Dante and the Wizard of Oz

Comic book: Canto, Vol 1: If I Only Had a Heart by David Booher, Drew Zucker, Vittorio Astone, Deron Bennett (2020)

Canto, IDW’s dark fantasy tale, is a combination of The Wizard of Oz and Dante’s Inferno, in more ways than one. … Canto is very much like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Canto, the titular tin-man of the story, comes from a race of tin-men, all small and without hearts, who are enslaved and expected to work until they stop. Their hearts have been replaced with clocks, but allegedly, their hearts still exist somewhere, beating and alive. He sets out on a journey to find his beloved’s before the time on her clock runs out, knowing that the quest may be futile. Eventually, he learns he must find the Shrouded Man of the City of Dis, who resides in an Emerald Tower. To reach his destination, Canto follows a yellow brick road. […]    —CBR.com   See also this and this.

Tappeto Volante’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso

The theater troupe Tappeto Volante has staged multiple immersive, ambulatory performances of Dante’s canticles in different locations in the province of Salerno. The first, Inferno, was staged in the Grotte di Pertosa-Auletta (also the backdrop for the 2020 musical Inferno, by the Grieco Brothers) and has been running continuously in the Cave of Castelcivita since 2012. They continued with a performance of Purgatorio at the Certosa di Pedula. They return to Salerno for their Paradiso, staged in the Castello di Arechi (promotional poster, right).

The troupe has also performed their Inferno in the Museo del Sottosuolo, and their Purgatorio in the Real Casa Santa dell’Annunziata, both in Naples.

See the Tappeto Volante website for details and reservations.

The Grieco Brothers’ Inferno, the Musical (2020)

The Grieco Brothers‘ new musical, Inferno, is staged in the Caves at Pertosa-Auletta, in the province of Salerno. Of the brothers’ interest in representing the Inferno, Massimo Grieco says, “Nietzsche diceva che se si guarda per un tempo sufficiente nell’abisso, l’abisso guarderà dentro te. L’inferno è, per me, la migliore rappresentazione dei fantasmi che albergano dentro di noi. È il nostro abisso. Ed in questo senso, esaminare l’inferno è un viaggio di andata e ritorno dentro di sé. Se si è abbastanza equilibrati ed onesti, si accettano i propri abissi e si gestiscono. Solo così possiamo, ogni mattina, riaprire gli occhi, riuscire a riveder le stelle, considerato i giorni che stiamo attualmente vivendo.”  –Massimo Grieco, in an interview with Lorenzo Calafiore, “Da Itaca all’Inferno. Lorenzo Calafiore dialoga con i Grieco Brothers,” Insula europea (25 March 2020)

The Grotte di Pertosa-Auletta have also served as the backdrop to immersive, ambulatory performances by the troupe Tappeto Volante, directed by Domenico M. Corrado (see post here).

John Wick: Chapter Three — Parabellum (2019 film)

John-Wick-Three-Parabellum-Library“Near the start of the film, John Wick: Chapter Three – Parabellum (2019), the eponymous hitman (played by Keanu Reeves) is at the New York Public Library when he is surprised by another assassin, Ernest (a cameo by Boban Marjanovic), who makes his introduction by reading a tercet from Ulysses’ speech in Inferno 26, and then mentioning Dante by name: ‘Consider your origins: / you were not made to live as brutes, / but to follow virtue and knowledge’ (Inf. 26. 118-120).”  –Contributor Devin Fernandez

The Philadelphia Enquirer describes the fight scene between Reeves’s character and basketball-star-and-acting-newcomer Marjanovic as follows: “In the scene, Boban’s character is the first of what will be a hundred or so assassins who try to kill Wick, so it’s a small role but with a prominent position in the film. Reeves is the star, of course, and the outcome of the scene is never in doubt. Even so, [director Chad] Stahelski finds some (wait for it) novel ways to administer the final blow. The phrase ‘eat your words’ comes to mind.

“’He a super-nice guy. Very humble, and I remember he paid a lot of attention to detail. He really practiced his lines, and he got a lot of coaching from Keanu. This is like his first movie gig, and he’s quoting Dante’s Inferno, so it was a lot to ask. I give him credit, because that was a long day, and he really held up well and contributed.’”  — Gary Thompson, “‘John Wick 3’ director talks about pairing Keanu Reeves with Sixers center Boban Marjanovic for a major fight scene,” Philadelphia Enquirer, May 10, 2019

Contributed by Carlos Devin Fernandez (University of Texas at Austin, PhD Candidate)

“Dante Rides Again” at Potsdam Museum

An interactive reading of Walter Noble’s translation of the Divine Comedy in Potsdam, New York, taking place on November 10, 2019.

“Super Bowl 2020 commercial for Dashlane drops you in terrifying password hell” – CNET

“In the minute-long spot, called ‘Password Paradise,’ a hooded mythological creature ferries a guy in a boat through swampy waters reminiscent of the River Styx in Dante’s Inferno. Ahead, there’s a bright, welcoming light and the sound of angelic voices. But to enter this paradise, the guy will need his password — which he’s naturally forgotten.

“The Charon-like creature prompts him to answer his security questions. No, it has be to the name of his first pet. You wanted to be a dolphin trainer when you grew up? Sorry, wrong answer dude!” [. . .]    –Leslie Katz, CNET, January 31, 2020.

Contirbuted by Trey Turney (The Bolles School, ’22)

Journey Through Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell – Led by Sherman Irby

“Last week we introduced you to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Music of Wayne Shorter and indicated that we’d cover more releases from their label. This installment is a suite of seven movements composed and conducted by the JLCO’s lead alto saxophonist, Sherman Irby, Inferno was performed live in 2012 and captured on this recording. It’s Irby’s interpretation of Dante’s epic 14th-century poem of the same name, which follows the author on his imagined, harrowing journey through the nine circles of Hell. To say it’s incendiary (pardon the reference) completely understates the passion of these performances.

“At the heart of the piece is the horn who plays the central character, the late baritone saxophonist that Irby recalls fondly, ‘I wrote this act for Joe Temperley,’ Irby remarks. ‘He was the band’s elder statesman and musical guide for almost 30 years. It was my honor to feature his beautiful, passionate sound as the voice of the central character, Dante.’ This is not an unusual gesture as bandmate, trombonist Chris Crenshaw says, ‘Sherman cares for his brethren, and he cares about this music, and that goes a long way.’ Besides, featuring his bandmates liberally in solos, (Movement V has six of them for example), this music is intelligent, unique, moody and ultimately swings crazily.” [. . .]    –Jim Hynes, Glide Magazine, February 6, 2020

Contributed by Trey Turney (The Bolles School, ’22)

CATS Review: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here” by Scott Wampler

In his review of Cats (2019), Scott Wampler titles his piece “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here” to signify the negative contents of his review. Wampler writes:

“The cats are introducing themselves, by the way, as a means for auditioning for death. We learn early on that one of them will soon be selected to die and ascend to The Heavyside Layer (which is basically the cats’ version of Heaven), and the entire movie is about finding out which of these gigantic assholes will win the Big Prize. Along the way there are pratfalls, screaming, terrible puns, bullying (again, these cats are giant dicks to each other) and a truly shocking number of crotch shots. Whatever circle of Hell this is, it’s an incredibly unpleasant place. At first it’s kind of funny – you honestly can’t believe what’s happening onscreen, that anyone would have spent roughly $100M bringing this abomination into the world – but soon enough its commitment to sensory overload becomes overwhelming. At a certain point, I felt like I was going insane.” [. . .]    –Scott Wampler, Birth. Movies. Death., December 20, 2019.

Contributed by Su Ertekin-Taner (The Bolles School, ’22)

“The Convalescent” by Manic Street Preachers (2001)

Alberto Juanterino unique in his field
These are the things that, that make you feel
Klaus Kinski with love of Werner Herzog
Scream until the war is over[x2]
Srebrenica cousin of Treblinka
Scream until the war is over
War is over
And Dante’s Inferno slides into dysmorphia
So scream until the war is over” [. . .]

On their 2001 album Know Your Enemy, Manic Street Preachers‘ song “The Convalescent” contains the lyric “And Dante’s Inferno slides into dysmorphia” in verse three. (Manic Street Preachers, Epic, March 19, 2001)

Contributed Victoria Nicholls (The Bolles School, ’22)

“The Roommate from Hell” by MC Lars

In MC Lars’ 2006 album The Graduate, the song “The Roommate from Hell” contains lyric “when did room 56 become Dante’s Inferno?” (MC Lars, Horris Records, March 21, 2006)

Contributed by Victoria Nicholls (The Bolles School, ’22)