Friends, films and The Formosa aside, I had a few things to check off my (imaginary) Hollywood list. My plans were not grand (or even very ambitious) and I left the hotel on Thursday morning – the day the festival would officially kick-off – intending to do two things: visit Hollywood Forever Cemetery and take the obligatory photograph of the HOLLYWOOD sign.
I like visiting cemeteries. I find them peaceful, fascinating and are often filled with incredibly intricate architecture. You walk and ponder over names, dates and lives, very often finding the more unassuming the tombstones the more fascinating the epitaph.
Hollywood Forever’s resident tour guide Karie Bible (who I had met for the first time the previously evening) walked us through a history filled morning. We learned about the cemetery, how it continues to function as a final resting place, and also experienced first-hand its popularity as a filming venue for television shows and movies. Unfortunately, and without any prior warning, we were informed that certain areas would be out of bounds (including the area where the Jane Mansfield Memorial is situated). Karie skilfully worked around this inconvenience without cutting any of the tour’s length and was able to manoeuvre us out of the camera’s way. (Not easy. Our elbows/heads/feet/hats were frequently reprimanded by the production crew). We were also warned to be on our guard against the randy peacocks who have the run of the ground. Currently in mating season, they have been known to turn on visitors. Fortunately, they were in their cages. Unfortunately, the geese were not. I cannot talk for everyone but I am sure there were zero casualties.
Thanks to Karie’s rich knowledge the morning was both tour and history lesson and, due to this being a TCMFF specific tour, we visited monuments and graves that may have been slightly too obscure for other visitors. Being a bid fan of Ed Wood, I took pleasure in seeing the resting places of his wife Kathleen O’Hara Wood, and the frequent star of his films, the B Movie legend and television host Maila Nurmi, aka Vampire.
I took many, many pictures so have tried to be selective and provide a little montage below. (I will be creating a Facebook album of this trip so please feel free to check my page over the next few days).
In the afternoon I stopped by The Roosevelt to collect the festival programme and soak up the opening night’s atmosphere. Although I originally planned to watch the red carpet arrivals and stay for the opening films, I felt the delayed tiredness creep up on me. Rather than burn out pre-festival, I decided to wander along Hollywood Boulevard. It proved very fruitful: I took photographs on the walk of fame and was complimented by ‘Marilyn Monroe’ who said that she loved my (red) lipstick. Day. Made.
Another reason I left? My hotel was having the VIP party on the roof and I had planned to sweet talk the security into letting me in. Nope, it did not work. So I had a large glass of red wine and rested up for Friday. (Also, it was probably for the best: some silly person decided to ruin the ending of Dark Victory by setting off the fire alarm in the Chinese Theatre. Everyone had to evacuate TWO MINUTES before the finale! Who does that?)
ps. Thursday marked another milestone: I took the best selfie of my life.