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Life amongst the ruins

 

Welcome to the Yucca Street corridor!

Existence is probably a better noun to use. The word life connotes a certain joy, a spark of hope, a glimpse of a dream, and at least a shred of dignity. But for the people who live in the Concrete Garden, there is only despair. In addition, for the people around them, there are daily confrontations with fear, vulgarity, hatred, dirtiness. The dream of Hollywood is a tiny diamond amongst a whole beach of plain sand. For the majority, some kind of life is put together – acting classes, camaraderie, the occasional part in a play in one of those tiny theaters on Santa Monica Blvd., or even a part in a commercial! Then there’s the waiting of tables, or being a barísta at a she-she coffee house. One out of thousands gets a lucky break, most just end up going back to school, others find niches all of their own – after all, actors are creative people and some of them are actually talented, at acting and other things as well. It’s a tough life, but as the saying states, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The people you will meeting in today’s post aren’t tough. They are idiots.

Some of us Hollywoodlians, I daresay, the majority don’t even think about a career in the business, as it is called here in Los Angeles. These people just call Hollywood home. They live in crappy apartments; they live in really nice apartments; a few even live in just okay apartments. I’m a bit of a snob. I like being from Hollywood, despite the reputation that it has of flop-houses and crack heads. Sometimes the reputation is well earned, and tonight was one of those nights when the reality of the dangers of Hollywood hit home, too close to home for comfort.

I call this first video, “The party begins.” Earlier in the day, cops came and rousted two young men from the abandoned lot at the northwest corner of Yucca and Las Palmas. The night before a group of six (5 males and 1 girl) slept in the lot. There are mattresses and couches that provide ample sleeping accommodations for the none-too-picky. The two who remained were late sleepers, I guess, but they were told to shove off, and off they went. This is the whole pack returning. They know I’m recording them from up above, so they move their party furniture against the western wall of the lot in hopes of avoiding my camera. Nice try, idiots.

 

 

 

 

The block of Yucca between Las Palmas and Highland has been squirming under the heal of gentrification for three years now. Potholes that look like they were torn by ice glaciers work in concert with the loud noises of construction, and inconvenience of heavy machinery blocking access to everything, to create an atmosphere of fatalism. When will it be our turn to be forced to pack up and move out? In this next video, our revelers get out of hand. The footage is shocking and I’ve given it a PG-13 rating. The rating is for violence. At first the video is a bit unclear and shaky, but be patient and stick with it. You won’t be disappointed. The woman in the foreground is being restrained by two men and in the background, three men are fighting tooth and nail. The woman apparently wants to come to the assistance of somebody, but the other two men explain to her that it’s a “man thing” and she wouldn’t understand, and mustn’t intervene. Please allow me to clarify one thing. It’s not a “man thing.” It’s an “idiot’s thing.” You have to be an idiot to understand their behavior. A drunken, violent idiot at that.

Let me end this post with a few brief words. Of course it is the responsibility of the owner of this lot to secure it in a manner that keeps the riff-raff out. It is the duty of the police, on the other hand, to secure peace and the rule of law. How did they respond to this situation? Poorly, as usual. I called the 9-1-1 dispatcher twice about this situation. The first time, the person I spoke with said that there had been other calls and that units were on the way. I waited over ten minutes then called again. The second person said that nobody else but me had called (a lie). I know she was lying because she read me information that I never gave the first dispatcher that I spoke with. She asked me if I wanted to leave my name and number. I said, “NO!” Because of the last incident, when the cops treated me threateningly, but then I said, “I know you have that information already.” With a curt, “Fine!” she disconnected our conversation. One measly unit finally showed up. It was pitch dark which necessitated the use of flashlights. It looked to me as if they took the drunkest and/or most beat up of the bunch, set him underneath a tree and called an ambulance for him. Job done! Was anybody arrested for trespassing, assault, public intoxication, or anything at all? To my war weary eyes, the answer seems, “No.”

 

 

 

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About Russell Smith

I was born at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. I find inspiration in the lives of so many people from Joan of Arc to Oscar Wilde. While my primary avocation is photography, I also enjoy philosophy, theology and most of all, history. My beloved wife, Robin Anne Smith, who passed away in 2013 is also an inspiration to me. My beloved partner, Dana is also a great support and inspiration to me. I'd be remiss if I did not mention my cats: Natasha, Maxwell, Tigger and Nigel.

2 responses »

  1. Russell, thanks for your comment on my blog. Kyeemagh is actually derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘beautiful dawn’.

    Reply
  2. Who needs reality TV when you can just look out the window?

    Reply

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