Local author Matt O’Brien is launching his second book, My Week at the Blue Angel, on Saturday at the Vegas Valley Book Festival. (Photos are by brilliant and award-winning local photographer Bill Hughes.) He will be featured with Victoria Patterson during a panel discussion called Storytelling in the Modern Southwest at 1:45 p.m. at the Historic Fifth Street School Downtown. Tod Goldberg (of Fake, Liar, Cheat fame) is moderating.
You may know Matt’s work from his tenure at Las Vegas CityLife or his first book, Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas. Through his research and work on Beneath the Neon, he has gotten to know many of the homeless people living in the tunnels under Las Vegas. As I know from my years sharing a cubicle with him at CityLife (which we both shared with Bill Hughes, too), homelessness is an issue very close to Matt’s heart. So much so that Matt has joined forces with other organizations in the valley to create Shine A Light, which has already helped hundreds of homeless people get off the streets and out of the tunnels.
I am so glad to know Matt and see his success. But more importantly (for me at least) it is inspirational and motivating to me to see how Matt has used the success of his work to fuel his passion and help others. It is something I aspire to in my own work.
Full disclosure: Not only did I used to work with both Matt and Bill, they are my friends, too. In fact, Matt hired me at CityLife, so I owe him a debt of gratitude for that…And many other friends of mine will be at the festival, too. Like local writer/comicbook man/musician/blogger/artist PJ Perez. (He’ll probably be annoyed I just called him “comicbook man” but he did bring me a copy of The Utopian to buy in person while I was pregnant. Which is a very nice thing to do. Much love.) So, really, the whole book festival will just be fab and it’s free. So you should check it out.