Las Vegas Sun

March 18, 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

'Opium' celebrates one-year on the Strip in typically raucous fashion
Friday, March 15, 2019
Spiegelworld founder Ross Mollison was dressed like David Bowie from the “Life on Mars?” video, and producer Howie M. Howie was in a VIP room before the show taking a bath, sudsing himself with a loofah before a room full of Vegas socialites.
Local music notes: Chameleon Queen, Inhuman Again, King of Heck and more
Thursday, March 14, 2019
The brainchild of singer and guitarist Memo Jesus Inzunza, Chameleon Queen fuses disparate influences: ’70s Japanese psych-rock acts such as Shintaro Sakamoto, jazzy lounge rock from the likes of Yura Yura Teikoku, plus T. Rex, The Beatles and Of Montreal.
Nuro Bistro’s Hainan chicken rice could change your life
Thursday, March 14, 2019
The bird is poached, served skin-on and accompanied by a bowl of chicken-stock-seasoned rice and three sauces.
Left of Center’s female-focused ‘Transitions’ emphasizes the unexpected
Thursday, March 14, 2019
“People are expressing themselves in different ways that were hidden before and not talked about. It gives you a chance to say, ‘Here I am. I want you to see that these are concerns of mine and areas that affect me deeply and areas that have changed my whole life.’”
A cupcake with a side of health care
Local nonprofit celebrates eight years of helping sex workers, adult entertainers
Thursday, March 7, 2019
In 2011, Joy Hoover launched the Cupcake Girls nonprofit in Las Vegas to provide sex workers and adult entertainers with varying levels of assistance—at AVN, Cupcake Girls offered rest, relaxation, food, goodie bags and massages. But since its inception, it has been responsible for supporting hundreds of clients with intensive case management; medical, dental and mental health services; legal counsel and more.
New Cosmopolitan Chinese restaurant Red Plate seats you at the head table
Thursday, March 7, 2019
The gourmet multi-regional eatery is small, luxurious and modern, decked out in black, gold and deep and distinguished red.
Metric’s Emily Haines on reclaiming rock, Vegas connections and touring with the Pumpkins
Thursday, March 7, 2019
“We have Zoé, a legendary rock band from Mexico, and July Talk, an upcoming band from Canada [on tour with us]. The feeling and spirit of having a consolidation of love between the three countries is excellent, and spirits are really high.”
Shake it up! Ding puts a fresh twist on bubble tea
Thursday, March 7, 2019
An old-school Street Fighter arcade game is a nice touch, too.
Aces Carolyn Swords spending offseason serving Las Vegas community
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Like many WNBA players, Las Vegas Aces center Carolyn Swords was used to spending the offseason playing overseas ...
UNLV art department chair Marcus Civin looks to unite, inspire and entertain
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019
“Everything we need is here. It’s just coming together in a slightly different way and expanding our circles and imagination.”
Taste and tradition: Cipriani brings a historic Italian brand to the Wynn
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019
The Las Vegas location is bold and sexy, with nautical touches that pay homage to the original Harry’s Bar, which sat along the canals of Venice.
Dutch DJ San Holo talks Marquee mix and 2019 music
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019
“I tour a lot, and I get a lot of inspiration from traveling, meeting people, playing shows and all these bits and pieces. I get ideas from that, and I produce them on my laptop and then I go home and work that all out.”
Longtime Vegas band Black Camaro presses its latest album to vinyl
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019
“I’ve recorded so many bands that have been on vinyl, and I’ve never had my own sh*t on vinyl. The way [vinyl] tells a story, having to flip it over, it’s like a two-part mini-series. And we really designed it to be like that.”
With new headquarters, AFAN positioned to serve community long-term
Monday, Feb. 18, 2019
For more than three decades, Aid for AIDS of Nevada has been providing services to the HIV-positive community when others shut their doors ...
New local music videos debut at Dam Short Film Fest
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019
Among the handful of Nevada-based films screened at last week's shorts fest was a few music videos for local acts.
How to Eataly: Five musts at Park MGM’s new Italian marketplace
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019
Sip Barolo, nosh on a meat and cheese board and put chocolate on everything.
Vegas band Be Like Max develops an international audience and a harder sound
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019
It has become more political, with songs about the #MeToo movement and bias in the news. And its sound is noticeably more aggressive.
Vegas-based porn star Charlotte Sartre talks diversity, Dostoyevsky, puppets and more
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019
I discovered the internet a little too early and got really curious with Googling. I was like, you can type in “boobs!”
Exploring the dating lives of local porn performers
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019
“I felt like I was always being used as a tool, like, look at this hot porn girl I hang out with. They treated me like [my porn persona] instead of my actual self.”
Sadelle’s brings its Manhattan favorites—and lots more—to the Bellagio
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
It replaces the Conservatory-adjacent Cafe Bellagio, giving it a luxe upgrade while still ticking all the boxes a casino café needs. And while Sadelle’s is largely known for its bagels and lox, it has perfected lunch and dinner comfort foods, too.
Vegas scene veteran Aaron Archer keeps his first album raw
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
His lo-fi, garage-rock style permeates the project—a collection of songs he wrote years ago, recorded on an 8-track in the singer’s bedroom.
Perched well above the valley, Mount Charleston residents bask in the good life
Monday, Feb. 4, 2019
For the Tomashowskis, it’s the simple things that they enjoy most, like cuddling up next to the wood-burning fireplace, curling up with a book and taking in their surroundings. Of course, living on the mountain fuels their sense of adventure, too. They also like to hike, ski and ride ...
Review: Van Morrison digs deeper than the hits during his Colosseum engagement
Friday, Feb. 1, 2019
The singer-songwriter favored album cuts, covers and lesser-known songs over a set of radio staples during his 90-minute show.
When you press pause on Chinatown’s grub, relax and recover along Spring Mountain Road
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019
Aritaum’s prices can’t be beat. Where else can you get face masks for $1.50 apiece?
After recording with Brandon Flowers, Aussie singer-songwriter Alex Cameron falls in love with Las Vegas
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019
“We showed him some ideas, he showed us some ideas, and we just became sort of like, a good wall for each other to bounce ideas off for each others’ records.”
The Texas-style Mama Bird serves up must-try fried chicken
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019
I went for the biscuits and gravy, and then I returned for the chicken.
When open format DJ Maria Romano hits the booth, nothing can distract her
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019
She’s a regular at Drai’s, and hip-hop is where her heart is.
Gig Depio’s giant, desert-inspired paintings must be experienced in person
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019
Depio’s 11-by-40-foot Moapa mural works as a Nevada time capsule, traveling to the time of industrialization and the type of “creative destruction” that naturally occurs when trying to make life more hospitable.
Meet David Ostrem, ringleader for the interstellar band at the heart of ‘Opium’
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019
We had to keep the interview relatively short, so he could make his flight on the OPM 73 spaceship, which he and his crew board every Wednesday through Monday for a quick pit stop in Sin City.
Freshman UNLV students stand out in innovation contest
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019
A group of UNLV freshmen took home an award at CES this month as part of Beasley Media Group’s inaugural Media Innovation Hackathon ...
Volunteers help out at nearby national parks during shutdown
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019
The government shutdown, which began December 22, is the longest on record, causing national parks to rely on volunteers and donations to stay open.

Seek out the next stop on Ruse Vegan Kitchen’s tasty Valley tour
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019
The chef and her partner prep everything—like the wheat and cannellini bean-based proteins—in a commercial kitchen, then load up their cars to sell at farmers’ markets or outside bars, where everything is cooked to order.
Palazzo’s Mott 32 brings Hong Kong to the Strip
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019
My favorite plate is hands down the signature smoked black cod. Bite-sized pieces of white fish are slathered in a tantalizing barbecue sauce, lending the otherwise mild fish an intense, meaty flavor.
Three shows to consider this week: Jason Charles Miller, Luicidal and The 5.6.7.8’s
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019
If you’ve seen Kill Bill Volume 1, you’ll probably remember The 5.6.7.8’s playing “Woo Hoo” barefoot in an izakaya.
New executive director 'inspired' to lead Gay and Lesbian Community Center
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019
The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada this week announced the appointment of John Waldron as its new executive director ...
Three plates: the best in Vegas biscuits and gravy
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019
Where can you get hot links mixed in?
Resolve to rock: Local music figures declare their goals for 2019
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019
Among them: creating new music, touring more, learning a Sting song and finishing an astronomy opera.
Traveling art exhibit 'Axis Mundo' highlights the work of LA's queer, Chicanx community
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019
Many of the artists in the exhibition were impacted by the AIDS crisis, which contributed to the disappearance of their histories over time.
Try these new Las Vegas restaurants to get 2019 off to a tasty start
Monday, Jan. 7, 2019
From NoMad to Red Plate to Sadelle's, the Strip is ready for fresh foodie exploration.
This Las Vegas pet shelter is critical in the healing of domestic abuse victims
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019
A woman plays with her dog inside a small living room inside Noah’s Animal House. These spaces, called “cuddle rooms,” , give survivors of domestic violence the ability to connect with ...
Five thoughts: Lady Gaga's 'Enigma' launch at Park Theater (December 28)
Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018
What better way to celebrate the birth of a new year than with an over-the-top, glittery spectacle in Las Vegas?
Las Vegas’ best new restaurants of 2018
Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018
Esther’s Kitchen, NoMad, Cleaver, Block 16 and beyond.
Concerts, albums and Las Vegas releases: recapping a busy year in music
Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018
Janelle Monáe, David Byrne, St. Vincent, The War on Drugs, Robyn and more.
Momofuku’s Feast of the Seven Fishes brings Asian flair to an Italian holiday tradition
Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018
Savor a whole branzino straight off the plate, or make lettuce wraps with rice, ginger scallions, pickles and Bibb lettuce.
Tacotarian serves up 14 tasty varieties of non-meat tacos
Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018
“Vegan” and “Mexican food” rarely share the same sentence.
New Aria seafood spot Catch will leave your senses awed
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018
The signature truffle sashimi is without a doubt one of Vegas’ best new dishes this year.
The new album by Las Vegas act Boiis addresses the human fragility behind social issues
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018
Rooted in ’80s pop—the duo is influenced by Janet and Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode and Prince—The Project Generation recounts a single day and all of its emotional ups and downs.
Janaïna Milhiero’s Diptyque installation adds to Las Vegas’ art panorama
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018
Her piece, comprising thousands of hand-cut yellow turkey, goose and iridescent acrylic faux-feathers, is an interpretation of Diptyque’s “olfactory landscape” and a nod to Las Vegas’ feather-adorned history.
A Public Fit messes with our wiring in ‘Incognito’
Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018
Four actors play an impressive 21 different characters, and while the rapid-change between roles can be confusing for the audience, it serves a key purpose.
Chef Nicole Brisson prepares to open Park MGM’s Italian marketplace, Eataly
Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018
Different retail areas will focus on wine, pasta, cheese, cured meats, Italian desserts, housewares and more.

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