Venice Beach in the Sixties: A Celebration of Creativity
- Leland Auslender |
- 2008 |
- 15 minutes
From 1960 to 1964, I lived in Venice Beach, California, then known as "Venice, Slum by the Sea." It was also the heart of the mushrooming beat and hippy cultures. Its free-spirited, flamboyant inhabitants fascinated me, and I filmed all who attracted my lens. I was particularly drawn to creative characters who courageously lived their unconventional lives.
Today, 43 years later, I have edited this footage into a 15-minute documentary titled "Venice Beach in the Sixties-A Celebration of Creativity. It includes encounters with talented-sculptors Taki Camille and Ron Boise; eccentric Big-Daddy Eric Nord; Venice-West-Café creator, gentle-poet, and fiery Peace-and-Freedom-Party founder John Haag; brilliant-satirist Claire Horner; a hippy Halloween costume party; a hip "un-costume" party, with erotic dancers dressed only in body-paint; and my encounter with the entheogenic substance LSD, a life-enhancing experience that unveiled to me the mystical universe in its divine aspect. "Entheogenic" translates from the Greek as "Finding God Within," and that's what this film is all about.
Originally shot in 16-mm color, it premiered at the Hollywood Egyptian Theatre and later won the Gold Remi Award at the WorldFestHouston International Film Festival.