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Hamlet, in the Original Version

Reno will host a unique cultural event- so unique it’s only been done four times in the last 500 years! The Nevada Repertory Company will have performances of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in the original pronunciation. Hamlet has been performed in the original pronunciation only four times since the 1600s in its original form, twice at the new Globe Theater in London, once in Kansas and at Cambridge in England. David Crystal, a Shakespearean scholar, linguist, and the dialogue coach for new Globe Theater in London has worked with actors of the Nevada Rep to say the dialogue of Hamlet the way Shakespeare would have. Ben Crystal, David Crystal’s son, will play the lead role of Hamlet in the play.

You might ask, what’s the difference? There is a big difference, actually. Although we can read what Shakespeare wrote, the way we say it is totally different. Vowels used to be pronounced more like they are in Spanish today. So, all those silent e’s would be pronounced (say the following sentence out loud pronouncing all the vowels that way). I’m really curious to see how the actors say their lines- are they going to try to say them with an accent, or just simply use the actor’s natural accent. I plan on going and I will find out and report it back to you all. This production of Hamlet should be a very interesting one as well as an historic one.

If you’re interested to get tickets for this unique event either go to the Lawlor Event Center Box Office (where you don’t have to pay the wonderful “convenience fee”) or get them online here. The official premiere of the show is November 4th, with previews November 1, 2, and 3rd. The show plays through November 20th.

To be there, or not to be there? Arnold as Hamlet might encourage you to be there in this clip from Last Action Hero!

My NadaDADA Motel 2011

2011 was the first year that I participated in NadaDADA Motel as an artist. For the last five years, I have gone to see NadaDADA and what made it up and how it was. I wanted to participate in the event for the last several years, but it was only this year that I was able to get my concepts together with money and time to be able to do NadaDADA.

As with any large scale art show with many participants, it’s hard to get an idea of what NadaDADA is unless you take at least a full day to see the whole thing. I think that the best way to describe NadaDADA is that it is Reno’s answer to Art Basel in Miami, The Biennale in Venice, or even in a way, Burning Man (there is a large crossover between NadaDADA artists and those who make art at Burning Man) or some of the more avant-garde shows that happen in London, New York, or LA. Each participating artist does their own thing and it is a unique and amazing experience to behold. I can speak of the hours and days of thought, preparation, networking, and effort that NadaDADA requires. In the end, it took me a month to get totally ready and open my room to the world.

My room was at Wildflower Village and I called it The Iris Room as it has a great reproduction of Van Gogh’s painting of Irises on it. The primary idea of my show was improvisational writing. As I sat behind one of my manual typewriters, I would get requests from my visitors to write a poem, essay, rant, or story and as they waited and looked around my room, I would write on their topic. I also had many collages and fake advertisements that I put up all around my room. After I would finish the piece, I would give it to my visitor and they would read it. Not a single person left The Iris Room without a smile on their face, or with a new or different perspective from what I wrote them.

I didn’t just spend all my time at The Iris Room as I ventured out to see what else was out there. The variety and scope of the entire show is beyond the scope of the few words I can write here, so I will focus on the NadaDADA artists out at Wildflower Village. Carole Ann Rickett‘s room was based on the Fukushima Nuclear disaster and her reaction to it in prints, paintings, and a media collage, which was very moving and breathtaking for many people, including me. There was Margie Enlow’s room with black light paintings made into altars and in the same room Adrian Kershaw‘s paintings and sculpture and baskets made from VCR tapes. There was Chris Atcheson who had the Portrait Bar, where you could have a drink and get portrait done (I have one of me, hunched behind a typewriter as I wrote something for him), that was frequented by many of the Wildflower artists after hours. Kathy D’Onofrio had statues of aliens that she built and put in her room, as well as all over Wildflower. The photographer Vincent Cascio showed his photographs of people and events from Reno and Sparks. James and Sean LeSage set up a room with all their video equipment and made a documentary of NadaDADA and talked to many of the artists who participated. Wildflower Village also has several artists who have permanent studios that showed during NadaDADA: Patty Atcheson-Melton who has beautiful watercolors as well as ink drawings of the many motels of Reno from their heyday that you can color; Jacqui Isensee‘s oil paintings; and Pam Sutton‘s work in glass. Shiva del Carlo and her “ReincarnArt” which was a combination of collage and adornment of everyday objects, especially hubcaps as well as the photographs of her daughter, Tempest. And this was just what went on at Wildflower Village!

My original piece on NadaDADA was over six pages long and that still wasn’t enough to really cover it. NadaDADA is a unique event that could only spring up in Reno: as it is not a juried art show and the artist has total control and artistic freedom to present whatever they want to the world. I can only suggest that you go to next year’s event to see what’s all about and be sure to make it to all of the rooms and totally experience what NadaDADA has to offer. Or even better- go get your own room and participate in NadaDADA yourself and really see what it’s about!


All Reno Radio Takes a New Spin

David Hadel, the man behind All Reno Radio, at Earth Day 2011. Courtesy David Hadel

David Hadel, the man behind All Reno Radio, at Earth Day 2011. Courtesy David Hadel

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saw: “Give something to a busy man and he’ll finish it?”

A couple days ago, David sat down with Kyle and me over at The Hub and we talked about All Reno Radio and a few other things.  David is a very busy man, doing a lot of things, but now he’s primarily the man behind All Reno Radio.

Initially All Reno Radio was started by local raconteur and entrepreneur Clint Jolly with some help from David Hadel and a mutual friend of theirs named Chris. The idea was that they interviewed local bands and promoted local shows. If you’ve been following the site, there’s not been an update since March and the excellent post about Discology. Why? “Clint’s transferred everything to me since I was going a 1000 miles a minute.  Clint is out of it now.  Originally, I just started contacting bands and started doing it because I liked doing it.  I grew up in this scene and I like it.” So now, David has been running the site completely on his own- a one-man band doing the entire thing. He’s taken some time to get things back on track, and now he’s going to start doing All Reno Radio on a consistent basis.

The focus with All Reno Radio is like it was: to put a spotlight on bands in Reno and give them a chance to promote their shows.  David has done all kinds of guerrilla marketing for the site  from stickers to t-shirts and he’s getting all kinds of people interested in the site and his podcast.  “I’m trying to make everything incredibly local….It’s been something fun to do for me.”  And that’s just the least of his plans- he wants to open a record store, and he wants to record local artists, and even press vinyl.  He’s writing novels and screenplays, playing music in various bands, and doing All Reno Radio.  And, he wants people to go out and check out local bands live: “I try to drag out my friends to go to shows.  There’s a lot of great local bands and people need to go out and see them.”

Being a one man band has slowed him down, but not too much. Dave is in the process of updating and interviewing local bands, so look for him! If you want to know more about All Reno Radio, check out the website at: http://allrenoradio.com/ and his Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/allrenoradio “There’s so much great music that can be discovered here and I want to help it.  People just don’t know about it, but I want to let them know about it.”

My Flag Is On Fire/Phosphorescent/Family Band Show at Lincoln Lounge, April 19

Show Poster for MFIOF/Phosphorescent/Family Band at Lincoln Lounge April 19, 2011

My Flag Is On Fire will play a show, this coming Tuesday, April 19.  The show will be at the Lincoln Lounge 302 E. 4th St Reno, NV, starting at 8:30 pm. 

They’ll be playing with Phosphorescent, and Family Band, two interesting sounding bands on tour from the wilds of Brooklyn, New York. 

Tickets for this show are $7 in advance from http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/166601 or $9 at the door.  I’ll be there and I hope I see you there.

QRA- In a Thrift Store, yo!

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time in thrift stores. Quickly scanning the aisles for janky old keyboards, or rad Janus films in the bargain bins. To the layman, you spend an inordinate amount of time sneering at garbage with a bunch of other jerks. This would be fine and dandy if it weren’t for the aforementioned ‘other jerks’. Case in point being that most of them have little to no respect for unhindered paths, or aisles. Much to the chagrin of their fellow shoppers, they will block whole aisles by extending their bodies, shopping carts and children. In such a manner that enemy soldiers could take cover behind their brood.

This is the tale of one such occasion.

It was shortly after 2010, in the future world of 2011. I think it was Tuesday. I was walking through the Goodwill on Oddie, in Sparks [booo-hisss].

As I approached one such obstruction (a mother with a cart and her teen son) I noticed the son placing an unwanted shirt on a lingerie rack (snicker).
I stopped to stare at the discarded Elway jersey with a slight but noticeable grimace of disdain. Having made my point, I went to pass the 5′ 2″-110lb kid, who instead of moving slightly to be considerate, decided instead to engage me in a staring match that included a quick, jerky motion from his arms and upper-torso.  The kind of motion that is referred to as “fronting” in middle schools; thus intimidating other insecure males. So, I stopped and continued to stare at him until he broke eye contact and walked away. Which all-in-all was a good thing, being as I’m not usually in the mood to be punked-out by a twelve year old with a pretty blue earring. When the path to the electronics department is sealed off, I tend to develop super-prison-laser-eyes(tm). They worked in this situation, but the next victim of Skyler’s “fronting” might just turn his neck into a sprinkler.

Now this QRA may seem minor.

“Oh, they were just blocking an aisle. Go around them.”

There was no ‘around them,’ two people and a shopping cart managed to fill the aisle, and set up a pretty good check point. Being as there are two main arteries in the store, it could be argued that they were creating a fire hazard. I didn’t have any matches.

QRA: What in the Reno is “QRA?”


About two weeks ago, a truck driver came to my work to pick up freight, as happens on a semi-regular basis here.  Upon walking in my dock door, he had this angry, “Don’t mess with me,” attitude, but overcompensated to the power of ten.  He did his job, and he didn’t say a word, but it was the look in the eyes, and the way he trounced about my warehouse.  It must have been a territorial thing, or a “I’m a dog in a new house,” tail-stiff-as-a-board, haunches shaking and teeth ready to go.  I had never seen this guy before, and since I’m in my warehouse, I have little to fear from this guy, as his nature was defensive more so than anything.  At work, I’m typically a focused, direct, organized and no-bullshit kind of guy, and on top of it, I’m normally very easy to get along with.  Ask anyone who has worked with me.  Overall, I wasn’t afraid of this guy, there was no need to be.  I’ve seen dangerous people, they don’t “look like,” anything, they just give off this electricity.  This poor truck driver just came off as… upset.

I treated this guy as I do most people who act like this, especially in a professional environment, I simply ignored the attitude, talked with him, pried a bit of information out of him, and eventually it lightened him up.  Evidently, he and I both worked at UPS at the hub in Sparks at similar times, and that really made a difference to him.  Off he went, me none the wiser.

Today happens.  I get a visit from the same guy to pick up some freight, except this time, he is practically elated to see me.  He rushes over, maneuvers the dock plate, grabs the freight with my pallet jack, bullshits with me like we’re old pals, fills out paperwork and is just a gem of a truck driver.  He really wanted to linger around and shoot the crap, talk shop, all that, which I really didn’t mind, but in my head I’m thinking… “…what in manic Reno hell?”   It was quite funny, but at least the guy was a bit more relaxed, if not just as overcompensating.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had this happen in this town.  Really, similar instances happen far too often.

We have a concept here at Burncards we like to call “QRA.”  It stands for “Quintessential Reno Attitude.”   You can thank Ken Manz for this concept, adapted from “TCB,” or “Typical Cracker Behavior,” the stereotypically-sad instance wherein white people repeat specific activities, notions or…behavior.   Like TCB, the QRA end of things is aimed at a group of people (Renoites, mostly) that seem to represent a stereotypical attitude toward just about anything.   Some notable examples are, in my experience:

1)  Spitting on new things, art, windows and the mirrors of bathrooms.

2)  If male, spitting in an overly tough manner when passing by another male on the street, doubly-effective if putting a bounce in your step while doing this.

3)  Yelling “faggot,” at pedestrians, while in moving cars, through the open windows.

4)  Avoiding and talking about the Citifare bus system as “The Shame Train.”

5)  Witnessing something totally unacceptable in public and not doing a thing about it (call cops, tell them to stop, inform security) and then complaining to everyone else who won’t do a thing about it, either.

6)  Finding just about any excuse NOT to do something about anything:  It’s too hot outside/it’s too cold outside, it’s too new/it’s too old, it’s too corporate/it’s too small, it’s downtown/it’s not downtown, it’s boring, I hate the people who go there, it’s not local/there’s no selection, blah blah blah.

7)  Using the roads, highways and byways as a place to enforce your personal philosophy about speed, who-owns-what-lane, freeway merging, and who should or shouldn’t be in front of you.

8)  When making a free right turn, honking obnoxiously at people in the crosswalk when pedestrians have the right of way with the little lit-up walking dude.

9)  Going above and beyond, way, way, way beyond, for not purpose or goal, but a over-the-top way of getting noticed/attention, making your point, or stating your general existence.  See this video.

10)  Being tough.  Looking tough.  Talking tough.  Spitting tough.  Doing so in groups, at dog parks, at bars, in public, wherever other tough people might be.

What this gentleman expressed in my place of business both two weeks ago and today are prime examples of “QRA.”  I’ve noticed similar attitudes in towns of the same size and general demographics as Reno, but not quite as strong as here.   Let’s face it:  We’re a bunch of edgy folks, very territorial, with something to prove, unwilling to suggest alternatives to anything that sucks, and yet the first to bitch when there’s a problem.  When we do this in public for all to see, we’re committing QRA.

In a way, the QRA is a study of Reno, and there’s probably a multitude of reasons why Reno does things like this.

In recent discussions, a lot of people have genuinely found Reno becoming a less safe place to be.  Violent crime has gone up overall, I’ve heard of rapings, muggings, and robberies increasing.  This is serious stuff, folks!  QRA be damned, at one point we used to be a pleasantly safe city, perhaps with a lot of misanthrope attitude and unmerry passers-by, but when people start really having problems in their own town, it’s time to put that shit aside, especially when there’s no real reason or root cause for it.  Our fake toughness, ignorance, whining and being scared ain’t going to cut it if we don’t become a community.

QRA as a label is intentionally funny.  It really doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s just an embarrassing part of why Reno tends to be a drag-ass city when things are trying to get someplace, culture to be established or status to be gained.   Much like the guy who stopped by my warehouse on the first visit, realized I didn’t play dice and then turned it around the next time we saw each other, maybe we can think about this when we’re being straight up assholes, whiners and defeatist/obstructionists out there.   This from is someone who both loves and loathes this town, has been here long enough to know better, and gets sucked into QRA with the best of them now and again.

Until then, allow us to post future instances of QRA: we encourage you to share your own instances of QRA either via e-mail, video, pictures or comments here at Burncards.com.   Hell, extra points if you recount yourself doing it!

Perhaps while we’re addressing the issue of QRA we can have some fun with it as well.  Which, incidentally, is a little QRA in itself.