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What Happened at First Friday May 2, 2014? Las Vegas Community Development

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Upon first arriving at the entrance from the intersection of Colorado and Main Street, I was greeted by the sweet sound of Bassist, Tony Tone. He was jamming on the corner with a heavy audience and broad ranges of sound from R&B to Jazz to Funk and Caribbean. He jams every Thursday 12-2 at Container Park. First Friday is not just a place for visual artists to display and sell their works but as well many musicians are in the scene.

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Food unique to Las Vegas was the next stop. The CEO and President, Hans Hippert of JoJos Jerky was there selling his one of kind locally made jerky. At $8 a bag, his jerky of many flavors was selling like hot cakes. He has curry beef jerky, teriyaki beef jerky, wasabi horseradish prime rib beef jerky, original pepper turkey jerky, carne asada beef jerky, and the list goes on. Next to JoJos Jerky was Manbake Protein Cake Bites and Spreads. They sell everything from pumpkin pie beefcakes to chocolate peanut butter beefcakes. The really are just little cupcakes but for those who are more so carb conscious and fitness junkies. They had unique butters on display for people to test and purchase at $10 a small jar and $15 per larger jar. The almond butter I can speak for and say it is outstanding. Whole Foods is reviewing Manbake products now. So, if you see some of their butters in the store help support your local Las Vegan butter and beefcake maker.

All time favorite Photographer, Curtis Joe Walker, was on the scene with his latest shin dig. Sporting his Poloroid camera, he was there photographing for a a new social media app called nomic. Nomic is a way of connecting people in Las Vegas with lists by a peer to peer connection. He had a unique set up with a TV cut out and LEDs glowing different RGB colors on the side where the poser would be standing. How a days he is a photojournalist for nomic and as well social media coordinator for 18b Las Vegas Arts District as well as network administrator, as well as photographer, writer, actor, and well just see his linked in for more. And yes Photo Bang Bang is still just around the corner. It's nice to see people still innovating and exploring new frontiers with photographic art. Hats off to the famous Curtis Joe Walker for keeping the media changing and evolving.

Speaking of media changing, next was multimedia artist from England, Izaac Zevalking of Recycled Propaganda. He had many Orwellian looking paintings and prints. So, we immediately got into a discussion about Animal Farm. He pointed out that one of his paintings has many George Orwell heads upside down in it. It was on purpose to say a little something about the surveillance going on in this country. Im sure everyone has seen the movie Animal Farm and how Napoleon changes the constitution to fit the needs of the few. Very interesting concepts he was delving into. He had one painting of an airstrip with Pac Man objects and a B-52 bomber to symbolize the drone attackers here in Nevada being so much like a video game and desensitized players. He made the painting Thursday before First Friday. "Game of Drones" sells for $80. I will say that his art work was actually selling. I saw many artists there actually selling.

Tanya Watler of Lil' Art Bodega says she paints because she loves to do it. I got one photo of her with that fabulous smile before she got swept away by her friends coming by to see her. She had clean designs of pop culture mixed with her own painting overlapping the prints. I really wish that I had more time to get to know her. She was faced with a life threatening illness and thus she started just creating truck loads of art. Life inspires her and the colorfulness of it all and spreading the love. She wants everyone to have a peice of her wart work in their house of hers. She is a RAW artist. Check out the video on her link. She is an inspiration.

Next, was Luanne Strauser of Doty Originals. She made jewerly from everything from ox bones to shark vertebrae. She showed me this unique set of prayer beeds she made from water buffalo horns made in Napal. She never even saw shark vertebrae until she went to Tahiti. Next up, were the unique creations of Dani Blaese of Baked Earth. She got carpul tunnel and was unable to hand build for a long time. So, she is just getting back into it and loves it. She makes unique things such as a carrot and radish whisk to fingers as holders for pictures of coats. She can be contacted at bakedearth3@gmail.com. Fingers go for $15 apeice and wisks go for $5 each. She explained to me that all one has to do is submit 5 photos to First Friday coordinators of art an artist makes and pay $50 for a booth.

Eileen, Ronda, and Martha were next with their work for Savers. Basically by giving away to Savers, one is giving to the world. Donated items not sold in the Savers store is shipped overseas to third world countries in need. Safe Nest is their main non-profit partner. So, when giving to Eileen, Ronda, or Martha you are contributing to people who really need.Eileen can be contacted at the Rancho/ Cheyenne store at 702-658-0083. They are all very proud to donate clothes or goods because it goes to help the people of Big Brother Little Sisters and Safe Nest. When someone donates at store then then donator gets 20% off anything in the store.

Another non-profit spotted helping develop the community of Las Vegas was Vegas Roots Community Garden. I was introduced to two of their hens Colby (yellow hen) and Darla (black hen). Chris Bowdan, irrigator, was on hand to feed the hens worms and water bugs. He explained that they are a non-profit to help teach people how to grow veggies and raise chickens. They are a combination of volunteers, employees, and plant owners. People can help by spreading mulch, planting crops, writing press releases, taking photos and videos, planting mulch, pull weeds, plan events, feed chickens, lead field trips and tours, social networking, play music, teach others to live green. Volunteer hours are 9a.m. to 1p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Plots are available for renting for an annual fee. Rosalind Brooks started Vegas Roots in March 2010 to give Las Vegas residents access to fresh produce, especially in underserved neighborhood north of downtown. The garden is open the public with no admission charge. Helping Chris on hand were Olivia and Nathan.

Around the corner from them was Audrey Dempsey from Infinity Photo. She was reminising about her time at Casa Nova's in Italy when 9-11 happened. This was when I got a shot of her. She travels the world doing photography of all sorts of things from food photography to retouching to special events to commercial. Next to her was Epyk Entertainment with DJs Slavko Lazic, Demarco Cruz, and Jonah Bogeart. They provide services for DJ Parties, their own camp with Burning Man, events such as a BBQ for Aids Walk, Make a Wish Upon a Star, and space themed Poetry Under a Poet Tree. Xavier Adams the event coordinator was on hand to explain the services in greater detail. So, if one should need music lights and some very creatively costumed original people then these are the guys. Dancing in the street was Bachata Diva teaching salsa lessons. She teaches from beginner moves to advanced more technical styles. She makes dancing a lot of fun. She provided a lot of unique moves for me to photograph from underarm turns to outward turnout spins. Her dance caught the eye of fellow photographer Holly Rae as well. Holly shoots with the Canon 6D and specializes in events, portaits and foods. She has been at it now for 12 years.

Reclaimed Art Supplies and Creative Release Center is set up by Jen Harney, the Director, and husband Aaron Harney. Aaron has a wood shop out back of Reclaimed where he creates illustrious hand made creations. Shannon Gould was on hand helping out. They are all very active in human rights and environmental issues. Jen says there is no planet B so we better be good to Earth. Jen believes in parralel systems in that people should grow their own veggies and not be solely dependant on another source. Jen and Aaron are very big in the downtown community with activism and organizing. She believes people work together as a circle and not a pyrimid.

First Friday is every first Friday of the month from 5p.m. to about 11p.m. located on Main Street between charleston and colorado.

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