After more than 10 years of entertaining audiences (and making them feel uncomfortable), the Venice Beach Freakshow is closing its doors today.
The loving tribute to carnival diversions of old—and to Venice’s history as a haven for artists and weirdos—ended with a final celebration Sunday that doubled as a protest. Owner Todd Ray tells LA Weekly that the new owners of the building that houses the freakshow have decided not to renew its lease.
According to a post on the Venice Beach Freakshow Facebook page, all the businesses in its building are being pushed out except for Snapchat, which moved in shortly before a similarly named investment group called Snapshot Partners purchased the property last year.
Snapchat representatives told LA Weekly that the tech company has no relation to Snapshot Partners, but sources familiar with the deal told the Los Angeles Business Journal that Snapchat has a right of first refusal for the entire property should it become available.
As Snapchat has grown from a humble startup based out of an old beachfront bungalow to a publicly traded corporation with offices in Venice and beyond, its presence in the area has become a source of frustration for many longtime residents who say the once-quirky neighborhood has become a playground for the wealthy.
The Venice Beach Freakshow opened in 2006 and has been a popular boardwalk attraction since then. The show has included a wide array of sword swallowers, stunt performers, and persons of unusual height over the years. Between 2013 and 2014 it was the subject of a reality series on AMC.
The freakshow’s party and protest began at noon and is scheduled to continue until 6 p.m.
- R.I.P., Venice Beach Freakshow [LA Weekly]
- Locals are staging protests at Snapchat, demanding the app leave Venice [Curbed LA]
- One of Snapchat’s offices for sale for $20M [Curbed LA]