the past is shouted from signs like this, an era walked over and slowly forgotten, when the American Dream was wrapped up in relative prosperity, in community, in building a better life. eye-catching vibrancy that would become the staple of an advertising industry plaguing people to choose familiarity and convenience over intimacy and quality. signs like this are a relic of American life, an artifact, a window. like sixties blues and linear ford trucks, beat poetry and Cool Hand Luke. they reveal something from before it was distorted, before it was fried in consumption and excess. a time when everyone had a story, a job to do, a place to be and an ideal they sought. everyone has an opinion about America, and they’ll tell you, but America itself never had some singular identity, it’s an amalgam, a plurality of people who saw opportunity. it isn’t without flaws, without systemic injustice, without racially provincial freedom; but what it was supposed to be built on was liberty and the power of each individual voice, on limited government and the bond of community. when I see a neon sign like this I see the America that was a fountain of twentieth century art and culture, I don’t see the corporate oligopoly that drained the sustenance and vitality like pulling a bath plug. I see this sign and I don’t just stare wistfully, but see it as hope, of imagining a time gone by and visualizing how to actualize it again, in a new more inclusive and progressive form. I see it as a statue to the American Dream. . Also I shot this on my iPhone which I’ll probably start doing a bunch more, because it’s always in my pocket and because why not.