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, February 29, 2012

March Madness First Friday! Its gonna be burning hot!

Just when you thought it could not get any hotter in Las Vegas the new First Friday crew have teamed up with the Burning Man crew to do the unthinkable. Yep its true... They're gonna be burning something; something big and beautiful. She is tall, she is glamorous and she will give any Las Vegas Showgirl a run for her feathers. She is none other than Lucky Lady Lucy.

The 20ft effigy of Las Vegas' ultimate icon the Showgirl, will be set ablaze in what is being billed as Las Vegas first public burning! Though I am still trying to verify that stat. In either case this coming First Friday is expected to be one amazing party as every crazy, wild and over the top character is expected to descend upon Downtown to make this First Friday go down in history. Heck I am even pulling out some of my wild and outlandish outfits to join the misfits in a tribute to art, culture and everything else that is making Downtown the place to party and live.

So you have absolutely no excuse not come Downtown and enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes and everything else that makes Las Vegas so livable! See you at First Friday...

Here is Ryan Reason's Culture Weekend report of happenings around the neighborhood...

The Reason Report - First Friday Happenings and Beyond...

The Arts Factory has been bringing art and music festivals to the residents of Las Vegas since 1998. Open every day of the week, from the time we roll out of bed, until the time everyone has gone home.

Some parties are just bigger than others.

Here is just a small sample of the great things you can see this Preview Thursday, First Friday, Talky Trees Saturday and Bluegrass Sunday here at the Arts Factory and around the 18b Neighborhood:

At The Arts Factory

The Backyard Stage Presents:
Shamrock-a-Rama Pre-St Patrick's Day Party
The Publin Draught Irish Celtic Rock Band will be performing from 6pm to 8pm and the Backyard Bars will feature $3 Green Beer - $4 Jameson Shots - $5 Irish Iced Teas\
www.PublinDraught.com

Christian Gabriel Art Gallery
Studio #125
"Luck of the Irish"
Christian Gabriel with guest animae artist Mark Stephens & Pin up artist Jimmy Catanzaro. Come and dance the night away to Irish music. Be sure to get here early and get green beaded necklaces while they last!
Friday, March, 2nd - 5pm-11pm
www.christiangabrielart.com
Christiangabrielart@hotmail.com

Jenny Valdez Inc. Gallery
Suite 160
Various Artists
March’s Cultural Weekend at Jenny Valdez Inc. will feature cupcakes, owls, and art for the home. Pottery artist Barbara Gomez, as well as painters Theresa Lucero, Nicholas Walsh, Lynne Adamson, Jaye, Jana Lynch, and Jenny Valdez will each be showcasing new works.
Preview Thursday March 1 6:00pm - 8:00pm
March First Friday - March 30
www.JennyValdez.com
alettertojenny@gmail.com

Sin City Gallery
Suite 100
DESERT OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS
Award-winning New Zealand artist JK Russ will be exhibiting a series of collage works incorporating landscapes, flora and fauna from the desert, spray-painted sunsets, and the titillating femmes from Las Vegas Strip culture. On Thursday, March 1, there will be an “Artist Talk Preview” from 6-9 p.m. with the talk at 7 p.m.
Preview Thursday, March 1, 7pm - 9pm,
Friday, March 1-25, 7pm - 11pm
www.sincitygallery.com

Trifecta Gallery
Suite #135
Mary Warner : Heavy Petals
Full time in the studio again after retiring from her painting professor position at UNLV over many years.
The paintings and drawings are full force. Warner has always pushed the boundaries of flower painting to a place that respects the content while using drawing and painting techniques in alternative ways. The contrast between tradition and contemporary is beautifully balanced. Large and small drawings and paintings available.
Preview Thursday March 1 6:00pm - 8:00pm
March First Friday - March 30 Open 7 days a week.
www.trifectagallery.com

Joseph Watson Collection
Suite #115
The Joseph Watson Collection Presents Sabali. A solo exhibition from artist East 3.
Preview Thursday March 1, 6:00pm -9:00pm
First Friday, March 2, 6:00 - 11:00pm
www.josephwatsoncollection.com
858-733-2135

Jaikowski Studios
Suite #115 Backroom
Where Las Vegas Entertainment comes alive...
From oil and Acrylics to Pen and Inks...
Several new framed works varying in size.
Preview Thursday Jan 5 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Friday, Jan 6 7:00pm -11:00pm
For an appointment or more info: 702-204-9335
Jaikowskistudios@gmail.com
http://www.jaikowskistudios.com/

Happy Panda Toys
Suite 105A
A designer toy shop focusing on art toys, apparel and lifestyle products. All our products are limited edition, collectible pieces of art that feature a fusion of graffiti art, graphic design, and pop surrealism.
Open Daily:
Tuesday - Thursday 11AM - 6PM,
Friday 11AM - 7PM and Saturday 1PM - 9PM
www.happypandatoys.com
(702) 516 3432
customerservice@happypandatoys.com

HellPop!
Suite 105b
HellPop! presents Jska Priebe
Predominantly self-taught, her style arose from beloved films and animation, with a growing focus on macabre and enchanted themes mixed with an appreciation for the great masters and illustrators.
The underlying thread that ties her personal artwork together is the appreciation of the weird and the search for beauty in uncommon circumstances. Each frame is a unique focus on a moment of fascination and inspiration, whether it be a portrait, illustration, or abstraction.
March 1-March 31, 2012
Contact Info: Maria@Hellpop.net
(702) 518-0767

Contemporary Arts Center
Suite #120
23rd ANNUAL JURIED SHOW
The Annual Juried Show is the Contemporary Arts Center's (CAC) annual opportunity to expose artists working in contemporary visual arts to a wide audience. This exhibition is a prominent showcase in the Southern Nevada region and highlights the exceptional work of national and international artists in all media. Juror Mat Gleason is a Los Angeles art critic, curator, commentator and writer for The Huffington Post, and founder/publisher of Coagula Art Journal.
Show Opens Friday, March 23rd with awards ceremony and commentary given by Juror, Mat Gleason 6:00pm-9:00pm
www.lasvegascac.org

Hillary Salon
Suite 250
Incomparable service. Undeniable results.
Expert hair design by appointment
Tues-Sat
10am-7pm
Follow @hillarysalon
(702) 525 1053

Around the Neighborhood


Brett Wesley Gallery
1112 S. Casino Center Blvd.
Experience Las Vegas from a whole new perspective as local artist Sam Morris showcases aerial photographs in Forms from Above. Morris has taken ordinary, mundane places seen everyday and turned them into interesting graphic spaces from a perspective few get a chance to encounter.
Opening artist reception Thursday, March 1st from 5 - 8 p.m. and First Friday, March 2nd from 5 - 9 p.m.
This event is free to the public. The exhibition will run March 1 - 31, 2012.
victoria@BrettWesley.com
http://www.BrettWesleyGallery.com
facebook.com/BrettWesleyGallery
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 12 - 6:00 p.m. Also open by appointment.

Retro Vegas
New Location: 1131 S Main Street
Glazed Porcelain Originals
Barbara Lee Johnson (1928 - 2012) worked in mixed media, oils and acrylic on canvas, metal sculpture and, in her final years, glazed porcelain to create one-of-a-kind wearable art. Her hand-made jewelry is evocative yet understated.
Opens Preview Thursday, March 1, at 6:00 pm - continues until March 31.
Mon - Sat 11 - 6 with late hours on First Friday
retro-vegas.com,
702-384-2700

Skin City Body Painting Studio & Boutique
1209 S. Main Street
Hosting a Live Body Paint Demo by world-famous visiting artist Allison Weston of Chicago! As a special treat for visitors, one of the best bodypainters in the country is coming to town to do a live bodypaint demo at Skin City Studio from 6pm-11pm. Her model will be the gorgeous Vegas dancer Estelle. DJ Brandon will be providing music, and there will be artwork by local artists on exhibit in the back galleries. Skin City is open First Friday March 2, 5pm - midnight
www.SkinCityBodyPainting.com
Contact: Robin
(702) 885-3777

Art @ The Funk House
located in The Funk House antique store
1228 S. Casino Center Blvd.
Thursday March 1, 2011 5-9pm Exhibit will run through April 26, 2011

Preview Thursday Art @ The Funk House
We are pleased to announce that on our first opportunity to be open for preview Thursday, Art @ The Funk House will have a new exhibit "Curve of the Spine". This will be a group exhibit featuring altered books by:
Gina Quaranto, Montana Black, Amber Gardner, Carrie Bourdeau and Amy Gonzalez

Cindy Funkhouser email: 
phone: 702.678.6278 (noon-4pm)
http://pinterest.com/thefunkhouse/art-contemporary-the-funk-house/

Saturday March 3rd at the Arts Factory


Talky Trees
5pm - 11.30pm
What exactly is Talky Trees? It's a 7-hour Arts festival centered around two ideas:
1) Self-expression of the audience such that they and the performers are one and the same! YOU have the gift of art, and we encourage you to realize it.
2) Collaboration between mediums: painters coloring a piece to a poet who then gives his words to the music of others.
In keeping with this, we offer an open mic for all mediums, a community canvas, a community poem, space to display one's work, bodypainting, belly dancing, and whatever else you decide to bring. This an Arts & Entertainment festival FOR the community BY the community. That's why we call it homegrown!

This month's community canvas by KENDALL FRANKLIN, MATTHEW MURPHY, & YOU with live jams from the Anal Beads (and YOU, if you fancy)

poetry by SETH WALKER
music by STOLAS & JACKIE

$2 Raffle at the end of the night for the Community Canvas and 3 copies of Stolas' Losing Wings EP! Kendall Franklin will also be selling prints and t-shirts!
More info? http://www.facebook.com/talkytrees

Sunday March 4th at the Arts Factory


Bluegrass Brunch
12pm - 4pm
Now Every Sunday, Bar+Bistro's Hangover Brunch (named “The Best Brunches in Vegas” Las by Vegas Weekly) becomes Bluegrass Brunch when 'Out of the Desert' stops by to play. A little banjo with your B+B Pancakes is a perfect start to a lovely day.

Las Vegas Scooter Rally
3pm - 9pm
As one of the final events for the High Rollers Weekend, Bar+Bistro will be playing host to hundreds of scooters from all over America and the UK. Scooter gymkhana, awards, raffle, and Build Off scooter awards. And the final event will be, everyone's favorite, the big raffle with tons of scooter swag / parts and top prize being a Kymco scooter. Pig Roast and Paella will fill your belly while drink specials and music performances will help put a smile on your face.
www.lvscooterrally.com











Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm

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

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at | 0 Comments

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Journey of Fire... A Burning Man account by Onnoleigh Sweetman...

March First Friday is gearing up with Las Vegas' first official "Burning", an event inspired by the annual Burning Man art and music festival in Northern Nevada. My very good friend, spiritual sister and guest blogger Onnoleigh "Onna" Sweetman, is sharing her personal experiences with us again about her time at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

Below is part 2 and 3 of her experiences. Part 1 was first published on this blog, on August 23, 2011

http://lvartsandculture.blogspot.com/2011/08/journey-of-fire-burning-man-2011-rites.html

See you at the burn... First Friday, March 2nd, 2012... http://www.firstfridaylasvegas.com/

Onnoleigh Sweetman at Burning Man


Journey of Fire Part 2 and 3
From the dust we came and to the dust we shall return and emerge new beings of light.
 --Onnoleigh Sweetman

“THIS IS MY CHURCH.  THIS IS WHERE I HEAL MY HURTS.  AND TONIGHT, GOD IS A DJ”

“So here I was standing directly at the base of the man...  It was 3:30 in the morning on a Monday and with a two day hitchhiking adventure to get to this point I reveled in my own awe and inspiration.  I looked up to the wooden sculpture with gracious humility.  The Man, standing tall and proud with his left leg forward, looked as though he was glancing behind him with his arms in stride, as if to allure to what he was there for.  This wooden Man, in his own final passage would soon find his way to his own destiny in the ever so deeply intended theme of Rites of Passage.  The week would fly by and with every intent my soul could muster I would purge everything I so badly wanted to release into this glowing structure.  I looked up at this man with a steadfast intent of soaking it all in.  Knowing, that this too shall pass.  That these moments on the playa that I crave with an unquenchable thirst would soon be a memory.  In complete awareness I closed my eyes and took it all in.   The dust beneath my feet, the sounds of electronic beats in the air, the mysticism of being in the middle of nowhere almost as if on another planet.  As I opened my eyes I knew this was a pivotal moment for me.  There was a brief time I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the event.  All the preparation, all the passion, everything that I came to Burning Man for this year, was represented in that brevity of a man.  That I myself, would transition along with the burning of this sculpture through my own Rites of Passage and leave all the heartache from all the death that I had experienced this year behind me.  In almost every sense, this wooden man in a remote desert had become my God.  My hope.  My Savior...”

The day of exodus to the burn was upon me and for the first time in my own history I actually slept the night before leaving. Refreshed and ready to go I stood proudly as it seemed as though this year I had the preparation dialed in. Everything was packed neatly in zip lock bags to avoid the ravenous dust that was soon to be upon me, the ultimate burning man list was checked from top to bottom, and my spirit was calm and centered. Having my ass kicked a thousand times over by the playa in the past, this year I bowed in karmic humility and took everything that I had learned in previous years and applied it ever so fervently to the spiritual preparation and every other aspect of the burning man experience. So far I was off to a beautiful start.

At 5:00 pm on Saturday I met my rideshare at the RV rental place. Jeremy, a dance producer and Jon a 26 year old were both from Camp Auto Sub in Boston, Massachusetts and both virgin burners. The excitement was in the air and I remember looking back at my first burn thinking how nothing could ever prepare these two for the magic they were about to experience. And how in one week, we would all step back into this RV forever changed by the initiation and cleansing of the dust. One can see pictures, watch videos, but there is nothing in comparison to the actual live event itself. I also wondered what was in store for me. I had set myself on a diligent mission of flowing and allowing with whatever the playa had in store for me and felt more prepared than ever to return home to the dust.

The ride was calm minus a little hail and lightning on the way, and Jon and I (both fans of psychedelic trance) rocked out to Shpongle and Infected Mushroom most of the way. I was surprised at how clear the roads were. We didn’t see hardly any vehicles, hippie busses or RV’s on the way. This of course was the calm before the storm. With a 50,000 max limit set by the BLM and a two lane highway from Fernley, Nevada all the way to Black Rock, I almost cringed at what could be a monstrous gate wait into the event. But that was still a day away. The playa had a mini adventure in store for Jon and me and it would be an almost 48 hour trek from start to finish to the gates of Burning Man.

At 4:00 am we landed outside of Reno in Lemon Valley. With an early entry pass for Jeremy, we decided to crash for a few hours at my dear friend and light worker Crisalicous' house. It had been nearly a year since I’d seen her and I welcomed a pre-burn experience with her. With only a few hours of sleep we were up and ready to start the day. Jeremy’s plans were to head straight to Burning Man which meant that Jon and I needed to find a way to Fernley and the Love gas station by 8pm. A few phone calls later and we ventured into Reno to designer and artist Marcio Decker’s house. As with all my trips to Northern Nevada, the Sunday experience was like a family reunion for me. Seeing old faces from the dearest times of my life which mostly were encountered in Burning Man’s backyard of Reno, Nevada. From Marico’s we headed over to meet the countless Burners’ of camp EZRA to assist in the final stages of the Ezcargo-go art car. A mass snail with one amazing sound system, the crew was quick to assemble then disassemble the art car in preparation for its journey into the Black Rock desert. From Reno we ventured into Fernley. With only my back pack, a 6 gallon water jug and a zebra print coat, I felt like a diva version of Christopher McCandless of “Into the Wild”. I might not be trekking through the wilds of Alaska but I was proud of myself for not stressing over the change of plans. A producer for ten years, I plan, perform and execute everything that I do to a tee. This time, I decided to just trust that everything would work itself out and I would land my dancing feet on the magical dust in no time.

 In Fernley, we were dropped off at a Casino where we spent the next three hours. Exhaustion started to creep in. After a beer and dinner I found myself almost falling asleep at a video poker machine. Sounds of a woman calling out bingo numbers beckoned annoyingly in our ears. I couldn’t help but feel anxious to get on our way. A week with no internet, no television, no social media, no slot machines or tourists is the highest version of a vacation for me if there ever was one. Just pure homegrown art, with amazing people, engaging interaction and adventure. We were so close… I soon would be home… Back to a place where my soul shines at its brightest and my smile at its’ warmest. The best version of me eluding from this physical body in all its’ brevity. With urgency in our souls and a spark in our steps we ran across the freeway to the nearest gas station. We were so close. Our supplies were already on the playa and that just left one more thing. Us. Our final passage into the mystical land of Burning Man!

At 9:00 pm our final ride arrived in Fernley. Tee jay and Michelle also known the rest of the week as Mom and Dad. I had met Tee Jay and Michelle at the 2008 burn and remained stellar friends ever since. This year they were gifting me my first ever stay in an RV. (Well deserved I might add after roughing it in a tent for almost a decade). We loaded ourselves into the RV and were on our way. The gates were open but as anticipated the lines were long. We listened to BMIR radio live from the playa hosted by the Rock star librarian who was giving its listeners all the tips on the when and where of the week in music on the playa. The hosts were even interviewing the “Greeters”. “What’s your name”? I heard a man ask. A boisterous woman could be heard replying “Smooches”! I smiled in excitement. “Smooches” is Elaine Hirt. One of my former performers in my first Dance Company and close friend.  “We must get to her at the greeter gate I exclaimed excitingly”. And three hours later we did just that. I ran out of the RV to see Smooches chatting at countless burners on her loud speaker. I charged her and gave her the biggest hug possible. Nothing could be better than being greeted to the homeland of the playa with someone that has shared some of my most amazing experiences in life.

And so we were in. I finally made it to the mother ship. We traveled the allotted speed of 5 mph and headed to 9:30 and Birthday. Our home for the next week. When we arrived, the “Jelly’s” and the members of the “Panda Sky Bar” were working diligently on setting up our camp which included a very large and oversized teal bus that would be our mutant vehicle Jelly fish for the week as well. But my mission was not yet completed. It was about 3:00 am on Monday and I needed to venture with Jon clear across the playa to 3:30 and Esplanade to locate Jeremy and his RV. “I’ll be back before sunrise” I told my camp mates and with that we were off. We traveled straight ahead towards 9:30 and Esplanade right to the man. I was surprised at the amount of art cars and burners that were already “in it” for a Sunday night. These people apparently didn’t mess around. Years ago when I first started “burning” the playa was calm and steady throughout the beginning of the week and you could feel and see with your own eyes the energy build and grow as the days went on. The city coming in to its own, ever changing, with every day, never quite looking the same. Over the past few years, with a sudden influx of people attending the event that has changed. Monday nights have begun to feel like a Saturday with the party not missing a beat right when the sun sets...

We finally made it to 3:30 and Esplanade. None of the looking points sounded familiar and we searched diligently for Jeremy for about an hour. This is when I started to get nervous. What if we didn’t find him? Could I last a few days or even a week without all my fur, costumes, and makeup? The partial glitter pony inside me decided not and I continued to freak some more. I had forgotten how difficult it could be at times to track a person down in a 50,000 person city. With looking points such as glowing eggs and unicorn busses one can become consumed within the city’s wonderland and become lost down its engaging rabbit hole quite easily. That’s when I remembered one of my intents for the year. Trust the playa, let it guide you. That’s when, in my head I said “ok playa, I give up, show me where he is now” and with that I looked up and immediately found the RV.

Monday morning on the playa brings with it the birth of a new Utopia and with it smiles and hugs and hellos to friends old and new. My home for the week was a two part camp, a combination of The Jelly’s and The Panda Sky Bar. The meshing of both would bring with it uplifting music that would change my point of view on compassion, camarodity and dub step forever.

The Jelly (a large upside down jellyfish) was constructed by a group based out of San Francisco and Denver, Colorado. Roscoe Ferguson, (whom spearheaded the project) stated that “The jelly is a 30ft long, two story pleasure craft that exists for the sole purpose of creating smiles and spreading its underwater charm across the playa”. A very true statement to an art car that could be looked at as nothing less than a vehicle that is one of “God’s motorized angels” blasting ambient sounds from its Do’s that one could only refer to as dub-trance. A complete labor of love, I witnessed the jelly’s construct the final stages for two days on the playa. The driving force behind this project? “ I labor on it so that I may have the opportunity of picking up dusty strangers and friends in the desert and provide them with an amazing unexpected experience, transportation through the hot desert sun, cold beer and water, and an elevated view to take in all that the playa has to offer” says Ferguson. And speaking of views, the Panda Sky Bar made for an amazing back yard for the week. Built on top of a school bus, this wooden structure stood over 12ft tall complete with a bar and DJ booth. Headed up by Ashot Petrosian, an engineer for MTV networks, rumor around the camp was he put in 50,000 of his own hard earned cash to construct the bar. And the camp mates donated a total of $3500 to stock the bar with liquor and cordials.

Monday also brought with it my up close and personal introduction to the Function 1 sound system. Our direct neighbors were camp “Wide Awake”. And wide awake they were with an art car with custom made plexi glass to cover the four 50,000 dollar a speaker sound system on what looked like an antique art car with giant wooden wheels. This camp and vehicle was founded by none other than, the one, the only, “God of the Ravers” Pasquale Rotella. For those of you living in a forest with no contact to the outside world, Pasquale Rotella is the man responsible for the epic and mind blowing EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) parties over the past fifteen years.

Pasquale, dark and handsome, radiates a business charm with just the right combination of dreamy and reserved. And here I was, camped next to the one man that has made not only a lifestyle, but a business out of his love for electronic music. Inspiration at its best.

Pasquale’s camp was busy and full of energy. What looked like tour busses lined the camp one by one and the beats coming from the art car drew me in as if I were in a trance. I walked the short distance to the art car and began my week by dancing with a refreshing smile to the DJ commanding the art car and his audience. And then it hit me. This was the camp that Las Vegas based DJ Tatiana was camping with. I asked around the camp for Tatiana. One man asked who she is. I replied “The Goddess of Music”. And with that reply I made my way into the Wide Awake dome to find my goddess inside. A tall dark beauty with sultry brown eyes, “Tati” stood alongside the DJ booth where numerous packages of red bull lined the dome. Quiet by her demeanor but enriched with a calm and centered strength, one can only admit they are standing in the presence of an ancient soul when in her company. Pre-playa we had discussed how we were going to find each other this year and we both smiled with excitement to see one another and our RV’s placed so serendipitously side by side. Tatiana, whom rocked the decks the entire week with Wide Awake and its’ art car had this to say. “When the music on the art car brings people from all ends of the playa seeking that sound they hear, you know you've stumbled upon all the goodness that is Wide Awake. Music moves us from the inside”.

And from the Inside it does; that is the driving force behind most musicians on the playa. It is in my opinion an example of spirit speaking to spirit. The gift we give and so graciously receive in the dusty desert of Black Rock. And as I always say “The right DJ’s are true musical shamans, healing their audience through electronic beats”.

The most spirited of DJ’s for the week, hands down go to the crew of Camp EZRA and the 60 person snail art car called the EZCAR-GOGO. Feel good dance music at its’ absolute finest, the snail was headed up by lead DJ, Izak Engel. Izak originally from South Africa made his way to Reno nine years ago and immediately found his way to Burning Man. With blonde hair and blue eyes, Izak erodes a sex appeal that commands the decks and the audience with such an immense energy that patrons from all over the playa were automatically drawn in to the EZCAR-GOGO and its’ engaging energy. Electro House could be heard thumping at all times of the day and night on the art car complete with the boisterous community driven dance junkies of CAMP EZRA.

The Panda Sky Bar also became popular for its luscious beats as well as its day and night parties. The speakers were basically by my head while sleeping and numerous times the melodic beats pulled me from a deep sleep running up the stairs in my pj’s (or barely dressed at all) ready to dance the morning away. A great backyard if I have to say so myself. One morning I recall awakening to the most delicious and ambient of sounds. I remember yelling from my bunk to Teejay that the music was just so damn good and we had to wake up. I made my way into my backyard and up the dusty steps to the decks of the bar. A reserved yet commanding DJ was slaying the decks. That DJ was none other than San Diego based melodic genius Zak Johnson. The sounds emanating from the speakers were a sound and style I had never heard before and it pulled me into a hypnotic state of bliss. I smiled and immediately danced right by the DJ booth. There was something mysterious and addicting about Zak J. I didn’t want to leave the dance floor but instead lust after everything that was going on behind that DJ booth. When his set was finished, Zak lingered around the sky bar. That’s when I approached him. “I really enjoyed watching you” I said. “I really enjoyed watching you, enjoying me” he replied. From that moment on I knew Zak J was going on my roster of top ten DJ’s of my electronic experience.

Our direct neighbor from The Sky Bar, Zak was a virgin burner whom traveled with friends he mostly went to kinder garden with. Oddly enough there were three other burners somewhere in the mass dust that I had also shared bus and bicycle rides with from upstate New York...One can only look back and wonder in awe to remember yourself as a child, then look to the present, admist glowing lights and dust storms, and think how we could ever imagine these immense illusions of granduer we were currently experiencing. Was this predestined? That some eighteen years later we would all be in a remote desert over 3,ooo miles from our safe and conformist town nestled outside of Rochester, New York?

And that’s when I came to a conclusion.  


I didn’t go to Burning Man and become a “burner”.  I was a “burner” who happened to find Burning Man.

Journey of Fire Part 3

Amidst the lights, the music and art cars stands a structure off the grid of the party and the chaos. A divine force, the very essence and the core of the festival is truly represented in the mystical and reverent art installation of the Temple of Transition.

Tuesday brought with it some difficult and resistant moments. My main intent for the burn of 2011 was to take my mother’s ashes and spread them at the temple. Carrying her in my back pack for four days, the plan was to meet friends and journey to the temple that afternoon. I headed to Black Rock Syndicate, the meeting place, an hour late. As I walked the dusty path, I could almost hear my mother in my head. Her excitement, awe and wonder at an event she helped me prepare for, for so many years. The special way she would say my name that only a mother could do. In my head I explained the streets and layout of the event, the theme camps and art installations. “ So here you finally are mom”. I thought to myself. Memories of meeting a random burner named Bucket in the ICU came rushing in my head. The both of us standing outside of the hospital, thinking how our parents must have planned this in some serendipitous fashion. Me expressing my ultimate fear of placing my own mothers name in the temple…. This was it. I was really here. The thought of what I was about to do weighed heavily on my soul. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this. Heck, I wasn’t ready for her to die either but here I was… When I finally reached Syndicate I saw long time Reno promoter and friend John Moon. Both Moon and Vegas burner JD offered to go with me whenever I was ready. John suggested the next sunrise but JD was on his way there with a man he met named Prophet. And so with that, JD, Prophet and I headed to my camp for what was to be a brief detour before the journey.

Back at camp, Teejay and Michelle were installing the shade structure outside our RV. Electronic beats could be heard blasting from the Panda Sky Bar and boisterous screams and laughter from the numerous art cars passing by. I tried my best to be in the present moment thinking in my head, you’re at burning man, you’re home, savor every second. Bur the thoughts of my mother kept weighing on my mind. Procrastinating as much as I could I ultimately decided this was not the time to trek to the temple.

We all decided to kick back at my camp for a bit before JD and Prophet biked to the temple.. We all engaged in stellar conversations of yoga, Las Vegas Swami’s and more. Prophet, who had tattoos on his arm that said “THERE IS NO LIFE BUT LIFE AND WE ARE THE LIVERS”, offered me a numerological card reading. His uplifting message that I would make mass amounts of money and attain fame doing my art seemed to put me back into my high energy persona.

As we were chatting, a young man named Jesus from Ireland joined our conversations. He was a virgin burner and having the most profound experience. He looked at us all and with tears in his eyes said. “I came here to Burning Man for the party, little did I know my mind would become expanded. I had no idea about “spirituality” or that this existed…. I could empathize completely with him Recalling my first year when I stood at the edge of Soul System at 10:00 and Esplanade, to dance and welcome my first Sunday Sunrise. I recall watching and feeling the connection between me, that desert, the sun and all the thousands of beautiful people. I didn’t feel alone anymore on this journey. There were others like me… That was my first experience of “Oneness”.

Some may adhere to a belief system that Burning Man is just a wild party. A drunken drug fest, of neo-hippies and anarchists. But there is no doubt for those that have attended, there is a simple truth. There’s a spiritual driving force about burning man….Something that speaks to every soul. You find it walking by yourself on the dusty paths, dancing in between thousands, or trekking alone through deep playa. The meaning of existence…


The Temple of Transition

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for fellow Burners art with me; thy song and thy poi they comfort me. Thou prepare a table before me in the presence of mine fears: thou anoints my head with cold water; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and joy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in and on the Playa forever - Cross Sidhe

It was around 3:00 am in the morning and Teejay and Michelle and I traveled most the esplanade and dance camps on our side of the playa. We were currently around 6:00 off the esplanade and that’s when I knew that the pivotal moment was upon me. I looked to the temple that stood in all its brevity a long way in the distance. I looked with a heavy heart beyond the lights, beyond the art cars and took one slow breathe. I looked to Teejay Michelle and said “It’s time”. I looked ahead and with a determination of a child to grow up and become an adult, I flipped my back pack over my shoulder. I felt like a refugee on the last legs of its journey home and knew that this would be the ultimate journey of my existence. The journey that I had so solemnly come to Burning Man to do. The journey of my own Rites of Passage: to spread my mothers’ ashes.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

JK Russ delights at Sin City Gallery...

Is it me or does everything that gets exhibited at Sin City Gallery seem so... whats the word... hummm... Sexy! Yea that's it! Its true Dr. Laura Henkel's little gallery that could, never ceases to amaze me. This time she has teamed up with one side of Downtown's Dynamic Duo JK "Jo" Russ to bring another exhibition that will rock 18b (Las Vegas' arts district that is). Though I have not seen the show I suspect that Jo will not disappoint. The show opens on Preview Thursday March 1st, 6pm...

Sin City Gallery
107 East Charleston Blvd. Suite 100
Las Vegas, Nevada 89104
http://www.sincitygallery.com
702.608.2461

For more information on JK "Jo" Russ please visit her site at - http://www.jkruss.com/


Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm

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

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The Kaiser Report... Musical happenings for the week of February 27...

Here is the Laraine Kaiser's report of musical happenings this week. A lot to do for the stage is set for March Madness in the cultural arts scene. With Preview Thursday, First Friday, my birthday and the opening of the Smith Center things are really gonna get hot around here. So get out of the house and get enculturated!

Have a great week everyone...

Tuesday February 28th 7:00pm
Las Vegas Academy Orchestra ConcertLVA Performing Arts Center
315 S. 7th St. (9th and Clark)
Las Vegas, NV 89101
$6 or $20 for family of 4
more info 702-799-7800 x4085

Tuesday February 28th 7:30pm
UNLV faculty recital Alfonse Anderson and Soloists
UNLV Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info 702-895-1996

Wednesday February 29th 7:30pm
UNLV Chamber Orchestra Concert
Unlv Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info 702-895-1996

Thursday March 1st 7:30pm
Las Vegas Flute Ensemble and UNLV Symphonic Winds
Ham Hall
4505 Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV
$8-$10, UNLV students free with ID
(702) 895-ARTS (2787) for more info

Friday March 2nd 5:30pm
Masters Recital French Horn: Kyle TolstykaUnlv Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info 702-895-1996

Friday March 3rd 6:00-10:00pm
First Friday Las Vegas arts district down town,
art, music, food and more
shuttles available
maps at the heart of the festival:
the Funk House 1228 S. Casino Center
Las Vegas
free and open to the public!
more info : 384-0092
http://www.firstfriday-lasvegas.org/next.html

Friday March 2nd 7:00pm
Turtle Island String Quartet Grammy Award winning string quartet plays great arrangements from Hendrix to ColtraneUnlv Doc Rando Hall
Nevada School of the Arts, Chamber Program Concert
Historic Fifth St. School Auditorium
401 S. Fourth St. Suite 125
Las Vegas NV 89101Tickets are $10 in advance $15 at the show. Call 229-3515 or click on the following link https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?e=e73552ebadaa53773e1dd399d1909145&t=tix to get tickets and information call 702-384-2787 for more


Saturday March 3rd 7:30pm
Doctoral Recital, Soprano: Wendy Moss
UNLV Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info 702-895-1996

Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm
Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

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Friday, February 24, 2012

ARTS NEWS FLASH - Vegas at the Metropolitan Opera?

Giuseppe Verdi
by Boldini 1886
Just when you thought Las Vegas' reach could go no further, the Metropolitan Opera gives Director Michael Mayer carte blanche, to take one of the greatest operas ever written and place it right smack in the middle of the Copa Room at the Sands! Talk about a way to bring opera to the pop-culture masses. By setting Rigoletto in 1960's Vegas instead of 16th century Lombardy I think many purists will be in for a bit of a shock. But for a person like me who cries like a bambino at the end of every opera I am so looking forward to this performance.

Can you really improve Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto? Apparently you can and Mr. Mayer is the one to do it. Just short of genius? maybe... But most definitely innovative and forward thinking to say the least. By the time the show opens in New York the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas will have been open almost a year and this show at The Met seems almost too perfect not to make it to the Green Felt Jungle. Hint hint...

So with all this said I know exactly where I will be in January 2013. Mr. Mayer on behalf of my native home, Las Vegas that is, BRAVO!!!

Please follow the link below for more details about the Metropolitan Opera's production of Rigoletto...

http://www.metopera-digital.org/metopera/season2012-13#pg15

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

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Monday, February 20, 2012

The Kaiser Report... Musical happenings for the week of February 20...

Yet another week begins and what would it be without Laraine Kaiser weekly update of musical happenings to share with the world. Thanks to creative people like Laraine Las Vegas' Cultural Arts are stronger then ever.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Wednesday February 22nd 7:00pm
Las Vegas Academy chamber ensembles recital including
piano quartets, string quartets and much moreBlack Box Theater
315 S. 7th St. (9th and Clark)
Las Vegas, NV 89101
$3more info 702-799-7800 x4085

Thursday February 23rd 7:30pm
UNLV Wind Orchestra Concert with soloists
Wei Wei Le, Violin and Grammy award-winning solo saxophonist, Eric Marienthal
Ham Hall
4505 Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV
$8-$10, UNLV students free with ID
(702) 895-ARTS (2787) for more info

Thursday February 23rd 7:30pm
Masters Recital Composition: Carlos CarrascoUnlv Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info 702-895-1996

Saturday February 25th 3:00pm
Traditional Scottish dance and music
Clark County Library Theater
1401 E. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Free and Open to the Public
call 702-507-3400 for more info

Saturday February 25th 7:30pm
Trumpet player for the Metropolitan Opera, Mark Gould performs with the
Las Vegas Sinfonietta
UNLV Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info 702-895-1996

Sunday February 26th 2:30pm
Orchestra Concert to benefit the local 369 Musicians of Las Vegas
Debussy, Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune, Mozart Violin Concerto no. 3
Strauss "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme"
Lee Richey, director; soloist Laraine Kaizer-V
Community Lutheran Church
3720 E. Tropicana Ave.
Las Vegas NV 89121donations of any amount accepted

Sunday February 26th 7:30pm
Masters Voice recital Jonathan Napler-Morales
Las Vegas Sinfonietta
UNLV Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info 702-895-1996

Upcoming Events...
Turtle Island Quartet
Friday, March - 2nd, 7pm
Historic Fifth Street School
Grammy Award winning artists Turtle Island Quartet fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles in a program celebrating the music of John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix.Tickets are $10 in advance $15 at the show. Call 229-3515 or click on the following link https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?e=e73552ebadaa53773e1dd399d1909145&t=tix to get tickets and information


Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm

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

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Salon Show at Pop Up Art House TONIGHT!!!

Tonight the Pop Up Art House in Henderson opens up its doors to a brand new exhibition. The Salon Show will be featuring some of Las Vegas' most prominent artists for what is expected to be the show of the year. With artists like Matthew Couper, Wendy Kveck, Kathleen Strukoff and Mark Brandvic to name just a few, you know Southern Nevada is in for a major treat.

The opening reception will be this evening at 6pm... The exhibition runs from February 18 - March 24

Pop Up Art House
730 West Sunset Road
Henderson, Nevada 89011
http://thepopuparthouse.com/

Sacred Spleen by Matthew Couper

Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm

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

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Left of Center Art Gallery Celebrates Black History Month with the art of Calvin B. Jones...

One of Las Vegas' hidden jewels the Left of Center Art Gallery opens its doors in celebration of Black History Month with an exhibition by Chicago artist Calvin B. Jones. The opening reception will be TONIGHT at 7pm. All are welcome.

Left of Center Art Gallery
2207 West Gowan Road
North Las Vegas, Nevada 89052
702-647-7378
http://www.leftofcenterart.org/


Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm
Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Kaiser Report... Musical happenings for the week of February 13...

After a nice weekend full of art and culture here is another week filled full of art and culture. It never end now does it? Nope and that is a great thing. Here is Laraine Kaiser's weekly report of musical happenings about town. 

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Monday February 13th 5:30pm
Tuba and euphonium recital by
UNLV faculty: Stephen Kunzer
Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
(702)-895-3332 for more info

Tuesday February 14th 5:30pm
UNLV Tuba and euphonium studio recital
Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
(702)-895-3332 for more info


Tuesday February 14th 7:30pm
UNLV Symphony Orchestra performs Mendelssohn's Overture to a "Midsummer Night's Dream," Mahler's "Adagietto" from Symphony no. 5 and
Beethoven's Symphony no. 6 ("Pastoral") directed by
Taras Krysa
UNLV Artemis Ham Hall
4505 Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV
$10-18 adults, discounts available for seniors/students/military/disabledmore info: 702-895-3949

Thursday February 16th, 5:00-9:00pm
Henderson's "Third Thursday" art, music, food fest
family friendly
Downtown Henderson, Water Street
Henderson, NV
Free and Open to the public
more info: 267-1516

Saturday February 18th 6:00pm
Izel Ballet Folklorico Mexican folk music, dance, and costumes
Winchester Community Center
3130 McLeod Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89121
Tickets are $8 adults $5 children
more info 702-455-7030

Saturday February 18th 8:00pm
Las Vegas Philharmonic performs music of Bernstein, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2:
pianist Haochen Zhang
Ham Hall
4505 Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV
$38-$78 adults
$34.25-$70.25 seniors
(702) 895-ARTS (2787) for more info
upcoming concerts

Sunday February 26th 2:30pm
Orchestra Concert to benefit the local 369 Musicians of Las Vegas
Debussy, Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune, Mozart Violin Concert no. 3
Strauss "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme"
Lee Richey, director soloist Laraine Kaizer-V
Community Lutheran Church
3720 E. Tropicana Ave.
Las Vegas NV 89121donations of any amount accepted

Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm
Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Artist Wendy Kveck at Kleven Contemporary...

Las Vegas Artist Wendy Kveck opens her latest exhibition at Kleven Contemporary this evening inside Emergency Arts. Come and enjoy some great art, great eats and even better amistad on Fremont Street...

Kleven Contemporary
Inside Emergency Arts
520 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
http://www.emergencyartslv.com




Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this linkhttp://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm
Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm

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

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at | 0 Comments