Hottest Reggae Nightclub in Vegas Lies in the Naked City

Reggae_Vibes_Poster[1]

 

Las Vegas is internationally famous for its bright and bustling Strip. The bright lights and the jumbo screens invite tourists and locals alike inside with the promise of endless parties and sex. Sweaty bodies in their tight shirts and tiny skirts await inside countless cliched nightclubs writhing to tunes spun by DJ’s, some famous across the world and others famous across the city.

Around the city numerous venues have tried for years to establish themselves as competitors in the city’s nightlife market. The vast majority of these places appear with a flash but most are gone as quick as lightening. In his article, “Does Las Vegas Have a Nightclub Bubble?” for Seven Magazine earlier this year, David G. Swartz suggested that such flops could be a problem that soon move from off strip attempts into the heart of Vegas’ nightlife scene itself, on Las Vegas Boulevard.

But not everyone is suffering from such failings. On the edge of the Arts district, just past the Naked City and about halfway between the main Strip and Fremont street, sits the Aruba Hotel. Nestled between two of the city’s most prominent quick hitch wedding chapels and across the street from one of its sleaziest fully nude strip clubs, the Aruba is what now remains of the formerly famous Hotel Thunderbird.

For much of the week the motel is as quiet as the rest of the neighborhood, far from the glitz and glamour of the party city’s hubs. But every Saturday night the Thunderbird Lounge and Club Aruba come alive as DJ Handgun spins the beats for the most continuously successful reggae event the city has seen over the last decade. According to Catherine Nguen, the event, Positive Vibrations’, head promoter, the weekly dance hall party consistently sees between four and five hundred patrons on a weekly basis, with a line frequently out the door.

“I’ve been playing reggae for twenty years,” says DJ Handgun, “I’ve been here at the Aruba Hotel since 2005 and weekly since 2006. Playing dancehall, roots and soca.” When asked how he has been able to keep his event so successful week after week, in an out of the way venue his answer was simple. “Me and my partner, DJ Charlo, we play the best music, we have the best vibes,” he answers. “It’s good people and good times, we draw them in from California, the Caribbean and even Africa … they keep coming back because we play what they are here to hear. No one else does.”

You can hear electronic dance music on almost any block almost anywhere you find crowds in Las Vegas. If you want to hear Reggae, you go the Aruba Hotel.

 

Advertisements

Downtown Las Vegas Exciting the City

Portal to Fremont East

On a Tuesday night on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas you see people about in droves. Young men and women bounce from bar to bar, drinking and frolicking until two or three in the morning. Ten years ago this was not the case.

Downtown Las Vegas was not always so friendly. A few decades ago the older casinos in the area were in bad shape, unable to compete with the draw of the sleeker, prettier resort casinos that line the strip further south. Fremont Street was known for rundown businesses, prostitutes and crime. You certainly would not find many people hanging out on East Fremont after midnight that did not have to be there.

Things began to improve in 1995 as 10 casinos lining the five blocks west of Las Vegas Boulevard teamed up to put the light show’s canopy over the street and turned the paved road into a walkway. Ever since the Hotels in the area that used to be known as Glitter Gultch have seen business return far stronger. A few years ago, that renaissance had not yet made its way across the street.

Fremont Street Experience

At the turn of the Century Oscar Goodman became mayor of Las Vegas and the revitalization of downtown and East Fremont was one of his dearest pet projects. Under his direction money and business was brought back to the city’s heart. New restaurants, bars and shops have returned to the area, at first slowly and recently in a flood.

Now it seems all of the hippest establishments are opening within a mile or so from the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street.

Zappos has made it the home of their corporate office and has brought their relaxed, to cool attitude with them, including the renovated Gold Spike which has forgone traditional Las Vegas style gaming machines for oversize darts, pool tables and board games to go with their bar.

The Smith Center has brought a home for high-brow performances and touring plays and musicals. The Cleveland Center for Brain Health has made a home only a few blocks away.Commonwealth: Hip Central

East Fremont Street is now an entirely different world. The Beauty Bar may have led the way for hipster bars downtown, but the street is now lined with such places. The Park, Radio City Pizza, Vanguard, Commonwealth and La Comida are all places that have popped up in the last year.

They are also the places to be now, if one is not in love with the loud crowded nightclubs that run the Strip that is.

Facebook and Twitter Have Great Reach and Grave Consequences

twitterdigitalcollage

Social networking is double edged sword for journalists, even more so than for the average person. It seems like everyone loves Facebook and Twitter. Both sites have millions of users around the world who use them on a daily basis. On the surface they are a fun and easy way to connect with friends and loved ones or to keep up with celebrities or cultural interests. But they have real world impacts, both positive and negative, that are far more significant.

 

Four years ago Iran’s presidential election ended with incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared the victor in a landslide win that was contested by all three of his opponents, as well as thousands of citizens. Over the following weeks protesters filled the streets, despite crackdown by military and police. The media was not allowed to report on any such events, but through Facebook and Twitter the world was shown the truth of what was being done to quell the protesters, as gun fire was broadcast live and in color from people scared for their lives.iPhoneSocialMedia

 

But it’s not all sun shine and roses, as most the time people are focusing on their own lives and interests, perhaps too much. People of all walks of life have seen their careers come to an end due to a lack of discretion on social media. In her article, “13 Controversial Facebook Firings: Palace Guards, Doctors, Teachers and More,” Huffington Post writer Ramona Emerson looks at a number of people who had lost their jobs over comments they made about their boss or their place of business.

 

Not only are journalists no safer from such repercussions than your average employee, but they face even more dangers. Being friends with the wrong person or even failing to report such connections to the right people could bring questions about sources and ethical investigative tactics.

 

Despite all of that, Twitter and Facebook can each be very beneficial tools for reporting the news. As in the case of the aforementioned Iranian Green Revolution, breaking news can be gleamed form twitter, not only from reputable sources, but from trending topics. As Leah Betancourt pointed out in her article “The Journalist’s Guide to Facebook,” social networks can be an invaluable tool for reaching out to communities, groups and sources that one may not otherwise have access to. There’s nothing like knowing exactly how to contact a source one desperately needs to help flush out, or add credibility to, a story.twittermegaphone

 

People in all walks of life must be careful of how much of their private lives they allow the world access to. But these networks have made the world a smaller place, six degrees of separation must be nearly cut in half, and journalists can use these connections to assist their reporting and ability to connect with their audience. However the lure of immediate gratification can be dangerous and journalists must be careful not to let the race to be first impede their responsibility to be right.

 

Breaking a story is enticing and helps a reporter get noticed and notoriety, but blasting incorrect information from a digital megaphone is a quick way to gain notoriety as a bad source and an unreliable “journalist.”

 

Slim, Clean and Professional, Still Hip

newsdesign

I chose the Journalist design for my Blog. I liked its simplicity in design right off the bat. I take my news at least a little seriously, so I chose to present mine in form that, to me, seemed reminiscent of the clean style of newspapers. The site still allows for widgets and features a few options to play with the on the front page. A main page can be designed or the newest blog can be the focus, the design allows for a bit of personalization, but the focus is on the writing, on the topic.

I love The Daily Show and I think journalism has plenty of room for levity, plenty of room for jokes and irony. But there is also a need for the discussion of important topics to be taken seriously. Not everything has to be hip or cool, funny or controversial. Each page and update has the ability to be presented with eye catching graphics or fonts, but the site as whole I look forward to presenting as a serious page, that with any luck will speak to, and begin discussions when possible, on serious topics.

The script is serious without being old fashioned or stilted. A few fonts are spread around the page, eye catching and noticeable, highlighting separate topics and point. But it all flows well and it all looks intelligent. A good place, I think, for conversations to start and news to be printed.

_____________________________ Updated 7/8/13______

In order to customize my Blog more personally, I looked at the article “40 Impressive Dark Websites for Inspiration,” and chose a blog that offered a little visual contrast, with a dark personal picture, a copy of my signature smoke in the dark avatar.

The blog article “Backgrounds in Web Design: Examples and Best Practices,” discusses the evolution of blogs over the last decade, and how far the presentation of these, generally self-designed and self-hosted pages have come. What may have started as digital paper, with a visual image or two followed by copy, has become a plethora of personal windows, when best done offering a glimpse into the author’s mind and the blog’s content, that hopes to draw new viewers, fans or interactions from new visitors.

Versitile Journalism in the Digital Age

image courtesy of Google Creative Commons

image courtesy of Google Creative Commons

It is difficult to be a journalist in the modern world. Print is quickly going out of fashion, and to stay relevant the average journalist must learn to do be a one man production team in order to provide value to their outlet. For all but the most respected and talented journalists it is no longer enough to seek the truth and report it, the reporter should be able to produce digital content with a full report, video, relevant links and twitter references with hash tag friendly titles and phrases.

Though it is still important for any reporter to keep his ear to the ground and stay on top of breaking newsworthy events, to stay competitive in the shrinking job market, the modern journalist must be able to contribute as much or more commercial value. In his article “It’s Hard Out There for a 21st-Century Future Journalist of Tomorrow,” Renay San Miguel describes a few job listings looking for new reporters. Each describes and ideal candidate as someone who not only has skill and instincts as a journalist, but also someone who has knowledge of computers and web design and who can produce their own content for digital media.

But such expectation can be daunting for aspiring journalist and old hands alike. Many in the field have spent their career, or at least their time in school, dreaming of uncovering stories that could change people’s lives, hoping to speak truth to power and make a difference in the world. Finding out that what matters to their prospective employers is page hits and frequency of posts rather than in depth reporting and hard worked quality pieces.

In her article “A tale of two newsrooms,” Amy Kingsley tells the story of the Las Vegas Sun’s foray into digital media. Despite sharing a brand name with the entity that, through in depth research and careful reporting, brought home the first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a Las Vegas newspaper, the on-line site, under the tutelage of Rob Curley, quickly switched formats to quick production of constant new content focused on counting those ever important page views and the lowest common denominator. Reporters who had been proud to work for a media outlet that focused on strong, deep reporting recoiled, and many left, when faced with focusing on traffic fatalities and celebrity gossip.

The news industry is a fickle mistress and capturing the attention of consumers is important to the success of any outlet, but the industry is still trying to find its way with new business models replacing traditional subscriptions and guaranteed readers or viewers. It is easy to fall into the pattern of catchy titles and exciting promos just to get that view, but the more versatile quality journalists can themselves, the more they can control the path the modern news reporting follows. It is important that the most dedicated and talented reporters take learn the skill necessary to control the journey, and not just tag along for the ride.