Skip to main content


camera banner

Q and A with Rolling Stone Photographer, Baron Wolman

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Baron Wolman is a photographer known for his work in Rolling Stone magazine when it first began in the late 1960s. Wolman has photographed numerous iconic faces, such as George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and many others. Aside from his impressive rock photography, Wolman has photographed authors, actors, comedians, and even cable cars. I had the opportunity to interview Wolman for Insight Magazine on creativity, his favorite on-field memories, and more.

1.What inspired you then and what inspires you now?

Photography has always inspired me. From the first day I picked up a camera and saw the world through its viewfinder, I was inspired. It was a unique experience that is no longer unique now that “everyone is a photographer.” So there is little that inspires me these days in the world of still photography – too many pictures and little respect for them because of the overwhelming number of images. We are drowning in pictures. That said, for the younger generations, they are more and more communicating with pictures rather than words, a situation that deserves some looking into.

2. What do you do to get over creative ruts?

I’ve had many “creative ruts.” When they occur I tell myself to look around to see what sort of non-photographic situations interest me at the moment. Then I ask myself “are there picture possibilities” within any of those situations. Usually there are. Everything a person finds fascinating can produce good pictures, from portraits, to sports, to landscapes, to fishing, whatever. The important thing is to remain curious – if one is curious about something, “study” it with a camera. That’s one satisfying and instructive way to go beyond the surface, and make good pictures in the process.

3. Are you working on anything new?

I’m working on a book compilation of my rock and roll Instagram posts. Also working on better marketing images from my archives. Also working on video interviews with fellow photographers about their careers and their favorite photos. There’s always something new happening especially if you’re open to it.

4. What piece of advice would you give to creators (writers, photographers, etc.) ?

My only advice to creatives is simply to repeat Joseph Campbell’s counsel to “follow your bliss.” Determine your passions and follow them. Don’t do things for the money, do them because you’re passionate about them, you love them, you get great satisfaction from doing them. Be they writing, painting, taking pictures, skateboarding. It’s an infinite list. And when you give yourself fully to your creative passions, there is also often a fringe benefit of public confirmation and financial income.

5. What’s one of your favorite on-field memories?

I have many “on-field” memories, but one of the best was being onstage with the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Fillmore West in San Francisco in 1968. It was both an exhilarating spiritual and photographic experience, and I have the photos I took to prove it.

6. Who are some of your favorite photographers?

There are contemporary music photographers I admire, there are contemporary sports photographers I admire, there are iPhone photographers I admire, there are landscape photographers I admire. The photographers I usually refer to when answering this question are: one, Cartier-Bresson, who showed me the joy of doing street photography (which translated into photojournalism for me); and two & three, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon who showed me the joy of simple but honest portraiture (which helped me make many of the best musician portraits I did for Rolling Stone).

7. Are there any books you would recommend to aspiring photographers?

Aspiring photographers should spend hours in the library looking at photo books of all kinds. They are inspirational in general and often specifically, whereby a group of photos on a specific subject can inspire a young photographer to direct his/her efforts in a particular direction, toward one or more specific subjects. There are good pictures to be made of virtually every subject, from war to family to sports to street to fashion – there are infinite possibilities to make meaningful photographs.

8. Lastly, are you a Nikon or Cannon man?

I’m a Nikon guy, have been since the Nikon-F single lens reflex appeared on the scene in the sixties.

VS background

Slut-Shaming Vs. Player-Praising: Sexual Inequality

By UncategorizedOne Comment

Sexual equality is not gender equality. Sexual equality is the freedom to express yourself and your sexual desires on a healthy, appropriate level just as much as the opposite sex. It’s being able to initiate courtship just because it’s what you want. It’s not being afraid of what people will think of you or your behavior. Sexual equality is being able to freely communicate and act on your sexual desires, so long as it harms no one, without fear of being shunned or outcast. Sexual equality is the idea of treating men and women as equals, whether it’s a long-term, committed relationship, or a casual “hook-up.”

In her book Hard to Get: Twenty-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom, psychotherapist Leslie Bell talks about the social pressures young women encounter when it comes to sex. She mentions a 28-year-old girl named Claudia, whose “family would be horrified if they knew about the number of sexual partners she’d had, that they would be devastated and disappointed.” Claudia is a sexually active young woman who has difficulty coping with her desires, yet enjoys “the pleasure of being touched by someone she found so attractive.” While men feel free to express and indulge in such desires, women are held to higher societal standards. Bell describes how many young women struggle “in how to manage… their own desires to get what they want from sex and love.” Women are burdened with socialized sexual restraint and a forced moral responsibility that is not experienced by their male counterparts.

Men, for the most part, have the freedom to have sexual relationships without facing familial or societal judgment or condemnation. Women are held to strict expectations when it comes to their sexuality. “Despite all the advances of women over the past fifty years, these experiences are frequently split into masculine and feminine ones, with the masculine being overvalued socially and psychologically.” Women have made leaps and bounds in the professional world, yet have not made much progress in harnessing their right to freely express themselves the same way as men do, sexually. While it may seem perfectly reasonable for women to be able to conduct themselves in an equal manner as men, “there is a fine line between being experimental and being a slut.”

While gender equality has made significant advances, it still needs work, and it is not sexual equality. “The current average age of first sexual intercourse for girls is seventeen, leaving ten years of sexual and relationship activity before the current average age of marriage at twenty-seven.” That leaves an average period of ten years for young women to navigate adult life and develop adult relationships, but that can be easier said than done. Women “often contend with messages from their families, religions, and partners that they ought not to be sexually assertive, or sexually active at all.” Women are free to live their lives how they choose, and exercise their personal freedoms, yet from multiple angles those freedoms are severely limited. In a way, a woman’s sexual freedom is merely an illusion of freedom.

In an age of unprecedented gender equality, women are still being taught what is and is not acceptable behavior of them. “Instead of feeling free, twenty-something women are weighed down by vying cultural notions about the kind of sex and relationships they should be having in their twenties.” Young women hear so many different viewpoints on how they should live their lives that many don’t even know what they want. Some look for husbands as soon as possible, whereas others have embraced the idea of sexual exploration and experimentation to the point of blocking out any kind of potential serious relationship. “With relationships, women hear that they ought to use their twenties to ‘live it up’ and not necessarily to be serious about relationships.” It is not uncommon for twenty-something women to fear being tied-down, even when it comes to passing up a real opportunity for a happy and healthy relationship. Human beings need affectionate interaction for optimal emotional stability. Bell states that “young women often struggle to admit that they need anyone, but it’s particularly difficult to say that they need a man.” In wanting desperately to prove their independence, women may be leading healthy sex lives but closing themselves off to love.

Music and television shows flood our minds with archetypes of “independent women,” yet every young woman is closely monitored by those around her for evidence of any “slutty behavior.” The Destiny’s Child song “Independent Women Part 1” called on young girls and women in 2000 to aspire to rely completely on themselves:

The house I live in
I’ve bought it
The car I’m driving
I’ve bought it  I depend on me

Those are powerful lyrics. For young girls growing up in households with married stay-at-home moms, it might seem like in order to attain those goals, a girl should never become a married mother. Add another tense factor: the ticking clock. Bell says that modern women “spend their twenties hearing gloomy forecasts about their chances of marriage if they don’t marry before thirty, and their chances of conceiving a baby if they don’t get pregnant before thirty-five.” One idea that echoes throughout a woman’s twenties is: have fun as long as you can, but quit before you fall behind. Here are two prevalent yet contradictory views on how young women should live their lives.

Bell believes that “splitting – a tendency to think in either/or patterns and to insist that one cannot feel two seemingly contradictory desires at once – has become a widespread sociological phenomenon among young women.” Bell describes how the harsh difficulty of trying to reconcile opposing viewpoints within oneself lead women to develop anxieties about sexual relationships. She elaborates:

Confused about freedom and what it is to be a woman today, young women often split their social and psychological options – into independence, strength, safety, and control versus relatedness, vulnerability, need, and desire – as though they’re mutually exclusive and not equally important to human development.

College-age women aspire to be as free, strong, and independent as possible, so they learn to fear anything that can undermine those qualities or be perceived as weakness. “Vulnerability, needs, desires, and intimacy, then, often become new taboos for young women – experiences to be avoided rather than embraced.” In this way, women can become their own worst enemies, as not knowing how to deal with these confusing and conflicting ideologies can become very frustrating and self-detrimental.

Even the sexual health of women is less important to society than the sexual health of men. In her USA Today article “Women’s Sexual Health Deserves Equal Attention,” Laura Berman points out that Viagra was approved for the treatment of male impotence in 1998, yet there is still no FDA-approved medication for successful treatment of female sexual dysfunction. This is another indication that society values the sexual experiences of men over those of women. In a study titled Scripting Sexual Passivity: A Gender Role Perspective, researchers state that “college-aged women who reported engaging in passive sexual behavior also reported less sexual arousability.” So by conforming to traditional gender roles, sexually passive women are effectively enjoying sex less than women with developed sexual agency. Berman states that “in addition to low sexual desire, women also can have problems with arousal, orgasm and pain.” Alleviating these issues would seem to benefit both sexes, so why hasn’t it happened yet? Why is the sexual agency of males more important than that of females?

In a study titled Young Women’s Struggle for Sexual Agency: The Role of Parental Messages, researchers define sexual agency as “initiative-taking, awareness of desire, and the individual’s confidence and freedom to express sexuality in behaviors.” The study confirmed what several previous studies have stated, about the way the modern world views sexuality with each gender. “It seems there is a double standard that young men’s sexual behavior is typical and expected; an innate healthy desire that must be expressed. However, young women’s sex is viewed as inherently more dangerous, more suspect, and thus must be controlled.” Does this sound like the world we live in? Men are expected to hit on women – not the other way around. There is a birth control pill for women, not for men. For ages, women have been socialized into being passive and obedient to men. Less than a century ago, women couldn’t even vote! That is a significant system of control that was only relatively recently relinquished.

It isn’t fair that it’s condonable for men to have sex with whoever they want, whenever they want, when that very philosophy is considered repulsive when utilized by women. Researchers state that “traditional gender-based sexual roles dictate sexual passivity for women but sexual agency for men.” Men are sometimes even encouraged to have sex with as many women as possible – a goal that is somehow immoral for a woman. In American society, there is “a huge responsibility on women and men to experience sex within the limitations of their gender roles.” Men are expected to do the courting. Men are expected to entertain sexual pursuits. Shannon K. Gilmartin, Senior Research Scientist at the California Institute of Technology, finds “the pressure [men] feel to be sexually active just as intense as is the pressure to avoid sex and stifle sexual feelings among women.” Men are more or less expected to fool around with as many women as they want. Women are expected to engage in conventional dating and traditional relationships, and to “avoid at all costs being viewed as a slut.” Women have to constantly make choices keeping in mind their best image.

These differences in societal limitations come “from subtle and insidious cultural factors such as patriarchy… that stigmatize sexual activity outside of the marriage bed.” If a man engages in sexual activity on a frequent basis, with possibly multiple partners, he is sometimes referred to as a “player” by people who know him, and praised for his behavior. If a woman engages in sexual activity outside of a stable relationship, she is often met with remarks such as “slut” and shamed for anything near the same behavior. Gilmartin explains that “women are held to exacting and conflicting standards of femininity that demand they be sexually desirable and chaste at the same time, which often leads to confusion surrounding sex, dissociation from sexual feelings, and uninformed decisions about sex.” Women are expected to be sexy virgins, to wait for men to initiate every step of courtship. When they stray from this sociocultural script, their behavior is seen as deviant. These societal boundaries can create anxious or guilty feelings about sex, or drive a woman to close herself off emotionally.

The research team in the Averett study found that “almost every participant described a fear of sex and connected this fear to general insecurities about sexuality.” What kind of world are we living in when women are afraid of sex? This fear only increases the passivity that was socially engineered to keep men dominant of women. Researchers found that “passive behavior is linked to diminished sexual satisfaction for men as well as women.” This means that developing sexual agency is the key to any person, male or female, enjoying their sex life to the fullest. Women need to be actively passionate about their sexuality, and “until women see themselves as sexual actors with desires, needs, and priorities of their own, and not merely as objects of men to be desired, they will never be capable of true and full sexual health.”

In her study Changes In College Women’s Attitudes Toward Sexual Intimacy, Gilmartin conducted a very thorough case study of 14 college women. By interviewing the women during their freshmen and sophomore years, Gilmartin discovered that their perceptions about sex did change over time. The freshmen women described sex as “risky,” “scary,” and “instrumental.” The girls were primarily concerned about STIs, unwanted pregnancy, and the risk of emotional trauma. They were also afraid of sexual intimacy. Some did find that they could use sex to handle certain situations, such as to solve a fight with a boyfriend. By the end of sophomore year, their attitudes toward sex had changed. After a few casual encounters or short-lived relationships, most of the women became comfortable, even confident, with sexual intimacy. The girls hadn’t formed any sorts of real desires or ideals of sex; more so “sex signified or cost less than it used to, such that it was easier to imagine or actually have.” This might sound like an improvement, but it’s merely a lessening of the psychological detriment assigned to young women by society. Everyone should feel free to desire sex and to act on those desires, so long as it doesn’t cause harm to anyone else. The women in the study also learned over time and experience that sex can be separate from romance, and after college that “college romance was unstable” and “college men were unreliable.” In a sense, young women’s ideas of sexuality and their role in it evolve over time. The conclusion of the study is tragically put that “young women must constantly negotiate who they are and what they ‘stand for,’ sexually and otherwise, in relational systems for which terms are almost invariably set by the imperatives of dominant masculinities.”

Female writer Diablo Cody broke boundaries when Megan Fox’s title character defended her promiscuous behavior in the culturally-hip horror-comedy film Jennifer’s Body by saying, “You are such a player-hater.” Such a predominantly masculine statement coming from a strong female character puts cultural sexual issues in perspective. In the film, Jennifer feels empowerment by seducing the men she is attracted to. This behavior leads her to become a demonic succubus, who then preys on men in a fatalistic sense. When protagonist Needy confronts her, “You’re killing people!” Jennifer replies, “No, I’m killing boys.” This revolutionary character reverses traditional gender roles, going so far as to say that boys aren’t people. At one point Jennifer tells her, “PMS isn’t real, Needy; It was invented by the boy-run media to make us seem like we’re crazy.” Jennifer feels that even in the rise of equality, she is still living in a world that was shaped by men. While Jennifer engages in sexual activity with multiple partners, there is a certain beauty in that she doesn’t worry about what people think, and that no one condemns her personal choices. Of course, Jennifer is another victim of Leslie Bell’s “splitting;” she shuts out any ideas of a stable relationship, for fear of losing her strength and independence.

Society, as a whole, needs to change its perception of gender roles in order to properly accommodate female sexual agency. “Currently the ‘default’ framework equates healthy adolescent female sexuality with no sex or traditionally scripted sex.” That’s just not okay. It’s not fair. It’s not equal. Equality is something that should have no limits. Men and women need to be treated as equals in every way, including sexually. Until that happens, and it may be a very long time, young women must somehow face that challenge alone and against the tide.

shins logo

Q and A with Day Wave

By UncategorizedNo Comments

1.) What inspired the creation of Day Wave?

It all started with the idea of starting a guitar band. Before Day Wave I was playing more synthesizer music and I really wanted to do something more rock based.

2.) What’s the meaning behind the name Day Wave?

It just sounded like the music.

3.) How did you originally get into performing?

I started playing drums when I was 9 or 10. I always loved music, and I always wanted to play an instrument. That led to playing in bands and eventually writing my own songs.

4.) What would you describe your style of music as?

I guess I’d call it indie rock.

5.) Out of all the songs you’ve made, what’s your favorite and why?

I think my favorite would have to be Total Zombie. That was one of the first, and the song where everything seemed to click.

6.) So the first album has been released, you’re on tour, what comes next for Day Wave?

More writing and recording.

7.) How has it been performing with the Shins? Do you think your two styles work well together?

These shows have been really rad, I think it’s a great fit for us. Their audience has been super welcoming and hopefully we’re gaining some fans along the way.

Failure Machine

Failure Machine Has Yet to Fail

By UncategorizedOne Comment

RENO, Midtown – Local band Failure Machine talk running their own concert venue, touring the West coast, the cassette tape merchandise phenomenon, and sharing each other’s clothes.

Failure Machine describe themselves as a three-piece “garage-rock soul” or “beer rock” band. The band of twenty-somethings is composed of Clint “CP30” Philbin, Rachael “RachBoo” McElhiney, and Spencer Kilpatrick. Their musical influences include The Dirty Nil, Otis Redding, Boz Scaggs, and The Dirtbombs. According to Beau Dowling, Failure Machine is “another example of great music coming out of one-armed bandit land.”

Failure Machine does not have a bass player, but they do have McElhiney’s saxophone. It is rare for rock bands not to have a bass player, and almost unheard of to assimilate a saxophone into modern rock music, yet Failure Machine does it seamlessly.

“Bass is so often considered a necessary element in a band that it seems weird to not have it,” Adam Landis, keyboardist of Silver, said. “However, they manage to groove very well without any bass, and in a way it adds to their raw charm.”

Failure Machine was started by guitarist Spencer Kilpatrick and drummer Clint Philbin. Kilpatrick and Philbin have kept Failure Machine from failing for almost five years. During that time, the band has had different line-ups.

“It started out as just me and Clint,” Kilpatrick said. The duo added two members who are now “doing grown-up stuff,” before adding Rachael McElhiney on baritone “saxyphone.” The band has since slimmed down to the present trio of Kilpatrick, Philbin, a

Failure Machine

nd McElhiney.

Philbin and Kilpatrick grew up near Auburn. They each moved to Reno in their own time and played in different local bands before forming their own. “We really wanted to go on the road more and do more band stuff,” Philbin said.

“We started feelin’ like we were cursed, because every band we would join would break up pretty quick,” Kilpatrick said.

Kilpatrick and Philbin were recording at Dogwater Studios one day and saw the name Failure Machine on a list of other bands. They knew that name was meant for them. They awaited the break-up of that Failure Machine so they could use the name.

“It makes the most sense, because that’s what a band does,” Kilpatrick said.

Clint Philbin started playing drums when he and Kilpatrick started their band nearly five years ago. Kilpatrick has been playing guitar since he was 15 or 16, which according to him is “too long.”

“I should be better for how long I’ve played – a decade,” Kilpatrick said.

Rachael McElhiney has played saxophone for roughly 17 years.

“I started playing sax in sixth grade because some cute dude did,” McElhiney said, adding, “I marched the heavy-ass bari in high school like a dingus because some cute dude did. All the cute dudes fell away and it was just me and my sax. You don't need no man when you play that thing.”

Kilpatrick has sung lead vocals for Failure Machine, up until now. McElhiney will now be singing lead vocals while playing saxophone.

“We’re becoming a leaner Failure Machine,” Kilpatrick said, adding, “We’re gonna be doing pretty much the same shit we’ve been doing except a little bit better. Be touring and putting out little EP’s.”

The members of Failure Machine showcase a concrete passion for denim jackets and plaid. The trio describe an instance in which they performed a “denny-J” themed show “on accident.” Denim jackets and plaid shirts are clothing so common to each band member, they sometimes wear each other’s clothes, and not always by accident.

“Spencer’s a big fan of the denny-J,” Philbin said.

“I like to wear one and then put another around my waste,” Kilpatrick said, adding, “Then I like to have one hangin’ over my left shoulder in case I get super cold.”

Failure Machine is one local band that plays outside of Reno on a regular basis. In the last two years, Failure Machine toured up to Seattle, down to Los Angeles, and over to Las Vegas. They mostly tour the West Coast, but are open to touring circuits closer to home as well.

“We’ve been dying to get into the Sparks Market,” Kilpatrick said.

One of Failure Machine’s favorite places to tour is Nevada’s own Elko. “I highly recommend it,” McElhiney said.

“If you’re ever driving to Utah or something and you feel like goin’ on a three, four-day bender, stop in Elko, ‘cause it’ll do most of the work for you,” Kilpatrick said.

As for the EP’s, Failure Machine has “four or five” of them now. “All EP’s,” McElhiney laughed. According to the Kilpatrick, they “don’t have the attention span” to wait and record full-length albums, so they release all their tracks in increments of “four or five.”

These songs are all available on Failure Machine’s website, free to listen and download. The band also has merchandise available for sale, including stickers and cassette tapes. That’s right – cassette tapes. In this day and age, cassett

e tapes are becoming the new vinyl for a new generation.

“It’s like the nostalgia factor, like vinyl. It’s a souvenir,” Kilpatrick said. “It’s really silly but they sell really well.”

The band is set to record another imminent EP in San Jose at a studio run by their friends Joan and The Rivers under the label SNAFU Family. According to Failure Machine, Joan and The Rivers are based in San Jose, but still come to Reno simply to perform with their friends.

According to Clint Philbin, Joan and The Rivers “started just recording themselves,” then later expanded to record tracks for other friendly bands.

“They book shows, do merch, record the music, they do pretty much everything,” Kilpatrick said, adding, “It’s like a one-stop shop.”

Failure Machine contacted Joan and the Rivers on Facebook, asking if they wanted to play a show together. In a short time, Failure Machine was welcomed into the SNAFU Family. Clint Philbin knows the exact date of the first show they played with Joan and The Rivers.

“November sixteenth, 2014,” Philbin said, adding, “That was the first show poster I ever made.”

Philbin makes most of Failure Machine’s show posters and EP covers. “Clint’s stupid good at makin’ posters,” Kilpatrick said. Clint made this poster here to promote the upcoming Gremfest, an annual SNAFU Family music festival held at the FM Concert Hall.

Failure Machine typically play 35-minute sets. Nearly all their songs are about two minutes long. For Rachael McElhiney, every performance offers a different audience and a different experience.

“I love sweating a whole bunch with my best buds,” McElhiney said, adding, “And if your friends, who came to see you, are sweaty and gross too, that means it's a really good one. I love my friends!”

According to Adam Landis, Silver keyboardist, keeping a band together for as long as Failure Machine – five years – can be very difficult. Landis believes that strong friendships between bandmates is key to keeping a band intact.

“Everyone has their own lives to attend to while keeping the interests of the group in mind, but sometimes life gets in the way of maintaining that relationship and people find themselves at a crossroads,” Landis said.

The members of Failure Machine enjoy performing almost as much they enjoy what accompanies those performances. Clint Philbin likes feeling nervous beforehand, then drinking beer and relaxing afterwards. For Spencer Kilpatrick, the best part of playing is hanging out and drinking with other bands after the shows.

“For us, beer can be medicine,” Kilpatrick said.

One of the band’s favorite venues is The Loving Cup, formerly known as the Biggest Little City Club, formerly known as many other names. McElhiney describes The Loving Cup as a second home, and that the sound guy “made us sound good.”

“We have a ton of fun at The Loving Cup,” Philbin said.

Another favorite venue of the band is the FM Concert Hall, which doubles as the residence of Failure Machine’s own Spencer Kilpatrick. According to Kilpatrick, the primary reason they love playing the FM Concert Hall is because “nobody shafts us afterwards.”

“Sometimes, with the amount of dollars that are spent on beer, not enough dollars go to the bands,” Kilpatrick said.

Local musician Adam Landis has played the keyboard for Reno bands Rigorous Proof and Silver, and he agrees with this issue of proper compensation and recognition.

“It is sometimes difficult to get a venue to pay a fair compensation, which can be discouraging for local bands,” Landis said.

From a band’s perspective, playing a venue ran by aband can be much more fair to everyone putting on a show there. At the FM Concert Hall, bands aren’t cheated out of any money they bring the venue, because there is no money to be cheated out of. Donations, however, are encouraged.

“All the beer is free, and all the music’s free,” Kilpatrick said.

“That’s what we’re trying to do this year at Gremfest is like, get the band’s money,” McElhiney said.

“Put the beer back in the hands of the people,” Philbin said.

According to the Facebook event page, Gremfest ’17 will take place May 12 and 13 at The FM Concert Hall “to celebrate the birthdays of Kelsey Garfinkle, Eric Smith, Spencer York, and Dennis Rodman.” Doors open and barbecue begins at 6pm on Friday, May 12, and at 5pm on Saturday, May 13.

“We usually get a couple kegs and just kinda – we just really dig in,” Kilpatrick said. “We lock the doors and start lighting a bunch of candles,” Kilpatrick jokes. “My house is so dangerous.”

Gremfest ’17 is the third annual Gremfest that Failure Machine has put on. Thisyear’s musical line-up features West coast bands Bandmaster Ruckus, The Loose, Rigorous Proof, Hungry Skinny, People With Bodies, Joan & The Rivers, Dainesly, The Brankas, Eugene Ugly, Pandoval, Jake Houston & The Royal Flush, Van Goat, Shotgun Sawyer, and Hopeless Jack.

“The music scene in Reno is growing and full of extremely talented and creative musicians, but I think that people not already in the scene are not aware of the great music we have here,” Adam Landis said.

Tickets to Gremfest will be available from Failure Machine on May 11 at the Lincoln Lounge, where they will perform with Franc Friday and La Safari.

In the future, Failure Machine sees themselves going “straight to the top.” Armed with denny- J’s, cassette tapes, and their own annual music festival, who’s to stop them?

“It’s always a pleasure playing with those guys,” Landis said, adding, “They’re some of the best humans I know. I would definitely play another show with them again.”

Reef Dispensaries marijuana photo

Striking Green in the Cannabis Boom

By UncategorizedOne Comment

In a small store tucked discreetly behind a shopping center in Sun Valley, Nev., 29-year-old store manager Greg Pulsipher chats with a returning customer. Outside, the pounding rain is repeatedly hitting the black bars that encase the store. The rain outside competes with the sound of energetic rock music from overhead speakers as Greg asks the older woman about her day. She paces around an oak table neatly lined with rows of glass jars filled with marijuana, occasionally picking up a jar and smelling its contents before she makes her final decision: White Sangria. Greg compliments her choice, it’s his favorite strain as well. She exits the locked room and re-enters the reception area, where an employee will pass her a three-ounce jar of marijuana through a bullet-proof glass window.

Every customer at Reef Dispensaries undergoes the same orderly process to purchase medical marijuana. He or she will first ring the bell front door and wait for an employee to buzz them in. If the customer is new to the dispensary he or she will fill out a brief application and show proof of recommendation and their medical marijuana card. Nevada is the only state that allows out-of-state cardholders to purchase medical marijuana, therefore, the customer may be a cardholder from any state that has legalized medical marijuana. After signing in, an employee of the dispensary will call the customer back into the locked room that houses all of the products: from edibles, to vape oils, to “the flower,” as Greg would say. The customer will select a product and wait for the employee to punch all of their information into the system before returning back out to the reception area. The employee then goes to the storage room behind another locked door and gets the product the customer chose. The final interaction occurs with bullet-proof glass in between the employee and customer, as the customer pays in cash—the only accepted payment—and heads on their way. Each medical marijuana cardholder may purchase a maximum of 70 grams every two weeks, to put that in perspective, about 3 grams is an eighth, which is the typical amount sold per visit.

Reef employees

“I’ve got all walks of life coming in here,” Greg says. “Some people come in and you know that they probably do not need to be using. For every one person using recreationally, there’s one person who is using marijuana for a legitimate reason.” However, the dishonest aspect of the industry is okay for Greg because almost daily he will hear a story from someone about how medical marijuana has positively impacted their lives. “People with chronic pain, or people previously addicted to opiates come in here and find comfort in a manageable treatment.”

Reef Dispensaries in Sun Valley is one of the five franchise locations in Nevada and Arizona. The chain owner is taking advantage of the booming cannabis industry in Nevada, especially in light of the newly passed ballot initiative which legalized recreational marijuana throughout the state. As soon as June, Reef Dispensaries may be one of the 20 designated recreational dispensaries in Northern Nevada. But for now, Reef Dispensaries is one of 10 different medical dispensaries that has arrived Reno-Sparks area over the past two years. Medical marijuana has been legalized in the state of Nevada since 2001, however, Silver State Relief was the first medicinal marijuana store to open its doors back in 2015. Since then, dispensaries including Kanna, Mynt, Blüm, and Reef have opened in rapid succession. “It should not take too long to get recreational dispensaries up and running in Nevada, because we’ve had a long history with regulating ‘taboo’ things, like prostitution and gambling,” says Greg. And while it took the state 14 years to license the first medical marijuana dispensary, Nevada made sure that there were good practices in place for when the substance did go recreational. “All 10 of the medical dispensaries will likely be ‘grandfathered’ into becoming recreational dispensaries, and then 10 more licenses may become available,” says Greg. Northwestern Nevada is allowed 20 dispensaries, while the Las Vegas area is allowed 80 dispensaries, according to Greg. Nevada also requires marijuana to undergo stringent testing. The majority of the “flower” sold at Reef is a product of the company, while the edibles and vaporizing oils are from several different companies that most stores carry.

The Sun Valley location of Reef Dispensaries is only three months old, and the newness is immediately apparent. The decorations are ocean-themed yet sparse, the new white paint in the reception room is a stark contrast from the basic black chairs that line the walls, and the back office that Greg shares with his staff is empty, given a couple notebooks and lunch bags. But soon enough this location will look like the Sparks and Las Vegas locations, which are decorated in a style that mirrors high-end boutiques. The director of Reef Dispensaries is coming to “revamp” the location by the end of February, giving it the look and feel of the other locations.

Greg jumped at the opportunity to work at Reef Dispensaries in late July, 2016. He saw a post on Instagram about a team member job opening and applied immediately. He had been trying to find a job that suited him for some time. During the summer of 2016, Greg went from managing a summer day-camp, to driving a tow truck for an insurance company, to working at Reef Dispensaries. He also has experience selling wine at a local wine store. While he seems to be a jack-of-all-trades, Greg has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nevada, Reno. For a short amount of time, he worked as a P.E. teacher at a public elementary school. However, after 10 years of managing an aftercare and summer camp program, he lost interest in teaching. Maybe elementary education is something he will go back to, but for now, he enjoys educating his customers on the right way to use marijuana. Greg worked at the Sparks location on Glendale Avenue for three months before being promoted to manager and being tasked with opening the new franchise location in Sun Valley. In August, Greg worked 14 hours a day for weeks straight—he only got one day off.

Reef Dispensaries hopes to begin selling recreational marijuana by the beginning of the summer. Reef Dispensaries is the only dispensary in Northern Nevada without the colors green or black in the logo, and the brand message is straightforward: Reef Dispensaries is simply a marijuana dispensary. While Greg looks forward to having an increase in business, he feels uneasy about the new source of income.

“I don’t know how I feel about this issue. It kind of seems contradictory as a society to discourage people from smoking tobacco, while saying it’s okay to smoke cannabis,” says Greg. “We don’t really know what kind of health effects smoking cannabis could have in twenty years.” Although Greg is excited about being able to “upsell” customers once the store goes completely recreational.

“When a medical user comes in here, they know what amount of money they have and they know what they want to buy. Medical users have a purpose for buying marijuana, while recreational users are looking for a good time, and we can make them pay more money than they need to for that good time.” Greg’s wife Kari is a pharmacist, and he shared that her opinion of the cannabis industry matches his. She agrees that medicinal marijuana has its benefits to people using it correctly. “Her moral compass is in the same place as mine. We just don’t know if the recreational ‘good’ outweighs the potential harm,” says Greg.

Not knowing the potential harm of marijuana did not stop Greg from getting his own medical card. “If I’m selling it, I might as well be using it, right?” Greg joked with his staff. They laughed and agreed—most of them had a medical card, too. In Nevada it costs around $250 to $300 to get a medical marijuana card. In California, it costs about half that. Nevada is unique in that the state allows any medical marijuana cardholder to purchase marijuana at a dispensary People interested in getting a card can easily go to California and get an inexpensive one. “Nevada is more difficult in giving out medical marijuana cards,” Greg shares. “I first went to California to get mine, but then I came back and got my Nevada one to avoid the risk of being pulled over and heavily questioned.” Side-by-side, Greg’s driver’s license and his medical marijuana card are identical.

Greg’s experience in management and the patience he learned from working with children has paid off in this new career path. The only curveball for him has been doing inventory of all the diverse products. But the environment is laidback and friendly, “These guys remind me of everyone from my aftercare days. Everyone is younger than 25, and we all get along.” In the background, Greg’s coworker Nina jokingly calls him a bad manager. Greg whips his head around and flips her off, just before reaching to hold the door open for an incoming customer.