Desert Companion

Take 5:Cultural highlights this month

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Brian FerryThe Beauty bar

Call it “alternative pop/rock,” call it “punk blues” — can’t make up its mind, either — the music of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is rowdy, greasy, noisy and an affront to all that is decent, white-bread and middle-of-the-road. Happy Easter! Catch them at 5p, April 12. Tickets: $15,


The Tempest

TempestThe Smith Center

“We are such stuff / As dreams are made on …” Prospero says in "The Tempest." The version of Shakespeare’s (probably) final play, showing in a tent at The Smith Center, certainly represents a dream come true for Teller, the magician. (Of course — it’s a play about magic.) Six years in the making, it boasts his illusions, music by Tom Waits, a two-person Caliban and, Teller fizzes, “the most astoundingly beautiful, weird, gorgeous set for 'The Tempest' that has ever been done.” It will show at 8p, April 6-20 (April 1-4 are special preview shows). Tickets: $35-$65,

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Bryan Ferry

FerryThe Pearl Theater inside The Palms

From comments on, explaining Roxy Music’s “Avalon,” perhaps Bryan Ferry’s signature moment as a singer:  “I think the song is about death and loss.” “The song is describing the feeling of satisfaction of being ‘at the top of your game’ …” “… a song about the end of colonial western thinking.” Ohhh-kayyy. What it’s really about, of course, is what all of Ferry’s music is about: his silken, relaxed, world-weary but generous voice, which you can hear at 8p, April 12. Tickets: $49-$99,


Matt Ortego

OrtegoSummerlin Library

Hey, Las Vegas artist Matt Ortego, what’s up with this image, titled “Saving Face,” from your exhibit "Welcome the Enemy"? “It depicts someone losing one’s self due to mistreatment,” he says. “I came up with the idea when I was going through an episode of not being true to myself. The title is a play on words juxtaposing the meaning of the idiom with the meaning of the painting, which hopefully gives a comedic perspective.” See for yourself April 22-June 24, free,


Robert Coover

CooverUNLV's Greenspun Hall

Were we to describe novelist Robert Coover as a “postmodernist,” or say he is “avant-garde,” you’d be all, “Why, that sounds ‘interesting,’ and by ‘interesting’ I mean ‘academic and boring.’” But hold on. What Coover does is consume fables, myths and genres (“stories dreamt up by others and in whose dreams — often infantile dreams — we were now living”), and metabolize them into his own romping stories. It’s a process one of his characters likens to “dream-eating.” That sounds unboring (and dreamilicious). Coover reads at 7p, April 17, free,

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