Thanks for your generous donations!

November 1, 2011

 

  • Electric Lodge
  • Ed Ferrer
  • Mary Getlein
  • Great Western Steak & Hoagie Company
  • Arleen Hendler
  • Sydney Lovelace/L.A. Surf and Swim
  • Nutritional Warehouse
  • Rebekah/Michael Ozier
  • James Schley

Letters

November 1, 2011
  • Nether Regions of The Beachhead – DeDe Audet
  • Homeless Emergency Task Force – Lisa Green

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Nether Regions of The Beachhead

Dear Beachhead,

I think you will be pleased to know I found Google googling The Beachhead.  In searching for material on “Delta smelt U.S. Fish and Wildlife findings” I was directed to http://freevenicebeachhead.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/water-crisis-the-delta-and-us/ where I found my own article from the March issue.  I am enjoying the experience of being referred to myself.  But there is a downside.  I was looking for new material.

DeDe Audet

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Homeless Emergency Task Force

Dear Beachhead,

Here are some of my comments based on the proceedings of the Homeless Emergency Task Force Mtg held Thurs, Oct 26. 10 participants.

First and foremost, I believe establishing a forum for dialog is key to resolving our challenges in the community. I am glad to be part of bringing more awareness to all affinity groups.…

Winter Shelter

Informal survey taken myself before attending mtg. on Thurs evening as people waited for bus.  In line stood about 30 people and the line continued to grow. Many offered their input. Their shelter experience is currently a positive experience – clean bed, healthy food, LAHSA mgmt team polite and respectful. Noted though that only a couple of women were in line waiting for the bus. Also no one under 30 was present……did hear need for beds outweighed number of beds available.

Task Force to seek further funding options, public and private, provide more beds until the full Winter shelter program is open at the beginning of December. Also offer changes to layout to encourage more participation from women and youths such as more clearly defined separate quarters.

Also some participants of the task force suggested visiting the shelter to learn first hand. Linda Lucks to provide more details

LAMC 42.15

Some members of the Task Force suggested supporting the passage of the proposed revision to LAMC 42.15. Linda Lucks to send out details. Others suggested letter writing campain to local papers too.

Other related topics

Some of the participants on the Task Force expressed concern about food distribution on the boardwalk. Some spoke about the impact to tenants that owned eating establishments and impact to tourism.

Part of my role was to remind the group of our collective basic human rights. Others did the same. As well, I am reminded of more than one story of tourists that have approached me during times when food is distributed acknowledging their curiosity and goodwill towards others. Additionally I am told of many instances of tourists approaching food distribution stations to offer monetary contributions along with words of encouragement. Even Anthony Hopkins is seen regularly leaving donations.

Another concern was that people that could afford to pay for food at eating establishments were assumed to be participating in the food giveways as recipients. My informal survey did not substantiate that claim at this point. I suspect those making that claim may feel undue pressure at work to maintain their employment status or business operating. Their fears about losing profit are real concerns but food giveaways to feed people that are hungry who cannot typically afford this basic human right should not be use as the main cause. Our current economic situation in the country and abroad is declining. I suggest those members engage in political causes to change current  policies that remove corporate loopholes for large multinational corporations so that small business owners have a fair chance at existence as opposed to targeting an already at risk group.  Venice as well reminded by the current President of the Neighborhood Council has always been a place were those that have and those that have little co-exist.

I was asked how many people that are defined by our society as homeless are dealing with mental illness? My estimate was 25%. One problem I see everyday is that the needs of those individuals with mental illness are being blantantly ignored through society, because we as a collective are allowing this to members of our society.

As well I was asked how many people did I believe refuse any services at all. Frankly as I mentioned to the group I am appalled at the term service resistant.  To my knowledge everyone I have spoken to is or has a desire to belong to connect to participate in society.  Some of the participants of the task force were frustrated with my accessment but I did state I did not have a percentage to note off the top of head but I would inquire. To me you have to look at your approach as well. Are you coming across as condensing or dictating or accusatory when inquiring of others? When I engage in dialog I initially see resistance from some people but as I listen to the reasons to learn about their situation then I often find out most are actively involving in some form of service.

Yes, there are services but the effectiveness of the services is rarely evaluated, and those organizations that profit on the misfortune are over not addressed which causes further isolation of the individual.

Most people living their daily life have no clue what someone on the street endures. For instance:

Young adults/kids that were in foster care until they get released with nowhere to go….

A woman who is escaping an abusive relationship that cannot turn to friends or family for fear of being hurt or those held close being retaliated on…

Mom and/or dad trying to make it but the rising costs overwhelm them to the point where they lose their home….

The veteran who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. the list goes on and on.

The individual who is suffering with mental illness and finds their quirks unwelcoming in a society that is very self focused…

Often women living on the streets are sexually assaulted by not only others living on the streets but sexual predators that are traditionally housed…in fact I am aware of a handful of men that we have had to address on the boardwalk in the last year.

I suggested and will continue to suggest that a coalition form of affinity groups that will outreach to those suffering from mental instability using a model that builds empowerment, psychological resilience, independence and individual growth along with shelter. A connection back to healthy mind, spirit and body….

And it was noted by quite a few of the participants that a group of younger adults/kids were reported to be creating disturbances on Venice Boardwalk through the night. This group is defined as runaways or kids without a home. I was not actively engaged with this group but will investigate to learn more about the situation.

This was not the entire list of items but provides a bit of what transpired. The task force will meet again soon.

Lisa Green


Benches and Tables to Remain at Oakwood Park; New Fitness Stations? Maybe

November 1, 2011

By Anne Alvarez

Fitness stations versus park benches was the most important item on the Oakwood Park Advisory Board’s agenda, Nov. 1, and quite clearly what drove Venice locals to come out and make their voices heard.

According to Lizka Mendoza Oakwood Park Director, final decision for it’s whereabouts are unknown. At one point, according to various people in attendance, during a previous Advisory meeting had been led to believe that “park benches would be removed in order to make room for the exercise equipment” this statement was denied by Mendoza and the rest of the board members.

One thing was made clear however, and that is that Venice residents most of them lifetime residents, are completely opposed to any kind of relocation or removal of park benches, which according to many like Sheila Smith, who has lived in Venice for the past 44 years, is where the true heart of the community lies. Old friends gather and play dominoes, checkers or cards on any given day, family picnics and birthday celebrations take place every weekend. It is a place where memories and tradition are kept alive.

Gentrification is a word that was used by most who took the floor, the local community mostly African American and Latino which have resided in the Oakwood park area for generations, feel their community is being torn apart by the new more affluent residents that have recently begun to call their neighborhood, home, and they turned out in force to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Not only do residents oppose the proposed site for the exercise equipment, but they want more park benches added as well as an outdoor restroom.

Not one person was opposed to having outdoor exercise equipment provided, Shaylon Williams from the Venice Bulldogs said “Having a fitness area is a great idea.”  95 percent of those who spoke voiced their concerns about the location, while the other 5 percent were concerned with trash and safety. All made valid points and everyone present at the meeting clearly cares about the future of the community.

Make your voice heard by sending an email to Jon Kirk Muri  jonkirk.mukri@lacity.org  or calling 213-202-2656 at Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Dept., tell them you oppose any attempt to move or relocate any existing park benches at Oakwood Park, let them know bathrooms and proper lighting are imperative in keeping the Park and community safe and clean.


Fighting the Postal Monolith

November 1, 2011

By Jim Smith

Venice has always risen to the challenge when an outside force has threatened our community. Over the years, we have prevailed numerous times against developers and the city of Los Angeles.

During the past six months a broad coalition has been built to oppose the US Postal Service plans to close our historic post office. Unlike our battles with local developers and the City, the USPS has been a shadowy monolith 3,000 miles away. There has been no human face to focus on and apply pressure. How do you fight something that has no concept of negotiations or compromise?

Nonetheless, we have collected petitions, filed appeals, held meetings and rallies (another is scheduled for Nov. 5), and in general, raised hell. A broad coalition of Venice organizations and individuals has been formed that includes the Free Venice Beachhead, SPARC, Venice Arts Council, Venice Neighborhood Council, Venice Peace and Freedom, Venice Stakeholders Association, and Venice Town Council. Other organizations and individuals are welcome to join.

Even so, the only break in the monolithic face of the USPS occurred on Oct. 31, when about 40 of us met with Ruth Goldway, Chairperson of the Postal Regulatory Commisssion (PRC). Goldway is a Venice resident, former Mayor of Santa Monica (as Ruth Yannatta), and is in sympathy with our desire to save the post office.

The PRC is the body that oversees the operation of the Postal Service. A number of Venetians have appeals of the closing pending before this body. Unfortunately, Goldway has to recuse herself, or abstain, from participating in the deliberations because it concerns her local post office.

Goldway made it clear that she cannot snap her fingers and make the USPS leave our post office alone. She started our meeting by telling us that her Commission has three Republicans and two Democrats (including her). If this majority was reversed we might not be facing the closing of more than 3,000 post offices and the layoff of 120,000 workers.

It could have been reversed, Goldway told us. President Obama made an appointment to the Commission, but he appointed a Republican! As a result, there is no internal mechanism to stop the self-destruction cycle of the Postal Service. Goldway also told us that the House of Representatives is not likely to be much help because of its domination by Republicans. Perhaps this is why the USPS paid little attention to Rep. Janice Hahn when she wrote on behalf of our post office.

It wasn’t all bad news. Goldway also pointed out some possible ways to get our case heard in Washington, including:

1. Contact our Senators, Feinstein and Boxer. Please make a call or send an email.  Boxer: (202) 224-3553 www.boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/  Feinstein: (202) 224-3841  www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me

2. Make it difficult to sell the Post Office. Venice already has a reputation for being feisty. Let’s hold more rallies and protests that may frighten off prospective buyers. Just because the property is on the market doesn’t mean it will be sold.

3. Make sure that we have the strongest historical preservation restrictions possible. The same goes for the Biberman mural. Public access to the mural must be guaranteed.

4. Make the case that the transfer of services to the annex amounts to a partial closure. The USPS claims it is not closing the post office, merely relocating it. However, the number of customer service windows in the annex would be two, compared to the current five windows. This amounts to a partial closure. The willful lack of maintenance, including a dirty entry way, a graffiti covered FedEx box, and sidewalks that haven’t been sandblasted for years shows that the USPS has disdain for its customers. The Postal Service is trying to shoehorn everything into a small building. According to Architect Michael King, the Post Office building is 23,700 square feet, while the Annex is only 15,890.

In addition, please help with legal expenses by making a contribution by paypal on the the VSA website (venicestakeholdersassociation.org) –  there is a separate “button” for Save the Venice Post Office – or by sending contributions directly to our attorney, John Henning, with a notation on the check that says “Venice Post Office”, at: 125 N. Sweetzer Ave. Los Angeles, CA  90048. There is a separate trust fund for this project.


Sidebar – Why Saving the Post Office is important to our community

November 1, 2011

The Venice Main Post Office was built under the New Deal’s Works Project Administration and includes a cornerstone dated 1939. This historic building has been at the center of Venice community life for 72 years.

It is located on the central plaza in the Windward commercial district. It is constantly busy with postal customers arriving on foot, by bicycle and auto. There is no busier building in the Venice community. Generations of Venetians have patronized this building on a regular basis throughout their lives.

Upon climbing the stairs or handicap-accessible ramp, we enter an attractive lobby with a deep wood finish. Their eyes automatically turn to the beautiful and well-preserved “Story of Venice” mural by artist Edward Biberman on the south wall. The mural was painted in 1941 by the famous artist, and is his last surviving mural. It is seen by hundreds of people per day, thanks to its position in the post office lobby.

The aesthetic charm of the building, and the museum-quality art in the lobby, is beloved by this community, which is filled with artists, poets, muralists and connoisseurs of art.

The character of the Venice community as an arts haven means that the blow to the community of losing both the building and the mural is far greater than it would have been if it were a nondescript building that was bereft of art.

-Jim Smith


After 20 years, Ocean Blue closes its doors On the Venice Boardwalk

November 1, 2011

By Kathy Leonardo

When I first came to Venice, before I even moved to LA, I remember a store on the boardwalk called Ocean Blue. It had such cool stuff, mermaids with wings, flying high above my head, colorful painted wood framed mirrors in the shape of a sun, the smell of incense and candles burning as well as beautiful sterling silver jewelry. Back in the 90’s I would buy gifts for my NYC friends there, at Ocean Blue, to bring back to the East Coast.

I just found out that it soon will be closing….after 20 years. I recently met the owner of Ocean Blue, Larry Gutin who told me a bit about his story and the store and how long it has been in his family. “My Dad started a T-Shirt business on the beach back in 1978. Back in those days, Venice had stalls that you could rent and sell your wares.” Since his parents were divorced, Larry lived full time with his mother in NY but would spend the summers in LA with his Dad. In 1982 Larry’s older brother Jeff, took it over. Then in 1983 Larry moved to LA and worked while he went to college.

In 1990, Larry Gutin traveled to Indonesia. He fell in love with Bali and the beautiful arts and crafts made there. Larry shipped some merchandise back to his brother Jeff, to see if it would sell. It was indeed a huge hit in Venice and Larry continued to bring beautiful items from Bali to sell at Ocean Blue. Silver Jewelry was added to the product line at Ocean Blue. His brother Jeff decided to retire from the business, leaving Larry as the chief in command.

The economy definitely affected sales at Ocean Blue in the last four or five years, but Gutin managed to stick it out with the help of the Venice community’s support. When asked if he is sad about closing, he shrugs and says, “It’s time for a change.” Larry is considering starting a new business, but in the meantime has decided to go out with a bang!

On Sunday, December 4, Ocean Blue will throw a party, as a thank you for the community, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. There will be live music, art and poetry as well as a huge sale. Everything in the store marked down by 50%. Refreshments and snacks will be served. Performers featured will be Ava Bird, John Clinebell, Greg Cruz, Geoffrey J, Kathy Leonardo and a special guest performance by the Jingle Bell Rockers.

When asked why he continued the business for so long, Larry explains, “Everyday I would meet smiling tourists from all over the world. It was a great place to come to work everyday not to mention that when I built the store I made sure the register had a direct view of the beach and its sunsets.”

Larry Gutin is a big supporter of the arts. Each month, Ocean Blue would participate in the Venice Art Crawl featuring local artists at their store. He also has consistently donated merchandise to charity events such as Jazz at the Palms Court and the Venice Music Festival, for their silent auction which benefitted the Venice Community Housing Corporation.

So come on by on Sunday, December 4 from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Celebrate 20 years with Larry Gutin and the Ocean Blue Crew.  Pick up some holiday gifts at exceptional prices. Drink, eat and be merry. Life is all about change, it’s time for the next chapter. Ocean Blue will remain open through the end of the year.

Farewell Ocean Blue, Venice will miss you!


Unoccupied – Two Views on the Occupy Movement

November 1, 2011

By Greta Cobar

Occupy Venice voluntarily de-occupied the Windward Circle while all over the country the police have taken violent, extraordinary measures to do just that. Infiltrators have penetrated occupation movements in an effort to stir disagreements, fights, and ultimately to dissipate the collective solidarity of the 99%. Although the 1300 occupations taking place right now in the US have stayed strong when faced with internal strife and continued to expand in spite of police brutality, quite the opposite took place in Venice.

The Venice occupiers themselves called the police and asked them to remove person(s) from the Circle. One might think that the person(s) had to be removed because they were part of the other 1%, but that was hardly the case. The group that assumed leadership of the Circle announced that the Circle should be occupied strictly by non-homeless individuals. According to them, “this is not a bed. If you are homeless and you are just looking for a place to sleep, don’t come over here.”

But this is Venice, and it has been occupied. We’ve had hundreds of people sleeping outside since the great recession has set in. And then as soon as “Occupy Venice” signs go up people are chased out of their own neighborhood?

Although piggy-backing on the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Venice occupation was different. In Venice individuals did take charge and put themselves in a position of leadership, and adopted the motto “We are the 99% and the 1%. Together we are 100% and we are whole.” It sounds bohemian, but it does not represent Venice, which has historically embraced alternative lifestyles, including non-housed individuals.

The persons in power don’t represent Venice either. Since when do we follow someone who has moved here from Texas seven months ago, had been given a top secret security clearing, and who blatantly stated that in the past the CIA had tried to recruit him?

Perhaps we need to re-occupy the circle with true community involvement. Real Venetians who have been local activists for years or generations were quickly driven away by the individuals who assumed leadership of the circle through arrogance, self-righteousness and ignorance. The whole movement got off to a bad start when Jody Evans, of Code Pink, initiated the occupation on October 9. She was there just long enough for the photo-op, which is not to be found in the definition of occupation.

Housed or not, come out and occupy the Circle and the world!

We will start from scratch Saturday, November 5, from 4 to 6. And don’t forget about the rally to stop the sale of the historic post office that also takes place November 5, from 2 to 4. See you all there!


Where’s the Movement? – Two Views on the Occupy Movement

November 1, 2011

By Bill Mitchell

I see no real anti-war movement in the US.  Only more wars of aggression, now invading with intent to occupy all of Africa in the name on human rights protection.  President Barack Obama has been getting away with mass murder as the aggressor.  All while using the transparently bogus pretext of 9/11.

A “peace” symbol here and  there, is not confronting the illegitimacy of “The War on Terror’ as we must state loud and clear, that 9/11 was a false-flag psychological warfare operation mirroring ‘Operation Northwoods’ designed by the pentagon as a pretext to invade Cuba in 1962. http://bit.ly/WfVgn

In 1967 Israel not only attacked Egypt, Syria, and Jordan; it attacked the United States as a false flag provocation to get the US under President Johnson to drop two hydrogen bombs on Egypt. The was a US-Israel conspiracy that is documented in the BBC video: Dead In The Water – The Sinking of the USS Liberty: http://bit.ly/4KKKM

Add this “smoking-gun” expose’ by Webster Tarpley interviewed by Bonnie Faulkner on KPFA on “The 46 Exercises and Drills of 9/11” http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/73129

Taken all together Operation Northwoods and the attack on the USS Liberty establishes the depravity of mind in the former and depth of treachery in the latter. They also are proof of a modus operendi, that leads to 9/11 as updated Operation Northwoods and the co-conspiracy to to murder Americans as a pretext for what are in truth, wars of aggression, prohibited by ‘The Nuremberg Principles; and the “The 46 Exercises and Drills of 9/11” together with the credibility or lack therefore of the federal government, the US military high command, and complicity of the mass media, and you have impetus and confidence for 9/11 and got it!

Nuremberg Principle VI:

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)……’ http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/full/390

9/11 was a crime against peace, leading to crimes against humanity and war crimes brought about in a

‘In a single conspiracy in which each person is responsible for a distinct act within the  overall plan such as an agreement to produce, import, and distribute narcotics in which each person  performs only one function.  All participants are interested in the overall scheme and liable for all  the other participants acts in furtherance of that scheme.’  http://bit.ly/vCTWv2

Looking at 9/11 in light of have has been exposed as lies and a cover-up by the federal government and the fraudulent report of the 9/11 Commission, taken into perspective the neoconservative or neocon document called PNAC, and their positions in the federal government and private power elite, we can name 19 co-conspirators at-large who are long overdue to have charges and specifications drawn up against them, and other key chain conspirators.:

George H.W. Bush; Bejamin Netanyahu; David Rockefeller; Dick Cheney; Paul Wolfowitz; Condi Rice; Richard Perle; Richard Myers; Douglas Feith; Montague Winfield; Dov Zakheim; Larry Arnold; George Tenet; Richard Mies; Michael Chertoff; Ralph Eberhardt; Michael Mukasey; Philip Zelikow; and John Deutch.

A dramatic facsimile of such a trial on the order of the Judgment at Nuremberg would be add weight to debunking and therefore ending these wars of aggression by showing them for what they are. A total criminal fraud, further exposing all military orders given to perpetrate these constitutionally illegal wars of aggression, are UNLAWFUL ORDERS!

In fact, the oath one takes on entering and reenlisting in the US military to to ‘….that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…’ http://www.history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html

Most critically, all Members of the US Armed Forces must understand that they have been given, and must now reject all unlawful orders irregardless of from whom, including the white house or pentagon. http://bit.ly/tvLWbE

The US War Crimes Act of 1996 carries the death penalty and is prosecutable in US courts, and used for mock trails by activist groups on and off college campuses, to drive home the point that we are ‘”A nation of laws, not of men’” Therefore, we must not allow criminality to reign supreme by dent of office and mass media propaganda. Public opinion polls prove the people are not duped by the lies of the criminals in power. http://bit.ly/uh3DPF

Ten years after 9/11 we have no defense for silence, for not confronting propaganda that aids and abets Crimes Against Peace, a War Crime, without becoming complicit ourselves by omission.

Furthermore we must come to understand and public state that 9/11 was more than a Inside Job.’”  That is was at minimum a co-conspiracy between the US government, military, and business groups, with Israel using its’ Mossad agents and dual US-Israel citizens to plan, execute, and cover-up 9/11 for mutual imperialistic gains in land and resources, leading to the mass murder of millions of innocent people who have the right of reprisals against the aggressors. See Article 497: http://bit.ly/sFyvoC

Break the silence, challenge those in denial, study the facts, radicalize the would be enlistees before they are victims of 9/11 too. Before they become sick in heart, mind, and body; for their suicide rate exceeds battle deaths. They are being killed upon recruitment, for no man can be better than his mission. To not raise consciousness by voice or e-mail, is truly the complicity of silence!


The Other Venice Film Festival

November 1, 2011

By CJ Gronner

The 8th Annual Other Venice Film Festival was another success – and a blast – this year, featuring wonderful work from our own local filmmakers, as well as entries from around the world. The festival ran from October 13-16 this year, and it all started out with a big rager at Beyond Baroque for Opening Night.

The Featured Artist of the OVFF was William Attaway, whose art was displayed in and around the entrance to Beyond Baroque. It was great to see so many creative people all coming out to support each other in their different mediums, and something that I hope will only grow as more and more, our circles overlap.

The first event drew all sorts of local legends of skate and surf, as the Feature competition kicked off with a screening of big wave surfer, Allen Sarlo’s, documentary, Work To Surf. It was the hottest night of the year in Venice, I think, so we watched the film in chairs outside under the stars – and close to the open bar. I chatted a bit with festival founder, Reuben De La Casas, before the film started, and he said they had far fewer feature length submissions this year, and the ones that were submitted were mostly documentaries, as people are into them and really, real life is better than fiction most of the time. With the economy being what it is these days, shorts are more prevalent, and easier to produce, obviously. The economy being down also severely hampered the sponsorship support that has been contributed in past years, so most of this year’s Festival was coming out of Reuben’s own pocket. Ouch. Hopefully that can be sorted out for next year, as it really is a valuable display of the deep talent pool here in our Venice.

Work to Surf was super entertaining, and most deserving of the Best Feature Abbot Award that it ultimately won. Jaw dropping big wave surfing plus laugh out loud funny at times, it takes you to the “War Zone” of 1970’s Venice, when, as Jeff Ho says in the film, “Their JOB was to go out and tear the waves apart!” Then they grew up, and Allen Sarlo decided to get into real estate so he could subsidize his travels to go surf big waves, and there you get the title. The working just to surf tied in with the soul surfing ethic, and Sarlo and his good friend, Mark Foo, made a pact that they would always “Work to Surf”. Foo died at Mavericks on a day that Sarlo didn’t go. He was crushed by his friend’s death, and the film is dedicated to Foo. Known as “The Wave Killer”, Sarlo is described in the film by Kelly Slater as, “The thing about Sarlo is he’s just a good guy … until he gets in the water, then he’s an animal!” And now, still working to surf, Sarlo’s legacy will be carried on by his two surfing kids, Sophia and Colton. I loved this film, and agree with Mr. Slater that Allen Sarlo couldn’t be a nicer guy.

 

 

The bar re-opened for an intermission, and then we saw another good and funny skate film, A Day At The Pool, about how maybe a guy named Benton Shakely was really the guy who started the whole skating pools thing. After that, the party was on, and off the record.

Friday night’s “Premiere Night” segment saw the brilliant short film, Admissions, (directed by Harry Kakatsakis) steal the show. It was produced by local Venetian, Gavin Behrman, who told me that they finished it under the wire, as it was important to him that it premiere in Venice. Starring Academy Award nominee, James Cromwell, as the guy at the Admissions Desk leading to Heaven or Hell, the film is a (15:00 timed) discussion between an Israeli couple and the Palestinian suicide bomber who killed them. It is so wise and well written (by John Viscount) that I honestly feel like it should not only win the Oscar for Best Short Film next time (maybe it will!), but probably deserves a Peace Prize too. Honestly. As Cromwell says in explanation to both outraged parties, “You can’t want Hell for other people without being in hell yourself”. It’s very deep, very profound, and should be required viewing for people in conflict the world over. After this (truthful) gushing, you will be happy to know that Admissions won the Abbot for Best Short, (voted on by the audiences over the weekend) so it’s off to the races! GO!

Short Films that stood out to me on Saturday, (which ran very behind, as everyone shrugged, “It’s Venice”) were Sandbox Lullaby, directed by Joey Indrieri – a very dark tale shot all around very sunny Venice, and The Unicorn Girl, a beautifully shot fantastical story about a girl (local Amelia Mulkey, who also directed) – and a unicorn. Thanks to Amelia’s swag of a headband with a unicorn horn attached, I also had a Halloween costume! Win, win! The New Bicycle was a good one all the way from India, by Arshdeep Singh Jawandha, about a kid who is desperate for a bike – Venice people can understand that one.

The Abbot for Best Music Video went to “Love Is Love” by Gabriela Tagliavini, and I had to miss that section as there was a beautiful wedding on the beach in Venice that I had to attend. But Congratulations to all the winners, and to everyone that participated at all! Making a film is hard work, from idea to screening, by everyone involved, and it’s kind of a drag that there even has to be a “Best” of any of it. Having said that, the ones that won were really, really good.

Everyone had another ball at the Closing Night award ceremony, hosted by the hilarious Jill Jacobson. The three Abbot Awards were given out (cut back to three this year as those things are expensive) and the fact that great film making is alive and well in our community was duly celebrated. It’s a special festival, and also a lot of work – done mostly by Reuben DeLacasas by himself with volunteers. There may have to be a change of venue next year, as it’s all been too expensive, and even non-profit Beyond Baroque wouldn’t budge much on their profit, but maybe the local community can help each other out a little more and band together to make this thing awesome – and not break one guy’s bank. Venue donations, sponsorships, HELP – I think we have it in us, right?

Cheers to the Other Venice Film Festival, for a great time/s, and for giving all this excellent and thought provoking film work a place to be seen, right in the neighborhood.  Bravo!!!


Interview with Artist Ray Packard

November 1, 2011

By Mary Getlein

Raymond Dean Packard was a Venice artist from 1975 to 1989. He is a renowned water colorist and oil painter who did hundreds of beautiful paintings of Venice.Beachhead:

Beachhead: When did you feel like an artist? Did you always know you would be an artist?

Packard: Yes, as far back as I remember. After I finished with the Navy, I went to Art School on the GI Bill and graduated with an Masters in Fine Arts.

Beachhead: Did you start out as an independent painter?

Packard: No – I managed my own gallery in Akron, Ohio. Having The Packard Gallery was one of the major highlights of my life. I went to Europe once or twice and brought back Picassos to sell. My gallery was mentioned in several art books as a “cutting edge” gallery. I showed artists from all over, including works by Andy Warhol. I met a lot of well-known artists in and out of New York City.

Beachhead: What brought you to Venice, California?

Packard: It was 1975. I put it to a vote for my two young sons, Vincent and Raynard. My wife had just died and it was time for a change. I was burned out on the art business, so I played at being a business man.

Beachhead: What did you do when you got here?

Packard: At first I worked for General Motors in the Valley, just to pay the rent and support my two boys. My drinking got worse the longer I worked on an assembly line, and after two years I quit. I started showing my art out on the Boardwalk and got a favorable response from people there. This was exciting for me, and I was able to survive off my art, which is something I had wanted for a long time.

Ray lived in Venice until 1989, when he decided to go into a VA rehab and get sober. He still has clients in Southern California who buy his work. They call him on hte phone, describe a painting, and he matches it up and sends it to them.

One client in Santa Monica has over 200 Ray Packard paintings. “During the 1984 Olympics, many of my paintings went all over the world,” said Ray. When I asked him if he ever felt like keeping a special painting, he said, “No, never.” He sold everything he could.

Beachhead: Do you miss Venice, and what do you miss the most?

Packard:I think about Venice every day, and miss all the beautiful women I knew the most. We all had a lot of fun in those days, and those are fun memories to look back on.

Beachhead: What is the driving force in your life, Ray?

Packard: Well, art, of course, and living the life of an artist and meeting and enjoying all the beautiful women who were attracted to my art. I loved having wild parties in Venice.

Beachhead: Yes, Ray, I remember you had quite a reputation as a ladies man in Venice. When you left Venice, Teresa Daniels said, “You had been rescued by the breasts of all the beautiful women in Venice.” Do you remember that quote?

Packard: Yes, vaguely. I loved Venice and all the eccentric people of Venice. I look forward to my issue of The Beachhead every month. I show people The Beachhead and say, “Do you see what you’re missing living in Ohio?”

Ray is living in Akron, Ohio with his partner, Bunny, and enjoys his life. He is very proud of his sons and grandchildren, and is glad to be sober and drug-free.

Packard: Life is tough enough, so it’s easy to stay sober. I swim almost every day, ride my bike, enjoy my family and enjoy my life. What more could one ask for?

For information on price lists, collector lists, or for an appointment, please contact Ray Packard, 1319 Shanabrook Drive, Akron, Ohio 44313   (234) 542-3950. b


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