After a year of practice, I finally made it onto the B team, where I went on to have a short and unspectacular volleyball career.
I was such a joiner as a kid. Heck, I still am. That’s why journalism fits me so well. Often my desperate attempts at joining were blocked by the cold hand of ineptitude. The below instance is no exception, but at least I got a fun personal essay out of it for Vegas Seven’s 2014 Storytelling Issue.
I made it into the junior high yearbook holding a basketball! Too bad I wouldn’t make the team.
THE ETERNAL OFFSEASON
Street basketball reigned at elementary school recess. If fate sent the ball into my hands, I would freeze in the confusion and exhilaration of everybody suddenly calling out to me. Cindi, pass the ball! Pass the ball, Cindi! Cindi! Cindi! Cindi! It was heady stuff for an invisible 11-year-old with delusions of grandeur. Dribbling would get me nowhere. Shooting would result in shame. So I clutched that orb of attention as long as I could, savoring my moment of glory. And then I passed. It would always be a letdown, my name forgotten as my classmates played on without me. READ MORE
No women allowed … except me backstage at Chippendales with Jaymes.
With Jaymes, Rachel and our photographer at Fox 5.
Breaking for lunch at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza with the Jameses.
In the recording studio with Jaymes and Tanzer.
Comparing the souvenir-cup version of Jaymes with the real thing backstage at Chippendales.
Feeling short in comparison to Jaymes and James.
With all the boys … and one lucky magazine intern.
Sometimes, dreams (and dream assignments) really do come true. Recently, I got to follow around Chippendales’ Jaymes Vaughan (and his Amazing Race partner James Davis) as research for a Vegas Seven profile. The best part was that the guys were super nice. Ever the Southern gentleman, Jaymes would tirelessly pose for pictures with fans and, even better, open the car door for me when we flitted from location to location.
Above are some behind-the-scenes photos (not pictured: me pinching myself to make sure it was really happening). Below is the finished product:
Jaymes Vaughan’s ‘Race’ to the Spotlight: Can the Chippendales host extend his 15 minutes of fame before the time runs out?
It’s Friday night at Chippendales, so the audience of mostly bachelorette parties is rowdy and sloppy-exuberant. The emcee, Jaymes Vaughan—tall, tan, blond, blue-eyed, square-jawed with Indiana Jones regrowth and muscle-y muscles—is basically a human Ken doll with a goofy sense of humor. And I have spent all day following him around in the name of … um, research. Watching Jaymes cavort onstage, I realize the effort I spent politely averting my eyes when he changed clothes throughout the day was wasted. Read more …
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
Journalist Aaron Thompson helping me research the Red Hawk nachos.
For those of you who don’t yet know, I write a bar column for the Las Vegas Weekly. The premise is simple. Every other week, I seek out the new, the weird, the unusual and the forgotten. And alternately, the popular, the ritzy and the well-trodden. I try to mix it up, going intermittently on and off the beaten path.
Here’s the best part, the editors give me a very long rope with which to hang myself. They encourage creativity, and I, in turn, thank them by testing the limits of their leniency. For example, I think my editor nearly killed me when I turned in a recent column in the form of a movie script. Read it for yourself HERE and decide if the results are worth all the grief I put my editors through.
Or you can read this week’s Bar Exam HERE. After the craziness of writing a script, my editor kindly suggested and I graciously agreed to do something a little more normal. I wrote about a nice little bar in Henderson called Red Hawk.
What do these two articles have in common? The assistance of my friend and journalist Aaron Thompson. Sadly, he’s leaving the country in a few days. Emily, my first “research assistant” moved to Texas. Now Aaron’s leaving, too. Why does Vegas have to be so dang transient? Anybody want to help me research bars in Vegas?
Steel Panther the way I know them best: with girls on the stage
My latest article for the Las Vegas Weekly was months in the making. Way back in February (Friday the 13th to be exact. Thank you Google calendar), my friend Brandy took me to see Steel Panther for the first time. As soon as they finished their first set, I had a fully formed article in my head. Perhaps it’s dangerous to have a solidified idea that quickly. Or perhaps I was right on track. The world may never know. Each time the article got pushed back, I decided the article couldn’t do without the inclusion of more research. In the business world, this phenomena is known as “scope creep” and is to be avoided at all costs. The same seems to be true for the writing world. While my hours upon hours upon hours upon hours of research turned up some fascinating results, I ended up with enough vital information to write a book, which I then had to cram in a cover story. My original concept could no longer work with the vast amount of info and had to be dumped in a last-minute rewrite. Three bands I researched didn’t even make the cut because I ran out of room. And even worse, in the crossfire, I mixed up the guitarist with the bass player for one of the bands I mentioned (Sin City Sinners). For the record, Brent Muscat plays the guitar and Mike Szuter plays the bass. They are both really awesome guys and I throughougly enjoyed getting to know them. And I’m very sorry for the mistake. Oh yes, and Rob Cournoyer (formerly of Raging Slab) plays the drums.
So there ya go. If you would like to read this article, you can read it here.
Like yoga and like my writing? Hate yoga and like my writing? Either way, check out the new blog I’m writing for Yoga Sanctuary.
Here’s how the yoga studio describes my new masterpiece in motion:
Our Yoga Rants and Raves blog pushes the envelope even more. We like to think of it as a nice mix of the irreverent and relevant. The topics and content will be far-reaching: offbeat videos, yoga news, things we love and things we don’t, the yoga lifestyle and beyond. If our blog proves to be provocative, entertaining or sometimes controversial, we couldn’t be happier. So if you are looking for a conventional commentary on how to start a yoga practice, this is probably not the right blog for you.