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...

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Monet and Vegas: You're not Good Enough for that Art!

Steve Friess and Peter Plagens are both experts on Las Vegas and museum business in general. Their depth of knowledge of both are detailed well in the introductory paragraph of their Newsweek article on the Monet show at the Bellagio's Gallery of Fine Art...

"The Elvises aren't really Elvis, and the Venetian is an impersonator. That's the whole point of Las Vegas: flashy faux surroundings for the rattle of roulette wheels and the snap of blackjack cards. Museum exhibitions of fine art, though, stand or fall on their genuineness. So what's the deal when a museum-type show with the red-velvet title 'Claude Monet: Masterworks From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston' turns up Jan. 30 (through Sept. 13) at the Bellagio Gallery on the Strip? Oh, the 21 Monets—spanning four decades of his painting, from a portrait of his wife and daughter to one of the late water-lily pictures—are genuine, all right. It's the deal behind the show that's pure Vegas."

Well, the deal is that the Bellagio has a gallery of fine art, and what that means is that you put art that is fine in the gallery. Monets are fine.

The Newsweek article states, "L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight says that the MFA 'ought to be ashamed of itself' for selling out to private interests." It's a shame that the authors didn't provide Knight with more space since his critique of the situation probably would have included more context, information, and genuine argument to support his opinions. MFA director Malcolm Rogers has been criticized in the past for his unorthodox programming and dealmaking, and the Boston Globe's article on the Vegas show explains why his past and present actions are of concern. The Las Vegas Business Press details some of the financial arrangements between all the involved parties, including the controversial rental aspect of the exhibition.

However, the Newsweek authors printed their Vegas misperceptions, or forgive me... misimpressionisms, for all to read. A combination of "Vegas-should-know-its-place" condescension and an incomplete and misleading view on museum show programming casts the Bellagio's gallery as the amoral hussy that cast a spell over the corruptible rube that is the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Newsweek article cast aspersions on the PaceWildenstein/PaperBall-run gallery by stipulating that it might be a museum in disguise. It also anticipates financial failure for the show with an apple-to-oranges comparison to the ill-fated Guggenheim Las Vegas venue. Instead, why the authors didn't ask about the financial status of previous Bellagio exhibitions as a means of comparison is unclear.

Maybe they had to return their research copy of "Casino" back to Blockbuster and ran out of time.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Friday, January 30, 2004

LVAM to Host Evening of Art Discussion, Poetry Readings

From the Las Vegas Art Museum's website...

"On January 31st, 7pm, LVAM hosts five art critics/poets from New York City, as they meet in forum to discuss contemporary art and present a poetry reading.

Our guests are Donald Kuspit, one of America’s most distinguished art critics and author of more than 20 books concerning art, including The Rebirth of Painting in the Late 20th Century (2000); Carter Ratcliff, Contributing Editor of Art in America and Art on Paper; Robert C. Morgan, author of [among others] Between Modernism and Conceptual Art (1997) and The End of the Art World (1998); Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, publisher and editor of Cover Magazine [www.covermag.com]; and LVAM’s own Dr. James Mann, author of Manifesto of Vandalism."

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A Rallying Cry for Art Cinema, Vegas Critic on the Movie that Never Came to Town

The Jan. 8-14 Las Vegas City Life had an op-ed call-to-arms by Matt Kelemen for those wishing for an art house cinema. "CityLife calls on the most passionate supporters of cinema to organize, begin considering locations, network with the money people... make it happen."

Vegas is not alone in its desire to have more indie movies available. The January 16th issue of Entertainment Weekly polled readers nationwide as to the movies they wished to see that never made it to their towns. Vegas-based critic and Moovees.com staffer Bill Payne added to the list with Lilja 4-ever.

While it is true that Vegas does need a true indie theater house, like the ones Landmark Theatres run, that's not to say there aren't movies to be seen in town. The Regal Entertainment Group has two Vegas-based theaters that participate in its "Regal Cinema Art" program. Both the Regal Colonnade 14 and the Regal Village Square 18, which is where Lost in Translation is now showing, and the fantastic Triplets of Belleville will be showing, are member theaters. So, while pining for a great art house cinema in downtown, go to the suburbs and see some great movies. And while there, grab the Regal Cinema's arts and independent movie flyer.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Monday, January 26, 2004

Free Art Supplies: Fremont Street Renovation Leads to Art Opportunity

The Fremont Street Experience will be upgrading its overhead canopy, replacing the currently used light bulbs with LED modules. The City of Las Vegas Arts Commission is working with the Experience in making available the old bulbs to be included in works of art in its Fremont Street Experience "Unplugged" program.

From the site... "...the lights must remain the major emphasis of the piece and up to 40,000 bulbs may be included in each proposed design. Although not a requirement of the proposed artwork, many of the light bulbs are capable of being energized, providing artists the option of illuminating their designs."

The design requirements and other information are both on the web site and in the available downloadable PDF brochure provided. The deadline for proposal submissions is 5 p.m, March 31, 2004.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Friday, January 23, 2004

Helmut Newton Dead in Car Crash at 83

Helmut Newton, photographer of all things leggy, was killed in a car crash today.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Christmas Comes to the LV Arts and Culture Site, courtesy of LV Life and Las Vegas Weekly

I couldn't find a way not to use first person for this article, sorry. Anyways...

Christmas came, too much food was had, and gifts were given. And one of the things that I got was a subscription to Las Vegas Life. So, I'm going through my new issue, with plans on recapping some of the articles, and I find my humble site listed in their "Media Box: Websites" section.

Got a nice writeup. While I try to post every 3 or 4 days, they were so kind that they made me more prolific than I actually am, writing "daily." But I was taken to task for typos... thypoes?... typeprose? Anyways, I apologize and place all the blame for previous punctuation errors and misspellings on my previous editor. He has now been fired. My current editor is starting to note all needed corrections, and even noticed a misused comma in the complimentary article about me. I'm starting to like having an editor.

So go out and buy Las Vegas Life; it's money well spent.

Las Vegas Weekly just put out an interview with myself. If I had known my feet were going to be in the picture, I would have worn shoes. They look huge.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Survival Research Labs and Vegas; Final Words

When SRL announced a Vegas event, many were happy. So, when the show was cancelled, many were equally disappointed. With the show's cancellation came some questions. Now here are some of the answers.

Mark Pauline, founder of Survival Research Labs, "When I realized that the LV Fire Dept was becoming involved two weeks ago, I specifically asked for a written agreement from them permitting an unrestricted SRL show, not an open burning permit that allowed the fire dept control over my show.

I agreed to do this event because I was assured that only the university Fire Dept would be involved and that they would allow us to do an unrestricted event.

I cancelled this show because the LV fire dept would not provide me with a written agreement to allow me to operate the machines we wanted to bring down for this event. They also would not agree in writing to a maximum of 25 feet from the audience to the edge of the show. (They in fact asked for a 300 foot distance and reserved the right to remove machines from the show or to determine how I was to use them in the show. For instance, they wanted to be able to determine what the ratio of gasoline to diesel in fuel mixtures was to be.....)

At SRL we do not compromise regarding the content or nature of the event. This may seem unusual and impractical in a world of endless compromises and half moves, but its the way SRL has always conducted business...

Finally, I would be paying $70,000 of my own money, earned by hard work to stage this event. No grants or trust funds. If I had come to LV and decided that the Fire Dept was not acting in good faith and backed out then, I would have lost every penny of that money, as ticket monies were held by the university until after the show. All in all a risk not worth taking."

Robert Wysocki, Assistant Professor UNLV Art Department, "...actually as these things go they, CCFD (Clark County Fire Department) is very supportive as was/is the Sam Boyd Stadium people and UNLV."

and the last words from Joshua Ellis, Zenarchery, Las Vegas City Life, "...Having seen SRL perform...Mark was dead on the money... ...It's like refusing to allow an audience to get closer than 50 feet from a concert stage. It reduces art to spectacle.

I've known the SRL people for years, and I was afraid something like this would happen. It's a shame nobody in the arts community could be bothered to fight to get these restrictions removed -- SRL is one of the most consistently interesting performance groups out there."

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Israel: Real Art Criticism and Fake Art Students

Israeli Ambassador Zvi Mazel was kicked out of Sweden's Museum of National Antiquities after vandalizing an installation that included the image of suicide bomber Hanadi Jaradat. The work by Israeli artist Dror Feiler was installed in preparation for the Stockholm International Forum on Preventing Genocide, Threats and Responsibilities to be held in the Swedish city Jan. 26th - 28th.

While there is no doubt about what happened in Sweden, conspiracy theorists have been tossing about the Israeli use of "art students" as a cover for spying on the US. Israel has spied on the US in the past, as the US has spied on most of its allies as well. But it is the inclusion of the roaming bands of starving artists that make this far-out idea so great. A collection of websites of varying credibility and objectivity including the Washington Post, Salon, and Insight Magazine have all written about the mystery art student phenomenon. Adding to the intrigue, a 4-part investigation on Israeli domestic spying by FOXNews reporter Carl Cameron remains online, but completely deleted.

So for those of you who need to pay for your art supplies, you may have a career opportunity that you never even knew was possible.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Friday, January 16, 2004

SRL Cancels Approved Show, Fire Department Not Responsible

The Feb. 7 performance at Sam Boyd Stadium by Survival Research Labs has been cancelled, but the Las Vegas City Fire Department is not responsible for this turn of events (see previous article). An email from Robert Wysocki, of the UNLV Art Department, to this site states, "The show was cancelled by Mark Pauline of SRL."

The Sam Boyd Stadium resides in unincorporated Clark County, and it is the county's fire department which has jurisdiction over the stadium and events held there.

The cause for the cancellation was apparently due to the desire by SRL to allow the audience to be closer to the event than previously allowed. Clark County Fire Department Public Information Officer Robert Leinbach confirmed that SRL had been granted a permit for the performance by the county's fire department. He said that SRL asked about making changes to their approved event form, and were told to resubmit an event form reflecting the changes. The approved permit allowed for a buffer area of 50 feet between audience and performance area. It looks as though SRL declined to reapply, and instead abandoned the event altogether.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

SRL Cancels Vegas Show, Cites Fire Department Restrictions

From the Survival Research Labs Website...

"The SRL show scheduled for Feb 7th in Las Vegas is cancelled as of
today due to unreasonable restrictions imposed by the Las Vegas Fire
Department. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused those
interested in attending this event.

Those who purchased tickets for this event will be reimbursed by the
University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Please be advised that SRL did not
receive any of the ticket monies collected.

We will use the amazing props and machines which were prepared for
this event in a future SRL show."

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Dude has Arrived in Vegas

What the world needs is more bowling-and-pot related festivals. Lebowski Fest is a good start, founded by two friends who found the catalyst for the fest through random chance. From their FAQ... "One fateful July in 2002, Scott and Will were vending the Derby City Tattoo Expo and were spouting off lines from The Big Lebowski, and the other vendors around them began to join in. This created a sense of bonding and camaraderie never before experienced between complete strangers." And thus a celebration of bowling, pot, and the brothers Coen was born.

This year's event will be taking place in Vegas on Feb. 28th. Poizen Ivy reports on the Sin City Sounds mailing list that Lebowski Fest West is close to being sold out. A screening of the movie "The Big Lebowski" will be held at the Imperial Palace and bowling will be held at the Sunset Lanes. So put down the bong, and buy your tickets. Okay, everything's cool now... pick up the bong again.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Russian Arrest to Have Effect on Vegas Museum?

The arrest of Russian oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky looks to have a direct effect on the Hermitage's continuing expansion plans in London. The Art Newspaper details the arrest and its potential effect on the continuing development of the Hermitage Rooms at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Khodorkovsky had been a principal financial contributor to the project. It is unclear if the loss of Khodorkovsky's financial support to the Hermitage in Russia will adversely affect the Las Vegas-based Guggenheim Hermitage Museum.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Vegas Flicker Film Group Launches New Site, Other Vegas Film News

Flicker Las Vegas now has a new site online. From the site...

"Flicker is a bi-monthly screening of Super 8 and 16mm short films made by local and independent filmmakers. Films must originate on film, and be under 15 minutes."

Flicker Las Vegas is part of the nation-wide Flicker fests.

Brew And View has its new site up, and has posted pictures from the Sin City Grind Kittens' Jan. 5th practice at the Cooler Lounge. Simply click on View Gallery to view the pictures (logins are only required for uploading photos).

In other Vegas film news, Ted V. Mikels, moviemaker extraordinaire, looks to be wrapping up his latest production, and plans a local celebration as well. From his Jan. 5th post on the Super8punk Film Production newsgroup...



posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Vegas Burlesque Practice at the Cooler Lounge

The Sin City Grind Kittens will be having a practice session at the Cooler Lounge on Monday the 5th. The girls are also looking to have the show documented. So anyone looking to have a collection of attractive girls be grateful for being videotaped while taking their clothes off, the Cooler Lounge will be the place to be.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Record Store Girls

The movie "High Fidelity" captured the used-music store experience perfectly, with one exception. In Vegas, the people are prettier. As funny as he is, Jack Black is not a great looking guy. That's where Big B's has them beat. The boys and girls of Vegas' best music store have the sweet-lookin' indie music lover thing down pat. So, while the Onion has the entire country in love with an Athens, GA-based record-store girl, Vegas has its own musical cutie girls and boys. In addition to the staff's vast knowledge of arcane indie music, salesgirl Orange Sheila has some musical chops and a CD to prove it. There are links to music to be heard, but as the mp3s reside on MP3.com, you won't be able to hear it there. MP3.com has been bought out by CNET News.com and the music on the site stopped being accessible after Dec. 2.

So, there's nothing to listen to there, folks, move along! But there are Orange Sheila CDs on the counter at Big B's, and she might even sell you one herself.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at