This was a piece written by SOTRU Radio Producer, Tina Antolini, about her time in the human-occupied tunnels running under Las Vegas. It’s an incredibly fascinating concept if you were to think of it as a diorama; tourists from all over the world in and out of the monstrous casinos and other celebrated spots that you associate with The Strip directly above people making their homes in the dark, wet, flash flood tunnels that run under the city. It feels more like something from a movie. The episode is fascinating and explores this underground world. You can listen here. Tina’s piece below, originally appeared on our website December 23rd, 2010.
I’ve been thinking a lot about tunnels.
Entrances to an underground world, a place far away from sunlight, and, therefore, in our imaginations, they’re places that must incubate things that love the dark. Fearful things.
Culturally, we’re fascinated with the prospect of a subterranean world. Be it the hiding place of Jean Valjean, the hero of Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” (“…Paris has another Paris under herself; a Paris of sewers; which has its streets, its crossings, its squares, its blind alleys, its arteries, and its circulation, which is slime, minus the human form.”) or the home of monsters in “C.H.U.D.” (that would be for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller), a cult film about flesh-eating underground creatures who prey on the homeless, or, on the opposite end of the cinematic spectrum, the grain-hoarding raincoat-wearing vegans of “Delicatessen.”
The truth is less glamorous and/or frightening… but equally fascinating. Among the stories SOTRU is reporting on in Las Vegas is one of the underground world beneath the casinos, the miles of flood channels that lace their way under the Strip. These are home to hundreds of people.
Many of whom have surprisingly home-like homes.
But most of these tunnel residents are forced down here because of a variety of misfortunes, economic and otherwise. Usually, one does not choose to live 30+ feet underground for the heck of it.
We’ll tell you a lot more about life in the tunnels in our upcoming Las Vegas episode… But in the meantime, I wanted to know: what’s your favorite tunnel story, real or imagined?