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Reno’s Honky-tonk Revival See Arts&Culture, page 14

Playing the field A new system allows student athletes to essentially act as free agents. What does that mean for collegiate teams like the Wolf Pack?

s e rv i n g n o rt h e r n n e va d a , ta h o e a n d t r u c k e e


EMail lEttERs to RENolEttERs@NEwsREviEw.coM.

Rabbit-duck Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review. You know that famous late-19th century ambiguous illustration that, depending on how you look at it, is either a duck or a rabbit? Or maybe the vase that also looks like two faces in profile looking at one another? Hopefully you’re familiar with at least one of those images—or of the concept of ambiguous images and a “gestalt switch”—or, if not, hopefully you’ve got Internet access and a bit of time to go down a duck-rabbit hole. We’ll stick with that first example. If you look at the image one way, it’s unmistakably a duck—beady eyes and a jutting bill. But flip an invisible switch in your brain, and it becomes a rabbit facing the opposite direction, that jutting bill is now obviously a pair of rabbit ears. The impeachment case against Donald Trump is a bit like that illustration. For congressional Democrats, the phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, in which, as subtly as a mob enforcer come to collect, Trump asks Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, is a big, fat, quacking duck. It walks like one. It talks like one. What else could it be? But to the Republicans, it’s clearly a sweet and innocent rabbit. The phone call was “perfect.” There have been no abuses of power, no obstruction of congress or justice or anything else. The Democrats see a smoking gun. The Republicans see a witch hunt. The two sides see the same image, the same set of data, but draw radically different conclusions about what they’re looking at. And they refuse to even acknowledge the possibility of the other perspective having any validity. That’s why it’s inevitable that the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is going to impeach Trump. And why it’s equally inevitable that the Republican majority in the Senate won’t convict him. They’re already convinced there’s no duck. It’s obviously a rabbit. This might seem like a pedestrian observation—opposing sides have different perspectives!—but I think it helps to remember that both sides are equally convinced that they understand exactly what they see.

—Brad Bynum bradb@ n ew s r ev i ew . com

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Thanks, Sheila Re “Empty seats” (Left Foot Forward, Nov. 28): Shiela, thank you for remembering Bob. Nancy Price Sparks

Lately Re “Board of bunglers” (Editorial, July. 11): Just re-read “Board of bunglers” and forwarded it to Siobhan McAndrew at RGJ. Did you see her story about Frankie Brooks on page 1A of the RGJ for Sunday, Nov. 24? I wish you would contact her and ask permission to print it in the RN&R. Times like this we miss Dennis Myers even more. Thank you Earlene Gorzell Reno

Deep appreciation Re “Deep thoughts” (Notes from the Neon Babylon, Nov. 21): What a great column. Bruce is one of the most observant, insightful commentators of our time. Mike Norris Dallas, Texas

Since day one President Trump has committed impeachable and near-impeachable offences since day one, starting with covering up election fraud hush-money payments to a porn star. Never mind that he was also, at the time of his inauguration, in court over corruption at Trump University. And don’t forget the recent Trump Foundation settlement where the kids have to take court-ordered morality training. If folks haven’t yet read it, read the Mueller report. Never mind what your Party or Fox News ordered you to do. Read, for example, the reason that Mueller could not prove collusion: they couldn’t completely follow the data that the Trump campaign passed to the Russians once it got into Russian hands. What were they passing? Election information that would

Penrose, Jessica Santina, Todd South, Luka Starmer, Kris Vagner, Bruce Van Dyke, Allison Young Our Mission: To publish great newspapers that are successful and enduring. To create a quality work environment that encourages employees to grow professionally while respecting personal welfare. To have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live. Editor Brad Bynum Associate Editor Jeri Davis Special Projects Editor Matt Bieker Calendar Editor Kelley Lang Contributors Amy Alkon, Mark Earnest, Bob Grimm, Oliver Guinan, Andrea Heerdt, Holly Hutchings, Shelia Leslie, Eric Marks, Kelsey

Creative Services Manager Elisabeth Bayard Arthur Art Directors Maria Ratinova, Sarah Hansel Art of Information Director Serene Lusano Publications Designer Katelynn Mitrano Publications & Advertising Designer Nikki Exerjian Ad Designers Naisi Thomas, Cathy Arnold Office Manager Lisa Ryan Sales Manager Gina Odegard Advertising Consultant Caleb Furlong, Owen Bryant

DeCembeR 12, 2019 | Vol. 25, ISSue 45

directly help the Russians with their attack on our 2016 election. Evidence and testimony support this absolutely. Using common language, the Trump campaign did collude with the Russians. Republicans just found a loophole they could argue. As for obstruction, McGahn will soon testify that Trump tried to falsify official government records to cover his attempts to fire Jeff Sessions. But don’t wait, read the Mueller report. It’s all there. Republicans have sold out nearly every principle they used to stand for, now including protecting the Constitution. If Republicans would’ve helped push back on any of the impeachable or near-impeachable offences this President has committed, Trump would not have felt continuously enabled. Nancy Pelosi held off legitimate calls for impeachment as long as she could. The derangement is with those who continue to claim that this Emperor is wearing any clothes. Michel Rottmann Virginia City Highlands

ConTenTS

Thinking ahead Every four years since 1972, Iowa and New Hampshire in tandem have repeatedly been the first two states to vote in the American presidential primary process. Isn’t it time for the other 48 states to take their turns at being one of the first two states to vote? We should reform the presidential primary process in time for 2024 by instituting a rotational centurial schedule whereby every state will finally have the opportunity to be one of the first two states to vote. Rotating the states would bring a much needed, overdue element of fairness to our primary system by giving each state (no matter how sparsely populated) a period of political relevance. Also, moving Iowa and New Hampshire out of their unwarranted privileged political positions at the front of the line would help make the process more demographically representative of the nation at large. Here’s an idea of what the first two states’ rotational schedule could look like over the course of the next

Distribution Director Greg Erwin Distribution Manager Bob Christensen Distribution Drivers Alex Barskyy, Corey Sigafoos, Gary White, Marty Troye, Timothy Fisher, Vicki Jewell, Olga Barska, Ashley Martinez, Rosie Martinez, Adam Martinez, Duane Johnson, Andy Odegard President/CEO Jeff VonKaenel Director of Nuts & Bolts Deborah Redmond Director of People & Culture David Stogner Director of Dollars & Sense Debbie Mantoan Nuts & Bolts Ninja Norma Huerta Payroll/AP Wizard Miranda Hansen Account Jedi Jessica Kislanka Sweetdeals Coordinator Laura Anthony Developer John Bisignano

century. 2024 - Kansas, California. 2028 - Vermont, Texas. 2032 - Montana, New York. 2036 - North Dakota, Florida. 2040 Idaho, Illinois. 2044 - Oregon, Ohio. 2048 - Arkansas, Pennsylvania. 2052 - New Mexico, North Carolina. 2056 - Kentucky, Michigan. 2060 - Alabama, Arizona. 2064 - Oklahoma, Massachusetts. 2068 Wyoming, Missouri. 2072 - Connecticut, Wisconsin. 2076 - Utah, Georgia. 2080 Hawaii, Washington. 2084 - West Virginia, Colorado. 2088 - Nebraska, Virginia. 2092 - Indiana, New Jersey. 2096 - Maine, Tennessee. 2100 - Mississippi, Minnesota. 2104 - Delaware, Louisiana. 2108 - South Dakota, Maryland. 2112 - Alaska, Nevada. 2116 - Rhode Island, South Carolina. 2120 - Iowa, New Hampshire. Jake Pickering Arcata, California

System Support Specialist Kalin Jenkins N&R Publications Editor Debbie Arrington N&R Publications Associate Editors Derek McDow, Thea Rood N&R Publications Editorial Team Anne Stokes, Nisa Smith Marketing & Publications Lead Consultant Elizabeth Morabito Marketing & Publications Consultants Joseph Engle, Sherri Heller, Celeste Worden, Rod Maloy, Julia Ballantyne, Laura Golino, Chris Cohen Cover design Maria Ratinova

03 05 06 09 11 14 18 19 21 23 24 28 29 30 31

oPiNioN/stREEtalk shEila lEsliE NEws tahoE fEatuRE aRts & cultuRE aRt of thE statE filM food MusicbEat NiGhtclubs/casiNos this wEEk advicE GoddEss fREE will astRoloGy 15 MiNutEs/bRucE vaN dykE

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by matt bieker

Who’s your favorite athlete? Asked At the stiCk sports lounge, 95 n. sierrA st. Alfonso figueroA Construction specialist

I hate to be biased, but I think even globally—Lebron James. It’s not all about him, like a James Harden, like, “I’m gonna score my points and not give you the ball.” He’s more like, “I’m gonna get the team involved and do my best to win.”

Audre y CAmpbell Behavior analyst

My favorite professional athlete of all time is Gabby Williams. She’s a beast, and she’s crushing it—not only in the WNBA, but overseas. And she’s family also, so I love her. She’s a G.

JordAn lee Construction worker

Sleeping rough On Monday, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appellate case that effectively criminalized camping and sleeping in public spaces. The decision was described as a “significant victory for homeless activists” in a Dec. 17 Los Angeles Times article. It’s also a victory for fans of legislation that’s rooted in common sense; i.e; you can’t ticket the homeless into housing. The case, Martin v. Boise, came from a decade-old instance where a group of individuals sued the City of Boise for consistently ticketing them for sleeping outside. According to National Public Radio, the law criminalizing public camping was eventually found unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled last year that it violated the homeless community’s 8th amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. The finding is almost poetic, as there’s already nothing more cruel and unusual than being forced by financial, medical or other circumstances to sleep on the streets to begin with—only for the local government to then ludicrously charge these individuals more money. In Reno, violation of city code 8.23.090, “camping without a permit,” is a misdemeanor worth a $115 ticket. Proponents of such laws argue that they give cities—through use of Police force—the ability to break up potentially dangerous or unsanitary encampments, and that doing so is somehow perversely more kind to the homeless than otherwise, sentiments echoed by local groups like Quality of Life Reno, which in October organized planned “citizen’s arrests” of local homeless

people. Before they could do so, however, the police came and enforced the intended result of these “antivagrancy” laws: shuffled them along. Major West Coast cities, including Los Angeles, backed Boise’s position on the matter, undoubtedly desperate for some way to address the surging homeless populations that, in the words of L.A. attorney Theane Evangelis to NPR, have been given a “Constitutional right to camp” by the 9th Circuit. But, of course, without meaningful substantive changes to address homelessness, including governmentsponsored housing, investments in local mental health resources and medically-based addiction services, simply charging the most vulnerable in our communities a fee for existing as such is, at best, a band-aid intended to advance the “out of sight, out of mind” agenda, and at worst, a state-sponsored abuse of human rights. In July, Reno’s City Attorney Karl Hall attempted to propose a similar ordinance based on the Martin v. Boise case, and, according to an article from News 4, intended to back the Supreme Court appeal on the grounds that the 9th Circuit’s decision infringed on the city’s 14th Amendment Right—essentially turning the homeless into a class of people who are “immune from city ordinances.” The city eventually postponed the resolution, seemingly indefinitely, in another win for the common-sense campaign. Under Hall’s, L.A. County’s and Boise’s reasoning, the homeless are now a protected class immune from city laws—and all it cost them was the roof over their heads. □

I have to go with Michael Crabtree. He’s just clutch, bro. When he played for the Raiders, that was my favorite player right there, wide receiver. He just made last-second advances on all the scoring. When you’re a Raiders fan, you’re gonna love people that come through for you.

lisA gAlvin HR representative

Megan Rapinoe, because she is very inclusive and wants good for everyone in this world. It’s very few and far between the people that are like that, especially celebrities.

suzie lipton Mom

Roger Federer—he has nice calves.

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by SHEILA LESLIE

Hands on I’m not a fan of governing by initiative petition since making laws is the job of our state legislators, who presumably have the time and expertise to hold hearings, deliberate and compromise until a new law emerges. However, there are times when citizens must take matters into their own hands if legislators cannot or will not act in our best interests. I’ve seen the redistricting process up close and personal, having served in the 2001 and 2011 Legislatures. I’ve heard plenty of righteous speeches about fairness and transparency and heard the public debate about this map or that one. And I’ve seen the real negotiations hidden behind the scenes, out of public view. Individual legislators look out for themselves first, their party second and their constituents third. The national parties secretly interfere in the process with a singular goal of drawing new congressional districts to their advantage. These things will never change. The truth is legislators are absolutely the worst people to be given the responsibility

for reapportionment as it’s simply impossible to separate their self-interest from their constitutional duty. That’s why Nevada’s League of Women Voters has filed a ballot initiative to join eight other states and create a redistricting commission of bipartisan appointees charged with ending the partisan gerrymandering that protects incumbents and the party in power. In Nevada, redistricting has produced lopsided legislative districts; in the 2018 elections, 13 Nevada Assembly seats and a Senate race were uncontested—leaving voters with no choice to make. Critics of the concept of an independent redistricting commission say the appointees will be partisans themselves, although the initiative specifies they cannot have been a candidate or elected official, a lobbyist, an officer in a political party, or a paid campaign worker. Undoubtedly, the parties will work hard to appoint people who favor their side, but, even if they succeed in placing stealth supporters on the commission, it can’t

possibly be as conflicted as a legislator’s desire for self-preservation. You won’t see many elected Democrats in Nevada supporting the redistricting initiative since the party currently controls state government and stands to gain even more seats with complete control over the next reapportionment. In fact, Governor Steve Sisolak is already putting a damper on the idea, saying recently the proposed commission would not “be truly independent” since commissioners will be political appointments. A whisper campaign to attack proponents of the idea as Republican dupes has already begun and a lawsuit has been filed by a pastor in Las Vegas with ties to the Democratic party, claiming the commissioners won’t adequately represent the state’s diversity. Our neighboring states of California, Arizona and Idaho have successfully implemented independent redistricting commissions. They’re not perfect, but they’re vastly preferable to the self-dealing systems they replaced. California’s Citizens Redistricting

Commission even won the 2017 Harvard Public Engagement in Government Award for its work. A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld the constitutionality of Arizona’s commission—with the majority opinion authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg— who noted “The people of Arizona turned to the initiative to curb the practice of gerrymandering” and “sought to restore the core principle of republican government, that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.” Sandra Cosgrove, the president of Nevada’s League of Women Voters, shares the Notorious RBG’s views, saying, “It’s time we moved to a fair and inclusive process that creates districts that represent the people of Nevada, not the political ambitions of politicians.” The League will need 97,598 signatures for their initiative to reach your ballot, where it will have to be approved by voters in 2020 and again in 2022 before it takes effect. One of those signatures will be mine. Ω

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by Jeri Davis

See the light S

Those who started an application for for health health care care coverage prior to the Dec. 15 15 deadline deadline have have until until Dec. Dec. 20 20 to complete it.

After being contacted by officials at Renown Health, the City of Reno has placed pedestrianactivated flashing lights at a crosswalk near the hospital. Located on Kirman Avenue, just south of Aitken Street, the crosswalk is used by patients and employees of the hospital. It connects people to services at Renown hospital, Reno Hospice and Palliative Care and the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute. More than a dozen pedestrians have been struck and killed in Washoe County this year.

t reed The Nevada Highway Patrol put up its first “DUI Tree” years ago. You can find it at NHP’s Reno headquarters, 357 Hammill Lane. How it works is that officers hang a paper ornament on the tree for every DUI arrest they make between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The tree doesn’t celebrate arrests. It’s meant to serve as a reminder of each crash and fatality that may have been avoided when a drunken driver was removed the road.

Federal Fault Sunday was supposed to be the final deadline to enroll in health coverage for 2020 for those people in states using the website healthcare. gov, the federal marketplace for buying individual health insurance. (Nevada is not among them.) However, website glitches that were suspected to have caused enrollment difficult for many resulted in public outcry—and open enrollment was restarted on Monday. The new deadline was Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 3 a.m E.T. Consumers who already had an account could shop for plans and find out if they qualified for subsidies to lower the costs of plans using the website. In Nevada, which has it’s own health insurance exchange, those who have accounts and started the application process prior to the Dec. 15 deadline have until midnight on Dec. 20 to finish enrolling. In another 11 states and the District of Columbia, which also have exchanges, enrollment deadlines vary.

More cop S The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office has announced that it’s stepping up patrols during the holiday season as part of the Joining Forces campaign. This statewide initiative starts Dec. 20 and continues through Jan. 3. The sheriff’s office reports that more deputies will be on the roads— and they’ll be looking for people driving under the influence. Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety provided grant funding to pay for the extra patrols. Joining Forces is a multi-jurisdictional Nevada law enforcement program that aims to reduce injuries and crashes by enforcing rules about driving under the influence, speeding, distracted driving and violations of seat belt and pedestrian safety laws.

—Jeri Davis

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Picture of health 2020 health care open enrollment has closed in Nevada the open enrollment period for people to sign up for qualified health care plans that meet the 10 essential benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act closed in Nevada on Dec. 15. But the folks at the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, the agency that operates Nevada Health Link—the state’s public health insurance marketplace—aren’t quite ready to release enrollment numbers. The agency is holding off on this until Dec. 23 for several reasons—the most important of which is that people who started their applications before the Dec. 15 deadline still have time to enroll. “If people started an application on or before that Sunday, then they have until December 20th to complete enrollment,” explained Silver State Health Insurance exchange communications officer Janel Davis. “We will be letting people know that, ‘Hey, guess what? Good news. You still have time because insurance is confusing, and we want to make sure that you get the coverage you need.’” People have until midnight on Dec. 20 to complete applications. To facilitate this, the Nevada Health Link call center will have extended hours. On Dec. 19, those hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Dec. 20, they’ll be 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“So the open enrollment period is very similar to tax season, and people tend to procrastinate and wait,” Davis said. “So, typically, we see quite a big surge during these last couple of days. And we’ve already noticed it in just the last 10 days after the Thanksgiving holiday.” It remains to be seen what Nevada’s enrollment numbers will be for this year, though the state was recently ranked as having the sixth highest uninsured rate in the nation. And the fact that the Trump administration removed the individual mandate requiring people to have insurance at the beginning of this year may also affect numbers. “And, unfortunately, we think that that has some influence on why younger people are not purchasing plans—and why, you know, our numbers are turning a little bit down this year,” Davis said. “So we think that’s in part due to the individual mandate going away. And the reason it was there is, you know, is that you get more people on an insurance plan and you create a more competitive marketplace and cheaper premiums.”

parting wayS This year’s enrollees will have noticed other changes specific to Nevada,

including a new online platform with fewer problems than the Federally run one—healthcare.gov—that the state relied on in the past. “Something different is we’re not using healthcare.gov to enroll people anymore,” Davis said. “So this year, people are just going to NevadaHealthLink.com. And relatively, the soft launch—the actual launch of the platform—was really smooth. Overall, a successful ride it’s been. There have been isolated issues, and we’re dealing with those as soon as we’re notified of them. But the user experience has been much better. And we haven’t had downtime like we did on healthcare. gov—or maintenance time. The first day of open enrollment, healthcare.gov was actually blacked out for the first six hours. And that didn’t happen on our exchange website.” The decision to switch to a state-run platform wasn’t just about convenience, though. It was motivated mostly by a need to save costs. That’s because, in 2017, the federal government began charging a fee to Nevada and the other state-run exchanges that used the health care.gov platform. In order to pay for this and operational costs, Nevada Health Link began collecting a percentage of the premiums charged by insurance carriers in the state. Soon, nearly two-thirds of the money Nevada’s exchange collected was being used to pay the leasing fee for the federal platform. And, in 2019, that fee was set to increase to three percent, a figure that represents nearly all of the revenue Nevada currently collects. According to Heather Korbulic, the executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, the new, state-based platform that was unveiled in time for open enrollment this year is considerably more cost effective. “They were going to charge us almost the entire amount of revenue that we generate at the exchange,” she said. “For instance, we are projected to pay about 12 million dollars for calendar year 2019, and our contracted rate for maintenance and operations for the next year is 5 million dollars, for each year. So we know right away that we’ll have a significant savings.” Korbulic said there are other benefits to not relying on the healthcare.gov platform, too, including real-time access to data about who the exchange’s consumers are, which gives the agency


the “ability to do direct and targeted outreach” to its existing consumers to see where there are gaps and who can be targeted for enrollment in the future. A third reason, she said, is “the ability to implement policies that are specific to Nevada and more in line with Nevadans’ needs.” “So on healthcare.gov, we’re working with a pretty archaic and rigid service or platform that really did not allow states any kind of unique flexibility,” Korbulic said. “And with our own exchange, we have the ability to implement policies—you know, within compliance of the federal and state laws—that allow for flexibility that’s necessary.” An example of this is the exchange’s flexibility to coordinate more closely with the Department of Health and Human Services on issues surrounding Medicaid. “So, when people apply for Medicaid and get denied because they’re over assets, meaning they don’t have a low enough income to be eligible for Medicaid, then what happens is we get a transfer from the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, and we can invite those people to come over and claim their application and enroll in a qualified health plan,” Korbulic said. “So what we’ve seen throughout this open enrollment period is 21,000 individuals who applied for Medicaid and were denied that we now have 60 days from their denial to get in touch with them and connect them to a qualified health plan.” And this year, people who are eligible to complete applications they started before the

deadline—as well as those who’ve been denied Medicaid—still have time choose from plans and coverage carriers that are more diverse than in recent years. “We had Anthem join us back,” Davis said. “They were not part of last year’s enrollment or the year before. So that was really exciting and created some more stability and increased competition for Nevadans. So Washoe, Clark and Nye counties have access to all 27 qualified health plans.” Residents of Nevada’s 14 rural counties have access 17 plan options. And for the first time, Nevadans have also been able to get dental care without purchasing health care, too. “So a lot of people were interested in that, and you could find some really good deals this year for just purchasing a dental plan,” Davis said. There are also more plans in the work for next year’s enrollment period—spurred on by the increased freedom of Nevada no longer using the federal enrollment platform. “So one thing we’ll be talking about next year is the extension of our open enrollment period and whether or not our carriers and our stakeholders are interested and whether that’d be a benefit to Nevadans,” Korbulic said. “And that’s not something we could do if we’re on healthcare.gov.” □

Learn more at nevadahealthlink.com.

Nobody home

A little after noon on Monday, emergency services responded to a fire at an abandoned house at 447 Nevada St. Seen here from behind, the fire burned in close proximity to several businesses on Fifth Street. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, the home was declared a total loss. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation. Photo/Matt Bieker

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Holiday Heat Nightcap

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ant a little more merry? Impress your holiday honey and complete your sexy date night with this aphrodisiac cocktail brought to you by the Museum of Sex in New York City!To make the Persephone alcoholic, add two ounces of vodka to each drink. Yield: Makes 2 drinks IngredIents For the lavender crystals: 1/3 cup dried culinary lavender* 2/3 cup superfine sugar 2. For the mango elixir: 8 ounces pure mango juice 8 ounces distilled or tap water

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For the Persephone: Juice of 1 lime 1/4 cup lavender crystals 2 ounces mango elixir 2 ounces pomegranate juice 2 ounces simple syrup 9 ounces soda water Ice PreParatIon Make the lavender sugar crystals: 1. In a food processor, process the lavender and sugar until fully combined, about 1 minute—the mixture will look like a fine powder. DO AHEAD: Lavender crystals can be prepared in advance and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 weeks. Make the mango elixir: 1. In a small saucepan, bring the mango juice and distilled or tap water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half, 12 to 15 minutes. DO AHEAD: Mango elixir can be prepared in advance and refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

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Make the Persephone: 1. Pour the lime juice onto a small plate and spread the lavender crystals on a second small plate. Dip the rim of a 12-ounce glass into the lime juice, then dip it into the lavender crystals to lightly coat. Repeat with a second 12-ounce glass.

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tahoe

by Gabby DoDD

I.V. Coffee Lab closed its Incline Village cafe in November to pass on ownership to Drink Coffee Do Stuff. PHOTO/GABBY DODD

Caffeinated Drink Coffee Do Stuff I.V. Coffee Lab closed its Incline Village cafe in November to pass on ownership to Drink Coffee Do Stuff. The DCDS cafe is now open for business. Former I.V. Coffee Lab owners, Ally and Matt Thralls had owned and operated the local coffee shop for over seven years and decided that it was time to focus on their family. DCDS had already been roasting for I.V., making the transition easier. While the location is now owned by Laura and Nick Visconti, the coffee will be the same, and all the former I.V. crew will be staying—including the Thralls’s who will be working in the shop from time to time. “It’s a different space, different vibe, but the community-oriented element with people who are enriching to Incline Village is never going to leave,” Nick Visconti said. “I think people can feel secure that we are still their local coffee shop.” Remodeling of the location began in late November. It received an all new look, complete with a ski chair next to the DCDS logo on one of the walls. There were some minor adjustments to the coffee program, but the addition of food is one of the bigger changes. The coffee shop now offers grab-and-go style foods that are long lasting, protein rich and sustainable, according to Visconti. Barista and Sierra Nevada College student Drake Fiske started working at I.V. in April before the transition to DCDS.

“I was a little hesitant and worried at first,” Fiske said. “But now that I see Nick and Laura being involved in Incline Village and being very personable with the regulars, it makes me excited for where DCDS is going into the future.” Fiske hopes to work with DCDS for some time and eventually make a career out of coffee. He urges customers to look out for new specialty drinks that will be coming out every few months. The DCDS brand started two years ago and was inspired by Nick Visconti’s experiences through his 10-year professional snowboarding career. During his travels, Visconti fell in love with coffee culture and the Swiss Alps. One day, when Visconti was doing a photo-shoot on the glacier SaasFee, his day largely consisted of caffeine breaks between riding. During this same time, he was being recruited by energy drink companies for sponsorships. “I just couldn’t get into the artificial thing,” Visconti said. “I got really into coffee as a fuel source for propelling people’s active lifestyle.” Visconti wanted to create DCDS as an experience of coffee and lifestyle fused into each other. There are many lifestyle brands and “fuel” gear, but he saw a place for coffee that wasn’t actively being pursued in the market of active, outdoorsy people. The brand’s coffee is grown in mountains around the world and then gets roasted in Truckee. DCDS believes that high altitude roasting allows them to consistently make coffee that is more sweet, instead of bitter. Visconti believes their most popular blend, is a medium roast called, “Hell Yeah!” It’s also his personal favorite. Their coffee can be found in grocery stores all over Northern California. “I hope the locals give this new shop a chance even though it is a lot different from I.V.,” Fiske said. “We are all here not only for the community, but to help people fuel up on coffee and healthy on-the-go foods for a kick-ass day.” Visconti plans to open up more cafes around the lake in the future. Ω

To learn more about DCDS, visit drinkcoffeedostuff.com. If you would like to visit the cafe, it’s located at 907 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village. It’s open from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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g i b The t r o sh

95-word fiction contest

ual n n a r u o r o f It’s time n o i t i t e p m o c tory s t r o h s a r t x e

The

’s 95-word fiction contest

Write a miniature story that’s exactly 95 words long.

Here’s an example:

We want exactly 95 words, as counted by LibreOffice, Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

e loved As a child, sh s. a n a n a b ed lov “little Lisa Lautner er called her th fa er h t a uch th bananas so m unds. y monkey so ll si e d a m d l on a monkey” an dropped a pee ce on a is L , lt As an adu ides, isn’t hiking trail. nd said. “Bes ie fr er h !” er tt “Lisa, don’t li hazard?” at only that a safety bananas. Th on s ip sl y Nobod “Ridiculous. rtoons.” and later, happens in ca her toddler, of t on fr in Lisa said this eel at the top ipped on a p sl ly b a it ev when she in ld hear her bled, she cou m tu e sh s a !” of the stairs, , ooh, ah, ah ocking: “ooh m e tl n ge ’s father

Email submissions to contest@newsreview.com with the subject line “Fiction 2020.” Put each story in the body of an email because we won’t open attachments. We require the author’s name, email address and phone number listed above each story. (That stuff won’t affect toward word count, and will be removed before judging.) Titles are acceptable, without affecting word count, but not required.

Stories must be received before 9 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2020. We’ll publish the best stories.

Stuck for inspiration? Check out last year’s winners here: www.newsreview.com/reno/literary-shorts/content?oid=27624441 10

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RN&R

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12.19.19


by KiRK GelleR

playing

the field University of Nevada, Reno punter Quinton Conaway joined the Wolf Pack football program in 2017 after transferring from Golden West College.

A new system allows student athletes to essentially act as free agents. What does that mean for collegiate teams like the Wolf Pack?

Courtesy/university of nevada Wolf PaCk

T

he National Collegiate Athletics Association transfer process has been a topic of discussion for many years due to the relaxed attitude the association has had with student athletes wanting to change universities. With the new transfer portal in place, though, the process has become more complicated and riskier for all parties involved. For the first time in collegiate athletics history, a free agency effect of sorts has begun to take shape with the arrival of the new NCAA transfer portal. While an athlete

would previously have to request a transfer from their school and would need permission to speak with other teams, they can now enter their names on the NCAA website in the transfer portal. There, teams can search across the country among thousands of players from each sport, looking for the perfect fit for their roster. While every sport has been affected by this new program, football and basketball are where the headlines can be found due to the amount of coverage and revenue generated by both.

“playing the field” continued on page 12

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“playing the field” continued from page 11

Teams everywhere are trying to catch up with how popular the portal has already become, seeing thousands of athletes depart from their original universities to new opportunities that arise as soon as their names pop up on the website. This affects smaller programs more than larger programs. Small schools become desperate to keep whatever talent they have from leaving, but they can also zero-in on unhappy talent at larger schools. While athletes in the Mountain West conference may want to transfer to a university that sees more airtime on networks like ESPN or CBS, players that are already on those televised teams become upset over lack of playing time they may believe they deserve, creating opportunities for smaller schools to gain four-to-five star talent that seemed impossible prior. “I think the transfer process is an ever-changing landscape,” senior University of Nevada, Reno punter Quinton Conaway said. “I personally think the portal is a step in the right direction in that it gives more power to the players, considering the fact that coaches having little to no rules restricting their movement from school to school.” Conaway joined the Wolf Pack football program in 2017 after transferring from Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California. At UNR, where the Wolf Pack basketball team has become a recognizable foe in the top 25 for consistent Goliaths such as Duke and Michigan, they have found key contributors and leaders such as Caleb and Cody Martin, and constant scoring threats like Jazz Johnson and Jordan Caroline through the transfer system. All but Johnson were lost last Spring to the NBA Draft. UNR was able to combat these losses with the acquisition of Jalen Harris, but saw one of their most potentially talented players, Jordan Brown, leave for Arizona. Brown’s decision to leave hurts mainly because of his status as the only 5-star athlete to ever commit to the UNR basketball program. Former 5-star recruit Justin Fields made his transfer from Georgia to Ohio State, shocking the NCAA world and stabilizing the quarterback position for the Buckeyes. Citing a racist incident when he was part of the Georgia baseball team, Fields was able to win an appeal that allowed him to play for Ohio State and has currently led the Buckeyes to a perfect 13-0 record and a number-two position in the college football playoff rankings. The incident in question stemmed from a report that Fields was called racial slurs by Georgia baseball teammate Adam Sasser, who has since been excused from the program. While most saw it as a simple way for Fields to play without restriction, Sasser has said he and Fields are on good terms, and Fields has not mentioned the incident since joining the Buckeyes. “I think the main thing that needs improvement is the waiver for immediate eligibility,” Conaway said. “I think the portal has given players more power, but has some negative impact on smaller schools—the fact that if a player succeeds early on in their career they can transfer up to a higher school if they were under recruited.” Jalen Hurts, a quarterback from Alabama, made his move to Oklahoma University, where he and the Sooners have a 12-1 record and a fourth place berth into the playoffs. Transfer headlines don’t just include quarterbacks. Outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips and running back Asa Martin, two highly recruited prospects coming out of high school, decided to take their talents to Miami from the University of California, Los Angeles and Auburn respectively.

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Smells like team spirit

the same requirements for any UNR athlete and has their own opportunity at a scholarship for their Sports that have a larger number of scholarships respective sport.” have benefited the most from the portal, as more The transfer portal launched in 2018. It took over roster spots makes finding athletes from outside the three years to configure the system and a national school’s program a necessity. The transfer portal vote by NCAA members before it could be approved presents risks on both sides of the game. For players, for implementation. Now, in football alone, there entering one’s name in the portal means giving one’s are over 2,500 players on the portal, with the total current university a chance to revoke a scholarship. number arriving at over 10,000 different athletes, The NCAA has no restrictions against a player a number Mitchell expects to continue growing as looking to switch schools, but the university where more talented athletes ride the bench of highly rated the athlete attends can remove players from the team collegiate programs, or become unhappy with the to open a roster spot. If the player does not find a lack of attention they receive at smaller programs. new school to join, their position is nowhere near The transfer portal is expected to have a posiguaranteed afterward. tive effect on collegiate sports and was therefore As teams like Missouri and Texas take advanintroduced to every sport in divisions 1 and 2. With tage of the new system, others, like Arkansas and new talent coming into every NCAA sport each year, Louisville, have faced hard times since the portal it’s easy to see the portal growing into a system used was put into effect. Arkansas saw eight players across the entire NCAA and not just by sports which decide to compete elsewhere, and Louisville lost two generate high revenue. starters and were at one point ranked 123 nationally Athletics such as golf, baseball, lacrosse and in recruiting. For teams, there are as many risks as hockey will all see more action within the portal benefits with the new system, and coaches have to soon. The only thing holding them back are that be careful in selecting the right football and basketball are the athletes for their teams, as only sports required to play well as keeping their own in college before going players happy so they professional. Basketball don’t see their rosters Programs like requires one year while diminish. Becoming an football requires three Kentucky, Ohio State unsuccessful program before players can enter and Duke easily attract and not finding adequate into the NBA and NFL. playing time for players UNR may have Whereas in baseball and everyone can see a team hockey, for example, at the top of their list. lose key players every athletes can either choose The only way for UNR year. Athletes want to to play professionally right continue their careers to stay competitive away or even play internato the professional level tionally, with a chance to with schools like these and will refuse to be earn money and showcase is to win in the transfer held back by universitheir talents. Obviously, ties not abiding by their game. they can still choose to interests. go to college and play The dominant for a university, but with schools that play for ever-changing rules and laws national championships against collegiate athletes every year have found a new way of keeping being paid and how their roster filled with promising young easily their talents may talent that will keep them in contention be wasted in college, for years to come. However, even for it’s hard to imagine smaller schools, losing seniors and many scenarios juniors can be difficult, and filling where those their roles becomes even more crucial athletes choose when fanbases become accustomed college over other to success. opportunities. “How certain programs use UNR’s football the transfer portal is dependent on their team took a hit model and the coach’s mentality,” UNR earlier in the season associate athletic director Ryan Mitchell because of the transfer said during an interview earlier this portal as running back Jaxson year. Mitchell comes from a legal Kincaide chose to forgo the rest of background with a focus on conflict his season so he could transfer in the of interest issues. UNR coaches Spring. Nevada’s crowded backfield come to his office when they played a large part in why the senior find an intriguing player, and chose to leave after the 2019-2020 he’s responsible for setting up season. Kincaide stated on his Twitter contact with said athlete. account that it was the hardest decision “Coaches are checking he’s had to make but ultimately the opportuthis site every day to nity for playing time outweighed his love for search for new talent who the Wolf Pack program. could possibly join the “We have certainly used the portal [to our university,” Mitchell advantage], but also lost some very good players said. “Then they to the portal, so I think that it has had somewhat of eventually meet a balanced effect on our team,” Conaway said.


While the portal has opened new gateways into how college athletic programs will fill roster spots, a free agency effect has arisen in collegiate athletics. Athletes can now enter their name into the portal and have several universities clamoring for the opportunity to have them join their program.

Cutting school Tate Martell, a quarterback who began his career at Ohio State and transferred to Miami due to the addition of Fields, was recently granted immediate eligibility. His waiver included, based on reports, a request to play immediately due to Ohio State changing their coaching staff midway through the past season. Reporters around the country have criticized the portal because it allows players to circumvent typical application and development processes. Ohio State coach Ryan Day was already on the staff when former coach Urban Meyer decided to retire, so it’s still a mystery why Martell’s waiver was approved. Day even played a role in Martell’s recruitment, creating larger issues from those who doubted Field’s intentions when he came to Ohio State and took Martell’s position. When a player completes the waiver granting them access to play immediately, both the NCAA and the former university have to approve. Reporters have criticized the lackadaisical attitude that many universities take to transfer approval for their former athletes. Ohio State saw no issue with Martell’s request, just like Georgia had no complaint over Fields. This lack of restriction on the part of these universities has widened the scope of opportunity for these players to be swayed by the other collegiate programs looking to take advantage of their talent.

They are opened to being wooed by any team looking to host them for the next two or three years of their career. The hope is that, at some point, teams will discourage their former players from contributing to a competing program. “These are all issues that would still need to be solved, as you wouldn’t want players having a greater effect for another school, but at the same time the process is much simpler now,” Mitchell said. “It isn’t complicated for a great athlete to change where he plays while at college.” There’s a sense that college football is becoming an open market of sorts, a place where any team can build a competent roster through players that are afterthoughts on superior teams. That’s how UNR has found success in the basketball realm. Teams no longer have to go to different locations to find the best talent in the country, they just have to find the patience to wait until the next great player becomes disgruntled and wants to find a new home. How this affects recruiting in the future remains to be seen, since the portal did not come into effect until right near National Signing Day on February 7, 2018. Teams will need to strategize how to distribute scholarships to players that might not yet even be able to find the university on a map. College names alone may no longer be enough to entice student athletes to play there. Coaches have to find roles for every one of their highly regarded recruits almost immediately or else face the consequences of watching their teams dismantle right before their eyes. UNR faces these issues head on, as programs like Kentucky, Ohio State and Duke easily attract players UNR may have at the top of their list. The only way for UNR to stay competitive with schools like these

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is to win in the transfer game. Even now, with the new hiring of Coach Steve Alford to replace Eric Musselman, Alford faces the difficult task of keeping his own players at the university. The transfer portal has changed the game of college sports on every campus and with new threats emerging every year, teams will be forced to keep a close eye on what names are being put in each day. Any one player can completely change the dynamic of expectations at a school. UNR and schools everywhere have to change the way they recruit players, as they won’t be speaking just with high schoolers anymore. They’re not just selling them on enhancing their talents with the program. They have to demonstrate to players that joining their program will help the players reach the professional leagues. Athletes need guaranteed playing time, even if that means putting them ahead of juniors or seniors who are about to graduate. Teams will always need more talent, and the transfer portal is a new way of acquiring that talent without having to travel to high schools all over the country. Programs are gearing up for rapid changes in collegiate sports, and others are just trying to hold on to the talent they already have. Players are making decisions with future intentions in mind. Teams will have to continue to adapt and remain focused on the main goal, winning. The Wolf Pack has adjustments to make since many of the star basketball players have left. Alford and his staff will not want a talentless team next year, so his view on the transfer portal should stay unchanged from Coach Musselman’s. Programs rebuild, regroup and replenish, and anyone who chooses not to will be on the outside looking in next season. Ω

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12.19.19    |   RN&R   |   13


story and photos by Wishelle Banks

in (dancing) tepping inside Pure Country Canteen—the resurrected honky-tonk about to redeem die-hard country music and dance fans across Northern Nevada—the smell of sawdust on a wooden dance floor reaffirms that this place aims to be the next real deal. The buzz has begun: Pure Country 2.0 is returning to Sparks, and for those who thirst for authentic honky-tonk ambience, it’s been a long wait. As owners Todd and Cindy Peterson ready the club, hoping to open by New Year’s Eve, they reflect on the passion behind their project. “Basically, a love of country music, country life and the country community,” Cindy said. “Everything to do with the dancing, and getting

S

Owners Todd and Cindy Peterson hope to open Pure Country Canteen by New Year’s Eve.

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Honky-tonk hotspot returns, re-imagined but true to its roots back to country roots, versus steering to what the new country sounds like, the hip-hop and whatnot. We wanna go back to the roots.” It’s a lively debate, with both artists and their fans weighing in. Devotees of old-school country—a string-infused sound with fiddle, pedal steel, mandolin—assert that much of today’s slickly-produced “crossover” music—with pop and rap sticking an overpriced-sneaker-sporting foot in the genre’s door—absolutely is not country. A new generation grooves to artists marketed as country, complete with crossover songs and videos with superstars in skinny jeans and couture, flanked by a squad of backup dancers, overkill choreography, synthesizers, and the lackadaisical label of “today’s country.” Yet the not-so-subtle, boundary-blurring incorporation of pop melodies and rap rhythms and lyrics, prevents it from being classified as traditional Country & Western. “I don’t think country is pop—and that’s where it’s leading to these days,” Cindy said. “People want true country again. Any place you go to now mimics the pop-culture of country. We are going to give people what they’ve been asking for and wanting, because it has been void in our community.” Opening a honky-tonk is a natural progression of the Petersons’ love

of the long-shuttered Pure Country Dancehall & Saloon that thrived on Oddie Boulevard beginning in 2003. It was the real deal, with live bands that played traditional country, a dance floor and pool tables. “That was my home-away-fromhome,” said Cindy, who met Todd when they were students at Reno High School. Former owner Cathi Woods, now living in Texas, gave her blessing for them to incorporate the old club’s name into the new one. “We reached out and asked if she would mind if we used the Pure Country name, and she was happy to have us do it. When we have our grand opening, she’s going to be here and pass the baton to us.” The proverbial baton probably has longhorns. Music comes and goes, but Cindy says that the essential elements of a honky-tonk are timeless. “A honky-tonk is a live country band, a jukebox, people line-dancing and country couples. It’s got the attire. It’s old. It’s rustic. It’s barnsy. It’s what this is.”

Wild country Pure Country Canteen features a 1,000-square-foot hickory dance floor, providing plenty of room for dancers doing the waltz, two-step or Texas swing. Cindy’s band, Nevada Hazzurd,

will perform, and the new Canteen will have karaoke on Wednesdays, and rotate local acts like Silverwing, Greg Austin & Southern Justice Band, NV 445, and the Joey Carmon Band on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8:30 p.m. Vikki Vaquera will teach line and couples dances, but not with a DJ. At 520 E. Prater Way in Sparks, PCC includes a restaurant that will serve lunch and dinner, beginning at 11 a.m., seven days a week. Cowpoke folk can enjoy canteen-like “grub”—sandwiches, loaded baked potatoes, nachos, salads, fries, chili and chowder in bread bowls, fresh baked goods, and hot pretzels—in a smoke-free environment. Todd, one-half of the couple’s other business of homerepairs, explains that the honky-tonk vibe is real, too. “The wood is from barns, old shacks, old fences,” he said. “All the décor is antique, or unique items, very warm and rustic, to make you feel like you’ve lived here a million years.” In Goldfield, Mina and Beatty, they scored branding irons, barrels, tooled-leather barstools, and other accoutrements perfect for Pure Country Canteen’s interior, one that y’all can bet will have a jukebox. “On our jukebox, you can only play country,” Cindy said with a little laugh that implied this one simple rule must be enforced. “The bands have been told to only play country—classic and some newer stuff. Some of it’s fine, some of the artists are trying to stay pure to it.” Without one real honky-tonk, Reno’s status as a Wild West town would surely suffer. Longtime Reno radio disc jockey J.J. Christy—who moved here in 1987, and still works for country station KBUL 98.1—recalls a chronological list of honky-tonks that held their own, longgone places like the Shy Clown casino, Rodeo Rock, Easy Street and Haywire, to name a few. “The Shy Clown had shut down, and a lot of country artists used to come there,” Christy said. “Things have changed over the years, but I think a real good honkytonk has to have the atmosphere. It’s something you feel comfortable in. You can have new and shiny, but it’s gotta feel like a comfortable pair of shoes.” Or cowboy boots. Christy concurs that Reno’s Wild West history simply wouldn’t be the same without the vital honky-tonk. In a city brimming with talented musicians, we’re at a critical juncture, as our live-music scene dwindles, musicians struggle for gigs, and many venues opt to have a DJ.


“Like it or not, as big as we’re getting, we’re still a country-music kind of town,” said Christy. “You would think we’d have more country bars for dancing, but just the opposite is true. We have little pockets, here and there. As it stands right now, we don’t have that huge nightclub for country dancers right now, and we haven’t for quite some time. You’ve got to super-serve your clients, so you’ve got to know where their tastes lie.” The Petersons move toward their target, completing construction on the Canteen so they can open before the year is out. For this country couple, failure is not an option. They’re determined to have staying power. “I do believe that sometimes [venues fail], because they didn’t stick to their roots, and started catering to pop,” Cindy said. “I believe if we stick to what we do—and not worry about pleasing everyone, but pleasing our country crowd—we’ll be just fine. When we open, they’ll be here. We’ve already got an outpouring from the community.” The original Pure Country club had—literally—swingin’ doors, something the creative Petersons can deftly craft for the new Pure Country Canteen. On the first night, when their doors open, and real country music wafts into the parking lot, and the dressed-up, die-hard cowpoke folk stream in, and those first beers are poured, perhaps it’s that hickory-wood dance floor scent that will most define northern Nevada’s newest country music venue as an authentic honky-tonk. □

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by Matt Bieker

Government work City of Reno Employee Art Show The city of Reno has a reputation as an artistic town, but a gallery exhibit in City Hall showcases the artwork of the City of Reno with a capital “C.” More specifically, it’s a collection of works made by city government employees. “We decided we wanted to do this on our own because we thought we have a lot of employees here, and it would be a cool way to engage people here and show off talents—something that not everybody gets to do in their normal work day,” said Megan Berner, public art program coordinator for the City of Reno. Berner, who wrote for the RN&R in the past, now works with the Arts, Culture and Events division of the City Manager’s office to oversee public galleries in both the McKinley Arts Center and the Metro Gallery on the first floor of City Hall, where the Employee Arts Show will hang until Dec. 27. “We started letting employees know in the summer that we were going to be doing this at the end of the year,” Berner said. “We still didn’t really have an idea of how much work we would actually get for this.” Nearly 40 employees ended up submitting art work including photography, painting, colored pencil and textile arts, among others. “It was shocking to see,” said Berner. “We have a ton of creative people here who are talented, and it’s cool to see that. I think a lot of the employees actually enjoyed learning that about their coworkers.” The show also has a contest element, Berner said, and is based on the National Arts Program, which sponsors similar 18   |   RN&R   |   12.19.19

ma ttb @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

Megan Berner examines the Best in Show and People’s Choice Award winner for the City of Reno Employee Art Show, a cross-stitching called “Dispatch Angel” by Denise Farson. Photo/Matt Bieker

shows around the country. Artists entered their pieces in youth, amateur or professional categories, and winners were selected by a jury of local artists. However, because City Hall doesn’t meet the number of employees required by the National Arts Program, Berner and her coworkers funded some of the costs with the City’s galleries budget. And while the National Arts Program offers cash prizes, the City of Reno Employee Art Show winners found support from the local private sector. “We actually got donations from a ton of businesses around town, and it was awesome—they were super generous,” Berner said. “Nevada Fine Arts gave prizes for all the youth categories … for the more adult categories we had, like, a gift card to Hub [Coffee Roasters]. We got coffee from Forged Coffee and a gift card from them. And Pitch Black Printing Co. gave us printing, you know, so somebody can go get prints of their art made.” The awards were given out on Dec. 5 in a reception at City Hall, and the piece’s still hang with their winner’s ribbons—including Berner’s, which won second place in the Professional category. Berner was the Friends of Black Rock High Rock Artistin-Residence in 2017, where she spent two weeks living in the Black Rock Desert for inspiration on a new project—cyanotypes of local plant life. “They’re UV light sensitive,” Berner said. “So you take paper and coat it with these chemicals, and ... you set an object on top of it and it basically creates a silhouette. … ‘Sage Brush Cyanotypology’ is what I call them.” The show will be up for a few more weeks, but the City plans to make it an annual event. “It’s incredible the support that we got for this,” Berner said. □

the City of reno employee art Show will hang in the Metro Gallery at City hall, 1 e. First St., until Dec. 27.


by BoB Grimm

b g ri m m @ne w s re v i e w . c o m

SHORT TAKES

3

6 Underground

Michael Bay returns, and while these were words that used to leave yours truly stricken with terror and afraid to approach a movie theater, things have changed a bit. First off, this one is straight to Netflix, so I can do stuff like pet my dog to calm down when the editing gets too frantic. Secondly, I think Bay seems to know he’s totally ridiculous by now. Like his Bad Boys 2, in which he seemed to be parodying himself, this one is so over-the-top it winds up being a little on the fun side. Ryan Reynolds stars as a tycoon who becomes a “ghost,” in that he has faked his own death in order to seek vengeance on bad people. He puts together a team of death fakers, which includes Melanie Laurent, Andrea Arjona and Dave Franco. They go after bad people in a series of car chasing, building scaling sequences that often culminate in some of 2019’s most glorious on-screen carnage. Reynolds is just doing Reynolds here, and that’s not a bad thing. Either Bay has calmed down his editing style, or I’ve just gotten used to it. Either way, I’ve found a place where I can sort of enjoy the madness that is Michael Bay, at least in the case of this film.

“And for an extra $10, i’ll throw in the batteries.”

Crown jewel Adam Sandler is having a pretty good year in 2019. He’s made a triumphant return to Saturday Night Live as host, and he reteamed with Jennifer Aniston for the actually fairly watchable Murder Mystery on Netflix. And, oh, yeah, he has just made what is, by far, the greatest film of his beautifully erratic career. With Uncut Gems, Sandler joins forces with directors Benny and Josh Safdie, makers of the excellent Robert Pattinson vehicle Good Time, and delivers the kind of dramatic performance—that being fully committed and thoroughly proficient—he’s hinted at in the past with strong efforts in Punch-Drunk Love and The Meyerowitz Stories. As Howard Ratner, a New York City jewelry store owner and gambling addict, Sandler catapults himself into the upper echelon of today’s fine actors—not bad for the creative force behind Grown Ups 2. It’s 2012, and Howard has built up healthy gambling debts with a bunch of criminals, including relative Arno (Eric Bogosian), who doesn’t give a shit that they are related. He’s owed money, and Howard will suffer greatly if he doesn’t deliver. Howard’s solution is to obtain a black opal straight from Ethiopia, one that can be worth upwards of $1 million. That opal could free him of all debt and set him on the path to prosperity, especially because NBA star Kevin Garnett—yes, that’s Garnett playing himself—is ready to give him all kinds of money because he thinks the stone has powers. Simply selling the stone at auction and solving his problems would be too easy for Howard, who Sandler portrays as a hyped-up, out-of-his-mind kook who screws up every chance he can get. Whether it’s his store, or his soon to be gone wife (Idina Menzel), or his well-meaning mistress (Julia Fox), Howard is completely incapable of doing the right thing. Sandler’s comedic abilities come into play because Howard is so messed up it’s often funny, and Sandler constantly mines the humor in that darkness.

But, in the end, Sandler isn’t in this for laughs, and Howard winds up being a complete character study, a sad man who doesn’t know when to quit—a man addicted to chaos. This is one of those roles that, quite simply, couldn’t have been played better by anybody else. Sandler was always the one the Safdies had in mind when they were writing the script and, while it took a couple of tries, they finally got their man and delivered a masterpiece. The film doesn’t just thrive on performances; it’s bursting with style and originality in its overall approach. The Safdies adopt a visual and sound style that makes Howard’s crazed adventure a swirling trip. It’s edited with the sort of electricity that keeps you riveted, with psychedelic trips inside opals, and even Howard’s colon, to boot. Apart from being one of the year’s best films, it’s also one of its most original. So what the hell is going on with the awards so far in 2019? After the National Board of Review named Sandler its best actor, he got snubbed for both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. (The critics guild I belong to, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, recently named him Best Actor.) Sandler more than deserves his first Oscar nomination here. His work stands alongside DiCaprio’s in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and Driver’s in Marriage Story as the year’s best. So how will Sandler top this work? Honestly, I don’t think he can, but that’s not a dig on him. Uncut Gems is an example of finding an actor, finding his strengths, and displaying them in a way that amounts to performance perfection. Sandler will do more great things in his career, but it won’t surprise me if this should amount to his apex. That’s the highest praise he can get. □

Uncut Gems

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5

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Based on a real life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a beautiful film. Who plays Fred “Mister Rogers” Rogers in this movie? Why, Tom Hanks, of course. The recent revelation that Hanks is an actual sixth cousin of Rogers is no surprise. Hanks plays Rogers in an honorable way. He doesn’t impersonate the man so much as adapt some of his mannerisms, his winning smile and that slow, concerned cadence in his voice. But Fred Rogers is a supporting player—albeit an important one—in director Marielle Heller’s (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) heartfelt movie. The main protagonist is Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys of The Americans), a troubled journalist who grumbles upon getting an Esquire Magazine assignment to do a profile on the PBS icon—the guy with a “hokey” TV show. Heller brilliantly frames her film as an episode of the TV show, starting with Hanks delivering the infamous welcoming song, and then introducing Lloyd Vogel as a friend who needs help, and s the characters travel between different cities, the cities are depicted like the train sets on the TV show.

3

Bombshell

Charlize Theron is uncanny as Megyn Kelly in this hit-and-miss take on the sexual harassment scandals that plagued Fox News thanks to the deplorable Roger Ailes, played here by John Lithgow under lots of makeup. The movie is propped up by terrific work from Theron, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie as a composite character representing the many women who were assaulted by the likes of Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Director Jay Roach is all over the place with his tone, with the film veering back and forth between dark comedy and serious drama. It never finds the balance that happens in great films, but it is often a good one, especially thanks to Theron, who is amazing in every second she spends on screen (and the makeup work is Oscar-worthy as well). Roach blows it with his portrayals of Bill O’Reilly (Kevin Dorff) and Rudy Giuliani (Richard Kind), who come off as bad impersonations rather than true characters. What should’ve been an important film comes off as partial failure.

4

Dark Waters

The real-life horrors of the Parkersburg, West Virginia, water crisis get a strong cinematic treatment from director Todd Haynes with Dark Waters. Mark Ruffalo headlines the movie as Rob Bilott, a corporate attorney who winds up suing DuPont chemicals after a family friend reveals troubles on his farm with the drinking water. The film is based on the real life water horrors faced by the people of Parkersburg, with legal ramifications and health issues continuing to this very day. What makes this film work so well is

its ability to avoid courtroom drama stereotypes. Ruffalo’s Bilott is a well-meaning, but flawed guy, who is a little slow on the uptake at first, and prone to medical emergencies because he can’t take the pressure. Tom, his boss (played by a strong Tim Robbins) is alternately supportive and demanding, not the typical top banana lawyer monster that often resides in these movies.

4

Ford v Ferrari

4

Knives Out

4

Pain and Glory

It’s the 1960s, and Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) has had it up to here with Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) and his fast, flashy car ways. He and cronies such as Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) and Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas) are chapped, and they want to send a message to the world that Ford isn’t just about family cars. Enter Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), a former race car driver turned designer and salesman after a heart condition benches him. Ford hires Shelby to design and race a car that can beat Ferrari in races, mainly the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s a tall order, and it calls for a crazy guy behind the wheel and calling the shots in Ken Miles (Christian Bale), an English-born rule-breaker who can drive a car and instantly know what can be fixed on it to make the damn thing go faster. His lack of convention causes Ford to bristle, Shelby gets in the middle, and we have ourselves a gripping tale about racing technology, volatile friendships and corporate clashes. Director James Mangold (Walk the Line) films Ford v Ferrari in a way where you feel every gear shift, every hairpin turn, and every moment when a car can skid off the tracks and cause grave injury. In this sense, the movie is simply at the top of the auto movie genre. Damon and Bale are otherworldly good as two pals who have no problem punching each other in the face on occasion, but always strain to have each other’s backs.

Director Rian Johnson, maker of the divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but also maker of the brilliant Looper, takes a crack at the whodunnit genre and comes up mostly aces. Daniel Craig stars as private investigator Benoit Blanc, mysteriously hired by somebody in a rich family after the strange, supposed suicide death of their patriarch, mystery author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer still going strong). There’s something fishy about his death, and his personal nurse Marta (the awesome Ana de Armas) knows something the rest of the family doesn’t know. What transpires is a solid mystery with a fun set of characters featuring a stellar cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield and Chris Evans. Craig is especially good in a role that allows him to show his comic side, with Shannon and Johnson also impressive as a couple of paranoiacs. Above all, it gives the talented Armas a chance to really shine.

Antonio Banderas delivers what may be his greatest performance as a director dealing with physical and emotional pains in the semi-autobiographical film from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Salvador (Banderas) is in retirement, struggling with migraines and back pain after major surgery, and unsure on whether or not he will continue in the art of filmmaking. He’s having bouts of nostalgia, leading him to be momentarily enthusiastic about an anniversary screening of one of his more beloved films. This brings him to the doorstep of Alberto (Asier Exteandia), an actor he’s been long feuding with. They happily discuss presenting the film together while, in a very impromptu sort of way, get Salvador started on a heroin habit. Flashbacks to Salvador’s childhood feature a fantastic Penelope Cruz as his mother, raising the precocious Salvador on little money in a cave-like dwelling. Banderas takes a reserved approach to the role that is unlike his usual role attack, and it’s refreshing. It’s also profound. Almodovar returns to form with this one, and it ends on an optimistic note that it could be the start of a new branch of his creativity.

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“shen Yun Performance”— A trick of “Falun Gong” On March 23, 2018, Religion and Truth, a Korean website, commented on the “Shen Yun Performance” of “Falun Gong” that “Shen Yun Art Troupe” belongs to the cult “Falun Gong” and that all its members and most of the audiences are believers of the cult. The performance, the website claimed, was a self-directed and self-performed trick. “shen Yun Art troupe” belongs to the cult “Falun Gong” About the actors and actresses: The actors and actresses of the art troupe came from the “Flying Sky Art Troupe” and all were practitioners of “Falun Gong” or disciples of “Falun Dafa”. There were 15 actors and 15 actresses who were 160CM tall and weighed 40-45KG when they came on the stage alternately.

hard work. “Shen Yun performance”, however, is nothing but a vulgar profanity of art. It calls itself “classical dance” only because it shows somewhat Chinese style in the setting. In fact, it is overwhelmingly modern and is even far-fetched “ballet”. An actress performs the “Bear Woman”, and actors wave fans and beat drums, only to confuse the audiences in spite of their painstaking movements.

If there is any gist in their show, it would just be the so-called “repression” that victimized “Falun Gong” allegedly. But what does it have to do with the Chinese history? And with classical dance? Chinese police officers appear to be stubborn, incompetent and stupid in the show: some of them try to resign from the Communist Party, while others are seen to drag some Performing tricks of “Shen Yun Art Troupe”: trying to preach young female believers of “Falun Gong” violently, a scene that “Falun Gong” under the disguise of carrying forward the intends to remind the audiences of how “Falun Gong” is “re“five-millennium Chinese culture” by showing the settings, costumes and music of Chinese classical dance. Dancing tech- pressed”. That “demonstration” trick entices an expectation about the emergence of its leader Li Hongzhi and the so-called niques such as flips, air turns, and jumps were used to attract disciples of “Falun Dafa” to rescue the young women. The perattention and spread cult teachings. formance ends with Li Hongzhi’s “Buddha Statue” appearing evaluation of the performance of “shen Yun Art troupe” amid lotus flowers symbolizing the “god”, and the leader is seen The performance usually starts with “Faith in Salvation”, that is, in the screen, with epiphyllum under his feet. The audiences “The Creator” (Editor’s Note: Li Hongzhi) created the human “disguised” by “Falun Gong” believers would shout and cheer. world and brought peace and tranquility; then, several disciples of “Falun Dafa” descended from heaven to rule the world. The actors and audiences of the art troupe belonging to “Falun Gong” are actually its believers. Obviously, the performance The performance goes on to the divine culture in the heyday makes its way into foreign countries in order to slander the of Tang Dynasty by showing a Bear Woman (the legendary Chinese government, spread rumors about “suppression”, and ancestor of the Chinese and Korean nations) dance. From the chaotic world arose a red dragon to eliminate human suffering preach the “teachings” of the cult “Falun Gong”. and make the world peaceful again. The show is accompanied All the songs performed by singers in the show are about the by adapted costumes of ethnic minorities such as Tibetan, merits of “Falun Gong”. In those songs, the Chinese governMongolian, and Manchu that contained stripe patterns only. ment is a red “devil”, while the Leader Li Hongzhi “saves” the Echoing the background music, actors contort their bodies world and “Falun Gong” believers will be “rescued” by this embarrassingly in a huge cage, completely nothing about Chi- “master of dharma” and “Savior” in the world. Only “Falun nese classical dance. Gong” can bring them to heaven. The performance of “Shen Dance is an art full of thoughts and emotional stories. It is a demonstration of exquisite skills mastered by dancers through 20

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Yun Art Troupe” is a trick blended with the teachings of the cult “Falun Gong”.


by Todd SouTh

$ Real deal If you like authentic Mexican “street food,” Los Gallos Taqueria has what you’re looking for. Vegan-friendly it’s not. Other than a menu that’s all about the meats, the decor and name of this hole-in-the-wall eatery is a celebration of “The Roosters;” i.e., cockfighting. So there’s that. Parking was a little dicey due to downtown construction and other obstacles, but I didn’t have to hike too far. The building has seen a few decades, and wandering down a long, narrow hall in search of lavatories at the back of the building belies its vintage heritage. Ordering is counter service, and if you’re dining in, you’re given a number so your food will find your table. During my visit, it appeared that at least twice as many customers were getting take-out. Complimentary thin, crispy chips are kept warm under a heat lamp, accompanied by a decent salsa bar. The chips are really good, though you won’t have too much time to spend on them; food heads out of the kitchen with high efficiency. I’ve sampled a lot of ceviche tostadas, but this pair ($4.50) were among the best. Two crispy tortillas were topped with cold, lime-cured fish mixed with pico de gallo—topped by plenty of avocado. They were a meal unto themselves. I usually like this item as an appetizer, but they had so much going on it was difficult to find room for other tastes. I soldiered on. Tacos ($2.20 each) are my favorite way to sample a variety of carnivorous delights, and a selection of lengua, carnitas, al pastor and housemade chorizo were loaded with plenty of meat, onion, cilantro and salsa. The lengua and chorizo were both a little salty, though the rest of the sausage flavorings were pretty enjoyable,

Los Gallos Taqueria’s pollo asada burrito is served with marinated chicken breast, and is big enough for two.

gIfT card

PHOTO/ALLISON YOUNG

with a good balance of heat and other flavors. The carnitas were a bit bland, but the al pastor pork was really, really good. They all suffered slightly from being reheated, not surprising as I’d stopped in at the end of the day. Lunch rush is probably the best time to get “the good stuff.” An enormous pollo asada super burrito ($9) was loaded with grilled, marinated chicken, rice, beans, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. I’m pretty sure this could feed a small family. Even the regular version my friend ordered with just rice, beans and meat ($8) was an ample meal. The grilled chicken was exceptionally good, definitely a step up from the shredded variety. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. A carne asada plate ($15.50) of marinated and grilled beef skirt steak with grilled onion, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, rice, beans and tortillas was pretty great. They don’t skimp on anything. The guac was fresh, and the meat was tender and full of flavor. The rice and beans were basic but satisfying. This sort of thing is in my top-five comfort food dishes, and Los Gallos’ iteration really hit the spot. There are plenty of other options, including more seafood, tortas, tamales and chiles relleno. Menudo, pozole and other classics are available on the weekends. Given how much I enjoyed what I sampled, I definitely want to go back for birria, tripitas and buche. Being too full to order flan or arroz con leche for dessert, I’ll definitely have to head back soon for a more comprehensive experience. □

Los Gallos Taqueria 440 N. Virginia St., 324-2549

Los Gallos Taqueria is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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purchase online or at the rN&r office* 760 Margrave drive Suite 100 reno, NV 89502 (Mon-fri 9-4:30) *exact change only, card also accepted

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Mellow Fellow gastropub naan & Kabab the canvas cafe Wild river grille

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by Mark EarnESt

$

25 GIFT card

En masse Sad Giants I’ve said it before in print: Reno doesn’t have a music scene. It has seven or eight. Few are the bands that can gig at a smoky dive, go do an all-ages show next, and then venture off to a suburban brewhouse. Then again, there’s Sad Giants. This Reno band has built a rep playing with anyone anywhere if they fall under the big rock umbrella. The band members—Bobby Benedict on vocals and guitar, Quentin Young on bass, and Jesse Moran on drums—agree that Reno is a little disjointed when it comes to a unified scene, but they’ve found their own niche to reach an audience. Not that it hasn’t been challenging. “It is tough, because most bands are just sticking to who they know and the venues they know,” said Benedict. “It’s hard to go out to shows you aren’t a part of and find bands you want to play with, and hard to get shows with people you don’t know. We did play a lot with pop-punk bands at first, because, technically, we are in that vein, but now we don’t as much because we’re even in a different set of punk-pop.” Diversity was job number one from the beginning, when Benedict was writing songs as Sad Giants as a South Dakota college student. He moved to Reno in 2016 and then recorded with Colin Christian mere months after he arrived. Those studio sessions are where Benedict met Moran and Young, ex-bandmates in The Butchers. “Jesse told me about Bobby, and I really enjoyed Bobby’s songs from the first time I heard them,” Young said. “I really like Bobby’s voice, so I just joined up from that point.” The result of those first sessions was Sad Giants’ self-titled EP, released last year. Their latest EP, Sunday Best, is a leap forward for the band. The debut is

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Sad Giants in their “Sunday Best” for their EP photo shoot—they are, from left, Quentin Young, Jesse Moran and Bobby Benedict. COURTESY/SAD GIANTS

characteristically all over the map—from straight-ahead rock to shoegaze blur—but the three-song EP is lean and mean, amping up the punk influences but not losing Benedict’s solid, classic songwriting skills. The band agreed that its current sound is somewhat of a throwback to the ’90s. “We’re all a product of ’90s music—everything from Weezer to Blink-182, to even newer stuff like the Menzingers,” Moran said. Benedict added the great Motion City Soundtrack as an influence. “I love a lot of that Minneapolis and Chicago punk, especially when I was over in South Dakota, because the Midwest is the best, you know?” Benedict said. “Even Indiana punk/folk bands that no one gives a shit about—that’s what got me interested in a lot of this music.” That’s not to say that Sad Giants are strictly Warped Tour by numbers, though. The group has a sound that lends itself to head-scratching comparisons. Benedict mentioned Bouncing Souls and Matchbox 20 as two of the most polar opposites. “Whenever we get new stuff together, it’s even more different sounding [than Sunday Best], but it still has that same core of nostalgic feeling,” Benedict said. “People don’t say that directly to me, but when they say we sound like somebody, it’s clear they are attaching us to some nostalgia in their minds.” These tunes stem from a chaotic process at times, but it’s clearly working. “I’m pretty much neurotic and manic and that’s how I go through spurts of creating things,” Benedict said. “I end up demoing two or three songs by myself, and then I email it to them and it’s like, ‘Vaguely learn these things,’ and then at practice I try to remember them. But I don’t, so we just refigure it all out.” □

Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Barre, all ages Handstands, cyr Wheel, contortion & Flexibility, acro Fit, and much more! adult and children’s classes offered sideby-side.

acro enso Get 50% off at acro enso and get in shape the fun way this Holiday season! purchase online or at the rn&r office* 760 Margrave drive suite 100 reno, nV 89502 (Mon-Fri 9-4:30) *exact change only, card also accepted

Sad Giants play with Sacramento band A Summer Alive and Tahoe band Local Anthology at 9 p.m. Dec. 20 at Shea’s Tavern, 715 S. Virginia St. Hear the band at sadgiants.bandcamp.com.

601 e 4th st, reno, nV 89512

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SUNDAY 12/22

MON-WED 12/23-12/25

Verbal Kint, 9pm, no cover

Bluegrass jam, 6pm, no cover

Open Mic Night, 7pm, M, no cover

Sacred Moon, Lincoln Skinz, Hired Fun, 8:30pm, $7

The Cellar Door with DJs Tigerbunny, Jon Potter, 9pm, $5

Sounds of the City: Glynn Osbourne, Altar Be Chess, 5pm, no cover

Bob Greenwood Band, 9pm, no cover

Bob Greenwood Band, 9pm, no cover

555 E. Fourth St., (775) 499-5549

Minnesota, Thelem, Beatkarma, Jonnie Boi, 9pm, $25

Holiday Hell: Flub, Inanimate Existence, Ostracized, Ozymandias, 7:30pm, $7-$10

CEOL IRISH PUB

Haystack Slim, 9pm, no cover

Rusty Gold Band, 9pm, no cover

5 STAR SALOON

132 West St., (775) 499-5655

THURSDAY 12/19

FRIDAY 12/20

SATURDAY 12/21

Karaoke, 9pm, no cover

Dance party, 10pm, $5

Dance party, 10pm, $5

Ben Jammin’s Birthday Celebration with The Sugar Pines, 8:30pm, no cover

Funk Exchange, 9pm, no cover

The Brewery Comedy Tour, 7pm, $14

Ben Fuller, Truth cARTel, 9pm, no cover

Comedy Night: Paul Spock, Bryant Tarpley, Wendy Lewis, 9pm, $5

ALIBI ALE WORKS (INCLINE)

931 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village, (775) 831-8300

ALIBI ALE WORKS (TRUCKEE)

10069 Bridge St., Truckee, (530) 536-5029

Minnesota

ALTURAS BAR

Dec. 20, 9 p.m. The BlueBird 555 E. Fourth St. 499-5549

1044 E. Fourth St., (775) 324-5050

BAR OF AMERICA

10040 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee, (530) 587-2626

THE BLUEBIRD

Comedy Carson Comedy Club, Carson Nugget, 507 N. Carson St., Carson City, (775) 882-1626: Dan St. Paul, Fri-Sat, 8pm, $15 LEX at Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 E. Second St., (775) 789-5399: Anthony K, Fri, 6:30pm, $10 The Library, 134 W. Second St., (775) 683-3308: Open Mic Comedy, Sun, Wed, 8pm, no cover Pioneer Underground, 100 S. Virginia St., (775) 322-5233: Anthony K, Thu, 7:30pm, $7-$12; Fri, 9pm, $12-$17; Sat, 6:30pm, 9:30pm, $12-$17

538 S. Virginia St., (775) 329-5558

COTTONWOOD RESTAURANT

10142 Rue Hilltop Rd., Truckee, (530) 587-5711

DAVIDSON’S DISTILLERY 275 E. Fourth St., (775) 324-1917

FACES NV

235 W. Second St., (775) 470-8590

FAT CAT BAR & GRILL (MIDTOWN) 1401 S. Virginia St., (775) 453-2223

FAT CAT BAR & GRILL (TAHOE)

599 N. Lake Blvd. Tahoe City, (530) 583-3355

Green Weather, 6:30pm, no cover

Post shows online by registerin g at www.newsr eview. com/reno. D eadline is the Frida y before public ation.

Guitar Town, 6:30pm, no cover

Live music, 9pm, no cover Queens of Karaoke with Aspen Meadows, Fantasy Friday, 11:30pm, $TBA DJ Gina G, 9pm, no cover

Live music, 9pm, no cover Candy Cane Tour with KCL Men, 9pm, $TBA Holiday Favorites with Emily Hammer, 6:30pm, no cover

Nick Eng, 8pm, no cover

Holiday Favorites with Emily Hammer, 6:30pm, M, no cover

In Kahootz, 10pm, no cover

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THURSDAY 12/19 The holland ProjecT

FRIDAY 12/20

SATURDAY 12/21

SUNDAY 12/22

Yaake, Maxiii, Maser, 7:30pm, $10

140 Vesta St., (775) 448-6500

jUB jUB’S ThIrST Parlor

1) Northern Nevada Ultimate Cultural Holiday Reggae & Culturefest, 9pm, $15

71 S. Wells Ave., (775) 384-1652 1) Showroom 2) Bar Room

1) Wax, Ubi, Lance Skiiiwalker, 7:30pm, $20

The loVInG cUP

Motown on Mondays, 9pm, M, no cover

188 California Ave., (775) 322-2480

MIdTown wIne Bar

1527 S. Virginia St., (775) 800-1960

Unplugged: Open Mic Thursdays, 7pm, no cover

Jake’s Garage, 8pm, no cover

MIllennIUM

PIGnIc PUB & PaTIo

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal: A Greg Gilmore Special, 10pm, 7pm, no cover

235 Flint St., (775) 376-1948

The Polo loUnGe

DJ Trivia, 7pm, no cover

Ladies Night Out with DJ Bobby G, 8:30pm, no cover

The Heidi Incident, DJ Bobby G, 8:30pm, no cover

rUe BoUrBon

Adam Springob, 6pm, no cover

Kat Heart, 8pm, no cover

A Very Soulful Christmas Jam: Cliff Porter and guests, 8pm, no cover

1401 S. Virginia St., (775) 384-6526

The SaInT

761 S. Virginia St., (775) 221-7451

Shea’S TaVern

715 S. Virginia St., (775) 786-4774

whISKeY dIcK’S Saloon

2660 Lake Tahoe Blvd., S. Lk. Tahoe, (530) 544-3857

Nick Eng Dec. 20, 8 p.m. Fat Cat Bar & Grill 1401 S. Virginia St. 453-2223

Dom & Friends, 7pm, no cover

La Internacional Sonora Dinamita, Grupo Potencia, 10pm, $TBA

2100 Victorian Ave., Sparks, (775) 507-1626

1559 S. Virginia St., (775) 322-8864

MON-WED 12/23-12/25

Karaoke, 8pm, M, no cover

Ubi

Thursday Night Salsa—Santos de la Salsa, 7pm, no cover before 9:30pm Sad Giants, Local Anthology, A Summer Alive, 9:30pm, $5-$6

Trivia Night, 8pm, no cover

Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor 71 S. Wells Ave. 384-1652

Knocked Down, Hired Fun, 8pm, no cover

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aTlanTIs CasIno resorT sPa 3800 S. Virginia St., (775) 825-4700 Cabaret

Carson Valley Inn

THE GOLDEN CADILLACS: Sun, 12/22, 10pm,

1627 HigHway 395, Minden, (775) 782-9711

LOCAL ANTHOLOGY: Mon, 12/23, 10pm, no cover

Cabaret

PALMORE REMIX: Thu, 12/19, Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 4pm, no cover

REVIVAL: Thu, 12/19, 7pm, Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21,

THE BAND APOTHIC: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 10pm,

8pm, no cover

Sun, 12/22, 8pm, no cover

MICHAEL FURLONG BAND: Wed, 12/25, 6pm,

THE VEGAS ROAD SHOW: Mon, 12/23, Tue, 12/24,

no cover

Wed, 12/25, 8pm, no cover

CIrCUs CIrCUs reno

BooMToWn CasIno HoTel

500 n. Sierra St., (775) 329-0711

2100 garSOn rOad, Verdi, (775) 345-6000 gUitar bar no cover

THE LOOK: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 9pm, no cover ROSS LEWIS: Sun, 12/22, 6pm, no cover TANDYMONIUM: Mon, 12/23, 6pm, no cover MARK MILLER: Tue, 12/24, 6pm, no cover STEPHEN LORD: Wed, 12/25, 6pm, no cover

Carson nUGGeT 507 n. CarSOn St., CarSOn City, (775) 882-1626 tHe LOFt DECEPTION: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 9pm, no cover

DEC/20:

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SANTA’S CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND: Thu, 12/19, 7pm, Fri, 12/20, 4pm & 7pm, Sat, 12/21, Sun, 12/22, 1pm, 4pm, & 7pm, Tue, 12/24, Wed, 12/25, 4pm & 7pm, $30.95-$67.95

DJ BIRD & RIZZO: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 10pm, no cover

STUDENT BODY THURSDAYS WITH VJ RIZZO: Thu, 12/19, 10pm, no cover

DJ BIRD & RIZZO: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 10pm, no cover

CrysTal Bay CasIno

DJ MARK TWYMAN: Sun, 12/22, 10pm, no cover LIVE BAND KARAOKE WITH ROCK U ENT.:

14 HigHway 28, CryStaL bay, (775) 833-6333

BREW CLUB TUESDAYS WITH DJ MARK TWYMAN & DJ JB: Tue, 12/24, 10pm, no cover

CrOwn rOOM

nOVi

DEAN O’ HOLICS—A RAT PACK CHRISTMAS: Fri, 12/20, 8pm, $20-$25

CURTIS SALGADO & ROY ROGERS: Sat, 12/21, 8pm, $25-$30

red rOOM DJ PAUL & MOTORHOME MUSIC: Fri, 12/20, 11pm, no cover

DJ BACY & KICKS MODERN: Sat, 12/21, 11pm, no cover

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eLdOradO SHOwrOOM

brew brOtHerS

Sat, 12/21, 10pm, no cover

If you haven’t been to any of the many holiday shows in the area, better get a move on as Christmas Day is only about a week away. One option is The Reno Dance Company’s presentation of The Nutcracker. The local production of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet features a festive blend of costumes, scenery, choreography and the talents of 20 professional dancers and 200 local children from the Reno-Sparks area. Performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday-Monday, Dec. 21-23, and at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24, at the Celebrity Ballroom in the Nugget Casino Resort, 1100 Nugget Ave., Sparks. Tickets are $19.95-$36.95. Call 356-3300 or visit www.nuggetcasinoresort.com.

345 n. Virginia St., (775) 786-5700

SKYY HIGH FRIDAY WITH DJ MO FUNK: Fri, 12/20, REVEL SATURDAYS WITH DJ CHRIS ENGLISH:

THE NUTCRACKER

elDoraDo resorT CasIno

eL JeFe’S Cantina 10pm, no cover

BROTHER DAN: Thu, 12/19, 6pm, no cover THE STARLITERS: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 5pm,

no cover

Mon, 12/23, Wed, 12/25, 10pm, no cover

RED CUP FRIDAYS WITH DJ DUSTIN V & DJ RONI V: Fri, 12/20, 9pm, no cover

LINE DANCING: Sat, 12/21, 9pm, no cover

rOXy’S LiVe PianO bar LIVE PIANO: Thu, 12/19, Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, Sun, 12/22, Mon, 12/23, Tue, 12/24, Wed, 12/25, 4:30pm, no cover

DJ OSCAR PEREZ: Fri, 12/20, 10pm, no cover DJ MO FUNK: Sat, 12/21, 10pm, no cover


Post shows online by registering at www.newsreview.com/reno. Deadline is the Friday before publication.

GRAND SIERRA RESORT

HARRAH’S LAKE TAHOE

2500 E. SEcond St., (775) 789-2000

15 HIGHWAy 50, StAtELInE, (800) 427-7247

GRAnd tHEAtRE HOLIDAY DREAMS: Thu, 12/19, Fri, 12/20, 8pm, Sat, 12/21, 2pm & 8pm, Sun, 12/22, Mon, 12/23, Tue, 12/24, Wed, 12/25, 8pm, $12.95-$17.95

LEX nIGHtcLUB THROWBACK THURSDAY WITH DJ SWERVE-1: Thu, 12/19, 6pm, no cover

LEX FRIDAYS WITH DJ IMPAKT: Fri, 12/20, 10pm, $10

SEXY SANTA WITH DJ RYON: Sat, 12/21, 10pm, $20

WILLIAM HILL RAcE And SPoRtS BAR COUNTRY MUSIC NIGHTS & DANCE LESSONS: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 10:30pm, no cover

HARD ROCK LAKE TAHOE 50 HIGHWAy 50, StAtELInE, (844) 588-7625 VInyL SHoWRooM RIFFS COMEDY CLUB: Sat, 12/21, 8pm, $15

Curtis Salgado Dec. 21, 8 p.m. Crystal Bay Casino 14 Highway 28 Crystal Bay 833-6333

cEntER BAR DJ SET: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 9pm, no cover

SoUtH SHoRE RooM GOLDEN DRAGON ACROBATS: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, Sun, 12/22, Wed, 12/25, 7:30pm, $24.72-$38.48

cASIno cEntER StAGE

PEPPERMILL RESORT SPA CASINO 2707 S. VIRGInIA St., (775) 826-2121

5 HIGHWAy 28, cRyStAL BAy, (775) 831-0660

EdGE

cASIno FLooR

HARRAH’S RENO

ROSE’S PAWN SHOP: Thu, 12/19, 7pm, Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 8pm, no cover

219 n. cEntER St., (775) 786-3232

TRISTAN SELZLER: Sun, 12/22, Mon, 12/23,

SAMMy’S SHoWRooM

SANDS REGENCY

18 HIGHWAy 50, StAtELInE, (775) 588-6611 HARVEy’S cABAREt THE NEVADA SHOW: Fri, 12/20, 10pm, $26.83-$36.83

NUGGET CASINO RESORT 1100 nUGGEt AVE., SPARkS, (775) 356-3300 cELEBRIty SHoWRooM THE NUTCRACKER: Fri, 12/20, 7pm, Sat, 12/21, Sun, 12/22, Mon, 12/23, 3pm & 7pm, Tue, 12/24, 3pm, $19.95-$36.95

no cover

before 8pm

tERRAcE LoUnGE

HARVEYS LAKE TAHOE

CHRIS COSTA: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 8pm,

LATIN DANCE SOCIAL WITH BB & KIKI OF SALSA RENO: Fri, 12/20, 7pm, $10-$20, no cover

BUDDY EMMER BAND: Tue, 12/24, 8pm, no cover

IGNITE CABARESQUE: Sat, 12/21, 8pm, $30-$39

TAHOE BILTMORE

Tue, 12/24, Wed, 12/25, 6pm, no cover

karaoke

345 n. ARLInGton AVE., (775) 348-2200

Fat Cat Bar & Grill (Midtown District), 1401 S. Virginia St., (775) 453-2223: Karaoke with Chapin, Tue, 9pm, no cover

3Rd StREEt LoUnGE LINE DANCING WITH VAQUERA VIKKI: Thu, 12/19, 6pm, no cover

SILVER LEGACY RESORT CASINO 407 n. VIRGInIA St., (775) 325-7401 RUM BULLIonS AUDIOBOXX WITH DJ R3VOLVER: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 9pm, no cover

SILVER BARon LoUnGE DJ MO FUNK: Thu, 12/19, Sun, 12/22, 9pm, no cover

Pizza Baron, 1155 W. Fourth St., Ste. 113, (775) 329-4481: Wacky Wednesday Karaoke with Steve Starr & DJ Hustler, 9pm, no cover The Point, 1601 S. Virginia St., (775) 3223001: Karaoke, Thu-Sat, 8:30pm, no cover Spiro’s Sports Bar & Grille, 1475 E. Prater Way, Ste. 103, Sparks, (775) 356-6000: Karaoke, Fri-Sat, 9pm, no cover West 2nd Street Bar, 118 W. Second St., (775) 348-7976: Karaoke, Mon-Sun, 9pm, no cover

PLATINUM: Fri, 12/20, Sat, 12/21, 9pm, no cover

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FOR THE WEEK OF dEcEmbER 19, 2019 For a complete listing of this week’s events or to post events to our online calendar, visit www.newsreview.com. DISCO TUBING WITH SANTA: Enjoy an evening filled with colorful LED lights, lasers, music and Santa Claus. Disco tubing is a family-friendly party where you spin down the tubing lanes to music and lights. SnoVentures is located in the base area of Squaw Valley. Snow tubing is for adults and kids who are at least 40” tall. All tubers must be able to independently get in and out of their own tube. Thu, 12/19, 5pm. $55. SnoVentures Activity Zone, 1653 Squaw Valley Loop, Olympic Valley, squawalpine.com.

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Reno Arts Works’s

dEc/19:

MERRY DAYS & HOLLY NIGHTS

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows annual holiday celebration ramps up the festivities during this last week before Christmas. In addition to skiing and snowboarding on the mountain, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities and attractions across the resort, including the Moonlit Snowshoe Tour and Dinner, Disco Tubing, ice-carving demonstrations, horse-drawn sleigh rides, mini-train rides, contests, live music, and brunch, story time and visits with Santa Claus through Dec. 24. Other weekend highlights include performances by the Great Basin Carolers and the Truckee Dance Factory’s holiday show The Twisted Nutcracker & The Tale of the Rat King. The holiday season and endof-year party continues through the end of the month at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley. Prices vary by event. Visit www.squawalpine.com.

EvEnTs

5TH ANNUAL UGLY SWEATER CRAWL: The event takes participants on a bar-hopping journey in downtown Sparks while they don their best tacky holiday wear. Sat, 12/21, 6pm. $5 for crawl cups. Along Victorian Avenue in downtown Sparks, www.eventbrite.com/e/5th-annual-uglysweater-crawl-tickets-81872748595.

2019 SANTA TRAIN: Take a ride on the Santa Train featuring historic equipment from the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Visit with Santa Claus and receive a candy cane aboard the train. Trains run every 30 minutes. Sat, 12/21-Sun, 12/22, 10am. $5, free for children age 2 and younger sitting on lap. Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City, 2180 S. Carson St., Carson City, (775) 687-6953.

BOB ADAMS ART SHOW RECEPTION: McKinley Arts & Culture Center presents Along the Truckee River, an exhibition of Bob Adams’s paintings which show a slice of life in Reno at end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. The exhibition runs through Jan. 24. There will be a reception on Dec. 19, 5-7pm. Thu, 12/19-Fri, 12/20, Mon, 12/23-Tue, 12/24, 8am-5pm. Free. McKinley Arts & Culture Center, 925 Riverside Drive, (775) 334-6264.

2ND ANNUAL CHRISTMAS ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR: More than 60 Native-American and non-Native vendors will sell jewelry, beadwork, baskets, paintings, arts and crafts, holiday items, baked goods and more. Fri, 12/20-Sat, 12/21, 10am. Free. Reno/Sparks Indian Colony Gym, 34 Reservation Road, (775) 842-1385.

CHRISTMAS EVE TORCHLIGHT PARADE:

39 NORTH—PARTY IN THE PLAZA: 39 North Downtown, City of Sparks, Sparks Heritage Museum and Sierra Arts Foundation present this monthly event highlighting art, specialty food, farmers, crafts, music and cultural heritage. There will be vendors, food trucks, local artists, live entertainment and chef demos in indoor and outdoor venues. Thu, 12/19, 4pm. Free. Victorian Square Plaza, 1250 Victorian Ave., Sparks, www.39northdowntown.com.

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Granlibakken was the host to the 1932 Olympic Ski Jumping Trials. Parade participants will follow a similar route as the athletes of yesteryear when they ski down Granlibakken’s Ski Hill holding a torch. The parade will be followed by servings of hot chocolate, mulled cider and s’mores, and gifts and photos with Santa. Tue, 12/24, 4pm. Free. Granlibakken, 725 Granlibakken Road, Tahoe City, granlibakken.com.

fundraiser show celebrates the holiday season while bringing together local artists and art patrons in a fun, holiday party installation. The Front Gallery Room will feature the holiday game “White Elephant.” Each artwork will be displayed backwards with only the title of the piece labeled. Take a chance, sign up and buy a piece. If you want to trade or steal you will have one chance to do so. All White Elephant artworks will be $25. Fri, 12/20, 6pm. Reno Art Works, 1995 Dickerson Road, renoartworks.co.

HEAVENLY HOLIDAYS FAMILY FESTIVAL: The month-long holiday festival features fireworks, live music, rail jams, train rides, special performances, ice sculptures, breakfast with Santa Claus, ice skating performances starring Disney characters, a Ferris Wheel, virtual reality and more. Thu, 12/19Wed, 12/25. Heavenly Mountain, 4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, theshopsatheavenly.com.

HOLIDAY BOOK SIGNING: Brian Crane, creator of the Pickles comic strip, and Guy Clifton, author of You Know You’re A Nevadan If..., will sign their books during their annual holiday visit. Sat, 12/21. Free. Sundance Books and Music, 121 California Ave., (775) 786-1188.

JOHN KNIGHT OPENING RECEPTION: John Knight’s exhibition Hook and Ladder Dreams is on view from Dec. 19-Jan. 10 with an opening reception on Dec. 19, 6-8pm. Regular gallery hours are noon6pm, Wednesday-Friday. Thu, 12/19, 6pm. Serva Pool at The Holland Project, 140 Vesta St.,(775) 448-6500.

NOEL NIGHTS: The Village at Northstar transforms into a winter wonderland featuring horse-drawn sleigh rides, outdoor ice skating, pictures with Santa and s’mores and hot cocoa by the fire pits. Bring two cans of food to receive $5 off ice skate rentals and help support the Truckee Community Christmas. Fri, 12/20, 5-8pm. Northstar California Resort, 5001 Northstar Drive, Truckee, www.northstarcalifornia.com.

THE POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN RIDE: During this hour-long train ride, characters, entertainment and Santa Claus bring The Polar Express story to life. Rides depart at 5pm, 6:30pm and 8pm. The last train departs at 6:30pm on Dec. 24. Thu, 12/19Tue, 12/24, 5pm. $17-$46. V&T Eastgate Depot, 4650 Eastgate Siding Road, Carson City, vtrailway.com.

SNOWBALL FESTIVAL: Celebrate the holidays

HEARTS LIKE FISTS: Restless Artists Theatre

with arts and crafts, face painting, custom balloons, photo ops, holiday snow tubing, snow parkour, a bounce house and “The World’s Biggest Cup of Hot Cocoa.” Sat, 12/21-Sun, 12/22, 10am. Free. Soda Springs Ski Resort, 10244 Soda Springs Road, Soda Springs, www.skisodasprings.com.

Company presents Adam Szymkowicz’s superhero noir comedy about the dangers of love. Thu, 12/19-Sat, 12/21, 7:30pm; Sun, 12/22, 2pm. $8-$15. Restless Artists Theatre Company, 295 20th St., Sparks, (775) 525-3074.

STARDUST MEMORIES: Artemisia MovieHouse presents a screening of the 1980 comedy/drama directed by Woody Allen. Sun, 12/22, 6pm. $5-$9. Good Luck Macbeth Theatre Company, 124 W. Taylor St., (775) 636-3386.

WINTERFEST: The festive holiday attraction features the Holiday Express Christmas train ride, a narrated journey through thousands of Christmas lights inside Greater Nevada Field, and photo opportunities with Santa Claus in Santa’s Village. Fri, 12/20-Sat, 12/21, 5pm; Sun, 12/15-Tue, 12/24, 4pm. $10-$15. Greater Nevada Field, 250 Evans Ave., www.facebook.com/WinterFestReno.

OnsTAGE BUTTCRACKER 9—SON OF A BUTTCRACKER: Brüka Theatre presents its parody of The Nutcracker. This year’s theme explores “re-creation” with a wink to Mary Shelley and an observance of neologisms that dynamically flavor a new holiday conversation for the millennium. Thu, 12/19-Sat, 12/21, 7:30pm. $26-$28. Brüka Theatre, 99 N. Virginia St., (775) 323-3221, www.bruka.org.

CHRISTMAS ON THE COMSTOCK: Country singer Lacy J. Dalton and Dale Poune perform at the annual Red Dog Saloon Christmas Show. Sun, 12/22, 8pm. $30. Red Dog Saloon, 76 N. C St., Virginia City, (775) 847-7474, www.reddogvc.rocks.

THE CHRISTMAS EXPRESS: Truckee Community Theater presents this nostalgic holiday play full of eccentric small town characters wise-cracking their way to finding the true wonder of Christmas. Thu, 12/19-Sat, 12/21, 7:30pm. $10-$20. Truckee Community Theater, 10046 Church St., Truckee, www.truckeecommunitytheater.com.

ELF JR. THE MUSICAL: Based on the beloved holiday film, this fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity. Fri,

12/20, 7pm; Sat, 12/21, 2pm & 7pm; Sun, 12/22, 10am & 2pm. $10-$15. Reno Little

Theater, 147 E. Pueblo St., (775) 813-8900, renolittletheater.org.

HANDEL’S MESSIAH: TOCCATA–Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus celebrates the Christmas season with a production of Handel’s Messiah along with seasonal carols and audience singalongs. Sat, 12/21, 3pm. The Chateau at Incline Village, 955 Fairway Blvd., Incline Village; Sun, 12/22, 4pm. $0-$40. St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 1070 Plumb Lane, (775) 298-6989.

JOYFUL NOISE 2019 HOLIDAY SHOW: The 18th annual show features Cherie & John Shipley singing and playing the keys with special guests Tom Mille, Lanny Hansen and the Joyful Noise Chorus. Thu, 12/19, 7pm. $8-$15, free for kids under age 6. Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St., Carson City, (775) 883-1976.

MRS. BOB CRATCHIT’S WILD CHRISTMAS BINGE: Good Luck Macbeth Company presents Chris Durang’s parody of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Thu, 12/19-Sat, 12/21, 7:30pm. $18-$20. Good Luck Macbeth Theatre Company, 124 W. Taylor St., (775) 322-3716.

PJ MASKS LIVE!—SAVE THE DAY: The live musical show based on Disney Jr’s television series features Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, along with their new friend PJ Robot, as they try to save the day from the sneaky villains Romeo, Night Ninja and Luna Girl. Fri, 12/20, 6pm. $29.50-$59.50, free for children age 2 and younger who can sit on a parent’s lap. Reno Events Center, 400 N. Center St., (775) 335-8800

RENO POPS ORCHESTRA—FESTIVE HOLIDAYS: The family-friendly concert features the Reno Pops and special guest performers. The program includes selections from Amahl and the Night Visitors and other holiday favorites. Fri, 12/20, 7pm. Free. Nightingale Concert Hall, Church Fine Arts Building, University of Nevada, Reno, 1335 N. Virginia St., (775) 673-1234

TINTABULATIONS HANDBELL ENSEMBLE: The ensemble presents its festive seasonal

concert titled “Fa-la-la-la-la!” Sat, 12/21, 7pm. Free. Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church, 955 W. Peckham Lane; Sun, 12/22, 1pm. Free. Carson Valley United Methodist Church, 1375 Centerville Lane, Gardnerville; Sun, 12/22, 7pm. Free. Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St., Carson City, (775) 677-8119, tintabulations.com.

THE TWISTED NUTCRACKER & THE TALE OF THE RAT KING: Truckee Dance Factory presents a twist on the timeless

tradition of The Nutcracker. Fri, 12/20Sun, 12/22, 6pm. $0-$51. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, (800) 403-0206, squawalpine.com.

WINTER DREAMS: Magic Theatre Circus presents this extravaganza of visual delights presented in the European tradition of cirque. Under a heated big top tent, acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, magicians, trained dogs and mischievous clowns are “woven into a story that is touching, hilarious and breathtaking.” Thu, 12/19-Fri, 12/20, 4pm

& 7pm, Sat, 12/14-Sun, 12/22, 1pm, 4pm & 7pm. $19-$69, free for children age 5 and younger. Sierra Market Place, 3600 S. Virginia St., magictheatercircus.com.


by AMY ALKON

The Nobel savage My husband’s parents interact with our 3-year-old in upsetting ways. They overfocus on her appearance, asking whether she’s washed her hair or where her comb is. They constantly quiz her, making her name colors, numbers, etc. My husband finally exclaimed, “She’s not a performing seal!” After their last visit, she started showing anxiety that her hair doesn’t look nice. How can I keep my daughter’s spirit from being squelched by her grandparents? Assuming Grandpa and Grandma aren’t sadists with a thing for toddler torture, they’ve probably just succumbed to the widely believed myth that little Aristophanes or Clove will have an edge over all the other diapered Harvard hopefuls by being drilled in academics from the binky years on. Their premature focus on your daughter’s appearance probably comes from a similar place: “Can’t start too early on thinking about how you present yourself!” Um, actually, you can. Research by experimental psychologist Rick M. Gardner found that girls as young as 6 had negative thoughts and feelings about their appearance. Because men evolved to prioritize physical attractiveness in a partner, women evolved to be sensitive about their looks and their placement on the prettiness totem pole. This can lead to crippling insecurity and body dysmorphia. Rushing what researchers call “direct instruction” on toddlers— expecting them to memorize and recite colors, numbers and facts— actually seems to set them back, harming them socially and emotionally, as well as academically! Psychologist Gabrielle Principe explains in Your Brain on Childhood that neuroscience research suggests it’s play, not academics, that’s vital to young children’s brain development. For example, when children use their imagination—by improvising with props, creating their own games, developing storylines—they stimulate the growth of brain cells in the frontal cortex. This area is involved in “self-regulation—a critical skill for controlling emotions, resisting impulses and exerting self-control and discipline.” Principe traces the myth driving today’s joyless, test-prep-filled childhoods to 1960s research by

UC Berkeley’s Mark Rosenzweig comparing rats with super-stimulating stuff in their cages—wheels, slides, tunnels, etc.—with rats raised in the equivalent of empty closets. Rat Disneyland occupants did better on intelligence tests than those raised in Rat Closetland, and that’s what the media reported. What the media did not report was that the rats that did best of all were the ones raised in nature, dealing with spiders, snakes, cats, fleas and boxing matches with their rat buddies. Unfortunately, this “let the natural environment do its job” finding doesn’t sell learning toys or suggest to parents that they can give their kid a leg up by treating him or her like a jar to cram with information. Though your daughter is only 3, even slightly older children seem to be harmed by being hammered with early academics. Psychologist Peter Gray writes: “The research is clear. Academic training in kindergarten has no long-term benefit. ... It slightly increases academic test-scores in first grade, but by third grade the benefit is lost and, according to some of the best studies, by fourth grade those subjected to academic kindergartens are doing worse” academically “than those who were in play-based kindergartens.” It’s particularly unhelpful to treat child development as a sort of race. Take the age that children start walking. Psychologist and pediatrician Arnold Gesell noted that some children walk as early as 9 months, while others start as late as 15 months. Ultimately, the early walker is no better a walker than the later one. As for getting the grandparents to stand down, start positive. Tell them you know they love their granddaughter and want the best for her. Next, explain the research findings on both learning and appearance. Then explain that for you, what matters is that your daughter has a happy, meaningful, productive life, and this starts with her not being pushed to do things she isn’t developmentally ready for. Ω

ERIK HOLLAND

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com).

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For the week o F December 19, 2019 ARIES (March 21-April 19): The English word “hubris”

gifts

means prideful, exaggerated self-assurance. In the HBO series Rome, the ancient Roman politician and general Mark Antony says to his boss Julius Caesar, “I’m glad you’re so confident. Some would call it hubris.” Caesar has a snappy comeback: “It’s only hubris if I fail.” I’m tempted to dare you to use you that as one of your mottoes in 2020. I have a rather expansive vision of your capacity to accomplish great things during the coming months. And I also think that one key to your triumphs and breakthroughs will be your determination to cultivate a well-honed aplomb, even audacity.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): For years I’ve lived in

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a house bordering a wetland, and I’ve come to love that ecosystem more than any other. While communing with reeds and herons and muddy water, my favorite poet has been Taurus-born Lorine Niedecker, who wrote about marshes with supreme artistry. Until the age of 60, her poetic output was less than abundant because she had to earn a meager living by cleaning hospital floors. Then, due to a fortuitous shift in circumstances, she was able to leave that job and devote more time to what she loved most and did best. With Niedecker’s breakthrough as our inspiration, I propose that we do all we can, you and I, as we conspire to make 2020 the year you devote more time to the activity that you love most and do best.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In the English language,

the prefix “re” comes at the beginning of many words with potent transformational meaning: reinvent, redeem, rediscover, release, relieve, redesign, resurrect, rearrange, reconstruct, reform, reanimate, reawaken, regain. I hope you’ll put words like those at the top of your priority list in 2020. If you hope to take maximum advantage of the cosmic currents, it’ll be a year of revival, realignment and restoration.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I won’t be surprised if

you’re enamored and amorous more than usual in 2020. I suspect you will experience delight and enchantment at an elevated rate. The intensity and depth of the feelings that flow through you may break all your previous records. Is that going to be a problem? I suppose it could be if you worry that the profuse flows of tenderness and affection will render you weak and vulnerable. But if you’re willing and eager to interpret your extra sensitivity as a superpower, that’s probably what it will be.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Does the word “spirit” mean

anything to you? Or are you numb to it? Has it come to seem virtually meaningless—a foggy abstraction used carelessly by millions of people to express sentimental beliefs and avoid clear thinking? In accordance with astrological omens, I’ll ask you to create a sturdier and more vigorous definition of “spirit” for your practical use in 2020. For instance, you might decide that “spirit” refers to the life force that launches you out of bed each morning and motivates you to keep transforming yourself into the evermore beautiful soul you want to become.

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VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “There are people who

take the heart out of you, and there are people who put it back,” wrote author Charles de Lint. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, your heart will encounter far more of the latter than the former types of people in 2020. There may be one wrangler who tries to take the heart out of you, but there will be an array of nurturers who will strive to keep the heart in you—as well as boosters and builders who will add even more heart.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Composer Igor Stravinsky

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was born a Russian citizen, but later in life became a French citizen, and still later took on American citizenship. If you have had any similar predilections, I’m guessing they won’t be in play during 2020. My prediction is that you will develop a more robust sense of where you belong than ever before. Any uncertainties you’ve had about where your true power spot lies will dissipate. Questions you’ve harbored about the nature of home will be answered. With flair and satisfaction, you’ll resolve long-running riddles about home and community.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “Friendship is a very

taxing and arduous form of leisure activity,” wrote philosopher and educator Mortimer Adler. He was exaggerating a bit for comic effect, but he was basically correct. We all must mobilize a great deal of intelligence and hard work to initiate new friendships and maintain existing friendships. But I have some very good news about how these activities will play out for you in 2020. I expect that your knack for practicing the art of friendship will be at an all-time high. I also believe that your close alliances will be especially gratifying and useful for you. You’ll be well-rewarded for your skill and care at cultivating rapport.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In 1933, Sagittarian

artist Diego Rivera was commissioned to paint a huge mural in one of the famous Rockefeller buildings in New York City. His patrons didn’t realize he was planning to include a controversial portrait of former Soviet Communist leader Vladimir Lenin. When the deed was done, they ordered him to remove it. When he refused, they ushered him out and destroyed the whole mural. As a result, Rivera also lost another commission to create art at the Chicago World’s Fair. In any other year, I might encourage you to be as idealistic as Rivera. I’d invite you to place artistic integrity over financial considerations. But I’m less inclined to advise that in 2020. I think it may serve you to be unusually pragmatic. At least consider leaving Lenin out of your murals.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “People mistake their

limitations for high standards,” wrote Capricorn author Jean Toomer. In my astrological opinion, it’s crucial that you avoid doing that in 2020. Why? First, I’m quite sure that you will have considerable power to shed and transcend at least some of your limitations. For best results, you can’t afford to deceive yourself into thinking that those limitations are high standards. Secondly, you will have good reasons and a substantial ability to raise your standards higher than they’ve ever been. So you definitely don’t want to confuse high standards with limitations.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Historians once thought

that 14th century Englishmen were the first humans to track the rhythms of the planet Jupiter using the complicated mathematics known as calculus. But in 2015, researchers discovered that Babylonians had done it 1,400 years before the Englishmen. Why was Jupiter’s behavior so important to those ancient people? They were astrologers! They believed the planet’s movements were correlated with practical events on Earth, such as the weather, river levels and grain harvests. I think that this correction in the origin story of tracking Jupiter’s rhythms will be a useful metaphor for you in 2020. It’s likely you will come to understand your past in ways that are different from what you’ve believed up until now. Your old tales will change.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): China produces the most apples in the world. The United States is second. That wasn’t always true. When Europeans first reached the shores of the New World, crab apple was the only apple species that grew natively. But the invaders planted other varieties that they brought with them. They also imported the key to all future proliferation: honeybees, champion pollinators, which were previously absent from the land that many indigenous people called Turtle Island. I see 2020 as a time for you to accomplish the equivalent, in your own sphere, of getting the pollination you need. What are the fertilizing influences that will help you accomplish your goals?

You can call Rob Brezsny for your Expanded Weekly Horoscope: (900) 950-7700. $1.99 per minute. Must be 18+. Touchtone phone required. Customer service (612) 373-9785. And don’t forget to check out Rob’s website at realastrology.com.


by Jeri Davis

Jolly soul Smitty Smith, also known as Smitty  Clause, spends his holiday season  doing good in the community as a  “Clause for a cause.” 

Refresh my memory. How long have you been Smitty Clause now? I have been Smitty Clause since 2010.

How is 2019? What kind of events are you getting up to? I am all over the board. I have done—oh, my goodness, let’s see bygolly—started off with doggy photos at Charlie’s Place, which is a grooming boarding place. I did six-and-a-half hours of pictures with 108 of my favorite canine friends—very crazy, yeah. And then I’ve been doing some house parties, office parties, business promotions. You name it.

Boy, after you take photos with that many dogs I bet the Santa suit needs laundering to get the pet hair out. Oh, yes. Well, I use my backup suit, which is a nice suit, too. But I know it’s coming. I make sure that they’re both clean at the same time. And you can’t just send your Santa suit to any dry cleaner. I’ve had them come back pink before—pink fur. And that was when I only had one suit. Yeah, that was a panic situation.

I can just imagine that if I put my little dog in the lap of a big dude in a suit, he’d shake so hard he’d be just about bald when he got off you. Yes. Oh, yeah—and not just the little dogs. Big, giant rottweilers are shaking like a tree sometimes. It just kinda freaks them out. Others, they just can’t get enough, much like kids.

What’s the event you were telling me you’re going to this afternoon. There’s a home in Carson City … for special needs folks—adults anywhere from 20 to, oh, 60 I guess. This will be my first year there. They love it. I’ve already read the letters to Santa. Santa is pretty much one of their most favorite people on the whole planet. They love Santa. And this is not open to the public. It’s just their time to cut loose. They bring in a little band, and they do a little buffet. And we’ll hand out presents. I put together some stockings with coloring books and crayons and some stuffed animals and a couple of other things. Yeah, this is going to be a party. I’m very excited about it.

Is there somewhere people can go to learn about upcoming events—or maybe you could tell me about them? I’m trying to post on Facebook. My website got kind of hijacked. … It’s

“Clause for a Cause.” … A buddy of mine set it up years ago, and … the group he went through took the domain. And they won’t give it back to me because my buddy can’t find the pin number. … I have several people who have volunteered to set up another website for me, but I do have a Facebook Page—Clause for a Cause. And that’s Clause with the “e.” Yeah, it’s French. I’m kidding! … But, this Saturday at Reno-Tahoe Audi there on South Virginia, I’ll be there from noon to 5 p.m. It’s a fundraiser for Casa [de Vida], but they told me to invite everybody on the planet. They want to share the love with everybody.

So what causes are you supporting these days? My main benefactor is the Domestic Violence Resource Center. They have three different shelters for the moms and kids who are displaced. And they give me a list of wants, needs, colors and sizes—and I do my best to fulfill every single one of them. I’m about 95 percent there. The hard part is the shopping. Yeah, we’re talking 400 to 500 presents. And, you know, you get the favorite color and the size. It’s very tedious, but I enjoy it. It’s not a living Hell, or nothin’. It just takes a lot of time. You can generally see me at about 10 or 11 at night meandering through the store with my list all cross-eyed. But it’s fun. And then this is the first year I’ve taken care of these special needs adults in Carson. And then this Thursday, we’re doing a thing at the Kids Kottage, which is all of the kids in protective custody. This will be about our fifth or sixth year. I go there with a group of carolers that are headed up by Cami Thompson—and about half way through the caroling, Mr. and Mrs. Clause show up, and we bring stockings full of goodies and we chat

and sing Christmas carols and do a little dancin’. I’ve got a little song called “The Santa Boogie” that I teach them. It’s kind of a rip-off of “The Hokey Pokey.” But they’re too young to know what “The Hokey Pokey” is. Of course, you probably are too. But I’ll teach you “The Santa Boogie.”

OK. All right. How about for anyone in Reno who’d be inclined to be one of your little elves and helpers? How can people get involved? You know, it takes almost $2,000 dollars to keep this sucker running all year long. So monetary things are great. But I have a lot of home visits that I go to that they’re aware of what I do. And, you know, throughout the year they hustle friends. And warm clothes are always a big hit. You know, I do the photos with Santa and ask the kids what they want at different events. And, you know, it’s like iPhones and dirt bikes. But these kids want, like, gloves and hats and snow boots and stuff. So, yeah, warm clothing is a big, big, big thing. You really can’t go wrong anywhere from infants to 18-years-old, that’s always a big, big thing. Yeah, money and warm clothes are my big needs. I think it’s been our seventh or eighth annual—we do a big fundraiser at Vino 100. We do raffles and a silent auction, and this was our best one—this year. So I’m not as scrambling for money as I usually am this time of year. Usually I’m dipping into my own pocket, which doesn’t mean I won’t— because I go all the way to the end. On Christmas morning I like to go down to the shelter downtown and just hand out gift cards and cookies and what have you. I can’t seem to stop. □

Editor’s note: Columnist Bruce Van Dyke is off this week. He’ll be back soon enough.

12.19.19    |   RN&R   |   31


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RNR DECEMBER 19, 2019

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