CAST PARTY 8pm - 11pm
WITH A CAUSE
ALL TICKET SALES ARE DONATED TO THE ANIMAL FOUNDATION
SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCES BY:
IAN TARA RYAN GARY CHERYL IMANI CODY MASIELA STACEY ZIERING REID NEWMAN BUSEY TIEGS HAKIM LINLEY LUSHA DASH Featuring a Poolside Red Carpet • Cash Bar and Food Available for Purchase
Visit StratosphereHotel.com or call 800.99.TOWER to purchase tickets. Cast appearances are subject to change. All ages are welcome to the party, if accompanied by an adult.
JULY 21–AUGUST 3, 2016
T H E LAT EST
“New Kid in Town” Henderson Hospital is a game changer for the city’s senior citizens. By EMMILY BRISTOL
“Cyber Chase” Casinos are especially vulnerable to hacks. Here’s how to minimize the risks. Green Felt Journal by DAVID G. SCHWARTZ
Plus … Jubilee! to live on at the Las Vegas Showgirl Museum, Seven Days, Ask a Native and The Deal.
NIGH T LIF E
“Out of This World” Unlike Pluto is unlike anything we’ve seen or heard. By DAVID MORRIS Plus … Seven Nights, a Q&A with Luke Shay and photos from the week’s hottest parties.
“How Green Is Our Valley?” Urban Seed startup promises a sustainable farming revolution. By AL MANCINI
Plus … Dish & Tell, how Hemant Kishore balances pastries and pounds, and a profile of Las Vegas’ Best Bartender.
FE AT URE
Best of the City 2016
Dining & Drinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 25 People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 32 Community & Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 35 Business & Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 39 Health, Beauty & Style . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 42 Nightlife . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 45 Arts & Entertainment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 49
“The Prodigal Daughters Return” Pats and Eddy raise stylish hell once again in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. By LISSA TOWNSEND RODGERS
Plus … Seven’s 14, catching up with Dizzy Wright, and Charlie Starling’s obsession with Pokemon Go.
The riotously funny Puppet Up! brings the studio of the Muppets back to its dangerous, try-anything roots. By GEOFF CARTER
SEVEN Q U EST IONS
112 Omnia’s aerial bottle presentation photographed by Krystal Ramirez.
W. Kamau Bell on the ACLU, United Shades of America and Donald Trump.
July 21–August 3, 2016
PHOTO BY KRYSTAL RAMIREZ
Adriana Chavez, Elizabeth Colon Nelson and Heidi Rider of the Weft in the Weave Collective, Best Art Curators, Page 50.
“Back to Gorch”
L AS VEGAS’ WEEKLY CITY MAGAZINE
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Oddfellows— the dance club for people who don’t like dance clubs. (See page 46.)
I was a skater kid. I got good grades, but I was always kind of the screwup of the family. My sister was the golden child, so me moving here wasn’t as bad as my sister doing it. She’s three years older, so she [studied] neuroscience and then she moved to L.A. to become an actress. We are firstgeneration Persians in America, so it was hard at first, but we’re easing into it. Things don’t just happen overnight.
My parents supported me a little bit, but I definitely struggled. I definitely had a few jobs in L.A to support myself. Also my sister helped out because I just crashed with her on her couch for six months. How do you stand out?
I sing on my tracks. I sang and song-wrote in high school, so I just always did it [as a producer]. You’ve managed to garner 30 million hits on your SoundCloud account. What’s your secret?
July 21–August 3, 2016
I started getting a little bit of a buzz online in 2012. I just released a ton of remixes. I did a Gorillaz remix. There were probably 15 different remixes that got me Hype Machine placements over the years. Then the Revolutionary mix is what really took off, because 30 million plays was beyond anything on my page at the time.
You’ve also done this without any crazy gimmicks, such as a mask, but you still have to forge an identity.
At the moment, musically I’m not trying to go out and brand myself like, “Hey, look at my face.” I’m definitely just trying to differentiate and brand myself musically, because I was always the music guy growing up. I loved just sitting in a dark cave making music all day. It’s what I’ve loved doing since I was 11. Being
able to work with a vocalist and bring something out of them that they wouldn’t normally do in their sessions—I want to be that guy that they feel comfortable around, that makes something unique, and to have it be very consistent through different vocalists. Your manager Senthil has a notable EDM platform but little experience in this arena. What led you to sign with him?
He’s a hustler. He gets stuff done. He has a lot of connections. He knows the ins and outs of the industry. It was a perfect pairing. I’m more of the guy who’s kind of lax. I’m like, “Oh, I’ll spend two weeks on a track,” and he’s like, “Get it done.” We kind of meet halfway, so it’s perfect. You’re signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent label.
I released a mini EP exactly a year ago, and I believe we’re going to follow up that with an EP in July. We’re working with Monster Cat, we’re working with Atlantic Records. We’re doing a single release with Ultra Music and have a new track with Steve Aoki. You’re often on hardersounding festival lineups. Is that what you’re going for?
I hope I fit in a little bit as a live artist, but musically I feel at least pretty diverse. When you look at Skrillex, Diplo and all of the other major EDM [artists], anything really fits with them; there is no very specific thing that they’re doing at the moment. The definition of EDM is kind of up in the air, so anything goes. You can make any genre with EDM, and it totally fits with it. I’m basically a singer/ songwriter working with vocalists and infusing different styles of music that I listened to growing up, such as jazz, emo, blues, hard core, rock, indie rock, even a little bit of country. And fusing that with a little bit of EDM, but not making it full-on EDM, just making it electronic, it’s my own thing.
PHOTO BY JOSHUA DAHL
What did your parents say when you abandoned your plans to be a dentist to become a DJ?
THURSDAY, JULY 21
THURSDAY, JULY 28
FRIDAY, JULY 29
FLOSSTRADAMUS THURSDAY, AUGUST 4
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11
FRIDAY, JULY 22
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12
Seven Nights Your week in parties By I A N C A R A M A N Z A N A
too-hot-for-TV stunt ruffled the feathers of everybody including E! News staff and Lena Dunham, yet, it’s still an icebreaker in day-to-day conversation. She’s sure to make headlines when she parties at Hakkasan tonight. (In MGM Grand, 10:30 p.m., HakkasanLV.com.)
THU 21 Rozes, a.k.a. Elizabeth Mencel, is a Pennsylvania-born singer/ songwriter whose claim to fame was her contributing vocals on the Chainsmokers’ “Roses.” The bouncy trap tune, released in 2015, surged to the top of the Billboard charts with its simple, infectious melody and hard-hitting drums. Following the smash hit, Rozes laid low for nearly a year and worked on her forthcoming EP, Burn Wild. Last month, she finally released a single from the work, “Hangin’ On.” It’s a reggaetinged song that showcases the singer’s dynamic range and rich vocals. Throw some roses onstage when she performs the two songs at Intrigue. Politik mans the decks. (In Wynn, 10:30 p.m., IntrigueVegas.com.)
Remember that infamous Iggy Azalea freestyle video that made its rounds on the internet last year? The Australian rap star caught a lot of heat for not enunciating her words during the epic minute-long charade; some called it “a jumbled mess of words” and “mush.” Some claim we will never know what she said during the flurry. But alas, the same people who slammed her did some research and figured out she was rapping an acapella version of her song with YG, “D.R.U.G.S.” Isn’t the internet just great? Lately, Azalea’s been down in the dumps after she split from her beau, Los Angeles Laker Nick Young. She claimed to have seen security footage of the basketball star having affairs with women at their residence. Cheer her up when she gets “Fancy” at Jewel. (In Aria, 10:30 p.m., JewelNightclub.com.) Want to shake things up a bit? Borgore brings his signature earth-shattering bass to Foxtail.
July 21–August 3, 2016
What’s left to say about Kim Kardashian West? The reality television superstar, actress, socialite, model and wife of Kanye West hits the front of the tabloids on a daily basis—whether it be a dissection of something wild she said in public, an outfit recap, or simply a timeline of her ass(ets). Speaking of which, we recently got a peek of those in Kanye West’s controversial video for “Famous.” The video, inspired by artist Vincent Desiderio’s “Sleep,” features a handful of celebrities from George W. Bush, Taylor Swift, Bill Cosby and others, nude on a bed, insinuating the idea of an orgy. The
Kim Kardashian West.
Take some of his advice and “Keep It Weird!” (At SLS, 10:30 p.m., FoxtailLasVegas.com.)
SUN 24 It’s the so-called day of rest, so get your fix by partying poolside at Sky Beach Club. DJs Sincere and CEO will be cranking out
the hip-hop-heavy tunes to keep the vibe going. OK, maybe it isn’t the tranquil beach sunset you initially painted in your head, but partying poolside on the Strip is the next best thing. Actor Terrence J hosts, so you can get funkay. (At Tropicana Las Vegas, 12 p.m., SkyBeachClubLV.com.)
MON 25 Take the day off and party for a good cause. Palms Pool hosts Cabanas for a Cause where $100 gets your own cabana, and the profits go directly to Grant a Gift for Autism and Rainbow Company Youth Theatre. Just make sure you specify with the VIP host where you want the funds to go, then get to partying. (At the Palms, 1 p.m., Palms.com.) Next, dash to Marquee for a set by trance heavyweight Dash Berlin. He’s been on the road quite a bit, hitting places as far as Ottawa and Kansas City, and returning to Las Vegas for EDC. He’s back again, so show him some love. It almost seems as if Vegas is his home town, doesn’t it? (In the Cosmopolitan, 10 p.m., MarqueeLasVegas.com.)
TUE 26 Give Kayper a warm (or blistering hot, rather) Las Vegas welcome. The English DJ, producer and radio personality is hitting Drai’s Nightsplash for the first time, and you’re invited. As a woman in the industry, she’s held it down for her fellow females, earning her first residency at age 16 at London’s Ministry of Sound, making history as the first female to win the Vestax Juice competition in 2003 and has been getting cosigns from Diplo, BBC Radio and Hypetrak as a force to be reckoned with. See what all the hype’s about tonight. (In the Cromwell, 10:30 p.m., DraisNightlife.com.)
WED 27 Give a high five to DJ Five for cranking out a weeknight set at Light. And give him another for coming up with what we think is one of the most creative Twitter handles ever—Thai Dolla $ign. That’s no SKAM. (In Mandalay Bay, 10:30 p.m., TheLightVegas.com.)
Winner, Winner Drai’s resident Luke Shay has an appetite for success (and sushi) By Kat Boehrer ➜ ORIGINALLY FROM VIRGINIA BEACH, Luke Shay relocated to Las Vegas from Los Angeles a little over three months ago to continue to focus on his music career. After hitting it big and going viral by winning remix contests online, Shay scored a residency at Drai’s Beach Club Nightclub in the Cromwell. But Shay has a multifaceted lifestyle outside of his music career. He’s also a local adventurer and a total foodie. How do you want the world to perceive you as a musician?
All the music I’ve done, I’ve always stayed true to good organic music as far as chords and melodies. I’m not trying to go cheesy or hop on the bandwagon of what’s popular at the moment. I like to make music that makes people feel something and helps people get through times in their lives. If that’s something I can do, that’s great. And as a DJ?
Bringing that to the club setting is a totally different vibe, though. You can’t play certain types of music in clubs because it just doesn’t work. I guess [being known] as a DJ, [playing music] that’s tasteful and brings something new to the club and doesn’t go in and play the same overplayed songs over and over again. I spend a lot of time curating my set to be interesting. I’ll put in an old song or something that catches everyone off guard. [So] people can reminisce about songs that are from the ’90s and stuff that they grew up on.
July 21–August 3, 2016
How do you remember all of the old-school stuff to play?
I have it all on my computer. I’ve been DJing for 10 years now; I’ve been collecting music for a long time. When I first started DJing, I had a mentor, and he was older than me. He had a music collection that was even older. He gave me a music collection that he had to start off with, and then I just kept building and building. If you’re out somewhere and you hear a song that you haven’t heard in forever, but it’s just a song that you love, it always catches your attention right away. If you’re in a club setting and you’re used to hearing the same songs over and over again, but then
you hear this throwback, it always just grabs you.
that I just decided to make the move to try out Vegas.
You recently made the move to Las Vegas. Where were you before that?
Do you like it so far?
I moved to Los Angeles first and I was there for close to four years. I had a mentor for a year; his name is Cory Enemy. He produced for Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and a bunch of big pop people. I was living with him for a year and I was going to the studio with him every day and just working on music with him. I got to learn a lot, which is what I really wanted to go there for, to expand on the making music side of things. Then, I started putting out some stuff under my name. I won a couple remix competitions, and a couple of the songs went viral. That’s when I started getting contacted and started playing a bunch of shows outside of L.A. as well. Is that what brought you to Las Vegas?
Yes. I signed a residency with Drai’s, which has been great. I was playing so much at Drai’s and traveling back and forth between L.A. and Las Vegas
I do. I’ve gotten to explore all the stuff off the Strip. For all the times that I was coming here for the last few years before living here, I would always just stay on the Strip in a hotel. Now, I’m getting to find all the good places to eat off the Strip because I’m a huge foodie. I love food, cooking and going out to eat. What do you like to eat here in Las Vegas?
Normally, it’s Asian cuisine, Japanese restaurants. Sushi is probably my go-to. I’m not going to make sushi at home because I’m not a sushi chef. That’s just not going to be good. I like Korean barbecue, Thai food— those are my favorites to go out to eat, which is amazing in Las Vegas. Chinatown has every type of Asian cuisine you could think of. When you were living with Cory Enemy, did you get to work with any of those pop stars you mentioned?
Yeah, I’ve gotten to contribute to
some of the music for different artists like that. I was working beneath him, which is great. I guess at that stage you don’t really get credited, but you get to learn, you get brought into the industry. I sat in the same room with Katy Perry and big artists such as TLC when they redid their last album for the movie [CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, 2013]. I definitely got to meet a lot of them, which is cool. A lot of them are really nice. I love learning that pop stars are actually cool people in real life.
Many of them are just like anyone else. Some of them are actually weird. I mean, once you become that famous, you’re in another place. A lot of them are just overwhelmed by it, I’m sure. You can’t just have a normal life anymore. That would be crazy. It’d be awesome though.
Yeah, if you can put up with all the things that come along with it, like not being able to eat dinner without somebody coming up asking for a photo.
ERIC DLUX & YELLOW CLAW
JUSTIN CREDIBLE PERFORMANCE BY PARSON JAMES
DJ POLITIK AUGUST 11
AUGUST 12 WYNNSOCIAL.COM
SEVEN MORE NIGHTS THU 28 Start your weekend on a high note by partying at the Foundation Room. DJ Seany Mac will provide the soundtrack while you take in an incredible view of our city from 63 floors up. (In Mandalay Bay, 10 p.m., HouseOfBlues.com/FR.) FRI 29 Legendary turntablist/ DJ/producer/Fool’s Gold owner A-Trak gets wet at Encore Beach Club at Night. See if he adds anything else to his list of job titles since, according to Facebook, he just embarked on a “culinary tour.” (In Encore, 10 p.m., EncoreBeachClub.com)
LAS VEGAS’ BEST BARTENDER Commonwealth, July 12
SAT 30 Steve Aoki is known to dive into his crowds on rafts and pool floaties during sets, so be a part of that proverbial pool when he parties it up at Jewel. Note that there is a strict dress code, so leave the swimsuit at home. (In Aria, 10:30 p.m., JewelNightclub.com.) SUN 31 Looking to get a taste of EDM and hip-hop? Spend your day at the Cromwell where you can catch up-and-coming DJ/ producer Ghastly at Drai’s Beachclub during the day, and Canadian Juno Award-winning rapper Belly at Drai’s by night. Not a bad way to end the month, if you ask us. (In the Cromwell, 10:30 p.m., DraisNightlife.com.) MON 1 Three tones, two men, one party. Tritonal brings its melodic progressive house flavor to Marquee. We’re sure you’ve fully digested their latest album, Painting With Dreams, so help them do just that when the two drop “Blackout.” (In the Cosmopolitan, 10 p.m., MarqueeLasVegas.com.)
See more photos from this gallery at SPYONvegas.com
WED 3 Kick it old school by breaking out the denim overalls, Jordans and bleached tips, and hit up ’90s Night at Oddfellows. It promises to be the most radical party Downtown. (150 Las Vegas Blvd. North, 8 p.m., Oddfellows Vegas.com.) –Ian Caramanzana
PHOTOS BY AMIT DADL ANEY
July 21–August 3, 2016
TUE 2 We’re deep into the dog days of summer. That means it’s imperative to keep out of the blistering heat in order to survive. Thankfully, we can party indoors and enjoy a refreshing take on Moby’s classic, “Go!”, by HI-LO a.k.a. Oliver Heldens. He’s sure to drop it at Omnia alongside other future house bangers such as “Space Sheep” and “Ghost.” (In Caesars Palace, 10 p.m., OmniaNightclub.com.)
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
GARBAGE NOW ON SALE SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
AND THE PEACEMAKERS
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18
TIËSTO’S BEST. SUMMER. EVER.
MARQUEE DAYCLUB The Cosmopolitan [ UPCOMING ]
July 21–August 3, 2016
July 22 The Knocks spin July 23 Tritonal spins July 24 Lema spins
See more photos from this gallery at SPYONvegas.com
epic on a daily basis, but the Netherlands-born EDM titan is enjoying an especially good streak this summer. For one, he has a second Las Vegas landmark that will be blaring his music. There is already a version of the Bellagio Fountains show set to Tiësto’s music. And now Downtown has been treated to three songs from Tiësto’s album A Town Called Paradise (and yes, Paradise, Nevada, includes the Strip). Launched on June 16 to coincide with Electric Daisy Carnival, the Fremont Street Experience has set one of its light and sound shows on the 1,500-foot-long Viva Vision canopy to the mogul’s music, including “Secrets,” “Red Lights” and “Wasted,” which play nightly at midnight and can be heard from five blocks away. For most people, that’s enough to call it a day, but there’s much more where that came from. Following his Fremont Street debut, Tiësto had not one, but two standout moments from EDC in June. During his set at the kineticFIELD stage (boasting about 80,000 people strong), he brought out John Legend to perform their newest collaboration, “Summer Nights.” Legend was inclined to work with the producer again after Tiësto’s remix of “All of Me” went on to win a Grammy, and lucky for all of us, a resonant original was born from the two working together in the studio. A second surprise surfaced during masked mystery performer Marshmello’s set at EDC’s grassy cosmicMEADOW stage. The DJ in white from marshmallow head to toe decided to make some fun out of the ongoing campaign to reveal his identity by taking off his mask, showing the famous face nobody expected: none other than Tiësto. The mischievous act garnered plenty of media for two of the most buzzedabout nightlife figures in the city right now. For his next act, Tiësto played the July 18 launch of Flawless Mondays for Industry at Jewel in Aria. He then returns to his regularly scheduled residency in the main room at Hakkasan on July 23, 28, 30 and August 13, 20 and 25. –John Carr
PHOTOS BY JOE FURY
➜ Tiësto’s life is already pretty
T RO P I C A L
SUNDAZE EVERY SUNDAY LOCALS FREE WITH NV I.D.
A Balancing Act Local chef merges the good life with a healthy life By Al Mancini
designed to cater to our vices is not easy. Hemant Kishore experienced that problem firsthand, not by getting dragged into the 24-hour party cycle, but simply by pursuing his dream as a pastry chef. Growing up with a love of cooking in India, where chefs aren’t nearly as respected as they are in the West, Kishore came to the U.S. in 2007 to study pastry and baking at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduating and returning home because of visa requirements, he came to Las Vegas two years ago and took a job as a pastry chef with a catering company that consulted for Downtown coffee shop PublicUs. “I opened the restaurant for them, I did the bread in the bread program and made all the pastries,” he says. But when the contract was up, and Kishore took some time off to travel to California and Arizona, he had to face the results of his life of carbs and sweets. “I had done a graveyard shift for a year,” he says. “So I just needed to chill for a bit. And this is when my friends told me I had put on a lot of weight working at PublicUs.” After his doctor advised him of the need to lose weight, Kishore decided to get in shape. Rather than return to tennis and track and field, which he had pursued in high school, he decided to give weightlifting a try. Unfortunately, he quickly learned what most food writers learn early in their careers: It’s tough to drop pounds when you’re surrounded by, and accustomed to, great food. “I wasn’t going to eat broccoli and steamed chicken just to be in shape,” he says of his dilemma. “Because that’s not what I went to CIA for.” The chef managed to get back in shape—and then some. In all, he lost more than 60 pounds. Given his own success with cooking for a health regimen, Kishore launched a food delivery service called The 6 Pack Chef in October. It was so successful that Kishore had to shut down temporarily in search of a new kitchen. But it will launch again September 1, and he’s signing up customers at TheHKLife.com/Food.
The 6 Pack Chef offers weekly home deliveries of three, four or five “lunch box” meals for $100, $130 or $150 a week, respectively. Each three-course meal consists of a soup, salad or other appetizer; a main course consisting of a lean protein, complex carbohydrate and vegetable; and a fruit cup or parfait. Most of the produce comes from weekly trips to the Downtown Summerlin or Downtown 3rd farmers markets. “I try to get everything as local or organic as possible,” Kishore says, “so the menu is seasonal. What they bring is what I cook. Then I vary the carbs. So it’s not always brown rice; I use orzo, farro, quinoa and mix it up a little bit. And I use my Indian influences on just about everything. I wouldn’t say it’s Indian, but I take classic dishes and put my spin on it.” A sampling of his health-conscious dishes proved top-notch, and in no way reminiscent of diet fare. Sure, there was the obligatory summer salad and fruit cup. But the former came with heirloom tomatoes, arugula, Armenian and Persian cucumber, petite camembert and ginger balsamic, and was worthy of a fine restaurant. The latter, which garnished an assortment of seasonal fruit with coconut, candied ginger, crystalized honey and fresh mint, would be at home on the dessert menu at most higher-end spots. Then there was the rich, well-seasoned osso bucco with sweet-and-sour eggplant on garlic orzo, or an intriguing pair of spiced cutlets made with yellowtail and purple majesty potatoes. But 6 Pack Chef isn’t the extent of Kishore’s ambitions. It’s just one aspect of an umbrella company called The HK Life that seeks to blend his two loves: good food and physical fitness. He’s expanded to catering, and recently hosted a pop-up dinner at Forte European tapas. Kishore’s also doing fitness-based photography, and he wants to expand into fashion. The unifying force in all of these will remain a balance between healthy living and good living—a rarity anywhere, but especially in this town.
“I wasn’t going to eat broccoli and steamed chicken just to be in shape. Because that’s not what I went to CIA for.”
Hemant Kishore; scallops with puréed purple cauliflower and dill flower; and tomato salad with smoked mozzarella.
PHOTOS BY KRYSTAL RAMIREZ
July 21–August 3, 2016
➜ STAYING HEALTHY IN A town
would develop sketches,” says Brian Henson, chairman of The Jim Henson Company. (And yes, he’s Jim’s son through and through—he’s every bit as passionate about the work as his dad was, and the physical resemblance is striking.) “Gonzo, Piggy—all of those characters were developed in a very uncensored environment that the public never saw.” Until now, that is. And just as the elder Henson was somewhat bemused to find himself doing a recurring puppet skit on a largely non-puppet sketch comedy show, so the son is amazed to be doing Vegas. “Mostly, we’re a television and film company. I didn’t imagine that I would be doing a live theater show,” Henson says. “It just organically happened. The plan was to find a new tone of comedy that we really loved, start writing to it and then start producing television in that vein. What we found was that the energy contained within Puppet Up! is more exciting than scripted work.” REMEMBERING A FELT FEVER DREAM
Puppet Up! is easily described. The show is hosted by actor and comedian Patrick Bristow, best known for his recurring work on Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom Ellen (though also he made memorable appearances in such films
as Austin Powers: International Man of What if a crowd is a dud? Mystery and Showgirls). Bristow works “We’ve never had a dud audience!” the crowd, fishing for improv sugBristow says. “Most people get swept gestions. When he has enough, he asup in this. I can’t think of the last time sembles them into the framework for it didn’t work …” He checks himself, a skit, chooses a few puppeteers from and says, “Except when the audience is the ensemble of six and stands back. too polite. In Canada, they’re so sweet. They then grab puppets off a rack They wouldn’t shout out suggestions— seemingly at random and perform the ‘Oh, we don’t shout.’ Finally, I said, skit on the fly. ‘Just pretend you’re Americans.’” While the mechanics are basic, the conA FEW DIRTY DOGS tent is something else Circling back to the PUPPET UP! again. Puppet Up! is by mechanics of Pupturns filthy, surreal, pet Up!: One of the Nightly (dark Wednesdays), corny, side-splittingly coolest things about assorted showtimes at the hilarious—and, in the show is that you Sands Showroom at the some moments, even can enjoy it in two Venetian, $69-$109, 866somewhat beautidifferent ways. You 641-7469, Venetian.com. ful. Space aliens have can either watch the café discussions with puppets alone—the dogs; talking hot dogs puppeteers perform ponder the mysteries of existence. Rethem in front of an elevated camally, trying to explain the content of era, which feeds to stage-flanking one specific show is pointless; the next screens—or you can watch the pupshow will be entirely different, depeteers at work below the puppets, pending on how vocal the crowd is. a curtain Henson has never drawn “It tends to be quite blue,” Henson says. back before now. “Once you put 500, 700 people in “We’re not hiding the puppeteers, charge of what the puppets are doing we’re not hiding the cables, the moni… I mean, c’mon,” Bristow says. “One tors, anything,” Bristow says. “The audience might be a bit more naughty, slightly revolutionary thing about this and another audience might prefer for Henson is you never saw the puppuppet violence.” peteers before. You weren’t supposed
to. It’s almost part of the definition of puppetry. Avenue Q does a thing where the person is playing the character, but the puppet is also playing the character. We have a hard line above the heads of the puppeteers, but you can still see when they’re struggling, when they’re having fun and when they’re trying not to laugh.” They might not laugh, but audiences will, and they’ll come back. The one constant to Puppet Up! is that it’s freaking hilarious, even when its audience goes inexplicably Canadian. And every once in a while, you get a night—a crazy, straight-outta-Gorch kinda Saturday night—like the one Bristow describes in parting: “We had the hot dogs puppets up there. I asked the crowd, ‘What are they doing right now?’ And someone yells out, ‘Rimming!’ “I froze. The audience starts laughing, and I said, ‘I’m going to get some other ... You really said that, didn’t you? We’re going to get some other choices, and put it up to a vote.’ So we did, and what did the audience go for? It’s a bunch of hot dogs." Bristow chuckles. "It’s a testament to the fact that you can have puppets do things that would be horrendous in public ... and the audience laughs at it, because it’s foam and fabric.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF PUPPET UP!
July 21–August 3, 2016
Julianne Buescher and Colleen Smith grab a couple of puppets from the ensemble and go to work.
Dizzy Wright is building a full-fledged movement.
[ MUSIC ]
Dizzy Wright Is Ready to Roll
July 21–August 3, 2016
➜ A COUPLE HUNDRED KIDS LINE UP outside of
Downtown lifestyle boutique Institution 18b. It’s 7 p.m. on July’s First Friday, but these aren’t the usual art spectators. They’re mostly kids in bucket hats and weed-print socks, some toting skateboards, all anxiously awaiting the man of the hour: stoner rap deity and Las Vegas hip-hop president Dizzy Wright. The following day, July 2, would see the release of the 25-year-old artist’s The 702 EP. But tonight, his eager fans will get a first listen, cop some merch, snap photos and, if they’re lucky, share a blunt with him. It’s a good time with good vibes—the two elements that make up the rapper’s newest release. While he’s noted for his positive, third-eye consciousness, the eight-track EP embodies the Las Vegas lifestyle. It’s filled with club bangers and bass-heavy trunk-rattlers for when you’re “Boulder Highway pimpin’,” as Dizzy raps on “East Side” (the song also references everything from Crystal Palace to Sam’s Town). “I just wanted to catch the timing, the summer
vibe. I wanted to be able to give the city something to turn up to—just some fun, feel-good music,” he says. The project may be dedicated to his hometown, but it isn’t just for his Las Vegas fans. “I threw a couple gems in there that the people from Vegas will understand, but I want everybody in the world to turn up to the shit.” Dizzy has labored long to stake his claim in the international hip-hop sphere. His 2012 debut, SmokeOut Conversations, peaked at No. 2 on iTunes’ hip-hop charts, earning him a spot on hip-hop magazine XXL’s 2013 Freshman list and on label Funk Volume, which dissolved in January after its owners had a falling out. That bump in the road hasn’t slowed Dizzy’s momentum. In true Vegas tradition, he’s following up the bad beat by doubling down with the recent announcement of his own label, Still Movin’. An ardent supporter of Las Vegas’ oft-neglected rap scene, Dizzy even has a couple of local artists in mind, though he won’t reveal any names. “I’ve
already found two artists that I’m definitely going to try to help and be everything I can be for. Hopefully they want to be a part of the squad, but even if they don’t, I want to see them do great things,” he says. With the engine on, Dizzy’s ready to start moving, but he wants to make sure Las Vegas is on board. Although he holds the title as the city’s most successful rapper, he doesn’t get the club and radio support that visiting acts do, so he amped up his marketing and put up billboards around the city supporting The 702 EP. But Dizzy’s movement is much bigger than Las Vegas. “I’m not just trying to be local famous. I’m not OK with that. I never will be. Having 200 people come out, it feels good, but I’m never gonna be satisfied with that. I want 500 people to come out, 1,000 people to come out. I want to reach and touch more and more people every chance I get,” he says. “I’m just putting it in [Las Vegas’] face and letting people know it’s time to join the movement before you start looking like a bandwagoner.”
PHOTOS BY @MCKEEZACH AND @UNXOMMON/INSTAGRAM
Las Vegas’ leading rap act drops a new EP—and announces a new label By Zoneil Maharaj
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W. Kamau Bell The comedian on the ACLU, United Shades of America and Donald Trump By Emmily Bristol
You were here last month for the ACLU of Nevada’s 50th anniversary celebration. Why did you agree to speak?
I try to do whatever I can for the ACLU, whether it’s spreading the word about causes or supporting it by doing a show. I was honored to be invited. It was a big deal for them. I can’t imagine what it was like 50 years ago in Nevada for the ACLU. They had a reel of the things they are working on now, even a young woman who was kicked out of her school for wearing her hair with an unnatural color, which I’m glad they’re fighting. I bet 50 years ago the issues were like, hey, just stop hitting that lady. I appreciate the fact that while we’re still dealing with the bigger issues of society, we can also get to some more nuanced things.
July 21–August 3, 2016
Have you been to Las Vegas before?
The last time I was in Vegas, I think I was 13. I was tall, but I certainly looked every bit of not-21. We sort of had a very fun, 13-year-old version of The Hangover. I haven’t been back, because as a comedian, the Vegas comedy scene is sort of focused in casinos and things like that. I would certainly like to perform for people in Las Vegas, but I don’t think that I’m the best comedian for, “And now go gamble.” I think some comics very naturally fit into those scenarios. They don’t hit hot-button issues or aren’t explicit or whatever. For me, it’s like, you have to be a comedian who
can very easily follow or be followed by a magician—and I’m not that guy. Let’s talk about your CNN series, United Shades of America, nominated by the Television Critics Association for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information and an Emmy for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program.
We did eight episodes, each addressing a different community. I was a little worried that the episodes would take too many left turns for people to keep up with or be interested in. The response and the ratings have been good. I’m, hopefully, looking forward to Season 2, and we’re waiting to hear. Was there any one person or situation particularly scary or problematic?
There was a creeping sense of danger with the Ku Klux Klan. Some of those guys were weirdly happy to have me there so they could talk about their traditions and their pride. But there were guys who felt like wing nuts. Like, what if one of these guys just flips out? Or, what if a guy runs out of the forest after me? I use comedy as a defense mechanism to keep people laughing, because when people are laughing with you, they’re not generally trying to kill you. When I walked into the [San Quentin] prison I felt trepidation, but within about five minutes it was [gone], because I quickly got into the conversations with people.
In the last episode, I went out on a carnival ride that springs up into the air and you just bounce on a bungee cord. That’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t do in my real life. That’s like, Well, that’s a dumb way to die. I can’t believe that I did it. I would sooner go talk to the Klan again than do that again. Who was the most interesting?
I talked to a guy who was a full-on prepper/survivalist in the off-the-grid episode. On the surface you’d be like, “This guy is nuts.” We didn’t agree with each other on a lot, but he was able to let his guard down and have an awkward conversation with me. That’s what the show’s about. It’s about modeling how to have productive, awkward conversations. The news lately is lending itself to more awkward conversations.
Absolutely. The key is to make them productive, not Donald Trump-ian. What’s your take on Trump?
I think of Trump like a stand-up comedian. He’s winning because he’s a better performer than some of the other candidates. If Hillary [Clinton] said, “I can walk down Fifth Avenue and shoot someone, and my poll numbers would go up,” it would be game over. Or if Obama said that, he would be impeached within the day. He could never have the level of unhinged, un-fact-checked bellicose
verbosity [that Trump has]. If Hillary gets loud, she becomes “shrill.” Whereas Trump is just “saying what people are afraid to say.” It’s the very definition of white, male privilege—and rich-guy privilege. That’s too many things. You can’t be white, male and rich and be president. That disconnects you from too many Americans. And it’s insane that he’s able to portray himself as some sort of common man. What did you think of the woman who tweeted, “I like you and I love your show and I’m an avid supporter of Trump.”?
I was like, “Are you sure you like me and my show? Are you sure you’re not just talking about the commercials for my show?” We live in interesting times, and right now things are getting maybe a little bit too interesting. I encourage people to not only vote for the candidate that they think best reflects the best of themselves, but also I suggest you have some awkward conversations like this woman started with me. Maybe through those conversations you’ll learn something about your candidate that you didn’t know, which might affect your decision. Not the flaming internet conversations and snarky conversations and trolling conversations, but actual conversations. What’s with Bell’s obsession with Denzel Washington? Read the full interview at VegasSeven.com/Bell.