Category Archives: Abbot Kinney Blvd

The Great Bear Rainforest opens today in Venice

The G2 Gallery in Venice is getting ready for the premiere of ‘The Great Bear Rainforest’ on Tuesday, Nov. 17, for a new collection of photographs from popular Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer MaHarry that includes images of the rare, white-coated “spirit bear.”

‘The Great Bear Rainforest’ is MaHarry’s sixth solo exhibition at G2.

Each of her shows has focused on intimate personification of a certain group of animals – horses, birds of prey, shelter pets, wolves and now, creatures from one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest in the world.

Photographs of cougars, wolves, grizzly bears, and the elusive white “spirit bear” will be on display in MaHarry’s characteristic style.

Located on the British Columbia Coast between Vancouver Island and Southeast Alaska, the Great Bear Rainforest became well known in 1997 after a coalition of environmental organizations gave the region its current evocative moniker.

This new name, along with a broad conservation campaign, worked; it led to 3.5 million of the forest’s 7.7 million acres receiving government protections and constant expansion of logging-prohibited areas.

Great Bear has been in the news for its wolf culls, which have been decried by various celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, who visited the rainforest in September. Like Cyrus, MaHarry took a First Nation-led tour of the area in October 2015.

“It was always a dream of mine to go to the Great Bear Rainforest and photograph the rich wildlife there,” says MaHarry. “The trip was such a great opportunity to witness life unaffected by people.”

The opening reception for ‘The Great Bear Rainforest,’ along with ‘Emerging VIII’ and ‘Friend or Fo-to,’ will be held on Nov. 21 from 6:30 to 9 pm. Admission is $10 at the door and includes wine, hors d’oeuvres and complimentary valet in front of the gallery.

All proceeds from admissions will be donated to several nonprofit organizations, including The Bay Foundation, InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, Greenpeace and Western National Parks Association. RSVP to

The G2 Gallery is located at 1503 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. For more information, call 310.452.2842 or visit

Venice Pop Up Park Opens To The Community

Just off Abbot Kinney you’ll find a peaceful, outdoor, creative space created especially for the Venice community.

The idea for the Venice Pop Up Park came out of a TEDx event held in Venice in February by local business owners Mike Colosimo and Ian Murphy.

“We wanted to create projects out of that event,” says Colosimo. “So it wasn’t just people showing up, listening to something cool, and then going home. We wanted to create something actionable.”
Colosimo and Murphy gathered the 500 people at the TEDx event and asked what everyone would like the space to be, “everybody overwhelmingly said that they would like an outdoor, co-working space. An event space that isn’t branded, just open space for the community to use,” says Colosimo.

The Venice Place Project owns the land and have offered up the space to the community as they await permit approvals for a hotel that has been planned for Abbot Kinney Blvd.

A number of local Venice businesses and business people, Tami Pardee, 72andSunny, Venice Place Project, and Colosimo’s company 3rdPLACE all pooled dollars and resources to make the pop up park a reality. However, true to the original vision for the park, you won’t find any branding, signs, or advertising.

The park is available to everyone in the community and anyone is welcome to hold events at the park. Available to rent at night for $175, it can now be booked out during the day.

Colosimo suggests anyone wanting to hold an event at the space during the day just show up, as long as you respect others using the park people are welcome to use the space, “flash-mob style.”

“The park itself is not intended to be a profit center,” says Colosimo. “It’s supposed to be a functioning space for the community. The cost for events goes to maintenance and utilities.”

Any profits made from events held at the park must be donated to a local charity.

The Venice Pop Up Park will be open for at least the next 10 months and will remain a community space for as long as it takes The Venice Place Project to get the permits to break-ground.

With free Wi-Fi, the Venice Pop Up Park is open every day from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm at 1021 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice (just behind Joe’s Restaurant).

Check upcoming events at

Veg Out in Venice at Plant Food + Wine


October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and to kick it off has revealed the 52 Top Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly Restaurants in the US.

Seven of the restaurants are in the Los Angeles area and one, Plant Food + Wine is right here in Venice at 1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., in the old Axe space.

Plant Food + Wine School
The Matthew Kenney Culinary School in Venice located above Plant Food + Wine

Matthew Kenney is the founder of Plant Food + Wine. He also runs one of his 5 culinary schools in the upstairs space above the restaurant. With other schools in Thailand, online, and another set to open in Miami.

“We’re honored to be part of it but I’m even more excited to see Open Table put an emphasis on vegetarianism to begin with. The fact they took the time out to celebrate World Vegetarian Day. It was a great list. I saved it,” says Kenney.

Plant Food + Wine Founder Matthew Kenney
R-L Plant Food + Wine Founder Kenney with Manager Repicé in the restaurant’s ‘Garden of Vegan’

Joey Recipé is the beverage director and manager at the restaurant. He says, “it’s so awesome to be part of a movement. I think more and more people are becoming aware of what they put in their bodies as a correlation to how they are feeling.”

According to the list was decided “based on our restaurant experts’ recommendations and diner reviews,” and that all the restaurants “feature vegetables front and center, creatively presented with expert technique and serious attention to flavor.”

Plant Food + Wine Cricket Fox
Vegetarian food that even carnivores can sink their teeth into

Diner Alice Fox, who is not a vegetarian, said while dipping a roasted fingerling potato into carrot ketchup  “Oh my gosh, these potatoes are delicious. They taste like they’re cooked in chicken fat!”

Kenney explains that you can use different, non-animal, ingredients “like smoke and spice and salt in ways that satisfy those desires for comfort food.”

Plant Food + Wine may be local but  Kenny has a vision that reaches further afield.

Plant Food + Wine
Plant Food + Wine on Abbot Kinney

“We want to change the way people eat and change the way the world eats and show that plant based food is actually the most exciting and most beautiful food and the only way to do that is for there really to be a lot of amazing options around the world. That’s why we train students so they can go out there and do this, and share it,” says Kenney.


300 Vendors Lined Up For Abbot Kinney Festival This Sunday

Venice, get ready to party! It’s on again – the Abbot Kinney Festival is taking over the street. Abbot Kinney Blvd. shuts down traffic and opens up to those ready to join all the fun of a mile-long street party Sunday, Sept. 27 from 10 am-6 pm.

The festival is a free event that gives back to the community.

“Yes it’s a big party, but it’s more than that,” said Donna Humphrey, chair of the Abbot Kinney Festival Association, the non-profit group that produces the festival each year. “Any money spent at the festival goes directly back to the community to support Venice-based, non-profit organizations. Primarily those that support the youth community and the arts,” Humphrey said.

Ticket sales for any of the three beer gardens help raise money “that goes directly back into the Venice community in the form of grants,” Humphrey said. As does money raised at the always-popular Kid’s Quad, a family friendly zone featuring rides, games, and activities at Westminster Elementary.

Some of this year’s grant recipients include Venice High School’s STEMM Magnet, Venice Arts, and the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation.

Now in it’s 31st year, the Abbot Kinney Festival has always attracted a large mix of vendors. This year there will be over 300 vendors joining the food trucks and booths that will line the street.

The Boulevard’s eclectic boutiques, artisan eateries, and influential art galleries infuse the festival with a local flavor capturing the artistic Venice vibe.

This year Beyond Baroque will host the spoken word stage. Plus, there will be three music stages: the Andalusia “Locals” stage presented by Matt Ellis, the Broadway Stage presented by Beacon Street Studios, and at the Brig’s Palms Stage with DJ’s spinning all day.

At 2pm on the Andalusia Stage Councilmember Mike Bonin will present Spirit of Venice Awards.

“At this year’s awards, we will honor Sue Kaplan, Edizen Stowell, Cecilia Castillo, and Challis MacPherson. They are all people who have all made a positive impact on the Venice community,” Humphrey said.

Also, Street Art Projects will join the Abbot Kinney Festival for a second year to produce a chalk art festival – the Venice Street Art Festival – on Abbot Kinney Blvd. at Westminster Ave..

Street Art Projects is a grassroots Venice-based initiative for art in public places. The Street Art Festival is a contemporary version of the historic Italian tradition of the “Madonnari” where traveling artists would redraw the great works of the renaissance masters on city streets. At this year’s Abbot Kinney Festival a number of contemporary artists will be creating original chalk drawings.

While there will be valet parking available at points along Electric Ave. and one on Venice Blvd., arguable the most Venice-like way to enjoy the day is to ride a bike. There will be two bike valet locations, one at Venice and Abbot Kinney Blvds., the other at Abbot Kinney and Main St.

Photo by



Venice favorite Hal’s Bar & Grill may have moved off Abbot Kinney, for now, but the institution is far from forgotten.  Hal’s will be hosting one of their long-standing bands, Quentin Dennard’s group, “By Request”, the band will be playing tomorrow night, September 24th, at the Best of the Westside Celebration from 6-8 pm at the Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica airport.

Dennard, a Detroit native and percussionist, who has played with Motown greats Diana Ross and the Supremes, Dionne Warwick and the Temptations leads the group, which had delighted guests at Hal’s for more than 10 years. The band also includes Fernando Harkless on sax, David Marcus on guitar, Rick Olsen on keyboards, and Ricky Taylor on bass.

Named “one of the top ten neighborhood restaurants in America” by Bon Appetit, Hal’s Bar & Grill closed its original location on Abbot Kinney at the end of April, after nearly 30 years.

A new Hal’s location will be opening this Fall on Abbot Kinney, in Venice. Additionally, Hal’s is building a brand new venue at Runway Playa Vista, 3 miles and only a 10 minute drive from Abbot Kinney, due to open early in 2016.

Hal’s has always been dedicated to the artistic culture that is an integral part of the Venice community.

“We’re planning to preserve all the elements of Hal’s that people valued most,” said co-owners Don and Linda Novack and Hal Frederick, “Chef Manuel Mares’ beautifully prepared food, fine art, and live music, and create vibrant new spaces and experiences that still feel familiar and authentically Hal’s.”

“As part of our commitment to supporting live jazz on the Westside, we’re pleased to sponsor “By Request” to play at this great annual event, celebrating the Best of the Westside,”  says a spokesperson from the restaurant group.