The fine folks at the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority really provided The Beths with an action packed 16 straight hours. Thanks to RSCVA’s Jill and her husband Howie, we (followed by Mortar PR’s Serene and her friend Sara), we made it back to Reno alive…BARELY.
At one point, it was snowing so profoundly, we could not see the road before us. Beth Hondl, brilliant videographer, editor and friend, does not freak out. She is calm, calculated, relaxed. I have never seen her lose her cool in all of our time shooting videos together. Until that snowstorm became so wild, we found ourselves in a Subaru on the side of a mountain in Nevada and couldn’t see the front of the car much less the pavement.
From the back of the Subaru came Hondl in a voice I’ve never heard before.
“Where. Is. The. Road?”
VidSF!”Perhaps you have that parent or friend who’s always in control of the situation and in the blue moon situation that sends them into a bit of a panic, well, you lose your shit. That was me on the side of that mountain. “Oh my GOD, Howie! Go slower! What the fuck? Where are we? Beth, are you okay? We are NOT dying for
I mean, if Hondl was scared, I was certain we were dead.
We weren’t. We made it back to the Silver Legacy in one piece and were given an hour to calm our nerves before heading out to cover the Santa Crawl. All I wanted to do in that hour was close my eyes and sleep. But there was a hot tub in my room. How often is there a hot tub in your boudoir?
So I sat in my tub and watched the DaVinci Code on TBS.
An hour later, I found myself in a Santa suit piling in a hunter green Silver Legacy limousine for a 5 block drive through a blizzard to Basque food. RSCVA’s Jill was highly insistent that Louis’ Basque Corner was where we HAD to eat and as all six of us entered, I found myself muttering the new Reno tagline, “Reno: Far from expected.”
I guess I imagined Jill would take us to some TGIFriday’s version of a Spanish restaurant. Instead, Louis’ is a family style joint that been in Reno for seemingly, a billion years. It’s very low-ceiling’d, wood-panneled, handwritted notes on the bathroom door about how to work the funky lock. Louis was there, thrilled at our arrival, and the other long, crowded tables were packed with either groups of Santa Crawlers or big families passing plates over their heads.
Huge plates of salad and slabs of meat arrived, glasses clinked, snow fell. Later, Hondl and I agreed that Louis’ joint was unexpected and really fun. At one point, they put some brown soup in front of us and I thought, “Oh dear.”
But I took a whiff of the mysterious soup and it was obvious, some old lady was stirring goodness and love into a huge pot somewhere in the back. It was family food, like you’d get at someone’s house, like when my dad serves his stuffed zucchini and my brother and I assure our friends, “Seriously. Try it. It’s awesome.”
Louis’ is like that.
Following dinner was the 5 hour taping of the video you can view above.
And following that video, all hell broke lose.
Hondl and I were exhausted. I’d picked her up at 7 in Noe Valley and it was now 1am in Reno. We’d been hoofing it all over the place, from being snowed in at Mt. Rose to bar hopping all over town. My 15 minutes in my Silver Legacy hot tub was certainly nice, but the experience did not have the restorative qualities of a good 2 hour nap, which is what we needed.
Also, enjoying the Santa Crawl with your friends is one thing. Enjoying the Santa Crawl with a camera, lighting and microphone is entirely another. It’s heavy, it takes a while to set up and shut down and it attracts … people.
When attempting to interview folks, sober people are boring and often say no. Buzzed people are great and give the best interviews. And fucking wasted assholes suck.
So, at 1am under the Reno arch, finally wrapping Reno up and looking forward to 4 hours sleep before our pre-dawn flight home, Hondl decided to get one more shot from directly under the “Reno: Biggest Little City in the World” sign.
Because it was snowing and the camera could not get wet, all of our filming had to be covered. At times, Serene would hold found objects over the camera while we shot as fast as possible. The Beths are not a big budget production. We use plastic bags.
So Hondl, Serene, Sara and I head to the safety of the awning of Fitzgeralds, a boarded up hotel and casino.
Immediately, we were surrounded by God’s mistakes.
“Oh news people! News people! Gimme the microphone!”
“It’s my birthday! Lemme say shit!”
“Awww shit, wait! Wait! I wanna say shit!”
They were grabbing at me and the microphone, pushing and shoving and acting like huge pieces of drunk, horrible shit. There were thousands of people and we were all smashed together.
So Sara, friend of Serene the publicist, leaps forward, throws her body in front of mine and screams, “Let her work! She’s just trying to do her job! You need to back off and be respectful!”
The Beths security team is apparently a 5’2″ vixen dressed as a reindeer. My eyes glowed with admiration and respect. Which is when I felt the first snowball hit my back.
Then a snowball slammed into Hondl.
Another one hit the camera.
And then we heard glass break.
“Oh. Oh my God.”
More glass breaking.
“They’re throwing beer bottles!”
I would have given anything to be back in that Subaru dying on the side of the mountain. We were scared. All four of us were terrified, actually. Hondl scrambled to get her camera back in the case and I screamed, “Go! We need to go!”
Serene reached back and grabbed my hand and four pissed off women from San Francisco went running through the snow cursing that last, final shot we never ended up getting anyway.
Will you get attacked by assholes if you go to the Reno Santa Crawl? No! Everyone is awesome and friendly, looking to have a good time and get drunk. Will you get attacked by assholes if you go to the Reno Santa Crawl with a video camera and microphone?