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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Venice Beach: Solarium at the Boardwalk

The Venice Beach Boardwalk is a large pedestrian walkway that runs along the beach from Ocean Park in Santa Monica to the edge of Marina del Rey. On summer weekends it can be absolutely packed. For both locals and visitors from around the world, it's definitely an "Experiencing L.A." type of place. 

As one reviewer said on, "Venice Beach is basically all of Los Angeles in one place: movie film set locations, large variety of food, unique people, creative and individualistic craft stands, pan handlers, street performers, exercise gyms, the beach, and - yes - difficult parking."

 You'll find outdoor dining and restaurants ...

 ... stands selling cheap-o sunglasses, t-shirts, and other tchotchkes ...

... colorful murals ...

 ... oddities like the Venice Beach Freak Show ...

 ... and wacky street performers. 

The boardwalk is also lined with outdoor displays of artwork and photography, as well as space set aside for political, religious and other non-profit displays. 

Solarium was one such display. Hosted by the the campus ministry "Cru",  Solarium is a series of images designed to engage dialogue on topics of faith and spirituality. 

Questions around the photographs included "which images describe your life right now?" and "what images represent how your view God?"

Some people spent a lot of time talking ...

... others were content just looking and reflecting. 

A student volunteer interacting with of the more colorful local characters. This was, after all, Venice Beach. 

In addition, there were several questions with space for comments.

Another questions: lots of answers. 

Why do I like Solarium? I'll admit my bias: not only am I a Christian, but I was also part of this event. But I like to think that even if I wasn't (a Christian) I would still like the whole thing. Over the years we've had many people say "I'm not religious, but I think what you guys are doing is really cool." Of course, the goal isn't to be "cool" - it's to engage people in life's most important questions - and to consider the claims of Jesus Christ. Both at places like Venice Beach, and then during the year, university campuses. 

My son (the good looking kid in the blue shirt) answering the question, "what is true love?" These photographs are all from last summer - I'll have to ask him if he still remembers what he wrote. 

Feel free to leave a comment below to any of of these questions. As Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living." 

The Venice Beach Boardwalk is located along the beach between Navy Street (the border of Santa Monica/Venice) and Washington Blvd. Parking, especially during the summer, can be tricky. There is a large lot (that fills up quickly on weekends) where Venice Blvd meets the beach. There's also a much less crowded lot just south of Ocean Park Blvd, a few blocks north of Navy. 

© 2011



Anonymous said...

Ha! Ha! Why pay to go in? The "freakshow" is outside on the boardwalk. The place is totally L.A. Yeah, fruits, nuts, and flakes. Or maybe that's California. Anyway, good luck with your ministry and Happy 4th!!! JLM

Anonymous said...

"Is the human race getting better or worse?" I'd like to say better ... but the last 100 years have been pretty awful: WWI, WWII, and the death of millions under Stalin and Mao in the Soviet Union and Communist China.

Anonymous said...

guy on the bike prtty freaky - think I've seen him around

Anonymous said...

what is your purpose in life? "To know God and to make Him known."

Richard310 said...

Great blog. "Is mankind getting worse?" Maybe this is something both progressives and conservatives can agree on (but for totally different reasons). I'd have to say worse.

Anonymous said...

Venice attracts all kinds of cooks including crazy Christians. Love it!