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Desert Companion

Take 5: Cultural highlights this month

Artist John Bissonette says his work registers an emotional connection to pop culture. We say this: It springs, jumbles and bounces on your visual radar like a yippee parade of wowza mad shape and color woo-hoo. “Closeout” is on exhibit through Feb. 16 at Kleven Contemporary inside Emergency Arts. Info: klevencontemporary.tumblr.com

Wole Soyinka

Next time you’re tempted to whine about having writer’s block, consider the real writing blocks that Nobel laureate, playwright, poet and novelist Wole Soyinka overcame: threats, arrest, prison and exile. He’ll discuss the responsibilities — and the hazards — of the writing life 7p Feb. 12 at UNLV’s Student Union Theatre. Free. Info: blackmountaininstitute.org

Looking the Other Way

Check out the topics that Left of Center’s latest exhibit, “Looking the Other Way,” tackles: tolerance, multiculturalism, hunger, homelessness, justice, health care and the environment. All I gotta say is: LEFT OF CENTER GALLERY FOR PRESIDENT! “Looking the Other Way” is on exhibit through March 2 at Left of Center Art Gallery and Studio. Info: leftofcenterart.org

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The Chieftans

Before The Chieftains came along to popularize traditional Irish music around the globe, the only way to hear it was either by going to Ireland itself or, alternately, licking a leprechaun for its mythically hallucination-inducing sweat. Seriously, try it. Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains perform 7:30p Feb. 18 at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center. $29-$89. Info: thesmithcenter.com



Byron StriplingThe usually buttoned-up Las Vegas Philharmonic is ripping off its cummerbund and flashing its chest-hams for sparkly beads in this rousing tribute to the spirit of Mardi Gras. Trumpeter Byron Stripling leads the charge in this evening of ripping, raucous New Orleans jazz. The Las Vegas Philharmonic’s “Mardi Gras in Las Vegas” is 8p Feb. 16 at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center. $46-$94. Info: thesmithcenter.com 

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