Hollywood

These Ducks Keep Boppin': Birds Flock to Dee Dee Ramone's Grave for Rockin' Daily Vigil

Every afternoon, a group of 35-100 ducks, geese and swans, march their little webbed feet from the Hollywood Forever lake over to the grave of punk rock legend Dee Dee Ramone.

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While normally a place to find serenity in the city, if you've been to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery lately, you may have noticed it can get a little quacky from time to time.

Every afternoon, a group of 35-100 ducks, geese and swans, march their little webbed feet from the Hollywood Forever lake over to the grave of punk rock legend Dee Dee Ramone.

The daily spectacle not a coincidence, it's by design.

"At one point, I said, let's see if we can get the ducks to follow us around the lake, just for fun," said Pleasant Gehman.

Gehman, who lives in Hollywood, has been coming to the cemetery for years, and when the pandemic began, it quickly became one of the only places she could go.

"There was no parks open, there was no beaches open and I wanted to get out in the sunshine, and there was nobody here but the dead," Gehman explained, adding that her friend, Coyote Shivers, started joining her. "He said what do you do at the cemetery all day? Like I think he thought I was doing rituals of witchcraft or something. I said, I feed the ducks and the cats. He said, there's ducks there? And I was like, yeah!"

Soon, the pair found themselves feeding the ducks every day, training them to walk over to Dee Dee's grave.

It started with just five and grew to as many as 100 on some days.

"I just was a fan. And we used to park here every day just because it was Dee Dee Ramone and the lake was right there," Gehman said.

"Dee Dee would love it. He would love it," Shivers said. "I'm good friends with his wife, now widow, Barbara. She loves it. If you anything about him, he would love it."

The march usually starts around 4 p.m., when Shivers and Gehman play a remix of the Ramone's hit "Blitzkrieg Bop" that's been dubbed "Quacks-krieg Bop."

"The song is actually all the ducks and geese and swans voices sampled. So, it's their own voices," Gehman explained.

Ramone's Ducks now have a following on Instagram and in person, with people stopping by to see the "quacks-krieg" for themselves.

"People have been here after funerals and they come here and we get texts or they say to us, 'Thank you so much. This made visiting my mother's plot not just bearable, but joyous,'" Gehman said. "I lost my brother last summer and thank you, in the middle of that, this was my one bright spot of joy, coming here every day."

Gehman and Shivers say they're always looking for donations for bird food, but ultimately it's just about connecting with nature in an unlikely setting.

"It felt good to take care of these animals that no one was taking care of at that time," Shivers said. "You know, we got kind of a personal relationship with some of these little bastards."

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