Los Angeles is not all cars and the glitter of Hollywood. Likewise, you don’t find the true LA in districts like Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Malibu or Pacific Palisades. The already wealthy and famous live apart in enclaves.
The real LA is in the working districts of Melrose, Korea Town, the Miracle Mile and Downtown. Walking through them you have time to absorb the real city, street life and its people. Here lives aspirations on steroids.
They fill the air and have a sound. The waiters who want to be actors. The retail clerks who want to be stand up comics. The garment district worker who wants to start a fashion line. The business person in the food ally pitching a deal.
Alter egos dance off each other, reflect on glass windows and seemingly splash off the sides of walls and buildings. Bright bold marks bounce everywhere. Some marks and aspirations wait for a long time, others start to fade but resist. No one here wants to say goodbye to them. Not here. Not in LA.
David Young 


William Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances.” 
He surely imagined a stage more dramatic than the entrance to a grocery store. Most are bland with little fanfare, simply moving people in to do their shopping. Not for glamorous things, but just the necessity of life.
A backstage of life for sure. Still drama of everyday life exists in the coming and going of people. All with their stories to tell and families to feed.
David Young


George Gershwin composed “Rhapsody in Blue” while riding on a train between New York and Boston…
The chill of an early morning Boston caused me to pull my coat tight as I walked into South Station. The station looked like a half circle inside cast in northeast (NE) gray. A couple of coffee stands and an eatery were busy. Travelers getting their nourishment before boarding the train. I looked forward to traveling to New York.
A giant electronic leaderboard flashed the status of departures and arrivals. Just beyond the gates sat the Acela and Northeast Regional Trains. The Acela with its noble nose and the Northeast Regional with a square working face. 
I sat with my coffee looking out in awe at them. Maybe just a usual sight to people in the NE. As a westerner, it was special for me. They were like gleaming keys to the NE. Stallions that would take me through the best and worst along the tracks arriving in the gleaming place called New York. They were magic, each with their own persona…


The coffee shop was filled with people on their phones. Me too, I read all the latest on the new iPhone 12. Faster they said, better camera than my trusty iPhone X. Yes, It seemed my phone took more pictures than my camera in recent times. Still the experience left something missing, but I was’t sure what. 
Maybe the phone is just too easy, too immediate. There were other things too, the phone proved difficult to hold for me when taking a photo. Most importantly though, it let in all the rest of the world. All those news updates, emails waiting, advertisements and applications lurked in the background. Some even popped up as notifications when I tried to take the photo. 
My thoughts turned to how different using a camera was. How it could silence the rest of the world allowing a more compete experience with what you saw. How you could create your own world with it. A world only limited by your creativity. How wandering became something different, more thoughtful and fulfilling.


I spotted it from a distance, just a field of debris, but it drew me. Even far away, I could see random patterns chance had created. It had been tossed there near a simple brick building, but did not belong to it. Closer, I noticed markings on the stones strewn in between the tossed wood. The different colors making parts stand out. The building they came from a mystery, not visible in the area. Why were these still useful and beautiful things now debris. What would happen to them?

The debris existed someplace between usefulness and the dump, purgatory of sorts. It remained here in limbo for nature, man and fate to decide what will be done with it. Too valuable to give up on, but no longer of value enough to do something with. The debris like evidence of some misdeed removed from where the event happened.

It did not move or change. It was just there. There was an undefined art about it. The way it was scattered, the color muted by elements and the imagined story behind it all.
I only …


Just an empty parking lot now. Once beautiful things were made here.
Some thought they were real. Even owners began to believe.
Things get old though, Machinery and all.
Too easy for silk flowers To be made far away.
First the employees go. Then the machinery left, then the building.
Only stray parts left now And swirls on the parking lot from employee’s cars once there.


There is another city, away from the glitz on its rough edges. A place where railroads cross, trucks run and work is done.
Here you will find the pieces that make the city work, build buildings, fuel engines and factories. Some are vital and humming, others forgotten scraps. All supported by a legion of workers, the keepers of the city.
Once in a while you may find an artist or inventor working in humble surroundings with big dreams. Most often though, there are just workers whose dreams are measured by long days, a paycheck and being a part of these special places. They are proud of what they do, not afraid to wear worn gloves and dirt on collars.
If you wander these rough edges with your camera, rewards abound. You find colors and beauty only forged by the wear of time. You realize life is not always the well ordered place you are used to. Special skill are needed in the rough edges to live and work there.
The initial risk and trepidation you feel going to these rough edges soon disappe…