Monday, November 22, 2010

Waxing Thankful

I had my picture taken with President Obama, and then with Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt, Michael Jackson, Simon Cowell, Spiderman and many other famous people - all in the same day and all at the same place. It’s so fun to be famous! Actually, anyone can do this same thing at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum (but I like to think that I’m special!).
This multi-level wax museum is unique from others of this genre in two ways in particular: One is that the 115 wax figures, for the most part, look amazingly lifelike and truly like the person they are modeled after. We have been to some wax museums where it’s almost hard to tell who the statue is supposed to be! My top pick for realistic lookalike is the Steven Spielberg figure. He is astonishing - even very up close, which you can get here. That’s the second distinction - you can get close enough to touch the figures here and also interact with them because there aren’t any barriers.

Many of the wax statues are set in famous scenes, backdrops and all, along with props that you can use so you can pose with them or pose like them. Make sure to bring your camera! My friends and I, for instance, put on robes and boxing gloves, got into the ring, and pretended to box next to Sylvester Stallone. (We won!) We also took turns sitting on a camel next to Peter O’Toole in a setting from Lawrence of Arabia; pulling up a chair at the table to join Audrey Hepburn in a replicated scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s; hopping on a motorcycle to ride next to Hugh Jackman (i.e. Wolverine); yelling "hi ya" while chopping a tricked out wooden block in two near Jackie Chan; putting on a jacket and twirling around a cane next to Charlie Chaplin; setting cowboy hats on our heads and hanging out with John Wayne, and then with Robert Redford and Paul Newman from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; and sitting in the captain’s chair onboard the deck of the Star Trek Enterprise alongside Captain Kirk and the rest of the waxy crew. A favorite was pretending to be hanging upside down on the furniture in an office room setting with Spiderman. When we got home I reversed the picture on the computer and it looks like we really had been upside down, except for the one person who apparently didn’t get the concept and posed like it was a regular picture - that would be me.

Many of the settings have sound effects to go along with them, like the sound of swords clashing. Kiosks are interspersed throughout the attractions, too, where you can test your knowledge of movie terminology, trivia, and more.

From David Beckham to Clark Gable to Quentin Tarantino to Robert Pattinson to Beyonce to Madame Tussaud herself (kind of) - there is someone here for everyone to get excited about seeing and posing with. The museum offers the opportunity to get more up close and personal with television, movie, sports, singing, and even political celebrities than you will probably ever have a chance to do in real life.

On the bottom floor (you start at the top one), you mingle with a bevy of stars decked out in their finest attire (i.e. clothing that the actual stars wore) as camera flashes from the mural paparazzi go off around the room - you are now part of the Oscar ceremony. I felt a little underdressed.
The last room in the museum allows visitors to see the intricate details of how a wax model is made with over 800 hours of work per statue, including the painstaking detai 
ls and measurements (of everything!) taken on the person who will be immortalized (unless there is a heat wave). You’ll see diagrams, models in various stages of being created, a variety of colors and sizes of eyeballs to choose from, and colorful locks of hair which are inserted in the figures’ heads one strand at a time. For an additional $12, you can dip your hand in a vat of wax to make a mold of your hand to take home and give to someone special.

Day campers and students can participate a forty-five minute, educational scavenger hunt and/or a field trip that incorporates subjects such as the history of Hollywood.
When you visit Madame Tussaud’s make sure to allot time to take in the other attractions nearby including Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, the Kodak Theater (where the Oscar ceremony actually takes place), the El Capitan (a glamorous Disney theater), and the Hollywood and Highland Center which offers a view of the Hollywood sign, plus a great selection of shops and food. (Do lunch!)
Tip: Parking at the Hollywood and Highland Center is only $2 for 4 hours with validation from the visitor’s center at the Center, or any of the shops or restaurants. Note that the wax museum doesn’t validate for parking here. Their lot charges $10 for the day. Or, just take a train to get here!
What: Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood
Where: 6933 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles
Contact Info: (323) 798-1670 /
Hours: Open Mon. - Thurs., 10am - 6pm; Fri. - Sun., 10am - 8pm. Closed only on Oscar day.
Admission: $25 for ages 13 and up; $20 for seniors and students with a valid ID; $18 for ages 4 - 12; children 3 and under are free. Purchase tickets online and save 20%.

The thought of Thanksgiving being right around the corner causes me to pause and ponder my family’s previous celebrations of this holiday. Traditionally, we’ve had family and friends around the tables (and yes, one for the kids and one for the adults) and have gorged ourselves, eating like we’ll never have another meal; ever. We’ve watched some TV, played some games, talked, laughed, argued, and cleaned a lot of dishes.

The word tradition means: The handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc. from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice; a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting.
Our traditions have changed over the years. (Does that mean we still actually have traditions, then?) As my sisters and I got married, we strove to get together with our expanding households, combining in-laws with blood family. This worked for a bit. Then, we started having kids and the gatherings got a little bit harder and much bigger. We still did pretty good at getting together and making it all happen. As our kids got older and got tugged in competing directions, we had to become more flexible. So, while were appreciative for the Thanksgivings we had all together, we realized it wasn’t as feasible (but always feastable!) as it once was. My husband and I and our sons then enjoyed Thanksgiving at my husband’s parents’ home for several years.

Four years ago my father and my father-in-law died just four months apart from each other. What an excruciating time for our families! That year my mother-in-law asked if we could host Thanksgiving dinner over at our house, as hers was too full of memories. Of course. We would love to. We’ve been doing that ever since and this year we are adding my mom to the mix (my sisters and I vie to have her over), as well as other friends who are around to come and join us. This is our new Thanksgiving tradition, at least for this year. I don’t know what next year, or even tomorrow, will bring, but I’m thankful for this year and this time. Even if we don’t have a tradition of exactly who we’ll toast Thanksgiving with and where, we do have a tradition of sharing Thanksgiving time (and food) with family and friends - and therein lies the true blessing.

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'Thank you,' that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart

No comments:

Post a Comment