Desert Companion

Too much is just enough

This looks like a magazine to you, sure, but to me, the September Fall Cultural Guide is a stylized Wes Anderson steamer trunk straining to hold shirts, pants, jackets and other pedestrian clothing metaphors for all the culture we’ve got going on. A good and classic problem to have: Too much stuff to do, not enough space. Thus, here I am, hijacking Editor’s Note as an overflow channel for my own enthusiasms. So before you’re cut loose to roam, browse, ooh and ahh in the pages ahead — whether it’s to peruse our chunkmonster fall guide (p. 55), read our profiles of Ones 2 Watch in the arts scene (p. 58), or even check in on the vivid plottings of one redheaded CSN theater prof (p. 24), here are a few things continually blipping on my faves radar. I feel they’re a cluster of best-kept secrets beloved by a coterie of hardcore fans. Time to blow the lid off. You should crash these parties this fall.

The Tell. In our twitchy, restless, digital age, you wouldn’t think a storytelling festival could magnetize standing-room-only throngs to an old downtown casino showroom. But, yeah: that. And, actually, a quilted moniker like “storytelling festival” doesn’t do The Tell justice. Featuring local voices and national pros, this series shines with storytellers spinning true-life tales that are hilarious, bawdy, outrageous and poignant, but always polished — which comes as no surprise, as it’s produced (or, more accurately, obsessed over) by longtime Nevada Public Radio commentator Dayvid Figler. For info, type “The Tell” into Facebook for a taste.

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The Composers Showcase. You’ve got to wonder what all those entertainers who make a living on the Strip singing, dancing, tooting, strumming and acrobatting do with all the bonus creativity juices thrumming through their veins. I worry about them having conniptions and aneurysms from the pressure. Do they have some cocktail-fueled secret underground church of artistic expression where they belt out the original songs knocking around their hearts? They do. It’s called The Composers Showcase, and it has found what looks to be a permanent home at Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center. Mastermind Keith Thompson, musical director of “Jersey Boys,” somehow finds time to polish up this gem every month. The songs range from satirical, showtimey razzes to irrepressibly schmaltzy torchers that’ll make your neck hairs tingle as you discreetly use a cocktail napkin to dab at … are those tears? Info at

Project Dinner Table. These days, the typical American dinner consists of vaguely nutritive goo microwaved in a box, spooned mouthward with limited success while you simultaneously check your Twitter feed, monitor “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and keep your kids from stabbing each other. The rumor I’m hearing is that dinner used to be communal and soul-nourishing. That’s what Project Dinner Table aims for — except in this case, all Las Vegans are invited to join the family. A looong table, a novel location, local chefs dishing up locally sourced deliciosity, stellar people like you — oh, and a fat check donated to a worthy cause at the end of the night by Project visionary Gina Gavan. Info:

Whatever your taste, I think you’ll enjoy this fall’s harvest.

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