On Monday 5th, I drove to Philadelphia to hear Lavinia's presentation on DEATH BALLADS at the Mutter Museum, which is at 19 S. 22nd Street. There are plenty of parking garages nearby. I think I paid $12, one block away. It was a multi-day event, but I only went for the one lecture, DEATH BALLADS. Lavinia's power point presentation was informative without being dry, and very witty! In case you are wondering wat Death Ballads are, people of my generation would be most familiar with Stacker Lee, also know as Stagger Lee (You know Stagger Lee shot Billy).
She talked about how they evolved from their ancestor, broadsheets, sung by traveling troubedors when people were mostly illerate and there were not newspapers available to village people. They were brought here from Europe with the immigrants, and then evolved, incorporating our own stories of murder, betrayal, deceit, hauntings and wrongful capital punishment. Along with the lecture, she had a band, Vandavere. They sange 4 more ballads to a thrilled and appreciative audience.
After lectures on everything including medical books covered with the skin of used up cadavers, thi was a bright and cheering departure.
This gave me an opportunity to tour the museum, which I have always wanted to do but never got around to. My favorite thing in the museum was the wall of glass cases housing God-only-knows how many skulls, a whole wall of skulls, all the same until you look closely and see the subtle differences in shapes and sizes and facial arrangement.
Also interesting to me was the comparison of a normal woman's skeleton with that of a woman deformed by corset. A long time opponent of high heeled shoes, once again, I was astonished that so many women are willing to deform themselves to fit some foolish notion of 'sexy' or beautiful. Nature is best!
It was a wonderful evening, informative and entertaining and I advise you to go on over the bridge and visit the Mutter Museum and see medicine in the 1800's, you won't complain about medicine in the 21st century after you see this!
Happy Trails and Happy Halloween!