“Divas of Venice” producer

The Venice People’s Centennial celebration, “Divas of Venice,” brought more than 300 people to the opening at SPARC — the Social Public Arts Resource Center on North Venice Boulevard — Friday night, August 5th.

They had come to view the art exhibit and hear presentations by founding members of SPARC and SPARC “Que Viva Diva” Judy Baca and “Filmmaker Diva” Donna Deitch.

Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl attended and presented certificates to all the divas — Linda Albertano, Judy Baca, Maureen Cotter, Donna Deitch, Jodie Evans, Carol Fondiller, and Bridget Graham and acknowledged their contributions reflecting the diversity and uniqueness of extraordinary Venice women.

Suzy Williams was away on tour and missed the event and recognition.

Other distinguished guests who attended included former Los Angeles controller Rick Tuttle and civil rights attorney Mark Rosenbaum.

“Venus of Venice” awards were presented to Baca and Deitch.

The festivities continued next door the following night at Beyond Baroque with “Poetry Diva” Linda Albertano receiving her “Venus of Venice” award and thrilling the audience with her performance, which included the Nearly Fatal Woman, poets Suzanne Lummis and Laurel Ann Bogen.

There are more “Divas of Venice” happenings through the end of the month at SPARC.

Saturday, August 13th, at 7 p.m., join “Mama Africa Diva” Bridget Graham and the invigorating, all-female African percussionists and singers ADAAWE for an outdoor evening concert.

“Deviant Divas” writer, artist, photographer Maureen Cotter and one of the first collective members of The Free Venice Beachhead, journalist Carol Fondiller, will read original work at Beyond Baroque at 7 p.m. Saturday, August 20th.

“Diva Deluxe” Suzy Williams accompanied by pianist Brad Kay performs on stage in the SPARC parking lot works of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and others at 7 p.m. Friday, August 26.

The Divas of Venice shows close at 7 p.m. Saturday, August 27th, with one of the founding members of CodePink, “Political Diva” Jodie Evans.

Special guests will appear in pink slips at the progressive wear fashion show — directed by Dana Balicki.

There will also be a performance piece, “How to Maintain our Democracy’s Optimal Health,” presented by the “Election Hygienists” of CodePink, written by Sherry Healy, and directed by LA CodePink founder, Susan Rath.

The “Divas of Venice” art installation continues through Wednesday, August 30th, and includes works by Judith Baca, Dana Balicki, Mimi Bogale, Maureen Cotter, Cyndi Kahn, Amy Kaps, Deborah Krall, Laura Silagi and Emily Winters.

“Divas of Venice” is sponsored in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Liberty Hill Foundation/Robert & Heidi Greenwald Fund, Susan Adelman and Claudio Llanos, Edward Ferrer, Don Geagan, Linda Lucks, Michael McGuffin, and Linda Shusett.

All events are free and open to the public.

SPARC is at 685 N. Venice Blvd. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays; and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Information, SPARC, (310) 822-9560, ext. 10 or www.VeniceArtsCouncil.org and www.SPARCmurals.org

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