intersection 03.24.09


In each brief chapter of Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, neuroscientist, creative writer, and evident Renaissance man David Eagleman creates an unexpected version of the afterlife, then wipes the blackboard clean and does it again in the next chapter. And again. God turns up as a committee, a bacterium, a married couple, a species of dimwits. The afterlife is made up exclusively of people that you knew or it's your life reshuffled or it's full of obsolete gods. Mr. Eagleman has called himself a possibilian, and while he acknowledges that each of his tales is equally improbable, this act of imagination is so rich – funny, touching, revelatory – that life and death both seem wondrous. No small feat.

Before Prospect and Central Parks, New Yorkers used the 478-acre Green-wood Cemetery as an ersatz park, strolling, picnicking, and enjoying the idyllic setting with its wonderful views from the highest point in Brooklyn out to the harbor. (The much-loved view of Minerva saluting the Statue of Liberty is now under threat by commercial development.) Among the many notables buried here are Leonard Bernstein, Horace Greeley, DeWitt Clinton, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Charles Ebbets, Boss Tweed, Fred Ebb, Lola Montez, and Margaret Sanger. On April 26th, 1pm, Alexandra Kathryn Mosca, author of Images of America: Green-Wood Cemetery, gives another trolly tour of the cemetery. The last one sold out, so book ahead. $20.

You might prefer to count your paper clips rather than see another production of Our Town. Understood. But you'll be missing a genuine treat: David Cromer's transcendent production of Thornton Wilder's over-produced and underrated classic. The third act, set in the hilltop cemetery, with its gentle "every, every minute" importuning, just kills us.


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