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...

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Good Things Now Gone

It's been a good year for the local's scene here in Vegas. And there will be many new things to talk about as 2005 progresses. But for the great additions that have and will come, Vegas has lost some as well. This is a brief list, and incomplete in its nature. But let us briefly look at some of the places and groups that have closed or disappeared without explanation.

The Boston
It closed, it moved, it reopened, and now it closed again. Known locally for less than friendly barstaff and an owner rarely seen, the Boston was host to the first and last Paint It Black. Maybe the Cheyenne Saloon and Aristocrat Lounge will take over the Boston's attempt at being a good small band venue.

Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art
Any museum that has "fine art" in its title is a bit dubious -- isn't that implied by being a museum in the first place? The brainchild of former Gallery P founder and Las Vegas Art Museum Director Joseph Palermo, the museum was a mixed bag housed in a former office space at 1000 E. Sahara. The low ceilings, carpeted walls, and maze of small rooms did not lend themselves to much in terms of display options. The museum's signage is no longer hanging in the storefront and it will be interesting to see if anything reemerges from the latest project of Joseph Palermo. See this December 2003 article about the concerns Chuck Twardy had about the museum's initial opening.

Brunz Rosowsky Art Gallery
Housed in The Arts Factory, this gallery had opened a beautiful space with out-of-town artists, and high hopes as a gallery that would introduce new artists to a Vegas audience. But that was not to be, and the gallery closed, only to be taken over by the Seat Theater Group.

Punk Rock Bingo
As you all know, in Vegas gambling and bars do not go together! Therefore, the genius that was Punk Rock Bingo at the Double Down Saloon didn't last a year before being closed down. Infighting between neighboring bar owners got the Gaming Control Board involved, much to the dismay of bingo-loving punks.

DoggyStyle Cafe
Another victim of the Maryland Parkway curse, where, despite the proximity to UNLV and the student population, it closed its doors. The venue attempted to provide a location for all-ages shows, which it did for a short time.

Tramps (aka Sasha's)
Great gay bar with bathrooms covered in vintage records and boardgames. Another attempt at an all-ages venue, it was bought, reopened, and then closed 3/14/2004. A shame, as for a short time great music and DJs played here.

Venus Lounge
A beautiful attempt at retro chic by the Venetian Casino, the Venus was a dark and atmospheric room with vintage lamps, reproduction furniture and murals of a neon Vegas street being menaced by UFOs and mushroom clouds. Poorly marketed, the bar opened without even having a website of upcoming bands and events. Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine, the World Famous Pontani Sisters, and the Nines all performed here. Unable and unwilling to figure out how to make money off the crowd that came to the bar, it was mildly reworked in 2003 and now closed to be made even less interesting and more profitable.
Check out Monty Bank's Club Venus page to see what once was a great bar.

The Algiers
Nice little hotel, leveled to make way for the next phase of Vegas development, high-rise condos. There is supposed to be an Algiers Bar atop the new building in homage to the old hotel.

Flicker LV
Vegas was to be part of the National Flicker Film Fest. Or not.

Godt-Cleary (Mandalay Bay Location)
The best good news/bad news part of this article. Godt-Cleary Gallery opened November 2003 in Mandalay Place, dedicated to fine art and design objects by blue-chip artists. The gallery added a second space on Main St. in the fall of this year and closed their casino space. The Main St. location also serves as art storage for the personal collection of Mandalay Resort Group President and CFO Glenn Schaeffer. If it sticks around this may be one of the more important stops on the gallery/arts tour of the downtown arts district.

Enough of what has gone. Soon these pages will be filled with new places and groups, building upon what previous people and places have added to the local scene. Happy New Year, and thanks for reading.

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Saturday, December 25, 2004

New York Times to Vegas: We Like You Better When You Try to Copy Us

In the past the New York Times has written Vegas articles that residents have taken to task as clich├ęd or single sided. The newspaper particularly seemed inclined to document corrosive effects of the city, which is more than reasonable. But in its National Special - American Dreamers: The Lure of Las Vegas, few other vantage points were offered in the numerous articles documenting the lives of various residents.

Sometimes though, if the story's main focus is more financial and less social, Vegas fares better. In Is There Life After Blackjack? Ask MGM, the NYT looks at the city's continuing evolution, with the MGM CityCenter as its main focus. (Also see Las Vegas Arts and Culture: MGM Mirage to Build New City Center)

Vegas has developed in a sprawling manner, with little geographic restrictions to prevent growth in the 516 square miles that make the valley floor (see SNRPC - Regional Facts for additional info.) And the city's relatively modern development has taken into account commuter traffic planning to the detriment of walking and mass-transit options.

Project CityCenter looks to counteract this broad development by constraining it between the Monte Carlo and the Bellagio. The project is touted as a massively integrated urban core, containing dining, entertainment, tourism and residential offerings, all in a relatively accessible manner. Being pedestrian friendly seems to be a main goal. But it will be interesting to see how far the MGM Mirage goes to integrate the project into the rest of the city. Casinos are built with the goal of keeping clients and customers in their property, with specifically-placed entrances for traffic and people. The joy of naturally evolving neighborhoods and cities is the often random and unplanned aspects that give these places character and personality. Will Project CityCenter be a city separate from the rest of Vegas or will it begin an attempt by large corporate enterprise to blur the edges where Vegas and corporate identity meet? For while casinos have always defined the city, the city has never reflected the look and feel of casinos in its residential and commercial development. It will be interesting to see if the "largest privately financed development project in the nation" will look outside of the strip for cues on what it should look like and offer the city that it will reside in.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Santa Rampages: Here and Abroad

Dressing up in costume and drinking to excess should be left to the professionals. When the Las Vegas Community Artist Group planned a December Santa Rampage, they had good reason to think that the spirit of Christmas would accompany them no matter how much they would drink. The July 2004 shenanigans prove as much. Read Las Vegas Arts and Culture: SantaCon Followup for a report of that summer's fun and festivities, all kid-friendly and violence-free.

The same cannot be said of others. When a few folks in New Zealand attempted the same thing, disaster! Apparently most of these Santa impersonators were former warrior extras in "The Lord of the Rings" and couldn't stop acting that way.

To all my readers, a Merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 13, 2004

City of Las Vegas Gallery Exhibits Metropolitan Police Department Memorabilia

From the KLAS Crime Blotter page.

". . . In honor of Metro's 30th anniversary, the Cultural Affairs Division of the city of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services presents an exhibition of memorabilia in the gallery at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 South Brush Street. Included in the display are vintage photographs, including ones pre-dating the merger, City police uniforms prior to 1973, post-1973 Metro uniforms, and badges.

The public is invited to the opening night reception on Friday, June 6, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. A vintage motorcycle will be displayed that night only. Admission is free. . ."

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Friday, December 10, 2004

Holidaze + First Friday Field Report: Mild with a Slight Chance of Debauchery

Christmas is here and Sin City Sounds has just the thing to ring in the season. The 12 Bars of Christmas, how cool.

The 12 Bars of Christmas page with complete details.

Music makes the holiday, but great music makes it better. Take Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," add Christmas lyrics, get a band with the chops to pull it off, and you have "Christmas Rhapsody" by Pledge Drive. This free download is the Christmas present you never asked for but will love forever more.

"Is this the Yuletide, it's such a mystery,
Will I be denied, or will there be gifts for me?

Come down the stairs, look under the tree and see.
I'm such a bad boy, I get no sympathy..."

On to Vegas's favorite bad boy. This is why Ruckus Rob's Myspace page should be a regular read. This was just a little bit of the Dec. 7th entry.


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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

First Friday Follow-Up: Galleries +2, -1

The Good News: The Main St. art scene looks to have two new galleries in the new year. Art mogul-in-the-making Naomi Arin has purchased a building, with apparent plans for two galleries and a coffeehouse/cafe eventually residing in it. Naomi, along with Jerry Misko, are co-proprietors of Dust Gallery. There are other plans afoot, which will come to light in the new year as well. Want to know... can't tell you yet!

The Bad News: Godt-Cleary Gallery is closing down its Mandalay Place gallery. The gallery's website now just lists the Main St. location as its only location.

The Mandalay Place location seemed quite important to the continued success of Godt-Cleary. Director Michele Quinn was recently interviewed in the Las Vegas Weekly and seemed to state as much when discussing the then newly opened Godt-Cleary Projects.

"You know, we won't necessarily be living off the traffic like we do at Mandalay, but I think, what I've found, even working in Soho, you can build your awareness and your core audience without having to have daily interaction with hundreds of people."

Hopefully, she and Glenn Schaeffer will be able to continue on with the gallery, as their experience and financial success would aid in the health and reputation of the arts district.

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Saturday, December 04, 2004

Message from the Editor (yes, there really is one!)

Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday dear Mr. Las Vegas Arts and Culture blogger a.k.a. Rob Kimberly,
Happy Birthday to You!

The entire staff (all two of us!) of LVAaC will be out tonight to celebrate the birth, 34 short years ago, of its founder, and since Rob did nothing to officially celebrate the blog turning one last month, I figured I should take it upon myself to give a shout out to all ten of you who read this regularly to say, hey, why don't you come up and wish the birthday boy well and introduce yourselves? I know he'd just be tickled to get to meet the eclectic crowd I'm sure you are. We'll be starting off the evening at the Artisan lounge (near I-15/Sahara) before heading on to the opening night of Paint it Black at the Boston (which starts at 10:30p with a band, followed by assorted djs spinning all sorts of dark retro wonderfulness, and cover is $5 until midnight, when it becomes $8). [pardon my run-on] How will you find us? Just look for the boy who's so happy he's not at work and has a cocktail in his hand, a shit-eatin' grin on his face, and a little lady with a corset at his side.

Hope to see some of you out and about tonight!
LVAaC Editor

ROB adds: Do say hi whereever we are! Me... white, short reddish hair, 5'7 wearing suit and maybe tie. The Editor, white, brunette, 4'11 wearing foxy black corset, black skirt.

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Thursday, December 02, 2004

Art for Your iPod

Apple is known for making some of the better looking electronics around, and the beautifully simple iPod is no different. But if the music machine's minimalistic look isn't for you, then MacSkinz has just the thing for you. Their Podskinz are plastic shells that protect the easily scratched mp3 player, but it's their artist series that will make your iPod stand apart.

Artists like Dave Johnson, Frank Kozik, and Andrew Bawidamann are offering limited edition Podskinz, with only 100 of any design. All designs come with a front and back, so the machine is wrapped all around with the funky design of your choice.

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