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Off the Strip New Genres Festival

<p>The artist Michael Barrett</p>

The artist Michael Barrett

[ART] Saturday, Sept. 1, Sunday, Sept. 2

With the success of last month’s London Biennale event, and the ongoing vitality of this one, Las Vegas can claim an active and growing performance-art mojo. Makes sense, when you think about it — from burlesque to Cirque (and to say nothing of the performative nature of Strip architecture and gambling culture), this is a city with acting out in its bloodstream.

What is performance art? It’s an attempt to find a means of artistic expression beyond traditional flat media or sculpture — sometimes in order to critique the limitations of those forms or to say things in ways those forms can’t. If an artist like Michael Barrett (above) wants to use the human body “as a metaphor for larger social, political and personal issues,” why not actually use his body instead painting or sculpting one? And sometimes, it’s just cool to try new shit or see what happens when you throw different kinds of artists together — say, the band Kid Meets Cougar and filmmakers Mike and Jerry Thompson. Maybe sparks will fly.

This year’s festival comes in two main parts:

• Saturday is devoted to video art screenings and a panel discussion (4-6:30 p.m., repeated at 12:15 a.m.).

• Sunday focuses on performance pieces (4-6 p.m.) followed by a panel discussion with some of the artists (6-8 p.m.). That will be followed by an 8:30 reprise of the video segment.

If you’ve been reading CityLife, some participants (in addtion to those named above) will be familiar: the band Candy Warpop, artists Justin Favela, Miguel Rodriguez and CityLife art critic Jenessa Kenway. Plus many more, some from as far away as the U.K., Australia and exotic Indiana. This is a great chance to see some new, emerging art forms and sample the performance-art energy Las Vegas is breeding. Contemporary Arts Center, in the Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., ,, $15, $10 for CAC members. SCOTT DICKENSHEETS