Los Angeles Insider: Venice Actor Ben Parrillo
Name, Age, Occupation: Ben Parrillo, 40, Actor/Writer.
Neighborhood: 90291 a.k.a. Venice Beach, Calif.
Abode: One bedroom beach bungalow. Private patio, wood shop in the garage and a block from the beach. It's pretty great.
How long have you lived in Venice? 13 years.
What do you love most about your neighborhood?
I love how non-Los Angeles it feels. I walk in the middle of the street and if I don't have an appointment, I am on foot or on my bike.
It's also full of creative, fringe-type people and I think that lends toward a lot of connectivity when you talk to people. People are thinkers, they are not clubbers for the most part. Venice is filled with artists that run the gamut; writers, sculptors, painters, directors, it's pervasive. And everyone stays in Venice. If you are going to party the last thing you want to do is go through 10 checkpoints from Hollywood. If you don't have to leave Venice, you don't. There is a saying here, "AWOL," meaning 'Always West of Lincoln' and that's pretty accurate.
There is also the beach.
Best kept secret in Venice?
The burgers at Hinano's. It has the best burger you can get and it's a little Polynesian-theme place with sawdust on the floor. There are three pool tables, a jukebox and they serve beer and wine. It's old-school rough Venice, but it's not rough anymore. And it's literally the best burger you can get.
Another place is The Stronghold. They make jeans there, but at night the place has bands that play upstairs; 90 percent of the time they blow my mind. There's a great energy. Sometimes there's a cover, sometimes not. You feel like you're in Austin, Texas.
Do you talk to your neighbors?
I'm one of those people that picks up the trash in the street and I keep watch over things so I am pretty social with my neighbors. I do a little bit of organizing with regard to the other units associated with my building.
Favorite way to spend a Saturday night in Venice?
Maybe a nice meal at Hal's, the half-chicken with sweet potato fries, and hang with my bartender friends there. Then head over to The Other Room, that my friend owns. Do some Abbot Kinney Boulevard bar-hopping. Venice is a very small and tight-knit community; you can just go around and hang out. It's also nice to ride along the beach at night when you go from place to place
You have been in your place -- and Venice -- a long time. Do you ever think of moving?
I'm ready for change, but I can't discount the fact that when I made a couple of movies in Ohio years ago and finally came back I thought I needed to have a sanctuary that I could always go to. Where you live is really important and being from Boston I'm 3,000 miles away from home. You have to find a place that you can go home to and get your head straight, and that's what my place is for me. You can see the marine layer down the street, you can hear waves crashing at night. That's been great.
Plus, I'm a carpenter and I've redone it -- put a patio in. And it's really been a great place for me to chill and write and spend solitary time, which there is a lot of in the business. As much as I am ready for a house or something, it's been a great place.
So has the creativity of Venice inspired you?
When I first moved into my place I started to write, actually. So yeah, the area did inspire that. Something I wrote years ago, when I first moved in, is now coming to fruition: "Bed of Nails." It's a one-hour family drama about class and the romance of manual labor.
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