Venice Beach……a carnival atmosphere, a place where “utter outrageousness can flourish….a big jolly playpen.”
“It is one of the most peaceful, alluring, puzzling, beautiful, funny and free places I know in the world.” — Marcia Seligson
Venice Beach is all of this, and more.
Come with me, my friends, on a trip to Venice Beach, where you won’t need drugs to feel perpetually high. Prepare to be transported, circa 1965:
The world famous Venice Beach boardwalk stretches one and a half miles along the sands of the Pacific Ocean south of Santa Monica Pier. It is home to hundreds of street performers and vendors, artists, musicians, mimes, and fortune tellers.
Intended to be a seaside resort like its namesake in Italy, Venice of America opened on July 4, 1905.
Venice was annexed into Los Angeles in 1925 when its politics became unmanageable. LA neglected Venice for so long that, by the 1950s, it had become known as a “Slum by the Sea.”
“Venice Beach is a combination of the tacky, the mindless, the ironic, and the novel.” — Freelance Dionysian
Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, led a bohemian lifestyle in Venice Beach after graduating with a degree from the UCLA film school.
In 1965, Morrison lived on the rooftop of a building inhabited by his old UCLA cinematography friend, Dennis Jakobs, where he wrote the lyrics to Moonlight Drive and Hello, I Love You.
According to Jakobs, Morrison lived on canned beans and LSD for several months.
“In its high-floating, quirky visions, and stubborn, off-handed poverty, Venice was a brave and deliberate affront to an American dream that worked.” — John Arthur Maynard
…”one of the last remaining strongholds of individualism in Southern California.” — John Austin
“Venice Beach 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.” — Mark Lindquist
That concludes our trip to the psychedelic 60s. Hope you had a blast!
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