“The Beatnik’s Heart is Tender”: Vernon Duke in Venice West

A rather touching poem with that tolerant and generous ending. Beats were very much part of the St Ives scene in the 60s.

Boris Dralyuk

Beatniks from Venice West at LA City Hall

In a recent rambling conversation with Micaela Brinsley, who has a rare gift for drawing people out, I went on — and on, and on — about a poem from My Hollywood in which I imagine Sarah Bernhardt on the amusement pier at Venice Beach. I’ve written about my Venice diptych before, describing the area in which it’s set as “a fanciful corner of LA developed by the fanciful Abbot Kinney in 1905.” In my interview with Micaela, I add a bit to the picture, explaining that Venice is “a place that goes up and down in status rapidly. One decade it’s the worst part of Los Angeles, the next decade it’s the priciest.”

One of its low points, in terms of economic status, happened to coincide with its cultural renaissance. In the 1950s, Venice West became the hub of LA’s beatnik…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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