Desert Companion
 
Subscribe now
Current Issue
SEPTEMBER 2014
Click the cover to read the complete digital edition
Features
Ones to Watch

Departments
All things to all people
Dining
Editor's Note
End Note
Essay
Fiction
Notes and letters
Profile
Q + A
Sports
Take 5
the guide
upcoming events
Take 5
Sep. 30, 7a. Includes breakfast, fabulous raffle prizes, cocktails and a chance at the National Final. Registration deadline is September 20....   
Oct. 2, 7p. The artist who installed giant eyeball sculptures in Chicago and St. Louis and created a 30-foot fiberglass image of a weary Paul...   
  0

My poor brother. He had barely stepped off the plane from Chicago, still shaking off jet lag, before the whirlwind began. His annual holiday visit had typically been a weeklong power-laze whose most strenuous activities were living-room wrestling with our twin nephews and staging pre-Christmas raids on mom's traditional Hungarian pastries, maybe a face-to-face status update with a stray friend or two. This December's visit, however, rapidly morphed into a dense, encyclopedic near-frenzy of drinking, eating, playing and gawking. My brother, a fellow born-and-raised Las Vegan, returned to his hometown as a tourist. And I was a tourist right by his side, experiencing both the new and old through fresh eyes (and stomachs and, yes, livers). We toasted at the Huntridge Tavern, my thuggy old downtown hideout finding new life as a bohemian haunt. We sampled the vertigo on offer at the Colorado River Bridge, one of Southern Nevada's latest architectural triumphs. We shopped the Strip for grown-up-man clothes and tested our brotherly bonds in head-to-head matches at the Pinball Hall of Fame. (I also seem to recall us drinking the famously potent mai tais at Frankie's, but need documentary evidence before I admit to anything I said or did. Allegedly.)

Tourist/local, visitor/resident, newcomer/native - who cares? These terms are as passé as the simplistic view that Las Vegas is some Janus-faced duplex city cleanly divided between the Strip and the "real" Las Vegas, between the movie set we peddle to visitors and the real community we create. Truth is, there's a lot of community and culture in that so-called movie set; and there's a good dose of grand spectacle and pure fun in our workaday Vegas. In this protean city, we're all tourists.

No, no, no, not that kind of tourist. Not shambling fannypackers who sheepishly seek the familiar amid the new. I mean a more muscular definition of tourist: a connoisseur of the new experience, an acolyte of surprise, an explorer who ventures inward as much as outward. Indeed, if Desert Companion's inaugural Best of the City edition needed a motto, it would be something like this: Be a true local - by becoming a tourist.

Confession time: I used to take a twisted secret pride in knowing Las Vegas - the bars, the art galleries, the sceney hangouts - and knowing all-too-well the familiar faces that frequented them. This pride entailed a sense of smug mastery, a smirk at the city's inability to surprise me. It was a mean little shrivel-hearted feeling, and I'm glad to be rid of it. I have to credit the city with that: Over the last decade, a booming economy has fueled a cultural, commercial and artistic growth spurt whose energy we're still reaping. Now we're confronted by promise we can hardly keep up with - an upstart artist here, a new hangout there, a new cultural kick-start or community endeavor bringing people together. In our own hometown, we are tourists confirmed anew, fervent acolytes of surprise.

Whether you're a longtime Las Vegan or a newcomer, our Best of the City is sure to surprise you - and maybe even cause some debates between you and your friends. That's because it's penned by avid newcomers who want to share their discoveries and natives who boast beloved favorites they'll defend to the hilt. Whether they're longtime Las Vegans or new locals, they're both urban pioneers whose raves are sure to introduce to you something new - or reignite a spark with an old mainstay.

My brother will likely be back in the spring. I'm already planning his next trip. Or, rather, our trip.

Comments





























































 

Top Lawyers
Recycle
Photo Tour
Play the desert companion video

DC Scene
Recent Posts
9/24/14  
Anti-Pastoral
9/23/14  
'Cookies change the world'
9/19/14  
The Great Basin -- it's such a great basin!
{more posts...}


Archives
Archives

Newstand Locations
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
Directions


PALMS CASINO
4321 W Flamingo Rd
Directions


UNLV
4550 W Maryland Pkwy Suite A
Directions


CARNIVALE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian Food Court
Directions


THE LAKES
9091 W Sahara Ave
Directions


THE DISTRICT
2220 Village Walk Dr Suite 140
Directions


MIRACLE MILE
3663 Las Vegas Blvd S Suite 45
Directions


CANYON POINT
10834 W Charleston Blvd Suite 200
Directions


TOWN CENTER
3645 S Town Center Dr Suite 101
Directions


PATRICK
6115 S Rainbow Blvd Suite 101
Directions


PALAZZO
3265 Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 1600
Directions


TOWN SQUARE
6599 Las Vegas Blvd, South #P-8149
Directions


BRIDGE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian
Directions


BOULDER CITY
Boulder Dam Credit Union
530 Avenue G
Boulder City NV
Directions

Jumba Juice

PEBBLE
1500 N. Green Valley Pkwy Suite 240
Directions


SAHARA & EASTERN
2675 S. Eastern Ave Suite 400
Directions


MCCARRAN MARKETPLACE
5905 S Eastern Ave Suite 108
Directions
NORTH MESA PLAZA
1829 W. Craig Road Unit 3
Directions


CANNERY CORNER
2546 E. Craig Road Suite 135
Directions


WESTLAND FAIR
1121 S. Decatur Blvd
Directions



Also available at Clark County and Henderson libraries.
Emerald City Smoothie

ST GEORGE
2376 East Red Cliffs Drive #502
St. George, UT 84790
Directions


Desert Companion