‘Current Affairs’ Category

Drinking with the Dems on Election Night in Las Vegas

November 5th, 2008


Avoiding Election Day results in this age of information overload and constant connectivity isn’t an easy task. My plan was this: Avoid polling results until I got to the Nevada Democratic Party Election Night bash at the Rio All-Suites Hotel. I wanted to be surprised, I wanted to get caught up in the moment, I didn’t want to emotionally rise and fall throughout the hours leading up to the eventual declaration and concession.

I did pretty well. At about 5 p.m., an hour after polls closed on the East Coast, a friend started to tell me how many electoral votes were called for Sen. Barack Obama. I shut her up quickly. When I got home, I avoided radio and internet, going straight into the kitchen to make dinner and absorbing no more information beyond a 20-year-old comic book. Before leaving for the Rio, I logged onto Twitter to announce my destination. And that’s when I caught the page full of tweets relaying the news that Ohio had been called for Obama. That could have been the end right there.

Driving in my car on surprisingly quiet streets, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was being interviewed on NPR. This is a man who helped lead the Civil Rights Movement, who marched right along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was beaten by a white mob in his youth. Listening to him talk brought the first of a number of tears last night to my eyes.

obama_tieI submitted a request for credentials to the party at the Rio’s Pavilion meeting rooms, but ended up not needing any. This celebration was open to the public, and boy, did the public turn out. Say what you will about party politics, but one thing I’ve noticed in attendance at both Obama rallies and this Election Night party is that the Democratic base is the definition of diverse: All colors, ages, creeds, sizes, shapes and abilities were represented in the Brasilia Ballroom. This is what America looks like.

A giant screen projected a live broadcast from MSNBC, while smaller, flat screen monitors scattered throughout the massive ballroom displayed live reports from Fox News, CNN and the like. One section of the room was specifically designated for the hearing, mobility and sight impaired, complete with sign language interpreters and handicap accommodations. Cash bars were well distributed throughout the room, and a decent appetizer buffet set behind the press riser fed a hungry line all night.

There were important local and state races all around, including two U.S. Congressional seats, a number of State Assembly seats and a County Commission opening. But it was obvious why the party was flooded with people – obvious by their T-shirts, buttons, signs, accessories and banners: Last night was all about Barack Obama. Every time the giant screen displayed another winning state called for Obama, the crowd cheered. Actually, the crowd may have just cheered every time someone bought a drink. It was hard to tell. The sheer jubilance in the room was energizing.

But that feeling of anticipation I’d hoped for was all but impossible to attain. I arrived just a little after 7 p.m., and already Obama had 207 votes to Sen. John McCain’s 130 or so. And polls had still not closed on the West Coast. At about 7:30, I remarked to a friend that this thing would be over by 10 p.m. I should have put money on that.

Somewhere about 8:30, a Democratic Party official climbed behind the podium on the stage beneath the giant screen to make an announcement: The room was at capacity – those who were present needed to stay there, and no more folks were being let into the Brasilia Ballroom. Already an overflow room across the hall was being used. And then, as the speaker was talking mundanely about which restrooms for guests to use, it happened.

The room erupted. Screams and shouts and claps and cries and tears and hugs. That could mean only one thing, of course. And sure enough, as I peered through the throng of bodies between me and the nearby television, I saw the numbers on screen: Obama suddenly had somewhere in the neighborhood of 287 votes. The West Coast must have reported. It happened so quickly, so suddenly, it almost didn’t feel real. (more…)

Contest: FREE Eagles of Death Metal show at Beauty Bar Las Vegas

October 20th, 2008

eagles of death metal

Did you know that Eagles of Death Metal is playing a totally free show at Beauty Bar Las Vegas (517 Fremont St.) on Nov. 4? No? Well, now you do. Josh Homme’s band that isn’t Queens of the Stone Age is headlining “Antics,” an Election Day after-party sponsored by Toyota Matrix. Did you know I drive a Matrix? No? Well, now you do.

As this is a party, not only will Eagles of Death Metal be rocking out, but there will also be DJs, T-shirt silk-screening and Rock Band playing inside customized Matrix models. And, of course, a bunch of anorexic boys and girls in skinny jeans drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Attendance is free, so long as you RSVP at the special Antics website. BUT …

Want to win some cool stuff as well? How about two VIP passes for the show? An Antics T-shirt? Um … how about we toss in a copy of Eagles of Death Metal’s new CD, Heart On? Sound good? Well, then, enter the VEGASinsight Eagles of Death Metal Contest now. It’s easy: Just drop an e-mail to eodmcontest@vegasinsight.net with your full name, mailing address and phone number, and we’ll pull a random winner from all e-mails received on Oct. 27. The rules are simple: You have to be over 21, and you have to submit your e-mail by 11:59 p.m. (PST) Oct. 26, 2008.

Good luck and remember: Early voting in Nevada started Oct. 18, so quit slacking and get voting!

Gallery: Bill Clinton stumps for Obama at Chaparral High

October 20th, 2008

Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton visited Chaparral High School in Las Vegas on Sunday, Oct. 19 for a “Change We Need” rally in support of Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama. He was joined by fellow Dems Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Shelley Berkley. The rally was held on the heels of former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama on Meet the Press yesterday.

If you missed it because you didn’t want to wait in the mile-long line outside the school yesterday, we have a nifty gallery of photos from the rally, captured by Bennett Lacy.

Drinkin’ and debatin’ with PT’s and Sierra Gold

September 25th, 2008

mccain, obama

We do so love it when people mix drinking and politics. Last week, it was RA Sushi Bar hosting a “RA’ck the Vote” voter registration drive. And now Golden Gaming, who owns and operates 36 PT’s and Sierra Gold taverns in the Las Vegas Valley, is getting into the spirit with Presidential Debate viewing parties, beginning this Friday, Sept. 26*.

During each debate, patrons can enjoy Bud and Bud Light specials as they cheer on their favorite teams—um, we mean candidates—and what’s more, Golden Gaming will also hold a candidate look-a-like contest. One winner from each bar will nab a $25 gift card good at – where else? – any PT’s or Sierra Gold location. In case you didn’t already have these in your Google calendar, here’s the debate schedule:

Friday, Sept. 26: First Presidential Debate
Thursday, Oct. 2: Vice Presidential Debate
Tuesday, Oct. 7: Second Presidential Debate
Wednesday, Oct. 15: Third Presidential Debate

*Provided, of course, Sen. McCain even bothers to show up.

Neon Outlook: Obama, Artexpo, F**K PARIS?!

September 16th, 2008

Laco$te will get you naked. For real.

Yes, I know we’ve been absent here for a bit. But there has been movement on the back end of this site that you may not have noticed. We’re working to expand our Neighborhoods section to include venue guides, photo galleries and more, as well as hiring new talent to bring you even more news, interviews and reviews. Oh, but onto the matter at hand: Here’s some cool stuff coming up in the next few weeks you may want to check out should you be kicking it in Las Vegas. And of course, you should be.

Obamania returns to Las Vegas as Sen. Barack Obama comes to Cashman Field (650 Las Vegas Blvd. N.) at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 17. If you want to get more insight into this Presidential candidate’s campaign, click here to RSVP for the event, which is free to the public.

Artexpo Las Vegas returns to the Mandalay Bay Resort from Sept. 19 to 21. This three-day art industry tradeshow features more than 30 seminars, networking events, pavilions for photographers and emerging artists, and much more. Visit vegas.artexpos.com for more information or registration.

IndieKrush.com busts out another mind-blowing hipster soiree with “F**K PARIS?!” at Beauty Bar (517 Fremont St.) on Saturday, Sept. 27. Inside the bar, DJs Mr_Peaches, Dmndays, Grimehaus, DJess and VaJayJay rock the dirty electro, nu-rave and indie, while outside on the patio, A.I., Laco$te, The Day After…, Alta Revere, Close to Modern and Kobra Ghodsi perform live. Seriously, the $5 cover for the live music will be worth it just to see Laco$te. Trust us. The nonsense starts at 9 p.m.

Gallery: Reid, Clinton at National Clean Energy Summit

August 18th, 2008

Bill Clinton
What Would Bubba Do? (Photo by Erik Kabik | Retna)

We interrupt our usual music and art coverage to discuss something of slightly more substance (not that Bob Dylan playing the Joint isn’t substantive, but stick with us here): the growing need for cleaner, greener energy in this country. It seems like the average American has only become concerned with alternative energy sources when filling his or her gas tank started requiring home equity lines of credit, but the truth is, all those tree-hugging leftists have been right all along. We’re delivering this planet to hell in a handbasket with our ugly addiction to “dirty” fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

With that in mind, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas are hosting the National Clean Energy Summit at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion today and tomorrow. But why here in Nevada? We’ll let the Summit’s official website clear that up: “Nevada is at the epicenter in the debate of how America should generate and use energy in the future. Nevada has abundant clean energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and efficiency technologies that could be developed to meet its future energy needs.”

Plus, you know, that Reid guy’s been fighting against building a nuclear waste dumping facility at Yucca Mountain for as long as we can remember. So he has a vested interest, y’all. In addition to industry leaders, scientists, policy experts, citizens and the media gathering at this two-day summit, the Clinton who did get nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate (and spent two pretty rad terms in office), William Jefferson, kicked things off today with the keynote speech. Our favorite lens-wielder, Erik Kabik, was at Cox Pavilion, and brought us back some photos of the proceedings. Oh sure, there won’t be tousled rock stars or hot chicks, but there sure will be a lot of political power. And we think that’s sexy.

Boyd Gaming lays down its hammers at Echelon Place

August 1st, 2008

Hey, you, step away from that crane lever!

Via Classic Las Vegas, the R-J reports Boyd Gaming has halted construction on Echelon Place until likely 2009.

This just after news that MGM-Mirage is reportedly having difficulties with finances for CityCenter.

In other news, the streetscaping down on Casino Center Boulevard south of Charleston Boulevard in the Arts District is done. Anyone want to open a business down there to take advantage? No? Didn’t think so.

Saving the Huntridge is tricky business

March 9th, 2008

Huntridge Theatre
(Photo by Liz Fuentes | Courtesy UNLV Architecture Studies Library)

Though the Huntridge Theatre, architectural centerpiece of the neighborhood southeast of downtown Las Vegas that informally bears its name, has been a part of Las Vegas since 1944, for locals considered amongst Generations X and Y, the historic venue holds a special place as a sort-of cultural touchstone in our shared experiences. It’s remained dormant for four years now, but somewhere in the back of our collective mind, we figured — more like idly hoped — that someone, somehow, would bring back to life the former movie house and live music venue. Now that faint glimmer of hope is quickly fading to black.

As reported multiple times in the Las Vegas Sun, Eli Mizrachi, the owner of the building at the corner of Charleston Boulevard and Maryland Parkway, is attempting to buy his way out of an agreement signed before he bought the property that restricts the iconic structure from being torn down. Mizrachi bears no ill will toward the theatre; it’s just that he needs to find a viable, profitable use for that property, and thus far, no one has come forth with a solution that would keep the decades-old building in its classic state.

Josh Geidel of the grassroots organization Save the Huntridge met Saturday night at the Downtown Cocktail Room to discuss ideas for saving the S. Charles Lee-designed building, which exemplifies the Moderne style popularized in the 1930s and ’40s. Mizrachi attended the meeting, reiterating his position that he’d like to see the theatre saved but must look out for his business interests as well. Until recently, Mizrachi’s family also ran a branch of their Cima Furniture chain on that corner, adjacent to the Huntridge. (more…)

No more playing with this doll

January 28th, 2008

We’re sad to read in the Las Vegas Sun that Las Vegas Paper Doll, a unique and upscale stationery and gift store owned by downtown Vegas fixture Anne Kellogg, is closing Feb. 29. Kellogg, according to the Sun, will become marketing and public relations manager for the Las Vegas Art Museum.

We recommend getting over to Paper Doll not only to grab some goodies and say goodbye, but also to check out the new collection of work by local artist and Arts Factory curator Caesar Garcia, originally slated to be on display until March 12, but obviously time is running out.

Las Vegas talks race at UNLV

October 29th, 2007

As mentioned a few weeks ago, a town hall discussion is being held at UNLV Tuesday evening, hosted by UNLV Students for Hip Hop, entitled “Is Race Still a Factor? Michael Vick and the Jena Six.” Running from 7 – 9 p.m. in room 207 of the Student Union, the forum is being held in the wake of the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal and the questionable prosecution of the Jena Six, specifically related to the question of racial bias in the media coverage of these stories.

According to a press release sent this morning, these are the general discussion topics expected for tomorrow’s town hall meeting:

Is the Michael Vick dog fighting case a big deal because the defendant is African American?

Are the charges put on the six black students from Jena, Louisiana excessive?

Are media outlets such as Fox News really “fair and balanced” in their coverage of minorities and issues of race?


Even though the event is being held on UNLV’s campus and organized by a student group, this discussion is open to all members of the community. It might be a good idea to drop by and get in on this regardless of your stance. We’re sure going to try.