Halloween Surf

Venice surfers invited to Haunted Heats Halloween Surf Contest Saturday

For an entertaining way to combine the spirit of Halloween and the quintessential SoCal lifestyle, look no further than ZJ Boarding House’s annual Haunted Heats Halloween Surf Contest this Saturday, Oct. 25 at 8 am.

Far from the ordinary surf competition, the participants will be riding the waves of the Pacific Ocean all the while donning their Halloween costumes.

Set to take place near Tower 26 on Santa Monica Beach, the competition is in its seventh year running and attracts an impressive number of both surfers and spectators alike.

“This year, we’re expected to have about 60-70 contestants,” Teddy Vecchione, ZJ Boarding House’s Art and Marketing Director, said. “I’m guessing around 150 people will come to watch.”

The 2013 contest winner, the “ultimate warrior,” earned his crown by thinking outside of the box – or rather inside of it – by incorporating a “wrestling rink” onto his surfboard. Photos Courtesy Steve Christensen
The 2013 contest winner, the “ultimate warrior,” earned his crown by thinking outside of the box – or rather inside of it – by incorporating a “wrestling rink” onto his surfboard. Photos Courtesy Steve Christensen

The competition is welcome to all ages and all skill levels and is complete with a judging panel. However, the focus of the event is not necessarily on the technicalities of the sport. Rather than a serious surf competition, the emphasis lies in the creative abilities of the contestants.

“We’re more focused on the fun,” Vecchione said. “If someone in a ballerina costume is on a surfboard and strikes a ballet pose, that’s sure to get more points [than the average competitor] because they’re taking the role of their costume. It’s necessary to have some skill, of course, but as long as you can catch a wave in your costume, we try to keep [the judging] pretty arbitrary and focus more on the creativity.”

Naturally, the local surfers have brought the best of their creative juices to the competition, with stand-out costumes speckling the waves each year.

“One time, some contestants dressed up as all four of the Teletubbies,” Vecchione recalled with a laugh. “They all surfed on one board together, too. It was pretty impressive.”

Last year’s surf contest winner, the “ultimate warrior,” earned his crown by thinking outside of the box – or rather inside of it – by incorporating a “wrestling rink” onto his surfboard.

“We’ve had Grim Reapers, Baywatch girls, and even a Chia Man, which is essentially a fully grown, human version of a Chia Pet,” Vecchione described.

The same caliber of clever and innovative costumes is likely to be present this year.

“It’s basically a big party,” Vecchione said. “We like to think of [this event] as the best Halloween surf contest west of the Mississippi.”

The surf contest also supports a worthy cause, featuring food and prizes. There will be a raffle for a Firewire 6’2’’ Timber Tek Dominator surfboard, with the proceeds benefiting Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC), a youth-focused breast cancer education and prevention foundation.

The non-profit organization seeks to promote early detection of the cancer as well as a healthy, active lifestyle, with the latter aspect aligning with the sports-based nature of ZJ’s Boarding House.

The competition is free to attend. Contest entry admission is $10 for competitors over the age of 18, free of charge for competitors under the age of 18, and $20 for last-minute signups on the beach.

ZJ’s Boarding House is owned by Mikke Pierson and Todd Roberts and is located at 2619 Main St.

For more information, call 310.392.5646 or visit zjboardinghouse.com.

Police lights

Screwdriver wielding Venice resident arrested after causing havoc in Santa Monica

A 52-year-old screwdriver wielding Venice resident was arrested in Santa Monica on Saturday, Oct. 12 and charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

Officers of the Santa Monica Police Department were called out to the 400 block of Idaho Avenue at 7:30 pm on this day after a citizen had called in a report regarding a man who had rang the citizen’s doorbell and had then thrown rocks at the windows of the residence.

The officers arrived at the location and shortly afterwards detained a man who fit the description of the suspect.

The officers conducted a search of the man and discovered that he had a 10” long tool concealed in his shorts.

The officers asked this man why he had this long screwdriver concealed in his shorts and he responded with the claim that he needed it for protection. The officers questioned this man further and discovered that he had in fact been wandering the neighborhood looking for the home where he believed his girlfriend lived.

The officers arrested this Venice resident, identified as Tom Safron, and he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Bail was set at $20,000.

The Anchor

The Anchor stays true to its low-key Venice roots

Venice’s celebrated Main Street and Rose Avenue hub has a new hot-spot – The Anchor – a sexy, gritty wine bar vibe that stays true to its low-key Venice roots.

Owners Kristin Ciccolella and Sandy Ames have brought their vision of a casual, creative menu of bio-dynamic wines, craft beer, and seasonal, seafood-inspired share plate dishes including oysters, charcuterie, and their signature Lobster Roll – all injected with energy and “no B.S.” attitude.

Executive Chef Dustin Taylor (formerly of Michael’s and Comme Ca) along with Pastry Chef Sarah Green, showcase a simple, yet thoughtful menu with highlights such as Waffle Crusted Jidori Chicken Wings with Maple Syrup Reduction, Lobster and Biscuits Pot Pie, and a rotating selection of inventive sweets.

From ambiance to food, The Anchor embodies the unapologetic and effortless cool of urban life, married with the freshness and approachability of Southern California.

Sit inside or out at The Anchor at 235 Main Street in Venice.
Sit inside or out at The Anchor at 235 Main Street in Venice.

Drawing from the industrial vibe of New York City, old navy ships, and the bright and breeziness of L.A., interior designer Sally Breer incorporated materials like reclaimed brick, natural concrete, raw steel, and heavy duty vintage nautical rope.

Graffiti artist Gregory Siff created a vibrant maritime mural overlooking the kitchen and bar area that adds soul and dimension to the intimate space.

Yo! Venice! spoke with Sandy Ames about The Anchor, which officially opened Aug. 29, 2014.

What is the story of how The Anchor came about?

We moved here from Harlem a year-and-a-half-ago to raise our two-year-old son. No plans at all to open a restaurant. Kristin owns a successful advertising company based in N.J. I came from a thriving broadcast career based in N.Y.C.

After a year in L.A., we realized we were missing a taste of home. So we created it. Literally.

What is the inspiration for the menu?

The Anchor was originally going to be a wine bar. Then one day during construction, we visited our favorite indulgence back home in N.Y.C. (Luke’s Lobster), called home, and said “stop the presses. We’re more than a wine bar! We want lobster rolls. And we want a hot guy shucking oysters!”

Sometimes that hot guy is Maria, but that makes it all the more hotter.

What is one of the most popular dishes?

The Lobster Roll. Hands down it’s the best one you’ve ever had in your life. There is no lobster roll in the world like it.

The octopus is so good, we literally had a guy fly in from Greece and say it’s better than any he’s had at home.

The S’mores Panna Cotta, when you have it with a glass of peanut butter stout beer, is better than sex.

How often will the menu change?

The staples will remain. But we print new ones weekly with a seasonal special, or a tiny add or change.

Does Chef Taylor utilize the local farmers markets?

Yes yes yes. Every day. Our place is so tiny, you’re guaranteed everything fresh off the vine and off the boat! There’s no storage space! What you see on your plate today was probably at the farmers market this morning.

Do you have a happy hour?

Happy hour starts at 3 pm and goes til 6 pm every day but Monday (it is closed Mondays). It’s one of the earlier ones in Venice, if not the earliest. We have $5 draught beers, and some food specials too – you can still get oysters and lobster rolls!

The happy hour menu at The Anchor.
The happy hour menu at The Anchor.

Anything else you would like to mention?

Fun is a requirement to work at The Anchor… and to be at The Anchor! Kristin once threw a customer’s utensils in the garbage and insisted they eat the S’mores with their hands or leave!

Since I’m a certified master hypnotist, I once hypnotized guests at a food writer’s table – Kat from Eater –  you can ask her! Our wines were hand picked by a James Beard award winning sommelier we flew in from N.Y.C.

The Anchor is the place we dreamed of going. Flip flips and foodies. Locals, and those who’ve flown in to feel the buzz. Sophisticated and laughable. And oh-my-god, have you tried Sarah’s sticky buns?

We love our staff. We love the locals who come in day after day. We love that east coasters flock to The Anchor and don’t even know why! We love how much at home we feel in Venice. Just as our lobster roll brings the two sides of the world together, The Anchor is home, and home away from home, creating a new culture with the charm of Kristin Ciccolella on top!

People come in for the lobster roll, and come back for another helping of Kristin!

The Anchor is located at 235 Main Street, Venice. For more information, call 310.664.9696 or visit www.theanchorvenice.com.

Teen Radio show

Venice afterschool program teens to interview State Senator Ted Lieu today

California State Senator Ted Lieu will be interviewed by Fabrizio Marquez, 16, and Anahi Jimenez, 15, who are both participants in Radio/Podcast Club at Neighborhood Youth Association’s (NYA) afterschool program in Venice.

The interview will be recorded today, Oct. 20, at Senator Lieu’s campaign office in Venice.

The recorded interview will be featured in the first episode of On The Record With Neighborhood Youth Association a radio show created by NYA teens.

The episode will be available for live streaming at 5:30 pm PST on Thursday, Oct. 23, after which the episode will be archived for download from NYA’s website at www.nyayouth.org.

Anahi and Fabrizio, along with their fellow Radio/Podcast Club students, came up with the idea to have a political segment on the show which also includes entertainment, local sports, fashion and music.

With their interest in politics and the encouragement of Radio/Podcast Club instructor, Kendell Shaffer, the students contacted the Senator’s office who responded enthusiastically. The radio show is the first of its kind for NYA and it will air live on BlogTalk Radio and be archived for download following the broadcast.

Neighborhood Youth Association (NYA) provides low income and at-risk youth ages 6-18 with targeted, individualized academic support, social skills and leadership development, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning activities, creative writing and arts enrichment, college readiness along with mentoring and scholarships for college undergraduates.

NYA is based in Venice with additional locations in Mar Vista, Mid-City/Koreatown, downtown Los Angeles, and South Los Angeles. NYA boasts a 100 percent on time high school graduation rate with 100 percent of NYA youth going on to college – nearly all are first generation college bound.

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