The shops and restaurants in the Venice Beach area fall into roughly two camps, those that cater to tourists and those that service the local community. In general, the local spots are the most interesting and are largely responsible for the freewheeling, eclectic vibe that has made Venice Beach world famous.

There is no better example of this than the hair salon Paper Scissors Rock just one block west of the Windward Circle. After nearly 23 years in the community, the little shop with graffiti art encircling the four walls of their building has entrenched itself as a Venice landmark.

It’s not just that they give great haircuts for great prices, it’s the whole experience the customer is treated to from the moment they enter its doors. From the first step inside one feels a warm and festive energy. Inevitably, there will be some form of lively music playing, whether it be rock, hip-hop or reggae.

The stylists are bantering with their customers and with each other, talking hair, music, movies and the endless mysteries of romantic love. The first thing they’ll do is offer you a drink (beer, cocktail or Jello Shot). If you’re lucky you’ll have a moment to sit in the circular lounge area and soak up the atmosphere beneath a graffiti painting of massive hummingbirds.

The show begins when you go for your wash and head massage. As you lie back and receive the blessings of their knowing hands, you slowly begin to relinquish the day’s anxieties.

At this point, the masters go to work. Whether dyeing or tinting, a standard haircut or perhaps you’ve decided dreads are for you, the staff at Paper Scissors Rock have got it handled.

Most of the regular stylists have been working there since the shop opened. The love they have for their art, their customers and for each other is palpable.

They also know a thing or two about the ways of the human heart. You’re advised to use the time in the barber’s chair to share about your love life and get expert feedback.

This is an essential part of the whole Paper Scissors Rock experience. The feeling that someone’s got your back – or head – as the case may be.

For more information, call (310) 399-7625.