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Damon Hodge

Story Archive

  • Music

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    "When I started the parties, I made sure that we focused on attracting real fans."

  • Dining

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Ella Em's fried chicken has caused a fuss, but this restaurant has more to offer.

  • Music

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Meet the most successful local hip-hop group no one has ever heard of.

  • Comedy

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    Lawrence’s near-capacity show provided glimpses of the actor/comedian he used to be.

  • Features

    Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010

    West Las Vegas now sits in the city’s most racially diverse district. With diversity comes both promise and peril.

  • Dining

    Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010

    Meet Angie, an Ohio-by-way-of-South Carolina soul-food matriarch, whose two restaurants on Cleveland’s east side have provided that city’s residents a deep-fried fix for a quarter-century.

  • Music

    Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009

    After 17 years worth on the local hip-hop frontline, DJ Dantana has stories.

  • Music

    Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

    “I’m definitely carrying the city on my back.”

  • Local Music

    Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009

    Ms. Undastood and Lady L.U.S.T. hope to empower female emcees.

  • Local Music

    Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009

    Daydream-inspiring, but in a generally good way, Success Stories is unlike anything you’ve ever heard from Vegas hip-hop. For starters, the 20-song CD is overwhelmingly positive.

  • Local Music

    Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009

    Hack the Mack starts strong, but as the CD proceeds, there’s less spitfire, and Hack’s retreat to tired and ultimately unadventurous topics (guns, girls and ganja) seems to sap his energy.

  • Local Music

    Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009

    Cut from the North Las Vegas thug-hustle cloth, Rideout is, perhaps, one of Northtown’s more able lyricists.

  • Music

    Thursday, July 30, 2009

    At 6-foot-7, 330 pounds, Vegas-by-way-of-California artist Big B is unquestionably the biggest (and perhaps only) rapper/punker/white-trash guru/Carey Hart flunky in the music industry. And he’s hungry.

  • Music

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    Watching Fabolous and Ciara lumber through uninspiring sets before Jay-Z took the stage Friday meant that the night’s success rested on Jay-Z’s capable shoulders.

  • 2008 Presidential Election

    Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008

    For nearly 20 months, U.S. Muslims have watched Barack Obama fumble as he tries to debunk rumors that he’s a closet Muslim.

  • Education

    Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008

    School over, dozens of students filed past the solitary sign-holder pointing visitors to the Greenspun Junior High auditorium for the first of several community forums on education sponsored by state Senate Democrats.

  • Politics

    Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008

    n hit the jackpot. Minutes into Friday evening’s presidential debate-viewing party at Sierra Gold at Jones and the I-215, someone won $20. Two center-bar televisions cut away from Barack Obama’s meandering economic prescription for the recession, and up popped glowing graphics and the word jackpot in red uppercase letter

  • Education

    Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008

    New York-based Edison Schools, the nation’s largest and most controversial for-profit school-management company, roared into town in 2000, winning the right to manage seven campuses, including one of the state’s most troubled—West Middle School. Burrow into a surly patch of the city, off of Lake Mead just west of Martin Luther King, and there is West. North of the school is Buena Vista, a shuttered apartment complex politely described as a mini-Beirut; to the east, the FBI’s gleaming new headquarters occupies a patch of desert that was once a popular disposing ground for used condoms and spent shell casings.

  • Music

    Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008

    Juiced by receptive crowds at First Friday performances in February, the West Las Vegas rapper set his sights on large bars and casino showrooms. Most venues declined before even hearing his pitch.

  • Politics

    Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008

    Florida in 2000 gave us hanging chads and butterfly ballots. Ohio in 2004 set precedents for voter intimidation and massive disenfranchisement (350,000 missing or purged names).

  • 2008 Presidential Election

    Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008

    Sunday morning and the sun is on low boil. An inordinate number of flies annoyingly hover near the entrance of the Sunrise Library. Outside, a few Barack Obama supporters prepare clipboards and paperwork for the day’s mission: persuading people to support their man.

  • Gaming

    Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008

    By now you’ve probably heard so much about how John McCain and Barack Obama will restore our faith in government and have seen enough hit pieces calling bullshit on the other guy’s promises that it’s hard to tell fact from spin.

  • Politics

    Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008

    Come November 4, we’ll know whether Nevada Republican Party chair Sue Lowden is Nero, sitting idly by as the empire burns, or the political version of Joe Namath.

  • Courts

    Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008

    Real-estate agent Jack LeVine describes the shuttered Clark County Courthouse on Third Street as a “classic icon of mid-century modernism.” You may be thinking: This place, modernist? Even before it closed in 2004—its court functions moving to the stately, 17-story Regional Justice Center a few blocks away—probably few thought that this place, with its boxy shape and the aqua-colored siding on its towering column, was much to look at.

  • CD Review

    Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008

    Damon Hodge reviews 3 CDs from local hip hop artists.

  • Crime

    Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

    At the corner of Fremont and 15th Street, a Las Vegas police camera, powerful enough to scan two dozen locations and pinpoint a license plate from six blocks away, watches the Saturday evening activity. It records the groups of young men patrolling Fremont—back and forth, forth and back—the scantily clad women staring down motorists and the touristy-looking folks who may have wandered a bit too far.

  • Drugs

    Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008

    Debbie Zarder takes a deep breath. Lips trembling, she stifles tears and begins walking down the narrow hallway in her modest Henderson home, past the game room where her son, Robert David Jojola, spent many evenings playing games on his PS2 system, toward the scrum of barking dogs, some of which he helped deliver, and to the door leading to his room. Everything looks much as it did on May 23, the day he died.

  • Politics

    Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008

    A line forms behind a circle of people flanking a table where ex-Black Panther Dhoruba Bin Wahad waxes pseudo-philosophic on the inherent evil of the U.S. political system. “President Bush should’ve been stopped a long time ago, but no one’s been willing to incur the wrath of the empire,” Wahad says of this unseen, Bush-empowering cabal.

  • Music

    Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008

    Nas is bumping on the public-address system as T.J. Crawford readies the remaining National Hip-Hop Political Convention attendees for a closing session on the fall elections. “Can I have everyone’s attention?” Crawford says to nearly 60 people in UNLV’s Classroom Building Complex auditorium on Sunday afternoon. Deep-voiced, stocky and built like an NFL fullback, Crawford is a commanding presence, which helps him rein everyone in. After three days of meeting, intellectual jousting—and, yes, some partying—people are antsy to go home.

  • The Intersection

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    “How lucky for me that he made the stupidest mistake of his life in my city!” Scot Savage is talking about former NFL star, television pitchman and double-murder acquittee Orenthal James Simpson.

  • Nevada

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    [Vegas hosting the National Hip-Hop Political Convention] is major considering Las Vegas attempted a ban of hip-hop. That, along with the fact that, nationally, Vegas is not on the map for either hip-hop—except for the b-boys—or for progressive youth activism. The 2008 Convention is the perfect opportunity because all eyes will be on Vegas.

  • television

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    In the final months of her reign as Miss Nevada, Alicia Jacobs figured life after pageantry would be filled with legal tomes, a clerkship or two and, eventually, a law career. When legendary entertainment manager Bernie Yuman (Siegfried & Roy, Muhammad Ali) marched the Las Vegas native into Channel 13’s offices in 1994, those plans took a turn.

  • Music

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Vegas has been barren on the R&B front, but Felina, the first R&B act on Heat City Recordz, aims to change this with the debut of Lady Like.

  • Music

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Nas is cursed. Ever since the release of 1994’s seminal Illmatic, the Queensbridge representer has faced impossibly high expectations.

  • Taxes

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Here’s the deal, folks: We need higher taxes. There, I said it. And (gulp) I mean it. We need them because we can’t budget-cut ($1 billion and counting) our way to fiscal health. Nor can we rely on Casino Inc. to part with much more—gaming revenues already provide half of Nevada’s general-fund budget.

  • Literature

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Tell-all books have a hold on the public psyche for much the same reason that high-level gossip does: Americans are a nosy bunch, as addicted to TMZ.com and Page Six as older generations were to the McNeil-Lehrer Report.

  • Taxes

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    What should come first, the sports stadium or the fan base, the world-class museum or the appreciative culture? To those counting the days until we can pay to see flying pucks (or basketballs) or hanging Picassos—in a museum not attached to a casino, that is—my answer may sound like heresy: The latter is more important, particularly if we’re serious about either endeavor.

  • War

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    On July 31, 2005, in an alley near Sahara and the Strip, 20-year-old Iraq war vet Matthew Sepi machine-gunned 47-year-old Sharon Jackson and 26-year-old Kevin Ratliff, killing Jackson. Published reports note that Sepi said he feared for his life—he told police he thought he was being ambushed and merely reacted the way he’d been trained.

  • Music

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    Press materials for Rhyme N Rhythm describe the group as a hip-hop soul funk experience, but its seven-song demo could more aptly be described as Pharcyde-ish bonhomie mixed with Roots-ish musicality.

  • Music

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    Bay Area expatriates Hogg Corps don’t swing for the fences as much as they could on Street Concepts, and the result is an uneven CD that’s about as satisfying as a handful of fries on an empty stomach.

  • Crime

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    A bulky man stands sentry at the southwest entryway to Sierra Pointe Apartments, two pinkish buildings that bookend the aptly named Crack Alley. His head is on a constant, owl-like swivel, back and forth, forth and back, his wary eyes locked on anyone who approaches. He communicates with passersby with unblinking looks, knowing head nods and the occasional “What’s up?”

  • 2008 Presidential Election

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    The latest misnomered iteration of the U.S. basketball Dream Team begins practice this weekend in Las Vegas, in preparation for (hopefully) winning gold at the upcoming Beijing Olympics and restoring American hoops supremacy. In case you’re keeping score, NBA-ers haven’t won a gold medal since 2000 and haven’t inspired global dunk-on-your-head, shoot-a-three-in-your-eye fear since 1992’s Bird-Magic-Jordan squad.

  • Features

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    There are more Las Vegans making a difference in our community than you might think. Meet some of the city's unsung heroes.

  • Features

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Whether you want to help the homeless, save the environment or to sidewalk and shove, you can depend on these proven activists to deliver

  • Features

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    By now, it’s a story we’re used to: Vegas sits atop every bad list and brings up the rear on every good list. Everything from our schools to our rickety social service infrastructure to the way we treat our homeless needs dramatic improvement. Meanwhile, our rapid growth, relative affordability (thanks foreclosure crisis), job stability (despite the economic downturn) and hotness factor (kudos to George Maloof, among others) are the envy of the country.

  • The Intersection

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Of all Vegas’ pool parties—Wet Republic at MGM Grand (billed as Vegas’ first ultra pool), the Palms’ Ditch Fridays, Tao Beach’s Sunset Sundays, Venus at Caesars, Bare at the Mirage … if I missed your favorite, no disrespect—I’ve only been to one: the spring break-ish peo-pool-alooza that is Rehab at Hard Rock.

  • People

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Lerner’s in the makeup chair, readying for his next commercial, whose campy script calls for Lerner to narrowly escape an oncoming car. Lerner is the self-professed Heavy Hitter of personal-injury lawyers—“Many of our clients have received settlements of over One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00)!” his website screams. He’s practiced law in town for nearly 20 years, the last 10 of which he’s spent building a reputation as an ambulance-chasing, do-gooding, make-the-bad-guy-pay attorney, even if that superhero persona exists first and foremost in his own mind.

  • Music

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    With II Trill, the follow up to 2005’s semi-solid Trill, Bun B (Bernard Freeman) might finally get credit for helping power the South’s rise in the rap game.

  • Dining

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    Kitchen competitions have taken cable and Las Vegas by storm. Hell's Kitchen winner (3rd season) Rock Harper and Iron Chef America competitor Akira Back spill the secrets of their prime-time moments doing battle at the cutting board.

  • Dining

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    You’d think watching Gordon Ramsay curse out lowly waffle-flippers on Hell’s Kitchen would be enough to deter anyone from a career in the kitchen. Not so. Enrollment in culinary schools throughout the country is on the rise, powered, industry observers say, by the rising popularity of reality-television cooking shows such as Bravo’s Top Chef, Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen and the Food Network’s Next Food Network Star.