Writers’ Wednesday in Reno to offer a fresh look at Bodie

The ghost town of Bodie is maintained in a state of arrested decay by the California State Parks system.

The ghost town of Bodie is maintained in a state of arrested decay by the California State Parks system.

The ghost town of Bodie, Calif., fascinates thousands of visitors every year, offering them a glimpse into a different time.

Photographer Will Furman sees Bodie through the eyes of an artist — one with a distinct eye for the serenity and magic of nature and for the echoes of the Old West. He has pioneered what he describes as “Inside-Out,” a single-image technique that utilizes both the reflectivity and the translucency of windows to create a single image with multiple planes.

Furman’s photographs are in the book “Bodie: Good Times and Bad,” and he will share many of them as the featured speaker at October’s Writers’ Wednesday at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno.

The event is Oct. 11 with a book signing at 5 and the lecture beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Furman is a fine art photographer who has directed and photographed hundreds of film and television productions and numerous live music shows. He is also a cabaret singer, musician and performer. Through his involvement in the arts, he has developed a distinct eye that captures the drama, serenity and magic of nature and the world around him.

In his lecture, Furman will discuss the book, which he co-produced with writer Nicholas Clapp. In both vivid words and stunning photographs, they portray Bodie, which is now part of the California State Parks system, as a town that had two sides, aptly described in an 1870s account:

“One the eve of her family’s departure for booming Bodie, a little girl was said to have gathered her dolls, that they might join her as she knelt by her bed, her prayer concluding with a somber ... ‘Goodbye, God; we are going to Bodie!’

“Word was that the camp was hard-bitten, desperado ridden.

“Getting wind of the girl’s farewell to the Almighty, the weekly Bodie Standard reported that, oh no, that wasn’t what she had in mind. Not at all. Someone had gotten the punctuation wrong. What she surely said was ... ‘Good, by God, we are going to Bodie!’

“There were, in fact, two Bodies. On one hand, it was a fearfully and wonderfully bad place, stalked by shootists in black swallow-tailed coats. On the other hand, it was a town of hard-working pioneers who dressed their little girls in starched white frocks and met adversity with charity and good cheer. As he passed through, Mark Twain mused that in Bodie, virtue versus vice made for exciting times, and he’d have it no other way.”

The Writers’ Wednesday Lecture Series is held the second Wednesday of each month. The intent of the program is to highlight writers that specifically focus on Nevada, the Great Basin or the West in general. The authors talk about the content of their books, but also share details about the creative process.

Admission to Writers’ Wednesday is $5 for adults; free for members and children 17 and younger. Seating is limited and attendees are encouraged to arrive early to get their seats. For information, call 775-688-1190. The Nevada Historical Society is at 1650 N. Virginia St.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment