Lines blur between Biggest Little City and Burning Man

Tahoe Onstage

Hivemind’s artistic gatherings occur monthly at the BlueBird in Reno.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tony Contini

The differentiation between Reno and Burning Man is continuously dissolving. You can see it while children play on large-scale art pieces along Virginia Street. You can see it when elaborate art cars are paraded during events. You can definitely see it when hardworking, die-hard music fans push the city to be a more creative, cohesive and inclusive family.

Many of those musicians and enthusiasts forged together to create Hivemind, Reno’s art collective. The monthly gathering at The BlueBird features producers, rappers, silk aerialists, live painting, massage and more.

“Our goal is to elevate our community through artistic expression and personal connections,” said Bazooka Zac, a member of Hivemind’s production team and a local musician. “It started out of necessity. Our creative arts community was in need of a hive to inspire and create.”

Hivemind draws from the 10 Principles of Burning Man to help create the most beautiful and sustainable community it can.

“Burning Man culture brings a radical sense of inclusion and possibility to the Hivemind community,” Zac said.

Tahoe Onstage

It’s a mindful homecoming for Franc Friday.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Your eyes don’t know what to focus on as you walk through the event. There’s a drum-kit and DJ setup in the middle of the crowd, a few musicians performing onstage, a painter lost in his work, beautiful women spinning from the ceiling and performers casting large silhouettes on the walls as they dance in front of trippy lights.

“I play new music and display a live-motion graphics performance each month,” Zac said. “It brings fresh energy to the event.”

Zac got involved with Hivemind when Melissa Ennis and Erica French contacted him to collaborate with their dance projects. They discovered Reno’s need for artists to gather, perform and grow in a professional space.

“We are learning how to produce and perform a high-caliber, festival-style show,” Zac said. “Hivemind creates all the energy and connections music festivals foster in a single night within our city limits. It’s a place for lovers and artists to ground themselves and gather inspiration for their future journeys.”

Bazooka Zac’s primary project of expression is Bazooka Zoo, a psychedelic sci-fi group backed by the bass expertise of Mac Esposito. Both Zac and Mac performed with their other group, Redfield Clipper, at June’s Hivemind last Wednesday.

In this group, Esposito puts down the bass and grips the microphone as a rapper, front and hype-man for the group. They make grimy and trippy tunes with much head-banging potential. They also were joined by special guest Franc Friday, who left his new home in New York to visit his friends and fans in Reno.

“I consider many of the people who listen to my music and I play with beloved friends and family,” said Evynn McFalls “Franc Friday.” “Every time we get back together, it’s like a family reunion.”

While he’s away in New York making Reno look good, he’s busy writing his dissertation, completing his doctoral degree at St. John University and putting out a second musical project titled “FATHER,” set to unveil later this year. When he comes back to Reno, he controls the microphone.

Franc Friday has a dominant stage presence. His prose is articulate, his approach is calculated, both are mirrors to his poignant and hilarious social media presence. Some people have the perfect mind for expression and understanding. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I would love to trade brains with Franc Friday for a day.

“Returning to Reno is always fulfilling in a special way,” McFalls said. “Especially as the quality of music evolves, new venues emerge and our artist population grows.”

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Hivemind. Hundreds of ravers show interest online and attend the gatherings. Zac and the other organizers have been blown away by the amount of enthusiasm the event has generated.

“It’s wonderful to see so many deeply creative, engaged people coming together for a monthly night of celebration,” McFalls said. “The benefit to the region is makers, dancers, singers, writers, designers and visual artists are coming together for an exchange of ideas and resources, which elevates the artistic possibilities and publicity throughout the region.”

– Tony Contini

The next Hivemind gathering will take place on July 25 at 9 p.m.

Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage


About Tony Contini

Photographer and journalist Tony Contini graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in art photography. He loves working with bands and telling stories. Photography portfolio:

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