It's Your Funeral

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On Saturday, January 1st, 2010, starting at 5pm at 14 Pews, 800 Aurora Street, artist Emily Sloan presents Funeral Party for the Living, described in the press release as an "interactive funeral." The party will include eulogies written and read by anyone wishing to participate, a funeral pyre burning, and a potluck meal following that conflagration. Ms. Sloan has secured a metal casket for this occasion (It is SCARY what you can find on Craig's List) and funeral attire is encouraged. The event is free and open to the public.

To be clear, this is an opportunity to write and read your own eulogy. You can bring a prepared eulogy or write one at the event - Ms. Sloan will provide a specially created "mad lib" eulogy that you can fill in - and read it to the party attendees. Songs (the song quoted above is certainly appropriate), confessions and resolutions are also welcome. Ms. Sloan hopes "to encourage reflection upon and the potential to the change the contents of our eulogies." Those too freaked out to write about themselves in the past tense can participate as observers of the proceedings.

You can also bring items to burn on the funeral pyre (photos of your ex, eviction notices, etc.) and favorite funeral foods to contribute to the post-pyre potluck meal. What is "funeral food"? Are you from the South? Know anyone with extended family who died? What'd you eat after the funeral?

Texas-born Emily Sloan creates art is that's both ritualistic and post modern, with actions that are alternately public and private dealing with death, healing, and mourning. Humor sometimes finds its way into her activities such as her recent action "Water Break" where a pickup truck's bed was lined with tarp and then filled with water for participants to submerge themselves and experience the memory of being a child in the womb. The back of the truck was then opened to allow the water to "break" and pour to the ground like a waterfall followed by the tarp as placenta.

In addition to her ability to recognize the spiritual potential of ordinary and domestic objects, Ms. Sloan has a gift for bringing diverse groups of people together to realize celebratory yet inwardly reflective rituals. Her artistic resume includes being selected for Lawndale Arts Center's 30th Anniversary Exhibition, a residency with the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, and showing work at The Dallas Contemporary, Deborah Colton Gallery, and The Ontario College of Art and Design.

To participate in Funeral Party for the Living, contact Emily Sloan via her blog or just show up and read a eulogy, add something to the pyre, and/or present a dish for the potluck. Or just come as you are to see what happens.

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Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.