Las Vegas is known for its shiny lights, glamorous casinos, and star-studded performances that make tourists flock to the city every year. But there’s a lesser-known side of Sin City that’s just as fascinating - the city’s unique architectural character that spans multiple decades. And this October 4-7, The Neon Museum is rolling out the red carpet for architecture enthusiasts, history buffs, and design lovers alike with their second annual Duck Duck Shed event. With a lineup that includes renowned authors, scholars, and former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, the event promises to celebrate the city’s cultural heritage like never before.
“There is no place on earth like Las Vegas. We’ve created an oasis in the desert.” Aaron Berger, Executive Director of The Neon Museum Las Vegas, told us. “Through hospitality architecture and design, groundbreaking entertainment, and a culture designed to delight every sense, Las Vegas is a memorable, ever-changing, ever-evolving city. Duck Duck Shed was created to celebrate that exceptionality. We are fortunate enough to have the support of the Centennial Commission behind the development of this offering and as seed-funders, giving us the resources and time to allow us to begin attracting audiences that want to experience Las Vegas through a very different lens.”
Las Vegas is fast becoming known as a unique cultural hub in the world of art and architecture. Our team has carefully curated events this year that showcase Las Vegas’ past that many might not know about. For example, Food Through the Ages: Tasting Las Vegas’ Food History allows guests to sample the cuisine of famed Las Vegas restaurants of eras past with reinterpretations from today by local restaurateur Kim Owens and food historian Sarah Lohman,” Berger explained. “Guests will be able to fill their bellies and their minds while learning about historical insights about the cuisine of the past. When looking towards the future of Las Vegas’s architecture, we thought, what better way to create an event surrounding the latest social media phenomenon, Sphere? Sphere: Postcard from Earth will showcase the way in which the city is changing its architectural landscape for the future. Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne will also give an in-depth look at Las Vegas’s newest and most talked-about landmark in terms of architecture and urban design.”
Many of the events at Duck Duck Shed showcase unique opportunities to experience iconic Las Vegas culture, such as the behind-the-scenes experience at Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and new immersions at the MSG Sphere. “Our team spent starts from a very personal place. “What do I want to know more about?” Questions like, “How did we get from 99-cent shrimp cocktails to Michelin-star restaurants? Why did casinos shift from dark spaces to giant atriums?” “What was going through Oscar Goodman’s head as he went to meet his first client accused of organized crime?” “San Francisco has Golden Gate Park. Chicago has Millennium Park. What’s Las Vegas’ public space?” Berger said of the various events and experiences associated with Duck Duck Shed this year. “Then we start to reach out to our own advisors and ask them who can answer these questions. We’ve been fortunate enough to welcome renowned scholars and architects from around the country to answer these questions and ask even more. With Cirque du Soleil’s 30th anniversary in Las Vegas, it was incredibly important to showcase the impact they have made on entertainment in this city. The lineup is the result of months of months of conversations and collaborative discussions.”
Debbie Reynolds had a significant impact on the Las Vegas entertainment scene, which will be highlighted in a special exhibition at Duck Duck Shed. “Debbie Reynolds dazzled hundreds of thousands over five decades performing in Las Vegas and shattered ceilings in entertainment – especially as a woman,” Berger told us. “Behind The Signs: Debbie Reynolds in Las Vegas is meant to showcase not only her remarkable talents as a singer and actress, but also as a mother, wife, and businesswoman. The exhibit currently features Reynolds’ exquisite handmade gowns, costumes and personal effects from her and her family’s time living and performing in Las Vegas (1962-2014), including memorabilia depicting her friendship with Liberace to the red-beaded tuxedo she performed in at the Riviera after signing Las Vegas’ first ever million-dollar contract in 1962.”