Bring it, 2010!

Let’s forget the epic suckage of 2009; here are 36 reasons you should give next year a chance

AC/DC better not postpone this time.

• The return of CES and AVN, January 7. Let’s get this party started.

AC/DC plays April 9 at MGM Grand. Let’s keep this party going.

• The prospect, however remote, that we’ll see some sign that the stimulus is gaining traction locally.

• New pool clubs at Aria, Encore and Palazzo

Jason Segal

• Of the several all-star movies shot here in 2009—Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (February; Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson, Pierce Brosnan) and The Other Guys (August; Will Ferrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Wahlberg)—which one might be the Hangover of 2010? I’m putting my money on Get Him to the Greek (June), directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and starring Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, Aziz Ansari and Russell Brand, with Pink, Diddy, Katy Perry, Lars Ulrich and others playing themselves –Joe Brown

• That the entire year will come and go without the inevitably disappointing The Hangover 2, now in development for a 2011 release.

• That someone is thinking about Las Vegas architecture—if only at Yale, where a three-day symposium will address “Architecture After Las Vegas” (January 21-23). Luckily, at least one actual Las Vegan—éminence grise Libby Lumpkin—will participate.

• The prospect, however remote, that a new year with a new coach will breathe some winning life into UNLV’s football program

Chinese New Year, February 14

• Spring music festivals. With a few obvious exceptions—taxes, root canals, Law & Order reruns—more is pretty much always better. It’s certainly true of live music: A live band or two can be a fun night out; 50 or 100 packed onto the same bill has the makings of a killer long weekend. Right here in Las Vegas, Neon Reverb returns March 11-14 for its second spring session—and fourth installment overall. Acts have yet to be confirmed, but history tells us to expect a mix of quality out-of-towners and the very best acts the local scene has to offer. One month later, the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, April 16-18, promises to bring its usual dazzling sonic array to Indio, California (a four-hour drive from Vegas), with Soundgarden, Pavement and the Beastie Boys among this year’s early rumored participants. –Spencer Patterson

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

• The prospect, however remote, that the state’s dire circumstances will result in a gubernatorial debate of real substance.

• Junot Diaz (with Yiyun Li and Pablo Medina) at Black Mountain Institute, April 6 at UNLV. New York magazine anointed Diaz’ 2007 novel The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as the fiction book of the decade, and it certainly placed somewhere on most critics’ lists, thanks to its depth of feeling, its pop-cultural razzle-dazzle, its insanely entertaining prose. Circling the dates of events like this is the reason calendars exist. –Scott Dickensheets

• The prospect, however remote, that the still-forming Glee tour will visit Las Vegas.

• One of best things I saw on a Las Vegas stage—I would even say on any stage—was Shakespeare’s Henry V, with its epic battles and intimate exchanges conjured on a stage the size of the dance floor at Champagnes. That micro-miracle was cinematically staged by John Beane, artistic director of the reliably unruly theater troupe called Insurgo Theater Movement, which remains our brightest hope for challenging local theater in 2010. Insurgo’s acting ensemble is 36 strong, and its upcoming season is a promising mix of originals and classics, including three stabs at Shakespeare: Beane will direct Othello (January 8-30) and a typically atypical adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost—staged as a battle of the bands between a debauched Euro rock group and an all-girl punk band; Timothy Burris tackles Macbeth in the spring. Now that Insurgo has a permanent home, with a 100-seat theater in Commercial Center, could we be looking at our very own Steppenwolf or Wooster Group? –Joe Brown

The 95th Annual Kiwanis convention, in June at Las Vegas Hilton: no. Keynote speaker Colin Powell: yes.

• The guilty, but very real, enjoyment of Harry Reid vs. whatever challenger the GOP puts forward for Reid’s Senate seat. With so incredibly much at stake, this promises to raise mud-slinging to Cirque-like levels of dexterity, innovation and spectacle.

• Red Velvets from The Cupcakery.

• It’s truly become one of the sorrier sights in Henderson—at the southwest corner of Stephanie and Horizon Ridge sits a fully finished Taco Bell. One problem: It’s not been opened for business. And it’s been months, going on nearly a year. Now, we’re fully aware that the economy is—what’s that word?—shitty, but really guys at TB corporate: There isn’t a little spare change under the seat cushions to get this bad boy up and running? Screw the jobs it would create—we’re HUNGRY!!!!

Angela Kallus

• After what she calls a 13-year “tour” of the state schools in Texas, artist Angela Kallus moved to Las Vegas to study with UNLV’s Dave Hickey, then spun out a collection of vivid, mind-blowing abstract works that were exhibited frequently in Dallas and Las Vegas galleries. But then the artist went back to school to be a teacher of mathematics and it’s been a while since we’ve seen her artwork. Her solo exhibit in February at Trifecta Gallery should more than make up for her lengthy absence. –Kristen Peterson

Jim Gibbons

• Not that Jim Gibbons hasn’t been a hoot, but few things give us more hope for 2010 than the possibility that we will greet the morning of Wednesday, November 3, with a new governor-elect in the formerly great state of Nevada.

• The Extreme Thing festival at Desert Breeze park, March 27

• The prospect, however remote, that the entire year will pass without any Paris Hilton stunt weddings.

• The prospect, however remote, that 2010 will be the year when opponents of gay marriage ask themselves, “Why don’t we believe that Paris Hilton stunt weddings hurt the ‘institution of marriage’ as much as loving gay unions? Huh ...”

Male drag ballet? We're so there.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo—male drag ballet at UNLV, February 6. You know you’re curious.

• Because, perhaps surprisingly, of this: “The Dominant Animal: A Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior,” a lecture by Paul R. Ehrlich, Stanford population-studies professor. January 26, Barrick Museum. Here’s how UNLV is flacking the speech: “Homo sapiens, the dominant animal, is heading for the collapse of its civilization. This is not apparent to most people, especially politicians...” Learning about the collapse of civilization—what else you gonna be doing that Tuesday night?

The original Hussong's opened in Ensenada in 1892.

The original Hussong's opened in Ensenada in 1892.

• Starting in January, you won’t need a passport to visit Mexico: Occupying a 3,700-square-foot space in Mandalay Place, Hussong’s Cantina will bring Baja to Vegas with casual dining, signature cocktails and plenty of tequila. Hussong’s original location in Ensenada, Mexico, has been a landmark since 1892 (which makes it older than Las Vegas!) and served everyone from Marilyn Monroe to ambassadors to surf bums. –Sarah Feldberg

• Judge Rush Limbaugh, no. The Miss America pageant at Planet Hollywood on January 30, yes.

Barry Manilow.

• We love Paris in the springtime, and this particular spring, Barry Manilow moves his act into the long-vacant 1,500-seat showroom at Paris, which is getting a face-lift before Manilow moves in. (No word on what work Manilow is having done in the interim). Expect lots of mushy stuff—he’ll release The Greatest Love Songs of All Time on January 26—and even more true-blue spectacle: Manilow has hired director/choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday, who has staged world tours for Madonna and Paul McCartney, plus one of the High School Musical movies. It’s passé to roll your eyes about this tireless showman and arranger, with his decades-spanning trove of irresistible tunes. Even the snootiest snobs and the hippest hipsters might find themselves smiling in the dark, thinking, “I loved these songs.” –Joe Brown

• March 12, Ham Hall, UNLV: The Nevada Pops performs Guy Movies—selections from the scores of films like Star Trek, Rocky, Apocalypse Now and Gladiator.

• The official opening of the Lou Ruvo Brain Clinic this spring.

• The Cannabis Convention—dubbed, regrettably, Cannapalooza—March 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay convention facility. Expected attendance: 50,000. Hopeful side effect: a resurgence in the use of the word narc.

• Locals can argue the merits and faults of the Arts District’s galleries and art, but at least they’ll know where they are when arguing.

The city of Las Vegas has tentatively set a date for March for the installation of more than 100 signs in the Arts District that mark the area as 18b.

The pet name was given to the area about seven years ago when the Las Vegas Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts was coming up with a logo using a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Celine Dion will go on.

The designation “18b” refers to the number of blocks that originally made up the Arts District and the signs will be attached to lampposts. –Kristen Peterson

Broadway goddess Bernadette Peters, Ham Hall, May 10

• The inevitable return of Celine Dion, and finding out who will fill in the blank spot on the Colosseum’s stage left by Bette Midler and Elton John. Wish list: Tina Turner, Madonna, Michael Buble, Stevie Wonder... Susan Boyle?

Hoover Dam bypass bridge

• Cars will roll, access roads will be unjammed, nature will be showcased by stunning engineering, Hoover Dam itself will get a rest from years of millions of travelers chugging inch-by-inch across its two-lane width. The 1,900-foot, arch-supported, four-lane Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge is slated to be complete in September, with traffic flowing across it in November. Not only will the $240 million project relieve the infamous, snaking traffic jam between Nevada and Arizona, but it will honor two noble guys in its official name: the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. But wait! There’s more: There’ll be a pedestrian sidewalk running along the north side next to the traffic lanes, so you can stand and look down at Hoover Dam from 900 feet above. We look forward to many safer, shorter hauls across the U.S. 93. –Stacy J. Willis

• Don DeLillo’s Point Omega (February 2), set in the desert Southwest.

• Only 350-something days until Christmas


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