Saturday, December 31, 2016
Thursday, December 15, 2016
After four years on the board of the Nevada Homeless Alliance (http://nevadahomelessalliance.org/), I recently resigned. I want to focus on my own Shine a Light community project, book projects, etc., and I thought the board could use some new blood. If you’re interested in being a board member of the NHA, which, among many other things, puts on the annual Project Homeless Connect, please email me. Thanks!
Friday, November 25, 2016
The fledgling podcast Crazy Good Turns was kind enough to dedicate an episode to me and my work in the underground flood channels. They also interviewed former tunnel resident Billy Richardson, who, as usual, stole the show. (The feature stands on its own, but also serves as a follow-up to the CrowdRise fundraiser.) I gave shout-outs to Mark Danner, Joshua Ellis, Michelle Neffke, Jason’s Deli, CityLife, U.S. Vets and HELP of Southern Nevada. I think I also said “ascribe” instead of “subscribe” at one point.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
We’re working on a second edition of my book Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas. The plan is to clean up the writing a bit and add an extended epilogue and an “extras” photo album at the end.
We hope to release the second edition next year on the 10-year anniversary of the book. I’ll keep you updated. And thanks again for your continued support!
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
Joseph Watson and I have finished the “final” draft of the fictional memoir/art project we have been working on, off and on, for several years. We think it is now, finally, a very unique and publishable Vegas-related book. We think it is special.
We are more confident than ever about shopping around the book and are in the process of doing so. However, we are not sure we have reached out to the right people. If you know a literary agent, or a publishing house outside of Nevada, who may be interested in this combined art and literature project, please let me know.
A poem I wrote that was partly inspired by a visit to Nelson’s Landing:
Volcanic rock claws
at my feet.
Behind me on the bank
On top of it our clothes,
a bottle of wine.
The sky burgundy.
Five fathoms below,
the Colorado River
creeps toward oblivion.
The Spanish found gold here.
A Civil War deserter
beaten to death
with a shovel
for a yellow stone.
The veins dried up
A flood flashed
through the canyon,
carrying them away.
A rusted water tank
and bandaged mines
Reaching the bend in the river
John Wesley Powell said,
“We are ready to start into
the Great Unknown.”
Atop the cliff
everything comes clear.
The beginning of this relationship
betrays how the last ended.
I can’t see her,
but hear her treading water.
“You scared, old man?”
close my eyes.
At least three homeless people died in the latest flood and hardly anyone is talking about it:
Jazz, Sharon’s longtime boyfriend, who was also carried away by the flood, is slowly recovering, mentally and physically, in a motel just off the Strip. He says he feels like a motorcyclist who fell off his bike. But his spirits, I could tell, are rising.
Sharon’s family is preparing to have her cremated. They will most likely, her youngest daughter told me, have a viewing here in Las Vegas, before having a memorial service in the L.A. area (where much of her family is from). I will keep you updated on all of this, as best as I can.
Those of you who have contributed to my Shine a Light project, through CrowdRise or otherwise, please know that your contributions have provided shelter for a broken man and will assure that Sharon gets a proper sendoff. Thanks again for your generosity!
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
It’s a work in progress, but the website for the new Downtown Zen is up. Please give it a look. Cross training on the downtown streets, a memoir of an open-mic night, a photo essay of weekly motel desk clerks, a sketch by Joseph Watson, a downtown-set short story (Prose & Cons)—it’s certainly something to build on.
Also, we are looking for writers, photographers and illustrators who know and get downtown Vegas and urban living. Please let us know if you’re interested in contributing. (Yes, we pay.)
Monday, June 6, 2016
I haven’t done much local print journalism in the past few years, but I shook off the cobwebs for Downtown Zen’s Off the Ranch column (which highlights worthy things—in this case the jazz night at The Dispensary—outside of downtown Vegas).
We are still tweaking the homepage, but I can’t resist sharing a few pieces from the new Downtown Zen magazine. Here’s a wonderful story by Chris Molnar, former co-host of The Beat’s open-mic night, with beautiful pics by Danny Mollohan (who shot my book Beneath the Neon).
I’m working with a national TV crew on a story about squatters in Las Vegas. We are hoping to interview people who squat in abandoned homes, buildings, underground flood channels, etc. We are also interested in interviewing former squatters. Part of our goal is to get the perspective of the squatters, which has been largely absent from this whole story.
If you have any leads or suggestions, please let me know ASAP. (Filming starts Thursday.) Thanks!
Saturday, May 21, 2016
As some of you may recall, in January I collaborated with CrowdRise to raise money for my Shine a Light community project. The fundraiser, thanks to many of you, was a wild success. Here is a wonderful retrospective of the campaign, replete with backstory, progress reports, photos, videos and updates.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Congrats, Rick and Cyndi, on all of your success!
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
You all may recall Billy, who was featured in the CrowdRise video a few months ago. He said he wanted to get a job and reunite with his family. It appears both of those things will happen. Billy’s ex-wife saw the CrowdRise video and recently offered him a place to live, a car and a job in Houston, Texas, Billy’s home state, where many of his family members still live.
Using money from the CrowdRise fundraiser, we took Billy to Walmart (his choice) and bought him clothes, snacks and toiletries. We then put him up in a hotel. The next day, we bought him a one-way bus ticket to Houston (he doesn’t have an ID, so he cannot fly) and saw him off the station.
Thanks again to everyone who donated to the fundraiser! I'll continue to keep you updated on his progress.
Friday, February 5, 2016
Check it out—I found the last seven or so minutes particularly poignant—and, if so inclined, leave him a tip.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Thanks to everyone who donated to the CrowdRise campaign! We raised more than $13,000 in the first 24 hours and have currently raised more than $14,500. We put some of that money to use immediately. Visit the CrowdRise website for more info: