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Netherfriends: Reno, NV

From 2010 – 2011, Shawn Rosenblatt, aka Netherfriends, took on a challenge: Play a show and write a song in each of the 50 states. This is the song that he wrote in Reno:

Repair Cafés- Where You Can Get a Quick Fix

The Repair Café logo from repaircafe.nl

The Repair Café logo from repaircafe.nl

I can think of a dozen times when I’ve had something break on me that wasn’t worth fixing. Most things nowadays are made to break and not be fixed, just replaced with a new one. This creates so much trash and waste of not just computers and other electronic items, but clothes, household items, hardware, even sporting goods, that could all be fixed and used for a while longer instead of making more landfill. The void left by repair shops that have closed up over the last few years is about to be filled.

Some people in Amsterdam (I guess it’s Dutch Week here at BC) came together and created the idea of Repair Cafés. Here’s a NY Times article about Repair Cafés. And, the original website for the Repair Cafés– it’s in Dutch, so use Google or have Ken translate for you since he could use the practice. There, people have the tools and expertise available to fix all manner of things from clothes, to computers, to bikes, and everything else. The idea might have started in Amsterdam, but it’s spreading throughout the Netherlands and going international.

Since we already have a Maker Group and several other interesting collectives doing DIY stuff here in Reno, why not a Repair Café? I’m sure many people locally would be into it- I know I would be.

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!

Western Lithium – Getting To The Next Stage

In a press release outlined here,  Western Lithium, which has a large, budding project here in Northern Nevada (as well as having a base of U.S. operations in Reno),  has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.   This means another move towards commercialization of lithium carbonate from the Company’s Kings Valley Lithium Project which is located in Humboldt County, Nevada.

The idea is that batteries can be made–batteries that can power cars and other things we might like to use some day, every day.

A quote from the release:

“Purity is critical for battery-grade materials such as lithium carbonate, which is the precursor material in lithium battery technologies,” said Argonne scientist Ilias Belharouak, who will lead a team of researchers on the Western Lithium project. “Our team will work with Western Lithium to develop a battery specification for lithium carbonate produced from the Company’s Kings Valley clay. This research will enhance the pilot study work that has already been completed.”

Get Nevada working, I always say, because we need it!



Classic Skate Shop – The Biggest Little Skate Shop in Reno

It’s no secret, really, I love MidTown Reno.   What is MidTown, you ask?  Roughly between California Ave to Plumb Lane, between Forest Street and Wells Avenue.   There’s places to eat, drink, shop, and hang out.   It’s a real neighborhood, and has everything from trashy to quasi-upscale.  With a little help, even more great tenants moving in, some sidewalk re-doing and some lights, it’s Reno’s most bustling place for local, new business.   I can’t wait to see what happens to it in the next few years—-it is going to be a model of what Reno can be.

So what makes MidTown?  MidTown, like most places, is uniquely the sum of its parts.

One of its parts, is the Classic Skate Shop, tucked neatly in the back of the Never Ender boutique on Cheney Street.   Situated just doors down from The Hub Coffee Company, I had never gone into the Never Ender because I heard it was a “chick store.”  No sooner did I enter in there and discover I was wrong, I eventually explored further and found Eric Lantto sitting in his skate shop.  Introductions and appreciation from my end turned into a long conversation, and lo, what went from a little exploration on my part turned into a great appreciation for a laid-back, business-savvy and cool guy.

Open since December of last year, on the wall are tiled pictures of skaters old and new inside this tiny shop, and when I say tiny, I mean it.  Use of space is remarkable.   It has no shortage of products, mind you, if you’re an active skateboarder, everything is there that you need:  decks, trucks, bearings, wheels, stickers, shirts, hats and more.   No bigger than a bedroom, Eric’s approach to his skate shop is to not be a “fashion shop” for skater lifestyle (hence, he doesn’t want to deal with bulky inventory such as shoes), but to be a shop where a skateboarder can come and buy gear to…skateboard.

Eric started skating in roughly 1984, and growing up in Fallon, his hobby wasn’t always an easy thing to do.  With no skate parks, friends would build ramps, word would get out, and soon skaters from farther away (even Gardnerville and Lake Tahoe) would stop by.   As Eric grew, he realized he’d always be intrinsically involved with skateboarding, and eventually landed in the business side of it.   He’d do everything from punk-style fliers for local skate contests for sponsorships to reviewing videos and working for outfits like Fish Lips, Gold Wing/Entity Skateboards, DC Shoes, and currently, Street League, where he helps as a stage director when his skaters need to be involved with events covered by ESPN.

The uniqueness and vibe from Eric’s shop is evident, even for non-skaters like myself.   A lot of it has to do with Eric’s cool approach, but his knowledge and clean shop, filled with only the brands and lines he backs 100%, speak for themselves.   He’ll size up and match parts to beginners, building their first skateboard from scratch, or just sell the parts more experienced skaters need to keep them rolling forward.   As Eric says, “There are no rules to skateboarding.”

Eric loves what he does, and does what he loves involving skateboarding.  When I stopped in to talk to him the other day for this article, one thing he said hit me:  “This has never been a job for me.”   No wonder he loves it, and hence, is very good at it.  With a second store in his hometown of Fallon first open in May of 2009, he makes the commute quite frequently between here and Reno, and really enjoys having the smaller stores.  With a quickly growing clientele as word gets around, local skaters have a rock-solid local choice of where to go for the stuff they need.

I enjoyed talking with Eric, and am growing to be friends with a great guy, yet another reason why I can’t speak enough about MidTown Reno.  These shops, restaurants, coffee places and bars are owned by some of the best of Reno, what makes Reno….Reno.   Fun, quirky, different, and totally different than downtown proper or whatever strip mall might be in the area.   Next time, I’ll be talking about the Never Ender where Classic Skate Shop is located, because you really can’t have one without the other!

Classic Skate Shop is located…

In Reno:

26 Cheney St, inside Never Ender, south of Maytan Music, west of The Hub
775-348-9440    Facebook: Classic Skate Shop

In Fallon:

Their new location will be:  270 S. Main Street, inside Hazel’s Fashion

Reno Image – Scattered Pride, Bitchy Inaction and Trashy Chic

Normally I don’t like to give other alt-weeklies, be they paper or online, much of a mention, as one of two things will occur.  One, I’d be seen as piggybacking on ideas and writing them (…which I kind of am right now…) and the other is boldly standing dependent on the output of another.

This is different.  The Reno News & Review, long-time alt-weekly of Reno, love it or hate it, is presenting an editorial, kind of doing what a lot of folks are doing in and about Reno: identifying a problem, chanting negativity, and leaving little else in the way of solutions.

It’s a subject I have talked about and discussed, pondered and chin-scratched over for years, more recently tackling some other ideas and thoughts via God Hates Reno, the predecessor to this here site called Burncards.  Why Burncards even exists, and GHR before it, was the idea that Reno can be more than it is.  It seems like such a theme in so many people’s eyes, that Reno can be so much more, but we’re almost hard-wired to expect it NOT to be.  Investors come in thinking this is an easy cleanup job, invest in a few properties and rake in the cash–it ain’t that easy.  Nor is it easy to have a necessarily good viewpoint on this town, and so I give a partial pass to those who might highlight their negativity.

This time I’m going to into a bit of a criticism-of-a-criticizer’s role, which seems mighty pointless, until I justify my intent.  I realize news and opinion, public opinion and the like, are really based around honesty.  I might add as well, there is no dishonesty going on.  What I do see, however, is a matter of civic pride that seems to almost be a cliche in Reno, because usually, we have none.  It’s quite easy for any one of us to write up a laundry list of what sucks here, and we look at fan-boys and girls of this town that actually like it here as eccentric nobodies–I mean, how many times have you heard someone say, “Oh well I’m STUCK here like the rest of the few displaced talented/cool/rich/decent people.”   Erm, okay.   Real nice attitude.

Editorials are great.  In the futureworld of 2011, EVERYONE gets an opinion.  The problem is, opinions are not always geared with the intent of the recipient, it’s usually the ego of the writer.  The  R&NR editorial piece here, as written by anonymous, is worth exploring.  It is a typical and classic example of what we here at Burncards call QRA, (also search the site for “QRA” for other instances).   We have here, someone who apparently has remained nameless, sitting back, comfortably on a computer, basically blackballing Reno.  They get a pass and a nod because they aren’t all wrong.  What isn’t flying with me is the commonness of how this is applied versus nothing being DONE about it.  No where in the article, which outlines McCarran’s inner ring as a source if problems (never mind MidTown, a baseball stadium, the Old Southwest neighborhoods, parks, rivers, art galleries, bike paths, etc etc etc etc etc etc), dropping the typical “Vegas” comparison (which, if you know me, L.V. can K.M.A.),  further comparing to San Francisco, then just going after low blows calling vendors “carnies,” and essentially calling the town a circus.  The town needs a little help, especially downtown, and no one is perfect.

My question is, who is this bitter San Jose vacationer, and how faster can I get his or her ass back to their two-story, expensive, cookie-cutter, law-saturated utopia?  Did you bother leaving your Silver Legacy suite on a weekday special or just sit in your room on the Internet calling up Yelp reviews and opinion columns?

Perhaps it is a local.  To that I challenge, so what’s your solution?  Should YOU move or should you start enjoying funnel cakes and Natty Ice by the river?  There’s some really fun, dirty, shameful things to do in this town, along with some pretty sophisticated “big city” type lifestyles.  That’s part of the charm.  Without either of those things, it’s chain coffee shops, check loan cashing joints and bad gringo-fresh-Mex food—-utter HELL in my eyes.

The ludicrous end in this pointless debate stops where the words start:  so where’s the SOLUTIONS?  I know so many business owners that not only are out there doing something for a living, they’re making a community!  Beyond them are event organizers that are NOT Hot Exhaust Blights oriented, couldn’t give two shits about Street Vibrations or ArTown, and actually work quite hard to turn over zero profit for the sake of culture.  They exist in art galleries, on small side streets off Virginia, occasionally develop in living rooms, basements or warehouses.  Side streets, converted dwellings and even motels running art spaces.  Music ideas turn to bands that turn venues that turn to scenes.  Cookingklatches can turn to groups to co-ops to restaurants.  Coffee and beer aficionados throw caution and life savings to the wind and risk it all for a business they really love—that all come together and create a TOWN they love, so that people will have something more.

There really is no excuse to come here, live here or even leave your front door, if all Reno is and ever will be is a dead shell, compared to Vegas and San Francisco (like comparing a 1949 Porsche to a 2011 Bentley–i.e, unfair) and call residents nothing but (and I mean, no exceptions) trash and losers.

It is suggested Reno has an image problem.  I say residents then must have an acceptance problem.  When we are faced with a problem, and they (defined as anyone else but the complainant) can’t fix it, then you (defined as you) find out how to exploit and enjoy it.  Lemons into lemonade, ya know.  See this website?  The one I made before it?  My bands?  My shows?  My participation in my community?  Yeah.  Get the picture?  Here, I’ll help those that are a little lost to understand:  I don’t know how to fix this town, but I DO make it better.  It’s called effort.

There are then those that simply need to get out and go make some other town miserable.  They are hopeless.  They are the losers.  They make a career out of their own inaction and thrive on the lack of effort of others.  No art museum is big enough, no event classy enough, no party exclusive enough, no business front-page enough will ever, ever, satisfy them.  With that said, I love this town, that’s why I stay here, work here, live here, drink here, play here and enjoy my many good neighbors, fellow business owners and ultimately:  people that are INTO Reno.   WE are THIS TOWN!

May Reno’s real, positive and constructive voices, efforts and success rise above those that chain themselves like anchors to this town’s feet and keep it down by ignorance and rhetoric alone.

Reno pride, motherfuckers.

Melodious Punk Download or Why I Manage To Post Cool Stuff When Out Of Town

Melodious Punk has a new album out: “Sex, Death and Videogames.”   Yes, click here to download it, and donate him a few bucks, why don’t’cha (click “Buy Now,” and name your price!)

As I tagged him “Local Spaceboy,” in the Reno Noise Night event (which went off without a hitch, and thanks to all who attended) he comes now with a collection of spacey and wonderful sexiness to stir your emotions, reduce your inhibitions, and require you to do so in zero gravity.

I have enjoyed Kevin Fredericks’ music for some time, and this is no exception.  Experimental, guitar, synth and beats come together in a atmospheric swooning you shall soon not forget.

I’m not just saying this because I’m filled with drinks and good times from a work excursion to Winnemucca and visiting the wonderful “The Pig,” barbecue joint, either.  I mean every single damn word. Enjoy your copy of “Sex, Death and Videogames,” today!

The Salvagery Community Art Project

The Salvagery Community Art Project in action in the Hobson Gallery!

The Salvagery Community Art Project in action in the Hobson Gallery!

The latest show by The Salvagery at the Hobson Gallery is an interactive experience that the entire community is invited to and can participate in. The Salvagery Community Art Project will go through the whole month of July and it should be a very engaging month of art.
I went to the Hobson Gallery a little after 7 and found the front area mostly empty. There is a sculpture show that is going on there and is very much worth looking at. The main action is going on in the back room of the Hobson; in there, were several dozen people sitting at tables, painting on little pieces of wood. Immediately after you enter, there is a table with pieces of wood of various sizes, some with lines and some without and next to that is another table with paint, plates for palates, brushes, and water to clean your brushes. The wood to paint on comes from two large paintings that have been cut into hundreds of small pieces for this show. You can do anything you want on your piece, but if there is a letter on one side of it, you can’t do anything on that. After all the pieces will are painted, they will be reassembled and then finally displayed on July 27. There is a small group of people who know what the paintings are, and no one is talking.

Pieces of the Art Puzzle, painted by you!

Pieces of the Art Puzzle, painted by you!

After some hemming and hawing, I ended up getting some paint and a piece of the puzzle. I ended up painting three pieces, talking and chatting with my fellow artists and seeing many familiar faces. Jerry Snyder acted as MC for the show, reminding all those attending what to do and how to do it. Then, Christy Lynn got up and sang some of her songs as we painted and chatted. It was a great addition to the atmosphere and feeling of the show. After Christy finished, James Wilsey came up to sing and play for us. The live music is a great addition to the show and would be another reason to come out for it.

If you missed the first Wednesday of July, you have two more chances to come out and contribute to the painting on July 13th and 20th. The show runs from 7 pm to 10 pm and there will be refreshments and live music. On the 27th, the completed and two reassembled paintings will be unveiled to the world. Come out to the Hobson Gallery on 315 Spokane (Spo-can) Street and create some art during this month of “art”, you won’t be sorry that you did.

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!


Some Pre-Weekend Cyclist Humor

Originally taken from this website, we have here NYC cyclist Casey proving a point that the law, even the law you get fined upon infraction, cannot always be followed to the letter.   Granted, his method isn’t exactly suggested, it’s worth a laugh, no matter if you prefer gas pedals or geared ones:



Ride and drive safe out there, folks.

(…thanks to Adam for finding this wonderful gem…)