Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

January 2018

Man playing the drums

Animals in the Attic Concert Review

By UncategorizedNo Comments

SingerAn intimate, eclectic crowd gathered in Reno’s Holland Project for Animals in the Attic. Spencer Rakela, frontman and co-guitarist along with Clayton LaFlamme on keyboard, Mitchell Grimenstein on drums, and Stefan Sorgea on guitar rocked Holland’s little corners with their bouncy and undoubtedly California-inspired sound.

Under the disco ball Rakela walked onto the stage with his unusual but groovy aquamarine guitar with a psychedelic orange sun painted on it. After setting up, the band welcomed Reno with “Not Foolin’” off of their 2016 studio album Half-asleep Surf. A timid drum accompanied by keyboard and guitar began to play. Shortly after, animated chords began which became the song’s recurring pattern. Words dreamingly poured, “When you wonder why you’re low/ know that I’m right here/ when you wonder what is wrong/ know that you have two arms to keep you strong.” The small audience bopped their heads to the beat of the comforting lullaby-esque tune, and I couldn’t help but notice LaFlamme’s cheerful bop too. The band considers “Not Foolin’” one of the most fun songs to play and their favorite to play too.

“I think I write the best music after meditating. I try to be in a very calm state. I’ve always talked about writing our music in a tranquil state to have a peaceful vibe. We want people to feel calm when they listen to our music,” said Rakela in an interview with me before the show. As the show went on, the boys performed their relaxed tunes with positive messages and exchanged smiles throughout.  Tunes like “You are the Ocean” and their closing number, “Take Care”, conveyed this peace Rakela mentioned. The need Animals in the Attic have to make feel-good music that distracts people from negativity is something truly worth admiring.

What’s next for this band? A new album with Mitchell Grimenstein and Stefan Sorgea on the record. Their last album Half-asleep Surf was recorded back in 2016 when the band consisted of Rakela, LaFlamme, and their old drummer. “Stefan and Mitch aren’t on the last album which makes [performing their old songs] a different experience live, but we like it that way.” The untitled album is set to be released May of 2018. Didn’t catch them live? Animals in the Attic adore Reno and with a new album coming in the near future, maybe they’ll come back to visit us. Can’t wait until May? Catch up on their wonderful album Half-asleep Surf!

All band members

One Community banner

UNR Students Study Service-Learning

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Time CreditProfessor Elisabeth Miller and the University of Nevada, Reno have partnered with several local nonprofits, and for Miller’s English 401B Advanced Nonfiction class, students work with these nonprofit partners. In the class students work on creating and perfecting their own resumes and cover letters. However, they also work closely with their community partner in order to determine the needs of the organization and produce written content to help meet those needs. The coursework varies based on the needs of the organizations. The students are expected to produce approximately 10 pages of content for their community partner. The class is neither volunteerism nor an internship, but rather service-learning.

“Service-learning is a mutual exchange between the organization and the university. It goes beyond volunteerism, and it goes beyond internship,” said Miller. The service students provide to their community partner adds to their understanding of nonprofits and technical writing. The students provide weekly reflection logs about their work for the organization to solidify their learning. “The actual practice of doing service is itself like a text, with the reflection that follows.”

Some students are working on grant proposals, others on creating brochures, online content, and more.​ ​English major, Hannah Schotborgh is working with the Northern Nevada Literacy Council (NNLC). NNLC is a local nonprofit dedicated to furthering education for adult learners. They provide English Second Language (ESL) classes to help students attain their Certificate of High School Equivalency (HSE) and citizenship classes. Schotborgh said she previously worked with the SPCA, but that service-learning has allowed her to work more directly with her community partner compared to traditional volunteering. “They actually put us in contact with leaders in the nonprofit,” said Schotborgh, “It was interesting to basically be a part of the staff working for the nonprofit.” Schotborgh works close with Susan Robinson, the executive director of NNLC.

Schotborgh said that one aspect of service-learning that appealed to her was having the freedom to work independently on her project for the organization. Schotborgh has helped the organization by creating profiles about students of the NNLC. “We’re trying to compile it so that Susan can use quotes and summaries,” said Schotborgh, “Because she doesn’t have the time to interview all of these students all the time.” Schotborgh said that personal anecdotes help the organization to demonstrate how they help people in a tangible way.

While the organization has gained useful written content from the partnership, Schotborgh says that she has gained technical writing skills. “I’ve always understood the creative writing aspect of authoring,” said Schotborgh, “I’d never thought about the technical writing of businesses.”

Another student, Warren Bottino, has partnered with Neighbor Network of Northern Nevada (N4). N4 is a local nonprofit based on the concept of time exchange. Members earn time credits by helping one another and can use those credits to receive assistance later on. This assistance can be in the form of yard work, transportation, education, and more. “They’re an altruistic kind of organization,” said Bottino, “It’s kind of a community building thing.”

Bottino said at first he was skeptical and unenthusiastic at the prospect of doing extra work outside of class but soon found the research he was doing quite interesting. “I ended up really liking it,” said Bottino, “It’s something I want to research more of.” Much of Bottino’s research was on the concept of social capital theory. “It’s our connections, it’s our community, and it’s our way of measuring that,” said Bottino.

Bottino says that the class and his community partner have changed his understanding of community. “It’s not just going out and helping people, it’s work,” said Bottino, “They need money to do it, and they can’t accomplish everything they want. It’s harder than it seems.” Despite the inherent difficulties, Bottino said the experience has made him consider entering the nonprofit sector of business in the future. “Before, I had no plans at all. Now I know what I like,” said Bottino, “I learned that I like writing, but I learned that I also I like people.”

The Basement RenoxNV logo

The Basement Review

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Once an old post office, The Basement rapidly evolved into a hip and trendy spot for all ages. Offering arguably Reno’s best cold-pressed juice, gourmet handmade chocolates, local clothing brand, and an underground barbershop, among other things, The Basement has something for everyone.

As a Rawbry juice-veteran myself, I had become quite familiar with The Basement’s lifestyle branding. Brianna Bullentini, the part-owner of The Basement and owner of Rawbry, created the entire space with a vision of an alternative and collaborative culture in an underground environment, both literally and figuratively.

The Basement invites all of the creatives of Reno to hang out, drink juice or coffee, and create their own ideas or plans together. The architecture of The Basement reinforces this mission. The vendors and shops are located along the walls while community tables are placed in the middle of the space, encouraging people to interact and collaborate while they support the local businesses within.

During my experience as an employee, it was not uncommon to hear about certain ideas being explored and then seen to fruition. The Basement has such a creative energy built into its walls by Bullentini that it sparks that same spirit within its employees and customers alike. Every business located within is operated by a local entrepreneur who believes and participates in the mission of The Basement.

While The Basement offers different shops and vendors, it also offers a space to hang out, work, and host meetings or events.

Creativity begets creativity, and The Basement is crawling with inspiration.

Angie Bennett

Pack Profile: Professor Angela Bennett

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Professor Angela Bennett is faculty in the English department at University of Nevada,Reno. Bennett grew up in Nevada and pursued her graduate degrees at New York University. Her department at NYU was quite diverse. “Gender and sexuality diversity was probably overrepresented with respect to the general population,” said Bennett, “So I never thought twice about what it would mean to be queer faculty and gender-nonconforming.”

However, Bennett has noted a lack of such diversity among UNR faculty. For her first two years at UNR she was the only continuing faculty who was queer within her department. “Being a six foot tall woman, number one, conformity is impossible when you live in that body,” said Bennett, “My body, even if I were attempting to conform, would offend some people because I am ‘too big too woman’. But when you add to the fact that I’m not even trying to conform, I’m a six foot tall woman with a mohawk and visible tattoos and body modifications,that will lead people in this space to just be hostile to me when I walk into places.”

“For me, as queer faculty and gender- nonconforming faculty, but white faculty, that means going into a space and acknowledging the privilege that I experience, as a white person and making it clear that I also exist in these marginalized identities,” said Bennett, who hopes that her awareness and representation can help her create a classroom atmosphere wherein students feel safe. “I want students to feel safe enough to take intellectual risks. Which is what’s necessary for people to learn,” said Bennett.

Bennett has been a participant in Babel, a collective of academics and scholars that promotes unconventional thinking and studies, for nearly ten years. The collective provides academic resources for researchers, artists, and more who do not have access to libraries or journals, allowing them to research and publish, without having attained tenure. “This whole group has been about dismantling hierarchies within the academy,” said Bennett, “I did my intellectual development in this safe intellectual space that Babel created.” From October 26 through October 29, Bennett brought their biennial conference to UNR. The conference focused on issues of race and intersectionality, with programming such as “Race and Risk in the University” and “White Supremacist Legacies Within the Academy.”

“Our focus on race was always part of it, but we pivoted more toward that after the events of Charlottesville,” said Bennett, “Especially since it was held at UNR, where one of our own students had become the poster child for the white supremacists who marched at University of Virginia.”

One panel was student-led. Five students addressed issues of inclusivity on campus for a room full of professors. Based on the student panel, Bennett is working on several projects to increase inclusivity at UNR. One such project is an inclusive pedagogies game, in which faculty have to draw identity cards that give them a certain background. “You draw Chicanix and this gives you a multiplier of times three every time you hit a microaggression you take three times as many as the card,” said Bennett, “And the faculty member has to play with this disadvantage that you experience from these intersections.”

While Bennett is glad UNR provides microaggression training, that is, training on commonplace behavior that creates a hostile environment for marginalized groups, she feels the game goes a bit further. Bennett hopes the game will be more successful than traditional microaggression training because the faculty members will be invested in their character. Bennett says that racism is pervasive, and by not actively being anti-racist people may unwittingly permit or take part in racist behavior. “I’d like for our faculty to have a chance to get inside the experiences of students that are going to be so different from their own experiences,” said Bennett, “And help them to understand these elements of a student’s identity can throw up roadblocks.”

Bennett tries to create classroom environments in which student identities are considered and are not roadblocks. Bennett has attempted this in her queer utopias class, which she taught in the Fall of 2017, with one goal of the class being to “dismantle hierarchies.” She did this by giving up some of her authoritative control and letting the students decide the trajectory of the class throughout the semester. “It’s about me guiding you through certain materials and certain modes of thinking, so you can do it on your own,” said Bennett, “It’s just radical potential, with that wide open syllabus the first day of class.” According to Bennett, allowing students to collectively choose the path of the semester, is another form of inclusivity. By acknowledging that students are adults with jobs, families, or other responsibilities outside of the classroom and taking that into consideration, the structure of the class changes to suit the students’ identities.

“There are all sorts of things that go into being a grown-ass human that the traditional college experience doesn’t really make space for,” said Bennett, “To hold students to those standards places an undue burden on students who do not fit that mold.”

Bennett’s Queer Utopias class and personal philosophies overlap. “I am a utopian. I am a person who lives in a way where I am trying to actively think about a better world, and whatever ways are in my power to bring that into existence,” said Bennett. “I walk around in this non-normative body and in so doing, even though I’m going to encounter hostility and possibly danger, I’m hoping that I make a space behind me,” said Bennett, “So that the next person that walks into that space and looks a little different, that they don’t feel as uncomfortable.”

Mynt Dispensary Logo

Mynt Cannabis Dispensary Review

By UncategorizedNo Comments


Mynt Cannabis Dispensary in downtown Reno has a wide selection of cannabis products. According to their website, Mynt sells “flowers, edibles, topicals, vape oils, and concentrates.” The dispensary is stylish, organized, and quick. Employee Trista Barnes estimates that Mynt has close to tripled its customer intake since Nevada legalized recreational marijuana.


After visiting the front desk, patients are called back into the purchasing area, where the product is. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, receiving extensive training on the product, and on the laws surrounding them. Regular testing is standard, with employees receiving online tests once every few weeks, and micro tests even more often to further their education.

“Training is very much an in depth process of learning laws. Cannabidiol (CBD) just became a schedule one narcotic, so we can’t give it to anybody who’s flying out of state anymore,” Barnes said.

A great deal of patient questions are about the legality of marijuana, whether it be about legal quantities or where people are allowed to use product, Barnes explains. Beyond the legality of cannabis, the employees also learn about the endocannabinoid system and how the body reacts with cannabis, as well as the lineages of cannabis. The employees stay informed about the way individual strains affect people. While many people purchase whatever is available, Barnes urges patients to ask questions about different strains.

“Indicas are high in terpenes that kill anxiety, and help pain, and relieves stress,” said Barnes, “Whereas sativas will engage your mind and can make anxiety worse. If you don’t want to get high, CBD is a great way to kill anxiety as well.”

Barnes hopes for cannabis to be legalized on a federal level. She urges people to focus on and research the medical benefits of cannabis. “THC itself is good for getting rid of ocular pressure, CBD is a pain reliever, muscle relaxer, anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, anti-spasmodic. Pretty much the only thing I haven’t found it be helpful for is allergies.”