When I was working on my St. Marilyn artwork, I also enrolled in Monroe Boot Camp. Basically, that meant going through her movies on Netflix, studying photos of her, reading everything I could on the internet, and talking to other Marilyn lovers. Still, it didn’t seem to be enough– especially in a town that has Marilyn’s face seemingly on every third mural in the city.
That’s why, when my friend Tanya let me know about the new Marilyn exhibit at the Hollywood Museum, I made a point of making a date with her! It’s not often that I get out of my little Pasadena ‘hood, but last weekend was an exception– I needed to know more about Marilyn, and Tanya was the perfect woman to be my guide.
Tanya started as my (awesome) hairstylist and has since become a good friend. When I released my “Cathedral of Rebellion” collection, she reached for the St. Marilyn pin. We both wore them at the museum–nerds! I was happy to be with someone who really loves Marilyn. I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did. When I left, I felt like I had really spent my time wisely, as I had two perspectives: one from the museum, and one from Tanya.
Of course, Tanya’s was the one I was riveted by. There’s nothing like being in the presence of someone who’s passionate about a subject. And Marilyn’s life was ripe with experiences– there was so much to look at! Documents from her time at the orphanage, clothing she wore, pictures that hadn’t been seen before, details about her marriages.
The more I heard, the less I thought of her as a gorgeous funny gal and more of a vulnerable person who kept her dreams in sight. Marilyn could have been any one of our friends, really. She jumped in. She made mistakes. She tried to do better.
To be frank, I had a bit of a challenge writing this entry, even after we went to the exhibit. I found myself unexpectedly relating so much to our dear Saint…more than I had when I had initially made her part of the project, more than I had upon studying her. I felt intensely connected, and couldn’t get the visit out of my head for a good week.
If you are in the area, I highly recommend heading over to the Hollywood Museum to check out the exhibit. It’s fifteen bucks at the door, but you can score $2 off (like I did!) at the visitor’s booth across the street. Take someone who loves Marilyn. Have her tell you everything.
My St. Marilyn prints and buttons are located here. And big thanks to Tanya for being my date, and teaching me so much (as all dates, really, should be learning experiences!). xo