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...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where have I been! Thank a Rhinestone...

As many of my readers have probably noticed I have been a bit incognito when it comes to my relatively aggressive postings on the blog. Not that I have chosen to be actually, but I have been a we bit busier then normal. In July I was given the great honor of being appointed chairman of the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts. An appointment that I am deeply humbled by. I would have never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have been given the opportunity to lead the very organization that began my career in the museum field over 10 years ago.

Its funny to look back at those heady days at the museum. I had blond hair back then and enough piercings that drove me inside anytime I saw a storm brewing. Goodness, I even remember my interview with the museums director Sandra Harris whom I asked if my "alternative" look would be too much for the gray haired ladies that frequented the museum. She quipped, "it's Liberace!" Its true, I said to myself. How could anyone be wilder than the man who invented "Showmanship!"

I officially left the museum in 2003 but I returned as a board of director in 2010 to help the Foundation through the difficult period after the historic institution closed. I have always been loyal to Liberace and his foundation and felt strongly that I could help in some way. So you are probably thinking, "well I thought the museum was closed.?" Yes the museum is closed but what people do not widely know is that it was just a part of a larger foundation that gives scholarships to students in the performing and creative arts. A perfect fit for me considering I love the arts.

Though the years have passed from my time being an employee of the Liberace Museum, my dedication to the field and to the cultural arts has been unwavering. I have even become a bit of an expert on the arts in Southern Nevada. Being called upon in a split-second for interviews and TV appearances, even though I have not owned a TV in 7.5 years! In either case I hope that I have been able to use some of that Liberace star-power to continue to do good in the community and to help further the arts.

There is little doubt that the importance of the cultural arts and humanities to a community is immeasurable. Yes there will always be naysayers who say the arts are waste of time and have no real economic benefits, but I simply rebuke them as completely ill-informed. Las Vegas is learning that the cultural arts is a power to be reckoned with, especially when attempting to redevelop it's economy from a tourist destination to a more economically diverse community. You cannot attract non-gaming based businesses and companies unless we have the arts, which in turn helps further the cultural offerings that attract the creatives that make up this important and ever expanding segment of the economy. Lets face it we need more than pretty lights to make our community, well, a community. A community needs to feel that there is stability and permanence and the arts is a demonstration of a communities investment in its future.

Over the next few months you will see more and more of my musings regarding the state of the cultural arts in Southern Nevada and of course you will also read more about what we are doing at the Foundation to further our mission to provide scholarship assistance to students. With this said I leave you to enjoy your day and most importantly get involved in the arts. Go to a museum, a concert at The Smith Center, a theatrical performance at the Las Vegas Little Theater or visit an art gallery; you will be glad you did.

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

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


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