By Jacqueline Monahan
The Palazzo welcomed champion swimmer and model Amanda Beard on Friday, February 12, 2010 as she hosted the Opening Ceremonies Viewing Party inside Lagasse’s Stadium as part of the venue’s Legends of the Sport series.
Beard, a seven-time medalist (two gold, four silver, one bronze) during the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic games, posed for media before welcoming the Stadium crowd and recounting her favorite memories of representing the United States at the games, winning an individual gold medal, and future Olympic participation.
Beard made her Olympic debut at the Atlanta games in 1996 when she was only 14 years old, becoming the second-youngest Olympic medalist in American Swimming history. You may remember cameras capturing her holding a teddy bear and even bringing it to the medal stand with her. She won silver medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststrokes, and gold in the medley relay.
She also medaled in the next two games, winning a bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Her first individual gold medal (200-meter breaststroke) was awarded at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, as well as a silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley. Additionally, Beard is the winner of eight United States titles – three times in both the 200m breaststroke and the 100m breaststroke, plus twice in the 200m individual medley – and she was ranked first in the world for 200m breaststrokers in 2003
Beard, who has modeled for FHM, The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (2006) and Playboy Magazine (July 2007) posed for media before participating in a brief Q & A conducted by Nehme E. Abouzeid, Director of Entertainment and Business Development.
Wearing a clingy, purple mini-dress and sparkling bling by Simon G, Beard spoke about the challenges of motherhood, (she has a five-month-old son) athletic competition, and Olympic memories.
"It's hard to even put into words what the Opening ceremonies mean to me...it's magical," Beard said as she sat in the Stadium waving an American flag. She went on to recount winning medals as a team (relay) versus individual competition. “Of course you’re proud to have accomplished something along with your teammates, but there’s nothing like having that podium all to yourself.”
She didn’t miss a beat when asked what sport interested her the most in the Winter Olympics, nearly shouting out “Snowboarding!” The swimmer also affirmed that she’ll be back for a fifth Olympic competition in 2012 - at the ripe old age of 30. Beard also spoke of juggling the challenges of being a parent along with the rigorous training requirements needed to maintain a competitive edge.
After the Q & A, a “torch” was presented to the Olympian in the form of a custom cake, topped with a golden flame and decorated with “medals”. A picture of Beard adorned one side. The swimmer cut into the top layer, covered in golden fondant, as the crowd looked on. The first slice revealed the interior, at least the top part, to be made of red velvet cake nestled between white butter cream frosting. Hey, she may be the swimmer, but your humble correspondent was the one who felt like diving in.
Beard, along with husband, photographer Sacha Brown, stayed to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, joining the assembled crowd in a cheer as Team America took its place among the athletes. Despite her accomplishments, the Olympian shared the crowd’s excitement as if she were seeing it for the first time, instead of being responsible herself for some of the Games’ historic U.S. victories. That’s a real champion.
About Lagasse’s Stadium:
Touted as the ultimate sports bar and sports book in Las Vegas, Lagasse's Stadium combines Emeril Lagasse's signature cuisine with over 100 HD TVs including a 9x16 foot main TV, luxury boxes, plush stadium-style seating, billiard tables, and an outdoor patio just steps from the Strip. The Stadium also features sports betting stations, black jack and craps tables, video poker machines, billiard tables and video arcade games. Legends of the Sport events will continue throughout 2010.
For further information:
The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino
3325 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Artist Barbara Yoerg Featured at Odyssey Lifestyle’s A.R.T.evolution
Talk about a Renaissance woman. She paints in watercolor, oils, pastels and giclée (the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing). She’s a photographer who also happens to sculpt and is no stranger to ceramics. Barbara Yoerg is a one-woman gallery, comfortable and experienced in practically any medium. Her opening at Odyssey Lifestyle’s A.R.T. evolution (artistic relationship to thought) on February 11 provided the proof.
Every wall in the suite was adorned with her mixed media and watercolor creations. There were over 30 of them, with titles like Fish & Flotsam, Rusted Grill, Profusion, and Going Wild. Yoerg expresses herself or, more precisely, her emotions through creating landscapes that exist both on the physical and mental planes between the ordinariness of everyday life and the whimsy and abstraction that imagination adds.
The artwork, ranging in price from $100 - $1000 and in size from a sheet of copier paper to a large over-the-mantle focal point, contain recurring themes that immediately spring out at you.
There’s one of foliage and flowers (Fall Leaves, Flowers Galore, Tulips and Tea, Sunflower Winter, Evergreens Shadows & Snow) as well as the industrial- sounding, glass and metal bedecked Neon Boneyard collection (1983, 1990, Lightboard) and the Cruciform series which incorporates a familiar cross shape into backgrounds reminiscent of rising, or possibly setting sunlight (my interpretation).
You may recall that the Neon Boneyard is the actual place where gaudy and glorious old Las Vegas signs patiently wait to gain immortality in the soon to open Las Vegas Neon Museum (2011).
Her style range is expansive; collections can differ in color and composition so completely that you could be fooled into thinking that several artists were responsible for the sometimes photorealistic, impressionistic or abstract compositions. And I may be leaving out a few categories.
Award winning watercolor master and author Betsy Dillard Stroud, was also on hand to support Yoerg, who graciously gave interviews on a sofa directly beneath her own award-winning work, Fish and Flotsam (Barse Miller Award at the NWS 2008 All-Member Show). She motioned to the painting when asked if she started a project with a pre-conceived idea, or just let the process lead her.
“This one began with a blob of yellow paint, and I had to do three laps around the canvas before it told me what it wanted to be.” She motioned to the large work above the sofa, a serene study in the elegance and grace of fish captured in languid movement.
From her Artist’s Statement: “Painting is a means to offer a part of myself and evoke emotion in others. My painting is not a wall decoration, but a recollection or concept of an experience.” An ambitious undertaking but Yoerg proves with each successive, varied piece that she’s up to the challenge of such an evocation.
She began multi-discipline art instruction when she was just five years old. By the time she was in high school, she had five one-woman shows at the Kramer Art Gallery in St. Paul, Minnesota, becoming their youngest exhibitor.
Influenced by the masters, Albrecht Dűrer, Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe, graphite, watercolors, and photography are her preferred mediums. She develops and experiments with new techniques and materials to create her own distinctive style.
Is there anything she won’t do? It seems that stained glass sits on this solitary list because of the dangerous (sometimes molten) materials and necessary hand involvement. When your hands can create such a plethora of wondrous or even whimsical worlds, you want to protect them.
Continuing her education in a multi-disciplinary vein, Yoerg graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a BS in Fine Arts - Drawing, Environmental Sciences, and English. Her drawings were featured in a number of university publications. Never mind that she blew up the Sculpture Lab as well. It was an accident - she really had the Ceramics Lab in mind. Actually, the whole thing was a physics lesson in accumulated acetylene gasses and timing. Yoerg’s eyes twinkle as she recounts the tale. “I’ve always been notorious,” she asserts.
She earned a MA in Fine Arts -- Photography after serving as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army and holding positions within several private and government enterprises. This is someone who could exhaust an ordinary multi-tasker.
The National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office and Los Alamos National Laboratory have purchased her work, as well as collectors, internationally and throughout the United States. One of her paintings of the Nevada Test Site is in the collection of the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.
Yoerg is a signature member of the Nevada Watercolor Society (NVWS) and the Texas Watercolor Society, a member of the National Watercolor Society (NWS) and the San Diego Watercolor Society. Her painting, “Bountiful,” took Best of Show at the NVWS 2007 Spring Show, “Weeds & Neon” took first place at the NVWS 2007 Fall Show, and “Coming to the Surface” was awarded the Emil Kosa Award at the NWS 2009 All-Member Show.
When asked what she’d do if she weren’t an artist, Yoerg chose a provocative career at the other end of the spectrum. She’d be a demolition expert. As if on cue, a guest arrived who just happened to be Ben, the Bomb Squad Commander of the Las Vegas Bomb Squad. Ben acknowledged Yoerg’s penchant for controlled destruction, and the artist herself conceded that the “ninety minutes of safety preparation were worth the ninety seconds of bliss” that came from a well-orchestrated explosion.
This wild side only seems to add to the passion with which she paints, as if the restless contradictions both invade the pigments and soothe them at the same time. There’s a fearless, I-can-do-anything quality to Yoerg’s work that speaks to her life of adventures and discovery. With explosions of color and detonations of creativity, this artist doesn’t need a fuse to make an impression – just a loaded brush (or printer cartridge).
Although she lives in Las Vegas, Yoerg has traveled extensively around the world including Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East and Europe. Her work has been and is on display in museums, art galleries, corporate and private collections, and she has had more than ten one-woman exhibitions. 25% of the evening’s sales were donated to The Odyssey Foundation.
About The Odyssey Foundation:
The Odyssey Lifestyle’s charitable arm, The Odyssey Foundation (under the aegis of the National Heritage Foundation) uses Las Vegas’ annual Odyssey events (a world of food and wine combined with the visual, musical and performing arts) to raise money for charities, which include the Las Vegas Le Cordon Bleu School culinary scholarship program and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Founded by Mark and Virginia Martino in 2000, The Odyssey Lifestyle also includes an event planning division and other ancillary professional assets, including the resources of BRAND, Ltd., a full service integrated marketing firm established by the Martinos. All divisions of The Odyssey Lifestyle are based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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