Crazy Good Turns

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.

http://crazygoodturns.org/episodes/shine-a-light/

Second edition


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!

Upcoming exhibit

“Nelson’s Landing,” the poem I posted a few weeks ago, is going to be included in an interesting, mixed-media exhibit sponsored by Nevada Humanities. I’ll let you all know more about the exhibit as the Sept. 1 reception date approaches.

KNPR interview

George (“Jazz”) and I just visited KNPR’s studio and were interviewed by host Joe Schoenmann about the tunnels and last month’s deadly flood. Jazz shared his harrowing tale of being swept down the channels and losing his girlfriend Sharon. The interview should air next week. Keep you all updated.

A poem


A poem I wrote that was partly inspired by a visit to Nelson’s Landing: 

            Nelson’s Landing
Volcanic rock claws
at my feet.
I’m frozen.
Behind me on the bank
a blanket.
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.
Eldorado.
A Civil War deserter
beaten to death
with a shovel
for a yellow stone.
The veins dried up
during WWII.

Nelson, Nevada.
Population 24.
A flood flashed
through the canyon,
carrying them away.
A rusted water tank
and bandaged mines
remain.

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?”
she says.
I smile,
close my eyes.

And jump.

More death in the drains

A man’s body was recently pulled from a wash near Decatur and Russell. If he was a victim of the flood—and I suspect he was, as that area was hit hard—that would bring the body count to at least three. And the monsoon season is just underway.

Flood death update

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!

Flood death

The coroner hasn’t spoken, but the streets have. RIP, Sharon.