In Pictures: Las Vegas’ Neon Museum

Have you noticed that neon lights are disappearing from our cities? Those giant flashing lights you see in places like Times Square are produced nowadays by LED, not the sliced and twisted gas-filled tubes of years ago.

For years, the old, disused neon lights of Las Vegas lay abandoned in an old YESCO production lot, known as the “Neon Boneyard. The Neon Museum of Las Vegas is restoring those signs and, last year, opened up its headquarters in the lobby of La Concha Hotel to offer hour-long tours of its collection.

Sassy Saloon
Sassy Saloon
Lido
Lido
The Stardust sign's font is "Atomic" embracing the spirit of the age, it was meant to resemble the mushroom cloud of atomic tests.
The Stardust

The Stardust sign’s font is “Atomic.” Embracing the spirit of the age, it was meant to resemble the mushroom cloud of atomic tests.

Gamble!
Gamble!
Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge was the first Las Vegas casino to integrate, and the “Moulin Rouge Accord” ended segregation in Las Vagas.

The Horseshoe
The Horseshoe

The Horsehoe was the last to integrate.

Las Vegas Club
Las Vegas Club
La Concha
La Concha

Ironically, the Neon Museum’s sign contains no neon; it is all LED.

A-C-E
A-C-E
N is for Neon
N is for Neon

A Weekend in New Hampshire

Dartmouth Green
Dartmouth Green

The small college town of Hanover, NH, famous for the violent fraternities of Dartmouth College and the inspiration for Animal House, was my destination earlier this summer for a quiet weekend getaway.

I stayed at the Hanover Inn, a centuries old hotel that has recently reopened after a $41 million renovation that included the addition of PINE restaurant, created by James Beard award-winning chef, Michael Schlow. The hotel, which overlooks Dartmouth Green (site of commencement ceremonies, including this one by Conan O’Brien) is decorated in a style that befits its college owners — lots of green, a splash of plaid, and beds draped with cable-knit cardigan-style throws.

Hanover Inn
Hanover Inn
Hanover Inn
Hanover Inn

Across the green, in the college’s Baker library, is the Epic of American Civilization, one of the three grand frescos by José Clemente Orozco in the United States (the others are in California and New York City.)

The Epic of American Civilization
The Epic of American Civilization
The Epic of American Civilization
The Epic of American Civilization

Between huge meals and craft cocktails at PINE, I kayaked the Connecticut River.

Connecticut River
Connecticut River

With these guys:

Kayakers
Kayakers

Note: I was a guest of the Hanover Inn: More here and here.

created by James Beard-award winning chef Michael Schlow. The Hanover Inn is connected to the contemporary Hood Arts Museum, where interning students help to curate the exhibits. – See more at: http://blog.shermanstravel.com/2013/08/20/five-of-the-best-college-campus-hotels/#sthash.SlpXGLxZ.dpuf
created by James Beard-award winning chef Michael Schlow. The Hanover Inn is connected to the contemporary Hood Arts Museum, where interning students help to curate the exhibits. – See more at: http://blog.shermanstravel.com/2013/08/20/five-of-the-best-college-campus-hotels/#sthash.SlpXGLxZ.dpuf
created by James Beard-award winning chef Michael Schlow. The Hanover Inn is connected to the contemporary Hood Arts Museum, where interning students help to curate the exhibits. – See more at: http://blog.shermanstravel.com/2013/08/20/five-of-the-best-college-campus-hotels/#sthash.SlpXGLxZ.dpuf
created by James Beard-award winning chef Michael Schlow. The Hanover Inn is connected to the contemporary Hood Arts Museum, where interning students help to curate the exhibits. – See more at: http://blog.shermanstravel.com/2013/08/20/five-of-the-best-college-campus-hotels/#sthash.SlpXGLxZ.dpuf

Photos From Two Months in New York

Already two months have passed since I moved here. I love my new home. Here are a few images from June and July.

Ft. Washington Park
Ft. Washington Park
Ft. Washington Bridge.
Ft. Washington Bridge.
Little Red Lighthouse
Little Red Lighthouse
4th of July Fireworks
4th of July Fireworks
14th St. Station
14th St. Station
Street Coffee.
Street Coffee.
NYC Pride
NYC Pride
NYC Pride
NYC Pride
Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach
Coney Island.
Coney Island.
Cyclone
Cyclone
The Daily Show.
The Daily Show.
Bushwick Pride.
Bushwick Pride.

The Little Red Lighthouse

IMG_2462

“Fat and red and jolly” is how Hildegard Swift described Jeffrey’s Hook Light in her beloved tale The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. Although the red lighthouse has not shone its light in years, it is, like in the book, still proud to have a job to do: pleasing children and tourists.

The book, which was published in 1942, tells the story of the lighthouse’s fear that it no longer is of any use when a great grey bridge is built next to it, with its own flashing light, making it feel small and unimportant. One night during a storm, however, the bridge calls to the lighthouse reassuring it that it still has work to do: “each to his own place,” it says, and so the lighthouse proudly gets back to work.

It was this story that saved the lighthouse in 1951 when it was threatened with being torn down. Fans of Swift’s book campaigned for it to stay, and so it sits there today, under George Washington Bridge in northwestern Manhattan. As the book says, you should “see for yourself.”

 

 

2012: A Year in Nonviolent Dissent

“It gets into your system … the force and power of nonviolence.”

The above quotation is taken from a Guernica essay by Eamon Kircher Allen that was published in April this year. In April I had just returned from Egypt and was about to embark on a summer course through the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict. The power of nonviolence was in my system.

Through taking the course and talking to young Egyptian activists,  long-held understandings shifted. I started to realise things that should have been obvious. Authority, global order: these things are not rigid. Oppression draws power through our consent; we can withdraw that consent. Nonviolence does not mean inaction: it is often strategic.

In the ICNC course I learned a lot about strategy; about movements from West Papua to Burma and Chile; about different terms used for nonviolence (Satyagraha, People Power..) I learned about creative resistance (the Estonian Singing Revolution, Burmese clowns, Chilean cueca sola…)

As I moved through the year and from this place to the next I saw signs of dissent; civil resistance, and what Kircher Allen called the “common font of yearning for an alternative global order.” From Egypt to Mexico and the USA I saw people struggle for rights, recognition and to strategise a commitment to nonviolence.

Cairo, Egypt. February 2012.
Cairo, Egypt. February 2012.
Mexico City. September 2012.
Mexico City. September 2012.

IMG_1608

USA
USA

There is some nuances I still debate. Such as the photograph below.

It is a stencil of Mubarak and (what I am told is) writing that says “when will he die?” I saw others (that I didn’t photograph) of his image in a noose. I believe that words can be violence so do those images have a place in a nonviolent movement?

Luxor, Egypt. March 2012.
Luxor, Egypt. March 2012.

What about the destruction of property? Below is a photograph of the burned-out NDP building in Cairo. My first glance at it inspired an initial feeling of horror, which lifted when a woman smiling and taking photos of it expressed to me how happy the sight made her.

Cairo, Egypt. February 2012
Cairo, Egypt. February 2012

A question posed in the ICNC course: If property destruction is violence then how should we think of the Danish Resistance blowing up Nazi railroad tracks?

I am learning and I am asking myself questions and I don’t understand much but I am trying. I still struggle with hopelessness and anger but I am trying to be an optimist. There is both optimism and despair in dissent but signs of nonviolent dissent give me hope. I think that is a good way to move into the new year.

Cairo International Airport. March 2012.
Cairo International Airport. March 2012.