The blog of author Dennis Cooper

The Underground House

A multi-millionaire plans to triple the size of his London mansion by digging down 50ft to create a four-storey basement complete with swimming pool, spa, ballroom and no fewer than 12 bedrooms. Architects’ drawings show how the vast house, originally built as a school in the 19th century, will be created by excavating deeper than the height of neighbouring homes. As well as the spa area, it will have servants’ quarters consisting of five staff bedrooms. There will also be wine cellars, an art storage room, parking for three vehicles and a car lift. Estate agents estimate the property could be worth up to £90million with the work completed. Neighbours who have objected to the plans include novelist Edna O’Brien and the Duchess of St Albans Gillian Beauclerk. The duchess said: ‘These plans are absolutely monstrous and unnecessary. It’s just absolute greed. No one needs that much space.’


Just decrypted this blueprint of the White House from JFK’s term—it looks like he signed off on the construction of a secret safe room under the White House while Jackie O was renovating.


A underground facility and bunker dubbed “The Facility” in Southeast Georgia two hours from Savannah just hit the market for $17.5 million. The property, which is exclusively listed by Sister Hood of Harry Norman, Realtors Buckhead Office, was built in 1969 and fully renovated to government standards in 2012. According to Harry Norman, it is the only hardened and privately owned underground bunker of its kind in the United States. The property features a commercial 3-Phase power plant, in addition to its own 8Kw new solar backup system. The facility is also equipped with a $100,000 CCTV security system.


Worried about the end of the world? For those who can afford them, one company is creating subterranean housing complexes – modern-day super-bomb-shelters across the United States designed to survive any apocalyptic scenario yet imagined. Killer comets, pole shifts, super volcanoes, global tsunamis, extreme earthquakes, biological and nuclear war – each are scenarios supposedly covered in the design plans by Vivos of these luxury underground homes to be built in 120 locations in range of most major US cities.




The Survive-a-Storm Max underground steel storm shelter is ideal for larger families or small businesses. Measuring 10-feet long by 6-feet wide, the Max Model can be buried in your yard in just a few hours. With its coal tar epoxy coating, you will receive the same protection against rust and corrosion as an underground gas storage tank or cross-country pipeline. This shelter has bench seating on three sides, with a stairway entering from the surface. We have even provided a steel handrail and non-slip stair treads for extra safety and convenience.


Brett Jacobsen’s book Heaven’s Underground Blueprint has a twofold thrust: it is a prophetic work that paralells church history with Old Testament Israel, presenting insight into current happenings and great hope for the future. It also is instructive in the current reformation of the church into underground community.




Have you ever heard about the guy who literally lived under a rock in the Californian desert, where legendary flying saucer conventions were held in the 1950s? We go back to the 1930s, when an eccentric German immigrant called Frank Critzer dug out this subterranean home for himself under the giant rock. He lived there alone, isolated from society with nothing but a radio antenna he set up on top of the rock to stay connected with the outside world. But in 1942, during a showdown with police who came to investigate rumours that he was in fact a Nazi spy, Frank died from a self-detonated dynamite explosion in his own bunker. Locals had reported strange behaviour, several incidents of Frank threatening trespassers with a shotgun and suspicion that he was a spy because of his radio antenna. After his death, Frank’s only friend, a former aircraft inspector named George Van Tassel, became the giant rock’s new tenant in 1947. In a few short years, George went from living a simple existence with his family in the rooms Frank Critzer had dug out under the Giant Rock, to building his own restaurant on the site, a small airstrip, and an extra-terrestrial research centre which would play host to his annual Giant Rock Spacecraft Convention, attracting more than 11,000 people at its peak. The dome-shaped “Integraton” structure still survives today in Landers, California, near the Giant Rock but not as a pilgrimage site for ufologists. After Tassel’s death in 1978 there were plans to turn it into a disco. Instead, the new owners turned it into an 0ff-beat tourist attraction offering “sound baths”, claiming it to be “the only all-wood, acoustically perfect sound chamber in the U.S.”


After searching for photos for Hugh Hefner’s upcoming April 9 birthday, the Playboy Mansion employee uncovered “some Polaroids from 1977 that showed a large excavation project at The Mansion.” When the staff member inquired about the tunnels, the Mansion’s general manager confirmed that Hefner had the tunnels built to connect the “bunnies” to celebrities’ houses. The plans reference the homes of “Mr. J. Nicholson,” “Mr. W. Beatty,” “Mr. K. Douglas” and “Mr. J. Caan,” which is enough information to distinguish the four highly recognizable monikers. All of the men lived near Hefner’s world-renowned home during the ’70s and ’80s, so the underground maps could be legitimate. The tunnels were reportedly closed in 1989, around the same time Hefner married Playmate Kimberley Conrad, and, when asked, the general manager wouldn’t disclose any more information about the hidden passageways.


Plans to create a £70m dream mansion in the heart of Mayfair – complete with an underground leisure complex – have been submitted to planning bosses. At a huge 190-feet – more than half the size of a football pitch – the super-home could become the longest in London if plans are given the go-ahead. The 18th Century building on the corner of Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, will stretch all the way back so it incorporates the mews homes on Duke’s Yard. It will boast large entertaining rooms, underground leisure facilities, luxury sleeping quarters, a courtyard and a price-tag of around £70 million. The hefty valuation is more than 250 times the price of an average home in the UK and around 450 times the average house price in the north east of England.


I’m Burying My Camper


The man who made a fortune out of building London’s best known – and most controversial – estate agency and selling it for £390 million is planning an extraordinary subterranean playground at his home near Kensington Palace. Jon Hunt, founder of Foxtons, bought his Grade II-listed, eight-bedroom house in Kensington Palace Gardens – London’s most expensive street – for £14 million in 2005. He now proposes to excavate a huge hole underneath the back garden, in which he wants to create a massive sports hall with viewing galleries. As well as a tennis court, pool and gym, the underground extension will also include a private “motor museum”, accessed from the road through a special ramp, for his multi-million pound collection of six vintage Ferraris. The excavation will be 50 ft deep, equivalent to at least four stories in height.




This decommissioned military base complex turned silo home-in-a-hole is anything but Top Secret today. Its owners boast the set of converted structures to be the “world’s most unique luxury home. The subterranean launch control center is a cylinder surrounded by an epoxy-resin, steel-reinforced, three-foot-thick structural wall that (particularly given its depth in the ground) is essentially as apocalypse-proof as a home gets. The entire structure is suspended on springs to absorb the shock of a nuclear blast. Forget blueprints and standard floor plans: this historic house comes with its own top-secret, government-certified schematics. 2.3 million dollars might sound like a lot – even for a high-end mansion – but if you consider that the original cost of construction was around ten times that much (in 1950s dollars, without accounting for inflation) the current converted property seems a steal by comparison. Oh, and their FAQ page points out that the Russians are well aware that the silo has been decommissioned, so presumably they would no longer consider it a primary target should an all-out world war come along.




You wouldn’t happen to be in the market for a 1970s underground family home, equipped to live in for up to a year without resurfacing in the event of a nuclear missile strike that wipes out humanity, would ya? Because it just so happens one has just come onto the market. And this piece of real estate gold could be all yours for the bargain price of $1.7 million. The subterranean Las Vegas home at 3970 Spencer St. near Flamingo Road boasts a 15,200-square-foot basement beneath a two story home above ground. From the street, number 3970 looks like any other American home, except with a few extra ventilation and air conditioning units planted around the yard. Camouflaged by clusters of rocks, an entrance with an elevator takes you down to the underground lair. Another stairway is hidden inside a shed. The house was built in 1978 to withstand a nuclear blast by an arguably ‘paranoid’ wealthy businessman, Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson. The ambitious homeowner made his fortune with several companies including Avon cosmetics and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.




KC, MO Area: $479,000.00 or OBO Comes with almost all the furniture and decor. Hardened Underground Bunker-Home on 10.5 acres/ml. A 1960s nuclear war-proof communication center, 10,700 sq. ft of usable floor space and can easily be expanded to much more, 2 ft thick concrete walls and ceilings, 3-4 ft of graded earth over the top, copper shielding against EMP, 2- 2,000 lb blast doors, 8 air vents with filtration and blast valve closure mechanisms. Water well on site with a new pump, 10,000 gallon underground stainless steel water storage tank, Aquasana Water Filtration System, escape hatch emergency exit, 177 ft tower that can be used for Hamm Radio or even possible cell tower. Lighting, pumps, heating, dehumidification and electric hoist operational. New water pipes and new aluminum roof on entry building. Occupied continuously for the last 5 years, the current owners remodeled much of the structure creating a two-story living space that includes a functional kitchen, bathroom, shower, large living room with a new electric fireplace, 4-6 bedrooms depending on use/needs, gym with equipment (treadmill, 2 bikes and workout machines), sound proof music studio with vocal/recording booth and connected storage room, very large 16 ft ceiling recreation area, other living and storage areas. All VERY NICELY done. Commercial zoning, low property tax. Ready to move in. Contact through Email if interested! Serious Purchasing Inquiries ONLY!


A creepy graveyard complete with a decaying crypt. Inside the crypt are steps leading down to a mysterious underground house (unfurnished.) The lot size is 2×3. This lot contains the following custom content created by myself: 5 original mesh gravestones (Find in decorative/ sculpture. They can be placed anywhere indoors or outdoors.) 3 spooky trees – one being the Maxis spooky tree except it can be placed on floor tiles. The other two are derived from Maxis trees with texture/shape changed. (Find all in decorative/sculpture. They can be placed anywhere indoors or outdoors.) 9 floor textures, including a dead grass texture for floor tiles. 2 terrain textures, including a matching dead grass texture. 21 wall textures, many of them multiple tile textures. The house is not furnished. The one issue with this underground house is that objects that have to be placed against walls can’t be placed against the exterior walls unless you use the “moveobjects on” cheat. I have a furnished version in my game and I found that I didn’t need to use the cheat at all. All interior walls work as usual. The cost of this lot is approximately 27,000.


This Minecraft underground house/base design/ideas build tutorial on Xbox, PE, PS3, and or PC is very easy to do and looks really great anywhere in your world.


The author of this plan speculated on building this spherical city in Manhattan bedrock—a structure which so far as I can determine would have a volume of 1.2 cubic miles (5 km3) with its top beginning some 1,200’ under Times Square […] Newman published this in 1969 (?!) after somehow latching onto the idea of clearing out massive underground caverns with nuclear explosions—in this case, the space would be hollowed out under Manhattan. The underground sphere would be a miniature version of whatever was above it—along the medial there would be a “topside” of a regular city with streets and high rise buildings, underneath which would exist an underground city for the underground city. In this honeycomb would exist the means of production and energy, segmented in multi-block-sized enclosures of no charm.






A luxurious underground mansion is being built beneath the grounds of Limehurst, a Victorian property converted into flats. The entrance to the two-storey, three-bedroom mansion, named the Earth House, is a front door disguised as a 2.6m-high garden folly, leading to a central spiral staircase down to the main hallway and living area on the lower ground floor. ‘I am confident that this house in Bowdon will become an architectural landmark – albeit one that most people will never see.’


While each risk situation is unique and requires a methodical threat assessment tailored to the client’s needs, the experience of the Hardened Structures Team across the spectrum of threats has enabled us to design a modular, configurable system that enables survivability in even the most demanding scenarious. Called the Genesis Series, this underground shelter system provides protection against a wide range of disasters including 2012 scenarios. For protecting your family or family group, the Genesis Series is unmatched in the industry.


This astonishing planning document illustrates why the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea has decided to outlaw the super-sized basement extensions that local billionaires seem so fond of. The multi-level subterranean recreation areas often go far beyond the boundaries of the aboveground properties, and have cracked walls and even affected the foundations of neighboring houses. In a famous case from 2012, excavation work under the mansion of a Goldmann Sachs director resulted in his neighbor getting trapped inside her home, unable to open her front door since it had shifted so much. A cabinet member for planning policy told The Guardian that basement extensions are “the single greatest planning concern our residents have expressed to us in living memory.”


I ran into the Hal B. Hayes residence, formerly in Hollywood, California, which Popular Mechanics Magazine described as a House For the Atomic Age. Ever practical, the magazine notes how Mr. Hayes designed the house to withstand or flex against the stresses of an atomic bomb blast. The outer walls are “fluted to resist shock waves” and the large front glass window, pictured above, will sweep away in the same blast. There is a secret underground sanctuary accessed only by swimming underwater, as well as another hidden underground room equipped with bottled oxygen.


This was my underground home before the criminals at the DEPI demolished it.


Like something straight from a science fiction or horror movie scene, this underground nuclear missile silo was once a dank, dark and deserted structure of interest to no one – until man saw past the pooled water and cracked concrete and began to build by hand the ultimate underground dream house for himself in the family. Occupying only a third of the nearly 20,000 available square feet of total military base, Ed Peden and his family live in a world of weird wonder purchased for a relative pittance at $48,000 and derelict for decades when he went to buy it. On the surface, former escape hatches now look like castle turrets and a shack-like structure is about all there is to mark the entrance to this domain.




You may have heard stories about people renovating their homes, only to stumble upon a secret room. Perhaps it’s a play room? A cellar? A place to stash sensitive documents and treasures? All that mystery can be pretty scary yet exciting. But back in 1963, a resident of Nevşehir Province of Turkey found a secret room behind one of his walls. This secret room led to a tunnel … which led to an incredible discovery: the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu. Derinkuyu is not the largest nor oldest underground city. But at 18 stories, it is the deepest.


World was so much different back in the 60’s and fears and terror from Cold War was almost part of people’s everyday life. During that period, a businessman and philanthropist named Girard B. Henderson spent quite a lot of money for a project he called The Underground Home. From ground level, you would see a house. But it was not the house. It was just its entrance. There were obviously some stairs to take you down. There was even a control panel to control and adjust temperatures and radiation (yes…we are talking about nuclear holocaust, remember?)


Wrecking ball destroys underground safe room


From the outside, it looks like an elegant Spanish-style ranch house but Hacienda de la Paz in L.A.’s Palos Verdes Peninsula is so much more than that. The $53 million mansion, which recently went to market, meets local building codes in the posh, gated city of Rolling Hills by keeping to one story. But those rules don’t say a word about building underground. What’s not visible from the street are five magnificent subterranean levels on 50,000 square feet accessible by labyrinthine passageways, two elevators and secret stairs. Once down the rabbit hole, you’ll find a tennis court built to U.S. Open standards (the outdoor court meets French Open specs), a Moroccan-style Turkish bath, a chapel, an English library, nine bedrooms and 25 bathrooms. Seventeen years in the making, Hacienda de la Paz is the dream project of John Z. Blazevich, chief executive of Viva Food Group, a shrimp importer.




It’s a spacious, secure home that could probably fetch a pretty penny on today’s NYC real estate market – the only problem is that no one knows if it still exists. The mystery centers around The Underground World Home, a 12,000-square-foot subterranean residence that was built for the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. After the fair ended, almost all of the exhibits were ordered to be demolished, but some think that the Underground Home’s creator, Jay Swayze, may have left it intact. After all, why pay exorbitant demolition fees to remove the home when you could just tear down its above-ground pavilion and cover the entrance with some dirt? 50 years later, historians, students and regular Joes with shovels are still asking the question, “Is it down there?”




Soon its name will join the ranks of Britain’s great stately homes. Already, in the most elite of circles, it is being whispered in awe: ‘Witanhurst. Do you know it?’ The residents of London’s Highgate certainly do, for this mammoth property has caused an ongoing row, as planners have repeatedly rejected lavish plans for its development. The Georgian-style mansion is London’s second-largest private residence, after Buckingham Palace.But following a short-lived renaissance in 2002 as home to the BBC’s Fame Academy, it had been allowed to decay. Now, the planning issues having been resolved, it is being turned into a modern-day Xanadu, the palatial mansion immortalised in the film Citizen Kane.The glittering 65-room palace will include 25 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms and an imperial walnut-panelled Grand Ballroom. A vast two-storey subterranean extension will almost double its size, making room for a 70ft swimming pool, sauna, hairdressing salon, massage parlour and a huge cinema suite. Diggers are carving an enormous cave beneath the house, which will make the property just 2,000 sq ft smaller than Buckingham Palace. Staff accommodation and a 25-space car park will complete the £50million expansion. Mystery shrouds the mansion, however. For despite being the size of ten generously sized detached homes, nobody knows who owns it.Indeed, it is said that even Robert Adam, the celebrated architect behind this extraordinary project, does not know who his client is. He receives his instructions via an intricate web of companies and advisers, designed to give the owner absolute anonymity.So just what is Witanhurst and who is behind it? It is perched above North London, on the verdant hill of Highgate, an ancient village that is one of the capital’s most sought-after addresses. Overlooking Hampstead Heath, the area once was home to the highwayman Dick Turpin, and philosopher Karl Marx is buried in the nearby Victorian cemetery.






p.s. RIP Tommy Keene. ** Jeff J, Happy post-T-Day, man. First, I really, really like the Julian Calendar album. Yeah, it’s super eclectic, almost kind of Yo La Tengo-like only in that regard, and pretty consistently excellent. And cool to find you have such a terrific rock voice. Are you guys going to tour and stuff? I guess meaning, how serious is the project? I think my favourite tracks so far are ‘These are the Words’, ‘Our Dark Century’, This Road’, and the epic ‘Silent Spring’. Excellent stuff, man. I’ll definitely keep spinning it. Really glad you like Menken’s films. I had a memory that you did. Jean Rouch is one of the directors I keep meaning to investigate in detail. I love what I’ve seen. I think a Day devoted to him is in order. Doing that is always a great way to get familiar. I didn’t get ‘Hourglass’ yet but it’s at the tippy-top of my list . Thanks, Jeff, and, again, it’s a real pleasure to discover your very charismatic music. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, T. I agree about that book. I found Menken’s work back in the early 80s when Gerard Malanga guest-edited an issue of Little Caesar and had a section in it about her and Willard Maas. And O’Hara is in one of her films, as you no doubt saw. A very rare treat therein too. Aw, thank you so much for the sweet words, Tosh. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Ha ha, magic spells often seem to have bad, mixed metaphors in them. Maybe that’s the secret of their success. Apropos of Xmas fairs, there’s this giant one on the Champs Elysee every year, and I was excited this year because I now live a very short walk away from it, but I found out yesterday that it’s cancelled this year (!) because the guy who always organizes it was discovered to be some mafia criminal or something. I’m sad. So I’m probably safe in guessing that your work today is going to be extra especially exhausting what with the Xmas fair now so imminent. I hope you survive. My yesterday turned to be another super quiet, nose-to-the-grindstone one. I worked. I gathered images and info about all of this year’s Buches de Noel for my annual Buche fashion show post. But Zac and I meet about the film script today, so it’s guaranteed to be more eventful. I really hope work didn’t eat you totally alive today. Did it or did it not, and how are you? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yes, someone or someones seem to have uploaded a bunch of Mencken’s films finally. Hopefully long deserved attention will follow. I hope someone does the same with Willard Maas’s films because they’re still very obscured. I don’t agree with you about ‘Bladerunner 2049’ at all. I thought it was as phoney as a two dollar bill. But apples and oranges always. ** Chaim Hender, Hey, Chaim. So glad the Menken post ended up in your heart. Yes, enough can not be said about the cruciality of Mekas and AFA. Hm, I’m not sure about what you say about the ‘Noguchi’ film. Interesting. I’ll go re-look at it. Awesome for the share your video works! Thank you! The demands of the p.s.-in-progress prevent me from watching them with due attention, but I’ll do so as soon as this thing hits the air. Everyone, Wonderful opportunity today for you to check out some short video works by our pal Chaim Hender. First, here’s one called Sky Show. And this is cool: Here’s one called Towel, and here’s the same video after he re-deployed it with some newly acquired glitch-creating skills, i.e. Towel Remix. And lastly here’s a gorgeous little GIF, i.e., Cabin Lightswitch. Cool, man. Excited! ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Of course I understand how unnerving your parents’ diminished hearing must be. The 80s seem to be the time when ageing really takes hold. Not looking forward to it. I saw that title ‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ and wondered what in the world it was. I now know enough not rush in its direction, thanks to you. ** Cal Graves, Hi, Cal! Really, really nice to see you! Yeah, ‘Lights’, right? I hope other things by her get to you. Only if you feel like it, I would love to hear how you are and what you’re up to. In any case, hugs and take care! ** Okay. Longish ago I did a post about underground houses and their magical (to me) effect on the imagination, and today’s post is kind of part 2 because there continue to be folks who either build them or really wish they could. See you tomorrow.


  1. Chaim Hender

    Very very fun thank you for the burrows and promoting my videos. Do you think the burrowing instinct is strongest in England and USA, or is this just where you happened to find the most or best examples? I was reminded of a New Yorker article earlier this year, “Doomsday Prep for the Super Rich”:

    A highlight, describing the Survival Condo Project:

    “We visited an armory packed with guns and ammo in case of an attack by non-members, and then a bare-walled room with a toilet. ‘We can lock people up and give them an adult time-out,’ he said. In general, the rules are set by a condo association, which can vote to amend them.”

    I was also reminded of Rossellini’s educational TV series spanning human history called “The Fight for Survival”, both because the bunker-digging eccentrics seem especially keen on living and because the first episode is about cave people. Rossellini is a hero of mine. I’d like to do some work in his reverent secular humanist mode. It seems like in Israel history and religion are usually either cosplayed or disregarded.

    First Episode:

    Opening Sequence Only (Better Quality):

    Any exciting weekend plans? I only know Paris through movies.

  2. David Ehrenstein

    Rather surprised you didn’t like the new “Blade Runner”
    Oh well. Chaque a son Goo.

    As for underground homes I LOVE this one

  3. David Ehrenstein

    Actually I’m rather intrigued that you found the new Blade Runner to be “as phoney as a two dollar bill. ” If you have minute I’d love to hear why.

  4. Tosh Berman

    A fascinating subject matter today. Ever since I was a child I have always wanted a secret headquarters where I can live, study, and do stuff. I think my first impression of a hideaway, or secret underground structure is Batman’s Bat-Cave. I love the Bat-Cave. Or less interesting to me, just because it’s too cold looking and everything made of ice, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude (which is a great name by the way.) Which comes to mind Mike Kelley’s artwork dealing with the Fortress of Solitude. Mike and I are (were) the same age, so I think maybe due to the cold war, and reading comic books, we share the same thoughts of an underground or secret headquarters. I also was delighted with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. when they entered their secret headquarters by going into a Chinese laundry or come to think of it when I lived in San Francisco as a small child, I was aware of the tales of underground tunnels in Chinatown. To this day, I have dreams at night of architectural secret places. It took me years to figure out where these places are- but for me, the entrance to the secret world was the Farmer’s Market on 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles. I was intrigued as a child of the maze-like paths to various outside eating areas. As an only child, one plays these games in one’s head. So naturally I would have these dreams where I re-worked the floor plan of the Farmer’s Market. Perhaps I’m getting off the subject here, but this is what today’s blog means to me. I love it.

  5. Steve Erickson

    My mom seems to be out of the house right now, and I took a phone message regarding a doctor’s appointment for her. Considering she’s 83, that’s unnerving. But my dad is 86, and if the most visible sign of being impaired by aging is hearing loss, I think he must be doing OK.

    Back when there were lots of NYC bookstores that sold print fanzines, I liked a few that were devoted to “urban exploration.” I’m not sure they could have access to most of the spaces described here today.

    I also saw an interesting new documentary (with fictional elements) called EMPATHY. It’s about a sex worker named Em, and while it includes an 8-minute long scene of her having real sex with a client (you see his cock entering her vagina), most of it consists of lengthy scenes of her everyday life (waiting for a subway train, sleeping on a bus, chatting with friends.) The entire film consists of long takes, almost all from a stationary camera. Towards the beginning, she does a bong hit, but around the middle, her arms are suddenly covered with track marks, although she never does heroin onscreen. In the film’s final 20 minutes, she has a monologue where she talks at length about her heroin addiction, how the fact that she was so obviously a junkie at a certain point made escorting very difficult, how she was supported by one client who paid her bills and rehab stay and she’s now in “sober living.” The film never seems exploitative, although I wonder how feminists would react. Em is credited as a co-writer of the story, whatever that means in this context. I’m pretty sure that the monologue at the end does not consist of her talking off the top of her head, unless she’s amazingly articulate and capable of talking about such difficult subjects for 10 minutes at a time. The director has said he wants to explore both the elements of performance that are necessary for sex work and acting, even in appearing in documentaries. The film leaves open whether Em is still an escort. Anyway, it is playing for 3 days at Anthology Film Archives next month.

  6. Misanthrope

    Dennis! I love this shit! We’ve talked about it before. I love underground bunkers and passages and secret passages in houses. Even regular ol’ basements, especially finished basements, turn me on.

    I have a friend at work, he said to me, “It’s gonna be funny in 20 years if the survivalists are right and we’re the crazy ones.” I thought that was funny.

    Well, we talked the other week about evil and how what we call “evil” can usually be explained pretty practically. Same thing with Manson. If you ever read about his childhood -the mentally ill mother, the sexual abuse at the hands of the mother’s many boyfriends, his stint at Father Flanagan’s home for boys (and the sexual abuse there), the reform schools (and the sexual abuse there)- it kind of makes sense that he turned into this monster. Granted, there are, I’m sure, thousands and thousands of people who’ve had childhoods as bad or worse and they didn’t become mass murdering cult leaders. But still…

    So yes, the whole confluence of events and sociological phenomena does make the whole Manson thing rather unique, and that’s what I’ve always found fascinating.

    Quite like Hitler’s rise to power. It was just this one moment in time where everything came together to allow that to happen. A many-faceted moment that turned into horror for so many. How it came about has always fascinated me, not Hitler himself or any of the shit he did that caused misery for so many.

    Btw, I fell asleep really early Wednesday night and then fought with my computer all day yesterday. For some reason, it blinked and then everything was stretched out on my screen. I tried everything but to no avail. I discovered that many setting were gone too, as well as my ability to fix those settings or reset them. I finally did a system restore back to the 10th of this month, and that’s seemed to have fixed the issue.

    Thanksgiving was pretty great (except for my Cowboys getting thrashed). The meal was the best we’ve had in years. I can’t complain. Got to play my new videogame some too.

    I think I’m gonna look into getting an external hard drive to back this computer of mine up just in case all that shit happens again. Ugh. I can probably find a sale or two out there somewhere.

  7. Jeff J

    Hey Dennis –

    Thanks for checking out the Julian Calendar album and your kind words about the songs and my singing. I really appreciate it. We’re fairly serious about the project but moving somewhat slowly, only having gotten a drummer two months ago. There are 5-6 new songs already sketched out and the idea is to keep pushing ahead with new material (which continues to be eclectic) while playing local gigs and getting comfortable with that before considering any touring. All this is uncharted territory for me, so I’m happy to chip away at it gradually. I’m particularly excited to see how the latest tunes develop with the drummer, feel like it should open up additional possibilities.

    I love this post of the underground houses. Set my mind racing. I can understand why the neighbors protested loudly about the guy in London drilling down 50 ft to build his underground manor, but it’s sort of a shame it never happened.

    Sad news about Tommy Keene. You have favorite album(s) of his? I have his two Matador releases, but that’s it. I was always impressed by his work but never dove in deep for whatever reason.

    Hope the talk about the screenplay with Zac today goes well.

  8. Bernard

    So: Being underground almost always makes me uncomfortable, but in an interesting way that I was recently thinking is rather like having an uncomfortable dream that seems to be getting at something suppressed and important. (I really like to visit caverns but am always anxious going in.) This is probably not surprising, though it is weird. I do think in pretty psychoanalytic terms a lot. And recently I have been working on something on the trapped-in-a-dream motif in film, which I’m kind of obsessed with.
    Catching up: Marie Menken. Of course. It’s great to have all this in one place. I felt sure you did a day on her on the assassinated blog. I know about the Gerard Malanga connection, but i am wondering if something in particular was making you think of her recently. I agree with Steve E that Go! Go! Go! is extraordinary and significant. And a sidelight: Lucille Dluogoszewski, who scored the Noguchi film, was my first composition/choreography teacher–I knew her as Lucia. At that point she was Erick Hawkins’ lover/muse/composer. He had been Martha Graham’s principal male dancer, and married to her. This was in the days when, as Tim Dlugos, had it, I “danced with” Twyla Tharp–because I took some technique classes wth her. Lucia was like a bohemian muse in a movie, and I completely adored her; she called me “our poet”–really–because she liked some poems I showed her. I was 20!
    I can’t believe I missed Frankenstein mask day! As you know, I have a monstrously big archive stuff of Frankenstein stuff to share; I’ve been wondering how to carve it up. Still have a lot of images, including masks and toys, that won’t double the ones you’ve selected. So that’s coming after I finish the article I’m doing, and maybe something I’m doing for Billy Miller for Straight to Hell.
    Post-Thanksgiving torpor. Pie for breakfast. Much driving. Over actual rivers and through a certain number of woods. xxoo

  9. _Black_Acrylic

    Just like with the original post, at first I took ‘Underground House’ to mean the dance music subgenre and was all ready to fire up G Strings – The Land Of Dreams as a soundtrack. It still kind of works too, I think. But these are some fascinating spaces and they present a world inverted and made transcendent.

    Tomorrow I’ll meet Alex and we’ll go see Eddie Summerton’s “Bothy” project. I’ll report back and post some pictures.

    • _Black_Acrylic

      In exciting Dundee news, there’s been 2 new record shops opened on the Perth Road in recent weeks. Le Freak and This Way Up both look good and if you ask me, their very existence is the sign of a thriving local community.

  10. Dóra Grőber


    Underground houses give me this mixture of feelings because I find the very idea quite suffocating and claustrophobic but also safe. Thank you for this fascinating post!

    Well… shit. I mean about the huge Champs Elysee Christmas fair. It’s perplexing that instead of finding someone else to organize it they simply cancelled the whole thing. I’m really sorry they did.
    Yes, that was the case. Lots of customers today, too. But, magically, the owner told me to feel free to stay home tomorrow because he couldn’t finish up the prints I’ll have to pack, etc. so it’d be quite pointless for me to go in. Gosh, I’m so grateful for these two days off right now! I hope nothing will stand in the way of our free-style plans with Anita this time!
    I just thought about your Buche de Noel tradition the other day, wondering when it’ll take over your blog this year. Are there a lot of worthy contestants?
    How was the meeting with Zac? I’m pretty certain he had some inspiring and exciting new ideas about the script!
    I hope you had a great day, Dennis!

  11. Nick Toti

    Hi Dennis! A friend of mine recently directed a really excellent short film set in one of the underground houses featured above. I thought I’d join in the spirit of the post and share it:

    Hope everything is going well!

  12. Amphibiouspeter

    Hey DC,

    Whooooooaaaaaahh. That’s about all I have to say on this one. Funny how London seems to have an epidemic of these things. Also seem to remember that some of those urban explorer types got in to the one in Highgate a little while ago.

    How are you? Well I hope. Got a music recommendation – Colleen has just put out a record called A Flame My Love, A Frequency and I like it quite a lot. Was in Frankfurt last weekend and it found it to be a v peaceful and relaxing city.

    Anyway – chat soon. Tc

  13. Steve Erickson

    At least I can play Dillinger’s “Marijuana In My Brain”, Ghost’s “Year Zero” and the new Converge album loud at my parents’ house and not have to worry about what they might think of the lyrics or that they might find the music to be just a bunch of noise.

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