Closing Time: The Beat Coffeehouse

Cleverly-named specials. Quirky events. Friends behind the counter who knew my name.

The Beat was the independent Vegas coffeehouse that reminded me of my favorite hangouts in Rochester, NY. I think my first visit was in 2011, back when my friend Tiffany and I would grab lunch after we hit the neighborhood farmers market. That was also when you could park on the street for free.

It wasn’t long before I began fantasizing about opening a tiny spa office inside Emergency Arts (the building that housed The Beat). The former exam rooms (the building had been a JC Penney, then a medical clinic) were the perfect size to allow me to serve the community, one relaxing spa treatment at a time. My dream became a reality when I signed my lease in November 2012, and I’ve been running Feetish Spa Parlor ever since.

In July 2016 we tenants were told that The Beat would be closing at the end of September, and the 1st floor tenants (galleries, studios, pretty eyelashes) would need to leave to make room for a new restaurant that would be taking over the majority of the space. Luckily Feetish is located on the 2nd floor and for now she’s able to remain where she is, but I’m still saddened (to a surprising degree, actually) by the loss of The Beat and friends.

I wanted to explore the vacant 1st floor before the wrecking crew came in to gut and rebuild the entire thing. The other afternoon Paul, Jim and I went creepin’, and here’s what we saw…

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Dolled Up In St. Thomas

This year I wanted to have a creepy adventure on my birthday. The formerly-submerged-beneath-Lake-Mead ghost town of St. Thomas, Nevada was at the top of my list, and its close proximity to Las Vegas made it an ideal day trip destination for a costumed birthday girl and her nudist photographer friend.

St. Thomas was founded in 1865 and became home to about 500 residents, complete with farms and businesses. In 1938 the town was abandoned as Lake Mead rose following the construction of the Hoover Dam. In recent years the ruins of St. Thomas became visible as Lake Mead’s water level dropped, leaving sand, shells and broken buildings behind for us to explore.

The photos that follow were taken by myself (with my Galaxy S6) and my frequent adventure partner, Jon Miller. I hope you feel like you were there with us. Enjoy!

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We drove through the Valley of Fire and made a quick left down a gravel road. Eventually we ended up here, overlooking a 2.5 mile hiking loop that wove its way through the ruins of St. Thomas.

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The path was made up of sand and thousands (millions?) of white shells.

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A pop of color in a barren landscape.

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Critter fur caught in a huge, dead piece of wood.

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The tallest of the ruins.

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Jon on the prowl.

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Collection

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Time for school!

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Inside view of the school.

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Of course we brought props!

The following photos (minus the final three) were snapped by Jon. Enter the Creepy Doll!

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Play time!

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Then, as if my birthday hadn’t been action-packed enough, my thoughtful friend surprised me with this…

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Awwww!

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Jon had miraculously packed all of this AND cold Coke AND snacks in his backpack…and I had no idea!

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Jon in his natural state. (Not surprising in the least.)

24 Photos From New York: An Analog Annal

This November I spent a week hanging out with family and friends in Rochester and Buffalo, New York. Photography-wise, I purposely left my DSLR at home so I would be forced to use the Polaroid Spectra and 600 I had packed.

This post includes shots from Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Rochester), Mount Hope Cemetery (Rochester), Thomas E. Burger Funeral Home (Hilton), University of Rochester, Eastman Kodak (Rochester), Forest Lawn Cemetery (Buffalo), and the abandoned aqueduct and subway tunnels of Rochester. I’m really happy with how they turned out. Enjoy!

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Double Exposure Inside the Christ Our Light Mausoleum at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery

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Double Exposure of My Grandparents’ Marker at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery

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Mom at Grandma and Grandpa’s Grave in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery

Images from Mount Hope Cemetery:

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Doug Showing Dad the Horse Drawn Hearse at Thomas E. Burger Funeral Home

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Outside an Old U of R Tunnel, Expired Film, Photo by Deena Viviani

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Tunnel Window Figure, U of R Campus, Expired Film

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Inside the U of R Tunnel, Expired Film

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Tunnel Cat, U of R, Expired Film

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Double Exposure, George Eastman’s Monument, Kodak Park

Images from Forest Lawn Cemetery:

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Abandoned Subway Tour

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Abandoned Subway

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Double Exposure Abandoned Subway and Arch

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Precarious Walkway at the Aqueduct

Chasing Clowns and Burial Grounds

Are you ready for photos from the Tonopah Clown Motel?

Welcome to Part II of my photographic journey from Vegas to Vallejo, CA!

First, let's warm up with some photos of some ruins and abandoned buildings from the ghost town of Rhyolite, NV that I visited on my way to Tonopah.

First, let’s warm up with some photos of some ruins and abandoned buildings from the ghost town of Rhyolite, NV that I visited on my way to Tonopah.

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Clown Motel!

Clown Motel!

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The rooms are pretty normal (aside from a couple of framed sad clowns hanging over the headboards). Let's take a little tour of the magic that awaits in the motel's lobby, shall we?

The rooms are pretty normal (aside from a couple of framed sad clowns hanging over the headboards). Let’s take a little tour of the magic that awaits in the motel’s lobby, shall we?

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The lobby features a selection of old treasures available for purchase, as well as Clown Motel mugs, tees and postcards.

The lobby features a selection of old treasures available for purchase, as well as Clown Motel mugs, tees and postcards.

Then there's the old Tonopah Cemetery conveniently located right next door to the Clown Motel!

Then there’s the old Tonopah Cemetery conveniently located right next door to the Clown Motel!

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Did you know there's ANOTHER cemetery just down the street from the Clown Motel? It's the new Tonopah Cemetery!

Did you know there’s ANOTHER cemetery just down the street from the Clown Motel? It’s the *new* Tonopah Cemetery!

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Crazy Tonopah-related urbex near Benton, CA.

Destruction and Tonopah-related graffiti over the border near Benton, CA.

Are you cravin’ more creepin’? The journey to Vallejo continues…stay tuned!

On The Road To Tonopah

I’m writing this from the guest bedroom belonging to my ladyfriends in Vallejo, CA. It has been more than three years since I last made my way up to the Bay Area for a visit and I was way overdue. (My ladies just opened a cafe here, so if you’re ever in the ‘hood do yourself a favor and enjoy some quiche and coffee at LEAF on Marin St. in Vallejo.)

I drove up here, opting to take a meandering route north of Vegas and west/northwest of Tonopah, stopping at several ghost towns along the way. I even spent one night at the infamous Tonopah Clown Motel (those photos deserve their own post…stay tuned!).

Here are some unedited photos of some old cemeteries and abandoned places located between Las Vegas and Yosemite National Park. I hope you enjoy Part I of this who-knows-how-many-parts trip to Vallejo!

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Armagosa Desert Memorial Cemetery, NV

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Lizard in Armagosa

Lizard!

Abandoned Armagosa

Abandoned Armagosa

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Desert Hills Cemetery, Beatty, NV

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Bullfrog-Rhyolite Cemetery, Rhyolite, NV

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Just outside of the cemetery fence in Rhyolite...

Just outside of the cemetery fence in Rhyolite…

A single(?) grave pet cemetery!

A single(?) grave pet cemetery!

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Goldfield Cemetery, Nevada

Goldfield Cemetery, NV

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Silver Peak Cemetery, NV

Silver Peak Cemetery, NV

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Ladytime at Love Canal

Exploring the toxic wasteland of Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY was my sister’s idea. She wanted to research the barren remains of the 1950’s industrial chemical dumping ground for an upcoming writing project, and of course Amanda and I couldn’t wait to join her.

Online research told us that the abandoned houses had been demolished a few years back, so we weren’t sure what we’d see. Fields? Barbed wire? Angry hoards of cyclopean feral cats?

Here’s what a March, 2015 visit held in store for three creepin’ babes with cameras. Enjoy!

Welcome to Love Canal!

Welcome to Love Canal!

Fences? Check.

Fences? Check.

Barricades? Check.

Barricades? Check.

Circling turkey vultures? Check.

Circling turkey vultures? Check.

Wait, a house?

Wait, a house?

A CONDEMNED house!

A CONDEMNED house!

A locked side door.

A locked side door.

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A pane of the glass.

Just inside the porch door (the only one that allowed entry).

Just past the porch door (the only one that allowed entry).

The garage was wide open and held many treasures.

The garage was wide open and held many treasures.

A trunk in the main part of the garage.

A trunk in the main part of the garage.

The trunk held a few old photos and greeting cards, some written in German.

The trunk held a few old photos and greeting cards, some written in German.

What's up?

What’s up? A ladder in the back room of the garage.

Cat food cans abound.

Cat food cans abound.

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In the garage’s back room.

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Fun and games.

Turning back time.

Turning back time.

Now You Cima, Now You Don’t

Jon and I hadn’t realized we’d experienced Cima until after we’d already taken photos of the desert-worn ruins, train cars and shrine — and continued on down the desolate road, finding a whole lot of nothing in our path. That’s how small and unassuming this southern California ghost town really is.

We were there for a few hours in the early afternoon of Friday the 13th, March of 2015. Infrequent cars and motorcycles whizzed by on their way to somewhere else, while passing trains and a friendly kangaroo rat supplied the bulk of the activity. Other than that — despite the presence of a nearby compound surrounded by barbed wire fencing and large pipes — we failed to spy a single soul (shotgun wielding or otherwise).

After our adventures in Cima, the Shenanigods led us to Kelso, CA. I hope to have those photos posted within the next week, so please check back when you can. Thanks, and enjoy!

Collapsed ruins.

Collapsed ruins and enough lens flare to make J.J. Abrams blush.

Melted glass.

Melt-i media.

Tetanus fest.

Tetanus fest.

Someone was hot in bed.

Someone was hot in bed.

Hole-y shit!

Hole-y shit!

This shrine bears no identifying markers.

The shrine bears no identifying markers.

If you Google "Cima California shrine" you can view the different offerings placed here over the years.

If you Google “Cima California shrine” you can view the different offerings placed here over the years.

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Cima, California shrine offerings.

Bunny, bottle, dental floss.

Bunny, bottle, dental floss.

A wind chime hangs from the massive Joshua Tree.

A wind chime hangs from the massive Joshua Tree.

Choo choo!

Choo choo!

Piles of wire at "the compound".

Piles of wire at “the compound”.

Roaches and mattress springs will outlive us all.

Roaches and mattress springs will outlive us all.

A old trailer! Can we see inside?...

An old trailer! Can we see inside?…

Noted...

Noted…

An unlocked door, then this.

An unlocked door, then rat poop a-go-go!

Trailer trash.

Trailer trash.

Now that's what I call bad aim.

Now that’s what I call bad aim.

Ding Dongs R Us

Ding dongs.

Details.

Details.

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I was kind of obsessed with this red fire extinguisher.

The end?…