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...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Long Kiss Goodnight. An era has come to an end...

For years we watched him hold in one hand a Martini Glass and on the other a Showgirl. We watched in awe as he won his re-election campaigns over and over again with overwhelming landslides. We even watched him work tirelessly to re-energize Downtown Las Vegas into a dynamic, livable and safe community. Though we have been preparing for months the sad inevitability that was forced upon us by lazy voter term limits, Mayor Oscar B. Goodman's Long Kiss Goodnight has sadly come to an end.

Myself with the good Mayor
at the Contemporary Arts Center
Mid 2004
I met Oscar for the first time in mid 2004 at First Friday when he meandered into the Contemporary Arts Center's (CAC) gallery inside the Arts Factory. I smiled and shook his hand and told him about the show that was on exhibition. We talked for a few minutes and I told him how excited I was about what he was doing for Downtown. At that moment he asked me point blank, "do you live Downtown?" I embarrassingly responded , "no I do not." Oscar then tapped me on the shoulder and said you need to move Downtown. He was 100% correct and no less than nine months later I found the perfect place at the L'Octaine.

When I moved into the area not much was happening except for First Friday. The arts district had not been created yet, Soho Lofts was on its 7th floor of construction, Newport Lofts had not even broken ground, Juhl and the Ogden were barely on the drawing board, the Smith Center was still a dream and the Downtown Cocktail Room was still a 7-Eleven. Even the Fremont East Entertainment District was barely a thought; though I do remember some preliminary discussions when I worked at the city about using neon signs from the Neon Museum for "some project" on lower Fremont. Looking back at where we were 6 years ago and looking at where we are today is simply amazing and we have Oscar to thank for this.

As I look back at Oscar's years in office I can only smile and think how much he inspired people to believe in him and his ideas. I was one of those believers who closely listened to what he had to say and was convinced that his ideas and actions were the best thing for our community. Moving Downtown in 2005, right smack in the middle of the city's centennial celebrations, was one of the best decisions I ever made. First, because it made me part of a small contingency of dedicated die-hard Downtowners and secondly, it helped me put my money where my mouth is. I thought to myself how can I support First Friday, the CAC, the Arts Factory and most importantly Las Vegas history if I did not live Downtown! Moving on the city's 100 birthday was just the icing on the cake!

Though the Long Kiss Goodnight ends today with the swearing in of a new Mayor, Oscar's wife Carolyn no less, his legacy will live on. Not to mention that Oscar will go down in history as one of the most popular Mayors in Nevada History. As we say our so-longs and goodbyes we look back at 12 amazing years. We also look back at the trials, tribulations and tireless work of so many dedicated citizens that assisted in making Oscar's dream come true. Over the ensuing years history will judge his accomplishments by studying the renaissance that he championed. I suspect that even his most vocal critics will be silenced when confronted with the overwhelming historical evidence of his successes. In the end no matter what, you can't say Oscar did not try, he may not have gotten his sports arena but at least he got his Jewel in the Desert and a Zappos to boot!

Thank you Oscar for everything you have done, for today is just the beginning of many more great things to come!

Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

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


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