At Venice Beach, Every Day is a Carnival, If Not a Carnevale

img_15311The Carnevale of Venice, Italy is a rich, ornate, historic pre-Lent celebration characterized by dramatic costumes and masks. The Carnevale of Venice, California? Not so much.  Yesterday’s California-style Carnevale on Venice Beach was a good excuse for a street festival, but the Carnevale connection was tenuous at best.

At Windward Avenue near Ocean Front Walk, the first thing we saw was a group of Hare Krishnas competing with — or maybe taking advantage of — the pulsing beat of techno music a few yards away.  The Carnevale DJ booth, an oversized wooden cat mask, held some thematic promise, visually if not aurally.  But the only costumed dancers were dressed more for a rave — or perhaps an advertising gig on the nearby walkway — than for a Carnevale. 


Hey Carnevale dudes, we were here first!
Hey Carnevale dudes, we were here first!

Past a row of the usual Venice Beach event booths (solar power, local grafitti wall art), with Carnevale logo t-shirts, furry red mac daddy hats, and one actual cat mask for sale, another music stage held a reggae celebration.

As I am well aware, they just like to do things differently at Venice Beach.

Some big boots to fill
Some big boots to fill
Wadada Reggae
Wadada Reggae
Bird's eye view
Bird's eye view