Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Books and a guitar

Following the July floods, having lost everything but the clothes on their back, a few folks from a drain under the south Strip got in HELP of Southern Nevada’s program. One of them, Mike (mid-50s, chronically homeless, drug-addicted), is now clean and living in a one-bedroom apartment near UNLV. I dropped by yesterday and was impressed: a comfortable couch, static-free TV, and full-size bed (which beats the hell out of the chaise lounge he slept on in the tunnel for several months). The only things he really needs, he said, are some readable nonfiction or thriller titles and an acoustic guitar. (He’s a musician who used to play on the pedestrian overpasses for tips; no crazy costume necessary.)

If you have books you can spare or a guitar you can donate or that I can buy for cheap, and you can meet me downtown in the next few days, let me know. Thanks.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book fest release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 2, 2011

Former Atlantan Shines a Light on the Darker Recesses of Las Vegas

Matthew O’Brien, who graduated from Decatur High School in 1988, is returning over Labor Day Weekend to participate in the 2011 Decatur Book Festival. Matt will read from and discuss his latest book, My Week at the Blue Angel: And Other Stories from the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs, and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas (Huntington Press, 2010), a collection of creative-nonfiction stories set in the darker corners of Sin City that most visitors, and even Las Vegas locals, seldom see or hear about.

O’Brien, who played on Georgia State University's 1991 NCAA tournament basketball team, moved to Las Vegas in 1997 and quickly became one of the city's best-known journalists. In 2007 he authored his first book, Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas, which garnered international interest and acclaim for chronicling the city’s underground flood-channel culture, which he explored for more than four years after discovering a subterranean parallel universe co-existing beneath the bright lights of the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Matt is also founder of Shine a Light, a community project that provides housing, drug counseling, and other services to the hundreds of people who live in the drains. The project is a collaboration between O'Brien and charity organization HELP of Southern Nevada.

Matt’s reading and talk will take place from 11:15 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, in the auditorium of Decatur High School. He will sign copies of both books immediately afterward.

For more information, visit www.beneaththeneon.com or contact Jessica Roe at 702-252-0655 or jessica@huntingtonpress.com.