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HOLLYWOOD UNDERDOG ™: Shakespeare Under the Stars

This is an article written by local Anna Wendt from a blog called Hollywood Underdog. If you have been curious about going to see Shakespeare performances here is Anna’s take of the free, “performance in the park”.  Hamlet’s final performance will be held at Lake Las Vegas October 27th with complimentary admission.  Like what you read? She has pictures and more blogging articles here.

Shakespeare Under the Stars

Last night I sat among the audience in the breeze, blankets and chairs spread out on the lawn. The stars were high above us and just to the right of the stage in the night sky was the moon, shining like nature’s spotlight on our tortured young Hamlet.

I could stay for only an hour so we sat in the back but as I tore myself away to leave I said to my husband, “look at everyone.” He said “I am. They are silent, and still. It looks like the crowd is hanging on every word.” I believe they were…I know I was!

To mesmerize an audience in an outdoor setting full of potential distractions is a rare and beautiful feat. When I am part of a group watching a show with everyone in this mode, I feel “at one” with the others, and with the performers as well.

Anyone who reads my blog knows I’m a Shakespeare fan and love to write about anything related. I feel compelled to bring people into the world of this amazing form of expression that is Shakespeare’s works. It taps into shared emotions by all human beings since our inception; love, fear, passion, jealousy, hate, guilt….it’s all there.

Last night was a representation of one of the longest held and most enjoyable traditions in theater…. the free “performance in the park.”

Shakespeare in the Park is performed worldwide as a presentation of William Shakespeare’s works. Of course, here in Las Vegas we have something for everyone including our own Shakespeare in the Park, by the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company. LVSC Director Dan Decker, holds their productions to the highest level and it was evident in every moment of Hamlet last night.

“He is our Hamlet,” Dan Decker said to me as he placed Michael Uribe’s head shot on his desk in front of me back in August when I visited the theater. “Michael gets the essence of Hamlet. He can take the audience with him on this journey.”…I can now attest to how right Dan was!

One of the obvious components that makes a production like this so successful is the commitment of the actors. If you ever want to meet a group of passionate, philosophical and physically “present” performers, go see a Shakespeare production. One cannot “phone it in” when performing Shakespeare. As an actor it overtakes you. At first because it’s such a different and challenging form of expression, but once learned it is addictive because nothing helps an actor grow like embodying the works of Shakespeare

“I love Shakespeare. I grew up on his works. Literally. Both of my parents were Shakespearean actors.

Even my bedtime stories were from a book of Shakespeare children stories.”

Morgan has an engraved ring that says “Thine own Self”…Fittingly, it was a gift to herself.

Catch the final performance of Hamlet Oct. 27th!

 

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Neon Museum opens its doors with powerful stories and spellbinding artifacts – Las Vegas Weekly

I had to press this article. It is a great article about the Neon museum that is now opening its doors to the public.  The museum opens this weekend on October 26th. You can click the link at the end of the article to find details about the opening party. Who is going, leave your comments.

It’s a lovely Saturday morning in Downtown Las Vegas, and we’re in the Neon Museum’s Boneyard, standing before the Moulin Rouge sign’s beautifully scripted font as our tour guide discusses the racial segregation of Las Vegas’ past. We’ve already learned about the 1905 land auction that gave birth to Downtown Las Vegas, and that a mere 90 years later, the fantastic lighted and neon signs that came to define the city were being collected by a local arts organization as the only souvenirs of a quickly vanishing past.

On October 27, more than 15 years after being established, the Neon Museum will open to the general public, offering a look at the history of design and architecture in Las Vegas, via the advertising that defined us. The moment arrives after years of hard work by a dedicated few, along with financial uncertainty, as the grassroots nonprofit sought to fund the rescue of signs amid many demolitions. So popular is the Boneyard that museum representatives are already recommending pre-purchased tickets for the $18 daily drop-in tours of the famous lot on Las Vegas Boulevard North, where the concentration of extraordinarily constructed large-scale signs provides a rich aesthetic walk down Memory Lane.

“Too many people either deride our history or they don’t appreciate the quality and the quantity of history Las Vegas has,” says Bill Marion, Neon Museum board chair. “Las Vegas has made many significant contributions to pop culture, as well as culture in the United States. We need to stop thinking that Las Vegas is simply a kitschy town.”

The Boneyard’s historic eye candy also serves as a stepping-off point for so many stories. The Moulin Rouge, Marion adds, was not just the first integrated casino in Las Vegas, it was the site of the 1960 Moulin Rouge accord leading to desegregation in all local casinos.

Then there are the smaller tidbits: Various incarnations of the famous Binion’s sign are on display, evoking tales of owner Benny Binion, who started a trend on Fremont Street by being the first to replace the dirt floors in his casino with carpeting. The Silver Palace, which opened in the 1950s, was the first casino in Southern Nevada to utilize “motor stairs.” It later became Sassy Sally’s, whose expansive sign is a Boneyard favorite.

With reverence, we observe the spade from the Dunes, the “Casino” sign from the Sands, the dazzling atomic font from the Stardust and the old blue letters that once lined the Tropicana.

There’s also signage from Fremont Street’s “motel row” and local businesses like Modern Cleaners and the Green Shack on Boulder Highway, which served chicken and whiskey to dam workers and other Vegas commuters during the 1930s. Signs that have been restored to working condition are featured on the Las Vegas Boulevard median near the Boneyard (the Silver Slipper and the Bow & Arrow Motel) and on Fremont Street (Anderson Dairy, the Aladdin lamp and the Hacienda horse and rider).

Getting the signs hasn’t been easy. Many were donated by the Young Electric Sign Company; others by property owners of buildings scheduled for implosion. But even when signs are donated, the museum typically must foot the cost to dismantle and transport, which can reach into the tens of thousands, depending on the size of the sign. Relocating the shell-shaped La Concha lobby to serve as the museum’s visitor’s center came with a price tag of about $1.2 million (to move and re-assemble). La Concha Architect Paul Revere Williams designed the lobby in the shape of a shell. Its swooping concrete roofline is only 3 inches thick, juts 5 feet from the glass wall and reaches 28 feet high. The cement and glass structure, built in 1961, had to be sliced up in order to travel from its original location on Las Vegas Boulevard to the Neon Museum’s Boneyard, where it now serves as the museum’s visitor’s center.

Dismantling and moving the iconic Stardust sign cost $200,000. In recent years, the museum has been able to bring in some money through photo shoots for glossy national and international magazines, movie spots and pre-arranged tours that commonly sell out.

As Marion says, “This is a unique museum. You won’t find anything like it in the world.”

And it’s the guided Boneyard tours that fill in the cracks and refresh the collective memories of the Rat Pack era, the architects who shaped the changing look of tourist corridors, the legalization of gambling and prostitution, and Howard Hughes’ local influence. As the 45-minute tour comes to an end, our guide hits us with a pop quiz before sending us off filled with memories and a new appreciation of our city.

via Neon Museum opens its doors with powerful stories and spellbinding artifacts – Las Vegas Weekly.

“Don’t Boo Vote”, This Saturday

People have predicted that this is one of the most important elections in history and the next phase of the election season is upon us, Las Vegas. It’s been a heated campaign season for President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney but it is quickly coming to a close. Most people undoubtedly know who they’re voting for even though election day isn’t until November 6. For those of you have already made this decision early voting starts this Saturday, October 20th and ends Friday, November 2nd for Clark County registered voters.

In the 2008 election, 48% of voters participated in early voting and it is expected that those numbers will be even higher for the 2012 election. Any person who is registered to vote in Clark County can take advantage of early voting at any of the polling sites. These locations are chosen through an advisory board working with the registrar of voters and they try to give voters an equal opportunity to cast their ballot. If you can’t make it out at all this election season you can request an absentee ballot by mail but it has to be done by Tuesday, October 30th.

For more information about voting in Clark County view their website at http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/vote For a list of early voting sites click here

In the words of President Barack Obama, “Don’t Boo Vote”

Henderson Libraries at Risk

I took this post from the website rescuemylibrary.org. This is a very important issue so please read. Henderson Libraries are at risk. Remember to vote yes on this tax increase. This is what taxes should be used for,  the PUBLIC!

This November, Henderson residents will make a decision that will decide Henderson Libraries’ future. You will be asked to vote on a small tax rate increase that will allow the library district to continue to serve the Henderson community. The situation is dire; without the community’s support, libraries will close and programs will be lost. Will you choose to rescue Henderson’s libraries?

Here’s some information you should know before you vote:

HOW ARE HENDERSON’S LIBRARIES FUNDED?

The Henderson library district is funded mainly by property taxes, which are determined based on the property’s assessed value. As property values have declined in Henderson, so has the revenue that supports the public library system. The libraries have lost more than $2.5 million in revenue over the last few years, leaving a large gap in the budget used to purchase materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, e-books and more used every day by patrons.

WHO USES THE LIBRARY ANYWAY?

Currently, more than 143,926 people have a Henderson library card. Last year alone, more than 1,812,475 items were checked out, and over 41,412 people attended free programs offered by Henderson Libraries last year. Henderson Libraries serves as a community hub where people job hunt, work on school projects and more on the district’s 200 public computers as well as have in-depth questions answered by library staff. In addition to its book collection, Henderson Libraries offers music, movies and an ever-growing list of e-books to patrons for free.


AREN’T LIBRARIES OUTDATED?

The numbers speak for themselves. People use libraries to find jobs, educate themselves and their children and find answers to all kinds of questions. Seniors who are unable to leave their homes have the ability to access library materials through outreach services. With or without libraries, these needs will still exist, but who will meet these needs is unknown.

WHY ARE YOU ASKING FOR THIS NOW?

It’s a matter of survival. We are not looking to grow; we are simply interested in keeping the doors open.

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?

We want you to vote YES and rescue your library. This will mean a 2-cent increase per $100 in assessed property value. Currently, the district receives 5.75 cents per $100 in assessed property value, which is less than any other library district in Southern Nevada. For a home with a property value of $100,000, the increase would be $7 per year.

HOW WILL MY MONEY BE USED?

If the initiative is approved, your tax dollars will be used to stabilize the operation of  Henderson’s six library locations. All existing locations will remain open and continue to meet the needs of the community members they serve.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T VOTE YES?

Without this tax increase, the Galleria and Malcolm libraries will close. Fewer library materials will be purchased, causing longer wait times for popular titles. Library hours will be reduced, and programs like services for homebound seniors, pre-kindergarten and family literacy will be reduced or discontinued entirely.

If the libraries close, it will be too late to save them.

Rescue My Library

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It Sounds Like “Hottie”

I write regularly about the talent in our beautiful city in many areas of arts. I realize this city is bubbling with it and it has bubbled over into fashion industry as well. I was lucky to find local talent in fashion design by the lovely Amy Hanley. She is a true native to Las Vegas as she is the daughter of  Wendy Mazaros author of the chilling novel Vegas Rag Doll and notorious mob hit man Tom Hanley. Sweet Amy is a busy woman raising a family, giving financial help for Vegas locals and is currently filming with TLC in a reality show called High Rollers. On top of all that she is starting her own local clothing line called Mob Doll Haute.  This line will offer women the opportunity to wear clothing inspired by the high fashion sense of the Mob Molls (wives of mobsters) from the past with a modern approach. I’m thinking a little like Sharon Stone from the movie “Good Fellas” but better cause it’s not just for the movies. This high fashion line will start with a few distinct luxury outfits that appeal to woman of different body types and we can only hope it grows from there. I mean really since the 80’s fashion sense seems to have come back in “style” these sophisticated styles should.  I expect that these designs will become a nationwide trend within the next few years. Amy is serious about keeping business in Vegas and staying local and that’s why we love her. She is abundant about watching Vegas take a turn for the better since the 07 financial melt down. Watch out LA she may be on to something here and breaking into the fashion industry is another way for Vegas to be one of the top sought after cities. She has plans to release a line of Mob Doll Haute logo wear here soon as well, since it is one of the coolest logos out there I’m sure it will be a hit. Both her fashion line and reality series are expected to be released in December. So keep an eye open.

Beyond The Strip Welcomes BuildASign.com

Need a banner or maybe business cards? How about some canvas prints of your favorite snap shots to hang on your walls at home? Do you have some advertising blunders and don’t know where to turn? Beyond the Strip knows a way to help, our first sponsors, BuildASign.com and their sister company printcopia.com can take care of all your advertising and printing needs. Their website has great resources that allows you to create your own image or upload an existing one to be printed however you would like. Their prices are fair with several shipping options depending on how quickly you need your prints. So for all your printing needs go check out their websites, you won’t be disappointed.

Yard Signs & Banners
Yard Signs & Banners

Good Eats at Vegas StrEATS

Saturday was the second one of the month which means Vegas StrEATS Festival took place in the iconic parking lot of the El Cortez. I definitely did not expect to see the wrestling matches and cage fights that took place shortly after the start of the event. Once the fights were over there was a noticeable absence of the crowed that once was but there was a still a good amount of people enjoying the rest of what was going on down there.

There were tents selling  T-Shirts, Verizon giving away iPhones, and more importantly local artists displaying work for sale. Bacardi was one of the many tents that stood out at the event. Partly because they were set up next to the alcohol booth but also because it was right next to the entrance. They seemed to be catching a lot of attention by having a taste testing competition set up for their newest liquor flavor Oakheart. Hands down winner against  whatever “other guys” rum there were using. Also offering “Barcardi swag” with the purchase of a cocktail, their tent was very popular. The DJ drew a small crowd of dancers around the stage who’s flawless techno beats kept the parking lot hoppin’ and heads boppin’ during the 7 hour event.

I stopped out to see the food trucks since this is a food event after all. I was surprised at the “lack of” trucks serving guests but hey, give them a break since this is a new event. I saw Grouchy John’s Coffee, Sliding Thru, and Pop’s but since I’ve tried these all I wanted to expand my views of what others had to offer. Haulin’ Balls was my pick for the night as it was an interesting menu plus there was the cutest little girl with a spectacular painted face taking orders, now how could I walk past her? For all of those giro lovers the Zorba delivers that taste in a whole new way. These are nicely sized lamb balls shoved into a hoagie bun topped with Feta.  They are tasty and filling and completely worthy the $7 price tag. I recommend if you see the Haulin’ Balls food truck don’t let it get away. After those delicious balls there was only enough room left for desert which I chose to do a simple powered sugar funnel cake that never disappoints.

This was my first Vegas StrEATS festival I attended and I highly recommend this event if your are looking for a night out. Admission is free and it takes place down at 600 Fremont St.  For more information about the event go to http://vegasstreats.com/

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