Books, Railway Adventures, and Happenings Around Las Vegas
Stories Debbie Hall and Stephanie Wilson
- Discover art, design, and culture at the library. Read
- Dan Bilzerian launches Ignite, a line of CBD products. Read
- Ride on rail bikes through historic Southern Nevada with Rail Explorers. Read
- The Arts Factory thrives in 18b. Read
- Our editor-in-chief’s hottest hits of the month. Read
- Holy Smoke shines bright in the tunnels under the Strip. Read
- The Downtown Dance Conservatory trains a new generation. Read
- Move fashion forward with vintage clothing from Neon Cactus. Read
- Exploration Peak offers breathtaking vistas of Southern Nevada. Read
Discover art, design, and culture at the library.
Libraries have transformed into cultural centers, and that includes the Las Vegas–Clark County Library District. Its newest branch, East Las Vegas Library, designed with high ceilings, modern architecture, and inviting spaces, is one of the most visited branches in the city. Art galleries in all the libraries exhibit local artists. Of course, the magic of books endures, but music, film, and audio selections round out the library’s offerings. These resources expand horizons with a world waiting to be explored.
Clark County Libraries / lvccld.org
Ignite with Flavor
Dan Bilzerian, known as “The King of Instagram,” first built his empire using social media marketing. In 2017, he launched Ignite, a line of CBD products, which has since expanded to include vapes, drops, toothpicks, topicals, pet products, gummies, and lip balm. Flavor profiles include blood orange, lemon, cherry, lavender, and tropical fruit. Its all-natural CBD drops are blended with essential oils. Topicals are made with 100 percent plant-based ingredients. Its newest product is the 350 mg full-spectrum drops and bath bombs.
Ignite / $15–$65 / ignitecbd.co
Ride on rail bikes through historic Southern Nevada with Rail Explorers.
Boulder City, Nevada, 26 miles southeast of Las Vegas, was settled in the early 1930s with the building of the Hoover Dam. Today, people can ride pedal-powered vehicles with steel wheels and hydraulic disc brakes that ride along the nearby railroad tracks with Rail Explorers guided tours. The specially tricked out “rail explorers” are like bikes, but you don’t need to steer them, which keeps your hands free for those Insta moments. The Southwest Ramble is a four-mile downhill pedal-powered daytime ride. The Sunset Tour is a picturesque adventure. And the Evening Lantern Ride is a one-of-a-kind experience illuminated by the glow of the stars and the moon. All rides start at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, and each tour includes a nostalgic journey in one of the museum’s historic trains, along with free museum entry.
Rail Explorers Tours begin at $45 per person railexplorers.net
Industry for Creativity
The Arts Factory thrives in 18b.
The Arts Factory repurposed a 50-year-old commercial warehouse building in the 1990s to create an art center and transform the neighborhood. As part of the arts district, 18b, the community flourishes today with galleries, studios, photographers, boutique shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s the epicenter of First Friday festival, and its purpose remains to exhibit local art along with poetry readings, performances, and concerts. The interior is a delightful maze of unique, one-of-a-kind expressions in different spaces. A city pride mural bursting with color now wraps the building, inviting all to come in and explore.
Just south of The Arts Factory facing the streets are sculptures such as Snowball in Vegas (a 10-foot-tall cat head) and Radial Symmetry (a 16-by-16-foot metal sculpture of two Paiute baskets leaning on each other) as well as the Joie de Vivre mural. These artistic conceptions offer the perfect walking excursion.
The Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., dtlvarts.com
By Stephanie Wilson, Editor in Chief
1. Primary Focus
A New Hampshire law requires the Granite State to be the first presidential primary in the nation. This election cycle, that goes down on February 11, after which my home state becomes irrelevant for another four years.
2. Leap of Faith
While the calendar year is 365 days, it takes the Earth 365.24 days to orbit the sun. Every four years, we add an extra day to the month of February because without it, the calendar would be misaligned with the seasons by 25 days after just 100 years.
3. Born This Way
The odds of being a “leapling”—a person born on a leap day—is 1 in 1,461.
4. Right On
On February 29, some places celebrate Bachelor’s Day or Sadie Hawkins Day—both a nod to the old Irish tradition that gave women the right to propose marriage to a man on leap day. If he declined, he was required by law to pay a penalty, often in the form of gloves so she could hide the shame of her bare ring finger.
5. Modern Love
Since we’re not all Irish, but we are all feminists (because we all believe in the equality of the sexes, of course), any of us can propose to whomever our heart desires whenever we want. Except Valentine’s Day. There’s no law prohibiting it but, sweetie, pay-as-you-go forced romance is anything but romantic.
6. PETA Violation
The origins of the canned-love holiday are as cruel as a red rose delivery in February is clichéd. According to NPR, V-day traces back to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a brutal fete during which naked men sacrificed dogs and goats—and whipped women with the animal hides. Stop, in the name of love.
Off the Grid
Holy Smoke shines bright in the tunnels under the Strip.
Under the glare of the neon lights of the Strip, an estimated 1,000 people have created homes in the sewer tunnels of Las Vegas, living under the streets and sidewalks of glittering resorts. In addition to facing pitch darkness at night, when it rains, flash floods send 10- to 20-foot walls of water into the tunnels, wiping out makeshift camps and, tragically, drowning those who were unable to reach high ground in time.
Arthur “Doc” McClenaghan, a motivational standup comedian, and his wife, Teresa, have reached out to this underground community. The couple is known for “cannabis, comedy, and charity.” In 2018, after informally volunteering in the community for years, they created Holy Smoke Misfit Missionaries, a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating homelessness.
Their goal is to connect people living in the tunnels with available resources. Doc and Teresa view this outreach as making friends and helping people out. They do bring supplies and food as a gesture for being invited into “homes.” Still, Doc and Teresa are very clear they do not want to enable anyone but assist with resources to help people get out of the tunnels. “It has been the craziest, most rewarding time of our lives,” Doc says.
Both Doc and Teresa were influenced by their respective childhoods. Doc’s mother, born with a cleft lip, was shunned by her own mother, and he witnessed his mother reaching out to the disenfranchised to invite them home. Teresa’s father was considered the black sheep of their family. He was also drawn to the misfits of society and often brought them home.
“We want to teach society about human compassion towards the homeless,” Teresa says.
Holy Smoke / @holysmokemisfitmissionaries
Dacing in the Streets
The Downtown Dance Conservatory trains a new generation.
Downtown Dance Conservatory founders Sara and Tru Ives are excited to train students on the technical and artistic skills required to pursue a professional career in dance. They help students achieve their dreams as the next generation of dancers who will delight audiences around the world.
The conservatory is located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. Bringing a new approach to dance in the community, students range from age three to adult in several styles of dance. Future Prep is for dancers to train for the next level to participate in summer programs, company auditions, and college. Students are given necessary tools, including technique lessons, headshots, video submission, and résumé assistance.
Sara and Tru have been part of the entertainment business for more than 20 years. Sara, originally from Puerto Rico, is a graduate from the University of the Arts with a degree in dance and a Vaganova Ballet teaching certification for grades 1–3. She has danced in the Orlando Ballet, Ohio Dance Theater, and Brandywine Ballet. Tru is a Las Vegas native who has worked as a sound engineer and stagehand on the Las Vegas Strip, including Follies Bergere, David Copperfield, and Masters of Illusion.
Downtown Dance Conservatory / 700 E. St. Louis Ave. / ddcvegas.com
Move fashion forward with vintage clothing from Neon Cactus.
Colorful clothing from all decades with a rich history comes to life worn as a modern sustainable fashion piece. Neon Cactus has opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Fergusons Downtown in an inviting space that goes beyond boundaries. Negar Hosseini, the founder, is a queer woman of color who loves fashion and self-expression in an all-inclusive environment. Neon Cactus curates vintage clothing that embraces sassy sophistication and bold statements. Hosseini also carries handmade stained-glass jewelry to accent the clothing pieces.
Neon Cactus at Fergusons Downtown / neon-cactus-vintage.business.site
Exploration Peak offers breathtaking vistas of Southern Nevada.
Las Vegas is home to many beautiful parks, but Exploration Park is a gateway to the 2,846-foot-high Exploration Peak with trails to walk or bike with spectacular views of the valley. Its magnificent scenery blends the natural elements of the area’s geography and history. Marvel in the vastness of the mountain ranges and blue sky as a gift of nature.
Exploration Peak at Exploration Park / 9700 S. Buffalo Dr. / clarkcountynv.gov/parks