Poetry with the mayor! When the Vegas Valley Book Festival melded their opening night into FF about four or five years ago or so (from their prior digs in Henderson), we decided to kick off both the festival and the November First Friday with a collection of haiku submitted by the town folk. The then game(y) mayor, Oscar Goodman, volunteered to read the winners. It was awkward, ridiculous, heart-warming and nauseating all rolled up into one blast through the amps on an unsuspecting First Friday crowd. Yet each year the mayor would come back for another round. One year Holly Madison joined us onstage and Ginger Bruner provided back-up tuba! Last year, both Mr. and Mrs. Mayor Goodman were unavailable, so Chumlee [from Pawn Stars] stepped in and he was amazing!
Poetry with the mayor with tuba.
The Nines at Dino’s for the afterparty in its early days was always a blast, especially the holiday shows when folks would come back to town to see their families. [It was a] guaranteed good time! I wish I would have known [about the 10th anniversary] earlier, I would have tried to book us. [Also] The Fremonts playing Dino’s with Lonnie Hammergren!
Cindy [Funkhouser] gave me my first solo show in Vegas at the second or third First Friday at the Funk House. That show launched a lot of opportunities for me as a painter.
It was October 2003, the very first First Friday Brian [Henry, her husband] and I ever attended. We arrived before the sun had set at The Arts Factory and wandered around the galleries for about an hour anonymously, amongst a small group of strangers. I don’t remember the specifics of what we saw or did, but as we drove away, I remember agreeing that we should rent the shoebox-sized gallery space we’d encountered awkwardly positioned at the turn of a very narrow hallway and do something we’d never done before: show our art. I think it’s fair to say that first First Friday has had an immeasurable impact on our life, now and forever.
Having the most unique record store, The High End Mystery Emporium, for three months in 2006, being shut out of the First Friday set — even though we were located on Casino Center Boulevard across from the Funk House — overcoming that and being somewhat successful, and then after a small electrical fire not having a record store anymore.
DJ REX DART
As Yet Unbroken played our worst show there a few years ago. It was December, we were playing on the outdoor stage, and it was cold as hell, to the point that none of us could warm up sufficiently to play our instruments. My drums kept sliding around on the Land Rover stage, but that was only if I could hit them, because my hands were numb to the point I couldn’t grip the sticks properly (even with rubberized gloves). The sound kept crapping out and, well, you get the picture. I think about 10 people stuck around to watch, in and out, but hell, even I wouldn’t have stood around in that cold watching a crappy performance out there.
[My band] Lydia Vance got bumped off the First Friday stage [in 2006]. So we set up with a generator in the dirt lot next to it with no microphones, and the children followed.
Hanging out at the second First Friday in front of Iowa Cafe with Mike Pouncy, looking out onto an empty Charleston Boulevard, he was leaning on their wall impersonating Silent Bob and I was impersonating Jay. There was literally no one around.
The Lucky Lady Lucy burn was my first First Friday after living in Las Vegas since Jan 7, 2008. I went out with my friends and watched Lucy burn and sang songs with the band that was on stage and started a Python chant in the crowd: “A WITCH! BURN THE WITCH!” Shortly after the burn we turned 180 degrees and walked over to the Dancetronauts stage and proceeded to rock our faces off the entire set until it was concluded.
I once haggled a great deal on a fabulous vintage sport coat for my husband at a shop on Main Street. The owner wanted slightly more than my offer. Finally, I told her I’d give her all the cash in my wallet ($22, if I remember right) and we had a deal. That sort of encapsulates First Friday for me: great finds, good deals, awesome memories.
Meat Over Moscow was playing a party in the parking lot of some apartments next to The Box Office sometime in 2005. I hadn’t eaten anything all day and decided before the show to drink a large bottle of Beck’s Dark before we played. I got super drunk right as we went on. After hammering out about 30 minutes of noisy psych rock and getting a crowd of something like 80 people to watch, I found the bottle near my amp, drank the rest and threw it into the crowd like a total jerk. Now, I can’t throw, so it shattered about four or five feet away from me and I got hit in the face with glass. The crowd loved it. My partners Ian and Wyatt McKenzie were really confused and a little pissed, but it sort of defined the feeling of chaos and excitement that was happening in downtown. Shortly after, the fences went up and the sort of excitement and electricity of First Friday … seemed to kind of fizzle and die. As if someone had taken this cool organic psychotic D.I.Y. pitbull of the Vegas art scene and cut its balls off.
My band Sex Pop Suicide was asked to play six years ago, yet they had a very rough time with the name (a given), but what they had failed to mention to me before going onstage was not to cuss! Well, obviously they’d never seen us play before, I use “fuck” as much as most people use “and” or “the.” Well, with the first strum of the guitar, I say “Las Fucking Vegas!” and the sound was cut, stage manager rushing over, [saying] “No cussing, it’s a family event.” I have to admit, hardest gig of my life, but one I hold as a great memory for my kids. Glad to see it’s made it to a decade! Happy 10th, First Friday! And here’s to 10 fucking more!