Day of the Dead, Hollywood Forever *

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The annual Day of the Dead festivities on Saturday night brought out crowds to Hollywood Forever cemetery. Photos by Iris Schneider.

This is what I love about LA: My trip to Hollywood Forever Saturday night seemed to encompass the wonderful diversity of Los Angeles in one event. First, there were the living and the dead. There were loads of Latinos, families festooned with facepainted calaveras, eating pupusas and mole tamales, walking among altars created to honor their loved ones. There was a walking melting pot of people. Then there were the graves. Where else could you see buried Russian Jews with everything from airbrushed portraits and embedded money in their tombstones, right next to Mel Blanc, Rudolph Valentino, Mickey Rooney, two Ramones (Johnny and DeeDee), Douglas Fairbanks and Big Spanky? There were ornately decorated altars, including many for celebrities who are not buried at Hollywood Forever (Robin Williams and Bela Lugosi), and ordinary people (parents and grandparents, children and friends). There was a Quinceanera onstage, musical performances (La Santa Cecilia) and passion plays in Spanish. There were art exhibits, tschotchkes to buy and hundreds, if not thousands, of Los Angelenos basking in the celebration of the departed and the vibrant coming together of humanity.

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