After almost five amazing years writing for Downtown ZEN my time has come to step away from the column that I was asked to be part of long before I started as an employee at Zappos. Though I am passing the baton along to my dear friend Su Kim Chung at UNLV Special Collections I will always be here in spirit. Funny enough I have decided to end with one of the more amusing images from my old stomping ground, the world-famous Las Vegas News Bureau.
There is nothing more epic than celebrating the holidays in true Vegas style by gazing at a classic cheesecake image of Sunny Knight decorating a cholla cactus Christmas tree. I suspect that this 1951 image was taken by News Bureau photog Don English. Though English was a diminutive man not standing more than 5-foot-5, he had a way with the ladies that they would jump at an opportunity to be photographed by him. In true Las Vegas News Bureau style, English and his colleague David Lees would capture images that would be considered risqué even by today’s standards. I wonder if Santa Claus would add Don, David and Sunny to his list of naughty or nice.
I want to thank Downtown ZEN for so many fabulous years of allowing me to write my quirky column. Also, a huge shout-out and thank you to my former colleagues Ginny, Lisa, Jim, Paula, Glenn and Kelly at the News Bureau for allowing me to continue to invade the collection for some amazing morsels of history. Lastly, a huge thanks to my readers who kept me going. It’s never goodbye, but rather until next time.
Brian Paco Alvarez is a Las Vegas native and a graduate from the UNLV Department of Anthropology. He’s the former curator of the Las Vegas News Bureau Photo and Film Archives and currently the art curator, corporate historian and z’boutique buyer for the online company Zappos.com, Inc.