150 things for 150 years
Nevada media over the last century and a half
This fall, Nevada has its 150th birthday—its sesquicentennial. And soon enough the weather will cool down and we'll all be more prone to staying indoors and reading a book, watching a movie, catching up on our TV shows on Netflix or listening to music. In that spirit, we've brought you 150 Nevada-themed media items to get you prepped and ready for the season.
1. Gold Canyon Switch Nevada’s first known newspaper, Johnstown’s Gold Canyon Switch of 1854, was handwritten, one of several handwritten mining camp papers over the years.
2. The Misfits The Misfits is a 1961 drama featuring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe and is set mostly in Reno. Monroe’s character is recently divorced and even throws her ring into the Truckee River.
3. “Little Motel” by Modest Mouse music video This unconventional music video shot by Reno native Justin Francis with all local actors in 2007 was filmed entirely in Reno. It shows a young boy dying and his mom taking him from the hospital to die in a little motel, but the visuals are played in reverse.
4. “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash The most famous pop cultural reference to the city of Reno is in Johnny Cash’s lyric, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” in “Folsom Prison Blues,” from his album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. The song, appropriately enough, opens up this live album actually recorded in the prison in 1968.
5. First libraries A Carnegie Free Public Library was established in Reno in 1904, the area’s first. A Sparks library opened in 1932, Stead in 1973, Incline Village in 1978.
6. Eric Whitacre Popular composer and conductor Eric Whitacre was born in Reno in 1970 and studied music at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas prior to attending Julliard School of Music in New York.
7. California Split Right in the middle of his hot streak that included hits like MASH and Nashville, Robert Altman made this 1974 prototypical buddy comedy about a couple of dudes (George Segal and Elliot Gould, in his handsome, charming prime) who come to Reno for a poker game. Many of the casino scenes were shot at the Mapes, the classic casino that some jackasses tore down more than a decade ago to make room for a fucking ice rink.
8. KOJ radio On May 1, 1922, Nevada State University in Reno was issued a federal license for the state’s first radio station, with call letters KOJ. It was later revoked without going live.
9. The Loom of the Desert Long ago, travelers “worked their way back from the Western sea,” Idah Meacham Strobridge wrote in 1907 in the story collection The Loom of the Desert, “to stop at those Nevada cañons where there was silver to be had for the delving.”
10. The Crew If you ask somebody from Dubuque or Baltimore or Toronto or wherever to name a band from Reno, Nevada, chances are they won’t be able to, unless they’re into punk rock and hardcore, in which case, they’ll say, without hesitation, “7 Seconds. Duh.” The band’s first full-length LP came out in 1984.
11. Television in Tonopah and Ely In 1955 television came to Tonopah and in 1956 to Ely.
12. Atomic test site art In the 1950s, atomic test sites were such an attraction that they inspired art and posters. http://bit.ly/1nOYg6l.
13. Jena Malone Actress Jena Malone was born in Sparks in 1984. She recently played Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
14. Fitzsimmons/Corbett fight Nevada’s first known movie was shot on St. Patrick’s Day 1897 in Carson City—the Bob Fitzsimmons/Jim Corbett prizefight, attended by thousands. Fitzsimmons won.
15. Tremors Perfection, Nevada, the setting of the horror movie, Tremors (1990), about giant killer earthworms, isn’t a real town, and the movie was actually shot around Lone Pine, California, which is on the Eastern edge of the Sierras, so at least it really looks Nevada.
16. Virginia City The Olivia de Havilland western Virginia City had star-studded premieres at theatres in Virginia City and Reno on March 16, 1940.
17. “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money music video If you look closely, you might notice that the 1986 “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money music video was shot in the University of Nevada, Reno’s own Lawlor Events Center.
18. “Loser” by Beck “Baby’s in Reno with the Vitamin D/Got a couple of couches/Sleep on the loveseat”: What do these lyrics from Beck’s 1993 song mean? Who knows? Who cares?
19. Shanghai Noon This 2000 Western/Kung Fu mishmash with Jackie Chan, was shot elsewhere, but it’s set in Carson City.
20. One Sound State In 1936, the Nevada State Journal and the First National Bank of Nevada sent out this magazine-format booklet to 10,000 millionaires around the nation.
21. Pink Cadillac The 1989 Clint Eastwood film, Pink Cadillac, is about a woman running from a bounty hunter and a group of white supremacists in her husband’s pink Cadillac. There are several Northern Nevada locations in this film, and she’s finally found in Reno.
22. Reno 911! About a decade ago, if you were a Renoite traveling anywhere outside the state and you happened to mention where you lived, people would almost always ask, “So, what do people in Reno think about that show Reno 911!?” (The show aired from 2003 to 2009.) The answer, of course, is that it’s a funny show that has basically nothing to do with the real Reno.
23. KDZK radio On May 29, 1922, Broili’s Nevada Machinery & Electric was issued a radio station license and call letters KDZK and went on the air July 21 —the state’s first on-air radio station.
24. Original Amateur Hour In September 1954, Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour, which ran on four television networks during its 12 year run, was held in the University of Nevada gymnasium.
25. Home Improvement episode In a 1993 episode of Home Improvement—“A Sew Sew Evening”—we learn that Al was stationed at a Navy base in Fallon for a time.
26. Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women by Dr. Alexa Albert There may be more books about Nevada’s brothels than there are actual working girls. This 2002 title is of good repute.
27. The Godfather Part II Spoiler alert for a 1974 movie that you really should have seen by now, damn it! So, is Fredo Corleone’s body still in Lake Tahoe?
28. Top Gun Top Gun (1986) is about a Naval pilot (Tom Cruise) training at the Navy’s Top Gun Fighter school in San Diego. Many of the aerial scenes were shot in Fallon.
29. Bonanza Long-running—1950 to 1973—and wildly popular, Bonanza starred an iconic Virginia City ranching family. You may not know the Cartwrights, but we all know the Ponderosa.
30. Miss Nevada on Bonanza Two Nevadan pop culture symbols intersected: Former Miss Nevada Dawn Wells made the first of two appearances on Bonanza in “The Way Station,” Oct. 29, 1962.
31. Leaving Las Vegas Remember the big sex scene in this 1995 Oscar-winning flick? With Nicolas Cage pouring booze all over Elizabeth Shue’s breasts? It’s a super depressing movie, but for some reason we remember that scene fondly.
32. The Shootist In 1986 John Wayne played his last role in The Shootist, about an old gunfighter with terminal cancer who goes to Carson City for his final days.
33. The Jean Ford Collection Campaign papers and more dating between 1958 and 1990 from Nevada activist, preservationist and legislator Jean Ford are safely stored at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
34. Sister Act Released in 1992, Sister Act is about a lounge singer in Reno who is put into the witness protection program and has to pretend to be a nun in San Francisco to hide from a mob boss.
35. Television and child care In 1947 University of Nevada electrical engineering professor Irving Sandorf told the Reno Kiwanis Club that television could be used for child care.
36. Stained Class by Judas Priest This 1978 Judas Priest album has long been a Northern Nevada favorite. Be sure to crank it up during “Better by You, Better by Me” so that you don’t miss any of the subliminal messages.
37. “Reno” by Bruce Springsteen This song from Bruce Springsteen’s 2005 album Devils & Dust contains the lyrics, “’200 dollars straight in/250 up the ass,’ she smiled and said/She unbuckled my belt, pulled back her hair/And sat in front of me on the bed.” Yep.
38. The Green Felt Jungle The Green Felt Jungle, a 1963 national best seller on mobbed-up Nevada, hit way too close to home for Nevada’s promoters, politicians—and mobsters.
39. “New Year’s Eve in Reno” by Hal Swift “I’m settin’ in the station in Reno, Nevada,” muses poet Hal Swift in this poem, “waitin’ for m’bus t’come in.”
40. The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s first novel, The Ox Bow Incident, was published in 1940, the first of the Nevadan’s three novels, now considered a classic. A movie version was made three years later, and it was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
41. Friday Night This 2011 remake of an ’80s vampire flick is largely unnecessary, but it sinks its teeth in the old idea that the suburbs of Las Vegas are the perfect place for the soulless living dead.
42. Twins The “Which twin has the Toni?” advertising campaign for home permanent kits began in 1950 with Nevada’s Eleanor and Jeanne Fulstone as the first set of twins.
43. “Reno, Nevada” by Fairport Convention Folkie Richard Farina, best known for being married to Joan Baez’s sister, wrote this song, but the definitive version from 1968 is by the great English folk-rock band Fairport Convention, feauturing some amazing, virtuosic but tasteful guitar playing by Richard Thompson.
44. Microwave stations In Aug. 1951 a string of nine microwave stations across Nevada began carrying telephone calls, and started carrying television signals in September.
45. The Hangover After all the sequels and rip-offs, it’s easy to forget what a comedic revelation this movie was in 2009. And great fucking branding and promotion or whatever for the state’s biggest tourist trap.
46. The Professionals The Professionals (1966) is one of a dozen movies made in Nevada’s Valley of Fire, and the one that makes the best use of the scenery.
47. Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James This book by Will James—a real Washoe Valley cowboy—has stayed in print since 1926 and been made into several movies.
48. Television for the Olympics Verdi residents voted for a tax to pay for a translator to bring television signals into town in time for the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics.
49. Olympics coverage Mapes Hotel publicist Harry Spencer established a press room on the hotel’s top floor for the international press covering the Olympics.
50. The Wizard This stupid 1988 movie about video games is best remembered for introducing American audiences to the video game Super Mario Bros. 3. But nobody has ever been as excited to visit Reno as Fred Savage is in this movie.
51. Arthur Raycraft In 1909-1911, Tonopah’s Arthur Raycraft was experimenting with wireless (radio) stations, leading to a long radio career in Nevada.
52. “All the Way to Reno (You’re Gonna Be a Star)” by R.E.M. Fuck you, R.E.M.
53. “Caricatures by Hickman” Reno Gazette-Journal cartoonist Jeff Hickman has catalogued the area’s conflicts and characters for more than a decade. Behold: http://bit.ly/1xPxDYO.
54. “Friend of the Devil” by The Grateful Dead This 1970 Grateful Dead tune is one of the many songs that characterize Reno as a destination for sketchy, drugged-out, crazy people. Not sure what that’s about.
55. Winnemucca, A Small Town Fairytale by Laura A.H. Elliott A road trip fosters a coming-of-age story in Laura A.H. Elliott’s 2011 novel.
56. The Ignoble Conspiracy The Ignoble Conspiracy (1986) by Sally Springmeyer Zanjani and Guy Louis Rocha won posthumous pardons for labor radicals wrongly convicted of murder in 1907 Goldfield.
57. “Wrong Side of the Road” by Tom Waits Tom Waits, the great, iconoclastic songwriter, has several songs that mention Reno—including this one from his 1978 album Blue Valentines, which mentions “Spendin’ someone else’s dough/And we’ll drive all the way to Reno/On the wrong side of the road.”
58. Rebel Nation by Shaunta Grimes The second book in the young adult, dystopian series starting with Viral Nation came out in July. Grimes is a Renoite.
59. Charley Varrick This 1973 crime thriller is a great one for catching glimpses of what Reno—not to mention every little town in the Carson Valley—looked like in the 1970s. Walter Matthau stars.
60. “Reno” by Doug Supernaw “Reno,” a 1993 ditty, thoroughly covers gambling, whiskey, romantic despair and other country staples.
61. Willis Pressel In 1915, Willis Pressel became the state’s first federally licensed radio amateur, with a station atop Reno City Hall and a call of 6VI.
62. Kingpin The final bowling game between Bill Murray and Woody Harrelson’s characters in the 1996 movie Kingpin was shot and takes place in the National Bowling Stadium here in Reno.
63. The Ballad of Cable Hogue This surprising 1970 Sam Peckinpah film was shot in the Valley of Fire, and the lyrical Western still has a wide fan base.
64. Supercar If anyone remembers this Gerry Anderson puppet television series, it’s probably the baby boomers. The 39-episode series (1960-1961) was set in Black Rock, Nevada.
65. “From the Interior: Calaveras” in the Sacramento Union When a massive network of fugitives camped in Carson Valley in 1853, government officials called on rangers for help. http://bit.ly/X2NH8K.
66. Nevada by Steve Gerber A Vegas stripper’s pet ostrich is also her dancing partner in this trippy 1996 novel by Steve Gerber.
67. Nevada Weekly begins On November 17, 1993, Nevada Weekly, forerunner of the RN&R, began publication with an investigative cover story on Judge Jerry Whitehead.
68. Pontiac by the Atomiks David Calkins at the Discology music store has been talking about pressing the Atomiks’ 1995 debut album to vinyl. Somebody go over there and give him some money so he can do it.
69. Clear and Present Danger The Naval Air Station in Fallon was used again in this 1994 film starring Harrison Ford. It’s about a CIA analyst who is brought into a war against a Colombian drug cartel.
70. Nevada When a single woman wanders into Silver City, she creates a sensation. Or so it goes in this 1997 flick.
71. Uniquely Nevada by Dennis Myers and Rebecca O’Connor Of course, there is also the fine children’s book, Uniquely Nevada (2004), as an introduction to Nevada history.
72. Paiute Princess: The Story of Sarah Winnemucca by Deborah Kogan Ray This 2012 children’s book is packed with archives and illustrations.
73. The Go-Getter This 2007 independent film is set and filmed in Reno and Fallon at various points. It’s about a young boy who steals a car and goes on a road trip to find his estranged brother.
74. “Bye Bye Video Diary” This episode of the Disney Channel series Good Luck Charlie features the library and rec center at the University of Nevada, Reno.
75. First television stations Nevada’s first television station, KLAS in Las Vegas, went on the air July 22, 1953. KZTV in Reno followed on Sept. 27, 1953.
76. Burning Man: Art of Fire This book arrived in hardcover last month from a collective of writers, artists and photographers. Founder Larry Harvey even wrote the intro.
77. “Letter From Reese River” Meticulous descriptions of Central Nevada spring to life in the 1865 “Letter From Reese River.” http://bit.ly/1qHZKE1.
78. Damaged Goods by Hellbound Glory Country music troubadour Leroy Virgil’s shitkicking band Hellbound Glory has been repping Reno far and wide in recent years, and have put out a lot of great music, but this tears-in-your-beer record from a 2011 might be their best.
79. Austin Powers in Goldmember The Circus Circus Hotel and other views of Reno can be seen when Dr. Evil and Mini-Me dance in jail in the 2002 film, Austin Powers in Goldmember.
80. Reno by Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. Local promoters were furious with tax resident Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr.’s 1929 novel of the divorce colony, Reno (it became a 1930 movie).
81. “High Hopes” This episode of the Steven Spielberg sci-fi TV series Taken was set at Groom Lake in Nevada.
82. “Carson Valley” in the Sacramento Union Carson Valley horse thieves spurred this 1858 article. http://bit.ly/1tNWmKv.
83. Howard Hughes News Conference Perhaps Nevada’s most unusual record album,—an LP of the reclusive billionaire’s 1972 news conference where he was heard, not seen.
84. Carrie Fisher’s debut On June 23, 1971 actor Carrie Fisher made her show business debut at the Sparks Nugget, appearing in the show starring her mother (Debbie Reynolds).
85. Ghosts of America Like the heebie jeebies? The Ghosts of America website has photos of supposed Virginia City hauntings.
86. Roughing It by Mark TwainNevada’s first bestseller, on Twain’s Nevada years, was published as a prequel to The Innocents Abroad.
87. “Philadelphia Lawyer” by Woody Guthrie This Woody Guthrie tune, sometimes subtitled “(Reno Blues)” opens with the lyrics, “Way out in Reno, Nevada, where romance blooms and fades …”
88. Night Time in Nevada Roy Rogers and Trigger steal the show in this 1948 western.
89. Ducks Ducks by Theodocia Swecker For your next gift for a toddler, get Ducks Ducks (1998) by Winnemucca author/artist Theodocia Swecker. It tells of winter in Nevada mountains—for ducks.
90. Spark: A Burning Man Story This 2013 film goes behind the scenes to document some of the temporary city’s triumphs and challenges.
91. “Nevada Day”In this 2006 Studio 60 episode, a Hollywood figure got extradited from the Sunset Strip to Pahrump to face a failure-to-appear warrant from a speeding ticket, but it's Nevada Day so nobody is available to hear the case and they let the star go.
92. RN&R begins On Washington's birthday, 1995, the RN&R began publication with an investigative cover piece about a Nevada Supreme Court case.
93. Affair in Reno“They played a dangerous game of chance,” reads an absurdly dramatic 1957 movie poster, “with only their lives as the stakes.”
94. Desperation by Stephen King The 1996 Stephen King novel is about people travelling down Highway 50 in Nevada and being abducted by the deputy of the fictional town named Desperation.
95. “Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel” by Timothy O’Sullivan This may sound as dull as toast, but the accompanying landscapes from famed photographer Timothy O’Sullivan are breathtaking (1867; on view now at the Nevada Museum of Art).
96. Strangers by Dean Koontz The characters in this 2002 horror novel are all brought to the Tranquility Motel in the Nevada desert outside of Elko to figure out what was done to them and why.
97. Winnemucca by Willy Vlautin Before he was known as a movie-inspiring novelist, native son Willy Vlautin was known as the leader of the Uncle Tupelo-influenced alt-country band Richmond Fontaine. The group has released 10 studio albums, all littered with Nevada references, but this 2002 record has the most undeniably Nevadan title.
98. “The Sorry State of Nevada” The March 18, 1955, issue of Collier’s magazine inquired into “The Sorry State of Nevada,” describing many problems which remain unchanged today.
99. Fallout: New Vegas Few places seem to invite being recast as a radioactive post-apocalyptic wasteland quite as readily as Las Vegas. There aren’t quite as many mutants in the 2010 video game as actually live there now.
100. Sagebrushed: Coming of Age and Working in Nevada edited by Alan Deutschman This book is a collection of 12 personal essays by students of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Reynolds School of Journalism about growing up in the Silver State.
101. Magnolia This 1999 film takes place mainly in the San Fernando Valley, but the opening casino scene was shot in Reno. It revolves around interrelated characters and their quest for love and meaning.
102. The Cooler This 2003 romantic drama is set in a fictional Las Vegas casino called the Shangri-La, but the film was actually shot in the Golden Phoenix Reno—now the Montage—and used employees from the casino in the movie.
103. West of Carson City Boomtown lawlessness sets the tone in this 1940 Western starring Johnny Mack Brown.
104. Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman Tupelo Hassman’s first novel, published in 2013, is about a young girl who comes from a line of “biblically fertile” women living in the Calle—a trailer park in Reno—and is determined to break the chain.
105. 21 A group of MIT students and one professor take on Las Vegas casinos via card counting. Moral of the story: card counting is awesome. But I’m pretty sure it’s a little harder than it looks here.
106. “Adventures of a Middle-Aged College Student” by Paul George UNR alumnus Paul George wrote this short story about his journey through university life, and it was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: From Lemons to Lemonade in 2013.
107. Lightnin’ In 1918 Lightnin’, a play about a divorce hotel straddling the Nevada/California line at Lake Tahoe, began playing on Broadway, lasting three seasons and 1,291 performances.
108. 5 Against the House Five college kids decided to rob a downtown Reno casino. What a great idea! What could possibly go wrong? Today’s university students could learn a thing or two from this 1955 movie.
109. “Las Vegas” by Gram Parson Gram Parson’s 1974 ode to the dangers of the sin city is one of the best songs on his classic country album Grievous Angel.
110. Crime Story This Las Vegas television series (1986-1988) had a legendary season-ending cliffhanger in its first season, then was canceled in its second.
111. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation The 15th season on this Vegas-set police procedural show starts on Sept. 28. And yet some of us have still never seen an episode.
112. The Flamer by Ben Rogers Reno is the backdrop for arson and self-discovery in the 2012 debut novel from local engineer Ben Rogers.
113. “Nevada” by Deer Tick War Elephant, Deer Tick’s 2007 debut album, is a solid slab of alt-rock country, and a song that references our state in the title is one of the best on the album. But the band’s live show, as evidenced by their appearance at the Knitting Factory a few weeks ago, sure is a mess.
114. Push, Nevada You’re doing well if you remember this 2002 ABC television series that lasted for six weeks.
115. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson This 1971 novel is a quick, ubiquitous read that’ll pull you into a rabbit hole of vicarious drug use.
116. You Came Back by Christopher Coake Coake, a UNR associate professor, wrote this 2013 fiction novel about a man dealing with his son’s death and his own subsequent divorce when a woman living in his old home tells him his son is haunting the house.
117. Casino 1995. Martin Scorsese. Robert de Niro. Joe Pesci. Sharon Stone. What else do you need? Don Rickles? You got it.
118. “Drive Slow” by Kanye West featuring Paul Wall and GLC music video Hype Williams directed West’s video for this song, and it was shot mostly in the downtown areas of both Las Vegas and Reno in 2006.
119. Cadillac Desert by Marc ReisnerMarc Reisner's 1986 book dealt with water in the west and helped bring an end to the damaging era of dam building.
120. Twin PeaksThis classic TV show (1990-91) is set in Washington state and has nothing to do with Nevada, but Madchen Amick, who played a perennial damsel-in-distress, is from Sparks.
121. The Seven Brothers of Elko, a book series by Raeann BlakeThis romance series is an ongoing trilogy that began in 2012. The latest: Michael.
122. Love Ranch Love Ranch is a 2010 drama based on the lives of a married couple—Joe and Sally Conforte—who opened the Mustang Ranch, a legal brothel in Storey County.
123. Into the Wild The 2007 Sean Penn-written and directed film was based on the book of the same name by Jon Krakauer about Christopher McCandless’s travels across North America and into the Alaskan wilderness. There are a variety of Nevada locations shown in this film.
124. Bad Move Space Cadet by Zoinks! The 1995 record from the long defunct Reno band Zoinks! is probably the best-ever pop punk album to prominently feature the words “Ryland Street.” It’s wild that it’s almost 20 years old.
125. “Reno” by B. Raffetto “This is the place, and ‘ ‘X’ marks the spot, where lawyers untangle the marital knot.” Thus begins a romantic, undated poem written for a Reno postcard.
126. The Aviator A storied 1920s airmail route between Elko and Pasco was remembered in the 1985 Rosanna Arquette/Christopher Reeve movie The Aviator.
127. Trafficked No More documentary This is an emotional documentary about sex trafficking in Nevada that originally aired on every television station in the state on Jan. 22.
128. Network changes Because of programming and time disputes, CBS in 1972 jerked its affiliation from KOLO in Reno and gave it to KTVN (KOLO took ABC, then the lowest rated network).
129. “The Colorful Truckee River” by Hal Swift This playful poem by Hal Swift stars Reno folk who try to dye the water on St. Patrick’s Day.
130. The Muppets In the 2011 movie The Muppets, Fozzie Bear is found performing at the Bonanza casino with a group called “The Moopets”.
131. Live in Las Vegas Besides Memphis, Tennessee, and Tupelo, Mississippi, no city can claim more ownership of Elvis Presley than Las Vegas. This 2001 CD box set documents live performances in Vegas from throughout Elvis’ career, 1956 to 1975.
132. “Send the Pain Below” by Chevelle music video The 2003 song “Send the Pain Below” by Chevelle revolves around a snowboarder and his struggles. It features shots of Reno including the famous arch.
133. Godzilla In the 2014 Godzilla film, there are three big, scary monster things. One is Godzilla, and the other two are called MUTOs—mutant unidentified terrestrial organisms. One of the MUTOs emerges from a Nevada nuclear waste facility and then goes on to destroy the Vegas Strip before a showdown with the other MUTO against Godzilla in San Francisco.
134. To the Nines by Janet Evanovich The ninth book (2003) in Janet Evanovich's crime novel series revolving around bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is one of the few where Plum leaves New Jersey. She ends up in Nevada.
135. “The Reno Poem” by Bigott (Borja Laudo) It's hard to know if this mellow, catchy 2013 song from this Spanish musician is really about us. But it ought to be.
136. Battleborn by Claire Vaye WatkinsThe short story collection by Claire Vaye Watkins (2012) is set in Nevada, and the physical setting is a major feature within these stories.
137. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullThis 2008 Indy film takes place when Jones gets kidnapped by the Soviets and is forced to locate one of the crystal skulls in “Warehouse 51” in the Nevada desert.
138. Reno Tracks app This app was made to track biking information for local agencies and for bikers to share. The app has tracked over 11,000 miles, and it was released on Jan. 24.
139. “Road, Nevada Desert” by Ansel Adams This 1960 Ansel Adams photograph is steeped in quiet emptiness.
140. “Viva Las Vegas” by The Dead Kennedys This song is shitty. At least the Dead Kennedys had the good sense to layer their 1980 version with the scathing satire that this crap song—and the terrible place it represents—so richly deserve.
141. The King of Casinos: Willie Martello and the El Rey Club by Andy Martello This book is new this year from Vegas author/entertainer Martello, and it’s about Searchlight’s El Rey Club and how it affected the subsequent history of Las Vegas.
142. Crank by Ellen HopkinsCrank—published in 2004—and the accompanying series are fiction novels written in verse loosely based on the author’s Northern Nevada experiences with her meth-addicted daughter.
143. Honey, I Blew Up the Kid This pretty obvious sequel (1992) to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids happens after the family has relocated from California to Nevada and was shot mostly in Las Vegas.
144. Battle Born by The Killers Somehow, mediocre Vegas wuss rock band The Killers has become the biggest rock band to ever come out of Nevada. The group’s 2012 album title references the state motto, and it sucks.
145. Tourism commercial with The Killers Just last year, the Killers covered Cole Porter and Robert Fletcher’s “Don’t Fence Me In” for a state tourism commercial.
146. State Trooper Nevada’s first television series, State Trooper (1956-1959) starring Rod Cameron, is now available on DVD (“Based on true cases from the files of Nevada State Police”).
147. Honeymoon in Vegas Say what you will about him going to Carson City and lobbying for filmmaker tax breaks, Nicolas Cage really likes making movies in Nevada, like this 1992 comedy.
148. Cathouse: The Series “Hey 1960, this is the future calling. Just wanted to give you a head’s up that over here in my time, we have a show set in a Nevada brothel. The prostitutes play themselves. No, no, no—not with themselves. They actually act onscreen as themselves. Crazy, right? It’s been on HBO since 2005, part of something called ’reality TV.’ I knew you wouldn’t believe it.”
149. Hard Eight Before he made critically acclaimed hits like Boogie Nights and There Will be Blood, director Paul Thomas Anderson made this 1996 underrated neo noir gem. The cast includes marquee names like Samuel L. Jackson and Gwyneth Paltrow, but the real star is Reno, which here appears gritty and trashy, sexy and scary—a perfect place for making bad decisions.
150. “Dame Nevada” by Waddie Mitchell Penned for the sesquicentennial, this poem is Waddie Mitchell’s nod to his home state—one “where hidden hints of Eden are revealed to those who seek.”