Fall guide 2016
RN&R has the inside story on autumn entertainment
Summer is drawing to a close. The first hint of cooler weather made its appearance—as if on cue—when the calendar switched over to September. Now, the last of the big, warm weather events is close at hand. When the bikers rumble out of town after Street Vibrations, we can all head to the coffee shop for a pumpkin latte and call it a wrap.
Then what? Autumn is a glorious, mellow time year in Northern Nevada. But even though the weather is still lovely, wouldn’t it be nice to do some stuff indoors? To pack away the sunscreen and the jorts in favor of some sweatpants—or, hell, your birthday suit, for that matter? We sure think so. That’s why RN&R puts together an annual Fall Guide with indoor entertainment options you can delight in. Enjoy.Fall on your couch
by Bob Grimm
I am a movie reviewer. I like going to the movies. I like going to the movies very, very much. I also like staying home and streaming things on my big screen or my computer. Much of what’s being offered on the TV these days is as good or even better than the weekly offerings at the cinemas. It’s a good thing. So here’s a quick list of things to watch at home in between trips to the cinema, and, you know, trips to the workplace and the grocery store and stuff.
Stranger Things (Netflix) is a better time than most of the summer blockbusters that came out these past few months, and it’s a nifty tribute to Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Stephen King and Winona Ryder. The Night Of (HBO On Demand and the HBO apps), a show originally intended for James Gandolfini and now featuring John Turturro, makes courtroom dramas worth watching again.
If you are looking for some laughs, Vice Principals (HBO), starring Danny McBride and Walton Goggins, is definitely one of the year’s funniest—and nastiest—TV offerings. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) has two seasons available for streaming, and if you haven’t seen Kimmy yet, you need to get going. While you are on Netflix, watch—or re-watch—Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. It came out a year ago but, hey, it’s worth a yearly visit.
If you have cable, your Adult Swim On Demand feature allows you access to the fourth seasons of The Eric Andre Show and Check it Out! starring John C. Reilly—for those of you with whacked-out senses of humor only (“Bird up!”).
While you are binge-watching TV shows, go ahead and either re-watch or introduce yourself to Twin Peaks (Netflix). The groundbreaking ’90s show has aged really well, and 2017 will bring us new episodes via Showtime from the long dormant David Lynch. Be prepared.
More and more, movies that are getting limited theatrical releases are receiving same-day online releases so that those of us without art theaters can still see them. Nice recent examples that you can stream on iTunes, Amazon.com and On Demand include: Blood Father, with Mel Gibson kicking mortal ass as an ex-con dad trying to protect his daughter; Morris From America, with Craig Robinson showing he is much more than a comedic actor; and Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, the latest documentary from Werner Herzog.
For some reason or another, there were some really good movies that inexplicably bombed this past summer season. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is easily one of the year’s funniest movies, with Andy Samberg getting laughs at a commendable pace.
The Witch, The Lobster and The Neon Demon are all exemplary efforts that weren’t exactly box office giants. All are currently available for rent on iTunes, Amazon.com, etc.
If you watch everything listed above you will be enlightened, entertained and perhaps grossed out a bit, especially by the mulched baby in The Witch. So renew that Netflix subscription, make sure your wi-fi has a decent bandwidth, and have at it.Harvest some tunes
by Anna Hart
From a musical standpoint, the summer of 2016 was legendary. Our lord and savior Beyoncé graced us with Lemonade, Frank Ocean dropped two albums, and Britney Spears made a comeback that no one expected (or asked for). But now it’s that time to put down the Top 40 list and synth pop and pick up the indie folk rock. So settle in for this fall’s music essentials.
Love Letter for Fire is a collaboration between Beam, better known by his stage name Iron & Wine, and Jesca Hoop. The album is filled with duets that merge Beam’s intimate folk style with Hoop’s experimental pop flair. At the heart of the 13 duets are the harmonies, which are highlighted by the juxtaposition of Beam’s warm lower register and Hoop’s buoyant vocal vibrancy. The end result is that the fire is more of a comfortable slow burn than it is a raging flame, allowing the album to feel like a hip coffee shop playlist, but with less pretension.
DeGraw’s newly released sixth studio album feels like the soundtrack to your classic coming-of-age flick, but in the best way possible. It is reminiscent of a Maroon 5-style pop rock, but infused with soulful harmonies. The album ambles through upbeat, infectious dance-worthy songs to shower-karaoke love ballads effortlessly. Something Worth Saving induces a dizzying amount of head-bobbing and foot-tapping that is the perfect cure for overcast fall weather and brooding.
While summer rap anthems make you want to hit the clubs or get wasted playing beach volleyball, albums like Telefone make you want to sit in the dark and get unnecessarily philosophical. The tracks are easy to listen to, built on a foundation of gospel harmonies, mixed with a little bit of Sunday Night Slow Jams, while Noname flows overhead with a style akin to Chance the Rapper. Telefone is as exquisitely thought-provoking as it is catchy, which proves for a vital mix for your playlist when you’re Instagramming yet another photo of feet in a pile of leaves.
If there was ever an album to best capture the offbeat, evocative essence of fall music, Angel Olsen’s latest album, My Woman, would be it. Listening to it feels like being drunk on Malbec and dangerously treading the line between having a no-pants dance party or crying because your Tinder date never texted you, and it’s been three days already. The album is a culmination of what Olsen has accomplished thus far, mixing her lo-fi folk roots with some synth additions and a basketful of lyrics that hits right in the heart. My Woman encapsulates the spirit of tangled, messy love and infuses it with a Twin Peaks aesthetic.Console cornucopia
by Ashley Hennefer
Back in June, E3—the biggest gaming event of the year—showcased a ton of fall video game releases. Almost all of them are sequels. But innovations in game design let storytellers tell more sophisticated game narratives, so there are still plenty of new experiences to anticipate in familiar worlds. With that in mind, get ready for blustery autumnal weather, and hunker down inside with these five major releases.
The second installment to the wildly successful 2014 release promises more fightin’ robots with more destructive weapons and features. In this first-person shooter, players take on the role of pilots in large mech suits called Titans. Unlike the first game, this installment will feature a single-player narrative campaign to delve deeper into the world of Titanfall, as well as the multiplayer mode players have come to expect.
Yet another first-person shooter game emerges from one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. One wonders when they will run out of epic adjectives to use in the titles. The 13th primary game in the Call of Duty series lives up to its title, introducing a new setting—outer space. And that’s not all. There are also zombies! In space! Players will act as a special operations pilot to control zombie-ridden space battles.
The gritty, roguish Dishonored, released in 2012, was a much-welcome original adventure story that enthralled players with its aesthetic and characters. In the sequel, players will explore Karnaca, a fictional coastal city inspired by cities in southern Europe. Choose to play as the first game’s protagonist, Corvo Attano, or his daughter, Emily Kaldwin. And with this choice comes additional gameplay freedom, such as playing stealthily or choosing not to kill any other characters during the playthrough.
Pop culture hackers seem to be having a moment in the spotlight. Grand Theft Auto fans will find many similarities in the Watch Dog series, with the addition of hacking skills to manipulate the world’s technology. Watch Dogs 2 will also be open-world, like its predecessor. This time, it’s set in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, instead of Chicago. Players will assume the role of Marcus Holloway, who is trying to take down an intrusive surveillance system.
Riding high on the summer success of Pokémon Go, the Pokémon Company is gearing up for the next release in its 20-year franchise history. Pokémon Sun and Moon is the newest 3DS game in the series, featuring the signature, charmingly pixelated graphics, as well as a new Hawaii-inspired map to explore, new Pokémon and new evolutionary stages for existing Pokémon. As the series progresses, the stories become a bit darker and more complex as the rules of the Pokémon universe start to emerge. How and why do Pokémon evolve? And, per tradition, there’s always a silly-named enemy group to defeat: this time, it’s Team Skull.Rake up some reading
by Dennis Myers
In Persuasion, Jane Austen wrote about “the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn—that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness—that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”
Thanks to climate change, autumn and spring are becoming shorter. Since they are the milder, more comfortable seasons, it’s good to make the best of them while they last. Reading is one of the best ways. As always, we recommend obtaining these suggested titles from a locally owned bookstore. In fact, we might mention that in the case of one of these titles, we ordered it from Sundance Books and it arrived later the same day.
In novels, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak has been on the paperback fiction bestseller list for more than a year, and there’s good reason. For those who have not read it, autumn beckons.
With Nevada’s Harry Reid talking about how Warren Buffet needs to let go of the old utility model created by George Westinghouse, it may be useful to crack The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore, a novel on competition between Westinghouse and Thomas Edison.
On to local interest. Last year in this space we recommended a new biography by Jack Harpster and commented on how prolific he is. He proved it again with a volume about to be released by the University of Nevada Press, The Genesis of Reno, which uses the Virginia Street Bridge and the adjoining Riverside hotels to describe the community’s evolution.
During Nevada’s mining history, immigrant charcoal burners used their ancient skill—slowly burning wood in low oxygen kilns to create charcoal that burns hotter than wood—to aid the Nevada mining industry. An 1879 dispute between the carbonari and management brought officialdom in on the side of management, and a Eureka County sheriff’s posse opened fire on a camp of about a hundred striking Italo-American workers at Fish Creek, killing five. The Charcoal Burner’s War of 1879 by Ronald James tells the tawdry and tragic tale, overlooked for far too long in the nation’s labor wars, and tells it well.
Other nonfiction: In Hitler’s First Victims, author Timothy Ryback brings out of obscurity the story of a local prosecutor who, shortly after the Nazis came to power in 1933, heard about the killing of the first four Jews at Dachau. It apparently never occurred to him not to do something about it, investigating and bringing charges. In the end, the Nazi bureaucracy smothered his efforts, but the records he made—found after the war—provided fodder for postwar trials. This volume has direct relevance today. If a prosecutor could do his duty in a 1933 Germany ruled by Adolf Hitler, it is fair to ask why spineless Philippine prosecutors are sitting on their hands in 2016.
Some prohibitionists in this election season are not only dissing legal marijuana but are still trying to undercut the science of medical marijuana. Reno anesthesiologist Jack Isler—author of the previous technical manual 21 Broken Bones—has written Marijuana: It’s an Herb with an Asterisk that makes a contribution to the voluminous medical literature on the plant.
Since we began with a reference to poetry, let’s end there with a suggestion that is always in season—William Butler Yeats. On his death, a Glasgow editorialist asked of the Irish senator and Nobel poet, “Was he the herald of a new era, or a lost voice crying in the wilderness?” There is a small 478-page volume, Collected Poems, available from MacMillan Collector’s Library that is easily carried about, and helps the reader answer that question.Leaf the house
by Jeri Chadwell-Singley
Isn’t it funny how even as the air outside cools, the colors grow warmer? Autumn leaves present themselves in a riot of hues from gold to scarlet. From a distance, the mountains look to be draped in a vibrant patchwork quilt, and, up close, the trees seem to shimmer as gilt leaves shiver in the breeze. Too bad this beauty is often short-lived. But with a little patience, some clever crafting skills and a large supply of artificial leaves, you can keep the splendor of fall foliage around long after the last real leaf has fallen.
You can create the look of swirling autumn leaves with a windcatcher. You’ll need twine, artificial leaves and a willow wreath—all of which can be purchased at Dollar Tree. You’ll also want a hot glue gun.
Start by cutting several varied lengths of twine. Tie the ends of your twine pieces to individual branches around the bottom of the wreath. Next, add your leaves. Using scissors, make a small cut in the center of each leaf. Run the twine through these cuts, adding several leaves spaced out along each piece of twine. Place a small dot of hot glue over the cuts to hold each leaf in place. Lastly, cut four more equal lengths of twine. Tie these at equidistant intervals on the top of wreath, and tie their ends together so you can suspend your windcatcher.
A fall leaf bunting is festive and, frankly, a little bit classy. You’ll need more artificial leaves, twine, hot glue and a book you’re willing to part with.
Carefully tear or cut several pages from the book. Fold each page in half lengthwise, and use a line of hot glue about an inch below the fold to hold each page closed. Next, use a pen or marker to place a dot in the center of each folded page. Use scissors to cut a diagonal line from the lower outside corners of each page up to your dot. When you’re done, they should look like small, swallowtail flags. Now, cut a length of twine, and thread each flag onto it. Finally, use a dot of hot glue to secure a leaf to center of each flag.
A bowl made from autumn leaves is great for candy or potpourri. This project is labor-intensive and potentially messy—but so worth it. You’ll need a bowl, some plastic wrap, a bottle of matte modge podge and artificial leaves.
Choose a bowl that’s a shape and size you like, to serve as a mold for your leaf bowl. Place the bowl upside down on a table and cover the outside in plastic wrap. Spread a thin layer of modge podge over the plastic wrap and begin pressing leaves onto it. Lay down several layers of leaves with a layer of modge podge between each. For a shallower leaf bowl, stop when the leaves are halfway up the outside of your mold. Add another layer of plastic wrap to the hold everything in place while the bowl dries. Wait 24 hours before carefully removing your leaf bowl from the mold and peeling off the plastic wrap.