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Wacky tributes to America's favorite cultural icons

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Updated: 12/13/2012 12:21 pm

(BPT) - Americans love to pay tribute to the famous, sometimes in wild and wacky ways. Whether they are collecting mementos of their favorite celebrities, creating off-the-wall portraits of political figures, or mingling with life-sized reproductions of movie stars and superheroes, these forms of affection have risen to an art form in today's celebrity-obsessed times.

Royal treatments

Fascination with Britain's royals continues to reach new heights. The Queen's recent Diamond Jubilee generated trinkets such as gelatin molds in the shape of her face to temporary tattoos of her beloved Corgi dogs. The adoration of the Queen is built on the frenzy of Prince William and Kate Middleton's fairytale wedding. Manufacturers sped up trinket creation to meet demand, to the point that one company mistakenly printed a commemorative cup with photos of Kate next to a photo of Prince Harry (alas, the wrong prince), thereby making the cup even more collectible.

Great “taste” in art

Food art is another way to show one's taste in celebrity culture. In honor of this year's presidential election, San Francisco artist, Jason Mecier, painstakingly created mosaic portraits of “Barack Obameat” and “Meat Romney” using thousands of pieces of Jack Link's jerky as his creative medium. Fans can actually cast their vote for their favorite “meathead” portrait in this tongue-and-cheek campaign. Other fans of the famous have “painted” food portraits of their own, recreating the Mona Lisa in pasta noodles or serving up Van Gogh in sushi. Even Michael Jackson's likeness was once carved in butter at the Iowa State Fair, to the delight of fans who “melt” at the mere thought of him. 

Celebs - then and now

Americans love their celebrities, both current stars and those remembered posthumously. Apple fanatics can honor the memory of Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO, by purchasing everything from action figures to bobble-head dolls, complete with a pair of black socks and two apples, one of which has a bite taken out of it (iPhone not included). Elvis fans can commemorate the 35th anniversary of his passing by opening up their pocketbooks for life-sized talking cutouts of the King, or Elvis 35 Forever Glitter Kwikset house keys bearing his image.

Celebrities, heroes and famous faces

Some of the earliest tributes to the famous - life-sized recreations made from wax - remain popular in countries all around the world. In California, fans can admire Hollywood Wax Museum versions of A-list stars Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. In New York, they can visit Madame Tussauds to mingle with wax superheroes like Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk; or even arrange for their teens to party after prom with look-alikes of the famous-for-being famous, such as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. 

You don't have to go to a museum to see the famous, just look at grocery shelves and you'll find famous faces gracing product packaging. For fans of rising-star Gabby Douglas, gold medalist in women's all-around gymnastics during the London games, Kellogg's has already immortalized her on its Corn Flakes box. 

Honoring the famous dates back to ancient times when citizens erected statues of the Greek and Roman gods, as well as Olympians. Some things never change. As society's fascination with celebrities continues to grow, one thing is for certain: today's tributes are as unique as the cultural icons that inspired them.

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