Bon Iver at Hollywood Forever Cemetery: Can We Do This Again Next Sunday?
Some of us saw it, at least we're pretty sure it was real: The man in the black cape and beret who pushed his way up through the earth and crawled up to the surface during Bon Iver's sunrise show and seven-hour bliss-in at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Sunday morning. It was maybe a quarter to six. The sky was pale pink/orange/blue. He brushed the dirt off his cape and started dancing.
A whole section of the crowd -- laid-out midnight picnickers experiencing dawn on a dewy lawn -- were, at first, like, 'Oh great, some undead guy's going to block our view."
But then he fanned his cape and started prancing toward the stage in rhythm with the music, deftly dodging the cross-legged worshipers and spooning couples as though floating a foot above the fray. He made his way to the front of the stage, and the onlookers acknowledged his arrival with light applause. Onstage, Vernon and his four piece band offered choirboy falsetto harmonies.
You'll excuse us if we devolve into slobbering poetics, but, really, it's hard not to when faced with an experience like this Bon Iver event at Hollywood Forever. The moments of grace and beauty throughout the late-night/early morning series of events feel strung together like diamonds in a necklace, each brilliant on its own but magnified by their proximity to the accumulated sparkle.
Those of you reading outside of Los Angeles might need a primer on the cemetery. It's situated in the middle of Hollywood, shares a southern border with the Paramount Studios lot, is this incredibly peaceful and quiet place a five minute drive from downtown Hollywood. Among the American royalty enshrined on the grounds are Charlie Chaplin, Mel Blanc, Cecil B. DeMille, John Huston, Art Pepper, Yma Sumac, Johnny Ramone and Eva Tanguay. Amidst the tombstones are gorgeous mausoleums, quiet ponds, elegant statues and a building with a vast white wall the exact size of a movie screen. For much of the year the ownership opens its gates for film screenings.
So starting at midnight the cemetery and Bon Iver's founder, singer and songwriter, Justin Vernon, programmed an all-night event that culminated in a two-hour performance by Bon Iver. The evening went as follows:
12 a.m.: Doors
12:30 a.m.: Bon Iver DJ Set I (see full set list below)
2 a.m.: The Feature Film: Bottle Rocket
3:30 a.m. Bon Iver DJ Set II (see full set list below)
4 a.m.: Documentary Film: Planet Earth (Jungles)
5:15 a.m.: Blessing of Audience and Stage by Buddhist Monks
5:45 a.m.: Bon Iver Performs