The Venice Drumming Circle: Me 'n The Eagle

I'm not sure what The Eagle's history is, but I've seen him shacked up in a tent on the sand south of the drumming circle. When the circle's size is smaller and more manageable, he likes to make announcements, usually asking for cooperation in sending out blessings of love to the world at large.

Right on.


The Venice Drumming Circle: Alpha Males

The alpha male is an important component in the properly functioning drum circle. Now that's not to suggest that one needs to have outdoor plumbing to hold the rhythm, there's actually a Hispanic woman who is quite alpha in her own right. But for now, I'd like to present a few alpha males who were at the circle the evening that these pictures were taken.


The black gentleman in the center is an alpha male. His drum is deeper and more pervasive than most, but more importantly, he can hold a rhythm. Most can keep a rhythm, but they can't lead. Alpha males can lead. Unfortunately, he was leading a bit too well this evening as there was, at the other end of the circle Los Primos who team up to make their own alpha male.

Having two alpha males in one drumming circle can be great, provided they honor each other's groove. That doesn't always happen, though and they'll go off on their own tangent, unable to hear the others', creating two competing rhythms that make it next to impossible for the dancers to really let go.

Los Primos (Gary y Edgar) are pictured below wearing the sunglasses.


The Venice Drumming Circle: Hula Hoop with a Groove

There is no end to the props that people can dance with in the drumming circle. Martial arts weapons and provocative or dangerous kicks are prohibited, but now and then when there's room, you can find someone dancing with something that breathes a whole new life into an old toy... such as the hula hoop.

The Venice Drumming Circle: Yadya

I'm not 100% sure that I got her name right. It was given to me by her partner, Tom (who'll I'll need to write about soon as I get a decent shot) during a moment between grooves while individual drummers were trying to get a unified rhythm going. So, it can be difficult to hear things right.

She's a great dancer and presence at the Venice drumming circle. Also a regular, I don't have any particular fiction developed about her beyond my sense that she is an artist or performer of some sort.


The Venice Drumming Circle: His Honor, The Mayor


A special day at the Venice Drumming Circle, father's day. The gentleman on the left is accompanied by his lovely wife of 30+ years. This is the first time that I'd ever seen her. Usually, I see this gentleman in the circle looking more like a hippy as seen below:


So, I call him The Mayor. Think you can guess his name? Here are some choices:

  • Moon-doggy
  • Hizonor
  • Guru Arjuna Das
  • Steve

Yeah, its Steve. Ha. Always expected something more colorful. But in my mind, he remains The Mayor. He's well connected in the circle, he's sort of the Johnny Grant of the Venice drumming circle. He's a fixture. Always there, always a part of the larger groove. Steve, his honor of the Venice drumming circle.

The Venice Drumming Circle: Can You Find Me?

The Venice Drumming Circle is my church. There's no sermon, but plenty of folks finding their own God to worship. I have long avoided taking pictures there because I didn't want to be one of the many gawkers who arrive every week. Still, the individuals there are colorful and have taken on a sort of fictional life of their own in my mind.

As such, I will be sharing with you the stories I've written about them based solely on what I've observed at the Venice drumming circle. My interaction with these folks is somewhat limited, but after hanging there for 15 years, I consider many of them to be my friends even if I barely know their names. The stories that I present are not necessarily accurate, they are only my imagination's projections. Still, I hope that these vignettes provide a little grin for the reader as they have for me.

Below is a little clip of a typical few seconds at the drumming circle. I'm the tall guy in the back with the sunglasses and an open blue shirt with a whitish t-shirt beneath. I can tell that the circle wasn't harmonized when this clip was taken. When people are just sort of swaying back and forth, it usually means that while the rhythm in the foreground that you can hear is distinct, and the dancers near that are grooving, it is very possible that the drummers nearer to me were not listening to those near the camera. This gives rise to a very unpleasant clash of two rhythms that kind of prevents anybody from really hitting a groove. But it usually passes fortunately and the circle can coalesce into a really neat experience.

The Venice Drumming Circle

prayer for the new years

Shot from the Venice drumming circle, a weekly groove-on-the-sand where humanity of all stripes come to throw-down. No visit to Southern California is complete without seeing this remnant of the hippy era infused by Latino and Afro-Caribbean traditions.

The Venice Drumming Circle can be found on the sands roughly in the middle of the commercial boardwalk strip of Venice.

But try and keep the cameras down to a minimum, local custom frowns on buzz-kill individuals who get in the faces of the dancers or drummers. Try a telephoto lens. Sunday afternoons are generally when the critical mass develops on the sand for the big dance that celebrates the end of the weekend as the sun sets.

Check out this video from the same evening as my picture was taken.

About Venice Drumming Circle

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Beyond Beyond Well Being in the Venice Drumming Circle category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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