Author: betsygoldman

Tim Rudnick: One Man’s Quest to Save the Ecosystem

Tim Rudnick grew up on Venice Beach. “I see myself as a child all the time. I look around and have memories,” he says. His memories of the beach are better than what he sees now. “We’ve done an enormous amount of damage to the beach in the last 50 years. It’s going to get worse unless there is some way to turn it around and get people thinking about the way it functions as a natural environment,” he adds. About 15 years ago, Tim took a trip to Mendocino. He hadn’t had a vacation in years and needed to get away and relax. His time spent swimming in the ocean opened his eyes to personal discoveries. In order to keep these discoveries alive on his return, he decided to continue his swims at home. “I became convinced that the ocean is fundamental to what we are as living animals. It’s not just a pretty spot to watch the sunset but the air pressure, the taste of the water, laying on the sand — all these things are fundamental to the kinds of beings we are,” Tim says. “Since then, I have ascribed to the hypothesis that we are an aquatic or water marine primate. An ocean antecedent of some sort is suggested by the fact that we are the only primate with two tear ducts like sea gulls...

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Elco Welding Takes Us Back To An Earlier Time

I walk by 1711 Abbot Kinney Blvd. all the time and peek in wonderment as to how the clutter never seems to go away. That is my feminine observation. Guys, on the other hand, I’m sure, think differently. Over the years, Elco Welding has become a museum of sorts, a vast assortment of collectibles — junk to some, treasures to most. Brothers Mark and Bob Libow inherited the business from their father, Seymour, who worked many years for the previous owner of the building that was constructed in 1928. Apparently one of its earlier uses was that of a place to make illegal alcohol during the prohibition. How do we know this? “That was told to us by an old friend of Dad’s,” says Mark. There is still a slight image of a bathing beauty on the exterior wall along with “Kick” soda pop. “That was the bottling company,” says Mark, who says legend has it that the bottling company was just a front for a booze operation. I was asked to identify the first item that was shown to me. It’s a good thing I wasn’t on one of those game shows. It was a black metal object about twelve inches long and three inches high, connected by a lot of nuts and bolts with a little apparatus extension. It was a German pencil sharpener with a chip...

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Traveling by ear with Tom Schnabel

The imagination of a human being is a powerful tool in creating mental images of the unknown. The arts, in particular, tend to take the mind to far away places whether dream-like or real. We may be familiar with surfing the roaring waves of Hawaii, climbing the icy glaciers of Mont Blanc or riding on the rolling plains of Argentina. Have we actually been to these places and done these things? Maybe not, but it’s fun to make believe. Music is another way to travel to the far corners of the earth, to sway to the beat and hum to the tune. We are there in spirit with our eyes closed and visions of the exotic climes and cultures. Music from other parts of the world has not always been as accessible as it is today. A pioneer in this effort is Tom Schnabel. In 1998, Tom was awarded the French government’s National Medal of Arts. “The French bestowed upon me the honor of Chevalier dans Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for my work in furthering the knowledge of music from other cultures for the past 20 years,” he says. “The French, probably a legacy of their colonial empire, have long held an interest in arts from other places, and, of course, nobody has to go to the government each year and argue why the arts are important...

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Joe Wheatley’s Muscle Beach Venice

When I first moved to Venice I lived in an apartment building on Ocean Front Walk. At that time I had my weekends free and use to join other residents of the building on the front stoop to work on my tan and people watch. It was an incredibly entertaining pastime. Not being the “athletic type,” I never paid much attention to the activities that were available only a couple of blocks away. Now that I’m older and wiser and community oriented, I have come to fully appreciate the world-class facilities that have put Venice Beach on the map. Venice’s “Muscle Beach” began in the early 1960s after the original location in Santa Monica started its decline. In those days, it was known as “The Pit” or “The Pen” — names given to the outdoor weight-lifting platform. Its first evolution began with the increased interest in bodybuilding at Gold’s Gym in the mid ’60s and the arrival of Arnold several years later. During its early heyday, the workout area attracted other posers such as Franco Columbo. In 1987, the City of Los Angeles officially designated the age-worn facility “Muscle Beach Venice.” By this time the equipment was not working properly and the playing courts were cracked and broken. Many members of the “physical culture” left for state-of-the-art machines of nearby gyms. So, with the new name came a face-lift...

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Lynn Warshafsky:unsung heroine

One of the positive aspects of working with community members is that you get to know people who were only familiar by name before and you get to know those who you had never met. One such person is Lynn Warshafsky. I had followed the saga of Venice Arts Mecca splintering into the Venice Dream Team and VeniceArts in the ’90s. Each went on to provide its own positive artistic environment for children. Lynn, founding board president of Venice Arts Mecca, became executive director of VeniceArts. It is a position befitting her. When the Venice Centennial Steering Committee first met in April 2004, a primary point of business was to secure a fiscal receiver to take in and pay out monies that were donated for centennial events. After a number of months of going back and forth it was decided that VeniceArts would be the most appropriate and able group to handle this task. Lynn attended Steering Committee meetings but kept in the background. She has really never been given credit for the hours of work that she put in to make the Centennial celebration successful. Insurance was necessary for each event. After the committee chairs submitted rates for their events, the total amount struck Lynn as too high and she decided to get a better deal from VeniceArts’ broker by combining all the events together. “It saved the...

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