Two celebrations of the past mark this week's activities in northern Nevada, allowing the chance to wax nostalgic over two eras that lend themselves to both exaggeration and a skewering of reality.
The Old West has lent itself to romanticism for over a century, and few images are as popular in Western movies and television shows as the arrival of the stagecoach, often pierced with arrows, and just as often carrying a stranger into town.
Characters may shake a little dust off their hats or straighten some slightly ruffled clothes, but rubbing a sore backside is rare. Stages were not known for their independent suspension.
Let reality set in this weekend at the Carson City Rendezvous, where you can ride the TNT stage, pulled by four horses and weighing 3,000 pounds. The ride will not be an easy saunter down the manicured streets of Disneyland but a charge across an open field. During the brief trip, imagine hours of such travel.
The rendezvous opens at 10 a.m. Saturday with a re-enactment of Abraham Lincoln's first inauguration and continues with more re-enactments of events when he was in office, mainly Civil War skirmishes and Union and Confederate encampments. They are joined by gunfighter shows, a mountain man encampment, Pony Express demonstrations and an American Indian village.
Carson City was named for one of the more overly romanticized characters of the West Kit Carson and it holds its own in the roster of legendary towns of the era. The Rendezvous allows visitors a chance to see its history in the Nevada State Museum (once the U.S. Mint) and maybe take a side trip to another location with a reputation decidedly mixed with reality and hogwash: Virginia City.
Entertainment this year at the Rendezvous will be provided by Tom Hiatt and the Sundown Riders, Karen Quest with excellent cowgirl tricks, and Sourdough Slim. The Rendezvous takes place Saturday and Sunday in Mills Park on Highway 50, one-half mile off Highway 395. More information is at VisitCarsonCity.com.
Nostalgia for a more recent period takes place this weekend in downtown Reno. The Third Annual Rock 'n' Roll Revival and Classic Car Show is like a miniature Hot August Nights, a celebration of youth for those growing up in the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s. There will be displays of hot rods, classic cars and muscle cars, plus a street fair along Virginia Street.
Harrah's Reno, Circus Circus, Silver Legacy and Eldorado team to sponsor this event which, unlike Hot August Nights, restricts its activities to downtown. They also provide the considerable roster of free entertainment that kicks off today on three stages with the band Atomika from noon to 4 p.m., the Buddy Emmer Band from noon to 3:30 p.m., Steel Breeze from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Emerald City from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Steel Breeze (3 to 8 p.m.), Atomika (3 to 8 p.m.), and Emerald City (4:30 to 8 p.m.) return, joined by the Out-of-Towners (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), a tribute band called Summer of Love that may make you want to put flowers in your hair (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), and Nathan Owens, the popular casino cabaret Motown performer (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
The festivities close out Sunday with entertainment from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with Nathan Owens, Buddy Emmer and a band fittingly called Hindsight.
This is the first of Reno's series of summer festivals, which will continue with the Reno Rodeo (June 14-23), the Reno River Festival (June 15-17), the Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival (June 22-23), Artown throughout July, Hot August Nights (Aug. 7-12), Street Vibrations (Sept. 19-23), and the Eldorado Italian Festival (Oct. 8 and 9).
Out and about
It may be a little early for out-and-out nostalgia for the 1990s, but a quick journey back in time is warranted with a double bill, Color Me Badd and All-4-One, tonight at Cache Creek. Color Me Badd had five hit singles in their brief two years (1991-92) at the top of the charts, including "I Wanna Sex You Up" and "I Adore Mi Amor." All-4-One's hit "I Swear" spent 11 weeks at the top, followed by "I Can Love You Like That" 9 p.m.; $25, $39, $49; (800) 225-2277 or cachecreek.com.
Eric Burdon started his career in Newcastle, England, where he would cover the music of Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker, among others. He and his band joined Sonny Boy Williamson for the first live R&B recording in the U.K. on New Year's Eve 1963.
It wasn't long before Eric Burdon and the Animals were a major force in the British Invasion, providing long-lasting hits like "House of the Rising Sun" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." They were also probably the most zany and fun of all.
Burdon has lost none of that sense of humor. He brings the Animals to Harrah's (7:30 p.m. Saturday; $45; Ticketmaster). Commencing with this concert, Harrah's South Shore Room tickets will be available only through Ticketmaster.
Harrah's Reno has opened a new venue called The Zone, featuring live music and a new comedy club. Located where the former Harrah's Cabaret was, in the East casino on Center Street, the club features Alysia Wood tonight and Saturday, Quinn Dahle (June 14-19), Sam Fedele (June 21-23), and Joe Fontenot (June 28-30), (8 p.m. $15; Ticketmaster or harrahsreno.com).
Also this week, Harrah's Reno opened the new production "Persuasion" in Sammy's Showroom, an adult revue featuring the single-named Tyzen, comedic stage hypnotist (9 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays; $25)
Michael Martin Murphey brings his cowboy music to John Ascuaga's Nugget tonight through Sunday (8 p.m.; $35; 800-648-1177 or janugget.com).
John Ascuaga's Nugget, Sparks
Celebrity Showroom: WAR, June 23. (800) 648-1177.
Carson Valley Inn
Cabaret Lounge: Vinny Messina, Wednesday, June 20, 27; Paul Covarelli, June 24-26; Jo Momma, today-Saturday; George Pickard, Sunday-Tuesday; Vegas Road Show, Thursday-June 16. Ballroom: Collin Raye, June 16. (775) 782-9711.
The BBQ, Brews and Blues festival, June 22-23. Showroom: "Man in the Mirror," through Aug. 3. (800) 648-5966.
Sammy's Showroom: "Persuasion," Thursdays-Sundays, through Sept. 29. Comedy at The Zone: Alysia Wood, Thursday-Saturday; Quinn Dahle, Thursday-June 16. (800) 427-7247.
Harrah's Lake Tahoe
South Shore Room: Eric Burdon and the Animals, Saturday. (800) 427-7247.
Harveys, Lake Tahoe
Improv: Gene Pompa, Taylor Williamson, today-Sunday; Todd Glass, Daniel Kinno, Wednesday-June 17. (800) 427-8397.
Horizon, Lake Tahoe Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Fridays-Sundays, through June 21. (775) 588-6211.
Silver Legacy, Reno
The Rock 'n'Roll Revival and Classic Car Show, today-June 10.