North Hollywood, Lankershim Blvd.

Photography and audio by Carlos Chavez

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In the hot sun, Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood spreads out wide and flat, the granite fronts of office buildings glistening in the light. Austere sentinels of palm trees tower over the street.

The community was named in hopes of catching a whiff of the glamour conjured by Hollywood to the south. And as with a life devoted to chasing stardom, the rhythms of this swatch of the San Fernando Valley are both prosaic and poetic. A leopard-print upholstered chair is for sale on the sidewalk in front of Al's Discount Furniture, south of Magnolia, the street that is the namesake of the haunting movie about angst-ridden lives set here.

Yet this is also NoHo, the North Hollywood Arts District, as banners hanging from every light post proclaim. Small theaters dot the street, modest outposts of actors' dreams. Amp Rehearsal provides music studios to the Black Eyed Peas as well as the struggling apartment-bound musician. Inside the white-walled space of the clothing store Indexx, fashion design student Kristina Menjivar and aspiring singer Alex Tharpe nurture their ambitions while selling trendy fashions.

Outside Vicious Dogs, an eatery with a giant model of a hot dog on its storefront, a camera rolls, capturing actress Tiffany Pollard (aka "New York") strolling down the sidewalk. Pollard, her curvy figure encased in a tight dress, has her own reality show, "New York Goes to Hollywood," debuting tonight on VH1. "It's all about her moving from New York to Hollywood to pursue an acting career," says a publicist watching the shot. "Yeah, it's true. She's just moved here."

--Carla Hall

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