The blog of author Dennis Cooper



‘The original design for Disneyland Paris’ Sleeping Beauty Castle proposed a radical departure from the Disney parks’ normal castles. Despite a passionate public outcry against the design from Disney traditionalists, ground was broken and foundations laid for the futurist castle. It wasn’t until a severe structural problem discovered very late in the game that the project was cancelled and rethought.’ — collaged




‘The Alice in Wonderland ride in Disneyland’s Fantasyland area was originally planned to be a walkthrough attraction. Here are a series of concept pieces for the original Alice in Wonderland Walkthrough Attraction that was never built. These pieces are called brownlines, and not original drawings but blue-print-like copies, but brown (hence the name).’ — vintage.disneyland

First up is the Forced Perspective Room. This would be just after Alice has landed at the bottom of the rabbit hole. Notice the key on the top of the table. The text reads: “3 Forced perspective room concealed exit at far end other door to no where”.

Next is Over the Wave, featuring Alice in the bottle on the Sea of Tears. You can also see the Dodo floating by on the left.

Next is the Caucus Race, featuring a rotating floor. Very funhouse.

Next is Alice’s encounter with the Tweedles. The figures were supposed to spin about and bump into each other.

Next is the trial scene with a card maze.

Next the White Rabbit’s house. Another funhouse item, you would crawl through the house and come out the top and slide down the outside.

Next is the Garden of Live Flowers. Presumably they’d sing.

Next is the Caterpillar. Apparently he was supposed to rise up like an accordion, and blow smoke rings.

Next is the Tulgey Wood, with the trees bearing the signs pointing this way and that. Looks to me like they were supposed to rotate.

Next is more of the Tulgey Wood with lots of paths and trees. Again, another concept from the funhouse, apparently it was supposed to be like a mirror room.

Next is the Mad Tea Party. The caption says Animated Scenic, so I guess Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse would move about.

Last is another funhouse item, the counter rotating barrels. This is supposed to represent Alice escaping from Wonderland and returning to the real world.




‘As far back as the 1970s, tentative plans were in place to add a bullet train ride to the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. Guests would have stood on a ride vehicle and looked out windows at screens simulating a journey through the Japanese countryside. At one point Godzilla would rise from the ocean and attack the train on its journey through Tokyo Harbor. Supposedly, the Godzilla Bullet Train never went beyond preliminary conversations with Toho, the studio that owns Godzilla, before the company decided a giant, world-destroying lizard didn’t really jive with the sedate, naturalistic atmosphere at Epcot.’ — collaged




‘Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Disney’s Imagineers worked on many concepts to ease guests’ disappointment about the shuttering of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage at the Magic Kingdom. One of these was Fire Mountain, which was to headline a new sub-land in Adventureland to be known as Volcania. It was to be a roller coaster based around a mock mountain – hardly an original concept for Disney. However, the actual ride system was to be truly revolutionary. Riders would start in a traditional steel coaster, sitting in a car with the track beneath them. Suddenly, halfway through, the ride would transform into a “flying” coaster, with the track above the rider’s headers and “lava” burning beneath their feet. By the time they reached the end of the attraction, the track would have switched once again, so that waiting riders would have no idea what to expect. Ultimately, the costs of achieving this trick were deemed to be too high, and Fire Mountain was reimagined as a simple flying coaster. But it never got the green light.’ — Theme Park Tourist




The Eiffel Tower Bullet was a fun ride proposed in 1891 in which people would sit inside a giant bullet and freefall from the top of the Eiffel Tower into a pool of water. M.Carron’s bullet capsule would be released from the top of the interior of the Tower, about 1000 feet high, and released to fall into an excavated pool 150’ across and 200’ deep. The idea was that in addition to the springs inside the capsule, the water would act as a “shock absorber”, and so “the shock felt by the occupants on landing will be in no way unpleasant”. The thing would have hit at 178mph or so, and, assuming that the whole thing didn’t get completely crushed on impact, I’m not so sure that 200’ of depth is very much wiggle room for the thing to come to a halt (if it didn’t deform). Also it would have to not have any wind deflection so as to not veer off its perfect entry into the water. And so on. Calculating the force of impact is difficult without knowing how far down the bullet would go, but hitting the water at 80 m/s and stopping at 30 meters would yield something like 28,600,000 KE and 1,274,000 N. There are lots of problems. The thing that made this so appealing is that for the 20-francs that got a person a seat in the bullet, they would each have gotten to go twice as fast as any human had ever traveled before ( 65 miles per hour was about the speed of the fastest train constructed).’ — collaged




‘During the early 1980’s, Bally was developing an interactive Ghostbusters-themed ride called The Hauntington Hotel, for Six Flags theme parks. The modern movie-branded take on Disney’s classic Haunted Mansion attraction would have been the first interactive video game/theme park ride. Six Flags guests would climb into a “Ghostmobile”, a track-set ride vehicle with a drop down lap bar with ghost-busting guns mounted on it. Recruited by the Ghostbusters Agency, park guests would be sent on their first job, to take care of the ghosts in a creepy hotel called The Hauntington Hotel. The ride was expected to last two and a half minutes and would feature a variety of high-tech and low-tech gags for the scenes. Every target would react to being hit, and guests would get to find out their score when exiting the attraction. The whole thing was created, designed, engineered, and prototyped at Sente, and the ride system was in the hands of a prominent roller coaster engineering company, Intamin. But before it could be rolled out in the Six Flags parks (1st one was slated for Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California), Bally sold the Six Flags division in 1987, and the project fell into a corporate black hole, never to be seen again, which is too bad, as it was really pretty cool, even by today’s standards.’ — Slash Film




‘The Orlando, Florida project Hurricane World was supposed to be both a serious hurricane research center, and a tourist attraction featuring giant simulated storms complete with 100 mph winds. The developers wanted to build this $5 million tourist attraction on U.S. Highway 192 in Osceola County next door to Walt Disney World.’ — collaged




‘In the early 90s, a theme park that would have resembled a historically accurate replica of Old London Bridge was planned to be build over and across the Las Vegas Strip. It would have included a number of dark rides, an indoor roller coaster, water slides, and other attractions. It was to be located just north of the New York New York Hotel. When the initial cost estimate ballooned to half a billion dollars, the project was scuttled.’ — collaged




Geyser Mountain was an attraction developed for Disneyland Paris to be on the Tower of Terror ride system, but it was run in reverse … descending deep into the ground, then exploded upward, riding atop a powerful thermal geyser. After entering the mine building guests would queue through exhibits and displays that set up our elevator journey deep into the tunnels and caverns below. ( Such an elevator exists at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico ). The elevators would first descend into the mine tunnels where various mining operations would be observed as the elevator doors open onto different levels. Then the car descends deeper into the fabled “Rainbow Caverns” where the doors reveal a breathtaking sight. The elevator operator is then given “safety clearance” to continue down to the deepest caverns where “thermal activity” sometimes makes visits impossible … but today of course we are “lucky” … we get to go!” As we descend, ominous rumblings increase and guests are able to briefly see the glowing heat-fed fissures before massive thermal eruptions force the cabin back upward and all the way to the top of the mine shaft tower. The elevator cab thrusts upward and slips back downward…the ever increasing thermal geyser belching out steam beneath the cab (like the 1959 version of Journey to the Center of the Earth). We break free of the earth and bob precariously at the top of the tower…steam escaping from all around below the cabin. Then like a cartoon … the geyser stops with the cab motionless for an instant. Then we fall back downward landing deep in the earth on a pillowy cushion of receding steam. The operator is able to regain control of the cab, and brings the elevator back up to the entry level on the side of the mountain. The reason it was never built was largely technical: much of the attraction was housed underground as it would be impossible to disguise a 13 story tower in the existing Paris Disneyland Frontierland. Thus all the mine scenes and caverns were created in basement structure, leaving the ultimate height only about 70 feet (20 feet lower than the nearby Big Thunder Roller Coaster). The problem ended up being that of capacity. Tower of Terror has 4 to 6 elevator entries and it would have been very difficult to create a scene that looked believable and made room for all those mine elements.’ — Disneyandmore




Kong: Skull Island, the close to billion dollar ride at Universal Studios’s Islands of Adventure Park, opened late in 2015. However, one of the most innovative and anticipated aspects of this ride was cancelled after testing proved the idea was too dangerous as well far too technically complex and expensive. Until the cancellation, the ride’s vehicle, an off-road safari truck (originally a topless truck for the best viewing), would have featured a female driver who, like the old Jaws and Kongfrontation attractions, would also have served as the narrator for your journey. The tech involved here would have had to be flawless to make this work, but the finale Kong figure would have been able to reach out and GRAB your driver from the truck and off with her. Your truck would then have rolled slowly to a stop in the next room, where crew members would have met up and evacuated you out of the temple, and then sent the empty truck on to the loading room for the next group of guests. I’m just not quite sure how this would have worked, but it certainly would have been an amazing finale unlike any other if Universal had been able to pull this off.’ — Screamscape




Disneyland has, at various times in its history, focused strongly on unique gifts. In the 1950s and 1960s, doing your Christmas shopping at Disneyland was quite the thing in LA (in those days, there was a separate, low charge for admission, and ride tickets were extra, so it was very cheap to pass through the gates in order to shop). But Walt’s vision for what the company at one point called “merchantainment” was more ambitious than anything yet realized inside the berm. Page one boasts of a “mail order catalogue” that will offer everything for sale at Disneyland. This catalogue was to feature actual livestock, including “a real pony or a miniature donkey thirty inches high.” Once we get to True-Life Adventureland, we learn of even cooler living merchandise: “magnificently plumed birds and fantastic fish from all over the world…which may be purchased and shipped anywhere in the U.S. if you so desire.” The park’s original prospectus promised “slidewalks,” robotic open kitchens, and kids were promised that they would return home with “scientific toys, chemical sets and model kits, and space-helmets.” Tomorrowland promised the Kaiser Aluminum Hall of Fame (a giant tin telescope, a tin pig, and exhibits about the role of aluminum in American industry); a Dairy of the Future that featured models of cows with IVs in their hocks gazing at videos of pastures; the Dutch Boy Color Gallery (exploring the future through paint mixing), and a big-top tent housing the special-effects kraken from the film of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; it was to be staffed by a little person who hid inside it all day, making the tentacles wave. Finally, the prospectus makes a big deal out of a fifth Land that was never realized. It would have been a miniature walk-through land, Lilliputian Land, where “mechanical people nine inches high sing and dance and talk to you.”‘ — BoingBoing




The Harry Potter Quidditch Match Coaster was conceived and seriously considered in the early stages of development for Universal Orlando’s Harry Potter park. It was to be a part coaster part shoot-em up thrill ride. As you rode what seemed like a coaster, you entered a quidditch match only to end up in a interactive ride play through of a quidditch match.’ — Season Pass




‘Here, this project imagine vertically stacked theme park in the middle of the city. With the minimum footprint on the ground, this Vertical Theme Park will itself become skyscraper. Theme park is the place where somebody can experience extraordinary altitude, speed and unexpected events. When people are tired of conventional suburban setting of the theme park, we may have to place our theme park in the urban setting.-for example, in the middle of Manhattan. “Density” of the existing urban conditions will make theme park more exciting place. At the same time, “Height” of the vertically stacked theme park will also help to enhance theme park experiences to the visitors. The classic rides, such as the Ferris Wheel, rollercoaster, and carousel are all re-imagined for a vertical experience. The park is distinguished into five major areas that comprises Vertigo World (carousel and observation deck), Fast Land (flume ride, rollercoaster), 360 World (Ferris Wheel, sky promenade), Abyss City (deep city diver), and the Elsewhere Universe (space exploration, science center). As the Vertical Theme Park will be open 24 hours, many businessmen can come join, after office hours, the Urban Bungee Jumping with their suits and ties to relieve the stressful workdays. Deep in the night, the scattered lights from the other tall buildings will shine like the stars.’ — Ju-Hyun Kim




‘Before he was a Disney Legend, Tony Baxter was a Disney fan. He was just a teen when he landed a job at Disneyland selling ice cream, and later, when he needed a senior project in college, he decided to submit a ride concept for one of his favorite Disney movies: 1964 film Mary Poppins. The result was a ride-through attraction he called Jolly Holiday. To start, guests would board horses on mini-carousels reminiscent of the scene inside the chalk drawing. As the ride got underway, the horses would “jump” from the carousel into the rest of the chalk picture, out into the countryside and through the fox hunt. This would all be accomplished by a revolving theater mechanism, similar to the Carousel of Progress. After meeting the famous penguin waiters, a toe-tapping, supercalifragilistic sing-a-long would ensue. Then, a flash of lightning would signal a rainstorm that would “wash” guests out of the painting. After the chalk melted away, guests would find themselves on London rooftops with the dancing chimney sweeps. Baxter took the concept book to one of his connections at Disneyland, who presented it to his superiors. Shortly thereafter, the hopeful student got a call to meet with Disney producer Bill Anderson. Though Baxter was convinced they were going to offer to build his ride, instead, Anderson offered advice on how to get the proper training to move forward with a career at Disney.’ — micetrap




Islands of Adventure was originally envisioned as a “Cartoon World” theme park that would’ve included areas for DC Superheroes, Looney Toons, and Dr. Seuss characters (the latter being the one that came to be). At one point, the DC Comics area was going to be just about Batman and Gotham City. On Batman Island, a five-story statue of Batman would tower over the entrance, with a flowing cape straggling out behind him. The headline ride would be the Batcar Interactive Dark Ride. Yes, the cars were referred to as Batcars, and not Batmobiles. These would zoom around the city and through the Axis Chemicals plant seen in 1989’s movie version of Batman – the one where Jack Napier became the evil Joker. Another major attraction was to be the Batjets, a roller coaster that would circle the entire Gotham City area. Riders would board via a station located in City Hall, which was also host some dark ride elements. Nearby, the Gotham Opera House was to host a show starring Batman and Robin. Various themed shops and restaurants were also to be included, along with one very unique feature: a Bat Signal, shining high in the sky.’ — TV Tropes




‘In 1960, Jack Haley, the actor who played the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz and a devout Christian, teamed with Donald Duncan of Duncan Yo-Yo’s. Together they planned to build a new theme park in Cucamonga, one that would rival Disney in its ambition. They even hired two former Disneyland designers, Nat Winecoff and Bruce Bushman. Bible Storyland was their dream. “They wanted to create it in a heart shape,” says Jordan, “which supposedly represents God’s love of humanity. And the park was going to be divided into 6 different lands. You’d be in the Garden of Eden, then Rome, then Egypt, then Israel, and Babylon. And each place would have rides relating to the Bible. “Take Noah’s Ark, a double carousel. It would be a typical carousel, but built inside a large ark and filled with zebras and camels going around the carousel. That’s a very biblical theme, of course. But to the left of it is the Carousel of Mythical Beasts. You see this girl riding on a half horse, half mermaid, with dragon feet. The mythical beasts! I never found that in the bible myself.” And neither did the local clergy. Todd Pierce, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo professor who’s currently working on a book about early theme parks, says the designers didn’t really put much thought into what their audience would think. “They hired people with minimal contact with religious communities,” says Pierce, “to create a theme park for Protestants and Catholics. Nat Winecoff talked about the trip to hell, and he would get so animated and excited about seeing Satan and the sulfur baths and fire fountains. And then you could go to Circus Maximus and see a recreation of the lions and the Christians played out on stage, and then afterwards you could eat lion burgers. So there was this type of cavalier attitude, this junkiness to it, that smacked of religious profiteering.” There was the the Garden of Eden Boat Ride, which looks a lot like Disneyland’s jungle cruise, with scenes of Adam and Eve standing side by side with cavemen and dinosaurs. And there was a ride into King Tut’s Tomb, which has nothing to do with the Bible at all. “It was supposed to open on Easter 1961,” says Pierce. “In the summer of 1960, the Catholic clergy were organizing to picket the construction of Bible Storyland while earth movers were out there grading the land and getting ready to build.” The project was called off.’ —




‘In the early 1980s Universal Studios Hollywood developed a concept for a dark ride based on Casper the Friendly Ghost. This would have seen guests riding on four-poster beds, and able to steer their path using a candelabra located at the foot of the bed.’ — Theme Park Tourist




‘An addition to the Casey Jr. Train Ride in Fantasyland, Candy Mountain was supposed to be a mountain, that looked like it was made out of rock candy (and other various types of candy, such as licorice, lollipops, and candy canes), with a glossy, translucent appearance. Planned for the 1957 season, Candy Mountain would have been the first mountain attraction in Disneyland, years before the Matterhorn had been dreamed up. The planned Rainbow Road To Oz attraction, was supposed to go underneath the mountain, and the ride would be inside it. It was cancelled due to Walt Disney being concerned about how they would be able to maintain and clean the mountain “because of all the smog” that came from around Anaheim, California.’– collaged




‘Featuring scenes from several of Stephen King’s stories, including The Shining and It, this never officially titled but planned dark ride for Universal Studios theme park in Florida would have featured a false ending. Riders would approach an unload platform and hear a spiel, then the lights would flicker, and a river of blood would pour from the doors at “unload” platform (a la The Shining). Pennywise the Dancing Clown would then emerge from the control booth to attack the riders, who would narrowly escape as their vehicle lunged forward.’ — Theme Park Insider




The Haunted Forest was to be the perfect place for Teens and Young Adults; the ultimate “thrill ride” and “scary place” for those who look for that kind of thing. Strange sounds emanate from the forest at all hours, mixing in with the screams and shouts of those brave enough to ride with the Winged Monkeys or to traverse the River of Doom. The idea was that the entire forest was always dark and scary. The continual darkness was due to the fact that were going to place an immense and very high “shade roof” (or series of roofs) over the entire land so that sunlight would not penetrate. Since you are journeying “deep into the forest” we would stage the trees in front to hide the roof top above, while having the trees get thicker and thicker, blocking any view of the roof as you journey into the Land of the Wicked Witch. Ahead, as you started the journey, was the Witches Castle built in forced perspective. You would lose sight of it once you were in the forest itself of course, so that by the time you arrived in the courtyard, the scale would match what you imagined it would when you first caught glimpse of it at the forest’s edge. Along the way there would interactive experiences as well – most of them smaller mini-events, but little show areas one could discover if you went a bit “off the beaten path.” If you followed the signs that say “THIS WAY” and “THAT WAY” all of them take you into a short circuitous route that leads you back to where you started. THE WINGED MONKEY ride departed from this upper level in the Castle, where each guest would appear inside the LARGE CRYSTAL BALL that the Wicked Witch observes as she sends her Flying Monkeys (and you) out on the mission to find Dorothy and her companions. After launching from the Chamber of the Wicked Witch, riders would shoot high into the air, following projected images of seemingly hundreds of Winged Monkeys as they are taking flight. THE WINGED MONKEY Hanging Coaster would depart from the Witches Castle at a higher level, and proceed up even higher before rushing headlong into the Haunted Forest where it would whip through trees, fly over the River of Doom, and cascade through and above the higher walls and turrets of the Castle.’ — The Goddard Group




‘The original plan for the DinoLand U.S.A. area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom included a major thrill ride themed around a former sand and gravel pit. The site would feature an enormous piece of leftover machinery: The Excavator. This ore car circuit was to form the basis for a huge, heavily-themed, mine cart-style roller coaster that would be one of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s headline thrill rides. The storyline would be that paleontology students had once again restarted the Excavator, using it to transport dinosaur fossils. The Excavator was dropped from Animal Kingdom’s opening day line-up due to the spiralling costs of building the park’s zoo attractions.’ — Theme Park Tourist




‘When Islands of Adventure opened twelve years ago some rides envisioned for the Jurassic Park Island were unfortunately cancelled. One of them was the Jeep Safari Ride which would have been great as you will see on the renderings below from artist and former WDI Imagineer Scott Scherman. You can see jeeps entering a Jurassic Park camp before they move inside the land where the AA dinosaurs are. Things become serious as the jeeps would have gone right under a giant Brontosaur. Before moving under the Brontosaur the jeep would have enter the land through the famous Jurassic Park gates and moving under a kind of giant net where probably others effects or animals would have await the guests. Then you can see clearly a jeep being attacked by what seems to be Velociraptors. The arrows on the drawing indicate for sure other kind of effects and i wish i could tell which one, if i only knew… What i know is that others renderings exist and that in another scene a T-Rex would have “stepped on” the guests jeep and spun it in a way similar to the scene in the movie! Apparently this ride was planned for the area behind Thunder Falls and was scrapped for its similarity to the River Adventure raft ride.’ — Disneyandmore




‘The early concept of Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction had it designed as a walk-through instead of a flume-ride.’ — Disneyandmore




‘In the late ’90s, the theme park attraction design company Sally Corporation produced a dark ride concept based on the original Ghostbusters animated series, billing it as the “greatest dark ride never built.” The vehicles would’ve turned to allow for riders to shoot at the many ghosts that were attacking New York City. There was a themed pre-show room. There would have been huge New York sets filled with shootable targets. The ride’s story appeared to have spanned much of the affected New York City including Central Park. Riders even would have had a close encounter with multiple slimers!’ — Theme Park Review




In the late 1960s, the Knotts Berry Farm amusement park in Southern California briefly toyed with competing with nearby Disneyland by offering even more innovative attractions. One attraction on the drawing board was a very early simulator attraction that would take guests into a swirling hurricane. A model was built for testing, during which the capsule in which riders would sit was continually destroyed, and the ride was abandoned for being technically impossible to realize.’ — Progress City




Mini Land 2: A massive, heavily detailed theme park. Multiple coasters, rides, attractions, and more.’ — dvn225




‘Some of the most memorable scenes in Pixar’s The Incredibles involve the spherical forcefields that the family’s daughter, Violet, is able to generate. These can be pushed and rolled along, in much the same style as the Atlaspheres that used to features in the Gladiators TV shows. Could they have been inspiration for this mythical Disneyland attraction? According to those familiar with the plans, the Gyroball PeopleMover was to replace the defunct Rocket Rods at Disneyland, which closed just two-and-a-half years after taking over the former PeopleMover circuit above Tomorrowland. The fast-paced Rocket Rods were simply not reliable enough, and the attempt to bolt the new attraction onto the existing PeopleMover infrastructure proved to be catastrophic.’ — collaged




‘An intense ride planned by DisneyWorld to fight Universal Studios was Bald Mountain. Based on the segment in Fantasia riders would be taken up inside the mountain in a log flume or a roller coaster and then chased to the top by Disney villains. When they reached the top, Chernabog, the crazy dragon monster Satan look-a-like from Fantasia, would then chase the riders down the steep mountainside. While the goal was to make a more intense ride, Bald Mountain was deemed too intense and never got the green light.’ — collaged




p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Helluva paragraph, that slave’s. Thank you for the ‘frenchness’ link! Your Andy piece looks very meaty and remarkable. I can’t wait! Everyone, Mr. Ehrenstein has written what looks to be a very, very fascinating piece about Andy Warhol in the form of a review of a book called AFTER ANDY: ADVENTURES IN WARHOL LAND by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni and reading David’s thing seems imperative. ** Steve Erickson, No, I haven’t read that yet. I mean, I like the concept that a review could commune with the record it’s reviewing, but TMT too often ends up seeming like a first year college writing workshop. The Jonathan Ofshelski doc sounds potentially very interesting. I hope the interview went well. New Kaurismaki, cool. Everyone, Do read Steve Erickson’s review of the new film by the often very fine filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki. ** Armando, Hi. Yeah, sorry, I just feel like that particular story has probably been milked out already or something? ** Bernard, Hi, B. Thank you, friend. And I was very happy that you were at the Berkeley conference. Thank you for suggesting things to Jeff. I’m still blanking, which is weird because I feel like I could rattle off dozens of suggestions if my brain wasn’t elsewhere. I’ve never seen even a couple of seconds of ‘Dr. Who’ in any of its incarnations, and I have no idea why because it seems perfectly interesting. All I know is that I think there’s a phone booth involved and … something robotic that’s called a Dalek? No? Why do you ask? ** Bill, Hi. Or some of their masters have nice apartments? Instants Chavires is a very nice space and, programming-wise, it’s definitely one of the best venues in Paris. I, however, ended up not going to the gig because it suddenly got very cold here yesterday, and my lifelong screwy back decided to welcome it with pain, and standing for 3 hours became an issue, sadly, but Zac and Gisele went, so I’ll get their reviews of the show. Did you go see what you were hoping to? ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! You’re most welcome. Yeah, probably not sooner than mid-December, we hear. It’s quite nerve-racking. I’m immensely happy with and confident of our film, but I suspect its uniqueness could work either for it or against it depending on the attentiveness and daring of the festival curators, because it doesn’t fall into any of the conventional slots that festivals are looking for candidates to fill, and I think a lot of luck is involved, and it’s hard having our film’s fate so dependent on so much chance. But, ha ha, there’s my stress talking. I don’t remember when or where the gif work-related piece will appear. I guess he’ll let me know. My yesterday mostly circled around a big meeting with Zac and Gisele about the mysterious big upcoming project. It went okay. It got very cold here, and that made my not great back decide to hurt me a little, but not too badly. The best thing that happened yesterday was that it snowed last night! Only for about 20 minutes, but with big flakes and lots of them and heavily, and that was bliss. More, more, more, I hope! How was your day? ** Chaim Hender, Hi, Chaim. My LA roommate had a wilderness firefighter as a boyfriend for a while. He seemed nice and surprisingly mild mannered except, yes, when he’d had a few drinks. Then he became way, way too male for me. The kind of general idea with our new film script so far is to interestingly and intricately circumvent the expectation that a film centered around a haunted house attraction would naturally contain horrors and scares triggered by the house itself and instead have any horror that happens there be triggered by very real, external forces that cause the haunted house itself to seem silly and amateurish. Or something, We’re still early on in figuring all of this stuff out. Thank you for asking. ** Sypha, Hey. I jetted you the address. Michael and Bene live at the Recollets, so if you still have the Recollets address from when I lived there, you can just send it to them there and they’ll get it. Oh, I think artistic darkness has plenty of place in the world, and all evidence shows that people still want that as much as they ever have. Ha ha, it makes sense that a sci-fi/fantasy writer would take the Doomsday Clock seriously. ** Marilyn Roxie, Hi, Marilyn! Really good to see you! Aw, too bad your hunt went sort of nowhere, but how cool to try. I would be extremely interested having an article from you here about your research in twink studies for a book you’re doing, yes, very! Thank you wanting to doing that! You’re awesome! ** Dom Lyne, Hey, Dom! Your Christmas plans make it feel like it actually is becoming Christmas time, which I had hardly felt before, and which I like, thank you! Phew, about the contract renewal. Worries about where you live are no small worries. When I was forced to move earlier this year, it was kind of nightmarish. I have almost no plans for Xmas. Ever since I moved to Paris, I don’t really do anything except look at the Xmas makeover of Paris’s streets and facades. I do get excited by the annual appearance of designer cakes (see: tomorrow’s post). But, like, I do don’t gifts or ever really get gifts other than with Zac. Yeah, Xmas is basically just a pretty, over the top atmosphere change around me, I guess. Have an excellent day! ** Amphibiouspeter, Hi. Me too. Yeah, even after all these years of gathering those profiles, I’m still kind of blown away by how much can be done with a profile text. It’s a tight, restrictive form in one way, but it also seems weirdly infinite. Guillermo Gomez Peña! Wow, I haven’ thought about his stuff in years. Cool, I’m going to go refresh myself. Excellent call. It’s seriously cold here too. I love it even though it’s also causing me to realize that the windows of my apartment are very leaky. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. I really like the cover of that zine. And the adult baby print. The slave/master sites are jam-packed these days with adult baby guys/slaves, which is inherently interesting, but, sadly, adult baby slaves tend to create very samey, predictable profile texts so I rarely use them. It’s strange because I feel like if they really tried to write their profile texts like babies would, the texts could be amazing. I fully and enthusiastically support your 2018 resolution! And if the blog were a stomach, it would be gurgling right now. ** Kreeton, You try and you succeed, dude. I know that Holiday Inn. My sister stayed there once. I have dreams of staying in the Gare de l’Est Hotel. They’ve kind of fancied it up of late. Golden rule: never eat near the Louvre. ** Misanthrope, Bigger G! Yeah, my agent thought ‘God Jr.’ was going to be my big breakthrough book, and he was all hot and bothered by my impending breakthrough, but it got published around the same time as ‘The Sluts’, which my agent had urged me not to publish, and it got kind of lost in the big hoo-hah around the latter novel. Funny times. Thank you for your lovely, much appreciated words about the former novel. I like it better than ‘The Sluts’, personally. Okay, great, great, about the dismissed charges. Thank goodness. Big hope that LPS has learned one of those big life lessons that show up occasionally. Congrats! ** Right. Today I am again indulging my fetish for all things amusement park-related for all to see, in this case regarding the oversized dreams of park, ride, and attraction designers, whom I salute with my heart and soul. See if there’s anything up there for you. See you tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    The Temple of Ankor Wat would make a great amusement Park. Wong Kar Wai should design it.

    The L.A. Weekly has been decimated. Can’t say I’m surprised — save for the manner in which it’s breathing its last. The “Free Press” is in more peril than ever.

    • _Black_Acrylic

      @ David, I greatly enjoyed that review of Fraser-Cavassoni’s Warhol tome, and will see if Santa’s accepting requests.

      • David Ehrenstein


  2. Marilyn Roxie

    Excellent, I’ll get cracking on that then. 🙂

  3. Steve Erickson

    I hope the “Alice In Wonderland Walkthrough Attraction” would play “White Rabbit” as you enter.

    Heron Oblivion were excellent last night. Their mix of folk music and heavy psych leaned more towards the latter in live performance; Meg Baird’s Sandy Denny-influenced vocals got drowned out by the guitars most of the time. Still, they had a sense of dynamics, and although their average song length is about 6 minutes, they never descended into wanky jamming,. Their two guitarists traded off lead/rhythm roles, and the one who stood on the right has a particular love for feedback – he kicked off one song with a blast of feedback created by playing guitar two inches from his amp. I have to admit that their sound and ethos is totally retro: they sounded like a synthesis of Jefferson Airplane, the Velvet Underground, Fairport Convention and Blue Cheer. If they had actually been part of the late ’60s San Francisco psychedelia scene they’re so influenced by, I think they would be legends. But their combo of inspirations is only possible in retrospect; I can’t imagine a band in 1969 or 1970 mixing that particular batch of influences, and indeed Mike McGonigal started a Facebook thread a month after their debut album came out called “Did any ’60s bands sound exactly like Heron Oblivion?” and everyone concluded that none did. Their Facebook page says they’re writing songs for their second album on the road, and they kicked off the set with a new song. I hope Sub Pop does a much better job of promoting it; the label has already posted a video for their new artist Loma, whose debut album arrives in February, on YouTube, but didn’t even bother making a. video for Heron Oblivion’s first album.

    I have made a total of 15 cents from Medium so far, and I decided it’s too much work for too little effort to write an extremely ambitious essay on both THE SHAPE OF WATER & WORMWOOD in relation to Cold War America for them.
    Also, to be cynical, almost none of their readers probably care about Errol Morris, but a lot care about Guillermo del Toro. SHAPE opens in the U.S. today, and tomorrow I am going to write something just about it. I have plenty to say, although I saw it about 2 weeks ago and didn’t write anything at the time.

  4. Dóra Grőber


    Fascinating post! Thank you!

    Yes, I understand this kind of stress completely. I feel similarly about my book. What’s funny that it’s actually about the stress I encounter daily – it’s basically an inner conversation between anxiety and the reader/me. I think it shows how anxiety really is (at least in my case) but exactly because of this, it’s repetitive and often illogical or even hard to follow so here I am with the same problem: it’s unique and I’m proud of it but it’s definitely not a “this is how I beat anxiety” kind of bestseller material or anything conventional like that. So a lot, almost everything, depends on – as you said – the attentiveness and daring of the editors who read it. Well. I keep my fingers tightly crossed for both of our creations!
    We had some snow yesterday too! I’m mentally willing all of it to go your way, then, haha!

    I have (I’m writing from the gallery again!) yet another work-y day but the last this week if I’m lucky! It’s half-okay, half-stressful but not nearly as crazy as before the Christmas fairs.
    How was your day? I hope your back pain has started getting better already!!

  5. Bernard

    Dr Who: Oh, it’s one of those things I catch up on in odd moments, like when I’m in the kitchen and watch TV while cooking, or I want to relax. It’s very up and down. Some (of the new or revived series) are about as good as that kind of TV can be; some seem like filler (like the X-Files, it seems weakest when it goes into the relationships of continuing characters). It has kind of a genius for threats. Honestly, it was on my mind because they start showing the Xmas-themed eppysodes in December, and there’s this one where the Doctor shows up when Dickens is on tour, reading from A Christmas Carol (I have held a copy of that book, with Dickens’ pencilled performance notes for public readings, in my hands–golly), and the ending gets me all choked up, not just to watch, but even to describe out loud. Everybody’s got different buttons to push; I try to observe mine and see what themes they epitomize. Always goes back to childhood, of course.

  6. Armando


    • David Ehrenstein

      Ala “Wonder Wheel” stinks on ice.

  7. _Black_Acrylic

    Interesting post today, so thank you! Universal should resurrect that Stephen King concept as the guy’s really having a moment. I bet Pennywise in a dark ride context would go down a storm.

  8. Chaim Hender

    The first impracticality I noticed in the Eiffel Bullet was the hats. If Disney were actually Disney young Tony Baxter would’ve immediately been put in charge of the whole park.

    Did you see “Get Out”? I enjoyed it very much for the way it plays with the audience’s expectations in a way they can appreciate in real time (i.e. the pace breathes so the audience can not only react but also think). The movie delivers plenty of the expected southern plantation haunted house horror as a means of bringing the audience to a much more abstract terror of maintaining consciousness but losing volition.

  9. Sypha

    Too bad that Godzilla Bullet Train idea never went through, that would have been cool…

    Dennis, it seems every year I send a card to Kiddiepunk/Oscar they have a new address. They do seem to move around a lot! But I think I’ll play it safe and wait for them to get back to me before I send it out.

  10. Bill

    Wow, those Mini Land drawings look incredible, kind of like a Bruce Conner piece.

    Sorry to hear about the LA Weekly. SF’s late lamented Guardian is now only online (; hope it’s able to keep going.

    Hope your back is better, Dennis. The gig cluster starts tomorrow night; will report as I experience. Pere Ubu has cancelled its entire west coast tour; David Thomas has some health issues.

    New David Grubbs is pretty fine, I have to say.

    Will try to get the gig post to you over the weekend.


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