Fun while it lasted

I helped deliver the last issue of Downtown ZEN. Apparently the magazine is not going to be re-funded for the New Year. The timing seems odd, as we had put out additional newsracks, the pick-up rate was increasing, we had hired a proper sales staff, and the editorial product was strong (and getting stronger), but this was out of my control. Who knows? Maybe it will be revived in some form at some point or folded into an existing product, etc. There was, after all, a rainbow above downtown as I made my final rounds.

NHA resignation

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!

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.