There are a few things I do not like about my city, but despite its glaring imperfections, it’s a city where people continue to create and where dreams come true.
I confess that there are a few things I, myself, do not like about my city. Hollywood, for example, with its gaudy streets full of overpriced souvenir shops, and its hordes of tourists that stampede about just to celebrate what could possibly be one of the most pointless attractions in the world (a.k.a. The Hollywood Walk of Fame), is definitely a part of Los Angeles that I rarely venture into these days.
I do agree that the elegance factor in many parts of this city has gone down a notch or two. In fact, it has recently come to my attention that in some night clubs here, dirty old men would literally throw money in the air, and hot leggy girls in skimpy outfits, in turn, would get on their hands and knees to grab as much cash on the floor as they could possibly stuff in their cleavages.
LA is not a perfect city. It has its share of 30-somethings who dress and party like they haven’t quite moved on from their frat boy/sorority girl days; overly confident aspiring “artists” who just cannot accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, they might be better off doing something else; and people in the entertainment/music industry who fake their way to fame and fortune.
Here’s the truth about LA: almost all of us transients, so naturally and inevitably, we have more than our share of unpleasant characters.
But here’s another truth about LA: many of us here are bounded by one single very important thing – to pursue our dreams. Everyday, people brave Los Angeles to reinvent themselves, to become who they’ve always wanted to be, to make their dreams come true.
People tend to forget the good parts about this city. They forget what it had meant and what it continues to mean to those who, in a world of harsh reality, still dare to dream.
They forget that it’s where a suburban kid turned his fascination for the bizarre and macabre into million-dollar movies (Tim Burton); where an ordinary postal worker was inspired to write amazing stories and become one of the best writers of our time (Bukowski); and where Marlon Brandos become Marlon Brandos and brothers from an unremarkable town become the Beach Boys.
It’s the city where Marilyn Monroe became a silver screen siren…
…where the brilliant Elliott Smith created the hauntingly beautiful Figure 8…
…where Charlie Chaplin dedicated a lot of his time to make his movies…
…where Frank Zappa, The Doors, and The Byrds made names for themselves…
…where Nirvana shaped Nevermind and Fleetwood Mac molded Rumours …
…and where many of the movies we enjoy and love are filmed, edited, and produced.
Los Angeles is a city where people have courage to create these amazing things. Yes, I admit that it’s not a perfect city. It certainly isn’t the best city in the world. But, despite its glaring imperfections, it’s a place where dreams really do come true — not to everybody, not everyday, but all the time to people who know exactly what they want, chase after it, and persevere.
And that makes it a freaking great city.
All photographs by Michelle Rae. She lives, breathes, and haunts in the City of Angeles.