Sunday, February 5, 2012

Iconic L.A.: Nine Letters, One Dream.

LOS ANGELES is known for it’s vast, eclectic social climates. In one part of town one may indulge themselves in spices and cuisines of far eastern traditions while thirty minutes north west a similar set of residents find themselves enjoying the posh environment of the elegant part of their city of quartz. However, no social habitat is far greater than the infamous realms of the Entertainment Industry, which continues to mesmerize millions of dreamers every year with glittered dreams of fame, fortune, and the lifestyle of the rich and powerful written about in Rolling Stone. Yes, Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world and it is beneath the eyes of Hollywood where individuals, young and old, dare to put their dreams to the test. The Hollywood sign's nine letters serves as an iconic metaphor for ambition, success, and glory. Los Angeles’ unofficial “great wonder of the world” has, for more than eighty years, served as not only a worldwide symbol of a sensational wonderland you can only find on the big screen, but also a constant reminder to work hard so that my reputation will be colorfully associated with the word.

Originally commissioned in 1923 by a Los Angeles Times’ publisher as an ad campaign for suburban housing, the “Hollywoodland” sign billboard was intended to draw in wealthy settlers to the Utopia of a popular, ever-growing city. The sign was said to only last about a year and a half, but after the explosive boom in the Movie and Television Industries, and a bit of surgery to the name in 1949, the “Hollywood” sign became the symbol we all know today. Attending a university which overlooks west Los Angeles, the thirty-five foot sign can be seen from the edges of the university's bluff. Working toward a career in screenwriting, my dream is to be known among the entertainment elite and in high demand for my talents in writing. Seeing this sign inspires me to work diligently, creatively, and vividly.

The sign can be seen as far as Santa Monica and near the boundaries of LAX to the eastern parts of downtown where a mass of freeways intersect each other. Built at the top of one of the largest hills in Los Angeles, just on the other side of Burbank, the large white letters serve not only as a very popular tourist destination, but also as an elusive promise that one day, a person’s name may be linked with the powerful associate of it’s meaning.

Los Angeles changes every year: businesses come up and go down while pop culture painted on the sides of buildings and highways reflect the rhythm of modern times. However, the perilous nine white letters have remained a constant in the city’s history. While Los Angeles endured many economic and archetypal changes, the sign is intended to be seen from afar as an elusive lure into success and achievement in the city. Every state has their own iconic structure to boast about: South Dakota pays tributes to our great presidents with Mount Rushmore, Missouri has their Gateway Arch, and for California, the Golden Gate bridge and the Hollywood sign share the coast both serving as symbols for a new dream. But it is only with the Hollywood sign where your imagination has the space to run wild.

-- Micahel Flores

photo credit: Michael Flores

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