Palms Casino Resort Art

Las Vegas' Palms Casino Resort takes a bite out of art with their own display of contemporary pieces from artists including Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Kaws and Takashi Murakami

 The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded) by Damien Hirst

The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded) by Damien Hirst

For most people, nothing says Vegas more than craps, poker and black jack. But for me, I’m not much of a gambler. Heck, I don’t know a thing about craps and I somehow always manage to lose my money in 5 minutes on the slot machines. So gambling? No thank you. 

When I go to Vegas, it's usually to meet up with family (who love to gamble) to do a little bit of catching up, dine on some delicious food, and of course a stop to the outlets for some retail therapy. This time though, we headed to the Palms Casino Resort to check out, of all things…ART.

Back in 2016, the new owners of Palms Casino Resort announced that they were doing a major renovation and boy, they weren’t kidding. The huge makeover will mark the largest resort renovation in Vegas history, clocking in at $620 million.

With several phases in the works, the first debuted this past May and included the unveiling of the Bar, “Unknown”, APEX Social Club, Scotch 80 Prime Steakhouse, and Pearl Concert Theater, which hosts Blink 182’s residency.

But what truly drew me to the Palms was the contemporary art currently displayed throughout the venue. The eye-catching pieces included works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Takashi Murakami, Kaws and Richard Prince. Here's just a few of the pieces you can catch throughout the resort - thanks to graffiti artist Tal Cooperman, the casino's art curator..

 The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded) by Damien Hirst

The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded) by Damien Hirst

Right smack in the middle of Palms Casino is Damien Hirst’s 1999 striking sculpture “The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded)” a 13 foot tiger shark divided and placed into three shark tanks. Hirst also designed the bar’s coasters, matchbooks and swizzle sticks.

 Beautiful Artemis Thor Neptune Odin delusional sapphic inspirational hypnosis painting, by Damien Hirst

Beautiful Artemis Thor Neptune Odin delusional sapphic inspirational hypnosis painting, by Damien Hirst

Also by Damien Hirst, is the 96 x 240 in. Beautiful Artemis Thor Neptune Odin delusional sapphic inspirational hypnosis painting, 2007 (Household Gloss on Canvas)

 Wish You Were Here neon sign located at the front desk – collaboration between Los Angeles artist Keegan Gibbs and Berlin-based American light artist Olivia Steele

Wish You Were Here neon sign located at the front desk – collaboration between Los Angeles artist Keegan Gibbs and Berlin-based American light artist Olivia Steele

 Olivia Steele

Olivia Steele

 Small Lies by Kaws - located outside Scotch 80

Small Lies by Kaws - located outside Scotch 80

 I Wear My Money On My Face by Timothy Curtis (aka Agua)   photo credit - Kimberly Iniba

I Wear My Money On My Face by Timothy Curtis (aka Agua)

photo credit - Kimberly Iniba

 Open Your Hands Wide by Takashi Murakami   photo credit - Kimberly Iniba

Open Your Hands Wide by Takashi Murakami

photo credit - Kimberly Iniba

 James Jean piece located at Send Noodles

James Jean piece located at Send Noodles

There were many other pieces placed throughout the casino for everyone to admire. But the ones above were just a few that were in plain sight. A pit stop to Palms Casino Resort is definitely a must if you're into art or just want to take some time off from gambling. 

The renovation at the Palms Casino Resort is no way near finished. Coming in Spring 2019 is a 29,000 square foot nightclub and 73,000 square foot pool club. 

Also in development will be several celebrity chef restaurants including Bobby Flay's seafood and sushi eatery, ABC's "The Chew" host Michael Symon's barbecue restaurant as well as Hong Kong Chef Tim Ho Wan's most affordable Michelin starred restaurant. 

If you want to beat the rush just to enjoy the talented artists' work, I would recommend you go now, before the makeover is complete and scores of people start flocking to the resort.

Touched by "Diwa"

Very rarely do I watch a movie that affects me so deeply and stays with me long after the credits have ended. This was the case when I watched the short film, “Diwa.” I had seen the poster and promos on social media and kept reminding myself to do some research and look into it. I had assumed that it was a story of a young woman; probably illegally residing in the US.  Here I was thinking it had something to do with President Trump, his views on immigration, DACA or building the wall. Boy was I wrong.

 Aina Dumlao as Diwa

Aina Dumlao as Diwa

As I told Aina Dumlao, the lead actress and the co-director, co-writer, and co-producer of “Diwa”, the movie was so much more than that. It resonated with me for so many reasons. Although I am a Filipina-American and have never experienced Diwa’s situation, I have heard and know of many Filipinos who have come to America in hopes of a better life, and to help their family back home – my grandparents, relatives, acquaintances, and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, as in life, there are so many unknowns and life isn’t always fair. I’ve heard the many tales.  “Diwa”, as the filmmakers state, “is a true story many times over…Diwa is a fictional character, but her story is not.”

I love films that make you think, ask, and feel what the character (and sometimes characters) are going through even though you’ve never been in their shoes. This is exactly what Diwa did.  I felt….and asked...soooo many questions…Have you ever felt so alone? What would you do if you felt you had nowhere else to go? If you saw no light at the end of the tunnel? How would I react if someone treated me unfairly? Would I have the courage? How did my empathy and understanding for undocumented workers change so much after watching this film? Why did this film affect me so much? I could go on…

“Diwa” is more than a film about immigrants and the racial injustices of our world. It is an emotional, powerful and heartbreakingly sad but often true story that deals with false hope, lost dreams, survival and a strong sense of family.

I truly hope you go out and support this film which is making it's way through various film festivals.  And if you are in Southern California this weekend, Diwa will have a world premiere and more importantly can make it an Academy Award contender at this weekend’s Dances with Films event.

The 21st Dances with Films screening will take place on Saturday, June 9th at 5pm, at the historic TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood.

For more info, you can head to www.mynameisdiwa.com

Steamed or Pan Fried Dumplings

I remember learning about Chinese New Year back in elementary school. Well…truth be told, the only thing I truly recall are the red envelopes that were filled with money and an abundance of oranges or was it tangerines? 

Fast forward to my adult life.

Working several years at a Pan Asian television station, I have discovered a little more about the festive holiday; not just from my Chinese coworkers, but also Vietnamese and Korean.  I was lucky enough to share stories with my Asian friends and colleagues, be part of their lavish festivities, as well as receive those ‘lucky’ red envelopes. Our television station even produced several annual Lunar New Year Parades and Festivals in Los Angeles, as well as Pasadena for many years. 

Today, to celebrate the closing of Lunar New Year, I will share my homemade dumplings recipe.  It’s super easy….AND requires very little ingredients. In fact, you probably have all of the ingredients in your fridge already. 

I was craving dumplings one day and didn’t have much in my fridge and I was way too lazy to go to the market. So I just grabbed what little veggies I had in the fridge and made do.  I decided to make the wrappers from scratch because, let’s face it…it’s more fun and satisfying that way.  And also because there isn’t an Asian store close enough to where I live.  So....here goes it. 

And just a note…these are NOT authentic Chinese dumplings. Just my own Westernized, quick and easy, ‘this will do for now’ experiment.

INGREDIENTS

Filling:

½ cabbage – thinly sliced

1-2 carrots – shredded or thinly sliced

2 stalks green onions

½ pack of mushrooms

5 Garlic Cloves - chopped

½ white or yellow onion – chopped

Olive Oil – about 2 tablsespoons

Soy sauce – to taste

Ground pepper – to taste

Sesame Oil – to taste

Water – half a cup

Oyster Sauce – optional

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Dumpling Wrapper:

1 ½ cups of all purpose flour

½ cup of hot water

Corn starch

Instructions for the Filling

Heat a pan or wok and add Olive Oil. Next add the garlic and sautee.  After about a minute, throw in the chopped onions and continue to sautee until the onions look shiny and soft. 

Place the cabbage in the pan and stir slowly.  Add a little water.  After about 3 minutes, when the cabbage is slightly cooked and tender, add the carrots and mushrooms. Slowly add more water. 

Season your filling with soy sauce, ground pepper, sesame oil, (optional oyster sauce) to taste.  Cover your pot and let it simmer.  Regularly stir your mix so it is evenly cooked. 

About a minute before your filling is done, add the green onions.  (I don’t like my green onions overcooked). Once your veggies are cooked, you can turn off the pot.  If your water evaporates before the filling is fully cooked, you can add a little more water.

Let Cool

While your filling is set aside to cool, you can start working on the dumpling wrappers.

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Instructions for the Wrappers:

In a bowl add the flour and slowly pour in the hot water and stir until the water and flour are mixed together.  Then, using your hands, knead. If you notice the dough is sticky, add a little more flour.  It should not be sticky.  Cover the dough and set aside for 30minutes.

Add a little cornstarch to your work surface to prevent it from sticking.  Now cut your dough into pieces and flatten with a rolling pin.  You can roll into squares or circles.  You can stack the wrappers on top of each other.  However, remember to use cornstarch in between them to prevent from sticking together.

Add the filling into the wrapper and seal the dumplings using water.  You can pinch the wrappers to close or use a fork to seal the dumplings.

Steam the dumplings or pan fry to a golden brown. Enjoy!

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Dipping Sauces: you can use store bought dumpling/gyoza sauce or sweet chili sauce, or make your own sauce from home.  I prefer mixing soy sauce, vinegar (or rice vinegar) and ground pepper. Usually the ratio for the soy sauce & vinegar is 2:1. (Lemon can also be used as a substitute for the vinegar).