Oscar Wilde’s renovated grave, one year later

An unexpected outcome? Not for some. Last November, Oscar Wilde’s grave was thoroughly renovated and all the lipstick and graffiti was removed. The renovation included installing a glass wall around the grave for conservation purposes as the plaque on Wilde’s grave has not been successful in dissuading visitors from defacing it. The plaque reads: Respect... Continue Reading →

“Où est Jim Morrison?” Looking for the Lizard King’s grave at Père Lachaise

Travel Oops

Not long ago, I was a substitute teacher for a high school French class. Right away, I confessed to the students that my knowledge of French was very limited. Basically, it consists of pleasantries, “petit déjeuner” (“breakfast”) and “Où est Jim Morrison?” (“Where is Jim Morrison?”)

My admission was met with confused looks, and they asked, “Who is Jim Morrison?”

“Jim Morrison? You know, the lead singer of The Doors…The Lizard King…sound familiar?”  Blank looks.  Maybe song lyrics would work. “You know, ‘Come on baby, light my fire?’ That’s a song, by the way, I don’t really want to light your fire.” I tried to sing the refrain for them.

More looks that said, “Wow, CRAZY sub. We wish we had Mrs. Johnson right now.”

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Jim Morrison’s Grave—A Metamorphosis

A great story about visiting Jim’s grave.

Wish I Were Here

The first time I went to Paris, in late August of 1988, I was nineteen years old. I had never expected that I would travel so far. None of it felt real. I visited the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre. Then I visited the place I most wanted to see: Jim Morrison’s grave in Père LaChaise cemetery. His music and poetry had helped me through my turbulent high school years. His image had hung on my bedroom wall. I had worn a button with his photo on my black leather jacket. On the vacant building across from my high school, I had spray painted the same words that I had doodled all over my school notebooks: Jim Morrison Lives. I had self-medicated with whatever I could find (which, thankfully, wasn’t much in those days) and had written stream of consciousness poetry while listening to An American Prayer

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Round and round we go…

“Do not jump over the fence” Cemetery services for the City of Paris have placed new signs on the barrier surrounding Jim’s grave. See my previous post for more information on the unfortunate, but understandable, actions taken by Père Lachaise cemetery officials to combat visitors defacing the area. The “gum tree” A cemetery employee laboriously... Continue Reading →

“Rock Around the Grave” by Michelangelo Giampaoli

Ethnologie française 2012 N°3 The Presses Universitaires de France (PUF) has just published issue No. 3 for 2012 of their scholarly journal, Ethnologie française. This issue’s main topic is Paris and includes an article by Michelangelo Giampaoli entitled “Rock Around the Grave: Jim Morrison’s Grave in Père Lachaise”. Abstract Rock Around the Grave. The Tomb of... Continue Reading →

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