March, 2008

Come for the art, stay for the wine

March 28th, 2008

JW Caldwell

Hey, remember we told you about the opening of Chris Waters’ “Waiting” at the Jennifer Marie Gallery next Thursday, April 3? Well, as long as you’re going to be at the under-renovation Arts Factory (101 E. Charleston Blvd.), you may as well swing by Trifecta Gallery as well, where the opening reception of JW Caldwell’s new show will be held from 5 to 8 p.m.

Entitled “Dismounting Your High Horse With Style and Grace,” this series of paintings are about fear and failure, resulting in hope and strength. It’s the merger of pop and populist with a frontier twist. If you don’t come for the art, well, at least you can taste the featured wine of the month from Tinocos Bistro.

‘Kid Millionaire’ handle aside, Steve Aoki is about the music

March 28th, 2008

Steve Aoki

You have to respect DJ Steve “Kid Millionaire” Aoki: Not only is he a bomb-dropping wizard behind the wheels of steel, but he’s also the head of an independent record label, Dim Mak, which has some of today’s hottest indie bands on its roster: Bloc Party, The Icarus Line, The Kills among them. OK, so Dim Mak has also expanded into apparel, but it’s some funky, colorful hipster wear, with the Artist Series designs redefining the concept of “band T-shirt.”

So the thought of this Los Angeles-based beat-rocker doing a DJ set at Pure nightclub inside Caesars Palace is slightly unsettling. I mean, I’ve seen Aoki in a Vegas club setting before, but at Pure it seems his expert mixing of well-selected tunes will be wasted on a crowd drunken on $15 cocktails, more interested in who’s in the VIP booth than who’s in the DJ booth.

But if you’re willing to brave the meatheads and Barbie dolls at Pure on Tuesday, April 1, it will almost be worth it to hear what Aoki throws down. Just be sure to ask for a receipt when that doorman tries to charge you an extra Grant to get in the club. It might help both of you out in the long run.

No time for homework when you’re playing Extreme Thing

March 27th, 2008

Emo emo emo
Sorry, Eyes Like Diamonds — This Romantic Tragedy (left) wins the”Prettiest Hair” challenge, by a landslide.

In the event that the lure of heavy-rocking bands — such as Pennywise, Chiodos, Escape the Fate, Nonpoint, Streetlight Manifesto, Alesana or In This Moment — BMX riding or pro wrestling is not enough to get you out to Desert Breeze Park for this year’s Extreme Thing Sports and Music Festival this Saturday, March 29, then maybe supporting local bands will.

Seven local groups — whose average age appears to be 17 — were selected to play the XPOZ stage after what was surely intense MySpace campaigning for fans to vote online, following more than a month of preliminary competitions at Jillian’s in downtown Las Vegas. The final XPOZ stage lineup includes This Romantic Tragedy, Val-halla, Think, The Seventh Plague, The Countdown, Ministry of Love and Eyes Like Diamonds.

“This will be the most epic performance from us yet,” promises This Romantic Tragedy on its MySpace blog. We’re going to hold these kids to that “epic” thing. There had better be dragons and perilous journeys involved.

This Soulja is AWOL

March 27th, 2008

Soulja Boy
You’d think after having a Top 100 single, Soulja Boy wouldn’t have to make his own clothes anymore.

Soulja Boy Tell’Em, the 17-year-old Southern Rap wunderkind behind the hit single “Crank That (Soulja Boy), won’t be coming to Las Vegas anytime soon. His “21 and Under Tour,” which was also set to feature Lil Mama, V.I.C. and Tiffany Evans, has been canceled — and that included a May 4 date at the House of Blues. No one seems to have an explanation for the cancellation — sorry, postponement:

“It’s been postponed. That’s all I know,” says an Interscope Records representative.

Maybe it’s because, despite having a U.S. Hot 100 topper with “Crank That,” the MySpace-spawned Soulja Boy’s actual fan base is as nonexistent as his future in music. Of course, we could be wrong. But we rarely are. Either way, if you actually bought tickets to this show or know someone who has, a House of Blues representative says that refunds will be available at point of purchase.

Revolution Lounge hosts a worthy benefit, bad music notwithstanding

March 26th, 2008

It is never OK for a rock band member to wear a pastel-striped polo shirt. NEVER.

Say what you will about North Carolina-spawned pop-rock band Daughtry’s music – OK, we’ll say it for you: bland, uninspired, maudlin – you can’t deny that the ONE Campaign is a worthy cause, combating global crises such as AIDS and poverty. So we’ll give Daughtry a little bit of credit for its upcoming acoustic performance at The Beatles Revolution Lounge inside the Mirage on Sunday, April 13, because all ticket proceeds will benefit the ONE Campaign.

Tickets are being auctioned on eBay now through Monday, March 31, at If there are actually fans of the band out there reading this (heaven help you), you might be interested to know that parts of the performance will be made available at should you not nab one of the 200 tickets, do not live in Las Vegas or are not 21 years or older.

Lead singer and ego-tripping band namesake Chris Daughtry had something deep and insightful to say about the benefit. Oh – no he didn’t. Just something his record company told him to say: “We are really excited about this acoustic show at the Revolution Lounge. It is a chance to share a special evening with our fans and raise money for a great cause,”

LA and Vegas converge for indie-electro madness at Beauty Bar

March 25th, 2008

The Black Angels
Two hot chicks. One awesome band.

We can’t keep up with these hip kids. They come up with new party ideas every week, it seems, and they’re all designed to maximize the obfuscation as to their true purposes. Well, Los Angeles’ largest weekly indie and electro party, The Heist, is smashing headfirst into Las Vegas’ own Say What?! this Saturday, March 29 at the Beauty Bar (517 Fremont St.) at 10 p.m.

Austin, Tex.’s The Black Angels will headline the band lineup on the outdoor stage, which also includes Los Angeles’ The Start, Atlanta’s City Sleeps and our own Hello Astro. DJ VaJayJay will fill in the space between bands outside, while inside the bar, DJs Hyphy Crunk and Score from The Heist will join Say What?! residents Grimehaus, ABOM and Noel.

Expect other madness such as performance art, live painting, body painting, a screening of the movie Blade, and some sort of Buffalo Exchange-sponsored Stunna Shade contest. Cover is free for the bar, $5 if you want the bands in the back (and why wouldn’t you?) and well drinks are only $3 from 10 p.m. to midnight. Sounds like a Saturday night plan to us.

First Friday picks for April 2008: Art, dancing and drinking

March 25th, 2008

Chris Waters; Brent Becker
Left: Photography by Chris Waters. Right: Painting by Brent Becker.

We already know all the cool kids will be in downtown Las Vegas for the monthly First Friday proceedings on April 4. Though many of you like to skip the arts festival and go straight to the after-parties (you know who you are), you might want to try balancing those Jager shots with some culture.

VEGASinsight recommends checking out “Waiting,” the solo show of photographer Chris Waters’ work at Jennifer Marie Gallery (Arts Factory, 101 E. Charleston Blvd., #205). If photography’s not your thing, but slappin’ paint on canvas is, head over to MTZC (Commerce Street Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St.) for the first solo show by Brent Becker, “(CON)temporary (DIS)connect.” There is an opening reception for Waters’ show on Thursday, April 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. if you want to get a sneak peak before fighting your way through a thicket of eyeliner-drenched emo kids on First Friday.

Speaking of kids, the hipsters of The In Crowd and are providing an all-ages outlet for booty-shaking inside the Attic (1018 S. Main St.) at 9 p.m. with Infamous: The Masquerade. This dance party features DJs Bul!m!atron, Teen Wolf, Autobahn, ABOM, Va Jay Jay, and Geno spinning dirty eelctro, nu-rave and bangers. Cover is only $5 before 10 p.m., $7 after. (more…)

Black black black black concert comes to House of Blues

March 24th, 2008

Type O Negative
Loving you was like loving the dead.

The dates for the 2008 Jagermeister Music Tour were announced recently, most notable for you Vegas metal-heads is May 31, when Hatebreed, Type O Negative and 3 Inches of Blood hit the House of Blues inside the Mandalay Bay at … 5 p.m.? That’s kinda early for a rock show. Maybe they need extra time to clean up the three inches of blood left by the opening band. Get it? Ha ha ha … OK, wasn’t funny.

We were actually quite surprised to hear that Type O Negative was on the tour, because, um, we thought they broke up years ago. Good to see Peter Steele and company are still making the world safe for goth-metal and awesome facial hair. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, March 29 at 10 a.m., or online at Tuesday, March 25 at 10 a.m.

Paying your power bill pays off for Smith Center

March 24th, 2008

Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Sierra Pacific Resources, the parent company of Nevada Power Company, added its name to the elite Founders circle of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts with a $1 million donation to the future Union Park resident’s capital campaign. Sierra Pacific joins a number of other $1 million-plus Founders, including Beverly and Jim Rogers, Cirque du Soleil, the Fertitta Family, MGM Mirage, and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which pledged a windfall of $100 million last fall.

The Smith Center is scheduled to break ground late this year, providing the $470 million dollars it needs is raised. With the campaign already tallying more than $400 million, it looks like things should be right on track for the performing arts center, just one piece of downtown Las Vegas’ Union Park master plan that also includes the Frank Gehry-designed Lou Ruvo Brain Institute.

“We applaud Sierra Pacific Resources’ commitment to making Nevada a better place to live,” said Smith Center President Myron Martin, “and appreciate their leadership in helping us make the Smith Center a LEED certified performing arts complex.” (more…)

First Friday gets shot in the arm from Hizzoner

March 21st, 2008

Tattoos n Trash
Mayor Goodman — making Las Vegas safe for lowbrow art yet again! 

Remember that news about First Friday losing half its annual funding from the City of Las Vegas and the subsequent donation stands now set up at the entrance to the street festival? Well, apparently Mayor Oscar Goodman — who hasn’t been up to much lately, near as we can tell — has ponied up $10,000 for Whirlygig, Inc., the non-profit that runs the annual art walk. It came from his own political action committee, as reported in today’s Las Vegas Sun.

Though it won’t make up for the $80,000 or so the organization lost annually, it will do more than the returns on the optional $2 donation requested each month by First Friday visitors.

“While it’s helpful, it certainly is not enough to support the event at this time,” Cindy Funkhouser, founder of First Friday, told the Sun of the trickling-in walk-up donations.