Desert Companion

Notes & Letters


Mage Against the Machine

Mage Against the Machine

1. Wielding hashtags like throwing stars, the social-media ninjas at the Nevada National Security Site showed us some love for Alan Gegax’s account of touring the former Test Site, which ran in our May issue: “Great #article by Desert Companion magazine about the many #cultural resources at the #Nevada National Security Site,” they posted. Careful there; it’s all fun and games until someone puts their eye out on a pound sign. Speaking of cultural resources: “Raw and real,” Lonn M. Friend’s May profile of local rocker Shelley Beth Miller, had ’em belting out a love song in Miller’s hometown. “We love Shelley back here in the Motor City,” Jake Smith commented at “She’s our blood and our soul. Rock on, Shelley.” Writing on Miller’s Facebook page, Karla Kay Harris gave subject and writer their due: “You have earned every word and every note. Lonn Friend captured your incredible strong spirit.” Another strong spirit is Melissa McGill, a parent featured in Heidi Kyser’s report about the expansion of magnet schools in Clark County — McGill’s a vocal critic of that process. And, it seems, a whole lot more. “Melissa McGill is a rock star and a wonderful human being and raises amazing children,” one Facebooker writes. Finally, in another short burst of reasonable praise, Eric Hunter had this to say about Vern Hee’s May report on efforts to turn Beatty into a mountain-biking hot spot: “I think this could be a great place,” he posted. “When I make the drive from Mammoth, California, to Las Vegas to Southern Utah, I drive thru this town and think what an awesome place this area would be to ride, and also a reason to camp out at the nearby hot spring.” We think you mean “#nearby #hot #spring.”

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2. A reader at the City of Las Vegas spotted the segment devoted to Friends of Red Rock in our March feature “Good Neighbor Policy,” and wrote to let us know that the community group is about to add another feather to its cap — a book, Seekers, Saints & Scoundrels: the Colorful Characters of Red Rock Canyon. The 300-page collection of stories was researched, written and edited by volunteers for Friends of Red Rock Canyon, says president Chuck Williams. Several years in the making, it documents the lore of hikers, climbers, miners and settlers who have ventured into the wilderness west of Las Vegas over the ages. The group got a grant from the city to help cover printing costs, Williams says. They’re shopping for a publisher now and hope to have one nailed down by June. All proceeds from sales of the softcover book will go back to the nonprofit to help its efforts to preserve Red Rock’s safety and beauty. “This is something we’ve been talking about and working on for a long time,” Williams says. “It’s great to see it finally coming to pass.”

3. Dept. of Humble Bragging: Desert Companion Maggied it up last month at the 64th annual Western Publishing Association awards (the Maggies). Nominated in seven categories, we brought home the clear tubular plastic statues in two: In Best Signed Editorial or Essay, the winner was James Joseph Brown’s November piece “Mage Against the Machine,” a lively memoir about playing Dungeons & Dragons as a kid. And under Best Single Editorial Illustration, frequent contributor Chris Morris won for his vision of a bureaucrat standing atop a vanquished mammoth, which accompanied a story about the political obstacles to preserving the Tule Springs fossil beds. “Getting a Maggie award is always particularly gratifying,” says editor Andrew Kiraly, “because in this competition, Desert Companion — with our comparatively tiny editorial staff of six — swims with some pretty big fish, such as Ms., Variety, Backpacker and more.” Fist-bumps all around if, indeed, fist bumps are still a thing.

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Real and raw