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Beachhead Archives 1982

Beachhead Archives 1983

Beachhead Archives 1984

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30 Years Ago This Month in the Free Venice Beachhead

Tale of the Fox

Windward Ave.

Lighthearted

People Articles

Art

Institutions


30 Years Ago in Call Someplace Paradise and/or Ghost Town

Venice in Books A-C

Venice in Books D-K

Venice in Books L-P

Venice in Books Q-Z

Quotations about Venice

Venice in Magazines and other ephemeral sources

1981 Resistance Celebration Schedule

1981 Resistance Celebration Articles

Birth of Venice:
old-timey magazines

1914-1916 Part 1

1914-1916 Part 4

1914-1916 Part 5

John Hamilton

Destiny's Consent by
Laura Shepard
Townsend

Lions and Gondolas

Poem about Venice Beachhead

Rana Ayzeren

Tales of the Blue Meanie by Allan Cole

Another Chapter from Tales of the Blue Meanie by Allan Cole

"Brick" Garrigues

The Spectre

Venice Historical Society

1969 Police Riots

Jack the Liar

Free Venice Beachhead
Archives 1980-81

Webslave's note: Each month, back when I lived in Venice, someone from the Beachhead Collective would drop off a bundle of a hundred copies at my door, and I would distribute them house-to-house around Oakwood. My way of continuing to be a Beachhead volunteer is to resurrect and re-type selected articles from its past (pre-computer) issues, for which the Beachhead has graciously granted permission.

Ushering in the 80s: The Spirit of Venice
by Moe Stavnezer

Describing the "Spirit of Venice" is no mean task. However, there's no reason why I shouldn't give it a try and so I will. Venice, in a word, is irreverent. A place that thumbs its collective nose at the accepted and acceptable behavior of the world. At the same time, it is far from being above thumbing that same nose at itself. It's kind of the Muhammed Ali of California community politics - always in training for that one last fight against opponents who just never seem to stop coming. Fortunately, for Venice's spirit there have always appeared "trainers" to whip (figuratively, of course) the community spirit back into shape for the next scrap or an occasional championship bout.

Lately, however, I hear that the Spirit is DEAD. Well it's my feeling that the "Spirit of Venice" is just plain pooped and not at all dead. After a decade or more of struggle and hard and continuous work, the Spirit, like many of us, is tired. BUT, even pooped, the Spirit is more alive than most community spirits and I feel safe in predicting that it will rise to the challenge of the Orwellian 80s. 'Cause I don't know of any place that loves so passionately, hates so vehemently, or forgives so easily as Venice.

Some of the realization of what the spirit of Venice is was brought home to me through recent political work in Santa Monica. It was exciting to be part of a movement that brought about some significant electoral victories including the most progressive rent control law in the country, election of an entire slate for the rent control board, and the election of 3 city council-people. All within 6 months time. But there is still nowhere the kind of political awareness or dedicated activism in Santa Monica, even after these victories, that I find in Venice where there is not even a remote chance of such electoral victories. Even more obvious is the political sophistication in terms of making the connection between community political/social events and those outside the community. And I write this at a time when there is a debate here as to whether the Town Council should concern itself with anything other than the community. The debate is healthy and is certainly a part of the community spirit, an eclectic political mish-mash in which controversy is normal and acceptable. Venice remains, after 7 years, a breath of fresh air and I'll take its spirit, tired or not, as long as I can still find here what is missing in most other places.

But the irreverence is gladly not confined to the Spirit's political nature. It's also the poker game on a kitchen table on Ocean Front Walk on Christmas day, or a Halloween party that becomes a parade through the community and along the same OFW. It's an article in the LA Times about Swami X, Venice night at the Fox, the crowning of two "queens" amidst a storm of controversy, a nude beach, skaters, bikers, murals and street vendors.

Despite the comparative lethargy of the past year there was an underlying tension in the air. There was energy. A sense that the Spirit was just lying low in anticipation of a new decade in which it will rise howling like the wind. A bit off-key, of course.

Happy New Year to the Spirit of Venice and to all of you out there in Veniceland.


The Spirit of Venice
by Phil Nurenberg January 1980

Venice is a sort of local artists' colony by the sea. At its best, there is a tolerance for the unusual and different individual here. Many people I've met and talked to are just passing through and an ungodly number tell me they're working two jobs just to pay the rent and get by.

Politics and religions of all kinds are alive and thriving on and off. Venice boasts the first California NOW chapter (National Organization for Women) and had rent control before Santa Monica. Rent control appears to be just that: a holding action.

Beach front property still rents for as much as $600 a month for a studio apt. After two and a half months of desperate apartment searching, I went to the local 'Roommate Finders' establishment and paid $50 of my alarmingly dwindling California 'move' money to get it over with and become a California resident.

Wanting to make it easy for them, I said I would be willing to pay the amount I originally planned to pay for my own place: $200 a month. The young lady was very nice as she took my picture and said to call her in a few days when she believed she would have a nice place with two other roommates 'who can't afford to pay very much, like you.'

Floating around, waiting to become a resident, I was told by my childhood sweetheart and friend from back east, to check out the 'Swami' on the beach when she listened for the umpteenth time about how it was Henry Miller who made me want to become a writer 8 years ago from reading about his struggles to extricate himself from the rat race to live in the world of art and imagination.

'You'll really like the Swami,' she said, 'every other work out of his mouth is fuck.' After a lengthy explanation about the idea that this was not what Miller (currently living over in the Palisades) is really about, I did in fact check out the Swami and saw a pleasant similarity in the attempt to speak the truth from the guts without the formalities of self-censorship.

A stranger at the airport trying to sell me ounces of hash unsuccessfully when finding out I was from Venice, like so many others, told me he used to hang out there all the time. 'So you're from Whacko Venice!' as he called it. 'Then you probably know the Swami. Is he still in jail? I saw him get busted when the Hare Krishnas had their festival for yelling at them that they were a bunch of bullshit and telling them to go fuck themselves.'

Yes, the spirit of Venice is the people: street people, actors, musicians, musclemen, painters, poets, swamis, rollerskaters, healthfood freaks, reside, have resided, will reside, or visit here.

Celebrity surfers and skateboarders are among these. A lot of people are unaware that, under the right conditions, there is surfing from the Pavilion all the way down past Rose Ave. where the recently demolished Ocean Park Pier used to be.

Probably one of the most famous surfers who grew up in Venice is Dewey Weber. Dewey was one of the originals at Malibu during the infamous Gidget era, upon which both the book and the movie were based. He was one of the first to use California's aggressive hot-dogging style successfully in big waves in Hawaii.

Currently, Allen Sarlo and Clyde Beatty Jr. are among the better known professional surfers living in Venice. Allen can successfully be seen coming and going from Sarlo Realty in his Mercedes sedan from the roof racks down the street from David Isackson's Pacific West surfboard shop on West Washington Way.

Isackson is one of the major organizers and sponsors of professional contests in the local area including the Sunkist Open at Malibu last summer which drew much media coverage and spectators because of the famous surfers around the world who showed up to compete for thousands of dollars in prize money.

During the '70s Venice and Santa Monica became known as 'Dogtown' to skateboarders around the world. Dogtown is viewed by many as the center of energy and innovation because of its reputation for pioneering in pool, vertical, and bank riding which skateparks are now made to reproduce.

Among the pioneers were 'Mad Dog' Tony Alva, Jay Adams, and Dennis Agnew. They all live, or used to live, in Venice. Tony Alva was voted #1 in an international Skateboarder Magazine poll and became known as a sort of Mohammed Ali because of his outspoken views.

Saying in an interview that Dogtown was the best began a much overpublicized verbal and competition feud with skateboarders from San Diego and the south for some time.

Alva, Adams, and other skateboarding celebrities used to practice mornings at the Pavilion.

World famous body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger has his gym in Venice and can sometimes be seen at 'Muscle Beach' near the Pavilion where the public watches them pump iron as they call it.

Robert Blake of the popular Baretta TV series grew up in Venice and Orson Bean currently lives here. Herve Villechaize who plays the midget on the "Fantasy Island" TV series has an apartment in Venice.

A couple of well known writers associated with Venice are Clifford Irving, who became known nationally and went to jail as the perpetrator of the Howard Hughes 'authorized' biography hoax, began his married life in Venice. He had to leave, he says, because he couldn't discipline himself to work at the beach. He was one of the ones who was passing through. Writer Dan Wakefield, the author of Starting Over, has the hero of his recent novel, Home Free, start out in Boston (like myself) and wind up in Venice happy to live in a room on "the Speedway' and work as a short order cook in a restaurant stand on Ocean Front Walk.

There is one unsung individual I would like to pay tribute to in closing, known simply as 'Red' according to his co-workers in the Venice Post Office, who has turned many a rotten day for me around with an uncharacteristic courtesy and friendliness. No matter the Mickey Mouse rules and regulations and 'go to the end of the line' irritations I get at the bank and the DMV, that middle-aged clerk with the red hair at the post office always conveys an attitude of understanding and helpfulness to everyone.

Board-Walk Bummers!!!
A Community Problem and a call to Action

from Free Venice Beachhead #128 Sept. 1980

by Raphael

During the past few years many different weeds have been slowly growing, threatening to choke the spirit-life of our green and beautiful Venice-garden-island. In most cases the alarm has been sounded (against rent gouging, police abuse, encroachment of big-money land speculators and plastic culture, etc.) but somehow one very real and dangerous problem has been neglected, the weed allowed to grow unchecked, to the point that, in the eyes of an ever growing number of people from all quarters of our community, it is becoming a serious threat to our peace and freedom.

I am referring to the large number of half-witted, alcoholic (or over-drugged) violently antisocial sociopathics who hang out loaded in the pagodas or on benches, acting loud, profane and violent in an attempt to intimidate passers-by in particular and the whole community in general. This is not only a problem in appearance. Those of you who remember Bingo will recall that the one who, in a fit of stoned psychosis, plunged a knife into her defenseless body seventeen times was one of these. Nor is the problem of actual violence (killings, stabbings, beatings, sexual harassment, rapes, robberies) confined to isolated occurrences in our community. A woman was stabbed on August 17th near Breeze and Speedway in the evening. This problem is menacing us now.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that every impoverished soul who spends his days in the shelter of our gates, eating the crumbs that fall from our tables is a deranted killer. I am saying that certain ones among them have been doing everything in their power, as individuals and especially in groups, to make life for us in our beloved Venice a hell, and that "Now-Is-The-Time-For-All-Good-Men-To-Come-To-The-Aid-Of-The-Party." (hmm...the typewriter works)

It is time for the Peace and Freedom loving citizens of this community to act to remove this problem.

It says here in this Psychology II textbook that the first step in coping with a problem effectively is to define it. O.K. WHat is the problem?

1. Defecation in the doorways. Most of us have observed one or another of our "colorful" (?) derelicts relieving himself on a back door, along a wall or in our carport or garage. It smells, it's a health hazard, it is counterproductive to creative energy, it is a drag.

2. Spiritual Violence. In my opinion this is the gravest evil brought by these people. By constructing and continuously maintaining a violent "profile" on the boardwalk, a constant state of fear and tension becomes established. We are put in the position of always being "on guard" or in defensive mode which serves to drain us of our creative energy so that ultimately we either have to leave (and way too many good people from our ranks have moved out rather than continue to put up with these denizens of drek) of like the subjects of pepperland become transformed, after repeated attacks by the Blue Meany Apple Bonkers, into lifeless gray stone.

3. Uncontrolled and vicious dogs. How many time have you seen their dogs suddenly run out and snap their teeth in the mid-section of some harmless passing skater or bike rider? This leads to falls and broken bones as well as being very frightening to kids, women and the elderly, not to mention the smaller pets of the members or our community who are subject to attack and injury from these largely uncontrolled and probably un-innoculated beasts.

4. Profanity and loud and abusive language. I don't know about some of you, but I have a mother. She lives nearby and I would like to be able to take her on a walk on the ocean front without hearing "Mother-f*cker" thirty times. I feel certain many among you share my distaste for loud, public, verbal abuse.

5. Assaultive change hustle. This is not your polite "Excuse me, can you spare some change?" This is where the hustler walks up so hard and fast that you instinctively step away to avoid being run into, where he stays one inch from your face and by his positioning impedes your progress, follows you for twenty feet and winds up hurling insults and epithets at your retreating shadow.

6. Broken glass and trash. This type of person generally feels more comfortable in a polluted environment and so will leave piles of beer cans, paper sacks, half-eaten food and cigarette butts strewn around. He delights in smashing bottles on the walk where the broken glass can puncture tires of bicycles or obstruct and injure skaters and walkers. Lately it has become fashionable for these groups to dump over trash cans as an expression of their contempt for our lives and sensitivities.

This then is the problem. What follows is one idea as to a solution. These techniques have been tried by a group of several residents in the community during the past month with surprisingly good results. It is believed that the more of us that use these techniques the swifter and the more certain will be the solution of our serious mutual problem.

DO's and DON'T'S
Don't attempt direct confrontation. There is nothing that these bullies like more than ganging up on the lone individual, thereby intimidating him or her into inaction. When confronted, withdraw (speedily). Do not allow yourself to be trapped into an argument. These people, like sharks, are constantly looking for a weakness at which to strike. DON'T GIVE THEM A TARGET. Instead, if you see them doing something wrong (i.e. public drinking, a violation of city law), being drunk and/or disorderly in public (ditto) committing acts or threats of violence or acting in an intimidating manner, allowing their dogs to menace people, etc.), quietly make your way home, close the door, draw the shades and DO call the police. (This is not 1966, they are NOT putting people in jail for ten years for a joint of weed anymore, the police are NOT automatically your enemy even given instances of police abuse.) They are your watchdog. They have been getting MANY calls lately about this problem and they are now responding swiftly (in most cases) and strongly. They are NOT busting heads, they are writing public alcohol tickets and dispersing these groups before the trouble has a chance to start. They are able and willing to help but they won't come if you don't call (because the community has come down on them so much for over-doing it). If YOU give them the mandate the WILL help us rid ourselves of this menace. (A word of encouragement - you will occasionally find an officer on the phone or on the street who just WON'T help. Don't give up. This is a case of resistance on the part of an individual, not department policy. And don't worry about creating a monster. As in the past, if the police get out of hand we can rein them in through community political action.)

If you want safe sane streets around here, you can have them, but your fingers have got to do the walking. DO form a community watch. Get together with the people in your immediate neighborhood. There is strength in unity. Pre-arrange distress and emergency signals and don't be afraid to look out the window. The police may hake a half hour getting there and in the meantime the defense of a victim's life will be in the hands of the people in the neighborhood. YOU are the home guard. Find out which neighbors can be called on in a pinch. ORGANIZE. DO walk tall and hang tough. Nothing makes a bully back down faster than stepping on his toes; he has no heart for the fight unless he has overwhelming force on his side. If you fight back (psychologically) you'll win.

Remember this simple rule of thumb. Anyone who wants to be here without harming or intimidating others can. That's what Venice is about. But anyone who is here to make trouble for others, nail 'em! There's about a hundred of them and twenty thousand of us. Let's put a stop to this Mickey Mouse terrorism.

FREE VENICE!

Beneath the Crime Hysteria
by Carlin Thompson
December 1980 # 132

On November 12th, Sarai Ribicoff, a young editorial writer for the L. A. Herald Examiner was murdered in Venice. In the wake of this murder reports exploded across the pages of the local news media - that Venice was in the grip of a huge crime wave with over 50 murders in the last year. Immediately, people began to speculate about the causes. While no one wanted to say it loud and clear, the constant suggestion was that murder and the crime rate were the result of a "criminal element" that is not white.

Plowing through all the misstatements and hysteria, a few things become obvious.

First, the murder rate has been greatly exaggerated. Six people have been murdered in Venice, not fifty The original inflated reports are for all areas covered by the Venice Division of the L.A.P.D. Of the numerous murders in this geographical area, only 6 were in Venice. The Venice Police have stated publicly that in their division, Palms, a predominantly white area, has a larger crime rate than Venice.

But crime is on the rise in Venice, as it is in all of Los Angeles Times in its editorial on the subject saw some general failing of society, including racial inequality, but failed to clearly pinpoint the causes. The Herald Examiner in its grief admitted it had no solutions, but suggested that we should increase support for the police. But Tom Victory in the Ocean Front Weekly was totally unvarnished on the subject. His view was that "We have our ghetto or barrio that is the home of haven for a criminal element that seems to pounce on local merchants, residents and visitors in the Venice area." (He did not, however, seem so certain about everything in that column. He called for Pat Russell to resign, only to claim he never said it in the next issue, after he got lots of letters criticizing him for suggesting that somehow Pat Russell was responsible for the crime in Venice.)

Crime has been a fact in Venice for a long time, but as one long-time Venice resident put it, "It's only recently that whites have become the victims, so now it is an issue. No wave of editorials have followed the murders of third world people, like Brother Brown."

Local white merchants are divided in their opinions on how to react to these developments. Some groups, like the Venice Chamber of Commerce believe that bad publicity will slow development. They have reacted by stressing the fact that crime has been greatly exaggerated in the media. They stress police reports indicating that crime in Oakwood is not as high as in surrounding areas. The Venice Beach Association (the local right-wing merchants grouping) on the other hand is pushing for an accelerated police occupation of Oakwood. Some of these merchants' establishments were attacked last summer by third world kids from downtown. These merchants, then, immediately assumed that Oakwood kids were responsible since most Oakwood kids are not white. They have seen Oakwood as a threat since then.

The "crime wave" in Venice did not just happen spontaneously. Unemployment, redevelopment and soaring rents have all contributed to the pressures that turn people to crime.

For years developers have been moving into Venice, buying up old property and renovating it. The property is then rented out at staggeringly increased rentals. As middle class white tenants have been squeezed out of beach markets, many have looked to Oakwood where property values are lower. They move in, to renovate and to displace local residents, and become the new gentry.

Few middle class white residents realize that Oakwood has existed as a stable working class community for generations. When Venice was first developed, blacks were allowed to purchase homes but not to rent. A number of blacks did, and they became the nucleus of the present black community here. Some Chicano families have been here as much as three generations. These communities are now under attack.

In today's inflation-ridden economy, third world youth have a staggering unemployment rate of between 75 and 85%! Study after study of the "causes of crime" undertaken by government agencies and law enforcement, as well as private entities, has shown that the single societal factor having the highest positive correlation with the crime rate is the unemployment rate. In other words, as unemployment gores up, so does crime, and as unemployment decreases so does the crime rate.

Rents are skyrocketing and many third world families are being evicted to make way for the new gentry and new profits for the landlords. Faced with no jobs, no chance for college and no homes, many third world youth are about to explode. As one Oakwood youth put it, "Some kids may be committing crimes, but they aren't near the crimes committed on our community."

Oakwood is bordered by Washington Blvd. Here new shops and restaurants catering to a young, affluent crowd stand as a symbol of the new gentry. As whites move into Oakwood, they start at the boundaries near Washington Blvd, making the street itself a symbol of the invading white middle class. It is no coincidence that police report a much higher rate of crime here.

The Venice Beach Association, whose members include some of the people involved in the gentrification of Oakwood, has been instrumental recently in forming the Venice Business Association, in an attempt to unite business interests from various parts of Venice, particularly beach merchants with those of West Washington Blvd. Primary on the agendas of both groups is the issue of crime. These merchants need a middle class clientele to support their businesses. Some members of both groups are involved in land speculation. They may feel they need a large police force in Oakwood to protect the white citizens who are displacing minority community members, who presently stand in the way of real estate profits.

It is important to note that violence against racial minorities is also increasing in Venice, and elsewhere. In the last year signs proclaiming"kill niggers" and "niggers off the beach" have surfaced on the boardwalk along with swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans. Racists whites talk about "our beach," adding to the hostilities.

The media's cry for more police in Oakwood is ultimately a racist and violent solution. The experience of third world people in Los Angeles and Venice is that increased police in minority communities leads to more deaths of third world people, while doing little to solve the "crime rate."

One young black musician was returning to his home late at night several weeks ago, when he became aware that two white men were following him. He turned a corner. They followed. Finally, fearing for his safety, he decided to run for it. Suddenly one of the white men screamed "Freeze! Police!" The young black man had done nothing suspicious, but fortunately he froze or he could easily have been killed. The two white men were plainclothesmen with guns.

Recently in Venice two black youths happened to arrive at a bus stop at the same time, but from opposite directions. Police looking for two black suspects in a robbery detained them for nearly an hour, despite testimony from other people at the bus stop that the tow had just met each other. The police had no other connection of the two besides the color of their skin.

Is reliance on the police the solution to the problem? Organizers on Breeze Avenue don't think so. They have been working with neighbors on Wavecrest to organize neighborhood support on a block level. They take turns walking together between 9 and 11 seven nights a week on their block,. The idea is to create a presence, so people walking home at night, particularly women, will feel safer, and, perhaps even more importantly, so that people will have a greater experience of community, of being connected and concerned with one another. One local Breeze Stroller said "It's great! You get to know your neighbors and you don't feel so isolated."

The Breeze Strollers try to avoid physical confrontation. "We're not a vigilante group," is a comment frequently made. The folks on Breeze don't believe that the walks will end crime, of course. But they do believe they can curb it, and in the process cut down on alienation and fear. They hold regular block parties and try to meet all their neighbors.

Betty Brooks, a L. B. State professor, has held a series of self-defense workshops for women at the Boys and Girls Club of Venice. Local women have been unanimous in their praise of the classes. One Breeze resident claims that she has had much greater confidence since taking the class. The next one is scheduled for January 8th from 7 to 10 p.m.

Community involvement is essential, but if Reagan makes the cuts expected, we should expect to have more crime. Reagan plans to cut C.E.T.A., the government's major job training program. He also plans to cut welfare and essential benefits for the poor. He could probably cut unemployment compensation directly. His policy of not interfering with business and trusting in the "good will" of moneyed interests in this country to provide jobs will probably mean greatly increased unemployment. His dedication to beefing up the military budget and increasing defense spending will result in increased unemployment since defense industries employ proportionately few people. And finally, there's a very good chance that he will take the right-wingers' advice and eliminate affirmative action programs in hiring, which will greatly increase unemployment among minorities and women.

As has been shown, unemployment increases directly relate to crime increases. The fight against crime in the next decade will require a fight to support a decent standard of living for all citizens. If we are not willing to wage that fight, we will also have to accept an even higher level of crime.

The Conference Against Racism had one workshop project involving the issues of crime. Participants from this workshop will be reporting back to the community on December 13th.

All people concerned with the issue of crime are urged to attend.

The Backyard That Nobody Wanted
by Carol Fondiller
April 1981 #136

There I was, as Candide's mentor would want, cultivating my garden, actually a collection of pots, and wondering whether I should wrestle with yet another coat of shiny blue enamel that adhered to everything except the surface I wanted to paint and I said, yes I would organize something about my part in and about Venice history - and later when someone gave me 3 lily bulbs and no pots to plant them in I said yes, I would write something about what I was going to do, even though I had no idea what I was going to do:

"Venice the backyard nobody wanted." Good, I have the title anyway.

I stole the title from Freddie, to whom I was talking, as we sat on one of the remaining benches on the Ocean Front Walk.

It was one of the unreasonably hot February days that we've been having for the past few years. The sun pounding on my head, feeling as if I were in some tacky Arabic village on Market Day, watching people from all over the world dodging everyone from Los Angeles on roller skates. The scene we agree was different from the old days. In the old days when marijuana had not been discovered by the upwardly mobile and the grass you got was unparaquated herb from Mexico, and even your daddy who had a friend in the Sheriff's office couldn't get you off from a felony charge. No, it wasn't Hawaiian or Monterey or Thai or Mendocino, and the hippies, that most copied, exploited and co-opted culture were being arrested for hanging the American flag upside down or wearing bells. (Musical instruments without a license.)

The Venice Survival Committee, the Venice Defense Committee, the Free Venice Committee, the Free Venice Beachhead - but wait, this is about culture ad here I go talking about drugs, politics and raids on hippies and I'll probably whine about low-income housing, the so-called Feminist Community, the "New Jews", Old Jews, why I feel a grudge against certain groups of people who say that other groups of people have a right to shoot me as I walk up West Washington Blvd. to the Venice Town Council, because as certain people say, I am walking on someone else's turf. I no longer walk to the Town Council meetings. I no longer go to the Town Council meetings.

How it used to be with that most marvelous of grass roots organizers John Haag.

But I'm supposed to be talking about culture - I'm supposed to be organizing a show about Venice Culture from the late '50s to I guess the edge of the '70s but I can't separate art from politics. Let me go back to coaxing my Dittany to coexist with my Corsican Mist, and to deciding what color I should throw over my couch that I scavenged from Wavecrest Court.

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, while renters were barred from entering by Marshalls? Or will the leave early to sip their nice little wine in their reconverted apartment houses that they own with several nice neo-Marxists and talk about Tehran and talk about my narrow view? Or will folks find it vastly entertaining, have a toot of some nose candy, or toke some Mendocino Sens? ("A nice little bud - unassuming at first, smells a little resiny but more than one toke and you won't be able to rollerskate to Roberts.")

Will ANYBODY be able to take more than three I told you so's per hour? Will I be able to hold myself down to less than 5 "I told you so's" per hour?

How about some tales about the Honda Babies - Jane and Tome. Or a few anecdotes about some refugees from Berkeley who tried to make Venice go by the Marxist book. Perhaps a better title would be "Washing the Dirty Linen."

Oh, Oh! I know. How about the First Canal Festival and the Canal Festival Funeral?

And the war on the bongo players and Venice West and how it closed. And how Rick Davidson got beaten by the cops and asked some very interesting questions - or what meeting was City Planner Calvin Hamilton told "Bullshit!"?

How about a few memories about the First Woody Guthrie Revival - and how about Sylvia 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? Maybe I'll tell, maybe I won't. Depends on the stars.

A sweet memory of the Independence Day Parade that was neve a biased history of the Venice Pavilion and how Councilman Rundberg made a pile and skipped the country?

Hell, people have been saying April 4 Sat. 7:30 p.m. is gonna be MY show - so, if the moon is in proper conjunction with my planets (remember in the late '60s the opening gambit to every conversation or pickup was "What sign are you"?) It promises to be spicier than the National Enquirer with singing.

No, my Venice will not deal with Abbot Kinney (except for a few quotes) or the gambling ships or the Dragon Ride or any postcard reprint history. Venice U.S.A., an organization that I admire for its efforts to preserve the early history of Venice, but feel impelled to castigate for its purely Chamber of Commerce view of Venice, does that very well.

No my history is the time of two synagogues on the Ocean Front Walk, the destruction of the Gas House by the City of Los Angeles, when the only men who wore beards were Poets, Rabbis or men who had no money for razors. It's the Venice of the steely gray rainy days when people sloshed through mud puddles, the Venice where people who had long hair were stopped and searched by the police. The whys and wherefores of bugging of shutter bugs and other psychic rip-offs.

The Venice people who dealt with cockroaches with more compassion than the Venice Beach Association deals with people. The Venetian art and necessity of holding grudges, the times when the St. Charles rented apartments for $60 a month and how Tony Bill bought the Marco Building and how longtime residents were forced to relocate. And how Tony Bill, a few years later, in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times lamented the demise of the vigorous diversity of Venice, and only the same kind of people come down to Venice - White, Bright and Uptight - famous landmarks that Venice USA will never show on its tours. I promise a personal history told by people who lived it and to whom attention must be paid. This will not be a walk or a jog or a skate down memory lane.

I am not going to sell "Collectibles" of memory. I'm going to try to get you to feel the times before Venice became "hot". I'm going to try without the help of CETA or a magic carpet to show you why I still love this still tacky town.

It's gonna be my show with my selective and biased memories, and with Anna and Silvia, a magical show.

It's my life I'm talking about, Mr. City Planner, Ms. Real Estate agent, my experiences, Mr. and Ms. Political Theorist! I'm going to be showing the privates the cannon fodder in the war against the colonialization of Venice, because what was accomplished was not just accompanied by LEADERS leading the MASSES. The fight for low income housing started a long time before CED and the Venice Town Council Coastal Committee, and it was conceived by a bunch of diverse people with divergent views, and like all Venetians, contentious and opinionated as all get out. So I'm going to give and take credit where credit is due.

I find I'm going to be doing or demonstrating art after all: the fine Venetian Art of Survival and nonviolent urban Guerrilla Warfare.

 

 

 

Paradise Lost
May 1981 #137

To the BeachHead -

Well, I haven't wrote a letter for a long time, so I am going to tell you the story of the Venice I knew and know.

I remember when I came twenty six years ago, Venice was a quaint little city by the sea. I remember the street car tracks were still on Pacific Ave. The Security Pacific Bank was on the corner, where the flea market is, and it looked like a bank in a western movie, all made of wood. Next door was Safeway. Across the street on the corner was the Pup - further down was the 49'er, a bar, variety store, dress shop & jewelry, & a shoe store. Then the liquor store, before that the Bamboo Hut. You could have a good time in the Bamboo Hut; it was family owned - they really made you feel at home. Xmas time there was a Xmas parade, with Santa and his horses, they used horses, and Santa's helper was a little girl, who is quite a big girl now. We would go in the Bamboo Hut, drinks for the grownups and toys for the children. Venture Inn, Town House, and the Bamboo Hut had free buffets New Years and most other holidays.

You could get a hamburger & fries for 50 cents at the Bamboo Hut. $1.50 for a steak dinner with all the trimmings etc. Husbands & wives would meet at the Bamboo Hut and for $6.00 a couple and all the beer we could drink, we would board a chartered bus and go to the ball game. Come back to a buffet dinner. Those were the days. 49'er bar moved across the street and became the Town House. Gus owned it. He still tends bar on Mondays at the Town House, he owned the Town House then. He can tell you about Venice. I sure remember John Hamilton. He sure was a nice man with his toothless grin and his 20 cent glass of wine. The St. Charles Hotel. and then the liquor store, another hotel, the dime store, & then of all places the beatnik hotel, what a place. No problems, everyone seemed to get along.

Corner of Pacific and Westminster was a Mom& Pop grocery. Where the dress shop is on Westminster & Speedway, another little market. I lived at 20 Westminster, lived there when my baby was born twenty-three years ago. People were on the boardwalk then night and day like they are now on Sat. and Sunday. I used to work at the Lafayette, then I moved on to work at Luckey's in P.O.P. Rents were $55 to $65 a mo. I had a one bedroom house on Brooks Ave. for $65 - gas bill was about $4 a mo. and lights $10 for 2 mo. You could carry four bags of groceries home for $20, now you can't get one bag for that. A bottle of coke for 5 cents. So much fun riding the tram for 10-15 cents to Santa Monica. My husband worked nights, I would take my baby for a walk sometimes at 1:00 in the morning, you could sleep with your door open. The P.O.P. was so nice to go to. Hot dog stands, little shops, hotels, etc. Things to do and places to go without fear. The elderly people sit on the beach till 2 o'clock in the morning, there was no fear of getting mugged. You really did not hear so much of rape and robbery as I recall. There were more jobs here then. Little factories on Main Street, I worked in one for Mattel. And the Boom, everything went to hell- They started tearing Windward Ave. down. Moved the Safeway across from the post office, the bank where the Safeway was. Only thing left that's running from the old days is Town House, post office, Vals Drugs, St. Charles, and the liquor store at the end of Windward and Speedway. I guess a few more strewn around, but that's what's left on Windward. Then they started in P.O.P. and all the houses started going right on down to Windward. The poor old people that sat on the benches are gone, so are the homes sold out from under them. Oh! They were paid for them, but who pays for the memories? You could have all the furniture you could carry from those places free, before they tore them down. How sad, some of the lots are still empty and that's been 19 years ago they started to tear them down. And then I remember the rents started to climb then. I furnished me a two bedroom apt. 17 years ago with the free furniture and my rent was $75, and they are still climbing. So that's a short story of Venice and its downfall. Venice went when they uprooted families and their homes. People moved on to who knows where. I know some of those poor old souls are dead and I know they must of really enjoyed sitting on those benches as much as I do now. It's really sad to see so many empty places. Especially along the boardwalk. The boardwalk is the heart of Venice, and to look at it now, nothing really there but good old memories. Pacific Avenue used to be called Trolley Way.

So now we got the Doug Chrismases and the Lance Robbins, etc. So what if he can paper his walls with bad checks, some people don't even have a wall. It's people like them that's breeding crime here in Venice, because people don't even have a wall. How about the down and out people in Venice. It's starting all over again like 19 years ago, they aren't tearing down buildings, they're tearing the hearts out of people and the greedy landlords are driving people to frustrations that are causing muggings, robberies, etc.

Take Charmers Market, for example. I am surprised he don't charge a cover charge to get in there. I went in there - lamb chops $7.95 lb., Pork chops $7.95 lb., lamb 4.00 a lb. He ought to have a swift hoof in the pants for those prices. And I noticed $3.95 for some kind of a root, and his pasty prices are outrages. If he thinks I'm going to get a sweet tooth over that, he's got a hole in his doughnut. Well, Beachhead, hang in there. We've still got Venice. We first got to stand together and fight and take care of her - him - it.

Please withhold my name. I have to get a money order for my rent.

Getting Away with Murder
by N. Petrova#138 June 1981

I am writing to see if we can't get a little more notice towards what is happening along the boardwalk. I am sick at what is happening. Some people are taking over the pagodas and benches. You just can't sit in the pagodas any more.

Sometimes when I have been shopping and I have been walking, I like to sit down and relax. There is no such word as relaxing. You have to be on your toes for flying bottles, or some of the derelicts urinating on you. They do not care where they do their toilet. Why don't they put some of those derelicts to work on the beach? Most of them are getting SSI. I know because I see them with their checks. They use phony i.d.s and addresses. This one young guy, as do the others, hang out in the pagoda at Breeze Ave.

On the first of the month there is a lot of money flowing there and it goes for beer. Twice that had so many beer bottles lined up in the pagoda they were trying to line the whole wall, so that they could get a case of free beer from the store at Brooks Ave. Anything to make a buck, while the innocent old people are at their mercy, afraid to walk by them places.

I know their names but you can't say anything because who wants a knife in the gut. Sometimes I sit on the bench past the pagoda and watch, and you'd be surprised at what they do. One certain derelict does the pan handling, and he really goes after the people anything less than a threat to get the buck for a quart of beer. I sat in the pagoda last week on Breeze because it was pretty well empty, but all of a sudden they stated to come. I saw a nicely clean dressed man come in there, and he and this certain bum was behind me. He bought dope from the bum. I seen it. I can point to any number of the ones that are mainlining the dope in the pagoda. But I keep my eyes open and my mouth shut.

Sunday the 26th I was down that way, and the girls are as bad as the men. A nice young man came into the pagoda and was talking and passing out papers when this girl started on him! Well, he got mad and told everybody that could hear that all they do is sit on their asses and drink beer, litter the beach, and irritate the people. That did it. This girl his him. They kicked him and threw his papers all over. He talked to the police; nothing was done.

But when the police left - they threatened him, one spit on him. So when I got a chance, when they didn't see me, I asked the policeman why they get away with what they do. Well, we tell him to not go in there, to stay away, so in other words, that's their pagoda. You hardly see the police anywhere - sometimes once a day. I know who is doing the vandalism. I know who - the biggest thieves on the beach are. I pointed one of them out to the police. He had two cases of wine, selling it. He also went in a friend of mine's garage and took his oil paintings and was selling them for $10 apiece on Rose Ave. Sometimes on my way home I have to use the bathroom, but I am afraid to go in there because my friend had a knife pulled on her, but also one of the bums beat a black girl up in the women's restroom. He enticed her in there with a bottle of wine, broke her nose, her arm, all short of killing her. But he is still there. And its going to be there because there is too much slack in the system.

One's that really needs help don't get it. I was robbed where I live. I know who did it, but I keep my mouth shut because it will do no good. Well, I could go on but that will give you an idea. Thanks.


Free Venice - Myth or Reality
by Rick Davidson
September 1981 #141

The slogan "FREE VENICE" first appeared on a Peace & Freedom button designed by John Haag. It was conceived to raise the issue of community control, symbolize the colonial relationship between Los Angeles and Venice, and express many people's desire to be free of L.A.

John used the slogan in his race for State Senate in 1968, the first election Peace & Freedom participated in as a legal 3rd party in California. Thus the birth of Free Venice is tied directly to the birth of the Peace & Freedom Party.

The name Peace & Freedom was selected to express our demand for peace in Indochina and freedom for oppressed peoples here at home.

Using the electoral process was putting into practice our desire to move beyond rallies and marches and carry the issues of War and Racism into the neighborhoods. Most of us were beginning to realize that in order to accomplish "peace & freedom" for everyone, a major change in the structure of American society would be required. We hoped to begin that change within ourselves in our own communities.

Local Community Politics

Venice activists in the Peace & Civil Rights movements were also active in local community politics - street politics if you will. John and Anna Haag used their Venice West coffee house to muster support for a local outpost of the ACLU in an attempt to keep in check the LAPD; a similar effort by Bob Castile was set up in back of Oakwood Wesley House; Venice activists precipitated Councilman Rumberg's political downfall; the Black community of Oakwood brought a halt to the City Code Enforcement that was destroying Venice (25% of the Ocean Front was torn down); Morrie Rosen waged a valiant effort to awaken us all to the disaster confronting Venice's elderly; Don Wright and Lynn Williams with the help of Vista Volunteers exposed the racism and inadequacies of the L.A. School Board; Ray Martinez and "Chino" Melgoza created BALA mirroring the fine anti-war work going on in East L.A.; Vermont McKinney, Sally Leffall and Addie Edwards with many others organized to keep Venice together.

Our experience in community politics convinced us in P&F that in order to take the issues of the War and Racism into our neighborhoods we had to connect them with the struggle (war) in progress in Venice. It was in this context that the slogan "FREE VENICE" emerged as an active force in the community.

The Free Venice Organizing Committee (FVOC) was officially created at a major anti-freeway meeting at the Broadway Elementary School Jan. 9, 1969. Venice had always been noted for its many community groups; it was our hope that this new organization would retain the wide cross-section of the community attending that meeting. The freeway was stopped and FREE VENICE took form, but having grown out of the peace & Freedom Party, its image remained white-left-radical. Still, the new organization grew, developing many successful projects. It became a major force in fighting the Venice canal Redevelopment Project and the Venice Master Plan. These two plans were the City's hope of transforming Venice of America into a Miami Beach on the West Coast...at the expense of the local residents, of course.

FREE VENICE shared the P&F office at 1727 W. Washington Blvd. thanks to Earl Newman. Most of us wore 2 hats. We didn't separate the politics, we did divide the work. From the beginning we felt that food for the stomach and food for the mind were essential needs in the community. So we created the Beachhead newspaper and the Free Venice Food Co-op. The newspaper was housed in the office, but we made sure that the Co-op functioned elsewhere. Key people like Marvena Kennedy and Milton Takei maintained the politics. In Venice, protection from the LAPD was also essential; so we created the Venice Defense Committee thanks to Steve Clare and Judy Goldberg with the help of Marge Buckley and the lawyers and staff of the Neighborhood Legal Services. Venice being known for its art community, the Free Venice Art Festival was an on-going art-political event on the Ocean Front Walk thanks to Ken Havens and Anna Haag. A typical Venice contradiction saw Werner Scharff, one of the heavies in the speculating department, let us use one of his many lots along the Ocean Front - "as long as it wasn't political." Anna was in charge and everything was cool. Mr. Scharff loved anything Italian. It was on Scharff's lot that the San Francisco Mime Troupe first played in Venice. They marched up from the ocean in a light rain, set up their stage and performed to a soaked but appreciative audience. It was love at first laugh, a beautiful experience for everyone, except Mr. Scharff. JAYA, a women's art collective, added to the growing culture of resistance.

Idealism was our strength, but we didn't want it to cloud a working class perspective. In an effort to unite work, community and politics, a Free Venice Carpentry Collective was formed. Only a few projects emerged; an addition for Jane Fonda and mock tiger cages used at anti-war demonstrations.

We had waged a long struggle to allow local performers use of the Pavilion. Time was ripe to take it over. George Geller (Gelernter) an infamous actor from Hollywood and our own infamous actress, Carol Fondiller, joined in an un-holy alliance and created the Venice Free Theatre. Typical of the "left," it was not long before we had Venice Free Theatre I & II. How prolific the "left" can be at times.

The Wars Won't Go Away!!

Fun was fun, but the War in Indochina refused to go away, nor did the LAPD give Venice any rest. To pinpoint the reality that the War in Indochina and the war in Venice were being waged by the same generals, FREE VENICE and the Peace & Freedom Party planned a joint march through the community concluding with a rally in Westminster Park. The final leg of the "Short March" was down the Ocean Front Walk. The American Nazi Party got wind of our plans and informed us that they would disrupt them. As our march turned onto the Ocean Front at Rose Ave. a platoon of fully uniformed Nazis turned onto the Ocean Front at Westminster. The LAPD was in the middle not knowing what to do. They ended up keeping us separated as we passed one another. We finished our march and rally looking over our shoulders as we developed some bizarre contingency plans. The saddest part of the day was that the uniforms evoked many of the horrors of Nazi Germany for many of our Jewish elderly who had experienced them first hand.

Events moved so fast in the late '60s that we seldom had time to plan, only react. In 1969 Councilman Timberlake resigned. A special election was called for the 6th District of which Venice represents about 20%. At the time John Haag, Jane Gordon and I were the fulltime organizers for P&F/FV. We decided that it would be worth our effort to use this special election to build the two budding organizations. We felt it would make a good platform from which to talk about the War, Racism, Peace & Freedom, FREE VENICE, and what L.A. was doing to Venice. We also felt mounting a serious campaign would expand our perspective, got more people involved and generate needed funds to help pay the office overhead. We were not thinking in terms of "winning," but in terms of raising real issues affecting the residents of the 6th District and of offering real solutions to the problems.

Not seeing any volunteers, we had to look to ourselves. With John and Jane functioning as a unit, it was decided by a two-to-one vote that I should be the candidate. We divided the work -I would design the campaign and concentrate on the District outside Venice, John and Jane would take care of Venice. George Geller, my ol' partner from our theater days, jumped in as campaign manager; Bob Wells moved back from Hollywood and freelance writing to help define and articulate the issues; Larry Johnson, a dropout public defender, gave us legal advice.

Bob Martin, my ex-brother-in-law, took on the task of organizing high school students, and many more joined in for all the work required to run a campaign. With only a few hundred dollars to spend, obviously the point was not to win, but to educate.

We got a thousand votes, spending about $900 dollars. Pat Russell won with 7,000 votes, spending $25,000. An important pay-off for us was a deeper understanding of Venice's problems, a clearer appreciation of the forces against us and a more realistic view of the required solutions.

Big Plans for Venice Stopped

FREE VENICE was active 24 hours a day it seemed, but for all the many activities generated out of the P&F/FV office, it was the work in response to the City's Canal Project and the Venice Master Plan that defined the local struggle. It required a massive effort on everyone's part to keep up with events. This was compounded by the fact that the 2 projects were at different levels of the City's bureaucracy. The Canal Project had passed through all the various departments, commissions, committees, and was scheduled before the full City Council. While the Venice Plan was just beginning with a public hearing at the Planning Commission. This meant that we had to organize bus and car loads, usually 300 people plus, several times a week, to get to downtown L.A. With delays and postponements (always after we got downtown) the process was endless.

The 2 projects required different strategies. The Canal Project was relatively simple; delay, delay, delay. Time would cost the City the project. As it turned out it was the City's arrogance and stupidity that gave us our first delay. A scheduled "public" hearing on March 27, 1969 to hear opposition to the Canal Project closed its doors to tenants. Two LAPD officers barred the doors to City Hall refusing to let anyone in who wasn't a property owner. A law suit was filed on behalf of those unlawfully barred and FREE VENICE had its first delay.

This gave us time to organize. Eventually the Canal Assessment District (a way of funding City projects) was passed, 13-0! The project was sent out for bids, but there were no bids. Several factors accounted for this happy surprise; our united and vocal opposition, the law suit and the difficulty expected in selling bonds to finance the construction. The fact that not one bid came in on such a large project had a conspiratorial ring to it. And all Venice loves a conspiracy.

The final struggle ended up in the courts where FREE VENICE, represented by Neighborhood Legal Services, and Howard Hughes both filed against the project. And that's where it stands until this day.

Strategy around the Venice Master Plan was more complex. FREE VENICE's first task was to convince other community groups what the plan was really all about. This we had learned first hand a few years earlier from Kurt Simon, Scharff's sidekick. Unsatisfied with the City's efforts to plan Venice in the mid-1960s, Mr. Simon had graduate students from Cal Poly Pomona spend a summer in Venice designing his dream city - Profitville USA. It was in these plans that he first articulated the importance of a freeway through Venice i.e. to wall off the Black and Brown communities from the Ocean Front. About this time the US government announced that cities that didn't develop a master plan would lose their federal funds. L.A.'s planner, Calvin Hamilton, immediately went to work. His approach was to create a series of local community plans, put them all together and call it L.A. Since Mr. Simon already had one started for Venice, it seemed logical to begin with a Venice Community Plan. That was the second major mistake L.A. made. FREE VENICE took advantage of it.

Our strategy was to create a Venice-wide coalition with each organization analyzing the City's plan and developing arguments as to why the plan didn't serve their community. The process was good and brought the various community groups closer than they had ever been. Meetings at City Hall outdid anything produced in Hollywood. It was pure theater, but with heart and soul. But we became too bureaucratic which, combined with the legal talk in connection with the projects, killed the spirit that held us together.

We were realistic enough to know that we couldn't "beat city hall" and were only buying time. Some of us are still here, but many have been forced from the community they loved. Most of us felt and still feel that nothing less than a socialist transformation of our society will allow the Venices of America to exist in peace. Our direct connection with the Anti-War Movement kept this reality clear in our minds.

FREE VENICE, Everywhere!

A by-product of fighting the two major City projects was the development of many mini-support projects; The Community House with its Ecology Action Center, Community Switchboard, Family Gatherings and playground, all beautifully explained in Mike Clare's article in the 100th Issue of the Beachhead. We rebuilt sidewalks the City had neglected since they annexed Venice in 1925. Boardwalks, parks, and more parks were built with loving hands and sharing hearts. And each summer was concluded with the Canal Festival, an event where the community turned near defeat into victory.

The list of law suits is long, spanning the legal spectrum from humorous to horrendous. A book could be written on them alone.

In between doing good community work FREE VENICE activists were everywhere. Steve Clare and Elizabeth Elder organized Hawaii for Peace & Freedom; John Haag and Jane Gordon toured the US in a similar effort; Jane went on to Paris to deliver the "people to people Peace Agreement." Bob Wells put together the Free Venice Indochina Peace Campaign; as Marge Buckley and I took the Indochina slideshow to St. Louis, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Miami Beach (the Republicans were conventioning there.) One would think that so much diverse activity would have drained us, but no. The details reinforced the whole as the whole gave meaning to the details. Greater understanding made sense our of chaos... activity created more energy with which to create more activity.... as people like Bea Free helped us maintain a human concern, which served to hold us together, creating a culture of resistance that is the Venice Myth. I call it political synergy - where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

This period of the late 60s and early 70s also served to develop our politics. Yes, we had been active in community politics for a long time, but that's about as far as we developed. The cross-fertilization between community work and Anti-War activity moved us to an anti-imperialist perspective. Politically this was a qualitative step forward.

The continuing of the War and America's seemingly unlimited destructive power and its will to use it took its toll psychologically. Political divisions began to emerge. Some FREE VENICE activists began to move further "left" while others "stayed behind." The Free Venice Organizing Committee became just Free Venice. Then there was the Free Venice Resistance. And there was a Free Venice Socialist Collective. And finally some of us created the Provisional Prairie Fire Committee in an effort to complement aboveground what we understood to be developing underground by the Weatherpeople.

Modern Times, Almost

The time is now 1973 and Councilwoman Pat Russell, the winner of the special election, created an advisory Venice Town Council. We had just begun thinking about reviving ol' FREE VENICE. The idea of the Town Council was so similar to the idea of community congresses that we developed during my campaign that we decided to leave FREE VENICE on the shelf. We urged everyone to participate and support the Venice Town Council. The Town Council with its Coastal Committee, Tax Revolt Committee, Renters League etc. is a story unto itself.

The Myth of FREE VENICE has been its unending energy to struggle for the rights of people. The energy is still alive and working in the Beachhead, the Coastal Committee, and is even being transplanted to such exotic places as Mendocino, Ft. Bragg, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oregon and Hawaii. The Myth is alive and well! So remember:
FREE VENICE TODAY! TOMORROW BURBANK!
Burbank??


Zendik: the teachings of Ecolibrium Communalism
November 1981 #143

Their ritual invocations are sung, chanted and spoken to effect a restraint upon those whom they term Cosmic Criminals - those whom they see as the Spoilers of Earth's environment and the destroyers of wildlife - and to help protect all peoples from the ever-increasing horror of a poisoned, polluted environment.

Wulf Zendik, the group's thaumaturgist leader, designs and builds many of the instruments. The lead electric instrument, the Itar, was developed over a period of many years. It has eight strings, combines Eastern and Western sounds and is also used to accompany the chants and canta-poetry. Other instruments include the Bassura, electric Icono drums, Improflutes and pipes, amplified steel drums, the Space Organ, Reed Horn, Karmonic Gongs, and the Seetar, an electric guitar of Wulf's design.

Their magazine, Zendik, is on sale locally at Small World Books, Co-opportunity, outside One Life Foods. The group's home base is in the desert and anyone interested and/or knowledgeable in alternative energy forms such as solar, wind, alternative gardening methods and into a communal farm life-style is invited to come and speak to the group about the possibility of living and working at their farm. Come and talk to Arol in the yellow or purple bus.

The buses parked at Breeze Court and the Boardwalk belong to the Zendik Church, a pantheistic church that preaches and teaches the doctrines of Ecolibrium (Eco-balance), Cosmic Morality and Cosmic Responsibility - a new Metaphysics for Survival. Zendik is a religio/activist/philosophic movement that seeks to achieve a lasting sustainment of Life on Earth for ourselves, our descendant and our fellow creatures. The Zendik philosophy takes the reverence which heretofore has been applied only to scriptural concepts and places it upon the firm here-and-now, upon Earth and all its life and all its elements.

On weekends Zendik can be seen on the boardwalk playing their unique music which is improvised upon a Raga theme and is an exotic synthesis of many music forms and sounds of nature and was composed to function within a meditative Sorceric Ritual. Zendik Concert Rituals of magic music, chants and cantas are performed to raise a cone of occult power aimed to bring about a higher organic consciousness, a Cosmic Morality, and direct this new energy towards the salvation of "our dying world" and all its creatures and natural elements.


(Untitled history)
by Arnold Springer

When, in 1916, Venice held its 5th annual Bathing Suit Parade, there was such a storm of moral outrage and protest from church and homeowner groups that the city fathers promised not to hold another.

But in the spring of 1917 the temptation became too great. Business interests of Windward Ave. and Ocean Front needed the monies earned by the event so they re-introduced the idea and applied for a city permit.

The Bay Ministerial Union headed in Venice by the Rev. Fenwicke Holmes of Union Congregational, blustered and threatened. There was a municipal ordinance, they said, which prohibited any person to appear on the Walk or any Venice street in a bathing suit. It was therefore against the law to stage the contest.

Well, said the Trustees, then the women would ride in automobiles. Holmes warned that if the city continued catering to 'pioneer forms of amusement' he would secure a court injunction.

The Trustees called the reverend's bluff, granted a permit for a bathing suit parade, and offered $250 in prizes. It was announced that the Mack Sennett Keystone Co. would enter 25 of their beautiful girls, Universal City would be represented "by 20 of their cleverest and daintiest", the New York Motion Picture Co. and the Horsley Studio, last year's winner, would also enter their stars. But any southern California woman could enter the parade and present her own suit.

Two days before the event Rev. Holmes announced he would not go to court, and in fact that he was giving up his congregation instead to attend Andover Theological Seminary. The Trustees promised to conduct a decorous event.

More than 100,000 visitors spent over $150,000 that weekend in Venice to see "about 100 "naiads" display "the latest creations in surf costumes. In more ways than one it was the greatest day that Venice has seen since the Atlantic Fleet came around the Horn. The crowd was the largest of the season, the parade was the longest, and the bathing suits were the most artistic that the annual parade has thus far presented. And the girls too (there were several Venetian moving picture maidens among them) were more beautiful than ever."

Commenting on the parade a Los Angeles paper noted that "there was an absence of one piece suits. There were a few dimpled heavyweights in the line of loveliness and a few "slivers" who might have appeared to better advantage clothed for an Alaskan climate or an ascent of the Alps, but these were few and kept to the background so faithfully that they failed to detract from the dazzling ensemble of the great bouquet of American beauties that was motorized through Venice streets and out to the end of the pier." "So dense was the crowd along the line of the parade and afterward that when the judges knit their brows to decide the winners, thousands only got a fleeting glimpse of the young women who were conveyed through the streets in 41 Overland automobiles."

"Parking was at a premium within half a mile of Windward Ave. By noon late arrivals found it necessary to stand their machines as far south as the outskirts of Playa del Rey and as far east as the City Hall. The stars and stripes, the red cross, red-white-and blue suits, and the colors of the Entente allies (but not of Germany) were visible everywhere in the natty, close fitting suits which predominated in the review. Judging from the suits worn yesterday, ladies surf attire this year will be more of the practical than the too modest kind, for though not too forward the composite bathing suit was of popular American colors, or black and white, either knitted wool or silk, with a natty pair of short socks, also colored, and a miniature parasol to match.

First prize winners were: Mary Thurman of the Keystone Co. in an electric blue and white sailor suit with a parasol to match; Priscilla Dean of Universal Film in a modest white and black silk suit; Jessie Hallet, New York Motion Picture Co., the "red cross"girl, in red and white silk, mounted on a pure white horse.

Two weeks later the Venice Trustees passed a new, "stricter" bathing suit ordinance which made it "unlawful for any person to appear on the streets, alleys or sidewalks of Venice...attired in a bathing costume uncovered by a bathrobe or other garment," unless that is, they had a permit from the Board of Trustees!

 

 

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