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”

“Death of Hippie” – October 6, 1967

It is nothing new. We have a private revolution going on. A revolution of individuality and diversity that can only be private. Upon becoming a group movement, such a revolution ends up with imitators rather than participants … - Bob Stubbs, “Unicorn Philosophy” We wanted to signal that this was the end of it, to stay … Read more“Death of Hippie” – October 6, 1967

London’s Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

A short video concerning London’s curious Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, a public memorial project initiated by the artist George Frederic Watts. Unveiled in an unfinished state in the year 1900 and still incomplete, the memorial wall features plaques commemorating the deaths of ordinary people who died in attempting to save the lives of others. A … Read moreLondon’s Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

King Billy’s Funeral (“Knightriders”, 1981)

George Romero’s Knightriders is a messy, eccentric and often quite beautiful celebration of/elegy for the idealistic, bohemian spirit of the 1960s. In this, one of the final scenes, the titular troupe of motorcycle-jousting knights and their friends gather to pay tribute to their fallen “king”, Billy (memorably portrayed by Ed Harris in one of his … Read moreKing Billy’s Funeral (“Knightriders”, 1981)

The Temple: a Sacred Space for Letting Go at Burning Man

Since the year 2000, artists – notably including Temple originator David Best – have created intricate, elaborate and secularly sacred temple art installations as part of the Burning Man festival. Each year’s design is inspired by a different theme, such as the Temple of the Mind (2000), the Temple of Flux (2010) and the massive … Read moreThe Temple: a Sacred Space for Letting Go at Burning Man

Lady Maisery’s “Order and Chaos” – a Scientific Folk Song About Death

Hazel Askew, of the folk-group Lady Maisery, on their song Order and Chaos: We have many traditional songs with religious perspectives on death or magical, folkloric perspectives on death, so I wondered if it would be possible to write a song with a scientific, physics perspective on death? Could this be a branch of the … Read moreLady Maisery’s “Order and Chaos” – a Scientific Folk Song About Death

France’s Ancient Burial Brotherhood

A short item from the BBC on the Charitable Brotherhood of Saint-Eloi, founded as a response to the 12th century Black Death and still burying the residents of over thirty French municipalities, including the town of Béthune. During the French Revolution, the Brotherhood was officially dissolved, but continued its activity in secret until 1802, where … Read moreFrance’s Ancient Burial Brotherhood

The Thanatorium in “Soylent Green”

The 1973 movie Soylent Green posits a catastrophically polluted and over-populated future society in which suicide is not only legal but encouraged and facilitated by the state. In the New York City of 2022 (according to this fictional timeline), there exist institutions where people can end their lives peacefully and beautifully. In the full context … Read moreThe Thanatorium in “Soylent Green”