If the recent destruction by vandals of a naked statue of Donald Trump downtown is any indication, it’s going to be one hell of a weekend in Las Vegas.

  • Over 100,000 people are expected for the Fourth annual Life is Beautiful Festival. Here is a handy-dandy map which shows the festival-goers where to eat, party, and watch concerts. It’s also helpful for locals to know which areas to avoid if they are driving downtown this weekend.
  • Tonight and tomorrow at The Dive Bar (4110 S Maryland Pkwy) you can catch tons of local bands having a party of their own at the Life is Shit Festival. Music starts at 4pm today and goes until 3am.
  • Nashville Unplugged continues its new residency at the Mandalay Bay, featuring a revolving cast of songwriters who have penned some of country music’s greatest songs, performing them live on stage. Tonight’s show features special guest Bobby Pinson, the 2009 BMI “Songwriter of the Year” who has penned hits for Toby Keith, Sugarland, and others. If you’ve never seen Nashville Unplugged its a really fun show with outstanding music.
  • If you’re downtown tonight check out blog favorite Jesse Pino at the Beauty Bar. The show runs from 8-12 and he’ll be playing along with The Spill Canvas and Almost Normal. Readers of this blog know I’m a huge fan of Jesse’s music and he puts on a phenomenal live show. Check it out if you’re downtown for all the Life Is Beautiful festivities.
  • If you’re downtown Saturday night, check out Demi Vie performing an acoustic set at a FREE Life is Beautiful afterparty from 8pm-2am at Backstage Bar and Billiards presented by Smash Magazine. They’ll be performing along with The CrookesZipper Club, and Pet Tigers. Demie Vie features excellent singer-songwriter and vocalist Josh Greenway. Check it out!
  • If you’re trying to avoid the downtown crowds on Saturday, check out Sloan at the Sayers Club at SLS Las Vegas as they tour in support of the 20th anniversary of their great album “One Chord to Another“. The show starts at 10 and tickets are $10. Sloan is a great live band, and on a personal level their drummer the cousin of my friend Erik Stephansson, himself a talented and accomplished songwriter out of Atlanta whose project Suntrodden has been garnering outstanding reviews and will be releasing their second album on October 28, 2106.
  • In legal news, Deputy Public Defender Erika Ballou was asked to remove a “Black Lives Matter” pin from the lapel of her dress by District Court Judge Douglas Herndon on the basis that it might “disrupt proceedings”. While this isn’t a political blog and I try to stay away from political opinions here I’m curious to hear what other readers have to say about this. I can say this, however. Having interned at the Clark County Public Defender’s Office during law school, I can say that Public Defenders on the whole tend to work passionately and tirelessly on behalf of their clients and that they also don’t get the respect they deserve from the public and the greater legal profession as a whole. If you don’t believe me, here’s a story about a Clark County Public Defender being placed in handcuffs in the courtroom by a judge. Talk amongst yourselves.
  • Now, on to shenanigans with the hockey team name! Las Vegas NHL Hockey Team owner Bill Foley announced that the official designation of the team name will be delayed until possibly early November due to ongoing “tweaking” of the logo and colors. Following the name of the team has become something of its own spectator sport here in Vegas, with recent trademark filings as well as statements from Foley himself indicating that the team will either be the Golden Knights, Silver Knights, or Desert Knights. In a bizarre twist, however, I found during a Trademark search that on August 29, 2016, approximately a week after Foley’s company trademarked Golden, Silver, and Desert Knights, the name “Neon Knights” was also trademarked by a Nevada based LLC  “Edge Entertainment Group”. According to Secretary of State filings, this LLC is run by Las Vegas doctor Robert G. Hillsman and (I presume) his brother William G. Hillsman, a political consultant and advertising executive. This is where the story gets juicy. According to William Hillsman’s self aggrandizing website, he has been a campaign consultant to Ralph Nader and Jesse Ventura, has written books about fixing the two-party system (good luck with that), and he runs a company “North Woods Advertising”  where he claims to be an “expert”  in “marketing/communications strategy; media strategy, buying and placement; creative copywriting and art direction; public relations and promotions”. According to William Hillsman’s bio he lives in Minnesota, and indeed the attorney of record for the “Neon Knights” trademark filings is a Minnesota attorney. I contacted this attorney to inquire as to whether this would be the name of the new team, and he could not confirm or deny anything, but curiously he asked me if I thought “Neon Knights” was a good hockey team name and whether people would like it. For the record I have asked him for more information and requested to speak to his clients so they can provide statements for this blog, but have heard no response to date. At this point my theories are this. Either 1) these are two people who have copyrighted the name with the hopes of “pitching” it (for a price) to the new NHL franchise. After all, “Neon Knights” has been heavily promoted as a possible team name for the new franchise and was included in the Review Journal’s reader poll team name tournament. And we know that Bill Foley wants to have the word “Knights” in the team name as nod to the West Point Black Knights, his alma mater. The second theory is this: Bill Foley may have created this group specifically to market the team name “Neon Knights”, which will be the team name. If this is the case then then Golden, Silver, and Desert Knight filings are just red herrings meant to throw everyone off the trail. This may sound far fetched, but he has already admitted to filing fake team names in order to throw people off the trail. Only time will tell what the actual team name will be, in the meantime I’ll try to keep covering the shenanigans on this blog. Of course there’s a third option, that I am entirely wrong about theories 1 and 2, and “Neon Knights” is something completely different. We’ll see!