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Venice Freak Show Ends Sunday After Losing Lease

The Venice Beach Freak Show. (Photo by Michael Locke via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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The Venice Freak Show will end Sunday after losing the lease renewal to its boardwalk-adjacent space, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Their last official performance was April 23, so Sunday's event will be a farewell party from 12-6 p.m. The freak show set up shop in Venice in 2006 after the founder, Todd Ray, quit a career in music production to focus on his passion for magic and the weirder parts of life. In an interview with L.A. Weekly, he explains how his goal with the freak show was "just to bring wonder back in the world."

A company called Snapshot Partners, LLC took over the building's leasing interest in March 2016, and six months ago they informed Todd Ray, the Freak Show's creator, that they would not be renewing the lease. Ray told the LA Business Journal that his show is the last remaining ground floor tenant of the 909 Ocean Front Walk property. Snapchat holds office space in the upper floors of the same building, and Ray believes the company's desire for more real estate as the source of his eviction. L.A. Weekly and the LA Business Journal both reached out to Snapchat, but the company claimed no affiliation to Snapshot Partners, LLC, saying "[w]e have already said publicly that we intend to focus our future expansion outside of Venice."

The departure of the Venice Freak Show is one of many fights between the local personality of Venice and the encroaching power of the tech giants housed in the neighborhood. Snapchat in particular has been a source of frustration and anger in the neighborhood, inspiring a grassroots organization called Evict Snapchat to stage protests earlier this year.

The Venice Freak Show Farewell Party and Protest goes from 12-6 p.m. Sunday at 909 Ocean Front Walk. More event information is on its Facebook event page.

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