"Go back to the valley"--aka July 4 on Carbon Beach in Malibu

On July 4, Stephan Koplowitz’s TaskForce dance company and guest artists Los Angeles Urban Rangers drew about 50 people to Carbon Beach for a 90-minute event, as part of TaskForce’s tour de force “Liquid Landscape” series, a week of terrific dance performances at water-themed sites throughout L.A., including the port, the California Plaza Watercourt, and the L.A. River.

Here’s a YouTube smidgen of what they were greeted with in Malibu (disclosure: my doppelganger is Ranger Jenny)—a “you scumbags!” and “go back to the valley!” tirade. What you don't see in this clip: the interference with the dancers, the uninvited Independence Day speech about extortion by the state, the footballs whizzing over people's heads, the constant challenges that the group was on private property, and the Greek chorus of unlovely comments (a printable example: “You are very sad people, you want what you can’t have”).

What was the group doing that provoked such agitation? Using the vast public tidelands and the abundant public easements on Carbon Beach. Marveling at the TaskForce dancers dancing. Learning from Rangers Ron, Nick, and Jenny how to use the beach legally and safely. Telling no lies. Making no statements. Provoking no conflicts. Interfering with none of the scores of people who own the houses next door, or their hundreds of guests, who were all using the same public lands. Being photographed (I'm told) by Nicole Richie, who with many other folks on the beach was in fact enjoying the dancers. Doing their best to ignore the screaming, illegal challenges, insults, misinformation, and physical interference and intimidation from so many other folks.

Just enjoying the public beach in Malibu, on a perfect July 4. Which, miraculously, they did. These are major public lands, so it's disturbing to have to preface the next sentence with "despite it all." But a wonderful time was had by all.

(For the record, if you’ve watched the clip: Ranger Jenny is actually middle-aged. You try looking like Malibu Barbie while wearing knee-length green shorts and a Ranger cap. And only her 13-year-old nephew Gabriel is allowed to call her “dude,” though he knows she greatly prefers “dudesse.”)

If you want a little help with how to enjoy the public lands on the Malibu coast, download the guide off the Rangers’ website. If you’d like to enjoy Carbon Beach (which is often friendlier), download the map of the dry-sand public easements (they’re on the majority of the properties) off the Coastal Commission website.

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