Hollywood Forever Cemetery

An easy afternoon trip while you’re in Hollywood is the Forever Cemetery (originally the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery) on Santa Monica Blvd just behind Paramount Pictures studio lot. Here you’ll find the graves of many celebrities including Douglas Fairbanks, Estelle Getty and Jayne Mansfield.

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Just inside the entrance and to the left is the tomb of the DeMille family, including Cecil B. DeMille. DeMille was one of the most influential directors in the industry and is known for epic films like The Ten Commandments and Cleopatra. It was cool that the entire family is entombed there, but super creepy that there are even spots on either side named for members that haven’t even died yet, including his granddaughter, Cecilia DeMille Presley.

Past their tomb is a massive lake with fountains and some graves have had benches placed next to them so you can sit and feed the ducks and geese. The structure in the center entombs William Clark Jr., the founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

 

Once on the other side it was easy to spot Johnny Ramone, the co-founder and guitarist for The Ramones.

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The Cathedral Mausoleum is a really beautiful structure inside and recently they began entombing people on the outside as well. One of the most recent is Mickey Rooney who passed just this April. Walking through the inside, our footsteps echoed as we passed huge family crypts as well as shadow boxes with cremated urns and memorabilia depicting the personalities. We found ourselves getting lost finding out who each person was, but once I realised I had wandered off and was alone I definitely wanted to hurry and find my friends as I felt the weight of those stories around me.

Some more upbeat wanderings…

 

The Joy of a Local Pub

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As American Expats in London we have completely embraced two things: walking and pubs.

In Los Angeles, we drive everywhere. Whether it’s over the hill to the Westside or across the street to a bar…we drive. So after work we’d have to strategically plan our happy hour endeavours depending on how far we had to drive home afterwords and how smashed we intended to get. Because that’s the other thing, we don’t drink calmly and socially. We go big and for no good reason at all.

But here, we love the simple notion of walking from the office to the local pub and having a pint of Guinness with our colleagues to unwind and have a laugh before heading home. There is such a surprising joy in the simplicity of walking from our flat a few steps to our local pub where the manager, Francis, knows our names and asks what new adventures we’ve been on over the weekend. Where I can walk in, grab a seat wherever there is room and hang by myself or strike up a conversation (yes, at your local pub this really can happen…even in London) or join a team for pub trivia. Our local is a fireplace and game of scrabble. Our local is finding a friend who’d also just stopped by. Our local is a decent fish n chips. Our local is good music and the guy in the corner who always sings the words. Our local is joy.