This charming “docu-musical” tells the true story of the Kiwi Coffin Club, a senior social group in Rotorua, New Zealand who hand-make and decorate their own coffins.
by Tony Wolf (originally published via the Atlas Obscura on October 9, 2017) After my father died in mid-2016, the family was faced with a daunting question: “What to do with the collection?” Dad had been acquiring and restoring all manner of curious antiques since the 1960s. His vast collection filled “the studio”—a huge, barn-like building … Read moreDiscovering a Vintage “Spook Show” in my Dad’s Antique Collection
A humanist perspective on this age-old question, read by the inestimable Stephen Fry.
Here’s an excellent longform article by Jon Mooallem on an ambitious project seeking to redesign our responses to death: So much about death is agonizingly unknowable: When. Where. Lymphoma or lightning strike. But Bennett recognized there are still dimensions of the experience under our control. He started zeroing in on all the unspoken decisions around … Read moreDeath, Redesigned
Picture a gently glowing city of the dead suspended beneath the Manhattan Bridge … It’s a bold and beautiful vision, conjured by Columbia University’s DeathLab project which aims to find creative solutions to a very practical problem. Traditional cemeteries are running out of space; what will we do with our dead?
A short 2014 documentary on the history of (and modern practice of creative memorial at) London’s once-forgotten Cross Bones Graveyard. Since the time this video was produced, there have been considerable developments in connection with Cross Bones. Check out the Friends of Cross Bones website for much, much more on this poignant and inspiring story.
The song that says it all … Here are the lyrics, in case you want to sing along: When I die I don’t want to rest in peaceI want to dance in joyI want to dance in the graveyardsThe graveyardsAnd while I’m alive,I don’t want to be aloneMourning the ones who came beforeI want to … Read moreDance in the Graveyards by Delta Rae
This 2018 article from the Atlas Obscura recalls the bygone age when American cemeteries served as public parks as part of the rural cemetery movement. Echoing the Mexican Dia de Muertos tradition, the cemetery picnic fad continued into the 1920s, when cemetery managers began to ban the practice over concerns about boisterous behavior and littering. … Read moreRemembering When Americans Picnicked in Cemeteries
Here’s writer/performer Tracey Erin Smith’s podcast memoir of her death-positive production Memento Mori, which was staged for the 2014 Toronto Fringe Festival.
In collaboration with the good people at Reimagine’s Life, Loss and Love Festival, I will be giving an illustrated Zoom presentation on this theme on the evening of May 6th. Here’s the presentation description: “Remember death and therefore seize the day!” It’s an ancient and profoundly simple philosophy, but how can members of the emerging … Read more“Creating Countercultural Memento Mori”