Category Archives: Venice Beach California

Opinion: Mayor Garcetti Mistakes Santa Monica For Venice Beach

By Mark Ryavec

Given the obvious choice of L.A.’s own Venice Beach, with its ocean views, blue sky and palm trees, as the venue to hold the press conference to announce Los Angeles as the official U.S. bid city for the 2024 Olympics, it was odd to see Mayor Eric Garcetti standing at a podium in Santa Monica instead on Sept. 1.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Santa Monica. I was born there and have fond memories of growing up in the sleepy town that Santa Monica once was.

But doesn’t the Mayor know that Santa Monica is a separate municipality? It is not like Santa Monica is going to host a lot of events or absorb any of the cost overruns on the Olympics, which the rest of L.A., including Venice, will face if the 2024 Olympics go the way of almost every other Olympics in history.

Part of the purpose of garnering the Olympics is to boost Los Angeles’ notoriety and garner all those tourist dollars. So, what’s with putting the spotlight on our toney neighbor next door?

One poster on Yo! Venice suggested that the Mayor is scared of Venice.  Well, I understand that it would not do for him or one of the many athletes or journalists at the press conference to get a finger bitten off but I’m sure that the LAPD could have provided sufficient security just this once.

Maybe the Mayor is just not very familiar with all that Venice has to offer.

Two years ago, during the mayoral campaign, a group of Venetians attempted to remedy this. We held two well-attended fundraisers for Garcetti that raised about $30,000. We used the events as an opportunity to tell Garcetti about our on-going nightmare with the transient population and the use of Venice Beach as a campgrounds that attracts deranged and drug-addicted campers from all over the nation. He seemed to get it and gave us his personal phone number, telling us we could call him anytime. Oddly, after the election that number was disconnected and his campaign liaison moved on to other pursuits. Now no one in his office replies to telephone calls or emails. This must just be an oversight, of course.

So, let me use this column as an opportunity to acquaint His Honor with Venice’s many Olympic attributes.

First, he should consider that Venice has been pioneering new sports for Olympics consideration.

While Spain has the running of the bulls in Pamplona, we have the running of the cars on the Boardwalk. Imagine, visitors can stroll Ocean Front Walk, carefully listening for the rev of the engine of a car driven by a drugged-out guy angry at a drug deal gone bad.  Their challenge is to jump out of the way before they’re run over. No medals here, they just get to keep living. Trust me; the course is still open; I could have driven a car onto the Boardwalk at Rose Ave. last week.

Spain has “running with the bulls,” Venice Beach has “running from the cars.” Above, the aftermath of Nathan Campbell’s deadly drive down the Boardwalk.
Spain has “running with the bulls,” Venice Beach has “running from the cars.” Above, the aftermath of Nathan Campbell’s deadly drive down the Boardwalk.

Then there’s competitive roof climbing.

The object of this sport is for the roof climber to find and disable the half naked resident before she can call for help or escape. (The climbing venue pictured is at Windward and Riviera Avenues.)

On Washington Blvd. we have the novel and ever popular homeless-on-restaurateur finger-biting and chair-tossing competitions (Clabe Hartley was just clobbered again, by a chair hurled by a deranged man. Clabe had the temerity to ask not to keep dumping all the trash cans lining the street).

New Olympic Sport: Competitive Roof Climbing.
New Olympic Sport: Competitive Roof Climbing.

On Rose Ave. there is the annual police versus knife-wielding psycho challenge. So far, the LAPD is beating all comers.

We also have the unusual sport of curtain wrestling. Never heard of it? The objective is to frighten a young woman and her children out of their skin while you bleed all over their apartment and finish by convincingly wrestling a shower curtain to the floor of their blood covered bathroom before the police can arrive.

Then, to help all those athletes increase their performance and treat their pain, there is the mile long drug emporium from one end of Venice Beach to the other.

Now, who would want to stroll the dull streets of Paris with all these entertaining options available on the streets of Venice?

And Rome, well, I’m sure the Italians will look past the revulsion I saw in their faces when they heard that their countrywoman Alice Gruppioni had been run over on a pedestrian walkway at Venice Beach and they’ll just give up their Olympic bid.

Maybe, if Garcetti can arrange to hold all the Olympic events in Santa Monica, he can convince the world that none of the visitors and athletes arriving in 2024 will get hurt. But he seems to have given up on protecting the rest of us.

Amy Kaps: Earning Her Stripes One Piece At A Time

By Atlas Novack

Yo! Venice Contributor

Stripes – they’re not just for racing and horrible, pre-pubescent Frankie Muniz movies anymore. Amy Kaps is a photographer and performance artist, earning her stripes as she breaks into new territory with every successive piece she reveals. However, her magnum opus might be her work with black and white stripes, also known as Victus Versus, a loose translation of “Living Lines” in Latin.

Kaps has been a performance artist since the very beginning. Born in New Jersey in 1959 and starting with dance classes at the age of 3, Kaps eventually grew to study ballet and modern dance in college, as well as theatre, despite being a psychology major and graduating in 1981. She then moved to New York after college, then Germany in 1982, and eventually settling in Venice, California in late 1995. Kaps’ parents took their daughter to New York City often growing up, which allowed her to become immersed in the culture of museums and plays that dotted the city.

A performance artist is a very broad term, technically encompassing any endeavor that people are supposed to witness. Kaps’ piece of covering herself with black and white striped cloth and moving slowly throughout out a room of the same color is a show for the human eyes, but is also captured by a photographer for purchase as well as posterity.

“I wanted to find a way that I could give people something they could take home with them, as well as monetize my work. Performance art is temporal – if you’re not there, and you missed it, then you missed it,” Kaps said of Victus Versus.

Working with photographer Eric Schwabel, she sets up a “striped world” in whatever room is available to her, using fabric, as it is inexpensive as well as wearable and thus one giant carbon copy, in order to act out her piece. “There’s a fluidity with fabric, it’s not just a two dimensional surface,” she said.

A lot of her work revolves around perception, and loves to play with peoples’ eyes via the use of perspective and often times the human body.

Kaps’ view on performance art differs from the dictionary definition, in that she believes that it is different from theater, despite looking somewhat similar. While she has done pieces in theaters and playhouses before, Victus Versus seems to be a horse of a different color.

“This piece is sculptural, it’s very abstract,” she explained. “It’s certainly a line through all of my work, but there are other pieces that I have done where it’s theatrical. It requires lighting, projections, sound, or even speech and singing. Maybe that’s theater; but being that I come from more of a performance art background, I prefer to stick to my roots.”

Amy’s new exhibit, Continental Drift, has its opening reception this Thursday, Sept. 17, at 5 pm, going for four and a half hours at 8687 Melrose Ave, Space B226, in West Hollywood. The exhibit itself lasts until October 30.

“Each of these works are abstractionists, or at least abstract-adjacent; yet each of them maintains a special relationship with the figure and an elemental experience of place,” she said. “Specifically, all of these artists are [or were] coastal dwellers living and working right at the point where the landmass of the country begins and ends – geographically, culturally, emotionally.”

The exhibit will also be showing in the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art afterward under the name “Fashionita.”

For more information visit

Dangerous Surf Conditions for the Holiday Weekend


A large south-southwest swell generated by a storm off the New Zealand  is being blamed for high waves and strong rip currents High Surfacross many of Southern California’s beaches this holiday weekend.

Los Angeles County firefighters warn beachgoers to be cautious this holiday weekend.

On thursday a swimmer who got caught in a rip current at Venice Beach was pulled unconscious, and in full cardiac arrest, from the water. The 28 year old man later died in hospital.

Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department said Lifeguards and firefighters rendered advanced lifesaving measures before the man was taken to a hospital.

The hazardous swimming conditions are expected to last throughout the Labor Day weekend and into Tuesday, peaking today and tomorrow, according to the National Weather

Beach-goers are reminded, if they do get caught in a strong current, to avoid panicking, staying calm, and focusing on going with the flow or swimming parallel to the shore rather than fighting against the current.

VNC Want Bootleg Units Legalized in Venice

By Melanie Camp

The Venice Neighborhood Council has approved a motion, 10-3-2,  to legalize safe and habitable bootleg units in Venice.

The motion was originally recommended by LUPC at their meeting on June 2nd this year. The idea being that converted, self-contained spaces on properties in Venice, such as a  shed or pool house, that have not gone through the correct permitting procedures and are currently illegal, be legalized.

9 people stood up for public comment, most in favor of the motion, including Steve Clare of the Venice Community Housing Corporation.

Clare said the motion was a way to protect low-income dwellings and “…increase the supply of affordable housing without much of a burden to the city.”

The motion read, “In the midst of our current housing crisis, 44,000 people are without any housing and hundreds of thousands more are doubling and tripling up to maintain a roof over their heads; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Venice Neighborhood Council recommends that safe and habitable bootleg units should be legalized by granting exceptions to the VCZSP, zoning codes and parking requirements, on condition that they are rented to low income tenants at low or very low affordable levels, and that such conditions be recorded on title to the properties and monitored by the City or a designated agent.”

The motion suggests that the process begin with an amnesty to encourage property owners to apply to legalize their bootleg units, with subsequent imposition of fines for noncompliance.

The  City of Los Angeles has estimated that there are between 40,000 and 60,000 bootleg units in Los Angeles.

An amendment was made to include that leases run no shorter than on a month to month basis to protect against the units being rented on home sharing sites such as AirBnB.

While most on the board voted in favor of the motion, Ira Koslow was against it, “I can’t believe the solution to such a big problem is to make something illegal, legal.”

Koslow questioned the city of Los Angles ability to inspect so many units and successfully enforce safe maintenance, “It does not solve a problem and it will put low income tenants at risk” said Koslow.

Robin Rudisill of LUPC said that while she would not usually support a motion such as this she felt compelled to do so, saying of the current housing shortage in Los Angeles, “We are in extreme  conditions and a crisis.”

Standing up for public comment, the VNC’s Yolanda Gonzalez was torn, “In a way I’m for it, in away I’m against it. I made a lot of love in these garages in the 70’s,” she said.