For some, it was a fresh start. For others, a last resort. It was also the home of Al's Bar, the seminal punk-rock dive. The American Hotel in downtown Los Angeles was built in 1905 as the city's first hotel for African-Americans.
Since that time, it has been a haven for society's outsiders, whether Japanese immigrants or artists seeking cheap space and an off-the-grid existence in an abandoned and neglected urban landscape.
Over the past four decades, a thriving and free-spirited arts scene has grown up in and around the American Hotel. But development and gentrification are pushing out the artists that made the area desirable. At the heart of this struggle stands the American Hotel, with its history of tolerance and renewal.