By Amy Abdelsayed for What’s On Magazine on August 2, 2013
First Friday is unveiling some cool, new additions this August. Like, literally cool.
Visitors of this month’s festival can cool off downtown and experience the debut of the antARTica installation.The installation promises to be an artistic, once-in-a-lifetime, “ARTic” experience complete with glaciers and live penguins. Local artists have collaborated on the project to create an immersive, interactive experience with custom soundscapes of ice cracking, creative sculptures of abominable creatures and custom lighting. First Friday’s head of communications, Charles Ressler, describes the installation as a “one block tundra.”
If the antARTica installation doesn’t have you curious enough to check out First Friday yet, perhaps the idea of chilling out in an aquarium surrounded by fish and other aquatic life will. Animal Planet’s hit TV show “Tanked” joins the festival this month with a custom-built aquarium photo booth. That’s right, visitors can step into the aquarium, take pictures with friends and fish and then get the photos back right there.
“We work really hard to challenge the perception of ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,’ so we’ve built something that’s much more community driven,” Ressler says of First Friday. “It’s the idea that ‘what happens in Vegas is magical.’”
And what could possibly be more magical than a photo booth aquarium? Both the antARTica installation and the “Tanked” photo booth aquarium will be located on Casino Center near Charleston Blvd.
Beyond the “ARTic” attractions, more than 75 Vendors and 20 food trucks will push out into the surrounding neighborhoods of the 18b Arts District, so show up hungry. For the 21 and up crowd, alcohol will be served at Artifice, Bar Bistro and Mingo as well as at beer trucks and frozen bars.
Just north of Charleston Blvd., the Life is Beautiful festival presents five stages previewing exciting music this First Friday, including Crazy Chief, The Clydesdale (pictured at top) and Black Camaro. Find the full line-up, stage locations and set times at firstfridaylasvegas.com. Premiering in late October this year, the Life is Beautiful festival is a two-day event that not only celebrates good music, but also art and food. Bands that have previously played at First Friday and who will now be playing at the Life is Beautiful festival include Sabriel, Joey Pero, Rusty Maples and Same Sex Mary.
Amid all of the exciting new features ready to debut during the August festival, the classic art walk aspect of First Friday remains. Attendees are encouraged to visit Blackbird Studios, Brett Wesley Gallery, Contemporary Arts Center, Trifecta Studios and more for a chance to to see inspiring pieces of art unique to Las Vegas.
As for September’s festival and the ones after that, Ressler says, “We’re always adjusting and we’re always saying this event belongs to the community. We have 12 times a year to get it right for everyone. This [month’s] event might not be your favorite one, but the next one might be exactly what you were looking for.”
First Friday | Aug. 2, 5-11 p.m. | Free | Casino Center and Charleston Blvd.| firstfridaylasvegas.com