To 18b or Not to 18b
Definitely not, says Michele Quinn, director of downtown art gallery Godt-Cleary Projects. "I think that from any basic business and marketing perspective, I think it's a really bad idea," she says of the rebranding of the downtown Arts District (now officially known as "18b The Las Vegas Arts District"). The name, which was developed by a committee of members of the local chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Artists and supported by a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, refers to the original 18 blocks designated as the Arts District. Signs and other promotional materials touting the name change have been popping up in the last month, but Quinn doesn't think that they'll have much of an effect. "18b doesn't tell me anything. It's not like I'm going to reference it. I tell people we're in the Arts District. It seems silly."
"Yet for all its glitz and glamour, Las Vegas is also a solidly Middle American destination where couples from Scranton and Des Moines flock for a wild and crazy weekend wearing clothes that would get them thrown out of the PTA back home. It has museums featuring everything from Matisse to M&M's, and in the midst of the ephemera, a smattering of handsome and very permanent-looking civic buildings, including a stunning new federal courthouse with an oversize organized-crime division. And surrounding it all is a harshly beautiful desert landscape with its share of bleached bones but from which you can also marvel at the surreal light show known as the Strip and the cracked vision of its gangster founder Bugsy Siegel."
Hand slaps and chest bumps to David Dillon of the Buffalo News for eschewing the easy way out and presenting Vegas as it is: a living, breathing, malfunctioning city. Double D even highlights nine sites that "capture or compliment the look and the life of Las Vegas": the Atomic Testing, Liberace and Neon Museums, Fremont Street Experience, Golden Gate hotel, Grand Canal at the Venetian, Hoover Dam, Lake Las Vegas and Red Rock Canyon.
What Happens In and Out of the Saddle, You Can Read in a Book
"In Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies and Bull Riders: A Year Inside the Professional Bull Riders Tour, (author Josh) Peter follows last year's tour to offer a rare inside look at the world of bull riding, introducing the major players—the stars of the PBR, the fans, the groupies and some very angry bulls; and exposing the realities of life on the road—the camaraderie and competition, the drinking, the injuries, the prayers and the loneliness of being away from home. Political infighting, a feared rider rebellion, and a white-knuckle finish all add to the high drama in this riveting tale of man versus beast."
It's Wayne's World!
At Vegoose, when Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips made the entire audience sing along on "Bohemian Rhapsody," did anyone else remember the movie with that other Wayne?
What Else You Got, Anthony?
Last weekend at a Vegas auction, collector Anthony Pugliese paid $118,000 for the white suit John Lennon wore for the cover of Abbey Road, and another $32,000 for a jacket Lennon wore in Imagine. So we wondered what else this Florida real-estate developer drops his cash on, and here's what we found: In 1991 he bought the .38-caliber Colt Special that Jack Ruby used to shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV; he paid $75,000 and it is now valued at about $7 million. In 1986 Pugliese bought the silver birch Aston Martin DB5 that Sean Connery made famous in Goldfinger. In 1997 the car was stolen from the Boca Raton airplane hanger where it was kept, and Pugliese's insurer paid him $4.2 million for it. Makes his real-estate deals seem like the hobby, huh? (Note that the car owned by the Pope, not a movie character or a rock star, went to another investor at the Vegas auction for only $690,000. It was a Ford Escort.)
The One-Minute Goodbye Critic: We Will Rock You No More
As one who has sat been forced to sit through We Will Rock You twice since its debut last year, it comes as no surprise to me that the show's producers have announced that the "blockbuster production" has only four weeks to go at Paris Las Vegas before it is run out of town for good. The show, which originally ran for an eternity, was mercifully cut down to 90 minutes, but apparently the change came too little, too late. The live band that performed the music of Queen was brilliant. But the rest: belly-flop.