Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2019

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Photo of Leslie Ventura

Leslie Ventura

Staff Writer

Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars and DJs, covered countless shows, glimpsed into the oily world of professional bodybuilding and peered into the lives of Las Vegas’ movers and shakers. (She’s even been blessed by a shaman.) Prior to being a staff writer, Leslie served as the Weekly’s Calendar Editor and was a frequent contributing writer while pursuing her degree in Women’s Studies at UNLV. She runs on coffee and all things peanut butter-flavored.

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Story Archive

Mocktails are surging in boozy Las Vegas
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019
Abstinence is back in style—at least when it comes to alcohol.
DJ Viva La Vivi digs up throwback ‘magic’ for Love on the Beat
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019
She spins rock, pop, punk and garage vinyl—mostly recorded by European artists from the 1960s through the 1980s.
Head straight to the Crack Shack for your new favorite chicken sandwich
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019
My favorite bite? The behemoth Firebird sandwich. The giant, spicy fried-chicken thigh is the crispiest, crunchiest fried chicken I’ve tasted, yet it maintains the perfect balance of juicy, mouthwatering tenderness inside.
DJ Duo Natalia & Esther help launch new Park MGM spot Mama Rabbit
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019
Head to the pair’s YouTube channel to watch clips of them getting ready in their Vegas hotel room, fielding questions and performing at festivals like 2018’s Baja Beach Festival.
Elton John bids farewell to Las Vegas with a memorable three-hour sendoff
Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019
"I’m going to miss you guys. You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul, every fiber of my being. I will never forget you."
Poor Richard’s Players and Super Summer Theatre get on their game with ‘Noises Off’
Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019
We spoke with directors Maxim Lardent and Benjamin Loewy about the Michael Frayn-authored play-within-a-play, the duo’s last show before Poor Richard’s debut its new playhouse in October.
Brigitte Navarrete of LA’s Deux Twins talks hip-hop’s boom and going hard in Vegas
Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019
“We used to read the crowd and be like, ‘Oh, we need to go an EDM route to make this part of the room happy,’ but now the entire room is moving when hip-hop is playing. It’s been dope.”
Water Grill brings fresh ocean favorites to the Forum Shops
Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019
Water Grill’s chilled seafood platters deliver good value for the Strip. The most modest arrives with an assortment of oysters, clams, scallops and mussels, wild jumbo white shrimp, wild Dungeness crab, lobster and Channel Islands red sea urchin.
October’s Mural Mecca aims to continue New Orleans Square’s artistic ascension
Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019
The event will feature the installation of four new murals from October 11-13, with more mural-painting festivals planned for the future, says Nancy Good, who runs Core Contemporary gallery.
The Dorsey Sessions bring cocktails and expertise to the Venetian
Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019
They’re a great way for locals to try cocktails from other popular bars for a low price—each specialty cocktail costs $8 during the event—and they’ve been a big hit within the local beverage industry.
Group helps make recreational activities accessible to those with physical disabilities
Friday, Aug. 23, 2019
After talking to others with spinal cord injuries, Ashlee Kalina decided to start her own group, Las Vegas TRAILS, an acronym for Therapeutic Recreation and Independent Living Skills.
Local music notes: Sonia Barcelona, Mucky Boys and The Silver State
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019
Sonia Barcelona, aka Sonia Seelinger, releases new album ‘Bitter Melon’ on her birthday, September 7.
Get to know the spirits in your favorite summer cocktail favorites
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019
Aperol, Campari and cachaça 101.
Valencian Gold takes a fast-casual approach to paella
Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019
The restaurant takes after the Chipotle model, in which your meal is prepared to order along an assembly line of fresh ingredients.
Supercharge your back-to-school wardrobe with vintage threads
Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019
Vegas hasn’t always been known for its street style, but that’s changing. Layer it up ’90s-style by pairing denim jackets with Doc Martens, go ’80s with trousers and button-ups, or go retro with leather jackets that James Dean himself would envy.
New Orleans karaoke favorite the Cat’s Meow curls up on Fremont
Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019
This massive karaoke bar, now open on the second floor of Neonopolis, is an offshoot of the 30-year-old Bourbon Street original. The Vegas location has over-the-top kitsch on lock, with velvet leopard prints covering nearly every inch of the space.
Neon Museum resident artist Julie Henson gets deep into Vegas’ fabric
Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019
Henson is working on a variety of sculptures that will translate the Neon Museum’s behemoth relic signs into softer fabric forms, using materials you’d typically find in showgirl costumes.
Formerly Alaska, King of Heck’s name isn’t the only thing that’s all new
Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019
“It’s really just been kind of a refocusing of what we like in songwriting and music. … In a way, it was the most natural thing to do.”
New LGBT nightclub Iconic sets a high bar with its opening run
Thursday, July 25, 2019
The two-level venue features Instagram-worthy touches like the neon-pink Iconic sign in the entryway and a #beiconic sign over the main bar on the lower level.
Our email chat with Japanese dance-punk quartet Chai
Thursday, July 25, 2019
“Music is art, so there’s no rules. Your body truly just moves without warning, without a cue, that’s what’s so fun about it. Come watch our show, and you’ll see!”
Dining Out for Life benefits the HIV/AIDS community
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Eat at one of the participating restaurants on July 23 and part of the proceeds will go toward Golden Rainbow.
Rüfüs Du Sol returns to Vegas for a Nightswim DJ set
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Their visuals are second to none—starry light installations are central to the group’s performances.
Survive the triple digits with these frozen Vegas cocktails
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Cool down with a Penichillin at the Venetian or a Guava Chi Chi off the Strip.
A Downtown Vegas neighborhood built on the arts is losing galleries and cultural businesses
Thursday, July 11, 2019
“I’ll be OK, others will relocate, but the opportunity for that synergy in one place? That’s what the city is losing.”
Gorgon City brings its inclusive party mix to KAOS
Thursday, July 11, 2019
The U.K. duo teamed with Kaskade and rising vocalist Roméo on May track “Go Slow,” demonstrating Gorgon City’s ability to straddle the underground and the mainstream and find loyalists in both realms.
Las Vegas’ Leather Bound Crooks take a big step with first full-length ‘Breach’
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
The band will celebrate its new sound with a joint release party with local blues-rock outfit Damaris, July 12 at 172 inside the Rio.
After almost a decade at Bellagio, Hyde closes its doors on July 6
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
“We created that crowd, and we cultivated it and made it what it was. That’s the legacy of Hyde.”
Concert review: Paul McCartney at T-Mobile Arena (June 28)
Sunday, June 30, 2019
After 35 shows, seven months and four continents, there’s simply no slowing down Paul McCartney—and that’s something for which we should all be grateful.
Vegas’ Geykido Comet Records celebrates two decades of impact with a Dive Bar bash
Thursday, June 27, 2019
“I don’t want to stay quiet,” Shahab Zargari says. “If there’s a way [GC Records] can inspire others to think about humanity and community, then I think I’m doing my part.”
Innovator Virgil Abloh brings Off-White to the Wynn
Thursday, June 27, 2019
The designer and DJ’s latest Las Vegas venture finds him blending the worlds of fashion, art and music under one roof inside the Wynn.
Artist Lance Smith illustrates an epidemic of violence against black trans women
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Smith was also influenced by the Steve Wonder song “Black Orchid,” which “really speaks to the idea of a black trans woman being misunderstood and vilified.”
Fergusons Downtown spills rum in the alley
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Pour in the Alley highlights a new spirit every month, providing education about various brands and different ways to enjoy them.
With his new mural, artist James Stanford pays homage to Downtown icon the Blue Angel
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Instead of painting just one Blue Angel, Stanford decided to paint multiple versions—one emerging from a half shell like Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” and others as rockets ascending toward the heavens.
Talking five years at the Cromwell with Drai’s Dustin Drai
Thursday, June 20, 2019
“We started with pop—The Weeknd, Chris Brown, Iggy Azalea—to a hip-hop guy here, a hip-hop guy there. It was this synergy of hip-hop at the time becoming the No. 1 genre in the world and us doing live talent. We didn’t expect it to blow up like it did. It just kind of transformed.”
Kick off your Tuesday shoes and dance with Chromeo at Brooklyn Bowl
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Like a frozen margarita served poolside, “Don’t Sleep” is funky, refreshing and perfect for summer days.
Big Jerk adds fish to its menu of addictive Caribbean food
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Dishes like whole snapper, rubbed in a potent blend of herbs and spices and then fried deliver a different vibe entirely.
The spirits of Prohibition live on Underground at the Mob Museum
Thursday, June 6, 2019
When bartender Riki Taiga hands you a cocktail in a miniature porcelain bathtub, you sip it. Then you Instagram it.
How Noel Calizo went from party photographer to SPCKRFT pilot
Thursday, June 6, 2019
The multiuse space was recently awarded $1,000 from Meow Wolf’s DIY Fund, and Calizo just partnered with Mojave Studios for an expansion. Going forward, he says, the possibilities are endless.
Emerge takes a meaningful step forward during its second festival edition
Monday, June 3, 2019
Emerge got a whole lot right during its second go-round. What’s left for a potential year three? Drawing bigger crowds, across the board.
Las Vegas Sex Worker Collective to march in support of International Whores’ Day
Friday, May 31, 2019
“We deserve rights, just like any other labor group.”
Big Freedia—the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Bounce’—brings her infectious energy to Emerge
Thursday, May 30, 2019
“[Las Vegas] will enjoy a great show full of energy and fun and lots of love, and I hope that they can reciprocate that and give it back in return.”
Local music notes: Jerk! makes moves, a Mike Briggs memorial show and more
Thursday, May 30, 2019
The Rhyolite Sound kicks off its Golden Nugget residency on June 7.
Jesus Lizard leader David Yow, on fronting Flipper, cats and his Vegas past
Thursday, May 23, 2019
“I called my parents and said, “Hey, we’re playing in Las Vegas tonight at the Huntridge Theatre.” And my mom said, “Oh, yeah, you’ve been there.” She said it used to be a movie theater, and she had seen movies while she was pregnant with me.
deadmau5 details the real-time tech capabilities of his KAOS residency in Las Vegas
Thursday, May 23, 2019
“Any DJ can come in and bring a video playback system where he’s got a VJ mashing away on buttons, but you can only do so much, because the video is video; it’s linear, it’s not modular.” Real-time output, on the other hand? “It’s something I already exercise on my massive Cube tour, so they’ve kind of been developing in tandem. I’ve been borrowing things from my Cube and putting it into this system and vice versa.”
Electric Daisy Carnival Night 1 scene report: The new look of EDC?
Saturday, May 18, 2019
This year marks the Insomniac-produced festival's ninth in Las Vegas, and while there were some big logistical changes this year—a larger footprint and additional interactive art, to name two—perhaps the most noticeable difference came from the attendees themselves.
Uno Más serves up crave-worthy Mexican fare at SLS
Thursday, May 16, 2019
There’s some local flair, too. The mural on the outside of the restaurant—layered with sugar skulls, flora and fauna—is the creation of Vegas-based art collective Recycled Propaganda.
Chatting with veteran Chicago DJ Green Velvet, who’s back for another round of EDC
Thursday, May 16, 2019
“For the festival this year, we’ve got some people who are really at the top of their game: Eats Everything, Fisher, Patrick Topping, Mason Maynard and Eli Brown and Idris Elba.”
Getting to know Christine and the Queens (Florence + The Machine’s T-Mobile opener)
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Nantes native Héloïse Letissier, better known by her stage name Christine and the Queens and her alter ego Chris, has been releasing feminist, queer and thought-provoking French pop since 2011.
Electric Daisy Carnival’s massive stages take an army to set up—and some serious imagination
Thursday, May 16, 2019
The logistics behind the stages are so in-depth, planning for EDC 2020 has already started.
Temptation Sundays celebrates 10 years at Luxor
Thursday, May 9, 2019
The party drew nearly 14,000 guests over the course of its 2018 season, and 2019 appears poised to be even bigger.