There were Gaga’s aplenty at the West Hollywood Halloween parade on Sunday night. I myself was a devil-horned medic complete with a bright red wig, false eyelashes and a stethoscope. The wig was spectacular, and I confess that I’m wearing it as I type, which could be cause for concern.
I was disappointed not to see as many Snooki’s and Situations but WeHo is all about high camp so the drag queens were out in full force and boy, do some of them have great legs. My friend Tanya was a slutty cow, so she gets a special mention.
The parade is an amazing spectacle. The cops close a large chunk of Santa Monica Boulevard, the organisers set up sound stages and the food wagons roll. I missed the personal appearance of America’s Got Talent’s Prince Poppycock but gave the Time Warp my all.
Because this is LA you can’t be seen to be drinking alcohol on the streets, so we’d decanted whiskey into a Coca Cola can and slugged it back in shop doorways like naughty kids. Oh, for the balmy summer nights of standing outside a pub in London openly drinking beer from the bottle. It seems odd that you can’t be seen to be doing that here. Stealth drinking, I call it.
The night before Halloween (for this was an ‘event’ weekend), my boyfriend and I decided to dress as either Bonnie and Clyde, French Detectives or G-Men, depending on your POV, and go to the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, which backs on to the Paramount lot.
Stepping over, and on headstones we stumbled through the graveyard gazing in wonder the elaborate costumes. The holiday is a celebration of the dead and people had set up shrines to their loved ones. Many people paint their faces white, adding intricate detail in black pen, such tiny flowers, hollow eyes and false teeth. The end result is pretty scary but stunning. It’s hard to describe but the Day of the Dead website says, ‘At the heart of this sacred event are the meticulously individually crafted altars and spiritual shrines. These dazzling private tributes and offerings which provide a linkage between ancient traditions and modern customs chronicle the perpetual relation between faith, family and history.’
Also providing a link between the past and the present, was an amazing interview I did last week with Dame Julie Andrews. Clumsy segway, yes but she was so adorable, friendly and frankly, exactly how you would want her to be that I was instantly transported back to my childhood.
I was interviewing her for an Australian newspaper, and due to embargo can’t spill any of the beans about what was said, but I will admit to this; I have never been as nervous as I was that day.
She’s a Dame, a true icon, a proper movie star – could I cut it? I needn’t have worried because she was charm personified and very sweet.
Meeting her took me back to the days when my grandmother was still alive, when at Christmas we’d all gather around the television to watch Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music together.
As I was waiting to go in to Dame Julie’s suite, I had this strong sense of my grandma being in the room with me. I found myself getting a little bit tearful but professional to the last, pulled myself together before the interview. But for a brief, soft moment, my lovely grandma, who died almost 20 years ago, was back in my life.
And so the following night, as I wandered around the colourful lantern-festooned Hollywood Forever cemetery, I was able to truly appreciate this marvellous spectacle of remembrance.