2018 Was the Year ...

In the December issue of Desert Companion, our year-in-review package contained several micro-essays by staff and contributors that attempt to pin down the essential characteristics of the year we're about to close the books on. That effort continues below:


2018 was the year we decided: Let’s just close the book on this one, shall we? The whole, “Las Vegas is not a real city” thing. Because I’m stuck in traffic on 215 at like 2 in the afternoon, and I’m thinking, “Yeah, we’re a real city now.” I’m not saying it all happened this year, but in 2018 we can look around and see it’s culminated this year. It’s either all here or it’s (likely) on the way. The football stadium. The Stanley Cup finals. The Smith Center. The Springs Preserve. The medical campus. Light rail. Life is Beautiful. A real bookstore. A thriving local restaurant scene. Food halls. Growing, tangible diversity. And, yes, traffic. So, we’re a real city, folks. Our job from here is to make a better city. T.R. Witcher

2018 was the year when dining at innovative, locally owned neighborhood eateries finally caught on. From the Arts District with the likes of Esther's Kitchen and Makers & Finders, to Henderson with Prosecco and Boteco, Southern Nevadans are breaking bread at a new breed of restaurants where quality ingredients and ambitious menus are front and forward. Add in other new arrivals such us Mordeo, Pizzeria Monzú, and Cured & Whey, it looks like Las Vegans have a new appetite for eating locally. Greg Thilmont

2018 was the year Doyle Brunson folded ’em. In a World Series of Poker that thrilled vicarious degenerates up and down the city, a bitter note came from legend Doyle Brunson, who announced the $10,000 deuce-to-seven lowball championship would be the last event in a World Series career that reaches back to first one in 1970. He’s the last of the old-school titans, with a lineage that can trace back through Benny Binion, Johnny Moss, Nick “The Greek” Dandalos, and Arnold Rothstein. Bruson isn’t hanging it up entirely. He’s still playing the cash games. But tournament poker without Brunson is baseball without Babe Ruth. Still there, but the romance is shot. Jason Scavone

2018 was the year we forgot about the October 1 shooting. Oh, we memorialized, processed, and reunited — maybe even reckoned with some idea of evil. But we forgot about October 1 in the sense of failing to seize a moral mandate to talk about local solutions to gun violence. Who starts that conversation? Who leads it? The Legislature, the Clark County Commission, Metro, the Gaming Commission, community activists? I don’t know, but all I’ve heard is silence. Perhaps it’s because the massacre happened in that otherworld neverwhere of the Strip, or perhaps it’s collective resignation to accepting mass shootings not as a preventable public-health crisis, but as a grim new weather phenomenon beyond our control. Andrew Kiraly

2018 was the year everything felt politicized, thanks largely to an apocalyptic midterm and a social media that consequently fumigated us with hate memes, smack talk, truth-torquing ads, and, of course, tweets, tweets, TWEETS. You couldn’t get away from it. Having dinner? Drinks? Out shopping? No matter; politics was a maddening tinnitus, always in your ear. Politically contrary friends and family got blocked, tuned out, and pitied. At least the election relieved (a little of) the pressure. Whether it solved anything is a question for next year. Nevada blue-waved like crazy and elected the dead pimp. (You’re welcome, nation’s headline writers!) Taken together, I’m not sure those are indications of clarity; lemme ask Twitter and get back to you. “America is the brave way to take a beating,” the poet Josh Bell once observed. I’m gonna tag that on Baby New Year’s diaper as a reminder to 2019 to take it easy on us. Scott Dickensheets

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