Nick Antonicello
Randy Saludes
Alan Rodman

Dear Beachhead,

Mary Getlein’s July piece (Bonin Walks From Meeting) is insightful and indicative of how Mr. Bonin approaches the Venice neighborhood and governance in general.

The freshman council member doesn’t allow for any serious exchange with residents and the “Venice Life” meeting held on June 18 was another example of that flawed policy.

When first elected to the council Mr. Bonin was a speaker at a monthly meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) and took no questions.

When a Venice Town Hall was held in response to the senseless auto death of an Italian tourist on her honeymoon, Bonin lectured residents on his vision of Venice, and promptly left again after his prepared remarks and no interaction with the hundreds in attendance.

It seems to be the policy of the 11th District council member that unless the environment is controlled, an honest discussion or the ability to ask questions is non-existent.

In dealings with his staff, emails are rarely if ever returned – especially if you disagree with their public policy positions or inaction as witnessed for over a year as it applies to the current condition of the Venice bike path and knolls that separate it from the pedestrian walk.

Building consensus and reaching out to residents in a diversified community such as Venice takes thoughtful leadership from the head, and not the back of the line.

Nick Antonicello

Music Police
I play drums for Phylte Risk (http://VeniceLion.com). I am primarily a Jazz drummer. I play at a low volume that accompanies acoustic pianos and other Jazz and quiet amplified music groups. I enjoy drumming for Al Robinson, who leads the group, and is a great guitar player, who plays through a small battery operated amp.
Our group alternates performances with other acts in front of On the Waterfront restaurant on Ocean Front Walk just north of Rose. The police came by as a loud guitar player was performing, and they shut him down. I told the officers that we had encouraged him, we encourage all performers who come out to play, and do not appreciate the police who come by and say all kinds of contradictory things, and that amplified sound is ok as long as it’s kept to a reasonable level.
So our group began to play at our lower level. The policeman came up to our guitar player who leads the group and was able to have a normal conversation with him as we played, and told him to turn it down. So we did. The police officer and the guitar player were able to converse and I could even hear what they were talking about sitting at the drums while we were playing. The officers told us to play even lower and when we did they then told us to shut down. We did comply. I was angry. They have no right to shut us down, we know the legal decibel level and know the police were being unreasonable. The crowd and the patrons where chanting over and over “let them play”.

So this is when at some distance away from where we were set up I went up to the officers and asked for their contact information, because I wanted to make a complaint against them. They told me they would not give me this information unless I gave them my driver’s license. Well I told them I didn’t want to give them my license and they again repeated the same story that they wouldn’t give me their info unless I gave them my license. So like an idiot I gave them my license. I thought they were telling the truth. I waited and waited and thought they were writing down the information I had asked for and waited and waited and they gave me a ticket.
A ticket for 115.02 LAMC: Amplified Sound: Engaging in the installation, use, or operation of any loudspeaker or sound amplifying equipment in a fixed or movable position;……..

Amplified sound is legal on the boardwalk no matter what the police say.

I’ve lived on the OFW since 1992 and there are many horror stories from many musicians who have been abused, lied to and threatened by the police. Venice has been a circus, loud, noisy since its beginning. Anyone who says they came to Venice for peace and quiet is a bold face liar.

Randy Saludes

Dear Beachhead,

The wonderful DVD, “The Cook,” (Milestone film & video, 2003) starring Roscoe Arbuckle and Harold Lloyd, deserves the attention of Venice. It is a real gem!

The disc includes countless, amazing historic scenes shot right here in old Venice, and Ocean Park!

The first film on the disc, The Cook, long believed lost, was restored when additional missing footage was found in Norway. With  incredible sight gags, juggling food, and wild slapstick comedy, this picture includes amazing footage of a chase on the old Crystal Pier, or perhaps early Ocean Park Pier, with its rickety rollercoaster, in Santa Monica, just south of Pico Blvd. In the background appears what is now the Casa del Mar Hotel, and the whole beachfront to the south, with many rides and buildings under construction. Some of this footage may be misidentified on the disc’s liner notes as the Pike, yet may be recognized as old Santa Monica in 1917.

Surprisingly, this movie includes what may have been the 20th century’s first filmed wardrobe malfunction: high up on the rollercoaster overlooking the Pacific, a frightened cashier, played by Alice Lake, turns to face her pursuer (Al St. John as The Toughest Guy,) when her see-through bodice slips slightly, and she reveals a bit more than just her acting talents.

(See if you notice The Toughest Guy leering – while actually the actor seems to be clinging for his life to a flimsy guardrail!)

The entire beachfront scene from Santa Monica Pier to Ocean Park Pier, Lick Pier, and Venice Pier (“Admission: 10¢”) are the backdrop for at least two of the hilarious early films on this disc. Shot in 1917, as well as in 1920, using a single stationary camera, (just months before the pier being destroyed by fires), these pictures present our whole early beachfront scene, ready to be explored as if through a time machine.

The later, very funny film, “Number Please,” starring Harold Lloyd, gets comedic (and some racially stereotypic) play from the newfangled telephone, but the action soon brings us to the pleasure piers.

Everything there sure looks like a lot of fun, demonstrating how many fascinating and curious attractions the beachfront had going in 1920. In fact, these pleasure piers play their own big role in this picture, since all that festivity emphasizes the irony of Lloyd’s forlorn look, as a lover who has lost again, now lonely in the crowd.

The Merry-Go-Round has a great part in this movie too, as Keaton runs in frantic circles to rescue his girl’s small dog, one who is also an incredible scene-stealer (and purse-stealer,) while we watch the dog’s point of view from a camera placed on the turning carousel.

It may well be noticed that attitudes toward the treatment of animals in film have changed over the last century, though Keaton and this poor hardworking dog will likely still make us laugh out loud.

At the close of the film, a vignette focuses on his sad gaze, then widens out to show Buster Keaton gloomily chugging off on the little Kinney-Marquez Railroad that took happy vacationers on Venice beachside pleasure tours.

Explore more, and tell what you discover!

Yours for all time,
Alan Rodman
I can be reached at (310) 927-2959, if needed.

Categories: Letters

1 reply »

  1. Does pride have a cost? A real dollar and cents cost? It sure does. Take my good friend Dale the Snail. He’s a long-haired Southern guitar player, singing Southern music in Southern California for the last four years. Now him being a Fixed Fire sign, he has been known to do his roaring in front of the Fig Tree Cafe on the Venice Boardwalk from exactly 9 am to 12 am Tues thru Fri ever week of those four years. But he never railed. Until now.

    Railing is when you take the tip jar to the people at the edge of the rail after your 45 minute show and “go get your money” as the street vets put it. Essentially you ask if they would help out with the music. It’s a Venice music tradition. It takes some getting used to but it’s ultimately a dignified question that 90% of the people will oblige. Some will even buy cd’s.

    But now he hired some high fluent new guitar picker (me!) and he sent that boy to the rail for the first time where he picked up an extree $13 that was just sitting there waiting to be had. I believe it was the Lord that said “ask and you shall receive.” And that was after a three and a half hour show. Could have railed three times with three different audiences that eat and leave a restaurant after…. well 45 minutes. Ain’t that a coincidence? That’s potentially $39 of Dale the Snail’s money sitting in those people’s wallets. Now you know why the call him Dale the Snail.

    Doing the numbers are scary – $40 per day, four times a week, $160, multiplied by say 40 weeks a year, multiplied by four years… I can’t do the math it’s too heartbreaking. So learn a lesson from Dale the Snail and go ask for your money after you do your work. After all it’s waiting for you to surrender your pride and join the Harry Parry tradition of Venice by asking with outstretched hands “Donation? Donation? Donation?”.

    Edward LaGrossa