Last week, the people who own and operate the Emergency Arts complex—the El Cortez and Jennifer Cornthwaite, respectively—chose to paint over the mural that Interesni Kazki painted on the side of their building during the Life Is Beautiful Festival. That was the the one that depicted a ghoulish-looking cowboy with a slot machine embedded in his chest reaching out to a group of presumably dead hands reaching out of the desert floor.
The mob-era Las Vegas imagery of Kazki’s mural was potent, especially to anyone who’s lived in this town for a while or has simply seen Martin Scorcese’s Casino a few times. But I thought it seemed a bit too on-the-nose to face the entrance of a casino that has to, you know, draw in tourists to survive, and apparently, the ElCo thought so, too. The five-week-old mural was painted over, and it was hastily announced that another mural would go in its place—a local design, to be chosen at the end of an upcoming contest sponsored by Life Is Beautiful, Emergency Arts and, naturally, the El Cortez, which will have to face the thing daily.
But that’s not the wall I’d like to talk about today. The loss of the Kazki mural is unfortunate, but at least another mural is going in its place. (And wasn’t it just yesterday that we were complaining that Life Is Beautiful’s outdoor art component included too few local talents? Look on the sunny side, savage reader.) That’s more than can be said for the beige monstrosity pictured above, which, at press time, is not expected to be painted by Interesni Kazki or anyone else.
That ugly box is the western landing pad for Slotzilla, and as you can see, it bottles up the Fremont Street Experience as neatly as its towering eastern parent does. And once the Plaza’s promising new Bier Garten opens, we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of this cream-colored stout fellow: Bier Garten’s patio sits directly on top of it, more or less.
I think it’s incumbent upon us to demand that something be done with this wall, and with the passion equivalent that we’re displaying for a month-old mural painted by someone who barely knows this town. We can ask the Fremont Street Experience people to put real local art on here, not the cheap vulgar clip art they put on the main Slotzilla tower. My question is, who should do this art, and what should it be?
Let’s see if we can’t answer this question in the comments below. And remember, “let’s just take Slotzilla down” is not an option. I already asked and Slotzilla is still there. We have to think of something else.
PHOTO BY GEOFF CARTER