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Literature: Print lives!

“The funny thing,” says Laura Herbert, “is the reaction of (magazine) distributors: ‘You’re opening a newsstand?’ Because it’s such an endangered species.”

It’ll be a little less endangered with the imminent debut of the Inspire Theater at Las Vegas Boulevard and East Fremont Street. Along with a 150-seat theater, Inspire will boast a radically inclusive magazine stand of the kind word-lovers here have long assumed they’d never enjoy.

Herbert is helping downtown entrepreneurs Michael and Jennifer Cornthwaite pull the project together. Guided more by their passions and intuitions than market research, they decided, as Jennifer puts it, “Let’s just have everything we possibly can.” Art magazines! Literary journals! Foreign fashion bibles! No comics, though — they don’t want to hurt comic shops.

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In a nice coincidence, the location is close to where the last great downtown periodical joint — The Newsroom, circa ancient history — existed briefly at Carson Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard.

The Cornthwaites are aware of The Newsroom because people have told them all about it, just one indication that some folks are primed for just such a literary amenity. Count Mrs. Cornthwaite among them.

“If I was anywhere and I saw a great newsstand across the street,” she says, “I don’t care what’s going on, I’m walking across.”

Scott Dickensheets is a Las Vegas writer and editor whose trenchant observations about local culture have graced the pages of publications nationwide.