“There’s no culture in Las Vegas.”
It’s the phrase uttered time and time again as another creative packs their suitcase to the brim, throws a peace sign to the Strip, and makes their way to L.A.
For a long time, creatives haven’t stayed in Las Vegas. For a city constantly bustling with activity, new adventures, new buildings, and new people Las Vegas should be a welcoming playground for artistic millennials. But to young creatives looking to sharpen their skills and hone their creative minds, Las Vegas can be a bit cold. The city, which is built on trends more so than longevity, tends to care more about tourism and money than art or culture.
People feel like outsiders in their own city. Local creatives, especially young ones, don’t feel like there’s a place for them. This is a city built on hope and possibility, yet locals often feel like their dreams aren’t able to come true here. There are better chances in L.A., more opportunities in New York, a better vibe in Atlanta. But here? People just don’t care. If it doesn’t make a lot of money, and quickly, Las Vegas doesn’t want it. So, people take their talents elsewhere, start businesses in other cities, create wondrous works of art in other towns, and drop dope mixtapes in other states.
But the truth is, there is an entire culture hidden within the Vegas scene.
That guy that just handed you your coffee at Starbucks? He performs weekly at Waterhole on Spring Mt, and has a new EP coming out. That woman that got you a fitting room at TopShop? She has her own clothing line she’s been working on for the past 3 years. The promoter that got you into Drai’s last week? He’s building an app and searching for investors. Las Vegas is brimming with creatives.
And the team here at Unxommon has been underground searching for them all. We’ve been front row at the local shows, we’ve had lunch with designers as they shared their mock-ups for SS17, had drinks with the guys who started their own music label, and shared a bottle of wine with the creative running his own podcast. We’re out here, meeting everyone face to face and listening to their stories.
It’s in meeting all these people I’ve realized something most clearly – people want change. They see the culture and the potential, and they’re working their asses off to highlight it. Las Vegas is changing. We’re in that weird transitional period where the torch is about to be handed to the next generation, and let’s be 100% honest, some people are hesitant to pass it over. A while back I interviewed a person on staff at a nightclub who spoke of the changing tides saying, “The new kids don’t understand the game. They’re fucking everything up.”
Are we, though?
Let’s be clear, Vegas will change. It’s inevitable. Ultimately the current team of promoters, hosts, cocktail servers, magazine editors, marketers, etc. will move to a new chapter, and a new batch of kids will take over. And in a decade or so us millennials will ultimately pass the torch to Gen Z, and Las Vegas will change once more. It’s the cycle. But while each older generation looks at its suppressor with raised eyebrows and a skeptic gaze, Generation X seems to truly loathe millennials.
And you know what the truth is? We don’t care. We don’t care what they want. We don’t care what they tell us, and we don’t care how things are ‘supposed’ to be done. We aren’t here to follow their guidelines, we’re here to revolutionize things. Because doing the same thing over and over again, stifles creativity, and we are, if nothing else, a generation bustling with creativity.
We will change Las Vegas. The time is now, we’re done waiting. We want a better Las Vegas, a more innovative Las Vegas that truly supports those that keep the culture flowing. We want a Las Vegas that loves us back, and we want a Vegas that supports art. We want our Las Vegas, and whether the old school approves of it or not, we will create it.
So ultimately, they can keep their torch.
We’ll light our own.
Welcome to our new age.
Photo Credit: Zach Mckee