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.
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.
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.
“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.
Afterwards, Hillary showed me down to the basement. Yes. A real basement in Las Vegas. Unheard of. Creepy, yet charming.
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.
It’s been said that all true artists whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.
My First Rodeo has got this one figured out.