The 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.
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.