Pro-Homeless Spirit Is Alive in Venice

Roger Houston performing acoustic folk and sing-along songs

By Ashley Beasley

The spirit of Venice was alive and well Saturday night at the “Sleep Out,” an event held to raise awareness of the homelessness issues in Venice.

Steve Clare, Executive Director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation who hosted the event wants to send a clear message to politicians that police harassment and marginalization is not going to solve the homeless problem here.

“We need more shelters and transitional housing,” Clare said, and sighted that one out of every  32 people in Venice is homeless, a staggering statistic that makes this problem particularly relevant for Venetians.

When Clare moved to Venice in the 1960’s, what he found was an inclusive, diverse, welcoming community. Venice has always been known for being compassionate to its residents, even the homeless ones.

The issue very much included the controversy of recent city parking laws forbidding RV’s to park overnight. Some say this is yet another way to marginalize homeless people, like Eveline Popp, otherwise known as the Doll Lady.

Popp, 80-years-old, was forbidden to sleep in her only home, her RV.  She now says she has nowhere to live.

KTLA live at the scene

Although the gathering was less than a hundred people, it gained the attention of both Univision and KTLA mobile broadcasting vans.  Why was Spanish language tv-station Univision there, you ask?

To acknowledge that homelessness is a multi-cultural issue that includes Latinos, Paula Cruz Takash explained, President of the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission and MC for the event.

“Many of these homeless are Spanish speaking,” Cruz said, and Chanel 34 is here to help people acknowledge that.

Several members of The Venice Beachhead were also present, as well as the Food Not Bombs organization and Tina Hovespian, founder and designer of Cardborigami.

Tina Hovespian and her temporary housing alternative

Cardborigami is the name of a temporary housing solution Hovespian created that can be used as disaster relief or for the urban homeless.  The actual shelters she displayed were as big as a 4-person tent and could be folded small enough to put in a backpack.

Even though the community has changed a lot in the last 50 years, Clare still believes in the spirit of Venice. He believes it still has that spark and wants people to feel the same way he did when he first came here, welcomed and included.

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Historic Venice Post Office Under Fire

By Ashley Beasley

The VNC is now having meetings concerning the relocation of the historic Venice Post Office on Windward Circle.

The relocation is more of a consolidation of the post office and the much more spacious postal distribution center just 400 feet away on Grand Ave.

VNC and historical society are less concerned about inconveniences to postal customers than they are about preserving the integrity of the building on Windward.

Aside from the building itself being more than 70 years old, the mural inside it, painted by Edward Biberman depicts “The Story of Venice” and was part of a project funded by Roosevelt’s New Deal to produce public works projects across the United States.

In all honesty, I think consolidating the post office is a good idea, but we as Venetians need to have a solid plan to keep the building and the mural in tact as a living part of our community, such as a community center.

What ideas do you have for our historical building? How can we save the Venice Post Office? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

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Jewel in the Rough: the Townhouse/Del Monte Speakeasy

By Ashley Beasley

I’ve been waiting for Venice to step up its bar selection.  The Townhouse revamp is  not only a pleasant surprise, it’s a long overdue ode to Venice’s longest standing bar, since 1915.

The last time I had been inside The Townhouse on a weekend night, the bar was practically empty and ill taken car of.  The music was either playing from an outdated jukebox or not at all.   The clientele were more shady than friendly.

Since the Townhouse was revamped and the Del Monte speakeasy re-opened, it’s a solid place to spend an entire night out in Venice.  The 1920’s-30’s design has been restored.  It’s delightfully dark walls, low lighting and checkered floors are perfect with the grungy alt to  low-fi hip-hop in the background.

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Featured Yogi: Everyone Loves Brad Keimach

By Ashley Beasley
After two months of not practicing yoga, I finally made it to a class.  Brad’s class, I thought, would be the perfect way to ease back into things.  And I was right.  No matter your skill level, Brad greets you with a warm welcome and a kooky smile.  His personality suggests a refined, cultured and polite upbringing with a heart full of joy and a sense of humor to match.

His personal suggestions to you in class on alignment and way of being are just that, personal.  Brad will calmly approach you and ask that he may make a suggestion in a voice that is only audible to you.

Brad Keimach’s flow is basic and slow moving, but that doesn’t mean you don’t sweat.  Even in the 2/3 level class, he holds true to basic Vinyasa style flow, probably slower than you’re used to and reminds you throughout the class to breathe deeply and audibly, a practice I don’t often find enough of.

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Journalism Plays Crucial Role in Arab Spring

By Ashley Beasley

The United States tried to bring democracy to the Middle East and failed, as the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us.This year democracy came to the region on its own terms.

Aided by social media and other digital journalism platforms, autocratic winter turned to Arab Spring spreading calls for democracy and revolution like wildfire across continents. Starting with the oust of Tunisia’s regime earlier this year, the world has witnessed Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain rise against their governments in a massive outcry for change.

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