Cemeteries in gothic novels tend to be leaf-blown, cloud-dappled, and very, very silent. Eternally, beyond-time silent, in fact, with only the occasional rustle of a branch to lend aural texture.
That is not the case with Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Tinseltown's starry final resting place. It's seen recent concerts from Karen O on the grounds, and Spoon, and Cinespia's warm-weather screenings summon a host of celebrities and fans reading to spread out supper just steps from the tombstones.
If you've been to the cemetery for a music or movie event, but haven't ventured much beyond the confines of why you were there, here's the remedy, and it comes with a strong whiff of fascinating history: The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles will lead several tours on Saturday, Oct. 11, all with an eye to pull back the proverbial veil on the just-off-Santa-Monica-Boulevard-plot's tale-packed past.
The stories of "early pioneers, stars, and movie moguls" shall be dished upon by docent guides during the two-and-a-half-hour strut about. Surely you know Rudolph Valentino is a forever resident? "Casablanca" baddie Peter Lorre? And Johnny Ramone, who has a guitar-awesome statue in his honor?
There's much to tell, both in the semi-recent past and the decades-ago -- or even a century-plus-ago -- years gone by. It was, after all, founded in the century before last, in 1899, to be specific. For sure, a few things have gone down within its Paramount Studios-close walls, beyond the planting of those epic palm trees, trees that look especially ethereal when framed against the evening sunset.
More concerts are to come for the cemetery, like Lana Del Rey on Oct. 17 and 18, and, not long after that, the annual mega-atmospheric Dia de los Muertos celebration. Isn't it time to brush up on a few past facts of what truly is one of the most bustling spots in all of SoCal, and maybe the busiest cemetery on earth?
Yes. And doing so in October? Call it a spirited adventure of the most scholarly sort.