Category Archives: Venice Beach

The Bright Idea Keeping Venice Sign Shining


Venice Sign Adriano Sosa Visting Venice from NYC
Visiting Venice from NYC Adriano Sosa couldn’t resist a snap of the sign

A woman hurries to the center of the road at Pacific Boulevard and Windward Avenue. She points up at the Venice Sign with one hand, in the other she holds her smart phone ready for a selfie. Cars stop in all directions as pedestrians make their way across the intersection. The scrambled crosswalk provides the perfect photo opportunity.

Adriano Sosa, visiting Venice for the first time from New York, said getting a picture in front of the sign was a must.

Staying with friends in Venice on a trip down from San Francisco, Kazune couldn’t resist a shot either.

The original Venice Sign was removed sometime in the 1940s

The Venice Sign is an iconic part of the beachside community, first lit by Abbot Kinney on July 4th, 1905. The guess is that the original Venice sign came down sometime around 1947, when the Venice Pier at the end of Windward Ave. closed.

In 2004, after local resident Todd von Hoffmann helped secure a $10,000 beautification grant from the City of Los Angeles, the Venice Sign Restoration Project began and by 2007 the sign shone bright once again above Venice Beach.

Venice Sign visitors make the most of the scrambled crosswalk to snap a selfie
Venice Sign Visitors Make the Most of the Scrambled Crosswalk to Snap a Selfie

Visitors are welcome to get snap happy, however, the sign is a registered trademark of the Venice Chamber of Commerce and as such, anyone wanting to publish images of the sign for anything other than personal use must get permission through the Chamber’s website. Money raised this way helps keep the sign shining.

“Thanks to the trademark, the license fees provides our non-profit organization with the means to raise the funds to take care of the sign,” said Venice Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Donna Lasman.

Another way the Chamber helps pay to keep the sign lit is through its Adopt-a-Bulb program.

“Concerning the expenses, we do maintenance checks each time we change out the bulbs for an  event, generally about four times a year. The estimated cost for one maintenance check, which includes the lift, labor, and bulbs is about $800,” Lasman explained.

The Chamber also hopes to build up a reserve of funds for when the sign requires more significant repairs. “So far we have not had to do any major repairs. The sign is secure where it is anchored to the buildings and the cables are in great condition,” Lasman said.

All up, 87 bulbs comprise the Venice Sign. Anyone can adopt-a-bulb for $200 a year and applications can be filled out online. “We are grateful to the community for their contributions and also for their sup- port in helping us protect the trademark,” Lasman added.

The Venice Chamber of Commerce’s annual sign-lighting extravaganza has become a much-loved Venice Beach tradition with local celebrities like Robert Downey Jr. and Pink flipping the switch, changing the lights from it’s Thanksgiving orange and white to Red and Green for the holiday season.

The sign is green every year for St Patrick’s day, which Chamber Vice President and longtime Venice resident George Francisco says is his favorite hue. “I grew up South Side, Chicago, so I always love seeing it that color,” he said.

Francisco said there he thinks are many more opportunities for celebrating different community events by changing the bulbs, “I’d love to see it red on Valentine’s Day,” he suggested, adding that it would be fun to see more members of the community step up and “see us celebrate it in different ways.”

Venice Sign Kazune Visiting from San Francisco Snaps the Sign
The star of many tourist snaps

While not all of us are able to find the cash to light the entire sign in our favorite colors, adopting a single bulb might be a bright idea for present, or simply a way to claim your small part of Venice Beach. Kazune from San Francisco thinks it’s a pretty “cool” idea.

To adopt your bulb jump online

Help Keep Theater in Walgrove Elementary

Walgrove Elementary is having its 6th annual Walk & Dance-a-thon this Friday, May 6th. The event will support theater programs at the local Venice public school.
The school  “believes theater and the arts are important for a child’s whole learning” and provides an in-school and after-school program that is free to all students.
At a school where nearly 40% of students are from low-income families, the programs are something  many students would not get the opportunity to participate in elsewhere.
The in-school program, PS Arts, has been specifically designed to integrate and mainstream the school’s over 20% special-needs population.
The after-school program includes a Musical Theater Workshop where children learn to dance, sing, and act, culminating in a full-length musical performance.
It’s easy to donate at:

Rip Current Warning for Venice Beach


The National Weather Service warns  of strong rip currents for Ventura and Los Angeles County beaches through this evening.

A subsiding long period south swell will continue to cause the rip currents along area beaches, including including Venice Beach

Higher surf and stronger rip currents will be on south and southwest facing beaches with surf of 3 to 5 feet. Strong longshore currents are also expected. The surf and rip currents will subside this evening into Tuesday.

There is an increased risk of ocean drowning as rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Caution should be used when in or near the water. Stay near occupied lifeguard towers and never swim alone. If caught in a rip current swim parallel to the shore.

The beach hazards warning will remain in effect until Tuesday afternoon.

Boater Snapchats Selfies While Sinking


Twelve people were rescued after the 30-foot power boat they were on came close to sinking off Dockweiler State Beach near Marina del Rey yesterday.

Darci Tomey was on board and then she wasn’t. She captured the ordeal on Snapchat. She told CBS2 News the boat had started to take on water and friends on board had said, “Ok get the cups, scoop it out.” Their efforts were futile.

Tomey said it felt like only seconds before the boat was tilted, nose-up in the air before it started to sink, “we all slid into the water, we couldn’t hold on to anything,” she said.

Lifeguards were notified of the distressed craft just before 5 p.m.,
according to Kyle Peters, supervising dispatcher with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The boat was towed back into the marina, where crews worked to drain the waterlogged craft, Peters said. The rescued boaters were taken to the sheriff’s Marina del Rey Station. Peters said no injuries were reported.

Watch the CBS2 story and Tomey’s Snapchat video here:

Meet Against Meat – Protest Scheduled in Venice


Cafe Gratitude founders, Mathew and Terces Engelhart, have enraged Vegan activists who say they  feel betrayed Mathew Engelhart is now eating meat.

Los Angeles CBS 2/KCAL 9 reported that about a year ago Englehart had shared a photo of himself eating his first hamburger in 40 years. The meat had come from one of the cows on the Engleharts  Northern California farm.

A demonstration  was held outside of the chain’s Larchmont Restaurant. Word is protesters plan to rally at Café Gratitude in Venice tonight.

Watch the CBS 2/KCAL 9 story here: