Section Header Background: Desert Companion Nov 2022
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Read the digital editionDownload the full issue as a pdf

2021 Fall Culture Guide

Fall Culture Guide




September 8

A Trio of Talent

The UNLV School of Music is serving up a full slate of shows this fall — and its annual Jazz Concert Series might be the centerpiece. Not that the school didn’t keep busy in the depths of the pandemic: It put on a well-received series of livestreamed concerts, including performances by its respected UNLV Honors Jazz Trio, who headline this bill before (woot!) performing at the 64th annual Monterey Jazz Festival later this month. (AK) Clark County Library Main Theater, 7p, free,

Also upcoming:

UNLV Joe Williams Scholarship Combo (Oct. 13), UNLV Jazz Ensemble II and guests (Nov. 10)

Sponsor Message


September 17

Soul Cycle

Spectrum and Radiance are two of the city’s premier soul tribute supergroups, boasting a deep repertoire of Motown and R&B hits. For this comeback show — one of the first to mark the much-awaited reopening of The Smith Center — they’ll be joined by the Tex Richardson Las Vegas Pops Ensemble. (AK) Myron’s Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, 7p, $35-$49,


September 18

Horns of Plenty

Marvel should make a superhero ensemble movie about the Lon Bronson Band, because I’m convinced they’re utterly indestructible. For more than 30 years, our resident funk/soul/rock powerhouse has weathered Vegas’ ups and downs to bring their big, brassy, swanky signature sound to lounges and showrooms in every corner of the valley. For this welcome-back show, they’ll fire up a feast of Tower of Power, Chicago, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker, James Brown, and more. Then they’ll defeat Thanos. (AK) Myron’s Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, 7p, tickets start at $29,

Sponsor Message


September 23

Lunar Gathering

Here’s an ideal event for a family cultural outing: The Nevada Chamber Orchestra’s Moon Festival Concert, marking the annual Chinese holiday focused on happy reunions, which means putting aside your petty squabbles and coming together with family, friends, or even that particular climate-change-denying Facebook frenemy who’s always obnoxiously linkspamming your feed. (Talking to you, Ryan.) In addition to beautiful music, the Lan Tian Cultural Center will be decked out in festive Asian flair. (AK) Lan Tian Cultural Center, 8668 Spring Mountain Road, #100, 3p, $10, 702-328-9889


October 5

Orchestral Maneuvers

The UNLV Chamber Orchestra is a motley musical crew, comprising undergraduates and graduate music majors, minors, and even non-music majors. (English Lit represeeeent!) And its repertoire is equally diverse: From early Baroque to contemporary classical, the UNLV Chamber Orchestra is sure to hit the right notes for everyone. (AK) Clark County Library Main Theater, 7p, free,

Also upcoming: Performances on Nov. 2 and Dec. 7

Sponsor Message


September 25

Soul to Samba

Photo by Diego Ruvalcaba

Sometimes quitters do win. More than a decade ago, Caro Pierotto ditched a safe but stale corporate job in Brazil to pursue a music career in Los Angeles. The pivot certainly paid off: Both critics and fans fell in love with Pierotto’s precise, expressive vocals layered over her band’s fusion blend of samba, forró, reggae, soul, and pop. (AK) Clark County Library Main Theater, 2p; East Las Vegas Library, 7p, free,


October 13

Holmes Run

Photo courtesy of The Smith Center.

Don’t know about you, but my plan in the New Normalish Fall of 2021 is to make up for lost time by catching as many shows as possible by Vegas’ musical icons. Of course, Clint Holmes is near the top of my list. In his show Possibilities, our city’s quintessential modern showman will perform classics by Lionel Richie, Burt Bacharach, Bruno Mars and more. (AK) Myron’s Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, 7p, tickets start at $37,


November 20

Beethoven and Over Again

Photo courtesy Las Vegas Philharmonic

The Las Vegas Philharmonic is emerging from pandemic hibernation with an energetic 2021-22 season that’s sure to shake off any lingering lockdown doldrums: The Phil is slated to perform all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies, as well as showcase newer classical works by a range of renowned contemporary composers — the orchestra’s musical contribution to the broader, ongoing conversation about promoting diversity and dismantling racism. In this season opener, the Philharmonic will perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto,  his First Symphony in C Major, and a piece by composer Missy Mazzoli: her mood-drenched These Worlds In Us, a searching orchestral work dedicated to her father, a Vietnam veteran. (AK) Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center, 7:30p, visit for ticket prices

Also upcoming:
Beethoven and Shaw (Jan. 15), Beethoven and Montgomery (Feb. 12), Beethoven and Frank (March 19)


Dec. 4

A Vegas Show to Yule Them All

Very Vegas Holiday has deservedly become a seasonal musical tradition, an annual glitz-and-garlands blowout that pairs brand-name belters such as Travis Cloer, Vita Corimbi, Michelle Johnson, and Clint Holmes with the Las Vegas Philharmonic for a night of chestnut-

rattling holiday tunes. But don’t expect anything staid or stuffy; hosted by Keith Thompson of The Composer Showcase, the show boasts classic Vegas showmanship spiked with Thompson’s ribald wit. (AK) Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, 2p and 7:30p, visit for ticket prices


December 10

Mari(achi) Christmas

Courtesy Las Vegas Clark County Library District

Only the best bands from the Clark County School District’s mariachi program perform at the Mariachi Winter Festival — think of it as a mariachi battle royale victory party. Not only will these talented musicians blast out some genre classics, but also dish up a few mariachified versions of classic holiday tunes. Quick, someone make a clever portmanteau word out of “arriba” and “ho ho ho”! (AK) Clark County Library Main Theater, 7p, free,


December 12

Top Brass

The Las Vegas Brass Band has been performing since 1993 (not continuously, though that would be incredible!), which is a credit to their staying power — and an explanation for their seasoned sound. In this concert, the British-style ensemble will apply its industrial horn power to everything from traditional hymns to holiday classics. “Silent Night” is gonna be liiiiiit! (AK) Clark County Library Main Theater, 2p, free,



September 9-25 

Picnic Blanket Rock 

Nothing says post-pandemic celebration like kicking off your sandals and dancing to “Jailhouse Rock” on a huge lawn with hundreds of other people. That’s what you can expect at Spring Mountain Ranch, when Super Summer Theatre presents  Smokey Joe’s Café, Broadway’s longest-running musical revue, featuring dozens of hits by the songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. (HK) Boman Outdoor Pavilion, 7p, $15-25, 

Also upcoming:

Viva Las Popera (Aug. 12-21) 


September 10-26 

Science Girl 

A woman disrupts the customs of a prestigious club, presenting an extraordinary accomplishment as grounds for her admission. Pandemonium ensues. No … it’s not a day at your office. It’s  The Explorers Club, the fictional outfit for which this farce, set in 1879 London, is named. Presented by Las Vegas Little Theatre, it’s the first full-length play of Nell Benjamin, who won accolades for writing the score to Legally Blonde. (HK) Las Vegas Little Theatre, 8p and 2p, $30, 


September 23-26 

Outfoxed, Again 

To mark A Public Fit’s public return, Ann Marie Pereth brings back the company’s first production, Dawn King’s  Foxfinder. The gesture is made even more poignant by the dystopian drama’s continued relevance. Food scarcity, tyrannical government, propaganda … If anything, it all seems even closer now. (HK) The Space, 7p and 2p, $35-40, 


October 8-17 

Rom Complicated

For something lighter, bookmark the Nevada Conservatory Theatre presentation of  Ring Round the Moon, Christopher Fry’s adaptation of the original comedy by Jean Anouilh. This fast-paced farce set in pre-World War II Paris revolves around two brothers, one of whom sets a trap to teach the other a lesson about love.  (HK) Judy Bayley Theatre, 7:30p and 2p, $8.50-25,


October 12-17 

Decidedly Not CGI 

Courtesy The Smith Center

If you saw the 2019 film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 
Broadway classic,  Cats  — or even watched clips of it — I’m sorry. Here’s a balm to help soothe that scar: the real thing. On a stage. With live actors. (And no CGI cat butts.) (HK) The Smith Center, Reynolds Hall, 7:30p and 2p, $30 and up, 


October 22-23 

Eat Your Words 

You had me at “dark comedy,” A Public Fit. But! Your staged reading of Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Gloria goes on to strike more of my personal chords: characters who are writers; a sudden, violent shock; cube-farm politics. I’m in.  (HK) Clark County Library, 7p, free, 

Also upcoming: 

Skeleton Crew (Jan. 28-29),  Recent Tragic Events (Feb. 4-21) 


October 26-31 

Officers Do Have Tattoos!

Courtesy of The Smith Center

There’s a reason why most adults over the age of 40 can name the two lead actors and quote at least three lines from the Oscar-winning 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman.  We went for the romance but stayed for the poor kid’s triumph over soul-crushing Navy pilot boot camp.  Dick Scanlan’s musical adaption of Douglas Day Stewart’s original screenplay includes a score based on ’80s pop music like the movie single you can also probably quote-sing, “Up Where We Belong.” (HK) Reynolds Hall, 7:30p and 2p, $30 and up, 

Also upcoming: 

My Fair Lady (Jan. 25-30), A Christmas Carol Nov. 23-28)


October 27 

Sleep Tight 

Majestic Repertory Theatre, Vegas’ theatrical leader of the lockdown resistance, makes a huge return to live performance with the US premiere of  The Sandman by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor (who are assisting on the production). The spooky fantasy musical is based on the 1816 story of the same name by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffman, the gothic horror writer who also penned The Nutcracker and The Mouse King, inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s famed ballet.  (HK) Majestic Repertory Theatre, 8p and 5p, $25-35, 


November 19 

Indian Motion 

Clark County presents Blue13, the American dance company of first-generation South Asian American Achinta S. McDaniel. McDaniel uses dance as a form of storytelling, upending cultural stereotypes with performances that critics describe as emotional, energetic, and intelligent. (HK) Clark County Library Main Theater, 7p, Free, 

Also upcoming:

Kybele Dance Theater’s Unreveal (Oct. 16) 


December 3-12 

I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying!

For a sentimental holiday treat, The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre presents  The Velveteen Rabbit, Janet Allard’s story of a sick boy and his beloved plush toy that comes to life, adapted from the children’s book by Margery Williams. (HK) Charleston Heights Arts Center, 7p and
 2p, $6,

Also upcoming: 

The Neverending Story (Oct. 1-10, Dec. 3-12)


December 2-12

Flower Power 

Like many companies, Nevada Conservatory Theatre is taking a do-over on canceled presentations — the musical  Little Shop of Horrors, in this case. Howard Ashman wrote the book and lyrics, and Alan Menken composed the music for this fun homage to B movies involving a flower shop, youthful hormones, and a ravenous plant. (HK) Judy Bayley Theater, 7:30p and 2p, $8.50-25,

Also upcoming: 

The Beaux’ Stratagem (Feb. 11-20),  A Midsummer Night’s Dream (April 29-May 8) 




Through September 12

Who Watches the Watcher? The Art, of Course!

Courtesy Las Vegas Clark County Library District

The longer you stare at Hank Schoepp’s  artworks, the more they stare back at you — quite literally. Eyescapes is a series of intricate, often insanely detailed, surreal photo manipulations built around images of eyes that coolly return your gaze. And because the pieces pack the high-def wallop of photography, the effect is all the more intense — gorgeous, self-aware, a bit unnerving. (SD) East Las Vegas Library, free,


Through September 17

You Had Me at “Rootedness,” Lost Me at “Anxiety,” and Got Me Back with the List of Cool Artists

Courtesy of the College of Southern Nevada

“Rootedness, permanence, anxiety, and survival” — these are the abiding themes of Still Here Now, an exhibit of work by nine artists who were Nevada Arts Council fellows from 2010 to 2014. You probably recognize many of them: Linda Alterwitz, Chris Bauder, Ahren Hertel, Darren Johnson, Orlando Javier Montenegro-Cruz, Elaine Parks, Robin Stark, and Brent  Sommerhauser. Their works, while situated in place, transcend landscape art to dig at deeper human concerns. (SD) CSN Fine Arts Gallery, free,


August 5-September 22

No More Fake Muse

Nevada Humanities presents Wonders of Nevada: Nature as the Artist’s Muse, and, really, who better to mount this show than an organization devoted to merging Nevada’s humans and manatees? Get a load of these artists, too: Maria Arango Diener, Tia Flores, Jeff Fulmer, Ahren Hertel, Bobbie Ann Howell, Eunkang Koh, Rossitza Todorova. All great. Get more exhibit pertinents during a Zoom sesh, September 2 at 6p. (SD) Nevada Humanities Program Gallery, free,


August 12- November 4

Fresh Fruit

There are several salutary effects of artist Justin Favela’s long-running project to render the world in piñata form: It reminds us of the far-reaching, often unacknowledged influence of Hispanic culture; it urges the rest of us to consider everyday life through a distinctly Hispanic frame; and it celebrates the colorful ephemerality of our breakable culture.
For the exhibit Fruits of Our Labor, Favela draws on disparate sources — 19th-century Mexican still-life paintings, Sesame Street, the novel The House on Mango Street — to fashion two- and three-dimensional depictions of fruit. (SD) Mayor’s Gallery, Historic Fifth Street
School, free,



Counting the Victims

Courtesy of UNLV

This exhibit’s title, Hostile Terrain, is both conceptual — addressing the contested sociopolitical realities of undocumented immigration at our Southern border — and literal: It’s about the Sonoran Desert, the grimly arid landscape into which the Border Patrol funnels migrants, often with fatal consequences. Created by Jason De León, Hostile Terrain memorializes the human toll of our border policy through video, augmented reality, and some 3,000 toe tags that will be filled out with information on victims and pinned to a large map of the border. (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum, free,



The Lives of Black Women

Seeing/Seen Courtesy of UNLV

Las Vegas scholar, writer, and cultural treasure Erica Vital-Lazare has pulled from many sources — professional photographers, found images, archival material — to curate Black Women: Seeing/Seen.  It explores the lives of Black women, historical and current, from all walks of life. The point is to reflect “the ways in which the lives of Black women can differ in kind and at the same time reflect a potency born of a shared history, majesty, and hard-earned shaping of future selves.” Co-sponsored by the Womxn of Color Arts Festival. (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum, free,


September 2- November 25

Praising the Dead

In the rituals of Day of the Dead celebrations, an ofrenda is an altar that honors a family’s lost members. For Versiones de Una Ofrenda Familiar/Versions of a Family Ofrenda, artist Natalie Delgado has selected artists of Hispanic origin to create work on this theme — and it’s hard not to wonder how the last year or so will impact what they make. Reception: October 28, 6p. (SD) Charleston Heights Arts Center, free,


September 3–November 27

In a Rothko State of Mind

In the end, it makes a certain sense that Jose Bellver — one of the region’s most-talented yet least-known painters — would end up in Mark Rothko territory with his new exhibit, A Conjugation of Light. They’re color field paintings meant as spatial enhancements, sources of pensive color and light in a room rather than objects of pointed contemplation. Over his long career, Bellver has moved through a boggling range of aesthetics, from sharply realist to angular pop to moody allegory to more flavors of abstraction than we can list, now arriving, late in life, at Rothko’s doorstep. At every point, he’s demonstrated a deeply searching quality that, in these paintings, manifests as a diffuse, floating spirituality. (SD) Sahara West Library Studio, free,


September 8-November 20

If Only There Were Recent Developments to Lend This Some Topical Relevance

A tension between passion and control enliven these political drawings by Las Vegan Orlando Montenegro-Cruz. The urgent sketchiness of his lines, which suggest a sense of furious engagement, is tempered into clarity by the artist’s sure hand: He’s got something to say. Look, for example, at his drawing of an official chamber; its nine seats are empty of people but the space is occupied by, yes, nine vultures eyeballing a presumably worried goat. Boom. (SD) Left of Center Gallery, free,


September 14-November 14

What Are Words for?

Courtesy Las Vegas Clark County Library District

Pictorial narrative is Joseph Watson’s forte — visual storytelling in an urban key that is *checks paperwork* “equal parts grit and whimsy,” lightly sugared with hope. Stories Without Words pares the tales down to their collaborative cores: “I want to let each piece speak to you without the distraction of a written narrative,” Watson says. “Your interpretation is just as essential as the image itself.” Look at you — co-author! (SD) East Las Vegas Library, free,


October 1-November 20

Reality? Illusion? Who Can Tell the Diff Anymore?

Artist TeaYoun Kim-Kassor is nothing if not versatile. She’s adept at fiber arts, installation, sculpture, performance, and drawing, all of which she uses to explore issues of tension, identity, and connection. With her exhibit Illusion and Reality, the South Korea-born, now Los Angeles-dwelling artist says, “I hope to trigger the larger audience by allowing them a reflective moment, which will direct them expectantly toward retracing their history and by leading them to question ‘What defines us?’” (SD) CSN Fine Arts Gallery, free,


November 1-December 10

“Proof of a Thriving Culture”

The title of this exhibit, AH’-WAH-NEE, indicates “balance” in the language of the Indigenous Southern Paiutes. Curator Fawn Douglas, a well-known Nevada artist and activist, focuses the show on the work of Native women artists: “It offers visual affirmations that we were meant to be here,” despite the historical deprivations of Manifest Destiny and cultural marginalization. “We are proof of a thriving culture.” That message will be reinforced by a two-day symposium (November 4-5) featuring artist talks, panel discussions, and a performance by Jean LaMarr. (SD) UNLV’s Donna Beam Gallery and various locations, free,


November 5

Walking is Good for Your Art

Assuming climate change scootches the mercury below 100 by November — which feels less certain every year — we’ll see you at UNLV’s Art Walk, that annual campus-wide saunter through the galleries, studios, and activity spaces of the school’s various cultural departments. There will be talks, exhibits, live music, and performances — a sizzle reel of UNLV’s artistic energies. Sounds terrific. (SD) UNLV, 5:30p, free,


December 2–January 21

If Only There Were Recent Developments to Lend This Some Topical Relevance

If you know Shaun T. Griffin primarily as a front-rank Nevada poet, his exhibit Border Stories will introduce you to a whole new visual side of the guy. Through paintings and verse, Griffin shows us the hard realities of life on the border. You’ll want to dial in to his online gallery talk, too: December 2 at 6p. (SD) Nevada Humanities Program Gallery, free,



August 27

Putting the Lit in Literature

Neon Lit, UNLV MFA’s reading series, kicks off in August. Mingle with Masters of Fine Arts-in-training while sipping on fine wine — think of it as an early toast to some local literary rising stars. (NB), The Writer’s Block, 7p, free,


September 7

The Land Before Timeshares

If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk the Strip without being harangued by a Hakkasan promoter, Lynn Zook is the person to talk to. A historian interested in all things Vegas, Zook will be joining the “Las Vegas Stories” series to talk about the city in the 1950s, a decade that saw meteoric growth on the Strip. Following the talk, Zook will be signing her book, Gambling on a Dream: The Classic Las Vegas Strip 1930-1955. (NB) Clark County Library Main Theater, 7p, free,


September 29

Read It and Sweep

“Essential workers” isn’t just a pandemic buzzphrase; they take center stage in Cherie Jones’ debut novel How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House. Set in her home country of Barbados, Jones’ novel explores the often-invisible work and workers behind luxe Carib-
bean resorts. Jones will be in conversation with local writer Soni Brown via Zoom to discuss race, class, and mythology. (NB) Zoom, 7p, free, blackmountain


October 7

Enter Sands Man

Immerse yourself in the Sands without trailing it home with you. Historian and author David G. Schwartz discusses the iconic Vegas resort in “At the Sands: The Casino that Shaped Classic Las Vegas and Brought the Rat Pack Together” as part of the “Las Vegas Stories” series. (NB) Clark County Library Main Theater, 7p, free,


October 12

Las Vegas Means Home

It’s been almost 50 years since Nigerian writer and Nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka published a novel, but he’s back with Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth. The earth’s median temperature may have changed; Soyinka’s talent has not. Soyinka will be joined by writers Ahmed Naji and Jorge Olivera Castillo for Uncensored Expressions to celebrate 20 years of City of Asylum, a Black Mountain Institute program that provides residencies to writers who have been persecuted for their literary work. (NB) Location TBA, 7p, free, blackmountain


October 18-23

Pretend It’s a Sin City

Courtesy Cybelle Malinowski

Fran Lebowitz  is this year’s keynote speaker at the Las Vegas Book Festival. If you have to leave New York, you might as well stay at New York, New York, Fran. (NB) Virtual events start Oct. 18, live events start Oct. 23, free, schedule and location details at


October 27

Luck be a Lady to Write

Britney Spears’ Vegas marriage lasted 55 hours. Find out if 14 of the valley’s most in-demand writers fared any better at the book launch for the new anthology Love in the Dunes: Las Vegas Writers on Passion and Heartache. This event is open to readers of all relationship statii. (NB) Clark County Library Main Theater, 7p, free,


November 5

A Message from Above

Photo by Jared Ogden

 Mark Synnott  has the opposite of acrophobia. Acrophilia? A death wish? Whatever you call it, Synnott is a world-class mountain climber who’s scaled some of Earth’s most daunting peaks. Synnott will bring you along on his journeys, from the safety of the ground, as he participates in the National Geographic Live series with his talk, “Life on the Vertical.” (NB) The Smith Center, 7:30p, tickets starting at $20,

Also upcoming:

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, “The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries” (March 8)


November 6

Tell Me About Yourself

If you’ve ever said, “That’s a story for another time,” the time might be now! At Las Vegas StorySLAM,  locals are welcome to share their own personal stories focused on a theme, this fall’s theme being “Best Laid Plans.” Plan to be there! (NB) Charleston Heights Art Center, 7p, pay what you wish, 702-229-ARTS


January 6

The Truth, Plane and Simple

For those interested in Howard Hughes who don’t have the time to sit through all seven hours of The Aviator, I’d suggest an evening with local writer and historian Geoff Schumacher at the “Las Vegas Stories” series. With his talk, “Howard Hughes & Las Vegas: Separating Fact from Fiction,” Schumacher will explore larger-than-life Hughes, whose shadow still looms over the valley. (NB) Clark County Library Main Theater, 7p, free,


January 21

A Desert Home Companion

Radio host and raconteur Garrison Keillor brings his understated Midwestern charm to glitzy Downtown Vegas. You may not want a second helping of Minnesota tater tot hotdish, but you’ll definitely want an extra dollop of Keillor’s signature storytelling as he takes to the Reynolds Hall stage. (NB) The Smith Center, 7:30p, tickets staring at $29,


March 2

Pom Poms to Primates

Mireya Mayor has been called a “female Indiana Jones,” and her life and career would make a much better movie than the currently filming Indiana Jones V: Raiders of the Lost AARP. A former NFL cheerleader, Mayor is now a leading primatologist and National Geographic environmental correspondent. Spend an evening with this Renaissance woman as she shares stories, photos, and videos from the field. (NB) The Smith Center, 7:30p, tickets starting  at $20,




September 4-5

Oontsa Upon a Time

The two-day Lost in Dreams festival promises a “transcendental” experience, and you can certainly say the encyclopedic roster transcends easy categorization: The fest’s slate of high-octane EDM acts pumping out positive vibes includes the Nintendocore dubstep of Tokyo Machine, the disco soul of Yung Bae, and the smoove night-drive stylings of Moon Boots. (AK) Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, 5p both days, $60-$110,


September 9-12

The Higher the Hair ...

Courtesy Viva Las Vegas

With live music and in-person gatherings on tap again, one suspects there’ll be extra billy in all the rawk at the 24th annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. This rock ‘n’ roll tornado of pompadours and pinups is back, brash as ever, with all its frenetic festival fun: loud tunes from live bands, classic cars, burlesque contests, fashion shows, bowling tourneys, and more than 100 vendors. (AK) The Orleans,


September 10-12

It’s All Greek to You

Don’t be afraid to get a little “Greece” on your shirt (sorry, had to!)
as you get an authentic taste of the valley’s Greek community at this annual event. Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church is putting on its 48th annual Greek Food Festival, complete with Greek food, pastries, music, dancing, and more. (RW) Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, noon-11p, free,


September 12

A Feisty Fiesta

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day at this lively fiesta, featuring Mexican food, crafts, and performances by traditional dance groups and live musical ensembles. It’ll certainly be legit — it’s put on in part by Federacion Hidalguense of Las Vegas, a promoter of Mexican culture through community events. (RW) Winchester Dondero Cultural Center. 2p, free, 702-455-7340


September 17-19

Life Is Beautifully Normal Again

Courtesy Life is Beautiful

  Life is Beautiful is back — as sure a sign as any that life in Las Vegas has returned to normal. (Hope we didn’t just jinx it.) This three-day music, arts, and culture festival includes performances from 76 musical acts — including marquee names such as Billie Eilish, Green Day, A$AP Rocky, Modest Mouse, and Megan Thee Stallion — as well interactive art exhibits and food from more than 65 restaurants, bars, and food trucks from across the valley. (RW) Downtown Las Vegas,


October 1-2

Let It Go with a Lantern

The popular lantern-releasing festival, RiSE, returns for another two-night event of standing in a dried-up lake and releasing paper lanterns into the sky for Instagram pics with Tangled-inspired captions — this time with live music from Meridian, Magic Giant, JP Saxe, ASCENSiON DJs, and Emmett Fenn. Whether you need to get something off your chest or accomplish a goal, you can do worse than to write it on a paper lantern and send that baby skyward. (RW) Jean Dry Lake Bed in Sloan, 3p, $119-$139,


October 9

Rock Steady

Still trying to shake the lockdown blahs? You might want to try watching some movies about people hiking mountains and climbing rocks and scaling peaks and performing other inspiring feats. In that case, you won’t want to miss the Reel Rock 15 Film Tour. Four short but intense films (Deep Roots, Action Directe, First Ascent/Last Ascent, and Black Ice) will tell compelling human stories through the sport of climbing. (RW) Clark County Library Main Theater, 2p and 6p,


October 9-10

Good Vibes

The Reggae Rise Up festival lineup includes a roster of reggae stalwarts and upstarts, including Slightly Stoopid, Soja, Dirty Heads, Pacific Dub, Common Kings, Hirie, plus food and vendor booths. Phew, already got a contact high. (AK) Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, noon both days, $80-$150,


 October 16

Just Gimme the Brew

Motley Brews is certainly living up to its name with its ninth annual Downtown Brew Festival, boasting more than 200 craft beers from 60 breweries. Add in food and music, and this is a motley event indeed. (RW) Clark County Amphitheater, 5p,


November 2

Skull Is in Session

This Day of the Dead celebration is a family-friendly festival that honors loved ones who’ve passed away — but there’s plenty of fun in store for those of us still among the living: music, children’s crafts, vendors, food, face-painting, and an exhibition of altars created by community organizations. (RW) Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza, 720 Twin Lakes Drive, 4p, free,


November 6

Calling All Comic Fans

The Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival is back for its 13th year with a day of comics, cosplay, and workshops. Also featuring comic book store booths, crafts, food trucks, lectures, movies, and music — as well as opportunities to meet local comic artists — there’s something for everyone to geek out about. (RW) Clark County Library, 9a-4p, free,


November 27

That’s Music to My Stomach

This festival is a feast for your ears as well your stomach: The Las Vegas Tamale and Mariachi Festival will boast delicious tamales, Mexican antojitos, mariachi music, folklorico dance, and arts and craft vendors. (RW) Centennial Plaza at the Historic Fifth Street School, 10a-4p, free,


(Editor's note: Scott Dickensheets no longer works for Nevada Public Radio)
As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.
Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2018, she was promoted to senior writer and producer, working for both DC and State of Nevada. She produced KNPR’s first podcast, the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award-winning Native Nevada, in 2020. The following year, she returned her focus full-time to Desert Companion, becoming Deputy Editor, which meant she was next in line to take over when longtime editor Andrew Kiraly left in July 2022.