Thursday, February 4, 2016

Route 66 and the Daily Life Behind Tourism

Historically, Route 66 represents westward expansion and industrial revolution. Built in 1926, the highway was meant to connect two major cities on either coast - Los Angeles and Chicago. Following The Depression, the highway was a symbol for opportunity. What could no longer be found on the east coast might be found on the west. In the 1960s and 70s, the highway was a popular tourist attraction, even prompting a TV show and a hit song. However in classic American fashion, there is always a marginalized history behind the mainstream.

What happens to the people who travelled along Route 66 in search of adventure and a new life, but never found it? In Arizona, the rural homeless population is rapidly increasing. Many homeless people can be found along - you guessed it - Route 66. Recently, a woman by the name of Lori bought Route 66 Motel to transform it into a homeless shelter called ANEW Living. A documentary film would tell the stories of the people in this motel. It would tell the daily life behind a tourist attraction. The truth behind the facade. The reality behind the show.

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