Category: Culture

The Las Vegas Arts Council Explore Biases within the Community

Locals gather at the Las Vegas Historic Fifth Street school to discuss accessibility and equality.

This Las Vegas Arts Council believes that every person should be treated equally and appropriately. This year the Arts Council hosted an IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) Summit. The IDEA Summit is a workshop for concerned locals to join together and discuss their different experiences and convene on ways to make public places accessible and comfortable for all. 

This workshop series is specifically designed for arts and cultural leaders in nonprofits, municipalities, and public institutions. During this two-day workshop, participants explored the intersection of arts and implicit biases in creative workspaces. Through round-table discussions, participants assessed cultural assumptions: how they are developed, sustained, reinforced in arts and cultural planning. The overall goal was to not only recognize and respect fellow creative community members but to also reflect and reconcile on the differences. 

“This discussion is highly interactive and rooted in deep personal sharing and reflection.” Says attendee Raina S.

By starting at the core with a holistic approach, participants sat in small round table groups and had the option to share their own societal biases. All participants were able to assess not only the biases within their work environment, but the biases that they may have personally and the origins.

Las Vegas Arts Council Leaders

While focusing on creative biases and biases against people with disabilities in the art world; attendees were able to explore how their personal biases affect their workspaces, introspects into cultural planning, hiring, and other practices.

The Las Vegas Arts Council holds this event for Las Vegas locals to open dialogue on ways to make Las Vegas more accessible and accommodating for all living within the city. Continuing to have this conversation with feedback can generate workshops that encourage other voices to come to the table to build bridges within the community.

For this event, the goal is not for immediate solutions. The purpose is for different perspectives to start the needed conversations. Las Vegas is a town that is ever changing and it’s important to make sure that as Vegas changes, everyone can access and feel comfortable in it!

Las Vegas Locals Experience Caribbean Culture

Local Las Vegans were invited to the Arts District Downtown Las Vegas to experience the Carribean Carnival festival like Vegas has never seen before.

The Carribean Carnival consisted of a daybreak party called Jaboulay (J’ouvert or Jouvay) and a parade of the bands the next day. Event organizer, Kelly Ann Wilson and her team were born and raised on the island of Trinidad and believe that it is a great idea to share their culture with fellow Las Vegas locals. Whether a Carribean islander or not, everyone is welcome to enjoy the Carnival festivities right inside their own neighborhood. 

“It is something to look forward to for those who cannot travel back home for the actual Carnival festival and for those who may not know our culture.” Says organizer, Kelly Ann Wilson. “Interested Locals can also come and experience a taste of our Carribean culture.” 

J’ouvert is also known as, Jouvay a word that is derived from the French phrase “jour ouvert,” which means daybreak or morning. In traditional Caribbean cultures, the parade starts early in the morning and signals the start of the bacchanalia that is Carnival. So, essentially, it is a party from dawn to dusk. Jouvay is celebrated in many countries throughout the Caribbean. Traditionally, the celebration involves Soca and Calypso music bands, dancers and attendees following each band, parading through the streets. The festival starts well before dawn and peaks a few hours after sunrise.

The roots of Jouvert in Trinidad go back over 200 years to 1783, with the arrival of French plantation owners. The French never colonised Trinidad, however elements of their culture remain. Carnival was introduced to Trinidad during slavery. Slaves were not allowed to attend the masquerade balls of the French so they would stage their own version of carnival in their backyards using their own rituals and folklore. They practiced imitating and sometimes mocking their masters’ behavior at the masquerade balls.

The origins of street parties associated with J’ouvert coincide with the emancipation from slavery in 1838. Emancipation gave Africans the opportunity to not only participate in Carnival, but to embrace it as an expression of their newfound freedom. 

The traditions of J’ouvert vary widely throughout the Caribbean. In Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada, a part of the tradition involves smearing paint, powder, mud or oil on the bodies of participants known as “Jab Jabs”. This is called playing mud. 

“Jaboulay is an expression of freedom. Pick up the paint, hop on the dance floor, be free and release.” Says organizer, Kelly Ann Wilson. “Jaboulay is a taste of home that we are trying to keep and stay true to. If you’re coming out and you want to have true, nice, clean fun with great music and culture. J’ouvert is where to be!”

J’ouvert or Jouvay is at the heart of Trinidad carnival, and is also celebrated in other Eastern Caribbean islands. The Las Vegas Caribbean weekend was just a taste of the actual events that take place in their homelands. It is the hope of many Las Vegas islanders that their culture will and become more known in the Vegas areas.

Please share your comments about J’ouvert in the comment section below.

Las Vegas Locals Celebrate Oktoberfest!

Las Vegas Locals come for family fun and experience the one and only replica of the Great Hofbrauhaus located in Munich, Germany.

Cheering and standing on benches with a liter of beer in hand is only part of the great experience and atmosphere of being at the Las Vegas Hofbrauhaus. 

The Hofbrauhaus is an authentic German/Bavarian restaurant experience and is ideal for Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest lasts for the month of October where celebrity keg tappings are held every Friday and Saturday with drinking contests, Steinholding contests, live music and spankings. 

Oktoberfest was born from the most successful wedding in Bavarian history. In October of 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig was set to marry Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. In true royal fashion, this was not your average wedding. No expense was spared by the father of the groom, King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria. Ludwig and Therese’s wedding was a massive celebration with a 40,000-person guest count, free-flowing beer and a 36,000-foot horse race in a large meadow just outside of town.

The celebration was deemed the reception of the century. In fact, everything was so successful that Ludwig decided that a horse race should be held the following year in conjunction with the state agricultural show. Taverns and “eating houses” were also allowed to provide tempting fare; among them was the original Hofbräuhaus. 

Voila! Oktoberfest was born! 

Two years after the wedding, the royal brewers created a beer especially for the festival. With a deep golden color and higher alcohol content, the world-famous Oktoberfestbier from Hofbrau Mϋnchen made its mark on history. 

Today, Ludwig’s and Therese’ anniversary is still celebrated all over the world by thousands of guests and, of course, beer! The horse races ended in 1960 but, as they say, the show must go on.

As the first and only replica of the original Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany, there is no better place to celebrate Oktoberfest than the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas.

“This is a great, authentic event.” Says attendee, Andrew B. “I spent 12 years in Germany and it’s spot on.”

Tony Sinzger and his partners Stefan Gastager, Klaus Gastager, and Franz Krondorfer came to Las Vegas in 2002. They started the building construction in 2003 and finished in January 2004. Their goal was to replicate the famous House in Munich in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas. To make this happen, they had to negotiate with the Bavarian government for the license to create the replica. The main dining room is the exact same as the first room in Munich. It sits 850 visitors. 

“We are very proud. Our goal was to make the Las Vegas Hofbrauhaus as authentic as possible and I think we achieved that, “Hofbrauhaus owner, Tony Sinzger. “People come and have so much fun. Seeing the smiles on their faces gives me so much satisfaction.”

Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas imports its Hofbrau beer directly from Munich, Germany. This beer is brewed according to the Purity Law of 1516, there are no chemicals or additives. There are only 4 ingredients allowed: Water, hops, yeast and barley. The beer that millions of people enjoy at Oktoberfest in Munich can also be enjoyed at Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas which is the only establishment in Las Vegas where it is offered. 

This is a communal dining experience where people can sit with 10 or more people that they may not know and enjoy the festivities. 

“People come in, they don’t know each other but after 2-3 liters of beer they make friends.” Says Hofbrauhaus owner, Tony. “There is no restaurant in Las Vegas where you can stand on the benches while cheering loudly with the band, it is very unique.”

The beer, the food and the atmosphere are what make celebrating Oktoberfest at Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas so special!

Share your comments about Oktoberfest in the comment section below.