WR: Venice Beach

Western Recreation

WR: Venice Beach

July 4, 2013 | Venice, CA

There is a good chance I don’t need to tell you anything about Muscle Beach, such is its position in the hagiography of culture. It is a meme, a phenomenon, a cultural touchpoint that, for many, is synonymous with California.

WR: Venice Beach

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I Western Recreation

Western Recreation is the study of the recreational habits and habitats of Americans in our Western states. It is an integral part of our greater research project, American Recreation. In order to gain insight into the recreational habits of our fellow Americans, we traveled the vast network of roads, campgrounds, State & National Parks, coastlines, beaches, rivers, mountains, lakes, forests, deserts, valleys, small towns, fairgrounds, trail systems, gas stations, parking lots and similar to survey and investigate the myriad forms, expressions, styles, modes, manifestations, permutations of American Recreation.

II Muscle Beach

Muscle Beach is located in Venice Beach which is located at the edge between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean, in the USA, the World, the Solar System, the Milky Way, the Universe, the Everything. Muscle Beach is not only a physical place—yes you can go visit it, you should go visit it, buy your tickets today—but it is also uniquely located mentally and culturally. There is a good chance I don’t need to tell you anything about Muscle Beach, such is its position in the hagiography of culture. It is a meme, a phenomenon, a cultural touchpoint that, for many, is synonymous with California. It is a complete line of branded clothing, hyper-fluro-neon-colored tank tops, ripped neck tees and hot shorts. But just because you are aware of something doesn’t mean it isn’t worth investigating—even if the only result is to further entrench the reasoning behind its veneration.

 

When setting out to Western Rec, it was obvious to us that Muscle Beach, the West Coast show room of totally-tanned, overly-sculpted musculature was a must-visit. A narrow strip of concrete bordered on one side by the infinite blue of the Pacific and on the other by head shops, t-shirt bodegas, tchotchke huts, trinket shacks, and knock-off luggage stores, Venice is incessantly thronged by a stream of tourists draped in Armani Exchange t-shirts and overstuffed shopping bags, hair gel bleeding into their eyes. And the man in too-short cutoffs who makes his living vogue-ing his way up the promenade on rollerstaktes to the sounds of a boombox sensually blasting Sade is this stream’s salmon. Right there, in the middle of all that, ensconced in a hazy breeze of reefer and the sweet coconut smell of Hawaiian Tropic, sits Muscle Beach.

 

Here the locals come to display their rippling pectorals, glutes, biceps, neck-ceps, calves, cows, throats, and knees.

 

At its most fundamental it is an outdoor gymnasium, a human car show/livestock auction. But for those in the know, it's much more than that: it's a modern agora, a Socratic plane on which ideas are debated and decisions crystallized under the heavy duress of the hyper gravity of stacked iron.”- AR

As onlookers, we can only imagine the issues being discussed in the low murmurs and quiet asides that ripple through the grounds between guttural shouts and exhortations of encouragement. Here, muscles shred and rip only to heal stronger so that they may be torn again, only to be built stronger, better, bigger, more symmetrical. This is the American Ethic; these physical forms represent the idealization of the individual obtained through strict adherence to our national principals. It is here, awash in the gentle caress of the sea’s breeze, that the coconut-tanned übermen build themselves into the ultimate example of the American ideal. In the shadow of Los Angeles, they are the blockbuster personified, and there are no tickets required.

III Venice Beach Visual Slideshow

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IV MISSION MADE POSSIBLE: BTS MUSCLE BEACH

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Fitness Swingers
  • 1. If you’re into trapeze and health, then you’ve got to join the Fitness Swinger’s community. It is the only place on the net where you can openly connect with other swingers who focus as much on their bodies as they do on their swinging.
  • 2. Those interested in the theatrics of the circus need not apply.
City of Los Angeles
  • 1. Under the new Governor of California, Felipe de Neve, El Pueblo de La Reina de Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781.
  • 2. The original forty-four pobladores were comprised of twenty-two adults and twenty-two children; of this number, twenty six were Afro-Mexicans.
  • 3. It has since gone on to give the world Frank Ocean, Dragnet, and the movie Roar.
Brutalist Architecture
  • 1. The term originates from the French word for "raw", as Le Corbusier described his choice of material béton brut, raw concrete.
  • 2. British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into "brutalism" (originally "New Brutalism") to identify the emerging style.
  • 3. In this case the brutalist design of the Muscle Beach stage both bolsters and contrast the stacked physiques of the Muscle Beach denizens.
Muscle Beach Apartments
  • 1. Basically you’re choosing to live over a carnival, which means you’re one of two types of people.
  • 2. Either you’re a neurotic fetishist with a penchant for swollen bods and a pickpocket’s drive for petty larceny.
  • 3. Or you're a rube from the country with stars in your eyes hoping to make it in show biz.
  • 4. The chances of the latter morphing into the former are very very high.
Headblade
  • 1. From what we can tell, these bozos make shaving products.
  • 2. Now, we get that “AGAINST THE GRAIN” is an attempt at a subversive slogan meant to catch shoppers’ attention by signifying that HeadBlade itself is anti-establishment and therefore you, the potential customer, are by, virtue of buying their product, are also anti-establishment. (Which being dogmatic about an anti-establishment posture is really another conversation altogether.)
  • 3. What I want to get across here is that everyone, EVERYONE, knows that you don’t shave against the grain.
  • 4. I don’t care how sharp the blade—you’re going to get razor burn, which means you’re going to get whiteheads and scabs and your face/armpits/legs/glutes/throat is going to ache and chaff.
  • 5. This slogan is fundamentally stupid. Sorry Headblade. However, if you would like to discuss some marketing/branding ideas, please contact [email protected], we can help.
Clark Desert Boots
  • 1. Hey these things are dead simple.
  • 2. They’re great if you’re walking in sand. Reminder: Beach sand can get SO hot. Just look at the hunks in this picture, are they standing on the sand with bare feet? NOPE! Not only are they muscle smart, but they’re brain smart too! I mean, proof’s in the pudding, they’re standing on carpet. Cuz they know. They know just how hot that sand can get.
  • 3. But maybe you don’t, it wouldn’t be fair to assume that all of our readers have experienced beach sand. So we’re here to to warn you, it can be SO hot. So one piece of advice, get some desert boots and do right by your feet. Duh.
Mission Workshop: The Sector
  • 1. Mission Workshop makes a whole family of these babies from cotton to quick dry to merino; that way you can wear the exact right t-shirt for any situation.
  • 2. Reg days = Cotton.
  • 3. Days on the surface of the sun = Quick Dry.
  • 4. Days in an Inuit’s kayak rolling in some stormy northern seas = Merino.
  • 5. I mean, they’ve got it all covered because, let’s be frank with each other, there isn’t universal t-shirt. That’s a myth, and not like a Fountain of Youth kind of myth which is just a myth because no one has found it yet and is totally worth pursuing. No, the universal t-shirt myth is 100% a myth. Word to the wise: give up the quest.
Mission Workshop: The Interval
  • 1. Wind may be good for a lot of things; sail boats and kites immediately come to mind. But wind isn’t good for everything.
  • 2. Like it’s not good for keeping you warm if you’re cold and it’s not good for keeping sand out of all the little crevices in your body and it’s not good for bike riding, in fact it’s absolutely terrible for bike riding.
  • 3. You might not know this, but wind is really common at the beach. Something about water and land heating and cooling at different rates. We’re not scientists, so we don’t have any actual clue about why these different rates of temperature change would cause wind—we were just told by someone at some point wearing a pocket protector or glasses, and well, that’s authority enough for us.
  • 4. So the deal is The Interval is a wind management garment and it’s at its best when protecting your bodies core from “that damn wind.” So because of all the wind at the beach we wore one to the beach. Makes sense, right?
Mission Workshop: The Division
  • 1. “Why wear pants to the beach?”
  • 2. “Because we’re working and as true 100% professionals we were pants to work, everytime, all the time."
Mission Workshop: The Sanction
  • 1. We’ve all seen Ghostbusters. (If you haven’t, please stop reading now, in fact drop everything. If you’re holding a phone, drop it. If you’re holding a baby, drop it. Smoothie, drop it. And go watch Ghostbusters right now. Be a human being.)
  • 2. Okay, for those of you who at least pass this cultural litmus test: you know how the Ghostbusters have their proton packs and how the proton packs are essential for capturing ghosts? Well, if you’re a meta-marketer/documenter/cultural anthropologist/performance artist, then you need a backpack to help you capture the moments around you and the moments you create.
  • 3. As it turns out, the Mission Workshop Sanction is the exact backpack for doing this job. Who knew? We did, that’s why we use it. And if you have any ambitions to go into the world and be a part of it, we encourage you to use it as well. You’ll be happy you did, we guarantee it.
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