‘Performance’ Category

Lisick and Jepsen bring Bay Area sketch comedy to Sin City

December 11th, 2008
We don't know what to think, either.

We don't know what to think, either.

San Francisco writers Beth Lisick and Tara Jepsen have been performing together on and off since both appearing on the 1999 Sister Spit tour. This weekend, they’re unveiling their comedic alter egos in Las Vegas once again with a sketch-comedy show called “Getting on the Ground Floor and Staying There” at Beauty Bar (517 Fremont St.) tomorrow night, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. In case you’ve been living under a culture-less rock and aren’t aware of these two incredible authors, here’s the righteous skinny:

Lisick has penned two critically acclaimed popular alt-memoirs — Everyone into the Pool: True Tales and Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone. She also spent eight years writing a nightlife column called “Buzz Town” for the San Francisco Chronicle and co-founded the Porchlight Storytelling Series (which has featured Las Vegas’ own spoken-word maestro and NPR commentator Dayvid Figler).

Jepsen, on the other hand, orchestrates the queer slam-poetry night, “K’vetch,” and helped create one of the more notorious rock bands in S.F. called Lesbians. Her work has been published in landmark anthologies such as Pills, Thrills, Chills and Heartache and It’s So You.

VEGASinsight had a chance to speak with Lisick recently, to get the lowdown on what we can expect from her and Jepsen’s Las Vegas appearance.

VEGASinsight: So what’s “Getting on the Ground Floor and Staying There” all about anyway?

Beth Lisick: The show is a tribute that Tara [Jepsen] and I are throwing for ourselves after working together for 10 years. Carole and Mitzi are lady comediennes who never quite get around to telling their jokes, because they’re easily sidetracked about topics such as what defines one as a lesbian, and how much their tub of pancake mix is going to cost them, and how dirty the steam room at the gay men’s bath house was the other night. They are the janitors there on the night shift, you see.

VI: Wow.

BL: Oh, we’ll also present Cricket and Jinx, two ladies well past 40 who are obsessed with being “rock ’n’ roll” and “edgy.” And also Don and Phil, a couple of gay silver foxes who have been together for more than 30 years and like to kindly educate their audience about art and architecture.

VI: Isn’t there a movie component? We heard there was a film of Tara’s and yours to be screened.

BL: Yes, we will also show our short film Diving for Pearls, which played gay film fests internationally. [Note: Lisick doesn’t like to brag. The film won the “Most Innovative Short” award at the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 2005 and was selected for the “Best of Newfest” screening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.]

VI: You’ve been a comedian for 10 years! What does comedy mean to you?

BL: Well, I don’t consider myself a true comedian, though my character Carole Murphy is certainly one.

VI: So I guess you could say you only play a comedian onstage. Does comedy scratch a different itch for you than the one you scratch with the Porchlight series?

BL: Porchlight is a storytelling series that I curate, but don’t perform at. I just emcee the event with my partner Arline Klatte.

VI: You’ve done everything in Vegas — poetry readings, book festival appearances, dressed up like a banana for promotions, performed music — except for one thing: You’ve never worked in a casino. When can we expect that to happen?

BL: We will work in a casino this weekend if anyone wants to hire us!

Sin City Kitties bring Vegas-style attitude to Primm

November 3rd, 2008

SinCity Kitties

Topless revues in Las Vegas are nothing new. Crazy Girls at the Riviera has been showing for, what, a few centuries now, and it preceded more modern takes on the art of tease such as X Girls, Fantasy and Crazy Horse Paris. Those latter-day shows took the bare-chested dance routines to a new level, injecting them with artful lighting, creative sets and an air of class, making the revues more enticing for couples and groups of women, and not just horny, male conventioneers.

Now a new show is bringing the same level of polished sensuality to Primm, Nev. – the Area Formerly Known as Stateline – inside the Whiskey Pete’s Showroom. Dubbed Sin City Kitties, this topless revue (not “review,” as indicated on promotional artwork) is a surprisingly well-produced show – on par with the aforementioned Fantasy or X Girls – despite its middle-of-nowhere location.

Whiskey Pete’s is one of a cluster of three resorts located in Primm, one of which (Buffalo Bill’s) is notable for being home to a mild rollercoaster; the other (Primm Valley) for being adjacent to an outlet mall. Which is to say, Primm is typically thought of as nothing more than the first place on your way into Nevada from California to gamble, and the first place on your way from Nevada to California to buy Lotto tickets.

Sin City KittiesBut the Primm Valley Resorts – as they’re collectively known – have been trying hard to turn that perception around, marketing themselves as a quick, fun getaway for Vegas locals. At the Star of the Desert Arena, bookings of such headliners as the B-52’s, Blondie and Snoop Dogg – yes, we said Snoop Dogg – are targeting more diverse (and younger) patrons, and Primm has been offering hundreds of free tickets to these shows to get feet into the door. The arena was even nominated for “Casino of the Year” at the 2007 Country Music Awards. And with Sin City Kitties, Whiskey Pete’s is advertising room-and-show packages starting at less than $50 – a price point low enough to justify the surprisingly brisk half-hour drive to Primm from Las Vegas.

Brought to you by the same producers behind song-and-dance band Sin City Heat (formerly Sunset Strip), Sin City Kitties offers up seven lovely ladies — Mistress Lily, Champagne, Sonya, Summer, Eva, Pony and Roxy — dancing and singing to both contemporary hits and original songs, strutting their hot bods and revealing a whole lot of T, a decent amount of A and having a whole lot of fun doing so. The expected scenes are all present and accounted for: a cowboy theme, a Latin dance, a stripper’s pole — but Sin City Kitties offers some takes on the tried-and-true that make this show more fun and sexier than one might expect. An audience member is pulled on stage to receive a lap dance from a dancer in a giant kitty costume — but the oversized feline is revealed to be one of the two TomKats, male dancers who provide the show’s beefcake factor. And a bathtub scene featuring the voluptuous Champagne writhing under streams of water poured on her by her fellow Kitties is about as erotic as they come.

It would be easy to knock Sin City Kitties‘ location — and choice of name, given the show’s non-Vegas locale — except that Whiskey Pete’s can actually be a load of fun. The rooms, while painfully in need of a remodel, are cheap and clean. The bars in the casino serve cheap drinks and $1 hot dogs, if that’s your thing. And even the show bar offers up decent-sounding cover bands that pack the dance floor with tipsy travelers. Primm’s not fancy, it’s not trendy, and maybe it’s just the perfect off-the-map getaway you’re looking for.

Neon Outlook: Las Vegas’ live music in October

September 28th, 2008

Lips Like Morphine play with Letters Burning and Air Raid Anthem Oct. 5 at Revolution inside the Mirage.

We know how you like it: Hard and fast. So without further adieu, here’s a preview of what’s to come in Las Vegas’ live music scene for the month of October 2008. Buckle up:

Wednesday, Oct. 1
Wasted Space: Filter at 10 p.m. $20, 21-over.

Thursday, Oct. 2
Jillian’s: Heavy Heavy Low Low, So Many Dynamos, KDT and Vannacutt at 6 p.m. $10-12, all ages.

Friday, Oct. 3
House of Blues: Mindless Self-Indulgence, Die So Fluid, Dearestazazel and I Am The Dream at 6 p.m. $17-20, all ages.
Fremont East Entertainment District: Rock the Block featuring Gogol Bordello at 6 p.m. $15-20, all ages.
Jillian’s (Hi Life): Hang Em High, Friday Night Gunfight and Indulge at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Saturday, Oct. 4
Jillian’s: Guilty by Association, Battle Born, Dirty Panties, Zero Fingers and Seventy Sevens at 6 p.m. $10, all ages.
Jillian’s (Hi Life): Skorchamenza, Picture Pilot and Pigasus at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Bennington and Shuck fall in LOVE

July 8th, 2008

Bennington and Shuck
Photo by Ana Dobrijevic

Looks like Chester Bennington from Linkin Park was kicking it with Ryan Shuck from Orgy at last night’s 10 p.m. performance of The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil over at the Mirage. As per usual, the rock stars got VIP treatment, ducking backstage after the show to meet the cast and smile for the camera.

But then it occurred to me: What the hell ever happened to Orgy? Is it even accurate to say “Ryan Shuck from Orgy” if the band no longer exists? Well, I did the ol’ WikiPedia dig and sure enough, the band is not finished, but rather “taking some time off to do independent projects.” Apparently, 2008 might be the year that the death rockers return to the limelight. Oh, and Shuck’s connection to Bennington? The Orgy guitarist — along with fellow Orgy six-stringer Amir Derakh — are working with the Linkin Park singer on a side project, Dead by Sunrise.*

Just for old time’s sake, here’s a little late-’90s love from Orgy:

*Special thanks to reader Lisa for clarifying the status of Bennington’s solo/side project.

Booze, music and mystery writers: ‘Las Vegas Noir’ launches tonight

May 8th, 2008

Las Vegas Noir coverIf there’s ever a match made in heaven – well, we guess more like purgatory or something more hellish – it’s liquor and writers. So it’s fully appropriate that tonight, May 8, at 7 p.m., the launch party for Las Vegas Noir is being held at the Freakin’ Frog (4700 Maryland Parkway).

Las Vegas Noir is the latest in Akashic Books’ series of city-specific, original noir anthologies, edited by Jarret Keene and Todd James Pierce. A number of contributing authors will be on hand for tonight’s party, including Pablo Medina, Christine McKellar, Bliss Esposito, Lori Kozlowski, Felicia Campbell, Jaq Greenspon, and Vu Tran. Following the reading and signing, local space-rock band Love Pentagon will perform.

What’s another month without First Friday in Las Vegas?

May 1st, 2008

First Friday vegas art

It’s a month not worth living, that’s what. So you’d better hope your little $2 contribution at the Casino Center gate keeps this thing alive. I say, screw that, slip those volunteers a 10-spot and ixnay the extra Guinness at the Griffin later that night.

So what’s on tap for First Friday in May? How about checking out what the students, teachers and alums of the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts are turning out these days, art-wise? You can do just that at MTZC (1551 S. Commerce St.) as the renegade contemporary arts gallery presents “Generation Gap,” showing throughout the month of May but debuting during First Friday, of course.

Or maybe your style is more robots and rocket pods? If so, check out Sam Davis’ latest work in “For the Love of Pod,” showing at Trifecta Gallery (inside the Arts Factory, 103 E. Charleston Blvd.). His work is about the void between here and there, back and forth strangeness. He makes us believe in the make-believe keeping us playfully aware. But more importantly, his robots are really cool. Robots, people, art featuring robots! You can never go wrong. (more…)

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.

Poets to read while ‘Under the Influence’ at Clark County Library

April 9th, 2008

Clark County Library
Photo by Liz Fuentes | Courtesy UNLV Library Special Collections

They might be good poets, but they’re terrible promoters. Hence why, a mere six or so hours before the event, we’re just now telling you about “Under the Influence,” a poetry reading fiesta held tonight (April 9) at the Jewel Box Theater inside the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) at 7 p.m.

The annual event is being held in honor of National Poetry Month, and features three authors with new books out from Las Vegas-based publisher Zeitgeist Press: Zeitgeist founder Bruce Isaacson, New York professor Marc Pietrzykowski and local freelancer writer/one-man poetry movement Jarret Keene.

If you go, let us know how it went. We do have commenting capabilities up in here, you know!

Your bachelor pad is not as hot as Java’s — or his party

April 3rd, 2008

If there seems to be a mysterious increase in the number of hot rods, beehives and pomade use next weekend in Las Vegas, that must mean it’s time for yet another edition of Viva Las Vegas, the big rockabilly weekender that essentially takes over the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino from April 10 to 13. It’s year 11 for this annual fete, which features a car show, burlesque competition, art show and dozens of rockabilly, R&B and roots rock bands from across the globe performing live at the property’s showrooms and lounges.

As with any convention, sometimes the peripheral events are just as – if not more – interesting as the main show. Such is the case with the second Cocktails & Cheesecake Party being thrown by Java’s Bachelor Pad at the newly-whitewashed Art Bar (1511 S. Main St.). Happening on Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m., the Cocktails & Cheesecake Party will feature burlesque performers including Kalani Kokonuts, Ava Garter, Betsey Bosen, Bunny Bravo and Ravenna Black, music spun by DJ GooGoo Muck, and all sorts of other swinging action.

Cover for the event is only $5 and hosts include Gigi Valiant, Kay O’Hara and Java himself. If you miss this, you are one cat with low hep quotient. Check out the 2006 event photos and more by clicking here.

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…)