Hidden Venice Beach: A Walking Tour

Someone once wrote that if you tip the United States on edge, everything that’s loose will slide down to Los Angeles. I would add, if you tipped Los Angeles on edge, it will all slide down to Venice Beach.

Few visitors stray far from the boardwalk. Those who don’t miss the best show of all -- the other attractions that make Venice Beach the largest spontaneous outdoor theme park/playground and one of the most interesting communities in the world. To discover the hidden highlights of Venice Beach, just follow this easy, leisurely walking tour. It should take about three hours or more if you want to shop, linger, and eat, or less than three if you are in a hurry.


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DRAMA AT THE 99cent store

I went yesterday to pick up a prescription at the CVS pharmacy on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice (California, photo via Flickr by ElFreddyless fortunately, but not so bad), and as I parked saw a police car pull up in front of the 99 cent store. Three young officers, two of them men, got out of the vehicle, triangle-cornered a short, squat, fiftyish Chicano just getting onto his bicycle with a green backpack, and guns drawn, told him to lie down on the ground. Guns drawn. No shit. They first ordered him to put his hands on his head, and as he was slow to do so, obviously shocked and frightened, with an apparent language difficulty, got him to lie down on the ground, in increments—I couldn’t hear what they were saying so all of this played out MOS—but first he was on his knees, then fully face down on the sidewalk, where they put his hands behind his back for him, cuffed him, got him gingerly onto his feet, and walked him to the trunk of their police car, made him lean against it, frisked him, and started going through his back-pack.

As it was outside the 99cent store and I had noted great congregations of homeless outside it the day before, I assumed they had been called for a suspected shoplifting. But guns drawn? Three of them, including the young blonde policewoman, holding their weapons with both hands and aiming it at him as if they were breaking into a meth lab.
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