May 13, 2017 – Tucson Rail-yard

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I have published various iterations of this image. I took a lot of pictures that day, my feet crunching through the stones alone the railroad tracks. In this particular section in downtown Tucson, the rail-line runs behind warehouses and various artist spaces. I remember going out back during a show I was performing in at a place called, at the time, The Space. It was a fashion and music showcase, and I was wearing these amazing custom-made pantaloons and a painted-on curly mustache for a little performance piece.

Booze was flowing, and we were able to override the city ordinance by accepting donations, rather than accepting cash, for liquor. Art was on the walls and the music was loud, and I was half-clothed, wandering around without my glasses, pretty-well out of my mind. Halogen track lights on red brick and a clutch of people dancing and laughing. We’d congregate on the back stoop, a small group of us, on a rickety wooden platform with three precarious steps down to the graveled ground, just ten feet from the rail line. I remember hunkering down, red wine in a plastic cup, smoking a cigarette, as the train whooshed by, drowning-out our conversation.

Ten years later, I realize that these are the stories I’ll be telling to younger people. You know, “when I was in college” or “when I was your age” type of stories. Speaking about when times were more innocent, when the rules were more relaxed, when we got away with murder and still can’t believe it. I think this happens with every generation. I’m glad I was wild and reckless and had a memorable night in a strange performance space along Congress Avenue, with a collective of creative and free spirits, huddled against the darkness, in this tiny little corner of the cosmos.

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March 12, 2017 – Hangover Hospital

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It’s a funny name, for certain, but it works. This is an older sign, over a decade old, when American travelers were less cowed by news stories that scared them away from travel in Mexico. Once upon a time, Creel, Mexico, was a popular destination for American tourists; a great deal of the local economy relied on American travelers. The town is more economically depressed now than it has been in recent history. Fears of cartel activity, news stories about kidnappings, and general antipathy toward Mexico has had a significant impact.

But not for this traveler.

Hospital Paracrudos is in the heart of the town (you can see the railroad tracks in the background) and serves up fresh seafood, soup, and freshly cooked vegetables. It’s the first restaurant to open in town (most shops don’t even open until ten or eleven o’clock), and the interior is a huddled, wood-paneled little cavern of a place, with gas stoves steaming with boiling meat and vegetables. It’s dark, cramped, and small, feeling more like a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar, except that it serves delicious hot soup. I didn’t have a hangover when I wandered across the tracks one morning to see what there was to see, but I had an amazing hot breakfast in my dimly-lit seat, surrounded by hanging pots and pans, strings of chili husks, and bowls of chiltipin peppers.

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