The three-day event beginning October 2, 2009 offers live tattooing and piercing, special performances, 100 vendors and and a tattoo museum as well as contests and the chance to talk with other artists and tattoo aficionados. The show also offers information on laser removal and reconstructive surgery. Special guest artists include owner and music producer Ernesto Kalum of Borneo Headhunters Tattoo and Piercing Studio who combines tattoo technique learned from the elders in his Iban community with modern-day electronic tattooing practices. Members of the Hori Toshi family showcase traditional Japanese tattoo art that can be traced back at least 300 years. Sua Petelo and Peter Sulu Ape present tatau, the ancient style of tattoo in Samoa.
If you miss the expo, but still want to dip your fingers and toes into the tattoo world, Vegas offers more shops than ever (let me know your favorite if I missed it).
Opened in 1995 by Sean Dowdell, Thora Dowdell and Chester Bennington (of Linkin Park), Club Tattoo artists have won international awards for their body piercing, tattoos, body jewelry and microdermal design. The parlor often features guest artists such as Jo Harrison who will be at the shop from October 5th through the 8th.
The ultra-rock tattoo parlor by Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe fame and rock star chopper builder Danny Koker, known as Count, of Count’s Kustoms have a 2,800 square feet shop decorated with Vince Neil and Mötley Crüe memorabilia, custom leather couches, eight flatscreen TVs, granite counter tops. Artists include kanji tattoo master Jerome Swanson; Twigg Sparks, specialist in fine line and portrait inkings, and Josh Petty, who favors a bold and bright new school and realistic art form; Junior, favoring neo-traditional art with horror realism and skulls; Jake-N-Eggs, the “traditional” tattoos; and Matt Ahn, whose work is influenced by Polynesian and Asian styles from his home state of Hawaii.
Founded by motocross legend Carey Hart, the shop features some of the best resident tattoo artists in the country as well as talented guest artists who pride themselves on providing a great customer experience. An evolving computerized flash system provides guests with state-of-the-art design.
If a hospital can have a personality, Boulder City hospital would be like Auntie Mame: eccentric, beloved, top-drawer, controversial, yet part of the family. To Boulder City residents (and this writer happily confesses to being one) the hospital remains true to its roots as a local care facility whose main purpose is to provide for the community’s health. In today’s climate, that is not a money making venture, however. – In fact, it never was. Boulder City’s 47th Annual Art in the Park, the biggest art festival in the Vegas area, attracts the best artists in the Southwest and each year raises thousands of dollars to keep the hospital alive.
The hospital is part and parcel of Boulder City’s unique history. The country’s first master planned community was built as a government reservation to house the workers who built Hoover Dam. The private hospital was part of the city’s master plan and was constructed along with homes, schools and government buildings by Six Companies, the companies that together were in charge of the dam construction. The original $20,000 hospital sat high on a hill overlooking the valley that would eventually cradle Lake Mead and almost immediately saw business as workers suffered injuries and illnesses from their death-defying working conditions.
Built in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, thousands of unemployed men competed to haul muck from tunnels, string high voltage electrical lines through waist-high muddy water, and pry loose debris from canyon walls while hanging 4000-feet in the air. At the peak of construction over five thousand men were employed at salaries ranging up to $10 per day for the most dangerous jobs. All this was done at break-neck speeds as crews vied to beat each other’s daily production. If men slowed down or complained, they risked losing their jobs. One man who earned $4 per day for knocking loose rock off the high tunnel walls remarked that his job was for the quick and the dead. “If you are not quick, you are dead,” he reportedly quipped.
The working conditions were complicated by the dam’s location in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The summer of 1931 was one of the hottest ever recorded with July highs averaging 119 degrees Fahrenheit and routinely intensifying within the canyon to 140 degrees. Hard work in these feverish conditions made men delusional or worse. When a man dropped from heat exhaustion, others would rush pack his chest in ice to cool down his heart with the hope that it would start beating again — which sometimes did happen. By the time the hospital opened in October of 1931, a Harvard doctor had discovered the importance of replacing the body’s salts along with adequate hydration, averting one of the most common causes of death for those building the dam – not dehydration, as they had thought, but hyponatremia – too little salt in the bloodstream.
Once the dam was completed, the hospital was closed down as the feds tried unsuccessfully to shoo the former workers out of Boulder City. Over the next 20 years the hospital opened and closed. It reopened in 1943 to care for war wounded, but there was little money for care or to keep it open. Residents stepped in to clean the hospital, repair equipment and raise money to buy and staff an ambulance. Despite community support, the federal government-owned hospital was a financial drain and in 1954 it was summarily closed down. Boulder City was told that if it wanted the hospital, it had to pay for it, itself, and to come up with $15,000 within two weeks. Going door to door, residents raised the funds and claimed the hospital.
By 1963 an official fundraising arm had been established to help cover the perpetually negative operating budget. Four local women, Sarah Denton, Marge Swallow, Bambi Thompson and Peggy Hyde sat at Denton’s house one afternoon in 1962 and began to brainstorm ways to raise money. Rather like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, the group decided that since they had a park, they should put on a show. “All of us who were involved in the first show dabbled in art ourselves and belonged to various groups who knew artists,” recalls Denton. The group “put out feelers” reaching from Tucson to Sante Fe, San Francisco and beyond where friends could pass out brochures to solicit artists to come to Boulder City to show their work. “We were so naïve,” laughs Denton, “we thought if we made $100 we’d be rich!”
Visiting artists were asked to donate a work to hang on a clothesline in front of Denton’s house, which bordered the park. Donated work would be sold for the hospital fund; all other sales would go to the artist. The first Art in the Park was remarkably successful. Renowned cartoonist and Western artist Jim Swinnerton judged the first show, as well as displaying his own work – but not on the clothesline. “He wouldn’t let any of his stuff hang in the park; you had to see it at our house,” says Denton who recalls shoving all of the furniture out of her livingroom with the help of her husband, Ralph, to make room for Swinnerton’s art. The couple hosted a cocktail party the evening before the show, soliciting champagne and food from Vegas hotels. When they were reminded that Boulder City was still a government reservation that didn’t allow booze, Denton recalls her husband, one of the state’s most respected lawyers, responding, “If we get closed down, we get closed down!”
The party was not closed down; in fact it was a roaring success. Perry Thomas, then-President of the Bank of Las Vegas, showed up and bought all of Swinnerton’s sketches to hang in the bank for $75 – $100 a pop. “I invited every banker, every casino owner, everybody that had any juice and I’d stand at the door and say, ‘Please buy!’” says Denton. In fact, she says, if guests didn’t promise to buy, they didn’t get in. “It was a classy party,” Denton laughs, “drinking champagne and looking at art. We had a lot of fun. It was a great project.”
And it had legs. This year marks the 47th Annual Art in the Park. The one-day event has expanded to two; the $5000 raised the first year now approaches $200,000 annually and continues to be used for capital improvements for the hospital such as the state-of-the-art digital radiology equipment that allows physicians to access x-rays at home or in their office and to better see during surgery.
Busses now haul in over 100,000 attendees who eat, drink and buy art from about 300+ artists and crafters. Artists are still asked to donate an art piece to the organization which is raffled off as part of the fundraiser, although there is an idea floating around that the hospital should keep the fine art to grace its own walls. Most of the money raised now comes from vendor rental fees instead of donated art; food, drink and music have also been added to the festivities.
300+ juried Fine Art, Fine Craft & Traditional Craft artists selling original artwork
25+ unique food, beverage and “adult” beverage offerings – beer, wine, mimosas, Bloody Marys, margaritas & more
Live demonstrations, live music, activities for children and raffle giveaways
Admission is free.
Limited free parking is available throughout Boulder City. Limited free handicapped parking is available on the side of City Hall and on the side of the Parks and Recreation Department (401 California Ave.). $5 paid parking is also available through the Foundation in the special off-site parking lot. To park in the paid parking lot, please continue on Nevada Highway into Boulder City and follow the signs. Paid shuttle transportation service is available from the paid off-site parking lot through Coach America for $2 each way per person (lap kids age 8 and under are free). Cash only please.
Roadrunners, International is a group of ex-military black op pilots who formerly flew missions for the CIA and Air Force at the top secret bases of Area 51 (online Area 51 game here) and Groom Lake. Their stories and other highly classified missions that have been recently declassified will be discussed in public for the first time at a groundbreaking special panel hosted by Las Vegas’ Atomic Testing Museum.
This is the first ever open-to-the-public reunion of Roadrunners and very much a coup for the museum, which is increasingly establishing itself as a primary voice on Nevada’s top secret history and the complex relationship between a free and open society, national security, atomic testing and nuclear warfare. With President Obama’s recent call to slash nuclear arsenals worldwide, this panel discussion should be especially intriguing.
The museum has brought together members from Project OXCART and Operation BLACK SHIELD, which were declassified from December 1998 through September 2007 and encompassed the U-2 spy plane, first tested at Groom Lake. The Roadrunners’ website features thousands of declassified pages and photos depicting their “Area 51 Cold War legacy.”They are actively soliciting submissions from others who have access to previously top secret photos and stories or Cold War activities.
It isn’t too late to hit Vegas’ hot spots and highlights before the year ends. While a few shows have closed since I first posted my Very Vegas list, new ones have opened, as well. Let me know your favorite Very Vegas venues.
Brian May Jams at a Show Opening Party
Catch Bette Midler’s local show, a classic broad who celebrates life through bawdy humor, exquisite singing and heartfelt stories that have made her the favorite superstar for a legion of loyal fans (that would be me!) (map it)
Attend a Flair Bar, where bartenders practice the ancient art of high energy juggling mixology.Shaken, not stirred, by definition.Check out The Red Room Saloon(map it), a local bar with world class flair artists, reasonably priced drinks, a VERY eclectic mix of patrons, great dancing and no pretentiousness.
Book your hotel room in Death Valley during the hottest week of the year to see how a turkey feels on Thanksgiving day or how the most extreme of extreme sports participants feel when running 135 miles in breath-stealing heat in AdventureCORPS 32nd Annual Badwater Ultramarathon(map it). (The rooms fill up fast.)
Tired of going to clubs and flailing wildly (and probably awkwardly) until you are too drunk to care? Want to sweep your sweetheart off her feet?
Wish you knew how to actually dance? Too cheap or too scared to take lessons? Never fear. Free (or nearly free) dance lessons are here. If you know where to look, you can learn to line dance, swing, cha cha, tango, two-step-, rumba, hustle or do the salsa. Lessons typically take place a half-hour or so before the club opens. Nightclubs are typically 21 and older, but many restaurants and social clubs offer all ages dancing. Call ahead to verify policy for that night’s dance.
Join the Las Vegas Dance meetup to learn how to dance with other eager amateurs, get an updated schedule or practice with other enthusiastic and beginning dancers. Swing Vegas, Swing offers free and paid dance lessons and practice sessions in local clubs. Salsa Las Vegas offers lessons, events and other dance info. Vegas-salsa.com keeps up a pretty good list of salsa dancing locations (not necessarily with free dance lessons). So there’s really no excuse not to shake a leg – or two. Have a favorite place we missed? Please feel free to share.
11 Piece Live Band headed by the world renowned Grammy Award Winner Michito Sanchez
Salsa at Firefly Restaurant 3900 Paradise Rd – LV NV 89169 Free Salsa Class at 10 p.m. with Tony Rico Tuesday at 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. No cover charge (702) 369-3971
Latin Beat / Salsa Nights @ Dance World USA 1950 S. Rainbow Blvd Ste 104 LV NV 89146 (corner of Rainbow / Oakey) Tuesday at Starts at 9 pm till 1am $10 cover charge (include free lesson at 7 or 8 pm) $ 8 cover without lesson All ages (14 yrs and under, no cover charge)
702-248-4349 or 702-773-9337
SALSA ON THE STRIP Harmon Theater @ Miracle Mile Shops PLANET HOLLYWOOD RESORT 3663 Las Vegas Blvd S # 600 Thursday Doors open at 11 p.m. No cover charge 21 + 702-556-6540
Who doesn’t love a deal? A friend of mine turned me onto a restaurant site that lets you purchase certificates that discount your final price at selected restaurants. Typically, you pay $3 for a $10 certificate and $10 for a $25 certificate. The restaurants are good ones. We’ve dined at Steak (before it closed); Half Shell Seafood and Gaming; Milo’s Best Cellars; Johnny Mac’s; Ventano Italian Corner & Oyster Bar and more. You stick in your zip code, let it know how far you are willing to travel, and browse the available restaurants. When you dine, just give the coupon to the wait staff when you order and the amount is taken off your final bill. (Tip on total bill, please.) Restaurants may place some restrictions on the coupon use such as a minimum bill before the discount, a time of day when it must be used (lunch or dinner, usually) or food, only (not available for the bar tab). All those restrictions are noted on the website before you purchase the coupon, so there are no surprises.
If I get access to discount codes for even bigger savings, I’ll let you know. Enjoy!
Join the society of San Gennaro Feast to celebrate the 30th annual festival in the heart of Las Vegas’ Little Italy. Music, food, games, food, thrill rides, food, music, food and food are part of the festivities. Nationally recognized acts perform on the live stage throughout the event.
For the past 24 years, the festival has been run by Anthony Palmisano, who began his career as a street festival coordinator in Miami. “I was the only 11 year old running my own show,” said Palmisano on the festival website. He’s been in the industry for more than 31 years now and also coordinates the Spring Valley, Las Vegas, Summerlin , and Sunset street fairs.
Awww, fall. After those brutal 115 degree summer days, fall is heavenly. What many people forget is that Vegas is the epicenter of the outdoor world with a wealth of great nearby destinations. Fall is the perfect time to put the top down, let the breeze tangle your hair and have a great outdoor adventure. Pick some vine-ripened fruit; gawk at the fall colors; wade in a stream; soak in the last sun of summer; enjoy a wine walk or an outdoor concert, or just wander without fears of dehydration. Here are our favorite fall treats. Did we miss something?
We’ve written about the winery before. The grape stomp is a fun festival that combines food, fun, wine tastings, wine discounts, drawings,music and the chance to get your tootsies purple. Sign up to stomp here.