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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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Religiosity on the Boulevard, plus …

I can’t get enough

of the Korean Pentecostals on Hollywood Blvd. They have been making a concerted effort to make their presence known to the summer tourists and locals alike. Take a gander at this lady’s megaphone. She does have a pretty singing voice, but I don’t think she’d make the cut even to get on American Idol.

Then I espied a Scientologist passing out the Free IQ Test handout to all and sundry. One man took it, began to read it and said within earshot, “Oh, Jesus Christ!” I’m surprised he didn’t shred it into a dozen pieces and throw it into the air as a form of exorcism. What him weave his wascally way through the crowds. I had trouble keeping up, but I think he stopped to answer somebody’s question, and that afforded me time to get this shaky footage. I don’t think you can pick the guy out unless you had me standing beside you to tell you who his is.

Oh, Jesus Christ! You've got to be kidding me!

Tammy Report

For the first time ever, Tammy talks directly to the camera. Because I don’t think she’s even competent enough to give her consent to be filmed, before she became too clear in focus, I decided to train the camera on the tree trunk while I spoke with her. Brace yourself as you join me delving into the mind of a mad woman. Is it sad? Yes! For those of a more sensitive nature, don’t listen.

To say that Tammy needs help is the understatement of the Century. But she doesn’t see it that way. First of all, she claims that she’s not on drugs. I’ve seen her with my own two peepers use a crack pipe right on my doorstep. Therein lies the beginning of her downfall. She goes a day or two without sleeping from smoking crack, or crystal meth and that causes her mind to snap. Even the most even-keeled person in the world will start to lose their grip on reality if denied sleep for one or two nights. Take someone whose grasp on reality is already tenuous and give them a stimulant like crack cocaine or crystal meth, and they will go crazy before the night is through. Most social service agencies won’t even talk to you if you fail a urine test. Once Tammy has a taste of the rock, or powder, whatever, she is slamming a dozen doors in her own face. It’s a catch-22 that will lead this woman to an early grave I fear. My dear friend, David G. suffered from the same issues. As his dementia worsened, people wanted less and less to do with him. Because of his inability to live without illicit drugs, he found himself booted out of Mother Teresa’s hospice in Northeast D.C.

I miss you, David. I wish you could have done more to save yourself. I wish I could have done more to save you. I’m haunted by this unrealistic guilt. Why did David die? Why am I still alive?

Hollywood & Highland Subway platform