locked in. don't send help. by Levi Buchanan

A most wonderful accident last night. I went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for one last look. Apparently I was so quiet, the priests operating the church didn't realize I was there... and they locked the door. Not just locked it, but barred it with a ladder. More on that detail shortly.


Now, the church is administered by six different orders. Last night, it was the Greek Orthodox. Relations between the six factions are not always cordial, but the epoxy that keeps everything together are some very carefully architected and observed rules. Such as, the door cannot be re-opened once closed until the next order arrives.

So, I was locked in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for several hours during the night... and rather than be upset, I was appreciative. What an opportunity. No crowds. Just time to explore, admire, and reflect.

And take a few photos.


Getting out. Watching the shift change ceremony was incredible. The priest opened a smal window in the door and then passed the ladder through it. Once accepted by the next order, the door briefly opens.


I slipped out into a quiet Old City and made my way through the Muslim Quarter in hopes the late night falafel stand was indeed truly a late night joint. Mercifully, it was. I sat and shared with a feral cat, still so pleased with an accident that may have cost me a little time, but resulted in something I'll never forget.

church of the holy sepulchre. by Levi Buchanan

Ever build something up in your head for half of your life... and then have it exceed all expectations? That. 

Early this morning, followed the stations of Via Dolorosa and slipped into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre before it was overwhelmed by crowds. I'm not necessarily religious -- rather, I embrace the uncertainty of faith is something greater than ourselves. But it was difficult not to sense something both infinite and historical at this site, where Jesus was raised on the cross over Golgotha and then nearby laid to rest.

Jerusalem continues to be everything I hoped. Truly a crossroads in history.

The Aedicule, containing the Angel Stone and the tomb of Jesus.

The Stone of Unction.

The Stone of Unction.

The Altar of the Crucifixion over Golgotha. There's a hole in the altar where you can reach down to touch the rock.

The rock of Calvary, viewed through a window in the Chapel of Adam. Allegedly cracked by an earthquake when Jesus was crucified.

The Christ Pantocrator ceiling above the Catholicon in the center of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 

The rotunda above the Aedicule.

The Angel Stone, believed to be a fragment of the rock that covered the covered the tomb of Jesus.

Within the tomb, inside the Aedicule.

Crusader graffiti in the stairs leading down to the Chapel of Saint Helena.

Unearthed tombs behind the Aedicule.

Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The immovable ladder rests against the upper-right window.



phantom of the paradise by Levi Buchanan


The Hollywood has a series of rock operas this month. Watched -- I mean, experienced -- "Phantom of the Paradise."  Total gonzo 70s flick by Brian de Palma, with music by Paul Williams (who wrote "Rainbow Connection"). Hugely fun riff on a bunch of different stories, from "Faust" to "Dorian Gray." And, of course, "Phantom of the Opera." Great costumes and sets. The effete Beef charicachture doesn't necessarily jive with 2015 sensibilities, although his number is one of the movie's highlights.


I've seen a lot of paint-by-numbers blockbusters this summer that were as joyless as they were loud. Catching classics at the Hollywood has been great counterprogramming.


Except for "Mad Max Fury Road." That was spectacular. 

frank by Levi Buchanan

Yesssss. Visited the Frank Sidebottom statue tonight. Love the differences between real Frank and movie Frank -- wonderful lessons in creativity and identity found in each.  If the flick is still on Netflix, I cannot recommend it highly enough.


the third man by Levi Buchanan

"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace... and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long, Holly."

- Orson Welles, "The Third Man"

Riesenrad - where Harry Lime threatens Holly Martins