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VOL 46, NO 52
Local News & Culture
FOOD & DRINK Sicily in the City
Lawsuit: BID Vote Was Rigged
Six Hours Isn’t Enough
City is accused of gerrymandering Venice business district ............................ 6
Police lack proper training to deal with the mentally ill . ..................................... 11
Anti-Semitism in Santa Monica
ARTS & EVENTS
COVER STORY Photo by MAria Martin
Synagogue’s desecration prompts outpouring of solidarity ............................ 7
O+O brings real Italian recipes to Santa Monica ................................... 19
Fresh on the Beat at 60 One man’s unorthodox retirement plan: Join the LAPD . ........................................ 8
In Death, He Gave Life
Rose Parade float honors Marina del Rey organ donor ......................................... 28
Pin-up Boys Right Side of 40 social group turns regular Joes into calendar hunks ....................... 31
Noir-Shaded Folk Rock Strange Days: 2016 in Review The ups and downs of a surreal and traumatizing year ......................... 12 For local artists, a year of creative resilience ........................................... 14
The Ice Rink that Wasn’t City drops the ball on Venice boardwalk attraction . ......................... 10
THIS WEEK Last-Minute NYE Party Guide 36 great ways to say hello to 2017 . .......... 17
Wandering songstress Shannon Brackett returns to TRiP ........................................ 32
A ‘Warrior Odyssey’
Robert Vargas paints Z-boy Tony Alva ........ 34 On The Cover: 2016 was a hot mess. Clockwise, from center: Donald Trump, Prince (R.I.P.), the Rams return to L.A., Expo Line opens in Santa Monica, Abbot Kinney Boulevard prices out local institutions, Snapchat grows exponentially in Venice, Syria’s tragic civil war, Bill Rosendahl (R.I.P), and David Bowie (R.I.P.). Design by Michael Kraxenberger.
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310-305-9600 December 29, 2016 THE ARGONAUT PAGE 3
L e tt e r s Offended by Lawbreaking and Labels, Not by Diversity Re: “Children in Del Rey’s Deep-Rooted Immigrant Community Brace for a Coming Storm,” Cover Story, Dec. 22 My response to the Dec. 22 cover page showing a young Hispanic girl holding a sign saying, “Are you offended by us?”: No, I am not offended by people from a different country, culture, religion or skin color coming to America. Diversity with assimilation has enriched our country. What I am offended by, though, is anyone who overstays their visa or comes into our country without permission. I am also offended by those who label people like me “xenophobic” because we want our immigration laws enforced — laws your parents knew about before they came. Carol Sa, Venice
FROM THE WEB Re: “Desperate for Solutions,” Letters, Dec. 15 There is a huge community of concerned homeowners and renters who reside in the area of
LAX, called Westchester, who are already very concerned with the influx of homeless population in many parts of the community. Just as the Venice community is looking for solutions, Westchester is also a community searching for solutions, and is not in a position to accept homeless from other communities. Kam Re: “A Clog in the Pipeline: Parents support a new LAUSD science and tech program in Westchester — unless local kids get shut out,” News, Dec. 7 As a proud LMU doctoral alumna, I find it disheartening that the LMU School of Education — with its stated focus on social justice and care for the marginalized — supports such a plan. Surely STEM is key, but for whom? An already advantaged socioeconomic group? I can’t see the SOE faculty, who truly value the education and development of all children, supporting this. Perhaps Dean Shane Martin would go on the
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record with his rationale for advocating this plan, and explain how it aligns to the Marymount and Jesuit traditions LMU was founded on? LMU EdD grad Re: “Mar Vista’s Christmas House: Each December, David and Carol Gusman bring Santa to hundreds of local kids,” Arts & Events, Dec. 15 God bless you for making people happy. Carol Sierras
Staff Writers: Gary Walker, x112 Christina Campodonico, x105 Contributing Writers: Beige LucianoAdams, Bliss Bowen, Stephanie Case, Bonnie Eslinger, Richard Foss, Jessica Koslow, Martin L. Jacobs, Nicole Elizabeth Payne, Kelly Hayes-Raitt, Charles Rappleye, Phoenix Tso, Andy Vasoyan Intern: Stephany Yang
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Classified Advertising: Chantal Marselis, x103 Business Circulation Manager: Tom Ponton firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher: David Comden, x120 Office Hours: M o n d ay – F r i d ay 9 A M – 5 P M The Argonaut is distributed every Thursday in Del Rey, Marina del Rey, Mar Vista, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Santa Monica, Venice, and Westchester. The Argonaut is available free of charge, limited to one per reader. The Argonaut may be distributed only by authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of The Argonaut, take more than one copy of any issue. The Argonaut is copyrighted 2016 by Southland Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part in any form or by any means without prior express written permission by the publisher. An adjudicated Newspaper of General Circulation with a distribution of 30,000.
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Lawsuit Accuses City of Rigging Venice BID Approval By gerrymandering boundaries to include public property, officials created enough “automatic ‘yes’ votes” to stack the deck against opponents
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By Gary Walker Even before it officially launches on New Year’s Day, seven Venice property owners have filed a lawsuit seeking to disband the controversial Venice Beach Business Improvement District. The complaint filed on Dec. 8 in Los Angeles Superior Court accuses city officials of rigging the BID approval process — not by suppressing the votes of property owners opposed to the assessment district, but by gerrymandering district boundaries to include enough public property for L.A. City Hall to simply outvote them. A Nov. 8 ballot among impacted Venice commercial property owners produced 99 votes in favor of the BID to 89 against, but because votes are weighted according to property size and worth — owners of larger, more valuable properties will have to pay higher annual assessments — the BID cruised to approval with 75.3% overall support. But according to the lawsuit, BID proponents drew its boundaries to include 33 public parcels comprising 28.29% of the total weighted ownership pool. Subtract that from the 75.3% margin of victory, and the BID would have failed with just 47.01% of the ownership pool’s overall support. Thus, the lawsuit argues, “the Venice BID’s boundaries have been improperly gerrymandered” to the advantage of a relatively small group of commercial property owners. “The boundaries of the proposed Venice BID appear to have been drawn in a manner to disenfranchise property owners that oppose the BID,” the lawsuit reads. “With these automatic ‘yes’ votes [created by including public property], the Venice BID needed support from only roughly 22% of the weighted private property ownership. This ‘sandbagging’ is at odds with the city’s statement that ‘the process of establishing a BID is, first and foremost, a process
which must originate from and be developed by the business community itself.” L.A. City Hall is expected to make an annual contribution of nearly $427,000 to the Venice Beach Business Improvement District for properties that include Westminster Avenue Elementary School.
presence on the Venice Boardwalk is a thinly veiled attempt to chase out the homeless, which BID organizers and supporters strenuously deny. Attorneys for the plaintiffs could not be reached, and city officials are mum. “We are viewing the litigation and have no further comment at
“The boundaries of the proposed Venice BID appear to have been drawn in a manner to disenfranchise property owners that oppose the BID.” “In other words, taxpayers who do not own property in the Venice BID are paying for over one quarter [28.29%] of the proposed Venice BID assessments,” the lawsuit argues. The Venice BID’s boundaries include areas along the Venice Boardwalk, Windward Circle, Main Street and Venice Boulevard from the beach to Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Marlene and John Okulick, who own a property on Hampton Drive; Louis Traeger, who owns a property on Horizon Ave.; a land trust of 14 parcels controlled by Jean-Marie Webster; Kevin Ragsdale, who owns a property on Innes Place; and Kendall Shaffer and Jefferson Eliot, who own a property on Westminster Avenue. The Okulick’s and Traeger’s properties are residences that are not used for business and thus should not be assessed for the benefit of the business community, according to the lawsuit. The Venice BID is expected to spend nearly 75% of its budget on “clean and safe” initiatives that include cleaning, maintenance and public safety patrols beyond the level of service the city currently provides. BID opponents claim the increased private security
this time,” said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. Back in August, Feuer invalidated a previous vote by commercial property owners in favor of forming the BID after L.A. City Council members cut a public hearing short and violated due process rights of opponents who were not allowed to speak. Other business improvement districts have been successful in winning lawsuits brought against them, but not always. On May 10, 2013, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Brien disbanded the Arts District Business Improvement District in downtown Los Angeles on the grounds that it had broken state laws when it was created. The judge found that the BID had spent funds on economic development that did not provide “special benefits” for the district — one of the arguments alleged by the Venice petitioners. The complaint against the Venice BID argues that public properties included in the BID would not derive special benefit from such BID activities as safety patrols (a general benefit) and efforts to promote shopping and dining in the area. email@example.com
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B r i e f
Vandal Strikes Santa Monica Synagogue Desecration during Hanukkah comes a month after a man shouted ‘Heil Hitler’ during a religious service A particularly vulgar act of vandalism against the Living Torah Center Chabad on Wilshire Boulevard this weekend became a vehicle for inspiration instead of hate, prompting messages of solidarity from around the globe and drawing an interfaith crowd of nearly 200 to a spontaneous menorah lighting on Sunday. “It was a message that we don’t use this time to reflect on the bad that has happened. It was a message that the Jews have been around for a long time, and we keep bringing light into the world, and we’re going to keep doing that,” Assistant Rabbi Dovid Tenenbaum said. “Share the light, share the love.” On Sunday morning, just after the start of Hanukkah, Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz arrived at the Santa Monica synagogue to find that feces and rice had been smeared on the building’s front window near the menorah display. The vandal did not leave any specific anti-Semetic messages, but this isn’t the first time that the synagogue has been targeted. Last month, an unidentified man stood up during a religious service and shouted “Heil Hitler” before gesturing
gunshots and running out of the building, said Tenenbaum. And last year someone left a threatening note in the synagogue’s mailbox that contained a swastika and read “Get out of here, you Jews.” Also about a year ago, someone scratched a cross in the building’s front window. Santa Monica Police Lt. Saúl Rodriguez said police are still searching for suspects. “Many of the businesses near the synagogue were closed because it was a holiday weekend, so there might not be a lot witnesses but we’re still looking,” Rodriguez said. Tenenbaum, who is a chaplain for the police department, suspects that anti-Semetism motivated the vandalism but stopped just short of calling it a hate crime. “This was deliberate, hateful discriminatory act. Obviously, they knew what they were doing. They knew what this place is,” he said. But Tenenbaum said he takes heart in the abundance of emails, phone calls and donations from people from all over the nation since news of the vandalism spread. “We’re thankful to everyone for this wonderful show of support. We’ve cleaned up and we’ve moved on. We’re still here and we’re not going anywhere,” he said. — Gary Walker
Jan. 4 is ‘Day of The Doors’ Celebrate with starts at 5 p.m. Densmore and beneath the Venice Krieger under the sign at Windward Venice sign and Pacific avenues. For many AngeleL.A. City Councilman nos, The Doors are Mike Bonin will help already hometown officiate the event, heroes. co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Mayor Venice Chamber of Eric Garcetti will Commerce (see make that official venicechamber.net on Wednesday, for more info). The Doors released their debut when he declares Founding band album on Jan. 4, 1967 Jan. 4 “Day of The members John Doors.” Densmore and The occasion commemorates the Robby Krieger are expected to 50th anniversary of The Doors’ debut attend, as our family members of album release on Elektra Records, the late Manzarek and Morrison. so it’s only appropriate that the day “Very apropos that The Doors commences where the music are jumpstarting our 50th in Venice, began — Venice, where Jim Morriwhere we started,” Densmore said son and Ray Manzarek met one day in a statement. “Our songs sprang on the beach in the summer of ’65. up out of the Pacific like beautiful, The rest, of course, is rock ‘n’ roll edible silver fish.” history. Sounds like music to L.A. ears. — Christina Campodonico A public event honoring the band
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Fresh on the Beat at 60 Movie theater operator Arthur Krieger had an unorthodox retirement plan: joining the LAPD Photo by Martin L. Jacobs
By Martin L. Jacobs Cruises to Alaska, spoiling the grandkids, and Lipitor; those are things reasonably associated with retirement. Joining the LAPD’s Pacific Division is not, but that’s what Arthur Krieger did. He was 60 years old. A Korean War veteran, Krieger returned home to Los Angeles in 1952 and chewed through several jobs before succumbing to the pull of the family business: the Hi-Point miniature golf course on La Cienega Boulevard, now the site of unremarkable office buildings. When the large property burned to cinders in 1970, he sold the land and joined with three other investors to build the Westland Twin Theater at Pico and Westwood boulevards, now the site of the Landmark Theatres. The movie house afforded him a good income — and a few Hollywood stories. “One day our rep, the guy who booked films for us, calls me up. He tells me, ‘Some guy from Fox is going to come by and ask you to do something. Just say no.’ So, sure enough, this Fox exec comes by and gives me this long spiel on his movie, and I said no. The rep was right; it sounded dreadful. The movie was ‘Star Wars.’ He was offering me an exclusive because another theater had passed on it,” Krieger recalls. “And there was the night we premiered ‘My Dinner with Andre,’ which turned out to be a popular picture. The stars, Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, had agreed to do a Q&A with the audience after the premiere. So the limo pulls up and the two stars get out and come into the lobby, and I can see right away they are both three sheets to the wind. Completely sloshed. The film ends and they come into the theater and there was exactly one question asked. One of them, I don’t remember which, just went off on a drunken rant. I shuffled them both out the door.” But those occasional high points were far north of the workaday routine, and choosing the butter flavoring for the popcorn concession wasn’t his idea of excitement. And there was a memory that haunted him. One night in 1939, when he was just seven years old and living in rural Pennsylvania, Arthur was in the car with his father when they came upon a drunk driver weaving all over the road. His father was an honorary state trooper, and pulled the car over and arrested the driver. It was one of those seminal moments. The opportunity to join the LAPD arrived thanks to the passage of the
Arthur Krieger became an LAPD Pacific Division reserve officer after he retired from running a movie theater Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Krieger had asked around and discovered that the police department was subject to the federal law; they could not discriminate against applicants on the basis of age.
paid a small stipend, but this was never about the money. What drew Krieger and the hundreds of other reserve officers to the job was doing some good, engaging with the community, and maybe a little thirst for adrenaline. And the LAPD
“It was lightning fast. My partner, luckily, was looking up from his notebook and called out,‘knife!’” In 1992, Krieger applied for a position as a reserve officer, was accepted, and started five months of training at the Police Academy in Elysian Park. He was almost three times as old as most of the other cadets, and “one of the training officers didn’t appreciate my age,” Krieger says with a crooked grin. It was all going his way. Then came the three-mile run. “I thought I was going to die right there. My heart was pounding out of my chest,” he admits. But Krieger was saved by another training officer who ordered him off the course. There was some mercy behind that order. And thanks to that officer and a few others who stuck their necks out for him, he made it through. He went on to work at the LAPD Pacific Division, on the city’s west side. LAPD reserve officers back then worked two days a month and were only
PAGE 8 THE ARGONAUT December 29, 2016
was happy to have help protecting the citizens of Los Angeles while saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Reserve officers rode shotgun to regular officers on patrol, and their badges looked the same and carried the same privileges and risks. Krieger recalled an early patrol experience that almost cut his retirement hobby short: “It was a domestic disturbance call. We rolled up and found a woman beaten badly, just a mess. We were in the kitchen and had the woman and her husband back-to-back. My partner is questioning her, and I’m talking to the husband. It’s quickly apparent that he’s going to be arrested, so I tell him to turn around and put his hands behind his back. I’m getting the cuffs out, and just then the wife turns around and sees her dear husband being arrested and just goes off. She pulls a
knife from somewhere and charges right at me. It was lightning fast. My partner, luckily, was looking up from his notebook and called out, ‘knife!’ He grabbed the woman and wrestled her to the ground before she reached me. It really shook me up. It was three months before I told my wife about it.” But it wasn’t all about the mean streets. Many of his early years were spent in public outreach; trying to connect with young people on the edge. He recalls those years as the most satisfying. “I remember showing up at Venice High, in uniform, and you know how all those kids notice that,” he says. “Then we went to this kid’s class and congratulated him for doing good on a test. A kid wouldn’t forget that.” The wall of Krieger’s home office is covered with commendations for his outreach work, clearly a labor of love. Krieger recalls visiting Venice Beach in the early 1990s and thinking it looked like a great place to work. He walked in and asked about an assignment there. He got grief: “Why the hell would I hire you, old man,” the sergeant barked. But he did. “Back then, the LAPD Venice neighborhood office was an old basement room in a building that used to be a live theater. It was just one room with a single cell,” Krieger says. At the time, the boardwalk was plagued by racial tension. “They would do this thing every Sunday at about 3 p.m.,” Krieger recalls. “It was
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Krieger wore his uniform with pride from 1992 to 2012 like a parade. The Hispanics would line up and march in one direction, while the blacks would line up and march the opposite way. And then when they were face to face, the words started. It didn’t take much to move it to violence.
their own way,” he explains, “but some things stood out. In the Parker building when Gates was chief, there was a rule that nobody under the rank of lieutenant could go up to his floor, the sixth floor. You just didn’t do it. But when Williams
“This Fox exec comes by and gives me this long spiel on his movie, and I said no. The rep was right; it sounded dreadful. The movie was ‘Star Wars.’” The shopkeepers would just hide, like the Old West.” The solution was possibly worse than the crime; as the “parade” started each Sunday, police officers would drive patrol cars up and down the boardwalk blaring the sirens. After almost a decade on patrol and community outreach, a lieutenant whom Krieger greatly admired asked him when he was going to start doing real police work. Arthur took the hint; he studied for the detective exam, passed it, then rotated through the desks: Robbery, Burglary, Auto Theft, Juvenile, and MAC, which was assault crimes. As a detective he also began to work full time, still for almost no pay. In all, he worked under five chiefs of police: Gates, Williams, Parks, Bratton and Beck. “They were all different. Did things in
became chief, he didn’t keep that rule. I remember the first time I walked down that sixth floor hallway, and on the wall there was a picture of me with a bunch of kids from one of the outreach programs we ran. The picture had been there all through Gates’ time, but I couldn’t go and see it. Kind of ironic. But Gates was good. He protected his men. They all had their own way.” Arthur Krieger retired from his retirement in 2012, after almost 20 years with the LAPD. These days he enjoys yoga to stay fit, and, appropriately, spends a lot of time spoiling the grandkids and great-grandkids. Martin L. Jacobs can be reached at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @ML_Jacobs_Venice
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No Dice for Venice Ice Rink City approved the boardwalk attraction, but they couldn’t find anyone to build it Image courtesy of Downtown Santa Monica Inc.
By Gary Walker Oxford Triangle resident Heather Kahler fondly recalls skating as a child and later as a teenager at the Ice Capades Chalet in Santa Monica and later at the Culver City Ice Rink, both of which are now closed. “We don’t have enough family activities in Venice, and I think an ice rink is a great way to bring the family community together to celebrate winter in sunny California,” said Kahler, a third-generation Venetian. “I welcome any familyoriented activities there.” But she and other supporters of building a seasonal ice rink along the Venice Boardwalk will have to wait, as plans to do so this year have been scrapped despite the backing of L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin and the California Coastal Commission. Bonin had pushed hard for the rink earlier this year, suggesting it could freshen up the boardwalk scene and make the area more attractive to families. “Despite being a major attraction in the city, Venice has become frayed around the edges. The city and community are fighting perceptions that Venice is unclean and not family friendly … [and] the reality of serious public safety issues, particularly at night and including the area around Windward Plaza,” Bonin wrote in a Jan. 5 letter to the commission. Apparently, however, city officials were unable to find anyone willing and able to build the ice rink this year. “We asked for bids for a contractor to build the rink (as well as sponsors to help fund the construction), but there are not a lot of people who do that sort of work, and the ones who do were already booked for this year,” Bonin’s office responded in an email after The Argonaut inquired about the rink. But plans for an ice rink aren’t going away, they say.
Skaters frolic on Santa Monica’s public ice rink, an idea L.A. tried to pinch for Venice Beach “The approved permit is good for five years, so we plan to try again next year,” the email continues. The Venice ice rink would operate on a beach platform south of the LAPD Venice Beach substation from Thanksgiving to Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16), ostensibly giving skaters about eight weeks to show off their cuts and turns. Venice Chamber of Commerce President George Francisco feels an ice skating rink would fit with the community’s decades-long tradition of being open to new things that both tourists and locals find interesting. “Any amenity that brings positive energy and activity to Venice — and particularly the boardwalk and historic Windward commercial area — is welcome. We see over 10.5 million visitor trips to Venice each year, so while a skating rink may become a singular
attraction that increases tourism, it certainly should make both residents and visitors experiences better,” Francisco said. “The very definition of eclectic would make the integration of an ice skating area a natural complement to the diverse range of influences and recreation opportunities in Venice and at the boardwalk.” While Bonin and other ice rink supporters talk about it bringing positive evening activity to the boardwalk, others don’t want to draw more people to the area — especially after sunset. Martha Hertzberg, a Venice resident who owns the consulting firm Walk Street Management, is one of several walk street homeowners who opposes the ice rink. “Bringing people down here for evening or nighttime activity is a recipe for disaster. Noise and illegal activity will
increase in front of our homes. It would dramatically change our quality of life for the worse,” Hertzberg told the commission in January. Longtime Venice walk street resident Paul Kroskrity, a professor of American Indian studies at UCLA, said his 15-yearold daughter initially liked the idea of a local ice skating rink but changed her mind when she learned more about the city’s plans. “She began asking, ‘Will the lights be too bright? Will I have to wear ear plugs to sleep at night?’ Kids, students and working people have had a quiet nighttime situation down here for years, and increased nighttime activity will create a far more problematic concern than we already have,” Kroskrity said. Los Angeles city officials hoped the rink would complete with ICE at Santa Monica, the outdoor ice skating rink that operates in November, December and January at the corner of Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue. More than 58,000 people visited ICE at Santa Monica in 2015, according to Downtown Santa Monica Inc. Senor Marketing and Communications Manager Kevin Herrera. The Venice Beach ice rink isn’t the first time an idea for a new boardwalk attraction has run into problems. L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Bonin’s predecessor and former boss, championed the installation of a zipline along the beach in 2013, but the attraction fizzled out after just one season under the weight of opposition from nearby walk street residents and the Venice Neighborhood Council. The zipline brought in $50,000 in revenue to city coffers, part of which was used for maintenance operations and restroom cleaning along the boardwalk, according to city Recreation and Parks Supt. Charles Singer.
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Six Hours Isn’t Enough Police officers should get more training on how to deal with the mentally ill By Bettina Gantsweg The slight man shuffles along in front of a laundromat on Washington Boulevard, stops and sets down an orange drink in the middle of the doorway. Wearing kneelength black pants, black shirt and a tan cap, he seems normal until he starts pacing in circles, shouts into the air and flings around his dirt-covered arms — obviously he’s mentally ill. But eventually he picks up his orange drink and just walks out. A moment later, when two huge police officers walk past the laundromat, I go outside to observe. They approach the man, corner him against a wall and stand stiffly, feet apart, hands on hips, expressionless. The little man’s face freezes in terror. While speaking to him, the roughly 6’6” officer takes the man’s arms, twists them behind him and seems ready to handcuff. Instead, he pats the man down, empties his pockets, removes his hat — does his job. Maybe they’re looking for drugs or incriminating evidence, I think. After 10 minutes, the officers turn and leave and the man with the orange drink continues on his way. As the officers walk towards the laundro-
mat, I approach one and say, “Can I ask you a question?” “Yes,” he says, face wooden. “I was curious how much training you receive dealing with mental illness.” “We get one day,” the officer says. “One day? Do you feel that that’s adequate?” “No, not really, but there’s an officer who rides with a psychologist — he’s available in case of a mental health crisis.” “May I also ask why you stopped that man?” “Someone called in to say that he was inside a store talking crazy and disturbing the customers — he wouldn’t leave.” “But you felt you could deal with him with one day of training?” “We manage.” He ducks his head and says, “Sorry, I have to get going.” I stand there shocked, imagining the mentally ill man’s feelings of panic, humiliation and confusion from that public examination. I’m also horrified that the officers are afforded so little training about how to deal with situations like this one, which could have escalated dangerously if the man had become irrational. I go online to check the officer’s revela-
tion that he’s had one day of training to deal with mentally ill persons and find the site DisabilityRightsCA.org. It includes a report titled “An Ounce of Prevention: Law Enforcement Training and Mental Health Crisis Intervention.” It states: “Frequently, police officers respond to mental health-related calls and incidents, many of which can be timeconsuming. At least one jurisdiction reported to Disability Rights California that mental health calls constitute up to one third of all calls for service that they receive.” Part of the curriculum for police training is “Learning Domain 37: These six hours of instruction (less than 10% of academy training hours) cover a wide spectrum of disability-related topics.” Six hours! Aside from this, “there is no requirement in California law … that officers receive any additional or periodic refresher training interacting with individuals with a mental health disability.” The reason for the lack of training is monetary: “There are no funds to pay for more in-depth training for all officers.” Psychologists and psychiatrists require
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years of education to treat mentally ill clients, and here we have police officers with six hours of instruction dealing with disturbed individuals in possible crisis situations involving weapons, combative behavior or even suicide. With so many police calls involving mental health issues, the present amount of training seems insanely inadequate, with many mentally ill persons confronted by police ending up in jail, and some worse — dead. What can we do? We can call the offices of our local representatives about this dire situation. Call Assemblywoman Autumn Burke’s office at (310) 412-6400, state Sen. Ben Allen’s at (310) 318-6994 and L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin’s at (310) 568-8772. Or, write a letter to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) that everyone can read. Police departments need funding solutions to increase officers’ mental health training. Their safety, our safety and the safety of the mentally ill is at stake. Bettina Gantsweg is a longtime resident of Marina del Rey.
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December 29, 2016 THE ARGONAUT PAGE 11
C o v e r
S to r y
2016 in Review By Joe Piasecki 2016 was a hot mess — surreal, painful and incredibly loud. The Trump-Clinton-Sanders circus brought America’s angry, obnoxious and even hateful undercurrents to the fore, fueled by a proliferation of “fake news” in the Facebook echo chamber. Facts, R.I.P. This year was all about emotion and talking without listening. This year fought dirty. This was also a year of feeling helpless in the face of human tragedy: traumatizing images of civilian casualties in Syria and drowned refugees, the deadliest mass shooting in American history at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, terrorist attacks in Europe and a pipe bomb going off in New York — violence brought closer to home by fresh memories of the December 2015 terrorist attack that killed 22 in San Bernardino, and then again with the UCLA murder-suicide in June. The whole world just seemed to go crazy, and Westside neighborhoods were not exempt. In January, a 17-year-old died from a gunshot wound to the head in the Marina Marketplace parking lot, and a 47-year-old man died in a drive by shooting near Via Marina and Panay Way in March. The broad-daylight August shooting death of a 37-yearold construction worker in Venice remains unsolved and unresolved, and a teenager is suspected of stabbing a 22-year-old pregnant woman to death in November underneath the Venice sign at Windward and Pacific avenues. Women, minorities and the LGBTQ community spent much of 2016 feeling under attack, but fought back with unprecedented cultural expressions of power and pride. In the same year that white nationalism rebranded itself as the “alt-right,” the Academy Awards became #Oscars SoWhite and police shootings of
unarmed black men dominated the summer news cycle, the Black Lives Matter movement became a groundswell. “Ghostbusters” reboot star Leslie Jones rose above the racism and misogyny of Twitter trolls, and “black girl magic” became a cultural meme as gymnast Simone Biles dazzled the world at the Rio Olympics. West of the 405, three women took a stand against date rape by intervening
Santa Monica home in August. Westside civil rights and anti-war activist Tom Hayden died in October. And this week alone, we lost George Michael and Carrie Fisher. Another adjective to describe 2016: ruthless. Not everything went badly in 2016, however. Westchester residents and LAX finally reached some measure of détente, with the airport giving up northern expansion
Though everyone experienced it differently, 2016 was a pretty rough ride for a lot of people. after they saw a man slip a roofie into his date’s drink at a Santa Monica restaurant. The former Playboy model who photographed a naked 70-year-old woman in a Playa Vista gym locker room and body-shamed her on Snapchat now faces criminal charges via the L.A. City Attorney’s office. In Venice, members of the local LGBTQ community lost a longtime sanctuary in May when Roosterfish shuttered due to rising rents on Abbot Kinney Boulevard but responded with the inaugural Venice Pride celebration in June and united again for a candlelight vigil for Pulse Nightclub shooting victims at Windward Circle. But there’s no denying it was an awful year for icons who defied gender and cultural norms. We started off the year mourning the death of David Bowie in January. Bill Rosendahl, a widely beloved Westside public figure who was the first openly gay L.A. City Council member, died in March. Prince died in April. Muhammad Ali died in June. Juan Gabriel died of a heart attack at his
PAGE 12 THE ARGONAUT December 29, 2016
to allow for parkland and low-density development instead. Locally, public transportation had a banner year, with new light rail stations extending the Expo Line into Downtown Santa Monica and the city’s Breeze Bike Share program off to a strong start — nearly 300,000 trips in its first 12 months. The capper came in November when Los Angeles County voters passed Measure M, a half-cent sales tax that will raise billions for trains and buses over the next 40 years. And after decades of inertia, Los Angeles finally started doing something about homelessness. In April, L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin put forth a multi-faceted plan to end homelessness in Venice that started with setting aside the former Metro Bus facility in Venice for affordable housing construction and continued on to include a mobile hygiene wagon providing showers for the homeless. Bonin was also a key figure behind Proposition HHH, the city’s successful bid to raise $1.2 billion for subsidized housing.
But the topic of the year in Venice had to be gentrification. Locals coined the term “Venice Remodel” to describe how developers are using loopholes in city zoning code to proliferate McMansions in Oakwood. Astronomical rents on Abbot Kinney Boulevard are chasing out many of the local businesses that made it what it is, and a bungalow in the Venice Canals sold in July for a post-recession record of $2,000 per square foot. And speaking of gentrification, Venicebased Snapchat — the social media platform of choice for those born after 1990 — is getting lots of hate from the local Facebook-using crowd for buying up or leasing more than 100,000 square feet of commercial and residential property in Venice, displacing some local businesses in the process. Snapchat has so far responded by offering haters nothing but silence — and by quietly contributing to local nonprofits, such as funding a vocational tech program at the St. Joseph Center for an entire year. To the south, Playa del Rey residents were and still are at each other’s throats over a proliferation of short-term vacation rentals there, with Bonin-proposed regulations still wending their way through City Hall. In Marina del Rey, the renovation of the Oxford Basin Lagoon and the demolition of the 1960s-built Neptune Marina Apartments — probably the area’s last remaining market-rate waterfront housing still affordable for a family on the lower end of middle-income — continued the steamroller of change. Though everyone experienced it differently, 2016 was a pretty rough ride for a lot of people. 2017 brings hope for a better year, but buckle up for more uncertainty and change. What else was important to you this year? What are your hopes for 2017? Let us know at email@example.com.
LAX ended plans to expand into Westchester; 2 Kristine Carman was shot to death in Marina del Rey. 3 SMC shooting first responders received medals of valor. 4 Volunteers rallied after vandals desecrated Veniceâ€™s Vietnam POW/ MIA Memorial. 5 Bernie Sanders rallied supporters in Santa Monica. 6 A Venice Canals bungalow broke sales records. 1
7 Marvin Ponce wash shot 10 to death in Oakwood. 8 The California Incline reopened. 9 Venice mourned for Orlando. Attorneys won a civil judgment for Brendon Glenn, killed by police in Venice. A mobile shower truck for the homeless. The party ended at Neptune Marina. New Big Blue Bus routes faced local backlash. 10
Photos #1, 5, 9, 11 & 12 by Maria Martin; #2 by Mia Duncans; #4 by Robert Johnson; #13 by Stephanie Case
Some of the many beloved public figures we lost this year
Photo by Adam Bielawski
David Bowie =
January 10, 2016
Alan Rickman =
Gene Wilder =
August 29, 2016
January 14, 2016
October 23, 2016
Leonard Cohen =
January 18, 2016
November 7, 2016
February 19, 2016
Florence Henderson =
November 24, 2016
Nancy Reagan =
March 6, 2016
April 21, 2016
Zsa Zsa Gabor
December 18, 2016
December 25, 2016
Muhammad Ali =
June 3, 2016
December 27, 2016
December 29, 2016 THE ARGONAUT PAGE 13
C o v e r
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3 1 Flavio Bisciotti in his fire-ravaged studio. 2 Yaniv Rokah and Mimi Haist at
Fox Laundry in Santa Monica.
3 Tim Robbins at The Actors’ Gang
in Culver City.
4 Displaced from 361 Vernon Ave.,
artist Kate Wolfgang Savage later found another studio in Venice.
5 MB Boissonnault fought eviction at
361 Vernon but ended up relocating to Sunset Avenue.
6 The Actors’ Gang enriches
communities through the power of stage arts.
A Year of Creative Resilience
Photos 1, 2 & 3 by Shilah Montiel, Photos 4 & 5 by Maria Martin, Photo 6 Courtesy of The Actors’ Gang
Local artists stood up strong, reinvented themselves and made a difference in 2016 By Christina Campodonico One of the wonderful things about L.A., especially west of the 405, is that you can uncover springs of creativity almost anywhere. Trot through the Art Walk and you could catch wind of an artist who’s turned his singed studio into an art piece. See a play at The Actors’ Gang and you may spot Tim Robbins serving up $5 drinks after the show. Take a wrong turn in Venice and find an artists’ enclave about to disappear. Having worked The Argonaut’s arts beat for a little over a year now, I’ve had the honor of interviewing some of the most inspiring artists and influencers from our community. But one thing I’ve taken away from many of their stories is their perseverance to make art no matter what, like Venice artist MB Boissonnault, who inspired me to write the article “Exile on Vernon” (Aug. 18). When renovations and rising rents at art studios on 361 Vernon Ave. threatened to remove her and more than a dozen other local artists from the area, Boissonnault launched a postcard campaign to alert Councilman Mike Bonin to the exodus of artists and sold T-shirts to raise funds. When faced with a lease termination notice in May, Boissonnault told me, “We’re not going to run with our tail between our legs. We’re not going to
run with the white flag waving to Culver City or Inglewood. We’re going to stay here.” Boissonnault ultimately had to leave 361 Vernon, but found another space near Gjusta and continues to make art in Venice. Another inspirational individual I met was Marie “Mimi” Haist, a formerly homeless Santa Monica woman who lived and worked in a laundromat on Montana Avenue for almost two decades and won the hearts of locals and celebrities alike, including Renée Zellweger and Zach Galifianakis, who helped her out of homelessness. Mimi’s journey from all-American housewife to homelessness to resident royalty is captured in Yaniv Rokah’s indie documentary “Queen Mimi,” which we reported on in our April cover story “From Homeless to Hollywood” (April 21). After watching the film and meeting Mimi in person, her tenacity stuck with me, just as it did with her chronicler, a once struggling actor and barista turned documentary filmmaker. “Mimi made me a stronger person,” said Rokah. “I’ve never met anyone like Mimi before in my life, someone who just shows up and goes to work seven days a week and maintains such a positive outlook on life. It was a breath of fresh air.”
PAGE 14 THE ARGONAUT December 29, 2016
Then there’s The Actors’ Gang’s resident Academy Award-winner Tim Robbins, our 2016 Best of the Westside Artist of the Year, who continues to believe in the power of the arts to mend broken lives. Through The Prison Project, Robbins and members of his Culver City-based theater company coach incarcerated men in the expressive powers of commedia dell’arte. For inmates who completed the program, the recidivism rate dropped to just 10.6%, according to a preliminary study by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “When you work with people that have nothing — without education, without any kind of artistic programs in their schools, or without any kind of rehabilitation in prison — your perspective on what’s important really shifts,” Robbins told The Argonaut. “It makes you understand the inherent power that creative programs have and how a commitment to this view of what art is and can be fundamentally shifts the art you produce.” And finally there’s artist and architect Flavio Bisciotti (“Art from the Ashes,” July 7), whose home studio burned down in a freak fire last January. Instead of wallowing in the tragedy, he invited friends from his community of artists to pick up the pieces and transform the remnants of his studio into new and innovative works of art.
“Instead of throwing things away, I’m going to rebuild them in a way,” said Bisciotti. The final products of his endeavor will be on display at Bisciotti’s Santa Monica gallery starting Jan. 21. Interestingly enough, that’s the day after Presidentelect Donald Trump takes office. What a Trump presidency means for the arts is, like the president-elect himself, unpredictable. But after writing about the incredible resilience of local artists throughout this year, I believe that artists are best prepared for whatever a Trump administration may hold. Armed with pens, paintbrushes and thought-provoking perspectives, artists are already on the front lines of some of our time’s most pressing issues — gentrification, mass incarceration, homelessness — and in spite of these hardships, they continue to create and spread amazing ideas. This indomitable creativity may be stronger than any wall — physical or figurative — that Mr. Trump intends to build. So in 2017, let’s “bring on the rebels / the ripples from pebbles / the painters and poets and plays,” to quote the new movie “La La Land,” itself a beautiful illustration of struggling artists striving to succeed in L.A. “Here’s to the ones who dream / foolish as they may seem.”
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December 29, 2016 THE ARGONAUT PAGE 15
L e tt e r s (Continued from page 4)
These two are the best. A very giving and loving couple. Francine Re: “Bonin Holds the Line on Playa del Rey Height Restrictions,” News, Dec. 22 Mike, thank you for representing our community. You are right that 37 feet is the height limit for our area. I was an
alternate for the masterplan in the 1980s, and that is what was written in the plan then. Carol Kapp Re: “Rolling With the Punches: Soulful rock ’n’ roller Paul Chesne plays two very different gigs as he plots his next act,” Arts & Events, Dec. 22 Paul Chesne is one of the smartest, most-skilled songwrit-
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ers out there with a sharply sardonic wit. He’s also a fantastic entertainer with a great band. Thank you for this great piece on one of my favorite artists. Alison Freebairn-Smith HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE ARGONAUT: Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Year in Verse: A 2016 Limerick Politicians are now taking stock After Hillary seemed like a lock, But as all will note, The electoral vote Caused quite an election shock. The liberals took their lumps, And now they’re down in the dumps. They weren’t prepared, And now are scared Of a White House full of Trumps. It looks as though we’ll find The Donald’s a transparent kind. As he repeats His morning tweets, We’ll know what’s on his mind. The stock market’s overnight drop Was really a buying opp. For those who care, It’s been on a tear, The question is “When will it stop?” It should come as no surprise That interest rates will rise. Bond buyers will learn They’ll have more to earn, But we’ll hear some borrowers’ cries. So tired of playing their role, They wanted more control, And so with the Brexit The Brits made their exit. The “Leavers” achieved their goal. Automakers will continue to strive To make your car self-drive. It surely should Be very good If you finish your trip alive. Some farmers are making a lot In an industry that’s now gotten hot, For we all can buy Enough to get high, With the legalization of pot. He never would actually state If footballs he did not deflate, But with Giselle, We all can tell Tom Brady sure knows how to date. Kardashians are the best At keeping their fans obsessed. Her followers sobbed When Kim was robbed, But too much for Kanye West. So many films to see; For the Oscar, there are at least three: “Moonlight” is grand, And “La La Land,” And “Manchester by the Sea.” With some changes on the way, For you I’d like to say, That good will appear In the coming year, And you’ll have a great holiday.
Don Coyne, Bel Air
Pacifica is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Gainful Employment Information at pacifica.edu.
PAGE 16 THE ARGONAUT December 29, 2016
Editor’s Note: Coyne, formerly of Marina del Rey, is an investment advisor and songwriter. Hear his music at broadjam.com/doncoyne.
T h is
W e e k
New Year’s Eve Party Guide
Compiled by Andy Vasoyan and Christina Campodonico
hether you’re bidding it a fond farewell or good riddance, 2016 has been a whirlwind — even surreal at times. Either way, now’s the time to make sure 2017 gets off to a bang. Westside New Year’s Eve parties run the gamut from glitzy and glamorous affairs to more down-to-earth celebrations, or even nautical adventure. Here’s a handy list to help you set the tone for your next trip around the sun.
Santa Monica Soul Station @ Hotel Casa del Mar
Dancing is the name of the game at this swanky lounge, with a spectacular view of the coast and a great live setup featuring Lola Delon and “The Voice” finalist TJ Wilkins. Party starts at 8 p.m.; $70+. Hotel Casa del Mar, 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica. (310) 581-7724; hotelcasadelmar.com
New Year’s Club Night @ West End
This new club in the space formerly known as Zanzibar opened its doors in October, and a penchant for danceheavy deejays has carried it into the new year. Six straight hours of shimmying starts at 8 p.m.; $100+. West End, 1301 5th St., Santa Monica. (310) 451-2221; westendsm.com
Heritage Museum Masquerade Fundraiser @ Basement Tavern
Masquerade Party @ Hotel Shangri-La
until midnight at this cozy, kitschy bar with shot specials, ironic lounge furniture and live music from the even more ironically named Black Hips. Party starts at 9 p.m.; $40. The Craftsman Bar, 119 Broadway, Santa Monica. (310) 573-8426; thecraftsmanbar.com
The ONYX rooftop bar plays host to this ritzy combination of food, fun and anonymous flirtation at the masquerade; entry gets you as many hors d’oeuvres as you can swipe from the circling trays, as well as two cocktails and a glass of champagne to wash them (and the final seconds of 2016) down in style. $100+. Hotel Shangri-La, 1301 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 394-2791; shangrila-hotel.com
Black Tie New Year’s @ The Bungalow
New Year’s Eve with DJ Jolyon @ The Room
Nothing captures the contradictions of L.A. quite like a strict black-tie policy and a glamorous crowd at this trendy, laid-back beachside lounge. The party itself is straightforward, with drinks and dancing from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. $150. The Bungalow, 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 899-8530; thebungalow.com
New Zealand house music producer DJ Jolyon spins a New Year’s Eve set for this stylish 21+ party, starting at 9 p.m. Pay cash at the door. $30 before 9 p.m.; $40 after 9 p.m. 1325 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. Get on the guest list at RoomSM2017.eventbrite.com or reserve a table at email@example.com.
Escape Reality @ Magicopolis
Santa Monica Deejay Party @ V Lounge
Want a magical new year, literally? Look no further than this family-friendly presentation of prestidigitation, in which sleight-of-hand combines with popcorn and pizza to keep the magic going all night long. $65. Magicopolis, 1418 4th St., Santa Monica. (310) 451-2241; magicopolis.com
A favorite of fashionable young Westsiders, come dressed to impress at the cozy underground level of a three-story renovated Victorian mansion (possibly the most thematically consistent place for a masquerade in Los Angeles). Party starts at 8 p.m.; $50. Basement Tavern, 2640 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 396-2469; basementtavern.com
New Year’s Pub Crawl 2017 @ Circle Bar
Extended Happy Hour @ The Craftsman Bar
KCRW’s Black+Gold Soiree @ The Viceroy Hotel
If you wish happy hour would never end, you’re in luck: it will go almost
Campos and Travis Holcombe lay down their eclectic beats for a bash sure to be so hip it hurts. Party starts at 9 p.m.; $155+. Viceroy Santa Monica, 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 260-7500; viceroyhotelsandresorts.com
If your New Year’s resolution includes exercise, get a jump-start with an unpretentious pub crawl. $4 draft beer deals will keep you hydrated all the way through to the secret afterparty, which lasts until 6 a.m.! Crawl starts at 6 p.m. at Circle Bar, 2926 Main St., Santa Monica. $30+. (323) 604-6030; californianightlife.com
Send out 2016 in lavish style with this black-tie masquerade. KCRW DJs Raul
Three Santa Monica DJs provide the soundtrack for a night of mingling and champagne popping from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at V Lounge, 2020 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. $30+. Visit ournightlife.com or clubzone.com.
A Venice Classic @ Hal’s Bar & Grill
Venice lost a piece of itself when Hal’s left Abbot Kinney Boulevard in 2015, but it’s return a year later just down the street was — and still is — cause for celebration. Looking forward to the year ahead, Hal’s is offering a special prix fixe four-course menu with wine, a champagne toast and midnight, fun party favors and live entertainment. Seatings are from 9 to 11 p.m. (or from 5 to 7:45 p.m. for just the special dinner). $85. Hal’s Bar & Grill, 1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 396-3105; halsbarandgrill.com
The Ball at the Beach @ The Venice Whaler
It doesn’t get more beachy than this multi-story seaside saloon, where the sand is practically on the doorstep. Dance music is the order of the evening, but for those looking for a more private vibe, rooftop tables and steak dinner is also an option. $20+. The Venice Whaler, 10 Washington Blvd., Venice. (310) 821-8737; venicewhaler.com
Party on the 7s @ Townhouse & Del Monte Speakeasy
Venice & Mar Vista Let’s Prost! @ Wurstkuche
Not in the mood for champagne this year? How about Chimay Grand Reserve, the brew of choice to compliment the sausages, cheese and fries at this German-style beer hall. Party starts at 9 p.m.; $75. Wurstkuche, 625 Lincoln Blvd., Venice. (213) 687-2444; wurstkuche.com
Party On @ Accomplice Bar
is less than two months old, and they’re out to prove themselves with unlimited “Party On Punch,” Taiwanese soul food, and an open bar with classic cocktails aplenty. New year, new bar, same hangover. Party starts at 9 p.m.; $125. Accomplice Bar, 3811 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista. accomplicebar.com
This bar that branched off from Status Quo
Dance to the music of 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997 and 2007 as you ring in 2017. Arthur Lee & Love perform live with DJs Shiva & Vinyl Don spinning rock, soul, hip-hop, funk and classics. The party goes from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. and includes a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. $17 to $40. Townhouse & Del Monte Speakeasy, 52 Windward Ave., Venice. (310) 392-4040; townhousevenice.com (Continued on page 18)
December 29, 2016 THE ARGONAUT PAGE 17
T h is
W e e k
(Continued from page 17)
New Year’s @ Chaya Venice
Come hungry and thirsty to this classy cocktail smorgasbord at Chaya Venice’s newly renovated digs. Fill your plate with fresh seafood, market veggies, sushi, tomahawk steak, lamb and caviar, or fill up your glass from the open bar. $250. Chaya Venice, 110 Navy St., Venice. (310) 396-1179; thechaya.com
New Year’s Eve with Custom Creations LA
Like surprises? You won’t know where to go to ’til you RSVP to this party. Gourmet meal planning, delivery and catering service Custom Creations LA is throwing a cocktail dance party with live music at a secret Venice venue from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Admission starts at $100 and includes an open bar. Search “New Year’s Eve at Secret Venue” at eventbrite.com
HULA! @ Canal Club
This brick-walled building with a Frank Gehry-designed interior comes alive with the usual New Year’s dancing and drinking, only with a twist: HULA! Get in early to sample their hearty fare before the party at 10 p.m., where DJ Sosa will spin until 2 the next morning. $39. Canal Club, 2025 Pacific Ave., Venice. (310) 823-3878; canalclubvenice.com
New Year’s Eve Shangri La @ James’ Beach
Featured in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Californication,” and Open Table’s Most Vibrant Bar Scene roundup, this longtime local destination’s lively atmosphere will leave you amped for the new year. Party starts at 8 p.m., $69+. James’ Beach, 60 N. Venice Blvd., Venice. (310) 823-5396; jamesbeach.com
Marina del Rey Fireworks @ Burton Chace Park
d’oeuvres galore. DJ Ella spins for dancers until 1 a.m., and hungry early birds can get in on a five-course prix fixe dinner beforehand. Party starts at 8 p.m.; $50 advance, $60 at the door. Marina del Rey Hotel, 13534 Bali Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 301-1000; marinadelreyhotel.com/ midnight.
Dogtown NYE and Surf Party @ Brennan’s Pub
Hang ten at Brennan’s, where there’s free admission, free parking, free t-shirts and free champagne. Classic rock and surf music band Skeeter’s Pool Party provides the tunes and opens up their camper to the public. Drummers of all musical levels can bring their sticks and play “Wipeout,” and guitarists from pro to novice can noodle on “Crossroads” with their own axes. The 21+ party starts at 9 p.m. Cowabunga! Brennan’s Pub, 4089 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey. (310) 821-6622; brennanspub-la.com
Nautical New Year’s @ The Warehouse
Live music, classic party cocktails and a boisterous countdown to the ball-drop ring in another year at the nautically themed Marina del Rey original. The outside dining patio is also a great spot to catch the fireworks alongside some surf-n-turf. The Warehouse, 4499 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 823-5451; mdrwarehouse.com
A Jamaican-Style New Year’s @ Jamaica Bay Inn
Dine on a special New Year’s Eve dinner and cocktail menu by the water from 5 to 10 p.m. while live music by PIUS (a.k.a. Higherlion) sets the mood. Jamaica Bay Inn, 4175 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 439-3033; jamaicabayinn.com
Dinner & Dancing @ Café del Rey
Start 2017 in style with a special occasion gourmet menu, a deejay spinning for dancers after 8:30 p.m. and a complimentary midnight toast. $95. Café del Rey, 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 823-6395; cafedelreymarina.com
NYE 2017 @ Tony P’s
The table is yours ’til midnight if you dine in after 9 p.m. Follow up dinner with a twirl around the tavern’s dance floor next door, a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. 4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. No cover with dinner purchase; $10 for drinks and dancing only. (310) 8234534; tonyps.com
A New Year’s Eve Feast @ Whiskey Red’s
Like your New Year’s Eve with a side of decadence? Look no further than Whiskey Red’s, with a raw bar and buffet designed to thrill your inner carnivore, deejays packing the dance floor and one of the best views of the marina fireworks. $80. Whiskey Red’s, 13813 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 823-4522; whiskeyreds.com
Cocktail Cruise @ Fisherman’s Village
Turn “Auld Lang Syne” into a sea shanty with a classy nautical celebration on the marina. With both a cocktail-and-dessert and a full-blown dinner gala option, your inner sailor can ring in the new year with style (and maybe a little rum, too). $120. Hornblower Cruises, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 301-9900; hornblower.com
Mariachi Dinner Show @ Casa Sanchez
Salsa or sway to the musical stylings of Casa Sanchez’s house band Mariachi Voces de Mexico de Raúl Sanchez and the ever-popular Yari Moré Latin Band at this evening celebration from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., which offers a cocktail bar, champagne toast, non-alcoholic drink options, a three-course meal and party favors. $50 to $100. Casa Sanchez, 4500 S. Centinela Ave., Del Rey. (310) 397-9999; casa-sanchez.com
Karaoke New Year’s @ Backstage Bar
Backstage has some of the city’s best karaoke nights, and for New Year’s Eve they’re playing to their strengths. Sing your heart out from 8 p.m. on, with free party favors and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight — and perhaps best of all no cover or drink minimum. Backstage Bar, 10400 Culver Blvd., Culver City. (310) 839-3892; backstageculvercity.com
Playa Vista, Del Rey & Culver City
Westchester & Playa Del Rey
Dance and Desert @ The Culver Hotel
Champagne toast? Check. Beachside locale? Check. Ice cream shop, whisky bar, restaurant and deli-style counter all under one roof? Check! Eat, drink and be ice cream-merry at “Top Chef” alum Brooke Williamson’s four-way hybrid eatery. Party starts at 10, last seating at 9:45. $20 at the door. Playa Provisions, 119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey. (310) 683-5019; playaprovisions.com
Jazz, disco and other danceable tunes rule the evening at this cocktail-chic speakeasy soiree — unless, of course, the complimentary dessert station and bubbly don’t get to you first. The Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd., Culver City (310) 558-9400; culverhotel.com
’80s Retro Rewind @ Gulp
Flash back to the past with funky beats, a photo booth, costume contest, free cham-
Early birds can watch the ball drop live on a big inflatable screen broadcasting CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live from Times Square, NYC at 8:59 p.m. A 10-minute fireworks display follows. Night owls can join Marina del Rey’s New Year’s Eve countdown at 11:59 p.m. and watch another 10-minute fireworks display after. The celebration starts at 7 p.m. at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. Free. Parking is $8 in County lots #77 and #4 at 13650 and 13500 Mindanao Way.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry @ Playa Provisions
Twilight Dining & More @ Cantalini’s Salerno Beach
Playa del Rey’s old-school Italian favorite closes out 2016 with three-course Twilight Dining specials from 4 to 6 p.m. followed by live music, champagne and party favors from 7 to midnight. $50+. Cantalini’s Salerno Beach, 193 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey. (310) 821-0018; salernobeach.com
Mellow Vibes @ Melody Bar & Grill
Midnight on the Marina @ SALT
The Marina del Rey Hotel hosts a slick soiree at SALT restaurant, with views of the harbor during the two L.A. County fireworks displays and delectable hors
pagne toast at midnight and a $6 happy hour menu all night long from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. No cover. Gulp, 13020 Pacific Promenade, Ste. 1, Playa Vista. (310) 496-3966; facebook.com/gulp.playavista
Glamorous, rambunctious or laid-back, New Year’s party options abound from Santa Monica to Westchester and everywhere in between
PAGE 18 THE ARGONAUT December 29, 2016
Those in search of a relaxed vibe for 2017 after the whirlwind that was 2016 should look no further than Melody, for a traditional champagne toast, a deejay and a welcome-all attitude. Party starts at 9:30 p.m., no cover. Melody Bar & Grill, 9132 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester. (310) 670-1994; barmelodylax.com
D r i n k
Sicily in the City Chefs Georgi Yaneff and Gianluca Maita transplant authentic Italian recipes to Santa Monica Photo by Ryan Tanaka
A real-deal Italian pizza: mozzarella, pistachio, mortadella and shaved parmesan
By Jessica Koslow O+O Sicilian Kitchen & Bar
1705 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica (424) 272-8700 oosantamonica.com Pistachio pizza? That addictive little green nut is not an ingredient you’d think should top a pizza but, in fact, it’s very popular in Sicily. And chef/ owner Georgi Yaneff aims to bring a taste of Sicily to Santa Monica with O+O Sicilian Kitchen & Bar. There are a few reasons for the name O+O. The first is the location, which is at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive. The second is that many of the menu items end in O: puppetto (meatballs), crudo (raw fish) and forno (pizzas), to name a few. And the third is that many of these dishes are round. Catchy name aside, the real draw of O+O is the food. Yaneff is serious about Sicily — so serious that he handpicked a chef, Gianluca Maita, from the southern tip of Sicily. Maita moved to Los Angeles, with his mother and grandmother’s recipes in tow, for O+O.
And Maita is loving his new life. The weather in Santa Monica is pretty similar to Sicily’s, and so is what’s growing, which is what makes
you can try three to four dozen tomatoes to find the right one for your pizza, which is what Yaneff and Maita did. It’s a neighborhood where after you’ve worked
“Most of the Sicilian food staples are California food staples: pistachio, blood orange, tomato, artichoke, olive. What’s growing great in Sicily is here as well, even the prickly pear.” — Chef Georgi Yaneff Sicilian food such a perfect fit for California. “Most of the Sicilian food staples are California food staples: pistachio, blood orange, tomato, artichoke, olive. What’s growing great in Sicily is here as well, even the prickly pear. All the ingredients you need to make good Sicilian food you have here, and they are amazing as well,” says Yaneff. “Sicilian cuisine is simple,” he continues. “You just count on good ingredients” — a lesson he learned from his grandmother, who taught him how to cook. Fresh produce is aplenty in Santa Monica. It’s a town where
and traveled around the world, you might want to open up a restaurant of your own. After living in London for five years, Yaneff began to miss Santa Monica: the weather, the atmosphere, the beach. “It’s my kind of town,” says Yaneff, who was born in Bulgaria. So he began looking for a space with his business partners. When he found 1705 Ocean Ave., he knew he had struck culinary gold. O+O is on the same strip as HB Daisy, formerly Joan’s on Third, across (Continued on page 20)
December 29, 2016 THE ARGONAUT PAGE 19
Any $15 Purchase
N.Y. PIZZA BY THE SLICE
4371 Glencoe Ave., Marina del Rey
Present coupon when ordering. Exp. 1-29-17. Limit one per customer.
DELIVERY • CATERING • DINE-IN • TAKE-OUT • SINCE 1984
Great Food & Exceptional Service Since 1959 Famous fried chicken: plump young chickens, fresh (never frozen) are fried to a golden brown. Oven-baked pancakes & more!
Any Purchase of $20 or more. Dine-In or Take Out Must present coupon. Not available with Senior or Junior Menu Items. Excluding beverages. Not valid with other offers. Expires January 31, 2017
6521 Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles 90045 (310) 645-0456
D r i n k
(Continued from page 19)
from the Santa Monica Pier and down the street from a handful of new restaurants popping up along Ocean Avenue. Construction started this past summer, and doors opened for lunch and dinner on Nov. 18. “Before we opened, locals would say, ‘My grandma is from Sicily. I can’t wait to try your food,’” says Yaneff. “There’s not a lot of authentic Sicilian food in L.A.” Yaneff says his restaurant has numerous repeat customers, sometimes who come in as much as three times a day — especially the residents of The Waverly, the condominium surrounding the restaurant. When Yaneff first decided to serve Sicilian food in Santa Monica, he spent six months going around L.A. researching what other restaurants were doing. “Most places have Americanized pizzas,” he says. “There’s not much traditional pizza. There’s good pizza in L.A., but we want to do the best pizza in town.” So he bought an authentic stone oven and spent a couple of months perfecting their dough recipe, brought here from Italy.
Photo by Ryan Tanaka
BEST N.Y. PIZZA BY THE SLICE!
Puppetto (meatballs) in tomato sauce with basil and pecorino cheese O+O is Yaneff’s second restaurant. He still owns a small seafood restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood of London. This project, however, brings a whole new level of personal responsibility. “It’s 24/7,” says Yaneff. “Since March, I have not left town for more than two days.” But there’s no other way he’d rather spend his time. “I studied journalism,” Yaneff says, “but after high school, I realized it wasn’t something where I could be myself. With cooking, I can be myself. When I was a cook, all my friends had
more secure jobs and made more money, but I was happy. That was the most important thing. What I am doing makes me happy. I don’t feel like it’s work. I’m just enjoying it.” And there’s so much to enjoy about O+O: sitting on the outdoor patio; staring out at Tongva Park; sipping an Italian spirit like Cynar, an artichoke-inspired liqueur, Disaronno, Galliano or Campari. “I love to cook,” Yaneff says. “It’s the place where I feel most comfortable. On days off, I relax and cook something at home with friends. It’s my hobby. I turned my hobby into a career.”
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Since 1969, BEST VIEW of the SUNSET in Los Angeles is off our deck. (310) 823-5451 • mdrwarehouse.com • 4499 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 90292 PAGE 20 THE ARGONAUT December 29, 2016
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December 29, 2016 At Home – THE ARGONAUT’s Real Estate Section PAGE 21
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©2016 Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation. Coldwell Banker is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Owned and Operated by NRT Incorporated. Coldwell Banker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by the seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.
PAGE 22 At Home – THE ARGONAUT’s Real Estate Section December 29, 2016
Jessica Heredia Partner
www.jessicaheredia.com CalBRE #01349369
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Compass is a licensed real estate broker (01991628) in the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdraw without notice. To reach the Compass main office call 310.230.5478. CalBRE# 01365696
December 29, 2016 At Home – THE ARGONAUT’s Real Estate Section PAGE 23
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