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Yo! Venice 2015 Year-In-Review

As 2015 draws to a close, so too will the doors of family-owned La Fiesta Brava. Eviction notice served, the much-loved Venice favorite is days away from shutting up shop and saying goodbye to the space it has occupied for more than 20 years.

It has been the year’s David and Goliath battle, a small, family-owned business fighting for survival against a wave of change that washes through the streets of Venice. However, in this tale it appears the giant G-word may be the victor: Gentrification. It has been the buzzword for the year and La Fiesta Brava, Venice’s beloved Mexican hole-in-the-wall, became a poster-child for those against the inundation of new, up-market developments, and restaurants in Venice.

Silicon Beach was another buzzword that made locals’ skin crawl but not as much as Snapchat. Venice’s controversial neighbor moved in with the tech boom and was blamed with raising property prices after the company’s rapid growth led to them snapping up real estate throughout Venice from the Boardwalk up towards Abbot Kinney. Its Market Street takeover led to the end of an era for local go-to sports bar Nikki’s and left local homeless youth organization, the Venice PAD, without a home.

Whether it was Snapchat alone affecting property values in Venice, 2015 will go down as a year of record prices.While everyone loved Hal’s Bar & Grill, did anyone think that someone would love the building that had been home to the Abbot Kinney restaurant that was more a Venice institution for nearly 30 years, so much that they’d pay $44,750,000 for it?

The sale price was more than double the amount paid by the previous owners, when just two years prior, on June 14, 2013, DCA Abbott Kinney LLC paid $20,000,200 for the property parcel.
As the countdown to Hal’s final days approached locals flocked to say goodbye, reminiscing over a 30-year history that included visits from Sammy Davis, Jr. and Aretha Franklin, first dates, and wedding proposals.

“We were getting calls on the phone with people in tears. We had people calling crying ‘I met my husband,’ ‘I met my wife, she was sitting on booth 11,’ ‘I was sitting on booth nine and we saw each other 28 years ago,’” said Don Novak, co-owner of the restaurant.
The New Year will see Hal’s reopen in a new  4,700-square-foot space at the new Runway Playa Vista shopping mall.
Another one of the Abbot Kinney OG’s, that looked as if it would close in 2015, was Wabi Sabi. Word was the building’s new owner wanted $45,000 a month for the rent but was happy to have the sushi restaurant stay until a new tenant could be found. With the end of the year only days away, and Wabi Sabi still around, whether Abbot Kinney Blvd. will continue to command this year’s high rents in 2016 remains to be seen. Could it be we start to see a cool down on the coolest block in America?
High property prices have not been exclusive to commercial real estate. Residential property values have skyrocketed as demand for Venice grew. In fact, 2015 seems to be the year that everyone wanted to be here, from tech startups, to fancy clothing stores, to more homeless than ever before, to Airbnb.
Not just in Venice, but across Los Angeles, 2015 has seen not just a homeless crisis, but also a housing crisis. Many believe the housing crisis has been exacerbated by a proliferation of short term rentals throughout areas of Los Angeles, but no more so than Venice Beach.
This year, one Venice resident experienced her street so over run with short term rentals that a maid service was seen wheeling a housekeeping cart up and down a walk street.
In April, a group of more than 100 people took to the streets to rally against the large number of residential properties being used as short term rentals throughout Venice.

According to web site InsideAirbnb.com, there are 1,540 properties in Venice listed on Airbnb, 1,207 are entire homes or apartments, only 333 are the true, shared homes that Airbnb claims is the majority if properties on its home-sharing site. There are more properties used solely for Airbnb in Venice than in Hollywood where insideairbnb.com lists 1,176 short term rentals.

Keep Neighborhoods First, born out of Venice, has now expanded throughout Los Angeles. The group says that while they believe in true home-sharing, they are against taking residential accommodation off the market to use as full-time, short-term rentals.

Speaking with KCRW’s Warren Olney on Which Way, LA?, earlier this year, Councilman Mike Bonin said, “My top priority is the affordable housing situation, it is a crisis, and it’s absolutely outrageous. What started as a sharing economy, a good way to visit somewhere, I use VRBO, Airbnb when I travel generally, has morphed into something else where we have a lot of commercial operators, real estate speculators and de-facto hotels that are really ripping dozens and dozens, if not hundreds and hundreds of rental units out of our market and we have to stop that.”

While the current housing crisis could be the reason Venice faces a homeless crisis a walk down Ocean Front Walk reveals the problem is far more complex than simply finding a homeless person a house to live in.

With the City of Los Angeles having ramped up its sanitation sweeps to a weekly routine, each Friday morning Ocean Front Walk looks like the scene of an Ebola scare as City workers in hazmat suits clear the Boardwalk.

“It was never meant to be like this,” says Mark Ryavec from the Venice Stakeholders Association. “It’s marginally effective in removing the junk, but it’s light years from what it was supposed to do. It was supposed to stop people from camping in the park.”

In October, the Venice Stakeholders Association filed a lawsuit accusing Los Angeles city officials of neglecting plethora of problems the group links to transients who camp overnight at the beach and on Ocean front Walk.

It would not be surprising if Venice cafe owner, Clabe Hartley, announced a plan to take up criminal law studies in 2016. This summer he served an intense internship into assault related crimes falling victim to not one, but two attacks by violent vagrants.

In March, 31-year-old Jonathan Lemons pleaded not guilty to biting off Hartley’s fingertip after an altercation blew up between the two men outside Hartley’s Cow’s End cafe on Washington Blvd.

Cafe patrons had helped stop the attack. Venice local Kelly Ott, who used to work as Chuck Norris’ stunt man, said “He was clawing at Clabe’s eyes. I got him in a hold from behind and then everyone, the man, Clabe, and I fell to the ground.” This is when Ott noticed blood all over his arms, he looked up to see “blood spurting out of Clabe’s finger,” which could not be reattached.

More recently, in September, Hartley was attacked again by a transient. Mark Scanlan had been harassing customers. After a confrontation with Hartley, where Scanlan is said to have threatened to kill Hartley, Scanlan left only to return, rushing at Hartley with a cafe chair. This time Hartley kept his remaining fingers but ended up with five staples to his head.

“I don’t want to confuse people like this,” said Hartley of his attackers, “do not confuse them with truly needy homeless people. It is our obligation as a civilized society to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. We have a responsibility to help those who want to help themselves.”

There has been an influx of homeless to Venice who call themselves “travellers.” They come, sometimes for only a couple of weeks. Drawn to a Hippie-like existence that most often involves drugs, alcohol, and camping on the grassed areas along Ocean Front Walk.
These “travellers,” more transient than the core group of Venice homeless, do not appear invested in the Venice community. It is not just the house population and business owners in Venice, but also the long-time local homeless who are uncomfortable with the increase in travellers.

Long-time homeless man known around Venice as “Buddah” said he prefers the term “housing challenged.” He spends his days on a grassed area in front of Ocean Front Walk at Horizon Ave.

“They confuse me with that dude ranting and raving outside that window at three in the morning. I’m not that. I’m the guy that comes and takes that guy, escorts him to the alley, and sees him on his way. I don’t want that to reflect back on me. That’s the respect of the neighborhood,” Buddah said.

Two of these homeless travelers fell victims to a tide of violence that has risen on the Boardwalk. Violence that included the vicious attack of a young woman who was beaten over the head by a man with a skateboard.

Late on the night of Cinco de Mayo, Brendon Glenn was shot by police outside Townhouse on Windward Ave., a report said he had been harassing patrons at the bar. After viewing surveillance video of the shooting, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck raised questions about the need for deadly force.

According to Tim Pardue, manager of the Venice PAD, Glenn who was from Upstate New York had called his mother that morning asking to come home. He was upset after his mother suggested he was better off in Venice away from a crowd of friends back East who had been a bad influence on him.

A friend of Glenn’s said he had been drinking whiskey with Glenn that morning and Glenn had been upset that he could not go home.
Months later, Jascent Warren, was gunned down shortly after 2 am on Aug. 30 outside the Cadillac Hotel on Dudley Ave. A second person survived after being shot in the leg. The shooter fled the scene.

Hotel owner Sris Sinnathamby who had been dining at a nearby restaurant, The Dudley Market, had come outside to help deal with an altercation between a group of homeless and hotel security. He ended up being arrested and charged with one count of murder after friends of Warren told police Sinnathamby had ordered the shooting.

Sources close to Sinnathamby told Yo! Venice that Sinnathamby remained at the scene after the shooting, along with his ex-girlfriend, and a group of employees, and that he was soon turned upon by an angry mob.

Sources said he obtained serious injuries, including a broken eye-socket and has stitches across the entire top of his head.
Weeks later known gang member, Francisco Guzman, 28, was arrested and also charged with murder. The outcome of this trial no doubt will be big news in 2016.

On Sept. 21 Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council members declared that a “state of emergency” exists in Los Angeles because of homelessness and committed $100 million per year to fight it.
In January 2016, Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles will unveil strategies to combat homelessness throughout Los Angeles, including Venice Beach, in what will certainly become one of the ongoing stories of next year.

There is rarely a dull moment in colorful Venice Beach, and in Yo! Venice’s first year as a print newspaper we’ve shared some interesting stories. Here’s a look at some of the top stories from each edition of 2015.

April 3

– On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Yo! Venice founder Bret Haller’s passing on April 9, new owner Mirror Media Group celebrated a milestone in the growth of one of Haller’s life works with the launch of this print version.

-The G2 Gallery, an award-winning nature and wildlife photography space that uses the persuasive power of art to bring awareness to environmental issues, featured a new exhibition “From Snails to Whales,” an underwater photography exhibition from famed photographers Mark Strickland and Chris Huss. The vast exhibit featured under-water images that spanned nearly 40 years of photography and five different oceans areas.

– Cow’s End owner Clabe Hartley had his fingertip bitten off by a transient at his Washington Blvd. business on March 21, further sparking the debate of homelessness issues in Venice.

– Graffiti artist Narrator completed a mural at Great Western Steak and Hoagie Company at 1720 Lincoln Blvd., Venice.

April 17

-The Center for Audio and Visual Engagement, or C.A.V.E. Gallery, presented its latest exhibition of Chad Hasegawa’s “The Beach.” The collection featured variegated paintings of a familiar California idol: the brown bear.

-More than 100 residents took to the streets to protest Airbnb in early April, ending outside the headquarters of property management group Globe Homes and Condos on Electric Avenue who used Airbnb to advertise their portfolio of short-term rentals.

-Lauren Tucker, Kiss the Ground’s Education and Garden Director, invited residents to get involved with its ongoing events at Venice Arts Plaza, 685 Venice Blvd.

– In the film “Alex of Venice” that opened in theaters on April 17, Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and her husband George (director Chris Messina) had marital troubles. Once George decides he wasn’t up to the task of being a stay-at-home parent, he leaves the household and leads Alex on a path to vulnerability and eventual self-discovery.

May 1

– Yo! Venice held its print edition launch party on Thursday, April 23, at the Qart.com gallery at 480 Lincoln Blvd. More than 100 people stopped by between 6 pm and 9 pm to enjoy free beer from Honest Abe Cider, delicious food from Whole Foods, and a selection of wine and liquor.

-Local charity Venice Arts shared how it had been inspiring low-income youth for 22 years, encouraging them to imagine beyond their perceived limitations, opening up a world of opportunity. The organization was started by a group of community members in Venice who wanted a way to connect low-income youth in the community with artists for mentoring and education.

– Don Novak swam through the crowd. He was a man in demand. Hands reached out to catch him as he passed. He smiled all the way, a welcoming host stopping here and there to place a warm hand on a shoulder or ask about a family member. For the co-owner of Hal’s Bar & Grill, it took him all week for him to have a spare moment to talk to Yo! Venice about the spot’s looming closure on Abbot Kinney, so another 15 minutes waiting for him to cross the room was nothing in the whole scheme of things.

-Venice Beach startup Beach Mobile, Inc. exited public beta with the release of BoardwalkTM App 1.1.0 on Friday, April 17. This new version included integration with Apple’s Passbook, allowing users to store coupons easily and businesses to track transactions more efficiently.

May 15

– Drawing from her experiences living in Israel for the past 20 years – seven of which she has spent in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Jaffa – Canadian-born artist Melanie Daniel was gearing up to open a solo exhibit of new paintings at Shulamit Gallery in Venice on May 21.  “Piecemaker” was a striking body of work that reflected Daniel’s negotiation of her own hybrid identity and moments of cultural dislocation.

-After a week of protests, a heated community meeting, and a political storm following the shooting death of 29-year-old homeless man Brendon Glenn on Cinco de Mayo, authorities remained tight-lipped about their ongoing investigation.

-While many Venetians mourned the loss of the businesses along Abbot Kinney that made up the old guard of Venice, like Bountiful and Hal’s, and as these old favorites closed their doors to make way for a slew of high-end chain stores, one woman, Australian actress Peta Wilson, was holding her own on the street as an individual business owner. Wilson is an artist first and her brand Wylie Wilson gives hope that the real Venice is still very much alive on Abbot Kinney.

May 29

-Sandwiched between the boardwalk and the bike trail, the annual Venice Spring Fling music and arts festival returned for the fifth year on Saturday, May 30, with an epic line-up of free music, art, and dance performances. The festival ran from 11 am to 7:30 pm at Windward Plaza Park, 1 Windward Ave.

-Venice musician Jef Joslin launched a charity to help the homeless called LoveTrade, which set out to help “less fortunate brothers and sisters” by providing them with Love Care Packages. Each Love Care Package contained items that Joslin said provided the three basic human needs: mind, body, and soul. These items consisted of hygienic products, grocery store gift cards, and a hope booklet with daily inspirational quotes, among other things.

-It’s approaching 2 am. Juana Martinez’s flight from Mexico arrived at LAX hours ago. Her crisp new passport is in the hands of a doubtful homeland security agent. One can’t blame her skepticism. She knows the telltale signs of a fake passport. Martinez has never traveled to the United States, her passport issued only two days prior contains nothing but stiff new pages and a freshly printed visa. A visa she has earned through her work as an artist. Her visa granted her 20 days in the United States and she came here as one of 19 featured artists in SPARC’s latest exhibition “New Codex: Oax-aca – Immigration and Cultural Memory.”

June 12

-Mexican artist Joaquin Trujillo’s “Mal de Ojo” exhibition opened in Abbot Kinney’s De Soto Gallery in May, showcasing a series of pieces based in Latin American culture, as well as Trujillo’s childhood. Growing up in Mexico, Trujillo nearly died of scarlet fever, leaving him with eye damage he has corrected with various procedures over many years. Because of his sickness, Trujillo was believed to be suffering from an affliction of the “Evil Eye,” a superstition rooted in Mexican culture that leads to misfortune.

-A Colorado man who drove his car on the crowded Venice boardwalk, striking several pedestrians and killing an Italian woman on her honey- moon, was convicted Friday, June 5, of second-degree murder and other charges. Nathan Louis Campbell’s attorney conceded during the trial that his 39-year-old client was driving the 2008 blue Dodge Avenger that barreled down the boardwalk on Aug. 3, 2013, but said Campbell was actually doing everything he could to avoid striking pedestrians.

-A 28,000 square foot high-tech office space was proposed for the parking lot at 601 Ocean Front Walk. If it goes ahead the building will be a first for the boardwalk.

June 26

-The G2 Gallery in Venice featured an exhibit with the environmental theme “The Great Unknown” through Aug. 9 featuring a handful of local artists. They included Martin Cohen, Beverly Houwing, Chris Miele Matthew Kuhns, Don Whitebread, and xRez Studio (Eric Hanson and Greg Downing).

-It was fitting that a company that created an app that sends disappearing messages was reluctant to speak on the record. Their logo is a ghost, and Snapchat’s mysterious presence in Venice is scaring the bejeezus out of locals. Accused of displacing long term tenants from office space, driving up commercial rent prices, driving up property prices, and driving away every- thing that made Venice so cool that they wanted to be here in the first place, Snapchat’s name is the dirty word frequently spat out in conversations about the changing face of Venice.

-The Teen Project’s Venice PAD felt like Christmas at your favorite Aunt’s house, albeit with a bit more of an edge. Yo! Venice stopped by to see how the Teen Project’s Venice PAD was helping mend youth homelessness.

July 10

-Erik Thorkildson, one of the many talented local artists involved in the Venice Art Block, an artist-run collective, spoke about his works, primarily acrylic on canvas, an exploration of the interplay of color and light, and bring back an aesthetic of the psychedelic era.

-A private jet tore out of Santa Monica Airport, shooting up into the sky. As it passed overhead, sitting at the CrossCut Ventures office on 4th and Rose Ave., in Venice, one couldn’t help but draw a comparison to the soaring plane and the sky-rocketing venture capital firm that recently raised a cool $75 million for a fund targeting Los Angeles start-ups.

-It was Friday morning on the Venice Boardwalk, too early for the tourists. Venice locals Evan White and Mason Lee wander along Ocean Front Walk past the building that is home to the Venice Beach Freak Show. The sun shone a milky light through the marine layer, Lee pointed out a mural; “I don’t think that one’s in yet.” The pair were busy adding art locations to their Venice Boardwalk App.

July 24

-Eric Schwabel, one of Los Angeles’ most talented and dynamic photographers, spoke about his diverse portfolio that ranges from experimental photography, landscapes, fashion, and portrait work. Schwabel is also a resident of Venice and proud contributor to the Venice ArtBlock (veniceartblock.com). Yo! Venice caught up with him to learn more about his work.

-A 41-year-old man believed to be homeless died after being shot three days earlier by Los Angeles police after allegedly advancing on officers with a knife at a Venice coffeehouse.  It happened about 2 pm Monday July 13 outside Groundwork Coffee Co., 671 Rose Ave. Jason Davis, 41, died at a hospital about 8:20 pm Wednesday, July 15.

-Venice Arts Gallery was counting down to its opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 1 for its latest exhibition, “Disaster Is My Muse.” Taking its title from an Art Spiegelman quote, “Disaster Is My Muse” explored the realm of the disastrous as it intersects with the canny, familiar, and domestic.

August 7

– A tribute was held July 27 for Nick Fagnano – the one-year anniversary of his tragic death. The 20-year-old had come to Venice Beach with a group of friends one year earlier. Hot and sandy from playing volleyball, Fagnano told the group he was going to jump in the ocean to wash off. He was killed at 2:30 pm while in the ocean after being struck by lightning.

-Patrick Marston is one of Venice’s busiest artists. A resident of the area for almost 15 years, Marston’s painting career evolved recently, from gallery work to large commissions for companies like Google. Yo! Venice spoke to Patrick at his studio home in Venice, where he lives and works with his partner, musician Michael Brunt, who also helps him manage their day-to-day lives. Patrick’s work can be viewed online at his website, patrickmarston.com.

-The Festival of the Chariots, which is hosted by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, attracted a crowd of 50,000 plus on Sunday, Aug. 2.

August 21

-Parachute opened their first-ever pop up shop featuring the online retailer’s core collection of bedding essentials, their recently launched linen collection, cashmere throws, and more. Parachute offered customers the opportunity to discover its bedding basics in person for the first time.

-A heatwave blanketed Los Angeles. It was hot at Venice Beach but even hotter inland at Highland Park where a team of artists from SPARC, Venice’s Social Public Art Resource Center, located at 685 Venice Blvd., had left the relative cool of the sea behind to hang off scaffolding in the sun. Artist Brother Boco was among those helping restore his original mural 21 years later as part of the City Wide Mural Program.

September 4

-Venice Beach hotel owner Sris Sinnathamby was charged with murder on Tuesday, Sept. 1 for his alleged role in the fatal shooting of a transient in the early hours of Sunday, Aug. 30. Sinnathamby pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon at the LAX branch courthouse. Bail was set at $1 million.

-A Los Angeles City Council committee on Wednesday, Aug. 26 backed the removal of criminal penalties and fines from a recently adopted law that created a process for impounding property, including belongings of the homeless, left in public areas. The City Council earlier this summer approved the law that set rules for removing items left on sidewalks, streets and other areas in public rights-of-way.

September 18

-Venice, get ready to party! It was on again – the Abbot Kinney Festival is taking over the street. Abbot Kinney Blvd. shut down traffic and opened up to those ready to join all the fun of a mile-long street party Sunday, Sept. 27 from 10 am to 6 pm. The festival is a free event that gives back to the community.

-There was a new Venice-born, online community that helping people around the world heal their broken hearts. It’s called Mend, and founder Ellen Huerta was inspired to start the site after her relation- ship ended. “Mend started with a break up. It wasn’t necessarily the worst breakup I’d gone through, but I think there were a lot of circumstances around it that made it harder,” Huerta said.

October 2

-Colorado man Nathan Louis Campbell who drove his car along the crowded Venice boardwalk, killing an Italian woman on her honeymoon and hitting 17 others just over two years ago, was sentenced Sept. 25 to 42 years to life in prison. Campbell, 40, was convicted June 5 of second-degree murder for the Aug. 3, 2013, death of 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni, along with 17 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 10 counts of leaving the scene of an accident.

-In mid-September it rained in Los Angeles. It was the first big deluge since February and this “first flush” of the season was a good one. Emergency crews rushed to multiple swift water rescues and it wasn’t just people caught in the gush of the storm’s waters.  Months of grease and grime was washed off the streets of Los Angeles, into the river, into storm drains, and flushed out into the Santa Monica Bay. Riddled with bacteria and toxins the runoff resulted in a surge in the ocean’s bacteria levels.

-Joining Venice High School for the fall semester was new principal Dr. Oryla Wiedoeft. Affectionately known as “Dr O” by many at the school, who said Venice High is the best kept secret on the Westside.
-The Other Venice Film Festival was getting ready to return for its 12th season this Oct. 9 to 11 with filmmakers from the area and aboard, including Australia, England, and Germany. It took place at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd.

October 16

-When Venice artist Bisco Smith sets out to create a new work, he blends graffiti deconstruction, graphic design, and fine art to capture the untamed energy and uncharted environments of street style and expresses a sense of duality, spontaneity, and movement. He describes himself as an artist steadily in search of his own personal truth and most raw expression. The aim? To blend his experiences in life with the energy in the moment and create work that moves, questions, and inspires.

– The Board of Supervisors approved the next step toward development of two hotels in Marina del Rey, despite some residents’ concerns. The developer, MDR Hotels, LLC, is planning to build “two hotels in a single building” with a total of 288 rooms on Via Marina north of Tahiti Way.

-When the giant Indian Laurel at Van’s Liquor in Mar Vista dropped two of its branches, crushing three parked cars, residents speculated as to what was behind the spectacular tree fail. However, Consulting Arborist at Evergreen Arborist, Ruben Green says there was nothing suspect about this tree or why it fell.

October 30

-For Venice artist Emily Van Horn, her paintings represented the distillation of accumulated experiences and how they’ve been instinctively contained and translated. She described each piece as beginning as a journal entry using paint instead of words.

-Esquire Jauchem is an Abbot Kinney resident. Jauchem has worked for 40 years in various ways in the theatre arts community, from operas and plays to even founding his own theatre company, Boston Repertory Theatre. He founded Jauchem and Meeh Special Effects when he moved to New York, which helps create explosions, magic, storms, and illusions on stage.

-When there’s something strange in the neighborhood who are you going to call? You might be surprised, but 911 is not always the answer. At the LAPD Metropolitan Communications Dispatch Center at 100 N Los Angeles Street in Downtown natural light filters through a row of windows that wrap around the top of a giant room. Operators sit at desks staring at the five computer monitors in front of them, headsets on. The calm in the center belies any number of emergencies and panicked people each operator might be dealing with.

November 13

-The G2 Gallery in Venice was getting ready for the premiere of ‘The Great Bear Rainforest’ on Tuesday, Nov. 17, for a new collection of photographs from popular Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer MaHarry that includes images of the rare, white-coated “spirit bear.”

-For those wondering what the deal was with the graffiti walls in Venice, it was that they were put behind a chain link fence barricade due to toxic paint and Los Angeles rain.

-Since 1995, the Venice Oceanarium has invited readers to discover or rediscover the great literary masterpiece, “Moby Dick.” The detailed and realistic descriptions of whale hunting draws on Melville’s experience at sea, on his reading in whaling literature, as well as life aboard ship among a culturally diverse crew, mixed with exploration of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of God. The tradition of the reading was on Nov. 21 and 22.

November 27

-As a teenager Jason Stoneking lived homeless in Venice. At the time he was an aspiring author, sleeping on the beach, and dreaming of one day being published and having his work sold in Small World Books. Having moved away to live in Paris, it has been more than 20 years since Stoneking’s days as a Venice Beach local. On Dec. 7, he returned to his old stomping ground to read from his book of essays. Speaking to Yo! Venice the author discussed the lead up to the reading, an event he said was a very “sentimental thing…”

-F Boke is a Los Angeles born artist. He considers himself a furniture designer who primarily works with wood. He enjoys working with materials like glass, stone, and metal to emphasize the beauty of wood. He says he loves working furniture because he found that he had an “eye for composition” and enjoyed “the permanence of doing things that don’t just go away.”

-The air was fresh, the sky uncluttered. A clear blue after a week of wind that chased away clouds, the Los Angeles haze, and unburdened the palm trees of their dead fronds. In the distance is a crisp view of Malibu and the undulating lines of the Santa Monica mountain range. Johnny Economou drifts by, his board floats over the smooth concrete at the north-west end of the Venice Beach Skate Park. Undulating lines that mimic the mountain view. We had decided to meet early because Economou had wanted me to watch him skate but he didn’t want to compete with the crowds.

December 11

-The Venice Chamber of Commerce’s annual sign-lighting extravaganza took place on Friday, Dec. 4.

– Venice-based photographers Danny Rice and Andrew Karl hosted their first gallery exhibition at Laura Korman Gallery. The duo’s self-titled exhibition, ‘Venice Beach Sunsets,’ is on view through Jan. 6, 2016.

-The Land Use and Planning Committee voted in favor of motion that would allow one local Starbucks to start serving craft beer and wine at 4264 Lincoln Blvd. in Marina del Rey.

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