I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WE VISIT THE WIZ





















Father Divine, who lived in this area for many years, was a real life version of the Wizard of Oz-- with similar contradictions. A preacher, visionary civil rights pioneer, and friend of the poor, Father Divine ran integrated hotels, spoke out against injustice, and provided his followers with jobs, and decent, low-income housing. The religion he founded, the Peace Mission, was a model of racial parity. For all this, Father Divine is admired, and remembered fondly. But it's fair to say that The Wiz took as much as he gave. Living in ostentatious luxury, Father Divine persuaded his followers to separate from their families, subsume their identities in the Peace Movement, and worship him, literally, as God incarnate. Sex was forbidden, and language was policed with a evangelical rigor that makes campus speech codes seem permissive. This Philadelphia Inquirer article from 1989 gives a great overview of life in the Peace Mission, from the point of view of Father Divine's adopted son Tommy Garcia.

After legal troubles forced Father Divine to leave New York, the Lorraine Hotel on Broad Street became home base for the Peace Mission. Father Divine renamed the hotel the Divine Lorraine, and declared Philadelphia to be the center of the universe.

It was a real privilege to tour the beautiful and mysterious Divine Lorraine Hotel. I have a fascination for cults and mysticism, and love old buildings, so I've always been intrigued by it. Thank you Ken and Summer! I posted my photos from our visit in the Trips section of this page, the link is under Books to the right. I'm sure you'll agree that the Lorraine is a precious part of Philadelphia history-- a pearly dewdrop on the rose at the center of the universe.




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