Artist Profile

Las Vegas, Nevada

Matthew O'Brien

O'Brien, Matthew

Matthew O’Brien is an author and journalist who’s lived in Las Vegas since 1997. His first book, Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas, chronicles his adventures in the city’s underground flood channels. His second book, My Week at the Blue Angel: And Other Stories from the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs, and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas, is a creative-nonfiction collection set in off-the-beaten-path Vegas. He’s the founder of Shine a Light, a community project that provides housing, drug counseling and other services to the people living in the drains.

Las Vegas, NV

Counties Served
Preferred Groups/Populations
7th – 12th Graders, college students, adults
Classrooms, theaters, libraries, community centers, etc.
Program/Residency Activity Descriptions: Schools/Communities
Lectures, readings and workshops. “I like exploring and writing about off-the-beaten-path Vegas—places that tourists, and most locals, aren’t familiar with: underground flood channels, low-rent apartments, sewage plants, weekly motels, trailer parks. A side of ‘Sin City’ left out of the guidebooks. The people who work, live and hang out in these places are fascinating and their perspectives unique. Worried that their voices are drowned out by casino barkers, economic analysts and the slot machines themselves, I share their stories (and my own) through fiction, nonfiction and public discussion, in hopes that it will lead to a better understanding of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada.”