Black Henna

On August 24, my dad and I took a trip to Venice Beach, one of the places he used to call home. (Literally, he lived right by the boardwalk on Dudley Ave. while his parents ran a fish market.) Every time my dad visits Venice Beach, he dwells in the memories he had growing up, attending Hebrew and public schools, and learning how to ride a 2-wheel bike.

On the boardwalk, we ate a slice of cheese pizza (not good) and a hot dog and sausage from Jodi Maroni’s (not that good either. They could steam their buns…). A few people sold gorgeous, vivid, fresh fruit. Too bad I didn’t try any.

There were stands of people who made their crafts, so they did not have to pay for their spot on the shore side of the boardwalk. On the other hand, those who sold other people’s work (or basically clothing stores, American Apparel, vape shops, etc.) were located closer to the city. I purchased a few rocks, including what looks like peacock ore, red tiger’s eye (hawk’s eye), and green tiger’s eye (cat’s eye). My dad bought incense from some guy who sold 10/$1, but I would have preferred the guy I went to last time, which was 16/$2, but I could mix and match. Other crafts on the boardwalk included Lorax trees, trees made from rocks and wire, and various knick knacksĀ made from repurposed cans, bottles, and records.

photo 4

Some radical Christ-sayers were marching up and down the boardwalk. Initially, it was the typical “follow the Lord because we will not go to hell”, but it progressed into “Some of you women need to put on some clothes! We have no shame in our society!” Give it a break. You’re at a beach. Could you get any more tacky and sexist? Speaking of naked women and sexism, there was a stand advertising for women to go topless for equality. Sure! I would love to prove a point that breasts are oversexualized and that it is unfair that men with gorilla-hairy chests on breasts larger than KFC meals have the privilege to go topless without being charged for nudity except…

The motherfucking stand was run by old and teenage boys. I did not see a single woman at the stand supporting the cause, but I did see a girl about my age walking around, clothed, with a “go topless” sign on her. She did not seem to be actively protesting. (For you “but men…” MRAs, yes, the situation would be different if there was a 20-1 women to men ratio at that stand, but since there was not, I did not sense equality at that location.)

For $15, I got a henna tattoo in the shape of a feather. The artwork and application were very successful, but I noticed the color and smell were different from the henna I got as a 9 year old in Knott’s Berry Farm. I figured that if Lush could sell different types of henna hair dye, henna tattoos could have different colors, too (though I prefer the natural brown look of henna on my skin). Turns out black henna is pretty toxic. It contains a chemical, PPD, which is found in hair dye, and getting henna tattoos with the substance can cause the use to gain a sensitivity to the chemical. Here’s a website explaining the risks of black henna. I have been so fortunate not to experience any pain or allergic reaction to PPD. In this case, I will never encourage anyone to get a black henna tattoo. In case you did not know, I am allergic to natural materials such as pollen, fruit, and soy, so because I do not (currently) have a reaction to this tattoo, there are two possible reasons that I can muster: the artist does not use PPD or has a low concentration of it OR I will survive the apocalypse.

Culprit of PPD sensitization

Culprit of PPD sensitization

Additional experiences at Venice Beach include smelling pot, looking at the glass pipes and bongs with my 69 year old dad, and viewing the evolution of Rose Ave.

Rose Ave Now

Rose Ave Now

Rose Ave Then, Picture from Venice California: Coney Island of the Pacific by Jeffrey Stanton

Rose Ave Then, Picture from Venice California: Coney Island of the Pacific by Jeffrey Stanton

Added bonus: One of the canals in the Venice neighborhood.

photo 2

After going to the boardwalk, my dad and I went to my aunt’s restaurant, Tasty Goody, which is across the street from Fox Discount Store (formerly Fox Theater) on Lincoln Blvd. The best dishes to get there? Walnut shrimp, pork fried rice, and egg flower soup.

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