Trip Off the Strip

Recently I was able to take a quick “vacation” with my best friend. I use quotations because our destination was Las Vegas, and Las Vegas hardly qualifies as a vacation. Anyone who has ever been to Las Vegas knows that it truly is the city that doesn’t sleep. The drive there took a few hours and we were soon pulling up to the pearly MGM Signature gates. Being a Vegas veteran, I was craving a different experience than your typical party/club scene. I text my good friend Kat and we were soon en route to Downtown Las Vegas.
I didn’t know much about Downtown Las Vegas except that it was where the old people went. I was wrong. Murals began to line the streets of Downtown, and despite the rain it was full of life. We didn’t get to explore as much of Downtown Las Vegas as I’d hoped due to the rain, but it was definitely one of the highlights out of all of my Vegas trips.

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Our first stop was a quaint little gastropub called Park On Fremont. From the exterior this place doesn’t look like much, but that’s what makes it so great. The interior is filled with bold prints and the area behind the inside bar is home to various taxidermy animals in odd positions. The back patio is just as whimsical as the interior with its mismatched furniture and cozy fireplace. If you look hard enough you might even find the entrance into a hidden area with a seesaw. Yes, I rode it in the rain. I ordered one of their specialty cocktails called Pillow Talk, which was delicious. Prices were reasonable and most definitely cheaper than any bar on the strip. Their brunch menu looked delicious and I will definitely be back next time I find myself in sin-city.

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Park on Fremont
506 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 

The second place we went to was Gold Spike. I immediately started screeching on sight upon entry. There was a lounge area with literal giant silk beds in lieu of chairs and tables (typical Vegas). There was also a good size bar area inside, but Kat led us to the back patio. I have to say, this back patio, or backyard as they call it, was a literal adult playground. Supersize all of your favorite childhood games and add alcohol and you end up with the Gold Spike backyard. There was a fenced in area with beer pong tables, giant Jenga, giant chess, and trash pong. The place was relatively empty when we went, but we still enjoyed a round of trash pong in the rain with a bridal party from some irrelevant midwest state. They have live music on weekends on their badass little vintage trailer stage and Gold Spike is also home to The Real World 31. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Downtown Las Vegas.

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Who left their weave?

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Kat, our DTLV guide. Follow Kat’s rad IG @kat_longlastname.

Gold Spike
217 N Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV

Before we left we stopped by Container Park and explored until the rain had us running back to the car. Container Park is a cute little area with an adult-friendly jungle gym, chalk wall, shops, bars, and restaurants. They also have a stage which features local acts and musicians. Container Park is also home to the praying mantis pictured below. It was originally created for Burning Man by an aerospace engineer and artist. And if it weren’t already badass, it also shoots 65 ft flames at night.

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I wish it hadn’t been raining so much because I would have loved to explore Downtown Las Vegas  some more. The strip gets old and tiring, and Downtown Las Vegas is the perfect solution for this. As for the rest of my trip well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

-M

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My Date With Frida

This past Sunday I found myself bored with nothing to do so I decided to hop in my car and just drive. I ended up at the Fresno Art Museum which ended up being a treat. I quickly learned that there was a Nickolas Muray exhibit showing various photographs he had taken of the amazing Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

I wandered around the museum checking out different exhibits, and saved the best for last. I showed up an hour before closing, meaning I had the entire place to myself.

While I wasn’t allowed to photograph inside the museum, I managed to find some of my favorite (photographs) online to share with you all.

Frida and Diego Tizapán – 1937
Nickolas Muray
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This photograph stood out to me because of Frida’s chingona stare at Diego. Just from this photo you could tell that it was she who wore the pants.

The two images above are probably Nickolas Muray’s most famous photographs. Both were taken at his studio in New York City, before she left for Paris.
The first photograph of Frida in a magenta rebozo hung, for years, over Diego and Frida’s bed.
On the back she signed,
“Nick, with all my heart, with all my love, with all my memory, I think of you.
Frida”.

 

Throughout their time spent together Frida began falling for Nickolas, and he for her. They wrote to each other frequently, especially while she was in Paris, criticizing the aristocratic , snooty Europeans. I spent a majority of my time at the museum reading the letters exchanged between Frida and Nickolas. Their exchange of words was beautiful and would put and any Nicholas Sparks novel to shame.

In a letter from Nick Muray to Frida dated February 8, 1939, he wrote:
“Darlingest Xochitl.

The first reaction to your wire was to extend my arms and embrace you to kiss the tears away from your sweet cheeks and swallow the salty sorrow of your heart.
Your Nick.
(all of him)”

In a letter from Frida to Nick dated February 16, 1939, she wrote:
“I could kill that guy and eat it afterwards…I have decided to send everything to hell and scram from this rotten Paris before I get nuts myself…I’d rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas.
One special kiss on your neck. 
Your Xochitl.”

 

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What The Water Gave Me

This painting by Frida Kahlo was given to Nick in exchange for his financial help while she was in Paris. One of Frida’s darker paintings, this one in particular depicted how her life was shaped by destruction.

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My experience wandering through the Fresno Art Museum alone was magical. I think everyone should go to a museum alone at least once. It gives you the chance to escape into the world that the artists captured in each painting and photograph, and a chance to escape from your own reality. Continuing my date with myself  I ended my night with tacos,  because any time is a good time for tacos.

-M