The Private Intellectual
Ecclesiastes-Based Real Estate Advice

Tuesday, December 01, 2009  

The Black Angel's Death Song

I was disappointed to read that a plan to redevelop the Three Arts Club building at 1300 N. Dearborn as a columbarium (a repository for cremated remains) has been withdrawn under fire from the neighbors. It struck me as a wonderful place to inter and visit the deceased, but as with any development pertaining to the dead, it gave people the willies:

Concerns about everything from traffic influx to the macabre ambience galvanized opposition in the form of petitions and rampant scuttlebutt.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the concerns about "a traffic influx" were a little less than credible, given that unlike almost any other conceivable development for the site, the columbarium's clients would overwhelmingly be dead. As for "macabre ambience," this goes straight to the denial of mortality. A respectful, beautiful housing for the dead is anything but macabre. Add some skeleton sculptures, gargoyles, and heavy black draping and you've got the macabre; a place for a man to pay respects to his grandmother's mortal remains is not macabre.

But anyway, if you want to confront the hideous death's head of human mortality, you can just go around the corner to the Division Street corporate meat-market bars. The scene at Bar Chicago harrows the soul more deeply than any resting place of the dead I've ever been.

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posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 1:13 PM
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