I have always been an avid singer–a choir geek through and through. Being on the road with the Mobile Booths makes it somewhat difficult to be part of a musical ensemble, since I am jumping from city to city every month. Therefore, I often live vicariously through StoryCorps participants who come in to talk about their own musical experiences. I was overjoyed when 10-year-old Julian Picazo came to the MobileBooth in Reno, Nevada with his violin teacher, Caroline Karl – known as “Miss Karl” to Julian.
Julian picked up the violin in second grade. His father, who plays the guitar, encouraged him to play. Julian remembers, “When I started the violin, he told me not to quit because he knows that it’s really fun. And so do I. I said don’t worry, I’m not going to quit. I love playing the violin.” Now Julian and his father teach each other songs, and Julian has even started teaching his little sister to play the violin as well.
Julian’s love of the violin is abundantly clear. As he tells Miss Karl, “I don’t want to miss any single day I can. I don’t care if I’m on vacation or not, I just want to go to violin class. I remember this day I was really, really sick. I didn’t go to school, but I did go to violin class!”
After bidding farewell to sunny Fresno, CA MobileBooth West traversed the Sierra Nevada and Donner Pass to land safely in Reno, Nevada. “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno is famous for its bedazzling casinos and breathtaking landscape. In the midst of this city’s bright lights and April snowstorms, people came downtown to record conversations.
For one of the first conversations of the week, Reno local and Moscow native Sacha Gousev came with friend Kim Palchikoff to talk about his life-long circus career as a master juggler with the Moscow Circus.
Sacha fell in love with the circus at the age of five when his parents took him to see his first show. “Moscow Circus is a little different than American circus,” Sacha explains. “It’s kind of like . . . du Soleil, you know? It’s a big, big production. It’s not like here, with clowns walking around and selling ice cream and stuff. I was pretty amazed. I remember jugglers. Especially jugglers.”
MobileBooth West facilitators were invited to the home of StoryCorps participants Lorelle Nelson and Lance Davis in Las Vegas for a holiday party. We sang carols around their beautiful Christmas tree.
Santa Claus tells his story to facilitator Sarah Kramer.
On our way back from Red Rock Canyon, we stumbled upon a town that contrasted sharply with the bright new lights of Las Vegas. It was Bonnie Springs, named after the founder, Bonnie, a nonagenarian who welcomed us into her restaurant and saloon. Bonnie Springs is a town reminiscent of “Old Nevada,” and Ms. Bonnie hosts wild west parties, costumes included, at her lodge.
Many out-door loving participants in Las Vegas told us to go see Red Rock Canyon. It was very beautiful, but facilitators have learned that the desert is not always hot.
At The District, in Henderson, Nevada, where the StoryCorps mobilebooth is parked, facilitators were treated to a Holiday dance performance by junior dancers. This is the city of entertainment!
There’s a miniature Grand Central Terminal inside of the New York, New York casino on the Las Vegas Boulevard strip, but they forgot to include the StoryCorps booth! Pictured is MobileBooth West facilitator Sarah Kramer getting a little misty-eyed in front of the casino: after four months on the road, soon she will be parting with the mobile tour, returning to facilitate in NYC.
Mobilebooth facilitators were treated to a song by Lorraine Hunt and Dennis Bono, StoryCorps participants, at the Bootlegger Bistro in Las Vegas.
The western MobileBooth is parked at The District in Henderson, Nevada. There’s more than gambling happening in Las Vegas!
Eliza Bettinger, StoryCorps mobilebooth advance coordinator, hugs the west booth one last time, as she will work with the east booth in 2006.
The western mobilebooth passed through the Mojave desert en route to Las Vegas, Nevada.