “There are some prosciuttos—those are like 2 years old right now.” B&B is possibly the only restaurant that’s legally drycuring its own charcuterie in-house, transforming whole muscles such as the shoulder to create coppa, loins to make lonza and hams for the prosciutto. “Those are the major muscles we’ll take out and cure as a whole piece. There’s also the belly, which becomes pancetta, and the fatback, which becomes lardo,” he says. As with other restaurants, nothing goes to waste. “Other parts, like trim and stuff like that, end up going into different salamis, whether it’s Calabrese or sopressata.” Some of the recipes have come down from Batali’s father, Armandino, who runs his own salumeria in Seattle, while others Neve cultivated from his trips to Italy. And guests pretty much go for all of it, no matter what version of cured meat it is. So does Neve, apparently. “Give me a big plate of everything. With good, tasty wine and some bread, you’re good to go.” In the Venetian, 266-9977,



Cured pork belly is just one of the meats that chef Eric Klein makes in-house at Spago. On any given day he’s producing delicacies such as blood sausage, merguez, chicken sausage and duck pastrami.

DINING Chef Masaharu Morimoto will participate in next month's Taste America.


HOW TO GIVE WHILE GETTING YOUR FILL By Grace Bascos Now there are two more ways you can help others while helping yourself ... to some delicious local dining events. The James Beard Foundation will go on a nationwide tour with Taste America, kicking off in Las Vegas September 27-28. Spend Friday afternoon sipping bubbly with Julian Serrano at Picasso, and then wind your evening into 12 courses at both of Chef of the Century Joël Robuchon’s restaurants in MGM Grand. Saturday is a little more casual, with cooking demonstrations by François Payard and new Las Vegas restaurateur Masaharu Morimoto at Sur La Table in Fashion Show. The culinary weekend culminates in Taste of America's poolside reception at The Mirage with more of Morimoto and property executive chef Christian Schmidt. All inclusive tickets are $120 per person, but you should consider bucking up the $250 to get VIP access to all the events (, plus a special after-party at 1 Oak, as proceeds go toward the James Beard Foundation and the Epicurean Charitable Foundation. And save the date: On October 17, Share Our Strength returns to Rain Nightclub for Taste of the Nation ($100 general admission, $125 VIP,, which also includes live and silent auctions.


Henderson’s Showboy BakeShop competes on the September 28 “The

Wizard of Oz” episode of Cupcake Wars on Food Network. Want a taste of what you'll see? The shop will be offering the cupcakes made on the show for a few weeks after the airing date.


Mötley Crüe kicked off its second residency at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel last week, and the whole property is getting in on the action with themed menu and cocktail offerings. Come on, who doesn’t want to eat “Shout at the Devil” (Eggs) from Mr. Lucky’s 24/7, or “Down at the Whiskey” bourbon short ribs from Pink Taco?

Got some hot dish? Tell us at

September 26–October 2, 2013


Earlier this month, Las Vegas food critics John Curtas, Al Mancini and Vegas Seven’s own Max Jacobson offered themselves up for critique— all for a good cause. Roasting Las Vegas invited some of the city’s best chefs to take shots at the three to help raise money for Three Square, the food bank for Southern Nevada. And it turns out plenty of people were willing to shell out good money to see the trio get roasted. The $3,100 raised will provide 9,300 meals for hungry families in the area.







Double Barreled WHEN MGM GRAND announced its recent Woodford Reserve Double Oaked cocktail competition among the property’s bartenders, Fiamma barman John Clair brought out the big guns. His winning Double Peach cocktail shows off the double-barreled qualities of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked bourbon, which was introduced in March 2012 as the brand’s frst permanent line extension since Woodford Reserve debuted in 1996. Double Oaked gets its name from the journey it takes, spending 6-8 years in a new white-oak barrel, lightly toasted and heavily charred, before it goes into a second, heavily toasted and lightly charred barrel for an additional 6-12 months. Inspired by the barrels themselves—made in parent company Brown-Forman’s Louisville, Kentucky, cooperage expressly

for Woodford Reserve—Clair sought to develop an asset for his bar, a cocktail that would mirror as well as complement some of the favors imparted by the double-barrel process: vanilla, fruit, caramel, honey, hazelnut, cream and spice. His Double Peach doubles down on it all with a generous pour of bourbon, lemon juice and two peach formats, aromatic bitters and house-infused syrup. Although Double Oaked is meant to be savored neat or with an ice cube, bartenders have been quick to adopt it for bourbon Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and original creations. And for his efforts, Clair wins a trip to the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Kentucky, which is just peachy!

Find the recipe for Fiamma’s Woodford Double Peach cocktail at

If you carefully consider the work that goes into your glass of bourbon—the grains, raised and harvested, the heart of the distilled spirit captured and laid down for years, decades even, in new, charred-oak barrels—then you’re already at the head of the class. And for extra credit, there’s Woodford Reserve Bourbon Academy. I was recently invited to Versailles, Kentucky (pronounced “ver-sails”), where master distiller Chris Morris and his team make Woodford Reserve and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. There, I got to experience Bourbon Academy, which commenced with a bourbon primer and a sour-mashing demonstration on the patio. It would have been sweaty, backbreaking work stirring a bushel of hot, wet grain with a wooden pitchfork as would have been done in the time of the Pepper family, the original owners of the distillery, back in the early 1800s. We explored fermentation during a tour of the distillery, the lab where Woodford’s distinct yeast is cultivated, and the stills, where the heart of the spirit (the desirable distillate) is hand-cut from the heads and tails (undesirable) using levers. The spirit is triple-distilled in three 1,650-gallon copper pot stills before going into new Americanmade oak barrels for 6-8 years. And since this is a hands-on academy, we demonstrated this by setting a 53-gallon barrel on fire using the highly-flamable combination of hay and new-make spirit. Now, this is not how Woodford’s barrels are made today at Brown-Forman’s Louisville cooperage, but it got the point across—varying toasting and charring levels contribute to a bourbon’s distinctive character. In culmination of the Academy, we tasted the standard portfolio and the Master’s Collection. Released only at Morris’ discretion, the collection has featured limited-edition whiskeys, such as the Sweet Mash (as opposed to sour mash), Maple Wood Finish and my favorite, Four Wood. The next release debuts in November: the Double Malt Selections (Straight and Classic), that are the first fully matured malt whiskeys in Kentucky since Prohibition. Morris says he has an idea of his future releases till 2029! After Bourbon Academy concluded, we toured the cooperage, a rare treat exclusively offered to the public by Mint Julep Tours. One breathtaking moment I’ll never forget: In one of Brown-Forman’s warehouses, with 40,000 barrels at our backs, we pinched a little Old Forester from three selections and pretended that we had the ducats to buy the whole barrel, a very real new program that launched in March. If you’re ready to talk yeast with a master distiller, light a barrel on fire and completely immerse yourself in bourbon (history), the next Bourbon Academy is March 22, 2014. To reserve your spot ($225 per person), call 859-879-1953. – X.W.


September 26–October 2, 2013




“There are fans who tattoo his piercing lyrics on their bodies, propose to their signifcant others at a show, or drive hundreds of miles to catch a 30-minute set.” MUSIC {PAGE 85}

Art, music, movies and a helicopter pop star

Hells Angels nemesis Jay Dobyns spent two years infltrating the biker gang. But did he have more in common with the outlaw motorcycle club than he realized? By Jason Scavone

trated the Angels in Arizona as part of Operation Black Biscuit. This, as one might imagine, did not endear him to the most notorious outlaw motorcycle club in the world. But when Dobyns strutted up to the middle of the museum’s courtroom for a speaking engagement on September 17, he was quick to note that the facility had been swept by bomb-sniffng dogs, there was additional security hired for the evening, and he had a couple of undercover buddies planted in the audience, just in case. That news does not, for the

record, make one feel more safe. Though we grudgingly had to concede his point about the cool factor of dying in an Angels vengeance strike at the same place that once housed the Kefauver hearings. Dobyns was there to give an abbreviated account of his Black Biscuit memoir, the 2009 New York Times best-seller No Angel. It’s a breezy read about the painstaking efforts Dobyns and the ATF went through to bring an antiracketeering case against the Angels, and how it mostly fell apart during prosecution.


Undercover and on the Road

JAY DOBYNS IS a mile from the Las Vegas Hells Angels’ clubhouse and only a few steps from biker hangout Hogs & Heifers. He ain’t scared. “If these guys are going to shoot me, there is no cooler place to die than the Mob Museum.” In retrospect, it’s not a bad motto to carve into the marble outside. Dobyns, 52, is the former undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who, following the April 27, 2002, Hells Angels/Mongols rumble at Harrah’s in Laughlin, infl-

September 26–October 2, 2013

Dobyns is the only ATF agent to receive full membership in the Hells Angels, after staging what they thought was the murder of a rival gang member.

A&E September 26–October 2, 2013 VEGAS SEVEN


The best things that ever happened to the Hells Angels were Hunter S. Thompson’s 1966 breakthrough gonzo classic on the gang and the 1969 Altamont stabbing that left the club inextricably tied to “Gimme Shelter.” They created, in two quick strokes, a mystique around the club that might have otherwise left them like the rival Pagans—a force, to be sure, but barely on the mainstream radar. Instead, they’ve become a touchstone in their own right, part of the delightful contrarian streak that’s as American as mom, apple pie and chainwhipping anyone who gets in your way. Yet there’s something about bikers that’s apart from the other outlaws we secretly root for—your Mafosi, your bootleggers, your Stringer Bells or what have you. “I think what makes them so appealing, and what separates them from traditional organized crime, is that they are so out there, they are so brazen, they are so famboyant about it, to the point where they wear uniforms that say who they are,” Dobyns says. “As a culture we’re intrigued by that, that people say ‘Hey, I’m a criminal. I don’t care what you think about that. I’m not doing it in a dark alley. Here’s who I am. I’m advertising it to you. Either live with it, or move on.’ I think that sense of confdence is a level of empowerment or self-esteem that a lot of people don’t have, and I think they’re fascinated by that.” Thompson noticed it nearly 50 years ago, when the Angels were still in their adolescence: “Even people who think the Angels should all be put to sleep fnd it easy to identify with them. They command a fascination, however reluctant, that borders on psychic masturbation.” That’s why the Sons of Anarchy Season 6 premiere can draw nearly 6 million viewers. It’s a series that’s had about a season and a half worth of really great television, but has spiraled into wildly over-thetop melodrama over the last couple of years. Thief, about a burglary crew and, like Sons, also on the FX network, didn’t last past six episodes. Clearly, there’s something compelling about highly organized, wellmobilized sociopaths. There’s something just as compelling about the under-

Sons of Anarchy, left, proves our lasting interest in biker fiction. But as Dobyns’ No Angel hints at, is it the ability to craft our own story that really keeps us tuned in to biker and undercover cop dramas?

“HELLS ANGELS HAVE BECOME A TOUCHSTONE IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, PART OF THE DELIGHTFUL CONTRARIAN STREAK THAT’S AS AMERICAN AS MOM, APPLE PIE AND CHAIN-WHIPPING ANYONE WHO GETS IN YOUR WAY.” cover cop story—just look at how many of those movies are big, brash, critically acclaimed pieces. Donnie Brasco, The Departed, Eastern Promises, uh … Point Break. Dobyns sees a lot of truth in the razor’s-edge dread that defnes the subgenre. “You look at The Departed, and as extraordinary as that story was, there are elements that are spot-on,” he says. “Some of the concerns, the anxieties, of DiCaprio’s

character. Some of the things he says and experiences are spot-on accurate.” But there are two crucial distinctions that the fction misses. As an undercover, Dobyns said when things got hairy for him, it was because he started buying into his own hype, wrapping himself in a hero myth that caused him to put the mission above everything else, including his own safety. It’s something he regrets.

And on the other side, the romance of the outlaw biker isn’t so romantic when you realize that the Hells Angels have done things like sue Disney over Wild Hogs in order to protect its trademark. The law is an inconvenient speed bump until you need it to defend your revenue streams from kid-friendly corporations. “I think it’s all money-driven. There’s no other motivation for it. They own something, they make a lot of money behind the trademarked death’s head [Hells Angels logo] and the registered names,” he says. “When someone violates that, they’re going to protect their interest. They can sell the public on this whole propaganda mantra of ‘club frst,’ but it’s money frst.” As hilariously cynical as it is to have a bunch of bikers going toe-to-toe with Walt and the Nine Old Men, it points to a parallel between motorcycle clubbers and undercover agents. It’s a constructed identity—a misdirection with just enough truth in it to make it mostly believable to those unwilling or unable to see through the shine. All those cuts and rings and choppers and

beards are so much armor. It’s great for the rank-andfile. It gives Hells Angels godfather Sonny Barger somewhere to market his personally branded beer, Sonny’s Lean & Mean Lager. There’s a feedback loop in all of those meticulously crafted personalities. Dobyns talked about feeling like he had some internal brainwashing going on as he proceeded through the case. That the operation was taking over his personality. When the case broke big and Dobyns’ cover was blown for good, he says it was a brutal hit. “At the time, putting a bullet in me would’ve hurt me less than taking undercover work away from me. Here’s where I became dangerous, in hindsight. Undercover work evolved from what I did to who I was.” Maybe that’s why Sons and Donnie Brasco are so grabby. It’s not just the cops-and-robbers escapism that intrigues us, but it’s the tacit invitation to rewrite our sense of self to ft an orderly, purposeful set of rules. Or maybe we just want an excuse to wear cool leather vests.


Get high with Afroman on Sept. 27 at LVCS.



LOTS OF COOL LIVE music happening in the Las Vegas underground this week. Which will be a nice change of pace in the aftermath of last weekend’s iHeartRadio festival. Corporate Internet radio behemoth Clear Channel’s self-congratulatory event lures—I swear to God—people from the restaurant industry. See, gourmet burger joints in Tampa, Florida, need to advertise on radio stations—terrestrial and online. Clear Channel in turn treats them to a lineup of artists such as Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry. Excuse me while I vomit in a grease trap. You’ll fnd the good kind of grease in the full-throttle riffs at Throw the Fight’s show at 9 p.m. September 26 at LVCS. The Minneapolis alt-metal band is touring in support of an EP of B-sides called The Vault. While I haven’t heard it, Throw the Fight’s last full-length, 2012’s What Doesn’t Kill Us, is completely lethal, no-quarter-given post-hardcore. When I frst heard the opening track, “Bloodshot Eyes,” I was nearly knocked senseless by the avalanching guitar riffs and had to apply Visine just to get my bearings. There’s going to be a serious mosh pit at this show, so look for me cowering in fear over by the bar, clutching a beer like a security blanket. When my favorite noise-punk-metal trio, Life’s Torment, left town last year for California, I was bummed, man. Good news for me, though: The band returns to play two shows this week, the frst at 10 p.m. September 27 at Double Down Saloon (with Unfair Fight, Tiger Sex, Gloomsday and Agent 86), and the second in a frickin’ comic-book shop at 7 p.m. September 28, at Hellpop! Comics (in the Arts Factory, with Deep Fried

Orphans and Tiger Sex sharing the bill). I like to think of Life’s Torment as Unsane (skate-punk) mixed with Motörhead (scuzz-metal) and Big Black (noise-rock). If you enjoy any or all of that combination, you’re going to love grinding your eardrums to dust at one or both of these shows. Speaking of comics shops, the rapper made famous by director Kevin Smith (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) arrives in Las Vegas to perform his slackercelebrating hit “Because I Got High.” I’m talking, of course, about Afroman, the Oregon hip-hop hemp-hero whose 2012 disc was straightup titled Marijuana Music. I’ve always considered Afroman a less psychedelic, more articulate version of Cypress Hill. One thing I know for sure: If you’re fan of West Coast rap with a comedic edge, this show shouldn’t disappoint. Gosh, why didn’t I apply for my medicinal pot license when I had the chance? Oh well, maybe I’ll get a contact high when Afroman lights up September 27 at LVCS. Also on the bill: Ekoh, Devastate, War Paint, Klass-Sick and Bobby Boulder. Finally, a real blast from my goth-rock past: Christian Death plays LVCS at 9 p.m. October 3 with Antichrist Superstar and Dim. I can’t wait for this, mainly because I never caught the band live despite absorbing their challenging, badmood music during my high school days. Think Joy Division by way of Los Angeles with tons of feedback, or imagine a noise-drenched The Cure. Either way, I gotta dig up my old Only Theatre of Pain shirt with the holes in it. Or did my mom throw it away? Your Vegas band releasing a CD soon? Email


September 26–October 2, 2013




The Weeknd Kiss Land (Universal) The rise of The Weeknd has been unique because the identity of the man behind the music was shrouded in mystery. Now that Abel Tesfaye has revealed himself and signed a major deal, it’s time to see if he’s really worth the fuss with his debut album, Kiss Land. His insatiable appetite for drugs and sex powered by atmospheric production is still prevalent on the throbbing “Professional,” but a few songs in, it becomes evident that Tesfaye’s steps aren’t forward, but more lateral. Too often the album becomes submerged in mediocrity, as his falsetto can grate rather than be sonically pleasing (“Odd Look”). Kiss Land is a solid debut, but fans may opt for his mixtapes instead. ★★★✩✩ SOUTHERN RAP

2 Chainz B.O.A.T.S. II: Me

WHAT WE’RE BUYING 1. Carcass, Surgical Steel 2. MGMT, MGMT 3. Elvis Costello and The Roots, Wise Up Ghost 4. Asking Alexandria, From Death to Destiny 5. Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks

Time (Def Jam) 2 Chainz makes a swift return with his sophomore album, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, in an attempt to keep the momentum going from his debut project, Based on a True Story. Unfortunately, his lack of depth leaves this album drowning in a shallow puddle of punchlines and middling production. For a rapper whose humor had helped his surge to stardom, it appears that his well of witty one-liners has run dry. Songs such as “Livin” and “Extra” lack the catchiness that his previous album had with “No Lie” and “Spend It.” He may cash in with this album, but he has proved to be a one-trick pony. ★✩✩✩✩

6. The Devil Wears Prada, 8:18

9. Jack Johnson, From Here to Now to You 10. Avenged Sevenfold, Hail to the King According to sales at Zia Record Exchange at 4225 S. Eastern Ave., Sept. 15-22.


Peter Pan Syndrome (Old Maid Entertainment) Back in the late ’90s and early 2000s—before the Internet changed how music was consumed—J-Zone developed a cult following with his quirky production and side-splitting humor. After a six-year hiatus, Zone returns with Peter Pan Syndrome. The humor and production are still intact and sharper than ever as Zone trash-talks his way through “Black Weirdo,” dismisses women who text too much on “Gadget Ho” and weaves a hilarious tale of thievery on “An Honest Day’s Robbery.” J-Zone is an acquired taste, but if you’re in the mood for hip-hop that doesn’t take itself too seriously, he’s your man. ★★★★✩


Upcoming on Andreas’ radar … OCT. 15: Detroit MC and producer Black Milk prepares to drop another bomb with No Poison No Paradise. OCT. 22: It’s been a long time since Cage has dropped an album, but with Mighty Mi handling the production on Kill the Architect, it will likely be a return to form for the MC. NOV. 5: Is there anything that really needs to be said about Eminem releasing The Marshall Mathers LP 2? It’s easily one of the most anticipated albums of 2013.

September 26–October 2, 2013

8. Arctic Monkeys, AM



7. P.O.D., Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years


September 26–October 2, 2013

Did you already forget about Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs? Because Miley would like you to reconsider your “thinking about things other than Miley Cyrus” position immediately. The cruel harvest from the seeds you innocently sowed by tolerating “Achy Breaky Heart” in the ’90s stormed the iHeartRadio Music Festival on Saturday in black pasties and a white mesh dress—because shattered childhood, that’s why.



FUNNY OR DIE ODDBALL COMEDY FESTIVAL Mandalay Bay Events Center, Sept. 21

Dave Chappelle still isn’t happy about Hartford, Connecticut. The stand-up did the first five minutes of his set about the August 29 incident, before moving on with a loose, casual set in front of a near-sellout crowd to close the Funny or Die Oddball Comedy Festival. Chappelle is clearly as in command of his craft as ever, but his short, 35-minute Saturday night set was shaggy, compared to the wild ambition of opener Hannibal Buress, who ditched his laconic delivery to give a highenergy 15 that toyed with the form from music cuts to a ballerina-backed gibberish rap closer. Jim Jefferies was at the peak of his trademark nastiness in the show’s other high point. On-point as ever, Flight of the Conchords introduced a handful of new songs—and a well-timed callback to Buress’ tune during “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros.” Still, the crowd was primed for Chappelle first and foremost. It’s just too bad that those who filled in seats late missed the best part of the show. ★★★★✩ – Jason Scavone

She hopped onstage with people dressed like rainbows and slapped the ass of a twerking little person. The biggest disappointment of the whole show was that she’s only 20 and can’t go get hammered in the clubs. Dear God that’s going to be Lohanian amounts of fun. We may have to shut down all the clubs after the Miley Cyrus Burn it Down I’m 21 World Tour. ★★✩✩✩ – Jason Scavone





Hard Rock Live, Sept. 20


As I write this, a face-painted Adam Ant shouts at me from the cover of my wife’s original 1980 Kings of the Wild Frontier vinyl and I am reminded how little I cared about his clackety-clack poppost-punk Antmusic when it first crawled across the airwaves. But, damn, I admire his fortitude. At 58, this self-styled Hussar and dissolute dandy, festooned in brocaded jacket and bicorn, is carrying the pennant on a tour for Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter, his first album since 1995.

Ant and his ensemble fired volley after volley into the thick crowd for two hours, blasting us with the rollicking “Goody Two Shoes” and ordering us about as a dilettante highwayman in “Stand and Deliver.” He still has a pirate’s charisma, but the long campaign has roughed up his voice and left him fatigued. While “Ants Invasion” was delightfully ponderous, many others, like 1981 hit “Prince Charming” were just slow and off the mark as they plodded along toward the finish line. ★★✩✩✩ – Kurt Rice

THE CHILL OFFENSIVE: Though I’ve never really bonded with them on record, I like seeing G Love and Special Sauce live. The Philadelphia-based funk band has a lackadaisical sound that makes every gig a potential no-pants dance party. They’re pretty much an ideal ft for the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan, where they’re scheduled to play on October 3 ($20). Halfway through “My Baby’s Got Sauce” or maybe “Cold Beverage,” you’re probably going to see someone’s pants come off. The music, the venue and the waning summer heat … some things, when taken in combination, are just too compelling.

UNLV Jazz Alumni Band Artemus Ham Hall, September 17

The UNLV Jazz Studies Program kicked off the 40th anniversary of its Jazz Ensemble with a CD release and a set from the UNLV Jazz Alumni Band. The talented post-graduates performed compositions by Jazz Studies and Count Basie Orchestra alumnus Dennis Mackerel, enlisting an extraordinarily tight rhythm section that included Mackerel on drums, and the deft conducting of arranger and faculty member Nathan Tanouye. Other musical selections included an eclectic mix of big band works from Thad Jones, Russell Freeman and

DEAD ALIVE: To my thinking, Furthur featuring Phil Lesh & Bob Weir—scheduled to appear at the Pearl on October 1-2 ($39-$99)—is part of a Las Vegas tradition nearly forgotten. From 1991-95, Lesh and Weir’s former band the Grateful Dead performed summer shows at Sam Boyd Stadium, and they probably would have continued playing shows there forever if singer and guitarist Jerry Garcia hadn’t trucked off the planet in August 1995. (The Dead’s last Vegas show was in May 1995. Chew on that fatty factoid the next time you feel compelled to say “no bands ever play here.” Vegas has welcomed Nirvana, the Beatles and the Grateful Dead, so quit yer bitchin’.) Since the Dead, er, died, the surviving members of the band have made a point of paying summertime visits to Las Vegas: Weir’s band Ratdog, Dead drummer Mickey Hart and, yes, Furthur have made this town something of a summer vacation home. It’s cool, and touching, to see a group of musicians continuing to reward its faithful … though I’m sure the fans would love to see a return of the legendary tailgate parties that accompanied the Dead’s Sam Boyd appearances. Maybe the Palms could give, like, one level of its parking garage to VW microbuses, just this once?

Jerome Kern. As various orchestra members came to the forefront as featured soloists, trombonist (and Scott Bakula doppleganger) Neil Maxa brought a sure-handed, spirited performance to Kern’s “Yesterdays.” Yet the evening’s highlights were Mackerel’s pieces. Funk and blues infused melodies and hooks permeated his compositions “Bus Dust” and “Lemon Juice,” the latter of which made quite clear the dizzying sonic heights a modern jazz orchestra can achieve. ★★★★✩ – Danny Axelrod

NOW ON SALE: The mighty Justin Timberlake is coming to the MGM Grand for two nights, November 29-30 ($53-$203). Right now you might be wondering: “Why do you like JT all of a sudden, Carter?” Three reasons: I like his acting and his SNL appearances, I’ve been impressed with his recent music, and he’s not Robin fucking Thicke.

The Resonance Man

Armed with heartfelt ambition and timely opportunity, local rapper Ekoh aims for wide reverberation By Camille Cannon

BACKSTAGE AFTER LOUD beats had kids about 8 or 9 years old lulled, Ekoh heard an admonwho had come just to see Ekoh ishment from a fan for which perform. He was talking to the he wasn’t prepared: “You’re kids and signing autographs; not hip-hop.” This after he had it made their night.” Once just bared his soul at a perforonstage, “he grabbed the aumance. “I was like, is this guy dience. And he held them for really going to talk shit right his entire set.” now?” But what followed was For such success, Ekoh credits a sentiment that would defne his supporters. “I hate saying ‘I,’ his music. “That stuff comes like ‘look what I did.’… because from your heart, man,” the fan it is a group thing,” he says, “I said. “That’s heart-hop.” want it to be something fans This year, Ekoh’s can feel a part of.” poetic fow is ripThere are fans who UPCOMING pling deeper than tattoo his piercing SHOWS ever. In March, the lyrics on their bodLas Vegas local (born ies, propose to their 9 p.m. Sept. 27 at Jeff Thompson) signifcant others LVCS, $15 ($12 adunveiled the most at a show or drive vance), 382-3849, striking illustration hundreds of miles to LVCountrySaloon. of his lyrical prowess catch a 30-minute net. Oct. 26 at on Zzyzx Road, the set—during which Life Is Beautiful EP he created with he’ll graciously share Festival, $159.50, noted pop-punk the stage with other LifeIsBeautifulproducer Courtney members of the local For Ballard. “When I met hip-hop commumore on Ekoh, Courtney all of the nity, including fellow visit Facebook. walls came down,” rapper Chemist com/EkohMusic. he says. “I was makand Vegas StrEATS ing the music that I co-founder Alonzo really wanted to make without Valencia (also known as DJ feeling like I had to make ‘hipZO). “I wouldn’t even call him hop.’” Then with director Jacob ‘local,’” Valencia says of Ekoh. Stark, he released a stirring “He’s about to be nationwide.” music video for the single “FallEvent producer Brian Saliba ing Together,” and donated agrees. Among many bookthe song’s iTunes proceeds to ings, he handpicked Ekoh to anti-bullying efforts at Green co-headline the Vegas Music Valley High School, where the Summit in August to present video was shot. In the same him to industry contacts. “A guy like him needs to be discovmonth, Ekoh co-headlined the ered,” Saliba says. “He’s only hip-hop stage at the Extreme three minutes away.” Thing Music and Sports FestiWhat does that mean? val, a show he calls his “best” Ekoh already knows. “We’ve and “most emotional.” gotta have a radio-ready record. It’s a combination of his A radio-ready single.” So in earnest approach to songwritNovember, he’ll return to the ing, dedication to his craft and studio where he and Ballard commitment to his hometown recorded Zzyzx Road, this time that has brought the 24-yearto create a full-length album. old artist where he is today. “We’re talking about this record In addition to the many being ‘the one,’” Ekoh says. shows he plays in Las Vegas “We’re hoping for this one, and surrounding areas, he’ll more than anything, to be a soon play our city’s most angreat record, but to hopefully ticipated music event: the Life make a big impact.” Is Beautiful festival, positionThe “heart-hop” movement ing him in front of his largest is about more than himself—it’s audience to date. about making as many fans For Craig Nyman, head of as possible feel like “someone music and live performances fnally gets me,” he says. “What for Life Is Beautiful, it’s Ekoh’s I’ve always wanted, more than transparency that earned him any kind of popularity, was to the opportunity: “There’s no build a vessel for people to come smoke and mirrors about him. together, to include people.” For an audience to see that That stuff comes from the heart, from an artist is rare. Then man. when you sit down and talk to And when you hear that, it’s him, he’s the same person.” hard not to believe that Ekoh’s Watching Ekoh at a premessage has a home beyond the liminary festival showcase in mountainous walls of our ValJuly, Nyman recalls, “Before ley. It only takes resonance. the event there were two little





Endangered Liaisons

Photo exhibit of animal skulls speaks to species under threat of extinction By Steve Bornfeld


September 26–October 2, 2013

STRIPPED OF SKIN, devoid of bodies, bereft of life. Alive, nonetheless. “It’s an awareness thing,” says Australian-born Clint Jenkins, a Vegas transplant, commercial photographer and first-time exhibitor with his pointedly titled Endangered: The Collection at MCQ Fine Art. “People need to know there is a threat.” Big, stark and haunting, Jenkins’ photos are of the skulls of animals listed as by the ENDANGERED: endangered global governing THE body, the InternaCOLLECTION tional Union for Conservation of by Clint JenNature. And the kins, 9 a.m.effect, both of the 5 p.m. Mon, cause and the style Wed and Fri in which it is visuthrough Oct. ally addressed, is 18, MCQ Fine powerful. Art, 620 S. “Some of the Seventh St., skulls look like free, 366-9339, they’re pulling out MCQFineArt. of the page,” gallery com. director Michele Quinn says. “They could come across as fat and dull, but there is such a great quality of depth. It’s understanding how lighting contrasts really come together. There is some soul to the work.” Draped dramatically between shadow and light, the skull photos were mostly shot earlier this year at the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City, which is devoted to the study of bones and skeletons. Set against black-as-night backgrounds, printed on hot press cotton rag and dispersed 86 around the cozy gallery, the vivid images seem sprinkled around the vast emptiness of space, as if eternal, but no longer of this earth—that being precisely the point.

“Keeping it simple is more impactful,” Jenkins says. “When you’re not distracted by anything else, it’s almost as if it’s alive. I’m keeping them alive in my way.” Staring out from vacant eye sockets, what once was a Pacifc green turtle looks foreboding in its 60-by-60-inch portrait. Giant tusks of an African elephant fare out like some fossilized handlebar mustache. With fangs bared, an Eastern black rhino, a snow leopard and a Tasmanian devil look ready to pounce, chomp and devour. Comically, the skull of a chimpanzee—with its simian overbite over crooked teeth and heavy brow over wide-set empty eyes that resemble sunglasses—looks like an orthodontically challenged celebrity. Endangered took shape when the 37-year-old Jenkins, who had been doing underwater cinematography and vacation documentation, was photographing fishermen off the back of a boat. “Fishermen put out these long, multiple lines, but there is collateral damage, which are the turtles—they drown quite quickly,” Jenkins says. “One line had broken off from the boat and had washed up on shore. The poor guy had been dead from the line. It was a bit of a mess.” Attending a wedding at a Tampa Bay marine preserve also influenced him. “There was a glass cabinet with the skull,” he remembers. “I connected with it right away. I knew they were endangered. I thought I was ready to use my skill set to do something cool.” Numerous other species peer out from the walls, lending a natural history museum aura to this out-of-the-way

A black rhino skull is part of the starkly dramatic Endangered exhibit at MCQ Fine Art.

Downtown gallery: polar bear, orangutan, Western lowland gorilla, tamaraw (dwarf buffalo), addax (white antelope), babirusa (Indonesian pig) and Siberian tiger. “I spent quite a bit of time researching different animals, and I made the choices for which ones I connected to the most,” Jenkins says. “And I spent a lot of time with [the skulls]. You don’t just plop it down and take a picture of it. If you move the skull up or down, it changes the whole dynamic of the skull. I wanted to get [the positions] to where people could connect with them.”

Being a rookie exhibition artist, Jenkins had to quell some nerves before the opening artist’s reception earlier this month, but the reaction was encouraging. “This community really responds well to new work,” Quinn says. “And I’ve reached out to some colleagues in New York and L.A. for them to see this work and give some feedback on it. I think

the work is strong enough so that someone else should show the series.” Beyond the photographic artistry, there remains the cause itself—noble, vital, deserving of support—to stave off the extinction of entire species. “I don’t think this will make everybody pull out their wallet and contribute,” Jenkins says. “But at least I can make a difference.”

To see a slideshow of Jenkins’ art, visit EndangeredTheCollection.


by the announcement on Good Morning America of news that had been expected for so long it was hardly news and likely left still-sleepy earlymorning viewers yawning while 1,300 “fans,” i.e. Caesars Entertainment employees, feigned ecstasy (perhaps a few were genuinely ecstatic)—was OK as far as it went. Which wasn’t far enough. Chopper Britney didn’t outdo Shania Twain clip-clopping down the Strip on a horse or CeeLo setting his piano aflame. Or even Frank Sinatra back in the day, riding a camel to trumpet the 1955 opening of the Dunes. Step it up, spin-monsters. Turn me into such a simpering Spears spaz that by the opening of The Show That Stuns the Globe—and unleashes prayerful gratitude from every citizen of the Earth who is reduced to puddles of joyous tears—the only way to climax the rapture will be to guzzle rat poison. Then I will guzzle. Oh, I forgot: Welcome to Vegas, Brit. STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Given Pia Zadora’s recent legal troubles stemming from her decision to solve a domestic disagreement by turning a water spray on offending family members—escalating into a brief standoff with Metro’s SWAT unit— we’re relieved to know that she’s picking up a mic and putting down the nozzle. Last week, the singer commenced a weekly Thursday-through-Saturday-night gig at Piero’s Italian Cuisine, backed by a quartet led by Vincent Falcone. Shows are at 9 p.m. Garden hoses checked at the door. Got an entertainment tip? Email

September 26–October 2, 2013

JUST A NOD to Britney the Songbird, no nod to Britney the Cuckoo Bird? C’mon, you publicity/marketing overseers, over-doers and evildoers— the best over-the-top stunt you could manage last week was metaphorically casting Britney Spears as some sky-high deity descending from a helicopter to greet her slavish subjects panting for her Royal Pop-Tartness on the desert foor below? Where’s your imagination, not to mention your sense of tabloid history, without which The Brit wouldn’t have reached this level of media monster-dom? Surely, she could’ve rappelled down a rope from the chopper sans panties, saluting her peekaboo crotch-shot seen (and cringed at) around the world? Perhaps she could’ve dropped to the ground with her blond locks on fre and incinerating in an affectionate paean to her infamous self-sheared hairdo. Had you put any thought into it, you could’ve had her land on padding painted with the likeness of Kevin Federline. Or just land on Kevin Federline. Then dash over to the chopper, beating it senseless with an umbrella as a paparazzo cowered inside the cockpit. Didn’t she get airsick up there? Assuming she left behind any, shall we say, residue of that episode, did anyone think to collect it for sale at the Hard Rock gift shop? You know it would sell. Now that the “Baby One More Time” diva is heading to town to do a residency for the frst time, starting New Year’s weekend at Planet Hollywood, do I need to do all the thinking for you in the insufferable PR swarm that will engulf us over the next three months? Yes, the chopper stunt over the Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed—followed






Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) offers little solace to a distressed father (Hugh Jackman).

Moral Mystery This thrilling tale asks a question no parent wants to answer: How far is too far when trying to fnd a missing child?

September 26–October 2, 2013

By Michael Phillips Tribune Media Services



CLASSY TRASH, PRISONERS opens with a scene of holy sacrifce, the frst of many violent acts sanctifed as virtuous—necessary—by an increasingly grotesque narrative. In the Pennsylvania woods, a carpenter played by Hugh Jackman guides his quiet teenage son (Dylan Minnette) in the killing of his frst deer. A prayer is uttered. A shot is fred. The carpenter, named Keller Dover, is a true believer in the Lord, and he gets results. Times are neither flush nor terrible, but Keller scrapes to make his mortgage payments. He is a righteous man living for better circumstanc-

es. They do not come. The story moves to Thanksgiving dinner. He and his wife, played by Maria Bello, visit their neighbors for the traditional meal. Their hosts are a step up the socioeconomic ladder. Terrence Howard and Viola Davis play the Birches, who, like the Dovers, have a preteen daughter. The girls, who are friends, disappear near the home. At frst they seem more misplaced than lost. A frantic search ensues. No one is found. The police are brought in. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a loner detective named Loki who goes by the book, wearily, for a while,

until he’s goaded into action by Keller. The rest of Prisoners, which is an extremely wellmade thriller dressed up in a few ambiguities for show, follows Keller down a bloody rabbit hole leading to old, unsolved murders and fgments of evil very much alive and unwell. The specter of child abduction is enough to make most parents sick, which is why most flms (this one included) take pains to offer relief and solace through extreme brutality en route to a conclusion. Nothing’s bad enough for the perps of a novel or flm such as Mystic River, which Prisoners resembles somewhat, though at its creepiest and most ambitious the flm more strongly evokes David Fincher’s Zodiac. Prisoners casts such an effectively sustained mood of dread in its frst hour, you hardly notice the familiarity of the mystery clichés and, in particular, the overstressing of one clue that renders a subsequent major plot revelation less than revelatory. Paul Dano worms around as Alex, the chief suspect in the case, a mentally challenged boy-man whose RV was seen

near the site of the girls’ disappearance. Loki books him on suspicion but cannot hold him for lack of evidence. This allows Keller to become judge, jury and potential executioner in the story, kidnapping Alex (who knows more than he’s telling) and handcuffng him to a grungy apartment bathroom sink, away from the prying eyes of the law. The torturous beatings commence, with and without instruments of pain in Keller’s meaty hands. They’re tough to watch. We’re not meant to disapprove. Dano has played so many shifty, unpleasant ferrets in his career, the casting of this actor in this sort of part is shorthand for “he has it coming, no matter what.” Director Denis Villeneuve is the star here, and he fnds truth even in the junk aspects of Prisoners. The Quebecois flmmaker’s work includes the remarkable Incendies, and in Prisoners, which was shot in Georgia, he works closely with cinematographer Roger Deakins (making digital look nearly as rich and foreboding as flm stock) to create a series of scenes, interior and exterior,

that are grim trials of a parent’s soul. Eventually the plot throws in everything from puzzle pieces to actual serpents and, because Loki (named, oddly, for the Norse god of trickery) isn’t much of a character, Jackman’s Keller dominates the proceedings. He’s our Mr. Everyman with a hammer, so sturdy of body and stalwart of earnest spirit, Keller’s righteousness is never long in doubt. Around the midpoint, screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski’s story starts layering in the red herrings and widening the circle of sleaze. Throughout this beautifully made, slightly specious exercise in Old Testament revenge, the characterstudy aspects of Prisoners coexist intriguingly with the grisly inhumanity components. Some will take it and like it, all the way to the heart of darkness. Others may feel they’ve been jacked with, manipulated. Villeneuve collaborates with unusual sensitivity with his actors. The script operates on one level; the interpreters on another, higher level. Prisoners (R) ★★★✩✩



BATTLE OF THIS YEAR Here’s a formulaic dance flm that doesn’t stand out, but then again, it doesn’t need to By Roger Moore

Tribune Media Services

DANCE BATTLE MOVIES—Step Up and its ilk—have become the musicals of their generation. They may be formulaic in the extreme, but they’re athletic extravaganzas, celebrating great skill and the art of b-boys and b-girls. They may wear the veneer of “street” and “edgy,” but parents appreciate how harmless they are. Battle of the Year touches on how the rest of the world has embraced b-boy culture, but how they’re no longer perceived as cutting edge or cool in the United States. That worries the Sean Combs-like impresario, Dante (Laz Alonso): “How long before hip-hop isn’t cool?” He has to protect his music,

Singer Chris Brown (center) moonlights as a b-boy.

dance and fashion empire by putting American b-boys back on top. He hires an old dance buddy, W.B. (for “Wonder Bread”), now a grieving, alcoholic ex-basketball coach (Josh Holloway of Lost). W.B. has to get himself up to speed on the current state of dance, then recruit and coach a “dream team” of the best of America’s best to take on the rest of the world, which has passed America by and long dominated the annual b-boy Olympics known as “BOTY,” the Battle of the Year. That team consists of assorted arrogant, chip-on-their-

shoulder showoffs, because that’s what it takes to succeed. Actual star dancers such as Do Knock and Flipz are mixed with others, including singer Chris Brown. And helping coach is Jewish hip-hop authority “Franklyn with a y,” played by Josh Peck. Benson Lee, director of the defnitive documentary on the worldwide phenomenon, Planet B-Boy, co-wrote and directed this, and immodestly has characters watch that flm and sing its praises. Holloway cannot even hint at a real dance past, so the movie fakes that by having his coach

run his guys through drills (in split-screen sequences). Peck, once of TV’s Drake & Josh, one-time star of The Wackness, has a small, supporting role but is given top billing. In this case, that means his every scene includes overly made-up and coiffed closeups. It’s laughable. But tabloid darling Brown more than holds his own with this crew, apparently not even needing a dance double. The dance scenes—especially those involving teams from Germany, France and Korea—take the bboy moves to the next level. And there are plenty of easy,

September 26–October 2, 2013




Insidious: Chapter 2 (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

This sequel picks up moments after the first one. Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) is a demon-possessed family man. His wife, played by Rose Byrne, returns as his justifiably paranoid spouse, who keeps losing her children. This installment isn’t slovenly, but it’s a bit of a jumble. There seem to be too many reliable gotchas, like an invisible someone playing the piano, closet doors opening on their own, etc. It’s entertaining enough, but it’s no wonder director James Wan has expressed a desire to get out of horror for a while.

The Family (R) ★★✩✩✩

This violent action comedy stars Robert De Niro as Giovanni Manzoni, who ratted out his mob pals back in Brooklyn and now has a $20 million price on his head. And he’s in France. Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), the long-suffering wife, moves with him to yet another town where they yet again need to fit in. And Tommy Lee Jones takes a turn as a government agent who tries to keep the family alive, and keep the incidents with the locals to a minimum. Director Luc Besson isn’t exactly comfortable with comedy.

Riddick (R) ★★★✩✩

Vin is back in this installment of the Pitch Black sci-fi franchise. We open on a hot, scrubby planet, where our antihero (Vin Diesel), betrayed by the Necromongers, is left for dead among the beasts of the swamps. Riddick tries to survive in isolation, and eventually the bounty hunters, some old, some new, come for him. Especially good is Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica. It’s a simple, compact sequel, and it knows its goals and limitations.

undemanding laughs, the best lines coming from Peck’s assistant coach. “You look like a gazelle out there,” he praises his boss. “A gazelle with arthritis.” Which, while it doesn’t describe the movie, does hit this genre right in the bull’s-eye. But then, the beauty of Step Up and all its tired imitators is that the audience they’re shooting for has no idea that there have been 20 or 30 movies exactly like this one that came before it. Battle of the Year (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩


Closed Circuit (R) ★★★✩✩

A bomb goes off in London. More than 100 people die. The incident, and so much of daily life, is captured on surveillance cameras. The accused Muslim terrorist is assigned counsel. Martin Rose (Eric Bana) works with his client in a closely watched public trial. But the state has unearthed evidence so sensitive that another private trial is required—and separate counsel (Rebecca Hall). The counselors were lovers once but proceed without revealing it. It’s a pretty good movie, despite its plot holes.

Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil ® present


Yes, One Direction is still a thing, and, yes, there are plenty of tweens out there who want to see this concert flick. The film captures the five lads that Simon Cowell handpicked as they rocket up the charts and into arenas around the world. Sure, they come off as good lads, running around, bonding on a tour bus across Europe, the occasional stroll down a public street ... until they’re mobbed. All in all, it’s pretty whitewashed and prepackaged, so if you care, you’ll see it. If you don’t, you won’t.

The World’s End (R) ★★★✩✩

The latest genre mashup from the Shaun of the Dead team is highly enjoyable. Forty-ish London bloke Gary (Simon Pegg) struggles with his alcohol addiction while reuniting his old gang (Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine) for another go at the 12-pub crawl that defeated them when they were 19. Upon their return, everything’s slightly off. While it starts as a buddy drinking movie, it ends in robotalien action mayhem. And it’s awesome.

The Butler (PG-13) ★★★✩✩

Lee Daniels directs this historical drama in which the fictional Cecil Gaines (played by Forest Whitaker and loosely based on Eugene Allen) served several presidents as a White House staffer before, during and after the Civil Rights movement. His wife (Oprah Winfrey) raises their two boys while her husband spends too much time at work. Their oldest son, Louis (David Oyelowo) becomes a disciple of Dr. King and Malcolm X. While Whitaker does great with the material, the film is a bit heavy-handed.

Getaway (PG-13) ★✩✩✩✩

Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is a former professional race car driver living in Sofia, Bulgaria. His wife (Rebecca Budig) gets kidnapped on Christmas and held in a warehouse so that a criminal mastermind known as The Voice (Jon Voight) can blackmail Hawke’s character into a series of tasks behind the wheel of a custom Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake. At one point, Selena Gomez jumps into the passenger seat and attempts to steal back her car. The rest is more of the same weak effort. It’s awkward and pretty lame.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (PG-13) ★★✩✩✩

Based on the series of novels, this fantasy film is a stilted, silly mishmash of earlier franchises. Clary (Lily Collins) finds out that she is a Shadowhunter, a descendant of a warrior angel who showed up a thousand years ago to battle demons. Her admirer (Robert Sheehan) finds out. And a moptopped explainer Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) has the tedious job of explicating everything. There are five more planned, probably none of them amounting to much.

Jobs PG-13 ★★✩✩✩

This biopic about the late Apple computer guru Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) is just not very interesting. Kutcher’s performance is bland, and the depiction of Jobs is flat. We’re shown the origin story—the start in the Jobs family garage, the early, clunky Apple computers in the ’70s, paving the way for sleek multizillion-dollar design perfection. Whereas The Social Network was an indepth, skeptical character study, all we get from this is that Jobs was greedy and conniving, with nothing underneath.

Photo by Alicia Lee

This October, we bring back A Choreographers’ Showcase, the collaboration by Cirque du Soleil ® and Nevada Ballet Theatre presented in the Mystère Theatre at Treasure Island. This critically acclaimed partnership features new works created and performed by artists from both organizations.

Tickets: $25 & $45 | (702) 894-7722

September 26–October 2, 2013


October 6 & 13, 2013 Mystère Theatre, Treasure Island


One Direction: This Is Us (PG)



JIM CARUSO’S CAST PARTY WITH BILLY STRITCH Called “the gold standard of open mic nights” by the Wall Street Journal, Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is a cool cabaret night out. Led by musical director Billy Stritch, showbiz superstars hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle.

Wednesday, October 9 — 9:30pm SOUL MEN STARRING SPECTRUM A TRIBUTE TO SOUL, R&B AND MOTOWN Friday, October 18 & Saturday, October 19 — 7:00pm

DANNY WRIGHT “REFLECTIONS” Sunday, October 20 — 2:00pm & 6:00pm

BETTY BUCKLEY STARRING IN “THE VIXENS OF BROADWAY” Friday, October 25 – 7:00pm | Saturday, October 26 – 3:00pm & 7:00pm Sunday, October 27 – 3:00pm


361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106 I 702.749.2000 | TTY: 800.326.6868 or dial 711



HUNGER IN AMERICA. Every donation counts, and when you donate $5 or more*, BRIO will give you $5 OFF your next food purchase of $15 or more. It’s our way of saying “GRAZIE!” Together we can make a difference and connect kids with nutritious food where they live, learn and play.

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OCT 19 // pearl box ofce // 702.944.3200 //

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September 26–October 2, 2013

Why singing impressions? In my other life I am a singer and a recording artist; I did Grease and Chicago onstage. At frst I was only doing [impressions] to make my musician friends [and] family laugh. But my mom said, “When you were younger, you did impressions of your teachers and comedians you would see on TV.” In 2008, I was given the opportunity to be Celine’s opening act in Montreal, but as an impersonator. I have been working with a vocal coach for 15 years, and she helped me build a repertoire for my 28-minute show, and I stopped doing my own stuff. The frst night, there were 25,000 people standing up after my act.



Véronic DiCaire

The vocal impressionist on impromptu grocery-store performances, honoring Danny Gans and the pop princess who’s tough to pin down By Steve Bornfeld

MUSICAL ERAS BOUNCE around like tennis balls on the Jubilee! Theater stage at Bally’s—from Billie Holiday to Karen Carpenter to Rihanna, plus 47 more examples—when Véronic DiCaire is on it. Nurtured by Celine Dion as her protégé and tour opener, the 36-year-old French-Canadian impressionist debuted her one-woman smorgasbord of singers, Véronic Voices, in June. Initially slated to run only through August, the show—which is produced by Dion and her husband, René Angélil—was extended to December 21. Don’t be surprised if Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow, Susan Boyle, Whitney Houston, Taylor Swift, Donna Summer and many more—all residing in DiCaire’s talented pipes—wind up sticking around even longer. (Caveat to Miley Cyrus fans: Sorry—this classy lass does not twerk.)

Since arriving in Las Vegas, you’ve drawn comparisons as a female version of the late Danny Gans. Are you comfortable with that? It’s an honor. I heard he was a very good person. I never saw his show, but I went on the Internet, and he was very talented. In my show, I don’t [tell] the public, but I added Anita Baker because René [Angélil] saw Danny Gans, and one of his favorite impersonations from Danny Gans was Anita Baker. I’m doing Anita Baker as an homage to Mr. Gans. I cherish that in my heart. When I was trying to fgure out her voice, I told my vocal coach that I feel like I need to yawn, and she said, “Give it a try.” So I started, and she said, “You got it! Now put words in there and emotion.” It’s not to make fun of her at all. You have to place every singer everywhere in your body.

Which voices drive you bats? Let me tell you, sometimes there are nights when Adele makes me … Oooh. She has a lower voice, and if you’re too high in your body, Adele is harder to get some nights for me. I always have to work my Adele. And I had a hard time with Rihanna, and also Carrie Underwood. It took me hours and hours of listening to them. And when you get it, it’s like winning the lottery—never leave me, PLEASE! A good voice will grow on you. Like a good wine, it gets better and better. Britney Spears is about to start a residency at Planet Hollywood, but fans can also hear snippets of her in your show. What was it like to master her vocal quality? Britney Spears for me is the hardest. I’m from a background where I was singing popular songs, and as a singer, I project out there—I’m a Canadian, that’s what we do. So to go into that little voice (she squeaks it out), it was a challenge. That’s where you can hurt yourself, doing these little voices. You have to be very careful. Sometimes it’s hardest to fnd the new singers, the teens, because they are so processed. … Thank God for the Internet and YouTube, because you can see them sing live. That’s where I got the material to work with. When you bump into people who recognize you or know what you do, do they request an impression on the spot? Oh yes. Some people recognize me in the grocery store, and it’s like, “Can you do this right away?” Sometimes I do it, but it’s hard to be on when you’re doing something else. I’m always afraid of the result, because I’m not in the zone. What were your impressions of Las Vegas when you got here? There are contrasts everywhere. On the Strip, big lights. But then you go out and realize there is a life outside the Strip, like—Oh, there are Targets. People are actually living. But I got goose bumps when I got off the plane and I saw the publicity for me at the airport. And when I saw the bus [with my face on it]? Oh my God! That was the funniest thing ever. I thought, “I have a bus—I better work my butt off for this!”



Growing up in Ontario, did you think performing was your destiny? When you’re in high school, when you have to fgure out what your career plan will be, mine was to be a nurse. But I realized when I went into my chemistry and biology classes that I was not doing the right thing. Even my teachers were saying, “Véronic, what are you doing here? This isn’t your profle.” I wanted to be a nurse, because I wanted to take care of people. And I said, “You know what? I’ll take care of people differently, onstage.” The mission is to get to that guy sitting in Row ZZ who’s not smiling. I’m gonna make him smile or applaud or get up from his seat.

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