Before there was “Netflix and chill” or “you up?” there were these social rituals called “dates,” in which two people, romantically interested in each other, would actually leave their homes and go have dinner—in a restaurant, not sent by a delivery app—and then head to a concert, or art exhibit, or show of some sort.
Thanks to the wide range of activities at Life is Beautiful, we can recreate these “dates” on the festival grounds, skipping from dinner to a concert set, an artist’s exhibit or even an inspirational speech. The key: Like pairing white wine with fish or beer with barbecue, it’s important to put together complementary tastes. Here’s one guide to how to arrange a full night out in one place.
For the Retro Romantic
Chef Hubert Keller may have been trained in traditional French kitchens, but his cuisine has taken those fundamentals and made them modern. It’s allowed him to not only play with the staples of France, but with small plates from Japan and Italy, and even old-fashioned burgers. Head from Fleur’s booth to find a cocktail by Andrew Pollard; they’ll likely be the ones with well-worn names, but innovative ingredients and complementary taste profiles (Pollard created the original menu at Vesper Bar in The
Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas). End the tour by taking in Andra Day’s set. The R&B singer recorded a cover of Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn” for a tribute album earlier this year, and she’s been compared to Simone, Billie Holiday and even Ms. Lauryn Hill.
For the Worldy
Traveling around the world is almost as easy at Life is Beautiful as it is at Epcot Center. For food, start in the Caribbean with the animal-free Strictly Vegan Jamaican cuisine, before heading to Mexico for a drink from tequila ambassador Jaime Salas. The Brazilian influence on Thievery Corporation has always been obvious, but maybe never more so than now; the Washington D.C.-based downtempo duo released an album called “Saudade” earlier this year, as a tribute to bossa nova. And, of course, Bill Nye will be telling people how to save all of these places and more during his lecture.
For the Slightly Subversive
Want to tweak the establishment? Stick a thumb in the eye of the “man”? It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of opportunities to do so at a festival like this. Start with the art of D*Face, who is known for taking pop-art and removing its polite veneer—either in terms of literal skin (skeletal faces are a recurring theme) or context. Subverting the gender paradigm when it comes to science is part of the goal of Las Vegas native and Learning speaker Kina McAllister, the CEO of StemBox, which sells subscription science kits for girls. And Dan Deacon is an electronic music producer that has brought his live show, with crowd participation and all, to Carnegie Hall—an incendiary act by context.