From its origins as a themed seaside trolley resort to its international fame as a countercultural hub, Venice Beach has been in a state of perpetual renaissance, boasting a rich, multilayered history. This episode explores evolution of Abbot Kinney’s original Venice of America development, and how the commercial renaissance along Abbot Kinney Boulevard has impacted the historically African American neighborhood of Oakwood. We also look at the Beat poet community who called Venice home.
We start this episode featuring Edward Biberman’s mural of Abbot Kinney, founder of Venice of America, and a conversation with KCRW’s Frances Anderton about the Venice Canals. Historian Eric Dugdale shares Kinney’s entrepreneurial and inclusionary vision for venice, leading us to talk to heirs of Arthur Reese and Irvin Tabor, who held important roles in early Venice from within the African American community. We talk to Beyond Baroque founder George Drury Smith about what led to the 1930s Venice West Beat scene and discuss the works of photographer Charles Brittin and Beat poet Lawrence Lipton.