Retro Las Vegas, here I come: A Celebration of Vegas Cool, April 27-29

Pam Kueber Las VegasLas Vegas is the new Palm Springs. I’m declaring it. I’m gonna buy me a leetle place. I’m heading back to Las Vegas. I bought my airline tickets last night. I’m going to go to all the activities lined up for Nevada Preservation Foundation’s “A Celebration of Vegas Cool” — Home + History 2018, April 27-29.

Disclosure: I am / RetroRenovation.com is a Silver Sponsor of the Event — see the ads in the right-hand sidebar of the blog?

Oh, and the photo above: I flew, I keynoted, I house-toured — and then I shopped.

The “Desert Modern” house I visited on the tour two years ago had a spectacular blue bathroom.

I wasn’t sure I’d actually go, though. But long winter.

Inside The Rexford, my dream complex.

I need to get out in the world. So I asked Heidi  if I could still get into stuff, and she said yes, and as I am a sponsor and was the keynote speaker two years ago and wrote about everything I saw, away I fly.

And who could forget: Uncle Jack LeVine’s famous collection of breeze blocks. There will be a lecture and book launch of a book about breeze blocks! Some days. I just love my job.

The lineup of events is pretty darned awesome. I get to go to the Bomb Shelter House Martini Tour. Woooooooot!

Perhaps I’ll see YOU there? 

  1. Carolyn says:

    I saw a blurb here a couple of weeks ago and wondered if you’d be going. The way your part of the country got hammered again and again by deeeeep snow, you deserve a break to know that SOMEwhere there’s sunshine and warmth!
    Las Vegas has been so many things since it was founded that I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be anymore. Used to be glitz&glamour, then family-friendly, now – ???
    Have you contacted a realtor or two – or just touring? Either way, can’t wait to see pics!

  2. Jay says:

    Saw this on Atomic Ranch and wondered if you were attending this year. Looking forward to some more great posts. Long winter duly noted – 4 nor’easters in one month – March no less! My poor daffodils. Have fun!

  3. Kathryn Asbahr says:

    I will be following your post. LAs Vegas has had a bad habit of destroying the old to build new. I knew of a few areas when we lived there but it will be fun to see others. If you have the time the Clark County Museum on Boulder Hwy in Henderson has a lovely street of homes that have been preserved for all to see. Well worth the tour for just a few dollars. The homes are decorated with furnishings and sounds for the appropriate era they represent. I think this is my favorite place to get a feel for how Las Vegas came to be and grew.

    1. Bruno says:

      I agree I just came from Clark County Museum & it was awesome!, What an unexpected amazing museum , Pam you must go!, We stayed downtown at El Cortez which has vintage 1940s rooms once owned by Bugsy Siegel & toured Mob Museum & Neon vintage sign museum

  4. Palm Springs Stephan says:

    Las Vegas is the news Palm Springs?!?!?! I am mortally offended! (But in good humor, of course.) PS is small, tasteful, only one casino inside the city limits, no building over 5 stories tall, architectural standards in place, no 24-hour drinking, no strip clubs, and they roll up the sidewalks at 10PM. In contrast, LV has set the benchmark for tacky and over-the-top. Las Vegas is the new Palm Springs? Take it back! Come visit PS and let me show you the difference first hand.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Well, I mean in the sense of great midcentury homes and neighborhoods to discover, preserve, and treasure. But you know that!

  5. Ms. Vel-Vida says:

    The lecture and book launch on breeze blocks sounds spectacular to me! It’s so great when you can get compiled information (such as the great posts on here) about items that are regularly overlooked or have a virtually unknown history. The house next door to my parents has a breeze block fence and I always thought it was majorly cool. Have a blast in Vegas, sounds like a very fun time!

  6. STEVEN KEYLON says:

    If you’re interested in the screen block book, it is available now on the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation’s website:


    Ron and Barbara Marshall spent five years doing research on the book, it’s beautifully researched and written, and you won’t believe the photographs they’ve found! There is also a several page screen block identification guide inside the book. The book is beautifully designed by Gary Wexler, the son of master Palm Springs architect Donald Wexler. The whole project would make a good article for this superb website.

    p.s. I just wrote a book about Herbert W. Burns, available on the website too, and also designed by Gary Wexler. Herbert Burns was an architectural designer in Palm Springs, and is known for his apartment hotels like the Orbit In and the Hideaway. But he also designed several one-of-a-kind custom homes. We are lucky to have one…

    And we just restored our kitchen, with vintage pink General Electric steel cabinets, and Formica countertops with stainless steel trim, all of which was done using this website as a tool for sources, so thank you!

    1. Palm Springs Stephan says:

      Steven, we have not met, but I wrote a book about Desert Skies condominiums in PS, which I concluded was likely a Herbert Burns design but with credit given to one of his draftsmen owing to anti-Semitic attitudes in PS in 1956 (the developer was Jewish). I will have to look for your book about Burns.

      1. STEVEN KEYLON says:

        Hello PS Stephan, thank you. The Desert Skies is designed by Claude A. Powell, who was Burns’ draftsman for the bulk of the years Burns was designing. Powell was himself a capable designer, and served as an officer of the National Institute of Building Designers. The Desert Skies does have some Late Moderne detailing like much of Burns’ work, which makes sense since Powell and Burns were so closely related. But Burns happily designed for Jewish clients starting in the 1940s, and never shied away from publicity of any kind, so I don’t believe he would have had a problem with designing for a Jewish client. Some of his higher profile projects were for Jewish community leaders in Palm Springs. The Desert Skies is a nicely designed building, and since the LA Times positively attributed it to Powell at the time, I believe that to be true… Powell had a terrible death, he committed suicide by setting himself on fire!

  7. Mitchell says:

    Wow, I’m just finding out about this here, and I actually live in Vegas. In a vintage house, in a vintage neighborhood (around the corner from the gentlemen who own the Retro Vegas shop).

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