All this grieving calls for a soundtrack, something with a beat that would also remind us of our imminent deaths. (If art distracts from our mortality, it also serves to reinscribe our finitude—like a child, art should outlast us.) I contacted Kool-Aid Mizrahi, a prominent figure in the New York gay ball scene. I'd seen him at work as an emcee several times before, and knew that he'd make an amazing funeral barker. The songs were to recall an old Roman practice employed during parades celebrating the spoils of war. During these pageants, a servant would be positioned at the ear of his triumphator, and periodically—at moments when his victor's face would light up with arrogance--he would lean down to whisper: "memento mori" (remember your mortality). This is my death rattle.