Matthew O'Brien

Another poem



“Almost all good poems are perilously close to being bad country songs.” OK, Dr. Revell. I’ll take that as a compliment.

Long Haul

It’s as if I’m standing still
and everything else is moving.
The signs:
Mercury, Beatty, Tonopah.
What are the Joshua trees
running from?
The road reflectors wink.
When hauling these loads
I’m headed in one of two directions—
closer to you or farther away.


Posted: 3/27/2014 at 5:01:00 PM | Updated: 3/27/2014 at 5:01:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

Lost Vegas



If you want to learn more about the tunnels and the people who live in them, skip “CSI” and “Criminal Minds” and watch this short documentary. It’s extremely moving, I think, and features two of the nicest and most interesting people I’ve met in the drains (Mike and Ned).

https://vimeo.com/76233832


Posted: 3/19/2014 at 1:25:00 PM | Updated: 3/21/2014 at 12:03:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

Panel discussion and book signing



I’m participating in a panel discussion related to Vegas and writing on Saturday, March 8, at the Paseo Verde Library. The discussion will take place from roughly 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and then I’ll sign copies of my books (sold at a discounted rate). Please drop by and support local authors! Here’s the news release about the event: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           Contact: Tiffannie Bond/Melissa Biernacinski

COPY FOR PROOF                                               Imagine Communications

                                                                                     702-837-8996

Henderson Libraries to launch Local Author Showcase
More than 40 local authors to attend launch party, publishing workshop March 8

HENDERSON, Nev.  Henderson Libraries will host the Local Author Showcase Launch Party from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway, near the 215 Beltway. The Local Author Showcase will include a book publishing workshop, an author meet-and-greet, a discussion panel, and the unveiling of the new Local Author Collection.

More than 40 authors will be present at the March 8 event for a meet-and-greet as well as a local author panel at 12:30 p.m., hosted by Brian Rouff, author of “Dice Angel” and managing partner of Imagine Communications. The panel will include local authors Matt O'Brien, Deborah Coonts, David Schwartz and Gerard de Marigny.

At 2:30 p.m. budding authors can also attend “How Do I Publish My Book?,” a workshop led by Roger DeBlanck and Jonathan Sturak, who will discuss the changing face of modern publishing. Additionally, they will provide strategies for marketing books and establishing an online presence.

In celebration of the new Local Author Collection, refreshments provided by Whole Foods will be served at noon.

“Ultimately, the entire program is meant to inspire, encourage and empower the audience with tools and information needed to successfully publish a book,” said Gayle Hornaday, interim executive director of Henderson Libraries.

Established in 1943 as a single library in Downtown Henderson, Henderson Libraries operates four locations throughout Henderson. Henderson Libraries cooperates with other public libraries in Southern Nevada, the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Clark County School District and all other libraries around the state to provide quality service for Nevada’s residents.

For additional information on Henderson Libraries, visit www.mypubliclibrary.com or call 702-492-6581.


Posted: 3/2/2014 at 1:38:00 PM | Updated: 3/2/2014 at 1:41:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

First poem in 15 years



This is the first poem I’ve written in more than 15 years. I wrote it for a poetry workshop I’m taking at UNLV, as a graduate assistant in the MFA creative writing program. (My concentration is fiction, but we have to take some poetry classes, too.) The theme of the workshop is the “immediately accessible sublime” or, as I simply interpret it, that which is near and dear.

This is the second draft. The teacher Donald Revell and my remarkably talented classmates provided plenty of feedback, a lot of which I incorporated into the poem.

Breaking and Entering

Standing on the sidewalk
Screaming
Half English, half Farsi

Her refuge
Shattered
Interior lights on
Porch light off
The door splintered and ajar
Faceplate and screws
Sprawled across the floor

The scene is secured
Doors and drawers dusted
She enters
Past a palm print black on white

In the squad car
The officer asks questions
Despondent she responds
He pecks an antiquated computer
While reading aloud
“The victim stated that the jewelry
Was given to her
By her grandmother in Iran”

They leave us alone
Noticing a painting
She no longer likes
She observes
They never take what you want them to

With ink-stained hands
We push the suddenly mobile
Media center
Against the door
Drag the mattress into the living room
Everyone’s a suspect
The neighbor, the FedEx guy, the security guard
Finally a kiss good night
Then with all the lights on
We lie down and act like we’re asleep


Posted: 2/14/2014 at 5:56:00 PM | Updated: 2/15/2014 at 1:00:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

On the death of an old friend



As some of you know, my first (and only) fulltime journalism job was with Las Vegas CityLife. After freelancing for the well-rounded alt-weekly for two years, I was hired as a staff writer in early 2000.  I spent eight years at the paper, including three as managing editor, and it proved to be an amazing and defining experience.

Sadly, CityLife  recently stopped publishing. I don’t have the time or inclination to perform a proper autopsy (I’m teaching, taking graduate courses, freelancing, etc., and, over the past several years, I lost touch with the paper), but several other people have weighed in on its demise. Here are four pieces on the subject, three of which include my thoughts or info about my time there. If you only read one of them, I highly recommend the last link (a meditative, metaphoric column by Chip Mosher that doesn’t directly mention the paper’s passing).

http://www.desertcompanion.com/post.cfm?PostID=348

http://lasvegascitylife.com/sections/news/reflections-bloodshot-life.html

http://sincitysiren.com/2014/01/23/rip-citylife/

http://lasvegascitylife.com/sections/opinion/socrates-sodom/and-miles-go-perhaps.html


Posted: 2/8/2014 at 11:25:00 PM | Updated: 2/8/2014 at 11:27:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

HP’s holiday catalog



Here is Huntington Press’ annual holiday catalog. Beneath the Neon is selling for $14.96 and My Week at the Blue Angel $11.21.

http://lasvegasadvisor.com/samples/2013holidaycatalog.pdf


Posted: 12/10/2013 at 11:55:00 AM | Updated: 12/10/2013 at 11:55:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

BTN photog on PBS



Some well deserved recognition for Beneath the Neon photographer Danny Mollohan, from the local PBS station (scroll through the slideshow on the second row to find the feature). Congrats, Danny!

http://www.vegaspbs.org/artscene/


Posted: 11/6/2013 at 11:04:00 PM | Updated: 12/10/2013 at 11:59:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

‘Dr. Phil’



Apparently, the full episodes of the “Dr. Phil” shows are not available online. However, they did post summaries of the shows on the official website. This first one (below) focuses on the tunnels and a couple’s life down there. The second focuses on the woman, Cyndi, and her four daughters, as they reunite in the studio.

I still have not seen the episodes, but, judging by the summaries, they’re pretty moving. Here you go:

http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/2037

http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/2038


Posted: 9/8/2013 at 10:08:00 PM | Updated: 9/8/2013 at 10:08:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

Thanks!



Thanks to everyone who bought my book Beneath the Neon today (after it was featured on “Dr. Phil”). It’s currently the third-best-selling “Travel Writing” book on Amazon.com, behind Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.


Posted: 9/3/2013 at 10:14:00 PM | Updated: 9/3/2013 at 10:16:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

The seedy side of Vegas




I’m working with a British TV program that will be in town from mid-July to early August. They’re interested in the seedier side of Las Vegas—drugs, prostitution, homelessness, etc.—and stories related to the economy. For example, the costumed characters on the Strip and Fremont Street or squatters in foreclosed homes. They’re also interested in meeting unique Vegas characters who can serve as guides (e.g., Oscar Goodman to introduce the city or Linda Lera-Randle El to introduce the world of the homeless). While the show may sound dark, it also hopes to highlight success stories and people who are trying to make a difference in the community.

If you have any story ideas or character suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!


Posted: 7/8/2013 at 11:54:00 AM | Updated: 7/8/2013 at 11:57:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

Family Connect



A notice from the Nevada Homeless Alliance:

Family Connect is an annual resource fair for homeless or low-income families living in Southern Nevada. The 2013 event, scheduled for May 15th at the East Las Vegas Community Senior Center, will see upwards of 300 families with children, and include the participation of over 50 service organizations. Prior to exiting the event, each family is escorted through the Giveaways Section to obtain food and personal care items that may be difficult for them to obtain without assistance. Please see below list of items needed for this section. All items should be new or gently used only.

Children’s summer clothing, hats and shoes
Adult’s summer clothing, hats and shoes
Toys
Packaged Underwear
Blankets/sheets/comforters
First Aid Kits
Diapers/formula
Canned food
Bus Tickets-Day Use for RTC buses
Shampoos/Conditioners
Brushes/Combs
Soaps/Hand Sanitizers
Toothbrushes/Toothpastes
Feminine Hygiene
Sun Screen/Lotion

Please contact Michele Smith for drop-off and pick-up information. Email: fortheleastofthese@cox.net Phone: 702-324-6850.

*Please allow 24 hours for a return call or email

**Contributions to the Nevada Homeless Alliance are tax deductible as provided by law. If you have any questions about the value of your contribution, kindly contact your tax advisor. For donation receipts, please contact Stacy Sutton with the Nevada Homeless Alliance at NHAvoice@aol.com, or by calling 702-743-1487.


Posted: 4/6/2013 at 12:16:00 PM | Updated: 4/6/2013 at 12:19:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

Nevada Homeless Alliance



I was recently named a board member of the Nevada Homeless Alliance, a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless by creating partnerships and promoting collaboration between service providers. My responsibilities include making sure the NHA remains focused on its mission, serving as an ambassador for the nonprofit and the homeless, and raising funds and awareness. Of course, I’m particularly interested in helping the people in the underground flood channels.

A lot of you have expressed interest in helping the hundreds of people in the tunnels and the thousands of other homeless in the valley. In this new role, I should have more answers, suggestions and opportunities for you.

Stay tuned!


Posted: 2/28/2013 at 11:33:00 AM | Updated: 2/28/2013 at 11:35:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

CBC Radio



A long but worthwhile radio piece on the tunnels courtesy of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2012/11/05/living-in-vegas-tunnels/


Posted: 11/6/2012 at 10:30:00 PM | Updated: 11/6/2012 at 10:30:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

Vice magazine slideshow



I’ve been Facebook friends with Giles Clarke for almost a year and have been moved by his photos, which are taken with his iPhone. Here’s a slideshow he shot of people living in the underground flood channels of Vegas:

http://www.vice.com/read/giles-clarke-ventures-into-the-neon-underground


Posted: 10/16/2012 at 10:25:00 AM | Updated: 10/16/2012 at 10:25:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

Blue Angel Motel



My Week at the Blue Angel garners a mention in this rundown of bizarre statues and public art in Las Vegas:

http://lasvegas.cbslocal.com/top-lists/top-bizarre-statues-or-public-art-in-las-vegas/


Posted: 10/7/2012 at 10:25:00 AM | Updated: 10/7/2012 at 10:25:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

Postdiluvian



Some of you have wondered what happens to the people in the tunnels when it rains. I addressed that question recently on KNPR:

http://www.knpr.org/son/archive/detail2.cfm?SegmentID=9178&ProgramID=2577


Posted: 8/30/2012 at 10:58:00 AM | Updated: 8/30/2012 at 11:01:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

Your chance to be in a movie!


I’ve been working with filmmaker Florent Tillon on this project and he definitely has a unique perspective on Vegas, and Josh Ellis and Jarret Keene are two of the best writers in town. I plan to be there:

https://www.facebook.com/events/305030619593002/


Posted: 7/24/2012 at 1:33:00 PM | Updated: 7/27/2012 at 11:06:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

French TV review of BTN


It’s good to know there’s at least one major TV station in the world (France 24) that devotes time to book reviews. It’s also good to know that this particular critic seemed to enjoy Beneath the Neon, which was recently translated into French.

http://www.france24.com/en/20120419-matthew-o-brien-beneath-the-neon-en-culture


Posted: 5/3/2012 at 12:26:00 PM | Updated: 5/13/2012 at 10:23:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

‘Books By the Bed’


The website for the book We Wanted to Be Writers has a regular feature called “Books By the Bed,” which asks authors what they’re reading or planning to read. Here are the books by my bed:

http://wewantedtobewriters.com/2012/04/books-by-matthew-obriens-bed/
Posted: 4/29/2012 at 11:27:00 AM | Updated: 4/29/2012 at 11:27:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

Going to UNLV


As some of you know, I applied to grad school (MFA creative writing) late last year and early this year. I ended up getting into UNLV and the University of Washington. Washington has an outstanding program, but UNLV, which also has a strong program, made the most sense financially, logistically and, in some cases, personally. So, it looks like I’ll start taking graduate classes and teaching undergrad courses at UNLV in late August.

I have mixed feelings about staying in Vegas another few years, but I’m certainly excited about this opportunity and challenge. I’ll keep you all updated, of course.


Posted: 4/23/2012 at 1:31:00 PM | Updated: 4/23/2012 at 1:33:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

Huntington Press sale


Huntington Press is having a spring-clearance sale, with great deals on many of its titles, including a package price for Beneath the Neon and My Week at the Blue Angel. Check out all the deals here:

http://www.shoplva.com/collections/bargain-bin/


Posted: 4/6/2012 at 10:17:00 AM | Updated: 4/6/2012 at 10:18:00 AM | Add Comments | More Options

Documentary film project


French filmmaker Florent Tillon is aiming the lens at Las Vegas this summer. If you want to learn more about his project, and perhaps donate to it, visit http://www.touscoprod.com/project/produce?id=173.


Posted: 3/26/2012 at 1:44:00 PM | Updated: 3/26/2012 at 1:46:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

GSU Magazine piece


I attended Georgia State University from 1988 to ’91 and again in ’96, and GSU Magazine recently profiled me. Thanks to writer Marcus Key and editor William Inman for this piece!

http://www.gsu.edu/magazine/860.html


Posted: 3/8/2012 at 12:32:00 PM | Updated: 3/8/2012 at 12:33:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

Got work?


I’m trying to kick up some work for the spring and summer (until I, hopefully, start grad school in the fall). If you know of any freelance writing, editing or media consulting work, please let me know. Thanks!


Posted: 3/5/2012 at 2:11:00 PM | Updated: 3/5/2012 at 2:19:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options

A French-language review


My books are apparently about to be published in French or, perhaps, already have been. And this reviewer seems (it’s in French) to like the translations.

This is the first I’ve seen of the book covers, which are different from the English-language covers. Less warm, but perhaps more artistic. Still trying to decide if I like them.

As you can probably sense, my experience with the French publisher has been strange. More on this later, I’m sure.

http://laccoudoir.com/essais-documents/blue-angel-motel-sous-les-neons-matthew-obrien-2651/


Posted: 3/3/2012 at 9:43:00 PM | Updated: 3/3/2012 at 9:44:00 PM | Add Comments | More Options