As most people know, I was born and raised in Arizona (for an n00bs), and have since transplanted my butt to California. There are things I like. There are things I don't like. But I feel pretty lucky to be plugged into a scene completely different from what I am used to and to have access to so many different scenes at once.
One of my favorite places out here is Venice Beach - now, I've never been crazy about the beach because it's generally pretty cold, there's very little to actually do, and I don't like taking my clothes off and being stared at by strangers.
But Venice is a little different. It has something for everyone - a graffiti wall draws out urban artists; a basketball court is home to the pristine uniforms of little boys on expensive club teams and slam dunking, ball-playing thugs; the skateboarders, roller-bladers, scooter-riders, bmx-bikers flip and fly through the air in their own little concrete jungle; the hippies and hipsters come together every night to bang out their hopes and fears in the cyclic and spiritual collective drum circle; health-nuts jog the beach, kids play on the playground, surfers surf.
And if you don't fall into one of the aforementioned categories, there's always the promenade, where vendors are constantly hawking kettle corn, massages, clothes, surfboards or beach-cruisers for sale/rent and informal vendors (a.k.a. panhandlers) try to sell tattoos or their latest EP.
Even if you don't have any cash (like me, perpetually), Venice is the place to be - there are hobos break-dancing and puppies on leashes exploring every nook with their sniffers, people to be watched, ocean spray to enjoy. There is literally something for everyone.
Venetians always ask if you're a "local," meaning from Venice Beach proper, not mainland LA. Here, the rich live beside the poor, and everyone is allowed to be themselves. It's a pleasant place to be. So when things heat up, guess where I'll be.