Leo and Presley and Poe

Last week I wrote about Mom formally memorializing Dad every year on his birthday, rather than on the day he died. So, of course, the universe promptly offered me two related stories, and I looked up the third on the interweb.

Story #1

This week, notables celebrated the 500th anniversary of the death of Leo(nardo da Vinci).

The presidents of Italy and France attended a ceremony Thursday in Amboise, France, where Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago, and galleries around the world with a link to the artist and polymath are celebrating his work. – CBC News

Story #2

Every August, fans descend on Graceland for Elvis Week.

Memphis sees an influx of Elvis fans for a celebration of the music, movies and legacy of Elvis Presley. Elvis Week features concerts, panel discussions, dances and much more – plus traditional Elvis Week events such as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and the annual Candelight Vigil. – Graceland

Elvis died on 16 Aug 1977. Book your rooms now for the 500th anniversary spectacular.

Story #3

Finally, as it were, January sees Poe fan(atic)s celebrating too.

Raven on dock with water behind him


But Poe is not confined to scholarly debate; each January 19 hundreds of Poe fans mark his birthday (1809) with pilgrimages to Poe sites in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Richmond. – Smithsonian Magazine

How ironic that it is the “the half-mad Romantic” — who “shaped our national obsession with tales of chaos and darkness” — who is the one guy of these three who is remembered on the day of his birth, not his death.
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4 Responses to Leo and Presley and Poe

  1. On the 16 August 1977, we were headed for Memphis to put Dick’s daughter on a plane back to her mom. We were lucky to have gotten a hotel reservation, but did not understand why we had gotten our bid in just in time until the traffic slowed down miles from Memphis and the announcement of The King’s death came on the car radio. I was never an Elvis fan, but the grief of the populace was remarkable and a social phenomenon fascinating to witness. I did not know, but am hardly surprised, to learn that anniversary continues to be celebrated in that part of the world.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Yes, I did wonder whether we might be more inclined to memorialize a celebrity death we’ve lived through, than the death date of some author who died a hundred years before we were born. As for da Vinci, maybe the gap of centuries makes the choice sort of moot.

    • Are there any fans who “see” him alive, still?

      And, only in America…

      • Isabel Gibson says:

        Barbara – P’raps. And a scatter of rhinestones along a back road, maybe.

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