Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cemetery Sunday

One of the lovely places that we have the great fortune to live near is Forest Lawn Memorial Park. I know, it sounds weird to be glad that we live near a cemetery, but it's true. There is a lot of beautiful thought behind the design of Forest Lawn [read all about it here], but the essence is this: a Memorial Park should be a place of life and not death. So, in his vision, The Builder designed a place with no towering grave stones (except just a few, more on that later) and lots of open spaces with sweeping views and private gardens and world-class art. The essential thought: if you build it, they will come. And they do! It is a lovely place to spend an afternoon, just wandering the gardens and hillsides or even visiting the museum.

That was our original intention. There is an exhibit at the museum currently, showing the Art of Marc Davis, but it happened to close just before we arrived, due to a private party. Oh well. So we set out to explore Forest Lawn, and there is a surprisingly lot to see.

goof offs

A same-size replica of "David" in marble taken from the same quarry as the original by Michelangelo


In one of the gardens, there are several marble statues and benches and it's a lush little sanctuary of green and solitude. Also, it's an advertisement for the various statuary that can be purchased. Two birds with one stone!
In that garden is a giant marble statue titled "The Mystery of Life" which depicts several different people from various backgrounds, ages, etc. and the intent is that you will look at the statue and find someone that you identify with. Below there is a bronze plaque that gives some background info on each of the depictions and you match it up to see if you agree with the interpretation of the sculptor.

The Mystery of Life

I selected The Atheist "...the fool, who grinningly cares not at all"

After spending some time in the gardens, we drove through the park toward the Memorial Court building, which is in actuality a giant mausoleum but in Forest Lawn fashion is open and inviting and full of beautiful art, including the Last Supper stained glass window. The glass was absolutely beautiful, although I was getting a little punchy by that point (I was hot and sweaty and giggly) and so I had a hard time keeping it together. The stained glass window is behind a giant velvet curtain and, apparently, they only display it on-the-half-hour. At the :00 or :30 mark, you take a seat in the hall and hear a narration about the artist and how the window came to be and then there is this cheesy trilling brass section duhhh-nuhhhh kind of music while the curtain is opened. I almost laughed out loud. But the window IS really lovely and the light filtering in behind it did lend it some sort of magic.
Driving around, we noticed a small area of the park that had raised grave markers (which aren't seen elsewhere) and so we drove through and just happened to spot the marker for L. Frank Baum (and his wife, Maud)!

L. Frank Baum

Our last stop was at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather, which was originally a small village church in Scotland that was brought over and re-assembled, stone-by-stone. It's a cute little chapel and outside it has a cool, quiet garden (perfect, because it was nearly 100 degrees outside) in the back. In the front, there is also a Wishing Chair. The Wishing Chair has two side-by-side seats, made of stone (blessed by fairies!) intended for a bride and groom and at the foot of the chair is a magic poem to be read by the betrothed that will ensure success. Kate insisted that we sit in it for a picture...

ew? kiss you?!

...where we grudgingly kissed.

After that, we were all so sweaty and heat sick, that we decided to go somewhere nice and cool and get a soda. We went to Downtown Burbank, which is really cool and someday I'm going to have the time to explore it all more. We grabbed a quick soda (and walked through all the misters set up along the patios) before Kate had to dash off to a previous engagement.
It was a great day and went by so fast! I am hoping that we can work it out to see the Marc Davis exhibit before it closes at the end of July.
And, of course, I am just realizing that everyone in the world is probably ultra aware of Forest Lawn right now, seeing as how it is where Michael Jackson's body will be interred. Which also means that the heightened security and flocks of fans are going to prevent us from getting back to the museum. :(


Mom said...

Maybe you can arrange to have me planted there... give you a good excuse to come by and visit me once a decade. The shell will be there, the nut gone

Anonymous said...

SUCH a great day! I keep talking to everyone about it! But I didn't even THINK about the crowds that will be swarming the place. BUH! MJ! You're ruining my life!!! Unless you come back as a zombie werewolf every full moon to dance amongst the gravestones, in which case, I might let it go.

City Girl said...

Okay, you totally got me back at Out of Character with the wooden peg painted to look like Simon Pegg!

Glad I found your site - and your Etsy!


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