Keeping The Beat: Meet Jennifer Cornthwaite

Jennifer Cornthwaite is expecting a child. It’s important that you know that, because it hasn’t slowed her down in the least bit. The co-founder and managing partner of the Emergency Arts gallery complex and The Beat Coffeehouse, Cornthwaite is on the job most days of the week—overseeing Emergency Arts’ sterling collection of creative spaces, making sure the kitchen is delivering hot coffee and great sandwiches, and helping to move Fremont East ever forward.

HI! MY NAME IS: Jennifer Cornthwaite

WHAT DO YOU DO? I am the managing partner/co-founder of Emergency Arts and The Beat Coffeehouse, along with my husband Michael.

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS SAY ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? They think I work a lot.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN DTLV? I have lived downtown for five years, and in Las Vegas for 14 years.

WHY DO YOUR THING DOWNTOWN? ISN’T IT AN UNTAMED WASTELAND? It is untamed, just not a wasteland. That is what’s so cool about it.

WHAT’S THE BEST DAMN THING ABOUT DOWNTOWN? The people. The people who are attracted to this creative, Wild Wild West, free spirit, start-up, tech, artistic, crazy journey are amazing.

DOWNTOWN NEEDS ______ MORE THAN ANYTHING. More housing.

FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE: FRIEND OR FOE? It’s fine; it is what it is. However, there is a distinct difference in what I, and many of my colleagues, do and what is done at the Experience.

But I can’t tell you that I haven’t gone ziplining or eaten a deep-fried Oreo, played blackjack at the Four Queens or stood around very late to see a replay of the Doors light show. It’s just like going to have a fancy brunch on the Strip—it’s entertainment that I indulge in every so often.

WHERE’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT? Oscar’s. It’s beautiful, the food is always great—and I can usually sit down and actually have a meal with my husband there.

TO BE ENTERTAINED? People watching at The Beat. It is STILL the best.

TO WATCH DRUNKS IN ACTION? Nothing ever beats a Strip nightclub. I have never seen people acting so ridiculous and embarrassing as I did during my time spent working in a nightclub. I would tell you a story, but it would ruin the book I should write. Whatever drunks I might see Downtown will never compare to the ridiculous behavior I was a witness to.

AND TO SIMPLY RELAX? We have an awesome 1957 house that is less than one mile away from work. I frequently take a break during the day to come home to relax, see our dog, or to write e-mails in my quiet home office. Michael and I like to take drives out of the city, and into the desert. And sometimes, we go to the Strip—where we don’t know a soul—for a drink or something to eat at a few secret locations that I simply cannot spoil.

Also, Bagel Cafe for Sunday brunch. You can usually find us there on Sunday mornings reading the paper, and melting into eggs and the pastry case. And Baskin Park on Oakey. It’s really awesome.

IF YOU WERE ANOINTED SUPREME RULER OF DOWNTOWN FOR ONE DAY, WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE? Just one? If I had 24 hours of supreme rule, believe me, there would be a whole lot that would change—and quickly.

PHOTO BY ANDREW JAMES

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