How do you make over 1,000 events in 31 days manageable? Get a routine.
An Artown series rundown
It’s a big long month of art out there in July, and it can be hard to know where to start. But there is some order to Artown, which is perhaps best exemplified by the festival’s weekly series. If you can keep track of them, you’ll be all right. Here’s a rundown.
Discover the Arts Children’s Series
This series moves around, so the smart arts enthusiast will call 829-2810 to find out where and when the day’s festivities are, or look inside the Little Book of Artown. Most events are downtown-ish, and most take place in the middle of the day. The free program happens every weekday in July and is for kids ages 7-12. The children explore different arts like theater, visual arts and dance, depending on the day.
An event on july 21 explores the history of bluegrass with the Nevada Bluegrass Project. They’ll have a performance and then do a bluegrass petting zoo. That might sound like children petting southern grass, but instead, there will be guitars and banjos and percussion thingies for the young ones to smear with smudges.
Then we have Discover Theatre from July 7-10. It provides kids with a more in-depth look at stage acting. The University of Nevada, Reno rents out its theater, costumes and some props. The children then create their own theater production, in which they make their own masks and costumes, learn about acting, build their own sets and then put on a play.
The Family Series takes place every Monday at 7 p.m. in Wingfield Park. The first show, the Hudson Vagabond Puppets, is July 7. Expect giant puppets doing Peter and the Wolf. According to witnesses, these guys put on a cool, elaborate performance.
On July 14, the International Forlkloric Ballet rolls into town. Because they want to confuse us, there will be no ballet. Instead, we’ll be treated to the traditional dances of Mexico and Spain. They’re colorful and have traditional costumes. They’ll do everything from flamenco to a Mexican celebration dance. Not wanting your brains to rot, they’ll also tell you from whence came each dance. I repeat, this is not a ballet.
The July 21 event is a production of Brundibar. This children’s opera was written by a Czech Jew during World War II and performed by the gypsy, Jewish, Slavic and other interned children in Hitler’s model concentration camp, Theresienstadt. For obvious reasons, the play isn’t overtly anti-fascist, but it does take some veiled shots at the Fuhrer.
“[An original cast member] is coming up here, and she survived the original Theresienstadt,” says Elizabeth Cattell, director of marketing for the Nevada Opera.
July 28 will bring us Mudfire by the Carpetbag Brigade. These guys are acrobats who perform on stilts.
Monday Night Music Series
Every Monday night of July will feature free music at the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater from 7:30-9:30 p.m. You can treat your ears to Rhythm and Ragtime on July 7, the Reno Pops Orchestra on July 14, the Steinway Series on July 21, and CeCe Gable on July 28.
As a whole, this series has a lot of American music with ragtime and jazz standards dominating.
Tuesdays and Thursdays
The spiritually inclined musical hosts at the First United Methodist Church are bringing us performances for nearly every Tuesday and Thursday in July. Each event begins at 7 p.m. and finishes up an hour or so later. Jazz and blues vocalist Pat Esters opens the series on July 1. Squeek Steele is a special ragtime performance on July 3. The Bev Colgan and Joe Venuto show on July 8 will have harps. Then there’s the Shiloh Folk Trio on July 10 , jazz swing band Brassakwards July 15, and No Comprende offers Afro-Cuban jazz on July 24. The Great Basin Brass Quintet on July 29 sounds to me like a death metal band. But they aren’t.
Food for the Soul
This series is every Wednesday night from 7-10 p.m. in Wingfield Park. The Food Bank of Northern Nevada has teamed with Artown to bring bands like Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the No. 1 mariachi band in the western hemisphere, Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, among others.
It’s a free event, with sponsors picking up the tab, but there is a suggested donation of $10 or cans of food for the Food Bank.
“This is really more of a friend raiser for us,” says Bill Kolton, events and volunteer coordinator for the Food Bank. He says the organization doesn’t want people to forget hunger happens over the summer, too, not just around Christmas.
“People get sick when the economy slows down, poor people get pneumonia,” he says.
The fifth show on July 30 will be something of a grand finale with The Reno Jazz Orchestra teaming up with local dancers.
Dancing in the Park
Every Thursday, some sort of dancer will do some sort of dance in Wingfield Park. Show up around 8 p.m. unless you wish to suffer much gnashing of teeth.
For example, InnerRhythms Dance Theatre, which will perform on July 17, will dance to covers of The Beatles in dance styles from hip-hop to ballet.
Elizabeth Archer, artistic and executive director, explains why The Beatles run her life. “I just love The Beatles. I grew up emulating them, singing every song they’ve ever made,” she says.
The idea started two years ago when Archer and her group did a similar show featuring the music of the Rolling Stones. The reception was good, and Archer liked it. A dance routine covering Tiny Tim must be just around the corner.
After their free show on the 17th, they will play again on July 18 at Truckee Regional Park Amphitheater. That, however, is a ticketed event.
Rollin’ on the River
Fridays from now until aug. 1
This is a series of free concerts the RN&R has put together to show you all what wonderful taste we have in music. Everything is in Wingfield Park, and everything starts at 5:30 p.m. The series started in June, but here’s a rundown of the remaining lineup.
On June 27, you’ll be treated to the twanging of country band Fireline. Those of you who frequent Pure Country will be familiar with them. On the Fourth of July, the Red Elvises will confuse you with their strange Russian rock. Exactly one week later, Jen Chapin’s singer-songwriter artistry will cause angels to descend earthward in a joyous flock. July 18 will feature Mother Jones, a really cool jam band that sits around being a bunch of hippies all day long, or so we imagine. July 25 brings a harmonica blues act to stage with Norton Buffalo & The Knockouts. Then, for variety, August 1 will bring more blues, brought to you by Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors.
Movies in the Park
Starting at 9 p.m. in Wingfield Park every Friday, Artown is bringing Reno free movies. These are all pretty mainstream films, released from the 1940s (Yankee Doodle Dandy) to the 1990s (The Lion King). Sadly, we don’t get any independent films about gay cowboys eating pudding.
Artown After Dark
Starting every Friday at 10 p.m., the Fitzgerald will host local musicians doing their thing. The Fourth of July will feature the twangy, punk-ish rock of the Saddle Tramps and the Stately Gentlemen. This show should be anything but stately. July 11 will pair Keyser Soze with the Mark Sexton Band. These guys are more laidback and sort of reggae. One week later, you’ll get the talking music of hip-hop groups Who Cares and Element. Then on July 25, Kate Cotter and Seth Horan will make folksy noises.
Bring five bucks for cover.