‘Las Vegas’ Category

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.

VEGASinsight finally gears up for CineVegas X

June 14th, 2008

CineVegas X

Yes, I know CineVegas Film Festival started on Thursday, June 12. I know this because I was supposed to review the opening-night film, The Rocker, and attend the CineVegas 10th Anniversary bash the following night at Palms Place. But thanks to our prolonged spring here in Las Vegas this year (typically we’re already in the 100s by now), my season-changing cold came about a month late, which of course coincided with the start of CineVegas.

Well, I’m still not at 100 percent, but I did manage to get down to the CineVegas Headquarters inside The Palms this afternoon to pick up my press credentials and put in ticket requests for the rest of the week’s screenings (not all of them, mind you — just select films in which I had interest). I probably won’t get rolling on the action until tomorrow, but hang tight as I’ll be dropping in reports more often throughout the week including reviews, celeb spotting and other nonsense. Sadly, I won’t be reviewing Choke, the new film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, because I was informed today it’s sold out. Sigh … that’s what I get for being sick.

Either way, I won’t be wanting for comfort during my time at The Palms, as CineVegas has set up a pretty sweet lounge for its volunteers, staff and media members, complete with complimentary Red Bull, multiple TVs, comfy couches, sponsor magazines and a ping pong table:

CineVegas lounge

Déjà vu: Crown & Anchor, part deux

April 22nd, 2008

Crown & Anchor

Hey, did you know there was a second Crown & Anchor British Pub on the west side of town? Neither did we, until we were pulling out of the Lucky parking lot at Spring Mountain Road and Decatur Boulevard after a stop at the Post Office Express inside the grocery store, and spotted the familiar-yet-out-of-place name on a building that, by our count, has housed 4,378,988* different restaurants over the years it’s been there.

We didn’t stop inside, but for some reason, we doubt this imitation holds a candle to the charm of the original location on East Tropicana Avenue. And it also feels like it dilutes the original anyway. Think about it: The Crown & Anchor is an icon of University District life. When someone says “Crown & Anchor,” only one vision comes to mind. The spawning of a second location makes the brand feel like a British-themed PT’s. And Christ, we have enough cookie-cutter neighborhood bars.

*Estimate only.

Amber Unicorn Books is bringing bookish back

April 8th, 2008

Oh, look, more stuff for Andrew Kiraly to burn!

Oh, sure, new and used bookstores are closing around the Las Vegas Valley even as a new Borders megastore is opening — with less actual books than your average Borders location. But does this mean the used bookstore has gone the way of the mid-1970s casino in Sin City? Not if Myrna and Lou Donato have anything to say about it.

Their store, Amber Unicorn Books, opened just last week at 2101 S. Decatur Blvd. #14, next to Trader Joe’s at the corner of O’Bannon Drive. The tall, library-like shelves are mostly empty still, but already the selection is promising, and the prices are reasonable. It might be a while before the strip mall’s new occupant allures with that sweet aroma of musky book pages, but we’re told the owners still have 300 to 400 boxes to unpack of their initial 15-ton literary booty.

If you’re a Trader Joe’s regular (and why wouldn’t you be?), Amber Unicorn is offering 10 percent off with your receipt from the alt-grocer during its grand opening celebration, just one more incentive to get your behind over there soon. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For more information, call 702-648-9303.

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.

Despite young age, Vic & Anthony’s recalls vintage Vegas

March 19th, 2008

Vic & anthony’s

It seems most Las Vegas residents and regulars fall into two mutually exclusive categories when it comes to their appreciation of the city: Those who think the “real” Vegas died when the Rat Pack and the Mob left town, and those who gleefully watch old casinos implode while they eagerly await the opening of the next hi-rise condo, ultra lounge or high-end retail store.

I guess I stand among a small number of people whose appreciation for all things Vegas falls somewhere in between those two perspectives. When dying, smoky casinos such as the New Frontier go down, I welcome their end (someone please implode Circus Circus … soon), but when the Huntridge Theatre is being threatened, I take the side of preservation. I welcome — hell, eagerly encourage — New Urban development, but I feel it should be done by renovating older buildings (specifically, downtown) and not by just razing them and starting over. I find the “vintage” Vegas era especially charming, but I also can appreciate the allure of ultramodern surroundings, music and fashions.

However, most of my life is spent living in and pursuing the “new,” modern version of Las Vegas. So it was refreshing to head to Glitter Gulch (the area, not the strip club) for a little old-school night on the town at a classic-style Vegas joint, the Golden Nugget. Though the Nugget has been renovated and upgraded in the last few years thanks to a few changes of ownership, it retains that vintage Vegas charm, while offering enough fresh amenities to draw in a younger, hipper crowd. But this weekend, I went old school and had dinner at the property’s steak-and-seafood eatery, Vic & Anthony’s. (more…)

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…)

Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t we?

February 23rd, 2008


CityLife, the Las Vegas alt-weekly owned by the decidedly alt-nothing Stephens Media Group (publisher of the Review-Journal), recently launched a new forum for its staffers to unload humorous news commentary upon the unsuspecting public, CityBlog. The blogosphere is not a new territory for the paper — editor Steve Sebelius has ranted in his own CL-hosted blog, Various Things and Stuff, for quite a while now. But CityBlog is the place where all of the publication’s staffers can mind-dump about such topics as politics, nightlife, live music, the Arts District and, uh, necrogasms.

It’s assembled with a somewhat (depending on the writer) tongue-in-cheek tone and uses random photos gathered from the internet to illustrate the sometimes irreverent commentary. We might even add its RSS feed to our Google Reader. But we’ll let you decide what you do with yours. Ahem.

Downtown Las Vegas: The Movie

January 24th, 2008

Well, not quite … but here’s a very interesting video about the Fremont East nightlife scene starring some of its most popular faces: