7/20/2022 Venice Beach, California

I always loved lifting weights. Here is a picture of me throwing a caber at what I believe was the Flagstaff Highland games circa 2013ish. It is my least favorite event of the games because it is difficult and I am not that good at it. Guns look good tho.

The weightlifting culture has deep roots in Venice with places like Muscle Beach and the most iconic Gold’s Gym. It is one of the things that drew me to this city at such a young age. Now that I am here I have memberships to both of those places and I use both almost daily. If the fitness culture was the only thing I loved about this city I would still be content. But it is not.

It is not the fantastical light show the sun puts on more nights than not as it sets. The temperature is perfect for a tank top or a hoodie. The music from every direction and art in creation wherever the eyes fall. It is not it either.

@muckrock is a street artist/muralist and all-around local hero named Jules Muck. She contributes to the recovery community and is also an exquisite artist. The city has some rough edges but it shines beautifully with the help of street artists like Jules. Check my Instagram and you will see that I absolutely love the street art in Venice. But it is not my favorite thing about the community.

This isn’t even art, this is a rough edge and it still reflects mightily in the sunset. It looks like an old punk rock album cover of the garage the band first played in. Once they moved on the dad reclaimed the garage to work on his motorcycle in peace. They probably had a deaf bulldog that liked to hang out to feel the vibrations of the drums. It shows its resilience and experience in being weathered with class. Or something… I don’t know. But it is not my favorite part either.

Honestly, my favorite part is all of the imperfections. Venice is insane. There are street gangs and a large homeless population. The boardwalk is constantly prowled by scam artists and hustlers. The occasional scuffle happens at some point most days. Someone has jumped or fallen from my building twice since I lived here. Once it was caught on camera. Super gnarly. The imperfections are the cost of an open door policy in a radically tolerant community. The Venice culture shows that it is very possible to thrive under these principles. The art, and the music, and the sports, and the scenery, would all seem so out of place if Venice looked down her nose at anyone. So much magic happens just by taking inclusion to the extreme.

If there were any typos or inconsistencies I apologize, I am just publishing this without proofreading and going to bed. Love to you all.

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