Tag Archives: Venice

Cyclists Rejoice: VNC Approves Main Street Diet

Share the road sign, New York City.

Image via Wikipedia

By Ashley Beasley

After careful deliberation, Tuesday night, the Venice Neighborhood Council voted to carry out the “Main Street Diet” plan put forth by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Presented by Paul Backstrom, Transportation Deputy for Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the plan proposes to reduce the four traffic lanes on Main St., between Windward Circle and Rose Avenue, to two lanes, while adding a bike lane on either side and a two-way turning lane in the middle.

This would effectively improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, while reducing traffic and parking issues in the area, said Bill Strumple, appointed representative for CD11 from the Bicycle Advisory Committee.

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Filed under Government, Living, Politics, Venice Local

Feist’s Secret Show @ the Del Monte Speakeasy

By Ashley Beasley

Four-time Grammy award nominee and eight-time Juno award-winning folk-rock artist, Feist, played the Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice Friday night, preempting her forthcoming new album, Metals (available October 4, 2011).

News spreads fast in L.A. Tweets leaked the news beginning early afternoon on Friday and even Feist, herself did not tweet the show’s existence until around 6pm.

Even so, by 9pm, accounts of 250 or more were lined up outside of The Townhouse, the bar that owns the speakeasy, below, waiting to be let in.  Townhouse patrons simply looking for a quick drink were unable to get into the bar, due to crowds waiting to enter the Del Monte Speakeasy.

Aside from the many standing outside, there were still more fans inside who were unable to get downstairs, where the show was taking place.

“I didn’t actually get to see her because she was downstairs. but it was really packed and I heard it was so packed and hot that people kept leaving just to get some air,” Jordan Mena said of the stuffy conditions at the bar.

The show kicked off around 10:30pm with a set list starting with Commotion, a song off her new album.

Even though people were hot, the air was stuffy and at times the Townhouse’s music interfered with Feist’s set, Feist’s spirited live performance and command of the room overshadowed all else, according to rockisagirlsbestfriend.com.

Not to mention, the secret show only cost $5, which is the regular price of admission to the Del Monte.  This show, may in fact be a sign of hotter things to come from the Del Monte.

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Filed under Living, Music, Venice Local

Yogi Profile: Garth Hewitt

By Ashley Beasley

If you’d told Garth Hewitt 10 years ago he’d be teaching yoga in Los Angeles and launching a campaign to make the world a better place, he would have said, “You’re crazy.”

Now, eight years after he began his yoga journey, Hewitt likens his experience to the scene in the movie, “Midnight Cowboy,” when busy city folk unconsciously step over the body of a homeless man on the street.  Then, as if waking from some deep unconscious sleep, the hero, John Voigt, realizes he’s the only one in a sea of people who thinks he should help.

Yoga is a life-long practice that can offer lifetimes of wisdom and personal growth, and at 33, Hewitt is one L.A. based teacher that is raising the standards for young instructors everywhere.

Hewitt walks into the studio, sits down on his shins at the front of the class and introduces himself to new students, making sure to make eye contact with each one.  He begins with an introduction to the day’s class and the reasons for a particular focus.

“On Monday we worked on core exercises, and really went straight into the fire of our bellies.  Today we’re going to use all that hard work we did on Monday to help us start to open up and release the tension, not only physically but beyond the physical, in our hips and low back, a place where we store a lot of emotional and physical baggage.  Let’s begin by tuning into our bodies and observing.”

Sounds relatively easy, right?  That confidence soon dissipates as breath turns into flow, turns into standing posture, turns into long-series-of-standing-postures-on-one-leg, turns into, “Holy jeez, this is a level 2 class?!”

And Hewitt isn’t one to let his students get away with sloppy form.  Every pose in his class has a specific purpose for a specific end result, as he reminds everyone to breathe and remember his/her initial intention.

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Filed under Living, Sweat, Venice Local, Yoga Beat

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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