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October 4, 2015

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Neon Boneyard OK with photos — within limits


Leila Navidi

The new sign for the Neon Boneyard Park in Las Vegas Monday, November 15, 2010.

Neon Boneyard Sign

The new sign for the Neon Boneyard Park in Las Vegas Monday, November 15, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Beyond the Sun

In honor of Time’s man of the year — Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg — let’s break down today’s column into Facebook-style likes and unlikes. It’s the least I can do for the man who made it easy for all the people who never talked to me in high school to friend me now.

(like) Too sexy for the Boneyard: If you go to Saturday’s open house at the Neon Museum’s Boneyard of old Las Vegas signs — and let me strongly urge you to do so — you might be puzzled by the following stipulation:

You can take your camera, but not additional equipment — no tripods, no camera bags.

According to a Neon Museum spokeswoman, the point is to allow casual snapshots but not impromptu professional photo shoots. After all, the various fees that the museum charges for photo shoots — compared with $5 for the open house — is one of its few consistent income streams.

“Particularly with the open house,” she said, “we have found that people will sneak in a tripod and hang out all day long so as to avoid paying our regular photo-shoot fees. Or, they will bring in a model and set up a photo shoot where we can’t see them …”

Oh, come on, it can’t be that bad, can it?

“Yes,” she said. “The last open house, we found a miniphoto shoot happening with a mostly naked woman. Families with children, mothers hiding babies’ eyes, the whole nine. I ran to look for them as soon as I found out.”

The following scene unfolded:

Spokeswoman: “What are you doing?”

Mostly naked woman: “Taking pictures.”

Spokeswoman: “You had pants on when you came in.”

Mostly naked woman: “Duh, its cold outside.”

I can’t guarantee partial nudity on Saturday, but this holiday open house does let you see some cool Vegas signage that’s normally out of public view. It opens at 11 a.m. and gates close at 1:30 p.m. You can park behind the Reed Whipple Cultural Center, across the street at 821 Las Vegas Blvd. North; the Boneyard entrance is on McWilliams Avenue — look for the distinctive La Concha Motel lobby.

(like) Give this man an NEA grant: You have to like the way Jim Gibbons’ appointment of Sue Lowden to the state Board of Medical Examiners offers a new, completely unexpected way of looking at his governorship.

Sue Lowden

Sue Lowden

For four years, most of us have assumed that Gibbons’ demeanor in office — belligerent, intractable, capricious, veto-happy — spoke to an essential cluelessness in his nature. Dude just seemed oblivious to the way he came off, to the damage he did. And when, last month, he abruptly and rudely dismissed Wildlife Commission Chairman Ken Mayer — a man widely considered to have the state’s natural resources uppermost in mind — it was even possible to think that Gibbons was petulantly sticking it to the state that had failed to re-elect him.

Then came Lowden’s appointment. At first it seemed like yet another buffoon move; Lowden, you’ll recall, saw her Senate campaign undone by Chickengate. Patients paying doctors in poultry? Hardly a slam-dunk choice for a key medical position. Much snickering ensued.

But what if Gibbons does get it? What if this reveals a previously unsuspected, and somewhat sophisticated, taste for subversive humor on his part? That is, what if he appointed Lowden precisely because it’s so weird, not despite it?

That line of thinking allows you to consider Gibbons’ term from the perspective in which it probably makes the most sense: as a kind of performance art. Now, bear with me here. A long-term art project in which Gibbons plays “governor” would certainly explain a lot, wouldn’t it? The boundary-pushing excesses, in vetoes, in loopy public statements, in lady friends. His sulkiness in the last Legislature. His robotic no-tax mantra. Indeed, the more you think about it, Gibbons’ years actually make more sense as an extended theater piece than as a sincere attempt to govern.

Perhaps we misjudged the man.

(unlike) Then again: According to a recent Sun story, Dale Erquiaga, an aide to Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval, said Sandoval has asked for a meeting with Gibbons but has not received a reply. Now that’s the Gibbons we’re used to!

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