About Shanghai Brown
Different folks know me in different ways. To some, I'm an award-winning professional photojournalist, with decades of experience writing, shooting, editing, publishing, hosting, producing, and more.
To some, I'm a travel writer, a travel and tourism professional, former president of the state-recognized destination marketing organization, the California Deserts Visitors Association, or they've met me at my booths for nearly a decade at the largest consumer travel show in the country. Some international tour operators may have used the itineraries I've created without even knowing their origin.
To others, I'm the tour guide that takes them to strange places they would have never visited with another guide, whether it's a Native American sacred site, or a desert rum distillery. Or I might be the informal media liaison who gave a visiting travel writer not only an itinerary to help them with their story, but took them for a personal desert exploration. Some know me as a speaker on Route 66 in the Mojave.
I'm a strong believer in the power of travel and culture as the best means for educating ourselves in the most meaningful ways possible, and connecting ourselves to all that is most important on this planet - including our common humanity. While many folks divide travel into categories - luxury, adventure, ecotourism, etc. - I prefer to mash it all up and enjoy it all as it comes. The totality of the experience, the voyage that is our own life, doesn't need to be categorized and put in boxes. Travel well, travel often, and live your best, whether you're in a five-star resort or you're dry camping for free on BLM land out in the desert.
Beyond that, to other folks, I'm the leader of a pirate band, singer, drummer, percussionist, traditional shantyman, songwriter, lecturer on piratical history, writer, radio personality, event producer, marketing consultant, and, I'm sure, a few other things, including maybe some I don't want to know about. Some people think all this is interesting, some prefer their people to be easily labeled and identified, like a bug in someone's collection. Nobody's sticking a pin through me to put me on display if I have anything to say about it.
Most importantly, I'm simply me, a grateful husband, stepfather to three wonderful children, papou to two incredible grandchildren, and personal valet for an elusive and rare Mojave Sand Leopard. I don't have anything all figured out, and probably never will. So what? That'd be boring.
I enjoy meeting new and interesting people, love good collaborations, and am open to creative ventures. As long as I'm learning, I'm happy, and I'm happiest outside of my comfort zone. I have a number of creative projects I'd love to partner on, mostly historically-based travel projects, but some musical ones as well.
If our paths cross, let's hoist a pint, talk story, and you can tell me about your favorite ports, or the wreckage of that alien spacecraft you stumbled upon while looking for Pegleg Smith's lost gold. Or just feel free to get in touch if you're looking for recommendations for anywhere I've traveled.
Hail me if you've got something to say:
The name "Shanghai" Brown was foisted upon me by a fellow shantyman, a dubious Canadian by the name of Tark Hamilton. He alluded to the Barbary Coast's (the one in San Francisco during Gold Rush years) historical character by the same name and said we shared some similar personality traits. To this day, I do not know if that was a compliment or insult. Perhaps both.
As a shantyman, it stuck, and really took hold when I became captain of an incredible pirate jam band, There Be Pirates!. It has served me well for two albums, performances at festivals from the Queen Mary to the legendary desert roadhouse Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace, and two tours to England.
I find it an appropriate name for a voyage such as life. Cheers!
My Projects & Publications
Mojave Watch is a foundation-supported project I have been working on as director, since February 2018. It is a public awareness project to help educate and involve desert residents with issues across the desert, from the proposed re-opening of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, to the Cadiz water project, development issues, county code, and more. Click on the logo image to access the website.
Kefi is the Greek music group I perform in along with my wife. She has the hard part, taking the lead on clarinet on each song, while I accompany her on a variety of drums and percussion. We perform as a duo, using backing tracks created in Greece. Click on the image to the right for more information and our music video shot on the Oregon Coast near Yachats.
The Joshua Tree Gateway Communities Visitor Guide was produced by Sun Runner Media. Three editions of the visitor guide were produced, the last print edition was distributed in 2018. The visitor guide was very popular and tens of thousands of copies were distributed.
One of the locations that the first and second editions were distributed was at the LA Travel & Adventure Show, the largest consumer travel show in the country. I served as president of the California Deserts Visitors Association for 3.5 years, and promoted desert travel at the travel shows in Los Angeles for nine years.
Sun Runner Media also produced two editions of a visitor map for the Joshua Tree National Park area.
Southwest Stories was the travel television series I had written, hosted, and produced for two seasons. The first season was named The Real Desert with Steve Brown, then after switching production companies, the second season was named Southwest Stories with Steve Brown.
The two seasons featured travel to Twentynine Palms and the Oasis of Mara, Lake Havasu, Palm Springs, Borrego Springs, Ridgecrest, Randsburg, Little Petroglyph Canyon, Felicity, Yuma, Morongo Valley, Old Town Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Pioneertown.
Southwest Stories was broadcast on KVCR PBS TV to 5.8 million households across southern California, comprising 18 million viewers, for more than two years.
You may also view the show and related video content on our YouTube channel. I continue to be highly interested in producing television travel features.
The Sun Runner Magazine was born on January 1, 1995. Founded by Vickie Waite, I took over operations on June 1, 2004 and ran the magazine and its related publications until 2018. The magazine was well loved by readers, but a changing media landscape, and all the usual problems that plague independent media, resulted in moving to a digital-only presence and then ceasing publication altogether.
The Joshua Tree Tortoise Telegraph was a monthly free newspaper focused entirely on hi-desert personalities and culture. It was produced for two years. You can access features and complete digital issues in the archives here. Click on the masthead logo for the archives.
The Palm Canyon Paradise was a monthly free newspaper focused entirely on Palm Springs personalities, events, and culture. It was short-lived with a three issue run. You may access features and digital issues in the archives by clicking on the masthead logo.
This privacy notice discloses the privacy practices for www.shanghaibrown.com. This privacy notice applies solely to information collected by this website. It will notify you of the following:
What personally identifiable information is collected from you through the website, how it is used and with whom it may be shared.
What choices are available to you regarding the use of your data.
The security procedures in place to protect the misuse of your information.
How you can correct any inaccuracies in the information.
Information Collection, Use, and Sharing
We are the sole owners of the information collected on this site. We only have access to/collect information that you voluntarily give us via email or other direct contact from you. We will not sell or rent this information to anyone.
We will use your information to respond to you, regarding the reason you contacted us. We will not share your information with any third party outside of our organization, other than as necessary to fulfill your request, e.g. to ship an order.
Your Access to and Control Over Information
You may opt out of any future contacts from us at any time. You can do the following at any time by contacting us via the email address or phone number given on our website:
See what data we have about you, if any.
Change/correct any data we have about you.
Have us delete any data we have about you.
Express any concern you have about our use of your data.
We take precautions to protect your information. When you submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected both online and offline.
Wherever we collect sensitive information (such as credit card data), that information is encrypted and transmitted to us in a secure way. You can verify this by looking for a lock icon in the address bar and looking for "https" at the beginning of the address of the Web page.
While we use encryption to protect sensitive information transmitted online, we also protect your information offline. Only employees who need the information to perform a specific job (for example, billing or customer service) are granted access to personally identifiable information. The computers/servers in which we store personally identifiable information are kept in a secure environment.
We request information from you on our order form. To buy from us, you must provide contact information (like name and shipping address) and financial information (like credit card number, expiration date). This information is used for billing purposes and to fill your orders. If we have trouble processing an order, we'll use this information to contact you.
We use "cookies" on this site. A cookie is a piece of data stored on a site visitor's hard drive to help us improve your access to our site and identify repeat visitors to our site. For instance, when we use a cookie to identify you, you would not have to log in a password more than once, thereby saving time while on our site. Cookies can also enable us to track and target the interests of our users to enhance the experience on our site. Usage of a cookie is in no way linked to any personally identifiable information on our site.
We may use an outside shipping company to ship orders, and a credit card processing company to bill users for goods and services. These companies do not retain, share, store or use personally identifiable information for any secondary purposes beyond filling your order.
We may partner with another party to provide specific services. When the user signs up for these services, we will share names, or other contact information that is necessary for the third party to provide these services. These parties are not allowed to use personally identifiable information except for the purpose of providing these services.
This website contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the content or privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of any other site that collects personally identifiable information.
Surveys & Contests
From time-to-time our site requests information via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and you may choose whether or not to participate and therefore disclose this information. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and shipping address), and demographic information (such as zip code, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the use and satisfaction of this site.