October, 2008

‘Capital Jewelers’ brings mixed media to Dust Gallery

October 17th, 2008

jill magid
Works by Jill Magid, on display at Dust

Amidst all this fancy Las Vegas art news we almost forgot that there’s a new show opening at Dust Gallery tomorrow night. How could we? Well, that’s a whole other story, but regardless, you’ll want to be at Dust (900 Las Vegas Blvd. S., in SoHo Lofts) Saturday, Oct. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. for the opening reception of “Capital Jewelers.” Curated by Glen Helfand, the exhibit (running through Nov. 23) features the varied works of Luke Butler, Curtis Fairman, Jill Magid and Lacey Jane Roberts.

Vegas Arts in the news: ‘Art in America,’ Vogel Collection

October 17th, 2008

“Spectral Whispers” by Geoffrey Todd Smith, on display now at Main Gallery

For every pessimist (or recent transplant) out there who decries Las Vegas’ standing in the world of art, we have a little news for you: Get over it. Our still-young city has only one way to go in its quest for cultural credibility, and in the last week or two, a number of happenings have moved Vegas ahead quite a few steps.

By now, everyone’s been pummeled to near-death by the news that Art in America named Stephen Hendee’s Centennial Plaza sculpture “Monument to the Simulacrum” one of the Top 10 public art projects in the United States. So we’re not going to spend any more bandwidth on that.

However, the very same magazine, in its October 2008 issue, reviewed Erin Stellmon’s solo exhibition, “Shangri-La,” which held court in Main Gallery (1009 S. Main St.) last February. Main’s current exhibition is “Looking You Up to Look You Up & Down” by Geoffrey Todd Smith. This collection of rhythmic, patterned works on paper by the Chicago artist will be on display throughout October.

And our final note in today’s round-up of “see, we’ve got culture” news comes from the always-informative and sometimes-irreverent CityBlog, which reported Wednesday that the Las Vegas Art Museum will be receiving a donation of 50 works from the collection of Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, which includes such artists as Bettina Werner, F.L. Schroder and Larry Zox. You really need to read this story – it’s a pretty incredible tale of philanthropy and, of course, local art awesomeness.

Tracy Morgan Laffs it up in Vegas for The Comedy Festival

October 16th, 2008

Life must be pretty easy for comedian Tracy Morgan. The man gets paid to essentially play himself on the hit NBC comedy 30 Rock — a role that looks a hell of a lot more fun than we’ve ever played in our lives (even compared to the part of “Tree 2” in the fifth grade class play). And he can go out in public, on live TV, obviously inebriated, make an ass of himself, and somehow still come out on top:

Oh, like you ever get tired of seeing that clip.

Well, the unpredictable Morgan is hosting the Laffapalooza! showcase during The Comedy Festival on Saturday, Nov. 22 in the Palace Ballroom at Caesars Palace. The funny-as-hell lineup for the show includes Mark Curry, Sheryl Underwood, Earthquake, Corey Holcomb and Lavell Crawford. This is the first time the Atlanta staple is being included as part of The Comedy Festival — and the first time it’s being taped for TBS, which will broadcast the show on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 11 p.m.

No word on whether or not Morgan will be sober or keep his shirt on. We kind of hope neither happens.

Neon Outlook: Halloween in Vegas

October 14th, 2008

Apocalyptica shouts … at itself.

If there is one night of the year in Las Vegas that rivals New Year’s Eve for “Most Ridiculous Number of Events Happening at Once,” it’s Halloween. 2008 is no different. It’s only Oct. 14, and already we’ve been inundated with information on dozens of events being held this Oct. 31. From raves and parties to concerts and costume contests, there simply has to be something out there for you if you find yourself in Sin City this All Hallows Eve. Here’s a round-up of our picks — thus far — in no particular order:

House of Blues: Apocalyptica at 7 p.m. $20-22, all ages.

Jillian’s: Cobra Starship, The Sickest Kids, Hit the Lights and Sing It Loud at 6 p.m. $15-28, all ages.

Jillian’s (Hi Life): Super Martian Robots, Van Nuys and Exit Ghost at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Double Down Saloon: The Dirty Panties, Betting on Tomorrow, The Quitters and Million Kids at 10 p.m. Free, 21-over.

Flamingo Hotel & Casino, Sunset Ballrooms: “Devils Night XI,” featuring 20,000 square feet of dance space, Halloween sets, video screens, massive sound and lights and three separate areas. Mainstage: DJ Irene, Charles Feelgood, The Autobots, Robert Oleysyck, Donovan & Duff and Jayrod vs. CJ Allen. Indie Electro Stage: Le Castle Vania, Computer Club, Mezzy, Teen Wolf, James Demon and Kinekt. D’N’B Area: Gigantor (Evol Intent), Infiltrata & MC Dre, Prime Mover vs. Chuck B, King, Feight with The Specialist and Risky Business. Admission is $38.50 and is open to guests 18 and over (must be 21 to drink). Tickets available at Groovetickets.com.

Voodoo Lounge: “Spellbound Soiree” featuring DJ L-1 spinning hip-hop and house on the patio, V51 performing Top 40 hits live inside and a costume contest with $5,000 in cash prizes. Doors at 7 p.m. $20 ladies, $30 gentlemen, 21-over.

Christian Audigier The Nightclub: Tila Tequila birthday costume party featuring DJ CyberKid. 21-over.

Studio 54: “Nightmare on 54th Street” featuring DJ Jose 2 Hype and a costume contest with more than $12,000 in cash prizes. 21-over.

LAX: Halloween Fright Fest featuring Jonathan Davis of Korn. 21-over.

Risqué de Paris: Halloween Bash presented by Superestrella 92.7, featuring DJ Dave Guzman spinning Latin hits and 2-for-1 Bud Light Lime all night. Doors at 10:30 p.m. $20 (free for local ladies), 21-over.

South Padre (Texas Station): “Heroes and Villians” Halloween party featuring DJ BKNY spinning Top 40 and a super-power themed costume contest from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. $5, 21-over, no masks, full face paint or weapons.

Separated at birth?

October 3rd, 2008

Both the Las Vegas Weekly and CityLife — Sin City’s dueling “alternative” weekly newspapers — ran tongue-in-cheek nightclubbing “glossaries” in their respective publications this week.

The Weekly‘s went for the throat, taking direct jabs at specific people in the scene with most of the definitions — including (and especially) it’s own staff (i.e., the article’s authors). Specific targets include nightlife photographer Jeremy Womack (“The Womack: any nightclub photo pose that involves a combination of winking, sticking out your tongue and doing something naughty with your fingers”), Weekly nightlife editor Xania Woodman (“Single and Ready to Mingle: Battle cry of the recently divorced or broken-up; a giddy, wild-child phase of personal rediscovery”) and Weekly writer Deanna Rilling (“Pseudosocialite: Someone who works within the industry and has connections with many important people, but doesn’t give a rat’s ass about carrying the latest overpriced handbag or owning a miniature dog”).

CityLife, meanwhile, went for more cerebral humor with its daffy-nitions, broadly painting nightlife stereotypes and concepts. Highlights include “the list” (“The list may also contain ‘phantom’ names, invisible to the eye, but still there according to their owners. I know it’s on there — I talked to Brandon or Brendon or Random or somebody — can you check it again?”), “VIP host, mohawked” (“same as VIP host, but less pleasant, more aggressively scheming, and with an especially troubled history of not having measured up in high school”) and “bottle service” (“a special ‘premium’ service in which patrons agree to purchase … a bottle of high-quality liquor for as much as 20 times the amount they would pay with their VonsClub card”).

Knowing the authors of both articles, it is remotely possible each camp knew of the other’s intentions, though it’s not terribly likely. Still, it was an interesting bit of synchronicity between the two publications. But though we’d usually go with the CityLife‘s more mature approach, I have to be honest here: The Weekly‘s is a hell of a lot more fun. And it has cute illustrations. People love cute illustrations, right?

Note: Thanks to CityLife A&E editor Mike Prevatt for correcting our original assertion that both articles appeared in their respective publications’ nightlife issues. The Weekly’s nightlife issue came out a month after the CityLife‘s.

The Neon Review: ‘Joe’s Shanghai’ by The Vermin

October 1st, 2008

joe's shanghaiThe Vermin
Joe’s Shanghai
(Wood Shampoo)

What is there to say about the Vermin that hasn’t already been said? After listening to every Vermin album recorded in this incarnation’s 13-year history, they all tend to blend together a bit. That’s not a bad thing. Much like Social Distortion, Dirk Vermin’s namesake band is so good at what it does – playing retro punk rock fast, loud and without apology – that there’s not much need to deviate from the formula.

Oh, sure, the boys throw in a few tricks, such as the jazzy, spoken-word styling of “Where’s Nikki?” or the Rob Ruckus-led country romp “Oh Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble,” but otherwise, Joe’s Shanghai is 29 minutes and five seconds of unrelenting, four-on-the-floor, growling dirge, equally informed both by late-’70s, sneering British punk and mid-’80s SoCal hardcore.

Highlights include fan favorites such as “Boredom (Was the Reason),” “Molotov,” and the Vermin’s take on M.I.A.’s arrangement of Petula Clark’s “Las Vegas.” And in an interesting twist, the band decided to repeat all 17 songs from Joe’s Shanghai on the 18th track, because, well, why the hell not?

(Full disclosure: Everyone in Las Vegas knows the Vermin, so that’s not necessarily a bias, nor is being a tattoo client of Dirk Vermin, but this reviewer is mysteriously thanked in the album’s liner notes as well, so even though the review’s objective, you might not think so. And to that, we say: Get over it.)