From the window where Maggy Anthony usually watches the river and the passersby in downtown Reno, she could see rioters moving closer in the darkness Saturday night.
“I got a call from my daughter asking, ‘Are you all right?’” she said.
By the time her daughter arrived at the Riverside Artist Lofts to pick up Maggy and her roommate and ex-husband, Eugene Anthony, the rioters were trying to flip her Mazda Protege parked in front of the building.
“The day was so peaceful; there were mothers pushing strollers and everyone was getting along in the protest from what I could see, but you had a small minority of people who are very angry,” said Maggy. “Unfortunately, we became targets.”
Coach Craft Body Shop confirmed that vandals caused $3,500 in damages to the car. Profanity was spray painted on the roof, which was bashed, likely from rioters jumping on it. The rear view mirror, with a handicapped placard hanging on it, was broken off. The back window was smashed.
While insurance will cover a portion of the damage, Maggy’s Social Security income won’t suffice to cover the rest, she said.
The arts community, however, is rallying to help the Anthonys, legends of the Reno arts scene. Within 24 hours of posting a plea for help on social media, community members had donated more than $1,000 over Facebook.
“She’s a prolific writer, and she’s an incredible person in our community,” said Mary Bennett, another resident of the Riverside Artist Lofts and a friend of Anthony’s.
Artists with history
Both Maggy and Eugene Anthony are artists.
Maggy has authored several books on psychology as well as a series of detective novels set in 1940s and 1950s Reno.
Eugene was a prominent photographer in the Bay Area, somewhat of an unofficial photographer of the Grateful Dead and the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco.
The couple met in the 1950s when Maggy and a colleague started a photography agency in San Francisco, and Eugene responded to a newspaper ad for work. They married in 1958, and Eugene’s work for Life Magazine, Time Magazine and other national outlets took the couple around the globe.
“He enjoyed it but I think I enjoyed it even more because we went all these places and we met all these people. I had lunch with Truman Capote, and he had just written ‘In Cold Blood,’” said Maggy.
The couple divorced in the 1970s, but they rekindled their relationship in 2004 when Eugene became ill. Maggy by then had returned to Reno, where she’d grown up after her parents divorced.
Eugene moved to Reno to be with his ex-wife and they’ve since lived together as friends, the last six years in the Riverside Artist Lofts.
1960s to today
Despite their vehicle being damaged Saturday night, the couple was supportive of the peaceful protests that preceded the riots.
“I shouted out the window, ‘Yeah, go!’” said Maggy. “Certainly there has to be a protest to respond to a death like that.”
The protests were in response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
While it was unfortunate to see a peaceful day turn into a violent night, Maggy said it brought back memories of the 1960s.
Maggy was reminded of Vietnam War protests the other night, when her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend, coming to pick the Anthonys up, had to flee from tear gas fired by police.
“My last encounter with tear gas, I had two kids in the stroller, and they dropped tear gas from a helicopter on the protesters who were a few blocks away,” said Maggy. “I ran home with the double stroller, and Eugene wasn’t at home because he was out photographing the protests for Life Magazine.”
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Overall, Maggy said the past week’s protesters in Reno were more peaceful and unified than what she often saw in the 1960s in California.
When she and Eugene returned home the morning after the Reno riot, they saw the vehicle surrounded by strangers cleaning all around the car, and the city too.
It was heartening, and so too was the outpouring of support for the family.
“Yes, I’ve lost my car,” she said. “But George lost his life.”
Jenny Kane covers arts and culture in Northern Nevada, as well as the dynamic relationship between the state and the growing Burning Man community. She also covers the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry (Check out her podcast, the Potcast, on iTunes.) Support her work in Reno by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.
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