H2O MAGAZINE Spring 1979

"Last Tango in Topanga"

Photos by Anthony Friedkin

Last January the Topanga Beach community was humbled in the sand, finally overtaken by the State of California and put to the torch after years of threats and warnings. The community lived for years on intimate but precarious terms with the codes and laws promulgated by the L.A. Athletic Club and the State of California. Hoping to see legal daylight, the community hired scores of lawyers and experts to roll back the crushing weight of the law, but like Sisyphus only to watch their tireless efforts go up in smoke. At this time the beachfront resembles a stretch of the Sahara waiting to be paved over by asphalt on which parking facilities, food stands and public restrooms are to be built.

Friedkin's photographs portray in vivid terms the incursion of social change, the decomposition of a community of beach dwellers and the death of an era. Depicting the murder of a sacrificial victim in the veiled form of a house, Freidkin records the collective resistance of its inhabitants against the special interests of the faceless state and its system of justice.

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