Tibby Rothman returns to the pages of the LA Weekly with a piece on all that has been lost as Venice transforms from "an island off the coast of Los Angeles — "...a place where people arrived lost or unknown and they become great" — into an internationally hip concentration of wealth. Or so it seems to many locals: "They went to bed one night living in a community and woke up in an ad."
We didn't move to Venice because we thought it made us cool. We moved to Venice because we loved her.
The deeper you fell into Venice, the more she loved you back. On Abbot Kinney you were never lonely.
You'd rendezvous with friends in the morning at Abbot's Habit before heading out to your day. You'd go to Hal's on a Friday night and never worry about showing up alone. If it was 11 p.m., and you were on deadline, Johnny at Abbot's Pizza would take extra care of you. If some guy broke your heart, your homeboys -- pacifists, all -- would threaten to beat the crap out of him and they'd fill up your heart without having to throw a fist. If you were in the hood and biking down the street, you'd follow decorum and call out hello to a couple sitting on their porch even if you didn't know them, and they'd always call out hello back.
There were New Year's parties at the Lantern House thrown to make sure everyone was still together. Or the post-canal parade bash where a hundred people, probably more, were fed. There was the fashion designer who had a polite chat with the officer who'd dared to pulled over his neighbor, a barber, for Driving While Black.
Everyone has their own date that Venice, as an idea, ended. For me, the heart of Abbot Kinney got sucked out when Stroh's closed. No disrespect intended, #GQHQ, but it #represented.
Rothman started and ran the Venice Paper back in the day.
Photo: Tibby Rothman