Lucky Brand is just the latest chain store to move onto Abbot Kinney in Venice, and earlier this year GQ named the shopping street "The Coolest Block in America." Meanwhile, rents all over the 'hood are sky-high and the movie folks have invaded, which has of course driven prices up. Venice has been gentrifying for years and years, but the place has managed to stay kinda weird and the old-timers (or just semi-old-timers) are getting riled. At Blogtown, CJ Gronner has published an epic rant on the changes afoot. We won't stand in her way any longer, here are some highlights:
If you had left Venice even a year ago, and returned today to stroll down Abbot Kinney, you might think you got lost and wound up on Robertson or Montana. [?]
Many of the businesses that made Abbot Kinney a cool destination in the first place - Surfing Cowboys, Jin Patisserie, Venice Vintage Paradise, Plantation, Capri Restaurant (and its great pop-ups), Glen Crest BBQ, etc ... - are now either getting the boot by outlandish rent increases or choosing to sell in the big money grab of now. It's stomach turning, and sneaky too.
These corporate wheeler dealers all claim to want to maintain the integrity of the street, but MAN, are they not looking at the big picture. First of all, they don't know the community. Venice doesn't want to buy stuff to look like everyone else in the world. The Venice that I know/knew and love takes pride in its individuality and free spirit. The Venice I believe in ran the corporate Pinkberry out of town with pickets and protests. I heard there were some picketers outside of the new Lucky Brand store, and that might be the kind of deal it's gonna take.
It's all such a sad commentary on the role of greed in our community these days. I could tell you stories for days about artists that can't afford it here anymore - the very ones that settled here because it was the only place they COULD afford. My own rent has gone up already and I've just lived in this place since May. Building sold, new owners wanted even more money. So less money to spend locally. Again, a failure to understand the bigger, longer-term picture.
What can be done to keep Venice a little wild? "I also encourage the folks who like to ride naked down the street on their bikes, or roller skate down the middle of AKB in a chicken suit just for fun, or leave art installation treasures, or wear a sign that's funny, or let your kid wear their Halloween costume again, just because it's Tuesday, or .... you get what I mean. ? Be Venice, for goodness sakes!" [Image via Blogtown]
· Venice - Where Art Meets Corporate Greed? Say No! [Blogtown]