Carren's Pitch

Life by Design


Inside Funkytown

Posted by Carren |

The winter season is making me wish for sunny California weather, but I can't complain. My holiday season was filled with happy chaos. I hope yours was too!

Nevertheless, I'm posting two articles on the Golden State, to remind me what life is like on the other side of the coast. Happy new year, folks!


Indulge in a little daylight carousing on Venice Beach
Text and Photos by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Carla Casanova
Published: MEGA October 2009

Known for its beautiful Pacific coastlines, California has an abundance of beach to boast about but none quite like Venice Beach. Though only a stone’s throw away from the prim and proper Santa Monica premises, Venice Beach exudes a free-spirited ambiance that gently rolls with the times and rides the crests.

The Ocean Front Walk is Venice Beach’s most colorful and vibrant landmark. Simply called the boardwalk by locals, it is a veritable yellow brick road going into Oz. The Ocean Front Walk takes one into a world where artisans sit by the roadside pawning their crafted wares. Row upon row of colorfully-patterned skulls sit on one patch of pavement. Beside it, an artist singes a woodblock with a magnifying glass, creating intricate dark brown outlines that somehow form into flowers.

Tiring of such backyard commerce, one can stop to watch street performers showcase spectacles amidst a haloing crowd. Mimes, breakdancers, jugglers, they all seem right at home on Venice Beach. If you stumble off the road, you might find yourself an inadvertent participant to a Venice Beach Drum Circle, where a drummer’s percussion beats steadily ring in the air and bodies gyrate in time to the rhythm.

On Muscle Beach weightlifters and health buffs straight out of old Baywatch clips bake their chiseled pectorals under the sun. Closer to the shore lies the Skate Dancing plaza, where vets and wannabee skateboarders shred the park until the sun sets. Further away, Venice’s Graffiti Pit shines in the sunlight—its irreverent artwork splayed in audacious colors, a homage to loud and free expression.

For one looking to escape the mad rush of cosmopolitan living, Venice Beach is a California stop not to miss. Its quintessentially California background has graced the silverscreen (in Grease, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, and The Big Lebowski), as well as the small screen (in Three’s Company, Beverly Hills 90210, and Baywatch). No wonder our collective imagination beckons to the road leading to Venice Beach. Inside this absurd fairy-tale of a place, echoes of its beatnik-hippie-bohemian roots still live and, like the Red Hot Chili Pepper song says, one can “start a fresh” and “find a home in the moment of the meantime.”

How to get there:
Venice Beach sits between Santa Monica Beach and Marina del Rey and is about a 20 minute drive from the Tom Bradley International Airport at Los Angeles.

Getting Around:

The best way to experience Venice Beach is on foot. Park your car in one of their public parking areas ranging from $3 to $10 daily and roam the boardwalk.

What to do:
Start at the boardwalk and you’ll never go wrong in Venice Beach. Begin your journey there and wander to your heart’s desire. For other nearby sights and events, log onto


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