Desert Companion
 
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NOVEMBER 2014
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Features
The Radioactive Activist

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Take 5
Through Oct. 31, Fri-Sat, 7p. Drink with celebrity keg-tappers, enter drawings for free meals, compete in stein-holding contests and enjoy live...   
Through Oct. 31. Stacy Rink’s exhibit is a funny and brazen look at how Sin City’s sexy-glam dream-factory jostles our everyday lives....   
Oct. 3-31, opening reception Oct. 17, 7-9:30p. The Annual Traveling Show provided by the Society of Illustrators will feature 58 pieces of the most...   
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It’s easy to get lost in Las Vegas — well, not get lost, exactly, but lose touch with a sense of place. If the Strip riotously channels everywhere but here, the cityscape that flanks our neon lagoon insists on placelessness: It can often present itself as, at best, a suspiciously Southwestish melange of strip malls, tract homes, weedy lots with political billboards. Landmarks, icons? We’ve got a few. But considered through the smeared lens of edifying hangover, they can often seem like last night’s bad tattoos. (Ahem, let’s hope there’s a removal service that can professionally and discreetly scrub off that unfortunate Slotzilla on our ankle.) Maybe the reason so many would-be Southern Nevadans who end up doing the pass-through shuffle feel a lack of connection isn’t because of all that bad, sad stuff on whatever Nevada report just came out; maybe it reflects a hunger for iconography, a desire for visual anchors in the desert sea that signal home.

If I’m describing you — if you keep a suitcase close, certain boxes unpacked — I prescribe a therapeutic regimen of photography. Download an app with all those filters that add cinematic streaks and glares, or splurge on a high-end point-and-shoot that instantly uploads to the social media Skynet. See Nevada solely through a lens for a while. Why: Not so much an art form or pastime anymore so much as, I dunno, this strange and permanent collective cybernetic appendage we’ve all grown, photography nurtures an eye for the markers of place. That was the private buzz I got from being a judge in our second annual “Focus on Nevada” photo contest: a crowdsourced affirmation of all the different and distinct wheres that tell us where we live: the topos of the Strip, revived and re-envisioned; cityscapes and landscapes through different lenses both literal and figurative; people and animals being their true and best selves in their native habitat. (Totally forgot how cool crows look.) I’ve heard a pro shooter here and there grumble how, woe is me, everyone’s a photographer these days, how Instagram has emboldened the hordes and flooded the optical marketplace — online life itself is a photo contest, really — but I’m glad of it: It fueled our contest to the tune of more than 1,400 entries.

This year we matured the process a bit. We created themed categories to encourage breadth of vision: Artistic/Abstract, People/In the moment, Landscapes/Nature, Places and Smartphone. To dose the enterprise with some experimental community cred, we brought on a bevy of judges — designers, photographers, artists, architects, stylists, tastemakers — to judge category finalists on three criteria: impact, expression of the “Focus on Nevada” theme, and technique. The results? Totally wanna go, “See for yourself!” (p. 41), but I also want to wax wishful that we had two dozen more pages to share all the rich sense of place. But the good news is that you can get there from here.

And speaking of eye candy: On May 2, Desert Companion won a much-coveted Maggie Award for Best Cover at the annual Western Publishing Association banquet in Los Angeles. Considered “the Oscars of publishing,” the Maggie awards celebrate excellence in editorial, design and advertising. The award was for the cover of our April 2013 spring fashion cover — photo by Robert John Kley, design by Art Director Chris Smith. *Fistbump.*


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Pick up your Desert Companion today at one of these Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Jamba Juice locations.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf LAKE MEAD & TENAYA
7291 W Lake Mead
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PALMS CASINO
4321 W Flamingo Rd
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UNLV
4550 W Maryland Pkwy Suite A
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CARNIVALE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian Food Court
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THE LAKES
9091 W Sahara Ave
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THE DISTRICT
2220 Village Walk Dr Suite 140
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MIRACLE MILE
3663 Las Vegas Blvd S Suite 45
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CANYON POINT
10834 W Charleston Blvd Suite 200
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TOWN CENTER
3645 S Town Center Dr Suite 101
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PATRICK
6115 S Rainbow Blvd Suite 101
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PALAZZO
3265 Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 1600
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TOWN SQUARE
6599 Las Vegas Blvd, South #P-8149
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BRIDGE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian
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BOULDER CITY
Boulder Dam Credit Union
530 Avenue G
Boulder City NV
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Jumba Juice

PEBBLE
1500 N. Green Valley Pkwy Suite 240
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SAHARA & EASTERN
2675 S. Eastern Ave Suite 400
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MCCARRAN MARKETPLACE
5905 S Eastern Ave Suite 108
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NORTH MESA PLAZA
1829 W. Craig Road Unit 3
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CANNERY CORNER
2546 E. Craig Road Suite 135
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WESTLAND FAIR
1121 S. Decatur Blvd
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St. George, UT 84790
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