Reno lifts the curtain Thursday on its 9th annual monthlong tribute to the arts with more than 200 diverse performances and exhibits ranging from the Joffrey Ballet to Second City to Arlo Guthrie.
July's Artown also features local artists and events like the Reno Philharmonic, the Reno Chamber Orchestra, Area-51 Dance Theatre and Bruka Theatre of the Sierra.
"This year you can't tell the difference between what's coming in and what's from here," said Mark Curtis, Artown co-founder.
For the first time at Artown, children will be able to sample the joy of improvised comedy with a July 26 performance by the Second City Children's Theatre. And the Food Bank of Northern Nevada's world music series will bring in its first steel drum band.
"All the series try to look at being really diverse and different each year," Artown Executive Director Beth Macmillan told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
The Nevada Museum of Art has a number of exhibitions during Artown.
Exhibits and events also will run throughout July in galleries and nontraditional spaces around town. For instance, Wildflower Village will be hosting glass blowing demonstrations on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
Bruka Theatre of the Sierra will perform Shakespeare's "Titus Adronicus" throughout July and July 16 and 17 will see performances of "The Guys," a drama dealing with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks presented by the Actor's Gang from Los Angeles.
For lovers of musicals, "Grease" is the word. The show will play for two weeks at the Eldorado. And fans of improvised comedy can check out performances by Second City on July 23 and 24 at John Ascuaga's Nugget.
Beethoven at Bartley on Mondays isn't just about Beethoven or Bach, Brahms and other Bs. Once again, the free concerts will be at the Hawkins Amphitheater. Leading off the series July 5 is the Imani Winds, a group that blends European, African and American traditions. Other performers on the lineup are the Great Basin Brass Quintet, pianist Allan Fuller and the Reno Chamber Orchestra.
In Pops on the River, Reno Philharmonic members let their hair down and perform outdoors at Wingfield Park.
Opera fans can hear a free evening of music during "Opera in Blue Jeans" on July 17 at Wingfield Park. Singers from Nevada Opera will perform in casual clothes and a stripped-down setting.
One of the best ways to get into the swing of this year's festival is a lunch hour with the Reno Municipal Band. The group will perform free shows with varying instrumentation from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays except Thursday in Wingfield Park.
Also aimed at jazz lovers is Sunday Jazz at the Sands. Beginning July 11, the hotel-casino will host a different jazz artist from 6 to 8 p.m. every Sunday. The concerts are poolside.
Artown will wrap July 31 with a performance by Matt Catingub's Big Kahuna and the Copa Cat Pack, a Grammy-nominated group that blends big band swing with Hawaiian music. The free show will kick off at 8 p.m. in Wingfield Park.
Friday nights mean free Rollin' on the River concerts at Wingfield Park. Among the performers are reggae band Zion Roots and rockers the Crash Test Dummies and John Eddie.
Folk and roots rock enthusiasts can catch Arlo Guthrie July 29 at Hawkins Amphitheater.
Folks whose tastes run the gamut can check out the American Arts Festival, sponsored by Sierra Arts and the city of Reno. The free event will be July 3 in Wingfield Park. Musical performances range from blues and gospel to country and rock.
The Food Bank of Northern Nevada's Food for the Soul World Music Series will be 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Wingfield Park. A $5 donation (or donations of nonperishable food), gets a spot for Baka Bata Steel Drum & Dance Ensemble, the gypsy pop of Les Yeux Noirs and others.
Last year, ballet lovers thrilled to sold-out performances by Mikhail Baryshnikov. This year, the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago will offer performances July 21 and 22 at the Reno Hilton.
Tuesdays have been dedicated to Dancing in the Park. Audiences can check out work from several Northern Nevada companies. On the bill are Area-51, Sierra Nevada Ballet, Nevada Performing Arts and dancers from UNR.
Free movies will be shown at 9 p.m. Fridays in Wingfield Park. The lineup includes "The NeverEnding Story," "Rear Window," "Billy Elliot," "Young Frankenstein" and "Grease."
Then there's the 8:30 p.m. July 17 screening of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." The movie will play on a big screen at the Reno Hilton Amphitheater while the Bawdy Caste of San Jose acts out the action on stage.
Within the festival that is Artown, there are a number of smaller festivals, including Great Basin Chautauqua. The living-history event runs July 18 to 23.
For entertainment with an ethnic flair, there's the 37th Annual Reno Basque Festival on July 17 and 18 and the Reno Celtic Celebration on July 24 and 25.
Finally, foodies can get their culinary juices flowing on Saturdays in which Harrah's hosts a Culinary Arts Festival on its plaza.
On the Net: Artown Web site: http://www.renoisartown.com