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One of a Kind: New book shines light on what makes Reno great

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The Wrecks, Reno’s first all-female punk band. Image: Gary Elam.

One of Reno’s first-ever punk rock bands also happened to be one of the first all-female punk rock bands. The Wrecks, which played from 1980-82, were around a decade before Riot Grrrls became a widely publicized underground feminist punk movement in the 1990s. 

The Wrecks are also featured in a new book about what makes Reno great.

“I wanted something different,” said Bessie “Wrex” Oakley, in the book One of a Kind: The people and places that make Reno The Biggest Little City in the World, by Mark Curtis. “We were creative, loud, funny and smart–and there was a way out through our band, The Wrecks, and our hilarious fanzine, Paranoia.”

The Wrecks are featured on two pages from the nearly 180-page coffee-table sized book designed by Ron Taft. Marilyn Newton, the retired Reno Gazette Journal photographer, shot many of the book’s more than 80 images.

The book is a compendium of many things Reno, from an homage to Louis’ Basque Corner by writer Willy Vlautin, to Emma Sepulveda’s nod to Miguel Ribera, and the park named after him in southeast Reno. 

Sepulveda noted how Ribera–owner of Miguel’s restaurant–gave her a full scholarship to attend college. The condition: she had to maintain a 3.5 GPA “and become somebody that we will all be proud of.” 

“I have tried to keep the second promise,” wrote Sepulveda, who became Nevada’s first Latina to run for the Nevada State Senate. “I continue to drive by the park remembering the petite Mexican man, greater than life. Miguel Ribera changed my life and so many others in the Latino barrios and the community at large.”

Tad Dunbar gets some space in the book, “The Waver” Ed Carlson is featured, and Marilyn Melton waxes nostalgic on The Mapes Hotel. It’s about as all-things-Reno as you can get in less than 200 pages.

Author Curtis said that the book took two years to create. 

“The inspiration was to do a very visual, high-quality coffee table book with great images accompanied by very personal short stories by northern Nevadans past and present,” he said.

Pick up a copy at Sundance Books, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Flag Store in Sparks, and the Hallmark Store at Renown, among others.

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One of a Kind by Mark Curtis is available at local book retailers.
Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.

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