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, November 29, 2014

Stone. Wood. Gem. Empty Space - The Art of Dorit Schwartz at the Wynn Las Vegas

By Dr. Laura Henkel,
Contributing Writer

Artist Dorit Schwartz 
Dorit Schwartz’s sublime sculptures lyrically express spiritual enhancement and power, particularly that of the natural world. This is poetic ekphrasis, telling the tale, in physical terms, of the invisible, a vision of unity and transparency. A crystal within the branches of a tree, the creation of open space to contain a metaphysical heart of agate or amethyst. Schwartz’s remarkable works are made of beautiful hand carved materials including rare wood, and gemstones.

A holistically defined artistic vision is exemplified in Schwartz’s mystical sculpture Energy Portal. This work incorporates fine Brazilian agate geode, encased within reclaimed mortar wood, with a steel mount and lighting effects. The magic of all of Schwartz’s work includes a quiet evocation of the spiritual. No overt symbols exist, rather seemingly simple shapes stand, like nautilus shells, hidden treasures often at the core. The artist has worked the surface and form, however, her interventions are subtle, and almost seamlessly perfect, the objects seem touched by elements, weathered by the sky, by rain, by the ocean. She has maintained a classical paradigm, adherence to the truth of materials, as first expressed by the alternately smooth and rough marbles of the great 19th century French artist Auguste Rodin and the late 19th – early 20th century Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi. These elements and sensibility coalesce in Schwartz’s work to express something metaphysical as seen in the organic rounded shape of Contemplation composed of an iconic center of selenite crystal, rooted in lovely acacia wood, suggesting meditative and spiritual experience.

This graceful expression reflects a central thematic of the artist’s life, and for many others in the modern world, the desire to achieve harmony not only in plastic form, but also within the spiritual self. As such these sculptures serve as spectacular visions of something deep within us, the open spaces like an abstract illustration of the innermost heart of a man, containing a chakra like crystal, a round curvilinear wood carved to form a womb like interior, reflecting perhaps the struggles and hidden chakra of woman. Such imagery is clearest in works such as Rings of Life, a round feminine shape of acacia holding a gem of aragonite, while the work Inner Self features white quartz again encircled in a maternal roundel, expressive of an immeasurable spirituality. This is the essence of crystals, an alternative to the empirical view of the world, and refers to the idea of chi or qi, a Taoist concept naming an unseen healing force. In this philosophy, problems originate from disharmony.

The use of crystals as amulets or healing devices can be traced to the ancient world. The ancient Greeks believed crystals were perpetually frozen ice formations found on Mt. Olympus, this captured beautifully in the passage on the ice of the Gods and embodied in Schwartz’s majestic sculpture Happiness (Vav-Hey-Vav והו) masterfully carved from selenite set with high-polished stainless steel (number 49 in The 72 Names of Schwartz’s God Series).

We know in addition to the mention of crystals in Exodus, the ancient Egyptians held quartz sacred, and drank from carved quartz vessels, the liquid imbued with life force. In addition, throughout the world, crystal balls were representative of artist power and purity of vision. Tibetan monks saw these important objects as “windows of the gods.” In South America, ancient cultures used crystal objects in ceremonies, and in North America, Native American cultures including the Cherokee believe in the legend of the time of harmony of long ago, the old way. Within this belief system, crystals and minerals possess certain properties that can reinstate harmony and peacefulness. It is no accident, thus that Schwartz has chosen such evocative materials to express what the Buddhists called the “visible nothingness” an esoteric understanding of spiritual ascension and understanding.

The search for ascension and the attainment of spiritual elevation is present in all religion, whether Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, Judaism, Islam or Hindu and many other belief systems and philosophies. What Schwartz captures in her work is this invisible truth, a metaphysical concept that is represented by the distilled purity of nature, masterfully created in hand made sculptures of the utmost earthly material. In Schwartz’s extraordinary oeuvre, nature functions as the model for the synergetic, symbiotic and cyclical, an inspired expression of personal spiritual harmony.

As a whole, Schwartz’s work has a distilled purity and an organic sensibility, mirroring shapes of flora and fauna, and the silhouette of the curves and recesses of the human body. Many of the works showcase the inherent quality of the natural material, the porous surface of a wood undulated by time, even a tropical wood, touched by the elements, or the grain or spectacular smoothness of polished stone give these works a haptic beauty. It is understood that Brancusi’s experiments in sensual abstraction were in some way an extension of the work of Auguste Rodin, and Arp and Moore’s work was in the same sense after Brancusi. Schwartz continues this tradition, expanding on the poetic use of natural materials, the contrasts evoking complex impressions of balance, heaviness and lightness in an arrangement of lyrical shapes.

Las Vegas will have the opportunity to see firsthand the luminous beauty of Dorit Schwartz’s handcrafted sculpture in a stunningly curated collection of her newest work at the Wynn Home Store, Las Vegas.

Wynn Las Vegas
3131 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/

HAPPINESS • VAV-HEY-VAV • והו,
HAND-CARVED SELENITE, HIGH-POLISHED STAINLESS STEEL, LIGHT
SIZE: 12 X 12 X 7 IN
NUMBER 49 IN THE 72 NAMES OF GOD SERIES
INNER SELF, SCULPTURE: WHITE QUARTZ, ACACIA WOOD,
STAINLESS STEEL, LIGHTS –
SIZE: 28 X 18 X 9 IN.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Enculturate Las Vegas!!!


I just want to send a huge thanks to all of my friends, family, colleagues, readers, contributors and supporters of the little cultural arts blog that could. All of you have supported us through the thick and thin and I am greatly appreciative of all of you.

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful on so many fronts that I would have to spend all day listing them out! In either case I just wanted to simply say thank you!

A special thanks goes out to our contributors...

- Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev - Violinist & Coffee with Kaiser
- Onnoleigh Sweetman - Nytonix Entertainment
- Dr. Laura Henkel - Art Culture PR & Sin City Gallery
- Evelyn "Evie" Thompson - Spiritual adviser
- RaShelle Roberts - Creative Coach 
- Robert Kimberly - Blog founder

Happy Holidays everyone!

Paco

Paco

Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev

Onnoleigh Sweetman

Dr. Laura Henkel

Evelyn "Evie" Thompson

RaShelle Roberts

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

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Coffee with Kaizer... Musical happenings for the week of November 24

Tuesday November 25th 5:30pm
Masters Percussion recital by Ryan Harrison, program includes Xenakis, Gronemeier, Carter, Green and more 
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info:702-895-3332

Tuesday November 25th 7:30pm
UNLV Symphony Orchestra directed by Taras Krysa
performs Beethoven's Symphony No. 7,
Vega's "Red Rock" and Barber's Violin Concerto
featuring soloist Solomiya Ivakhiv
UNLV Artemis Ham Concert Hall
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
$10, $8 military/senior/disabled, 1 free ticket for students with ID
more info: 702-895-2787

Wednesday November 26th 5:30pm
Doctoral piano recital by Maria Pisarenko
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

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

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Coffee with Kaizer... Musical happenings for the week of November 17

Monday November 17th 7:00pm
Piano recital by UNLV piano professor Mykola Suk's piano studio, program includes Schumann, Greig, Frank and Balakirev
Christ the King Catholic Community Church
4925 S. Torrey Pines
Las Vegas NV
Free and Open to the public
more info: 702-895-3332

Wednesday November 19th 7:00pm
Orchestral Band and Choir concert by LVA students, program includes selections from Verdi's 'Forza Del Destino,' Prokofiev's 'Romeo and Juliet' and Orff's 'Carmina Burana'
Smith Center - Reynolds Hall
361 Symphony Park Dr.
Las Vegas NV 89106
$20-$100
more info: 702-749-2000

Wednesday November 19th 8:00pm
Guitar recital by Bosnian guitarist Denis Azabagic
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam music center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
$40
more info: 702-895-2787

Thursday November 20th 7:30pm
Band concert by UNLV winds directed by Thomas G. Leslie and guest conductor Col. John R. Bourgeois program includes "Lincoln Portrait" and other patriotic selections
UNLV Artemis Ham Concert Hall
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
$10-$8, discounts available
more info: 702-895-3332

Friday November 21st 5:00pm
Vocal lecture recital by Pei-Ning
Dealing with the music of Hsiao Tyzen and its connection to Taiwan, other performers include Kosta Popovic
Room 147
UNLV Ham Fine Arts building
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Saturday November 22nd 7:30pm
Las Vegas Philharmonic performs Brahms' symphony no.1, Weber's Obern Overture and Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 4
featuring guest conductor Danail Rachev and pianist Markus Groh
Smith Center - Reynolds Hall
361 Symphony Park Dr.
Las Vegas NV 89106
$26-$94
more info: 702-749-2000

Sunday November 23rd 3:00pm
UNLV Chamber Orchestra performs
Mountain View Presbyterian Church
8601 Del Webb
Las Vegas NV
Free and Open to the Public
More info:702-895-3332

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

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Las Vegas Artists take over Designer Con in Pasadena

Gotta give them lots of props for putting on a great show at Designer Con 2014. Las Vegas should be very proud to have had such a great team of ambassadors in Pasadena, November 8-9th, as they showed their L.A. counterparts and beyond that they too could hang with the big girls and boys. Not to mention the artists were grouped all together in one continuous row in what they called the Las Vegas Strip approprietly.

Also I must add that I was deeply humbled to have been asked by artist Ryan Brunty, creator extraordinaire of "Yerman the Sad Yeti", to have been asked to moderate a panel discussion with Ryan and Juan Muniz on Art and Depression at the expo. I am glad that I agreed because I could not have had a better weekend with such amazing artists discussing such an important subject that moved many in the audience to tears.

When I look back at the 20 years that I have been personally involved in the local art scene it really is exciting to see how far we have come as a community. Though I have always said that Las Vegas has always had cultural arts scene, based on historical fact, it was not until the last 12 years that the scene has really picked up momentum. So much so that city's around the world are beginning to take notice.

Whats interesting is the fact that we Las Vegans don't even know what we have in our own backyard. In another recent trip to L.A. back in June I was shocked at how much the cultural intelligentsia in places like Los Angeles knew about what was going on in our fair city. The world is quickly taking notice that Las Vegas is a place with fresh ideas that has a lot of opportunities for fledgling, mid-career and established artists. What the future holds is anyone's guess but I suspect that Las Vegas will continue breaking barriers and reaching new frontiers in art and culture just like we did with the gaming and entertainment industries.

Keep up the good work all you creatives out there for Las Vegas has an artistic mojo to be reckoned with.

Las Vegas Artists at Designer Con -

Juan Muniz - http://www.juanmunizart.com/
Das Frank - http://dasfrank.bigcartel.com/
Tanya Watler - http://www.lilartbodega.com/
Mike Biggs - http://biggsstudio.squarespace.com/
Dan 45 - http://dan45art.bigcartel.com/
Ryan Brunty - http://ryanbrunty.storenvy.com/
Iianit & Rich Moskal - https://happypandatoys.com/
Derek Douglas SN!PT - http://sniptart.com/
Dillon Boy - http://www.dillonboy.com/
Spencer Davis - http://bootybabe.com/

For more information about Designer Con (D-Con) 2014 -
http://www.designercon.com/

Huge thanks to Designer Con and the City of Pasadena for a great show!

The Las Vegas Crew @ Designer Con Pasadena 2014
From left - Juan Muniz, Das Frank, Tanya Watler , Mike Biggs, Dan 45, Ryan Brunty, Iianit Moskal,
Bottom - Derek Douglas SN!PT, Dillon Boy, Rich Moskal 

Derek Douglas, Juan Muniz, Tanya Watler, Dillon Boy

Happy Panda Toys

Juan Muniz

Mike Biggs

Paco, Ryan and Juan as Felipe. Panel discussion on
Depression in the Arts: A character study
Photo taken by Shahab Zargari

Ryan and Charlie

Spencer Davis & his awesome Botty Babe's

Ryan Brunty, Jeannette Hall, Juan Muniz as Felipe, Paco & Vezun

Derek Douglas SN!PT

Drawing by Las Vegas Artist Jeannette Hall

Star Wars Imperial Walker AKA AT AT
@ Designer Con

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Coffee with Kaizer... Musical happenings for the week of November 10...

Monday November 10th 5:30pm
Masters Composition recital by Travis Richards program includes works for
brass quintet, string quartet, violin and piano, trombone choir and more, performers
include violinists Samantha Ciarlo and Dmytro Nehrych, flutist Anastasia Petanova
and pianist Maria Kolesnyk
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Monday November 10th 7:30pm
Doctoral piano recital by Ryan Kelly program includes MacDowell and Liszt
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Tuesday November 11th 7:30pm
Wind ensemble concert by Desert Winds honoring our
armed forces for Veterans Day
Congregation Ner Tamid
55 N. Valle Verde Dr.
Henderson NV 89074
Free and Open to the Public
or $18 to make a dedication (see website below)
more info: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/colorations-in-crimson-a-veterans-day-salute-tickets-13530400793

Thursday November 13th 7:30pm
Friday November 14th 7:30pm
Saturday November 15th 7:30pm

UNLV Opera Theater presents Barab's "Little Red Riding Hood" and Ravel's
"l'enfant et les sortileges," performers include Lacy Burchfield, Nicole Thomas, Olivia Sirota,
Christophe Kennedy and pianists Kosta Popovic and Jae Ahn-Benton
UNLV Paul Harris Theater - Ham Fine Arts Building
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
$10, $8 staff/senior/military, 1 free ticket per student with ID
more info: 895-2787

Thursday November 13th 7:30pm
UNLV Flute Ensemble performs directed by Anastasia Petanova,
program includes Beethoven, Eckhart and Mozart
room 159
UNLV Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Friday November 14th 5:00pm
UNLV Flute Studio recital directed by Jennifer Grim performs music
including Hue, Telemann and Doppler
Doc Rando Hall
Beam Music Center
UNLV
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Saturday November 15th 2:00pm
Traditional South American vocal/guitar music performed by 'Duo Oriental' -Sergio Eduardo and Marco Machin of Uruguay, program includes sambas, waltzes, pasajes, boleros and much more
Winchester Cultural Center
3130 S. McLeod Dr.
Las Vegas NV
$10 in advance $12 at door
more info: 702-455-7340 listen to them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGW7YXOO9uE

Saturday November 15th 2:00pm
Orchestral concert by CCSD's Honor Orchestras
UNLV Ham Concert Hall
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-799-8531

Saturday November 15th 7:30pm
Las Vegas Philharmonic presents a concert including traditional music of Hawaii
featuring guest conductor and performer Matt Catingub and vocalist Amy Hanaiali'i
The Smith Center - Reynolds Hall
361 Symphony Park Dr.
Las Vegas NV 89106
$26-$94
more info: 702-749-2000

Saturday November 15th 7:30pm
Guitar Quartet recital featuring Eddie Carcamo, Rese Comas, Julien D'Otavvio, and Daniel Munoz program includes Bach, Munoz, de Falla and Boccherini
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Sunday November 16th 5:00pm and 7:30pm
Zion Youth Symphony and Chorus perform "House of the Lord"
an original work about the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints in Southern Nevada directed by David and Jeffrey Skouson
The Smith Center - Reynolds Hall
361 Symphony Park Dr.
Las Vegas NV 89106
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-749-2000

Sunday November 16th 7:30pm
UNLV Horn Studio recital directed by Bill Bernatis, along with
guest performer flute professor Jennifer Grim, program includes
Hindemith, Rossini, Doppler, Dukas and Humperdinck
UNLB Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332





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

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Monday, November 03, 2014

ENIGMA by Anthony Bondi at Sin City Gallery

By Laura Henkel,
contributing writer

Las Vegas has long been a destination for entertainment, a visitor’s paradise of forgetfulness and excess. Many describe the environment as surreal. And yet, like the Dadaist’s disdain for urbanity, it appears as well, that artists who live within this bright world of guile artfulness, entertainment and sexuality have their own notion of urban life.

Anthony Bondi is one of these artists. His work serves as a commentary on the transient nature of the city, and of the idea of show, beauty and contemporary culture, and yet also offers a view into the world of artists who for all purposes function outside of the world of the casinos, who exist within this realm, but have another way of being and living, sometimes invisible, but always creating.

Overall, Bondi’s meticulous hand made collages have a retro feel, an archaism that reminds one of aesthetic of art deco and 1950’s black and white magazines. While Bondi’s work is decidedly late 20th century if not contemporary, it does use the idioms seen frequently in the collaborative collages and drawings and collages produced by the Parisian and Spanish Surrealists of the early 20th century. These works in the original French were called “cadavre exquis” (exquisite corpse or rotating corpse) and involved each participant adding a word or image to the paper, resulting the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated imagery.

As well in classic 20th century Surrealist pictures, particularly that of Remedios Varo and Yves Tanguy strange often unrelated elements are often set against an expanse of sky, which may have seemed otherworldly to the Parisians, but might seem like simply home, or the desert to Nevada. Nevertheless this plain of sand has its own esoteric qualities even for the local. While Bondi has also worked in kinetic sculpture for the Burning Man Festival, he clearly has also enjoyed the creative force of automatism.

Bondi’s style is part of the heritage of Surrealism in America that spans so many mediums from artistic greats like Robert Rauschenberg who also collected and assembled images and objects to make remarkable large-scale tableaux. In fact, the influence of Dada and Surrealism is far reaching and even makes it imprint on the moving image and advertisement. As such, Bondi’s work displays a dedication to pursuing a form of automatism, to ensuring that handmade creative works are continually at the heart of an artist’s production.

It must also be mentioned that Bondi’s works are intrinsically related to Las Vegas’ artistic culture of the late 1990’s that met and flowered at the artist’s meeting place Enigma Café (1993-2000). A meeting place for exchange and collaboration; it was the center for artistic creativity. As part of this community, Bondi created a series of Flyer Collages, a “candy wrapper” for the café’s handwritten monthly event flyers.

These kind of collaborative magazines and print materials have a long history in America including the well known VVV magazine of the 1940’s and American surrealists for some time have encountered and absorbed and reinterpreted surreal imagery numerous artists, we need to only look at the work of the early 20th century artist Peter Blume and expand our horizons to film making today such as Anja Marais and even more famous Matthew Barney.

For its part, the Enigma Café was a place where making art mattered, and today, The Arts Factory, the location of Sin City Gallery, carries on this legacy. It is indeed a rare opportunity to see the results of this hidden subculture.

Works about the café include a series of monochromatic flyer covers with the name Enigma Café across mysterious imagery, that is at once puzzling and captivating, a tongue in cheek picture featuring a iconic coffee cup and saucer at the center, besieged by a crowd of reaching arms; Alfred Hitchcock’s somber profile sits outlandishly on a cup, and vintage image of a child leans in, adding to a sense of inversion and absurdity. Other images are more classical and enigmatic; a Grecian woman is posed next to a dark well of coffee, and botanical elements. A reclining nude draped in a white cloth recalls the classic feminine muse and model. Each work is graphically appealing and sufficiently mystifying to fascinate.

Enigma is truly a taste of nostalgia and exquisitely brewed to perfection.

Sin City Gallery
107 E Charleston Blvd #100
Las Vegas, NV 89104
(702) 608-2461
http://sincitygallery.com/

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Coffee with Kaizer... Musical happenings for the week of November 3...

Monday November 3rd 5:00pm
Percussion recital by the UNLV Percussion Ensemble, program includes
Trevino, Fleck, Mackey and a world premiere by Koppel
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Monday November 3rd 7:30pm
Doctoral horn recital by Jon Holloway along with Jae Ahn-Benton
at the piano and Arthur Chivis performing
the electronics, program includes Ernste, Michael Haydn and Gliere
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Wednesday November 5th 4:00pm
Percussion concert by the UNLV percussion studio, program includes
a wide array of contemporary composers including Zivkovic, Peel, Stout and Miyake
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info 702-895-3332

Thursday November 6th 7:30pm
Doctoral trumpet recital by Micha Holt, along with Jae Ahn-Benton piano,
Kevin Tague trumpet, Linnie Hostetler horn, Stephen Turner tuba, and James Nelson trombone
program includes Tamberg, Pliss and Arnold
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Saturday November 8th 10:00am
Henderson Symphony directed by Taras Krysa performs patriotic classics
in honor of Veterans Day
Henderson Events Plaza
200 S. Water St.
Henderson NV 89015
Free and Open to the Public
702-267-2171

Saturday November 8th 3:30pm
Composition recital by Justin Marquis
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Sunday November 9th 2:00pm
Brass Band concert by the Las Vegas Brass Band, program includes
patriotic classics in honor of Veterans Day
Clark County Library
1401 E. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas NV 89119
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-507-3400

Sunday November 9th 3:30pm
Doctoral Trumpet recital by Kevin Tague
UNLV Doc Rando Hall - Beam Music Center
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas NV 89154
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-895-3332

Sunday November 9th 7:00pm
Ethnic Jazz Fusion -styles languages and instruments from 6 different countries
including Brazil, Japan and France group is called "Allegato"
Sammy Davis Jr. Plaza
Lorenzi Park
720 Twin Lakes Dr.
Las Vegas NV
Free and Open to the Public
more info: 702-229-6511



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

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