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Desert Companion

Best Behavior


Andrew Kiraly

Andrew Kiraly, Editor

I suspect I speak for a lot of us when I say, with nothing less than wholly unironic earnestness, that I sure hope 2020 embodies at least a fraction of the spirit of cogent, assured optimism suggested by the number. Don’t you feel it in its pleasing roundness and vervy doubling? 2020 says solar jetpacks, holographic casino games, willowy skyscraper resorts canopied with clouds; 2020 suggests a higher civic unity born of sage, sleek technocracy and evolved social consciousness — okay, okay, maybe that’s a bit of an outsized ask. I think we’d all be ecstatic with a few extra clicks on the compassion and decency scale. In any case: 2020, HERE WE COME. [Futuristic synth riff.]

Perhaps that’s wishful thinking. With its campaigns, climate crisis, and quantum-leaping technology, 2020 threatens to be a year of rancor, fear, and lurching confusion. I’m kinda used to it. You’re kinda used to it. I don’t profess to offer any comforting bromides or concrete prescriptions, but I do continue to believe there’s modest merit in the practice of cultivating goodwill in your immediate space, of paying kind attention to where you live. I won’t try to pull off some wily transitional legerdemain that suggests our annual Best of the City issue partakes of this cure, but there’s definitely a dotted line that leads us to noticing, embracing, and celebrating all the good things about Southern Nevada — its fine people, its crazy good food, its exotic customs and unique culture. Enjoy this year’s feature in that spirit of big-hearted optimism. Our future may depend on it.

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Oh, yeah, Also

Jubes1. In “In Praise of the Strip at Dawn” on p. 69, writer Krista Diamond and Art Director Christopher Smith explore the oddly peaceful world of the Strip at dawn. Krista’s favorite part? “It was the unexpected obsession I developed with seeing the elusive scuba divers who clean the fish tanks behind the front desk at the Mirage. They only do it a few mornings a week, and MGM Resorts was a bit cagey about revealing specific timeframes, so I got into this routine of getting up before dawn, chugging a bunch of coffee, and then driving down to the Strip just to hang out in the Mirage lobby and wait. It finally paid off, and like most things in Las Vegas, it was weird and beautiful and worth it.”

2. Graphic Designer Brent Holmes helped source our items for our piece on Valentine’s Day gifts for food lovers on p. 30. Brent has adventurous tastes and always picks up interesting stuff, like this bag of Jubes lychee-flavored coconut gel. “Spend hours of fun munching these chewy, juicy cubes,” the bag says. It is still unopened.

Spring Fever

3. In one of our Best of the City social media polls, we surveyed longtime Las Vegans on the “Best Historic Place Reference That’s a Secret Handshake Among Natives.” One of the choices, Soak ‘n’ Poke, was a kind of meta-secret handshake: It was the nickname for Spring Fever, an ’80s-era private jacuzzi/sauna rental complex at Sahara and Boulder Highway. You know, for … soaking. (Above is a still from its TV commercial.) One reader posted, “Didn’t an upset spouse burn it down when he caught his wife there with someone else?” Wet and wild!


If you’ve enjoyed this read, wait until you get your hands on a bunch of these reads from contemporary voices mining the good stuff from Las Vegas — all laid out in a gorgeous design experience. Subscribe. It comes to your house. For real!