Strollin’ on the Boulevard

By CJ Gronner

It’s the end of Venice as we know it ...

So, yesterday my pal Denise and I were walking down Abbot Kinney boulevard in Venice to check out the new bakery 3 Square (aside from nice people working the counter, not impressed) when I noticed there were an unusual amount of people on the street. Now we have seen the block change in the last year or so, and not for the better ... Venetians don’t really care for $200.00 t-shirts, for one example ... and there are always petitions to sign to not allow chain restaurants in, etc ... but yesterday made me think we might be losing the battle.

We soon saw that all the hubbub was not just a crazy amount of shoppers on a Sunday ... but that (cue scary organ music) Paris Hilton was doing a photo shoot at a new design shop on the street. There she was, in her cheesy too-matchy outfit with matching visor, on the phone (of course), loving the attention. Papparazzi lined both sides of the street, tourists were thrilled at their score, frantically whipping out their camera phones ... and we were completely nauseous.

We tried to avoid it all by walking into the street around the commotion, when two Rent-A-Cops barked at us that we had to stay on the sidewalk. A woman obviously with the shoot told us to just walk through the shot ... we told her we’d rather not be a part of it and quickly raced past. I tried my best to come off as freaky and crazy (do I fake a Tourette’s fit? Throw garbage at them? Hire a homeless guy to pee on Paris? Start chanting about the war? All these things ran through my mind ...) so that maybe the word could go out to stay away from Venice and all the dangerous freaks ... fancy shopping, be damned. I’m afraid it might not have worked.

To top it off, I heard that they are opening a Pinkberry Yogurt shop (though we DID file a petition anti this yogurt chain????) soon on the block, so we can expect the lines of trendsters waiting for their trendy yogurt soon too, I imagine. Only one word comes to mind relating to all of this ...... BOOOOOOOOOO!

I know things can’t always stay the same and progress as well as change is good ... but Venice has always been so very special (“Where Art Meets Crime” as a popular t-shirt states) and that is precisely because it has NEVER been trendy, but REAL.

My friend Tom dubbed it “The People’s Republic Of Venice” when he played our hub, Abbot’s Habit, last year. I just hope and pray we can keep it’s essence exactly that ... and not be overthrown by photo op hungry fakers.

Please join me in the defense of these hallowed grounds, otherwise known as our home. Fight the Power!!!

Posted: Thu - March 1, 2007 at 08:30 AM