If the first rule of Las Vegas is that what happens there stays there, the second rule is that you gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Last week the organizers of the CineVegas Film Festival announced that were foldin' 'em and would sit the next hand out, with no festival in 2010. That's sad news indeed for those of us who have attended CineVegas over the last few years and watched it grow into an exciting and diverse festival with potential to become a major player in the independent film world.

The plan is to take a hiatus in 2010, wait for the economy to recover a little, do some fundraising, and then come back in 2011. The unspoken fear, of course, is that the hiatus will turn out to be permanent. Taking a year off might snuff out the momentum CineVegas was starting to build. Everyone hopes that doesn't happen, but you have to be realistic.

Then again, if any city knows about against-the-odds, one-in-a-million comebacks, it's Las Vegas. The city wasn't even established until 1905, yet in that short time has already grown to be the 30th largest metropolitan area in the country. It's the most populous American city founded in the 20th century. Its metro area has more people than those of Austin, Nashville, or Milwaukee, and is comparable in size to Kansas City and Orlando.

And yet -- and here's the problem -- Las Vegas doesn't have much of an arts community. There aren't many options for locals who want to see independent films; the city doesn't have a single art house theater. Live theater is in short supply, too, as are things like opera, ballet, and classical music. The city is so new, and has grown so quickly, and is so focused on its primary industry of gambling that the arts have fallen by the wayside.
categories Cinematical