One of the oldest memorial parks in Los Angeles, Hollywood Forever  was founded in 1899, and rapidly became an integral part of the growth (and deaths) of early Hollywood.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery's Old Rolls Royce Hearse Is Waiting To Take You Away

Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Old Rolls Royce Hearse Is Waiting To Take Us Away!

Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place for many of Hollywood’s great studio pioneers, as well as writers, directors, and performers. The annual Dia de Los Muertos Festival at Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the largest celebration of its kind in the country, now going into its fifteenth year.  Hollywood Forever is genuinely focused in striving to bestow a memorable occasion by providing a historically recognized cultural setting for this traditional Mexican festive event and sacred observance.

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But Dia de los Muertos is not just about death or dying, it is about living life to the fullest, and remembering the Spirit of the Ancestors that came before.  It is about celebrating their lives, and in doing so, incorporating that very special part of them – their Heart, some would call it, into yourself, and changing your daily life from the ancient Shaman practice.  The Southern most States of Mexico, particularly Guanajuato, Queretaro, Michoacan and south to the Queen of them all, Oaxaca, offer up exciting photo opportunities.  Painted faces, colorful exotic costumes, Catholic religious overtones combine with far older Traditional Mexican Indian ancestral pre-Spanish cultural treasures.  There is really nothing like Dia de los Muertos, it is something everyone has to experience for themselves.

Quinceañera Magazine Catrina Fashion Show with dresses provided by designer Pink Horses.

Quinceañera Magazine Catrina Fashion Show with dresses provided by designer Pink Horses.  GORGEOUS!

I wandered away a significant piece of my middle years exploring Mexico, and the Mexican cultural events.  Dia de los Muertos is one of my top five best photographic events ever.  Fortunately, I no longer need to travel dangerous back roads to outlying villages near Oaxaca City to experience an authentic Dia de los Muertos.  

Dia De Los Muertos November 1, 2005, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca.  Leica R8/DMR 1/6th Sec, f3.4, ISO 400

Dia De Los Muertos
November 1, 2005, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca Mexico. Leica R8/DMR 21-35mm R Zoom, 1/6th Sec, f3.4, ISO 400

Dia De Los Muertos November 1, 2005, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca Mexico. Leica R8/DMR 21-35mm R Zoom, 1/6th Sec, f3.4, ISO 400.  Low Light Performance Has Come A Long Way In Nine Years.

Dia De Los Muertos
November 1, 2005, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca Mexico. Leica R8/DMR 21-35mm R Zoom, 1/6th Sec, f3.4, ISO 400.
Low Light Camera Performance Has Come A Long Way In Nine Years.

Friday, October 24th, I was invited to a Pre-Dia de los Muertos press reception at Hollywood Forever. I got a sneak peek at some beautiful and elaborate altar designs and catrina displays by local artist Ricardo Soltero.  Quinceañera Magazine sponsored a Catrina Fashion Show with dresses provided by designer Pink Horses. Fabulous!  The quinceañera court of honor was present, presenting the waltz in preparation for the big Dia de los Muertos Quinceañera celebration. The authentic taste of Jalisco style tacos by Jalisco Taco Grill were wonderful, with delightfully delicious quinceañera cake by April’s Cakes for desert.  Sipping spirits were provided by El Jimador Tequila.  We were treated to a special performance by Mariachi Divas, who coincidentally are also celebrating their own Quinceañera this year!

Quinceañera Waltz

Quinceañera Waltz

Quinceañera Waltz & Catrina Fashion Show Dresses by Designer Pink Horses.

Quinceañera Waltz & Catrina Fashion Show Dresses by Designer Pink Horses.

Attendees at the official Dia de los Muertos celebration this coming Saturday, November 1st, 2014 will be experiencing all of these same entertainers, so I strongly encourage any of our readers close by the Hollywood Forever location to stop by and catch the show, enjoy the day with the fabulous made-up painted faces, the native dancers, and the entire crowd of participants.  This is a show not to be missed, and a great photographic event!

Makeup Artist At Work!

Makeup Artist At Work!

Oaxaca Dancer

Oaxaca Dancer

So grab your camera, and join me with Carla Morrison, La Santa Cecilia, Gaby Moreno, Los Cenzontles, and another very special performance by Mariachi Divas at:

WHERE: Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90038 
WHEN: Saturday, November 1, 2014
Doors Open At: 12:00 PM (event ends at 12:00 AM)
$20 at the door, or advance online tickets are available from http://www.ladayofthedead.com

 

Video and stills shot with the incomparable Sony A7S using Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 FE and Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron,  Recorded with XAVC codec, and Sony S-log2.  Grading done in Final Cut Pro X and FilmConvert.

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