Arielle Haze views
In the Old Days:
Unpainting the Town:
Helen K. Garber photos
Art at the Rose Cafe'
New Venice Sign
Diskan describes this as "the t-shirt I commissioned for Venice Night in 1978," and goes on to say, "I took various graffiti images (including the main red slogan from the long-gone oil drilling derrick at the foot of Windward), and then famous East L.A.graffiti artist Chas Bojorgez executed a silk-screen 'sandwich' of the multiple images for the final design. If you can 'read graffiti', you will see the line 'Concept: Lance Diskan' at the bottom of the shirt."
Every person's "Venice years" are carried along with them forever.... I can see the pine trees outside my window, and the San Francisco Peaks rise above town in a beauty that can never be taken for granted. But part of me is still walking down Speedway; checking my P.O. Box at Windward Circle Post Office; dropping in on friends in the Canals; eating burritos at Penmar Park or a late-night burger at Cafe 50s; heading for another meeting to fend off the City's attempts to merge and meld my hometown into just another somewhere. Part of me will always live in Venice.
I was lucky enough to spend a quarter-century (1968 - 1992) in Venice-of-America, and those years will color my life until the day I die. My very Being is organized in Venetian ways: the way I understand and practice politics; my time-tested values about the nature of friendship; my appreciation of community; my longing for the California beach; my appreciation for racial, sexual, age and human diversity; the sheer enjoyment of nutso people on display on Ocean Front Walk; the cautions about police behavior having spent years as a photographer for the ACLU Police Malpractice Complaint Center in Oakwood; the awareness of the value of process - not just product. There are just too many Venice Lessons learned and incorporated to count.
This week I celebrate a decade since I moved away from my Venice roots - but I'm still in contact with my Venice associates on a monthly basis. I try to keep in touch with the current struggles and issues that confront Venice. I maintain my contacts with those with whom I shared struggles for years to 'Keep Venice Funky". I return to visit my old haunts, stroll OFW, drop in unexpected on friends; try to find a special poster on a telephone pole that can be added to my Venice Collection; shoot a few new stills or video; eat a meal at a favorite restaurant, and of course watch the sunset where America comes to an end.
I remember my very first sunset in Venice. In 1968 I had joined the VISTA anti-poverty program in order to work with Native Americans in Arizona. Instead I was sent to Venice. Instead of living in the wide-open West, I was 'sentenced' to Los Angeles - the environmental armpit of America. I was utterly dejected. After spending my first night on Vic Wilson's floor in Oakwood, and an initial reconnoiter of the community, I headed down to the beach for sunset. As the sun dipped below the horizon people standing along the tide-line began to applaud. I had never seen anything like it. Surreal and funny and strange - a perfect metaphor of the Venice I would come to know and love over the next 25 years. I knew then that Venice was not just another place; I knew then that Venice was someplace special. I knew then - even after just one day - that I had found a home. It's nearly 35 years later, and Venice is still my spiritual home. Nobody leaves Venice.
(Added early 2007) Last time I was on OFW I noticed that the parking lot at the foot of Thornton Avenue (I lived at 34 Thornton for many years) was fenced and set for constuction of "artists lofts". This is (was) one of the last open spaces along OFW, and I expect that the building is at least half-way constructed by now. At the very heart of North Beach, this piece of property between to Casa de Roma (on the north) and Claire Faulkenstein's studio (on the south) was set for construction many years ago, but we (Thornton Avenue residents) appealed the project to the Coastal Commission and the building permit was denied. How the new 'lofts' got a permit is unknown by me, but no doubt a (sad) testimony as to the dis-integration of community.
Lance Diskan and Abbot Kinney at Centennial time
Lance Diskan's credits include:
© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman