In the block around Hollywood and Vine, if you pay attention to detail, the world can seem sinister, as if Nathanael West (1903-1940, born Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein) was onto something. See The Day of the Locust (1939), his novel about Hollywood. West, they say, saw the American dream as having been betrayed, both spiritually and materially, in the long years of the Depression. This idea of the corrupt American dream was something he pioneered. W. H. Auden coined the term "West's Disease" to refer that sort of poverty that exists in both a spiritual and economic sense.
After three years in Paris, in 1933, West bought a farm in eastern Pennsylvania but then got a job as a contract scriptwriter for Columbia Pictures and moved to Hollywood. West and his new wife, Eileen McKenney, died in a car accident the day after his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lived a few doors down the street here on Laurel Avenue, had died of a heart attack.
What West saw is still around, and the tour starts at the tourist office next to the Pantages Theater.