The anarchist in Buffalo who killed President William McKinley in 1901 was a sad-eyed, unemployed factory worker from Cincinnati, Leon Czolgosz, son of Polish immigrants. He is allied in history with such enigmatic men as Sante Geronimo Caserio, Italian anarchist who killed French President Marie-François Sadi-Carnot in 1894; Michele Angiolillo, Italian anarchist who killed Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Canovas in 1897; and Luigi Lucheni, Italian anarchist who killed Empress Elizabeth of Austria in 1898. (By the way, what’s with the Italians?) R.I.P, Leon Czolgosz! Though you are not Italian, at least you had a cause.

 

In 1901, Buffalo was the center of civilization, site of the Pan-American Exposition, and Thomas Edison was its God. His Roentgen X-Ray machine sat in the Temple of Science. But the futuristic machine gave no hope to the fallen president. Edison was called up from New Jersey to get his machine to run, but before he could, the gynecologist at the fair who improvised McKinley's surgery had already sewn him up. McKinley died of gangrene within a few days. Thomas Edison's filmmakers, however, immortalized him in jerky video, their kinetoscopy—the first president captured on film.

 

Luca Brasi died in 1977. He died of exsanguination on an uncertain date in April: his body was found too late to determine the exact time of death. His obituary in the Catskills Reporter, clearly written by some anonymous childhood friend, privy to such minutiae (Peter Horn, is that you?), notes he graduated from Oberlin College, magna cum laude, with a major in comparative religion; his thesis, mainly speculative (he could have done more research, so said his advisors), was on Eastern mystic emblems in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. In his gap year, he traveled through France, Italy, Greece, and sneaked through what was then Yugoslavia, making friends mainly by mentioning names of soccer players, e.g., Ferenc Puskas, or Andrea di Stefano (though of the Real Madrid player, he was no fan). He loved the city of Trieste, where he made his first film, a stop-motion animation masterpiece clarifying a moment in Ulysses regarding the mysterious recurrence of ‘the lanky-looking galoot over there...

Chiara Brasi is on location on an island somewhere in the Visayan seas.

 

 

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ELVIS AARON PRESLEY

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