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You Ruined Venice, But No, I'm Not Leaving

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Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 9:29 AM

click to enlarge Ah, Venice. - FLICKR/ NEIL KREMER
Word is that some Venice locals are getting cranky. They went to bed one night living in a community and woke up in an ad.

The coolest block in America. #GQHQ for the day. The audacity of appropriation abounds. A new hotel being pushed for Abbot Kinney has a PowerPoint presentation selling itself as the logical conclusion to the neighborhood's iconic history. "The Birth of a Scene," it starts, before seguing into "Birth of Skateboarding," then "Birth of California Contemporary Art Scene," and ultimately, "And Now the Birth of a Boutique Hotel."

Wow.

All that beautiful imagery and none of the soul behind it.

I came here 14 years ago. I learned to write here. I started a newspaper here. I became myself here. And I'm so sorry they got it wrong.

Venice was an island off the coast of Los Angeles.

It was a place where people arrived lost or unknown and they become great.

They were not respected because of how a market reacted to them but on the strength of their work alone. Their ideas, alone.

As long as you were serious about what you were doing, you were given the support and room needed to grow.

See also: Venice Is the Best Neighborhood in L.A., But I'm Leaving

This is true not just for people in the arts or other quintessential outsiders but "establishment professions," too. Lawyers, real estate agents even. I'm thinking of two men who came here entirely different people from the men they are now, both forces within their field who, having become that, keep turning back, extending a hand for others.

In Venice, we might call that community.

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