The Free Venice Beachhead – 39 Years Later

Venice was right in the thick of things in the 60s. If there was a golden age here in Abbot Kinney’s day, there was certainly another golden age in Venice in the 60s. One might say it all started here in the 1950s with the Beat poets and artists. There was a direct link with them - through John and Anna Haag and many others - to the turmoil of the 60s. 

While Jim Morrison and the Doors were translating his Venice poetry into music that would be consumed by millions, the Haags were abandoning their Venice West coffee house and initiating marches down Ocean Front Walk against the war and police brutality. The Free Venice movement that was created spun off community organizations for theater groups, art shows, a food co-op, a survival committee, a political party and a newspaper.

The newspaper founded in 1968 was the Free Venice Beachhead. From its first gleam in John Haag’s eye, it was conceived as a way to tie the community of Venice together. There was no thought of getting rich or making a journalistic reputation. And so it has gone since that first Beachhead rolled off the press 39 years ago on Dec. 1, 1968.

The fact that we’re still alive and kickin’ means that the values of the 60s are still alive. And if the reports from our readers are accurate, they resonate with many who were not even alive then. 

On Dec. 15, we’re going to take a step back from the daily grind of raising money for the next issue, and PARTY! We’re returning to that famous landmark of our community, the Venice West coffee house, now Sponto Gallery, where legendary poets held forth and where John might have thought up the Beachhead.

We’ll start with short readings from our regular contributors and segue into a party befitting the occasion. 

Posted: Sat - December 1, 2007 at 07:23 PM