Monday, June 9, 2008

Springs Preserve 1 / UNLV 50

Sunday afternoon, Kate, my friends Camila, Evan, and Frankie, and myself went to the Springs Preserve one year celebration. There was maybe too many people there yesterday for my speed (especially when you're trying to get in tune with nature), but overall I think this new nature exhibit within Las Vegas city limits has the making for a good escape from the city if you don't want to drive all the way to Mt. Charleston, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, or Red Rock.

The second photo is Camila trying to shield herself from the sun, while Evan swigs some water (Frankie's arm is on the right).

I'd say that the Springs Preserve will do all right once they bring down their regular admittance price and when they finish the state museum (opening in 2009) and open all the trails they have out there. Actually a person can go walk the trails for free after picking up a free ticket for that at the entrance. What little we saw of the exhibit buildings they have looked good (again though, too many people to fully enjoy that part of the exhibits) and their botanical garden is especially nice.

So UNLV is 50 years old. Saturday night they capped off their 50th anniversary celebrations by having a free concert in the field out behind the new Student Union performed by the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied by singer Linda Eder. Kate and I took her brother, John, as it was his birthday and we had a fantastic time. Actually the whole atmosphere of the concert seemed otherworldly to me as it was the kind of scene I imagine other universities have that don't focus on hotel / business as UNLV does. Everyone there seemed o be having a really good, relaxing time and it wasn't really hot, rather there was an almost cool wind (but not the crazy winds we had in the valley a couple of days last week) that almost seemed like a fall evening.

Okay apology time: I'm often guilty of romanticizing other cities as being better than Las Vegas because they don't seem to emphasize crass commercialism (The Strip, gambling, and other superficial escapes) over culture. Well I think this is becoming less true of Las Vegas and UNLV's 50th anniversary celebrations and the Springs Preserve are just two recent examples of this. Even though Vegas' First Friday monthly art event is experiencing some turbulence as it tries to find its identity, certainly its mere existence is further proof of our community trying to over-ride its commercial image. One also has but to read Las Vegas Weekly, CityLife or the Review Journal Neon to see the variety of arts and human interest events that take place every week (and many of them are free) and we really do have surrounding areas of immense beauty (such as the aforementioned Lake Mead, Red Rock, Valley of Fire, and Mt. Charleston) that aren't that far away for one to escape the fast paced big city life. I also think the city in the past few years has made great strides in producing buildings that have an architectural beauty (and some of those buildings are even on The Strip), including those in my store's neck of the desert such as the Lied Library, the new Student Union, and the soon to be completed Greenspun Communications building (just a block from my store). And while I didn't utilize my UNLV education to any degree (and I think that's due to me never having seen any advisor or counselor at the school to get to my objective, which during the 1980's was to get an education / english degree), I think that UNLV gets a bad rap for the quality of education it provides and I can think of at least a dozen people that I know that have gone to UNLV that are or will be very valuable to this community and I'd have to say that UNLV helped make that happen.


Camila said...

I liked the springs preserve but something seemed wrong with it. It seemed to fake or planned. I think it was boundaries, it felt like an amusement park. I can't explain it. It was neat, I did like it but I don't plan to go back anytime soon. Maybe it is distance from my house. It is too far from my house, I rather go to the wetlands to get away from the social needs. ;) It is a very informed place! :D

Whenever I feel like trash talking about Las Vegas I always think of you because you are like Vegas pride person. I like Vegas and UNLV. I do plan on leaving someday. Las Vegas is so wasteful. We detour all this water from the colorado river to help support Las Vegas. And what is Las Vegas supporting?...a tourism economy with clubs and alcoholic and gambling. And I just don't like that. :(

But I do enjoy some things in vegas and I would be sad if they weren't there, like unlv, ralph, wetlands, blahhhhhh. :)

Camila said...

oh I forgot to say thank you!

and your charlie brown shirt is really cool! :D