School of rock

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

During the semester, I very rarely get out for fun, but April 16 was the exception. Of course, I spent the whole evening on campus, but it was great nonetheless.

First, I caught a poetry reading by David Lee. It was in honor of April, Poetry Month. I don't know much about the guy, but this reading was extraordinary. I've never seen anything like it. Sort of a performance, sort of a reading, it was from his latest collection, Last Call. He'd go in and out of character, until I had a bit of cognitive dissonance as to whom I was hearing—the author or the character. I bought one of the books because, well, you know how it is, you buy the book and get the artist to sign it. Usually, it costs less than a movie.

I haven't had a chance to dive in, and I won't until summer, but I'm going to be amazed if I enjoy the writing half as much as I enjoyed Lee reading it. I can tell you I'm going to have this kind of Jim Hightower drawl/Hal Holbrook presence going in my head while I read it.

After that, I had the pleasure of watching Patty Bobek debut her documentary, Hosting Algeria, for which she went halfway around the world to meet some Algerian students who were coming to the United States to study leadership. She then went along with the 24 students from Algeria and eight American students in Virginia City and San Francisco and other places.

It was just awesome—touching and well constructed. I'm always amazed at the kind of talent that surrounds me in my life. It's a cliche to talk about soaring with eagles, but I know when I hang around people who are driven to produce things that will move society forward in some way, I'm inspired to do the same. It's also true that when I hang around lazy, selfish people who don't have a thought outside the lint in their own navels, I tend to underachieve.

I think that's one of the biggest takeaways from my master's programs at the university. There are people who watch TV, and then there are those who make it.