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Venice in Books A-C
alphabetized by author

Venice in Books D-K
alphabetized by author

Venice in Books L-P alphabetized by author

Novelists, Journalists, Screenwriters, Directors, Actors who live or lived in Venice

Quotations about Venice

Free Venice Beachhead headlines August 1977-October 1985

30 Years Ago
in the Free Venice Beachhead

Free Venice Beachhead Archives 1980-81

Beachhead Archives 1982

Beachhead Archives 1983

Beachhead Archives 1984

1914-1915 Part 1

1914-1916 Part 4

1914-1916 Part 5

John Hamilton

Lighthearted Beachhead pieces

People of Venice (from Beachhead)

Windward Avenue Articles from Beachhead

Art in the Beachhead

Venice institutions from the Beachhead

Venice in Magazines and other ephemeral sources

Birth of Venice:
old-timey magazines

Destiny's Consent by
Laura Shepard

Lions and Gondolas

Rana Ayzeren

Tales of the Blue Meanie by Allan Cole

Another Chapter from Tales of the Blue Meanie by Allan Cole

"Brick" Garrigues

The Spectre

Venice Historical Society

1969 Police Riots

Jack the Liar


Venice in Books Q-Z

In alphabetical order by author's last name

John Rechy - The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens
Includes a boardwalk encounter with a man who will show you God’s face for $20.

David Rieff - Los Angeles: Capital of the Third World
Examines the case of the poor and homeless. Joan Didion calls it "a brilliant and disturbing examination of the America we have not yet faced."

Nora Roberts - River's End
A character lives at Venice Beach in a nice cottage with a lovely garden where he can watch sunsets. Someone breaks in and trashes his house and on another occasion bashes his best friend over the head, thinking it's him.

James Cass Rogers - Venice to Avalon (2004)
Costume designer dreams of an actress murdered in the ‘30s and sets out to solve the case. Said to have some 1930s Venice in it, thin and unconvincing, although somebody else says it’s thrilling. Lots of history and description.

Jim Rose - Freak Like Me: Inside the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow
Rose started his act on the streets of Venice Beach and ended up being the "must-see" act at Lollapalooza

Judith Rossner - His Little Women
A minor character is an abused wife who escapes from her husband. They had been living in Venice where he was a bartender in a place called Shoals, later the Prawn Shop.

John Sandford - The Night Crew
Anna Batory was trained as a classical pianist and now heads a free-lance news team which cruises the city at night hoping to get the first and best film of accidents and crime scenes. Anna and her one hundred house plants live on Linnie Canal, where the neighbors have an emergency phone tree so any disturbance can be met with show of force. Lots of the action in this suspense tale happens at her place. When it looks as if the villain might be one of her neighbors, Anna is not surprised. "God knows there were enough strange and troubled people in Venice; that was almost a qualification to owning a home there."

John Sandford - Mortal Prey
The arch-villainess Clara Rinker's younger brother Gene was homeless and living on the beach between Venice and Santa Monica. When Clara comes back to the US she has lunch in Venice and walks around the canals for a while.

John Sandford - Easy Prey
passing mention of an old friend who had a heart attack on Venice beach

Horst Schmidt-Brummer - Venice, California - An Urban Fantasy
Photos and some sociological musings. Author sees developers, landlords, speculators and urban renewal as the enemy. I got my copy used.

James Schock - Life is a Lousy Drag
contains material on Eric Nord's life before and in Venice

Barbara Seranella - No Human Involved, No Offense Intended, Unwanted Company, Unfinished Business, No Man Standing
Immensely popular series of novels starring Munch Mancini, auto mechanic, ex-junkie. A TV deal is rumored to be in the works.

Doris Shaffer - Dear Deedee
A very absorbing diary which shows the downside of the Jewish American Princess myth. Shaffer was a very intelligent and creative woman who just couldn't hack the bullshit. Also her friends and family were dying at an alarming rate. She loved Venice Beach more than any place she had seen, which apparently was a lot of places. At one time she taught in some capacity at UCLA. In her last days she had a cottage right on the beach and ran for miles on the sand trying to shake off depression. On Christmas of '63, near an old Spanish house on a corner, she saw a black man sleeping off a drunk. She went for her run and passed the place again on the way back. "As I neared the house, I saw the black man again - now beaten and bloodied. I should have stopped but felt like vomiting. I ran faster to my house and telephoned the Venice police. I stuttered into the phone. They came to my house. The black man was dead." The same day, she went to the grocery store and someone broke all the windows in her VW. When she got home her house had been stripped of stereo, record collection, balalaika, guitar, and all. This triple bummer, especially since it was Christmas, pushed her over the edge. She took a handful of Nembutals and didn't wake up.

Mary Sheldon - Perhaps I'll Dream of Darkness
A novel about a teenage girl who kills herself for love of a burnt-out rock star. When his band is just getting started, they live in Venice and play gigs at local saloons including one on Venice Pier.

Patricia Smiley - False Profits
One of the plot elements is a corpse washed up on Venice Beach

Jack Clifford Smith - The Big Orange (1976)
The decayed bohemian charm of Venice is threatened by gentrification.
disdainful of the affluent life of the nearby marina, have rooted their counterculture."

Keith Snyder - Trouble Comes Back
Jason and Robert have a "groovy beach pad" (always pronounced with affectionate irony) near the canals, decorated with junk and kitsch. Jason is a musician and apparently ex-CIA or something of the kind. Robert is an actor. There’s action at the Cow’s End and a lot of other Venice atmosphere. Clever and scintillating dialog, twisty plot that concerns the kidnapping of a 6 year old named Donna, the child of a country singer and a model.

Scott Sommer - Still Lives
The story happens in New York, but the protagonist meets a woman named Constance who used to live in Venice and still owns a house with an ocean view. She used to have a store, too, but lost it to the gentrification of Main Street. Later she decides to move back to Venice and he goes too, and a year later they get married.

Southern Pacific Lines - A Picture Journey Through California: Being a Series of Seventy-Four Photographs of California's Principal Spots of Scenic, Romantic and Historic Interest (1926) includes Venice

Norman Spinrad - The Mind Game
He describes a "crumbling and sinister-looking apartment house on a slimy back street in Venice a couple of blocks from the beach." The inhabitants are "spectral hippies left over from the sixties, ghostly old beatniks left over from the fifties, and wasted junkies living very much in the perpetual now."

Arnold Springer - A History of Venice of America Book #1;
Vol. l History of the Venice Canals 1850-1939
Vol. 2 History of Politics 1919-1939

Published by Ulan Bator Foundation; Venice Calif 1994. Still available. Venice History, organized chronologically by topics, culled from the primary sources and encapsulated in their original vignettes, with no overarching historical narratives.

David Sprigle - Venice Beach Boys Calendar (2005)
Okay so it’s not a book. It has pages however.

Karen Stabiner - Limited Engagements
In this novel there's a lot of description of boardwalk interactions, and an explanation of the real estate shell game. "The southern boundary between Venice and Marina del Rey swung wildly back and forth....People living in some buildings in Venice could even get their mail addressed to Venice or Marina del Rey, depending on the image they wanted to convey"

Jeffrey Stanton - Venice CA: Coney Island of the Pacific
expanded Centennial edition 367 photos text has been revised and expanded to twice its former length. Lots of vintage photos and solid research.

Jeffrey Stanton and Annette Del Zoppo - Venice, California 1904-1930

Danielle Steele - The Dating Game
A young woman's parents help subsidize her move from Venice to Malibu because they don't like her living in a dangerous neighborhood.

Elizabeth van Steenwyk - Let's Go To The Beach: A History Of Sun And Fun By The Sea
The beach lifestyle and its customs, includes Venice of course.

Muriel Strange - Sparks (1980)
Novel about a mechanic who lives on one of the walk streets and starts doing art work and becomes an overnight sensation and just as quickly fizzles out. His best friend deals coke and is just coming to terms with the fact that he is gay and has always been in love with the mechanic/artist.

Tim Street-Porter - Musical Houses
includes Beach Boys Dennis Wilson, who " ...ties up his sleek floating home in Venice, California..."

Anne Stuart - Break the Night (1993)
Jack the Ripper returns and does his work in the alleys of Venice, California

Ross Thomas - Chinaman's Chance (1988)
A hooker is offered the chance to work out of a bar in Venice, but scorns the idea of competing with teenage dopers. "They give it away over there for the price of a joint. You talk about turning a trick for fifty bucks over there and you get laughed out of town. You wanna know what Venice is? It's the pits!"

Thomas Thompson - Serpentine
"Once, when she was in her late teens, on an evening when she was deeply stoned on mescaline and lying on harem pillows in a duplex in Venice, California...."

Newton Thornburg - Beautiful Kate
None of the story takes place there, but the protagonist's girlfriend, a rather common actress/model, comes from Venice.

Newton Thornburg - Dreamland
This novel describes Venice beach "crowded with the detritus of a continent: the flamboyant and the crazy, the lost and the beautiful....." Its people he calls "hippie descendants, wanderers still, but more clean-cut and practical than their forbears, though probably just as fond of drugs and indolence."

Laura Shepard Townsend - Destiny's Consent
is a series of four books about the life of a Gypsy named Angelica Grastende; and also "a mythical roadmap for those who become lost during the pursuit of their own lives." The Gypsy's Song is already available; next in the series is Lions and Gondolas which will appear soon, and that's where Venice comes into the picture.

Alexander Trocchi - Cain’s Book (1960)
Trocchi lived in Venice in late 1950s and wrote Cain’s Book, which according to John Arthur Maynard is "the only first-rate work of long fiction even partially written in Venice West" though it has nothing to do with Venice. The uncorrected galley proofs, bound in cardboard, are in the Lawrence Lipton collection. Trocchi hung out with Wallace Berman.

Roy E. Tuckman - "Zapping Nixon"
In this article included in Paul Krassner's anthology Psychedelic Trips for the Mind, Tuckman describes his experiences with LSD and the draft board while living in Venice

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez - Playing with Boys
Very entertaining novel about women in the movie business (the best female characters ever), with some big surprises. The author never hits a wrong note or a false one. Some significant meetings take place at Venice Beach.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez - The Dirty Girls Social Club
The character Amber or Cuicatl loves a pair of pants she found at a Venice boutique, the fabric printed all over with portraits of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Later when she achieves success as a singer, she buys a little house three blocks from the ocean

Venice Poetry Workshop - Venice Thirteen
Includes work by Luis Campos, Ed Entin, Richard Eiden, Joseph Hansen, John Harris, Dennis Holt, Jane E. Newton, Harry Northrup, Anne Marie Ross, Andrew V. Salmins, Lynn Shoemaker, Barry Simons, and Philip Taylor.

Andy von Sonn - Cops `n' Dopers (Policies y Drogueros) 1977
32 page booklet, set up like a board game, with underground comix-style artwork by Jim Rumph of the Slyme Factory, who was a pretty interesting fellow. In English and Spanish, it’s about what to do if you get busted. The publisher Mayflower Unlimited used to be in Venice. Or at least have a PO box there. A 2000 reissue is available through their website.

Bruce Wagner - Still Holding
Lisanne, an executive secretary, goes to the boardwalk to clear her head when her father has a stroke.

Dan Wakefield - Home Free
The hero lives on Speedway and works as a short order cook in a restaurant stand on Ocean Front Walk.

Michael Webb - Steven Erlich Architects: A Dynamic Serenity
One section is on houses designed for narrow urban sites in Venice

Michael Webb - Venice,CA : Art and architecture in a maverick community
Photos by Juergen Nogai. Artists - Frank Gehry, Morphosis, Coop Himmelblau, and Lorcan O’Herlihy. Homes and studios of Ed Ruscha, Dennis Hopper, John Baldessari, Ken Price, Robert Graham, and more.

Mark Whalen - "That Friday Afternoon in Venice" (1985)
short story

Sweet William (William McNally) - Venice of America - The American Dream Come True
Mostly photos. The text is part history and part personal reminiscence, including the personal journey that brought its author to Venice and a life radically different from before. The discussion of a dope bust raises some interesting philosophical and spiritaul points. Sweet William says the methods by which slums have been created here are so unique that a dean at UCLA is writing his PhD dissertation on the subject. Venetians are so partial to controlling their own affairs that they once gave $335,000 in poverty program money back to the federal government because of not liking whatever strings were attached.

Emily Winters - The Colorful History of Venice, California Coloring Book

Marvin J. Wolf and Katherine Mader - Fallen Angels (1986) - Chronicles of L.A. Crime and Mystery, has a chapter on murder of Sarai Ribicoff outside Venice restaturant

Tom Wolfe - The Pump House Gang
"Whole towns, meantime, have become identified as 'young': Venice, Newport Beach, Balboa - or 'old'- Pasadena, Riverside, Coronado Island."

Stuart Woods - L.A. Dead
featuring his ongoing character Stone Barrington, is a "scintillating tale of romance and murder that stretches from the Grand Canal of Venice to the mansions of Bel Air...."

Stuart Woods - Dead Eyes
A bad guy named Parker, a probable stalker and murderer, who professionally installs security systems, lives in a fortress-like Venice house with a giant Rottweiler.

Barry Wright - Venice California: The Illusion of a Future (1975)
Wright thinks the future of Venice won't be any different from the past. He goes on to say "its fate seems to be one of continued mediocrity." He's down on the Planning Commission, which has three alternate plans, all bad. He says, "One could conclude...that the interests being served by the Venice Master Plan are not those of the community's residents but those of the wealth and power of Los Angeles......" Wright's bibliography of sources includes Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Pedro Freire, An Essay on Liberation by Marcuse and Sartre's On Genocide. I had no idea that all these illustrious people concerned themselves with the fate of Venice.

Elizabeth Wurtzel - Prozac Nation (1994)
The protagonist visits her cousin in Los Angeles and eats "frozen yogurt at a combination bookstore and outdoor cafe' in Venice."

Ernest J. Zarate - At the Beach (1999)
Black & white photographs of many California beaches, including Venice

Paul Zindel - The Surfing Corpse
Did Timmy Warner plunge to his death over a 300-foot waterfall, or was that Timmy spotted recently, alive and well, at Venice Beach?




© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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