4 EDITOR’S LETTER
6 PACK PROFILE Insight gets intimate with Nevada’s resident sexologist.
22 FOOD ON DA STREETS
Get the scoop on the finest food the streets have to offer.
Cool off with these vintage looks by local designer, Tessa Miller. www.thenestreno.com 2 | Insight | September 2012
24 GIVING TWO SHITS
When one isn’t enough, this poetry collective gives two.
9 EDC .VS. NIC Flannels or fluorescents, we just like to party.
16 SUICIDE ON THE BLACKTOP How does one regroup after a suicide attempt? One Insight writer shares her story.
28 RUNDOWN Being a cheapskate - in style.
2012 September| Insight | 3
Evynn McFalls - Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
Print and Story Staff Geoff McFarland - Print Managing Editor email@example.com Vicki Tam - Story Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Amy Vigen - Story Editor email@example.com Cambria Roth - Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Design Staff Katherine Sawicki - Design Editor email@example.com Jean-Paul Torres - Co-Design Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography Staff Becca Ewart - Photo Editor email@example.com
f you mentioned the idea of “Reno pride” to an outsider, they might allude to the city’s pervasive grittiness. They might ask you how one could look at the sad and forgotten Fitzgerald building, rambunctious party culture, and fragile job market to be found in the city and feel any pride whatsoever. To an outsider, the things that make Reno truly special might be hard to see. In spite of the many punishing misconceptions about Reno, I’ve found a unique beauty to the biggest little city. That beauty is not found solely in the crystal waters of the Truckee, or Northern Nevada’s unique desert flora, but also in the developing clusters of small business in Midtown, and in the enterprising spirits of our burgeoning artistic community. It is in the public desire to define Reno as something more than a gaming town, or a way station for the Tahoe-bound. For many, Reno is everything that a person could want, and for even more, it’s all they’ve ever known. Reno has been through incredible Evynn McFalls change over the past century, but one thing has not changed: Editor-in-Chief the spirit of the people. We are a people who soldier on, who make no excuses for ourselves, and who embrace no artifice about what it means to be a resident of our fair city. We are dignified, we appreciate what we have, and we know what it means to be a community. If that isn’t something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.
Web Staff Luke Fraser - Webmaster firstname.lastname@example.org Christopher Cuellar - Web Managing Editor email@example.com
Contributors: Binh Cao
Let us know how you felt about this issue by contacting us on the web by: @UNR_Insight
Brandon Fischmann Photo shoot models: Jessica Hansen Valerie Padovani John Peterson Denea Pirtle Fashion provided by: Tessa Miller and The Nest
www.facebook.com/insightUNR E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Your comments may be featured in next issue’s letter page! 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.
COVER ART BY BINH CAO
4 | Insight | September 2012
Nevada Insight is a developing community of artists, writers, designers, photographers, and people who simply wish to express themselves to a rapidly growing campus community. We are the denizens of the thrift store, of the football game, and of the Humanities building. We are the lurkers of the Internet, the wide-eyed fashion-show attendees, and the strange sort of people who actually go to comedy clubs—and laugh. We’re the kind of people who spend long days at the riverside and long nights circling the Little Waldorf on tricycles after one too many drinks—and the kind of people who reign in our trike-racing friends when they’ve clearly had too much. We are the young people with vision; we’re the outspoken feminists, the introspective single-diners, the home-remedy experimenters, and the Internet off-roaders. We are those who would dare explore the politics of hair, and those who would find—or lose—our faith. We are those who would question the legitimacy of patriarchy and who would explore the many uses of vodka (it turns out that it’s good for much more than drinking). We’re the adventurers, the dreamers, and the trend-explorers. We are the satirists, the self-redeemers, and the students of the world in which we find ourselves on an everexpanding journey. We are the youth of Reno. We are you, and you are us. To those passionate dwellers of America’s biggest little city, those who have learned to find the distinct beauty within the thick of the ugliest grime, we call upon you to scrawl your name across the annals of history. To those who enjoy a hunger for journeys, for mystery, and for excitement, we call upon you to immortalize your travels with the aid of the written word and captured image. For those who would cry foul at the indiscretions of those in power, praise those who fight for the greater good, and those who would use their freedom of expression to unite and build our community, Insight is here. There are stories to be told, and we are waiting with bated breath for you to tell them. Located on the third floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union, in room 330 of the Student Activity Center, the staff at Insight is hard at work bringing you the latest scoop on the Reno community. There are many stories to be told, and if you’ve got one to share, we’d love to hear from you. Signed, INSIGHT MAGAZINE
2012 September| Insight | 5
-Dr.Tory Clark Written by Katherine Sawicki Photographed by Becca Ewart
6 | Insight | September 2012
“If you are not comfortable with your own sex life and things within your life, then it’s difficult to help other people. It’s about knowing your own shadows and demons, and facing them, so you can help other people.”
r. Tory Clark and I immediately met when I awkwardly parallel parked my soccer mom car in front of the Homage Café, as she rode in on a chic, blue scooter. It was in the early morning of what looked to be another 103° day, and I was to speak with both one of the campus’ professors and a therapist that specializes, in dare I say?: sex. A subject that has been taboo from the politics of contraception, the morals of reproduction, and most recently has stretched into the realm of food corporations and business boycotts. However, upon sitting with her underneath the mercy of an umbrella’s shade, she seemed relaxed and poised to introduce herself as not just a sexologist and professor but a possible go-to confidant for secrets we would be too insecure to confess even to ourselves. Dr. Clark’s introduction into sexuality is exactly like what most of our experiences were: typical school programs that used “scare tactics” that threatened grotesque pictures of STD’s and videos of an in-your-face birth canals going in labor. When she began having a serious relationship with a boyfriend, her parents also resorted to talk about negative side effects such as unwanted pregnancy. It was until she came to college in 1998 and took the same class that she teaches now, human sexuality, did her perspective change and discovered her passion for the subject.
hus, she completed a Master’s Degree of Public Health at UNR and then entered a doctoral program in Clinical Sexology and completed a Doctor of Human Sexuality degree in 2010. While still a doctoral student, she was hired to teach the human sexuality class. She is currently studying at UNR and will qualify for her license as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She is working on bringing a class to UNR’s Marriage and Family Therapy program that gave her an intense experience. “It’s a week-long class that involved a lot of group discussions and videos on sexual behavior. It was evaluating what pushed your buttons and why, and it
was incredibly self introspective. It was tough to go through. In my course, there are a lot of things that take you out of your comfort zone, but this program was times 100.” Although Dr. Clark has mastered her specialty and continues to strive in other fields of therapy, she still has weekly check-ups with her own therapist to discuss her feelings and thoughts. “I’m a big believer of this: if you are not comfortable with your own sex life and things within your life, then it’s difficult to help other people. It’s about knowing your own shadows and demons, and facing them, so you can help other people.”
or those who haven’t taken or plan to take Dr. Clark’s human sexuality class, this will be extraordinarily different than what you already think about sex Ed. Instead of putting your questions or comments in an anonymous box, Dr. Clark’s classroom becomes a safe place to talk out loud. In place of your 8th grade teacher awkwardly reading from a human anatomy pamphlet, Dr. Clark extensively covers 18 chapters in a textbook with daily homework assignments. To keep the class relevant and modern, she brings in current events and references of all cultures, religions, and medias that will rattle your head of how much sex has to do with every one’s lives. She creates an atmosphere of what she calls “sex positive”, meaning that the students feel comfortable about their bodies, there is plenty of communication, no judgment, there is an acceptance of what is natural, and an understanding of responsibilities. Dr. Clark reassures that although one may take her class, it doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice their morals; she only asks that minds can be broaden to full exposure, like any teacher. She remembers an instance of having a student in their 60’s surrounded in a class of hormonal 20- year-olds, the equivalent of a poor misplaced goldfish in a tank of piranha. This not only intimidated the student, but challenged the student’s different and conservative standpoint. Dr. Clark admits separating sex and ideals is difficult, 2012 September| Insight | 7
but stresses the importance of keeping an open mind not only to benefit oneself, but to consider other people’s feelings. “The world is not black and white, or white, heterosexual, straight. There is a lot of variation out there.”
er clients aren’t the only people who have sought Dr. Clark’s advice, but colleagues and friends as well. She finds that being open with others has given deeper relationships and has opened the door within her own family to be more open with each other and establishing more trust. “There are family members or co-workers that
have a discussion with family members about human sexuality, I would have said you’re crazy. But now, it’s what I do. I talk about it, and I teach it. I have to be comfortable to share about it with students and even with other professionals.”
ore people had come to the café by the time we were done with the interview, trying to escape the escalating heat of the downtown air. Amongst the café patrons that seemed to have melted into their seats and those who reluctantly ventured back out into the dry haze of the morning, Dr. Clark seemed just as comfortable and relaxed as when we first began talking. It was apparent
Insight: “I’m guessing that since you are a specialist in sexology, it improves your marriage by far! How do you help people or couples with their intimacy issues and sex life in general?” Dr. Clark: “It can be embarrassing for people to talk about. You have to provide them that space to discuss it, and give them the information that they need. A lot of times, intimacy issues can be remedied right there since you are opening a door for safe discussion and making it okay.”
come and ask me questions. When I worked at the fire house, whether it was goofy or not, my co-workers would always ask me. Over time, you start to become comfortable and know what’s going on…They know that you’re in that field, and certainly ask you questions. Especially if it’s in a popular medium, or they met someone that’s into polyamory and come and ask you about it. Years ago, if you asked me if I would 8 | Insight | September 2012
that Dr. Clark was able to find comfort despite another quenched summer day in Nevada, but most impressively, had found her talent and freedom despite the stigma of sex, self-image, and love.
### AUTHORED BY TO P H E R C U E L L A R COUNTRY MODEL
J O N C R I S S ###
vs. EDC NITC
PEACE, LOVE, UNITY, AND
ummer is a great time to be a music lover for many reasons: concerts, shows, and appearances. But one reason trumps them all - festivals! Within the summer of 2012, Nevada contained many music festivals, but no two are more different than Yerington’s Night in the Country, rallying just over 5,000 die-hard country fans, and Las Vegas’s Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), totaling a whopping 90,000 ravers. The styles of country and rave music are extremely different, making for two extremely different experiences. Let’s take a closer look at them in a three-round face-off. 2012 September| Insight | 9
The music makes the festival. If I were to ask you what style of music played at Night in the Country, then I’m sure you would have had the right answer. From July 27th to the 28th, nothing but country music played out in the Yerington mountains. The festival hosted headliners such as Neal McCoy, Lee Brice, Brett Eldredge, and Joe Nichols. Country lovers packed the fairgrounds arena to line dance the night away. EDC kicked off down south in Vegas on June 8th and continued until the 11th. Those three days were packed with big electronic DJs, such as Steve Aoki, Armen Van Buren, Dada Life, Knife Party, and over 150 others, ready to party from sundown to sunup. Music styles like house, electronic, trance, dubstep, and mix blasted out at Las Vegas’s motor speedway and ravers from all over got their fix of sound.
Dressing for a festival is like gearing up for battle. To step into the country arena, fans channeled their inner cowboy or cowgirl. Blue jeans - both cutoffs and pants of all shades - swarmed the fairgrounds by the masses. Plaid flannels with rolled-up sleeves kept everyone cool while cowboy hats shaded faces from the Nevada sun. The brown, leather boots helped tackle the dirt paths of the fairgrounds. Pulling the entire outfit together, of course, was the can of beer seemingly glued in everyone’s hand. 10 | Insight | September 2012
The EDC arena might as well have been a completely different world. Festival goers tapped into their personal creative minds to make a bold statement in Las Vegas. All of the obscure clothing included tutus, short shorts, fairy wings, headbands, war paints, furs, and of course, beads from all colors of the rainbow. People wore everything from extravagant costumes with many parts and accessories to almost nothing but tape pasties just covering their nipples. Thereâ€™s no way to mess up an EDC outfit.
Oh, the places we will go. Within the Yerington fairgrounds, campers and trailers anchored row-by-row to create the camping-like atmosphere. Lawn chairs under tents sat next to coolers while barbecues grilled all sorts of foods. People traveled throughout the campgrounds to visit with other country enthusiasts. All the way to the north end of the campgrounds is the infamous Cable tent. Hereâ€™s where the party continued on into the night after the concert had ended. A stage set up in the bullpen featured artists and DJs that had the entire crowd dancing well into the night. Topping off the fun was the mechanical bull where cowboys impressed their cowgirls by riding the bucking bull. Out in the dark desert night, the bright lights and displays of EDC shined bright. Light shows accompanied the DJs from beginning to end while fire and smoke billowed out of stages in phenomenal display. Outside of the six stages of music, carnival rides and coasters lifted, launched, and twirled ravers from left to right. After partying for hours on end, one could make his or her way to the grass field near the entrance of the stadium to sit, relax, and recuperate while enjoy artistic light displays. Within such a light loving atmosphere, it was hard not to enjoy oneself. 2012 September| Insight | 11
AND THE WINNER IS...
f course, these two music festivals were very different from one another but their message couldn’t have been more similar - to bring their fans together. Music lovers from both genres came from all over to see their favorites artists, live the lifestyle (even for only a few days), and most of all - enjoy music. It isn’t an argument of which genre is better or even which event was better. The only thing any festival goers really care about was that feeling they had amongst “their” people. Families, friends, and strangers enjoyed their time together - whether they spent the night roughin’ it in the country or raging under the electric sky.
#1 12 | Insight | September 2012
QUEENS OF THE DESERT
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BECCA EWART 2012 September| Insight | 13
14 | Insight | September 2012
2012 September| Insight | 15
Suicide on the Blacktop A
S T R U G G L E
L I V E
Written by Vicki Tam Illustrated by Evynn McFalls
16 | Insight | September 2012
few weeks before the end of the fall semester, I found myself in a hospital room with a sign on the outside of my door reading, “No Visitors Allowed.” Prior to my confinement, I had stood outside for several hours, shivering cold, before the university police took me to Renown. In exchange for a white flowing hospital gown with blue polka dots, I cashed in my signature leather jacket, Nevada sweatshirt, and jeans including a few tank tops and a T-shirt.
I found myself on the fifth floor of the Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex, looking over the edge before I phoned a friend. The next thing I knew, I found myself even closer to the edge - in an area with very little railings to keep me from falling to my death. Soon, I wasn’t alone on top of that garage. Four of my friends stood a couple of yards away, screaming at me to move away from the edge. I didn’t budge. Instead, I just watched them as they broke down, trying to get to me. I didn’t jump on that December night. A passerby snapped me back to reality, and I moved away from the edge to join my friends. This wasn’t what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to really die. I just wanted to escape the pain I abhorred. For me, any kind of escape would have pleased me, but the thoughts of suicide got to me first.
Like many who suffer from depression and have suicidal thoughts, I couldn’t explain what compelled me to go to the top of that garage, or why I decided to give up on life. I just knew that I had allowed myself to give up and stop trying because I simply didn’t have the strength or motivation to try anymore. I was tired of trying when things in my life didn’t seem to improve. I was discouraged because things kept knocking me down. And I became hopeless when therapy didn’t seem to help me. There was nothing my friends or family could have done for me at that point. My depression consumed me fully, and I was willing to kill myself to escape.
“I tried to convince myself that it was a dream, but even my dreams couldn’t be this detailed and precise.”
Alarmed passersby and the frantic screams of my friends led to the arrival of four campus police cars. I didn’t have the strength to walk away or pretend like my attempt never happened. I tried to convince myself that it was a dream, but even my dreams couldn’t be this detailed and precise. I was led away from the garage by the university police, but before I got in to the police car, I took one quick glance at my friends who were sitting in a nearby police car. One of them had slapped me across the face as soon as I was safely away from the edge. It was so cold that I didn’t feel any pain from her slap, but I did feel the pain I indirectly inflicted on her. I had hurt her more than I will ever understand.
A counselor came to assess me on whether or not I needed to be admitted to an institution for the mentality unstable. I tried to convince her that my suicide attempt wasn’t for a gain and that I was okay to leave, but she wasn’t fooled by my smiles and calm composure. An ambulance was arranged to take me to West Hills - a mental institution. For the next 72 hours, this was home. I was on a legal hold.
The nurses were playing musical chairs with my fingers, trying to find my pulse with a pulse reader before they decided to wrap my right index and middle finger with heat packs that were usually for babies. My hand was too cold for any of them to get a proper reading. This prolonged my stay in the hospital.
Now, I was spending my weekend in a mental institution. I was alive, alone, and sad. With nothing more than a large whiteboard taunting me that I was to remain there for 72 hours, I began to develop a strong desire to escape my situation. That’s the fighter in me – the last bit of hope I always held on to. I had to get out – even if it’s the last thing I did. Somehow, my depressed state of mind had broken through to a fierce anger. I was angry that I was held against my will and I was unable to leave as I pleased. And, I knew it was my fault that I found myself here. The motivation and strength that was lost months before had returned to me in a flash. The doctor who was the only one to grant me freedom expressed to me that I wouldn’t be leaving any time soon. And no matter how much I cried, nothing seemed to faze this man. Instead, he urged me to take in all the benefits the institution had to offer me. I was even more determined to get out. Even if I couldn’t, I was willing to do anything I could to milk the institution for all its worth. From that point on, I ventured out to make friends, gorged myself on the buffet-style food, engaged in recreational activities no matter how bad I was, took extra brownies and decaf tea bags, and used the hallway payphone as often as I could – I was glad I memorized a few phone numbers since the staff had stripped away all my possessions 2012 September| Insight | 17
that included my cellphone and wallet.
The large whiteboard with my name and release date was becoming more of a reality, and soon, I was released from the institution. I had achieved my long-awaited goal, but there was a part of me that didn’t want to come out to face my family and friends. An apology wasn’t enough to stop their confusion, pain, and anger because of what I tried to do. I was selfish and I knew it. But still, my friends and family lectured me on my selfish act.
“Everyone deserves to be happy...
No matter what kind of trouble I was in, I stood still, taking it all in. I knew I couldn’t convince them of what kind of struggles I was facing nor could I explain to them or those who were willing to listen. Even though, I had many loved ones and that I wasn’t alone in this, I knew this was my fight – an ongoing internal battle in which I knew all the weaknesses and strengths of my enemy. I knew I had two options once I was released: keep fighting or die trying. After an attempt like that, I knew I couldn’t die in anyway – at least not through suicide. But my hardships and struggles continued to challenge my strength and willingness to put up a fight. A couple of days after my release, I was faced with my 17-yearold cousin’s death from cancer and a close friend’s disappointment - the same friend who slapped me across the face. If I had any ideas of what the word “selfish” meant before my attempt, I didn’t really grasp the full meaning of it until the events that happened after my release. By this time, guilt and shame were pulsating through my veins: how dare I even consider suicide when my cousin had fought so hard to live? I spent hours imagining the thoughts and things my family would say to me, but their silence and stares were more effective, even if they didn’t intend to talk to me about my suicide attempt. For a month, my friend and I had fought. In the end, I managed to destroy our friendship. I quickly realized that I will probably continue being a prisoner in my own mind and no matter where I tried to escape to, the demons followed ever-so closely. I should have crumbled under the weight, but I held my ground while I bawled my eyes out. No more suicide attempts. This was my final decision. It was time to live life as best I could – not only for the sake of my family and friends, but for my cousin and me. The weeks that followed, I felt my tears flowing in every place that I was situated – in my car, in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, in the Joe Crowley Student Union, in my room, and in the embrace of friends. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me or how ugly I looked. The pain within me had to come out somehow – even if it wasn’t from self-infliction.
18 | Insight | September 2012
In the span of a month, I discovered what I was capable of doing. I broke the hearts of loved ones and indirectly inflicted pain on to them. Although a majority of my friends and family stayed by my side, one did manage to get away. Those who stayed love me, even though my suicide attempt hurt them. For the one who got away, my attempt hurt her enough to make her leave. The friend who I had hurt angrily expressed to me that it takes guts to live, and that was exactly what I planned to do. No matter what, I knew I had to keep pushing through. Everyone deserves to be happy, so why not me, too? I must be worth something – no matter how small of a worth it is, someone will always love me deeply.
After months of internal pain and suffering, I actually felt that I was finally getting the help I truly needed with the support of my family and friends. Sometimes, second chances are hard to come by, so when given the chance, make it count. I’m trying even harder to make my second chance at life count. Currently, I am seeing a professional at the Counseling Services and will be transferring to the Psychological Services Center for a longer treatment plan. I’m doing this because I want to stop hurting those I love, and I truly believe I deserve to be happy. Getting the help I need from professionals isn’t the only thing I need to get myself through this. A larger part of the equation starts with you wanting the help. Everyone has internal battles to fight and struggle through, but no matter how alone you feel, you are not alone. There will always be at least one person who is riding on the same roller coaster as you. This is where the support of friends and family come from. It is always hard to watch a loved one slowly give up on life, just as it is hard to live with the demons that are torturing you.
so why not me, too?”
I learned the hard way that my actions can result in losing something or someone I didn’t intend to lose. People matter. You matter. Do something for yourself. You deserve it. It can range from getting the help you need to get rid of the demons, or doing something you enjoy to ease the pain. Something I enjoy doing is going to the park with my MP3 player and observing the people there. There’s so much to love about life when you see it in others, especially elderly couples.
If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, have thoughts of suicide, or both, please contact the Crisis Call Center’s Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website at: http://www.crisiscallcenter.org/. For additional services on campus, contact the Psychological Services Center at 775-784-6668 or the Counseling Services at 775-784-4648.
2012 September| Insight | 19
Written by Brandon Fischmann Illustrated and Phtographed by Evynn McFalls 20 | Insight | September 2012
Give a Couple Shits Before You Flush the Toilet
efore moving to Reno, it was my impression that communal poetry was reserved for only the hopeless romantic’s imagination and the artistic elite. It’d be performed without missing a beat or simile after their six other artistic mediums to an audience of paying admirers and fellow bearers of international awards. I assumed that poetry was only shared during crowded coffee shop open mic nights, art galleries, and liberal art seminars attended to relieve class absences. Don’t misunderstand, I love the concept of open mic nights, offering an easy chance at performance for any budding artist, but too often open mics feel like nothing more than a hub for high schoolers breaking curfew and three-chord musicians trying to “make it big” while angry baristas in baseball caps fight drunken assholes. At the same time, if a refined or exclusive form of something exists, one cannot help but suspect that an alter-ego of it is thriving somewhere else. No self-respecting individual would try to dub this city anything close to a pinnacle of human society and ingenuity. I’ve yet to meet a couple drunk on the river or living it up at the Cal Neva slots on their honeymoon. Such pastimes belong to broke-ass college students and baby boomers on social security, and yet, the apparent trend is that creative expression thrives in the most humble of places, in the biggest little methridden, burnt-out casino town chain smoking on the edge of the desert.
love for poetry, and when he did, he sent me hunting for a house in the boozed up suburban jungle west of Sierra Street where he said that poets got together, drank, wrote, and shared. This was true, to write the least. They call it Two Shits Poetry Collective, because seemingly the only expectation is that you “Give two shits about poetry.” From the outside, the house where the poetry happens doesn’t look like it hosts much more than cheap beer and mandolins. If you enjoy those things then you may already have been there. From street view you’d see a brick-faced desert bungalow with a hammock strung across the dirt yard
“I’M INCLINED TO SAY IT IS JUST THAT, NOT THIS WORN OUT, CHALKED UP FLAT, BUT RATHER THE WIDE-EYED, ECLECTIC INDIVIDUALS THAT PASS THROUGH ITS DOORS, THAT MAKE IT A LOCATION WORTH INVESTIGATING.”
My rude awakening occurred with thanks to Wesley McNair, a performance arts major with the look of a model in a Vogue “Mountain Man” issue and a heart the size of the Great Basin. When I met him on a smoke break on the plaza benches outside Ansari Business, he accosted me with flattery from behind a sarcastic smirk that said, “I know some things I think you want to, kid.” It didn’t take long for him to discover my 2012 September| Insight | 21
and paintings in and around the windows. The residents call it “the Apiary”, another name for a bee yard, and this is marked by a large painting of a bee hanging just above the driveway. Two electric guitars are mounted on the front porch. When asked what for, the response was simply, “This machine kills bros.” There’s a story behind that, but for now I’m content to say that Woody Guthrie would be proud. Chalk drawings, short poems, and drunken adages litter the walls; everywhere is a hint to a different story. The writing takes place in the living room when necessary, but on warmer nights, the collective meets on a handful of couches in a side yard that’s lit up by rope lights in the rafters and decorated by tattered flags, including a yellow one sporting a coiled snake and the words “Don’t tread on me.” There is a spirit of something there—something strange and lovely, but certainly undefined—maybe it’s akin to that perceived energy one feels while in a place rich with history, after all, I’d wager that over the decades the house has housed countless people at the most chaotic time in their lives. I’m inclined to say it is just that, not this worn out, chalked up flat, but rather the wideeyed, eclectic individuals that pass through its doors, that make it a location worth investigating. Many of the Two-Shitters wandering in are obvious liberal art students—cut offs and patterned sweaters abound—
but not all are students and a grey-haired writer or two has participated before. Once everyone has curled up on a couch with their laptop or the more archaic pen and moleskin combination, ideas are tossed around for the evening’s prompt. I’ve watched in amusement as emotionally charged artists wage prompt wars from their polar states of mind: “Let’s do a prompt on the holiness of existence.” “No, let’s do a prompt about the necessity of destruction.” Somehow, a middle ground is always found. After the prompt has been decided upon, those present get to work at writing, however exactly that process unfolds for them. With some, you see it spark instantaneously as they assault their blank page with rhythmic determination. Others detach, they sit back and stare blankly, scouring the recesses of their psyches for images and emotions that they could potentially string into appealing language, all while occasionally scratching and scribbling. The atmosphere for the next half hour or so—that being about how long it takes the entire group to finish—is what I would normally consider disturbingly quiet for so many present, but I have always felt a gentle urge to write in this company and gotten the notion that everyone else was…on the same page. The prompts that the group decides upon can sometimes be ambiguous, but writing along the prompt is not mandatory and sometimes even an ambiguous idea, in the right context, can provoke a beautiful creation. Here are some examples of previous Two Shits prompts:
“WRITE ABOUT A MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU CONSIDER A REBIRTH OR AWAKENING, A FIRST LOVE, PERHAPS” “WRITE AS IF YOU’RE LOOKING OUT UPON AN APPARENT APOCALYPSE AND DESCRIBE WHAT YOU SEE” “HAVE THE PERSON TO YOUR LEFT WRITE TEN WORDS FOR YOU, THEN WRITE A POEM CONTAINING ALL OF THEM” “WRITE THE EMBODIMENT OF YOUR ALTER EGO.” 22 | Insight | September 2012
After writing, the collective gives each present a chance to share whatever repressed emotion or ambition had just surfaced in meter and metaphor. Sharing former writings is also fair game. Again, no one is forced to read, though it is, in a friendly fashion, strongly encouraged. If asked, the others will attempt to offer constructive criticism, whether it is on the choice of words itself or the presentation of the poem if you are interested in spoken word. Personally, I have the most crippling stage fright and even among a dozen familiar faces I shake like a withdrawing junkie when having to read my poetry out loud. Despite this, I’m still always pleased with myself after the experience and it gets a little easier to breathe normally every time. Meanwhile, I prefer the socially safe route of read and written critique, which I’ve been told is an accessible one via a subreddit set up for the collective. Two Shits was founded early 2011 by Ali Alonso, along with the help of friends Kristin Rodriguez and Sean Bassney. No one person calls the shots, so it does live up to its title as a collective. You might be wondering how changes are ever made in a condition of semi-anarchy. Through constantly spilling their most offensive, absurd, and passionate thoughts to one another the poets have become something akin to a family, closer even, they might say, so decisions often come unanimously. Newcomers shouldn’t worry though; I’ve never met a more laid back and accepting, albeit ragtag, group of people. Not to anyone’s surprise, outside of their words a lot of the two-shitters are fairly socially reserved, but like writers, they like their box wine and love their liquor so unbroken ice doesn’t seem to be an issue. I wish I could write objectively that every poem spat out among this strange circle of degenerate optimists was flawless. I wish I knew what flawless poetry looked like. I like to think I know a thing or two about poetry, but I also tend to realize that I don’t know shit. If I were granted the almighty powers of objectivity to choose what it does looks like, I’d choose theirs, not because they deserve it, but simply because a label of “perfection” or any one of its synonyms would look real nice on a bunch of dirty-broke, black sheep dreamers with hearts on their sleeves. To some, this is just another way to pass a night or to meet new friends, and a droll one at that, but asking somebody who gives a couple shits about poetry what this collective, this idea, means to them would yield a very different result. They might first tote how much they’ve learned and how they’ve expanded their poetic abilities, and then they might look you straight in the eyes, stare a moment or two past comfort, smile, tell you how holy you are, and ask if you want some whiskey.
TWO SHITS POETRY COLLECTIVE MEETS EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT- EXCEPT THE THIRD OF THE MONTH- AT 7PM ON 1137 BUENA VISTA AVE AKA “THE APIARY” 2012 September| Insight | 23
FOOD ON DA STREETS A BY: JEAN-PAUL TORRES PHOTOS BY: KATHERINE SAWICKI
s soon as the clock struck midnight on October 29th 2009, the CitiCenter bus station on the corner of Fourth and Center Street in downtown Reno closed. Regular bus service was relocated to a sparkling new bus station dubbed Fourth Street Station, just one block east on Fourth and Lake Street. A lot of questions arose with the closure of the former bus station: How long would it sit unused? How could the space be put to good use? Who should own it? One idea that sprung up was to lease one of the plaza buildings out to the Universityâ€™s Art Department to display student artwork. Alas, that idea along with others fell by the wayside as the former bus station lay empty for several months while the city around it bustled about. Finally, earlier this year, after the City of Reno acquired the former CitiCenter bus plaza, an idea formed. With the recent surge in food truck culture in Reno, having several businesses open and advertise to loyal customers where their next stomping grounds would be, the idea arose to have all food trucks congregate in one place, the former CitiCenter plaza. Announced in March, right on the heels of the summer special events season, Food Truck Fridays was born. Different food trucks from around town applied to assemble around CitiCenter plaza for the first Friday of every month starting in April through
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RENO STREET FOOD, IDELWILD PARK
the summer, until October. Not only was the first Food Truck Fridays event successful, it exceeded expectations, according to Haley Wood with GourMelt. GourMelt began to lay the groundwork for organizing Food Truck Fridays in January. On the first day of the event, lines formed early on, and by the 6 P.M. start time, substantial lines had formed. “It blew away our expectations,” said Haley over the phone. “People started to get mad, but it was our first time doing anything like this in Reno. We had nothing to base it off of.” For Aida Blankenship, a journalism major at the University of Nevada, Reno, it was all about impressions. “Food trucks already have this misrepresentation that they’re dirty...roach coaches,” she explained. “It doesn’t help that the event is held at the CitiCenter plaza because that place is sort of dirty.” This is a concern that Wood is more than aware of and was prepared to face moving forward with Food Truck Fridays. “Part of the reason why we created Food Truck Fridays was to show Reno what the food truck scene is all about, and also what it is not,” Wood explained.
the area, as far away as Truckee, CA and South Lake Tahoe, CA. According to Wood, the food trucks are content with the money they are making at each event, enough to keep them coming back as well as the people. For Blankenship, that along with the atmosphere brought her back for more. “It’s a cool way to see other people, gives them something to do and it’s affordable, which is a plus for students.” This is right in line with the clientele that Food Truck Fridays serves, which come in the young, hip and college flavors. “We definitely cater to the younger crowd,” remarked Wood.
“Part of the reason why we created Food Truck Fridays was to show Reno what the food truck scene is all about, and also what it is not,” HALEY WOOD
“We wanted to provide a venue for people to see that we are not the greasy spoon that leaves you with cramps in the belly. This is a new kind of food truck serving quality food you would find in a restaurant.” Food Truck Fridays operates on a small budget with no profit being made off of the event other than the money that is raised from selling the food. Wood and her staff focus their efforts on showing off the true colors of food trucks. Those efforts manifest themselves through community embracement. Depending on the day the event is held, anywhere between 500 and 900 hungry customers are in attendance. Whetting their appetite, about ten trucks come from around
Reno Street Food Another street food event which sprang up around the initial Food Truck Fridays days, is Reno Street Food. Held every Friday, Reno Street Food according to renostreetfood.com is, “...a Food Event Production Company.” Featuring some of the same food trucks as Food Truck Fridays, Reno Street Food also offers “Mobile Food Vendors and Pop-Up Restaurants,” like Great Basin Brewery, and food stands. While starting out at the same location, CitiCenter plaza, Reno Street Food now hosts their event at Idlewild Park, just west of Downtown Reno. They feature family entertainment like face painting and even a puppet guy to engage the kids in zestful narratives to quell their energetic disposition.
With two food truck events in town, the community now has a palette to chose from that is no longer solely a privilege for the denizens of the trendsetting burgs that are Portland, San Francisco, and Austin. Several of the food trucks that cluster at these events also publish their own schedules through social media for their loyal followers to fancy. Given the adoption and demand for the non-greasy, gourmet touting menus of the food trucks, there is more than enough food truck fare to go around for all to enjoy, and try. 2012 September| Insight | 25
eno isn’t an expensive place to live, but it can get to be if you don’t know how to spend your money. Fortunately, I, resident cheapskate of Reno, Nevada, have taken time out of my busy schedule to share insights about money, how to spend it, and more importantly, how to save it while still having a relatively good time and a relatively successful academic career. Want to eat, drink, and live well on a budget? Let Insight Magazine be your guide.
T H 1 E 2 R U 3 N D 4 O W N
If you receive a scholarship or financial aid refund check, I don’t suggest you blow it all on the first thing that comes to mind (no matter how tempting an Amazon.com shopping spree sounds). First of all, that money is to be used for school and school-related expenses. Second of all, it’d really suck to need that money and not have it later. Rather than reliving all of the best montages from 90’s chick-flicks, calculate your estimated living expenses for the semester and set aside your cash for those purposes and those purposes alone. Include rent, food, and utilities in your budget and don’t touch that money until you have to. This will spur you to think of ways to develop independent income and, in the end, you’ll be happy when you end the school year with a little bit more money in your pocket than you expected. It’s a well-known stereotype (see: fact) that many college students let themselves go in terms of their health once they’re no longer living beneath the auspicious roofs of their parents. Among keg-stands, questionable eating habits, and a general lack of sleep, there seems to be little time to take care of oneself. To combat this stereotype, promote good health, and avoid the dreaded “freshmen fifteen” (which inevitably leads to the sophomore thirty, followed by the junior forty-five and the senior sixty), I recommend that students fulfill their required science credit by taking a basic nutrition class (Nutrition 121 is easy and informative) and investing in a gym membership. The University of Nevada’s own Lombardi Recreational Center offers one of the best deals in town: $70 for one semester or $180 for an annual pass (which includes Winter and Summer break). Regular exercise reduces the risk for chronic disease, is beneficial to mental health, and will make you the envy of all of your friends who didn’t bother to invest their time into developing a totally babely bod. Lana Del Rey is a terrible gimmick, if you ask me. That said, her statement, “Money is the anthem of success”, is probably truer in our culture than we’d like to admit. I realize that we’re often described as “broke college students,” mortgaging our present financial situation with the hope that someday our degrees will help us to cash big checks and live that white-picket dream that so many talk about. Chances are, given the hectic schedule of a college student, working a full-time job and making really good money isn’t in the cards. Even so, the University of Nevada offers a number of student positions with flexible work schedules to help you keep the cobwebs away from your bank-statement and have a little spending money throughout the year. Check out UNR’s career navigator at www.unr.edu/cn and find your dream job (I’m kidding). Save what you can and spend what you need. Again, you’ll thank yourself later when you graduate with a little bit of green lining those lint-filled pockets of yours. After all, not everyone has a grandma who plans to give her nest-egg up to her beloved graduate (no offense to those of you that do; you lucky bastards). Many of us end up getting roped into a degree program before we even know who we really are, and that’s why it’s super important to maintain an excellent relationship with our advisors. Make a point to maintain a regular and open line of communication with your advisor so that you are constantly making decisions that are conducive to your future success; and if you end up not wanting to continue in the major you began with, don’t feel bad and certainly don’t beat around the bush. Let your advisor know--they’ll be happy to help you. As a matter of fact, whether you know it or not, helping you is their primary function in life as far as you should ever be concerned. Never feel like you’re bothering them--they already have your money.
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I hate to plug products and to offer free advertising to people who have no idea who I am; I also hate to encourage you to spend your money so shortly after encouraging you to avoid doing just that. That said, I’m telling you: invest in a Kindle as soon as you can, or at least download the Kindle app to your smartphone. Digital copies of books are drastically less expensive than their physical counterpart, and the Kindle features a synchronizable note-taking interface that can make writing papers about the books you’ve read a million times easier than leafing haplessly through pages that you’re unsure about whether or not you annotated. The most basic Kindle runs for about $70, and Amazon is especially good about taking care of their customers where replacements and repairs are concerned. Not to mention, many of the “classic” books that you’ll have to read in your early literature classes are available from Amazon for the price of Free Ninety-Nine. Who can argue with that?
Speaking of books, textbooks cost somewhere between an arm and a leg--which is why it’s of paramount importance that you be judicious about what titles you buy, which ones you rent, and what you borrow. Generally speaking, it’s good to splurge on your language textbooks as the information in them will rarely go out of date. That copy of the Odyssey that you’ll be reading for the fifth or sixth time in your life in your core humanities class is best borrowed from the knowledge center--or just downloaded from the internet. Honestly, Homer isn’t collecting royalties on this epic; if you buy it, you’re just paying someone for their fancy binding and since you can staple a bunch of pages together on your own, there’s really no need for all of that.
Books, of course, aren’t the only thing that can get to be costly. Given the horrible health habits that I mentioned earlier, many of us college students are prone to becoming sick, or losing our minds. Fortunately, our beloved alma mater has factored this in and offers a range of “free” (I use the term “free” liberally here) to keep you in tip-top shape. Feeling at your wit’s end? That’s okay. Counseling services in the Thompson building has got you covered; you actually pay a fee for this, but I’ve been told they try to avoid telling people this for whatever reason). Caught a nasty bug while you were out gallivanting in midtown? Don’t worry, poor baby--just hit up the health center. Feeling a little out of place as a minority student? We’ve even got something for that, in the form of the Center for Cultural Diversity, located in the Joe Crowley Student Union on the second floor. They offer free printing, community, events, and guidance. The best part? All of these places offer services to their students within the price range of “free” and “very cheap”.
Sometimes, you just need to unwind. What better way to do that than to listen to live music on the cheap? On an almost weekly basis, the Holland Project puts on an all-ages show featuring local and not-so-local artists at $5 a pop. How can you say no to that? Not to mention, our own Nightingale concert hall regular features phenomenal acts at low admission prices for students. Definitely check it out.
Not everyone can afford a meal plan, and even fewer people sing praises about the food that the Downunder Cafe has to offer (which is really a shame; I never minded eating there). Other people prefer to buy groceries, but find that the membership cost at Costco (ironic) is prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, a savior has come in the form of WinCo Foods on South Virginia St. Winco Foods offers competitively priced groceries in a bulk format similar to that of Costco--and the best part is, you won’t have to sit in line behind 12-person family units as you wait to buy your 12-pack of peanut butter (which you’ll probably forget about).
Like coffee but hate the taste of corporate chain in your latte? That’s alright. Bibo Coffee Co. offers a nice selection of well-prepared beverages for low prices. Located just across the street from the University, on Record St., Bibo is close and features an atmosphere totally conducive to your studious nature.
Of course, no “living well on the cheap” article would be complete without drinks. The Little Waldorf is near to the University, and has been the home to loud, obnoxious college louts drinking themselves under the table for decades at this point. With more low-cost food than you should ever eat and enough drink specials to drown a man, this is the place to be when you want to drink and look like a jerk with minimal judgment to speak of. Not to mention, they have trike races on Wednesday nights. That’s a recipe for disaster that the whole family can enjoy.
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This publication is made possible by the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno
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