From YoVenice reader Daisy Hannon:
You don’t have to be 28 to hit the scene or to have a good ol’ time on a night out in Venice. A group of ol’ pals recently met at the Venice canals on a chilly July night to rendezvous over wine, parenthood sagas, and a lot of laughter.
Following Dennis Hopper’s memorial tribute at the Santa Monica Pier, bittersweet with son Henry’s beautiful video montage to Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, four loving girlfriends, who first united in pregnancy yoga with Guru Mukh in the late 80s, got together to escape, to laugh, and to let it all hang out in 420 splendor…just like our twenty-year-old kids, soon to be hip responsible parents, maybe even Venice Beach parents. Who knows… but what the kids of these women all seem to have in common, we discovered, is a lust and passion for architectural exploration, organically inspired spaces, landscape design and environmental spaces coinciding with nature and sustainability…who would have known?
None of us planned to raise our kids as environmental builders, yet we each unfolded throughout the night stories of our child’s curiosity in the field of landscape architecture. Gee, we wondered, maybe our grandchildren will live in leaves or pods or houses shaped like pedals or puddles or waves. Square corners and right angles can be so boring, albeit pragmatic, but do you think our kids care about that? Twenty-year-olds, after all, are dreamers and visionaries, and of course, they’re not going to struggle or get stuck in debt or wander aimlessly like their parents. Oh no! They’re going to make a bundle and be in charge of their destinies. Avatar will be the norm to them… But wait a minute, this night is not about our dear children who are growing up so quickly. Its about us – their mothers – who made it through the last two decades wiping their butts and enabling them all the way through college applications. So, let’s get back to the canals. After unloading our wine bottles, cheese & cracker offerings, and a small box of red velvet cupcakes, we quickly cut to the chase, noting that we were all STILL married. One of us confessed “not for long”, but we marveled at the novelty of being homogenous and sticking with the same mate through thick and thin.
We strolled out the door of our girlfriend’s mother’s vacant Grand Canal apartment onto a balcony of entwined thick rose vines and headed out into the moonlight, walking along the ink canals, over white washed bridges, and back along the narrow canal paths to Venice Way, to our first night spot destination, the rooftop of Hotel Erwin! Torches sizzled through clear tubes jutting high above the rooftop decks, spraying warm flicker light on the guests sprawled out on couches and cozy cushioned cube chairs with tall grasses and mini succulents framing each booth. This is cool, we all agreed. Eighty dollars later – with only one petite Mojito drink and a tiny appetizer plate – one of us picked up the tab before we headed down the wooden ramp deck overlooking Venice beach and the skatepark. Off in the distance, the Ferris wheel splayed red, white and blue at the Santa Monica Pier. The ocean and distant twinkling lights emulated a swooning romantic soiree – almost a dash of the Riviera – one might think, as we soaked in the crashing waves by the breakwater, trotting off to our next destination, single for only one night.
Next stop, Santinos, the new Argentinian bistro with stools on sidewalk counters and a glow in the dark art wonder in their restroom. Inviting World Cup shirts and posters hung in the windows with ebullient customers bursting at the seams, piling out, smoke curling into the night. So…we kept on moving, walking down toward the circle, to Hama Sushi where a flash of surf videos illuminated the sailcloth canvases above the exterior walls. My daughter was recently a receptionist here, so I saw several familiar faces. Following more wine, giggles, and jawdropping stories of wasted tuitions, we devoured delicious sashimi and edamame before heading out to the other room, a popular nightspot for the younger set, only blocks away on Abbot Kinney. Bouganvilla and Agapanthus galore, we continued down the empty quiet Venice streets before one of us said she was tired and wanted to go home. Okay, we agreed, to one’s surprise, and we turned quickly like a flock of obedient gulls, heading straight to our nest back at the canals. Downing cupcakes and indulging in whatever we could, we gabbed on into the night until we awoke at a reasonable hour and headed to intelligentsia, a ridiculous fad of a coffee joint with trained Baristas and a special pet-friendly packed entrance with vertical vines on wire trellises superimposed on an old brick wall. Catch that? Vertical gardens, another fad of 2010. The coffee WAS delicious and we were surprisingly impressed with the whole ordeal. After coffee, we walked down Abbot Kinney, past UK Sailmakers, to World Market where we ravaged the shelves, finding a must have every two minutes! We all bought the risotto bags and then searched for fresh mint jelly and other healthy delicacies. On the way back, like spotting the Emerald City, there was the James Perse sample sale, in the old Samy’s Camera building. An hour later, with bags bulging, we scampered out to try on sandals at a shop we previously passed. It was all too good to be true. But why is it that all good things must end? Cell phones started ringing and text messages were buzzing. Although we lucked out with no parking ticket, we knew our Girls Night Out was over.
A new tradition was launched. Next year, Venice Beach for sure.
by Daisy Hannon
Venice Beach, CA