& Cancelled

July 1, 2014

By Jane Gordon

This is a re-print from the July 1969 Beachhead

Thursday started after an all-night rap session among the parade organizers. We had been getting steadily more reports and rumors about what the police had in store for beachgoers on the following day. Nothing we could “prove,” or we’d have taken it to court long before. Just second-had stories about numbers, preparations and intentions. One cop’s kid was heard crooning, “my dad’s gonna break a lot of heads on Friday, nyah nyah …” Material for barricades began appearing on street corners. Reports of huge trailor-size mobile stations for the pavillion. The lady at the Recreation Center advised us not to plan on using the grassy are on that day. When asked why, she was “not at liberty to say.” There were several reports that the police were hoping to start an incident with the people in the parade and then use that as an excuse to bust everyone on the beach. Police were telling people they were expecting dangerous “revolutionaries,” who wanted to “take over Los Angeles.” And on and on.

The all-night session produced the decision to postpone the parade, to hold a silent vigil at Venice City Hall, and to put out a statement clarifying where the blame lay – with the police. We regretted having to concede the beach to the cops on a day which should have been for the people, but we felt positive that canceling the parade and warning people to stay away from the beach was the only way to avert a gigantic police club-in. We felt it absolutely essential to point out to people that we have a lot of work to do before we can control the actions of the police in our own community, and that physical confrontations could only harm our ability to proceed with that work.

We got the statement run off (FREE VENICE WARNS OF VIOLENCE JULY FOURTH) and started calling the press early Thursday morning. We kept it up all day, delivering copies and reading it over the phone. We ran off leaflets with a more graphic version of the same message and began getting them around on the Ocean Front, in the canals, at the library, all over. Police were later seen tearing them down.

People started calling to find our if the parade was really canceled as they had heard on the radio – we explained that it was postponed until we felt we could celebrate independence without intimidation and illegal police activities. We also encouraged Venice residents to participate in our silent vigil at the Venice City Hall to mourn the fact that our community would be occupied territory on Independence Day.

Thursday evening at the last meeting of the parade committee, we went over our plans and worked out details. Some participants decided to warn of the police trap by making signs which they planned to display during the morning at all major streets leading into Venice. The meeting adjourned and the sign painters went to work.

Anticipation was high, but we were not dejected. We had done all we could to ruin police plans for a bloodbath. We hoped it would work.

Batman of Venice

July 1, 2014

By Krista Schwimmer

On the evening of Friday the 13th, I was home alone, preparing to take a delicious, soothing bath – (yes, I do know there’s a drought going on – so this was a bit of a selfish splurge.) I had just returned from a depressing meeting in Huntington Beach: the California Coastal Commission. Although the company I had gone with was delightful, the meeting itself was demoralizing and depressing. Property after property in Venice was set for demolition, no matter what anyone said. One Coastal Commissioner, Martha McClure, really began to question things – to the point where she even wanted to go back and change all of her votes to “no”; but she could not. And so, I was in sore need of some comfort when I returned home.

As I was undressing, I heard a horrific voice over the sound of my window air conditioner.“Get out of here you trespassing piece of shit,” the voice screeched. My newly acquired dove, Sister Clare, looked at me, perplexed and startled. I myself felt compelled to determine just who this piece of shit was. So, after considering running outside stark naked, I determined I should protect my neighbors and don some clothes.

I raced outside, easily determining the direction the voice was coming from: the homes where the development, 1414 Main Street, had hit a major snafu due to a well-organized, protest of the neighbors living in the Lost Canals District. Standing in front of the garishly painted 202 Horizon building, I immediately recognized George Francisco. He was grasping a baseball bat as he kept his eyes on a tall, bearded old man with a cane, stumbling away from Francisco.

I asked Francisco, “should I call the police?” “No, thank you,” he replied, then turned and went back into the house he was evidently protecting. I then rushed over to the old man and asked him if he was hurt. “No,” he replied, but then proceeded to tell me how he just did not understand what had happened. He said that his friend had told him it was alright to sleep there. In fact, he had the night before. He had no idea who this guy, Francisco, was. Still confused, he crossed Main Street and disappeared into the full moon night.

Well, dear reader, if you are like me, you are probably much relieved that our neighborhood now has a new hero, a man that not only is a recently elected Community Officer on the Venice Neighborhood Council, but has even been elected to Co-chair the Adhoc Public Health and Safety Committee. After seeing him in action myself, I am fully
convinced that we have our own super hero in our midst: the Batman of Venice.

You may ask yourself what led to this brave conversion by the Venetian, George Francisco. Could it have been the altercation he experienced only a few weeks earlier when, in broad daylight, he came across a different trespasser, a man passed out on the front porch of 202 Horizon?

On Monday, June 2, Michael Wamback was parking his car on Horizon Avenue around 1:30 pm when he heard shouting back and forth at the apparent flop house, 202 Horizon Avenue. Soon, police and fire truck appeared, including a helicopter. Another passerby, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he heard George Francisco taunting the drunken trespasser before the actual fight. This person later saw Francisco with
blood on his face.

Was it that Francisco was detained by the police that led him to his superhero conversion? Or was it that he let down Jason Teague, the mastermind behind the stymied development 1414 Main? A man who, after calling the neighborhood blighted, may very well now be proceeded with creating the blight himself?

Who know what lurks in George Francisco’s heart.

But rest assured, in his own statement made before the VNC elections, George Francisco, plans to “actively engage with as many residents and stakeholders as possible; (and) promote more civility and professionalism in our political process”.

And so, fellow Venetians, never fear! Batman of Venice has arrived – bringing civility, blow by blow, to the neighborhood as he protects the residents of the Lost Canals against the dangerous old man with a cane from sleeping in a compound where, only months ago, elderly tenants not only paid to sleep there, but actually kept the place neat and tidy.

Thanks, Batman! I’m glad to see that your sense of civility only extends to the political process, and not to the neighborhood. Now, I can sleep better at night, knowing that across the street from me, you weld a bat and are prepared to use it to engage with new stakeholders daily.

Portrait_of_George_Francisco_by_Jules_Muck copy

Wild and Wonderful Windward

July 1, 2014

By Marty Liboff

When I tell people I grew up on the Ocean Front they always say, “You must have seen a lot changes?!” Well, I sure have … I will write some personal memories for you of old Ocean Park and Venice in coming months. I thought I’d start with old Windward Ave.

As a young man, Abbot Kinney traveled to Italy and Egypt and was captivated by the architecture. He tried to recreate these wonders in Venice and nearby Ocean Park. In 1905 he built a great amusement pier and miles of canals that started in a large bay where the Venice Circle is today. He put a small train that started at Windward and ran around the canals. There was a tram that ran along Ocean Front Walk from Windward to the Santa Monica Pier, it ran until the 70s. The Venice pier was being demolished when I was born and much of the canals were filled in, but Windward Ave. and the adjacent streets still looked like old Venice Italy when I was a kid.

One gem of Abbot’s was his grand Saint Mark’s Hotel. Most think the building with the great murals and deli is the St.Marks, but when I was young this was only the small back annex. The beautiful headed pillars and walkway that are still there in the remaining buildings, lined Windward and the surrounding streets, making a wonderful walkway protecting visitors from the rain and sun. Shops lined both sides. As a small child in the early 1950s, I loved to wander along the archways. The St.Marks had amazing winged lions above guarding Kinney’s palace. There was a drug store in front and I loved an old 5 and 10 cent store my mom would take me to for her sewing supplies that had a wonderful rack of 10 cent toys. I ventured there often when I could get my greedy hands on a dime. In 1958, Orson Welles made his movie, “Touch of Evil” and used the Windward area at night, pretending it was Tijuana Mexico!

Venice went into a decline after the city forced the closure of the pier in 1947, but was still a vibrant community. My mom used to say that when the city made them close the bingo parlors the money left the beach. In the late 1950s, Venice had a revival of sorts with artists and beatniks moving in. John and Anna Haag opened their beat hangout, the Venice West Cafe on Dudley Ave. The beatniks rented one of of the old Venice style buildings near Windward on the Ocean Front and called it the Gas House. It was real cool man, and it was like a gas, dig it? It was a communal happening of like crazy beat artists. In the front display windows I especially loved some small sculptures of people in different settings. One had a group of little men sitting at a table playing poker. It was a nice era for Venice. Rents were cheap and artists flocked here. Later the hippies slowly replaced the beatniks and another new time came.

Our city politicians hated those dirty beats and hippies. Even then they were trying to gentrify Venice. In 1962 they condemned the fabulous St.Marks and the Gas House and soon condemned many other of Abbot’s marvelous buildings. Santa Monica had already torn down most of old Ocean Park and planned dozens of high rises along the beach. L.A. also wanted to redevelop old Venice and get rid of the poor and the hippies. Much of old Venice around Windward was torn down.

One good thing that came with the Venice redevelopment was building the Venice Pavilion in the early 1960s on the beach side of Windward. It had a large covered auditorium and an outdoor stage and various athletic venues. For several years they had various shows, from my pal Joseph’s amazing electrified oud music (an Arabic lute) with sexy belly dancers, to blues and reggae shows. I even saw our own Harry Perry’s band playing there. By the 1980s the homeless called the Pavilion home and the city soon decided to demolish it.

Today Venice is very much alive, but we sadly only see a tiny fraction of Abbot Kinney’s magic kingdom or even the Venice and Ocean Park of my youth…

(For more history read; Venice Ca.’Coney Island of the Pacific’, by Jeffrey Stanton)

Venice sign copy Windward with people copyLagoon and Windward with people copy

A Song to Abbot Kinney’s Venice

July 1, 2014

Me and Polly
Are gonna ride the trolly
To the Venice pier.
Abbot Kinney will be there
At his magical fair
With Charlie Chaplin & Laurel & Hardy
There’s always a party
At the Venice pier.
On the canals of old Venice
We’ll ride a gondola
And eat a piece a pizza
With extra mozzarella
Near the Venice pier.
The roller coaster will be a thrill
Then eat pastrami with a dill
And a hotdog on a grill
On the Venice pier.
We’ll swim in the sea
And bathe in the bath house you & me
Then see fish in the aquarium
And dance in the auditorium
By the Venice pier.
On the Ferris wheel we’ll kiss
And the merry go-round we can’t miss
On the Venice pier.
We’ll ride the tiny train
And make love in the rain
Then take the tram
To the Ship Cafe for eggs & ham
Near the Venice pier.
All this is gone
It doesn’t seem so long
When me and Polly
Rode the trolly
To the Venice pier…

– Marty Liboff    c. 2010

Crowd on Venice Pier copy

Gondola copy

Rollercoaster on Venice Pier copy

Bathing in the ocean copy

Interior of Bath House copy

Ferris Wheel copy

Ship Cafe copy

RIP: Eden Wingate Eastin Andes

July 1, 2014

for Eden

I wish it would rain
and we could run around in the rain
like children do –
we’re still playing children
behind the mask of age
you get old enough, you start losing friends
now we’ve lost you:
a crazy painter, singer, dancer, drummer
someone who laughed with all her heart
who enjoyed moments of joy, joyfully
an artist who never quit,
never took a break
who played in Ibrahim’s drum circle
who talked and talked until you were
overwhelmed by all the words and ideas
pouring out of her mouth
the last time I saw you,
we talked about accession, going home
I hope you’re singing and dancing in the clouds
on a rainy day in heaven
I know you’re up there somewhere
having fun…

Eden was a dear friend of mine. She was an artist, an activist and a mother to many. I’ll miss our long, deep conversations.

– Lisa Green
Eden Wingate Eastin Andes
Sister and Venice Food Not Bombs Comrade

Born 6/25/1956 with first address as 29 Horizon, Venice.
Passed into the Spiritual infinite Love 6/22/2014.
Eden is survived by her brother Earl Wingate Eastin,
her life partner Natividad Martinez,
and dog life companion Juni.
Eden is predeceased by her parents,
Eleanor Mary Butterfield and Rodney Eastin
and also by her dog life companion, Smedley (Juni’s brother).

Eden was a kind, forgiving, accepting, obstinate woman who fought to oppose unjust and unconstitutional laws. She lived in vehicles for many years in Venice. In her life’s beginnings, she could find work and afford to pay rent in Venice. She wanted to be housed again in her home – Venice – a final wish unfulfilled.

– Peggy Lee Kennedy
Eden Woman of Venice, Biker Girl, Artist, Activist, Food not Bombs collective member. 
We parked together in our vans, shared food and stood up together against the abuse of the authorities. 
I met her one rainy, foggy night on Hampton in Venice and we have been friends for 20 Years.
She inspired many in the Venice of America to live for a Free Venice.

– Calvin Moss
21:18 Wednesday, June 25th, 2014, Adullam ….. Just learned today. A text from Peggy Lee. Informed that you have found eternity. We both knew it would come. But not so soon. Had hoped that I’d run into you this June. It hasn’t hit me yet. The parking lot. United Methodists. The battles fought. The lives lived in a van. Caring for dogs. A step ahead of sidewalks. Barely rags Served to conceal our nakedness. I thought You’d surely survive me. What have I got To say to you, dear sister? Waning moon Has taken you away. And much too soon. I search my soul. Count to infinity. Remembering dear Eden. Absently ….. Roger Houston , post-beat romantic
Eden in Venice

The first time I remember encountering Eden, it was at a meeting some five or six years ago. The meeting was organized by the indefatigable Peggy Kennedy, and another great anti-war friend, Calvin Moss. The meeting was  at the Venice United Methodist Church’s Community Hall. Peggy and Calvin had an office there for “the Venice Justice Committee.”  As best I can now recall, the meeting was for street-people to discuss some strategies to organize our own self-help projects: like an outreach food line; and some monitoring of the increased tickets that we were then starting to get.  This was all just as Venice’s gentrification was now starting to get kicked-up –and by several big notches.  Eden was with us in this group.
It struck me then –how clear it was that Eden was the kind of person who was caring; and very committed to doing something. She was a great  woman that was clearly fully engaged in  opposing the harassment of us poor street-creative people in Venice. It was also interesting how she could, apparently –also always find a very unique angle –upon which to see every single thing that we discussed that entire night.
And well, that was Eden –you learned more about that once you got to know her. Her great gift to always have her own unique, and heartfelt, angle –on just about anything and everything in Venice.  Once, later on –and long after the meeting that night, an all-new minster brought into that same church apparently just couldn’t handle one of her deeper theological questions one day. It all started after one of his dubious male-privilege loaded sermons –that he apparently likes to ladle out to the book-thumpers –now whiting up the sepulchers there.

Well, of course, Eden could go on; and so all ludicrously frocked-out –he, this new pastor to Venice, just suddenly gagged –wailing that she was a ‘witch’ for her questioning of his mighty, male authority.
To which Eden chirpply replied, “Well, of course I am!”  “I’m a Wicking, to be exact!”
The guy immediately demanded a wiley, squeaking, 21st-century exorcism. All this was going to be seriously maxed by him with his favorite United Methodist ‘holy water,’ and crucifixes.
Rather than an exorcism, living on the street in Venice, all she probably needed from the Methodists here was a home.  But to us dude, it was just the holy confirmation –of Eden’s Venice Beatification.
‘Cause she could make you laugh with glee.
But with Eden, if you were ever tempted to think, therefore, that she was just the kind of person who would just talk on and on; and never actually do anything –you’d soon find out just how wrong you were. Eden simply had heart.  And it was always fully expressed –always. It seemed that whenever there  be a hand to be lifted; some work to be done; someone needed –to hand out fliers; or collect signatures; or help in cooking; or loading; or to help tow or jump someone’s broken-down vehicle –she was always around.
Truth is, Eden would usually show up even early –to do her part in lending to the community any hand, whatsoever –it needed. Every week. All the time. You could always count on Eden being there if there was some community-work that needed to be done.
She had been rich once. She had been homeless. She had been beautiful; and she had been ugly, beaten, and decrepit.  She had a freed spirit.
And she could tell stories.  She’d tell you about being 16, and on Sunset Blvd., the night of the so-called ‘Sunset Riots.’ They were  mis-labeled ‘riots’ in the media –when thousands of LA hippy kids, just peacefully walking up and down Sunset Blvd., and having exuberant fun, so freaked-out the button-downed squares of General Chandler’s LA –that they called out the Sheriffs to bring in buses and mass-arrest them. It was the turning-point that inspired the Buffalo Springfield song, “For What it’s Worth.’ And Eden could tell you about being a mini-skirt-wearing, emotionally-wafish 16-year-old; a long-legged blond; endowed with incredible curves, and hanging out at a cafe there back then called Pandora’s Box. Or, she’d tell you about the homeless Venice dog; that used to sneak into the market on Rose St. and stand there; in front of the dog-food can isle, until some customer in the store would buy it a can of it’s favorite dog food.  The owner of the store would always be trying to keep the dog out. And the dog just always knew how to get in –when the owner there wasn’t looking. It’s name was Obie, or something.
Eden grew up in Venice from the time she was a kid -and she was a living saint: one who knew every suffering and sick and broken down person in Venice; The wealthy kid who was homeless, and creative, and lived in the crawl space under a Venice house; just to keep his wealth from contaminating his soul. The skitzo alcoholic women who collected mountains of stuff in carts on the Boardwalk.  Bikers who drifted in and out of Venice. She was groovy. She married a man once.

Rumor was that she had been pronounced dead seven times –drowned, knifed, car accident, heart attack…   Rumor is she is still alive; and  here in Venice.
And I will simply always believe this.
Eden always read the Beachhead.  So hi Eden –we love you.
Be Groovy.
– Remembrances of David Busch

Eden1 copy

LAPD Steps Up Harassment of Boardwalk Patrons

July 1, 2014

By Clay Claiborne

Sunday, June 29th, the LAPD introduced a new tactic designed to clear what they consider “undesirable” people from the Venice Boardwalk,

As has become almost a Sunday summer tradition, the Doors tribute band “Peace Frog” was playing at the Venice Bistro. The club has an open front and many find the music sounds best outside the club, so as has also become a tradition, several dozen people who either couldn’t afford the cover charge, didn’t want to drink, or simply wished to remain outside, had gathered in front of the Bistro to listen and dance.

I was also there as usual when four LAPD cars entered the boardwalk from Rose Ave about 8:30pm and did something I have never seen them do in many years living in Venice and listening to bands at the Bistro. They drove two abreast very slowly down the boardwalk all lit up like Christmas trees. Their lights were flashing like they were rushing to an emergency but it was clear they were going nowhere slow. They were clearly intend on forcing people to move from in front of the Bistro so I approached one of the lead cars to ask what the ruckus was about. I spoke briefly to the lead officer, Sgt. Y. Moreau [badge #26116] who told me that they had just broken up the drum circle [down by Brooks Ave] and some of the people had come down here so they were clearing them out of here as well.

From their lights down on the beach, I had seen them break up the drum circle but I saw no influx of people from that joining us in front of the Bistro. In any case, in the hour before the arrival of this police task force, I had observed no drinking outside, no fights, no disruptive behavior at all, certainly nothing requiring police intervention; and neither did they, because they never got out of their cars. In spite of Sqt. Y. Moreau’s attempts to connect this action to shutting down the drum circle, it was clear that it was directed at everyone in front of the Bistro and while the business owners might like to see the LAPD stop people from enjoying a free concert, there were no public safety issues that warranted this sweep. Harassing people into either paying the Bistro or going home is not a proper use of police powers or resources.

Venice Bistro


July 1, 2014

A CREATION MYTH – BY Laura Shepard Townsend
Sometimes – By Pano Douvos
The Empty Aisle – By Pasquale Trellese
(In honor of Venice-of-America’s 109th Birthday)

In a time that was,
(And in a time that was not)
Abbot Kinney hid in a bin to safeguard his life
From Turks bayoneting all infidels found
Oh, how the blood of Christians
Spilled onto the dock that day
A carmine blood delta flowing to the sea.

And Abbot Kinney said his prayers to the cosmos
He knew his life was over
But it was not, it was not….
Destiny had other plans for Abbot Kinney
And he escaped in a small boat to Africa
With only his life
HIS life!
And Abbot Kinney now Knew
Oh, the preciousness of life!!

That very day, his soul vowed never to trivialize
The significance of his life
With mundane endeavors of any kind
And his heart heard…and knew the truth of it
And his intellect heard and knew the truth of it
And thus sanity was born in Abbot Kinney
And Abbot Kinney returned from Africa
An integrated man, enveloped within his own intuition…

Fast forward to another lifetime in Ocean Park
A partner dies, a partner buys
The usual arguments of money and greed emerging
Abbot Kinney calls a meeting of the partners
To trade all of his holdings in their developments
For a mosquito swamp to the south
A sump deemed as unsuitable for habitation

The investors gleed in their greed
Oh, the wily Kinney has gone mad, he’s mad!

They celebrated their good fortune and their wealth
And signed the papers oh so quickly
Deeding the marshland to Kinney
Before the asylum could come to
Claim the insane Kinney and drag him away.

But Abbot Kinney had walked those bogs
And marshlands to the south
He had felt an energy harbored there
Oh, yes, we still sing the song of those spirits
In Venice to this very day!

Nothing to be done with marshes, but canals
And so it was on the first day of dredge
As steel blades of chuffing bulldozers
Pushed dank Cambrian ooze to formulate banks
Abbot Kinney saw faint illuminations of vapor
From the foaming mud primordial
An interred Goddess emerged

The workmen saw the apparition not
But it was The Goddess Venus
Come to ply Abbot Kinney with visions
Golden tresses bewitched by the
Breaths of her attendant deities and fairy folk

And then Venus began her songs of creation
In altered states of melodic harmonies
Goddess songs of sites ancient and mythical
She sang of past cities of magic and golden light
To enchant Abbot Kinney with the land in his keeping
And ply his mind with visions of a creation
And its significance to the Earth and to the World

Abbot Kinney, smitten, changed the name of the city
To Venice to honor the Goddess Venus
Venice — a place of learning and enlightenment
Venice — a haven of harmony and inspiration for artists
Venice – a perfumed sensory experience
Venice – where transformation would be guided by Muses

And Abbot Kinney continued in his creation of a city that
Venus sang as revelation to him

A city that he fiercely loved with all of his heart
A city he gave to the world for all time……

…..that city is called Venice
– Laura Shepard Townsend

Laura - Young AK

She loves me stuck with me
years upon eons
partially dug my poems

And refused a dedication
on my chapbook page
what means that

I slip her initials in and
survived a coupla fuck you’s
she defends turf well

Throws adequate sparks
likes my hands
other parts unremarked

She has a honey-combed laugh
a 9.5 in body construct
with dancers elegant stride

Plus electric-socket power
coursing her sedate facade

She nearly 100% gold though
sometimes signs need for
more space elsewhere

My silent huff turns me dull-grey
that’s already annoying eh making
Eh whose perfect may be asked

– Pano Douvos ’14
The Empty Aisle

I feel the soft strain draining me
Word by word
Reigning in sleep
Spinning my mind
Forever spinning
Discomfort surrounding anticipation
Yet fearful of its end
Its loss of the pen
Its usage
Its meaning of life and only reason
I curse the turmoil
The toil it takes
Knowing its existence
Understanding its compromise
Accepting its fate
The self-hatred for having its gift
Yet scared to abandon
The ink of life
Its message
The proud moments of thought for being
I extoll no virtue
No clarity of soul
Or rightful place
No preaching pulpit
Or empty pew
I feel the passion exiting
Note by note
Melody lost
Wounding my skin
With scars in tow
Heading down the empty aisle. . . .

– Pasquale Trellese

Pasquale Trellese was a Venice Poet of the early 21st century. In his spare time, “Artie”, as he was known around town, served happily as handyman, art installer, and tender of bar at the infamous Sponto Gallery.

When Pasquale discovered he had only a short time to live, he dedicated his precious time and dwindling energy to writing and publishing his poems. A true Poet, he was still courting the muse with his dying breath.


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