A weekend in Heaven or Las Vegas



This is a PERFECT title for those who know Las Vegas. The title popped into my mind after the Cocteau Twins release named “Heaven or Las Vegas”. The city actually is (Heaven or Las Vegas) when you think about it. I was never a fan with no interest in visiting whatsoever. But this recent trip changed my perspective and unexpectedly I got to experience a growing arts community and social media collective that seem to work together.

NO FEAR AND LOATHING: Until my recent attendance  to Photoshop World 2013, it had been close to 20 years that I last went to Las Vegas for a 24 hour adventure. And that was surreal in itself. The one thing I remember was leaving a nightclub at 6am as the sun was rising and the heat was already in the mid-80’s. Seeing people doing the “walk of shame”. Men with bow ties undone and women still glitzed and high- heeled from the previous night. Yeah it sounds sexy but it was otherworldly for me. Heat and exhaustion from being up close to 24 hours took its toll. I had enough and was ready to return home to Los Angeles!

What brings me to make a return to Vegas? Well, I’m looking for a change. Looking for a place to plant roots and create some stability in my world. Yes, many people are saying “You, in Vegas?” And I say “Sure, let me check it out!” So I did and found some great things and hard things about the city.

PROS/CONS: GREAT things.. there is ALWAYS something to do and see in Vegas! I spent most of my time walking around the Downtown Las Vegas district (Fremont St./Las Vegas Blvd appox.) and went to the First Fridays Art Walk. Some who haven’t been to Vegas and those who know this area DTLV used to be a unsafe years ago until it started getting support and development to revive this area. It reminded me of Downtown Los Angeles about 15 years ago where there were a few artists lofts and still relatively unsafe. But what I’m seeing in Downtown Las Vegas is the joining of artists and social media collectives who are creating start up businesses. Even Zappos has based it’s headquarters smack center in Downtown LV. It has the potential for new business growth. There’s Container Park a few blocks from Fremont Street. This area has recycled storage containers that are being converted into offices, shops and possibly live/work space. A “Learning Center” within Container Park has been built. And is used to bring in lecturers and offer various computer and technology courses. This to me is a sign that a possible “Tech Boom” is on the horizon which in turn may draw more tech and media business to the Downtown LV area. It’s all a process which will take some time but things seem to be moving steadily.The HARD things.. not enough housing (as of now) Downtown. There’s already a high end “artist loft” where you can purchase Studio/1 bedrooms at about $180K-$250K. Real estate investors are seeing the value in the Downtown neighborhood. Other than that ..just some low income apartments that really looked disheveled. Anything else outside of Downtown is like suburbia. Having to drive in a few miles to get to the area. The blocks are long in Las Vegas, so if not on the Strip or Downtown a car is needed. The transit I was told not to take. Funny enough, every city I’ve visited people say DON’T take the bus!

PHOTOGRAPHS: I had some time to photograph a little of Downtown Las Vegas and visited Emergency Arts . A renovated 70’s medical center that now holds various artist studios and a great cafe/record store called “The Beat”. A little bit of everything is here for those who want to see something more eclectic. Photographically, I saw an interesting history within the building. And while editing I shifted gears and decided to show a vintage distressed look with what I shot. There also happen to be a large Bike Festival that weekend and took a few shots to set the mood. Somehow these images all worked well with my Las Vegas experience.

To end here’s a link to a short video of a Las Vegas cello duo named “We Are Bridge”. They do excellent covers of various rock songs. Currently, they’re raising money for their first CD. I think they’re great!  We Are Bridge 

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