Lighthearted Beachhead pieces
People of Venice (from Beachhead)
Windward Avenue Articles from Beachhead
Art in the Beachhead
Venice institutions from the Beachhead
Tales of the Blue Meanie by Allan Cole
Another Chapter from Tales of the Blue Meanie by Allan Cole
Quotations About Venice
Alphabetized by author's last name and from many different eras
Venice is like doing acid. If you
can't take it with you after you either come down or move away, you were
never really there in the first place.
Santa Monica is what is known as a "Prophet" city. What "Spirit" rules there will create tomorrows reality. It is a major gate way into the entire world!…Venice is known as a "mercy" city. The potential of these two cities and the actors, producers, studios and millionaires that live here, once the Spirit of God is in place, the most "creative" amazing worship that will flood the entire world!
Venice was a hellhole.
.....one of the last remaining strongholds
of individualism in Southern California.
...this terrible abode of evil....
Venice is a zone, a modern monastic
zone where the artist is secular priest.
Ah, Venice, where one crazy
man's canal dream has spawned more California stereotypes, hack artists
and hippie coffee houses than anywhere outside of Santa Cruz.
Venice is a seaside archeological
site. Yards littered with paleolithic garbage, sidewalks mined with cenozoic
Venice was and is full of lost places
where people put up for sale the last worn bits of their souls, hoping
no one will buy.
Here at this far lost end of
the continent, where the trail wagons had stopped and the people with
For about 150 days a year in
Venice, the sun doesn't show through the mist until noon.
You used to be able to have a fat
ass and wear a string bikini and shades; you could walk down the Venice
Boardwalk with a joint in your mouth and fall in love. Now its an
....decay and disfavor came together
as other parts of the coast were developed, and the canals became weed-clogged
ditches breeding mosquitoes, and the hotels were turned into third-rate
San Francisco may be slightly
more sophisticated and cultured than Venice, but the only difference is
in the apparal. The tiedye remains eternal...
Nowadays it has become chi-chi for
the smart set to roller-skate on the Ocean Front Walk in little satin
shorts and to sit drinking Perrier or white wine at its sidewalk cafes,
while we colorful local inhabitants continue our lives, observed.
Welcome to Venice: where dogs vote
and the people shit on the sidewalks.
I am thinking about ... producing
a new PBS series titled: "Free to Pee You and Me." I could feature
Venice Beach as the location and home of the United-Pissers-of-Your-American-Anarchists-Sanitation-System
(UPYAASS for short.)
Venice really is amazing...
it has a lot of my heart when I go around doing research. Such amazing
things happen there.
It will always be a good time in Venice. Which is the point of the place.
I have looked for the center of
the art scene. I went to Paris as a student. I lived in Venice, California.
Bohemia by the bay, paradise on
the skids.... a burg rife with swamis
There were two practical reasons
we moved to Venice. One was that there was an artists movement and a countercultural
movement. Lots of people we might want to hire lived in the area. We also
wanted to buy in a lower rent area that looked like it was going to be
gentrified so that we could eventually sell the studio for more money.
Venice Beach: proof of the biological
impossibility of imagining a person being simultaneously good-looking
All this cut-price transcendentalism
does not prevent California from being a startlingly physical state. This
becomes most obvious where Los Angeles saunters down to the sea. The region
is called Venice.
The gymnasiacs of Venice, in California, are so addicted to these practices that there has arisen a nation of men who can no longer put their arms against their sides
When a guy walks up to me and
starts talking and I turn to look at him, I can't tell if he's a millionaire
or a pauper. You can't tell in Venice.
The situation in the film is like
me going out to Venice Beach and talking to a homeless guy on the boardwalk,
and 13 years later he's the president.
...... an outlaw gulch, a haven
for draft resisters, struggling artists, and drug addicts.....a camp for
semi-demented adults.... Venice is like the legendary Phoenix - it always
seems to rise again from the ashes.
To me, Venice and Ocean Park
were gaiety. I had not been allowed to go to those things as a youngster.
Venice Beach is a combination of the tacky, the mindless, the ironic, and the novel.
People here can go along at
whatever pace makes them comfortable.
Venice is a sanctuary.
[Anais Nin] adores Venice, the refuge
of poor artists, and Venice Beach with its carnival atmosphere, white
sand, and the pull of the sea.
You couldn't drive through Oakwood
without feeling the currents of venom, everybody overcharged, wary, and
watching, the asphalt itself vibrating with tension.
Interested scholars and city officials
have travelled across the country to study and attempt to understand the
complex social patterns on the Venice boardwalk.
Venice had changed
in thirty years. The big indoor swimming pool and the amusement pier,
with its Race Through the Clouds, were gone. Most of the canals had been
abandoned or were filled with stagnant water. There were still trams that
ran up and down the deserted beach walk, carrying a few elderly Jewish
passengers, but most shops on Windward Avenue and on the ocean front were
empty. The little grocery store on the corner sold maggot-infested meat.
The whole neighborhood was so creepily shabby, so oddly macabre that Orson
Welles used it as a set for his noir movie, Touch of Evil.
Love was out of control in Venice.
Everybody was fucking everybody. It was sexual liberation at the high-water
mark: before herpes, before AIDS. The difference in Venice was that nobody
was hiding it.
I might love a man, but I love Venice
Every step in this town is a
There are too many homeless,
too many crack dealers and too much going on; your senses get numbed there.
Gentrification and consumerism...
have destroyed the character of my favorite American haunts, like North
Beach, Berkeley, Venice and Aspen.
Unique among the world's Bohemias
This is the end. This is as
far as you can go. After this it all starts over again.
My experience in Venice tells me
the world is starving for real art.
Venice is a plugged-up toilet.
In Venice, Calif., a mixed couple
is a man and a woman.
Venice Valentine Greeting: "Happy
Valiumtime Day," or, simply, "Happy V.D."
Venice, California, is the only
city I know of in which the park benches smell too bad to sit on and your
shoes stick to the pavement.
You can see darn near anything
just by walking along the beachfront from Venice to Malibu.
Venice is as far west as you can
get - in every way.
Fear and loathing meet the best
sunsets this side of Hawaii; dog shit meets a sweet ocean breeze; golden
tans meet boozy pallors.....This place is so odd, unique....
....a cockeyed dump between two
other cockeyed dumps... a rotting slum....the creepiest, most beautiful
ruin you ever did see.
Venice is the only place in
LA where you can breathe.
America's smorgasbord of the rationally
Yet for all the childish innocence
of its bizarre glamor, Venice developed an atmosphere, or became the outpost
of a sinister deep-rooted power.... It is a place of dreams, not only
the tinseled ones.......
...Venice has been the living future
of contemporary American history since its inception.
Venice is the only place in LA where
a confused person on drugs might think he's in Greenwich Village, if he
doesn't notice the beach.
Venice West is to Los Angeles
what the Left Bank once was to Paris.
...streets stained with Beauty/
behind every corner...
artists and criminals in those days. Venice West was a city of outsiders.
It was (and still is) a last stop-off at the edge of America. ...Ocean
and outlaws. Its setting is a perfect balance for poetry. Beauty and danger.
Agony and rapture.
The allure of Venice Beach is the
relative freedom which still exists there. It doesn't have the most beautiful
sand or ocean. It doesn't have anything unique except its freedom and
its tradition of this freedom.
It's America's global village - a place where the
visitor becomes part of the spectrum of what is happening. It's all about
sharing talents, skills, music, food and art. A message in a bottle of
what California is all about.
Street performers, homemade crafts, keep your wallet in your front pocket and don't buy any crap!
In all our cities...there is always
some sort of casbah, crumbling, decadent in the literal sense...where
the greatest historical distance assures the greatest unreality....
The old Ocean Park area (near the Santa Monica-Venice border) and the old Venice Canal area were the world's chicest slums....
Venice, California, has seldom been
an entirely respectable place
In its high-floating, quirky
visions and stubborn, off-handed poverty, Venice was a brave and deliberate
affront to an American Dream that worked.
...the whole town had become
the most ingeniously painted-on surface in Southern California.
...that embarrassing stepchild of Los Angeles
.....bizarre, mysterious allure
that so thinly masks brutality and ugliness.
The boardwalk is like the beating
heart of America. You can be normal; you can be strange. It's so rad.
The throng...is probably a modern-day
equivalent of the Capernaum of Jesus's time.
"Venice Beach is the last great bastion of free speech in the world…"
When you come to Venice, you do
men & women of venice, lovers, children, holy citizens
of the heavenly city
venice morning, oceanfront walk
people of venice, smiling, sunned, enchanted
venice magic dazzling eyes with world, with city
with street & ocean.........
It's a fault line where the
flotsam and energy that washes up from the Pacific collides with all of
urban America crashing in from the other direction.
...the frontier of so-called civilization
...East L. A. with sandflies
........a somewhat ruinous precinct
of the dominant society.
Venice is like no place else.
Everything was happening all the
time. You never needed television.
This is the only place that I don't
feel out of place, because everyone here is out of place.
But it's not about going 'there'.
It could exist anywhere. Places like that, whether they're seen as crass
or not, represent something that people should be thinking about in America
....core of an urban melting pot,
a tough and vital scene where expressions of freedom play and utter outrageousness
can flourish...... a big jolly playpen....a marvelous scene of commerce
and social interaction.
....a kind of stage set where the
dream of high culture could be acted out by residents and visitors on
a Sunday afternoon......aberrant energy..
Nobody's out of place in Venice.
Venice is a place where the past
is still hanging around, waiting for an appointment with the future; but
the future hasn't shown up. In the meantime it is a kind of no man's land,
given up by default and occupied by irregulars and their dogs.
Time goes by, but the magic
Venice, California is known as one
of the most unique, exciting and stubborn communities in the Los Angeles
I don't know of any place that loves
so passionately, hates so vehemently, or forgives so easily as Venice.
...the real front lines, the only
community in Los Angeles where wealthy white people and poor black people
live in the kind of close proximity large eastern cities have been dealing
with for years.
Venice is a transitional point,
a deconditioning chamber, vitally needed for our nation's and the World's
Since Venice is one of the few places
in America and the World that is a true Melting Pot, people want to see
it function and, if possible, want to live in it.
I've been kind of submerged
in my own little geographic location for a really long time in Venice
The Venice sky is tactile. You can
hold its light in your palms.
.... crowded with the detritus of
a continent: the flamboyant and the crazy, the lost and the beautiful.
In bikinis and uniforms and junk-shop costumery they floated by on roller
skates and dope and dreams...
- (in expounding on his theory "anything thats
fun is going to be ruined sooner or later by people from California"
because they are serious about things that dont warrant it, and
tend to become expert in trivial areas.) The example
I use is coming across somebody on Venice Beach who had perfected bubble-
blowing --- knew everything about it, produced these huge bubbles, and
spoke at length at the tiniest opportunity about what went into a bubble.
Venice...playground of the idle
...like another planet...
...primo weirdos from all over the
This is the decadency of the United
States, right here.
..one of the freest places on earth...
Since the bike path's renovation
and the rebuilding of a few burned-out boardwalk apartment houses
beach had lost some of its funky grandeur.......The bums and winos were
there to keep it real, to deflate the ego and remind that all was vanity.
It is pretty creepy and dirty,
but it was really interesting seeing all the personalities cruising around.
Everyone there wants to talk with you, but I wouldn't call it a friendly
place ever - it's weird !
(When preparing for the I-Wish Project in Venice, in
early 2006.) Venice Beach represents such a diverse
and eclectic group of people, so the photography and wishes should turn
(Comparing certain people to the real, productive ones
partaking of a more Eastern philosophy; the real Beats ) These
people, as far as I can see, do not congregate in the notorious centers
of the movement, like the North Beach in San Francisco or Greenwich Village,
or Venice, California.
At one time the corner of Hollywood
& Vine was the symbolic heart of Los Angeles, the place one took out-of-town
relatives just so they could say they had been there. Today, that honor
belongs to the Venice Beach Boardwalk...
Venice is a world view, a condition...
It was like an intellectual
community that moved into Venice. There were bikers and drug dealers too,
but everybody got along.
No one wants to play at Venice Beach
by themselves because then you really look like a loser.
In math terms I guess it could
be summarized as: Venice = Noise.
Venice is so hip and everyone
seems pretty cool.
Bohemian, down-at-heel Venice
Beach, full of beardy, smoking hippy-types flogging funny hats, telling
people's fortunes, playing languid jazz melodies or just chillin'.