Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Island of Illusion

Venice Acrobats by Eddie Crimmins via Flickr
YOU CAN barely make it out—it’s cigarettes, covered by salty wind, sweat, fried food, and what’s that? Yep, it’s from the Kush Doctor. A woman in a red triangle bikini top and leopard printed G-string whizzes past you as the man wearing headphones with gigantic padding thrusts his newly recorded rap record before you as you walk in time with the crowd. Young boys run up and down the basketball court showing off their tan and the middle-aged couple wearing Velcro strapped sandals, khaki shorts that hover above their kneecaps, Hawaiian shirts and visors snap their camera that only reflects their freshly pink skin. Large men with engorging muscles squeezed into Speedos bench press as vendors sell fried food and hotdogs.  T-shirts that read “I love ketchup” and “Hello Titties” are sold with some more sensible accessories like margarita sunglasses.  Early twenties coeds walk their dogs and teenagers laugh at the shirtless, long haired dude holding the sign that says “Need Money for Penis Reduction” written in think purple calligraphy and toss him some leftover change. Certainly not quarters though, as they are a parking necessity. 

An island of misfit toys and forgotten dreams, the Venice Boardwalk is a place where you can put all normality aside and become anyone you want. 

Venice Beach by Glen Scarborough via Flickr
Lawrence Lipton’s essay, “Slum by the Sea” gave one of the most authentic descriptions of Venice through the people that inhabit this sea slum, “the poets…and the painters…The clowns, the make-believers, the self-deceivers—and the mad.”

Your imagination may come up with what you may think is something of insanity, however I can guarantee that the gray-haired, man and woman, half naked with skin wrinkled from endless amount of sun, rolling around in the sand are currently seeing crazier things. Venice is being trapped in a dream where you can fly.  It is the only place in the world where you can find a homeless man smiling. The characters that inhabit this mile and half rainbow road certainly prove that Venice is what you make of it.

You have two clear choices—either scoff in disgust or laugh hysterically at the absurdity.

-- Elise Fornaca


  1. Wow, great post! I particularly liked the first paragraph. Great description of some of the most memorable aspects of Venice, subtle but worthwhile inclusion of humor. You do a great job of painting this unique and absurd place. Makes me wonder why I'm sitting here on the internet and not out there, in a place with some real culture!

  2. Great Post! You really got a clear image of what Venice is about, and I enjoyed reading it. As Carey said, you did a really great job of painting the unique and sometimes confusing aspect of Venice that is sometimes hard to put in to words. I remember seeing a poodle that looked like a Pokemon, Charmander to be exact, flaming tail tip and everything!