From the Publisher June 2017

Max & Joanne Friedland

The designers of virtual reality attractions really have their work cut out for themselves. No city challenges conventional notions of reality more than Las Vegas. My first “virtual Vegas” experience was late one night in 1973. I was on my first American road trip, notwithstanding the fact that I had a plane ticket for the journey; I wanted to do it in a convertible. The man at the Mid-Wilshire Budget Rent-a-Car had heard it all before and promptly produced a new Omaha orange Chevy Impala with whitewall tires and a white soft-top. My Vegas experience had started hours before I even left Los Angeles.

Six hours into the trip, the 15 made its final dramatic sweep, revealing in the distance a mega-watt explosion of pulsating color surrounded by desert night blackness. I could not have imagined that almost twenty years to the day later, I would call it home. Over the years, I have had my senses assaulted by many an experience, none more so than at the Michael Jackson ONE concert at Mandalay Bay. It was opening night; Joanne and I were seated way above our station. As the lights dimmed, the Jackson family entourage entered to take the two rows of seats directly in front of us. The highlight of the production was the part of the show where a hologram of the late Michael Jackson danced and sang with the other performers. I am not sure whether the family had been briefed before the show; gasps and sobs could be heard from them as well as from two people sitting in the row behind them.

In Unreal World pages 28-31, we explore this phenomenon and discover new VR (virtual reality) business and entertainment applications. For some time, moviemakers have digitally enhanced their storytelling by creating universes for movie viewers to enjoy. Today, it is all about immersion allowing the viewer to feel like they are part of action.

Louis (Lou) Gossett Jr. is perhaps best known for his Academy Award-winning role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the ١٩٨٢ film An Officer and a Gentleman, and his Emmy Award-winning role as Fiddler in the 1977 ABC television miniseries Roots. These days, the 81 year old is still active but his main focus is Eracism, his foundation dedicated to fighting racism and promoting environmental causes.

In From Dust to Dreams pages 52-58, we explore the back-story and first five years of The Smith Center. In the beginning, there were the doubters, those who said a cultural arts center in Las Vegas could never compete with what the strip offers and that our large working class population would not support a high culture institution. The visionaries responsible for the conceptualization and development of the center never lost faith and for that, present and future generations of valley dwellers can be truly grateful.

“I want to get away, take a holiday!” Yup, it is that time of the year when our wanderlust takes over and we dream of destinations far and near. In This Land is YOUR Land pages 46-51, we explore the abundance of national parks accessible by car and in The World pages 32-35, we dream of distant lands, life on the high seas and formal dinners at the captain’s table. What ever your taste for adventure may be, get packing, there’s a world out there just waiting to be explored.

As always at this time of year, I admonish you all to keep cool, use a good UV protector, drink a lot of water, and oh yes, read a good magazine, too. I’ll see you in the racks.

Max D. Friedland

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