Birth of Venice and early days
Actors, Filmmakers and Writers in Venice live or lived
Articles from the Free Venice BeachHead pertaining to the Resistance Celebration 1981
OUR HERITAGE - by Ed Pearl
Well, we're still here. By all odds, we, the blacks, browns, women, the elderly, workers, and the poor should have lost our homes, neighborhoods and community years ago to the wealthy, their builders and their politicians; and Venice should have been Marina-North by now. Yet we survive, through crisis after crisis, year after year, through hard work, plain stubbornness, and creativity, often squabbling with each other until the real enemy is exposed.
Why do we keep on struggling? Partly because we truly love the place, partly because we need the essential human experience of living in community and see the isolation of middle class, Marina life as a living death. Our values and needs have been mobilized into a fighting force over many years, through bitter defeats and glowing victories, through networks of friends and rebels, through legal, literary and political support systems -- In short, through a long history of being under the gun, learning from it, and preparing for the next battle. In that process, we've come to understand that struggling for the right to create our own lives is the only way to live, that you really are a part of the problem or part of the solution, and that the many of us who have struggled over the years have helped form a heritage of resistance.
In this show, we celebrate ourselves as battlers, and as survivors, and we welcome you, our community, to share in our cultures and to join in our struggle for justice, dignity, and survival.
We know you'll enjoy the music and poetry, the exhibit and the crafts. We know you'll be moved by the herstories and histories, the ideas and the feelings -- everything that makes up the story of Venice.
Our celebration takes place during a time of intensified attacks on all of us. Racism and the Klan are not idle threats, women's rights are under strong religious and legislative attack, worker's power and standards of living are eroding, supplemental income for the elderly and the handicapped is being cut by cynical and ruthless politicians, and Ben Gross, the kindhearted owner of the Cadillac Hotel has just died, leaving questionable the future of the many poor people who have long lived there. Not to mention the arms race, nuclear weapons and the threat of war coming from Washington.
So, how can we celebrate in the face of all this? We must turn that question around and ask how can we live without affirming ourselves, our cultures, our humanity and our community? We fight death and isolation with life forces and freedom, and we must continue fighting. Emma Goldman, the great American anarchist once said that is she couldn't dance on the way to the revolution, she wouldn't go.
So, come dance with us!
Venice has been a pioneering community in the area of reproductive rights and women-controlled health care. As a continuation of this heritage, SPARC will host L.A. CARASA's Reproductive Rights Teach-in on Sunday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The workshops will cover those issues that effect a woman's decision to bear and raise children in a healthy and self-determined environment, access to safe, legal and affordable contraception and abortion, teenage sexuality, sexual preference, and related health matters.
Susan Stewart of the L.A. Health Organizing Committee will speak on the crisis in pre-natal care and childbirth. The L.A. Men's Collective will conduct a workshop on the politics of childcare.
Debbie Freeman will present a slide program on sterilization abuse, to be followed by a discussion on the social, economic and political implications of involuntary sterilization.
Now that the so-called Human Life Amendment is a very real threat, it is important that the stories of women's experience of illegal abortion be told. The Committee to Save Abortion Services will hold a speakout in which women will relate their personal illegal abortion experiences. Dorothy Lang, attorney with the National Health Law Program and the Pro-Choice Coalition will give a legal history and update on the present legislative status of abortion. There will also be a discussion of what we can do now, both legislatively and in the area of community organizing.
The problems of women and alcohol and substance abuse will be discussed by Ruth McGivvins. Childcare will be provided. Call SPARC at 822-9560 for complete schedule information.
My Thoughts - by Esther Schultz
All senior citizens take heart; we are stronger than we think. We have a built in strength factory and our potential is great. I am over seventy and I find my thoughts and mind are becoming clearer and better than when I was younger. Where else but in this "Goldena Medina" are our people living longer and better than ever? And the ladies that reside nearby and in the rest home with their lively picture hats and stockings to match. There are pinks, lavenders, blues, yellows and more pastel shades. When did we ever see such charming and enlightening colors to keep one young at hearts? Nostalgia!
Someone asked Bernard Shaw at ninety what age he would rather be. His reply was; I wish I could be eighty. A philosopher was asked how he felt about being 101 and near to that time we all have to go through. He replied I know I cant live forever and it's my destiny to die, but NOT TODAY.
OAKWOOD - by Larry Abrams
The existence of a community like Oakwood - a community of working class blacks and chicanos - in a beach town like Venice has always, from the moment I arrived here in 1973, been a surprise to me. In those first years I lived all over Venice: the canals was my introduction when I came to visit a friend. I crashed in the upstairs studio of the Fox Venice Theater for a few weeks, lived over in Santa Monica on Bay Street, then down at the beach for a while and over on the walk streets near Lincoln Boulevard. Venice was a small town that led a charmed, bohemian life near the ocean and Oakwood stood as some dark mystery at the center of that experience.
Then, about 4 years ago, I moved to Oakwood. It was like a homecoming for me. The streets filled with kids, the loud-talk talking Spanish and Black English, the low-riders and cruisers, the neatly kept frame houses and the dilapidated public housing, all spoke of the indomitable human will to survive in the face of terrible and constant adversity.
It was just like the community where I grew up in Texas. Suddenly, after years of wandering the face of the American experience, I felt a connection again to the humanity around me. Here, at the edge of the ocean in the California sun, I sank my roots in the fertile ground of my past - in a community that has been here since the beginning when we served as maids and chauffeurs to the wealthy whites - and turned my face to the future of continued struggle, not only for survival but for a richer, more self-determined life. Like Oakwood, I felt Venice was a good place to do it, and, like Oakwood, I intend to stay.
THE OLD DAYS
(an excerpt) - by Carol Fondiller
The Venice Survival Committee, the Venice Defense Committee, the Free Venice Committee, the Free Venice BeachHead - but wait; this is about culture and here I go talking about drugs and raids on hippies and I'll probably go on whining about low income housing, the So-Called Feminist Community, old Jews...
Will the people who come to see this understand, feel the Drama, the Farce, the Irony of 250 people being locked out of City Hall, when the Venice Master plan was being decided upon by the City Council and the property owners, and renters were barred from entering by Marshalls?...Or will folks find it vastly entertaining, have a toot of some nose candy or take some Mendicino Sens?
Oh, oh! I know. How about the First Canal Festival and the Canal Festival Funeral? And the War on the Bongo Players and the Venice West and how it closed...and how about a few memories about the First Woody Guthrie Revival - And how about Silvia Kohan singing "Moon Over Venice" -- How about stories of Police brutality and individual police compassion? Or, if you're in the mood - a sociological view of Sexism and Harassment on the Ocean Front Walk?
Well, people have been saying April 4, Saturday at 8 p.m. is gonna be MY show - so, if the moon is in proper conjunction with my planet (remember in the late 60's the opening gambit in every conversation or pick-up was "What sign are you?") it promises to be spicier than the National Enquirer with singing, slides (if I get my act together) dancing, surprise guests and phantom invocations.
The Social and Public Art Resource Center - A Brief Introduction
SPARC is located in an historic Art Deco building erected in 1923 as the jail for the city of Venice. The 8,000 sq. ft. facility contains a unique gallery converted from the original cell block with jail cells still partially in place. There are offices, etching press and silkscreen workshops, rehearsal and performance spaces and a media resource center.
SPARC began as an advisory board to the Los Angeles Citywide Mural Project in 1974. This organization worked with all the ethnic communities in L.A. and with other special constituencies, including youths, women and the elderly, employing over 1,000 youths and 200 artists. In 1976, members of this board established SPARC.
SPARC is dedicated to the production, exhibition and preservation of public art. Our organization is firmly committed to the re-establishment of the artist in the community as visual spokes person, for the purpose of increasing environmental and aesthetic awareness. Much of our work is oriented toward issues that affect the varied peoples of our community and their social history. This includes the astonishing half-mile long "History of California" in the Tujunga Wash, known as the GREAT WALL OF LOS ANGELES, created with the help of 150 poverty level youths. We proudly present this Venice show as part of our Heritage.
© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman