Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thursday: Back Again, Pinball and Mini-Golf

I grabbed my friend Matt on his day off and hit the Pinball Hall of Fame and mini-golf again. He had had a bad start to the day so the distractions seemed to help. Many quarters were spent and I wished the place had a t-shirt

One of Vegas’s latest addition to the art scene is the Holsum Lofts.
Built in the 50’s, the Holsum Bread factory was reclaimed as commercial space and now has a collection of galleries as some tenants. While walking through one, I ran into an old acquaintance, Paco Alverez. He has been a player in the local art scene and is now working at the Neon Museum. It was great to catch up on the politics, and general news I had missed since moving. More good galleries are opening and the arts district looks healthy. Nice to see.

One of the Neon Museum’s major coups was the saving of a local modernist hotel landmark. Destined to be destroyed to make room for condos, the La Concha’s distinctive foyer will now be relocated on site of the future Neon Museum property. Vegas has lost much of its historic architecture and this was a rare win for preservationist.

After leaving Holsum Lofts, Matt and I were joined by my wife and at the nearby Tinoco’s. Housed in the Art’s Factory, this was our first visit for all of us. The meals were excellent. I had a veal, steak and chicken dish. Pounded flat and grilled, it was served on black rice and field mushrooms, with a mild sauce on top. Seriously wonderful.

Matt called it a night, and we met up with friends at the Sidebar, near Fremont St. The area around the heart of old Vegas is slowly coming up, scary enough to keep most people away but edgy enough to reward those who do. Sidebar is beautiful inside, with drink prices reflecting the classier décor. The bar is on a block being redeveloped by the new owners of the Lady Luck. That casino/hotel is in the closed renovation, but the free valet parking is still being run for the bar patrons and area visitors. It’s a nice service by the hotel owners, a convenience that makes that area’s lack of parking less of a concern.

Our friend Donald loves indie/new music, is a virtual ambassador to the city and knows lots of folks. Which was how we got to talk to Ronnie, the drummer for The Killers, when we first sat down. They had attended the We Are Scientist show at the Celebrity, and the two Killers who were there watched the show unmolested. People desperate for celebrity sighting are usually in the casinos, while someone with a high profile can do their thing downtown with a good chance of being left alone. Donald said We Are Scientist put on a really good show. Vegas had a big problem with a lack of venues for new bands with small but growing buzz. Often LA or Salt Lake City were the only places for music fans who didn’t want to spend $200 a ticket at a casino on an aging rock band or dance divas that refuse to retire. The Celebrity has been showing good bands recently, but Donald is worried that that may change for the worst.

I give the evening an A+. Hooray for good places that aren’t in casinos!

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