Coffee—and Coffin?

Modeled after the “café mortels” that began in France and Switzerland, philosophically inclined Americans are starting to see that a little discussion about death can be surprisingly calming. Currently, there are 40 cities—including our own Twin Cities Death Café—where these salon-style groups meet regularly to talk death, dying, and fears about the great beyond. Group members are finding that their conversations about mortality teach them a great deal about life, just as von Stuck’s Portrait of Beethoven, informed by the composer’s death mask, reveals more about Beethoven’s life than his death.

—Courtney Algeo, writer

July 24


Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

Source: Bill Ward, “The Death Cafe discussion group steers its members on how to live,” Star Tribune, July 24, 2013