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...

Monday, August 30, 2004

So Long, Farewell: Last Call at the Algiers

The Algiers Hotel had its closing party. The music was loud, the drinks mighty strong, and the bar crowded. Cruising around the hotel's hallways, both party goers and non-partiers had rented rooms.

Room 202 had taped to its door a picture of musician Wesley Willis and an ad for shooting a machine gun. Further down the hallway, three small children had their room door open, wondering what all the noise was about. The girls that had rented 222 were not happy there wasn't any porn to be had on the TV. In the bar, anyone that had been hugged by departing musician Amy Carrelli could be spotted by the glitter she left behind on them. She pointed out DJ Korby Roxtar, who is much shorter than one would think. And the following is true, in which your intrepid reporter met a longtime patron and his wife.

David (wearing a sweet Algiers shirt): ...I've had a room here for the last ten years.

Author: Really?

David: Yes, mainly use it for holidays... I have a house here, but I haven't been home in 5 days. Just to feed the dogs. I have two poodles.

David reported that the Algiers will be donating most of its furnishings to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Later on that evening, David made a request...

David (pointing across the bar): ??? ????? ???? ????

Author: OK...???

Author walks to other side of bar...

Author: Hi, your husband sent me over to ask you a question, but I couldn't understand it.

Wife: He probably wants a hundred dollars and a drink.

Author: Oh, what do you want me to tell him?

Wife: Tell him I couldn't hear you because of the music.

David's very sweet and nice wife's name is Fawn and she works at the Algiers. She confirmed that a liquidation company would be dealing with the hotel's goods and the proceeds would be going towards Make-A-Wish. She didn't know how people would find out about the sale. Back to David...

Author: She said you could have the drink, but not the money.

David: Go tell her to fuck herself.

Back to Fawn...

Author: He told me to tell you something very rude.

Fawn: Well, I did marry a real son of a gun.

Later on in the evening at the DJ booth, Fawn was asked if she wanted to make out with DJ Warren Prewitt the 3rd. She declined. Outside the bar was a sweet black and red '50 Ford with a skull in the grill and small spikes on the side. Former Latest Flames musician Grant Larsen was outside as well and said that he had formed a new band and was playing at local bars.

And that was Friday night at the Algiers. The condo complex that will replace the hotel is said to have a bar at the top, to be named after the hotel it demolished. It probably won't have David buying drinks and playing video poker at the bar, and that's a shame.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Destruction of More Vegas History: Let's Party

The loss of another Vegas landmark means PARTY!!! The Algiers Hotel will be making way for another ugly and hugely profitable high-rise condo. Hopefully this new one will be even uglier than the current crop at Turnberry Place. But before the closing of the Algiers on the 31st, the Algiers Cocktail Lounge will play host to its last party on Friday, August 27th. It's not just a going away party for the hotel, but a farewell party to former Pull-Out/Jupiter Shifter member Amy Carrelli.

The party, promoted by the Electric Whiskey folks, promises a great night. The DJs include Korby Roxtar, you know, "Las Vegas' only glamourous rock and roll deejay," Rob Ruckus and Warren Prewitt the 3rd. Attending the "Sonic Attack" will cost you 5 bucks, but you are guaranteed to see the best upstanding folks Vegas has to offer.

So, back to Amy. A self professed lover of Vegas who had made the promise to always live here, her reasons for leaving are hard to deny.

"...in spite of my loyalty to the sin city scene....I have to admit after living in LA for only three months - I have grown to love it... ...Every summer in Vegas it kills me more and more to have to sit inside all day during my favorite season in lieu of getting broiled just by taking a simple trip to the mailbox.  I left Jersey because of the cold winters, now I am ditching Vegas for the excruciating summers... ...I absolutely adore walking around....going to cafes, sitting outside with a book and not risk having a heat stroke..."

All hopes of creating a pedestrian cafe culture in Vegas will have to contend with the reality that this is a hot city!! As Amy can attest to.

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Monday, August 23, 2004

Munch's "Scream" Stolen; Oops, They Did It Again!

"No, I don't want to leave my nice museum!"
Image from the Munch Museum

For the second time, a version of the famous painting, and a lesser known work were taken while on display. Armed thieves/art lovers stole two Edvard Munch paintings from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway on Saturday. With the museum open and attended, the two thieves threatened one guard at gunpoint and removed "The Scream" and "Madonna" from their walls. It appears that the paintings were cut from their frames after their theft. The New York Times reports, "...Two hours later, less than a mile away, the police found shattered wooden frames and glass from the stolen works - a discovery that caused art experts to fear that the two treasures might already have been damaged."

Satirical newssite Brokennews reports, "'...They all just stood there like a bunch of bug-eyed goons, with their pie holes hanging open and their hands clamped to their cheeks,' said Oslo Police spokesman Kjell 'Yogi' Yorgessen. 'I realize that the power of the work inheres in its depiction of primal anguish through the eternal silent scream of the wraithlike solitary figure on the bridge, but come on people, this is real life! You wanna be heard, you gotta bust a lung!'"

Many ideas are floating around as to the motivation behind the theft. Some are speculating that the works may be ransomed, as was the case with another version of "The Scream" that had been stolen. Others think that the thieves were commissioned by an individual to procure the paintings for a private collection. And finally, one of thieves was rumored to have said they just wanted to round out their collection of related merchandise and hang the work next to the mug, the necktie, and inflatable punching bag.

"Madonna," the second stolen painting.
Image from the Munch Museum

While possible, a theft of that nature would be unlikely in Las Vegas. Both the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum and Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art benefit from augmented security from their respective casinos. The Guggenheim has redundant video surveillance that streams video to both a museum and casino security station. And most people find it impossible to leave the Bellagio without a visit to their buffet; seriously, the crab legs are great!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Support the Arts, Get Burning Man Tickets?

A large man will once again be burned and many will celebrate. And a cheap 21 bucks may get you entry to the that temporary city in the desert. The Las Vegas Community Artists Group LLC (www.vegasartists.com/charter.html) has found itself in possession of 2 Burning Man (www.burningman.com) tickets and is using them with permission to raise funds for future projects. The LVCAG site tells the tale of the tickets.

"Here's the story behind this: One of our burners, who shall remain
nameless, cannot go at this late date due to a work conflict, and
rather than sell their tickets they have very graciously gifted them
to the local Burner community with the goal being to raise funds for
local burner activities, and to enable someone else to go to
Burningman who otherwise might not be able to afford the tickets, (a
$330 value). This is a win-win situation for all concerned."

The raffle expires tonight (Monday, August 16th) at midnight, so go here (www.vegasartists.com/bmticketraffle.html) to apply for your chance to save some dough and get to visit Black Rock City.

But, you may ask, what the hell is the Las Vegas Community Artists Group LLC? Well, Cameron, (who you will read about in a moment) was nice enough to provide a little history of this recently formed group.

"The LVCAG was the formed around a campfire in March of 2004 by Cameron Grant & Mike Civerella, both Burningman types, who saw a need for a greater connectivity throughout the Las Vegas arts scene. So they decided to do a desert art event, sort of an "adult rave" for 21+ that included performance, art, and music. Though they had no idea just HOW they we're going to do this they nonetheless posted this idea to several of the local Vegas lists including both music and art lists. From that post they met Dan Akins who jumped on the idea based on what he'd seen in San Francisco when he lived there. These three formed the LVCAG and began plotting the future of a scene that they felt needed to happen here in Las Vegas...

...It seemed like most of the artists were to busy actually producing their art to go out and do PR for themselves, so in many cases no one other then their immediate friends knew what they were doing. So the LVCAG decided to fill that niche. The LVCAG exists to promote art of all kinds in the greater Las Vegas area, not just their own art, but everyone's art. They believe that if they do this, and if they continue to do it, then we will all prosper, and that they will simply better the scene for everyone, themselves included. Because quite frankly, we're all sick of driving to L.A. and San Francisco for killer events."

Ben Niebauer, aka Neosight, is a member, and a creator of damn fine art. A visit to his site will give a peak at previous works of his that have made it to the Burning Man celebration. Like the piece below, titled "Together."

This and other great images @ thenemu.com (www.thenemu.com/intro.html)

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Monday, August 09, 2004

Farewell Mr. Crosby

All good intentions have a potential to turn into paving material for the road to hell. My road just had another pothole filled, because I had hoped to publish a farewell article to local poet and man-about-town Gregory Crosby the night after his going away party. That was 8 days ago.

Anyways, last week the former CityLife Art and Theatre critic posted his last article, had some drinks with friends at local haunt Dino's, and sang a karaoke duet with Dayvid Figler. Dapper in his suit, he was without his trademark hat. A local fixture, he performed in local poetry events, contributed to Vegas publications, and was a First Friday bus tour guide. Now he has left the desert for the East Coast gotham that is New York City, his trip and time there funded by his 2005 Nevada Arts Council Artist Fellowship. Our loss is NYC's gain, where he will continue his studies in a program at some college that completely slips my mind as I write. Enjoy the concrete jungle, Mr. C.

On a final note, ponder the following picture and note the handsome similarities between Mr. Crosby and CSI creator and Vegas resident Anthony Zuiker.

Image from Flickr: Joshua Ellis

Image from M lifestyle

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson Dead at 95

Henri Cartier-Bresson - Gare St. Lazare, Paris 1932
Image from Artnet.

If you have taken art classes, the men and women that are talked about are so iconic and historical, it's hard to believe that they had a life beyond their most important past accomplishments. By being great or being recognized as great' they leave the world of ordinary people to become "influences". And while their most important works add worth and value to everything they make afterwards, it is as if the old "great" works render anything after that point incapable of ever being recognized as great themselves.

Which is my way of saying that I did not realize Cartier-Bresson had not died some time ago.

From his New York Times Obituary...

"Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the major artists of the 20th century, who used his tiny hand-held 35-millimeter Leica camera to bear humane witness to many of the century's signal events, from the Spanish Civil War to the German occupation of France to the partition of India to the Chinese revolution to the student uprisings of 1968, has died in France, the Ministry of Culture announced today. He was 95."

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