Canadian Coffee Break: Regarding Marina del Rey

’cofadian’The Canadian Coffee Break brings together some of the finest Canadian minds in Southern California every week for a topical, lively round-tablesque discussion over very dark coffee. Won’t you join us.


This week’s topic is MARINA DEL REY. The marina and its inhabitants have collectively fascinated me for years: white mustaches, admiral caps, divorcees, old money, cocaine, goofy 80s highrises, collagen injections, breast implants, wrinkles galore, overtanned skin, snarled LAX traffic and boats as far as the eye can see. Is it a hard-and-fast rule that you must slightly resemble kenny rogers to live in marina? Don’t answer that, but be assured I have friends that live in marina and they are completely surrounded by cougars and kenny rogers-alikes, whether or not they choose to admit it. Holy good goodness, what’s not to love about the marina!?!?

I would like to know two things this week:
1) What part of your hometown most closely approximates the marina “vibe” … if any? and
2) Describe the best, worst or most boring time you have ever had in Marina del Rey.

Need inspiration? Channel michael mcdonald and kenny loggins. Go watch yacht rock in order, beginning with episode 1…

Seth (website)
Greetings from Montreal!

First, an update to my last post: Sadly, it seems Pizza des Pins and its “patates godlike” have gone to that godlike potato in the sky: The joint is closed. Montrealers in search of heavenly homefries will just have to settle for mortal spuds from now on.

Montreal is great. It’s sunny and cool, though there was one night of rain. I spent Sunday at the Osheaga Festival at Parc Jean Drapeau, aka Ile Ste. Helene. Osheaga is basically a mini-Coachella that’s accessible by Metro and far less stifling. I caught acts like Arctic Monkeys (fun), Interpol (snore), and M.I.A. (also really fun), plus some lesser known Canadian acts on smaller stages–You Say Party! We Say Die! and The Most Serene Republic were highlights.

Okay, now on to the matter at hand: Marina del Rey.

In 2002, had I not in desperation taken a job at Lionsgate assisting the most evil, dessicated husk of a Lifetime Movie of the Week-producing she-Satan I ever hope to encounter, I might never have stepped foot on del Reyian soil. Unfortunately for me, I did. And so daily, I’d have to drive the bizarre 90 mini-freeway into this very unenchanted seaside community, where I’d report to work in the most depressing, rust-colored industrial park you can possibly imagine. (We shared our floor with a dentist and another business that I never quite identified, but it involved the placement of newspaper classified ads and employed many a leathery-skinned, chain-smoking, Grand Am-driving bleach blonde.)

Lunch was spent at the mall down the street on Glencoe Ave, which actually had a decent selection and a Tower records. That was my one psychic getaway from what will likely go down as one of the worst jobs of my life, the details of which I shall spare you. Suffice it to say, my chimera of a boss is still hard at work sucking the lifeforce out of whatever poor sap is currently tethered to her desk. Peace be with you, brother.

As for a Montreal equivalent, I’m proud to say I have no fuckin’ clue, but I’m guessing Longueil wouldn’t be too far off the mark.

Sarah (website)
From what you’ve described of the marina, I’m going to have to say it sounds like my entire home province of Nova Scotia. Specifically, my grandfather’s condo on the waterfront in Halifax (picture below).

My grandfather and father share some salty sea stories, or perhaps they’re talking about their dislike of Americans.

But truly, this atmosphere is best found in Chester, Nova Scotia. A small town known for tourists, sailing, drinking, boozing and imbibing. A place where, almost 40 years ago, my parents met, sailed, took illegal hippie street drugs together and fell in love. I’ll tell you the story sometime–it’s rather charming. Chester’s the place to go if you want to “get your sail on,” as the kids have been saying nowadays. And there’s no better time than Race Week, in August (see photo–taken at the Chester Yacht Club, a place I spent much of my childhood, having some crazy good times for an 8 year old).

When I found this photo on the Chester Race Week photo website, the words “Party Time” were already emblazoned across the top. Check out the guy on the left–his vest says “I love sailing;” his beard says “and having salty good times.”

But to be honest, my family’s a bit infamous around Chester nowadays– I’ve got some naughty cousins and a druncle or two (that’s what we call uncles who are fixtures at the Old Fo’c’sle Tavern)–so I have to keep a low profile. Not that I don’t love my family, I just don’t want the boy who my cousin tried to brain with a shovel at his wedding to come after me, like Kevin Bacon in whatever the hell that new Kevin Bacon movie is. You know, the one where he tries to avenge his son, then he goes to John Goodman and he’s like “I need guns.”

Well, enough about Nova Scotia (and Kevin Bacon)–well, not really, but I’ll take a break from salty sea stories for a tick–we’re here to talk Marina del Rey. I think the worst time I’ve had there was when my friend was given a ticket for driving her car along a walking path–man, those cops really need to chillax already. Personally, I think it was because she was black. We weren’t even driving fast!

I think I need to spend some more time at the Marina in order to answer this question with any real authority. But I do LOVE Yacht Rock.

Jamie (website)
For those of you who don’t know how Canadian Coffee Break works, I’m going to explain some of the inner workings. We have a Minotaur email us once a week telling us both our quest and what we’re supposed to write about. Typically we Canadians have to unite to rebuild a village in Africa, build chairs for the standing workers in China, or go to thrift stores. After we’re done our quest, then we write something completely unrelated.

We just finished teaching blind kids how to pet their seeing eye dogs, and now I’m supposed to write about Marina Del Rey. I was asked what part of Pakenham reminds me of Marina Del Rey.

I suppose I’d have to say “the beach.” It’s a little different than the Marina, though. We didn’t have boats; we had a raft. We didn’t have restaurants (eg: El Torito, The Cheesecake Factory); we had a changing room (which was as fancy as an outhouse, but normally didn’t have poop in it). We didn’t have miles long of sandy shores for people to sun bathe and play beach volleyball; we had about 100 feet wide by 30 deep.

When it rained the septic tanks in Carleton Place would overflow and a lot of sewage would flow into the river and pass by the beach. Does the Marina get full of poop when it rains??

We used to catch bullfrogs though (at least two weeks after it rained). I figure if a bullfrog went to a wig store and said, “I would like a grey wig” and then went to a hat store and said, “I would like a sailor’s hat” then you’d pretty much have a resident of Marina Del Rey. Turns out there are similarities – you just have to catch bullfrogs and give them money.

When I moved to LA I was confronted with a monumental decision: whether to live on the Westside or Eastside. I knew that more than any other, this one decision would determine the quality of my Angelenian experience. I chose East. So, while I’m pretty familiar with neighborhoods from West Adams to San Marino, to me Marina del Rey is a pretty foreign place. I know mostly as a place I pass through on my way down to the eat crab on the Redondo pier. There’s nothing like this in either Toronto or Montreal, which is why this has been our first stop when family visit from the North.

Sean Chrétien
…is still in Austria. Did not you pay attention?