Las Vegas doesn’t have the art museums, indie-film theaters, all-ages music venues and other cultural spaces that many comparable cities have. For some, this deficiency is reason to criticize what is here and then move to L.A. But others, like the Unxommon crew, see this void as an opportunity to help Vegas’ cultural community grow.
Unxommon started as a Thursday-night party that brought millennials together at Fremont East bar Commonwealth and soon grew into an online magazine, Unxommonvegas.com. The publication features up-and-coming local creatives who don’t have a platform—other than social media—to market their talents, and highlights events with recaps, videos and photo galleries.
“We focus on the experience and the creations of millennials in Vegas—what they’re working on, where they’re hanging out, where they’re eating, where they’re partying,” says Zauni Tanil, co-founder of Unxommon and one of its storytellers. “We encountered so many cool people that had a lot going on—projects, starting businesses—and nobody knew about them,” says co-founder and former UNLV Runnin’ Rebel Jelan Kendrick, who hosted that first Unxommon party at Commonwealth in April. “Other media [weren’t] covering them because they are underground. We just wanted to shine a light on [undiscovered artists] and explore the culture here in Vegas.”
The Unxommon “family” is made up of writers, photographers and videographers who take a first-person approach to storytelling. Kendrick says the goal of their stories and visuals is to capture a candid moment—a memory. Writer Jessica Maria Morales documented her uplifting experience at the RiSE Lantern Festival, as well as her first time at an underground rave. The crew also reports on experiences locals can go out and do, such as the scorpion-shot challenge at Downtown’s Nacho Daddy.
But the team has also followed through with their promise to highlight talent. Take, for instance, the 20-year-old producer and Las Vegas native Trevon Lee. His dreamy beats with layers of texture are polished, well-composed and, for the most part, unheard. The same goes for record label and art collective Artist Mafia, whose members range from baby-faced dance-music DJs to ex-Mormon rappers. Unxommon has spread the word about these unfamiliar artists.
As Tanil, Kendrick and the Unxommon family continue to showcase other creatives with genuine enthusiasm, they’re sharpening their own skills along the way. Tanil’s coverage of Kehlani at Life Is Beautiful in September received accolades from the singer on social media. “[Zauni] was shy, and now she is blossoming, and her voice is respected. I think it is going to continue to flourish,” Kendrick says. Tanil is quick to interrupt: “But that’s with everyone on the team and everyone [who] we talk to. We just want to keep creating. I think that’s what drives most of us. If you’re in Vegas and you’re passionate about what you do, we want to tell your story.”
Starting in December, Vegas Seven and DTLV.com will feature content from these earnest entrepreneurs, showcasing relevant news for the millennial audience under the tag Unxommon.