Reno Tahoe Blog

What's Happening Now

Posts Tagged ‘2010’

Spectator Tips for a Worry-Free Time at the Great Reno Balloon Race

BalloonsEvent organizers of The Great Reno Balloon Race, scheduled for Sept. 10 – 12at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, have put together some helpful tips to ensure that all spectators have a wonderful weekend at the Balloon Race. Tips include important information on transportation to the event, where to park, what to wear and other dos and don’ts:

  • Admission is free, but make sure to bring money for tethered rides, souvenirs or food and drink from a variety of vendors, including a VIP breakfast catered by High Pointe Catering.
  • Dress in layers; September in northern Nevada tends to bring chilly mornings.
  • Weather information is available at www.kkoh.com or News Talk 780.
  • Arrive early on Saturday and Sunday, in time to watch the Glow Show at 5 a.m., to get VIP seating for a $5 donation, or prime blanket area for free.
  • Please leave your pets at home. The abundance of people along with strange noises and surroundings can make animals anxious and confused.
  • Smoking is always prohibited on the launch field.
  • Don’t forget your camera so you can catch every moment of this spectacular event.
  • Please remember to recycle while at the event, you’ll not only be keeping our community clean, but you’ll be helping out the NorthStar District Boy Scouts Troup #168, who will use the recycling as a fundraiser. The more you recycle the more money they’ll raise.
  • Visit the kids play area on Balloon Boulevard, the vendor area, after Mass Ascension.
  • Stay in your pajamas on Saturday, Sept. 11 for The World’s Largest Pajama Party. Come in your best (or worst) bed-head to enter in the Bed-Head Competition. Judging starts at 8 a.m. at the Pajama Party tent.

 Transportation/Parking Tips:

  • There is a limited amount of parking at the event so be sure to arrive early. There is free parking available at the University’s north lots, but all cars must be removed by 10 a.m. Parking is also available at N. Sierra St. and McCarran Blvd. or the Coleman St. parking lot for a $5 donation to the Reno South Rotary Club children’s charities. Parking is prohibited along McCarran Blvd and violators will be towed.

 

  • Transportation to and from the event is provided by RTC RIDE, which offers direct, nonstop service to the entrance of the park on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11 and 12, from 4 to 10 a.m. Each of the three stops in downtown Reno, Reed High School in Sparks and the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority Convention Center on south Virginia, are serviced every 30 minutes. Round trip fares are $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth (ages 6 to 18) and seniors/disabled. For more information call (775) 348-RIDE.

 

  • Handicap parking is available at the Washington St. entrance to the park for those with a handicapped placard or license plate.

 

  • If you’d rather ride your bike to the event, you can leave it with the bike valet at the Washington St. entrance for a donation to the Reno Bike Project.

 For a full schedule of events and more information about this year’s event, please visit www.renoballoon.comor call the Great Reno Balloon Race hotline at (775) 826-1181.

 Thanks to the continued support of generous sponsors, The Great Reno Balloon Race continues as a free event for its 29th year. This year’s major sponsors include: Wells Fargo Bank, Wilbur D. May Foundation, Silver Legacy Resort Casino,  Peppermill Hotel Casino, Harrah’s Reno, City of Reno, Jack in the Box, Great Basin Internet Services, News Talk 780 KOH, Bonanza Casino, Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. With a special thanks to our Founding Sponsors: Circus Circus, IGT, Sands Regency Casino Hotel, Muckel Anderson CPAs and the University of Nevada, Reno.

-Written by Rebecca Wikler, special to VisitRenoTahoe

A Fearless German Intern Takes on Reno Tahoe

DSC_0004Benedikt Martinac of Germany is studying International Tourism in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. He will graduate in June 2011. His smarts, sense of humor and extensive travel experience will present him with limitless career opportunities, and success, in the tourism industry. This summer (2010) Benedikt decided to do hands-on learning, specifically in the American tourism industry. Being the smart man that he is, he chose to spend his summer in the great state of Nevada. Below is Ben’s adventure in the Silver State from his own perspective. We hope you enjoy reading his take on the Biggest Little City as much as we enjoyed having him.

8.31.10

I’ve been in Reno for 5 weeks now and can’t get enough of the city and its charm. But it’s not only the city. There is so much to see and experience in the area. Hiking, cycling, mountain biking, all kinds of water sports, extreme sports and on the calmer side plenty of golf opportunities, parks, lakes. You name it.

During my internship at various tourism related businesses, mediated by the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), I learned a lot about the Reno-Tahoe area and the fun things to experience nearby.

Last weekend I finally had the chance to show what I’ve picked up so far because three friends were visiting from the Bay area. I was really looking forward to showing them around and check out what the night life is like in “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

I met my friends at my place and took them downtown to check in the hotel. While driving towards Virginia Street, Reno’s casino strip, the tower of the Eldorado Hotel Casino, illuminated in bright pink, and we knew instantly we’re going to have a great time. We parked the car in the garage and via skywalk we were right in the lobby. We checked in, dropped of the bags in the room and rushed back downstairs to the casino for a little gambling session. But no gambling without food – we probably wouldn’t be able to handle all the free drinks and our odds of winning would lower even more. So what better to start off with than the “Best Burger in Town”? As different magazines, such as Nevada Magazine, voted it the best burger in Reno and Northern Nevada, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one of the notorious Awful Awful. At first the name is kind of a turnoff and makes you think if it’s the right choice for dinner but it’s supposed to be “Awful Big and Awful Good” so we headed to the Little Nugget Diner, located at the Nugget Casino on Virginia Street.

Awful AwfulEntering the Nugget, I was back to the thought if this was the right idea for dinner. Old dark carpets, dark lightning and sketchy gamblers occupying the slots give the place a peculiar atmosphere. The little Nugget diner, at the back of the casino, doesn’t make a much better impression. But its style is kind of appealing. Sleazy, greasy, with only two counters and no tables, the 50’s style diner seemed like it’s going to give us the right amount of energy we would need for a long night.

So we ordered our 4 Awful-Awfuls and waited until a few minutes later the gal at the counter shouted out “order 70, order 70!” That was us – we turned around and what was that? Four huge burgers with a lot of fresh toppings, and if that wasn’t enough, a basket with a pound of home seasoned French fries on the side made “mission Awful-Awful” seem impossible. We looked at each other and we knew nobody wanted to fail.

The first bite was just amazing. A homemade onion bun, fresh lettuce, pickles, perfectly melted cheese and of course a 100% beef patty, so juicy and full of taste that my taste buds were going crazy. I expected it to be good but not this good. I guess the taste doesn’t come solely from the burger itself. The whole atmosphere and the little shabby interior add a whole lot of seasoning to the Awful Awful and make it what it is. Together with the fries it is the perfect combination. Every bite was a delight and surprisingly the burger and the basket of fries disappeared faster than expected

After our adventure at the Nugget, we decided to finally gamble for a while. Barely able to move and 5 pounds heavier than before, we schlepped ourselves back to the Eldorado Casino. The ear shattering ringing of the slot machines and the unmistakable smell of cold smoke, booze and old ladies perfume, same as in every casino I’ve ever been to, make you feel like you’re at the right spot to win some cash or probably lose it but who knows, right?

Three of us sat down at a black jack table, while the other played some slots. To my surprise it started off really good for all of us. We were winning and winning. One chicken dinner after the other – we were on fire! At the end I’ve tripled my stake as did the others and an even bigger surprise just came around the corner. The slot machines seemed to like our friend too because he came back with $350 he just won.

This has been a pretty great evening so far. We had won quite some money and had a whole day in front of us. Now a nice, cool local brew to celebrate our success would be the perfect round up for the night and since we were in the “Best” mood, why not give the “Best Microbrew, and “Best Beer Selection,” winner a chance? Also inside the Eldorado, the “Brew Brothers” offers a selection of 8 microbrews, all with a very unique taste to it. After trying out a few I determined my favorite – the gold dollar pale ale – a really nice American-style pale ale with a very distinct hop flavor and spoors of citrus in the aftertaste. And the best thing – these delicious beers are pretty reasonable. A 15 oz. beer costs 3.50 and 22 oz cost 4.50. Enjoying our beers and the live music, we started planning the next day. It wouldn’t be any less exciting.

Lake TahoeThe next morning, a bit hung-over, our next stop was Lake Tahoe. I definitely wanted to show it to the guys as it is such a big contrast to Reno and shows the diversity of the area perfectly. As one takes Hwy 50 from Carson City up to the Lake the change of environment is stunning. Feeling the rising pressure in our ears, we noticed the change of terrain from desert-like to alpine mountains with ever green pine tree forests. After a few miles we’ve reached the high point and from now on it was all downhill which meant the Lake wasn’t far anymore. And there it was in the distance. Dazzled by the reflection of the sun on the lake, we couldn’t wait to jump in the water.

The lake was full of boats, yachts, windsurfers, water-skiers and other water lovers. But what really caught our attention were paddle boarders. Standing up on a surf board and paddling their way around. We really wanted to give it a shot but we had other plans.

In the afternoon we had planned a whitewater rafting trip on Truckee River. When we arrived at the meeting point we were briefed on how to behave on the river and were given all the safety guidelines necessary for an enjoyable day.

So all suited up in life jackets and helmets we launched the rafts and the trip could start. We were following the guide through some of the most beautiful and remote areas. Trees alongside the river banks give you the feeling there’s nothing else around. The whooshing of the water and the sounds of nature had a really calming effect and it was the perfect getaway. The combination between the class 2-3 rapids and very calm parts make it a challenging but also very recreating adventure. Being out in the wild, totally cut off from the everyday stress is something outstanding and irreplaceable.

After two hours I started to feel the paddling in my arms. Although we were going downstream it was very exhausting. Suddenly, out of nowhere, buildings started showing up at the side of the river. First a few, then more and more, and from one moment to the other coming from total exclusion of civilization, we paddled through downtown Reno. A few more rapids and drop pools in the White Water Park and we made it to the shore at Wingfield Park.

Pretty exhausted but still up for some more attractions, I decided to take the guys to Virginia City, a living ghost town. The old gold mining town seems like it is stuck in the 1800s. Driving into town on C Street is like entering another time. The Sherriff greets you with a friendly “Howdy”, Cowboys nod their heads and tap their hats when passing by and the ladies in their big, decadent dresses welcome you with waving hands.

VCVirginia City used to be one of the richest cities in the United States. In the 1800s a lot of men tried to find their luck in the mining industry and many did. Gold and silver attracted many people and just a few years after its establishment in 1859, Virginia City grew to more than 10,000 people. Also, Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, called Virginia City home and started writing under his alias in February 1863.

Browsing the many little unique shops, we came across the famous suicide table in the delta saloon. Supposedly, back in the 1800s the former owner of the saloon, Black Jake shot himself after losing all his life saving at this very table one evening. Rumors say that his ghost was haunting the Delta ever since. Subsequent to him two other owners took their own lives at the same table years later.

We wandered around town and what better place to go for a drink than the infamous “Bucket of Blood” – a saloon so notorious and brutal that the name mirrors the happenings inside. Apparently, so many fights happened nightly at the infamous saloon, that after cleaning the floors, the bucket where the mop was wrung out was filled with blood. Hence, The Bucket of Blood”.

No blood on the floors anymore but the feeling of entering a saloon in the Wild West and being prepared for a bar fight breaking out any minute is still present. If you too are lucky enough to score a table at the windows, enjoy the breathtaking view overlooking the valley and lean back while watching the sundown.

-Benedikt Martinac, Germany

Nevada’s Tourism Ad Campaign is a Record-Breaker

NevadaA year-long advertising campaign that strategically focused on the most lucrative travel markets delivered record-breaking results, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) chair, announced.

“Our ad campaign reached a carefully targeted group of consumers with the means and desire to travel and convinced them to visit us,” Krolicki said.  “In the face of a national economic downturn, NCOT’s winter and summer ads attracted visitors who spent money in Nevada that generated $110 million in tax revenue directly attributed to the ad campaign, a greater return on our investment than ever before.”

Every $1 that NCOT invested in the ads generated $31 in tax revenue.

“We ran a thrifty campaign aimed at our most responsive and proven markets and got our message to the right people,” NCOT Director Dann Lewis said. “We also integrated the media to include television, Google In-stream video, Internet advertising and national travel magazines, a combination that helped increase our return on investment. It was a prescription for success and we’re gratified to get such good-news results for Nevada tourism.”

The percentage of consumers who saw or heard the ads in markets where they ran jumped from 29.7 percent in 2009 to 42.9 percent in fiscal 2010, which ended June 30. 

Winter ads featured skiing at Lake Tahoe for TV, and the engaging “Capture Your Heart” ad, which showed two hands forming a heart that framed a Lake Tahoe scene, for Internet and print.  Summer ads focused on outdoor recreation for TV, Internet and print. The ads ran in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Reno, the San Francisco Bay Area, Phoenix, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City.

Key to the campaign’s remarkable achievement was using new technology and strategies to pinpoint only specific markets where consumers were most likely to respond to travel ads, rather than advertising across entire regions, Lewis said, noting that NCOT invested $3.5 million for the entire year’s campaign, 30.6 percent less than in 2009 because of budget reductions.

If you have any questions regarding this campaign, please contact Jolyn Laney, deputy director of marketing and advertising, Nevada Commission on Tourism.

-Content courtesy of  Nevada Commission on Tourism

Reno’s Riverwalk District is Among America’s Coolest

Travel and LeisureReno’s Riverwalk District recently charmed its way onto Travel and Leisure’s list of “America’s Coolest River Walks”.  Home of the monthly wine, beer and art walks, it’s a fun and unique attraction in Reno’s vibrant downtown area, and locals will attest to its beauty and popularity.

The Riverwalk through downtown Reno is approximately 1.5 miles long loosely bound by Arlington Avenue Bridge (upstream) and Lake Street (downstream). A 12-mile pedestrian path connects two urban whitewater parks- one in the heart of Downtown Reno that includes Idlewild, Barbara Bennett and Wingfield Parks and the newest whitewater attraction at Rock Sparks in neighboring Sparks.

The $1.5 million park in Reno is more than 2,600 feet long and beckons kayakers, rafters, swimmers and water enthusiasts to test out the class II to III rapids as well as 11 drop pools. The improvements and recent additions in Sparks include riverbank landscaping, shade structures, play structures, parking and better access for people with disabilities.

According to the engineer who designed the park, Wingfield Park Island in Reno has been a historic location for community recreation and gathering since Reno was established. The outdoor venue houses a myriad of attractions and performances year-round. The most popular is Artown during the entire month of July.

Engineers designed both whitewater parks in a way that entices and encourages the entire community to participate in the river. Temperate weather and clean water quality, and of course, the whitewater improvements themselves permit people of any age and skill level to experience the cool, crisp waters of the Truckee River. From a toe-dip in the river to an adventure on a raft or kayak – it’s a day well-spent.

After a day of people-watching, picnicking and soaking in the rays on the Truckee, the Riverwalk district offers a wonderful selection of good eats and drinks – Silver Peak, Spread Peace Café or the Wild River Grille are just a few. Go on and see, taste and feel for yourself!

Tahoe Whitewater Tours: (775) 787-5000, 400 Island Ave. Reno, Nevada 89509

The Country’s Largest FREE Showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rocky HorrorThe nation’s largest free showing of the 1975 cult film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” returns to Reno for the 11th year! Starting in 1998 as a small gathering of “Rockyphiles” in downtown Reno’s Wingfield Park, this event outgrew the venue, moving to the Reno Hilton Amphitheater. The Reno Hilton played host through 2006. By then, this free event had gained notoriety as being the largest free showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the nation with an estimated 2006 attendance of 4,000.

In 2007, the Reno News & Review and Lawlor Events Center produced the event, moving it from July to late August in an effort to provide students with a fun, free activity during their first week on campus. Attendance grew that year by about 1,000 people, to over 5,000. For 2008, Lawlor Events Center and the RN&R established a new record with attendance topping 6,500. The 2009 Rocky Horror Reno event was canceled in 2009 due to lack of sponsor support.

With the help of Lawlor Events Center and participating sponsors, the Reno News & Review presents the 11th free showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The event happens Saturday, August 21, 2010at Reno’s Lawlor Events Center. Doors open at 7pm, event begins at 8pm. San Francisco’s “Bawdy Caste” will be on hand to give the audience the full Rocky Horror Experience, with a costume contest, prizes and a “Time Warp” dance lesson.

General admission tickets are free for the asking at Keva Juice locations throughout Reno and Carson City. A limited number of floor tickets are available at Reno and Carson City Keva Juice locations, free with the purchase of a smoothie. Official “Rocky Horror” after-parties are scheduled at Red’s Little Waldorf and the 5-Star Saloon in Reno. 

For more information, please call John Murphy, 775-324-4440, ext. 3515.

-John Murphy, special to the Reno Tahoe blog

Ride in a T-6 Airplane during the Great Reno Balloon Race!

BalloonThe Great Reno Balloon Race, thanks to the generosity of the National Championship Air Races, is auctioning off six exclusive airplane ride packages on eBay. The winning bidders will get to ride in T-6 airplanes during the “Missing Man” formation while the National Anthem is sung. The package will also include an official Balloon Race poster and pins.

The package is valued at more than $800 and bidding will start on eBay at $300. The “Buy it Now” bid will also be available for $1,000. Three packages will be auctioned off between Monday, Aug. 23 and Sunday, Aug. 29. Three more packages will also be available for bid starting Monday, Aug. 30 and ending Sunday, Sept. 5. Bidding will close promptly at 3 p.m. on Sunday each week. The last day to bid will be Sunday, Sept. 5. Visit the Reno Balloon Race website to be directed to the eBay auction page.

The Great Reno Balloon Race is the largest free hot-air balloon festival in the nation, and the proceeds from this auction will go directly toward the event’s operating expenses. Those who are unable to bid, but would still like to support the Balloon Race may also make donations at the event’s Web site.

-Rebecca Wikler, special to the Reno Tahoe Blog

Powerful, Soulful and Sassy: the Reno-Tahoe Blues Festival is Back!

Blues FestBack for its 6thyear, the Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest brings nine blues artists to Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch Regional Park for three intimate nights of live music Aug. 27 – 29, 2010. Performances include headliners Barbara Carr, Floyd Taylor and Miss E.C. Scott. Additional artists are Tia Carroll, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Ms. Jody, Chick Willis, Zac Harmon, Alabama Mike and The 3rd Degree and host Larry La La. Tickets are now available online

Scott is a fixture on the Bay Area blues scene in San Francisco and Oakland and honed her chops singing her blend of classic soul and gospel mixed with a dose of 90s funkiness. She began singing in clubs at just 16 and released her debut “Come Get Your Love” in 1995 after building a strong following and touring for several years on the festival circuit. Since then she’s continued on to release three more albums including “The Other Side of Me.”

After more than 50 years of performing, Carr still brings crowds of fans to their feet with her soulful blues voice. She started her musical career in the church as The Crosby Sisters in St. Louis. She became interested in R&B and later founded her own group, The Comets Combo, based on the inspiration from blues greats. From then on she performed with numerous groups and as a solo artist even making her way into country for a time. Truly dynamic, Carr is now recognized internationally for her amazing blues sound.

Taylor returns to Reno after performing at the fest’s 2008 kickoff party. The son of legendary bluesman Johnny Taylor, he began singing in church at the age of five. He honed his skills throughout his school years and then on the blues stages of Chicago. In 1998 he was named Chicago Blues Society’s Entertainer of the Year.

Blues Fest 2For 2010 the fest has changed its format offering a more intimate experience in the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch Regional Park. Accommodating just over 900, the setting features an amphitheater-style area as well as general admission lawn area. 

The fest kicks off nightly at 6:30 p.m. and presents three artists each night. Tickets are on sale now with three-day reserved seat packages just $125 per person. Single day tickets are $30 per day for general admission lawn and $45 per day for reserved seating. Parking on site is free. For more information, click here.  

-Content courtesy of Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest

The Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest, founded in 2005, was created to bring world-class blues to the Reno-Tahoe region and to celebrate the history, culture and spirit of the blues. The multi-day festival attracts audiences from around the country to hear some of the biggest names in blues including Etta James, Clarence Carter, Buddy Guy, Bobby Rush, Keb Mo, Mavis Staples, Jonny Lang and others. Established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest supports music education for youth in the Reno-Tahoe area through a scholarship program and ongoing assistance for school music equipment purchases and jazz band programs. Funds for the festival are raised through corporate sponsorships and ticket sales. 

Reno is Voted America’s Best Whitewater Town!

Reno WhitewaterOutside Magazine has named Reno the Best Whitewater Town in the country in its annual “Best Towns” feature. The Biggest Little City’s downtown rafting and kayaking park on the Truckee River was chosen for its prime location, lush surroundings and outdoor amphitheater in Wingfield Park. It’s no wonder the location is home to the annual Reno River Festival, attracting hundreds of world-class participants and tens of thousands of spectators each year.

And that’s not all! Outside Magazine also listed the new Aces baseball stadium, affordable housing and renovated downtown area among other reasons to love Reno, as well as the newest whitewater park at Rock Park in neighboring Sparks.

The year-round downtown Reno Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield offers adventure in the heart of the casino and arts and culture districts.  The $1.5 million park is more than 2,600 feet long and beckons kayakers, rafters, swimmers and water enthusiasts to test out the class 2-3 rapids and the 11 drop pools, providing easy access for kayaking maneuvers with a consistent supply of fresh water. The success of the first element of the Truckee River Whitewater Park was followed by a second installment of whitewater adventure. The City of Sparks constructed a whitewater park at Rock Park. Along with pools for kayaking, tubing and rafting for all skill levels, the improvements include riverbank landscaping, shade structures, play structures, parking and better access for people with disabilities.

RiverThe Truckee River also flows through the Reno Riverwalk District, filled with unique shops and restaurants and home to the wildly popular monthly wine and beer walks. The river pathway connects Reno to the beautiful new whitewater park in Sparks. The 12 mile path is perfect for cyclists and pedestrians.

To see Outside Magazine’s Reno listing, click here.

To learn more about the endless water adventures in Reno Tahoe USA, click here.

Dorothy was right. There really is no place like home.

Country Legends Oak Ridge Boys Play Three Nights at John Ascuaga’s Nugget

Oak Ridge BoysThe Oak Ridge Boys possess one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. Their upbeat songs and four-part harmonies have delivered multiple country hits and a #1 pop smash, while earning Grammy, Dove, CMA and ACM awards and garnering a host of other industry and fan accolades. Catch the venerable Oak Ridge Boys, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 12-14, in the Celebrity Showroom at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

Formed more than a half-decade ago as a country gospel group, the “Oaks” underwent many stylisic, label and lineup changes before scoring a breakout top-five hit in 1977 with “Y’all Come Back Saloon.” The follow-up, “You’re the One,” reached number two, and their next album, 1978’s Room Service, gave them their first number one hit in “I’ll Be True to You” as well as two more top-five hits in “Cryin’ Again” and “Come On In.”

Thus established as crossover country hitmakers, the Oaks embarked on a run of chart success that would last through the 1980s. They hit number one again in 1980 with “Trying to Love Two Women.” But it was the following year that would make them a genuine phenomenon. Their recording of “Elvira,” an obscure, doo-wop style novelty song from the 1960s, became a major, Grammy-winning smash. Not only did it hit number one on the country charts, but its infectious “oom-pop-a-mow-mow” bass vocal hook boosted it into the top five on the pop charts. Its accompanying album, Fancy Free, became their first to top the country charts, not to mention their biggest seller ever. The title cut of their chart-topping 1982 follow-up, Bobbie Sue, also went number one country and nearly made the pop top ten as well. American Made’s title track also topped the charts in 1983, as did its follow-up, Love Song. In early 1984 Deliver became their third number one country album, and they landed two more number one singles that year with “Everyday” and “I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes.” 1985 brought three number ones: “Little Things,” “Make My Life With You,” and “Touch a Hand, Make a Friend.”

The Oak Ridge Boys’ sales began to slow a bit in the latter half of the ’80s, but their popularity endured and they still produced big hits with regularity. They hit number one with 1987‘s “It Takes a Little Rain,” and “This Crazy Love”, 1988’s “Gonna Take a Lot of River”, and 1990’s “No Matter How High”, giving them a total of 16 career country chart-toppers and 29 top ten hits. To this day, every time they step before an audience, the Oak Ridge Boys bring 25 years of hits and 50-plus years of tradition to bear.

With their latest album, the evergreen Oak Ridge Boys prove that they are not only enduring, they are evolving. The Boys Are Back is a roots-music revelation wherein the veteran quartet explores blues, country, Gospel and rock textures. Producer David Cobb brought the group styles and songs it has never attempted before, from John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” to Neil Young’s “Beautiful Bluebird,” from Jamey Johnson’s stone-country “Mama’s Table” to the blues classic “Troubl’in Mind.” “Hold You in My Arms” comes from pop star Ray Lamontagne. Country rebel Shooter Jennings wrote the collection’s title tune especially for the Oaks. “Live with Jesus” and “You Ain’t Gonna Blow My House Down” are Nashville songs, while “Hold Me Closely” comes from Los Angeles. This album’s innovative repertoire is perhaps best illustrated by The Oak Ridge Boys’ striking version of The White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army.”

The Oak Ridge Boys play three nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 12-14, in the Celebrity Showroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are just $50 and are available by calling (800) 648-1177 or (775) 356-3300.

Renowned Artist Chester Arnold Premieres Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art

Arnold_EntropicLandscapeSMFor artist Chester Arnold, painting is as much about politics and social responsibility as it is about crafting luscious large-scale oil paintings in the tradition of nineteenth-century European artists. With sometimes dark humor, the paintings in Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven opening August 14 at the Nevada Museum of Art, asks viewers to consider the impacts of human and industrial consumption, accumulation, and waste on the natural environment.

Since he began painting over three decades ago, West Coast-based artist Arnold has cleverly confronted a range of challenging subjects. Concerned about the increasing impact of human interventions on landscapes in a densely populated and deeply consumer-driven world, Arnold’s work questions the nature of human beings’ relationship to the landscape, offering cautionary warnings about society’s unbridled cycles of production and consumption on an industrial scale.

“My paintings are a big conversation I’m having with the world,” Arnold says of the richly-painted canvases spanning his thirty year career. Many of the paintings in the exhibition are based loosely on real environmental scenarios, such as the monumental canyon of discarded automobile tires that populates Arnold’s Entropic Landscape—a real larger-than-life discarded tire pile exists in California’s Central Valley. Arnold’s images of deforestation and tree harvesting BusinessSMin paintings such as Histories (2010) are not unlike the paintings of similar despoiled landscapes painted by nineteenth century American artists working long before him. And Arnold has also made three paintings of large-scale strip mines, including Holding Pond (1996) seen from an aerial view. The sublime terraced canyons are punctuated by smoky canyons and smoldering fires with holding ponds that contain mineral-rich, blood-red or copper-green drainage run-off that has been left behind by the mining process. Arnold’s depictions of such altered landscapes bring the consequences of human progress to the attention of viewers.

“The pieces in this exhibition engage with issues of work and labor, nature and environment, industrial production and consumption, and the amassing and disposal of consumer products,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator and Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “The works are both cautionary and confessional, revealing human foibles and follies and what Arnold considers to be their devastating consequences. Arnold’s landscape paintings also ask viewers to consider how human activities—of both the individual and large-scale industries—impact the landscape.”

Also featured in the exhibition is a series of paintings Arnold calls Accumulations, which reveal the ongoing cycle of consumption and disposal resulting from mass production. First created during the late 1990s, a time in American history noted for its booming economic prosperity, Arnold navigates America’s seeming disregard for accumulating and discarding mass-produced merchandise.

HistoriesSMUnderlying Arnold’s critiques of America’s consumer culture is an implicit acknowledgment of the economic engine driving mass production. Many of Arnold’s paintings allude to corporate business culture and the resources required to keep offices running throughout the country. The Business in America is Business (2008) and Means of Communication (2008) both depict streets littered with discarded office correspondence, perhaps cast from the skyscrapers of urban financial districts during past ticker-tape parades. It is especially ironic that the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers acquired one of Arnold’s paper accumulation paintings, Means of Communication (2008), for its corporate art collection not long before the company declared bankruptcy in 2008—the largest U.S. bankruptcy filing in history.

“Arnold’s works ask viewers to consider how one’s individual behaviors interface with ongoing cycles of industrial production and consumption,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “They ask us to acknowledge and celebrate hard work, but to consider the irrevocable consequences of our labors.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a special dialogue between San Francisco Chronicle Art Critic Kenneth Baker and artist Chester Arnold takes place Saturday, September 11 from 5:30 to 8 pm. Join Baker and Arnold as they discuss Arnold’s work on display in the Feature Gallery. A reception following dialogue is included in the ticket price. Cost: $15/$12 Museum Members; $18 at the door.

Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven is presented at the Nevada Museum of Art from August 14 through October 17, 2010 as part of the Museum’s wide-ranging Art + Environment Series, which provides timely, engaging, and rewarding educational opportunities for artists, scholars, and communities to engage with ideas pertinent to the intersections of art and environments. In 2009, the Museum launched the Center for Art + Environment, an international initiative that supports the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and the natural, built, and virtual environments. A book, published in conjunction with the exhibition, will be available in the Museum Store featuring essays by Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections and Colin M. Robertson, Curator of Education.