Las Vegas Weekly

November 7, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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AS WE SEE IT … > A ROAD RUNS THROUGH IT The District's new driving lanes are more byway than highway. GODZILLA CITY A poem of overheard words from the Vegas Valley Book Festival In America there's really no such thing as high art. They're giving away free hot dogs. And they tried to switch horses with bikes. I wanted it to be porous and I wanted there to be space for people to think about these things. Do you have any Diet Coke? I hoarded bottled water in my apartment. And the cat is actually just my cat. I think of him as a weird bastard offspring of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Joe Cocker. I didn't even know there was such a book. WHEELS DOWN, REVENUE UP? The District goes with the flow (of traffic) It's a sunny Sunday morning, and the scene feels familiar on Rachel's Kitchen's busy front patio: Breakfasters down scrambles and smoothies. An acoustic duo covers The Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon." A car rolls by. Actually, that part's new. Last month, the tall construction fencing came down, launching the shopping center's new roadside era. As in, there's now a twoway street through what has always been a pedestrian walkway. But, says Chris Connors, owner of Rachel's District location, don't go diving for cover. "When I first heard about the road, people made it seem like Green Valley Parkway was gonna come through here," he says as a car creeps down the stamped concrete just beyond his patio. "Obviously, it's far from that." Time will tell if the District's newish owner, Vestar Development, accomplishes its goals—creating customer convenience (44 close parking spaces have been added) and aiding merchants' visibility, according to marketing director Kimberly Daskas—with the new configuration. Walking from Anthropologie at one end to REI at the other, fears that the outdoor mall's comfortable vibe would be paved over feel unfounded. The "traffic" seems unobtrusive, new tenants (accessory shop Charming Charlie, Luna Rosa Ristorante) are moving in, and Rachel's patio is actually larger than before. "I came to the District for the outdoor space, and I love this. It looks similar, but it's different," Connors says, waving to a couple at a nearby table. "Those two were totally against the project when they first heard about it. But I've seen them back here six or seven times since the road opened 10 days ago." –Spencer Patterson SINATRA AND A ROCKET LAUNCHER DISTRICT PHOTO BY STEVE MARCUS Vegas as video-game set piece Ammo rips into a slot machine, spilling coins onto an average-looking dude with a not-so-average-looking gun. It's the apocalypse, y'all, and the average dudes and their badass German Shepherd are defending what's left of Las Vegas against dark forces. They take cover behind green gaming felt, flirt with Megan Fox and rappel down the side of a ruined casino before popping up in space, careening through the desert and then back to the Strip to blow the hell out of a helicopter. Also, Frank Sinatra belts out "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die" the entire time. ¶ This just-dropped trailer for video game Call of Duty: Ghosts is titled "Epic Night Out," making the Vegas connection painfully clear. And we love As an author you have to find what your natural voice is and where your talents lie. I really love decay and the abject and things that are really ugly. It's such a beautiful day. I don't want to walk past Grouchy John's with this in my hand. It's a collection of angry love poems. It's about a mother and daughter showgirl team. I want you to read them in the original Spanish. If you give good writers a lot of freedom, they'll go in unexpected directions. My daddy said, "Son, you've been a disappointment to me." That's kind of how I feel about Las Vegas. It's turned into Godzilla city. How did that happen? –Kristen Peterson *Screen shot from the video game commercial it! Our city doesn't get nearly enough love as a bombed-out backdrop to endof-the-world films, but video games seem to recognize the value of the atmosphere as a set piece for lots of mayhem. ¶ There's a Wikipedia page on the topic, with a few recognizable titles (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) and many obscure ones (Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller). Sifting through the latter, there's a gem called Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. Could this be the origin of the city's nickname, "Lost Wages," as the game was originally released in 1987 for PC DOS? (Holla if you're old enough to know what that is!) Wikipedia says that "the story follows Larry Laffer, a middle-aged male virgin, as he tries to 'get lucky.'" The goods on Google Images make it clear why Las Vegas is the best place ever to set a video game, and why this particular one was remade in 1991 … and 2013. –Erin Ryan NOVEMBER 7–13, 2013 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM 11_AWSI_2_20131107.indd 11 11 11/6/13 1:15 PM

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