I’m taking a long, long hiatus from official Ktown Is My Town duties, I know. But under all the no-action, my brain has been thinking about Ktown Is My Town 2.0 and the idea of neighborhood-driven narratives in general. A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of taking Mojo Maps Expedition Co.‘s interactive walking tour of Venice Beach. Two knowledgable and talented tour guides took us on an adventure through Venice Beach’s historical landscape — through Muscle Beach, the Dogtown skaters, and the Beat Poets, all the way back to the neighborhood’s birth era of Abbot Kinney and his “Venice of America”.
I first found out about the Mojo Maps tours through a participant on one of the Ktown tours last year. He had a friend by the name of Chris Eng who was developing a neighborhood tour in Venice and thought the two of us should connect. When Chris and I met for coffee, I was impressed by his passion for Los Angeles and his desire to provide Angelenos with an immersive adventure and the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, right in their own city. (LA’s newcomers and tourists are welcome to join in the fun too, of course!) Chris has worked for Walt Disney Imagineering in the past and is, similar to Mr Disney himself, invested in creating an evocative, visceral experience for people that goes far beyond historical dates and events.
During the Venice Land tour, we walked leisurely for about 2.5 hours as the tour guides regaled us with stories from every period in Venice Beach’s history through comedy, music, and improvisation. Participants were constantly engaged through activities like spray painting (yay for public defacement!), sing-alongs, and an even impromptu “bathing beauty” pageant as a shout-out to Venice Beach of the Roaring 20s. It might be a tour more suitable for extroverts but this semi-introvert was thoroughly entertained, as you can see:
The next Venice Land tour heads out Saturday, July 2. Purchase tickets here. Arts District Land and Echo Park Land tours coming soon.