arts and culture

KUNR’s Wyatt Daane sat down with Robin Holabird, a film reviewer for KUNR, to discuss the noticeable correlation between the Cal Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe and the El Royale Lodge in the film Bad Times at the El Royale. The movie was released to home audiences earlier this year and is about 7 strangers who are harboring dark secrets when they each arrive at a mysterious hotel on the California/Nevada border. 

Meet One Of Reno's Buskers

Sep 13, 2019
A man in sunglasses holds up sheet music.
Wyatt Daane

Every day, Reno's busking community is out on the sidewalks using a menagerie of musical instruments to provide a soundtrack for the city. KUNR's Wyatt Daane shares the story of one local street musician.

Author Interview: Reno Native Willy Vlautin

Sep 10, 2019

Reno native and award-winning author and musician Willy Vlautin is taking his talents on tour across Northern Nevada this month. He’s one of three featured writers in this year's Nevada Reads, a book club from Nevada Humanities. Vlautin will give readings and even play a little music at various statewide events in September. KUNR’s Holly Hutchings sat down with him to talk about his latest novel Don’t Skip Out on Me, which is set in the Silver State.

An artistic portrayal of two trains meeting at the completion of the railroad as people cheer and celebrate.
Nevada Museum of Art

The late 1800s brought thousands of Chinese immigrants to the West in search of better lives. Many participated in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. For the 150th anniversary of that engineering feat, artists have memorialized the contributions of those often forgotten Chinese immigrants. KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Holly Hutchings about the exhibit. 

Picture Collage of Mid-Century Motels
Courtesy UNR Special Collections, Jerry Stefani, and Mike Roberts

Reno is home to a collection of quirky, mid-century motels. Some have fallen into disrepair, some serve as low-income housing and some are being torn down for new developments. But if you were to drive through Reno during the middle of the 20th century, you would have seen a booming motel landscape, when motels were icons of the vibrant tourism industry.

A woman next to a microphone.
Paulapoundstone.com

Public radio listeners may already know Paula Poundstone from her long-running gig as a panelist on the NPR quiz show, "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," but she currently is on tour, has a new puppy, loves vaccuum cleaners, and spoke about all of these things (and more!) with KUNR's Michele Ravera. Their conversation comes just before Poundstone is scheduled to perform in Reno on Saturday, June 1, at the Pioneer Center.

Truckee Meadows Community College is canceling its lease at its Keystone Avenue Performing Arts Center. As first reported in ThisisReno last year, TMCC is not renewing its lease at the Keystone location for financial and safety reasons. Although considered by the college as far back as 2015, TMCC President Karin Hilgerson surprised faculty last year by quietly deciding not to renew the lease. 

Ensuring Neon's Place In Nevada History

Apr 23, 2019
Governor Steve Sisolak sits at his desk with kids behind him as he signs a bill they wrote and lobbied for.
Holly Hutchings

Like sturdy maple trees in Vermont or the sugary fried beignets of Louisiana, states have their own icons that instantly connect the symbol to its place. Nevada has neon. Some local advocates for the noble gas have been working to get its spot in the history books by making neon the state’s official element this legislative session.

The work paid off, and Governor Steve Sisolak signed the bill into law Tuesday, but the bill’s proponents are not who you might think, and KUNR’s Holly Hutchings has been following them for months.

Lightning In A Bottle...Or Tube

Apr 19, 2019
A huge, brightly lit neon sign of a horse and its rider stands tall on Fremont Street in Las Vegas.
Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The science of neon hasn't changed in over a century. What charged the gas to life as a 1900's advertising medium still burns it brightly today. For KUNR's detailed series on neon, Holly Hutchings traveled to our counterpart in the South and spoke with a physicist about what he calls, lightning in a bottle. 

Going Dark: Rescuing Nevada's Neon Signs

Apr 17, 2019
An old, faded sign stands tall with the letters for "motel" stacked high.
Holly Hutchings

Motels are coming down in Reno, and with that, their signs - works of art and advertising from the automobile revolution - have been lost. While Reno redevelops, bits of roadside history are being discarded. A few dedicated folks are working to recognize and also preserve these icons. KUNR’s Holly Hutchings learned more and has this report.

Neon Sign Preservation Goes Digital

Apr 8, 2019
A man and woman sit at a computer, working on a website to digitally preserve neon signs.
Holly Hutchings

You’ve heard of classic neon signs of bygone buildings being preserved in museums and boneyards, but one professor at the University of Nevada, Reno is taking preservation digital. Dr. Katherine Hepworth is working with a team to document neon signs from Reno’s past, as well as signs left standing, with the goal of eventually allowing all to access and enjoy the design and history of the signs. KUNR’s Holly Hutchings talked to her about the project and has this interview.

Video: 38 Years Of Making Neon In Northern Nevada

Apr 4, 2019
A man stands in front of a work table, holding a small neon sign.
Krysta Scripter

Ken Hines has been working with neon for 38 years and describes himself as the last full-time neon tube-bender in Northern Nevada, making him an asset to the local sign industry. He won't be around forever though, and when KUNR first met him, he was looking for an apprentice. 

Since then, he's found one, and he expects to stay in business for another 10 or so years while also teaching his craft to the next generation.  KUNR took a look inside his studio at Artech to learn more. 

Last Of The Full-time Tube Benders: Ken Hines

Apr 4, 2019
A man in a plaid shirt bends a tube of glass while blowing into it as part of his neon craft.
Holly Hutchings

Blowing and bending glass tubes his whole working life, Ken Hines has helped illuminate the Reno skyline for nearly forty years by creating countless neon signs, but his workload has dwindled and craftsman like him are fading away, like the neon they create. KUNR’s Holly Hutchings caught up with Hines at his work station at Artech, a coworking space in Reno, and has his story.

What's Happening To Northern Nevada's Neon?

Apr 3, 2019
Virginia Street in Reno at night.
Holly Hutchings

Neon and Nevada go hand in hand. The flashing tube lights are synonymous with the Silver State and have long told our story. Neon has surged in popularity at times and fizzled out in others. KUNR's Arts and Culture Reporter Holly Hutchings has been looking into this integral part of Nevada's identity and talked with News Director Michelle Billman about the stories she’s discovered.

Creative Contest Aims To Raise Hunger Awareness

Mar 8, 2019
White cans with blue ones in the center in the shape of a platapus.
Holly Hutchings

Whether it’s an octopus or the pyramids of Giza, 12 teams of builders are using canned good to bring hunger awareness to the community through the art of “can sculpting.” 

More Than 50 Carson Artists Showcased At Reno Airport

Feb 27, 2019
A group of three people gather in front paintings depicting Northern Nevada.
Holly Hutchings

Fifty-three Carson City artists are putting their work on a stage seen by millions a year, the walls of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Holly Hutchings has the story.

New Cowboy Poet Pays Homage To History

Feb 3, 2019
A man in a khaki button down shirt stands at an angle in front of a tree.
Joshua Dugat

Elko's 35th annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering wrapped up this weekend. Nearly 50 poets, musicians and musical groups, including diverse and dynamic new voices, have shared their artistry. The event is older than Josh Dugat, a first-time presenter, whose poetry pays homage to the  boots that stood on stage before him. KUNR's Holly Hutchings has more with him. 

Protecting Water, Moving Hearts Through Cowboy Poetry

Jan 30, 2019
A woman with long brown hair and wearing a red mexican-style dress standing on a bridge.
Olivia Romo

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is underway in Elko, Nevada this week. One young poet taking the stage is Olivia Romo, a bilingual activist who uses her art to tackle environmental issues facing the West. She told KUNR’s Holly Hutchings why she thinks poetry can spark change.

A Nevada Prison Doctor's View From The Inside

Nov 8, 2018
A blond woman stands on the grounds of a prison, between a guard tower and a mulit-level brick prison buildilng.
Lauren Casto

To pay back a medical school scholarship, Dr. Karen Gedney was required to work four years in an underserved area, and she got assigned to the Northern Nevada Correctional Center back in the 80's. It's a medium security facility outside of Carson City. Gedney ended up staying her whole career. She says the job was a 'calling' that provided her the chance to be a real healer. Her new book, 30 Years Behind Bars, chronicles her experiences as a prison doc, and KUNR’s Holly Hutchings spoke with her about it.  

Does Art Mean Business In Northern Nevada?

Sep 25, 2018
Brown metal vines with glass leaves wrap around patio posts at a Reno restaurant. They were fashioned by local artisans, commissioned by Tilio Lagatta. Lagatta's company redevelops buildings and has been including art to add punch and hopefully value.
Holly Hutchings

A report from The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that arts and cultural production accounted for over $6 billion of the silver state's economy in 2015. As KUNR's Holly Hutchings reports, business leaders are looking for ways to use cultural contributions to grow and improve their industries.

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