Selva Oscura Album, Lawrence English and William Basinski (2018)

“Tonight, as part of the Fulcrum Arts Annual Benefit fundraiser—which itself sits within Fulcrum Arts’ A×S Festival: City as Wunderkammer—Lawrence English and William Basinski will present the world premiere performance of their collaborative album Selva Oscura.”    –XLR8R Staff, XLR8R, November 7, 2018

You Season 2, Episode 1 – “A Fresh Start” (2019)

On the Netflix drama You, in the season two premiere “A Fresh Start” the main character Joe/Will says “..if LA is hell, the LA DMV is surely the ninth circle.” (You, Netflix, December 26, 2019)

Contributed by Faeryn Lee (The Bolles School, ’22)

Dante’s Inferno TV Series in the Works at Freeform”

“The contemporary reimagining of the 14th-century poem is among the first projects being developed by head of originals Lauren Corrao.

“The Freeform take follows Grace Dante, who thought her life sucked. Between parenting her drug-addict mother and her troubled brother, the twenty-something hero has had to give up all her dreams. Then one day everything changes and her dreams start magically coming true — school, career, love … but the godfather of all this good fortune is the devil himself. And to outwit him, Grace will have to journey through Dante’s Inferno, a contemporary reimagining of the 14th-century poem set against the demonic underworld of present-day Los Angeles.”    — Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, October 28, 2019

Dante HH

Dante HH is a “psychobilly blues, hard rock” band from L.A. —Dread Central

The motto, Dosis facit venenum, implies “The dose makes the poison.”

Inferno by the American Contemporary Ballet (Los Angeles)

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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)

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.

 

Weezer, “L.A. Girlz” (2016)

Weezer-LA-Girlz-Dante-Beatrice-2016“L.A. girls, please act your age
You treat me like I have the plague
It’s the Gyre and Gimble in the wabe
L.A. girls, please act your age
Sweeten up your lemonade
And meet me down at tower twenty-eight
So would you mind if I was pregnant?
I’ll sleep on the edge of your bed
Like Dante and Beatrice
We’ll light up our candles
But how is this going to end?
The kids are asleep
We’re haunting their dreams
And some women swear it’s more painful than labor
To die with your sins on your head” — Weezer, “L.A. Girlz,” The White Album (2016)

Watch the video for the song on YouTube.

Contributed by Megan Alvarado (University of Texas at Austin, ’18)

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

 

Venus Febriculosa’s Dante Initiative

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In 1965, the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the birth of Dante was marked in the United States (as elsewhere, including, of course, Italy) by the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp.

Fifty years on, in recognition of Dante’s 750th birthday*, we are pleased to introduce The New Dante Initiative which will explore the legacy and meaning of Dante’s life and work through art and design in the form of a new conceptual/hypothetical commemorative postage stamp. We are issuing an open call for submissions in addition to inviting established artists and graphic designers to participate.

The New Dante Initiative is a collaborative venture between Venus FebriculosaMarco Sonzogni (Victoria University of Wellington), and artists, designers, scholars, and institutions, culminating in the projected publication of a book.

 

Wallace Zane, Taxi Inferno (2014)

Taxi InfernoA death and violence, deceit and fraud, cab-driving, police-chasing translation of Dante’s Inferno.

“Set in the hellish world of cab-driving in Los Angeles in the year 2000, Taxi Inferno is an idiomatic interpretation/translation and transposition of Inferno. In place of Dante walking through hell with Virgil as the guide, the author is driving a cab in LA with Charles Bukowski. The narrative is shot through with the feel of dim and smoky death and the thrall of disgust that impels one on, as is Dante’s.

Taxi Inferno is written as a mirror image of Inferno. Virgil becomes less competent the deeper into hell they go; Bukowski becomes more so, and even heroic in his guidance. Each location in Los Angeles compares with one of the circles of hell, corresponding to Dante’s description of the terrain and its punishments.”    —Amazon.com

Contributed by Wallace Zane