Vegas Seven

Arts & Entertainment

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Art Show

    David Sanchez Burr’s Beyond Sunrise Mountain at Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery earlier this year was a thought-provoking autobiographical multimedia installation. At the show’s reception, a flamenco dancer tangoed while a guitarist plucked nylon-stringed chords, a nod to Burr’s Spanish roots. The artist himself strummed electric guitar—feedback emanating from speaker-housing sculptures of imploded Strip hotels. Black balloons, helium-sapped, fell. Billboards caked with red mud, dried and flaked off.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Actor

    Good-ness, gra-cious, great balls of acting fire! Swallowing the scenery, belching, then swallowing some more, Martin Kaye jumps into the heart, soul and skin of rock trailblazer Jerry Lee Lewis in the resident production of Million Dollar Quartet at Harrah’s. The Brit-born, live-wire actor with the mop of blond curls pounds the 88s, leaps atop the piano and tosses off one-liners with smart-bomb precision, detonating across the stage.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Vegas Movie Moment

    Much funnier than the horrid Hangover Part III, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone satirizes the out-of-control-for-far-too-long egos of the Strip’s headlining magicians. While he’s almost outshined by Jim Carrey’s sado-masochistic Criss Angel caricature, Steve Carell’s falling-star protagonist unveils a neat feat. He manages to potshoot David Copperfield by having groupies sign consent forms even as he invites these ladies to witness the Biggest Bed in All of Las Vegas: “Would you like to see it?” he says.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Standup Act

    Any year where Don Rickles plays at The Orleans makes it hard for any other act to get in consideration as the best stand-up in the city, but a one-off at the Palms was stunning for the quality of comedy as well as the unlikely source.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Nevada Author

    In 1872, Mark Twain published Roughing It, a memoir of his travels through the Wild West, including the Nevada Territory. More than 140 years later, we finally get an update on the still (mostly) untamed land and its people. The 10 short stories in Battleborn (Riverhead, $26)—the debut collection by Pahrump-raised author Claire Vaye Watkins—give dimension to characters that the rest of the world sees only as stereotypes, if it sees them at all. In turn, the world has taken notice.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Strip Headliner

    While we’re tempted to divide this category into three headliners—i.e., Coco Austin and her enormous twin assets—we’ll count them all as one big, sexy, high-wattage headliner. Injecting renewed vigor into the erotic production spectacle Peepshow as Bo Peep after the departure of Holly Madison, the Ice Loves Coco reality-show star proves she’s more than just her mammaries, but a genuine presence onstage.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Free Show

    His talent is bigger than the small venues that contain him, which is a win for music fans on a budget. Franky Perez, the barrel-voiced singer-songwriter-guitarist and Las Vegas native has just begun two free residencies, at Quinn’s Irish Pub at Green Valley Ranch and at Jacks at Palace Station (9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, respectively). If you’ve never heard of him, blame past substance-abuse issues, which slowed his career but, in retrospect, have given his musicianship extra depth.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Vegas Reality-Show Star

    Pawn Stars is the reality show gift that keeps on giving, begetting Counting Cars and creating an, ahem, vehicle for its star, Danny Koker. Koker, the gravel-voiced, easygoing mechanic who runs the shop, had a ratings hit right off the rip, premiering to 4.3 million as the History Channel’s highest-rated debut. The show just wrapped a second season and is already filming its third, propelled as much by Koker’s relentless, infectious positivity as it is by the sweet whips that come out of his garage.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Residency

    The old saw about Vegas residencies is that it’s where past-their-prime performers go to die. Not so with Soul2Soul, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s 20-show series at the Venetian. This superstar married couple is still at the top of their game: McGraw’s latest album, Two Lanes of Freedom, came out in February, and he’s touring in support of it. Hill has a new music video and single out, “American Heart.” Moreover, they join Garth Brooks and Shania Twain in a line of country stars taking over the Strip.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Reality-TV Implosion

    Even by the reality-show standards of cable’s TLC—the channel that brought us Here Comes Honey Boo Boo—the high-speed train wreck called Sin City Rules was breathtakingly awful. Debuting in December and gone by New Year’s Day, Rules followed the lives of five Vegas women: clothing designer Lana Fuchs, poker star Jennifer Harman, cosmetics line owner Lori Montoya, Amy Hanley (late mob hit man Tom Hanley’s kid, who was reportedly missing, but not really, in a bizarre kerfuffle) and entertainment reporter/gadfly Alicia Jacobs.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Theater Venue

    Without getting bogged down in the “size matters” debate, let’s just say that big, satisfying things happen at the small, cozy Onyx Theatre. Over the years it’s given us alternative pleasures, including Naked Boys Singing and a female Hamlet. This year alone saw a fabulous Sweeney Todd, a sterling One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and an engrossing The Laramie Project. Don’t forget the numerous specialty shows—stand-up comedy, improv, burlesque and cabaret. All this in an intimate, 100-seat box of a theater.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Community Theater Comeback

    Roaches can survive a nuclear holocaust, so the theory goes, and our Cockroach Theatre thespians are no less resistant to death. Hatched in 2002 as a collection of some of the Valley’s best theater talents, the troupe bounced between venues over the past decade, even disappearing for a while. Resurfacing in March, they finally found a home—Downtown’s Art Square Theatre on First Street—and have roared back with a slew of productions, including Death of a Salesman, Love Song, You May Go Now and Gruesome Playground Injuries.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Music Venue You’ve Never Been To

    Come on in, the music’s fine. So’s the food. So’s the vibe. And pretty much everything else at The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz room, the city’s best untapped entertainment resource. Epitomizing elegance, the two-tiered, acoustically excellent venue is somewhere between a hip jazz joint and a sleek concert hall, and has given the city the likes of saxophonist Branford Marsalis, guitarist John Pizzarelli and legendary Broadway/cabaret star Barbara Cook. Next up: singer/musician/composer Billy Stritch, celebrating the songbook of Mel Tormé, on August 23-24./p>

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Art Import

    If the much-anticipated Vegas art scene is going to be fully realized, we need more participants like JK Russ and Matthew Couper. The married couple and professional artists moved from New Zealand to Las Vegas nearly three years ago and have been working diligently ever since. He creates haunting Old World-style oil paintings with biting contemporary insights. She creates colorful mixed-media collages and video installations that explore gender and sexuality. Both show prodigiously in and out of town.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best 3-D Art Space

    For years, the Clark County Government Center Rotunda Art Gallery has served as the Valley’s primo forum for art installations and sculpture-based exhibits. It’s a dramatic space that gets a lot of foot traffic because, well, everyone at one time or another has to conduct business at the government center. Local and international artists have sought to match the dimensions of the space, often with amazing results.

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