Malibu Trekker @ thecityedition.com ----- Post #5 - Feb. 20, 2010

Skateboarder Paradise. Venice boasts one of the best free courses in the world.

A Winter's Day in Venice - Page 2

Naturally, this sport was made for boys, but one would not expect to see a 5-year-old putting all the others to shame. Yet there was this little tike named Asher stealing the show every time I peered over the railing to watch. Theree are three cement bowls carved out here for maximum aerodynamics, and he seemed to have mastered them all.

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On the left, looking southwest from a corner of the skateboarder course. On the right, just a few feet away I turned around and pointed my camera in the opposite direction, towards Santa Monica.

I guess when you're little, your body has its greatest elasticity. Asher's balance and shifting of weight from side to side, and up and down was as smooth as the concrete.

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Asher in his groove. His father said he gots a lot of inquires from talent scouts but so far no six-figure deals.

As surprising as it was to see a five-year-old boy making child's play of this dangerous pasttime, finding girls in the mix surprised me even more. The three I saw weren't going to win any medals for their technique, but the fact that they were making a go of it at all deserved kudos.

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Still, boys rule in Venice. From Muscle Gym to the basketball court to the waves, these few acres of public recreation have been set up primarily for their entertainment. It's like the Boystown of the West. The rest of us get to be entertained by them.

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Notice the Santa Monica Mountains in the backdrop of some of these shots. Malibu is just a ten-mile drive up the coast.

Dogs are also welcome on the boardwalk, by the way. You see tons of them, generally on leash and well-behaved. The beach police will harangue you if you let them rabble-rouse on the sand, so residents have to schedule the exercise period in the early morning or after dusk. Otherwise, the pooches do a lot of sitting and waiting while their masters attend to important business.

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On the top left is the teeming Sidewalk Cafe, a couple blocks north of the main Pacific/Windward entrance to the boardwalk. At top right, one of the many street vendors who get their free spaces assigned in a lottery each Wednesday morning. On the bottom right, a mural along an alleyway just off the boardwalk.

In short, you'll find a lot of sensory stimulation in Venice and the same kind of hand-to-hand commerce that dates back to remote prehistory. In winter, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. The weather on the west side is absolutely to die for, if only the cost of living weren't so through the roof. Of course, one never forgets how close this city is to Hollywood and its ongoing obsession with darker themes.

On sale now...

Come to think of it, I see this character above every time I look in the mirror.

M.T.


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