enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Merry Christmas: Thanks for Reading, and Here's Your Christmas Gift

Everyone here at LV Arts and Culture, and when I say everyone I mean me, would like to say thanks to all the readers. I love all 8 of you. The site will be start posting new articles in the New Year.

It's just a break; I still plan on writing you. Until then, dig through the archives. Write me a letter. And, for your entertainment, I give you the following...

Do you know your art?, from the English newspaper The Guardian, tests your artistic knowledge. "A survey has found that the British are a nation of art illiterates. Can you tell your Monet from your Van Gogh?" Well, let's show those Brits how good Americans know their art. Yeah, go Thomas Kinkade!

And, just go to the bottom of ArtDaily.com's webpage for a word jumble.

Happy Holidays! And see you in the New Year.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Monday, December 22, 2003

Dear Santa… an Arts Wish list for Vegas

I was bad, I haven’t gambled nearly enough this year to benefit any of the casinos, and I did sneak a peek at Paris Hilton’s film debut, but hear me out. This city deserves a little art loving for the New Year. And in lieu of writing the NEA, I thought that Sin City had a better chance with you. So here is a list of presents that I want you to give the hardworking folks of the City of Las Vegas:

A nice downtown Contemporary Art Museum. LA has the MOCA, Reno has the Nevada Museum of Art, and New York has so many it surely could spare us one. But Las Vegas still doesn't have an urban museum as an arts anchor in the downtown area. Now the mayor is looking to develop the historic Post Office building off of Fremont, but that’s not what I’m talking about. With Vegas returning to its adult roots, supported by city, business, and locals alike, a modern art museum here could become home to edgy and risk-taking programming that other cities might shy away from.

Cheap and stylish living in DT. It’s hard to sustain pride in a neighborhood when most everyone drives away after 5pm and the people that stay behind scare you. A high-rise loft project is slated for Gass and Vegas Blvd., but chances are the struggling artist types won’t be residing there any time soon. And the Holsum Bread building is looking to be turned into residential use as well. But I’m taking about some housing that would take some of the bombed-out buildings and empty lots and turn them into stylish and affordable living. And then we might get people to stick around after dark to spend and live in Downtown.

Financial success in the Arts District. First Fridays have gone a long way to generate interest in the Arts District area. New businesses have popped up with colorful facades filling in where vacancies once were. And more for-profit art galleries have taken up residence in the Arts Factory. But there is no guarantee of success for those betting in that part of town. Let's hope that those with good taste have the disposable income to keep these businesses profitable, so others will follow their lead.

Theaters (part 1) It's hard to make money in the theater, so it's easier to make an existing building a theater than to build one from scratch. So, if nothing new is built, maybe a building could be found and converted. Nothing huge, nothing grand, but a couple of black-box theaters would be a nice addition to the galleries in the Arts District. You may have already given me this with the new SEAT Theater in the Arts Factory.

Theaters (part 2) Vegas deserves an art cinema. There are too many good movies being made and too few screens to see them on. In addition to being a venue for movies from abroad, the local movie scene could have a place to introduce their homebrewed productions.

An Arts and Culture section in a newspaper. Once all of these arts and cultural wishes come true, at least one of the newspapers should have a dedicated section to tell everyone about them. Well-written articles would fill the pages, letting all those who care know about the great music to be heard, art to be seen, and theater to watch, listen to, and be entertained by.

Santa, I know this is a lot to ask for. And you may want to punish us for the new Sirens show at Treasure Island. But that’s outside city limits, so that doesn't count. When you swing by this part of the desert, think about these suggestions when putting some presents under the Christmas palm tree.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Vegas, Chess, and Duchamp

Come the end of December, Vegas will be hosting the 14th North American Open Chess Tournament. For those who think this heady game not worth the time, the grand prize is $10,000. And now for a bad segue.

Surrealism and chess made a date in the desert when Marcel Duchamp spent some time at the Golden Nugget. Duchamp was a well-versed chess player who often incorporated the game's ideas and imagery into his work. Arts writer and influential gallery director Walter Hopps recounts his story of Duchamp in Vegas, taking his intuitive and apparently successful strategy to the roulette table. Duchamp may have been visiting Vegas during the time that other Surrealists were living and making art in Sedona, AZ.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Friday, December 19, 2003

What's For Christmas: Public Defacement

Just in time for the holiday, taggers hit the new monorail. But while some see graffiti as an eyesore, others find it an eyesore that can make them some cash. Hip London-based graffiti artist Banksey is making waves with outlaw cred and a temporary store to sell his wares just in time for the Christmas season. Santa's Ghetto online store has works of other artists, such as Jamie Hewlett, Mode 2, and Massive Attack's 3D, and a online storefront as well. From the site, "...it's not revolutionary, it's just cheap. Art for everybody, made by nobodies."

While hanging graffiti on the walls is one thing, it's best appreciated on somebody's building. Documenting graffiti art in its native environment is Bloodwars Magazine. The online publication is free to download and print and often runs 20 pages or more.

Even the association of art and graffiti is enough to upset some folks' sensibilities. When local artist Dray had an exhibition at the Winchester Community Center, a county graffiti-abatement officer slammed the exhibition in an e-mail to various officials. Everyone's a critic.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

On the Seventh Day of Christmas... 7 Hearses Cruising

From the coffin-shaped desk of Bryan @ Coffin It Up comes the first-hand report of the Christmas Lights Cruise held on the 13th.

"Seven finely decorated hearses set out on their First Annual Xmas lights cruise at about 7 pm, Sat night (Dec 13th). The first stop was Palm Mortuary where everyone enjoyed all of the animal configurations in lights. All of the hearses pulled over to the side, and took a few pictures, and talked to security, and cruised on to Sunset Park's "Gift of Lights".

I don't know who enjoyed themselves more: the hearse owners enjoying the lights, or the workers at Sunset Park, admiring the hearses! Santa even gave us a thumbs up! We were cheered by all of the workers and many of them took pictures of us.

After enjoying the festivities there, we cruised to Macayo's Mexican restaurant. The miles to the restaurant were filled with cheers from people walking the streets, and horn honking and thumbs up and peace signs from other vehicles. One man even gave us the sign of the cross, over his chest.

Over dinner, the name for the club was announced: "SinCity Coaches" is now official.

Prizes were given for the best decorated vehicles.

1st place... went to Michael for his 1960 Cadillac Superior Hearse / Ambulance Combination , decorated with beautiful lighted angels, and three very large wise men on the very top which lit up when Michael turned his ambulance light on. His prize was a $40.00 Hawaiian Plantation House gift certificate.

2nd Place... was a 1968 Cadillac Superior undulating Hearse w/Suicide Doors, Charger hood scoops & Side pipes, which was decorated with silver tinsel garland. (owned by Brian of World Comedy). His prize was a $20.00 Country Inn gift certificate.

3rd place... went to Mr. Frost. A white 1972 Cadillac Superior hearse also with suicide doors, which was decorated with twinkling black and white lights, and black garland. He is owned by Bryan and Dusty of Coffin It Up. Their prize was a $10.00 Carl's Jr. gift certificate.

There were 16 bodies in attendance, and everyone had a great dinner, and enjoyed hearing about club plans. Membership dues were discussed, and everyone at the meeting shared ideas and stories.

A gift exchange game was played, and everyone had fun stealing presents from each other. The gifts exchanged included Flaming skulls, wine sets, candles, calendars, and coffins.

The club is in its early infancy, and the fun has just begun. In the upcoming year we will be launching an official Website. We will be planning and participating in a lot of great club events such as... Movies, Road Trips, Car Shows, Cruise-Processions, Tours, Parties, Bar-B-Qs, just to name a few. We hope to have a mailer out by the end of the first Quarter."

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Survival Research Labs Plans for Art Show and "Huge" Vegas Event in 2004

Survival Research Labs, the apocalyptic junkyard research collective, will be having a 25th Anniversary Exhibit at UNLV's Donna Beam Gallery and looks to have a "major production " in 2004.

From their website message board, "Next show is in Las Vegas in the beginning of February 2004. It will be a full scale performance.....and we mean HUGE! We are planning on accommodating as many people as can fit. (we hope to get thousands to join us for one of the biggest shows yet) Check the SRL web site for details."

The Donna Beam Gallery's exhibition schedule webpage has a Survival Research Labs historical retrospective planned for January 12 through February 7, 2004. "Included will be a site-specific installation, documentary video screenings of past performances, artifacts, and a live performance event..." The main event will coincide with the last day of the retrospective's exhibition. It will be held February 7th at 8pm at UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium.

From the SRL press release...

"Exhibition information for Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery
University Nevada Las Vegas
4505 Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154

Exhibition: Survival Research Laboratories
Organized by: Susan Joyce and Robert Wysocki

Exhibition Dates: January 12 - February 7, 2004
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday, 8-5 PM; Saturday, 10-2 PM
Reception: Friday, January 30, 7-9 PM

Performance: Saturday, February 7 at 8 PM
Sam Boyd Stadium/UNLV
7000 E. Russell Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89122

Viva Las Vegas Survival Research Laboratories Celebrates 25 Years! SRL was conceived and founded by Mark Pauline in 1978 as an organization of creative technicians dedicated to redirecting the techniques, tools, and tenets of industry, science, and the military away from their typical manifestations in practicality, product, or warfare. In recognition of the remarkable vision and achievements of Mark Pauline and the SRL crew, this exhibition and event will mark a quarter century of performances.  Included in the gallery will be machines, documentary videos, and large-scale images.  SRL engages new vocabularies by integrating machines, theatrical sets and props, with dramatic, visual metaphors bringing to life, large-scale mechanical performances for audiences that rival other popular cultural events.  By taking things to extreme ends, SRL attempts to create new levels of sensory and emotional intensity.  Using diverse disciplines such as performance, literature, and engineering, in concert with artistic expression, ideas are transformed into visceral experiences.

Tickets for the Feb. 7 performance will go on sale in January at
For further information please contact susanjoyce@srl.org or visit

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Saturday, December 13, 2003

British Invasion, Monty Python Infestation

Eric Idle, you know, the oppressed one, will be performing at the House of Blues Dec. 14th. But another Python alum made an appearance in town, only he wasn't performing publicly. John Cleese, you know, the one who threatened to taunt them again if they didn't go away, was holding court at the MGM Grand's convention center on Dec. 4th. Autodesk had its 2003 conference, and had the nice Mr. Cleese over for cheese and spam. But the company did have one caveat. From the company's website...

"Disclaimer: Humor affects people in different ways--it's funny that way! In the Monty Python world of comedy, nothing is sacred. For both reasons, your enjoyment of this event is not guaranteed."

When heckled by an imaginary unsatisfied guest while performing, Mr. Cleese was imagined to have said, "If you don't leave this large conference room now, I shall be forced to direct my pointed humor at you again." Or something to that effect.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Thursday, December 11, 2003

X-Ray Erotica

If beauty is skin deep, then sexy is everything below. So leave it to science to help find the sexy below. In the hands of both scientist and artist, the x-ray and the MRI are being used to expand the dirty picture universe.

First, the responsible use of the MRI to increase knowledge. The penis is shaped like a boomerang during intercourse. This and other newly discovered sex facts from the British Medical Journal's online article titled "Magnetic resonance imaging of male and female genitals during coitus and female sexual arousal". How the pieces fit together has been a source of curiosity for some time, with even Leonardo da Vinci circa 1493 rendering his vision of how they came together. Leave it to the home country of Monty Python to provide the answers. From the article, "We thank our volunteers for their cooperation, laughter, and permission to publish intimate MR images of them; those hospital officials on duty who had the intellectual courage to allow us to continue this search despite obtrusive and sniffing press hounds..."

Artist Wim Delvoye has randy friends and access to x-ray equipment and has the pictures to prove it. As part of his "Gothic Works" installation, Delvoye added to his edgy body of work with black and white x-ray erotica. The striking images were hung as individual panels and collaged together in back-lit stained glass panes. The acts of affection and depravity are made both alien and intimate with the ghostly nature of flesh and the solidity of the bone below. And in a show where the sexual nature of the works of the x-rays could have outshone any other work, Delvoye included a large industrial Caterpillar Model in the manner of Gothic architecture that complements the stained glass works quite nicely.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Monday, December 08, 2003

It's Christmas in Vegas: Bring out Your Freaks and Tramps

In typical Vegas fashion, a quiet and reverent Christmas event has been planned for our fair city. The Christmas Nightmare promises debauchery, hot chicks and freaks in the "Jim Rose Circus Sideshow" style. Plush Entertainment Magazine and Adventure Studios are hosting the December 13 event, which starts at 9 pm. See the Xmas Nightmare website for venue and ticket information.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Sunday, December 07, 2003

It's Christmas in Vegas: Bring out Your Dead

Nothing says "Christmas Spirit" more than hearses and ambulances. So when you see both cruising the streets, fear not. It's just this year's Christmas Lights Cruise. The folks from Coffin It Up will be taking their ride out, along with other owners of service vehicles. From Bryan at Coffin It Up...

"We will be having our 'First Annual X-mas Lights Cruise' on Dec. 13th. This cruise is for all hearse, ambulance and limo drivers in Nevada, as well as any other interested professional car owners in any other states who wish to join us.

Our cruise will start at 6:30 pm where we will cruise through Palm Mortuary Green Valley. We will continue to Sunset Park and when we are done there, we will cruise through Palm Mortuary NorthWest. We plan to wrap this up at about 9 or 9:30 pm.

We will then go to Macayo's Mexican Restaurant for a dinner Fiesta. At the restaurant, we will be eating and voting on the best decorated vehicle, as well as discussing the plans for starting up a local professional car club. We will also name the new club.

(You don't have to own a professional car to join the club, you just have to love them, and love to have fun.)"

The cruise will take place on December 13th, the same night as the Christmas Nightmare.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Bubba Ho-Tep to be Screened Friday at Regal Village Square

The Super8punk Film Production group of Vegas just posted that the Regal Village Square will be screening Bruce Campbell's Elvis vs. mummy epic on Dec 5.

Bubba Ho-Tep, which has been critically acclaimed, had trouble even getting distribution when first made. The movie revolves around a battle of good and evil, pitting an aging Elvis and JFK against a resurrected mummy in the nursing home where they all reside. But through good word of mouth and the legion of Bruce Campbell fans, the movie continues to increase screenings. And fortunately, Vegas is one of the cities to be added to the list.

To view the trailer or for more info, see the Bubba Ho-Tep site. In September of 2003, Fresh Air's Terry Gross interviewed the movie's director, Don Cascarelli. The interview, which can be found here, details the struggle the movie makers had in getting Bubba Ho-Tep made and seen, and talks about the short story that was the inspiration for the movie.

Hopefully, the grass-roots campaign will make the movie enough of a success to warrant sequels. Campbell has expressed an interest in seeing Elvis battle other foes, and an epic battle on the Vegas Strip would be perfect place for the king to carry on his fight for what's right.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Monday, December 01, 2003

MTV 2 Comes to Vegas: Better than Nothing?

The chances of being exposed to new music just got a little better in Vegas. MTV 2 has been added to the Cox cable lineup, channel 38. Since there is little chance of a new independent radio station coming to town (see Wednesday, October 29, 2003 article "The Huntridge Theater: Yes on New Expansion, No on Radio Station,"), sadly, this constitutes music news.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at