Camp Fire in Paradise, CA (2018)

california-2018-paradise-fire“The burned-out wrecks of abandoned cars lining the roads out of this once-picturesque mountain town bear silent witness to residents’ frantic efforts escape the hellish advance of the raging Camp Fire.

“Tires melted down to their steel belts. Windows blown out. Paint evaporated. Rims liquefied and then solidified after running down the pavement. Fire leaping across the road.

‘It just looked like Dante’s Inferno,’ said evacuee John Yates, 65. ‘Black and red was all you could see.'” — Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, November 10, 2018

Read more about the fire here.

The Binding of Isaac, Rebirth (2014)

“Within the video game The Binding of Isaac, Satan is located in the 9th level of the game; Hell is described as ‘cold’ if the player dies on this level (both mirroring Inferno).”    –Anonymous Contributor

The Binding of Isaac, Rebirth is a 2014 video game published by Nicalis, an American publisher based out of Santa Ana, California.

You can check out more from Nicalis on their website, and you can buy The Binding of Isaac on Steam and on Humble.

Gretchen Menn’s Album Abandon All Hope (2016)

“This is such a daring and visionary album, a contemporary masterpiece of composition. Multilayered, rich and colourful. Dark and radiant at the same time, thrilling and mesmerizing.” [. . .]    — Erkka Lehmus, Bandcamp, 2016

Abandon All Hope is an album by guitarist and composer Gretchen Menn released on December 12, 2016. Learn more about this artist on her website.

The track list below includes links to the songs on Bandcamp:gretchen-menn-abandon-all-hope-2016

  1. Shadows 05:51
  2. Limbo 02:46
  3. Tempest 06:57
  4. Hellward Swoon 00:47
  5. Hound of Hades 03:44
  6. Tombs 05:29
  7. Sentry 02:07
  8. Bloodshed 03:47
  9. Weights 05:11
  10. Rise 03:22
  11. Savages 02:12
  12. Lake of Ice 04:28
  13. Mist 02:19
  14. Beast 06:44
  15. Grace 08:37

Inferno by the American Contemporary Ballet (Los Angeles)

Lincoln-Jones-American-Contemporary-Ballet-Inferno-2017

In October 2017, the American Contemporary Ballet of Los Angeles, under the artistic direction of Lincoln Jones, performed Inferno, based on composer Charles Wuorinen’s ballet “The Mission of Virgil” (featured on Dante Today here).

“You can really draw a parallel between Dante’s time and our time because of the incredible divisiveness. The issues were different on the surface but underneath, probably a lot the same. In Dante’s time, cities would fight wars with each other. Dante wanted to get his point of view heard and send the people he thought should be in hell to hell. I think maybe there’s a lot of similar feeling with the diatribes people are writing today against those they feel have it wrong. So there’s a lot of similarities, political corruption, factions.” — Interview with American Contemporary Ballet artistic director Lincoln Jones in the LA Times (October 10, 2017)

Vivian Lee Reach, A Choreographer’s Voyage Within Dante’s Inferno (2017)

Vivian-Lee-Reach-Choreographers-Voyage-Dantes-InfernoVivian Lee Reach (MFA ’17, University of California, Irvine) presented her thesis concert, A Choreographer’s Voyage Within Dante’s Inferno, at UC Irvine’s Winifred Smith Hall, on April 11, 2017.

Of the inspiration for the performance, Reach explains, “In May 2015, I was introduced to Inferno by one of my past English professors as a ‘fun summer read.’ I was hooked after the first tercet. From that moment on, I decided to dedicate my time to Dante’s Inferno. I am deeply humbled by literary mentors, Giuseppe Mazzotta and David Bruce, who brought me face to face with the elaborate and structured panorama of Dante’s first canticle through their books and words of wisdom.”

Vivian-Lee-Reach-Program-Choreographers-Voyage-Dantes-InfernoWatch the performance on YouTube here.

For the full concert program, click here.

Rebecca Solnit, “Check Out the Parking Lot”

Rebecca Solnit’s London Review of Books essay “Check Out the Parking Lot” is primarily a review of Sandow Birk’s illustrations of the Divine Comedy, but it also contains an extended comparison of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to the three realms of Dante’s afterlife. Here is an excerpt:

“[The Getty] is Dante’s Divine Comedy as a theme park, and just as in the Divine Comedy, the Inferno is the most compelling part.Getty-Museum-Dante-Solnit-Architecture

“You take the Getty exit, and if you’ve been heading north, swing over the overpass and, after a few wriggles, dive into the garage. You come out of the smog-filtered Los Angeles light (which always gives me the impression that a thrifty God has replaced our incandescent sun with diffused fluorescent light) into a dark passage. The garage is underlit, with a low-slung ceiling and construction that evinces the massive weight first of the cement slabwork and then of the floors and earth above. The weight presses down on you as the signs urge you onwards. Down you go, and down, and further down, spiralling into the seismically unstable bowels of the Los Angeles earth in circles of looming darkness, questing for a parking space of your own, further and further down. I believe there are nine circles, or levels, in this vehicular hell. Finally, you find a place for your car in this dim realm, stagger to an elevator, and move upwards more quickly than Dante ascended Purgatory.

Getty-Museum-Purgatory-Dante-Solnit“Though you aren’t in Purgatory yet. The elevator opens onto a platform where you can catch a monorail up the hill to the museum. Disneyland too has a monorail, and though on my first visit to the Getty I thought of it as a nice tribute to its sister amusement park, we perplexed everyone around us by walking up the unfrequented road the quarter mile or so to the museum. Altitude correlates neatly with economic clout in urban and suburban California, so although the presumed point of the Getty was to let people look at art, first they parked, then they looked at the mighty fortress of the Getty hunched up on high, and then up there at various junctures they got the billionaires’ view. Purgatory was the museum itself. There you went through the redemptive exercise of experiencing art, lots and lots of it, from ancient times through to the early 20th century, room after room of altarpieces and portraits and still lifes and drawings.” [. . .] — Rebecca Solnit, “Check Out the Parking Lot,” London Review of Books 26.13 (8 July 2004), 32-33.

The full LRB essay can be accessed here.

 

Anton Brzezinski, “Anton’s Inferno: Dante’s Inferno Revisited” (2008)

Untitled“Surrealist painter Anton Brzezinski takes us on a modern journey through Hell. This time the poet Virgil is replaced by his one time neighbor in New York, the writer William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch. Well known for his Sci Fi illustrations and surrealisms, Anton Brzezinski is a versatile artist who creates in a number of media. Currently he’s completing a feature length video called Adventures of the Living Dali. Anton’s Inferno was written at the same time he created a complex 38 inch by 50 inch oil painting of the same name. This novelette is a sometimes irreverent satire. He cautions if you’re easily offended, please give this to someone with a sense of humor.”  —Amazon

Kayleen Asbo, The Soul’s Flame: A Musical Reflection of Dante’s Worlds

kayleenIn his epic poem the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri weaves Greek and Roman mythology, Italian history, and Christian legacy into a map that charts the journey of the human spirit from the depths of despair to the heights of beauty and love. In observance of the Lenten season, and in honor of the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth, Numina Center for Spirituality and the Arts presents an experience of music, art, and story that emphasizes the profound, universal elements of Dante’s vision. We follow in the footsteps of his quest in Purgatorio for hope, healing, and community.

This journey of hope and forgiveness begins at 5pm, with cultural historian Kayleen Asbo presenting art and story that charts Dante’s path through the Purgatorio. At 6pm, medieval music specialists Shira Kammen and Devi Mathieu, joined by Michelle Levy and the Dante Singers, present a program of music to lead us on that journey.

With music drawn from the medieval era and beyond, our journey crosses the boundaries of time, culture, and spirituality. The program features some of the most renowned pieces from the Middle Ages, with emphasis on works referenced in Dante’s poetry. Selections range from Gregorian plainchant and Hildegard of Bingen, to Carmina Burana and Cantigas de Santa Maria. The journey honors the common roots of all the traditions that trace their origins to the prophet Abraham by including songs and chants from Christian, Sufi, and Jewish traditions.

Philip Jonckheer will narrate our adventure. Audience members will have the opportunity to join in some of the chanting.

February 21, 5pm
Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, 550 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa CA
Suggested donation $25 at the door only
See: Numinia Center for Spirituality & The Arts

Ron Bassilian and Jim Wheelock, Inferno Los Angeles (2015)

INFERNOlosAngelesCOV“Over 700 years ago, the poet Dante Alighieri found his way to the Underworld from the dark wood outside his native Florence, and the adventure he recorded in The Inferno still haunts us to this day.

“Now, in modern times, a new traveler finds his gateway to Hell beneath the urban jungle of the “City of Angels.” Inferno Los Angeles revisits Dante’s journey, weaving new characters and contemporary scenarios with the timelessly familiar scenes Dante described. It is an adventure of pure imagination, fraught with obstacles, monsters, horrific visions and prophecies — all visualized in an epic graphic style. Journey with him, as each step down this human whirlpool brings new dangers and monstrosities, as we delve ever deeper into the torments of our own minds.

INFERNO LOS ANGELES is a 136 page, full color graphic novel published in a deluxe over-sized hardcover edition by NeoClassics Press.”    —Inferno Los Angeles

 

Hell in the Armory Presents “Inferno” (San Francisco)

Hell-in-the-Armory-San-Francisco-Small“We’re teaming up with the twisted minds who brought you Blackout to create a grotesque and twisted journey through Hell. Designed specifically for the San Francisco Armory.

“Based on the famous ‘Dante’s Inferno’, this immersive horror experience will be a wild and savage mindf*** unlike anything seen before. Violence, sexuality, and hardcore horrors are all awaiting visitors as they are forced to confront their sins and traverse through the Hell of Dante’s journey.” —Hell in the Armory website

Hell-in-the-Armory-Inferno-San-Francisco

Contributed by Pete Maiers