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Venice Beach

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(go to Music Travel)

Venice Beach

Developer Abbot Kinney aimed to build a new Venice on the west coast of America in the early part of the 20th century. He dug canals, built meandering streets, and imported gondolas, and for a short time Venice was fashionable.

But the canals silted and the resort stagnated, until the area was restored in the 50s and 60s. At that time Venice Beach had two of the essential ingredients to attract a bohemian community: cheap rents and stylish housing.

Jim Morrison's Apartment (cnr Speedway and Westminster, Venice Beach)

Jim Morrison rented a room in this cheap apartment building when he was a film studies major at UCLA. Morrison used to spend evenings sitting on the roof, which overlooked the beach, writing poetry that he later recycled into song lyrics. Remarkably, the apartments are still available for rent (phone 581-6847).

Morrison, and the other Doors used to eat lunch regularly at Olivia’s Restaurant (celebrated in the song Soul Kitchen), which was located nearby at the intersection of Main Street and Ocean Park.

Henry Rollin’s House (809 Brooks Ave)

Rollins flatted here with a friend, who was shot and killed during a robbery.

North of Venice Beach

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is well known in movies and music. The Beach Boys celebrated Palisaides Park in song. The wooden carousel on Santa Monica pier was featured in the movie The Sting.

The town has exerted an attraction for English expatriate writers and musicians, from Rod Stewart to John Lydon, perhaps because it is hard to imagine a place more distant from England - physically and mentally.

Marilyn Monroe's house (12305 Fifth Helena Dr)

There are still some people who believe Marilyn Monroe was killed at her home at in Los Angeles. The privately owned home still looks much the way it did that fateful night in 1962.

Holy Cross Cemetery (5835 West Slauson Avenue, Culver City)

The original Goth, Bela Lugosi is dead and buried here, not far from Sharon Tate, Bing Crosby, and movie director John Ford.

Topanga Corral Roadhouse (2034 Topanga Canyon Boulevard)

This is almost certainly the very same roadhouse that was celebrated by Jim Morrison in Roadhouse Blues. It was located just down the hill from Pam and Jim’s house in Topanga Canyon (where they moved after Laurel Canyon). A lot of local bands played early gigs at the Roadhouse, including Canned Heat and Spirit. The venue no longer exists.

Canoga Park Ranch (near Topanga Canyon)

This is where Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band rehearsed their cubist-blues masterpiece Trout Mask Replica. Frank Zappa produced the recording; he originally planned to record the album at the ranch, like an anthropological field recording, but Beefheart - sensibly - shifted the sessions to a studio in Glendale.

Surfrider Beach (Malibu)

Most of the beach movies of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon were made on location here.

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