Thanatopositive Classic Rock: Inside Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

Between the Renaissance Faire Danse Macabre, the Self Help Graphics art center’s influence on the Dia de Muertos and the Grateful Dead, there seems to have been a wind blowing darkly colorful leaves through the countercultural zeitgeist of the 1970s. Here’s the BOC live in 1977: … and in this short video essay, the Polyphonic … Read moreThanatopositive Classic Rock: Inside Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

Artbound: “Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead”

This episode of the Artbound documentary series considers the reinvention of the Day of the Dead festival in the USA, particularly via the work of the Self Help Graphics community art center in East Los Angeles during the early 1970s. For much more on this subject, I strongly recommend Regina M. Marchi’s 2009 book Day … Read moreArtbound: “Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead”

The New Danse Macabre at Stamping Ground (2003)

By Tony Wolf Several years after staging The New Danse Macabre in Wellington, New Zealand, I had become part of the regular faculty of the Stamping Ground Festival of Dance and the Action Arts in Bellingen, Australia. Stamping Ground was the brainchild of veteran dancer/ choreographer Peter Stock, who wanted to encourage greater participation in … Read moreThe New Danse Macabre at Stamping Ground (2003)

Jim McKenzie’s “Friends with Death”

Artist Jim McKenzie’s process in sculpting Friends with Death is documented here via stop-motion animation. Reimagining the Reaper is important work as we move towards a more thanatopositive cultural outlook. In McKenzie’s vision, eternal Death pauses for a moment, entranced by the transient beauty of life in the form of a turquoise-winged butterfly. If you’d … Read moreJim McKenzie’s “Friends with Death”

Believer: Santa Muerte

Religious scholar Reza Aslan investigates the Santa Muerte faith in his Believer documentary series for CNN. While I don’t endorse literal belief in the supernatural, I’m fascinated by the sociology, psychology and aesthetics of this new religion, which is too often sensationalized by the English-speaking media. Shorn of superstition – or at least practiced with … Read moreBeliever: Santa Muerte