Desert Companion

2022 Fall Culture Guide

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Photo by David Lozano
“Hortua Inhospitalario" by David Lozano, part of the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art’s ambitious fall show, Notes for Tomorrow


MUSIC

August 9
Jazz Without Borders

What’s jazz? What’s not jazz? The debate has been raging (well, uh, okay, mildly percolating among a small group of interested parties) since the birth of the celebrated musical form. Trumpeter Bijon Watson and singer/songwriter Niles Thomas want to weigh in with their final answer: It’s all jazz — so can’t we all just get along? Questioning the idea of limiting categories and exclusive subgenres in this dynamic art form, the two launched the Jazz Republic Entertainment Group to encourage listeners and artists to ditch the labels and get back to the music. Their Jazz Republic Concert series, presented locally by KUNV 91.5 FM, showcases talent from across the jazz spectrum to promote this quintessentially American music form, whatever the style. This concert features saxophonist Tom Luer, acclaimed for his nimble versatility — a welcome virtue in the Jazz Republic’s genre-bending vision of the dynamic jazz art form. (AK) Myron’s in The Smith Center, 7p, $39-49, thesmithcenter.com

August 12
We Have Liftoff

You haven’t heard of StarBase? What planet are you living on?! The event venue tucked behind Allegiant Stadium is fast becoming a Gen Z hotspot and hangout, with its funkily themed rooms, Insta-friendly visual vibes, and programming that embraces LGBTQ youth. Its One Helluva Friday series has blown up too, and deservedly so. It’s a three-phase event that features “What the Hell Happened?,” a TED Talk-style speaker series; “Hella Expressions,” an open mic showcase, and the Comet Comedy club, which invites local comics to bring the funny. The next installment of One Helluva Friday is August 12. If you miss it, don’t fret — this popular series blasts off monthly. (AK) StarBase, 7p, free, starbaselv.com

Support comes from

August 16
Return of a Hometown Talent

Shamir broke out of Vegas in 2014 with his impossibly sunny, bouncy smash single, “On the Regular.” It was a hit, but it also presented a creative conundrum: How does a restlessly protean musical artist explore and experiment when fans might just want more hooky hits? Shamir shrugged and forged forward, putting out a slate of solid, challenging albums in subsequent years that ditched easy pop conventions in favor of a bewitching, ragged-edged, basement-party electro-pop that seems perfectly suited to Shamir’s complex personal mythology. The Vegas Shamir returns to is much different than the Vegas of 2014; then again, Shamir is, happily, much different too. (AK) The Space, 9p, $20-35, thespacelv.com

September 9
Flamin’ Flamenco

Antonio Rey’s (right) Latin Grammy-winning 2020 album is titled Flamenco Sin Fronteras (Flamenco Without Borders), and that perfectly describes Rey’s commanding virtuosity — his forceful but fluid, dreamily expansive flamenco seems to know no limits. (AK) UNLV’s Artemus Ham Concert Hall, 7:30p, $30, unlv.edu/pac

September 17
All American

Remember when patriotism was an earnest sentiment marked by a sense of collective goodwill and belief in national possibility? Me neither! But the Las Vegas Philharmonic remembers. This fall concert will celebrate the OG spirit of America with four works by four diverse American composers: Festive Overture by William Grant Still; Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra by Wynton Marsalis; Hot-time Dance by George Antheil; and Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé. (AK) Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, 7:30p, visit lvphil.com for ticket info

September 25
Cymbal-Clash of the Titans

In this celebration of Jewish composers, the Nevada Chamber Orchestra is hitting all the heavy-duty icons in what promises to be a rousing afternoon concert: works by George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, and Aaron Copland. (AK) Summerlin Library, 3p, free, lvccld.org

September 29
Retro Future

The twangy cosmopolitan technicolor soul of Khruangbin sounds like a stray transmission from an alternate timeline where shag carpets and polyester slacks never went out of style. The live show promises to be a chill, dancy cosmic wormhole, but if you can’t make the show, check out the Houston-based band’s “Shelter in Space” playlist generator on their website. Whether you’re cooking, painting, drinking, or coming down from psychoactive agents, you’re sure to find your own private musical UFO. (AK) Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $49.50-75, brooklynbowl.com

October 1
Game On!

Nerd confession: I remember the first time I saw a limit-break attack sequence on Final Fantasy VIII. It was otherworldly — slow-motion, cinematic, stylized fantasy monster violence amid a surging musical score. I had little idea what the hell I was watching, but damn if it wasn’t utterly compelling. No wonder that the Final Fantasy game series has long since become a global franchise — and a lifelong obsession for millions of gamers worldwide. You don’t have to be a fan of the game to appreciate its signature music — gusty and high-flying, tumultuously sentimental — but it’s a sure bet fans of the long-running game series will flock to this concert by the New World Players chamber ensemble, which will perform selections from composers Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, and more. Leave your controller at home — but you’ll be forgiven if your twitchy fingers scream to mash buttons. (AK) UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall, 8p, $45-85, unlv.edu/pac

October 15
Comin’ Down the Mountain

This Las Vegas Philharmonic delivers a dose of Americana in this fall concert with songs inspired by bluegrass, folk, and our sacred music tradition, including Jennifer Higdon’s earthy Concerto 4-3, a work inspired by the Smoky Mountains. The headliner piece is none other than Aaron Copland’s high-spirited Appalachian Spring Suite. (AK) Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, 7:30p, visit lvphil.org for ticket info

October 22
Music to Your Eyes

The most famous of J. Seward Johnson’s bronze sculptures are celebrated for a reason — they’re slices of Americana in action, capturing everyday people doing everyday things. (Others, like the monumental The Awakening, are just as celebrated for their epic sweep and scale.) But what might his works sound like? This multisensory concert, Sounds for Sculpture, just might have the answer. Composed by jazz vibraphonist Christian Tamburr, the songs in Sounds for Sculpture are inspired by 10 of Seward’s iconic pieces, and meld jazz, and pop in expressing Seward’s artistic vision. Oh, and the talent on stage will truly make his art sing: Clint Holmes on vocals, Dominick Farinacci on trumpet, and Mike Dobson on percussion and sound effects. (AK) Myron’s in The Smith Center, 6p and 8:30p, $39-55

November 6
As Indie as It Gets

The best way to describe the bratty, manic tendercore of L.A.’s Illuminati Hotties is to imagine a sun-dappled confetti flume of ’zines, cassettes, skateboard parts, Pee Chee folders, and puffy stickers shooting out of your speakers and right into your glittery heart. Oh, it’s incredibly smirky and precious, but also hooky and boppy as hell. May contain songs with titles like “Joni: LA’s No. 1 Health Goth.” With opening acts Enum-claw and Guppy. (AK) The Space, 8p, $21-$36, thespacelv.com

November 28-30
Jazz It Up

This three-day jazz festival will feature sounds served up by the often-underrated talent at UNLV performing classic and contemporary jazz tunes. (AK) UNLV’s Black Box Theatre, $10 per night, 702-895-2787

December 10
Very Very Mariachi

Want to make any song sound better? Mariachify it. “Happy Birthday”? Give it some horn-bomp! “Stairway to Heaven”? Could definitely be livened up with some spirited gritos. “Jingle Bells”? Decades overdue for some brassing up. In this holiday show, the Latin Grammy-nominated Mariachi Herencia de México will break out Mexican and American seasonal classics, which please please please hopefully includes “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” (AK) UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall, 7:30p, $20-50, unlv.edu/pac

December 11
Fives Times the Brass

The cleverly named Pentagogical Brass Band is composed of five brass-wielding music teachers, and in this concert, they’ll be schooling the public with a selection of holiday music. Some Pentagogical Brass members are retired educators; others are still happily brassing it up in the classroom. In any case, this classy show of brass should be music to your ears. (AK) West Charleston Library, 2p, free, lvccld.org

THEATER & DANCE

September 9 and 10
Now You See Him

There’s a guy hanging around the park, eavesdropping on people’s conversations and suddenly appearing to help when a situation merits it. But here’s the thing: He’s not a creeper! He’s the mysterious main character in Asylum Theatre’s upcoming play, Complemento, written by Colombian playwright Rafael Guizado, translated by his daughter and local writer, director, and actor Gigi Guizado, and directed by Asylum’s artistic director Sarah O’Connell. (HK) Winchester Dondero Cultural Center Theater, 7 and 2p, $20, asylumtheatre.org

September 29-October 23
Forget Success. Murder is the Best Revenge

Topher Payne describes his play Angry Fags as a dystopian revenge tragedy, and it reads like the cathartic squirm-watch we all need now. A conservative candidate enlists the help of right-wing extremists to unseat a lesbian state senator — a mundane plot in the context of today’s headlines, but there’s more. Dog whistling, a hate crime, aforementioned revenge … Did I mention it takes place in the American South? Yeah, this dark comedy has it all. (HK) Majestic Repertory Theatre, 8 and 5p, $20-40, majesticrepertory.com

September 30-October 9
Eliminating the Impossible

You can soothe the residual trauma from Majestic’s Angry Fags (or the daily scroll through your Twitter feed) with the balm of the Rainbow Company Youth Theatre’s more lighthearted fare, opening the following day: Brian Guehring’s Sherlock Holmes and the First Baker Street Irregular, directed by Marcus Weiss. Nothing like a nice little English mystery to help you forget the raging dumpster fire that is U.S. politics. (HK) Charleston Heights Arts Center, 2 and 7p, $6, rainbowcompany.org

September 30
Life and Death

Another ripped-from-the-headlines drama, Jane Martin’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize finalist Keely and Du lays bare the essential conflict over abortion through a suspenseful tale showing the lengths both sides will go to preserve what they see as fundamental rights. A Public Fit presents the play as a staged reading, but don’t let that deter you; the company has a long track record of making these slightly stripped-down versions every bit as emotionally compelling without the changing of sets. And note: It’s one night only. (HK) Clark County Library, time TBD, free, apublicfit.org

October 6-9
The Bite Stuff

You don’t have to like ballet to enjoy the hell out of Dracula,  what with its dark, foggy set, creepy classical music, over-the-top costumes, and flying main character. But if you are a fan of dance, you will absolutely devour Ben Stevenson’s choreography set to the music of Franz Liszt. Nevada Ballet Theatre first thrilled crowds with the ballet about love, lust, and — yes — bodily autonomy, in 2018. Since then, Steven Goforth, who played the lead with a combination of physical intimidation and emotional fragility, has retired, opening the door to a fresh interpretation. (HK) Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, 7:30 and 2p, $35.95-154.95, thesmithcenter.com

Also upcoming: The Nutcracker (Dec. 9-24), Blue Until June (Feb. 18-19)

October 14-15
Power Triple

In line with its usual modus operandi, Contemporary West Dance Theatre’s Fall Concert Series #16 will push the boundaries of Las Vegas performance. This year, the company is presenting a trio of works: Bolero, choreographed by CWD founder and artistic director Bernard Gaddis; Coup de Grace by Tommie-Waheed Evans; and an all-female interpretation of Dreamtime by Elisa Monte. Gaddis promises an evening filled with “the raw power of dance, infused with originality and beauty.” (HK) Charleston Heights Arts Center, 7:30p, $15-30, lvdance.org   

October 14-November 6
It Pours

A Public Fit turns to another Pulitzer Prize nominee, Richard Greenburg’s Three Days of Rain, for its first staged production of the 22-23 season. Toggling between two time periods, the play tells the story of three children, their parents, and the legacy of close, complicated relationships. First staged in 1997, the story’s appeal is evident from its ability to draw Julia Roberts to New York for her Broadway debut in a 2006 revival that also starred Bradley Cooper and Paul Rudd (but nevertheless left critics unimpressed). (HK) Super Summer Theatre, 4340 S. Valley View Blvd., #208, 7 and 2p, $25-40, apublicfit.org

Also upcoming: Brilliant Adventures (Jan. 27-28), An Oak Tree (Feb. 3-27)

October 21 - November 6
She Loves Company

Who doesn’t enjoy a good hobbling? Especially when it’s embedded in the totally plausible plot of a crazed superfan getting revenge on a celebrated novelist for killing off her favorite character in his latest book (after he has an accident right in her neck of the woods!). But, while the sledgehammer scene may be the most memorable from the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery (or the ax scene, in the case of the novel), there’s a heap of spine-tingling storytelling happening before and after that iconic act of violence. Las Vegas Little Theatre takes up the torch, so to speak, presenting William Goldman’s theatrical version of the horror story just in time for Halloween. (HK) Las Vegas Little Theatre Main Stage, 3920 Schiff Drive, 8 and 2p, $30, lvlt.org

Also upcoming: The Foreigner (Sept. 9-25), 1940s Radio Hour (Dec. 2-18), Lombardi (Jan. 20-Feb. 5)

October 21-22
Awesome Blossom

UNLV Dance kicks off its fall concert series, In Bloom, with Orchestra 5. The collaboration between the dance department and the UNLV Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ukrainian-born Taras Krysa, reimagines Ballet Russe’s 1910 work Firebird, set to an Igor Stravinsky score. (HK) Artemus Ham Concert Hall, UNLV, 7:30 and 2:30p, $18, unlv.edu/dance

December 2-11
Breaking the Glass

Local writer, director, and performer Maythinee Washington brings her unique vision and powerful voice to Lewis Carroll’s classic novel with her staged interpretation, Alice’s Wonderland: An Original Adaptation. The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre presents this new, ensemble-driven production, which promises to put a new spin on well-known characters, such as Alice and the Mad Hatter, and keep families talking about it long after the curtain drops. (HK) Charleston Heights Arts Center, 7 and 2p, $6, rainbowcompany.org

December 9-18
Everything New

What’s a young girl to do when her mother passes away and her father is going through disconcerting changes — including marrying a new woman and moving the family to Brooklyn? In her 1995 drama Crumbs From the Table of Joy, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage used this plot, and the questions it raises, to probe a pivotal moment for Black Americans in 1950s New York. Nevada Conservatory Theatre presents the still-resonant play about how people adapt to a world changing around them. (HK) Judy Bayley Theatre, UNLV, times TBD, $10-25, unlv.edu/nct 

Also upcoming: The Cherry Orchard (Oct. 7-16)

January 19-March 6
Six Inches Forward and Five Inches Back

Raucous glam rock meets riveting personal tragedy in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Cameron Mitchell’s story of Hansel, a gay man who undergoes gender transition surgery to escape East Germany as the wife of an American soldier. The surgeon botches the operation, setting Hansel, now Hedwig, on a path of self-discovery in the United States. Majestic Repertory Theatre brings the musical that inspired the 2001 film back to the stage, where the anger, longing, and (eventually) forgiveness of that one vexed inch can be felt — up close and personal. (HK), Majestic Repertory Theatre, 8 and 5p, $25-45, majesticrepertory.com

VISUAL ARTS

Through October 13
All Good Things

The problem with the city’s annual  Celebrating Life!  exhibit is its title — and that exclamation point. Together they prime you for a roomful of treacly odes to joy, all the more so since it’s an exhibit of work by seniors. So you don’t expect the boggling intricacy of Bobbie Ann Howell’s cut-paper mind-blower, or the avant-garde mystery of Kevin Buckley’s collage, or David Seidner’s high-spirited assemblage (Ambient Entity Chillin, right), or the lacquered beauty of Robin Stark’s ceramic “Bird Box.” This show gathers Celebrating Life!’s winning entries — and is itself quite winning. (SD) City Hall Chamber Gallery, free, artslasvegas.org

Through October 20
Better Lathe than Never

Wood artist Scott Sturman is a process guy. “While all my pieces start with an idea and then some type of plan ... I never know the final outcome until the very end.” The process dictates in real time what moves to make, what techniques to try, what mistakes to keep. Not unusual for, say, a painter. Less common when you’re dealing with tree flesh. See the results in Wood of Wonder. (SD) City Hall Grand Gallery, free, artslasvegas.org

August 4-September 28
Take Me to (What’s Left of) the River

Here’s a prime chance to see how art about a catastrophe measures up to the real thing: Along the Colorado marks one year since the river’s first official shortage was declared. Of course, the situation has gotten way suckier since. So the task assumed by curator Sapira Cheuk’s exhibit is to cut through our shrieking anxiety about having sand pour from our faucets to tell us something new about the river, its use, commodification, politics, and especially its scarcity. She’s tapped artists from the seven Colorado River Basin states to do just that. (SD) Nevada Humanities Program Gallery, free, nevadahumanities.org

August 5-31
A Pair to Draw to

A dual show featuring Dray Wilmore and Kd Matheson: Two OG Vegas artists, one with an unmistakable, swinging urban vibe, the other trafficking in spacey oneiric mystification. What unites them is (a) the primacy of wild imagination, unconstrained by theory or academic rectitude; and (b) that they each work in black-and-white, which this show will emphasize. (SD) Priscilla Fowler Gallery, free, priscillafowler.com

August 6-September 30
Doors of Perception

Once you begin to suss its possibilities, “the other door” turns out to be quite a pliable concept around which to organize an exhibit: alternate pathways, untaken opportunities, unfortunate choices, life-altering diversions. You never know what the artists — working in any and all media — in this gallery’s annual Use the Other Door show will bust out, which is the fun of it. (SD) Core Contemporary (opening reception Aug. 6, 6p; closing reception Sept. 30, 6p), free, corecontemporary.com

August 11
The Face Is More than Just the Front of Your Head

“I have an insatiable appetite for color,” Las Vegas artist Suzanne Acosta tells us on her website, “which I use intensely and relentlessly.” Expressive and emotional, color should serve her goal for Until It Speaks Back: creating portraits that capture the subjects’ psychological depths. (SD) Centennial Hills Library, through Oct. 25, free, lvccld.org

August 29-January 28
Looking Behind, Looking Ahead

Post-pandemic we’re all about getting back to normal — but we can’t pretend the world hasn’t changed. That’s the core truth of Notes for Tomorrow, a sprawling exhibit hosted by the Barrick Museum and assembled by 30 curators from 25 countries that refracts “the new global reality” through the lenses of art. Spirituality, politics, collective memory: Each is an emphasis as the exhibit sifts the recent past in search of “a guiding perspective for the future.” (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum (reception Sept. 2, 5p), free, unlv.edu/barrickmuseum

August 29-January 28
What Does Family Mean?

Drawing on her own experiences in a multiracial family, Nevada State College prof Erika Abad has curated Two Cultures, One Family: Building Family, Finding Home as a way to examine how we deal with questions of family, gender, identity, and reproductive justice. Lots of variety here — sculpture, paintings, poetry, textiles, ’zines, videos — much of it by local artists you’ll recognize. (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum (reception Sept. 2), free, unlv.edu/barrickmuseum

September 2-November 26
Keeping It Real

The old-school painterly realism of George Strasburger’s canvases has an enormous throwback appeal: no nods to screen-optimized pop culture here, nor to visual trendiness, nor our metaphorizing cultural irony. Just patiently rendered humans doing actual human things in the flux of emotional, political, psychological, and biblical factors that makes up their lives. (SD) Sahara West Library (reception Sept. 8, 5p), free, lvccld.org

September 7-December 13
Beaky Blinders

Most of us consider pigeons vermin, but local artist Myranda Bair — for whom nature has long been a fascination — wants to flip that bird. She sees in them characteristics of us: “We chastise a creature who builds homes, co-parents, and provides for their mates and offspring — a life we strive for ourselves.” The six artists in Some Pigeons I Know explore those surprising commonalities. (SD) Sahara West Library (opening reception Sept. 8, 7p), free, lvccld.org

September 26-October 6
Remembering the Lost

You can load up on as much “Vegas strong” swag as you want, but the scars of the Oct. 1 shooting will always run deep. There’s no pat cure for an unspeakable tragedy, but coming together as a community in the spirit of  artistic sharing can certainly help. This Oct. 1 fifth anniversary exhibit will feature Art of Healing murals by local students and artists, as well as a selection of quilts from the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center. (AK) Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery (reception Oct. 1, 6:30-11a), free, clarkcountynv.gov

October 7
... And Not a Moment Too Soon!

It’s been almost a decade since Miguel Rodriguez had a solo show of his sculpture — too damn long. (He’s been working on public and private commissions.) The drought ends with Open Sesame. “The theme is pretty fluid still,” he reports, but he’s definitely feeling the groove — “it’s the first time in a long time that I’ve consistently made work that I want to see, without having anyone else’s vision involved” — so it’s a sure bet it’ll be good. (SD) Priscilla Fowler Fine Art, free, priscillafowler.com

October 7-November 4
Art to Come Out to

Gallerist Nancy Good doesn’t shy away from art that grapples with social reality — think back to 2021’s in-your-face gun-carnage exhibit American Roulette. In the case of OUT of This World!, Core’s second annual LGBTQI+ Coming Out Month exhibit, the nominal subject is a joyous one: celebrating who you are. But you can be sure that implications of social struggle will be provided by our current era of “Don’t Say Gay” bills and trans-rights rollbacks. (SD) Core Contemporary (opening reception Oct. 7, 6p; closing reception Nov. 4, 6p), free, corecontemporary.com

October 24-29
All that and a Photographer, Too

You may remember Denise Scott Brown as one of the authors of the classic architectural text Learning from Las Vegas; she’s been an important American architect and theorist, sadly under-recognized thanks to the fame of her husband, Robert Venturi. This brief exhibit, Wayward Eye, reveals her not only to have been a perceptive photographer, as well, but, as one critic noted, displays a talent that infused so many of her achievements: “an uncanny ability to know where to look.” (SD) City Hall Grand Gallery, free, artslasvegas.org

October 27-January 10
‘You Use Works of Art to See Your Soul’ — G.B. Shaw

In 1907, a Massachusetts quack suggested that the human soul weighs 21 grams. If the collages in Jamie Kovacs’ new exhibit, Keys to Your Soul, don’t attempt spirit- quantification at quite that level, they are meant to measure the soul in other ways: “Where is your soul at this present time? What do you want to become of your soul?” How will you answer? (SD) Centennial Hills Library, free, lvccld.org

November 11-December 30
Delightful Monsters Visit Vegas!

Zoë Camper’s work fizzes with a carbonated whimsy that, unless you’re a humorless high-art mandarin, and we know that you’re not, is impossible to resist: It’s a mashup of giant monsters — happy ones — and Las Vegas architecture, rendered in gothically detailed pencil and emerging from an elaborate mythology we can’t summarize here. Plus, because she’s as delightful as her work suggests, Camper turns her drawings into ethically sourced, slow-fashion wearables. (SD) Core Contemporary (opening reception Nov. 11, 6p; closing reception Dec. 30, 6p), free, corecontemporary.com

December 9-February 25
Beyond the Second Dimension

Best known for politically aware, media-savvy installations and objects, artist Chad Scott has assigned himself a different challenge for this exhibit: Can he apply enough “labor-intensive, repetitive mark-making” to a two-dimension sheet of paper that it assumes the character of a textured, three-dimensional form? Because the results will appear in an art gallery, you can probably guess the answer, but you should still see for yourself. (SD) Sahara West Library (opening reception Dec. 15, 7p), free, lvccld.org

BOOKS & IDEAS

September 1
Mob Rule

The mob: Glamorous? Evil? Terrifying? Fascinating? Maybe all of the above? UNLV Associate Professor of History Michael Green will cover all the angles in this installment of Las Vegas Stories that promises to dive into what life was really like when the mob ruled Sin City. (AD) Clark County Library, 7p, free, 702-507-3459

September 29
Southwest Storyteller

Journalist John Glionna has traveled the world on the hunt for compelling stories, and in the past several years, he’s focused a lot of his writerly attention on the Southwest, turning out vivid pieces about the lesser-traveled corners of Nevada (including — plug! — many such stories for Desert Companion). Loner desert artists, traveling preachers, and rural high-school athletes are just a few of the characters you’ll meet in his new anthology, Outback Nevada: Real Stories from the Silver State. Glionna will read from his new book and sign copies. (AK) The Writer’s Block, 7p, free, thewritersblock.org

October 20
Sonic Boom

From lounge acts and indie gigs to epic arena shows and over-the-top Strip spectacles, music is a vital part of Vegas’ entertainment DNA. In the upcoming literary anthology Neon Riffs and Lounge Acts: Las Vegas Writers on Music, 12 of the valley’s finest scribes consider the role of music in our civic mythos. At this event, you’ll hear anthology contributors — including Jason Bracelin, Wendy Randall, Brian Garth, and Betty Burston — read from their musically minded stories and essays. (AK) Clark County Library Theatre, 7p, free, lvccld.org

October 22
Kicking it With Kid Congo   

I love a good coming-of-age story — and the fact that this one is written by legendary rocker Kid Congo Powers (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Cramps, The Gun Club) only sweetens the deal. Powers will be reading from and signing his new book, Some New Kind of Kick, in which he recounts navigating life in the L.A. punk scene of the ’70s as a queer Chicano teenager. (AD) The Writer’s Block, 7p, free, thewritersblock.org

October 22
Nerds in Tents

The annual City of Las Vegas- and Nevada Humanities-sponsored trip down a bookworm hole this year features romance writers Xio Axelrod and Rachel Van Dyken, feminist theologian Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez, memoirist Reyna Grande, and comedian Eric Wareheim — so far. Bigger names will be announced soon. The one-day event offers everything from author talks and book signings, to writing workshops and children’s sing-alongs.  (HK) Fifth Street School, all day, free, lasvegasbookfestival.com

November 3
Mic Check

If the prospect of reading your soul’s deepest poetic outpourings aloud in front of an audience fills you with knee-knocking terror, Poetry Promise’s open mic night sounds like a great place to launch your spoken-word career amid a supportive group of listeners. Check out their description: “Bring words, bring memories, make noise, make friends … Share your poetry and writing in a fun, safe, encouraging environment.” Sign us up! Note: this event also takes place Sept. 1, Oct. 6, and Dec. 1 (AK) West Charleston Library, 6:30p, 702-507-3964

November 5
Adapt Ability

Rebekah Taussig’s 2020 essay collection Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body redefined ableism through trenchant reflections on her own experiences as a paralyzed person. This winter, the City of Las Vegas will bring together local storytellers for a return of its live StorySLAM event inspired by the book — which is also the subject of the city’s National Endowment for the Arts-funded Big Read. (HK) Charleston Heights Arts Center, 7p, $5 recommended, lasvegasnevada.gov

FAMILY & FESTIVALS

August 13
Go Out With a Splash

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on a beach trip or avoiding the heat with some epic binge-watching, you can’t beat that carefree feeling of freedom that summer brings. As fall approaches, why not make one last splash at the pool? Actually, make that a last run at the pool: The Pavilion Center Pool is hosting Dash and Splash, a 1.5-mile run from the pool to the Veterans Memorial Park, which continues to a 300-meter swim at the pool. It’s a two-for-one exercise kind of deal — and a literal race to the end of summer. (LT) Pavilion Center Pool, 8-10a, $15, lasvegasnevada.gov

September 16-18
Life is Beautifully Back, Baby

Life Is Beautiful is a signature DTLV music festival, sure, but it’s also much more than that: Comedians, thinkers, podcast hosts, and other talents round out this annual three-day event. If you’re looking to inject some euphoric art and culture into your fall season, get your tickets before they’re snapped up. (AD) Downtown Las Vegas, lifeisbeautiful.com

September 23-24
Party With the Plants

Calling all plant moms and dads! The Las Vegas Plant Festival is back this year for two days of botanist bliss. Best of all, you don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy it. The succulent tables are my personal favorite, but you might find you’re drawn to the living plant wall (very IG friendly), the plant swaps, or even the plant-themed tattoo booth that’ll provide you with a permanent souvenir. (AD) Arts District, Friday 6p-midnight, Saturday 10a-2p, free, facebook.com/lvplantfest/

September 24
Würst Time Ever

Four thousand brats and sausages — and dozens of grills at the ready. What’s the wurst that could happen? Sunrise Rotary’s annual Würst Festival Fundraiser is a special sausage fest that supports community events in Boulder City. In addition to the food and drink, there’s also the Würst Dam Car Show, boasting hundreds of classic cars, and a silent auction featuring items from local merchants. (LT) Boulder City’s Bicentennial Park, Saturday 10a-10p, free, bcsr.org/wurst-festival

October 1
For the Love of Japan

Japanophiles rejoice: Clark County Library District has brought back its annual Teen Anime Fest, which is a fun and kid-friendly festival for shinnichi from grades 6-12. If that sounds right up your anime alley, make sure to stop by to enjoy the food trucks, anime workshops, traditional Japanese taiko drum music, and (most importantly) try your hand at dressing up as your favorite character for the cosplay contests. (AD) Sahara West Library, 10:30a-4p, free, lvccld.org

October 7-8
Desert Dreams

If you’ve ever wanted to experience that scene from Tangled — you know, the one with the floating lights above the water, where Flynn Rider and Rapunzel sing the iconic “I See the Light” — the Rise Festival is a must-go. When the sun sets, lanterns will be lit up one by one and set aloft, filling the sky with hopes, wishes, and dreams. Better yet, the festival has partnered with Leave No Trace to ensure those hopes and dreams don’t litter the desert. (LT) Jean Dry Lakebed, 3-10p, $79-$119, risefestival.com

October 7-9
Knights to Remember

The Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival gives us desert commoners the chance to travel back to a time when “golden knights” didn’t refer to a hockey team. This fair has all the things a good Renaissance festival should: period-accurate foods (i.e., more than just turkey legs and ale), costume vendors, perfumers, woodworkers, toy makers, demonstrations, music, and much more. (AD) Sunset Park, $8-15, sunsetparkd.com/ren-fair

October 8-9
Fall for the Arts

After a long, hot summer, the Summerlin Festival of Arts is exactly the breath of fresh air we need. This long-running festival has fun activities for parents (dining, shopping, art and craft displays) as well fun stuff for kids (activities, fun food, face-painting, and more). (AD) Downtown Summerlin, 10a-5p, free, summerlin.com

October 15
Veg Out

If you’re a veggie-lover tired of having to hunt for vegan or vegetarian eats at traditional food festivals, the Vegas VegFest is right up your alley. Featuring music, kid-friendly activities, speakers, and more than 100 vegan food vendors, you can veg out to your heart’s content. (AD) Clark County Ampitheater, 11a-6p, free, vegasvegfest.com

October 22
Brewing Up Some Fun

Beer. Barbecue. Backyard brewery. Say that three times fast and you’ll be transported to the 10th annual Downtown Brew Festival, which is bringing in more than 200 craft beers from more than 60 breweries. With great food and music, it’ll be a night of brewing up some boozy fun. (LT) Clark County Amphitheater, 5p, $50-115, downtownbrewfestival.com

November 2
Celebration of Life

The city’s annual Dia de los Muertos Festival celebrates dearly departed family and friends in a big, bold, colorful way. It’s nothing less than a celebration of life with food, music, art, and plenty of children’s activities. (LT) Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza, 5p, free, lasvegasnevada.gov

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