Venice Beach, just west of Los Angeles and south of Santa Monica, is the most free-spirited and decadant place in Greater Los Angeles. In Venice, you can find body-piercers, tattooers, tables filled with Legalize Marijuana literature selling hemp clothing and accessories, fortune tellers, street musicians, homeless, tourists, bicyclists and many, many roller-bladers.
During the day, Venice Beach is a safe, fun place to be, although once darkness descends, you are probably better-off going elsewhere. Gangs coming out of nearby slums do infest the area after dark.Imagine going somewhere just to go roller blading. You begin to notice a sound, a combination of drums, chimes, maybe a flute. It seems to be coming from the beach. You move toward it to see what it is, and come upon a group of people, immersed in their own music and movement. One of these is a beautiful, fully-costumed belly-dancer. A crowd, of others drawn to the sound, gathers. The dance, the music goes on for several hours.
These photos were taken at a party that I stumbled upon held on and around the small grass-covered hill, topped with a palm tree, an oasis of green in the middle of that expense of sand that separates the boardwalk from the Pacific ocean.
Click on each picture to see the larger version.
Dancing For the Crowd
Guy in the Audience
Pleasing the crowd
Cigar-Smoking Bongo Player
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