Times of the Signs series sponsored by CenturyLink

"ARE WE THERE YET? REMEMBERING THE FAMILY ROAD TRIP"

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Join us on Wednesday, May 18, for “Are We There Yet? Remembering the Family Road Trip.” With the iconic roadside signs of the Neon Boneyard as her backdrop, Dr. Susan Sessions Rugh will present this free lecture which revisits the golden age of family vacations when record numbers of parents loaded the luggage in the trunk of the family car, stashed the children in the back seat and drove America's highways together in search of a variety of vacation destinations: historic sites, amusement parks, beaches and camp grounds.  The discussion will cover Rugh's research on motels and the evolution and impact of the family vacation on society.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and the presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by clicking here.

Rugh specializes in the history of travel and tourism, as well as in the history of rural America. She earned a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Chicago in 1993 and has taught at BYU since 1997. She teaches courses in American cultural history and Women’s Studies. Her current research concerns family-owned motels and immigrant entrepreneurs from Gujarat, India. Rugh’s published works include “Family Vacation,” “Are We There Yet? The Golden Age of American Family Vacations” and “Our Common Country: Family Farming, Culture, and Community in the Nineteenth-Century Midwest.” Rugh will sell and sign copies of “Family Vacation” following the presentation.

The Neon Museum’s Times of the Signs Series is sponsored by CenturyLink and takes place in the famous Neon Boneyard, bringing illuminating lectures, panel discussions, presentations or performances to the community

 


 

"Fabricating the Fantasy: Las Vegas Resort Interiors And The Artists Who Bring Them To Life"

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On Wednesday, November 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the Neon Museum will host “Fabricating the Fantasy: Las Vegas Resort Interiors and the Artists Who Bring Them to Life.” The panel discussion will trace the evolution of themed Las Vegas resort interior designs and how it relates to and is influenced by exterior casino signage and facades. 

“Fabricating the Fantasy” will be moderated by Scott Dickensheets, deputy editor of Desert Companion magazine. Panelists include Mark Oatis, creative director at YESCO; Evgeni Vodenitcharov, sculptor and founder of Icon Sculpting; Robert Beckmann, painter; and Brian Henry, principal, Brian Henry Design. 

With a focus on the artistic process, the panelists will address how their work contributes to the expression of resort themes, revealing their part in the fabrication of fantasy interiors, from faux finishes, murals, sculpted décor, to next-generation digital designs. Through case studies related to the Neon Museum collection, such as Caesars Palace and SLS, the panelists will address the past, present and future of this genre of art and its role in resort design in Las Vegas.

This event is free to attend but registration is required.  Click HERE to register.


Motor Court Magic: Mid-Century Architecture and the Roadside Motel, May 23, 2015

FREE LECTURE PART OF PRISM TV SIGNS OF THE TIMES LECTURE SERIES

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On Saturday, May 23, join the Neon Museum for “Motor Court Magic: Mid-Century Architecture and the Roadside Motel” from 6 to 8 p.m. This public discussion is in conjunction with a brand-new survey of historic downtown Las Vegas motor courts designed to inform the public and motel property owners of the economic and cultural value of their properties and signs.  The panel will also address how motor courts originated, impacted travel and eventually evolved into resort hotels. In addition, the ways in which roadside architecture helped shape the Southwest and subsequent landscape preservation strategies will be explored. 

“Motor Court Magic” will be moderated by Urban Design Coordinator and Historic Preservation Officer Courtney Mooney, City of Las Vegas, and represents a collaboration between the Neon Museum, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Nevada Preservation Foundation and the City of Las Vegas. Panelists will include Demion Clinco, President of the Tucson Hisoric Preservation Foundation Board; Jerry Stefani, roadside historian and creator of "Then and Now - Las Vegas Motels Driving Tours;" Susanna Newbury, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Nevada, and Craig Palacios and Tina Wichmann, co-founders and principals, BUNNYFiSH studio. This discussion is free to attend but advance registration is required and can be made HERE.  A cash bar will be available.

 


 

Las Vegas Letters: Vernacular Inspiration in Typeface Design, Feb. 10, 2015

SCHOLAR-IN-RESIDENCE FREE LECTURE PART OF PRISM TV TIMES OF THE SIGNS SERIES SPONSORED BY CENTURYLINK

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On Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., the Neon Museum will welcome scholar-in-residence Jesse Ragan, award-winning typography designer, for a presentation titled Las Vegas Letters: Vernacular Inspiration in Typeface Design at the Marjorie Barrick Museum Auditorium at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ragan will give his professional perspective on examples of signage lettering from the Neon Museum’s collection. In addition, he will discuss the process of designing typefaces, the challenges of capturing an organic handmade appearance in digital form and the influence of vernacular lettering in his own work. 

Working independently for a decade, Ragan has created custom types and lettering for brands, publications and cultural institutions.  While a staff designer at Hoefler & Frere-Jones, he collaborated on the design of Gotham, Archer, Chronicle and more. In 2010 he co-founded Type@Cooper, a postgraduate certificate program at The Cooper Union, where he taught through 2014 and continues to offer occasional workshops and lectures. Ragan received his own BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001.

Admission is free, with open seating available in the Barrick Auditorium. Please visit www.unlv.edu/barrickmuseum for parking information. For more information about the lecture, call (702) 387-6366.

 


 

September 15, 2014 "Unsigned Heroes: Sign Painters' Art and Stories"

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On Tuesday, September 16,2014, the Neon Museum will host the panel discussion, "Unsigned Heroes: Sign Painters’ Art and Stories."

Panelists include Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, authors of the book “Sign Painters” and co-directors of Sign Painters, a documentary.  The  documentary and book profile sign painters young and old and feature the stories of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States.

Mark Oatis will also serve as a panelist. Oatis is a founding member of The Letterheads, a trade organization dedicated to education and the dissemination of traditional sign methods, principles and techniques.

Vegas Vernacular co-founders Geoffrey Ellis and Bryan McCormick will serve as moderators. The Vegas Vernacular Project documented the lesser-loved commercial signage around the Las Vegas Valley over a two-year period.

The discussion will be held at the Neon Museum, 770 Las Vegas Boulevard, North.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the discussion, followed by a question-and-answer session, begins at 6 p.m. Immediately following the panel, Levin and Macon will sign copies of their book in the La Concha lobby.

Available seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Admission is $12 per person. Museum members receive free admission to the program. There will be a cash bar serving wine, beer, soda and water.

Reservations are required and can be made by clicking here.

On Wednesday, September 10, at 7:30 p.m. the Neon Museum, in partnership with UNLV, will host a screening of the documentary Sign Painters.  The screening is free and will be at the Barrick Museum on the campus of UNLV. For directions to the UNLV campus and parking information please visit http://www.unlv.edu/barrickmuseum/visit

 


May 20, 2014 "The Mid-Century Home and Designs for Living"

 

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On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, the Neon Museum will host its next PRISM TV Times of the Signs Lecture Series event sponsored by CenturyLink, “The Mid-Century Home and Designs for Living.” Open to the public (reservations are required in advance), this public education series takes place in the famous Neon Boneyard and brings illuminating lectures, panel discussions, presentations or performances to the community.

The May 20 event was organized in partnership with the Nevada Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit agency that provides historic designation and grant support to neighborhoods, homeowners and business owners who reside in a historic area or own a historic building. The Foundation supplies much needed support to navigate the extensive process of obtaining local, state, or federal historic designations. Once designated, the Foundation also provides grant-writing support and functions as a clearinghouse for grants benefiting historic districts/homes.

Participants in the event, which will follow a panel discussion format, will be:

Cory Buckner is a practicing architect in the Los Angeles area. She has a degree in Fine Arts from Chouinard Art Institute and a master’s in architecture from UCLA. The firm, Cory Buckner, Architect, specializes in contemporary residential design and mid- century remodel and restoration projects. She was awarded the 2002 Los Angeles Preservation Award and is the author of A. Quincy Jones, published by Phaidon Press, and was a finalist for the 2003 Rome Prize. Buckner will sign copies of her book at the Neon Museum on May 20.

Dave Cornoyer, a city planner by trade, has extensively researched and restored mid- century homes and architecture, with an emphasis on the Palmer and Krisel homes in Las Vegas’ Paradise Palms neighborhood located east of the Boulevard Mall.

Courtney Mooney, historic preservation officer, City of Las Vegas, is a downtown resident and collector of mid-century design. She holds a master’s of science degree in historic preservation and bachelor’s of science degree in architecture.

Eric Strain, architect with Assemblage Studios, received his master’s in architecture from the University of Utah and has won 29 American Institute of Architects Nevada Design Excellence Awards, 6 WMR AIA Design Excellence Awards, among other honors, including the 2008 HEIDI Award for Best Residential Architect.

Heidi Swank (moderator), executive director, Nevada Preservation Foundation, received her doctorate in anthropology with an emphasis on history and language from Northwestern University in 2006. She has published and presented widely on the ties between history, place making and everyday lives. As a resident of Las Vegas’ older downtown neighborhoods, Dr. Swank has gained significant knowledge of Mid-Century resources and styles. She has spent almost 10 years researching this topic and other eras of 20th century architecture.

The event will begin with a meet-and-greet with the panelists for Neon Museum members only from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Doors open to the general public at 5:30 p.m. and the discussion, followed by a question-and-answer session, begins promptly at 6 p.m. A cash bar serving wine, beer, soda and water will be available.

Space is limited and attendees are encouraged to reserve their spot by registering on the website. Available seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Admission is free and museum members receive reserved section seating. For more information about Times of the Signs events, call (702) 387-6366.

 


April 22, 2014 "Sign Design: Past, Present and Future"

 

Yesco shop

On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, the Neon Museum will host its next PRISM Times of the Signs event sponsored by CenturyLink, “Sign Design: Past, Present and Future.”  Open to the public (reservations are required in advance), Times of the Signs programs take place in the famous Neon Boneyard and bring illuminating lectures, panel discussions, presentations or performances to the community.

Participants in the event, which will follow a panel discussion format, will be:

•    Rick Juleen, vice president, special projects, Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO)
•    Jim Gietzen, design director, YESCO
•    Brian Henry, owner, Brian Henry Design
•    Rudy Crisostomo, former sign designer, YESCO

Helga Watkins, associate professor of art, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will serve as the evening’s moderator.

The event will begin with a meet-and-greet with the panelists for Neon Museum members only from 5 to 6 p.m. Doors open to the general public at 5:30 p.m. and the discussion, followed by a question-and-answer session, begins promptly at 6 p.m. A cash bar serving wine, beer, soda and water will be available.

Space is limited and attendees are encouraged to RSVP in advance via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Admission is free and museum members receive reserved section seating. For more information, call (702) 387-6366.

 


 

February 6, 2014, the Neon Museum presents FREE Lecture showcasing history of La Concha's architect

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In honor of African-American History Month, on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 at 7 p.m. Neon Museum Scholar in Residence Dr. Leslie Luebbers will deliver a lecture on Paul Revere Williams. Sponsors of the event are CenturyLink, the El Cortez Hotel & Casino, the American Institute of Architects and the Marjorie Barrick Museum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where the lecture will take place.

Williams, the first documented African-American fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), designed the La Concha Motel lobby. Today, that structure is hailed as a masterpiece of “Googie” roadside architectural design and serves as the Neon Museum’s visitor’s center.

Luebbers is the director of the Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM) in Memphis, Tenn., as well as project director for the Paul R. Williams Project. Her responsibilities in the Paul R. Williams Project include: serving as project director for the exhibition, publications, fundraising, liaising with AIA, the Benjamin Hooks Institute, NOMA and other community organizations, as well as liaising with collaborating university departments. She also oversees the organization’s evaluation process and reports.

Born in 1894 in Los Angeles to Memphians Lila Wright Williams and Chester Stanley Williams, Paul Revere Williams was one of the most admired and successful architects of the twentieth century. Educated in the early 1900s at the Los Angeles atelier of the Beaux Arts Institute of New York, Williams went on to study architectural engineering at the University of Southern California. In addition to the La Concha Motel, his notable commissions included Roosevelt Naval Base (Long Beach, Calif.), Los Angeles County Court House, Guardian Angel Cathedral (Las Vegas), the Beverly Hills Hotel, Saks Fifth Avenue (Beverly Hills), Howard University (Washington, D.C.) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis, Tenn.).  He also served on the committee overseeing the Los Angeles airport design.

Williams also earned the moniker of “Architect to the Stars” by designing homes for golden-age Hollywood stars and influential business tycoons such as Tyrone Powers, Lon Chaney, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Jay Paley, Barbara Stanwyck, William Paley and Frank Sinatra. His 60-year career in architecture included the creation of more than 3,000 residential, governmental and commercial buildings.

Williams retired in 1973 and, in 1974, the AIA elected him to Emeritus status. He was awarded the City Council Commendation for Artistic Contribution to Los Angeles in 1977 and died on January 23, 1980.

Advance registration for this program, which will be held at the Marjorie Barrick Museum on the UNLV campus, is strongly encouraged and may be made by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on the Neon Museum, go to www.neonmuseum.org or call (702) 387-6366.


Moulin Rouge Panel Discussion

May 23, 2013

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On Thursday, May 23, the  Neon Museum will host a special program commemorating the 58th anniversary of the opening of Las Vegas’ famed Moulin Rouge casino. The Moulin Rouge sign, designed by Betty Willis, is one of more than 150 neon signs preserved and viewed by thousands of visitors each year in the Neon Museum’s Neon Boneyard exhibition area.

On the evening of May 23, noted Las Vegas filmmaker Stan Armstrong will screen portions his latest project, the documentary titled “The Misunderstood Legend of the Las Vegas Moulin Rouge,” at the Neon Museum. Also on hand will be Claytee White,
 
director, Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries. Dr. Michael Green, professor of history, College of Southern Nevada, will serve as the panel moderator.

The evening will begin with a meet-and-greet with the panelists for Neon Museum members only at 5 p.m. Doors will open to the public at 5:30 p.m. and the program will begin promptly at 6 p.m.

What follows is an excerpt from the book, “Spectacular – A History of Las Vegas Neon,” authored by Melissa Johnson, Carrie Schomig and Dorothy Wright and published by the Neon Museum, about the Moulin Rouge:

At a time when all of the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip were racially segregated, the Moulin Rouge Casino opened in West Las Vegas in May 1955. In the Las Vegas Review-Journal, advertisements billed the Rouge as “the nation’s first major inter-racial hotel.”

Unlike the other casinos, black entertainers and guests could stay at  Moulin  Rouge.  Heavyweight  champion  Joe  Louis  greeted visitors, and from the start, the club had sold-out shows that attracted A-list entertainers such as Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte, Tallulah Bankhead, Nat King Cole, and Sammy Davis, Jr. The Moulin Rouge’s sign featured stylized, cursive script and was designed by Western Neon’s Betty Willis. Despite the casino’s success, the Moulin Rouge shut down after only five months of operation under uncertain circumstances. After remaining shuttered for nearly fifty years, the building burned in 2003. The Moulin Rouge’s characteristically stylish neon signage, however, survived the blaze and is in the Neon Museum’s Boneyard.

Moulin Rouge sign designer Willis is best known for her iconic 1959 design for the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign in the median of South Las Vegas Boulevard. The sign has become the symbol of Las Vegas ever since its installation at the south end of the Strip, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information about this special event at the Neon Museum, go to www.neonmuseum.org or call (702) 387-6366.


Times of the Signs:  Stardust Showgirls

July 11, 2013

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On Thursday, July 11, the Neon Museum will host the first of an ongoing series of community education and enrichment programs called Times of the Signs.  Open to the public (reservations are required in advance), Times of the Signs programs will take place in the famous Neon Boneyard and will consist of illuminating lectures, panel discussions, presentations or performances.

The topic of the first program will be “Stardust Showgirls” a special evening commemorating the 55th anniversary of the opening of the Stardust Hotel & Casino. Opening on July 2, 1958, the Stardust was famous for its lavish French-style production show Lido de Paris, which ran until 1991 and was then replaced by Enter the Night, an updated production show with Broadway-styled theatrics.

The monumental Stardust sign is one of more than 150 neon signs preserved and viewed by thousands of visitors each year in the Neon Museum’s Neon Boneyard exhibition area.

“We look forward to bringing our collection of historic and iconic Las Vegas signage to life through our Times of the Signs series,” says Danielle Kelly, executive director, Neon Museum. “We invite the public to join us July 11 for an informative and entertaining evening in our incomparable Neon Boneyard.”

Panelists participating include former Enter the Night showgirl-turned-attorney Akee Levin; Joyce Marshall Moore, oral historian, University of Nevada Las Vegas and Lisa Gioia Acres, historian and author, College of Southern Nevada. Dr. Michael Greene, professor, Department of Social Sciences, College of Southern Nevada will moderate the evening’s discussion.

The evening will begin with a meet-and-greet with the panelists for Neon Museum members only at 6:15 p.m. The program will begin promptly at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be available in the La Concha reception area.

Space is limited and attendees must RSVP in advance by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (702) 387-2820 (callers are asked to leave their name and how many tickets they will need). Admission is a suggested donation of $5 per attendee.