One of the wonderful things about Venice is how much of it remains after 100 years. The canals, f'rinstance--at least the canals south of Venice Blvd, which we still take pictures of. I read that the ones north of that street were filled in. Or the arches along Windward Avenue. They look much the same now as they did when they were first built. Or in between those extremes, when Orson Welles filmed Touch of Evil.
Westland.net has a detailed history site about Venice--start here to read about how it was built and opened by Abbot Kinney.
I did not realize that Venice's original City Hall still stood on Venice Blvd. It was once called Ocean Park City Hall, and when the picture above was taken in 1910, it had just changed its name.
Since 1978, Beyond Baroque has occupied the building. Beyond Baroque has actually existed for 43 years, and is a "leading independent Literary/Arts center" and a public space (with free parking) dedicated to literary and cultural production.
So here's a photo of how the building looks today. Pretty good, huh?
Among the many offerings of Beyond Baroque is a series of "Gorgeous Stories" presented by students of Terrie Silverman's Creative Rites Workshops. I went to one this weekend & laughed and cried copiously. Another is coming up on June 19th at 7:30pm.
A supporting membership in Beyond Baroque--which entitles one to attend all their programs free--is only $35 a year. To sweeten the offer, you get a free CD of Viggo Mortensen reading his poetry in English and Spanish, just for joining.