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Mingling at Muscle Beach

Memorial Day weekend in Southern California has become a huge holiday for the celebration of muscle, with the NPC California Championships and IFBB Cal Pro Figure taking place all day Saturday and the Muscle Beach International Classic going down alongside the famous Venice weight pit on Sunday and Monday. I paid my first visit to Venice Beach in ages check out the finals, and it was a fabulous day, from the aerial display of an Air Force F16 swooping overhead that started the festivities to the big lineup of bodybuilders and figure babes who took the stage to the many friends and acquaintances I got to see who came out to enjoy a day of sunshine, sea air and pumped, glistening near-naked bodies.

I admit I don’t make it to that many local-type shows. So I forget what a kick I get out of the bursting enthusiasm and burgeoning muscle of the novice and teen classes—not to mention the figure lineups of mostly gals who are in it for fun rather than chasing a pro card. Those who’ve been to a few of the beach shows may be blase about 70-something Jackie Lee, who’s apparently a regular on the L.A. figure and bodybuilding circuit, but I loved her spirit.

Speaking of near-naked bodies, here’s me hiding from the sun and getting to know Katarina Van Derham, who, it turns out, appeared on our June ’04 cover.

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