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Heat and light for the Hall of Flames
by Andrew Barbano
Jul 21, 2012 | 2037 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Longtime readers know that the Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Columniator Hall of Flames has only two qualifications for admission: you gotta be dead and your writing had to hit hellaciously hard.

The inaugural honorees were Ned Day (North Las Vegas Valley Times and Las Vegas Review-Journal), Hank Greenspun (Las Vegas Sun) and Guy Richardson (Reno Gazette-Journal), followed by Bob Brown (LVRJ and Valley Times).

It’s time for one more: Chandler Atchison Laughlin, Jr., aka Travus T. Hipp.

The longtime Tribune columnist and Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Famer left us on May 18. He was an excellent writer, but in his element of the spoken word, he was peerless. Travus’ columns took on a whole new life if you read them aloud.

As I noted earlier, he was an artist who used his voice to soar and slice, a tenor for the tenor of our times. Many of his mourning California listeners talk about the vocal spells he wove, how he soundly organized the noise of daily life into music that entertained, engaged, enlightened, educated, enthralled and occasionally enflamed.

The San Francisco Chronicle finally noted his passing via Ben Fong-Torres’ radio column. I tried calling and emailing Rolling Stone to no avail, so I sent newspaper clips via U.S. Postal Service. The bible of rock should take notice of the innovator who ran Virginia City’s Red Dog Saloon when it served as the incubator of the San Francisco/Summer of Love sound.

Impact? For one thing, you pay lower auto insurance rates today thanks to a law Travus thought up and got passed in 1987.

I think Travus and Molly Ivins would have gotten along real good.

Glaring exception

Greenspun and Day have been installed in the Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame. Guy Richardson has not, which is reprehensible.

As I wrote when I started the Immortal Ivins BBQ, Guy was by far the best writer of the first three.

As Aesop once advised, if you want something done, do it yourself. So I nominated Guy Richardson a few days ago. I have been gathering endorsements from his fans and former colleagues.

Here are some of Guy’s greatest hits from the Barbwire of 2-23-2003: “Why did Willie Nelson cross the road? To sing a duet with the chicken.”... “The publicity photo that gets ink is the one that looks expensive.”... “One thing you notice about Miss Rodeo America is that she’s lawd-a-mighty purty and says what’s on her mind: ‘If that steer isn’t in this rodeo, it’s in McDonald’s.’”... “Sex is not the answer. Yes is the answer. Sex is the question!” (Jim Stafford)...”Seen those candidate signs around town promoting ‘fiscal vigilance?’ Imagine a woman asking ‘have you tried fiscal vigilance with your husband?’”... “Facing down stiff competition on St. Patrick’s Day, Andy Barbano came up with a killer promotion for Del Mar Station Bar - bring in a head of cabbage and get a free green beer. ‘Erin Go Braghless!’ exulted Betty Barbano.”

Barbwire by Barbano got started in 1987 when a magazine publisher asked Guy if he knew somebody who could write a good column. So you can blame him for me.

Say hi to Travus and Guy

Word just arrived that killer commentator Alexander Cockburn (pronounced “Coburn”) died Friday in Germany at age 71 after a private two-year battle with cancer.  Cockburn was co-editor of the political newsletter Counterpunch and a longtime contributor to The Nation. Another great liberal voice stilled.

Scene of the crime

The Koch Brothers’ Americans for Billionaires’ Prosperity tour bus stops in Reno at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the southeast corner of S. Virginia Street and Moana Lane, the shopping center north of the Atlantis Hotel. If you’re not doing anything of great social significance (the San Francisco Giants game doesn’t start until 7:15), show up to picket the thing.

Don’t let them throw Nevada under the bus. For more information, call Gail Dietrich at 775-622-6659 or Dan Venters 775-842-5876 at the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans.


The retiree organization just launched a new entity, Women of Washoe. It is the first of many womens’ rights affiliates to be established nationwide. Watch for updates. To join, call Ms. Dietrich at the above number.

She’s OK

Country-folk legend Anne Feeney, 61, was hospitalized in Oregon and had to scratch her show in Reno last Tuesday.

“My blood pressure was 78 over 22,” she told me from Brooklyn, NY. She lost consciousness last Monday and was rushed to ICU with a serious kidney infection. Against doctors’ orders, she still flew to San Francisco to perform at the annual LaborFest.

“I hate to miss a performance,” she stated. I told her to get well and we hope that America’s greatest living labor folk singer can perform in these parts sometime soon.

Imminent death is about the only thing that can keep her offstage.

“When I was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2010, I still did my last show in Sweden,” she said.

That type of attitude adds irony to my favorite Feeney union song, “We Just Come to Work Here, We Don’t Come to Die.”

Support the Nevada Citizen TV Project

To re-establish a non-corporate community channel, contact me or donate at ReSurge.TV. We are getting close to launch. It’s important.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan and editor of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. He can be contacted at
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