The Beachhead sent a questionnaire to our loyal readers who are on our email list to tell us who they are and what they liked about Venice. Here are the aggregated results. If you would like to me on the list (2 or 3 messages a month), send an email to Beachhead@freevenice.org.
1. How long have you lived in Venice?
Answers range from 5 to 47 years.
2. Were you born in Venice (not in a Santa Monica hospital)?
No one who responded was born in Venice. Were you?
3. Who’s the oldest person in Venice?
Nominations included Navalette Tabor Bailey and Chuck Bloomquist. “The oldest ones whom I have known are no longer with us. I think they should be entered here. I think that there should be a graveyard in Venice for anyone who has lived here for more than 20 years. It should be most magnificent and noble place with 1920ies gravestones and standing right above Ocean Front Walk overlooking the ocean. Grass not kept too tidy.”
4. Who’s the most significant person in Venice history (excluding Abbot Kinney), and why?
– Rick Davidson or Steve Clare – they started/maintained institutions. Griot/poetry P& F Beachhead, Town Council, HCC carpentry collective, Development issues, VCHC
– John Haag, Steve Clare, Werner Scharf – their visions
– John Haag – he started the Beachhead, Peace & Freedom and everything Venice has become.
– John Haag. He founded the Peace and Freedom Party and The Venice Beachhead
– Jim Smith. The way he is determined to protect, to inform, to help ALL the people of Venice.
– George Carlin
– Olga Palo & Moe Stavnezer
– Rick Davidson
– Arnold Springer – major early Free Venice Beachhead Leader . . (political activist) . . . instrumental in getting senior housing.
– Jim Morrison. Poet, singer, rock star.
– Marylou Johnson
– Irving Tabor
– Arthur Reese
– Stacy Peralta
5. What was it like in Venice in the 1930s? 40s? 50s? 60? (if you were here)
– Gritty, grimy, full of dreams, dog shit, blooming jasmine, quiet of joy
– 1960 – Colorful. Tourist-free; sunglasses + hat – booth-free on Boardwalk.
– The sixty time cool, compact village, everywhere you turn meet friends
– As my friend used to say when we lived on Sunset Avenue (1959 — 1961): “Some days you go out for a stroll on the boardwalk and everybody is beautiful and interesting. Other days it looks as though everybody crawled out from under a rock.”
– I arrived in 1963. Venice was a “slum by the sea” full of low income families, retired folks, bikers, friendly neighborly folks. Very spacious in that there were many vacant lots and one story residences.
– Some would fish off the Venice Pier, take it to a fish market on “hamburger square” and exchange the fresh catch for fresh smoked fish . . at that time Bonita was the general catch. Later we caught lots of crabs and we dug for clams in the ballona channel at low tide in the winter.
– The boardwalk on Ocean Front Walk was always empty in the winter and pleasant to walk on everyday.
– The 60’s were a time of freedom because of new attitudes, pot, acid and low rents.
– 70’s – hippies, Hell’s Angels and elderly Jewish refugees owned the board walk and there
– NO vending of any kind. Heavenly.
6. When was the Golden Age of Venice?
Yet to come; 1960 – 1980; 1965 – 1975; Ahh . . . the 60‘s; Right now; 1970 – 1985; I say around 1978, during yearly Venice Canal Festivals; It could be now, if we take Venice back from the forces of gentrification & commercialization; Now is always the golden age; 1920s. 1905-25 (cityhood); 1968—75; For me? Mid 70’s – post birth control, pre-aids; It is and always will be “The Now;” Early 1970s – Amazing Times. I don’t think there was ever a Golden Age of Venice. I loved it in 1951 and in 1956 and from 1959 to this good day. It is always changing and we wail and gnash our teeth about gentrification and development and so on, as well we should, but in spite of all that one would and never will mistake Venice for Costa Mesa.
7. What’s the best form of government for Venice?
– A Republic with a requirement of education in any issue you vote upon.
– Socialist – anarchist
– Messy Democracy
– I don’t know if being a part of Los Angeles is ideal, but it’s what we’ve got for now & for quite some time to come.
– Meritocracy, elected by Instant Runoff, hmmm benevolent dictatorship of the proletariat.
– Democratic…real democracy.
– Living somewhere, where we operate as a community is already a dream.—I love the activism and
– Cityhood & Self-determination
– A dictatorship of the proletariat.
– A dictatorship with me as dicktatorix
– I suspect that Venice, as a separate entity, is ungovernable.
– Self government. Free Venice!
8. Who is your favorite Venice poet? Venice singer? Venice painter? Venice plumber?
– Singer – Suzie; Painter – Emily Winters; Plumber – Joseph Vince Lopez, Stewart Perkoff, Adrian Prober, Suzy Williams and S. Cohan
– Actor – Viggo Mortenson/Emily Winters, mural painter extraordinaire.
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti when he visited in 1967
– Bob Alexander/Sam Taylor.
– (Poet) Panos Douvos; (Painter) Billy Al Bengston – he gifted me a perfect ceramic cup that he made.
– Poets: Jim Morrison & myself (Hal Bogotch). Painter: my wife, Laura Lacamara.
– Poet: Linda Albertano; Singer: Suzy Williams; Painter: Francisco Letellier
– My favorite Venice writer/poet is Carol Fondiller. Although not really Venetian, my favorite poet associated with Venice is Charles Bukowski. My favorite singer is Suzy Williams and my favorite painter is Emily Winters. Favorite former Venetian musicians are Billy Harris, tenor saxophone, and Thomas Tedesco, guitar.
– POET: Philomene Long. SINGER: Suzy Williams. PAINTER: Robby Canal. PLUMBER: I’ve lived in Thornton Towers for 22 years and I have never seen one. Our handyman does everything.
– Singer Suzy Williams (Sylvia Kohan before she died)
– Poets: Philomene Long, Stuart Perkoff; Singers: Jim Morrison, Bill Crawford, Sam Taylor
– Suzy Williams: Painters: Judy Baca, Emily Winters, Rip Cronk, Frank Strasser
– John Haag; Jim Morrison & Gregory Hines; House painter – Women’s painting collective – Johanna & crew; Carol Fondiller, master painter of words; A& B Plumbing
– Krista Schwimmer! Jimm-I V./Punk For Life: Chase: Dran-o.
– Philomene Long, Suzy Williams
9. What’s your favorite Venice store?
– Just Tantau
– The Venice Nile Collective
– Pioneer Bakery was the best.
– Je ne sais pais mais El Camino Real was good back in the day
– Rose Café (When it stayed open late & had music, art shows and poetry readings) + Beyond Baroque Culture Center
– Mystic Journey Bookstore
– Lincoln Hardware
– The Rose Cafe
– Bible Tabernacle Thrift Store
– Venice Department Store no longer in existence….Just Tantau
– Nice Cream, Manny’s Bikes, Abbot’s Pizza, Angela’s Shoe Repair
– Small World Books!
– Venice Cruisers
– Abbot’s Habit
10. What’s your favorite book or film about Venice (or set in Venice)? Why?
– Feeding the horses to feed the sparrows – a moment in time
– You have to ask? Touch of Evil
– Venice Coloring Book b/c it was written & drawn by friends/family.
– The Beachhead for sure: the only source of truth.
– Feeding the horses by feeding the sparrows.
– Call Someplace Paradise
– I like the movie Harry and Tonto with Art Carney showing the good side of Venice, also the roles Venice played in the Orson Welles flick Touch of Evil for the more grubby side.
– INCISION. Because I made it, it has Philomene Long in it, the old pier in it, and it’s damn good.
– No One Here Gets Out Alive (about the Doors)
– Southland Tales, because I am a neo-marxist revolutionary.
– Venice, Coney Island of the Pacific by Jeffrey Stanton; Kid in America by Tony Scibella (Venice Beats in the 50s). Films: Touch of Evil (Venice as Tijuana); Feeding the Sparrows by Feeding the Horses (Venice struggle for survival).
– “Number our Days”, academy award winning short documentary about the people at the Israel Levin Center when Morrie Rosen was the director. Heartwarming and chilling.
– Dogtown & The Z-Boys…The Doors Movie (“Blood Stains The Roofs And The Palm Trees Of Venice” )
11. And most importantly, how has the Beachhead influenced your life?
– Kept me connected to the community; kept me thinking, smiling, cursing, laughing MPS
– I worked on the first issue. My best friend & I designed the original Dove logo (out of green duct tape). (Gina Lee)
– The Beachhead was an important experience in collectivity and community
– Far too much for this questionnaire
– Provided me with cooperative extended family with ongoing history
– I love the Beachhead. A place where Socialism is not a dirty word. A place where Poetry is elevated to its rightful place (page 9). Keep up the good work!
– Excellent reporting on local issues; Passionate Journalism
– Helps me feel better informed.
– Been reading it since it started, I now understand what life is all about. Wow!
– I was a member of the collective from 1975-80 and participation helped learn now to work well with others without power relationships and to find my voice
– I worked on very nearly every issue of the Beachhead published from late 1977 through about 1982. Some of my best friends to this day came from that effort.
– I have always had a good deal of sympathy with Jefferson’s remark: “Were it left to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter,” so when the Beachhead went “Up for Grabs” I signed up.
– The Beachhead has kept me informed for years on the goings on in Venice, and keeps me connected to the community so many fine Venetians who love Venice as I do. The Beachhead since 1968 has been Venice’s advocate, has always been here for us to truly protect and to serve our beautiful, unique and historic town.
– If not for the Beachhead, where else would I spend my Monday Nights????
– It’s given me a new way to understand community.