By Blake Nelson

So you just made your first venture to your local music venue that doubles as an art space that triples as a focal point for some real, genuine culture. As it turns out, you really enjoyed it. That’s great! I’m glad — these relatively small groups of people add to the city in minutely incremental, nearly imperceptible ways.

To navigate this small, yet complex, group of mid-to-late 20-year-olds, you have to be prepared. I, a knowledgeable person in Reno’s up-and-coming scene, have laid out some guidelines and tips to help you along.

The first thing to know is that the scene, wherever it is, thrives on the art produced by 10 or 12 dedicated members. To succeed, become an artist. I don’t mean these lofty artists, with years of experience. You need to be a raw artist. This consists of art that uses either self-deprecation or irony as its main source of inspiration. Don’t worry about skill; find your favorite artist, make a derivative, but original, style out of one or two of their pieces, and stick to it. Extra notoriety is awarded to those who make easily crafted and sellable art.

Now that you are an artist, you have to craft your image as a wholly original person that is, above all, part of your local scene. So go shopping, skip all those unoriginal stores and go straight for either Forever 21 or H&M; if you are willing to risk the trip to the bad part of town you can go to the Salvation Army for the odd pair of jeans to cut into shorts. Make sure you buy a jean jacket in blue or black and pick up plenty of buttons and enamel pins to attach to it.

One thing that people tend to breeze over when being initiated into their local scene is political correctness. A lack of this will get you shunned from the scene. To avoid such a fate, all you have to do is read up on topics like feminism. All the necessary literature can be found in BuzzFeed and VICE. Make sure to use phrases like wage gap, glass ceiling and of course sexism. Extra notoriety is awarded to those who support Bernie Sanders and post about him incessantly.

No go to every event in which the scene is involved; exposure is key for all 30 people to remember your name. Small talk should be light and ironic without too many pointed opinions — consider topics that appear niche, but can be recognized by anyone born in the last century. Never discuss topics like: work, serious emotional issues or something you genuinely care about. Extra notoriety is awarded to those who have the funniest and most agreeable things to say about pop culture from the late 80s and 90s.

Now you are ready! You have learned how to go about being one of the coolest people in the city. The perks of such an achievement are seemingly endless. One of the biggest perks is gaining nearly 50 followers on Instagram. Others include but are not limited to being able to make a nominal amount of money from your art, even though you don’t really care about the money, being able to more easily get a job at a local coffee shop, and being able to say that you truly understand issues on diversity. So enjoy your much-deserved perks and keep making your city the best it can be within a 500-yard radius of your local music venue.

Blake Nelson can be reached at or on Twitter @b_e_nelson.