I don't get much email so I'm on the Thrillist. It's an email list with a bunch of usually bad suggestions of things to do or buy in Los Angeles. But this week they had a couple of interesting suggestions. There's the trampoline place that opened in Gardena/Torrance. My niece would get a kick out of that. And then there's The Venice Meet.
I didn't think much about it at first. It looked like another Farmer's Market/Tourist Trap like the kind they have in Eagle Rock or Montrose, but The Venice Meet said it was about the handmade crafts and such. I thought that might be cool to check out, so I considered it. Later on in the week I found out that they were going to have live music too, and that was enough to drag me out of my house at eight in the morning and hop on two buses to Venice.
The Venice Meet Banner (Right-Click open in new window)
The bus leaves me about two blocks away from Westminster Elementary School, where the meet is being met at about nine thirty. I've got time to kill so I walk around a bit before I settle in and watch the meet being set up. You know who's on top of things and who's not. Some vendors are just starting to arrive when ten a.m. rolls around, and others like Janie xy are all set to move the merch.
Janie xy Picture (Right-Click open in new window)
Those are drumstick rattles there. They're about as cute as can be. In fact all these plush toys are too cute to be tolerated when they're displayed en masse. It's like an intimidating army of cuteness. I'm certain my niece is going to want all of them, but I'll make her choose which one she gets. Maybe my nephew will want one too. He's a big boy, but I won't think any less of him if he wants a mushroom or monkey.
Some of the vendors just throw their wares together. It's sort of thoughtless, but if they gots the goods who cares how they're displayed. Kelso Doesn't Dance has both.
Kelso Doesn't Dance Picture (Right-Click open in new window)
It took me a second to figure out those are supposed to be card catalog drawers she's stitched together for her table cloth. If I were five years younger I'd never have noticed it. All of her wares are made from reclaimed things: yearbooks, dress shirts, playing cards, dictionaries and anything else she can upcycle from. They've got a very unique look to them.
Hillcrest Décor does about the same thing but they upcycle from old farm things.
Hillcrest Décor Picture (Right-Click open in new window)
Those are old farm things like fruit packing boxes and wash sinks. I like how they've got both a clean modern look and an old vintage feel to them.
Of course not everything at The Venice Meet is nearly as interesting as these three vendors. There's a wide spectrum of things that are crafts or pass as crafts. I see a lady selling bicycles bells. They're nice and all, but all she did to them was paste random slogans or glue army men or other toys to them. I'm sure I can do just about the same thing for myself if I need to. There's even a booth selling colorful hula hoops. I imagine they used colored tape and/or stickers to decorate stock, off the shelf hula hoops. A lady's selling—I think they were for meditation—scrolls with inspirational quotes from Gandhi and other historical figures. They are cool, but I can needlepoint one if I want something like that. There are so many things you can mod out and sell as crafts with a steep markup.
There was food here too, but it wasn't the sort of filling fare really.
Food Vendors Picture (Right-Click open in new window)
It's a collection of vendors selling desserts and pastries. I had a very tasty herbal iced Tea from Sugarbird Sweets & Teas. It was vanilla sweet without being sugary; cardamon gave it a spicy bite that I rather enjoyed.
It wasn't long before the live music began.
Performers Picture (Right-Click open in new window)
I don't expect much from random music, but I was much impressed by both bands I listened to.
Song Preservation Society Picture (Right-Click open in new window)
They are a three piece local act. For being only guitars and voices they have a surprisingly rich and lush sound. Still I wouldn't have minded if they had mixed it up with a tambourine or harmonica. They sort of remind me of an electric acoustic version of The Natural History. They played a wide variety of covers and originals. I could tell some of the obvious ones like The Weight or In My Room. They do a decent rendition of Barbara Ann, but I would have rather liked to hear their take on Help Me Rhonda. They even interact with a small child in a blue hat singing her a perfect cover of Teach Your Children. These guys are smart they know it never hurts to play to the crowd. Their originals are also worth listening to just for their interesting harmonies. All in all this act was great and good enough to make me want to catch them again on May 15. They'll be playing at the Hotel Cafe with The Dustbowl Revival.
The Dustbowl Revival Picture (Right-Click open in new window)
It's sort of jarring to go from a trio to this crowd, but The Dustbowl Revival brought their jam to The Venice Meet with authority. At first I thought they were a Zydeco act, but they're a whole lot more. They started off with Low Down Blues where each band member was introduced and allowed a solo. It's a sweet swingy jazzy sound that I dig. If they were at The Derby, I wouldn't be surprised if a crowd of swingers were jumping and jiving before them. Full of musical interactions and dueling solos—including a mandolin solo with an allusion to I'll F.ly Away—I just have to ask just how many solos does a song really need? I'm happy with one per song, but two or more in every song is a bit too much for a non-fan of the Dead or Phish. Still I'll catch them in May with Song Preservation Society because this band leaves me wanting more.
It was good times and all, but the sun was beating too hard on me for too long and I couldn't handle any more of it. Depending on what sort of music they'll have next month, I might make my way back to The Venice Meet again.