Carole Lee Walsh
I was at the Brick House Sunday and having to wait, picked up your newspaper. Needless to say, it’s a great local paper. I was shocked to hear that Solomon was the victim of police brutality.
He is a main attraction on the Boardwalk. My out of town friends are dazzled by his presence. I do recall two police officers were literally scratching their heads standing about 30 feet from Solomon some years back when he was new to the scene. But he is exactly why we love the Boardwalk. It brings all the colorful people out: Solomon, the marijuana pipe guy, Harry Perry, et al.
I could not help but wonder if Solomon were a cute chick in a bikini if there would have been any fuss. It would be interesting to explore this idea to see how the officials respond. Would this come under free speech? Rights to religious freedom?
Does Solomon sell anything? Does he have to pay for a space on the VBW? How do you license a person expressing themselves? Is that not what he is doing?
Carole Lee Walsh
Thanks for reading the Beachhead and thanks for your words of encouragement. Solomon does not sell anything and he does not have to pay for a space, but the police do harass him for performing out of designated spaces. During the Lottery system of allocating spaces each performer had to pay for a yearly permit. Solomon was one of the few performers who never purchased such a permit and received tickets as a
result. The Lottery system was deemed unconstitutional since, but the police harassment continues.
I discovered Venice in the late 60’s, while attending UCLA, and fell in love. I loved its diversity, culturally, ethnically and socio-economically. The only beach community like it.
But it’s been changing, gentrifying and, recently, at an alarmingly rapid pace.
The targeting of the unhoused is symptomatic of this change. We should abide by the Jones Settlement and provide for certain needs of the unhoused, such as bathroom facilities and a safe place to store their belongings. That would be the Venice I know and love.
Venice has been a Bohemian community for most of the past century. Let’s keep it that way. And if you don’t like that aspect of Venice, move, but don’t try to change my Venice.
Recently I heard a radio DJ discussing the Doors song “Soul Kitchen” and how it had been inspired by a Venice restaurant known as Olivia’s. I heard of this old Venice hang-out in passing, and immediately became inquisitive as to how this possibly misinformed DJ guy would describe her restaurant as being in Venice. Based on legend alone, I guessed Morrison wrote the song about his favorite hangout.
After some web-searching, I found Olivia’s was most likely located at the corner of Main St. and Ocean Park Av., definitely old-time Ocean Park. Definitely NOT Venice! But why, I wondered, is this misleading truth still being put out onto the masses? And why hasn’t this Rock‘n’Roll crime been rectified?
Olivia’s was not in Venice… OK?!! And this is why: Olivia’s, 2615 Main St., was a popular soul food restaurant whose patrons were mostly UCLA students. Jim loved Olivia’s, which was the inspiration for the song “Let me sleep all night in your Soul Kitchen.” It is currently the location of the surf and skate shop ZJ Boarding House.
In his book “Riders on the Storm,” John Densmore wrote about Olivia’s restaurant: “Olivia’s. A small soul food restaurant at the corner of Ocean Park and Main. A roadside diner that belonged in Biloxi, Mississippi. The place was packed, as usual. The restaurant that Jim later memorialized as the ‘Soul Kitchen’ was full of UCLA film students. It looked like an Amtrak dining car got stuck at the beach.”
Anyhow, it seems that Olivia’s was really more of a lost, dreamland kinda place, in restaurant eternity, on Main and Ocean Park. Definitely not Venice!
Thanks for the clarification. The Beachhead’s ad from the September 1969 issue shows that you are almost right. Olivia’s Place was located at 2618 Main St., Ocean Park.