Double Down - A Blog

Mar 9, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

All photos courtesy Rachel Hopkin/Nevada Humanities

I think I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve led a rather peripatetic existence; so far, as an adult, I’ve lived in fifteen cities across seven countries within three continents. In fact, I was once told by a psychic that I had no “root chakra” and although the rest of our conversation was nonsensical, that part resonated.  So it’s rather ironic that I now work for an organization which considers facilitating a sense of rootedness - or at least a sense of connection - between Nevada’s residents and their beautiful state as part of its raison d’être.

Over the years I’ve learned that the way I best connect with a place is to get out and walk on the land beneath it. Thus, one of the great revelations...

Feb 14, 2014 | Posted by Nevada Humanities

Just over a week ago, the town of Elko played host to thousands of visitors from all over the world who descended on north east Nevada for the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. It was the Gathering’s 30th year and among those in attendance was Rachel Hopkin. Rachel is a folklorist and radio producer who works for Nevada Humanities and she put together this report for KUNR about this event which – as she found out - had a very particular focus this year.

This report aired as part of KUNR's...

Feb 7, 2014 | Posted by Karen Wikander

When I first started working at Nevada Humanities, there was a day when I travelled to Las Vegas, trying to woo teachers into using the ONE in the classroom. "Whizz! Bang! Help me help you!" kind of stuff. After a day doing the calisthenics of an extrovert, my very introverted self was thrilled to finally sit back and relax on the plane ride home to Reno. Of course, as it was a Southwest flight from LAS --> RNO, the plane was heaving with people. As I was lucky enough to be one of the last people to board, I ended up in the dreaded middle seat. So much for hiding out next to the window.

That said, I was lucky enough to be seated next to a very pleasant guy who worked in geothermal energy. After developing a friendly banter, and as you do when trapped with people in close...

Feb 7, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

This year, as last, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. It was the event’s thirtieth anniversary and since that milestone happened to coincide with its home state’s sesquicentennial celebration, there was – for the first time in the Gathering’s history – a special focus on the cowboy culture of Nevada.

Consequently, there were a number of sessions with a Silver State theme, including a Friday night sell-out show entitled “Nevada in my Heart”.  It featured a range of performers who all possessed, in different ways, a significant connection to this place and...

Jan 27, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

First of all, I should clarify that I’m not really an “insider” as I’ve lived in Vegas for little more than a year.  Still, in this is the most transient of cities, that could give me at least a small claim to a local perspective and it’s definitely true that I’m now familiar with certain aspects of the city that might elude the average visitor to these climes.

To be honest, my reason for writing this blog is quite selfish; one of the things about living in Las Vegas is that an unusual number of friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, and so on, pass through.  Since I’ve been here, I think I’ve had about 10-12 different sets of visitors stop by, which for sure never happened in rural Kentucky where I was previously based.  After all, this city gets nigh on 40 million...

Dec 5, 2013 | Posted by Nancy Cummings

The Journey Begins

What triggered my decision to join the Peace Corps?  I graduated from high school in 1956. I had been accepted to Pasadena Playhouse so I could pursue my dream of being in the theatre.  At the last moment, I changed my mind and accompanied my best friend to Texas Christian University.  This didn’t pan out for either of us, and I returned to Las Vegas and began taking classes at Nevada Southern University.  By the time I’d heard about the Peace Corps,  I had attended three different universities with no degree to show for it.  My big dream of becoming a highly successful character actress wasn’t going anywhere.  I was certainly at sixes and sevens.  Perhaps that was it, or perhaps it was the idealist in me—maybe it was JFK’s charisma—a...

Nov 18, 2013 | Posted by Bobbie Ann Howell

[Photo of Walter Dean Myers courtesy of Jim Laurie]

I confess. . .it has been several months since my last blog. In an effort to find something worthwhile to share I let time swiftly flow by as events surrounding the Vegas Valley Book Festival swung into action. Words, ideas, stories, poetry, were swirling around the valley at break neck speed, or so it seemed to me. Planning, committees, meetings, things added and deleted from countless lists of to do and done.  Working to create an event of literary interest for as broad an audience as possible, on budget, with a group of partners, is a high goal.  Each of the participants wanting to succeed and hoping the events will have meaning, depth, and provide a good deal of enjoyment as well. 

Working such programs...

Nov 12, 2013 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

Question 1 – Do you live in or within easy reach of Las Vegas?

Question 2 – Were you at the Vegas Valley Book Festival on 2nd November?

If the answer to question 1 is yes, and the answer to question 2 is no – good heavens, what were you thinking? 

This was my second year attending the festival.  It is such a fantastic event and I don’t say that just because my employer happens to be a festival founder - I’m a grump by nature so if I don’t like something, I’ll say it.  It’s full of interesting author talks, fascinating panel discussions, readings, storytelling, plus there’s stuff especially geared towards children, young adults, and comic book fans.  And it’s all free!!!

...

Oct 14, 2013 | Posted by Sam King

[This week, we welcome a contribution from guest blogger, Sam King, of Project Real. Project Real is a project funded in part by a grant from Nevada Humanities.]

REAL Drama, a Project REAL program provides a unique venue for middle and high school students to study current issues and then form educated opinions on the subject matter rather than ones based on lunch room conversation or hearsay.

This year, our first staging of Home Is Where The Heart Is…Or Is It?, a drama we have been performing over the last four years, was on October 10, 2013, at Del Webb Middle School in Henderson, Nevada. Our cast performed for 650 students who were studying...

Oct 7, 2013 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

I’ve been in a bit of funk recently; nothing serious, just part of the ebb and flow of being. I had become a little tired of the relentless Vegas sunshine, I’m homesick for Kentucky, and I’ve also been suffering from some minor, but draining, health issues. Casting around for ways to pick myself, I remembered advice I’d previously and variously received - not least from that doyenne of self-help, Oprah – to keep a “Gratitude Journal”. I didn’t actually get around to putting this concept into practice, but if I had, the Friday before last, this note to self would have topped the list:

“Today I am grateful that, aside from this morning, on no other...

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