Marilyn Monroe exhibit opening in London

Marilyn MonroeA new exhibit in London is dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, the icon of beauty from an era when “beauty” meant something other than “built like a fourteen-year-old anorexic junkie.”

Marilyn opens today at the Getty Images Gallery and will feature iconic photographs and original dresses from Monroe’s many films. It also tells the story of how she rose as an aspiring actress to become one of Hollywood’s most unforgettable faces.

London’s Getty Images Gallery is one of the largest image archives in the world, with a collection ranging from the very earliest days of photography in the 1850s right up to the latest news stories of today. Their gift shop has an amazing variety of books on photography and high-quality photographic prints. In honor of the exhibition, numerous images of Marilyn Monroe will be for sale.

Marilyn runs from today until Sunday, May 26, 2012. Admission is free.

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.]

SkyMall Monday: Undead Elvis & Marilyn

gadling skymall monday undead elvis presley marilyn monroeHow we remember our heroes usually depends on when we idolized them. The images that move us the most get etched into our brains. As a kid, I wanted to be Indiana Jones. In my mind, Harrison Ford will always been that whip-toting adventurer (though not the one with the sagging man-boobs in the most recent Indy film that I refuse to acknowledge). He’ll always have a place on the Wall of Honor in the SkyMall Monday headquarters (next to a jar of Nutella). But what really becomes of our icons? Well, they die. They all die. That’s the circle of life (it’s a tad darker than hakuna matata). And, while we remember our heroes deaths, we never commemorate how they would look if they continued to entertain us after their demise…until now, thanks to SkyMall and the Undead Icons Statues.Few other American cultural icons are as wildly celebrated and treasured as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. While Marilyn is typically remembered as a buxom beauty, she had her demons and died tragically. As for Elvis, those who loved him in his early days of fame think of him as a dynamic sex panther, while others who enjoyed his later work recall him as a crooning sex hippopotamus. However, he died in the bathroom, unable to escape the icy grip of peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. But, what if these two great artists could still entertain us despite their vices having taken them far too soon? Well, that would be pretty creepy amazing.

Think that we should remember our heroes respectfully? Believe that skeletons lack the anatomy to perform for our enjoyment? Well, while you watch this creepy video for ‘Them Dry Bones,’ we’ll be reading the product description:

Artist Liam Manchester has taken artistic liberties with these tongue-in-skull images to create unique skeleton icons that live on in infamy!

Blonde Bombshell poses with her windblown dress atop candy apple red lips while a record spins the number one, chart-busting tunes of the Rock n Roll King.

The lesson here: licensing issues are expensive and complicated.

We never to think of our heroes as fragile, as though they were just some kind of candle in the wind. We cling to them. Idolize them. But, they can never come back. It would just be too scary if they did.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

‘Tombstone Tourism’ on the rise, allows you to get close to your favorite celebs

Strapped for vacation cash? Spend a day with the dead. “Tombstone tourism” is on the rise. See fabulous artwork, enjoy nature and get within six feet of some of your favorite celebrities. Better yet, admission is always free. It’s a grave-cation!

Did you know that before Disneyland opened in 1955, Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Glendale was the number one tourist destination in the Los Angeles area? Or that the popularity of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn as a recreation site led to the establishment of Central Park in Manhattan in 1858?

Cemeteries, those places most of us strive to stay out of, are once again popular tourist destinations. Why? Part of the reason is that cemeteries, and historic cemeteries in particular, have become more “tourist-friendly.” With the rise in cremation (ashes and urns take a fraction of the space of a traditional burial plot) older cemeteries, many of which are essentially filled up, now have room for thousands more permanent residents. And they want us to visit. They’ve got free maps, ice cream socials, trolley tours, hayrack rides, lantern tours, outdoor movies, plays, concerts and more. Of course, they’d like us to consider staying there… forever. Not to worry; there aren’t any high-pressure sales tactics. Cemetery administrators are very patient people.

Whether you’re on a star search, looking for a place for a pleasant stroll or want to view and touch fabulous art, you’ll find it all in America’s historic cemeteries. Here are a few top tourist-friendly cemetery picks. Even if you don’t plan to be in these locales in the near future, you can always fly there by plugging the GPS coordinates into Google Earth.

WESTWOOD VILLAGE MEMORIAL PARK (34 3’31.07″N 118 26’30.47″W)
You won’t need a map for this postage-stamp-size cemetery just a stone’s throw from Rodeo Drive. There are hundreds of celebrities at your feet and in crypts. Of course, the most visited celebrity is Marilyn Monroe. And the empty crypt next to her? Reserved for the man who first exposed her in all her glory to the public: Hugh Hefner.FOREST LAWN GLENDALE (34 7’30.65″N 118 15’11.15″W)
This is the cemetery that started the trend of vast rolling lawns and flat markers. They have free maps that show you where to find full-scale replicas of Michelangelo’s David, the Labyrinth at Chartes, France, the Paradise Gates in Florence, Italy and much more. Forest Lawn is famously reticent about disclosing the location of celebrity graves, but you can find many of them in the recent book, Forever L. A..

Forest Lawn’s most recent A-list celebrity is Michael Jackson, who’s in the Holly Terrace mausoleum (34 7’23.95″N 118 14’51.83″W). You can even get married in one of Forest Lawn’s chapels, often for a fraction of the cost of a traditional chapel. Indeed, in 1940 Ronald Reagan married Jane Wyman at the Wee Kirk o’ the Heather chapel.


ST. LOUIS #1 CEMETERY, NEW ORLEANS (
29 57’32.89″N 90 4’15.89″W)
Urban legend has it that burials in New Orleans are above ground because of the high water table (from time to time people who were buried in the traditional way would percolate up to the surface). While that’s not the real reason for above ground burial in New Orleans, there is a long tradition of placing bodies in tombs and mausoleums rather than in the waterlogged earth.

Begin your tomb tour just off the French Quarter at St. Louis #1, New Orleans’ first permanent cemetery. It’s easy to spot the tomb of voodoo queen Marie Laveau: it has dozens of X’s scratched into the surface.

CAVE HILL CEMETERY, LOUISVILLE (38 14’36.91″N 85 43’35.36″W)
Pick up a box of fried chicken and make your way to this very tourist-friendly cemetery. Cave Hill rightly touts itself as an arboretum and has long been popular with Louisvillians as a place to stroll or jog. Thanks to a thriving artistic community, there’s a bonanza of fabulous sculptures dotting its immaculate grounds.

And don’t forget to pay your respects to Colonel Sanders. There’s often an empty red and white box or two reverentially laying beneath his bust. The cemetery staff will be happy to give you directions and a free map.


GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY, BROOKLYN (
40 39’29.23″N 73 59’40.56″W)
Green-Wood Cemetery, which was founded in 1838, was modeled on Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. It’s one of America’s most tourist-friendly cemeteries: just ask and they’ll give you a large foldout map, which pinpoints locations of famous residents. They also have a bookstore, conduct docent-directed trolley tours and sponsor lectures.

In the fall, Green-Wood participates in Open House New York and always opens some of their private mausoleums. Green-Wood is the last known address of many of New York’s late nineteenth century movers and shakers including Horace Greeley (“Go west young man”) and master designer Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Douglas R. Keister is a graveyard guru, who Sunset magazine said “has done for cemetery exploration what Audubon did for birding.” His 39 books include four books on cemeteries such as Stories in the Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography. Read his blog on Red Room. The photos above are all courtesy Douglas R. Keister.

Roadside California: World’s Largest Artichoke

What else are you going do when you come to the “Artichoke Capital of the World” (as the sign to Castroville, California boasts)?

Two things: take a photo next to the World’s Largest Artichoke and sample all-things-artichoke.

The giant artichoke sculpture is quickly visible once you get off Highway 156, just north of Monterey. Built in 1963, it’s made of concrete and rebar and stands 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide. It’s definitely popular, as far as vegetables go–on a recent stop there, kids hung from the sculpture’s protruding leaves, and a couple from LA posed for photos in front of it.

Next door at the Giant Artichoke Restaurant, a friend and I shared the giant artichoke platter: large steamed artichoke, fried artichoke hearts, and artichoke bread ($11.41). As someone who grew up enjoying playing with her food–and naturally loving artichokes–I was in heaven. Especially with those fried niblets.
And it turns out, it doesn’t matter what meal you’re there for–artichokes are always on the menu. Breakfast: artichoke eggs benedict ($9.99). Lunch: artichoke salad ($9.49). Dinner: artichoke pasta stir fry ($12.49).

Since 1959, Castroville has hosted an Artichoke Festival every May, but even before that it has crowned an Artichoke Queen. You might recognize the very first Artichoke Queen, crowned in 1947. Her name: Norma Jean, who went on to become Marilyn Monroe.

Appropriately, nearby Gilroy and Salinas have their own salad-inspiring monikers. Gilroy is the “Garlic Capital of the World” (and yes, you can smell it) and Salinas is the “Lettuce Capital of the World.”