Results for Category: follow-up

Book signing follow-up

Good turnout at the book signing yesterday. Thanks to everyone who dropped by: fellow Huntington Press authors Bill Branon, Cathy Scott and Al Mancini; author JJ Wylie; photographer Bill Hughes; curator and historian Brian Paco Alvarez; advocate for the homeless Linda Lera-Randle El; film director Delaney Dragon; and others.

I don’t have any other public signings scheduled. So if you want a signed copy of Beneath the Neon or My Week at the Blue Angel, visit the Beat coffeehouse downtown, the Borders at Town Square, Barnes & Noble on Maryland Parkway (just north of Flamingo) or the B&N near Summerlin (which, post-signing, had one copy of Beneath the Neon left). These businesses, last I checked, had signed copies in stock.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported My Week at the Blue Angel. Looks like it’s headed to a second printing!

Thanksgiving in the tunnels follow-up

Things went well in the tunnels on Thanksgiving. I went down late morning with Josh Ellis (minus the kukri knife), his wife Rosalie, Becky Bosshart and her friend Mary Catharine, bearing hot plates and trash bags full of goods (knit caps, disposable razors, batteries, bar soap, books, etc.). Our first stop was a tunnel near the south Strip, where we encountered four or five camps, which, to our relief, were much warmer than outside. (It was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in Las Vegas that day.) The inhabitants were just stirring and getting ready for another day: panhandling, dumpster diving, credit hustling. There are no holidays in the underground flood channels of Vegas.

Our second stop was a drain just west of the Strip, which housed two camps. We left plates and trash bags for “Stretch” and Vicki, who were hustling aboveground, and chatted with my friend Rick (of “The Buried Life” fame) near the inlet. Despite a broken index finger, he was planning to wash car windows at a gas station that day.

Finally, we parked at a Siegel Suites adjacent to a three-barrel drain north of UNLV. (Is it just me or is this town becoming one big Siegel Suites?) A handful of homeless people sat on the embankment, basking in the early afternoon sun. As rumors of free food and goods spread, more people emerged from the shadows of the tunnels. They appeared tired, cold and hungry—resigned. We gave out our remaining supplies, including blankets and sweatshirts, and the people seemed appreciative. Some of them said they hope to get into HELP of Southern Nevada’s program, but are currently on the waiting list.

Special thanks to Casey, Sam, Tia T.’s mom Cyndi, Enrique and Nic, who donated goods. Also, to Becky for donating and cooking the food and to Josh, Rosalie and Mary Catharine for helping deliver it. The venture was funded, in part, by Alison from Missouri. (Thanks for the check!)

Also, Josh wrote a long and poignant blog about the day. Check it out at


Despite threatening weather, there was a pretty good turnout for the Nov. 20 book signing at the Town Square Borders. Lots of familiar faces: Laura, Suzanne, Katherine, James, Downtown Steve, Barry from the tunnels, Slick from the sewage plant, and others. Also, a few former CityLife staffers showed up: Jarret, Meredith, Emmily and Doug. And, typical of a signing, I made a few new friends.

Overall, it was a successful event, I think. Thanks to everyone who dropped by!

If you want a signed copy of Beneath the Neon or My Week at the Blue Angel, you may want to visit that Borders. They should have copies on the shelf through the end of the year.

Also, I have three other local signings scheduled over the next few months. The next one is Saturday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble on Maryland Parkway (near Flamingo Road).

I plan to post the schedule of upcoming signings soon.

Panel discussion post-mortem

I thought the panel discussion and book signing went pretty well. One of the highlights, in my opinion, was the two other panelists, Juan Martinez and Victoria Patterson. (Juan was added a day or two before the discussion.) They were extremely well-spoken and interesting, and I look forward to reading more of their work. Another highlight was the late-arriving and eventually fairly large audience. It included sign designer Betty Willis, Rich Penksa of HELP of Southern Nevada, Marty Flynn of the central sewage plant, Valentino Santiago (my neighbor at the Diplomat apartments), my mom and dad (in from the Atlanta area), a few guys from the tunnels, a handful of former tunnel-dwellers, and quite a few other friends and family members. Indeed, it was an interesting cross section of my life.

Thanks to everyone who attended the discussion, and I’m sorry if you weren’t able to buy a book. However, I’m told that both Beneath the Neon and My Week at the Blue Angel are available at the Town Square Borders and the Barnes & Noble on Maryland Parkway (near Flamingo). Also, I have a few other local signings scheduled before Christmas.

I’ll keep you updated, of course.

Thanksgiving in the tunnels: The final chapter

It rained the day before Thanksgiving, and the holiday forecast was bleak, so I was worried our trip into the tunnels was going to be canceled … and I’d be stuck with a year’s supply of canned goods and bottled water. But when I woke Thanksgiving morning, the sidewalk in front of my apartment was dry and the sky was partly cloudy. I geared up, stuffed some final items into the trunk of my car and rendezvoused with my friends Billy, Becky and Denise.

We started at a six-barrel storm drain that burrows under Industrial Road, Interstate 15, Caesars Palace and the Strip and opens at the Imperial Palace. In a side tunnel that runs parallel to I-15, we found a campsite that was home to six or seven people and a cute dog named Blue. We gave out Thanksgiving meals, blankets and winter clothing. Billy, who once lived in the tunnel, brought Blue a can of dog food (filet mignon flavored – the good shit!). We hung out for an hour or so – talking, smoking (no, not the good shit!), watching Blue scurry about in a fashionable headlamp collar – then lugged the few remaining items back to our cars.

Our next stop was a seven-barrel drain that rolls under Arville Street, the Orleans and the Home Depot and opens onto a barren flood plain at the corner of Decatur and Tropicana. I have a history with this drain – eerie shrines, madmen who can see in the dark and even “trolls” – and my stomach was hollow as we ducked into the south tunnel. About a quarter-mile into the tunnel, we stumbled on a man, Charlie, stretched out on a cot, half-asleep. We told him we were giving out food and drinks and he asked, jokingly, for a beer.

“I knew we forgot something,” I said.

We set a Thanksgiving meal on the foot of Charlie’s cot and continued into the darkness. The ceiling dropped. The drain widened. We could see into the parallel tunnels though square cuts in the walls, known as “equalizers.” What’s behind those walls, I wondered? What’s just beyond the range of our flashlights?

Very little, it turned out. We passed a deserted camp, turned around at the flood plain (the sky had darkened) and took the north tunnel back toward the outlet. Arching ceilings black with soot … declarations of love and hate scrawled on the walls … another deserted camp (or was that a collection of debris?).

When we ducked out of the drain, it was raining – and we decided to head home. Good idea. As we climbed in our cars, the sky opened up. It was tough to see beyond the windshield wipers.

We gave Billy, who’s transitioning out of the tunnels and into public housing, some of the remaining food and clothes. A few blankets and short-sleeve shirts are all that remain in my trunk. I’ll drop them off at Goodwill next time I’m in the area.

Thanks to Billy, Becky and Denise for helping prepare the meals, donating items and being good company in those long and lonely corridors. Also, thanks to Aly and Danna for their contributions. Those skinny silhouettes with cigarette-ravaged voices sure seemed to appreciate it.

Great party!

The Las Vegas Art Museum sure knows how to throw a party. The Vegas 360 book-launch party and photo exhibit opening was well-organized, well-attended and fun as hell. The museum’s staff is professional and really took care of the photographer, writers and attendees. It was an all-around cool event.

Thanks to everyone who showed up!

‘Food for Thought’ follow-up

As advertised, the “Food for Thought” benefit dinner was a really cool event. A lot of people showed up and I had a smart and inquisitive table. Thanks to Ken, Holly, Tom, Lou Anne, the other Tom, Veronica and my friend Billy (I think I got the names right) for an entertaining evening. Also, the food was outstanding.

The dinner benefited Nevada Humanities, a sponsor of the Vegas Valley Book Festival. This year, the festival will be held from Nov. 6-8 in downtown Las Vegas. For more info, visit