No More Fiesta, thanks to Greedy Developers

April 1, 2015

By Joe Delaplaine

Jasmin Camarena works as a waitress at La Fiesta Brava, which her father owns and runs. Her entire family has worked there for the past twenty-one years at the same location in Venice, on the North-West corner of 4th Street and Rose Avenue.
The restaurant is a small, comfortable, local favorite that has always served great Mexican food at (in my opinion) ridiculously affordable prices, especially when compared to the recent wave of “up-scale” restaurants attempting to gentrify Rose and Abbott Kinney Avenues. Think “Superba” among others.
Until this year, the property owner, Miriam (unknown last name), also ran “Venice Ranch Market” next door to La Fiesta Brava, sharing the same lot. However, Miriam recently closed the market and sold the entire property to a new developer who already closed the Ranch Market and plans to close La Fiesta Brava and develop the entire property into a larger, new “high-end” restaurant.
This new owner also informed the Camarena family that they will have to close immediately upon his plans being approved.
Jasmin, her brothers and most of her family have worked at La Fiesta Brava for the past two decades and know the local community well. In fact, while working at the restaurant Jasmin’s aunt met and eventually married her husband of nineteen years. It probably helped that he also lived across the street and was a regular customer.
Like other, long-time members of the community, the Camarenas have seen too many wealthy developers relentlessly attempt to “clean up” Venice, first by buying affordable properties in established neighborhoods, then immediately pricing the existing tenants out by raising rents or refusing to renew businesses leases, until nothing of the original neighborhood remains.
Based on the pace of recent development, Rose Avenue seems destined to turn into the next “Third Street Promenade”, unless the local community pressures the City to keep long-time, family-run businesses like La Fiesta Brava open. A write-in campaign and petition to both the California Coastal Commission and the Los Angeles City Council has begun, but requires A LOT of community support immediately, seeing as how the new property owner plans to close the restaurant as soon as possible. Copies of the petition are available inside the restaurant and the community’s encouraged to contact the City directly.
La Fiesta Brava

La Fiesta Brava2


Homeless but far from Hopeless

April 1, 2015

By Jack Neworth

Venice Beach is home to some of the most talented street artists and musicians in the world. In some way it’s part of why Venice’s fame extends around the world. And it definitely does. In various polls of desired destinations of international tourists, visiting Venice is #2 right behind Disneyland. That one is a theme park and the other is where people work, live and call home, illustrates that Venice’s notoriety is just one of many enigmas of life here.
Skyrocketing real estate values have also brought additional pressures here leading to seemingly constant battles between developers, landlords and residents. In the middle are often Venice’s street performers and homeless population. With regard to the homeless, to their credit, most Venetians seem to favor compassionate treatment of those less fortunate than themselves.
Among the most respected of the “boardwalk people” is Cornell Smith (AKA “Smitty”), who’s both an artist and homeless. Smitty “resides” at Horizon Avenue and Ocean Front Walk in space #30. Each morning Smitty gets up before 6 a.m. or he will get a ticket. Then he must be in his spot on the boardwalk by 9 a.m., with all his possession, or he faces another ticket.
A plumber for over thirty years, as well as artist, film maker and writer, Smitty is most famous in Venice for his unique wheel chair, which has to be the Cadillac of all wheelchairs with its almost magical feel. It took Smitty three years to build. It includes dozens of sections of plumbing piping.
Hooked up to a powerful hose, the wheel chair becomes a fantastic water show. It has 36 separate valves that open in sequence that when choreographed to his music system, creates a breath-taking performance art. (Let’s see a Cadillac do that!)
Unfortunately, building the chair cost Smitty his last residence near downtown L.A.’s skid row. Apparently, construction of the elaborate chair violated his lease and led to his homeless condition. He certainly can’t afford to store the chair, plus he loves talking to people about it, so Venice is a perfect fit.
Born in Chicago 60 years ago, Smitty was raised with his six siblings, in the dangerous South Side neighborhood with its gangs, drugs and violence. When he was ten his father gave him a Super 8 camera and his dream of being a film maker was born. So it was, that after graduating high school, Smitty wound up attending Columbia College majoring in Film Studies.
In 1992, Smitty won two film making awards and has continued to write screenplays even while without a roof over his head. Despite his difficult living circumstances and health issues, Smitty remains ever hopeful.
Due to Smitty’s diabetes, eight years ago the lower part of his left leg was amputated. He also has a heart condition which often leaves him weak. Add to that the general obstacles all homeless folks face, and you can imagine the day-to-day challenges Smitty deals with.
For example, just sleeping can leave a homeless person vulnerable to being robbed or attacked. Fortunately Smitty has friends on the boardwalk who protect one another. And then there’s always the fear of police harassment, though Smitty says for the most part the police make an effort to treat the homeless with respect.
Some of Smitty’s friends have created a website hoping to start a new life: Www.cheapestactors.com – it includes a profile on many of Smitty’s friends looking for work as actors and/or background players for TV and movies. The community motivates each other and are like family. For example, if someone needs a visit to the doctor’s, Smitty gladly drives them in his wheelchair.
Smitty continues to dream that one of his many scripts will ultimately see the light of day. His goal is to have his work read by a Hollywood producer. He’s currently crafting a low-budget gangster movie set in the Depression-era Chicago.
As summer approaches, tourists are flocking here in even greater numbers. On any given day, his health permitting, Smitty can be seen lovingly tinkering with his wheelchair like the caretaker of a great work of art. Despite his physical ailments, Smitty is always eager to answer tourists’ questions and pose for photos. It pleases him to imagine that, as these tourists return to their homes all across the globe, a tiny part of himself goes with them.
(To find our more about Smitty and or see his magical wheelchair, go to Ocean Front Walk and Horizon Avenue, space #30, or email: jnsmdp@aol.com.)

Jack Neworth pxAbove: Smitty at the wheel of his all-purpose wheelchair

 


Evan Haas – Fair Winds and Following Seas

April 1, 2015

By Ken Haas

Evans Haas, a salty character on the Venice Beach scene, passed away at the age of 83 on March 16. Born in Manhattan and raised in Culver City, Evans spent most of his life in Venice, so much so that he became known as the King (or Mayor –depends on who you talk to!) of Venice Square (AKA Hamburger Square, at Washington and Pacific). A sailor, an artist, a free spirit, Evans fell on hard times, and spent most of the last 25 years without a home. Business owners and other locals took care of him, fed him, gave him rides, clothes, let him shower at their homes, and trusted him to house-sit.
Highly intelligent, articulate, generous and extremely witty, Evans represented vestiges of the old Venice. While homeless, he lived in a van parked in back of the Venice Bike and Skates, owned and operated by Carolyn Andersson, a Venice native. Carolyn’s parents owned the Bait and Tackle shop housed first at the end of Venice Pier and later where Venice Bike and Skates is currently located. Carolyn, a benevolent soul, and Arlene Matteson, another Venice resident and dear friend of Evans, were always looking out for him. Arlene helped Evans secure senior housing at Del Rey Square for the last two years of his life through the St. Joseph Center.
Almost daily, Evans was a fixture at Hinano Café, his throne the third bar stool from the entry. Thanks to local artist Barbara Mastej, Evans is immortalized in her painting in oil, Carlos Vargas, Bartender at Hinano’s. Evans’s signature is etched on one of the original round resin tables in the back of the café.
Evans is survived by his son, Ken Haas of North Bend, WA and his daughter, Tina Odum of Burbank, CA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations (tax-deductible) be made to the St. Joseph Center, 204 Hampton Drive, Venice, CA 90291 in memory of Evans Haas/Venice Square. It will make a difference in the community for the homeless. Evans would like that.

Evans+at+bike+and+skate

 

Above: Evans Haas at Venice Bike and Skates


Community Ferments As Alcohol Licenses Multiply

April 1, 2015

By Krista Schwimmer

In recent months, violent incidents in Venice have garnered even mainstream media’s attention. Some residents claim violence has risen due to transients and homeless encampments. Other residents understand the link between too many alcohol licenses and increased crime rates, a link backed up by numerous studies, according to Sarah Blanch of the Institute for Public Strategies. With a total of 108 alcohol licenses, Venice has reached a tipping point. According to the Westside Impact Project, the density of alcohol sales outlets in Venice — 34 per square mile — is among the highest in Los Angeles County, where the overall average is four outlets per square mile.
To address solutions to this insane number of alcohol licenses, on March 11th, the Institute for Public Strategies held a free public workshop at the Oakwood Recreation Center. Guest speakers included three women from the Institute itself: Brenda Simmons, Executive Vice-President, Sarah Blanch, Westside Impact Project Manager, and Tiffany Burgess, Westside Impact Project Manager. Also on the speaking panel were Tricia Keane, Director of Land Use & Planning for Los Angeles, and Claudia Martin, Neighborhood Prosecutor for Venice.
Simmons began by stating that the Institute works with communities to solve alcohol related problems and are not “alcohol nazis.” Funded by LA County, they work in Venice, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica, focusing on the retail availability of alcohol. Blanch stated they were there in response to the community’s frustration around the ABC licensing process locally and at the state level. “We think the system is broken in a couple of areas,” Blanch said. They were there to talk about ways the community might work together to fix the system. These solutions, she said, were at a local, not state level.
Two main solutions were presented by first Tricia Keane, and then Brenda Simmons.
Keane introduced and explained the Condition Compliance Unit (CCU), a program brought forth by Councilmember Mike Bonin. The CCU would oversee compliance when conditions are placed on permit project approval, making sure that the conditions are being applied and enforced. The unit would also keep track of permit conditions and expiration dates so permits do not lapse. Although compliance would first be around Conditional Use Beverage (CUB) permits and Conditional Use Entertainment (CUX) permits, eventually the CCU would handle all conditions attached to approving permits. “It puts the responsibility of – for lack of a better word – policing the permit conditions on the Planning Department. It does not put it on individuals who have to keep close track of a business because we’re supposed to be doing that for you.” (One has to wonder how any unit coming out of the same City Planning Department, working with same Building and Safety Department that led Venice to this point, could ever be trusted.)
Keane seemed confident that the CCU would soon receive funding from Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), where it is slated to go next.
Although penalties would apply for businesses violating conditions, Keane said the businesses would be given a chance to first fix their problems. Claudia Martin added that if there is a criminal element, the penalty would first be probation, followed by fines. For misdemeanors, however, the top amount for a fine is only $1,000 and 6 months in county jail, hardly a deterrent for successful bars and restaurants.
The CCU’s also do nothing to help with current developments, such as 259 Hampton, that have already slipped through the City’s greasy fingers.
Simmons introduced a second solution to curbing alcohol licenses on a local level, something rarely used. Called Public Convenience or Necessity, (PCN) it is a state law that places the onus on a business to prove there is a need for such business. If a city denies Public Convenience, ABC cannot grant them an alcohol license. PCN’s come into play in high crime areas (120% of the city’s average); or, in areas where there is a high concentration of licenses. Simmons stated that almost every tract in Los Angeles is over-saturated.
Two major drawbacks to PCN’s are that they cannot be used for restaurants and any criteria for determining them is, according to Simmons, “very arbitrary.” So, PCN’s would not help the community in its fight against Sauce on Hampton and Gjusta’s Bakery. To address this second concern, Simmons announced the creation of a volunteer group to work with City Council to help set conditions for PCN’s. A sign-up sheet was then passed around the room.
Simmons also brought up specifics on how individuals can protest an alcohol license. Listed in the free manual given to every participant were thirteen common protest issues. They included being within 100 feet of a residence; being within 600 feet of schools, playgrounds or nonprofit youth facilities; over-concentration/high crime; parking; and traffic.
Due to a previous court decision, Simmons mentioned that the City does not have the authority to put regulations locally on the sale of alcohol, specifically. Jim Mosher, JD, an Alcohol Policy Specialist in California, has recently put an opinion together that could change all of that. After the City Attorney reviews his opinion, Simmons says it will be sent to neighborhood councils.
One community member, Judy Branfman, asked Brenda Simmons for a moratorium on alcohol licensing requests in Venice.
Simmons first replied that she didn’t think that was likely to happen, then asked Keane if this is even possible.
“That would be something we need to discuss with the City’s Attorney’s Office to see if that’s even an option,” Keane replied. Keane went on to simply promote more delay tactics saying we need more discussion that would include all stakeholders, thus making it a “fair process.” She assured the community that she understood their “absolute frustration with the current process as it exists,” and once more, promoted the CCU, saying this unit would expedite things.
According to Joan Wrede, and other community members there that night, Bonin is acting too late. “How can you, all of you, expect us to have hope, to have faith, to try and support what you say you’re trying to do?” Wrede asked. “The city is not there for us. I don’t think anybody can deny that.”
As Venice struggles to maintain some kind of connection to her heritage, Bonin keeps serving up bad brew. What about now? How about serving up Councilmember’s exorbitant salary, greater even then the governor’s salary, somewhere in the future when Bonin actually delivers? Now, I’ll drink to that!
Ironically, only hours after the community workshop, a drunk driver plowed into nine cars on Pacific Avenue and Venice Way. This time, no one was hurt. I am a woman who pays heed to such omens. Councilmember Bonin, I hope you do, too.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Above: March 11 public workshop on liquor licenses in Venice


COUNCILMAN MIKE BONIN TAKES JURISDICTION OVER A SMALL LOT SUBDIVISION CASE THAT WAS DENIED BY THE WEST LOS ANGELES AREA PLANNING COMMISSION

April 1, 2015

By Ivonne Guzman

On February 4, 2015 an appeal was heard by the the West Los Angeles Planning Area Commission for a Small Lot Subdivision case at 758 Sunset Ave in the Venice Coastal Zone.
The hearing lasted over four hours. After much deliberation AND community input the appeal was upheld and the project was turned down.
On Tuesday March 31, 2015 in the Supplemental Agenda of the full City Council Meeting, Councilman Mike Bonin made null and void the hearing held February 4 by the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission (WLA APC) by exercising Charter Section 245 of the City Charter.
The project has been referred to the Los Angeles City PLUM Committee and will be heard on APRIL 14, 2015 at 2:30 pm and move on to the FULL City Council thereafter. This action gives the project an opportunity to move forward and undermines the authority of the WLA APC and the time and effort spent by all those who attended the hearing, sent in letters and participated in the democratic process.
In the matter of 758 Sunset, the West LA APC considered four issues —  a Tentative Parcel Map, a Coastal Development Permit (CDP), a Mello Act Determination, and a Zoning Administrator’s Adjustment. The commission approved the Parcel Map, approved the CDP, and approved the Mello Act Determination, but denied the Adjustment. The denial of the Adjustment effectively halted the project. However, since then, the Planning Department and the City Attorney have determined that the request for the Adjustment was not required, and the Planning should not have advised the applicant to seek it. 
There is no mention of other facts which would warrant denial of the project, such as lack of notice to the tenants, the need for more parking and compatibility with the existing neighborhood.
When the WLA APC approved the Coastal Development Permit and Tentative Parcel Map it was with the understanding that denial of the Adjustment would stop the project. Now it is being made to appear that there was only one issue with the project. According to those interviewed, the Adjustment was only one of many issues raised and discussed.
This action taken by Mike Bonin threatens the future of the Venice Coastal Zone while it fails to enhance the neighborhoods, smart growth, OR the democratic process.
July 19, 2013 quotes from Mike Bonin’s Inaugural Speech in Venice:
“I want to keep faith with the people who spend their time and their effort cherishing our neighborhoods, protecting our neighborhoods, and trying to protect our quality of life”. “I want to be very clear to the Developers in this City that the purpose of development is to enhance neighborhoods, not to THREATEN them.”
FAST FORWARD TO 2015:
Venice has seen more demolitions of homes, loss of affordable housing, and lawless land use in the last two years than in its entire history. The Venice Coastal Zone is being threatened through lack of representation and out of scale development within its neighborhoods. Venice is rapidly and unprecedentedly being stripped of its resource value, community character and the ability to travel without gridlock.
Another area of major concern not being addressed is the impact these rapid changes are having on the natural habitats of birds, bees, butterflies, etc. This alone warrants a closer look at the long term effects of the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance, which allows development that covers every square inch of a parcel.
Support those who have dedicated their lives to protect our neighborhood and quality of life in Venice.
Please send an email to Councilman Mike Bonin at mike.bonin@lacity.org and sharon.gin@lacity.org subject line: Council file 15-0362 ask him to uphold the appeal for 758 Sunset. Most importantly, please attend the April 14 hearing at City Hall, 230 N. Main Street, L.A., at 2:30 pm.


Poetry

April 1, 2015

For Juan Carlos – Della Franco
u deserve 2 fight 4 U – bETO
I Rejoice – When I Hear Your Voice – Tina Catalina Corcoran
me & d – Rex Butters
The Price of Doing Business – Mark Lipman
Love Chat – Eric Ahlberg
Roger Houston
Shopping Card Lady – Steve Goldman
———————————————-
For Juan Carlos

“Transient found dead”.
That is what the papers say.
Well known transient
found on the side of the road.
He was found in Malibu, on the beach,
they found him alone.

They dont know how he died.
They dont know where he died.
The tide had carried him and left him on the rocks.
The sand and water had become his grave.

But what the papers should have said was
“Venice Beach local found dead”.
What the papers should have said was
“Well known Artist was found dead”.
He was not just a transient with no name.

He was born in Costa Rica but for more than 20 years
the streets of Venice had become his home.
He earned his living selling art on the boardwalk.
Using disgarded coke and pepsie cans
he created recycled tin aeroplanes all made by hand.
They were spectacular.
They were original.
They were one of a kind.

I wonder how many people across the globe
have one of his aeroplanes somewhere in their home?
How many have been given as a gift of love?
or as a distraction for a kid as a toy for fun?
How many are just a symbol, a souvenir
An airoplane memory for something special that occurred..
A tin can treasure they will be kept forever
made by a man in the sand from the streets of Venice.

He was not just a transient
found dead with no name.
He was an artist
and a free spirit.
His name was Juan Carlos
and he was our friend.

– Della Franco
———————————————————
u deserve 2                  
*2 fight 4 U                                                      

All lives matter                
*All lives matter  
Setting our clocks                        
back 60 years
The grave with Martin
is filling with tears.         

Behind locked doors    
we’re huddling in fear.                        
*accidentally discharged 
8 bullets in the chest
Even lady liberty’s gasping        
“can’t find my breath!”

Greedy politicians are
just lying clowns  
calling out the police
to keep us down.
This Is How We Shoot Back: 

I hear our brother crying
“I can’t breathe”
our sister crying
“I can’t breathe”
our fathers our sons crying
“I can’t breathe”
our mothers our daughter    
“I can’t breathe”               
we’re all being choked 
by political gun-smoke
“and we can’t breathe”
till all people breathe-free.      
*from my voice to god’s ear 

Television people are
just lying clowns  
Calling out the police
to keep us down.
***Me Mata, me Mata.
Me Mata, me Mata.

they say
*We have d’right to be killed                
please don’t shoot
Us – murdered by policeman
please don’t shoot
When the laws break in, 
please don’t shoot
will we be lying on d’streets
crying “please don’t shoot”
 
hearing my brother crying “I can’t breathe”
I’m in the struggle now, I can’t leave
calling out the violence of racist Police
aint gonna stop (clap, clap) till people are free
We aint gonna stop (clap, clap) till all people are free  

**Enough/Enough/Enough!
My hands are up don’t shoot!
U washed your hands of us don’t shoot!
We are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers
Please don’t shot! 

*is Rapping
**is Everyone
***Spanish for it hurts/kills me.

– bETO tREE sUN
——————————————–
I Rejoice – When I Hear Your Voice

I don’t need no G.P.S. to
lead me straight to YOU!
And, I don’t need No TWEET or TEXT to
tell me what to do!

Don’t send me No INSTAGRAMS or
SELFIES – from your phone –
Just, Call me… Call me… Call me…
When you’re all alone!

Don’t LIKE me on your FACEBOOK,
or Follow me on TWITTER!
I like your “face-to-face look” –
(Come) Follow me to the River.

Or, Meet me at THE BREWERY,
The Cafe, or THE BAR –
Just, Call me… Call me… Call me …
From ANYWHERE you are!

Your voice is my connection –
to your sweet perfection.
I close my eyes and realize
how close I am to YOU!

Your Voice, and your Vibrations –
are my inspirations.
Don’t ever think, some other link,
can move me like you do…

I don’t need no G.P.S.!
I got my ESP!
You got yours and I got mine –
That’s all we really need!

Tho, I like your PSYCHIC HUGS,
and PSYCHIC KISSES too…
I Rejoice – When I Hear Your Voice –
Just because it’s YOU!

Love,
Tina Catalina Corcoran
—————————————
me & d
By Rex Butters

Boulder bored
and claustrophobic
broken hearted crazy
dropped remorselessly hard
deafened by my heart’s gong 
rung hard
breathless and defeated
I answer the phone

she needs people in LA
no doubt poorly lit
doomed occult bookstore basement
poetry reading
Minuteman
d.boon
already booked on the bill
would I like to yell at people
in a small room?

1984 arrived
as predicted very few
noticed
the Minutemen
like Cerberus as Paul Revere
three headed herald hell hound
wake the sleeping villagers
wiry revolution rock

my music savvy roommate’s
Minutemen collection warmed
the house
I needed to flee

yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes  

warm 80’s LA
a free place to stay
a chance to hang with an old friend
and read with d.boon

Phoenix Bookstore
brick walled basement
flimsy folding chairs
some demon
trapped with signs
chains
and a big iron door
behind us

d.boon ain’t coming
called from the valley
his van broke down
the producer 
when she finds out
quick whisper chats
to a big guy
having a great time
in the front row

many people wearing black
many poems about
loss and despair
but the big guy
sorta sheepish
sorta sheep dog bangs
plain clothes baggy dressed
some weird glee
burning in his eyes
I recognized him
from a pre-Promenade
Santa Monica Mall bookstore
I haunted

he giddy grinning excited
a bear bounds out of his chair
unprepared 
spins around
bounces words off the walls
like tennis balls
no one too cool 
for a minute
go-pro on a bottle rocket ride
doesn’t have to steal the show
it’s his

“I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet d,”
she said
afterwards

“Forget it,”
I said
“Tell me again the name of that guy
you pulled out
of the audience”

“Scott Wannberg,”
she said,
“wasn’t he amazing?
He really saved my life tonight.
He just came for the show.
He had no idea
he was going on.”
————————————
The Price of Doing Business
By Mark Lipman
 
ATTENTION, Walmart Shoppers:
 
Somewhere …
… in  the swollen bowels
of some dank and dimly lit
offshore sweatshop …
 
maybe in China, or Vietnam, or Bangladesh …
the lights are being turned out
in a young girl’s eyes …
 
as she frantically stitches
her childhood away
one 12-hour shift at a time …
 
without sunlight
or bathroom breaks
or a proper education …
 
for pennies a day.
 
It’s just Good Business.
 
It helps the bottom line,
when there are no labor laws,
or health requirements,
or pesky regulations
to get in the way
of the profits.
 
Make sure you take advantage
of our 3 for 1 special today.
 
We’ve got Congressmen for sale on aisle six
and we do accept food stamps
but unions are strictly forbidden.
 
We can’t let little things,
like human rights
and national sovereignty
stand in the way of progress,
stand in the way of the corporation
being able to freely trade
your life away
for dirt.
 
There are cargo ships on the horizon
and dividends to be paid.
 
So don’t you worry about that fire,
or the factory that just collapsed
or that little girl turned to ash …
 
that’s just the price of doing business …
and we always guarantee the lowest prices …
because, we love … our customers.
———————————————-
Love Chat
By Eric Ahlberg

That’s what I want too, and you are quite lovely and delicious.   
Can we break all the rules?  
Oh you can’t break them all,
just the ones that chain the heart, 
just the ones that would keep the fool from the unknown.  
Could we put passion on the front burner, 
just to cook it up so fast,
before we can repeat a single story to each other?  
Then, can we find a patient way 
to where the waterfall of kindness will flow through us?
—————————————————————
00:00 Monday, March 23rd, 2015, Adullam, to the Crescent Moon & Venus & to
William & Catherine Blake ….. The night’s deep dark reserve seems limitless. I
feel a little silly. To confess. Part of the endless struggle to announce. The
obvious. Perhaps I should renounce. But night time is the season that will
yield. My further exploration. In the field. Prospecting for some glittering.
Laid bare. Promote investigation. I prepare. To brace myself for impact.
Reconciled. With mysteries. A mini-series. Filed. Oblivious. Yet conscious. I
pronounce. The ancient syllables. Perhaps denounce. But I go with the flow.
Perhaps digress. Attempt to measure the dark limitless ….. Roger Houston,
post-beat romantic
—————————————————————–
Shopping Cart Lady
By Steve Goldman

At eventide
The houselights of the world are dim in purple silver
The dried old woman of the street
Rolling ahead
Her home of woven steel
Croons to me in her madness

I sing back


Long Live Millie Mims!

March 1, 2015

By Suzy Williams

In honor of International Women’s Day and the corresponding Beachhead March issue, I would like to shed some fresh Venice daylight on a remarkable and real woman, Millie Mims, the nourishing Goddess of the Boardwalk. Many of you know that she serves up a delicious organic vegetarian soup,  (she gathers the yummy comestibles from local farmers’ market surpluses), hot rice and a big salad every day, rain or shine, to the hungry people of Venice, just about a hundred a day  (every day except Thursday). Whole Foods donates really great bread.
She attracts volunteers to help her serve, but she does much of the cooking and schlepping herself. That kind of tangible daily devotion to sheer human kindness is something that should (and often does!) inspire us all. She is interested not only in feeding people good food, but also in nurturing positive energy and connectedness. She inspires us to be kind – first and foremost in life.
Last month I attended a benefit for Millie and her organization, New Life Society. It was hosted by the handsome Robert Walsh, treasurer for the aforementioned NLS, at Big Red Sun, a beautiful hippie store on Rose that sells classy succulent planters and such. It was very heartening to see lots of young, rather well-off folk forking over $125.00 each to party down with Millie Mims.
So if you happen to be down on your luck and could use some TLC, or if you’re flush and are inclined to share your good fortune, drop on by Navy and Ocean Front Walk. Come by around 4 P.M. and partake in the largesse of Life, as exhibited by Herself, you know who.

Millie


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