Big things are brewing with my community project Shine a Light. Sometimes you have to let go (a little) of the things you love for them to reach their full potential. More on this soon.
“I left the tunnel because I had breast cancer. I had to stay clean. I wanted to be spick and span. I’m going to see all these doctors and I had to be able to shower, wear proper clothing and have some decency, because I was not a homeless bum. I was a PhD living down in a freakin’ tunnel.” Ande, in the drains from 2008 to ’15
My interview with a bike thief:
Yesterday in the tunnels, one of the residents, Steve, gave me a going-away present: a compass. He said he hoped it would come in handy in Central America. #touched
I was honored to share the stage at the Sunday Assembly with Paul Vautrinot. We had a blast and met some really interesting people—thanks to everyone who came out!—then headed into the tunnels to check on some folks down there. I’m hoping Paul (and others) will help keep Shine a Light going while I’m in Central America. With his experience, knowledge and charisma, I’m confident he could positively impact hundreds of lives in the drains. No pressure, Paul!
My publisher: “We can’t print the second edition of Beneath the Neon until we reduce the stock of the first edition. We need to sell a few more hundred copies.”
My mind: I’ll buy a few hundred copies myself.
If you don’t have anything going on Sunday afternoon, drop by the Sunday Assembly. I will be talking about my experiences in the underground flood channels, and bringing along a special guest: Paul Vautrinot, whose remarkable story I shared in Vegas Seven magazine (http://vegasseven.com/2017/04/06/one-mans-survival-story-infamous-storm-drains-las-vegas/). Hope you can join us!
A rare concert review by yours truly. Band of Horses. 5/26/17. At the Chelsea (Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas).
“Call the homeless what you will, but don’t call them lazy. (You’re the one using UberEATS and sitting on the couch watching TV.) They’re the toughest, most industrious people I’ve met. Their survival depends on it.”
This is an excerpt from my commentary about what I’ve learned in 20 years of writing about and working with the homeless in Las Vegas. Many of my social-networking friends know a lot about homelessness—more than I ever will—and I’m curious how your experience aligns with mine or doesn’t. Please share your thoughts.
I’ve interviewed about 30 former tunnel residents and asked them all, “How’d you discover the drains?” This answer, courtesy of 24-year-old Szmauz, might be the most interesting so far:
“I was giving this other homeless guy hot dogs I’d found in a dumpster and out of the corner of my eye I see this big guy come over and deck me. The hot dogs go flying. I was stunned. It took me a second to realize I just got hit in the face. He starts wailing on me and I fight back. I’m not a small guy, so he took off. I had this meat cleaver on me and I’m chasing him down the street. The dealers that lived in the shitty apartments nearby knew me; I was a good customer of theirs. They were like, ‘Dude, what’s up?’ I said, ‘Get that guy!’ We’re all chasing him and he dipped through a hole in the fence and went down into a wash and into a tunnel. I stopped. I’m like, I’m not going in there. And that’s how I found the tunnel.”