Things to do in Las Vegas this week Jan. 9-12 + Notes

I THINK IT started as a New Year’s resolution way back in the day at some point but kind of solidified into a lifelong attempt to tactically power down my generally useful but sometimes enervating constant shield of cynical agnosticism and ironic deflection, and get with some spiritual shit. Or at least some fun, nominally soul-nourishing, bougie woo-woo.

That was Friday Jan. 6: Signed on for the full moon ritual and soundbath at Fergusons Downtown, led by Rooted Lounge’s Dana and Jordan. (I defer to the mystique of first names only.) It was like ad hoc church for spirit-hungry millennials, mostly, but, as with any ritual, once you start playing along, getting consensually suggestible, things happen, things fall into place.1 For me, that was during the culminating sound bath portion, which turned the Fergusons amphitheater into a regenerative aural hemisphere of floating reverberation as they gently and solemnly whaled on gongs, bowls, and chimes.

MY EYES WERE closed. Laid flat, corpse-posed, I was focused on, I dunno, ingesting pure moonbeams from all that regnant lunar fullness. But then I hear this startlingly melodious, rich but delicate flutesong — polished, professional even — that I assumed was a digital track until I peeked and saw a silhouetted Dana rocking (gently, with all due ceremonial solemnity) this huge flute. The moment may have, in fact, been yummy.

Sunday, I took a run at two art shows I highly recommend: “Inspirations from Hayes” at the Summerlin Library and the Bortolami Gallery pop-up show at the old Greyhound Station attached to The Plaza.

“Inspirations from Hayes” features works from the collection of Jacquelyn Hayes, a corporate exec who collected the work of underappreciated Black artists. The Romare Bearden lithographs and serigraphs stun with a kind of blunt, torn-edge, historic force, while TAFA’s oil painting, “Protest Synchronization,” is an organic — as in like an organism — rendering of the same. I found myself returning to the pleasure of the assured, gestural play of Paul Benjamin’s “Fluid Jazz” as a resting point. Small but striking show.

Through February, Downtown’s old Greyhound Bus Station is home to some improbable whimsy. Bortolami Gallery placed an exhibit featuring three artists who variously key into tones and moods that interact with the hollowed-out ghost station in interesting ways. There are Koichi Sato’s large-scale, gently comic portraits of people we often call “characters” — drifters, gamblers, mystics, nomads — all curiously seven-fingered as though he’s playing with the concept of monsters. There is Susumu Kamijo’s work, spectral abstracts that present as kind of cosmic cryptographs. And, subtlest of all, Jonas Wood’s placid forest-scapes, whose dot-and-line textures give them a nubbly, satisfying quality you want to rub your eyes on. Art has, at least temporarily, turned this former way station into a resting point.

Here are some cool things going on this week.

Starting Monday Jan. 9: Who needs seasons when you have a luxe terrarium where you control the weather and change foliage like seasonal fashions? So purely Vegas. The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens opens its Lunar New Year display.

Starting Tuesday Jan. 9: To Kill a Mockingbird starts its run at The Smith Center. It feels almost obligatory to state how unfortunate it is that this work carries, or has to carry, such renewed charge.

9p Tuesday Jan. 9 at Red Dwarf: The band name is somewhat deceiving, in that Dad Bod isn’t a novelty act, and doesn’t trade in much humor, but instead plays well-composed ’60s folk. Check out the haunting “The Drifter.”

6p Wednesday Jan. 10 at the Rotunda Gallery in the Clark County Government Center: Reception for the “Pet Portraits” show, a celebration of pets through artistic expression. Cute always gets interesting and complicated when it’s filtered through a decided aesthetic. I hope it’s more aesthetic than cute.

7:30p Jan. 12 at Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center: The Las Vegas Philharmonic Spotlight Concert. This one features Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and more. I’ve been to a few of these, and the experience of chamber music almost literally in your face is cleansing and tonic.

Starting Jan. 12 at Centennial Hills Library: Space science meets art and craft in this exhibit, Kathleen L. Oettinger’s “Charting the Cosmos.” Inspired by images taken by the Hubble Telescope, Oettinger takes the cosmic decidedly down to earth in fiber art works that use the famed space snaps for expressive inspiration. Something compelling in the tension between the astro-spatial and the emphatically homespun going on here.

(Pictured: Koichi Sato, Susumu Kamijo, Jonas Wood at the old Greyhound Station

Though the word “yummy” was used.

Andrew Kiraly

Andrew Kiraly

Andrew Kiraly is publisher of TheList.Vegas.

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