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September 23, 2014

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Lit + art

Calendar

  • What: Neon Lit
  • When: 8 p.m. Friday, March 19
  • Where: Contemporary Arts Center, 107 E. Charleston Blvd.
  • Cost: Free
  • For more information: 382-3866

Monthly readings at downtown's Contemporary Arts Center draw standing-room-only crowds to hear UNLV's MFA creative writing students read recent works among CAC's rotating exhibits. March 19's Neon Lit features poetry and prose from Oscar Oswald, Shannon Salter, Justin Burnside and Ben Morris.

Vu Tran, the 2009 recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award, will also read, as will Alissa Nutting; both are Schaeffer Fellows and Ph.D candidates at UNLV. Tran received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and his upcoming novel, This or Any Desert, was based on his short story of the same name, which appeared in the Las Vegas Noir story compilation.

Friday's reading also marks the last night of the CAC gallery's Tomorrow People exhibit, featuring work by Justin Favela, Leah Craig, Catherine Cruse and Thomas Willis. The show taps into the diverse backgrounds and media used by the artists. Favela, still studying at UNLV, incorporates his Mexican and Guatemalan heritage, along with his childhood in Las Vegas, into his work. Included: a minimalist piece — 1,095 cement representations of tamales wrapped in tinfoil stacked on a crate — that asks and answers the question, what would three tamales a day, every day for a year, look like?

Willis burned canvas to create impeccable drawings of daily objects. Cruse's figurative paintings in oil detail the process of hurt. And Craig, now in the MFA program at Tufts, mapped the Boston neighborhoods she traverses.

— Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly

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