Venice Beach: The Land of Misfit Energy

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Ah Venice Beach, a place that continues to ‘take me in’ regardless of how many times I’ve participated in its energy. Somehow this last visit seemed to jump out and say more than it ever has in the past – ‘we’re the land of misfit toys – come join us and celebrate.” Below are a smattering of shots I took on my Olympus C-7000.

The photos are really a true reflection of the diversity that Venice Beach offers — across multiple levels. It screams, shouts, begs, and then for awhile, calms you, invites you, entices you, confuses you…and then you start all over again.

Between the smoke shop, 20 foot python, half man, “Crystal Woman,” incense and palm reading table, people flying by on wheelchairs, African and American Indian indigenous music players, there’s a man standing with a Jews for Jesus shirt immediately across from a man in a Goyim for Jesus t-shirt. On one corner, there are the Bush haters with their protests, signs and chalk-etched notes on the pavement and a block down, the Navy and Army have expansive recruiting stands set up.

As I blade by the artwork, the incense, the drummer who beats on water bottles and buckets, and African statues, I weave in and out of people from nearly every walk of life and every two minutes, the beat changes — Reggae, no Kylie Minogue, no “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” well if it isn’t that old rap song from 1976, and then Beyonce joins me as I near the juice bar, the one that sits across from the small bistros and stands serving tapas, tacos, kebabs and Indian food. You don’t need an iPod here. If you don’t hear what you crave, just wait a minute or two……

Welcome to the Venice Beach boardwalk, the land of misfit energy. The land where A.D.D. sensor seekers thrive. Below is my friend Ray Lewis’ take, who joined me on this energizing and colorful blade.

They should make a 1/10 model of the Statue of Liberty and ship it to Venice Beach, fly it across the country in a psychedelic helicopter and plunk it in the sand right off the middle of the boardwalk. Because Venice Beach stands for what the Statue of Liberty was all about 100-plus years ago. Today we are led by men who want to put up a big fence along the Mexican border. Not here.

“We welcome all of you because you are all freaks and misfits, whether you are painting yourself gold (and your dog too) or you’re a tourist from Kansas, whether you are dressed in drag or suburban drab.” Venice Beach is where the misfits meet middle America and where it is unclear, after an hour’s time blading on the boardwalk, who is weirder.

THIS is a vision of America at her best, where visitors and drifters and residents come together and in their insane differences make a common community, without descending to homogenized food and faces and clothing and language to try and make us feel like we belong.

How long it’s been since I felt proud to be an American. Emma Lazarus, who wrote that beautiful poem at the base of the Statue in New York Harbor, would love Venice Beach. I can see her ghost sitting on a bench, in between the guy with the python and the guy with no limbs, smiling and re-writing.

The Groovy Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our smog-washed, sun and sea Eden shall stand
A sexy woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the inspired lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her wild eyes command
The concrete boardwalk that Venice Beach does frame.
“Keep sterile TV, your deadening malls!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your Geeks, your bored,
All misfits souls yearning to speak free,
The rejected expressionists of your towns and shores.
Send these, the creators, tempest-tost to me,
To play and sing beneath my golden door!”


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Up and down the boardwalk, this man sang, “jangle bells, jangle bells, help me get drunk”

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Gold Man

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He even painted his dog

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Renee Blodgett
Founder
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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