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LottaLiving.com • Venice West coffee house (1956)
Page 1 of 1

Venice West coffee house (1956)

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:05 am
by nichols
Venice West Coffee House
7 Dudley Street, Venice

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Edited history from author Brian Chidester:

Did you know that the Sponto Gallery (nee Venice West Cafe) is threatened? The owner, Mark Sponto, recently died. The place started out as a bleach factory in the 1920s, but by 1956, the place was empty and abandoned. Poet Stuart Z. Perkoff was squatting in the warehouse when he hooked up with bookshop owner John Kenevan to get the lease and renovate the place. They turned it into L.A.'s first European coffeehouse in 1956 -- the Venice West Cafe.

Now, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were all published by 1956, but there was no "Beat" scene per se. As in, there was no center-of-the-universe for post-WW2 bohemian culture just yet. Kenneth Rexroth was championing the San Francisco writers during the first half of the 1950s, while Lawrence Lipton was championing the Venice poets during the same period. Rexroth called them "Beats," Lipton called them "Barbarians." Rexroth was a lauded poet, Lipton was a pulp novelist. Who won out? Rexroth. But I still think that the Venice poets are just as vital to the history of bohemian culture in America and in Los Angeles, especially. It all started there... There's no Doors, Love, Zappa, Byrds, et al without the Venice West Cafe. Wallace Berman, who published "Semina," started out of the Venice West Cafe. It was a magical, wild and colourful place.

After the Venice West closed in 1966, the place went through a variety of businesses, but it was always bohemian, and in the last 15+ years, it's been the Sponto Gallery, where many would say the true hub of Venice bohemia has remained ever since. Their revolutionary film festivals, poetry nights and art exhibits pushed the boundaries farther than any other place in Greater L.A., and it would be a shame to let what surely must be the last authentic bohemian enclave get turned into a restaurant or a Quizno's...

Brian may be at the next ModCom meeting January 20th. Come and hear his pitch for this building.

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:27 am
by nichols

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:19 pm
by nichols
Piccolo Italian restaurant expands into 7 Dudley space

http://la.eater.com/archives/2009/07/01 ... r_comments

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:18 pm
by nichols
Image
Title: Bearded man drinking coffee at Venice West Coffee House, "beatnik" café in Venice, Calif., 1965
Published caption: CONTEMPLATION-A beatnik sips coffee at last Venice refuge.
Publication: Los Angeles Times
Publication date: July 21, 1965
Subjects: Beat generation--California--Los Angeles
Bohemians--California--Los Angeles
Eating & drinking
Venice (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Genre: News photographs
Phys. descr.: 1 photograph : b&w negative ; 5 x 5 cm.
Source: Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library. Copyright Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:32 pm
by nichols
CULTURAL HERITAGE COMMISSION
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009, 10:00 A.M.


VENICE WEST CAFÉ, 321 S. OCEAN FRONT WALK, CD 11, CHC-2009-2840-HCM
Review of Historic-Cultural Monument Application. Motion Required

Applicant: Charles Fisher and Alan Leib

Owner: James Adelstein



(pulled from the agenda today at the request of applicant)

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:49 am
by nichols
LOS ANGELES TIMES

Seeking Establishment recognition of Beat hangout's importance
The former Venice West Cafe, headquarters of the L.A. beatnik scene and gathering place for the Doors' Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, could be designated a city historic-cultural monument.

By Martha Groves
January 7, 2010

...Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission is expected to decide today whether to recommend that the site be designated as a city historic-cultural monument.

The low-slung building holds great value as a local symbol of the bohemian spirit of the mid-20th century, says Alan Leib, chairman emeritus of the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee.

The city Planning Department's Office of Historic Resources supports landmarking the site "for its social and cultural significance to the city," said manager Ken Bernstein....


http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me ... 7583.story

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:50 am
by nichols
Venice West passed the commission unanimously this morning.

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:57 pm
by nichols
LOS ANGELES TIMES

Landmark status recommended for Venice West Cafe
January 7, 2010 | 6:44 pm

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2 ... atus-.html

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:00 pm
by nichols
LA WEEKLY

Venice Restaurant Tapped For Landmark Status
By Dennis Romero

http://blogs.laweekly.com/ladaily/city- ... dmark-sta/

Posted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:38 am
by nichols
LOS ANGELES TIMES online

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday approved a new city landmark -- a Venice building that from 1958 to 1966 was a hangout for disciples of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other Beat Generation pioneers who planted the seeds of L.A.'s counterculture movement...

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2 ... dmark.html

"The Beat Hotel" documentary

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:22 am
by nredom
No direct L.A. connection, really; but anyone interested in Beat history (or photography or poetry or Paris for that matter) might check out the documentary "The Beat Hotel" (2012)...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959550/

Are there any documentaries on the Venice Cafe...?


Some add'l keywords: Beatnik, Paris, poetry, cut-up, dreamachine, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Harold Chapman, Gregory Corso, Madame Rachou, Elliot Rudie, Brion Gysin, Peter Orlovsky, Ian Sommerville

Edit: This could have been posted this under one of the Beat Hotel (Desert Hot Springs) threads, I guess...

http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic ... beat+hotel