Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brinkley defeats Stevens by unanimous decision

I have to admit I was rather skeptical of "big-time boxing" in Reno, especially when one of the boxing capitals of the world is some 450 miles to the south. But the fact that this was my first live boxing event made those doubts somewhat irrelevant.

As it turned out, I couldn't have been more wrong. I could feel the buzz as soon as I entered Grand Sierra Resort, and the main event delivered with drama, energy, and flair—and left the hometown crowd satisfied.

The ESPN2-televised event on January 29, hosted in conjunction with Star Boxing and Let's Get It On Promotions, included six matches. The marquee bout featured super middleweights Curtis "Showtime" Stevens, from Brooklyn, and Jesse Brinkley, from Yerington, about an 80-mile drive southeast of Reno.

Stevens got to Brinkley in the first round with a few big punches—Brinkley's eye was black, it seemed, before the crowd got settled in their seats. But the Nevada native forced Stevens into two 10 counts, one early and one late, and used a persistent jab to wear Stevens down and win by unanimous decision. The judges rewarded Brinkley's impressive 12th round with scores of 117-109, 118-108, and 119-107. Brinkley improved to 35-5, while Stevens fell to 21-3.

There was a group of Stevens supporters close to where I was sitting who tried to motivate their boxer throughout, but the majority of the crowd was for Brinkley. It was a tremendously entertaining fight from beginning to end, but the fact that the hometown guy won added a nice heroic element to the affair.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Brinkley will be the No. 2-ranked fighter in the IBF and is expected to take on champion Lucien Bute in April. Promoter Terry Lane says negotiations are underway for a bout April 17 in Canada (check out the RGJ article, link above, for results from the other matches).

As I watched the fights, I couldn't help but think back to Nevada's storied boxing history, including the famous Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries fight of 1910. There will be a centennial anniversary celebration in Reno on July 2 and a story in Nevada Magazine's May/June 2010 issue. Photos & story by Matthew B. Brown

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Laura Jackson Adds Spunk to the Reno Philarmonic

I had the pleasure of attending Reno Philharmonic's "Latin Temptation" at Reno's Pioneer Center last night. I had seen one prior show—a cowboy poetry and music performance—at Pioneer Center, but this was completely different in almost every aspect.

The Reno Philharmonic, led this season by music director and conductor Laura Jackson, performs regularly at the venue. Jackson spoke before the show to members of the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network and said, "This is where I want to be." Her flamboyancy and energy during the performance backed that statement up. You can tell Jackson enjoys what she does, and her stage presence alone makes it worth seeing one of the Phil's remaining shows.

Although I don't consider myself a classical music buff, I was thoroughly entertained, especially by the opening act, which featured selections from Georges Bizet's Carmen. Click here for a sampling.

Event though the pace was a little slow at times for my taste, accordion extraordinaire Peter Soave put on an amazing show playing to the music of Astor Piazolla. The night ended with a tribute to Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Apparently, Jackson has a sense of humor as well. After intermission, she said to the crowd, "I wonder how many of you have been to a Latin show where two-thirds of the music is French."

Hey, it was an entertaining two hours, and that's all that matters.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eastside Cannery Launches New Concert Venue

LeAnn Rimes to Kick-Off Concert Series at State-of-the-Art Location

LAS VEGAS – January 5, 2010 – Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel announced today the completion of its new state-of-the-art concert venue that will feature nationally renowned artists. The Casablanca Event Center with 1,100 seats has been redesigned with new sound-reinforcement throughout the entire room to provide high quality acoustics and an innovative lighting system to create a dynamic visual backdrop for the performances.

“Our new venue is a great place to see a show and provides an intimate setting for concertgoers while the upgrades to the sound and lighting package presents a wonderful venue for national acts,” said Marty Gross, vice president and general manager of Eastside Cannery.

Every month, Eastside Cannery will host a different show, kicking-off the concert series with headliner LeAnn Rimes (January 29,) The Commodores (February 27,) Eddie Money with John Waite (March 20,) Jenni Riviera (April 10,) and Ronnie Milsap (May 15.)

Tickets are NOW on sale for all shows and available in three levels: Gold, Prime and Reserved. For more information on a specific show and to purchase tickets call (702) 856-5470, visit, or go to Eastside Cannery’s sales counter located at the front desk. Must be 18 or older to attend.