Sunday, August 23, 2015


Here's the beginning of this week's arts and culture piece, which necessitated a trip to a land far, far away...the Westside of L.A...

In the 25 years I’ve lived in L.A., up until a few weeks ago, I’d never visited the Venice Canals: the brainchild, as you may know, of developer Abbot Kinney, who, back in 1905, thought to recreate a slice of Italy on the shores of the Pacific.

With the traffic on the 10, a trip from my perch near downtown to the Westside always requires a bit of mental preparation.

And Venice Beach, of course, is a world unto itself.

I grew up near the beach — granted, in New Hampshire — but even there, an air of thrillingly low adventure prevailed: drugs, clandestine sex, petty crime. Venice Beach features as well chalk-faced Midwestern families on vacation; man-bunned hipsters weaving through impossible traffic on expensive bikes and a caliber of female beauty not generally seen — or at least not quite so fully displayed — in New England.

I parked off Washington and navigated on foot by feel, winding through a few blocks of residential streets till I found my way to Grand Canal. It didn’t look grand: it looked like an alley lined with Home Depot garage doors.


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