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Desert Companion

Growing our own

Gardeners will tell you that fall is our "second spring." It does feel like a new beginning after the searing summer heat that broke records in July. Is that why the World Cup already seems like a hazy, crazy memory? Who knew green plastic trumpets would serve as vuvuzelas for the Dutch fans gathered for the final at Agave restaurant in Summerlin? My favorite memory, however, is watching the Brazil vs. Ivory Coast game at a bar on east Flamingo. Providing the soundtrack and commentary for the Brazilian expats was a group of percussionists - including Marco Santos, Francisco Souza and Aziz Bucater, who told one of our radio producers, "We build those emotions and get the feel of what's happening in the game. If the goal happens we're gonna play as loud as we can!" On page 24, Tim Pratt takes a look ahead for the beautiful game that's inspiring would-be World Cup players enamored of the success of Las Vegas' own Hercules Gomez.

That month-long tournament reminds us that Las Vegas is still a destination for international nomads. But like you, I've been saying too many goodbyes in the last year. Friends downsized, others opting for school and still others moving to follow spouses to where the jobs are. On page 66, Las Vegas Sun columnist Scott Dickensheets maps the exodus of artists and proposes what we can do to keep our best and brightest. The silver lining is that there's a new wave of talent to trumpet, and we've done that too on page 46, with our "Ones to Watch:" dancer and choreographer Bernard Gaddis; artist Aaron Sheppard; composer Sandy Stein; singer Rick Faugno; and soprano Alissa Thomason.

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Which brings us to the main focus of our September edition of Desert Companion - culture and style for the new season, the busiest in both arenas. "Falling into Place" (page 38) translates fall runway trends into Vegas-friendly looks, with a focus on evening looks suited for the fall's cultural events. Don't you dare say you're all dressed up and have nowhere to go!

On pages 46 to 55, you'll find just about every event that matters in the arts through the fall, including a preview schedule of the Vegas Valley Book Festival, with highlighted, must-see events. Check out our Q&A with keynote "Warrior poet" Brian Turner, who served in Afghanistan and has published two books of poetry reflecting on his experiences on the battlefield. Programming note: Desert Companion will be at the festival at Sunday's "Feasting on Words" celebration. (Hint: Start working on your 144-character food reviews!)

Finally, we'll meet Kerry Klasby - someone who does turn fall into a second spring - connecting Valley residents with locally grown produce.

Locally grown success... there are enough ideas in the following pages of Desert Companion to make any nomad consider putting down roots. Play as loud as you can.