30 June 2012

Revisiting Chicago's Forest Home Cemetery

With the 143rd anniversary of the birth of Emma Goldman earlier this week, I'd like to revisit my photographs from Chicago's Forest Home Cemetery (also known as Waldheim Cemetery), where Goldman and many of her peers are interned.

In November 2000 I took a train trip across the country, from San Diego to Philadelphia and back, with some stops in between. I had a 7 hour layover in Chicago and decided to take a very icy, very cold trip by foot and subway to Forest Park. It was snowing hard when I walked into the cemetery's office. I had walked the 1/2 mile or so from the subway in the snow and single digit temperatures. I remember the look on the man behind the desk's face to this day. I'm sure he was thinking how terribly underdressed for the weather I was. When I asked him if Emma Goldman was buried there, he nodded, and then pointed up the main road. Um.... thanks? 

Forest Home Cemetery, November 2000 ©Monika Seitz Vega (this is a decade old scan that has been stored away on a disc for ages, and therefore not of the finest quality...my sincerest apologies) 

Up the slippery road I went. I had no idea what I was looking for. What I did know, from my knowledge of Goldman and her life, was that she chose to be buried at Waldheim near the Haymarket Martyrs, the men who remained a constant inspiration to her throughout her life. If I found them, I knew I'd be on the right path.  

Haymarket Monument, Forest Home Cemetery, November 2000 ©Monika Seitz Vega

The Haymarket monument is absolutely breathtaking. As I approached it that day I was overcome with the feeling that I was experiencing something that was going to change my life. It's one thing to read a book, or see a photograph, but it's something else completely to stand on the same ground where something special happened. I didn't stop to pay my respects, though. I didn't even stop to take this photograph (which was actually one of the last I took during this visit to the cemetery). I knew right away that if I was at the Haymarket martyrs graves, that I had to be close to my beloved Emma. I guiltily shuffled past the monument, knowing that I couldn't stop until I found her.

Forest Home Cemetery, November 2000 ©Monika Seitz Vega 

Luckily for my numb toes and gloveless fingers I found Goldman's grave shortly after passing the Haymarket monument. There were flowers and stones and trinkets and letters on the ground around her grave. Looking back on the photographs, the graves I wanted to see were not that far from the entrance of the cemetery.

Emma Goldman's grave, November 2004 © Monika Seitz Vega  

Emma Goldman's grave, November 2000 © Monika Seitz Vega

Emma Goldman's grave, November 2000 © Monika Seitz Vega

I spent quite a while there, leaving my own trinkets and a note written on a receipt from my travels before revisiting the Haymarket martyrs.

Forest Home Cemetery, Chicago, IL November 2004 © Monika Seitz Vega 

Other graves of note in the Goldman/Haymarket vacinity are those of Lucy Parsons, author and wife of Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons; anarchist and feminist Voltairine de Cleyre; and women's rights educator and activist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

November 2000 © Monika Seitz Vega

November 2004 © Monika Seitz Vega

November 2004 © Monika Seitz Vega

In November of 2004 I flew to Chicago to meet friends for one of three nights of Pixies concerts at the Aragon Ballroom. The day after the show we made our way to Forest Home. It wasn't the snowy and frigid cemetery I'd visited 4 years earlier. The weather was damp and pleasant and as my friends wandered I revisited the graves I had four years prior. It was November 17th, the birthday of Voltairine de Cleyre. I took a flower from Emma Goldman's grave to place on her friend's for her birthday. I know she would have approved.

17 November 2004 © Monika Seitz Vega

Emma and I, November 2004 © Monika Seitz Vega 

I implore anyone not familiar with Goldman, the Haymarket martyrs, or the others whom I've I've mentioned in this entry to please look them up. AK Press Publishing and Distribution is a tremendous resource that I highly recommend.

14 June 2012

Disneyland by Holga

I know I've mentioned before how much I love Disneyland. What I want to emphasize today, though, is how perfect a relationship my Holga and Disneyland have. It is by far my favorite camera to take to the park. 

18 May 2012 © Monika Seitz Vega 

18 May 2012 © Monika Seitz Vega

18 May 2012 © Monika Seitz Vega

18 May 2012 © Monika Seitz Vega

18 May 2012 © Monika Seitz Vega

With this weekend's official opening of Cars Land comes a whole new adventure for the Holga and I, and I'm eager for it.

06 June 2012

Theatres of 2011 - The final installment

I'm full of sun tea and Peter Bjorn & John and am ready to wrap up the Theatres of 2011 retrospective. Here's a quick reminder of the locations I've profiled as of now:

Warners Huntington Park
Union Theatre - Los Angeles
5th Ave - Inglewood
Fox Inglewood
Arlington - Santa Barbara
Granada - Santa Barbara
Golden Gate
Star - Oceanside
North Park
Unique - Los Angeles
Academy - Inglewood
Ritz - Inglewood

There's just 4 left, so let's get to it.

Alameda Theatre, Los Angeles © Monika Seitz Vega, 2011

The Alameda Theatre, located on Whittier Blvd. in east Los Angeles, was once part of the United Artists chain. It was built in the 1930s, and was gutted in the 1980s to house retail. What would John Baldessari say about this photograph, I wonder?

Boulevard Theatre, Los Angeles © Monika Seitz Vega, 2011

A stone's throw from the Alameda, at 4549 E. Whittier Blvd., is the Boulevard Theatre. Built in the early 1920s, the theatre was originally named the Red Mill and has been used as a church for many years. Visible on the blade where "Boulevard" was once spelled is "Huggy Boy", the name of a popular Los Angeles radio DJ who once worked out of the building. 

Sunshine Brooks Theatre © Monika Seitz Vega, 2011

The Sunshine Brooks opened under the name Margo Theatre in the 1930s. After decades of showing movies, the Margo turned into a pussycat theatre and eventually closed in the (everybody together now!) 1980s. In the early 2000s the city of Oceanside acquired the theatre and renovated it for live performances, renaming it the Sunshine Brooks Theatre after a local financial donor. The theatre is located on Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of downtown Oceanside. 

For the final theatre, lucky #17 of the theatres of 2011, I figured I'd go out with a bang and do something I don't ever do, and likely won't do again.... I (lazily) used Photoshop to merge two images together. Wild AND crazy, I know. But here's the thing.... the Kirk Douglas Theatre -- originally known as the Culver -- in Culver City, CA is something to behold. Even across the street, with my trusty 22mm wide angle lens camera, I still wasn't able to get both building and tower in the frame. I plan to one day, as I also plan to photograph it at night (tower lit = a wonder to behold), but for the sake of this project, I'm including the photographs I took when I first visited the Culver, in the summer of 2011.

Culver Theatre © Monika Seitz Vega, 2011
The Culver has been a staple in Culver City (home of Sony and Columbia Pictures, for starters) since 1946. Originally a single screen, it had been split into multiple screens at one point in an effort to compete with bigger cinemas. The theatre was renovated and renamed the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2004 and now hosts live performances and special events. Located at 9820 Washington Blvd., the theatre is visible from several blocks away and is a lovely place to stop on the way to or from an Angel City Derby Girls bout at the nearby Veteran's Memorial Auditorium (you can thank me later). 

Thanks to everyone who came along for this 17 stop trip through the theatres I visited in 2011. 2012's list is already swelling, and I plan to start sharing those very soon.