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Tim Boxer


Nina Boxer

Tim Boxer at former American Embassy, now a Revolutionary Guards outpost
Tim Boxer at former American Embassy, now a Revolutionary Guards outpost

Painting more hate America on embassy wall
Painting more hate America on embassy wall
Message loud and clear
Message loud and clear

Iranian Rappers and Persian PornResources
}Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn

Close Encounter With A Guard
At American Embassy in Tehran

R. Mhd. Shariff Malekzadeh, deputy for tourism at the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, invited me to cover the First International Tour Operators Convention in Tehran in November 2008. When I had free time, I urged my driver and guide to take me to see the American Embassy.

Seized by militants in the 1979 Islamic revolution, the American Embassy is now headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

My driver parked half a block away from the entrance. He and the guide took a walk in the opposite direction. I walked back to take my pictures.

A woman in full black burqa emerged from the gate and crossed the street. I snapped a shot. A man in plain clothes at the open gate waved a finger. I was across the street, far from his grasp, so I ignored him.

I took a few steps and raised my camera. I shot pictures of the anti-American slogans and anti-Israel threats splashed on the walls like colorful graffiti.

Without warning a man in plain dark suit grabbed my arm and pointed vigorously at my camera. I was startled as he barked in what I assumed was Farsi. I didn’t understand a word. He kept pointing to the camera, he kept barking, and I kept struggling to disengage from his heavy hand on my arm.

"What do you want?" I shouted. "I don’t understand what you want."

I knew damn well what he wanted but I certainly was not going to surrender my camera. I kept repeating, like a high-pitched mantra, "What do you want?"

I’m in the country as a guest of the government so I kept telling myself to keep cool. But I would not allow this man, who is trying to intimidate me, to drag me across the street into that black hole.

Then, just as suddenly as he appeared, he let go. I walked a few paces with measured steps. I refused to show fear. I glanced back, curious to see him, but he was gone. Just like a ghost.

I felt relief that he didn’t force me across the street and through the gate. I also felt disappointed on losing a rare opportunity to explore the IRGC stronghold from the inside.

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Sunrise at Panamint Range
Sunrise at Panamint Range

Dante’s View
Dante’s View
Scotty’s Castle
Scotty’s Castle
Sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells
Sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells
Ubehebe Crater
Ubehebe Crater
Sunset at Zabriskie Point
Sunset at Zabriskie Point
Death Valley Comes Alive
Teeming With Tourists

RIVING from Los Angeles across the state, David and I arrive at the western entrance to the otherworldly panorama of Death Valley National Park. According to the National park Service, this is not a true valley but a basin caused by movement on earthquake fault lines. Remember, this is California.

The name alone can strike fear in any unaware sojourner. Don’t go in July when the temperature averages 116 degrees F. We were there in December when it’s comfortable.


We are prepared to roam the country’s hottest, driest landscape in a car stocked with bottled water, hiking boots, lots of sunscreen, hats and shirts that repel harmful rays, and all-weather jackets for the cool nights. And cameras; well, that goes without saying.


The land is desolate but there are lots to amaze you: bare mountains, inhospitable salt flats, craggy canyons, stunning gorges, colorful gulches.


On our two-day sightseeing tour of this inferno, first thing we encounter is a small oasis named Stovepipe Wells Village (phone 760-786-2387). Nearby we gazed at the ripples and patterns of the mesmerizing sand dunes.

We checked into the Furnace Creek Ranch (phone 800-236-7916), and from there we visited the various sites. The most intriguing spot is Scotty’s Castle, a Mediterranean-style structure from the 1920s which was the exotic vacation home for a Chicago millionaire. We took a Park Service tour and learned the story behind this place.


Ubehebe Crater is a popular stop. It came into existence by a massive volcanic steam explosion. I stood at the rim and watched David make his way down a trail to the floor of the crater, 800 feet deep.

At Zabriskie Point we are rewarded with the park’s most spectacular views. Everybody comes here. A short walk uphill brought us to the top viewing area where we captured an amazing sunset.

Best time to see Golden Canyon is late afternoon when the sun paints the sandy stone a golden hue. Other sites not to miss are the mile-high Dante’s View, and a nine-mile drive through Artists Palette, a truly colorful sight.

To see pictorial art by David Boxer visit www.flickr.com/photos/davidnc82.


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Dan Hotels' e-Dan Club

Beatles theater at the Mirage
Beatles theater at the Mirage

Shop for the Beatles at the Mirage
Shop for the Beatles at the Mirage
All You Need Is Love at the Mirage
All You Need Is Love at the Mirage
Photo courtesy Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil Soars With
The Beatles At The Mirage

HE Beatles
would have loved Beatles Love at the Mirage Hotel—a mesmerizing show melding the incredible talents of Cirque du Soleil with the Beatles magical songs.

John Lennon, however, would have hated the hucksterism the show has generated. The amazing array of overpriced Beatles/Cirque Du Soleil T-shirts and the mugs and all the rest of the stuff that is being snapped up nightly at the hotel’s "souvenir" shop. I’m pretty sure he would not have been too thrilled at the Beatles "setting up shop" in 2lst century Sin City. I know this because I knew him. A little history.

On August 20, l964, I flew with the Beatles on their chartered jet for their first visit to Las Vegas. We were on an early leg of their first North American tour covering some 30 cities in 35 days. I was working for a London newspaper and ghosting a column for George Harrison.

We all stayed at the Sahara but the Beatles saw absolutely nothing of Vegas—except the view from the window.

They were trapped in their suite for two days. It was too risky to venture into the casino or the street and be confronted by hundreds of screaming girls caught up in the first wave of Beatlemania.

So the hotel’s PR people sent a couple of slot machines to their suite where the Beatles were dutifully photographed plying their luck.

This was the Vegas that Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack ruled and the mob, funded by Teamsters Union pension fund money, ran the town.

The Beatles managed to get into hot water during their Las Vegas sojourn even though they were virtual prisoners in their rooms. Someone brought a couple of under-age girls to their suite. The local Sheriff’s vice squad showed up but the story was eventually hushed up.

A black limo with a police escort whisked the Beatles to the Vegas Convention Center. Liberace and Pat Boone dropped by to meet the new phenoms. The boys performed for 23 minutes. Then we were back to the airport for the next stop—Seattle.

In January 2010 I’m at the Mirage Hotel. It’s hard to realize that those four mop tops from Liverpool could have inspired such an eye-catching fantasy melding Beatles master recordings with Cirque du Soleil visual magic in a theater built specially for this show.

The creator of the show, Cirque du Soleil’s Guy La Liberte—a pal of George Harrison—has spared no cost to stage the "in the round" razzle dazzle show that made its debut in 2006 and spectacularly marries some of the Beatles greatest hits, taken straight from the original master tracks stored in Apple’s London headquarters, with flamboyant dancers and acrobats.

Journeys of a Lifetime

The USA Book

It’s a feast for the eye and ear. Along the way you’ll get Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Strawberry Fields, Eleanor Rigby, All the Lonely People, Yellow Submarine—while a 90-minute extravaganza of costumes, high wire performers, visual sight gags and clever special effects combines to provide genuine enchantment on a scale not often seen here.

Apple, the company that religiously runs the Beatles organization, and in doing so meticulously siphons off the billions of dollars in royalties tied to their musical legacy, has never allowed anyone to tap into what has turned into a license to print money.

It’s not surprising that the Beatle widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, along with Paul McCartney and the Ringo Starr family, have endorsed the show and the lucrative Beatle franchise.

McCartney said of their Cirque du Soleil partnership: "We’re slightly crazy people who like to get involved with slightly crazy people."

John Lennon, who frequently acted as the break to the breakneck race to wring every penny out of the Beatles legacy, is no more. And when we were in Vegas on that original trip, he went around muttering, "Gambling is evil."

But I think even he would have admired the theatrical part of this mega show which manages to tap into the originality and the childlike wonder of the best of the Beatles music.

Tickets of course don’t come cheap: $100-200, with no discounts for kids or seniors. Yet in today’s over-priced theatrical marketplace that’s not so outrageous. The bottom line: For a Beatles fan "Love" is worth every penny.

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