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IQ: Notes from underground 

Whether it be music, newspapers, secret societies, the subconscious, or actual places like caves, caverns, mysterious passageways, there's something compelling about "the underground." Even Colorado Springs has one -- physically and conceptually.

click to enlarge Matthew Leon
  • Matthew Leon

Matthew Leon
Sutter Creek, California
Professional gardener

A while back, city utility crews came across people who've been living in storm sewers beneath Colorado Springs the past seven years. What does that suggest to you? I saw a movie called Dark Days about that very thing. It might not be very sanitary, but I suppose it's cool in the summer and warm in the winter down there.

What is it about the underground that people find so fascinating? It represents an escape from the mainstream, the predictable, the corporatized.

What's your favorite underground locale? A system of underground steam tunnels at Earlham College, a Quaker liberal arts school I went to in Indiana. We went down there at night to have adventures. You could get into any building on campus from those tunnels.

What's in the Colorado Springs tunnels? A new Goth movement, doing this vampire thing. You know all the people you used to know that you haven't seen for years? That's where they are now.

Does it unsettle you that NORAD -- the government's top security air defense center inside Cheyenne Mountain -- would be hit first in a nuclear exchange? No question. I'm a believer in nuke-free powder. I detest nuke-infested snow.

click to enlarge Corinne Hansch
  • Corinne Hansch

Corinne Hansch
Portland, Oregon
Recent graduate of Lewis & Clark College

What do you have to say about people living in underground tunnels here? It's not right. Everyone, no matter who, should be able to live in the sun.

What do people find so intriguing about "the underground"? It's mysterious and secretive. The Underground Railroad [of the Civil War era] meant freedom. Underground newspapers are progressive and fun.

What's down there in the tunnels below us? Workaholic hobbits mining for gold.

What's your favorite underground locale? About a mile from where I grew up, there's a cave next to a waterfall that's shady and cool with ferns and bats. As kids, we went there all the time to explore and play make-believe games.

Does it unsettle you that NORAD will be first hit in a nuclear war? Yeah. I don't like being put in that situation by the military.

click to enlarge Jerry Graves
  • Jerry Graves

Jerry Graves

Old North End
Writer

What does it suggest to you that people live in tunnels here? That there's always someone lower down than you scraping out a living.

What's down there? A bunch of dead miners? Bodies from the Ludlow massacre? A bunch of old pipes?

What's your favorite underground locale? There's a system of tunnels beneath Austin, Texas, where I went to college. It was quiet, peaceful and kind of fun walking around down there underneath the city. People even camped out down there.

Does it bother you that NORAD would be first hit in a nuclear exchange? If anybody's going to use nuclear weapons, it's us. I fear for the Russian people more than for myself.

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