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J U N E / J U LY 2013 VOL. 1 NO. 1

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TABLE OF CONTENTS JUNE/JULY 2013 VOL. 1 NO. 1

F e atures THE FARM TO TABLE MOVEMENT IN VENICE 3.1 Venice explores how, as a community we embrace the concept of “grow your food and know your food,” as a mantra for healthy everyday living.

The Venice Learning Garden

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The Seed Library

Fallen Fruit

The Mylkman

Nurturing Nature

Farmhouse in the City

Big Red Sun Rises on Rose Ave.

The Dirt on Gardening

The Flower Truck

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COVER The Growth of Venice ,

illustration by Taylor Barnes. © Taylor Barnes

INSIDE COVER Sound Poem ,

illustration by Tyrus Wilson.

© Tyrus Wilson

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Editor and Designer Taylor Barnes 3.1venice@gmail.com

Editor at Large Tyrus Wilson tyrus3.1venice@gmail.com

Associate Designer Rudy Garcia rudy3.1venice@gmail.com

COLUMNS

Media Editor Jennifer Garcia jenni3.1venice@gmail.com

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ART

COMMUNITY

FOOD

Local artist, Chris Norris captures Jeff Leaf, the Mylkman in his style. More Chris Norris online

Filmmaker and poet,Chance Foreman talks about his project, One Day in Venice

Venice Beach Wines chef, Claire Del Regno on the challenges of creating healthy cuisine

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HEALING ARTS

POETRY

MUSIC

Tamal Dodge speaks about the consciousness growing on Rose Ave.

Sunday Morning Tomatoes (Eaten), by Venice poet, Nika Cavat

Profile of local Ukulele band, The Ooks of Hazzard

INSIDE COVER

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THE SEA

THEATRE

HISTORY

Sound Poem by Tyrus Wilson

Interview with Venice actress, Amelia Mulke

Census 1940 exposes the real Venetians

June/July 2013

Contributing Editors India Wilson Larry Ragan Advisory Board Laura Ragan, Dita Barnes, Christa McCaffrey

Volume 1, No. 1 3point1-venice.com Copyright 2013 3.1 Venice is published and designed by L7studio.com. All rights reser ved. Nothing shown may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. For more information or submission guidelines: E-mail 3.1venice@gmail.com


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 3.1 – the approximate square mileage of Venice Beach, California.

our contributors page, I think the conversation is already happening.

3.1 – the approximation of Pi.

Venice is difficult to define – we are: all ethnicities, homeless, wealthy, artistic, civic minded, rebellious, spiritual, materialistic, athletes, techies, laid back and intense.

3.1 = a city of infinite possibilities. During her brief history, the city of Venice has continually reinvented itself: Italy by the Pacific, Bohemian Surf town, or a mecca for artists. These days the evidence of change is everywhere and with it comes the fear of change. The residents converse without a true place to be heard. The influx of new people who want a piece of “our” community is unnerving. But the new residents want to be part of the Venice conversation as well. I have sought to facilitate a dialog between old and new with this publication and looking at

Without a clear definition we chose food as the common denominator that ever yone in Venice seems to be passionate about. Our first issue focuses on how we grow it, how we cook it, and how we enjoy it. Whether it is protesting against Monsanto and promoting GMO labeling, starting an organic community garden, or finding the perfect vegan restaurant, the people in Venice respect and love the cycle of nature from the garden to the table.

Welcome to 3.1 Venice

DEDICATION TO SUZANNE BARRY

“Miss Barry,” as she was affectionately called by her Open Charter Elementary students was an extraordinary agricultural science teacher, a master organic gardener, and an inspiration to everyone she worked with. She would humbly say that she was just a person who loved to grow things and she still had so much more to learn. Barry, a Venice resident for twenty-five years, passed away in November 2012 after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. This issue is dedicated to her and the quiet impact she made among her students and friends. Suzanne Barry was truly one of the unsung heroes of Venice.

Above are two photos of the garden she created at Open Charter Elementary in Westchester. When she arrived there was only a blacktop corner of a parking lot– what she left as her legacy was a thriving permaculture garden, a lily pond and assorted rabbits, birds and bees.

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CONTRIBUTORS Paula Chorley

Chris Norris

Before transplanting to Venice, Paula Chorley lived in New York where she was an American correspondent for a major German television network, Pro-Seiben (Channel 7) for program “Taff”. When she is not writing for 3.1 she is either writing screenplays, TV shows, or  working on her next art project.

Chris Norris moved from Iowa to California after receiving his BA in fine arts from Iowa State University in 2006. His work has been exhibited in numerous pop-up galleries in southern California and he has performed as a live painter for C.A.V.E. Galler y in Venice.

Tamal Dodge Tamal Dodge was born and raised in his family’s yoga ashram in Hawaii and has been teaching and practicing yoga since childhood. Tamal co-founded The Yoga Collective in Venice CA and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Time, Self Magazine, Yogi Times, and other publications.

Jacob Sigala Though he now resides deeper in Los Angeles, he grew up in Venice. Living there, he was exposed to a range of art and culture which, sparked his interest in fashion. He obtained his BA in media and  culture  studies with a minor in business administration from  UC Riverside. Currently, he is studying fashion at FIDM.

Carolina Korman Hamilton Matthews Hamilton Matthews writes from his cozy Venice home and performs in Television, Film, and Theatre in Los Angeles and abroad.

Tom Laichas Tom Laichas lives in Venice and teaches at Crossroads School in Santa Monica.  His most recent project is Sixty-Three Photos at the End of the War, the first in the chapbook series Seven Cemeteries.  tlaichas@gmail.com

Nika Cavat Italian-born Nika Cavat has had her poetr y, essays, short fiction, and art reviews published for over twenty years. Her first book of poetr y, The Braille That Is Love, in collaboration with her mother, Irma Cavat’s paintings, has just been published. Nika teaches in the English department at Crossroads School and has been living in Venice, with daughter Aurora, for many years. nikawriter@yahoo.com or thebraillethatislove.com

Irma Cavat A former New Yorker who painted alongside Jackson Pollack, Willem De Kooning, and Larr y Rivers during the 1940’s and ‘50s. She is the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and residencies. A retired UCSB art professor, Cavat continues to create luminous, provocative paintings in her converted barn in Santa Barbara. irmacavatart.com.

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Passionate about photography and capturing images from ever yday life, she grew up in Buenos Aires where she studied photography and art.  Together with her background in psychology, and love for design and architecture, she tries to capture this in her lifestyle photography. carolinakormanlifestyle.com

Jonathan Roskos Jonathan Roskos was born in Stamford, Connecticut and raised in Dallas, Pennsylvania. He studied English literature and guitar before turning to photography. He has participated in the All Visual LA Slideshow at The Forge, Los Angeles and exhibited at 1650 Gallery in Echo Park,California. He is currently developing a photo essay entitled 30 Minutes by Bus that will contrast Beverly Hills Adjacent and Central Los Angeles.

Dale Starnes Dale is a Master of Oriental Medicine, and the Chief Explorer, Herb Nerd and Formula Maker at Baagua Tisane www.baagua.com

Rudy Garcia Rudy Garcia, native to Venice since 1990, has been drawing since the age of four. He is studying to be a professional comic book artist and be published in Japanese comics. Being of Mexican descent, his culture and religion influence his art and ser ve as a motivating factor in his pieces.


POETRY

“Tomatoes,” painting by Irma Cavat

S u n d a y M o r n i n g To m a t o e s (Eaten) by Nika Cavat

Way back in the corner, behind the trailer

Beyond, Venice Beach shimmers under late summer --

behind the shed, behind a tangle of trumpet flowers

muscles and spray tans, the insane homeless and spray can

tied against its will to a fence

artists will never know the sweetness of late summer tomatoes

a heavy vine of tomatoes waits for Inauguration Day

that hang warmly, patient in their silent ripeness,

blushing bride, cheeks rounded and reddened

twin breasts offered to the God of Hunger

skirt of brown and yellow leaves, rustling in sea breeze

Here, take us in your hands and squeeze – but gently!

Secret and voluptuous, two tomatoes

Way back behind our distraction, beyond overt desires,

make love, trading their hopes and dreams

past the shed filled with old photos, garden tools, & books

with only the spiders as witness.

what washes up on the shore of every life well spent

At night possums creep past on their way to easier prey

hang the globes of the first Woman,

come dawn, a family of bandito raccoons amble by

patiently waiting to be twisted from their vine

consumed by future robberies of neighbors’ bins and things

released, washed, cut, olive oil, sea salt, ground pepper, eaten

Reprinted with permission from “The Braille That is Love” by Nika Cavat.

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O N E D AY I N by Taylor Barnes

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O

n the anniversary of the birthday of Venice founding father, Abbot Kinney, filmmaker Chance Foreman posed a question to the community – “what do you love about Venice?” They had twenty-four hours to answer via a video uploaded to his website. Representing a cross section of the population of Venice the collage of videos are woven together to create his film, “One Day in Venice.” Foreman describes himself as a performance poet and a filmmaker. If filmmaking is his eye on the community then poetry is how he monitors the heartbeat. His film “One Day in Venice” successfully blends the poet and the visual artist into one medium. His inspiration for the structure of the documentary came from other film projects such as; “A Life in a Day,” or “One Day on Earth,” both popular YouTube videos which carry the same message of human compassion that Foreman is striving for. “What I was interested in was taking a magnifying glass to a community and seeing how we can get back to neighborhoods because sometimes that gets lost,” Foreman explained. Open Mike Night at Witzend on Lincoln Boulevard is the creation of Chance Foreman and Brooke Benson and boasts a talented lineup of poets and musicians. The intimate club environment of Witzend feels like “old Venice” in the 60s. The poetr y night is another way Foreman has forged connections among the locals. “The support system for a community is being lost. …The issues in the world have a lot to do with community and the disconnect,” says Foreman. He processes this disconnect in cinematic terms. He sees the problem similar to the movie “Crash” in which, people do not touch each other until they literally crash into each other. In our current culture he perceives a drifting sadness among people that they do not know each other. Foreman is part of a groundswell desire among people to reach beyond the alienation that can stem from technology and use it to connect people. Mariana, his German born wife, and Chance lived in Europe

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for a year, reinforcing his personal value of long lasting friendships and community. Foreman was instrumental in organizing Occupy Venice and through that experience; he met local activists, business owners, and others. The movement brought people together and started conversations among Venice residents that might not have met each other. The film is an extension of Foreman’s Occupy Venice experience because it involves the community at every level from the video submissions to the film’s production. “One Day in Venice” is produced by Bradley Martin, Jessie Garcia, Malte Hagemeister, and Boise Thomas, all local residents. Venice based graphic designer, Shawn Hannah did the logo and five local companies stepped up to sponsor the project: Late Sunday Afternoon, Vyclone, Cafe Gratitude, The Yoga Collective, and Hail Mary Tarts. Boise Thomas, one of the early producers of the project said, “I have lived in Venice for thirteen years and telling our story of what makes Venice so Venice is important to me. …I am a lover of people, places and stories. No better people, place, or story than our home.”

Vyclone, one of the film’s sponsors, are the creators of a collaborative video-editing app. They contacted Foreman when they saw his flyers about the project. “They gave us a system that allowed people to film with the app, sync it up with another iPhone user, edit them from different angles, hashtag it #onedayinvenice and it sent it right to us,” said Foreman. By posing the deceptively simple question, “what do you love about Venice?” Forman unwittingly is receiving answers to a much more complex question, “how do we coexist and continue to grow without destroying all that we have been or all we could be?” “The violence and negative energy attached to the territorialism of Venice is ludicrous. We have to find a way to share what’s not ours to begin with,“ states Jesse Garcia, one of the film’s producers. Collective consciousness is a powerful force for change and “One Day in Venice” presents the voices of the people which opens up the possibility for Venice residents to claim the city as “our” community. One Day in Venice is scheduled for release in June 2013. Visit their website for more information: onedayinvenice.com

What do you love about Venice?

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COMMUNITY

THE BUDDHA IS BEIGE

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nce there was a smiling Buddha, painted on a wall just off Lincoln Boulevard. I took him for granted as I went about my daily activities. I assumed he would always be there. One day the Buddha was unceremoniously gone. I was (surprisingly) sad. I spoke to my neighbors about the missing Buddha and discovered they felt the same thing.

Public art is an indelible part of our daily lexicon of symbols. We may, or may not like what we see but unknowingly we orient ourselves to our environment with these unique signposts. There is a sense of visual ownership. When one disappears it feels ver y personal because that artwork was part of “your” neighborhood. We should celebrate the retiring of a mural in the same way we would see off an old friend. Ceremony and honoring the past, as well as the future, will always bring a community closer together. My Buddha doesn’t smile upon my daily travels anymore but he is in the background of my memories of my neighborhood.

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COMMUNITY

MUSIC

the OOKS of

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COMMUNITY

HAZZARD by Taylor Barnes

The strumming and the tone, are different yet familiar. It’s a sound that is comfortable yet intriguing. It’s a vibration that is energetic yet calming. This little, Hawaiian, four-stringed instrument is having a resurgence as people discover the Ukulele. PHOTO BY BRITTANY SWEATT

PHOTO BY BRITTANY 7 June/July 2013SWEATT

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MUSIC

T

he Ukulele has had it’s moments of popularity in the 1920s and the 1960s with this latest trend led by young musicians such as Jake Shimabukuro, who played Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” during a Ted Talk and said it was his mission to bring the Ukulele to more people because it made them happy. Eddie Vedder was so impressed with Shimabukuro he recorded “Ukulele Songs”, a collection of original covers performed on Ukulele. Another musician challenging the perceived limitations of the instrument is James Hill who wows audiences playing his Ukulele with chopsticks. “I think the resurgence of the ukulele is just plain practical.” Ooks band member, Sam Morrow says, “With it’s small size and relatively big sound it just makes sense. It’s also perfect for beginners given that it only has four strings and the intervals are the same as a guitar. On the flip side, as a songwriter, it’s also a good songwriting tool. It’s a nice change from writing with a guitar or piano. It allows you to potentially come up with something different, and leaves room for different melodies. I think the word ukulele in modern music, specifically rock or folk, in itself turns heads.

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I think that’s where The Ooks come in. The original concept is just taking songs people know and love and playing them on a ukulele, breathing new life into them just by switching up the instruments. I think that our experimenting with the ukulele, for instance using a slide or different effects, is something that not many others are doing and that experimentation opens up doors for others to do the same.” The Ooks of Hazzard take the four-stringed instrument to a whole new level by working with seven musicians and their arrangements. “It’s all orchestrated,” says Ooks member Ed Marshall. “There’s the bass uke, the tenor, the concert and the soprano. You have a lot of voices there, and a lot of different timbres.” The Venice cover band, with Charlie Diaz, Patrick Hildebrand, Ed Marshall, Rick Torres, Nick Deane, Meredith MacArthur, Sam Morrow, and Anthony “Tiny” Biuso on drums create a unique tone that is exciting and different. According to Marshall, “We fight for what we have (musically) …once we get it we are committed and do that part really well.” The breakout piece for the band was a cover of the MGMT song “Kids.” Their YouTube version. When the band performs together it is easy to be struck by the synchronicity among the players. If the Ukulele is


MUSIC a happy instrument then the Ooks appear to very happy to be playing it. They shot their YouTube video live, and when they mixed it they didn’t do a whole lot to it preserving the live sound. Bloggers found the tune and the video went viral with 645,810 hits on YouTube and peaking at number thirteen on the singer-songwriter charts on iTunes. Marshall commented on the process of collaboration that resulted in this video, “We were capturing something… from the beginning of the song to the end, it had a shape, it just made you feel good. When we were playing it we were feeling awesome, it was a wonderful …we were all connected and came off in the recording. Twenty minutes before we did that we were all fighting. We were doing out it of love… it was like a bunch of siblings arguing about what was going to happen. Everyone was fighting for their spot. But once everybody had want they wanted in the song it all clicked.” As a result of the YouTube video they receive emails from all over the world. The responses range from requests for CDs of the music (which is available on Amazon to laudatory comments such as the one from Australia, “Listening to and watching this restores my faith in society. A group of friends doing what they enjoy. Also, this music is awesome!“ Patrick Hildebrand, another Ooks band member said, “… I dig the future, but I think it’s great that in a world of electronic music, there is a re-found appreciation of an instrument as organic in feel and sound as the ukulele.”

I think the word Ukulele in modern music, specifically rock or folk, in itself turns heads. – Sam Morrow The amazingmusicstore.com, owned by Hildebrand’s family for thirty-three years, gives him another perspective on the Ukulele. “I have been a music instructor at our family music shop for twenty plus years now and suggest all new students who want to learn guitar (especially younger ones) start with the uke. It’s the same motor skills and string theory etc., but the uke is a much more forgiving instrument when first learning and sounds good even when you just strum the open strings. I guess you can say I’m pretty enthusiastic about this instrument.” Currently the Ooks of Hazzard play local venues and often are in downtown Los Angeles at the UnCabaret. You can find them on Facebook and YouTube. If the Ooks have their way, according to Marshall they will, “go on the road, play ukuleles, have fun and make everybody happy….” Whatever they play, from music by Lynyrd Skynyrd or Radiohead, to Prince’s song “Purple Rain,” the Ook’s sound is fundamentally and vibrationally different. Their expanding audience is responding enthusiastically to their musicianship so they have already achieved one of their goals – making people happy. 3.1 Venice Magazine 3point1–venice.com

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SEEDS OF KNOWLEDGE The Learning Garden creates an environment where people train to assume the custodianship of nature.

by Taylor Barnes and Rudy Garcia

“I

have seen how one garden has spawned many gardens,” says Julie Mann, the director of The Learning Garden at Venice High School. Her innovative program grows not only vegetables and flowers but also ideas and inspirations. Based upon their model of natural pesticide control, composting and permaculture methods, The Learning Garden has been a model for school and community green projects all over the world. Established in March of 2001, The Learning Garden is a valuable community resource for novice and master gardeners alike. Hidden behind some outer buildings of the high school, is a surprising oasis on the corner of Walgrove Ave. and Venice Blvd. Anybody can work in the garden, participate in their Saturday morning classes, or obtain free advice and mulch. According to Mann, people come to the garden for a wide variety of reasons. “There was a man who lost his son horribly and he just wanted to do something because he was in so much pain. He created a garden… and just doing the garden healed him.” Mann says that people have healed their lives, changed careers, saved marriages, gained better health and a host of other benefits too numerous to mention just by tiling the soil. These days the garden seems to grow more vibrant every year on less and less money. Originally, the project started on one small corner of the Venice High School campus. David Crow, an herbalist and acupuncturist, along with Mann was one of the early founders. Crow believes that many of our impor-

PHOTOS BY JACOB SIGALA/ILLUSTRATIONS BY RUDY GARCIA

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tant medicinal plants are going extinct and wanted a way to preserve them. When Mann found the empty acre of land at the high school Crow was the first person she thought of. Mann told David Crow, “There’s an acre of land not being used here. Let’s put a proposal together and see about creating a medicine garden.” The Learning Garden project was born. David King, who is the Garden Master and founder of the Seed Library, came on shortly after the garden started. He was teaching botany at Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, just down the road on Washington Blvd., and was interested in starting a Chinese medicine garden as well. “Little by little we started in and cleaned up the garbage and we did, more and more people showed up to help.” Mann continued, “That next year, five horticulture classes were created!” Ten years later, The Learning Garden is a prototype for other gardens around the world thanks to David Crow spreading the word in his lectures. Mann says, “New Learning Gardens are everywhere, Brazil, Bosnia, and they are all done for the need of the group. It is whatever that community needs– they create it. Some are farms growing food– this one is more about teaching.” The garden runs a program call “Seed to Sale,” in which students sell their produce at the Venice Farmer’s Market. Mann says their produce is probably the freshest there because the students pick it that morning and take it straight

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to the booth. Other groups are making use of The Learning Garden land as well. Occupy Venice has a plot where they grow food for the Venice Beach hungry and Agape Church has been working in the garden for years as part of their service program. One of Mann’s favorite groups is the Joyful Activists. They show up with music to work by and the simple intent to do something positive in the world. The Learning Garden regularly reaches out to the community with their free programs, potluck meals, and events. On the first Saturday of the month, David King teaches a class on what to do in your yard or garden in the upcoming month. He will answer questions and provide information from his vast experience as a botany teacher and master gardener. The garden also provides mulch, compost, and great advice to any and all who need it. “The garden is not just about being a garden,” says Mann, “it’s about being a place for people and re-connecting to nature.” Reconnecting with nature seems to be a recurring topic around Venice Beach currently. With the recent protests locally against Monsanto and the threat of genetically modified food (GMO) the mission of the Learning Garden seems that much more important. David King started the Seed Library with the intent of preserving varieties of plants that were disappearing because commercial agriculture is prone to

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favor very few plant types. “The Seed Library started about three years ago.” Mann continues, “That’s the point that we not always able to get seeds that weren’t affected by Monsanto. Monsanto started buying all the seed companies. We went, wait a minute… what happened to that purple tomato and that yellow striped tomato? They’re not going to be around if we don’t start saving them. In December (2010) David King and a group of like-minded people came together and said ‘we’ve got to start something.’ “ Preserving the seeds is not the only reason for the seed library. Locally grown seeds that are produced in the same environment that you live in could have tremendous health benefits as well. Mann believes, “When you grow it in the air and ground where you live it’s been made for you. …If you are shipping it from somewhere else, it’s not made for you. If we have Chinese herbs grown here for medicine, those herbs are going to be better for people than ones that are shipped in from China because this environment will make the right properties in the plant for what we need.” In addition to propagating the plants needed to make natural medicine, The Learning Garden continues to promote a curriculum based upon the principles of sustainability. “The Abbot Kinney Festival gave us a grant for a natural arts garden,” Mann said. “We are growing cotton, flax, and dye plants. We are going teach how to weave, and dye, and create our own clothes, or create our own art pieces with weaving. This is also about how to use nature in our art.” The garden is a special place and Julie claims you can feel the energy just by standing within it. “It’s about stopping and listening. We have to relearn. We actually have to reteach ever ything. A garden can be a metaphor for life.” According to Julie Mann, “As long as you keep nurturing the earth and the soil, the plants are happy, ever ybody’s happy.” For more information about The Learning Garden visit, thelearninggarden.org

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THE SEED LIBRARY slola.org The Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA) is a seed repository where gardeners may check seeds out, as a book would be from a library, and returned after the plant has grown and gone to seed. The idea seems simple but the result is stronger plants grown specifically for our environment. SOLA was founded in 2010 and located in The Learning Garden at Venice High School. All around the country seed libraries are being formed in the Hudson Valley of upstate New York, Pima County, Arizona, or Richmond, Virginia, to facilitate a mission similar to that of SOLA. The Seed Library of Los Angeles states their mission is, “to facilitate the growth of the open-pollinated seeds among residents of the Los Angeles Basin. We are building a seed collection and repository, educating members about the practice of seed-

ILLUSTRATION BY RUDY GARCIA

saving, and creating a local community of seed-saving gardeners. We seek to preserve genetic diversity, increase food security and food justice in our region, safeguard alternatives to GMO’s, and empower all members through a deeper connection with nature and the experience of self-reliance. We will strive for excellence in all that we do, knowing the preservation of seed is a sacred trust.” Member gardeners join for a fee of $10.00 a year and they can check seeds out for their own use. Through this collaboration with local gardeners the seed is constantly being renewed. According to the librar y, “seeds are a living thing so they must be grown in the garden and go to seed and then checked back in at the end of the growing cycle. This makes ever y gardener who grows from seeds in the seed librar y, even if only one plant, a valuable contributor.”

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COMMUNITY

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FALLEN FRUIT by Dale Starnes

F

or those of us who love the special treat of clean

for the taking, these fruits can also be leveraged as

food falling from trees, this is another reason why

seasonally appropriate preventative medicines.

we can all so easily love California. There’s plenty

of it here in any given part of Los Angeles – with our fair Venice included. It’s all over the place.

To understand how these fruits can be used as preventative medicines, it may help to understand exactly how they are seasonably relevant. To do this, we can

If you aren’t sure where exactly to find such a thing,

look to the natural factors that are identifiers of sea-

beyond one or two trees near where you sleep, there

sons, and consider how these natural factors can be

are two websites who’s mission it is to map fallen (and

pathogenic factors.

falling) food in communities everywhere – fallingfruit. org and fallenfruit.org.

You see, according to natural medicine, natural factors are what make us ill and not at ease. Not just germs

Of the two, the Fallen Fruit project is a long-term

– but excessive (or deficient) natural elements, such

art collaboration that began by mapping fruit trees

as cold, heat, warmth, wind, damp, moisture, rest,

growing on or over public property in Los Angeles.

activity or inactivity. If you’ve ever been excessively

Their maps are limited to areas of specific neigh-

cold, wet (or dry) and thirsty, and sought shelter and a

borhoods. The Falling Fruit maps are much more

hot (or cold) drink, you’ve essentially practiced natural

comprehensive. Mapping cities and neighborhoods

medicine. And the same goes for your homemade, iced

around the world, they show fruit specific informa-

lemonade when you are hot, parched, and thirsty while

tion at specific locations.

killing it at the volleyball net on the beach, or chilling in

However, in addition to finding the sweet treasure of a fresh-and-ready fig, loquat, orange or avocado free

the hammock for a quick nap. Anyway – for a quick example of how free, found fruits

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can be used as medicine in our fair hood, let’s look

as a super-soother of throats, for their moisturizing and

at spring. Spring brings wind. Excessive exposure to

cooling effect in the lungs and throat, and they ripen on

wind often brings an “aversion to wind“ – i.e., when

trees in the Spring. Coincidence? I don’t know – but it

the wind feels annoying and uncomfortable – which is

works out, and loquat is pretty much on every block of

an indication that wind is becoming potentially hurtful

the good ‘hood.

and pathogenic. To some this may sound silly – but considering how a persistent wind cuts new geography,

So, not only may loquat be nice, but you can also use

our small souls aren’t much of a challenge for it and

them as an early medicine, and they’re everywhere,

very easily we find ourselves with a scratchy throat

free of charge, as a gift from the wonder of whatever

after an occasion of annoyingly persistent beach or

you want to call it. Eden maybe. Also found in spring is Orange. Nibbling on orange peels when eating the fruits (even with chocolate) is useful as an expectorant if you suffer from mild asthma or are congested in any way – although too much chocolate in that mix can add to the mucosa. Orange Peel also provides some relief from irritability, shortness of breath and intercostal (ribs) fascia constriction from inactivity, or the lack of being able to fit in much exercise lately. Bitter foods offer balance and “detox” from excessive consumption of sugars or alcohol. Bitter and Sweet are opposites – so they mitigate/ control each other. You can use these both for balance and “detox” from local fallen orange. Upcoming as an in-season fruit in SoCal is the almighty fig, and aside from being delicious, they’re good for moisturizing the intestines and preventing constipation. In any case, it’s also important to mind the ground where these trees gather nutrition. If they’re feeding from deep collections of street run-off, then maybe

mountain winds – or after an evening of speaking too

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look for another tree. Also good to watch for trees in

many long-winded stories over drinks with friends. And

landscaping that you suspect may be drinking plenty of

yes, I reckon that pun was intended, but there you go.

poisonous weed killers, lawn cultivators and the like.

Excessive exposure to wind often brings scratchy throats.

The natural stuff is what you want to find.

How is excessive exposure to Spring winds or our long-

For a full list of fallen fruits in Venice, check out the

winded tales relevant to found fruits? Interestingly – the

Fallen Fruit and Falling Fruit sites.

loquat fruit has been used in Asia for 1000’s of years

Stay well and rock on.

June/July 2013

MAP REPRINTED FROM FALLENFRUIT.ORG


Loquat and Honey A Classic Natural Cough Reliever Recipe (in tea form) Version 1 – Make-a-thing-of-it Version Orange Peel (1 whole orange - washed + organic, ideally) Loquats (enough to produce ½ - 1 cup of pulpy nectar/juice) ½ Tsp of Honey Mince Orange Peel (break it up, or whatever) Bring 12 - 16 oz. of ver y clean water to a boil

Pour water into clean, glass canning jar, or your favorite cup.

Add Minced-up Orange Peel Add ½ Tsp of Honey

Stir a little, cover, and let steep for a few minutes.

Add Pulpy Loquat Juice.

Let cool to drinkable temp, and sip/drink/ slam or whatever.

Version 2 – Dr. Dale’s Preferred Method 10 - 12 Loquats

Good, Strong Mint Tea Wash Loquats.

Make Good Strong Mint Tea. Enjoy Eating Fresh Loquats. Drink Mint Tea

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T he

M yl k man by Paula Chorley

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wo and a half years ago, local Venice actor/director/writer, Jeff Leaf, was in the hospital with spinal meningitis having as what he describes as a near death experience. As he lay in his hospital bed, he contemplated “okay, if you die, what haven’t you done in your life that you could have done”. After searching his soul, Jeff said to himself “If I get out of here and I survive, I’m gonna go full steam. I will write a comedy show and direct it and put it in Venice in the community. I’ll really push the almond milk that I have been making, not resist it, and let if flow”.That was September 2010. That following January 2011, he simultaneously did his first show, The Intercollectables, at The Electric Lodge, and launched Mylkman, the first-ever almond milk delivery service in the nation. Mylkman’s humble beginnings started with Jeff making almond milk for himself and friends in his kitchen at home, until one day one of his friends asked him if they paid for it would he make it regularly for them? So he thought, “Cool, somebody likes what I like, and it’s healthy.” Then the word spread from that friend to other friends and he decided to do it once a week for anyone who wanted. DailyCandy.com got wind of what he was doing, and the rest is history. They are now producing 250-300 bottles a week delivered on Thursday mornings transported all over Los Angeles from Malibu, to Pasadena, to South Bay. Large chains have contacted him, he gets emails every week from people all over the country who want it, and he’s been approached by investors, but Jeff isn’t interested saying, “for whatever reason I saw it as something more interactive, personable. Specifically I see it as home delivery. You have your mailman and you have your Mylkman. It’s just kind of simple, as opposed to another product on another shelf in another store, mass produced,

Illustration by Chris Norris

bottle after bottle.” It’s not only important to Jeff that he retain the integrity of his product as he expands but he also shares a percentage of his annual sales to, Raincatcher, a non-profit organization that provides fresh water to children in impoverished communities. Almond milk has many health benefits over regular milk. It’s heart healthy, aids in Alzheimer’s prevention, diabetic friendly, increases muscle power, high in calcium, high in fiber, high in electrolytes, vitamin rich and nutrient fortified. Mylkman’s ingredients are simple, just soaked raw organic almonds and freshly cracked coconut water. While this may sound simple, the taste is truly in a league of it’s own and what is unique about Jeff’s almond milk is not only where he sources his ingredients (almonds are imported from Italy and fresh coconuts acquired from Thailand), but it’s that he’s using coconut water to sweeten the deal in place of the standard of filtered water plus sugar or honey. He also adds, “It’s how they are combined that are the secret. And it’s made with love. My crew is great.” Mylkman has three guys in the kitchen has two drivers. They are an “eco-driven” company. “I don’t know any other business in this country that has a home delivery service that actually have people come into their house. My drivers are all very sweet and kind and these families are letting them into their homes. They are coming in to fill the jars and say ‘hi’ to the kids.” For those who aren’t there on delivery day, they can leave a cooler with the empty reusable jars outside their door and the delivery drivers will refill their bottles for them there. For more information about Mylkman Delivery Service visit m y l k m a n . c o m

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NURTURING NATURE Matt Van Diepen grows perfect plants, as nature intended them in his backyard nursery. b y Ta y l o r B a r n e s

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garden flourishes in every Los Angeles backyard and patios are propagated with plants growing from native seeds, free of pesticides, not genetically modified, and fed by a clean supply of water. This is the utopic vision that urban farmer, Matt Van Diepen has for Los Angeles and the impetus behind his Venice based business, Home Grown Gardens LA. Van Diepen believes urban farming is the answer to regaining control over our food source and our health. He began growing his pesticide free seedlings and developing home based gardens two years ago. Although he majored in history while attending California State University at San Luis Obispo, the agricultural emphasis of the school created an impact upon him. One course in particular was the seed for change in his life – “World Food Systems” opened his eyes to the way food is grown and alternatives to our current system of food distribution.

Below: Matt Van Diepen working with his seedlings that have just begun to sprout.

A stint growing organic tomatoes in the foothills of the Sierras brought him closer to the urban farming movement, which has gained strength in recent years. Van Diepen saw the tremendous waste that was happening within the organic food industry and realized that the produce wasn’t being as widely distributed as it should be. After moving back to his hometown of Palos Verdes, California, Van Diepen cast about for a way to replicate a small and effective version of urban farming on his own. The supportive community and burgeoning farmer’s markets of Venice beach were a big draw. Home Grown Gardens LA is established in Venice but he can also be found selling his plants at the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings. His focus is to help people create and build their own organic gardens and to make the materials easily accessible. Van Diepen’s

PHOTOS BY TAYLOR BARNES

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The ( food) system is broken and we need to fix it. Matt Van Diepen emphasis on pesticide-free growing and the public’s knowledge of, and demand for, better food sources has helped his business to expand steadily. His “farming” space in Venice is about 600 square feet, and he says that’s being generous. But Matt Van Diepen is a model for what can be produced in small spaces when it comes to gardens and resources. The Learning Garden at Venice High School, run by David King and Julie Mann, has been one of his inspirations. He cites the Learning Garden’s involvement with the Seed Library as one example of the reciprocal community that urban farming can foster. The Seed Library is literally a library of seeds. Gardeners check seeds out of the library, and once they produce plants that seed, they return seeds back to the library. The library fosters plants that thrive in our climate through the natural selection process of plant genetics. Cindy Lipkus, of Tree People, is another source of inspiration for her commitment to cleaning up our water sheds from the pollutants of run off. Van Diepen states that we have no idea how polluted our current ground water is and if you want to grow truly healthy food, for a community, it is essential to have clean water. Matt Van Diepen is one of a growing number of urban farmers trying to reshape the way we feed ourselves. His dream for a clean food system in which everyone contributes is something that he sees extending into the inner city and significantly creating an impact on the overall health of the city of Los Angeles. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and chemical farming are driving the demand for food sources that are untainted. Growing your own food is once solution that people are turning to. Van Diepen provides a reliable, high quality, organic, locally grown source for plants. He is an example of the new urban farmer for the 21st century. Matt Van Diepen can be found at homegrowngardensla.com

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FARMHOUSE IN THE CITY Venice Farmhouse brings sustainable farming to the city with their gray water collection system and permaculture growing methods. The bounty of the farmhouse makes it’s way to the table via the Market Burger booth at the local Farmer’s Market. by Taylor Barnes Perched atop the Mar Vista Hills, on one-third of an acre, in what was once some of the richest farmland in Los Angeles, sits the Farmhouse coop. The people who live there are committed to sustainable living within a city that has a history or air pollution, fast food and unchecked urban sprawl. From the chickens to the garden everything at the Farmhouse works symbiotically as nature intended. Inspired by the farm to table movement, coop members Jacob Vaynshtok and Charles Turcich created Farmhouse Kitchen in 2012. Culinary pioneer, Alice Waters made this slow food movement famous when she started her Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse in the 1971 and is currently championed by chef, Jamie Oliver. But if Vaynshtok has his way everybody will be able to grow their own food, trade their vegetables at the local farmer’s market and heal their bodies with the healthy food they will cook at home. Vaynshtok first began experimenting with cooking from fresh, all natural ingredients when he was a student at Boston University. He found himself relying upon the recipes of his Russian parentage and noticing the healthful benefits of fermented foods, bone broth and fresh produce. photos by Jonathan Roskos

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The Geodesic Dome on the Farmhouse acreage.

Once he moved to California, Vaynshtok worked on organic farms and eventually found himself living in the Farmhouse coop. There his culinary skills were honed as he cooked from the garden, sourced food from local farmers and ranchers, and ran a model slow food kitchen. “I am using everything the earth is providing for me. A strawberry has one ingredient and a Twinkie has a thousand. Why does something that small have to have so many ingredients? It’s because they need the shelf life. I’m going the opposite of that. I am working by myself, using local farmers – paying a higher price for the food but it comes out in what I do,” said Vaynshtok. He has always been cooking for himself but once he started living in the community house he started cooking for his roommate/business partner, Charles Turcich who had an auto-immune disorder and was on the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet which intends to heal digestive and psychological issues. The diet calls for a lot of grass fed beef, raw dairy, fermented foods, and raw butter. As he delved deeper into this specialized form of cooking he was drawn into the community that surrounds the local farmer’s markets. The result was that Market Burger was born. Suffice it to say that you have not lived until you have eaten a Market Burger. Ever y week you can find Jacob and his crew in their tent at one of three Farmer’s Markets in Venice, Mar Vista or West Hollywood. The burger is made from 100% grass fed beef that Jacob can personally vouch for the ranch and how the beef was raised. All the vegetables and

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cheeses are sourced locally through the farmers market. They make their own ketchup and mustard as well. But the coup de gras is the sourdough bread the burger is served upon. Baked by “Grampy Pat,” an Orange County baker that is exclusive to Farmhouse Kitchen, every dough is baked individually, watching the rise, and starting with a 130-year-old yeast starter. The sourdough starter is important because it’s pre-industrial so it is free of pesticides or any other form of modern tampering. “Grampy Pat” stone grinds all his flour and Vaynshtok asks that his rolls be baked from sprouted flour to increase their nutritional content and make them easier to digest.

Bicycles are stored from hangers under the rain collector.

“Any grains or legumes you want to use them sprouted so its easier to digest. A lot of times when you eat rice or bread you feel very sleepy and you want to go to bed. My bread doesn’t have that effect,” stated Vaynshtok. Over the past year he ran a window on the Venice Beach boardwalk, in addition to Market Burger. The food he ser ved was sourced daily from the coop or the farmer’s market and he never uses salt, pepper, or dr y spices – only fresh herbs, straight from the garden. He claims that because the food is picked and cooked the same day the flavor is plentiful and there is no need for excessive seasoning. The Venice Community is very supportive of what Vaynshtok is doing. They are growing his food for him, they are coming to eat there, they are telling other people about what he is doing. “…We do a zero waste kitchen so all the scraps either we save for the compost or the ends of the onions and carrots to go into a veggie stock. And there is a bucket of scraps that goes to the

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The earth is the skin of the planet. Jacob Vaynshtok Banana trees bloom on land heavily mulched with wood chips to create a permaculture growing environment.

chickens at home. Everything is recycled.” When Vaynshtok buys for the seventeen people living at the coop he buys in bulk from Azure Standard, an organic food source in Oregon. They are a coop as well and he buys all of their flour, beans, sugar, tomato paste, etc. in bulk. He said nobody is ever hungry and each member contributes $40.00 a month to the food budget. The coop has become a model for sustainable living in Los Angeles. They have one of the first gray water systems in LA, which pipes all of the sink and shower water out to the orchard and the garden. Their gray water system saves the house approximately 4,000 gallons of water a month which, in Southern California is a considerable savings. They have a rain collection system that doubles as a place to hang their bikes. Jacob Vaynshtok wants to be part of the solution not part of the problem. This lifestyle is not about money or getting rich, it is about saving the planet, humanity, and nature. Vaynshtok spoke passionately about a permaculture project at the University of Massachusetts that’s feeding the entire campus from their one garden. He said, “every school should have a garden like that!” “Because the earth is the skin of the planet. When you take away the skin, covering the earth with pavement and black top, you’re taking the life away. The earth is alive and so is the soil. So for us at the home we don’t turn the soil, we don’t till the soil, all we do is constantly put wood chips on it. “There is a great documentary, ‘Garden of Eden,’ where a gentleman asked, ‘why isn’t my garden working?’ So he read the Bible and once you read the Bible everything is about growing the good food that God gave us. I am not a religious guy but that really touched me that he was reading the Bible and everything he was doing worked. He wasn’t watering everyday. He was using the wood chips and when he went underneath the top layer there was all the wet soil that he hadn’t watered in years. He is mulching.” Permaculture, which is the type of agriculture that the members of the coop practice, is based upon what the elements do and how everything works together. “We don’t have plots of tomatoes or plots of onions. Everything is

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together, and everything works together. A certain herb will defend a certain plant from a certain bug, so we plant them together. It’s having no grass. The chickens come through and fertilize the land,” says Vaynshtok. This lifestyle is not without it’s challenges. Recently some of the food choices of organic purists have come under attack by the FDA. In the 2010 Rawsome, an organic and raw milk distributor once located on Rose Avenue, was closed by the FBI. In addition,the bill to label foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) was defeated and pure food activists see that as an infringement upon our rights to know what our food is made of.

The succulent Market Burger with 100% grass fed beef, market greens, locally sourced cheeses, hondmade condiments and “Grampy Pat’s” famous sourdough bun.

Vaynshtok is part of a larger movement of people that believe we need to reclaim our food, know where it comes from and how to cook it to preserve the full benefit of the food. This philosophy is at the core of everything that he does as a cultivator and a chef. If you ask Jacob Vaynshtok what people can do to repair this system he answers simply, “Plant a seed. Watch that life grow. You can see it grow every day. After that, it will flower and give you food. Then more seeds for next year. You can take those seeds, dry them and give them to your neighbors. It is that continuous life, that seed never dies.” For information and locations for Market Burger visit: venicefarmhouse.com

Market Burger photo courtesy of Farmhouse Venice

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CLAIRE DEL REGNO by Paula Chorley Above: Claire Del Regno, one of the chefs at Venice Beach Wines on Rose Avenue. Photo opposite page: Tomás, the Egg Man at the Venice Farmer’s Market.

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he Rose Ave. of yester-year used to be a mash up of people living in RV’s, gangsters, artists, and the homeless. But that was yester-year, old news. It’s a changed scene now, drawing in merchants and restaurant after restaurant of a “certain” ilk overnight. Five new restaurants have popped up in the last year and a half, not to mention Whole Foods. At the forefront of this transformation was Venice Beach Wines, owned by Oscar and Norma Hermasillo, which has now been in business for over six years. Chef Claire Del Regno, of Venice Beach Wines says what makes them unique on the strip is that “Oscar and Norma are very open to letting us explore, go to the farmers market, pick up whatever, and make something in the moment. Our kitchen is so small and it’s a family run business. We don’t have commercial corporate standards.” The chefs make two trips a week to the Venice Farmer’s Market and the legendary Santa Monica Market, the largest groweronly certified Farmers Market in Southern California. The chef’s are also extremely knowledgeable about their wines, where they come from, and how the wine will influence the taste and this in turn influences the food selections. Claire says, “We try to stay as much in season and local as possible.” Vegetables are seasonal and eggs are from local farms. The cheeses all come from small farms, small dairies, mostly domestic, but they also use imported specialities from Italy and Spain. Many of cured meats are imported, however they do use domestic meats from small farms like La Quercha, from Iowa.“We know the history of the farm, we know the history of the cow. We know why certain things taste a certain way based off of their land. We try to really get to know the products at Venice Beach Wines.”

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Photos above and right by Taylor Barnes


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BIG RED SUN RISES ON ROSE AVE by Taylor Barnes

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f you choose to walk, rather than drive, down Rose Avenue you will best experience the visual treat at 6th and Rose – Big Red Sun. A garden oasis in the midst of gentrification beckons to you with it’s signature flying saucer disks loaded with succulents. Step inside the front gate and you will be greeted by a cacophony of color and textures all orchestrated by the deft hand of owner, Selena Souders. Big Red Sun is a landscaping business but Souder’s revitalization of this once drab and rundown corner, opposite the Venice Family Clinic, has demonstrated to the neighborhood the transformative power of plants. Souder, a native of Austin, Texas started visiting Southern California on plant buying trips ten years ago. In 2007 she opened Big Red Sun, on Rose Avenue, setting up shop in a one-hundred-year-old building which has a distinct character indicative of the beach town of Venice. She built the garden first because that was what she knew how to do. Then some solid renovations to the building convinced her that the original structure had a unique character and was worth preserving. “With the growth of Rose I have been approached about turning this into a restaurant and I really think this place needs to stay what is… an oasis. Because there is nothing left on Rose that is being used for a garden space.”

Opposite: The entrance

Souder is a committed and passionate urban gardener/farmer. Not only has she revitalized this block of Rose Avenue with her prodigious botanical skills but she also extends her services to the neighboring businesses, such as trading her duck eggs with the chef at Superba Snack Bar.

with her daughter Ruby

to Big Red Sun from Rose Ave. Above: Selena Souders and their dog Daisy.

“It’s a nice local perk. From that I can learn what they are serving and what their approach is.” The community consciousness informs every aspect of Big Red Sun. They sell cards made by local 15-year-old artists, they have a fairy garden corner in the store inspired by Souder’s 12-year-old daughter, Ruby. The kitchen is still

Photos left and above by Taylor Barnes

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Above: one example of Selena Souder’s beautiful repurposing of an old bed stand into a “garden bed.”

functional in the 100-year-old building and the employees often cook and dine from the garden at Big Red Sun. But Selena Souder doesn’t stop with Rose Avenue, she has noticed other under-utilized areas of land in Venice that she would like to see made more productive and beautiful through the use of sustainable landscaping. Souder says, “Places on Venice Blvd., where SPARC and Beyond Baroque is, are a waste of good land and good structures.” If she had her way the grass would be gone and a beautiful garden for the residents and visitors of Venice would replace it to create another visual surprise as you drive (or perhaps walk) down Venice Blvd. “We don’t have an excuse, in Venice, not to be a little more aware, intuitive, and creative with all of our thrown away land,” Souder says. Among her clients she has seen growing requests for Vertical gardens and sustainable landscaping. When she first opened Big Red Sun she joined forces with the Surfrider Foundation and the Ocean Friendly Garden program (OFG). OFG educates homeowners about how to create micro ecosystems that don’t produce polluted run off into the ocean. According to Souder, who helped create the criteria for OFG, it is based upon a formula of which plants are a part but it is also about how you build and maintain things as well.

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Photos right and above by CAROLINA KORMAN


COMMUNITY

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Souder studied field botany at the University of Texas and after an internship with the New York Botanical Gardens, where she helped build the Japanese section, she was firmly on the road to becoming an urban gardener. She sites local designers Jay Griffith and Nancy Goslee Power as influences but says the biggest influencers have been the unknown growers that will never be famous for the work they do with plants. Two such growers are; San Marcos Growers, in Santa Barbara, and Native Sons, in San Luis Obispo.

Above: Inside Big Red Sun’s 100-year-old house the kitchen is still fully functional and meals are often cooked from produce grown in their garden.

With an eye to the future she has started the “Dirty Gardener”movement. Part of the “Dirty Gardener” concept is a sustainable “chick” ranch as opposed to a dude ranch. It would be a place to retreat year round and learn about the principles of urban farming in a rural setting. Selena Souder believes in, “changing the world one garden at a time, one client at a time, one friend, one farmer… at a time. It’s connecting people to the earth and we need that right now.” Farm Sanctuar y is another non-profit which Souders currently volunteers with. The sanctuary rescues farm animals that have literally been thrown away. “That’s one of the biggest problems in our world… how food gets translated into what we eat vs. knowing something was given life.” Selena Souder voices the opinion shared by so many others involved in urban farming and promoting an earth friendly culture, “Nature’s so out of whack it’s going to have an impact on everybody. You can’t do it all by yourself but the more people get in sync nature it will become more of the norm.” Big Red Sun is a beautifully designed space and certainly an extension of Selena Souder’s aesthetic sophistication but it is also the tip of her comprehensive vision for the environment, urban farming and humane food production. Everyday residents and visitors walk by her sumptuous corner, populated with native plants, vegetables and succulents in abundant variety, and they receive a sensory gift of nature. For more information on Big Red Sun visit: bigredsun.com

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Photos right and above by CAROLINA KORMAN


Selena Souder believes in, “changing the world one garden at a time, one client at a time, one friend, one farm, at a time. It’s connecting people to the earth and we need that right now.”

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THE

ON

GARDENING Ever y person who tends a garden will tell you that a lot of magic happens when you grow things. Finian Makepeace can explain some of that magic. Never mind that his day job is as a musician and band member of the The Makepeace Brothers, his passion is to save the world one garden at a time. b y Ta y l o r B a r n e s Finian Makepeace relaxes on the porch of his new Venice home where he has recently installed, with the help of his neighbors a biologically inoculated, organic garden.

Makepeace has lived in Venice for several months, but he already has a full organic, pesticide free, side garden boasting kale, lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes as some of the bounty he expects in a few weeks. A common misconception exists that a successful garden requires chemical intervention, but upon entering the newly planted space, one remarks at the dark and rich tone of the soil and the healthy and strong nature of the plants. Makepeace practices organic gardening according to the principles of the biological agricultural scientist, Graeme Stait. His reverence for Stait borders on fanatical, but with good cause. THE SOILUTION Graeme Stait espouses the idea of enriching the ground with mycorrhizal fungi to restore the biological diversity of our planet’s soil. Mycorrhizal fungi, organisms aide plants in the absorption of nutrients from the soil and occur naturally as a result of composting. Makepeace enthusiastically advocates composting as a way to strengthen the soil and right some of the ills we have wrought on the environment. Makepeace , Ryland Englhart, (a childhood friend and owner of Cafe Gratitude) and other Venice residents have formed a coalition called Soilution. Soilution’s intent is to support and promote Graeme Stait’s ideas and methods of replenishing the land while supporting local gardeners. The group consists of about twenty-five Venice residents and meets once a week. Makepeace says, “In the group Soilution, there is always a solution and we are going to get gritty because gritty has to do with being able to put the hours in.” Putting

PHOTOS BY TAYLOR BARNES

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Graeme Sait gives a TED talk about mycorrhizal fungi and how it benefits aour bodies and the environment.

the hours in, means going to members’ houses and helping them to set up their gardens or share compost with one another. In March of this year, Ryland Englhart attended a health and sustainable living conference in New Zealand. He listened to panel of experts and scientists discuss global warming and the climate crisis, and claim that the negative changes occurring are irreversible. The last panelist was Graeme Stait, and although he made similar predictions to those of the previous panelists, Stait suggested the utilization of mycorrhizal fungi to help combat climate change and the nutritional devaluing of our food. Saite believes if we increase the presence of mycorrhizal fungi in the earth’s humus layer, we will increase the efficiency of the earth’s carbon cycle, which will result in a dramatic reduction of the carbon in the atmosphere. Makepeace states that not only will the widespread use of composting and mycorrhizal fungi help the earth’s carbon problem but also it helps the plants grow by increasing their root size ten fold. Bigger root size yields healthier plants with greater nutrient quality. Makepeace and Englhart have become proponents of this theory, because composting gives people a simple way to make a difference in the health of our planet. 42

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THE COMMUNITY Englhart decided to build a community garden promoting Graeme Stait’s methods. He had knowledge of Makepeace’s previous work as a community organizer and environmental activist, having attended the Alternative Community School in upstate New York, where community activism was a way of life, and asked him to join the team. The goal is to build a model community garden, in Venice that would use biological farming principles. “The plan is to do two or three cities in the LA area, then go up the coast and with this same model, get these groups of individuals and collectives together and really have these conversations. Because there are so many people that are saying, ‘tell me what I can do.’ It’s our responsibility to do this more efficiently, better documented, and more attractively than anyone else has done it,“said Makepeace. Venice residents are constantly questioning their role in the preservation of our environment. Soilution offers a way people can actively change the environment around them and have a greater impact in their communities and on our planet. Soilution is a solution worth considering.


THE SCIENCE OF SOIL More than half of the carbon put into the oceans and the atmosphere, comes from the soil, from the humus layer. According to the Soil Carbon Center at the University of Kansas all carbon on earth can be divided into five main pools:

• Earth’s Crust (humus layer) – releases 66 to 100 million gigatons of carbon a year. • Oceans – releases 38,000 to 40,000 gigatons of carbon. • Organic Matter – releases 1,500 to 1,600 gigatons of carbon. • Atmosphere – amount of carbon is currently about 860 gigatons and Increasing by 6.1 gigatons per year. • Biosphere – releases 540 to 610 gigatons.

All this carbon is part of the “Carbon Cycle of Life” on earth – plants absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and convert this to sugar through photosynthesis. Animals and other microorganisms then consume these plants and produce carbon dioxide which subsequently returns to the atmosphere.

Finian Makepeace’s backyard garden is 100% organic, enriched with compost and mycorrhizal fungi. This will help the carbon cycle be more effective as well as facilitate the amount of nutrients his plants will derive from the soil.

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ccounting ilers umpteen took

THE FLOWER TRUCK by Rudy Garcia

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ola cruises down Rose Ave. in Venice, trailing her sweet scent and dazzling everybody with her colorful presentation. Lola is not some bohemian flower child rather a “flower truck” modeled on the idea of food trucks and the invention of flower vendor, Jenifer Kaplan. Kaplan and Lola, The Flower Truck, have been in the floral business for about two years. When retail slowed down of 2008, Kaplan, who worked in accounting and operations for stores like Lisa Kline, was searching for another business that would allow her to provide for and spend more time with her teenage son. Initially she was inspired by the Kobe Beef food truck and how it looked, but found it was too expensive a venture and her idea morphed into a flower truck. Although she was reticent about whether she could do this, supportive friends and family gave her the strength to pursue her dream. With all the equipment needed to start her business, Kaplan was ready to flourish. By 7am Kaplan is in the flower district, in downtown Los Angeles, to select her flowers. Her day is very labor intensive – she has to pick all the flowers, get them home, clean them, put them in the buckets and load them onto the flower truck. With flowers being available all year long, it is up to her choosing to find the best suited ones for that time of year. Kaplan says there are always flowers, some are only during a short season once a year. She cites peonies as an example saying, “they are extraordinary and highly coveted and very expensive. If you get them imported you can get them all year but we don’t like that, we like local growers.” With her integration in the community, she is becoming a familiar face among other businesses and local Venice residents. She does admit to being a little zealous and overbuys all the time because some flowers are just too beautiful to resist. It is OK that she’ll buy too many flowers, especially on Saturdays because that means her truck will be full on Sunday as well.

illustration by rudy garcia

When she does have leftover flowers she gives them to her neighbors, and the retirement home across the street from where she lives, “I give away a lot of flowers at the end of the week,” says Kaplan. The time and care that she puts into each flower allows her to find more meaning in them and in return they fill her with joy. No matter how torn a flower, she will find them a home. For Kaplan waste is not an option when it comes to the flowers, “I have a really hard time throwing anything away,” she says. Kaplan takes this notion to heart, “I take every flower to it’s last breath before I’ll toss it. I trim it, keep pulling petals off, give it fresh water, to the bitter end. Even a big bouquet will be down to one flower before I throw it away. As far as broken stems and flowers with missing petals that I can’t sell, I love to give those to little girls... I call them Charlie Brown flowers.” With such a connection to the flowers, Kaplan does tend to do things a little differently. She talks to her flowers all day long. When she loads the truck up and is ready to leave, she’ll turn to the flowers and say, “Hey guys, you ready to go?” With Lola all decked out in her floral finery, Kaplan hits the road. If Kaplan has her way Lola will not be an only child. Kaplan’s long range plan is to brand and license her trucks across the US. Her customers tend to be spontaneous leads, or fueled by word-of-mouth which translate into any market. So far the growth of her company has been without advertising. She has spent quite a bit of time working out the business aspects of her flower truck and she is ready to expand with one licensee out there already. Kaplan hopes to promote the owner’s creativity by allowing them to design their own arrangements and the set-up of the truck. Her desire is that they have as much fun as she is having. Lola is a product of opportunity meeting innovation. Instead of yet another food truck lining Abbot Kinney on “First Friday” we have a wonderful flower truck everyday. theflowertruck.com

3.1 Venice Magazine 3point1–venice.com

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HEALING ARTS

COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS by Tamal Dodge

V

enice, California has gone through many changes, experiences, and alterations. In the 60s, it was the epicenter for hippies and bohemian lifestyle; in the 70s, it was the surf and skate era with dog town and beach culture. In the 80s, it was the explosion of the arts, and in the 90s, it was the film and entertainment industry and now in the new millennium it is renowned for its yoga, culinary arts and laid back lifestyle. No matter what new buildings or hipster’s come to town, Venice retains its influences from past eras and seems to gain more character, charm and wisdom. Anyone who lives, works, or hangs out in this beach community knows that we have millionaires, homeless, and the working class all in the same pool. Many of the locals in Venice feel a big disconnect with some of the high end stores and restaurants taking over major blocks in this community, as it feels like it only serves part of the of the people and not the whole. On a positive note, some amazing new businesses have come to Venice and Rose Avenue such as Cafe Gratitude, a plant based restaurant serving organic, delicious, and healthy food. They offer a community bowl called “I am Grateful” which, encourages anybody, regardless of their financial situation, to come and eat for a donation of whatever they can afford. Local cafés, Moon Juice, Oscar’s Cervateca, and Flake are also big supporters of the community and the surrounding area. They often hire from within Venice, which promotes the mindset of not outsourcing people or products but working to support their town. This way the community feels included in their businesses.

As one of the founders of The Yoga Collective (on Rose Avenue) I have always believed yoga should be accessible to everyone because it serves not only the body with all its physicality, but the mind and spirit as well, with it’s meditation and lifestyle concepts. We offer the most affordable classes in Venice and as a bonus, every year we gift a full scholarship to a Venetian that can’t afford our yoga teacher training programs. All our teachers, staff, and employees are local, and our name says it all. We are a collective that brings consciousness and community together, in the seaside village of Venice, California. By example, we hope to show other like minded businesses they do not need to change Venice but to just celebrate it.

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COMMUNITY

there is something about

AMELIA by Hamilton Matthews

A

melia Mulkey currently splits her time between Venice, her hometown where she works as a director in theatre and film, and foggy San Francisco where she fools around with making stories on the internet. Amelia was in the first play I saw when I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, she was wonderful. I was introduced to her after the show and she was so sick that she could barely see straight. I then had the good fortune to work as her assistant director on a one-act play and was blown away with her ability to pull the best out of an actor and keep the stor y vibrant. She has directed me in two full theatre productions, most recently in “Sideways The Play� and when in town she lives right down the block. Amelia is amazing. Last summer one of my co-actors, Kristelle Monterrosa twisted her ankle the morning of a Sunday Matinee, her understudy was in New York. Amelia showed up to the theatre half an hour to curtain, from another performance. She was dusted in sparkles and had clearly been removing face paint during her drive to the theatre. Kristelle gave a refresher course on fourteen set changes and Amelia did the show. I usually like at least one rehearsal before I perform for an audience, but she just went in and was great. Amelia was working on some art in San Francisco, so I called her up to pick her brain.

Photo by aubrey anderson 47

June/July 2013


THEATER

INTERVIEW WITH

VENICE ACTRESS

AMELIA M UL K E Y H: Amelia what are some of your thoughts about theatre in Venice? Amelia: In Los Angeles and Venice the main coal mine is film and television, which I love. I make film and television too, but I love the concept of this column, to highlight where theatre is being made, because theatre is being made in peoples’ backyards and it does start at dining room tables. Were you at the first reading of (Arthur Miller’s) “Memory of Two Mondays”? H: Yes, I was. Amelia: Yeah, at my parents house? Do you remember at our dining room table? That’s where that project began. I think because theatre is such an emotional, heart felt mission, a lot of times the best work comes from being around a barbecue or dining room table setting and theatre does better that way . H: Having community and food take part in your process is strong. Amelia: Oh, yeah! Actually that’s one thing that I learned from working in television is that if you want people to stay awake late–give them food, and if you want people to know you’re sorry–buy them flowers. Top two lessons I learned working in TV. H: I did an all night shoot on location in a bar with our common friend, the amazing Conor Walshe. He was producing, as well as acting in the piece, and said that they had hired a caterer to come in and serve hot food on this night of shooting and I was surprised and he said “We’re asking people to stay up all night long, there has to be hot food,” and we worked all night and took a great break for food and then powered through the rest of the shoot. Amelia: Yeah! It has to somehow feel like a party and not a machine that you’re turning a crank on, they’re people, they just want to feel good and safe. H: So let me steer this a little bit, part of the reason I asked you for an interview over someone else is that you’re actually from Venice.

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June/July 2013

Amelia: I am. I remember the Pacific Resident Theatre, when we used to call it the liquor store theatre. It was a liquor store then (pre 1985) and it was close enough to my house to walk to, so I used to go there and get popsicles after school. I remember being a kid in Venice and being like, god there’s no place to do the arts except on the (Venice) boardwalk. I literally thought…that the only place I could get an audience together was if I got on the boardwalk and busked (street performing), which I never did. H: You never busked? Amelia: No, I feel bad about this, because that’s such a huge part of being from Venice, busking, I think. My sister and I had a little dance troupe and my parents thought we should busk but I just never went with it, I felt nervous. The competition is literally right next to you, I mean it’s not like a different stage, blocked off, it’s just a couple sidewalk squares away. I am so pleased that there are starting to be places (to perform in Venice), I mean, there’s The Electric Lodge, Pacific Residents’ Theatre. I had a friend who used to do a sort of back porch theatre, I think on Broadway St. (in Venice), just little plays on his porch and now there’s the Witzend and the Del Monte where there’s cabaret pieces and a music scene. I’m sad that things are super gentrified, and that it’s so expensive to live here but I feel that there are more creative people that are doing new work and that there are venues for them to do that work in now, so it’s bittersweet, the changes that have happened. H: What was your first theatre experience in Venice? Amelia: Oh, gosh, yeah that’s hard ‘cause I have been going to a lot of theatre all my life, since my parents are both actors and I’ve seen plays everywhere. What’s the first one? Probably buskers (on the Venice Boardwalk), you know, like the guy who would walk on glass and you know it’s his last show before he was going to Jamaica and it was always his last show before going to Jamaica, but he never actually left. When I was a little kid, I used to make plays with the kids on my block, so when you ask me what was my first experience with theatre in Venice, of course you know me, it’s some theatre I made myself, because I’m so DIY (laughs at herself). I would gather all the neighborhood kids and I would rewrite fairy tales that take place in Venice Beach. I had the surfer version of The Princess and the Pea and there was a homeless person in it, surfer dudes, beat


THEATER

poets and things like that. The language was really silly, you know, beatnik-y. (chuckles) On my block there were all these costumers or set builders, who worked in film and television, who would come and help this pip-squeaky little blonde girl with her weird sets and we would invite the whole neighborhood. I would forget to tell my parents and then all the neighbors would show up and (my parents) would be like, “what the fuck is going on?” (and I would say) “Oh yeah, we’re doing a performance.” Press at that time was really just me, going door-to-door and ringing on doorbells, we didn’t have a schedule or a close date. People used to come to the churches and perform, like traveling theatre troupes or traveling music groups, I remember. I went to a little Lutheran church and (the church) would have people come through and perform in the sanctuary because there wasn’t any other place to do it (laughs). It was them performing their weird comedy clowning act in front of A GIANT CROSS! And they would be so smart about it. I loved that they would make the pulpit into a mountain, “the billy goat is behind the mountain,” that’s kinda what they had to do, there really wasn’t any place to play unfortunately. Which is why I’m so happy there are spaces now. H: What’s been your favorite Venice theatre experience? Amelia: Oh, man. That’s so hard. There’s so much great stuff, hmmm... H: That you weren’t involved in. Amelia: Oh yeah, I would never choose one of my own. H: I’m going to ask you for one of yours after. Amelia: Okay, so it’s not in Venice, but it was started by Mikey Myers, who is a westside kid I grew up with, so I am going to count it. I think getting involved with The Cafe Plays (at the Ruskin, Santa Monica) was a huge pivotal shift in my life, not purely as an audience member but as a community member. Because of those shows, I basically can, and know how to, direct the way I do no. Because of the frequency of those plays, how many actors I got to work with, the low stakes allowing me to really try stuff without anyone freaking out. That’s probably the closest thing to my heart. I think one of the most beautiful things or most amazing things to talk about was my mother Karen Landry directing Austin Highsmith in (Cindy Lou Johnson’s) “Brilliant Traces” this last summer. That was one of the most profound and riveting pieces of theatre I had ever

seen. Oh, I saw Death of a Salesman in one of the smaller spaces at Pacific Resident Theatre (P.R.T.) and I’m a total Arthur Miller fan. I had also seen (Death of a Salesman), I think the year before at the Ahmanson with Brian Dennehy as Willy Loman and I remember it was really beautiful and powerful. But, when I saw it again at P.R.T. and the proximity I had to the actors, who were going through, oh, just some of the most devastating emotions that an American person will have. It was excruciating and beautiful, it took it to a whole ‘nother level of impact. H: What is your favorite thing you have worked on in Venice? Amelia: Well that would be choosing between children, I can’t really say, but I’m really proud of all the directing work I have done at the Ruskin, that’s really what I’m proudest of. I’ve ended up going outside of theatre in Venice to do work. I don’t know why it’s happened, but it has. I think it’s something about how you need to find out, outside of your hometown, what you’re made of. Years ago I was in a show at the Ruskin called “@heart” which really made me feel my Venice roots. It was a collaboration between John Powers and Paul Linke, and they hired me on as an actress to work on it as they developed it. It was about a girl who was sort of my age, lived in Venice and had a husband who went to Iraq (U.S. Army). It was very powerful for me because I knew that for the first time in a show, I was working with material that had things that were familiar to me in it. The kids that I grew up with, a lot of them became soldiers. Not the kids I went to college with, but the kids I grew up with in grade school and high school. What that does to a person is very particular and traumatic, especially to a person growing up with a Venice Beach life perspective. Also, the girl I was playing, processed her emotions when she was very sad by going to the beach, which is something that I do. I get very very sad and then I go to the beach, which is my form of church. So many plays take place on the east coast or in say Shakespearean times etc., depicting cultures that aren’t truly mine, so it was an unforgettable experience to act out something that I had immediate and personal understanding of. I find that now because there are more and more artists that have grown up in or have moved to Venice they have been there steadily taking on what that culture means to them, there’s more and more work out there (about Venice) which, I have mixed feelings about (chuckles) because it’s always hard when somebody writes about your home. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to write about your home, it just feels strange, bittersweet.

3.1 Venice Magazine 3point1–venice.com

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THE REAL VENICE

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June/July 2013


HISTORY

The L.A. we relative newcomers imagine is a mirage built by midcentury writers who, like us, came from somewhere else. Nathaniel West, Raymond Chandler, John Fante: all were all fascinated by the city’s rootlessness, by its lonely and sometimes lunatic isolation. Yet every generation, arriving from elsewhere, imagines itself entitled to that past. by Tom Laichas Are we? I do have a friend who can trace her ancestry back to the Tongva people – a.k.a., the Gabrielano. She’s a native. And scattered across the city are descendants of Picos, Bandinis, Sepulvedas, Bannings and half a hundred other Mexican and U.S. families that settled here before 1900. And the rest of us? More than half of us come from somewhere else, forty percent from another countr y. A need for rootedness is at its strongest among wanderers: Americans more than Europeans, Californians more than most Americans. Maybe Angelinos most of all. Any history of the “real Venice” begins with a parody of that desire for place and roots. An American type, Venice founder Abbot Kinney was a utopian, a conservationist, a huckster, a progressive, an entrepreneur, a democrat and a dictator, motivated by what now seems a hallucinatory vision of cultural uplift and personal ambition. Like most mythic narratives, this one plays out in three eras. The Age of Gold begins when Kinney arrives in 1905, drains a tidal estuary and wetland, dredges “canals,” and cobbles together a

Photo: Venice Beach, California circa 1940

pastiche of stucco Italianate façades, amidst small subdivided canal and beachfront lots. The dream didn’t go all that well, leading to the Age of Silver. In 1926, imperial Los Angeles swallowed Venice whole. Among some Venice residents, this is something like the original sin, responsible for most of the neighborhood’s later disappointments. The physical infrastructure of Kinney’s Oz decayed throughout the Depression. That worked a certain magic. The lower rents, the beachfront location, and hokery-fakery of a California piazza introduced the next episode: Venice’s rebirth as a West Coast bohemia.

Now, at the new millennium, we have arrived at the third era, the Age of Bronze, in which heirs of the arts-centered, low-rent, open-armed Venice struggle valiantly against a gentrification that has all but transformed the neighborhood. “Save the Venice Post Office,” “Save the Vera Davis Center,” “End Overnight Parking Permits,” “Restore Venice Cityhood” – these efforts are predicated on the myth of a Real Venice. Where can we find this real Venice? Who owns it? Here’s one tour guide who can help us out: Mrs. Pattison. 3.1 Venice Magazine 3point1–venice.com

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HISTORY On the first Tuesday of April 1940, 34-year-old Mrs. Gladys Pattison, a temporary employee of the United States Bureau of the Census, walked every street in Enumeration District 60-918, formerly known as “Venice City.” Gladys’s handwritten Palmer Method cursive, still quite legible, reveals a Venice of beauticians, metal punchers, bakers, and housewives. Most are just scraping by, lucky if they own a thousand square feet of red oak floor and clapboard siding, lucky if they held a job for most of 1939. Arthur Gammon, a carpenter and building contractor, resident of 228C Howland Canal. Born in Arkansas about 1914, he moved in 1935 to Battiest, Oklahoma with his 17-year-old wife Mura,

had to go a few blocks inland to the Oakwood neighborhood. Charles G. and Antonia Tabor, negroes, lived on Westminster Avenue. An Irving Tabor is well known as Abbot Kinney’s chauffeur and friend. By 1940, Tabor uncles and aunts, cousins, and grandchildren had moved into Venice. A block away, newspaper deliver yman Lewis Moore, 45, White, lived with his 80-year-old mother Amanda. Next door were Frank and Kochi Matsushita and daughter Betty, dad from Japan, mom from Hawaii. Almost certainly, two years later they would be interned with other Japanese and Japanese-Americans at Manzanar in the Mojave Desert. Their house would then have

Few of these mid century residents were born here, and few would die here. and to L.A. sometime after that. By 1940, Arthur and Muna, now 26 and 22 years old, supported a baby girl, Kathryn. In the seven days before Mrs. Pattison spoke to the Gammons, Arthur had worked 28 hours. This was better than 1939, when he’d been out of work for three solid months. Mildred Prosser rented an apartment at 2501 Pacific Avenue. 43 years old, she lived alone. Born in California, she left school in the 10th grade. She’s jobless, and without any apparent income. John and Mary Duggan, 1772 Washington Way – he’s 28, she’s 34. He describes himself as a “concessionaire” and his industry as “entertainment.” He didn’t work a day of 1939, but he’s somehow supported a young daughter and a jobless wife. Prosser, the Gammons, and the Duggans all were white. So were their neighbors. There was a more ethnically mixed Venice, but you’d have

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been sold, probably for less than its value. But the census doesn’t know about that: it reports, it doesn’t prophesy. A block further down, there’s Virginia-born Charles S. Johnson, a “Negro,” a 37 year chauffeur to a “private family,” sharing a house with his California born wife Della, a “hotel maid,” and Charles’s stepdaughters Melrose (18 years old) and June Carson (16). And so it goes from one street to another: Charles Banks, the window trimmer. Hugh Wilde, the receiving clerk. Bill Meek, the masseur at the Biltmore Health Club. Journeyman carpenters, building contractors, punch press operators, sheet metal workers, tire salesmen, truck drivers, beauticians, salesmen, and one homemaker or housewife after another. Among these pre-War neighbors, there’s not a real estate mogul, Beat poet, homeless advocate,


HISTORY

Venice, California 1926.

surfer, sword-swallower, West Coast hipster, highend architect, fourth-generation California heiress, or successful actress with a Buddha in the back yard. Mrs. Pattison would tell you: in the “real Venice” were workers, laborers and shopkeepers.

We’ll have to start with the buildings and businesses: demolish Whole Foods, it’s a chain store, not indigenous at all. Bulldoze the last two decades’ worth of residential construction along the canals. Flatten the bistro pubs.

Few of these mid century residents were born here, and few would die here. Not many people living in Venice can now count these women and men as relatives, much less direct ancestors. They came from out of town – Tennessee and Texas, Iowa and Illinois, Louisiana and Alabama. Their descendants have dispersed to other L.A. neighborhoods or other U.S. states.

After we’re done, there will be a lot of wreckage to clean up – a lot of broken glass, twisted rebar, and angr y neighbors. And for all that, we’ll be disappointed, because the Venice we think we’re restoring never existed. Most of us weren’t par t of that Venice anyway. We’re strangers here ourselves.

Do we want the real Venice?

Just ask Mrs. Pattison.

3.1 Venice Magazine 3point1–venice.com

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Painted fence in front of Ecole Claire Fontaine in Venice.

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June/July 2013

3.1 Venice Vol I MMXVI  

Through a series of articles we explore how Venice embraces the concept of "grow your food, know your food," as a mantra for healthy living...

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