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The lecture will examine shattering representations fashioned by artists anxious over social and political collapse. From the menacing supernatural paramilitary cult in Stephen King’s The Stand to the breathless Doom Town refrigerator sequence in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Sin City continues to serve as a locus for catastrophe.


Dystopian society; Las Vegas; Post-apocalyptic; American psyche


English Language and Literature

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The video may be viewed on or by download. The downloadable .mp4 file is 719 MB. The UNLV University Libraries hosted Sin City Apocalypse: Writing and Editing Las Vegas Dystopian Futures on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 4 p.m. in the Goldfield Room at Lied Library. Dr. Jarret Keene, assistant professor in residence of English at UNLV, will survey memorable fictional and cinematic images of the neon heartland in this colloquium hosted in conjunction with Writers Image Las Vegas: Our City in Fiction, an exhibit on display at Lied Library through June. In a wide-ranging lecture that draws upon the writings of William L. Fox (In the Desert of Desire) and scholar Mike Davis (Dead Cities), Keene will articulate the varied reasons why Sin City symbolizes the aggressive and venal qualities of the American psyche, and how the darkness of these images heighten our city’s aura and mystery.

Keene will also elaborate on how these narratives and theorists influenced the editing of the short-fiction anthology Dead Neon: Tales of Near-Future Las Vegas, and how assembling the book inspired him to form a rock band, launching him into the enthralling subculture of underground metal.

Keene teaches ancient literature and creative writing and literature courses at UNLV. He has authored several poetry collections and a rock-band biography (The Killers: Destiny Is Calling Me), and has edited or co-edited several books about Las Vegas. He also covers the city’s music scene for national and regional magazines.