When Evelyn Waugh wrote The Loved One (1948) as a satire of the elaborate preparations and memorialization of the dead taking place in his time, he had no way of knowing how technical and extraordinarily creative human funerary practices would become in the ensuing decades.
In Funeral Festivals in America, author Jacqueline S. Thursby explores how modern American funerals and their accompanying rituals have evolved into affairs that help the living with the healing process. Thursby suggests that there is irony in the festivities surrounding death. The typical American response to death often develops into a celebration that reestablishes links or strengthens ties between family members and friends. The increasingly important funerary banquet, for example, honors an often well-lived life in order to help survivors accept the change that death brings and to provide healing fellowship. At such celebrations and other forms of the traditional wake, participants often use humor to add another dimension to expressing both the personality of the deceased and their ties to a particular ethnic heritage.
In her research and interviews, Thursby discovered the paramount importance of food as part of the funeral ritual. During times of loss, individuals want to be consoled, and this is often accomplished through the preparation and consumption of nourishing, comforting foods. In the Intermountain West, Funeral Potatoes, a potato-cheese casserole, has become an expectation at funeral meals; Muslim families often bring honey flavored fruits and vegetables to the funeral table for their consoling familiarity; and many Mexican Americans continue the tradition of tamale making as a way to bring people together to talk, to share memories, and to simply enjoy being together.
Funeral Festivals in America examines rituals for loved ones separated by death, frivolities surrounding death, funeral foods and feasts, post-funeral rites, and personalized memorials and grave markers. Thursby concludes that though Americans come from many different cultural traditions, they deal with death in a largely similar approach. They emphasize unity and embrace rites that soothe the distress of death as a way to heal and move forward.
In Northern Ireland, Halloween is such a major celebration that it is often called the Irish Christmas. A day of family reunions, meals, and fun, Halloween brings people of all ages together with rhyming, storytelling, family fireworks, and community bonfires. Perhaps most important, it has become a day that transcends the social conflict found in this often troubled nation. Through the extensive use of interviews, The Hallowed Eve offers a fascinating look at the various customs, both past and present, that mark the celebration of the holiday. Looking through the lenses of gender, ethnicity, and religious affiliation, Jack Santino examines how the traditions exist in a nonthreatening, celebratory way to provide a model of how life could be in Northern Ireland. Halloween, concludes Santino, is a marriage of death and life, a joining of cultural opposites: indoor and outdoor, domesticity and wildness, male and female, old and young. Although current folk and popular traditions can be divisive, Halloween in Northern Ireland is universally considered to belong to everyone, regardless of their background or political leanings. The holiday is a dramatic example of how a community comes together one day a year, and these Northern Irish traditions capture the fundamental and everyday dimensions of life in Ulster.
Far from the glittering lights of Broadway, in a city known more for its horse racing than its artistic endeavors, an annual festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has transformed the landscape of the American theater. The Actors Theatre of LouisvilleÂthe Tony AwardÂwinning state theater of KentuckyÂin 1976 successfully created what became the nation's most respected new-play festival, the Humana Festival of New American Plays.
The Humana Festival: The History of New Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville examines the success of the festival and theaterâs Pulitzer PrizeÂwinning productions that for decades have reflected new-play trends in regional theaters and on BroadwayÂthe result of the calculated decisions, dogged determination, and good luck of its producing director, Jon Jory.
The volume details how Actors Theatre of Louisville was established, why the Humana Festival became successful in a short time, and how the eventâs success has been maintained by the Louisville venue that has drawn theater critics from around the world for more than thirty years.
Author Jeffrey Ullom charts the theaterâs early struggles to survive, the battles between troupe leaders, and the desperate measures to secure financial support from the Louisville community. He examines how Jory established and expanded the festival to garner extraordinary local support, attract international attention, and entice preeminent American playwrights to premier their works in the Kentucky city. Â
In The Humana Festival, Ullom provides a broad view of new-play development within artistic, administrative, and financial contexts. He analyzes the relationship between Broadway and regional theaters, outlining how the Humana Festival has changed the process of new-play development and even Broadwayâs approach to discovering new work, and also highlights the struggles facing regional theaters across the country as they strive to balance artistic ingenuity and economic viability.
Offering a rare look at the annual event, The Humana Festival provides the first insiderâs view of the extraordinary efforts that produced the nationâs most successful new-play festival.
Lessons on product, quality, innovation, and longevity from the "First Family of Bourbon"
The Big Man of Jim BeamÂ delves into the life and times of legendary distiller F. Booker Noe III, grandson of Jim Beam and father of the bourbon boom. A true American original who left his mark on everything he did and everyone he met, this charismatic, opinionated man turned the Jim Beam company into the world's largest bourbon distillery and secured his product's place in the cultural psyche. This book tells his story, from growing up in the "First Family of Bourbon" to becoming master distiller, offering insights and guidance for creating brands and products that stand the test of time. His commitment to innovation and quality earned him legendary status and tremendous business growth; the discussion keys in on some of his most prized creations, including one of the first super-premium bourbons on the market, and the small batch collection that laid the groundwork for bourbon's modern resurgence.
Jim Beam is a distinctly American brand that has tapped into the collective consciousness and leveraged vision into growth. This book tells the story of the man behind the brand, and his approach to his work, his product, his company, and his people.
Read colorful stories about growing up as "bourbon royalty"
Trace Booker's journey from apprentice to world's largest bourbon distiller
Learn how innovation and a commitment to quality delivers product longevity
Gain deep, personal insight on creating a brand that becomes a legend
Booker was the sixth generation of the Beam family to make bourbon, and he grew an empire. Driven by commitment, vision, and a singular sort of ambition, his success offers many lessons to anyone in business.Â The Big Man of Jim Beam tells the story, and digs out the wisdom and insight from this legendary leader.