Dec 25

A Wintery Trip To Vegas (Part 1)

by Mike Miller

Part 1 of… A Wintery Trip To Vegas, Where Sensory Concrete Can Be Of Brass, Where Sensory Concrete Can Be Of Glass. Look for Part 2, maybe, around New Year’s Eve.

It’s Christmas Eve morning, as I’m writing this, and, I’ve recently made a couple of trips to Las Vegas. One long ass road-trip, on my own (drinking a lot of coffee to stay awake), and, one via Southwest Air, with Kelley and pretty stewardesses (drinking a screw-driver to wind down). Trips were to coordinate and then place sensory concrete, where the featured components were waves of patinated brass and crushed amber glass.


Brian Giambastiani brazes brass legs on brass waves, at shop, home in Benicia.

Kinda like my November blog, Vegas is one of those towns that we keep coming back to… Personally, I have a lot of history in Nevada: with Balogh Concrete, in Reno, with Bomanite of Nevada, in Vegas, with Mark, with Ernie, and, with my good friend (and super hot-shot finisher), Eddie Gray. It was great! Both Kelley and I got to stay with Ed and his wife, Betty. We had some fun, great reminisces, and, Ed’s valuable insights into a technically difficult concrete job.

Brian and Kelley review progress.

We were also able to get great advice and help with off-site samples from Mike Price, of Bay Area Concretes, and his finisher, Anthoney… THANX, guys!

A sea of high pressure water jet-cut “brass-o-mundo”!

Here are some shots of Kelley’s design development process…

Wave forms were driven by sculptural plaster wall. These waves run from from pool and water features, at back of home, all the way through, and, to the front, where they meet our porte cochere art piece, and, finally, another water feature.

A bit of her inspiration…

Once more… The wave forms were driven this sculptural plaster wall. These waves run from from pool and water features, at back of home, all the way through, and, to the front, where they meet our porte cochere art piece, and, finally, another water feature. BTW, this wall was installed as pre-cast plaster modules, which were joined and made “seamless” on-site… Pretty nifty trick!


Our porte cochere art piece, where the wave forms are about to culminate.


Paper, brass and glass mock-up, at actual scale, at Kelley’s.


Prototypical wood dowel, brass and baling wire model, for Brian, also at Kelley’s.

It’s a blustery December day in Las Vegas, where Mike, in traditional job-site/pirate garb reviews forms, and brass location.

The concrete truck arrives… Are we ready? Time to get nervous? Nice! That oh-so-familiar pre-pour queasiness… The one I’ve grown to look forward to and embrace!


Last minute prep… The boyz protect the brass with multiple layers of trimmed blue ez-release painter’s tape. Note that the bright yellow brass has now been patinated to a rich brown, similar to the color of the amber glass. Prior to taping, and, after the patina treatment, it was also lacquered.


Double layers of steel (and fibers in the concrete) to control cracking of long narrow pieces. Masked brass hung in place with combination of wood and wire (what… no duct tape?).

Concrete’s in and structural mud bed secures legs of brass elements…

Raul does a great job. No need to have been concerned… HA! I ask him, and, he admits he’s ALWAYS queasy too!!!

So, Friday’s structural pour is through, before Kelley arrives (later tonight), and, before tomorrow’s architectural pour, Mike goes for a bit o’ a run and snow-play, up on Mount Charleston.


This is just under a 12,000 foot limestone mountain (highest peak in The Spring Range), just outside of Vegas… Most people come, eat, drink and gamble and never realize that this treasure is here!


Sometimes it even snows down in town! There wasn’t much up here, this afternoon, but, there was enough to give the place a brrr-isk Christmasy feel.

And, speaking of Charleston, Neen spotted this online, earlier this morning:

Mt. Charleston avalanche advisory sends residents to Red Cross shelter

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV)- **UPDATE** NV Energy crews worked hard all day Wednesday digging through snow, working to fix the power outage that has left many homes without heat or light.
One woman had to come down to a shelter and tells Action News what conditions are like in places our camera’s couldn’t even get to.
“I’ll be 90-years-old next year,” says Eva Wight, a Mt. Charleston resident of 40 years.
“You live in Mt. Charleston to get away from the heat. That’s the idea of having a home on Mt. Charleston is to get away from the heat downtown. Now in the winter time you have to get away from the mountain to get away from the snow,” she says.
Away from the snow and the frigid temperatures after her and close to 300 other residents lost power.
Eva was rescued from her home and brought to Bilbray Elementary.
“No heat, and I was running out of food, because I’m thirty miles from the nearest station to get food,” she says.
http://www.ktnv.com/story/13729590/avalanche-advisory-issued-for-mt-charleston


A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou… No such luck, so, Po’ Mike settles for a Manhattan, straight-up, fried calamari with marinara sauce and self-love (platonic self-love, that is!). “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful!!!”

Well, it’s time to head to the airport and pick-up Kelley… What ever happened to: “Since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!”? CRAP! Back to work…

Christmas on the mountain, Las Vegas-style… Truly delightful!

Really, this concretist shouldn’t be complaining… I really don’t have much to complain about! So, just an end of the year wish from me and mine to you and yours: Merry Christmas, and, may we ALL be richly blessed over the holidays, and through-out 2011!

Leave a Reply