Stay safe

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

My condolences to the friends and family of the dozens of people who died in the terrifying fire at the “Ghost Ship” warehouse in Oakland, California, last week. It’s just so sad. And although there’s a temptation to want to assign culpability when something like this happens—to blame the neglect of code enforcement, or the blind-eye-turning management, or whoever else—I don’t want to play that finger-pointing game. From my vantage 200 miles away, I don’t have enough information or even know the right people to ask. I hope investigations are now underway that will unearth those answers, but for now, I just want to express my sympathy.

I didn’t know anyone who was there that night, but I have many friends who had friends who were there, and I’m so sorry for their losses. And like that awful massacre in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year, it’s so tragic when such an awful incident occurs during a music event—any music, any event—when people are gathered to enjoy themselves, to listen or dance or sing or play. For those of us who believe strongly in the value of music for community, it can be difficult to fathom the horror of disturbing that sanctity.

I’d never been to the Ghost Ship, but I’ve been to hundreds of places like it—underground music or art venues of questionable legality. Places like that are necessary for many people—especially those who, for whatever reason, feel alienated from other parts of society. I wish I could offer up a reasonable solution for balancing the needs of underground art and music communities and the need for above-board safety regulation, but there’s just not an easy solution. Or maybe there is. Reno’s Holland Project seems to do it right—offering a variety of underground entertainment in a space that’s safe literally as well as figuratively. We’re lucky to have them.

Brad Bynum