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…

img_4873

img_4872

img_4869img_4856img_4855img_4849img_4858img_4851img_4847

img_4788img_4790img_4845img_4705img_4828img_4829img_4827img_4824img_4819img_4817img_4816

img_4822img_4787img_4783img_4784img_4785img_4786img_4739

img_4737img_4730img_4734img_4735img_4745img_4728img_4748img_4749img_4752img_4754

img_4679img_4681img_4678img_4682img_4692img_4688img_4690img_4687img_4683img_4700img_4704

img_4781img_4775img_4772img_4766img_4763img_4768img_4762img_4761img_4760img_4699img_4695img_4698img_4697

img_4800img_4798img_4795img_4726img_4719img_4723img_4718img_4715img_4727img_4713img_4710img_4703img_4809img_4808img_4806img_4805img_4803img_4804img_4675img_4676img_4677

img_4831img_4841img_4838img_4833img_4836

img_4864

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Boulder City Pet Cemetery: An Analog Annal

Most folks cruise right by the (illegal!) Boulder City Pet Cemetery, never noticing the assortment of rustic and homemade markers gathered just off to the side of the highway. It’s easy to do: If Mike and Jamie hadn’t driven the first time, I don’t know if I ever would have found it.

The marked graves date back to the 1950s on up through 2013. During previous visits I’d come across old animal bones scattered across the dirt, but yesterday’s visit held a special surprise.

The photos in this post are multiple exposure shots taken with my Polaroid 230 Land Camera. I’m thrilled with how these came out…everyone will see something different in each one. If you’re looking for something a bit more conventional, I posted a few quickies on Instagram; feel free to check them out and follow me at feetishspa. Enjoy!

petcemetery1

petcemetery2

petcemetery3

petcemetery4

The LLBean backpack wasn’t there last week…not above ground, at least. Densely packed, weighing approximately 15 pounds, spongy to the touch and reeking of decomp, the bag had been dug up from a nearby grave, now half-filled with sand and surrounded by coyote poop and paw prints. The frayed nylon straps had been completely torn from the body of the pack, however the bag itself was still tightly closed and intact. It appears that coyotes have not evolved to open zippers…yet.

petcemetery5

petcemetery6

petcemetery7

petcemetery8

petcemetery9

petcemetery10

petcemetery11

Packing it in.

Change is Constant: Saying Goodbye to the Riviera

In 2004 I visited Las Vegas for the first time and life changed.

My friend Alicia and I attended the National Organization for Women’s national conference with our Rochester chapter in July of that year. Of all places, it was held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, a land of wanton irresponsibility and showgirl tuckus worship. We were very excited.

We listened to sex workers’ rights group members and Dar Williams. Alicia took me to the spas at Mandalay Bay and Caesars Palace (before its multi-million dollar renovation). I dragged my dear Alicia to Quark’s Bar and Star Trek:The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton (may their souls rest in peace), where we met snarky Klingons and drank blue liquids. This city held almost all of my favortie things, executed at such a high level of no-holds-barred-fuck-it-we’re-doing-this. I was in love.

As far as life changing goes: Vegas 2004 convinced me to enroll in massage therapy school the following year, and this career shift has played an integral part in where life has taken me, and in who I am today. Then came the big move to a warmer climate with job opportunities and stucco houses in 2007, free from snow and without regret.

On May 4th, 2015, the Riviera will close for good to make way for a Convention Center expansion. For old times sake, Paul and I paid our respects on April 21st. Here are some images (mostly) from that day, taken using my Polaroid 600…

A sign of the times.

A Sign of the Times

Showgirl assets.

Showgirl Assets

Showroom Neon

Facing the Future

Neon Its Head

Neon Its Head

On the Outside, Looking In

On the Outside, Looking In

Last Meal

Last Meal

The End of an Era

The End of an Era

Cashing Out

Cashing Out

Death Goes Downtown

Pretty much anytime I travel nowadays, I pre-Google cemeteries that are located in the vicinity of or on the way to my final destination. That’s why it’s super weird (even to me) that until just the other day, I hadn’t explored downtown Las Vegas’s three cemeteries.

Come this April, I will have resided in Vegas for eight years. The shameful, solitary excuse I have for my negligence is straight-up snobbery; I grew up with the rolling hills, suffragette gravestones and Victorian creepiness of the breathtaking Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY. No burial ground I’ve seen in real life has come close to inspiring me as much as my precious Mt. Hope has. Certainly the brown grass and 20th century headstones of Vegas’s finest funerary fields held no redeeming qualities for a slovenly, narrow-minded death tourist such as myself.

As I approach my 37th year on this planet, considering the recent expected and unexpected losses of favorite people in my life, I have finally come to appreciate nuance. Time. Beauty in the oft overlooked opportunity. (And alliteration, apparently.)

Let me show you what I discovered when I visited the Woodlawn and Palm Downtown cemeteries in February, 2015…

WOODLAWN CEMETERY

Founded in 1914, Woodlawn currently spans 40 acres at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Owens Ave. As of August, 2013, this downtown cemetery provided a final resting place for 28,288 of our dearly departed. It is owned by the City of Las Vegas, and is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.

Upon first glance, Woodlawn Cemetery appears to be rather small. Grass, mostly nondescript rectangular gravestones, teenagers cutting through the property on their way home from school.

A journey toward the “back” of the cemetery reveals another world entirely. Check out this drama!

Old trees line the central paved road that runs through Woodlawn.

Old trees line the central paved road that runs through Woodlawn.

One of the more unusual memorials at Woodlawn.

One of the more unusual memorials at Woodlawn.

One of the few gravestones at Woodlawn that probably wasn't positioned exactly where it used to be.

One of the few gravestones at Woodlawn that probably isn’t positioned exactly where it used to be.

The gray heart and angel stone located behind Mary's head is a very popular design here.

The gray heart and angel stone located behind Mary’s head is a very popular design at Woodlawn. I lost count of how many I saw, but they’re pretty tall and stand out among the shorter gravestones.

PALM DOWNTOWN MORTUARY AND CEMETERY

Palm Downtown opened their current location on Main St. in 1957. In 1958 they built Southern Nevada’s first mausoleum, naming it The Building of Eternity.

It just so happens that The Building of Eternity is one of my new favorite places in all of Las Vegas. The first time I visited (two weeks ago) I was in awe of its haunting beauty and peaceful atmosphere. I returned just a few days ago, notebook and pencil in hand. What follows are my observations from the cemetery on a Wednesday afternoon…

The parking lot is 80% filled with passenger vehicles, yet I only see two people walking among the grassy graves. Adrenaline. Excitement. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I’m looking forward to visiting this mausoleum for the second time.

I opt to wander the grounds for a bit first. A few smaller mausoleums flank the property, towering over small grave markers that suggest cremains. Valentine’s flowers and balloons dot the relatively small graveyard; an angel with weathered wings presides over a plot reserved for the youngest children. The smell of freshly cut green grass is the predominant perfume out here — a rarity in our desert. The aroma shifts as I approach each marble building, live vegetation replaced by faint must.

The Building of Eternity. The temperature seems to drop at least five degrees as soon as I walk through the open doors. Dim, damp and cool; the mustiness mingles with a bleachy scent, almost peppery or slightly herbal for a second here and there.

Two impressive stained glass windows brighten up both ends of the entryway. Straight ahead a treed courtyard awaits, surrounded by vaults. A single statue resides in this roofless structure. A long hallway to the left of the courtyard runs the length of the mausoleum, leading to two more large, open air courtyards. Grass, benches, small graves in the center of each, surrounded by walls made of marble tombs. A few are “reserved”, a few bear no markings. Looks like there’s room for one more.

A handful of polite flies buzz around, completely uninterested in the living. In the distance, the “beep beep” of heavy excavation equipment.

I think back to the day we put my husband’s brother in the ground, almost one year ago. In my normal routine I push these blips aside; to be transported there regularly is more than my human brain can handle. But here people expect you to be sad. I go there, I cry. I am alone.

When the time is right I head out the same way I came in. Fear and anxiety have left me; I feel spent, somber, satisfied. Numb but free.

This could be addictive.

The Building of Eternity, entryway

The Building of Eternity, entryway

The Building of Eternity, first courtyard

The Building of Eternity, first courtyard

The Building of Eternity, long hallway

The Building of Eternity, long hallway

Weathered Wings

Weathered Wings and Many Thanks.

About hObsessions

Hobbies-Turned-Obsessions. I seek out cemeteries, urban decay, beautiful old things and the random oddity. Words and images follow.

After years of blogging about mostly work-related subject matter, the need has arisen for a personal thought depository of sorts.

Sweet Jesus, this is going to be random.

signature

All content on hObsessions.com is the property of Andrea Lipomi unless otherwise noted.

Copyright 2015