Page 1


[ The Universit y of Ne vada, Reno’s student MAGA ZINE]


october 2010 Volume 3 • Issue 2

First copy free second copy $3.50

Contents OCTOBER 2010

Editor Letter & Behind Insight | 4-5

16-19 | ARTS AFTER DARK Performers find refuge and expression in downtown venues.

PACK PROFILE | 6-7 Student comedian Alyssa Cowan

Downtown Debauchery | 8-9 While businesses downtown thrive at night, residents complain of increased problems.

THE REAL “RENO 911” | 10-13 A night in the life of a Reno police officer.

CONFESSIONS OF A BOUNCER | 14-15 Drunks, fights, Prince and more.

20-23 | THE BEST MARY IN TOWN We sought and found the best bloody mary in Reno.

24-25 | Pie in the Night Sky A late-night pizzeria opens downtown.

26-29 | Playing the Game Think you can beat the casino odds?

30-31 | IN HINDSIGHT A look at Homecoming throughout the years.


2 | Insight | October 2010

2010 October | Insight | 3


[The University of Nevada, Reno’s student magazine]




Online Managing Editor JESSICA PACHECO


Multimedia Editor JESSICA ESTEPA

Assistant Multimedia Editor MICHAEL GJURICH

Head Photo Editor SEBASTIAN DIAZ

Assistant Photo Editor COURTNEY SPANGLER


Story Editor SAM DISALVO




Katie Goodwin Editor-in-Chief

Advertising Coordinator BROOKE BARLOW

COVER BY SEBASTIAN DIAZ Katie Goodwin - Editor in Chief

Katie Goodwin Editor-in-Chief

Michael Gjurich - Multimedia Editor

Sebastian Diaz - Photo Editor

Corrections to September 2010 issue: In “Behind Insight” Leissan Sadykova was incorrectly identified as the ASUN student Jessie Gray - Assistant Multimedia Editor body president. Sadykova is the ASUN student body vice president. In “Belles on Wheels” Lindsey Millan’s last name was incorrectly PLEASE BEspelled KINDas AND NOTonLEAVE Rachel Wright - Story Editor Millen.DO In “Drive a Dime”, THIS writer MAGAZINE LYING QUAD. Mark Zaski’sAROUND last name wasTHE incorrectly spelled The cover was shot by Sebastian Diaz, RECYCLEas| Zasky. REUSE | RETURN Tara Verderosa - Story Editor and was not credited to him. Insight Magazine 4 | In s i g h t | apologizes M ay 2010 for its errors. If you have found a mistake or misprint, please contact the editor at Jazzmine Hudson - Publicity Director

Courtney Spangler - Web Photo Editor

Brooke Barlow - Advertising Coordinator

Derek Jordan - Webmaster

Contributors: Scott Barnett, Matt Buccambuso, Lucas Combos, Jess Ghisletta, Chelsea Houston, Cody Liska, Samantha Phisterer, Vicki Tam, Caitlin Thomas, C.W. Wilkinson, Nicole Zander

Jay Brissenden - Online Managing Editor Sam DiSalvo - Print Managing Editor Geoff Roseborough - Design Editor

4 | Insight | October 2010


The opinions expressed in this publication and its associated Web site are not necessarily those of the University of Nevada, Reno or the student body.

The opinions expressed in this publication and its associated Web site are not necessarily those of the University of Nevada, Reno or the student body.


On the first day of freshmen orientation, the journalism adviser said, “What I’ve noticed about journalism majors is that they’re outgoing and they’re bad at math.” I sat there and thought to myself, “I’m shy and I’m good at math.” I’m a duel major in journalism and psychology. I grew up in a small town about an hour away from the Reno/ Sparks area and in a family of engineers. For me, to be able to write is a huge accomplishment in my life. It was something I needed a lot of help in, especially since my first language was Chinese. But, growing up, there was this thing I knew I loved to do, and that was to write stories. I wanted to be a writer, but I was bad at writing. At a young age, I was interested in web design and inventing things, which I still am interested in. But, I had a passion for writing that I couldn’t let go. Since eighth grade, I’ve been on a newspaper staff for five years before coming to UNR. I was on a staff that took our newspaper to a gold rating by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. I attended the Communication and Journalism section of Presidential Classroom in Washington D.C. I wrote a front page story for a local paper before my senior year of high school. I’m proud to be a writer because writing can be really rewarding at times. Aside from writing, I have a huge passion for playing the guitar – both acoustic and electric. I like to make up my own licks and chord progressions. To me, it is easier to make up short pieces than practice songs by other artists. My other hobbies include collecting erasers (over 900), writing short stories, and having fun with family and friends.

BEHIND [insight]

his issue marks the end of Insight’s second year as the University of Nevada, Reno’s FROM campus magazine and the end of THE my first semester as editor. I’m proud to say that both Insight and I will return next year. Any new publication is vulnerable to failure, and Insight surely has encountered more than ighttime is when I thrive. I’m sure many relate. It’s whenone I write, obstacle since its first issue in September Without our wonderful staff, advisers, when I study, when I live essentially. It’s full of oddities:2008. strange writers and photographers, we would have noises and even stranger people (myself included undoubtedly). For that, I’m endlessly grateful. The world becomes passionate at night. Music is louder,failed. arguments last issue is dedicated solely to the more intense. Friendships and love renew. Personalities emerge. CrimeOur rages. photos Darkness enables people to act unlike themselves. I would disagree thatthat help us remember this year. is how we pay homage to our roots, the alcohol is the constant at night. In fact, many of this issues’ stories Ithave nothArtemisia ing to do with alcohol. It does however fuel the activities, good and bad. You(Insight evolved from a yearbook to a magazine) haven’t seen the real dirt Reno has to offer until you’ve done a ride-along. “The by providing a forum for beautiful photos and the memories they bring. So Real ‘Reno 911’” gives us a glimpse of what a typical night with the Reno enjoy, po- and for those who aren’t graduating, look for another issue of Insight come September! lice department is like, however it would be naïve to believe that alcohol and CORRECTIONS: In “Beyond the Burning Times” from April 2010, Laura drugs don’t directly affect the character of our beloved city. Fitzpatrick was incorrectly identified as Laura Fitzgerald. For the most part, that life in handcuffs or behind bars does not define our In “Pack Profile: Charles Tshimanga-Kashama” from April 2010, Tshimangaexperience at the University. In fact, was it doesn’t despite the jokes andupon arriving in France. He was Kashama stated define as not Reno, being able to speak French negativisms. Reno has a lotable to offer in the way of art and community spirit. to speak French by the time he moved there from Africa. As students we remember Insight those infamous outfor and Magazine nights apologizes its about errors. with If you have found a mistake or misprint, please friends. Sometimes our friends make remarkably dumb decisions. contact the editor at Sometimes we’re making them. And for every good night there is an equal and opposite. Other people (bouncers, bar owners, police) have to regulate the inherent craziness, and they have their own idea of what the night is like in Reno. It’s different for us all.

2010 October | Insight | 5


Alyssa Cowan


ost contemporary female comedians thrive on jokes that put down women. Although local stand-up artist Alyssa Cowan, 22, is admittedly a self deprecating comedian, she strays away from the cheap laughs and embraces being a woman.


he only fun part about racial and sexist jokes is defeating the stereotypes,” says Cowan. “‘I’m a skank’ jokes are just lazy.” Reno’s local comedy scene is a tightknit group of people who want to see each other succeed. Cowan is one of the only females in the Reno comedy scene, but it doesn’t discourage her. “The only thing that sucks about being a female stand-up comedian is when people come up to me after a set and I’m thinking they are going to say how much they loved the show, but really, they just want to compliment my shoes,” says Cowan. Alyssa spends her days in school and working one of her two part time jobs, but spends her nights on stage doing what she does best—making people laugh. Her comedy concentrates on day-today life as she pushes the audience to see things from different perspectives, pulling humor out of any situation. “I think of a lot of jokes when I’m in my car,” says Cowan. “I guess that’s why I have a lot of car jokes.” Cowan prides herself on the intellect of her humor. She calls it an art form, and is constantly working on improving her craft. One of the places she enjoys testing material is at Java Jungle in down6 | Insight | October 2010

town Reno. “Typically it is a more intelligent clientele than a bar full of drunk people,” says Cowan. “If you can make them laugh, you’re golden.” Cowan fell in love with comedy while watching “Saturday Night Live” with her father, and Conan O’Brien with her sister. Growing up, though, Cowan actually hated stand-up. It was something she considered to be for middle-aged men in suit jackets making failed attempts at humor on stage for a few minutes. “I was never a fan of stand-up until I saw Dimitri Martin. He is so genius in his writing and has the most incredible delivery,” says Cowan. “He completely changed my perspective on stand-up.” Cowan draws her inspiration from Martin along with O’Brien and Daniel Tosh. She considers all of these college graduates to be brilliant people, which is something that she thinks is crucial for comedians. “Without education, comedians don’t have any content to draw from,” says Cowan. “It teaches you to look at the world differently in a way that people don’t think of. If you can surprise your audience and have your own flavor, that’s real comedy.” Cowan is a journalism and economics double major, and is completing her last semester at the University of

Nevada, Reno. The reason Cowan went into journalism is because of the networking opportunities, and getting her face out there. She interned in Los Angeles for a movie director, which gave her knowledge about public relations along with some great connections. As for economics, Cowan is intrigued by the subject. She appreciates the way that it forces you to look at things from different perspectives, something that contributes to her comedy. It also rounded her education by giving her a subject with more substance. “Journalism was teaching me to do stuff, not to know stuff, so I took on economics as a second major,” says Cowan. Although she takes school seriously, Cowan doesn’t have a plan for using her degrees after graduation. Because her true passion is comedy, her ultimate goal is to make consistent money from making people laugh. “I don’t want to make too much money doing a serious job or I’ll get too comfortable,” says Cowan. “I want to be able to pick up and go on a comedy tour at any moment.” Cowan does a weekly podcast, that can be found at Her other work can also be seen at 2010 October | Insight | 7

Downtown Debauchery WORDS BY KATIE GOODWIN PHOTO BY SEBASTIAN DIAZ Most bars voluntarily close before 4 a.m.


orlds collide in downtown Reno. For some, the district between I-80, California Avenue, Keystone Drive and Wells Avenue represents their livelihood. For others, it is their neighborhood. For students and other young people, downtown is the place to let loose, drink heavily and have a good time.


s downtown increasingly thrives, more patrons visit bars, nightclubs and casinos. A demand for safe, luxurious living increases and huge condominium towers rise. People get rowdy. During the year, the squeaky wheels started speaking up. Residents appeared before the Reno City Council with legitimate complaints of noise, loitering and general debauchery. Some spoke of sleeping with earplugs or being kept awake at all hours by loud music and yelling in the streets. One downtown bar, Imperial, was the source of complaints when it first opened in 2007 because the bar operators left windows open late into the night. Ryan Gold, a co-owner, says that can easily be fixed by closing the windows. Council members responded to the growing complaints and an increase in police incidents by creating the Downtown Alcohol Advisory Committee. The DAAC’s goal is to create solutions among the varied interested parties or residents, business owners, tourists and other downtown visitors. 8 | Insight | October 2010

One possible, yet undesired solution would be to impose a suspension on bars and nightclubs. Enforcement agencies would prohibit all alcohol activity (with the exception of casinorelated) during a specified period. Talk of such a moratorium is currently more of a last resort. Last November, former Reno Police Chief Michael Poehlman requested bar owners to voluntarily close doors between 4 and 6 a.m. Many bars obliged. Most shut down earlier, with last calls beginning around 2 a.m. Some, however, continue to exercise their right to remain open all hours. Downtown ordinances allow business to be conducted 24 hours a day. Largely, bar owners do not support a mandatory last call. Ryan Gold, one of Imperial’s owners says that it would only hurt businesses. “Legislation isn’t the answer,” says Mike Malody, co-owner of Amendment 21. David Silverman, a committee member of the DAAC and owner of Silver Peak Brewery, says that what the

DAAC plans to present as a solution to the city council will be a peer review board. The board will recommend to the city licensing department whether a business should have a liquor license or not. Board members will consist of a representation of all groups, much like the DAAC is at current. Silverman supports this solution. Multiple calls to the chair of the DAAC, Roberta Ross, were not returned for more information. Ross represents the residential interests of downtown and is the operator of Ross Manor. Not all downtown residents, particularly students, mind the hustle and bustle of the downtown corridor. Amber Ponder, a 22-year-old wildlife ecology major, who lives near the baseball stadium says that she hears and sees a lot of questionable acts, especially in such close proximity to the police station. “I kind of like it,” says Ponder. “I feel like ‘part of the town’.” Bar owners and some residents agree on a common sentiment: if you are bothered by the downtown nightlife—move. 2010 October | Insight | 9




knew this would be better than “Reno 911.” If nothing else, it would actually be taking place in Northern Nevada, and not parts of Oregon and Los Angeles. Palm trees in Reno… who do they think they are kidding? After years of watching these melodramatic actors make a mockery of Reno, and after finally moving here to experience the culture myself, I had to see if it was true. Not just for “Reno 911,” but for every bad cop show rife with bad action sequences and stupid criminals. Do cops really use that many one-liners, and are people really this ignorant? To determine the answer, I did what any curious crime-lover would do—I went on a ride along.


t’s a Friday night. I am sitting in the foyer of the Reno Police Department. I twiddle my thumbs. I sift through a newspaper and silently thank God that I am here of my own accord. After what feels like hours of waiting, I am introduced to Officer Erich Hulse, who I will be shadowing on my ride along. I reserve my impulse to make judgments. Good cop, bad cop? I’m not sure yet. He shakes my hand and informs me that I am his first ride along and that he usually drives alone. My anxiety reaches new levels, and all I can do is ask him to please keep me alive. He promises me that he will do his best. Officer Hulse explains the rules to me as he double-checks my identification and clears my paperwork. Stay in the car unless I am told it is safe to get 10 | Insight | October 2010

out. Always wear my seatbelt. Don’t speak to suspects. Do as Officer Hulse says, not as he does. I smile at this one. The barometer ticks closer to good cop. Finally, we head out to the car. As I strap on my seatbelt and admire the dozens of bells and whistles, I silently pat myself on the back; my first time in a cop car is neither in handcuffs or in the backseat. In contrast, I feel like quite the badass, riding shotgun to an officer with a badge on my chest (even if it was a visitor badge, it was still cool). We pull out of the station and he lets dispatch know we are available for calls. It’s time to fight crime.

10:30 p.m.

Our drive begins on South Wells where there doesn’t appear to be many cars on the road. While I expect to pull into a dark

corner where we can easily catch heavy-footed drivers, Officer Hulse opts to drive around in plain view, as if the lawbreakers will unquestionably find him. He is not mistaken. We spot a car driving without headlights in moments. We flip on our lights and make a U-turn to stop the vehicle. Much to our surprise, the driver makes an immediate stop in the far left lane. Though I am amused, it becomes apparent that Officer Hulse is not. He quickly explains that driving without headlights is often the sign of a drunk driver, and that stopping in the left lane is a sign of blatant misconduct. He tells me to stay in the car as he goes to talk to the driver, and I immediately become aware of the constant state of danger a police officer is in. This driver could be drunk, angry or a serial killer,

and it’s an officer’s job to confront him. I watch as Officer Hulse walks back to the car and motions to the right side of the road again. The car pulls over (now in the correct lane) and we follow as I silently cheer for safety. This time I am allowed to exit the car, but can only exit around the back, “In case the driver is dangerous and tries to back up into you,” says Officer Hulse. Frightened, I scurry around the back and hide behind the officer as he checks for license and registration. He also does a sweep of the car with his flashlight, and ever so discreetly, leans in (to check for the smell of alcohol) and searches for bloodshot eyes. We retreat to the back of the car where he checks the plate number and identification of the vehicle. No warrants, seemingly no trouble. Just an older gentleman who thought his headlights were already turned on.

10:43 p.m. We are driving downtown, looking for a call to take and listening to the police scanner. Another officer reports a traffic stop nearby and soon reports the vehicle is not

pulling over. The officer begins to give a vehicle description, and as we wait at a traffic light, we watch the officer and car pass through the intersection, sirens blaring. The car does not appear to be stopping. We are now in pursuit of the vehicle as well, along with two downtown bicycle cops. The first pursuing officer commentates over the scanner, “The driver is heading west and is clocking in at three miles per hour.” Despite this driver’s sheer misconduct, there is gut-wrenching laughter. The pursuit continues for another minute or so as more officers join the parade, and I wonder whether this man is honestly attempting to evade the cops, or is the stupidest person on earth. Eventually he pulls over and is ordered out of the vehicle. Six police units surround his vehicle; many have it at gunpoint. The driver emerges, hands in the air, and I realize that every bit of this is real. In an apologetic attempt, the driver explains, “I was trying to find a place to pull over.” He is quickly handcuffed and breathalyzed at twice the legal limit. As the formalities are taken care of, I

speak with another officer on the scene. I explain the two situations I’ve seen so far and he smiles. “You’ll get better calls as it gets later,” he says. Better? Something about the excitement in his voice scares me. We drive away with one less drunk driver on the road.

11:11 p.m. We receive a call for a runaway juvenile. We are asked to report to the home and speak with the child’s mother. Officer Hulse explains that most runaway calls are usually a combination of false alarms and strict parenting. Most are just children who don’t call home for a few hours, or go out with friends, ignoring curfews and rules. Despite this, we head to the apartment complex to speak to the child’s mother. Upon arrival, we find that he is once again right on target. The mother explains that her son violated his house arrest, but knows exactly where he is. The only reason she called was because her son’s parole officer required he be reported as a runaway. After a few phone calls, we are on our way again. 2010 October | Insight | 11

receives a call that he seems reluctant to take. 1032 means the suspect is armed, he explains. He weighs the idea of taking me on the call, and I silently pray he remembers his promise to keep me alive. We head in the direction of the call as we read the report from dispatch. A 12-year-old boy reported seeing a man with a gun in an apartment complex. Although he hadn’t made any threats or done any damage, the behavior is suspicious. We, along with one other police unit, circle the area first looking for the gun-wielder, and then a described vehicle that he was in. The area proves to be both empty and silent.

12:12 a.m. A woman is requesting that we search a building she is

working in, which she believes may have been broken into. Once we arrive, she explains that someone has been calling 911 from the first floor of the building. However, everyone working in her office is upstairs and accounted for. The building is locked and secured, but the calls are still being made. The woman also explains a possible suspect, someone that has been bothering her and her family for the past three years. With no other information, we head into the building and begin searching. Watching Officer Hulse, gun drawn and cautiously entering rooms, I become aware of the situation’s vulnerability. I curse that I don’t have a bulletproof vest. I am frustrated that the only thing I am armed with is a set of keys, which doesn’t really compete with a handgun.

Each room is checked at gunpoint as I make an effort to stay as close to the wall, and out of window’s sight, as possible. It is only in situations like these that you can become truly aware of the risk that our officers face daily. With a gun drawn is sometimes the only way to face a situation. Any traffic stop, search, burglary or confrontation can become fatal. I become fully aware of this as we continue to search the building. We eventually hit every room, but find no one. There is little we can do at this point except search the surrounding area. As we drive around running plate numbers and waiting for another call, we talk about police jurisdiction and the rules officers abide by. We discuss a few of the cases that night that we showed up too late for. The trouble is, there is a fine line between committing a crime and suspicious behavior. A man walking around with a gun in public is perfectly legal (assuming he has a permit), but the moment that gun is fired, it becomes a crime. A man calling or coming to the work place of a woman isn’t illegal, but when it becomes incessant and unwanted, it becomes a crime. The trouble is, how do you stop one potentially dangerous act from turning into a crime? It’s difficult.

1:26 a.m. We make another traffic stop. The driver has a taillight out and is extremely compliant. As I make my way around the back of our car (making a conscious effort to not be run over), Officer Hulse tells me to always stand behind the window when addressing a driver. If he were to pull a gun, we would be much harder to shoot at that angle. I keep that in mind and stand much further back than necessary. On the inside, I think he is laughing at me. We run identification and plate numbers to find nothing. We issue the man a warning and head on our way. We drive around making more traffic stops, and waiting for a call as Officer Hulse begins to explain why 12 | Insight | October 2010

computers into dumpsters and then he didn’t ticket the last driver. While I removing them late at night for personal haven’t said anything aloud, my confuuse. One of these burglaries is underway sion must be apparent. We’ve issued a at the moment. Unfortunately for us, the fair amount of warnings this evening, burglary is taking place in Stead, and we but few citations. I wonder where the are in north Reno. For the first time that ticket-giving Nazi street cops are hiding evening, we really get to tonight, because fly. The lights flash, the “It is our job to search the I don’t feel as blare, and we are if I’ve encounsurrounding area. Suspect sirens flying North on 395. My tered any. He ears touched. description: a white male explains that After making it there cops aren’t out wearing boxer shorts.” in what could only be to make society described as record time, miserable. He we meet with another explains that unit to search the area. he was a teenager What I didn’t realize once, he got tickets once, and he doesn’t was that searching for dumpster burglars cite people for fun. I ask if cops have a requires (you guessed it) searching IN ticket quota to fill. He laughs and says dumpsters. So ‘round the building we no. I sense a good cop speech coming go, searching the perimeter as I watch on, but again resist my urge to label the the two other officers climb in and out situation as such. Everything he says of dumpsters. We unfortunately did not is real, and honest. True to his word, find any burglars or computers. Back to he only cited people who seemed to be the car, feeling mucky. purposely and recklessly endangering 2:30 a.m. Another burglary is everyone else. Minor mistakes happen reported just outside of downtown Reno to everyone. at a prominent local business. I’d love to 1:50 a.m. A business reports that say who, I really would, but in this case two of their employees appear to be steal- my hands are tied (or maybe more appropriately, cuffed). This call sounds major. ing computers from its office. The report Units from around the area are flying to reads that employees are tossing “broken”


11:40 p.m. Officer Hulse

the burglary and though frightened, I am anticipating another building search. The scanner announces that someone heard glass breaking in the area, and the suspect likely entered through a window. By the time we get to the scene, an investigation is underway and the suspect is cited. It is our job to circle the surrounding area. Suspect description: a white male wearing boxer shorts. Officer Hulse and I go silent for a moment, before bursting into laughter once again. During the remaining two hours on the road, we visit a few loud parties (though I, unfortunately, did not see any of my classmates), report to two family disturbances and arrive at the scene of a stabbing. At each stop, I watch as the Reno Police officers work quickly and efficiently to maintain the safety of the area. I listen to Reno’s finest making outlandish statements and acting out in outrageous behavior. I exit the police car for the final time, smiling because Officer Hulse has kept me alive for the evening. After my six hour expedition, I decide that he is in fact a good cop. And as I remember the boxer-wearing burglar, I note that “Reno 911” should take some tips from these cops. The real Reno 911 is much more entertaining.

2010 October | Insight | 13



MIKE NEILSON is the lead usher at the Knitting Factory 14 | Insight | October 2010

he Knitting Factory’s operations manager, Cisco Flores, greets me at the front of the club around 6:00 p.m. on a Friday night, as local metal band Haf~Ded is doing a sound check. He takes his lead event usher, Mike Neilson, and I downstairs to a tucked away room full of stacked metal chairs. It’s only about an hour into their shift, and the two seem relatively relaxed about the long night ahead. I ask them if a metal band’s riotous audience was a cause for concern, or meant they had to work extra hard that night. The two men shrug and shake their heads, exuding their primed-for-anything attitude. Flores explains Haf~Ded has performed at the venue before and the show was no more hard to manage than any other rock show taking place during the week. “Pretty much everyone’s well-behaved,” Flores says. “Locals know us. Everyone’s welcome to come back and play.” Flores worked in this business in Los Angeles before coming to Reno. Since the club circuit keeps in touch, club managers will often send out warnings to other venues about problems with a particular act, as a heads up for what they may have to deal with. Since Flores has done this job for six years, acts and crews will remember him, and some members have even worked for him. He says the Knitting Factory’s been met with little hardship, even with those supposed troublemakers emails have alerted them about. “They’re regular people just like us,” Flores says. “Just because they have their hair up, or piercings or whatever, they’re

regular people. They’re nice. You meet a lot of interesting people doing this kind of work.” While working a Blind Boys of Alabama show in Los Angeles, Flores recalls meeting, whom he considers, the most interesting person he has ever met. “I got a phone call from a bodyguard (saying) ‘I got Prince in the car’,” Flores says. Along with chatting with Prince and getting him a long island iced tea, Flores witnessed Prince do a surprise performance of three songs during the show. “Artists are friends with other artists,” Flores says. “They’ll come up and won’t say anything (beforehand).” Neilson agrees that he’s had some enjoyable times with some of the acts who have performed in Reno. “Snoop Dogg was pretty cool to me,” Neilson says. “He was very welcoming and friendly.” Of course, operations in a concert venue aren’t all about meet and greets with bigname artists. “You deal with a lot of drunk people and mad people all in one venue,” Flores says. “In a busy show, you’re gonna have people who are gonna be upset.” Flores says merely talking to those who have had too much to drink and listening to what they have to say can make a substantial difference in their behavior. “You tell them to breathe, ask ‘What’s the issue? What’s the problem?’ Basically, you just listen. You gotta be able to listen, keep your cool, and learn how to deal with their probcisco flores is the lems without going into physical confrontaoperations manager at tion.” the Knitting Factory. Neilson agrees that listening to intoxicated or upset concertgoers usually proves to be the best solution. “Drunk people are usually pretty simple,” “Some places have cops at the door, but we have a really good Neilson says. “They’re usually just upset (rather) than have a lot relationship with Reno PD,” Flores says. “We really enforce of real issues.” underage drinking and we haven’t had any issues.” Neilson goes on to explain that, in the nine months the Flores repeats this statement about not having any issues Knitting Factory has been open, the employees at the club have throughout the interview and that sentiment is shared by established a rapport with the patrons. People who regularly at- Nielson. Towards the end of the interview, a member of the tend the Knitting Factory have been there 10 or 20 times now. Haf~Ded party asks Flores if they can eat. I look out to see a “Even the people you’ve had problems with, you’ve seen them full buffet of hot, delicious-looking food and a line of band before. It’s (eventually) not a problem because you have a good members, crew members, family and friends with plates waitrelationship with people. ing hungrily. Flores gives them the go-ahead, proving that if an Flores adds having solid relationships with other entities in the act behaves and keeps people coming, they’ll get treated very city in addition to patrons can ease operations within the venue. well by Flores and his crew. 2010 October | Insight | 15

words by VICKI TAM Photos by Courtney Spangler illustration by chelsea houston


y seven o’clock, darkness falls upon the city of Reno. The night is still quite young. Local talents are just beginning to peak up from the hidden parts of town. It’s an art scene at night.


young poet takes on performing her own poems on stage after meeting a teacher who posted flyers about Poetry Out Loud. A feminist poet is hoping to get her poems published in a book to hand out at shows. A two-guitarist band is first recognized for their sport careers before the city started to recognize their harmony together. An artist started out getting in trouble at school for his art, but now, his art is featured inside a popular coffee house. Performing artists in music and spoken word go through the day as normal people doing typical activities like going to school and putting in hours at their jobs. But, by night, they bring their talents to the stage where they share their original songs and poems as well as covers and memorized 16 | Insight | October 2010

verses. These types of art events give many poets, artists, and musicians a chance to make a name for themselves by performing for an audience. “It’s talented down here,” a dedicated open mic fan Chelsea Showalter says. “It’s very diverse. It’s fun and really outgoing. It really has a sense of what Reno has to offer.” Spoken word is meant to be heard: Vulnerability, Slams & Excitement A poem about rape is Emily Orellana’s favorite of the one’s she has written. It was a real life experience that happened to her, but she’s not ashamed to share it. “Everything that people don’t want to talk about I feel it’s the perfect setting,” says the 17-year-old. “The more personal something is the more

I like it. It makes it more vulnerable. It’s one thing that everyone is silent about. It’s something to be able to write about that and be applauded for it; it’s really special.” Orellana is one of the poets in Spoken Views’ collective. She started writing poetry in middle school during an English class, but when she met her mentor Jeremy Pantoja (known as Pan) in high school, she found her calling in poetry. Pan showed Orellana Poetry Out Loud for high school students when she was 15, and from there, he introduced her to Spoken Views. “It was after I started getting involved with Poetry Out Loud that I decided that it’s something I really like to do, and I want to write my own poetry,” Orellana says. “The first [time]

after I performed with them, I consistently started coming out every month. It started to become the normal thing for me to do.” Orellana has been involved in Poetry Out Loud for the last two years, representing Nevada in the national competition. The second time she competed, she made it into the top nine state competitors. “Never stop creating,” she advises other poets. “Share your poetry and don’t keep it in a book.” One of Orellana’s biggest dreams is to be a part of Write Bloody Publishing, which is a poetry publishing company that tours around. A few Write Bloody members come to the University of Nevada, Reno during the year. “Your mind will be blown,” she says. “If you didn’t like spoken word before you’ll definitely like them.” Spoken Views originated in 2006 as a spoken word open mic event for poets to share their pieces on stage. Founders Iain Watson and Tony Walker got together with other passionate poets to put together Spoken Views and its collective. “The reason we created it [is] because there’s a lack of presence in poetry at open mics,” Walker says. “Basically, you know, that people deserve the chance to speak their views like get heard… I mean, a lot of times, when you really get into what you’re reading and people are passionate about what they’re reading, it’s almost like theatre.” Spoken Views has their readings at 8 p.m. on every third Wednesday of the month in the West Street Market. They ask


for a three dollar “Basically, you know, that people deserve fee from audience the chance to speak their views like get members. The money supports heard… I mean, a lot of times, when you their event and really get into what you’re reading and helps promotion. people are passionate about what they’re “It’s a free expression; it’s the freest reading, it’s almost like theatre.” expression you can get,” Watson says. “It’s very satisfying. You put time into first day of a new high school or being it. You perform it. People respond to it. dumped by a boy – just little things People give positive feedback. You take that kind of help me vent a little bit,” something from it. Writing is a reflec- Garcia says. “I’ve gotten a lot of people that say that they relate to what I’ve tion of yourself. It’s like a journal.” Spoken Views strives for a welcoming been though.” Her “fat poem” was written as a form and community-based event for all ages and talents. The collective also reaches of retaliation to the stranger in a passing out and work with poets from other car. Instead of becoming angry about towns and states on a regular basis, add- the situation, she found it hilarious. “Even being like a chubby kid in ing to their ever-expanding “group of high school, I’ve never gotten made collaborators.” fun of – never to my face anyways,” A stranger in a passing car called Garcia says. “And so, I’m out of high Elisa Garcia “fat.” Her lover said she school, and someone just shouted that was too young to understand, at six at me. I’m going to talk back to them years apart in age. Both of these life events became a good source of inspira- so it’s about that, but it’s also about being able to accept yourself for who tion for her poetry. you are.” “I tend to write poetry about realHer first poem was called “Hello Old life experiences whether it be like the

2010 October | Insight | 17

Man.” It was about a 25-year-old lover who told a then 19-year-old Garcia that she was too young and she didn’t understand. “So I kind of made fun of him a little bit,” she says about her poem. “It really [is] just a humorous piece....” Having written many poems that girls can relate to, Garcia said she’s been called a feminist poet.“I think it’s because it’s a great way for me to express my feelings towards anything, as cliché as it sounds. It helps me sort of cope with things,” she says. “Say, I can’t handle a breakup and I’m really 18 | Insight | October 2010

upset over it. Then if I write something about it, it kind of adds closure for me. I like to talk about things that sometimes, people are afraid to talk about.” One poem that is among her favorite is a team piece she co-wrote with Orellana for Speak Your Mind, a hip-hop event. It is a piece about self-image among girls. “We don’t have a title for it at all, but it was a piece about, again, image: how being a girl we shouldn’t have to worry so much about hair and makeup and whether we are a certain size just

to please a man,” Garcia says. “[It was] set on a persona [of ] a girl who worries about [how] her boyfriend’s going to leave her because she doesn’t look good enough for him. Her jeans aren’t fitting well, and you’re supposed to be perfect and beautiful for him all the time. We’re trying to get it out there that, as long as you’re comfortable with yourself, you don’t have to fall into all the different fads.” At first, Garcia admitted she didn’t like poetry, but when she went to her first slam poetry competition, she realized that poetry isn’t restricted to certain structures and rhymes. “When you write poetry, you have your own rules,” Garcia says. “You don’t have to follow rhymes. You don’t have to do a certain style. You don’t have to write about a subject that your teacher assigned you. You have all this freedom with it. It’s kind of like having a secret and sharing it with everyone.” Garcia is in the process of putting together a poetry book to sell at her shows. She believes this will be worth it despite how much it may cost her. “I’m so thankful to be a part of a poetry collective that’s well-known as Spoken Views in Reno and the people in it has become really good friends and some of them are even like family,” she says. She advises new poets to allow the audience into their head and to be honest in their poetry. “Allow yourself to be vulnerable because after you let people in your head a little bit, you can write about anything, and don’t be afraid to read at an open mic. Even if it’s awful like the first time, I read my poetry,” Garcia laughs. “It’s a great experience and you’ll grow from performing in front of a crowd.” Entering the jungle of artistic talent: Open mics and featured art Their band name started out an “easy and simple” name to remember, but a text message typo made the name unique compared to all the other Makeshift bands found online. Maekshift, a two-woman band per-

forms songs in an acoustic style, adding in anything they can to enhance their original pieces. Maekshift has written a total of 11 original songs. “I can’t really pinpoint an actual style that we have because we change everything we do so much,” Gina Bianchi, 18, says. “Once you get a little taste of it, you don’t want it to end.” Sara Lancaster, 17, adds that performing allows them to have complete control over their work and expand their sound. “We like to do covers that people won’t expect to think we could play on the acoustic guitar. We don’t like to limit ourselves.” With five-years of guitar experience and no singing lessons, both Bianchi and Lancaster of Maekshift are getting known for their harmony singing and guitar playing at open mics such as at Java Jungle’s. “It’s weird because our talking voices are different...a lot of people, when we sing, they can’t tell who is who,” Bianchi says. “It’s just kind of cool how that worked out.” Both girls started out being recognized by publications for their sports careers: Bianchi for basketball and Lancaster for basketball and soccer. Now, they are getting known for their music in the mere six months they have been singing together. “We don’t like playing by ourselves very much at all,” Lancaster says. “We’re much more comfortable with each other. … I can’t see myself [playing by myself ]. It’s like a missing piece.” Although Bianchi is going to college near Portland, Oregon, their music will not stop. Instead, they feel like it will only broaden their music. “Even though it’s kind of hard for us right now because, I mean, everything is just getting started for us, but we’re kind of looking at it as an opportunity to expand our musical progress,” Bianchi says. “You’ll never know, we could be in the right place at the right time, and it’s kind of increasing our odds of more people hearing us.

We’re kind of looking at it as more of a positive thing than negative.” Bianchi and Lancaster appreciate all the support and believe it really helps motivate them as a band to keep doing what they love. “Never give up,” Bianchi advises other artists. “Hopefully, you won’t ever have to go through any negative comments, but if that happens, it happens. Just ignore it and do what you love because the odds are that someone you meet will love it too and that’s all that matters.” Juan Bonilla’s paintings are featured on the walls inside local coffee shop Java Jungle on medium and large canvases. Bonilla is a local artist who mixes media graffiti with different art designs, such as architectural techniques. “Growing up in Los Angeles, I was brought up around graffiti,” Bonilla, 26, says. “I got in trouble for [doing graffiti in school] and [it] evolved from that. It’s pretty much what my life revolves around: doing art.” Java Jungle hosts open mics every Monday at 7 p.m. and sign-ups are at 6:30 p.m. This event is free. These open mics started before both open mic coordinators Artie Richmond and Eric Bowen came to the Jungle. “I just feel that it’s a place where you can be yourself and do what you love no matter what it is,” Bowen says. “Another good thing about this open mic is [it’s] a great place for networking like musically and poetically. I mean, this is where a lot of local talent comes from. It starts here. It’s an opportunity to get to know the community and people you’ve never met.” Open mics at Java Jungle aren’t restricted to just music or just poetry. Inside the coffee house, there is featured art from local artists every month on the first Thursday. “Through the open mic, you realize how much talent there is in Reno. It’s just all of us in our collective of inspiration in Reno, Nevada,” Richmond says. “I definitely want to say that it’s so important to the commu-

nity to support local art, support local business, support local music, local comedy, local plays, and local whatever. That’s what we do and we hope that people come out to support that.” On Sundays, the Jungle also has a schedule of performing bands at 8 p.m. in which musicians have to contact Java Jungle to book a spot. All types of music are welcomed. “I always encourage [beginning performers] because that’s where the torch keeps going; it just goes from there,” Bowen says. “We inspire them so much to where they want to come share their stuff - what they felt inside because poetry is more than just words on pieces of paper; it’s a feeling. It’s something that we believe in. It’s an emotion. It is all that wrapped up in one, and it’s the inspiration that comes from it that inspires other people. And that’s the beauty of it. No matter if you’re just starting out or if you’ve been here for awhile, you can still get inspired. The inspiration never stops.” For more information on Spoken Views, visit the collective’s Facebook page: Spoken Views Reno or contact them at For more information on Write Bloody Publishing, visit their Facebook page: Write Bloody Publishing. For more information about Java Jungle’s open mics and featured art, call 775-329-4484. To contact Maekshift, look for their Facebook page: Maekshift or To contact, Juan Bonilla, email him at

Be sure to tune in to “Inside Insight” on October 6 at, 1700 AM to listen to some inspiring readings by local artists.

2010 October | Insight | 19



20 | Insight | October 2010


t’s red, it’s thick and it’s got a lot of stuff in it. It’s a Bloody Mary, an iconic alcoholic beverage that has the power to bring back a ghost if you say its name three times in front of a mirror. It also happens to be one of my favorite cocktails.

nyone can twist off the cap of a Corona or pop the tab on a Pabst, but not everyone can make a good Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary came into existence after American bartender Fernand Petiot decided to “spice” up a drink mix of tomato juice and vodka in 1934, according to In a stroke of genius, Petiot added pepper (black and cayenne), Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce and lemon juice, and New Yorkers at the King Cole Bar in the St. Regis loved it. The name of the drink is said to be inspired by the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago and a frequent patron named Mary, but it’s also been attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots, who ruthlessly killed her dissenters, and Mary Pickford, Petiot’s favorite Hollywood actress. As long as

it tastes good, I could care less about which Mary is behind my drinking choice. Taking up a personal quest for the greater good, I decided to find the best Bloody Mary in downtown Reno. Armed with my ID, my pen and paper, and friends willing to split the costs of all these drinks, I headed out on my mission. Like most of you, if I want to go out, I head downtown, so I chose ten bars in this vicinity to take part in my challenge. I judged each cocktail based on price, preparation, garnishes, spice and taste, with taste being the major deciding factor. Here, dear readers, are the worst-to-best rankings of my own personal Bloody Mary bar crawl. 2010 October | Insight | 21

#10: Imperial Bar & Lounge 150 N. Arlington Ave. - Price: $6

Imperial’s Bloody Mary has a funky sort of aftertaste to it. I couldn’t tell if it was something about the tomato juice they used, or maybe too much Worcestershire sauce, but I was not a fan. There were bits of garlic in the drink, and it was garnished nicely, but would I come back here for another Bloody Mary? No. Plus, service was really slow and not very friendly. “I love Bloody Marys for the spice, and there’s something to say about getting food in your beverage,” UNR graduate student Nonie Wainwright, 25, said. It’s a good thing she was drinking water here instead of their Bloody Mary.

#9: The Nugget

233 N. Virginia St. - Price: $3 The Nugget made my list of candidates because they advertise having a great Bloody Mary, but it was a letdown. The taste wasn’t bad, but it was different - a little sweeter than any Bloody Mary I’ve had before. There weren’t any garnishes with the drink, and it wasn’t made from a bunch of separate ingredients either. The only real saving grace of it is the price.

#8: Waterfall

134 West 2nd St. - Price: $7 This Bloody Mary has some green olives and a lemon slice as a garnish, and I love green olives. It has a peppery tomato flavor, but it wasn’t very spicy. It wasn’t too thick or too watery, either, which is always good. Waterfall’s drink was fine in general, but it’s expensive for not being more impressive. I’d order something else here.

#7: Biggest Little City Club 188 California Ave. - Price: $5

Like The Nugget, the Biggest Little City Club also advertises its Bloody Mary. Unlike The Nugget, their Bloody Mary was good. Garnished nicely, it had a perfect spice mix but was a little too peppery. It’s still an affordable choice for a good Bloody Mary, though.

#6: The Wal (Little Waldorf Saloon) 1661 N. Virginia St. - Price: $3

Giant green olives, lemon and lime slices and pickled green beans were all featured in The Wal’s Bloody Mary, and giving me lots to snack on makes me a happy camper. Guinness was a notso-secret ingredient to their cocktail, bartender Brooks Westergard told me, and it complemented the tomato juice nicely. “It takes somebody who likes a good Bloody Mary to make a good Bloody Mary,” Westergard, 21, said. 22 | Insight | October 2010

#1: Ole Bridge Pub

The Wal also has a lot of price specials for the Bloody Mary, which helps a student budget a lot. During happy hours and on Saturday and Sunday mornings, their Bloody Maries are only $1.99!

50 N. Sierra St. - Unit 5 - Price: $6

#5: St. James Infirmary

445 California Ave. - Price: $7 Preparation is what makes the St. James Bloody Mary good. The bartender took his time making the drink just right and that came through in the flavor. It had a good kick to it which left my tongue tingling, but it wasn’t overpowering. The tomato juice was tangy, too, but it mellowed nicely with the pepper. On Sundays, they make their Bloody Maries with bacon in them, too. Bonus points for that, ‘cause I bet it tastes amazing.

#4: Amendment 21 Grill & Sports Bar 425 S. Virginia St. - Price: $5

Amendment 21 makes a refreshingly tangy Bloody Mary. It’s got a good thickness to it and isn’t too spicy or peppery. It kind of tastes like cocktail sauce, and while that might sound gross to some, it’s actually really good as a vodka drink. Green olive garnishes only made it better. This Bloody Mary is a solid choice for a relatively good price, too.

#3: Chapel Tavern

1495 S. Virginia St. - Price: $6 Chapel is relatively far from UNR if you are walking, but this was the bar EVERYONE told me to go to for the best Bloody Mary. I’m glad I did. “Anybody can pour some vodka and tomato juice - it’s what you put in it,” says Chapel bartender Joe Bellanger, 25. He stuck to that idea. His Bloody Mary had olives, onions, green beans, pickled radishes and carrots and a pepperoncini pepper in it, and it tasted great. It had a nice smoky flavor and they make their own horseradish-infused vodka, which adds a nice depth to the drink.

#2: Arroyo Mexican Grill (Freight House District) 250 Evans Ave. - Price: $6

Now, Arroyo is more of a restaurant than a bar, but I was told that Arroyo made the best Bloody Mary in the Freight House District, so off I went. Wonderfully garnished and made from scratch with a bunch of ingredients, this Bloody Mary reached second place because of its fresh lemon juice flavor and a dash of sweet and sour. It’s got a spicy kick, but all of the separate flavors still come through. I even woke up the next day still thinking about it. It’s that good.


le Bridge Pub pulled an upset. Chapel and Arroyo were tied for first place before I got to this Bloody Mary. That should tell you how good Ole Bridge Pub’s cocktail is (and how good Chapel and Arroyo’s are, too). It’s definitely got a spicy kick from the use of straight horseradish, but it lingers for the perfect amount of time to not overpower your taste buds. Like The Wal, Guinness gets poured in, too, but not as much. The taste is cool and refreshing, and I wrote in my notes (yes, I took notes) that Ole Bridge Pub’s Bloody Mary was “simple and bomb.” After nine Bloody Marys, it takes a lot to get excited about their taste again, and Ole Bridge Pub conquered that feat hands down. “Love makes a good Bloody Mary, and passion for what you are making,” Ole Bridge Pub bartender Ed Griggs, 29, said That love earned him and his bar first place. So, that’s it, folks. For the best Bloody Mary in downtown Reno, I would go back to Ole Bridge Pub. However, Chapel bartender Bellanger made a good point - “A Bloody Mary is as good as the bartender, not the bar.” Once you find your favorite spot for a Bloody Mary, make sure you find out who made it, and never let them go.

Visit us online to find out how to get some of the best Bloody Mary’s around. 2010 October | Insight | 23



t’s hard to miss the impossibly blue “open” sign beaming from the El Cortez Hotel. It pierces through the night, grabbing the attention of boozy socialites. Above the gathering crowd, the white noise of a sign reading “Pie-Face” hums. Outside, the crowd buzzes.

Inside, the music drowns out the hubThe occasional troublemaker is inevitable; bub. Johnny Cash plays as a tattered couple however it has proven to be the exception, maneuver a shopping cart through the tables not the rule. to sit down. “There’s definitely a different vibe between “We get the pregamers and the endgam- the night and day,” Pie Face customer Peter ers,” Pie Face employee Jason Kell says. Whitehead says. “Both have been consis“The late night tends to bring out the late tently good times.” night crowd.” From the Victorian flair of the ceilOpening an around-the-clock business ing to the vintage posters on the wall, can have its perks, as well as its drawbacks. the effort put into remodeling is obviIn the daytime, customers mosey. As ous. This diligence is mirrored in Sell’s daylight wanes, they work ethic. In fact, it’s rare “The whole stagger. Inhibitions you ever see him sit down. diluted, those same Even as he’s eating, he’s manpoint of the patrons from earlier ning the cash register and menu is to tie going over payroll. now have the potential to turn a tame situa“The harder you work, the back in to the tion dicey. more you’re rewarded,” Sell community,” The daytime crowd says with a mouth full of pizza. typically offers a more The same can be said of cohushed atmosphere than its nighttime coun- owners Goldhammer and Trevor Leppek. terpart. It’s also a more of an intimate experi- When they’re not hustling about the pizzeence, while the nighttime is more a collective ria, they’re running errands and finding new experience—fueled by the pizzeria’s layout. ways to ensure the longevity of Pie Face. “There are no booth dividers,” Pie Face “The whole point of the menu is to co-owner Ryan Goldhammer says. “It’s retie back in to the community,” Goldally set up for a group experience.” hammer says. As the night progresses, booze also beSpecials like “The Fritz” and “The Beercomes a more prominent part of the picture. can” are evidence of this. Both are tributes— Liquid courage, however, has yet to be the the former to a bygone bar, the latter to a cause of any confrontations. So far, the closlocal punk rock band. est mishap came about when one half-baked “[The Beercan Special] is a homage to “endgamer” decided to spark up a joint. friends and cheap “The guy was talking to himself when beer,” Goldhammer I told him he wasn’t allowed to smoke in says. It includes a here,” Pie Face co-owner Robbie Sell says. slice of cheese pizza The man responded by throwing his arms and a Keystone up and asking a series of question: “I can’t Light for $4. smoke a joint?” “What are you, a cop?” “You “It was a muknow karate?” tual collaboration,” The only thing going through Sell’s Beercan drummer mind at this point was, “Am I really gonna Jamie Locks says. have to tackle this guy?” Luckily, as Sell “Our guitar player closed the distance between the two, the Riff helped remodel man turned tail. Pie Face.” “Because of our location, we’re bound to The term “pie have some street walkers,” Sell says. face” has many


Pie Face Pizza Co. 239 W. 2nd Street 775-622-9222 Hours Open Mon-Tues: 11 a.m. - 12 a.m. Wed: 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Thursday: 11 a.m. - 4 a.m. Fri - Sat: 11 a.m. - 6 a.m. Sunday: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 24 | Insight | October 2010

definitions. The two that apply to Pie Face refer to food and beer. “It’s an old school term for being hammered,” Sell says. “But it also means getting pie in your face.” However, quality is not lost on this double entendre. “If there’s a pizza that we aren’t proud of, we’d rather throw it away than serve it,” Goldhammer says. This policy also transcends to beer. Apart from hand picking their beer and wine list, a self-titled pilsner is in the works. “[Pie Face Pilsner] will be light, snappy and crisp.” Goldhammer says. “It’s a beer that aims to compliment our pizza.” Pie Face Pilsner will be locally brewed by Knee Deep Brewing Company. “We originally came to them with a pilsner recipe and they loved it,” Knee Deep Brewing co-owner Prashnt Patel says. “From there we just tweaked the recipe—experimenting with things like mustard oils and paprika spices—to make it more unique.” Sell, Goldhammer and Leppek have arranged all the makings for a successful venture. For them, it makes no difference whether it’s the sun or the moon illuminating the entrance. The plan is clear: shoot for the stars. “You set your own limits,” Sell says. “And we have none.”

2010 October | Insight | 25


ake a stroll down Virginia Street one evening and you’ll see a singular sight. The Reno strip, ablaze in its full glory: flashing lights, glowing neon signs, and illuminated placards telling customers where the loosest slots, best payouts, and most scantily-clad cocktail waitresses can be found. The question remains, can you beat the odds?

26 | Insight | October 2010

words by C.W. WILKINSON Photos by MIKE GJURICH

out replacing the first card, the events are dependant: removing the first card from the deck makes it impossible to draw the same card again. Independent events have no affect on one another. Flipping a coin is an independent event. Mathematically, out ahead. a coin is just as likely to land on heads Gambling at any casino is not a as tails, regardless of how it landed last way to consistent way to make money, time. If you flip a coin 100 times, it is Mike Lawton, Senior Research Specialjust as likely to land on heads after the ist with the Nevada Gaming Commisfirst flip as after the ninety-ninth flip, sion says. The odds of every game in a even if the first 99 flips have all been casino are stacked against the player. heads. Casinos are just like any other busiHowever, such an occurrence is unness, doing their best to make money, likely, Colin Kupitz, a 21-year-old tuLawton says. He recommends that tor at the University of Nevada, Reno people think of a casino like a store, Math Center, says. where the product for sale is entertain“If you take enough trials, [the rement. sult] starts approaching the theoretical “You don’t go to a store hoping to probability,” Kupitz says. make money, you go to a store looking Kupitz says around 100 trials are to buy something,” he says. enough to make results nearly equal When a person goes to a store hopthe theoretical probability, but “it’s ing to buy something, he pays a markalmost never going to be perfect.” up, a price over the cost of the item Casinos use the expected value of a in question. In the same way, casinos game to calculate the odds of winning charge a mark-up for gambling in the money while playing it. The expected form of a house advantage. value is what an average player can Odds are, basically, “just a markup expect to win or lose while playing any on entertainment [the casinos are] given game. Because trying to provide you,” In the long run, the the expected value is an Lawton says. average, the result may The best way to uncasino always comes not be an amount which derstand how to come is possible to win from out ahead. out ahead is to begin the game. with a basic under“The expected value standing of the laws accounts for all the losses of probability or the and wins together and likelihood of any event averages them out based occurring. It is usually expressed as a on their probabilities,” Kupitz says. percent or a fraction, which is found When gambling, it is important to by dividing the number of favorable keep in mind the long-term nature of outcomes by the possible outcomes. probability. While any individual may Probability relies heavily on the be up or down at a given point in the difference between dependant and evening, over the long term, their winindependent events. Dependant events ning will always approach the theoretiare events that affect one another. If cal probability. Casinos use this to their you draw two cards from a deck withadvantage.




ighty five percent of Nevada residents gamble at some point in their lives, and 28 percent gamble at least once a month, according to a report released by the Nevada Gaming Commission in 2002. By far, most of the gambling that goes on in Nevada occurs at casinos. They draw in nearly everyone in the region; according to the same report, only 12 percent of residents of the Reno, Sparks and Carson City region have never gambled. The same report from the Gaming Commission found that young people tend to gamble for fun and entertainment, or to win money. Matt Pope, a 25-year-old criminal justice major, says that gambling is “just fun”. “It’s just something to do, you waste some time,” Pope says. “It’s a good way to make some money sometimes, as long as you don’t get stupid.” Pope said that whenever he walks into a casino, he expects to leave with lighter pockets than he came in with. “If you expect that the money you put down [will belong to] the casinos, it’s more fun,” Pope says. “You don’t have any expectations.” But despite his attitude, things haven’t always gone so well for Pope. He took his biggest loss one night at a party at a casino. After a night of drinking, Pope said he lost an entire paycheck at black jack and craps tables. “You just get so angry and frustrated,” says Pope. “When you lose, you don’t like to lose, so you have to try and get it back.” But there are perhaps ways walk away from a casino with a few extra bucks. The first important thing to understand is the nature of casinos—Sky scrapers and parking garages are not funded by people winning money. In the long run, the casino always comes

2010 October | Insight | 27

“The casino has way, way more trials than any individual person,” Kupitz says. Even though there is no way to bend the laws of probability in your favor, there are some strategies which can be employed to come out ahead in the shor¬t term or, at the very least, make your money last longer. One of the better bets at a casino is the slot machine. Slot machines are run by a computer program, which randomly generates numbers at all times. The computer uses the numbers most recently generated to determine where each reel will stop, according to Because the numbers are constantly and independently generated, slot machines are neither more or less likely to pay out jackpots as you spend more time at them. The next payout also has nothing to do with the previous payout. Any individual machine is just as likely to strike gold on the first spin as it is on any other occasion. In the state of Nevada, slot machines must conform to certain restrictions. Video poker or blackjack machines must have the same expected value as playing the same game at a table. Slot machines must not have a theoretical hold percentage (THP) of greater than 25 percent. The THP of a machine is a figure similar to expected value—over time, a machine will hold onto money equal to its THP. Most machines stay well below the state-mandated limit, says Lawton, and the slots that offer the lowest THP are usually video poker, usually having less than five percent THP. The slots that pay the least actually use spinning reels. According to, another possible way to win money at the slots is by finding progressive slot machines with high progressive values. Using these slots, it is actually possible to tip the scales 28 | Insight | October 2010

in your favor, and play with a positive expected value. In these cases the machine will return more money than you put in, on average. The website, however, warns its visitors to be wary of such machines. This fact is common knowledge, it says, “and competition for these games can be severe—fistfights have been known to occur over them.” For those more inclined to card games, blackjack boasts the lowest house advantage. In blackjack, players begin by placing a bet. They are then dealt two cards, face down. After each player has been dealt his cards, the dealer deals himself two cards, one face up, the other face down. The objective of the game is to get a close to 21 points without going over. Each card is worth its face value except face cards (which are all worth 10) and aces, which can count as either one or eleven. The best possible opening hand is an ace, and any card whose value is 10. If the player is not dealt a 21, then he is given the opportunity to hit or stand. If he hits, he is dealt a new card, whose value is added to his existing hand. If his total ever exceeds 21, he busts and automatically loses. The best way to play blackjack is to memorize a diagram of odds which dictates when to hit or stand, based on your total, as well as the dealers. Such diagrams can be found on the internet. If your total is 12 or less, always hit.

In general, if your total is 12 or higher, and the dealer’s shown card is below a 6, stand. As with all strategies, no blackjack strategy will guarantee a favorable result, but if used correctly, an accurate blackjack strategy will reduce the expected loss of any had to only $.75 per dollar bet. If neither slot machines nor blackjack entertain you, or you can’t be bothered to memorize a complex blackjack table, the best bet in the casino is baccarat. Baccarat is a card game wherein players bet on who will come out with a better score: the dealer or the player. The specific rules are complex, but in the end, the game is betting on a coin toss.The best bet is always on the dealer, as most casinos take a cut of bets placed on the player. Many casinos give players a way to keep track of trends at a given table. While this may add entertainment value to playing the game, you will never gain an advantage this way. As with all other forms of gambling, it is important to remember that hands in baccarat are independent events. One outcome has no effect on the next. Loosing ten hands in a row does not make you more likely to win the next hand. Casino games are always games of chance, and the odds are always against you. “There are ways to make money last longer at a casino, but I really can’t tell you how to make money at a casino,” Lawton says. “If I could, I wouldn’t be here [at work].”

Editors note: This article is intended for entertainment purposes only. Insight Magazine does not condone excessive gaming.

Visit us online for an interactive graphic. 2010 October | Insight | 29


In Hindsight


Words by Caitlin thomas & Rachel Wright


very October, the tradition of Homecoming shines a light on Nevada’s school spirit with the celebrations of a decorated campus, endless school spirit activities and a fierce, competitive nature in the air.


he first Homecoming parade took place in 1920, when Nevada took on the Utah Aggies and won 7-3. In 1943, World War II “imposed numerous restrictions on festivities” nationwide and the traditional bonfire was disbanded due to a lack of “fire materials,” according to the ‘43 Artemisia. By 1946, though, Homecoming events were taking place on Nevada’s campus once again, even though an “acute paper shortage” prevented the parade from returning in its full tissue paper glory, according to the ‘46 Artemisia. While this campus has a rich history of Homecoming traditions, Nevada has built a stronger foundation in recent years when it comes to the big event. This includes growing budgets, mounting controversy, and new ways to support the Wolf Pack. Let’s look back at how Homecoming has progressed in the past few years, and brush up on recent moments that made Nevada students laugh, cheer, and get angry. In 2007, Hollywood came to Reno in the form of Thomas Lennon, actor on the comedy series, “Reno 911!” Lennon, who played Lt. Jim Dangle, was a surprise addition to the 2007 edition of the Homecoming Parade. 21-year-old music major Kyle Kimber, as reported by the Nevada Sagebrush in 2007, said “I was just in shock because I didn’t expect him to be there.” This edition of the Homecoming Parade was also marred by the fact that several homecoming banners went “missing” after the parade. In a Sagebrush editorial, Eli Reilly, then Director of ASUN Programming, said, “Return the signs and God help you if I ever find them in your house.” The signs were never found, according to the Sagebrush archives. The next year marked a new beginning in terms of the depth of the Homecoming Parade. The 2008 parade saw a lavish $35,000 budget, up from $12,000 in 2007. The bigger, better 30 | Insight | October 2010

parade was supported by the Homecoming Department, newly created in Spring 2007. The parade aimed to bring more students out, according to Sagebrush archives, and included improved events, more supplies and an overall spending increase. The parade was considered a large success by most observers. It also saw an increase in attendance, which had been historically low in the years leading up to the new and improved edition. Last year’s edition of the parade also saw more resources put towards it, but also caused more controversy in the form of ASUN billboards around Reno advertising the parade. Many criticized this form of “wasteful spending” and became increasingly aware of the large operating budget the Homecoming Parade was starting to rely on. However, 2009, like 2008, saw an increase in attendance and drew numerous students to its wide variety of events. These events included games, barbeques, the annual bonfire and unique events like the RMX show, a music entertainment event, and “Blue Eggs and Ham,” a blue breakfast food event. Nevada’s Homecoming Parade has experienced a recent rapid evolution in terms of its monetary success and value. With ASUN becoming increasingly aware of the parade’s value as a community and campus event, it appears that the parade will remain a keystone in both campus life and ASUN policy. This year’s edition certainly looks to bring more to the table as ASUN invests in larger events that aim to bring people together, and ensures we never run short on tissue paper again.

Visit our website after homecoming for some highlights of the weekend events. 2010 October | Insight | 31


This publication is made possible by the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno.


October 2010 Insight Magazine  
October 2010 Insight Magazine  

Downtown Reno