Sunday, October 16, 2011

Comparative Death Rituals; Halloween and Day of the Dead Costume Party; A "Dead Animal Man: This week at Observatory!

This week and beyond at Observatory; hope very much to see you there!


"A Dead Animal Man": Screening and Q & A with Film Maker Lily Henderson
Date: Monday, October 17th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5

Presented by Morbid Anatomy

"A Dead Animal Man" is a new documentary film which profiles Nate Hill, public attention seeker and self-proclaimed rogue taxidermist, as he sets out to make A.D.A.M--A Dead Animal Man--from various animal parts gathered from NYC's Chinatown dumpsters. This film details Hill's quest from conception to completion, and contains vignettes ranging from the humourous to the bizarre to the extremely grotesque. At the end, Hill's desire for stardom is realized, but for what? The film saves us from extreme nausea but still pushes us far enough to the point where we ask ourselves--how far is too far?

Tonight, join us for a 25 minute sneak peak version of the film. Filmmakers will be in attendance to answer questions. Barf bags not included.

Lily Henderson is a filmmaker living in Brooklyn. She is an active member of the the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective and recently released Lessons for the Living - a film about why certain people choose to spend their free time with dying strangers. More information can be found here. Henderson and her co-producer, Lila Dobbs, found Nate Hill's story intriguing but not because of the spectacle he was creating. Their goal was to find the deeper meaning in his public persona and the decaying Frankenstein body next to him.


From the Magnificent to the Macabre: Send-Offs for the Dead
Illustrated talk and book signing with Sarah Murray, author of Making an Exit
Date: Thursday, October 20th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
*** Thematic DJed after-party will follow the lecture; Books will be also available for sale and signing

Sending off the dead is something mankind does spectacularly well. There’s perhaps no human condition to which more attention has been devoted—faced with death, we create elaborate ceremonies and build great architectural edifices. We bury our loved ones in the ground or burn them in fire. We leave corpses as carrion for the birds, hang them in trees, or stow them in caves. We arrange for riderless horses to accompany the cortege to the cemetery or toss the remains of our fellows into sacred rivers amid the sound of bells and the swirl of incense.

In researching her latest book, Making an Exit (St Martin’s Press), Sarah Murray traveled the world in search of the best send offs. She will describe her encounters with everything from a spectacular Balinese royal cremation and a chandelier in the Czech Republic made entirely from human bones to the American death care industry’s biggest road show and a ghoulish Sicilian crypt where mummified corpses line the walls. Join Sarah for an engaging and highly personal discussion in which she will also present some of the unusual objects and artifacts she collected on her travels (she might even tell you about the plans for her own eventual send off).

Sarah Murray’s new book is Making an Exit: From the Magnificent to the Macabre—How We Dignify the Dead (St Martin’s Press, October 2011). She is also author of Moveable Feasts: From Ancient Rome to the 21st Century, the Incredible Journeys of the Food We Eat (St Martin’s Press 2007, Picador 2008). A longtime Financial Times contributor and freelance writer, she lives in New York City.

Image: Capuchin Catacombs in Sicily, photo by the author

Jose Posada: El Jarabe en Ultratumba (The Folk Dance Beyond the Grave)

Halloween and Day of the Dead Party with New Episodes of Ghoul A Go-Go and The Midnight Archive, Costume Contest, Music, and More!
Date: Saturday, October 22
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $12
Presented by Morbid Anatomy and Borderline Projects

Please join us on Saturday, October 22 for a Halloween/Day of the Dead costume party featuring brand new episodes of Ghoul A Go-Go and The Midnight Archive, as well as burlesque, music, piñata, food, beverages, sugar skulls, a costume contest, and more! Please, please (!!!) come in costume! All costumes welcomed!

The night's amusements will include:


  • Ghoul a Go Go: Premiere of a brand new episode
  • The Midnight Archive: Two new episodes of The Midnight Archive, Ronni Thomas' new web series based on Observatory
  • Music: Wavy gravy Halloween music for the all night dance party
  • Burlesque: A creepy Burlesque performance by Lil' Miss Lixx


  • Traditional Food and Drink Specials throughout the evening


  • Prizes for costumes inspired by either Vlad, Creighton, The Invisible Man, or any of the clips featured on Ghoul a Go Go


  • Day of the Dead Altar: Altar de Muertos, an installation by Rebeca and Salvador Olguin celebrating Mexico and its past, history and culture
  • Face painting: Have the Kiss of Death painted on your face by La Catrina
  • Pan de Muerto: Indulge in this traditional dessert called Bread of Death
  • Piñata: Dash death to smithereens with our annual death piñata!
  • Sugar skulls: Decorate and eat or bring home your own Day of the Dead sugar skull
  • Offerings to the Departed: In some places in Mexico, people leave small, coffin-like figures out for the souls of the departed. Guests are invited to leave their own offering; they will be available at the installation

Image: El Jarabe en Ultratumba (The Folk Dance Beyond the Grave), Jose Guadalupe Posada

October 24: Freaks and Pornography: Victorian Popular Anatomy Museums, Sex and the Unusual Body: Illustrated talk with author Sarah Kathryn York

November 6: Class: Mummification: Learn the art and ritual of animal mummification with instructor Sorceress Cagliastro *** Limited Class Size; Please RSVP to morbidanatomy [at]

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1 comment:

Owen said...

Funny, I've got this same image of skeletons dancing on a t-shirt which I've had for over 20 years, still wear it once in a while. Found it in a store in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania that was selling goods from Mexico.