Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Finally, the Full August Voter Registration Report!

Last week, we got a sneak peek of the new voter registration statistics to come. Tonight, The RGJ's Ray Hagar pointed out the reality of the big picture now before us.
Nevada Democrats now hold a 55,716 advantage in number of registered voters in Nevada, according to the August voter registration statistics from the Secretary of State. In July, the advantage was about 48,000. As is becoming an embarrassing trend for the Nevada GOP, the voter registration numbers of unorganized non-partisans are greater than that of the Republicans. In August, 6,575 voters registered as non-partisans. Only 5,042 registered as Republicans. Democrats more than doubled the GOP voter registration efforts, gaining 12,163 registered voters. Of the 1,122,236 active registered voters statewide, 41.28 percent (463,229) are Democrats,36.31 percent (407,513) are Republicans, and 16.66% (1 86,941) are nonpartisans. If this keeps up, Nevada will no longer be considered a battleground state.
But wait, there's more! Here are some more details on the new numbers: - In NV-03, the newly regained Democratic registration advantage grew a bit more since last week's Clark County report, edging up from 0.14% to 0.17%. Last month, Republicans had a slight 0.24% edge here. - We now know the full results for NV-04. Districtwide, Democrats' registration advantage grew from 9.96% last month to 10.56% now. - Overall for Clark County, Democrats grew their registration advantage from 11.88% at the start of last month to 12.53% now. - And up north, the Republican registration advantage in Washoe County shrunk from 1.63% at the start of last month to 1.55% now. Believe it or not, this is the "bright spot" for Nevada Republicans! So yet again, the best the Nevada G-O-TEA could do was hold back some Democratic gains in Reno. Otherwise, they fell even further behind as Democrats ramped up voter registration yet again in and around Las Vegas. Wow. And you know what? Ray Hagar is right. If this continues, it will become even clearer that Nevada is indeed a Blue State... And Nevada Republicans just can't adjust to the new realities of our state.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

BREAKING: Las Vegas Enters 21st Century, Markets to LGBTQ Tourists

(Originally from Nevada Progressive)

I have been wondering for some time when the Las Vegas gaming/tourism powers that be would wake up and smell the lavender. I guess they're finally getting there.

Print ads, websites and YouTube spots tout the offerings of Wynn Las Vegas, Paris, Luxor, Mandalay Bay and several other Strip operators that have steadily increased their efforts to lure dollars that reflexively went to the traditionally open-minded resort destinations of Palm Springs, Key West, Miami Beach and Provincetown. The LVCVA produces suggestive ads—two women with shapely legs playing footsie, a pair of fit young men holding hands on a golf course as Wynn Las Vegas looms in the background. They’re alluring images at the start of what Wynn Las Vegas marketer Michael Weaver dubs the “post-gay consumer marketing world,” a period when ad agencies seek to reach individual customers with the promise of luxury, entertainment, good food and sensuality—a classic quartet of offerings on the modern-day Strip.

Las Vegas consistently ranks among the top business and leisure destinations for the 4,296 LGBT travelers surveyed by Community Marketing. New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas typically hold the top three spots, with lesbians between the ages of 18 and 54 choosing Las Vegas as their favorite getaway. Gay men widely preferred New York City and San Francisco. “Las Vegas is really show-driven and those shows have a very gay spin—Cher, Bette Midler, Cirque du Soleil, Elton John. It’s good for Las Vegas to bring them in,” says Community Marketing’s [David] Paisley.

“Las Vegas is its own animal. It’s true that Vegas doesn’t have its own gay neighborhood like other cities do,” Paisley says, “but from a tourism perspective, Las Vegas is about the Strip. Gays and lesbians are coming to Las Vegas for the same reason everyone is coming to Las Vegas.”

So LVCVA finally has a full LGBTQ travel site up, and other casinos and tourist attractions are catching up to what Caesars, Wynn, and MGM have been learning over the last decade.

Speaking as a gay person myself who follows what's happening on The Strip, I can tell you there's still far more work to be done to let queer folk feel comfortable enough to visit Las Vegas and visit more often. Even though I often walk blithely around my Henderson 'hood with an "I <3 Castro" or HRC t-shirt, many gay couples are still afraid to hold hands while walking Las Vegas Blvd. What's wrong with this picture?  Unfortunately, part of the reason why many LGBTQ tourists still feel ambivalent about Vegas is because of the huge mistake Nevada embarked upon a decade ago when Question 2 passed and discrimination was written into the Nevada Constitution. And though we've now somewhat corrected the situation with domestic partnerships and long awaited progress on transgender civil rights, that's still far from full equality.

Another part of the problem is that until very recently, there was never really talk of a comprehensive plan to fully market Vegas as "THE gay travel destination". Even local business leaders recognize we have a problem. We are more than just nightclub revelers and kinky sex machines. We want to sleep, we want to eat, we want to shop, and we want to explore.

At least we're now seeing LVCVA make the effort. That's a big start, and we're now moving in the right direction. Now if we can only get rid of that pesky Question 2...

Sorry Again for the Long Wait.

I guess I was on summer vacation. Oh yes, and you can look at my other blog to see where the time went. ;-)

As you can see, it's been a struggle at times to keep updating here. At one point, I was even thinking of calling quits (seriously). But as I was thinking more this week, I figured now is as good time as ever to bring in some changes, some new elements, some new flavors.

So let's see where this goes on perhaps my millionth relaunch of this site. I have a long queue of reviews to go up, and in the next week I'll also have some new recipes for home.

Bon appetit!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Burger Bar

It was an old favorite in need of a return visit. I just had to stop at Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay last weekend with a friend and catch up on some old favorites.

I still remember the first time I was there and I first tried their veggie burger. Wow... Something that wasn't taken from a freezer and formed in some factory many moons ago? It was truly love at first bite. ;-)

And amazingly enough, I'm still in love. Who knew pumpkin, potatoes, caramelized onions, green peas, lentils, and brown rice could all come together so beautifully in a meatless burger patty?

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The sweet potato fries were also quite enjoyable. They were soft inside, but not soggy or overly greasy outside. And they had a subtle sweetness that kept me on edge... In a good way.

So it was most definitely a happy return to Burger Bar last week. I'll just have to remember to return more often for my other fave burger on The Strip.

Style: Beach Casual Cal-Ital
Price: $
Open: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

The Rating

Food: 4.8 (out of 5)
Service: 3.0 (out of 3)
Ambiance: 1.9 (out of 2)
Overall: 9.7 (out of 10)
Very Burger-licious! :-D

Burger Bar (Mandalay Bay) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quick Bite: Papa Joe's Pizza in "Surf City USA"

Huntington Beach doesn't just claim to be "Surf City USA"... The city sued to win that title! So when it comes to the casual, laid back, California coastal lifestyle, Huntington Beach takes its place as the center of it all (ironically enough) very seriously.

Funny enough, I experienced some of this in action last week when I was in OC. My dad and I were at the beach, and all of a sudden he got hungry. And since he didn't want to walk too far for dinner, we settled for a quick bite at Papa Joe's Pizza, just across PCH from The Pier. It's had a long and storied history in Surf City (how often do you hear THAT in Las Vegas??!!), at one point even facing possible extinction, but it's survived and still stands at its prime location near The Pier.

OK, so this place has plenty of history. How about the food, dammit?! Well, don't expect Settebello.

The top layer of mozzarella did taste a bit too "industrial processed" for my liking. However, the cheese layer underneath was OK and the sauce was actually nice. Oh, and I actually liked the crust. Perhaps I've been spoiled by so many fine, artisan Vegas "pizzazz" to enjoy some old OC flavor. Whatever. I'm a proud picky eater! ;-)

But even considering my proud picky eater sensibilities, I just can't diss this OC classic. At the very least, go and enjoy the "old school surf city" experience while you can.

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Papa Joe's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quick Bite: Gypsy Den & Another Side of Orange County

When my dad and I needed a pick-me-up last weekend, Gypsy Den in Downtown Santa Ana was there for us.

They do light meals, coffee, pastries, and more in a very hippie-dippie way an "outsider" wouldn't expect "Behind The Orange Curtain".

Below is a glimpse of what we experienced...

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Perhaps you'll find even more interesting sights, sounds, and tastes when you stop here and experience what Santa Ana's Artist Village has to offer.

Gypsy Den on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What I Missed @ Home


The hugely successful, four-day Vegas Uncork’d food and wine festivities wrapped yesterday after everything from a beachside barbecue to a late-night star chef DJ session to elegant and exotic Mother’s Day brunches. All were the topping on the cakes served by a cadre of celebrity chefs during the 96-hour, fifth annual, nonstop dining extravaganza.

Bon Appetit and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority sponsored the festival, which proved not only that Las Vegas is Star Chef Dining Capital of the World, but also that this ultimate, top level of star power could only happen on the Strip.

There were more than 24 food-related events during the marathon of meals, and they sadly ended yesterday with first-time Uncork’d brunches at Chef Guy Savoy’s self-named restaurant at Caesars Palace and at current Top Chef Masters contestant Mary Sue Milliken’s Border Grill at Mandalay Bay. The barbecue at Mandalay Bay Beach on Saturday night feature Chefs Charlie Palmer, Alain Ducasse and Rick Moonen serving behind the grills and Megan Romano presiding over an amazing array of desserts, and Hubert Keller spinned the wheels of steel at his nearly Fleur.

Sounds like so much fun... And sadly, I had to miss it!

And wow! Who would have thought this could happen?!

But the one event that stood out was the debut vegan experience co-hosted by hotel mogul Steve Wynn and Tal Ronnen, a vegan culinary pioneer and bestselling author of The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat, along with the award-winning chefs of the Wynn and Encore.

Finally, people are waking up and realizing meat isn't necessary for a great meal. When one gets creative, the possibilities really can be endless for great vegetarian and vegan cuisine. I hope this starts a trend for more daring vegan dishes at more Vegas restaurants. Or at least, it would be nice not to be mocked for going meatless. ;-)

Hopefully, I'll be able to stay in town next May so I don't have to miss this kind of fun again!