John OBrien

http://thelapidary.wordpress.com/

I was born in Paris, France, while my father was in the process of being relieved of his G.I. Bill money by a fraudulent cinematography school, in 1950. We lived in rural East Texas until I was about 7, and moved to L.A. - by 1960, we had moved to Venice. I grew to young adulthood here, and left at 19. I ended up in Topanga, and lived there for most of the next 40 years, excepting a brief stint in the early eighties. Now, I'm back in Venice again, and trying to remember my wasted youth. Part of it is chronicled here:The Lapidary's Weblog

Posts by John OBrien:

Claire Horner

Claire Horner

I met a lot of peculiar and interesting people at Venice West Café — none more interesting (or more peculiar) than poet Claire Horner. He read at VWC alongside people like Bukowski and Taylor Meade, and peddled mimeographed “books” of his poetry with names like “Please don’t step on the Bacon”.

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Venice Beach Pavilion

Growing Up Bohemian

We moved to Venice in 1960, when I was 10 years old. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my parents were beatniks. I knew that things were somehow looser in my household – that people were tolerated and welcomed there that weren’t welcome in the homes of most of my schoolmates.

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Skater in Venice ©Ken O\'Brien

My Father’s Pictures

As enamored of the arts as I was when I was a teenager, like most of same, I sought the things I was interested in outside the home. It’s too bad, because I missed out on what should have been more of a source of inspiration to me. Ken O’Brien, my dad.

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Ted Hawkins

Ted Hawkins

Ted Hawkins had one of the richest, purest, most powerful voices I’ve ever heard. He was a fixture on the boardwalk scene and typified the best of Venice art and music. He performed for the high and mighty, and the lowly and poor. He broke hearts and illuminated minds.

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The Venice Painters

The Venice Painters

When I was twelve or thirteen, a young couple moved in across the street. They were Max Hendler and Arlene Goldberg, and they were part of a loose group of painters who lived and worked in Venice during the sixties.

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The Venice West Cafe

The Venice West Cafe

In 1965, when I was fifteen, I started hanging around the Venice West Cafe, a dank little hole in the wall with wooden benches and tables. Of course they served espresso. And the place was always full of (to me at that age) coolly romantic hipsters, complete with shades, turtlenecks — yeah, even berets.

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