Abbot Kinney Fest 2015

StaggA blisteringly hot and sticky Sunday in Venice Beach brought out thousands for the 31st annual Abbot Kinney Fest along the mile long stretch of boutiques and eateries along the now gentrified, some would call hip, boulevard of the same name. Armed with an Iphone and a wallet I headed out for some people watching on this sunny end of summer afternoon.

I still haven’t quite figured out what a “hipster” is…Apparently they mostly wear long beards and neatly trimmed short hair, an odd combination of body hair, adorned with mismatched tattoos and sometimes seen in Converse flat tops.

At least this is what I have been told to look out for, and there were a fair amount of these types wandering around the beer stands today. I didn’t think it was possible to make the dress of the 1970’s seem cool but this generation seems to be attaining these lofty goals based on some of the get ups I saw today.

If you can’t already tell I have a love-hate relationship with the new Venice Beach. I spent a decade, a very good one, of my life living and working in Venice long before it was deemed “Hip”. Abbot Kinney was a mostly quiet low rent stretch of galleries; affordable eateries with a handful of rowdy, locals only, drink spots including “Hal’s” and the “The Brig” which still remain.

Today Abbot Kinney is anything but “Hip” unless you define “Hip” as disgustingly expensive, corporate, homogeneous, and almost exclusively white. No thank you. What made Venice truly hip was its color and its grit and both of those elements are long gone. Venice always had an art community but it was serious art, not the over indulgence of pop art and street art that abounds in the new Venice. Today’s Venice is not for the starving. It is for the wealthy.

Change is generally a good thing and no doubt the influx of massive amounts of capital into the neighborhood has boomed the local economy and largely driven the gangs out. But it was at the expense of what made Venice one of the most unique and generally harmonious neighborhoods in Los Angeles where you could find all colors and economic strata living side by side. Was it safe? No. Not entirely. But the perception of danger is what kept the suburbanites away. And that is what made Venice beyond just hip. It was genuinely cool.

Strolling along Abbot Kinney today there is even less diversity today then there was two years ago, the last time I checked out the festival. Still, the Abbot Kinney Fest was a pleasant day out of music, art, shopping and mostly good people watching.  Fortunately they don’t charge you to get in unless you want to drink. There is free music; good people watching and some decent art viewing to be had and if you look real closely you can still get a glimpse of the old Venice.

All things said, today was a good day on Abbot Kinney and for the price; nothing, it is well worth the price of admission.

All photos by Brian Michaels for The Los Angeles Beat 

Related Posts
Photo Essay: Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival Sunday
  All photos by Rachel McKnight for The Los Angeles Beat
READ MORE
Soundgarden Live Review – Wiltern Theatre 2/15/13
As a twenty something disciple of music of the late 60’s and early 70’s; now labeled as classic rock by the music media, the 1980’s was a musical wasteland. U2 ...
READ MORE
A giant Santa head with no arms guides his fleet of two reindeer on Christmas Eve.
The 23rd Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade takes place this Saturday, December 6, 2014. The Tonga Hut is bringing several tiki-based treats to the parade this year. First ...
READ MORE
Castelar Elementary Needs Your Help
Written by Martin Wong From 1994 to 2010, Martin Wong edited and wrote in all 68 issues of Giant Robot magazine. More recently, the UCLA grad helped start Save Music in ...
READ MORE
Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015 Events
Tomorrow we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with parades, music, and even birthday cake. Yeah, you heard me - free cake. You may choose to honor the memory of ...
READ MORE
watt’s picture of the week – sunday, june 12, 2016
when my pop got his orders for us to move from virginia to san pedro here in california, I was nine years old and it was the summer of 1967. ...
READ MORE
many things from china arriving!
can boat (container ship) xin ou zhou from shanghai entering los angeles harbor's main channel near warehouse 1 in san pedro, ca on june 18, 2014 photo by mike watt - – ...
READ MORE
LA Girl: Jane Cantillon
When I think Jane Cantillon, I think lush. No, not as an alcoholic, silly, but as hair, lips, skin, figure, voice...she's all that. And heart. I once had Jane bring ...
READ MORE
Tasting Table’s Lobster Rumble Returns this Thursday!
Tasting Table's 3rd annual battle for the top lobster roll in the city comes to Downtown's Center Studios this Thursday, August 13 from 7pm to 10pm. 15 chefs will compete ...
READ MORE
Image Courtesy of Tiki Farm
Friday, November 6th, it's time to don your Hawaiian shirt and voodoo glow-in-the-dark necklace, hop on your skateboard and head over to La Luz de Jesus for a delicious group show ...
READ MORE
Photo Essay: Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival
Soundgarden Live Review – Wiltern Theatre 2/15/13
Tonga Hut is Tiki Headquarters for Saturday’s 23rd
Castelar Elementary Needs Your Help
Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015 Events
watt’s picture of the week – sunday, june
watt’s picture of the week – wednesday, june
LA Girl: Jane Cantillon
Tasting Table’s Lobster Rumble Returns this Thursday!
15th Anniversary of Tiki Farm Art Show :

Brian Michaels

About Brian Michaels

Brian Michaels is grew up in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles in the glory days of the late 1960s and 70s. Only a stone's throw from the Sunset Strip, Michaels had an early education in rock music. Michaels attended his first punk rock show at the age of 14 at the Whiskey a Go Go and has been going strong ever since. Brian is a defense attorney by profession but adds photography and writing to a list of his many passions outside of the his job. Brian can be found on the web at www.exlaprosecutor.com.
This entry was posted in Art, Beer, History, Live Music, Music, Photo Essays. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply