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Our Downtown columnist offers friendly advice for the area as he prepares to move on – Las Vegas Weekly

This is one of my favorite writers, Mr. Coolican. If I ever met him I bet we’d get along really well. Here is another great article from him about Downtown Vegas this was taken from the Weekly. I am a huge fan of Downtown and excited to see more and more improvements coming in due time. What are your ideas about what Downtown needs? Please leave your comments below.

About six months ago we devoted this column to all things Downtown and its resurgence. I’ve been dividing my time between that assignment and the rest of my job as Las Vegas Sun columnist. Splitting my time this way has been less than ideal, so I’m relinquishing this spot to a colleague. I’ll still keep my eye on Downtown and write about it when the spirit moves me. It’s been fun and educational, and hopefully I got the ball rolling.

The rest of the Las Vegas Valley, from the Strip to the suburbs, was built by rich individuals and corporations and their handmaidens in government. A top-down, oligarchic approach. As a result, despite our reputation for libertarianism and libertinism, the Valley can feel pretty constricting. Try to paint your house a weird color or play your trumpet on the Strip, and the authorities—the homeowners association, Metro police, respectively—will come knocking.

It’s their city; we just live here.

Downtown is different. Of course, we’d be naive to pretend some Downtown landowners and rich interests—certain technologically advanced shoe salespeople, for instance—don’t have more power and influence than others. Still, watching Downtown develop is fun because for Las Vegas, it’s very small “d” democratic. Downtown’s transformation is turning on the actions of thousands of businesses, residents and voters, rather than a mere few. It’s participatory and passionate. In short, a real city.

In that spirit, here are some issues I’ve raised and some opinions about what’s next for Downtown:

People, not cars. Urbanism, that great serendipitous relationship of people and commerce and culture, requires walkability, which in turn requires density and the subordination of cars to other needs, such as pedestrian safety. So, we need narrower streets and wider sidewalks. We should become a city known more for shade structures than insufferable summers.

Here’s an idea in that vein: Extend the pedestrian walkway of Fremont for a few blocks. (Though not the canopy, or at least not that canopy!)

And the city should make the walk between the Smith Center and other Downtown attractions and neighborhoods—currently a cheap horror flick nightmare of underpasses—a priority.

Downtown has too much parking—a 38 percent surplus over demand, according to the city—aside from the occasional special event, which can be solved by using shuttles and spacious vacant lots. Yes, it’s important that suburbanites be able to get to Downtown stores and restaurants, but you don’t see New York City ruining its urban streetscape just so the bridge-and-tunnel crowd can park.

Which brings me to another point: It’s all about residents. We need people who will live, work and play Downtown. All policy decisions should be made with them in mind, and, indeed, should include their input.

Downtown residents I talk to, and I’ve talked to a lot of them, are quite clear: They need basic things that have unfortunately come to be called “amenities,” but are actually necessities.

Typical economic development that gives away tax goodies are often wasteful boondoggles—Neonopolis, anyone?—but I could be persuaded that the city should subsidize a grocery store, because it’s so central to everything and no one will build it until we have more residents, but we can’t get more residents without a grocery store.

Other necessities: Either a significant park or series of smaller parks. A coffee shop that cleans its equipment. (There, I said it.)

When we talk about residents, we should be open to diversity—Downtown lifers, young professionals, but also families with kids.

UNLV could be a catalyst. The university should move one of its schools Downtown, something with a real architectural and intellectual footprint. Arizona State has done this to great effect in downtown Phoenix.

Remember, we know what works—we can copy good ideas from other cities while preserving what’s uniquely Vegas.

Most important, Downtown isn’t theirs. It’s ours. Let’s keep it that way.

via Our Downtown columnist offers friendly advice for the area as he prepares to move on – Las Vegas Weekly.

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Mulligans Landing A Vegas Karaoke Hot Spot

Karaoke fans please stand up, I need you. Is there a lack of decent karaoke places in this city or is it just me. In a city full of such stupendous local alent I am surprised to find that many bars who host karaoke either lack in KJ’s or their system? Maybe it’s both. Yes, yes, I know their are many places that host but the worst thing in the world is standing up to belt out your best version of Bon Jovi’s, Living On A Prayer and you can’t catch your melody because the system is echoing back at you. How about finally working up the nerve to try that ballad, only to be drowned out by the music with your voice not even able to be heard. I’m not sure if these issues are caused by the KJ not knowing what they are doing when balancing voice and music or maybe the equipment is not sufficient to handle the karaoke task. Either way problems like these tend to make the good karaoke singers go elsewhere leaving only the party goers singing silly songs and screaming into the mic leaving your ears with a hangover by the end of the night. So where are the good singers going?

After trying many places from Dino’s to PT’s Pub even taking a chance on the Brass Lounge in Hennesseys on Fremont street I always walked away disappointed. There is one bar I did find that is successful at reeling in the local Karaoke talent though and that is why Beyond the Strip has voted Mulligans Landing a karaoke hot spot. Tucked neatly off of  Rancho and Decatur the bar could easily be an unconscious vision in your periphery, don’t be fooled though. Pritchard Productions is responsible for running weekend karaoke there that brings an array of personalities and singers that helps the evening become a fabulous one. The KJ, Teresa Pritchard usually gets started around 10pm and keeps the party going until 2am, she really is one the best. What makes her so great? Well the simple fact that you don’t sound like a hound dog or music from a horror movie after working up the nerve to show your best. What can I say the girl knows what she is doing and will create a superb stage experience for you . Other good news for you is the karaoke party is branching out from Mulligans but they will continue to host karaoke party nights on Saturday from 10pm till 2 am and Sunday from 9pm till 1 am starting December 1st. The newest place to jump on the Pritchard Productions bandwagon is Foothills Tavern Vegas, who will be hosting Karaoke with our fab KJ on Friday nights from 10pm till 2am at 2343 W Gowan Rd.

If you are not a karaoke fan maybe you would be interested in checking out Mondays at Mulligans for Mark and Mike’s comedy night starting at 10pm every week. Don’t miss out on a good time and a chance to support our local bars/taverns by making them your spot for a night out. Mulligans also offers great food, stiff drinks and awesome staff. For questions about karaoke nights contact Mulligans Landing at 702-395-2470 and/or if you are interested in having Pritchard Productions host for you, you can contact them at 702-426-0189. Remember to like Mulligans Landing Facebook page here.

If you have any karaoke hot spots outside the Strip please let us know we would love to check them out.

A Chance To Meet People, Experience Downtown And Get Your Drink On

Las Vegas Mob Bar

If you haven’t tried the Thirsty 3rd Thursday Pub Crawl it is a must. This my friends is an opportunity to try new bars and meet new people. It starts at Hennesseys Tavern Located on the Fremont Street Experience, you know the giant Pint of Beer sitting off of Las Vegas Boulevard, you can’t miss it. Here’s the deal you pay 20 bucks and receive 7 drink tickets, a coupon for 1/2 off an entree at Hennesseys, and 1/2 off an appetizer at Mickie Finnz which just happens to be the second to the last stop. I’m sure this was done on purpose as you will probably have worked up an appetite by the time you get there.  So that gives you a chance to munch, chill and listen to some live tunes. There are two appointed captains that are suppose to get the party started and help lead the way. Although, it just so happens our woman captain seemed disinterested and was not friendly. Maybe she was having a bad day but that didn’t stop our independent group from getting the party started on our own. Even more good news was the bars that we visited were more then welcoming and provided outstanding service.

The crawl itinerary has you spend about 25 minutes in each bar which gives you enough time to order your drink and finish it before moving on to the next stop. There are 7 bar stops and each is very different from the next so be ready to open your mind to new places. For instance, Hogs and Heifers has always been a spot that I would not normally check out on my own. So since it was a stop on the crawl, mind as well check it out and see if my avoidance was warranted. It has a vibe of a raunchy Coyote Ugly, the dancers on the bar definitely kept their attendees entertained and truly filled the part of country girls having some down home fun. Actually, if you have been to the Coyote Ugly on the Strip and liked it, Hogs and Heifers is right up your alley, even better the downtown hot spot seems a bit more authentic. So If you love to be rowdy and party this is the place for you. Maybe you’re looking for a more laid back night, I found a great place for that too. The Gold Spike can offer you some serenity on your night out or even better seems like a perfect place for them lazy Football Sundays. Of course, it might be a bit busier on those days as it could draw a crowd with its
sports bar vibe it has. These are places that I would not tried without the pub crawl.

Thirsty 3rd Thursday was absolutely a phenomenal time. You too can experience the fun as it happens every 3rd Thursday of the month. So take a chance and try something new. Bring your friends because the more people that come makes the party even better. Make a plan to meet at Hennesseys Tavern at 7 pm and ask about the Pub Crawl. Don’t be concerned about running a little late either as the party didn’t leave Hennesseys until after 8. For more information contact Hennesseys Tavern at 702-382-4421

Hey Locals, Wanna Know What’s Going On In Vegas

Wednesday already? It’s already time to think about what to do this weekend. As always be sure to make it out to our friendly farmers market Bet the Farm, Downtown3rd or Fresh 52 Farmers and Artisan Market, Buy Fresh, Buy Local

THIRSTY THIRD THURSDAY PUB CRAWL Begins at Hennessey’s Tavern, 425 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89109 Kicks off at 7pm and is $20 per person. Comes with 6 drinks and 2 half price entree vouchers also there will belive music to enjoy For more information and to RSVP for the Pub Crawl call (702) 382-4421

Free admission for locals on Nov. 15 to the Mob Museum as they will commemorate the anniversary of the Kefauver Committee hearings, which took place in its building in 1950, with a day featuring special programming. See website for more info

Benefit for ALS of Nevada Art The Third Annual Wreath Festival November 15th presented by Las Vegas Design Center. Funds raised help provide much-needed services for Nevada ALS patients and their families. The festival takes place in the Atrium of Building A at the World Market Center Las Vegas. Tickets are $50 per person online and $60 per person at the door. The event features a silent auction of the art wreaths, a live auction of special packages, gourmet appetizers, a hosted bar, a jazz band (Mike Candito and Friends) and is open to the public. We look forward to seeing you!

This weekend Springs Preserve will be hosting a cooking workshop called Killer Hors D’oeuvres. “Be the hit of your holiday party or office potluck with inspired recipes developed by the chefs from the Springs Cafe by the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas” this Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Visit the Springs Preserve website for more information

There is plenty going down at the Smith Center this weekend.

Betty Buckley Starring in “Ah, Men! The Boys of Broadway” on November 15-17, 7:00pm, November 18, 3:00pm “features men’s songs from Broadway shows that Buckley has always wanted to sing, including numbers from Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Pippin, The Fantasticks and more. The centerpiece of the show is “A Hymn to Her,” a rewrite of My Fair Lady’s “A Hymn to Him” in which Henry Higgins asks “Why Can’t a Woman be More Like A Man?” The prolific singer reverses the question in a witty retort complete with musical references to iconic male Broadway roles including Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Harold Hill in A Musical Man and Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables.”

I Know I Came In Here For Something on November 17, 2:00pm & 7:00pm “the smash New York summer theater hit has audiences raving, laughing and calling this show the best show about aging. Dr. Carole Altman and the Gateway Arts Foundation.org bring this hilarious musical comedy revue to the Smith Center-Troesh Theater.”

Las Vegas Philharmonic – An American Portrait happens on November 17, 8:00pm “The Las Vegas Philharmonic offers a rich cornucopia of American music this Thanksgiving season. Aaron Copland captured the American spirit with his stirring Fanfare for the Common Man and arrangements of American folk songs. This Fanfare is closely connected to The Smith Center, represented in the vibrant Symphony Park sculpture and Reynolds Hall foyer painting by local artist Tim Bavington. This will be the first performance of the work in Reynolds Hall. Tony Hsieh—CEO of Zappos.com, best-selling New York Times author and Las Vegas resident—narrates Copland’s iconic musical portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Leonard Bernstein’s infectious dance rhythms in the film West Side Story captured the music of New York immigrants as we celebrate the musical spirit of America at Thanksgiving time”.

You can purchase tickets to any of these events online here

Looking for some comedy? If you haven’t gotten a chance to see the Mineola Twins by Paula Vogel and directed by Joe Hynes at the Cockroach Theatre this weekend is your chance. There is only two more weekends left so don’t miss out.  A comedy in six scenes, four dreams and seven wigs. Myrna and Myra, almost identical twins (played by the one actress), battle each other through the Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan/Bush years over virginity, Vietnam and Family Values. [October 26–November 18]
Tickets start at $15 you can purchase online here
If you would like to tell us about an event do so. Please leave comments on our Facebook page or this website. Hope you have a chance to get out there and enjoy the city.

Where Are the Local Bands At?

Where have all the musicians gone? I see plenty of performing and visual arts here in Vegas but I’ve been living in Las Vegas for almost 3 years and do not know where to go to hear some local bands. All I’ve ever heard about is Yellow Brick Road which I admit they are cool and the not so clever Steel Panther. Isn’t there more? I am searching for is local bands playing in the Las Vegas area. Ones that play in the bars and taverns throughout the city. Are kids putting down instruments, picking up computers and calling this music? I see a lot of advertising for DJ’s and electronic music mini raves from local talent that display hard hitting beats and some cool dance music. Although, that type of rave prompting music has its own scene, I miss music where I don’t have to endure the bass and treble repetitive sounds all night. Something with some substance musically.  I’m talking about musicians trying to make a living with their music or love to rock out so much they play after work. I know there has got to be something in this beautiful city please tell me I’m missing it. I’m talking about the warmth of an electric guitar that captures emotion and fits perfectly together with the lyrics and drum beats. It makes me wonder is this just in Vegas that this is happening? Please write us and let us know your favorite local band. I’m not concerned with the genre and cover bands are included in this search. I’m looking for local talent in the areas of rock, alternative, reggae etc.  I know there has got to be some local musicians somewhere in this city trying to get discovered. Leave comments and feedback below.

Marijuana Tourism Something For Vegas?

How long do you think it will take for Nevada to legalize Marijuana for recreational use?  There may be good reason not to hold off too much longer. If you haven’t heard, the November 6th election did more then just re elect the most controversial president, it made history in a different way. It seems as though prohibition of Marijuana is coming to an end at least for the citizens of Colorado and Washington state. The majority voted in favor of Amendment 64 and Initiative 502 that allows Marijuana to be used recreationally by adults 21 and over. It is not that much of a surprise, for years activists have been arguing that laws governing the herb conflict with the little facts that are known. There is no evidence of addiction, sickness, or overdose but it is still considered has harmful as drugs like Heroin by the Federal government. Also, people have claimed to prefer the use of the plant over alcohol due to it’s low intoxicating effects. Further more, Medical Marijuana used by patients with chronic diseases such as Cancer, Aids and pain related disorders continue to use the plant because of the positive effects from smoking it.

Colorado’s Amendment 64 allows “adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and six marijuana plants, though public use of the drug and driving while intoxicated are prohibited. It also directs lawmakers to write regulations on how pot can be sold, with commercial sales possible by 2014.” A similar measure, Initiative 502 was passed in Washington state that would allow Marijuana possession of an ounce or less and it would become legal on Dec. 6, though setting up a state-run sales operation would take a year. Both states are waiting on a federal response that could possibly block both measures.

There is speculation that these states will have increased tourism if these laws stay in effect.  It seems as though people are changing how they want to spend their time as tourists, less people are coming to Las Vegas for the gambling and are more interested in having a good time in other ways. The Las Vegas Sun reported, “Strip casinos make more money off their rooms, restaurants and entertainment than from the table games and slots”. The issue doesn’t necessarily lie with Colorado and Washington taking away tourists it’s more about being able to attract more tourists into Las Vegas and recreational Marijuana would be a huge market as people come here to play on our adult playgrounds. The good news is, it is unlikely it will bring a rowdy crowd actually it’d be on the contrary as Marijuana smokers tend to be more laid back then those who drink.

Las Vegas is known for being a progressive state and will likely follow suit if the federal government allows these states to use these news laws.  The valley has had a medical Marijuana policy since 2001 and the numbers show that this generation of American people are less opposed to Marijuana with a 60% approval rating in the United States. Since Las Vegas is the tourist capital of the world, if tourism numbers increase in these states, Nevada may want to put it on the next election ballots.

Bad Girls Club Star Takes On Fremont Street

Jennavecia Russo “Bad Girls Club” hanging with the most interesting man in the world, Downtown Las Vegas 2012

You may have noticed Downtown Vegas was hopping this year for Halloween. There was a block party that included a couple of stages with DJ’s, musicians and dancers that went into full swing after the downtown Halloween parade. Fremont street was not left out either, they had a haunted house, of course their three stages had performances and there were some parties rocking out on the East side of the district. The entire downtown area was pumpin’ and gave all of the attendees a great opportunity to show their best moves in their hottest costumes. There wasn’t a recognizable person in sight, well actually there was one.

The downtown atmosphere was cool enough to bring out Vegas Bad Girl and reality star Jennavecia Russo. You know the one from the hit show Bad Girls Club season two!  She made her appearance downtown dressed to kill, I mean that literally. Dressed in a mini camo with matching knee high boots, she commanded attention as she enjoyed the festivities. All heads turned as she walked by and that was for good reason my friends. Besides the fact she seemed to be the only female dressed in military fatigues, there was more boot then skirt and not even the most interesting man in the world could resist a look. Her costume was hands down the hottest of the night and she rocked it like the star she is.

So what’s the reality starlet been up to these days? Although, she is very private about her personal life we were able to find out a few things. She loves all of her fans, she was extremely open about that and tries to keep them in the loop on her Facebook page.  Outside of keeping things interesting at her local tavern she  spends her time with her beautiful daughter. For fun and relaxation she rides motorcycles like the true bad ass she is. Even if she is the ultimate bad girl she does have soft spot for animals, I think it’s genetic.

Her mom owns and runs Symphony Animal Foundation in Pahrump Nevada and she helps out there from time to time. This non profit, no kill animal shelter was opened in 2009 and saves all kinds of our four legged friends from living in desert misery.  You may be able to see our favorite bad girl on reality TV again but don’t expect any knock down drag out fights as there are rumors about a show based around the shelter. Now isn’t that sweet, we all knew that Jennavecia had to have a sweet side. I know, I know a more interesting question is does our girl have a special someone right now?  Kind of a disappointment as she wouldn’t come clean about her love life but what we do know is she did not seem tied down while she played General Russo for Halloween. Let’s all give her a shout out for being an ultimate bad girl!

If you would like more information about Symphony Animal Foundation click here.

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