last tuesday i was searching for the grave site of my late artist~ carlos batts @
although very close, i was not able to find his exact plot since he doesn't have a tombstone... as of yet.
what i did find brought excitement to my heart that i haven't felt in a very long time.
i had been told ALLA NAZIMOVA was buried here by garden of allah historian & expert martin turnbull.  that's all the info i had as i approached the front office. many celebrities are buried here including michael and liz, so the cemetery has a policy of not giving out much information to the general public. this is no hollywood forever!

i  patiently waited my turn and then asked with as much charm as i could muster, 
" i would like to find the grave of alla nazimova."
"are you a relative?" was the clerk's response.
"well... no.... not really.. i replied, she was a silent film star."
"oh.. said the clerk unimpressed, she's probably in an area not open to the public."
defiantly i said, " she is definitely not in a mausoleum. I've seen pictures.
"ok, he replied, please spell her name."

"A~L~L~A   N~A~Z~I~M~O~V~A," i was so excited.
after what seemed like eternity siting in this melancholy office, the clerk finally said, 
is it madame nazimova?"
"how many nazimova's can you possibly have here?" said i.
"the only one i have was buried in 1945," was his response.
"ok, i said excitedly, i'll take it."

he drew me a map and sent me on my merry way..  past kindly light park... up cathedral way, right on whispering pines.. i parked on the opposite side of the church. beautiful and gothic. i then began to search.. each plot, each name on a slope, with the california sun bearing down on my body. 
i was wearing too many layers. i felt like a raisin in the sun.
after what seemed like a lifetime. i was about to give up, but then saw a gardener in the distance. i ran towards him, somewhat ontop of him. "could you please tell me where this plot is?," i said hurriedly. 
he knew what i wanted from a mile away and pointed to a little "box office," just inside of a huge mausoleum. 
a cute mortician boy was sitting there. " how may a help you sir?"
well ok.. he's too young for me, so back to business.
"hey i really like your office box," i clumsily said.
"umm.. thank you.." he said in confused response.
"can you please direct me to this plot?" i asked.
this cute mausoleum boy gave me the best directions ever.
"i would walk down to that shrine. do you see how it looks like it may be directly above? then between the tree and the road, you will probably have to look for the name, but that will be the general area."

"thank you so much. can i use your restroom?" i asked.
"right down these stairs," he was so polite.
the mausoleum restrooms were sooo beautiful as only mausoleum restrooms can be.
 i checked out the mens and women's, (there was nobody there) the women's  restroom had plants.

after thanking him once again, i walked past a pink flowered bush and picked a few in anticipation of alla.
i walked to the shrine. then up the slope. past the tree which must be approx 100 years old. the gravestones were in rows- close together.. most residents had died during the 30s & 40s. they all looked alike. then i consulted my map. one row ends, and the next row begins, slanted` like kitty~corner.
looking.. looking... looking.. suddenly there she was!
a slight gust of wind came on and i felt a shift in the ethers. i was thrilled. i let out a gasp. unusual since i was by myself... but it was such an exciting feeling. like i found a lost loved one or treasure.

her marker was different than all the rest. it was bigger and more opulent. it read~

in memoriam
1945, (no birth date or day of death)
"voice of world's conscience~ immaculate beyond our concept~
christ is thy name. teach us to shun the ways of greed and prejudice and strife;
 to earn our bread and to share our bread: to head, to follow thee forever. 

I was in awe and stood for awhile. i then cleaned her marker.. just a little... pulled a few weeds.  
i didn't want to make it too perfect. after all i am a goth.
i want to feel like she knew i was there. that she was pleased someone came to visit her. 
nazimova is such an obscure figure. how long had it been since she had any visitors?  who even knows who she is in 2014? nobody would care, BUT I DID. 
this was a great day.

FYI~ Alla Nazimova  3 June, 1879 – July 13, 1945) was an American film and theater actress, a screenwriter, and film producer. She emigrated to the United States from the Russian Empire. In 1927, Nazimova became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

She was influential in the film industry in the silent era as one of the first lesbian,female director,producer, stage and screen actor. 
Nazimova helped start the careers of both of Rudolph Valentino's wives, Jean Acker and Natacha Rambova.
she was said to have affairs with both.

Of those Nazimova is confirmed to have been involved with romantically, the list includes actress Eva Le Gallienne, director Dorothy Arzner, writer Mercedes de Acosta, and Oscar Wilde's niece, Dolly Wilde.  Bridget Bate Tichenor, a Magic Realist artist and Surrealist painter.  It is Nazimova who coined the phrase "sewing circle" as code to refer to lesbian or bisexual actresses of her day who concealed their true sexuality.
Nazimova lived with Glesca Marshall from 1929 until her death in 1945
 She was the original owner and creator of THE GARDEN OF ALLAH~ the most opulent & notorious hotel of it's day.  

1 comment:

  1. Ah, so you made the pilgrimage at last! Probably the last person to visit Madame was Jon Ponder and I on the anniversary of her death. I'd like to think she appreciated the effort, too. In fact, I know she would!