"A sacred place is one that orients one to the values that people hold in common . . . most people don't think of malls as sacred places and yet they function as ceremonial centers." That's how one of the talking heads in the new documentary Malls R Us describes the role of the shopping mall in our time. Are they heaven or hell, and what does it mean for a culture when the sacred spaces keep going empty, with the groupies of annihilation gleefully tracking the decline on their own website deadmalls.com? (Malls with annual per square foot sales of less than one third of normal are labeled "greyfields", by the way.)
The film will be at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton, from Friday, July 31st through Thursday August 6th. $9.00 admission, free for Facets members.
Is the Mall our Agora? Do we do over-sentimentalize its significance? Did Plato give us a highly sanitized view of the Agora of ancient Greece? Did Socrates really spend all his time there philosophizing or, like the rest of us, did he pass most of his days sipping the Athenian equivalent of a Frappachino and checking out the "Twelve Olympians" set of bobbleheads in the tchotchke shop?