Mr. Sandman's Sandbox

The musings of a Deaf Californian on life, politics, religion, sex, and other unmentionables. This blog is not guaranteed to lead to bon mots appropriate for dinner-table conversation; make of it what you will.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Friday, November 03, 2006

Holiday Retrospective

For most people (including myself!), THE holiday to recover from has always been Christmas. It's my favorite holiday, but it's also the craziest time of year for lots of folks, yours truly included.

Still, we're a few weeks away from that, despite what the retailers have been telling you since the end of August (YES, I actually saw a couple of stores start putting out holiday decorations and items the last week of August. It's slowly increased since then, and started being out in force this past week, at the end of October. Yoo hoo? Anyone heard of Fall? Halloween? Thanksgiving? I remember when I was little, stores and businesses actually had Thanksgiving and harvest-themed decorations and goods on display. Now it seems like we figuratively jump from Labor Day and summer to Santa and Christmas. Sheesh), and there are other celebrations and things to do.

As it is, the last few days have worn me out, from walking down Santa Monica Boulevard from Doheny to La Cienega and back, and then hanging out at the old Plaza and Olvera Street. Still, it was a fun time, and I'm looking forward to next year. We enjoyed dressing up this year, but we have a killer costume concept for Halloween 2007. Never too early to start planning... *grin*

Anyway, I thought I'd present a retrospective of sorts, through pictures, of the last couple days.

Let's start with the annual festivities in WeHo. These gentlemen to the left are representative of the ladies of WeHo. Somehow, I don't know why, gays really get into the spirit of things so much better than we straights. There's almost always several crews of fashionably, exotically, or outlandishly dressed "women" parading the street, and these ladies are no exception!

This is an example of one of the more visible costumes during the night-- quite a few people were on stilts, platform shoes, or other types of height-enhancing contraptions as part of their costume. I don't know what the hell this is supposed to be, but it was cool enough we snapped a shot of this guy, and his pal in front. While there was considerably less near-nudity this year, there were quite a few people exposing plenty of ass, legs, and other limbs. I wasn't able to see them, but my walking buddy said she spotted a male-female streaking duo, and there were a few others that left precious little to the imagination...

Every year, there's always a bunch of folks as a group concept, and this year was no exception. Last year was better in my opinion, but there were quite a few themes and groupings in place for the big show this time around.

This is one of my favorites: the cast of major characters from "Sleeping Beauty," one of my favorite Disney films! Cruella De Vil (or Katherine Harris, take your pick) managed to sneak in there, but seeing as how it's all Disney, it's okay by me.

There always seems to be a fair number of monarchs presiding over the festivities, and this year was no exception. As you can see, Neptune flip-flopped his way from his nearby Pacific grotto to wander the streets and grace us with his presence.

The guy on his left, however, seems somewhat lost. Then again, there were a lot of people looking like that-- overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of costumes: left, right, behind, in front, coming towards you, already walked past you...

Just like little kids do, adults tend to follow the crowd, and Halloween is no exception. Every third partier we saw was a pirate, and it got old pretty quick. However, we thought this bad-ass dude was a bit more clever than most. People, may I present.... Davy Jones' Locker!

Politics and current events spark creativity in some, and more mundane outfits in others. Here we saw the marriage of a popular book/movie with political affairs, as The Man in The Yellow Hat ferries (In)Curious George through unfamiliar waters for Georgie... the Boystown of West Hollywood.

Then again, politics doesn't always have to be so serious, or so snide. As you can see here, the girls are really going all out for Arnie! Wonder if he'd love to pat their asses, comment on their tits, or maybe fondle them a little. Who knows...

Of course, that's not all we saw, but these represent some of the more interesting and unusual costumes we saw. We got pictures of just about everything we wanted to. Unfortunately, a couple of topical costumes, drenched in black humor, couldn't be captured. My one regret was not getting a snapshot of "Steve Irwin," with a *very* realistic stingray plastered across his khaki shirt, which was surrounded by blood. But hey, we can't win 'em all...

On All Souls' Day, we stationed ourselves in the heart of Los Angeles, in the oldest Europeanized area in town, where we toured the handful of altars, observed the Novenario, and watched the dancers, as they celebrated the next stage of life.

As we began to circumnavigate the old Plaza, we were greeted by this spectre, surrounded by decorations and and lights. A very spooky beginning to the evening...

Here's an example of an altar. This was one of the more elaborate ones, and was quite celebratory as well as mournful. The woman whose life is being remembered was a long-time doctor in East Los Angeles, who died of cancer not long ago. Her family not only decorated the altar with colorful skulls and bright lights, they created a homage to the departed woman, with pictures from throughout her life. In the front, you can see they've put out her favorite foods and drink, as they welcome her back -- after all, once she crosses the veil, she'll be hungry and thirsty.

What was especially nice (and quite a few of the altars do this), was the inclusion on a separate table of a biography, in both English and Spanish, of the doctor. I was able to get a sense of who she was, and why she was being remembered. Personally, I think it's a wonderful tradition.

The saddest part, though, was the altar set up yet again for the murdered and vanished women of Ciudad Juárez. It's been more than ten years, and there has still been no resolution. May these women rest in peace.

There were more people this time (at least it seemed so!) than when we went to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos previously. Because of the crowds, and because of the seeming disorganization of the participants, it took forever before we could see the processional, and even longer before we actually got to see the dancers in action. Here, Señor Death (or one of his minions), toasts oblivion as he undertakes the Dance of Death.

From the Land 0f Make-Believe to the Shadows of Darkness, it was an enjoyable time. Now I've got to start figuring out where I'm going to gain 5-7 pounds come November 23...