Ghoulish Guide to Dia de Los Muertos Day of the Dead (and a little Halloween) in L.A.
Día de los Muertos & Halloween in Los Angeles means a plethora of cultural events and activities just waiting for you to show up. Every year there's more and more to do, as this Mexican tradition combining pre-Hispanic and Catholic influences joins forces with the diverse, creative metropolis that is Los Angeles. And since it follows Halloween, you have time to celebrate all over town for days on end, from the pageantry of Día de los Muertos in Hollywood Forever Cemetery to the pageantry of queens in West Hollywood on Halloween. This year Halloween is on Friday night and you can find Día de los Muertos events throughout LA & OC.
Día de Los Muertos 2008: 35th Annual Celebration at Self-Help Graphics & Art 3802 Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, East Los Angeles, CA November 2, 2008 from 3 pm - 11 pm Things looked very grim for Self-Help Graphics & Art the last few years and it would have been a real loss for L.A had they shut down permanently. This has been one of the largest processions in southern California and it features LA's most popular Latino artists, celebrating the culture of East L.A. Festivities include free community art workshops, arts and craft vendors, food, music and theater performances, and a candle-lit procession at 5 p.m. that begins at Cesar Chavez and Lorena. The evening also includes a traditional Aztec danza, blessing and ceremony. Visit www.selfhelpgraphics.com for more information.
Day of the Dead at Hollywood Forever Cemetery 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood November 1, 2008 from 4 pm-11 pm A not-so-hidden jewel in LA is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. From hosting punk rock tributes to Dee Dee Ramone to screening a Rudolph Valentino or Pee Wee Herman film, keep this place on your radar all year long. This year the procession begins at 4:00 p.m.-walk around and visit the altars accompanied by live music. There is always a great concert to end the night, past guests have included Viola Trigo, Jaramar, Lila Downs. Los Cojolites and Leon Chavez Texeiro. Come see the altars to the dead, live performances, art installations and enjoy great food. Roaming around the cemetery isn't free this year-they want to drain you of $5---but arrive early so that you can stroll the grounds see tombs of Hollywood's dearly departed, like Rudolph Valentino and Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny (his tomb reads "That's All Folks!") Also, parking has become more problematic in recent years so plan ahead. For more information, visit www.ladayofthedead.com
Noche de Altares - 6th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration in downtown Santa Ana Fiesta Marketplace (Corner of Bush and 3rd), Santa Ana, CA November 1 from 2:00 pm- 10:00 pm Calacas Inc. & El Centro Cultural de Mexico are joining forces once again to put on a wonderful Day of the Dead event featuring an array of altars, music, food & activities for children For more information, go to www.el-centro.org
Olvera Street Olvera Street Processions October 25 - November 2, 2008, 7 - 9 pm Fiesta Nov 1-2, 10 am - 9 pm Though it's a bit touristy, Olvera Street is still the symbolic heart of El Pueblo de Los Angeles. From sugar skull decorating, face painting, piñata breaking, Aztec Dancers, decorated altars and pan de muertos, it's always an enjoyable visit. The candlelight procession in memory of deceased loved ones is each night at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the events as well as excellent info on how to build your own altar, go to www.olvera-street.com
Festival de la Gente Barker Block, 519 S Hewitt St., LA 90013 Saturday and Sunday, Nov 1-2, 2008, 1-9 pm A big FREE Day of the Dead street fair with giant paper mache puppets. Live music, art 7 altars, children's activities. www.festivaldelagente.org
25th Annual Day of the Dead Altars and Ephemera at The Folk Tree 217 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena October 4 - November 2 If you're looking for a unique gift, the Folk Tree has been a favorite place for years. You can spend a little or a lot or at least come away with some new ideas. Traditional altars and other work by local artists, as well as Mexican folk art will be exhibited. The altars include photos and other mementos, letters, candles and offerings of food. Joel García, a papier maché artist from Mexico City, will have several pieces on exhibit. If you're feeling adventurous, take the Gold Line to the Del Mar stop in Pasadena and it's a short walk down the street. www.folktree.com
Queens, queens and more queens! The 21st Annual West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval on October 31st, 2008 from 6pm-midnight. Free.. This is the biggest Halloween party on the planet, with more than 450,000 people expected to attend. A few years ago, all around good guy Ryan Seacrest was anointed "Queen of the Carnaval"! Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny and La Cienega is the main drag. And if you're lucky, you might even catch Plume Noire's Fred Thom disguised as Nosferatu. For more information, go to www.visitwesthollywood.com/main.html
Cypress Hill Annual Haunted Hill Concert
Friday, October 31 @ 9 pm at the Wiltern. Now this sounds like a party! And, if you go to www.goldstar.com you can get tickets for $10. So much better than trick or treating, though we're sure there will be lots of tricks in that madness.
For creepy, expensive fun, head to Long Beach! The Queen Mary Shipwreck Annual Halloween Terror Fest is a Knott's Scary Farm for adults. This haunted ocean liner features a spooky dance party, corpses and carcasses, a fright mistress babe and several mazes that will hopefully make the $34 worth it. And in the spirit of Halloween, NO COSTUMES ALLOWED! Time to head to the bar! Personally I think one is better off heading to their delicious Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Grand Salon and then skulking around the ship reading all about the ghosts and paranormal activity. For more information, go to www.queenmaryshipwreck.com/main.html