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, November 27, 2004

FOUND Magazine at First Friday

Luck and good fortune are integral to Vegas and both are the building blocks to FOUND Magazine. If it's been thrown away, lost, or misplaced, FOUND is hoping to find it. It is a curated examination of ephemera. Everything has both value and a story to tell in the magazine's mix of casual anthropology and garagesale/thriftstore ideology. The site is host to both images and sounds, and a store where all the previous editions (1-3) can be bought, as well as a three-issue subscription. And for those with a more puerile mind, you can always go to Dirty Found for pictures of nekkid strangers.

They are wrapping up their tour of all 50 states, showing up for Vegas's own First Friday as their last stop.

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Babes in Sin: "Man's Ruin Burlesque Extravaganza"

Vegas has seen a resurgence in the burlesque scene with the LA-based Forty Deuce finding a home at Mandalay Bay and Vegas girls Sin City Grind Kittens performing around town. Now add the Babes In Sin to the list of local talent.

The Babes will be performing at the Cooler Lounge on Saturday the 20th. The next show, "A Man's Ruin Burlesque Extravaganza," looks to bring more of the same, taking place after the first annual Rockabilly Rod Reunion at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

This week's CityLife offers my personal take on the Babes in Sin, as I had a chance to meet and interview most of the girls, with the exception of Zaraa Ra'nna. It was great to meet the girls with their mix of personalities. Kitty Baby and Jenny-O were unexpectedly quiet, letting Evie and Nena do most of the talking. It was interesting that Kitty Baby and Jenny-O, who are Babes-in-training, look like they are using the stage to find a new voice for themselves. Also, most of the girls had parents who performed: show-girl, go-go dancer, musical father, etc...

The girls all have Myspace websites, and I would include all of them if it wasn't for the fact that their pages crash my browser (Safari & Explorer running on my iMac.) The girls know about this. But, on with the show info . . .

Advance tickets for the show are $10 at the Rockabilly Rod Reunion and Bad Attitude Boutique and $12 at the door.

"The Cooler Lounge proudly presents:
A Man's Ruin Burlesque Extravaganza
Anna Bells (The Fishnet Floozy, CA)
Lily Valentine (The Starlight Sirens Burlesque Troupe, CA)
The Lucha Locas (Natalie & Vanessa [Chorus girls in the Velvet Hammer Burlesque!])

Babes In Sin (Las Vegas)
Madame TuTu, Mistress of Hysteremonies (Las Vegas)
The ghoulish musical stylings of The Henchmen"

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

MGM Mirage to Build New City Center

Image from MGM Mirage.

The MGM Mirage is looking to add a city center in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.

However, a Foxnews interview with MGM Mirage President Jim Murren placed the "Project CityCenter" development in an interesting context. He noted that Vegas does not have a proper city center, using Manhattan and its variety of neighborhoods as a model for the MGM Mirage's newest project. But he did note that downtown is having an economic revitalization (possibly referring to the Arts District), as well as citing the Maryland Blvd. corridor which UNLV President Carol Harter has been talking about developing into "Midtown UNLV."

It is a slightly surprising comment as many (myself included) presume that casino execs have a myopic view of Vegas, with their gaze only at the Strip and the tourists it attracts. Providing proof that's not always the case, Glenn Schaeffer, president of Mandalay Bay Casino, is a pivotal supporter of the International Institute of Modern Letters and main financial investor in Vegas newcomer gallery Godt-Cleary.

So there you go.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Painting the Town Red: The City of 100 Murals Project

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Monday, November 01, 2004

Vegas Urban Exploration

Urban exploration is:

Tourism with the slight chance of arrest.
Trespassing with ethics.
Happening in Vegas.

Abandoned buildings, storm drains, steam and subway tunnels. Some people see these places as ones to avoid, not testing the closed door and heeding the signs to keep out. But others see these closed, unexplored sites as both mundane and intriguing.

The most public local explorer is Josh Ellis, writer for the Las Vegas City Life. His latest adventure, The One Where Josh Almost Gets Arrested As A Suspected Terrorist, took him under McCarran Airport. Previous trips to the underground with fellow writer Matt O'Brien include Notes from underground: Exploring Las Vegas' drainage canals and Belly of the beast: Exploring the bowels of the Las Vegas Strip, with its documentation of a large subterranean art gallery. Not as impressive as the recent discovery of a real underground cinema (and much more) below the streets of Paris, or the mystery of Templar tunnels found in England, but pretty good for Sin City.

Locally, others have been sight-seeing and posting their pictures. The Urban Exploration Resource website has a good collection of Vegas UE photo galleries, including the abandoned hotel and casino Vacation Village, Martin Luther King storm drains, and the former bread factory/future loft Holsum Bread location. Make sure to go down the pages, as each location has a collection of pictures at the "Photo Gallery" link.

Chuck has posted pictures (Las Vegas Neon Boneyard, Roadhouse South Of The Las Vegas Strip, YESCO Backlot) and a manifesto.

"There's nothing I hate more than going back to a place and seeing the damage that vandals cause. I go to these places to document the forgotten, the places that progress has left behind. I do not tag, I do not steal, I do not destroy, I do not break and enter, I just trespass, and 95% of the time, I don't even do that. When I do trespass, there is no malice behind it. It's to see something that many people can't."

This is a central tenet for most Urban Explorers, that the man-made environments are treated with the same sort of reverence with which most would treat a natural formation discovered for the first time. Infiltration chronicles the continuing adventures of Urban Explorers throughout the world, all adhering to the "Leave only footprints, take only memories/photos" credo. Ninjalicious and friends venture through hotels, hospitals, and subway tunnels, mainly in Canada. The site's forum has some tales of Vegas UE, someone purportedly taking a look at Turnberry Place while under construction, and a good story on Area 51. Besides the website, Infiltration is also a self-published zine. The zine, loaded with pictures, is available through the website and has been seen at the Vegas Wow Tower Records store.

And finally, when the founder of Underground World Home Corporation (circa 1964) wanted a little hole in the ground for himself, he built one in Vegas. You can read about the house that Jerry and Mary Henderson built here. Want to rent the house for fun, profit, and the coolest office party ever? Activity Planners, Inc. has exclusive rights to the place, and includes a few pix on their page.

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