You might not know this… but Venice, California was once a landscape of fields called “The Venice Celery District.”
CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VIEWS (Note: The captions you will see below were the original captions written for the photos when they were archived.)
Photograph of the ideal field of summer celery in the Venice Celery District, just before applying blanching paper, April 12, 1927. The rows of thick leaves of the celery plants form a congested square at center with a dark irrigation ditch in the foreground. A darker field lies on the far edge of the celery field on the right while another field lies on the far left. Hills stand in the background on the right while electrical poles spot a clearing of grass in the background on the left. “Note the regularity of the plant foliage.” (more…)
Once upon a time, the first roller coaster ever built on the West Coast reached towards the Venice, California sky. The ride was called Race Thru The Clouds and when it opened on July 4, 1911, even with only half of its cars on line over 25,000 people rode it. Yes, in one day. Roller coasters soon became such a popular attraction in Venice that fourteen were built in between 1904 and 1925. In the early 1920′s, visitors to Venice had a choice of six different rides: three on the Venice Pier, one on the inland lagoon and two on the Ocean Park/Lick Piers.
Although the first coaster is long gone, you can still find evidence of Race Thru The Clouds nearby if you look… architect Steve Ehrlich themed a nearby commercial building after its curves. I think my favorite tribute is this, though: a Folsom Prison inmate named William Jennings-Bryan Burke once spent over a decade erecting a replica of the ride made entirely out of toothpicks! AWESOME! (He actually built entire carnivals from toothpicks. I’m not kidding.)
(CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR LARGER VIEWS)
The roué cyr is not a complex piece of exercise equipment, the name literally means “simple wheel” in French. But if you long to follow in the footsteps of the Cirque du Soliel masters and learn how to gracefully work with one, you too can soon become one of the trendiest performers on the Venice Boardwalk… a sidewalk which has seen its share of trends. Personally, I’m a big baby so this stuff makes me dizzy… but if you feel like taking a spin over to Venice, Corona del Mar, or Long Beach to catch the wheel in action, here’s this guy’s schedule.
FULL FILM AFTER THE JUMP! YAY!
In honor of the upcoming festivities celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Venice’s Historic Muscle Beach and the crowning of Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach 2009, we would like to take this moment to present a true piece of Southern California movie nostalgia, the star-studded 1960′s beach classic… MUSCLE BEACH PARTY!!! WOOO HOOOOO!!!!
Okay, so it’s no Beach Blanket Bingo, I’ll admit… but if you have doubts about the cheesy, iconic goodness of this hormonal-teens-on-the-beach saga then dig this, chickies:
- The film was directed by William Asher, who besides being a driving force of the beach movie genre was the lead director on both I Love Lucy and Bewitched (he was also Elizabeth Montgomery‘s husband). All of which by default brands him as permanently awesome.
- The cast of this little flick included the following people: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Don Rickles, Dick Dale, Morey Amsterdam, Buddy Hackett, Dan Haggerty (aka Grizzly Adams), Bill Graham (!!!), Peter Lorre (!!?) and LITTLE STEVIE FRIGGIN’ WONDER (he’s towards the end).