The World on Wheels roller rink on Venice Boulevard, a Mid-City institution since 1981, is closing for good on June 23. The adjoining bowling alley is going too, says the LA Weekly. It will leave a void in the area. "The rink is owned by its upstairs neighbor, AMF Bowling Center, a national chain that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November," says the Weekly.
Over the years, the rink has housed everything from Sunday gospel brunches and Saturday disco nights to goth skate nights. It played host to early hip hop concerts including an L.L. Cool J performance in the mid-'80s, and was often the broadcast home for KDAY in its original AM format.
Further, as a safe place for kids to hang out, it's been "a great prevention of teen pregnancies and drugs," says Anna Elkins, a counter clerk there who's been skating at the spot nearly all of her life. "You would be surprised, when you see the 2 and 3-year-olds out there on their own skates, fiberglass wheels, gliding like the 25-year-olds. I mean, it gives you a tickle of joy."
Unlike skating rinks playing canned music, World on Wheels featured live DJs spinning records from a booth overlooking the rink, a set-up custom designed for the space.
One of the spot's long-running DJs mourning its demise is Dennis Owens, who, along with DJ Riley More, founded Space Is The Place, an old-school roller disco party.
Photo by Shannon Cottrell