Photo by Xispas. Thanks!
Today is the awesome Dias de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery,and if you’re in LA, you really should go. Families line the pathways with altars to dead loved ones packed with pictures, favorite foodstuffs, stuffed animals, etc. (It’s something of a mindfuck regarding the ways we’re remembered after we’re gone.) There’s Aztec dance troupes from the Nahuatl-teaching charter school, and theater of the oppressed types dresses as ghosts of American soldiers in a difficult to understand anti-war statement.
Then there’s the cemetery itself, where various famous people are buried in sometimes ridiculously ostentatious plots (I’m looking at you Johnny Ramone). People actually own their plot and can do anything with it, so results vary with your loved ones’ taste.
In earlier times the cemetery was segregated by race, which makes for an odd visitor experience as you wander through various immigrant community “neighborhoods” — as if to say that we don’t leave our racial divisions behind when we die; they follow us into the white light. The perimeter of the cemetery is occupied by tiny child plots, many featuring stuffed animals slowing dying of exposure to the elements, happy meal toys, and school pictures.
It’s eccentric and with0ut regard for tradition; a perfect LA place. I want to be buried there just to force family members to visit.