My First Rodeo

It was a lazy summer Sunday in Vegas. Torrential rain had taken the edge off, at least for the moment. There wasn’t a ripple or a wave of any significance anywhere to be found. The Arts District was a motionless pond, and as I stepped onto the doorstep of Hillary and Michael, otherwise known as My First Rodeo, the scene was serene.

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The pair share a space that seems to welcome creativity in all facets. It is intentionally minimalistic, which is a bit striking, considering all their artistic, musical, and business pursuits. Not only are they involved romantically and musically, they co-own a hair salon which is currently situated in the Arts Factory. Instead of the work-driven, chaotic machine one might expect from such a couple, they live in a relaxed sphere of self-expression. They are a fixture in their 18B neighborhood and have played in alleyways and art galleries throughout it.

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So, the afternoon commenced, and I sat on their couch while they rehearsed a bit for their upcoming tour. I likened to think of it as my own personal show. A committed entertainer will perform for anyone anywhere, and this they do. They have played the  7-11 around the corner, Blick Art Supply next to the easels, and even attempted to play at a Culinary Union protest, but were cancelled at the last second due to the weak morale of the fasting protesters. A few other memorable shows include the grand opening of Chef Mayra’s vegan bistro, and a charity drive for homeless pets in the alley behind Blackbird Studios.  Of course they have played more traditional gigs as well, but pride themselves on unique venues, and prefer non-smoking all-ages shows.

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“Vicious feel-good rock and roll for lovers” is how they describe their sound. I wouldn’t disagree. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Their interactions with each other entertain in an intimate sort of way which is as memorable as their music.

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Afterwards, Hillary showed me down to the basement. Yes. A real basement in Las Vegas. Unheard of. Creepy, yet charming.

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The “sweat shop”, as she jokingly refers to it, holds a single sewing machine, and her design for the moment. This re-purposed dress has lace overlays from her mother’s fourth wedding dress and a zebra appliqué. It is quirky and cool, much like Hillary.

The painting is a scene from The Goonies and was featured in the critically acclaimed group art show ‘Goonies Never Say Die’ which was held at Blackbird Studios back in 2010. I began to contemplate as to whether  the basement and Michael’s painting had fused, creating a portal of some sort. I felt a cold sweat coming on.

It was time to get the hell out of that basement, and check out their pool.

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It’s been said that all true artists whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.

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My First Rodeo has got this one figured out.

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