Thursday, May 17
Helldorado Days, the celebration of our Western heritage and lush facial hair, kicks off at 5 p.m., at the downtown rodeo grounds—Las Vegas Boulevard east to Seventh Street—with Cowboys for a Cure, a benefit rodeo for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Highlights of the weekend: the Whiskerino Contest Friday, the Helldorado Days parade Saturday night, and the professional rodeo daily through Sunday. ElksHelldorado.com.
Friday, May 18
First Fridays are huge, but every third Friday of the month is Vintage Bike Night at the Arts Factory, and that’s just cool. Owners of café racers, customs, Harleys, retro sports bikes gather for an evening of bench racing, music, food and art. Get on your scoot and ride down there at 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 19
Speaking of vintage, the Beat Swap Meet is coming to town, 6 p.m. to midnight at 1775 E. Tropicana Ave. Vendors will be bringing “literally tons” of rock, hip-hop, reggae, soul, jazz and punk records for your pawing pleasure. BeatSwapMeet.com.
Sunday, May 20
More evidence that the food-truck wave has yet to crest in Las Vegas: the Food Truck Throwdown, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tivoli Village. Chefs from the mall’s restaurants will collaborate with mobile-food slingers in a contest judged by local celebs.
Walker Evans had Alabama during the Great Depression as a photographic backdrop, and you’ve got Las Vegas in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Both are epic stories, but only one is iconic—so far. Change that by entering your best work in the Springs Preserve’s 2012 photo contest, the theme of which is “Las Vegas at Work.” Photos due by June 20. Download rules at SpringsPreserve.org.
Tuesday May 22
Michael Collins worked with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and political parties in Northern Ireland on an accord that brought an end to The Troubles. Thus Collins, now Ireland’s ambassador to the United States, knows conflict resolution, which is why he’ll be the featured speaker at the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution’s annual Peace in the Desert lecture, 7 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center. Free admission. Call 895-2428 for information.
Wednesday, May 23
While the Broadway staging of Mary Poppins “lacked the undiluted wonder” of The Lion King, according to The New York Times, the touring version of this show about the ultimate drop-in nanny is packed with sufficient whiz-bang theatrics and sage advice to justify the price of admission ($24 to $129). 7:30 p.m. at The Smith Center, TheSmithCenter.com.