‘Media’ Category

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.

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.

Vegas Arts in the news: Chihuly debate, Metro Arts Council

August 12th, 2008


The work of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly has become a Las Vegas fixture thanks to his permanent installation in the Bellagio, Fiori di Como. But is it art, or is it mere decoration? That’s the topic of discussion this week over at ArtsÉtoile, sparked by reactions to Chihuly’s current show at San Francisco’s de Young museum. Join in the discussion at ArtsÉtoile. We don’t like to declare what is or is not art, only what is or isn’t pretty. And Fiori di Como sure is pretty.

As seen in the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly last week, Joan Lolmaugh has formed the nonprofit Metro Arts Council to reinforce a strong arts community here in Sin City. MAC is off to a good start, thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to develop a website, experiencelasvegas.com, the prototype of which will be unveiled on Oct. 6.

Wait — $30K to develop just the prototype of a Vegas arts website?! Um, perhaps Rossi Ralenkotter would like to take notice of a certain other Vegas-based website that has been promoting the arts since 2005? Starts with a “V” and rhymes with “Ray Gas Pin Fight?” We could do a lot with $30K … or even $10K … how about just a Bennie?

Hot in herre: Behind the scenes of Nelly’s ‘Body on Me’ video shoot

July 10th, 2008

Nelly and Akon play games
(Photos were by Erik Kabik | Retna)

For anyone who claims we don’t throw enough love to the hip-hop community (and damn, wouldn’t you know you were wrong?), VEGASinsight hashad nearly-exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos from the soon-to-be-released video for Nelly’s hot new single, “Body on Me,” from his latest album, Brass Knuckles. The song (and video) features Ashanti and Akon, and as you can seecould have seen from the photo gallery here, the video definitely taps into an old-school Vegas vibe (check out Akon and Nelly at the tables and Ashanti as a ’40s-style nightclub singer — if you’re not distracted by her in that sweet one-piece bathing suit). The video, directed by Benny Boom, was filmed on location at the Red Rock Casino-Resort-Spa in late June.

Unfortunately, because some people out there don’t understand the way that copyright works regarding non-reproduction of photos you don’t own — no matter the source — we had to remove the gallery before any more sites stole the images. I guess you’ll have to wait for the video now, won’t you? Good job, kids.

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

Daughtry gets smothered in LOVE

April 13th, 2008

Daughtry at LOVE - click to enlarge
Finally, Daughtry finds its place in the entertainment industry: As LOVE’s new clowns. (Photo by Ana Dobrijevic)

Hey, remember we told you about that acoustic set that Grammy-nominated (ugh, really?) pop-rock band Daughtry is playing tonight at The Beatles Revolution Lounge inside the Mirage?

Well, for you Daughtry fans out there (and apparently, there are, somehow, many of you), you may be interested to know that North Carolina’s finest dropped by the 7 p.m. performance of The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil before their scheduled performance to benefit the ONE Campaign. And, of course, like every celebrity but never us, Chris Daughtry and the boys went backstage after the show to meet the cast and crew.

Note the buff chick in the top of that picture: That’s Alevtyna Titarenko, one of Las Vegas Weekly‘s “Most Beautiful People.” We have to hand it to the Weekly — its shallow popularity contest posturing actually featured some pretty cool finalists, including artist Caesar Garcia, Love Pentagon drummer Courtney Carroll, sideshow hottie Lady Diabla, turntable queen Bree Delano and MMA fighter Gina Carano. And yes, we’re totally biased in listing those names.

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.

‘Beneath the Neon’ author goes solo, gets creative

December 20th, 2007

Las Vegas CityLife staff writer and former news editor Matthew O’Brien announced yesterday on his blog that he’ll be leaving the alternative weekly paper after 10 years as a writer and editor for the Stephens Media publication.

Matt O’Brien“I want to challenge myself more as a ‘creative’ writer,” O’Brien wrote at Beneaththeneon.com. “I want to write more books, screenplays, essays, commentaries, book reviews, etc., and less news stories and news briefs. While I really like reporting, I want to use my own voice more. It’s time for new challenges.”

This announcement comes in the wake of the loss of another long-time CityLife staffer, Kevin Capp, as well as the success of O’Brien’s first book, Beneath the Neon. Released earlier this year, the Huntington Press publication — based on a series of articles originally published in the CityLife by O’Brien and Joshua Ellis — received positive notices all around for its explorations into the lives of the homeless beneath the streets of Las Vegas. The author took an extended sabbatical from his CityLife duties a few years ago to work on the book, which, according to his website, he is developing into a screenplay.

Could something like the Writers Guild strike happen in Las Vegas?

November 8th, 2007

The Writers Guild of America strike is gaining steam and support, especially after this morning’s showing of solidarity by so-called "show runners"–the writer-producers behind such addictive hit TV shows as "Lost" and "The Office." The Los Angeles Times reports that "100 or so writer-producers of some of TV’s highest-rated programs ratcheted up the pressure on the studios and producers."

This is a sharp change from the last major WGA strike in 1988, when show runners continued to work, causing a rift with the striking writers and appearing as nothing more than studio lackeys. However, with the writer-producers joining the WGA picket line, Hollywood’s production machine is grinding to a halt even faster than initially predicted, effects of which will become painfully obvious to regular TV viewers by as early as next week (daily shows such as "The Tonight Show" and Bill Maher’s program already have gone into reruns).

Unlike Las Vegas, Los Angeles–despite current appearances–is not a one-industry town. However, what happens in L.A. affects an industry nationwide, and viewers globally. Were such a strike to happen in Sin City, where effectively all casinos were forced to shut down, the exact inverse effect would be felt. Sure, a number of American’s vacation plans might change, but the result would ape that overused Vegas slogan, "What happens here, stays here."

And what would "happen" here would be the total shut-down of life as we know it in Las Vegas. Think about it: How many tangential industries seemingly unrelated to gaming and hospitality would be negatively affected by such a city-wide strike? For one, the media and nightlife production company for which I work would be immediately impacted: If the casinos shut down, their nightclub revenue evaporates, our advertisers pull ads, our magazines can’t pay for themselves. Our nightlife photography website will have no new photos to add since the clubs in the casinos are closed; and all the club advertisers on that site likewise disappear. Our nightclub VIP service stops business, immediately.

It would go beyond that–without the hundreds of thousands of casino employees working, local retail takes a dive. Without the tourists, even the high-end retail on the Strip suffers. The impact would be immeasurable.

According to the International Herald Tribune, the last time the Las Vegas Culinary Union–which represents about 60,000 casino, hospitality, hospital and airport employees in Vegas–organized a citywide strike was in 1984, which lasted for 67 days. There currently exists no union for casino workers such as dealers (though that could change, according to this Las Vegas Sun article), one day there could be, and one day the joining of forces could cause tremendous havoc in Sin City.

For now, we’re safe–the last potential Culinary strike, prompted a few months ago, mainly because of Downtown casinos, was averted by successful talks at the negotiating table. But as Hollywood has proven, things can change at the drop of a hat.

The Palms question

July 6th, 2006

A three-day party at the popular Vegas resort spawns questions about its future

While the Hard Rock Hotel changes hands from owner and founder Peter Morton to its new corporate owners – possibly jeopardizing its future as a hipster, boutique resort – George Maloof’s Palms Casino Resort continues to build on its status as the hottest property in Las Vegas. The latest addition to the resort’s arsenal of nightclubs, restaurants and over-the-top party suites is the fully-remodeled, $40 million Pool at the Palms.

Completed just in time for one of the craziest holidays in Vegas’ nonstop party, Fourth of July weekend, the new pool debuted to the public with a three-day bash celebrating the one-year anniversary of 944 Magazine.

Scott Weiland, (c) WireImageEvents at the resort included DJ Robert Oleysyck’s successful breaking of the Guinness World Record for longest DJ set (now 88 hours), a star-packed premier of Superman Returns at Brenden Theatres, a day-long string of live music culminating with performances by Camp Freddy and Panic Channel, fireworks, a declaration of “944 Day” by Mayor Oscar Goodman, and … man, we are running out of breath.

The Pool at the Palms features all sorts of nifty enhancements and adornments, including private tee pee-cabanas that overlook the pool area from a tall balcony, multiple bars (including one beneath a waterfall), table gaming, plush furniture and the coup-de-grace, a glass-bottomed pool and deck that rise above the table games and center bar.

On Saturday, however, the area was converted into a makeshift concert venue at which Dave Navarro’s latest musical projects were scheduled to entertain guests as part of the anniversary weekend festivities. This meant the pools were off-limits. Strictly. And amazingly, no one defied that unwritten rule, despite the heat that lasted well into the late evening.

The Palms is a study in the dichotomy of Las Vegas. On one hand, its is a popular locals casino, filled with copious (and supposedly loose) slot machines, which inevitably draws hundreds of senior citizens to its casino floor daily. On the west side of the property is a food court and the cinemas which – save perhaps for the week a year that CineVegas holes up at Brenden Theatres – cater to the lowest-common denominator.

It is on the east side of the resort where things gets interesting: Hart & Huntington Tattoo Parlor (star of cable TV’s “Inked”), ghostbar, Rain nightclub, AMP salon and spa, the entrance to the Fantasy Tower, and the aforementioned pool.

Maybe that’s why celebrities like the Palms so much. Unlike the Hard Rock Hotel, or even some Strip joints like Caesars Palace or Mandalay Bay, the average Palms gambler is mostly concerned with the three reels in front of him or her. There is no Circle Bar surrounded by mooks looking for loose women or famous faces. Heck, after Camp Freddy’s set ended, Navarro and his crew waltzed right in the front doors of the casino, no one noticing much and no need for security.

Of course, eventually the Palms will have to deal with its identity crisis. With the opening of the Fantasy Tower – home to the must-be-seen-to-be-believed Fantasy Suites and the penthouse Playboy Club – the Palms has thrown down a challenge to any other Vegas property to steal its thunder as the premier party spot in the valley. And when Palms Place — the adjacent condominium development from the Maloof mind – opens in 2007, it will be the part-time home to a number of A-list celebrities. Eventually, that cute, locals-oriented casino with the loose slots could be considered a liability.