Belated: I almost didn't notice this faded-paint ghost bike in the dreary dull Burlington afternoon light. It's chained to a tree outside of Radio Bean, with a sprig of fake pink flowers stuck in the frame. According to Radio Bean barista, it's not a memorial to anyone in particular, but the leftovers from a past Day of the Dead bike ride.
Spotted on Av du Parc, in honor of a cyclist killed on July 18th, 2013. Read about the ghost bike project here on Wikipedia - which I'm directing you to because ghostbikes.org is down at the moment, and hopefully, hopefully will resurface. You can also see one of my previous posts about ghost bikes here.
This ghost bike memorial altar comes from frequent contributor Nate Rulf, who spotted it at Hollywood and Harvard a few days ago and reports that his friend "saw a kid get hit on his bike by a car and killed there." I haven't been able to find further details on a Hollywood bicycle death online, so please feel free to share anything you know. For some mysterious reason that Nate couldn't relay, the photos have a watercolor effect to them. You can read more about ghost bikes in this previous post.
Materials: White-painted bicycle, votives, flowers, bottle of water
Today is an Eagle Rock ghost bike, a memorial I've passed many many many times but never stopped to check out. White bicycles honoring a rider killed on the road, ghost bikes reportedly began to appear in St. Louis in 2003, and have since spread around the world. This one is for Eugene Gonzales, killed August 24th, 2014, and has his laminated photo, a license plate plaque, two rainbow pinwheels, and a Christmas tree ornament attached. Ghostbikes.org last reported a count of 610 ghost bikes in 210 locations. They write:
Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel.
Last night was the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration at Hollywood Forever. The theme this year was "The Magical World of The Alebrijes." Alebrijes are fantastical animals and their respective representations. These creatures originated with Pedro Linares in the 1930s, who dreamed them while ill and then created his visions with cardboard and paper mache, and are now considered a traditional folk art of Oaxaca.
I wasn't able to spend as much time wandering through the altars as previous years, and I missed veteran artist and altarista Jennifer Gutierrez Morgan, whose altars combine elements of traditional domestic altars and contemporary art. Nonetheless, the cemetery was bustling with life and death (as always) and there was an incredible range of altars. My highlights are here for looking, including:
- Saran wrap mannequins in beautiful masks from BLING Out Your Dead.
- Altar 31 Para Los Ninos featuring skull bean mosaics.
- A "cabinet of curiosities" style altar monument, with a back niche with a typewriter and note reading "Dear Dad, We miss you..."
- An interactive altar where participants throw a small bag of beans onto large Loteria cards, and then write a message on the (huge) corresponding panel. My first toss the beans landed between El Mundo (The World) and La Garza (The Heron), and my second toss landed on El Mundo, so I left a note on El Mundo.
- A Storyteller walk-in altar with printed "greetings" inspired by the altarmaker's grandmother, such as "God Bless You Mija," and, "Mija you look so skinny! Come eat something!" The altarmaker assembled a small group of people and explained that inside her "grandmother's house" was a bookshelf modeled after a traditional Native American storyteller. The bookshelf will be donated to a local school for students to gather around, store their books, and listen to stories.
- An altar to injured or killed cyclists, represented by a human-figure sculpture made of white bicycles.