THE SEARCH FOR SIGNS: It's funny, but not too funny, how many business names in Las Vegas have incorporated "star" and starry themes. There's the Stardust, yes, but so many places bearing twinkly heavenly bodies or vintage starbursts as part of their iconography that a retro fan can lose count. Clearly the message is this: If you're in Sin City, even for a night, you get to play the part of a star, by dressing up, standing at a craps table, being catered to, enjoying that fine steak and martini. It's part of the vibe of one of the vibe-iest cities on the planet. But beyond that planet are actual stars, not simply neon starbursts, and it is possible to gaze up and find a few, even with all of that bright signage lining The Strip. The Neon Museum will do just that on Saturday, Jan. 24. It's a telescope bash in the famous Neon Boneyard -- "Stars and Stardust: Sidewalk Astronomy in the Neon Boneyard" is the name -- and, you guessed it, you'll be discerning very, very faraway objects while standing not to far from the very signs that have long made the night sky so bright in that particular area of Nevada. An unlikely pairing? For sure, but consider it a beautiful and unusual setting for a beautiful pursuit.
THE LAS VEGAS ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY... is at the helm of the event, which is free and open to every star lover of every age (but kids, please be with your grown-ups). And if you're concerned that the highly illuminated signs of the Boneyard will knock out any viewing-of-the-heavens pleasure, take comfort: The signs'll be dimmed in time for the telescope gazing.
IF YOU LIKE YOUR STARS... seen by darkness and your vintage Strip signs to stay extra twinkly, hang tight: The museum, which is headquartered at the quirky La Concha Motel, always covers a full complement of quirky to-dos throughout the year, including some choice nights out around the holidays. And as you gaze upon those starburst-filled signs, ponder if there's another city in the history of cities that has turned to the cosmos as often for its own iconography and symbolism. (Probably not.)