Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour in Vegas: The Strip Goes Dark

The Las Vegas Strip will go dark tonight at 8:30 p.m. in honor of Earth Hour, proving once again that the city people love to hate has some sense of morals. (Not to mention it might also have something to do with good PR.) If you get a chance to watch this astonishing event from a distance, take it. In 1990, my hubby and I watched the Strip go dark in honor of Sammy Davis, Jr.'s death. Back in the pre-boom days, we easily found an excellent vantage point on Decatur just south of Flamingo. Today you'll probably have to look a little harder, but it's worth the effort. The Strip going dark is a sight you won't forget; the jewels of the city don't often acquiesce to the darkness of the Mojave.

Read more about Las Vegas and light pollution in AP Reporter Alicia Chang's article, "Death Valley works to preserve night sky; Las Vegas neon threatens to steal the view from renowned stargazing spot."
Update: on April 3, 2009, the Business Section of the RJ reported that the valley's energy usage dropped 3% during Earth Hour.
Photo courtesy of Chad Mathews at

Thursday, March 26, 2009

RIP, Las Vegas Art Museum

On March 12, 2009, the Las Vegas Art Museum ceased. LVAM was 59 years old at the time of its death. LVAM is preceded in death by droves of Las Vegas businesses and organizations, including the Guggenheim, The Neverending Story (our only independent children’s bookstore), and Cheesecake & Crime (Henderson’s last locally owned bookstore). LVAM is survived by the Arts District, the Art Center at Neonopolis, and by all of Las Vegas’ determined and talented (if often also ignored) artists.
Photo Information: My picture of LVAM's exterior

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Las Vegas RJ: Every Day Whether You Want It Or Not

In case you haven’t heard, the media has pronounced the daily newspaper dead. Last month, Time proposed that newspapers charge for their online content to increase their sinking profits. Late-night host Bill Maher wondered where we’re going to get our news once all the reporters are gone, a sentiment that local Las Vegas Sun editor Brian Greenspun echoed in his editorial, “If there’s no paper, where will news come from?”

Do we really think that if the printed daily newspaper dies—which looks pretty imminent, by the way—that all the reporters will move to… Mars? Are we afraid that they’ll all jump off the nearest cliff, lemming-like, following their managing editors into the sea? Come on, folks. Newspapers aren’t going to die. They’re just going to change.

People may have to get over their terrible Blogger Fear, for instance. Here’s the gist of what I’ve read and heard: since bloggers get their news from newspapers, after newspapers die and all the journalists throw themselves upon their… their… oh heck, journalists don’t even own anything sharp they can throw themselves upon. Anyway, in the post-newspaper world, the unreliable and untrained bloggers will swarm in to fill the void and spread rotten news to the masses. Can’t you just see all the professional journalists reaching for a paper bag to breath into?
Not every blogger is an untrained writer. Yes, many lousy blogs exist. The last time I checked, we had an abundance of lousy printed material as well. Even if newspapers did cease and bloggers did rush to fill cyberspace with garbage, the real journalists will still be here. Really. All the same people who currently bring you the news will still be here when the news changes. They might be out of work at the moment, but I doubt they'll sit idly by when the opportunites arise for them to report again. Newspapers and magazines have been hit hard in this economy, along with many other business. They aren't the only ones losing money and jobs. Papers are already migrating content onto the Web, and even reporters and editors are writing blogs. People want to get news, and a whole bunch of us like writing about it. I believe that some forward-thinking person(s) out there will find a new way for newspapers to exist. Will that future include a daily piece of something printed and delivered? That’s a good question. If the Las Vegas Review Journal has its way, you’re getting a paper every day, whether you want it or not.

After I switched my subscription to weekends only, the RJ kept calling to ask about delivering the paper every day. At first I was nice, but after the fifth or sixth call, I had to get firmer. No, nothing was wrong with the paper, I assured them. I just didn’t want to get one every single day. “Why do I want to pay for something I’m putting in the recycling bin?” I told the caller. In February, the RJ sent me a letter that extolled the virtues of the daily paper. They wrote, “We want all subscribers to enjoy and utilize the newspaper seven days a week, not the weekend. Therefore, as of February 25, 2009, your current subscription will become a 7 day, full week subscription at no additional cost to you.”

What would we call this strategy? Woo and Wham? Court and Coerce? Persuade and Persist? Newspapers have a long and colorful history, full of scrappy and inventive people, and I don’t think that will change. Obviously, journalists will find a way to report the news, even if they have to make you read it.
Photo courtesy of Johnny DiBiasi at

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spring in Las Vegas

Today has turned out to be a beautiful spring day here in Las Vegas, as you can see from these pictures taken in my backyard. I’m not sure what kind of bird this yellow fellow is (I think he’s a finch). He was busily snatching the blossoms from the plum tree, eating whatever it is he likes, then letting the pink and maroon petals swirl to the ground.

The lovely day helps make up for the fact that I didn’t make the Hamilton Island shortlist (See “The Aussie Job,” below). Now, all hope is not lost. One lucky person out of the 33,000+ who didn’t make the first cut will get a Wild Card spot based on votes received on the website. Here’s my link:

While you’re there, check out the short-listed applicants’ videos. I like my video, and I know I’d do a wonderful job for those nice Australians, but I must say that the 50 people they picked were pretty dang impressive.

I think I’ll go out and enjoy this amazing spring day.