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BY: Nic Rowan
When winter storms cover Takoma, Washington, D.C., the neighborhood looks like a snow globe flipped on its head. And death lurks everywhere: in the funeral home on the corner, in the novels stacked in the bookstore—but especially in the conversations at the two-story arts center where tonight, Death Café hosts its first 2019 event in D.C.
Welcome - Sarah - Farr - Event - Leader
"Welcome," Sarah Farr, the event leader, tells me as I enter. "You're the first one. Would you like some tea and cookies?"
I'm usually a coffee and cigarettes guy, but when Earl Grey and Whole Foods chocolate chip cookies appear on a skull-adorned serving platter—my stomach leaps toward the memento mori.
"I'd love some."
Over the next 10 minutes, more Death Café socialites enter the house. They are mostly single women in their early 30s. After greeting our hostess, they come into the kitchen and marvel at Sarah's work. In addition to the platter, all of her napkins are decorated with skulls, and she's baked some sugar cookies slathered in bone white icing. She's also propped up a model human skull to survey the scene.
Instagram - Jackie - Blond - Woman - Leggings
"Oh, I had better put this on my Instagram!" Jackie, a blond woman wearing leggings and boots, exclaims.
"Okay, everyone, let's begin," Sarah says as she beckons us into the other room. "Now who's been to a Death Café before?"
Explains - Death - Cafés - Phenomenon - London
Few have, so Sarah explains. Death Cafés are a British phenomenon, founded in 2011 by the (now dead) London psychotherapist Jon Underwood. Underwood recognized that his young urban friends had no way to talk about what happens after this life. Church was out of the question—since so few people go—and the reigning generation of parents had often felt too squeamish to mention the subject in the formative years. So, to provide a safe space for death, Underwood started hosting dinners where people could...
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