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When I was a younger pup, downtown was where I'd skateboard (slipping beneath the gate at my alma mater, Las Vegas High School, and shredding the ooops-hope-those-aren't-historic-planters), play endless matches of Mortal Kombat (at the former 7-Eleven on Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard) and be violently ragdolled among moshing froths to NOFX (at the Huntridge Theater).

Nowadays: Art! Culture! Martinis! More martinis! As I've (reluctantly) grown up, downtown has too.

Downtown's maturity -- and its growing pains -- are the topic of tomorrow's Symphony Park Lecture Series panel, "The Urban Vibe," 5 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Fifth Street School Auditorium, 401 S. Fourth St. You should come.

I'll be on the panel with an esteemed bunch of culture mavens, including Jennifer Cornthwaite of Emergency Arts and The Beat Coffeehouse, Jennifer Henry of FlockFlockFlock, James P. Reza of Globe Salon, and Desert Companion's very own John Curtas.

Wine at 5, discussion at 6. Rumors grow of an after-type thang at The Beat. See you there.
 

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