Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Venice California 1974

For the last several weeks I have been sleeping on the floor at Dan's place in Venice. Dan is a model maker working on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a movie to be released next year we hope. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and always need a place to stay when I fly down to the movie set in Los Angeles each week and work for 4 days and fly back.

My tiny bedroom has a mattress and a lamp, all sitting on the floor. My airline carry-on bag has a few changes of clothes for the week, my life is very simple. We spend long hours working on the movie set and only sleep at Dan's house. It's a cute tiny cottage on one of the canals in Venice. It's a bit run down but the entire area has seen better days.

This morning I woke up to hear someone singing just outside my window on the canal. It was a male voice and sounded like opera. By the time I have gotten outside on the small patio that is slipping into the canal the voice has moved a few houses down.

I see a raft made of oil drums and bits of timber floating in the middle of the canal. The raft is being poled down the canal by a young black man singing opera and another brother is sitting on a sofa. The raft also has several trash cans and long handled nets. The sofa dude has netted something out of the water and puts it in a trash can. Dan has appeared next to me with a cup of coffee and I learn that they are the Venice canal garbage guys and the one singing opera is Samuel, the other guy is Al.

The local residents encourage them to keep the canals cleaner by giving them things, but Dan hasn't made it clear what kind of things. Ahh, the mysteries of the canals of Venice.

J of JaM

Today Venice is quite up market but it 1974 it was seedy, hip and cool.

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