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Venice has always been about change, but lately a narrative has been developed for commercial reasons.
If you're against something, anything, going on in Venice, you're labeled as "against change." And you're marginalized, pushed out of the conversation. Like a Suppressive Person. Or, closer to home, a homeless vagrant.
It's totally anathema to Venice that this is occurring because Venice, the incubator, was always about the idea. Venetians have always been about the debate.
I'm not so easy to pigeonhole. In truth, I helped to gentrify the place. Those salacious "You Ruined Venice" bumper stickers make me laugh, but they're actually applicable to me. I know what I've cost people who came before me. It's heavy.
I fought some developments and supported others, but I'm concerned about the rampant appropriation of Venice's identity, with no understanding of what that identity actually gives L.A.
Sometime last year, I began to think about leaving. I wasn't the only one. But looking around, I realized how lucky many of us were. I started calling people to say, "Don't buy the narrative, we are all still here, it's just that the scene has gone underground, we're just not on Abbot Kinney anymore." I made sure to start spending more time with friends.
And the community started taking care of me, just like it used to.
I needed a place to live, and an old friend hooked me up with her friend from the dog park, a property manager who'd lived here for forever too, and she gave me a place literally on the spot. Coincidentally, it was across the street from a structure where I used to live, where my old landlords live now. Immediately, there was an invitation to come over for drinks and an offer to help move a heavy piece of furniture. Next to them was a newer local, in a more recently built house, but he understood what was so good about its architecture and knew all its history. He cherished it. On Halloween, I dropped by and so did another neighbor, and we just hung out.
I'm not ready to leave the island yet.