Life in a Venice Commune: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Ethereally Transcendent

by erica snowlake

Honey, the dog with the long eyelashes, is on lend to us for a while. She’s a greyhound/lab with the grace of a lithe blonde deer. Unconditional Love! Great timing! Someone I can sneak out with for my nightly long walks and petty flower thievery. My new best friend doesn’t complain about the rent owing, the sink piled up with dishes, or the super loud d.j. backbeats. She does, however, nip someone at a party on the weekend. Sometimes even a dog needs to be alone.

The fountains stopped. Crisis. A portent. It metaphysically symbolizes our flow of energy, all ten of us, times as many friends, hangers on and people who won’t leave any given day/night/24/7. The fountain spout held a giant blue kyanite crystal dispelling negative energy which Matt took back when he moved his bus to the Malibu Hills. It also houses jade and bamboo plants, and our three or so pet snails. Snaley, the biggest one Halo’s christened, triples in size in one month, madly chomping Leaf Cuisine take home offerings, mmmmm, slimed iridescent collard greens.

Our fearless leader in anarcho-dom Jeff hosts a pirate birthday party for his friend pirate Scotty. A sweet and decidedly unsober bash still going strong when I wake up. Not without its drama, like everything else around here, to wit spiritual counselor Tobin’s in the parking lot consoling a convulsively wailing pirate Ivy, cascading black mascara and shrieking sobs of “I broke the toilet”, and in a tribal punk fit of rage/dj control issues didn’t she just absolutely demolish the toilet. Now a troop is mobilizing an early morning run to Redondo Beach to pick up a free toilet found on Craig’s list.

Speaking of toilets, there’s one living in an airstream in the parking lot. One certain renowned Toylit, of fake husband and wife performance art duo Toylit and Log, veterans refugee squatters of the Topanga Rodeo Grounds and authors of The Children’s Guide to Astral Projection, among other whimsical tomes. Toylit is solely and gleefully responsible for the parking lot’s multi-colored glitter veneer, a by-product of many large lovingly stroked canvases he seemingly manifests overnight, sparkle-sized portraits of Ganesh, Kali, Horus, and an emaciated Iggy Pop, all bound for a show at the Black Cat Gallery. Dig it! Being around fellow kooky artists/intergalatic aliens is so inspiring!!!

I invite my homeless friend Snake, (Beachhead Interview June 2006), over for a few days as it’s his birthday July 4th and we, (along with the whole delusional country) are having a bash, but get nothing but flak from my fellow residents. Seems he’s acting strangely, reportedly drinking Natalia’s bongwater and doing some kind of pistol-whip dance shooting straight from the nipples that’s generally FPO, freaking people out. We congregate on the roof with cocktails to watch the fireworks go off in 360 degrees, then spend a couple hours in hot rousing and cursing pursuit of Snake. I receive considerable tongue lashings.

My head itches, fleas, or a communal side-effect of not getting much, if any, uninterrupted sleep. Tonight Coz’s UFO/room is vibrating with an eclectic mix of djs/GHB, i awake to the sound of a group orgasm?!, a hiphop woman from the Bronx stomping mad capoeira booty while jungle catcalling to the thumping music, enough to wake the living dead, repeatedly, (me), repeat, “it’s only a dream”......

A quick pilgrimage to Rainbow Acres up the street, and in-house chef Halo spends three hours preparing one of the greatest vegan meals on earth. All is devoured within three minutes flat, peeps happily purring between bong hits, and I hope to hell he got some! Dessert is a frozen puffed amaranth/cacao concoction, straight from heaven and the farmer’s market in Tepic, Nayarit.

Beautiful people, freaks. Another party, to raise the five grand a month rent, of which we’re always short, naturally. It takes a lot of dough and energy to keep this crazy junk/pirate ship afloat as an artist/musician/dj paradise/mecca, featuring an international array of truly amazing divas with incredible, mind-blowing talents, yaddayadda, no hay mucho dinero. Each party is fantastically unique, rolling till dawn and rivaling the best all-night dancing faerie balls on the other side of any dimensional portal. The parking lot/lounge/Burning Man camp glistens with twinkling revelers storytelling and ukulele strumming round a tiny urban two-by-four fire in a metal grill. Sigh.

Everyone’s entheogenic journeys are expanding off gracefully. Josh’s conch shell trumpeting juxtaposes the thunder of the early morning trucks rolling into Costco, palms trees swaying and the first bird trills of the day.
There’s demons living in the drainpipes, ( a side-effect of communal emotions?). No sooner is this verified by our house psychics/shaman, the shower backs up allowing the pipe below to burst and all manner of holy water breaks loose upon our unsuspecting roommates. Plus the gas gets shut off due to some leak in the front room. So no hot water, no showers, no cooking, and yucky evil poltergeists on a rampage over our dirty reeking bodies. Plus! the putrid smell of vomit, which appears projectile delivered on the kitchen wall after the last party, (Snake?), and will not disappear, no matter how many people wash it trying to find the source, it in fact intensifies and saturates the entire building in nauseating waves.........

We’re all ecstatic imbibing Ripley’s white sapote/lime smoothies, courtesy Dimas and I picking the tantalizing fruit goodness from neighbor Tina’s tree her dad planted from seed sixty years ago.

DJ’s deluscious Carly and elven Stefan are trading off mixing tunes while Alana performs Supreme Hula Hoop moves synchronized with Tobin’s kaleidoscope infinity wall backdrop visuals. It doesn’t get much better than these moments of extraordinary group Cre8tivity, Aaron playing vocal hangman from the communal stripper pole, my krisna flute devotion, Halo’s healing didgiridooing, Ardas kirtaning to Jeff’s Inside Out Upside Down guitar mantra, Josey’s psychobilly meets Phantom of the Opera guitar droning to Allen’s tasty drumming, all conspiring to deliver a sound never before heard or imagined, propelling this freaking Mothership Spaceship Earth into Higher Evolution, a black hole, and/or the gap between all thoughts, (the Gunnungigap, I believe its called).

The Colonel’s visiting, and once again, against all logic with random intent, inspires dissension and controversy to foment. Seems our (fired) ninja computer hacker genius simply cannot provide enough crack for the entire household so spirits hiss-elf away cackling, leaving us a tray of gooey cinnamon buns and forms to fill out to join the Marina del Ray Crips. Just Kidding! Another classic joker dropping by to keep it fresh. Oh no, now he’s moving in.......

A week before the Burning Man mirage the parking lot’s humming with glammed up art cars, a giant San Pedro cactus vibrating phosphorescent green for it’s erection/ejaculation on the Playa, bicycle’s growing fur, and people already getting fuzzy......

.....And Finally, A Few More Communal Nuggets of Fun: (lest we forget and scatter to the wind, I know, let’s turn it into a TV show......!)

• Great conversations = gnarly arguments!

• Travi, Benny and Shacham rock the house!

• Jonathan donates a dehydrator for taking care of Honey.

• Angel Melissa and her daughter Elise keep us in riddles, stitches, and fleur de lis. Communes need kids!!!

• Michelangelo fixes the fountain for free! Abundance bubbles over again!

• Geoff kindly funds Nathan’s sidewalk flower operation so he may follow his heart’s dream to return to Thailand, even though he takes off with the money and leaves lots of carnations.

• 5 shopping carts of empties equals thirty dollars.

• A giant carrot cake and multiple zucchinis appear magically on the kitchen counter, a medical marijuana dispensary’s sprouting in the foyer..........and who’s sleeping with who again?

All is well, well, all is.......... to be continued..........

Posted: Sat - September 1, 2007 at 10:59 AM