Desert Companion

The 2011 Fall Culture Guide

Clear your calendar for the next few months. You’re going to be busy. But it’s a good kind of busy: music, dance, theater, art and more will be filling your days and nights through the end of the year. And what better friend than our annual fall culture guide? Plus, if you’re hungry for fresh talent, we’ve got that too — turn to page 55 to read about “Ones 2 Watch” in the arts and culture scene.



Sept. 1-11

Restaurant Week

Restaurant Day? Bah. Las Vegas’ levels of deliciositude rip temporal barriers like the Hulk’s muscles rip purple pants. That’s why we’ve got Restaurant Week. But it’s actually two weeks of prix-fixe bargains at top restaurants such as The Capital Grille, Rick Moonen’s rm seafood, Comme Ça, TAO and more — you know, those nice places whose gracious, flitting waiters will spread napkins on your lap and, with the proper urging, shave truffles right into your mouth. Best of all, your flavor-heavy mouth pleasure helps to support the efforts of hunger-fighting organization Three Square.

Support comes from

Through Sept. 11. $20.11-$50.11. Various locations.

Miles Hoffman

SEPT. 10

Las Vegas Philharmonic Masterworks I Concert

Renowned violist Miles Hoffman joins the Las Vegas Philharmonic as a guest violist during the Philharmonic’s performance of Walton’s Viola Concerto. If Hoffman has the chance to speak between his mad, hair-flinging fits of violing (violizing? violificating?), his voice might sound familiar: He also regularly drops fat knowledge in your face as classical music commentator for NPR. The performance also includes Glinka’s Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

8 p.m. (Pre-concert conversation at 7:15 p.m.). $38-$78. UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall.


Sept. 15

King Ibu

King Ibu’s brand of global folk music is a custom blend. He takes West African blues, Senegalese dance tunes, polyrhythmic beats, jazz, rock, reggae and even flamenco to create a sound that’s smooth, pensive, joyous, searching and sparkling. When he performs at this free concert, the Senegalese musician will sing in his native tongue and discuss his music and lyrics between tunes. Translation: A night of cultural discovery with an irresistible beat.

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium



Sept. 16

Brew Las Vegas

October’s drinking festivities are just around the corner; best get into training early with some keg stands, mug slams, belch kicks and gargle leaps (okay, totally making these up now) at Brew Las Vegas. The celebration of beer features more than 50 brews, as well as local bands such as Red Wine Rewind and Play for Keeps.

6:30-10 p.m. $25-$30. Royal Resort, 99 Convention Center Drive.


Sept. 16

Vegas Vaudeville: Songsters, Hoofers and First-Class Stage Actors

Before there was channel-surfing — before there were even TVs — there was vaudeville. Look, clog dancers! Now look: a woman yodeling! Now it’s a dog playing a banjo! Why oh why did vaudeville fall out of favor? Big shrug here! But it’s coming back for a night at CSN. Strap on your bonnet. Why? It just seems like a vaudeville thing to do.

7 p.m. $15-$20. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre.


Sept. 19

The Paradoxes of Jeffersonian Constitutionalism

Founding Father Thomas Jefferson is often seen as Mr. Freedom King America Hurray or something, but — big secret! — he was actually a conflicted and nuanced thinker when it came to government. In his lecture, “The Paradoxes of Jeffersonian Constitutionalism,” Prof. David Konig of Washington University discusses Jefferson’s complex relationship with the Constitution. For instance, Jefferson did not attend the Constitutional Convention, but he fervently wished “with all (his) soul” that it be ratified — and then he immediately called for its amendment. WTF? In today’s rabidly partisan environment, Jefferson’s complex views might earn him this kind of ridicule: “My  opponent Mr. Jefferson is clearly in the pocket of Big Confusion and the nuance industry, and in his elitist, European intellectual views, has lost touch with the common lot of the American people.” But then Jefferson would totally Tweet, “A #coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit #sourgrapes” and instantly get 10,000 followers. In your face!

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium


Sept. 23-25

Greek Food Festival

First they bring us democracy and then — whoa there, overachievers — they bring us feta cheese. All hail the Greeks! Celebrate Socrates, togas, fraternities and big fat weddings at this three-day culture and cuisine bash. $6. St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 5300 South El Camino Road.


Sept. 29

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog, or a Chicken: Why You Shouldn’t Eat Meat

Alastair Norcross wants to serve your brain a well-done thoughtburger: How come we coddle our dogs and cats while thoughtlessly eating cows and chickens, sometimes going so disturbingly far as to use said dogs and cats as actual eating utensils to consume said cows and chickens? (Or maybe that’s just me.) In this provocative lecture, he’ll discuss ethical vegetarianism from a utilitarian perspective, that is, weighing the suffering of animals against any human well-being brought about, say, by inhaling an In-N-Out Double-Double. We hope he somehow carves out a philosophical exception for bacon.

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium


Sept. 26-27


When she was growing up, Anjulie’s home in the Toronto ’burbs was like a Pandora station drunk on bathtub rum: filled with everything from Afro-Caribbean calypso to reggae to Latin rhythms to pop and rock. Those influences fed the sound the confessed “popaholic” boasts today — pop hooks and hip-hop brashness welded to a world music beat.

10 p.m. and 12 a.m. Free. The Cosmopolitan’s Book + Stage.



Oct. 1-2

Art in the Park

Once a year, the usually quiet and staid Boulder City lets down its hair, shaking it vigorously in slow motion as the camera pans slowly over its writhing, lingerie-clad body. That annual event is called Art in the Park, when painters, sculptors, and crafters gather at various parks in BC for a bash to benefit the Boulder City Hospital Foundation.

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Various parks in Boulder City.


Oct. 3

Transforming Artists

Wherever you go, there you are — unless you’re in exile. Three people explore that theme in “Transforming Artists.” Choreographer Margot Mink Colbert’s ballet tells of the exodus of late 19th century Eastern European Jews emigrating to America. Author Moniro Ravanipour tells about her exodus from Iran. And scholar Roberta Sabbath brings her expertise in world literature.

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium


Oct. 7-9

Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival

No need to hide in your mom’s basement playing Dungeons & Dragons to get your fill of medieval merriment. The Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival is arming a fort at Silver Bowl Park for three days in October, and this festival is worth splurging your gold on. Watch jousting tournaments, kiss wenches, eat a turkey leg as big as your thigh and finally wear that suit of armor you ordered from eBay.

10 a.m. $5-$25. Silver Bowl Park, 6800 E. Russell Road.

Guitar Trio

Oct. 12

Falla Guitar Trio

Three players, 18 strings — and no boundaries. California-based Falla Guitar Trio comprises three singular virtuosos, but that doesn’t mean that they’re specialists. In fact, they’re the opposite — happy generalists who move effortlessly from classical jazz pieces to popular standards and beyond. And they innovate off the stage, too: They’ve been instrumental in developing a new bass acoustic classical guitar, testing prototypes at their concerts. We suspect audiences don’t mind being their guinea pigs.

8 p.m. $40. UNLV’s Lee and Thomas Beam Music Center.

English Beat

Oct. 16

The English Beat

The English Beat’s second wave ska was always a curiosity: If something could ever be called both subdued and manic, it was the stylish twitch of The English Beat’s rock-inflected ska. Calling all rudeboys, suedeheads, peacock mods and smoothies: The English Beat still sounds fresh.

7:30 p.m. $24-$28. House of Blues.

Angela Bellamy

Through Oct. 27

Angela Bellamy

Wide-angle photography is usually associated with wide-open spaces or panoramic views of the neon-spangled Las Vegas Strip. However, local artist Angela Bellamy takes her wide-perspective lenses away from the casinos and landscapes of Sin City. Paradoxically and provocatively, Bellamy’s wraparound visuals portray claustrophobic spaces: diners, laundromats, sweat shops, bodegas, barbershops, dry cleaners, a dog pound and a fetish store. One can feel the perspiration, desperation and despair that seem to hang in the air of her tableaux, each of which feels as though it could have been taken at that half-empty strip mall just around the corner from your house.

In Vegas, Bellamy writes, “All too often … we drive past a place and write it off as dirty, dangerous or just not our type of place, but each of these places have people who frequent them as employees and patrons and each of those individuals have heartbreaking and beautiful stories.” Each person in her panoramas is living in a “beautiful, sad universe.” Although Bellamy’s work can be seen online, a six-inch-wide, low-resolution reproduction simply doesn’t have the effect of immersing you in her encompassing vision of Vegas.
This is photography that demands to be seen up-close and in person. — David McKee


Through Oct. 27. Free. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.


Oct. 21-Nov. 6

Neighborhood III: Requisition of Doom

After a fairly staid, regressive 2010-11 season, Las Vegas Little Theatre’s Fischer Black Box returns to contemporaneity with a one-two punch. Playwrights Union founder Jennifer Haley’s “Neighborhood III: Requisition of Doom” is set in a cookie-cutter subdivision much like those that dot the Vegas landscape. In Haley’s suburban dystopia, teenagers play an addictive video game in which they battle zombies in a neighborhood very, very much like their own. Parents are worried as the planes of fantasy and reality begin to intersect. Despite the zombie factor, this isn’t some horror-movie knockoff. Variety’s review said “Neighborhood III” “builds to an affectingly gruesome finale.”

Guiding the cast of four through 16 roles is director Troy Heard. He says Haley’s 2008 play “grabbed me by the throat when I first read it and hasn’t let go. It’s extremely contemporary in setting and language — one need only drive up to Summerlin to become immersed — but timeless in its theme of the disconnect between parents and their adolescent children.” — D.M.

Oct. 21-Nov. 6. $13-$15. Las Vegas Little Theatre.


Oct. 21-22

Glass Works

Even as 2011 draws to a close, Terpsichore, the Goddess of dance, still has much to offer Las Vegas audiences before the end of the year. One of the community’s outstanding sources for consistently high quality dance concerts is the dance department at UNLV, which presents “Glass Works” at Judy Bayley Theatre as a tribute to 100 years of Tiffany Glass creations. Choreography is by faculty members Cathy Allen, Victoria Dale, Richard Havey and Louis Kavouras. The talented performers are all Bachelor of Fine Arts students. These concerts are always innovative and entertaining and have received international praise on tours that include Germany, Japan and Korea. — Hal de Becker

8 p.m., Oct. 21; 2 p.m., 8 p.m., Oct. 22. $10-$18. UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre.


Oct. 26

Emerald Isle Escapade: A Literary Jaunt of Ireland

Ireland’s most famous writers are a colorful bunch. On the downside, however, they’re also dead. What to do? The next best thing to a corpse reanimation machine is UNLV English professor Stephen Brown, who has rigged up a rollicking melange of pictures, anecdotes and readings about this wild crew. Brown promises to take you from James Joyce’s tower in Sandy Cove to Lady Gregor’s estates at Coole Park to the cottage of Patrick Pearse -- all that and, of course, a few pub stops on the way.

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

 Nevada Ballet Theatre

Oct. 29-30

Nevada Ballet Theatre Season Premiere         

Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 40th season begins with an especially powerful program at Paris Théâtre. Included are major works by choreographers Jirí Kylián, George Balanchine, James Canfield and Sharon Eyal. Mr. Kylián is rightly considered to be one of the world’s greatest creators of contemporary ballets.  His “Sinfonietta,” danced by Ballet West, was premiered locally by Nevada Ballet in 2010 and was the highlight of that program. NBT’s October program premieres another Kylián masterpiece, “Petite Mort.” The title translates from the French as “little death” and refers to the peak moment of physical love. The men’s unique use of epees (fencing foils) adds symbolic significance to the theme. Choreographed to the slow movements of two Mozart piano concertos, many of the danced passages are as exquisitely beautiful as the music. It will be performed by guest-company Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, one of America’s most acclaimed contemporary troupes.

The Hubbard dancers also perform “Too Beacoup” by the house choreographer of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, Sharon Eyal. The dance’s robotic movements are said to evoke a sense of 3-D video. The renowned Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival recently presented Norway’s Carte Blanche Dance Company in performances of Ms. Eyal’s works.    

“Concerto Barocco,” by George Balanchine, promises to be a welcome return of that master’s 1941 work to an NBT production. It has no plot — nor is one implied.  It’s a pure balletic visualization of the J. S. Bach concerto for two violins.

Two dances by NBT’s artistic director, James Canfield, round out this eclectic program. “Up” is a look at love through seven different versions of the Rodgers and Hart ballad “Blue Moon.” Like vignettes, each relates a brief story about relationships: some happy, some not; some beginning, others ending. “Gnossiennes,” choreographed to piano pieces by the French composer Eric Satie, will be accompanied by pianist Vince Frates. Satie’s music, often lyrical, sometimes witty and eccentric, has been inspiring ballets since 1917. Little wonder that choreographic geniuses from Massine to Ashton and Mark Morris have created dances to his compositions. — Hal De Becker

8 p.m., Oct. 29; 2 p.m., 8 p.m. Oct. 30. $29.
Paris Théâtre in Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino.



Erik Beehn

Through Nov. 13

“Locals only”: Erik Beehn

If you glimpse one of Erik Beehn’s mixed media works — a depiction of a coffee shop counter, say, or a suburban street — and succumb to a suspicious touch of déjà vu, that’s the point. His works focus on subtle, disquieting elements of both American interiors and exteriors, giving a ghostly impression of recent presence recently fled. Better yet, if his exhibit at CENTERpiece Gallery isn’t enough, MCQ Fine Art Salon at 620 S. 7th Street also hosts an extension of the show.

Sept. 8-Nov. 13. Free. CENTERpiece Gallery inside


Nov. 3-6

Vegas Valley Book Festival

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Vegas Valley Book Festival. That’s 10 years of our city appreciating the humanizing power of literature, without which we would probably descend into a twitchy, inescapable feedback loop of compulsively checking our Facebook status on our iPhone while simultaneously playing Angry Birds on our retinal screen implant. While also, of course, obliviously driving into oncoming traffic. Among this year’s literary and cultural lights: Jane Smiley, Max Brooks, Tony Hsieh and more.

Nov. 3-6. Free. Various locations around the Historic Fifth Street School and downtown.


Nov. 4-6

“Vespers” by the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre

Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre is directed by dancer/ choreographer Bernard Gaddis and presents its 5th annual fall concert series at the West Las Vegas Library Theatre. The featured piece is “Vespers” by the late master choreographer Ulysses Dove to a percussive score by Mikel Rouse. Dove was a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey Company (as was Mr. Gaddis), and he choreographed ballets for major dance companies worldwide. “Vespers” was inspired by memories of his grandmother and other ladies worshipping in a small, old wooden building in South Carolina. Dove’s choreographies are difficult for companies to acquire: They are expensive and, like Balanchine ballets, troupes must first meet high artistic standards. This is a rare opportunity to see one of his works. — H.B.

Nov. 4-6. Tickets $30-$40. West Las Vegas Library Theater.



Nov. 5


The directors of New York’s Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden, are also former Ailey company members. They founded their own troupe in 1994. Their artistic vision has sought to establish a new form of dance movement through the elimination of all limits on the art, be they technical, stylistic or cultural. It will be interesting to see if they have succeeded. — H.B.

8 p.m. $35-$75. UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall


Nov. 7

Talking Trash: Listening to What People Leave Behind

The past is garbage — literally. That’s what archeologists look at when studying the lives of ancient peoples: The tools, utensils, weapons and accessories they threw away. Illnois State University anthropologist James Skibo will talk about how this kind of historic Dumpster-diving can yield real treasure — not just in terms of rare objects, but in terms of valuble insights into prehistoric cultures.

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Elena Papandreou

Nov. 9

Elena Papandreou

Technically, Elena Papandreou is a classical guitarist, but you’ll hear the word “poet” applied to her more often than anything. Widely acclaimed for her insightful, sensitive interpretations, Greek guitarist Papandreou is known not for just merely performing, but for enchanting, mystifying and inspiring her audiences.

8 p.m. $40. UNLV’s Doc Rando Recital Hall.



Nov. 10

Changing People’s Lives While Transforming Yourself: Paths to Service and Social Justice

They say you can’t change the world. Wanna bet? Jeffrey Kottler is here to show you how. He’s a counseling professor at California State University, Fullerton and founder of Empower Nepali Girls, an organization dedicated to ending sex slavery. He’ll deliver a multimedia presentation about how students and professionals have worked to make both large and small differences in their communities — and how you can, too.

7:30 p.m. Free. UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium


Nov. 11

Dinosaur Ball

Something about the Las Vegas Natural History Museum is a bit prehistoric, and it’s not just the dinos. Turing 20 this year is a museum that makes more than 37,000 Clark County school children’s eyes light up each year as they frolic among giant dinosaur replicas and explore the world of ancient Egypt. To celebrate, the museum is throwing a Dinosaur Ball complete with dinner, dance and silent auction. Proceeds from the event will help further the museum’s mission to educate the community about the natural sciences.

$250 per individual, sponsorships available.
The Mirage hotel-casino.

 Ingrid Fliter

Nov. 22

Ingrid Fliter and Julian Schwarz with the UNLV Symphony Orchestra

Two virtuoso soloists on one big night: Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter and 19-year-old cellist Julian Schwarz join the UNLV Symphony Orchestra. Fliter tackles Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, while Schwarz performs Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major.

8 p.m. $35-$75. UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall



 A Place in Paradise

Through December A Place in Paradise

The phrase “master planned community” usually conjures up dreaded images of mass-produced stucco blandness untouched by character, individuality or charm. But it wasn’t always like that. Paradise Palms, the housing division situated around the Boulevard Mall, was the city’s first master-planned community and, well, it’s kind of cool, representing the wry whimsy of the Mid-century Modern style. No surprise, then, that it was home to names such as Caesars Palace developer Jay Sarno, comedian Rip Taylor and entertainer Debbie Reynolds. A slate of historic photographs curated by Brian Paco Alvarez celebrates this mid-mod throwback neighborhood — including the Stardust Golf Club and the Boulevard Mall — an area that is currently seeing a renaissance as new professionals flock back into the neighborhood, attracted by its stylishness and charm.

Through Dec. 31. Free. Boulevard Mall food court.

Gustave Mahler

Dec. 2-3

Gustav Mahler dance concert

Life. Death. The Meaning of Existence. Heady themes not likely to get your dancin’ feet moving, unless you’re choreographer Kelly Roth. He’s put together a ballet honoring the Austrian late-Romantic composer Gustav Mahler — ponderous themes made fleet by CSN’s Dance department.

7 p.m., Dec. 2; 2 p.m., 7 p.m., Dec. 3. $8-$10. CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre

Rumor de Lobos Grandes

Through December

*Rumor de Lobos Grandes: Endi Poskovic Selected Prints

Endi Poskovic’s prints are like posters from bygone eras that seem at once familiar and remote, ordinary yet magical. That’s because those eras exist largely in Poskovic’s mind. Taking influences as diverse as movie posters, Japanese woodcuts and Eastern European propaganda posters, Poskovic’s pieces explore cultural identity, alienation and social history. But above all, they’re a pleasure to look at.

Through Jan. 9. Free. Historic Fifth Street School.


Dec. 2-18

Deadman’s Cell Phone

In a New Yorker profile coinciding with the play’s Manhattan premiere in 2008, John Lahr described Deadman’s Cell Phone’s author Sarah Ruhl’s aesthetic as a “nonlinear form of realism—full of astonishments, surprises, and mysteries.” The protagonist, Jean (a role created by Mary-Louise Parker), is in a diner when another customer drops dead. Unable to resist, she answers his mobile phone as it insistently rings. Consequently, she finds herself enmeshed in the dead man’s cryptic business dealing as well as his comparably enigmatic family … with whistle stops in both the underworld and the Hereafter. See what happens when you don’t observe proper cell-phone etiquette? Let Deadman’s Cell Phone be a warning! Ruhl’s play opens Dec. 2 and runs through the 18th. — D.M.

Dec. 2-18. Tickets $13-$15. Las Vegas Little Theatre, 3920 Schiff Drive.

Neil Berg's Broadway Holiday

Dec. 3

Neil Berg’s Broadway Holiday

Santa’s coming to town, and he’s got a big ol’ bag of holiday tunes to stuff into your Christmas-ready ears. This Broadway-rich night of music features samplings from everything from
“Chicago” to “Wicked.”

7 p.m. $35-$75. UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall


Dec. 10

The lakes Festival of Lights

Ah, the ritual of Christmas lights: The tangled snarl of wires amassed in your hands like a hopeless riddle, the swaying, bow-legged ladder, the temperamental staple gun, the sour waft of a whiskey belch from below as Dad screams up at you, “TWO staples between each light, son, TWO. We’re not half-assing it this year. We’ll show those snobs the Fergusons who’s got the most Christmas spirit on this damn street ...” Relive the memories at the Festival of Lights, a Lakes neighborhood that, now for the 11th year, breaks out lights, ladders, staple guns and more for an all-out celebration of yuletide mania. In addition to food and crafts, you can get in the giving spirit by bringing donations to the Goodwill truck.

Noon-6 p.m. Free.
The Lakes (West Sahara).


Dec. 18

Walt Boenig Big Band Holiday Concert

“Deck the Halls” is a fine song, but there’s nothing like hearing it rendered with molar-rattling gusto by a big band. The Walt Boenig Big Band has been drafted to loosen your dental work this holiday season as it performs classic holiday music. Santa Claus is coming to town, all right … AT 125 DECIBELS.

2 p.m. Free. CSN’s
Nicholas J. Horn Theatre.


Dec. 17-24; 20-30

The Nutcracker

December: That, of course, means “The Nutcracker.” It was created in 1892 in Russia and now ballet companies all over the world have their own versions. One wonders why this ballet is so popular, beloved even. One reason may be the children: the ones performing in it, and the ones we take or once took to see it — or, perhaps, it’s the child still within us all. During the holiday season, a number of good local “Nutcracker” productions are presented, but my own favorites continue to be those of Nevada Ballet Theatre and Las Vegas Ballet Company. Whether its NBT’s lavish, mature extravaganza or LVBC’s youthful, heartfelt production, with star turns from its directors/dancers Yoomi Lee and Kyudong Kwak, it’s still “The Nutcracker” and always magical. — H.B. 

NBT’s plays December 17-24 at Paris Théâtre. Tickets: 946-4567. LVBC’s runs December 20-23 at Summerlin Library Theatre. Tickets: 240-3262.

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