New England Winter Hell

new-england-circles-of-winter-hell-2016This cartoon by Beth Wolfensberger Singer summarizes the struggles of New Englanders during the winter season.

“Beth Wolfensberger Singer is a Boston-based artist. Her comics appear on her blog, ambitionectomy.tumblr.com.” — Singer, Boston Globe, December 16, 2016

Dante Gifts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston offers a number of Dante-related gifts in their online store, commemorating the museum’s manuscript editions of the poet’s works. See, for example, the Dante journal and the magnet bookmark set, both based on reproductions of one of the most beautiful manuscripts in the Gardner collection. The gifts also include a Dante ornament, pictured below.

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Clifford Anderson, Score for “The Divine Comedy” exhibit at the Harvard School of Design (2011)

cliff“I created the musical score for four short films about The Divine Comedy, an exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design featuring new works by acclaimed international artists Olafur Eliasson, Ai Weiwei, and Tomas Saraceno.

“Working with filmmaker Rob Meyer (who received an Honorable Mention at the Sundance Film Festival), I composed a musical accompaniment for videos of each of the three installations plus a curatorial overview.

“It was a wonderful experience collaborating with the filmmaker and The Divine Comedy team at the GSD. The exhibition website at thedivinecomedy.org contains the full videos and the official information. Below, I’ve included my personal thoughts on the individual works and my experiences composing for the films.”    –Clifford Anderson, Armor-Plated Dove Productions

Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum’s Café G

cafe-g-isabella-stuart-gardner-museumAn introductory note on the menu of the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum’s Café G:

“Isabella Stuart Gardner’s love for the medieval extended to literature as well as to art, and she was particularly devoted to the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). Gardner was a member of the Dante Society and collected several rare copies of the Divine Comedy, including a manuscript of the poem written within a century of the author’s death. She stored these precious books alongside a death mask of the poet in the ‘Dante Case’ in the museum’s Long Gallery. [. . .] We hope you enjoy this special menu, inspired by Inferno. It features fiery hot peppers in a variety of different forms.”    —Café G Menu (click to see full menu)

Contributed by Nancy Vickers

Ron Jenkins, “To See the Stars” (2012)

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“Lynda Gardner, Saundra Duncan, and Deborah Ranger will give a reading of a new play at a Harvard University conference next week. A different kind of alma mater qualifies them for this appearance: York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Conn., a high-security state facility for female offenders.

“While behind bars at York, all three joined theater workshops with Wesleyan University professor Ron Jenkins and students from his Activism and Outreach Through Theater course. They got to know Shakespeare and Dante, and it changed their lives.

“‘I spent my first six months [in York] trying to figure out ways to kill myself, and the next four and a half years trying to see how much more I can live,’ says Gardner.

“Inspired by these three and other inmates he worked with, Jenkins wrote a play about their existence behind bars, ‘To See the Stars,’ which mingles inmates’ stories with bits of Dante’s epic 14th-century poem, Divine Comedy.

“The women have their own perspective on ‘Divine Comedy.’ They tend to say that they are still working on its third part (Paradise) but that they are well versed in the first two (Hell and Purgatory).

“‘I’ve been in a lot of the circles of hell,’ says Gardner, 63. ‘It really isn’t about hell; it is about hope. Climbing out of those circles.’

“The trio will perform ‘To See the Stars’ on March 3 in a lightly staged reading at a Harvard conference on race, class, and education called Disrupting the Discourse: Discussing the ‘Undiscussable,’ sponsored by the Graduate School of Education’s Alumni of Color. The Harvard performance is open to conference participants only, but the public can attend a free performance at Brown University’s Lyman Hall in Providence on March 2 at 3:30 p.m.”  — Joel Brown, Boston.com, February 12, 2012 (retrieved on July 9, 2012)

See also Rachel Apfel’s piece in the Harvard Ed. Magazine.

Dante Restaurant, Boston

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Dante Restaurant, Boston, MA

Contributed by Krista Gladman (Bowdoin, ’11)

“O.N.C.E. in Hell: Dante’s Inferno in Ten Courses”

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“After a smashing success in December of 2009, O.N.C.E. in Hell returns to OBERON for one night only and features ten courses of locally sourced food and a theatrical journey through the rings of hell of Dante’s Inferno. Food is by Cuisine en Locale, who offer O.N.C.E (One Night Culinary Events) throughout the city, highlighting seasonally appropriate local food. Allegra Libonati, Artistic Associate at the A.R.T, and Steven Mitchell Wright, Movement Director for Cabaret, create the performance and the cast will be filled with familiar faces from the A.R.T. and OBERON.
Virgil, your Maitre D’, will lead you through the nine circles of hell in search of the love of your life, Beatrice, who has summoned you from beyond the grave. Meet furies, a three-headed dog and a cast of wild characters as they serve you not only your meal but also a night of devilish entertainment.”    —American Repertory Theater (retrieved on November 21, 2010)

“…a 10-course, three-hour meal designed to reflect the famous Italian poet’s uniquely described ‘circles of hell.’ (In its first, sell-out staging last year, plates included ‘Beelzebub’s Burgers’ and ‘Tofu Wellington’ – the tofu being used in place of beef for the fraud circle…”    –Scott Kearnan, Stuff Boston, October 4, 2010

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

Dante Alighieri Elementary School, Boston

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See more at Boston Public Schools.

Contributed by Elizabeth Baskerville

Remembering Michael Mazur’s Illustrations of the Inferno

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“Michael Mazur, a relentlessly inventive printmaker, painter and sculptor whose work encompassed social documentation, narrative and landscape while moving back and forth between figuration and abstraction, died on Aug. 18 in Cambridge, Mass. He was 73 and lived in Cambridge and Provincetown, Mass. . .
While attending Amherst College he studied with the printmaker and sculptor Leonard Baskin, who was teaching at Smith College. After taking a year off to study in Italy, where his lifelong fascination with Dante began, he received a bachelor’s degree in 1957 and went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine art from the Yale School of Art and Architecture. . .
After seeing an exhibition of Degas monotypes at the Fogg Museum in 1968, he began exploring that medium, most notably in the monumental Wakeby landscapes of 1983, depicting Wakeby Lake on Cape Cod, and in a series of illustrations for Robert Pinsky’s translation of Dante’s ‘Inferno,’ published in 1994.” [. . .]    –William Grimes, The New York Times, August 29, 2009

Contributed by Richard Lindemann (2006)

Dante Drives a Honda Civic

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Cambridge, MA with CT plates

(Photo by Dien Ho, 2008)