Tuesday, November 01, 2005

11/1 Day of the Dead . . . Well, Sorta

Not a very good start to the day when your dean calls and tells you that one of the students from your center has been shot and is brain dead. I don't know the details, but he had called the police slightly before this happened to report that someone was trying to break into his place, just a few blocks from here, and by the time the police arrived, someone had called in to report gunfire. Your heart just goes out to his family.

The evening ended at Dionysium (click on title for more info). I only went because one of the first people I met when I moved to Austin, Paul Wilson, was taking the opposing side on the debate, "Resolved: That There is an Afterlife".

What I wasn't expecting was to hear Taps on a bugle, a Presentation on Mexico's Day of the Dead (which is tomorrow, November 2, not today), a declamation -- Poe's "The Imp of the Perverse", a rendition of Chopin's Death March, a lecture on embalming by Wayne Allen Brenner, topped off by a rousing sing along of "The Worms go in, the worms go out" (and all accompanied by a couple of glasses of house red.) The stage was decorated with various funeral props, as well as a Mexican altar (I've forgotten the term) which featured a picture of Bush, candles, flowers, incense, drink, pan de muertos (bread of the dead) -- a homage to a dead presidency, perhaps?

Austin's Dionysium is presented once a month at Alamo Drafthouse South by Salvage Vanguard Theater. (How to describe -- a movie theater that serves beer, wine, pizza, salad, sandwiches, noshes, etc., as well as "theme movie events" -- i.e. for the movie Chocolat, they'd have a special chocolate menu, etc.) Next month's Dionysium will feature a debate -- something about the Supreme Court, as well as a talk by Sarah Weddington.

After the debates, a show of hands is given to determine if the proposition of the debate passes or not. The show of hands was so close that the moderator called for the "Pro-afterlifes" to shout hallelujah -- an actually quite "eh" show from that crowd and something like "live for today!" from the "anti-afterlifes" -- a much more rousing sound, so the proposition was defeated.

I have no clue as to whether or not there is an afterlife, so I really can't believe in one. It would be nice, but I can't believe in something because it's a nice idea. That makes this short time we have on this world all the more precious -- it's the only life that I know for sure that I'll have.


gl. said...

yeek. bad day of the dead, indeed. :(

susanbrown said...

Yeah, we're pretty bummed out around here because of our student. It happened at 5:30 in the evening -- when I first heard about it, I had thought it was early in the morning. Weird event all around.