Frank Rios was born in the Bronx, promptly abandoned living in a foster home, and was unable to speak until the age of 6. At 12 he became addicted to heroin, before taking to the way of the gun and eventually ending up in prison. On his way out, Rios felt "guided" to move to Venice, where he met the two people that changed his life: beat poets Stuart Z. Perkoff and Tony Scibella. The three of them were self ordained as the "Holy Three" and became the backbone of the poetry scene in Venice. Rios' life underscores the pull that Venice had, not only for artists but for social dissidents alike, and the intricate relationships shared by these groups in the 1950s.
Watch the videos above to hear Rios talk about his arrival to Venice, and his life in the beatnik scene of the 1950s-'60s.