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Las Vegas needs Random Acts of Culture

Sometimes it seems like all the cool stuff happens in other cities—and this blog entry is not going to argue otherwise. Actually, it might make you wish you lived in Macon, Georgia or Akron, Ohio.

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Beyond the Weekly
Knight Foundation

Those are two of eight cities selected as venues for the Random Acts of Culture series, funded by the Knight Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of journalism. (Charlotte, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia, San Jose and St. Paul are the others.) The series strives to bring classical artists out of performance halls and into everyday people’s lives through 1,000 flash-mob performances over a three-year period.

So far, the Random Acts have consisted of jazz at Florida’s largest mall (located in Miami-suburb Aventura) and tango at the D and E concourse of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The biggest showstopper, however, comes courtesy of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, who interrupted a busy Macy’s to perform “Hallelujah!” The YouTube video has been viewed more than 1.4 million times since being posted November 1.

The video has brought viewers to tears, and for me, it’s just another reminder of how much Las Vegas could use a similar cultural ambush. Yes, the classical arts are fostered in select places here, but as a whole, this city needs to be intellectually and artistically slapped in the face. Hard. We need real opera under our replicated monuments and perfect pirouettes at the end of our all-you-can-eat buffet lines.

Here’s to hoping the Knight Foundation sees our potential … or that Las Vegans do first and take matters into their own hands.

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