Living in Venice is to constantly confront the past and the future in a very raw way. It is not lost on me that dozens of people died on my block fighting for their gang's territory. Despite how horrible the gang wars of the 80's were, the idea that people were willing to die over the street that I now call home makes me think of those people and their lives. You can still see some of their names in the sidewalk around my neighborhood.
Venice is changing before our eyes -- you can watch it change from week to week. This moment is astounding -- on one block you can find generations of one family living in a tiny shack right next door to Dennis Hopper's house, or some other million dollar bungalow. On our street, one house has chickens scratching in a dirt yard, and two houses away, a world famous artist has just finished building a glass and steel home by Frank Gehry. Its changing so quickly that its astounding. This really is a moment in Venice history...
Our area is Oakwood. Also known by some as Ghost Town. The name refers to how deserted it was during the gang wars; like a western town before a showdown.
Of course Venice is also part of the history of Dogtown -- and the iconic history of surfing and skating. Many of the notorious Zephyr Boys lived here, as did others who didn't make the movie, but put-in just as much time in the ocean and in the pools...
I have recently found an absolute treasure of photos from these times.
David is an amazing photographer who has scanned hundreds and hundreds of his Venice Beach photos onto his galleries at:
I wish I knew who he is, but he is very mysterious about it... All I know is his name is David, and his photos of Venice locals in the 70's and 80's are simply EPIC!
Photo Credit: David @ pbase.com/venicepix