The L.A. Public Library recently launched a campaign aimed at introducing Herman Melville's Moby Dick to new readers, but the grassroots Venice Oceanarium has been doing just that for nearly two decades. Its inaugural Moby Dick Reading was held in November 1995, and it has since become a Venice Beach tradition in which volunteers read aloud all 132 chapters — roughly 500 pages, but who's counting? — over the course of a weekend. “There's something about this particular book that lends itself to oration,” says Oceanarium director Tim Rudnick, who organizes the November event to mark the beginning of the gray whale migration season. “It's the perfect thing to read against the crashing waves.” The reading takes place on the sand in what Rudnick describes as a tabernacle-like structure, made of whale bones on loan from the Cabrillo Marine Museum. It's so cozy and romantic that one couple even claims they conceived their child under a blanket during the Moby Dick reading of 1995. By the breakwater rocks straight off Windward Avenue, Venice Beach; Sat., Nov. 23-Sun., Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; free.

Sat., Nov. 23, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-10 p.m., 2013

LA Weekly