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, March 20, 2010

A humbling distinction...

It was well over a month ago when one of Las Vegas' great authors told me that I had been nominated as one of City Life's Best Local Historians. It was at the end of a presentation on the Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the Historic 5th Street School that Geoff Schumacher Author of Sun, Sin and Suburbia http://sunsinsuburbia.com/ approached me and mentioned the nomination. I looked at him with a perplexed look upon my face. I wondered to myself why I would be nominated for such a distinction that would normally be reserved for authors and professors? So I ran home, got on the computer and looked up City Life http://www.lasvegascitylife.com/ online and after searching for a second I found my name in the company of other great lovers of History.
  • Bob Stoldal
  • Dr. Michael Green
  • Geoff Schumacher
  • Dennis McBride
Just being in the company of these great local historians, authors, professors and most importantly friends is one of the most humbling moments in my life and career. Though I wondered what I could have done to deserve such a nod. Was it my love of my home town? The fact that I have had the honor to touch some of the great historical collections in our city? Being the Curator of the Las Vegas News Bureau? This very blog? Reading what City Life wrote puts it into perspective.

"Best local historian: Brian "Paco" Alvarez

Though I do feel a bit like President Obama in receiving the Nobel Prize I guess the important thing to ask is how can I take being voted Best Local Historian and do positive things with it. Obviously writing a book is at the top of the list and an idea that I have been working on for awhile. Ever since I left the Rhinestone Ritz I had been toying with the idea of writing a tell-all and have complied quite a list of notes. In addition I have quite an archives related to the fight we had with the university administration when it came to the fate of the the award winning Rock Avenue program on KUNV. Rock Avenue alone caused KUNV to win the 1997 Gavin Award for best College Radio Station only to be snuffed out by an indifferent administration and apathetic student body. Another thing that I should do with the distinction is to continue to educate the public about the cultural arts in Las Vegas. Goodness knows I have a keen understanding about the importance of building a stable cultural arts and educational infrastructure as a means for economic diversification. Anyway there are lots of things I can and will do its just a matter of priority and one that now takes center stage.

As I mentioned on my Facebook page I respectfully stand upon the shoulders of those who came before me. Especially my mentors Dr. Kevin Rafferty, one of Nevada's great Archaeologists who worked me hard in class and solidified my studies in Anthropology; Dr. Vicky Cassman who solidified my passion for museums and my career in the field and of course the late Dr. Gary Elliott, the toughest history professor I ever had and one of the best conversationalists. I remember the countless hours we spent on the campus of the community college talking shop whether it was Nevada History, about Dr. James McMillan or the history of the Westside. Gary was definitely one of the best.

In the end I am deeply grateful to City Life for the nomination and of course to those who elected me for this distinction but I want to state that I share this with every single person who loves History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, and Las Vegas of course. This award is for the tireless and selfless heroes that educate our posterity about the past, the present and the future...

Thank you..

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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