The tiny paper with a mission, Free Venice Beachhead, sprouted up in the activist heyday of late 1968, run by a collective group of mostly Venice Peace and Freedom Party members.

“We had a point of view. We were anti-Vietnam War, pro-civil liberties, against government repression, for free healthcare, for the integration of blacks and whites and tackled local issues like the lack of fresh produce in the run-down markets that were here at the time,” says Carol Fondiller, one of the collective Beachhead members who helped start the publication.

Fondiller is scheduled to be a featured speaker at an upcoming Venice Divas series event celebrating the 100th anniversary of Venice, at 7 p.m. Saturday, August 20th, at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. Admission is free.

Maureen Cotter, a writer, artist and photographer, will join Fondiller for a reading of original work.

The Free Venice Beachhead has been run by an ever-evolving collective group, publishing the small newsprint journal of editorials and poetry each month since it began, with only the occasional interruption in publishing.

It’s original core collective group included John Haag, Rick Davidson, Jane Gordon and Phil Chamberlain.

“We wanted to reach a segment of the population that was being ignored — low income people, people with alternative lifestyles, countercultural people and those just simply out of work,” says Fondiller.

Fondiller says she recalls early articles targeting police harassment and criticizing development plans the City of Los Angeles had for the Venice area.

She says the all-volunteer publication solicited aggressively local writers to express their viewpoints about what was going on in the community.

With her knowledge of Free Venice Beachhead lore, one might expect that Fondiller’s lecture will be a local history lesson, but that’s not to be, she says.

“There’s so much happening nowadays that should be talked about,” says Fondiller. “I can’t stand to be one of those people that sits there with the ‘back in my day…’ stories.”

Information, (310) 822-9560.

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