Photo by Jon Estrada for Vegas Seven
Chumlee cover story! (Photo by Brian Hainer)
Photo by Byan Hainer for my first Chumlee interview
Bryan Hainer has captured a slightly older and slightly wiser Chum for my second Vegas Seven interview
One of the things about living in Vegas is that people (read: tourists) always want to know if you live in a casino, gamble all the time and hang out with the cast of Pawn Stars. This phenomenon is especially true on airplane rides to Vegas. I often find myself writing out a full itinerary for my curious seatmate on a Southwest Airlines napkin by the time we’re touching down in McCarran airport. Even though it’s kind of annoying to play tour guide, I’m happy to help because I see it as my duty as a Las Vegan to keep our city’s livelihood happy and healthy.
So, to answer those cliche queries about casino housing, gambling and Pawn Stars: Nope, almost never and sometimes, kinda yes.
As A&E editor for Vegas Seven magazine, I live in the weird, liminal space where the Vegas fantasy and journalism collide. In such a land, I recently found myself spending a delightful afternoon sharing my love of all things literary with Pawn Stars’ rare book expert and Bauman Rare Books manager Rebecca Romney.
The interview came out a couple weeks ago, and you can read it here. She’s truly such a wonderful and intelligent woman that I URGE you to read the interview just to bask in her smartness.
I’ve also interviewed Pawn Stars’ lovable clown, Chumlee, at least twice. He’s an equally likeable guy, but, as you might imagine, with vastly different attributes.
Read those interviews here and here.
I should’ve asked David Copperfield about the fountain of youth. You know, the one that all the Spanish explorers were always traipsing about the New World, enduring all sorts of discomforts in hopes of finding. They never did. Apparently, they weren’t looking hard enough, because a mere 400-odd years later, the world-famous illusionist (claims to have) stumbled across it on one of his 11 private islands.
But during the interview, when I was staring across the hotel desk into Copperfield’s artist eyes—ones that reflected back the secrets of life lived—I knew there ain’t no such thing as a fountain of youth. Sure, he looked great, as the women who catcalled during the show would attest, but finding the fountain of youth is as impossible as walking through the Great Wall of China or making the Statue of Liberty disappear. Oh wait, Copperfield did both. So maybe that’s why, after seeing his show, I wanted to believe just enough to feel a sharp sense of regret for not asking.
In case you missed it, here’s the YouTube of my first attempt at storytelling entertainment. I was so nervous before I went onstage that I was afraid that I would lose my power of speech or projectile vomit on the front row or both. But after a few minutes in the bright lights, I relaxed and started having fun. I would love to do this sort of thing all the time, but who wants to pay for storytelling? If nothing else, I know that I’ll have fun when I one day go on book tours!
If you want to see the other awesome story tellers, go here: http://www.weeklyseven.com/the-tell
Thanks to my awesome magazine (Vegas Seven), organizer Dayvid Figler and to the El Cortez casino for hosting us!
Halloween feels reduntant in Las Vegas, a city that plays dress-up 365 days a year. (See above for example of a regular ‘ol day in my fair burg.) But that doesn’t stop us from pulling out all the stops on this very special day. So, I want to wish you a very Happy Halloween! Now I gotta go. It’s nigh time to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, simultaneously trying to complete my Sunday errands and find something fun to do that lives up to the gravity of this day. I think it starts with the Halloween Parade downtown. Will I see you there?
Bobby Berosini & his Orangutans
My close friends and colleagues like to joke that after more than a year in the writing, I no longer had an article about animal trainer Bobby Berosini, but instead an article about writing an article about Bobby Berosini. But after more than a year of writing, I’m so tired that I can’t write another word about this fascinating piece of Las Vegas history. So, you’ll just have to read the article. It was a cover story for Vegas Seven.
Read it HERE
Shattered Time: I accidently broke the Todd English P.U.B. promo
If you’re wondering why I never write, it’s because I’m so dang busy researching the Las Vegas Arts&Entertainment scene. Here is an example of my weekend. I don’t even have time to write this now, but I’m making the sacrifice for your reading pleasure.
In Vegas, the weekend starts on Wednesday. This weekend, I had it easy and enjoyed a calm family dinner at the best Thai restaurant in North America, Lotus of Siam in Sahara Commercial Center, but previous Wednesdays in June included a First Friday Fundraiser at the Downtown Firefly and the opening of Encore Beach Club and Surrender at the Wynn Encore.
Thursday morning started early with Coffee + Convo, this wonderful art networking event at the Arts Factory is from 8 to 10 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month. If you have any interest in the local art scene and you can wake up that early, I highly recommend it. Also, the coffee is out of this world. Thursday evening, I went to the Photo Unveiling for Neal Preston‘s rock ‘n’ roll photos at the Hard Rock Hotel. (Read my article about him here.) It was a pleasant evening outside at the Hard Rock’s new Skybar and I got to meet my idol, Cameron Crowe. But I was woefully underprimped due to my busy schedule. Kind of like one of those dreams where you go to a job interview only to discover, too late, that you aren’t wearing pants. (In my case, I was wearing a dress.)
Friday night, I returned to the Hard Rock for a new LA Comedy Club series at Wasted Space. I’m not a big fan of standup comedy, but the comics Jimmy Schubert and K-Von kept me laughing. Next I walked through the casino and dropped by the Hard Rock’s pool for Friday Night Live to say hi to my co-workers and catch a little bit of The Wailers. I love the park atmosphere of these concerts; it’s a relaxing end to a busy week. Of course, my week was nowhere near over. I still needed to hit Camp 107, the new Friday night outdoor movie series at the Arts Factory. But I didn’t make it because I went to Blue Martini in Town Square to celebrate Mericia’s birthday. That place isn’t my scene, but I had fun anyways. Happy Birthday Mericia!
Saturday night was the opening of the Crown Theater and Nightclub with a performance by Devo. It was a great show, with creative use of video screens and a lot of fun costume changes. My favorite was when the band stripped down to T-shirts, shorts and knee pads. Without the masks and funny hats, they looked like a crew of PTA dads taking the stage. But they weren’t and they’re music was great. I wanted to stay for the transition from concert venue to nightclub, but I had various other friends to see.
Now it’s noon on Sunday, which leaves me with a little time to tackle my to-do list before the whole thing starts over again.
Posted in Las Vegas, My Latest Publication, This Writer's Life
Tagged camp 107, crown theater, devo, friday night live, la comedy club, lotus of siam, pool, the arts factory, the hard rock, the wailers, wasted space, weekend plans
Graphic patterns of eaten chocolate at Bellagio's "Figuratively Speaking" opening reception
You may not know this about me, but I have been passionate about art my entire life. In fact, for the majority of my life I was certain that I would become an artist. (My parents must have been relieved with I chose the much more stable career path of writer.)
This passion was nourished by lots of art supplies and near-religious trips to the art museum throughout my childhood. Growing up in the Dallas area, we had a lot of art museums to choose from (The Kimbell was my favorite and I even had a college internship there). Unfortunately, Vegas is fresh out of traditional art museums (though the Atomic Testing Museum often runs free art exhibits).
In Sin City, when all else fails you can generally find what you’re looking for in a casino. Thus when I attended the opening of the new show at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art: “Figuratively Speaking: A Survey of the Human Form,” I was overjoyed to find something akin to the art museums I used to frequent in Texas.
READ MY REVIEW OF THE ART SHOW HERE or read the hard copy in this week’s issue of Vegas Seven.
Posted in Art, Las Vegas
Tagged a survey of the human form, Art, bellagio, figurative art, figuratively speaking, gallery, hockney, Las Vegas, of fine art, picasso