Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


April 10, 2013

Would Annette recognize today's Calif beach scene?


But then it's a different time, notes University of Southern California pop culture historian Leo Braudy.

"Certainly there are lots of surfers still around, but they're not as fascinating as they used to be," Braudy said. "Things move on. The culture gets fascinated by other things. People say, 'All right, we already did the beach. Yes, we know California has a beach. Now let's look at something else.'"

There are video games to be played, social networks to be surfed and a million of others things to do.

"It's more defused now," Braudy said. "What do kids think about? What do kids on the East Coast or the West Coast do? Where do they believe their dream place is? I don't think there's one anymore. There might be several. But back then it was California."

Southern California, too, has changed.

It's more multi-ethnic, with more cultures bringing a variety of more pastimes to engage in. It's also far more crowded, making it far harder to get to the beach and to park anywhere near the sand once there.

And the bonfires the kids always danced around in those "Beach Party" movies? As more and more people have moved to Southern California's beaches, efforts have been launched to ban the bonfires to control air pollution. The South Coast Air Quality Management District is expected to take up the issue next month.

Meanwhile, those rickety beachfront shacks that once dotted the coastline are all but gone, replaced by multimillion-dollar homes.

Rensin left Los Angles some time ago to move up the coast to Ventura, one of Southern California's still relatively uncrowded and affordable beachfront cities.

"So I don't want a lot of people to find out about it," he laughs.

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