When I Lived in Venice CA

V-livingroom01The TV was a bold innovation; we had been without one for a lot of years. Was I gonna leave the carton by the cans out back, and advertise a nice juicy steal-able TV?  Hell no! I think I cut the box into pieces and stuck them in a trash bag. It was of course an exercise in futility, because the kids who were in and out of our place all the time announced the TV to the entire neighborhood.

I had moved to LA to study screenwriting, so it seemed appropriate to watch the occasional movie. The electronic device on top was to receive Z-Channel and/or SelecTV.

This acoustic guitar is inexplicable. A friend must have given it to us.  My boyfriend played an electric, and would certainly not have left it in the living room under any circumstances. I had learned a few chords at some point in the past, but it’s no good if you don’t keep your calluses up to date.  The machine under the plastic protective cover was a TTY for my deaf daughter. The coffee table was a crate, with one of my collages on top, under clear plastic.

V-kitchen01&06The kitchen table – the art on the wall was a found painting, and the tablecloth a patchwork creation sewed by me. I wish I still had those solid, honest chairs. And then, another view of the kitchen, at least a couple of years later, with Dale Hartman paintings and a different patchwork tablecloth. The ceramic wind chimes were made by a friend from Joshua Tree.

V-kitchen04&05This architectural feature, which went almost up to the ceiling, enclosed the trash can, brooms and miscellaneous cleaning shit, with space in the top compartment for seldom-used appliances etc. It was always covered with comic strips cut from magazines or the Sunday color comics. The theme was to put up cartoons that reminded us of stuff that happened in the apartment, and our own absurdity. Making fun of other people was second-best. The cool thing to do was find illustrations of what was laughable about yourself.

That refrigerator, I’m pretty sure I bought it from the neighbor two doors down, when the landlord wouldn’t replace the one that died. Many of the grim details have mercifully vanished from consciousness, but all the facts are in Ghost Town: a Venice California life, so if you read it you’ll know more than I do.

Sometimes I was given tickets to advance screenings at movie studios, and American Pop was one of them. Just because the poster hung above the fridge, that doesn’t necessarily mean we went. But we probably did.

V-bathroom“He came in through the bathroom window” – No, not Furkey. (See what I did there? “Turkey” was once a widely-used term of disapprobation. And the cat was covered with…)

Before the burglar bars were installed, a youth tried to come in. My boyfriend was home alone and investigated a noise or just intended to take a leak, I forget which. By yelling and cussing very loud, and making a lunge as if to grab the guy’s leg, he repelled the invader. We found one of the towels out in the back parking area, but I don’t think that’s what Homeboy originally had in mind.

Next one down:   India bedspread curtains. I loved how the light came through them. That window faced the back parking area. When I moved in, it was the only one with burglar bars. Yes, the place was broken into, but not through the unprotected windows. Sons of bitches broke the front door. It’s all there in Ghost Town: a Venice California Life.


A bedroom shared with a musician. I made the patchwork pillow of course. A subversive poster urged NO DRAFT NO WAR NO NUKES. Over on the right, the fabulous hand-drawn map of Venice created by Jeffrey Stanton, who sold copies of it from a vending table on the boardwalk. When I got it home, I realized that the map’s title and legend covered up the part where we lived, authentic OG ghetto-ish Oakwood.


Next: Part of the living room, two different Christmases. Apparently, the bunch-of-branches-in-a-bottle concept was so satisfactory, we did it twice.  Farther down, a later Christmas, with a Dale Hartman painting.Christmas01&03


Time to move out, with stuff waiting in the living room to discover its fate. I had rescued and reupholstered all three of those chairs, but ended up giving them all away because of less space in the new place. Bummer.