July 4, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

OC Restaurant Puts up Provocative Anti-Vax Mural on Venice Beach

Ocean Front Walk mural to remain in place for 60 days

By Dolores Quintana

“Leave the Vax, take the Cannoli,” reads a provocative anti-vaccine mural that has been painted on the side of a Venice Beach building.

Tony Roman, the owner of Basilico’s Pasta e Vino in Huntington Beach, is the person responsible for this anti-vax message on the side of the Potter Building (1305 Ocean Front Walk) that has outraged many Venice residents, some of whom have called for the mural to be taken down. 

The mural references a scene from Francis Ford Coppola’s classic film, “The Godfather”, in which a mafia capo, Peter Clemenza, tells the button man, Rocco, to “Leave the gun, take the Cannoli”, after Rocco carried out the hit on the betrayer Paulie Gatto. The mural says, “Leave the Vax, take the Cannoli” which is an obvious play on words, but one that has an ominous overtone because the scene that it comes from shows a Mafia hit. The mural also uses part of the film’s and the studio’s intellectual property or IP, the hand holding a marionette crossbar, along with using a paraphrase of the quote from the film. It also functions as an ad because the mural has the Instagram handle and name of the restaurant as part of the mural. 

A resident of the Potter Building, Sherri Elidressi, was quoted by Fox LA and said, “For them to bring something divisive like that to our community, it was offensive to me. There is a lot of visceral response in the building.”

Additionally, one of the residents of the building isn’t allowed to open the window of his apartment because part of the mural was painted over his window and blacked out. Elisdressi added that “They blacked out his window to continue the mural. He’s not even allowed to open his windows, it’s totally messed up.” as quoted by Fox LA.

This is the second time that Roman, who refused to allow anyone in his restaurant to wear masks when the mask mandate was passed, has paid for a similar political message to be put up in a city outside of Huntington Beach. Roman paid for a billboard on La Cienega, near the Beverly Center, in West Hollywood that said, “Leave the mask, Take the Cannoli” in September of 2020. It is notable that the restaurateur also took PPP funds while he was publicly flouting safety regulations for his restaurant and put up mocking “Wanted” posters for public figures like Gov. Gavin Newsom, NAID Director and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, Dr. Anthony Fauci among others. 

Tony Roman was quoted by Fox LA during a previous interview and he said, “I’ve always viewed the force masking of people as a symbol of control and surrender.” 

Desi Ramon, a resident of Venice that Fox LA interviewed said, “You’re not helping the situation and you are separating. How do you gain by not having other people being vaccinated?” and felt that his community of Venice is not the proper place for such sentiments. 

The mural is slated to remain in place for 60 days.

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