If you can imagine a hot mix of Hunter S. Thompson, Mao Tse-tung and Che Guevara, you’d have some idea what you’re in for on the website Chateau D’If (chateaudifpress.com), the brainchild of UNLV product Joshua Dana, who also writes under the pseudonym Dantes M. Cristo. It’s a take-no-prisoners look at the political scene, national and local, meant to, in the words of its creator, “piss people off.” But at the same time, it’s a very Vegas undertaking that promises askew glances at the nightlife scene “but from a more sinful, fucked-up point of view.”
It’s still a work in progress, but the categories hint at what Dana intends to accomplish over time: “Fallen Revelations” (poetry), “American Bred” (current events), “Faded recollections” (drug-trip stories), “Prisoner’s Testimony” (columns) and “Living the Vegas Life.”
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Dana, 25, calls his latest project a distillation of everything he absorbed as a child from his parents (“one worked for the CIA, one worked for the Secret Service”), who exposed him at a young age to the radical leanings of Timothy Leary, the Weathermen, Abbie Hoffman, and any other ’60s ethos you can think of. Another period affectation he took to was drugs, and he says he got in many scrapes with the law while attending high school in Florida. After checking out of rehab and turning 21, he gravitated to the place toward which most people with addictive personalities are drawn: Las Vegas.
Dana graduated from UNLV with a degree in print journalism in 2007, but still had a few demons to exorcise. He can now number gambling among his other addictions (he claims to have kicked it), but his desire to pay homage to his favorite publication, The Oracle, didn’t crystallize until he pretty much lost everything else.
“My girlfriend broke up with me last year, and I got coked-up for three straight months until I finally realized I hadn’t done shit in the last 25 years. I said, ‘Fuck it.’”
He launched the site December 1, and while he’s doing most of the writing himself, he has managed to recruit others, from New York to Slovania. This month, he will begin pushing hard to recruit UNLV students, and has begun posting fliers on campus.
“I’m sick of people going to an office, drinking coffee, going home, feeding the dog, and just sticking to all this capitalistic bullshit,” Dana says. “I’m sick of people not trying. If they read this site, and it pisses them off, maybe they’ll rethink what they believe and get off the couch.”