Some have labeled First Friday at Abbot Kinney as the “ArtWalk” of Venice, but don’t let that title mislead you into thinking that all we saw were art galleries. First and foremost, First Friday is a monthly event that is meant to promote the businesses on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which consisted primarily of clothing stores, craft shops, and restaurants. However, that does not mean that there weren’t any art galleries open that night. One place of notable interest is “Very Venice.” “Very Venice” provides artists a venue to display glass paintings, photographs, graffiti art skateboards, and even racy adult sculptures. Vibrant photos of the graffiti in Venice Beach Skate Park at the gallery also help bring the focus back to the Venice community as well as remind patrons of another place to visit, but that’s a different post for a different time.
A few street performers were also scattered throughout Abbot Kinney Blvd. However, a tall act to follow was the stilt walkers, who were there to promote their magic show, “Smoke at Mirrors”, at the Santa Monica Playhouse from October 29 to December 11. Those who came for energetic music to dance to should check out The Brig, an excellent spot with remarkable DJs.
Outside the Brig, we have numerous food trucks with meals, snacks, and desserts to satisfy your hunger for under ten dollars, including but not limited to: Baby’s Badass Burgers, Coolhaus, Dim Sum Truck, Dogtown Dog, Grilled Cheese Truck, Kogi, Knockout Taco Truck, South Philly Experience and Tornado Potato. The popular truck of the evening was definitely the Grilled Cheese Truck with a wait lasting anywhere between twenty to forty minutes. I recommend the Brie Melt and the Cheesy Mac and Rib with both under eight dollars each. The Brie Melt is a pork loin melt with a light, sweet hint of peach. If the tangy barbecue pork in the Cheesy Mac and Rib, their signature melt, doesn’t fill you up, the addition of the macaroni and cheese sure will. Tornado Potato is also another truck to try. They serve Korean-style deep-fried skewers of spiral-cut potato with a wide variety of sauces to choose from. Their sweet tornado with cinnamon sugar is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
First Friday is not only beneficial to the Abbot Kinney community. It is also helpful to the world. For instance, the Harlot Salon hosted a breast cancer fundraiser with belly dancing classes, facials, and hair services. In addition, Ballona Wetlands Land Trust, a non-profit organization, passed out postcards to pedestrians to mail out to Councilman Bill Rosendahl in order to help preserve and restore the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem as well as protect the numerous endangered species residing there.
Witnessing so many people become interested in the breast cancer fundraiser and protecting the Ballona Wetlands made me realize how active and approachable they were throughout the evening. There were moments when random strangers would come up to us just to chat and have a good laugh.
While Downtown ArtWalk is a place for you and your friends to spend time, First Friday at Abbot Kinney is the place to go to make friends. It’s a wonderful event to look at local stores, grab some inexpensive food, have conversation with wonderful people, and maybe even meet someone cute along the way.
Until next time,