Living / Insights

Jeff Mitchum Exhibits at MGM Gallery

Fine-art photographer Jeff Mitchum inaugurates his newest gallery, at MGM Grand, by showcasing a masterpiece of color and light, Third Day.

August 21, 2013

jeff mitchum photography

Third Day by Jeff Mitchum, 2010.

Photography is so much more than a technical skill; it takes artistry, persistence, timing—and sometimes divine intervention. For Jeff Mitchum, Third Day required an almost saintlike level of patience. The renowned fine-art photographer was willing to wait until nature delivered exactly what he was looking for. Shot in the Sierras, the photograph captures a thrilling landscape: aspen trees in the golden hues of autumn, snowcapped mountains rising majestically on the horizon, and the setting sun hurling wondrous shafts of light into a cloud-draped sky.

Third Day stuns even the photographer himself. “It took me over 15 years to get that photo,” Mitchum says. “I went back every year—shooting in the Southwest, circling back up to Tahoe. I knew it was coming. I could feel it.” In 2010, he returned to the site again and again, waiting for just the right balance between the color in the trees and the light in the sky. “The last time I went back, a storm was gathering,” he says. “The sky was full of energy. I set up the camera and waited. And then it happened. I couldn’t believe it. Even now I can’t believe it.”

Mitchum, who is mostly self-taught, says he fell in love with his craft at a young age, hiking around with Ansel Adams, shadowing the legendary photographer. While Adams is celebrated for his black and white landscapes of the Western US, Mitchum eventually became known for his color work.

“Every photo I take is unique,” he says. “It exists just here, just now, and then it’s gone. I’ll never take another photo, ever, at the same spot where I shot Third Day. Once I get the shot I’m waiting for, it’s complete.”

Valued at $1.2 million, Third Day is the standout piece in Mitchum’s spectacular new 4,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed gallery in The District mall at MGM Grand. Displayed at the entrance—in front of a 10-by-15-foot freestanding glass sculpture designed in partnership with Markian Olynyk—it ushers clients into the tasteful, trendy space. With more than 300 photographs, along with glass art and eco-friendly furniture made from sustainably sourced coconut wood, the newest Jeff Mitchum Gallery complements his first Las Vegas location, at Bellagio.

To fête the July 4 inauguration of the gallery at MGM Grand, the latest volume in his Portraits of Light series—a project five years in the making—was published. Another book, Portraits of California, showcases more than four decades of Mitchum’s work. “Each shot is about my love of nature,” he says. With 450-plus photographs divided among four volumes, each weighing more than 12 pounds, that’s a lot of love. Jeff Mitchum Gallery, MGM Grand, 702-304-0007

By Jessica Hawkins
photography by jeff mitchum

 

Bentley Unveils Plans for Luxury SUV

The highly anticipated SUV concept is expected to hit the market in 2016.

July 25, 2013

After endless speculation and rumors, Bentley recently made an official statement that their much-anticipated EXP 9 F concept SUV will go into production as the company’s fourth model line. It’s expected to hit the market in 2016.

Bentley says it will devote more than 800 million Euros toward new product development as well as its headquarters. The stately SUV will be made in Crewe and is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs in England.

“This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful, and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market,” said Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, Bentley’s chairman and chief executive, in a statement. “The support of everyone involved with the company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company.”

The EXP 9 F concept was first shown in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show with massive 23-inch alloy wheels, Bentley’s signature grille, a powerful 6-liter W12 engine coupled with an 8-speed transmission, and luxurious amenities fit for the royal family. Expect the production of the lavish SUV to be limited with pricing well beyond the most expensive SUVs—the Range Rover and Porsche Cayenne Turbo—on the market.

by Kimatni D. Rawlins, automotiverhythms.com, (@ARtvKimatni)

 

The Best Yet: 2014 Maserati Quattroporte

The Maserati Quattroporte S and S Q4 redefine Italian luxury.

May 30, 2013

When deep beauty is encountered, what behavior would you exert to obtain it? Fortunately, Maserati has never had qualms attracting car lovers to their brand. Yet, today’s expectations from tech-savvy and opulence-seeking connoisseurs have to be met in the competitive global markets.

To explore the technologies, luxury accouterments, and Italian design philosophy of the latest Maserati Quattroporte, we flew to Italy for a day of testing at the Balocco Proving Grounds, which felt more like Stanford’s campus than a vehicle test track. The Langhe course that we challenged the Italian maestro on is 12.89 miles long with 135 tight and wide turns and miles of K-rail.

Offered in both the GTS (V8 engine) and the S (V6 engine), the Quattroporte features AWD for the first time, but only on the V6. And please do not expect a hybrid rendition of this model because the technology is not a part of the company’s vision. Maserati prefers the numbers achieved in diesel engines. With deliveries currently taking place in the U.S., base MSRP for the 523-horsepower V8 RWD Quattroporte GTS is $140,500 and $102,500 for the 404-horsepower GDI V6 AWD Quattroporte S Q4, the model we drove in Balocco.

Riding in the back is just as spacious as an Audi A8L or Jaguar XJL and dual seats can be ordered to replace the bench seat. The dashboard uses a magnesium frame and houses the 8.4” infotainment system, which is available with the up-level 15-speaker, 1280-watt Bowers and Wilkins surround sound, where crisp, concert-like rhythms are delivered spectacularly throughout the cabin. The shift paddles, gear lever frame, and LCD trim are all aluminum. Two leather types are available with the optional, higher grain leather covering more area. A rear window shade and side electric blinds, standard sunroof, and the choice of six surfaces, including a carbon fiber package, round out interior comfort offerings.

I always find it clever when auto manufacturers are able to manifest lavish, full-size sedans in every sense, yet instill the performance and character of sport cars. Q4, for example, offers the Quattroporte S greater high-speed confidence and safety for inclement weather. First, the car has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution with both engines; uses a double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear; and Skyhook has been significantly improved. Skyhook is Maserati’s sophisticated damping system, which manages all vehicle dynamic parameters. To the left of the gear selector are five options for your specified style of driving.

Whichever angle you examine it from, Quattroporte is ready for the big leagues and certainly will not disappoint.

By Kimatni D. Rawlins, automotiverhythms.com, (@ARtvKimatni)

 

Rolls-Royce Wraith Debuts in Geneva

The British auto brand takes a 1938 model for a modern spin.

March 13, 2013

It’s symptomatic for Rolls-Royce to look backwards before moving forward when the time for contemplation of a new model is imminent. With a storied history—founder Charles Stewart Rolls was in his twenties when he co-founded the company and, as a young pilot, became the first man to double cross the English Channel non-stop—and a reservoir of creativity at its disposal, the British automaker proudly staged the world debut of its dynamic new Wraith recently at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show.

Wraith, titled after a mystical Scottish spirit, represents new potential direction for Rolls-Royce and extends its level of luxury, refinement, and hand-craftsmanship, but also presents unique positioning defined by power, style, and drama. Originally conceived in 1938, the rebirth of the current fastback and its perfectly engineered features and technical contour introduces a younger demographic to the Rolls-Royce brand. The sleek and vigorous Wraith is purely driver oriented with its Ghost-based 6.6-liter V12 that now outputs 624-horsepower (European spec), allowing it to reach 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. With this in mind, the majestic gran turismo becomes the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the history of the company. 

Hallmark coach doors open into the Wraith’s rich cabin, which is composed of Phantom-grade leathers and Canadel Panelling wood veneers. A bespoke touch of imagination is displayed by way of the lustrous night roof lining, conceived by the hand stitching of 1,340 fibre optic lamps. For enthusiastic owners who position themselves directly behind the wheel, innovative technology dubbed Satellite Aided Transmission applies GPS mapping algorithms to forecast the driver’s next move using current location-base and drive characteristics. The system then pre-chooses the most suitable gear from the 8-speed automatic ZF transmission appropriate for the impending topography ahead.

Expect deliveries by the end of the year to early 2014 with a current European price of €245K. Further pricing details for additional markets such as the U.S. will be revealed at a later date. It’s currently a moment of introspection for Rolls-Royce as they position themselves for supplementary growth, heightened levels of performance, and inflated expectations from their loyalists.

—KIMANTI D. RAWLINS, automotiverhythms.com

 

Casey Weldon at Trifecta Gallery

Casey Weldon makes a triumphant return to Las Vegas with a darkly humorous yet nostalgic showing at Trifecta Gallery.

February 25, 2013

Homegoing by Casey Weldon

Blending postmodern macabre with a love of nature, painter Casey Weldon’s work is grounded in an offbeat drollery that originated at home. “I’ve always been attracted to deadpan delivery and the treatment of the absurd with a straight face,” he says. “My dad’s side of the family all have a real dry sense of humor.” As homage, Weldon’s painting Homegoing is a focal point in his exhibition “Lose and Find,” showing in the main gallery at Trifecta in March.

Homegoing is among the largest of his nontraditional oversize pieces; he creates them to complement his customary smaller paintings, which he tends to do in groups of up to five. Weldon, who works in acrylics on wood, has been delving a bit deeper into the background of his unconventional portraits. “I am trying to become a bit more painterly,” he says. “I want to loosen things up while experimenting a bit more with composition.”

While he was living here, from 2004 to 2007, Weldon met Trifecta owner Marty Walsh and became one of the gallery’s first artists. “I was showing a lot in other spaces in the Arts Factory,” recalls Weldon, who now lives in Seattle. “Eventually we became friends, and I’ve been showing at Trifecta ever since.”

He moved to Vegas for its affordable rent and growing art scene, and left with many layers of new inspiration. “I received a lot of support in the three years I lived here, and without that I’m not quite sure I would exert the same effort into the fine-art aspect of my career,” Weldon says. “Aesthetically, there is isolation to Las Vegas in its geography and natural environment that still resides in a lot of my work. I may not be painting a desert, but I still feel this balance of beauty and melancholy.” “Lose and Find” runs March 1–29 at Trifecta Gallery. 107 E. Charleston Blvd., 702- 366-7001

—Matt Stewart

 

Spring Music: A-List Headliners

The bevy of A-list talent headlining Vegas stages means spring fever has officially hit Sin City.

February 25, 2013

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 rocking out.

Bon Jovi
The legendary rock band’s ever-philanthropic lead singer, Jon Bon Jovi, often headlines local charity concerts, including Tiger Jam. Now he and his bandmates are hitting Vegas as part of their Because We Can – The Tour, which rocks the MGM Grand Garden Arena April 20. Bon Jovi’s 12th studio album, What About Now, is set for release on March 26. MGM Grand, 800-745-3000; ticketmaster.com

Carrie Underwood
In her first Las Vegas show since being named Female Artist of the Year at the American Country Awards last December, Carrie Underwood is back at Mandalay Bay Events Center March 2. Named for her new album, her Blown Away Tour is said to be her most theatrical to date, combining country music with high-fashion costume changes and modern technology. “Wanted” crooner Hunter Hayes opens for the blonde bombshell. Mandalay Bay Resort, 702-632- 7777; ticketmaster.com

Extreme Thing
Back for its 18th year on March 30, Desert Breeze Park’s Extreme Thing Action Sports & Music Festival (organized by Clark County Parks & Recreation) will feature the bands New Found Glory, 3OH!3, Asking Alexandria, Mindless Self Indulgence, Sleeping with Sirens, and The Aquabats!, to name a few. The dubstep stage offers additional acts, including Mike Attack, DJ Teenwolf, Big Chocolate, and many more, while BMX stars such as Ricardo Laguna show off their skills. 8275 Spring Mountain Road; extremething.com

Maroon 5
The Adam Levine–fronted Maroon 5 just can’t stay away from Vegas. Only three months after an extraordinary two-day New Year’s Eve weekend concert in the city (in addition to recording many of their hit songs at Studio at the Palms), the band is returning to the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The March 16 show, with openers Neon Trees and Owl City, will feature songs from Overexposed, including “One More Night” and “Payphone,” which reached No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on the Billboard charts. Mandalay Bay Resort, 702-632- 7777; ticketmaster.com

Matchbox Twenty
The state-of-the-art Pearl Concert Theater, which seats 2,500, is the perfect intimate venue to showcase the pop-rock superband Matchbox Twenty on March 29. Fans will be treated to the hits that put Matchbox on the map, plus new songs like “She’s So Mean” and “Overjoyed,” from their latest album, North. Palms Casino Resort, 702-944- 3200; ticketmaster.com

Muse
The English are coming! The English are coming! Muse will perform in concert, along with Dead Sara, on March 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The band’s newest album, The 2nd Law, and its breakout single “Madness” have topped the charts since being released—just the latest achievements in a successful career dating back to 1994. Mandalay Bay Resort, 702-632- 7777; ticketmaster.com

Rihanna
Rihanna will be back April 12 as part of her Diamonds World Tour, her first show in Vegas since closing the opening day of September’s iHeartRadio Music Festival. Along with opener A$AP Rocky, the sassy reigning princess of hip-hop should light up the Mandalay Bay Events Center in an electrifying show featuring her signature spunk, songs from her new album, Unapologetic, and catchy favorites like “Umbrella.” Mandalay Bay Resort, 702-632- 7777; ticketmaster.com

—Katrina Concepcion

photography by Christopher Polk/Getty Images


 

Retna: Graffiti Genius

From the Cosmopolitan to Louis Vuitton, graffiti artist Retna has our full attention.

February 04, 2013

Marquis Lewis, the street artist known as Retna, has gained significant traction in the contemporary art community, with projects including a commissioned collection of murals on parking garage floor B3 of Cosmopolitan practically catapulting him to celebrity. Catching the attention of Louis Vuitton, the artist was asked to fuse his signature hieroglyphics with the label’s iconic design aesthetic in a textile collaboration debuting this spring. Retna reinterprets the Vuitton cashmere stole, revealing a graphic scarf in a watercolored palette of aqua, purple, and cream. “I wanted to recreate the timeless moniker of Louis Vuitton with something new that reflected my classic style of merging the art of graffiti with the philosophies of ancestral scribes,” the artist says. “Just like the art I created at the Cosmopolitan, it is something that moves effortlessly throughout the past, present, and future.” Crystals, CityCenter, 702-262- 6189


 

Andy Warhol's 'Diamond Dust Shoes'

Andy Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes steals the show.

January 21, 2013


Diamond Dust Shoes (Random)

Long before the Campbell’s soup cans, the Elizabeths, the Marilyns, and the Maos, there were shoes. Andy Warhol loved to draw them—high heels, pumps, or jeweled stilettos, many of them blotted-line drawings, filled in with color, and created when the artist was a commercial fashion illustrator in 1950s New York.

In 1980, Warhol, who was by then a famous Pop artist, returned to shoes, portraying arrangements of ladies footwear in a Diamond Dust series of screen prints in which Warhol added diamond dust for extra sparkle. Among the most famous: Diamond Dust Shoes (Random), which will be on display at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art when its “Warhol Out West” exhibit opens February 8.

The composition of ladies footwear on a black background, arranged as if they’d been spilled onto the floor with their toes pointed toward the center of the image, alludes to an endless array of shoes, playing into Warhol’s signature use of repetition. The diamond dust (from ground and cut gem diamonds) heightens the sense of glamour, fashion, and money—three things Warhol famously appreciated.

“The Diamond Dust works rarely travel” because of their delicate nature, says Tarissa Tiberti, executive director of Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, which partnered with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh to bring more than 30 of the artist’s works to Vegas.

The paintings, sculptures, photographs, screen prints, and wallpaper in “Warhol Out West” include Double Elvis, several works from the Cowboys and Indians series, and a not-often-exhibited portrait of painter Georgia O’Keeffe. “It’s so poignant right now, even more than anyone can understand,” Tiberti says. “He touched so many people.” “Warhol Out West” runs from February 8 through October 27 at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, 702-693-7871

—kristen peterson
photography courtesy of mgm resorts international



 

2013 Audi S8: An “S” for the Best

Rev up the new year in a car that perfectly pairs style and power.

January 04, 2013

Audi aficionados knew exactly what was expected when the German purveyor of luxury cars announced their new line of “S” performance vehicles including the S6, S7 and S8, which is the company’s four-door breadwinner in terms of power output and performance. But how could that be with the fierce and mighty V10 being supplanted for a smaller, more efficient twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8? It’s called German evolution.

Audi changed degrees with enhancements to their renowned quattro all-wheel drive technology, presented fascinating new products like the Q7, R8, and A7, enriched their interior cabins from an already stellar platform, and introduced magnificent engineering technology to ensure that the driving experience is pleasurable and safe. Now, the 2013 S8 is a new topic of conversation. The twin-turbo, 4-liter V8 produces 520 horsepower, helping the aluminum space frame go from 0 MPH to 60 MPH in 3.9 seconds. Mate the powerplant with Audi’s 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with manual shift mode, and the vehicle achieves 15-city MPG and 26-highway MPG. Cylinder on Demand also aids in this mileage by transitioning eight cylinders to four cylinders when full power is not required. For example, fuel reduction at 55 MPH is 12%.

As for the interior, I felt special to say the least as the 22-way, diamond cross-stitched sport seats massaged me pleasantly. My mocha leather cabin was infused with a plethora of carbon fiber to intensify the level of craftsmanship of this German touring sedan, including the gear selector, seatbacks, dash, and center console. As I gripped the thick 3-spoke leather wheel and ignited the red Start/Stop button, the needles on the gauges rotated, the LCD screen rose from its embedded position, and the acoustic lenses from Bang & Olufsen’s big-ticket, concert-themed sound system emerged out of the dash. LED lights can also brighten up the cabin when needed.

Audi Connect, launched in the “A” cars, uses an array of various multi-media technologies along with Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) for driver convenience. MMI is one of the most advanced telematics systems in the auto industry. When inputting the address in the Google Earth navigation system—which displays from the aforementioned LCD screen—superior visual computing takes over and guidance is enhanced by displaying satellite and 3D images of buildings and places of interest, as well as “Street View.” Online searches also come from Google, just as on your smartphone or laptop, and you receive weather, gas prices, RSS news feeds, and sports scores. Speaking of your smartphone, up to eight devices can connect wirelessly and search the web by way of the S8’s T-Mobile-provided hotspot. The first six months of hotspot ownership are free, with a separate monthly fee charged thereafter.

Once you reach your destination and step out to look back at the vehicle, you know you have properly arrived. With a massive grille that dominates the fascia and front air intakes, the larger 21-inch 5-star bladed rims and matching aluminum optic side view mirrors, and quad exhaust, this is not a typical A8 but an “S” driven by the very best. All you need to justify your $110,000 purchase.

—KIMANTI D. RAWLINS, automotiverhythms.com

 

2013 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster

Geometric lines and a removable top define the new model.

December 06, 2012

Lamborghini adds another roadster to its stellar line-up, dropping just in time for summer 2013 sunshine. The new Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster will very likely become the most sought-after production vehicle from the Raging Bull, while simultaneously raising the bar for the world standard of luxury, open-air supercars. The Italian exotic, which is not a limited-production model, is currently available for ordering.

Molded from Lamborghini’s successful coupe, which was presented during the summer of 2011 and has enjoyed a sales run of 1,300 units, the Aventador convertible emblematically commingles sophistication and motoring technology with pure driving gratification. New geometric lines and a removable top will distinguish the two body types.

—KIMANTI D. RAWLINS, automotiverhythms.com

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