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"Entombing Our Icons: The Jimi Hendrix, Bruce and Brandon Lee and Lake View Cemetery Memorials"
“Entombing Our Icons: The Jimi Hendrix, Bruce and Brandon Lee and Lake View Cemetery Memorials” features over 125 photographic images captured by artist Marques Vickers. The photography portrays musician Jimi Hendrix’s tomb and Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery featuring the gravesites of Bruce and Brandon Lee and other notable historical personages.
Vickers features an essay within the edition entitled “Entombing An Icon: Celebrity Death Worship and The Anonymous Forgotten” detailing the daily processional remembrance visits and biographies of two of the most recognized Seattle icons. Hendrix’s memorial is located in suburban Renton and the Lake View Cemetery in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle, Washington.
The deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee and his son Brandon Lee have been significantly documented but remain shrouded in speculation and mystery. Vickers’ essay details their biographies and each man’s final 24 hours. Divergent theories and accounts have accompanying their deaths over the subsequent decades.
Jimi Hendrix’s international musical fame while he lived lasted a brief four years upon his emergence from the London music scene in 1966. His electrifying performances at the 1969 Woodstock and 1970 Isle of Wright Music Festivals cemented his career legacy. He remains one of the most popular and copied electrical guitar performers globally. He died on September 18, 1970 by asphyxiation from his own vomit induced by his barbiturate and amphetamine use in London.
In 1995 with proceeds from Jimi’s substantial royalty earnings, his father Al Hendrix enlarged the compact family internment area to a 54-plot space near the entrance of Renton’s Evergreen Cemetery. Designed by architect Mark Barthelemy, a granite commemorative gazebo is supported by three massive pillars. The interior includes three laser-etched portraits of the performer accompanied by handwritten lyrics from some of his most memorable compositions. The immense edifice was completed in 2002 and is visited by an estimated 15,000 visitors annually.
Bruce and Brandon Lee were buried adjacent at the Lake View Cemetery. Bruce’s reddish rectangular headstone is composed of granite bearing his image, with gold letter engravings and a black opened book at the base. Brandon’s headstone was designed by Washington sculptor Kirk McLean and features two twisting rectangles of charcoal granite joined at the bottom. The pair of stones gives the symbolic impression of being pulled apart at the summit.
Bruce Lee is lionized as a Chinese-American martial artist, Hong King film actor and director, martial arts instructor to celebrities, philosopher and founder of his own self-titled martial arts movement called Jeet Kun Do. He became the undisputed global face of a martial arts craze during the latter decades of the 20th century.
He died on July 20, 1973 in Hong Kong of a cerebral edema while napping before a scheduled dinner appointment. Conspiracy theories and rumors immediately circulated due to some of the notorious enemies he had cultivated with his efforts to expand martial-arts exposure internationally. A reported family curse directed towards him by these hostile organizations gained credibility on March 31, 1993 with the accidental shooting death of Brandon Lee during the filming of the movie “The Crow”.
Established in 1872 as a Masonic burial ground, Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery reflects the multinational population of urban Seattle. Tombs and bronze plaques signifying Russian Orthodox, Communist and Masonic affiliations, Asian Nationalism and even artistic ciphers are interspersed amidst the grounds. Their designations and the various monuments’ artistic craftsmanship are captured vividly through Vickers’ lens.
Numerous renowned Seattle patriarchs including the namesakes Mercer, Yesler, Denny, Maynard, Boren and Nordstrom are buried on the Pioneer incline tract of the cemetery. Chief Seattle’s eldest daughter, Princess Angeline lies buried obscurely on the grounds. Inscriptions involving wars, fraternal organizations, popular causes, the arts and specific tragedies are visually captured in the edition.
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