Spent last weekend at the Death Salon Film Festival in Houston.
If you truly know me, you’re probably thinking, “What? Film Festival? She hates movies!”
And you’re right, I do.
But for the chance to be able to hang out with other Death Positive folks, and spend the weekend marinating in the amazing energy that the alternative death community brings with it? I’ll tough it out!
And it was definitely worth the effort.
Death Salon started out at a beautiful outdoor venue on Friday night with a lecture by Dr. Paul Koundinaris, on Sex and Death, which featured way more mummy-and-ghost-related sexual activity than I ever thought existed. (umm, what?)
This scintillating lecture was followed by a round of death-related pub trivia, with a sudden-death playoff and Death Salon swag for the winners!
Did you know Rick Perry has overseen more executions than any other TX governor? Having a stranglehold on the office for 47 years will do that to you….
Saturday morning, many Deathlings (as DeathSalon groupies are referred to) went for local color (and HUMIDITY) to eat delicious brunch outdoors at a nearby restaurant.
I don’t think anyone passed out from the heat, but I’m sure a few thought they might!
After brunch, most of us headed to The Wilde Collection and My Flaming Heart for souvenir and death-related curiosity shopping.
Saturday night brought the title event–the Death Salon Film Festival. Caitlyn Doughty, ever the ultimate witty and engaging MC, opened the evening with a short film focussing on mortuary school students, after which she led a panel discussion on death in Texas with Sarah Wambold and Genevieve Keeney–where we learned about Babyhead Cemetery, burying presidents, and (OMG) the potential to be buried legally in a Texas state park.
(Pleasepleasepleaseplease let this happen, and save me from having to do it feloniously).
The film festival portion then kicked off, with eight short films for our consideration with a broad range of offerings, from a Dia de los Muertos documentary and a reporting of a village-led funeral, to two screenplays and a skeleton-themed music video.
My favorite was the Dia de los Muertos film, which showed a very intimate, different observance, nearly unrecognizable if you were expecting the Americanized sugar-skulls and papel picado version.
We then voted for the winner, which was tough–so many intriguing and interesting directions presented!
While the team tabulated ballots, we screened Suiting Dennis, a short film about the first person to order an Infinity Burial suit from Coeio–the emerging technology that uses mycelium (mushrooms) to decompose a body.
Even better, we got to have Q&A with Jae Rhim Lee, the mastermind behind the Infinity Burial suit–and the final treat was the unveiling of the now-commercially available Infinity Burial suit!
When the results were announced, my favorite didn’t win–but congratulations to the winner, Scent.
Sunday morning, a small group of us met for breakfast at a nearby Torchy’s, and got to introduce the non-locals to the manna that is Torchy’s queso. Even Torchy’s got into the Death Positive spirit and welcomed us with a little skull love:
We then finished off the weekend with a lunchtime tour of the National Museum of Funeral History, which was thick with presidential and papal burial info, crazy coffins (glass! money! shag carpet!), amazingly intricate and beautiful antique carved-wood-sided hearses, mourning spoons,
(who knew? More serviceware I apparently need)
and, best of all, this party bus prototype right here:
Coffin in the front, party in the back, with bench seats for the pallbearers AND a private space for the family as well. Putting the FUN in funerals since 1924!
Curious about Death Salon? Want the chance to hang with the serious Death Positive crew yourself?
The next Death Salon is now announced for Seattle in September of 2017. You can track the announcement of schedule and ticketing here.
I’ll be there–join me?!