Z-Flex Skateboards Jay Boy Classic Tomorrow at the Skate Park

Friday 22nd May, 2015 9:39am

Top amateur skateboarders from across the country will be at the Venice Beach Skatepark tomorrow for the Z-Flex Skateboards second annual Jay Boy Classic. 10Eric_Tuma_Britton

This year the event will honor the life of skateboarding legend Jay Adams. Adams was a Venice local from the 1970’s who not only had an unprecedented influence on today’s skateboarding culture but also on youth culture as a whole.

“Z-Flex is stoked to hold an event to celebrate his life.” said an event organizer.

From 10am there will be a grass roots bowl jam for up to 40 un-sponsored local skateboarders to compete for over $3000 in product prizes followed by a Master Bowl Jam that allows Adams peers to participate in the day.  The Invitational Cash Grab is scheduled to kick of approximately at 3:30pm.

For a look at last year’s event click here.

4th Annual Garifuna Film Festival Begins Today At Electric Lodge

There’s something about Venice’s critically acclaimed Garifuna Film Festival that’s capturing attention from filmmakers, musicians, and artists from all over the world.

The 4th Annual Garifuna Film Festival, which returns today, May 22, through Monday, May 25, at Electric Lodge, is considered an international tower of strength and a major galvanizing force for unity amongst nations.

The festival’s focus has always been to give a message of hope and solidarity with conflicting countries and cultures proving they could work together both productively and creatively.

The goal is to heal the divide between nations thereby transcending petty politics and borders.

freda sideroff President & Founder of GIFFFestival founder/director Freda Sideroff (right) is well known for cracking the pavement, making new ground for her Garifuna International Film Festival.

Realizing what it means to be stripped of her native culture, heritage, and language – because of the colonialist’s need to assimilate native Indigenous cultures and deny them their priceless facets of heritage – she forged the Garifuna Foundation to help children   academically as research shows that those who are immersed in their cultures perform better, have higher self-esteem, and lead more productive and happy lives.

Can you share how the festival came about?

Freda Sideroff: I was guided by the ancestors to create the Film Festival to help make people aware of my culture and the importance of its preservation. After we began, I realized it was important to me to support the awareness and the preservation of all indigenous cultures.

Can you talk about how it has evolved?

This year we are celebrating a five-day event May 22 through May 26. May 26 has been proclaimed Garifuna Film Day since 2012 by the city of Los Angeles and the state of California. It started out as a one-day event that presented every element that continues to hold importance and urgency. It expanded to all indigenous cultures because we live in a culturally diverse community and we have much to learn from each other.

Why is it important for the community to get involved?

It is everyone’s responsibility to know about and to help preserve our ancient cultures. There is much that we can learn from people and communities that have learned to live in peace with each other and with the earth. It is also important for our communities to bring their own unique cultural knowledge and experience – in the form of dance, art, music, lectures and workshops that are part of the festival – to share with others, and to learn from.

What will people learn, take away from the experience?

The reality of being more alike than different in many aspects as well as becoming enriched with new cultural experiences as will be presented through films, documentaries, art, and music from around the world. They will also be exposed to very powerful speakers and leaders.

What is the format for the festival?

The Garifuna Festival takes place over five days. There is a schedule of each day that can be 
accessed through our website www.GarifunaFilmFestival.com. During the day and into the evening we will be presenting amazing documentaries from around the world. There will also be morning workshops that focus on the process of filmmaking and will be great for students of film.
Each evening there will be special events that include keynote speakers, including Marianne Williamson, and Chief Joseph Paulino, and spectacular cultural music presentations. Cultural art will also be displayed throughout the event.

Recognition will be given to members of our community creating ambassadors supporting the preservation of indigenous cultures.

Has this festival always been in Venice?

The festival began in Marina Del Rey the first two years, and then was housed in Beyond Baroque in Venice. This is our second year at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, 90291; which is a great venue.

Who have you had as keynote speakers in previous years?

A couple of years ago we were honored with the keynote speech by Roy Cayatano coming all the way from Belize. Dr. Cayatano is the President of the National Garifuna Council and was instrumental in 2001 by helping to persuade the United Nations to proclaim the Garifuna language, music and dance as Oral an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

We also had Lina Martinez from Honduras, author Piper Dellums, and writer/producer Victoria Mudd who is an Academy Award winner for her documentary “A Broken Rainbow.”

This year we are honored with Marianne Williamson, who is an American spiritual teacher, author, and lecturer. She has published 10 books, including four New York Times number one bestsellers. She is the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area, and the co-founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Results organization, which works to end poverty in the United States and around the world.

Electric Lodge Theater is located at 1416 Electric Ave., Venice.
For tickets or more information, visit www.garifunafilmfestival.com.

Artist Melanie Daniel pieces together radically different cultures

Drawing from her experiences living in Israel for the past 20 years – seven of which she has spent in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Jaffa – Canadian-born artist Melanie Daniel (pictured above) will open a solo exhibit of new paintings at Shulamit Gallery in Venice tonight, May 21.

“Piecemaker” is a striking body of work that reflects Daniel’s negotiation of her own hybrid identity and moments of cultural dislocation.

This selection of paintings presents dichotomous motifs, sublime color palettes, abstracted landscapes, and dreamlike settings that confound concrete storylines.

Unique formal and compositional elements unite to create a sense of unease that is rooted in the artist’s personal experiences living in her adopted home.

In her practice, Daniel excels at defying traditional narrative frameworks, achieved through the use of dense and disorienting compositions, the melding of abstraction and figuration, and by deploying jarring color combinations activated through thin color fields and areas of detailed brushwork. In “Piecemaker,” the story is always unresolved, as Daniel prefers to create psychologically fraught scenes that evoke both reverie and anomie.

This tension between memory and fantasy highlights her own personal negotiation of Jaffa’s diverse backdrop, where local Arab and Jewish cultures co-exist to create a vibrant, complex, and at times, fraught sociopolitical environment.

Throughout the exhibition, which will run through June 27, Daniel continues to incorporate conflicting cultural motifs, referencing Canadian landscape painting embedded with traditional Arabic designs.

Shulamit Gallery is located at 17 North Venice Blvd., Venice. For more information, call 310.281.0961 or visit shulamitgallery.com.

Patchwork Landing, 2015, 55.25” x 63”
Patchwork Landing, 2015, 55.25” x 63”

How many pieces will be in this exhibition?

Ten paintings will be exhibited in the main space of the gallery, all oil on canvas. Formats range from large (80 inches) to tiny (25 inches). Each painting was created over the past six months of intense studio work. The shippers come to my studio, take all the paintings away for crating, and they’re finally flown out to their overseas destination, in this case, Venice. I love that part – walking back into an empty studio. I enter these high-energy six-month cycles during which I can produce an entire solo show. Then, I chill out for a month or two, recharge the creative juices and get back to work on the next show.

What do you think makes this exhibit unique?

This exhibit fits its venue hand in glove. The Shulamit Gallery’s mandate is one that emphasizes cultural tolerance and socially engaged art or art of a hybrid nature. As the show’s title “Piecemaker” hints, all paintings are an attempt at piecing together elements of two radically different cultures: Canadian and Middle Eastern. Just imagine highly charged forest landscapes with enough neon pink to lend them a slightly apocalyptic sensibility, populated with furtive characters and Arabesque patterns.

Can you tell a story of one of your favorite works, and how that piece came to be?

One piece, “Scruffy’s Emerald Secret” is a favorite of mine. It’s moodier that the others and I can identify with the bare-footed loner sitting on a tree stump, hunched over his campfire. Behind him looms this tall green patterned tree, a beautiful freak specimen. It shouldn’t be there, but it is. The man shouldn’t be there, but he is. Where is his family? Why is he alone?

How did this exhibit come together?

Shula Nazarian saw my works at the Untitled Art Fair in Miami several years ago and that sparked a dialogue and finally an invitation to do a show here in Venice. I’m very lucky to be working with such a committed and open-minded person.

Will you be in Venice for the opening reception?

For real? I’m flying half way around the world just to say, “I’m so stoked to be here!” I can’t wait.

Where do you live now?

Today, I’m far from where I started. I grew up in British Columbia, and one year while travelling in India, I met an Israeli. The rest as they say is history. Presently I live in Jaffa, a unique neighbourhood south of Tel Aviv where Palestinians and Israelis coexist. It’s an oasis of sanity in a country hell bent on revisiting the Dark Ages.

Can you talk about the title 
of the exhibition?

“Piecemaker” was a word that occurred to me when I began to notice that many of the Islamic designs I was using reminded me of patterns commonly found in American quilting. Members of quilting guilds often use the moniker “Piece Maker.” For me, it conjured the nearly hopeless notion of peacemaking, which when placed in a conflicted Middle Eastern context, sounded about right. I noticed that when I painted an Arabesque star in a more didactic manner, truer to a traditional color scheme, I could preserve something of the original design. But that wasn’t what I was after. So, I started painting the same stars in a chunky, random manner, which made them look more like Shaker quilts. Most of these quilt designs originated in the Middle East, only to be adopted by Europeans and eventually exported to the New World so long ago. I don’t try to fuse these two identities or elements, because I don’t think I can or even want to resolve this strange narrative for the viewer or myself. They are simply that: pieces from very different worlds which hold enormous potential for more storytelling.

What’s next for you?

I also work with a gallery in New York, so my next year will be in preparation for the next show there. My short-term plans involve a happy week in Venice meeting new folks, watching surfers, and savouring as many burritos and quesadillas as opportunity permits. No one understands Mexican food in the Middle East and I’m hooked.

Venice High Sex Scandal – No Charges Filed

Wednesday 20th May, 2015

Los Angeles County prosecutors declined to file charges against more than a dozen Venice High School students who were suspected of being members of a ring that allegedly sexually assaulted a pair of girls both on and off campus.

Greg Risling of the District Attorney’s Office said there was
“insufficient evidence” to pursue the case.

A total of 15 students were implicated in the alleged sex ring. Most
were arrested over the course of several days in mid-March. The suspects ranged in age from 14 to 17. The ages of the victims were not released, but police said they were in their mid-teens.

An LAUSD source said a group of male students allegedly conspired to pressure girls into having sex, threatening to ruin their reputations. The investigation began when police received information from school administrators about “a possible victim of a possible sexual assault,” according to Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andy Smith said.

Prosecutors initially declined to file charges against one of the
students, then opted May 8 against filing cases against the other 14 teens, Risling said.

The status of the students with the Los Angeles Unified School District was unclear. The district issued a statement saying its review of the case was confidential and officials cannot comment on its outcome.

“As soon as the Los Angeles Unified School District learned of the
alleged incidents, we informed the proper authorities as required by law,” according to the district. “The district completed its required administrative review and evaluation of school safety and campus climate and facilitated the required education code due process of involved students.

“Since the review is confidential, we can’t comment on specific
actions. This process is unaffected by the district attorney’s decision not to press charges.”

Read earlier stories on the incident here.

Officer Involved in Glenn Shooting Investigated Last May

Thursday 21st May, 2015 9:11am

The Los Angeles police officer who shot and killed
homeless man, Brendon Glenn, on Windward Ave., was investigated last year for allegedly filing a false police report. He was however, not charged.

Clifford Proctor, 50, a seven-year department veteran, has been assigned to home duty following the shooting death of 29-year-old Glenn.

In May of last year, Proctor was investigated for allegedly omitting witness statements from a police report, but the District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges due to a “lack of sufficient evidence,” according to a charge-evaluation worksheet obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

LAPD spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith declined to comment on the case, saying it was a personnel matter.

According to the District Attorney’s Office worksheet, Proctor and his partner were investigating a report of vandalism and violation of a restraining order involving two men, Richard Smith and Salvatori Avini. Smith had taken the restraining order out against Avini.

According to the D.A.’s report, Smith told Proctor he had seen Avini
pull a wooden gate to Smith’s driveway off its hinges. Proctor arrested Avini on suspicion of vandalism and violating the order.

When a detective reviewed Proctor’s report on the arrest, she saw there were two witness names on the cover sheet but no statements from them. When questioned, Proctor said the witnesses were tow truck drivers who claimed they damaged the gate to Smith’s property, and he failed to include their statements
because they conflicted with Smith’s account.

Although Avini still could have been arrested solely for violating the
restraining order, Proctor said that would only be a misdemeanor, and “Iwanted him for a felony,” according to the worksheet.

Proctor submitted another report with the two truck drivers’ statements, and Avini was eventually charged with violating the protective order, according to the report. Avini complained to the LAPD, claiming Proctor falsely arrested him and impounded his vehicle with “evil intent,” according to the D.A.’s memo.

Prosecutors concluded that Proctor did not make false statements, and while it could be argued that omitting information could be considered a false statement, there was “no authority to support such and argument.”

Glenn was shot around 11:30 p.m. May 5 on Windward Avenue just west of Pacific Avenue. Police said officers initially responded to a call about a person harassing people on Windward Avenue. They spoke briefly to the suspect, who walked away toward the boardwalk, police said.

The officers returned to their car but then saw the suspect struggling with someone, apparently a bouncer at the Townhouse bar, on the sidewalk.

The officers approached and a struggle ensued, ending with the shooting.

Glenn was buried yesterday in New York.

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