My Father’s Pictures on 3819 2008

by John OBrien | ˜ 4 Comments »

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.

The Venice Painters on 378 2008

by John OBrien | ˜ No Comments »

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.

Claire Horner on 363 2008

by John OBrien | ˜ 22 Comments »

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”.

The Venice West Cafe on 3527 2008

by John OBrien | ˜ 6 Comments »

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.

Ted Hawkins on 3525 2008

by John OBrien | ˜ 25 Comments »

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.