1. Marcia and I are home from a wonderful birthday visit to Las Vegas, where she and Katelin celebrated their natal date at the same moment when huge swaths of the world were marking International Women’s Day. My mother joined us, on her first ever visit to Las Vegas. We kept telling her we were going to buy her a carton of Pall Mall’s, give her twenty dollars, and leave her at one of the convenience store casinos for three days, to giver her a true, old school, hardcore Vegas experience. But that didn’t quite work out, as we opted for some tourism time on the Strip and at Fremont Street instead. As is typical for our visits to see Katelin and John in their home city, we also had some superb meals, with two new-to-us destinations being particularly pleasing: Edo Gastro Tapas and Wines, and Panevino. The former offered an exceptional ten-course tasting menu, where everything was superb and interesting, the latter was a high-quality traditional Italian restaurant in a lovely space with a great view out over the airport and Strip. Both recommended if you find yourself needing some substantial sustenance between bouts of gambling and partying. I took some snaps during the week, as I usually do, which you can see by clicking the photo below of the posse waiting for the Bellagio Fountains to do their thing:
2. Right before we headed to Las Vegas, I was tickled to receive word that my full-length collection Ubulembu and Other Stories had won the Unleash Creatives Book Prize. I posted a screen cap of the announcement at that prior link, but then when I went to look at it again a couple of days ago, I noted that they had since added a review quote from the Final Judge of the competition. The review makes me blush on one hand, but it also deeply pleases me that someone clearly gets what I do, writing-wise, which is always a wonderful affirmation to receive. Here’s the quote, with deep thanks to Dick McPherson and all at Unleash Creatives/Lit:
3. As I wrote at length in this post, I somehow missed the great Buggy Jive‘s late 2022 album, The Ghost of Alexander, which coulda woulda shoulda been a contender for my Album of the Year last year, had I been paying better attention in real time. One of the nice things about being back on social media for book marketing purposes is that I can now keep better tabs on current events involving the artists who move me, like Buggy Jive. And so I was very pleased to see yesterday, in real time, that Buggy has already got a new single out, called “Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” which is typically great, and which features yet another awesome video. Here ’tis, hooray!