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
Shirt design from the past; artist unknown
Venice in Magazines and other ephemeral media
Architectural Digest, March 1983: Cover story: Mr. and Mrs. Roy Doumani's residence in Venice
Architectural Digest, April 1996: Cover story: Actor-director Anjelica Huston and her Venice home.
Christian Science Monitor, August 13, 2004: "A Hot Place for Free Expression" by Sheera Frenkel
Coastlines #7 Autumn 1959 Editorial:" The Merchants of Venice" and article critical of Lawrence Lipton and the Beats, by Mel Weisburd
Entertainment Weekly: a capsule description of the TV show Survivor 2: "Where a bunch of half-naked, sun-baked people will eat strange food and do crazy things for the camera. That sounds like Venice Beach every day."
Grey Room June 2003 from MIT Press. "Amateurs in the Industry Town: Stan Brakhage and Andy Warhol in Los Angeles" by David E. James This article has some mention of Venice in it, but how much is uncertain, because it costs $8 to read it online.
H2O, volume 5, number 1, article about Santa Monica-Venice beach by Christopher Isherwood
In her zine How Perfectly Goddam Delightful It All Is, to Be Sure, the notorious Sky Ryan catalogued the partners of her first two sexually active years. Josh, #23, gave her in return for nookie a place to crash. This guys such an ass, muses the acutely observant Sky. He works at this tat shop in Venice on the boardwalk. Everybody who works there is a junkie.
Juice Magazine - office on Zephyr Court and Market Street
LA Resources late 70s early 80s alternative yellow pages: their mailing address was a Venice PO Box
L.A. Weekly, February 2003: In a what-if scenario envisioned by Paul Ciotti, three young men in Venice respond to an incident of bioterrorism by stealing three kayaks and paddling out to sea.
Life Magazine, Jan. 22, 1940: 72 pages
This comes from when you could buy a brand new Studebaker or Chevrolet for under $700 - it was a LONG time ago. This was pre-World War II - the one your dad or grandfather was in. Venice was only 35 years old. The Grapes of Wrath with Henry Fonda was a new release. This magazine dates from even before I was born!
Right at the beginning, in the Speaking of Pictures section on page 6 through 8, even before the Table of Contents, is an article called "This is how Venice (Calif.) Sells Itself."
Whoever wrote the article got it right - Abbot Kinney wanted a cultural center. He wanted from the start to attract a permanent population not only of people who were employed by the various attractions, but of people who moved there because it was a nice place to raise a family.
The article sticks up for the "Venice Resists" reputation, which it's had since birth. About the 1925 incorporation into LA, it says, "When officials ordered the canals filled in for streets, Venetians protested, insisting they would rather have their children drowned than run over. For a time they shoveled out the canals as fast as they were filled." It speaks of Venice as "still the most eccentric community of a State noted for its amiable eccentricities."
It calls Venice "the favorite resort of the U.S. fleet's enlisted personnel." A nice way of saying a place where sailors hang out. Uh-oh!
All the photos were conceived by Eyre Powell, the public relations mastermind who also shaped the images of the Los Angeles Harbor, Hollywood Bowl, and several other beaches beside Venice.
We also have chariot racing, fake snow, a mermaid, and a truly ludicrous game of "stilt volleybal" where the players' feet rest on stilt platforms a good 10 feet above the sand. the caption notes, "Almost any prop is good for Venice's press agents, whose formula is "girl plus gag makes news." Not to mention the brilliant stroke of convincing Life magazine to make the press agentry itself into a news story.
They saved the best for last: Here's a jerry-built structure kind of like an elongated igloo, with a girl standing inside and a big dial meter outside. It's called "The Nudometer" and supposedly registers the area of skin exposed by a bathing suit. "As a newsreel gag, a lightly clad girl stepped in, caused hand to whirl madly, catch fire."
Life Magazine Sept. 21, 1959 : "Squaresville U.S.A. vs. Beatsville." The article starts by explaining the inspiration behind it: a letter written to Lawrence Lipton, author of The Holy Barbarians, by three young women from Hutchinson, Kansas. They knew they lived in Squaresville, "so we as its future citizens want to be cooled in."
It just gets better from there, contrasting life in the small heartland town with "the frontier of so-called civilization," as beat artist Arthur Richer characterized Venice. Beats are shown doing such outre things as (gasp!) sitting on the kitchen table. History repeats itself: then as now, some residents objected to the drums. Includes a photo of Tex Kleen in the bathtub at the famous Gas House, and another artist decorating trash cans.
Just to put it in historical context, the cover is Astronauts Wives. An important movie that year was Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson and Doris Day, and the scandal of the week was the affair between Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis which broke up both their marriages.
An interesting tidbit of anthropological linguistics: in Hutchinson, "beatniks" was pronounced "beet necks." No relation to red necks, although beets admittedly are red.
One of the original letter-writers commented on their learning experience: "We know beatniks arent good, but we thought they just dressed sloppy and talked funny. Now we know that they get married without licenses and things like that." Still, the kids invented a cute beat parody skit for their high school theatricals.
Interestingly, in the same issue theres a page about a housewife in Malden, Massachusetts whose hobby was dancing in a bikini in her back yard, drawing a crowd of sometimes hundreds. Obviously Venice wasnt the only place where music and exhibitionism gained a foothold that year.
Life Magazine, November 2, 1962: Full page Maytag ad with 11 children of Mrs. William Lennon of Venice, California
Los Angeles Magazine December 1979: The ten best and ten worst parts of greater Los Angeles to live in. Venice was neither. The article provided a handy, facts-at-a glance sidebar, the Blight List. Bel-Air was #1 (least blight) and Venice was #55. Ten other parts of the city were named as being even more blighted. The writer optimistically remarked that Venice might make a comeback, and by 1984 could find itself in the top ten.
Los Angeles Times Magazine: in the late 1980s began a series about different parts of LA, with statistical fact sheet and artistically drawn cartoony map. #1 of the series was Venice-Marina del Rey
Moravagine #3 1986 "Interview with Tony Scibella" by John Macker - described the 1959 tourist invasion
New Yorker, January 29, 2001: Ian Frazier "My Wife Liz" This first-person account of the protagonist's short tenure as Liz Taylor's husband appeared in The. I think it's fiction. He dialed Liz by accident and they developed a phone friendship which then progressed to an affair. For their lovenest, someone loaned them a condo in Venice.
Newrinkle July-Oct 84
Newsweek Spring 1979 "A Nation of Good Skates." It says, "In Venice, California, where many things are carried to excess, the skaters seem to have taken over the town."
Pagan APA (amateur publishing association, what we had before internet discussion groups) was published by Rita Prince Winston from a Venice address. A review in Factsheet Five #36 called this publication "A place for wide-ranging discussion between pagans and fellow-travelers of all types. There are bits of pagan politics, summoning elementals, the use of grounding in everyday life, a Jewish perspective, and who knows what else in here. A friendly and fun place."
People, late 1977: Patty Hearst and her then-fiance (the bodyguard) on a date at Venice Beach
People, August 9, 2004: "Britney Spears and fiance Kevin Federline stroll hand in hand after buying matching head scarves..." Also, Britney has just bought a t-shirt that says "I'm a virgin (but this is an old shirt.)
People, September 6, 2004: "Drea de Matteo gets the best seat in the house as she and costar Matt LeBlanc film a promo for Joey, his Friends spinoff."
Playboy, April 1984: A nice little piece about a store called Soap Show, at 411 Rose Ave., that carried "every soap in the world." Illustrated by a picture of a naked lady standingup in a tub filled with about 3 cubic yards of suds.
Playboy unknown date "Playboy's Roving Eye" features two pages of skating photos, mostly taken on the boardwalk. Elsewhere in the issue, a model is shown skating at the beach and sitting at one of the pagodas
The Realist social and political satire, investigative journalism, up to the reader to figure out which is which. This publication was one of the cornerstones of what later became my mind, and its address was a PO Box in Venice.
Rose & Thorn literary e-zine: In "Swamp Land," a story by Mark Ketchem, one of the plot devices is a gold marijuana leaf necklace bought at Venice Beach.
Slick men's magazine: I dont know which one, because of just having the torn-out page. Photo spread: black convertible with red upholstery, containing some really sleazy women. One has bare tits, and hair in a pony tail squarely in front of her face. Both wear white-rimmed sunglasses. They're posed in front of Terry Schoonhoven's St. Charles mural.
Spectre: produced by John Haag in the early
Spin Magazine: March 1999, article "The Lords of Dogtown" by G. Beato. Skateboard boys in Pacific Ocean Park
Time: ran a cover story during the Beat era. Time also said, in a 1959 review of The Holy Barbarians, "There is a strong scent of social science in Venice West."
Us - date unknown: Cher's mother skating on the boardwalk with her boyfriend, a poet 21 years younger. He's handsome, bearded, in a Hawaiian shirt and patched faded jeans. They have a boutique in West LA and are writing a book about their relationship.
Vanity Fair, November 2004: "Strolling Abbot Kinney - Venice's Cultural Crossroads" by John Brodie. The author doubts that gentrification will prevail because "...the gunplay of the Shoreline Crips and the V-13 is as much a part of life in Venice as pit bulls playing with blond Labs at the local dog park."
Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing: 1976-1981 - described as a hip, humorous, whimsically silly, lifestyle magazine from Venice. New wave hedonism and eroticism.
The Spectre, founded by John Haag
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