Vegas Seven

Arts & Entertainment

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Local Album

    The Dirty Hooks’ debut CD, Electric Grit, possesses both high voltage and gravelly authenticity. The sexy, intertwined boy-girl vocals of front man Bobby McCall and drummer Jenine Cali are awesome by themselves. But add McCall’s ferocious guitar riffs and Tony Ratto’s whiplash bass, and we’re talking magic. Juke-joint-raising tunes such as “Moonshine Hustle” and “Kerosene Fire” are how you do bluesy rock ’n’ roll right. If you’re a fan of anything like the Black Keys, then this disc will snag and drag you by the gills—hard.

  • 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.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Venue Trend

    From Mandalay Bay Beach to “Soundwaves” at Hard Rock’s Paradise Beach to the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Social Club, poolside concerts are the coolest idea to hit Las Vegas’ chlorine ponds since the whole topless trend. Whether we’re talking Bloc Party & Santigold (Boulevard, Aug. 11), Marcus Schossow (Paradise, Aug. 18) or Ziggy Marley (Mandalay Bay, Aug. 31), the poolside musical offerings are way cooler than in years past.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Comedy Promoter Who Hosts His Own Shows

    Big year for comedy clubs, as Jamie Masada opened an outpost of his legendary Laugh Factory at Tropicana, and Brad Garrett moved his comedy club to MGM Grand. But Cort McCown’s smooth transition from the Palms’ Playboy Comedy Club to Paris as Empire Comedy in the dueling-piano bar Napoleon’s deserves special recognition. Particularly since McCown did it while maintaining the best Rolodex in the local comedy scene, bringing in the likes of David Koechner, Rob Riggle, Jim Jefferies, Matt Braunger, Greg Proops and Aisha Tyler. No other room in town has a lineup that robust.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Performing Arts Director

    Creativity and guts. That’s the happily explosive combination James Canfield uses to light the fire under the dancers of the Nevada Ballet Theatre as their artistic director. Traditionalist? Sure. Few are as appreciative of the legendary George Balanchine, whose ballets regularly grace NBT’s schedule.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Rapper

    This has been a breakout year for 21-year-old La’Reonte “Dizzy” Wright. The 2010 winner of BET’s Wild-Out Wednesday competition dropped his SmokeOut Conversations mixtape on April 20 and watched it enter the iTunes charts at No. 2. His smooth flow and “my way or the highway” approach to the rap game is refreshing, especially in an era when rappers starve for a celebrity co-sign. But with magazines such as XXL and some of the biggest music blogs supporting his music strictly because of his talent, Dizzy is ready to blow.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Art-Per-Footstep

    Sure, you can get your culture—and your exercise, too—by walking the First Friday street fair. But if you want to see the most art for the least effort, check out the impressive cluster of spaces along the main hallway of Emergency Arts.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Place to See an Obscure Indie Film

    If you ever get the urge to see an independent or foreign film whose cast features scarcely any cars that turn into robots, you’ve only two choices: Take your chances at the multiplex, which shunts its non-Hollywood fare to one lone screen if it has any such films at all—or go to Theatre7. This intimate Arts District theater is barely larger than your living room, but it brings the goods—everything from the Vegas Indie Film Fest to the CineKink erotic film festival.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Art Experience

    The Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio isn’t an art gallery as much as it’s a fish tank of artists. The resort hires a smart mix of prominent local artists and international talent to be residents, and each takes a turn doing an art project at night inside the glass-walled studio. Passersby can watch—and are often invited to participate in—the creation process. It’s guaranteed to be the smartest part of your night on the town.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Piano-Bar Crooner

    Caught a set by the foxy Sina Foley at Mastro’s Ocean Club yet? With her incredible voice, Foley performs every request you can imagine, from jazz standards to Adele to hit power ballads by ’80s hair-metal bands. She and her partner Dave Bruley (keyboards) know how to read and please audiences while keeping us guessing with unexpected, refreshing choices. That Foley plays myriad percussion instruments while belting out our favorite songs, well, that’s just a really cool bonus.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Local Veteran Band You’d Love If You’d Listen

    They don’t wear eyeliner or skinny jeans. They haven’t employed a street team of teens to blow up social-networking sites. And they don’t harass you with a barrage of event invites. So maybe these indie rockers aren’t the most popular band in town, but for Slow to Surface, it’s all about simply making good music. In Las Vegas for more than a decade, they’ve endured every fad and remained true to themselves despite offers to sell out. Give ’em a listen (their next gig is Aug. 2, poolside at Hooters Casino); we think you’ll like what you hear.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Visiting Strip Show

    One man, one play, 18 characters. Both entertaining and poignant, Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale, a recounting of a Bronx boy torn between his hardworking bus-driver dad and the local mobster who befriends him, is a must-see during its intermittent Strip stops (most recently last March at Terry Fator’s theater at The Mirage). Refreshingly, it’s a straight drama, a rarity on both our neon boulevard and at The Smith Center, both of which favor musicals.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Las Vegas-Related Indie Festival

    Despite being the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” our city often has slim pickings when it comes to respectable indie bands on tour. Probably because we aren’t known for supporting acts unless they appear on the radio seven times a day. Thankfully Neon Reverb is still going strong after four years as the go-to groundbreaking fest for all your low-fi favs.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best New Music Venue

    Big, but cozy. Formal, but informal. Neat trick, which The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz room pulls off with aplomb. Featuring a two-tiered layout—main floor and mezzanine—the room is both a mini-concert hall and intimate jazz club, its elegant décor giving off a warm, inviting vibe. With top-notch acoustics benefiting first-rate talent (among them Barbara Cook, Branford Marsalis, Al Jarreau and monthly staple Clint Holmes), it gives Las Vegas what it’s missed since the Blue Note’s closure.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Best Free Show

    The Tap House’s Vegas Underground is a weekly time-machine experience that transports you to a moment in Vegas history when entertainers ruled the roost and packed the Strip’s lounges. Every Monday night there’s a chance to catch the best of the industry’s singers and comedians as they gather in grand Rat Pack style.

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